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Monday, December 31, 2012

Wrapping up 2012

The last couple of weeks have been busy with visiting extended family, celebrating Christmas, and dealing with illness (there's nothing like having nasty colds and the flu during the holidays).

I was able to get some reading in, and really enjoyed book five of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girl series, Out of Sight, Out of Time. It started out so intense-much more so than these books have been. There were ups and downs, along with twists, and after awhile some of the usual humor joined the story. This is such an excellent series, and I was very excited to read author Ally Carter's news that her Gallagher Girls/Heist Society crossover novella eBook, Double Crossed, will be available on January 22nd for FREE.

I also enjoyed C.J. Hill's new novel, Erasing Time. It's sci-fi, which isn't a genre I spend much time in, but the time travel, futuristic society, and the relationship between twins made for an entertaining read.

I also read a cute novella by Heather Horrocks called Pride and Precipitation. The news station setting and meteorologist character were unique. It was a quick read with a clean romance.

Expanding this review blog to Facebook and Twitter has been fun. Thanks to all of the new followers this year! I hope you are getting some good ideas about books you'd like to read.

Also, a big thank you to the authors who write great stories and keep them clean! Keep up the good work!

I hope everyone has had an enjoyable holiday, and that you have a wonderful New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Review: Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover & Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter

I love spreading the word about good books, especially at my local bookmobile library. They now have several more Ally Carter books in their collection, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading books three and four in the Gallagher Girls series.

This is a great YA spy series. There are some intense moments, but that is balanced with humor that keeps things from getting too heavy. These two books introduce us to a mysterious new organization. There's lots of action, and you don't know who you can trust. Plus, there's a bit of romance sprinkled in.

Very fun and entertaining!

When Cammie "The Chameleon" Morgan visits her roommate Macey in Boston, she thinks she's in for an exciting end to her summer break. After all, she's there to watch Macey's father accept the nomination for vice president of the United States. But when you go to the world's best school (for spies), "exciting" and "deadly" are never far apart. Cammie and Macey soon find themselves trapped in a kidnappers' plot, with only their espionage skills to save them.

As her junior year begins, Cammie can't shake the memory of what happened in Boston, and even the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women doesn't feel like the safe haven it once did. Shocking secrets and old flames seem to lurk around every one of the mansion's corners as Cammie and her friends struggle to answer the questions, Who is after Macey? And how can the Gallagher Girls keep her safe?

Soon Cammie is joining Bex and Liz as Macey's private security team on the campaign trail. The girls must use their spy training at every turn as the stakes are raised, and Cammie gets closer and closer to the shocking truth.


When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when Cammie faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.

Now the danger follows her everywhere, and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most-trusted allies is actually a rogue double-agent, Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers—or even her own heart.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review: Lady Outlaw by Stacy Henrie

No one would ever imagine a fresh-faced young woman could be robbing stage bandits of their ill-gotten fortunes. But Jennie Jones is desperate to save her family's ranch from foreclosure. And the risks seem worth it, until her upright new ranch hand offers a glimpse of how much is really at stake.

Former bounty hunter Caleb Johnson is ready for a new, clean start. With a woman like Jennie, he could build a future there in Utah territory. But only if his gentle faith can guide her in a choice between the land she's fought so hard to save and a future by his side.

I was a little skeptical about Lady Outlaw when I saw that it is a Harlequin novel, but apparently this is an "inspirational, love inspired historical" line that I didn't know existed amongst the Harlequin titles. It is a clean book, and captured my attention right away with its unlikely criminal and the somewhat familiar setting.

I enjoyed the characters, and my curiosity about Jennie being able to leave her life of crime kept me reading even when my attention waned around the middle of the book.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review: Feedback by Robison Wells

Benson Fisher escaped from Maxfield Academy’s deadly rules and brutal gangs.

Or so he thought.

But now Benson is trapped in a different kind of prison: a town filled with hauntingly familiar faces. People from Maxfield he saw die. Friends he was afraid he had killed.

They are all pawns in the school’s twisted experiment, held captive and controlled by an unseen force. As he searches for answers, Benson discovers that Maxfield Academy’s plans are more sinister than anything he imagined—and they may be impossible to stop.


I really liked Variant and was quite excited to finally get my hands on a copy of its sequel, Feedback. Perhaps I should have re-read Variant before reading Feedback, but as it was, I was somewhat disappointed. Not much seemed to happen in book two. It also has quite a bit of swearing and violence. The story isn't over yet though, so even with the negatives, I'm still interested in finding out who is behind Maxfield Academy, and how Benson will work everything out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review: Smart Move by Melanie Jacobson

Smart Move is similar to Melanie Jacobson's other romantic comedies, and while I liked it, I think I would have enjoyed it a little more if I had re-read Twitterpated just before reading this. Smart Move's main character, Sandy, is the roommate of the main character in Twitterpated and quite a few references are made to people and events in the other book.

Sandy has recently moved from Seattle to Washington D.C. to work for a non-profit that helps women in poverty. The move was just one of several big life changes for Sandy, and while she's happy with the changes, she has a major challenge at her new job-dealing with Jake, the attorney representing a group that is against New Horizons opening a new location.

I wasn't totally in love with Sandy or Jake, but their story is entertaining. The resolution to the conflict is happy, even though I wasn't quite sure what to think of Jake at the end.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Winner of An Unexpected Angel

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulation to NaDell for winning the copy of An Unexpected Angel by Janet K. Halling.

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway. Be sure to check back often for more giveaways.

Review: Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Several of my friends have read Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and really liked it, so I thought I'd give it a try. It is a touching story about a Chinese-American who grew up in Seattle during World War II. The pacing was on the slow side (at least initially), but the information about Asian prejudices during that time and Japanese interment camps was very interesting.

Henry was a fascinating character. He went to an all-white school, and his father only allowed him to speak English at home (even though his parents didn't know very much English). Henry's father also made him wear a button that said "I am Chinese". With all of the hate toward Japanese, the button was helpful at times, although Henry didn't like having to wear it.

Henry befriends a girl at his school who is also there on scholarship. Keiko has Japanese ancestry, and Henry has to hide his relationship from his anti-Japanese father.

Henry's relationship with his parents, especially his father, was complex. For the most part it was really sad, especially where Henry's father wouldn't look past his prejudices.

The story moves back and forth from the 1940s to the 1980s. Some of the details included in the 1980s seemed a little off, or at least uncommon, but I still really enjoyed the overall story. It was eye opening and I'd recommend it if you like historical fiction.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cover Reveal: Free Souls by Susan Kaye Quinn

Free Souls by Susan Kaye Quinn
(Book Three of the Mindjack Trilogy) Now Available!
When your mind is a weapon, freedom comes at a price.
Four months have passed since Kira left home to join Julian’s Jacker Freedom Alliance, but the hole in her heart still whistles empty where her boyfriend Raf used to be. She fills it with weapons training, JFA patrols, and an obsessive hunt for FBI agent Kestrel, ignoring Julian’s worries about her safety and repeated attempts to recruit her for his revolutionary chat-casts. When anti-jacker politician Vellus surrounds Jackertown with the National Guard, Kira discovers there’s more to Julian’s concerns than she knew, but she’s forced to take on a mission that neither want and that might be her last: assassinating Senator Vellus before he can snuff out Julian’s revolution and the jackers she’s come to love.

All of the Mindjack stories are available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and iTunes (Note Free Souls is not yet available on Kobo or iTunes)

Early Praise for Free Souls
“Quinn paints a picture of a not-too-distant America where politicians inflame the hatred of one section of the populace for another—all for their own gain—and you worry that her world is not so far off from our own.”
Dianne Salerni, author of We Hear the Dead, The Caged Graves, and the forthcoming The Eighth Day

"Free Souls starts with a bang and doesn't let up. Like a mash-up of all your favorite science-fiction adventures from Star Wars to The Legend of Korra, it blends nonstop action, nail-biting escapes, and great romance. I absolutely loved it! A great series conclusion—a must-read."
Leigh Talbert Moore, author of Rouge and The Truth About Faking

“Susan did it again. Free Souls was WOW! I expected Kira to step up to her role as heroine but not like this. Surprises kept coming until the very end which tied up more loose ends than I knew existed. Warning: Don't start reading until you have time to finish. I didn't want to put Free Souls down for a second. It's that kind of book.”
Sher A. Hart, Goodreads Review

Interview 
Susan's over at Amy Saunder's blog today (12.14.12), answering questions about how she came up with the mages' abilities, what kind of mage she would be, and all about her future works.  

Digital Box Set 
Since Free Souls is out, there is now a Digital Box Set of the Mindjack Trilogy for those of you who want the whole series!
Available on AmazonBarnes&Noble

Mindjack Origins Collection 
Want more Julian? Wondering how Sasha's ability really works? Looking for EXCLUSIVE DELETED SCENES from Free Souls? This collection of novellas, scenes, and other goodies is for those craving a bit more of the characters and drama of the Mindjack series.
Includes: Mindjack Novellas Mind Games (Raf's story) The Handler (Julian's story) The Scribe (Sasha's story) TWO EXCLUSIVE DELETED SCENES from Free Souls (published nowhere else!) PLUS Mindjack flash fiction, an (imaginary) conversation between Raf and Julian, and other goodies for readers who want just a little bit more of Kira, Julian, Raf, and the Mindjack crew.
Available on AmazonBarnes&Noble
ENTER TO WIN one of FIVE ecopies of the Mindjack Origins Collection
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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sally Smith O'Rourke Book Blast


Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen

Was Mr. Darcy real? Is time travel really possible? For pragmatic Manhattan artist Eliza Knight the answer to both questions is absolutely, Yes! And Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley Farms, Virginia is the reason why!

His tale of love and romance in Regency England leaves Eliza in no doubt that Fitz Darcy is the embodiment of Jane Austen’s legendary hero. And she’s falling in love with him. But can the man who loved the inimitable Jane Austen ever love average, ordinary Eliza Knight?

Eliza’s doubts grow, perhaps out of proportion, when things start to happen in the quiet hamlet of Chawton, England; events that could change everything. Will the beloved author become the wedge that divides Fitz and Eliza or the tie that binds them?






Praise for Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen

O’Rourke’s sequel to The Man Who Loved Jane Austen brings the reader a skillfully choreographed romance and smartly old-fashioned love story that is poignant and completely enthralling, while being laden with well-researched details to satisfy any Austen fan.
~Regina Jeffers


Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen is a sweet Austen related romance with a time travel twist.
I felt the author captured Jane Austen's voice very well and I enjoyed reading her thoughts and reactions as the story flowed.
~Naida the Bookworm

Imaginative, fresh and endearing. Well done!
~Ann Channon (Jane Austen House Museum)



Purchase




Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage

With its rough gray shingles and weathered slate roof, Sea Pines cottage seems, at first glance, past its prime. But inside this remote fisherman's house, a driftwood fire crackles in the fireplace, brightly colored rugs cover the floor, and cozy cushions dot the worn, welcoming furniture. A young man named Robert has retreated after the war, planning to spend his days writing, tending to the local lighthouse, and nursing his injuries. For company, he adopts a young Golden Retriever puppy named Meteor.

Robert and Meteor spend months in quiet companionship, until the day Robert rescues a young woman from a storm at sea. Strong-willed and intelligent, Laura sees past Robert's injuries to the proud, passionate man beneath, and--with some matchmaking help from Meteor--they begin a new life together at the cottage. But even Meteor's tireless devotion can't protect his cherished family from all of life's unexpected challenges--hurdles that will teach each of them lessons of courage, faith, friendship, and the enduring love that can sustain us through life's coldest seasons. 






Praise for Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage

This story is unashamedly a sweet love story, perfect for a Christmas read, and will bring a tear to the eye of even the most cynical of us!
~Anne

I just knew from the moment I read the forward that this was going to be a very sweet and touching story. And I was right!
~Sophia Rose
Purchase




Author Sally Smith O'Rourke

Sally Smith O’Rourke is a surgical scrub nurse at the City of Hope national cancer research hospital in Duarte, California and resides in the near-by Victorian village of Monrovia.

With her late husband, author Michael O’Rourke (aka F.M. O’Rourke) Smith O’Rourke owned and operated a medical advertising company where she used her diverse talents to produce and co-write teaching films and videos. Working not only with major medical and surgical manufacturing companies but also network television. These endeavors ultimately led to a collaboration on two feature films (direct to video) and three published novels.

The wife and husband writing team of Sally Smith and Michael O’Rourke, being long-time fans of Jane Austen, wrote The Man Who Loved Jane Austen released by Kensington Books in 2006. Kensington followed that very successful effort with The Maidenstone Lighthouse in 2007 and Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage in 2009, both also collaborative projects by Smith and O’Rourke. Published after her partner and spouse’s untimely death in 2001, the publisher chose not to use the names Michael O’Rourke and Sally Smith (as the manuscripts were presented), releasing all three books under Sally Smith O’Rourke.

Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen is Sally Smith O’Rourke’s first solo novel.


Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter 





$50 Book Blast Giveaway
Ends 12/23/12

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway: All I Want by Jolene Perry, Kaylee Baldwin and Rachael Anderson

Tour Schedule


ALL I WANT

THREE STORIES. THREE COUPLES. ONE HOLIDAY.

Pretty Near Perfect

by Jolene Perry

The last thing Norah needs is to be attracted to anyone – especially in her deceased fiancé's parents' home. Collin’s starting a new career, and has no business getting involved – especially while staying with his roommate’s family, who very kindly offered to take him in for the holidays. Unfortunately, you just don’t always pick the most convenient time and place to fall for someone.


Six Days of Christmas
by Kaylee Baldwin

When Natalie goes home with her best friend for Christmas, she expects plenty of quiet time to work on a winning ad so she can turn her dream internship into her dream job. Instead, she gets time-consuming Christmas festivities, a house full of children, and Jimmy, her best friend’s brother - someone who makes her question everything she’s always thought she wanted.


Twist of Fate
by Rachael Anderson

When a postcard meant for Kenzie winds up in Ty's mailbox, Ty's faced with a decision. Should he tell her that her fiancé is breaking up with her and let it ruin her favorite holiday, or should he do what he’s wanted to do since he met her - make a move and hope that he can win her over before she discovers there won’t be a wedding after all.

My Review:

I'll admit that I was a bit worried going into All I Want that the short stories might feel a bit rushed, but my worry was quickly tossed out the window. I found three fantastic short stories! While some of the romances came on quickly, they didn't feel rushed, and enough time was given to each of the stories for a satisfying, happy ending.

I already knew that Rachael Anderson could write a great story, but this was my first time reading stories by Jolene Perry and Kaylee Baldwin. If their other stories are anything like Pretty Near Perfect and Six Days of Christmas, I'm excited to read them.

If you are looking for some sweet, clean Christmas romances, don't miss All I Want.




Author Jolene Perry

Jolene Perry is an enigmatic figure. She is most often seen behind her laptop, staring at the words flying onto the screen with reckless abandon.

She survived growing up in rural Alaska, driving like a lunatic, and her husband’s careers in the military, as a perpetual student, and an Alaska State Prosecutor. She also survived as a middle school math teacher using her degree of Political Science and French.

One day Jolene was playing her guitar (probably some-thing juvenile for her kids) when she wondered what it would be like to write a song for a rockstar, and her first book was born. (that book is shelved)

She now lives a very glamorous life as a stay at home mom, elbow deep in dirty dishes and peanut butter sandwiches. She doesn’t even attempt to keep up with the laundry because non-writing time is precious, and her family is sorta awesome.

Links:


Author Rachael Anderson

Rachael Anderson is the author of four contemporary romances: Divinely Designed, Luck of the Draw, Minor Adjustments, and The Reluctant Bachelorette. She's the mother of four, can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.


Links:


Author Kaylee Baldwin

I grew up in Mesa, Arizona, and graduated from Arizona State University

with a degree in English literature.
I currently live in southern Arizona with my husband, Jeremy, and our three children. When I am not writing, I enjoy reading, starting new craft projects, and spending time with my family.


Links:




Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card
Ends 12/24/12

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Blog Tour Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: For What it's Worth by Karey White

Tour Schedule


Twenty-four year-old, Abby Benson has dreams of owning her own wedding cake shop. An inheritance from her aunt gives her the ability to make those dreams come true. She hires Dane, a handsome contractor, to help her get the bakery up and running and soon they’re moving toward their own happy ending.

Unsure what to charge for her cakes, Abby has a crazy idea to let the customer decide what they think their cake is worth. This plan has its ups and downs, but the novelty of the idea makes her a local celebrity. When she is interviewed on television about the unusual idea, business booms and Abby has cake adventures she never dreamed possible. But as her fame grows, Abby is swept up in a whirlwind that threatens everything she values. With the challenges that face her, will she be able to determine what is worth the most?


My Review:

For What It's Worth is a sweet LDS romance and a quick, clean read. It was fairly realistic, and I found myself being able to relate to Abby several times. I went through many emotions while reading, and I really liked the message about evaluating what things are really worth, and getting our priorities in line.

At one point early on in the book Abby gets a phone call from a guy she'd been on a date with. He asks her if she can remember the name of their waitress because he wants to ask her out. I laughed out loud at this point, and remembered a similar situation that happened to me in high school. Some guys are totally clueless. ;)

Although the resolution was somewhat rushed, I liked the end result. I also thought the inclusion of delicious sounding recipes at the beginning of most of the chapters was fun.


Excerpt:

               “Wow, Abby,” Kate said, looking around the room. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a prettier bakery. You must be so excited.”

                I sat up straight and turned to face her. “I’m scared to death. What if I have something this good and I mess it up?”

                “You’re not going to mess it up. Look at what you’ve done so far. Look at those.” She pointed at the cakes across the room. “You were born to do this.”

                “I know how to make a cake, but I’ve never run a business before. I’m afraid I’ll blow it.”

                Kate grabbed my hand. “Listen, Abby, you’ll learn as you go. Of course, you’ll make mistakes, but you’ll figure it out. You’re hardworking and smart. Aunt Grace knew that. We all know it. Have faith in yourself!”

                I squeezed her hand tightly. Not only was she a good sister, she was also my best friend and my very own cheerleader. “You’re right. I’ll be fine.” I was speaking more to myself than to Kate.




Purchase


Book Trailer


About Author Karey White:

Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.


Links


Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card + A Copy of For What It's Worth
Paperback available to US only, Ebook Available Internationally

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 10, 2012

Blog Tour, Author Interview and Giveaway: An Unexpected Angel by Janet K. Halling

Tour Schedule
If you are looking for a sweet Christmas story to add to your holiday reading list, consider An Unexpected Angel. It is reminiscent of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and this heartfelt story reminds us about the importance of family and helping others. Enter the giveaway at the end of this post for a chance to win a signed copy of An Unexpected Angel.

About the Book:

Sometimes finding peace means finding a difference perspective.

Ella Davies, is focused, independent, and driven. Her hard work is finally paying off and she is on the brink of great success. But what no one knows is that her frantic drive is born not from a desire to succeed, but from a need to forget – forget her past, forget her guilt, and mostly, forget the tragedy that changed her life forever.

Ella’s strategy seems to be working but on Christmas Eve she meets Cohen, a strange man with an even stranger purpose. Cohen catapults Ella back through time and forces her to confront not only her own pain, but the pain of those long since passed. In the process, Ella learns about courage and compassion and that in the darkest hour, no one is ever alone.

You can read an excerpt from An Unexpected Angel by clicking the button:




Book Trailer:




Interview with Author Janet Halling:


*What inspired you to write An Unexpected Angel?

There were a couple of experiences that helped to inspire me but one was when I was in New York City in December. We’d spent the day shopping and had been all over – Rockefeller Center, Tiffany’s, Saks, FAO Schwartz...everything was decorated to the hilt, of course. It was quite late and we were walking back to our hotel and I looked up into the lit windows of the skyscrapers and could see people who were obviously still at work. Here was all this revelry going on below and they were working. So the story grew from there and opens with Ella working late on Christmas Eve.

*Who is your favorite character in your book?

Matthew

*How did you decide to pick New York City as the main setting in your story, and have you lived or visited there?

New York has always represented the top of the pile in a lot of things. The whole “If I can make it there...” idea. So Ella is there and she’s got a good job and a nice apartment – everything she thinks she wants. She should be happy, but she isn’t. That’s when Cohen shows up and makes her reevaluate her priorities and find her new perspective.

*What would you say was the high and low of becoming published?

The absolute high is when you get that call or that email telling you the publisher wants your manuscript. The low has been waiting so long to see it in print. An Unexpected Angel was accepted for publication over a year ago but not in enough time to get it out for last year’s holiday season. So waiting an entire year has been...not hard, just kind of long!

*What are your hopes/goals as an author, and what other projects do you have in mind?

Obviously one of my goals is to be able to make a living as an author. I’m not there yet! Another goal is to write things that are meaningful. I want my readers to be able to connect with my stories, I want them to matter.

Right now I’m working on a YA trilogy. The working title is Shadows Rising, but that could change. No vampires though – I promise!

*Do you have any unusual habits while you write?

I do my writing on a PC but most of my development on paper. I scribble down everything – story ideas, plot outline, characterizations, timeline, settings, any complications I can think of, etc. I go through lots of paper and it’s always colored paper. Right now it’s blue but I’ll probably switch to pink pretty soon because I’m getting tired of the blue.

*What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I have four children and a day job so I don’t have a lot of free time, but when I do, I like to read (of course), sew, run, and spend time with my friends and family. I love to travel but haven’t done nearly as much as I’d like.

*What is your favorite book, and why?

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. I love the characters and I especially love the way Jane and Rochester interact.

*What would you say is the best book to movie adaptation?

The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In a lot of ways I think the movies are better than the books since they are more character focused.

About the Author:

Janet Halling discovered her love of writing at the age of six when her story of a lonely duck won a first grade writing contest. She has a BA in Marketing Communications and lives with her husband and four children in northern Utah. She is currently working on her next novel.

WebsiteFacebook | Twitter


Giveaway:

Janet will be sending one hard copy of An Unexpected Angel to a lucky Literary Time Out follower. To enter, use the Rafflecopter form. The giveaway is open through December 16th, and the winner will be announced on December 17th. The contest is open to those with mailing addresses in the continental United States.

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Book Blast: The Alchemists Academy by Kailin Gow

The Alchemists Academy Book 1: Stones to Ashes by Kailin Gow

What do you learn here...at the Academy? Wirt asks. Magic? The responsibility to use your powers responsibly? Uh...something like that, his roommate Spencer said. More like how to rule worlds. Wirt, is used to being shuffled from foster home to foster home, adopting a devil-may-care attitude toward the world along the way. Now he s in a school he can t escape, learning to develop his latent magical abilities, for what use, he doesn't know...to save his world or to destroy it...

Purchase


Excerpt from Stones to Ashes

Wirt screwed his eyes shut, wishing fervently that he was somewhere, anywhere else. Right now, being back with Joan and Peter was looking an awful lot more appetizing. First, though, he had to find some way to get out of here…

Wirt doubled up as his stomach suddenly cramped. For a moment, he though he had been hit, but that hypothesis went by the wayside as the feeling spread to every muscle in his body at once. As far as Wirt knew, and thanks to some of his earlier misadventures he did know, not even three people could manage to hit you everywhere simultaneously. Wirt forced his eyes open, and then quickly shut them again, because the golden radiance surrounding him was simply too bright to look though. Around him, the gasps of the three bullies were clearly audible.

“He’s glowing, Rich. Why is he glowing?”

“How should I know? Look, just grab him.”

“You grab him. He could be radioactive or something, the way he’s glowing.”

“Oh, so it’s all right for me to grab radiation boy, is it?”

The sounds of a scuffle came to Wirt, but they were quickly replaced by silence. He didn’t really care, because by now the unpleasant sensation running through his body had reached unbearable levels, feeling as though every scrap of him were being pulled in a different direction.

As suddenly as it had come, the sensation passed. Wirt had to concentrate just to breathe, and he stood like that for long seconds. He didn’t dare open his eyes, at least until it occurred to him that the three older boys might still be there waiting to hit him. That made his eyes snap open so quickly that for a second he couldn’t make sense of anything around him. When he did, Wirt took a step back, and that itself was surprising enough, given that there should have been a chain link fence in the way. Instead, he was standing in the middle of a field, with no sign of any fences anywhere in sight.


The Alchemists Academy Book 2: Elemental Explosions by Kailin Gow

A new student has entered The Alchemists Academy, and he brings with him an explosive power that threatens the Academy and the legend of Merlin. Wirt thought he was the only bad boy at the Academy, but he was wrong. Not only is Roland Black worse than Wirt, but a new teacher had replaced one of their beloved teachers, and she has more planned for Wirt and his friends than just lesson plans. Alana, his crush has grown prettier, and now he is rivals for her attention with not only his best friend Spencer, but newcomer Roland, as well. On top of that, it is their second year, and the year where all the students must pass a test to move on to the Elite Class at the Academy. The Elite Class is the only class in the third year at the Academy, and the students who fail will be sent home, others will face something even deadlier.

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Excerpt from Elemental Explosions


The moment didn’t last long, and Wirt opened his gift in a shower of wrapping paper. His parents looked on, those same smiles present on their faces. He looked down into the box, only to see that it was empty. Or not quite empty. Inside was a square of paper, on which careful handwriting stood out clearly. Wirt picked it up and read the words “Merry Christmas, beloved son. You cannot see, taste, or smell your gift, but you will know it when you feel it.”

“What?” Wirt asked. “I don’t understand. Is this some sort of riddle?”

His dream mother and father didn’t say anything. They just smiled and stared at the box in a way that suggested that Wirt was missing something. Not knowing what else to do, Wirt reached down into it, searching it by feel in case there was something at the bottom that he might not have noticed.

There was. Wirt yelped as something closed around his wrist, and tried to yank his arm back. It didn’t move, and as Wirt looked down, he saw dark fingers clasped on his arm. They weren’t just dark-skinned; they were absolutely black, as though carved from onyx or jet. They were as implacable as stone too, refusing to relinquish their grip as Wirt tried to jerk away.

“Help me,” he said to his parents, but they just shook their heads sadly, staring in that way parents had that told you that whatever was happening was for your own good.

The arm pulled at Wirt, and it pulled with far more strength than Wirt had ever experienced. He tried his best to brace himself against it, but slowly, inexorably, the hand drew him towards the box. That swirled with darkness now, and Wirt got the feeling that it was suddenly far deeper than it had been a moment ago.

He found out as the hand dragged him in, though how he fit into the box, Wirt wasn’t sure. He only knew that he fell. Only after a second or two, he wasn’t falling. He was walking along a tunnel instead. The walls were of natural earth, while huge tree roots showed up at intervals like roof beams and standing stones lined the walls, marks on them seeming to tell a story that Wirt could not understand.


Author Kailin Gow

Kailin Gow is the award-winning, international bestselling author of over 80 distinct books.

Kailin Gow is also the President of a media company, a media personality, and has been writing full-time since she was first published. Holding a Masters in communications management and leadership positions in Fortune 500 corporations, she puts her leadership abilities, her experience, and desire to help others into her fiction books. As a result, she has written the forthcoming, Finding the Heroine in You book which is also a national tour. She is a mother and spends whatever spare time she has volunteering at the Red Cross, Battered Women's Shelters, and other organizations.

Currently her Frost Series is in development for a major international MMO Game, and she has over 14,000 and growing Frosters on her facebook fan page.



Links:


Tour Schedule


Book Blast $50 Giveaway Details
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 12/31/12
*You need not enter your twitter name for each entry. Simply enter it for the first person you follow and leave the others blank.

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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Friday, December 7, 2012

Review: An Unlikely Match by Sarah M. Eden

I've read several books by Sarah M. Eden, and they have been wonderfully entertaining. While I was excited to read her new novel, An Unlikely Match, I'd heard it involved a ghost, and I was having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that she'd be able to pull off one of her awesome romances when one of the main characters was dead. But, pull it off she did! An Unlikely Match totally exceeded my expectations! It was delightful, with excellent characters, and I was very happy to discover that the only possible solution to this unlikely romance was not, in fact, the only possible solution.

This is a pretty short book, but it is PACKED with emotion. I can't even described how distraught I became when it seemed that hope was lost. I also laughed many times at the banter between Nickolas and Gwen.

I will admit that the Welsh names totally threw me. I tried really hard to "pronounce" them the way they were meant to be pronounced, but that just held me up. I eventually gave up on trying to get it right so it read more smoothly. This aspect helped me bond with Nickolas a bit though (he wasn't good at Welsh either).

There is some predictability, but also some great twists. An Unlikely Match is an excellent romance that I highly recommend.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Book Blast: All I Want

ALL I WANT

THREE STORIES. THREE COUPLES. ONE HOLIDAY.

Pretty Near Perfect

by Jolene Perry

The last thing Norah needs is to be attracted to anyone – especially in her deceased fiancé's parents' home. Collin’s starting a new career, and has no business getting involved – especially while staying with his roommate’s family, who very kindly offered to take him in for the holidays. Unfortunately, you just don’t always pick the most convenient time and place to fall for someone.


Six Days of Christmas
by Kaylee Baldwin

When Natalie goes home with her best friend for Christmas, she expects plenty of quiet time to work on a winning ad so she can turn her dream internship into her dream job. Instead, she gets time-consuming Christmas festivities, a house full of children, and Jimmy, her best friend’s brother - someone who makes her question everything she’s always thought she wanted.


Twist of Fate
by Rachael Anderson

When a postcard meant for Kenzie winds up in Ty's mailbox, Ty's faced with a decision. Should he tell her that her fiancé is breaking up with her and let it ruin her favorite holiday, or should he do what he’s wanted to do since he met her - make a move and hope that he can win her over before she discovers there won’t be a wedding after all.





Author Jolene Perry

Jolene Perry is an enigmatic figure. She is most often seen behind her laptop, staring at the words flying onto the screen with reckless abandon.

She survived growing up in rural Alaska, driving like a lunatic, and her husband’s careers in the military, as a perpetual student, and an Alaska State Prosecutor. She also survived as a middle school math teacher using her degree of Political Science and French.

One day Jolene was playing her guitar (probably some-thing juvenile for her kids) when she wondered what it would be like to write a song for a rockstar, and her first book was born. (that book is shelved)

She now lives a very glamorous life as a stay at home mom, elbow deep in dirty dishes and peanut butter sandwiches. She doesn’t even attempt to keep up with the laundry because non-writing time is precious, and her family is sorta awesome.

Links:




Author Rachael Anderson

Rachael Anderson is the author of four contemporary romances: Divinely Designed, Luck of the Draw, Minor Adjustments, and The Reluctant Bachelorette. She's the mother of four, can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.


Links:




Author Kaylee Baldwin

I grew up in Mesa, Arizona, and graduated from Arizona State University

with a degree in English literature.
I currently live in southern Arizona with my husband, Jeremy, and our three children. When I am not writing, I enjoy reading, starting new craft projects, and spending time with my family.


Links:




All I Want Blog Tour
November 26th to Decmber 21st
Includes a $25 gift card giveaway

Tour Schedule





Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card of Paypal Cash
Ends 12/22/12
You need not enter your twitter name for each entry. Simply enter it when you follow the authors then you can leave the others blank.

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Book Blast: For What It's Worth by Karey White

Twenty-four year-old, Abby Benson has dreams of owning her own wedding cake shop. An inheritance from her aunt gives her the ability to make those dreams come true. She hires Dane, a handsome contractor, to help her get the bakery up and running and soon they’re moving toward their own happy ending.

Unsure what to charge for her cakes, Abby has a crazy idea to let the customer decide what they think their cake is worth. This plan has its ups and downs, but the novelty of the idea makes her a local celebrity. When she is interviewed on television about the unusual idea, business booms and Abby has cake adventures she never dreamed possible. But as her fame grows, Abby is swept up in a whirlwind that threatens everything she values. With the challenges that face her, will she be able to determine what is worth the most?

Praise for For What It's Worth


Reading Karey White’s books, like eating chocolate cake, is always satisfying and brings a smile to my face. For What It’s Worth is light, romantic, and delicious. It’s a great pleasure read. Sit down and get lost in the charming world of wedding cakes and love. As an added bonus, each chapter  starts with a recipe, so it’s a novel and cookbook all in one. A fun read!
—Teri Harman, KSL columnist, Studio 5 contributor, and author of Blood Moon, available June 22, 2013

I just loved the book – loved it. Hated putting it down and hated finishing it. Karey White is my new Maeve Binchy, her writing as warm as the bakery her novel is set in. For What It’s Worth surprised me, made me smile, say “no” out loud in a public place. I love when a character feels like my sister. I didn’t want to finish it, so now I may try the recipes that began every chapter.
—Amanda Dickson, author and radio personality

This book oozes charm, romance, and mouth-watering recipes. If you want to escape reality and curl up with a darling story, For What It’s Worth is the perfect fit. Thank you, Karey White!
—Rachael Anderson, author

This is a book worth every penny of the price. In the business of baking wedding cakes, every detail must be perfection, but this story remembers that real life is oh-so-messy. White’s clear and honest writing left me hungry for good food, a close family, and a little romance. A beautiful marriage of food, family, and faith.
—Regina Sirois, author of On Little Wings, 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award



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Book Trailer





Author Karey White


Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.


Links


Blog Tour December 2012
Tour Schedule


Book Blast Giveaway Details
$50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash from Author Karey White
Ends 12/14/12
*You need not enter your twitter name for each entry. Simply enter it when you follow Karey and leave the others blank.


Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review: The Duke's Undoing by G.G. Vandagriff

The Duke's Undoing is my first G.G. Vandagriff novel. I really like most of the regency romance novels I've read, but I have been very disappointed to find that clean regency romances are hard to come by. The Duke's Undoing has a lot of sensuality (especially in the latter part). Compared to most regency romances, it is probably tame, but while I appreciated that the characters make a huge effort to restrain their passion, their desires are no secret to the reader.

The last part of the book seemed somewhat rushed and mostly focused on passion. Prior to that, I really enjoyed Elise and Peter's story. Elise's one true love died in war, and she's had two failed engagements since then. Enter the Duke of Ruisdell (Peter, a rouge). Peter is totally wrong for Elise, but he finds himself drawn to not only her beauty, but her genuine goodness. Peter is able to protect Elise from her ex-fiancées, and through some entertaining ups and downs, they develop a relationship that draws both of them out of their tortured shells.

Entertaining story, but it would have been much better if the sensuality was toned down.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Price Drop Giveaway: Dead Running and Dying to Run by Cami Checketts

Just in Time for Christmas 
Dead Running - Dying to Run 
Price Drop & $20 Gift Card Giveaway




Dead Running

Cassidy Christensen is running.
Running from the mercenaries who killed her parents.
Running from a scheming redhead intent on making her life miserable.
Running from painful memories that sabotage her dreams of happiness.

With two very tempting men competing for her attention, she hopes she'll finally have someone to run to, but can she trust either of them? When secrets from her past threaten her family, Cassidy decides to stop running and fight for her future.

Dying to Run

Cassidy Christensen wants to run.

Captured by the traffickers who killed her mother, her only hope is Dr. Tattoo, a man she loves but nobody trusts. When she finally gets a chance to run, someone else she cares about is taken. Running might be her only chance at survival, but she won’t allow another family member to be killed in her place.

This must-read sequel to Dead Running will have you laughing, biting your nails, and hoping for more.



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Author Cami Checketts

Cami Checketts is married and the proud mother of four future WWF champions. Sometimes between being a human horse, cleaning up magic potions, and reading Bernstein Bears, she gets the chance to write fiction.

Cami graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Exercise Science. Cami teaches strength training classes at her local rec and shares healthy living tips on her fitness blog: http://fitnessformom.blogspot.com.

Cami and her family live in the beautiful Cache Valley of Northern Utah. During the two months of the year it isn't snowing, she enjoys swimming, biking, running, and water-skiing.


Links


Upcoming Blog Tour


Price Drop Giveaway!
$20 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash from Author Cami Checketts
Ends 12/23/12
Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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