Tuesday, December 6, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Book Blog Tour ~ Day 2 ~ The Christmas Bike by Tara Mayoros






Tara Mayoros teaches guitar, paints, occasionally bakes, and loves working with plants. She's an avid collector of globes and maps, as they help with her incurable case of wanderlust. The Rocky Mountains are her home and they call to her whenever she is in need of inspiration. She explores them regularly with her husband and three children.


Connect with the Author here: 
~ Facebook ~ Website
Amazon ~ Instagram
Twitter ~ Pinterest ~





Christmas is already going to be tough for Marie and her family. When a series of events is set in motion long before a Christmas Eve tragedy, she is too occupied to notice God's grace. An emergency letter to Santa sets her on a quest for a Christmas miracle. With time running out, she prays for the first time in a long time. A miracle does happen, but it is not what she expected.



~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK





Q & A with the Author:

1.  Describe yourself in 50 words or less.

* As an author, artist, baker, music teacher, gardener, and nature lover – I the beauty in the process, and the miracle, of creation. The Rocky Mountains are my home and they call to me whenever I'm in need of inspiration.
The Christmas Bike is my third published novel. I have 10 other books I'm working on, and most of them have a fantasy element to them.

2. What do you love most in the world?

* My husband and kids. I love how supportive they are to me. I love to create - whichever way possible. It makes me feel like a Goddess.

3. What do you fear most?

* Scorpions - I hate them! They are the spawn of Satan. We killed over 50 one summer while living in Phoenix.

4. What is your largest unfulfilled dream, and what are you doing to reach it?

* Travel - I want to see the world and do humanitarian work. My first novel was about cleft palates and orphanages in China. My dream is to start a Non-profit to help them.

5. What is the hardest thing you've ever done?

* Running half marathons are always hard, but I'm so happy to have done them. Also, publishing books have been pretty dang hard - but worth it :)

6. Now that we've gotten to know each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From your childhood or last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it's yours. What's your story?

* I will tell a true story of when someone gifted me a guitar for no reason. I entered this story into a writing competition and it won an award! Here ya go:


MY BEST GUITAR LESSON EVER!
I can be cynical. Cynicalbelieving that people are motivated by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity. A general distrust of others’ motives, believing that humans are selfish by nature, ruled by emotion, and heavily influenced by the same primitive instincts that helped humans survive in the wild.
I wasn’t always a cynic. It is a trait that has evolved over the past five years or so. Yes, I fight it. I take my thoughts to battle. But still, with all of the heartbreaking news and depressing social media feeds, it compounds the issue.
So, yesterday when I went to a local guitar shop, my mind was churning over a cynical situation that had been really bothering me. I grabbed my old guitar out of the trunk, walked into the store, and placed it down on the counter. I breathed deep, because this was hallowed ground. The smell of wood and lacquer and musicians reliving the good ‘ol days, rested my mind. I smiled as the shop owner stopped jamming with the only other customer in the store and then walked behind the register.
“What’s this?” he asked, eyeballing my ratty old guitar. His gaze skimmed over the not-so-sexy lines of my unusual guitar.
I pressed my lips, feeling a wave of protection flood over me. No one makes fun of my blue guitar. This instrument was bought in China for $5 US dollars. It had been my companion on the dirty, rancid forty hour train rides through rice fields and bread loaf mountains. I was stopped and searched at customs in Malaysia, Thailand, and Macau because I as too stubborn to leave this guitar.
I told him these things. He played it and confirmed what I already knew… My guitar had died, but I still clung to our memories in hopes that the shop owner could resurrect life into it again.
No, he couldn’t.
I stared down at it a long time, looking over the doodles and the collected stickers and stamps, which mirrored my old passport. What would I do with it now? I couldn’t just throw it away, or donate, or keep it as a decoration. Maybe I could just hang it on the wall for display, but I knew the o.c.d. decorator inside me would never let me do that. I had even written this guitar into one of my books and considered it a character. My heart clenched and I strolled over to the wall of guitars to hide the emotion on my face. Who cries over a buried guitar, one that would most likely end up collecting dust in the back of my closet?
The new guitars with their shiny wood and shimmering metal strings, sang to me, beckoning. Their voices rich and full. So much different than my humid warped, aged guitar. I caressed the lines of the beautiful instruments with jealousy and longing.
I stopped. There it hung. An acoustic electric that I had always wanted. Not so extravagant, and yet it would take me a while to save for. The shop owner pulled it down, selling me all the bells and whistles. Yet, I had already been sold. I just couldn’t get it yet… not for a while yet.
“Sit down and play. See how it sounds, how it feels,” he urged.
I pulled up a cushioned stool and sat down. It was like meeting a new friend. I’d like to imagine that my fingers flew up and down the frets with fluidity and grace, but I’m sure they weren’t, as I was still a bit frazzled. Picking and strumming, getting a feel for its song.
I began to tell the shop owner and other customer about an amp I had in the basement that wasn’t working anymore. We chatted. Small talk about how I was sad about my guitar and maybe someday I’ll buy this one. They were nice people. I’d hung around enough music shops to know that they are all generally nice people.
I continued to play. Time stalled as it usually does when I create music, or art, or novels. The walls faded away. I was falling in love.
A tap on my shoulder and a show of a receipt. “It’s yours.” He pointed. “The guitar.”

I stood, almost dropping the instrument. “What? No. I’ll have to come get it another time.”
“No really. He wanted you to have it.” He pointed to the only other customer who was getting ready to leave. The man was unassuming in his faded jeans and t-shirt.
I wondered why…
Right here… Here is where my cynicism makes an appearance. What did he want in return? What were his motivations? I looked down to see what I was wearing. Turtle-neck sweater, no make-up, and hair in a bun. I had my wedding ring on and I had talked briefly about my kids playing guitar earlier.
“Why?” I asked.
The customer paused, then said, “because I have money and it has caused me nothing but heartache. I want to do something nice with it.”
I refused — even went to hang the guitar back on the hook.
The kind man just shook his head. “It’s already been paid for. It’s done. Just be happy.”
I was happy. I was ecstatic!
Tears welled in my eyes. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before. “I don’t know how to thank you.” I struggled for words.
“You just did.”
I stopped him from leaving. “Well let me get a picture with you.”
He refused this time. He didn’t want any fan fare.
“Let me at least give you a hug.” So I did. It wasn’t strange or awkward. It was a meeting of similar hearts, bound by the innocent love of music.
Driving home, I felt both joyous and inadequate. What to do with such an unrequited show of generosity? People are good. He restored my faith in humanity. I thought of the many ways I could pay it forward because I knew I’d never see him again. And I also knew that’s the way he would want things to end.
I learned a lesson yesterday. Yes, there are tough things that we go through that can turn us cynical, doubtful, and hopeless. But little miracles happen everyday. It doesn’t have to be something as big as this to make you see the good in people. Look around. It seems everyone is in a funk. What can you do to brighten their day? I promise it will make your day better in return. It will make you feel rich with happiness. I think back to that man and how he said, “money gave him nothing but heartache.”
When I was leaving the guitar shop, with my old lifeless guitar in one hand and my new hope-filled guitar in the other, I looked back. The kind man had a huge smile on his face and I knew that the act of giving… is where the treasure truly lies.
Has there ever been a time when you were the recipient of unrequited generosity?
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To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 



Monday, December 5, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Book Blog Tour ~ Day 1 ~ The Tree Keeper's Promise by Tamara Passey




Tamara Passey was born and raised in Massachusetts around a large family, one that has served as inspiration for most of her writing. She was named Arizona Young Mother of the Year in 2013 and contributes marriage and family articles to FamilyShare.com. She loves most creative endeavors and when she isn't writing or re-writing, you can find her baking or cross-stitching or walking--though not all at the same time. She lives with her husband and three children in Arizona. Other titles by Tamara include The Christmas Tree Keeper: A Novel, and Mothering through the Whirlwind, a short memoir.


Connect with the Author here: 
~ Blog ~ Website



Four seasons. That’s how long Angela Donovan hoped to know Mark Shafer before they married. But less than a year later, she still fears that she’s repeating the mistake of a failed relationship. 

As Christmas approaches, she senses Mark’s plans for a proposal, and wonders if she can learn to trust again. Mark has learned all there is to know about the Shafer miracle trees—or so he thinks. 

Papa reveals secrets about the trees’ matchmaking power just as a highway expansion threatens to destroy the family legacy. Mark is determined to save the farm, and the promise of love stirring in the branches of the Shafer miracle trees. Heartwarming and engaging, 

The Tree Keeper’s Promise captures the warmth and wonder of the holiday season.





~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK


Q & A with the Author:

1.  Describe yourself in 50 words or less.
I can write a novel, but ask me to describe myself, and I get writer’s block. I’ve lived as many years in the southwest as I have in the northeast. Both places are dear to me. Also, I love to be creative for the joy it brings.   

2. What do you love most in the world?
My family. 

3. What do you fear most?
Scorpions. 

4. What is your largest unfulfilled dream, and what are you doing to reach it?
Finishing my degree. What am I doing to reach it? Deciding my major. 

5. What is the hardest thing you've ever done?
Motherhood (and still doing it). 

6. Now that we've gotten to know each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From your childhood or last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it's yours. What's your story?

Once upon a time there was a little girl who wanted to write books so she could share stories with her friends. But every time she would visit the library, or read a great book, she would get the idea that she wasn’t smart enough to write her own. Until she was grown and became a mom and was taking care of her daughter who had been sick for several days—during a sleepless night, she had an idea—miracle Christmas trees. She was so excited about the story, she didn’t stop to doubt herself. And The Christmas Tree Keeper was born! 


To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 



Saturday, December 3, 2016

Review ~ Walk of Infamy by Sheralyn Pratt


Rhea always knew she worked for a powerful men, but she didn’t understand the full scope of their influence until she quit her job—or tried to.

The clandestine group that calls themselves The Fours doesn’t accept two-week’s notice from employees. Instead, they’re demanding Rhea perform a final task of their choosing to earn a life free from their demands.

Rhea knows whatever The Fours ask of her will be unlike any challenge she’s ever faced. She’s prepared for the worst, but what she’s about to learn is that groups like The Fours are a secret for a reason.

Because no one gets to walk away from them. Not even Rhea.



Jewelz Review~

I will admit that I haven't read the previous books in the Rhea Jensen series, so I don't have all that background coming into this final book. That said, I was able to thoroughly enjoy Walk of Infamy as a stand alone. Enough background information is provided that I didn't feel completely lost.

This is it - the day that determines Rhea Jensen's future, or lack thereof. She knows that she probably won't live through the day and she's taken every precaution to ensure that her family and loved ones are protected. However, nothing has truly prepared her for what happens.

She had been "drugged twice, had objects implanted and removed from [her] body, undergone a blood purge, had a bout with hypothermia, done a triathlon, been in several fights,[and] taken a bullet to the leg…" in a matter of about fourteen hours. But she was still alive - for the moment. Can she trust Anton, Jack, and "Eyes" to help her survive? And if she does live, what then? She'll be a walking target with a million-dollar bounty on her head. She can't ever return to the life she once knew - or to her family… her husband.

Walk of Infamy is a high-paced, action-packed adventure that tears at your heart strings, gets your heart racing, and all the while you hold out the unrealistic hope that it's going to be ok - that Rhea and Ty will somehow be able to be together again.

I absolutely loved this book. I had already read Pimpernel and had to go back and skim it to put all the pieces together that tie in. I'm now going to get the previous Rhea Jensen books to fill in the complete backstory and look forward eagerly for the continuation of the Pimpernel series.

FYI~ mild language, violence, some mature topics/themes but handled tactfully
honest disclosure~ I received a review copy

Friday, December 2, 2016

Review ~ The Viscount of Maisons-Laffitte


Single moms are not supposed to fall for rich French aristocrats!
There's just no way he will ever choose her.

Is there such a thing as Prince Charming? Chastity didn't take a teaching job in France to find hers, but a woman can dream, n'est-ce pas? If the father of one of her students--the Viscount Charles Jean Anne Monorie de Brase--is the best local example of princes, Charming or Otherwise, Chastity is ready to put aside any thought of falling in love again. 

She's had enough of his arrogance and would prefer him to keep his distance, yet it seems there is no avoiding each other. With the ongoing pressure of a repentant ex-boyfriend, a nefarious drug dealer, and an art heist that spans the decades, Chastity and the viscount are thrown together by circumstances she would soon rather forget.

As the intimacy between Charles and Chastity deepens, they must decide if their love is enough to bridge the gap between their disparate worlds, and if happily ever after can exist outside of fairy tales.


Jewelz Review~
A modern story of love and loss, the struggles of being a single parent, along with a little drama and mystery all set in beautiful France.

I enjoyed the real life struggles this book portrayed - the difficulty of being a single parent, of struggling to know if you're making the right decisions in raising your child - trying to find the perfect balance between being involved and letting him learn from his own mistakes. Being a parent is hard - it's even more difficult when doing it alone.

Chastity and Charles have much in common, but their lives are worlds apart. Even though they are an unlikely pair, and things begin with a rough start, they are able to bring out the best in each other and provide the love and support they both need.

The mystery that is woven through the story likewise brought unlikely characters together seamlessly. I enjoyed seeing how it all unfolded - how all the pieces and characters fit together in the end.

An enjoyable, diverting read.

FYI ~ clean read - a teenage party scene including drinking and drugs, but not portrayed in a positive light.

honest disclosure ~ I received a review copy

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Book Blitz for The Soulstealer's Child




Brandon Gray is the pen name of Braden Bell (Brandon writes YA fiction; Braden writes for middle grades). Braden holds a Ph.D. from New York University. He and his family live on a quiet, wooded lot in Tennessee, where he teaches middle school theatre and music. An experienced performer, Braden enjoys reading, gardening, and long summer afternoons writing in his hammock. His most notable skill is being able to eat a full rack of BBQ ribs with one hand on long drives.



Connect with the Author here: 
~ Facebook ~ Website
 ~ Amazon ~ Twitter
 ~ Goodreads ~




Can a human heart overcome a demon soul?




When soul-eating demons overrun his world, Kaelis, a young seraph warrior, uses the Queen’s ring to open a portal in space and flee with the infant heir to the throne, landing on earth. Unbeknownst to him, the demon leader, Nsark, follows through the portal, determined to devour the soul of every last seraph, especially the Queen’s heir. After Kaelis hides the baby, Nsark creates the ultimate weapon by fathering a half-human, half-demon: a soul-stealer’s child. 



Sixteen years later, an awkward teen named James struggles to fit in with his peers. In a last-ditch effort, he joins the school play, where he meets Lucy. Something deep draws them together, and their friendship reveals their hidden pasts: one is an angel, one is half-demon. Lucy and James find themselves pulled into an age-old war between their peoples. Hunted by relentless enemies, and grappling with deep-seated instincts and strange new powers, they must fight for their lives, their souls, and each other.





Snippet:

James looked down at Lucinda’s head resting against his shoulder, her long tresses streaming down his arm and chest like a river of frozen fire. Her small shoulders rose and fell with each breath, but beyond that, she didn’t move. She looked like a sleeping angel fallen to the earth, and he had to fight the sudden urge to touch her hair. How it would feel to let his fingers run riot through those soft strands? 


To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 



Monday, November 28, 2016

Book Blitz for The Belmont Saga






Ren Garcia is a Science Fiction/Fantasy author and Texas native who grew up in western Ohio. He has been writing since before he could write, often scribbling alien lingo on any available wall or floor with assorted crayons. He attended The Ohio State University and majored in English Literature. Ren has been an avid lover of anything surreal since childhood, he also has a passion for caving, urban archeology and architecture. His highly imaginative "League of Elder" book series is published by Loconeal Publishing

  



Connect with the Author here: 

Facebook ~ Website ~ Amazon ~





Book 1 - Sands of the Solar Empire

GET THE BRANDY TO BAZZ . . .
That’s all Paymaster Stenstrom, the Lord of Belmont-South Tyrol, has to do and the old warbird Seeker is his. He has dreamed of captaining a Fleet ship his entire life.
Little does Paymaster Stenstrom realize that he is in the grip of an old Vendetta and the short trip to Bazz might very well be his last.
Faced with a dead ship and a lost crew, Paymaster Stenstrom finds help in the strangest places: the thief Marine and the milquetoast young man from the Admiral’s office, and, though he just became acquainted with these two strangers, he discovers they have been influencing each other’s lives for a very long time.
Something sinister hovers over Paymaster Stenstrom and his two new friends, something they are only now becoming aware of. The SANDS OF THE SOLAR EMPIRE stretch out before them in an endless gulf brimming with the unknown. Can a masked Paymaster, a thief, a coward and a once great warbird face what awaits them?



Book 2 - Against the Druries

That’s what they say on Bazz, that the “Deep Sea”, the open space between the two planets, is cursed and full of bad dreams—but nobody ever listens to people from Bazz, do they?
Paymaster Stenstrom, Private Taara and Lord A-Ram struggle to navigate the Seeker, an old warbird, through the shipping lanes to Bazz. If the Paymaster can’t get to Bazz with his cargo of brandy, he loses the ship and will probably end up in jail as well.
Jail? If only . . . The three adventurers are about to discover the old farfetched mariner stories are very real and that the Devil himself waits for the unwary in dark places where there is no help.
The Circle closes in on Stenstrom, Taara and A-Ram, and its judgment for them is far worse than any jail cell. The Seeker is about of become just another ship that set sail from safe shores and was never heard from again, unless . . .
The Belmont Saga concludes in this heartbreaking and action-packed tale of friendship and dedication, of vile evil and hopeless terror, and that sometimes help for those gone astray comes from the most unlikely of places.


Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon UK ~ 

Snippet:

The fourth man looked about and then carefully studied Stenstrom. He had a groping, invasive sort of stare. “¿Y qué tenemos nosotros aquí? You have a Fleet adjutant for a Master Helmsman, and a Marine private as first officer? A novel bit of selection there, a-heheh. And you sir, that is not a standard uniform you are wearing, is it? What is your rank, Lord Belmont, pray tell?” 
“You’ll pardon us if we ask the questions for the time being,” Taara said, jumping in giving her SK a shake. 
The smallest man turned to her. “Ah, ce qu'une petite fille délicieuse . . .” 
“What?” Taara replied. 
The man chuckled. “Your pardon, I have a love of irrelevant and obsolete languages of old. A hobby of mine, a-heheh. I merely said what a handsome young lady stands before us.” He waved his arms in an inviting manner. “Please, allow me to introduce myself. I am Chance Venable, and these are my brothers, Clem Venable, Innocent Venable, and Lemmuel Venable. We are simple traders scraping by as best we can.”  From Against the Druries. Stenstrom and his crew confront a group of pirates in space.


To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 



Friday, November 25, 2016

The Charming Life of Izzy Malone by Jenny Lundquist Blast

  the-charming-life-of-izzy-maloneThe Charming Life of Izzy Malone by Jenny Lundquist Izzy Malone isn’t your typical sixth grader. She wears camouflage combat boots and tie dye skirts; the Big Dipper and Orion are her two best friends; and she’d rather climb trees or shoot hoops than talk about boys and makeup. And after only a month of middle school she’s already set the record for the most trips to the Principal’s office. The only time Izzy feels at peace is when she’s on the open water, and more than anything else, she wants to become a member of the Dandelion Paddlers, her school’s competitive rowing club. But thanks to those multiple trips to the Principal’s office, Izzy’s parents force her to enroll in Mrs. Whippie’s Charm School, a home-study course in manners and etiquette, or they won’t let her race in Dandelion Hollow's annual pumpkin regatta—where Izzy hopes to prove to the Dandelion Paddlers she is more than qualified to be on their team. When Mrs. Whippie’s first letter arrives it’s way different from what Izzy was expecting. Tucked inside the letter is a shiny gold bracelet and an envelope charm. Izzy must earn her first charm by writing someone a nice note, and once she does more tasks will be assigned. Izzy manages to complete some of the tasks—and to her surprise, she actually finds herself enjoying the course. But when one of her attempts at doing something good is misinterpreted, she fears her chances at passing the course—and becoming a Paddler—are slipping away. With some unexpected friends there to support her, can Izzy manage to earn her charms and stay true to herself?
amazonbarnes and noble
Praise for the Book: “Izzy’s frank, vulnerable, sassy first-person narration reveals her surprising journey from a solitary girl talking to the stars to a girl with friends to light her way…This story of an atypical girl, her family, and friends, laced with middle school drama, is indeed a charming one.” –Kirkus Reviews “A heartwarming coming-of-age journey…Lundquist deftly portrays the pain of being odd girl out, both at school and at home.” –Publisher’s Weekly
  add to goodreads new

~Excerpt~

Mom opened the letter, and sure enough, I was right.
“It’s from Ms. Harmer. It says you frequently refuse to follow instructions.” She paused, and said, “Well?”
I frowned. “Well, what?”
“Well—what do you have to say for yourself?”
“I guess I would say…instructions are for kids who have no imagination.”
Mom sighed loudly and ran a hand through her hair, but behind her back Carolyn grinned and gave me a thumbs up.
“What? You told me to say something, so I did.”
Mom read the letter again. “Apparently you were supposed to write an essay about a famous poet, and instead you turned in a story.”
“So what? Ms. Harmer didn’t actually say it had to be a real life famous poet—so I made one up.” If you ask me, what I did was actually harder; and, the best part of all, it only took me fifteen minutes. I wrote a story about a poet named Wanda Wordsmith who went fishing for her poems. Except instead of a fishing pole, she used a kite to catch her words on the wind. I thought it was a great story, and deserved an A. But apparently The Hammer thought it deserved a note home, which made no sense to me at all. Sometimes I think teachers like Ms. Harmer view creativity as something dirty and slightly embarrassing, and would prefer to turn kids into people who color inside the lines.
Generally speaking, I don’t care much for lines.

jenny-lundquistAuthor Jenny Lundquist Jenny Lundquist was born and raised in Huntington Beach, CA, where she spent her time unsuccessfully learning how to surf. When she was younger, she wanted to be either a rock star or a published author. After she taped herself singing and listened to it on playback she decided she'd better opt for the writing route. Jenny is the author of Seeing Cinderella and Plastic Polly as well as the young adult titles The Princess in the Opal Mask and The Opal Crown.
      amazon or paypal$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway Ends 12/12/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway