The Southern Chocolatier – Samoa Cupcakes

You may be beginning to understand my obsession with chocolate. If not, I promise that one day soon you will!  I also love cupcakes. There is something about having your own little slice of heaven that you don’t need to share – it’s all yours!

Samoa Cupcakes

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To toast the coconut, spread about 1 and 1/2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut onto a baking sheet and bake in a 350* oven for 3-8 minutes.  Check after 3 minutes and stir, then check (and stir if needed) about every minute after.  The coconut can burn very quickly, watch it closely!

Garnish the finished cupcakes with a drizzle of salted caramel.  Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Sauce (labeled Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce) was the choice in the recipe!  Feel free to make your own caramel sauce or choose a high quality brand of your choice.  It’s important to chose a salted caramel sauce (or add a bit of good quality sea salt), or the recipe will be overpoweringly sweet.

My tweak – I happen to love the Pillsbury Devil’s Food cake mix and that is the only change I’d make here. The original post on Glorious Treats uses a home-made chocolate cake recipe.

Salted Caramel Buttercream

This amazing frosting is perfect for chocolate cupcakes… or simply by the spoonful!

Yield: Frosting for 24+ cupcakes or an 8″-9″ (two layer) cake

ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 oz. (1/2 block) cream cheese
1/2 cup good quality salted caramel sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar

directions:

1. Allow butter to set out at room temperature about 15 minutes (you can gather your other ingredients in the mean time).
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth.
3. Add cream cheese and continue to beat until fully smooth and well incorporated.
4. While slowly mixing, pour in caramel sauce (should not be warm).
5. Add vanilla.
6. Continue slowly mixing and add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, allowing the sugar to blend a bit before adding each additional cup.
7. Scrap down the sides of the bowl and then blend the frosting an additional 30 seconds or so. The frosting should be fluffy, and all ingredients fully incorporated.
8. Frost cupcakes or cake.

Recipe source – GloriousTreats.com

Devon’s Choice by Catherine Bennett

Devon's Choice (1)

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devon's choiceDevon‘s Choice

Life holds no surprises for Devon Murphy. Her life consists of keeping tabs on her aging Irish father, working part time at a coffee shop, and building her online graphics design business. Devon’s only tricky situation is a shallow relationship with the pampered and affluent Michael Turner, who sees her as just another woman to conquer.

Following his father’s death, Brandon’s only goal is to expand the family business and live life on his own terms. That is, until he walks into the coffee shop one snowy evening and meets the enchanting, red-haired barista behind the counter. But can Devon and Brandon’s attraction for each other be strong enough to help erase their deepest disappointments and renew their faith in God?

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Review – I’ll be reviewing this book in the near future. 

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Catherine Bennett

Author Catherine Bennett

I grew up in Ohio where I currently live with my husband and our two rescue Labradors. Some of my favorite things include reading, shopping, pepperoni pizza, Hershey bars and hanging out with my two grown sons. I also love dogs; so going to the dog park is cheap entertainment for my husband and I!

Growing up an only child, I had many imaginary friends. I believe this – and a love of books – fueled my desire to write. It was many years later that my dream of becoming a published author came true.

I’m grateful to God for always keeping a story in my heart and hope you are blessed and entertained by my book.

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Excerpt -

He looked up at the menu board.  “I’ll take a Grande.  Black, please.”

Chuckling, she thought about how impressed her dad would be with this guy.  He considered anyone who drank coffee black in the same category as his favorite actor, John Wayne.  She poured the coffee, and rang up his order.

“That’s two-dollars and fifty cents.”  He handed her his debit card, which she swiped.

He took the cup.  “Thanks.  Have a good one.”

“Yeah, you too.”

He walked over to one of the upholstered chairs and sank down into its well-used seat.  The shop owner had talked of replacing the pair of relics with some sturdy, leather ones.  Leather would flatter this guy much better than the faded paisley print on the old ones.  Devon glanced at him out of the corner of her eye.  Yes, leather was definitely his style, but not the biker stuff.  No, he’d look best in a rugged, mahogany leather jacket instead of the puffy, gray parka he wore.

The Wife Maker by Karey White – Review, Tour

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Wife MakerThe Wife Maker by Karey White

Charlotte has spent years as the husband maker, sending every guy she dates off to enjoy marital bliss with the next girl he dates. But things have now changed, and she’s determined to use her husband-maker abilities one last time–on herself. And she finally knows exactly who she wants.

Angus has loved Charlotte since they were teenagers, but he’s tired of waiting for her to realize how good they could be. She’s broken his heart one too many times, and it’s time to move on with his life. Maybe a position halfway across the country will be just what he needs to get over her. But when Charlotte won’t let him go without a fight, Angus has to decide if he’s willing to let her in again or if she’s too late.

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My Review – I will be posting my review shortly. I hope you’ll check back for it. Karey is a wonderful writer and her stories are solid and good and such a joy to read. 

Karey WhiteAuthor 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.

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Excerpt – click here

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STEALING ROSE by Monica Murphy – Media Blitz and Giveaway, Excerpt

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We’re celebrating the release of STEALING ROSE by Monica Murphy! Check out the excerpt below!

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STEALING ROSE (The Fowler Sisters #2) by Monica Murphy

Blurb:

People say the youngest child has it easy, but nothing can be further from the truth. Unlike my two sisters, Violet and Lily, I’m never in the limelight. I just work my butt off for Fleur Cosmetics and get little to no thanks for it. I’ve been pushed too far one too many times, and I’m finally brave enough to do something about it.

Maybe my newfound courage has something to do with the amazing pink and white diamond necklace I wear to the party in Cannes. The instant those dazzling heirloom jewels touch my skin, they excite some deep, aching need inside. And when that guy—that totally gorgeous guy—locks eyes with me, I know this nice girl is going to be naughty.

For once it’s my turn. My turn to say no to my father, to outshine my sisters, to walk away from it all—straight into the arms of a mysterious stranger. But what if Caden is much more than I bargained for? Sure, he makes me feel sexy and free in a way I never have before, but there’s something else I can’t quite place—something dangerous. Maybe our “chance” meeting wasn’t so random. Maybe he was looking for me for a reason. Whatever his motive, there’s no going back now.

And maybe I don’t want to.

EXCERPT:

I sit on the edge of the mattress, not about to give up. I need to get closer to her and eventually get closer to that damn neck- lace she wore. Dexter wants it. He’s been hounding my ass for it. And I’ll get it.

Eventually.

I’d rather focus on her first. Earn her trust. So I’m not casing out her hotel room. I’m not looking for any stray jewelry lying around.

Hell, I’m in too deep now.

I’m here with Rose because I want to be, not because I want to steal something from her.

Yet. Don’t forget the “yet” part at the end of that last thought.

Yeah. Who wants to focus on trying to steal a necklace when I could be sliding back into bed with her? I want to feel the hot, tight clasp of her pussy milking my cock again. I want to feel her touch me, feel her lips on my skin, hear her moan when I hit a spot that feels particularly good. I want to learn all of those spots, memorize them for later. Because there will be a later for Rose and me. I plan on that. And she’d better plan on it too, no matter how much in denial she is.

“Rose.” She turns to look at me, her expression wary. Guarded. I know the feeling. More than anything, I know that look. I’ve been wearing the same guarded expression pretty much all my life. I trust no one. They’re all out to screw me over; it doesn’t matter who they are. I’ve become so good at playing the part, of being whoever I need to be at any given moment, I have no idea who the real me is anymore.

Being with Rose is the closest I’ve felt to myself since I don’t know when. I want to explore this. Explore what we share, what she makes me feel, what we are when we’re together.

She’s ready to kick me out and I’m ready to cling. Talk about a total role reversal. I need to get my head back on straight and focus.

“Caden.” She matches my tone, watching me expectantly. When I don’t say anything she rolls her eyes. “Do you realize I don’t even know your last name? What does that say about me, that I’d let you into my room and—fool around with you for hours and I don’t know your last name? It’s appalling behavior.”

“Appalling behavior? You sound like a crabby old school- teacher.” I want to laugh but I don’t. She’s dead serious. I think she’s just shocked herself with what we’ve done.

I’ve shocked myself too, but in a good way. While she acts like we’ve committed the ultimate sin.

“You wouldn’t understand.” She averts her head as if it pains her to look at me and I move closer to her, reaching out to tuck a stray strand of hair behind her ear.

“It’s Kingsley,” I murmur, wishing I could kiss her. Comfort her. But that’s not happening, not yet. I’ve got to take it slow.

She turns, a little gasp escaping her when she discovers how close I am. “What?”

“My last name. It’s Kingsley.”

“Are you serious? Of course it is.” She tosses her hands up in the air, making her breasts jiggle, and I jerk my gaze away from her chest.

WHICH FOWLER SISTER ARE YOU?
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OWNING VIOLET (The Fowler Sisters #1) by Monica Murphy
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TAMING LILY (The Fowler Sisters #3) by Monica Murphy
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 New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite with her husband and three children. She’s a workaholic who loves her job. When she’s not busy writing, she also loves to read and travel with her family. She writes new adult and contemporary romance and is published with Bantam and Avon. She also writes romance as USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson.

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Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace by Andra Watkins – Interview and Excerpt

Not Without My Father 2

Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero?

Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days.

After striking out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.

As Watkins trudged America’s forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did.

Andra Watkins 4Andra Watkins lives in Charleston, South Carolina. A non-practicing CPA, she has a degree in accounting from Francis Marion University. She’s still mad at her mother for refusing to let her major in musical theater, because her mom was convinced she’d end up starring in porn films. In addition to her writing talent, Andra is an accomplished public speaker. Her acclaimed debut novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press in 2014.

Her latest book is the memoir, Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace.

For More Information

For More Information

  • Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace is available at Amazon
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Interview:

Has Your Dad Ever Offered You Pee-Stained Nuts?

People hear about Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, and they love to ask questions. “What was it like to spend five weeks with your 80-year-old dad?” “Did he really fart as much as you describe in the book?” “Did you ever want to drop your quest to become the first living person to walk the ancient Natchez Trace as the pioneers?”

I answer those questions in my memoir. You’ll just have to read the book.

Please enjoy my answers to the most common general questions I get about writing, my projects and life as a writer. And PLEASE ask me anything in the comments!

  1. Tell me something about yourself. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Was there an aha! moment?

I re-evaluated my whole life in the wake of the 2008-09 economic crash. I was forty. And basically unemployed. While I could’ve come up with ways to reignite a consulting practice I didn’t enjoy, I was stuck. “What did I really want to do with my life?” I asked myself. Over.

And over.

I started writing again as a way to process my failure, never intending for writing to become my vocation. It was fun, something about which I was passionate. I loved making words and never viewed it as a job. Now that I’ve decided to pursue it full-time, I still see it as a challenging, fun way to spend my time. Maybe I found my way to what I should’ve been doing all along. Writing was my mid-life crisis, but it led me to a richer life. Not in terms of money, but with connections, with relationships, and with satisfaction.

  1. Did your walk on the Natchez Trail accomplish the goals you set for yourself?  Did the trek change you, and if so, in what way?

I finished, so yes, I accomplished that goal. I hoped the walk would garner a broader audience for my debut novel, and I don’t believe that happened, though many people tell me it did. I had such lofty dreams for what walking 444-miles in a month might accomplish. Unrealistic goals, really. I never fathomed how hard it would be to get someone to choose my books over other offerings. I went into it thinking I’d do something bizarre, and people might be interested.

While I never had the goal of repairing a dysfunctional relationship, it was a happy by-product of my walk. My parents and I have a deep, meaningful relationship now, something I wish we could’ve had throughout my life. Many people don’t get the opportunity to fix these relationships before a person is gone, or they are offered a way but refuse to take it. I’m grateful to my parents for agreeing to have this adventure with me, because my shredded feet pounded a path to healing. The experience made me determined to inspire others to Make a Memory, to grab a loved one and do something meaningful before it’s too late. And because we’re not guaranteed tomorrow, we never know when it may be too late.

The trek temporarily changed my mid-life figure. I’m blessed, because my body sprung back from the daily abuse within a month or so. My biggest challenge now is making myself exercise. My experience on the Trace also made me appreciate waning time. We all think we have time to have adventures, to connect with others, to do that thing. We put those things off for “someday”, and “someday” morphs into “never” in the overwhelming crush of Life. I hope my experience taught me to seize the opportunities Life offers to connect with people who matter. People need those messages, that challenge to shift focus on what’s important. Everyone should read Not Without My Father, because it will force them to Make a Memory they’ll cherish forever.

  1. How did the time spent with your father change your relationship? Would you walk the Trace again with him as your companion?

I never really felt like I knew my dad. He was this figure who lectured me and told me what to do. I dreaded every second with him. Growing up, he was the classic uninvolved dad, the man who went to work, who came home, who never talked to me. When I turned thirteen, he decided he hadn’t taught me anything, and he spent my teens starting every sentence with, “Andra, you need to learn…….”

Not exactly the best approach for a teenage girl.

I couldn’t stand my father. He lectured me through my teens, compared me to my more successful friends in my twenties and early thirties. Sometime in my mid-thirties, he started to see me as an adult, and his approach altered in that he treated me like all other adults in his life: He told stories, usually the same ones over and over, to try to form a bond. I rolled my eyes and put up with it, and when I started writing, I used him and his stories often for comic relief. Still, I never felt a deep bond with my dad or understood who he was.

And at eighty, I was running out of time.

The walk changed all that. Finally, I experienced him as a human being, an adult who wants to be remembered. We laughed and cried, argued and excelled, and redrew the bounds of our connection. No one will ever be able to rob me of the memories we made on that trip. When he’s gone, he’ll live in those experiences. I can’t imagine spending five weeks on the Trace with anyone else.

  1. What gave you the original idea to use Meriwether Lewis’s ghost as a character in your novel? What advice would you give other writers?

Meriwether Lewis died a tragic death, a mysterious end that will remain unsolved for all time. For readers who don’t know, Meriwether Lewis was one-half of the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific. He completed his expedition at thirty-two. At thirty-five, he was dead of two gunshot wounds on the Natchez Trace, seventy miles south of Nashville. He was an American hero, more famous than Katy Perry or Lady Gaga. America’s First Scientist. Renowned and respected beyond the bounds of the United States. Yet, he had no federal funeral. For almost fifty years, he was buried in an unmarked grave. No marker or other means to identify the grave of an American hero. In 1848, the legislature for the state of Tennessee earmarked funds to purchase the marker one sees today if they visit his grave. Those people found it appalling that an American hero was buried in their state, his contributions to our nation totally forgotten.

I pondered the notion of the legacies we leave behind. We all want to be remembered, to have someone know we existed after we’re gone. It’s the only way we can really live forever.

With Meriwether Lewis, I wanted to give him a different ending, something else to do to round out his short life. I wondered what he might do if he could live again. I read everything he ever wrote, followed many of his footsteps, even communed with him at his grave. I hope he would be proud of the new tale I wove for him. To Live Forever is imbued with his spirit.

For other writers, don’t give up on your vision. My books live by the sheer force of my will. No NEVER means no in this business. It just means I have to reframe a lot of opportunities, have the strength of a bulldog and never, ever give up. The world of publishing is a place where you can shine. Don’t short-shift your vision. Don’t take no for an answer. Never, ever give up.

  1. How has life changed for you since writing your first book?

I’m a full-time writer now, and I love the crazy, mixed-up world of writing and promoting. Not Without My Father launched mid-January 2015, and I embarked upon an ambitious book tour. I was in Nashville, New Orleans and other points in Louisiana and Mississippi to start. I returned to North and South Carolina in February. In March, I travel north, because this Southern girl needs her cold weather fix. I’ll be in Chicago, Massachusetts and New York for events.

I love writing, making words into stories. But I really love meeting readers. Hearing how my books cause people to make changes in their lives is one of the most fulfilling things in life. I never wanted to craft books that didn’t touch people. I’m grateful for readers who reach out and tell me how my books matter.

  1. Are you currently working on a new book? If so, what would you like to share about it?

My book Natchez Trace: Tracks in Time will be available February 1, 2015. It’s a collection of pictures from my Natchez Trace walk, the perfect accompaniment to both To Live Forever and Not Without My Father. It will be available as an 8 x 8 paperback everywhere books are sold. I’m really proud of how it’s come together. People will be able to walk the Natchez Trace by turning pages. I hope the images are a tribute to an ancient, incredible place.

I also have a short story coming in the spring. Hard To Die is a short prequel to To Live Forever. It’s set in New Orleans and Mexico City, and it follows characters from To Live Forever. I enjoyed a trip to Mexico City recently for research, and I hope it makes the story pop.

Your True Love Lives will be available Summer 2015. It’s a full-length paranormal romance. Set in England, it follows a group of Americans as they volunteer in a sailing-for-the-disabled program. I hope the book will shine a light on programs that enable disabled people to achieve mobility around the country. Several years ago, I was lucky to volunteer in such a program, and I met precious people who came out to sail, day after day, to feel like they could walk again, to experience memories they couldn’t grasp any other way, or to escape a bed.

And I Am Number Thirteen, the sequel to To Live Forever, will be available November 2015. Surprising readers is a tall order, but I’m excited about the drafts I’ve produced. The book will follow Emmaline Cagney into her life with her father, an achievement that didn’t quite turn out the way she hoped.

I’m very busy. And I love it.

  1.     What question that I didn’t ask would you have liked me to ask?

How does Dad feel about these books?

He’s ecstatic, so proud of these stories that capture his essence. I’m glad I was able to get them to market before he’s gone. He may be able to see what impact his life has on readers before he dies, and that’s an incredible thing to give a person.

Dad also sees himself as my top book salesman. He spends his days in the community, meeting strangers, regaling them with stories, and selling them books. I’m glad to see him up and about, out of his recliner and living again. I won’t say my decision to write saved his life, but it has enriched it. I’m thrilled to give him that gift in his life’s twilight.

Book Excerpt #1:

ROAD TO NOWHERE

Talking Heads

The journey is a long slog with an unpredictable number of mileposts.

One can make the trip alone, but why not share it?

As I traversed familiar mile markers and pulled up in front of my fa- ther’s house, I could predict where I’d find him.

In his recliner, his belly a shelf for a vat of popcorn. At eighty, he whiled away days feeding his face and shouting at the television. Whenever his throne was vacant, I eschewed all temptation to occupy it.

Because I imagined how many times he farted into the velvet upholstery.

Sometimes while naked.

I could hear the television when I stepped from the car. “Why am I do- ing this again?” I whispered as I slipped through the back door.

“Andra!” There he was, sprawled in his recliner. A jagged scar played peek-a-boo through his open pajama top. “What’re you doing here?”

I opened my mouth and clamped it shut. Once I uttered my request, I couldn’t take it back.

I needed a wingman while I walked the 444-mile Natchez Trace from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. I planned to launch my debut novel and be- come the first living person to walk the 10,000-year-old road as our ancestors did. Nobody could convince me that an unathletic woman and her mid-life paunch were incapable of walk- ing more than a half-marathon every day for a month.

Even though my aversion to exercise was as spectacular as my father’s. I wanted my walk to redeem my novel’s hero, American explorer Meri- wether Lewis, one-half of the Lewis and Clark duo. He died of two gun-shot wounds on the Natchez Trace, seventy miles south of Nashville.

He was only thirty-five.

Was it suicide? Or murder? His death is one of America’s great un- solved mysteries.

To walk a forgotten highway for five weeks, I needed a wingman who could shuttle me to my first daily milepost and pick me up fifteen miles later. Someone who wasn’t busy. Someone available. Maybe this person even craved an adventure.

I scrolled through a list of prospects. My husband Michael couldn’t be absent from work for five weeks, especially since his job paid for my predilection to write. My friends all had children. Husbands. Gainful em- ployment. I discarded people for an hour, my list a scribbled mess that highlighted one harrowing name. Continue reading

Stealing Rose by Monica Murphy – Media Blitz

Stealing Rose by Monica Murphy
Stealing Rose FINALRGB
 
BLURB:
People say the youngest child has it easy, but nothing can be further from the truth. Unlike my two sisters, Violet and Lily, I’m never in the limelight. I just work my butt off for Fleur Cosmetics and get little to no thanks for it. I’ve been pushed too far one too many times, and I’m finally brave enough to do something about it.Maybe my newfound courage has something to do with the amazing pink and white diamond necklace I wear to the party in Cannes. The instant those dazzling heirloom jewels touch my skin, they excite some deep, aching need inside. And when that guy—that totally gorgeous guy—locks eyes with me, I know this nice girl is going to be naughty.

For once it’s my turn. My turn to say no to my father, to outshine my sisters, to walk away from it all—straight into the arms of a mysterious stranger. But what if Caden is much more than I bargained for? Sure, he makes me feel sexy and free in a way I never have before, but there’s something else I can’t quite place—something dangerous. Maybe our “chance” meeting wasn’t so random. Maybe he was looking for me for a reason. Whatever his motive, there’s no going back now.

And maybe I don’t want to.

Advance praise for Stealing Rose
 
“Prepare to have your heart stolen! Rose and Caden’s story crackles and sizzles right to the swoony end.”New York Times bestselling author Katy Evans

 
CMP_Edit-8
New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite with her husband and three children. She’s a workaholic who loves her job. When she’s not busy writing, she also loves to read and travel with her family. She writes new adult and contemporary romance and is published with Bantam and Avon. She also writes romance as USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson.
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Devon’s Choice by Catherine Bennett – Book Blast – Giveaway!

devon's choice

Devon’s Choice

Life holds no surprises for Devon Murphy. Her life consists of keeping tabs on her aging Irish father, working part time at a coffee shop, and building her online graphics design business. Devon’s only tricky situation is a shallow relationship with the pampered and affluent Michael Turner, who sees her as just another woman to conquer.

Following his father’s death, Brandon’s only goal is to expand the family business and live life on his own terms. That is, until he walks into the coffee shop one snowy evening and meets the enchanting, red-haired barista behind the counter. But can Devon and Brandon’s attraction for each other be strong enough to help erase their deepest disappointments and renew their faith in God?

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Excerpt:

Brandon looked over at her neutral expression. Whatever kind of relationship she had with Michael Turner didn’t seem to be making her happy. At that moment, all he wanted to do was to make her forget all about the jerk.

As if sensing him watching her, Devon turned her head enough to make eye contact with him. The faint, milky glow from the streetlight showed enough of her features for him to see a soft blush warm her cheeks. Under her dark lashes, he watched her sea green eyes glint invitingly as her soft lips turned up at the corners. In that moment, his resolve to keep the date on a friendly level came crashing down.

Catherine BennettAuthor Catherine Bennett

I grew up in Ohio where I currently live with my husband and our two rescue Labradors. Some of my favorite things include reading, shopping, pepperoni pizza, Hershey bars and hanging out with my two grown sons. I also love dogs; so going to the dog park is cheap entertainment for my husband and I!

Growing up an only child, I had many imaginary friends. I believe this – and a love of books – fueled my desire to write. It was many years later that my dream of becoming a published author came true.

I’m grateful to God for always keeping a story in my heart and hope you are blessed and entertained by my book.

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Open only to those 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 enter for you. 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. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Not Without My Father by Andra Watkins (Tour, Spotlight, Excerpt)

Not Without My Father banner

Not Without My Father 3Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero?

Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days.

After striking out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.

As Watkins trudged America’s forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did.

Andra Watkins 2

For More Information

  • Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Not Without My Father 2

Andra Watkins 3

 

 

Andra Watkins lives in Charleston, South Carolina. A non-practicing CPA, she has a degree in accounting from Francis Marion University. She’s still mad at her mother for refusing to let her major in musical theater, because her mom was convinced she’d end up starring in porn films. In addition to her writing talent, Andra is an accomplished public speaker. Her acclaimed debut novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press in 2014.

Her latest book is the memoir, Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace.

For More Information

Andra Watkins 4

Title: Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace
Author: Andra Watkins
Publisher: Word Hermit Press
Pages: 240
Genre: Memoir
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Book Excerpt 

ROAD TO NOWHERE

Talking Heads

The journey is a long slog with an unpredictable number of mileposts.

One can make the trip alone, but why not share it?

As I traversed familiar mile markers and pulled up in front of my fa- ther’s house, I could predict where I’d find him.

In his recliner, his belly a shelf for a vat of popcorn. At eighty, he whiled away days feeding his face and shouting at the television. Whenever his throne was vacant, I eschewed all temptation to occupy it.

Because I imagined how many times he farted into the velvet uphol- stery.

Sometimes while naked.

I could hear the television when I stepped from the car. “Why am I do- ing this again?” I whispered as I slipped through the back door.

“Andra!” There he was, sprawled in his recliner. A jagged scar played peek-a-boo through his open pajama top. “What’re you doing here?”

I opened my mouth and clamped it shut. Once I uttered my request, I couldn’t take it back.

I needed a wingman while I walked the 444-mile Natchez Trace from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. I planned to launch my debut novel and be- come the first living person to walk the 10,000-year-old road as our ancestors did. Nobody could convince me that an unathletic woman and her mid-life paunch were incapable of walk- ing more than a half-marathon every day for a month.

Even though my aversion to exercise was as spectacular as my father’s. I wanted my walk to redeem my novel’s hero, American explorer Meri- wether Lewis, one-half of the Lewis and Clark duo. He died of two gun-shot wounds on the Natchez Trace, seventy miles south of Nashville.

He was only thirty-five. Continue reading

The Metabolism Solution by Lisa Lynn (Media Blitz)

Book Details:
Book Title: The Metabolism Solution, Lose 1 Pound A Day and Melt Belly Fat Fast by Lisa Lynn
Category: Adult non-fiction,  207 pages
Genre: Health, Fitness, Weight Loss, Christian, Cooking, Self help
Publisher: LynFit Nutrition (2nd edition)
Published: Oct 6, 2014
Available in: Paperback
and E-book format: mobi (for Kindle)

 

Book Description:
Are you ready to lose 1 pound a day? Have you tried every weight loss plan under the sun? Don’t give up in frustration; The Metabolism Solution will make it faster and easier. What makes The Metabolism Solution different? It will teach you how to safely harness the power of your metabolism to lose weight and melt belly fat fast. You will learn the right way to work out to boost your metabolism with the best part being seeing results the first day after your first 30-minute workout. You will learn how to address your weight loss and fitness issues from the inside out, allowing you to focus on what created the weight gain in the beginning and how to correct those issues. Do you love delicious food? You’ll adore Lisa Lynn’s 100 irresistibly delicious fat blasting recipes. The Metabolism Solution is the perfect roadmap for not only transforming your body, but changing your whole life.

Lisa Lynn

CELEBRITY FITNESS AND NUTRITION EXPERT LISA LYNN has devoted nearly three decades of her career to personal training, specializing in metabolic weight loss and performance nutrition. Coupled with her vast experience in the field of fitness and nutrition she has earned four educational certificates from the International Sports and Sciences Association’s Professional Division including: Certified Fitness Trainer, Specialist in Performance Nutrition, Fitness Therapy and Elite Trainer.

Lynn’s years of research in metabolic boosting and performance nutrition resulted in the development of herLeaner Lifestyle DVD Series, specifically designed to promote healthy fat loss by boosting the most sluggish and stubborn metabolisms. She is best known for her 13 years as MARTHA STEWART’s personal trainer who has said, “Lisa is the only trainer that made a difference.” Lynn is also a regular go-to nutrition and fitness expert on THE DR. OZ SHOW appearing in two of his highest rated episodes. Major media outlets frequently call upon her for her expertise in fitness and nutrition. Lynn maintains a diverse portfolio of clientele including professional bodybuilders, models, actors, CEOs and real-world people throughout the country.

Lisa just released her award winning book The Metabolism Solution that has helped thousands of people lose weight and reach their fitness goals.Availablewww.lynfit.com.

Connect with Lisa:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~ Twitter  ~  Pinterest  ~  Youtube Channel

Purchase on Amazon in Paperback

My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book may have been provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

 

IndieArcs – Valuable Information! Read! Review! Share!

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IndieARCs central location for indie books. Readers can request indie books to review from a variety of indie authors.

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IndieARCS has three words to describe its services. Read. Review. Share.

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Seducing the Groom by Cheryl Holt (Chapter 1, Giveaway)

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Cheryl Holt celebrates her years as “The Queen of Erotic Romance” with this sexy, yummy, and fun tale of a bride’s seductive antics on her wedding night…

Stephen St. John, Viscount Banbury, is in a bind. His father has cut off his allowance, so he’s had to rein in his decadent habits and split with his beautiful, spoiled mistress whom he can no longer afford. When an American heiress comes to London and dangles her fortune in Stephen’s direction, he sees it as the answer to his prayers. He’ll wed the pretty, delectable heiress, but he won’t let her interfere with his decadent lifestyle. He’s a confirmed bachelor and determined to have a marriage of convenience.

Ellen Foster has traveled to London for the express purpose of buying a titled husband. She’s been husband shopping for months and can’t make up her mind. All the available candidates seem tepid and boring. But when she lays eyes on handsome, dashing Stephen St. John, she knows he’s the one, and with her large fortune as bait, he’s easily snared in her web.

When he suggests a marriage of convenience, she pretends to agree. But she has no intention of living separate lives. She plans to enjoy every delightful, wicked minute that marriage to a rake can provide. With Stephen determined to avoid her, seduction seems the only choice.

Though Stephen doesn’t realize it, Ellen always gets her way, and as she turns their bedchamber into a den of erotic pleasure, poor Stephen doesn’t stand a chance…

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CHERYL HOLT is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon “Top 100” bestselling author of over thirty-five novels.

She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age forty, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance where she was stunned to discover that she has a knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.

Her books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards. She is considered to be one of the masters of the romance genre. For many years, she was hailed as “The Queen of Erotic Romance” as well as “The International Queen of Villains.” She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year” by the trade magazine Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.

She lives and writes in Hollywood, California, and she loves to hear from fans. Visit her website at http://www.cherylholt.com.

Purchase on Amazon: I will be posting the link soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the excerpt below.

 Cheryl Holt is giving away a set of The Lord Trent trilogy to one

lucky winner. 

Enter the giveaway! a Rafflecopter giveaway

CHAPTER ONE

London, 1815…

“Well, good night then, Lord Banbury.”

“Good night.”

Stephen St. John, Viscount Banbury, eventually to be Earl of Stafford if his recalcitrant, impossible father ever dropped dead, glared at the interloper who’d now been his wife for all of ten hours.  The silence extended; the farewell grew awkward.

What repartee, precisely, was a man supposed to express at a time such as this?  Sleep well?  Pleasant dreams?  See you in the morning?  Or how about more aptly, What was I thinking, marrying a woman I don’t know?  Have I gone mad?

Nothing seemed appropriate.  Astoundingly, he blushed, his cheeks heating with an embarrassing dose of discomfort.

The wedding guests were gone, the house had been tidied by what was left of his domestic staff, and he’d been about to leave too, when he’d stumbled upon her floating down the stairs.  She was scarcely dressed, clad in a diaphanous green negligee and robe that hardly covered anything that ought to be covered.  Apparently, as she’d concluded that he was already off to his merrymaking, she’d believed herself to be alone in the massive, drafty domicile.  Unable to sleep, she’d descended to fetch a relaxing refreshment.

Her hair was blond, the shade of ripened wheat.  It was unbound and hanging down her back to brush her bottom, and he was gravely troubled by the display.  She was much too forward and assured, prancing about in her nightwear before an unfamiliar man, yet she didn’t appear perturbed.

Yes, he was her husband, but nevertheless, they were strangers.

Even though he hadn’t meant to, he evaluated her graceful figure.  He was only human!  He couldn’t be expected to avoid looking at what was flaunted in plain sight.

She was much too shapely, and he squirmed uneasily and inspected the floor, only to be confronted by her feet.

Her toenails were painted red!  The splash of bright crimson in the dull salon seemed immoderately sexy, out of place, incongruous and irreconcilable with the individual he pictured her to be. Continue reading

Married One Night by Amber Leigh Williams (Spotlight – First Chapter)

 

Married One Night 2What happened in Vegas…followed her home! 

Olivia Lewis is not the marrying type. So when a wild weekend in Vegas leaves her with a surprise husband, she’s happy to sign anything to erase her mistake—even if that mistake is handsome, charming and comes with an English accent. Fortunately, her groom has other plans.

Bestselling author Gerald Leighton knows he can make his new bride fall in love with him—he just needs time. In exchange for a quickie divorce, Olivia grudgingly gives him a few weeks to attempt to woo her. And whether Olivia likes it or not, Gerald plans on using every second to win her heart!

Amber Leigh WilliamsAmber Leigh Williams lives on the Gulf Coast. A southern girl at heart, she loves beach days, the smell of real books, relaxing at her family’s lakehouse, and spending time with her husband, Jacob, and their sweet, blue-eyed boy. When she’s not running after her young son and three, large dogs, she can usually be found reading a good romance or cooking up a new dish in her kitchen. She is represented by Joyce Holland of the D4EO Literary Agency.

Her latest book is the contemporary romance, Married One Night.

For More Information

Available on Amazon in these formats: 

Kindle
Paperback

 

First Chapter:

Olivia Lewis woke up in a Sin City penthouse amidst petal-strewn, silk sheets. She bolted upright in bed…and groaned, wavering as the world turned. And turned again.

Okay, make that silk sheets, rose petals…and the most vicious hangover of her life.

Hissing, she pressed a hand over her eyes, the other on her head to stop the contents from sloshing around. Her mouth felt like sandpaper, and her stomach writhed. Obviously the obscene amount of liquor she’d consumed the night before was turning on her in sickly rebellion.

“Oh, holy moly,” she wheezed. “What the hell happened last night?” Peering around, she squinted against the desert sunlight streaming through the undraped floor-to-ceiling window that spanned the entire left wall of the bedroom. At the sight of several curiously unmentionable items scattered across the bed and floor, she became more than a little curious about the events of the previous evening. Especially when she saw the tattered remains of her red dress hooked on the wall sconce at the other end of the room.

Frowning, she lifted the covers and looked underneath. She was naked as sin. And she’d spent enough nights with men to know how she should feel the next day. With a groan, she laid back into the pillows and pulled the covers over her head.

So sometime during the night, she had snuck away from the bachelorette party for her friend Roxie Honeycutt and gotten frisky—very frisky—with an unknown man.

It wasn’t her first one-night stand. Nor did she think it would be her last. But considering she’d been the hostess of Roxie’s bachelorette party and it had been her idea to bring the bash to Vegas, Olivia felt shame rushing up to meet her.

She sighed, flopping her arms over her head. “Well done, Liv,” she muttered at the ceiling. It was painted with a mural complete with puffy white clouds and baby-faced cherubs.

How many inappropriate things had those cherubs seen last night?

Olivia pursed her lips, thinking back hard to what she could remember of the past twenty-four hours. She and her friends had flown into Vegas, then checked into their casino hotel room. They’d gone to a bar…no, a club. The venue had been packed elbow to elbow. Olivia’s other friend and invitee, Adrian Carlton, had kept ordering drinks for the three of them. Tequila shots. That would explain the gargantuan headache pounding away at the inside of Olivia’s head and the base of her neck.

Then…there’d been dancing on the parquet dance floor. And a man. Olivia braved the thumping, eyes watering as she thought hard to bring him into sharper focus. She got only an impression—tall. Tailored suit. A black necktie, which she’d had fun unknotting later here in the penthouse…with her teeth?
Continue reading

Behind the Glass by Kristen Morgen (Book Review)

Behind the Glass

by: Kristen Morgen
Publish Date: 6/30/14
Published by: Kristen Morgen
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Add to Goodreads

Rebecca Jordan’s life is simple, disciplined, and uncomplicated, at least on the surface. Then she meets a handsome stranger/secret admirer named Michael Vale one fateful late night at a bookstore café. As a focused but struggling photographer with a passion for art, her outwardly happy world is turned upside down during this life-changing encounter when she quickly realizes she has met her soul mate. The undeniable attraction between them and their intense, immediate connection seem picture perfect as they discuss the shop’s local artwork, until Rebecca abruptly ends the chance meeting with no explanation.

Betraying Brett, her loyal, loving boyfriend, is something Rebecca can never bring herself to do. Driven by a strong moral code and molded by divorced parents and a tumultuous childhood, she struggles to stay away from Michael, but fate and circumstance intervene, bringing them back together time and time again. As much as she resists, there is no denying her true feelings for him and the simple fact that Michael understands her in a way Brett never has. Michael proves to be everything she’s ever wanted, but remains just out of her reach.

Behind the Glass tells the story of Michael and Rebecca’s extraordinary love and the many unconventional stages their relationship must go through. Their morals and their faith in true love and in each other will be put to the test as they learn that meeting one’s soul mate does not come without obstacles.

Kristen Morgen

Kristen Morgen, an up and coming new adult contemporary romance author, can’t remember a time in her life when she didn’t crave designing, creating, discovering, and using her imagination in some way. Educated and trained as a licensed architect and working at her own architectural firm for many years, her true passion has always been writing. An avid reader from a very early age, the romance genre is admittedly her favorite guilty pleasure – a hopeless romantic to the end.

Kristen loves the art of shaping words and sentences into relatable stories while creating rich characters for her readers to connect with. She enjoys exploring relationships and discovering the little reasons people fall in love with each other while uncovering deeper truths. Honing her craft in her free time and choosing exactly the type of story she wanted to tell, Kristen presents Behind the Glass as her debut novel.

Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, she currently resides in Connecticut with her husband and two daughters. Never one to let her creative mind sit idle for very long, in her free time she is currently hard at work on her next novel and reads almost anything she can get her hands on.

Twitter – @kristenmorgen

Facebook – Kristen Morgen

Buy Behind the Glass for Kindle on Amazon

My Thoughts:

The cover to Behind the Glass is quite striking and once I began reading the book, I realized that it was a painting, which was fitting for the book and most appropriate.

I enjoyed the story, but there was something that took me a little while to put my finger on. The book was very emotionally detailed in the writing and allowed me little room for exercising my imagination. The writing was too perfect. Each emotion was described in such detail that I tended to lose track of what I was reading. I found that I didn’t care for this particular style of writing.

The ending of the story was predictable, but most books are and this wasn’t a problem for me. The story line is sugary and sweet with emotional turmoil thrown in throughout the book. I think that people who enjoy a good, predictable, sweet romance will love this book.

I have read a lot of books, but this is the first of its kind for me and I am a little unsure as how to rate it. Each individual sentence was a perfect sentence in its own right, but the story was too detailed for me. I enjoy exercising my imagination and this book didn’t allow me to do that. The story was there, although lost in the detail, so I am going to give the book 4 stars.

My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book may have been provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

Books that need MORE Attention Giveaway Hop!

Books that need MORE Attention Giveaway Hop

One of my favorite new authors is MK McClintock. I LOVE her books! I have a set to give away! Just follow my blog (see follow at the top) and leave a comment with your email.

I am also offering an Amazon gift certificate for giveaway – so that makes 2 prizes available for this giveaway!

For extra entries, you can follow One Story at a Time on Twitter – @OneStoryataTime

For another entry you can follow MK McClintock on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/MKMcClintockBooks

(Leave a comment saying you are following from My Life. One Story at a Time.)

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Release Day: The Last One by Tawdra Kandle

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The anticipated spin-off series of THE POSSE is finally here!

Meghan Hawthorne is restless. The last year has been a roller coaster: her widowed mother just married a long-time family friend. Her younger brother unexpectedly became a father and a husband. Everyone’s life is changing. . .except for hers. As she begins her final summer of college, Meghan’s looking for excitement and maybe a little romance. Nothing serious; this girl just wants to have fun.

But the only man for Meghan turns out to be the last one she expects.

Sam Reynolds doesn’t need excitement, and he doesn’t want romance. Fun is out of the question. He’s been the steady, responsible one since his parents were killed, and serious is his way of life.

When Sam rescues Meghan alongside a dark Georgia backroad, she falls hard for his deep brown eyes and slow drawl. But making him see her as more than just a party girl won’t be easy. Sam’s tempted by the fiery young artist, even as he realizes that giving into his feelings will mean radical change. . .maybe more than he can handle.

Nobody ever said love was simple.

As an almost strictly paranormal romance reader, it takes a certain type of author to convince me to dive into straight romance. Tawdra Kandle is one of the few authors I will make an exception for. Her writing style is so easy and relaxing that I have to really keep an eye on the time or I’ll stay up all night to finish one of her books.” Carrie Williams, Goodreads Reviewer

“Wow. Talk about romance with an edge. From the beginning the characters were so real that I was completely invested in them. The sexual tension woven into the story added so much value to the relationships. I will be reading this book many times just so I can spend more time with Meghan and Sam.” Cheryl Garrett, Goodreads Reviewer

“I’m in love with this book!!” Leah Fennick, Goodreads Reviewer

Buy it now at Amazon/iBooks/Barnes and Noble/Kobo/Smashwords

 

Watch the trailer here!

 

Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love TK03scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books run from YA paranormal romance (THE KING SERIES), through NA paranormal and contemporary romance (THE SERENDIPITY DUET, PERFECT DISH DUO, THE ONE TRILOGY) to adult contemporary and paramystery romance (CRYSTAL COVE BOOKS and RECIPE FOR DEATH SERIES). She lives in central Florida with a husband, kids, sweet pup and too many cats. And yeah, she rocks purple hair.

Follow Tawdra on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram

Visit her Website and subscribe to her Newsletter for special content and giveaways!

Trigger by Julia Derek (Book Review – 3 stars)

Sparks fly when struggling actress Nina Tyler meets hot lawyer Dylan Whitman. The chemistry between them is so intense Nina even rethinks her staunch position on relationships. Maybe they’re not a waste of time after all. But there’s something about Dylan that scares her—and she knows it has nothing to do with fear of getting close to a man, like her best friend thinks. It’s something far worse.

Preppy Dylan has had his heart broken and his uncle challenges him to move on by going on five online dates. Dylan ends up on a date with Nina. While her unabashed attitude unsettles him at first, he soon realizes that he really likes her. But as they get closer, she pulls back. It’s as if she’s convinced he’d physically hurt her, which he’d never do. Still, if he doesn’t figure out what’s triggering her fear, she’ll never be his. Little does he know her fear is directly tied to him.

Julia Derek grew up in SImage of Julia Derekweden but always knew she was meant to live in America, more specifically, in New York City. A former stand-up comic, she has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. When she doesn’t write or read, she spends her time whipping people into shape as a fitness trainer. She is the author of the L.A. Girls Romance Series. The Series follows the steamy love lives of four different girls from Los Angeles. While interconnected, the four standalone novels don’t have to be read in order (though Julia recommends you start with LOVE CURSED). TRIGGER, LOVE CURSED and UNDERCOVER LOVERS are currently available. The fourth installment will be out in the beginning of October, 2014.

Her YA romantic thriller, The Smiley Killer, is now available.

Julia loves to hear from her readers. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter or by visiting her website: http://www.JuliaDerek.com. Email her at juliatheswede@yahoo.com to get notices about her latest release.

Purchase Trigger in Kindle format on Amazon

My Thoughts:

The following review contains what may be considered a spoiler. Please keep this in mind as you read my review. Thank you.

After reading the book, I felt the title, “TRIGGER“, was an apt name. The book dealt with trigger memories from a prior bullying experience. As this is a topic we are seeing a lot about in the news today, I felt the author touched on a relevant subject for her book.

TRIGGER by Julia Derek is the story of a young woman who finds herself dealing, or in the beginning, not dealing with the after effects of high school bullying as well as survivor’s guilt. She becomes involved with a guy and finds herself having strange reactions to the different facial expressions he uses. Through therapy, she is able to begin addressing her delayed reactions. Another twist in the story has one of the bullies in close proximity.

I thought some of the book meandered. Then, all of a sudden the story came to a conclusion and closed up shop fairly quickly. I am not a fan of sudden endings. I feel that books need to focus as much attention on setting up the endings as the beginnings, and I felt this book was lacking in that respect.

The plus side is that the story topic was good, but I felt the actual writing was more on a 3-3.5 level. Something in the writing just didn’t resonate with what I look for in a book. It was almost as though I were reading a book that fluctuated between several grade levels.

I did enjoy the point of view change with each chapter. The author pulled that aspect off quiet well. There are also a number of detailed sex scenes in the book.

I am going to give the book an overall 3 star rating. The book enveloped a good topic with good character development, even though I felt the writing needs some improvement.

My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book may have been provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

 

Heirs of Damon, Stripping the Billionaire by Noelle Adams (Media Blitz)

Stripping the Billionaire2

 

Title: Stripping the Billionaire (Heirs of Damon #4)
Author: Noelle Adams
Release Date: 9/9/2014

Synopsis:

For the last eight months, Mandy has lived across the hall from a caveman.

He won’t trim his beard, he mostly talks in grunts, and he’ll hardly emerge from his cave of an apartment. Ben might be a grumpy mess, but she kind of likes him anyway. She’s not attracted to him, of course. Not at all. Those stray feelings are merely a fluke. She’s looking for a man who has it all together, and Ben isn’t even close.

Benjamin Damon is heir to a billion-dollar corporate empire, but he has put his family and that whole lifestyle behind him. No one knows who he is now—not even his pretty princess of a neighbor who refuses to leave him alone.

When she ropes him into taking her with him to work on his mother’s historic Savannah home, he knows it’s a mistake. Mandy represents the world he’s tried so hard to escape, and he can’t let one woman strip him of the new man he’s tried to become. The more he’s with her, though, the more he wants her. Despite his best efforts, he’s falling for her hard—and dreading the day she finds out all of his lies.

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Pick up a copy for only 0.99 for a limited time:
Amazon | BN

Get to Know Noelle Adams:

How did you come up with the idea for this story?

I’ve had the idea for this book for three years now, since I plotted out the entire Heirs of Damon series all at once. I can’t exactly remember how I came up with the idea, except I know I wanted the contrast between Ben, with his full beard and grumpy attitude, and Mandy, with her perfect appearance and cheerful disposition.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I most often get inspired by random things in my life. For instance, I was inspired for one scene in Stripping the Billionaire when I was sitting in church and thinking that Benjamin’s mother would definitely go to church. I’m also often inspired by other stories (books, television, movies, etc.). It’s usually one little thing that ends up launching the story. For instance, I got the idea for A Negotiated Marriage after watching a scene in a TV show that had a woman rushing around, late for work and wearing very high heels. The show had nothing to do with a marriage-of-convenience, but for some reason, that scene inspired me for Molly. It’s usually a little, random thing, and then the story grows out of it.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

There’s a frustration I often feel when I have so many stories I want to tell but not enough time in which to write them. That sometimes make me feel very anxious—like I’ll never catch up to my inspiration—which distracts me from writing at all. I will also often get inspired for future stories when I’m in the middle of writing a current one. That makes me want to jump around and makes it hard to focus on a current project.

About Noelle Adams

Noelle handwrote her first romance novel in a spiral-bound notebook when she was twelve, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. She has lived in eight different states and currently resides in Virginia, where she teaches English, reads any book she can get her hands on, and offers tribute to a very spoiled cocker spaniel.

She loves travel, art, history, and ice cream. After spending far too many years of her life in graduate school, she has decided to reorient her priorities and focus on writing contemporary romances.

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Stripping teaser 2

 

Excerpt:

“Oh, no,” he said, starting to his feet. “You’re not touching my beard.”
“But you’ll look so much better if you’ll let me neaten it up a bit.”
“I’m not trying to look good.”
She rolled her eyes but didn’t look surprised. “Anyway, I wasn’t thinking about your beard. Right now, I’m after the back of your neck.”
“What’s wrong with the back of my neck?”
“It’s a mess. When was the last time you got your hair cut?”
“I don’t know. I don’t fuss around with things like that.”
“Well, it bugs me, so sit still.”
He stiffened and watched her suspiciously as she walked around behind him.
“I’m not going to touch your big, ugly beard. I promise.”
He rolled his eyes but didn’t object when she started to run the trimmer along the back of his neck.
“Are you sure you want to do this at the dining room table?”
“Better here than on one of my rugs.”
He felt uncomfortable as she worked on him, conscious of her body behind him. When he felt the trimmer come toward his jaw, he muttered, “Don’t get carried away.”
“Relax.” She turned the trimmer off and leaned over to blow the hair off his neck.
The sensation made Ben tense up.
He gave himself a firm mental lecture. He was not—not—going to get turned on by Mandy. He’d done really well about resisting that particular temptation over the last several months, and he wasn’t going to give into it this evening.
“Oh, Ben, you’re a mess,” she murmured. She ran her fingers through his hair, rubbing his scalp in a way that felt incredibly good. “You’re not going to get any action if you’re such a gorilla.”
“I’ll have you know I get plenty of action, and so far I’ve had no complaints.”
He actually didn’t have much a social life, but that was by choice and not because he was incapable of picking up a woman.
He did wish, however, that Mandy hadn’t brought up the idea of sex.
“Yeah, but it might give a woman pause. I mean, how many are going to want to get a kiss from a gorilla?” She moved around to the side of his chair and peered at him. He was pretty sure she was assessing how much damage she was capable of doing to his beard, but her neckline was directly at his eye-level, and the wide neck of her sweater was slipping off one of her shoulders.
He stared at the graceful line from her neck to her shoulder—smooth skin, deep curve, faint shadow—and then he swallowed as her beautiful hair slipped over her shoulder to fall forward as she leaned toward him to ruffle his hair.
He managed to say, “Kissing me is not like kissing a gorilla.”
“Okay. If you say so. Please can I give you just a little trim?” she asked. She was giving him a beseeching look, with a back-note of teasing in her expression.
“No.”
He didn’t actually care if his hair was trimmed, only he thought it was wiser for her not to be standing so close to him for so long. His body was starting to react to the slipping of her neckline, the flash of full cleavage, and the smell of her drifting over toward him as she moved.
“It will look so much better? I bet you’d even be good-looking if we can just get rid of some of this hair.”
“Being good-looking is very far down on my priority list.”
She laughed and started to massage his scalp again, moving her hands down toward his neck. It felt so good as her fingers pressed hard that he heard himself make a soft moan.
“You’re all tense,” she said, kneading his neck. “A massage now and then would be good for you. So would a haircut.”
He raised his hands to hold onto the table so he didn’t do something incredibly stupid like turning around and grabbing her. She was just being friendly. Neighborly. She was on this search for family-feelings, and right now she was focusing them on him.
But she wasn’t attracted to him—she’d told him over and over again that he wasn’t good-looking the way he was. And sex was the last thing on her mind right now.
Besides, he couldn’t offer her anything more than sex, and she deserved so much more.
So he gripped the table as she moved down to his shoulders. His breathing was getting ragged as his muscles started to soften.
And other things started to harden.

 

 

 

 

Real Murder by Lauren Carr (Tour, Excerpt, Guest Post)

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Lauren CarrLauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Twelve to Murder is the seventh installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.

In addition to her series set on Deep Creek Lake, Lauren Carr has also written the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder, the third book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. They also make an appearance in The Lady Who Cried Murder.

Lauren launched the Lovers in Crime (first introduced in Shades of Murder) mystery series in September 2012 with Dead on Ice. Real Murder is the second installment in this series.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

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Real Murder 2When Homicide Detective Cameron Gates befriends Dolly, the little old lady who lives across the street, she is warned not to get lured into helping the elderly woman by investigating the unsolved murder of one of her girls. “She’s senile,” Cameron is warned. “It’s not a real murder.”

Such is not the case. After Dolly is brutally murdered, Cameron discovers that the sweet blue-haired lady’s “girl” was a call girl, who had been killed in a mysterious double homicide.

Meanwhile, Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton is looking for answers to the murder of a childhood friend, a sheriff deputy whose cruiser is found at the bottom of a lake. The deputy had disappeared almost twenty years ago while privately investigating the murder of a local prostitute.

It doesn’t take long for the Lovers in Crime to put their cases together to reveal a long-kept secret that some believe is worth killing to keep undercover.

Purchase Real Murder in this format (click one):

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Everything I Learned About Writing I Learned in the Kitchen … Well, Maybe Not Everything

By Lauren Carr

I love to cook and eat. I’m not the only one. Don’t believe me? Try telling my son that we aren’t going to stop by Chik-fil-A on the way home from school. Or maybe you should peek in my window one night when I find out my son had eaten the last of the ice cream.

I’m a gourmet cook who is adventurous when it comes to cooking … and eating. I have no fears when it comes to trying new techniques and eating something wildly exotic.

Likewise, I’m never afraid to investigate a new twist in one of my storylines, or tackling a new mystery series, which I am currently planning to launch next year!

Now, since they say, write what you know, gourmet food and cooking has to seep into my mysteries. It is no accident that my protagonist Mac Faraday owns a resort complete with a five-star restaurant, or that Joshua Thornton’s daughter Tracy is a student at the CIA (that’s Culinary Institute of America). It is also no accident that the Lovers in Crime love ice cream (that will be me!) and frequent Cricksters, a genuine retro restaurant in Chester, West Virginia, which I love to stop in when I visit my childhood home.

My years in the kitchen have taught me many things about writing, and life, which have spilled over into my books. It isn’t just the ice cream.

When it comes to character development, you are what you eat. In the Lovers in Crime, Cameron Gates has a love for good food. She doesn’t worry about fat content or cholesterol, good or bad. If it tastes good, she’s all for it. Her adventurous eating habits reflect how she lives. She goes for the gusto. It is any wonder that in the opening of Real Murder, Cameron Gates ends up on medical leave after jumping off a second story fire-escape to catch a murderer.

Joshua Thornton is almost as reckless—almost, but not quite. A father, and the moral compass of the Lovers in Crime, Joshua is responsible for trying to keep his teenaged son Donny on the straight and narrow when it comes to his eating. He has to set a good example. When Cameron is searching the fridge for an egg casserole or something equally unhealthy, Joshua breaks out the grapefruit.

A teenaged bottomless pit who still has a lot to learn, Donny will eat anything and everything anytime or anyplace. His eating habits haven’t developed that much yet—just like his character.

Possibly, one of the more complex characters introduced in the Lovers in Crime’s Real Murder, is Joshua’s grown daughter, Tracy Thornton. Like the depth of knowledge that goes into learning to be a gourmet cook, Tracy is complicated. She is lovely (delicious), drawing anyone who meets her to her beauty and depth. But, for some readers, she may be an acquired taste.

Tracy arrives to shake things up a little bit for the newly married Cameron and Joshua in the Lovers in Crime.  As Joshua’s grown Daddy’s girl, she’s got her territory marked in the family and she has no intention of giving it up freely.

Being a woman and a cook, it was only natural for me to set this encounter between the two Thornton women in the kitchen the night Tracy returns home to help Cameron and Joshua investigate the murder of a sheriff’s deputy, who happens to be her boyfriend’s father.

Here’s an excerpt of that scene from Real Murder:

The huge country kitchen in the Thornton home had been renovated upon Joshua’s return to Chester with his children. Then sixteen years old, Tracy had had a hand in renovating the kitchen to bring it up to modern standards.

It was Tracy’s kitchen—where she used to cook for her family. It was her territory.

Cameron was the outsider … or so she sensed when she came into the kitchen to find Tracy searching through the drawers. “What are you looking for?”

“The whisk.” Tracy extracted the tool from the drawer and slammed it shut. “It belongs in this basket with the frequently used utensils.” With the end of the whisk, she tapped the wire container holding spatulas and other kitchen tools next to the stove before proceeding to use it to stir the sauce on the stove.

“I’m sorry,” Cameron said, “I guess I don’t use the whisk frequently enough to consider it a frequently used utensil.”

Tracy shot a quick glance in her direction.

There was definitely a tension present that had not been there when Tracy and her brothers and sister had met Cameron at Christmas. Things had been different then. Cameron had been their dad’s girlfriend. While Cameron and Irving spent much of their time in the Thornton home, there was no hint that Cameron and Irving would become a permanent fixture.

But Cameron had not only become a fixture—she was also a full-fledged member of the family.

“Do you know how to use a whisk?” Tracy asked her.

“I believe so,” Cameron replied.

Abandoning the whisk and saucepan, Tracy moved on to where she was mashing the potatoes.

Cameron peered into the saucepan at the thick yellowish sauce. It smelled delicious. “What’s this?” She picked up the whisk and stirred it.

“Light lemon hollandaise sauce,” Tracy replied. “It’s for the chicken. Mom taught me how to make it. She was a great cook.”

“Your dad told me that,” Cameron said. “He says you take after her.”

There was a moment of silence. Cameron noticed Tracy pause while mashing the potatoes to stare into the bowl.

“You look like her.” Cameron peered over her shoulder at her. “Her picture is still in the study on the bookcase.”

“Yours is on his desk now.” Tracy abandoned the mashed potatoes to return to the saucepan. “You’re doing it wrong.” She took the whisk from Cameron’s hand. “You don’t stir with it. You whip it. Let me show you how to properly use a whisk.” Edging Cameron to the side, she proceeded to make quick whipping motions with the whisk in the sauce to thicken it. “It’s all in the wrist. Your goal is to incorporate air into the sauce to thicken it and make it creamier.” She turned to her. “See?” Holding up the whisk that was covered in the light yellow sauce, she shook it in Cameron’s face. “That is how you properly use a whisk.”

The two women’s eyes met.

Like two gunfighters, they faced each other eye to eye.

“How’re my two favorite ladies?” Joshua trotted in from the back staircase and stopped when he saw them. “What’s going on?”

Without a word, Cameron grabbed the whisk out of Tracy’s hand and turned back to the saucepan.

Tracy scurried back to the mashed potatoes at the other end of the counter.

“Did I miss something?” Apprehension made his question come out in a stutter.

Forcing a smile across her face, Cameron held up the whisk and shook it menacingly in his direction. “I’m learning how to use a whisk properly.”

As if he feared that she was going to use the whisk as a weapon against him, Joshua backed up a step.

Yep, that’s what happens when you put two women together, one a gourmet cook and the other a junk food expert. In life, there are certain types of people who just aren’t meant to be together, even in the same family—unless you want to shake things up—which, as the writer, I love to do. Have you ever tried sweet and sour chicken?

Purchase Real Murder in this format (click one):

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My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book may have been provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

Stripping the Billionaire by Noelle Adams (Media Blitz)

Stripping the Billionaire2

Author: Noelle Adams

Title: Stripping The Billionaire (Heirs Of Damon #4)

Release Date: September 9th, 2014

About Stripping The Billionaire:

For the last eight months, Mandy has lived across the hall from a caveman.

He won’t trim his beard, he mostly talks in grunts, and he’ll hardly emerge from his cave of an apartment. Ben might be a grumpy mess, but she kind of likes him anyway. She’s not attracted to him, of course. Not at all. Those stray feelings are merely a fluke. She’s looking for a man who has it all together, and Ben isn’t even close.

Benjamin Damon is heir to a billion-dollar corporate empire, but he has put his family and that whole lifestyle behind him. No one knows who he is now—not even his pretty princess of a neighbor who refuses to leave him alone.

When she ropes him into taking her with him to work on his mother’s historic Savannah home, he knows it’s a mistake. Mandy represents the world he’s tried so hard to escape, and he can’t let one woman strip him of the new man he’s tried to become. The more he’s with her, though, the more he wants her. Despite his best efforts, he’s falling for her hard—and dreading the day she finds out all of his lies.

Pre-order:  Amazon / B&N / Kobo / iTunes

Excerpt:

“What are you staring at, Cupcake?” he muttered, radiating more tension than ever.

And she was even drawn to his tension. What the hell was happening to her?

She wanted a good-looking, well-dressed man who had things together and was ready to be a husband. None of that was Ben.

To hide her response, she gave him a teasing grin. “Nothing. I’m just wondering if you’re hiding some sort of lost love behind all your grumpy muttering.”

“I’m not hiding any sort of love.” He was frowning, gruff, covered with hair. It was ridiculous that she was attracted to him.

Before she knew what she was doing, she stretched up to press a kiss just on the side of his mouth. His beard was scratchy under her lips but not unpleasant.

She wanted to kiss him again.

She felt his body tighten even more, and his arms jerked strangely.

She stepped back, flushing and horribly embarrassed.

God, she was an idiot. She’d made him uncomfortable, since their friendship had never allowed any sort of kissing.

“What was that for?” he demanded, his eyes searching her face strangely, like he might have suspected she was feeling in ways that were very inappropriate.

The last thing she wanted to do was get in the way of their friendship—one that meant a lot more to her than she’d realized until recently—with some stray, irrational lusts that could never turn into something serious.

So she managed a light grin and said, “That was because you’re pretty cute for a Neanderthal.”

Check out the other books in the Heirs Of Damon series:

#1 Seducing The Enemy: Amazon

#2 Playing The Playboy: Amazon

#3 Engaging The Boss: Amazon

About Noelle Adams:

Noelle handwrote her first romance novel in a spiral-bound notebook when she was twelve, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. She has lived in eight different states and currently resides in Virginia, where she teaches English, reads any book she can get her hands on, and offers tribute to a very spoiled cocker spaniel. She loves travel, art, history, and ice cream. After spending far too many years of her life in graduate school, she has decided to reorient her priorities and focus on writing contemporary romances.

Goodreads // Website // Twitter // Facebook

 

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One Dirty Bowl: Fast Baking, Faster Cleanup by Christina Dymock (Book Review)

One-Dirty-Bowl-Blog-Tour-Christina-Dymock

 

Front CoverBaking doesn’t have to take all day or make a mess in the kitchen. With One Dirty Bowl: Fast Desserts, Faster Cleanup, you’ll have the recipes and easy-to-follow instructions to help you make show-stopping from-scratch desserts in no time. All you need is a little time and one bowl! And, since you’ll only have one bowl to clean, you’ll use these recipes over and over again.

 

 

Image of Christina Dymock

Christina Dymock was once at a dinner party where her husband was teasing her about the frosting-to-cupcake ratio on her dessert. The woman sitting across from them sniffed her delicate nose and said, “If my husband gave me a hard time about my frosting I’d quit baking. That’d show him.” To which Christina’s husband replied while pointing at his speechless wife, “Try to stop her!”

Christina divides her time between the kitchen and her computer and books and her family of six. (Naturally, the family gets the biggest share.) Because she reads everything, she also feels compelled to write in several genres.

Author of One Dirty Bowl: Fast Desserts, Faster Cleanup, The Hungry Family Slow Cooker Cook BookYoung Chefs, 101 Things to do With PopcornThe Widow’s Mite, and The Godmother Chronicles

Purchase on Amazon in these formats (click one):

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Here’s what others are saying about the book:

“As a busy mother of five and cookbook author, I dirty a load of dishes daily. With recipes from One Dirty Bowl, I now can whip up a delicious dessert in minutes while only dirtying one bowl. That is a win-win for everyone. Spending less time in the kitchen means more time with my family. Bravo for One Dirty Bowl                       -Shauna Evans, author of Sweet and Savory, Skinny-licious, and 30-Minute Meals for Families.

“From cookies to mini cakes and cheesecakes, One Dirty Bowl is full of sweet little bites that are perfect for the busy dessert-lover! It’s a delicious go-to!”                    -Courtney Whitmore, author of Frostings, Push-up Pops, and Candy Making for Kids.

My thoughts on the book:

I really enjoyed this cookbook, One dirty Bowl. As the title suggests, you only need one bowl (besides all of the measuring cups, spoons, etc.) At 136 pages, it is a nice size cookbook that would be the perfect starting point for a novice baker.

The cover of the book is nice and draws the reader to the book and the beautiful pictures inside of the book help you to visualize what your product should look like when all the baking is said and done. I would have appreciated more pictures as I am a visual person, but there was a nice selection. The book contains six chapters, covering small treats, brownies, bars, breads, cookies, candies, cakes, cobblers, and pies. The recipes have anywhere from two to sixteen ingredients.

A few of the recipes that I thought were excellent were the Cookie-Bottom Individual Cheesecakes (Pg. 8-9), Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Pg. 56-57), Raspberry Meringue Cookies (Pg. 60-61), and the Moist Chocolate Cake (Pg. 94-95).

I felt the recipes were well-written and quite easy to follow, even for the novice, although I consider myself an advanced baker. The pictures were beautiful and enticing. I am giving One Dirty Bowl four stars. It would be a lovely addition to anyone’s collection or a gift for a new bride.

 

My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book may have been provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

 

The Husband Maker by Karey White (Excerpt, Tour, Amazon Giveaway)

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The Husband Maker by Karey WhiteThe Husband Maker by Karey White

Charlotte’s a girl with nicknames. She may not love being called Charles or Chuck, but the hardest nickname to take is the one she was given in college, the one that’s followed her now for too many years. They call her “the husband maker” and sadly, it fits. Every guy she’s dated since high school has become his next girlfriend’s husband. Not hers. Not three girlfriends down the road. The next.

Is she doing something wrong or is she just cursed?

When Kyle Aldsworth enters the picture and sweeps her off her feet, Charlotte begins to hope that maybe she’s not destined to be single forever. A senator’s son with political aspirations of his own, Kyle’s wealthy, handsome, and in need of a wife. Will Charlotte be disappointed yet again, or will she finally be able to make a husband for herself?

Get your copy of The Husband Maker for just $3.99!

Amazon * Kobo * iTunes * Barnes & Noble

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Karey WhiteAuthor 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.

 

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

 

Coming Fall 2014 – Charlotte’s Story continues in The Match Maker

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$25 Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 8/15/14

Open only to those 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 enter for you. 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. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Enjoy an Excerpt

My apartment intercom buzzed. “Yes?” I answered.
“It’s Kyle Aldsworth.” He had a deep, rich voice in spite of the static that accompanied it.
“Great. I’ll be right down.” I ran to the window that overlooked the sidewalk in front of my apartment. I didn’t have a great angle. The door to our building was narrow and sat behind a wrought iron gate between Cuddy’s Clip Shop and Grandpa Guo’s Shoe Repair. Cuddy’s was two floors below us, and if guests were standing too close to the door, they were blocked from view by the barber pole attached to the side of the building.
Kyle stood a few feet from the door, allowing me a birds-eye view of dark, thick hair and a navy suit. If he looked up, I’d be able to see his face, which Jayne had compared to a clean-shaven Jake Gyllenhaal. Of course, if he looked up, he’d probably see I was spying out my window instead of coming to the door. I took one last look at my gray and white striped dress, grabbed my yellow cardigan, and headed down.
“You must be Charlotte,” he said when I opened the door. I smiled and looked up—yes up—at one of the most incredible faces I’d ever gone on a date with. Jayne had been wrong. He wasn’t a beardless Jake Gyllenhaal. He was Jake plus Cary Grant plus Captain VonTrapp, with a little of Jonny Lee Miller’s Mr. Knightley thrown in for good measure. Perhaps that sounds ridiculous, but you weren’t looking at him.
All intelligent thought abandoned me, leaving me unable to remember for sure what my name was.
What kind of game was Jayne playing with me? Kyle was much too beautiful for me. He’d have probably been too beautiful for Grace Kelly.
“You are Charlotte Emerson, right?”
How long had I been standing there gawping at him?
“Yes. I’m Charlotte.”
“Whew! You had me worried for a second. I’m Kyle. It’s good to meet you.” He extended his hand and shook mine. His hand was perfect—good size, warm and dry, nice grip without too much enthusiasm. He was a hand-shaking artist. Great. He’d stopped shaking my hand and I hadn’t relinquished my grip. I quickly withdrew mine and turned to lock the iron gate. My face burned, and I fidgeted with the key for a few extra seconds to give my cheeks a chance to return to their normally fair complexion.
Kyle was smiling when I turned back around. “My car’s around the corner.”

Pump Up Your Book Presents Dakota Gold Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Pump Up Your Book is pleased to bring you Karen Wilson’s Dakota Gold book blitz July 21 – August 1!

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PUYB Inside the Book

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Dakota GoldTitle: Dakota Gold
Author: Karen Wilson
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 80
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

Karen Wilson watched as a little tyke came running from the group of golden retriever puppies as fast as his little legs would carry him. Wearing a red ribbon, he was the most adorable bundle of golden softness she had ever seen. As soon as he reached her and she picked him up, he settled in her arms and immediately captured her heart. There was no question that she was his mama and he was her baby dolly. In a poignant retelling of the unconditional love between a dog and his owner, Wilson details how Rusty, at five weeks old, warmed her heart and eased doubts and pain as he quickly acclimated to his new life in her home. He turned out to be a gentle-natured puppy known to elevate the spirits of all who met him. Wilson recalls Rusty’s comical adventures as he grew by leaps and bounds; made friends with her collie, Chester; had fun with a rope swing, a bucket, and leaf piles; caught snowballs in his mouth; and discovered that a cow can be a guardian angel. Dakota Gold shares the true story of a tail-wagging, mischievous dog as he is adopted by his new family, embraces the fun in life, and learns from his best friend that love is the key to happiness.

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PUYB Meet the Author

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Karen Wilson is a retired nurse and published poet. She is a member of the American Legion Post, its color guard unit, and its management team, as well as the Patriot Guard Riders of New York. When she is not spending time with her sons and grandchildren, Karen enjoys painting, writing poetry, and reading in her home in New York.

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PUYB Giveaway

Karen is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins July 21 and ends on August 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, August 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

Click here to access the Rafflecopter to enter:

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2014/07/06/pump-up-your-book-presents-dakota-gold-book-blitz-win-a-25-amazon-gift-card/

The Never Never Sisters by L. Alison Heller (Review)

An absorbing, highly entertaining novel about family secrets, The Never Never Sisters introduces you to the strong-willed and big-hearted Reinhardt women, as they reunite one summer in New York. Gifted storyteller L. Alison Heller has written another witty and moving page-turner that will captivate readers and keep them guessing right up until the satisfying end.

Sometimes you just need to get away….

Marriage counselor Paige Reinhardt is counting down the days to summer, eager to reconnect with her workaholic husband at their cozy rental cottage in the Hamptons. But soon a mysterious crisis at Dave’s work ruins their getaway plans. Paige is still figuring out how to handle the unexplained chill in her marriage when her troubled sister suddenly returns after a two-decade silence. Now, instead of enjoying the lazy summer days along the ocean, Paige is navigating the rocky waters of a forgotten bond with her sister in the sweltering city heat.

As she attempts to dig deeper into Dave’s work troubles and some long-held family secrets, Paige is shocked to discover how little she knows about the people closest to her. This summer, the self-proclaimed relationship expert will grapple with her biggest challenge yet: Is it worth risking your most precious relationships in order to find yourself?

alison6L. Alison Heller grew up in Connecticut and attended Bates College in Maine. After graduation, she wandered dreamily around the eastern seaboard, temping and interning and shelving books before landing in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where she enrolled at the University of North Carolina School of Law. In 2000, she graduated from UNC with honors and moved to New York City and toiled in several law firms, growing increasingly nostalgic for those days of dreamy wandering. Alison opened her own family law and mediation practice in 2006 to help couples divorce with their sanity intact.

Alison is the author of THE LOVE WARS (Penguin NAL). Her second novel, THE NEVER NEVER SISTERS (Penguin NAL), is scheduled for June 2014. Alison currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her family. 

Visit Alison Heller’s website: http://lalisonheller.com

Like her on Facebook: https: //www.facebook.com/LAlisonHeller

Follow her on Twitter: https: //twitter.com/lalisonheller

 

My Review:

First off, I really love the cover of this book. There are two girls lying next to each other, yet the title of the book says “never never.” I found that intriguing. Opening the book, I found that L. Allison Heller wrote a real-life, entertaining, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, endearing story of a dysfunctional family – and aren’t we all? The book is about two sisters trying to reconnect after many years of estrangement, caused in the beginning by the older sister’s drug use and subsequent rehabilitation.

As the sisters begin to learn about each other as adults, you are drawn into the difficulties they face as they try to fit into each other’s lives. I thought that THE NEVER NEVER SISTERS read like a memoir; that is how true-to-life the author writes. The story begins with Paige and her perfect life which soon begins to spiral out of control, leaving her wondering if she really knows those close to her. It is a story about self-discovery and how the past shapes who we are and how we think.

I think this quote sums up the book quite eloquently:

“The Never Never Sisters is a fast, entertaining and though- provoking story that explores important real-life issues like relationship, family bonding, and addiction. Through its strong and memorable cast of characters, including the sibling’s mother Vanessa, the author paints a sweeping story of reconciliation, forgiveness and healing. Compelling, powerful, poignant, and at times delightfully witty… “

Although I felt the book started out a little slow, it picked up its pace and the writing was good. I would recommend this book and I feel THE NEVER NEVER SISTERS is worth five stars.

THE NEVER NEVER SISTERS has been garnering rave reviews. It’s a don’t miss book!

“Touching and poignant, endearing and entertaining, Heller writes a wonderfully creative lesson on the necessity for healing and forgiveness.” -USA Today

A “must read”! –New York Post

“Heller has captured the true essence of friendship, family and love in THE NEVER NEVER SISTERS. Writing with such an engaging voice, her carefully crafted story immediately pulls readers into this contemporary novel.” –Bookreporter

“Heller writes with…razor-sharp wit.”—Meg Donohue, Author of All the Summer Girls

 

Purchase The Never Never Sisters in these formats (click):

Kindle
Paperback

 

My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book was provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

Here for the Cake by Emily Poule (Review)

Here for the Cakea novel about three friends who team up to sabotage the wedding of their childhood frenemy. 

“Something should happen: a thunderbolt should erupt, a car should crash, a bell should ring. There should be a soundtrack—some horrible, frightening sound to accompany the news of your ex-boyfriend marrying one of your best friends from high school. Especially when you’re still in love with him.”

No, of course she wasn’t going. Are you insane? For 29-year-old academic Mina Joseph, going to Luke‘s destination wedding to the venomous Ella Hutchinson would be the ultimate act of lunacy. It would be much safer to stay in her shitty studio in Boston so she could stalk the Facebook pages of the bride, groom, and every other guest in attendance before falling asleep in a box of tears and Wheat Thins.

But Luke’s best man, the insufferably charming Benjamin Fogarty, has different plans for Mina. Not only is Ben desperate to break up the mismatched couple before they say their “I do’s,” he is convinced that Luke is still in love with Mina (though he can’t figure out why). So, Ben offers Mina $2400 and a plane ticket to come out of hiding and seduce the groom

Armed with a new wardrobe, devious friends, and copious amounts of tequila, Mina has five days to rekindle her love with Luke, expose Ella for the certifiable psychopath that she is, and at all costs, avoid having sex with the best man, regardless of how hot it could be.

Emily Poule was born in the most unremarkable city in Iowa with a peculiar propensity towards practicality. She saved every bit of her allowance, stayed in to study on the weekends, collected figurines of small animals, sketched pictures of potted plants, and read period romance novels of the Julia Quinn variety. Then, in her very first semester as a PHD student, she did the least rational thing she could think of — she dropped out to write chick lit. After some stints as a barista, tutor, and professional dog walker, she finally got her footing as a free-lance writer and hasn’t looked back since. These days, she splits her time between Dublin and Chicago in search of functional Wi-Fi, attractive men, and coffee strong enough to caffeinate an Indian Elephant. She still collects figurines.

My Review:

HERE FOR THE CAKE is a book that has every emotion in it and on almost every page! It was well-written and entertaining. I can’t remember when I’ve been so entertained with one book. The book begins with a simple plot and then takes off in a romantic comedy that leaves the reader laughing and crying and cheering the characters on with every page. HERE FOR THE CAKE boasts an unpredictable plot and I loved that!

You have three friends who have made it their life’s ambition – at least for a weekend –  to save a friend from making the biggest mistake of his life. What happens is a week in a tropical paradise spent running from love, to love, and around love! I absolutely loved Salma and Josie and who wouldn’t love to have them as best friends.

The characters are funny and outspoken – which I adored. One of the funniest adventures of the week was a scavenger hunt to find the bride, an adventure that brings out the worst and the best in all of the characters as well as a whole lot of truth. This is a great beach read or a Sunday afternoon on the swing read. I would love to see this book made into a movie.

Readers are guaranteed to laugh and cry in a matter of moments. i am giving HERE FOR THE CAKE five plus stars.

You can purchase HERE FOR THE CAKE in these formats:

 Kindle

My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book was provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

Grandfather’s Uncle by Philip McQuillan (Review)

Growing up during the Great Depression, Philip had to contend with scarcity, hand-me-downs and a dearth of education options. His older brothers and sisters had all been “guided” into a convent or the priesthood. So how did Philip become a stalwart family man and neighborhood icon? Simply…he met Jean!

Philip had a passion for cooking, quoting Shakespeare and standing on his head. He could say stuff like “anything you can do I can do better” and yet remain a humble man. He had to be humble as Jean could be a hard taskmaster. He once said that his existence under her driving force was “survival of the fittest.” Not one to complain, normally he was willing to be at Jean’s beck and call.

The story begins with a glimpse of his pre-Depression origins, then fast-forwards almost forty years to his colorful home life, favorite hobbies and the mini-obsessions that made him such a memorable character. Philip’s little recipes, his night job as a radio announcer, his board game “crimes” and his love for horse racing, golf and gardening all combine to paint the richly detailed portrait of a man we cannot help but grow to love.

Philip Jude McQuillan was born in 1954 in Michigan. He spent his early school years in Philadelphia, PA and Vineland, NJ. After a brief career in commercial shipping, he moved to Costa Rica and spent 20 years there raising a family, teaching English and Spanish in his free time. In 2001, he returned to the US with his second family, and eventually moved back to his hometown to spend time with his father in his waning years.

A first-time author, Philip draws inspiration from his father Philip Louis McQuillan.

He encourages everyone to write about someone they knew and loved. Having passed away, their stories are sacred memories. Please do not let them be forgotten. Whether you decide to author a book of your own, or choose to add a story to this book, your gain is the same- you will enrich your life and the lives of your children.

I would love to hear your story! You can reach me at mcquillanphil@gmail.com or on Facebook at Phil McQuillan.

My Review:

Grandfather’s Uncle is a wonderful book written in a Reader’s Digest style. We all love hearing the stories of the generations before us and Phil McQuillan has taken the stories that have filled his life and compiled them into a book that is a heart-warming read and offers the reader an opportunity to see who McQuillan’s father was and how entertaining he could be. His father loved Shakespeare and words and this was truly a part of the story that I loved. I love words and I was entertained by the numerous quotes and words. His father was a man who not only loved the English language, but used it to its fullest. I also liked how the author used a bold font to set these apart from the other words.

McQuillan has worked hard to ensure that the memories of those who knew his father and those who loved him most are not forgotten. It is a wonderful read and such a treasure to leave behind for the generations who will only know the man through the stories handed down by each generation.

I am giving GRANDFATHER’S UNCLE five stars.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

Purchase Grandfather’s Uncle in these formats: Kindle

 

 

My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book was provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

 

Coming Home by Holly Kerr (Media Blast)

Brenna Ebans always wanted more than what Hill n’Valley could give her, so it seemed a simple decision to follow her black-sheep sister Dory’s footsteps and leave Hill n’Valley in her rearview, hoping to locate their missing father. Leaving her sisters and her first love Seamus was harder than she thought, she’s made a life for herself in Vancouver, started her career at a prestigious law firm, and has found the man of her dreams. But when she finds her husband Toby in a compromising position at work, she loses both her love and her job, and has nowhere to go but home.

Youngest sister Cat has remained in Hill n’Valley, leaving a string of broken hearts—and ex-husbands—in her wake. She’s happy living in the family home, with the ghost of their dead mother to keep her company during the day, and her latest conquest—Brenna’s old boyfriend, Seamus—to keep her warm at night. And she’s less than thrilled to hear about Brenna’s return.

But when tragedy strikes, it brings their father back to Hill n’Valley, and the three sisters will have a lot of issues to resolve…

Holly KerrHolly Kerr:  Ask any writer and they’ll tell you they have always wrote and Holly Kerr is no exception. She’s written stories about bunnies dodging cars and sisters dying, distracting the cute boy in class and dark plots to kill your best friend’s husband.  Coming Home is her latest novel, a story about sisters who can’t get along and living in a small town, two things she knows more than a little about!  A self-professed geek, she loves anything to do with Star Wars, super heroes, Joss Whedon and Harry Potter. She also enjoys running, playing in the dirt and sharing a glass of wine with friends.

Her latest book is the women’s fiction, Coming Home.

For More Information

 

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Turning Friends into Characters

I recently read a quote by J.K. Rowling that said there was a part of her in the characters of Harry, Hermione and Ron.

That makes sense.

I constantly use my own idiosyncrasies and habits in creating  my protagonists, antagonists, secondary characters…the write-what-you-know rule has always been drummed in me and who do you know better than yourself?

Writers observe; they take in as much as they can – sight, sounds, smells, etc – and use those observations to create.  The homeless man on the corner can spark something, as can the way your mother used to yell at you to pick up your dirty clothes.

What about using friends as the basis of your characters though?

Imagine your best friend wrote a book and your heart is bursting with pride.  As you’re racing through the pages, trying to finish as quickly as you can to be able to write a glowing review for her, you come across a character…that sounds a lot like you.

She never mentioned you were in her book.

Not everyone would want themselves portrayed in print.  Sure if, it’s a glowingly positive image of you, you might be flattered.  But what if it’s not?

Hopefully, if she’s that good of a friend, she won’t mention to all about how you once got so sick from tequila that you threw up and then spent long minutes investigating the inner workings of the toilet? Or about how you got a speeding ticket and embarrassed yourself trying to get out it.  Or about how you accidently let a fart escape as you laughed during a presentation.  What if you were reading along and found your worst memory embedded in the pages of her book?

Advice for the author:  Don’t make it obvious that you’re using a friend as the basis of a character.  Be subtle; don’t take everything about them!  And if you do make it obvious, tell your friend.  For my new book, I came right out and told the boys from the store they were going in as characters and they loved the idea.  Some people will love the thought of being in a book.  Some people won’t.  Always be respectful.

For me, it’s more fun to use friends as characters when it’s not obvious.  When the friend doesn’t even know you’re borrowing quirks and traits.  I have a character in my first book, Baby! Baby? Baby?!  that is based on a friend of mine, and she’s never once realized this!  It’s my little secret.

For the reader: be flattered if you’re included in a book.  Realize that you made enough of an impact in someone’s life for them to immortalize you.  They have observed something about you – hopefully not too embarrassing – that has helped them create.  You are an inspiration. You are a muse.  You are important to them.

Plus, sometimes situations or eccentricities are too memorable NOT to be used. My friend who counted all the holes in the toilet after she threw up?  That scene is so going in my next book!  Sorry, Cheryl!

Purchase COMING HOME on Amazon in these formats:

Kindle

 

 

My Life in Review – The Traveling Midori

I have been a member of a group on Facebook for almost a year now. It is a group of people who are enamoured with Midoris, and to celebrate the year anniversary of the group and to promote friendship, one of the members came up with the idea of traveling Midoris. The concept behind the group was that there would x number of groups – depending upon the number of interested parties – and each group would have its own hand-made Midori. This Midori would take a year-long trip to be documented by each member of each group as they in turn hosted the Midori for a week in their lives.

I think the group ended up with approximately ten groups of ten people. These Midoris are traveling world-wide at this very moment, and to me, that is exciting. I am part of the Pioneer Dorian group and I am experiencing my week right now! Each of these Midoris have been hand-crafted by the members of the group and are works of art in their own right. Each person hosting the Midori is encouraged to document their life and add a little of themselves to the book, giving each book its own unique history. It will take a year for each Midori to complete its journey. At that time, the books will be assigned to a new group and begin a new year of travel.

It is very interesting to flip through the pages and see what other’s have chosen to leave of themselves. Some of the participants are artists, some are writers, some lead busy lives, and some lead quiet lives. The journey of each book is also being documented on Instagram with the hashtags #travelingdori #pioneerdorian and others, each representing the name of the group’s Midori. You’ll find us on Twitter and on Facebook in the Traveling Dori group.

This is my story:

I received a package in the mail on Saturday, June 7, 2014. I wasn’t expecting the package as we are not warned ahead of time. It is a surprise for each of us when the Midori will arrive. Even as I opened the envelope, and peered inside, I was still not certain what I was seeing. It was when I pulled out a leather sleeve and looked inside that I realized I was the next recipient of the Pioneer Dorian. As I sat down and began to thumb through the different books, I was taken by surprise by the artistic talents of the person before me. It gave me pause, and I began to picture what I might leave behind for the next person.

Where the person before me was surely a free spirit – drawing and writing in a random fashion – I am not. I shall leave my mark upon the Pioneer Dorian in a much different way – a way that speaks to me, as the next recipient of this piece of history will no doubt do. I will decorate my pages with stickers and washi tape. I will add a ribbon marker to mark my place, pink, as that is my favorite color.

While some are whimsical, I am not. If I contribute art, my mark will be a carefully thought-out Zentangle with precise lines made with intention.

As I turn the pages of this wonderful book, this traveling Midori, I will bring order to it for the short time it is with me – then, I shall send it forward where it will be transformed once again.

I hope you enjoyed the story and enjoy the pictures of the traveling Pioneer Dorian – next stop – Georgia, USA!