Category: Giveaways

Shades of Treason Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway!

Posted July 2, 2015 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Giveaways, Read in 2015 / 0 Comments

I received this book free from Book Tour in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Shades of Treason Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway!Shades of Treason by Sandy Williams
Series: Anomaly #1
Published by Brimfire Press on July 1st 2015
Pages: 275
Genres: Sci-fi
Format: eARC
Source: Book Tour

Also by this author: The Shadow Reader


Ash would have given her life to save her teammates.
Instead, they gave their lives to save hers.

Lieutenant Ramie Ashdyn is an anomaly, a person whose genetic makeup makes her stronger and smarter than the average human. She’s pledged her life to protect the Coalition, an alliance of thirteen planetary systems, but when a top secret operation turns bloody, she’s charged with treason and the brutal executions of her teammates.

The Coalition needs the information Ash’s team stole on their last mission, so they send in Commander Rhys “Rest in Peace” Rykus to get it. He’s the man who’s responsible for turning Ash into an elite soldier… and he’s a man who isn’t, never was, and never will be in love with the woman he trained. Or so he tells himself.

Ash wants nothing more than to clear her name and be the woman her former instructor wants her to be, but the enemy who killed her teammates did more than frame her for treason and murder: they telepathically silenced her mind, preventing her from saying anything that might point to the truth about what happened.

Now Ash is trapped and set to be executed, the truth dying with her. Unless she can prove her innocence. But taking that path could destroy the Coalition she’s sworn to preserve and protect…

About Sandy Williams

Sandy graduated from Texas A&M University with a double major in political science and history. She thought about attending law school. Fortunately, before handing over her life’s savings, she realized case studies weren’t nearly as interesting as novels and decided to get an MA in Library Science instead. She worked as a librarian until her husband whisked her off to London on an extended business trip. She’s now back home in Texas, writing full-time, raising twin boys, and squeezing in time to play geeky board and card games like Settlers of Catan, Dominion, and Runebound.

She loves hanging out with other readers and talking about books. For recommendations, check out her Goodreads account. And if you have a favorite book or author, she’d love to hear from you on Facebook, Twitter, or via email.

‘All they need was a reason, a conspiracy. Learning that telepaths existed and that they had infiltrated the Coalition would make them suspect everyone. The senators already fought and argued and threatened to secede. She wouldn’t give them more fuel to burn their ties.’

Lieutenant Ramie Ashdyn and her team are sent on a mission by the Coalition to steal classified information from the Saricean’s but she is the only survivor. She is subsequently blamed for their deaths and charged with treason. She’s left unable to speak the truth of the situation in order to clear her name because her mind has been altered by a telepath. The proof of the existence of telepaths is the classified information that her team stole and inevitably gave their lives to keep secret because the knowledge of this may be the very thing to tear the Coalition apart.

‘In three days, Rykus would lead a contingent of soldiers in a daring, deadly assault on an enemy shipyard. In three days, the Coalition and the Sariceans would be at war.’

Ashdyn is a stubborn, badass chick who has no problem taking care of herself. Growing up starving on the streets of Glory, she volunteered to become a soldier of the Coalition. She also discovered she’s faster and more powerful than any human being: she’s an anomaly. We’re given very little of her background and the details behind being an anomaly and while it was enough to clarify most questions, I wanted more details because it was an extremely interesting concept. I loved the inclusion of Commander Rhys Rykus and the whole concept behind the loyalty training as well. Due to an issue with an anomaly’s mental stability, they underwent loyalty training which made them dependable soldiers that would follow instruction and wouldn’t snap under the strain they underwent. Commander Rhys Rykus was Ashdyn’s instructor and he’s been requested to use that loyalty training in order to get the classified information from her. It doesn’t help matters that the two have a very complicated and heated rapport, both denying the existence of feelings they may have because a relationship between them is out of the question.

Conspiracies, treason, and intrigue oh my! Shades of Treason includes all of that and more (like a pretty hot relationship build-up). I hope to see more delving into the world-building in subsequent installments. Specifically, I’d love to know more about anomaly’s and not just who the Saricean’s are but what caused the war between them and the Coalition. Nonetheless, this is still an auspicious start to an exciting series that I’m most looking forward to!

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This post was a part of the “Shades of Treason‘ blog tour hosted by:

Be sure to check out the other tour stops below!

June 29, 2015: Addicted 2 Heroines – Author Interview
June 29, 2015: thehellviscompendium – Promo
June 30, 2015: Book Crazy Scrapbook Mama – Review
June 30, 2015: Bibliophile Mystery – Review
July 1, 2015: Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – Character Bio
July 2, 2015: For the Love of Words – Review
July 3, 2015: Love Affair with an E-Reader – Review
July 3, 2015: The Reading Cafe – Author Interview
July 4, 2015: Nessa’s Book Reviews – Promo
July 5, 2015: Romancing the Readers – Promo
July 6, 2015: LuLo Fangirl – Review
July 7, 2015: Goldilox and the Three Weres – Review
July 8, 2015: Oh My Shelves – Author Interview
July 9, 2015: Rabid Reads – Character Bio
July 10, 2015: (un)Conventional Bookviews – Review
July 11, 2015: BookwormBridgette’s World – Promo
July 12, 2015: Readaholics Anonymous – Promo



Paperback Release Day Blitz – The Fever by Megan Abbott

Posted May 12, 2015 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Blitz, Giveaways / 1 Comment

Paperback Release Day Blitz – The Fever by Megan AbbottThe Fever by Megan Abbott
Published by Back Bay Books on May 12, 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Mystery
Format: Paperback
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: Dare Me, The Fever

The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

A chilling story about guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire, The Fever affirms Megan Abbot's reputation as "one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation" (Laura Lippman).

Megan Abbott is an amazing writer that has quickly become a favorite so I’m thrilled to be promoting the paperback release of The Fever by Megan Abbott hosted by Rockstar Book ToursThe Fever is part mystery part real-life horror that is actually based on a true story which makes it all the more terrifying. Check out my review here and to read more about the real life story of Le Roy, New York.

This book blitz also includes a giveaway opportunity courtesy of Megan, Little Brown, and Rockstar Book Tours so check out the Rafflecopter to enter below!

5 winners will receive a paperback copy of THE FEVER! US Only.
Ends on May 22nd at Midnight EST!

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Blog Tour – Undertow by Michael Buckley

Posted May 4, 2015 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Book Tour, Early Review, Giveaways, Read in 2015 / 3 Comments

I received this book free from Rockstar Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blog Tour – Undertow by Michael BuckleyUndertow by Michael Buckley
Series: Undertow #1
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on May 5th 2015
Pages: 384
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eARC
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

*Amazon Purchase links are Affiliate links*

For fans of Rick Yancey and Marie Lu, Undertow is book one in this much-anticipated, genre-breaking, breath-catching new trilogy for teens from New York Times bestselling author Michael Buckley in which a 16-year-old girl is caught in an epic clash of civilizations when a society of undersea warriors march out of the ocean into modern-day Coney Island.

First, we feared them. Then we fought them. Now they might be our only hope.
Sixteen-year-old Lyric Walker’s life is forever changed when she witnesses the arrival of 30,000 Alpha, a five-nation race of ocean-dwelling warriors, on her beach in Coney Island. The world’s initial wonder and awe over the Alpha quickly turns ugly and paranoid and violent, and Lyric’s small town transforms into a military zone with humans on one side and Alpha on the other. When Lyric is recruited to help the crown prince, a boy named Fathom, assimilate, she begins to fall for him. But their love is a dangerous one, and there are forces on both sides working to keep them apart. Only, what if the Alpha are not actually the enemy? What if they are in fact humanity’s best chance for survival? Because the real enemy is coming. And it’s more terrifying than anything the world has ever seen.

Action, suspense, and romance whirlpool dangerously in this cinematic saga!

About Michael Buckley

New York Times bestselling author Michael Buckley was born in Akron, Ohio. He tried his hand as a stand-up comic and lead singer for a punk rock back before attending Ohio University. After graduating with honors he moved to New York City to be an intern on the Late Show with David Letterman which led to stints developing programming for Discovery Networks, MTV, MTV Animation and Klasky Csupo (producers of Nickelodeon’s Rugrats). Today he lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife, Alison, and their son Finn.

‘All of them were in a state of metamorphosis. Tails became legs. Fins sank into flesh. Gills vanished, causing their owners to choke on their first breaths of air. There were elderly creatures, babies, teenagers, and families, all climbing onto the beach, eyeing us with wide-eyed wonder. At first they numbered in the hundreds, then thousands, until eventually I could no longer see the sand for all the bodies.’

Three years ago, a mysterious species of ocean-dwellers emerged from the depths of the sea to take their place on land. Since those three years, the creatures that call themselves the Alpha have set up camp on the beaches of Coney Island leaving the humans in the dark as to their intentions. In an attempt to integrate the Alphas into society and to hopefully suppress the ongoing intolerance they face, the government has negotiated that some of their children attend public schools. Lyric Walker has a secret which has caused her to keep a low profile in an attempt to avoid close scrutiny. The disclosure of this secret could mean her death yet when she’s assigned to personally work with the prince of the Alphas she becomes fearful that her secret won’t be secret for very long.

Undertow is strongly reminiscent of one of my favorite movies, District 9where a race of aliens arrives on Earth in an attempt to find refuge. It’s nothing like you would expect since it focuses less on the invasion itself and more on the prejudices and hatred that these different species face. The injustices that they suffer. Undertow takes a similar route with these creatures that are immediately forced to undergo an intolerance that no species should ever have to endure. It was also reminiscent of the racial desegregation during the American Civil Rights Movement when black students became allowed to attend “white schools”, just with another species of course. Regardless of who the “foreigner” is though it showcased just how rampant xenophobia can become in our narrow-minded society.

‘Its skin is swamp brown and highlighted in eggplant purple; its mouth is a huge gaping hole. Teeth lean in all directions like tombstones in an abandoned cemetery. Its empty eyes are calm and black, offering little evidence of life or intelligence, and a long, wormlike appendage dangles from the top of its head to its bottom lip, ending in a bright, glowing bulb. It grunts and clicks and barks at us.’

The most interesting aspect of this tale was the descriptions and detailing of the sea creatures which only added to their alluring mystery. There are various different clans among the Alphas which are basically different forms of the same species and they’re all interesting (and sometimes terrifying) in their own way. The Alphas were fierce and ferocious creatures and the mystery surrounding their appearance on land remains a mystery for the greater part of the novel. That mystery possessed an interesting twist that I thoroughly enjoyed and can’t wait to see how it pans out in the next installment.

Undertow is more than some science fiction invasion story. It’s a story about family and honor, of respect and deference.  And about overcoming prejudices and not standing for intolerance. Undertow was a most appealing tale and a tenacious start to this trilogy.

5 winners will receive a prize pack that contains an Undertow beach towel, beach bag, bookmark, a finished book. US Only.

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This post was a part of the ‘Undertow’ blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours.
Be sure to check out the other tour stops below!

Week One:

4/27/2015- Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf– Interview
4/28/2015- Mom With A Kindle– Interview
4/29/2015- Moonlight Gleam Reviews– Book Trailer Post
4/30/2015- Word Spelunking– Review
5/1/2015- Bewitched Bookworms– Book Excerpt

Week Two:

5/4/2015– For the Love of Words– Review
5/5/2015– Novel Novice – Guest Post
5/6/2015– The O.W.L.– Review
5/7/2015Library of a Book Witch– Review
5/8/2015– Literary Meanderings  – Sneak Peek of Book 2 Post




Review + Giveaway! The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

Posted February 5, 2015 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Early Review, Giveaways, Read in 2014, YA / 10 Comments

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review + Giveaway! The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia HandThe Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Published by HarperTeen on February 10th 2015
Pages: 400
Genres: Realistic YA Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: Unearthly, Hallowed, Boundless


There's death all around us.
We just don't pay attention.
Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on.

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.

‘Time passes. That’s the rule. No matter what happens, no matter how much it might feel like everything in your life has frozen around one particular moment, time marches on.’

Lexie is an unexceptionally smart student with big dreams of going to MIT. She has a boyfriend who loves her and a group of friends she can depend on. But that was life seven weeks ago. Now? Her grades are slipping, she’s broke up with her boyfriend and she won’t talk to any of her friends. Seven weeks ago her brother killed himself. But now she’s starting to his ghost. A series of journal entries reveal the facts behind Lexie’s grief (and guilt) and the heartbreak begins anew when we are exposed to the truth of her pain.

‘I didn’t know to savor that moment on the dance floor, to understand how beautiful and rare it was, how fragile, how ephemeral, when Ty was happy. When we were all happy, and we were together, and we were safe.
I didn’t know.
I didn’t know.’

Grief comes in many forms as we all handle it in different ways. Lexie’s path of grief led her to shut everyone out and while this storyline has certainly been done before, it still managed to resonate honestly and leave a strong impression. These days, death and grief have become most common in YA novels and while it can certainly come off as a morbid fascination, the existence of these types of novels can be vital for those who don’t quite know how to handle their grief. It can serve as proof to those who have also experienced grief that they are far from alone and that there are people that can help. It’s a sad fact of life that we must all learn how to cope, heal and continue living. The Last Time We Said Goodbye is more of a cautionary tale seeing as the story is told from the surviving sister and inevitably shows the repercussions of suicide and the effects of grief but manages to still leave the reader with a facet of hope to cling to. While this is a work of fiction, the author states that she had a younger brother that killed himself which only made this all the more poignant and truly from the heart.

The Last Time We Said Goodbye is a raw and brutally honest depiction of the various sides of grief. It’s an insightful and admirable story about acceptance and forgiveness that will no doubt leave you heartsick but is an incredibly worthy read.

I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy of this book from Harper Teen and now want to share this book with one of you! To be entered to win, please use the Rafflecopter widget below.

This is open to U.S. residents only! Sorry international followers.
Giveaway ends February 19th, 2015

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Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway! The Girls of Mischief Bay (Mischief Bay #1) by Susan Mallery

Posted January 29, 2015 by Bonnie in Book Tour, Excerpt, Giveaways, TLC Book Tours / 65 Comments

Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway! The Girls of Mischief Bay (Mischief Bay #1) by Susan MalleryThe Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery
Series: Mischief Bay #1
Published by Mira on February 24th 2015
Pages: 416
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: The Girls of Mischief Bay

Susan Mallery, the New York Times bestselling author of Three Sisters, is world renowned for her "insightful, funny, and poignant" stories (Booklist). With her brand-new Mischief Bay series, she brings vivid color to the story of three friends on the brink of a new life. 

Nicole Lord wants to be a good wife, but there's a difference between being supportive and supporting her husband, who quit his job to write a screenplay she's never seen. He won't even help take care of their son, leaving Nicole to run the house and work full-time.

Sacrificing a personal life for her career is how Shannon Rigg became VP at her firm, but she wonders now whether she made the right choice. An exciting new relationship with a great guy convinces her that it might not be too late—until he drops a bombshell that has her questioning whether she really can have it all.

Although Pam Eiland adores her husband, she feels restless now that the kids are grown. Finding sexy new ways to surprise him brings the heat and humor back to their marriage, but when unexpected change turns her life upside down, she'll have to redefine herself. Again.

Through romance and heartbreak, laughter and tears, the girls of Mischief Bay will discover that life is richer with friends at your side.

About Susan Mallery

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has won the hearts of millions of readers around the world with books described as “immensely entertaining, intensely emotional” (RT Book Reviews), “hilarious” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), and “heartwarming” (Publishers Weekly). One major retailer recently described her as “the queen of romantic fiction.” While she deeply appreciates the accolades of critics and booksellers, Mallery is even more honored by the enthusiasm of her readers and the word-of-mouth that catapults her toward the top of the bestsellers lists time and again.

Mallery lives in not-so-sunny Seattle with her husband and a toy poodle who makes her laugh every day and who’s not even a little bit impressed by her growing fame.

I’m thrilled to be a part of the Exclusive Excerpt tour for Susan Mallery’s new book and series, The Girls of Mischief Bay. Be sure to check out the full tour list below as all excerpts are in sequential order and each stop has a separate giveaway opportunity for you to win the fabulous prize pack!

The Girls of Mischief Bay Excerpt Tour:

Monday, January 26th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, January 27th: Luxury Reading
Wednesday, January 28th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, January 29thFor the Love of Words
Friday, January 30thThe Romance Dish
Monday, February 2ndRead – Love – Blog
Tuesday, February 3rdPeeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, February 4thBook Mama Blog
Thursday, February 5thBook Reviews and More by Kathy
Monday, February 9thBooks a la Mode
Tuesday, February 10thSatisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Wednesday, February 11thAlways with a Book
Thursday, February 12thAs the Pages Turn
Monday, February 16thA Bookish Escape
Wednesday, February 18thWhy Girls are Weird 
Friday, February 20thFrom the TBR Pile


Chapter Two

Pam walked through from the garage to the main house, Lulu keeping pace with her. In the mudroom they both paused. Pam fished her small handbag out of the tote, then hung the larger bag on a hook.

The open area served as a catchall for things that otherwise didn’t have a home. There was a built-in storage unit with plenty of hooks, shelves and drawers. The latter were mostly filled with Lulu’s various clothes.

Now Pam eyed the lightweight sweater her pet wore and decided it would keep the dog warm enough until bedtime. Like the rest of the family, Lulu wore PJs to bed. Pam didn’t care if anyone laughed at her for that. She was the one Lulu cuddled next to under the covers and she wanted her dog wearing something soft when that happened.

They continued through the house to the kitchen. Pam pulled her cell out of her purse and stuck it on the side table by the hall, then checked on the Crock-Pot she’d left on that morning. A quick peek and stir confirmed the beef burgundy was coming along. She added the vegetables she’d already prepared and stirred again, then went out the front door to collect the mail.

The day had warmed up nicely. February in the rest of the country could mean snow and ice. In Southern California there was every chance it would be sunny and seventy. Today was no exception, although she would guess it was closer to sixty-five. Hardly reason to complain, she told herself as she pulled the mail out of the box and started back toward the house.

Mischief Bay was a coastal community. Tucked between Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach, it had a small pier, plenty of restaurants, a boardwalk and lots of tourists. The ocean regulated the temperatures and the steady light breeze made sure there wasn’t much in the way of smog.

She and John had bought their sprawling ranch-style home ages ago. Jennifer, their oldest, had been what? Three? Pam tried to remember. If Jennifer had been three, then Steven had been a year and she’d been pregnant with Brandon.

Oh, yeah. She had been pregnant all right. There’d been the charming moment when she’d thrown up in front of the movers. Brandon had been a difficult pregnancy and she’d been nauseous a lot. Something she brought up every so often—when her son needed a little humbling. As all children did, now and then.

She paused to wait for Lulu to do her business by the bushes and studied the front of the house. They’d redone much of both yards a few years ago, when they’d had the house painted. She liked the new plants that edged the circular drive. Her gaze rose to the roof. That had been replaced, as well. One of the advantages of having a husband in construction—he always knew the best people.

Lulu trotted back to her side.

“Ready to go in, sweet pea?” Pam asked.

Lulu wagged her feathered tail and led the way. Pam glanced down at the mail as she walked. Bills, a letter from an insurance agent she’d never heard of—no doubt an ad—along with two car magazines for John and a postcard from the local high school.

Pam frowned at the postcard and turned it over. What on earth could they…?

Lulu walked into the house. Pam followed and automatically closed the door. She stood in the spacious foyer, afternoon light spilling onto the tile floor.

But she didn’t see any of that. She didn’t see anything but the stark words printed on the postcard.

Class of 2005. Fellow Cougars—save the date!! Your 10-year high school reunion is this August.

There was more, but the letters got blurry as Pam tried to make sense of the notice. A ten-year high school reunion? Sure, Jennifer had graduated in 2005, but there was no way it had been ten years, had it? Because if Jen was attending her ten-year reunion, that meant Pam was the mother of a woman attending her ten-year high school reunion.

“When did I get old?” Pam asked, her voice a whisper.

Involuntarily, she turned to stare at the mirror over the entry table. The person staring back at her looked familiar and yet totally wrong. Sure the shoulder-length dark hair was fine and the irises were still hazel-green. But everything else was different. No, not different. Less…firm.

There were lines around her eyes and a distinct softness to her jaw. Her mouth wasn’t as full as it had been. Ironically, just last November she’d turned fifty and had been so damned proud of herself for not freaking out. Because these days fifty was the new thirty-five. Big deal, right?

John had thrown a huge party. She’d laughed over the gag gifts and had prided herself for achieving the big 5-0 with grace and style. Not to mention a pretty decent ass, thanks to the three-times-a-week classes she took at Nicole’s studio. She hadn’t felt…old. But that was before she had a daughter who had just been invited to her ten-year high school reunion.

Sure, she’d had kids young. She’d married John at nineteen and had Jen when she’d turned twenty-two. But that was what she’d always wanted.

She and John had met at Mischief Bay High School. He’d been tall and sexy, a star player on the football team. His family had a local plumbing company. One that worked in new construction rather than fixing stopped-up toilets.

John’s plans had been set. He was going to get his AA in business from Mischief Bay Community College, then work in the family firm full-time. He would start at the bottom, earn his way to the top and buy out his parents by the time he was forty.

Pam had liked how he’d known what he wanted and went after it. When he turned his blue eyes on her and decided she was the one to share the journey, well, she’d been all in.

Now as she studied her oddly familiar and unfamiliar reflection, she wondered how the time had gone by so quickly. One second she’d been an in-love teenager and now she was the mother of a twenty-eight-year-old.

“No,” she said aloud, turning away from the mirror. She wasn’t going to freak out over something as ridiculous as age. She had an amazing life. A wonderful husband and terrific kids and a strange little dog. They were all healthy—except for Lulu’s ongoing issues—and successful and, best of all, happy. She’d been blessed a thousand times over. She was going to remember that and stay grateful. So what if she wasn’t firm? Beauty only went skin deep. She had wisdom and that was worth more.

Text Copyright © 2015 by Susan Macias Redmond
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.


One lucky reader will receive the California Dreamin’ Prize Package which includes the following prizes:

A Pacific blue beach towel
Pure Paradise body cream
Luxury moisturizing bath bar from the San Francisco soap company
An autographed copy of EVENING STARS by Susan Mallery (the first book with a character from Mischief Bay)
Flip-flop tea candle holder
Map of Mischief Bay
Handy bath mini-tote
Susan Mallery lip gloss
Susan Mallery 3D luggage tag
Susan Mallery pen

To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below.
Open to U.S. and Canada residents only
Giveaway ends February 12th, 2015

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This post was a part of ‘The Girls from Mischief Bay‘ excerpt tour.
Click the button below for a complete list of tour stops and the tour stops for the upcoming review tour.

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Book Blitz + Giveaway! Bold Tricks by Karina Halle

Posted December 17, 2014 by Bonnie in Book Tour, Giveaways / 0 Comments

Book Blitz + Giveaway! Bold Tricks by Karina HalleBold Tricks by Karina Halle
Series: The Artists Trilogy #3
Published by Forever on December 16th 2014
Pages: 352
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Romance-Suspense
Format: Paperback
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: Come Alive, Shooting Scars, Bold Tricks

The third and final installment in Karina Halle's USA Today bestsellingArtists Trilogy, now available in mass market paperback.

The Faster They Live, the Harder They Fall . . .

Raised by con artists, Ellie Watt has a lot of crazy childhood memories-but none crazier than being scarred with acid by the demented crime boss Travis Raines. Now Ellie is a full-grown woman who lives for revenge, and Travis is a full-blown drug lord who kills for pleasure. The sadistic bastard has kidnapped her good friend Gus as well as her mother, whom he's been holding as prized possessions in his heavily guarded lair. And Ellie has only one chance in hell of getting them out alive-using two dangerous men who love her to death . . .

One is Camden McQueen, a talented tattoo artist who's made a permanent mark on Ellie's heart. The other is Javier Bernal, her fiery ex-lover who's busted more than a few heads in his time. From the crime-ridden streets of Mexico City to the predatory jungles of Honduras, this unlikely trio forms an uneasy alliance in the deadliest game of all-a gun-blazing battle to the finish that will pit enemy against enemy and lover against lover. And Ellie must choose the right man to trust . . . or die.

About Karina Halle

Karina Halle is a screenwriter, a former music & travel journalist, and the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of The Pact, A Nordic King, and Sins & Needles, as well as sixty other wild and romantic reads.

She, her musician husband, and their adopted pit bull, Bruce, live in a rainforest on an island off the coast of British Columbia, where they operate Raven Ridge, a B&B that’s perfect for writers’ retreats and romantic getaways.

In the winter, you can often find them in California or on their beloved island of Kauai, soaking up as much sun (and getting as much inspiration) as possible. For more information, visit

Halle is represented by Root Literary and is both self-published, and published by Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Penguin, and Montlake. Her books have been published in numerous languages around the world.

Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy #1) by Karina Halle {Purchase}
On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy #1.5) by Karina Halle {Purchase}
Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy #2) by Karina Halle {PurchaseMy Review}
Bold Tricks (The Artists Trilogy #3) by Karina Halle {PurchaseMy Review}

Today marks the release of the final installment of Karina Halle’s ‘The Artists Trilogy’ in print (and with an awesome new cover to complete the collection!!) I’ve already had the pleasure of reading this entire trilogy and it is hands down one of my favorite Dark Contemporary Romances. Check out below for an excerpt for the book and also a giveaway opportunity!

The motel room was a lot nicer than the one we stayed at before. Sort of a Best Western, middle-ground quality of place. No roaches on the floors, no geckos on the wall. Shit mattresses, I discovered as I pounded my fist on the bed, but I didn’t care.
Camden had just put the final box on my bed, Violetta sprawled out on hers in a state of drug-induced euphoria, when I noticed Javier lingering at the doorway.

“I’m going to be meeting Dom in about twenty minutes,” Javier said to me. “Is that enough time for you to get ready?”

I frowned and he quickly added, “You know he’ll want you there, if this is going to get anywhere. I figured you might want to shower and look nice.”

He rapped his fingers along the doorframe, his mouth opening as if to say something else, then he turned and walked off.
Camden eyed me. “I’m going with you.”

“You might be kind of drunk, Camden,” I told him, though the determination in his voice warmed me like the finest cognac.
“I’ve never felt better,” he said, enunciating each word. His eyes, my god they were still such a clear fucking blue, even in the pallid light of the hotel room. They bore into me with such startling clarity, sending shivers down my back like trailing fingertips. He would be coming with me.

I wished he’d be coming in me. A vision of us in this hotel room, alone, him nailing me to the bed, the headboard banging, slammed into my head.

“Are you okay with that?” he asked.

I suppressed the thought, the flare of heat between my legs, and smiled quickly. “Yes, of course.”

Meanwhile Violetta’s head flopped to the side, her arm still bound to her stiffly in the sling, and started snoring lightly. I motioned to her. “Do you think it’s safe to leave her here?”

He watched her for a few moments, blinking a few times, before saying, “I think she needs to sleep it off.” He went and sat down on my bed. “I’ll be here when you get out.”

I grabbed my bag of clothes I had brought out of the car and brought it into the bathroom. I had a quick shower, trying to rub off all the grim – both real and imagined – with the flimsy hotel soap, then picked through my clothes. Everything that had been in my trunk was musty and wrinkled, some even dirty. I had a packet of unopened (and decidedly unsexy) Hanes underwear, a bra, another pair of jeans, a pair of gladiator sandals that I thought were dressy enough, a pair of Timberland hiking boots, a plain white tee shirt, a couple of wife-beaters, a coral-colored blouse, a plaid shirt, and a light blue tank dress that went to the ground. I wasn’t exactly known for my fashion sense and even with the cherry blossoms covering the scars on my leg, bringing me beauty that I didn’t have before, I didn’t see myself branching out anytime soon. Dressing up in my old clothes for Javier hadn’t exactly helped either.

I slipped on the tank dress, opting to go commando for the evening, and put on the sandals. I looked at myself in the mirror. Once again, I felt like a different person was staring back at me. This me, this Ellie, was tired and hardened. I rubbed the residue mascara away from under my eyes and applied a new coat. My skin was brown from the sun now and I didn’t need much else.

When I came out of the bathroom, Camden straightened up on the bed. I felt strangely shy in front of him, especially as his eyes trailed up and down the length of me.

“Do I look okay?” I asked him, feeling the need to say something. “I mean, if you can see me, that is.”

He bit his lip and stared, a multitude of emotions flashing through his eyes, too fast for me to pick up on each individual one. I thought I saw lust in there – maybe that’s what I wanted to see.

When he still didn’t say anything, I walked over to the dresser where I had my clutch purse left over from the other night at Travis’s and rifled through it for my lip stuff. His silence at my back was a heavy weight, laden with too many uncertainties between us. It was eating at me, burning through me, rendering me with a lead heart. There were so many things I had to focus on, to worry about, fucking impossible things, and yet I needed him to tell me I looked beautiful. I needed him to tell me I was something to him.

I heard him get off the bed and walk toward me, that heaviness, that warmth that he brought with his bones, teased at my back. He stopped, close enough to touch me, and I was about to turn around, perhaps to do something foolish, when he crouched down.

“How is my art?”

His hands found my leg, one of them lifting the hem of my dress, the other slowly moving over the cherry blossom tattoo. I sucked in my breath, holding completely still, trying to contain my nerves that were firing wildly as his fingers ran along the ridges of the ink. He touched me gently over every vine, leaf and petal, until I had to supress a shaky moan that that tried to escape from my lips.

“It feels fine,” I said softly when I found my voice.

“It looks beautiful,” he said.

“I had a beautiful artist,” I told him. I turned at the waist and look down at him, my blue dress glowing in his tanned hand, his other one placed firmly around my calf, his strong fingers imparting heat that sunk deep. He was looking up at me, lips parted slightly.

I couldn’t take a second more of this.

I turned and dropped to the ground, my knees rubbing against his.

I grabbed his face, his rough stubble pressing into my palms, and kissed him.


There was surprise for a second, a hesitation, a pulse that refused to beat on. Then Camden kissed me back, his soft lips enveloping mine, his mouth opening to give me life. He put his hand behind my head, holding it there with power and control.
My heart was an elevator car, the cable suddenly snapped, and I was freefalling and falling and falling as his lips and tongue and hot, wet mouth took away every inch of my resolve. The more he kissed me, the deeper and longer we found each other, the thirstier I got for him. I felt like if we stopped, I would die, empty on the inside and forever longing.

There are TEN WINNERS. You heard that right. Ten lucky winners will receive the entire Artists Trilogy collection!
Open to US/Canada only.

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The Mesmerized by Rhiannon Frater Tour Stop: Guest Post & Giveaway!

Posted December 11, 2014 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Tour, Giveaways / 1 Comment

The Mesmerized by Rhiannon Frater Tour Stop: Guest Post & Giveaway!The Mesmerized by Rhiannon Frater
on September 2nd 2014
Pages: 244
Genres: Horror, Zombies
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: The First Days, Fighting to Survive, Siege

It is silence, not screams of terror, which proclaims the end of the world

Minji Nordim is vacationing in Las Vegas with her small family when she witnesses the beginning of a terrifying apocalypse. When humanity is transformed into mindless drones by a terrifying supernatural event only Minji appears to be immune.

Thousands die instantly, but the other affected people are drawn to the Nevada desert. Nothing stands in the way of the mesmerized. Not fire, not heights, not rubble. As the bodies pile in the streets and the relentless wave of the mesmerized plods into the deadly desert, Minji is trapped in a burning city attempting to rescue her family.

When Minji encounters other unaffected survivors, they band together to survive in a city that is crumbling all around them. With no hope of rescue and the event slowly spreading across the world, Minji and the others must decide who to save among the mesmerized and where to go before the city is in ashes.

Even more unsettling is that Minji senses that the force behind the event is observing them

Can one woman save her family and the world?

About Rhiannon Frater

Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of over a dozen books, including the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor), as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog), and other horror novels. She was born and raised a Texan and presently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets). She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes.

I’m a huge fan of Rhiannon Frater’s books and I’m happy to have her on the blog today discussing her unusual heroine in her latest release The Mesmerized! The book is available now and is only $2.99 on Kindle up through December 19th!

An Unusual Heroine by Rhiannon Frater

I’m well known for my strong female protagonists in my books. I love a well-rounded female character with strengths and flaws who overcomes obstacles while becoming a better version of herself. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I love writing about them. Every time I sit down to write a story, I’m excited to go on an adventure with a new characters and learn all about them.

My characters tend to show up, fully formed, and ready to tell their story. I don’t have to consciously construct them. My muse (aka subconscious) does it for me. Since I don’t base my characters on myself, it’s like meeting someone new. Their personality, quirks, flaws, strengths, and weaknesses are aspects I enjoy discovering as I write. Sometimes they’re so different from me, I have to do a lot of research to make sure I accurately portray the character.

In The Mesmerized, Minji Nordim is a Texan of Korean-Irish descent, a tattoo artist from Austin, and firmly counter-culture in her appearance. None of those aspects of her character were daunting, but her status as a parent gave me pause. She’s a wife and a mother to two small girls. Since I’m not a mother (but a kickass aunt), I immediately faced a whole new challenge.

I’ve written about mothers before, but never had one of my characters dealing with motherhood in the midst of an apocalypse. The closest is Jenni from The First Days (As The World Dies Book 1), but she has lost her children in the beginning of that book. Minji’s situation is very different because she has two living daughters with her and must fight to keep them alive against all odds. Because her husband is also caught in the supernatural event as one of the mesmerized, Minji is on her own in taking care of both her husband and children.

One of the things I’ve learned over time is to listen to my characters. I let Minji lead me through her desperate situation. The level of anxiety she felt while attempting to save her children was pretty intense, and it added a whole new dimension to the story. I swiftly realized that her priorities would be quite different from mine in the same circumstances. I’m married, but I don’t have children. My priority would be to save my husband. Minji has to deal with not only her husband being caught in the event and trying to save him, but also has to ensure the safety of her baby and five-year-old daughters. In fact, Minji’s children heighten the tension of the situation because she is their only hope of survival.

When I sent off the completed manuscript to my beta readers and to my editor at Permuted Press, I worried about whether or not I’d captured the intensity of Minji fight to keep her family alive. Did I accurately portray her motherhood? When the responses from my beta readers and editor were a resounding yes, I was relieved. When the book was released, within a day I heard from a fan who told me this book was extra-special to her because Minji is a mother. The reader could completely sympathize with her, and it made the story that much more terrifying.

Sometimes my characters take me on a journey that I learn from, and Minji definitely taught me that sometimes the toughest woman is the one with children to protect.


Be sure to check out the rest of The Mesmerized blog tour for more interviews, guest posts and reviews!

The Mesmerized Tour Schedule

Tuesday, December 02, 2014 — Mom With A Kindle
Tuesday, December 02, 2014 — Team Tynga’s Reviews
Wednesday, December 03, 2014 — Addicted2Heroines
Thursday, December 04, 2014 — Horror Tree
Friday, December 05, 2014 — Hell Notes
Monday, December 08, 2014 — Christy’s Love of Books
Tuesday, December 09, 2014 — Lowcountrybooklover
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 — Cabin Goddess
Thursday, December 11, 2014 — For the Love of Words
Friday, December 12, 2014 — Contagious Reads
Monday, December 15, 2014 — Offbeat Vagabond
Monday, December 15, 2014 — Rainy Day Ramblings
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 — Jess resides here
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 — Stuart Conover’s Author Page
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 — Chapter by Chapter
Thursday, December 18, 2014 — Ja čitam; a ti?
Thursday, December 18, 2014 — Curling Up With A Good Book
Friday, December 19, 2014 — Buy Zombie
Friday, December 19, 2014 — In Libris Veritas

There are two available giveaways! The grand prize is a hardcover copy of The Mesmerized and the other is for a copy of the eBook. Using Rafflecopter, enter below!

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Halloween Thrills & Chills: 10 Great Horror Films with Jonathan Stroud

Posted October 8, 2014 by Bonnie in Giveaways, Guest Post, YA / 11 Comments

Autumn is my most favorite time of year. The cool weather, the beautiful colors and that desire to curl up with some eerie books and creepy movies. Today is my exciting tour stop on the Halloween Trills & Chills event hosted by The Midnight Garden and I’m featuring a guest post from Jonathan Stroud where he shares his favorite horror films. Having just read The Screaming Staircase and being currently in the middle of The Whispering Skull, I completely trust his opinion on anything creepy. His series is a fantastically fun mix of mystery and creepy that you won’t want to miss the chance to enjoy.

In addition to this guest post, you will have the opportunity to win a box of horror novels that you’ll get just in time for Halloween! Be sure to check out the full list of all the other stops on this thrilling tour for more chilling posts!

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud {Purchase – My Review}
The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. #2) by Jonathan Stroud {Purchase}

About Jonathan Stroud

Jonathan Anthony Stroud is an author of fantasy books, mainly for children and youths.

Jonathan grew up in St Albans where he enjoyed reading books, drawing pictures, and writing stories. Between the ages seven and nine he was often ill, so he spent most of his days in the hospital or in his bed at home. To escape boredom he would occupy himself with books and stories. After he completed his studies of English literature at the University of York, he worked in London as an editor for the Walker Books store. He worked with different types of books there and this soon led to the writing of his own books. During the 1990s, he started publishing his own works and quickly gained success.

Jonathan is the author of the bestselling Bartimaeus Trilogy as well as Lockwood & Co. from Disney-Hyperion.

Top 5 Classic Ghost Films

1. The Innocents (1962)
Absolutely my favourite ghost film, an exquisite and near perfect adaptation of Henry James’ classic The Turn of the Screw. Deborah Kerr plays a young governess who comes to teach two adorable children in an idyllic country house. All seems set fair, but it isn’t long before she begins to suspect that Miles and Flora are being haunted by two recently dead servants, who have come back from the grave to corrupt them. Scripted by Truman Capote and John Mortimer, and featuring wonderful performances by the child actors and Kerr, it maintains the ambiguity of the literary original. Is the governess seeing wicked ghosts, or is she barking mad? Either way, it’s scary and unsettling.
2. The Haunting (1963)classic movie collage
The original, not the dodgy remake. Another classy black-and-white adaptation of a literary classic, this time Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. A disparate group of psychic researchers arrive at a house of ill repute, and supernatural forces set to work. Soon one of them in particular, the vulnerable, repressed Eleanor, is being targeted. It can’t end well. Terrifically atmospheric and genuinely frightening.

3. Dead of Night (1945)
A classy portmanteau movie, with several ghostly tales told by guests at a party in a country house. Most famous is the final segment, with Michael Redgrave terrorised by a possessed ventriloquist’s dummy, but most of the other sections have been very influential. By turns comic (the golfing story), poignant (a Christmas encounter with the ghost of a murdered child), and eerie (the haunted mirror), it’s all tied together neatly by an excellent slingshot ending.

4. The Devil Rides Out (1969)
Can I include this? Does it actually have any ghosts in it? There are demons, afrits, cases of Satanic possession… and various ghostly things turning up to menace the heroes as they cower in their protective pentacle at the finale, so… yes, I reckon it’s in. Hammer Studio’s best film, written by Richard Matheson, and with Christopher Lee and Charles Gray on the top of their form, it’s gloriously lurid and excellent fun.

5. Night of the Demon (1957)
You have to ignore the first couple of minutes. In fact, best close your eyes for some of it, since the studio insisted on adding a redundant shot of the demon in question, when it would have been infinitely better to save it for the end. But the rest of Jacques Tourneur’s film is terrific, a spirited and atmospheric adaptation of M R James’s classic ‘Casting the Runes’. The kind of film (like several of these choices) that gives B-movies a good name.

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Top 5 Modern Ghost Films

1. Ring (1998)
Hugely successful, the Japanese movie Ring spawned a plethora of movies featuring creepy girl ghosts with a lot of long dark hair. What I love about it is its fusion of classic folklore (it’s ultimately derived from an old Japanese tale about a servant girl thrown down a well), and modern urban legend. The idea of a cursed videotape that kills the viewer snaps this vengeful spectre instantly into the present day (though I guess you’d need to make it a cursed app now). It gives her immense potency. For a film with such a scary reputation, it’s also highly restrained, relying on slow-build of atmosphere rather than Grand Guignol effects.
2. The Orphanage (2007)
There’s nothing like ghost children to pack an emotional punch. In fact, I almost didn’t put this Spanish masterpiece in my list, because I personally find the outcome so distressing! But it’s a cracking ghost story, beautifully produced and filmed, and derives its power from the seamless meshing of old and new tragedies, the repercussions of past evil, and the remorselessly logical build-up of its supernatural elements. In all of this, it mirrors the very best classic literary ghost stories.

Jonathan Stroud modern films3. The Sixth Sense (1999)
Who couldn’t include this in a list of recent ghostly classics? Just occasionally a movie comes out where everything seems to work just right, and M Night Shyamalan’s debut is one of them. That ending aside, there are just so many brilliantly scary moments here, mainly involving the terrific Haley Joel Osment and what he sees when he’s alone at night. And Bruce Willis is fab too. A film that demands to be seen a second time, straight over, just so you can marvel how clever it is.

4. Stir of Echoes (1999)
Adapted from a book by genre great Richard Matheson (author of best-vampire-novel ever I Am Legend), this gets my nod for Kevin Bacon’s great performance as the ordinary Joe suddenly beset by creepy psychic visions. So many ghost stories have at their heart a vulnerable protagonist, isolated from everyone else by their sensitivity to occult forces. Quite often this protagonist is female (see Nos. 2 & 5 in my list) or a kid (No.3); here, refreshingly, it’s a big burly guy. Plus we get ghostly voices heard through a baby monitor, the possibility of which always used to freak me out when my kids were small. (We did once hear some strange voices, as it happened, but hopefully we were just picking up another family down the road…)

5. The Others (2001)
What is it about Spanish directors and great ghost movies? This one, directed by Alejandro Amenábar, is up there with The Orphanage and Guillermo del Toro’s Devil’s Backbone as a modern classic. Consciously playing with themes familiar to us since The Turn of the Screw – big mansion, vulnerable kids, uptight isolated woman, oppressive forces homing in – it strikes all the right notes thanks to a pitch-perfect performance from Nicole Kidman. It’s also got the great Eric Sykes it as a sinister gardener, which is a bonus in anyone’s book.

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Thrills and Chills: Halloween Event Tour with Jonathan Stroud, Hillary Monahan, and Laurie Stolarz

Wednesday, October 1   The Midnight Garden        5 Questions with Jonathan Stroud
Thursday, October 2       The Starry-Eyed Revue    Into the Spooky Swamp Setting of Mary: The Summoning
Friday, October 3            Supernatural Snark           Rules for Surviving a House of Horrors (guest post by Laurie Stolarz)

Monday, October 6          Xpresso Reads                Deleted Scene from Mary: The Summoning
Tuesday, October 7         Love is Not a Triangle      5 Questions with Laurie Stolarz
Wednesday, October 8    For the Love of Words     10 Great Horror Films with Jonathan Stroud
Thursday, October 9        Winterhaven Books         How I Became a Horror Fan (guest post with Hillary Monahan)
Friday, October 10           YA Romantics                  Quiz: What Dark House Character Are You?
Monday, October 13         My Friends Are Fiction   Fashion Accessories for Ghosthunters (guest post by Jonathan Stroud)
Tuesday, October 14        The Flyleaf Review         5 Questions with Hillary Monahan
Wednesday, October 15   Books with Bite               Top 10 Items to Survive The Dark House Amusement Park

Thursday, October 16       The Social Potato           A Tour of Jonathan Stroud’s Writing Space

Win a Thrills and Chills box of horror! Includes copies of the following new releases:

Mary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud
Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

The box will be delivered just in time for spooky Halloween reading!
Open to US and Canadian residents, see complete rules on entry form.

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Paperback Release Day Feature + Giveaway! I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

Posted September 2, 2014 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Giveaways, Release Day Feature / 7 Comments

I received this book free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Paperback Release Day Feature + Giveaway! I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabeI Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
Published by Broadway Books on September 2, 2014
Pages: 336
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: the Author
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


An extraordinary novel about a strong-willed woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight beside her husband, inspired by the letters of a remarkable female soldier who fought in the Civil War.

Rosetta doesn't want her new husband Jeremiah to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they'll be able to afford their own farm someday. Though she's always worked by her father’s side as the son he never had, now that Rosetta is a wife she's told her place is inside with the other women. But Rosetta decides her true place is with Jeremiah, no matter what that means, and to be with him she cuts off her hair, hems an old pair of his pants, and signs up as a Union soldier.

With the army desperate for recruits, Rosetta has no trouble volunteering, although she faces an incredulous husband. She drills with the men, proves she can be as good a soldier as anyone, and deals with the tension as her husband comes to grips with having a fighting wife. Rosetta's strong will clashes with Jeremiah's while their marriage is tested by broken conventions, constant danger, and war, and she fears discovery of her secret even as they fight for their future, and for their lives. Inspired by more than 250 documented accounts of the women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is the intimate story, in Rosetta’s powerful and gorgeous voice, of the drama of marriage, one woman’s amazing exploits, and the tender love story that can unfold when two partners face life’s challenges side by side.

About Erin Lindsay McCabe

ERIN LINDSAY McCABE studied Literature at University of California, Santa Cruz, and taught high school English before completing her MFA at St. Mary's College of California in 2010. She has taught Composition at St. Mary's College and Butte College and resides in Northern California with her husband and son and a small menagerie that includes one dog, four cats, two horses, ten chickens, and three goats.

I’d like to thank Erin for allowing me to showcase her debut novel today, I Shall Be Near to You. Today marks the official paperback release for this book and it is a must read! I hadn’t read a good historical fiction book in a good long while and this one is quite the memorable tale. Erin also wrote a Guest Post and has also offered up a giveaway for one lucky reader. Enjoy!

On My Nightstand (which is a dresser)

My dresser, which was my great grandma’s, gives me a nice wide surface for stacking books, which is good because pretty much all our bookshelves are already double-stacked (and neither my husband nor I can bear to part with books).

The stacks on my dresser have reached pretty ridiculous proportions, because my husband and I just can’t stop buying books (his dresser looks very similar to mine, only messier). I mean, you can’t even see our wedding photo hidden behind the books and you can only just see the top of the jar that holds my dried wedding bouquet (15 years and going strong!).

Despite what may look like a chaotic hodge-podge, my stacks break down into categories, which originally happened purely by accident. Hidden in back (underneath the green sparkly horseshoe fascinator my mom made me as a semi-joke) is the Old Books I have Borrowed For So Long They Might As Well Be Mine (I have to hide them in case the person I lent them to comes over). At the top of that stack is Watch For Me On The Mountain by Forrest Carter, which I have been procrastinating on reading (for years!). The book belongs to my mom and she told me it made her so angry she threw it across the room. Then she lent it to me because it was so good. Honestly, I’m a little nervous to read it, which is why it has languished there so long.

The next stack is Book I’m Waiting To Be In The Right Mood For. Almost all of them are books I’ve dipped into and had to put aside–not because I didn’t like them, but because I wasn’t ready for them yet. Many of them are dark–books like The Man in My Basement by Walter Mosely and The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh–and so I feel like I need to be in the right mental space to tackle them.

Then there is the stack of Books I Want to Read Sooner Rather Than Later. Most of these are books that came highly recommended and I want to be able to chat about the book with that person. Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, Doc by Mary Doria Russell, and The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers top that stack.

And finally there’s the stack of Books That Have Deadlines Attached To Them, usually for my book club but sometimes because they’re ARCs. Right now that stack is topped by The Untold by Courtney Collins, which was my pick for my book club and which I’m so excited to read because the protagonist reminds me of Rosetta, the main character of my novel I Shall Be Near To You. I adore pretty much any kick-ass female character, especially those who chafe against gender roles. It doesn’t hurt that The Untold also has horses on the cover and in the first pages–I’m a sucker for any book with horses.

And of course, there’s my mental Books I Must Get My Hands On stack, at the top of which right now is Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt which I opened up at the bookstore to see if I was going to like it (I often give books the “first page” test before buying them). I devoured the first page and then proceeded to read the entire first two chapters while standing there in the aisle. I immediately fell for the quirky voice of the main character and felt enormous sympathy for her and her best friend/dying-of-AIDS uncle. I don’t know why, but I love a book that will break my heart. I didn’t buy it because I had a moment of will-power thinking about everything already stacked on my dresser. But I will be picking it up again one way or another.

‘Laying there on our bed is Jeremiah’s work shirt where I left it, the map unfolded beside it. And then like a hornets’ nest in the hot dust that you almost don’t see until it’s too late, but once you have, you can’t not see it for the buzzing in and out of the crack in the dirt crust, the idea of it just comes to me.’

It’s 1862, and the country is in the midst of the Civil War that goes on for another 3 years. Jeremiah Wakefield, a New Yorker, has dreams of someday owning his own farm and being able to take care of Rosetta and their future family and the Army’s enlistment bonus would be exactly what he needs to do that. Rosetta is a tomboy and helps out on her father’s farm but when she finds out that Jeremiah is leaving her for the war, she insists that if he’s intent on going off to war that he’s going to marry her first. They end up marrying and Jeremiah leaves shortly afterward. Rosetta finds that life just isn’t the same with him gone and sitting alone in their house day in and day out worried about his safety is more than she can take. So she chops off her hair and enlists in her husband’s unit as “Ross Stone”.

Rosetta was the most incredibly memorable and courageous character. I Shall Be Near to You showcases one woman of this time period that defied gender expectations but Rosetta was not the only woman out there fighting alongside husbands, brothers, or fathers. In the Author’s Note, McCabe states that “…the fictional Rosetta’s experience as a soldier is an amalgamation of the experiences of the more than two hundred women who are known to have enlisted […]”. It’s an aspect of war, not just during the Civil War either, that is not often explored and it was so fantastic to read this beautifully written story bringing these women’s stories to life, women who put their lives on the line when they didn’t have to.

McCabe’s time spent researching this period is evident from her descriptions of the camp sites set up, the foods, and of the deep seated feeling of dread these men (and women) were experiencing when marching into battle. Rosetta’s sacrifice and dedication to her husband is truly inspirational and you’ll be hard pressed to forget their ardent love story. Skillfully constructed and masterfully executed, if you are a fan of historical fiction novels and especially Civil War centered novels, this is a must read. A most impressive debut novel, I eagerly await more from McCabe.

Thanks to the author I’m able to offer up a copy of I Shall Be Near To You to 1 lucky reader!

Open to U.S. residents only
Giveaway ends September 16th, 2014

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Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

Posted July 8, 2014 by Bonnie in Book Tour, Giveaways, Middle Grade, Read in 2014 / 6 Comments

Today is my stop on the All Four Stars tour, hosted by The Midnight Garden! My review has already gone up for the book and if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet you must know that I adored it. It was incredibly fun and definitely a great fit for foodie fiction fans! Below is a delectable excerpt from the book showing Gladys hands on in the kitchen with her neighbor after her parents grounded her from the kitchen. She’s making a delicious dessert for the popular girl at school that she’s not quite friends with in an attempt to win her over.

“There is one dessert I like to make that’s pretty fast, because it doesn’t require baking. Does your friend like nuts?”

“Oh, yes,” Gladys said. “She definitely does!”

“Well, then, let’s give this a try!”

Gleefully, Gladys followed Mrs. Anderson into the kitchen. Mrs. Anderson pulled out a battered brown volume called Street (and Dirt Road) Foods of the Malay Peninsula from her cookbookcase and passed it to Gladys.

“The recipe’s on page twenty-seven,” Mrs. Anderson told her. She was already pulling ingredients out of the cupboard–flour, sugar, peanuts. “What do you think?”

Gladys turned to the page and found a picture of what looked like a pancake folded in half over some kind of filling. It might be risky to serve Charissa an exotic foreign dessert–Gladys had been thinking more along the lines of brownies or cupcakes. Then again, Charissa did just buy a pound of baklava. The heading for the recipe said Apam Balik, which small letters underneath translated as Malaysian Peanut Pancake. That might not be so bad.

“Trust me, if she likes nuts, she’ll love this,” Mrs. Anderson said, lifting the book out of Gladys’s hands and propping it open against the toaster. “Now, we start by mixing a simple batter. Have you ever used a whisk?”

“Um…” Gladys wasn’t sure how much of her cooking experience she wanted to reveal to Sandy’s mom. “Once or twice,” she said finally.

The next few minutes found Gladys whisking eggs, water, milk, and oil together in a large bowl, then adding flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Every time she caught Mrs. Anderson looking at her, she tried to mess up a little–hold the whisk at the wrong angle, or change direction midwhip so the batter slopped over the side of the bowl. “Oops,” she said, hoping Mrs. Anderson was buying the amateur act. So far, it seemed to be working; twice Mrs. Anderson left her peanuts on the cutting board to come over and help Gladys get her technique right.

When the batter was ready, Mrs. Anderson heated a frying pan on the stovetop and splashed a little oil inside so the pancakes wouldn’t stick.

“Ready?” she said, passing Gladys a ladle.

“Ready!” Gladys answered, and gently ladled a scoop of batter into the pan. It felt great to be cooking again.

“Wow, you really have a knack for this,” Mrs. Anderson gushed. “It took me years to make perfect circles like that.”

Fudge, Gladys thought. She would make the next one less perfect.

Mrs. Anderson continued to talk as the pancake cooked. “This was my favorite snack when I traveled in Malaysia,” she said.

“Wow, you’ve actually been to Malaysia?” Gladys said.

“Oh, yes, I backpacked all around Asia before Sandy was born,” she said. “But I spent the most time in India, studying yoga.”

India! Ever since Gladys had eaten at the Singhs’ house, she’d dreamed of traveling there. She had about a hundred questions to ask, but just then Mrs. Anderson handed her a spatula and said, “Okay, I think it’s time to check whether the bottom’s finished cooking.” She winked. “I bet you know what to do.”

The bottom of the pancake was a lovely golden brown, so Mrs. Anderson dropped some bits of butter across the surface and spread a thick layer o peanuts and sugar on top. She instructed Gladys to fold the pancake in half with the spatula and press on it.

“Done!” Mrs. Anderson cried,” and Gladys lifted the finished pancake onto a waiting plate.

While she ladled more batter into the pan (in a much-less-perfectly-round shape this time), Mrs. Anderson sliced up the first pancake. “We’d better do a taste test,” she said. One of the most important rules about cooking is that you never want to serve something you haven’t tasted yourself.” She popped a strip of pancake into her mouth. “Plus,” she said while chewing, “it’s no fun to make something yummy if you don’t get to eat it, too!”

Gladys tasted the pancake and thought it was delicious–the perfect combination of fluffy and crunchy, sweet and savory. But would Charissa like it?

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Talk about delicious sounding, right? I had never heard of this dessert before but sounds easy enough that I may have to give it a try myself! I found a blogger online that has a fabulous step-by-step instruction for doing just that.

Photo credit: Echo’s Kitchen

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Be sure to check out the other fun stops on the All Four Stars Blog Tour!

All Four Stars Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 1st              The Midnight Garden
Wednesday, July 2nd      The Reading Date
Thursday, July 3rd          For What It’s Worth
Friday, July 4th                 The Spirit of Children’s Literature
                                                  A Baked Creation
Monday, July 7th             Xpresso Reads
Tuesday, July 8th             For the Love of Words
Wednesday, July 9th       Finding Bliss in Books
Thursday, July 10th         Candace’s Book Blog