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October Releases

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spotlight + Giveaway: Pooka in the Pantry (Monster Haven #2) by R. L. Naquin

Tour info and schedule here: Bewitching Book Tours


Hello again Vagabonds! Please give a huge welcome to author R. L. Naquin. Naquin is the author of the Urban Fantasy series, Monster Haven. Naquin is here today to share an excerpt from the newest release, Pooka in my Pantry. She is also throwing a wonderful giveaway for you guys. So sit back and enjoy.





Author: R. L. Naquin
Series: Monster Haven
Number in Series: 2
Cover Artist: Croco Designs
Release Date: March 25, 2013
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Urban Fantasy


Buy here:
 

Synopsis from R. L. Naquin


Zoey Donovan—empath, wedding planner, go-to girl for monsters with personal problems—has been marked twice for pickup by Death. On both occasions, Riley the smoking-hot reaper has refused to follow through. For his breach of protocol, Riley is now on probation. For her refusal to die on schedule, Zoey's right to live is challenged. She will have to undergo a life-or-death trial, but she won't know when or where it will happen…

Staying alive might not be so difficult if the Leprechaun Mafia hadn't strolled into town. Now every business owner with the slightest connection to the supernatural community is being threatened with the most appalling bad luck if they don't pay up. Mirrors are smashed, bodies are dropping, and Zoey's still got clients waiting for fabric samples.

With a little luck, she might be able to save everyone and still have time for a second attempt at a decent first date with her favorite reaper.


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Excerpt Pooka in My Pantry

Chapter 1

You help one monster in need, and everybody hears about it.
The recent appearance of various monsters and mythical creatures in my life took some adjustment. But no amount of flexibility prepared me to assist in the live birth of a sea serpent in my own backyard. That’s a lot to ask of anybody.
My swimming pool looked like a major crime scene, and I was pretty sure bits of mucus mixed with dried blood flecked my hair. I’d probably have to take out a personal loan to cover the water bill once I took a three-hour shower, then drained and refilled the pool.
When the sea serpent appeared in my pool a month before, I had no clue what to do about it. Fortunately, Maurice, my resident closet monster, was quick on his feet. While I stood slack-jawed at the kitchen window, he ran to get Molly to be our translator. Fluent in all sorts of crazy creature languages ranging from house pets to gargoyles, Molly, the brownie, lived in a mushroom house in my backyard with her kids.
As it happened, she was unable to decipher a word of sea-serpentese.
Fortunately, a pygmy dragon with a nasty cold had recently spent his convalescence in my garage. Molly spoke dragonish, and Bruce, the dragon, spoke serpentese. Problem solved.
Except it took over three weeks to find Bruce, leaving us with no idea why a listless, snorting sea serpent had moved into my swimming pool. Communicating in pantomime with a creature that had no hands was futile, absurd and probably hilarious to watch.
When Bruce (via Molly) explained the situation, I did my best not to panic. The sea serpent was pregnant, but she could tell something was wrong. Naturally, she came ashore to my house for help, since everyone in the supernatural community seemed to think I had the answer to every problem.
I had no experience delivering healthy babies of any species. All I had to go on were basic anatomy and zoology classes in college, and a wealth of medical procedural shows on television. And yet, something inside me clicked when Frannie went into labor and the baby stopped moving. I jumped into the water without a thought for my spangled, dry-clean-only shirt, or for the discomfort of wet jeans and high tops. In hindsight, I should’ve at least kicked off my shoes.
I’m not sure how to describe the supreme ick factor of having both arms shoved up to the elbow inside a sea serpent’s body. The baby was turned wrong, kind of folded in half and pointed to emerge center-first, rather than in a straight line with its head or tail facing the exit.
“Don’t push, Frannie,” I said. “I have to unfold the baby or it’ll stay stuck.”
Molly made a series of grunting snorts, which Bruce translated into a series of clicks and yowls. I felt the serpent relax around my squashed arms and wrestled the slippery baby into a better position. Another contraction hit and I stopped, waiting until I had more room to work.
The mournful cry from Frannie needed no translation.
When the contraction was over, I made another grab with one hand to hold the baby steady and pulled the head with the other. I’m not a dainty woman, but I’m not big enough to palm a basketball, either. That’s what it felt like I was trying to do in there, only the basketball in question had eyes I needed to avoid poking, and it was covered in what felt like tapioca pudding.
I got a good grip on a dorsal fin at what I hoped was the back of its neck as the next contraction hit.
“Push!”
Clacks and snarls followed down the translation line, and Frannie pushed while I pulled. My other hand shoved, guiding the rest of the baby straight. Once the head slipped into place, nature took over, and out everything slid. Right into my pool and all over me.
As an empath, I try never to leave the house without my protective walls up. The emotions of other people tend to overwhelm and drain me. But I was at home, and I was exhausted. I’d been so focused on the birth that I hadn’t built any barriers, so there was nothing between me and the small group around me to barricade my psyche against what wasn’t mine. I stood in the frigid water, unconcerned by my shaking body or the gore that covered me.
The emotional inrush saturated me in love and happiness.
Frannie nuzzled her new offspring, and a quiet joy settled over me, warming my freezing flesh. From Molly’s direction, relief lay across my shoulders like a heated blanket, and Bruce’s delight prickled my skin in electric jolts. My eyelids burned. I closed them to relieve the sensation. My back bumped against the side of the pool, and I let my knees bend so I could float.
Worry.
Panic.
They shot through the other emotions like tiny arrows. My eyelids cracked open, but only for a few seconds. Nothing was wrong. All was right. My job was done, so what would it hurt to take a little rest?
Thin fingers dug into the flesh in my arms, hauling me from the pool. I made a weak attempt to slap at the intruder.
“Zoey, come on, wake up.” Maurice was there, dragging me away from the water and piling towels on my wet skin.
My eyes snapped open. Well, crap. I lay flat on the pavement, still shivering, despite the previous illusion of warmth. Bodily fluids coated my skin, and Maurice had covered me with my good towels.
The closet monster’s big yellow eyes hovered inches from my face. His worry was so intense, it blocked all the warm fuzzy stuff happening behind him. He coaxed me to my feet, fussing at the towels to keep them from sliding off, and leading me into the house.
“Seriously, Zoey. I don’t know how you stayed alive before I got here. If you didn’t drown, hypothermia would’ve had you.”


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About R. L. Naquin
Rachel’s head is packed with an outrageous amount of useless Disney trivia. She is terrified of thunder, but not of lightning, and tends to recite the Disneyland dedication speech during storms to keep herself calm. She finds it appalling that nobody from Disney has called yet with her castle move-in date.

Originally from Northern California, she has a tendency to move every few years, resulting in a total of seven different states and a six-year stint in England. Currently, she’s planning her next grand adventure. Rachel has one heroic husband, two genius kids, several annoyed cats, and an imaginary dog named Waffles.

She doesn’t have time for a real dog.

Follow Mimi Sebastian here:
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GIVEAWAY TIME!!!



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Check out the other blogs on this tour HERE or below:

March 11 Guest blog
Tynga's Reviews 
March 12 Guest blog and review 
Book Recommendations 

March 14 Author Interview 
Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews 

March 16 Guest blog

March 18 Interview
Musings of an Independent Artist 

March 18 review
Apocalypse Mama

March 20 Interview
JeanzBookReadNReview       

March 21 Interview and review
Book Whispers

March 21 Spotlight
Place of Reads Book Blog

March 22
Dangerous Romance 
http://dangerousromance.com/ 

March 22 review
LilyElement

March 23 Guest blog and review
All Things Urban Fantasy

March 25 Interview
Bookswagger

March 26 Spotlight and review
Urban Girl Reader – 

March 27 Guest blog
Mama Knows Books 

March 28 Spotlight
Paranormal book club 

March 31 Spotlight 
Offbeat Vagabond

April 1 Interview and review
happy tails and tales

April 2 Interview
I know that Book.

April 2 Review
The Full Fang

April 3 Guest blog
Cloey's Book Reviews and Other Stuff

April 4 Interview
Simply Infatuated

April 4 Interview and review
Storm Goddess Book Reviews 

April 5 Interview and review
The Reading Diaries  

April 6 Interview and review
Beverly @ The Wormhole

April 6 Spotlight and review
Kristy Centeno

April 7 review
Fangs, Wands & Fairydust 

April 8 Guest blog and review
Crazy Four Books

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bewitching Book Tours Presents - Guest Post/Excerpt with B.R. Kingsolver, author of The Succubus Gift

Tour info over at Bewitching Book Tours

Hello Vagabonds. Please give a warm welcome to author B.R. Kingsolver. Kingsolver is the author of The Telepathic Clans series. She has a guest post set for us. It is about errors in novels and the importance of having your work edited. Let's get the ball rolling.







The importance of edits

Adam who's lover was imprisoned by the dark lord, lead his horse threw the gate into the city, conscience of eyes following him form the moment he set foot in the city, but he was to tired and hungry too care after too days on the road.

I've seen all of those errors in novels I've purchased for my Nook, and been disgusted that I wasted my money. Let's try it again.

Adam, whose lover was imprisoned by the Dark Lord, led his horse through the gate, conscious of eyes following him from the moment he set foot in the city. He was too tired and hungry to care after two days on the road.

A little better, don't you think? My spell checker didn't catch a single error in the first sample. It might be a great story, full of breathtaking adventure, sensual romance, and plot twists that leave you off balance and afraid to put it down until the final sentence, but the chances are it will never be appreciated. It's a story destined for oblivion and one-star reviews from outraged readers.

I've seen typos and poor word choices slip through the editing process in books published by the large publishing houses. I found a jarring typo in a Nora Roberts book once. But the chances are that the physical books you buy in Barnes and Noble are going to be mostly error free. They pay people with sound English skills to make sure of it.

It's not enough to have a good story and be a good story teller. When I finished my first novel, I read it through and edited it twice, then sent it out to a couple of friends to beta read it. I found a critique partner on line and sent it to her. I was shocked by their responses. "Like wading through molasses," was one of the kinder comments. They highlighted awkward sentences, confusing word choices, and scenes that didn't work.

Some of the critiques I've received will live forever in my memory. "When I read that, I wanted to put my eyes out with my pen." "BR, it's a muddled mess. What's the story arc?" "I think you might want to rethink that scene. If this was a book I bought, I don't know if I would have finished it."

When I check review policies on most book review sites, one of the criteria they stress is "has it been professionally edited?" If not, they aren't interested. Recently, a reviewer of my first novel said, "It's pretty flawless by the way of editing, which is very impressive. The writing is clean and concise." I find it sad that a reviewer feels it necessary to note that a self-published work was well-edited. It says volumes about what she has come to expect from independent authors.

The book didn't get that way by magic. I worked in newspapers for several years, and one of the core rules was that everything that went in the paper was edited by two different people other than the author. Just as readers judge a book by the cover, they judge the quality of the story in part by the care and quality that goes into the presentation of the story.

One of the things I fear is an even stronger backlash against independent authors. I can see a time when Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers charge a fee for checking a book prior to posting it on their sites. They have every incentive to break the power of the large publishing houses, so it's to their benefit to have the independently-published books sell. A lot of bad books camouflage the good ones and cut into their profits. They don't have any incentive to carry books that create a negative impression and don't sell.

I've checked the rates editors charge, and thought about how long it takes me to edit a book. At a penny a word, it would cost $850 for an editor to take one pass through either of the novels I've published. The last work I edited for someone else took three days. I could make a living at it if I had enough customers to keep me busy. But I don't think a lot of independent authors feel they can afford to spend that kind of money, especially since revisions and re-edit would increase the price.

I send my novels to anyone who is interested in being a beta reader and giving me feedback. Not all of them make it through the first draft. I take their comments and suggestions, revise, cut, add, edit, and send it out again. In the end, I've done at least three edits myself, run it through two professional editors, and twice through an eighth-grade English teacher. The reviews tell me I'm doing something right. People may not like my story or my writing style, but I don't get rejected over the technical issues of grammar, punctuation and spelling.

My recommendation to independent authors is to find one or more critique groups to work with and at least one outstanding editor to do a final edit after all the revisions and edits are done. There are thousands of books published every month. Give your book a chance.

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Excerpt from The Succubus Gift



Carlos stared at Don Rodrigo, writhing on the ground before him. Rebecca appeared by his side, startling him. His lover walked toward the Argentine Clan head, picked up his rifle, and pulled his pistol from its holster.
  “Good God, Rebecca,” Carlos exclaimed, standing over the Argentine Don. “What did you do?”
“I haven’t done anything to him yet. Brenna has captured their minds. Now we need to figure out what to do with them.”
He turned and looked at the young woman standing behind him, her black hair floating in the wind. She held a rifle in her hands.
“All of them?”
“Huh?” Rebecca followed his eyes. “Oh, yeah, she has all of them that still have minds. She wasn’t sure if she could take thirty at once, and she was worried about the distance.” Rebecca checked with Brenna mentally.
“She says she has seventeen captured. That’s fewer casualties than Paris. I still get sick to my stomach when I remember that disaster. We weren’t trained as well then, and we were younger.”
Donny walked over to Brenna and she handed him the rifle.
“Whew,” Rebecca breathed a sigh of relief. “Try to keep loaded firearms out of her hands. She’s the worst shot in the world. If you think she needs a weapon, give her a frying pan.”

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Buy the books!

The Succubus Gift (The Telepathic Clans #1)


Succubus Unleashed (The Telepathic Clan #2)


Succubus Rising (The Telepathic Clans #3)


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About B.R. Kingsolver


I made silver and turquoise jewelry for almost a decade, ended up in nursing school, then took a master’s in business. Along the way I worked in construction, as a newspaper editor, a teacher, and somehow found a career working with computers.

I’ve always been shy and I have spent a lot of my life alone with a book. I first tried to write a novel when I was 15, a science fiction book set in an alternate reality. I wrote about a dozen pages with a pencil. I kept it for years, occasionally coming across it and reading it. It was awful, and it kept me from trying again for a long time.

So I made up stories in my head to entertain myself. If I don’t have a book and I’m on a plane or someplace else that’s boring, such as driving across the country, I make up stories.

I received a Nook for my birthday a couple of years ago and loved it, and started reading about the revolution in e-publishing, and the success some indie authors had with self-published works. This past Thanksgiving, I was discussing this with a friend, and mentioned that I had conceived a story I thought might be appealing to some people. She encouraged me to write it down.

As to my other interests, I love the outdoors, especially the Rocky Mountains. I’ve skied since high school, with one broken leg and one torn ACL to show for it. I’ve hiked and camped all my life. I love to travel, though I haven’t done enough of it. I’ve seen a lot of Russia and Mexico, not enough of England. Amsterdam is amazing, and the Romanian Alps are breathtaking. Lake Tahoe is a favorite, and someday I’d like to see Banff.

I have a very significant other, two cats and two Basset Hounds. I’m currently living in Baltimore, nine blocks from the harbor, but still own a home in New Mexico that I see too infrequently.


Follow B.R. Kingsolver here:


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Check out the other blogs on this tour below:


March 2 Spotlight and review
Phantasmic Reads 

March 3 Spotlight
All Fantasy Worlds

March 4 Spotlight
Readaholic's Reviews

March 5 Interview
Jodie Pierce

March 6 Interview
A Writer's Mind- 

March 10 Interview
Books & Other Spells. 

March 11 Interview and review
happy tails and tales

March 12 Guest blog

March 13 Guest blog
Romance Book Junkies

March 16 and 17 Interview 

March 18 interview
Frankie Blooding's Bookshelf

March 19 Spotlight
Sapphyria's Steamy Book Reviews

March 19 - book one - review and promo
Beverly @ The Wormhole – 

March 20 Guest blog
Buffy's Ramblings

March 21 Spotlight
Barb Hicks

March 22 Guest blog
Storm Goddess Book Reviews- 

March 22 Spotlight and review

March 23 Spotlight
Book-bliss 

March 25 Interview
Cloey's Book Reviews and Other Stuff

March 26 review book 1
Paperback Princess

March 26 - book two - review and interview
Beverly @ The Wormhole – 

March 27 Guest blog
Books and Tales

March 28 review
Books, Books, and More Books

March 29 Spotlight and review
Once Upon A Book 

March 30 - book three - review and promo
Beverly @ The Wormhole – 

March 30 guest blog 
Offbeat Vagabond

March 30 Guest blog and review
The Book Maven

Friday, March 29, 2013

Indie Book Review: The Bronze and the Brimstone (The Verona Trilogy #2) by Lory S. Kaufman



Author: Lory S. Kaufman
Series: The Verona Trilogy
Number in Series: 2
Format: ePub
Release Date: Decemeber 13, 2012
Pages: 336
Publisher: Fiction Studio
Genre: Young Adult/Science Fiction/ Dystopian/Historical Fiction/Romance
















Buy here:




Synopsis from Pump Up Your Books


What could go wrong in the 14th-century for three time-traveling teens?   How about – EVERYTHING!

Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln, three teens from the 24th century, are trapped in 14th-century Verona, Italy. They’ve survived many deadly experiences by keeping their wits about them and by introducing futuristic technology into the past. Principal among these inventions is the telescope, which brought them to the attention of the rich and powerful.

But standing out can get you into unexpected and dangerous situations. The nobles of Verona now believe Hansum is a savant, a genius inventor, especially after he brings them plans for advanced cannons and black powder. Being the center of attention is great, but the potential for trouble is now exponentially greater because people are watching Hansum’s every move.

Meanwhile, artistic genius Shamira has fallen for a Florentine artist with bloody and disastrous consequences. Lincoln, considered an incompetent back home in the 24th-century, has blossomed – at least until he’s shot in the head with an arrow. And Hansum, after secretly marrying his new master’s beautiful daughter, Guilietta, is offered the hand in marriage of lady Beatrice, daughter of the ruler of Verona. To refuse could mean calamity for all the teens.

Amazingly, none of this is their biggest challenge. Because a rash illness is spreading across Verona – and it is threatening to consume everyone.
Do they have a future in this past?


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       The Bronze and The Brimstone is the second book in the Verona Trilogy. This time around we follow the gang as we see how they are successfully surviving in 14th century Italy. Hansum is seen as a genius inventor and everyone wants to pick his brain for his inventions for war. Shamira and Lincoln are also doing well and thriving. But all the success brings more than they bargain for when they start to see the ugly side of success. Not only does Hansum have to figure out a way to keep the Podesta happy, but he must keep the Master of the house happy. He loves and wants to marry his daughter, Guiletta, but neither the Podest nor the Master will accept. And to make things worse, given the time period and where they are, the Black Plague is soon to be on them. They don’t even know the beginning of horror yet.

            What an amazing sequel. This was even better than the first book. It was so exciting and quite the rollercoaster. There were definitely a few tears from me. I loved the gang even more this time around. They were so immature in the first book. I love how much they have grown and accepted their situation. They could have easily gone around moping around, wanting everyone to do the work for them. In this book, we mainly follow Hansum aka Romero. I was most satisfied with his progress from the first book. He was just so spoiled. We also still have Pan. He is the chip that helps guide the group and tells them about the inventions that will help them succeed. I am so happy they had Pan. If not for him, I can not imagine how these guys would survive, mainly Hansum. With Hansum’s success, he is beginning to see the ugly side of those he works with and how easily people can turn on you if they don’t get what they want.



            There were amazing plot twists in this book. The main one at the end I kind of had a feeling about. It just wouldn’t have made sense otherwise if you think about it. But there were many other things that I didn’t see coming. The Podesta is so desperate to get more of Hansum’s genius; he did something absolutely awful in this book that resulted in something even more terrible happening. This was weird for me because Hansum’s reaction to it wasn’t what it should have been. I would have done something. That was just unforgivable and it was all due to his selfishness. I don’t think the Podesta is evil per se, but he looks out for number one and that is it. There is even a story with Father Lorenzo. Oh my goodness, I could rant about him all day. I couldn’t believe him especially in the end. Wow!



            This book was an exciting read from beginning to end. I was never bored and Kaufman really through a lot of incredible loops at us. Again, there were tears and laughs. I felt quite a connection with the characters. We do get a little more of the side characters in this book, but not nearly enough for me. But I still loved the book. You really won’t believe where this book goes. Highly recommend this read for those looking for a unique kind of science fiction. I love the world set in the past. I actually feel like I am there, Kaufman does such a great job bringing it to life. Definitely check this trilogy out.


Rating:





*This book belongs to the following challenges*


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About Lory S. Kaufman
I write Post-Dystopian fiction. After society’s collapse, which is imagined in so many great dystopian stories, humans will either fade into history, with the dinosaurs, or, if it learns the right lessons, society will go on to construct a civilization to last tens of thousands of years. History Camp stories are the exciting adventures of young people doing the latter." -Lory Kaufman 

On the artistic side of my career, I've written, acted and directed children’s theatre and musical theatre. I enjoy art, especially sculpture. I love science fiction and historical fiction and have been deeply involved in the green movement all across North America. I think all these thing show through when you read my work. I have three grown children and work and live in Kingston,
Follow Lory S. Kaufman
 

Indie Book Review: Child of Mine by Judy Mollen Walters

Tour info and schedule here: JKS Communications

Author: Judy Mollen Walters
Format: ePub (ARC Netgalley)
Release Date: March 10, 2013
Pages: 211
Publisher: JKS Communications
Genre: Women's Fiction/Contemporary Fiction















Buy here:


Synopsis from Goodreads

What lengths would you go to in order to become a mother? Midwife Katie Cohen-Langer delivers babies for a living, but despite years of intensive infertility treatments and growing desperation, she can't have her own child.

As families grow under Katie's careful watch, her husband wants to move on to adoption. But Katie, who was adopted as a newborn, can't bear the thought of never having a biological connection to anyone.

So she sets off on a journey to the other side of the country, along with her emotionally unstable sister, to find her biological relatives.

What she discovers about her roots --and about the parents who adopted her -- rocks her world in a way she never could have expected. And even as she deals with what she finds, she still needs to figure out a way to become a mother.

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      Child of Mine is about a woman named Katie and her quest to have a child of her own. She has her dream job of being a midwife. She helps plenty of women to deliver their children and make sure her their kids are good and healthy. But Katie and her husband David are trying to create their own child. They have been trying for years, but time and time again it never goes through. David believes they should adopt, but Katie isn't sure. She herself was adopted and doesn't know if she wants to put a child through that. David thinks she should try looking for her biological parents first to help her. On her search, she discovers secrets she may not have wanted to know.

      This is the debut novel from Judy Walters and what a debut it is. Child of Mine was such a beautifully written book that is packed full of emotions. You instantly have a connection to Katie. You feel so sorry for her situation. She is trying so hard to have her own child. Her and husband spend so much time and money on treatments to get pregnant. They either don't work at all or she ends up with a miscarriage. With all of this piling on her, it makes working as a midwife difficult. She can't have a child, but she helps so many women deliver theirs. It hurts worse when they don't want the child or they just got pregnant by accident.

      Katie also has to deal with taking care of her sister, Lila, who is suffering from depression. Lila just had a baby boy, Jake, and she can't handle it on her own. She has always dealt with depression when she was younger. So bad that it has frightened her family a time or two. It was quite a sad backstory. Lila always needs Katie to help. She never does anything on her own. Lila's husband, Mike, and David believe that Lila needs to do things on her own. She is getting too dependent on Katie. I absolutely agreed with them. Lila was kind of awful in the beginning. I know she was depressed, but my goodness, she was killing me in the beginning of this book. But things change when Katie starts the search for her parents. I really liked this part of the book.

      The story was quite emotional and heart wrenching. Experiencing Katie's struggle was hard and you keep hoping and waiting for her to get the whole family she wants. I loved the journey she took to find her birth parents. I was quite shocked what she found out. She finds that she has been lied to and as you can imagine, she is hurt. She is desperate for answers and feels stuck and helpless. You definitely feel for her and her situation.

      I don't usually read women's fiction, but I was curious about what she would find. The book is very easy to relate to. The book does such a good job of showing all the emotions involved with adoption and how it effects you and your family. I loved the family dynamics in this book. The heartache, the helplessness, the disappointment, it all felt real. This could easily be a biography. This is worth checking out.




Rating:






*This book belongs to the following challenge*
BCC's 100 Books In A Year Reading Challenge 2013!


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Check out Walters guest post HERE!

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About Judy Mollen Walters   
 
After many years working as an editor in non-fiction publishing, Judy became a Stay-at-Home Mother to her two girls, conceived via infertility treatment. She wrote Child of Mine as an homage to the struggle nearly 1 in 6 couples go through in order to have their families.


I love to hear from readers! Please email me at judymwalters@gmail.com, check out my website at www.judymollenwalters.com, tweet me @judymwalters, or like my author Facebook page.
Also follow Judy Mollen Walters here: