Posted in excerpt, fiction, Historical, Spotlight on April 10, 2014

Honor and Innocence

 

Synopsis

Honor and Innocence: Against the Tides of War, a historical romance novel by Glen Hierlmeier, was released March 2014. This book takes the reader through the devastation left by World War II across the European and Asian continents following its main character Hank Fischer, who was drafted to the American Army in 1945 shortly after his high school graduation.

During his service, Hank befriends a German prisoner-of-war, Max, who tells Hank of his twin sister, Roberta, also in captivity. An unlikely romance buds between her and Hank, leaving Hank conflicted between his allegiance to the American Army and his love for Roberta. Hank decides to break out Max and Roberta, and together they make a desperate flight through war-torn Germany where they witness first-hand the destruction post-war Europe has endured. Leaving Max behind in Switzerland, they make their way to the port city of Trieste, where they board a ship and depart to the seas, dealing with pirates, facing adversity, making new friends, and desperately seeking a safe refuge in a place where their love can flourish.

Follow Hank and Roberta on their intense and captivating journey from country to country as they seek refuge. Read as they make their way through bombed-out cities, giving a rare glimpse into the tragic consequences of war, as they remain together bound by love.

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Excerpt

There was little rest for Hank again that night.  His heart and his mind were being pulled in different directions.  He had made commitments to Max and Oliver, then to Captain Stein, and now to Roberta.  He had always been trusted by everyone, a pillar of integrity.  Now, he would surely destroy that reputation.  As he tossed and turned, and scolded himself for getting himself into such a quandary, his thoughts kept going back to Roberta, warm thoughts full of wonder and excitement.  But, as the night progressed, doubts began to creep into his head.

Hank couldn’t deny how he felt; he felt fantastic, incredible.  He had met the girl of his dreams—love at first sight.  He couldn’t wait to see her again.  She was everything he had always imagined she would be, everything he hoped for in a woman.  Yet, he began to wonder, is this real?  Could it be possible for two people to be in love when they’ve only known each other for two days?  Was he being foolish?  Had the events of the past five months and his absence from the comforts of home made him vulnerable in a dangerous way?  A frightful pang of fear shot through his gut as he thought: Is she just using me? Does she see me as her way out of confinement? Am I being fooled by her? Maybe she doesn’t care about me at all; she only needs me to get what she really wants.  Why should I trust her?  I don’t really know her.  Oh, what a fool I must be to fall for the first beautiful woman who shows an interest in me, who caresses me.  Am I that vulnerable?  Am I that foolish?

Thoughts of Roberta dazzled and confused him; nothing in his young life had ever left him so unsure of himself.  No amount of concentration overcame the cascade of emotions flooding his chest.  He tossed and turned long into the night, soaked his pillow through with his sweat, though he wasn’t warm, and felt his pulse exploding his temples; alternating between visions of pure, romantic love and sheer foolishness.  The pull on his heart skidded back and forth like a tug of war.  That is…until he recalled his mother’s words, spoken on his eighteenth birthday, just after a high school sweetheart informed him that another man had won her heart.

Hank, you are such a precious son.  I adore you.  I am sad when you are sad, but you must know this pain you feel will pass.  Sometimes love is fleeting, it may disappear as quickly as it appears.  You have your whole life ahead of you.  I know you will meet the woman who will love you completely, and for your lifetime.  I have no doubt.  Love between a man and a woman cannot be easily defined; love comes in many forms and is never the same for everyone.  Almost always love charges into your life like a cosmic experience, even magical, it is so difficult to predict or understand.  Sometimes that special feeling in your heart really is true love—sometimes not.  When love comes suddenly, we can be swept off our feet.  It’s a dazzling experience that confuses us.  That’s often called love at first sight, but it’s never really love at first sight.  If it happens to you, don’t take it for granted, it’s very special and you won’t want to lose it.  It’s one of the best feelings you will ever have, and I believe the best beginning for true love.

Don’t be deceived, true love has to be built; it takes a lot of hard work and may take a very long time.  When two people stop working on their love, it fades, no matter if it’s the first month, the first year, the tenth or the twenty-fifth.  There will always be difficulties and complications, that’s how life is, not just marriage.  Use those difficulties to work on making your marriage stronger.  Don’t expect not to have challenges, welcome them and be ready to take them on together.  Everything really worthwhile in your life will require hard work.  Your marriage is the one very most worthwhile jewel you will ever have.

Laying silently in the darkness, eyes wide open, thinking warm thoughts of his mother, a smile came across his face.  Of course, he thought, mother is right.  I have to work on it.  Tomorrow I’ll have to find out if Roberta truly feels the same way about me.  Sleep finally came.

He should have been exhausted the next morning, with little sleep and tormented the whole night through with all his mixed emotions, but his adrenalin had taken over.  Hank needed to get things resolved, and though he wasn’t sure how to do that, he needed to attack his demons head on.  By the time he met with Oliver and Max in the evening he wanted to have his life back on track.  Since he was drafted there had not been a dull day in Hank’s life.  He never knew quite what to expect, and that day would be no different.  It would begin with his report to Captain Stein.

Hank was surprised to see the Captain waiting for him.  Stein motioned Hank to his office as soon as Hank appeared in the doorway.  Hank’s curiosity was aroused.

“Hank, we have to release everyone except the SS Officers.  The staff and family are being released as soon as possible.   We’ll have 30 days to hold the officers and unless we can get enough evidence they participated in war crimes we’ll have to release them too!  Something about the Geneva Convention says we can’t hold them unless we have sufficient evidence to take them to trial.  It’s foolish as far as I’m concerned.  What kind of fair trial did the millions of dead Jews get?”

Hank was stunned again.  His first emotion was that he was losing Roberta, but his first thought was that might be best.  He had to set his feelings aside and listen to Stein without revealing his feelings.

“I’m sorry, sir.  I know how important this is to you.  It really would be a shame if guilty men went free.”

“Ya, well, there’s nothing we can do about it but work our butts off to get the evidence we need to hold the bastards.  That’s our job, and by God, we’re going to make sure every last one of them hangs for what they’ve done.  Did you get anything out of the girl?”

“I thought I was really close…I mean…I think she was beginning to trust me.  I needed more time; maybe a few more days, but I’m not sure she knew anything.”

“Come on, Corporal, of course she knows things.  I’ll bet she knows plenty.  We’re losing a good opportunity by letting them all go.  It makes our job harder.”

“What will we do now?”

“We’ll get busy interrogating the officers.  The British have been at it for weeks.  They have files on all of them.  The Russians are sending men to help too, and we’re getting some young Army lawyers by next week.  Today, you and I are going out there to go through files.  We’ll make a list of the ones that look like they were in charge, in some position of leadership, the higher the better, then we’ll start meeting with them.  I want to get the top guys.”

Hank didn’t know what to think.  His emotions all melted together in a jumble of confusion.  All he could do was follow orders for the moment, until he could sort through all the feelings bombarding him.

Within a few minutes he and Stein were on their way to the compound, where they came upon a blur of activity.  Those who were being released were jubilant as groups of them gathered in the streets to celebrate.  There was pitched cheering, yet, others pushed against the fence separating them from officers, loved ones and former employers who they would be leaving behind.  There was sadness and tears, as well as questions about what may lay ahead for each of them, the uncertainty for those who were released to communities that may not still exist, and for those who remained in custody, facing the possibility of imprisonment or death.

As Stein and Hank walked into the officer’s compound, Hank did his best to keep Stein from seeing him looking among those being released through the fence.  In spite of his doubts, his heart told him he was in love and he was growing desperate about losing Roberta so soon, thinking she could be gone forever, and wishing he could know for sure if what they had begun was truly love, or whether he was just a fool.  They were moving too quickly for him to see clearly.  He couldn’t find her.  They were up the steps and into the meeting hall, leaving behind any chance he might see her again.  He was numb, unaware of anything going on around him.

“Hank, Hank, come on, get moving.  Pay attention!”  Stein gave him a nudge toward the stairway leading to a room above, where they spent the rest of the morning poring through files, assessing information that had been gathered by the British, looking for clues to help them decide which officers they would interrogate first.  Stacks of files were set aside, awaiting the lawyer’s arrival.  Hank couldn’t focus his attention; all he could think about was that he may be losing the one person who was right for him, the one he would commit his life to.  Convicting German criminals wasn’t important to him at that moment.

By noon Stein was satisfied they had enough files to get started.  They were loaded in the back of the truck and about to leave.

“Captain Stein, I’d like to see if I can find Roberta and make an appeal to her to give us the information you believe she has.  Once she is gone, it will be lost.  I think it’s worth a try.”

“If you think so, Hank.  There can’t be any harm in trying.  In fact, I like your attitude.  Go ahead, get what you can, and jump on another truck heading back later.  I’ll see you in the morning.  Good luck.”

Hank felt relieved that Stein went along with the idea, but he felt a tinge of guilt for taking advantage of Stein’s trust in him.

Trucks loaded with released detainees were rolling out the gate as Hank walked over to the camp.  He ran alongside each truck calling Roberta’s name but got no response.  Others were still loading near a barracks building to the rear.  He ran into the building asking each person he came to about Roberta until an older woman stopped him.

“Yes.  Roberta was here.  But she has gone.”

Hank’s world came to a sudden stop.  He just stood there as people pushed past him toward the trucks.  He lost her.  She was gone.  Maybe she didn’t love him after all.  Maybe she just didn’t need him anymore.  He really didn’t know what to think.  He only knew this was the worst day of his life.

As he walked back toward the gate past the office where he had met with Roberta, the guard who had brought Roberta to the meetings called out to him.

“Corporal!  Corporal Fischer!  Come quickly.  There is someone who wants to see you.”

Hank wouldn’t allow himself to believe it could be her.  He hurried into the building and found the front office area empty, but the door to the room in back was ajar.  He slowly opened the door and there sat Roberta.  She leaped from her chair and into his arms with a scream of delight.

“Oh, Hank, Hank!  I knew you would come for me.  I knew it in my heart!”

“They told me you had left.  I thought you were gone!”

“I couldn’t go.  Where would I go without you now that I have found you?  I love you, Hank, I love you!  I feel like I have loved you since always, and forever.”

Her arms wrapped tightly around his neck and her lips found his.  Her words washed away any doubt.  He had never known such elation.  He was in love.  It was real.  He was sure of it.

“I love you, Roberta.  I love you, too!”

About the Author

Glen HGlen graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, then earned a Masters of Business Administration at The University of Wisconsin at Madison. He served in the US Air Force on the Manned Orbiting Laboratory space exploration program and on the design phase of the development of the F-15 fighter aircraft. After leaving the Air Force, Glen returned to Wisconsin and became Vice President of the largest bank in his home state, First Wisconsin National Bank. In 1979, he moved on to become President and CEO of several real estate development and management companies. Glen retired in 2009 to devote full time to his grandchildren and his writing. Glen is the author of Honor and Innocence, We Had to Live: We Had No Choice…, and Thoughts From Yesterday: Moments to Remember.

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Posted in 5 paws, Author, Book Club, excerpt, Urban on March 24, 2014

On Sunday, our Book Club had Rachel Caine as our guest.  My husband met Rachel at our mail box location and struck up a conversation with her when he saw all the books.  Hubby does know what a voracious reader I am so of course that would catch his eye.  She gave him her card and said to get in touch and she would come speak to us.  After months of conversations and a postponement due to weather, we finally were able to meet and have a conversation about her books, publishing, contracts, the production of Morganville Vampires into a web series, her many talents (including web design) and many other things.  It was a delightful 2 hours and I know several of us could have sat there and for a few more hours talking to her about anything and everything.

We all read a book by her and my pick was Working Stiff, the first book in the Revivalist series.  I really enjoyed this book even though urban fantasy really isn’t my normal genre to read.  I did realize pretty quickly that a coworker would enjoy this book, and I was right!  This is the first of a 3 book series so I will be looking for the next 2 in the series so I can see how it all end.  I did give this book 5 paws in my rating system.

Bryn Davis has her whole life ahead of her. A new job as a funeral director. A new start. But when she discovers her boss has a side business reviving the dead with a hijacked government pharmaceutical, she’s not just in danger … she’s dead. Revived, enslaved to the nanite drug to keep herself alive, Bryn finds an ally in mysterious stranger Patrick McCallister … and a new purpose as a spy for the pharmaceutical giant trying to recover its lost property.
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Thank you Rachel for joining us, it was fun!

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Posted in Blog tour, excerpt, mystery, Spotlight on March 10, 2014

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Twelve to Murder 7

 

Title: Twelve to Murder
Author: Lauren Carr
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Genre: Mystery
Format: eBook

Synopsis

Two people are brutally murdered in their summer place on Deep Creek Lake. Suspected of the murders, former child star and one-time teenybopper idol Lenny Frost takes innocent bystanders hostage in a local pub and demands that Mac Faraday find the killer. Can Mac save the hostages and himself from the wrath of the enraged has-been by piecing together the clues in less than twelve hours, or will it be a fatal last call at the stroke of midnight?

Purchase your copy at AMAZON

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Excerpt

Stillman Mansion on Deep Creek Lake, Maryland
Sunday: 6:12 am

“Austin is back this year,” Olivia said in rhythm with the pace she had set for her power walk.

Two paces behind his wife, Roland took note of the white stone mansion along the chilly lakeshore. The mansion looked closed up. All was quiet, as it was with many of the estates along the lake in the early spring. With each passing day, the quiet was giving way to the snowbirds came in to roost at their summer homes in the resort town of Spencer, located in the corner of Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland.

As the middle aged athletic couple walked briskly on the running trail along the lake, they noted that that mansion was quiet. The only tell-tale sign of change from its winter hibernation was the yacht on the dock in the back. It had not been there the morning before.

“I wonder if Janice will be throwing her week long Fourth of July bash with all her has-been clients this year?” Roland asked.

“I can tell you right now that I’m not going if that loser Lenny is here.” Feeling her heartbeat slowing down, she picked up her pace.

“Come on,” her husband said with a laugh, “Lenny Frost isn’t that bad. He’s really kind of funny.”

“He’s crude,” she shot over her shoulder at him.

He was going to respond that he felt sorry for the least popular of Janice Stillman’s former celebrity client when a black Porsche almost hit the couple rushing pass them and turning sharply into the driveway of the white mansion.

“Do you two ever take a break?” the young man shouted at them when he threw open the door and climbed out of the sports car.

“Never,” Olivia answered with a frown at Derrick Stillman’s apparent lack of self-discipline displayed in the slight stagger in his pace, and clearly having slept in his clothes, or maybe not slept in them, but clearly having worn them the day before judging by their wrinkled and disheveled appearance.

“Well, you can work-out for me, too.”

“Party last night?” Roland asked.

“Date.” Derrick ran his fingers through his dark curly hair. “I was going to come in yesterday with my folks, but when I met Maddie the other day—“ He let out a cocky laugh. “Well, you know how it is.”

“I can imagine,” Olivia said in a bland tone.

“She’s got a body to die for and she’s crazy about me.” With a swagger in his walk, he made his way to the front door.

“Come along, Roland,” Olivia ordered.

The couple continued on their way. They had only made it to the other end of the property before Derrick’s screams stopped them. The young man was running out the front door and dropped to his knees in the yard when they made it back to the driveway.

Olivia rushed over to the young man, who had his face buried in his hands. “Cliff, what’s wrong?”

Shrieking, the young man pointed to the door.

Roland ran inside.

“What happened, Derrick?” she demanded to know. “What’s going on? What’s in there?”

His face white, Roland came running back outside.

Olivia’s heartbeat was racing. “Roland …”

“They’re dead,” he said in a panicked tone while taking his cell phone out of his pocket. “Both of them. Janice and Austin. I can’t believe this would happen here … in Spencer.”

“Who—“ she asked with tears in her eyes.

“Janice wrote something in her blood—” He stopped to turn his attention to the cell phone. “I’d like to report two murders.”

“Her killer,” Derrick spat out. “I saw it, too. Lenny. Why else would Mom have written out his name in her blood while she was dying? Lenny Frost did it. He killed my parents.”

About the Author

Lauren CarrLauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Twelve to Murder is the seventh installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.

In addition to her series set on Deep Creek Lake, Lauren Carr has also written the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder, the third book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. They also make an appearance in The Lady Who Cried Murder. Dead on Ice (A Lovers in Crime Mystery) was released September 2012. The second installment, Real Murder will be out in 2014.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

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Posted in Cover Reveal, excerpt on February 25, 2014

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Very Wicked Things

Book 2 of the Briarcrest Academy Series

A new adult romance from bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills

Release Date May 13, 2014

Synopsis

Born on the poor side of town…

Ballerina Dovey Beckham is a scholarship student at Briarcrest Academy, determined to prove she’s more than just a girl with the wrong pedigree. She does whatever it takes to succeed in her endgame, even if it means surrendering her body…but never her heart.

Until the day she meets him, and he rips apart all her well-laid plans. Suddenly, the girl everyone thought unbreakable might just shatter.

Born into wealth and privilege…

Cuba “Hollywood” Hudson is rich, spoiled, and a star football player. With his fast cars and superficial girlfriends, he lives the high-life, hiding his secrets from the world.

Until the day he meets her, and she offers him something he’s never tasted…love.

But once in a lifetime kind of love doesn’t come easy. When trust crumbles and doubts creep in, both will have to decide to either love or let go…forever.

Welcome to Briarcrest Academy, where sometimes, only the wicked survive.

Excerpt

Cuba’s POV

Not exactly a meet-cute…

The room closed in, making me sweat. I hadn’t talked to her in over a year, and now here we were, face-to-face. Two ex-lovers who hated each other.

I had to get away from her.

Dovey tilted her head as I stood, giving me a scathing glare. “Leaving so soon? Yeah, go ahead, cut and run. Coward.”

I ignored her and tried to get Weinstein’s attention, to let her know she could flunk me for all I cared.

“Before you go, tell me one thing, and I’ll make sure we aren’t partners in this class. You’ll be free of me,” she said.

“What?” I asked, my voice going all raspy, blocking all the words I wanted to say. They weren’t things she ever needed to hear.

“Why so cruel to me? You aren’t to the other girls you date and dump. Why single me out?”

I seethed. “And it didn’t take you long to find someone else, now did it? How is Spider? Does he get you hot like I did?”

She smirked. “He’s fine. He thinks I hung the moon. He thinks you’re an ass. I agree.”

I tightened my fists and pressed them against my thighs, swearing to myself I wasn’t responding to her bait. I swore. She was a dangerous game I didn’t need to play.

Suddenly, her face fell. Was she recalling the last time we were together? Was she remembering how I used to…

“I trusted you,” she whispered, all her anger seeming to be gone. The unsteadiness of her voice undid me, sent me right over the edge of that precarious cliff I’d been hanging on to by the skin of my teeth.

Yeah, she hadn’t been the only one who’d trusted me. I’d ruined them all. Every last one. Dark thoughts assaulted me, of the blood I had on my hands.

Snap! My pencil broke and small pieces flew across my desk and into the empty space between us.

I wanted to pummel my desk until my fists bled. I wanted to punch a hole through the wall, the floor, my face.

Everything was my fault. Just mine.

She’d been collateral damage, the kind that breaks everyone involved. And I was sorry for it, but sometimes you do what hurts because it’s for the best.

But she was my kryptonite, leaving me no option but to hurt her. Again.

I didn’t think about my cruel words, I just said them. “You were a curiosity, Dovey. You weren’t the usual BA girl, and I wanted a taste. That’s all. I moved on when it got boring. Get over it.”

Author Bio

Ilsa Madden-Mills is a loving wife and mother, a loyal friend, and a teacher. When all that is done, she writes. Obsessively.

She spent several years teaching high school English, but now hangs out at home with two small kids, a neurotic cat, and her Viking husband. She collects magnets and rarely cooks except to bake her own pretzels.

When she’s not typing away at a story, you can find her drinking too much Diet Coke, jamming out to Pink, or checking on her carefully maintained chocolate stash.

She loves to hear from fans and fellow authors.

Very Wicked Things is Book 2 of the BA Series.

Very Bad Things is currently available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

Awesome Book Trailer to Very Wicked Things

 

 

Author Goodreads Link to Very Wicked Things

Author Website

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Posted in 5 paws, Blog tour, contest, excerpt, fiction, Giveaway, women on January 26, 2014


Ginger Voight’s “Enticed” – Book #1 of The Fullerton Family Saga is NOW AVAILABLE!
Make sure to check out the Teaser & Giveaway for
Signed paperbacks of Book 1 and Book 2 (upon release) & $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card (Winner’s Choice)! Be sure to join our Facebook Event for the Blog Tour – CLICK HERE to join.

“Entangled” Book #2 will be available on January 28th!!

Rachel Dennehy had a crazy thought. If she could just start over somewhere else, she could forget about her sad and tragic past and all the ghosts that chased her. When an email landed in her inbox, to tutor a difficult student whose father just happened to be the CEO of one of the biggest companies in the nation, the apple was a bit too enticing for Rachel to refuse. She moves from Texas to Beverly Hills, where she is tasked with turning around her wealthy pupil’s bad attitude. It is a bad attitude that stems almost entirely from his parents’ ugly divorce and even uglier custody battle.
 
That her new boss Andrew, or Drew, Fullerton is one of the handsomest and most eligible bachelors in the world means nothing to Rachel. She has absolutely no plans to ever marry or have kids of her own. Her priority is teaching nine-year-old Jonathan, who needs her guidance and her direction and… most importantly… her friendship.
 
Drew’s brother, Alex, however, assumes otherwise. He basically accuses her of being a gold-digging opportunist upon their first meeting. This sets the two immediately at odds, though they both have young Jonathan’s best interest at heart. Alex believes that Rachel is a “ringer,” a wholesome alternative to edge Jonathan’s socialite mother out of the running for custody, since she left Drew after her own salacious affair with a younger man. He wastes no time in telling Rachel that as long as she stays in her job, she will keep Jonathan from his real mother, and that is the driving force behind Drew’s interest.
 
Unfortunately the more he tries to warn her away from Drew, the closer he ultimately propels her toward her charming boss. Drew never questions her motivation or her presence because Jonathan thrives under her tutelage, and Drew is beguiled by her no-nonsense attitude that challenges him from the start.
 
Rachel navigates these choppy waters solely to protect Jonathan. She sees the adults in the family as self-serving; most of whom are far more interested in hurting each other than taking care of this fragile, vulnerable boy. Her heart traps her into this sticky web, despite her own history of loss and betrayal. How long will she last? More importantly, what will she be required to give to save these Fullerton men who continually tug her in three different directions?
 
The saga begins with the first book, titled “Enticed,” due to release in early 2014. Author Ginger Voight returns to the dream-making landscape of Los Angeles, in a new tale that throws back the curtain on the dangerous power, appeal and excess of the privileged. Only by the time this tale is done, one principle character will pay the ultimate price as they all race toward that elusive happily ever after.

Excerpt

“I think you misunderstood exactly what kind of tutor I was seeking for my son. He is going to be a titan in business, following four generations of Fullertons before him. He needs to be prepared. You’ll forgive me if I don’t think measuring ingredients and shopping at the market qualify as the higher education for which I’m paying very good money.”

I placed the fork on the plate, my appetite totally obliterated. “You wanted me to teach your son, and I have done that. More importantly, I’ve reached him. He knows he can trust me, especially after I shielded him from that family debacle yesterday. This morning I gave Jonathan three different tests. In math, he was tested on fractions and word problems. The skills he learned with a simple cooking lesson or quick trip to the store helped him score in the 99th percentile testing at near seventh-grade levels. Likewise on the history essay, in which he researched and wrote a thousand-word document on the Greystone Mansion and Park where we walked and explored, which – if I’m not mistaken – qualifies under your physical fitness requirement. I also tested him on the book he’s been reading for pleasure, with a questionnaire that helped him think critically about the material he was reading simply for the joy of it, giving him several key vocabulary words to note as he read along. It is a book that has been in my own curriculum for years, and I’m confident at least one student who reads it will go on and get an Ivy League education.”

His jaw clenched as he realized what I had done. I had taken Jonathan from a stale, unchallenging classroom environment with endless tests and bookwork, which had been crippling his curious and playful nature. By putting him in an entirely foreign setting, he learned how to do the things Drew wanted him to do, right down to the budgeting skills at the market, but in new ways that would naturally keep him more engaged than the boring ol’ status quo. And Jonathan had never even realized what I had done until I had quizzed him on it.

My green eyes glittered just as hard as Drew’s icy blue ones. “You may question my methods, Mr. Fullerton, but my results are indisputable. Considering I did all this in two days, even playing go-between between you and your ex-wife and your pain-in-the-ass brother, I’d say I’ve done a hell of a lot more than the previous tutors you have hired to do this job, with exceptional results.”

Normally I wouldn’t have cursed at an employer. But his elitist attitude really pissed me off. Did he really believe his son was too good to wash a dish or cook a meal, as if these mundane tasks held no value for such powerful, wealthy people? And if that was true, how did he regard anyone who had the misfortune of being born average? Did he think we were all beneath him, simply because we had no one to treat us like gods? The Texan was coming out, and he was either going to prove he could deal with that or he was going to send me home anyway. I had nothing to lose. In fact, the only one who had anything at all at stake was Jonathan.

“Now, if you don’t approve of my more unconventional methods, then you can gas up the jet and send me home tonight. But I’m willing to bet that you won’t find anyone else who can reach Jonathan the way that I have done. I have a connection with him. That was what you wanted. That is what you got.” I grabbed a glass of ice water and gulped it down. “Do with that what you will.”

Before he could reply, Jonathan raced back into the room, wearing a new jade green kimono, and holding the entire box set of his favorite Anime program. “Thanks, Dad!” he said as he rushed to hug his father. “Let’s watch it together,” he pleaded hopefully.

I used that opportunity to slide my chair back and rise from the table. “I think I’ll retire for the evening. Let you two catch up.”

Jonathan was crestfallen. “No, Rachel,” he said with a plaintive whine in his voice. “Please don’t go. You haven’t even had any pudding.”

“Pudding?” Drew echoed.

Jonathan nodded. “She made homemade Southern banana pudding.”

I shook my head. “You enjoy it. I’m stuffed,” I lied easily. “The dinner was excellent, Jonathan. You did a great job.” I turned to Drew. “It was very nice meeting you, Mr. Fullerton. I trust you’ll think about what I said and let me know if there has been any change in plans.”

Jonathan was panicked as he looked between his father and me. “Change of plans? You’re not leaving, are you, Rachel?”

“No decisions have been made,” Drew filled in before I could speak. “Why don’t you go get us some pudding, Jonathan? That sounds delicious.”

Jonathan nodded and disappeared into the kitchen. Drew rose to his feet and walked around the table to face me. “Obviously I’m not used to being spoken to in such a way in my own home,” he said, his voice hard but quiet. “But obviously I offended you. I apologize.” He offered his hand.

It was a gesture of civility, but his eyes were still lethal as they stared down at me. My hand shook as I placed it in his. His fingers closed around mine powerfully as he pulled me closer. I gasped as I stopped short mere inches from that massive chest. I hadn’t been this close to a man in many years, much less a man as intimidating. I was certain that he could feel the tremble in my grasp when my eyes shot to his. His face broke apart in a victorious smile. “Start over?” he asked softly. “Rachel?”

I gulped hard. I should have told him to gas up the jet anyway and just leave Beverly Hills in my daydreams where it belonged. Had Jonathan not been a factor, I probably would have done just that. But he was very much a factor, so I owed it to him to make inroads with Drew, who now had five days to prove to me that I could work for him. He had to trust me and my methods, and respect the job that I was hired to do. So I tipped my chin again and said in as steady a voice as I could muster, “You’re the boss,” I said, adding, “Mr. Fullerton,” defiantly.

Review

Yet another winner by Ginger Voight! I have loved everything she has written so far. Bonus on this book, Rachel, is from the next town over from me. Love when I see that happen. Drew is a typical rich guy, will stop at nothing to get what he wants. I thought that he would change with Rachel’s influence with his son, but as things are revealed in the book you realize that a leopard never changes its spots.  Alex thinks he is saving Rachel and Jonathan from Drew, but does he have an ulterior motive?  And Jonathan, he just wants love and attention and Rachel is the perfect person to give it to him and help him see that even at a young age there is more to life than getting into trouble just because you are bored.

I can’t wait for the 2nd book, Entangled, which will continue the story. Enticed leaves you hanging wondering what is in store for Rachel, Drew, Alex and Jonathan.

We give this 5 paws!

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Ginger Voight is prolific author, freelance writer and optioned screenwriter. Her fiction is diverse, with novels like the edgy, coming-of-age drama DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS, and the fun family adventure for kids of all ages, COMIC SQUAD.
 
Having grown up reading different authors like Danielle Steel and Stephen King, Ginger has always been drawn more to story than to genre. This shows up in her various stories. Titles such as MY IMMORTAL and TASTE OF BLOOD are a delicious, heady mix of horror, suspense, and romance.
 
Genre romance, however, has held a special place in her heart, ever since she read her first Harlequin novel when she was only eleven. As a result, Ginger is making a name for herself writing romances of her own, starring women who look more like the average American woman rather than those traditionally represented in the size-biased American media. Her Rubenesque romances were created especially for those heroines with fuller figures, who can still get the man of their dreams if only they believe they can. Such titles include UNDER TEXAS SKIES, LOVE PLUS ONE, THE GROUPIE TRILOGY, THE FIERCE TRILOGY and PICTURE POSTCARDS.
 
Ginger was included in the best-selling book by Smith Magazine NOT QUITE WHAT I WAS PLANNING, featuring her six-word memoir.

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Posted in Blog tour, contest, excerpt, Fantasy, Giveaway, paranormal, Review on January 10, 2014

 rook updated

Rook

Could you be the monster to save who you love?

Two women, separated by generations, must leave what they know to start a new life. Seventeen-year-old Kate’s senior year is ruined when she’s moved from the only home she’s ever known. After an isolating month alone in her apartment, school starts, but neither her classmates nor her teacher are who they seem. Kali, a single mother living in the nineteenth century wilds of Montana, is stalked by a malicious past. She fights to keep her daughter safe while her freedom is threatened by her less than benevolent benefactor. Both find love, and with it hope, but that is quickly ripped away as one woman must learn the lessons of the other — before it’s too late to save either.

 

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Praise for Rook:

“This book also drew me in. I couldn’t let go of what was happening and when life intervened and forced me to close my computer I kept looking for a few moments to sit down and read some more.” Brookeworm, a Blog 4 Stars

“Rook had me hooked from the first page. It all started so mysteriously that I just had to know what it was all about. “ Jannat Bhat, Obsessive Compulsive Reader 4 Stars

“Rook is an amazing story that had me at the edge of my seat.” Tee Loves Kyle Jacobson Blog, 5 Stars

 Review

I found this to be a very interesting book.  Each chapter alternated between Kali and Kate and their stories and it took awhile before I saw how they tied together, but once I did it different parts of the book began to make more sense.  When I began to piece together how the story tied together it just brought up more questions that were eventually answered.  I think there could be a follow up to this book and where Kate ventures to in her future now knowing her past.  Very fascinating back story about gods in India and how they would act in society today.

I also read a novella called Pawns which is how Leslie (not me!) came to be a part of Rook.  It is very short and I felt it could have been longer and perhaps told you more about her.  But it was enough to at least let you understand her character and why she acted the way she did in Rook.

We give it 4 paws up!

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Excerpt

Sean’s dark eyes had not been distracted from mine for a moment. I blushed under the heat of his watch, brushing a nervous hand through my hair. I wondered how long it would be before I could stop turning red every time I felt something.

“I really thought it was just me,” I said, needing to fill the silence. “I didn’t think you would feel the same way.”

“No,” he admitted, “It’s not been just you for a long time.” He kissed my forehead and then turned back to the trail, this time leading me by the hand.

All our lives, there was him, and there was me, and then there was that third being that was us. We had fed that friendship and helped it grow, but it was always just a friendship that remained as familiar to us as we were to ourselves. Now, the us had changed completely. I felt like it was a bigger, more beautiful thing, and it frightened me in a delicious, hopeful way.

 

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Monica MAuthor Stella MacDonald

Stella is a married graduate student with three boys. Utah is home right now, but the need to wander has extended beyond the fantasy world of writing and into real life. She’s lived all around the US and even into the Middle East. The world is really a small place, only made bigger through imagination.

 

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Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 1/24/14

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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Posted in Cozy, excerpt, Monday, mystery, Spotlight on December 30, 2013

Today I’d like to welcome author Sharon Burch Toner to StoreyBook Reviews.  She writes the Maggie McGill series which is a cozy mystery series.  Sharon has kindly sent me the first book in the series that I will be reading and reviewing in the coming months, but wanted to introduce her to you so you can look for her books now!  And watch for a giveaway tied to that review.

This is the order of the books and I’m highlighting the first book below.  If you click on the links of the books it will take you to Goodreads where you can check out more about the books:

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Synopsis

When Florida psychotherapist, Maggie McGill, plans a vacation visit to her daughter, Allie, in California the mysterious events initially seem only coincidences. But as the visit is plagued by a series of increasingly dangerous events they begin to fear for their safety. The two unsuspecting women are caught up in a mystery that causes them to follow a twisting trail of terror and uncover a diabolical conspiracy that threatens their very lives. Who is the inscrutable Sufi mystic who provides aid through their travails? How did he become part of their adventures? This is suspenseful story telling at it peak of gripping power tempered by a sense of fun and lighthearted mystery

Excerpt (from Sharon’s website)

Maggie and Allie sat side by side on the edge of the bed. “If this were the movies we’d pull out a hairpin, work some mechanical magic and escape,” Allie said dejectedly. “Women don’t use hairpins much these days.”

Maggie mused, “What do we have to work with? A bed with bed linens. Two night stands with lamps. Two really heavy chairs. A room lined with mirrors—even the ceiling! My God, it makes you think!” She broke into a soft chuckle.

“Mom, back to business. We can analyze the owner later.”

“Okay. Okay. I read a novel once where the prisoners wired the doorknob so that when the villains opened the door they were electrocuted. What do you think? We could use the lamp cord.” Maggie whispered hopefully.

“Great. But what if we screw it up and electrocute ourselves?”

“What if we don’t?” Maggie responded.

“You sound just like Pooh!”

“I know.” Maggie grinned in the dark. “But Pooh never let himself feel scared.”

Allie whispered, “Yeah. I guess we can use some of that. Okay. Let’s check out a lamp. This would be easier if we could see.”

“But then they might know we’re up and about.”

“Yeah, I know.” Allie picked up the nearest lamp and followed its cord to the socket. She unplugged it and lifted the lamp. “Ugh. This sucker is heavy. Let’s see if we can find an outlet near the door.” They crawled again examining by touch the walls on either side of the door.

“Psst. Found one. Bring the lamp.” Maggie held the cord near the outlet while Allie carried the lamp toward the door, stretching the cord out.

“Rats.” The cord was at least eighteen inches too short to reach.

“Now what?”

Maggie sighed and took another deep breath. “Well, Sweetie, I have only one other thought right now. I really liked the electrocution idea. It had so much style!”

Allie whispered impatiently, “Who cares about style. What’s the idea? We just need to get out of here.”

“We could push the chairs behind the door and bash them with a lamp when they come through the door. No style at all, but probably effective,” Maggie said glumly.

Allie smiled. “Sounds perfect to me, Mom. Let’s do it!”

With much quiet grunting and panting they pushed the two chairs across the deep carpet to the door and placed one on either side of it. They placed the bed pillows lengthwise on the bed to give what they hoped would give a momentary impression of their two bodies still incapacitated. Finally they each took a heavy lamp and climbed onto a chair to wait.

“If there are two of them, I’ll take the first one. You get the second. Okay?” Allie asked.

“Right. You get the first. I’ll get the second. Boy, I sure wish I knew karate or something,” Maggie whispered.

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Posted in Book Blast, contest, excerpt, Giveaway, suspense on December 15, 2013

reviving izabel

REVIVING IZABEL

(In The Company of Killers #2)

By Bestselling Author J.A. Redmerski

Release December 10, 2013

An Adult Suspense

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Killing Sarai (In the Company of Killers, #1) is on sale for .99 cents for the release of Reviving Izabel!

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Determined to live a dark life in the company of the assassin who freed her from bondage, Sarai sets out on her own to settle a score with an evil sadist. Unskilled and untrained in the art of killing, the events that unfold leave her hanging precariously on the edge of death when nothing goes as planned.

Sarai’s reckless choices send her on a path she knows she can never turn back from and so she presents Victor with an ultimatum: help her become more like him and give her a fighting chance, or she’ll do it alone no matter the consequences. Knowing that Sarai cannot become what she wants to be overnight, Victor begins to train her and inevitably their complicated relationship heats up.

As Arthur Hamburg’s right-hand man, Willem Stephens, closes in on his crusade to destroy Sarai, she is left with the crushing realization that she may have bitten off more than she can chew. But Sarai, taking on the new and improved role of Izabel Seyfried, still has a set of deadly skills of her own that will prove to be all she needs to secure her place beside Victor.

But there is one test that Izabel must face that has the potential to destroy everything she is working so hard to achieve. One final test that will not only make her question her decision to want this dangerous life, but will make her question everything she has come to trust about Victor Faust.

Excerpt

-Unexpected Affection-

Victor reaches up and touches my wet hair. The gesture causes my heart to race.

“You have a good sense of people, Sarai,” he says as his hand moves to my chin. “You’re right about Fredrik…,” the pad of his thumb brushes my bottom lip. A shiver races between my legs. “He is…shall I say…unhinged in a sense.”

My breathing picks up and I feel my lashes sweep my face when Victor’s lips fall upon mine.

“Unhinged in what way,” I ask breathily when he pulls back. With my eyes closed, I sense his scanning the curvature of my face and my lips, and I feel the breath emitting softly from his nostrils onto my face.

Every miniscule hair stands on end when his other hand pushes up my thigh and finds my naked waist underneath the shirt. His long fingers dance against the flesh of my hipbone and then rests there.

I open my eyes to see him staring back into mine.

“Is something wrong?” he asks and his mouth sweeps mine again.

“No, I…I just didn’t expect this.”

“Expect what?” I feel his fingers fit behind the elastic of my panties.

My head is swimming, my stomach a fluttering, nervous ball of muscle. “This,” I answer, my eyes opening and closing. “You’re different,” I add softly.

“That’s your fault,” he says and then his lips devour mine.

He pushes my body back against the couch pillows and falls between my legs.

His cell phone buzzes around on the coffee table and I’m reminded just how human I really am when I curse Fredrik for ruining this moment even if it’s to let me know that Dina is safe.

 

About the Author

jredmerski12Born November 25, 1975, J.A. (Jessica Ann) Redmerski is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children and a Maltese. She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries and is a huge fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

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Tour Giveaway

(3) Signed print copy sets of Killing Sarai and Reviving Izabel  – International
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Posted in excerpt, Spotlight, women on December 7, 2013

roomies

Click on the image above to read an Excerpt of this book!

Synopsis

The countdown to college has begun.

When Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment at the beginning of summer, she shoots off an email to coordinate the basics: TV, microwave, mini-fridge. She can’t wait to escape her New Jersey beach town, and her mom, and start life over in California.

The first note to Lauren in San Francisco comes as a surprise; she had requested a single. But if Lauren’s learned anything from being the oldest of six, it’s that you can’t always get what you want, especially when what you want is privacy.

Soon the girls are emailing back and forth, sharing secrets even though they’ve never met. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives…and each other.

 

About Sara

Sara Zarr is the acclaimed author of five novels for young adults, most recently The Lucy Variations, which the New York Times called “an elegant novel.”  She’s a National Book Award finalist and two-time Utah Book Award winner. Her books have been variously named to annual best books lists of the American Library Association, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, the Guardian, the International Reading Association, the New York Public Library and Los Angeles Public Library, and have been translated into many languages. In 2010, she served as a judge for the National Book Award. She has written essays and creative nonfiction for ImageHunger Mountain online, and Response as well as for several anthologies, and has been a regular contributor to Image‘s daily Good Letters blog on faith, life, and culture. As of summer 2013, she’s a member of the faculty of Lesley University’s Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Sara also hosts the This Creative Life podcast. Born in Cleveland and raised in San Francisco, she currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, and online via her website.

About Tara

In addition to my most recent novel, THE BEST NIGHT OF YOUR (PATHETIC) LIFE, I’m the author of three previous books for Young Adults, including DREAMLAND SOCIAL CLUB, which was a Kirkus Reviews Best Books for Teens of 2011, THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS and WHAT HAPPENS HERE.

Next up is ROOMIES, a novel I cowrote with Sara Zarr (Little Brown, December) and then my middle-grade debut, THE BATTLE OF DARCY LANE (Running Press Kids, May 2014).

I live in Queens, New York, with my husband and two young daughters, Ellie and Violet.  You can also visit her website

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Posted in contest, excerpt, Giveaway, New Adult, Spotlight on November 24, 2013

tag chaser

Synopsis

Paisley Bronson is a 27 year old successful advertising professional, but the most exciting part of her life happens outside of work. Claiming the life of a Tag Chaser toward the end of her college career has taught her one thing: Never get too close. She has enjoyed her dating lifestyle, but when her best friend makes a bet that she won’t ever be able to date a normal guy, her competitive nature takes control and she vows to change the game.

When Paisley meets the incredibly handsome and practically perfect Corbin Ray, she begins to think keeping her word might be easier than she thought. But when an accidental discovery reveals that Corbin is in the Army, she knows she must run the other way and never look back. Although it kills her, she aims to move on and look for a new prospect.

There’s just one small problem.

Paisley’s been assigned a new client at work, and his name is Corbin Ray.

Will Paisley and Corbin give in to the chemistry between them, or will their past and present complications keep them apart?

Fall in love with this fun and irresistibly naughty game of cat and mouse.

Excerpt

“You look like an angel,” he says, grabbing my hand and pulling me back down with him instead of standing up. He pulls me on top of him and presses his forehead to mine, staring deep into my eyes. Slowly, he runs his hands through my hair and pulls me closer, inch by inch, until our lips are touching again. I swear his kisses could kill me, could take all of my life and I would still want them.

“I’m no angel, just like you’re no knight in shining armor,” I say, thinking back to Thursday night when we first met.

“Hmm, that may be. But I still think we could make a pretty good story together,” he smiles, kissing down my neck to my collarbone.

“Oh, you think so?” I laugh, letting his kisses blaze a fire down my body.

“It’s worth a shot, right? Who knows, it could be a fairy tale,” he says as he stands up, pulling me with him.

“Or a train wreck.”

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Q & A with Kandi

Who inspired you to start writing?

My mom, definitely. She’s actually very into reading like I am and is a great writer herself. I hope to one day convince her to write a novel, too. She inspired me when I was very young and encouraged me to pursue my love of writing, no matter what. Everything I’ve written from awful love poems in high school (yuck!) to decent pieces in college, she has always been there for me.

Why romance?

Great question! I have no idea. I always pictured myself writing non-fiction or nothing at all, but one of my final capstone courses in college was an advanced fiction course that really turned me on to the possibilities of creating a story. Why romance specifically? Well, we could blame it on my husband for showing me love so early in life, but it’s probably more Disney’s fault than anyone else’s. I’m a girl, I love to love, what could be better than romance writing?

How do you write your novels?

Sporadically and without any structure at all. Sometimes I’ll be driving and I’ll whip out my phone and record something to write down later. Sometimes I’ll write a scene and sometimes I’ll just write about my character to get to know them better. Eventually, I sit down and map everything out so that I don’t forget anything (blonde moments are a habit for me) and then I slowly start piecing it all together. It makes sense to me, but if I told any of my professors this they might kill me lol.

When did you know you wanted to write a novel?

Honestly, it hit me out of the blue. I got the idea for Tag Chaser when I was in the shower and I just couldn’t shake it. I was dreaming about the characters, writing random scenes in my head, and just thinking about them constantly. I decided it was a sign to stop being so scared of failure and just write it. The way I see it, the worst thing that could happen is no one likes it – and in that case it will still be loved by me and that’s what matters.

Why should readers pick up Tag Chaser?

Tag Chaser is a unique story that I think hasn’t been told yet. Often times we fall in love with characters who are so perfect, either individually or for each other. Tag Chaser is about exploring our imperfections and learning not to fight that chemistry that sometimes we just feel, whether it’s easy or not. I think anyone who reads Tag Chaser will laugh and love, and those are both two very beautiful things.

About the Author

Kandi SteinerKandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa with her husband. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer.

Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).

When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.

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Giveaway

Kandi is kindly offering a print copy and an eBook copy of her book.  Just enter via the Rafflecopter below.  Print copy is open to US residents only but the eBook could be sent to anyone internationally.

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