Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Million Dollar Diva--Book Review, PLUS How to Get Your Copy FREE

What happens when an experienced novelist teams up with two financial experts? An excellent marriage of fun and finance, thats what.

I know it seems like a tall order, but novelist Tristi Pinkston, and financial experts and bestselling authors of Safe Money Millionaire, Brett Kitchen and Ethan Kap, definitely deliver in their new book: Million Dollar Diva: The Smart Woman's Guide to Getting Rich Safely.

If you're anything like me, your eyes glaze over whenever someone starts talking about compound interest, inflation, or CDs (of the non-musical variety), but Million Dollar Diva reads like a conversation with the girl next door. And that's basically what it is.

We follow Tristi in her financial adventure as she discovers money in the nooks and crannies of an already tight budget and learns how to turn her current debt into hundreds of thousands of dollars, and eventually, into millions.

I love the blending of the story--Tristi's experiences--and the information--Brett's and Ethan's expertise and advice. At times, I actually forgot I was LEARNING! I love it when that happens.

Now here's why this book is even more amazing. I'm usually the last person to discuss or even show more than a pathetic interest in finances. I'm no big spender, mind you, but words like budget and track your spending have always sounded like as much fun as digging out broken glass from the garbage disposal (something I got to do today, as a matter of fact). Like Scarlet O'Hara, I'd rather "think about that tomorrow."

So the fact that this trio of writers managed to create a book that is accessible and interesting, makes it all the more impressive to me. What's more, after reading this book, I feel empowered (and even excited) to start implementing some of their strategies.

The best part is, under a special promotion, you can receive a free copy of Million Dollar Diva from now until June 15, by going to their website: www.milliondollardiva.com. Click here to get your copy. If you're reading this post after June 15, you can get your own copy on Amazon by clicking here. And treat yourself by checking out their great website to track Tristi's story further and to get more great financial tips.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Book Review--Retirement Quest: Make Better Decisions

Retirement Quest: Make Better Decisions is not the type of book you'd normally find on my nightstand. But when I was asked to review it, I couldn't resist. After all, I knew I'd get major brownie points from my husband, who would be impressed that I was reading something that might actually help us financially. (Most of the time my reading habit is not very financially beneficial--quite the opposite, in fact.) Sure enough, as soon as he saw the not-so-typical cover--there's no mistaking it's NOT a work of fiction by the looks of it!--he was intrigued. "What's that you're reading?" he asked. When I showed him he was QUITE impressed and didn't even complain when I wanted to leave the light on a little longer.

But beyond impressing those you love with your sensible side, this book is a perfect fit for those who are thinking along the lines of retirement. And honestly, shouldn't we all be going there in our minds? As a member of the thirty-something crowd, I've known for some time now that depending on the security of Social Security is NOT the answer for me. If any of it is left for my age group by the time we hit our golden years, it will be a miracle. Hauserman tells us, for example, that by law, once the socical security fund is exhausted--"it is anticipated that this will occur around the year 2030--the benefit formula is to be rewritten based upon the economics of the program at that time. In simple terms, this means that we should expect, IF ALL GOES WELL, that around the year 2030 we will experience a benefit cut of about 50%." For me this means the fund will likely experience a 50% decrease in pay outs 10 years before I'm even ready to retire. So with most of us living longer--I'm hoping for 100 at least--planning for retirement has never been more important.

I particularly liked Hauserman's positive spin on this dismal reality, though, when he tells us how good it is, ultimately, for our entire country if we all are self-prepared for retirement, because the financial health of a nation depends on the financial health of its people. I love a call to action.

Now because this is my first time ever reading a book on retirement planning, and my experience with books on finance is limited at best, parts of this book really stretched my comprehension and made me realize how much more I need to understand. But Hauserman succeeded in getting me interested in learning more, and I do feel better equipped now to consider other options in my own retirement quest, thanks to the observations and instructions given in this book. It is a great resource for future planning, which for me, needs to start NOW.

To purchase this book, click here. HERE.
To visit the author's awesome website click HERE.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Follow the River--A Review

Follow the River, by James Alexandar Thom, was my midnight buddy for the past few days. It is the gripping story of a 23-year-old woman, Mary, kidnapped by Shawnee Indians in 1755, after they destroyed her settlement and killed many of its inhabitants. She escapes with another woman and makes a 700+ mile trek back to her husband.

I have to offer a disclaimer. The violence described in the book, especially at the beginning, is deeply disturbing, and I might have put it aside if it weren't for the overall recommendation of a friend. Other descriptions throughout are cringe-inducing as well.

Thom researched his topic thoroughly, including retracing Mary's steps, and it shows. His grasp of the terrain she covered shows in his vivid descriptions, which at times can be repetitive. I found myself skimming through the middle of the book, because of my painful anticipation of how it would end. Even though I knew she would make it, there were so many unknowns that I found myself clicking (kindle read) through the pages as quickly as I could and skipping many of the descriptions that after several hundred miles--seemed like more of the same.

He also contacted Mary's posterity and combed through rare documents, including a handwritten memoir, which serves to bring more credibility to his story.

One of the story's greatest strengths is in its protagonist, who demonstrates such remarkable strength of character, it is impossible not to stand in awe of what she accomplished. If you enjoy reading stories of real women who accomplished something extraordinary, you can't go wrong with this one.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

CONGRATULATIONS to my October Blog Tour Winner!

Congratulations to Tonya Dean--the winner of BOOKS ARE MY SHOES' October Blog Hop Giveaway.
I hope you enjoy these wonderful books as much as I have. Happy Reading!
Thank you to everyone who participated. The hardest thing was not being able to let everyone win! But the good news is, I had so much fun participating in this blog hop that you can plan on it being a regular event for BOOKS ARE MY SHOES.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Welcome to the October Blog Hop, where you can visit new blogs, enter to win prizes, and have a great time!

At the bottom of this post, you'll see a list of participating blogs. Just click on each link, check out the prize, and follow the easy instructions to enter. You can enter on each blog, so it's possible to win multiple times. It's frighteningly easy.

On this blog, you can win a BOOK BUNDLE of three of my favorite books from this last year's reading (gently loved already by ME):
These Is My Words, by Nancy Turner; Room, by Emma Donoghue, and The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.

To enter, all you need to do is:

1. Become a follower of my blog.

2. Leave a comment on this post and tell me why you'd like to win this prize. If your e-mail address isn't visible through your Blogger profile, please also leave it with the comment so I can notify you if you win. You can enter until midnight MST on Saturday night, October 15th.

That's it! You are now entered. Now please go visit all my friends on the list below. It's almost like trick or treating!
October Blog Hop Participants
1. Tristi Pinkston
2. I Am a Reader, Not a Writer
3. Bonnie Harris
4. Michael D. Young
5. Misty Moncur
6. Debbie Davis
7. Mandi Tucker Slack
8. Mary Ann Dennis
9. Deanna Henderson
10. Laura Bastian
11. Kristy Tate
12. Kristy Wilson
13. Jennifer Debenham
14. Jenny Moore
15. Elizabeth Hughes
16. J. Lloyd Morgan
17. Close Encounters with the Night Kind
18. Billy Boulden
19. Scott Bryan
20. Maria Hoagland
21. Shirley Bahlmann
22. Shelly Brown
23. Marcy Howes
24. Lynnea Mortensen
25. Jaclyn M. Hawkes
26. Diane Stringam Tolley
27. Gail Zuniga
28. Betsy Love
29. iWriteNetwork
30. Canda's InkBlast
31. Stacy Coles

Learn more about October Blog Hop here.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book Review: Depth of Deceipt

2010 Winner of the Silver Quill for second place in the Fiction category for the League of Utah Writers Publication Awards.

Blond and stunningly beautiful, fledgling attorney Stephanie Saunders vows to protect the innocent even though as indigent defense attorney her clients rarely are. Does that include Josh Durrant, who seems to be following her? Stephanie is dismayed when her peers begin calling her "Prom Queen" like boyfriend, Todd Saxton, often does. While desperately trying to prove her credibility in her profession, she overlooks a scheme to steal her innocence. Although she plans to forgive Todd for his ultimate betrayal, she is never given the chance. Her boss, Attorney Charles Connelly, offers support, but is Stephanie's welfare, or his own, top priority? The only thing that keeps Stephanie sane in her insane world are the hores she loves but does not own. The example of the abused mare, Riskie Business, helps Stephanie make the most difficult decision of her life. Relying on wit and courage, Stephanie must save herself and another during the final showdown where she proves a loyalty and strength of which she never knew herself capable.

Well, this blurb had me interested, I have to admit. I love a good romance thriller, and throw in a mix of law (which usually leads to crazy bad guys) and horses (which makes me all happy and nostalgic, even though I know nothing about them) and I figure I'm in for a good read. So when a friend of mine asked me to review this book for a fellow writer, Betty Briggs, I couldn't refuse. For my participation, I received a free copy of the book in question. Yes!

This book has many things going for it. It is a clean romance thriller with a heroine you want to root for and a love interest that's, well, loveable. Not to mention hunky. The premise is intriguing, and the danger the heroine faces keeps the pace moving along nicely. The majority of the book is a quick read, which makes it the perfect companion for a weekend getaway--the way I enjoyed it. I also loved the substory of Stephanie with the horses she loves. There was sadness and darkness in the story, too, which adds to the reader's desire to root for the heroine, yet Brigg's keeps it light enough that it doesn't cause despair. I also found many of the descriptions to be beautifully-written.

My biggest complaint about this story is with the character development of the heroine and other key players. It was difficult to comprehend some of the heroine's motivations and actions because we know so little about her beyond the fact that she is an orphan. A little more background information might have lent itself to helping the reader understand why Stephanie does what she does, or even why she seems so naive for a 21st-century woman. I also would have loved to have her figure out more of the mystery on her own insead of having most of it told to her by others. And a little more time interacting with (or combatting)the main villains, who have almost no "screen time," would have helped to show her strength. At times, I found the dialogue to be forced and unnatural, and sometimes the verbal sparring between Stephanie and her love interest missed the mark. Finally, the author failed to capture a strong finish when she allowed the resolution to drag on for several chapters after her gripping climax.

If you enjoy reading clean romance thrillers and a quick read with likeable characters, then this might just be the thing for you. To order Depth of Deceit, click here.

About the Author (from book cover): A retired legal secretary of thirty-three years and lifetime horse lover, Betty notes that some of her experiences sneak into her story lines, but not without embellishments. Already the author of four young adult books, she is excited to introduce Depth of Deceit, her first mainstream novel. She is the mother of two grown children adn grandmother to five. She lives in teh Rocky Mountains with her husband, Scott. Her three horses round out the family. Find out more about Betty and her books at www.bettybriggs.com.

Hooked on the Writing Craft

If you're even remotely interested in writing, you HAVE to read Hooked, by Les Edgerton.

There. Assignment issued. I won't even mind too much if you stop reading my post to go purchase it.

Of course if you're like me and need a little more INFORMATION before you depart with your hard-earned cash, then read on to discover my glowing review.

The book, itself, is short and squatty, but it makes the most of its small stature, cramming into its tiny frame plenty of meaty tips to infuse your writing with page-turning power. I recommend reading it with a highlighter in hand. The rebel in me (which is admittedly pretty starved for action) loves an excuse to color away on any book, and this one gave me plenty of practice drawing my straight yellow lines.

Some of my favorites:

"Summary doesn't convince anyone of anything."

"The single biggest fault of most writers is that they simply don't trust the reader's intelligence to 'get' what's going on without providing lengthy backstory."

"If stories are always about one thing and one thing only--trouble--then the story shouldn't really begin at any time other than when the trouble begins. The story simply doesn't exist before that point."

Edgerton uses his vast experience in the publishing, writing, and teaching industries to create a book that informs you like a textbook and charms you like a bestseller.

Plus, he gives examples of his favorite first liners.

Which begs the question--what is your favorite first line from a book?

Happy Reading.