31 August 2015

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Her Alaskan Hero (Alaskan Hero #1) by Rebecca Thomas

He’s a rugged outdoorsman, she’s a California princess out to prove she can make it on her own.

Fans of contemporary romance are sure to love debut author, Rebecca Thomas’, sensual story where opposites attract in HER ALASKAN HERO.

Her Alaskan Hero (Alaskan Hero #1)
by Rebecca Thomas.
Audience/Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance.
Publication: August 25, 2015.
After being left at the altar, California girl Sabrina Tate needs to make a fast getaway. With her famous overbearing parents and the paparazzi hot on her heels, where else is a jilted bride to go to lick her wounds but Alaska? With only her tropical honeymoon clothes in tow, she makes her escape. For two weeks, she’ll live on her own and prove to herself—and her family—that she can make it without a husband.

Zak Forrester is a man on a mission. He’s turned his rugged yet luxurious Alaskan lodge into a hotspot for hunters, all in the hope to make up for a painful event in his past. But when Sabrina—one of the rare women to enter his rugged realm—stumbles into his world, he can’t get rid of her fast enough. He has no time for her yoga, vegetarian meal requests, or Scrabble.

Soon, neither can resist the other, and two hearts collide. With time ticking away, they have to decide where they belong. Is a life in a different world better than being a world apart?

Reviewed by Kelly.

This was a cute and quick read. I just wished there was a little more building in the story.

Sabrina was literally “Dear John’d” at the altar. So, embarrassed and a little relieved as she was (she was really marrying Kyle because that’s what she was expected to do not because she loved him), she ran off to Alaska with only her honeymoon clothes that was in the limo paced for Hawaii and flip flops to boot! (Pun intended)

There she meets Zak one of the owners of the lodge her friend told her to go to. The lodge was all booked up. She hadn’t counted on that, she had just run and gone with whatever her friend said. But Zak took pity on her and let her stay in her brother’s apartment. He and all the lodgers were out hunting moose. So the lodge with the gorgeous surroundings of mountains and hot springs and the hand built fireplace was all theirs alone in a cold quiet part of the world. Romance builds quickly.

The description of the area had me wanting to go there and find a lodge. I have been in hot springs in the winter before and there is nothing like it!

I had a hard time with Sabrina at first. She was a little off. And Zak saw that too. I was surprised he was so easily taken by her with his thoughts on her in the beginning. I was a little behind in warming up to Sabrina. But I was all in with Zak. He is a wonderful, caring and doting man. When I did warm up to Sabrina, she was schmoozin’ it up with the people of Alaska and they were warming up to her quickly.

Eventually, Sabrina has to go back and face the press. She is a politician’s daughter and her wedding is making the front page as soon as the paparazzi finds her. She also has a function she is hosting.

When she leaves, they both have to figure out what they really want. Sabrina also needs to talk to Kyle.

Anyway, the rest you have to read about. So if you like Alaska, Moose hunting, hot springs, cold weather, sitting in front of a beautiful roaring fireplace, Scrabble, yoga, politicians, paparazzi getting in the way, events with men in tuxedos, mushing, puppies and finding love then this might be for you.

Guest Post...

What gives you inspiration?

In the case of this Alaskan Hero series I think my home state of Alaska gives me a lot of inspiration to keep writing the next story. There are so many aspects of the state that I love, but there are some that I hate too. So…like many love affairs, the relationship is sometimes rocky. I suppose in the big picture the good outweighs the bad, but I’m not currently looking outside at snow either, so ask me in a few months what I think about my beloved state and I may have another answer for you! Some things to consider, from my perspective.

1- The friendliest people in the world live here and they will give you the shirt off their back if you need it.
Example: if you are stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire at -40 degrees Fahrenheit, someone will stop to help you. No question about it.

2- Traffic jams don’t exist. The closest thing to a traffic problem is when you’re trying to pass a tourist driving a motor home.

3- Summertime is coveted. We don’t sleep much because we don’t want to miss a second of it.
We are accepting of all types of people here. Big, small, tall, short, black, white, and everything in between. We are all interested in keeping warm in the winter and for that reason we are bonded, we are family, we look out for one another. We are proud to call ourselves Alaskans.

4- Anyone who tells you the winters aren’t that bad is lying. The cold and the dark can mentally wear you down. Only the strong survive. The rest will leave.

What do you do when you need a break from writing?

I will usually take a walk or jump on my treadmill, depending on the time of year. I also love to listen to audiobooks.

What is your favorite book?

Such a tough question because I have so many favorites, but okay one at the top of the list is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

Is there something you want readers to know about?

Regarding this series I really struggled with whether to call snowmobiles—snowmobiles or snowmachines. It’s a weird thing I know. But Alaskans call them snowmachines, but everyone else in the world calls them snowmobiles, so I struggled with what to call them in the book. Ultimately, I decided to go with the majority and say snowmobiles, but I wonder if that was the right way to go. Funny things authors think about after the fact!

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Rebecca Thomas enjoys a love-hate relationship with Alaska. She lives there with her bush pilot husband and two teenaged sons. When she isn’t reading, writing, or playing board games, she is cheering for her sons at their hockey games and tennis matches.
A reluctant reader as a child, she didn’t become interested in books until her teen years when she discovered historical romance. Now she loves all sub-genres of romance and can’t decide which one is her favorite.
Rebecca earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Alaska and was employed in the airline industry for several years before working in her current position as a program manager in higher education.

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28 August 2015

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Aurelious Forty; Volume One by Dianna Beirne

Follow the Whole Tour HERE

Aurelious Forty; Volume One
by Dianna Beirne.
Audience/Genre: Fantasy.
Publication: December 20th 2014 by Smashwords Edition.
Aurelious Forty has led a lonely, troubled life. He stays disconnected from the world around him with no family and no friends. He lives merely to exist…to survive.

Aurelious’ life changes in an instant when an impulsive decision forces him to abandon everything he has ever known. Choosing to follow strangers into a new world, he discovers he was born with a gift so strong, so unique; it could give him the power to change humanity.

But the shadows of his childhood are long and dark and run through every fiber of his soul. Can Aurelious break the chains of his past and use his gift for good? Or will the nightmare of his tormentors set him on a path of revenge so fierce it could destroy us all?

Guest Post: Playlist inspired by Aurelious Forty; Volume One...

I think the thing that stands out for me most with Aurelious Forty is how emotional it is. The characters and, as a result, the readers go on an emotional journey that can be pretty extreme at times. Much like our own lives, there are highs and lows for each person that we meet on the pages. I listen to music all the time. I mean all the time. Driving, cooking, doing laundry, taking a walk, daydreaming, you name it and I’ll have music on while I’m doing it...even if I’m doing nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I love silence, I think best when there is no noise at all and I can’t write with music on but I often use music to get into the mind or soul of a character. When I was writing the last two chapters of Aurelious Forty; Volume One I listened to It Will Rain by Bruno Mars about a million times simply because, to me, it sounded like the intensely emotional scene that I was writing. So anytime that I wasn’t actively writing that scene on the day I wrote it, I was playing that song so I could stay in the mindset of my characters. I’m pretty sure my son thought I was nuts, but the process worked for me, it’s an intense scene to say the least! So, that song is on my playlist inspired by Aurelious Forty; Volume One along with a whole host of others. The songs are either representative of a particular character or situation they are in and they all evoke some emotion, well for me they do and maybe they will for you too. And in case you were wondering, I listened to a lot of Mumford and Sons while writing Volume Two!

A Simple Man by Shinedown
If I Tremble by Front Porch Step
Too Close by Alex Clare
Sail by Awolnation
Drowning by Banks
Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked by Cage the Elephant
Pompeii by Bastille
It Will Rain by Bruno Mars
Now and Forever by Drake
Jar of Hearts by Christina Perry
More Than Words by Extreme
Round Here by Counting Crows
Centuries by Fall Out Boy
Handlebars by Flobot
Lightning Crashes by Live
The Wolf by Mumford and Sons
Where Are You Now by Mumford and Sons
Timshel by Mumford and Sons
Plain Sailing Weather by Frank Turner
Say Something by A Great Big World
Stay by Rhianna ft. Mikky Ekko
Headstrong by Trapt
Outside by Staind
Just Breathe by Pearl Jam
Uprising by Muse

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Dianna Beirne lives in a fantasy world. Okay not really, but part of her wishes she did and, since that’s technically impossible, she writes about fantasy worlds instead. Her first Young Adult novel entitled Aurelious Forty; Volume One quickly turned into her first Young Adult series with the addition of Aurelious Forty; Volume Two and, Aurelious Forty; Volume Three.

When not writing, she’s generally daydreaming which morphs into wondering if that last daydream could turn into a book. She has also recently discovered podcasts but doesn’t exactly understand what they are or why they’re different from regular radio shows. So it’s safe to assume that her next book won’t be about a podcast. Instead she’ll just keep listening to the ones that she finds that hilarious because laughing is one of her favorite pastimes and she finds way too many things funny!

Prior to dedicating her time to writing, Dianna taught undergraduate and graduate courses about using literacy in the elementary, middle, and high school classroom. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a Master’s degree in Literacy and a Doctorate in Education specializing in Curriculum and Teaching.

Dianna lives in New York and is the grateful mother of a son whom she misses terribly when he is away at college.

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27 August 2015

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Friction by Sandra Brown

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Book Name
by Sandra Brown.
Audience/Genre: Adult, Romance, Suspense.
Publication: August 18th 2015 by Grand Central Publishing.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown comes a gripping story of family ties and forbidden attraction.

A Texas Ranger, relegated to deskwork due to past recklessness, petitions to regain custody of his five-year-old daughter, and his case is assigned to a family court judge who is as attractive as she is ambitious. When a masked gunman barges in during the custody hearing with his sights on the judge, the Ranger reacts instinctually and goes after him. But authorities apprehend the wrong man, and the real gunman remains unknown, at large, and a threat. Will this take-charge lawman jeopardize his chances of custody by going after the would-be assassin? And will this unlikely pair be able to deny the forbidden attraction building between them?

Reviewed by Kelly

You know those books that when you open it it’s hard to put down? Yeah, that was Friction. It started off with the prologue, foreseeing the ending that alone dragged me into the book. There was mystery, intrigue, romance, suspense, and family. I had a hard time when I had to put it down. I stayed up all night reading. The suspense was intense. The mystery was eating at me. There were several ‘I did not see that coming’ moments. There were many tender moments. Personalities were clashing. When the first aha moment came to me, I jumped out of my chair!

The writing is amazing. The writer knows how to keep your attention. Sometimes, she would leave off at a tense moment only to pick it up later. Gah, not fair! The characters were real, with real flaws that all of us have and some with more drama to them.

The story is about Crawford Hunt. He is a Texas Ranger. He was married and when his wife died, Crawford went unhealthy, drinking and stuff. He let his in-laws keep care of his daughter, Georgia, until he got his act together. He adores his little girl immensely. He is in Court one day fighting to get her back because the in-laws want to keep her. Crawford’s father in law is a jerk and uses whatever he can to keep Georgia from going home with her dad. While in court, a man comes in the courtroom masked and dressed in painter clothes and starts shooting, killing Crawford’s and the judge’s friend- the bailiff. From there it is Chaos in the court and Crawford doesn’t think. He just goes after the killer. Another man is killed that day because of the chaos and the guy waving the gun on the roof is also shot and not by Crawford. From there, the investigation starts as to who and why this guy killed. But nothing is as it seems and the mystery just gets deeper.

Holly, the judge, finds herself attracted to Crawford and him to her. They talk and do other things! Cough cough! (It’s not closed door)

I can’t begin to go over all the characters without writing pages of my thoughts on them. There are a lot of personality issues with people and law enforcement and control and judgments that keep the investigation from going faster.

From there, it’s all action and like I said before, I didn’t see that coming moments. I’m not telling you anymore!

I think I found myself a new favorite author! There wasn’t anything I didn’t like.

If you like suspense, law, mystery, intrigue, pink, ballet shoes, bad guys, personality clashes, swamps, stupid guys who snitch( and he owns a series of night clubs with naked girls -but we aren’t subjected to it except for several paragraphs which is one too many for me), who dun nit, and some romance then this might be for you.

Tour-wide giveaway (US only)
10x coffee cup + a signed (personalized) copy of Friction

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Sandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers, including DEADLINE(2013), LOW PRESSURE (2012), LETHAL (2011), TOUGH CUSTOMER (2010), SMASH CUT (2009), SMOKE SCREEN (2008), PLAY DIRTY (2007), RICOCHET (2006), CHILL FACTOR (2005), WHITE HOT (2004), & HELLO, DARKNESS (2003).

Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.

A lifelong Texan, Sandra Brown was born in Waco, grew up in Fort Worth and attended Texas Christian University, majoring in English. Before embarking on her writing career, she worked as a model at the Dallas Apparel Mart, and in television, including weathercasting for WFAA-TV in Dallas, and feature reporting on the nationally syndicated program “PM Magazine.”

In 2009 Brown detoured from her thrillers to write, Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression.

Brown recently was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She was named Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

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26 August 2015

Blog Tour: Capture by Rachel Van Dyken

by Rachel Van Dyken.
Audience/Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance.
Publication: August 20th 2015.
Losing your ability to speak at the age of seventeen; it’s not normal or fair.
But trauma, has a way of throwing normality out the window.

Dani lives anything but a normal life.
Her sister is married to one of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Her best friends are rockstar duo AD2.
And she has more love around her than most people experience in a lifetime.
But that doesn't change the fact their parents are dead.
Or that it's her fault.

It seems her new normal is being a mute, living on the inside, unable to actually communicate on the outside.
That is until Hollywood’s newest heartthrob Lincoln Greene hires her as his assistant for the summer.
He's gorgeous, completely unavailable, and unobtainable.
But that doesn't stop her from wondering...if things were different...would he want her?
If she was whole, would he be the other half?

Reviewed by Kelly

Ever since I saw the blurb about a girl who went mute after the trauma surrounding her parents’ death, I knew I had to read it. What would you do if you suddenly couldn’t speak? How would you communicate? How do you get over something like that and losing your parents? How will people treat you? I had no idea this was part of a series and I need to read the others. I love Rachel Van Dyken’s writing. And it’s different. I also want to read Zane’s story next. He has a marshmallow fetish!! Don’t you love the cover?? I think I ate too many marshmallows, my mind is going a million miles a minute!! What? Don’t you sometimes crave things you read about??

Dani lives with her actress sister who is married to another famous person and director of the film Dani’s sister is in. They are making a movie of the AD2 band stars who also happen to be Dani’s best friends. Lots of famous people in this book. The leading actor is played by Hollywood’s hunk Lincoln Greene. And now Dani is his assistant. How can I get a job like that??

Dani is mute and communicates by text. Her body language is more of an indifferent one. She has night terrors and wakes up in sweat every night. Dani was on the social ladder at school, being in cheerleading and dating the quarterback at school. Then he dumped her and was so rude about it after she went mute. Dani dropped out of school and got her GED. Her sister and brother-in-law worry about her. Now they worry about Lincoln and Dani. Lincoln is twenty-two (I think) and she is just shy of eighteen.

Lincoln has always just taken what he wants. He is a player. But with Dani, he wants something different from her. He wants to kiss and date her, but he can’t. She is underage and the media sucked on to that. Then when the media does catch it? Well, you will have to see for yourself. He is different with Dani. And that different is what she needs to heal! He also isn’t the typical star and is not demanding in the things he needs. But he does have his quirk with eating only the red skittles. He constantly messes things up. But he has his own sad past and can help Dani. Dani can help him too. The dude has a fear of whales! Their love story is so cute and sweet and passionate. What Linc gets for Dani made me cry! I want Linc. (I want Zane too! Can I have both of them? Don’t tell my hubby! Hehe!)

So, if you like good writing, stupid teenagers, family ( I am always about family), skittles, marshmallows, bon fires, celebrities, whales, guys going around without shirts, tattoos, a passionate love story then look no further!

“Finally!” Jaymeson pointed at both of us. “Lincoln, show her to her mark. Dani, for this scene you’re simply staring at him like you want to eat him. Think you can do that?”
I nodded.
Any woman could do that.
Most men too.
“Cue music!” Jaymeson called out. “Action.”
A techno mix of AD2’s latest song filled the air as the extras started dancing around us. I stayed glued to the wall while Lincoln delivered his lines to Pris, and then he lifted his head, meeting my gaze.
It’s just a movie. It’s just a movie.
The breath left my chest on one slow exhale as he moved toward me, his body making fluid purposeful movements through the crowd.
My lips parted; my entire body felt heavy as he approached.
He stopped in front of me, his forehead grazing mine as he leaned in a few inches. Our breath mingled as the music and scene faded around me.
“Cut!” Jaymeson yelled.
Holy crap on a cracker. I almost experienced my first stroke — at seventeen.
“You okay?” Lincoln’s eyebrows knit together in concern.
I licked the lipstick from my lips and nodded quickly.
Jaymeson approached. “Time for the kiss, remember kissing, not hockey. Clearly, you were confused earlier.”
Lincoln gritted his teeth and let out a little groan.
I patted his arm and grinned, my way of encouraging him. He seemed to pale more.
My stomach sank.
Maybe it was me.
I was the problem.
Not the kiss, but me. If he’d had trouble kissing my gorgeous sister, how was he going to be able to kiss me?
“Hey…” Lincoln cupped my cheek. “… focus on me, nothing else, alright? It’s only us.”
I nodded.
“You ever been to a party?”
I rolled my eyes.
“Ever made out with a guy at a party that wasn’t your boyfriend?”
I thought about it then slowly shook my head.
“So that’s what this scene is about. It’s about a guy seeing a girl from across the room and wanting her so badly that he’s willing to cheat on his own girlfriend for just one taste. Granted, he’s supposedly drunk and high, but that just takes the romance out of it, doesn’t it?”
He released my cheek and stepped back. “Imagine you’re trying to attract me, make your body as inviting as possible. Hell, just stand there and look at me, and you’ll sell it.”
Sell it. I repeated the words in my mind.
I could do that.
Because I wanted him to kiss me.
It made my heart beat faster.
My blood pump harder.
And for the first time since my parents’ death, I was actually excited about something. Nervous, but excited.
“Okay,” I mouthed.
I must have surprised him again because his eyes darkened, and then he grinned. “One day, Dani. One day I’m going to hear my name coming from that gorgeous mouth of yours, and I’m not going to be held responsible for my actions… damn the consequences.”
My breath hitched.
“Quiet on set! And action!”
There was no warning. Suddenly, Lincoln’s mouth was fused against mine, no teeth, just his soft lips pushing, prodding, moving slowly back and forth until his tongue slid through and made contact with mine.
Heart racing, I opened my mouth enough to deepen the kiss as heat washed over me.
He groaned and dug his fingers into my shoulders then slid his hands down my back and gripped my butt. I let out a squeak of surprise as I flicked his tongue with mine.
“Cut!” Jaymeson yelled.
I kept kissing.
So did Lincoln.
His chest brushed roughly against mine; my breasts ached at the sharp contact. I let out a little hiss at the exact time Linc let out a groan and nudged his knee between my legs.
“Cut!” Jaymeson yelled again.
Slowly, Lincoln pried himself away from me, chest heaving.
“Good enough,” said Jaymeson.
“No,” Lincoln argued without taking his wild grey eyes off me, “I went off script. We need to do it again.”
“The hell you do,” someone mumbled. I wasn’t surprised to see Demetri glaring daggers at Lincoln’s back. Alec was next to Jaymeson, giving him an earful. I noted the strong tick in his jaw.
“Fine.” Jaymeson waved them both off. “We’ll do it again.”
“Take two, and action!”
This time the kiss was slow, languid in its movements. Hot waves of pleasure coursed through my body as his tongue slid seductively pass my lips. His taste, the feel of his mouth was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. Greedily, I moaned, desperate for more of him as I reached for his shirt then fisting it with my hands and tugging him tighter against my body, wanting more contact with him. I felt every plane of muscle as he slowly turned us so his back was semi facing the camera. His knee nudged my legs apart as pressure increased down the middle of my body. I hadn’t really looked long at the script, but I was pretty sure that this wasn’t part of it.
Not that I was complaining.
He rocked into me, my back connected with the wall. With a possessive growl, he nipped my lower lip then started kissing down my neck. Kissing in public had never been my thing — but maybe that was because I’d never kissed Lincoln.
I would kiss him anywhere.
All he needed to do was ask.
Body humming with pleasure, I let out a little gasp as his warm lips met the pulse on my neck. Then his tongue licked where his lips had just been.
His knee rose higher and higher as my body sank onto his; the first contact of his leg had my body screaming with pleasure — just a little higher, just a little more.
“Cut!” someone shouted, though it didn’t sound like Jaymeson.
Suddenly, Demetri was pulling Lincoln away from me and glaring daggers at both of us. “I think you guys got the scene.”
Embarrassed, I looked down, tucking my silky hair behind my ear. Did I really almost just dry hump Lincoln Greene’s leg? In front of about twenty people, including my sister?
“You sure?” Lincoln asked, voice hoarse. I glanced up at him, his chest was heaving with exertion, his lips swollen. “Because I could have sworn I messed up my lines.”
“There are no lines, you bastard,” Demetri muttered under his breath.
“Damn it!” Jaymeson shouted. “Hey, guys, I’m going to need you to shoot it one more time. Remember, Lincoln, you’re supposed to proposition her.”
Lincoln grinned smugly at Demetri.
Demetri didn’t move.

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!
Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866!
You can connect with her on Facebook www.facebook.com/rachelvandyken or join her fan group Rachel's New Rockin Readers. Her website is www.rachelvandykenauthor.com .

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Unexpected Gifts by S.R. Mallery

Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour of Unexpected Gifts by S.R Mallery.
"Unexpected Gifts" is the story of a confused college student who gains clarity in life when she begins to read the journals and diaries of her ancestors from America's past.
Checkout my post and enter the cool giveaway! :)

Follow the Tour to read Interviews, Excerpts, Reviews and Guest Posts. Checkout the schedule of the Tour: HERE

Unexpected Gifts
by S.R. Mallery.
Audience/Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction.
Publication: June 4th 2015.
Can we learn from our ancestral past? Do our relatives’ behaviors help mold our own?

In "Unexpected Gifts" that is precisely what happens to Sonia, a confused college student, heading for addictions and forever choosing the wrong man. Searching for answers, she begins to read her family’s diaries and journals from America’s past: the Vietnam War, Woodstock, and Timothy Leary era; Tupperware parties, McCarthyism, and Black Power; the Great Depression, dance marathons, and Eleanor Roosevelt; the immigrant experience and the Suffragists. Back and forth the book journeys, linking yesteryear with modern life until finally, by understanding her ancestors' hardships and faults, she gains enough clarity to make some right choices.

“The author has a remarkable gift. The amazing ability not only to bring rich, historical events to life, but also the ability to perfectly blend different generations…”
“It simply is one of the best books I've ever read. I wish I could give it six stars!”
“I have never read a book that wasn’t a textbook that was able to successfully cover so many time frames in such little space, with the accuracy you really would expect from reading the journals of those who had actually lived in those times.”
“Colorful writing, recreation of periods that prove adept challenges for any films about the influences of the past being made, and all of this is written with such style that it often times is dazzling...”
“SR Mallery has created an important and impressive monument of a novel.”
“If only my history teacher would have taught history like Mallery has, enriching it with living, feeling people that the reader can equate to, I would have been a better student.”
“Long after the completion of the book, I missed the characters and the impact their stories made on me. This one really touched me deeply.”
“Beautifully and sensitively written, anyone who loves a good story interwoven with actual historical events will enjoy this very special novel.”
“A master storyteller has been at work, and this marvelous piece of writing is the result.”
“I'm in awe of how the author could write about the events so realistically, putting the reader firmly into different time periods in America's history.”
“… she blends the past and the present with a seamless texture that only a “true” storyteller can manage.”
“This is a book you can keep on your shelf to read over and over…”


SONIA’S paraplegic Father --CHAPTER 2: Sam––Living With Fear

“First thing I killed was no kind of thing at all. It was an enemy
soldier, which was a hell of a lot easier to say than the first thing I ever killed was a man.”
--Steve Mason

“...Nearing the village, we passed women in their beige tunics, black pants, and Sampan hats, shouldering thick bamboo rods weighted down by buckets of water. Most kept their heads lowered as they walked, but the few who didn’t, stared up at us with dead, black-brown eyes and pressed lips. The afternoon was drawing to a close by the time we reached a village compound that reeked of nuoc maum rotten fish sauce and animal dung. An old, leathery woman, squatting by her hooch was our welcoming committee, but once she saw us shuffle by, she scurried back into her hut, clacking loudly in Vietnamese as chickens pecked at rice granules, bobbing their heads up and down in 2/4 time.
Carbini cut to the chase. “First, pull every one of those gooks outta their hooches, then line them up here,” he barked.
I watched my troop comb each thatched home, rounding up families of all ages and herding them out into the open like a cattle drive in Oklahoma. I, too, started the mission and stooping into one of the huts, saw a young woman sitting on a straw mat, eating some rice in a black bowl, a young child at her side.
She was exquisite—the best possible combination of French and Chinese ancestry, with such delicate features, she made my heart ache. My immediate instincts were to protect her and her son from Carbini and this horrendous war, but she just gazed up at me, emotionless.
I could hear Carbini yelling orders to get a move-on, and I signaled this girl, this treasure, to follow me. She shook her head vehemently, and curled her legs around her son. I motioned again, but still, she refused. I froze, unable to think, but when Carbini popped his head in the doorway and snarled, “Weylan!” she got the message and followed me out.
Whimpering slightly, she joined her fellow villagers, gripping her child’s hand and wiping off a tear that had slid halfway down her cheek. I suddenly pictured slave owners in pre-Civil War days and felt my lunch rise up in my throat.
“Now, get your Zippos ready, men.” As Carbini’s face flushed red, I sucked in my breath. He caught sight of my reaction and came over. “Weylan here doesn’t like my orders. Anyone else here who doesn’t like my orders?” Nobody spoke up.
He opened up one of my backpack pockets, yanked out my Zippo lighter, and shoved it into my face. Immediately, you could hear the snap of pockets opening and boots shifting. We were getting ready to Rock ‘n Roll.
Carbini was first. He marched over to a hooch, flipped on his Zippo, and carefully lit the underbelly of its thatched roof. It smoldered for a few seconds, a thin, rising wisp of smoke twisting in the tropical air. From that, a flame grew, nibbling at the straw with a low, blue heat before suddenly bursting into a torch, arcing up towards the sky in a yellow-hot blaze.
Carbini turned to us and nodded, his eyes glazed. This was our cue, yet I spun around to search for the girl, who was at the back of the pack, crying softly as she hugged her son. I glanced over at some of the other men, their hands jammed deep into their pockets, and decided to follow their lead. The fire was raging full force on each hooch now, the thatch and bamboo crackling like a 4th of July fireworks display, leaving its reflections in the villagers’ eyes and turning the sky dark with thick, bulbous smoke.
“Weylan! You son-of-a-bitch coward! You’re no better than the rest of us, you hear me?” Carbini started to charge over, then stopped mid-stride.
In the distance, a large formation of F4’s was headed our way, torpedoing fireballs of napalm every several hundred yards and scattering screaming villagers down the main road. We were ordered to take cover, but followed the fleeing Vietnamese instead, charging after them and trying not to show our own fear...”

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S.R. Mallery has worn various hats in her life. First, a classical/pop singer/composer, she moved on to the professional world of production art and calligraphy.
Next came a long career as an award winning quilt artist/teacher and an ESL/Reading instructor. Her short stories have been published in descant 2008, Snowy Egret, Transcendent Visions, The Storyteller, and Down In the Dirt.

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25 August 2015

Release Day Launch & Giveaway: Heart-Shaped Hack by Tracey Garvis-Graves

Heart-Shaped Hack
by Tracey Garvis-Graves.
Audience/Genre: Contemporary Romance.
Publication: August 25th 2015.
When Kate Watts abandoned her law career to open a food pantry in Northeast Minneapolis, she never dreamed it would be this difficult. Facing the heartbreaking prospect of turning hungry people away, she is grateful for the anonymous donations that begin appearing at the end of each month. Determined to identify and thank her secret benefactor, she launches a plan and catches Ian—a charismatic hacker with a Robin Hood complex—in the act.

Ian intrigues Kate in a way no man ever has. But after learning he’s snooped around on her personal computer, she demands retribution. Impressed with her tolerance and captivated by her spirit, he complies and begins to slowly charm his way past her defenses. Time spent with Ian is never boring, and Kate soon finds herself falling for the mysterious hacker.

But Ian has enemies, and they’re growing restless. In the hacking world, exploiting a target’s weakness is paramount, and no price is too high to stop an attack. And when Kate learns exactly how much Ian has paid, she’ll discover just how strong her love is for the man who has hacked his way into her heart.

“Oh, hi,” she said.
“Imagine running into you here.”
“This is quite a coincidence.”
“It’s not a coincidence at all. I knew you were following me.”
“You did not.”
“I spotted you hiding behind the plant when I walked into the bank. Plus I could smell your perfume as soon as I stepped out here.”
“Did you”—she used her fingers to make little air quotes—“appropriate money from this bank?” she whispered.
“Of course not. I do all my work from the Batcave. Believe it or not, I actually bank here. I was just signing some papers.”
Kate had never seen a man look so utterly scrumptious while wearing glasses. There was something about the combination of his hair, his scruff, and the semi-rimless designer frames that made him irresistible. “Are the glasses a disguise? Because I totally knew it was you.”
“The glasses are real. I often suffer from eyestrain since I spend so much time on the computer, and I was up late last night, working.”
“They make you look very smart.” She took a moment to imagine how his scruff would feel rubbing against her skin if he were to kiss her.
“I am smart, but I think you mean devastatingly handsome. More so than normal, that is.”
“You’re so humble.”
“Ready?” He walked to the door and held it open for her.
“Follow me.” He looked at her and laughed. “That shouldn’t be a problem for you.”
They took the elevator to the basement, and when the doors opened to the parking garage, Kate followed Ian to a row of cars. He stopped beside one and pulled a set of keys from his pocket.
She gasped.
Ian smiled. “It’s a—”
“1964 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe.”
“’65. But color me impressed.”
“My brother Chad was obsessed with this car. He used to have a poster of it on his bedroom wall. There were only six built between 1964 and 1965.”
“A bit rare indeed.”
The last authentic Shelby had sold at auction for around seven million. Ian’s was obviously a replica, of which there were quite a few, but it was still a very notable vehicle with a price tag that started in the low six figures. “Helena called it an old blue car.”
He grinned, looking contemplative. “Technically, that is correct.”
Kate could not resist running her hand lightly over the Guardsman Blue paint and the white racing stripes on the hood. The Shelby was unmistakably race-car-like in appearance with its aerodynamic design and unique body style. Chad was going to be so jealous. “For someone who values his privacy, isn’t this a bit ostentatious?”
“How so?”
“Rakishly handsome playboy who makes grand philanthropic gestures and drives a flashy car. Any of this ringing a bell?”
“Rakishly handsome playboy?”
“Well, if the Prada loafer fits. Wouldn’t you fly under the radar more easily in, say, a Ford Focus?” she asked.
“A Ford Focus? You want me to tool around town in a Ford Focus? Jesus, would I still have my balls?”
“No, they cut them off when they hand you the keys. Of course you’d still have your balls. What kind of question is that? This conversation has gotten way off track.”
“You mean because we started out talking about my car and now we’re talking about my balls?”
“Are we?”
“I believe so.”
“Maybe we should go back to talking about your car.”
“You want to drive it, don’t you?”
“Why would I want to drive your car?”
“Why wouldn’t you want to drive my car? Can you handle a stick shift?”
“Yes, and rather competently I might add.”
“That’s an enormous turn-on. Truly.”
She pretended not to hear him. “This is not a good car for Minnesota winters.”
“Horrible, I agree. My other car has four-wheel drive, but it’s not nearly as fun to operate as this one.” Ian dangled the keys in front of her.
He was right. Kate was dying to drive his car and couldn’t wait to see how it handled. She took the keys, opened the door, and reached over to unlock the passenger side for Ian. They belted up, and she started the car.
“Please note that I’m already making good on my promise, Katie. Because I assure you, driving this car will be the opposite of boring.”

Read Chapters 1-5 HERE

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Tracey Garvis Graves is a New York Times & Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author. Her debut novel,On the Island, spent 9 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and is in development with MGM and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film. She is also the author of Uncharted, Covet, Every Time I Think of You & Cherish

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