Thursday, July 31, 2014

0 Civil War is the theme to this week's free audio books

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Available July 31 – August 6






Description:
From the author of Words in the Dust: an action-packed YA novel set in a frighteningly plausible near future, about what happens when the States are no longer United.
Danny Wright never thought he’d be the man to bring down the United States of America. In fact, he enrolled in the National Guard because he wanted to serve his country the way his father did. When the Guard is called up on the governor’s orders to police a protest in Boise, it seems like a routine crowd-control mission . . . but then Danny’s gun misfires, spooking the other soldiers and the already fractious crowd. By the time the smoke clears, twelve people are dead.
The president wants the soldiers arrested. The governor swears to protect them. And as tensions build on both sides, the conflict slowly escalates toward the unthinkable: a second American civil war.
With political questions that are popular in American culture yet rare in YA fiction, and a plot that’s both excitingly provocative and frighteningly plausible, Divided We Fall is Trent Reedy’s very timely YA debut.


Description:
At the time he wrote The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane had never witnessed a battle. Crane’s older brother fought in the Battle of Chancellorsville, however, and Crane listened carefully to his brother’s reminiscences. The result is the classic Civil War novel, and one of the greatest stories of all time. Henry Fleming was always playing soldier at home on the farm. Now, on the battlefield, shells burst in front of him like strange flowers, gunfire rips toward him in great crackling sheets of flame, and all around him, blue-coated figures lie still on the blood-drenched grass. The Battle of Chancellorsville has begun. Stephen Crane’s most famous work stands alone as the testimony of a young man compelled to mature during a bloody Civil War battle.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

0 Review: The Witch of Belladonna Bay

Title: The Witch of Belladonna Bay
Author: Suzanne Palmieri
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Published: May 13, 2014
Paperback, 350 pages
ISBN: 978-1-250-01553-2
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher





Goodreads Summary:
It’s the trouble you aren’t expecting that gets you. And it’s all around you, Bronwyn, it’s all around you like the air.…
Bronwyn "BitsyWyn" Whalen hasn’t set eyes on the red dirt of Magnolia Creek, Alabama, for fourteen years—not since her mama died. But with her brother, Patrick, imprisoned for the murder of her childhood best friend, and her eccentric father, Jackson, at his wits’ end while her eleven-year-old niece, Byrd, runs wild, Bronwyn finds herself once again surrounded by ancient magnolia trees and the troubled family she left behind. She becomes immersed in a whirlwind of mystery and magic as she tries to figure out what really happened that fateful night her friend died. And as her bond with Byrd deepens, Bronwyn must face the demons of her past in order to unravel her family’s uncertain future.In Suzanne Palmieri's thrilling new novel, The Witch of Belladonna Bay, readers will learn if love and magic are enough to bring a broken family back together.

My thoughts:
If you're looking for a good book to read this weekend, look no further. The Witch of Belladonna Bay by Suzanne Palmieri is an engaging read about the ups and downs of family life, regrets, getting lost, and finding your way home again. Add a dash of magic into the mixture and you have a book that will keep you glued to the pages all weekend long.

Bronwyn hasn't been home in fourteen years. When she left, she had no intention of coming back to her town of Magnolia Creek, Alabama. However circumstances changed when she gets a call from her father telling her that her brother has been arrested for murder and she must come home to look after his daughter Byrd. Though reluctant, Bronwyn gets on a plane to return to the home she never wanted to see again. She knows her brother is innocent, she just has to prove it. But of course, once she returns old memories, friends, and ghosts start to haunt her. Palmieri weaves a magical, Gothic tale about three generations of women who are not only connected by blood but also magic. 

Bronwyn must try to figure out the mystery of who killed her former best friend, and why her brother confessed to a murder he didn't commit. Not to mention, she has to deal with her dysfunctional family and try to mend broken fences. The story is told from three different view points: Bronwyn, Byrd, and Naomi. This dynamic mixture of women makes for an entertaining read. 

My Rating:


 
 

Monday, July 28, 2014

0 Feature: 500 Days


Title: 500 Days
Length of book: 528 pages
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Formats: Mobi, Epub, PDF, Paperback
Pub Date: 4/14/14
Self-published
Synopsis:
Casper Covington had his music, women, and pretty much anything he wanted at his disposal. But the one thing that plagued his thoughts constantly was the one thing he couldn't have. The girl he met six months ago. A drunken one night stand that he couldn't get out of his head. The only thing he remembered from that night was her green eyes and the ivy tattoo that stretched the length of her body. In his attempts to put an end to the tortuous dreams of the mysterious girl, Casper’s attention is caught by the new bartender. There’s just something so familiar about her that his need to get to know her becomes more troublesome than he expected.

Alexis Radcliff was raised by her four brothers making her as tough as nails on the outside but on the inside she wanted what every girl did – someone to love her, faults and all. She would be damned if she admitted that out loud and made a point to show she could use men just as easily as they used women. But when a sexy musician starts to show interest in Alex she has a hard time convincing herself to stay away. Alex knows everyone has secrets but hers are ones she doesn't want to share. But when she can no longer fight her feelings, her dark past slowly starts to unravel. 

Can true love conquer all? Or are past ghosts a haunting premonition of what lies ahead?

Buy Links:
Bio:


Jessica is a budding new author with a passion for writing in her veins. She stems from the suburbs of Pennsylvania where most of her time is spent writing, listening to new music, or reading a good book. When not busy writing, Jessica works part–time in a salon where she enjoys making people look beautiful. You can catch up with Jessica on her blog or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

If you feel the need to edit any of the swearing i'm okay with that.





Excerpt:

Casper

Not long after Colton returned, the girls had arrived. I saw Declan first and elbowed Colton. He turned around and wore the same goofy smile she did. I didn’t see anyone with her and I was beginning to think the other girl decided not to come. I wouldn’t be upset. The bartender was eyeing me since I got here so I had a backup plan, that was until I saw who joined Declan. I laughed out loud and turned around, taking a long sip of my beer. Colton gave me a dirty look for laughing.  I couldn’t wait to see the look on her face when I turned around. Declan and her friend had now joined us at the bar. Colton got up, being the gentleman he is. “Hey Declan, Alex,” Colton hit me in the side, clearing his throat. I took a sip of my beer and slowly turned around. “Alex this is –”
        “You got to be fucking kidding me.” Her face turned into an instant scowl, but me, I couldn’t stop smiling.
        “I take it you’ve met before?” Colton said nervously.
        She gave Declan the nastiest look. “I swear I didn’t know,” Declan whispered.
        “Yeah, we met, unfortunately,” Alex said, crossing her arms over her chest. Colton stood there, not quite sure what to do. Alex pulled Declan aside and had a few angry words with her. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but basically Alex was pissed and did not want to be here. After a stomp of her foot, Declan turned her back around, and smiled sweetly at us.
        “Shall we get a table?” I stood up to give Declan a hug. She whispered in my ear, “I swear to god if you try any of your bullshit I will castrate you.” When she pulled back she still had the sweet smile. I gestured for the ladies to go first. Alex shot me a look of disgust.
        Colton stopped me. “Don’t be a dick,” he growled. I put my hands up in surrender. I have yet to say anything and already I’m getting chewed apart. This was going to be a long, fucking night.
        When we got our table, I did the gentlemanly thing and pulled out a chair for Alex, but of course, she chose the next chair over just despite me. I stifled a groan and had a seat. I leaned back and gave Alex the once over. She had on a jean skirt and black tank top that cut low on her back. Her hair was pulled up into a messy bun on top of her head, no doubt to keep it off the new ink she had on her shoulders. She wore minimal makeup, but man, she was still sexy. “Are you seriously trying to check out my ass right now?”
        I sat forward in my chair. Both Colton and Declan gave me the look of death. “I was actually checking out your new artwork, but now that you mention it,” I leaned back again. She tried to turn away. “Nah, too flat for my taste. But no worries, not everyone is an ass man. I’m sure there’s someone out there who likes that kind of thing.” I lied, but I wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction. She actually had a very nice, round ass. Not too big not too small, but just right.
        Her jaw dropped, clearly insulted. “You definitely are an ass, but the man part is still questionable.”
        “Alex,” Declan said in a warning tone. Alex picked up her menu and whipped it open. I didn’t have to read minds to know Colton was thinking if you ruin this for me I will kill you. His face said it all.
        I let out a sigh and leaned forward, trying to play nice. The waitress came over to take our drink order. “I’ll have a beer and a round of shots for the table.” I thought maybe I could get Alex to loosen up with a few drinks.
        “No thank you. I don’t drink. I’ll just have water.”
        “Don’t drink or not old enough too?” When she didn’t say anything I knew she wasn’t old enough. I leaned in close to her ear. She flinched slightly. “Don’t worry. I won’t tell if you won’t.” I nodded at the waitress to go ahead with the shots.
        “So what did you guys do today?” Declan asked, trying to defuse some of the tension.
        “Nothing really. Just hung out, worked on some new songs.”
        “Oh, you write?” Declan said interested. The conversation went off from there while Alex sat there seething. The waitress came back with our drink orders and I raised my shot glass. Declan and Colton did the same, but not Alex. She was still being the difficult one. Declan shot her a look of annoyance. Alex rolled her eyes and picked up the shot. She slammed it back before anyone of us had a chance to clink glasses.
        “What?” she asked. Declan just shook her head.
        “Is everyone ready to order?” the waitress asked. Alex scoured her menu again while the waitress went around the table to take everyone’s order. When she reached Alex, she asked if she would like some more time.
        “No, um…”
        I could sense she was feeling rushed and didn’t know what to pick. “Go with the veggie burger. It’s the best in town.”
        She closed her menu and handed it to the waitress. “I’ll have the steak, medium well, with a side of fries and sampler to start,” she said, ignoring my suggestion. The waitress gave her an odd look, but finished writing down the order and left. I was surprised by Alex’s hearty appetite. The few dates I went on the girls always ordered a salad or something vegetarian, which is why I suggested the veggie burger to Alex.
        “How did you and Alex come to know each other?” Colton asked, trying to include everyone in the conversation.
        “Alex and I are actually cousins,” Declan answered.
        “So I take you guys are close.”
        “Yes. Even after we moved Alex and I stayed in contact with each other. I spent most of my summers with her.”
        Declan and Colton carried on with the conversation. Alex just sat there, keeping with her standoff attitude. I decided to try and make nice and talk to Alex. “So, Alex, what do you like to do for fun? Besides make men’s balls shrink up and hide.” I smiled sweetly.
        Alex pressed her lips tightly together, suppressing the smile that was twitching at the corners. She hid behind her water glass as she took a sip. She seemed almost amused. Once her glass was placed firmly back on the table, she turned her dark green eyes on me. “As much as I enjoy ball busting egotistical assholes, in my spare time I thoroughly enjoy scaring children and crushing dreams. I’m sure it’s not as fun as stealing an innocent’s spirit, but hey, we can’t all be as charismatic as you.”
        Declan and Colton stopped talking to gawk at us. “It takes a lot of charisma to crush a soul,” I smiled, raising my glass.
        Alex took another sip of her water, crunching loudly on a piece of ice. The waitress delivered Alex’s sampler and our soups and salads, relieving us from what could possibly turn into an ugly conversation. No one spoke while we ate. I assumed it was because we were all grossed out by how Alex was inhaling her food like she hadn’t eaten in a week. She didn’t even stop to breathe in between bites. To top it off, when she was finished, she let out the loudest, manliest burp. “Excuse me,” she said innocently, while she gestured for the waitress to refill her water. Declan’s jaw dropped while Colton’s fork stayed suspended in the air, mid-bite. As repulsed as I was by this grotesque display at the same time I was strangely turned on.
        “Alex,” Declan chastised, like an embarrassed parent.
        “What? I said excuse me.”
        I threw my arm over the back of her chair and wiggled my brows at her. She leaned away from me. I had a feeling this was all an act she was putting on to repulse me. She was in for a sore surprise. Two could play at this game. “That was really hot. You wanna make out?” She pulled back even further, almost falling off her chair. I smiled, satisfied.
        Colton threw me a warning look while Declan hid her face in her hands. “If you don’t remove your arm I will show you my other favorite pastime, which is how I make grown men cry.”
        “I’ve seen you in action. I’ll take my chances.”
        Before she could react Declan interrupted. “Alex don’t!”
        Alex narrowed her at eyes at Declan, but remained in her seat, scooting further away from me.
        “Can I talk to you for a minute?” Colton demanded more than asked. I pushed back my chair and followed him to the bar. He paced angrily before he turned on me. “One favor Cas, that’s all I asked.”
        “That’s before I knew you were going to set me up with the she devil.”
        “It’s not all her.”
        “The way she inhaled that food you would think she’s a descendent of Medusa. Did you see her jaw unhinge?”
        “Cas, knock it off.”
        “What do you want me to do? It’s not like she makes it easy.”
        “I know,” he grunted, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Just ignore it. Please, for me.”
        “I’ll do what I can.” He gave me a look of annoyance. “Okay, okay. I won’t say anything.” I looked back over at the table. Declan was angrily pointing her finger at Alex while she sat there with her arms crossed and rolled her eyes. This might be harder than I thought, but I owed Colton. I promised him I would try my best to keep my mouth shut.
        We managed to make it through dinner without any more drama. Colton and Declan kept the conversation going while Alex and I were quiet spectators. When dinner was finally over, I was practically jumping out of my skin to get out of there. Alex was hot, but she had just a little more attitude than I liked and I never worked this hard for a girl in my life and I wasn’t going to start now. When the check came, I threw in my credit card, and waited impatiently for the waitress to return with my receipt. I signed the slip and stood up. Colton looked at me confused. “Well, I would say it’s been fun but,” I looked at Alex. “Then that would be like admitting you like getting a hot poker stuck up your ass.” Alex barely blinked an eye, but she did give me a sarcastic smile. Somehow she even made that look sexy. Not worth it, I reminded myself. “You ready?” I asked Colton.
        “Um,” he began, unsure.
        “Oh,” Declan chimed in. It was obvious these two were hitting it off and not ready for the date to end.
        “I was hoping we could hang out for a bit. If that’s what you want?”
        Pussy.
        “No, I’d love to. Unless you have other plans?”
        “No, Casper doesn’t have anywhere else he needs to be.” Colton shot me a warning look.
                “I’ll be at the bar.” I took off leaving the two lovebirds and shrew at the table. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

0 Feature: Sacred Choices by Karen Hulene Bartell



Sacred Choices Summary:


An inspirational love story centered on self-growth, Sacred Choices weaves together the lives of three resilient women. Ceren is a newly-married and pregnant professor who learns her husband is a bigamist who urges abortion. Judith, Ceren's colleague - an older, worldlier professor and pro-choice advocate - provides counsel based on her experiences. Judith's sister Pastora, a nun, provides the voice of reason. Written for, by, and about women who have had or are considering abortions, Sacred Choices is Ceren's journey - from her positive pregnancy test, through her decision whether or not to have an abortion - to an uncanny conclusion. Sacred Choices has an offbeat charm steeped in the supernatural. The protagonists' search for the answer to whether it is the Aztec goddess Tonantzin or Our Lady of Guadalupe who has been revered for the past 500 years is interrupted by a giggling, young girl, who appears only to Judith. Is she a figment of Judith's imagination, a vision - or could she be an angel, as Pastora believes? Set near Mexico City and incorporating present-day Hispanic and ancient Aztec beliefs, culture, and cuisine, Sacred Choices deeply celebrates the triumph of the spirit.

Karen Hulene Bartell Biography:


Born to rolling-stone parents who moved annually, Dr. Karen Hulene Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Wanderlust inherent, she enjoyed traveling, although loathed changing schools. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings.
Karen Hulene Bartell resides in the Texas Hill Country with her husband Peter and her ‘mews’—five rescued cats.

Sacred Choices and Karen Hulene Bartell Links:


Sacred Choices Excerpt:


Alighting in Mexico City, she understood the reason for the festive passengers. It was November first. Día de los Muertos—Day of the Dead:
The city was vibrant in multi-color paper cutouts. Crimson, fuchsia, canary yellow, cerise, and chartreuse papers fluttered from every shop, cart, and street. Even at the early hour, the Zocalo was filling with people in costume, waiting for the Day of the Dead parades. More and more people began arriving, their faces painted to resemble skulls.
Rapt in her own world, Ceren had forgotten about the holiday. Fear caught her breath. What if the clinic wasn’t open or closed early? The urgency spurred her on, but the gathering crowds and ghoulish spectacle of the city slowed her stride.
At every corner, she saw sugar skulls and pan de muerto, bread of the dead, for sale. Rows of painted ceramic skulls lined the stalls around the Zocalo. Macabre skeleton dolls, carvings, caps, shoes, earrings, necklaces, and assorted kitsch vied for her attention.
For those not artistically inclined themselves, Calavera-Catrina and Catrine face painters had set up shop in front of the cathedral. Ceren paused, momentarily joining the onlookers. The artists created black hollows around their subjects’ eyes, painting black over the lids, eye sockets, and areas beneath the eyes. Whitewashing the rest of their faces clown white, the artists added a black triangle at the tips of their noses, and drew black ‘stitches’ over their lips. Some finished with black blusher under the cheekbones for a hauntingly hollow effect.
Everywhere, I see the face of death.
A few faces sported colorful flower shapes around their eyes with hearts and curlicues on their foreheads and cheeks. But it was the half-decorated faces that caught her eye, grins that began on natural features and crossed the face to become painted skull smiles.
Ceren stared at the half-skull makeup, the faces caught between life and death. She sniffed, twisting her mouth into a grimace. I can relate.
Smelling the fresh-baked pan de muerto, she realized she had left before sunrise without eating. She bought a loaf and hungrily tore off a bite, but as it touched her lips, she shivered. Still shaking, beads of perspiration broke out on her forehead. What am I doing, partaking in some kind of unholy communion with the dead? As she struggled to swallow the bread, she suddenly felt nauseous.
“Are you all right, miss?” asked the shopkeeper.
Ceren smiled wanly. “Just a little dizzy.”
The shopkeeper nodded knowingly. “I also get emotional on Día de los Inocentes.”
“Day to celebrate the lives of the innocents?” Ceren asked, unfamiliar with the phrase.
Sí, los niños who died.”
“The children who died,” Ceren repeated softly. Now I understand. Her body sagged, and she leaned against a lamppost for support.
The entire country’s remembering the lives of their deceased children, and today, of all days . . . .
A wave of nausea quickly grounded her in the present. She took a deep breath to bolster her determination, referred to her map, and started off toward the nearest hospital. Surges of people wearing Catrina and Catrine faces passed her on the sidewalk, watching her with their blank, black eyes. As absurd as it seemed, she had the unreasonable feeling that the grinning skull faces knew her intentions and were jeering at her.

***SC***

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

0 Interview with Viedelle Smith

JO by Nigel Wyndham, is a fictional epic love story, thrilling us as we move through American and British history with haunting realities while witnessing the birth of two nations over two hundred years ago. Eerily traumatic, constantly keeping us engaged, "JO" is the journey of a young woman's tumultuous life at a time when women are to be seen and not heard. Our star is an eighteenth century modern girl. Through her own strong will and obstinate choices, she is forced into the distorted truth of a world far from the reality of her high society New York upbringing. Betrayed by the love she holds for a British soldier upon following him to London, her association with an Irish Activist gives the English Militia reason to steal her away from the comforts of a life she was born into, charging her with a crime she did not commit---and from Olde Bailey's careless and corrupt, she is tossed as a felon with other female dreck into the bowels of the hell-ship, "Neptune." Surrounded by illness and debauchery, amongst the depths of degradation she is forced to accept her fifteen year fate in the antipodes: but it is through the strong will and determination born in her that she is able to survive this horrific six month journey Riveted and enthralled, we continue to stay passionately close to "JO" as our story unfolds on the other side of the world. Now a felon appearing face to face with the love that once betrayed her, again she is forced to reckon with those cruel ghosts from the past... until she meets the man who proves to be her truest love. Through emancipation with her new love, a Governor about to be ousted, and our story teller/narrator, Nigel Wyndham, she eventually finds the truth and justice she has been searching for.


1.      My book, in 140 characters, or less…

JO by Nigel Wyndham© is a love story; a period piece hidden within a 25 year backdrop of fictional characters intertwined amongst true, non-fictional American and British happenings. This riveting, 1774 through 1800 story is of a young, high society American woman who survives the ravages of the Revolutionary war… and then, after following her love to England, experiences the humiliation of expedient justice by being falsely accused of a crime she did not commit.  Surviving the horrific six month journey to Australia after being sentenced to 15 years in the antipodes, our high society felon finds peace in the penal colony by becoming emancipated through marrying the only man who proves to be her truest love... and it is here she finally finds the truth and justice she has been searching for.

2.      How much research went into this book?

The research I did for “JO” (as a book) took 8 years, with periodic breaks in between.  However, being that my screenplay (writer) partner, Frank Shields and I were originally planning this story for the big screen, some of the basic research had been done three to five years prior.

3.      What are some of the challenges of writing a historical novel?

The major challenge in writing my book was being as precise as I could with dates, people and places. Seemingly, there is nothing worse for a historian to read a historic novel, and then to find that there are non-fictional characters living in the story before they were born – or happenings, happening 100 years prior to, or after their actual happening.  That being said, just to keep things straight, there is one non-fictional person in “JO” that I worked in to help glue the story together; however, I’ve been told that it works well.  I’d be interested to see if you spotted him.

4.      Who are some of the authors that have inspired me?

Who are my favorite inspirational writers/authors?  I go way back to the classics: William Shakespeare, William Defoe, Omar Khayyam – these are just 3 of them.  However, in today’s world, I can say that William Goldman is, above all, my very favorite.  He writes with such clarity allowing the reader’s mind to go to the place he intended to lead us.  I call it true, theater of the mind, and to me, that’s perfection.  My favorite work of his happens to be a screenplay, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”  Another piece of perfect work.

5.      What do I think is the biggest challenge that writers face today?


I believe the biggest challenge writers face today are major Publishers like, Random House and Simon & Schuster.  Clearly, they are afraid to take a risk with first-time authors like myself.  My Publisher, GM Books, took a risk with me and have stood beside me all the way, and for this I am eternally grateful.  However, there are other writers/authors who have not been given this opportunity and who may possibly have a wonderful story to tell, as well.  It is a tragedy to think their creative work is blocked by a process of the times.


Check out these sites for more information about this author: 


Monday, July 21, 2014

0 Audio Book Review: Love Life by Rob Lowe

Title: Love Life
Author: Rob Lowe
Read by: Rob Lowe
Length: 7.5 hours
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Published: April 8, 2014
CD
ISBN: 978-1-4423-6733-3
Genre: Memoirs
Source: Simon and Schuster Audio


Goodreads Summary:
When Rob Lowe's first book was published in 2011, he received the kind of rapturous reviews that writers dream of and rocketed to the top of the bestseller list. Now, in Love Life, he expands his scope, using stories and observations from his life in a poignant and humorous series of true tales about men and women, art and commerce, fathers and sons, addiction and recovery, and sex and love.
My thoughts on the audio:
Love Life is read by the author, Rob Lowe. I always love it when authors read their own books. They add perspective that only an author can give. They know all the emotions and feelings that the characters are going to give. This book however is not a work of fiction, but a memoir, so hearing Rob Lowe read his own book is like sitting down with him while he tells you some of the best and worst times of his life. In the beginning, it took me a while to get used to his voice. There is nothing wrong with it, but it was the first time I listened to him when he's not playing a character. It was odd at first and took a bit to warm up to what I guess is the real Rob Lowe.

My thoughts on the book:
By the title of the book you might assume that this book is full of dirty details of Rob Lowe's 'love life'. However it's not until you crack open the book when you realize that while it is a book about his love life, it's not dirty. Rob Lowe has a lot of loves in his life: his career, his family, his friends, and his wife. In this book he talks about them all. From his early days in Hollywood, to sending his son off to college.

There are moments in this book that I felt that Rob was being real, completely vulnerable and laying his cards on the table for all to see. He has some amazing stories to tell, and he does some great impressions of his friends. There are other times when I did question how 'real' he was being. Whether he intentionally vamped up a story to make it more interesting. Despite all that this was a great audio book to listen to. I can imagine that it is hard to open up the highs and lows of your life for scrutiny, and I appreciate his willingness to do so. He definitely has some amusing tales to tell. More than that, he has some heartwarming tales to tell. Especially about sending his first born off to college.

I'm very picky about the memoirs I listen to, and I'm so glad I chose this one. I did mainly because St. Elmo's Fire was and still is one of my favorite movies. Every time I watch that movie, it transports me back to the first time I watched it many years ago. So few movies do that to me. It was also my first introduction to Rob Lowe. Love Life gave me the chance to learn more about the actor behind the movie.

My rating:


Friday, July 18, 2014

0 Feature: A SILENT PRAYER : A PRAYER SERIES I


A SILENT PRAYER : A PRAYER SERIES I

Adam Gibson is a young and powerful Toronto millionaire. Despite his many blessings, he is an atheist, though he has an altruistic soul. He denies there is a God, until he meets a beautiful stranger in a place that does not exist for anyone but him.

Rania Ahmed strongly believes in God, but has lost hope she will ever find her soul mate. Endowed with hypnotic beauty and cursed by a brutal past, Rania has no idea she has cast a spell on Adam, who has never received more from a woman than physical pleasure. As Adam slowly discovers the true meaning of love from Rania, he begins to face his demons and reconsider his beliefs. He learns to love, forgive and repent. But as Adam grows closer to Rania, a series of strange, unexplained events threatens to drive them apart. To keep her from being destroyed by her past, he must persuade her to trust him with her deepest secrets.

In this spiritual romance, an atheist embarks on a path of enlightenment with a tormented soul who may just have the power to change everything he has ever believed to be true.
REVIEWS

"An intense, joltingly modern love story."-- KIRKUS

"I think A Silent Prayer by Samreen Ahsan is destined to become a classic in the romance genre. I rarely read pure romance novels. I like my romance blended into an action or adventure story, otherwise it gets a little boring for me. This story is pure romance. What is new is that Samreen Ahsan chooses to tell the story from both characters' point of view. One chapter from the man's perspective and one chapter from the woman's.
There are a lot of good male writers who just can't capture the essence of a female character and there are a lot of good women writers who can't quite get the male voice right. Both the male and female perspective sound and feel genuinely authentic. This is why I give it five stars. The writing is great and I cared about the characters. You could even say that I prayed for a successful conclusion to their romantic journey." -- Reviewed by Readers' Favorite

"This novel is not your typical romance as it is more along the journey of what it means to establish faith. There are many types of love in the world, some black and white others are more clear. I think as human beings we are all quick to judge those that do not see as clearly as Adam. In some ways I believe that both Rania and Adam were able to save each other because they were able to look beyond what it truly means to love and to forgive." -- For the Passion of Romance Blog.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

History, art and literature are my passions. I love digging out information about prophecies, divine miracles and paranormal events that are mentioned in history and holy books, that don't sound possible in today's modern world.

Since childhood, I have been into reading and writing--and yes, it can't happen without imagination, which luckily has no boundaries. Dance and music are also pastimes I enjoy, as well as reading romance fiction. I love to travel and explore historical cities. I currently live in Toronto, Canada.

A Prayer Series is my first story about paranormal events based on Islamic concepts. http://www.samreenahsan.com/

Thursday, July 17, 2014

0 Love a good mystery? Check out this week's Free Sync downloads!

Available July 17 – July 23

Description:
Enola’s landlady, Mrs. Tupper, is the closest thing Enola has to family these days, besides her occasional run-ins with her brother Sherlock. Even though Mrs. Tupper is nearly deaf and can barely cook, she’s an endearing presence as Enola longs for her absent mother. So imagine her horror when Enola comes home to find Mrs. Tupper kidnapped! Who would take her, and why? And what does Florence Nightingale have to do with it? From the master of mystery Nancy Springer, here’s another absorbing adventure for our award-winning, unstoppable heroine, Enola Holmes.


Description:
In this collection are four of the finest cases of Mr Sherlock Holmes: The Engineer’s Thumb, The Silver Band, The Scandal in Bohemia, The Five Orange Pips, narrated by his faithful friend and admirer Dr Watson. What was the mystery of the engineer’s thumb? What was behind the disappearance of the race horse? Why did masked royalty walk up to see Holmes in Baker Street? These and other puzzles are solved by this bloodhound of a genius.




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

0 Interview with KM Randall

Have you ever wondered where fairytales go once they’re created?

It’s been eight years since Story Sparks last had a dream. Now they’re back, tormenting her as nightmares she can’t remember upon waking. The black waters of Lake Sandeen, where her Uncle Peter disappeared decades before, may hold the secret to Story’s hidden memories, or a truth she’d rather not know. On a bright summer afternoon, Story and her two best friends, Elliott and Adam, take a hike to the lake, where they dive into the cool water and never reemerge. What they find is beyond anything they’ve ever imagined could be possible, a world where dangers lurk in the form of Big Bad Wolves, living Nightmares and meddlesome witches and gods.

Now Story must remember who she really is and somehow stop two worlds from ultimate annihilation, all while trying not to be too distracted by the inexplicable pull she feels toward a certain dark-eyed traveler who seems to have secrets of his own. The fates of the worlds are counting on her.

1.     Paranormal and fantasy are your preferred genre. Who are some of your favorite fantasy and paranormal authors?
I’ve always loved Tanya Huff, Sara Douglass, Madeleine L'Engle, and Charles de Lint. Although Alice Hoffman is not considered fantasy, per say, she is considered “magic realism." And that’s exactly what I love about the way she writes—magic infuses the words on every page, and so she’s definitely been an influence.
2.     Fractured Dream is a book in which the main character finds out that fairytales are real. Which fairy tale would you love to be real? 
The Little Mermaid has always been one of my favorites. Although I have to admit, I watched and read the original version by Hans Christian Andersen as a child and was always so sad over how she doesn’t get the guy and then she dies. So I’d order up the Disney version please. Now, if you mean the ones that exist within Fractured Dream, I’d say although she’s not really a fairytale, it would be Morgan le Fay from Arthurian lore. She’s more like a legend than fairytale, but she is one of my all-time favorite characters in literature. 
3.     Why did you name your main character Story? 
Well, the character originally had a different name. For a long time. But I never really connected with the character or the name. I’d long-loved the name Story and one day when I was trying to think of a really amazing name for my main character it came to me. How perfect for a girl who goes into a world where storybook characters actually exist! At that moment, Story and I totally clicked. She was who she was supposed to be. Names are a big thing with me when writing. I often search names and their meaning to better fit the character’s personality or motivation. So Story meets my need to give my characters’ names greater depth.
4.     How many books to you envision for this series? 
There will be three in all. I have had an idea for a few spin-off standalones involving the world itself with new characters. But that’s a ways off!

5.     I noticed you like to use quotes on your website. I love quotes. Do you have a favorite?
I have many favorites! But this one by Annie Dillard is perhaps one I’ve cherished for a long time:

“The universe was not made in jest but in solemn incomprehensible earnest. By a power that is unfathomably secret, and holy, and fleet.” --A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Check out more from this author by visiting http://www.kmrandallauthor.com/

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

0 The Husband Maker Book Blast and Giveaway

The Husband Maker by Karey White

The Husband Maker by Karey White


Charlotte’s a girl with nicknames. She may not love being called Charles or Chuck, but the hardest nickname to take is the one she was given in college, the one that’s followed her now for too many years. They call her “the husband maker” and sadly, it fits. Every guy she’s dated since high school has become his next girlfriend’s husband. Not hers. Not three girlfriends down the road. The next.

Is she doing something wrong or is she just cursed?

When Kyle Aldsworth enters the picture and sweeps her off her feet, Charlotte begins to hope that maybe she's not destined to be single forever. A senator’s son with political aspirations of his own, Kyle's wealthy, handsome, and in need of a wife. Will Charlotte be disappointed yet again, or will she finally be able to make a husband for herself?
Get your copy of The Husband Maker for just $3.99!

Excerpt
I’d always heard the view from Top of the Mark was exceptional. When San Francisco Life listed the top ten places to view the skyline at night, Top of the Mark was ranked number three, so when the invitation to Harrison’s wedding arrived, I finally had an excuse to take in the view for myself.
Stupid, stupid me. I should have taken a cab up the steep hills to 999 California Street, hopped on the elevator to the nineteenth floor, and looked out the windows. I could have come with or without makeup, and I could have worn jeans and a t-shirt. If I’d brought Mia or Aleena with me, we could have had a nice dinner or dessert. If I’d brought Angus, we could have had both. Since Top of the Mark was built at the crest of Nob Hill, I could have snapped a jaw-dropping photo or two with my iPhone and made the sparkling skyline my screen saver.
But no. I had to come see it on the night my old boyfriend was marrying a 49ers cheerleader named Nicki, who’d had more remodeling than an episode of Property Brothers. She looked like a Who’s Who of Hollywood parts—Scarlett’s nose, Angelina’s lips, and Kim’s cheekbones. Her bias-cut dress clung to her other (ahem) purchased body parts and made me feel very un-girly in comparison.
“Nicki, this is Charlotte.” Harrison looked me level in the eye, and for the first time all evening, I felt an inch of relief that things hadn’t worked out between us. Five-eleven is pretty average for a guy, and Harrison towered over Nicki, even in her stilettos. But the only way he’d ever have been able to look down at me the way he’d looked down at Nicki when they’d exchanged their vows was if he’d stood on a stool. I know it’s not important, and it makes me sound completely shallow, but I read a romance once where the leading man “gazed down at his true love with tender eyes.” Someday, I’d like a guy to gaze down at me with tender eyes. And I’d rather not have to be standing in a hole for that to happen.
“It’s fabulous to finally meet you.” Nicki’s voice was chirpy, and her lips didn’t move quite right. “I want to thank you for breaking his heart”—she puckered up and baby-talked—“so I could put it back together.” She pulled him down by his tuxedo lapel to kiss his cheek, then wiped the red smear away with her acrylic-nailed thumb.
Well, this was awkward. And I wasn’t the only one feeling it. Harrison’s eyes begged me not to set the record straight.
You see, Harrison had broken up with me. “I’m not ready for the whole settling down with one woman thing,” he’d said four short months ago. “You’re ready to get married, and I won’t be ready for that scene for years.”
Maybe he’d meant dog years.
“Congratulations, you two. You make a much better couple than we ever did,” I said, although it stung to admit it.
“Did Will come? I saw Angus a little while ago,” Harrison said. Will is my twin brother. No, his name is not Wilbur, although we’ve been asked if our parents had a thing for Charlotte’s Web more times than I can count. His name is William, and he’s the reason I ended up dating Harrison in the first place.
Our families lived on the same street in Fairfield, but I barely remembered Harrison, who was two years older than us. Nearly a year ago, Will and Harrison had been at the same concert, and Harrison had asked Will if his little sister was still available. Will wasn’t sure if he meant me or McKayla, but since McKayla was already married, he gave Harrison my number. On our first date, Harrison admitted he hadn’t been asking about me, but he was decent enough to say he was glad for the mix-up. And the rest is history.
A short and tragic history, but history nonetheless.
“Will and his wife are in D.C. right now interviewing.” I stepped on my tiptoes and scanned the room over the groom’s head. “I didn’t know Angus was here.”
“I talked to him earlier, but he might have left already,” Harrison said.
“Aaahhh!”
I nearly knocked over a waiter as I jumped away from Nicki’s scream. “Look, Kitten. It’s Baxter Kensington. I didn’t think he’d actually come.”
Kitten? Did she really call him that? Harrison’s red face confirmed that yes, she had. “He plays for the 49ers,” he explained, and I nodded.
“I’d better go and make room for the celebrities,” I said, and Harrison grinned. He’d always appreciated my sarcasm, and his cute grin jabbed at my not-quite-healed heart.
“Thanks for coming.” He pulled me into a hug while his bride arranged her dress to best flatter her cleavage and patted the sides of her platinum fauxhawk. “Are things good with us?” he said quietly in my ear.
I pulled away. “Oh sure.”
“I was worried—”
“Nothing to worry about. Go. Be happy.”
“Thanks, Charlotte.”
I turned away, my eyes stinging, and nearly barreled into one of the most stunning specimens of athleticism I’d ever seen. His pale yellow shirt and silvery gray suit contrasted beautifully with his dark skin. No wonder the bride was swooning about someone other than the groom. Poor Harrison looked like a little boy in comparison.
Ah, one of the hazards of marrying a cheerleader.
Through slightly blurred vision, I saw Harrison put his arm around Nicki. Not too long ago, I’d thought that would be me, though the venue and guest list would have been drastically different.


Husband Maker Tour



Karey WhiteAuthor Karey White

Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.





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0 Spoiler-free review of The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

Title: The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)
Author: Deborah Harkness
Publisher: Viking
Published: July 15, 2014
ISBN13: 9780670025596
Ebook, ARC
Genre: Fantasy
Source: NetGalley






Goodreads Summary:
After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

My thoughts:
I have been looking forward to and dreading this book at the same time. After I finished the last book, Shadow of Night, I waited with baited breath until the release of The Book of Life. I also dreaded it because this is the last book in the trilogy. No more Diana. No more Mathew. No more Gallowglass. These characters that I've grown to love fates' will be revealed in this last installment

From the first book Harkness has taken her readers on a journey. In A Discovery of Witches we meet Diana Bishop. A witch who wants nothing to do with being a witch. She meets the seductive vampire, Mathew Clairmont and from there her life gets more complicated. Not to mention she's found an elusive book, Ashmole 782, that has been sought after by practically every creature. In Shadow of Night, Diana embraces her heritage. With Matthew at her side, she travels back in time to hone her craft. In this third book, Diana and Matthew return to the present with many difficulties ahead of them.

From the first page of the book, I was drawn back into the world that Harkness has created. Matthew and Diana arrive back to a mound full of trouble. Not only is Diana and Matthew's relationship against all sort of rules, but Diana is pregnant with twins. Which are of interest to an innumerable amount of people. Also they're still on the lookout for the missing pages of Ashmole 782. Plus many more problems. So many loose ends to tie up in this book! 

I feel like I have been on an exhausting journey with these characters. From the first book to the last I was highly entertained. As I drew close to the ending of this book, I wondered how it was all going to go down. Harkness had me on the edge of my seat. I'm happy with the ending. I think many of her readers will be. I'm sad to see this trilogy at an end. I'm not ready to say goodbye to these characters. But alas, it's time to. I thoroughly enjoyed this series. Thanks, Deborah Harkness!

My rating:


 

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