Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Anniversary "In Leah's Wake"!!

Back in August, I had sponsored Terri Giuliano Long's novel, "In Leah's Wake", for Bestseller for a Day. (see post and my review here). I had met Terri during the Manage a Blog tour, read her novel and knew I HAD to sponsor her as "In Leah's Wake" was brilliant!

Since then, Terri has had some wonderful success and has surpassed the 10,000 copies sold mark. What a fantastic way to celebrate a one year anniversary!

Please celebrate with us and purchase your copy of "In Leah's Wake" for only 99 cents. Let's give Terri a fantastic anniversary present and drive her book sales up even  higher. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TERRI!!!

Purchase links: In Leah’s Wake is available via AmazonBarnes & Noble and IndieBound.
 

An excerpt from In Leah’s Wake: The Prologue
. . . little heart of mine, believe me, everyone is really responsible to all men for all men and for everything. I dont know how to explain it to you, but I feel it is so, painfully even. And how is it we went on living, getting angry and not knowing?
Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Grand Inquisitor
Prologue
March
Justine strikes a pose before the full-length mirror hanging on her closet door. Chin up, hands by her sides. She draws a breath. “My dear. . .” she begins, and stops mid-sentence. Wrinkles her nose. She’s got it all wrong. She’s too—Too stiff. Too grownup. Toosomething.
She rakes her fingers over her short dark hair, sweeping the bangs out of her eyes, tugs at the hem of her pink baby-doll pajamas. She’s scheduled to deliver the candidates’ address at her Confirmation Mass this afternoon. When she learned, six months ago, that she had been selected speaker, Justine was ecstatic. Now, the very idea of standing in front of the whole congregation, telling hundreds, maybe thousands, of people how she’s learned from her own family what it means to be part of God’s larger family makes her sick to her stomach.
She has no choice. She made a commitment.
She folds her hands primly, setting them at chest height on her imaginary podium, glances at her cheat sheet, rolls her lower face into a smile, and begins again. “My fellow Confirmation candidates,” she says this time. Justine crumples the paper, tosses it onto her bed. My fellow Confirmation candidates. What a dork. She sounds about twenty, instead of thirteen.
She screws up her face. “I can’t do this,” she says, wagging a finger at the girl watching her from the mirror. She would feel like a hypocrite.

Justine plods to the bathroom, pees, pads back to her bedroom. The forecasters are predicting snow, starting later today. A dismal gray stratus hangs over her skylight. Her room is dark, the air raw. Her sister’s blue and gold Cortland High sweatshirt lies in a heap at the foot of her bed. Justine pulls the sweatshirt over her head, retrieves the balled-up paper. With the back of her hand, she flattens it out, and returns to the mirror to practice.
As always, on first glance, the girl in the mirror takes Justine by surprise. She’s grown two inches since Christmas, isn’t chubby anymore, her belly flat, the clavicle bones visible now at the base of her throat. She pushes her bangs out of her pale, darkly fringed eyes. With her fingertips, she touches her cheeks. Her features have matured, her nose long and straight, like her mother’s, her cheekbones defined. She curls and uncurls her toes. She wears a size six shoe, a size and a half smaller than Leah. Her toes are long and slim, the nails painted blue.
Justine crushes the sheet of paper, tosses it in the trash, strolls to her window, raises the honeycomb shade. Spring feels a long way away, the yard empty, the trees bare. A rush of cold air streams in, under the sash. The air smells of snow. Justine presses her hand against the cool glass, the way she and her sister used to do on the windshield of their father’s car, when they were small. Stop, their father would scold. Youre making a mess. She smiles, remembering how Leah loved egging him on. She pulls her hand away from the glass, watches her prints disappear.
Justine wishes, sometimes, that she could disappear, too. Poof, just like the handprint.
Poof, just like her sister.

Blood Lust and Unruly Magic Winners Announced

Congratulations to

Shadow who won a PDF copy of "Blood Lust"

and 

Yto who won an eBook copy of "Unruly Magic"


I hope you enjoy your new books. I have emailed you.


Forever Texas Blog Tour with 2 Book Set #Giveaway



Today we have a special treat. This is a two book tour with two really fun romances. Both Jane Graves and Christie Craig have written a guest feature and both have graciously offered a set of their books to three lucky readers. That's right - the winners will be getting both "Heartstrings and Diamond Rings" AND Don't Mess With Texas". (See below to enter)


Heartstrings and Diamond Rings 
By Jane Graves
ISBN: 9780446568487
Published by: GRAND CENTRAL PUBLISHING
Genre: FICTION , ROMANCE
Published on: 10/01/2011
Format: MASS MARKET
HE'S THE MAN OF HER DREAMS . . . In a world full of frogs, Alison Carter is determined to find her prince. Maybe her dating past is more Titanic than Love Boat, but she's seen enough happy marriages to know that true love is possible. No matter what, she won't give up on happily-ever-after. If she can't find Mr. Right, she'll simply hire someone who can. ...


A note from Jane Graves:

Plano, Texas is a perfect setting for my series because it's an exercise in contrast, just as my characters are. In West Plano, people live in McMansions, drive Lexus SUVs, drink a lot of Starbucks coffee, and play a lot of golf. West Plano is upper-class Texas living with a sprinkle of glitter and a swimming pool in every backyard. East Plano used to be home only to blue collar folks who live in fifty-year-old tract homes with pickup trucks out front. Then the light rail came through and connected Plano to downtown Dallas, and the old downtown area was revitalized with trendy condos, restaurants, and bars. East Plano is middle-class Texas living with a touch of urban cool.

Alison Carter from HEARTSTRINGS AND DIAMOND RINGS owns a condo in downtown Plano, while the hero of that book, Brandon Scott, lives in a Victorian house on the edge of downtown he inherited from his grandmother. Because of its diversity, Plano, Texas gives me a great opportunity to show who my characters are by where they choose to live.

My Thoughts:

Alison Carter is that not-so-perfect main character that want so badly to settle down and get married, but she keeps getting involved with the wrong guy. All she wants is the nice guy who will be a good husband and father - on that is responsible and holds a decent job. That shouldn't be so hard to find, right? Not for Alison.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guest Post & #Giveaway - Road from the West by Rosanne E. Lortz - Book Tour


Welcome back to Day 15 of the "Road from the West" Virtual Book Tour. Today, author Rosanne E. Lortz is sharing a very interesting guest post plus she has generously offered to give one lucky reader a paperback copy of her new book! This is open to everyone - US/Canada/International (see below to enter)


THE CRUSADES AND THE SILVER SCREEN

The Crusades are a piece of history of which everyone has heard and on which everyone has an opinion. Some people's thoughts are formed from half-recollected smatterings of high school history, others are informed by nonfiction books on the subject—but in most cases, people's opinions of the Crusades are inspired by the popular films that inundate our culture. And as all serious history-lovers know, it is a risky business to trust in Hollywood for historical accuracy.

One assumption that nearly every Crusade movie seems to make is that the religious rationale behind the movement was just a fa├žade that many of the Crusaders “saw through”. In today’s America, religion is, to a great degree, marginalized and pushed into the private sector. This makes it difficult to understand the religiously saturated culture in which the Crusades were conducted. For us, it is hard to swallow the fact that the line "Deus vult! God wills it!" was not just a line—it was what the Crusaders actually believed. They believed that God wanted them to free Jerusalem from Muslim domination, and they took the cross despite great monetary expense and at great personal risk to earn the favor of God and to merit the forgiveness of sins. While some of them might have become disillusioned with the way the Crusades were carried out, few—if any—of them doubted that the endeavor was a worthy one to pursue.

Recently, I read an article titled "Pop Culture Reshapes Role of Crusades" on the Medieval News blog that delves into this very subject. The article quotes Christopher Hill, a professor of history at Hamilton College, who talks about "an increasing pattern of secularization within Crusades movies." In films created after World War II, "the characters often ended up either disillusioned with the fighting, faced with an existential crisis, or suddenly enlightened regarding the intrinsically evil nature of religion. Often it was a mixture of all three."

Professor Hill's observation jives well with my own experience of the Crusades on the silver screen. Offhand, I can think of several movies of the kind he describes: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood (2010, with Russell Crowe), and just recently Nicholas Cage's movie Season of the Witch. All of these movies show the protagonist's disillusionment with the goals of the Crusades. Instead of typifying the culture of the Middle Ages, the protagonist becomes a mouthpiece for our own culture which sees true piety and warfare (especially warfare for the purposes of conquest) as diametrically opposed to each other.

For a historical fiction author, as well as for a screenwriter, the temptation exists to create the protagonist in our own image instead of in an image appropriate to the era. That is one temptation that I have striven to resist as I tell the story of Tancred, a young Norman nobleman who takes the cross, in my new novel Road from the West. All the primary sources documenting Tancred's life depict a skilled warrior with enough testosterone to make any action hero proud. But Tancred has a religious side as well, and—strange as it may seem to our sensibilities—his sense of piety has no objections to skewering as many Saracens as he runs across.

Ralph of Caen, a contemporary historian, gives a vivid account of the stirrings of conscience that prompted Tancred to go on Crusade:

Over time…his prudent soul raised concerns that caused him anxiety. It seemed that his military life contradicted the Lord's command [to turn the other cheek when struck]…. But when Pope Urban’s decision granted a remission of all sins to all of the Christians setting forth to fight against the pagans, then finally it was as if…his eyes were opened and his boldness set in motion.”

The guilt that Tancred feels for his past military life is not guilt for causing bloodshed per se. Rather, it is guilt for an improper use of the sword, for turning it against his fellow Christians. Pope Urban's Crusade offers a way for him to atone for his past, and at the same time use his experience in arms properly, in fighting against "the pagans."

Later on in Ralph of Caen's account, we see that Tancred has no desire to "turn the other cheek" when in battle with the Muslims. After his troop ambushes and kills seven hundred Saracens outside of Antioch, Tancred cuts off seventy heads and sends them to Bishop Adhemar as a "tithe" of his labor. And Bishop Adhemar, far from being appalled by this tribute, thanks the giver by sending him seventy gold pieces in return. A grisly scene, to be sure, but one that these men could easily justify after seeing the thousands upon thousands of bleached bones of the men, women, and children—members of the People's Crusade—that the Muslims slaughtered just north of Nicaea. Tancred’s conscience suffers not a whit from his bloody exploits on the Crusade. He takes it as a matter of course that his deeds should be done in the name of God and for the sake of religion.

The Crusades were fought in a world far different than ours, a world where it was normal for religion to inform public policy and incite warfare. It was the Crusaders’ doubts about their own holiness that persuaded them to join the Crusade in the first place, but the cause of the Crusade itself gave them no cause for doubt. Twenty-first century Americans dressed up in chainmail may see these battles as an excuse for an existential crisis. Twelfth century Europeans saw them as a means to please God and advance the dominion of Christendom.

I love a good period film as much as anyone, but I find it wiser to let history—not Hollywood—inform my opinions about the way people “really” were back then. The closing paragraph of “Pop Culture Reshapes Role of Crusades” expresses a caution that all moviegoers would do well to keep in mind: "When one watches a movie ostensibly about the Crusades, they're not watching a movie that's actually about the Crusades. Rather, they're watching an interpretation of current Western attitudes that happens to be dressed up in medieval clothing."

Bestseller for a Day - "Nearly Departed in Deadwood" by Ann Charles

Just One More Paragraph is thrilled to be a sponsor of the Bestseller for a Day pick, "Nearly Departed in Deadwood" by Ann Charles. So what is Bestseller of the Day, you ask? This is the day that we try to help make author's dreams come true. Ann, along with 3 other authors are offering their books for only 99 cents each today. By purchasing "Nearly Departed in Deadwood" and any of the other books, you will help drive them up the Kindle charts. So, for under $4 you can add 4 books to your library. (That's less than a cost of a trip to Starbucks!) Plus, when you buy them today, you will be entered into a drawing to win a Kindle. For more information, please visit: http://indiebookcollective.com/IndieBookCollective/Bestseller_for_a_Day.html




WINNER of the 2010 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense!

WINNER of the 2011 Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart Award for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements!


Praise for Nearly Departed in Deadwood:

"Violet Parker follows a path blazed by Stephanie Plum (the heroine in Janet Evanovich's best-selling series), but she is no copycat. Violet is sexy and smart. Charles' mystery Nearly Departed in Deadwood is out of this world." -Sarah M. Anderson, Reviewer for Romance Novel News

"Nearly Departed In Deadwood was a contemporary mystery romance with a touch of paranormal that kept me enthralled with goosebump-creepiness and belly aching laughter." ***** FIVE STARS! -Escape Between the Pages Book Reviews

"It's no wonder Ann won an award for this story. Her storytelling capabilities are tremendous."  ***** FIVE STARS! -ParaYourNormal Book Reviews

"Ann Charles weaves a fun romp of humor, romance, mystery, and the occult. The pages are brimming with eccentric small town characters." -Angela Spencer, Reviewer for Rise Reviews



My Thoughts:

Watch out for the sassy and sexy Violet Parker, because she has no qualms in telling it like it is - especially to her slimy co-worker, Ray, who wants more than anything to see Violet lose her job so his nephew can take over. Violet works as a real estate agent, and try as she might, she hasn't sold a house since she was hired. Her probation time is almost over, and if she doesn't sell one, she will have to find other employment.

When she moved with her daughter to Deadwood to live with her aunt, she thought they would be safe and happy. After settling in, she found girls that looked like her daughter had been abducted. As she worries about her daughter, she decides to dig deeper and finds out information that puts her life in danger.

This book was a fantastic read. The characters are funny, quirky, obnoxious, gorgeous and one is even downright repulsive and slimy. There were so many incidents that I broke out laughing, and then others that I was totally creeped out. "Nearly Departed in Deadwood" was a true page turner that kept me both entertained with humor but still kept me on the edge of my seat. With all the twists, I was kept guessing and the ending caught me by total surprise.

Ann is definitely a gifted writer and this book really is a great read. I will admit that I did skim over the sex scene - that's just not my cup of tea. This one is definitely not for the kids as it contains adult language as well as many sexual innuendos, references and descriptive sex.

About the Author:

Ann Charles is an award-winning author who writes romantic mysteries that are splashed with humor. Her book Nearly Departed in Deadwood won the 2010 Daphne du Maurier for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense Award and the 2011 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award for Best Novel With Strong Romantic Elements. She has also been a Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest finalist.

A member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America for many moons, she has a B.A. in English with an emphasis on creative writing from the University of Washington. She is currently toiling away on her next book, wishing she was on a Mexican beach with an ice-cold Corona in one hand and her Kindle in the other. When she is not dabbling in fiction, she is arm wrestling with her two kids, attempting to seduce her husband, and arguing with her sassy cat. Most nights, you can find her hanging out over at www.anncharles.com/deadwood, on Facebook, or as DeadwoodViolet on Twitter--especially around midnight when her quirky fictional world comes to life.

Currently, she has two fiction books available: Nearly Departed in Deadwood and Optical Delusions in Deadwood, which are both part of her ongoing Deadwood Mystery Series. She also has one non-fiction book available: Nail it! The Secret to Building an Effective Fiction Writer’s Platform.






By Jacquie Rogers

FIVE STARS from Detra Fitch, owner of Huntress Reviews!

"A hilarious, yet romantic, comedy of errors... I grinned. I frowned. I worried. I sighed from tension relief. I snickered at Bosco's romantic troubles with two widows. I often found myself laughing until I thought my side would split... this story grabbed me by the throat, kept me reading long past my bed time, and earned a place of honor upon my Keeper Shelf. Unforgettable! I cannot recommend this title highly enough."

Publisher's Description:

Daisy wants to be a detective just like dime novel heroine Honey Beaulieu. But her parents insist she marry. What better solution than to marry the new marshal!

Cole, mistaken for the new marshal, faces a dilemma few men have to face--tell the truth and get hanged, or live a lie and end up married. Either way could cost him his freedom.



By Gina Robinson


 From Gina Robinson, author of Spy Candy, Spy Games, and the upcoming The Spy Who Left Me, comes a new novel for anyone who's been down on their luck, out of work, or just looking for a fresh path to greatness.

Leesa Winsome has always felt unnoticed and overlooked. A bit rebellious, she's an independent, hardworking engineer. At least she was until her ex-best friend pink-slipped her. And her house caught fire. Now she's out of work, out of her house, and quickly running out of options. Afraid she's losing hope, Leesa's dad sends her to a motivational "Breakthrough to Greatness" seminar at the Northwest Institute, run by the handsome, eligible Ryne Garrett. At the seminar, Leesa joins the Job Camp Group--a loose collection of unemployed people who socialize and offer one another support through the rough and emotionally challenging process of looking for work. Through her new friends, Leesa learns true greatness comes from helping others, finding time to laugh, and discovering who you really are. 

Pink Slipper is a lighthearted, humorous look at one woman's search for everyday greatness, true friendship, love, and the perfect job



By Amber Scott

“If you like a book that keeps you thinking between the bedroom antics, I believe you will love Wanted.” -Joyfully Reviewed
“Ms. Scott described the past and the present so well, I had to wonder if she had done a bit of time travel herself.” -Paranormal Romance Reviews

Time in a bottle...

What else could her father leave her? The treasure map, the bottle of whiskey, and the wanted poster shouldn't have surprised Samantha Hendricks.

His lifelong obsession with gentleman outlaw Jesse Kincaid was likely all he'd had left. One taste of the whiskey, however, tumbles her through time, into arms so wonderfully real and strong she can only surmise she's gone crazy.

Torn between craving a delusion and believing in the impossible, hurtling between the past and present, Samantha returns to Jesse over and over again. No woman can want this man more, and if she's clever enough, she might be able to use her inheritance for what she finally realizes her father intended--true love.


"Nearly Departed in Deadwood" eBook was supplied for me to read and honestly review for Bestseller for a Day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tour & Giveaway - "Dark Corners" by Liz Shulte with Review



Welcome to Day 19 of the "Dark Corners" Blog Tour! I am so excited to be able to host Liz Shulte and her new paranormal thriller!! This is really one book you don't want to miss and to make sure you don't miss it, Liz is giving away a copy of "Dark Corners" to one lucky reader. Also, there is going to be a fantastic giveaway at the end of the tour, so make sure you leave a comment to be entered. (See below for more information on both giveaways.)



Dark Corners
Author: Liz Shulte
Publisher: 4 Corners Press
ISBN: 9781463583712
Trade Paperback
Pages: 210
Genre: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
 Also available in eBook format

Synopsis:
Ella Reynolds knew from the first moment she walked into the old house someone or something was watching her. Waiting. Her husband's violent murder sent her spiraling into a world of grief and isolation, but Ella isn't alone. Who or what is responsible for her husband's death is still with her. Darkness has engulfed the past year of Ella's life. Everyday reality slips a little more between her fingers as she struggles to break free from her memories.


She must look deeper into her past as well as the present to discover truth of her husband's homicide. A string of uncanny events takes place and practical explanations run thin as Ella follows the terrifying road to closure. As the past and present come to a head, Ella must decipher who or what the murderer is before it takes her as well.





My Thoughts:

I devoured horror stories growing up, with my favorite authors being Alfred Hitchcock and Edgar Allan Poe. There is just something about the old classic scary stories - hair raising, creepy without the gore. I have been craving those types of stories, but had figured they were gone with the times. Then along came Liz Shulte with her novel "Dark Corners" and finally - finally, a hair raising, creepy story that actually kept me guessing throughout the whole novel!

Monday, September 26, 2011

ROAD FROM THE WEST by Rosanne E. Lortz Tour & Review


Welcome to Day 13 of the "Road from the West" blog tour.  I am thrilled to be part of this tour, as Rosanne E. Lortz is a true lover of history and her book perfectly illustrates that. Make sure you return on Wednesday, Sept. 28 as Rosanne will return with an insightful guest post and a giveaway. You won't want to miss it!


ROAD FROM THE WEST
BOOK I of the CHRONICLES OF TANCRED
Author: Rosanne Lortz
Publisher: Madison Street Publishing
Paperback: 374 pages
ISBN: 9780983671909
Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis:

A tale of Courage, Conquest, Intrigue, and Honor

You know the Knights Templar, you know Richard the Lionheart—now learn the story that started it all in the adventures of the First Crusade.

Haunted by guilt from the past and nightmares of the future, a young Norman named Tancred takes the cross and vows to be the first to free Jerusalem from the infidels. As he journeys to the Holy Land, he braves vast deserts, mortal famine, and the ever-present ambushes of the enemy Turks—but the greatest danger of all is deciding which of the Crusader lords to trust. A mysterious seer prophesies that Tancred will find great love and great sorrow on his journey, but the latter seems intent on claiming him before he can find the first. Intrigues and passions grow as every battle brings the Crusaders one step closer to Jerusalem. Not all are destined to survive the road from the West.

My Thoughts:

It is obvious from the beginning of this book that Rosanne Lortz loves history. She brought to life the Crusades, but not the "popular" Third Crusade with Richard Coeur de Lion, but instead, starts at the beginning with the First Crusade. This rare treat gives the reader a look at the beginning and the reasons many joined to fight, and because of extensive research that is apparent, also allows the reader to become familiar with Godfrey of Bouillon, Peter the Hermit, and of course main character, Bohemond who was the son of Robert Guiscard. and his nephew Tancred.

Rich with history, this tale is told with a prose that will keep the reader captivated throughout the story, transporting them back to the late 1090's. A time when knight and farmer fought for what they believed in. Some were fighting for God and the Church while others were looking for forgiveness and still others for riches in both wealth and political gain.

With that said, I found this take refreshing. Lortz did not focus so much on the gore of fighting, although there were fights, but on the trek, the lives and survival of large amounts of knights and soldiers. I never fully comprehend the extent these men traveled and what they endured while getting place to place, and then being fit or healthy enough to fight when they were enduring the elements and trying to cope with the lack of food. She created a story that was realistic both in setting and characters. Some, like Tancred, I have grown quite fond of, and was sad to see this book end. I will be impatiently waiting for the for the next book in the series: Flower of the Desert to be published.

Truly a brilliant novel, this book would appeal to both the historical fiction lover as well as the reader that just wants a good story about a flawed hero.With no sex and minimal gore, this book would be a great resource for home school high school students.

About the Author:

Rosanne E. Lortz "Rose" is a medieval enthusiast, a history teacher, a book addict, a mom to two baby boys, and a native of Portland, Oregon. She graduated from New St. Andrews College in 2005 with a B. A. in Liberal Arts and Culture and worked as a high school teacher for several years teaching classes in English, history, literature, and music. She married David Spears in December of 2009 and they were blessed with twin boys, Adam and Oliver, in November of 2010. When she's not waking up with the twins at 3am, Rose is at work on her latest book, Road from the West, a novel set during the First Crusade and scheduled to be released on September 2, 2011.

To learn more about Rosanne or her work, you can visit her website at: http://rosannelortz.blogspot.com/
You can also find Rosanne on Twitter and on Facebook. Curious what Rosanne's bookshelf looks like? Have a peek at Goodreads



Road from the West Tour Schedule

Friday, September 2nd

Monday, September 5th

Author Guest Post & Giveaway at The Maiden's Court

Tuesday, September 6th

Author Guest Post & Giveaway at From the TBR Pile 

Wednesday, September 7th

Review at The Calico Critic

Thursday, September 8th

Review at Unabridged Chick

Monday, September 12th

Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, September 13th
Author Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, September 14th

Author Guest Post & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Friday, September 16th

Tuesday, September 20th

Wednesday, September 21st

Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, September 22nd

Author Guest Post at Bibliophilic Book Blog

Monday, September 26th

Tuesday, September 27th

Wednesday, September 28th

Author Guest Post & Giveaway at Just One More Paragraph

Thursday, September 29th

Friday, September 30th

Review at By the By Books

Monday, October 3rd

Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, October 4th

Author Interview at The Musings of a Book Junkie

Wednesday, October 5th

Review & Giveaway at Bippity Boppity Book

Thursday, October 6th

Review at A Few More Pages

Friday, October 7th

Monday, October 10th

Tuesday, October 11th

Author Interview & Giveaway at The Owl Bookmark Blog

Wednesday, October 12th

Thursday, October 13th

Review at Words and Peace

Friday, October 14th

Review at Reviews by Molly

Monday, October 17th

Review at Erin Reads

Tuesday, October 18th

Author Interview at Reviews by Molly

Wednesday, October 19th

Thursday, October 20th

Author Guest Post & Giveaway at The True Book Addict


I received a copy of this book to read and honestly review for this tour.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Unruly Magic Giveaway Blitz with E-book Giveaway


It's Friday and it's time for a celebration. What better way to celebrate than to congratulate Camilla Chafer on her new book, Unruly Magic, and join in the fun with her Giveaway Blitz! Camilla is offering one lucky reader an e-book of Unruly Magic (see below) Please note: I cannot comment on the contents of this book as I have not read it.

 Unruly Magic is the second book in the Amazon UK contemporary fantasy Top 10 bestsellling Stella Mayweather series by Camilla Chafer.

A witch on the run.
A quiet little town where everything is far from normal.
A fractured witch council threatening to tear the supernatural world apart.

Life hasn't been easy for novice witch Stella but small town life seems to be agreeing with her. When a frightened young woman appears in Stella's house and begs for her protection, Stella is pulled into a dangerous game where she'll need both her magic and her wits to unravel the secrets that surround her.

Just what is her new home town's big mystery? Is Stella's new charge really on the run from the Council or is she a dangerous murderer ready to manipulate her way to freedom? And with old friends and new seemingly ready to help, who can Stella trust when she's not even all that sure that they don't have their own agenda.

With bewitching friends and two super-sexy mysterious men by her side, Stella must uncover dangerous truths, fast, before she ends up paying the ultimate price.

Word count: 87600

Would you like to learn more about the book? You can stop by Camilla's website for a sneak peek. You'll find the  first chapter as well as find a deleted scene on the downloads page.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tour & Giveaway - "An Unexpected Bride" by Shadonna Richards with Excerpt and Review


Welcome to Day 3 of the "An Unexpected Bride" Blog Tour. This sweet and humorous romance is sure to keep you entertained as well as have you giggling.  Shadonna has generously supplied us with an excerpt of "An Unexpected Bride" and is giving away an e-copy of her book (see below)


An Unexpected Bride
Author: Shadonna Richards
Publisher: CreateSpace (August 5, 2011)
Paperback: 206 pages
ISBN: 9781463774820
Genre: Romance

Available from:
Amazon Kindle
Amazon
Barnes & Noble


Have you ever told a little white lie just to make someone's wish come true - especially if you knew you would never have to follow through? Emma did just that. Her grandfather was on his deathbed with mere days, if not hours, to live and the only thing he wanted to see before he died was for Emma to get married. Then he could die a happy man because he knew she would have a family that would carry on his bloodline. Poor Emma felt she was letting him down. Shoot, she wasn't even dating, let alone the prospect of a wedding before he passed - so Emma told a little white lie. She told her grandfather she was getting married to her boss.

This lie created a turn of events that put Emma in a terrible predicament. She now had to convince her boss they need to get married because her quickly recovering grandfather has planned their wedding - A wedding he has no idea about nor would ever agree to!

This story was such a fun read. Emma dug herself into a seemingly impossible hole to get out of, and every time she turned around, it just seemed to get worse. I hadn't a clue how she would convince the man who was sworn to bachelorhood that not only should they date, but they should get married in just a few days. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tour and Giveaway - Betrayed by Ednah Walters with Excerpt and Review


Here we are at almost the end of an amazing blog tour with YA author Ednah Walters. Today, she shares an excerpt of  "Betrayed" that I'm sure you are going to love. Make sure you enter the giveaway for an E-copy of Betrayed and also check out and enter Ednah's End of Tour Giveaway. See below for more information.


Betrayed
The Guardian Legacy Book 2
Author: Ednah Walters
Publisher: Firetrail Publishing
ISBN: 9780983429739
Genre: Young Adult, fiction

About the Book:

Lil has come to terms with her life as a Guardian/demon hunter and the wielder of the Nephilim most powerful weapon-the Kris Dagger. She trains everyday to master her growing powers, gets along with her Guardian trainee friends, most of the time, and cherishes the time she spends with her human friends.


Just when she feels she belongs, her nature-bender father contacts her and warns her about a betrayal by someone close to her. Then Bran, the boy she loves, starts to act strange and one of her human friends acquires a supernatural ability. While Lil struggles find a connection between these three things, she begins to realize that someone is manipulating her and will stop at nothing, including hurting those she loves, to lure her to the dark side.

Available at:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
IndieBound
Smashwords








Excerpt

Lil in battle mode

A heavy-set man in tan pants and a navy-blue shirt stood in the doorway. Dark wraparound sunglasses protected his eyes, but I still knew he was possessed. My amulet and dagger reacted to the demon inside him and glowed bright.

“The dagger. You have the dagger,” he growled in a distorted voice, like two people talking at once, his pudgy fingers extended toward me. “It’s mine. Give it to me, dearest child.”

In his dreams. I tightened my grip on the hilt of the dagger, heart hammering inside my chest. I had no idea what the demon’s powers were or whether it was hindered by the body he possessed, but I wasn’t handing him my dagger. I must find a way to kill him without harming the host, which meant no weapons.

“Give it to me and I’ll protect you, little Princess.”

“Protect me from what?” I squeaked, trying to buy time.

“The others—my brothers and sisters who’d use you. The traitorous Guardians.” He took a step toward me then another, his stomach shaking with each step.

I stepped away from him until my back hit the wall. Dang, there was nowhere to go but forward, which meant taking him down. Fat chance of that happening. Although he looked like he hadn’t seen inside of a gym in decades, he was built like a Sumo warrior. Maybe mentioning Valafar might scare him off.

“Do you know who I am? My father will hunt you down if you touch me.”

“No, Lord Valafar will thank me if I took you and the dagger to him. You belong with us, Lilith.”

Anger replaced the panic. “I don’t belong with you! I’m a Guardian.”

“Silly child,” he said, sneering. “You’ll come around soon enough. It’s only a matter of time.” He lunged at me.

I jumped out of the way. He missed grabbing my arm by inches and lost his balance. Instead of going down, he bounced against the wall as though it was made of rubber, grabbed the tail of my hunting coat and yanked. I lost my footing and fell backward.

Arms flailing, heart pounding, I teleported to the other side of the room and slammed my back against the doorframe. Pain shot up my spine. An attempt to break my fall failed because I still held the dagger. I slipped and landed on my butt. Tears stung my eyes as broken glass dug into the palm of my hand.

Heavy breathing alerted me that he was closing in on me. I scooted backward into the hallway, waved a hand, and ripped off the wraparound glasses covering his eyes. Bottomless black eyes caught the light and glistened at me. Revulsion and fear curled my stomach. It was now or never…now or never….

I aimed the Kris Dagger at him and blasted him with light. He screamed and covered his eyes, but it was too late. Eyes were the windows to the soul, and the best way to force a demon from a human host. Light filled his body, making his skin glow. I scrambled to my feet, fingers digging into the textured wall for support.

My gaze stayed glued on him. His screams became gurgles as he convulsed like he had an itch he couldn’t scratch. He dropped to his knees then plopped on his side, body twisting in unnatural positions. Dry heaves wracked his body. Then his mouth opened wide.

The smoke demon shot out of his mouth like lava from a volcano vent.

Lil! Where are you?

Remy’s voice resounded in my head, but I couldn’t look away from the man writhing on the floor, his face contorted. A continuous stream of evilness spewed out of him, then he went still.

The thick smoky mass rippled on the floor and crested like waves in the ocean. The edges spread toward me. Shuffling along the wall, my knees shook so badly I couldn’t turn and run. It rose and expanded. Tentacles flared from dark core. I was beyond terror, chilled, frozen in place as it moved closer and closer.

Lil! You okay?

Yes…no…. My teeth started to chatter. I was about to choke. Become possessed. Dragged to the dark side. I shifted to autopilot, Master Haziel’s words ringing in my head. When ambushed, go down fighting. When in doubt, use your instincts. When defeated, teleport.

The instinct to survive kicked in.


My Thoughts:

The Guardians are back and this time, stronger than ever! Betrayed continues where Awakened left off. With more action, secrets, arguments, a new romance and a betrayal, this book will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next and to whom.With the air of mystery, I found myself absorbed and trying to piece things together, never believing my favorite character could honestly have been the betrayer. Don't ask who it is, as I wouldn't want to spoil anything...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tour with Giveaway - The Traitor's Wife by Kathleen Kent with Guest Post & Review


I am thrilled to be part of Kathleen Kent's tour. Is an amazing author and had been kind enough to write a guest post giving us a small peek inside her life as a writer. After reading her guest post, you will learn about the re-release of her book. She has written an amazing story that you won't be able to put down, and the best part is a chance to win a copy of your own! Three lucky winners will win The Traitor's Wife, and one of those lucky winners will also receive The Heretic's Daughter (see below for more details and how to enter).

A day in the life of a Writer

Just like writing styles, the daily discipline of writing varies from writer to writer. For a good part of my adult life I lived, and worked full time in various commercial enterprises, in New York City, and I wrote whenever and wherever I could. It was a haphazard affair; late at night, weekends, or during the in-flight hours while I travelled for work.

It wasn’t until I was close to fifty that I decided to jump off the cliff and complete the novel I had been working on for years, but just never seemed to get finished. Leaving the career I had spent twenty years building, I moved to Texas with my family, and began to write full time. It was most definitely a leap of faith.

I felt I had a good story---the trial and execution of Martha Carrier, my grandmother back nine generations, who was one of the nineteen men and women hanged in Salem in 1692---but I was uncertain that I had the technical knowledge and experience to sustain a compelling, cohesive narrative throughout a novel-length work. What I did have was a passion for the material, a fascination with Colonial history, and a lot of discipline developed through my business experience.

Since my first two novels, The Heretic’s Daughter and now The Traitor’s Wife, have been published, I have found a writing routine that seems to work for me. I try to write and do research, or think about the project I’m working on, every day, seven days a week. During the week days, I’ll begin at 9:00 and work until about 1:00, taking as few breaks as possible to stay in what the author Annie Lamotte calls “the fugue state”. However, I have a fifteen year old son and an 85 year old mother who both live with me and often Life intervenes; and there will be illnesses, accidents, missing homework assignments, trips to the mall, etc, etc, and my best laid plans are sometimes foiled by the unexpected. On the weekends, I like to wake up before everyone else and write for a few hours on my laptop in bed. What joy!

The process of writing for me is wonderful when things are flowing and agonizing when they’re not. So to sustain the flow, the rhythm and continuity, I need to feel immersed in whatever I’m working on every day or, like some ephemeral dream, the essence of it soon starts to fade. I carry little notebooks around with me in my purse and in the car in case I think of some dialogue or bit of action for the novel. I’ll often get story ideas while driving and I’ve been known to miss exits or make a wrong turn because I’m listening to my characters’ voices in my head, instead of reading road signs.

When I come to an impasse in my writing, I’ll often go for long walks. That always seems to clear my mind and re-invigorate the process.
      

About the Author:

Kathleen Kent lives in Dallas with her husband and son. The Heretic's Daughter is her first novel.

Most of the books that have influenced and touched me the most are historical fiction.  When I was a child I read a lot of Dickens, Poe and H.H. Monroe.   Some of my favorites from the past are The Quincunx, by Charles Palliser, Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears, The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve, and The Source by James Mitchener.  I also read everything by Annie Dillard, Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry.  Currently I'm re-reading a book called The Long Home by William Gay who is, to me, one of the best writers in American fiction today.







The Traitor's Wife
Author: Kathleen Kent
Publisher: Reagan Arthur/Back Bay Books; Reprint edition
Category: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Format: TRADE PAPERBACK
Publish Date: 9/26/2011
ISBN: 9780316068642
Pages: 352

This novel was originally published under the title The Wolves of Andover.

In the harsh wilderness of colonial Massachusetts, Martha Allen works as a servant in her cousin's household, taking charge and locking wills with everyone. Thomas Carrier labors for the family and is known both for his immense strength and size and his mysterious past. The two begin a courtship that suits their independent natures, with Thomas slowly revealing the story of the role he played in the English Civil War. But in the rugged new world they inhabit, danger is ever present, whether it be from the assassins sent from London to kill the executioner of Charles I or the wolves-in many forms-who hunt for blood. At once a love story and a tale of courage, The Traitor's Wife confirms Kathleen Kent's ability to craft powerful stories from the dramatic background of America's earliest days.





My Thoughts:

The Traitor's Wife is not only a fantastic story, but the legend behind the story is what made me want to read it in the first place. With roots that went back to the Salem Witch Trials, Kathleen Kent pens an amazing account of how her generations before grandparents met. It is their love story and told with a tone that one only finds in books that the author is truly involved in.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Harman Kardon Go+Play Micro Speaker System for iPod & MP3 Players


Harman Kardon is known for quality sound and this system held up to most of my expectations and exceeded in others. The Go+Play Micro Speaker System is designed for iPod but says in the description that it will work with other MP3 players as well. We have a variety of MP3 players in our home: iPod Classic 5th Gen, iPod Touch 2nd Gen, SanDisk Sansa Li'l Monsta, and a SanDisk Sansa View. The Go+Play worked with all with NO problem! I'm especially pleased because we have not found anything that will support the Li'l Monsta - until now. Another thing that pleased me was this system can also be hooked up to other auxiliary devices like a CD player, a PC or laptop and satellite radio!

The Go+Play can be hooked up to your TV or computer to do a slide show or video from you MP3 player, making it really nice to share things with family or friends. It can also be hooked up to your computer and interface with iTunes to sync you iPod. I was a bit disappointed though, as there were no cables of any type included. If you plan on using these features, you will need to purchase a video cable, an audio cable (3.5mm), and a USB cable. (The USB cable is not the normal size, but a larger one like on a printer.)

The Go+Play can be run on both batteries (8 C-cell) or by using the included power supply. This makes it nice to take along, but is lovely enough to have in any room in the home. Another nice feature... It comes with a remote that allows one to control the unit (when using an iPod) from a distance away. The remote will only control volume when using an auxiliary device - everything else has to be controlled directly from the device you've hooked up to the sound system.

The sound quality is very nice, but I find it lacking some in the base. Overall, the Go+Play system is a very nice sound system that I would definitely recommend to both my family and friends.

To learn more about the Harman Kardon Go+Play Micro Speaker System, click here


This product was supplied by Vine for testing and honest evaluation.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blood Lust by T. Lynne Tolles Tour Review & Giveaway



Blood Lust
Blood Series, Book #3
Author: T. Lynne Tolles
Publisher: Self (Troll Publishing)
Length: 204 Pages, eBook Format
Sub-Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult (YA)

Where to purchase:
Amazon (Kindle Edition)
Smashwords
Barnes & Noble

About the Book:

A surprise visit from Blake and Devon's uncle, Dominic, demanding both vampires, come home immediately to find what is ailing his son Anton, puts everyone on edge. Can vampires get sick?


Devon doesn't appreciate Dominic's demands, but agrees to fly back to Connecticut with Darby, since Blake has a job to finish up in California. Excited to meet more of Devon's family, Darby is confused by Devon's distance and coldness since Dominic's visit. In Connecticut, this only gets worse when a gorgeous Libby, Anton's estranged wife, shows up unexpectedly and seems to have her sights set on Devon. To top it all off, there's seems to be some pent up animosity, Anton and Devon have towards each other.


What is this strange power Libby has over the men in this family? And what's wrong with poor Anton? Why does it seem that Anton and Devon hate each other? These are all question Darby sets out to answer in this third volume of the Blood Series.





My Thoughts:

Get ready to cozy up with some sexy vampires, witches and werewolves. With autumn coming, this is a good choice to snuggle up with in your favorite chair with your favorite afghan.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

People Who Use E-Readers Are Uneducated... Say What?!

I was thrilled to come across a new-to-me bookstore this past weekend, especially now that Borders is gone. We stumbled upon it quite by accident - this quaint little store with some very pretty displays. The owner was sitting behind the counter and was talking to someone when I went in, giving it that warm and friendly feeling.

As I was browsing the books, I couldn't help but overhear the conversation. It went from local gossip to the subject of e-readers. The tone got louder on this subject, as if they wanted me to hear and possibly put in a comment or two. Sadly, I was mortified at what I heard. These two women were saying that people who use e-readers are uneducated. They wouldn't know a good book if it hit them between the eyes. Only those with a good education in literature would understand the love for the touch and smell of a physical book, let alone read a classic!

The comments continued and I realized both ladies were looking at me. I knew it was time for me to leave. As I started for the door, I reached in my purse and pulled out my Nook and said, "Sorry, I'm too uneducated to purchase your books" and left.

I am a huge advocate of getting books into the hands of people. I couldn't care less what medium they are in, as long as people are reading. I love my e-reader because I can get OOP books from places like Project Gutenberg and Manybooks - books that might be gone forever if we relied on physical books. The best part is they are FREE. For just the cost of an e-reader (about 5 hardbound books) one can have a huge collection of good literature at their fingertips at no extra cost! And let's not forget the libraries. E-books are available for download from there, as well. This makes it possible for anyone to be able to enjoy good books inexpensively.

Don't get me wrong, I love physical books - especially the older ones. There's nothing that smells or feels like an old book. With that said, I think I'm going to go sniff a few books...

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Rhapsody for Lessons Learned or Remembered" by Georgia Ann Banks-Martin



Rhapsody for Lessons Learned or Remembered
Author: Georgia Ann Banks-Martin
Published by: Plain View Press (November 1st, 2010)
Genre: Poetry
Format: Mass-Market Paperback
ISBN: 978-1935514640
Number of pages: 80
Age Recommendation: 18+ for Adult & Mature Themes

About the Book:

"Georgia Banks-Martin walks us through an art gallery. We view art, which she has processed and questions, through her lens: Lawrence, Monet, Van Gogh, Beardon, Sargent, Degas, to name a few of the artists. She challenges the reader to face slavery, grief, and joy, to feel the weight the South bears, to examine art across centuries for lessons. These poems revive what has been omitted in our history books-individual life stories. She uses sound, music and voice to make imagery pulse in these ekphrastic poems. In her poem "Railroad Station," after a Jacob Lawrence: "Those leaving the towns where father and mother/labored in fields without being offered a yard of thread spun/from the cotton they pulled, have assembled./Packed: Hopes of work, three bedroom homes/water heated in water tanks, classrooms." as memories populate her poems, so does the theme of hope permeate her book; in Death Dancing, after a Max Slevogt: "I wish memories could be buried as easily as bodies."...a book to remember as you stand face to face with art." - Julene Tripp Weaver, Author of No Father Can Save Her

Buy the BOOK at:
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Amazon.uk
Books-A-Million
Waterstones
Barnes & Noble.com

My Thoughts:

I am not a huge fan of poetry, so I almost let this book pass me by, yet there was something captivating about the cover and title that made me give it a second glance. I decided to go to Amazon and preview it and was instantly hooked.

Each poem is not very long, but in those lines, so much is said. I have hear others speak about painting with words, but until now, I've never truly experienced that in poetry. Each poem was powerful and said so much, and I could actually visualize those thoughts, like walking through a gallery and looking at a row of paintings. This book had the same effect on me as the National Gallery did the first time I visited. Each is so full of life and feeling, that I really needed to reflect on what I experienced from each one.

Georgia Ann Banks-Martin has made me look at poetry in a new light. She has made me want to explore what this genre has to offer and that, in itself, says volumes!

About the Author:

Georgia Ann Banks-Martin grew up on the southwest side of Detroit and moved to Montgomery, AL, where she completed her final year of high school. She earned her BA in English, Language Arts at Huntingdon College, Montgomery, AL, her M.F.A. (Poetry) at Queens University of Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpentaria, CA. She and her husband, Roger D. Martin currently live in Montgomery, AL with their dog and three lovely cats.

Where you can find and follow Georgia Ann Banks-Martin
Author Website
Poets & Writers Forum
Facebook Page
Facebook Profile

An e-book was supplied so that I could give my honest opinion about the contents.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Belkin Surge Protector 7 Outlet With Telephone Protection - Review

The first thing I noticed when I took this surge protector out of the package, was its nice sleek design. It looks updated and modern next to the old rectangular one we had before. Yes, I know, looks aren't everything. The Belkin Surge Protector is as functional as it is good looking.

Things I really liked:

*The sleek design looks very nice in the home/office.
*The strip widens at the bottom which allows not only 3 I/O phone lines, but allows for a better seat for a larger power adapter.
*The last outlet is spaced with a larger gap from the other six to allow for a larger power adapter. No more losing an outlet!!
*There are sliding safety covers that close and keep dust out of unused outlets.
*This strip has 7 outlets next to the 6 my old one had.
*The toggle switch is large and easy to use.
*There are two lights to let you know if you are protected (green) or not protected (red).
*The cord is heavy and long (12 ft)
*It comes with an amazing protection warranty.
*The holes that allow for hanging are keyed horizontally instead of vertically.
*Phone line protection

Things I didn't care for:

*The large toggle switch seems to be easy to bump off. A few times when hubby has worked around it he has ended up bumping the switch off.
*The phone I/O does not have covers to keep the dust out when not in use.
*Cannot be used with A/V equipment.

All in all, this is a great power strip. I can't say if it really does protect up to 2000 Joules as the manufacturer claims, but I do know I feel comfortable and quite confident saying my equipment is protected better than it was before.

To learn more about  the Belkin Surge Protector 7 Outlet With Telephone Protection, please click here

I received this product through Vine to test and honestly review.

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