Monday, 29 June 2015

Exciting News, Everyone! I Also Need Your Thoughts on Something

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I'M GOING TO CANADA!
(Did the picture giveaway my news?)


So basically, I've been accepted for an exchange program to Canada for my next semester of uni! Exciting stuff, right?


I'm really excited because it'll be a chance for me to experience a whole bunch of firsts including, but not limited to:
  • Living outside of Australia
  • Visiting North America
  • Going in snow (...Do you want to build a snowman?)
  • White Christmas
  • Being the person with the accent
  • Hug a moose... not actually sure if it's allowed or safe, BUT I WANT TO DO IT!

But I digress. The point of this post is to get your opinion on an idea that I had.

Would you be interested in a mini-series-type thing where I post about my (mis)adventures while on exchange? I'd most likely be a fortnightly or monthly thing depending on what I get up to. It'd run from September through to about January.

Yay or Nay?
Please Comment Your Thoughts

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Friday, 26 June 2015

Book Blitz: Waterfall by Amber Garr | Guest Post + Giveaway

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Waterfall
Amber Garr

The Water Crisis Chonicles #1

Published June 2015

Purchase: Amazon | B&N

The water is gone. The wars have begun.

Clean water is a luxury most can no longer afford. Climate change, industrial sabotage, and greed have turned country against country as each one tries to provide for its citizens. Terrorist groups target desalinization plants and frustrated governments hunt those who work against them. Rationing, sequestering, and patrolling have become routine at a time when there are too many people and not enough resources.

While the world around them disintegrates into chaos, Zach and Vivienne hope that their life in a government-run complex will retain some semblance of normalcy. But when attacks on their water supplies bring war to their sheltered community, they must accept their new fate. Stay and fight or flee and endure—it’s a difficult decision with lasting consequences.

Will they choose what’s safe? Or will they choose to survive?

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
Amber Garr spends her days as a scientist and nights writing about other worlds. Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is sacred, and she is certain that she has a supernatural sense of smell. Amber is a multiple Royal Palm Literary Award winner, author of the bestselling novels The Syrenka Series, the award-winning Water Crisis Chronicles, The Leila Marx Novels, and the Death Warden Series. When not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie. Find out more at www.ambergarr.com.

The Story Behind the Water Crisis Series

As you probably already know, I work as a scientist in my other life. Over the years, my research has often focused on the conservation and restoration of aquatic species. And a lot of that time, their issues have stemmed from contaminated water or excess pollution in the environment.

For several years, I’ve wanted to write a book about what would happen to the world when humans began fighting over drinking water. And I say began, but really, it has already begun. Do you know you have to purchase water rights in some states out west when you buy property?

Have you ever experienced water restrictions in your neighborhood? Or did you know that several countries are already considered water-stressed? It’s happening, and just to show you how scary it is, here are some facts to consider:
  1. 1 billion people currently don’t have access to clean drinking water.
  2. 3.4 million people die from water related diseases each year.
  3. By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in a water-stressed county.
  4. An American taking a 5 minute shower uses more water than the average person living in a developing country uses in an entire day.
  5. Over 260 river basins are shared by two or more countries without adequate legal or institutional arrangements regarding water utilization.
  6. By 2020, California will face a water shortage as great as the amount they consume today.
Worried yet? I know I am. So anyway…back to Waterproof. What will happen when the water disappears? How will society react? What unique science may evolve out of this type of tragedy? All questions I’ve asked myself for years and then had a chance to answer (or hint at) in this book.

I also wanted to highlight the idea of friendship and romance rising up out of the chaos. At a time when the survivors have to fight for every second of their life, I thought it would be nice for them to find some type of comfort in their closest friends. No time for love triangles or petty games when you’re being hunted!

So as you read this book and start thinking more about the water shortages (as I did!), check out these sites to see what little things you can do so that some day we aren’t deserters running for our lives!

100+ Ways to Conserve Water
25 Ways to Conserve Water in the Home and Yard

*Sources: www.water.org; www.worldwatercouncil.org; www.fao.org

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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Book Blitz: The Witches of BlackBrook by Tish Thawer | Author Interview + Giveaway

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The Witches of BlackBrook
Tish Thawer

The Witches of BlackBrook #1

Published June 23rd 2015

Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Through space and time, sisters entwined. Lost then found, souls remain bound.

Three sisters escape the Salem witch trials when the eldest casts a spell that hurdles their souls forward through time. After centuries separated, fate has finally reunited them in the present day.

One the healer, one the teacher, and one the deceiver.

Will their reunion return their full powers, or end their souls journey forever?

A Witches of BlackBrook novel.

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
Tish Thawer writes paranormal romances for all ages. Her magickal elements and detailed world-building are a welcome constant in every novel.

Before becoming a writer she worked as a computer consultant, a photographer and a graphic designer. She also operates a custom glass etching business, in addition to being a wife and the mother of three wonderful children.

She's been a fan of the paranormal for as long as she can remember. Anything to do with superpowers, myth and magic has always held a special place in her heart. From her first paranormal cartoon, Isis, to the phenomenon that is Twilight, this genre has always been a part of her life.

A common FAQ: "How do you pronounce her last name?"
Answer: Think "Bower" or "Thow-er". It's Persian!

Author Interview

When and why did you begin writing?
In 2010 I woke up from a dream and had the title of my first book running through my head. Minutes later, I knew the other two titles, and had the entire story-line of The Rose Trilogy all worked out.

Who encouraged you or what made you decide to write a novel and seek publication?
I’ve been a member of Shelfari since 2007, and was asked to become a Librarian for them after putting in countless hours of editing. Being so emerged in books and seeing all the wonderful series on a daily basis while working in the backend of the site, to say that books had become my life, was an understatement. I’m now one of 13 Librarians for the hundreds of thousands of members, as well as one of it’s top 50 editors.

What drew you to write Paranormal Romance?
I always go back to the phrase, “Write what you know.” And while my genre is considered paranormal for the unrealistic and fantastical elements, it’s what I know. It’s what I prefer to read and what I’ve studied in my actual life. (Psstt...in case you’re wondering, yes, I’m a witch.)

Of all your characters, who’s your favorite, and why?
Raven. She’s tough but sensitive, sexy but tom-boyish, and has a wicked sense of humor and a sharp tongue.

What would you love to write someday but haven’t yet?
I started a contemporary romance trilogy that I’d love to return to. I just have to figure out how to write it without someone getting bitten and turning into a vampire or werewolf. LOL

Were books a big part of your life growing up? If so, what books would you say influenced you most as a child?
Actually...no. My mother was the reader in the family and to this day, she teases me about how it took thirty some years for me to finally catch on.

What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
I’m 44, have 16 tattoos, and cuss like a sailor. (Sorry, Grandma.)
I started teaching dance when I was 15 years old.

When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
Watching TV and movies, and playing games with my family.

Three things always found in your refrigerator:
Stuffed olives, Soda, Cheese

Writing is often a sedentary profession. Is there anything you do to beat stress and keep in shape?
I hike and exercise in my home, and dance as often as possible.

You’re in line at Starbucks. What are you ordering?
Java Chip Frap with Whip or a Caramel Apple Spice

Where do you go when you need to recharge?
Sedona, AZ or back home to Colorado.

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Monday, 22 June 2015

Gallantry That Makes Your Heart Melt

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In novels, the love interest always has that one super cute and gallant action up his sleeve that is the thing that makes the MC fall completely for them. Usually they're this overly dramatic gestures like him allowing himself to be chained in the pits of Hell to save you best friend/other love interest, like in White Hot Kiss.

In the real world, however, it's unlikely that these types of situations would arise. More often than not, this is a blessing because not only would you feel super bad about the fact that some willingly went to Hell for you, but talk about high expectation for the next guy! This isn't a situation you would like to find yourself in.

So I thought, What gallant thing can an everyday guy do to make you think,'Yep, that one's a keeper'?

Personally, the first memory that comes to mind is when I accidentally farted (rather loudly) whilst with a group of people I'd just met. Needless to say, I was mortified. I just happen to make eye contact with the guy across from me, and he, obviously understanding from my embarrassed and panicked face that I was guilty, said,"My bad, guys." Just like that. No hesitation. Just took the hit as everyone laughed at him. But, oh, this moment was not over yet. It seemed my first fart had a friend, and a second one slipped from me. And the guy covered for that one, too!

I know this seems like a small thing, but this random act of kindness from, what was then basically a complete stranger, is something that I'll never forget.


Has a guy ever done anything gallant-like for you?
Share your story with me in the comments!
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Saturday, 20 June 2015

Book Blitz: Falling Fast by Tina Wainscott | Excerpt + Giveaway

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Falling Fast
Tina Wainscott

Falling Fast #1

Published June 16th 2015

Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

Fans of Jasinda Wilder and Colleen Hoover will adore this emotional new small-town romance—a smoldering tale of first love and long-awaited redemption from USA Today bestselling author Tina Wainscott.

Raleigh West works in an auto shop day and night, trying to put his broken past out of mind. It’s been seven years since the fiery crash that landed his teenage sweetheart in the hospital . . . and him in jail. In an instant, he lost everything: his passion for racing, his hope of escaping his father’s shameful legacy, and the only girl he ever loved. Raleigh hasn’t seen her since that awful night. Never got a chance to apologize. And never forgave himself, either.

When brave, beautiful Mia Wentworth returns to the Florida coast for the first time in what seems like forever, it’s not to see Raleigh. Even so, the moment she arrives she can feel his presence like a gust of wind that gives her goose bumps. Opening her heart to him again seems impossible. But staying away? That might be harder still. Lucky for them both, Mia’s never been the kind of woman to take the easy way out.

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
Tina Wainscott has always loved the combination of suspenseful chills and romantic thrills. She's published fifteen romantic suspense novels, as well as ten paranormal romances as Jaime Rush. Losing her nephew, a Marine, in the war made her realize that our military men are really the perfect heroes. Not only during the war but afterward as they try to stitch their lives and souls together once they're home. And so was born The Justiss Alliance, an agency where these men can find purpose, honor, and love outside the war zone.

~When five Navy SEALs take the fall for a covert mission gone wrong, the brotherhood of bad-asses join The Justiss Alliance, a private agency that exacts justice outside the law.~

WILD HEARTS
WILD ON YOU
WILD WAYS – May 2014
WILD NIGHTS – Nov 2014

For contests, sneak peeks and more, visit www.TinaWainscott.com. For more on her paranormal romances, go to www.JaimeRush.com.

Excerpt

Prologue

Seven years ago

Dear Journal,

Here I am again in this nothing little coastal town, not even a Starbucks or a decent Wi-Fi. We usually spend a week visiting Grandma, but this year it’s the whole summer while Dad consults on a dredging project.

If I were like normal seventeen-year-olds, I’d be missing my friends. Only it’s hard to have friends when you’ve spent half your life in and out of the hospital, having to explain why you’re bald and why you’ve been out of school for chunks of time. They either feel sorry for you or drift away because they don’t know how to relate to you anymore. I understand, because I can’t relate to them, either. It’s hard to sympathize with someone over a bad hair day or getting grounded when you see how insignificant it is in the big scheme of life. Besides, who wants to be friends with someone who might die, right? I should know. I’ve lost a few friends I met at the hospital, and it’s heartbreaking.

So, yeah, I’m not normal. But I just passed the two-year mark after my last chemo, so I am officially cured!

As long as it doesn’t come back. Damn, I hate how that phrase rolls right into my mind. But I still have nightmares about Dr. Cane walking in with that somber expression, and me with that sinking feeling while all I can think is NO, NO, NOT AGAIN!

Okay, so forget that. I’m cured. PERIOD. I feel like I should be celebrating. There’s this pressure to squeeze every ounce of life from every minute, but the super-secret truth is, I just want to stay in my cocoon and be safe and comfortable.

Being in Chambliss is both, but I’m totally bored. Most of the beaches are really small and covered in environmentally protected sea grasses or mangrove forests, so the area isn’t developed or touristy. Grandma’s neighborhood is a bunch of scrubland lots, with a scattering of older cottages on the Gulf. I don’t know anyone, and I’m not good at striking up conversations. It’s easier in the hospital, because you have something in common: “What d’ya got?” Then you trade initials, like my ARMS, or AML or Wilms’ tumor, and then comes the long words the letters stand for. And the war stories. Chemo, throwing up, the way the foods you love smell horrible. Yeah, fun stuff, but it bonds you.

Today Mom’s dropping me off at the garage so I can pick up the Lexus that was getting fixed. I finally garnered enough pity for her to let me drive the car to the public beach, where I might actually meet kids my own age. Alone. So excited!! I’ve resolved that I will initiate a conversation with at least one person today. So nervous!!

OMG. So Mom drops me off, right? I make her leave instead of going in with me. It’s Saturday, so the garage isn’t officially open. But the owner assured her that the mechanic who uses the shop in the off hours will give me the keys and the paperwork. When I walk to the open bays, I see muscular legs coming from beneath a supremely hot, souped-up car. I should have noticed the car first, though I’m not really a car girl. I’ve never considered myself to be boy crazy, either. But those legs, bouncing to the beat of the rock song blaring on the radio, are what snagged my attention.

What the heck? I enjoy the view, lightly dusted legs with fair hair. Runner’s legs. Finally, I feel guilty and a bit voyeuristic, so I try to get his attention. Clearing my throat doesn’t do a bit of good over the music. I think about touching that thigh, where the muscles tighten with his movements. Stroking my fingers down the hairs that look silky soft. But, of course, I don’t! I’ve never even kissed a guy. I could tap his beat-up sneakers, I suppose, but even that’s more touching than I can consider.

Finally, I kneel down and catch his profile. Strong nose and chin. Nice mouth, pursed as he jerks on a wrench that’s clearly not moving a bolt. Eyebrows furrowed in complete concentration. Yeah, I could stay there forever, too. But he must catch my movement, because he looks over and says,“Oh. Hey,” then pushes out on one of those mechanic’s skateboard-like things.

My heart does this crazy bumping thing. He’s probably just a little older than me, by the six o’clock shadow along his jawline and chin. And tall, over six feet, wearing a tight black T-shirt that shows off broad shoulders. And gorgeous. Eyes as blue as the afternoon sky, you know, when there’s a storm that makes it dark and scary. And light brown hair with just a hint of red that’s a few months overdue for a haircut. For a second, or however many I’m standing there taking him in, I swear he’s doing the same to me as he wipes his hands. He cracks a smile, and OMG . . . just OMG.

“You must be Mia Wentworth,” he says. “Here for the Lexus, right?”

I actually cannot talk for a second. So embarrassing. I do nod, so I’m not a total loser. But I don’t want him to just hand me the key and shoo me off. He’s the conversation I’m going to initiate today. I look at the car. It’s a Camaro, with a big spoiler and red paint that glitters when the light hits it a certain way. So I chat him up on the car. It’s his. He tells me he’s doing this and that, things I have no idea about but sound fast. Then, with this secret smile, he admits he races it. There’s a group of teens who race on weekend nights. Different places every time, so the cops don’t catch on. He does this kind of work for them, too, whenever they can scrape up the dough. That’s how he said it: “dough.” So sexy, with his deep, husky voice. He’s not nervous or trying to impress me, just casual and . . . cool.

Oh, and his name is Raleigh. Like the city in North Carolina, he says, adding that he doesn’t know why his mom chose it, since she died when he was five. His dad’s killed too many brain cells to remember the inspiration. Raleigh tells me this like it’s no big deal, yet I have a feeling he doesn’t just tell everyone.

Raleigh. I love that name, but I simply say that I like it. It’s different. Staying cool, right? Then he invites me to watch a race sometime. He winks and suggests that I can be his pit crew, cheer him on. Like he probably doesn’t have a dozen girls who happily do that already.

I know I can’t possibly watch an illegal race at midnight. Not with my parents’ permission, anyway. But I say, “Sure, I’d love to,” because my heart is racing, for sure, at the thought. He smiles like he’s looking forward to it. And I know he’s trouble. Big, crazy, scary trouble. And for the first time I want—no, CRAVE—that trouble. I crave the way he’s taking me in—a quick sweep of my body in my tank top and shorts, flip-flops with the plastic gems encrusted on the straps. and the toenails I’ve taken great pains to paint. He meets my eyes and smiles in a soft, intimate way. Yep, biiiig trouble.

He doesn’t know I’ve spent seven years of my life fighting cancer. That my short hair is not a fashion statement. Or a choice. The way he looks at me, as though I’m beautiful and healthy, makes me feel like I’ve never been sick a day in my life. He’s trouble, all right. And I don’t give a damn.


Chapter 1

Present day

Raleigh West washed the grease off his hands. Not the way he usually did, with the soap that erased it completely, but enough to get the slickness off. He still had another hour or two dyno-tuning the black Corvette in the garage. The customer autocross raced it, and Raleigh promised it would be sexed up by the weekend.

He glanced up as Paxton Sullivan sauntered into the garage in his officer’s uniform. Pax didn’t usually come by when he was on duty. Of course, he always looked a little “off-duty,” with his wavy hair a tad too long and his lazy smile a little too laid-back for a cop. Raleigh was surprised he’d lasted this long.

“Sweet ride.” Pax traced the flames decaling and flashed a predatory smile. “Anyone I need to keep an eye out for?”

Raleigh planted his hand on the car’s roof. “Calm down there, siren boy. Customer’s a fifty-year-old banker from Alabama.”

Pax grinned in approval. “Alabama, eh? Word’s getting out about you. A-stounding. Now that the garage is for sale, you can make Hardcore Edge a full-time gig instead of skulking around at night like a chop-shop operator.”

“If I could get the bank to give me a loan so I can buy this place. Have an extra forty grand I can borrow?”

Pax gave him a regretful smile. “Wish I did, man. All my spare change goes into reopening the speedway. You are gonna race when we open, right? You’re just shitting me about not running, ’cause I know you want to.”

Hell, yeah, Raleigh wanted to race. “I’ve outgrown the need for speed.”

“That’s a big load of bull. You didn’t buy that ’Cuda just ’cause you look purty in it.”

“I bought the car because it looked purty,” Raleigh said, imitating him. He’d tried hard to eradicate his southern accent. Pax, from more money than he came from, could afford to keep it without being judged as white trash.

Pax dug into his pocket and tossed something to Raleigh. Reflexively, he snapped it out of the air, eyeing the key in his palm. “What’s this?”

“Key to the gate at the track. Do your tuning there.”

Raleigh curled his hand around the key’s jagged edge. “Trying to tempt me? Figure once I’m there I won’t be able to resist running?”

Pax gave him the conspiratorial wink he used when they’d been planning some misadventure or another. “I’m countin’ on it. We have rules and regulations. No drinking. No screwing around. It’ll be like the good ole days, only better.” The good old days, when they were wild, young, and free. Before the crash that shattered Mia’s life and landed him in jail. “And safer.”

“I’m not afraid to crash again.” It went deeper than that. “Look, I’d better get back to work.”

Pax flattened his hands on the car’s roof. “I got some bad news, Raleigh. Nancy passed last night.”

Raleigh’s heart thudded painfully. “How?”

“She was eighty-two. Her doc thinks her heart probably just stopped tickin’.”

Raleigh fought the tingle in his eyes by jabbing his fingers into them. “I know she was older, but she was feisty. Full of life.” He never thought about her dying, even though she talked about it. And she was so damned nonchalant, too.

“She bought a plot at the Chambliss cemetery,” Pax said. “The funeral will be here. I bet she’ll come down for that.”

Pax was talking about Mia. Mia, here. Raleigh didn’t think his heart could beat any slower after hearing about Nancy, but apparently it could. He fought not to close his eyes and sink into the bittersweet ache Mia’s name evoked. What would she look like now? She’d be twenty-four. Grown up.

“Thanks for letting me know,” Raleigh said.

Pax patted Raleigh’s arm and headed out. Raleigh stared off into the dark long after Pax’s taillights disappeared into the night. Twin emotions battled inside him. Nancy gone. The woman who’d been like a grandmother, when she should have hated him the way Mia’s parents did.

Nancy wrote to him shortly after his incarceration, giving him an update on Mia and assuring him that she would survive. Nancy figured Raleigh must be frantic not knowing how she was. Both the update and the kindness behind it brought tears to his eyes.

His thank-you letter had started a continuous correspondence that made all those days and weeks and months tolerable. News of Mia’s treatments, her progress, her victories. After his release, she invited him over for a home-cooked meal. That was when he noticed the loose boards on her front steps, the latticework that needed staining. He’d volunteered to fix them. They shared another meal when he had. He spotted more things that needed fixing. And, over time, they’d become friends and, in a way, family. Better than any family he had. She had fed him pictures and news about Mia over the years. Not many pictures, and most of them dimly lit or long-distance shots—the only ones Mia would allow, apparently.

Mia had finished high school with private tutoring as she’d healed, though she’d managed to walk across the stage. Raleigh had pretended mild interest in Mia’s life, but Nancy probably saw the way he devoured every tidbit.

Now she was gone. His friend. Surrogate grandmother. Link to Mia.

Then there was the other emotion fighting for dominance inside him: hope, with a heavy dose of fear. Seeing Mia would be heartbreaking in a different way. How scarred would she be? How angry at him still? He could remember the pain in her voice during the one phone call they’d had since the accident. She’d barely given him a chance to say how sorry he was for letting her ride with him that night. Sure, she’d wanted to, but he should have said no.

He couldn’t refuse Mia anything, with her hunger for speed and life and him. He’d been as intoxicated by her as she was with him. Speed had nothing on the way she made him feel, how she felt in his arms, and the way she’d come alive beneath his touch. They’d been in love the way only a seventeen-year-old and a nineteen–year-old could be—fully, recklessly, unwilling to think about the thirteen hundred miles they lived apart, the million miles of social class between them.

After the call, he’d sent a couple of letters, needing to say that he was sorry. Still no response. Nancy suspected that Mia’s parents were intercepting them. He’d even joined Facebook, something he had no other use for, just to see if he could find her on there. No luck. So he’d settled for Nancy’s updates.

He headed over to the ’vette, but work wasn’t in him now. He closed everything up, parked the car outside beneath the metal roof he’d installed out back, and got into his 1970 Barracuda. The engine rumbled like a caged tiger. Giving in and buying a muscle car—not a good idea, especially with the new 4bb carburetor that bumped the horsepower to over three hundred. It whispered to him, wanted to lure him into jamming his foot down on the gas pedal.

He needed to drive by Nancy’s cottage one more time. Maybe sit out on the deck and remember the times they had shared lasagna after he’d been painting all day or refinishing her wood floors. That was the only payment he accepted, her home-cooked meals and her friendship.

He pulled down the gravel road that housed five cottages built in the sixties. One of them was in the process of being torn down, no doubt to be replaced by something shiny and new. The small Panhandle town didn’t boast wide, sugar-sand beaches. The scrubland in this area, with its sea-grass-covered dunes, hadn’t been developed as it had farther west. But, with the economy recovering, Chambliss was now seeing the results of the dredging project begun years ago.

As he neared Nancy’s home, his heartbeat spiked at the sight of two cars parked out front, lights blazing inside. Mia and her parents, he bet. They’d probably just arrived, given the luggage in the open trunk. He paused, even though he knew that he should back up and leave.

Like now.

Except he couldn’t, because the front door opened and a woman stepped out. His heart tripped and coughed and gasped like a gunked-up carburetor. Mia. Her dark-brown hair was piled up on her head, loose strands framing her face. She stepped off the front porch and out of the light, but in that brief glimpse he could see her tired, sad expression as she headed toward the open trunk. Which would put her only a few yards away from his car.

He still couldn’t lift his foot from the brake pedal. His windows were tinted, so she wouldn’t see him. He couldn’t see her as well, either, but he saw enough as she hefted out the black suitcase. Now his heart was racing, seventy, eighty, a hundred miles an hour. She wore a red top, one sleeve drooping off her shoulder, and shorts. Still trim and long in the torso. Still about five-five. It was her face, what he could see of it in the distant lighting, that gripped him. In this light, as beautiful as ever. Memories flashed through his mind like a slide show: her laughing; smiling shyly; closing her eyes and arching as she came beneath him. Whispering his name, her fingers digging into his back.

She looked up then, her gaze zeroing in on his car. Her eyebrows furrowed, and she tilted her head in the way he’d seen a hundred times. Something inside him screamed to lower the window and say something. Hello. How are you? I’m so sorry . . .

She turned to glance behind her, where her father was coming down the steps. Raleigh hit the gas and shot forward to the end of the lane, where he had to pry his fingers from the steering wheel to put the car into park. He was shaking.

Dammit, he’d almost screwed up. Talking to her would only dredge up a painful past for Mia. Maybe her anger, too. Her father would have blown a gasket. Mia didn’t deserve to suffer anymore over him.

He forced himself to breathe normally and pull around the small cul-de-sac. As he passed Nancy’s cottage, he vowed that he wouldn’t look. But he couldn’t help it. Everyone was inside, the cars closed up. He told himself it was for the better. That maybe he shouldn’t attend the funeral after all. How the hell was he going to handle seeing her without a tinted window and the night between them?


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Thursday, 18 June 2015

Blog Tour: Dancing to an Irish Reel by Claire Fullerton | Guest Post + Giveaway

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Dancing to an Irish Reel
Claire Fullerton

Published March 6th 2015

Purchase: Amazon | B&N

On sabbatical from her job in the LA record business, twenty five year old Hailey Crossan takes a trip to Ireland for the vacation of a lifetime. What she finds is a job offer too good to turn down.

But her new life in Ireland comes with one major complication—Liam Hennessey. He’s a famous Irish musician whose entire live has revolved around performing. And Hailey falls in love with him. Because Liam’s not so sure love can fit into his life, he’s afraid to come closer, but neither can he bring himself to go away.

And so begins Hailey’s journey to a colorful land that changes her life, unites her with friends more colorful than the Irish landscape, and teaches her more about love than she’s ever known before.

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
Claire Fullerton is the author of Paranormal Mystery, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California (Vinspire Publishing) and Dancing to an Irish Reel, Fiction, set in Connemara, Ireland, (Vinspire Publishing.) She is a three time award winning essayist, a former newspaper columnist, a contributor to magazines, and a four time contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. Claire hails from Memphis,TN and now lives in Malibu, CA. Currently, Claire is writing her third novel, which is based on her award winning essay in the 2013 San Francisco Writer’s Conference.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Getting Published

I believe if one simply writes, the path to publication will present itself in surprising increments. I started by keeping a journal when I was in my late teens. The habit produced my “voice,” if you will, which was not something I had to search for; it was there all along as a product of how I think, which has a direct influence on how I speak.

I like to explain things, to point out connections and meaning behind life’s little affairs. So when a seemingly domesticated white dove landed on our patio in Malibu and stayed for eleven days, I contacted my local newspaper, thinking maybe someone had lost a pet. I was asked to take a picture and write a few lines, so I told the entire story of how the bird magically appeared, how it took up residency, and how we built it a hutch. The editor of the paper liked the piece so much, she offered me a job, which resulted in my own weekly column, and my writing career blossomed from there.

I now had the confidence to submit to magazines, and I stayed with my strong suit by writing first person narratives with a point to the story. From there, I submitted to “Chicken Soup for the Soul’s” book series and gained multiple publications. When I decided to write an intriguing, mysterious novel set on California’s haunting and misty Monterey Peninsula, I wrote it in two alternating time periods, in the manner of a book I would like to read, and titled it “A Portal in Time.” From there, I searched around for a publisher that accepted unsolicited manuscripts in the paranormal mystery genre, and was thrilled beyond measure to embark upon a very supportive relationship with Vinspire Publishing. This relationship has been a rewarding tutorial in the world of publishing.

It also provided the publication of “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” which is in an entirely different genre than “A Portal in Time.” “Dancing to an Irish Reel” is literary fiction, and I believe it was accepted by Vinspire Publishing because they are open minded and look to publishing quality fiction. Now I am writing my third novel, which is again literary fiction, and thanking my lucky stars that I have a literary home.

To think my path to publication started with the appearance of a white dove is something that continually thrills me. It has a sense of magic to it in a way that makes me think I am on the right path!

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Monday, 15 June 2015

Contemplating GIF Reviews

2 comments :
I've been reading a lot of reviews on Goodreads lately, and I'm really liking the ones with GIFs in them.

It's got me thinking, "Should I start including GIFs in my reviews?"

There is pretty much a GIF for everything (and most of them seem to be from Supernatural), but I'm not sure if I am willing to commit the time to building up a library of GIFs for every occasion... I mean, I spent 20 minutes finding the one I used for this post.

Do you guys think its worth the time?
....Maybe someone wants to email me their library?
2

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

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Shadow Study
Maria V. Snyder

Study #4

Published February 28th 2015

Purchase: Book Depository

Once, only her own life hung in the balance…

When Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. She survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia.

Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands—and protect her relationship with Valek.
Suddenly, though, dissent is rising. And Valek’s job—and his life—are in danger.

As Yelena tries to uncover her enemies, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. And now she must find a way to keep not only herself but all that she holds dear alive.

My Review

I was both excited and nervous when I found out that Snyder was going to be continuing Yelena's story in a new 3 part installment. I've seen it done with other series that I loved, and it just ruined the series for me. But this is Snyder, so I needn't have fretted because it seems she can do no wrong when it comes to the world of Sitia and Ixia - I loved it!

I highly recommend reading the Ice Study novella, which Snyder rewrote recently as a prequel to Shadow Study. I mean, like with all the other novellas, you can get away with not reading them, but things will make more sense if you take the time to do so. You can find it here, on her website.

Overall, Shadow Study was everything I hoped for and more. I suppose I'm a little disappointed that we don't see Yelena in her full mastery of her magic and kick some epic butt with it - but the series is still young, and she still kicks some serious butt without it.

Probably my favourite part about this novel is that we get different POVs! Yes, you read that correctly. This time around when get to see the world from inside of Yelena's, Valek's AND Janco's heads! All my favourite characters, so super exciting stuff.

I've had a long time love for Snyder and her writing, but she is so god damn EVIL when it comes to her cliffhangers! I swear they will be the death of me! When I finished it I was all:


Then had an epic rage quit and threw the book across the room in frustration. I of course immediately regretted harming the poor thing and leapt out of bed to pick it up and stroke it while apologising profusely . . . considering this was 1am in the morning, my housemates were not pleased with my antics.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't have a problem with what happened, but rather the fact that Snyder dropped a plot-bomb and then just stopped. I can just imagine her evil laughter while doing it. Eeeevvvil!

The bottom line?
READ. IT.
READ EVERYTHING BY SNYDER.
Trust me, you'll thank me later.


4 out of 5



PS. Copied this from the back of Ice Study. I found it both interesting and shocking.
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Friday, 12 June 2015

Book Blitz: Hope In Every Raindrop by Wesley Banks | Guest Post + Giveaway

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Hope In Every Raindrop
Wesley Banks

Published May 26th 2015

Purchase: Amazon | B&N

“Small towns have big stories.” That was a lesson Katie’s father taught her years ago. A lesson she’s taken to heart. And right now, Katie is desperate for a big story. Reeling from the recent loss of her father and with her agent breathing down her neck for the next book, the twenty-one-year-old writer picks a spot on the map and finds herself bound for a middle-of-nowhere town called Bishopville, South Carolina.

Taking a chance on the words of a local grocer, Katie stumbles upon a rare breed of dogs raised by the town doctor and his nephew Kyle. The only problem? Kyle isn’t interested in telling stories—especially not to a big-city girl who can’t seem to sit still. In an attempt to win him over as the clock winds down, Katie finds herself immersed in Kyle’s world, doing everything but writing.

When inspiration finally strikes, Katie is faced with an unforeseen catastrophe and a truth she can no longer ignore. While she has come to love the dogs, the real story may be about Kyle Walker.

About the Author

Website | Facebook | Instagram
Wesley Banks was born in 1983 and grew up on the west coast of Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Civil Engineering. After spending over 7 years building movable bridges from Florida to Washington he decided to focus on his true passion: writing.

Wesley recently moved from Florida to Oregon to get back to the great outdoors that he's love so much. He lives with his wife Lindsey, and his two dogs Linkin and Story. Most of his time these days is spent writing, with as much rock climbing, hiking, or skiing as they can fit in.

Wesley Banks's Top 10 Favourite Dog Movies

As you begin to read Hope In Every Raindrop, you will quickly discover Kyle Walker’s love for dogs, particularly his Carolina Grays (fictional breed).

Living in the small town of Bishopville, South Carolina Kyle Walker isn’t much of a movie guy. Fortunately I am. I love movies, but especially dog movies.


My Top 10 Favorite Dog Movies

These are listed in the order that I can remember watching them, though if I’m being completely honest #5 is my favorite (the ending is just wow).
  1. White Fang
  2. Homeward Bound
  3. Call of the Wild
  4. Turner and Hooch
  5. Iron Will
  6. Stone Fox
  7. Where the Red Fern Grows
  8. Marley & Me
  9. I Am Legend
  10. Hachi
I know I left some classics like Lassie, Benji, and Old Yeller off the list, but these are my favorites.

Last, but not least, I recently saw the trailer for Max and am guessing that will be on the list soon.

What’s your favorite dog movie (or book)?

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Thursday, 11 June 2015

Cover Reveal: Counter Clockwise by Elle Strauss

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Counter Clockwise
Elle Strauss

Clockwise #5

Purchase:
Amazon | iBooks | Google Play | Smashwords

High school senior Casey Donovan is in trouble. Again. If only she had trusted in Nate’s loyalty when he traveled to Spain with his college basketball team – despite the accompaniment of the cheerleading squad and Fiona the Floozy who’d made it super clear she wanted Nate for herself. Then she wouldn’t have made that impulsive trip to Hollywood and let Aiden do that stupid thing that threatened her relationship with Nate, and triggered a trip into the past. Only something is wildly wrong. She’s not in the 1860s like she should be. It’s 1929. And she didn’t come alone.
The fourth book, CLOCKED, is free with subscription to Elle's newsletter

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Email
Hey!
I'm author LEE STRAUSS.

I'm the author of the Minstrel Series (contemporary romance), A Nursery Rhyme Suspense (Sci-fi Mystery Romantic Suspense), the Perception Series (young adult dystopian/science fiction) and young adult historical fiction.

I also write fun, lower Young Adult (teen) fiction to do with whimsical things like time-travel, fairies and merfolk (with a nice helping of romance!) as ELLE Strauss.

I love to connect with my fans. I'm on facebook (author pages for both Lee and Elle) and twitter.

Other trivia about me: I'm a married mother of four; I sometimes live in Canada and sometimes Germany; I'm fond of dark chocolate, and soy lattes; I like yoga, cycling and hiking in good weather.

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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Book Blitz: Hexed Hearts by Becca Vincenza | Excerpt + Giveaway

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Hexed Hearts
Becca Vincenza

Published April 2015

Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Colette had known all her life that she was half human and half werewolf. She had no expectations of a life filled with love and adventure.

Everything changed on her 21st birthday. A curse casted by witches centuries ago set things in motion, things she could have never imagined. A past that Colette has no clue about has come back to steal her away.

When Hunter, her destined but very unexpected mate, arrives, she is at a complete loss. She must learn to forget an old love and how to make room for a new love.

The curse is being recast and Colette must stop it in order to save the wolves, all the while finding who she really is.

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Facebook
Becca Vincenza lives in wonderful Michigan. She has a love for Skittles, rainbows, Star Wars, and reading about hot men. When she's not wearing her author hat, she's working to pay off her student loans for her recently acquired English degree.

She recently released the first book in her Rebirth Series and is set to release the second book before the beginning of summer.

Excerpt

“That is what you are going to wear?” I asked eyeing Griffin’s light blue t-shirt and dark washed jeans. He looked down at himself then looked at me.

“Why? What’s wrong with it?” he asked.

I narrowed my eyes. I crossed my arms and pressed my lips together. My nose scrunched a little. I looked down. I thought I was the epitome of a stealth mission we were going on. There was a lot of digging in my drawers and closet, but I finally found my black yoga pants and long sleeve shirt. Sure, the shirt was just a pinch too small. It rode up sometimes and the sleeves stopped just before my wrist. Unfortunately, it also stretched over my chest snugly. I saw Griffin take a couple peeks. Sometimes even he was a pig. I was seconds from slapping him. I grabbed the combat boots that I had owned for years and slipped them on.

“You don’t understand covert mission do you?” I muttered as I pulled on my last boot. I looked over at Griffin and he held in his laughter.

“Ass.”

“I heard that.”

“You were meant to,” I said with a smug smile.

Griffin clapped his hands together and I looked over at him. He had a huge smile on his face, the smile I had seen many times in our youth. I was glad for Griff, Liam and Nick. They knew how my childhood wasn’t a happy one so they made sure our childhood was full of adventures. Many of those adventures were not sanctioned by Keith, Isaac, or Rose. Most of the time, they were our secret, though as I got older I began to doubt Isaac hadn’t noticed our antics.

Griffin had the same look on his face as he used to when we would sneak out as children. I held in my own laugh now. It was nice to see the Griffin that I had grown up with, the one that kept me sane for years.

“Alright sir, let’s do this.”

Most of the bedrooms were on the second story of the house. Griffin could make the jump easily enough. I had more strength than a human but I didn’t trust myself not to break or at the very least strain something. I waited for him to go first and Griffin stood outside my window.

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!” Griffin yell-whispered up to me. I rolled my eyes as I climbed out my window. I was going backwards and I could feel his eyes on my backside. I turned and stuck my tongue out at him.

“Why my prince I didn’t realize you were such a gracious ass.”

“Well when I see one, I see one.”

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Monday, 8 June 2015

Writing Reviews Without Spoilers is Hard Stuff

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I don't know about the rest of you, but I hate hearing/reading about spoilers - whether it be for a book or TV show or movie. If I'm going to be putting aside the time to watch/read something, I want to taken on the journey with the characters and NOT know what is about to happen.

Having said that, I try really hard not to include spoilers in my book reviews here. Most of the time, I don't have too much difficulty doing this, however there are the odd books where it just seems impossible to do - like when something really bugged me in the book and is the reason I gave it the rating I did, but explaining it would giveaway too much of the ending.

I've had this problem recently with a review I have been trying to write for the last couple of weeks... I'm thinking I'm just going to have to write it with spoilers and write a warning about it at the beginning so I don't get any abusive messages saying I ruined the story...

Does anyone else have this issue?
Please comment below.
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