Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading? (Oct 1, 2012)

What are you reading on Mondays is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey - You can hook up with the Mr. Linky there with your own post - but be sure and let me know what you are reading too! 

Current Giveaways:

Taking Charge by Mandy Baggot (ebook) - ends Oct 1
Pulled by A.L. Jackson - Ends Oct 1
Banned Books Giveaway - Ends Oct 6

Upcoming giveaways - this week:
Pushing the Limits
What the Heart Remembers
Flight by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Currently reading this week: 

Upcoming books:
Life with Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher
Scrambled by Kathryn Elizabeth Jones
The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Renee Anderson

Bathroom Book:

Books reviewed last week: 
Letting Go of Supermom

Books read and needing to be reviewed:
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter
The Witch is Back by H.P. Mallory
The Search by Shelley Shepard Gray

Until next week ----  Ready - Set - Read!

Mailbox Monday (Oct 1, 2012)

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia from A girl and her books.  This is where I share the titles I have received for review or purchased during the past week.  Mailbox Monday will be hosted in October by Marcia!

I won these eBooks this week:

Don't Tell
by Mercy Amare

I won this from the author.

I could be surrounded by a million people, but I would still feel alone. I smile on the outside, but inside I feel like I’m slowly dying. I cry out for help, but nobody sees me, at least not the real me. They see a façade, a mask that I put on to hide the pain.

I pretend that I’m normal, but really, what is normal? Maybe what I’m feeling is normal. The hurt, the disappointment, the loneliness… it could be all just be a part of life. Maybe I will never know what normal is.

I put on long sleeves and makeup to hide the bruises, but they only mask the outside. What happens when I can’t carry my burden alone any longer? What would happen if I told somebody the truth?

Don't Tell is a YA Contemporary Romance about love, forgivness and hope.

I won this entire set of ebooks for participating in the release tour of the fifth book - Nine Lives!

Mourning Sun (1st Highland Home Novel)
Captured Sun (2nd Highland Home Novel)
Seven Days (3rd Highland Home Novel)
Banished Sun (4th Highland Home Novel)
Nine Lives (5th Highland Home Novel)

I received the following books for review:

Arctic Fire
by Stephen Frey

Troy Jensen could do it all: he conquered the Seven Summits, sailed solo around the world twice, and even fought a bull in a Mexican slum on a dare. So when word comes that a rogue wave has swept Troy off a crab fishing boat in the Bering Sea and into a watery grave, his brother, Jack, doesn’t buy it. 

Against his better judgment, Jack decides to quit his job as a Wall Street trader and head to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to investigate. Minutes after revealing his plan in his father’s New York City office, Jack is nearly run down in the street. He doesn’t think much of it at the time, but as he digs deeper into Troy’s disappearance, Jack unearths information about RED-CELL-SEVEN (RCS), a super-secret American intelligence group that has operated for forty years in almost total secrecy and with complete impunity—and its leaders intend to keep it that way at any cost.

Dodging bullets as he makes his way to Dutch Harbor, Jack connects the dots that link Troy with RCS. And when he realizes that it’s impossible to return to his old life, Jack charges headlong into the deepest recesses of America’s most secret and feared intel group in order to uncover the truth about Troy’s disappearance. Along the way, Jack learns that the civilian world’s rules of fair play don’t apply to this brutal new world that has swallowed him whole—especially when he crosses paths with the leader of RCS, a man firmly committed to destroying America in order to protect it.

Sweet Hell on Fire

by Sara Lunsford

As a corrections officer at an all-male maximum security prison, Sara Lunsford worked with the worst of the worst, from serial killers to white supremacists. She knew that at the end of every day, she had to try and shed the memories of the horrors she had witnessed in order to live a happy existence. But the darkness invaded every part of her life. And dealing with a stressful divorce and a mother sucumbing to cancer led her to a complete immersion in her work and eventually the bottom of a liquor bottle. Sweet Hell on Fire takes the reader on a journey with the author, from hitting rock bottom to becoming a woman who understands the meaning of sacrifice, the joy of redemption and the quiet haven to be found in hope.

All to Jesus: A Year of Devotions

by Robert J. Morgan

“Cast all your cares on him.” “Love the Lord with all your heart.” “I can do all things . . . .” You’d be surprised how often the word “all” appears in the Bible—thousands of times. And with each description of God’s comprehen- sive promises, each reminder of our complete blessing in Christ, each appeal for our full and total surrender, His reputation grows larger before our eyes.

We see again what He can do. We see again who we can be.

From Robert J. Morgan (100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart, Then Sings My Soul) comes All to Jesus, a choice sampling of the Bible’s most “all”-encompassing statements, surrounded each day by inspiring stories, personal reflections, and the encouraging assurance that you are cared for in ways you never imagined.

Derived from the pages of real life and a pastor’s heart, each daily reading meets you in an ever-deeper place, revealing God’s immeasurable power and keen attention to the smallest detail. Truly, He is all you need. All year long.

I received the following Digital books for review as well:

Violet Midnight (Violet Night Trilogy 1)
by Lynn Rush

Blending in with her college co-eds proves difficult for vampire Hunter, Emma Martin, considering the mystical tattoo on her wrist glows whenever Vamps are near. And after three months of silence, the glow is back with a vengeance.

Jake Cunningham witnesses Emma, a violet-eyed beauty, using unimaginable powers to fight off a fanged creature. Finally, after two years of searching, he may have found out what he’s become—a Hunter, like Emma.

Thankful for an ally in the fight against the Vamps, Emma finds hope and comfort in Jake’s arms. As she learns more about her new love’s family and its dark heritage, she may be forced not only to hunt them but to sacrifice her life to save Jake’s soul.

***Portion of all proceeds donated to American Cancer Society***

Carnival Girl: Searching for God in the Aftermath of War
by Sonja Herbert

The only life little Sonja Francesco has ever known is traveling the carnival circuit and living with her five siblings in a tiny caravan home. The family never stays anywhere long enough for Sonja to make friends or develop roots. The only one in her family, Sonja always believed in God and wants to belong to a church. 

At fourteen, Sonja meets the Mormon missionaries and develops a strong testimony of the truth of the Gospel. But can she live the commandments while traveling with the carnival and running one of the attractions every Sunday? Will it be possible for her to leave her family’s life behind and live the life she has always dreamed of?

Justice (Deck of Lies Book 1)
by Jade Varden

When you build an entire life on a foundation of lies, it only takes one truth for the whole thing to come crashing down. I never invited the truth in. I never went searching for it. I never had any reason to suspect that the two people I loved most were dishonest with me every second of every day. 

I made one bad decision, and in a single day my entire world changed. If I'm ever going to discover the truth about myself and my parents, I have to trace all the lies back to their source. I have to try to find the truth that they're hiding. 

The more I discover about myself, and my past, the more I realize that lies really are better than the truth. But now that I know the lies are all around me, I can't stop until I've discovered them all. I'll pull each lie away, one by one, and examine it to see what's underneath…until this house of cards crumbles into dust at my feet. 

I just hope I can survive the crash.

Sugar Rush
by Rachel Astor

Dulcie Carter has been running her family’s homemade sweet shop, Candy Land Confections, on her own since her mom passed away. Butbusiness is slow and rent is high, so Dulcie knows if she wants to keep her mom’s dream alive, she’ll need a miracle. Winning the annual Assembly of Chocolatiers competition will change everything, if only she can overcome her fears and bring herself to create something new for the first time in a long time.

Then she meets Nick, a molten-hot guy with a sexy smirk and chocolate brown eyes. The attraction is stronger than any sugar rush—until she discovers he’s set to inherit his family’s big-box candy shop in town, which is her strongest competitor for first prize. Nick’s got his own reasons for needing the win, but then being around Dulcie is proving addictive.

As the competition heats up, so do the sparks between them. Can they keep their sights on winning, when love might be the sweetest prize of all?

The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
by Paulette Mahurin

The year 1895 was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; Richard Olney, United States Secretary of State, expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine in settling a boundary dispute between the United Kingdom and Venezuela; and Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted for gross indecency under Britain’s recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense. When news of Wilde’s conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of its citizens were impacted by the news of Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment. It is a chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing.

All the Broken Pieces
by Cindi Madsen

Liv comes out of a coma with no memory of her past and two distinct, warring voices inside her head. Nothing, not even her reflection, seems familiar. As she stumbles through her junior year, the voices get louder, insisting she please the popular group while simultaneously despising them. But when Liv starts hanging around with Spencer, whose own mysterious past also has him on the fringe, life feels complete for the first time in, well, as long as she can remember.

Liv knows the details of the car accident that put her in the coma, but as the voices invade her dreams, and her dreams start feeling like memories, she and Spencer seek out answers. Yet the deeper they dig, the less things make sense. Can Liv rebuild the pieces of her broken past, when it means questioning not just who she is, but what she is?

Conjure (The Hoodoo Apprentice Book 1)
by Lea Nolan

Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry--hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.

When a strange girl appears, bent on revenge; demon dogs become a threat; and Jack turns into a walking skeleton; Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before summer—and her friends--are lost forever.

What books came home to you last week?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Banned Books Weeks Hop (Sept 28 - Oct 6)

Thanks for stopping by the Banned Books Giveaway!  It is being hosted by I Read Banned Books and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.  I am a big supporter of banned books as these books can empower kids.  They can open up avenues of communication and conversation that might never come up (until it is too late. . ).  I am giving away your book of choice from the lists of frequently challenged books found at the ALA site of banned books.  You must be able to find this book at The Book Depository and it should be under $15.00. It is open internationally as long as The Book Depository ships to your country.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PROMO: Under the Desert Moon (with excerpt and Guest Post)

Title: Under the Desert Moon
Author: Emma Meade
Publisher: Soul Fire Press

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance

About the book: 17 year old Erin Harris spends her time daydreaming, hoping to escape her small town life in Copperfield, Arizona.  When a movie crew arrives unexpectedly to shoot a vampire film over the summer, Erin’s small town world changes forever. 

Erin is positive she has seen the star, James Linkin before in a thirty year old TV show.  He hasn’t aged a day. How is this possible?  Erin is determined to find out, but how will James handle the scrutiny of an all too intelligent teenage girl?

About the author: Emma Meade lives in rainy Ireland. She loves vampires, slayers, witches, ghosts, aliens & shadow men (or at least the youngest of the Shadow Men), and regular people who live extraordinary lives (think Slayerettes and you’re on the right track).

Books, DVDS & TV show boxsets take up lots of space in her home, and she collects all the Point Horror books she can get her hands on.

Writing supernatural short stories and watching marathon re-runs of Buffy are some of her favourite ways of escaping reality.

Author Website: http://emmameadebooks.com/ 

Goodreads Author Page:

Goodreads book page:

Please enjoy this excerpt from Under the Desert Moon:

Erin stared out her bedroom window, wishing as always that she was elsewhere. Anywhere but here, she thought wistfully.
Nothing ever happened in this rundown town, not since the last mine had closed a decade ago. Copperfield, Arizona, was dusty, quiet and old-fashioned. It took months for the latest movie to make it to The Oracle theatre where Erin worked part-time, but it was the easiest job in the world. It got Erin out of the house she shared with her brothers and angry, alcoholic father, put money in her savings account, and most importantly, Erin got to see movies free.
It was escapism. For a couple of hours she could lose herself in another world, imagining herself as the beautiful heroine. Erin was waiting for the day she would learn she wasn’t her father’s daughter. That her mother had embarked on some secret affair with a handsome, rich man, and it was only a matter of time before he discovered her existence and introduced Erin to his world.
Sighing, she rested her chin in her hand. A cool summer breeze ruffled the curtains and lifted the strands of her bangs, tickling Erin’s forehead. She hated this tomb-like town, but had to admit that at night, Copperfield was beautiful. The desert gleamed beneath a full moon, and the scent of vegetation from the garden was spicy and fragrant. Erin breathed it deeply.
A cloud at that moment obscured the moon, and the hairs on her arms lifted. The breeze died down suddenly and she straightened up. She felt distinctly peculiar. Was there a storm coming?
The door to her bedroom sprang inwards. Startled, Erin turned to shout at whichever brother had disturbed her peace. It was Nick, her twin.
“Do you mind?” Erin said.
Nick’s sea-blue eyes gleamed. They were just like Erin’s. “You’re never going to believe this, Sis, sincerely.”
Erin rolled her eyes. “Try me.”
“A crew from Hollywood is in town. Copperfield’s the location for some scary movie.”
“Are you kidding?” Erin said, jumping off her bed.
“They’re all in Casey’s right now. The whole town’s there.” Nick was practically hopping with excitement.
“Oh, my God,” Erin said. “Why Copperfield? What kind of scary movie?” Slasher or ghost story? she wondered. She preferred the latter.
Nick shrugged. “Let’s go find out.”
Erin grabbed her jacket and followed him. Finally, there might actually be some life in this town, she thought.
“Hey, where you kids going?” her father's slurred voice demanded.
Erin caught a whiff of his beer breath as she passed and grimaced. Gross.
“Out,” she said, and slammed the door hard.

Casey’s diner was busier than Erin had ever seen it. Several waitresses were scooting across the shiny tiles in red and white roller skates that matched their uniforms. Every booth in the place was taken. Customers were eating their hamburgers and fries standing at the counter.
Erin’s eyes scanned the restaurant quickly as she crossed the threshold with Nick at her heels. A gust of air at the entrance lifted her long, chocolate brown hair off her neck, and raised goosebumps on her tanned arms. Strange. It wasn’t even cold that evening.
She paused inside, inhaling sharply. Her eyes were drawn immediately to the young man sitting at the biggest booth, furthest in the back. His presence radiated charm, charisma and self-assurance. Erin couldn’t help but notice the dusky brown of his eyes tinged with flecks of green, and the easy curve of his lips. He looked so familiar, but she couldn’t place him.
“Hey,” she poked Nick. “You know his name?” She watched him laugh heartily with his companions and lean back against the leather seat in complete ease.
Nick shook his head. “Don’t recognize him.”
“I’ve seen him in some TV show before. I think,” Erin added uncertainly. This was going to bug her.
“He’s the lead actor,” Nick said. “I heard people talking about him when he got off the bus earlier.”
Erin approached the counter. “Hey, Mrs. Casey,” she called over the middle-aged owner. Mrs. Casey was a kind woman. Her husband had died from cancer three years previously, and she was running the joint single-handedly. She also seemed to know everything in town before everyone else. “You know anything about this movie?”
“Sure. The crew’s just been here for hours, sugar. It’s one of those scary movies. Copperfield’s a real cheap place to shoot, I guess. That gorgeous boy over there,” she nodded in the direction of the young man Erin had been drawn to. “Name is James Linkin. He’s going to play the bad boy.”
Erin chanced another glance his way, not wanting to be caught staring. It didn’t matter. All eyes were on his table, particularly all female gazes.
“He ordered a hot dog from me just before you got here,” Mrs. Casey said. She chuckled. “He’s a little charmer from what I’ve seen so far.”
“What kind of bad boy?” Erin asked. Her stomach was fluttering. It hadn’t done that since she’d watched Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall last summer in The Oracle. She’d been forced to throw a Brad weekend there for one of the most popular girls at school, Lyndsey Mason, her older brother’s girlfriend.
Now looking at James, she believed him to be even more handsome. Erin marveled at her racing hormones. She usually wasn’t as silly as the other girls in school, or so she liked to think. She risked another look at him. Dark hair with sunny tints when the light caught it right, pale skin, strong jaw, slender build…
“Vampire, I think,” Mrs. Casey’s voice broke Erin’s train of thought. “It's going to be some kind of horror romance.”

Unfinished Work
by Emma Meade
I have a stockpile of half complete novels and some barely started books that I hope to return to some day.  Among them is a novel set in Ireland and Boston following a teenage vampire hunter, Sarah Knight.  This was the first novel I ever wrote and actually completed.  I started it the summer after I finished secondary school (high school), but re-wrote it several times over the years.  I also have the outline of the follow up novel to it jotted down somewhere 
            Another story I began back in school calls to me at times.  Set in a time of Celtic myths and legends, it follows the story of a daughter of a Chieftain who has no idea of her ties to the darker fairy world.  It is tentatively titled Ripples.  I also have a hand-written novel about a group of teenagers with various psychic abilities.  I don't think this will ever see the light of day.
            When I was a teenager, my friend Danielle and I would write Buffy fan fiction. We had a laugh writing new episodes featuring Xander, Willow, Angel and co. These are all hand-written, so who knows if I'll ever knuckle down and type these up.  It might be fun just to see how bad, or possibly good my writing was ten to fifteen years ago.
            I also created a short science-fiction series called Anomaly.  In my dreams, I hoped it would become a TV series (feel free to laugh here).  My school pals diligently read each ‘episode’ for me and gave me lots of feedback.  God bless those girls for putting up with me.  Anomaly focused on a high school in Massachusetts.  Due to an explosion in a genetics lab many years previously, the town's pregnant women were infected with a virus and their children were genetically stronger humans than normal.  I wrote this a year or two before Dark Angel came out and I remember being so annoyed that someone beat me to the punch. J  Nicky was the only 'normal' human at the school, and the series dealt with bullying and prejudice.  I must dig it out from whatever box the scripts are hiding in one of these days, and have a read. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

First Wild Card Tour: Letting Go of Supermom by Daisy "Dr. Mommy" Sutherland

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

My review:  I am still enjoying this book as it is filled with so much good advice I did not want to rush through it.  She writes with simplicity and wisdom and gives lots of creative ideas to connect your faith with your family and vice versa.  She also gives you lots of suggestions on how to deal with all areas of motherhood - from husband  to household.  Some of it you probably will already know, but sometimes we just need a reminder.  It is also nice to know that as mothers, we all basically climb the same hurdles daily.  This would be a good book for mom in whatever season of motherhood she is in.

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Publisher: Siloam (August 7, 2012)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson for sending me a review copy.***


Dr. Daisy Sutherland is the founder and CEO of Dr. Mommy, LLC. She is a doctor of chiropractic by profession, wife, and mom to five children, whom she has homeschooled for the past twelve years. She hosts a weekly Blog Talk Radio show called Family Talk and is the featured parenting expert on Mom Talk Radio, a nationally syndicated radio show that airs on more than fifty stations, reaches 50,000 moms, and has been recognized in The Oprah Magazine, Women’s Day, USA Today, and Parenting. Women all over the country have benefitted from “Dr. Mommy’s” health, parenting, and career management tips and godly advice. She is the voice and advocate for every mom and says she is blessed to be able to help so many.

My Review: I am still enjoying this book as there is so much good advice I do not want to rush through it.  The author has given

Visit the author's website.


This guide will include time-management and organization tips, how-tos for handling stress, nutrition and general wellness advice, parenting and relationship tools, and ways to stay spiritually refreshed and highly productive without losing it! Dr. Mommy will also share her best tips and tricks from her personal experience of being a homeschooling, CEO mom.

Product Details:

List Price: $15.99

Paperback: 256 pages

Publisher: Siloam (August 7, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1616384638

ISBN-13: 978-1616384630

AND NOW...A SAMPLE (Click on pages to see them better):

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

November Surprise - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway


September 15 - Reading Addiction Blog Tours - Meet and Greet
September 15 - Andi's Book Review- Review/Giveaway/Excerpt/Interview
September 16 -  Wonderland Reviews - Review/Interview
September 17 -  Taking it One Page at a Time - Review/Guest Post/Giveaway
September 18 -  My Reading Addiction - Interview/Giveaway/Excerpt/PROMO
September 19 -  My Seryniti - Review/Interview/GuestPost/ExcerptGiveaway
September 20 -  Beth Art From the Heart - Review/Excerpt
September 22 -  Sweeping the USA - Review/Excerpt/Giveaway
September 23 -  Whoopeeyoo - Review/Guest Post/Giveaway/Excerpt
September 24 -  Solitary Bookworm - Review/Interview/Excerpt/Giveaway
September 25 -  Books and NeedlePoint - Guest Post/Excerpt/Giveaway/PROMO
September 26 -    My Devotional Thoughts - Review/Guest Post/Excerpt/Giveaway
September 27-  Bookish Things + More - Excerpt/PROMO
September 27 - Kaisy Daisy's Reviews - Review/Giveaway
September 28 -  A Dream Within a Dream - Excerpt/Giveaway/PROMO
September 29 -  The Book Faery Reviews - Excerpt/PROMO
September 30 -  Literature Lovers' Labyrinth - Review/Interview/Excerpt
October 1 - A Chick Who Reads - Review/Guest Post/Excerpt/Giveaway
October 2 - Turning The Pages - PROMO
October 3 - Words I Write Crazy - Review/Excerpt
October 4 - My Cozie Corner - Review/Giveaway
October 5 - Book Reviews and More - Guest Post/Excerpt/Giveaway/PROMO
October 6 - New Age Mama - Interview/Excerpt/Giveaway/PROMO
October 7 - The Book Maven - Review/GuestPost
October 8 - Forget the Housework, I'm Reading - Review/Giveaway
October 9 - Conceptual Reception - Review
October 10 - My Escape - Review/Giveaway/Excerpt

November Surprise
Laurel Osterkamp
Chick Lit/Women's Fiction
Date Published: Aug 2012

For Lucy Jones, the distinction between love and politics is hazy at best. Both can be all-consuming, and either can lead to a heart-breaking loss or an exhilarating win. Whatever the case, if you’re seen as a loser, you probably are one. Lucy first learns this lesson in 1988, when she’s a shy girl, battling a high school bully and rooting for Dukakis. Through the years Lucy will experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat as she makes the choices that define her. Meanwhile, she also struggles to define her relationship with Monty, who comes in and out of her life like the changes in public opinion. Is Monty simply a one-night stand, a kindred spirit, or the love of her life? And by 2008, can he offer her a change to believe in?

Over the course of twenty years and six presidential elections, Lucy grows and adjusts with the times. Filled with snarky political and pop-culture references, November Surprise is about the journey we take to believe in a candidate, in love, and in ourselves.

November Surprise is a companion piece to Campaign Promises, which is free on Amazon. They can be read in either order. Both have a liberal slant.

Laurel Osterkamp was a comedy writer in Minneapolis before she began writing novels.
Her first novel, Following My Toes, has been a Kindle best seller and won the 2008
Indie Excellence Award for Chick Lit. Starring in the Movie of My Life received honors
in the 2011 Indie Excellence Awards for Chick Lit, and in the 2011 International Book
Awards for Women's Fiction and Young Adult Lit. Both books are indie approved at
indiereader.com. She currently teaches high school, and is working on her next book,
which is inspired by her recent jury duty.


Laurel is running a giveaway for a $30 Amazon Giftcard.  A comment on any of her stops on the blog tour will get you an entry.  If you buy November Surprise and send their receipt to laurel@pmibooks.com you will receive 10 entries into the giveaway.

Links to Buy

My 10 Favorite Authors in no Particular Order:
by Laurel Osterkamp

Disclaimer: I teach high school English, so I have this notion that my favorite authors ought to be literary. However, I’ve been a reader longer than I’ve been a teacher or a writer, and most of what I’ve read is not considered fine literature. There are a few literary authors in my faves list, but most of them are popular fiction.

  1. Beverly Cleary – I read all the Ramona books when I was little, and it was like reading about my own thoughts and my own life. When I was twelve I read Fifteen and it was the best book I’d ever read. I went on to read everything by Cleary, except for the books with male main characters. However, I’ve read all of those now too, because I read them aloud to my seven-year-old son. Beverly Cleary really stands the test of time.
  2. J.K. Rowling – When speaking of books “meant for children” the Harry Potter series has to come to mind. I was definitely no longer a kid when I read them, and like most of the world, no series has left me so enthralled. I’ve read the first three books to my son now, but we’re holding off on the fourth, because he’s a little young yet for something so dark.
  3. Suzanne Collins – I read The Hunger Games as assigned reading when I was taking a course on writing young adult lit. I couldn’t put it down! Collins blends action, suspense, romance, and satire seamlessly. God, I wish I had written it myself.
  4. Betty Smith – She wrote A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Joy in the Morning, both of which I read when I was kid. Something about them really struck a cord; they’re both female stories of self-discovery, which is what I like to write myself.
  5. Melissa Bank – Her novel Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing is one of the pioneers of the chick-lit movement, and her writing style is amazing. I could read and reread this novel endlessly.
  6. Emily Giffin – I always read whatever she publishes.
  7. Jennifer Weiner – See above.
  8. Curtis Sittenfeld – See above again.
  9. Douglas Coupland – I actually haven’t read that much by him, but his short story collection, Life After God made me cry because it was written so beautifully.
  10. William Shakespeare -  I love his plays. I don’t sit around and read them in my spare time, but every year when I teach my 10th graders Macbeth I discover something new about it myself. It’s simply amazing.

Please enjoy this excerpt from November Surprise

Monty and I have been dancing together all evening. The slow songs are the best, but we also do the Macarena and even the Chicken Dance. I can’t stop laughing the entire time I’m quacking my hands.
Jack and his new wife, Petra, have fed each other cake. Petra has thrown her bouquet, and all the toasts have been given. The night is winding down, and Monty leads me off the dance floor.
“I’m really glad neither of us had dates,” he says.
“Yeah, me too.” My heart beats just a little bit faster than normal.
“And I’m sorry about earlier. Hitting on you like that. It was clumsy. Will you forgive me?” His face is flushed and his tie is loosened. I’m sure I’ve noticed before how good looking he is, but this is the first time I’ve let myself appreciate it.
“There’s nothing to forgive.” I look around, make sure nobody is watching, and then I stand on my tip-toes and plant a kiss on his cheek. When he doesn’t flinch or pull away, I give him the barest whisper of a kiss on the lips.
It’s all the encouragement he needs.
With a conspiratorial smile, he takes my hand and leads me outside the reception hall. I follow willingly.
When we get to a dark, hidden spot, he wraps his arms around my waist and kisses me deeply. I can feel it everywhere, my entire body is tingling, my knees are weak, and I’m sure that at any moment, my heart will explode.
I don’t want him to stop. But he does.
“Where are you staying tonight?” he asks.
“I was going to drive back to my parents’ house.”
“Hmm…” he leans in and kisses me some more. I press up against him like I can’t get close enough. He tilts his head back ever so slightly, so he can talk. “That’s a long drive. Do you want to stay with me, instead?”
“You have a hotel room?”
“It’s close to the airport,” he whispers. “I fly back to New York really early tomorrow.” Then he baby kisses my eyes, nose, and chin.
I don’t answer immediately. I’m trying to steady my breathing. “So you can make a clean get away?”
“It’s not like that.” he smiles. “And you haven’t even said yes, yet.”
But he knows I’m going to. “You can’t ever tell Jack,” I say.
“He just got married, Lucy. Do you really think he’ll care?”
I rub my hands down his back and across the taut muscles in his arms. “I never had sex with him, and we dated for months. If he finds out you and I had a one night stand…”
Monty cuts me off with another kiss. “I promise I’ll never tell him,” he murmurs, between kisses.
We make out a few seconds more, but our kissing is interrupted when I’m consumed with a fit of giggles.
“What’s so funny?” Monty asks.
I shake my head. “Sorry. It just occurred to me. I’m about to do it with the homecoming king.”
Monty chuckles. “Does that turn you on?”
“Yeah,” I admit. “Kind of. Is that okay?”
He kisses my neck. I tilt my head back and sigh in pleasure.
“Are you kidding?” His lips are a mere centimeter from my skin as he mumbles, and his arms tighten around me even more. “If I had known, I would have worn my crown.”
Now we’re both laughing.
“You know this isn’t the sort of thing I usually do…”
He raises his face so he’s looking me in the eye. “I know,” he says, and he smiles. Crinkles form around his green eyes, and I feel a moment of panic. There’s no way I’m casual enough to be with him for just one night.
“Let’s make it special, okay?” He reaches down and clasps my hand, and I let him lead me somewhere, again. This time, I follow him to the parking lot. Tonight, I’d follow him anywhere.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*


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