Aranya: Review

Author: Marc Secchia
Narrator: Siromi Arserio
Length: 14 hours 33 minutes
Publisher: Marc Secchia⎮2015
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Shapeshifter Dragons, Book 1
Release date: April 05, 2015


Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly?

Long ago, Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonising, building and warring. Now, the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom–the Island-Kingdom of Immadia.

Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.

 


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I was blown away by the magnitude of this story. Shiromi Arseio narrates an incredible and larger than life tale. I did have a bit of issues when I first started listening but soon got used to the terms and names as more were introduced. I liked Arseio’s accent as well. It definitely fit the genre and she did a great job of putting energy and inflection into every scene. Of course, every time I listen to someone read with an accent in an audiobook, I also tend to dream with that accent, so that was interesting.

Aranya starts out very different from the other princesses, with a fire in her and dreams of a dragon, she sometimes struggles in her position. After being betrayed and sentenced to death, she is tied up and thrown off a cliff and manages to survive by shapeshifting into a dragon. I absolutely love the concept of this book. Books with dragons are always amazing to read but I really enjoyed reading about the dragon herself and the rider she meets. She soon continues to gain newfound powers that she works to control. The battles that occur were crazy and amazing as well. At times, this fast paced novel almost left me behind and I did have to go back a few times to listen again.

Secchia wrote a very strong female-driven book which was really cool. While we have male characters in the book, it centers into the life of dragons, dragon shifting, and dragon riders. So pretty much exactly what I wanted to read when I first signed up to review this book.

I’d definitely recommend getting this audiobook and encourage everyone to enter the super generous giveaway!

Marc Secchia

Marc is a South African-born dragon masquerading as an author, who loves writing about dragons and Africa, preferably both at the same time. He lives and works in Ethiopia with his wife and 4 children, 2 dogs and a variable number of marabou storks that roost on the acacia trees out back. On a good night there are also hyenas patrolling the back fence.

He’s the author of 21 fantasy books in 3 languages (2 more languages coming this year – watch this space!), including 8 rip-roaring dragon fantasy bestsellers. Dragonfriend won a Gold Award for Fantasy in the 2016 IPPY Book Awards. Look out for Whisper Alive, his latest release. The 4th tale in the Dragonfriend series, Dragonstar, is coming soon!

When he’s not writing about Africa or dragons Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there’s nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.

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Shiromi Arserio

A native of London, England, Shiromi Arserio is a stage actor, voice talent and audiobook narrator. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. In addition to narrating dozens of audiobooks, her voice can be heard in documentaries, e-learning projects and video games such as Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion. Shiromi currently resides in the Seattle area with her husband and her two furbabies.

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  1. The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey (and so many more)
  2. The Neverending Story ( for the bit with the luck dragon)
  3. How to Train your Dragon (with the matchless Toothless)
  4. Smaug in The Hobbit
  5. Dragonheart – flawed, I know, but I loved it
  6. Eragon – I felt the movie didn’t do this tale justice
  7. Dealing with Dragons (Patricia Wrede)
  8. Mercedes Lackey (Dragon Jousters)
  9. Firebolt by Adreienne Woods
  10. Cora and the Nurse Dragon (H.L.Burke) – a unique concept

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Aranya Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card

 

Comfort Plans: Guest Post

COMFORT PLANS

By KIMBERLY FISH

  Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Date of Publication: May 23, 2017

Number of Pages: 320 

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Colette Sheridan is being remodeled.

As a San Antonio architect, she’d have vowed her career was to investigate the history and create new functions for the structures everyone else saw as eyesores. The old German farmhouse in Comfort, Texas, might be the screeching end of that dream job. The assignment seemed so ideal at the start; generous clients, a stunning location, and a pocketful of letters that were surely meant to explain the ranch’s story. All that goodness crashed louder than a pile of two-by-fours when her grandfather announced he’d lured Colette’s ex-husband back to San Antonio to take over the family architecture firm. Now, not only does Colette have to endure the challenges posed by Beau Jefferson, the client’s handpicked contractor, a house that resists efforts to be modernized, and letters that may hold the secret to buried treasure, but she also has to decide if she has the courage to fight for her future.

Set against the backdrop of the Texas Hill Country, Colette and Beau have to rely on plans neither of them constructed in order to navigate the changes of a house with a story to tell, and a future they couldn’t even imagine.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Kimberly Fish’s unique writing style snatched me out of my easy chair and plunked me down into the middle of her character’s life where I was loathe to leave when my real life called me back. Her descriptive visual writing drew me in on the first page. Can’t wait to read more stories by Mrs. Fish.”

–Vickie Phelps,Author of Moved, Left No Address

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How Pinterest Helps Readers Get “Hooked” on Kimberly Fish Books

Guest Post by Kimberly Fish

When I’m writing at my desk, I often have a bulletin board over my desk pinned with magazine photos, old letters, notes about where I need to move a character, or any assorted detail related to creating an authentic backdrop for my story to grow. I also find that looking at photos on Pinterest is like adding firecrackers to my imagination. I put together some boards to inspire me when I’m writing, and I thought maybe you might like a peek into the “inspiration boards” I’ve pinned to my Pinterest account.

For instance, with the novel, Comfort Plans, it was important to learn the various phases of construction related to renovating an old ranch. That’s not the kind of detail I already knew, so I bought several books from used bookstores, interviewed friends in the industry, and then set about entering specialized words into Pinterest’s search bar to help fill in the gaps. I’m not going to lie; I did get distracted looking at design ideas, handsome character actors, long-reaching vistas of Texas landscape, and peculiar architectural elements that may or may not have ended up in the final draft of a novel about an old German farmhouse that resists its remodel. But those of you who have done any amount of research know this: going down the rabbit trails is sometimes where you collect the best information.

Stay as long as you want on Pinterest, wander down the rabbit trails of photo boards, but in the end read a good book like Comfort Plans, and enjoy a mental vacation exploring a time, place, and circumstance that stretches your imagination. Enjoy!

Kimberly Fish started writing professionally with the birth of her second child and the purchase of a home computer. Having found this dubious outlet, she then entered and won The Writer’s League of Texas manuscript contest which fed her on-going fascination with story crafting.

She has since published in magazines, newspapers, and online formats and in 2017, released the first novel in a series set during the World War II years in Longview, Texas—The Big Inch. She lives with her family in East Texas.

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7/31  Excerpt 1  Books in the Garden

8/1  Review  Bibliotica

8/2  Character Interview  Texas Book Lover

8/3  Guest Post 1  CGB Blog Tours

8/4  Review  Chapter Break Book Blog

8/5  Excerpt 2  Books and Broomsticks

8/6  Playlist  Reading By Moonlight

8/7  Review  Forgotten Winds

8/8  Video Guest Post  Missus Gonzo

8/9  Review  Hall Ways Blog

8/10  Excerpt 3  The Librarian Talks

8/12  Review  StoreyBook Reviews

8/13  Excerpt 4  Margie’s Must Reads

8/14  Review  Syd Savvy

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TS901:Anomaly Review

TS901
By Stacey Rourke & Tish Thawer
Publication date: August 1st 2017
Genres: Dystopian, New Adult

Synopsis

Tainted water for the good of the people. Fluoride and vitamins to sustain the health of the human race. Added ingredients to extend and elevate the quality of life. All good things, right?

Wrong.

Thia Kelly has been changed by the TS901 chemical in the world’s water supply. Now, forced into hiding with the other inflicted outcasts, she struggles to survive as her powers emerge.

Evan Daniels hunted for others like himself, and finding Thia suddenly brought meaning back into his life. Love blossomed between the strange couple while they searched for a way to reverse the effects. Unfortunately, the Government had something else in mind.

Super-soldier creation on a mass scale was their end goal, and thanks to an unfortunate family tie, Evan became Patient #1.

Good-guy? Bad-guy? The world isn’t sure, but Thia is left with only one choice––save the ass of the world’s first Anomaly who just happens to be her boyfriend.

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Review

From the very beginning of this book, you are thrown into a heavily tense and brewing war between Naries(Ordinary) and Malies(Anomalies). Thia starts her days angry, in pain, and missing her boyfriend. A boyfriend that is considered dangerous and a threat by being Patient One. While vicious attacks are blamed on him, she knows the full story. That he was just a boy that wanted to make his father proud. Except, in doing so, he left her and their people and his image now puts everyone at risk. Still, Thia is seen as relatively normal on the outside and is a bridge of communication between both sides. Struggling with her own inner demons about her ability, she tries to bring some semblance of comfort and normality to the people she loves. One thing clear about Thia is that she has a big heart and discovers what power this gives her.
This book is dizzying, surprising, action-packed and literally will make you want to run around afterwards. It has an X-men vibe but is also so gritty and real. Even the occasional crude humor and camaraderie between the characters will make this book fly by. You’ll understand that pun later…
The pace of the book will encourage you to read faster and I barely kept up with everything happening. This was written by two authors so, at times, can get a bit chaotic. I actually enjoyed this style of writing, as it really exhibited the uncharacteristic writing I enjoy. Thia’s goal in the beginning is to rescue her boyfriend(ish) Evan and through the help of some powerful Malies, they spark a revolution. I loved every distinct character in this book. Especially Gigi!! What was very clear was how incredibly supportive they all are of each other and their differences. It had a beautiful underlying story amongst all the action. Even their flaws are accepted, the choices they make, and who they have become to survive is a strength. By the end, they band together and seem like a family by the end. They are determined to save people and, in doing so, show their true heroic colors.
A wonderful start to a series! I eagerly await the next book.

About the Authors

Tish
2017 – #1 Bestseller in Historical Fiction (Witches of BlackBrook)
2015 – Best Cover – Penned Con (The Witches of BlackBrook)
2015 – Readers Choice Award – Blogger Choice Awards (The Witches of BlackBrook)Bestselling and Award Winning Author, Tish Thawer, writes paranormal romances for all ages. From her first paranormal cartoon, Isis, to the Twilight phenomenon, myth, magic, and superpowers have always held a special place in her heart.Tish is known for her detailed world-building and magic-laced stories. Her work has been compared to Nora Roberts, Sam Cheever, and Charlaine Harris. She has received a RONE Award nomination (Reward of Novel Excellence), as well as nominations for Best Cover, Reader’s Choice, and Author of the Year (Fantasy, Dystopian, Mystery).Tish has worked as a computer consultant, photographer, and graphic designer, and is a columnist for Gliterary Girl media and has bylines in RT Magazine and Literary Lunes Magazine. She resides in Colorado with her husband and three wonderful children and is represented by Gandolfo, Helin, and Fountain Literary Management.

You can find Tish on Facebook.

Stacey

RONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a Gryphon Series Novel
Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012
Turning Pages Magazine Winner for Best YA book of 2013 & Best Teen Book of 2013
Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner for Crane 2015Stacey Rourke is the author of the award winning YA Gryphon Series, the chillingly suspenseful Legends Saga, and the romantic comedy Reel Romance Series. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant dogs. She loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction, and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head.
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Gybe: Promo

Gybe


Kristi M. Turner


Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction


Release Date: August 28th 2016



 

Summary from Goodreads

Nicole is an 18-year-old, juvenile delinquent who desperately wants to take control of her life but must find a way to overcome her own self-sabotage and a judge who won’t easily let her escape her past. She keeps food on her plate and clothes on her back by stealing. It is far from the life she wants, but she has known little kindness in her life and, therefore, gives little back. When Judge Newton charges her for the first time as an adult, Nicole recognizes a separating path: She can stay on her path to destruction or she can accept the unexpected generosity of the Kutcher family, whose house she is charged with burglarizing.

Child psychologist, Cynthia Kutcher, believes she can help Nicole confront her anger and build back the self-worth she lost when her father abandoned her to a drunken uncle after her mother’s death. 
Along the way to building a more valuable life, Nicole meets Keagan, an affluent young man with whom she begins an often overwhelming love affair despite the conflicts their disparate pasts bring.


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About the Author

 

Kristi M Turner lives in Alabama where she enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her husband and daughter.

She is a lover of music and a Netflix addict. Her favorite place to be is sitting in the sand on a beach, any beach. She is currently working on her second novel starring Bailey and Jay.

Author Links

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A Matter of Trust: Review

A MATTER OF TRUST

Montana Rescue Series, Book 3

By SUSAN MAY WARREN

  Genre: Contemporary Romance / Action / Christian

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: July 4, 2017

Number of Pages: 336

Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson was at the top of his game when one of his fans crashed and died—a death blamed on Gage. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, Gage had no choice but to leave the limelight behind and search for a new life.

Although Gage is now working as a ski patrol in Montana’s rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team, he still can’t find peace—or forget the woman who betrayed him.

As a former attorney and one of the youngest senators in the country, Ella Blair is used to being in the public eye. But she does have one secret that has remained hidden—a secret that could have saved Gage his career. Wracked with regret, she’ll do almost anything to atone for her betrayal of him.

When Ella’s brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park’s most dangerous peaks, the last thing Gage wants is to let Ella join the search. Not only will he have to find her reckless brother, but he’ll have to keep her safe as well. But Ella is undeterred, and suddenly Gage finds himself in a high-stakes adventure on a mountain with a woman who could cost him everything—again. In a world of dangerous heights, devastating injuries, and blinding snowstorms, Gage and Ella must put aside the past and learn to trust each other if they hope to survive.

Praise for the Montana Rescue Series

“Exciting rescues and an old mystery offer a thrilling, roller-coaster plotline and plenty of drama to keep the pages turning.” —Bookpage on Wild Montana Skies

“A fast-moving, high-stakes romantic adventure set against the backdrop of Glacier National Park, which will leave longtime fans and new readers alike anticipating the next book in the series.” —Publishers Weekly on Rescue Me

Purchase Links

Baker Book House Amazon | Christianbook.com B&N

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A Matter of Trust is a mix of high tension, suspense, drama and forgiveness. As I usually lean towards the more fantasy action genre, I’m always really surprised and excited to enjoy books like these. Especially when it sparks my interest for other novels the author has written. Susan Warren has an amazing sense of character and scenery.

Despite Gage and Ella’s own upended history, Gage puts things aside and sets off to rescue her brother. Struggling with his faith in her and own spiritual faith, their journey has many twists and turns that keep the reader well engaged in their story. This book also follows other characters, or duos as it were, in the team. From previous books, we’re given glimpses of their own complex stories and what’s to come. Since I wasn’t as familiar with other characters in the series, I did tend to focus more on other areas with the main characters, Gage and Ella. Gage is a wonderfully engaging character with his own doubts and growth throughout the book. Ella was a bit harder to connect with, especially since she is trying to redeem her past decisions and making new difficult ones along the way. I still enjoyed their interactions and dynamic that pushed the boundaries of usual relationships you tend to see or read in stories.

I’ve never been good at skiing but I love snow. The way Warren described it was fun and lively to the point where I’m tempted to retry it again…on a bunny hill. The wintery scene of Montana was really well done and made me want to travel there someday. Well, when it’s a tad warmer of course. I definitely recommend this great summer read! Be sure to enter the giveaway!

Susan May Warren is the USA Today, ECPA, and CBA bestselling author of over fifty novels, including Wild Montana Skies with more than one million books sold. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas.

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR

7/6 Character Interview 1 Books and Broomsticks
7/7 Excerpt Chapter Break Book Blog
7/8 Review Syd Savvy
7/9 Author Interview Margie’s Must Reads
7/10 Character Interview 2 Forgotten Winds
7/11 Review The Page Unbound
7/12 Playlist Hall Ways Blog
7/13 Review Reading by Moonlight
7/14 Deleted Scene CGB Blog Tours
7/15 Review Missus Gonzo

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Sprint Writing

Hi there! Becca and I have joined together to do a writing adventure. It’s called Sprint Writing!

What is sprint writing?

It’s a timed writing exercise to write as quickly as you can for a set amount of time. You can take on a suggested prompt or dare, too!

Why take part in a word sprint? To rev up your writing momentum, and get you sprinting past your inner editor. —NaNoWriMo

For some writing tips, visit here!

Enjoy!

How’d you like it? We challenge you to join in on this adventure! Comment or tweet with your writing time and word count. We’d love to hear about your experience and suggestions on what you’d like next. Questions, concerns, fun tidbits and challenges that you want to see. We look forward to hearing from you!

Freak: Promo

Freak
By Erin Lee
Genre: LBGT/ Contemporary
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: 29 June, 2017

Blurb

Regret Comes in Every Color of the Rainbow

Based on Erin Lee’s novella, Her Name Was Sam, Freak is the story of Kelly and Morgan, the mother and sister of Sam Harris, in the aftermath of her suicide. Bullied for being brave enough to show her true colors to the world, Sam has been gone exactly one year and Kelly and Morgan are left to tackle the grief that comes with regret in her absence.

But Sam’s story is far from over…

Through the love of Willow, a teenager intent on standing up for her “Freak” best friend at all costs, Ryan is able to finally come out to family and friends. His transformation from ashamed to proud with Willow’s help gives new meaning to Sam’s story and how things could have been.

Because love comes in all shades too.

Buy Links

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Excerpt

 Kelly

I stand in a sea of color. It’s so bright, so real, that I feel like I could almost reach out and taste it. I imagine it tastes like summer’s fat watermelon slices or the Fourth of July. But my mouth is dry. Even if I could, I wouldn’t take a bite. I have too much guilt. The only reason I’m standing here is because I helped kill my daughter. If I’m totally honest with you, and with myself, I would never be standing here if Sam hadn’t done what she did.

She asked me to come with her to this very parade so many times. I told her there was no way I’d be caught dead marching down the streets like this. I tried to convince her it was just a phase. I told her to keep an open mind; the very thing she was asking of me. I said she was just curious and experimenting. I even tried to tell her it was all a normal part of growing up. But deep down, I knew. I knew exactly what was going on with her. I also knew how important it was to her that I support her. I just wasn’t ready. I couldn’t see myself as “that” mom. The last thing I wanted to have was pride.

I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t be normal. I felt like she was only doing it to punish me. I’d watch her, getting dressed in wild patterns and heels so high I was sure she’d twist an ankle. She’d put on so much make-up it reminded me of a circus clown. I told her so. I told her to take off the mask. She glared at me, telling me I didn’t understand.

It’s ironic that I’m here now. Being at the rainbow parade is a horrible consolation prize. I only want my daughter back. I’d go to a parade like this one every year for the rest of my life if I could change things. I’d even have pride: In her. In me. In a million things I wouldn’t have done so awfully wrong. Pride in the things I’d do over right.

I wonder what she thinks of me today and almost hope there’s no afterlife. I admit it, I’m a hypocrite. I should have been here years ago. I should have done whatever it took to support her. But there are no do overs. At least, I don’t think.

Sam believed in reincarnation. She’s probably too busy living another, better life, to be paying attention. If she is, I know she’s rolling her eyes. She’d say, “Finally, Mom’s here.”

The ironic thing is, I couldn’t not be here. I am, after all, a conspirator. Maybe I can help some other mother from suffering the same fate. Sam always used to say, “Everything happens for a reason.”

I can’t imagine a good enough reason for her suicide. But there were many. I might have been able to stop her, had I listened. I didn’t listen when she told me how bad the bullying had become. I didn’t take her seriously or buy her the new dresses and make-up she asked for. I told her she needed to see a therapist and to stop trying to change who she was. I said that she needed to focus on school and ignore everyone around her. I told her she was too young to date and that the only thing that would solve her problems was prayer. I told her that maybe she was just bisexual or gay. I told her it was no big deal and that she had plenty of time to figure it out. And, then, I told myself I was being open minded. The truth was, my mind was entirely closed and we both knew it. I even asked her what the neighbors might think.

Sure, there were warning signs. I should have paid closer attention when her grades dropped and she stopped attending band practice. I should have known something was wrong when she burnt her journals in the backyard. I let her give her trumpet and flute away. Instead, I wrote it off to teen angst and told myself she was only going through a phase. I painted over her pink walls and made them blue. I figured it might help her rethink things.

It’s probably a good thing that I can’t hear myself think over the noise. A man wearing white leggings and rainbow leg warmers has a gold horn on his head. His Mohawk is dyed every color of the rainbow. I think he’s supposed to be a unicorn. I try not to wince as he spins and twirls and prances by. I tell myself at least his mother has him alive.

Someday, I hope to be able to smile with him. I hope to be able to look past the glitter and overt cries of ‘pride.’ For now, I need to just be here, part of it, and try. Three young girls, with their arms locked together, march beside me. Their faces are painted red and I wonder what it symbolizes. They laugh and smile and I have to make myself look away. It’s too late…

About the Author

Erin Lee is a freelance writer and therapist chasing a crazy dream one reality at a time. She is the author of Crazy Like Me, a novel published in 2015 by Savant Books and Publications, LLC, Wave to Papa, 2015, by Limitless Publishing, LLC and Nine Lives (2016). She’s also author of Alters, Host, and Merge of the “Lola, Party of Eight Series,” When I’m Dead, Take Me As I Am, Greener, Something Blue, Once Upon a Vow and 99 Bottles. She also penned Her Name Was Sam, an LGBTQ awareness novella. She is author of Losing Faith, and co-author of The Morning After with Black Rose Writing. These days, she spends her free time working on the sequels to this novel, Jimmie’s Ice Cream and Thing Fifteen.

Lee is a co-founder of the Escape From Reality Series. She, along with authors Sara Schoen and Taylor Henderson, are working with twenty other authors to bring the hopes, dreams, fears and terrors of a tiny fictional town alive. The town and its setting is exactly the type of place a man like Jimmie might escape to as the bodies thawed.

Lee holds a master’s degree in psychology and works with at-risk families and as a court appointed special advocate. She cannot write horror with the lights off. However, these days, she’s getting braver and dimming them. She’ll get there . . .

Author Links
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Freak. One winner will win a signed paperback of Freak by Erin Lee. US only.

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Under A Summer Sky: Excerpt

UNDER A SUMMER SKY

Follow Your Heart, Book 3

By Melody Carlson

Genre: Contemporary Romance / Christian / Inspirational

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: June 6, 2017

Number of Pages: 320

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High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house is luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promises interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn’t long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who’s determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of her childhood friends—who also happen to be brothers—vying for her attention.

With the backdrop of a gorgeous historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance . . . anything can happen! 

Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites you to spend the summer surrounded by splendor . . . and tantalizing possibilities.

 

PRAISE FOR THE FOLLOW YOUR HEART SERIES:

“Heartwarming and uplifting.”Library Journal on Once Upon a Summertime 

“Sweet, romantic, and endlessly entertaining.”Radiant Lit on Once Upon a Summertime

“This winsome romance [is] a perfect summer read.”Publishers Weekly on All Summer Long

PURCHASE LINKS

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Excerpt: Chapter 1, Part 3

continued from the 6/22/17 Lone Star Book Blog Tours stop

“Well, Vivian called me up this morning. Straight out of the blue. I don’t think we’ve had an actual conversation since her grandbaby was born.”

“Vivian has a grandbaby?”

“Oh, I’m sure I told you about it before. You remember that Alex got married—that was years ago. Poor Vivian was so disappointed they didn’t have a wedding. The selfish kids ran off to Vegas.”

“Oh yeah.” Nicole nodded, remembering how vexed her mom was that there hadn’t been a wedding. Nicole herself hadn’t been too pleased to hear that Alex had gotten married. “So back to Vivian, Mom. She called you this morning?”

“Yes. I couldn’t have been more surprised. Oh, we still exchange Christmas and birthday cards, but we haven’t actually spoken in years. Viv has encouraged me to join one of those online social clubs, but you know me, Nikki, I hate computers.” She snagged a parking place near the neighborhood Starbucks. “All that electronic stuff just gives me the heebie-jeebies. Don’t know how your father can waste so much time on his computer. It’s just plain silly.”

Nicole laughed as she pointed to her mom’s smartphone sticking out of her purse. “Well, at least you know how to use that now. That’s better than nothing.”

Caroline turned off the engine and reached for her phone. “That reminds me, I have to show you the pictures I took at JJ’s ball game yesterday—”

“How about you send them to me?” Nicole said as they got out of the car.

“Anyway, Viv and I had a very interesting conversation.” Caroline’s brows arched.

“That is somehow related to me?” Nicole held the Starbucks door open for her mom.

“Well, as it turns out, it just might be. You see,” Caroline continued as they stepped into the short line, “Vivian and Robert are celebrating their fortieth anniversary this summer by taking a world cruise. Can you imagine three months of being pampered on a luxurious ship that goes all around the world?” She sighed. “But then they’re rich.”

“What does this have to do with me?”

“I’m sure that Vivian called me to brag a little. Really, I can’t blame her. I’d tell everyone I know if your dad was taking me on a trip like that.” She paused to order an iced mocha, and Nicole followed suit, trying to make sense of her mother’s monologue about Vivian’s charmed life.

“But Robert comes from money. Old money. According to Viv, they inherited quite a sum after his dad passed away.” She shook her head. “I can only imagine.”

“You’re not exactly impoverished,” Nicole said.

“I know that. But we’re not the Grahams.”

Nicole smiled. “And I’m glad you’re not.”

As they picked up their iced mochas, Caroline continued to rattle on about how “fortunate” Vivian and Robert were. After they were seated, Nicole held up her hand. “Okay, Mom, can you please get to the part about why this involves me? I’ve had a long day and an even longer school year, and my brain is starting to get a little fuzzy.”

Caroline gave her a sly-looking smile. “Well . . . do you recall that Vivian owns a gallery in Savannah?”

Nicole tipped her head to one side. “That kind of rings a bell. Didn’t we look at a vacant building when we were in Savannah that last time? Vivian was talking about getting it for an investment?”

“Yes, that’s right. Vivian bought that building. A few years later she opened an art gallery—I guess it was about a dozen years ago. The Graham Gallery, she said it’s called. It took a while for it to catch hold, and then there was the recession. But apparently it’s fairly well established now. I guess it’s been kind of like her baby—even more so after her boys were grown and all. It actually sounds rather nice.”

“Uh-huh.” Nicole tried to imagine it as she sipped her iced mocha.

“Viv was telling me all about her gallery and these art exhibits she has lined up for the upcoming summer, complaining about how hard it would be to leave it all behind—to go off on her fabulous world cruise.” Caroline rolled her eyes, then laughed. “In the meantime, I got this brilliant idea.”

“Oh?” Despite her weariness, Nicole’s curiosity was piquing.

“It was slightly miraculous how this idea occurred to me—almost like a divine inspiration.”

“Seriously?” Nicole frowned.

Caroline nodded firmly. “Don’t be such a skeptic, Nikki. It’s entirely possible that God gave me this idea. Anyway, I suddenly realized that you, my dear, are exactly what Vivian needs.”

“What she needs?”

“To manage her gallery.”

“To manage her gallery?”

“Good grief, is there an echo in this room?” Caroline glanced dramatically around, then narrowed her eyes at Nicole. “Please, dear, stop repeating everything I say.”

Nicole just stared at her mom. Did she honestly think Nicole could simply drop everything, uproot her life for an entire summer, and relocate to Savannah? Furthermore, did she really think Nicole knew the first thing about running an art gallery?

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than 6.5 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and the contemporary romances Once Upon a Summertime and All Summer Long. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon.

WEBSITE    FACEBOOK   MYSPACE

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Grand Prize:

Print copies of the three books in the Follow Your Heart series, Thanks You’re A Peach Tea Gift Tin,12×18 Savannah travel poster, & Georgia Peach Cookies Tin

1st Runner-Up: Full series + $15 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

2nd Runner-Up: Full Series + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

June 17-26, 2017

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Sir Kay: Review

THE ELDRIDGE CONSPIRACY

Sir Kaye the Boy Knight, Book 4

By Don M. Winn

  Genre: Children’s Chapter Book / Adventure / Medieval

Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press

Date of Publication: June 16, 2017

Number of Pages: 166, B&W illustrations 

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Kaye’s father is in danger! The young knight, Kaye, and his friends Reggie and Beau enter Eldridge in search of the only man who can save Kaye’s father. During their journey, they encounter and make a powerful enemy of Baron Thomas—the self-proclaimed heir to the throne of Eldridge—who also has his sights set on ruling the country of Knox.

Together, the boys dodge the baron’s henchmen and race against time to stop an assassination that would plunge the two kingdoms into war in this exciting conclusion to the series.

PRAISE FOR THE ELDRIDGE CONSPIRACY:

“This set of books just gets better and better. Yes, it’s a non-stop adventure, packed full of nasty barons and battling knights. But it’s also a story which is strongly-themed and where the bond between the characters is highly prized.” —The Wishing Shelf Awards Book Review

“Books of adventure and challenge that still offer an emotional component are hard to come by for middle-grade readers—and even more so for middle-grade boys—yet Don M. Winn hits the mark dead center with The Eldridge Conspiracy.” —Patricia Reding, 5-Star Readers’ Favorite Book Review

“This is more than just a fictional story; it teaches children about life, about friendship, making decisions, and about not putting too much stock in pride all the time – sometimes pride gets in the way of making the right decision. Great story. I would recommend that the whole series be read in order to get the most out of it and I think all kids will enjoy this tale.” —Ann-Marie Reynolds, 5-Star Readers’ Favorite Book Review

“The Eldridge Conspiracy was a rewarding read due to a wonderful writing style of incorporating dynamic characters, humor, relevancy, and the thought that even without superpowers, children can be heroes.” —Stacey Waltzer, Urban Mommies 

PURCHASE LINKS

WEBSITE   AMAZON   B&N   PUBLISHER: SIGNED COPIES

This was my first time reading about Sir Kaye, the boy knight, and it definitely made me more intrigued to read the others. This book brings a whimsical adventure that was easy and fun to read. As Kaye and his friends set off on their quest, the pages flew as they fought to save the kingdom. This story brings inner lessons of bravery and friendship. I can easily recommend it for children and really all ages as well. I personally love to read all forms of books, including children’s books. They remind us of our childhood and simpler solutions to tough decisions we face.  They show us fantastical worlds that push the limits of our imagination.

The illustrations really caught my eye as well. I remember when I first did a promotion for the third book and impressed with the style and maturity of the content. Also, the study guide was so cute and helpful, especially since I was new to the series. I felt like I was back in school right as my love for reading started.  I look forward to sharing this and the other books with some of my younger relatives. Enter the giveaway for an amazing chance to win this great series!

Don M. Winn is a multiple award-winning children’s author of eleven picture books and four children’s novels. His Sir Kaye the Boy Knight® series of novels for independent readers include The Knighting of Sir Kaye, The Lost Castle Treasure, Legend of the Forest Beast, and The Eldridge Conspiracy. Don’s picture books include The Higgledy-Piggledy Pigeon; Superhero; Twitch the Squirrel and the Forbidden Bridge; Shelby the Cat; Space Cop Zack, Protector of the Galaxy; and many others. 

Don has been writing for over 20 years. After beginning with poetry, Winn moved on to writing children’s picture books. Almost immediately, his growing young readers begged for chapter books, which led to the creation of the Sir Kaye series. As a dyslexic, who well knows the challenge of learning to love to read, Winn’s goal is to write books that are so engaging they will entice even the most reluctant or struggling reader. Winn lives in Round Rock, Texas.

WEBSITE    AUTHOR FACEBOOK    SIR KAYE FACEBOOK

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Three Sir Kaye #4 ARCs + 1 Sir Kaye Series Study Guide!

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  June 14-June 28, 2017

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Breakfast in Texas: Promo

BREAKFAST IN TEXAS

By Terry Thompson-Anderson

 Genre: Cookbook / Southwest Cuisine

Publisher: The University of Texas Press

Date of Publication: April 18, 2017

Number of Pages: 312

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Texans love the morning meal, whether it’s bacon and eggs (often eaten in a breakfast taco) or something as distinctively nontraditional as saag paneer omelets, pon haus, or goat curry. A Lone Star breakfast can be a time for eating healthy, or for indulging in decadent food and drink. And with Texas’s rich regional and cultural diversity, an amazing variety of dishes graces the state’s breakfast and brunch tables. The first Texas cookbook dedicated exclusively to the morning meal, Breakfast in Texas gathers nearly one hundred recipes that range from perfectly prepared classics to the breakfast foods of our regional cuisines (Southern, Mexican, German, Czech, Indian, and Asian among them) to stand-out dishes from the state’s established and rising chefs and restaurants.

Terry Thompson-Anderson organizes the book into sections that cover breakfast and brunch libations (with and without alcohol); simple, classic, and fancy egg presentations; pancakes, French toast, and waffles; meat lover’s dishes; seafood and shellfish; vegan dishes and sides; and pastries. The recipes reference locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, and Thompson-Anderson provides enjoyable notes about the chefs who created them or the cultural history they represent. She also offers an expert primer on cooking eggs, featuring an encounter with Julia Child, as well as a selection of theme brunches (the boozy brunch, the make-ahead brunch, New Year’s Day brunch, Mother’s Day brunch with seasonal ingredients, teenage daughter’s post-slumber party breakfast, and more). Sandy Wilson’s color photographs of many of the dishes and the chefs and restaurants who serve them provide a lovely visual counterpoint to the appetizing text.

Praise for Breakfast in Texas:

**A James Beard Cookbook Award Finalist**

“Bring a Texas-sized appetite to the table for Breakfast in Texas! A combination of home-style cooking and favorite dishes from restaurants across the great state, Breakfast in Texas is packed with recipes for simple to spectacular egg dishes, creative cocktails, meat lovers’ feasts, and pancakes and pastries, as well as vegan breakfast and brunch ideas. Beautiful photographs, mouth-watering recipes, and great menu and party ideas make this a must-have for your cookbook shelf.”

-Virginia Willis, chef and James Beard Award–winning cookbook author 

“I thoroughly enjoyed Terry Thompson-Anderson’s latest cookbook, Breakfast in Texas. I’m sure many of these recipes are going to become signature dishes for my family, as well as my loyal restaurant customers. Relish every story; enjoy every bite. This cookbook is Texas at the breakfast table.”

-Monica Pope, chef and author of Eat Where Your Food Lives

“Terry Thompson-Anderson’s epic breakfast book spans the cultures of Texas, as well as its regions. With recipes that run from simple to more elaborate, and range from libations to pastries, there’s something for everyone. Plus, Breakfast in Texas is a good read, with all sorts of fascinating information about Texas and its rich and colorful history.”

-Paula Lambert, owner of the Mozzarella Company and author of The Cheese Lover’s Cookbook and Guide

CLICK TO PURCHASE

Terry Thompson-Anderson is the author of nine previous cookbooks, including Texas on the Table: People, Places, and Recipes Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone Star State, which was a finalist for the 2015 James Beard Book Award for American Cooking.

Connect with The University of Texas Press:

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ONE LUCKY WINNER GETS A PRINT COPY!

(US ONLY)

  May 30-June 13, 2017

 

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6/9   Excerpt Missus Gonzo
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