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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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Book Blast: War Ready by Mary Lou Darst



Title: War Ready: In My Father's Shadow
Author: Mary Lou Darst
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook/Paperback

About the book: “Her memoir is seen through the eyes of the girl living it, not at decades removed, which gives it both freshness and ache.” By Kirkus Indie For young Mary Lou, life was an adventure. Her father served in the military, and she traveled the world with him and her family. His assignments took them to Alaska, Virginia, Japan, Texas, and Germany, as part of the US Army’s responsibilities in policing the world. This candid memoir recounts her family’s life in new places and cultures following World War II. What was it like to be a child living in Japan seven years after the war? What was it like to be a thirteen-year-old living in Germany twelve years after the war? What was it like to grow up moving between cultures? This is the story of one family bound to service in the military at a time when the world was being redefined. For a young girl, it was the adventure of a lifetime as she learned the secrets of finding her own way in that new world. The author’s story was informed by reading her father’s diary, which offers up intimate and candid insight into the life of a typical soldier in a time of war. His entries describe his time serving aboard a battleship built for 800 soldiers—but carrying 6,000 to war. His tales—told from the perspective of a young soldier in southern England, Wales, and Scotland from 1943 to 1945—are glimpses into a life many will never know firsthand.


About the author: As a child, Mary Lou Darst traveled the world with her military family. She earned a BA in literature, an MS in multicultural studies, and a BA in visual and applied design. She taught English language arts and English as a second language.

Giveaway

Mary is giving away a $25 Gift Card!


Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins March 28 and ends on April 8.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 9.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Review and Release Blitz: A Nun Walks into a Bar. . . by Tracey Jane Jackson



Title: A Nun Walks into a Bar. . .
Author: Tracey Jane Jackson

About the book: After growing up in an abbey, orphan Sadie Ross becomes Sister Abigail Eunice. Her life and career are on track until a chance meeting with a handsome stranger in a place no nun should ever go. 

Ryder Carsen’s sister is missing, and he doesn’t have time for distractions. But when a pretty nun walks into his bar, he can’t ignore his attraction to her, even though she’s not the “sister” he’s looking for. He’s relieved when she walks out of his life for what he believes is forever. 

Sadie’s life takes a surprising detour when she finds her path crossed with Ryder’s once again. 

When they are brought back together, Ryder knows he’s found the only woman he’ll ever love, but time is running out for his sister. 

Will Ryder save his sister from the men who took her? 

When a source far too close to home threatens Sadie, will she trust Ryder enough to let him save her too?



My Thoughts: This book was actually 2 stories in one.  The first one is pretty straightforward - beautiful girl (nun) walks into a bar - meets gorgeous man - see what happens to bring them together and keep them apart.  Of course it is a lot more than that - like the banter between the two of them. I liked Sadie's sense of humor and straightforward way of dealing with things.  Because of her upbringing in the abbey and her life as a nun from 18 through her early 20's, a lot of what she says she doesn't realize is funny - it is just that she is out of touch with some mainstream things - so it comes out funny. Of course she loves TV so she has kept up to date on many things that way.  

There was something that bothered me about their banter though and that was how much Ryder called her Babe or Baby.  Early in the book she even mentions how much she likes it, but I was like Pleeeaasse - stop already.  And then I figured it was my age showing, because my 21 year old daughter talks to her boyfriend like that. . . 

The second storyline is one that was much more serious.  It was about human trafficking.  This involved Ryder's sister Scottie and his actions to find her, bring her home, and keep everyone safe.  You know that however much Ryder tries to keep Sadie out of that world, the two are eventually going to cross - the tension is how will this affect their relationship - and who is going to survive the fallout.

This was fun to read and was quick to read.  Even with the Baby's every other sentence with the dialogue, I still wanted to keep reading and find out what happened with Sadie and Ryder.  I did appreciate the storyline that she was able to keep her faith and beliefs and they didn't jump into bed together the minute the sexual tension got to be too much.

Buy Links:



About the author: Tracey Jane Jackson is the NY Times Bestselling author of the popular Cauld Ane Series and has over half a million books in print.

Tracey was born and raised in New Zealand and with an American father, Scottish grandmother, and Kiwi mother, it's no doubt she has a unique personality.




She has been happily married and gooey in love with her husband for over twenty years. They live in the Pacific Northwest with their two sons.


BE SURE TO VISIT FACEBOOK FOR SPECIAL DISCOUNTS 


(www.facebook.com/traceyjanejackson)






Friday, March 25, 2016

Excerpt Blitz: Leave a Mark by Stephanie Fournet


[caption id="attachment_2604" align="alignleft" width="241"] Credit: Tammie Simon[/caption]

Leave a Mark by Stephanie Fournet | Excerpt Blitz | JenHalliganPR.com

I'm excited to help reveal an excerpt from Stephanie Fournet's upcoming contemporary romance, LEAVE A MARK! Check out the book below, along with the teaser excerpt, and be sure to enter the giveaway!


Leave a Mark by Stephanie Fournet | JenHalliganPR.com
Title: Leave a Mark
Author: Stephanie Fournet
Publisher: Blue Tulip Publishing
Release Date: April 28, 2016


Dyed, pierced, and covered in tattoos, Wren Blanchard is the exact opposite of everything Dr. Lee Hawthorne thought he wanted.

His residency is almost finished. With the perfect job, the beautiful house, and the polished girlfriend, he knows he should be happy, yet he isn't.

But once Wren lands in his ER with her sharp tongue and artist’s soul, she leaves a mark on him that just won’t fade.

Wren knows the good doctor is way out of her league. To people like him, she's a circus freak. Besides, she's not the type to get hung up on guys, especially ones with midnight blue eyes—ones who know all about antiques, crack bad jokes, and love Joss Whedon.

No. She doesn't need that.

After all, she has friends, a psychotic cat, and a promising career as one of the best tattoo artists in town. And it’s enough.

Really, it is.

Or it would be if Lee weren’t there every time she turned around.

One kiss seals their fate.

Their attraction is undeniable--but Wren’s past is full of ghosts. Is their bond strong enough for a solid future? Or will their new relationship crumble beneath the weight of all she carries?

Goodreads

Excerpt from Leave a Mark

She studied him for a moment. “Are you still in your residency?”

The question surprised him. “Yes. Is it that obvious?”

Her startled laughter was the only answer he needed. And Lee wanted to hear it again — even if she laughed at him.

“I mean, I’m licensed. It’s not like I just have my learner’s permit or anything.” It was a bad joke. An awful joke, but it worked because she kept laughing. Her laughter was a mix of high and low notes, like a handbell choir. And like music, he could feel it in his chest.

“That’s not what I meant,” she said, her smile untamed. “You just look really young, and I’ve heard that residents have — like — negative time.”

He gave her a helpless grin. “Negative time. That’s about right. Who told you that?”

Her smile demurred. “One of my clients.”

“One of your clients is a resident?” His curiosity pounced. Did he know someone who was secretly covered in Wren’s work?

“Who?”

She shook her head, but her smile never failed. “I don’t tat and tell. Tattooing is very personal. If someone wants you to see their work, you’ll see it. But I don’t talk about my clients.”

Even though he was the one asking, Lee liked that she wouldn’t answer. “You don’t talk about them at all?”

Wren raised and dropped her right shoulder in a half shrug, but she still smiled at him. “Well, I don’t identify them.” Her voice softened, but Lee thought he heard a touch of pride. “I’ll talk about the artwork, or I’ll retell a funny story someone told me while I worked on them, but I don’t go around talking about who was in my parlor.”

“That’s cool,” he managed, even though it was more than cool. After seeing her artwork on the walls of her apartment, he already respected her as a professional, but she clearly had integrity on top of talent. He wanted to know more, but more than anything, Lee wanted her to keep talking. “What kind of tats did you do today?”

Her smile grew, and again her cheeks colored. He found his eye drawn to the translucent skin below her cheekbones. Wren’s fair complexion was an alluring contrast to her black and blue hair, but when she blushed, Lee found it impossible to look away.

“Well, let’s see…” Her green eyes swiveled to the ceiling as she recounted. “I did a fleur-de-lis for this girl who turned eighteen today. I inked a Captain America shield on this guy’s bicep—”

Lee laughed, not so much about the tattoo choice, but at the look of amusement in her eyes.

“Yeah, he was definitely an Avengers fan... Um…” She paused to tally on her fingers. “…I touched up a Celtic knot for a lady, and I worked on a larger piece for one of my regulars.”

“What was it?” Lee asked, intrigued with the way her face softened when she thought about her work.

“Oh, it’s a dragon. Pretty big.” Wren drew a serpentine shape across her chest. “A piece like that needs to be worked on in stages, so we did some of the shading today.”

He had more questions. He could have stood there listening to her all night, but the rational part of his brain told him to give it a rest. They were in the middle of the grocery store. If he wanted to talk to her more, he should ask her out for coffee.

But you can’t ask her out. You’re seeing someone.

“You’re really talented. I’m sure you stay pretty busy. You seem…” He couldn’t find the words for what he wanted to say. He wanted to tell her that she seemed like the kind of person he could talk to — listen to — for hours. And that he would’ve liked the chance. That she was special, and he knew it. “…you seem perfect — I mean... you are unique.”

He didn’t question why she stared at him with unblinking eyes. What the hell had he just said? She was perfect? Who talked like that?

But in the seconds after he’d blurted out the words, he watched her eyes light with a smile — a surprised and genuine smile, and he realized he didn’t regret the words at all.

“Um... thank you?” What had been pink on her cheeks was now scarlet, and Lee thought he might have turned a little pink, too.

“I should let you get back to your shopping,” he said, clearing his throat. He didn’t want to walk away. Maybe if he just stood there, she’d leave first, and he’d be able to watch her go.

“Yeah…” She didn’t move.

Neither of them moved.

“…yeah, I should go.”

“It was great running into you,” he said in a rush. “I’m glad you are feeling better.”

“It was nice running into you, too, Dr.—”

“Lee,” he interjected.

She bit her lip and smiled. “Lee,” she said with a nod. “It was so nice, Lee.”

It was selfish. He’d made her say his name and, again, as he knew he would, he felt a stirring — like fingers running down his sternum. He’d never liked the sound of his name so much.

“Wren,” he said with a nod, liking the feel of her name on his tongue even more.

“Goodnight.” She turned and left him.

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Stephanie Fournet | JenHalliganPR.comAbout the Author:


Stephanie Fournet, author of Fall Semester, Legacy, and Butterfly Ginger, lives in Lafayette, Louisiana—not far from the Saint Streets where her novels are set. She shares her home with her husband John and her daughter Hannah, their needy dogs Gladys and Mabel, and an immortal blue finch named Baby Blue. When she isn’t writing romance novels, she is usually helping students get into college or running. She loves hearing from fans, so look for her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and stephaniefournet.com.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Book Blitz: Maneater by Cambria Hebert


Title: Maneater
Author: Cambria Hebert

(A Love in the ‘80s Novella)
Publication date: March 25th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Watch out, girls. Here she comes.
There’s always that girl. She’s popular, beautiful, and has everything together. The one with the perfectly teased hair, arms full of colorful (but coordinated) bangles, and expertly painted bright-pink lips.

A teacher’s pet. Daddy’s girl.
Everyone loves her.
Because everyone is afraid to challenge her.

Kelly Ross is that girl. She uses her powers of popularity for good… her own good. She doesn’t care who she hurts.
She always gets what she wants.
Including your man.
When she walks down the hallway in her hot-pink heels and ruffled denim miniskirt, all the boys’ heads turn. And all the girls start whispering.
Man-eater.
There hasn’t been a single guy Kelly hasn’t been able to chew up and spit out.
Until now.
Kelly has finally met her match. He’s been there all along, and he’s the exact opposite of everything you’d expect.

**SPECIAL RELEASE PRICE of $0.99!**
EXCERPT:
Eric
Do people change?
Or do they always stay the same?
That’s more of a philosophy question. I’m more of a science guy.
I like tangible theories that can be measured, questions with answers that have irrefutable proof. I’m not much for matters of the mind with no exact equation, therefore without exact answer.
I’ve heard it said that the more people change, the more they stay the same.
That statement is confusing. Whatever “great” mind came up with the saying probably was a philosophy major and had no knowledge of scientific reasoning.
It’s a false notion.
A mathematical and scientific fact. In an equation, a + b = c. If even just one variable is changed, the entire equation changes, the answer does not remain the same.
If math and science don’t give enough irrefutable proof, the world I live in does. In the universe of high school and growing older, everyone changes. It’s a natural evolution of life.
I see her every day. Even without my glasses, my eyes would still make out her shape.
She’s one of those girls the eyes must look at, just like the lungs must breathe oxygen. Her presence is loud in the hallways of Edward Little High.

Yet her reputation is quiet… at least the real one anyway.
Whispers. I hear them. When you are invisible, or thought to only think about equations and charts, people think you don’t listen. But I hear.
I listen.
It’s how one learns.
The Choice thinks they know everything, but the people who know the most in this school are the ones who are known the least.
I’m practically a shadow, practically a ghost.
“Beat it, losers!” Tad yells from across the hall. My friends and I look up, surprised he’s talking to us.
Okay, maybe I’m not as invisible as I thought.
I glance at Kelly as we scurry off.
Or maybe, I’m only visible when my presence is useful.
I knew Kelly once, a long time ago. Practically in another life. We aren’t friends. She probably doesn’t even remember my name. I remember hers.
I remember the way she used to twist her Oreos in two and hand me the side with the most cream. The way she would grab my hand and pull me off to play before who we were got in the way.
I remember when she was nice.
As I walk to class, my two friends by my sides, I tune out their conversation and wonder. I saw the way Kelly was looking at Tad, her best friend’s boyfriend. It was a sign. Kelly was gearing up to take down another one. It was a pattern. Patterns always repeat themselves.
This time, I wondered if she would go too far.
Kelly was the reason I was spending my time on an internal philosophical debate. Do people change? The theory was no.
I was seeing evidence to the contrary.
The girl I knew all those years ago would never act the way she does now.
But she does.
The whispers follow her around the hall.
People do change.
MET2

Author Bio:
Cambria Hebert is an award winning, bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair.
Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (the real boss of the house).
Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: The Hashtag Series, Text, Torch, and Tattoo.
Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC.
You can find out more about Cambria and her titles by visiting her website: http://www.cambriahebert.com.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Book Review: The Skeleton Garden by Marty Wingate

Title: The Skeleton Garden (A Potting Shed Mystery #4)
Author: Marty Wingate

About the Book: USA Today bestselling author Marty Wingate’s Potting Shed series continues as expert gardener Pru Parke digs up a Nazi warplane—and a fresh murder.

Texas transplant Pru Parke has put down roots in England, but she never dreamed she’d live in a grand place such as Greenoak. When her former employers offer Pru and her new husband, former Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse, the use of their nineteenth-century estate while they’re away for a year, she jumps at the chance. Sweetening the deal is the prospect of further bonding with her long-lost brother, Simon, who happens to be Greenoak’s head gardener. But the majestic manor has at least one skeleton in its closet—or, rather, its garden.

Working on renovations to the extensive grounds, siblings Pru and Simon squabble about everything from boxwood to bay hedges. But when the removal of a half-dead tree turns up the wreckage of a World War II–era German fighter plane and a pile of bones, the arguments stop. That is, until a rival from Simon’s past pays a surprise visit and creates even more upheaval. It’s suddenly clear someone is unhappy their secrets have been unearthed. Still, Pru’s not about to sit back and let Simon take the fall for the dirty deed without a fight. (from Goodreads)


My thoughts: Being the 4th book in the series, I am afraid there was some backstory that I was missing that might have contributed to a better understanding of the relationships in this book.  As far as the mystery goes, it read well as a stand alone.  However, sometimes there were people or relationships mentioned that I had to go back and try to figure out who they were.  

There is really more than one mystery going on here, beginning with the bones that were dug up when the German plane was unearthed.  It isn't long before another body - this one more recent - is discovered and the list of suspects begins to grow.  It seems like many people may have wanted this gentleman dead - or at the very least - to pay for some of his wrongs from the past. Pru's brother Simon is on this list, and Pru fears that the policeman in charge will find him guilty, due to his inexperience with murder investigations.  For this reason, her husband is running his own investigation in secret. Of course Pru is going to be doing her own investigation as well! 

I enjoyed meeting these characters and hope to go back and get caught up on how they all came to be a family.  It was a quick read and very much a cozy mystery.  All of the gardening references made me hungry for spring to get here so I can get outside and start playing in the dirt!

~I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from Random House Monthly Mystery Chatterbox in exchange for my unbiased review.~

Monday, March 21, 2016

2016 Excerpt Blitz: The Darkest Lie by Pintip Dunn (Giveaway)

The Darkest Lie by Pintip Dunn - JenHalliganPR.com

I'm thrilled to take part in the Excerpt Blitz for Pintip Dunn's upcoming YA thriller, THE DARKEST LIE! Check out the book below, along with the teaser excerpt, and be sure to enter the giveaway!

The Darkest Lie | JenHalliganPR.com
THE DARKEST LIE
by Pintip Dunn

Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Release Date: June 28, 2016


“The mother I knew would never do those things.

But maybe I never knew her after all.”

Clothes, jokes, coded messages…Cecilia Brooks and her mom shared everything. At least, CeCe thought they did. Six months ago, her mom killed herself after accusations of having sex with a student, and CeCe’s been the subject of whispers and taunts ever since. Now, at the start of her high school senior year, between dealing with her grieving, distracted father, and the social nightmare that has become her life, CeCe just wants to fly under the radar. Instead, she’s volunteering at the school’s crisis hotline—the same place her mother worked.

As she counsels troubled strangers, CeCe’s lingering suspicions about her mom’s death surface. With the help of Sam, a new student and newspaper intern, she starts to piece together fragmented clues that point to a twisted secret at the heart of her community. Soon, finding the truth isn’t just a matter of restoring her mother’s reputation, it’s about saving lives—including CeCe’s own…

Goodreads | Pre-order from Amazon or Barnes & Noble!


“This one will tug your heart and leave you breathless!”
--Natalie D. Richards, author of Six Months Later

Excerpt from THE DARKEST LIE

It’s time to view the body. Family first.

Well, technically, me first. There was always only three of us in the nuclear unit, and Dad’s been locked in the den for the past seventy-two hours. I’ve only seen him once, when he shuffled upstairs like a pajama-clad zombie and asked me if I’d eaten.

That was it: Did you eat?

Not: I prefer the cherry wood casket. Or: Let me make your grandma’s travel arrangements. Or even: I know this was Mom’s favorite dress, but isn’t the neckline a little...low?

Did I eat?

Yes, Dad. I had soup from the can and microwaved pizza rolls and a bowl of cereal. The food sloshes in my stomach now as I walk down the runner to the casket I picked out because of its mauve tint.

Calla lilies pile in urns around the viewing room, and the air-conditioning wars with the sweat along my hairline. My mom smiles at me from a portrait erected behind the casket. Her eyes are hesitant and a little wary, as if she knew, somehow, some way, she would wind up here. Lifeless. Pumped full of formaldehyde. About to be gawked at by a town full of gossips.

This was only going to end one of two ways—with Tabitha Brooks dead or in jail. I never thought I’d say this, but I’d give anything to see my mother behind bars.

I wade through the dense, chilly air and stop a few feet from the body. Behind me, my grandmother and aunt sit, a box of tissues between them, blowing their noses like it’s a sport.

“Look at our Cecilia,” Gram sniffs. “So brave. Not a single tear shed.”

If she only knew. I’m not brave. Fifteen minutes ago, I was retching into the toilet bowl. Five minutes from now, when the doors open for the visitation, I’ll be long gone, leaving Gram to shake people’s hands and deal with the bit lips, the knowing eyebrows, that inevitable speaking-in-a-funeral-parlor whisper. I can hear the titters: “Is it true? Tabitha’s heart stopped while she was boffing the high school quarterback? Why, she must’ve been twenty years his senior!”

Twenty-three years, to be exact, and a high school English teacher to boot. But she didn’t actually die during sex. Instead, a few days after Tommy Farrow came forward with their affair, my mother took her own life.

What could be a clearer admission of guilt? She might as well have been caught in the act. The investigation was shut down before it even began.

I take a shuddering breath. Two more minutes. A hundred and twenty seconds and then I can leave. I steel my shoulders and walk the final steps to my mother’s body.

Oh god. It’s even worse than I thought.

The room whirls around me, and nausea sprints up my throat. My hands shoot out to grab the casket, stopping short of actually touching the corpse.

This . . . this thing . . . can’t be my mother. She never smiled like that, all serene and peaceful-like. She never wore this much makeup; her red hair was never chopped so closely to her head. My mother was chaos and passion, devastation and joy. Dad used to say you could reach deep into her eyes and pull out a song.

Well, her eyes are closed now, and I’m not sure there’ll be any music in my life, ever again.


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Pintip Dunn | JenHalliganPR.comAbout the Author

Pintip Dunn graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. She also published an article in the YALE LAW JOURNAL, entitled, “How Judges Overrule: Speech Act Theory and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis,”

Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. She is a 2012 RWA Golden Heart® finalist and a 2014 double-finalist. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, YARWA, and The Golden Network.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at www.pintipdunn.com.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Giveaways (2!)

The Darkest Lie Blitz | Prize Pack | JenHalliganPR.com

One winner will receive a prize pack including the following 5 books: Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn; Six Months Later by Natalie Richards; Find Me by Romily Bernard; and From Where I Watch You by Shannon Grogan; Lies I Told by Michelle Zink

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The Darkest Lie by Pintip Dunn

The Darkest Lie

by Pintip Dunn

Giveaway ends March 28, 2016.

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Book Blitz: In the Hope of Memories by Olivia Rivers


In the Hope of Memories
Olivia Rivers

Publication date: March 21st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Hope is dying.
Hope Jackson has lived her short life to the fullest, but her four closest friends are dangling on the brink of disaster. Right before dying of a rare heart condition, Hope sets up a scavenger hunt across New York City using her graffiti art. The directions she leaves her friends are simple: Solve the clues hidden in her art, and they’ll solve the problems haunting their lives.

Hope is dead.
Two days after her heart fails, Hope’s friends are thrown together:
Aiden, her best friend, whose plans to attend college have been scattered by his OCD.

Kali, her foster sister, whose last ties to sanity are as razor-thin as her anorexic waistline.

Erik, her high school crush, whose success as an athlete is based on a lie with no end in sight.

And Sam, her online pen-pal, whose perfect life exploded into chaos in the aftermath of a school bombing.

Together, the four teens take to the streets of New York to complete Hope’s scavenger hunt and fulfill her dying wishes. But in order to unravel the clues hidden in Hope’s graffiti, her friends will need to confront their personal demons head on.

Hope is within reach.


EXCERPT:

“Wait!” I slam my hand against the door to stop it from clicking shut, wincing as the splintered wood digs into me. “I’m looking for Hope. Hope Jackson. She said she’d be here.”
The dude shakes his head. “She’s dead.”
My heart stutters a fast and hard beat, like it does right when I get tackled on the field. “No. No, she’s not. She’s the exact opposite of dead. Today is her eighteenth birthday. Her birthday party is about to start right now.”
Official Reason Number Infinity it Sucks to Be Going Blind: When you can’t see right, you can’t stop a fist from colliding with your face. The dude’s knuckles crash into my jaw, and I yelp, more out of shock than pain. I’m about to pound my own fist into the freak when he starts talking again, this time in a tone that’s actually kind of pissed.
“She’s dead, you jerk! You really think it’s funny to joke about that?”
“I’m not joking!” I rub at my jaw with the back of my clenched hand. Part of me is itching to mess up this guy’s face, but a larger part is starting to panic. “You’re the one with the wrong info,” I say, silently praying I’m right. “Hope isn’t dead.”
The dude stares down at his hand and slowly curls and uncurls his fingers, like he can’t quite believe he just threw a punch. Then he whispers, “You’re not messing with me?”
“No! What kind of sick joke would that be? Like I said, I’m just trying to find her birthday party. I got an invite from her, I swear. It said to come here.”
“Oh.”
Apparently, this conversation isn’t weird enough for him, so he has to add in some awkward silence. Fan-freaking-tastic. Just when I’m starting to think he’s slipped into a coma, he says, “Sorry I punched your face.”
I take a deep breath. “Just tell me where her birthday party is, okay?”
“I told you, there is no party. Hope is dead.”
“Christ, are you seriously going to make me explain this again? She’s not dead. It’s her birthday today. As in the day when you celebrate a person being alive.”
“It would have been her birthday,” the dude says, slipping back into his strange monotone. “But now she’s dead.”
The seriousness in his voice makes my gut twist, and for a moment, I wonder if maybe he hurt Hope. My hand edges toward my pocket, but just as I’m considering grabbing my cell phone and dialing 9-1-1, I see a tear trickle down his cheek. It looks strange on his expressionless face, but another tear quickly follows, and then a third. He sniffs and turns away, wiping his right eye on the battered sleeve of his hoodie.
“What happened?” I ask, my voice a cracked whisper. All sorts of scenarios rush through my head—Hope’s plane crashing on vacation, a car accident, getting caught in a wrong-place-wrong-time shooting…
“You don’t know?” the dude asks.
“No. Was it in the news?”
The smallest beginning of a frown tugs at his lips. “Of course not. Why would the news report about a stroke victim?”
“Stroke?” I repeat. “She had a stroke? What…why? What triggered it? She’s a health freak.”
He blinks slowly and then says again, “You don’t know?”


Author Bio:
Olivia Rivers is a hybrid author of Young Adult fiction. Her works include the independently published novels “Frost Fire” and “In the Hope of Memories,” along with the traditionally published novel “Tone Deaf” (Skyhorse 2016.) As a certified geek, she enjoys experimenting with new publishing technologies, and her online serials have received over 1,000,000 hits on Wattpad.com. When Olivia isn’t working as a writer, she’s a typical teen attending college in Northern California. Olivia is represented by Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, and nothing thrills her more than hearing from readers.

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Review: The Thing Is by Kathleen Gerard





Title: The Thing Is
Author: Kathleen Gerard

About the Book: Meredith Mancuso is depressed. Ever since the death of her fiancĂ©, she has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she's not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac. 

Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week. 

Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it's still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and sometimes, even love—along the way.


My thoughts:  This was a charming read with the story being told in alternating chapters by Meredith and by Prozac.  I think that every dog owner wants to believe that they own a dog as smart and wise as Prozac was.  I found myself wondering if my dog ever thought some of the things that this dog thought!   

Prozac was a "Spirit Guide Dog" and had really only signed on for this job to get to his dream job/life - that of being on stage and basking in the limelight.  The Canine Dispatch Board promised him that once this life was complete, he would be all set for his life on stage.  His new owner is an elderly woman named Helen.  She is a big dog lover and trains him to be a therapy dog (not very successfully. . . ) but persistence pays off.  She takes him to various groups and homes to visit patients and elderly and for the most part, Prozac loves it.  He can't figure out though what his purpose for this life is.  Helen breaks her foot and must find a temporary home for him and that is where Meredith comes along.  This is really where the story starts as Meredith is anything but a dog lover.  She has also been in hiding (physically and emotionally) since the death of her fiance 3 years earlier.  She gets bullied into taking care of Prozac and if you have ever taken care of a dog, then you know it is hard to not to fall in love.

This was an easy and enjoyable read.  I was somewhat surprised by the ending, but came to accept that it was right for the story.   


About the author: Kathleen Gerard is a writer whose work has been awarded The Perillo Prize, The Eric Hoffer Prose Award and nominated for Best New American Voices and Short Story America, all national prizes in literature. Kathleen writes across genres. Her short prose and poetry have been widely published in magazines, journals and anthologies. Her essays have been broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR).  Kathleen's woman-in-jeopardy novel IN TRANSIT won The New York Book Festival - "Best Romantic Fiction" (2011). 

Kathleen is a book reviewer for and a contributor to Shelf Awareness and maintains the blog, "Reading Between the Lines."

On Red Adept: http://bit.ly/RAPThingIs  

~I received a complimentary pdf of this book from Red Adept Publishing in exchange for my honest review.~

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Cover Reveal: She Laughs in Pink by Jessica Calla

Today is the cover reveal for She Laughs in Pink by Jessica Calla. This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.


She Laughs in PinkShe Laughs in Pink (Sheridan Hall #1)
by Jessica Calla
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: New Adult
Release Date: May 2016
Publisher: BookFish Books

Blurb:
Four years after her twin is murdered, Juliet Anderson still struggles with guilt, her parents, and her relationships. Two things keep her from falling into a deep, dark place—dancing and her best friend, Ben. So when Ben decides to play football for New Jersey University, Juliet doesn’t hesitate. She follows. Finally away from her past, there is nothing to stand in the way. Juliet will win Ben's heart.
Then she meets Ben's roommate, Chase.

On probation and hell-bent on adhering to a “new life plan,” aspiring artist Chase leaves his New York City home for New Jersey University and meets Juliet before even stepping foot on campus. For him, their connection is instant. She’s the most vibrant girl he's ever seen. Her colors explode on his canvas, and he's never been more inspired in his life.

Too bad she’s madly in love with his seemingly perfect, good guy roommate.

You can find She Laughs in Pink on Goodreads



Jessica Calla
About the Author:

Jessica Calla is a lawyer by day and a romance writer by night. Her favorite time is "bedtime," when she's free to open her laptop, battle with her blinking cursor, and pour out the contents of her heart. Jessica is a member of Romance Writers of America and is involved in the Contemporary, Young Adult, and New Jersey Chapters. She is also a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She lives in central New Jersey with her husband, two sons, and a dog. Besides reading and writing, she enjoys movies, coffee, and chocolate. She considers herself addicted to Diet Coke and Netflix (in a good way).





Author Links:




There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of She Laughs in Pink. One winner will win a 25$ amazon gift card.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:





Monday, March 14, 2016

Book Blitz: Daughter of Magic by Teresa Roman


Daughter of Magic
Teresa Roman
Publication date: March 15th 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Lilli sees things no one else does.
Desperate to make sense of the dreams and visions that have plagued her since childhood, Lilli confides in Devin, her closest friend, and the boy she’s fallen for.
Instead of questioning her sanity, Devin confesses to secrets of his own, which are far darker. His revelations about magic, witches and demons stun Lilli. But it’s what he knows about Lilli’s mother, long believed to be dead, that leaves her feeling betrayed. Despite her anger, Lilli will have to learn to trust Devin again, because he is the only one who can protect her from a dark danger that’s coming for her from a world away.



EXCERPT:

“Everybody needs a hero, Lilli. I want to be yours. You just have to let me.” He reached out to brush my hair over my shoulder.
I didn’t know what to make of his words. I wanted them to mean something—that he’d begun to feel about me the way I did for him. But it was probably wishful thinking. Knowing Devin, the reason for his extra kindness was because of what happened to my father.
“After all the things you’ve done for me, I think you hit hero status quite a while ago.” I kept my voice light, even though I meant every word. Not only did he get me a job—not an easy feat in Crescent City where unemployment was rampant—but he was the first person besides my aunt that I ever felt comfortable talking to about my mother. And if he hadn’t been with me when I found my dad, I don’t know how I ever would’ve gotten past the shock.
He lifted my chin and looked into my eyes. “You’ve been crying.” His hand moved to my cheek. “I’m sorry, that was a stupid thing to say; of course you’ve been crying.”
Staring into Devin’s eyes, feeling his hand on my cheek, made me feel better and worse at the same time. He had no idea how impossibly hard it was to be around him when all I wanted was for him to kiss me, to tell me he needed me as badly as I did him. I lowered my gaze and he dropped his hand.


Author Bio:  Teresa currently lives in beautiful Sacramento, CA with her husband, three adorable children and a dog named Parker that her son convinced them to adopt. When she's not at her day job or running around with her kids, you can find her in front of the computer writing, or with her head buried in another book. If you'd like to find out more about her, she can be found at www.teresaromanwrites.com where you can also sign up for her newsletter to receive exclusive book release information.



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