Saturday, July 19, 2014

Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan: Movie News & Sizzle Reel Premiere


YES!!! REASON TO BREATHE by Rebecca Donovan has not only been optioned for a movie, but is officially in the pre-production phase at Amber Entertainment. Meaning? This movie is going to happen. It. Is. Going. To. Happen. All the whens, wheres, whats, and hows can be found (here). Rebecca explains the entire process, the journey, and what's to come. So where do I fit in?

I GOT TO DO THE SIZZLE REEL!!

Wait. What the heck is a sizzle reel? Well, a sizzle reel is very similar to a book trailer. In the beginning phase of movie production, the production team needs to generate buzz. Buzz for financiers, buzz for potential audiences. Basically, it's a hype-starter. It's a pre-trailer trailer. The problem is, it's so early in the production process that no footage has been shot yet. So, how do you make a trailer with no footage?

QUICK! TO THE INTERNET!!

No really, sizzle reels (and book trailers) are made using clips from other movies and videos. You piece it together frame by frame until it tells a story, your story. The scenes come together and become something completely different than what they started as. It's a representation. Add some title clips, throw in some emotionally charged music, and BAM! A sizzle reel is born. Perhaps I'm leaving out a bunch of technical stuff in between, but you get the idea.

So how did I get involved in this?

BEGGING. TEARS…..AND BRUTE FORCE!

Okay, not really, but Rebecca was the instigator. She gave me a call a while back and needed some help.

In the beginning, the sizzle reel is the only visual representation for the movie; it's tied to funding and a bunch of other really important movie type stuff. At the time of her call, their current sizzle reel was suppose to be sent to potential financiers, but there were some issues. They needed a new one, and FAST. First off, I don't do fast and second, I DON'T DO FAST! Rebecca and her production team had seen my book trailers and wanted to see if I could possibly do the reel. I honestly didn't think it was possible.

In order to get it to them in time (and working around my job of cleaning poop and saving lives), I'd be left with about twelve hours to put something together. TWELVE HOURS!

Somehow, with sheer luck, the planets alining, and YouTube….twelve hours later I had a draft to show Rebecca and Amber Entertainment.

IT WAS A MIRACLE!!

Rebecca loved it, showed her people. They loved it. It was a done deal. So after several rounds of edits and polish, I finished my first ever sizzle reel. Despite the chaos, it's definitely my FAVORITE video to date. Even with the rushed process, I feel like the finished project is a step above anything I've ever done before. Maybe it's because I didn't think I could do it, maybe the pressure made me step up my game? Who knows? But what I do know is that I LOVE IT, and am so glad I got to be part of the process. ENJOY!





Saturday, June 28, 2014

Beautiful Oblivion Blog Tour: Review, Giveaway, and an exclusive Promo Book Trailer

Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster phenomenon continues in the first heart-pounding new adult romance in The Maddox Brothers series.

Fiercely independent Camille "Cami" Camlin gladly moved on from her childhood before it was over. She has held down a job since before she could drive, and moved into her own apartment after her freshman year of college. Now tending bar at The Red Door, Cami doesn’t have time for much else besides work and classes, until a trip to see her boyfriend is cancelled, leaving her with a first weekend off in almost a year.

Trenton Maddox was the king of Eastern State University, dating co-eds before he even graduated high school. His friends wanted to be him, and women wanted to tame him, but after a tragic accident turned his world upside down, Trenton leaves campus to come to grips with the crushing guilt. 

Eighteen months later, Trenton is living at home with his widower father, and works full-time at a local tattoo parlor to help with the bills. Just when he thinks his life is returning to normal, he notices Cami sitting alone at a table at The Red. 

As the baby sister of four rowdy brothers, Cami believes she’ll have no problem keeping her new friendship with Trenton Maddox strictly platonic. But when a Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever—even if she is the only reason their already broken family could fall apart.

In the first installment of the Maddox Brothers books, readers can experience the rush of reading Beautiful Disaster for the first time, all over again.


My Review
We can always count on Jamie McGuire to give us more than just a book. This. Was. A. Book. A book interwoven seamlessly into a world created for us in Beautiful Disaster, but at the same time it delivered a fresh palate painted with new characters, and Trenton Maddox. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved Trent, but curiously for the very reasons that set him apart from Travis. Don't get me wrong, I love everything about Travis Maddox, but what I enjoyed the most is that Trent's character was not just an alternate version of the bad boy we fell for in BD. Trent is hard, but he manages to do hard in such a way that doesn't hide his soft side. He allows them to both coexist and doesn't lose a single facet despite his sexcapades or tattoos. He manages to be the bad boy, the tough boy, the sweet boy, the funny boy, the broken boy. It wasn't necessary to dig deep to discover layer after layer; the layers were all laid openly exposed on the surface. All Cami had to do was look, and once she did the story began.

Cami was easy to like one minute, but easy to want to beat with a pillowcase filled with dead batteries and pencils the next. Her vacillating drove me insane, but her fierce independence earned my respect. I think it was hard to like her at times because of how much I loved Trent. Her actions made me furious, and I wanted better for him, but at the same time there was justification in Cami's behavior. She was an acquired taste, but one that was developed by the end of the story.

Now, I need to mention "the thing." I can't really talk about "the thing" because I don't want to ruin "it", but it needs to be addressed. The tantalizing, the teasing, the confusion….I loved every minute of it. Trust me, it's difficult to be that vaguely open but secretive at the same time, but the story managed to progress around "it" and I was beautifully confused and perplexed and confused….and confused. I had to figure "the thing" out. I needed to figure "it" out.

I didn't figure it out.

Well, I didn't figure it out until the author was ready for me to. Perhaps I'll be the only reader in the english speaking world (and China) who doesn't figure it out until the end, but I didn't, and the shock was awe inspiring. It took so much time to actually wrap my head around it. How? Why? WHAT!?? Perhaps it was the shock that had my brain stunned and unable to process, but I honestly wasn't quite sure how I felt about the book immediately after I finished. It was good. But did I love it? I had a hard time getting a handle on my feelings. Like I said, I think the shock stunted my ability to synapse any true thoughts. I had to let things marinate before I came to any conclusions, but then I found myself incessantly thinking about Beautiful Oblivion for hours and hours after I finished it. Thinking about "the thing."

I loved getting a behind the scenes view of Beautiful Disaster. I loved Trenton Maddox. I love, love, loved "the thing" I can't talk about. I. LOVED. TRENTON. MADDOX! More than Travis? Hmmmmmm? I think the only way to settle this is for them to fight it out…..shirtless, and wet.

I can't wait for the next book in The Maddox Brothers series.

READ ON!

Beautiful Oblivion Promo Book Trailer




GIVEAWAY


*Click (here) to enter for a chance to win a set of SIGNED LIMITED EDITION HARDCOVERS

JAMIE McGUIRE is the New York Times bestselling author of A Beautiful WeddingRed HillWalking DisasterBeautiful Disaster, and The Providence trilogy. She and her husband, Jeff, live with their children just outside Enid, Oklahoma, with three dogs, six horses, and a cat named Rooster.

Find Jamie Online

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Flat-Out-Celeste by Jessica Park: Review & Giveaway

Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whether you were charmed by Celeste in Flat-Out Love or are meeting her for the first time, this book is a joyous celebration of differences, about battling private wars that rage in our heads and in our hearts, and—very much so— this is a story about first love.

For high-school senior Celeste Watkins, every day is a brutal test of bravery. And Celeste is scared. Alienated because she’s too smart, her speech too affected, her social skills too far outside the norm, she seems to have no choice but to retreat into isolation.

But college could set her free, right? If she can make it through this grueling senior year, then maybe. If she can just find that one person to throw her a lifeline, then maybe, just maybe.

Justin Milano, a college sophomore with his own set of quirks, could be that person to pull her from a world of solitude. To rescue her—that is, if she’ll let him.

Together, they may work. Together, they may save each other. And together they may also save another couple—two people Celeste knows are absolutely, positively flat-out in love.


My Review
I. Can't. Help. It.

I grin like a ridiculous sentimental ignoramus just thinking about the flat-out-journey that all began with a geeky t-shirt and some hinges. Flat-Out-Love is where it all began; it introduced me to an entirely new world of amazing books. Books that were out there just waiting, begging to be read, and a group of authors with talents waiting to be discovered. For me, this was part of the original indie.

To understand Flat-Out-Celeste, you have to start at the beginning. Many will ask, "Was it as good as Flat-Out-Love?" The irrelevance of this question can't be answered; it's moot. If you loved Flat-Out-Love, you will love Flat-Out-Celeste; it's a captivating enhancement to the original story, but to compare it, is to set Celeste up for failure.

I loved Flat-Out-Love so much that Celeste did nothing less than provide more development to an originally captivating story. It gave me more.

I remember finishing Flat-Out-Love years and years ago, and falling so hard for the words, the dialogue. I literally wanted to wear the entire book as a t-shirt. It was so randomly perfect that it was impossible to imagine that someone created the conversations, the banter. It made it extremely real. Celeste stayed true to the original voice and created a continuation of a perfectly complicated love story, but more importantly, a life story.

Everything about the writing is quirk laced with genius. I really enjoyed getting to know Celeste, and seeing the world through her eyes, but it's important to remember that this book isn't about understanding her, but experiencing life with her, growing with her. Sure I missed Matt and Julie, but I was pleasantly surprised to have them integrated into the plot in a monumental way. I would have loved more time with the development of Celeste and Justin's relationship, and would have given my left boob for an epilogue, but I'm needy.

I couldn't recommend this series enough, and am very grateful for this exciting continuation!

READ ON!

View all my reviews

Flat-Out-Reading Order:
1) Flat-Out-Love
2) Flat-Out-Matt
3) Flat-Out-Celeste

GIVEAWAY
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Monday, May 12, 2014

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT from Best Selling Author Tracey Garvis-Graves


We are thrilled to announce that best selling author Tracey Garvis-Graves will be releasing an Adult Romantic Suspense novel this year! Please be sure to watch the gorgeous trailer for EVERY TIME I THINK OF YOU, read the excerpt, and don't forget to add it to your reading list!

Title: Every Time I Think of You
Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves
Release date: TBA 2014

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Thirty-year-old Daisy DiStefano has two people she holds dear: the grandmother who raised her, and her three-year-old son, Elliott. But when Daisy’s grandmother is killed in a seemingly random act of violence, Daisy must take steps to protect herself and her child.

Despite a thriving career in San Francisco, thirty-six-year-old Brooks McClain has returned home to spend what little time his mother has left before she succumbs to the deadly disease that is ravaging her. The seasoned investigative reporter has taken a position with the local newspaper and been on the job less than twenty-four hours when he’s summoned to cover the death of Pauline Thorpe.

Brooks is all business, but the more time he spends with Daisy DiStefano, the more invested he becomes; there’s something about a single mother, a defenseless child, and an unsolved crime that has stirred Brooks’s protective instincts like nothing ever has before.

And when the unthinkable happens, Brooks will do whatever it takes to clear the name of the woman he’s fallen for and the child he’ll protect at any cost.

Romantic and suspenseful, Every Time I Think of You shows how far two people will go to fight for the ones they love, and the life they’ve always imagined.

EXCERPT 

My watch said 11:00 p.m. Way too late to show up unannounced, but I knocked on Daisy’s door anyway, picturing her tip-toeing quietly to look through the peephole. It took a full minute because I’d undoubtedly roused her from a sound sleep. But then she opened the door far enough for me to cross the threshold and locked it again behind me.

The apartment was dark, save for a small beam of light that spilled into the hallway from her bedroom. As my eyes adjusted I noticed her hair. I’d never seen it down before. It fell way past her shoulders and was slightly messy, like she’d been tossing and turning in her sleep before I arrived. She wore a pair of pajama pants and a tank top with narrow straps, one of which had fallen off her shoulder.

“What is it?” she asked. “Are you okay?”

“My mom died,” I said. It felt strange to say the words out loud. My voice sounded flat, unemotional.

“I’m so sorry, Brooks,” she said, but she didn’t say anything else.

I wanted something that would take away the empty, restless feeling inside of me. Something solid and real. She was standing close enough that one step was all I needed to close the gap between us. She must have taken a shower right before she went to bed because when I plunged my hands into all that hair, grabbing fistfuls and pulling her up against me, I felt the dampness and smelled the faint traces of her shampoo.

I moved my hands to the sides of her face and cupped it. She didn’t miss a beat when I pressed my lips to hers. She was probably wondering how I could possibly kiss her at a time like this, but it didn’t stop her from putting her arms around me and kissing me back like it was exactly what she needed, too.

Like the steady turn of a release valve, everything that had been bottled up inside of me escaped slowly through that kiss. I hadn’t realized how rigidly I’d been holding my body until it slackened against hers. How tightly I’d been clenching my jaw until I relaxed it to kiss her. All the tension I’d been feeling disappeared when she opened her mouth and let me in.

It was a long slow kiss, the kind that wasn’t meant to lead to anything else and was all the more powerful because of it. When I’d finally had enough I said, “I don’t know why I came. It’s late. I woke you up.”

“It’s okay,” she said softly. “I don’t mind.”

“Go back to bed,” I whispered.

She nodded and I opened the door. “Lock this behind me,” I said, and I waited in the hallway until I heard the tumble of the lock clicking into place.

TRAILER






About the Author:
Tracey Garvis-Graves is the author of On the Island and Covet. She lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, two children, and hyper dog Chloe. She blogs at www.traceygarvisgraves.com using colorful language and a snarky sense of humor to write about pop culture, silly television shows, and her suburban neighborhood. You can e-mail her at traceygarvisgraves@yahoo.com. She’d love to hear from you.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

NEW REVIEW: Breakable by Tammara Webber

Breakable by Tammara Webber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"When doubts become ignorance, and ignorance becomes awesome…."


Synopsis
He was lost and alone. Then he found her.
And the future seemed more fragile than ever.


As a child, Landon Lucas Maxfield believed his life was perfect and looked forward to a future filled with promise — until tragedy tore his family apart and made him doubt everything he ever believed.

All he wanted was to leave the past behind. When he met Jacqueline Wallace, his desire to be everything she needed came so easy…

As easy as it could be for a man who learned that the soul is breakable and that everything you hoped for could be ripped away in a heartbeat.


My Review

I didn't TBR Breakable (insert audible gasp here). Nope, I did not. It had nothing to do with not liking Easy, because I LOVED Easy. I LOVE Tammara Webber, but my interest seemed disinterested. It's a commonality of late, take your best seller, write it from a different POV (usually the male's) and new life is breathed into an already told story. Don't get me wrong, several authors have been very successful in doing this, and I've loved some of the literary reboots that I've read, but with my ever growing TBR list, who has time for it?

So here it goes….

Are you ready for this?

Really ready for this?

Okay….

I. Was. Wrong.

I'll say it again, because it kind of got caught in my throat, I WAS WRONG.

This was not Easy. It had parts of Easy told from Lucas's POV, but it's not that book. It was so much more. This was Lucas's story. I enjoyed getting to see the parts of Easy from his POV, but it was his beginning that had me so captivated.

This was the beginning.

Now with the risk of contradicting myself, I will say that I still recommend reading Easy first. The reason is, I feel like this book was written on the assumption that the reader has already read it. Yes, technically it could be read as a standalone, but the parts of Easy weren't as developed as the original book's, and by experiencing them through Breakable some of what I loved about Easy, the emotion, the overall experience, will be lost. You're first experience with Easy should be through Easy. This is just my personal opinion so take it or leave it.

Breakable was amazing, and I truly feel it did nothing but make this series even better. It was a completely new book, a totally new experience. There was so much about Lucas that I didn't know, so many layers. Getting to experience his life, and the life that brought him to Jacqueline, was the best gift the author could have given us. We also get some additional Lucas and Jacqueline scenes, and closure that was only made possible through this fast paced and emotional edition. I'm so glad my ignorant doubt was replaced by awesome. Well done Ms. Webber! Well done!

READ ON!

My review of Easy (Contours of the Heart, #1) https://www.goodreads.com/review/show…

Purchase Links:
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Rush Too Far by Abbi Glines: Release Day Blitz & Excerpt


Everyone in Rosemary Beach thinks they know how Rush Finlay and Blaire Wynn fell in love. But Rush is back to tell his side of the story...

Rush has earned every bit of his bad-boy reputation. The three-story beach house, luxury car, and line of girls begging for time between his sheets are the envy of every guy in Rosemary Beach, and Rush handles it all with the laid-back cool of a rock star’s son. All he needs are his best friend, Grant, and his sister, Nan.

Until Blaire Wynn drives into town in her beat-up pickup truck with a pistol under her seat. The Alabama farm girl instantly captures Rush’s attention once he discovers that the angelic beauty is his new stepsister, but he vows to keep his distance. Even if she needs his help. Even if he craves her.

Because Rush knows why Blaire is all alone in the world, forced to ask for help from the father who abandoned her three years ago. And he knows if he gets too close it will destroy Nan, who has a secret connection to Blaire.

He has every reason in the world to stay away from her. Find out why he doesn’t. 


Read on for an early look at the highly-anticipated follow-up to Fallen Too FarNever Too Far, and Forever Too Far, the three new adult novels that launched the #1 New York Times bestselling Rosemary Beach series by Abbi Glines

RUSH TOO FAR
Abbi Glines
Available from Atria Books in eBook and trade paperback on May 6, 2014

They say that children have the purest hearts. That children don’t truly hate because they don’t fully understand the emotion. They forgive and forget easily. 

They say a lot of bullshit like that because it helps them sleep at night. Such sayings make for good, heart-warming clich├ęs to hang on the walls, to bring out a smile in people passing by. 

I know differently. Children love like no other. They have the capacity to love more fiercely than anyone else. That much is true. That much I know. Because I lived it. By the age of ten I knew hate and I knew love. Both all-consuming. Both life-altering. And both completely blinding. 

Looking back now I wish someone had been there to see how my mother had sown the seed of hate inside of me. Inside of my sister. If someone had been there to save us from the lies and bitterness she allowed to fester within us, then maybe things would have been different. For everyone involved. 

I never would have acted so foolishly. It wouldn’t have been my fault that a girl was left alone to take care of her ailing mother. It wouldn’t have been my fault that the same girl stood at her mother’s graveside, believing that the last person on earth who loved her was dead. It wouldn’t have been my fault that a man destroyed himself after his life became a broken, hollow shell. 

But no one saved me. 

No one saved us. 

We believed the lies. We held onto our hate, and I alone destroyed an innocent girl’s life. 

They say you reap what you sow. That’s bullshit, too. Because I should be burning in hell for my sins. I shouldn’t be allowed to wake up every morning with this beautiful woman in my arms, who loves me unconditionally. I shouldn’t get to hold my son and know such a pure joy. 

But I do. 

Because, eventually, someone did save me. I didn’t deserve it. Hell, more than anyone it was my sister who needed saving. She hadn’t acted on her hate. She hadn’t manipulated the lives of our family members, not caring about the outcome. But her bitterness still controlled her while I had been delivered. By a girl… 

No, she wasn’t just a girl. She was an angel. My angel. A beautiful, strong, fierce, loyal angel who had entered my life in a pick-up truck, carrying a gun. 

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