(I) Book Review: Into Your Dreams

into your dreams cover

Into Your Dreams
By:
 Chae Strathie and Poly Bernatene

Publication Date: March 30, 2012
Genre: Children’s Literature

Summary:
A flight of fantasy at your fingertips… Just close your eyes and drift away.

*~*

This book was a whim purchase for me when I was A.C. Moore a while back. I have a hard time turning away from a good book deal, and this little gem was sitting on the shelf begging to go home with me. Into Your Dreams is a cleverly written, visually stimulating read that keeps on giving. There is a fun build up through the Seuss-like rhymes and rhythms. It’s fun for me to read aloud, as the words throughout are new and intriguing when they roll off the tongue. The art throughout this story is vibrant and unique and suits the story well.

This book would make a great gift for a baby shower, birthday, or just a great addition to any shelf. I also just picked up The Tickle Tree for only $4.99 by both of these authors

*~*

The Final Countdown – 4 Stars

Links
Into Your Dreams – Amazon – Board Book
The Tickle Tree – Amazon –
Board Book (only $4.99!!)

Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter I! I

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(H) An Interview with Mindy Hayes

H
Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter H!

Mindy HayesFor today’s post, I decided to interview my newest client, Mindy Hayes! Mindy has written a great variety of books so far, with some wonderful projects coming down the pipeline. She’s originally from San Diego, California, but now resides in Summerville, South Carolina.

Hi! Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview for Livre It To Me. Let’s start out with something easy. What have you written?

Hey Hey! I’ve written the young adult fantasy series, The Faylinn novels, as well as the contemporary romance series, The Willowhaven series. And I just finished the coming of age romance, The Day That Saved Us, which will be available SOON!

What are you working on at the minute? What’s it about?
Well, I’m working on a few projects right now. One that’s being referred to as the #secretproject with Michele G. Miller that I’m not allowed to talk about yet, but I’m very excited about! I’m also in the middle of a collaboration with Veranda Kuhar who is illustrating a children’s book I wrote called, I Could Be A Monkey. And finally, I’m working on a psychological suspense that’s been in the making for over a year about a rock star that is accused of murdering his fiancé. And that’s all I’m going to say about that last one!

When and why did you decide to become a writer?
I think I’ve always had a little bit of a writer in me. I used to write little stories in notebooks and pretend I’d written novels. But, I didn’t actually start writing novels until 2007 after I got married. I’d just finished Twilight (I know. That’s what they all say, but it’s true. Haha.) And I thought to myself, ‘I want to write a book, so why the heck no?’! My husband wanted to know what I did with his wife because I wasn’t even much of a reader before we got married.

What is your favorite genre to write in and what draws you to this genre?
You know…I can’t pick one genre. I love anything that surprises me, and my stories surprise me all the time…haha. I honestly think it depends on what I’m writing at the time. I’m a big believer in writing for myself, so I write what I want to read, and I love reading an assortment of things. I loved fantasy when I wrote The Faylinn novels, and I’ve loved writing contemporary for the last couple years. My psychological suspense is definitely a change in genres, but it’s just as exciting, if not more because of all the twists and turns and mystery. Most things I’m still in the dark on that one!

Out of all the characters you have created, who are you most drawn to?
I’d have to say Sawyer Hartwell (Me After You) from my Willowhaven series. I wrote that book when I was going through a serious low period in life. I’d recently lost some close family relationships that seemed irreparable. I was recovering from a miscarriage after years of infertility. Sawyer Hartwell became my therapy and my heart. I think she’ll always be my favorite because she helped drag me out of the darkness when I needed it most.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing your first book?
Well, if we’re talking about my first published book, Kaleidoscope, I’d recently finished a YA faery series that I DID NOT like. I wasn’t a fan of how the author depicted the faeries, so I decided I was going to write faeries how I imagine them. And that’s the beauty of writing. It’s up to you to create a world you believe in!

What/who are your muses?
MUSIC. I always have music when writing. I have a playlist for each book before I start to write and add songs to it as the stories progress. And people, of course, anyone and everyone! Watch out! My husband, ex-boyfriends, actors, musicians, friends, ex-best friends. I also go to Pinterest for a lot of inspiration. Paintings, scenery, sweet couple love photos, etc…

What is your writing process typically like?
Every book has been different. I’m very much a pantser. I can’t outline. It’s pointless. I’ve tried, but I veer from it almost immediately. I write what comes to me, and I figure out how to make it all come together. Sometimes I write the end and go back to the beginning to figure out how to get there. Only once have I needed to write a book chronologically and that was Luminary because I was wrapping up The Faylinn novels, and wanted to make sure nothing was left out or unanswered. It was the most difficult book to write. Writing chronologically stumps me. I need to be able to write whatever I’m inspired to write whenever I feel like it.

What goes into your cover selection process?

It depends on the designer and the cover. I designed The Day That Saved Us cover and asked my designer to put it together. It went through a gazillion mockups before one felt right. While some of my previous covers were custom shoots, and I simply handed them off to the designer and asked for her to work her magic! I want to make sure my covers stand out in the sea of novels. You’ll never see a naked man chest on my covers (No offense to other writers! Just not my style.)

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

I honestly think writer’s block comes when the story isn’t going in the right direction. So, I take a step back and rethink what I’ve already written and go back to when it was going smoothly to figure out where I went wrong. I also plug in my headphones and blast music sometimes to clear the cobwebs. I’ll probably go deaf at an early age. Or I read. Read, read, read. Words inspire me.

Do you personally prefer to read e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?

I prefer traditional paperbacks, but the only time I really get to read now is right before bed while my husband is sleeping next to me and I can’t turn on any lights, so I have to read on my phone. Also the convenience of e-books is undeniable. I can’t always carry around a book in my purse, but I’ve got hundreds on my phone.

Who are your favorite authors?

Oh goodness. Tarryn Fisher, Gayle Forman, Colleen Hoover, Melina Marchetta, Jenny Han, Katja Millay, Tahereh Mafi, Paullina Simons. Just to name a few…haha

What books are you currently reading?

Right now I’m reading Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone and loving it!

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to edit it or do you prefer to finish it all at once?

Well, I’d prefer to finish it all at once. I’m a culprit of self-editing. I can’t leave a scene alone, so I’m constantly going back to the beginning, reading forward and then moving on with whatever scene I decide to write next. So, if I think the book is done, it’s probably not, so I won’t leave it alone for more than a couple days before I go back to it. I can’t leave it unfinished for long.

What’s your favorite quote?

Well, fetch. I can only pick one? Umm…probably a Tarryn Fisher quote. This one is from her book, Mud Vein.

“There is a string that connects us that is not visible to the eye. Maybe every person has more than one soul they are connected to, and all over the world there are those invisible strings. Maybe the chances that you’ll find each and every one of your soulmates is slim. But sometimes you’re lucky enough to stumble across one. And you feel a tug. And it’s not so much a choice to love them though their flaws and through your differences, but rather you love them without even trying. You love their flaws.”

It’s 1am and you’ve been writing all night. What three items are on your desk?

My water bottle, my phone, and snack of the hour (goldfish, popcorn, chocolate, anything unhealthy most likely) And technically it’s my couch. I’m not cool enough to have a desk yet…haha.

When you aren’t writing, where can we find you?

Working. Fun, right? I’m an office manager for a few chiropractic offices that take up most of my time, so when I’m not there, I’m writing. I try to squeeze in time with the husband, of course…haha. We have our shows (Blindspot, Castle, Quantico, New Girl, Mindy Project, Arrow, The Flash, Criminal Minds, Limitless, Undateable, Life in Pieces, Baby Daddy, Elementary, Big Bang Theory, Second Chance, Mysteries of Laura, The 100, Scorpion, etc… Clearly we have a problem) that we watch together every night before he goes to bed and I stay up to write. It’s turned into our nightly ritual. My life is pretty glamorous.

Tell me a joke.

Why don’t you ever see hippopotamus hiding in trees? Because they’re really good at it.

Haha…I only know corny jokes.

What is your favorite book and why?

Oh geez. Favorite book. I have several. Don’t make me choose! Mud Vein by Tarryn fisher, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

Sitting on my couch writing. Most probably. Haha. But hopefully I’m happy and still loving what I do.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Don’t let your feelings of inadequacy keep you from pursuing your dreams. That feeling with never goes away. Only you can keep you from reaching your full potential. Just keep writing what you love. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

Thank you so much, Mindy, for taking the time to do an interview with me!
For anyone interested, Mindy’s books can be found here:
Kaleidoscope (Faylinn, Book 1)Amazon Link
Me After You (Willohaven Series, Book 1) Amazon Link

(G) Girls in Modern Literature

G

Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter G!

I always struggle with the depiction of females in literature, as I despise reading books about the helpless female who needs saving by the handsome male. Or how about that female in the relationship with the guy who grabs at her and makes her feel bad about herself, yet we’re supposed to root for them as a pairing? I also REALLY hate a trope that pops up every so often where the male is challenged to make a girl fall for him, have sex with him, make her beautiful… and then somehow she finds out and they end up together anyway. What?!

What are we teaching females by romaticizing the helpless female?

I LOVE those books where the female is on top of her game, or learning how to lead. Instead of whining, she speaks her mind. Maybe she’s not completely confident, but she carries herself decently. I LOVE to read about a female who is a great role model. I want to read a book where I can relate to the female character. If there’s romance, I want it to be healthy and real. 

Don’t get me wrong, of course there should be conflict. I don’t mind when she stumbles a bit and learns from her mistakes. Heck, I don’t mind poor judgement calls. I even love romance when it’s done right. Ultimately, however, I want the females I read about to be able to thrive without a guy, to overcome abuse, to stand on their own two feet.

Here are some of my suggestions of modern literature with strong female characters. I’m read all of these books and loved each one. Pick any one off the list to read yourself, I think there’s a little something for everyone.

Unlit Star by Lindy Zart – Amazon Link
Shadow of Deception (The Kazumi Chronicles, Book 1) by Sophia L Johnson – Amazon Link
Never Let You Fall (Tyalbrook, Book1)
 by Michele G. Miller – Amazon Link
Sing For Me (Angels and Arias, Book 1) by Gracie Madison – Amazon Link
The Ark (The Ark Trilogy, Book 1) by Laura Liddell Nolen – Amazon Link
Sleepless (Narrowdale #1) by Michael Omer – Amazon Link

Have you read any other above books? Did you end up snagging one that I shared after reading this post? What other modern books do you think depict a strong female character? Share comments below.

(F) Fill In The Blanks

F

Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter F! 

I thought I’d do something just a little bit different with today’s post and do a “Fill In The Blank” type of survey with y’all. It’s completely book related, so enjoy! Copy and paste the below survey into the comments section of this post, delete my answers, and fill in with your own!

I am from: Massachusetts
Favorite book genre: Fantasy
Least favorite book genre: Erotica
How frequently do you read? Whenever I have free time, which isn’t often these days sadly.

Favorite book: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Last book you purchased: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition Pre-Order on Amazon
What are you reading right now? From The Wreckage by Michele G. Miller (FREE e-book on Amazon) I’ve read this one a couple of times now, but I’m doing a quick edit of it for Michele. Such a great story! She just released WEST which is a companion book to this series that can be read without reading the other books. I highly suggest it. Some of her best work. You can find the Amazon link to WEST here.

(E) Editing Update

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Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter E!

(Note: Ironically, I did not check this post for editing errors. After four days at home alone with my son while my husband was on a business trip, I’m lucky I even got the words on the screen for this post! haha)

Just a quick editing update today since it’s been a long week already… Life has been crazy lately, with too many negative events catching up with me and my family to count, lots of illnesses being passed all around and me playing doctor to fix everyone up, and then job hunting.. well, sadly the projects I’m working on were pushed back a bit. Luckily, the two lovely ladies I edit/proof for have been incredibly understanding. Now it’s back to the grind.

  • I just finished proofing Mindy Hayes soon-to-be new release, The Day That Saved Us. It’s a really great coming of age read about  Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

    BEFORE life wasn’t perfect. Peyton Parker was grieving the loss of her father. Brodee Fisher was battling for control over his future with his father. But every summer their families came together to rejuvenate and lose themselves in the salt air of Cape Hatteras. Nothing could put a damper on the sun, sand, and surf.

    AFTER everything changed.

    To add this book to your TBR (to be read) list, go HERE.

  • I’m finishing up re-edits on From The Wreckage by Michele G. Miller, as well.
  • After that, I’m moving on to another fun project of Michele and Mindy’s. 

I’m in the midst of finding some online editing classes to keep my skills so fresh and so clean-clean, so if anyone has any suggestions about online courses I can take, please send them my way.

AND if you’re an author looking for an editor/proofer… Ooo Ooo, pick me! *jumps up and down excitedly* In all seriousness, if you are interested in my services, please reach out to me. You can fill out the survey on my editing page (preferred) or email me at livreit2me@gmail.com.

(C) Cliches…

Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter C!C FOOORRRRRRR *drumroll* Cliches!

I feel like every book I read now has some sort of stereotypical book trope or cliche that I’ve read over and over again. I mean, how many times can I read about the girl who is stuck in a love triangle with two guys? Or that ridiculously heavy cliffhanger ending that leaves no feeling of contentment after completion? There are so many different cliches in books these days… here are a few of my least favorite. [Disclaimer: I still read them… bad habits are hard to break. 😉 ]

  • The Love Triangle – Girl loves boy. Girl loves another boy. Girl is torn between the two. Girl must choose. Ugh, there has to be an original way to do this. I’ve read this so many times, and it’s usually done fairly well, but really now. There must be some original ways of doing this one!
  • Love At First Sight – He looks at her and feels that instant moment of “Ah ha!” and all of those questions are answers, the heavens begin to sing, and everything clicks. Love at first sight–I’ve always been a believe in lust at first sight, or strong attraction. But love? I suppose you could get that funny little feeling, but this is SO overdone. 
  • The Bad Boy – Leather jacket. Tattoos. Dark, brooding eyes. A pout for days. Dark, whispy hair hanging into his eyes and he stares off into the sunset. Eep. I love me a pair of broody eyes as much as the next human, but really? What about the pale, bright-eyed, redhead, with a cheeky grin and tons of freckles, wearing a button down shirt and penny loafers? No? Ok.
  • Romanticizing Closeted Abuse – The girl and guy are in a fight and she decides to walk away in a huff. But no, he grabs her arm as she’s walking away, and he turns her around to face him. Or how about the forceful kiss when she obviously doesn’t want it? It’s horrible that I can think of so many of these examples so easily… Emotional and physical abuse aren’t sexy. They aren’t beautiful. Adrenaline rushes in the heat of the moment, perhaps, but that shouldn’t be the image young folks have when they think about love.
  • BONUS: Step-siblings falling in love. “Marsha?” “Yes, Brad?” (A Very Brady Sequel, anyone?) Or worse… siblings. No Lannister lovin’ for me, thanks.

What are some of the cliches/tropes that you hate? Are there any you absolutely love? Can you think of any books that could make me love the cliches above? 

(B) Books! Duh.

B

Books. It’s why I’m here. It may be why you’re here. This blog’s purpose. Books. (Sigh)

I don’t know about you, but I thrive on the turn of a page, the she reads booksanticipation of a great cliffhanger, the perfectly constructed cover, the long-awaited new release… Books. They’re the faithful friends who are there to bail you out of jail when you do something bad. They’re the ones to make you laugh in those times when glum is all you feel. They can put a smile on even the toughest of those with a horrible case of Resting B*tch Face. They can make you cry. Make you snicker. Make you think. They can influence your day. Illuminate a dark moment. Or darken the light.

Books can change your life.

Well Read WomanI’m a book lover. A collector of words. A turner of pages. I use napkins as bookmarks. Sometimes a Post-It Note. Occasionally an invitation or a picture. Never a dog ear. Some are a little bent in corners after late nights in bed, falling asleep with a book on my chest. Some pages are worn from plenty of rereads. Even a few have some crinkles due to being caught in
the rain or the path of a spilled drink.

My books are loved. They are family. Friends. Enemies. Mentors. An escape. A reminder. Inspiration.

Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter B!