Monday, December 24, 2018

5 Christmas Books on My To-Read List

I love Christmas movies, but for some reason I haven't been very good about reading classic Christmas tales. So this year, I've made a list of 5 Christmas books I hope to read this year.


A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens

I've seen tons of movie versions of this classic tale, but I confess that I've never read the original book!


The Greatest Gift
by Philip Van Doren Stern

This is the book that inspired my favorite Christmas movie, It's a Wonderful Life.


The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
by L. Frank Baum

This was published two years after Baum's Wonderful Wizard of Oz and imagines Santa's growing-up years!


Miracle on 34th Street
by Valentine Davies

Another movie I enjoy but haven't gotten around to reading the book...


Letters From Father Christmas
by J.R.R. Tolkien

This sounds so removed from the author's best-known Lord of the Rings series that I'm really curious to read it!

What Christmas books do you love or want to read (or re-read) this year? Merry Christmas!

Disclosure: This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through this link.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

12 Days of Clean Romance Featuring Author Rachael Anderson: Giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash



My Brother’s Bride by Rachael Anderson

Abigail Nash leads a lonely existence. Her mother died giving birth to her, her father’s business dealings took him away more often than not, and her ailing great-aunt, unable to provide much in the way of companionship, was a lack-luster guardian at best. So when her dear friends offered to launch her into London society, it appeared Abby’s life was taking a turn for the better, with suitors and social engagements aplenty. When she marries a proclaimed darling of the ton, it seems she will at last settle into the life of her dreams.

But appearances aren’t always what they seem, and dreams often become disappointments.

Just months into her marriage, Abby finds herself widowed, penniless, increasing, and determined to never hope again. But when her late husband’s brother, the Earl of Brigston, attempts to thaw the numbness surrounding her heart, Abby must decide if she has it in her to risk another chance at happiness, knowing the odds are not in her favor.




I haven't read a book by Rachael Anderson that I didn't absolutely love and this awesome book didn't fail to meet that grade. ~Vicki

This forbidden Regency romance was excellent! Once I started, it was hard -- almost impossible -- to put down. ~Charissa

This is the first full-length novel I've read by Rachael Anderson, but it definitely won't be the last. I really enjoyed the story -- the writing was really good with no annoying parts or awkwardness, the plot was interesting, the characters were endearing (I loved the banter between Brigtson and Abby!), and this book was just really good. Highly enjoyable. Great choice for those who like clean, well-written Regency romances. ~AE2

This is a wonderful story for anyone who enjoys a clever and heart-warming historical tale that will leave them with a smile on their face. ~Phyllis



Author Rachael Anderson

A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.








Giveaway Details
Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash
Ends 1/10/19

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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 may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

12 Days of Clean Romance Featuring Author Mylissa Demeyere: Giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash


The Songs That Brought Me Back by Mylissa Demeyere

Have you ever made a mistake? One so monumental you lost everything? I did, and I hate myself for it! All I want to do is close my eyes, and let the darkness consume me. Make it all go away. The end.

Ainsley is drowning in the depth of her despair. One wrong decision left her alone, with only regret as her constant companion. To escape it all, she makes another choice. One she hopes will end everything. Instead, she’s thrown into a whole new world filled with opportunities she doesn’t believe she deserves.

Ethan gives the appearance of breezing through life. But underneath his bright facade, he’s scarred by loss. When fate leads him into Ainsley’s world at the exact moment she needs someone the most, he can’t ignore the chance to right the wrongs of his past.

Ainsley and Ethan will struggle to help each other heal and start anew.

They’ll learn that the secret to conquering their pain lies within their power, if only they can do it together.

Always together.

Sometimes the ending is really the beginning.


ETHAN

“FILL THESE OUT, PLEASE.” The nurse at the ER admin desk shoved a clipboard holding a stack of insurance forms into my hands. “Once we get your partner stabilized, I’ll go find out about sending you in to see her.” She gave me a curt nod and disappeared behind the desk.

What had I been thinking? I hadn’t been thinking. Not much beyond getting my neighbor here in time. I had been living next door to Ainsley for the last six months, ever since the construction on my house was completed. And I had noticed her from day one. Who wouldn’t, with her striking blue eyes, long blonde hair, and a body every man dreams of?

But there was more. She had this frailty about her, if you looked close enough. And it drew me in, right from the start. But she never let me get further than a few pleasantries. Still, it didn’t stop me from trying. And I had tried to be her friend.

When I found her earlier today… I shuddered as the memory washed over me.

I clutched the letter in my hand, secretly happy I had an excuse to ring Ainsley’s doorbell. The mailman had messed up and I couldn’t let the opportunity slide, noting her car in the driveway.


Walking up to the door, I rolled my shoulders and took a deep breath, aiming for cool and suave, not flustered and eager like she had me feeling each time I caught a glimpse of her.


I rang the bell and turned to soak up the bright rays of sunfeeling my stomach knot as the anticipation rose. A few seconds passed, but no one came to open the door.

I turned to ring the bell again, sure she was home, when I stopped dead in my tracks, my hand still suspended in the air. My heart started pounding in my chest as the ground beneath me felt like it was moving.

“Ainsley! Ainsley!” I pounded on the door, her lifeless body sprawled on the floor in the hallway just visible through the sidelights. My palms felt moist as I fought against the rising panic.

“Ainsley!!” My voice was hoarse as I belted out her name over and over.


Instinct took over. I ran to the back door and found it unlocked. I hadn’t ever let myself in, but now wasn’t the time to worry about that.


“Ainsley!” I fell on my knees next to her, taking in the full scene. Her chest was barely moving, her lips a faint shade of blue.

An empty pill bottle lay on the floor beside her. I picked it up, already sure of what was going on but needing to confirm it.
Time seemed to stand still as I pieced it all together, but the loud, ringing sound in my ears forced me to move and get help. 

“Ainsley, what have you done?” I cried as I slipped my phone out of my back pocket and called 911. I hoped I wasn’t too late, that we still had time.

“What happened?” One of the paramedics loaded her on a gurney while the other got to work checking her vitals. I rehashed all I knew, which wasn’t very much.

They loaded her in the ambulance, and after getting the right info about where they were taking her, I sped over to the hospital in record time.

“What’s your relationship to the patient?” The ER clerk typed in Ainsley’s name without making eye contact.


“I don’t see how that’s important now,” I growled.


“Only the next of kin can see the patient.” She looked up for  the first time and took in my panicked state.

“I’m her…boyfriend.” Where did that come from? I didn’t even  know her that well, but I couldn’t take it back now.

“I see.” The woman stared up at me over her wide-rimmed  glasses, pausing as she studied me. Did she pick up on my hesitation? Did she detect the lie?

“Please take a seat. I’ll have her paperwork ready in just a sec.”


I released the breath I held and dropped down in the vinyl seat, overcome by the events of the past hour.


I’d been waiting for over two hours, and I was frantic. I didn’t do so well in a hospital setting.

“Mr. Van Der Beek?” A doctor dressed in light blue scrubs walked into the waiting area. I stood up.

“Yes?” My heart beat double time, waiting for him to give me news on Ainsley.

“We were able to stabilize your girlfriend.” The word made me wince. The doctor luckily mistook it for the info he was delivering, and his expression softened, his eyes full of sympathy. “Ainsley experienced respiratory depression, and we needed to intubate her to ensure she was getting enough
oxygen.”

I swallowed the bile rising in my throat and nodded my understanding.

“We’ll keep her in the ICU until she gains consciousness.”

“But she’s going to be okay?” I pleaded.

“We’ll know for sure tomorrow. I think you got to her in time.” He patted me on the shoulder and turned to leave but reconsidered.

“Mr. Van Der Beek.” He stared into my eyes. 

“Yes?” I felt the weight of the day settle on my shoulders.

“Your girlfriend is very sick. Even if she makes a full physical recovery, you have a long road ahead of you.”

I nodded, my eyes stinging. “Thank you, Doctor.” I sank onto one of the chairs lining the side of the waiting area. If anyone knew how long that road was, it was me.






A heartfelt romance with a powerful message about the sanctity of human life. If you’ve ever simply needed a friend, The Songs That Brought Me Back will resonate -- and leave you thankful for the people in your life. -Taylor Dean, author of I’m With You and Chasing Fireflies

Another remarkable read by Mylissa Demeyere. Ethan and Ainsley had me laughing and crying as they face their own demons and fall in love while doing it. This book adds even more depth as it confronts suicide head on. Suicide has become an epidemic that some are afraid to address; Demeyere brings it to light from both the victims and the survivors giving us insight on the struggles of so many. It does not disappoint and I, again, am excited to see what comes next from this talented writer. – Amazon Reviewer

A beautiful sequel to The Songs of You and Me that cleverly illustrates that there are always two sides to every story and that it is never too late for love to overcome any challenge. – Amazon Reviewer

“This poignant redemption story about second chances and forgiveness yanked my emotions all over the place. I cried, I yearned, I hoped. A beautiful story about what true love is and does.” – Charissa Stastny, author of Between Hope and the Highway and The Ruled Out Romance Series




Author Mylissa Demeyere

Mylissa Demeyere was born in Belgium, and resides in the beautiful city of Ghent. She lives in a somewhat organized home with her four beautiful children and the love of her life. If she isn’t working, she’s writing, running, reading, or enjoying time with her kids, who are growing up way too fast.

The Songs That Brought Me Back is her second novel in The Songs Series, with a third book releasing in the middle of 2019.







Giveaway Details
Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash
Ends 1/10/19

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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 may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Library of Absolution Book Blitz: Giveaway for a Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box

Library of Absolution 
by Jennifer Derrick
(Legacy of the Book Mesmer, #1)
Published by: Crimson Tree Publishing
Publication date: December 17th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Alarick Brandon is the powerful wizard who operates The Keep, a refuge for magical people fleeing the persecution of the Ministry. A bitter realist, Alarick knows it’s only a matter of time until the Ministry succeeds in eradicating magic from the world—and exterminating all magical beings—so he has been careful to avoid any personal involvement with the people who pass through his sanctuary. 
But when Elissa Stone arrives at The Keep, her village a smoldering ruin, and only her magical talent and a forbidden library left to her name, Alarick’s ordered world descends into chaos. Elissa is a Book Mesmer, a magical talent long believed extinct. She can enchant books, making them indestructible, unreadable…even deadly to unauthorized readers. But while her magic can secure a legacy for future magical generations, it’s not a skill that’s good in a fight, and certainly not one that Alarick sees any real use for. But there’s something compelling about a woman who defies the Ministry’s edicts against female literacy, and she seems determined to prove that knowledge is a weapon in its own right… 
The first installment in an enticing new fantasy series by author Jennifer Derrick, The Library of Absolution is a compelling story of perseverance and determination in the face of persecution, in a Dark Age where hope is lost—and knowledge is the only thing left to fight for.



EXCERPT:

“You told me you left to look for books,” Alarick said.

“I did, in part. That wasn’t a total fabrication. I figured if I was leaving I might as well make the effort. If I was going to get killed by the Ministry, it should be in the service of something larger than myself. Fool that I was,” she whispered.

Alarick ignored the last part. She was only stating a fact. There was no need for him to comment further on her foolishness.

“But you had no intention of returning?” he asked. “Because of something you found in my library?”
The thought of her leaving with no intention to return gutted him. It was bad enough she’d wanted to leave at all; to put her safety at risk for the sake of some books. It was bad enough that he had failed to keep her safe; to understand what she meant to do until it was too late.

But even at the worst of it, he’d believed she intended to return to him. To the Keep. That was why he’d gone after her, because he believed she still wanted to be here. That she’d intended to run away forever was unthinkable. That he’d risked his life for someone who had run from him, who wanted nothing to do with him, was galling.

He choked back his rage and sorrow, replacing them with cool disdain.

“Well, then, are you going to tell me just what was so terrible that it would make you flee and never come back? I’m aware that nothing in that library paints me in a flattering light, but you already knew of my unpleasantness. Surely the disjointed ramblings of a young man could not be quite so damning,” Alarick said.

Of course, he knew the truth. There were some secrets in there so damning he could imagine exactly why she wanted to run from him. It was why he kept that room protected. Damn her for finding it. Damn her for finding him.

She turned her head away from him. Not that it mattered. She couldn’t see him. But he wasn’t going to let her damn his soul and cast him out of her life without at least facing him while she did it. He reached over and with gentle pressure turned her chin toward him.

“If you expect me to forgive you for your trespass, you will at least face me while you tell me exactly what sort of monster you believe me to be,” he said.

“I’d rather you tell me the story as the man you are now, not the boy who did the things I read. Tell me there’s a better ending to your story. Tell me that you are not the monster.”

He laughed at that.

“Would that I could,” he said. “But since you read my books, I’m certain you know there is no redemption for me. That is why you left, isn’t it?”

“No. I didn’t leave because I feared you to be irredeemable. My time with you has taught me that there is more to you than the boy in those books. I left because I feared there was no place for me in your story. And that I could not bear.”

He was about to say something, but suddenly he couldn’t remember what it was. What had she said? She hadn’t left because of his past deeds, but because she was afraid he had no place for her? Was that possibly right? He struggled to make sense of it in his brain. He’d expected condemnation, not… Was it disappointment he heard in her voice?

Before he could sort out a proper response, she said, “I’ve read your grimoire. It’s terrifying. Start with why you took such an interest in dark magic and go from there.”

Alarick said nothing at first. Why had he taken an interest in dark magic? The question was better phrased as, “Why not?” He looked at Elissa. She might not be able to see him, but she had an uncanny ability to focus on his face as though she could. And something in her eyes compelled him to tell the story that he’d never told anyone in its entirety.



Author Bio:
Jennifer is a freelance writer and novelist. As a freelancer, she writes everything from technical manuals to articles on personal finance and European-style board games. Her interest in storytelling began when she was six. Her parents gave her a typewriter for Christmas and agreed to pay her $.01 per page for any stories she churned out. Such a loose payment system naturally led to a lot of story padding. Broken Fate, her first novel, earned her $2.80 from her parents. 

Jennifer lives in North Carolina and, when not writing, can often be found reading, trawling the shelves at the library, playing board games, watching sports, camping, running marathons, and playing with her dog. 

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