Re-read in January 2018
Charlotte Baird is the best friend of Molly Webster, the heroine from Rock Addiction. This book takes place simultaneously and portrays Charlotte's relationship with her overbearing new boss who she refers to as T-Rex. I was intrigued by this side plot in the first Rock Kiss book so I was super happy that it met all of my expectations.
I loved the portrayal of Charlotte and her journey to self-confidence after a horrific incident with an ex-boyfriend. Readers get hints about what happened, but I was not prepared for the details which made me admire Charlotte even more. She is intelligent and shy though she also has a spine of steel when pushed too far. There are many moments where she could have retreated back into her enclosed world, but she kept going and showed how strong she really was.
The aforementioned T-Rex whose real name is Gabriel Bishop is a former professional rugby player who is now known for bring businesses back from the brink of disaster. His first few days at his new company results in staff overhauls and plenty of tears, but he showed a keen sense of business smarts and a good heart. I liked that, while most of this book focused on Charlotte's development, it also deals with Gabriel's own difficult childhood and how it effects his current outlook on life.
Rock Hard has many elements that I adore in Nalini Singh's paranormal books like fully developed characters, romance that sweeps the reader off their feet, and well-written worlds. Even though this book is a contemporary romance, I can see Singh's skills at worldbuilding with her depiction of the company that Charlotte and Gabriel work for, the relationships between the workers, and especially the crazy Bishop family. I am hoping Gabriel's brother, Danny, will get his own story someday.
All in all, a truly entertaining read that is both sweet and sexy. This author is showing how skilled she is at writing romance whether it is contemporary or paranormal. Rock Hard is my favorite of the series so far.
I received a free e-ARC of this book from TKA Distribution via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is a review of my writing for 2017. You couldn't call it a success, nor could you call it a failure since something would have had to have been achieved in the first place. Get what I'm saying? If you've never been up how can you be down?
If you don't, well, that's okay since I write this for myself to put the previous year in perspective.
Last year I decided to see what it would be like to take part in public readings and conduct writing seminars. The idea was to raise my profile while at the same time sell my books at these events.
It didn't take much to get booked for both, but the experience was not very satisfying, akin to pitching from behind a table you've rented at a flea market. After my initial experiences I didn't look for more opportunities. Sales just aren't that important to me.
The only thing I self-published was a novella, The Rocker and the Bird Girl. It began as an experiment on Inkitt to see if a shallow story about a rock star and a young woman who ran a bird sanctuary would be popular with the juvenile readers who populate that site. Unfortunately, or fortunately - I'm not sure which, I was soon having so much fun with this story and became so enamored with my characters (though very few Inkitt followers did) I decided to pull it from that site and self-publish it.
Novellas for "New Adults" (protagonist between eighteen and thirty) seem to be trendy likely due to the diminishing attention span of this age group and the fact they're read on cellphones during commutes. Quite unexpectedly I discovered I had a lot of story ideas for this heroine and I could easily expand it into a series. Series, according to the "experts" sell better than stand-alones so what the hell, nothing else is working.
Despite a thorough launch for The Rocker and the Bird: listed as a pre-order on Smashwords three weeks in advance of publishing, email ARC copies to my Advance Reading Team, giveaways on Booklikes and Library Thing, two weeks free on Smashwords, free with coupon on my website, and promoted unabashedly on my social media accounts - it so far has had two reviews and no sales.
Undeterred, the second in The Mattie Saunders Series, Cold Blooded, is set to be self-published in March of this year. Here's the blurb:
"When a suspicious death at the The Reptile Refuge closes it down, Mattie receives a desperate call from Liz, an old friend from high school, asking if it's possible to temporarily board some reptiles at Saunders Bird Sanctuary. Mattie's not concerned with the circumstances and sees it as an opportunity to reconnect with Liz as well as help some animals in distress.
Unwittingly, Mattie's drawn into a dark intrigue and soon discovers it's not just the displaced inhabitants of The Reptile Refuge that are cold blooded."
Still determined to break into traditional publishing I spent the balance of last year polishing the manuscript of East Van Saturday Night - four short stories and a novella and submitting it to Canadian publishers. The list of rejections continues to increase from those publishers gracious enough to send me one.
This year, as mentioned, the second in my series will be self-published, the third is already outlined (okay, only in my head, but it's only January 4th) and a first draft will be written, plus I'll continue to work on another full length novel with the working title, The Triumvirate - three exceptional people, one insurmountable challenge. I've already stopped submitting East Van Saturday Night and, once the disappointment abates somewhat will take another look at the entire project.
Promotions of my backlist are also a consideration for 2018.
Book sales from all sources in 2017 amounted to $174.44. Expenses including book proofs, book orders and postage totaled $253.88. You can draw your own conclusions.
Oddly enough I'm optimistic. Why not?
Besides, writing for me is its own reward - really.
Stand calm, be brave, watch for the signs.
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<![endif]-->Title: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor Bleakly Manor
Author: Michelle Griep
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Series: Book 1 in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
"12 Day at Bleakly Manor" by Michelle Griep
This was quite a interesting story of Christian historical romance and mystery during 1850's holidays in England. I liked how this author brings to the readers some really intriguing characters during the '12 Days at Bleakly Manor' that had a particular reason for being at this location. Be ready for a fast paced, fun, quirky read with a Gothic and mysterious setting with some great descriptions given and even a little bite of danger.
What happens when Clara Chapman who was once from a well to do family, rejected by her father and later by her fiancé now found to be poor living with her Aunt Deborha receives a cyptic invitation?
"The Twelve Days of Christmas
As never's been reveled
Your presence, Miss Chapman,
Is respectfully hearld.
Bleakly Manor's the place
And after twelve nights
Five hundred pounds
Will be yours by rights."
Who was Benjamin Lane who had been in prison for stealing and is to be deportation to a labor camp from another country. Now what on earth does he have to do with all or this? Well, as the reader continues to read we find that Benjamin believes he was been betrayed by someone he once had loved and that he was also innocent of all of this mess he had been accused of. What will happen when he receives the same invitation to Bleakly Manor that 10 others had received? Now, what will Ben be promised?
Will Clara and Ben [the two main characters] who had some huge misunderstandings be able to work through it all out just be able to come to a better understanding of it all?
I enjoyed how this author was able to bring in the Christian elements [with trust and faith elements] in this very realistic story that will keep you turning the pages to see what was coming next in this story that was of 'second chances and choosing between revenge ad forgiveness.' I did notice that the '12 day of Bleakly Manor 'started on December 24th and ending January 5, 1851 which I thought was somewhat strange but as I was reading I get this idea from the author was done for a particular reason.
This was quite a interesting story after all is said and done. To find all of the answers to the above questions and so much more you will have to pick up this good read that has so many twist to see it's a good story of second chances and redeemed love. This is definitely one of those stories that will keep one guessing until the very end! Even though this novel is around Christmas holiday, I found that it's the kind of read that one can be read at any time of the year.
Don't forget to keep the tissues nearby, this story will leave you with a lot of emotions. This is such a heartfelt story about how tragedy can bring people together and tear them apart in the most dire circumstances. Emmott is every 17 year old growing up in a small town just waiting for the day they can start their "real" life, and then real life shows up in a very unexpected way.
There are so many roller-coasters in this telling tale about a small village impacted in a most severe way. I really enjoyed going through it with Emmott and watching her blossom with understanding as her preconceived notions of life are challenged in every way.
I would highly recommend this to readers who don't mind facing the realities of life and death and enjoy a well crafted coming of age story.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.