Monday, July 31, 2017

#BookReview - The 13th Gift (A True Story of a Christmas Miracle) by Joanne Huist Smith

Title:  The 13th Gift (A True Story of a Christmas Miracle)
Author:  Joanne Huist Smith
Genre:  Holidays, Non-Fiction, Family
Release Date:  October 28, 2014


About the Book:

For readers of Richard Paul Evans and Greg Kincaid comes The 13th Gift, a heartwarming Christmas story about how a random act of kindness transformed one of the bleakest moments in a family's history into a time of strength and love.After the unexpected death of her husband, Joanne Huist Smith had no idea how she would keep herself together and be strong for her three children--especially with the holiday season approaching. But 12 days before Christmas, presents begin appearing on her doorstep with notes from their "True Friends." As the Smiths came together to solve the mystery of who the gifts were from, they began to thaw out from their grief and come together again as a family. This true story about the power of random acts of kindness will warm the heart, a beautiful reminder of the miracles of Christmas and the gift of family during the holiday season.

Buy Links: Amazon 
My Review:

"The 13th Gift" is not that big of a book, but it took me the entire month to finish it, even though I'm one of those readers who generally finishes a book in one or two days.  At one point, I listed this book as DNF (did not finish).  Why?  Because it started out so heart-wrenching that I was either getting really depressed, crying or getting really angry at the mother in the story.

This is a true story of how a family was dealing with the loss of the husband/father.  He had died at Christmastime the previous year, which made this Christmas very difficult to get through.  Then the gifts started coming.  Not expensive gifts, just simple Christmasy gifts on their doorstep with a mysterious note each day.  Gifts for each day of the twelve days of Christmas.  The family came together little by little, and began looking forward to the next day.

The sentiment and warmth that shows through in strangers and friends and the family as well, gives you the real sense of what Christmas is all about.

I can't say that I loved the book.  It was well written, but far too emotional for me.  I know that there are others who would find this heartwarming instead of heart-wrenching.

My Rating:


Saturday, July 29, 2017

#BookReview - The Chameleon Soul Mate by Evelyn Lederman

Title:  The Chameleon Soul Mate (World's Apart Series - Book 1)
Author:  Evelyn Lederman
Genre:  Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Release Date:  August 12, 2014


About the Book:

While hiking, Alexandra Mann is powerless to stop the force that pulls her into a foreign land. Alex must rely on her quick-wits in an effort to deal with the strange new world. Fear of rejection taught her the art of blending into the background, a skill that will help keep her alive.
Engaged in a battle with a government determined to suppress its people, Tarsea Childers' life is suddenly turned upside down. The shocking arrival of an unusual woman captivates him body and soul, and makes him fear what the future holds. The electric, life-changing bond between them will have far reaching consequences for him and his world.
Can Alex step out of the shadows and finally shine? Will Tarsea overcome his need to control everything, and accept Alex as his partner in life and in his fight against the government?
Plunge into an alternate universe where soul mates aren't just legend.
Buy Links: Amazon 
My Review:

As I was talking to a friend of mine, I mentioned that I had recently read the Young Adult novel, SELECTED by Evelyn Lederman and I loved it.  My friend suggested that I read one of Ms. Lederman's "adult" novels.  I took her suggestion and I'm so glad I did!  This is definitely an "adult" novel, but the story is totally fascinating.  Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down and now I can't wait to read the next book in this series.

Alexandra grew up in an orphanage, not knowing much at all about her parents.  With no other relatives, she clung to her two best friends.  While waiting for her friends to arrive for their weekend in Sedona, Alex decides to go for a hike.  That's when she accidentally stumbles through a portal into an alternate universe.  She soon discovers that this alternate universe is really her home... and her life will never be the same.

Evelyn Lederman has created a beautifully painted, fascinating world, where the people have the ability to communicate telepathically and where soulmates share a special communication path.  Alex's love life heats up when she meets Tarsea, but that love is threatened by Raine Narmouth, Captain of the CT Guard.  

Disclosure:  A complimentary copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:

I clearly remember a conversation I had with my sister and a friend about infinite parallel universes. We were outside Sedona, Arizona. All of a sudden 5 young women started talking in my mind. That was the start of 'The World's Apart' series. 'The Chameleon Soul Mate' was published in August 2014, followed by 'The Crystal Telepath' in December 2014. The floodgates have opened and I have more books in the Worlds Apart series as well as other series coming. I’m loving the ride!

Friday, July 28, 2017

#BookBlitz & #Giveaway - Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats by Carla Rehse


Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats
Carla Rehse
Publication date: July 24th 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Gracie Mason is homecoming queen, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, and a member of the student council. She’s also a budding burglar. While attempting her inaugural break-in, Gracie blacks out and wakes up far away from the scene. It turns out she accidentally intruded on a male witch’s “circle of power,” and now she’s bonded to him for life. To break the bond, Gracie must delve deeper into a society of witches that involves a secret club, a shadowy council, and all sorts of magical mischief.
Gracie quickly learns that dissolving the bond with Asher, admittedly a very handsome and charming witch, is more complicated than she initially thought. And right when it seems things can’t get any worse, witches start turning up dead. It’s clear that Gracie is out of her depth as her quest to sever the bond magically turns into a murder investigation.
Are you a book reviewer?

Request a review copy here!
EXCERPT:
New Hobbies
Daddy told me years ago that to succeed in life I need a strong plan, the right tools, and the gumption to follow through. His words of wisdom helped me get elected homecoming queen, become co-captain of the cheerleading squad, and voted on the student council. Now I plan to use them to help me pull off my first burglary.
My plan is solid. I’ve also never backed down from a challenge, not even last year when Brittany Thomas became overly friendly with the entire football team in a sad attempt to deprive me of my crown. People say I started the rumor about the rash of STD cases spreading through the boys’ locker room faster than a brush fire. I didn’t, of course. Why start gossip when the squad of doctors from the local Health Department did it for me?
I take a deep breath as I enter the Trinity Building. At almost four o’clock on a Friday before a three-day weekend, the place is deader than a PTA meeting. It helps that today is the hottest July first on record for Central Texas and the air conditioning in this building is dismally subpar. The Trinity Corporation may claim to have the most upscale rental space in town, but one look at the gold leopard granite floor paired with peach-painted walls shows that’s a downright fib.
The only guard on duty leans back in his chair and sucks down a Sonic Route 44 Coke like his life depends on it. I wave as I pass the security desk, wearing a megawatt smile and fully confident in the strength of my lavender-scented Lavanila deodorant—vegan, of course. Deputy Dawg gives me his usual perv stare before returning to the comic book balanced on his knee.
Centex Therapy, LPC occupies most of the first floor office space. A small bell tinkles when I open the frosted glass door. What decorum the overall building lacks, the waiting room has in spades. Brown leather chairs sit on a bamboo rug and pastel paintings from local artists brighten the walls. A tall grandfather clock in the corner softly chimes four times. This late on a Friday means the room is empty of other patients. Perfect.
Jane, the receptionist, fans herself with a copy of Country Living. “Cutting it awfully close, Gracie. Go on in.”
Dr. McDozzle gives me a pained smile as I enter the room.
“Good afternoon, Miss Mason. Have a seat.” For a head shrinker, he’s incredibly formal. And a non-Texan, who hates football and sweet tea. I haven’t learned much more about him in the last month, but that’s enough to get him tarred and feathered if word got out.
The leather recliner squeaks when I sit down. “Thanks for seeing me on a Friday, Doc.” I twirl a strand of newly highlighted platinum hair around my finger. It goes wonderful with my bubblegum pink manicure. “Mr. Anderson, Daddy’s new lawyer, is now insisting I have two sessions a month with you. Of course, Mama’s lawyer says once a month is just fine, seeing how I’m such a well-adjusted high school senior and all. Almost a senior, I guess, since school’s not started.”
Dr. McDozzle straightens his glasses. “Yes, well, your parents do seem to have quite the barrage of attorneys involved in their divorce. Have you worked on the homework I gave you during our last session?”
This is such a waste of time. My parents have spent the last five years embroiled in a divorce dirtier than a greased pig-wrestling contest. Both sides of the family have more money than sense, much to the delight of every lawyer in the tri-county area. Not that I want my parents to get back together. Anytime they’re within spitting distance of each other, the tension between them gives me a migraine. Besides, if they hadn’t split up, I never would’ve met Ben.
Ben’s the son of Daddy’s ex-girlfriend. Until four months ago, they all lived together in Daddy’s condo. Ben is a sophomore at the local college and is truly hot, in a geeky, stud muffin, save-the-world, kinda way. Crushing on my almost stepbrother might seem a bit sketchy, but it’s legal—I Googled it twice.
Which means it’s time to start step one in my Get Ben Plan.
I toss my hair over my shoulder before pulling out a pink glitter notebook from my Eiffel Tower-shaped mini-purse.
“You wanted me to write down my feelings about my parents’ shared custody thing. Honestly, I don’t understand why the lawyers are so panty twisted about me spending a week with Mama and the next with Daddy. It means I get double the wardrobe. Hello? What girl would say no to that? It’s way better than Heather’s situation. I told you about her last time, I think. The girl with the hideous frizzed-out curls but drives a cute BMW Z4 roadster? Anyway, her parents are insane.” I continue a steady stream of babble until Dr. McDozzle’s eyes glaze over.
There’s no clocks in the room, but Dr. McDozzle keeps checking his watch. I’m sure the poor man created a nice therapy plan for me, but I’ve completely derailed it. Mama always says a girl has many tools to choose from in her arsenal—perfectly curled hair, well-placed boobs, and endless chatter are my faves. Besides, Daddy’s been paying therapists a fortune for years to show the divorce court how concerned he is about me. Dr. McDozzle’s earning his car payment today.



Author Bio:
Although not a native Texan, Carla prides herself on having mastered the correct usage of “y’all” and “bless your heart.”
Carla is owned by a persnickety kitty, who rules the computer keyboard and only allows Carla to write when demands for cat treats are met.

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

#BookBlitz & #Giveaway - The Cauldron Stirred by Judith Sterling


The Cauldron Stirred
Judith Sterling
(Guardians of Erin, #1)
Publication date: July 21st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Ashling Donoghue never dreamed moving to Ireland would rock her perception of reality and plunge her into a mystery that brings legend to life.
At seventeen, she’s never had a boyfriend, but she feels an immediate connection to Aengus Breasal, the son of the wealthy Irishman who’s invited her family to stay at his Killarney estate. For the first time in her life, a guy she likes seems attracted to her.
But Aengus is secretive, with good reason. He and his family are the Tuatha Dé Danann, ageless, mythical guardians adept at shifting between this reality and the magical dimension known as the Otherworld. Evil forces from that world threaten the Breasals, the Donoghues, and all of Ireland. Ashling must open her heart, face her fears, and embrace a destiny greater than she could ever have imagined.
EXCERPT:
The night air was deliciously cool. Moonlight and darkness held equal sway over the backyard thanks to the shifting clouds. I dashed across the lawn and halted in the exact spot where Aengus had stood. Panting, I looked around, willing some kind of clue to materialize.
The ruins in front of me darkened as large, heavy clouds swallowed the moon whole. The wind tugged at my long, loose hair and pajamas. Tiny raindrops spattered on my nose and cheeks. I turned my palms to the sky, and cold rain pelted them.
“Great.” Intending to return to the house, I swiveled around.
I gasped. My right hand flew to my chest. “Aengus?!”
The man himself stood an arm’s length in front of me. “Why are you here?”
“You scared the crap out of me!”
“Whisht!”
“What?”
“Shush!”
Pop!
The strident sound came from the ruins. I whirled around and stared at the dark keep.
Aengus grabbed me from behind. He pulled me to him and wrapped his arms around me. I reveled in the feel of his taut body, of his warm flesh against mine.
Suddenly, everything changed. The rain stopped. The wind died. The entire landscape was bathed in the soft hue of twilight. Breasal Castle looked brand spanking new, just as it had during the bizarre dream in which I brought Aengus to the cottage. But this time, I knew I was awake.
Dumbfounded, I gawked at the medieval magnificence before me. I had no idea what had happened and no desire to pull away from his embrace.
His lips brushed my right ear, sending a shiver down my spine. “This way.”
His right arm released me, and his left slid down to my waist. Maintaining body contact the entire time, he steered me toward the stand of oaks on our right.
Once sheltered by the trees, he turned us around so we faced the castle.
“Are we hiding?” I whispered.
“We are.”
“Why? And what just happened?”
“I can’t say.”
“Can’t or won’t?”
“Both.”
Until that moment, I’d forgotten I wore pajamas. Now I was acutely aware of it. Satin was pleasing to the touch, but something told me my attire had nothing to do with his grip on me.
I looked up at him. “Not that I mind, but why are you holding me so close?”
His hand tightened on my waist. “It’s necessary.”
“I don’t suppose you can explain that, either.”
With his gaze locked on the castle, he shook his head. He pressed his right forefinger against his mouth in a silencing gesture. Then he pointed up at the keep.
High on the battlements, the black-haired woman from my dream—and from Branna’s painting—paced back and forth. Her hair whipped about her pale face and slender frame.
She paused beside a gap in the crenelated wall and glared down at the fairy mound. Her colorless lips curled into a sneer. Then her human form morphed into a dark shadow, which fragmented into what seemed a million black particles. They swarmed into the air and shot across the twilit sky, disappearing into the distance.
I took a deep breath. “So she’s real.”
He nodded. “She’s real, to be sure. Come.” With his arm still hooked around me, he led me out of the woods and toward the fairy mound.


Author Bio:
Judith Sterling's love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Flight of the Raven and Soul of the Wolf are part of her medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood. The Cauldron Stirred is the first book in her YA paranormal fantasy series, Guardians of Erin. Written under Judith Marshall, her nonfiction books--My Conversations with Angels and Past Lives, Present Stories--have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

#BookBlitz & #Giveaway - Addicted to Love by Jennifer Wilck


Addicted to Love
Jennifer Wilck
(Serendipity, #1)
Publication date: July 21st 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Dan Rothberg struggled after an accident killed his wife and he nearly lost custody of his daughter. He can no longer allow himself to get attached to anything or anyone. Until he meets Hannah.
Hannah Cohen is a young executive with a meddlesome grandmother and a troubled brother. She’d like nothing better than to find her own Mr. Right, after too many Mr. Wrongs. A sexy older man with a teenage daughter was never in her plans.
As they navigate their relationship through adolescent attitudes and grandmotherly interference, they realize age is just a number and love can be right in front of them. But when the terrible truth of Dan’s former struggles is exposed, Hannah must decide if she can get past his deception and allow love to conquer all.
EXCERPT:
“So what’s Hannah like?” Tess sank into the chair next to him. Dan refrained from telling her to go to bed. For once she wanted to talk—he’d spend all night with her if necessary.
“She’s nice. Funny and smart, too.”
Tess winced. “Sounds great.” Her tone implied anything but.
Dan nudged her. “Trust me, she is. I didn’t think you’d want to hear other kinds of stuff.”
“Eww, no. Where’d you guys go?”
“I took her to the planetarium, and afterward, to Isabella’s.”
Tess sat up straight. “You took her there? I thought you were joking!”
“What? She liked it.” “Really? Or was she just pretending?” He paused and considered Hannah’s reaction. It hadn’t seemed fake. He’d been careful not to overload her with too much geek data, which might fascinate him but bore others. No, he was sure she’d liked it.
“Her eyes didn’t glaze over, and she pulled me along to show me things she thought were interesting. So I’d have to say really.”
“Weird. Are you going to see her again?”
This was worse than he expected, as he tried to keep from squirming in his seat under Tess’ direct gaze. “I hope so.”
“When do I get to meet her?” “You’ve met her, Tess. At the JCC concert.”
“I know, Dad, but when do I get to really meet her? If you like her enough to go out with her so often, I should at least get to know her better. Invite her over for dinner.”
He glanced at his watch. “Shouldn’t you be…in bed or something?” He regretted his eagerness to talk to her. Well, that was his feeling lots of times as the father of a teenager, but this time she was talking about Hannah. And for some reason, she made him feel like his mother was interrogating him, rather than his daughter. He needed to regain the upper hand. Somehow. “Dinner’s a good idea, Tess. Just not right now.”
“Why not? You’re a good cook. Everyone has to eat. You can invite her here, impress her with your culinary skills, and she and I can get to know each other better. What’s the problem?”
The idea had so many problems her compliment didn’t hit him until after.
“Thanks,” he said.
“For what?”
“For telling me I’m a good cook.”
“You’re welcome. But changing the subject won’t work.”
Damn. He ran a hand through his hair and remembered he needed a haircut. Turning in his seat, he grabbed his phone and added it to tomorrow’s to-do list. “Tess, I think it’s too soon in our relationship for this to happen.”
“Too soon? What’s too soon about it? You’ve been dating a couple of weeks, right?”
“Ten days.” Was it only ten days? “You have a daughter.”
He nodded.
“So, it’ll look weird if you keep me hidden away, like Mr. Rochester’s wife.”
“Oh, a literary reference,” he said. “Nice touch.”
She grinned. “I thought you’d appreciate it. As my reward, I think you should listen to me. I could always come with you somewhere if you don’t want her at the apartment.”
Letting out a sigh, he faced her. “Like a chaperone? Oh, sounds fun. Come here.”
She stood and he pulled her into a hug. “I’ll think about it. I’m glad you’re okay with the idea of me dating.”
Tess shrugged. “I don’t know. I mean, Hannah seems nice, but do you have time to date? You always tell me how busy you are.”
He pulled her into another hug. “No matter what I do, I’ll always have time for you. I promise.”


Author Bio:
When I was a little girl and couldn’t fall asleep, my mother would tell me to make up a story. Pretty soon, my head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Each character had a specific personality, a list of likes and dislikes, and sometimes, even a specific accent or dialect. Even as an adult, I think about the characters and stories at night before I fall asleep, or in the car on my way to or from one of my daughters’ numerous activities (hey, anything that will drown out their music is a good thing).
One day, I started writing them down (it was either that or checking into the local mental hospital—the computer was way less scary) and now I'm a published author. My first book, A Heart of Little Faith, was just declared a Finalist in the Fiction: Romance category of the 2016 Best Book Awards.
In the real world, I’m the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men I know. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling and watching TV. In between chauffeuring my daughters to after-school activities that require an Excel spreadsheet to be kept straight, I run youth group activities, train the dog we recently adopted from a local shelter, and cook dinners that fit the needs of four very different appetites. I also write freelance articles for magazines, newspapers, and edit newsletters.
When all of that gets overwhelming, I retreat to my computer, where I write stories that let me escape from reality. In my made-up world, the heroines are always smart, sassy and independent. The heroes are handsome and strong with just a touch of vulnerability. If I don’t like a character, I can delete him or her; if something doesn’t work, I can rewrite it. It’s very satisfying to be in control of at least one part of my life. My inspiration comes from watching the people around me and fantasizing about how I’d do things differently.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

#BookBlitz & #KindleFire #Giveaway - Got Mine by Nicole Loufas


Got Mine
Nicole Loufas
Publication date: July 25th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
When his girlfriend joins the army; Theodore Sway is left to raise their daughter on his own. His shitty job barely covers the ever-rising cost of his San Francisco neighborhood. When Lulu is accepted at a hipster private school, Theo is forced to find a better job. He does what any good parent would – he becomes a stripper.
Theo sacrifices his ego, his morals, and his body hair so his daughter can have the kind of childhood he’s always dreamt about. With the encouragement of his not-so-helpful club brothers and Sylvie, his ex-stripper BFF, Sway struggles to maintain balance between his sexy stage persona and his role as the world’s okayest dad.


Author Bio:
Nicole was born and raised in California. She claims to be a San Francisco native, however she's lived in both Northern and Southern California. She credits her creativity to the fact that she attended 12 schools between kindergarten and her senior year in high school. Her nomadic childhood allowed her to reinvent herself often. Some might say she was a liar. While others see the stories she told as a coping mechanism. Twelve schools, in six cities, in twelve years - give her a break. Today she channels her storytelling ability into writing novels. Long story short - kids that lie become writers.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

#BookBlitz - Symphony of the Night by Julie Morgan


The veil has lowered and the human race now realizes they are not alone. We live among the supernatural, but there’s a catch: you only see them if you have the supernatural gene.

My name is Jac and I’m the last Valkyrie. My best friend and guardian, Rowan, is a gargoyle. The portal to our world closed, trapping the supernatural on earth. Word is out about a stone with powers to open it. It’s not just any stone, it is THE stone. Tasked by Archangel Michel to find it, I know I’m going to need help.

Humans already wants us out of their realm. If the stone falls into the wrong hands, all hell will break loose. Samuel, the first of the Fallen, wants the stone and plans on using it to his advantage. When chaos erupts, the humans will find justification for their fears, and the supernatural will be forced to fight back.

My allies are few, and my enemies great. Will I be able to stop Samuel and save the world, or will we be lost along with the humans?



About the Author

Originally from Burleson, Texas Julie always had a love of books, especially paranormal stories. Julie finally took the leap to begin writing with encouragement from her family. 


Having worked in IT her entire career, Julie now spends her free time writing. Living in Central Florida with her husband and daughter, her favorite pastime is reading children's stories to her daughter, especially those around animals.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

#BookReview - Christmas with an Angel by Debbie Mason

Title:  Christmas with an Angel (Harmony Harbor)
Author:  Debbie Mason
Genre:  Romance, Holidays
Release Date:  December 6, 2016


About the Book:

It's been eight long years since Michael Gallagher has laid eyes on Shay Angel, back when he was a boy from the most prominent family in town and she was a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. But he hadn't cared about their differences - until one bad decision landed her in jail.

That was years ago and now he's back in Harmony Harbor for the holidays. So when Shay goes missing, Michael is intent on finding her and finding out if their sizzling attraction is still there. But he's now a district attorney, and it looks like Shay is once again on the wrong side of the law. 


Buy Links: Amazon 
My Review:

First of all, please don't confuse this review with CHRISTMAS WITH ANGEL by Lexi Post that appeared here on my blog a few days ago.  This is an entirely different book.

CHRISTMAS WITH AN ANGEL by Debbie Mason was a very short story and not all that Christmasy.  The cover is beautiful and the title had me thinking this was going to be an entirely different type of book.  Not exactly what I had been looking for and as I read I felt like I was missing something.  Nowhere did I see that there was a previous book in this series.  Perhaps if I had more of the back story from reading other books in this series, I may have enjoyed it more.

There was action and suspense, but the romance was flat and the characters were not well developed...  but again, they may have been better developed in previous books in this series.  Reading this as a stand-alone just didn't really work out for me.

Debbie Mason is an excellent writer and just because this one didn't quite hit the mark for me, the only explanation I have is that I should have read other books in this series first.  I also should not have put so much emphasis on angels and Christmas.  That just wasn't what this was all about.

Disclosure:  A complimentary copy was provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:
Debbie Mason is the bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series. Her books have been praised for their "likable characters, clever dialogue and juicy plots" (RT Book Reviews). She also writes historical paranormals as Debbie Mazzuca. Her MacLeod series has received several nominations for best paranormal as well as a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. When she isn't writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their three wonderful children and son-in-law, two adorable grandbabies, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.

You can learn more at:
AuthorDebbieMason.com
Twitter @AuthorDebMason
Facebook.com

Saturday, July 22, 2017

#BookBlitz & #Giveaway - Till the Other Side of Time by Kris Embrey


Till the Other Side of Time
Kris Embrey
Published by: Archway Publishing
Publication date: July 15th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance
This is the final chapter of Tell Me You Want Me as told by the cast of characters Leon, Bridgette, Gina and Sebastian.
Set in the music world of the late eighties, Gina Kelly and Leon Turner take off for Greece after a tumultuous tour with Tin Garden. Leon leaves Gina at the Acropolis to contemplate her life and soul mission. Is there a surprise waiting for Gina. Is it Sebastian? Things are not always as they seem in the world of rock and roll when Tin Garden are not on stage. Sebastian makes amends to clean-up his act as he moves out of the spotlight and into rehab and we start to wonder if his brother Rick has been the driving force of Sebastian’s problems all along. Gina leaves her singing career behind for motherhood, when Sebastian wants to have one last party before making a huge decision that will have a profound impact on his future with Tin Garden.
The author gives a final non-fiction version at the end into her personal journey in writing when the antagonist Sebastian, manifested into the authors personal life after her first book was published. Embrey shares her writing journey of Tell Me You Want Me, when the book took on a life of it’s own, and leaves one to wonder the age old question; does art imitate life, or does life imitate art.
EXCERPT:
The Book of Leon

NBC Studios, New York, August 12, 1988

Leon Taylor interview, already in progress.
Interviewer: You were on the infamous ‘Wait (Wait till I’m Home) Tour.’ Is that correct?
Leon: Yes, I was.
Interviewer: It was rumored that the tour was plagued with drug problems.
Leon: (laughing) I never heard that rumor.
Interviewer: Sebastian Roland has a reputation with issues related to drugs like heroin. Can you comment on that?
Leon: Heroin? No, I’ve never seen him or anyone do smack … okay?
I should’ve had the sense to decline the interview. I wasn’t expecting to be asked about drug use during a tour that happened over two years ago. I disconnected from the interviewer when I got hit with that last ignorant-ass question, which caused my mind to go back to that crazy tour and what followed after Gina and I left it.
It was November 17, 1986, when I started unpacking from the move into Gina’s and my new apartment. I had just pulled the last of the kitchen nonsense out from a box when the phone rang.
“Leon, hey, it’s Walter. Listen to this … you’ll never believe who I just got off the phone with,” he said with excitement.
“Who?” I asked, preoccupied.
“Guess who’s still lighting matches to Gina torch?” Walter said, laughing.
“Are you serious?” I replied, surprised. I knew who Walter was referring to and started whispering over the phone because Gina was sitting on the other side of the room.
“Sebastian tried calling you at your old number. He told me he’d made a big mistake. Can you believe that?” Walter said.
“He’s a damn mess,” I replied, rolling my eyes.
Walter proceeded to enlighten me on his conversation with Sebastian. I knew that man had called Bridgette’s place several times looking for Gina only because B had been bitching to me nonstop about it. Sebastian probably assumed that if he called the Christopher apartment enough times, Gina would answer the phone. Bridgette had finally had enough and had told Sebastian in a more animated way to go kick rocks and stop calling. Sebastian must have finally given up on Bridgette and figured that, since he used to hit Walter up for drugs back in the day, they were tight enough for Walter to give him info about where Gina was staying now. Walter didn’t give Sebastian the information he was digging for; instead, Walter called me and asked, “What do you want to do about it?” Thinking about his question and looking over at Gina, who was staring off into space and looking out the window, I told Walter to give me Sebastian’s number. I’m the one who decided to make the call to Sebastian.
I was really mad at Sebastian for what he’d done to Gina at that video shoot, not to mention the other things I had heard about on tour that had been kept from Gina. It was fair to say that Sebastian auditioned his tool in anything that had an opening, if you get my meaning. He was a damn mess with it. I’m being real with you. I didn’t want to be part of their love shit; it was exhausting. But she was hurting and still in love with his dumb ass, so I had to do something.
Gina had put on her coat and was heading over to Bridgette’s for the day. “See you later,” she said somberly. I was still on the phone with Walter.
After she left, I picked up the phone and placed the call to Sebastian. I will admit, I was curious myself about what had happened with him after the tour ended. Looking at his number, which I had scribbled on the side of a moving box, I thought about what I was going to say to his ass. I dialed the operator to place a London call, collect of course.
“This is the United States operator. Collect call from the makeup lady to Mr. SoBo Roland. Will you accept the charges?” the operator said when Sebastian answered.
“Makeup lady? Leon? Yeah, I’ll accept,” Sebastian answered back.
“Go ahead makeup lady,” the operator answered back.
“Hello, Sebastian” I said after some hesitation when he was switched over. He seemed a bit surprised to hear my voice on the other end.
“Where is she, Leon?” Sebastian asked impatiently, and he spent the first few minutes of our conversation pushing on me how to reach Gina and droning on about how he missed her.
“She’s around … busy, but she’s around,” I replied, ignoring his tale of woe. I glanced out the window to see that heavy snow had started falling. I was personally anticipating some warmer weather in Europe, so as I watched the snow, I began thinking about whether I should pack a speedo to take to Greece.
“I fucked up, Leon. I’m coming to New York for Christmas to see her,” he said.
He was still going on about how sorry he was for what he did to Gina when, without thinking, I let the cat out of the bag, interrupting to let him know that Gina and I were headed to Greece for Christmas.
“Really?” Sebastian said. He paused and then started to regale me with some foolishness about how he was going to meet us there and ask Gina to marry him. I thought he was crazy until he said, “Keep it a secret from her.”
This fucking man. I had to keep that info tight for three weeks. He wanted me to get Gina to the Acropolis the day we landed. He knew she’d always wanted to go there, so that was where he was going to ask her to marry his dumb ass, but he needed my help.
After I hung up with Sebastian, I called Walter back and told him about our little conversation and Sebastian’s plan to meet us in Greece.
“That’s romantic,” he said.
Of course he would think some mess like that, because he was living a straight life now. Walter was a yester-gay (yesterday gay) with a baby on the way. I rolled my eyes. Walter didn’t have to live with Gina or Sebastian’s secret. I did. I was edged off at Walter for getting me involved in this foolishness.



Author Bio:
Kris Embrey's love of music took her to New York for theatre and auditioning in the late 80's to be an MTV VJ, meeting several bands popular of that time, who inspired her love for writing rock and roll fiction.

She later moved to Kansas City where she attended UMKC to learn recording engineering, and had a chance of a lifetime, when she landed a job working for Dick Clark.



Embrey later moved to Los Angeles to work as a runner for his production company.

Embrey's career has included being a Media and Operations Director for a large advertising agency in Los Angeles.



Embrey is working on the follow-up to her first book due in June of 2017 entitled Till the Other Side of Time, and also a theatre release of her first book Tell Me You Want Me.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

#BookBlitz & #Giveaway - Withhold (Mosaic Chronicles, Book 9) by Andrea Pearson


Withhold
Andrea Pearson
(Mosaic Chronicles, #9)
Publication date: July 18th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult
With the lives of everyone she holds dear at stake, will Nicole be able to do what it takes to stop the evil surrounding her?
In the ultimate battle between good and evil, Nicole is in a race to stop Keitus before he achieves his plans. If he succeeds, he will crush everyone who has opposed him and enslave Earth and countless other planets. Unfortunately, he is only minutes away from his goal.
With so much at stake, Nicole and her friends must approach Helen, a volatile and dangerous spirit who will probably destroy them regardless of whether she gives them what they want. And the chances of her helping them are slim.
Fast-paced and epic magical fights, exciting plot twists, and non-stop action and adventure await. So sit down, buckle up, and hold on for the explosive, much-anticipated conclusion to the award-winning and bestselling Mosaic Chronicles.
EXCERPT FROM DISCERN (Book 1):
Nicole put her stuff down, not wanting anything to be in her hands when she picked up the disgusting book. She reached for it, but hesitated. Already, she could sense warmth coming from the leather cover, and she wasn’t even touching it. Its magical pulses were different from the other items—they seemed to drip off the book like sweat.
Nicole hesitated, but wasn’t sure why. It wasn’t as if something bad would happen, right? She took a deep breath and placed her hands on the book. It shivered under her touch and she cringed, pulling back. The sensation of warm leather made her flesh crawl, and she rubbed her hands and arms on her jeans, trying to get the feeling to go away.
Come on, Nicole. Don’t wimp out.
Without letting herself think about it, she picked up the book and lifted the cover.
A wind rushed over her, blowing her hair back, roaring in her ears. She caught a brief whiff of tobacco smoke before the surge of air reversed and sucked the breath out of her lungs, making her gasp.
The floor under her quaked. The book vibrated. The leather on the cover moved, muscles beneath it flexing. Nicole tried to drop the book, but couldn’t. She was unable to control her hands or fingers. They clenched so tightly, they ached. A shadow covered the pages of the book, preventing her from reading.
What was going on? She gasped again, trying to breathe against the strong wind. She felt someone touch her shoulder, but she couldn’t move. Her fingers still clung to the book. The shadow on the pages shifted, roiled, and turned toward her, the brief outline of a face visible. It watched her for several moments.
Nicole . . .
The voice was soft, deep. A strange yearning inside her made her want to read the book, to understand. To join the owner of the voice, though she didn’t know where or what he was.
The wind slowed to a gentle and familiar caress across her cheek. Familiar?
Then suddenly, it all stopped. The book fell from her hands and slammed itself shut. She backed away, her arms, legs—everything—shaking.
“What happened?” Professor Coolidge asked next to her, making her jump.
“I—I don’t know.” Nicole tried to smooth her hair, but her hands shook too much. She tucked them under her arms. “It said my name . . . and there was a shadow. In-inside it.”
Coolidge lifted the leather book. His mouth popped open in surprise. “You’ve activated a force within it—something alive.” He looked at her, fear and worry on his face. “How did you do that?”
Nicole shook her head. “I don’t know,” she repeated.
Professor Coolidge put the book back on the table. “I’m not sure what to say, other than the book is much more powerful than it used to be.” He peered at her, scrutinizing her. “And I’d love to know why it called to you, why you woke it up, when so many others have not.”


Author Bio:
Andrea Pearson is an avid reader and outdoor enthusiast who plays several instruments, not including the banjo, and loves putting together musical arrangements. Her favorite sports are basketball and football, though several knee surgeries and incurably awful coordination prevent her from playing them.
Andrea graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor of science degree in Communications Disorders. She is the author of many full-length novels (the Kilenya Series and Mosaic Chronicles) and several novellas. Writing is the chocolate of her life - it is, in fact, the only thing she ever craves. Being with her family and close friends is where she's happiest, and she loves thunderstorms, the ocean, hiking, public speaking, painting, and traveling.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

#BookBlitz & #Giveaway - Veritas by Quinn Coleridge


Veritas
Quinn Coleridge
Publication date: July 13th 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Historical
The ghosts are angry, thinking I’ve neglected them.
Do not forget us, they call out from the grave.
I won’t, I promise them. Upon my life, I won’t.

Being a demigoddess in 1892 Stonehenge, Colorado isn’t all one might suppose, especially when the dead are involved. Yet as Veritas of the Rocky Mountain sovereignty, it is Hester Grayson’s calling to help restless spirits cross over by bringing their killers to justice. Blind and pale as an albino, she dwells on the fringes of the nouveau riche, working with her telepathic beau Tom Craddock to catch the guilty.
When a young woman is brutally murdered, Hester and Tom are determined to solve the case as they have every other. But this one demands more. The killer wears many faces and wields greater magic than even Hester possesses. All sleuthing stops, however, when Tom is gravely wounded, and Hester is cast out of her parent’s mansion into the brutal squalor of an asylum.
At the mercy of an insane doctor, surrounded by agitated ghosts, Hester fights to maintain her own sanity by planning her escape and the downfall of her enemies. Can she achieve her goal and expose the madman who sent her to hell? Or will he continue his bloody reign in Stonehenge?
EXCERPT:
My prayer for relief goes unanswered, and faces flash through my mind. Those I saw in my last vision, the one initiated when the doctor touched my skin. Men, women, old, young—they appear and blur a moment later, shifting into the next person. All of Faust’s victims are deep-branded inside me. They are angry, thinking I’ve neglected them.
Do not forget us, they call out from the grave. I won’t, I promise them. Upon my life, I won’t.
The ghosts tell me to find the Book and steal it. Escape the asylum and expose Faust to the world. Let him answer for every crime, they say, condemned by his own words. If only these spirits could be a bit more specific. How exactly do I escape to do their bidding? Have they any suggestions? But the dead only wail and cry for justice. Blasted ghosts always leave the finer points of the plan for me to figure out.
Further enraged by my hesitation, they cause me to burn hotter. All right, all right, I reply through my psyche. As you wish, I so promise. Truth vibrates through the Pit, and the dead finally set my body free. They have accepted my vow, for the moment, but might be less forgiving tomorrow if I don’t take action. I work for a very impatient crowd.
Most people belong to another in some capacity, as a daughter or son, a sister, spouse, or neighbor, but the inmates of this place have been forgotten. They have no one to speak for them, or to avenge their wrongs. And so I’m here, dumb and blind, to serve as the mouthpiece of the wretched, whether I like it or not. That brazen hussy Fate does love a paradox.
Ironically, serving the dead gives me a reason to live, to go on breathing each day. It answers Hamlet’s eternal question of whether to be or not to be with an affirmative. That is why I crawl about the Pit on my knees, searching for a palm-sized piece of metal. It has been hidden and used many times by the inmates before me. I find the broken iron strip and turn toward the northern wall. The rough surface is covered with spider webs and dirt, but something else as well.
Words.
Hundreds of them have been scratched into the crumbling stone with this strip of iron. I trace the curves and the straight lines of the letters, as I did with my alphabet stencils at home. Of sound mind, one inmate wrote, never insane. In another place, I find Hungry, God Sees, and Died Alone. I scrape the iron against rock. Over and over, until each letter is formed, perfect and smooth. Wiping the sweat from my brow, I blow the dust away from my masterpiece, my call to arms.
LEX TALIONIS
YOUR DAY OF RECKONING AWAITS, FAUST


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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

#BookReview - Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber


Title:  Any Dream Will Do
Author:  Debbie Macomber
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Romance, Inspirational
Release Date:  August 8, 2017

About the Book:

Beloved bestselling author Debbie Macomber returns with a powerful standalone novel about a woman forced to start her life anew, embarking on the most courageous journey of all—to a place where she learns what love and trust really mean.

Shay Benson adored her younger brother, Caden, and that got her into trouble. When he owed money, Shay realized she would do anything to help him avoid the men who were threatening him, and she crossed lines she never should have crossed. Now, determined to start fresh, she finds herself in search of a place to stay and wanders into a church to escape from the cold.

Pastor Drew Douglas adored his wife. But when he lost her, it was all he could do to focus on his two beautiful kids, and his flock came in a distant third. Now, as he too is thinking about a fresh start, he walks through his sanctuary and finds Shay sitting in a pew.

The pair strike up a friendship—Drew helps Shay get back on her feet, and she reignites his sense of purpose—that, over time, turns into something deeper, something soulful, spiritual, and possibly romantic. Even Drew’s two children are taken with this woman who has brought light back into their lives. Perhaps most important, Shay learns to trust again as she, in turn, proves herself trustworthy to her adopted community.

But Caden’s return to town and a disastrous secret threaten to undo the life Shay has tried so hard to rebuild. It will take the utmost courage and faith if she and Drew hope to find healing and open their hearts to a brighter future.
Buy Links: Amazon 
AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER - RELEASE DATE AUGUST 8, 2017

My Review:

If I could give this 6 wine glasses, I would. This is a story of love, hope, faith and redemption.

When kind-hearted Shay makes a bad decision to help her desperate brother, she ends up serving three years in prison.  After being released from prison, she has little money, no job and nowhere to go.  Her bus drops her off in front of a church where she goes in mainly to get out of the cold.  Little did she know at that time that her life would be forever changed.  She meets Pastor Drew Douglas, who was dealing with the death of his wife three years earlier, and with raising his two children alone.  Although their relationship started as a friendship, Drew offers Shay the hope she needs to survive... in the form of Hope Center.

As Shay completes her commitment with Hope Center, her bond with Drew and his children deepens and the joy and love both Drew and Shay had not experienced for a long time grows stronger.  Shay begins to show her true self when she befriends two homeless men with steaming cups of coffee each morning and kind words.  It doesn't take long before more people begin to put her past where it belonged... in the past.  But when that past flares up in the form of her old boyfriend, things get heated.  And later, a matter of trust threatens to pull Shay and Drew apart.

Once again, Debbie Macomber created a heartwarming story with lovable characters and the ability to bring me to tears.

Disclosure:  A complimentary ARC was provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.
My Rating:

About the Author:
Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope. Macomber’s novels have spent over 990 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Sixteen of these novels hit the number one spot.

In 2016, Macomber’s all-new hardcover publications include A Girl’s Guide to Moving On (February), Sweet Tomorrows (August), and Twelve Days of Christmas (October) and an adult coloring book, The World of Debbie Macomber: Come Home To Color (April). In addition to fiction, Macomber has also published two bestselling cookbooks, numerous inspirational and nonfiction works, and two acclaimed children’s books.

Celebrated as “the official storyteller of Christmas”, Macomber’s annual Christmas books are beloved and five have been crafted into original Hallmark Channel movies. Macomber is also the author of the bestselling Cedar Cove Series which the Hallmark Channel chose as the basis for its first dramatic scripted television series. Debuting in 2013, Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove was a ratings favorite for three seasons.

Macomber owns two businesses in Port Orchard, WA, the town which inspired the Cedar Cove Series. These include The Grey House Café, formerly the Victorian Rose Tea Room, featured in the Cedar Cove Series, and A Good Yarn Shop, introduced in her popular Blossom Street novels. They are located on the Village Square campus, which also serves as Debbie’s corporate headquarters.

She and her husband, Wayne, serve on the Guideposts National Advisory Cabinet, and she is World Vision’s international spokesperson for their Knit for Kids charity initiative. A devoted grandmother, Debbie and Wayne live in Port Orchard, Washington and winter in Florida.
 

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