Posted in Dystopian, New Adult, Spotlight, Young Adult on December 20, 2014

counteract

 

Synopsis

The country is braced for a chemical weapons attack—but is the government’s antidote the greater threat? COUNTERACT, the story of a girl, a guy, the terrorist attack that brings them together, and their race to expose a conspiracy that will destroy their country from within, is the first volume in a series.

Careen survived a terrorist’s bomb when she was a kid, and now the threat of a chemical weapons attack is literally hanging over her head. She takes the antidote offered by the government, but is unprepared for the side effects, which cause her to hallucinate, affect her memory, and derail her from her university studies. Her erratic behavior attracts the attention of a young law enforcement officer, who mistakenly pegs her as a dissident and pursues her, hoping she’ll make contact with a known resistance group. Careen doesn’t realize the antidote is causing her confusion…until she runs out on the day of the anticipated attack.

Tommy, recuperating from injuries sustained in a recent auto accident, is unaware that there’s a link between that accident, which killed his parents, and the chemical weapons attack that threatens him now. The antidote plagues him with hallucinations of tragedy and loss, and sends him spiraling into despair. When he discovers that working out before he takes his dose helps him feel more like himself, he defies the rules to regain his strength and his sanity. On the day of the attack, he meets Careen, who just might be the girl of his dreams, and tries to save her by sharing his last dose with her, even though doing so could potentially hasten his own death.

What Careen and Tommy learn about the true nature of the terrorist threat spurs them to take action, and their decisions lead them to run afoul of local law enforcement, team up with that underground resistance group, and ultimately take their quest for the truth to the highest reaches of the United States government.

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About the Author

tracy lawsonTracy Lawson has wanted to be a writer ever since she learned to read. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Communication from Ohio University, and though she embarked on a career in the performing arts as a dance instructor and choreographer, never lost her desire to write, and thus far has to her credit Counteract, a coming-of-age dystopian thriller and an historical nonfiction. Her interest in writing for teens is sparked by all the wonderful young people in her life, including her daughter, Keri, a college sophomore.

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Posted in Book Blast, New Adult, paranormal, romance on December 19, 2014

 From Addison Moore’s Award Winning Celestra Series comes the New Adult Paranormal Romance….

The Dragon and the Rose

Celestra Forever After Book 2

Addison Moore

 
Skyla Messenger’s world has forever changed after discovering a heart wrenching deception carried out by the one she trusts most.
Enemy lines have redefined themselves and Skyla finds herself, and the Nephilim people, in far more danger than ever before.
The one she loves seems lost forever.
His greatest sacrificewill bring her greatest heartbreak…

 

 

“From the moment it started till I turned the last page, I was intrigued, entranced… completely under its spell. It’s hot and steamy, yummy and sexy, there’s romance, mystery, suspense and sorrow. It’s a roller coaster ride that keeps you guessing at every turn.”
~ My Book Angel (Blog)
Where it all began…
 
The Celestra Series 

YA Paranormal Romance

16 year-old Skyla Messenger embarks on a journey that spans time and dimensions in her pursuit to navigate old angelic rivalries.
After the death of her father, her family moves to eerie Paragon Island where no one and nothing is as it seems.
Upon discovering she belongs to the most powerful angelic beings, the Celestra faction, Skyla is enthralled with her new powers and her new standing in the order of the universe. Skyla and the two handsome boys that side with her, Logan and Gage, find themselves embroiled in a faction war that tries their character and has them questioning which side of the battle line they should be standing.
The Celestra Series is a dizzying carousel that sends you into the fog-laden woods without any hope of ever leaving. Fasten your seatbelt.
This is one wicked ride.
Angels and Femsand Sectors,oh my.
 

*Be sure to check out The Countenance Trilogy, a Celestra spinoff. Both series merge into the Celestra Forever After Series, a New Adult continuation of the popular Young Adult series!

The Countenance Trilogy

Celestra Forever After Series:

About the Author:

Addison Moore is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author who writes contemporary and paranormal romance. Her work has been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine. Previously she worked as a therapist on a locked psychiatric unit for nearly a decade. She resides on the West Coast with her husband, four wonderful children, and two dogs where she eats too much chocolate and stays up way too late. When she’s not writing, she’s reading.

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Posted in 4 paws, mystery, Review on December 19, 2014

Truth Be Told HC

TRUTH BE TOLD is another gripping tale featuring fan-favorite protagonists Jane Ryland and Jake Brogan. Set in Boston, the novel weaves a tale of financial manipulation, the terror of foreclosures, secrets from the past, murder, and the primal need for home, family and love.

Truth Be Told, part of the bestselling Jane Ryland and Jake Brogan series by Agatha, Anthony, Mary Higgins Clark, and Macavity Award-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan, begins with tragedy: a middle-class family evicted from their suburban home. In digging up the facts on this heartbreaking story—and on other foreclosures— reporter Ryland soon learns the truth behind a big-bucks scheme and the surprising players who will stop at nothing, including murder, to keep their goal a secret. Turns out, there’s more than one way to rob a bank.

Boston police detective Jake Brogan has a liar on his hands. A man has just confessed to the famous twenty-year-old Lilac Sunday killing, and while Jake’s colleagues take him at his word, Jake is not so sure. But he has personal reasons for hoping they’ve finally solved the cold case.

Financial manipulation, the terror of foreclosures, the power of numbers, the primal need for home and family and love. What happens when what you believe is true turns out to be a lie?

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Review

This is the 3rd book in the series and I think the books keep getting better and better.  I could relate to this book because it is an industry that I am very familiar with – banking/mortgages and real estate.  I was rooting for Liz but was unsure as to what exactly she was doing at the bank.  Was she manipulating the customer files so that they didn’t lose their homes?  How did she do that?  She was definitely a champion for the underdog.

As with her last book, there are several story lines and most of them all tie together in the end.  The first deals with home foreclosures and the second is a twenty year old mystery that Jake’s grandfather dealt with when he was alive and commissioner. There are some characters that you think are the good guys but then you find out that they really aren’t.  The stories are edgy, as are most of her books, and deal with real issues that affect many of us.

I am wondering where Jake and Jane’s relationship is headed.  They keep it under wraps which can be tough when you are talking a news reporter and a police detective.  It is apparent it causes some issues when it comes to the cases.

We give this 4 paws up and anxiously await the next book!

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About the Author

new hank cornerHANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate. She’s won 32 EMMYs, 12 Edward R. Murrow awards and dozens of other honors for her ground-breaking journalism. A bestselling author of seven mystery novels, Ryan has won multiple prestigious awards for her crime fiction: three Agathas, the Anthony, Daphne, Macavity, and for THE OTHER WOMAN, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. National reviews have called her a “master at crafting suspenseful mysteries” and “a superb and gifted storyteller.” Her 2013 novel, THE WRONG GIRL, has the extraordinary honor of winning the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel and the Daphne Award for Mainstream Mystery/Suspense, and is a seven-week Boston Globe bestseller. Her newest hardcover, TRUTH BE TOLD, is a Library Journal Editor’s Pick and RT Book Reviews Top Pick, with starred reviews from Booklist and from Library Journal, which raves, “Drop everything and binge read!” She’s a founding teacher at Mystery Writers of America University and 2013 president of national Sisters in Crime.

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Posted in 4 paws, mystery, Review on December 18, 2014

wrong girl

 

Synopsis

Award-winning and Boston Globe bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan presents a spine-chilling, heart-wrenching suspense novel that explores a terrifying scenario striking at the heart of every family.

Does a respected adoption agency have a frightening secret? Tipped off by a determined ex-colleague on a desperate quest to find her birth mother, Boston newspaper reporter Jane Ryland begins to suspect that the agency is engaging in the ultimate betrayal—reuniting birth parents with the wrong children.

For detective Jake Brogan and his partner, a young woman’s brutal murder seems a sadly predictable case of domestic violence, one that results in two toddlers being shuttled into the foster care system. Then Jake finds an empty cradle at the murder scene. Where is the baby who should have been sleeping there?

Jane and Jake are soon on a trail full of twists and turns that takes them deep into the heart of a foster care system in crisis and threatens to blow the lid off an adoption agency scandal. When the threatening phone calls start, Jane knows she is on the right track…but with both a killer at large and an infant missing, time is running out….

The Wrong Girl is a riveting novel of familial relationships—both known and unknown—vile greed, senseless murder, and the ultimate in deception. What if you didn’t know the truth about your own family?

The Wrong Girl is the winner of the 2013 Agatha Award for best contemporary novel.

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Review

So I have to admit that I got this book a year ago when it came out from the publisher and just now got around to reading it because the 3rd book is out and that is what I am reading right now!  I have way too many books and not enough time, but that is what 2015 will be all about.  Anyway, enough of my rambling!

This is the 2nd in a series and wow what an action packed book! The author does an excellent job of taking 4 story lines and tying them together seamlessly. It was interesting to see how the story came together in the end and it wasn’t quite what I was expecting that is for sure.  There are a quite a few characters to keep up with, but not too hard to do.  I think I connected to the story line about foster children because of a friend of mine that fostered and then adopted 7 children and I think of her every time I hear/read something like this.

I do recall reading the first book and thinking it was ok, but this book definitely tops that one and kept me engaged right until the very end.

We give this book 4 paws up.

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About the Author

new hank cornerHANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate. She’s won 32 EMMYs, 12 Edward R. Murrow awards and dozens of other honors for her ground-breaking journalism. A bestselling author of seven mystery novels, Ryan has won multiple prestigious awards for her crime fiction: three Agathas, the Anthony, Daphne, Macavity, and for THE OTHER WOMAN, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. National reviews have called her a “master at crafting suspenseful mysteries” and “a superb and gifted storyteller.” Her 2013 novel, THE WRONG GIRL, has the extraordinary honor of winning the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel and the Daphne Award for Mainstream Mystery/Suspense, and is a seven-week Boston Globe bestseller.  Her newest hardcover, TRUTH BE TOLD, is a Library Journal Editor’s Pick and RT Book Reviews Top Pick, with starred reviews from Booklist and from Library Journal, which raves, “Drop everything and binge read!”  She’s a founding teacher at Mystery Writers of America University and 2013 president of national Sisters in Crime.

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Posted in excerpt, Inspirational, self help, Spotlight on December 17, 2014

Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships banner

 

Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships 2

Title: Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships: 10 Shift Keys – What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries
Author: Eve Picquette
Publisher: Enchanted Eve, Inc.
Pages: 78
Genre: Self Help/Inspiration
Format: Paperback

Synopsis

How many times have you read or seen something that made you want to change your life and relationships – but you didn’t know how? Introduced by two angels, Hope and Impatience, Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships – What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries… answers the “how” question. Eve Picquette shows readers how to:

  • Open their hearts to love
  • Shift their lives, using 10 keys—how-to-do-it ideas created with the help of angels of inspiration—to change in real and satisfying ways.

In this lighthearted, uplifting, and beautifully illustrated gift book, each chapter opens with images of the author’s angels and quotes she believes were angel-inspired sometime in history. Readers may also download companion MP3 Mini Meditations available on Amazon.com. They are “Dared to Shift” their thoughts and behaviors and these shifts will improve lives and relationships: • Shift 1: Always Connect to Love • Shift 2: Just Stop It, Really • Shift 3: It’s All About You • Shift 4: It’s Not About You • Shift 5: Give Up on the Past • Shift 6: Expect the Best Future • Shift 7: Appreciate Everything Now • Shift 8: Re-Choose Your Relationships • Shift 9: Handle Conflict with Grace • Shift 10: Love So it Can be Felt.

If you are ready to try these simple shifts, the results will amaze you. Every encouraging and comforting word in this beautifully illustrated self-help book will lead you to the path of peace, happiness, and fulfillment. A treasure to own, it would also serve as a thoughtful, caring, and loving gift.

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Excerpt

WHAT WILL I GET OUT OF THIS?

An extra two hours per day!

A British writer for the Daily Mail in 2011 estimated that many Britons fret more than 2.5 hours per day, and they are likely not alone. If that seems excessive, think about the time you think while driving, in the bathroom, and in the shower. Are you thinking positive thoughts of gratitude? Probably not (at least, I don’t always think thoughts of gratitude!). Perhaps you can allow yourself a few minutes of fretting and planning on productive subjects, where some planning or action may change the outcome and make you feel more secure. If you stopped worrying about the potential global disasters and things totally beyond your control, that would free up possibly two hours a day. Dr. Siegel cited a study that got my attention – Patients in a control group for a new chemotherapy drug were given nothing but saline, yet they were warned it could be chemotherapy and 30% of them lost their hair. Do not underestimate the power of your thoughts! You could be thinking about something positive, uplifting, or fun with your time. Worrying and fretting fall way down the emotional and vibrational scale, somewhere between despair and frustration. Remember—shifting to peace and gratitude will raise your vibration and attract more for which to be grateful.

About the Author

Eve PicquetteEve Picquette has been looking for love, joy and fun all her life. Along the way she has had lots of experiences – some with more fun than others! A licensed attorney, she served as director of risk and quality management at hospital corporations in California and Arizona for thirty years. She is also a certified NLP life coach, matrix, EFT and Angel Therapy practitioner. Eve Picquette received her MSN in community mental health at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, and her Juris Doctor from the University of California, Davis.

Author of Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships: 10 Shift Keys -What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries and companion Mini Meditation MP3’s, she lives in Arizona, and her present happy work is teaching and advising clients regarding having more love and joy in personal and business relationships.

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Posted in 5 paws, Blog tour, excerpt, Giveaway, Review, romance on December 16, 2014

Rough Around the Edges

Rough Around the Edges Meets Refined (Meet Your Match #2) by Rachael Anderson

For Noah Mackie, life is finally back on track. He has a great support system, a promised promotion is on its way, and he’s finally getting the hang of this single father thing. But when the job falls through and his neighbor’s matchmaking efforts become more aggressive, Noah is in for yet another unwanted detour. With his career and two spirited daughters to worry about, he doesn’t have time for dating—especially not someone like Cassie Ellis, his girls’ beautiful and sophisticated dance instructor, who is about as open and approachable as a brick wall.

Rough around the Edges Meets Refined is about two people who think they know exactly what they want but who have no idea what they really need. It’s about learning that people aren’t always what they seem and that sometimes life’s detours take you exactly where you need to go.

Excerpt

Carpet samples were way too small. How was Cassie supposed to know what an entire room would look like from a small little swatch? There were too many choices. Nylon or polyester? Plush, frieze, textured, or cut? Not to mention all the color options. And then there was the tile for the bathroom and the complicated dance flooring, with its sub-floor and all of its choices.

She felt a headache coming on.

“How will I ever make up my mind?” Cassie whispered to Noah.

“It’s called trusting your instincts.”

“Instincts? I’m supposed to have an instinct about carpet samples?”

“Doesn’t everyone?” Noah grinned. “Isn’t one calling out to you? Telling you that it’s the one you’ll be able to coexist with for the next ten to fifteen years?”

Ten to fifteen years? Noah wasn’t helping at all. Cassie frowned at the samples, willing one to shake or glow or whatever carpet samples did to call out to a person.

“Which one would you choose?” she finally said.

“Uh-uh. This is your house, your carpet, your choice. I’m just here as a friend, remember?”

A friend who was sitting way too close for comfort, Cassie thought as the touch of his shoulder sent a bunch of tingles down her arm. “Friends are allowed to give opinions.”

“No. Only dates are allowed to do that,” said Noah. “If you really want my opinion, you know what you have to do.”

Despite her distress about all the decisions facing her, Cassie couldn’t help but smile. “Okay, fine. It’s a date. Now if you were me, what would you choose?”

Noah blinked as he shook his head. “Wow, that was easy. I should have gone for more. Like a kiss or boyfriend status or—”

She nudged him. “Stop it. I need you to help me, not tease me.”

“I wasn’t teasing,” he murmured, pulling the samples toward him.

Review

I simply adore all of Rachael Anderson’s books and this was no exception.  This clean romance reminds us that a good book doesn’t have to be filled with curse words or sex.

Cassie has had a rough few years, married to a man that many would consider abusive (emotionally and verbally) who died after a few years together.  Noah is a widow with 2 precocious daughters that end up in Cassie’s dance class.  With the help of some well meaning friends, they are pushed together and find that perhaps love a second time around can be a beautiful thing.

I like the rawness of Cassie’s emotions and how Noah and his daughters bring out who she is as a person.  I thought the ice cream test was pretty ingenious to determine what kind of person you are by the flavor you most enjoy.  Cassie is able to connect with both of Noah’s daughters on different interest levels and they both bond with her.

Great book and a fun read.  It helps to read the first book to get an intro to a few characters but really isn’t necessary.

We give this 5 paws up

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RachaelAbout the Author

USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

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25_Amazon_Paypal$25 Blog Tour Giveaway

Enter to win an Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 1/19/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com 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 and sponsored by readinglight.com. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Posted in excerpt, Fantasy, Giveaway, Spotlight on December 16, 2014

last enchantress

The Last Enchantress by Scott & Judith Powell

Being nineteen for over three hundred years bites, and being single in New York with magical powers isn’t much better.

Eva is trying to live an everyday life in New York. When this fails, she takes a seemingly unmagical job as a translator for a wealthy American family in Spain. Eva cannot stay out of trouble for long as she runs into a friendly but hungry vampire named Louis. Eva feels drawn to this handsome, dangerous stranger who has problems of his own.

Louis’s life was just fine until Eva walked into his church. She smells like heaven. Or is it hell, always smelling but never partaking? Surely she is the devil coming to collect on his lost soul.

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Download a FREE copy of The Last Enchantress

Available December 15th to 17th

 

Excerpt

The sun was just starting to rise, and I knew that her disturbing dream would not lead to sleeping late. I could hear her heart beating faster as she began to wake up. Wrapping myself in my cloak to protect my skin from the dawn’s light (the sun’s rays felt like hundreds of tiny needles on my flesh), I departed the room. Closing the French doors behind me, I waited on the roof for her to appear. I planned to spy on her until she exposed herself as the typical mortal that I knew she must be.
A few moments later, she walked out through the same doors I had just used, dressed only in a cream translucent nightgown. Her ankles were bare and slight, and I could just see the outline of her slim legs beneath her nightdress as the sunlight began to touch her skin. She walked purposely to a small stone bench under a tree that had not yet awoken this year and most likely never would. Just as quickly as she had come, she stood and began to walk back toward her room. I was feeling playful. What did it really matter if I revealed myself? I jumped down without a sound and sat on the bench that she had just occupied. Even though she had only been here but a moment, I could still feel her warmth lingering on the surface. Somehow, she sensed I was there, and she began to run, which was not surprising. I was sure fear motivated her movement. There was no need to pursue. I could catch her easily. But then she did something that put all my old questions to rest and created new ones. She jumped up and grabbed the edge of the roof. Using it as leverage, she flipped her body up into the arch, doing more moves than a gymnast at the Olympics, and landed, facing me, on the roof.

PowellAuthor Biography

Scott Powell was born in Burlington, Vermont, to a father who was a police officer and a mother who emigrated from South Korea. He received a degree in marketing from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada, and a master’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Scott served a two-year Spanish-speaking mission for his church. He is a mixed martial artist who continues to train with his father, a second-degree black belt in tae kwon do and a kick boxer.

Besides being married to Scott for almost seventeen years, Judith Powell is a stay-at-home mom whose whole life has been full of stories. Being raised by an Irish storytelling father and a Native American mother, stories have filled her life and her head until they finally had no choice but to flow out through her fingertips.

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Praise for the Book

What fun, and new perspective on vampires. And the intro of new specie, Enchantress, gives this novel a wonderful and imaginative take.

It gives us another take on Vampires and the only Enchantress left in the world. The story flows smoothly and the characters are developed well.

Let me just start by saying for the record I am not a huge fan of Vampires or flying humans, but this book has led me away from that concept with a fantastic storyline that focused on a man and woman who were meant to be. The fighting scenes were very detailed and visual as you can tell the authors made this a point of emphasis in preparing this book.

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Blog Tour Giveaway

$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 12/31/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com 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 and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Posted in 4 paws, Review, romance on December 15, 2014

CC p3

 

Synopsis

Operation Get the Girl is working. Or is it?

Just when Dean’s sure Callie has fallen for him, she calls off their charade, sending him into a panic. She doesn’t trust her feelings for him any more than he does. Is this heart-stopping, pulse-thumping feeling real? Or has pretending to be his girlfriend gone to her head?

Callie needs to be sure before she can act, so when a handsome executive asks her out, she decides to take the plunge.

Now more than ever, Dean must tell Callie the truth about Operation Get the Girl. That it’s her he wants. But time is running out, and he must make his move before it’s too late.

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CC p4

 

Synopsis

When Operation Get the Girl backfires, Dean is forced to finally tell Callie the truth.

Brokenhearted and deceived, Callie questions her feelings more than ever and falls back on old habits to bury her emotions. Only this time, it doesn’t work. With her relationship and job hanging in the balance, Callie is faced with confronting her demons, healing the past, and getting her life together, once and for all.

But it’s not over for her and Dean. He has one last plan to make her his. And this time, he’s playing for keeps.

Claiming Callie: Part four is the final installment in the Claiming Callie serial.

*Approx. 85 pages*

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Review

I read the first two books in this series and reviewed them here.   Of course after I finished the second book I had to know how this story was going to end!  Dean and Callie are both a mess.  They are still young and in college and haven’t learned yet that just sucking it up and telling each other the truth will get you further than playing games.  You read these books wanting Dean to get the girl, but have to wonder what he is thinking at times.  Well he is a guy, so that explains a lot right there!  Callie has her own set of emotional issues that are finally somewhat resolved near the end, or at least enough for her to realize that buying clothes, shoes and accessories is not the path to happiness.

This is a fun 4 part series and can see the author merging them into one (but not sure if she will or not).  Part 1 of this series is being offered for FREE on Amazon right now.  Pick it up, you might get hooked and want to see how this story ends.

We give these books and the whole series 4 paws up.

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About the Author

Paige Rion is a contemporary romance author. She’s a mother, wife, blogger, hopeless chocoholic, coffee-addicted, wine-lover. Her debut, novel—a new adult romance—Written On Her Heart, is the first in the Callaway Cove series. She is also the author of the new adult romance serial, Claiming Callie. The fourth and final installment of Claiming Callie is due out in October, followed by the release of the second Callaway Cove novel.

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Posted in Blog tour, Giveaway, Guest Post, Spotlight, Thriller on December 15, 2014

Monarch

9780062365187Title: The Monarch: A Thriller

Author: Jack Soren

Genre: Thriller 18+

Publication Date: December 2, 2014

Publisher: WitnessImpulse, an imprint of HarperCollins

~ Synopsis ~

When Jonathan Hall walked away from his career as an international art thief to be a father, he thought he’d made a clean break—from crime, from life as The Monarch, from an early grave. But when The Monarch’s signature symbol resurfaces carved into the mutilated bodies of New York’s elite, Jonathan realizes his retirement might’ve been short-lived. Someone is framing The Monarch for horrific slayings. But Jonathan and his former partner Lew know this isn’t just murder—it’s a message. Now caught in a deadly game against a fanatic madman whose reach penetrates the darkest corners of the globe, Jonathan and Lew have no choice but to play along. But when Jonathan’s daughter becomes a pawn, all bets are off. To win this game, Jonathan and Lew will have to accept one final task as The Monarch—a job that could change the course of history forever.

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~ About the Author ~

JACK SOREN was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Before becoming a thriller novelist, Soren wrote software manuals, waited tables, drove a cab and spent six months as a really terrible private investigator. He lives in the Toronto area.

 

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12 Things I learned writing THE MONARCH

12 – You need to write through the tough days

Some days the words come like feeding a bowling ball through a urethra — you just want it over. Those days, when 500 words seems like a dream, it’s really easy to think about closing the laptop and walking away. Maybe forever. But you have to power through. Because a few days later when you’re racking up three and four thousand words, it’s easy to forget that if you hadn’t powered through those tough days you never would have gotten to the salad days. Or the meat days. Or whatever.

11 – Plans are for cowards

This one doesn’t apply to everyone, but hell yeah it applies to me and was the case while writing THE MONARCH. When it’s all planned out and you know where you’re headed a month down the line, the spark is gone for me. Half of writing for me is discovery, letting your characters and your story lead you. Sure, sometimes you end up in an alley wearing a pair of assless chaps beside a guy named Bubba, but I think it’s worth it.

Joss Whedon, writer and director extraordinaire, said something in the Director’s Commentary for his movie Serenity. It’s early in the movie, when the Operative is interrogating the boob who let Simon and River get away. As the Operative pulls out a sword, Joss Whedon says “I didn’t even know he had a sword until he pulled it out.” That one sentence changed a lot of writing for me.

10 – Software doesn’t matter

Everyone — and I mean everyone — has their favorite way of writing. A type of pen, a kind of chair or the software program they use. And for the latter, writers seem bound and determined to convert the masses to their secret revelation. “If you’re books sucks you just need to user Evernote or Scrivener or Notepad.” But here’s the little secret I learned: none of it matters.

When you’re in the zone and not really looking at the screen, but through it, watching the book/movie in your head unfold, you don’t even know what you’re using to get it all down. Now, by all means, use whatever works for you. But leave everyone else alone. Use your magical program and get the work done.

9 – Life will ALWAYS get in the way

“I’d love to write a book, but I’ve got this thing next Wednesday. But after that…” That was me. I spent years waiting for that magical block of time when I had absolutely nothing else to do. Thing is, you’re ALWAYS going to have something to do. The old adage “you don’t find time to write, you make it” is about the best advice ever uttered. (Insert cow joke.)

I was working a full time job while I wrote THE MONARCH, not to mention raising an 11-year-old daughter by myself. I made the time. Every morning after taking my daughter to school I’d slam my butt into my Lazyboy, open my Thinkpad and crank out at least 1,000 words before I’d go to work. The fear of getting in trouble at work actually made me write faster some mornings. Pretty soon I was finding time at night to write as well. “I’m always tired anyways, I might as well be a tired guy with a book under his belt.”

8 – Your worst enemy are the people you care about

The first thing friends and family would say to me when I’d tell them that I’d been writing every day for over a month was “That’s amazing!”. The second thing was “You deserve a break! Let’s go golfing!” Newsflash, while you’re writing the world keeps turning. They mean well, but you have to let them know what you’re doing isn’t a burden. To be honest, I’d rather be writing than just about anything. Especially the way I golf.

7 – Book is boss

When THE MONARCH really took off for me was when I realized it was in charge. This is related to not planning too much, or at least not viewing your plan as gospel. Sometimes your book wants to go in a direction you didn’t even think of — that character who simply won’t leave a room usually is trying to tell you he still needs to do something before he leaves. Ease up on the controls, lean back and say “Show me”.

6 – Timezones were created to make writers crazy

THE MONARCH crosses about every time zone there is. With all the concurrent threads I was wrangling it made keeping track of what day it was and if it was day or night a, well, nightmare. I finally ended up creating a spreadsheet to help me keep things in check. But even that got hairy from time to time. Add in trying to figure out if daylight savings time was in effect for the time of year I was in and you have a recipe for hair yanking. The sequel DEAD LIGHTS isn’t much better, but I’m a little more prepared for the insanity this time — all my hair is already gone.

5 – Nobody cares about the vegetation

You know all that research you did on the flora and fauna of your locales? Yeah, throw that away. What this all boils down to is that those pesky readers have imaginations. If you’re trying to describe every footstep and glance/look/gaze of your characters you’re taking the opportunity away from your readers to use their wonderful imaginations. It’s the reason that when your favorite book is made into a movie it never turns out the way you want. What you’re seeing is the Director’s vision — one person.

I learned after some feedback that you just had to sketch the picture edges for your readers. They’ll bring the paint and markers. This is actually liberating once you embrace it.

4 – One foot in front of the other, bruddah

A novel is a MASSIVE thing, a huge undertaking. Thinking about it as a whole all the time will make you crazy — thousands of words, hundreds of scenes, scores of characters. Thinking about the entire book at once makes you wonder how anyone ever finished a novel. THE MONARCH was no different. The first draft was 160,000 words. If I’d thought about it all at once I would have spent most of the time whimpering in the corner and throwing cheese doodles at my laptop.

There are definitely times when you need to think about the whole thing, but most of the time you should just think about the scene you’re writing. Maybe even just the sentence you’re writing. It makes it digestible. Anybody can write one scene, right? There, one scene done.

Now do it again.

3 – You won’t die before you finish

This is apparently something that many writers suffer from at some point. For me, it was when I was about 3/4’s done. I could see the end and I was sure I’d die before I got there. Sometimes it was a heart attack. Sometimes it was a car crash. One time it was a sudden plague of raining great white sharks. But I survived. And so will you.

2 – Everyone knows how THEY wrote a novel

When you run into trouble or start to have doubts, it’s common to seek out help. For a novelist, that means talking to other writers, reading books on writing and blogs. Something I learned pretty quickly was that everyone knows how THEY wrote their book and what works for THEM. Thing is, everybody’s different. Unique — or in the case of writers, uniquely bent. What worked for one writer has a very low chance that it will work for you. And most writers, it seems, have no idea how they do what they do. And they don’t want to know. They’re superstitious that if they look at it too closely, the magic will go away.

There are some principles and approaches you can try, or philosophies you can adopt, but for the most part you need to roll your own. Books that did help me while writing THE MONARCH were:

On Writing by Stephen King
Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction by Patricia Highsmith
Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King

Blogs and Websites that helped me were:

Chuck Wendig’s blog
Kill Zone, the joint blog by 11 thriller writers
Alexandra Sokoloff’s blog
1 – Finishing the book is just the start

I’ll never forget the day I typed THE END for THE MONARCH. It was elating. I immediately printed the book out, took a picture and posted it on facebook. (Yes, my book has a selfie.) But I was so far from where I am today it wouldn’t recognize itself. The next step was revision. A LOT of revision. Then agent submissions. And rejections. And more editing. And query letter writing. And agent blog reading. And more editing. But, until you type THE END, you won’t have anything to edit, or mail, or whine about. Get it done and embrace the next phase. While you start writing another book.

Cause there’s always more tales.

 

Giveaway

 

10 individual promo codes for a free download of the book. Winner must have access to Bluefire Reader and have an Adobe account to receive free download

 

Posted in 5 paws, Blog tour, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on December 14, 2014

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Spell Booked (Retired Witches Mysteries)
New Cozy Series
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (December 2, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-0425268254

Synopsis

Once upon a time in Wilmington, North Carolina, three witches ran a curio shop named Smuggler’s Arcane. But as the years passed, their magical powers started to fade—leaving them no choice but to conjure up a retirement package…  

Before they could blink their eyes or twitch their noses, Molly, Elsie, and Olivia somehow became eligible for AARP. But they can’t fly off to Boca Raton just yet. First they must give up their magic, recruit and train three new witches, and pass on their cherished spellbook.

They’ve barely begun to consider potential practitioners when Olivia winds up dead and their spellbook is stolen. To honor their friend and reclaim their spells, Molly and Elsie are about to go wand-to-wand with a dangerous young witch more powerful than the trio was in their prime. And this time they’re going to need more than magic up their sleeves…

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Review

I truly enjoyed this book!  I don’t know that I am always drawn to books involving witchcraft but something about these characters make them seem more like you or me…normal!  I think Dorothy is my favorite character because she just seems so innocent, yet eager to learn.  As I was reading I was trying to figure out who the killer was because there isn’t a huge cast of characters, but the true identity was hidden until the end.  I did sense something wasn’t right with this character but I couldn’t pin my fingers on anything specific…so the authors do a great job of keeping you guessing as to who is a good witch and who is a bad witch!

All of the witches, Olivia, Molly and Elsie, have their own special skills and I am always intrigued when witches do ceremonies outdoors and find a Time to Dance and celebrate their witchcraft.  I can just picture them doing this!  And sure they may have declining powers but that doesn’t make them any less of a witch or someone that needs to be put out to pasture.  Plus they did it more for themselves and for fun.  I thought it was interesting that they have to “retire” but I guess in every profession there is a time where you have to hang it up.

I think this is going to be a fun series to follow and we give it 5 paws up!
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About The Authors

joyce-and-jimJoyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

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Giveaway

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Make sure that you make a stop on all the tour sites as the authors have a very special giveaway. They are giving away a handwritten grimoire of spells, a print copy of Spell Booked, a willow wand, and a velvet bag to carry it in. Every stop will have some clue words in each post that can be put together they make a Witch’s Spell. To enter the giveaway readers will have to collect all the words and put them all together on the giveaway entry form after the last stop. Good Luck everyone!!
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Tour Participants

December 2 – Girl Lost In a Book – Review

December 3 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Interview

December 4 – Booklady’s Booknotes – Review, Guest Post

December 5 – Steph the Bookworm – Review

December 6 – deal sharing aunt – Review

December 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Interview

December 8 – A Chick Who Reads – Review

December 9 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – Review

December 10 – dru’s book musings – Guest Post

December 11 – Tea and A Book – Review

December 12 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – Review

December 13 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Review, Interview

December 14StoreyBook Reviews – Review, Guest Post

December 15Brooke Blogs – Review

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