2017 Reading Challenge.

2017 Reading Challenge

I always love these challenges!  Maybe one year when I’m not working on a novel (or 3), I’ll be able to commit to them.

In case you’re looking for some matches with the above list, might I offer the following?

  • A book by an author who uses a pseudonym.  Look no further than Ann Benjamin (I also publish under my real name, Courtney Brandt).
  • A book involving travel.  While technically Room 702 stays in one place it could count, but Life After Joe is all about a road trip, so I think it definitely ticks the box.
  • A book that’s published in 2017.  The Queen of England: Coronation is definitely coming out next year.  Actual release date: TBD.
  • A book involving a mythical creature, kind of a 2 for 1 with above.  There is a unicorn involved.
  • A steampunk novel.  Yay, this makes the Queen 3 for 3.
  • A book with a title with title that’s a character’s name.  See, Life After Joe.
  • A book set in a hotel.  Room 702 is completely set in a hotel.

And there you have it!  Lots of good choices this year.

Did you complete the challenge in 2016 or another year?

Good reviews are nice, no matter where they turn up, right?

So, I signed up for a service (Blasty) that looks out for your books and makes sure no one has them listed for free, illegally, or other ways around legitimate channels.  Blasty e-mails me now and then to tell me all the links where my books can be found.  I tend to do a bulk ‘delete’, but in the past week, I started following some of the links.  Of course, one of the links (where my book is clearly pirated) had (mainly) wonderful things to say about Room 702.  If only these were on my Amazon page!  If only hese people had paid for my novel!  Oh well, they probably wouldn’t have paid anyway, so I’ll take this as a win.

seinfeld shrug

Room 702

This is an interesting book that reveals information about the different people who stay in Room 702 at the Winchester Hotel in Los Angeles Each chapter is labeled with a date and then describes what is happening in the room. One might think there would be very little story arch with these kinds of vignettes strung together, but that isn’t the case. Chalk it up to word of mouth why some of the guests are staying there, coincidence, divine intervention, it’s a small world.

Room 702
Vanessa Hale

I decided to read this book on a whim. It wasn’ t my normal book genre and it wasn’t what I expected. Each chapter added something new to the story and made me want to read.  As the end approached, every story in the book got tied together in a way and made the book enjoyable. If you’re looking for something to read, that’s not a cookie cutter book, I would definitely recommend this book.

Room 702

This is a different sort of book as each chapter is dedicated to particular characters staying within Room 702.  You need to read a while to really get into the flow but once stories begin to link together it’s fun to read and see where it may go.

Room 702

This book was a nice, easy read It kept my attention and I didn’t get bored. However, the hard part was keeping track of all the characters and remembering how they all connect, especially if you have to stop and start again, day after day. This book is worth the read.

Room 702
Necole Moreau

I really enjoyed this book I loved reading the stories of the different people staying in that room and the changes when they would visit again. I also liked that they all tied together at one point out another. I would love to read another year of this hotel room.

Room 702
Anita Kronowitz

Very creative book — lots of stories.

Room 702
Ana Perez-orta

I wanted to branch out on the genres I read I typically read romance, mystery, and fantasy. I could not stop reading this book once I started. Each chapter event was a story but towards the end they all start to come together. Really enjoyed this book.

Room 702
Jennifer Nelson

Very interesting book. It really makes you think about all of the different kinds of people that use a single hotel room in just one year.

Additionally, if you publish anything on the internets (including music, videos, software), and want to have a (free) service look out for you, I highly recommend Blasty.

Author Challenge, Day 6: Favorite Review

As an author, I may not have sold the most books, but I have received some truly incredible reviews.  Over the years, two stick out to me:

  1. With the release of the final book in my marching series, a reader commented (with love) how she couldn’t wait to pass these books along to her children.  Seriously, I was crazy excited.
  2. With the release of Room 702, I received a private and very personal message.  In the book, a character goes to the room to end their life (but in the end, chooses not to).  Apparently, this reader had a nearly identical experience and had never know how to share that moment in their life with friends and family.  Reading the chapter was a way to bridge what happened and talk about it openly.  I cried.  In fact, I still tear up thinking about it.
  3. Bonus!  As the subject of Life After Joe is a sensitive one (the journey — literally and figuratively — of a widow), I’ve been very happy with the reception from real widows.  Their opinions mean a lot to me.

    Slothilda knows what’s up. Imagine this is me when I get a positive review.

In honor of the Academy Awards…

I thought I would share a chapter focused on the Oscars from Room 702 (this is the second half of the evening).



February 26, 2:35 a.m.

Having seen her mother safely to her room next door, and, given how many hours she had been in heels, Kat isn’t surprised to feel extreme relief after removing her shoes and sinking into the luxurious mattress. Since leaving the Winchester so many hours ago, this is the first chance she’s had to be alone … with him.

The statuette is heavier than she had thought it would be. Of course, that’s what everyone says.

Kat flips on the television, finding the E! Network and leaves the channel on, hoping they will replay her speech. The newly minted Oscar award winner is doubtful; after all, there were some highly memorable events throughout the broadcast, and hers was not among the highlights.

Other than the fact she now has an Oscar, the whole evening feels like a dream. Somewhere within her champagne-soaked brain, she recognizes this is reality. The statuette is hers, forever, a permanent memento of all her hard work and dedication—of sixty-hour weeks, of getting through the glass ceiling.

The statue sits in the middle of the pristine white comforter.

She realizes this would be the point when anyone in her position might question, wow, has everything I’ve given up over the years been worth it?

For her, the answer is an instant and unequivocal yes. Standing on the stage in front of her peers and being recognized in the best way possible is worth not having a “normal life.”

With her emotions spent and the remaining alcohol waning from her system, Kat slips off her dress, splashes some water on her face and crawls into bed with the small metallic man, more content than if any flesh-and-blood person was next to her.

here's hoping Leo
Here’s hoping, Leo!

Another reading challenge!

2016 reading challenge

Another reading list, another chance for me to pimp my books.

Looking at the list above, I can see my books easily tick the ‘a book by a female author’ or ‘a book by an unfamiliar author’ categories.  At some point this year, I will have an additional book(s) (insha’llah) to qualify as ‘a book that has been published in 2016.’

For the record, I would love a recommendation that ticks the ‘a book that will be a complete mindfuck.’