Tag Archives: amazon

Book Review: Preparing My Daughter For Rain:: notes on how to heal and survive. by Key Ballah

Self Published Published Aug. 24,2014 106 Pages
Self Published
Published Aug. 24,2014
106 Pages

A collection of poetry for daughters, future daughters and women about how to heal and survive. 

This is going to be short review and that is because I do not have the words to describe this other than deep and powerful.  I wasn’t expecting much and that is because its been a hit and miss for me with poetry; mostly because I am not at a point in my life where I am sad nor am I obsess or desperate about love and being in love (long statement I know).

But anyway, this book, this poetry moved me so much. To say I am not an emotional fragile woman at this moment, would be a lie. The words were so honest but followed so beautifully without the fillers and the whimsical ideas. It reminded me of my past and made me feel for my future. It also made me think of mom a lot, which is the purpose but I really thought about my mom and who she was before kids.

I love this book and although I go it for kindle unlimited, I have every intentions of buying it for my library. I fell for this book and I think each time I read it I will learn something new about myself, women and my mom.

Powerful…powerful read I would recommend to all women for themselves and their daughters.

5 Pickles 

Book Review: The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

Self Published Published Oct 2. 2013 155 Pages
Self Published
Published Oct 2. 2013
155 Pages

The day before her daughter’s wedding, Snow White cannot find it in her to be happy. No matter how clean the castle is or how beautifully smooth the preparations are going, Snow is in mourning. Charming is dead and the Queen has been in an endless depression for over a year.

Desperate to get away from the joy she cannot feel, Snow climbs the forgotten tower and comes face to face with the mirror that her Stepmother once stood in front of. 

Is she willing to look in its reflection and see what it holds for her?

You know I’m a sucker for retellings. So when this was offered to me by the author, I couldn’t say no. My first thought when I began this book that it was really poetic. The words moved like water from beginning to end. This was a hit and miss because it made the short book feel longer than what it actually was. Did this ruin the book? Not at all and here is why.

The take on Snow White’s happily ever after is interesting and it pushed the novel through. The idea of her facing her past and future alone is creative because one would think everything she deserves and wants comes well. . . happily. I love the idea of her facing the mirror after all these years. It is really an untapped idea in the retellings of Snow White.

What I didn’t like about this book was the lack of intensity. It could be because of the poetic writing style but I didn’t feel the fierceness when things began to pick up. I also didn’t like the monotone emotion. Even in its better times there was still this sadness lingering between the lines.


Beyond this I enjoyed the story because of the imagery, the details and the creativity. I would recommend this.


3 Pickles

Book Review: Sparrow by L.J. Shen

Self Published March 8, 2016 302 Pages
Self Published
March 8, 2016
302 Pages

Sparrow is taken against her will by Troy Brennan, the well known son of a mobster, who runs Boston. Forced to marry this dangerous man, Sparrow feels like a caged bird and although she is desperate to escape pissing off Troy is death wish. 

Ever read a book that you hate the fact that you really enjoyed it? Well this one is that book for me and it has nothing against the writer.

This was a well written book. Seriously, it was written very well. Predictable in the sense? Yes.  Because certain things happened very obviously and other things did not. The pace in this novel was great; things moved in real time and there wasn’t much of nothing going on; something even emotionally was happening.

Sparrow was. . . how do I put it . . . typical. I was so upset at her for what happened. I literally wanted to pull my hair out. How can she even remotely . . . UGHH! I liked Sparrow but I think that she may be a bit of an idiot. In regards to Troy, he was a great character for what he was. I didn’t expect anything more from him (This isn’t a bad thing). I liked how he was written. My only issue would be the lack of character development with him. He grew a heart but he was a take it or leave it type of guy. And I didn’t know how I felt about that when I finished the book.

What I didn’t like about this book was the cliche of it all. Although I loved it, it is still very cliche and it made me feel some type of way as a woman. Why? I can’t tell you because it will probably make you not want to read the book and I actually want you to read this book.

I loved the details and the flow within each chapter and I loved loved the excitement and rush I felt reading this.

Overall, although this is my hate to love book,

4 Pickles

Book Review: The Golden Apple (The Dark Forest #1) by Michelle Diener

Self- Published Published on March 24, 2014 298 Pages
Self- Published
Published on March 24, 2014
298 Pages

Kayla’s father decided to put his daughter to the highest bidding. By making her a prize in a impossible tournament and literally putting her in a glass box for all to see, deciding her fate and her husband was supposed to be easy.

But Kayla is not for that and chose her champion, taking control of the tournament and changing the rules for the game. Quickly Kayla realizes that by taking control of her fate, she put her life and her kingdom at stake. 

To save his brother’s life, Rane is willing to betray and use anyone including a more than willing Princess. But because of the Princess decision, Rana is involved in a more dangerous game that not only leaves the two fighting for their lives in the dark forest but also falling in love. 

This book is said to be loosely based off the fairy tale The Princess on the Glass Hill. I have never read it but I plan on it now. Also I need to say this. According to Goodreads, a lot of people didn’t like this book. I freaking loved it.

Let’s start with Kayla. She was a bit naive but that was not because that was her personality nor was it because she was locked in the castle but as a Princess there was certain experiences she didn’t experience.  This is understandable and more a preferred reason to being naive.  It didn’t dictate her personality, which is what I really loved.

I loved the fact that she wasn’t taking crap from anyone. She handle things with thought and cared for everyone around her. I’m not too sure how I feel about Rana but I actually believe his and Kayla feelings for each other. From beginning to end, it was there.

I enjoyed the pace of the novel, the magic and the romantic tension. What I didn’t like so much was how easy things were fixed. There was struggle and I understand Kayla’s part but she is a newbie and this book. Things shouldn’t have flown so easily for her. I wanted more struggle. I need more of a internal and external battle.

But other than that I loved this book.  But I am not 100% I will be reading the second one. Something just seems a little bit off about the summary.


4 Pickles

Adult Book Review: Family Care by Jessa Callaver

Smashwords Published Sept. 14, 2013 129 Pages
Published Sept. 14, 2013
129 Pages

Adult Review Only****

18 year old Josie decided that during her senior spring break to babysit for a new but beloved family in town.  Although the Sharps seem like the perfect family they are hiding a secret that Josie just got in the middle of.

*Short Review*


I was completely aware that this was an erotic, new adult book. But I was completely unaware with how intense this book was or how fast the intensity was going to come.

I am not bothered by the sexual scenes because that is why I picked up the book (look at the cover).

I enjoyed this read but really only because of one thing. The author is very talented in details and invoking a scandal and oddly enough surprise. The way she was able to write this story without predictability blows my mind because the obvious was there.

Josie, along with the other characters didn’t have any personality. It was as if sex is what defined them and that bothered me because there was really nothing else to this book. Seriously, nothing. The ending was too easy and Josie, who I once I thought was naive, knew exactly what she wanted and what she was doing.

But I cannot help but like this book. Maybe this says some things about me *Kanye Shrugs*


4 Pickles

Quick Five© Rachel Neumeier

     Courtesy of Rachel Neumeier
Courtesy of Rachel Neumeier

Name: Rachel Neumeier

Who is Rachel? Fantasy author that turned her hobby into her full time occupation.

Website: http://www.rachelneumeier.com/

Books: Black Dog, The City in the Lake, House of Shadows, The Floating Islands, Griffin Mage Books 1-3

Buy: Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Itunes

You have to respect the authors that write and write and then write some more and are able to deliver not just quantity but quality as well.

Meet author Rachel Neumeier, a woman whom started writing as hobby and decided to craft it into her life.

Enjoy her Quick Five©

Your style of writing focuses on YA and Fantasy . . . what drew you toward those genres?  Do you have a favorite author or book?  Or do you feel these genres are lacking something you feel you can add?

I’m sure I started writing fantasy simply because I’ve always read a lot of fantasy.  I was just playing when I started writing, and it was natural to play in the genre I like best.  My reading tastes have broadened in the past few years as I’ve followed the recommendations of bloggers I trust into genres that are outside my typical range, but I still can’t really imagine wanting to write, say, contemporary romance.  I expect I’ll always fall naturally into fantasy.

To me, YA isn’t a genre so much as a marketing device.  I don’t really distinguish between YA and adult fantasy when I’m reading – I mean, when I was a teenager, the YA category didn’t really exist, at least not as it does today.  So I just read everything. 

      Strange Chemistry      Published Feb. 4, 2014               130 Pages
Strange Chemistry
Published Feb. 4, 2014
130 Pages

Today, I still barely distinguish between YA and adult fantasy when I write, which sometimes creates a challenge when I actually need to slant a particular book one way or the other.  When I needed to write the second book of the Griffin Mage trilogy, for example, all that would occur to me were YA plots and protagonists.  Finally I just said, Fine, the protagonist is 42 years old.  You can bet that decision gave that novel a hard shove toward the adult end of the spectrum, which was very helpful. 

I’m sure I have too many favorite authors to even begin to list them.  I think Patricia McKillip writes the most beautiful, lyrical fantasy – I think she’s the single best writer in fantasy today.  I think Martha Wells does the most fantastic, visual, panoramic worldbuilding.  I just read The Bones of the Fair by Andrea Höst, an author who is one of my favorite discoveries from 2013.

I wouldn’t say that anything is lacking in today’s genre fiction; there’s so much out there, it’s hard to see how anything could be lacking, though of course it can be hard just to discover the titles that you would most love.  I’m not really trying to achieve something – I’m more just trying to tell the kind of stories I most love as a reader.

Your latest book, BLACK DOG, has just been released.  How were you inspired to write this book?

BLACK DOG is a departure for me, because it’s much more paranormal-ish than anything else I’ve written, and set in  world that looks almost like ours, at least to a first glance.  This is very different from my secondary world fantasy, and presented new challenges and pleasures.

I was drawn to write BLACK DOG because I fell in love with Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series, and then with several other paranormal and urban fantasy series.   I really wanted to write something like those series, only of course not too similar.  BLACK DOG was the result.  I do think my black dogs present a somewhat different spin on the “werewolf” tropes, though.

Do you feel that diversity or lack thereof in YA Fantasy is a concern, or do you feel that it is already where it should be?

                  Orbit   Published July 10, 2012             352 pages Kindle
Published July 10, 2012
352 pages Kindle

My impression is that there are a lot of authors thinking about diversity issues right now, so I expect to see an increase in diversity of protagonists and important secondary characters in the next few years.  I think many white, straight authors are probably nervous about trying to write diverse protagonists in case they get it wrong, but I also think it’s important for authors to take that risk, and I think more are.

Something that annoys me more than a non-diverse cast of characters is “tokenism”, where an author sticks one or two diverse characters in a book in order to “make a statement.”  I think that it’s usually very obvious when an author does that; it comes across to the reader as manipulative and artificial.  I don’t think there’s any excuse for substituting A Statement for a real story.

I think it’s very important to have great characters who also happen to be diverse, not a token secondary character who is The Black Character or The Gay Character.  One great example – this is contemporary YA – is offered by FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB by Antony John, in which the protagonist is a beautifully-drawn, complex, realistic girl who also happens to be deaf.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?

Finishing my first book.  Or maybe finishing my second book.  Or, at the moment, I would be pretty thrilled to finish my current work-in-progress.  Actually finishing a complete draft is always reason to celebrate. 

I will say, writing both the second and third Griffin Mage books in six months total was quite an accomplishment.  I would prefer not to have quite such a tight deadline again, though!

When someone reads your books, what feeling do you want them to be left with? 

     Knopf Books for Young Readers     Published July 8, 2008                304 Pages
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published July 8, 2008
304 Pages

What an interesting question.

I don’t write (or read) grimdark, which I think is unrealistically nihilistic and bleak.  That kind of

hopeless despair about the world and the people in it is the exact opposite of what I want to infuse into my stories.

Grim things can happen to good people in my stories.  Certainly that’s true of BLACK DOG.  But, not to provide a spoiler or anything, in my books, the good guys are going to triumph in the end.

I want to leave my readers with the feeling that in the end, good guys do win.  That in the end, striving to overcome evil and make the world a better place is worthwhile, both because of what the effort means to the world and what it means to you

Quick Five© with Luciana Cavallaro

   Courtesy of Luciana Cavallaro
Courtesy of Luciana Cavallaro

Name: Luciana Cavallaro

Who is Luciana? A former teacher with the understanding of mythology and the need to travel

Website: http://luccav.com/

Twitter: ClucianaLuciana

Books: The Curse of Troy: Helen’s Story, Accursed Women, A Goddess’ Curse, Boxed in a Curse, and Aphrodite’s Curse

Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Itunes

The retelling  of mythology is so popular that if you haven’t read any stories yet you really should start. Fairy Tales aren’t the only stories worth retelling and author Luciana Cavallaro reminds people of that with her books and short stories. In this interview, not only does she give advice fro those wanting to retell mythology but she explains how she is able to keep the myth pure in her stories.


On your website you state that your travels influenced you to write about historical fantasy/mythology. What exactly during those travels happened that caused you to write this genre? Was it the scenery? A class you took? Etc . . .

My sister and I went on a Contiki tour of Europe in 2000. It was an experience I’d never forgotten and vowed to return, which I did in 2004 and 2010. The pull to go back is growing stronger and I hope to visit again very soon. While on the flight to London, the movie Gladiator was on which I watched but the impact of the film hit home when we arrived in Rome and visited the Colosseum. I still get goosebumps. It is an extraordinary piece of architecture and the atmosphere was spellbinding. Strange, I know considering what happened there but you can’t ignore the magnificence of the structure. From there we had a guided tour of the Roman Forum and that was it. I always had an interest in ancient history and mythology but visiting the ancient sites in Rome brought it to life for me. I wanted to learn more and then came the passion to write about it.
    Mythos Publications  Published Nov. 30, 2013             217 Pages
Mythos Publications
Published Nov. 30, 2013
217 Pages

What is your favorite myth and why is that your favorite?

I had to think hard about this question, but the myth of Atlantis is my favorite plus it is featured in the trilogy I am writing. I first came across the myth when I was 15 after reading Charles Berlitz’s book on the Lost Continent. Later, I read Plato’s works Critias and Timaeas where the mythology of Atlantis was born. I wanted to know more about this amazing place where the people were unique, had built towns and palaces with sewage and hot and cold water and baths plus toilets long before the Greeks and Romans.

In your books how are you able to keep the integrity of the myth while also doing something creative and original?

Most people are familiar with Greek myths and even if they don’t know the entire story, they will know parts of it. I want readers to be familiar with the stories and so I didn’t want to change the myths, they are wonderful as they stand but thought what if I put a different spin on the stories? Change the perspective of the storyteller and provide a different point of view of the same myth.

Would you ever step out of this genre and write something else or is this where you will stay?

     Mythos Publications  Published Jan. 10, 2013                10 Pages
Mythos Publications
Published Jan. 10, 2013
10 Pages

One day perhaps I will try and write in a different genre but at the moment I’ve been guided to write Historical Fantasy/Fiction. Although having said that, a few of the stories do have contemporary settings.

Finally, what advise would you give someone who is trying to write stories based on myths? Read lots of myths and research! It will help write better stories and add fuel to one’s creativity. Passion is another element which I believe is very important. I love ancient history and mythology and I hope that comes through in my stories.

Kindle Review: Just Breathe (Just Breathe Trilogy) by Heather Allen

Ever Harding, a month away from her 18th birthday just had a horrible break up with her boyfriend of three years.

           Self Published  Published March 20, 2013             292 Pages (Paperback)
Self Published
Published March 20, 2013
292 Pages (Paperback)

This is literally the worst thing of her life. But then she meets Jack, new boy in school with amazing eyes that makes her melt. Their meeting exposes family history that ties Ever to the sea is more ways than one and forces Ever to have to make a choice that changes everything the world has ever known.

This book is about mermaids. I didn’t know this because I never read the summary. This book wasn’t the greatest thing I have read and it wasn’t because of Ever. She was a horrible character. Impulsive, bipolar, immature, completely unable to control her emotions and personally didn’t care about anyone but herself and Jack.

Here is my issue with the relationship: Her breakup so was dramatic I thought I was going to be sick. Ever was dumped outside her house on the front step not only did she pass out, she also stood outside mute in the cold doing nothing until her mother came to get her after dark and then, proceeded to be a jerk to everyone in her family and be moody. I understand teen love and I get the emotions all over the place but she was selfish and she proved to be selfish throughout the entire book.

Now when Jack comes along all of a sudden she’s in love. . . . Are you seriously kidding me? Nothing more needs to be said about that.

However, what I did like about the book was the whole twist of mermaids. I thought it was an original idea and it was well written. There were things I wasn’t expecting and I thought the dramatic of the overall story was great. I didn’t agree with adding her brother’s story into the book. I didn’t because it was added a bit late and his voice wasn’t strong enough. . . Ever completely overpowered it; so I believe it was a last thought.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. If you can push pass Ever the book will be good for you. If not then don’t even bother it. This book gets 6 out of 10.


Quick Five© with Joanna Wiebe

Courtesy of Joanna Wiebe
Courtesy of Joanna Wiebe

Name: Joanna Wiebe

Who is Joanna?  Canadian author new  to the YA mystery scene, with a love for espresso, chocolate, cheese and wine.

Website: http://joannawiebefiction.com/

Books: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant (The V Trilogy #1)

Buy: Amazon, Barnes and NoblesBenBella (ON JANUARAY 14)


Hooray! For first interview of 2014! Readers meet author Joanna Wiebe. If you haven’t heard of her its okay but then again it isn’t. Her debut novel The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is to be released on January 14th and it is creating so much buzz most (mainly me) readers cannot contain themselves.

Motif was lucky enough to catch Wiebe for a Quick Five© and as her about how excited she is about her first novel and if going to college is worth the paper it is written on. Enjoy!


 The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is your debut novel. . . . How are you feeling about its release? How long have you been waiting for this moment?

I’m feeling a healthy dose of excitement and anxiety, which are hard to tell apart sometimes. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find any writer who’s like, “Yup, perfect, I wouldn’t change a word” when handing their manuscript over to the publisher; there’s a reason the American version of Moby Dick differed quite a bit from the English version, which was published first. But I’m really happy with where this novel ended up, and it’s been very cool (read: a roller coaster) to read early reactions to it.

As for how long I’ve waited, well, I guess I’ve waited my whole life. Or at least since I was eight years old, writing a little story on my nana’s typewriter, and eagerly consuming her encouragement. That my book will be on bookstore shelves as of Jan 14 is, to indulge myself in a cliché, a dream come true.

      BenBella Books    To Be Published Jan. 14, 2014                272 Pages
BenBella Books
To Be Published Jan. 14, 2014
272 Pages


What inspired you to write this novel? Was it an event, a story or the lack of story?

I wish it was one thing, but it was everything. You read those interviews with writers who say their characters visited them in a dream, and you think, man, that would be convenient! My characters are like standoff-ish cats, turning their backs to me until they’re good and ready to let me near them. That said, it wasn’t all waiting for my characters to show themselves and tell me their story. I went into this knowing a) I wanted to tell a boarding school story because I love them so much and b) I wanted to experiment with telling the story in such a way that readers would be kept guessing. So far, it seems like the book is successful at both A and B.


Why did you choose to create this story as a series?

Anne’s discovery of the truth of Cania Christy, which is essentially the core of the first book, is just the beginning. We still need to find out what she, of all people, is doing at such a school – because, in fact, it’s not entirely what Anne and Ben think it is. And once Anne discovers why she’s there and what that means, she’s going to have to make a very difficult choice. This was a story that just couldn’t be told in one book – as much as I tried! 


 Do you feel that your degree in English helped you to become a better writer? If so, why?

I think a degree in English exposes you to an impressive range of books and styles that you just wouldn’t come across on your own. I would never have read Donald Barthelme’s Snow White or William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying had I not been an English major. Although this book is not written in a postmodern or modern voice or style, I as a writer am influenced by those styles – and it’s helped enrich my voice, I think. I hope. One day, if I can get past the worry that I’m a pretentious fop, I’ll write a postmodern YA novel that would make Barthelme proud.

While an English major, I took creative writing classes, and those definitely helped transform me into a better writer. They also taught me discipline, thickened my skin, and boosted my ego just enough, I think. Without them, I wouldn’t have had the courage to write a book.


Finally, if you had to describe your writing style in one word, what would it be and why?

Spongy. I tend to write big, long sentences that are all dense with everything going on – feelings, happenings, even tangents – and then, when I edit, I have to squeeze those big, soaking sentences and shake out shorter, piecier phrases that won’t weigh on the reader quite so much.


Follow this very funny and interactive author on these various social media sites eh? (hahahaha)






Quick Five© Diane Mannino

        Courtesy of  Diane Mannino
Courtesy of
Diane Mannino

Name: Diane Mannino

Who is Diane? A well-rounded author with a taste for beautiful book covers :)

Website: http://dianemannino.com/

Books: Running from Romeo and Waiting for Romeo

Buy: Amazon

Perfecting your craft is an extremely important part of life. Whether it is a hobby or your career, you need to be to zone in on your skills to be the best. Take author Diane Mannino, interviewed by Tania Lasenburg, Mannino explains that she did what she loved . . .  her entire life.

You’ve had a successful career as a writer for different media outlets. What made you decide to write a novel? Did you simply want to add another scratch on the to do list or was this always the goal for you?

I definitely wanted to write a novel. English was always my favorite subject, I was an English major in college, and I’ve always loved to read and write. It just took me some time to get around to doing it!

Why did you choose Young Adult as the genre for your first novel?
That’s a good question because I like many different genres, but I would have to say I wanted to write YA because I not only love the genre, but I have two teenage daughters who love the genre. They read all the time and recommend books to me. I’m a huge fan of  “Harry Potter,” “Twilight” and the “Hunger Games” series because they recommended them. But the bottom line is that I had a story and characters in mind and I thought it would be a good YA/NA novel.
What was your inspiration for “Running from Romeo”? Do you feel that the story of Romeo and Juliet is still popular enough to make reference to?
“Romeo and Juliet” was a big inspiration. I love the passion they have for each other and I love Romeo’s pursuit of Juliet. I love romances and characters that you care about and root for. I knew I wanted Classic Literature to play a part in the story. I want my daughters and other young adult readers to enjoy and love the classics as much as I did. I think not only is the story of “Romeo and Juliet” relevant but all of Shakespeare’s works.
              Amazon  Published June 1, 2013       345 Pages Ebook
Published June 1, 2013
345 Pages Ebook
How has your experience been publishing your book through Amazon? Do you feel that compared to a well known publishing company such as Harper Collins you receive the same attention and affection from those helping with the marketing of your book?

Well, I can’t really compare the two. I would LOVE Harper Collins or another publisher to publish my books, but I didn’t want to submit and re-submit for years to wait for that to happen. I think self-publishing is a great way to get your book out there and Amazon is awesome because as soon as you submit your book it’s immediately available. That’s amazing to me.

But as a self-publisher you have to market your book. You’re on your own and you don’t have anyone telling you how to do it. It is pretty much a sink or swim situation. I’m trying very hard to keep my head above water. There’s so much to learn, but I love that my books are being read and that people are enjoying them.

Finally, do you have any plans of stepping out of the YA genre? If so where would you go?

Hmm. I haven’t really thought about that. I love thrillers and mysteries. The sequel to “Running from Romeo,” “Waiting for Romeo” has a little bit of these elements in it so I’d probably say those genres. I really enjoyed writing these books because I got to do a little bit of not just one genre, but a couple of others as well.


Diane loves loves speaking with those who are interested in her books. Follow her here for more Romero