Book Battle results

Christie from The Fiction Enthusiast and I read two books for Alyssa's book battle this year: Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund and Intrinsical by Laini Woodland. After discussing the books and considering plot, writing, introductions, characters, and readability, we have decided that INTRINSICAL will be the book continuing on to the next round!

Cell Phone Numbers Go Public!

Cell Phone Numbers Go Public this month.

All cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls.


To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone:


It is the National DO NOT CALL list It will only take a minute of your time.. It blocks your number for five (5) years. You must call from the cell phone number you want to have blocked.

Wilson Tennis Capri's

The Wilson La Davine Capri Pant is a compression fit Capri that is lightweight, breathable, and flattering. The premium technical fabric and design allow for maximum moisture wicking and comfort. The Capri has versatile functionality whether training in the gym, playing on the tennis court, or just out and about running errands.

I really like my tennis pants. I don't play tennis, but I like to wear capris or leggings while I'm dancing (rather than ballet tights). They worked perfect in ballet class and in the gym while I ran, did Pilates, stretched, and did physical therapy.

Over the school year while I used them, I was in the gym six days a week. The capris were perfect for exercising, but also for class after, so I didn't have to run back to my room to change. Then after class I didn't have to change again for dance. One pair of pants a day is enough for me!

Here's a picture of the ones I got. I don't have a picture of me dancing in them but I may post one later if I get a photographer. It's hard to do an arabesque and snap a photo at the same time…

Interview: James J. Kaufman

Mr. Kaufman is visiting The Life and Lies today. He recently released his fictional debut, The Collectibles.

About the book: In his debut novel, James J. Kaufman delivers a gripping and unforgettable story of two strong men from separate worlds - one touched by tragedy, the other by greed - brought together with unexpected results. In chronicling how their lives and those they touch are dramatically changed by their encounter, Kaufman reveals the power of relationships, the nature of love, and ultimately the meaning of life.


Why and when did you begin writing?

I have been a storyteller all my life. I began writing in my 20’s, starting with “Noise: A Problem to be Heard”. As my career in law developed I wrote several books on legal issues and related business issues, including “What To Do Before The Money Runs Out”. The Collectibles was my first foray into fiction.

What inspired you to write your book?

My idea for The Collectibles formed in my mind when considering the amount of interest, energy and effort people put into collecting things (dolls, figurines, coins, cars, stamps, boxes, and the like). I wondered what would happen if the same amount of intensity was put into building relationships with other people.

How did you come up with the title?

When I refer to the collectibles, I’m not speaking of people as things, items or objects, but rather about the enrichment of the lives of people to whom we reach out to help. The Collectibles is at its core, a principle, a philosophy – a way of approaching life. In creating the collectibles in the story I drew upon my life experiences with a variety of people, each of whom were challenged in some way – all of whom had intrinsic worth.

How do you go about researching for your books?

I employ the skills I learned during the summers of my college years working as a private investigator, 45 years of legal research in connection with my law practice, and my natural curiosity, combined with great respect for focus, discipline and hard work. These skills combined with a lot of reading, looking and listening, are my approach in researching for my books.

What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?

The most exciting part is the opportunity to speak with men and women about subjects dear to my heart, and theirs as well. In the process, relationships are built around a positive outreach and approach – designed to discover the intrinsic worth in others. I don’t see a hardest part, I see the opportunity and feel the commitment is worth making.

Do you have any other books planned in the future?

Yes, I am working on Book 2 now.


Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

All of my characters are my favorite. Like people in general, they are imperfect and diverse. The important thing is to separate their conduct from them as a person, and focus upon bringing out their better side. I may dislike the way some of the characters act at times, but I do not dislike them.

What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?

Follow your dreams and be prepared for a lot of work. Never quit.


Just for fun:  JamesJKaufman-lo

What are your ten most favorite things?

Spending time with my wife, family and friends, helping others sort out their lives and reach their goals, walking in the woods, driving a boat through the British Virgin Islands or the Greek Islands, scuba diving, fast cars, reading good books, writing, photography and ice cream.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Spend time with my family, help reconstruct other businesses through The Kaufman Group, LTD, and enjoy a multitude of interests.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, my dog Charley!


Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

I write in my office – a quiet place, set up just for that purpose.


If you could go anywhere in the whole world, either for a vacation or to live there, where would you go?

Greek islands and Tuscany, Italy


What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?

I liked every subject except statistics and dissecting cats. My favorites are too many to list.


Thanks Mr. Kaufman! An attorney, businessman, and former judge, James J. Kaufman has published several works of non-fiction.

His fiction debut, "The Collectibles," draws heavily from his experiences in law, his dealings in the business world, and his interactions with people from widely different backgrounds.

In addition to his writing, Kaufman is CEO of The Kaufman Group, Ltd, a company that assists financially troubled businesses across the United States through strategic turnarounds. Mr. Kaufman is also a member of the Board of Imaging The World (ITW), a not-for-profit health care company delivering ultrasound services to Uganda and other underserved populations, and in the process saving many lives.

Kaufman lives in Wilmington, North Carolina with his wife, Patty. He is currently working on a screenplay for "The Collectibles" and has begun writing his second novel.

 Click here to learn more about The Collectibles.

Review: Abandon

Abandon by Meg Cabot
Genre: YA
ISBN: 9780545284103
Published: April 26th 2011 by Point

Rating: 4

I read Meg Cabot's Vanished series (previously published as 1-800-WHERE-R-U) and have drawn the same conclusion about Abandon as I did about that series: She's a fabulous story teller and can weave a wonderful intriguing mysterious story that is highly addicting (I read Abandon in five hours without stopping) but she's not a very good writer.

Let me explain: The ARC was 304 pages. If she had cut out all the unneeded phrases, descriptions, and dead wood that slowed the story down and made it harder to read, it would be closer to 200. If it were shorter, she'd have more space for more of that great plot line that she's so good at developing. But instead, I'm stuck tripping over ungrammatical sentences and awkward phrases—and let's not forget whole unnecessary paragraphs with details that don't matter, set off by dashes right in the middle of the sentence, because that's just such a good thing to put in a novel—that force you to go back and read the sentence several times so your brain doesn't get to twisted.

As for the story itself: I can't praise it enough. It was a mystery I had to solve, and some of the small clues I figured out, and others I didn't. I loved that I could figure out stuff about the same time Pierce did, but I also loved that I didn't figure out the major mystery of the story until I was supposed to. Some novelists make it too obvious, but Cabot had just enough to make it work.

I liked Pierce, but there were a few times I wanted to shake her and tell her to grow up and be honest. That is one of the reasons I couldn't stop reading, though. I wanted to see what happened because of the choices she made. And then there was the time I wanted to slap her: of course John was in love with her, why did she think he was acting like that? silly girl. Yet I couldn't have mean thoughts towards her because I liked her (and, okay, I have a soft spot for crazy main characters). John? He was quite amazing. Wild thing. Dark troubled boy. Dangerous. John needs to climb out of that novel and through my bedroom window and be my boyfriend.

The pacing and tension was perfect: I started reading and didn't stop until about five hours later when I closed the book at the end. I couldn't stop reading. That's the kind of book I like.

Now if only Cabot could write. Yes I have read worse writers, but she would be so excellent if the interior monologue of the character was less frustrating.

Content/Recommendation: No language, no sex. Ages 15+

Review: Lost Voices

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
Genre: YA
ISBN: 9780547482507
Published: July 4th 2011 by Harcourt Children's Books

Rating: 4

I'm not particularly sure what I think about Lost Voices. Here's the basic rundown: Beautiful writing, interesting story, and gripping plot and pacing. Here's the problem: I didn't like most of the characters.

I liked the main character, Luce. She was smart and brave but a little sullen. And I couldn't figure out if I liked the queen of the mermaids. At first I hated her because I didn't trust her, and then at times I did like her, and she seemed bi-polar. Some of the other mermaid girls made me so mad I wanted to hit them. Especially the disloyal ones (There was a section where the girls started following someone else as their queen and she wasn't a good choice). Also on the loyalty aspect: I felt like out of all the girls (there had to be at least thirty by this section of the story) there had to be at least one besides Luce who was loyal to the other queen. It didn't make any sense. Those other mermaids frustrated me beyond all reason.

Back to the great side of the book, the writing was beautiful. It was enchanting and descriptive. There were parts that felt odd or out of place, and it would have been much better if it were from Luce's perspective (it was third person) but it was good and easy to read.

The book was addicting, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. The plot was interesting, the pacing was good, and there was tension all throughout the book. But the characters were frustrating. Maybe it was a good frustration, because I read it pretty quickly.

My only other complaint is the ending: It could have had a little more closure, or a little more promise. It was sort of like "oh, okay, so now it's over. now what? what happens next?" It reminded me a little of Cassandra Clare's endings (only it wasn't as horrible of a cliff-hanger).

Content/Recommendation: Some slightly emotionally disturbing references like rape, abuse, violence etc. but nothing explicit. No language. Ages 14+

Tour: Spring for Susannah

Spring for Susannah is a newly released Christian romance novel. (Click here to see my review.)

About the book: Spring for Susannah 

Booklist says, "Inspired by [folk] lyrics, Richmond arrives on the inspirational fiction scene with a moving debut novel. Readers will be filled with hope that Susannah will learn the true meaning of love. Highly recommended where inspiring, romantic historical fiction is in demand."

Hundreds of miles from home, Susannah faces an uncertain future as a mail-order bride on the untamed Dakota prairie.

When her parents die suddenly, and no suitors call, Susannah resigns herself to the only option available: becoming a mail-order bride. Agreeing to marry her pastor's brother, Jesse, Susannah leaves the only home she's ever known for the untamed frontier of the Dakota Territory .

Her new husband is more loving and patient with her than she believes she deserves. Still, there is also a wildness to him that mirrors the wilderness surrounding them. And Susannah finds herself constantly on edge. But Jesse's confidence in her-and his faith in God's perfect plan-slowly begin to chip away at the wall she hides behind.

When she miscarries in the brutal Dakota winter, Susannah's fledgling faith in herself and in God begins to crumble. Still, Jesse's love is unwavering. Just when it seems like winter will never end, Susannah finally sees the first tentative evidence of spring. And with it, the realization that more than the landscape has changed.

She looks to the future with a renewed heart. Yet in her wildest dreams, she couldn't predict all that awaits her.

About Catherine: Catherine Richmond was focused on her career as an occupational therapist till a special song planted a story idea in her mind. That idea would ultimately become Spring for Susannah, her first novel. She is also a founder and moderator of Nebraska Novelist critique group and lives in Nebraska with her husband.

For more about Catherine, please visit www.catherinerichmond.comClick here to purchase.

To celebrate her debut novel, Catherine and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, have teamed up to give away a Spring For Susannah Prize Package worth over $150!

One grand prize winner will receive:

* A brand new Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Screen
* Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond (for KINDLE)

To enter just click one of the icons below and then tell your friends! But hurry, giveaway ends on June 27th. Winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 28th at 5 PM (6PM MST, 7PM CST, & 8PM EST) during Catherine's Spring for Susannah Book Club Party on Facebook! Catherine is rustling up some fun for the party - she'll be chatting about the story behind her novel, hosting a book club chat, testing your mail-order bride trivia skills, and giving away some GREAT prizes! Don't miss the fun and tell your friends!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Blog tour schedule:


Crystal at Eclectic Woman  

Charlene at Quintessentially Quilly

Mocha with Linda     

Sharon at Read Its Fundamental

Holly at 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews

Wendy at Wall-to-wall Books    

Jami's Reviews at          

Crystal at Created for Home         


Diana at Hanging By A Thread        

Debra at Footprints in the Butter

Holly at Savey Spender    

Jill at Book, Books Everywhere        

Chrissy at Lil Baby Booty         

Apple Blossom at 4 the LOVE of BOOKS  

Billie the Girl


Valentine at Carabosse's Library    

Maggie at Tethered Mommy     

Glenda at Author’s Book Corner   

Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews      

Renee at Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot           

Margaret at Creative Madness Mama     

Long at Write to the Heart

Loven at Cindy's Book Reviews   

The Ramblings of Miss Aimymichelle


Vida at Sunflower Faith 

Christina at Foxy Designs & Reviews

Pamela Readz   

Amy at The 160 Acrewoods     

Kait at Reviews By Jane 

Ruth at This That and the Other Thing    

Mindy at A Room without Books is empty

Pamela at Can't Wait...           


V.E. at Duncan Heights         

Reviews By Molly          

Danita Ellis (review & life)

Diane at That's What I'm Here For  

Leah at Love Grows Best Homeschool           

Carol’s Corner

Kim at Window To My World          

Mollie at The Gandy's Home Base         

Danielle at The Happy Wife


Vic's Media Room   

Caroline at Happy Four

Splashes Of Joy         

Karla at Quiet Quilter

Stacie at HobbitDoor         

Casey at Writing for Christ  

Laura at Lighthouse Academy

Wendy at Minding Spot  

Janet at Along the Way          

Jamie at Little Blurbs     

Briana at I Can't Decide   


Michelle at Our Little Corner of the World        

Patricia at Dream a little Dream  

Holly at The Bookshelf       

Theresa at Frugal Experiments           

Elana at The Twinners Reviews & Giveaways         

Ruth at Thoughts from a Princess

The Zen of Motherhood   

Carlybird's Home         

Christina at Kennedy Reviews              

Deborah at Books, Movies and Chinese Food    


Mystiqua at Pursuit of Titus 2      

Shonda at The Knowlton Nest         

Laurie here     

Scott at LaVigne's Blog     

Whitney at Rambles of a SAHM

Erin at Connected2Christ        

Cinnamon Hollow Reviews

Haley at The Life and Lies of An Inanimate Flying Object           


Lydia at Overweight Bookshelf

Katie's Legacy      

Renee at A Path of Joy   

Melissa at Bibliophile's Retreat         

Lauri at Knits, Reads and Reviews       

Courtney at Courtney's Chitter Chatter         

Michelle @ Life in Review          

Charla at For What It's Worth

Jodie at Mom's Pace  


Julee at Mommy's Memorandum        

Pamela at Daysong Reflections      

Marg at Simply Shop and Save

Kendra at Happily Managing a Household of Boys

Joan at Book Reviews from an Avid Reader          

Novella Vialli's Blog     

Lizzie  at A Dusty Frame      

Marissa at The Review Stew        

Jendi's Journal        

Jettie at Jettie's Ramblings   


Stephanie at A Cooking Bookworm 

Cara at The Law, Books and Life       

Tami at This Mom's Delight

Janet at Home Is Where God Sends You         

Tammy at TammyIsBlessed 

Kristinia at Loving Heart Mommy

Faye at Labor Not In Vain         

Cassidy at Praying Through Chaos

Becky at Christian Chick's Thoughts

Sheila at Showcase Sisters    


Simply Stacie          

Tammy at Bluerose's Heart        

Carrie at Farming On Faith   

Sara at Shoopette's Book Reviews   

JHS at Colloquium 

Jennifer at For Such a Time as This          

Kathy at Bags, Books & Bon Jovi      

Carol at Books Before Food 


Melissa at Book Reviews           

Kat at Reviews From The Heart

Melissa at Contemplative Joy

Naasom at Ficção Evangélica - The Christian Fictions's Place in Brazil           

Rachelle at Sojourner's Journey     

Alexia at The Mommy Rambles 

Jen at Happy Little Homemaker  

SusieQTpies at Scraps of Life        

Megan at The Joys of Life         


Maureen's Musings        

Lori at Frog's Lilypad

Tracy's Nook   

Jenna at Eleven Pages      

Lisa at Make Your Own Escape

Ariel at The Librarian's Bookshelf   

Dawn at Guiding Light Homeschool     

Ashley's Bookshelf  


Jodie at Digging For Pearls  

Patty at Broken Teepee     

Kristie at Family Scrapbooks and Coffee   

Michelle at Healing Hearts Book Review Blog 

Review: Ruby Red

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Genre: YA time-travel
ISBN: 9780805092523
Published: May 10th 2011 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published January 2009)

Rating: 4

Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era! Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon, the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

Ruby Red was very exciting. It threw me right into the story and kept me reading. The characters and the plot were highly addictive. Gwyneth is awesome and Gideon is delicious. The ending wasn't fair! It was so not fair! The epilogue left me with more questions than answers. The ending is the only thing making me lower the rating a star. Good job, Gier, I will certainly be reading the sequels.

On reading

Don't read any of this, it's not interesting at all.

Ever get a book in the mail you didn't request? I have. Recently I received two copies of a book that I didn't request. I felt really guilty, but I didn't read it and I probably won't. I don't have the time. I have other books that are more interesting. I have pre-publication copies. I'm not going to waste my time reading a book that isn't even the genre I like just because I have it.

I've also found that if I have a bunch of books to review and I try to read them in a first-come first-served order, I get frustrated because I'm not in the mood to read that book right now. And that usually affects my review or how much I like it. So I try to get to a book within a reasonable amount of time, but I have to want to read it or it won't be worth the time reading.

And what is it with ARCs anyway? Why will people do anything to get their hands on an ARC? Does it make us feel special or important? Is it because they're rare? I've found more and more that ARCs are inconvenient. After I read them, I can't do anything with them. They can't be sold, sometimes my used book stores won't take them, and libraries can't put them into circulation because they don't have ISBN numbers. I started a website called ARC Swap (free to join, by the way), which is like Paperback swap only just for ARCs. The thing is though, a book can only be swapped a few times before the publication date is so far past that people aren't interested anymore. Logically I'd prefer hardbacks, because I can read them, let my folks and family read them, and then donate them to the library when my family is done with them. And yet for some reason, ARCs bring me great joy.

I have begun to enjoy non-fiction more and more. Books like The Respectable Sins and The Healing Code, things that tell me information about humans and nature and thoughts and science and other random stuff. I find that I can incorporate it into the books I write, and it enriches them.

I wonder if the reverse psychology worked…

Review: Happy Birthday to Me

Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe
Genre: YA
ISBN: 1461071798
Published April 11th 2011 by CreateSpace (first published April 5th 2011

Rating: 4

Cameron was that typical jock who only cared about his sexy girlfriend and how soon she'd let him sleep with her. He got drunk and insulted his pretty waitress—which was a bad idea because she turned out to be a witch of sorts. She laid a curse on him out of spite: Every day, he grew to be one year older.

As he aged rapidly he was faced with a reality check: His life would end in a few short weeks. He would never see his graduation. His girlfriend breaks up with him and goes back to her ex. He's not sure if his parents love him or hate him. And they're not sure either.

Then he meets Leisel. And Leisel had her own secret.

The first third of the book frustrated me because Cameron was stupid, rude, immature, irresponsible, and disrespectful. But further in, I started to feel for him a little more. Near the last third of the book I was really enjoying it, I liked all the characters more (or less, in his girlfriend's case) and I was hooked on the story. It was fast-paced and interesting. I think the part I liked most was watching Cameron change from an obnoxious jerk into someone who had some depth and good qualities. It was what I wanted to see, and it made me happy to see him change.

The writing was a little frustrating only because there were ALL CAPS sprinkled in through the book. Now I understand why Rowe used all caps (If I woke up and looked like a thirty year old, I'd say everything in all caps too) but it still makes the editor in me cringe. Aside from that, I liked the writing and the style, I liked the pacing, I liked the humor, and I liked the dialogue. I don't often find a self-published book with good writing, so I'm wary to accept them. I'm glad I made an exception!

Content/Recommendation: Some language, some sexual references, no sex. Ages 16+

Big fun exciting news

Three things:

1. I reached the end of my novel, The Accidental Girlfriend. It still needs a lot of work and there are some missing scenes, but I'm ready to go into the editing process. YAY! I'll post an excerpt soon.

2. September is my blogoversary (2 years!). But as I'll be at school in September, I figured I'd celebrate this summer a month or two early. I've written up the giveaway post, it'll go live as soon as I secure prizes.

3. I hit 400 followers this morning. This brings me great joy.


Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.