Monthly Archives: July 2016

football cover

I was really excited to be contacted by author Amy Avanzino back in April, asking if I could review her second novel “From the Sideline” (second in the Wake-Up Call series). Of course I said YES! because I enjoyed her first novel so much. You can read my  Wake-Up Call book review or order directly from Amazon
“From the Sideline” was released on July 19th and is published by Henery Press. While it’s part of a “series”, it’s not the type of series where you need to start with book #1 and continue through in chronological order. Instead, the “Wake-Up Call” series is more of a concept, featuring unique characters and storylines for each book. I love that idea!
“From the Sideline” features Autumn Kovac, a single mom to 10 year old Zachary. As much as she tries to shield Zachary from being hurt, emotionally and physically, there’s nothing she can do when Zachary decides to try out for a community football team “The Knights”. With all the aggressiveness of an NHL football team, ‘The Knights’ excel at making young footballers mentally and physically tough. Suddenly, Autumn is immersed into a world she had never experienced before, with tough-fighting moms, and take all the punches dads, parents who WANT their children to be fighting footballers. Autumn prefers to think of herself as a peace-loving mom, but soon she finds herself changing (in a good way).
Self-deprecating Autumn clearly doesn’t think much of herself and instead chooses to describe herself in negative ways for the reader. It’s hard not to feel badly for her, especially when she goes on date nights – as the fifth wheel – with her friends and their husbands (pretty funny though!). But early on in the novel I had high hopes that things would change for the better for her.
As a mom, I could definitely relate to Autumn’s dreams and concerns for her son, Zachary. I totally got her hesitation regarding her son playing football – it’s not as huge of a game here in Canada (thought we have a football league, the CFL) – and the rough exercises she witnesses during Zachary’s practices is enough to cause panic and anxiety attacks. However, it seems like the more seasoned parents are used to it and find her attachment to her son unnecessary. It also doesn’t help Zachary’s image as a mediocre player (though he has a ton of drive!).
With the help of friends Lainey and Sarah, Autumn is able to relax and participate more and more as the football practices wear on. As well, Autumn as the attention of both the President of the football league (Jamie) and an EMT who stays on site at the football field should a player get hurt.
It was fun to see if my theory about who Autumn ends up with worked out, or if there would be a romance in her future at all. I really liked that this book was about improving her life (and that of her son’s) and breaking free from her rocky relationship past. Autumn was a relatable character and could easily be your neighbour next door.

‘From the Sideline’ was the perfect follow-up to ‘Wake-Up Call’. It had similar elements but the story went in a completely different direction. Moving forward and growing as a person was the theme here, something that many of us are continuously striving to do.

GIVEAWAY: Amy Avanzino has generously offered prizes of her two ebook titles. Enter below for your chance to win! Good luck! (CAN/US)

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About the Author: Amy Avanzino received a Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and a Master’s from the University of Washington. She is a former special education teacher who has spent the last several years writing and doing extensive hands-on research for her Wake-Up Series, the first of which is Wake-Up Call. She’s a contributing writer of Hap Scotch, a play performed at the 2008 Frigid Festival in New York, which won two Audience Choice Awards. Amy currently lives in the stands above the football fields, basketball courts, and baseball diamonds around Folsom, California with her husband and four children. Visit her at http://www.AmyAvanzino.com.
Avanzino,Sideline-headshot

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Back from the….(reading update and more!)

Hi everyone!

I’m finally back to writing on my blog and it’s been a LONG time! I had high hopes for the New Year but then found myself in a reading drought. Have you ever had one of those? As a Librarian, it drives me batty when I can’t either find the time to read or I’m just not in the mood (usually that translates to tiredness). I ended up getting sick on Boxing Day (December 26th for those who don’t have that holiday) and that continued for five more months. With 3 kids and working full-time, you can imagine what that does to somebody. Even now, I’m fighting a two week chest cold. Ridiculous!
Anyway, when I finally did get around to reading again, I started slowly and with some tried and true reads, by focusing on my favourite cozy lit mystery series. Both Jenn McKinlay’s ‘Library Lovers’ and ‘Cupcake Bakery’ series came to the rescue and I believe I’m all caught up with both. I love those series so much!
During the last five months I also read ‘Where they Found Her’ by Kimberly McCreight and ‘The Widow’ by Fiona Barton. I really loved ‘Where They Found Her’ but found that ‘The Widow’ was a tough read being a mom to young children. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have read it if I had read a review or the synopsis more carefully. But, that’s not to say it was a bad novel – it’s received a lot of praise so check out Goodreads if you’re so inclined.
I also re-read (I never do that!) a book by Wendy Corsi Staub; while I know some of her books are part of trilogies, I didn’t realize that this particular book “Live to Tell” would be good to read again since I own the next book “Scared to Death”. So, I have that one in my pile of books to read this summer.
Right now, I’m currently reading the second book of ‘The Clifton Chronicles’ by Jeffrey Archer, as well as ‘How to be a Grown-up’ by Nicola Kraus and Emma McClaughlin. Talk about a difference in genres! I’m enjoying both and I love discovering new series to read.
Finally, I picked up quite a few books from garage sales this year (already!). So, those will travel with me to the beach and other weekend getaways this summer. However, I always have high hopes to read more on these getaways, but really, with 3 kids six and under you can imagine how much reading I actually accomplish.
I’m also going to be reviewing Amy Avanzino’s latest “Wake Up Call” books called ‘From the Sideline’ which will be published later this month (which is when my review will be posted, too). I have a few other books to review that I’ve been tardy in posting, so those will be forthcoming as well.
And that’s my update! I read more than just the books mentioned, but honestly I can’t remember them all. There are always books to read and I wish I had more time – so many great books…ahhh…how I love reading 🙂
Maybe this post will give you some new titles to check out!