Review – In Plain Sight by Amy Sparling

In Plain SightIn Plain Sight by Amy Sparling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

-Book Description: 4

-Cover: 5

-Plot: 3

-Creativity: 3

-Simile Use: 4 (minimal usage)

-Description: 4 (well-balanced)

-Show And Tell Balance: 4

This quick, sweet read follows Maddie Sinclair on a journey of discovery about where self-worth comes from and learning that money doesn’t define who you are and who you can love. Having lived a rough life she’s thrust into a glorious life she could’ve never dreamed of–not only that, but the popular kids now notice her with her fabulous clothes and hair. She has a hard time adjusting but never forgets who she is. Colby is another story, he’s lived a spoiled life, but sees the issues that can come from it. Despite being one of the ‘rich kids’ he wants to define who he is based on the way he handles life, not based on his parents financial status. This coming of age story shows two sides to learning who you are and has the perfect dash or romance. I’m looking forward to book two and learning more about some of the supporting characters.

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Teaser Tuesday

1 Teaser Tuesday HeaderFrom Walking in the Shadows:

Everywhere I looked reminded me of him; of some memory that was so amazing it hurt. It was as if we had an integral understanding of what the other felt even if we didn’t agree, but no amount of understanding could fix my mistake.

I pulled my knees into my chest so that I was curled up in the fetal position. I wanted to yell and scream, but all I could do was sob. How could he look at me like that? How could he still be angry—when all I could feel was a ragged hole in my chest where my heart used to be. It seemed it would be easier to be angry with him than to be miserable with the loneliness that filled everywhere I looked.

Lying in my bed hurt, as it reminded me of him laying his head on my chest as I ran my hands threw his hair and he read me some novel he loved. I squeezed my eyes shut tighter, wondering if I squeezed hard enough, would it all go away? The scent his cologne had left on my pillow wafted over me and in an instant I found myself yelling for no reason, ripping the sheets off in anger at my stupidity. I fell into the wall with my sheets shredded half on the bed, half off the bed and ruined. This was my fault. If I had just told him, let him know the truth, things would be different.

I slammed my head back against the wall. I didn’t know the truth anymore because I had wandered around it for so long. I had pushed my past away and let my heart linger with him for too long. It felt as if my heart was stuck somewhere between his classroom and the coffee shop we met in.

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Teaser Tuesday

1 Teaser Tuesday Header

 

From Love Exactly:

I didn’t know how she knew the tattoo place, and I wasn’t really sure I wanted to find out. I followed her up the steps into the house where Dad sat with the laptop, glasses perched on his nose. He looked up and smiled.

“Where are my girls off to in such a hurry?”

Mom stopped for a moment like she hadn’t expected him to be there before she shrugged. “To see Tom.”

“Please get something better than a unicorn this time, mhmm?” he muttered as his eyes went back down to the laptop and he started typing.

“Uh? A unicorn?” I repeated.

Dad didn’t look up; instead he shook his head and continued typing with one finger.

“I always wanted a unicorn, so I got one,” Mom replied as she grabbed her hand-felted purse and went to the door.

I stood in the middle of the living room staring between the two of them in shock.

Dad looked up. “What’s wrong, dear?”

I opened my mouth and then closed it, unsure what to say.

“Are we going or not?” Mom asked from behind me.

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Looking back at 2013

I can’t believe it– 2013 is officially over, and was over a few days ago. So, this post is late–but I haven’t really been posting at all lately. The reason? Christmas kicked my butt and so did Flawed Perfection. The novel is officially in the Editor’s and Alpha reader’s hands–phew (why do I still feel like barfing when it was over two weeks ago that they got it?). I’ve already received some feedback and made some changes, and hopefully in the next two weeks I will get my full red-lined beauty back in my hands to demolish. Then back out to Beta Readers and a final round with the Editors. Then, in your hands it will go! I’ve already started planning the Cover Reveal, Release Blitz and Blog Tour. I’m actively looking for reviewers, too–so if you want a copy to review, give me a shout out.  Back to 2013, or should I say onto 2014. It’s time to set the goals for 2014, and let me tell you–just like last year they seem damn near impossible. To see what last year’s goals where and how I did with them you can check out this post “Sales Saturday: Check-Points”. Did I nail some of those goals, even destroy them? Yes, I did–but there were some that I failed at, and epically so–like getting my degree–I didn’t even finish one class towards it last year.

So what does 2014 have in store:

Book Related:

  • Release all 4 novels in the Beautifully Flawed Series, and possible Overexposed– Honestly, I think publishing all four is stretching it…but then again, who really needs sleep?
  • Release 2 children’s novels–one being book two in the Skippy Tales series and one being the first book in a new series I am co-authoring with my best friend called Finding Freckles.
  • Start using Twitter– I did this on the first of January and saw an instant spike in sales…it instantly died after a day, though; so I am not sure what that had to do with.
  • Begin a monthly newsletter that recaps the weekly posts along with any giveaways I have going on.
  • Begin blogging on a weekly schedule again–with such a tight release schedule I am thinking the first Sunday of the month will be blog day where I write the whole month’s worth of blog posts.
  • Look into and begin using PressBooks Catalog for giving previews to each of my novels
  • Release a Bestseller–one that hits 100 or below on Amazon
  • Sell 5,000 books–actually sell, not including freebies
  • Hit 500 fans on Goodreads
  • Hit 3,000 Likes on Facebook
  • Hit 150 Followers on Twitter
  • Hit 4,000 blog followers
  • Hit 12,000 views on the blog
  • Hit 700 ratings on Goodreads
  • Email 50-100 blogs per week for each novel release
  • Have a month long tour for each book release
  • Try not to get overwhelmed
  • Make enough money to warrant buying that Mac I’ve wanted for years–I doubt this will happen unless my computer decides to croak. I just can’t see spending over $500 on a computer.

Personal Goals:

  • Graduate College–this was on last years goals and I did not get there, we shall see if I can get there this year.
  • Save some money
  • Work out everyday except Sunday–We shall see
  • Keep doing well at my new job– take on more responsibility
  • Keep the weight off
  • Teach Kanga agility and maybe enter in some competitions
  • Stop being afraid of babies–I’m going to be an Auntie!
  • Design at least 10 book covers for myself and other authors

I’m sure I could come up with some more, but I think it’s a good start.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Blog more? Read More?

~Sleep is optional

C. Gio

$.99 Limited Time Sale!

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Emma Walker was a writer who’d lost herself to someone else’s anger–who had given up on ever feeling like herself again.
Evan Levesque was a rock-god–the one all the woman wanted, but he’d never gotten used to the loneliness between the stage and real life.

With just one cup of coffee they’ll begin a journey of self-discovery at each others sides, but can Emma handle Evan’s fame while dealing with her own demons? Emma’s checkered personal past, a bad relationship that haunts the edges of her memories, threatens to make everything implode on them when Evan takes matters into his own hands.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words…they’ll destroy my soul–Can Emma handle being put back together and facing who she’s become because of it?

GENRE: New Adult>Contemporary Romance

Your mom seriously hates me…

“They’ll love her—my mom tends to love everyone…well, except you.”

I must have looked as green as I felt because Adam reached over and squeezed my knee.

“It’s going to be fine,” he reassured me.

“She won’t suspect anything is up from us driving in together, but she’s going to die if you kiss me or something.”

“That’s the first thing I’m going to do…stick my tongue down your throat,” he teased, pulling his lip ring into his mouth. “Oh, baby!”

I tipped my head back to look at the ceiling before turning to face him.

“Whoa! What did you just think of?” Adam asked with a chuckle at my expression.

“That!” I pointed at his lip ring; “Does she know about that yet?”

He moved his lips back and forth as he pursed them. “Not exactly.”

“Explain!”

“Well, I took it out the past couple of times I went over and saw them.”

“You sissy!”

“Now she gets to see it and my tongue down your throat!”

“Are you trying to give her a heart attack?” I scorned.

“I’m not really going to stick my tongue down your throat,” he reminded me.

“Really? I think the effect of your arm around my waist will pretty much be the same,” I retorted as I sunk into my seat.

FLAWED PERFECTION, COMING MARCH 7, 2014

Miss it yet?

It’s been a few weeks since I shared a WIP part of Flawed Perfection with you, mainly because I’m in the process of editing it now! That’s right, we’re one step closer to it’s publication in March. My editor and Alpha reader are waiting for it as we speak! Especially the Alpha, she’s chopping at the bit, and I’m shaking in my boots. Why? More about that on a Sale’s Saturday I suppose….

If I’ve still got your attention:
WARNING: Adult language

A single knock came on the door and it swung open. I pulled my body into Adam to cover my chest and we both turned to see Bobby standing in the doorway.
His mouth was stuck open in an O, and the veins in his neck were bulging as he looked at me wrapped around Adam half-naked.
“What. The. Fuck,” he finally managed to choke out before turning and slamming the door so hard the wood cracked at the edges.
I closed my eyes and tilted my head back. “Shit.”
“That was not the way I wanted him to find out.” Adam swallowed, his arms still balancing me in the air.
“You should’ve locked the door,” I said, but there was no anger in my tone. We’d both made the mistake of not thinking of it in our mad dash to rip one another’s clothes off.
“Yeah, I can see that,” Adam set my feet back on the ground. “What are we going to do now?”
I reached over to retrieve my shirt. “Explain it to him?”
“Yeah…that sounds like a great way to end a night. I kind of like my face the way it is,” Adam scoffed.
“Me too,” I heaved a sigh as Adam placed his hands on the edge of the couch and leaned forward, head bowed.
“This is so fucked up,” he said.
We stood in silence for a moment. I stared at the top of Adam’s head between his tensed shoulders as he thought of his decisions. Mine weren’t anything fabulous either.
“When were we going to tell him?” I finally asked.
“When we knew Tara had fixed the whole obsession with you thing,” Adam answered as he began to pace.

COPYRIGHT, CASSANDRA GIOVANNI
FLAWED PERFECTION coming March 7, 2014

Holiday Blowout Sale!

sale flyer

You asked for it, and I listened! I’ve got a boat load of paperbacks from the (epic) fail B-B-F, and I need to get rid of the stock–plus I’d love to spread the love of reading this holiday season. So I’m offering you the paperbacks at cost with the added bonus of being signed by the author–me!

ins real

In Between Seasons

Young Adult/New Adult Post-Apocalyptic Romance

At eighteen there is one thing Kate Ericson is certain of—the world is at war and has been since she was two years old. That was when her father pulled her family and a group of close friends to a God forsaken place in the middle of nowhere. For Kate there is no escape from the sea of lies she is drowning in until her world collides with Hunter Marks—the son of her father’s biggest opponent. An opponent that Kate didn’t even know existed. What Hunter kidnaps Kate for, and what her family will try to kill her to keep secret, is a knowledge that she doesn’t have. Now Kate’s innocence seems to becoming undone at the seams of reality. Hunter then finds himself fighting the hopelessness that is creeping into the edges of her heart as she learns more about the corruption that has devoured their lives. As Hunter and Kate forge a strong and unique relationship it becomes clear that their love is something that the bureaucracy never expected, and that Hunter’s father will do whatever he can to destroy it. Hunter believes he must sacrifice love in order to teach Kate that the world’s deadliest weapon is her. Hunter and Kate will have to find the strength to rise above a deception that is so great, even the ones who created it don’t realize its depth.

In Between Seasons is a new kind of post-apocalyptic novel, one that focuses on the characters and uses the lack of understanding of a corrupt world as the backdrop to shape them into who they are as people.

MSRP: $9.99

AMAZON PRICE (3.75 stars): $8.99

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walking real

Walking in the Shadows

Young Adult Romantic Suspense

Seconds seem like a lifetime when the life you lived is slowly drained out of you by those who care not what you felt, hoped, or dreamed. When the darkness comes it is all-consuming; there is no light and there is no pain. It is the never-ending loss of hope that now consumes me as I die in his arms.

This is Abigail Martin’s nightmare. After her parents become the first victims of a serial killer obsessed with the vampire saga, “Crimson Reign,” Abigail does the only thing that she thinks will save her from her parent’s fate–she becomes some one else. As Vera MacIntrye, she falls in love with the very handsome Tad Knightley, and then walks into her first day at her new school to see him standing at the front of the classroom. He’s every teenage girls fantasy, but as he writes “Mr. Knightley: AP British Literature” across the white board Vera realizes the one person who filled the gaping hole in her heart will soon rip it wide open again.

Vera struggles to adjust to being a ‘normal’ teenager with very adult responsibilities like paying the rent, buying groceries and making sure that lights stay on, while being drawn time and time again back to her off-limits teacher. What’s worse is he is drawn to her too, and their worlds refuse to stay apart when Tad finds Vera screaming in terror in the parking lot after the winter formal. The murderer has struck again and is getting closer to the next target–Vera. Tad will do whatever he can to save her, even if it means losing his dream job, but will it be enough when the murderer is closer than anyone ever thought?

MSRP: $14.99

AMAZON PRICE (4.5 stars): $11.48

NOW AUTHOR DIRECT: $8.00

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le Real

Love Exactly

New Adult Contemporary Romance

Emma Walker was a writer who’d lost herself to someone else’s anger–who had given up on ever feeling like herself again.
Evan Levesque was a rock-god–the one all the woman wanted, but he’d never gotten used to the loneliness between the stage and real life.

With just one cup of coffee they’ll begin a journey of self-discovery at each others sides, but can Emma handle Evan’s fame while dealing with her own demons? Emma’s checkered personal past, a bad relationship that haunts the edges of her memories, threatens to make everything implode on them when Evan takes matters into his own hands.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words…they’ll destroy my soul–Can Emma handle being put back together and facing who she’s become because of it?

MSRP: $14.99

AMAZON PRICE (4 stars): $11.69

NOW AUTHOR DIRECT: $8.00

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Boston or Bust?

That would be a big giant:

BUST

I took a few weeks to let the issues that occurred be addressed by the BBF staff before deciding to sit down and write this. Then once they’d “resolved” the issues I took a few more weeks to stew over that. I’m going to be honest and open here, as I always try to be. I’m going to try to be factual as well…Here goes…

So what happened? I was extremely excited when I learned the 5th Annual Boston Book Festival was offering this:

New in 2013! Individual authors and independent literary presses can take out a table along “Indie Alley.” This newly created, author-exclusive exhibitor area is situated in front of the John Hancock Tower at the intersection of St. James Avenue and Clarendon Street. The Boston Magazine even spoke about it…

The independent author and self-published book industries are booming at the moment, and organizers of the annual Boston Book Festival recognize that

So to cater to the demand, for the first time ever, they are offering up space to those who have worked tirelessly to get their name out without the help of a major publishing company to back them up.

“That market is exploding right now. I think one of our goals [at the festival] is to always spark the interest and creativity of aspiring authors, and to have attendees be able to see people who are out there [self-publishing], and getting voices out there, which can be inspirational for them,” said Norah Piehl, deputy director of the Boston Book Festival. “It provides a voice for people at the festival that may not otherwise be heard.”

(Read the Entire Article by clicking on Boston Magazine above).

The key thing here that happened was–we weren’t heard. I really should have known better, as I am from Mass. In fact I was only a twenty minutes from Boston growing up. The thing is, I’m not really all that familiar with Boston. I didn’t realize the place they were putting us was NO WHERE near the event on Copley Square. We were abandoned in a corner; one that no one would even pass through to get to the main event. What do I mean by abandoned? There was absolutely NO signage indicating where we were, and the map…our tiny, miniscule dot was laughable. Many authors had fans and/or family members that came specifically for Indie Alley–and they couldn’t even find it! The event was to last from 10PM to 5PM, and promised to send some of the 25,000 people that attend annually our way. Great in theory! There sure was a huge mass of people on Copley Square–there was live music, booths with books and major published authors, oh and TONS of people…a BLOCK away from us. The attention and traffic to those areas was obvious, and then the other obvious thing was the MASSIVE amount of space that we could have been in. No, I’m not talking about the lawn of Copley Square–it was obvious that was not to be trodden on, and I’ve got no issue with that. I’m talking about the space around the lawn to the right that was empty! The space that to the front and left was filled with those major published authors. In the end I sold some books, one to a fan of another author who I just happened to be talking to when the fan came, and another two to two other authors at the fair. The bill for this day…well, between what I paid for the table, to drive on the Mass Pike, the time spent driving (3 hours total), the time I spent freezing my butt off  and the cost of marketing materials and paperbacks. Well, I’m in a big fat red zone. The BBF pointed out that was a risk we took, because they couldn’t guarantee attendance. The fact is, the BBF gave us plastic tables, with .50 cent plastic table clothes and a sticker with our name on it and an area where no traffic would go through. By 2:00 half of the authors had left in a huff, and by 2:30 I’d left, too. I was sullen, but at the same point, it was a risk. I understand that–I only wished we hadn’t been thrown off in a corner–or that there was SOME sort of signage indicating the hole in the wall that we were in compared to the main event. I didn’t want a refund. I’d just wanted my voice to be heard–a struggle that is evident in being an Indie author; one that the event organizers claimed they understood. They’re attention to the main event (which we should have been included in and it was always alluded to that we would be) and claimed ignorance of us indicated they didn’t understand. So, I decided to write a letter:

I’m not sure if you would be the person to speak about this, but the event really didn’t go the way that I thought it would. I was very disappointed with the set up, as there was no signage indicating where we were, and we were a block away from the actual Festival. Honestly, it really was like being in an alley, but it wasn’t even in direct walking distance of the festival. It truly felt as though we were an after thought. I was excited for the chance to be a part of a major book festival, and was disappointed that we were put off in a corner where no one would, or did, find us. It was even more frustrating to see the plethora of people gathering at the actual festival, and the mass of empty space in which we could have been–actually a part of the festival. I’ve had more exposure at local high school craft fairs, of which I paid much much less to be at. I do thank the organization for attempting to invite independent authors to the event, but in the end it felt like we were being scorned. I appreciate you taking this into consideration for your future events. I’d love to be a part of the Festival next year, but only if cost and the location are considered and changed.

Looking at it now, it does seem a bit harsh, but it was truthful. I did feel scorned and put in a corner. In fact this kept playing in my mind:

I certainly don’t want to sound like a cry baby in this situation. I took the risk. I paid the money, and I realized it really didn’t work. C’est la vie. I was surprised by the BBF’s answer:

Dear Indie Alley Exhibitors,

Many of you have reached out to us after the last week following your time at the Boston Book Festival.  We are disheartened that so many authors had a bad experience at this year’s BBF. Our intention with setting up Indie Alley was to offer independent authors a chance to exhibit at our event and we are sorry that Indie Alley did not draw the audience we had hoped it would. 

To address some of the issues you have raised, you should know first of all that the space that we used for Indie Alley is the only one the city of Boston would allow us to use.  Our request to close Trinity Place to traffic was denied and the grass at Copley Square is off-limits.  In terms of foot traffic, we had planned to have an entire day of poetry readings in the Blue Glass Café in the John Hancock building, which would have brought several hundreds of festival-goers through your exhibitor area.  We were notified less than a month before the BBF that the building’s power would be off for HVAC repairs and that we would have to relocate the poetry.  This was unforeseen.

Indie Alley was an experiment, and apparently one that failed.  We regret that failure and in future years will return to our policy of not offering individual authors exhibitor space.  This is a shame, but we have no other choice given the poor attendance this year.

While we are as disappointed as you are that Indie Alley was not a success, we did invest both time and money in setting it up.  This was a risk that you as exhibitors and we as the event planners took jointly and while your contract states that there are no refunds, in light of the poor attendance we would like to offer to refund each of you half of your fee.  To request a refund, please download the attached document, sign and either fax or mail it back to us, attention <name removed for privacy>.

Please know that we have learned from this year’s experience how better to serve our community in the future, and we hope you are able to attend and enjoy the BBF in future years.

We got a list of excuses, but no explanation for why they didn’t decide to move us to the large area NOT on the lawn, or to the huge sidewalk area that was still in viewing of the main event. No explanation for why there was NO SIGNAGE indicating where we were. No explanation for why we WERE A TINY dot on a map. We got a refund, and an invitation to attend in future years BUT NOT AS EXHIBITORS. This was the part that upset me the most. In future years <we> will return to our policy of not offering individual authors exhibitor space.

WHAT? Really? That was the part that had me sitting rereading the letter over and over again in disbelief. Shunned. Scorned. Abandon. Definitely not understood. This year didn’t work, we can all admit that–but why can’t we work to make this better? I’m sure that many of the authors, including myself, would be willing to meet via conference call with event organizers to talk about how future years could be better organized. I’m a project manager–I do marketing plans–there’s a failure component in both. You fail, you look at why and you revise your plan! You do not abandon it!

So, yet again, New England is left without a Festival or Conference to celebrate Indie authors and what they contribute to the literary world. BBF could have filled that hole, and after one poor attempt they gave up. I don’t plan on giving up, but at this point there isn’t much I can do in the way of Festivals. So, plan on coming out to the bookstores that I do my release signings at, and the high schools I do craft fairs at…I’ll be there with a great novel and a smile!

Putting him in his place…

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