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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Small Town, Large Hearts Blog Tour: Author Q&A + Giveaway!



About the Books & Authors:


Sharon Sala

Sharon Sala is a long-time member of RWA, as well as a member of OKRWA. She has 100 plus books in print under her name and her pen name, Dinah McCall. She is published in five different genres - Romance, Young Adult, Western, Fiction, and Women's Fiction. First published in 1991, she's an eight-time RITA finalist, winner of the Janet Dailey Award, four-time Career Achievement winner from RT Magazine, five time winner of the National Reader's Choice Award, and five time winner of the Colorado Romance Writer's Award of Excellence, winner of the Heart of Excellence Award, as well as winner of the Booksellers Best Award. In 2011 she was named RWA's recipient of the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Her books are New York Times , USA Today, Publisher's Weekly best-sellers. Writing changed her life, her world, and her fate.


I’LL STAND BY YOU releases June 2, 2015. You can preorder the title here!




Grace Burrowes


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes' bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish and Lady Eve's Indiscretion. The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers' Choice Awards, Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.


KISS ME HELLO releases March 3, 2015. You can order the title here!




Andrea Laurence

Andrea Laurence has been a lover of reading and writing stories since she learned to read at a young age. She always dreamed of seeing her work in print and is thrilled to finally be able to share her special blend of sensuality and dry, sarcastic humor with the world. A dedicated West Coast girl transplanted into the Deep South, she's working on her own "happily ever after" with her boyfriend and their collection of animals including a Siberian Husky that sheds like nobody's business.


FEEDING THE FIRE releases March 16, 2015. You can preorder the title here!




Samantha Chase

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan's Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40's to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.

When she's not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.


RETURN TO YOU releases March 3, 2015. You can order the title here!




Q&A:



What can you tell us about the small town setting of your new romance?

Samantha Chase (author of RETURN TO YOU):
The south shore of Long Island had always been my heroine Selena’s home. Born and raised minutes from the beach, she always dreamed that it would be where she’d find love, raise a family and live happily ever after. The small coastal town really hadn’t been part of James Montgomery’s plan for his own life, after meeting Selena, it’s suddenly a very appealing part of his future.

Grace Burrowes (author of KISS ME HELLO): Damson Valley lies in rural Maryland, about an hour away from both Washington, DC, and Baltimore. The Appalachian Mountains give the town a protected, bucolic feel, despite the proximity of big city lights. My hero attorney MacKenzie Knightley loved growing up with his brothers on a farm right outside Damson Valley, and was all too happy to go into practice with both James and Trent. The Knightley farm is now owned by foster mom Sidonie Lindstrom, who has moved away from Baltimore to give her foster son a better start in life. Sid has no patience for small town life, though before too long, the scenery does catch her interest…

Andrea Laurence (author of FEEDING THE FIRE): If you’re willing to turn your car off the highway and venture from the beaten path, you might be lucky enough to run across a town like Rosewood, Alabama. Steeped in southern charm and the traditional values of God, Family and Football (although not always in that order), Rosewood is like a time capsule preserving everything modern cities have lost. Here, you’ll find homemade pies, perfectly brewed sweet tea, and beauty parlors filled with lively gossip. It’s the kind of town where everybody knows everybody – and everybody knows your business whether you like it or not! Thanks for stopping by. Sit a spell and tell us what you know.

Sharon Sala (author of I’LL STAND BY YOU): Blessings, Georgia is a typical small Southern town. The city grew up around the Court House built in the town square. They have an elementary school and one high school, the local eating/meeting place called Granny's Country Kitchen, a newspaper and a small fire department, a police station with a police chief and a couple of deputies. In the summer it abounds in glorious color - blooming azaleas, huge oak trees along city streets - manicured lawns and flower beds bursting with color. One side of town appears cookie cutter perfect - nice houses with pretty landscaped yards and lives and then the others who live on the other side of the railroad track. Same kind of people - just less money to flaunt. There are kind people and stingy people and people with dreams that never come true. And some who still believe in the good in everyone and happy ever afters on both sides of the track.

What’s the most romantic spot in town?

Andrea Laurence:
Willow Lake is a pretty romantic spot. On the outskirts of town, it’s the perfect place to take a blanket and a picnic basket. Find a place on the pier out over the water, or a grassy spot by the shore. In the summertime, the fireflies dance over the water and the stars twinkle. It’s kinda perfect. Just remember to pack that bug spray or the mosquitos will crash your romantic night.

How did your characters get to your small town? Why have they decided to stay?

Grace Burrowes:
MacKenzie Knightley was born in Damson Valley, and has opened a law practice there with his two younger brothers. He’s the protective sort, so leaving Trent and James to carry on the business without him would never occur to Mac.

Sidonie Lindstrom inherits a farm in Damson Valley, and realizes it’s an excellent place for her troubled foster son, a product of Baltimore’s worst neighborhoods, to finish high school. Sid isn’t prepared to fall in love with the countryside—or with MacKenzie Knightley.


Shopping in a small town can be limited. What’s the best gift your hero gave your heroine that he picked up locally?

Samantha Chase:
James knew Selena’s love of sweets. He would surprise her after school with milk shakes or pastries from the local bakery.

What's the best part of dating in a small town?

Sharon Sala:
The best part of dating in a small town is that you almost always have known your date from childhood, so there is that built-in sense of immediate trust. The worst part of dating in a small town is that everyone is going to know where you went and what you did, as well as how early or how late you got home.





Giveaway:


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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mini Book Review: Light in the Dark (Avery #1.5) by Elizabeth Tuttle!


Title: Light in the Dark
Series: Avery #1.5
Author: Elizabeth Tuttle
Format: ebook, 89 pages
Pub. Date: March 1st 2015
Source: Elizabeth Tuttle via Newsletter


Book Description via Goodreads:



This is not a full length novel. This is a Bonus Short of the Avery series with a collection of scenes from Zander's POV within Spark of Light. These scenes include those you will be familiar with from SOL, but also new scenes from times Avery wasn't around.

***It is not recommended you read this short unless you have read Spark of Light. Light in the Dark Contains major spoilers if read out of order.***






Review:


★★★★★

Before I say anything else, I need to stress the importance of reading Spark of Light first. This novella is a short story that offers scenes from the first novel from the alternate point of a different character, so there will be much spoilers and confusion if this is the first story you read from the Avery series!

That being said, I loved this bonus collection of scenes. Spark of Light ended up being one of my favorite books in 2014, so I was super eager to check this one out. Namely because I adore Zander, and these scenes are all rewritten from his point of view. It's written with the same style and flow as the first book, making it seem like these scenes were taken from the book itself.

This novella was a great addition to the series, and is one that all Avery fans should check out. And if you haven't read Spark of Light yet, what's stopping you!? Three words to convince you: dystopian elf magic.

Thanks to Elizabeth Tuttle for sending this out in her newsletter.

Swoon Romance YA Wednesdays - Life in the No-Dating Zone by Patricia B. Tighe Blitz & Giveaway!


Life-in-the-No-Dating-Zone-Banne

Welcome to this week's

Swoon Romance YA Wednesdays!

This week features

Life in the No-Dating Zone by Patricia B. Tighe.

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!


Life-in-the-No-Dating-Zone-Cover

After surviving her parents' relationship drama when her older sister elopes, Claire Gardner vows not to date during high school. Now, three years later, Claire is thrust into new relationship drama--her two best friends have boyfriends. Which means Claire is spending more and more time alone. And she's more than a little peeved.

Enter Gray Langley. His year-long crush on Claire's friend Lindsey has made him desperate enough to ask Claire for help. Hesitant at first, Claire agrees--anything to get rid of Lindsey's current evil boyfriend. But as Claire and Gray plot together, an attraction develops, and now she must decide if being with Gray is worth the pain that will come from confronting her parents with the reasons for her vow.

add to goodreads


Title: Life in the No-Dating Zone
Publication date: December 2, 2014
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Author: Patricia B. Tighe

Available for Purchase:
amazon

About-the-Author

Patricia B. Tighe

The mother of two grown sons, Patricia B. Tighe lives in El Paso, Texas, with her husband and two dogs. Her love of the written word caused her to get a journalism degree from Texas A&M University in 1980 and an MA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in 2008. When not writing or reading, she can be found walking the dogs or yelling at the TV during an NFL game. She's also a fan of British TV shows. Top Gear, anyone?

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Of Silk and Steam by Bec McMaster Spotlight & Giveaway!



Title:Of Silk and Steam
Series:London Steampunk #5
Author: Bec McMaster
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Pub. Date: March 3, 2015
ISBN: 9781492607458



About the Book:


ENEMIES. ALLIES. LOVERS.

When her beloved father was assassinated, Lady Aramina swore revenge. The man responsible is well beyond her grasp, but his dangerously seductive heir, Leo Barrons, is fair game. When Mina obtains evidence proving that Leo is illegitimate, she has the means to destroy both the killer and his son, a man who troubles her heart and tempts her body.

A woman of mystery, Mina’s long driven Leo crazy with glimpses of a fiery passion that lurks beneath her icy veneer. He knows she’s hiding something, and he’s determined to unravel her layer by silken layer. He just doesn’t expect the beautiful liar to be the key to overthrowing the corrupt prince consort…or to saving his own carefully walled-off heart.


Excerpt:



Barrons looked at her. “Do you trust me?”

“No.” His father would have cut her down without thinking, but Barrons was an enigma. If he were a different man, she would have enjoyed his attentions, but a part of her couldn’t help wondering if his pursuit of her was just a way to get closer, to slip the knife in when she least expected it…

Could she trust that he meant her no harm?

His hand tightened around hers, dark heat sweeping through his irises. He focused on her so intently that she could almost feel it on her skin. “Then let us call a temporary truce for tonight. I shall help you escape. In return…”

“Yes?”

His voice roughened. “I want a kiss.”

A kiss. Tension slid sinuously along her limbs, each muscle clenching. Those motives she could certainly understand. It didn’t mean she had to like them.

Wariness spread through her as he lifted his hand and slowly, carefully brushed the back of his fingers against her lips. She didn’t flinch. Instead she tipped her chin up and glared him down. “Help me escape and I shall grant you such a liberty.” What harm could a single kiss do? “Until then”—she took a step back, her skirts swishing around her ankles—“I’ll thank you to keep your hands to yourself.”

His hand dropped but the ghostly sensation of that touch lingered, reminding her that it had been a long time since she’d been touched in any way intimately, and never like this. Never…soft. Full of gentleness, as if the very sensation of her skin beneath his was a pleasure in itself, not merely a step to greater satisfaction.

He was far more dangerous than she’d ever suspected, and she’d known, since the first moment she’d met him, that he was dangerous indeed. He was the only man who had ever managed to make her feel something.




Buy It Here:


Amazon | Apple |BN | BAM | Indigo | Indiebound | KOBO

About the Author:


Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Victoria, Australia and grew up with her nose in a book. A member of RWA, RWA (Australia) and RWNZ, she writes sexy, dark paranormals and steampunk romance. When not writing, reading, or poring over travel brochures, she loves spending time with her very own hero or daydreaming about new worlds.


Giveaway:


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Book Blitz, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Deviate by Tracy Clark!


Release Date: 03/03/15
Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
Tormented after a daring escape, Cora Sandoval must find a way to stop the Arrazi from murdering innocent people and from violating, using, and killing the Scintilla for their powers. She must also accept one bitter betrayal: Finn Doyle—the Irish boy who has both a piece of Cora's heart and soul—is Arrazi...

On the verge of extinction and sought by those who would either consume or destroy them,  Cora and the remaining Scintilla survivors must solve the mystery of The Light Key. If they fail, the truth will stay buried forever and mankind will pay the ultimate price.

No longer will she hide.

No longer will her loved ones be hunted.

And she will have her vengeance...even if she shatters her heart in the process.





Excerpt:



The look in his eyes sent a shock wave of exhilaration through me, and before my brain could process it, deconstruct it, or overanalyze it, his hands were pressing the wall on either side of my head, his long frame leaning forward without touching me, but almost, so close. His mouth hovered above my mouth. My breathing intensified, my heart pounded, and he hadn’t touched me. He was teasing me. Again.

I reached up and clasped the back of his neck, yearning for the ferocity he’d once shown to reemerge. He was such a take- charge guy. Where was that now when I was nervous down to my hair follicles? But he didn’t advance. He drew it out, practically causing me to want him. He stood tall and raised his face out of my reach, looking down at me with unmasked intensity.

“You’re trembling, Cora.”

“I—I know. You’re making me nervous.” Even my voice was quaking.

“I’m making you excited.” I tried to deny it, but he put his finger over my lips as he’d done the day we first met. “Your aura shows me the truth.”





Buy Links:


Book One:
(cover linked to Goodreads)

Buy Links:

About the Author

Tracy Clark is a young-adult writer because she believes teens deserve to know how much they matter and that regardless of what they’re going through, they aren’t alone. In other words, she writes books for her teen self.
She grew up a “Valley Girl” in Southern California but now lives in her home state of Nevada, in a small town at the base of the Sierra Foothills. Her two children teach her the art of distraction and are a continuous source of great dialogue. She’s an unapologetic dog person who is currently owned by a cat.
Tracy was the recipient of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Work in Progress Grant. A two-time participant in the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program where she was lucky enough to be mentored by bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins, who taught her so much about the art of writing and cured her of her ellipsis addiction.

Her debut novel was inspired by her enchantment with metaphysics as a teen, seeing it as the real magic in life. Tracy is a part-time college student, a private pilot, and an irredeemable dreamer.

Author Links:
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Monday, March 2, 2015

Review: The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse by Lauren Wilson!


Title: The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook and Culinary Survival Guide
Author: Lauren Wilson
Illustrator: Kristian Bauthus
Format: Paperback, 320 pages
Pub. Date: October 28th 2014
Source: BenBella Books


Book Description via Goodreads:



Just because the undead’s taste buds are atrophying doesn’t mean yours have to!

You duck into the safest-looking abandoned house you can find and hold your breath as you listen for the approaching zombie horde you’ve been running from all day. You hear a gurgling sound. Is it the undead? No—it’s your stomach.

When the zombie apocalypse tears down life and society as we know it, it will mean no more take out, no more brightly lit, immaculately organized aisles of food just waiting to be plucked effortlessly off the shelves. No more trips down to the local farmers’ market. No more microwaved meals in front of the TV or intimate dinner parties. No, when the undead rise, eating will be hard, and doing it successfully will become an art.

The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse is a cookbook and culinary field guide for the busy zpoc survivor. With more than 80 recipes (from Overnight of the Living Dead French Toast and It’s Not Easy Growing Greens Salad to Down & Out Sauerkraut, Honey & Blackberry Mead, and Twinkie Trifle), scads of gastronomic survival tips, and dozens of diagrams and illustrations that help you scavenge, forage, and improvise your way to an artful post-apocalypse meal. The Art of Eating is the ideal handbook for efficient food sourcing and inventive meal preparation in the event of an undead uprising.

Whether you decide to hole up in your own home or bug out into the wilderness, whether you prefer to scavenge the dregs of society or try your hand at apocalyptic agriculture, and regardless of your level of skill or preparation, The Art of Eating will help you navigate the wasteland and make the most of what you eat.






Review:


★★★★

Wow. This book is SO much more than I was anticipating. I was blown away, just like the zombies you'll slay am I right?

This book is one part zombie prepper, one part nature survivalist, and one part gourmet. If you are fighting for your life in a post-apocalyptic world, this is one book you'll want to have in your prep kit.

I learned so much it's insane. Wilson has you covered for every type of zombie scenario. Whether you need to forage for your own food, start a fire, trap your own animals, or loot for supplies- there's tips for it in this book. The amount of knowledge jam packed into this paperback is incredible. Because of it, I know how to pack for a successful escape, cook with no electric, and how to raise and grow my own food. Each bit of advice is coupled with step-by-step illustrations so that you can do it correctly, which I thought was a really helpful touch to add to this book. I have had survival guides that haven't had that luxury.

Speaking of food, this book has a bunch of recipes to help your taste buds survive the impending doom while still maintaining flavor and variety into your diet. Plus, the recipes have pun titles and as you know, I love me a good pun. Some of the recipes included in this guide are: Life is Not Just Peachy-Blueberry Cobbler, Dawn of the Bread Salad, and of course Twinkie Trifle and Squirrel Jerky.

This guide is absolutely fantastic. Whether you're a doomsday prepper, an avid fan of The Walking Dead, or just a camper who wants to live off the land, this is a book you ought to have on your shelf or in your car for an emergency. It'd also make a great gift for any horror/zombie lover or prepper!

Thank you so much to BenBella Books who sent me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Book Review: Hidden Like Anne Frank by Marcel Prins & Peter Henk Steenhuis


Title: Hidden Like Anne Frank: 14 True Stories of Survival
Author: Marcel Prins & Peter Henk Steenhuis
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: March 25th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Scholastic


Book Description via Goodreads:



Fourteen unforgettable true stories of children hidden away during World War II

Jaap Sitters was only eight years old when his mother cut the yellow stars off his clothes and sent him, alone, on a fifteen-mile walk to hide with relatives. It was a terrifying night, one he would never forget. Before the end of the war, Jaap would hide in secret rooms and behind walls. He would suffer from hunger, sickness, and the looming threat of Nazi raids. But he would live.

This is just one of the incredible stories told in HIDDEN LIKE ANNE FRANK, a collection of eye-opening first-person accounts that share what it was like to go into hiding during World War II. Some children were only three or four years old when they were hidden; some were teenagers. Some hid with neighbors or family, while many were with complete strangers. But all know the pain of losing their homes, their families, even their own names. They describe the secret network of brave people who kept them safe. And they share the coincidences and close escapes that made all the difference.






Review:


★★★★

This is one of those books that will stay with me long after I've read it. It's a combination of hopeful, sorrowful, and haunting that lingers on the mind, whether you'd like it to or not.

Hidden Like Anne Frank is a collection of fourteen stories of children who were forced to go into hiding in order to survive during World War II. Different ages, different genders, and different social classes are all represented. They're told in the first person: the survivors themselves are the ones telling you their stories. While they are all hopeful to a degree (after all, these are survival stories), these people went through so much devastation. It's heartbreaking to see that so many children needed to do this just to escape with their lives, losing so much more in the process.

This book is written at an easy-to-read level, making it a great book for young adults who are wanting to learn more about the war. Each foreign word (be it in German, Hebrew, Dutch, or otherwise) was italicized and explained so that there was no confusion about terminology. Each story is also paired with photographs of the children, the places they hid, and the areas where they came from. It was fascinating to see history through their eyes.

I also thought it was nice that at the end of the book, there's photographs of each of the survivors as they are today. The photographs make it seem all the more real.

I think this book is a good one to have as a middle school or high school teacher to offer students who were interested in Anne Frank's diary. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in reading about World War II or the Holocaust. It's emotional but well done, and leaves you a bit in awe of just what some people have to do in order to survive.

Thank you to Scholastic who provided me with a copy in exchange for my honest review.