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

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Book Review: How Willa Got Her Groove Back by Emily McKay (Giveaway)






Title: How Willa Got Her Groove Back 
Author: Emily McKay
Publisher: Entangled Crush
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
SeriesCreative HeArts #2, companion series
Publication: February 25th, 2016

When your life feels like a bad movie, rewrite the script.

When Willa Schofer's father comes home from a business trip with an über-famous new fiancée, Willa's senior year blows up in paparazzi-fueled flames. Overnight, she has a new house, a new car, and a new soon-to-be stepbrother--the unbelievably hot, unbelievably arrogant, Finn McCain. Thank god he's constantly pushing her buttons, or she might do something irresponsible. Like fall for the jerk.

Just when Willa's decided to avoid him for, oh, ever, Finn lands in the center of her senior project team. Seriously--how hard is it to shake a guy? At least her work on the project snagged the attention of the (second) hottest guy in school. He might only be into her because of her famous stepmom, and he's not quite as exciting as a certain annoying housemate, but at least she's allowed to crush on the guy.

Because crushing on your annoying stepbrother? So not cool.


My thoughts: The two main characters, Willa and Finn, meet unexpectedly when Willa rushes out of a dinner where her dad has sprung the news that he is engaged to Mia McCain - only the most famous actress ever.  Willa just wants to get away and when Finn offers her a ride on his motorcycle, feeling reckless and angry, she agrees.  Finn figures out pretty quickly that Willa is the daughter of his mother's fiance, but Willa has no clue who Finn is. There is definitely an attraction, which Finn feels the need to squash because of who Willa is.  Willa, when she finds out that Finn is to be her stepbrother, feels duped and keeps telling herself she is not attracted to him - especially since her crush is finally paying some attention to her!

Growing up in the spotlight of his mom, Finn is quick to suspect everyone who wants to be his friend.  He tries to warn Willa that there may be people who just want to get close to her now in order to get close to Mia.  The fact that she goes to a creative arts high school means that there are a lot of wanna be actors and actresses.  Willa, of course, just pushes his advice to the side because part of her is still mad at him about the way they met.  She also doesn't want to believe that Damien's attention may be because of Mia.  I would like to believe that he is on the up-and-up, but the timing is suspicious. 

I must say that I like those books where you know that the two characters are eventually going to end up together - but it is going to take them awhile to get there - and actually, they don't get there in this book, as it is the first in a trilogy.  I have read some other reviews and have seen that people are upset by that - but I love trilogies - and if you get to all the good stuff in the first book, then why would you want to read any further?

I am looking forward to seeing how these characters get fleshed out in the next book and what is to become of their "romance."





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About the Author

Emily McKay is a life-long fan of books, pop-culture and anything geeky. She has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and baking cookies. When she’s not kicking-ass and scooping cookie dough, she’s watching videos from Screen Junkies (her favorite Youtube channel) or Pemberly Digital or Classic Alice. Okay, she has a Youtube problem! She’s seeking help. Really. Though, she may also have a slight problem with procrastination.

When the internet is down and there are no chocolate chips in the house, she does write books – everything from Harlequin romance novels to post-apocalyptic YA. Though her interests may appear broad, the common denominators are swoony heroes and snarky humor.



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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Review: Orhan's Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian

Title: Orhan's Inheritance
Author: Aline Ohanesian
Publisher: Algonquin Books
ISBN: 978-1-61620-530-0 / Paperback
Publication Date: Jan 19, 2016

From the publisher: When Orhan's brilliant and eccentric grandfather dies, Orhan learns he's inherited the decades-old kilim rug business.  But the will raises more questions than it answers: his grandfather Kemal has left the family estate neither to his son Mustafa nor to his grandson Orhan but to a stranger thousands of miles away, an aging woman in an Armenian retirement home in Los Angeles.

Left with only his grandfather's ancient sketchbook and intent on righting this injustice, Orhan boards a plane to Los Angeles to get some answers.  There, over many meetings, he unearths the story that Seda so closely guards -- a story of passionate love, unspeakable horrors, incredible resilience, and a way of life that has vanished forever. 

Orhan's Inheritance is a remarkable debut novel that moves between 1915 in the Ottoman Empire and the 1990s, pulling back the curtain on a significant and devastating chapter of history that has been silenced for many years.  Aline Ohanesian knows this history well: when she was just a child, her Armenian great-grandmother told her of their family's dramatic exile from Turkey during the Armenian genocide.  She's taken her family hisotry as a starting point but breathed into it a novel full of love and heartbreak, war and recovery, crimes and their reparations. 

My thoughts: Once I started this book it was very hard for me to put it down.  I was as invested as Orhan was in finding out why his grandfather had left their estate to a woman in the United States. As Orhan travels to the U.S., we slowly begin to learn Seda's history as a child and how she and Kemal knew one another.  It is fascinating and heartbreaking all at the same time.  Both Seda's family and Kemal's family was unaware of the true history of where they came from, and slowly Orhan is able to get this truth from Seda. I was unaware of the Armenian genocide that occurred in the 1910's but to have lived through it would have been devastating.  

This was a very quick read and shed light on some history of which I was unaware.  I would definitely recommend picking this one up!



~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Algonquin Books in exchange for my unbiased review.~

Book Blitz: Bryce by Natalie Decker


Bryce

Natalie Decker

(Scandalous Boys #1)
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: February 23rd 2016
Genres: Romance, Young Adult

Bryce Matthews doesn’t do the whole nice boyfriend thing. Chocolates and flowers— girls can forget all that. And he certainly doesn’t care about the gossip and rumors that follow him at school and around town. If anything, the talk amuses him. Bryce isn’t lacking in confidence. He knows himself and he knows his limits. 
One of those hard limits is Madison Issac. Bryce can never have her, and he’s perfectly fine with that. Sometimes the fantasy is better than the reality anyway.
Madison Issac thought she was a pretty good judge of character. But she’s surprised at how gentle and comforting resident bad-boy and next-door neighbor Bryce Matthews is when we finds her crying in the park.
 Maybe there’s more to Bryce than people think? So Madison begins to wonder. Can a guy like Bryce ever change his ways? Can a girl like Madison really be into a guy like Bryce? With hearts and reputations on the line, this kind of love can be scandalous.




EXCERPT:
A yellow cab pulls up to our home, and Kyle walks out to greet the driver. My parents are hugging the little blond, blue-eyed monster. I stare from my window for a second or two, and then I turn my attention to my room. My queen bed is disassembled and up in the attic. Before me now, a twin bunk bed. The brat is going to want the top, and of course I’ll have to oblige because she’s going through a rough time.
What about me? What about my rough time? This girl tortures me. She takes and takes and has never once given back. If you ask me, all that’s happening to her? It’s called justice. Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh. Maybe she’s changed some since she lost her big house with the pool, her rich friends, and her glamorous lifestyle. Maybe she’s a little kinder.
Sucking in a breath and feeling a little guilty for being a snot, I go downstairs and greet Sarah. She enters the house as I reach the bottom step of the stairs. Dark shades mask her eyes, and they match her black sun hat and her black dress. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say she was dressed for a funeral.
“Hi, Sarah.”
She moves her shades down her nose a little and sneers at me. “I see you haven’t changed much, Madison. Didn’t like the highlights?”
She knows I didn’t like them. The evil troll! At Easter, she said she wanted to do my hair. I thought she was being nice. She said we could make it pretty, and I agreed. Stupid me. She said red tints would give my dark brown hair a summery glow. She didn’t put red tints in. She made my hair pink. She claimed she picked up the wrong box. I had to go to school with bubblegum-pink highlights in my hair for almost a week before someone could fix it. A hundred and fifty dollars down the tube.
I smile. “Guess it wasn’t really my thing.”
She rolls her eyes. “Yeah, being cool never has been.”
I knew it! I knew the evil monster did it on purpose. She mocks my clothes, says I dress like a hobo, and all that stuff. My clothes are nice; sure, I didn’t spend $200 for any summer dresses in my closet, but who cares? I’m certainly not going to spend $800 on a stupid purse. Um, hell to the no!
But my cousin has—excuse me, had—over $2,000 to spend per week. I barely have $200 in my bank account. Working five to twelve hours a week for eight bucks an hour is nothing to brag about.
“Where’s my room?” She shoves her sunglasses up her nose and makes her way to the stairs.
“You’re sharing with me. Come on.” I head up to my room, not waiting for her.
She gasps. “Sharing? I’m … Never mind. Apparently, that will have to do. We’ll just redecorate your room.”
I stop and turn on the last step to look back at her. “What do you mean ‘redecorate’?”
“Maddy,” my mom bites out as she follows us up the stairs. “Change can be a good thing.” She walks past me and mumbles, “Remember what the therapist said.”
That quack told us we had to make sure we didn’t try to force Little Miss Unwanted Guest to conform to our ways. He said we should try to appease her as much as possible and ease her into the change. But right now, I wish she was on a boat to China or some other faraway place.
Gritting my teeth, I say, “You know what? My room could probably use a makeover.”
Sarah smiles and enters my room. She looks around, instantly frowning. “I’m getting top bunk.” My mom carries in a few boxes, and Sarah smiles at her. “Thanks, Auntie Heather. Where are the boxes I had shipped here?”
“Oh, I’ll have the guys carry them in.” My mom hugs Sarah. “I know this is a hard time for you, but we’re glad you’re here.”
Pffft! She might be glad, but I’m not, so she can drop the whole “we” business.
As soon as my mom leaves, Sarah removes her sunglasses and hat. She looks around the room and shakes her head. “Well, it’s clear you’re in need of some decorating tips, that’s for sure.” She runs her hands over the matching comforters my mom bought for the bunk beds and laughs. “Seriously, this floral motif is so out.”
I nod like I care. I really don’t. It’s a blanket. It keeps me warm. That’s all that matters. I’m not the homeless one. She is. I’m not the one with parents going to jail. She is. But, hey, maybe this is her way of coping with all that, so I will bite my tongue and not say a word.

“Maddy! Graham and Bryce are here!” my mom calls to me.
I instantly smile, feeling better. My heart is humming to see Graham. As if in another world, I leave my cousin and race down to the two boys. I’m not really keen on Bryce, but that’s because my whole life, he’s been in and out of juvie more times than I can count. He’s a bad boy with a temper. I don’t know why Graham is friends with him.
Graham smiles before I reach the bottom step. “Hey, Maddy! We were … oh, um … Hi.” His attention goes from me to the stairs. I look back and see Sarah. I turn back to Graham and realize he’s looking at her as if she’s the whole moon and stars.

Author Bio:
Natalie Decker is the author of RIVAL LOVE series. She loves oceans, sunsets, sand between her toes, and carefree days. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. Her first passion for writing started at age twelve when she had to write a poem for English class. However, seventh grade wasn't her favorite time and books were her source of comfort. She took all college prep classes in High school, and attended the University of Akron. Although she studied Mathematics she never lost her passion for writing or her comfort in books. She's a mean cook in the kitchen, loves her family and friends and her awesome dog infinity times infinity. If she's not writing, reading, traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, then she's off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!


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Friday, February 19, 2016

Cover Reveal: Kisses on a Paper Airplane by Sarah Vance-Tompkins




Title: Kisses On A Paper Airplane
Author: Sarah Vance-Tompkins

Published by: Inkspell Publishing
Publication date: May 14th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Drama student Hannah Evans isn’t kissing any frogs on her path to find Prince Charming. She’s determined to share the perfect first kiss — with the perfect boy — in the perfect place — or she’s not kissing anyone at all. When Hannah meets a cute ginger-haired boy in first class lounge in the London airport, she knows he’s ‘The One.’
 Pop star Theo Callahan is on the road to get as far away as possible from his back-stabbing best friend, and his supermodel girlfriend who broke his heart. Until one shy smile from Hannah has him rethinking all of his travel plans.

Theo is smitten, but he’s worried she’s just a groupie in search of the ultimate selfie. Can Theo learn to trust Hannah in time to share one perfect first kiss, or will Hannah be forced to kiss a frog?

Author Bio:
Sarah Vance-Tompkins was born in a small town in northern Michigan. She spent every summer exploring the sugar sand beaches near Sleeping Bear National Park. She left her heart behind when she moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California. She received an MFA in Film Production and went on to work in feature film development in Hollywood. She has worked as a reporter for a weekly entertainment trade publication, and been paid to write obituaries, press releases, the directions for use on personal lubricant bottles, and breathless descriptions of engagement rings for an online jewelry store. She lives in a small town north of Los Angeles with her husband and three cats.


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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Book Blitz: Before We Say Goodbye by Julie MacLennan


Before We Say Goodbye
by Julie MacLennan


Four strangers are brought together who share one thing in common: they've reached a pivotal moment in their lives and after this journey nothing will ever be the same again. From the sorrow which follows joy, the love which turns to betrayal, rejection which finally finds the door to acceptance, each will discover that the only journey which really matters is the one which leads to survival.

Buy links:

Kobo 


Excerpt:
‘I’m leaving you!’

The young woman at the end of the phone screamed in fury as Damien Hunt calmly rose from his desk and walked towards

the window.

The late afternoon sun was slipping silently below the horizon in a last brilliant blaze of crimson defiance. The irony was

not lost on him as he witnessed the magnificent rays disappearing from sight at exactly the same moment as Stella Milner

was doing her best to elicit a response – any response – from him.

‘Do you hear me? Are you even listening? What’s the matter with you?’

She was almost hysterical now, and he could tell that his continued refusal to answer her was only inflaming an already

volatile situation. But not for the first time, he recognised it as his escape route and said nothing.

‘Damien? Damien! Will you answer me?’

The silence on the line was deafening and Damien could hear her start to cry.

He closed his eyes. There was a part of him which felt guilty, responsible for the situation in which they now found

themselves. But only a part of him.

Mostly what he felt was a dreadful and overwhelming weariness.

It was a feeling which was unfamiliar and yet it had crept up on him lately, invading his thoughts during random moments

and making him doubt everything. Including himself.

And now it was telling him that there was no point in prolonging this conversation.

He let the phone fall to his side as Stella continued to rage against him.

They both knew that she was right. She wanted only what she deserved. There was only one problem.

He couldn’t give it to her.

Couldn’t give her the commitment and the stability that she hadn’t cared about in the beginning but now seemed to crave.

He couldn’t give it, and more importantly he didn’t want to give it. Not to her. Not to anyone. Not ever.

Her voice became louder and he reluctantly raised the phone to his ear again.

‘Can’t you even speak to me now, Damien? What do you think I am? Some little tramp? A one night stand? You really

think that you’re better than me, don’t you, Damien?’

Still he remained silent.

When she spoke again, her voice was lower and she sounded more in control.

‘Okay, if you won’t speak to me on the phone, you leave me no choice. We’ll just have to have this conversation in front

of everyone in your office. I’m coming round.’

*****

Julie MacLennan lives and works in Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland. This is her first published novel although she has been writing for as long as she can remember.

Some of her earliest memories are of sitting by her grandfather’s chair and being fascinated by the books he read. Later, encouraged by her grandmother’s gift for writing and her mother’s imagination, she began to transfer her own short stories and poetry to paper.

Her shared love of football with her father inspired her to write the poem “Farewell, Our Friend” which was read out and televised around the world at George Best’s funeral in late 2005.

More recently, she was honoured to be asked by the Royal British Legion if they could use another of her poems, “The Promise”, as part of their commemoration of the First World War.

She is now working on her second novel.



Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Cover Reveal: A Shot of Bourbon by A.C. Land

Today is the cover reveal for A Shot of Bourbon by A.C. Land. This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.

A Shot of Bourbon
A Shot of Bourbon (The Bourbon Series #1)
By A.C. Land
Genre: Contemporary
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Publisher: BookFish Books

Blurb:
In the little highway town of Bourbon, Missouri, deadly secrets lurk behind Southern charm.

Seventeen year old Charli Valentine didn’t expect to spend the last few weeks of summer break nursing a broken heart, icing a black eye, and watching her ex kiss another girl. Since being a good girl has gotten her nothing but heartache, Charli decides to give rebellion a try. She pigs out, drinks, and hangs with Luke Parker, the son of the infamous Bourbon Butcher.

But there’s more to Luke than meets the eye. His tough exterior and terrible dialect hide a good person despite his bad boy reputation. No matter how hard he tries to fight it, Luke is drawn to Charli’s innocence and finds her clumsiness too charming to resist. Though they’re from opposite sides of the tracks, neither can resist the magnetism drawing them together.

When Charli discovers a box in her mother’s closet, she pieces together the truth about Bourbon’s past and uncovers a deadly secret about her family. And once Luke learns of it, he vows to protect Charli no matter the cost.

A Shot of Bourbon full wrap

Excerpt:
Charli
I stepped into line behind a guy I recognized immediately. Chills shot up my spine the way they did when I dipped my foot in a cold pool. He twirled a worn looking cigarette between his fingers. It slipped over his dirty knuckles before sliding between his thumb and forefinger. The cigarette had finger impressions all over the filter and dirty smudge marks across the white paper. I wondered how long he’d been twirling it for it to look that way.
Lucas Parker had always fascinated me. I didn’t know what it was about him. Maybe the fact that he was overbearingly protective of his brother, Collin. Or that he worked so many hours at his incarcerated father’s failing auto shop. Or maybe because his family was the only one my mother had explicitly told me to stay away from.

A.C. LandAbout the Author:
Author of the Bourbon Series, A.C. Land has been a lover of stories since she first read about Peter Pan giving Wendy an acorn and teaching her to fly. A.C. always dreamed of telling big stories about small towns.
Residing on a cattle farm in Missouri, A.C. loves playing with her rambunctious Jack Russell, Riley, making decorative cakes, taking pictures, drinking pumpkin spice coffee, and hanging out with her nephews.

You can find and contact A.C. Land here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Instagram

There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of A Shot of Bourbon. One person will win a 50$ amazon gift card!

For a chance to win, enter the raffleocpter below:



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Friday, February 12, 2016

Promo Blitz: Gifted Thief by Helen Harper





Title: Gifted Thief
Author: Helen Harper
Urban Fantasy
Date Published: 1/29/2016

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Orphan. Runaway. Thief. 

Since the moment I was ripped from my mother's womb, I've been an outcast amongst my own kind. The Sidhe might possess magical Gifts, unbelievable wealth and unfathomable power but I don't want a thing to do with them. I ran away from their lands in the Highlands of Scotland when I was eleven years old and I've never looked back. I don't need a Clan. I've got my own family of highly skilled thieves who mean more to me than any Sidhe ever could. 

Unfortunately for me, the playboy heir to the Moncrieffe Clan has something I desperately need. To get it back, I'm going to have to plunge myself back into that world, no matter what the consequences may be. I suppose it's just as well I have sense of humour. I think I'm going to need it. 

By bestselling author Helen Harper, Gifted Thief is the first book in the Highland Magic series.


Excerpt

From Chapter One


You have to do bad shit to get ahead. Taylor had told me that a million times and for a long time I’d bought into it. After tonight, however, things were going to be different. A new leaf and a new me. That was what I was planning.

I’d been thinking about it for a long time but since I’d received the letter in elegant, handwritten script demanding my appearance at the Sidhe court, I felt I had no choice but to step up my plans to vamoose out of the city. I didn’t want anything to do with those bastards. Not unless it meant ripping them off. Frankly, I’d rather head down to the Lowlands – and the Veil – than venture near the Clanlands.

At least Taylor had promised that my final hurrah was going to be a straightforward job. ‘In and out,’ he’d said. ‘The place will be empty.’

‘You know I’m leaving after this one,’ I reminded him. Not that it was likely it would have slipped his mind but with Taylor sometimes certain points bore repeating.

‘Of course, of course! As if I could forget.’ His eyes took on a knowing look that I chose to ignore. ‘You’ll miss it though. You won’t get many thrills from tramping around the countryside.’

‘It’s not tramping around the countryside. It’s mountain rescue. I think saving lives will be thrilling enough.’

He grimaced at that. ‘You’ll be bored.’

I simply smiled back. We’d had this conversation often enough in recent weeks. My mind was made up and even he couldn’t change it.

‘I’ll always be here,’ he said. ‘If you do want to come back, that is.’

I hugged him impulsively. ‘I might not come back to work but I’ll always come back. You’re my family.’ I meant every word. We’d had a few rough times over the years but who hadn’t? Taylor had been there for me when no-one else was, even if his motives weren’t always pure. I worried about him more than he’d ever know.

He looked abashed at my heartfelt words and ran an awkward hand through his hair. It was no longer the carroty mop he had when I first met him all those years ago. Now it was more silver, far closer in colour to my own locks, which still drew curious looks and the odd question about my ancestry, even amongst the Clan-less underbelly. For the most part I shrugged them off.

It was a very long time since I moved in Sidhe circles. I crossed the road to avoid passing close by any of my kin, no matter how distantly related they were. And one of the reasons I was leaving Aberdeen was because they’d contacted me.

It wasn’t that I was afraid of what they might do if they got hold of me, although that was a part of it. I just wanted a quiet life. My childhood with the Sidhe was little more than a distant memory; in fact sometimes I felt as if it had happened to someone else.

I ignored the gossip mags and whispered rumours about what each Clan was up to.  I lived in the underclass, far away from them. I didn’t care whether Aifric remained Steward and was therefore still in charge, or which man Tipsania Scrymgeour was currently stepping out with. I didn’t even care that her father, the Bull, appeared to be making more money than Bill Gates. The Sidhe could spend their days worrying about politics, jockeying for position and doing whatever they could to rise above other Clans. I only cared about me and mine. And none of mine were Sidhe. Or Clan.

I tested my kit, adjusting the harness at my back to ensure it was secure, and skirted round the back of the building. It might be the middle of the night during a bank holiday weekend but I still needed to be circumspect. It would be sod’s law if I got nabbed on the very last day I spent as a career criminal. Tapping my forehead three times with my index finger to signal to my waiting crew, I gave one last look around then sprang up.

My fingertips curled easily around the first ledge. Despite the typical Scottish chill, I was barefoot. It made it far easier to gain purchase on the smooth glass surface of the towering bank. I also admit that I rather enjoyed it when I glanced down and caught a flash of the sparkly nail varnish adorning my toenails. It felt appropriate for this job; we were, after all, going after some more sparkles ‒ albeit of the more expensive kind.

Clambering up with fluid, nimble ease, I made fast work of my ascent. Beads of sweat were only just appearing on my brow when I reached the assigned floor. Piece of cake. I tightened my grip with my left hand, using my right to reach behind and unclip the glass breaker that was hooked to my belt.

It was a nifty piece of kit, designed to help trapped motorists break out of their cars. While I’d never heard of anyone actually using one to save their own life, I found mine particularly useful. It was a gift from Taylor when I graduated from simple manipulation tactics and dull look-out posts to full-blown thief. The others might scoff at its hot pink colour but I’d had it for seven lucky years and it had never let me down. I might wear black to stay camouflaged against the night sky but that didn’t mean that everything I carried had to be boring monochrome too.

Leaning back as far as I could, I swung it into the centre of the pane of tinted glass, shattering it instantly. Thanks both to the glass breaker’s and the window’s design, all the shards of glass fell inwards just as I wanted.

Flashing a satisfied smile to my inner thief, I heaved myself inside with a leap, landing far enough in to avoid catching my skin on any of the dangerous broken pieces. I pivoted round and grinned, curtseying at the now-gaping hole. Then I checked my watch. Less than ninety seconds from pavement to entry. That was impressive, even for me.

Without wasting another minute, I unclipped my harness and tested the nearby wall. The plaster seemed sound enough so I pulled out my tiny drill, made a hole in the wall and carefully inserted the climbing wire. I gave it an experimental tug; it would hold. Less than thirty seconds later, I was lowering the rope out of the window and whistling down softly.





About the Author: Helen Harper


After teaching English literature in the UK, Japan and Malaysia, Helen Harper left behind the world of education following the worldwide success of her Blood Destiny series of books. She is a professional member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and writes full time although she still fits in creative writing workshops with schools along with volunteering to teach reading to a group of young Myanmar refugees. That's not to mention the procession of stray cats which seem to find their way to her door!

Helen has always been a book lover, devouring science fiction and fantasy tales when she was a child growing up in Scotland.

Helen currently lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with far too many cats - not to mention the dragons, fairies, demons, wizards and vampires that seem to keep appearing from nowhere.

You can find out more - and learn how to get a FREE copy of Corrigan Fire - by visiting Helen's website: helenharper.co.uk



Contact Links



Twitter: @HarperFire



Purchase Links




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Monday, February 8, 2016

Cover Reveal: My Senior Year of Awesome by Jennifer Digiovanni





My Senior Year of Awesome
Jennifer DiGiovanni

Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: March 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
A girl desperately tries to avoid the boy she was voted most likely to marry by her senior classmates. To prove senior superlative votes are meaningless, she and her best friend create their own list of awesome high school achievements to be completed by graduation.



Author Bio:
Jennifer is a freelance writer and YA author. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, working on home design projects, or trying to meet the daily goals on her Fitbit. My Senior Year of Awesome is her first novel.



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Friday, February 5, 2016

Review: Goat Mountain by David Vann

Title: Goat Mountain
Author: David Vann
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: September 2013

In the fall of 1978, on a 640-acre family ranch on Goat Mountain in Northern California, an eleven-year-old boy joins his grandfather, his father, and his father’s best friend on the family’s annual deer hunt.

Every fall they return to this dry, yellowed landscape dotted with oak, buck brush, and the occasional stand of pine trees. Goat Mountain is what this family owns and where they belong. It is where their history is kept, memories and stories that will be shared again by these men. And for the first time, the boy’s story will be added if he can find a buck. Itching to shoot, he is ready.

When the men arrive at the gate to their land, the father discovers a poacher and sights him through the scope of his gun. He offers his son a look-a simple act that will explode in tragedy, transforming these men and this family, forcing them to question themselves and everything they thought they knew.

In prose devastating and beautiful in its precision, David Vann creates a haunting and provocative novel that explores our most primal urges and beliefs, the bonds of blood and religion that define and secure us, and the consequences of our actions-what we owe for what we’ve done.
 


My thoughts:  This book is very different from the books I usually read and such am sure that I will not do it justice with my review.  While beautifully written, the themes and essence of this book are dark and tragic.  It explores the darker side of human nature through an 11-year-old boy, his father, grandfather and Tom, a family friend. 

"My left shoulder slammed against the ground over and over, and I was being shaken loose, gripping with that arm, and I would have let go if not for my grandfather watching.  I had lost the desire to kill.  I would have reversed time and not fired my rifle, let the buck leap into the brush and escape.  I felt remorese, though I had no word for that at the time or even any possibility of understanding the concept.  We were put here to kill.  That was immutable.  It was family law and the law of the world.  And I reached for my knife because my grandfather was there to enforce.  But who I was had changed.  From that moment on, every kill would be bitter to me.  Every kill would be something forced, something I did not want. And that's what would make me human. To kill out of obligation, to kill even when I did not want to."  (p150)
The book is narrated by the 11-year-old boy and is told 30 years after the incident has happened.  The relationship between the boy, his father and grandfather is complicated. While they thought they knew each other, the events that transpired on that fateful hunting trip proved otherwise. How well do we really know each other when all pretense is wiped away and we are stripped bare of everything that has come before? When our actions have changed the course of more than just our life, how will those we love react?  Will it bond them or break them?  With strong Christian undertones, these questions and more are explored in Goat Mountain.

While this is not a light read, and I can't say an enjoyable read because of the subject matter, it is one that I couldn't put down and will definitely stay with me. 



~I originally received this book through Edelweiss for review, but was unable to read it at that time, so I obtained it from the library for my current review.~






knew each other

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Review: Brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb

Title: Brotherhood in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Publisher: Penguin/Berkley Jove
Publication Date: Feb 2, 2016


Sometimes brotherhood can be another word for conspiracy. . . .

Dennis Mira just had two unpleasant surprises. First he learned that his cousin Edward was secretly meeting with a real estate agent about their late grandfather’s magnificent West Village brownstone, despite the promise they both made to keep it in the family. Then, when he went to the house to confront Edward about it, he got a blunt object to the back of the head.

Luckily Dennis is married to Charlotte Mira, the NYPSD’s top profiler and a good friend of Lieutenant Eve Dallas. When the two arrive on the scene, he explains that the last thing he saw was Edward in a chair, bruised and bloody. When he came to, his cousin was gone. With the mess cleaned up and the security disks removed, there’s nothing left behind but a few traces for forensics to analyze.

As a former lawyer, judge, and senator, Edward Mira mingled with the elite and crossed paths with criminals, making enemies on a regular basis. Like so many politicians, he also made some very close friends behind closed—and locked—doors. But a badge and a billionaire husband can get you into places others can’t go, and Eve intends to shine some light on the dirty deals and dark motives behind the disappearance of a powerful man, the family discord over a multimillion-dollar piece of real estate . . . and a new case that no one saw coming.


My thoughts: I can't remember when I read my first "In Death" book, but it was probably in the late 1990's. A coworker and I would share them as they were published.  I lost track of the series in 2004 when my son was born and I became a stay-at-home mom.  It has always been on my backburner that I wanted to get back into reading them. I wanted to know what happened with Dallas and Roarke!  They were 2 characters that definitely stayed with me over the years.  I wanted to believe that there was really a Dallas and Roarke out there somewhere in the universe.  J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) has written at least 2 book in this series a year since 1995, with Brotherhood being book 42.  You don't need to read these books in order, but if you only read one, you will be left wanting to know more.  

You get thrown into the case very quickly when the husband of one of Eve's coworkers and friends is attacked.  Having a personal connection to the case make's it Eve's priority and when the bodies start piling up, it begins to bring up bad memories from Eve's childhood.  By the end of the book, it isn't clear what should be right or wrong or who is the victim and who is the perpetrator.  The action moves rapidly covering only a few days in the 388 pages.  I like that as it makes the reading go very quickly as well.  

If you haven't read any of the In Death series, it is time to start.  I highly recommend this book as well as this series. 

~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for my unbiased review.~



Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Cover Reveal: Address to Die For by Mary Feliz




Inside the Book:


Title: Address to Die For 
Author: Mary Feliz 
Publisher: Lyrical Underground 
Genre: Mystery 
Format: Ecopy

For professional organizer Maggie McDonald, moving her family into a new home should be the perfect organizational challenge. But murder was definitely not on the to-do list . . .

Maggie McDonald has a penchant for order that isn’t confined to her clients’ closets, kitchens, and sock drawers. As she lays out her plan to transfer her family to the hundred-year-old house her husband, Max, has inherited in the hills above Silicon Valley, she has every expectation for their new life to fall neatly into place. But as the family bounces up the driveway of their new home, she’s shocked to discover the house’s dilapidated condition. When her husband finds the caretaker face-down in their new basement, it’s the detectives who end up moving in. What a mess! While the investigation unravels and the family camps out in a barn, a killer remains at large—exactly the sort of loose end Maggie can’t help but clean up . . .




 photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpgB&N


Meet the Author




Silicon Valley is my home. I love its foibles and the easy access to some of the most beautiful coastal and mountain terrain anywhere. The traffic? Not so much.

It hasn't always been home—I've lived in five states and two countries. Traveling to other areas, I'm frequently reminded that what seems normal in the high-tech heartland can seem freakish, odd, or even alarming to the rest of the country.

I'm a big fan of irony, serendipity, diversity, and quirky intelligence tempered with gentle humor, and I strive to bring these elements into my writing. My characters, however, tend to take my manuscripts in directions I've never imagined. It can be a wild ride, but I love it when Maggie and her friends take charge.

While there are always traits that writers share with their characters, I assure you that Maggie is thinner, fitter, braver, funnier, and wittier than I am. Maggie is also more organized, efficient, poised, and better at thinking on her feet. We both love animals, a strong cup of coffee, cookies, and a cold glass of California chardonnay.

I'm a firm believer in professional organizations and am a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the Authors Guild (which sounds like it should confer robes, wands, and the ability to do magic). I particularly adore the Writers' Police Academy, where I've met lifelong friends who share my excitement about learning the best ways to murder someone and get away with it.

When Maggie told me she was a professional organizer, I joined the National Association of Professional Organizers and was delighted to meet organizers who generously shared their experiences stumbling on damning evidence amongst ordinary household clutter.

I'm a Smith College graduate with a degree in Sociology and a broad smattering of other subjects. I guess that makes me well suited to examine and catalogue Silicon Valley's unique anthropological customs. I live with and have raised excellent examples of the indigenous nerd.

Before my career as a mom, volunteer, and writer, I worked in Corporate Communications, which taught me to write compelling copy about vacuum tubes and other items of limited interest to the general public. Outside the world of the Fortune 500 and nonprofits my writing credits include first-place recognition from SouthWest Writers for a young adult short story and finalist status in contests run by Writer’s Digest, Pacific Northwest Writers, and Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. My personal essays have been published in anthologies published by Mothers At Home and Mothers of Preschoolers.




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Monday, February 1, 2016

January Wrap Up

Ok, so January is over, and while I have joined a bunch of challenges, I have not posted one book review.  Shame on me!  The following books were read in January and hopefully you will see reviews soon:

The Drowned Cities (Ship Breakers Book 2) by Paolo Bacigalupi
Hollow City (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children Book 2) by Ransom Riggs
Matched (Matched, Book 1) by Ally Condie - audio
Crossed (Matched, Book 2) by Ally Condie - audio
This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp


Following books are currently being read/listened to:
Goat Mountain by David Vann
Brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington
Reached (Matched, Book 3) by Ally Condie - audio
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Not sure how I ended up reading so many at one time.  I am about halfway through all of them, so they will all probably wrap up at about the same time.

And - Since this is Books and Needlepoint - I have the first finished Needlepoint of the year!  This is Ho! Ho! Ho! by DeeBee's Designs.


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