Monday, April 30, 2012

Strings of Color by Marian L. Thomas

Title: Strings of Color

Author: Marian L. Thomas

Where I got the book: CLNB Blog Tours

Why I read it: I was asked to read it for the blog tour!

Rating: 5 stars

Where do I even start with this review??

First, let me explain that I was contacted by CLNB Blog Tours to join in the book blog tour to promote the book, Strings of Color. As you may have seen already, I did an author interview, as well as guest post with Marian. You can read that by going HERE.

So, onto the actual review of the book.

When I first started reading the book, I found myself taking forever to read it. I read the first few chapters, and kept saying days after, “I really need to continue that book.” As I sit and think about it, it didn’t have anything to do with the book itself, I was just being lazy. Haha!

One Saturday night, I was home alone all night and decided to sit down and read. I started reading page 107, and didn’t stop reading for FIVE HOURS STRAIGHT! I literally couldn’t put the book down. I wanted to keep reading it and reading it. I wanted to know what happened next to each and every character in that book.

While reading this story, I felt lots of different emotions. I felt confused because the characters were so much alike, I had a hard time keeping them all together. I felt sad for the things the characters were going through. I felt angry at what they were going through. I found my heart breaking for them at different times in the book. I felt myself wanting to jump into the book and hug some of these people. By the time I finished the book, I wanted to meet these characters in real life. Especially Mona.

I think my only complaint about the book is that there were so many important characters, It was hard to keep everyone straight and not get confused. There were also so many names that were alike, (Marian explained why in her author interview)  it was hard for me to know who the author was talking about, and when, etc. I found myself getting a little irritated at first, because I had to go back and reread something to see if I missed something important. As I kept reading the book though, I realized that Marian was writing the book sort of in a, backwards, for lack of a better word, way. She would write something, and it would leave you thinking, “Wait, what?” but if you kept reading, within in the next few pages or so, she would explain what that meant. So instead of explaining it right away, she just kept the suspense up, making you want to keep turning the pages to see what was going to happen. I must admit, she did the job well. I couldn’t put the book down!

The story line itself is VERY good. It’s entertaining, heartbreaking, alluring, keeps you wanting more and more with every turn of the page. When I woke up Sunday morning, the first thing I did was grab my book to finish it.
Another thing I like is that it’s an easy read. When I started reading the book that Sunday morning, I had 40 pages to go. It felt like only 5 minutes went by, and I had already read 26 pages! I felt like that throughout the entire book.
The end of the book was great. I do wish though that Marian has explained a little bit better what happened to everyone, but I see that she is writing another book called Colors that Bloom which will be released in the Spring of 2013. I cannot wait! I’m hoping that book will tie it altogether even more, and will help me understand what happened even more. I also learned that there were two other books, Color my Jazzmyne and My Father’s Colors that would tie this book together as well. I plan on reading both of these books very soon!
In the end, I highly recommend this book! The story line itself definitely deserves 5 stars out of 5! It’s a page turner!

Go out and get this book! Here are a few links on where to buy the book, the guest post and author interview, link to her website, etc.  If you do buy and read the book, please let me know what you thought about it! 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Author Interview and Guest Post with Marian L. Thomas!!!

Hi everyone! I am very excited to start this new adventure on my blog! I was contacted by CLNB Blog Tours to do a book review, guest post and author interview with Marian L. Thomas for her book, Strings of Color. After doing research on the book, I was ecstatic to do all of this! Marian is a Clean Fiction Author originally from Oak Park, Illinois, currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia. Marian has gotten her credit for being a great author by refusing to put sexual-explicit material, among other things in her books for the sake of book sales. She has written three books which include Color Me Jazzmyne, My Father’s Colors and Strings of Color. In this post you’re going to find my interview with Marian, as well as the guest post by her, talking about how she got her start in writing books! 

Guest Post with Marian L. Thomas

How did you get your first book deal? 

Finding a Publisher is Like Finding a New Pair of Jeans
by Marian L. Thomas

So there I was, walking into the clothing store with high hopes as I headed toward the jeans department of a major retail store.  As I reached the department, it suddenly occurred to me that I wasn't exactly sure which type of jeans I was looking for.  There were so many different types to choose from.  Did I want a pair that sat below the waist, bootcut jeans, flare jeans or low-riders that are also bootcut?  I almost wanted to turn around and go back home.

So it goes for many aspiring authors.  There are so many publishers out there in the big world of all things literary,  they simply aren't sure where or how to start the process.  How did I resolve my jeans dilemma?  I did some research.  True story.  Right there, in the department store.  I read the various tags found on different pairs of jeans, until I found a description for a pair that sounded like me.  Then I tried each of them on, until I was able to walk out of the store with a pair of jeans that felt as if they were meant for me — after I've lost a few pounds, of course.

Going back to the journey for aspiring authors and their quest to find the perfect publisher; I would tell you to do one very important thing — RESEARCH.  It's a waste of your time to blindly send out query letters to every single publisher out there.  Understand what genre your book falls into, and then research publishing companies who publish that genre.  Once you've found your list, look to see who the editor is that handles that genre.  This is important.  You want to be sure that you address your query letter to the right editor.

Now, before you send out that query letter, I need you to do something else quite important.  More research — on writing a "winning" query letter.  I want you to try out a few that you find, the same way you would try on jeans.  How?  Find samples of two or three that fit your writing style and your book.  Many well-known authors have published their winning query letters.  I have always believed that you don't always have to re-invent the wheel.  It's okay to use what is out there if it has proven to work.

Here is a website I used:

Now I know it's tempting to want to send your entire manuscript with your query letter.  Fight the urge.  Please.  Keep in mind that most publishing companies only request the first three chapters of your work.

Here is the last thing you want to do before you submit your query letter and the first three chapters of your manuscript to that publishing company that is going to fit your book like a pair of perfectly-fitting jeans:  Have everything edited.  Not by your cousin, friend or Mother (unless they're professional editors in their current secular lives).  Remember, just like you want your jeans to "make a flattering and modest impression," so goes your query letter.


Awesome, Marian! I, for one, have always wanted to write my own book. I've written lots of shorts stories, I just wasn't sure how to go about finding an editor and publisher and all of that. This helps tremendously! 

The Interview with Marian L. Thomas

1.)  Who are some of your favorite authors? 
       I like Christina Schwarz, but I am always looking for others.

2.)  How long have you been a writer?
       I wrote my first book manuscript in high school.  I also did some writing in the sports and news fields during college, but didn't really put "writer" on my resume.  Then, 2009 hit and Color Me Jazzmyne was released.  Things began to change.  A thought I once had in high school became a dream.  The dream became a reality and that reality turned me into a writer.

How exciting! This just goes to prove that following your dream and putting your heart into anything and everything really does pay off!!! 

3.)  Did you always know you wanted to write? 
      The concept of writing was always in the back of my head — lingering there patiently.  The words "just get it done" were a phrase my old boss use to say to me whenever we discussed my finishing my book manuscript.  It felt great to finally say, "It's done."

4.)  What inspired you to write this specific storyline with Strings of Color? 
       Readers, and the fact that I didn't feel as if the main character had come full circle with her own inner feelings.  Sometimes, when a relationship ends, people need and want a sense of "closure."  I suspect book characters are no different.

I agree 100%! Closure is almost always needed when readers and characters come together.

5.)  What books are you reading now?
        I wish I were reading a book right now.  I have a few waiting for me on Kindle to "click" open, but I'm not there yet.  When you have a book getting ready to release, you don't find a lot of time for reading.  Marketing starts and stops with the author.  It's your book.  Your life.

6.)  I've always wanted to write my own Novel.  For myself, and others with this dream, what is some advice you could give? 
       Publish yourself first!  Build a solid platform.  Get your name out there via social networks, blogs and published articles.  Then write your book.

Isn't it great that we have these type of resources out there to establish our name? 

7.)  Just for fun, can you tell us at least one thing that's unique about you, or something you like to do? 
       Let's see… I love popcorn.  I eat it every day.  Seriously.

8.)  Do you have any writing rituals or special things you do to get the creativity flowing?
       I like to watch a movie.  Something dramatic that gets the emotions stirring.  If it gives me a good cry, then I might be able to write for hours.

9.)  Are the character names in your books important to you?  Without giving too much away, is there a reason you made the characters’ names so closely related? 
      They are extremely important and I love that question.  When I read a character's name, I like to think that the name given simply couldn't be anything else.  That it fits the character’s personality so well, that to change it—would be changing the character.  My character names display the depth of the connection within the family. When it comes to family, I think we sometimes forget how connected we really are to each other.

Connecting to family is very important. And knowing that you do this for your characters, shows how good of a writer you are!! 

10.)  Tell us about your writing environment.  Do you need it to be really quiet, or do you have to have background noise?  Are there any specific foods or drinks you need available? 
          No background noise.  At least that's what I keep reminding my hubby when I'm writing.  It's hard for me to stay focused, and any little thing tends to throw me off my writing game.  Did I mention that I like popcorn? 

11.)  When you're not writing, what are some other hobbies, or things you like to do? 
          I love to draw and paint.  One day, I would like to open a gallery that combines art by me and books by me.  Is that too much…me?  Maybe.  Then again, maybe not.

Definitely not too much you! I think it's a GREAT idea!! 

Well, folks, there you have it!! An amazing guest post and author interview by Marian L. Thomas. Make sure you check out her website, author bio, Facebook, etc. below! And come back to my blog on April 30th to read my book review on her book, Strings of Color!  

Thank you Marian for contributing and participating in this book blog tour! 

About the author: 

Marian L. Thomas is the best-selling author of two award-winning titles, Color Me Jazzmyne and My Father's Colors.  Her newest title, Strings of Color, released on April 1, 2012.  You can find more information about publishing and getting published on her blog:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Loving by Karen Kingsbury

Title: Loving

Author: Karen Kingsbury

Why I Read It: It's the last book in the Bailey Flanigan series, and I've read the first three.

Where I Got It: Target

Rating:  4 stars

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

The answers Bailey Flanigan once longed and prayed for are finally becoming clear. In Loving, the fourth and final book in the Bailey Flanigan Series by New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury, Bailey is planning a wedding and making decisions that will shape her future. Bailey enjoys the beginning of her new career and time spent with Brandon while Cody faithfully coaches his team on and off the field. Will she spend her life with Brandon Paul in Los Angeles, or will her heart draw her back to Bloomington, Indiana and Cody Coleman, her first love? Bailey has learned much and grown over the years, but the greatest challenges, the richest joys, and the deepest heartaches are still to come. Featuring members from Karen Kingsbury's popular Baxter family, Loving completes Bailey and Cody's story --- the finale thousands of fans have been waiting for.

Sadly, I have finished reading the last book in the Bailey Flanigan series by Karen Kingsbury. It's a bitter sweet moment. I was very excited to read this final installment. But, I am very saddened that its ended. I have a lot of unanswered questions. Not necessarily because of the way the book was written, but just because I want the story to keep going! 

Through out the series, we've wondered, "Who is Bailey going to choose? Brandon, or Cody?" There has been the ever popular, "Team Cody!" and "Team Brandon!" Like from the Twilight saga with Edward and Jacob. Everyone had who they wanted her to choose, and who they didn't want her to choose. I, for one, had one I was hoping she'd choose. Maybe I was right. ;-) 

I'll be honest though, the story line was sort of disappointing. After reading reviews from others, I found that I agreed with a lot of what people said. We all thought she was going to choose someone else, but at the last second, it was like Karen changed her mind and decided to change the story. The middle to the end of the story just didn't seem to go with the beginning of the story. To me, it kind of felt like it she had the same story, with two separate things going on. If that makes any sense. Characters stayed the same, but I felt like I was reading two different books. 

Karen did teach us something though, like she does in all of the books she writes. In the entire series, shes taught us that we can love again after being hurt. We can be happy again. I, for one, needed to be reminded me of that. She also taught us that God brings us to different seasons in our life. When one season in our life ends, there is always going to be another one soon. 

If you didn't know already, Karen Kingsbury is a Christian/Inspirational writer. All of her books have God and religion in them. Which is why I enjoy them so much! 

All in all, this was a pretty good book. I did enjoy it immensely, I was just disappointed in how it was written, disappointed that Bailey didn't choose who I wanted her to, and who a lot of other dedicated readers that she was going to, and that it seemed like two different books in one. I do recommend this book, but I would read the series from the beginning! That is really the only reason I give it 4 stars out of 5. 

If you've read this book, or will, let me know so we can discuss it! 

New Blog

Hello followers! First, let me say sorry yet again that I have not been very active on my blog site. The reason for that is because I have...