Monday, February 29, 2016

Musing Mondays - February 29



Musing Mondays is a weekly meme now hosted at Jenn's new blog Books And A Beat that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What was the last book you didn’t finish? Why?

Happy Leap Day! I hope February has been kind to you. I'm excited to participate in the first Musing Mondays held at Jenn's new blog, Books And A Beat. I hope you'll pay her a visit.

I can't answer this week's question because it has been so long since I haven't finished a book I can't tell you what it is.


What I can tell you is that I just finished reading Vannetta Chapman's delightful story, "Love in Store" that is featured in An Amish Market. Two unlikely people are drawn together when mysterious happenings threaten the Old Amish Mill.

David Stoltzfus is a happy, peaceful man who always seems to have a smile on his face. This aggravates his co-worker, Stella Schrock, who has become lonely and bitter over how her life has turned out. When strange occurrences at the Old Amish Mill cause a stir that might lead to its closing, Stella and David team up to get to the bottom of the mystery. The more time they spend together, Stella begins to imagine a life for herself she was certain she left behind long ago. Perhaps God has more in store for the both of them.

This is a wonderful story from beginning to end. It combines two of my favorite things: engaging characters and a mystery to solve. This is just another fine example of why Chapman is such a popular author. She knows her genre well and continues to deliver superb stories for her fans. I look forward to reading the rest of the novellas in this collection to see if I find other authors in this genre to enjoy.

What are you musing about this week?

Book Blast with Giveaway: A Kiss in the Shadows by Lily Danes and Eve Kincaid


Erin Grady is used to taking care of people. That’s why she’s thrilled to finally realize her dream of opening a clinic…and why she’s willing to overlook where the money came from—until a determined prosecutor comes sniffing around.

Will Patton is desperate to leave the small fogbound town of Lost Coast Harbor and build a real career for himself. But to do that, he’ll need to expose the dirty police chief—and betray the woman who makes him wonder if he’s leaving town too soon.

But the corruption in Lost Coast Harbor runs deep and wide—and exposing the truth will require Erin and Will to expose their hearts…no matter the risk.


EXCERPT:

“I take care of myself. I don’t need someone to take care of me,” Erin said.

Will ran a thumb across her pouty bottom lip. He didn’t doubt that she believed it. That stubborn tilt to her jaw said she was independent and self-reliant. She was tough, and strong, and he wouldn’t want her any other way. But God, he just wanted to hold her and care for her for a change.

“Not tonight.”

Her eyes widened at the contact of his fingers along her cheek.

“No?” Her voice dropped to a husky whisper.

“I’m going to kiss you,” he whispered.

Her eyes widened and her lips parted in a small smile. “You are?”

He stroked her hair again, then through the strands until his hand was at the back of her neck.

“And then, I’m going to push that indecent dress up just a little higher, and see what you wore for me tonight,” he said, feeling her heart beat under his fingers.

She swallowed and started to reach for him, but he stilled her hand, covering it with his. He shifted so he could pull her closer.

“I know it’s something sexy,” he breathed into her neck, then pressed his lips against the soft skin below her ear. “Lace? Silk?”

Her breath escaped in a rush as he ran his hand down her body, over the curves that had been tempting him all night. His fingers played with the hem of the short dress and Erin shifted as his hand moved under the fabric and across soft, warm skin. His hands roamed higher, up the back of her legs, along the curve there and moving higher still.

His mouth went dry as he realized the lace and silk he was reaching for wasn’t there. Instead, his fingers brushed her soft, hot core, making her squirm against his hand.

“Jesus, Erin,” he breathed.

Purchase at:

http://www.amazon.com/Kiss-Shadows-Lost-Coast-Harbor-ebook/dp/B01BYFBH24/
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/a-kiss-in-the-shadows-lost-coast-harbor-book-2
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/kiss-in-shadows-lost-coast/id1086248100
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-kiss-in-the-shadows-eve-kincaid/1123454861

Like so many good ideas, Lost Coast Harbor was inspired by a few rounds of margaritas. One sunny afternoon, Lily Danes and Eve Kincaid went to a Mexican restaurant for snacks and tequila and left with the idea for a new series. Inspired by their love of noir movies and 1940s crime novels, they imagined a gritty small town full of crime and corruption, where intrigue and mystery can lead to love and passion.

www.lostcoastharbor.com
www.lilydanes.com


Eve Kincaid is a lapsed lawyer who decided that fictional crime was more fun than the real deal. When she’s not writing about mysterious women and the dangerous and sexy men who love them, she’s probably shopping for books, lipstick, or imported cheeses to complement a nice California pinot noir.

You can keep up with Eve’s new releases by signing up for her reader newsletter. She’d love to hear from you. Just don’t be creepy about it.

www.evekincaid.com

The authors will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Book Spotlight: Murder on Wheels by Lynn Cahoon


Inside the Book:


Title: Murder on Wheels
Author: Lynn Cahoon
Pages: 198
Publisher: Lyrical Underground
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Format: Ecopy/Paperback/Audio

The food truck craze has reached the charming coastal town of South Cove, California, but before Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More—can sample the eats, she has to shift gears and put the brakes on a killer . . .

Now that Kacey Austin has got her new gluten-free dessert truck up and running, there’s no curbing her enthusiasm—not even when someone vandalizes the vehicle and steals her recipes. But when Kacey turns up dead on the beach and Jill’s best friend Sadie becomes the prime suspect, Jill needs to step on it to serve the real killer some just desserts.

Praise for The Tourist Trap Mysteries

"Murder, dirty politics, pirate lore, and a hot police detective: Guidebook to Murder has it all! A cozy lover’s dream come true." —Susan McBride, author of The Debutante Dropout Mysteries

"Lynn Cahoon has created an absorbing, good fun mystery in Mission to Murder." —Fresh Fiction

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.pngB&N amazon (1)

Meet the Author

Lynn Cahoon
I love happy endings. My stories are all about life in small town America and building the family that you deserve. You know, the people who love you unconditionally – even when you’re less than perfect.

Personal stuff? I’m a seven-year breast cancer survivor. I’m married to my own hero who shaved his shoulder length hair when I lost mine during chemo. I’m the proud mom of a computer engineer (although I don’t know what that means.) And I have four fur babies.

I’m an active member of MORWA, my local RWA chapter.

My debut was THE BULL RIDER’S BROTHER released June 4th, 2012 from Crimson Romance. Cowboys aren’t easy to love—but they sure are easy on the eyes. I bet you’ve felt the same way my heroine Lizzie has, at least once or twice. Since that time, THE BULL RIDER’S MANAGER, came to your favorite digital store. If flying was hell, waiting to fly was purgatory. Both are available in print as well as digital. And the long awaited bull rider story is finally out and available. Check out THE BULL RIDER’S KEEPER!

For those of you who like a little magic in your stories — The Council Series starts with A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL. A rogue hunter, a clueless witch and a mission to save an unknowing world. The second book, RETURN OF THE FAE, continues Parris and Ty’s adventures, and is a 2014 RONE finalist.

2013 brought MARRIAGE NOT INCLUDED, a organic farmer’s daughter meets corporate seed executive. Set in Idaho, this story takes me home.

2014 sees more big news – e-Kensington released The Tourist Trap Series – with GUIDEBOOK TO MURDER kicking the fun off in April. MISSION TO MURDER arrived July 31st, and a third book, IF THE SHOE KILLS, November 10th. Set in a small coastal California town, I love these who dun it’s with a touch of romance.

Summer of 2015 – DRESSED TO KILL and KILLER RUN will be arriving.

I’ve come a long way from the little girl on the school bus who used to cut out pictures from Teen Beat to illustrate my tales of love and loss. And yet, not so far.

So pull up a chair, pour a cup of coffee, and let’s chat about writing, love, life, and the pesky things that get in the way of our goals and dreams.
I’m glad you found me.
facebook (2)Twitter www

Tour Schedule

_______________________
Monday, February 22 - Book featured at 3 Partners in Shopping
Book featured at Laura's Interests
Tuesday, February 23 - Book featured at The Book Connection
Wednesday, February 24 - Book featured at Harmonious Publicity
Thursday, February 25 - Book featured at The Review From Here
Friday, February 26 - Book featured at My Bookish Pleasures
________
Tuesday, March 1 - Book featured at A Holland Reads
Book featured at Mythical Books
Wednesday, March 2 - Book featured at Chosen By You Book Club
Book reviewed at Books on the Knob
Thursday, March 3 - Book featured at Queen of All She Reads
Friday, March 4 - Book featured at Ali the Dragon Slayer
________
Monday, March 7 - Book featured at E-Romance News
Tuesday, March 8 - Book featured at Sapphyria's Book Reviews
Wednesday, March 9 - Book featured at I'm Shelf-ish
Thursday, March 10 - Book reviewed at I'd Rather Be at the Beach
Friday, March 11 - Book reviewed at Pretty Little Book Reviews
________
Monday, March 14 - Book reviewed at Bound 4 Escape
Tuesday, March 15 - Book featured at Around the World in Books
Book featured at Deal Sharing Aunt
Wednesday, March 16 - Book reviewed at Book Babble
Thursday, March 17 - Book reviewed at A Room Without Books is Empty
Book reviewed at Live Love Books Blog
Friday, March 18 - Book reviewed at I Smell Sheep
________



Monday, February 22, 2016

First Chapter Review: TRANSFORM: The Secret to Unlocking the Perfect You by Dede Barbanti


I am reviewing the first chapter of TRANSFORM: The Secret to Unlocking the Perfect You, a self-help/lifestyle/health book by Dede Barbanti.

BLURB:  Finally, a book that will provide you with the answers that change your body and your life! TRANSFORM really is the SECRET TO UNLOCKING THE PERFECT YOU. Once weighing over 200 pounds, Fitness and lifestyle expert Dede Barbanti not only gives you the tools to achieve your weight-loss goals, but helps you dig deep to fix the core issues that keep you from lasting success and your true potential.

This is not your traditional weight-loss book. Most diet books focus on the outside by changing your eating and exercise routines,but they fail to find the root cause of your bad habits: what, why, and where they all started. These band-aid treatments never treat the problem, only the symptom, and most people find themselves back at square one, frustrated and defeated. Dede’s no-holds-barred approach gets your booty into gear by tackling the real issues of your weight loss merry-go-round; so you can stop the madness and unlock the perfect you.

You can continue reading all of those other diet and lifestyle books that ultimately keep you repeating the same old story and never seems to get you anywhere, or you can get real with yourself and finally bring about the changes that you have always wanted…permanently!

COVER: Like most--if not all--books in this genre, an eye-catching photo of the author appears on the front. I guess it's to inspire the reader by seeing her results. I've just never really cared for that. What I do really love, however, is the choice of colors: the white background, bold pink letters for the title, and the pastel green of Barbanti's shirt work well together.

FIRST CHAPTER: As is usually the case for me with non-fiction, I read the Introduction prior to digging into the first chapter. Those intros really help to define the book, so they are important.

Barbanti's opening is strong because she hits on what I feel is one of the most important aspects of making a life change: you can't compare yourself to others. No one's life is perfect and it serves no purpose to compare your situation to anyone else's. Focus on your goals and make a change for your benefit alone.

Then there is a short section that talks about how to get the most out of the book. Great idea. This is followed by a testimonial from one of the author's clients and a section encouraging readers to stop self-destructive patterns and behaviors to bring about permanent changes in your life. Barbanti believes in "The Trinity of a Balanced Life": three areas in your life you must reflect upon and work on in order to make those permanent changes.

All of this is inspiring, but it's once you get to the actual first chapter that things get really interesting. With the first transformational exercise, the reader is asked to write down her "Defining Moment" and how it affected her enough to make you take action.

KEEP READING: Definitely! I love the author's practical, yet, no-nonsense style. She gets that it takes baby steps and that a transformation has to take place alongside bringing up kids and other responsibilities. But she also tells you that no one can do this but you. That's why isolating the "Defining Moment" is so important.

I'm glad I signed up for this virtual tour. This book will definitely help me as I work on my goals of eating healthier and exercising.

  • TRANSFORM: The Secret to Unlocking the Perfect You is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This first chapter review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.




Musing Mondays - February 22



Musing Mondays is a weekly meme sponsored by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: How do you choose which books you read?

Here it is, Monday again. I hope you had a great week. Things are going well here and I am slowly making a dent in my TBR pile. That definitely gives me a sense of accomplishment.

I'm currently reading An Amish Market, a short story collection with a story byVannetta Chapman.



I also pre-ordered three books last week:
I added these two books to my Goodreads "Want to Read" shelf:

Free Men by Katy Simpson Smith
A Stranger on My Land by Sandra Merville Hart

As for this week's question, I usually read books as they are due for review. I got behind starting in 2011 and never really caught up; so while I do participate in some new tours and am part of a street team for a couple of authors--which brings me a few new books a year, mainly I am working my TBR pile from the bottom up so I can one day be free of overdue book reviews. Authors work so hard to publish a book and they shouldn't have to wait for their promised reviews. When the day comes when I have no more overdue reviews, not only will I celebrate like crazy, I will start reading the books I've bought simply because I wanted them.

What is happening in your reading world this week?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Book Review: The Last Dinner Party by Carly M. Duncan

A steady-paced murder mystery with engaging characters and several twists and turns is what you'll find in The Last Dinner Party by Carly M. Duncan.

When Jeanie D'Alisa is found murdered in her bed after hosting one of her infamous dinner parties, detectives Anna Cole and Kristy Hicks are called in to investigate. While known for her generosity, Jeanie had a darker, more unpredictable side. As the investigation continues, there is no shortage of potential suspects. And sometimes Anna and Kristy don't see eye to eye on things, which can complicate matters. Can they put their differences aside and bring Jeanie's killer to justice?

With The Last Dinner Party, Duncan has created a murder mystery that moves along at a steady pace, new suspects turning up as clues are uncovered. The author created a diverse cast of characters who draws the reader in and keeps them guessing as to if their difficulties with Jeanie were enough to make them snap.

The clashes between Anna and Kristy, though they weren't a huge part of the story, added an interesting element. The author also developed a good deal of tension between two other important characters, which served to deepen the mystery.

I'm glad to see Duncan is creating a series with Anna Cole and Kristy Hicks. It will be interesting to see where they go from here.


Paperback: 390 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (November 21, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1517636183
ISBN-13: 978-1517636180

I received a digital copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.



I read this book for the following challenge:


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

"Waiting On": The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson



"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week is:


Available for the first time and collected in one volume, the letters of one of America’s most beloved authors, Laura Ingalls Wilder—a treasure trove that offers new and unexpected understanding of her life and work.

The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a vibrant, deeply personal portrait of this revered American author, illuminating her thoughts, travels, philosophies, writing career, and dealings with family, friends, and fans as never before.

This is a fresh look at the adult life of the author in her own words. Gathered from museums and archives and personal collections, the letters span over sixty years of Wilder’s life, from 1894–1956 and shed new light on Wilder’s day-to-day life. Here we see her as a businesswoman and author—including her beloved Little House books, her legendary editor, Ursula Nordstrom, and her readers—as a wife, and as a friend. In her letters, Wilder shares her philosophies, political opinions, and reminiscences of life as a frontier child. Also included are letters to her daughter, writer Rose Wilder Lane, who filled a silent role as editor and collaborator while the famous Little House books were being written.

Wilder biographer William Anderson collected and researched references throughout these letters and the result is an invaluable historical collection, tracing Wilder’s life through the final days of covered wagon travel, her life as a farm woman, a country journalist, Depression-era author, and years of fame as the writer of the Little House books. This collection is a sequel to her beloved books, and a snapshot into twentieth-century living.


What are you waiting on?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Musing Mondays - Feb 15



Musing Mondays is a weekly meme sponsored by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Do you read more than one book at once? Why, or why not?

Hard to believe another week has passed. I've been breezing my way through Touches of Time by LoRee Peery. In addition, I pre-ordered a copy of Heroines of Mercy Street, which I am eagerly awaiting. Should be here in two days.

My only frustration remains my lack of reading time. With work and home life, little time is left to read. I find myself tired often, so I fall asleep without getting a chance to read. Are any of you experiencing the same thing?

I truly long for the days when I was a stay-at-home mom who could read for a couple of hours each night.

As for what I think I will read next, I'm hoping for An Amish Market, a short story collection with a story by Vannetta Chapman.

And do I read more than one book at once? Not usually, but lately I am because I have an audio book in the car and am reading one at home.

Hope you all have a great week.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Guest Blogger Jennifer Hansen, Author of Making Headlines (Book Giveaway)


Working as a TV reporter has its challenges, but when Rachael Bentley decides to aim high and become a newsreader, she faces a whole new minefield of explosive scenarios.

Rachel's path sees her pitched against egos in the newsroom, office politics and corrupt politicians, not to mention rampant sexism, and a mystery stalker. Juggling a messy personal life doesn't help, nor does the emotional impact of reporting on life's tragedies and when it all takes a toll and Rachel starts partying too hard, she finds herself making the headlines instead of reading them.

Will she survive a world where dreams are shattered daily and will she find the man who can help her keep her soul?

Blogger's note: Social issues in fiction has long been a fascination of mine. When I decided to take part in this book tour, I wanted to know how the author kept the social issues in Making Headlines from running away with the story and how she was keeping it fresh when many novels these days address social issues. Here's what she had to say:


There are a plethora of academic studies into the unfair treatment dished out to women in the workplace, from all over the world. There are also thousands of books on feminism and conspiracy theories about the patriarchal society behind the injustices. From my perspective, the only people who’ll really pay attention to those are the already converted. Far better to tell an entertaining story that will have a broad reach across the masses with a subtle message than trying to hit people over the head with a moralistic hammer.

I have always wanted to be a writer. Before focusing on creative writing, I worked as a journalist for many years, starting in newspapers. I then worked in the television news industry for more than twenty years. After I left, I took up the RMIT Professional Writing and Editing course in Melbourne – completing the Diploma – and focused on the subject of Creative Writing. As a new novelist, we were always encouraged to write about a world we knew well, for our first book. So I thought it would be interesting to examine what many believe to be an aspirational career – that of a female TV newsreader – but to also look at the challenges women face in this often male-dominated world.

I have had to be careful to make sure all my characters are completely fictional, so as not to upset any one that I may have worked with in the TV industry. At the same time, I didn’t want to compromise my desire to tell a story that also examines the way bosses can abuse their power in any work situation to make life difficult for those working under them. I wanted to show people – women in particular – that no matter who you are and what position you hold – your satisfaction in your job and your self-esteem can be greatly diminished if someone treats you badly or bullies you.

I had many wonderful bosses in the TV industry (male and female) so this is not a message directed at anyone in real life – rather an exploration of a theme. I have witnessed though, other people being treated badly and have had to deal with a couple of tricky situations myself – and not just in television.

What I am hoping I have achieved with MAKING HEADLINES, is to have created an engaging story that also carries a message about how people should treat each other in the work place. I think the best way to illustrate that, is to write about the worst kind of behaviour, in the hope that people will read that and think, ‘God, I’d never do that!’ It’s not specifically a message to men, but to both sexes - ‘Don’t bully people and don’t abuse your power.

I think this message definitely comes through, but in a fresh way because it’s subtly disguised in what’s often referred to as a ‘Chick Lit’ book.

That means it’s a fast-moving and easily readable story, but also throws a punch towards the end. It’s also different because it’s about the TV industry and because the author (me) has worked in that business for so long, the reader can be confident they’re hearing about the industry from someone who really knows how it works.

Even though people outside the industry might see the television world as something exciting and aspirational, the reader will also be reassured – or horrified – to know that it’s not much different – or even worse – when it comes to how people are treated in the workplace.

Purchase at:

B/N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/making-headlines-jennifer-hansen/1122676528

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Making-Headlines-Jennifer-Hansen-ebook/dp/B015MBSW10/



JENNIFER HANSEN is best known to TV audiences as the former co-host of Channel Ten’s 5pm news. These days Jennifer works in radio as part of Smooth FM’s breakfast show where she reads the news and chats with Mike Perso about all things Melbourne. In between media gigs, Jennifer went back to ‘school’ - taking up the ‘Professional Writing and Editing’ course at RMIT. That has helped her complete her first novel and two screenplays. Occasionally she remembers to look after her family - including husband Neighbours actor Alan Fletcher (aka Dr Karl Kennedy) and their two children, Veronica and Tom.

http://jenniferhansen.com.au/

https://twitter.com/jenahansen

Jennifer will be awarding an eCopy of Making Headlines to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour, and choice of 5 digital books from the Impulse line to a randomly drawn host.


a Rafflecopter giveaway






Thursday, February 11, 2016

New From K.M. Daughters: Fill the Stadium


Nikki Lambert’s husband purposely stalls his truck in the path of the midnight freight on the same day her eldest son, Jack, is diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder.

Injured NFL quarterback, Ramsey Delaney is benched from his starting position leaving him ample time for more hands-on involvement in The Good Sports Club, a community center he established where Nikki’s sons, Jack and Rocky are enrolled.

Jack’s deteriorating motor skills concern Ram’s employees who bar Jack from attending the club without Ram’s knowledge. Nikki wants nothing but normalcy for Jack and she heatedly confronts Ram for depriving her son of a beloved activity. Ram immediately reinstates Jack forging the fateful bond between Nikki and her boys’ number-one sports hero. Ram is instantly attracted to Nikki. He wants to win her heart more than he’s ever wanted to win a game. But after her husband’s terrible abandonment will Nikki trust Ram’s motives and open her heart to love again?

EXCERPT:

Nikki’s gaze lit on Jack hunkered down along the sidelines, and her heart constricted. Head to head with Ramsey Delaney, boy and man hung over one of Jack’s ever-present notebooks. The football star draped a muscled arm around Jack, cupping his shoulder with a huge hand that covered a quarter of her son’s back.

“I smell perfume,” came Ram’s deep resonant voice.

“Uh huh. Smells like my mommy.”

Both faced Nikki, presenting ear-to-ear grins. Their matching dazzling smiles swelled her heart—her customary reaction to Jack, and a jolting, giddy pleasure in the wake of Ramsey’s seeming delight at her arrival.

Purchase at Amazon!


Fill The Stadium for ALD is based on a charity football game held in Soldier’s Field at Harvard University – the concept is the brainchild of K.M. Daughters. Kathie’s son is an alumnus and former captain of the football team. His dear friend’s grandson died of ALD which prompted his passion for fundraising benefiting research. K.M. Daughters wrote the novel inspired by the charity event concept that they created.

Learn more about the sister writing team of K.M. Daughters at www.kmdaughters.com.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Book Spotlight: Every Broken Wish by K. S. David


Litha Adams cleared her schedule, deciding to spend the day at home. She needed a break from her chaotic life. She picked a perfect sunny day to relax and just hang out in the garden. Nothing prepared her for the sudden appearance of Ethan Garner. She had walked away from him and spent every day since, building a life on her terms. By day's end, she had another problem. Strangers were in her home. Litha found herself locked away with Ethan as interlopers hunted for treasure. Then came the realization that she was their target. They were hunting for her.

Excerpt:

Working the soil was a source of comfort for Litha Adams. She liked to feel the rich black granules slip through her fingers. She liked the sense of accomplishment she felt when something as small as a minuscule seed erupted from the earth to produce an edible crop or the vivid canopy of colors that lit up the back wall of her estate. She had purchased Enchanted Island specifically for that purpose. It was an eleven thousand square foot brick-front colonial on ten acres, complete with its own private lake, which she kept well stocked with ladyfish, spadefish, and Alabama darter.
 The estate was a collection of steep undulating hills, surrounded by ten-foot sugar maple, loblolly pine, and yellow buckeye trees, which closed off visibility from neighbors and passersby. Once you turned off the residential road, drove up the long shaded driveway, and passed through the tall black iron gates, there was an immediate sense of isolation. The vast green acreage, the colorful gardens, bubbling fountains, even the man-made lake, was serenity for Litha and the few guests she allowed at her home. The irony was that her quiet oasis was barely a heartbeat away from the bustle of downtown Atlanta.
“Ms. Adams,” said a voice behind her.  
Litha sat back on her heels, removed her lavender rose patterned garden gloves, and waited for her assistant to continue. She rarely took time to do anything for herself, rarer to work in the gardens. She needed a breather from the chaotic treadmill of her life. Instead of hitting the office before sunup, she decided to work from home and sneak in a little solace. She had already run five miles and punched off a dozen emails before telling Courtney, her assistant, to change her schedule. Courtney reported to the house instead of the office and every appointment had been canceled, except one. Even that had been re-routed to the house.
“You have a visitor. The guy didn’t give his name, but he says you know him,” said Courtney.
Litha twisted around and glared at her. “What?”
Courtney shrugged. “He’s at the gate. He insists on seeing you.”
“Here?” confirmed Litha. “You’re saying some random man just drove up and wants to see me?” 
Putting her hand on her narrow hip, Courtney nodded. She wasn’t just Litha’s assistant, but her closest friend. “Shaun has him at the gate. I already spoke with the guy. I asked him to leave his name and a card and I’d have you contact him, but he insists on talking with you himself.” 
Courtney was impeccably dressed in a tasteful, mid-calf, ice-blue sleeveless dress. She wore her hair natural, kept it cut low and perfectly tapered on the sides and at the nape. A hint of red on the edges of her hair set off her toasted-chestnut skin, which was flawless. She had high cheekbones, full lips, and a sultry come-hither voice that made most men stop dead in their tracks. She was also a closet comedienne, with a wicked sense of humor, who had the ability to lift Litha’s mood no matter what was going on. But when Litha looked at her, she didn’t see that spark of wit bubbling behind her dark brown eyes. 
“What does he look like?” She imagined some half-crazed man hanging from the twenty-foot gates. There were dozens of charitable organizations always chasing her down; ladies auxiliaries, educational funds, and church groups inviting her to either speak to their masses, lend her name to their cause, write a check in support, or all three. No one had ever tracked her to the house. Litha had hired personal security eight months ago and kept a guard at the gate twenty-four hours a day. She also had a man present in the house at all times or by her side whenever she left. 
Courtney considered the question and shifted her iPad to the opposite hip. “If I may say so . . . he’s fine. He’s well dressed. He’s driving an
Affalterbach. Speaks well. He’s very clear about your association.”
Sighing, Litha slapped her hands together, sending up a small plume of dust. She brushed off her jeans and pressed her hand against the front of her t-shirt. “And he won’t give his name?” asked Litha.
“No. Shaun wants to know how you want to handle it. He’s ready to dial 9-1-1; he’s just waiting to finish the call.”
 Litha looked back at her unfinished work. She’d been planting larkspur and penstemon for added color in the garden. Small black containers waited to be transplanted. “I’ll go see what the guy wants,” she decided.
She and Courtney took a narrow cobblestone path that rounded the east end of the home. As they stepped onto the paved driveway, Litha noticed the shiny black car idling outside the gate. The heavy tint on the windows made it impossible for her to see who sat in the driver’s seat. Shaun stood at the edge of the guard’s house holding a cell phone. 
The extreme security measures hadn’t been her idea, they’d had been put in place at the insistence of Ed Mitchell, the Chief Operating Officer of her company. He was afraid that the recent protest at the company could spiral out of control. After weeks of cajoling, begging, and pleading, Litha finally conceded to a personal escort, the fortress-like gates circling the property, the armed guard, handpicked drivers, and the fleet of secured vehicles. Her personal staff had swollen and been required to submit to extensive background checks, polygraph exams, take basic training in selfdefense, sign rigid confidentiality agreements, and had been taught to remain on alert at all times. Litha agreed to all the changes even though they resulted in every facet of her life being utterly and completely invaded. 
A walk to Starbucks for an iced coffee was an act of defiance. Ed and the entire team would spin into action, hustling about in a fury trying to find her. When they did, they'd swoop in like a SWAT team to form a secure bubble around her. Slipping away occasionally was her way of keeping her sanity, retaining her independence, and proving to Ed that his concerns were unwarranted. It was also her way of reminding all of them that she was the one in charge. 
Courtney slowed her pace then touched Litha’s arm to halt her. “I . . . I don’t know about this,” she said. “Maybe it isn’t such a good idea. He didn’t look crazy, but you never know.” Then deciding. “I’ll have Shaun just get the guy’s name and number. He’ll have to be satisfied with that. Ed would kill me if anything happened to you. The protocol . . .”
Litha held out a hand. “Whoa. Stop.” She turned to Courtney. “Has
Ed been harassing you about what goes on in my house?”
“Not exactly harassing,” evaded Courtney. She was uncomfortably aware of the tension that had developed between Litha and Ed Mitchell recently. She wanted to stay clear of it. “You know him,” she urged, “Ed’s all about rules and has his ideas about how things should run.” 
Litha sucked her teeth, crossed her arms, and said, “I haven’t abdicated control of my life to anyone. If Ed Mitchell thinks any differently, then he’d do well to remember who owns the company, who he works for and this house. If I choose to walk to my gate, then I will.” 
Not offended by Litha’s directness, Courtney pursed her lips, snapped her fingers. “Alright, Boss Lady.” She stepped aside and pointed toward the gate. 
At their approach, the car door opened. Shaun’s hand swung to the gun on his hip. “Sir, please stay in the car.”
Ignoring him, a tall, well-built man stepped out in a crisp, tailored suit. He had skin like whipped dark chocolate, a broad regal nose, a firm jaw, and narrowed eyes that went immediately for Litha. 
She stopped. Her heart thumped in her chest so hard it hurt. In a quaking breath, she huffed, “Shit.”
“You okay?” asked Courtney, protectively stepping between Litha and the gate.
The man closed the door, letting her see the full measure of him. 
“Sir, please get back in the car,” said Shaun. “I’m going to have to call the police if you don’t comply.”
 “I’m fine,” said Litha, regaining her composure.
She willed herself to steady and pinched her hands closed for a moment to stop the shaking. Imagining herself a bar of unbendable steel, she stepped around Courtney, walked toward the gate. Wrapping her fingers around the bars and she stared at the man for a moment. 
When the man took a step forward, Shaun pushed his hand into the stranger’s chest and warned, “Sir, I’m serious. All I have to do is hit ‘send’ and I’ll connect with the police.” He held up the phone.

In a voice that had turned cool and hard, Litha said, “Shaun, put the phone away. Let him through.” 

For More Information

  • Every Broken Wish is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
K. S. David lives in the Mid-Atlantic with her husband, their three children and a menagerie of pets. 
New storylines are constantly running through her head and she keeps notebooks tucked in pockets of the car, the nightstand and makes voice recordings just about all day long. She's addicted to true life mysteries and crime shows, both of which marry well with a great romance. Some of her favorite things are long walks, reading in bed, baking and of course, writing her next novel.

For More Information


"Waiting On" Wednesday: Heroines of Mercy Street by Pamela D. Toler



"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week is:


I've become totally hooked on this six-part mini-series. Being a Civil War buff, I am so glad I stumbled upon the show in my Facebook feed. I was able to catch up on the past three episodes thanks to my Amazon Prime membership. When I heard about this book, I pre-ordered it right away. 

The true stories of the real nurses on the PBS show Mercy Street

The nurses of the Civil War ushered in a new era for medicine in the midst of tremendous hardship. While the country was at war, these women not only learned to advocate and care for patients in hostile settings, saved countless lives, and changed the profession forever, they regularly fell ill with no one to nurse them in return, seethed in anger at the indifference and inefficiency that left wounded men on the battlefield without care, and all too often mourned for those they could not rescue.

Heroines of Mercy Street tells the true stories of the nurses at Mansion House, the Alexandria, Virginia, hotel turned wartime hospital and setting for the PBS show Mercy Street. Women like Dorothea Dix, Mary Phinney, Anne Reading, and more rushed to be of service to their country during the war, meeting challenges that would discourage less determined souls every step of the way. They saw casualties on a scale Americans had never seen before; diseases like typhoid and dysentery were rampant; and working conditions-both physically and emotionally--were abysmal.

Drawing on the diaries, letters, and books written by these nursing pioneers, Pamela D. Toler, PhD, has written a fascinating portrait of true heroines, shining a light on their personal contributions during one of our country's most turbulent periods.

What are you "waiting on" this week?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Murder at Morningside by Sandra Bretting



Hat designer Missy DuBois opened her shop, Crowning Glory, along Louisiana's Great River Road to cater to the sophisticated Southern bride. But bless her heart, who knew creating stylish wedding veils would lead to murder?

EXCERPT:


Before Beatrice could say more, the front door flew open and in stomped an elderly gentleman. He was on the verge of a good old-fashioned hissy fit.

“Y’all don’t deserve a say in this wedding!” he said to a young woman who’d slunk in behind him.

The girl looked to be the right age for his daughter. She wore flip-flops and a wrinkled peasant blouse, and she buried her head in her hands. Well, that lifted the blouse an inch or two and exposed her bare stomach.

Lorda mercy. It seemed the girl and her fiancĂ© must have eaten supper before they said grace, as we said here in the South, because an unmistakable bump appeared under her top. She looked to be about four months along, give or take a few weeks, and I could see why her daddy wasn’t too happy with her right about now.

After a piece, she lifted her chin and glared at him. “I hate you!” Her voice rippled as cold as the river water that ran nearby. “I wish you were dead.” She stalked away.

I fully expected the man to cringe, or at least follow her. Instead, he merely glanced our way and shrugged. After a minute, he pivoted on the spectacle he’d caused and casually strolled away, leaving a bit of frost in the air.

“Oh my. Why don’t we continue,” Beatrice said.

Poor Beatrice. She obviously wanted to divert our attention elsewhere. It couldn’t have been every day one of her hotel guests wished another guest was dead. She hustled us farther into the ballroom, as if nothing had happened, all the while explaining the history of Morningside Plantation.

Pre-order Links:

BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/murder-at-morningside-sandra-bretting/1122597549


Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Morningside-Missy-DuBois-Mystery-ebook/dp/B014NWMHEW


Sandra Bretting works as a freelance feature writer under contract to the Houston Chronicle. She received a journalism degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and wrote for other publications (including the Los Angeles Times and Orange Coast Magazine) before moving to Texas.

Her Missy DuBois Mysteries series debuts from Kensington/Lyrical Underground in May 2016. Bretting’s previous mysteries include Unholy Lies (2012) and Bless the Dying (2014). Readers can reach her online at www.sandrabretting.com and through Facebook at www.facebook.com/sandra.bretting.


Sandra will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.





a Rafflecopter giveaway




Monday, February 8, 2016

Book Blast: Good Morning Diego Garcia by Susan Joyce ($25 Amazon/B&N Gift Card Giveaway)



When Susan and Charles receive a letter from Cyprus friends, now in Taiwan, they get a chance to help crew a sailboat from Sri Lanka across the Indian Ocean. They have no clue what to expect. Susan reminds Charles she isn't a good swimmer. He tells her a life jacket will do the trick, and convinces her it's the opportunity of a lifetime. A must-do travel adventure. They say goodbye to friends and family in sunny California, fly to New York and on to India, arriving the day the Indian government has issued a state of emergency. And then onto the boat, and into the ocean. In monsoon season. With no charts.

In this true-life travel adventure, Susan keeps a journal and record her bizarre thoughts and telling dreams. A real life thriller, Susan's monsoon-season journey is about discovery and spiritual realization—one dream at a time.

EXCERPT:

Ch 12

A powerful surge of energy flooded my body and relaxed me. It was a breakthrough as I became aware of a reality outside my perceived normal existence. The sea heard, answered me, and calmed. I experienced a moment of pure joy when I discovered the interconnections of nature and the universe around me. My epiphany.

This was not the first time I had felt supernatural powers surround me. I had experienced this also as a child when I sat out on a hot rock in the Arizona desert with my dog Brownie. We watched magic happen while we waited on a spaceship to collect us. My senses became so keen I could see rocks change as the wind brushed them.

I thought back to Cyprus and the long months I had spent in bed thinking and dreaming, bedridden in an attempt to have a healthy baby. Information seemed to flow then from a higher spiritual reality, and events that were beyond what could be explained by nature happened. Again and again.

As the sea stirred my senses, I became the curious, wide open-eyed child again, welcoming the power of magic

Examining these connections, I realized I had touched on a greater truth; the reality of how I fit into the bigger picture of life. The quieter I became, the more I could see and hear. Was it my imagination? Or was I experiencing a heightened awareness as a result of being in tune with nature. Floating in this immense ocean at eye level, gave me a new appreciation for how massive the universe is, and how small and insignificant a human is by comparison. A small speck in the full spectrum of life on earth.

I had traveled far and wide to find myself; to discover my core. My soul.



Born in Los Angeles California, Susan Joyce spent most of her childhood in Tucson, Arizona and returned to LA as a young working woman. Inspired as a child by postcards from her globe-trotting great aunt, Susan left the United States at age 20 to see the world.

She planned on being gone for a year, but ended up living her 20s and 30s in Europe and the Middle East. As a Jill of all trades, she worked as a secretary, freelance writer, taught computer classes, wrote songs, and became an accomplished artist while writing her first children's book, "Peel, the Extraordinary Elephant."

An award winning author and editor of children's books, Susan's first adult book in her memoir series, "The Lullaby Illusion--A Journey of Awakening" is a travelogue of the politics of Europe, the United States, and Israel during a twelve year 'roller-coaster' period of her life and an adventure of survival through friends and sheer determination.

The Lullaby Illusion was awarded
* Readers' Favorite 5-Stars and the 2014 GOLD Medal Winner, Non-Fiction--Travel in the 2014 Readers' Favorite International Book Awards.
* Honorable Mention Prize Winner--2014 Stargazer Literary Prizes

Her second memoir, "Good Morning Diego Garcia" is about her adventure from India and across the Indian Ocean in monsoon season in 1975.

Available for pre-order: http://www.amazon.com/Good-Morning-Diego-Garcia-Discovery-ebook/dp/B017S0ZXP6/

Read more about Susan's life adventures at: http://susanjoycejourneys.com/
Stop in and say hello to Susan here: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSusanJoyce/

Susan will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Musing Mondays - Feb 8



Musing Mondays is a weekly meme sponsored by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What would you say is the best children’s book you’ve ever read?

Hope you all had a nice week. We had our first major snowstorm of the season. The kids were glad for an extra day off from school. We are due for more snow tonight, so they might end up with an extended weekend. 

Right now, I am in the middle of reading Touches of Time by LoRee Peery. Doesn't it sound wonderful?

A decades-old unsolved homicide.
A grieving single mother-to-be.
A cold-case investigator.

Sarah Bishop goes through her deceased mother’s belongings and becomes immersed in the details of her grandfather’s unsolved homicide. Determined to find who was responsible, for the sake of her unborn baby, Sarah vows to seek out the answers her mother had failed to find.

Cold Case Investigator Ford Melcher is intrigued by Sarah’s dogged drive to solve the old mystery. His current case has reached a frustrating dead end, but he comes to believe it is somehow linked to Sarah’s quest. His desire to protect her from further hurt is put to the test, especially when he has secrets he’d rather not disclose.

Answers could remain elusive as to who struck Sarah’s grandfather and left him in a ditch. Will the search for those answers open doors for her to discover the life God planned? Can she accept that plan if it includes a man who wasn’t forthright with information?

What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes



"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week is:


Maguire is bad luck.

No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time the rollercoaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.

It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid meeting new people who she could hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star. Jordy is confident, talented, and lucky, and he’s convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away is harder than she thought.

From author Paula Stokes comes a funny and poignant novel about accepting the past, embracing the future, and learning to make your own luck.

Doesn't this sound like the best book? I have to get it when it comes out in May.

What are you "waiting on" this Wednesday?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Historical Settings I Love


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Top Ten Historical Settings I Love

This is a great topic because I love, love, love historical fiction.

  1. All-time favorite historical setting: American Civil War. I enjoy exploring this difficult time in our nation's history. I've read tons of non-fiction about the conflict, but it is discovering new ways authors bring this era to life in fiction that truly captivates me. I can thank Michael Shaara for introducing me to this genre, but there are many other authors whose work I have enjoyed and sought out as a result. 
  2. World War II: Another tense time in our history, Usually when I read fiction set during this time period it involves spies and espionage, which has always fascinated me. I really should have worked for the FBI. Copper Fire by Suzanne Woods Fisher was probably my first book set during WWII, but I've read many others now. 
  3. Settling of the West: One of the things that has made this country great is we have a rich history of risk takers and big dreamers that saw all America could be. While it would have been nice if they could have peaceably settled the West without impacting Native Americans, it's still an exciting time to read about.
  4. Tudor period: I'm partial to historical American settings, but Tudor England can never be explored enough. It helps that there are so many wonderful writers who use this time period for their fiction: C. W. Gortner, Philippa Gregory, and Margaret George to name a few.
  5. Reconstruction Era: Fiction set during the years the country struggled to reunite North with South offers a lot of wonderful background for great fiction. Even today we are unsure of how we feel about the symbols of that conflict, so imagine how much more difficult it was in the early years following the Civil War for people to accept each other again.Reconstructing Jackson by Holly Bush is a fine novel set in this time period. 
  6. Colonial America: Who can help but be excited about coming to a new country. In North Carolina, we have seen The Lost Colony play more than once. It's so difficult to imagine now what it must have been like, but authors like Jeff Shaara open our minds to it. He also happens to write Civil War fiction like his father, Michael. 
  7. French Revolution: If someone had asked me if I liked French Revolution historical fiction before I read Loss of Innocence by Anne Newton Walther or Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors, I probably would have said no. These talented authors made me a fan.
  8. Biblical Times: In the past several years we've seen several novels depicting the lives of Biblical characters. Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar fictionalizes the life of Rahab.Then there is Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate by Diana Wallis Taylor, The list goes on and on. Whether they be Old or New Testament historical figures, their fictionalized stories captivate readers, including me. 
  9. Sherlock Holmes Era. Is there such a thing or did I just make it up? Probably the latter. Holmes and his partner Watson are fascinating characters living and working in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The setting is nearly as intriguing as the main characters. 
  10. Post- World War II: John Knoerle, author of The American Spy Trilogy led me to a time period I hadn't much considered before. In the period of transition between when the OSS disbands and the CIA is formed, espionage is as important as ever. Knoerle's character, Hal Schroeder, has survived behind enemy lines, just to find himself drawn back in because the Cold War has begun.

What historical settings do you love? Would you live to visit any of them?