Sunday, June 30, 2013

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Templand by Jill Elaine Hughes

New Adult Contemporary
Date Published: 5/25/2012

The heroine, Melanie Evers, is a plucky young working-class woman from Akron, Ohio struggling to support herself in Chicago in the post-9-11 economy. TEMPLAND follows Melanie's journey through the temporary employment world from a college student on "just a summer job" to a 28-year-old woman with a lot of intelligence (and a heap of student loan debt to match) through multiple layoffs and a series of ever-more-wacky temp assignments, as she struggles not only to survive, but also to find romance and always remain true to the honest, working-class values instilled in her by her beloved grandfather.

In her long, solitary journey through Templand, Melanie encounters adventure and romance on her search for that always-elusive Permanent Job---which she finally gets, along with her man. TEMPLAND is a highly entertaining, wickedly funny social satire, contemporary romance, and mystery novel all rolled into one.

Get it here:


Templand is a parallel universe. It is strange and often frightening.  It exists beyond the horizon of the known universe while at the same time residing within it.  It is populated with vaporous malcontents like me who never leave behind any physical evidence that we exist.  We live in Templand from day to day, week to week, with nothing connecting ourselves to the Real World except the neverending hope that when we collect our paychecks at the end of one week, there will be another paycheck coming to us in the next.  Although I know I am not alone in Templand, all my neighbors here seem to be invisible, making Templand a decidedly lonely parallel universe indeed.

How did I get here?  The answer is complicated.

I’m not exactly what you would call the traditional corporate office-worker type.  I come from a long line of working-class Joes and Janes who worked by the sweat of their brows in the dank and filthy bowels of rubber factories, paper mills, and coal mines. My factory-worker-turned-homemaker mother died of an aneurysm when I was still a child, and my copier-salesman father was absentee more than he wasn’t.  My grandparents, who raised me pretty much by proxy, were old-fashioned, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps Appalachian laborers who were raised on cabbage and hominy grits during the Depression and who broke their backs nearly all their lives in the hope that their children and grandchildren would have a better life.

A better life was exactly what I sought. I graduated high school at the top of my class, got a full scholarship to college. Had part-time jobs from the time I was old enough to get a work permit and always paid all my own bills.  I set my sights high.  My dead mother’s version of the American Dream (a simple Ohio ranch home with a dandelion-free lawn, a comfortable job, a dependable husband) was not what I wanted at all. I wanted to be educated, and then I wanted to use that education to change the world.

Even with this life plan well in place by eighteen, I didn’t know exactly how I would accomplish it. I thought I could pursue a career as a freelance writer or editor, a journalist, perhaps a college professor---even if at the time I knew nothing about how to get any of those jobs. They certainly weren’t a “sure thing,” and my family of factory workers and bootstrap-pullers frowned on anything that wasn’t a “sure thing.”  They swore by punching a clock---a straightforward job application, union card, and a paycheck in the bank every Friday.
I didn’t want a dull punchcard job, even if it meant stability, three squares, and a mortgage.  I wanted the kinds of jobs you saw women have in movies and on television, the ones that were short on stability but long on hype.  I wanted to be Ally McBeal, not Roseanne Barr.

But I am no Ally McBeal. I am overeducated Eastern Ohio trailer trash. In the Real World, overeducated Eastern Ohio trailer trash almost always gets stuck being Roseanne Barr.

About the author:

JILL ELAINE HUGHES is a journalist and playwright as well as a New Adult fiction novelist.  As a reporter, she has contributed to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Washington Post, New Art Examiner, Cat Fancy magazine, and numerous other media outlets. Her plays have widely published and produced in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, and many other U.S. cities, as well as in the UK and Australia. Before self-publishing New Adult fiction, she published many erotic romance novels under the pen names “Jamaica Layne” and “Jay E. Hughes” for publishers like Ellora’s Cave, Virgin Books, Decadent 

Check her out:

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Love, Exactly by Cassandra Giovanni

 Love, Exactly
By-Cassandra Giovanni
Genre-New Adult
Publication Date-June 20, 2013

Emma Walker was a writer who'd lost herself to someone else's anger--who had given up on ever feeling like herself again.

Evan Levesque was a rock-god--the one all the woman wanted, but he'd never gotten used to the loneliness between the stage and real life.

With just one cup of coffee they'll begin a journey of self-discovery at each others sides, but can Emma handle Evan's fame while dealing with her own demons? Emma's checkered personal past, a bad relationship that haunts the edges of her memories, threatens to make everything implode on them when Evan takes matters into his own hands.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they'll destroy my soul--Can Emma handle being put back together and facing who she's become because of it?

Get it here:

Meet Emma Walker:
Emma Walker was born in New England in a small town on the coast of Connecticut, and she hasn’t been much of elsewhere since. Her parents don’t recall a time she wasn’t writing as a child, that was always what they thought should would be...and she is--sort of. As a journalist for a local paper Emma feels her English degree is a flop, the creative writing concentration an even bigger flop, and she dislikes the assignments her day job often takes her on. Emma doesn’t complain, though, because she figures it’s her fault she let him win--him being the abusive ex-boyfriend that she only escaped after graduating high school. She doesn’t want to deal with the pain she created with her actions, and is deathly afraid if she picks up a pen again, for real, all of it will come flooding back. Then she rams into Evan Levesque in a gas station and somehow manages to find her tongue without drooling. He’s a normal person after all--just as normal as she is. When they hit it off Emma decides to do something she hasn’t even done with her family; she tells the truth about what happened. With Evan’s help Emma faces her fears head on, and she even finds the strength to stand up to the demon himself.

Author's playlist while writing Love, Exactly:
1. Never Gonna Leave This Bed-Maroon 5
2. One More Night-Maroon 5
3. Payphone-Maroon 5
4. Use Somebody-Kings of Leon
5. Sweetest Goodbye-Maroon 5
6. Mirrors-Justin Timberlake
7. Make This Go On Forever-Snow Patrol
8. Daylight-Maroon 5
9. Secret- Maroon 5
10. If You Could Only See- Tonic
11. Inside Out-Eve 6
12. Smoke and Mirrors-The Audition
13. The Way You Move- The Audition
14. Southern Girl-Incubus
15. Eyes-Kascade (Ice Mix)
16. Love Somebody-Maroon 5
17. Just a Feeling-Maroon 5
18. Sunday Morning-Maroon 5

As you can see, I listened to a lot of Maroon 5. I usually end up choosing a Pandora radio station that jives with the feeling of the book--Maroon 5 really did it for me. There’s one song in here I never thought I’d like--mainly because I generally dislike the band, Incubus. It’s always surprising to see what songs get me writing, because it’s so different for every novel. My favorite song on here is the one by Snow Patrol.

About the author:
Cassandra doesn't remember a time when she wasn't writing. In fact, the first time she was published was when she was seven years old and won a contest to be published in an American Girl Doll novel. Since than Cassandra has written more novels than she can count and put just as many in the circular bin. Her personal goal with her writing is to show the reader the character's stories through their dialogue and actions instead of just telling the reader what is happening. In 2012 she became a published Young Adult author, releasing In Between Seasons (The Fall, #1) and Walking in the Shadows. In 2013 she branched out by using her artistic illustrating talents to publish her first Children's novel, The Adventures of Skippy Von Flippy: Tales of Friendship (Skippy Tales, #1). Cassandra will also release her first New Adult novel, Love, Exactly , in the Spring of 2013.

Cassandra is a freelance professional photographer known for her automotive, nature and architectural shots. She is the owner of Gio Design Studios, a photography and publication marketing company that designs covers and marketing materials for authors utilizing the company's photography. She is currently studying to receive her associates degree in Marketing. Cassandra is happily married to the man of her dreams and they live in the rolling hills of New England with the other loves of her life their dogs, Bubski and Kanga.

Check her out:

And take a look at the Facebook Event for this blog to see even more:


Blog Tour + Giveaway: Right Healer by Diane M. Haynes

Rift Healer Tour 

rift healer

Rift Healer

Rift Healer is the first installment of the 'Forest Magic' series, a Young Adult Fantasy/Romance set in Central and Western Massachusetts. After a minor earthquake, the enchanted forest in Bidwell, MA, is infested with monster-spewing rifts. Gisele Westerfield's great nephew, the gifted Micah, and his distant cousin, Selena, arrive to assist. Together with Gisele's summer students, twins Haley and Lacey, they will try to heal the magical forest. Much to the consternation of the beautiful Selena, Micah identifies Haley as The One whom he'll share his future. But after witnessing a terrifying display of Micah's Gift, Haley cools to his advances and unexpectedly discovers her own Gift-- she can heal the earth. Monsters, mayhem, and teenage angst follow the small group as they confront evil in the forest and a dangerous prediction that 'one will fall'. Will they heal the rifts in time? Can they save the unicorns? And is Haley really destined to be with Micah?

Surprised at how far forward she’d crept in her seat, Haley pushed her butt against the backrest. “What else can you do?” she asked, not at all sure she wanted to know.
He swallowed. “Right. That brings us to my Gifts. As opposed to Talents or Skills, Gifts are thrust on you like a moldy fruitcake no one else wanted and you have to learn to make the best of them. People are born with their Gifts, which can appear at any point, but for most of us, they emerge during puberty–as if we don’t have enough to think about at that time.” He looked up at the ceiling, remembering. “Well, they’re not all bad.”
“Tell me about yours,” she whispered.
He tore his eyes from the ceiling, caught and held her gaze. “I can make people do anything on command.”
            “Like, hypnosis?” she asked, blinking under the over-bright fluorescent lights, her spoon halfway to her mouth.
            “Almost,” he said.  “Except, a hypnotist is unable to persuade his clients to do anything they wouldn’t ordinarily do. And I can.” He shrugged his shoulders, almost as if he were apologizing.
              Haley frowned as she sorted through this weird information. “So, let me get this straight. You think you could tell me to do something—anythingand I’d do it?” Her brows knitted together and she shook her head in disbelief.
            “I don’t just think.  I…know.” He lowered his voice as he leaned forward. “I could make you run around doing cartwheels in the parking lot if I wanted to. You would be unable to refuse.”
             At that, she sat straight up, staring at him. She didn’t believe it—not quite, but she was too afraid to disbelieve.
            “It’s true.” He nodded. “Fortunately, I have a strong code of honor that I adhere to and I do not abuse my Gift. But I could make you do whatever I want.”
            She shook her head. “I don’t believe you,” she said in a low voice.
            “I guess I’ll have to prove it to you. Put that spoon down,” he ordered.
            She looked at it, all but forgotten until now. Realizing she wanted to let go of the spoon, she frowned. “No,” she said between clenched teeth as she fought the urge to comply.
            “Haley,” he took a deep breath.  “Put the spoon down.”
            The fingers holding her spoon twitched as she looked into his eyes and said, “No,” in a voice she almost couldn’t hear herself. Her mouth went dry with the effort.
            “Put-the-spoon-down-now.” His glacial blue eyes bored into hers. Her right hand trembled with the effort of resisting his will. Then she watched, wide-eyed, as her traitorous thumb lifted on its own, causing her spoon to waver and fall to the table with a clatter in the quiet restaurant, spilling its load of ice cream.
            She swallowed. “How did you do that?” she asked, now truly frightened.

dianeAuthor Diane M. Haynes

Diane has lived in Massachusetts all her life where early on, her artistic talents were fostered, though her skills as an "excellent report writer" were often noted in previous employment. On her brother Rick's birthday, November 16, 2004, seven months after his death, she woke from an amazing dream which would not fade. She outlined the dream, made a few quick notes and days later produced a 12 page short story. After deciding her story was interesting but incomplete, she began writing her first novel, using her dream as its climax. She now believes the dream to be a 'Spirit Gift,' sent by her brother. Diane continues to reside in Central MA with her husband and a very naughty Basset Hound named Basil and his new adopted sister-Basset, Ruby, both of whom cleverly wreak havoc on the Haynes' formerly well-ordered lives. She spends her time writing, reading books about writing, talking about writing, painting with watercolors, antiqueing and attempting to train a very reluctant Basil and a willing, but highly comedic Ruby.

  Blog Tour Giveaway 
 $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 7/8/13

Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Blast + Giveaway: Dissolve by Andrea Heltsley

 All the following information was provided via Dilly Dally PR.
About the book:

Cora is thrilled to leave high school behind and kick start her summer with her boyfriend and best friend, Nessa. In an unexpected turn of events, tragedy strikes and Cora turns to Nessa for help.

Cora and Nessa discover they are not alone and become entangled in things much bigger than they expect. As the two of them meet new allies, it’s obvious that clearing Cora’s name and going home seem like the least of their worries. The further they travel; the more complicated their lives become. Someone is after them and they are just getting started.
Available from:

About the author:

An ex-scientist biology nerd who loves reading and writing just about anything paranormal, Andrea has four new book releases out in 2013 which you can keep updated with all the deets on her blog. When not hard writing she is being a coffee addict and believe's she should own her starbucks by now!
Andrea Heltsley
Follow Andrea through her:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Book Blast + Giveaway: John Williams and the Bandits of Basswood by Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows



John William and the Bandits of Basswood

We already know Alexander Drake’s story. His father, John William started it all years before when he entered Azra’s Pith. This is his story. John William was born an explorer; just like his dad before him. His adventure really began with the worst year of his life. He lived everyday in misery until his twelfth birthday. He set out to turn things around and find his smile again. A new friend gave him an invitation he could not turn down… follow me and change your destiny. He never imagined being captured by bandits and taken to a ship riddled with river rats was part of his fate. Not just any bandits – the Bandits of Basswood; known to be a ruthless and wild crew of thieves. Trying to escape would be a ridiculous idea. No one has ever escaped and lived to tell about it. Someone should have mentioned that to John William before he snuck off the ship. The chase out of Basswood was on. He took a chance to change his destiny and ended up on a wild ride to save his life.




Author Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows

Being the frizzy-haired tomboy with buck teeth gave me a slight case of shyness as a kid. A colorful imagination meant escape and adventure at the drop of a hat. Over the years I learned that the insecurities I carried around were a waste of time. I still prefer a football game to a manicure any day of the week. That indispensable imagination has found its way into my writing providing a sense of joy and a true purpose.

Website * Twitter * Facebook


Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 7/10/13 a Rafflecopter giveaway   Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review + Blog Tour + Giveaway: Aberrant by Ruth Silver

By Ruth Silver
Ebook Publication Date: April 17, 2013
Cover Designed by Lazy Day Publishing

In the future dystopian society of Cabal, the government instills equality for all and offers its citizens the perfect system.  There is food, shelter and jobs for everyone.  The one requirement is to follow the rules without question, including the government's match in marriage and "The Day of the Chosen", a lottery that randomly selects families to conceive children as natural means hasn't existed in generations.  Following her eighteenth birthday, Olivia Parker accepts her requirement to marry her childhood best friend, Joshua Warren, and is eager to start her work assignment and new life when it all comes abruptly to an end as she's arrested and thrown in prison.  The only crime committed, her existence.  Olivia is unlike the rest of the world born not from "The Day of the Chosen."  The truth haunts the government and puts her life in grave danger as one simple fact would destroy the perfect system.

        With Joshua's help, Olivia breaks free of prison and is forced on the run.  Together they set out to find the promised rebel town in search of a new home and new life together.  Their situation seems less than promising as they reach the town of Haven.  New rules and customs must be adhered to in order to stay.  Leaving would mean most certain death in the large expanse of the Gravelands.  Time is running out as the government mounts an attack to destroy Olivia and bury her secret with her.  Thrown into a world unlike their own, they must quickly adapt to survive.

Review:        What do you get when you combine Divergent with The Hunger Games and sprinkle in a little Captain America?


The Oxford English Dictionary defines Aberrant as: adj. Departing from an accepted standard; Diverging from the normal type. I was quite surprised to find that this book fit that definition very well, to the point where it stood out among a genre that is overflowing with options to choose from and made itself different. We meet Olivia in the city of Genesis, a town that was set up as a breeding city after the 4th world war and a plague decimated most of the world and left the population unable to conceive naturally.

At least that's what they all think.

Enter Olivia Parker, 18 year old daughter of a widow, on her matching ceremony day. Nervous just like the rest of her class to find out who the government has chosen her to spend the rest of her life with within her own graduating lot. 18 years old and terrified of what's gong to happened, Olivia is matched with Joshua Warren, there are worse things than being paired with your best friend since the age of 5 so thins seem to be looking up, until she is arrested hours later by the governor and thrown in jail....

What for you may ask?

Olivia is the only person on the earth that can conceive. Her mother boar her and now everyone thinks that has been passed to her. The government wants her either dead or in one of their labs, but Joshua's mother helps them escape to a town outside of Genesis named Haven, a city part of the Rebel Alliance trying to rise up against government control. The feelings of relief and freedom soon evaporates when the plans of the Rebel Alliance are spelled out for Olivia, but what does this mean for her and her future? And what does it means for her feelings towards Joshua? Will they stay in Haven? Will the government find her? 

SO MANY QUESTIONS!!! I'm sorry but I'm not going to answer ANY of them because YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK! I'm going to give you the main reason I feel this way. 

Main. Female. Lead. 

I loved Olivia. What I require for me to like a main character, strength, poise, a little vulnerability and resolve, she possess. I felt like she never wavered from what she thought was right and what she wanted. Yes, plans changed a number of times but although the grander scheme shifted almost from page to page, at the core of the story was one girl who might be special but really lead with her heart first and foremost and then with her head. It worked for me, she didn't just do things for a boy and she didn't turn her back on anyone for the greater cause, Olivia balanced out what was right and moral or what she felt was her duty with this new found freedom of doing things her way or what she wanted to do not what everyone else told her to do. That is BRILLIANT. A girl who can stand on her own two feet and still love someone in a natural and not-immediate manner? WE NEED MORE OF THIS IN LITERATURE. 

Olivia Parker sold the book for me, but I really did love the whole package. You get a clear picture of what world these characters are living in and that world is massive. Not only do you have government and rebels and gravelands (the nasty open deserts between cities) but you can see the clear distinction of environments as it changes. Taking great characters and putting them into a complete setting is not something that is easily found and this book has it! Add in all the unique things that you'll find scattered everywhere within the story and it made Aberrant one of my favorite books of the year, I CAN NOT WAIT for a sequel!!!- My Opinion- BUY IT NOW!!!

Get it here:

About the author: 
Ruth Silver attended Northern Illinois University and graduated with a Bachelor's in Communication in the spring of 2005.  While in college, she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, Deuces are Wild, which she self-published in 2004.  Her favorite class was Creative Writing senior year where she often handed in assignments longer than the professor required because she loved to write and always wanted to finish her stories. Her love of writing led her on an adventure in 2007 to Melbourne, Australia.  Silver enjoys reading, photography, traveling and most of all writing.  She loves dystopian and fantasy young adult stories.  Her debut novel published by Lazy Day Publishing, ABERRANT is scheduled for release April 2013.  Ruth has been actively writing since she was a teenager.  She currently resides in Plainfield, Illinois.

        You can visit her online at
Check her out:
Amazon Author Page:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blast: Disneylanders by Kate Abbott

In DISNEYLANDERS, 14-year-old Casey Allison, on the brink of starting high school, struggles to find a new identity on her family’s annual summer vacation, but with the help of an outgoing boy she meets while waiting in line, she discovers that Disneyland is the one place where her overprotective parents let her have the freedom to grow up.

Casey looks forward to her family’s annual summer vacation to Disneyland to escape her anxieties about starting high school. This summer, however, her vacation forces her to confront her parents’ ancient attitudes, getting dumped by her best friend, an intense crush, and a pack of gum-snapping girls who seem intent on ruining her vacation.

Her parents won’t accept she’s no longer a little kid, but she can’t fathom growing up to be like the bra-strap girls who seem to be following her. Worst of all, she fears that in order be accepted as “mature,” she’ll have to not only display her underwear but stop going to her beloved theme park. As she explores Disneyland—and her first romantic relationship—with Bert, the charming high school sophomore she meets, she realizes that she can overcome her real-world insecurities only when she’s in the Magic Kingdom.

As Casey and Bert banter in line for rides, they find that confessing the secrets they couldn’t share with anyone back home lets them both discover their true selves. Although they spend time in Fantasyland, they confront their real-life issues…Bert’s flaky parents, his precocious grandmother, and why he wears a watch that hasn’t worked in two years; Casey’s ex-best friend, her secret passion for old-school film photography, and her cast member crushes. By the last fireworks show, after she’s been on a wild ride of a summer vacation, Casey rediscovers herself and takes home new self confidence, along with a sentimental souvenir.

Get it here:

About the author: 
Disneylanders is Kate Abbott's first novel. She received an MFA in creative writing from UC Riverside, Palm Desert. Kate lives in Northern California with her husband, son, terrier, and tiny parrots.

Check her out:


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book Blitz: The Queen of the Realm of Faerie Series by Heidi Garrett

True Love's First Kiss by Heidi Garrett
Series: The Queen of the Realm of Faerie 1-3
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication date: June 18th 2013

In the Enchanted World, true love’s first kiss is magic.

Nandana’s Mark, Book 1: When two half-faeries—Melia and her younger sister—are cursed under dreadful circumstances, true love’s first kiss is the remedy.

The Flower of Isbelline, Book 2: Nothing but true love’s first kiss can save Melia’s younger sister from blind ambition and ruin.

The Dragon Carnivale, Book 3: Melia must choose the freedom she cherishes or true love’s first kiss—and a relationship that promises to secure her place in the Whole.

The Queen of the Realm of Faerie is a fairy tale fantasy series that bridges the Mortal and Enchanted worlds. The main character, Melia, is an eighteen-year-old half-faerie, half-mortal. She lives in Illialei, a country in the Enchanted World, with her two sisters and their mother. Melia’s father has been exiled to the Mortal World, and her best friend is a pixie.

When the story opens in the first book, Melia is troubled by her dark moon visions, gossip she overhears about her parents at the local market, and the trauma of living among full-blooded faeries with wings—she doesn’t have any.

As the series unfolds, the historic and mystical forces that shape Melia’s life are revealed. Each step of her journey—to find the place where she belongs—alters her perceptions about herself, deepens her relationships with others, and enlarges her world view.

True Love’s First Kiss is a compilation of the first three books in this ongoing series.


The Dragon Carnivale by Heidi Garrett
Series: The Queen of the Realm of Faerie, #3
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication date: June 18th 2013

Energies in the Enchanted World are shifting and new alliances are forming; the Battle of Dark and Light has begun. The half-faerie Melia is desperate to make things right with Ryder, the young priest from Idonne, but first she must warn the halfbloods in the Mortal World that Umbra is coming for them, and face the powerful Dragonwitch and her spectacular Dragon Carnivale

About the author: 
Heidi Garrett is the author of The Queen of the Realm of Faerie series. Her personal message to all her readers is:

Once upon a time, you lived in an enchanted world, too…

May you always see the magic in your life.

The Queen of the Realm of Faerie includes many strong female characters within an intricate fantasy land. It is also a fairy tale fantasy.

The first book, Nandana’s Mark, is one of those free ebooks; the second book, The Flower of Isbelline, is now available; and the third book, The Dragon Carnivale, will be released in June 2013.

Heidi's hope is that when you read her books, you will rediscover the enchantment in your own life.

She currently resides in Eastern Washington State with her husband and their two cats. So far, she loves the snow. Being from the South, she finds it very magical. 

Check her out:

You want to know more?? How about the author's top 10 reads??

Heidi Garrett’s 10 Favorite Reads

Many writers say that you should read a lot to be a good writer. I’d say it’s important for writers to read books they love. I spent years slogging through books I didn’t like, but felt like I should read. I don’t do that anymore. I read what I want to, when I want to. Here are some of my favorites reads:

1. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Louisa Clark embarks on an unusual relationship with Will Traynor. She is a delight and their relationship hits all the right notes. Louisa's mum and dad, her sister, nephew, and granddad fill out the story with warmth, charm, and zest. Will's mum, dad, and sister aren't quite so warm, charming, or zesty, but they round out the cast and keep things from floating off into the ozone of sappy. The story comes together well, managing to be both light and profound. And when I say light, I don't mean shallow or breezy, I mean light-filled, and when I say profound, I mean heartbreakingly profound.

2. The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman
Elv, the eldest Story sister, creates a gritty fairytale world for herself and her sisters. I’ve read this book twice. There are few books I read for the second time, but I love this one. I love the poetry in it. I love the Story sisters, Annie, their ama, Madame Cohen, and Pete. I love Shiloh and Pollo. I love the faeries and demons, black roses and hawthorn trees, tomatoes and grilled cheese sandwiches. I love the pink and the black. It's a heartbreaker, but it remains one of my most treasured Alice Hoffman books.

3. Leaf Storm by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
There’s a reason that Gabo is considered a master. He didn’t just have a unique and powerful way of writing, he also had a unique and powerful way of seeing the world. A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings may still be my favorite story in this collection, but the entire book got under my skin. The leaf storm is the arrival of—for lack of a better term—industry to the small town of Macondo. The leaf trash are the elements of the population that the storm blows into town, leaving the residents who are already there feeling like outsiders. This is presented in the prologue. What follows is not factual; it’s like watercolors bleeding on a wet canvas. The stories sprawl into the psyches of the imagined citizens. We get their hearts and souls. It’s really unfortunate that this treasure has not become available for ereaders.

4. Elfland by Freda Warrington
Fantasy books with worlds that bleed into, overlay, precede, or somehow connect to the real world are some of my favorites. Elfland is perhaps the best I’ve read at bringing together our contemporary earthly realm and sensibilities with the dreamy mystical realm, Aetherial, beyond the gates. The light of Rose Fox, the protagonist, plays deftly and intriguingly against the dark of Lawrence Wilder, the antagonist. The story is intricate, layered, and requires a reader’s attention. It’s a wonderful read.

5. The Enchanted Orchards by Kristen Maddock
The summer in Calcutta is hot, Fern is searching for answers to tough questions, and the peach orchards are a haven of beauty and mystery. This is a sweet and tender story about love, loss, and spiritual revival. The main character, Fern, has just the right balance of honesty, integrity, vulnerability, and wit. Her sassy best friend, Fancy, provides the perfect counterpoint.

6. The Empress by Karen Miller
The first book in the Godspeaker trilogy chronicles Hekat’s rise to power. It’s a daring, edgy read thanks to the dark religion that fuels the world. Although it’s well-written, the opening borders on fantasy-cliché. Beyond that, the reader enters an original world and story that intrigues as much as it repels. I won’t divulge the moment I was hooked, because you’ve got to read this one yourself.

7. The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates
This is Ariah's story, and it's told in her voice and the voice of all the people who are important in and to her life. The physical setting is Niagara Falls, New York, but the cultural setting is a political/social/criminal backdrop that I suspect is real. Can't be sure, I didn't bother to check, but that was also kind of Old Skool. Weaving the story through this political/social thing and making it personal. This was probably one of the best novels I've read that does that. Most novels that attempt this come across as pedantic and unpleasant. The story takes a backseat to the author's message, and the reader gets pummeled with the author's OPINIONS. Not in The Falls. Ariah's story is front and center. I loved her daughter, Juliet, and Bud. 

8. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber
Percy Parker is oddly pale, and her story is quirky with a capital Q. It’s a delightful, whimsical, fantastical read. The story is unusual with its blend of Victorian sensibilities, boarding schools, and creative mythologies.

9. The Toadhouse Trilogy, Book 1
The madman, Biblos, hunts Aine and her brother, Spenser, through time, space, and story. Their mechanism of travel: a toadhouse; their pilot and protector: Gilgamesh. But Aine finds it difficult to trust anyone—including herself. Regardless, friends abound, and they all want to help Aine and Spenser reunite with their mother, Helen. An outstanding contemporary fantasy, bursting with whimsy and magic.

10. Virtue by Amanda Hocking
Fairytales meet the seven deadly sins. This is the first book I read by Amanda Hocking, and probably the first indie book I ever read. I’d never heard of Hocking until I got on Twitter when her story was all the rage. Intrigued, I purchased several of her books. I was pleasantly surprised by “Virtue.” The plotting is clever, the pacing is tight, and it’s pure fun. Very enchanting.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Going Home by Rhonda R. Dennis

Going Home
Series-Green Bayou Book #1 
By-Rhonda R. Dennis
Publication Date-August 3, 2011 

Paramedic Emily Boudreaux believes New Orleans is the perfect place for a young trauma junkie to see some action. Things start out fine enough, but years pass, and the job brings nothing but strife. Emily decides to make a fresh start by returning to her roots. She moves to the small town of Green Bayou, Louisiana. Thinking she will find peace and tranquility, Emily quickly learns that her imagination steered her wrong. Small town life offers far more tumult than she remembered! Mystery, excitement, deceit, and passion run rampant along the murky waters of Bayou Assumption. She struggles with the decision of which man to love: her amazing, new Paramedic partner, Jacob Templet or her handsome, former high school sweetheart, Deputy Pete Bergeron. Her ultimate struggle won't involve the decision of which man to be with. It is a quest for her personal survival! Praying to get out of a disastrous situation alive, Emily hopes that going home won't be the wrong decision.

Get it here:

I couldn’t wait to get the bayou funk off of me.  Bayou mud had a way of making your skin itch and burn if you didn’t get it off, and I was on fire.  I knew it would be a race to see who could get to the shower first.  The loser was destined to sit in nasty, waterlogged clothing until the victor got out of the bathroom.

I thought about bailing from the cab of the unit before Jacob could put it into “park”, but I figured that would be cheating.  We stomped up the steps together, and once we were inside, we sat staring at each other.  Jacob broke into a full run.  I heard the bathroom door slam.  I banged on it and laced my rant with a few select profanities.  The door opened a crack and I could see Jacob’s half-naked body through the slit.  Wow!  I lost my train of thought.

“You know we could both have a hot shower and we’d conserve water if we showered together,” Jacob suggested.

As much as my nether region was trying to encourage me to accept his offer, I politely declined.

“You will get paid back for making me sit in these nasty clothes.  What happened to chivalry? I asked.

“Now you want to play the gender card!  Nope, you took that one off the table after the Halloween fiasco.”

“But it’s cold out here, Jacob.”  I whined, trying my best to get sympathy.

“I know.  I can tell.”

I gasped as I crossed my arms over my breasts.

“Last chance,” he teased.

Author's perfect book soundtrack:

1.  New Orleans Ladies by LeRoux
2.  Love Song by 311
3.  Have a Little Faith in Me by John Hiatt
4.  I Never Told You by Colbie Caillat
5.  Amazed by Lonestar
6.  I’ll Be by Edwin McCain
7.  Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne
8.  Hurt by Christina Aguilera
9.  Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson
10.  Just Give Me a Reason by Pink

About the author:

Rhonda Dennis is proud to be born and raised in South Louisiana.  Her enthusiasm for the uniqueness of Louisiana’s culture is evident in her writing. Even though she loved writing, she put it on hold to work in the medical field. 

After starting a family, she went back to college where her passion was reignited and Rhonda wrote her first novel, Going Home, Book One of the Green Bayou Novel Series. Rhonda lives in a small town in South Louisiana with her husband, Doyle, and her son, Sean. She appreciates the outdoors, spending time with her family and friends, and loves cooking.

Check her out:


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Angel Creek Series by Ada Adams

Series-Angel Creek Book # 1 
Published on-February 20,2012

A simple mission turned deadly.

Nineteen-year-old vampire Dawn has led a sheltered life within the confines of her father’s presidential headquarters. Upon being sent on a mission to revamp four goofy misfits into guardians of a peaceful little town of Angel Creek, Dawn believes that all her dreams have finally come true. What starts off as a simple task, turns into something unexpected, changing Dawn’s life forever and leading the action-loving, thrill-seeking vampire teen on a path of mystery, danger and intrigue.

When a human girl is kidnapped by a group of rogue vamps, Dawn discovers that there is more going on in Angel Creek than meets the eye. And it all connects to Ethan, the cute newcomer who seems too perfect to be true, Sebastian, the mysterious vampire with a turbulent past, and even Dawn herself. Dawn must not only succeed in revamping the troubled recruits, but must also prevent the vampire race from being overtaken by a malevolent villain who has a strange and obsessive fascination with her. As threat escalates, romance blooms, and ghosts from her past begin to surface, Dawn is sure of only one thing: her life will never be the same.

Get it here:
A sharp, searing pain pierced my chest as I watched the guy I liked—the guy I was falling in love with—kiss another girl. With every fiber of my being, I willed myself to look away, my vision blurring in a desperate attempt to escape the agonizing scene before me. My mind failed to obey, and my gaze remained firmly glued to the couple.
Helpless, I surrendered to the nightmare, for a brief moment allowing myself to imagine that his muscular arms were, in fact, embracing me. After all, the girl’s face, with its pale complexion, high cheekbones, straight nose, and cupid-bow lips, was identical to mine. Her glossy brown hair cascaded all the way down her back, each wave perfectly matching my own. Even her slender body curved in precisely the same places. Looking at her was like gazing into the surface of a moving, breathing mirror.
She was me.
Or was I her?
She fluttered open her long, dark lashes, jolting me out of the fantasy by revealing the one perceptible difference between us: her emerald green eyes. While hauntingly beautiful, they looked nothing like my pale violet ones. She stared directly at me, tightening her grip on the one person in the world I wanted to be with. Mocking me for being too late.
“Aurora,” he whispered in her ear.
In that instant, I knew with certainty that he was not thinking about me.

Series-Angel Creek Book # 2
Published-November 27, 2012

Becoming a vampire guardian was Dawn Fairchild’s ticket out of the Scarlet House. Fresh off a successful mission, life in Angel Creek should have been great. But when her sort-of-maybe-boyfriend, Sebastian, disappears on a quest to help a beautiful vampire from his past, Dawn finds herself amidst a web of danger, lies, and deceit.

Joining forces with Razor, an enigmatic rebel lacking both a verbal and a physical filter, and her band of Misfits—Brooke, Sophie, Hunter, and Seth—Dawn is thrust into a race against the clock to solve the mystery surrounding brutal Born kidnappings and come to terms with the sudden discovery of her own unique powers. With time ticking away and Born vampires’ lives in jeopardy, it quickly becomes evident that someone—or something—desperately wants Dawn and is willing to shed any amount of blood to get her.

Dawn has only one chance to face her demons and overcome all obstacles standing in her way as she embarks on the biggest mission of her life—one that threatens a deadly outcome for all involved.

Get it here:


My two-story fall was cushioned by a sturdy, muscular torso. The owner of the muscles—a vampire, I realized—groaned as I landed on top of him, forcing him into the muddy ground. I reached for my dagger, but he was quicker. He slipped out from underneath me, flipping me over in the process so that he was quickly astride me. His firm body pressed tightly against mine as his hands pinned my wrists to either side of my head. As a bolt of lightning struck a nearby tree, I was greeted by a mischievous smirk dancing across perfectly-shaped full lips.
“Quite feisty, aren’t you?” he chuckled, bending forward to examine me. Deep, charcoal eyes overflowed with amusement.
He was actually enjoying this.
“I don’t wanna hurt you,” he whispered in a deep, throaty voice. “I’m gonna release you now. Don’t do anything stupid.”
He lifted his arm, removing his right hand from my left wrist. The moment I felt some freedom, I leaped forward, attempting a left hook at his jaw. He blocked my hand, once again pushing it toward the ground.
“I said I wasn’t going to hurt you!” he growled, pinning me even further into the soft, wet earth.
“But I never said that I wouldn’t hurt you!” I snapped.
He brought his face toward mine. “I’d like to see you try,” he whispered.
Challenge accepted.
Now I just had to find a way out of the vampire’s tight grasp. I raised my head—the only part of me that wasn’t restrained by his body—inching my lips closer to his. He tensed for a moment, his eyes searching mine, as if surprised by my sudden change in behavior. Drops of rainwater slid down his chiseled jaw, pausing briefly on his lips before they plummeted down to mine. Then, a slow, smug smile spread across his face. I felt his body relax and he leaned even closer. His breath caressed my skin as his lips drew near.
It was exactly what I needed. Summoning all my strength, I twisted my hips to the side, shooting them up and out, then launching my legs off the ground. Thrown off-balance, my captor groaned and released one of my arms to brace for the fall, giving me the chance to free my dagger. In one smooth move I was quickly behind him, securing him in a headlock with the blade of my weapon aimed directly at his heart.
“Who are you?” I demanded when I was certain that he couldn’t escape my grip.
“I’m a twenty-four-year-old Taurus who enjoys long walks on the beach.” Even though I couldn’t see his face, I could feel his arrogant grin.
“You have ten seconds to explain yourself,” I ordered. “Or I’m really going to hurt you.”
“Oh, come on! Can’t we get back to the kissing? You can’t tease a guy like that.”
“Ten, nine…” I pressed the dagger deeper into him, nicking the leather of his jacket.
“Hey! Watch it!”
“Oh, alright. You’re no fun,” he sighed. “My name is Razor.”
“What kind of a name is that?”
“It’s a nickname.”
“What kind of a nickname is that?”
“Spike, Blade, Fang—all the good, deadly objects were already taken. It was the best I could do.”

About the author:
"Many people sing in the shower. I write scenes in my head and act them out."

In her career as a writer and an actress, Ada spends most of her days immersed in imaginary worlds. Much like the kick-butt female characters she enjoys playing and writing about, Ada is a martial artist with a Black Belt in Shotokan Karate. She is also a big proponent of lifelong learning and has attained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (it aids in creating characters with unique quirks!) as well as a Masters of Science in Education.

Ada began her writing career at age three with a string of short stories that only a mother could love, and has been inventing quirky characters and imaginary worlds ever since. Her readership has now grown to include people who aren't directly related to her. A passionate advocate for the arts, Ada is also an editor-in-chief of VEUX Magazine - a fashion/literary publication which showcases up-and-coming talent from all over the world. Amongst other things she enjoys are zombies, chocolate, and bubble tea.

Ada lives in Toronto, Canada, and when she's not writing you can find her on an adventurous nature hike with her puppies, Caramilk and Oreo. Or deep in a jar of Nutella.

Check her out:

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