Friday, August 4, 2017

Can't Hardly Breathe Review

Can't Hardly Breathe was such a fun book for me! I've been in a bit of a reading slump so I decided to pick up  this book. I'm a sucker for romance novels, even the cheesy ones. This book was far from cheesy. I loved every minute of it. 

The book starts out sharing a glimpse into Dorothea (don't call her Dottie!) and Daniel's past. Beginning the story the way she did, I think Gena Showalter set the tone for the rest of the book very well. Dorothea is tough as nails but because of things in her past, she has convinced herself otherwise. Her self-esteem is lower than lower as we meet the present Dorothea. It's very easy to relate to and sympathize with her. Who hasn't had  a moment of feeling like they weren't worthy? 

One of my favorite things about this book is that Dorothea doesn't just think she's not the traditional standard of beautiful, she really isn't. Every guy in town isn't falling all over themselves for her attention. Well, not at first, anyway. She's beautiful to Daniel. He sees her in a way that the other characters in the book don't and while it thrills Dorothea, it scares her too. Throughout the book her confidence and self-worth grows as she grows as a person. She finally breaks out of the shell she's been living in and makes an effort to live in the real world, even when it's hard and scary. 
The characters are fleshed out well. Most of the focus is on Dorothea and Daniel but you do get a glimpse into the personalities of the other characters and what makes them tick. It's a really good set up for the rest of the series. You learn just enough about them to keep you interested. 

I highly recommend this book. I couldn't put it down until I was finished! Gena Showalter has been added to my favorite authors list and I cannot wait to read the rest of this series! (Especially Brock, he was one of my favorite characters!) 

Monday, July 24, 2017

I'm back. For good this time.

You can see from my post history that this blog hasn't been active in almost two years. 

I created this blog, and Ella, in hopes of having an outlet for my writing and reading that I didn't have to explain to anyone. Ella wasn't me. I wasn't Ella. She could do and say things that I was too afraid to for fear of judgement from certain people in my life. I let that fear drive me from the point of creating Ella to near insanity. 

I wanted to separate my writing from my real life. There's so much inside my head that I'd like to write out and even publish but I didn't want my name attached to it. A pen name seemed appropriate and Ella was born. I spent my time reading and reviewing books in hopes that it would help me learn more about different writing styles and techniques. Instead of taking notes, I used it as a distraction from everything else in my world. I was literally hiding myself away from the world behind a stack of books. 

I did eventually reveal to family and friends that I was Ella after I wrote the Book. I hate it so much that I don't even refer to it by name now. It's just the Book, as if it were a tragic accident. Sometimes, I really think it was. I tried to pretend that I was proud of the work that I'd done and published and put out into the world. I tried to promote it and accept criticism and compliments gracefully. All while I was dying inside. It was terrible. If it had been a book I was reviewing, it would have been marked a HUGE DNF. 

I was spiraling deeper and deeper into depression not just from my writing but from everything around me. I was trying so hard to be a good mother, a good wife, a good friend, the list goes on. I was caring so much for other people in my life that I neglected every aspect of myself. Myself was no long a "self". I was just  shell that was so close to broken that I could feel myself cracking. I let the weight of caring for others, worrying after others, worrying what others thought of me, consume me. I let all of that completely strip me of who I was and what I cared about. I had abandoned my ship and was treading water after everyone else's boat. 

Living life with mental illness is very hard. Even when it's treated, it's still a struggle. Living life with several other people who also suffer from severe mental illnesses, both treated and untreated, can sometimes make life a living hell. 

I have taken control back over myself and have been making it a point to take time out for myself for things that I enjoy. I've started back writing and reading. Book reviews should be posted soon. I refuse to let myself get back to such a broken place. I also refuse to let other peoples' opinions dictate how I live my life. 

From now on I will be writing and posting under my real name, Tiffany. So if you see a strange new name, that's me. Ella has been put on a shelf for the time being. Maybe I'll bring her back out in the form of a character in a story I write. 

Stick around. I promise I won't disappear this time!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Dude, I'm a workaholic, what about you? 
Ever wondered how to stay sane, productive and creative at the same time? 
I’d already done this hard quest, so let me share my findings — a bunch of things that proved to make me a happier, healthier and more successful freelancer. 

This is not a guide like "how to become rich designing" — as there are many, and money alone can't make you any happier. Instead, it's simple, actionable advice to help find and utilize some excess energy that you could use to make any kind of change in your life. It can be working more effective, earning more money, or making your life more enjoyable itself. 
It’s not a diet, an exercise plan or productivity system. Instead, it’s a number of tips, tricks, algorithms and some thought behind them to help you form your own system in every possible area of personal change. 

So if you’ll read the guide and follow at least some advice, expect to: 
— Become less anxious and befriend fears 
— Optimize time and energy spending. 
— Become more focused and work more effectively. 
— Sleep better using less sleep time. 
— Feel yourself happier and more confident. 
— Have a much better life/work balance.

Free on Amazon until October 16th!! 

About the Author: 

I’m a 31-year old web and app designer from a cold town of Irkutsk, Russia, writing about freelance, motivation, time management and alike.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015


The Rotten Food Cookbook

The Rotten Food Cookbook is a parody cookbook with each recipe a food poisoning disaster. Through blatant mistakes and bad puns, the reader is exposed to numerous potential kitchen disasters, and then given a food safety tip on how to avoid the problem.

The book is primarily aimed at anyone in the hospitality industry, but there is a challenge in the book for everyone.

Purchase The Rotten Food Cook Book

About the Author

 I am an Australian and live in Sydney. I have been running my own business for 15 years and the book and a father for 21. This book has allowed me to merge my business experience with my "dad jokes". Once upon a time I was an engineer but now have trouble spelling it.

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Monday, October 12, 2015


Enter to Win a Gifted Ebook Copy of 

Madison Collins
Self Published

A standalone taboo romance. No cliffhanger. 18+

On the way to our parents wedding in the mountains, the mother of all snow storms attacks, leaving me stranded in a remote cabin with my new stepbrother.

My hot as hell, I-need-to-change-my-panties because-they’re-soaked, cocky asshole of a stepbrother, Bentley McAllister.

The kicker of it all?

The only items he's packed are liquor and condoms, and he’s looking at me like he wants to put both to good use.

My name is Sierra, and my libido can only take so much.

Send help!


“Listen, princess.” I lift her chin toward mine, meeting this gorgeous big blue eyes.  “I’m not sure if you noticed, but we’re stranded together in the middle of fucking nowhere, with only each other to count on.  You can fight me all you want, but there’s one thing you need to understand.  I’m going to protect you.  I’m going to take care of you.  And in case you haven’t noticed, I’m six-foot-four, and probably have a hundred pounds on you.  My body is going to produce a lot more heat than yours.  Now calm the fuck down, and let me get you warm.  Got it, sweetheart?”  Her fighting stops immediately.
She nods, coyly, blinking those baby blues at me, all of her fight disappearing.  “Got it.” Her voice is small, and I suddenly feel like a dick.
“Good. Glad we’re on the same page.” I tug her body closer so we’re pressed tightly together, and I hold her to my chest, wrapping her in my arms. A contented little sigh escapes her lips. The top of her head doesn’t even reach my chin. She packs a lot of sass for such a small thing.  I inhale, and breathe in the scent of her shampoo. The smell of vanilla and lavender fill my nose.  Damn, who knew that combination could be so perfect?  It’s intoxicating and I can feel my body slowly start to react to the smell and the images my mind starts to produce.  The way her slight curves mold to my body serves to warm me up pretty damn quick. 

***Disclaimer: I received this book via Tasty Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. Any thoughts and opinions are my own.***

Stranded with My Stepbrother is a quick novella about Sierra and her soon-to-be stepbrother, Bentley. This subject is a little on the taboo side but not too much since they weren't raised as brother and sister and aren't even related by marriage yet at the beginning of the story. 

I liked both of the characters, and they were well-written, but I feel like there were some things missing to their story. Sierra has a lot of anger towards Bentley at the beginning of the story but it is very unclear as to why she is so angry with him. I feel like there maybe should have been a little bit more of a backstory. 

The chemistry between the two of them is palpable and sexy. The actual sex scenes were steamy and I loved their first time being written from the male POV. It gave things a different perspective and is not something that is very common in stories like this. 

I give this book a solid 3 stars. I would like to give more but I think Ms. Collins needs to have the book read through again by her editor, there were quite a few typos which can sometimes make it hard to read. I also would have liked to have seen a little bit more of a backstory or some kind of other character development in order to connect with the characters a little better. Overall though, it was enjoyable and incredibly sexy! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Madison Collins is the author of romantic short stories such as Caged, Stranded with My Stepbrother and the upcoming Monster Prick. She enjoys the occasional stiff cocktail, and watching romantic comedies. Most days you can find her curled up with a good book. She currently resides in New Jersey.

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Friday, October 9, 2015


In honor of the paperback release of Tracy Manaster's amazing book You Could Be Home By Now, the wonderful people at F+W Media have allowed me to give away TWO copies of this book! 

You can read my review of You Could Be Home By Now here!


Excerpted from You Could Be Home By Now Copyright © by Tracy Manaster and published by F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Down below, the runner veered off the path and ran through the sprinkler. She stopped, resecured her ponytail, then made for a prickly clump of succulents. She’d probably appreciate the Fixit. Everyone did (well, everyone minus one). They were funny, yeah, but they were meant to help. Look better, feel better, be better. It was as simple as that. Like Sierra said: the most noble and magnanimous Headmistress Brecken should have given her community service credit instead of summoning her parents. But no one would listen that day in la Brecken’s office. Lily wasn’t picking on anyone. She didn’t go around looking for Fixits. Girls sent in their own pictures. And she was careful. She’d listened to the bajillion assemblies on Internet predators. The policy was right there on her blog. She’d only consider photos with the heads cropped off.

Another Visiting Grandchild, a little-kid version, had appeared in the hot tub courtyard. They should exchange cards. He walked robot style, knees locked. Between the goosesteps and his bowl cut he kind of looked like a mini Hitler. He found a stick and brandished it at his reflection in the sliding glass door. He poked it at something on the ground. He tapped it against the hot tub.

Lily reached for her bag. She still had one airport magazine left. Down in his courtyard, Der Führer stood on a picnic bench and jumped.

Lily flipped through a couple of pages then tossed the stupid thing. It skidded across the roof. Mom had given her a fat stack of magazines when they’d said goodbye at airport security, like what was eating Lily alive was a dearth of articles on how to perfect your cat-eye liner. The beauty tips weren’t the point. Her blog could be about the mating cycles of fruit bats. The point was, Lily had friends. Saintblonde lived all the way in Tampa and wanted Lily’s opinion on what haircut to get. Fizzimiss was from somewhere in Arizona and if Lily didn’t ping her to let her know that she was nearby and eminently visit-worthy then she really would be as snotty and shallow as all of a sudden everyone was convinced she was.

Dad had said they weren’t real people. He’d joked about outgrowing imaginary friends.

No. The person who wasn’t a real person was her mystery classmate, Anonymous Crybaby VonFragilekins.

This time, Der Führer climbed onto the table to jump. He stuck the landing.

Lily hadn’t even had the chance to face her accuser.

Headmistress Brecken identified her as a classmate-whose-image-you-appropriated-without-her -knowledge-or-consent.

A classmate-who-you-then-held-up-for-public-ridicule. As I’m sure you’re aware, Miss Birnam, we expect better of our student citizens.

Lily hadn’t even known the girl went to Day.

She hadn’t been wearing her uniform or anything, and the image arrived in her inbox pre-cropped.

Der Führer was back on the picnic table. He made a running start.

Lily shifted, chin in her hands.

Three stupid paragraphs and boom. Goodbye, two years of work. Auf wiedersehen, au revoir, and sayonara, international following. Not to mention two weeks’ grounding and total technological confiscation.

She wasn’t mean. Ever. She had a rule. Only criticize what a girl can actually change.

And there’d been compliments in the Fixit in question.

First things first, chickie-dee: can the lace collar and the cutesy little cap sleeves. You’re not ten. Obviously. We can all see the Boob Fairy thought you were a very good girl. If you weren’t wearing a blouse like a first grader in the Thanksgiving pageant, everyone here would be dead of envy.

Second, the Boob Fairy was generous but she forgot to leave an instruction manual. Your bra strap is showing. Bonus points for purple though. Is that satin? I wish more readers had your guts.

Third, I’m worried about your necklace. Points for taking on that whole charm and bauble boho thing, but between you and me and the Internet it looks a little bit Etsy.

Lily frowned and watched Der Führer jump again, his thin arms flapping. He landed on the hot tub cover, but only barely. He toppled off, stood, wiped his palms on his shorts, and climbed right back up to try again. Talk about easily amused.

She took another swig of water.

Sierra said she was lucky. Anyone else would be suspended for sure, but nothing’s going to stick to you for long. Nothing scares the trustees like the prospect of a big fat lesbian lawsuit. Be all angel food cake and they’ll let you up again in no time. That sounded a bit optimistic to Lily, but she didn’t say so. Sierra probably felt guilty.

The Boob Fairy had been her invention. Lily’d balked about posting it but Sierra said no, it was hilarious. She even drew a cartoon Boob Fairy for Lily’s locker.

Down in the courtyard, Der Führer missed the hot tub. He landed square on his butt. A shocked, solid breath escaped.

Lily stood and checked the back of her legs for color, pressing a finger to the flesh of her calf. The white mark flared then faded. It was a hundred and eighty degrees today and, in the absence of her iPhone, terminally boring to lie out. She’d stay for ten more little Hitler jumps and then head in. The kid positioned himself and ran. He cleared the space between table and hot tub, landed, and let out a small cheer.

The ponytailed runner circled by once more.

Der Führer made another headlong start. Another perfect landing, maybe half a foot beyond the lip of the hot tub cover. She should start holding up cards, awarding points out of ten.

Or not, bearing in mind what happened the last time she made any kind of critique.

Der Führer scrambled back into position. His feet pounded down the length of the table and he hurled himself into the air. His landing was a bit off. He wobbled backward and then overcorrected.

He staggered toward the tub’s center.

Then he was gone.

The hot tub cover collapsed in a brutal V.

Every hair on Lily’s body stood straight. “Hey, kid,” she called down. Her hand went by instinct to her hip, but she didn’t have pants and didn’t have a pocket and she didn’t have a goddamn phone. The day went wonky. All the colors crisped. She’d taken the Red Cross babysitting class. A little card in her wallet said she knew CPR, but all she could recall was the dummy’s plastic lips, their red worn away in patches.

“Kid!” she called again.

She saw a small sneakered foot and pulsed with bright relief.

Then the foot twitched and she worked out the physics. If it was above water then the rest of him was under.

Her bones went hollow. She made it off the roof, and then into her grandmother’s kitchen. There was no phone anywhere. She checked the living room. The bedroom. The weird little desk alcove where she spied one beneath a sheaf of papers. That kid. That poor kid. The time she had cost him. She should have had her cell. The landline buttons sank in when she pushed them, nine then one then one. The phone was blue, with a blue tangle of cord. There was an impossible amount of wire involved in getting the signal out.

All you have to do in order to win is leave a comment below telling me why YOU should be the winner! I'll choose two people at random and announce the winner next Friday! 

**Must live in US or Canada in order to win**

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