Saturday, April 30, 2016

Book Review: "The Siren," by Kiera Cass


About this book:
Years ago, Kahlen was rescued from drowning by the Ocean. To repay her debt, she has served as a Siren ever since, using her voice to lure countless strangers to their deaths. Though a single word from Kahlen can kill, she can't resist spending her days on land, watching ordinary people and longing for the day when she will be able to speak and laugh and live freely among them again.

Kahlen is resigned to finishing her sentence in solitude ... until she meets Akinli. Handsome, caring, and kind, Akinli is everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. And though she can't talk to him, they soon forge a connection neither of them can deny ... and Kahlen doesn't want to.

Falling in love with a human breaks all the Ocean's rules, and if the Ocean discovers Kahlen's feelings, she'll be forced to leave Akinli for good. But for the first time in a lifetime of following the rules, Kahlen is determined to follow her heart.

My thoughts:
This is a young-adult book, so it was a quick read, but I read it even faster because I couldn't stop turning pages! This was a unique story about sirens, and I really enjoyed getting to know Kahlen and her "sisters," who were all serving 100-year sentences by feeding the Ocean with bodies from shipwrecks they'd caused. Unfortunately, the girls still had consciences, so it was a traumatic experience when they were forced to sing a couple of times a year. The silver lining was that they had each other and were allowed to interact with humans -- as long as they didn't make a sound. Throughout the book, the Ocean and her pronoun, She, were capitalized because the Ocean was also a character -- a mother-like figure to the girls. She didn't like what she forced the sirens to do, but had no choice. The story moved along quickly, but still provided enough detail to really get into the head of Kahlen and understand her life and her torment, especially when she met Akinli. This was the first book I've read by Kiera Cass, and I'm eager to read more!

About the author:
Kiera Cass is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Selection series. She is a graduate of Radford University and currently lives in Christiansburg, Virginia, with her family. Kiera spent the first nineteen years of her life by the ocean. It never tried to eat her. You can learn more about Kiera's books, YouTube videos, and love of cake at www.kieracass.com and follow her on Twitter @kieracass.



Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Cover and Chapter Reveal: "Scepter of Fire," by Vicki L. Weavil (GIVEAWAY)


Today, Vicki L. Weavil and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for SCEPTER OF FIRE, a companion novel in the CROWN OF ICE series, which releases October 18, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive an eGalley!!

Here’s a message from the author.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” SCEPTER OF FIRE is a companion book to CROWN OF ICE, my retelling of “The Snow Queen.” It takes place a few years later, in the midst of an invasion by a power-mad foreign emperor, and includes most of the characters from CROWN OF ICE.

However, the protagonist in SCEPTER OF FIRE is someone new -- 17-year-old Varna Lund, an ugly duckling among swans, who’s certain her destiny lies in taking on the mantle of village healer after the death of her aged mentor. But when a young soldier enlists her aid to care for his injured friend, Varna and her sister, Gerda, are catapulted into the war that has engulfed their country. Forced to flee enemy troops with her sister and the two soldiers, Varna must also evade her mentor, Sten Rask -- revealed to be a powerful mage seeking the enchanted mirror hidden by a former Snow Queen.

To protect the mirror and their country, Varna, Gerda, and the soldiers join forces with a sorceress, an enchanted reindeer, a brilliant scholar, and a young woman traveling with a wolf. But Varna faces a terrible temptation. Promised beauty and power by the devilishly handsome Rask, she must choose -- achieve her own desires, or protect a society that has never embraced her.

The Cover:

I love how this cover matches the cover of CROWN OF ICE, and yet is different enough to set the books apart. Both feature striking young women, but whereas CROWN is glazed with icy blue tones, SCEPTER is saturated with reds, golds and other fiery hues. If you look closely, you can even see flames reflected in the girl’s eyes -- very appropriate for a book that deals with sorcerers who wield fire. Although the cover model is not an “ugly duckling,” she does accurately reflect the protagonist during one portion of the book, which I will not reveal at this point due to “spoilers”! 



Title: SCEPTER OF FIRE
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Pub. Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback & eBook
Find it: Amazon B&N TBD Goodreads

Sharp as pine needles, and twice as bitter, seventeen-year-old Varna Lund’s determined to become a healer. At least patients don’t care about her looks, unlike the young men who spurn her for eighteen-year-old Gerda or even her younger sisters. An ugly duckling among swans, Varna hopes to bury her passionate nature in useful work.

Her healing skills are put to the test when Varna encounters Erik Stahl, a young soldier who’s deserted the battlefield to carry his injured friend, Anders Nygaard, to safety. Varna, enlisting the aid of Gerda, cares for Anders in secret.

But a brutal betrayal catapults the four young people into life on the run, where Varna discovers her old mentor is actually a powerful wizard. Seeking the enchanted mirror hidden by a former Snow Queen, the wizard hopes to use Gerda as a pawn in his plan to aid the invading emperor.

Other forces ally against the wizard, including an auburn-haired sorceress, an enchanted reindeer, a brilliant scholar, and a young woman traveling with a wolf. Along with the soldiers and Gerda, they vow to prevent the mirror from falling into enemy hands. But tempted with promises of beauty and power from her now devilishly handsome mentor, Varna must choose between her own desires and the good of a society that’s never embraced her.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” SCEPTER OF FIRE is a companion book to CROWN OF ICE.





Vicki L. Weavil was raised in a farming community in Virginia, where her life was shaped by a wonderful family, the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and an obsession with reading. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Virginia, a Masters in Library Science from Indiana University, and a Masters in Liberal Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After working as a librarian at the NY Public Library at Lincoln Center, and the Museum of Television & Radio (now the Paley Center for Media) in NYC, she is currently the Director for Library Services at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Vicki loves good writing in any genre, and has been known to read seven books in as many days. She enjoys travel, gardening, and the arts. Vicki lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats. A member of SCBWI, Vicki is represented by Fran Black at Literary Counsel, NY, NY.

Where you can find Vicki: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr


1 winner will receive an eBook of CROWN OF ICE & an eGalley of SCEPTER OF FIRE (when available), Open internationally. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. .

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Release Day: "Forbidden Trails," by Bonnie R. Paulson

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Forbidden Trails Front

Forbidden Trails (The Montana Trails Series, Clearwater County Collection Book 2), by Bonnie R Paulson

A woman with a cause falls for a man who hunts the very thing she wants to save.

Working as a traveling ranch hand to keep food on the table, Jareth Darby’s wanderlust is satisfied and his fear of settling down at bay. But even Jareth can’t fight the draw of a damsel-in-distress.

Cyan Burns can afford to have principles and expectations of the world with parents on the top 50 list of the richest people in America. Her current cause has been the longest running -- the Gray wolves of North America. Saved by Jareth from freezing winter weather, Cyan can’t ignore her attraction to the rugged Montana cowboy.

But his new employer is out for wolf pelts, and Jareth doesn’t see the problem with hunting the endangered species. Can Cyan convince him the wolves -- and she -- are worth fighting for?

Wrangle some time to read this story about struggle and survival of love against almost insurmountable odds.

Check out the  Lonely Lace series to start out right with the Clearwater County Collection.

Only $.99 thru May 1

Purchase - Amazon / iBooks / Kobo / Nook


About Bonnie R. Paulson
Bonnie

Bonnie R. Paulson mixes her science and medical background with reality and possibilities to make even myths seem likely and give every romance the genetic strength to survive. Bonnie has discovered a dark and twisty turn in her writing that she hopes you enjoy as much as she has enjoyed uncovering it. Dirt biking with her family in the Northwest keeps her sane.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mystique Book Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card and Print Book


Mystique by Shari Arnold
Publication Date: November 17, 2015
Genre: YA Paranormal

Only Bauer Grant can pull off gorgeous while dead. But staying dead is another thing entirely. When he wakes up at his own funeral, the town of Mystique calls it a miracle, until it happens again. Something is bringing the residents of Mystique back to life, but what? Presley Caine finds herself caught up in the mystery when Bauer asks her to visit him. Presley can’t figure out why the most popular guy in school is so drawn to her. And when Bauer is kidnapped soon after, she looks to Bauer’s brooding best friend Sam, whose dad works for the powerful Mystique military base, for answers. In her quest to discover the truth, Presley’s relationship with Sam deepens, her feelings for Bauer are tested, and it becomes clear that her own mysterious past is somehow connected to these strange events. But is she strong enough to handle the truth when it is finally revealed?

Goodreads

Purchase at:
BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks


Guest Post by Author Shari Arnold: What elements are crucial for a can't-stop-reading paranormal story?

I think whether it’s paranormal or mystery or any kind of story, the most important part in any novel are the characters. If you can’t relate or feel for the characters in any way, if you can’t understand them or imagine them as though they are real, no story will keep you reading.

I’ve always been a people watcher, and I find that comes into play A LOT when I’m writing. I will draw from certain people I’ve observed or studied when I’m working on a character. I don’t always remember where the character traits came from, but it’s as though they are stored in my memory for my writing purposes.

It’s also important to keep the story moving. If I find myself lollygagging in a scene, I know the reader will be bored. If I lose interest, they definitely will. Creating a world isn’t always easy when you’re trying to keep the pace going, but it’s also important.


About the author:
Shari Arnold grew up in California and Utah, but now resides in Connecticut with her husband and two kids, where she finds it difficult to trust a beach without waves. She writes young-adult fiction because it's her favorite. And occasionally she takes photographs.


GIVEAWAY

Giveaway Information: Contest ends May 6, 2016. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.

* One (1) winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card and a physical copy of Mystique by Shari Arnold (INT)

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Release Day Celebration: "Safe with You" by Sophie Lira with Giveaway

SafeWithYouRDC

Happy Release Day to
Safe with You by Sophie Lira!
Join us in celebrating this new release from Swoon Romance!
Enter the giveaway found at the end of the post.

Happy Book Birthday, Sophie!

Safe With You Cover

Olivia Simon is starting over in the Big Easy. Her new job as a yoga instructor means she gets to pursue her passion, while giving her the motivation she needs to get back on track. But she's scared. Really scared. Scared her abusive ex-boyfriend will find her. Scared of all things that go bump in the night... and day. She knows her ex will have a claim on her future happiness unless she can find her own peace. Which starts with Kyle. 
Kyle Avery, a former college baseball player on the brink of going pro, is also starting over. His dream since Little League was shattered when a jealous rival went too far in a pre-season game. After a few surgeries, all Kyle is left with are a few rods in his leg, a rebuilt knee, and no idea who he is without baseball. But when he trades center field for a yoga mat, he finds solace in a way he never imagined. Kyle knows there’s something about Olivia. Something he needs to move forward. 
But Olivia loves to run, and it's too soon for her to be playing house. Olivia and Kyle want to invest in each other, but the secrets they've kept take a dangerous turn when Olivia's past returns with a vengeance. Devastated and helpless, Olivia wonders who she can really trust, and Kyle questions if he was ever able to keep her safe.
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Safe with You by Sophie Lira
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Romance

About-the-Author2
Sopie Lira

Sophie Lira is a New Adult author from the East Coast. Lover of coffee, huskies, traveling, music, yoga, sports, & craft beer.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Book Review: "America's First Daughter: A Novel," by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie


About AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER:

In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.

From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France.

It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father’s troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William’s wife and still be a devoted daughter.

Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father's reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.

My thoughts:
The authors weeded through thousands of letters, books, original documents and other sources to piece together Patsy Jefferson's fascinating life, and this book provides rich detail about a very pivotal point in America's history through a woman's perspective. Patsy was an amazingly strong woman who endured numerous tragedies, including the death of her mother, sister and a daughter in childbirth. She married a violent and insecure man, eventually giving birth to 12 children (11 survived to adulthood). Financial difficulties, spousal abuse, and issues related to slavery plagued her family throughout her life. But Patsy was the glue that held everyone together, starting with the day when her mother pleaded with ten-year-old Patsy on her deathbed to look after her famous father, Thomas Jefferson, who was devastated by his beloved wife's death. This story carries the reader from one event to the next, wisely sticking to Patsy's story rather than dwelling too much on historical events that have been examined in detail elsewhere. Rather, we see how Patsy and her family were shaped by what was happening in their lives, and how it affected their choices and relationships. Patsy's strength and support surely had a great effect on her father and the early years of U.S. history. Highly recommended.

Author pic- Stephanie Dray
About Stephanie Dray:

STEPHANIE DRAY is an award-winning, bestselling and two-time RITA award-nominated author of historical women’s fiction. Her critically acclaimed series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into eight different languages and won NJRW's Golden Leaf. As Stephanie Draven, she is a national bestselling author of genre fiction and American-set historical women's fiction. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation's capital. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the stories of women in history to inspire the young women of today.

WebsiteNewsletter | FacebookTwitter

Author Pic - Laura Kamoie
About Laura Kamoie:

Laura Kamoie has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological study and training. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction as the New York Times bestselling author of over twenty books, Laura Kaye. Her debut historical novel, America's First Daughter, co-authored with Stephanie Dray, allowed her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her passion for storytelling. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and two daughters.

WebsiteNewsletter | FacebookTwitter



Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Gratitude Journals Book Blast: Giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash

Journals
Gratitude Journals by MK McClintock

What talents have you been blessed with? What challenges have you faced and overcome? Who has impacted your life in a positive way, no matter how large or small the good deed? How did you feel when someone gave you a helping hand?

When we focus on the positive things in our lives, we are replacing negative energy with positive affirmations. To put it simply, gratitude means being grateful for everything you have and are, every single day.

These journals are powerful instruments that provide a simple, yet effective foundation for your personal declarations of gratitude and thanksgiving. Discover your voice, your dreams, and the profound moments of your life with daily expressions of appreciation.

100% of all author royalties from the Africa Collection gratitude journals goes to the Africa Heartwood Project. Learn more about them at www.africaheartwoodproject.org.

gratitude journals



amazon

MK Mcclintock
Author MK McClintock
MK McClintock, an award-winning author and life-long seeker and adventurer, is inspired by the good works of mankind and believes that within every person is a better version of themselves waiting to be discovered. She lives a quiet life in the Rocky Mountains.


Book Blast Giveaway
Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 5/2/16

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Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or PayPal cash. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Cover & Chapter One Reveal + Giveaway of un/FAIR by Steven Harper

Today, Steven Harper and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for un/FAIR, which releases September 6, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive an eGalley!

Here’s a quick introduction from the author.

When the doctor said my son Aran was autistic, my world turned upside-down. I spent years playing special games with him to help him understand the world better. But in the process, I learned to understand him. While I struggled to pull him into our world, he quietly pulled me into his. This book came out of that.

People always ask authors -- including me -- why I got a certain scene on the cover or why I didn't put a particular character on the front. The truth is, authors almost never draw the book covers. We get a picture of it by email, and it's always a surprise, like getting an early birthday present. Sometimes the present is a wool sweater you want to wad into a ball and stuff under the bed. Sometimes the present is a toy you didn't know you wanted until you got it. The cover for un/FAIR was the latter. Ryan looks very much like I imagined him in my head, and the salamanders creeping down the top make it clear this isn't a happy fairy book. The artist even snuck in a reference to the Fibonacci sequence! I loved getting this one.

On to the reveal! 




Title: un/FAIR
Author: Steven Harper
Pub. Date: September 6, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback & eBook
Find it: Amazon | B&N | TBD | Goodreads

It's difficult enough to live in the neighborhood "freakazoid" house. It's even more difficult when you're autistic, and neither your family nor best friend really understands you. So when Ryan November wakes up on his eleventh birthday with the unexpected ability to see the future, he braces himself for trouble. But even his newfound power doesn't anticipate that the fair folk -- undines, salamanders, gnomes, and sylphs -- want him dead, dead, dead. Ryan races to defend himself and his family against unrelenting danger from the fairy realm so he can uncover the truth about his family history -- and himself. Except as Ryan's power grows, the more enticing the fairy realm becomes, forcing him to choose between order and chaos, power and family. And for an autistic boy, such choices are never cut and dry.

Excerpt

Un/FAIR

PART I

CHAPTER ONE

Ryan November woke up on his eleventh birthday and knew he’d be able to see the future by breakfast. He rolled over. His clock said 6:56, so he couldn’t get up for four more minutes. That was all right. He didn’t mind waiting.

Not until he saw the string.

The string was made of liquid silver and lay piled in the exact center of a perfect square of May sunshine on his bedroom floor. It gleamed where the sunlight struck it. Ryan stared. He had never seen it before. The messy string looked out of place in the perfectly neat room. In Ryan’s room, every piece of clothing hung in the closet or lay folded in a dresser drawer. Every book sat in alphabetical order on the shelf. Every toy and video game stood arranged in rows more orderly than troops of soldiers. The squiggle of silver string on the floor made Ryan’s head itch on the inside, where he couldn’t scratch. He wanted to pick the string up and put it away.

The clock stopped him. The little red numbers read 6:57 now — three more minutes to go, even though he wanted to examine the string very badly.

Maybe he could find a way around the problem. Automatically, Ryan ran a flowchart in his mind. If he had written it down, it would have looked like this:

[See Figure 1.]

The chart put him at “Stay in bed,” so he lay there, trying not to scratch his head or squirm with suspense, until at last the numbers flicked to 8:00. Ryan pushed the blankets aside and hurried over to pick up the string, still squiggled across the floor. The moment he touched it, the string moved on its own. It jumped into his hand like a little snake. He felt a cold, tingly sensation, and the string was gone. Instead, there was a perfect circle of raised skin around the palm of his left hand.

“Wow,” Ryan said.

Ryan liked circles. He liked their symmetry, the way you couldn’t tell where they started or ended, the way every part was like every other part. He traced the circle with his finger and smiled. He could have a circle with him wherever he went. Then, because Saturday was a brown day, he put on brown cargo pants, a brown shirt, and brown socks before pulling on his shoes and heading for the stairs. Ryan had red-blond hair that he tried to keep combed but always got away from him, a thin sprinkling of freckles that thickened in the summer, and somber eyes that his best friend Alison always described as “blue pools of inexactitude,” which bugged Ryan because he didn’t know what it meant. At the last second, Ryan remembered to grab his cell phone from his dresser. The circle had almost made him forget. There were already two text messages on the screen:

Happy Shared B-Day, R!!
And
Happy day kiddo!

He texted back, his thumbs jumping across the keypad like precise, tiny frogs:

Happy Shared Birthday to you, too, Alison!
and
Thanks, Mom.

Ryan never felt quite right abbreviating, so he didn’t. Then he traced the circle on his hand one more time and tromped downstairs.

There were fourteen wooden steps leading down to the kitchen. Each one had nine wooden pegs pounded in a straight line across the front edge, and Ryan automatically counted them all at a glance. 126 pegs, just like yesterday and the day before that and the day before that. He liked the number 126. The digits added up to nine, which was also the number of pegs in each step. The number 126 was a good number to start the day with. He jumped over step number twelve. Ryan didn’t like the number twelve. It was divisible by too many other numbers — itself, six, four, three, two, and one. That was half the numbers between one and twelve. Ryan always felt like twelve would keep dividing itself until it vanished entirely, and he didn’t want to step on a stair that might disappear.

Ryan rounded the turn in the staircase and emerged in the kitchen. It was big and airy, and right now it smelled like butter and hot batter. Aunt Zara was on breakfast duty this morning, and today she had settled on pancakes, Ryan’s favorite. Ryan quietly took his usual place on the bench that ran down the long wooden table. Everything in the Cottage was wood — walls, floor, cupboards, ceiling. Wood hinges held the doors on, and wood latches held them shut. Raw exposed beams ran up to support the roof, and the shingles were made of flat wood. The entire house was held together with wooden pegs. Ryan’s dad boasted that not one scrap of steel held the house together. Instead, the builders had used copper and plastic and ceramic. Ryan liked this. Metals like iron and steel felt heavy and harsh and made his stomach queasy.

“My, my. Happy birthday, Ryan,” Aunt Zara said, and put a plate of pancakes in front of him. Ryan tensed a little. Food you could count had to come in even numbers. Mom always remembered this when she cooked, but Aunt Zara sometimes forgot, and it could turn a simple meal into a disaster. Quickly he counted. Two pancakes, two pieces of sausage. Ryan sighed with relief. It would be bad to get the wrong number of pancakes on his birthday.

Ryan glanced up at Aunt Zara. She favored blue blouses and long skirts that flowed together like waterfalls. She wore her blond hair loose around her shoulders except for two blue barrettes that kept her bangs out of her face. She had a long nose and a wide mouth. At the moment, she was smiling with her teeth showing. Her voice had an upbeat tone to it, and she moved like her body was relaxed. Ryan added these things up and decided Aunt Zara was happy. The appropriate response, Ryan had learned, was a smile. So he smiled. Then he remembered that she had just given him something — his breakfast. It meant he had to say something.

“Thank you,” he said slowly, and tensed slightly, wondering if he had gotten it wrong. It seemed like he got it wrong a lot.

“You’re welcome.” Aunt Zara tried to pat his shoulder, but Ryan ducked away. “Sorry, sweetie. I forget.”

Ryan didn’t like it when people touched him. It felt beyond weird to feel their skin sliding over his in ways he couldn’t control. And a hug felt like being suffocated in wet blankets. When he was little, he had screamed and hit. Now he ducked and dodged.

Aunt Zara headed back for the stove. Ryan was turning to his pancakes, silver fork poised, when his world flickered for a second. Everything grew brighter, as if someone had doubled the sunlight, and he heard a knock. A dark-haired girl poked her head through the screen door and said, “Is he still eating breakfast?” and her voice had a strange, ghostly quality to it. Then the extra light vanished and everything snapped back to normal. Ryan realized no time had passed at all.

A knock came, and a dark-haired girl poked her head through the screen door. “Is he still eating breakfast?” Ryan stopped eating to stare. He had just seen this happen twice.

“Come in, Alison,” Aunt Zara sang out. “You’re just in time for pancakes.”

Alison Ferrier stalked through the door and angled across the kitchen to the table, her skinny legs and sharp elbows flopping carelessly in all directions. Even her ponytail looked sharp. Ryan watched her, caught in an awful fascination. One day she was going to puncture something; he was sure of it. Alison was Ryan’s best — his only — friend, and she lived in a tiny trailer in the woods with three sisters and two brothers and one mother (making seven people total, and seven was a prime number). Like him, she was turning eleven today (another prime number, and if you added one and one, you got two). It took two people to be friends, and two was the only even prime number. Ryan liked that.

Alison folded herself onto the bench beside him. “Two pancakes, two sausages,” she said, looking at his plate. “Will it bug you if I have three and three?”

“No,” Ryan said. “That plate over there” — he pointed — “has one pancake on it, so that makes everything Fibonacci.” He said the word the Italian way: feeb-oh-NAH-chee.

“Fibonacci?”

“You know. Zero and one make one, then one and one make two, two and one make three.”

“Oh, right. Cool.”

“My, my. Doesn’t your family feed you?” Aunt Zara asked, setting a plate down in front of her.

“Nope,” Alison said, her mouth already full, and Ryan couldn’t tell if this was a lie or not. He thought about asking, then decided not to and ate more pancakes instead.

“Today is our birthday,” Ryan said. “May first.”

“Yep.” Alison grinned, showing a big mouthful of smooshed-up Fibonacci pancake. Ryan laughed. “Where’s everyone else?”

“I don’t know,” Ryan said.

“Your dad went down to the lake for some early fishing,” Aunt Zara said from the stove. “Aunt Ysabeth and your mother are wrapping birthday presents. So stay out of your mother’s bedroom, Ryan, if you don’t mind.”

There was another flick. The world brightened again, and this time Aunt Zara dropped a spatula. It clattered on the stove. Alison spilled her milk, creating a chaotic mess that rushed over the table and dripped into Ryan’s lap.

The world flicked back to normal. Aunt Zara dropped her spatula. It clattered on the stove. Alison reached for her milk glass. Ryan flinched at the upcoming mess. Chaos was the worst. It hurt his stomach and made his head feel like it was going to explode. So he reached out with his own hand and slapped hers down, pinning it to the table.





Steven Harper/Piziks is the author of multiple fantasy and science-fiction novels written for adults, notably the Clockwork Empire and Silent Empire series for Roc as Steven Harper and movie novelizations and tie-ins for Pocket Books as Steven Piziks (IDENTITY, THE EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING, GHOST WHISPERER: THE PLAGUE ROOM). He's also the father of an autistic son.



Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive an eGalley of un/FAIR. Open internationally.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Chasing Rabbits Cover Reveal: Giveaway for a $5 Amazon Gift Card

 photo Chasing-Rabbits-CR-Pre-Release Banner.png

 photo Chasing Rabbits.png

Title: Chasing Rabbits
Author: Erin Bedford
Published: June 2, 2016
Genre: Supernatural Fantasy
Recommended Age: 16+

Alice was wrong -- Wonderland wasn’t so wonderful after all.

Kat never expected to be back in her hometown, but when housesitting turns into a mad rabbit chase, Kat finds herself with a whole new set of problems.

A two-headed bird with a Game of Thrones obsession, a party full of tea addicts, and a Cheshire cat that could seduce the pants off her grandma? And if the citizens weren’t bad enough, their prince was off his rocker.

This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill Wonderland. This was the Fae world, where rules are rules, and some things are exactly as they seem.

KINDLE FIRE GIVEAWAY
Join the Facebook release party for the chance to WIN prizes from now until June 2nd! A Kindle Fire is even up for grabs! Join HERE.

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About the Author:
Erin Bedford is a new fantasy romance author, a computer programmer by day, and a hobby hoarder. Creating fantastical worlds has always been a secret passion of hers, and she couldn’t imagine writing any story without some kind of lovey-dovey or smexy goodness in it.

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Newsletter  | YouTube

Tour-wide Giveaway Details:
Prize: $5 Amazon gift card.
Giveaway is international.
Ends April 24, 2016 at 11:59 PM (EDT).
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Love Paws Book Tour: Giveaway for a $50 Amazon or iBooks Gift Card

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It's RELEASE DAY for LOVE PAWS!

Help us celebrate Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month and go download this amazing anthology NOW. Only 99 cents for seven wonderful, sexy romances ... you can't beat that deal.

Of course, what could make six contemporary romance shorts plus one story with a paranormal twist by award-winning and best-selling authors even better? Add seven sweet, scene-stealing pets ... and then make the whole project a benefit for animal rescue charities!

That's just what we've done. LOVE PAWS features short stories with a little bit of steam, a little of sweet and happy endings all around. Each story also includes a pet, just to give the romance a bit of a boost.

Each author is donating her portion of the net proceeds to a specific animal charity. Check out which charities will benefit below! And don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Get your copy now! Amazon/iBooks/Nook/Google/Kobo


~~~***~~~

Montana Heat (Chefs of the West, Book One) by Becca Boyd (Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter)

One protective smokejumper, one reluctant landowner, one big fire... Randa Sadler has turned away the sheriff, the Forest service, and all her neighbors. She knows the fire is coming, and she's not leaving her home. When Tyson Herrick is sent to talk her down off the mountain, he finds the secret that's keeping her there... but can he save her from the oncoming fire without losing his heart in the process?

By Chance (A Playing Games Spin-off Novella) Rene Folsom (K9s for Warriors)

While burying herself into her editing job, Samantha Cline struggles to come to terms with the fact that her love life is dormant… and has been for quite some time. Every sickly sweet love story she has to edit continuously reminds her of how impractical romance is. Aside from her loyal group of friends who have their own relationship drama, she settles for companionship of the canine variety with her best bud, Chance. In truth, there’s only one man who has ever turned Sam’s head, though she’d never admit it aloud. She remembers watching him train horses on her dad’s farm as a teenager, and no other man has ever measured up. Now that he’s been living next door to her for a few years, she can’t help but wish he’d glance her way and show some sort of recognition. Sam is finally pushed over the edge when her dog runs off, forcing her to reassess her lot in life and what it would take to heal her heart in his absence. Then, one stormy night, her very sexy neighbor shows up on her doorstep, stealing her breath away with his presence. After a rather awkward encounter, Sam can’t help but wonder if she’ll lose her chance for good.

Saving Grace: A Beautiful Ruin Story Alison Foster (LA Animal Services)

They call it a moment of truth. We all have them. Nathan and I are no different. Those are the moments when things can go two ways, toward a better life or toward destruction.
Nathan was my everything -- until this morning when a white lie entered our circle of trust which led quickly to a second lie and then, of course, in our life, a gun is always soon to follow.
They don’t cover guns or deceit in any of my baby books. I checked. My charmed life with my man and my sweet dog, Annie, is spinning out of control again. And to make matters worse, we haven’t had sex in weeks.

All in the Takeoff (The Rawley Family Romances - 4) Olivia Hardin (Pets Fur People - Tyler Humane Society No-Kill Shelter)

Harrison Richards may be part-Rawley, but he’s content with a ranch life just outside his tight family circle. On a flight to pick up a rescue dog after his cousin Kay’s wedding, his small Cessna is grounded due to weather. Harrison’s left to find lodging for himself ... and a shepherd-mix named Curtiss. Single-mom Kitty Sears has a hectic life running a busy bed-and-breakfast. The short window between winter and summer is her unofficial vacation, when local tourism is almost dead, so she’s surprised to get a call about a guest looking for special accommodations. From the moment Harrison lays eyes on Kitty Sears, he has a feeling he’s getting more than he bargained for in a hostess. He’s not looking for romance, but it may be that love just needs a little spark to takeoff...

My One And Always (A THE ONE Trilogy and ALWAYS LOVE Trilogy Crossover Short) Tawdra Kandle (MuttNation)

Sydney moved to the small town of Burton, Georgia to run her aunt's bakery. At least, that's her excuse. She doesn't exactly want to broadcast the fact that her own restaurant went belly-up, her boyfriend ditched her and her life is in shambles. And the cute newspaper guy who keeps pestering her for date with his danish? Yeah, that's not happening. Will is pretty sure he's a glutton for punishment. After all, Sydney's made it clear she's not interested, but he just can't seem to stay away, no matter how hard he tries. Now, though, he's got a secret weapon--the four-legged kind. Can this down-on-his-luck dog be the key to toppling the walls around her heart?

Lindy James is the sister of baseball star, Tate James. When Tate’s neighbor Kip Deevers crosses paths with Tate's little sister, he gets more than he bargains for -- a grade school crush and a pair of dog paws on his chest. The attraction between the two is undeniable, but Lindy’s past has her afraid to let Kip get too close. Kip is willing to put aside his dislike for all things furry to get to know Lindy better, but will she let her guard down long enough for Kip to win over her heart?

Taunt: A Twisted Wolf Tale Juli Valenti (Suncoast Animal League)

There’s no place like home.

When a tornado plagues the state of Arkansas, picking up Emmy’s house and dropping it into a world she’s never seen before, she thinks things couldn’t get any worse. Except, she was wrong. Especially when it killed the good witch and she’s named a murderer.

In order to get home, and to escape the wrath of the enraged town-folk, Emmy must maneuver the Wicked Woods, along with her pet wolf, Laurent, to prove she, herself, is not a Wicked Witch. In the woods lurk nightmares of her own creation, and, when doubt begins to set in, she realizes things are not always as they seem.

Follow the story of Emmy and Laurent in this modern-day twist on The Wizard of Oz.


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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Book Review: "Simple Pleasures," by Marianne Jantzi #LitfuseReads


Simple Pleasures
by Marianne Jantzi
Amish Autobiography
MennoMedia

About the Book:
Young Amish homemaker Marianne Jantzi invites readers into her family's life and Amish community. The mother of four young children, Jantzi writes about her daily routines and heartfelt faith with equal measures of wit and warmth. Sewing, cleaning, cooking, gardening, and helping to manage the family store take up most hours in her day, but Jantzi finds time to pen columns for the Connection, a magazine beloved by Amish and Mennonite readers. Never sugarcoating the frustrations of motherhood, Jantzi tells it like it is, broken washing machine, bickering children and all. But through her busy days, Jantzi finds strength in simple pleasures of family, fellowship with her Amish community, and quiet time with God.

My Thoughts:
I’ve always been fascinated by the Amish way of life, so it was delightful to read about the daily life of a young Amish mother from her own perspective. Surprisingly, it sounds much like the life of any mother: raising children who are both adorable and exasperating, preparing meals, cleaning and housework, and making a living with her husband. Of course, Jantzi has to make it all work without electricity, computers, television or phones, which raises my admiration for her! But she also seems to have the ability to look on the bright side. Several times, she admits that she’s having a tough time, but then she realizes how blessed she is and focuses on gratitude rather than complaining. This book would make a perfect gift for a young mother who often feels overwhelmed by the demands of her family.

Meet the Author:
Marianne Jantzi is an Amish writer and homemaker. Formerly a teacher in an Amish school, Jantzi now educates and inspires through her Northern Reflections column for the Connection. She and her husband have four young children and run a shoe store in the Milverton Amish community of Ontario.



Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my honest review, but all opinions are my own. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Book Review: "A Dream of Miracles," by Ruth Reid


About the book:
Amish widow Mattie vows never to love again ... until a suspicious outsider with a shadowy past comes crashing into her fragile world.

Mattie Diener can barely keep it together. A young Amish widow and mother of two young children, she faces the lingering heartbreak of lost love, her son's mysterious illness, and a torrent of accusations that threaten to undo her.

Bo Lambright is a fast-rising social services investigator whose high-society mother won't rest until she finds his Mrs. Right. Despite Bo's worldly success, the raw ache of a shadowy past and a series of unsettling dreams have left him reeling.

When Mattie and Bo cross paths, all signs point to disaster. Yet as they face a crucible of trials and tragedies together, longings begin to stir that seem destined only to end in more heartbreak. Is a miracle possible -- not only of healing, but of forbidden love? What secrets lie in Bo's dreams? And will Mattie find the courage to face her uncertain future ... or will she simply run away?

My thoughts:
Have you ever felt like certain people are cursed, experiencing one tragedy after another? That's how I felt with Mattie Diener in A Dream of Miracles. Her husband died while she was pregnant with her second child. That child was born prematurely due to Mattie's emotional distress. Then Mattie experienced postpartum depression, and her oldest child came down with a mysterious illness. When she took him to the hospital, she was arrested for child abuse! The boy's condition continued to deteriorate, and another child in Mattie's care had to be taken to the hospital for a different cause. Even the pet lamb was sick! What more could go wrong for this poor young woman? I had a tough time getting through all of the tragedy, but ultimately the book ended on a satisfying note. I'm hoping that Mattie's future will be much brighter than her past!

About the author:
Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA bestselling author of the Heaven on Earth series. She's a full-time pharmacist who lives in Florida with her husband and three children. When attending Ferris State University School of Pharmacy in Big Rapids, Michigan, she lived on the outskirts of an Amish community and had several occasions to visit the Amish farms. Her interest grew into love as she saw the beauty in living a simple life.




CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE KINDLE FIRE GIVEAWAY!
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Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse to facilitate my honest review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission if a purchase is made through my link.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Change of Heart Blog Tour: Giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash

Change of Heart
Change of Heart by Jennifer Moore

This summer, Nathaniel Cavanaugh vacations in Lobster Cove to spend quality time with his kids after his estranged wife’s tragic death. Successful and well-connected, he is on the fast-track to the highest legal positions in the country, but his family life suffers. After an accident throws Val nearly into his lap and costs her a job opportunity, Nathaniel surprises himself by overlooking her outlandish appearance and lack of qualifications to offer her a job as his nanny for the summer.

Valdosta McKinley wishes for an internship at a Paris Art Institute to use her newly acquired art-history skills. She knows Nathaniel could never develop feelings for a girl from a trailer in a rural West Virginia holler—a lesson she learned the hard way years earlier.

Will pursuit of their professional goals require Nathaniel and Val to give up the dream of being a family?

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Enjoy This Excerpt from Change of Heart:

Val clung to him, feeling utterly ridiculous, and at the same time completely content in his arms. “I’m sorry,” she said, once she trusted her voice.

“The summer’s been good, hasn’t it?” Nathaniel laid his cheek on the top of her head and held her tighter. “I’ll miss this porch most of all.”

“Me, too.” She pressed her face against his chest, a fresh wave of tears rushing into her eyes. She’d sat in this very place, unloading her darkest secrets, her greatest fears, been comforted and listened, and even... The memory of Nathaniel’s kiss was nearly more than she could take. Her heart felt like it was being squeezed, and she gasped for air. She took a step back, releasing her grip.

“Val?”

Swallowing against her tight throat, she raised her gaze to his.

He lifted a wet strand of hair from her face, and his gaze dropped to her lips before returning to hers.

If only she could look into those blue eyes every day, be held by him every time she cried, if only...

“Daddy! Val!”

The sound of Ruby’s voice broke Val’s blissful bubble. She must have gotten impatient and unbuckled her carseat.

“We’re on the porch, Ruby.” Nathaniel’s gaze didn’t leave Val’s face.

Val rubbed her fingers over her cheeks one more time before hurrying to meet Ruby. She glanced back and saw Nathaniel still watching her until she rounded the side of the house.

Jennifer
Author Jennifer Moore

Jennifer Moore is a passionate reader and writer of all things romance due to the need to balance the rest of her world, which includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that is anything but romantic. She suffers from an unhealthy addiction to 18th- and 19th-century military history and literature. Jennifer has a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family, but most of the time wishes she was on board a frigate during the Age of Sail.


$25 Blog Tour giveaway


Blog Tour Giveaway
Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash
Ends 5/1/16

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Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or PayPal cash. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Blog Tour Schedule

April 18th
I Am A Reader - Spotlight
Julie Coulter Bellon - Review
Literary Time Out - Review
Cuzinlogic - Spotlight
Literary Chanteuse - Spotlight
Susan Heim on Writing - Spotlight

April 19th
Getting Your Read On - Review
Tifferz and her Sisterz - Review
Heidi Reads... - Spotlight
Why Not? Because I Said So! - Spotlight
beck valley books - Spotlight
Coffee Books & Art - Spotlight

April 20th
My Book a Day - Review
Reading List - Review
Katie's Clean Book Collection - Review
Bunny's Review - Spotlight
LeahSay's Views - Spotlight

April 21st
Wishful Endings - Review
Simple Wyrdings - Review
Kindle and Me - Spotlight
My Creatively Random Life - Spotlight
Queen Of All She Reads - Spotlight

April 22nd
Books Are Sanity!!! - Review
Bookworm Lisa - Spotlight
Hearts & Scribbles - Spotlight
Mel's Shelves - Spotlight
BookHounds - Spotlight

April 26th
Singing Librarian Books - Review
Rockin' Book Reviews - Spotlight
Min Reads and Reviews - Spotlight
Rebecca Belliston - Spotlight
Diana's Book Reviews - Spotlight