One to Watch by: Kate Stayman-London

Publication Date: July 7, 2020

Description from Goodreads

Real love…as seen on TV

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers–and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition–under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men–and herself–for a chance to live happily ever after.

My Review

I won this ARC from a Goodreads giveaway and decided to review it on my blog as well. This was such an entertaining read. Bea is a force to be reckoned with on the outside but on the inside she is insecure and hurt. Bea has lived her whole life in the body of a plus sized woman. She is used to the stares and nasty comments but she wants to find love.

When her remarks towards a reality show called Main Squeeze go viral, she is asked to join the show. This book read like a cross between episode transcripts of the Bachelorette and Bridget Jones’ Diary. I laughed out loud and my heart hurt for Bea. Her struggles with low self esteem and insecurity were very realistic.

I gave this book 4 crowns.

Is There Still Sex in the City? by: Candace Bushnell

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

Twenty years after her sharp, seminal first book Sex and the City reshaped the landscape of pop culture and dating with its fly on the wall look at the mating rituals of the Manhattan elite, the trailblazing Candace Bushnell delivers a new book on the wilds and lows of sex and dating after fifty. 

Set between the Upper East Side of Manhattan and a country enclave known as The Village, Is There Still Sex in the City? follows a cohort of female friends—Sassy, Kitty, Queenie, Tilda Tia, Marilyn, and Candace—as they navigate the ever-modernizing phenomena of midlife dating and relationships. There’s “Cubbing,” in which a sensible older woman suddenly becomes the love interest of a much younger man, the “Mona Lisa” Treatment—a vaginal restorative surgery often recommended to middle aged women, and what it’s really like to go on Tinder dates as a fifty-something divorcee. From the high highs (My New Boyfriend or MNBs) to the low lows (Middle Age Madness, or MAM cycles), Bushnell illustrates with humor and acuity today’s relationship landscape and the types that roam it.

Drawing from her own experience, in Is There Still Sex in the City? Bushnell spins a smart, lively satirical story of love and life from all angles—marriage and children, divorce and bereavement, as well as the very real pressures on women to maintain their youth and have it all. This is an indispensable companion to one of the most revolutionary dating books of the twentieth century from one of our most important social commentators.

My Review

If you read the reviews for this book, most of them say the same thing: the description is misleading. The blurb for this book makes it sound like this may involve the SATC characters that we know and love. It doesn’t. This is a memoir of sorts of Candace Bushnell and her friends.

Are the stories that Candace writes about in a similar vein as those that her SATC characters experience? Maybe, if this was the story about them in their 50’s. Here’s the deal; if you take this book and read it for what it is intended to be, a memoir about the current love life of a woman in her 50’s, it is a decent read. However, it is not marketed for that audience and the readers that are gravitating towards this book have different expectations and are disappointed.

Now, I am not near my 50’s and this was not really something I could relate to. It was written well as Candace does know how to write. It’s content was just something that I didn’t gel with.

I gave this book 2 crowns.

I received this E- ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Unhoneymooners by: Christina Lauren

Publication date: May 14, 2019

Description from the publishers through Netgalley

For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime—maybe even love—in this romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling authors of Roomies.

Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.

Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.

Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.

With Christina Lauren’s “uniquely hilarious and touching voice” (Entertainment Weekly), The Unhoneymooners is a romance for anyone who has ever felt unlucky in love.

My Review

This is my second foray into the writing duo known as Christina Lauren’s works. I am hooked. I have not laughed out loud while reading as much as I did with this book. It is wedding season and I have been reading my fair share of wedding related books but they have all had their own unique twists.

While one twin seems to have all of the luck in the world, the other just doesn’t, except for the day of her sister’s wedding. Faking her sister’s identity and going on her honeymoon with the best man who just happens to be the man she most despises in the world, Olive will have to try to keep her lies straight while also trying to enjoy herself. The hilarity ensues and life unravels as well as Olive’s feelings towards Ethan while they are away.

I enjoyed this book immensely and will be picking up other books by this team again.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Accidental Beauty Queen by: Teri Wilson Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


Gallery Books | Trade Paperback Original
ISBN: 9781501197604 | $16.00
E-ISBN: 9781501197611 | $7.99
Audio-ISBN: 9781508283553 | $17.99


http:// http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Accidental-Beauty-Queen/Teri-Wilson/9781508283553 

In this charming romantic comedy perfect for fans of Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella, critically acclaimed author Teri Wilson shows us that sometimes being pushed out of your comfort zone leads you to the ultimate prize. 

Charlotte Gorman loves her job as an elementary school librarian, and is content to experience life through the pages of her books. Which couldn’t be more opposite from her identical twin sister. Ginny, an Instagram-famous beauty pageant contestant, has been chasing a crown since she was old enough to enunciate the words world peace, and she’s not giving up until she gets the title of Miss American Treasure. And Ginny’s refusing to do it alone this time.        

She drags Charlotte to the pageant as a good luck charm, but the winning plan quickly goes awry when Ginny has a terrible, face-altering allergic reaction the night before the pageant, and Charlotte suddenly finds herself in a switcheroo the twins haven’t successfully pulled off in decades.        

Woefully unprepared for the glittery world of hair extensions, false eyelashes, and push-up bras, Charlotte is mortified at every unstable step in her sky-high stilettos. But as she discovers there’s more to her fellow contestants than just wanting a sparkly crown, Charlotte realizes she has a whole new motivation for winning.

About the Author:

Teri Wilson is the author/creator of the Hallmark Channel Original Movies Unleashing Mr. Darcy, Marrying Mr. Darcy, and The Art of Us, as well as a fourth Hallmark movie currently in development. Teri is a double finalist in the prestigious 2018 RWA RITA awards for her novels The Princess Problem and Royally Wed. Teri also writes an offbeat fashion column for the royal blog What Would Kate Do and is a frequent guest contributor for its sister site, Meghan’s Mirror. She’s been a contributor for both HelloGiggles and Teen Vogue, covering books, pop culture, beauty, and everything royal. In 2017, she served as a national judge for the Miss United States pageant in Orlando, Florida, and has since judged in the Miss America system. She has a major weakness for cute animals, pretty dresses, Audrey Hepburn films, and good books. Visit her at TeriWilson.net or on Twitter @TeriWilsonAuthr.

My Review

 This was an endearing read about twin sisters who haven’t always seen eye to eye on things.  While on twin is trying to follow in the footsteps of their late Beauty Queen mother, the other hides among stacks of books as a librarian.  Even though Charlotte wants nothing to do with the beauty pageant life, she is there to support her twin.  Then the unexpected happens, an allergic reaction that “blows up” in their faces.  

The old cliche of twins switching places comes into play in this story but it is done hilariously.  I loved the dimension of the character traits of these sisters.  They were just two women being fake, they read as if they were real women going through these events.  

This was a great contemporary book that really worked.  It was a bit reminiscent of the movie Miss Congeniality but that made it even more fun.

I gave this book 4 crowns. 

Excerpt

My sister has always been the pretty one. The Jane Bennet to my Elizabeth, the Meg March to my Jo.

It’s been this way for so long that I’ve never questioned it. It’s never even bothered me much. It just is.

Ginny is my sister, and I love her, no matter how different our lives are. And trust me, they’re about as opposite as you can imagine. But the chasm between our worlds has never been quite so glaringly obvious as it is now, because instead of restocking books on their respective shelves, I’m standing in an elevator at the posh Huntington Spa Resort in Orlando, Florida, on the first Monday afternoon of summer.

For starters, at five feet seven, I’m by far the shortest person of the half dozen or so on board. This is a rarity for me. As an elementary school librarian, I’m accustomed to towering over people for the majority of my waking hours. I’m also used to sitting in tiny chairs and using tiny, blunt-edged scissors, but that’s beside the point. Five feet seven isn’t short. . . .

                Unless you’re riding an elevator packed with beauty queens.

                I don’t know what I expected when I signed on to spend a week cheering for my sister at the Miss American Treasure pageant, but it wasn’t this. The preliminary competition doesn’t start for another two days, so why are they all wearing crowns and sashes already? And what is going on with their shoes?

                Beauty pageant contestants wear heels. I know this, obviously. I mean, I’ve seen Miss Congeniality at least twenty times over the years, thanks to Ginny. But these are beyond high heels. Gracie Lou Freebush wouldn’t have lasted a minute in them.

                No offense to Sandra Bullock. I’m just saying.

I tighten my grip on the handle of my suitcase, suddenly extremely conscious of the state of my hair. Orlando is one of the most humid places on earth, and the half hour ride on the airport shuttle was not kind. For once, I actually feel sorry for Ginny. It’s one thing to be expected to look perfect onstage, but hotel elevators should be a safe space. I, for one, plan to be roaming the halls in a spa bathrobe and complimentary slippers en route to the vending machine for the majority of my stay.

But to each her own.

                Besides, Ginny chose this life, just as surely as I chose mine. She also gets paid more for one sponsored Instagram post than I make in a week, and when I remember this, I keep my sympathy in check.

The elevator comes to a stop on the fifth floor, which has clearly been reserved for the pageant, because we all disembark in a glamorous, glittering herd.

Myself being the exception.

No one seems to notice my presence, though. The Hogwarts T-shirt I’m wearing might as well be an invisibility cloak. Fine. I’m not here to make friends. I’m here for the chance to stay in Ginny’s luxury hotel room for a week, for free, and completely nerd out at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

I’m also here for moral support, of course. I plan on being at every single pageant event, cheering like a maniac while inwardly cringing in horror at the very thought of prancing around in only a tiny swimsuit and a crown. But since the competition doesn’t start until 5:00 p.m., that leaves my mornings and afternoons free to hit up the theme park. I’ve emptied my paltry savings account and invested in a five-day unlimited pass. Bring on the butter beer.

But first, I must locate our room amid a sea of glitz and sparkle. According to the text Ginny sent when I landed, we’re in 511. All of my elevator pals are in rooms along the same stretch of corridor. Half the doors on the floor have hangtags on the knobs that read, Do not disturb! This Miss American Treasure contestant needs her beauty sleep!

I roll my eyes mightily.

Dangling from the knob of room 511 is one such tag, but I highly doubt Ginny is actually sleeping because I can hear the television booming through the door. I knock extra hard so she can hear me above the din of whatever reality show she’s probably watching.

Just please God don’t let it be the Kardashians.

An explosion of barks answers my knock. I take a deep breath. I’ve somehow forgotten all about my sister’s French bulldog mix, Buttercup. Ginny adopted her a month ago as part of her “platform.” I’m not sure exactly what that means. She’s a pageant queen, not a politician. But according to approximately five million posts on Ginny’s Instagram, she volunteers regularly at her local shelter in support of her animal rescue policy.

If memory serves, last year her platform was anti-bullying. But so many other contestants on the pageant circuit had already thrown themselves into the anti-bullying movement that she felt pressured to switch to something else. In other words, she got bullied into giving up her anti-bullying platform. Oh, the irony.

The door to the hotel room swings open, and Ginny is standing there in a white spa bathrobe with her hair piled on top of her head in a messy-yet-artful twist. She’s got one of those serum-soaked sheet masks stuck to her face—the kind that make regular people look like something straight out of a bad horror movie.

                Except Ginny isn’t a regular person. So instead she looks like Gwyneth Paltrow enjoying a quiet day of self-care.

“Charlotte, you’re here!”

“Yep. My flight was right on time.” Thank God. I’m ready to make the most out of day one on my unlimited pass.

“Come on in.” She holds the door open wider.

The room is a double, with side-by-side queen beds and a balcony overlooking a pool flanked by umbrella-covered lounge chairs, a tiki bar, and two perfectly symmetrical rows of palm trees swaying in the balmy Florida breeze. Any spare moments I have this week that don’t include Harry Potter will be spent right there, with my feet up and a piña colada in hand. It’s been so long since I’ve taken an actual vacation that the mental picture I’ve just conjured nearly makes me weep.

“This is gorgeous. Ginny, thanks again for inviting me.”

“Are you kidding? I’m so glad you’re here. Dad and Susan aren’t coming until the finals.” Her smile falters. Behind the face mask, I can see her full lips tip into a frown.

I know exactly what she’s thinking. “You’ll make the finals. I know you will. You’re a shoo-in for the top twenty.”

Ginny always makes the finals. She’s up onstage every year alongside the winner and the runners-up. She’s just never managed to crack the top five.

“This year will be different,” I assure her.

She nods. “It has to be.”

As much as I hate to see my sister devoting her life to chasing a silly crown, and even though I positively loathe the pageant scene, my heart gives a little tug. Sometimes I forget why she got started in all of this. But every once in a while, when Ginny’s composure slips, I remember that this is her way of feeling connected to the mother we barely knew. The crushing sense of loss that inevitably follows always seems to catch me off guard. It’s in those moments— moments like this one—that I understand her dream.

I paste a smile on my face. “It will. I promise.”

I have no right to make that kind of promise. After all, I’m not judging this thing.

Truly, why would anyone want that job?

But it’s so rare to see my sister like this that I can’t stop myself. She’s always been the poster child for confidence.

Which just goes to show how much this particular pageant means to her. More than all the others combined.

“You’re right.” She nods with renewed vigor. “Of course I’ll make the finals. This is my year.”

“Definitely.” Pep talk over for now, I head toward the bed on the far side of the room—the one that’s still neatly made and not covered in anything bedazzled.

                Every item on Ginny’s bed shines like a disco ball, including her official Miss American Treasure tote bag. I’m beginning to understand why she uses one of those sleepmask things like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I might need to invest in one myself.

As I cross the room, Buttercup launches herself at my wheeled suitcase, growling and nipping at it as it drags behind me. By the time I’m within a foot of my bed, she’s fully attached herself to it and I’m hauling both luggage and bulldog.

“Is this normal behavior?” I ask. It can’t be, can it?

Ginny waves a dismissive hand.

I give Buttercup a little nudge with the toe of my Adidas sneaker. She backs away, peering up at me with her bulgy little eyes. They almost seem to point in two different directions. Like plastic googly eyes.

We stare each other down for a second, and then she resumes her attack on my luggage.

“Is she always so”—I pause, struggling for an appropriate adjective—“headstrong?”

Buttercup and I have never been properly introduced. I only know her via Ginny’s Instagram, where she’s usually doing something less destructive and far more adorable.

“Buttercup is shy,” Ginny says by way of explanation.

I look down at the snarling dog. “Sorry, I’m not getting shy here.”

                “You’re stressing her out. She’s not used to strangers and new experiences. She’s a rescue dog, remember? The poor thing sat in the shelter for four months before I adopted her.”

Ginny checks the position of her sheet mask in the large mirror over the bathroom counter. It’s a double vanity, theoretically big enough for both of us. But Ginny’s massive amount of toiletries take up the entire space. “Did you know that seven million dogs and cats enter shelters every year, and half of them end up being euthanized?”

I did not know that, and it’s a horrible, horrible statistic. But her canned delivery prevents me from absorbing the news with the proper level of emotion.

She’s slipped into pageant mode. She’s rattling off more devastating facts and figures about homeless pets, all the while posing with her hand pressed to her heart and her head tilted just so.

I glance at Buttercup. Something tells me she’s heard the speech before.

“Maybe less euthanasia talk in front of the rescue dog?” I suggest. No wonder the poor thing is stressed.

“Oh my God.” Ginny blinks. “Do you think she understands?”

“I have no idea, but why take the chance?” Besides, I can’t handle Ginny’s platform-level intensity right now. I’ve been up since 4:00 a.m.

                “I suppose you’re right.” Ginny scoops Buttercup into her arms.

I take advantage of the cease-fire, lift my suitcase onto the bed, and remove my things, paltry in comparison to the vast wardrobe Ginny has stuffed into the closet and all but one of the dresser drawers. Fortunately, I travel light.

Clotheswise, anyway. Beneath the layers of jeans and T-shirts, four hardback novels line the bottom of my bag. I remove all four and arrange them in a nice, neat stack atop the nightstand closest to my bed.

When I look up, Ginny’s shaking her head. “Are you sure you brought enough reading material?”

“Don’t judge. I’m on vacation, remember?”

“Exactly. You’re a librarian. Your vacation should be book-free.” Ginny makes a zero sign with one of her perfectly manicured hands.

“How are we even related?” It’s not the first time I’ve asked that question, and I know with every fiber of my being that Ginny wonders the same thing sometimes.

How could she not?

“Before you dive into one of those, can you take Buttercup for a quick walk?” She grabs a Barbie-pink leash from her nightstand. And—surprise!—it’s heavily bedazzled. “Pretty please.”

“What? Why me?” My gaze flits toward Buttercup, who’s now positioned on Ginny’s pillow with her plump rear facing me. “She doesn’t even like me. Stranger danger and all that.”

Ginny rolls her eyes. “Stranger danger? You spend too much time with little kids.”

True. She dragged me to yoga once, and I kept referring to easy pose as crisscross applesauce.

Still, Buttercup doesn’t seem any more thrilled by the idea than I am. Also, I’ve already begun typing the address of the theme park into the Uber app on my phone. I’m supposed to be dodging a fire-breathing dragon in Diagon Alley right now, not walking a petulant French bulldog.

“I was kind of hoping to head over to Harry Potter World so I could be back in time for us to have an early dinner. Don’t you have pageant stuff today?” I’m pretty sure she has a date with some spray tanner this afternoon. Her skin tone matches mine right now, and I know from experience that Ginny is usually at least four shades closer to orange when there’s a pageant on the horizon.

“Yes, and of course you can head right over there just as soon as you walk Buttercup. She hasn’t been out since early this morning. I can’t do it—I’m not allowed to leave the room without my sash on.”

I blink. “What?”

“Contestants can’t leave their hotel rooms unless they’re pageant-ready. Outside of this room, I have to wear my sash at all times.”

                I don’t even know what to say, but suddenly the army of beauty queens from the elevator makes more sense. “That’s crazypants. It’s like you’re some kind of pageant hostage. Put your sash on, and take her out yourself.”

Ginny sighs. “Dramatic much? This isn’t some tiny regional pageant. Miss American Treasure is the big time. She’s a role model. You know that.”

I do. I probably know more about that than any of those chattering elevator girls.

“I can’t go out there like this,” she says.

“Fine.” I take the leash from her hands. She’s clearly in no condition to leave the room, although I would pay money to see an Instagram post of Ginny wearing the sash and her sheet mask at the same time.

“Thank you.” Her slender shoulders sag with relief. “I owe you one. We’ll have a great dinner tonight, I promise. It’ll be just like old times.”

Old times?

I don’t believe her for a minute. When we were kids, our favorite dinners included sloppy joes and macaroni and cheese. I can’t remember the last time I saw a carb cross Ginny’s lips.

“Come on, Buttercup,” I mutter.

The portly little dog growls the entire time I’m attaching her leash to her sparkly pink collar. This should be lovely.

“We’ll be right back.” I cast a glance over my shoulder as I lead Buttercup out the door, and Ginny catches my gaze in the mirror.

She gives me a little wave. I wave back, and for a moment, I go still. Rooted to the spot. Ginny’s sheet mask is gone, and her face is bare. Clean. It’s been a while since I’ve seen her makeup-free. Without the airbrushed foundation, the contouring and highlighting, the carefully lined lips and the double layers of false eyelashes, she looks a lot like me.

She looks exactly like me, actually. Same nose. Same eyes. Same heart-shaped face.

Same DNA.

Because even though my sister has always been the pretty one, the beauty queen—the Jane Bennet to my Elizabeth, the Meg March to my Jo—she’s also my twin.

Giveaway

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/831f7b7b2/?

Giveaway open in US only.  Starts 12/9 and ends 12/ 16.  Must be a subscriber to my blog.  18 yrs old or have parents’ permission.

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by: Christina Lauren

Description from the Publisher through Netgalley

By the New York Times bestselling author who “hilariously depicts modern dating” (Us Weekly), My Favorite Half-Night Stand is a laugh-out-loud romp through online dating and its many, many fails.

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine”and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Perfect for fans of Roxanne and She’s the Man, Christina Lauren’s latest romantic comedy is full of mistaken identities, hijinks, and a classic love story with a modern twist. Funny and fresh, you’ll want to swipe right on My Favorite Half-Night Stand.

My Review

This was my first read from the author duo that goes by the pen name Christina Lauren and I had a blast reading it.  It was the perfect mix of fun and romance.  It was exactly what I needed to read as a refresher in between the other books I had been reading.  

The writing style of these two authors flows perfectly and you can’t tell that it is not written by one person.  The relationships in this story were down to earth and sweet and not over the top cliche.  I will definitely pick up another book by them when I need to read a good contemporary. 

I gave this book 4 crowns. 

I received an E-ARC of this book from the Publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Check out this new tool: Archivos Created by: David Robison Nerd Blast & GIVEAWAY

Archivos Nerd Blast Banner

Please visit all stops on this nerd blast tour: http://www.jeanbooknerd.com/2018/09/nerd-blast-archivos-by-dave-robison.html

Archivos Logo

With ARCHIVOS, storytellers are empowered to be the architects of their stories. Through an interactive visual representation of an entire story world, storytellers and fans can examine the interconnections between characters, places, and events. Produced by Wonderthing Studios, ARCHIVOS provides – at a glance – a deep appreciation and comprehension of the interaction between story elements composition, superior to any wiki or blog.
 

DESCRIPTION
ARCHIVOS is story mapping and presentation application developed by Wonderthing Studios, designed to support storytellers in the creation and promotion of their story worlds.

HISTORY
Wonderthing Studios LLC was founded in January 2015 by David Robison to celebrate and foster the storytelling community in all its forms and facets. The studio develops multiple channels of engagement – from podcasts to board games to software – in order to support storytellers and provide tangible opportunities for the creative community to interact and share wisdom and experience.

ARCHIVOS has been in development for over a decade, built upon the idea of a visual representation of the network of interaction between story elements. It’s creator, David Robison, conceived a framework of documentation and relationship that would articulate the dynamics of a story setting more effectively than any wiki or blog. The application serves as both a development tool for narratives as well as a presentation framework for sharing those narratives.

THE STORY WEB
Explore the associations and connections between story elements with The Story Web. This interactive display allows you to analyze the networks of association in your story setting and navigate its length and breadth with a few clicks of the mouse!

THE LIVING MAP
Highlight the significant events and locations of your story world in the Living Map. Geography, city maps, floor plans can be showcased in this interactive and searchable display.

THE TIMELINE
Chronicle the significant events of your story world – from deep history to current events – and then explore the entire continuum on the Timeline! Zoom in to see days or zoom out encompass decades, ensuring continuity and consistency across your story setting.

Archivos Icon

Praise for ARCHIVOS

I am very excited by the potential of Archivos for authors and storytellers of all stripes. I am truly enjoying watching Archivos evolve! ―Mary Layton, Author

There’s no better way to get a visual recap of any story than there will be when ARCHIVOS hits the streets. Watch out. ―Jay Swanson, Author, Vlogger, and Chronic Transient

Archivos provides individuals and organizations with an extraordinary tool, one where the structure and breadth of a narrative can be deftly visualized, shared, and explored. My team of creators is delighted to be working with Archivos and making use of their fantastic system! ―A. David Lewis, Comics for Youth Refugees Incorporated Collective

Dave Robison

ABOUT THE CREATOR
 

Dave Robison is a storyteller who has been captivated by tales and legends his entire life.

He’s contributed vocal fabulousity to dozens of audio drama and fiction productions for EscapePod, Pseudopod, Cast of Wonders, and Podcastle, as well as The Drabblecast, StarShipSofa, Tales to Terrify. He has narrated several audio books for Tantor Media, J. Daniel Sawyer, Scott Roche, and John Meirau and appeared in audio dramas by Jay Smith and Bryan Lincoln.

As a child, he wrote Curious George and Paddington Bear fan fiction to the indulgent delight of his family. He was drawn to the immersive storytelling of live theater at an early age, participating in community workshops and school productions, a passion that continued through high school and college. He was also drawn to role-playing games which led to a deep appreciation of speculative fiction, cutting his genre teeth on Robert E. Howard, Michael Moorcock, and JRR Tolkien.

He attended the University of Michigan, majoring in Theater and Dance but transferred to the University of Wyoming when tuition costs got too expensive. Securing his Theater degree, Dave pursued a degree in Graphic Design and, in the years that followed, worked at dinner theaters, design studios, and ran a used bookstore. When he was hired teach computer classes at New Horizons Computer Learning Center, it began a decade-long exploration of programming, education, and web development.

In 2012, Dave launched The Roundtable Podcast with friend and colleague Brion Humphrey. The podcast gave writers the opportunity to brainstorm their story ideas with established authors and editors like Lou Anders, Cat Rambo, Kameron Hurley, and Hugh Howey. The unique format combined with Dave’s over-the-top delivery and enthusiasm earned the podcast a small but dedicated following.

In 2015, Dave formed Wonderthing Studios, LLC and brought the Roundtable Podcast under its banner. The studio is the launching point for several creative endeavors including Vex Mosaic, a monthly review of essays inspired by speculative fiction media, and Manifest, a board game combining the positional strategy of chess with the fantastical diversity of Magic: The Gathering.

In 2016, Dave was honored to be invited to help lead The Ed Greenwood Group (TEGG) as its Vice-President assisting in the initialization of the diverse processes required to execute a massive shared world collaborative storytelling publishing venture. Later that year, he was appointed Executive producer of Onder Media Group (OMG) overseeing the development of multiple media channels that celebrate speculative fiction culture in all its forms and facets.

In 2017, Dave released Archivos, a story mapping and presentation tool, through Wonderthing Studios.

 
PHOTO CONTENT FROM DAVE ROBISON

WEBSITE: https://archivos.digital/
TWITTER: 
@ArchivosStories  
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ArchivosStories/
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/archivos.stories/

Giveaway Banner (23)
GIVEAWAY:
Giveaway is open Internationally | Must be 13+ to Enter
 

– 1 Winner will receive an Exclusive 1-year free of ARCHIVOS (at any level) service. 

 1 Winner will receive a $25 Dollar PayPal/Amazon Gift Card.
ENDS: NOVEMBER 12, 2018
This is an amazing tool for Authors and readers alike.  Check out the YouTube video:
JBN_TourHost (1)

Smothered by: Autumn Chiklis

Smothered  Publication Date: August 7, 2018

Description from the publishers through Netgalley

 

When Life Gives You Lululemons by: Lauren Weisberger

When Life Gives You Lululemons Publication date: June 5. 2018

Description from the publishers through Netgalley:

My Review:
I have read the first two books in this series a very long time ago.  I have also seen the movie.  I can’t remember my feelings about the books but I enjoyed the movie.  When I saw that this was the third book in the series, I just had to get back into that world.
I have to admit that I had a hard time with this book.  Emily as a feature character, annoyed me to no end.  She was a whiny bitch who had no regard for anyone until the end of the book.  The other two women, Karolina and Miriam were almost as obnoxious to me.  The main story line of Karolina’s major issue was decent but I don’t know if it was worth reading 352 pages of it.  God, that sounds so harsh but I honestly believe there are many books that are currently out there right now or will soon be released that will be a much better read.
I am not knocking this book entirely,  I enjoyed some parts for what they were worth, just not the book as a whole.  I wouldn’t have made this the 3rd book in the Devil Wears Prada series.  It is clearly a spin-off.
I gave this book 3 crowns.
3_crowns
pro_reader_120 I received an E-ARC of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Best Beach Ever by: Wendy Wax

Best Beach Ever

Description from the publisher through Netgalley:

My Review:
My girls are back!!!  Reading this series is like catching up with a group of your nearest and dearest friends.  This is book #6 in the series and if you haven’t started it yet, what are you waiting for?!
I loved this latest installment of the girls of Ten Beach Road.  Each woman brings her own charm and shenanigans to the story.  Each woman is easy to relate to and genuine.  This story brought to light hidden fears for each woman and it showed their strengths too.
As always, I gave this book 5 crowns.
5_crowns
I received an E-ARC of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
pro_reader_120

How Hard Can It Be? by: Allison Pearson

How Hard Can It Be Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Description:

Allison Pearson’s brilliant debut novel, I Don’t Know How She Does It, was a New York Times bestseller with four million copies sold around the world.  Seven years later, Kate Reddy is facing her 50th birthday. Her children have turned into impossible teenagers; her mother and in-laws are in precarious health; and her husband is having a midlife crisis that leaves her desperate to restart her career after years away from the workplace. Once again, Kate is scrambling to keep all the balls in the air in a juggling act that an early review from the U.K. Express hailed as “sparkling, funny, and poignant…a triumphant return for Pearson.”

Will Kate reclaim her rightful place at the very hedge fund she founded, or will she strangle in her new “shaping” underwear? Will she rekindle an old flame, or will her house burn to the ground when a rowdy mob shows up for her daughter’s surprise (to her parents) Christmas party? Surely it will all work out in the end. After all, how hard can it be?

My Review:

I did not read Allison Pearson’s first book about Kate Reddy so I was unfamiliar with this character.  That being said, you can read this book without having read the first one as it does hold up as a stand alone.  In this sequel, Kate is approaching her 50th birthday and needs to return to work to support her family.  She has two children, one in her teens the other, almost there, and a husband who is taking time off from working to better himself.

Kate is going through peri-menopause and is finding that it isn’t easy to return to work after having raised a family for the past 7 years.  There were so laugh-out-loud moments in this book.  Even though I am not near the age of Kate, I could put myself in her shoes.  I am wondering however, if I were around that age, would I have found this book to work a bit better for me.  I am not saying that this wasn’t a good book, I am simply feeling that I was not the correct target audience for it.  It was a bit drawn out and I was getting a bit bored but I powered through.  If I were to pick up Allison’s first book on Kate Reddy, I may relate to that a bit more.

I recommend this book for anyone in their mid to late 40’s+.  I think that if you like a contemporary read with humor and realistic situations, you would enjoy this.  For me, a late 30 year old already in the workforce with children,  I couldn’t relate as much.

I gave this book 3 crowns.

3_crowns

I received an unsolicited ARC of this book from St. Martin’s press in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you, St. Martin’s Press.