Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Literary Addicts Weekly Meme: Writing in the 21st Century

It's time for the Literary Addicts Weekly Meme where each week we answer the question: What are you currently reading? Once in a while, I like to check out books to help me improve my writing. I work in a library and noticed that the following book has just come out. I'm a stickler for good grammar and spelling, so this book looks like a great read to me!

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century
by Steven Pinker
About this book (from the Amazon page):
Bad writing can't be blamed on the Internet, or on "the kids today." Good writing has always been hard: a performance requiring pretense, empathy, and a drive for coherence. In The Sense of Style, cognitive scientist and linguist Steven Pinker uses the latest scientific insights to bring us a style and usage guide for the 21st century. What do skillful writers know about the link between syntax and ideas? How can we overcome the Curse of Knowledge, the difficulty in imagining what it's like not to know something we do? And can we distinguish the myths and superstitions from rules that enhance clarity and grace? As Pinker shows, everyone can improve their mastery of writing and their appreciation of the art (yes, "their").

CLICK HERE for links to the other bloggers participating in this meme to find out what they are reading! 

Disclosure: This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Review: The Brickmaker's Bride, by Judith Miller

About The Brickmaker’s Bride:
Yearning for a fresh start, Ewan McKay travels with his aunt and uncle from northern Scotland to West Virginia, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial assistance from his uncle Hugh. Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, but it’s Ewan who gets the business up and running again. Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner’s daughter, and he feels a connection with her, but she’s being courted by another man -- a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Besides, Ewan has resolved he’ll focus on making the brickmaking operation enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Scotland.

But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan’s hard work may come to naught. As his plans begin to crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. She and her mother may have a way to save the brickworks, and in turn Ewan may have another shot at winning Laura’s heart.

My thoughts:
This story takes place just after the Civil War, when many families have lost men in the war or men have returned and are in need of jobs. Unfortunately, Laura’s father does not return from the war, but he leaves a brickmaking business behind to support Laura and her mother. Since women rarely ran businesses of their own then, they sell the operation to Hugh Crothers, an abrasive man with a gambling problem and an intolerable, social-ladder-climbing wife. Fortunately, his level-headed nephew Ewan is there to keep things under control ... when Uncle Hugh and Aunt Laura don’t jeopardize everything. Laura is a strong and smart character who knows a lot about her father’s business and is eager to help Ewan make it a success. This shapes up into a love triangle as Laura and Ewan fight their growing attraction to each other while Laura is practically engaged to man of her mother’s choosing, who has political aspirations. Will Laura and Ewan be able to be together and save the brickmaking business? Surely, love will find a way… Author Judith Miller obviously did her research as she writes about the challenges of running a brickmaking business, as well as the rebuilding of lives after the Civil War. I learned a lot while also getting to know these fascinating characters. If you're a fan of realistic historical fiction, you'll love The Brickmaker's Bride.



Author Judith Miller is celebrating the release of The Brickmaker's Bride with a Kindle HDX giveaway and  a "Refined by Love" Facebook author event on November 4th.

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 One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 4th. Winner will be announced at the Refined by Love Facebook Author Event. Connect with Judith for a fascinating evening centered around her new Civil War-era series. She'll be hosting a book club discussion, giving away prizes, answering your questions, offering an exclusive peek at the next book in the Refined by Love series, and much more!

So grab your copy of The Brickmaker's Bride and join Judith and friends on the evening of November 4th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

brickmaker-enterbanner

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 4th!


Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse to facilitate my candid review.

Night of a Thousand Stars Book Tour: Giveaway for the Paperback! #NightofaThousandStarsBlogTour #HistFic

02_Night of a Thousand Stars
Publication Date: October 1, 2014
Harlequin MIRA
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction

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New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn returns with a Jazz Age tale of grand adventure...

On the verge of a stilted life as an aristocrat's wife, Poppy Hammond does the only sensible thing -- she flees the chapel in her wedding gown. Assisted by the handsome curate who calls himself Sebastian Cantrip, she spirits away to her estranged father's quiet country village, pursued by the family she left in an uproar. But when the dust of her broken engagement settles and Sebastian disappears under mysterious circumstances, Poppy discovers there is more to her hero than it seems.

With only her feisty lady's maid for company, Poppy secures employment and travels incognito -- east across the seas, chasing a hunch and the whisper of clues. Danger abounds beneath the canopies of the silken city, and Poppy finds herself in the perilous sights of those who will stop at nothing to recover a fabled ancient treasure. Torn between allegiance to her kindly employer and a dashing, shadowy figure, Poppy will risk it all as she attempts to unravel a much larger plan -- one that stretches to the very heart of the British government, and one that could endanger everything, and everyone, she holds dear.

Buy the Book

Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Barnes & Noble (Paperback)
Books-a-Million
iTunes
Kobo

About the Author
03_Deanna Raybourn
A sixth-generation native Texan, Deanna Raybourn grew up in San Antonio, where she met her college sweetheart. She married him on her graduation day and went on to teach high school English and history. During summer vacation at the age of twenty-three, she wrote her first novel. After three years as a teacher, Deanna left education to have a baby and pursue writing full-time.

Deanna Raybourn is the author of the bestselling and award-winning Lady Julia series, as well as, The Dead Travel Fast, A Spear of Summer Grass, and City of Jasmine.

For more information please visit Deanna Raybourn's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Night of a Thousand Stars Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 29
Review & Giveaway at Bookish

Tuesday, September 30
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, October 1
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Thursday, October 2
Review at Ramblings From This Chick

Friday, October 3
Review at Book Babe

Monday, October 6
Review at Unabridged Chick
Spotlight & Giveaway at Reading Lark

Tuesday, October 7
Review at Candace's Book Blog
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, October 8
Review at Good Books and Good Wine

Thursday, October 9
Excerpt at A Book Geek
Guest Post & Giveaway at Good Books and Good Wine

Friday, October 10
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Monday, October 13
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, October 14
Review at Reading the Past
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, October 15
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Thursday, October 16
Review at A Bookish Affair

Friday, October 17
Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Monday, October 20
Review at The Life & Times of a Book Addict
Excerpt at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, October 21
Review & Giveaway at Bookshelf Fantasies
Spotlight & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, October 22
Review, Excerpt & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, October 23
Review at Musings of a Bookish Kitty

Friday, October 24
Review at Curling Up By the Fire

Monday, October 27
Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, October 28
Review at To Read or Not to Read

Wednesday, October 29
Review & Giveaway at Bibliophilia, Please

Thursday, October 30
Review & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry


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GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of Night of a Thousand Stars, by Deanna Raybourn. This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on November 4, 2014. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.

Monday, October 20, 2014

"Hunter," by Renee Donne: Trailer Reveal!

Hunter trailer reveal banner
Anaiah Press is proud to present the trailer reveal for YA novel HUNTER by Renee Donne.
Hunter cover
Moving across the country isn’t Hunter’s ideal start to her junior year of high school. She has no friends to hang out with, no beaches to lounge on, and she’s living just a few miles from the secluded hiking trail where her father died when she was a baby.

Living in Wyoming isn’t all bad, though, thanks to Logan, the handsome veterinary assistant at the animal clinic where she lands an after-school job. And he seems just as interested in her as she is in him.

As Hunter begins to settle into her new home, she learns more about the circumstances surrounding her father’s tragic death, and it may not have been the accident everyone believes. Something dangerous lurks in the woods, and Hunter might be the next victim.

Release Date: June 9, 2015
Add HUNTER to Goodreads!
And now for the trailer...


Renee Donne

About the Author
Renee Donne is a native Floridian with a penchant for writing books with a western theme. In her head she's a world traveler and an amateur chef. In real life, she's a hometown girl with an affinity for fine wine and good friends. Her favorite place to write is sitting on her veranda, overlooking the beach.

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http://www.anaiahpress.com/

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pre-Order "Never Let Me Go" by Jessica Gibson for Only 99 Cents!

NeverLetMeGobanner
Never Let Me Go - Jessica Gibson
One night. That’s all it was supposed to be. No strings. No complications. Grace DeLeo didn’t do one-night stands. She was a relationship girl through and through. All of that went out the window when she met Logan in a bar while he was in town on business. Logan McFadden liked his no-strings lifestyle. He loved his rules. Everything had a place, and there was no space for a relationship or feelings. One night. That’s all it took to change things forever.

Pre-order $.99 Amazon /B&N /Kobo / iTunes

Releases October 25


9985a3b78c460a7e9d9a2a.L._V351133387_SX200_
Jessica Gibson is a recovering bookaholic, she's down from four books a week to a more reasonable one. It was that love of words and creativity that made her dream about writing her first book. That dream was hidden for years, always put on the back burner, filed away in the "someday" section, until her husband Matt gave her the kick in the pants she needed to actually get off her butt and write. Jessica and Matt live in Southern California and have a serious addiction to reality TV shows like Pawn Stars and American Restoration. They have one amazing son who runs circles around them both. Aside from writing, she runs an online event planning business called the Release Day Diva. In addition to novels, Jessica writes and maintains the blog Book on the Bright Side. Keep up with Jessica and her latest releases and events on her blog.

Books by Jessica Gibson
NA Contemporary Romance: The Harder I Fall
*The Deeper We Get coming soon*
Contemporary Romance: Dressed in White
*Till Death Do Us Part coming soon*
YA Paranormal: Haunted U (School Spirits, Book 1)

Follow Jessica Gibson
Website: authorjessicagibson.com
Blog: www.thisauthorslife.blogspot.com
Book Blog : www.bookonthebrightside.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-Gibson/120212814747940
Twitter: @jessicajgibson

Friday, October 17, 2014

Kindle HDX Giveaway and Facebook Author Party with Judith Miller!

Don't miss Judith Miller's latest novel, The Brickmaker's Bride. CBA Retailers + Resources raves, "...a wonderful story about faith and love throughout life’s trials."

Judith is celebrating with a Kindle HDX giveaway and  a "Refined by Love" Facebook author event on November 4th.

brickmaker-400
 One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 4th. Winner will be announced at the Refined by Love Facebook Author Event. Connect with Judith for a fascinating evening centered around her new Civil War-era series. She'll be hosting a book club discussion, giving away prizes, answering your questions, offering an exclusive peek at the next book in the Refined by Love series, and much more!

So grab your copy of The Brickmaker's Bride and join Judith and friends on the evening of November 4th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

brickmaker-enterbanner

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 4th!

M9B Friday Reveal: Chapter One of "Lifer" by Beck Nicholas and Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

M9B-Friday-Reveal
Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!
This week, we are revealing the first chapter for

Lifer by Beck Nicholas

presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
BNicholas_M9B_Lifer_1800x2700
Asher is a Lifer, a slave aboard the spaceship Pelican. A member of the lowest rung of society, she must serve the ship’s Officials and Astronauts as punishment for her grandparents' crimes back on Earth. The one thing that made life bearable was her illicit relationship with Samuai, a Fishie boy, but he died alongside her brother in a freak training accident. 
Still grieving for the loss of her loved ones, Asher is summoned to the upper levels to wait on Lady, the head Official’s wife and Samuai’s mother. It is the perfect opportunity to gather intel for the Lifer’s brewing rebellion. There’s just one problem -- the last girl who went to the upper levels never came back. 
On the other side of the universe, an alien attack has left Earth in shambles and a group called The Company has taken control. Blank wakes up in a pond completely naked and with no memory, not even his real name. So when a hot girl named Megs invites him to a black-market gaming warehouse where winning means information, he doesn’t think twice about playing. But sometimes the past is better left buried. 
As Asher and Blank’s worlds collide, the truth comes out -- everyone has been lied to. Bourne Identity meets Under the Never Sky in this intergalactic tale of love and deception from debut novelist Beck Nicholas.

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Title: LIFER
Publication date: December 16, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Beck Nicholas
Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Excerpt

Chapter One
[Asher]
I mark my body for Samuai.
My right hand is steady as I press the slim needle into my skin. It glints under the soft overhead light of the storage locker, the only place to hide on Starship Pelican. Row upon row of shelving fills the room. Back here I’m hidden from the door.
It’s been seventeen days since Samuai passed. Seventeen days of neutral expressions and stinging eyes, waiting for the chance to be alone and pay my respects to the dead Official boy in true Lifer fashion. With blood.
The body of the needle is wrapped in thread I stole from my spare uniform. The blue thread acts as the ink reservoir. It’s soaked with a dye I made from crushed feed pellets and argobenzene, both swiped from farm level. The pungent fumes sting my eyes and make it even harder to keep the tears at bay. But I will. There will be no disrespect in this marking.
My slipper drops to the floor with the softest of thuds as I shake my foot. I raise it to rest on a cold metal shelf. Samuai always held my hand when we met in secret, but I can’t bear to examine those memories now. The pain of him being gone is still so fresh.
The first break of skin at my ankle hurts a little. Not much, since the needle is nano-designed for single molecule sharpness, and it’s not as though I haven’t done this before. Recently. The tattoo for my brother circles my ankle, completed days ago, a match for the one for my father. My memorial for Samuai had to wait for privacy. The blue spreads out into my skin like liquid on a cloth. The dot is tiny. I add another and another, each time accepting the momentary pain as a tribute to Samuai. Soon I’ve finished the first swirling line.
“Are you mourning my brother or yours?”
My hand jerks at the familiar voice, driving the needle deep into the delicate skin over my Achilles. Davyd’s voice. How did he get in here so quietly? I wince, clamping down on a cry of pain. No tears though. Nothing will make me disrespect Samuai. I remove the needle from my flesh and school my features into a neutral expression before I turn and stand to attention.
“Davyd,” I say by way of greeting. Despite my preparation my throat thickens.
My response to him is stupid because he looks nothing like Samuai. Where Samuai radiated warmth from his spiky dark hair hinting of honey and his deep, golden brown eyes, there is only ice in his brother. Ice-chiseled cheekbones, tousled blond hair, the slight cleft in his chin, and his gray eyes. Eyes that see far too much.
But he’s dressed like Samuai used to dress. The same white t-shirt and black pants. It’s the uniform of Officials, or Fishies, as they’re known below. He’s a little broader in the shoulders than his older brother was—to even think of Samuai in the past tense is agony—and he’s not quite as tall. I only have to look up a little to meet his gaze. I do so without speaking.
I shouldn’t be here, but I’m not going to start apologizing for where I am or his reference to my forbidden relationship with his brother, until I know what he wants.
“Is that supposed to happen?” He points at my foot, where blood drips, forming a tiny puddle on the hard, shiny floor.
His face is expressionless, as usual, but I can hear the conceit in his voice. I can imagine what the son of a Fishie thinks of our Lifer traditions.
Today, I don’t care. Even if his scorn makes my stomach tighten and cheeks flame, I won’t care. Not about anything Davyd has to say.
“It’s none of your business.”
One fine brow arches. Superior, knowing.
He doesn’t have to say the words. The awareness of just how wrong I am zaps between us. Given our relative stations on this journey—he’s destined to be a Fishie in charge of managing the ship’s population, and me to serve my inherited sentence—whatever I do is his business, if he chooses to make it so. He’s in authority even though we’re almost the same age.
In order to gain permission to breed, Lifers allowed the injection of nanobots into their children. These prototype bots in our cells give our masters the power to switch us off using a special Remote Device until our sentence is served. At any time we can be shut down. I’m not sure how exactly, only that each of us has a unique code and the device can turn those particular bots against us. It’s an unseen but constant threat.
I keep my face blank and my posture subservient, but my fingers tighten around the needle in my hand. How I long to slap the smooth skin of his cheek.
For a second, neither of us speaks.
“Your brother or mine?” he asks again. Softly this time. So low, the question is almost intimate in the dim light.
I inhale deeply, welcoming the harsh fumes from my makeshift ink. The burning in my lungs gives me a focus so the ever-present emotional pain can’t cripple me. My brother and my boyfriend were taken on the same day, and I’m unable to properly mourn either thanks to the demands of servitude.
I can’t let it cripple me. Not if I want to find out what really happened to Zed and Samuai.
“Does it matter?” I ask. Rather than refuse him again, I twist the question around. He would never admit to having interest in the goings-on of a mere Lifer.
“No.” His voice is hard. Uncaring. He folds his arms. “But it’s against ship law to deface property.”
It takes a heartbeat, and then I realize I’m the property he’s talking about. My toes curl because my fists can’t. I see from the flick of his eyes to my feet that he’s noticed. Of course he has. There’s nothing Davyd doesn’t notice.
It’s true though. The marks we Lifers make on our bodies are not formally allowed. It is a price we pay for the agreement signed in DNA by our parents and our grandparents. They agreed to a lifetime of servitude, and their sentence is passed down through the generations for the chance at a new life on a new planet. I am the last in the chain, and my sentence will continue for twelve years after landing.
We Lifers belong to those above us, body and soul, but no Fishie or Naut—the astronauts who pilot the ship—has ever tried to stop the ritual. In return we are not blatant. We mark feet, torsos, and thighs. Places hidden by our plain blue clothing.
If the son of the head Fishie reports me, it will go on my record no matter how minor the charge, and possibly add months to my sentence. A sentence I serve for my grandparents’ crimes back on Earth after the Upheaval. Like others, their crime was no more than refusal to hand over their vehicle and property when both were declared a government resource.
I swallow convulsively.
I don’t want that kind of notice. Not when we’re expected to land in my lifetime. Not when I hoped to find answers to the questions that haunt me.
The first lesson a Lifer child learns is control around their superiors. I won’t allow mine to fail me now.
“Did you want something? Sir?”
If there’s a faint pause before the honorific, well, I’m only human.
He lets it pass. “The Lady requires extra help at this time. You have been recommended.”
“Me?”
His lips twist. “I was equally surprised. Attend her now.”
The Lady is the wife of the senior Official on board the Pelican, and both Samuai and Davyd’s mother. She’s a mysterious figure who is never seen in the shared area of the ship. I imagine she’s hurting for her dead child. Sympathy stirs within me. I’ve seen the strain my own mother tries to hide since Zed died, and I don’t think having a higher rank would make the burden any easier to bear.
It’s within Davyd’s scope as both Fishie-in-training and son of the ship’s Lady to be the one to inform me of my new placement, but I can’t help looking for something deeper in his words. There should be a kinship between us, having both lost a brother so recently, but Samuai’s death hasn’t affected Davyd at all.
“Who recommended me?”
He shrugs. “Now. Lifer.”
I nod and move to tidy up, ignoring the persistent pain in my ankle where the needle went too deep. My defiance only stretches so far. Not acting on a direct request would be stupidity. I will finish my memorial for Samuai, but not with his brother waiting. It’s typical that Davyd doesn’t use my name. I can’t remember him or his Fishie friends ever doing so.
It was something that stood out about Samuai from when we were youngsters and met in the training room. It was the only place on the ship us Lifers are close to equal. I was paired to fight with him to first blood, and he shocked me by asking my name. “Asher,” Samuai had repeated, like he tasted something sweet on his tongue, “I like it.”
In my heart there’s an echo of the warmth I felt that day, but the memory hurts. It hurts that I’ll never see him again, that he’ll never live out the dreams we shared in our secret meetings. Dreams of a shared future and changes to a system that makes Lifers less than human.
When I’ve gathered the small inkpot and put on my slippers, I notice a smear of blood on the slipper material from where I slipped earlier. It’s the opportunity I need to let my change in status be known below.
“Umm.” I clear my throat. Please let the stories I’ve heard of the Lady be true.
“What?” asks Davyd from where he waits by the door, presumably to escort me to his mother. The intensity of his gaze makes me quake inside. It’s all I can do not to lift my hand to check my top is correctly buttoned and my hair hasn’t grown beyond the fuzz a Lifer is allowed.
“My foot attire isn’t suitable to serve the Lady.” I point to the faint smudge of brown seeping into my footwear. It is said by those cleaners who are permitted into the Fishie sleeping quarters that the Lady insists her apartment be kept spotless. She’s unlikely to be pleased with me reporting for duty in bloodstained slippers.
Davyd’s jaw tenses. Maybe I’ve pushed him too far with this delay. I hold my breath.
But then his annoyance is gone and his face is the usual smooth mask. “Change. I will be waiting at the lift between the training hall and study rooms.”
He doesn’t need to tell me to hurry.
He opens the door leading out into the hallway and I expect him to stride through and not look back. Again he surprises me. He turns. His face is in shadow. The brighter light behind him shines on his tousled blond hair, which gives him a hint of the angelic.
“Assuming it’s my brother you’re mourning,” his voice is deep and for the first time there’s a slight melting of the ice. “You should know. … He wasn’t worth your pain.”

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author
Beck-Nicholas-head-shot-248x300
I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher, but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest
Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Giveaway
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
The book will be sent upon the titles release.