Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, paranormal, romance, Young Adult on May 26, 2016

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The Dream Diaries

Evelyn Hernandez Series, Book 2

By Philip Hoy

 

Contemporary/Romance/Suspense/Interracial (paranormal elements)
Evernight Teen Publishing, Word count: 45K

Synopsis

The rumor at school is that after the varsity quarterback broke her heart, Evelyn Hernandez broke his hand. Then she demolished his car, beat up his girlfriend, and smashed all the windows in his house—or so the story goes. Some say that under the long hair and blunt cut bangs, beneath the cute dresses and colorful tights, and behind the pretty face and big brown eyes … hides a black-hearted, spell-casting, evil witch.

Only Evelyn doesn’t care what people at school say, or think. She couldn’t be happier. Her bullies have been brought to justice, her parents trust her, and she has a boyfriend who adores her. She’s even returned to drawing in her journal … but that’s when the nightmares begin.

Evelyn believes her violent dreams are messages from the future. Something terrible is going to happen at her school and only she can stop it—but how, and at what price?

16+ due to sexuality, language, and adult situations

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Excerpt

“I’ll be right back,” Karen said over her shoulder as she stepped out into the cold night. She set the bulging bag of trash down long enough to close the door behind her and then hefted it again in both hands and began walking awkwardly with it down the stairs. Her sandals slapped loudly against the bottoms of her feet and the unwelcome odor of chicken bones and baby diapers wafted upwards with each waddling step.

At the bottom of the stairs, she stopped and looked around self-consciously, but the apartment complex was strangely quiet this late in the evening, with most of the windows around her already dark and not another person in sight. She tightened her grip on the neck of the garbage bag and started walking again. The dumpsters were just around the back of her building at the end of the parking lot, but in the dim light of the yellow security lamps they looked much farther. It was colder outside than she expected and Karen regretted not putting on a sweater before leaving the apartment.

A brick wall surrounded the trash bins with large metal gates in the front that were kept locked, but there was a smaller walk-in opening around the back. What if someone was in there, she thought, or something … doing who knows what? Rather than step a foot inside, Karen was tempted to just heave the bag over the wall and hope the lids were up. But the thought of her nephew’s shitty diapers strewn across the parking lot, along with the junk mail and old homework with her name on it, stopped her, and she took a breath and walked inside.

She was relieved to find the lid on the nearest bin was already thrown back, which meant she wouldn’t have to touch anything. She lifted with one hand at the top and the other pushing from below until the weight of the bag rested on the dumpster’s edge, then she pushed it over and let it fall with a muffled splat.

When she turned to leave, a figure was standing in the opening, blocking her way.

“Who’s there?” she shouted, taking a step back.

“Hey, hey,” the figure quickly reassured, slowly moving forward and lowering his raspy voice as he spoke. “Don’t be ascared, girl. We’re not gonna hurt you.”

“Spider?” Karen recognized his bug-eyed, boney face, but she hadn’t seen him at school in over a year. She heard he was locked up.

Orale!” he said, looking back. “See, Creeper? I told you this heina was down.”

A second figure stepped out of the shadows behind Spider, filling the entryway and smiling nervously at Karen.

“Hey, Creeper,” Karen said, smiling and suddenly walking past Spider toward him. “Why you up so late?” she asked, as if they were old friends. “Don’t you have homework or something?”

Most likely confused by the friendliness of her greeting, he shuffled back a step, clearing the doorway just as Karen hoped he would, and she bolted for the opening.

Spider was faster and grabbed her from behind. She tried to scream, but his hand was already covering her mouth.

 

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About the Author

Author Philip Hoy photoPhilip Hoy is a high school English teacher by day and a short-story author, novelist, and poet by night. When he is not creating lesson plans or grading essays, he is writing. He lives in Southern California with his wife Magdalena, also a teacher.

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Giveaway

$10 Evernight Teen gift card

 

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, mystery, romance, Spotlight on May 26, 2016

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Cable Car Mystery

Title: Cable Car Mystery
Author: Greg Messel
Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing
Pages: 180
Genre: Mystery/Romance

Synopsis

On the hottest day of the year in San Francisco in 1959, Private Detectives Sam and Amelia Slater are contemplating fleeing the city for their Stinson Beach house. However, when Sam decides to take a cable car ride to run some errands on the lazy summer day, he’s suddenly thrust into the spotlight when he rescues a woman who fell onto the busy street. Sam pulls the mysterious red haired woman out of the path of an oncoming cable car in the nick of time. The entire incident is captured by a newspaper photographer who splashes Sam’s heroics all over the front page. Sam is troubled not only by his new status as a city hero, but by the rescued woman’s plea for help. She whispers to Sam that she didn’t fall from the cable car but was pushed. She is frightened and disappears into the crowd before Sam can get more details. A San Francisco newspaper launches a campaign to find the mystery woman and Sam hopes to cross paths with her again.

Meanwhile, Amelia is troubled by the sudden disappearance of her elderly neighbor. Two thuggish younger men who now occupy the house next door say he took a sudden trip. One night when she’s alone Amelia grabs a flashlight and finds some disturbing clues in her neighbor’s garage. What really happened to her neighbor? Amelia is determined to find out.

Award winning author Greg Messel spins a new tale of intrigue in Cable Car Mystery, the sixth book in the Sam Slater Mystery series set in at the 1950s in San Francisco.

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Excerpt

In the coming days Amelia would try to recall the precise details of the events she witnessed in the middle of the night on Wednesday.

Amelia would never be able to pinpoint exactly what woke her from a sound sleep at 2 a.m.  As she rolled onto her back and listened, she heard a funny noise inside her house.

Amelia looked at Sam who was undisturbed and sleeping soundly. She heard the noise again. It seemed to be coming from inside the house. A gentle banging noise, like two pieces of wood colliding.

Maybe it was her recently adopted Siamese cat Aloysius, prowling around and getting into mischief. Amelia knew the tomcat roamed the house at night and slept much of the day. Sam and Amelia’s bedroom was located on the second floor of their posh townhouse on Leavenworth Street.

The cat’s first choice for a night time activity was to sleep between Sam and Amelia. Sam quickly vetoed that notion and shut the door on Aloysius at night. The Siamese cat then spent his time pursuing nocturnal adventures.

Amelia gently rolled out of bed and when her feet touched the cool floor, it sent a chill through her. She was wearing a short, yellow, baby doll nightie which provided little warmth when she was not under the covers with Sam.

She heard the noise again.

It seemed to be coming from the spare bedroom. Amelia crept down the hall and reached for the knob on the bedroom door. She hesitated. What if there was an intruder? Maybe she should go get her gun or wake up Sam.

She then decided to proceed. Amelia grabbed the door knob and slowly turned it.  Amelia felt a suction grabbing the door making it harder to open.   She threw her shoulder into the door and popped it open. The bedroom was dark and cold. Immediately she saw the source of the noise and the cool temperatures.

The trademark San Francisco wind had come up during the night and it was howling.  The blinds on an open window were slapping against the window frame pushed along by the stiff breeze.

Amelia hurried to the window and pulled up the blinds. The wind penetrated her skimpy nightgown and chilled her to her core. She reached up to push the window closed but stopped when she noticed Aloysius sitting calmly on the second story roof looking out at the horizon.

“Aloysius, get over here,” Amelia said in a stern whisper. Aloysius turned his head briefly to give her a condescending look and then ignored her, resuming looking out on the horizon. Amelia was freezing but didn’t want to leave Aloysius out in the wind storm.

Then something caught her eye beyond the cat on the roof. This was the window which offered a full view of George’s back yard and his house. The car she had seen in the driveway the last several days was running and backed up to the garage with it’s trunk open.

Despite being essentially naked and buffeted by the wind, Amelia strained her eyes to see the strange figures.  In the faint light from the headlights and the light in the trunk, Amelia could see the large bald man, the one she had seen looking out the window, struggling with something in the garage. Then a second man emerged from the garage. He was a husky square-looking man with closely cropped hair, who looked very formidable.

The two men now emerged into full view at the rear of the car. They were carrying a large, oblong object, which was wrapped in a plaid blanket. There were two ropes tied around the object.

The two men slammed the trunk closed and quickly got in the car. Amelia stood at her bedroom window transfixed watching the taillights disappear into the night as they drove away.

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About the Author

Greg MesselGreg Messel has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to various magazines. Greg lives in Edmonds, Washington on Puget Sound with his wife Jean DeFond.

Greg has written nine novels. His latest is “Cable Car Mystery” which is the sixth in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. “Shadows In The Fog,” ”Fog City Strangler,” “San Francisco Secrets,” “Deadly Plunge” are sequels to the first book in the series “Last of the Seals.” His other three novels are “Sunbreaks,” “Expiation” and “The Illusion of Certainty.”

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Giveaway

Greg Messel is giving away an autographed copy of his book, FOG CITY STRANGLER, & an autographed copy of his book, SHADOWS IN THE FOG!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive an autographed copy of his book FOG CITY STRANGLER and one winner will be chosen to win an autographed copy of SHADOWS IN THE FOG
  • This giveaway begins May 2 and ends on June 30.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on July 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Spotlight on May 25, 2016

Heart of the BillionaireSynopsis

The scrumptiously romantic series continues with the second book in the Almost an Angel Series by Bestselling Authors Jenifer Youngblood and Sandra Poole

Gracie, an angel-in-training, has completed her first assignment, reuniting Alex and Dawson after their tumultuous breakup. Her elation is cut short when she receives her next assignment: Brooke Matthews—the snotty, entitled, princess, who did everything in her power to snatch Dawson away from Alex.

Where in the world will Gracie find a man to put up with this beauty of a beast?

Nash Rigby is a bull rider. Used to taking life by the horns, he’s willing to enter into an arrangement—a dubious arrangement—to save his father’s ranch. He’s trained to hang on for all he’s worth for eight seconds, but can this cowboy hang on to Brooke long enough to win the prize? Or, will he be able to see Brooke’s inner beauty and find the love of a lifetime? Maybe … with a little help from an almost angel.

Faced with the insurmountable task of helping the cowboy and the billionaire’s daughter fall in love, Gracie digs in, determined to do things her way. When Sheldon, a dark angel with killer looks, floats back into her life, err … afterlife, Gracie must fight against her growing attraction to heaven’s bad boy.

Heart of the Billionaire is a stand-alone novel. But to get the full effect of how things work in the realm of angels, check out Candlelight Kisses (Book 1 in the Almost an Angel Series)

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Praise for the Series

“I did not see that ending coming! Gracie is not what I expected either…she doesn’t fit the mold of what you think an “angel-in-training” is supposed to be like, and it will be fun to see her continue to learn and change. I love her mentor, Gertrude! It is a fun, clean romance that keeps you interested and entertained. Eagerly anticipating the next one in the series!” by Verified Amazon Customer

“Love this series! Nash’s desire to save his father’s ranch touched me. And it helped he’s hot and swoon worthy! And Gracie’s love story with the ‘bad boy’ makes it even more interesting! Love this! Don’t miss it!” Always Reading

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Excerpt From Heart of the Billionaire (Book 2 in The Almost an Angel Series)

Stewart Matthews sat poised on the edge of his seat, his body taut—his face wearing the laser-beam focus of a General preparing for battle. In many ways, he was fighting the greatest battle of his life, for it involved the heart of the one he loved the most.

He could only see one way to help Brooke, but she wouldn’t like it. In fact, she would be so angry that she might never speak to him again. That was the price he would have to pay for attempting to save her. Better to be a parent than a friend. Even though he dreaded what was to come, he knew there was no other option. His money had been the thing that sent Brooke down her path of self-destruction. He could only hope that it would also be the catalyst that would save her

A feeling of resignation settled over him as he looked down at the blank page. Then he picked up the pen and began to write …

My Darling Brooke,

From the moment you were born and I held you in my arms, I knew that my life would never again be the same. Never before had I experienced such pure and complete love. And that love has only grown and multiplied over the years. You are my heart, my primary responsibility, and I will take any measures necessary to protect you, even if that means protecting you from yourself.

Sweetheart, my only desire is that you find joy and contentment—the kind that can only come from within. You need to learn to love unconditionally and to love someone so completely that you are willing to put his needs before your own. Please know that I have spent many a night, walking the floors, trying to determine the best course of action to set you back on the right path.

A way has been opened up, and I intend to take full advantage of it. My only hope is that you will one day find it in your heart to forgive me, for what I’m about to do.

A knock sounded. He looked up as his assistant stuck her head in the door. “I’m sorry to disturb you, but the attorney is here and waiting in the conference room. It’s time.”

The moment of truth was here. Once he signed the documents, there would be no going back. He blew out a breath, a rigid look of determination on his lined face. “Tell them I’ll be there in five minutes.”

 

 

Youngblood PooleAbout the Authors

Jennifer and Sandra—daughter and mother writing duo—have been writing together for many years and have over a dozen published novels, a collection of short stories, and a children’s book (released under the pen name of Periwinkle Blue). They feel it’s a great privilege to be able to collaborate with each other as it adds a depth and spice to their work that neither of them could get independently. For them, writing is a continual journey of discovery. They have so many ideas for books that it’s hard to focus on one at a time.

Both of them have a penchant for chocolate, seafood, and movies.

Jennifer has a B.A. in English and Social Sciences from BYU Hawaii, and Sandra has a Masters in Business Administration. Jennifer and Sandra now live in the Rocky Mountains with their families.

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Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 6/13/16

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 Contemporary, excerpt, Giveaway, romance on May 25, 2016

Missed Connections coverMissed Connections by Tamara Mataya

Series: Summer Love, Book 1

ISBN: 9781492621218

Release Date: June 7, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

Synopsis

Missed Connection: I saw you standing there, and I was struck by your eyes. Gorgeous, but not as gorgeous as your smile.

Thanks to her job at a crazy New Age spa, what should have been a sizzling NYC summer is being hijacked by demanding hippie bosses. To unwind, Sarah spends her nights cruising Missed Connections, dreaming of finding an uber-romantic entry all about her. Of course, the moment she finds that Missed Connection, real life comes crashing down around her in a night of unbridled passion with someone completely different: totally off-limits Jack.

Best. Hookup. Ever.

Gorgeous and wealthy, hot as sin, Jack can give Sarah everything she needs—except an emotional connection. That she gets from her Missed Connection, the romantic stranger who never fails to make her swoon. But there’s only so much of Sarah to go around. Torn between the bad boy she can’t keep and the sensitive stranger who bares his soul online, her heart and body are soon in two very different relationships…or are they?

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Missed Connection Post from Tamara Mataya

To celebrate the release of MISSED CONNECTIONS, Tamara has written this missed connection post between a fictional couple. Can you guess who these characters are?

Taboo Romance

Me in love with you? AS IF! You’re cute but we’ve got nothing in common—especially with that stupid Forest Gump hat you wear. We practically grew up together, so how would that work? Daddy would totally be bugging if he found out. But…okay, you’re a total Baldwin and I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to kiss you… -Waiting At The Top Of The Stairs

Missed Connections graphic

Excerpt

“No air-conditioning?”

Jack’s voice startles me, and I jump, dropping my shirt.

“No. I’ll have to look at getting a unit in.”

“Do you like big units?”

“Well, a tiny one wouldn’t do it…”

“Big ones are better for doing it.”

My apartment’s dinky but will need more than a small air conditioner. “For sure. I mean, mine’s pretty tiny, but it would still need…”

He bites the inside of his cheek and raises his eyebrows.

When he said unit, he was referring to… “Oh my God, so not what I meant!”

“Sure. And this?” He nods at the bag in his hands.

“I want it on the bed.”

For crying out loud, am I capable of speaking without everything sounding like a “that’s what she said” joke?

“In the bedroom is fine.” A giant, throbbing innuendo…What is wrong with me? This is Jack, my friend. Only my friend for reasons. Shaking my head, I shift a blue tub with my kitchen stuff into the tiny kitchen and move one from there into the equally tiny bathroom. On the way back, I trip over a bag and slam my leg into the corner of a box.

“Nice one, Grace.”

“Shut up.” I hiss through my teeth while rubbing my shin. “Ouch.”

“Are you bleeding?” He squats in front of me, cradling my calf to pull my leg closer. It’s tight quarters, and I can smell him—something fresh but mixed with his sweat. My mouth waters. Would I be able to taste it on his skin?

His fingertips graze the sensitive skin behind my knee. Jesus. He’s never touched my bare skin there before. It’s just my calf. How can that make me feel…restless and unfulfilled?

He traces the skin around the injury with a fingertip. “The skin’s broken, but it’s just the first layer. Nothing serious.”

Tell that to my pulse, which is doing a splendid imitation of a jackhammer. “Yeah.” My voice is raspy. “Nothing serious.”

His gaze crawls up my shin to my thigh, my torso, my eyes. Oh, he knows what this is doing to me. Deliberately, he slides his hand up my thigh before letting go. Then he stands and licks his lips, eyes locked on mine.

Now I’m covered with goose bumps, suddenly feverish with wanting his hands on my body again—and not wanting to let him leave my apartment until we’re sweaty for another reason. The intensity of the attraction I feel for him spreads through me from cell to cell like a virus. Liking him is deadly because I can’t feel this for him, can’t want him this much.

His fingers tangle in my hair and lift my face. I shouldn’t be taking a step toward him, grabbing the front of his shirt, and pulling him closer like this. He crushes his body to me as his lips gently meet mine as if this means something. His tongue teases my lips open and eases inside my mouth, and when it touches my tongue, I shudder and clutch at him, desperate to pull him closer when I should be pushing him away.
But his hands are gentle, his lips are firm, and his tongue strokes mine in ways that dissolve rational thought and all the bones in my body. He tastes like peppermint and the last lover I can imagine ever wanting again because no one has kissed me like this—and I want more. I want it all. He wraps me in his arms and squeezes. I stretch up, allowing more of my body to press against his, then wrap my arms around his neck and gently grind my hips against his. One of his hands slips down my side and around to palm my breast, lifting and gently kneading it through my shirt and bra. He’s already hard.

He breaks the kiss, and I’m left breathless, but then he pushes me against the wall and pins my hands above my head—and who the hell needs air anyway? I arch against him, pressing my breasts against his chest, trying to ease the ache as he nibbles my earlobe and kisses his way down my collarbone, releasing my hands to palm my breasts.

I trail my hands under his shirt and over the cut ridges of his abs. He pulls one of my thighs up, pressing against my core, making me moan in his mouth when his lips find mine again. His mouth is everything. God, I can’t wait. This is going to be so damn good. We’ll have amazing sex, and then…what? Live happily ever after? I tip my head back to give him better access to the tender flesh of my neck.

Shut up, brain.

About the Author

Tamara Mataya Author PhotoTamara Mataya is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a librarian, and a musician with synesthesia. Armed with a name tag and a thin veneer of credibility, she takes great delight in recommending books and shushing people. She puts the ‘she’ in TWSS and the B in LGBTQIA+.

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Posted in Book Release, Thriller on May 24, 2016

The One

 

The One by B.A. Sherman

Book 2 of the #GregDornSeries

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Synopsis

The Ultimate Killing Machine or Something Else?

In this second book in the Greg Dorn Series, Denver police officer Dorn wakes up one day to discover he is handcuffed to a bed in a quasi-medical facility recovering from some serious wounds. He is in severe pain and has no memory of how he got there. As his memory slowly returns, Dorn is obsessed with getting home to his wife and daughter but finds he is being held captive. He discovers that someone, somehow has tampered with his identity—and his head. He is now being prepped by his captor to become a “soldier” in a killing scheme intended to eradicate the enemy. “The General” fails to realize the extent to which he has perfected his new killing machine. Using his new skills, Greg escapes, jumps on a cargo train and heads home…but his homecoming is nothing like he expected.

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TheTest

Book One – The Test
By B.A. Sherman

Release Date: May 1st, 2015

Synopsis

The Test opens in what appears to be a hospital room where a patient is being injected with some sort of fluid. In the next scene, Greg, a 17-year-old living in the small town of Parsons, Kansas, is devastated when he loses his mother and sister in a horrific car accident caused by an escaped mental patient.

To put behind him the desolation and loss he feels and also to get road rage drivers off the streets, Greg becomes a cop. He is good at it. During this time, life begins to turn around for him: he falls in love and marries Mica, and finds a renewed passion for life. The family moves to Denver and Greg takes a job as a police officer there.
As Greg works the mean streets of Denver, a dark feeling inside of him begins to bubble up. This unexplainable thing, which he tries to keep buried, erupts with full force and with some deep dark strength, it now controls him.

Greg becomes obsessively driven by this inner voice telling him to go out and kill. First it is road-rage drivers, then anyone whose looks he doesn’t like. Unable to control the voice and the urges, he cannot help alienating his wife and daughter, who eventually leave him and move back to Kansas. Greg begins screwing up at work on the force and increasingly getting into arguments. One black night out on a job, he ends up cornered by his own officers and is shot. Evil has been conquered…or has it all just been a test?

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About the Author

B.A. Sherman’s passion is writing psychological thrillers. He lives in Colorado with his wife and daughter and, when not writing novels, he is a police officer in Colorado. He has been in law enforcement for 24 years. The Test is his first full-length novel.

The short stories and books he writes are based on experiences he’s had over the years, with “a heaping spoonful of fiction,” he says. He has published one short story, The Truth, currently available on Amazon.com.

When he’s not writing and working, Brad enjoys hunting, camping, fishing and skiing. These are areas he plans to write about in the future, perhaps incorporating them into a thriller or two.

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Posted in 2 1/2 paws, Monday, mystery, Review on May 23, 2016

 

offside cover

Synopsis

In 2006, amid the great real estate bubble, Rick Hermannik, an adult referee of youth soccer, is found murdered in a ritzy Los Angeles suburb, his whistle left in an unnatural place. Suspicion quickly falls upon volunteer coach Diego Diaz, a one-time gang member whose hot Latino rant over an offside call pops up on YouTube. The media eagerly pursue the delicious story line of out-of-control soccer parents. Case closed–until the boyfriend of Diaz’s grown daughter, Hector Rivera, a former high school soccer star but now a college dropout in a dead-end job, tries to figure out the truth, and himself.

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Review

I’d give this somewhere between 2 to 3 stars.  Overall the plot was interesting but it got muddied down at the beginning.  The murder didn’t happen until a third of the way through and a lot of that beginning third could have been trimmed out.  Yes some of it was necessary for some background and to tie in later facts germane to the story, but I skimmed through a bunch of it.  Plus there were pages of articles from a journalist in there that could have been cut out.  I couldn’t find a point to those articles other than some history…but once again they could have been shorter or summarized.

Now I have an advantage to having worked in the mortgage lending business that I understood a lot of the terminology about how loans were recorded etc and am very familiar with the mortgage loan crisis, but I think that while we needed to know some of the information to tie the story together, not all of it was necessary.

This could be a good series with some editing.

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offside teaser 1

 

About the Author

william barrettChronicling a wide cross-section of the human condition, William P. Barrett has worked as an award-winning journalist across the country and abroad for major newspapers and national magazines dating back more than four decades. At various times he’s been a police reporter, court reporter, local government reporter, feature writer, foreign correspondent, national correspondent writing about very small places with very big problems, investigative reporter and business reporter. Barrett’s longest stretch was at Forbes, where his writings illuminated dark sections of the financial world and sent miscreants to prison. A New Jersey native, Barrett holds two degrees from Rutgers, one in law, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst charter holder. On the weekends he has refereed youth soccer in the West, including Southern California, for 17 years. Barrett now lives in Seattle. This is his debut novel.

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Posted in 5 paws, BEA, Children, Review, Texas on May 23, 2016

While at BEA I was very excited to find a publisher, Waldorf Publishing, that was very close to where I live in Texas.  Very small world if you ask me.  But was very glad I stopped by their booth because I love their logo – it’s a dog, and you know I love dogs!  Well I hope you know I love dogs since I give my book ratings in paws!

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Review

There is a line of children’s books about Mr. Waldorf and he visits various places and always manages to lose his spectacles.  I think he needs to tie those to him so they don’t continually get lost! Each of the books tells you some facts about the country or state and the illustrations really make the the book more enjoyable.  I think it helps the kids learn more about the location Mr. Waldorf is visiting.  In the Alaska book, Waldorf’s spectacles can be found through out and it is a great interactive moment with the children to see if they can find them.  This was not available in the other books and that did disappoint me a little bit since I think it involves the children in the story. We enjoyed all of the books and give them 5 paws up.  Here are the 4 books due out this fall.

waldor in alaska

Synopsis

Mr. Waldorf is a loveable and inquisitive canine on a voyage to see the United States and International worlds of wonder. On this adventure, Mr. Waldorf discovers the Wild State of Alaska. The curious canine encounters fun new friends and places while fishing for salmon, discovering glaciers, panning for gold and visiting Eskimos.

Silly Mr. Waldorf has a tendency to misplace his favorite reading spectacles and can’t seem to find them while discovering “The Last Frontier”. Mr. Waldorf will learn all about Alaska, while seeking his missing spectacles. Will you help him find them and learn all about this amazing state?

Children will fall in love with curious Mr. Waldorf and they will also discover the world in a fun and exciting way. Mr. Waldorf invites you to join his “Whoofishly” fun adventures! Where will the curious canine end up next?

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waldorf in texas

Synopsis

On this adventure, Mr. Waldorf discovers the Great State of Texas. The curious canine encounters fun new friends and places while exploring the vast state visiting the Alamo, riding a bull for 8 seconds, making new friends in Dallas, exploring Austin and more. Children will fall in love with Mr. Waldorf and they will also discover the world in a fun & exciting way. Mr. Waldorf invites you to join his “Whoofishly” fun adventures! Where will the fuzzy canine end up next?

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Mr.-Waldorf-travels-to-the-Huge-Russia

Synopsis

On this adventure, Mr. Waldorf discovers the huge Russia. The curious canine encounters fun new friends and places while visiting Saint Petersburg, the Ural Mountains, Lake Baikai, Russian State Library & more.

Silly Mr. Waldorf has a tendency to misplace his favorite reading spectacles and can’t seem to find them while discovering the largest country in the world. Mr. Waldorf will learn all about Russia, while seeking his missing spectacles. Will you help him find them and learn all about this historical and enormous country?

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Mr.-Waldorf-travels-to-the-Mysterious-China

Synopsis

On this adventure, Mr. Waldorf discovers the mysterious China. The curious canine encounters fun new friends and places while visiting Beijing, discovering the Great Wall of China, climbing Mount Everest and traveling the Yangtze River.

Silly Mr. Waldorf has a tendency to misplace his favorite reading spectacles and can’t seem to find them while discovering The Peoples Republic of China. Mr. Waldorf will learn all about China, while seeking his missing spectacles. Will you help him find them and learn all about the ancient and beautiful country?

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About the Authors

Beth Ann Stifflemire is a woman who decided to make dreams a reality in 2010. She created a bucket list and never looked back.

To date Beth Ann has tackled many items on that bucket list: written a book, published a book, run a half-marathon, started a blog, changed careers and much more.

Beth Ann has been featured in the Austin American Statesman, Monster.com, Texas Wine Trail, Texas A&M University Communications Department Feature, Georgetown View Magazine, Hill Country News, Lonestar Literary Life and Nerd Girl Books.

Through her bucket list journey Beth Ann uncovered an underlying passion for writing and decided to tackle it head on. She is a published author with her next titles to be released the fall of 2015: Diverted Heart (August 2015) and Fates Betrayal (October 2015).

Beth Ann suffered a devastating and tragic loss in 2003 that changed the entire course of her future. This one single event changed her outlook on life and she knew she wanted to leave a mark on this earth. This ignited the desire to follow her passions and in 2010 after contemplating a way to personally document her life journey and aspirations the bucket list was born.

Beth Ann is from Texas and come from a family rooted in strong family values. She is the middle of three children and was forever affected when her parents internationally adopted her younger brother from Russia during the 1990’s. This amazing little boy was a dream of her parents and through their unselfish act demonstrated to Beth that you can achieve the dreams of your heart. After graduating high school she attended Texas A&M University and received a Bachelors in Communications in 2004. She married her husband one week prior to graduation and they’ve now been married ten years and have a son. Beth Ann jokes that her husband was the first person she ever went on a date with, but the one who stole her heart. She entered the business world working for the CLO and CFO of a local Austin Based Credit Union in 2005. It was only by an unexpected opportunity that she later fell into Human Resources and most recently spread her wings even further when beginning another career as an author.

When not writing, Beth enjoys spending time at home with her family, blogging, reading any self-help book or romance read she can get her hands on, likes trying out Texas wines, is an avid hot tea drinker, loves discovering all kinds of music and is adding a new pair of shoes to her ever growing closet inventory.

Barbara Terry is the founder, conductor, general, and head honcho of Waldorf Publishing has had a wild ride on her way to literary business!

She is one of the most sought-after Auto Experts, Columnists, Producers, Show Hosts and Authors in Television, Print and Radio. Barbara is a marketing, media, product integration and PR expert and has over 20 years in business ownership and management experience.

She has appeared on the cover of Kiplinger’s Magazine, has been featured in over 100 publications and has made more than 800 Television and Radio appearances since 2006 such as: Fox Sports, The CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, The Tony Danza Show, CNN, Maxim Radio, Oprah Radio, ESPN Radio, ivillage, SPEEDtv.com among a long list of others.

She wrote a weekly auto advice column for The Houston Chronicle for 6 years, has written for Examiner.com, First30Days.com, motorolaroadtrips.com, Men’s Fitness Magazine, New York Daily News and wrote a chapter in “The Experts Guide”.

Barbara has served as the Spokesperson/Representative/Host for numerous companies such as Ford Motor Company, eBay Motors, General Motors, Goodyear, NAPA, Pennzoil, Sylvania, Quaker State, Fix A Flat, FRAM, Prestone, Gillette, Volkswagen, Shell Oil, Liquid Wrench, Gunk, RainX, Duracell, GPS Protected, American Airlines, General Tire & Turtle Wax.

Barbara has served as Television & Internet host for Turtle Wax, About.com, US Auto Parts, AutoMD.com and Gillette. Barbara has also hosted live events for American Airlines, Volkswagen, Goodyear and was Emcee for GM Style Dubai Event in Dubai for General Motors.

Barbara has interviewed hundreds of A-list celebrities and professional athletes such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Rusty Wallace, Arnold Palmer, Michael Strahan and Richard Marx, many of which appear in her book,“How Athletes Roll”

Posted in 5 paws, BEA, Children, Review on May 22, 2016

good-night-chicago

Synopsis

Good Night Chicago makes it a joy for adults to share their passion for this great American city with the children they love, and who will undoubtedly come to cherish Chicago too. This board book delights in the many kid-friendly institutions and places that help make Chicago one of the world’s great cities. In keeping with the Good Night Our World series, readers pass through both a day and a year while rhythmically saluting special aspects of the place. “Good morning, Lake Michigan and Lighthouse.” “Good evening, blues and jazz musicians.” “Good night, planetarium.” “Good night, Chicagoans.”

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Review

I picked up this board book at BEA thanks to Good Night Books.  Since we were in Chicago it seemed appropriate to get this one tied to that city.  For someone that is traveling to Chicago (or any city if you pick up one of the other books) it is a great introduction into some of the things that you might see and do on that trip with a young one.  The illustrations are colorful and engaging and help share what the child will see when in this city.

I like for the sports teams where it is generic wording but the illustration depicts all of the major sports teams in Chicago.

The book takes the reader from morning until night and wishes each spot either good morning, good afternoon, good evening or good night.

There is a whole series of these books for states, major cities and even some that are tied to Mom, Dad, Baby Brother or Sister and even toys and such.  They even have the books written in other languages and have international themes.

We give this 5 paws up!

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About Good Night Books

The Good Night Books Series of board books has been designed and developed since 2005 to celebrate special places and themes in a way that young children, ages 0-5, can easily relate to and enjoy with their families. All the books are written and illustrated with a simplicity that captures the “essence” of each subject and place.

Every book is printed in bright colors on high-quality board to endure the attention of young children. All have six-inch by six-inch pages, making for large 12 x 6 open page spreads.

Each title takes its readers through the passage of a day (“good morning,” “good afternoon,” “good evening,” and “good night”). And most titles, if set in a place with seasonality, also include the seasons of the year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter). Children are further introduced to the practice of using polite salutations and greetings, all while being lulled to a good night’s sleep.

The series is, in part, inspired by Walt Whitman’s poems, such as the classic book Leaves of Grass and the famous poem “Song of Myself,” in which the poet catalogs item after item, in a process whereby the mere naming of each item draws attention to it and thus imbues it with a sense of import. The Good Night Our World Series tries to recognize and celebrate the world in a Whitmanesque spirit.

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Posted in BEA on May 22, 2016

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I attended my first BookExpo America event this year since it was held in Chicago.  Not because I live here, but because it is a “little” less expensive to stay in Chicago than NY.  It didn’t hurt that I got a round trip ticket from DFW to O’Hare for $70.  Yes you read that right, $70.  Half of the ticket cost was taxes and fees!

Anyway, I flew in on Tuesday (the day before) because I didn’t want to miss anything should my flight be delayed or something crazy like that.  I was meeting up with Mary from Bookhounds since we had met probably a decade ago on a (now defunct) book swap site called Frugal Reader.  We had discussed doing this a year or two ago and despite only working part time I felt like I should take the plunge and do it.  I may never attend another BEA, but you just never know.

So I flew in and decided to be adventurous and take the train from the airport to downtown Chicago.  Plus it was only $5.  I was doing fine until I got off of the train and was making my way up to street level and couldn’t figure out which way to go to my hotel.  Google maps wasn’t very helpful and neither was the lady at the information desk IN THE COURTHOUSE!  Ummm, really you don’t know where anything is?  Can’t you look it up?  Oh well, I was on an adventure so I walked for who knows how long and far before I finally got it figured out.  I still don’t know what the Chicago Ped Way is (or where it is).

Wednesday we got up and headed over to the convention center where BEA was being held.  This place is HUGE!  But we checked in and grabbed a daily magazine to see what would be where and when.  We met and talked to many in line and wandered around and ended up off in the corner where there was another entrance that very few people seemed to know about.  Not even by Friday had the masses discovered this entrance.  I’m not complaining, less crowds for us to navigate.

All around the check in and in the building were signs for the different authors and books.  Here are a couple of them:

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And here was the view from the entrance where we waited to be admitted (we had to wait until 1pm!).  Oh the entrance was by this Showcase (probably for a lot of indie authors or self-published, but very cool to check out more books!)

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Once we were admitted inside we went up and down all of the aisles.  This took ALL afternoon!  But we were getting our bearings on who was where and many times we doubled back because a publisher was giving away a book later that afternoon.  It was amazing to see all of these publishers – many you have heard of, some maybe not yet but you will.

I was being a bit silly but had my picture taken with a North Pole Ninja (book out in mid October).

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We left about 5 or so and went back to our hotel to rest a bit since we were meeting another friend from Frugal Reader for dinner (and a couple of her friends).  We went to a Russian Tea Room and the dinner was delicious!

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After dinner, we went back to our hotel to plan our day and what booths we wanted to hit and at what time.  Luckily a lot of booths had when they were doing giveaways and signings so we could plan accordingly.  Of course not everything was disclosed.  So it was helpful to pick up the daily “newspaper” to see who was doing what and when.  I was able to pick up a cookbook that I hadn’t known was going to be available (more about that in the coming weeks as I test out the recipes).  Mary and I split up but would connect back up at various times to see what each other had scored in the way of books.  I picked up a new series by Ridley Pearson and talked to him for a few minutes.  For some reason he seems to think I have an accent!

I should mention that one of the best features of BEA was the shipping area.  Now I’m sure you are thinking…what?!  Why would THAT be your favorite area?  Well it is because you can set up a box to be mailed to you and all through out the day I would do dump off a load of books so I didn’t have to carry them around.  Trust me, those books get very heavy after awhile.  Luckily most of the publishers were giving out totes so we had something to put it all in until we could drop off at the shipping area.  To give you an idea of how many books I brought home, I shipped 45 POUNDS of books!  And those were all that I had, I had some in my suitcase and some in my carry on bag.

I did get a few photos with authors (some I will save for later posts) but I did get one of Maria Semple signing a picture from an upcoming book.  I was hoping for the book but no such luck.  Maybe they will send later?

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Anyway, Thursday was busy busy busy but we had a party to attend that evening hosted by Big Honcho Media.  We stopped for some dinner on the way there since the party didn’t start until 9pm.  While I never think of myself as old….I kept wondering about all the others that were there and if they were old enough to drink!  Everyone looked so young.  But it didn’t matter, we chatted with a few other book bloggers and librarians, enjoyed a glass or two of wine and some yummy desserts.  We decided we had partied enough for that night so grabbed a hoodie and headed back to the hotel.

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I loved how they held down the balloons with books.  What a great idea!

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Friday was our last day and Mary already knew she was going to be staking out Penguin Books for most of the day.  I only had a few things I wanted to do for sure and wandered around most of the time, chatting with publishers, publicists, authors….pretty much anyone and everyone.  I did see Kristi Yamaguchi signing posters of her new book.

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Friday afternoon I did attend a round table geared towards book clubs and librarians touting upcoming books for this fall and next spring.  We were lucky enough to be able to take some home with us that caught our eye after hearing about them.  Funny thing is that I had already picked up several earlier.  But it just reinforced that the book was going to be good.

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We wrapped up the day by packing our boxes and getting those shipped back home.  Yes, my box was 45 lbs and not all the books were for me.  I am stocking my great-niece’s library and you will be seeing some reviews of those books over the next few weeks.

All in all, BEA was a blast and I wouldn’t mind going again.  It will probably be a few years so I can save up some money, but it was well worth it just for the exposure.

Oh and here are some of the books that I brought home that are for me!  Many are signed too.  I have the stack of children’s book and even coloring books that I picked up for another friend that is big into coloring.

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Posted in 4 paws, BEA, Children, Review on May 21, 2016

Today I bring you another children’s book that I picked up at Book Expo America.  It came out in July 2015 internationally but won’t be available here until September 1.  I didn’t realize, but Max has other books out as well, so look for those available now and this one out in September.

I’m sure you are thinking…why so many children’s books?  Well they are all for my great-niece AND I can catch up on my Goodreads challenge since I had fallen off the wagon with my reading and was behind!  Children’s books are a great way to catch up.

max at night

Synopsis

Meet Max – the mighty kitten and New York Times bestseller.

This is Max. Max is very sleepy. It’s way past Max’s bedtime. Max has drunk his milk. Max has brushed his teeth. Max has cleaned behind his ears. Now Max just needs to say goodnight…

Max is tired and all ready for bed, but when he can’t find the moon to say goodnight to, he sets out to find it. But that’s not as easy as Max had hoped… Witty and heart-warming, this stylish and beautifully illustrated book is the perfect bedtime read.

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Review

I picked up this ARC at BEA and it is a cute story about a kitten looking for the moon one night because the moon is nowhere to be seen. So the kitten goes on an adventure to find the moon and that he does.

Cute story, great for kids and I think it would be a good bedtime story because it is very repetitive and calming.  Just what you need to get a kid to sleep!

We give it 4 paws up.

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