Category Archives: Books and Movies

Super Romance Book Sale Thru Feb 20

Valentine's Super Book Sale

Check out the Valentine’s Super Sale & Giveaway!

66 Romance Authors are offering 95 books…

Most of them are on sale for a limited time. It’s just our way of thanking our loyal readers.

Even better, we’ve pooled our funds to offer an awesome giveaway! Enter to win a Kindle and Amazon Gift Cards just for subscribing to our newsletters or following us on social media.

Here’s the link to the Valentine’s Super Sale & Giveaway!

I hope you find lots of great books to read – and good luck in the giveaway! 🙂

NEW RELEASE: My Bullheaded Superhero Valentine

It’s finally out! Wooohoooo!!!!

My Bullheaded Superhero Valentine book cover

After two years and a lot of ups and downs, I finally finished and published my idea behind, “What would happen if Bull could ever get Hayley to go out on a real date with him?”

Yay! And now you have a couple weeks to enjoy this side story novella in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke series for only 99c. On March 1, it will go back to the regular price of $2.99.

My Bullheaded Superhero Valentine is available at all major retailers including Amazon (all territories), iBooks, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. Get yours today!

Book Marks: Chasing Symmetry – Book Review by Carrie Kurtz

Chasing Symmetry book coverChasing Symmetry by Tempeste Blake

Goodreads Summary

Someone had been trying for the perfect shade of red . . .
When art professor Bianca James tries to save a dying woman, the grudge-holding chief of police is all too quick to catapult her to the top of the suspect list. As if that isn’t enough, her ex-boyfriend’s younger brother, Finn Tierny, is assigned to the case, and she’s faced with a trilogy of dilemmas: go head to head with the chief, stop a cold-blooded killer on her own, or trust another Tierny.

Finn’s return to Riley’s Peak is bittersweet. He’s flooded with memories, both good and bad, as he battles doubts about being a cop, a cantankerous father, a jealous brother, and a drug dealer with a rap-sheet longer than the list of addicts he’s been supplying. 
Threats escalate, the suspect list grows, and it becomes clear—the murderer’s resolve to kill Bianca is almost as strong as Finn’s desire to keep her alive.

Almost.

My Thoughts

I love murder mysteries! When I was contacted about reading this book, I was beyond excited!  And then when I received it in the mail along with a note and special little “gift” from the author, I was ecstatic!  I wanted to dive right in…but, sadly, my TBR list was ridiculously long so I had to wait a while.

So, the time came that I could get into this book and I wasn’t disappointed!  I am usually pretty good at figuring out ‘who done it’ but not this time.  I was wrong!  Very wrong.  This book is full of surprises and keeps you guessing the whole time.

Now, I could have done without the ‘romance’ things in this book.  And, honestly, the choice words were a bit much for my liking.  Those were the only reasons that I chose to give Chasing Symmetry 4 stars instead of 5.

I will definitely be recommending this book to fellow mystery lovers!  Chasing Symmetry will be a book that I keep for my collection!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Carrie Kurtz

 

Carrie Kurtz is a full-time mom and wife who can’t help but make time to explore new worlds in between carpooling and laundry loads. She’s trying to encourage a similar obsession with reading in her two children, and she’s grateful her husband supports her habit. She can be found at Carrie K’s Book Reviews.

What We Learn From Our Favorite Stories

For years, my all-time favorite movie was Sleepless in Seattle. Even when my screenwriting teacher in a professional program gave me the stink-eye, I wouldn’t change my answer. I have watched that movie so many times, I’m surprised the DVD hasn’t worn out. (I’ve owned it so long, I used to have the VHS tape, too!)

Then Richard Curtis wrote some big blockbuster romantic comedies that I love. Love Actually and Notting Hill are my two favorites. Even my husband, John, likes all three of these movies because they are smart and funny and have great lines of dialogue that you can’t help quoting later.

I love these movies so much that I’ll even watch them on Netflix, even though we own all three on DVD. And oh, Netflix, how I love you. Let me count the ways. That’s where I first watched The Decoy Bride with the hilarious Kelly Macdonald and the awesome David Tennant. I’ve watched that movie sooo many times! I bought it on Blu-ray because I wanted to make sure I could watch it in high quality forever. But then I had to buy it on DVD, too, because that’s the only way I could watch it on my computer. I’ve never done that before, buying more than one copy!

And what’s my go-to movie for sick days? The Family Man. Tea Leoni and Nicolas Cage are absolutely adorable, and those kids! And the best friends! The movie makes me laugh every single time I watch it.

I love romantic comedies. I love reading them, watching them, writing them, talking about them. Like I said, they’re my medicine for bad days. And lately, I’ve had truckloads of bad days.

Thank God for romantic comedy writers because I found some new medicine two weeks ago. I’d seen on Facebook that my friend Sean Gaffney (same screenwriting program I was in) had written a new movie called In-Lawfully Yours. I guess I’m a bad friend for not paying very good attention because I thought it was coming out in the theater this fall, but it came out on Netflix!

I was scrolling through the New Releases and saw the title and thought, how funny, Sean’s movie has that same title. And hey, the movie poster looks kind of – hey, that is Sean’s movie! LOL! I was having a bad day so I watched it during lunch. It is soooo adorable! The hero and heroine really played off each other so well! And the characters seemed like people I’d probably know, people I’d want to be friends with if they were real, not like pretend movie characters.

I felt so much better after watching it, just like medicine. I wanted to watch it again right away, but I controlled myself. I waited until lunch the following day. Aw, wow, it was just as funny the second time. It had been a stressful week, so I turned it on again at lunch for the third day in a row. Still had me laughing and smiling! If you like rom-com’s, you’ve got to watch this movie!

In addition to feeling better, watching a movie several times helps you consciously and unconsciously work through what you like about it, and why. You start thinking about what you don’t like and why. And if you’re a writer, you start going over your own characters and asking yourself how they can become better after seeing some other amazing fictional characters on screen or in a book.

One thing about the writing in In-Lawfully Yours. If they hadn’t gotten the right actors, it could’ve been a little dopey. That’s the risk with humor – it’s got to be the right kind, in the right amount, for the right audience. Of course, that’s the risk with movies in general. Wrong actor, bad movie. Right group of actors, amazing movie!

So when I watched this movie for the third time in three days, I had to stop thinking about these actors who had such good chemistry, and I had to think about the characters I write who will ever and only play out in people’s heads. And that’s when I remembered…

When I wrote Little Miss Lovesick, the first several drafts were aimed at Silhouette Romance (kind of like Harlequin, if you don’t know) and the humor was mild, the kind of humor they’d already published. But when I took a risk and wrote the kind of humor that had me laughing as I was typing, a whole new level of fun story developed! It was no longer the kind of book Silhouette or Harlequin or several other houses were buying. (That was a problem for me until self-publishing came along.)

But the readers who enjoyed Little Miss Lovesick really loved it! My risk paid off and I found my writer voice. Since then I’ve had to push myself to get to the edge of my comfort zone and see what else I can do. I can’t let fear or complacency take hold because I’ll lose what it turns out my readers want. (Plus, it’ll be way less fun for me!)

What stories do you read or watch over and over again? What are you learning from them? Are you letting those favorites push you to become a better writer? Give it some thought.

Meanwhile, I’m going to go watch In-Lawfully Yours again. Thanks for writing such a fun story, Sean! And thanks, Chelsey Crisp and Joe Williamson, for making me laugh with and fall in love with a new favorite couple! I’m such a happy Kitty!  😀

Book Marks: The Ivory Caribou – Book Review by Carrie Kurtz

Book cover for The Ivory Caribou by Caroline McCullaghThe Ivory Caribou by Caroline McCullagh

Goodreads Summary

Is it a love story? Or is it an adventure story? Or is it a commentary on the tragedy of war? It is all of these, and more.  Award Winning Author Caroline McCullagh weaves a thrilling and dynamic story around Anne O’Malley’s genealogical search for the story of her late husband’s father that takes her to the far North of Canada to find new relatives among the Inuit culture, to Europe behind the lines in World War I, and back to the small Inuit village where she finds romance. The Ivory Caribou won Best Unpublished Novel in the San Diego Book Awards.

My Thoughts

I think I say this a lot, but I really am such a blessed person!  People send books to me to read and review, some of which I probably wouldn’t have picked up on my own, and they end up being wonderful!  The Ivory Caribou is one of those books.  I honestly don’t think I would have chosen to read this book on my own because it’s not the typical kind of book that I enjoy.  Most often, when I actually go to a store and pick out books for myself, I choose books that are either somewhat exciting/action packed, someone recommended them or, if they are contemporary fiction, have characters that I can relate to (around my age, similar lifestyles, things like that).  The Ivory Caribou doesn’t really fit any of those.  But, I really enjoyed it!

Anne O’Malley is an older woman, a widow, and she doesn’t have any children.  I wasn’t sure how much I would be able to get into her life.  But I was drawn right in!  Her inward struggles and loneliness reached right into my heart and there were times when, because of work and being a mom, I had to put the book down to do something and I realized that I was feeling Anne’s sadness so deep that I had to remind myself that it was just a book!

I really enjoyed all of the journal entries from her father-in-law.  Surprisingly, I have come to love historical fiction books lately and this has several touches of that element wrapped up in it.  Such an enjoyable bonus!  I also really enjoyed learning so much about the Inuit culture!  Again, something that I wouldn’t have necessarily expected to enjoy as much as I did.  There were also a few romantic situations but they weren’t “graphic” or inappropriate.  Just sweet and, well, romantic!

I definitely recommend The Ivory Caribou!  A very strong 4+ stars!  The only reason it’s not a full 5 stars is because it ended a bit abruptly.  However, I realize that it’s probably because this is book 1 of The Anne O’Malley Arctic Adventures series.  Still, I found myself wanting a bit more in this book.  Very Good though!  Read it!!!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Carrie Kurtz

 

Carrie Kurtz is a full-time mom and wife who can’t help but make time to explore new worlds in between carpooling and laundry loads. She’s trying to encourage a similar obsession with reading in her two children, and she’s grateful her husband supports her habit. She can be found at Carrie K’s Book Reviews.

13 Days of Free Books

Little Miss Lovesick by Kitty BucholtzThis is the last time for a while that I will have an opportunity to give away all of my books for free on Amazon. (Insert uninteresting story about Amazon rules here…)

So starting today, Tuesday, June 28, 2016, Little Miss Lovesick is free for five days as an Amazon Kindle ebook. That’s today through Saturday, July 2. Hurray!

A Very Merry Superhero Wedding book cover by Kitty BucholtzThen on Saturday, A Very Merry Superhero Wedding will become free for five days – Saturday, July 2 through Wednesday, July 6. Awesome!

Unexpected Superhero cover by Kitty BucholtzAnd then Unexpected Superhero will be free from Wednesday, July 6 through Sunday, July 10. Yay!

Of course, the short story prequel to the superhero series, “Superhero in Disguise,” is permanently free on Amazon and most other online retailers (like iBooks, Kobo, BN, etc.).

Superhero in Disguise by Kitty Bucholtz, in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke seriesI’ll send you a quick email on Saturday and next Wednesday reminding you that it’s the last day to get one book and the first day to get another.

Plus, I’ll send you one more quick email when “Welcome to Loon Lake” is published. I’ve had a couple little problems, but I expect it will still come out this week. I’m so excited!

Book Marks: The Mine – Book Review by Carrie Kurtz

The MineThe Mine by John A. Heldt

Goodreads Summary

In May 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can’t use, money he can’t spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of swing dancing and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.

My Thoughts

Oh, how I loved this book!  So good!  I have never read a ‘time travel’ book before so I really didn’t know what to expect.  I was certainly hoping that it would be a good read and it was!

Let me be totally real with you though, when I first started reading The Mine my immediate thought was that I wasn’t going to enjoy it.  The first chapter did not give me a great impression of Joel.  In fact, I did not like Joel at all.  He seemed like a total brat.  And then, when he first went back in time (I’m trying not to give spoilers, guys) it seemed like he adapted a little too easily.

Then, I started thinking about how I always say I was born in the wrong era.  I thought about how I might feel if I was able to go back in time… I think I’d do great too!  I might have a little longer adjustment time than Joel did, but that might just be a personality difference between us (you know, if he was a real person… sometimes I get wrapped up in a story and I forget it’s not real).

The ending was absolutely spectacular!  I adored it!  I was actually hoping for that kind of ending but I didn’t imagine it quite the way it happened.  I liked Mr. Heldt’s version better than the one I created in my mind 🙂

I will definitely be recommending this book!  It was extremely good and I can’t wait to read another John A. Heldt book again soon!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Carrie Kurtz

 

Carrie Kurtz is a full-time mom and wife who can’t help but make time to explore new worlds in between carpooling and laundry loads. She’s trying to encourage a similar obsession with reading in her two children, and she’s grateful her husband supports her habit. She can be found at Carrie K’s Book Reviews.

LOVE AT THE LIBRARY: Two Classes on How to Self-Publish

I’m excited to be teaching two LIVE in-person workshops this spring teaching people what they need to know about self-publishing and helping them get started. You want to come?

Love at the Library event banner

LOVE AT THE LIBRARY – Saturday, May 28, Noon – 6pm, Free
The first one is tomorrow, Saturday, May 28, 2016, at the downtown San Diego library. The San Diego chapter of Romance Writers of America is presenting, Love at the Library, a day of workshops, readings, and book signings (with lots of your favorite romance authors) followed by the screening of the feature-length documentary, Love Between the Covers.

The film explores the romance novel industry, what makes it so popular, and why so many intelligent, talented women choose to write romance. It’s really interesting (I saw it at the LA Film Festival last year) and yours truly has a cameo appearance! 😀 

My workshop, The Ins and Outs of Self-Publishing, will run from 1:00pm to 1:50pm. I’ll have handouts for everyone, and there will be Q&A at the end. Two other writing workshops are at 12 noon and at 2:00pm. More details, including times and location, can be found here. This event is completely FREE and runs from Noon to 6pm. Cool, right?!

THE WRITE STUFF – Saturday, June 4, 10am – Noon, $10
The second workshop is next Saturday, June 4, 2016, at the Valley Center County Library not far from Escondido, California, in northern San Diego county. It’s also not far from Temecula. This one will be very cool for different reasons. 😉

First, it’s a 2-hour workshop instead of 50 minutes. And the class size is capped at 20 people, so I’ll be able to help every student more personally and in greater depth.

Second, the $10 fee per person goes directly to the library! Love that! You get to learn about self-publishing, and the library benefits. Win-win!

I’m part of “The Write Stuff” series and my workshop, Self-Publishing – A How-to Seminar, will cover many topics that are in my online course (Your How-to Guide to Self-Publishing, which will re-open this summer).

Since you need to pre-register for this event (no walk-ins except maybe on the small chance the class isn’t filled), I am attaching the registration PDF here so you can download it and mail it in ASAP. If you have any questions, or want to make sure it’s not too late to register, email me at kitty AT kittybucholtz DOT com.

I hope to see you at these events! Should be lots of fun! 😀

Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books – A Live Show

Do you like listening to podcasts or watching video interviews? Are you a fan of shows like Inside the Actors Studio? Do you love to read and talk about books?

You just might love our new show, Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books!

Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books

YA author Elena Dillon and I started this new live author interview show on the Blab platform in February 2016 to see if it was something we enjoyed. We’ve interviewed half a dozen authors so far and we’re having a great time! Audience members say they’re having fun, too!

The Blab platform is a new-ish website that allows people all over the world to video chat with up to three other people live while anyone from anywhere can watch and participate in the chat box. The video chats can also be recorded and watched again later.

On Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books, Elena and I interview authors in a manner similar to that of Inside the Actors Studio. Some of the questions are silly fun, and some are about the author’s process or new books coming out, and the watching audience asks questions as well.

Last week, we tried another format – Elena and I chatted about our favorite sci-fi and fantasy stories while our audience interacted with us in the chat. We discussed The Martian by Andy Weir, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, the Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkein, and many more. We’re going to do the same kind of show tonight, talking about favorite time travel stories. There are so many – A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Remembrance by Jude Deveraux, and many more – that we had to dedicate a separate show to time travel, outside the sci-fi/fantasy show!

Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books is live from 7pm to 8pm Pacific time (almost) every Wednesday. The link here is for the time travel show tonight. But you can click the link anytime after the show is over to see the replay. You can also follow Elena and me on the Blab platform (it’s connected to Twitter) and get a message when a new show is about to go live. Searching Blab will find our past episodes, but I’ll also start a new page here soon and add all the shows we’ve done. 😀

We won’t have a show next week, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, because I’ll be out of town. But we’ll be back on May 25. I hope you join us tonight and/or on future episodes as we blab about books!

Book Marks: The Hearts We Mend – Book Review by Carrie Kurtz

The Hearts We Mend book coverThe Hearts We Mend by Kathryn Springer

Goodreads Summary

Planning and Post-It notes are the epitome of Evie’s life.  But when she meets Jack, her life gets more than a little complicated.

Thirteen years ago, Evie’s firefighter husband was killed in the line of duty, leaving her to raise their young son, Cody, alone.  Now, Cody is marrying the love of his life, and as he packs up his belongings, the house feels as empty as Evie’s heart.  But for all her planning and mad organizational skills, Evie could never have anticipated the dramatic shift her life about to make.

Tattooed, rough-around-the-edges Jack raises quite a few eyebrows in the tight-knit community of Banister Falls.  Where Evie’s life is stream-lined, Jack’s approach to living is moment by moment.  But as Evie gets drawn into Jack’s world—a world that isn’t as safe or predictable as the one she’s worked so hard to create—he challenges her to open her eyes to the problems outside the walls of the church.

Jack doesn’t make Evie feel comfortable, but he definitely makes her feel something.  Something she hasn’t felt since Max passed away—or, maybe ever.  Because even though Jack isn’t anything like her late husband, he might be everything she needs.

My Thoughts

This book is just lovely!  Wonderful amounts of sweetness, drama, funny little parts, faith, and love!  Just simply lovely!  I am ready to read more books by Kathryn Springer right now!

I wanted to get to the end so bad, and yet I didn’t want it to end!  I caught myself trying to skim ahead on the page so that I could see what was going to happen several times (mostly nearing the end of the book) and had to stop myself and go back to where I was supposed to be reading.  There were times that I got so frustrated at Jack, just wanting to smack some sense into him, and then I would feel the same way about Evie!

Faith was a big part of The Hearts We Mend but it wasn’t the kind of book that shoves it in your face. If you enjoy reading faith-based books, you will like this one.  But, even if you don’t typically enjoy faith-based books, you’ll most likely still enjoy this book.  It was just really well written.  I highly recommend reading The Hearts We Mend by Kathryn Springer!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Carrie KurtzCarrie Kurtz is a full-time mom and wife who can’t help but make time to explore new worlds in between carpooling and laundry loads. She’s trying to encourage a similar obsession with reading in her two children, and she’s grateful her husband supports her habit. She can be found at Carrie K’s Book Reviews.