Tuesday, December 30, 2014

BOOK BLAST: Game on! Never to Love and Never to Part by Tara C. MacDonald + Print Giveaway!!

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Tara will be awarding a print of local art by artist Wendy Beaver of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (North American addresses only). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Game On! Never to Part and Never to Love is an ebook with two short stories. Never to Part features Ryan almost getting run over by Sam at a bar one night. They see each other again as Ryan's hockey team is hiring her marketing firm in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. What can these two confused overachievers do when love strikes. Never to Love brings us to Halifax again where James and Sarah bump heads in a business deal to help out his motocross sponsorship prospects. Will they be able to put business aside and commit to their passions?

Enjoy an excerpt from Never to Love

James walked into the sports bar after parking his Harley and ordered a Guinness. He silently raised his glass to his ex-fiancée and her cheating ways before gulping it down.

“Another.” He tipped the bartender, a man with his eyes on the local hockey channel.

After the second one he stopped himself and wiped foam from his upper lip as he smelled expensive perfume. He watched as a blond beauty swung open an office door at the back and he heard her heels click as she descended upon the bartender. She tossed her hair and gestured wildly but the old man was ignoring her with his arms crossed. His cronies kept their eyes on the game. James glanced around and realized he was the only one in there. Maybe she was the waitress? His stomach growled and he raised his arm.

“Hey. What’s a guy got to do to get some food around here?”

The blonde turned and gripped the bar rails.

“Sir.” Her voice was like ice. “I am not the waitress. Mike here can let the cook know what you want.”

He frowned at her tone. “Well, you’re here now. I’d like some wings. Hot barbeque. And a poutine. You do that here?”

Her blue eyes seemed to be made of crystal. She took a step forward. Sensing he’d gone too far but unwilling to show his throat to any female, he watched as she shook in rage.

“I got it, son. Sarah, go take a load off, eh? You’re ruining the game,” said the bartender casually without making eye contact.

“There’s no point anymore, Dad,” she muttered. Her shoulders slumped as she turned back to the office she came from.

About the Author:
Author Tara C. MacDonald holds a B.A. English Literature from Trent University and has been a member of Romance Writers of America since 2008. Other writing groups such as Scribe Wenches, Romance Writers of Nova Scotia and other RWA chapters have helped her learn her craft. She believes in the hope that romance can bring and reads avidly. Her first published work was as a Co-Author in a non-fiction book called "Succeeding Through Doubt, Fear & Crisis" August 2014 with the eWomenNetwork publishing program.

Buy the book at Kobo.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

REVIEW: Me Tarzan, You Jane - Camelia Miron Skiba

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

Moving on doesn’t always have to mean goodbye. 

Widowed makeup artist Jane Sullivan is more comfortable keeping her husband's memory alive than dating a pool full of sharks. Ella, her 4 year-old daughter, is her whole world. 
When Jane meets Lucas Oliver, famous cover model, it’s hate at first sight. His playboy persona rubs her the wrong way. 

Accustomed to every woman fawning over him, Lucas is drawn to the shy, uncompromising single mom and completely melts at the sight of Ella. He is determined to convince Jane that sometimes a second chance can mend a broken heart.

Okay....I gave this book a 5 star rating but I didn't really care for the beginning. And I almost put it down because I didn't think I wanted to finish reading it but I changed my mind after Jane and Lucas' first interaction. I had to see what was going come of it. I just wasn't sure if I was going to like Jane or not because the way she came off in the beginning. She's kind of an uptight bitch when you first meet her. 

Needless to say, Jane and this book grew on me and the more I read the more I fell for Lucas Oliver and this story. I loved their banter back and forth and the tension that it caused. Halfway through the book, I was already screaming "kiss him already!" to my phone (I was reading on the Kindle app), which caused my husband to wonder if I had lost my mind. 

I really connected with Jane once I learned that she had lost her husband. When my daughter was 2 (she's 4 now), her father passed away in a tragic accident and dealing with it was really hard. Especially trying to figure out how to deal with the loss and not let it control my entire life. And then my amazing husband came along and like Lucas, he fell in love with my little girl and the rest is history. It really hit home and once I realized how much Lucas cared for little Ella (great name, by the way), I was really cheering for Lucas and Jane to quit being stubborn and get together. 

One of the greatest things about this story, in my opinion, was Jane's character. It was refreshing to read a character who wasn't immediately ready to bed some man just because he was good looking and nice to her. Jane had morals and tried as hard as she could to make sure she stood by them. She was also a good mother and I liked that Ella had a significant role in the story. 

I could go on and on about this book but I won't because I'm afraid I'll give away too much. I did add going to Disneyland in France to my bucket list, though! 

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

***Disclosure: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.***

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

From the imaginative mind of debut author Charlie N. Holmberg, The Paper Magician is an extraordinary adventure both dark and whimsical that will delight readers of all ages.

I really, really, really, REALLY enjoyed this book! I was also very surprised that I enjoyed this book because I'm usually not into books like this. Charlie N. Holmberg masterfully crafted an amazing story full of magic and excitement. The idea of creating magic through materials really intrigued me. I wish that the reading part of the paper magic was real. I'd love to be able to read a story and have it come to life in front of me! I'm with Ceony on the paper skeleton, though. I'm not sure how excited I would be about a paper skeleton following me around my house.

My favorite part of the whole book was when Ceony ends up inside Magician Thane's heart. While it was sort of creepy, I thought it was an interesting way to tell Magician Thane's back story and show how the Excisioner tied into the story. Reading about Ceony traveling through the different chambers of his heart and learning about his life before her while she travels was exciting. I couldn't put the book down for that part!

I also loved Fennel, the little paper puppy dog, and Ceony's love for cooking. She was probably my favorite character in the whole story because she had such a strong personality but was able to open up her mind to Magician Thane in order to eventually change her mind about him and paper magic. If you're interested in magical tales, I would definitely recommend checking out The Paper Magician. (I hope this gets turned into a movie one day! I'd love to watch it!)

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Excerpt 3: The Body Caches

The building’s large wooden doors open up to a small lobby with a large saltwater fish tank and a wooden security desk with an older, bearded security guard asleep in a chair two sizes too small stationed behind it. I noticed a notebook on the edge of the desk so I signed my name and the time and date and made my way to the elevator as quietly as I could. He looked like he was really enjoying his nap. The elevator doors pulled apart so slow that I wondered if they were stuck. Once inside the elevator, I pushed the worn out button that I suspected was for the 4th floor. Most of the numbers on the panel were gone, worn away from years of hurried fingers pushing on them.

And then I waited. It felt like the elevator was trying to pull itself out of molasses. The slow crawl up to the 4th floor gave me plenty of time to enjoy the stained red velvet carpet and wood paneling on the walls. And the pee smell. I would never understand why people pee in elevators.

The elevator finally came to a stop and the doors opened up to a hall of glass-paneled doors with gold lettering on them. Each door had the name of a different business or lawyer on it. The same wood paneling in the elevator was on the walls and the floors were a dusty blue. I suspected they were once light blue but that time and dirty shoes had not been very kind to them. Gunner’s office was to the right and around the corner. HCCR was the very last door at the end of the hall. The lights were on so I took that as a good sign that at least someone was in the office. I was half-way hoping that it wasn’t Gunner. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see him but I couldn’t recall the last time I had actually seen him and I definitely didn’t want to go see someone from high school and have a conversation about whether they may or may not be a stalker and a homicidal maniac. That just didn’t sound like a fun time.

A bell rang above my head as I pushed through the wood and glass door. A nymph-like woman who was sitting behind a large cherry oak desk looked up at me with wide blue eyes. Her eyelids were drowning in bright purple eyeshadow and her lipstick was such a bright pink that I was sure it was once employed by Day-Glo. Her hair was cropped short around her face and was fire engine red. She was wearing a beige blouse and pearl necklace. I couldn’t see her from the waist down. From the neck up she looked like she’d fallen in a crayon box. She smiled so wide her eyes bugged out like a chiuahua.

“Can I help you?” She drawled out like she should be sitting on a front porch sipping tea with a shotgun between her legs and hound dog laying at her feet.

“Uh, yes. I’m looking for Gunner Hayes. Is he here by any chance?”

“Uh huh. ‘Cept he’s in a meeting right now. I can either take a message or you can sit right here with me and wait.”

“How long do you think it will take?”

“’Bout fifteen minutes. He should be ‘bout done, sugar. You can wait, if you like. He doesn’t have any more appointments this afternoon.”

“Okay. I’ll wait then.”

I sat down in a rickety wooden chair in the corner of the room. She struck me as the Chatty Cathy type and I wanted to be as far away from her as possible. There is no way I was going to listen to Redneck Suzy for the next fifteen minutes. I pulled my phone out and started checking e-mails. I sent some texts to Walker and Keaton. I wanted to look as busy as possible so that she’s wouldn’t be able to find a polite time to speak to me. It didn’t work.

“So what’s your problem?”

“Excuse me?”

“You know, your computer problem. Or is it your smart phone? We fix them there phones now.”

“Actually, I need to speak to Mr. Hayes about a personal matter.”

“Oh.” Her mouth made the shape of a letter ‘o’ and then she made a face that looked as if she was annoyed and confused at the same time. She started tilting her head like a puppy dog.

“Are y’all related? You don’t look familiar. I didn’t think Gunner had that much family around here.”

“No, not related. We were friends in high school.”

“Oh. Oh, is there a reunion coming up? I just can’t wait for my ten year reunion. It’s going to be so exciting to see all my old friends from school again and see what everyone has done with their lives. I bet it’s nice.”

“Uh, no. No reunion. Just need to speak with him, that’s all.”

“Huh.” She gave me a dismissive look and then went back to whatever she was doing before I had walked in. She looked a lot older than someone who could possibly be looking forward to a ten year reunion but I guess it was just the make up. I didn’t even know if Gunner would be happy to see me. He might be like me and absolutely dread running into people that he knew from high school. It wasn’t that I hated anyone from high school. It was just such an exhausting conversation. I didn’t really keep in touch with anyone from high school other than Walker so anytime I did run into someone and they wanted to ask how I was doing and tell me all about what was going on in their lives I just kind of nodded and smiled because I honestly just didn’t care. Half the time I wasn’t even really listening. Walker always called me a bitch for it but it’s just how I was. I couldn’t find it in myself to care about people who meant nothing to me. Out of sight out of mind. Thinking about Walker made me realize I still hadn’t talked to him since lunch earlier today. I’m sure he was pissed at me but at the moment it was one of the things I was least worried about. Walker didn’t stay mad at me for long.

Secretary Barbie didn’t speak to me again until after a tall man wearing a tan business suit walked to the desk and told her goodbye. As soon as he was out the door, she jumped up from her chair, ran around the desk, and into the office facing me. She was only gone for a minute before she jerked one of the wooden doors open.

“Mr. Hayes will see you now.” She looked me up and down as I walked past her and into Gunner’s office. There was a table on the left side of the room littered with bits and pieces of dissected computers and cell phones. Gunner was sitting at an old metal desk in the middle of the room when he looked up at me. 

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Eve!!


Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. I love the joy and the spirit that comes with Christmas time. And I love seeing my daughter get excited about Santa Claus! Who wouldn't get excited about some strange fat guy coming down your chimney and leaving you gifts that he some how magically knew you wanted since you didn't write him a letter because you can't read and mommy forgot to help you up until right this very moment? 

But seriously, Santa's an exciting guy....

Wait a minute....that's not right...

Anyway, back to me sharing my love of all things Christmas. What's the other great thing about Christmas? PRESENTS!!!! DUH! I mean don't get me wrong, you should definitely be helping people out at Christmas time but I'm also a firm believer that Christmas time shouldn't be the ONLY time that you show some goodwill to your fellow man (or woman for you Feminazis out there). 

Getting presents on Christmas has got to be one of the best parts of the holiday, especially when someone gets you something REALLY, REALLY good that you weren't expecting. Or something that you were REALLY, REALLY wanting. A great example of this would be the new coffee maker I just got. I couldn't contain my excitement once I unwrapped it! 

All in all, Christmas is a fun holiday and it's a great time to spend with your friends and family. I hope all of you out there in the interwebs stay warm and have a VERY Merry Christmas tomorrow!! 

Goodnight, Sleep tight! Hope Santa Claus brings you lots of goodies tonight!! 

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Book Review: Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting

*I received this book for free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review* 

Praised as “a tender exploration of friendship, families, and first love” (Liane Moriarty, New York Times bestselling author of The Husband’s Secret), this coming-of-age novel from bestselling author Frances Whiting is equal parts heartwarming, accessible, and thought provoking.

“Tallulah de Longland,” she said slowly, letting all the Ls in my name loll about lazily in her mouth before passing judgment. “That,” she announced, “is a serious glamorgeous name.”

From the day Annabelle Andrews sashays into her classroom, Tallulah ‘Lulu’ de Longland is bewitched: by Annabelle, by her family, and by their sprawling, crumbling house tumbling down to the river.

Their unlikely friendship intensifies through a secret language where they share confidences about their unusual mothers, first loves, and growing up in the small coastal town of Juniper Bay. But the euphoria of youth rarely lasts, and the implosion that destroys their friendship leaves lasting scars and a legacy of self-doubt that haunts Lulu into adulthood.

Years later, Lulu is presented with a choice: remain the perpetual good girl who misses out, or finally step out from the shadows and do something extraordinary. And possibly unforgivable…

It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce.
There are very few books I have read that have moved me to tears. This one had me crying such big crocodile tears that I had to step away to collect myself. I wish I could have blamed the emotional outburst on hormones but it was most definitely this book. Frances Whiting is an amazing writer and did such an amazitastic job developing the characters to make them seem like real people. 

I adored Lulu and her family, relating very well to having a mother like Rose and a friend like Annabelle. Lulu's mild nature that she sees as a weakness really becomes her greatest strength as she carefully and lovingly takes care of the people around her. Instead of feeling like I was reading about an event after the fact, I felt like I was really there, really in that moment with Lulu and Duncan and Barney when they all laid down together. And I felt the heartbreak when he was gone. And again when Rose left.

 I loved how easily the book transitioned from Lulu's childhood to adulthood. I think that her relationship with Duncan was probably one of the most important events in her life because he forced to her to not only leave what was familiar to her but also to forgive herself for not being the person she thought she should be. Lulu's journey into adulthood is a rocky stumble through love, heartbreak, and the act of forgiving herself. 

Such a truly amazing story about love, friendship, forgiveness, heartbreak, and really finding one's happiness.

Find Walking on Trampolines here: 

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