Monday, August 5, 2013

A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Haplin

Dear readers, 

I apologize for my week absence, whenever I attempted to post something on Blogger lately I was receiving an awkward error message with some sort of 'bt364gy' code error (not the exact code). It sense seems to be resolved. 

Due to my absence some promos/reviews were not properly posted. This may complicate matters for Tour Hosts whose schedules I interfered with and for that I am also sorry. 

Although some of these author's tours are over, I will be posting all the promos anyway because the authors deserve their time in the spotlight. Please bare with me during the confusion. 

A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook Goodreads Synopsis: A hint of Recovery Road, a sample of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and a cut of Juno. A Really Awesome Mess is a laugh-out-loud, gut-wrenching/heart-warming story of two teenagers struggling to find love and themselves.

Two teenagers. Two very bumpy roads taken that lead to Heartland Academy.
Justin was just having fun, but when his dad walked in on him with a girl in a very compromising position, Justin's summer took a quick turn for the worse. His parents' divorce put Justin on rocky mental ground, and after a handful of Tylenol lands him in the hospital, he has really hit rock bottom.

Emmy never felt like part of her family. She was adopted from China. Her parents and sister tower over her and look like they came out of a Ralph Lauren catalog-- and Emmy definitely doesn't. After a scandalous photo of Emmy leads to vicious rumors around school, she threatens the boy who started it all on Facebook.

Justin and Emmy arrive at Heartland Academy, a reform school that will force them to deal with their issues, damaged souls with little patience for authority. But along the way they will find a ragtag group of teens who are just as broken, stubborn, and full of sarcasm as themselves. In the end, they might even call each other friends.
A funny, sad, and remarkable story, A Really Awesome Mess is a journey of friendship and self-discovery that teen readers will surely sign up for.

ebook, 288 pages
Published July 23rd 2013 by EgmontUSA 
Get Your Copy:

Here's the deal, this book is a real awesome mess.


The author seems to be aiming for a situation in which we find the characters implorable and we suddenly come to an understanding, and growth, with the characters as they develop themselves.

The problem is, that I do not believe, not for a second, that teens that are troubled - as the ones in this book - are so cruel and removed.

Not towards themselves, but towards others.

Are we really supposed to sympathize with a character who used internet bullying as a defense against a bully? Where she decides to openly mock him, disgrace him, and create viral content with irremovable damage from cyber space, whilst she grows up and realizes (in about three years), that, really, he's just an asshole.

Are we supposed to ever learn to respect a group of troubled teenagers that, during their own personal struggles, aid in helping a severely anorexic female not eat?

Are we supposed to side with the therapists that eat sugar crackers in front of a female that is starving herself to death?

Are we supposed to find it believable that the main reason for that female lead character to starve herself is to look thing? And that, moreover, she still has the confidence to think she can pick a guy up some time before they, "force her to get fat again?"

Are we also supposed to believe that a Level 5 student - that is someone that is near release or made massive results in recovery - would be snide, sarcastic, and rather cruel to a Level 1 female with the exact same eating disorder! Is this because Trish Cook believes that anorexia is only a problem for shallow girls? Or, was she totally misinformed about the myths of eating disorders before writing this?

Also, are supposed to understand or side with the parents that allow an academy that limits the amount of time, and scripts the conversation, between child and parent?

Are we even supposed to believe that in an academy of violent, troubled teens, an all out brawl, complete with vomit, blood, and name-calling, does not come with any sort of security team or extra measures besides yelling really loudly to stop it?

More so, are we supposed to be convinced that this highly costly facility has therapists that encourage troubled teens by telling them that they need to spend time in their own heads to figure out their problems? With no psychology experience at all I can tell you that depression feeds on our minds. Someone that deep inside themselves has a distorted view of reality and is past the point of being able to self reflect or self help without guidance without otherwise causing worse destruction to their confidence, psych, and well-being.

It is not that I dislike the way this author writes. It is that I find this book such a snarky, sarcastic, misguided view on troubled teens that I wonder what made the author ever decide to publish it. I cannot, in good conscious, recommend any teen reads this book due to the insensitive nature of this novel.


Dear Authors,

If you are writing a book about troubled teens, keep in mind who your audience is going to be.

I am sure with some reflection you can discover that it will be troubled teens, with some other odds and ends thrown in.

In which case, at what point in your mind did you decide that rape and racist jokes were okay?

When did you decide they would add to the story?

Did you really think that what teens of today were missing was more jokes that downplayed the seriousness of sexual abuse and segregation by race and or profiling?

Or, did you just think this would help your readers relate? In which case, I'm insulted for them.

Or, did you just think it would add to Justin's troubled outlook and his further development? In which case, why are all your troubled teenagers unlikeable? Is this how you see troubled teens?

Please research further into depression, eating disorders, aggression, etc. before your next reform school attempt. 

When it comes to A Really Awesome Mess?

Burn It | Toss It | Borrow It | Read It | Buy It

Note: I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, words and opinions are my own.

Although it should be obvious, I want to state that in no way is this a personal issue with the author(s). I make no judgements on what sort of people they are. I just think this novel is poorly written and was not properly researched for content.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bittersweet Junction by Ivy Sinclair: Promo + 2 eBooks Giveaway!

Bittersweet Junction by Ivy Sinclair
Publication date: 2013
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance

Best friends once, lovers never, yet an attraction that can’t be ignored.

Five years ago, Julia Bell walked away from her life the moment her high school diploma was in her hand. She left her family and friends behind to start over and escape the chokehold of small town life in Benton Hill. But an urgent call from her little sister brings Julia back to her hometown wholly unprepared for what awaits her.

Ben Miller was always the nice guy. Just before high school graduation, he stepped out of that role hoping to capture the heart of the woman he loved. Instead, in quick succession he lost the girl, and the future he worked so hard to achieve.

Even though Julia and Ben are drawn to each other, echoes of the past block them at every turn. Secrets are exposed, and reality needs to be dealt with if they can ever hope to move past the bittersweet junction that ripped them apart.

Get Your Copy:

Ivy Sinclair cut her romance teeth on classics like Gone With the Wind, Casablanca, An Affair to Remember, and Sabrina. She is a firm believer in true love, a happily ever after ending, and the medicinal use of chocolate to cure any ailment of the heart. Ivy’s guilty pleasures include sushi, endless Starbucks lattes, and wine. Readers of Ivy’s stories can expect smoldering sweet stories of romance that tug at the heartstrings.

Author Links:

About the book:

Describe Bittersweet Junction in one sentence.

Fate gives two former best friends a second chance at romance, if they overcome old misunderstandings and deceit.

Give a quick blurb about the book and why readers would enjoy it.

Bittersweet Junction picks up with the main characters, Julia Belle and Ben Miller, five years after high school graduation. Julia left the small town of Benton Hill right after graduation because she was faced with some grown-up kind of decisions that she couldn’t make. Ben, one of Julia’s childhood best friends, was left confused and hurt after her departure. Julia’s sister Clary lures Julia back to Benton Hill under false pretenses, and that’s when Julia realizes it’s impossible to outrun the past.

I think what readers will enjoy most about this story is the way that Julia and Ben eventually overcome the obstacles in their path to have a shot at their happy ending. I found it very satisfying to write, and I believe that will resonate with readers.

How did you come up with the idea for Bittersweet Junction?

I’ve had several ideas for stories that revolve around the idea of a five year high school reunion. The idea for Bittersweet Junction started there, although in the end, there is no actual high school reunion in the book. That wouldn’t have been a good enough reason to drag Julia back to Benton Hill.

If Bittersweet Junction were made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?

I’ve thought a lot about this. I could see Emma Roberts playing Julia and Chris Pine, with his gorgeous blue eyes, would make the perfect Ben. Emily Browning would play Julia’s little sister Clary, and Max Thieriot would round out the casting as Mike.

About you as writer:

When did you begin writing?

I started writing the summer between sixth and seventh grade. I kept all of my teenage angst in a journal and experimented with poetry as well. I think that helped me start finding my writing voice.

When did you first think, wow I have made it as a writer?

My senior year of high school I won a state newspaper award for a piece of hard hitting journalism in the school paper. It was an article on how a teacher in a local junior high had gotten in trouble for showing an R-rated movie in the classroom. The day I received my award, I knew that writing was part of my life’s journey.

Do you have any special rituals you do when you sit down to write? 

I usually have an idea of how many words or chapters that I want to get written that particular writing session. It helps to have a goal because I am easily distracted.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers out there?

Take an active interest in reading about what’s going on in the publishing industry today so that you can make informed decisions about your writing destiny. The landscape of publishing is changing faster than anyone could have imagined, and it affects all of us.

Silly questions:

Favorite color? I am digging orange right now. I have an orange purse, loads of orange tops, and even my toenails are orange at the moment.

Salty or Sweet? I am 50/50 on that. My favorite snack right now is a handful almonds mixed with a handful of dark chocolate chips.

Favorite author?  Stephen King. I can’t think of another author out there who has influenced me and my writing as much as he has, and I have enjoyed almost every single book he’s written.

Favorite book? I still remember discovering Intensity by Dean Koontz. It seriously blew my mind and scared me to death (which I love in a good book btw.)

Regular or decaf? Regular, fully loaded. Coffee is my friend. :)

Swimming in the ocean or a pool? Im not a swimmer at all, but I do enjoy splashing in the ocean.

Candles or spray air fresheners? I always have a candle burning in my office when I write.

Do you have a green thumb for plants? No. The only success Ive had with plants are ones that can grow and thrive despite the fact that I forget theyre there and dont water them for two weeks.

Do you like feather pillow or foam? I have a foam pillow right now. Pillows are tricky- a bad one has such an impact on getting a good nights sleep.

What do you collect?  Trinkets? Book
s? Gadgets? I am a gadget girl. I am definitely an early adopter when it comes to technology.

Coke or Pepsi? I can go either way on the regular stuff, but I definitely prefer diet Coke over diet Pepsi.

Tell us about the first story you ever wrote and how old you were.  I was twelve the first time I remember trying my hand at fiction. The story was about two sisters who were trapped in their house as it was shifting in time between the present, and a disturbing event in the past. Of course, some ghosts came to visit as well.

Do you prefer to live in a big city or in the country? I live in a suburb of Minneapolis. I feel like thats a nice balance. I have access to all the city has to offer, but live in a neighborhood with wetlands and lots of greenery.

Who is your favorite actor? Robert Downey Jr. or Ryan Reynolds. I cant choose between them.

What is your favorite movie? We own more than 500 movies- were big movie buffs so its hard to pick just one. Gone with the Wind has inspired a lot of trends in my writing though.
Do you play an instrument? If so what? Ive played the flute and the French horn in my time. I wasnt very good at either one.

Besides writing what other artistic talents, do you have? Im a singer from way back. In school I was in choir, show choir, and always participated in the school musicals. Now I settle for karaoke nights at one of our local dive bars.

What was your first job? I started delivering newspapers when I was fourteen. I did some babysitting as well.

Have you ever gone to work wearing house shoes? Only when Im working from home. :)

I lived in a small town until I was twelve years old. My sixth grade class had thirteen students, twelve girls and one boy. Needless to say, my odds were practically non-existent for young love. Not only did I spend those formidable years in a small town attending a small school, but my family lived five miles outside of town “in the country”. Standing in my front yard, I saw nothing but open fields and gravels roads.

With nothing else to do, I escaped to new places through books. I had a few friends, but the friends that I really cared about existed within the pages of my favorite stories. It didn’t seem that strange to me at the time. It was just my life.

I didn’t realize how small my small town life was until I moved to another state into an actual city between sixth and seventh grade. To say I experienced a tremendous culture shock would be an understatement. It forced me out of my shell.  Although still a voracious reader, I made a larger circle of friends, and started doing things with people outside of my head. Eventually I grew to love living in a city.

I only went back to that small town a few times throughout junior high and high school to visit family. By the time I was in my early 20s, the shift in my perception between small town and city was noticeably evident. When I would go back for a visit, even though I had been gone for a decade, I still ran into a lot of people who acted like they knew me even though I had no idea who they were. “Oh- you’re Jerry and Nancy’s daughter. How have you been?”

It was odd to me how interested these strangers were in the specific details of my life. What was even more uncomfortable was hearing stories about my parents’ adventures when they lived in town, which occurred more than twenty years ago. People had long memories, and not all of those stories were especially flattering, but there were sweet and funny stories too.

Those are the experiences that I drew on when I wrote about Julia, the main character of Bittersweet Junction, coming back to her hometown of Benton Hill. She’s been gone for five years, but when she returns, people expect her that she’s the same person, even though she’s not.

Benton Hill itself is one of the main characters throughout the book, and I believe that anyone who has lived in a small town will be able to related to that. Ben, who used to be Julia’s best friend and is now her love interest, never left Benton Hill. He finds the scrutiny of living under the microscope of small town eyes frustrating and heavy with expectations. This causes several complications for Julia and Ben.

I’ve reached a stage in my life where I can appreciate the benefits of living in a small town. The pace of life is slower, and friendships can easily span a lifetime. Yet I find that I am now a city girl at heart. Between my childhood in a small town, and adult life in the city, I think I’ve had the best of both words.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Charmed by Cambria Hebert: Promo + Signed Paperback Copy & Swag!

Charmed-by Cambria Hebert ebooksm.jpg
Title: Charmed

Series: Death Escorts  NOTE: you do NOT have to read Recalled to understand Charmed. You can just read Charmed. Reading Recalled will give you a little more background info though. 

Author: Cambria Hebert

Release Date: July 22, 2013

Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance. 
***Note: Due to Sexual content and some language this book is recommended for readers 17+***

Life or Death? Not many people would choose death. But what if death chooses you? What if death doesn’t mean the end of your life, but the beginning?

For a Death Escort, death is life. Death is your paycheck. Death is your job.

And Charming is the best Escort the Grim Reaper has ever had.

But when you piss off the Reaper, being the best doesn’t matter. So Charming is assigned a Target who is practically impossible to kill. He knows the Reaper hopes he fails—that he’s counting on it. So Charming vows to prove him wrong. He vows to make the kill.

But someone else vows to get in his way. Someone with a big mouth, a sugar habit, and blond hair. Someone who makes his heart start beating again.

And so Charming is left holding more than one person’s fate in the palm of his hand. He thought the choice would be easy, that there really wasn’t a question at all.

He was wrong.

Life or Death?

Direct Youtube link:

Get Your Copy:

Authorpic.jpgCambria Hebert is the author of the young adult paranormal Heven and Hell series, the new adult Death Escorts series, and the new adult Take it Off series. She loves a caramel latte, hates math and is afraid of chickens (yes, chickens). 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. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and children (both human and furry) where she is plotting her next book. You can find out more about Cambria and her work by visiting

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Website | YouTube


Sugar. I needed more of it if I was going to make it through this day. The chocolate croissant and caramel latte I had this morning wasn’t near enough to combat the massive lines, the noise, and disgruntled people that filled the DMV. Whatever in hell made me think that working at the Department of Motor Vehicles, here in Alaska, was a good idea?
Maybe it was the good pay. Maybe it was because I got weekends off.
Or maybe it was because I had a moment of temporary insanity that unfortunately coincided with me saying, “I accept,”  when I got offered this job.
Besides the fact that the lines were permanently out the door, the computer systems were temperamental at best, and my boss was a complete broom rider, my stash of chocolate and Sour Patch Kids was empty.
That meant someone was going to die today.
I glanced back up at the ninety-year-old woman whose head barely cleared the insanely high counters we stood behind and tried to hold on to my patience. “Mrs. Eldridge,” I said extremely loudly. “Like I told you last week, you have to go and get new glasses before I can renew your driver’s license.” 
“I have new glasses,” she insisted.
Lord, save me now.
“You got those ten years ago. You need some from this year.” Or decade I finished silently.
She shuffled out of the line like a turtle and I took her slowness as a chance to really search beneath my station and chair for a long-lost piece of sugar. Anything. Even a stray jellybean would likely find its way into my blood stream at this point. Of course there was nothing. I briefly considered hiding beneath my desk until five o’clock. My car. I had an emergency stash in my car. I glanced at my watch. I had another hour until I was able to take a fifteen-minute break.
A pair of black pumps appeared before me and I inwardly groaned. Just what I needed—a run-in with the witch. But instead of being greeted by her condescending, screechy tone, an icy-cold red can appeared before me.
Hallelujah, praise the Lord, it was caffeine and sugar!
I snatched the Coke out of her hand and popped the top, taking a large, satisfying chug. The bubbles crowded down my throat, slightly burning, and I took another swallow.
“I love you,” I murmured to Lela, the girl who worked right beside me.
She laughed. “I know that look when I see it.”  Then she straightened and whispered. “Witch alert.”
I shot up, my head bumping into the counter on the way. I wanted to shout out in pain, but I clamped my mouth shut, not wanting to draw the attention of my boss, Satan’s assistant.
I turned back to my line, my eyes colliding with a broad chest. I looked up, and the can slid out of my hand, hitting the floor with a thud while fizzy liquid poured over my favorite boots.
I didn’t even notice.
“What the hell are you doing here?” I growled as I looked around for something sharp I could stab him with.
A thick brow arched. “So is this where you spend your days? As if the DMV isn’t a horrible enough place to visit without the poor people of Alaska having to tolerate you.”
There wasn’t enough sugar on this planet that would save him. I reached out and picked up the black phone. If I couldn’t bludgeon him to death here at my place of employment, then I could at least call the cops. I began dialing, but he reached over and cut the connection.
I slammed the phone down on his hand, which was still pressed on the hang-up button. Breath hissed between his teeth and his green eyes shot to mine. “Careful, George, you’re pissing off the wrong man.”
“My name isn’t George.”
He shrugged, pulling his hand away from the phone. “When you have a man’s name, does it really matter?”

Grand Prize Giveaway
The giveaway includes (US only):
A signed PB copy of Charmed
A Death Escorts Swag pack featuring a wrist band
A Charmed dog tag necklace

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Guest Post 4K Likes Giveaway: eBooks, Amazon Gift Cards & Swag!

Fae Books 4K Likes Giveaway Hi there, I'm Sarah Fae from and I'm celebrating reaching an amazing 4000 Likes on my Facebook page If you haven't heard of Fae Books before, here's a little introduction to tell you what I'm all about and what sort of stuff goes on in the Fae Books world. As I've said, I'm Sarah Fae, you can find me on Facebook as Sarah Fae Graham. I'm going on 25, I'm married and live with my husband, Shane - who is my full time carer as well as a full time Soldier - our two Bichon Frise dogs, Trixie & Teddy and our three cats, Simba, Horace and Squirt. I live in England, in the UK. Ahh, sunny England by the sea... I joke of course, it mostly rains, I also live in an Army Garrison. I'm disabled, wheelchair user, I'm in really bad health too so I take a lot of medication to get through my days. Anyway, enough about that... I spend my days keeping everything behind the scenes of Fae Books running, booking in new tours for companies and organizations that I host for, as well as preparing to launch my own FREE introductory book tours. (If you'd like to be a Tour Host for Fae Books like this fabulous blogger may have, just click here).  About 50% of my work is promoting. Promoting myself as a writer, promoting Fae Books and everyone I work with. Anyone with any kind of business, authors or bloggers etc will tell you, the hardest bit is promoting your product/work and doing it in the right places at the right times, that takes a lot of time and dedication in itself. I often don't get any sleep at all for several days in a row, because I'll be up working all the time. My Husband says I'm a Workaholic, I do kind of agree with him, but don't tell him that! Lol. I'm addicted to giveaways, running them that is (I rarely get time to enter any lol). I love to give back to the bookish community and I love the people that help me to be able to do that, so you'll often find a bunch of giveaways over at Sometimes the prizes are donated by others (writers, authors etc), but I also provide prizes myself, and post a lot of prizes out. Sometimes authors send me a bunch of swag and I'll use that in my events to give away and promote them, then send out the prizes to the winners on a monthly basis. I used to try and post as soon as people won the prizes, but I just couldn't afford to do it that way, so now I post monthly, because that's when Hubby gets paid, so we have the cash to send it all out then. It's pretty expensive sending internationally all the time, but I prefer giveaways to be open worldwide so that anyone can enter. I don't like to push anyone out if I can help it. That's just my own way of doing it though. I (and thus Fae Books) hang out on Twitter, as well as PinterestGoogle+, LinkedIn and I'm also hooked on Goodreads. I manage my entire TBR list on there, I use that to keep me on track with my reading. Speaking of reading, you may have guessed, I love to read. I'm really into my horror right now, but I love to read anything paranormal, supernatural, fantasy, and all of the above with any kind of romance in it too. I'll read anything that sounds good when I read the blurb and reviews, so I don't just stick to those genres.  I run a Reviewing Team over at Fae Books, I have a great bunch of 20+ girls who work with me and they review tonnes of books for writers that approach me looking for reviews. I also review too of course. I regularly take on new members to be part of the team, so if you ever fancy becoming part of it, just keep an eye out on the website and I'll put updates up when I'm taking on new members. The team and myself book up very quickly for reviews, and usually months in advance, so we only have something like four spots left available in 2013 for reviews, and we're only half way through the year! Busy, busy, busy.   So... To thank everyone for following the page and supporting my own dream as well as the writers, bloggers, authors, graphic designers and everyone else I'm lucky enough to work with, I've organized a mahoosive giveaway for you all. I hope you like the list of prizes for this event. Everyone got involved in this, Authors, Bloggers, Crafters, Graphic Designers and more! So there are a bunch of amazing prizes for you to win!  Just take a look at the Rafflecopter form below and do each entry, following the folk who've made this giveaway possible is a great way to thank them and show support for what they do. Once you like all the first Facebook entries, more will open up so you can earn even more entries by following the rest of the Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as some extra entries I've left for you AND a chance to get 10 bonus entries when you complete everything in the list. Best of luck with the giveaway, and don't forget to use all the entries you can, more entries means more chances to win!  

Sarah Fae xXx
Start & End Dates: Start:  Friday 19th July 2013 12:00am UK Time End:  Friday 20th September 2013 12:00am UK Time  
Prize Description Clarification:
Please find below a prize description where the prize listed in the Rafflecopter might need some further clarity.

World-Building Critique and Feedback ($70 value)  
Donated by: 
The Bearded Scribe
Prize is for writers
With this service, I'll review your manuscript's world-building material and notes for consistency and clarity, discrepancies and weaknesses, strengths and uniqueness, among other factors. I will offer a thorough critique with detailed feedback, pointing out places in your world that need work or reinforcement. The service includes the initial email exchange of your notes, my critique and feedback, and two, thirty-minute sessions via Facebook or iMessage.

Terms & Conditions:
One prize per person, except where it is a prize pack. Prize packs are classed as one total prize. Fae Books is not in control of sending out the prizes, the original prize donators are. Some prizes may be coming from all over the world, so please be patient. Any found cheating on any entries will have their entries removed from ALL Fae Books giveaways and be placed on the Banned list. This means you will be banned from winning any further prizes from my promotions. Not associated with any other entity. Only those legally allowed to may enter. Fae Books will designate prizes, prizes will not neccessarily be designated in the order they are listed as some prizes have specific eligibility criteria to be met. Prizes donated by Fae Books will be sent out with my monthly prize batches, this is because it's expensive and when I get paid, I do not get paid for anything to do with Fae Books, so please be patient. 

Enter the Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I would like to thank Fae for dropping by with this opportunity. Good luck everyone! 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Just my Luck by Rosalind James: Promo

 (Escape to New Zealand #5)
Contemporary Romance
Date Published: 7/13/2013

A little distraction can be a wonderful thing.
Nate Torrance has a job to do, and the biggest rugby boots in the world to fill. He can’t afford to lose his focus, especially not to a brown-eyed Canadian who pushes all his buttons and looks much too good in a climbing harness. 
Allison Villiers may not know what she wants to do with her life, but she’s clear about one thing. She’s not impressed by the new captain of the All Blacks, however big a deal he is to the rest of New Zealand. If only her unfortunate taste for adventure didn’t keep leading her astray . . . 

“How are you finding Wellington so far?” Nate asked when they were out on the water. He’d managed to launch them from the beach with a shove, and even climb in again behind her without any mishaps. Ally was actually a little sorry. She’d been half-anticipating going over, and enjoying the prospect of teasing him about it. He definitely needed it.
“I love it,” she said, keeping up a steady stroke and feeling the calm that always came over her when she was surrounded by sea and sky, enjoying the effort, the rhythmic motion. She was going to be out here with him for a while, so she might as well keep this pleasant. She didn’t even have to look at him, after all. You couldn’t really turn around in a double kayak without tipping the thing, which was probably for the best in this case. “I’ve been wandering around getting happily lost, and finding my way home again. It’s a lively place, isn’t it? Lots of outdoor stuff to do too, and as you know, that’s my favorite thing.”
“It can get a bit wet and windy,” he cautioned.
“I’ve heard,” she said, unable to keep the amusement from her voice. “I’ve had a few discussions about the weather already, you see.”
She heard him groan. “I’m rubbish at chatting girls up,” he admitted, surprising a laugh from her. “I never know what to say. Everything’s either dull, or it sounds like a pickup line. I generally end up opting for dull.”
“Honesty works, though,” she told him. “That was pretty good right there.”
“Really.” He sounded surprised. “I should throw myself on your mercy, you think?”
“Definitely. A strong man being endearingly awkward . . . I like it. It’s an approach, anyway.”
“Better than spilling a beer on her, I reckon,” he said.
“Much better." She realized that she was paddling along with a smile on her face. Why hadn’t she met this guy before? She liked him.
“I’ll try again, then,” he said. “Did you spend Christmas here as well, on the Coromandel?”
“No, in Auckland. And it rained one day, but otherwise the weather was good. Just to anticipate you.”
He laughed. “Do anything special?”
“I did, actually. I bungy jumped off the Sky Tower. Kristen’s Christmas present.”
“Crikey. This is me shuddering back here."
“No, really?” she asked in surprise. “It was amazing. You should try it.”
“I’ll take your word for it,” he decided.
“You don’t like thrills?”
“I love thrills. Know how to get them, too. And it’s not by jumping off buildings.”
Wow. She didn’t think she’d pursue that one. Maybe he meant rugby. Yeah, right. He hadn’t meant rugby.

Rosalind James is the author of the bestselling “Escape to New Zealand” series, as well as "Welcome to Paradise," her first book in the new U.S.-based "Kincaids" series.

Rosalind divides her time between California and New Zealand.

Rosalind’s website:

On Facebook: rosalindjamesbooks

Epiphany by Christina Jean Michaels: Interview, Playlist, + $25 Amazon Gift Card and eBook Giveaway!

Epiphany.jpg Epiphany by Christina Jean Michaels
Publication date: July, 2013
Genre: NA/17+ Romantic Suspense

“I had my first psychic dream when I was nine. Psychic implied power, and powerful wasn’t a word I’d use to describe myself. I couldn’t foretell the future or conjure visions at will, but I couldn’t think of a more fitting word to describe what I sometimes saw in my dreams.”

For 23-year-old Mackenzie Hill, tossing her life down the garbage disposal is easy after a painful incident shatters her life. Her heart is bleeding, and moving to Watcher’s Point is a chance to start anew, only she isn’t prepared for the guy who walks out of her dreams and into the flesh. Literally . . . because she’s been dreaming about this sexy stranger for years.

Mackenzie is even less prepared to face the dark nature of her dreams. They’ve turned disturbingly gruesome, full of blood and murder, and when they begin to coincide with the media’s headlines, she and Aidan realize her visions might be the key to stopping a madman from killing again.

Only Aidan has painful secrets of his own, and perhaps the biggest danger of all is falling for him.

Christina Jean Michaels was born in Paradise, California, but she has found the true home of her heart in Eugene, Oregon where she finds plenty of inspiration for storytelling.

When she was young, her mother said she hated words. Now she can't imagine not writing. She became an avid reader when she was thirteen and discovered the world of Sweet Valley High. About a year later she realized she could play God and write about her own characters. She has been writing in some form ever since.

She lives with her husband and their four children—three rambunctious UFC/wrestling-loving boys and one girl who steals everyone’s attention.


A half hour later, after three rounds of drinks and a dozen lurid jokes, I extracted myself and was certain four pairs of lascivious eyes were glued to my ass.
Six grabbed my arm mid-stride and gestured toward Aidan. “Talk to him. It won’t kill you, I promise.”
I wasn’t so sure about that—I’d been trying to talk to him all week, but he’d been tight-lipped. The band went to break, and I kissed my excuse to duck and hide goodbye. Six gave me a final nudge in his direction.
“How’s it going?” I asked, gripping the counter for support. His eyes answered for him. Troubled and drawn, they indicated a sleepless night. Two full shot glasses sat between his hands; three empties had already been pushed aside.
This couldn’t be a good sign.
I said the first thing that came to mind. “No costume tonight?”
“I’m not really in a festive mood.” His eyes traveled the length of my body, and the corner of his mouth crept up in a lopsided smile. “Nice hat,” he said, swaying in his seat, “but Bonnie was blond.”
“I don’t play well with hair dye or wigs. It’s a character flaw.” What had gotten into me? Talking to the opposite sex had never come so easily, especially with a man as attractive as Aidan.
Sexy. Gorgeous. Hmm . . . wonder what’s underneath those clothes?
I swallowed hard. Now who had lascivious eyes? Time to pour cement into my mind’s gutter.
“You’re right. I can’t picture you blond.” He swayed on the barstool again, and I figured he must have hit the bottle before arriving. “Where’s Clyde hiding?”
“Bonnie’s an independent woman. She’s going solo.”
“Maybe you’ll get into less trouble that way.” He downed the remaining two shots without warning. The last hit the counter with a racket. “Can you believe today is my birthday?” The scorn in his tone confused me. Most people didn’t get so bent over a birthday.
I wasn’t sure how to reply. Somehow I guessed “happy birthday” wasn’t what he wanted to hear. I silently waited, hoping he’d shed some light. Even in my dreams—where I learned of things I had no way of explaining to others—he remained a mystery.
“I’ll take another round,” he said, gesturing toward the empties. “Make them doubles.”
I swallowed hard. “You sure? You’ve had a lot already.”
He flashed that crooked smile again, and I wondered if he realized how disarming it was. “You’re worried about me?”  he asked.
I hesitated. “Yeah, I am.” Way more than I wanted to admit. Tonight was Halloween, after all.

What inspired you to write Epiphany?

I'd been playing around with the idea of writing a novel for years. Actually, I'd written fan fiction for a long time, which was how I ended up hearing about National Novel Writing Month. I signed up for NaNoWriMo in 2008, never believing I'd actually write 50,000 words, and I used anything and everything for inspiration--from the people I saw on Halloween night to the crazy customers that would come into the convenience store where I worked. I plotted in my head during downtime and loaded up on 5-Hour energy shots after work in order to crank out those words. I don't think there's any one thing that inspired me to write the book, though NaNoWriMo definitely played a part in helping me to get it going.

How did you come up with the title?

I have no idea, but I like the different contextual meanings. She's psychic, and there are a slew of secrets that come out in the story, so I thought it fit.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Some things in Epiphany are very loosely based on real life. They planted the seed, but ultimately Epiphany became its own story entirely. I can relate to Mac when she wakes from a nightmare because I've had night terrors since I was a child. Thankfully, I don't have the burden of psychic power to add to it!

What books have most influenced your life most?

I couldn't get my hands on enough Sweet Valley High books when I was a teenager. When I switched to adult fiction, I was introduced to Sandra Brown, and later Nora Roberts. I'm a romance junkie--always have been. I think Roberts is excellent at romance, and Brown has amazing talent for really twisted plots.

More recently, I've really enjoyed new adult and even dark erotica. Kitty Thomas is my favorite in the dark erotica genre.

What book are you reading now?

At the moment, I'm not reading anything as I've been too busy, but I finished reading Unbreak Me by Lexi Ryan a couple of weeks ago. That book was AMAZING! Phew! I can't even describe the level of twisted my insides became at reading it, and I'm talking twisted in a good way. ;)

What are your current projects?

Currently, I'm in a writing slump. I have a dark erotica project I started a few months ago that I plan to publish under my other pen name, and I also need to begin writing the next book in the Legacy of Payne series. Right now, I'm spinning ideas in my head, which is my equivalent of early outlining. What I really need to do is sit down and write, NaNoWriMo style.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Epiphany?

There's always going to be something that I find imperfect, and I do wish I'd found a way to work in one more tiny clue, but overall, I'm really happy with the way Epiphany turned out.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I became an obsessed reader at age 13. My mom and I were homeless for a while, and I latched on to reading as a means of escape. About a year later I realized I could play God and write about my own characters.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

My OCD need to constantly edit. It really gets in the way of writing rough draft copy. If I could overcome this, I know I could finish projects a lot sooner. Ridiculously sooner!

Who designed your book cover?

I designed it. Working with digital art is another passion of mine. When I need a break from writing, I'll switch over to making book covers and web graphics.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Finishing it. I had a mental block when it came to Epiphany. Looking back now, I can't believe it took me that long to write the ending.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Take the time to learn from others. I work shopped Epiphany online, and as a result I feel my writing is better for it. Epiphany is a better story for it. I also made some wonderful friends. A good critique partner is invaluable--I can't stress that enough.

If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose?

This is a difficult question, as I like to torture my characters! I'd like to be in Mac's shoes for one night--or out of them because she'd be naked and between the sheets with Aidan on that night, lol.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thanks for your interest in Epiphany! I hope you enjoy the story. I'd also like to extend a thank-you to the bloggers for hosting me!

Author Playlist


Friday, July 19, 2013

Crashing the Congressman's Wedding by Elley Arden: Guest Post + $25 Spa Gift Card!

Alice Cramer is tired of being pitied for her family’s transgressions, so she resolves to break out of the gutter and into the spotlight. As long as her local congressman can forget about their checkered past and help her secure a federal grant to open Harmony Falls Little Theatre, she’ll be the brightest star in town. But when Alice stands up in church and stops the congressman’s wedding, she dives headfirst into fresh scandal.
Why is Harmony Fall’s golden boy, Justin Mitchell, speeding down the interstate sans a new wife but with the local drama queen he’s been trying his whole life to avoid? Alice Cramer may have saved him the hassle of an arranged marriage to a woman he didn’t love, but she’s put a business transaction big enough to save an entire town in jeopardy–not to mention his reputation.
Soon Alice and Justin are dredging up and indulging in an attraction that threatens all their dreams and aspirations. But what if life together is the dream that matters most?

Elley Arden

Author Bio
Elley Arden is a born and bred Pennsylvanian who has lived as far west as Utah and as far north as Wisconsin. She drinks wine like it’s water (a slight exaggeration), prefers a night at the ballpark to a night on the town, and believes almond English toffee is the key to happiness.
Elley has been reading romance novels since she was a sixteen-year-old babysitter, sneaking Judith McNaught and Danielle Steele novels off the bookshelves of the women who employed her. She started her first manuscript when she was twenty-five, writing during babies’ naps. A total of three children and ten years later, the manuscript was complete. Little did she know, her journey to publication was only beginning…
Elley writes provocative contemporary romances for Crimson Romance.


 Why Book Covers Are Important

There’s nothing wrong with judging a book by its cover. The idea of thoroughly getting to know something before you accept or deny it is a good policy to have with human beings, but not with books. There are so many to read and so little time to read them! I liken it to an editor who reads a query, the synopsis or first few chapters of a manuscript and rejects it because she or he didn’t feel passionately enough to pursue it further. They’re busy people. Nobody doubts that. It’s acceptable for them to make kneejerk decisions based on a cursory glance. Maybe if they read they whole manuscript they’d feel differently, but they don’t, and that’s okay. I sincerely mean that, because this is how I buy books.

Covers are a reader’s first impression. I should be able to tell from a cover something about the book’s genre and hopefully subgenre. If I’m shopping for a fun contemporary, I’m not going to take a closer look at a book with a vampire on the cover. Of course, that’s a no-brainer. It gets much more difficult.

The first mock cover for Crashing the Congressman’s Wedding featured a movie theater marquee and some other things that screamed Hollywood to me. This was in direct conflict with the small town, wrong-side-of-the-tracks storyline. Fortunately, the Crimson Romance art department listened to my concerns, and a new—perfect—cover was born. If the book had been published with the first cover, I would’ve anticipated some negative feedback from people expecting a Hollywood, movie setting.

The bottom line is, covers are important, because they set expectations. Should they be the sole reason a reader buys a book? Probably not. But I’ve been guilty of it before, and I’m sure I’ll be guilty of it again.

How about you? Have you ever bought a book based on the cover only to be terribly disappointed because the story didn’t match? Do you have a favorite cover? I’d love to know! And please, while you’re here, don’t forget to enter the contest. Thanks so much! I hope you’ll give Crashing the Congressman’s Wedding a shot.