Tag Archives: Amy Avanzino

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)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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!

Wake-Up Call, by Amy Avanzino {Book Tour and Review}

I am so excited to be posting today as part of a book tour for a debut novel!

Amy Avanzino’s Wake-Up Call was published on September 1, 2015 by Henery Press.

WakeUpCall
About the book:
Sarah Winslow wakes up with a terrible hangover… and a kid in her boyfriend’s bed. She makes the horrifying discovery that, due to a head injury, it’s not a hangover. She’s got memory loss. Overnight, five years have disappeared, and she’s no longer the hard-living, fast-track, ad executive party girl she thinks she is. Now, she’s the unemployed, pudgy, married, stay-at-home-mom of three kids under five, including twins. As she slowly pieces together the mystery of how her dreams and aspirations could have disintegrated so completely in five short years, she finds herself utterly failing to manage this life she can’t imagine choosing. When Sarah meets the man of her dreams, she realizes she’s got to make a choice: Does she follow her bliss and “do-over” her life? Or does the Sarah she’s forgotten hold the answers to how she got here… and how she can stay?

My Review: When Sarah Winslow wakes up and discovers her new life is no longer “single girl in the city”, but rather “stay at home mom in the suburbs”, she has to reconsider everything that’s important to her and start fresh. “Wake-Up Call”, a debut novel by Amy Avanzino, is a modern-day take on that old adage: “the grass is always greener on the other side”.

I loved that this book is honest about motherhood, the hardships, and the life you give up to raise children. Most of us have chosen this role, but I can’t imagine being Sarah Winslow and being thrown into the lion’s den so suddenly. At least for those who have (three or more) kids, it’s a gradual buildup. Sarah, who has experienced a bout of amnesia after a skateboard fall, has forgotten the last 5 years of her life. When she’s practically thrown into the lion’s den to look after her three children alone, she says “How hard can it be? I have a 12 year old girls’ job”. Not quite!

This book can be described as part chicklit, part coming of age/realization. There are plenty of humourous moments, with a serious undertone. I laughed out loud many times, probably because I could relate so much to the main character and her family. The relationships are real – hard times between Sarah and her husband, just like many of us go through. But, they’re a family and love each other, and that’s where this book really excels. Showing that the love of family – and not material things – is what’s truly important. Good friends, great kids and a loving husband are the real joys in Sarah’s life, something she has to discover and realize for herself (again). Sarah has a great group of friends, just not the ones she’s expecting. The divide between her past life and present becomes more obvious as she learns the new way of doing things, with lots of help from her children. The innateness of motherhood is hard to resist as Sarah leads her charges (her own children) from activity to playgroup to school. As Sarah tries to reclaim her old life, Sarah becomes a mother bear in the true sense, standing up for her son against a bully child AND her mother, for example. Basically, she’s doing her best to raise her children and exceeds her own expectations of what she’s able to accomplish!

My favourite laugh-out-loud part of the book –

“I can’t stand my shape”. Sarah exclaims!
“I love your shape”, says Kofi.
“Then you must love circles”, replies Sarah.

Ha!

I flew through this book which is a pretty big feat for me. It helped that my toddler was napping on me…so, what else was I to do? Love that! Not all books are like that though, so it shows that “Wake-Up Call” is an engaging, fast-paced read with likeable characters and plot.
Even more exciting is that this book is first in series – the Wake-Up Call series. New series, and new authors, are always fun to discover.

Thank you to the author for providing me a with an ebook copy of ‘Wake-up Call’ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

AmyAvanzino
For more about Amy Avanzino, visit her website

Getting back into the groove….of blogging AND reading

Hi Readers!

It’s been a long while since I posted or blogged here, but life’s been busy. Basically, any time I had for reading got squashed by family and life demands. If I did have time to read, then I didn’t have time to blog. It’s a vicious cycle! I wish I could be one of those moms who used their evening hours to blog, but unfortunately I don’t have a “go to bed and sleep” kind of crew. It requires a lot more hand-holding, and this mama usually just ends up falling asleep. It’s sad.
But, anyway, I’m back and I have some fun things lined up. I AM participating in this month’s “New Release Giveaway Hop” which means – a GIVEAWAY!! – and that is happy news! Look for it around August 15th. In September, I’m participating in a blog tour for a chicklit novel called “Wake-Up Call” by Amy Avanzino, so that should be a lot of fun!

Mostly, I’ve been making my way through my to be read (TBR) pile. To give you an idea of how far behind I am in reading books, I’m currently reading “Bitter is the New Black” by Jen Lancaster (published in 2006). It’s probably just books on my own bookshelves that are far behind, as I do read new releases quite often. Jen Lancaster actually has a new book coming out this week (fiction), so be on the lookout if you like her style. The new release I’m reading now is “The Luckiest Girl Alive” by Jessica Knoll. Have you heard of that one? It’s drawn me in already, and I hope to get a review up soon. So, you can see that’s part of the problem, too – I read more than one book at once! Good idea, or bad idea?
In other book news, I’ve won a few including “Grey” by E.D. James and “Ru” by Kim Thuy. The latter was the 2015 Canada Reads winner – can those two books be any further apart in their style? I have to confess I haven’t read the ‘Grey’ series so I’ll probably be reading ‘Ru’ first. I also have review copies of two chicklit books that look like a lot of fun.

Nowadays, I read more children’s books than anything; my toddler loves all the dinosaur books it seems, and my boys go back and forth between Star Wars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Luckily, we are avid library borrowers, so there are plenty of other books (non-themed) that come into this house.
Magazines also play a part in my everyday reading time, as their quick, snappy articles are easy to absorb while on the go.

And that’s my update! Happy Reading everyone!

Be sure to comment below and let me know what you’re reading right now. How’s your TBR pile? Out of control or manageable? I’d love to hear all about it!