Archives for September 2013

Fall Kindle Fire Giveaway!

fall kindle fire

Kindle Fire HD 7″ Giveaway

This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT!

Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HD 7″.

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7″ Kindle Fire HD (US Only)
Or $199 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)
Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)

Sponsoring Authors & Bloggers

  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
  2. Feed Your Reader
  3. Author Annette K. Larsen
  4. Phantasmic Reads
  5. Author Bella Street
  6. Author Bonnie Blythe
  7. Author Stacy Claflin
  8. MyLadyWeb: Women’s History, Women Authors
  9. Book Mama Blog
  10. Word to Dreams
  11. Candace’s Book Blog
  12. Once Upon a YA Book
  13. Author Miriam Louise
  14. Author Mary Ting
  15. Author Camelia Miron Skiba
  16. Books4Tomorrow
  17. Author Theresa McClinton
  18. Brooke Blogs
  19. Author Pauline Creeden
  20. Author MK McClintock
  21. Author Kathryn Chastain Treat
  22. Books Unhinged Book Blog
  23. Author Kelly Cozy
  24. Meredith & Jennifer’s Musings
  25. These Are But Shadows
  26. My Devotional Thoughts
  27. Author Ally Shields
  28. Dark Motive’s Books and More
  29. Nessarox
  30. Fae Books
  31. Author Jennie Sherwin
  32. The Real Bookshelves of Room 918
  33. Auggie Talk
  34. No BS Book Reviews
  35. BookLover Sue
  36. Gin’s Book Notes
  37. Bookhounds
  38. Buku-Buku Didi
  39. Author Shelli Profitt Howells
  40. My Nook, Books and More
  41. The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog
  42. Clarice’s Book Nook
  43. MichaelSciFan
  44. Magical Manuscripts
  45. Author Talia Jager
  46. Every Free Chance Book Reviews
  47. Jessabella Reads
  48. Author Melissa Pearl
  49. Author Elizabeth Isaacs
  50. Bookitty Blog
  51. Author Helen Smith
  52. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl
  53. Christine’s Blog
  54. Write Away Bliss
  55. Another World of Books
  56. The Reporter and The Girl MINUS The Super Man!
  57. Katie’s Clean Book Collection
  58. Author Marcia Lynn McClure
  59. Author Shannon Guymon
  60. Ripple Effect Romance Series

 

Sign up to Sponsor the NOVEMBER Giveaway
http://www.iamareader.com/2013/09/november-kindle-fire-giveaway-sign-ups.html

 

giveaway

Giveaway Details

1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire 7″ HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International).

There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire.

(Ends October 31, 2013)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner 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, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

 

Review: Reaching the Edge by Jennifer Comeaux

reaching hte edgeReaching the Edge (Edge #2.5)
written by Jennifer Comeaux
published by Jennifer Comeaux

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (free as of post date), Amazon (free as of post date), Smashwords (free as of post date), Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: I read the first two books in the Edge series (Life on the Edge and Edge of the Past) and I’m looking forward to the third book, Fighting for the Edge. I wanted to read this short story to see what was happening with Emily and Sergei.

Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. I read it in one quick sitting.

Reaching the Edge was a nice addition to the series. I can see why the author chose not to include it in the books. It may not have been right for younger readers, not that it was that bad. But it was an enjoyable read that gave us a little more about Sergei and Emily.

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Would I recommend it: I would recommend it if you have read the first two books. I would recommend it if you like sweet short stories.

Will I read it again: I may.

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About the book – from Goodreads:
Emily has waited over two years to give herself to Sergei. She couldn’t have asked for a more patient man. Now they’ve finally reached their wedding night, and after all Sergei’s patience and understanding, Emily wants to be everything for him. How will their first night together compare to their dreams?

This is a 3500-word short story that contains mature content not suitable for younger readers. It is part of the Edge series, but it’s not necessary to read Life on the Edge or Edge of the Past first to enjoy this story.

Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

 

Review: Heart Murmurs by R.R. Smythe

heart murmursHeart Murmurs
written by R.R. Smythe
published by Astraea Press

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Smashwords, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: I received an offer to review this book. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book:
I didn’t hate it.  I didn’t love it, and I didn’t quite get it, but I didn’t hate it.  Let me explain.  No, is too much.  Let me sum up.  Nerdy high school girl works at nerdy Civil War reenactment site that happens to be NOT a stop on the Underground Railroad, but rather a magical mystery tunnel created and maintained by magical mystery super popular writers who happen to have magical mystery super powers.  You know, like Lousia May Alcott’s sister. Oh, and the nerdy high school girl had a heart transplant, so she hears the thoughts of her heart donor, who just happens to be – yep, you guessed it – a magical mystery super writer.

The grammar was fine.  The syntax was fine.  Smythe obviously knows a thing or two about literature.   The thing is, well, I don’t think the typical young adult reader has the literary knowledge to make this book meaningful.  Yeah, sure, they’ve HEARD of Little Women and Edgar Allan Poe (hopefully), but unless they’ve got a working knowledge of the literary classics, they’re going to find it difficult to relate.  Mysterious Handsome Strangers are COOL (and sooooo ‘in’), but if you don’t know a lot about Louisa May Alcott’s father, you’re not going to much care why he hates a famous writer’s dead dad, which means you’re not going to be able to figure out an important plot point, which means even when Smythe tells you what happens you’re not really going to be that invested.

I admire the sentiment: it would be awesome to write a book that rekindles a passion for the classics in young readers.  I just don’t think this is it.

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Would I recommend it: Not unless you have both a significant knowledge of classic works of literature and the stomach for yet another teen romance…

Will I read it again: No.

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About the book – from Goodreads:
Mia Templeton is dying. Or was dying. After receiving a heart transplant, her world is forever altered. Before her eyes open, she overhears her donor was a murdered girl of the same age. Whispers invade Mia’s head before she’s even left the recovery room. She develops tastes for foods she once hated, and dreams so vivid, she feels they’re someone else’s memories. Her personality is altered—once a quiet doormat, she’s now inexplicably flippant, and confident. And her unexplained longing for the new boy at school is borderline obsessive.

Morgan Kelley is new. Adopted by his aunt, a descendant of Louisa May Alcott (Little Women), he’s thrown into life at a new high school, and as a historical guide for his aunt’s store—a homage to all things Alcott. Conspiracy theories abound about his mangled lower leg—but no-one has been brave enough to ask. Till Mia.

Something is awry with the Underground Railroad tunnels beneath his aunt’s home. Mia and Morgan enter the world of a secret Literary Society–and are drafted to help bring a rogue Literary giant to justice, solve the mystery of her heart donor, the the real fate of Beth from Little Women.

 

Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

 

Cover Re-Reveal: Stories About Melissa series by Bethany Lopez (spotlight)

 I am very pleased to reveal the new covers for the Stories About Melissa series by Bethany Lopez. Here is what Ms. Lopez had to say:

When I released Ta Ta for Now! In June of 2011, I had no idea what I was doing. I used Createspace’s Cover Design for that cover, as well as xoxoxo. For Ciao, I decided to do something different and had a photo shoot with my sister and brother in law. Now, over two years later, I’m excited to re-vamp the series leading up to the release of book 4, TTYL. I’m so grateful for Kelsey at K Keeton Design for doing a mass photo shoot for all four covers, and to Allie from B Design for the cover design. I love how fresh and fun she made them. I hope you love them too!

taTa Ta For Now! (Stories About Melissa #1)
written by Bethany Lopez
published by CreateSpace

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

see my review here

About the book – from Goodreads: Melissa begins her freshman year with one goal in mind, getting Brian Jackson to be her boyfriend. She will soon learn that things don’t necessarily turn out the way you plan them, the value of true friendship, and the importance of family.

 

xoXOXOXO (Stories About Melissa #2)
written by Bethany Lopez
published by Bethany Lopez

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Smashwords, Goodreads

see my review here

About the book – from Goodreads: Melissa has learned a lot since her freshman year began, but it isn’t over yet! Her world is about to change again with the birth of her new sibling, and she has to figure out how she will adjust to being the eldest of five kids. She, Jess, and Jimmy are inseparable, and she is having a fantastic time although she can’t help but miss Brian as she tries to learn how to deal with his relationship with Layla. Everything seems to be happening at once and that is when she is introduced to Ben Campbell, a senior at Dearborn High, who becomes an interesting distraction as he helps her deal with the new developments in her life.

 

ciaoCiao (Stories About Melissa #3)
written by Bethany Lopez
published by Bethany Lopez
release date August 15, 2012

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Smashwords, Goodreads

see my review here

About the book – from Goodreads: Melissa has had a fantastic summer hanging out with her friends and making new ones. Life as she knows it will change when they all come together to begin their sophomore year at Dearborn High. Connections will be made and friendships will be tested. Will Melissa’s family and friends be able to help her through the challenges she will face in the upcoming months?

ttylTTYL (Stories About Melissa #4)
written by Bethany Lopez
published by Bethany Lopez
release date October 2013

find it here: Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: The last few months have been a rough road for Melissa. Her grades have slipped, her parents treat her like a prisoner, and her closest friends are too involved in their own lives to spend time with her. Desperate to escape her depressing funk, she starts spending more time with Layla, who introduces her to a new crowd…the wrong crowd. When Melissa starts to go down a dangerous path, can anyone get through to her before she does something she’ll regret?

 

Spotlight: Forged in Dreams and Magick by Kat Bastion (excerpt, giveaway)

Forged in Dreams and Magick_CoverForged in Dreams and Magick
written by Kat Bastion
published by Kat Bastion

find it here: Barnes & Noble, AmazonGoodreads

About the book: Isobel MacInnes wakes up in present-day California, lunches in medieval Scotland, and by ten days’ end, falls in love with a man and his country, only to lose them in a heart-wrenching twist of fate . . .

Found in the arms of her second soul mate . . .

Forced to balance the delicate strands of time between two millennia . . .

Shocked by revelations rewriting the very foundations of history . . . of everything.

Isobel, a rising-star archaeology student, is dropped into two ancient worlds without warning . . . or her permission. Her fiery spirit resists the dependency thrust upon her. Amid frustration at her lack of control, she helplessly falls in love. Twice.

She struggles to adjust to the unimaginable demands of two leaders of men—a laird in the thirteenth-century Highlands and a Pict chieftain in a more ancient Scotland. Isobel transforms from an academic, hell-bent on obtaining archaeological recognition, to a woman striving to care for those she loves, and ultimately . . . into a fearless warrior risking everything to protect them.

efcexcerpt

Velloc dismounted and moved to my side. I slid off my horse into his waiting arms. He kissed the top of my head, lacing his fingers with mine as we walked together, settling the horses by a tree. Once he’d secured their reins, he turned, gazing into my eyes. Tears had welled up in those dark pools that had always held undefeatable confidence. He cupped my face and brushed his lips softly against mine before kissing me with more tenderness than ever.

I smiled against his lips, nipping them softly as I pulled away to look up at the man I loved. “Velloc, you won’t lose me.” With my wild history, I had no basis for the claim, but I felt it deep in my bones.

He sighed. “You are my world, Isobel. Know that.”

I nodded, glancing beyond his shoulder, searching for the words to explain my jumbled mess of emotions as I tried to hold it together. I gazed back into those loving eyes. “Velloc, you are everything to me too. In this world. I don’t know what I’m meant to be . . . or why I’m even here. The box’s magick has a hold on me. I’m bound to it—controlled by it in a way I don’t yet understand.”

His arms banded around me, crushing me into his chest. A painful lump burned at the base of my throat. My arms slid around his waist, and I clutched him tightly, not wanting to let go.

Indecision had never been a part of my makeup, but at that moment, I wanted to call the whole thing off and go home with the man who held me in a death grip as if he feared losing me forever. What if his worst thoughts were justified? The man holding me was something real and true, a certainty amid a thousand unknowns.

My confidence waned, his anxiety seeping into my skin. I closed my eyes, burying my face into his neck, inhaling his scent, memorizing everything about the man who’d become my rock in a turbulent sea.

I inhaled a shaky breath. “Velloc . . . I can’t imagine my life without you.”

As if an unseen force watched from afar, the pressure to move forward increased. The microscopic grains in the hourglass had collected to such a mass, the weight of time itself fell heavy on my shoulders, bearing down on my heart and soul. The urgent need to flip the timekeeper—to restart the clock—had become undeniable, even as I failed to understand why.

Shoe_PhotoAbout the author: Kat Bastion is an award-winning paranormal romance writer, poetic warrior, and eternal optimist who loves getting lost in the beauty of nature.

On a never-ending, wondrous path of self-discovery, Kat throws her characters into incredible situations with the hope that readers join her in learning more about the meaning of life and love.

Her first published work, Utterly Loved, was shared with the world to benefit others. All proceeds from Utterly Loved, and a portion of the proceeds of all her other books, support charities who help those lost in this world.

Kat lives with her husband amid the beautiful Sonoran Desert of Arizona.

Find Ms. Bastion here: web, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

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Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

 

Spotlight: The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden (excerpt, giveaway)

Jacket Art_THE WEDDING GIFTThe Wedding Gift
written by Marlen Suyapa Bodden
published by St. Martin’s Press

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book: Told from the alternating perspectives of a young slave girl and the wife of an abusive plantation owner, THE WEDDING GIFT (St. Martin’s Press; September 24, 2013) is a brilliant exposé on the evil of human bondage, a heartbreaking exploration of what-might-have-been and a meticulously researched historical tale of courage, escape and redemption.

Sarah is the daughter of a tyrannical plantation owner, Cornelius Allen, and his slave concubine, Emmeline.  We meet Sarah at a pivotal time in her young life when she is beginning to understand the implications of her situation on the plantation and is also beginning to notice undeniable physical similarities between herself and Clarissa, the white daughter of Allen and his wife.  The complicated, strained and emotionally fraught relationship between the two young girls grows through the years until it dramatically culminates when Allen gives Sarah to Clarissa as a wedding gift upon her marriage to an influential Southern gentleman.

The Wedding Gift is ultimately a story about complicated bonds and compelling female relationships that will appeal to readers of The Help and The Secret Life of Bees.  The final pages will surprise you and leave you breathless.

efcexcerpt

The slaves’ burial ground was not a cemetery such as those one sees nowadays; it was simply open, rough land where nothing but weeds grew. We could only tell where the graves were located by the wooden crosses atop mounds of soil. We were the only ones there that day, and we dug in different places trying to find my grandmother’s coffin, which, my mother said, had a carved rose, my grandmother’s favorite flower. We never found a coffin with a rose. Belle and I did not cry until we found a clump of hair, that we reburied because my mother said if that was all that remained of a person, even if we did not know whose hair it was, the Lord would want us to honor it as if it were the person’s body. We said a prayer and thanked the Lord for our lives after we placed the wooden cross on top of the soil over where we buried that clump of hair.

My mother held Belle and me as we returned to Allen Hall. The sadness I felt after I learned how Mr. Allen’s father treated my grandparents and our other kin in life and death made me fearful whenever our mother left Belle and me in our cabin at night. It also made me believe, for the first time, that if I asked my mother, she would agree we should leave the Allen plantation.

That year, when I was about six years old, I watched Mrs. Allen and Clarissa when they were together. When Clarissa sat on her mother’s lap or embraced her, I was envious because my mother worked the entire day and most nights she was away from our cabin. I missed her when she was not with us and could not sleep until she returned, always before dawn. The mornings after she left, when her eyes met mine, she seemed ashamed, and that made me miserable.

Once, when we were having our breakfast, she seemed preoccupied. I tickled her under her chin, which normally made her laugh. This time, however, she barely smiled. I asked her why she was so sad.

“I’m just tired, is all, baby. Just tired.”

I asked her why we could not go where she would not have to work so hard, and she spoke to me in a fierce voice.

“Don’t you ever, ever talk about that again, and you listen to me good. Just talking like that can get us sold. You know what it mean to be sold? It mean they send us to different places, and we ain’t never going to see each other again. Maybe you think just because Mrs. Allen let you play with Miss Clarissa all the time that you’re just like her, but you ain’t nothing like Miss Clarissa. She can say what she want. You got to watch every thing you say. And don’t you forget, we is all we got.”

I wanted my mother to stop going away; I was afraid that she would not come back. One night, I held onto her.

“Don’t go, Mama, don’t go.”

She smoothed my hair.

“Say you won’t go, Mama. Say you won’t go.”

“Sarah, I got to, baby.”

I do not remember how many weeks elapsed before she finally tired of my attempts to prevent her from leaving.

“Belle’s right here with you. Come on, Sarah, stop it.”

She handed me over to Belle, who folded me in her long arms. I gave my mother a foul look. “I hate you, I hate you. Go, and I don’t care if you never come back.”

She sat on the bed and cried. I buried my face in the pillow. After some time, I heard her walk across the cabin floor and close the door behind her.

The battle between us continued, but I learned to wound her with silent reproach. One evening, after our prayers, I asked her why she had to leave us.

“Sarah, you too young for me to say what I’m about to tell you, but you need to hear it. You and Belle is smart girls. I been blessed that way. I was hoping to have this talk with you when you was grown. But in this life, we got to be older than our real years.

“I’m going to tell you something that you can’t repeat to nobody, not even Miss Clarissa. You’re going to have to promise me before I tell you.”

 

About tAuthor Photo_Marlen S Boddenhe author: Dr. Marlen Suyapa Bodden is a lawyer at The Legal Aid Society in New York City, the nation’s oldest and largest legal services organization. She has more than two decades’ experience representing poor people and low-wage and immigrant workers, many of whom are severely underpaid, if paid at all.

She drew on her knowledge of modern and historical slavery, human trafficking, and human rights abuses to write The Wedding Gift, her first novel.

On May 20, 2012, the University of Rhode Island conferred on Marlen an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Marlen is a graduate of New York University School of Law and Tufts University.

Find Ms. Bodden here: webFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads

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Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

 

Blog Tour: Canvas Bound by Laura M. Kolar (review, excerpt, giveaway)

Canvas BoundCanvas Bound (Captive Art #1)
written by Laura M. Kolar
published by Red Adept Publishing

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: I participated in the blog tour hosted by Red Adept Publishing. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book:
I did enjoy Canvas Bound. I read it every free chance I had. 

I was interested in Canvas Bound from the get-go because it was something different for me. I haven’t read anything quite like this. The whole concept was unique and kept me reading. I liked the idea of paintings coming to life. I like reading about artists. This book just caught my attention and I wanted to see what it was about. Canvas Bound did not disappoint.

Libby is a sweet girl. She is kind of a recluse who only wants to paint and find her mystery boy again. What she learns while at art school is astounding. Her story caught me off guard quite a few times as well. Did I guess a major plot point? Yes, but there were so many twists and turns that I wasn’t sure if I was right or not. I kept reading to find out more. I kept reading to see what would happen. I couldn’t stop reading until I reached the end.

Libby didn’t have many friends. Her only true friend, Travis, was a great guy. I liked him from the beginning. He had a wonderful personalty and he seemed to genuinely care about Libby. Dean and Brent were great characters. I didn’t expect what either of them ended up as. They both surprised me.

I know I’m a bit vague in this review, but I don’t want to spoil anything. And any little details regarding parts I really enjoyed will spoil the book, in my opinion. So, let’s leave it at this: I enjoyed this book. I want to know what happens next. It was a good read.

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Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book to any YA fan, especially one who is looking for a new concept.

Will I read it again: I will not but I will read the next book in the Captive Art series. I want—no, I need—to know what happens next.

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About the book:
Sixteen-year-old Libby Tanner’s art comes to life. Her painted skies turn from day to night, leaves rustle on trees, and sometimes, a mystery boy appears.

While attending England’s Aldridge Art Academy, Libby meets charming Brent Henderson, a performing arts student who showers her with attention. But his rival, gorgeous Dean James, is the one who occupies her mind, even though he’s very much attached to his current girlfriend.

Libby soon learns there’s more to both Brent and Dean than she ever imagined. In order to save her future and the boy who’s captured her heart, she must unlock the secrets behind her art by entering the most dangerous place of all… the world within her paintings.

But once she steps into the canvas, she risks being trapped forever.

efcexcerpt

CHAPTER ONE

I paced my studio floor as evening descended on the field in my painting. The sparse oak trees cast lengthening shadows on the acorn-littered ground, where the grass was more golden brown than green. The sunny sky became a star-filled night, and the field turned murky as the shadows faded into the black oblivion… just like my mystery boy.

He’d vanished.

Again.

So did the rush of him appearing in my finished work, my joy squelched by the expression on his face. Usually he wore a smile—a sad one, but still a smile. That night, he’d just looked miserable.

I stopped pacing and stared at the canvas, reaching out to the spot where I’d last seen him. Maybe if I could touch him or knew where he went when he disappeared, I wouldn’t feel so hollow from his absence.

An icy trail ran down my arm a moment before my fingers grazed the wet paint. I pulled away, checking to make sure I hadn’t smeared the field. It was the first time he’d appeared since I’d arrived at Aldridge, and I didn’t want to ruin whatever connection I had to him. My hands shook as I picked at my nails, which were coated in splatters of color from painting all day. A glimpse of him, sad or not, had been enough to keep me working, hoping to see him again. I’d picked my fingers mostly clean when a knock came from the door to the adjoining room.

Please go away.

The knock came again, more urgent.

If you’re here, he won’t come back.

He wouldn’t anyway, though. He never came to the same painting twice.

“Libby, if you don’t open this door, I’m going to break it down.” Travis sounded more concerned than angry.

I sighed heavily as I dragged myself across my studio and into my bedroom, kicking a path through my discarded clothes to open the door. “This is solid walnut and has a steel lock. You’d only hurt yourself trying to break it down.”

“Hmm… good point.” His eyebrows knitted as he gave me a once-over. “Did you forget, or are you wearing that to dinner?”

I glanced down at my paint-covered T-shirt and jeans. “This is what I always wear to dinner.”

“Right. Surprise, surprise. Olivia Tanner forgot.” He breezed past me, patting my shoulder on his way to my bathroom where my closet and dresser were located. “You’re lucky you have me as your social director,” he said, ducking behind the door.

He wasn’t joking. If not for Travis, I’d probably never leave my private suite. We’d met two weeks ago, on my first day at Aldridge Art Academy. He’d enrolled several months before me and was assigned as my student liaison, a job he took very seriously. We were both from the States and had clicked right away—probably because he was the only person I’d ever met who liked Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall movies as much as I did.

Travis emerged from my bathroom, holding up my red dress. “You’re also lucky you have me as a fashion consultant.”

I hadn’t been paying attention to what he was wearing, but as he stood waving the gossamer fabric between us, I noticed his white shirt, black coat, slacks, and tie. His usually tousled blond hair was combed neatly, and he wasn’t covered in bits of clay from sculpting all day.

“Oh, crap. I forgot.”

“Yep, we’ve established that.” He thrust the dress at me. “I know you’d rather stay locked in your room like an old maid and sniff paint fumes all night, but trust me, you do not want to miss this.”

I grabbed the dress and glared at him. “I don’t sniff the fumes. My studio is well ventilated. And if you’re telling me I don’t want to miss a fluffy dinner where a bunch of teenage girls ogle over a bunch of teenage boys, sorry. Not for me.”

“See, that is something an old maid would say, and you are a teenage girl.” He shook his finger at me. “Or did you lie about being sixteen?”

“No, I didn’t lie. I’m sixteen going on seventeen, not seventy.”

“Anyway…” He waved me off.. “I hear there’s a fresh batch of cute guys, and you haven’t met any of the performing arts students yet. Most of them are great people.”

Most of them?” I put one hand on my hip, the other still clutching my dress.

“Well, I don’t know all of them. Yet.” He waggled his eyebrows. “But the point is, you have to come out of your studio, and this dinner is mandatory.”

Huffing at him, I flung the dress over my shoulder and stomped into the bathroom. After an impressively fast shower, I pulled my chestnut hair into a bun and fastened it with bobby pins, allowing a few curls to fall around my neck. I stepped into my dress, glad I’d shaved recently, and tugged at the hem. The style reminded me of the famous Marilyn Monroe image, the one with her skirt billowing up around her. Mine had the same plunging neckline and gathered waist.

I’d thought I brought a simple black dress, the one I always wore to gallery showings. But sometime after I’d packed my garment bag, my mom swapped it for this one, with a note that read, “Saw this and thought of you. For a girl who sees the world in such vivid colors, you should dress that way, too. Wish I could see you in it. You always look beautiful in red. Love, Mom.” I sucked in a deep breath, willing away my thoughts of home as I tugged at the hem again.

“You almost done?” Travis called from the other room. “We’re going to be late.”

“I still can’t believe they make us do this.” I applied some foundation, wishing I were painting a canvas instead of my face.

“You mean independent study and no one enforcing a ridiculous curfew isn’t enough freedom for you? Wait. Don’t answer that. If your parents had any idea how loose they actually are with the rules around here, they would yank you out so fast it would make my head spin. Oh, the scandal! Teenagers sneaking in and out of each other’s rooms under the cover of night. Anyway, think of it like an assembly, England’s Emily Aldridge Academy of Arts’ special brand of torture.”

I laughed at his horrible attempt at a British accent as he uttered our prep school’s original name. “I thought you said no cell phones and blocked social media sites were their own special brand of torture?”

“Yes, well, they want us to be free-spirited, just not over the Internet.” He sighed. “At least tonight is better than one of my parents’ stupid dinner parties. I have to pretend to be someone I’m not at those.”

“I’ll let you be whomever you want if you let me skip tonight.” I dabbed my lips with a tissue then picked up my jewelry from the counter. “I’m going to lose several hours of painting time, and I’ll probably be out of the mood when dinner is over.”

“Even you don’t believe that. You’re never out of the mood to paint. But sure, I’ll let you skip tonight. You can skip out the door, down the hall, and all the way to the dining room. Though if your goal is to not draw attention to yourself, I’d suggest walking.”

I didn’t respond as I fumbled with my necklace. The delicate silver chain held a single teardrop-shaped topaz, my birthstone. Eventually, I gave up trying to get it on and opened the bathroom door.

“Whoa!” His sky-blue eyes grew to the size of saucers.

I glanced down at myself. “Too much?”

He stood up from my desk chair and circled around me. “No, but I’m seriously questioning my sexuality right now.”

I rolled my eyes and dangled the necklace in front of him. “I need help with this.”

“I’m serious, Libby. You’re…” He took the chain and fastened the clasp with ease before his gaze wandered down to my plunging neckline.

“Eyes up here,” I said.

His lips spread in a wide Cheshire cat grin. “Sorry, even I can appreciate a nice rack.”

“Well, don’t get used to it.” I smoothed down my skirt.

“I won’t. But this”—he waved his hand at me—“is not the way to avoid attention.”

“That’s it.” I gritted my teeth, realizing my rack would soon be on display for the whole student body. “I’m chang—”

“Oh no, you don’t.” He grabbed my hand. “We’re late, and besides, in my opinion, not even your cleavage beats a well-defined six-pack on Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome.”

“You win.” I pulled my hand from his grasp. “Let’s go.” I slipped on my black heels and made my way to the door. “You coming?”

“Yep, just enjoying the view.” He shut the door to my suite behind us. “Committing it to memory actually. It may never happen again.”

I glanced over my shoulder, almost wishing I’d let him try to break down the door. I didn’t want him to get hurt, but I would’ve had more time to paint.

 

Laura M KolarAbout the author: Laura M. Kolar lives with her husband and daughter in a one-stop-light town in northern-lower Michigan. Though she didn’t discover her love of books until she turned thirty, as a self-declared hopeless romantic, she has spent the past few years reading and writing stories with mostly happy endings.

If she’s not at her day-job or with her family, you will find her sipping a cup of chai latte while sitting in her favorite rocking chair, hunched over her laptop writing or spending entirely too much time on Twitter.

Find Ms. Kolar here: web, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Red Adept Publishing, Pinterest

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Review: Passion and Pain by Kathy Petrakis

Passion and Pain final coverPassion and Pain (Dancers and Divas #1)
written by Kathy Petrakis
published by Antartis Publishers

find it here: Barnes & NobleAmazonSmashwordsGoodreads

Why did I pick this book: I participated in the blog tour hosted by the author, Kathy Petrakis, in June 2013. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book:
This book was alright. It didn’t blow me away but it kept me reading to see how it would end.

I was expecting Elena to be all about dance. I didn’t think she was going to be an all-around artist—dance, singing, acting. I would have preferred it if she were just focused on dance. I think the story would have been much better that way. I like to read books that center on the performing arts. It’s a world that is fascinating and interesting. I just wish that Elena hadn’t been in all of the arts. Dance is her thing and that’s what I wanted to read about when I picked up Passion and Pain. I know that a lot of dancers are also singers and actors. It was a bit hard to believe that she was so good at all three.

I enjoyed reading about the rehearsals and everything that Elena went through to prepare for her plays and dances. As I said, I find it fascinating and fun to read about it. Dance books are up there with skating books for me. I love to read them. However, I should have written the review as soon as I finished reading Passion and Pain because at this point, a few months later, I don’t remember much about it. It was an alright read, but not that memorable.

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Would I recommend it: I may recommend this book if you like Young Adult and performing arts. This is not a New Adult book but would not be suitable for anyone under the age of 15.

Will I read it again: I will not.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
Does passion and desire guarantee success? Can friends really be trusted? Can true love be found beneath lust and deceit?

These are questions tenacious street dancer Elena Martinez faces as she struggles to compete against the most talented students at New York’s top Performing Arts High School. Along with her best friend, the carefree and mischievous Sebastien Duval, they are determined to make center stage.

But the singing diva Letitia has other plans. Beautiful, talented and popular, her desire for revenge could ruin everything for Elena and Sebastien. Now, they must fight against prejudice, treachery and deceit as Letitia sets out to destroy Elena’s friendships, her romance, her dignity and her dreams. Can Elena win the battle for true love, happiness and success?

 

Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

 

Blog Tour: My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White (review, excerpt, giveaway)

My Own Tour

Tour Schedule

 

mr-darcyMy Own Mr. Darcy
written by Karey White
published by Karey White

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: Pride & Prejudice is one of my all-time favorite books. I find it funny, exciting, leaves me giddy. It is a book that I revisit almost every year. So, when I saw that Ms. White wrote a book about someone wanting to find a Mr. Darcy, I knew I had to read it. (I also loved Ms. White’s previous book, For What It’s Worth. See my review here. It was a great read, too.) So, I signed up for the blog tour hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book:
I really did enjoy this book. I read every free chance I had and hated to put it down. I was even kind of sad that it ended. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye just yet.

Elizabeth is a sweet girl who has her heart set on finding her perfect man—her Mr. Darcy. She dismisses guys so fast that she can’t even see what she is missing out on until her best friend/roommate forces her to not dismiss Chad. Elizabeth reluctant agrees to go on ten dates with Chad even though she knows he is not for her. When she meets Matt Dawson, Elizabeth’s dreams come true. Mr. Dawson is Elizabeth’s Mr. Darcy. I loved Elizabeth, especially when we got to see her in action doing what she was meant to do, interior decorating. I could see how she transformed the Keller’s rooms and I loved it. Elizabeth is strong and independent but slightly blinded by her fantasy.

Chad is a wonderful guy—sweet, kind, lovable, adorable. He is there for Elizabeth at all times. He was worth rooting for. Matt was a Mr. Darcy. I could see the similarity. I could see Elizabeth’s attraction. Was he arrogant? Yes. A bit cocky? Yes. Kind of ashamed? Yes. But I think he was a good guy who really did care for Elizabeth. It was an interesting love triangle.

I am still giddy/happy about this book. Throughout I had the same hopeful feeling as when I read Pride & Prejudice, will they end up together? When I finished it, I had a big smile and I may have let out a *SQUEEEEE!* at the end. I loved the story. I loved the characters. I loved the whole thing.

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Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book to any Jane Austen fan and to anyone who wants a good, clean, giddy-at-the-end book.

Will I read it again: I probably will.

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About the book:
After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie falls hard and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. This ill-advised pledge threatens to ruin any chance of finding true love. During the six intervening years, she has refused to give any interested suitors a chance. They weren’t Mr. Darcy enough.

Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. That guy is Chad, a kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. While she’s dating Chad, her dream comes true in the form of a wealthy bookstore owner named Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Of course she has to follow her dream. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

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Courtney’s window became available before mine but instead of stepping up to her window, Mr. Dawson turned to the woman behind him and indicated she should go next. He was choosing my window on purpose. My heart did a clumsy somersault.
I finished with my customer and Mr. Dawson stepped forward. I unfolded the slip of paper with the pink lizard at the top and began filling his request.
“Your name is Elizabeth?” he said.
“It is.”
“Is that what people call you?”
“Some do. Some people call me Lizzie.”
“What would you prefer I call you?”
I lost track of the bills I was counting. This was a significant question and I wanted to answer it right.
What did Mr. Darcy call Elizabeth? I needed time to think. Even though I’d watched Pride and Prejudice a million times my mind was malfunctioning and I couldn’t remember if he used the more formal Elizabeth or the more casual and intimate Lizzie? I certainly couldn’t suggest he call me his pearl. We didn’t even know each other.
Since I couldn’t remember and Mr. Dawson was standing there waiting for an answer, I blurted out my best guess.
“You can call me Elizabeth.”
Great. Now he’d think I was trying to keep things more formal? I had to stop analyzing every little thing and count the money.
“Elizabeth, how long do you have for lunch?” I stopped counting again and looked at him. “Lunch, Elizabeth. I assume you take a lunch?”
“Um, yes. I do. I have an hour.”
“What time is your lunch hour?”
“I go from 12:30 to 1:30.”
“I’m planning to order sandwiches for lunch today and wondered if you’d come to the bookstore and join me.”
I gaped at him. Was he teasing me? “Sandwiches? Today? At the bookstore?” Had I really just repeated everything he’d said? He was going to think I was a moron. I was starting to think the same thing.
“Yes, I’m inviting you to lunch. Today. At the bookstore.”
“Okay, sure. That would be nice.” I finally finished counting the money and placed it in the bank bag.
“I’ll see you at 12:30,” he said.

karey whiteAbout the author: Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

Find Ms. White here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

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Book Blast: Rocky Road by Josi S. Kilpack (spotlight, giveaway)

Rocky RoadRocky Road (A Culinary Mystery)
written by Josi S. Kilpack
published by Shadow Mountain

find it here: Barnes & Noble, AmazonBook Depository, Goodreads

About the book: It was supposed to be a girls’ weekend in scenic St. George, Utah that would include shopping, trying out the local cuisine, and participating in a breast cancer fundraiser. The fact that one of the organizers of the fundraising event, a local doctor, disappeared two months ago was not supposed to be Sadie’s problem. In fact, she refuses to participate in the grassroots investigation her friend Caro, and Caro’s cousin, Tess, have put together prior to her arrival. But then she meets the ex-wife of the missing doctor. How could she not ask a few questions . . . that lead to a few more questions . . . that lead to a small town and yet even more questions. Before she knows it, Sadie is in the middle of yet another murder investigation and trying to piece together a convoluted trail of good intentions, hidden motivations, and philanthropy turned big business.

 

About the author: Born and raised in Salt Lake City Utah, I met my husband in high-school–well, he wasn’t my husband then, just the cute guy in weight training with the permed mullet–and we married in 1993. I wrote my first book while on bed rest with my third child and have gone on to publish 20 novels, the most recent being part of The Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery Series.

I currently live in Willard, Utah with my husband, children, and cat.

Find Ms. Kilpack here: Website, Twitter, Blog, Goodreads

 

rocky road

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Culinary Mysteries by Josi Kilpack

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And now for the Book Blast Giveaway!! Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash!

(Ends October 6, 2013)

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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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
 

Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!