27/01/2015

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - DEVON'S CHOICE BY CATHERINE BENNETT

devon's choiceDevon's Choice

 Life holds no surprises for Devon Murphy. Her life consists of keeping tabs on her aging Irish father, working part time at a coffee shop, and building her online graphics design business. Devon’s only tricky situation is a shallow relationship with the pampered and affluent Michael Turner, who sees her as just another woman to conquer. Following his father’s death, Brandon’s only goal is to expand the family business and live life on his own terms. That is, until he walks into the coffee shop one snowy evening and meets the enchanting, red-haired barista behind the counter. But can Devon and Brandon’s attraction for each other be strong enough to help erase their deepest disappointments and renew their faith in God?


 Excerpt 

Brandon looked over at her  neutral expression. Whatever kind of relationship she had with Michael Turner didn’t seem to be making her happy. At that moment, all he wanted to do was to make her forget all about the jerk. As if sensing him watching her, Devon turned her head enough to make eye contact with him. The faint, milky glow from the streetlight showed enough of her features for him to see a soft blush warm her cheeks. Under her dark lashes, he watched her sea green eyes glint invitingly as her soft lips turned up at the corners. In that moment, his resolve to keep the date on a friendly level came crashing down.

21/01/2015

OUTLANDER NEWS - DVD & BLU-RAY OUT SOON


Have you been envying Outlander fans in the US who have been able to enjoy this amazing series on TV? It's time for you to stop wishing and dreaming. 
Have you,  instead,  seen it on Starz and want to rewatch it,  because you can't have enough, because add it you your Outlander book collection, you wish to own it or think of giving it as a  present to friends to share the love? 
The big news is that you can do all that right now! Outlander season 1, volume 1 will be released on Digital HD on February 9 and on DVD and Blu-ray on March 3rd. Loaded with extras (see details below!) 

You can pre-order your copy HERE

The second half of season 1 will be aired from April 4th. Episode  9 will be broadcast,  which includes one of the most controversial  scenes in Gabaldon's book. It will be a shocking  and shaking moment for millions of Jamie Fraser's fans. 
While eagerly expecting for the darker part of the series, here is a great surprise gift : A 2-disc set for collectors! Read on to discover more.

20/01/2015

BLOG TOUR - JEREMY'S PROMISE BY A.R.TALLEY

Jeremy's PromiseJeremy's Promise by A.R. Talley

The trip that was meant to save Annie and Jeremy’s marriage brought it to near ruin. Now Annie has returned home, frightened and confused. Jeremy, too, is frightened—and angry. What will it take to save their marriage? It’s clear. Jeremy needs to forgive—Annie needs to forget. A promise is made. A tragedy occurs. A second honeymoon is disrupted. A chance encounter brings David Andrews back into Annie’s life. Annie is determined to remain faithful. She’s made a promise she intends to keep—Jeremy’s Promise.


Praise for Jeremy's Promise

 A.R. Talley, gives you a believable look at the struggle of one couple to reconnect and heal their marriage, with dialog which sweeps you into the moment as if you were there with them, experiencing both their pain and recovery. Kudos to the author who has once again produced a book I couldn't put down, as well as one I felt compelled to read multiple times. ~Donna Dech 

Jeremy's Promise second book in a trilogy by A.R. Talley is an awesome, emotional, romantic, highly recommended, well written story with captivating and engaging characters. ~Debbie Ballard 

19/01/2015

THE OUTLANDER SAGA BY DIANA GABALDON - VOYAGER (BOOK 3)


Someone has named it "Droughtlander" and Outlander fans know exactly what I mean. I've found a very good remedy to cope with its symptoms: going on reading the rest of the saga. Someone told me I'm lucky because I still have so much to read and discover. Good, then! Lucky me has taken her task quite seriously and undertaken her journey through the world of Outlander books enthusiastically.


Voyager - Book Blurb

Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her... and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.
Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her...the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland... and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite or forever doom her timeless love. 

Warning: Spoilers Ahead
First of all, I must admit Diana Gabaldon has surprised me more than once so far. Lots of unexpected twists and reversals of fortune and thousands of pages! Her creativity and craft are astonishing.

Furthermore,  my storage of visual aids, though incomplete at this point of my reading (the TV series is way back in the narration respect to Gabaldon's printed production), has been of remarkable support in this very long journey and has make it more pleasant, if possible  (see picture below). 

Not long ago I posted my review of book 2, Dragonfly in Amber, which I rated four stars out of  five. But for book 3, Voyager, I need a full score: five stars! I've loved reading it more than the previous one and so far it is my best favourite.

17/01/2015

GRANTCHESTER PREMIERES ON PBS MASTERPIECE


It was on British ITV last autumn and now, on January 18th 2015,  it will premiere in the US, thanks to PBS Masterpiece. A real feast for all our American period-drama-loving friends  who will enjoy this new 6-part drama series , Grantchester, on the same night as Downton Abbey 5. Each Sunday night they will move from Yorkshire to Cambridgeshire and will follow the adventures of their old and new English heroes and heroines comfortably sitting in their armchairs. Two hours of pure Englishness!

James Norton, we saw in Belle and Death Comes to Pemberley, plays an atypical young vicar, Sidney Chambers,  whose main hobby is crime solving. Robson Green plays  his partner and friend,  Police Inspector Geordie Keating.

15/01/2015

AT THE CINEMA - BET THEY WILL BECOME HITS? SEEING THE FUTURE OF MOVIES FOR 2015

Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck in Gone Girl
Seeing the future of movies for 2015 is pretty predictable!

In recent years, I have had a bit of an epiphany. As a movie lover, I am continually buying my ticket and my ridiculously expensive popcorn (but it really does taste better!), in order to see movies, the ads for which have piqued my interest. I have come to the conclusion that the types of movies that are destined to become box office hits reflect political/societal phenomena and the attempts to resurrect old standards that worked well before. 2015 will be no different.

Political/Social Phenomena

Boyhood - Official still

2014 saw film hits like Boyhood, a poignant story, to be certain, but also a treatment of divorce and children of divorce. Then there was Gone Girl, a thriller, of course, but still addressing the issue of marriage and relationships gone wrong.
2015 may not treat divorce and relationships as much as it may return to political and social phenomena from both historical and contemporary perspectives. Consider Unbroken, a story that will take us back to World War II and the theme of the indomitable human spirit. Another opener for 2015, The Sniper, will treat the horrors of contemporary warfare and its devastating impact on the human spirit.

12/01/2015

BOOK BLAST - HOW I FALL & HOW I FLY BY ANNE ELIOT + GIVEAWAY

How I fly
A two-book series by the bestselling author of Almost and Unmaking Hunter Kennedy. How I Fall by Anne Eliot 


 *WHAT IF YOU HAD AN IMPOSSIBLE CRUSH?* Impossible because she’s Ellen Foster. The beautiful, smart, and possibly fragile photography-girl. You’re Cam Campbell. The guy who plays football 24/7 with no life. But what if during junior year, you decide to finally try for her phone number—until this glitter-crazed new girl ruins your plan. Worse, the girl is Irish, awkward, and insists you and Ellen should become best friends—with her! Only, you don’t want to be friends with a human tornado, and you think Ellen might need to stay a crush. This is because after one interaction you’ve discovered Ellen Foster really is fragile. Your problems and secrets are too big for anyone to understand. 

 *WHAT IF YOU COULDN’T RESIST?* But what if the three of you wind up assigned to a group photography project, where rumors are already circling about the new girl being ridiculous? You know she’s nice but very alone, so you convince your crush to help protect the new girl. Suddenly, working on the project makes hanging out, texting, talking—and even high school—seem fun and completely normal when it’s anything but normal. 

07/01/2015

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - MID CENTURY MAYHEM BY BELLA STREET

Mid Century Mayhem New CoverMid Century Mayhem by Bella Street

 Modern day Nashville and 1950s Detroit clash worse than an IKEA futon and a plaid Barcalounger when a free-spirited interior designer and a strait-laced automotive engineer find themselves in another time. TOMS-wearing Olivia Haugen and Madras-shirted Kyle Daniels have no idea why they've ended up in 1954 Michigan, but it's probably not because of all the swank mid-century furnishings. Discovering the reason might have something to do with a wily salvage warehouse owner and her not-so-little shop of secrets.


Praise for the book: "Wow this book just drew me right into it from the start."--Diana K. "Loved it. Details of the past were so real, you felt you were there!" --Amy B.

"This book was amazing. It was funny, harrowing, nerve-racking, and just plain awesome!!!" --Tiffany T.

  add to goodreads


05/01/2015

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - THIRTY-THREE GOING ON GIRLFRIEND

Thirty Three going on girlfriendThirty-Three Going on Girlfriend

***The highly anticipated sequel to Becky Monson's bestseller - Thirty-Two Going on Spinster!*** 

Julia Dorning thought she would die a lonely spinster. That was until nine months ago, when her world was turned upside down. Now she’s got a dream career as a bakery owner, and a relationship with handsome Jared Moody—a life she never thought possible. Just as she’s starting to feel comfortable in her new life, Julia is invited to battle it out on national television making cupcakes. An amazing opportunity, if she can muster up the confidence to do it, that is. Then, out of the blue, Jared goes and throws a rather large wrench in their relationship causing Julia to have to make some big decisions. With her two trusted confidants off in wedding la la land, Julia is on her own to figure everything out. Left to her own devices, will Julia be able to work things out for herself? Or will she make a disaster of it all? Find out in Becky Monson’s sequel to Thirty-Two Going on Spinster!


Praise
"After reading the first book, I have been waiting impatiently for this one. I was not disappointed. I laughed so hard, it was a fun read that left me with a good feeling." -Amazon Reader

 "Get ready for another crazy ride with Julia Dorning. This sequel not only lives up to expectations of the first, but surpasses it!" - Author Kathryn Biel

31/12/2014

BEST OF 2014: PLAYS, ACTORS, BOOKS, TRIPS AND MUCH MORE (PART II)

Best  Play


The Crucible - I was just sitting there, on the left, behind the girls ...

I've been to the theatre a few times this year (HERE,  HERE and HERE ) but, no doubt: The Crucible. seen at the Old Vic in London twice at the end of June, beginning of July. It was great not only because I could make a dream of mine come true - which was seeing Richard Armitage on stage - but because the thrill I experienced in the audience will always stay with me as one of the dearest, most exciting memories of my entire life. Here's my report of that incredible experience with pictures and anecdotes. 


30/12/2014

BEST OF 2014: DRAMA SERIES & MOVIES (PART I)


A list of  "2014 Best... "  but  where to start from? I love so many things - which you already know if you have had a look at my blog any time before! Books? Movies? TV drama series? British actors? English Literature? Teaching? Blogging? Travelling to the UK? I'll do my best to be direct and concise and I'll divide my list of "best" into more than one post, ok? Let's start with Drama Series and Movies. 

Best Drama Series


Outlander (Starz)





I can't deny it:  this is my new passionate interest (obsession?)  Reading Diana Gabaldon's book series (I'm on book 4 now), watching the series, learning bits of Gaelic, dreaming of Scotland, following the cast and writers on twitter ... my 2014 has been filled with Outlander emotions.

29/12/2014

TIME FOR A GOOD MOVIE - WORDS & PICTURES, THE OTHER SON AND MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT

Time for a good movie. Well, more than one, actually. I've seen several films in the latest days. The three ones I'm going to recommend here are totally different one from the other,  but each one of them resonated with me for some reason . Mothers and sons? Colin Firth? Romance and school? Here we go.

Let's start with "The Other Son" , original title  "Le fils de l'autre", a 2012 movie directed by Lorraine Lévy. 
Two babies are born at about the same time in an Israeli hospital. One is Israeli. The other is Palestinian. They're evacuated during a missile attack, accidentally switched and raised by each other's families for the next 18 years. The truth comes out when Joseph Silberg takes blood tests to enlist in the Israeli army. He has been raised by a wealthy Jewish family but is,  instead,  the Palestinian baby of the swtch incident. On the other hand, Yacine , the Israeli by birth, has been raised on the West Bank by Leila and Said. His family is far from rich, but he has been lucky enough to be

27/12/2014

THE OUTLANDER SAGA BY DIANA GABALDON: DRAGONFLY IN AMBER (BOOK 2)

It took me quite a while to make up my mind and read on through Diana Gabaldon's Outlander saga. It took me time since I had decided to stop at the end of book 1 when I first read it (my review). I was quite sure that Jamie and Claire happy in France, sharing their passion in that cave under the Abbey, were an ideal finale to their story.

Then the TV series came and I reread Outlander. Once Jamie was Sam Heughan in the flesh, Claire had Caitriona Balfe spirited look and Frank/Jack Randall were both embodied by charming Tobias Menzies , I had at least 3 good reasons to enjoy this saga (more than enjoy!)

Like many other fans of the TV series, I was quite sad hearing that the series would take a very long hiatus after the first 8 episodes and that we would have to wait until April 4th 2015 for the release of the second half of season 1. That's when I decided I had to go on reading.

That's why I've been reading Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager in the last weeks, (aka book 2 and book 3, aka 976 + 1,104 pages, packed with Jamie and Claire's adventures) and why I have just started Drums of Autumn.

I'm going to discuss book 2 in this post, so if you haven't read it yet, beware of inevitable spoilers ahead!

23/12/2014

BOOK BLAST & FLASH GIVEAWAY - SPELL FOR SOPHIA BY ARIELLA MOON

SpellForSophia_453x680 Spell for Sophia

 Sophia Perez-Hidalgo’s survival depends upon her mastering magic and the supernatural before her lawless parents and their vengeful boss catch up to her. How far must she flee to escape them forever? Sophia runs until she’s out of stolen money, then…Fate delivers her into the arms of Louisiana teen Shiloh Breaux Martine, and his grand-mère, a voodoo priestess living deep in the bayou. Breaux knows Sophia is trouble — but he’ll travel through time, battle zombies, and risk his bright future to protect her. While Ainslie, best friend extraordinaire, will jeopardize her sanity to find and aid Sophia. When friendship, magic, and love are not enough, Sophia will have to save herself. But first, she must believe she’s worth saving. Sometimes the worst scars are the ones you cannot see.  


 The Teen Wytche Saga by Ariella Moon

 Think magic will solve your problems? Bring you love? Cure you? Protect you? Help you find someone who is lost? Think again. Magic tests friendships. It hisses, chirps, stinks up the room, backfires, and explodes. Magic forces you to make tough decisions. Shatter limitations. Discover your true self. When you use magic, expect results in the ultimate triple-un—unpredictable, uncontrollable, and so undeniable. And you thought navigating high school was tough.   

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - IF YOU BELIEVE BY MYA O'MALLEY

If you believeIf You Believe by Mya O'Malley

Sometimes love only comes once in a lifetime. For some lucky people, it is possible to love again. Melody and Jack had shared an unforgettable love story that abruptly came to an end. Melody, left picking up the pieces, finds herself alone years later, with no hope or desire to date again. With the holiday season approaching, Melody finds it particularly difficult to get Jack out of her thoughts. Jack isn’t sure if he’s an angel or a ghost, but his mind is set on one thing only, finding a new love for Melody by Christmas Eve at midnight. Easier said than done, with many obstacles to tackle, Jack underestimates how difficult the task is. With conflicting emotions, Jack takes it upon himself to find a man for a woman he still loves. With the clock ticking as the holidays approach, this charming story of finding love the second time around will have you laughing and crying, but ultimately, it will have you believing in true love.  


add to goodreads

22/12/2014

BLOG TOUR - FORBIDDEN BY KIMBERLEY GRIFFITHS LITTLE

Forbidden Kimberley Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart. Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying. With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself. Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.


  Praise for Forbidden

*STARRED* Review, ALA BOOKLIST ". . . At its core, this is a romance, with all the push and pull that goes along with impossible love, and Little elevates the story by creating a perilous landscape, both outward and inward, as Jayden must deal with the hardship of desert life as well as her own desires." 

21/12/2014

BLOG TOUR - ROUGH AROUND THE EDGES MEETS REFINED BY RACHAEL ANDERSON

Rough Around the Edges

Around the Edges Meets Refined (Meet Your Match #2) by Rachael Anderson 



 For Noah Mackie, life is finally back on track. He has a great support system, a promised promotion is on its way, and he's finally getting the hang of this single father thing. But when the job falls through and his neighbor's matchmaking efforts become more aggressive, Noah is in for yet another unwanted detour. With his career and two spirited daughters to worry about, he doesn't have time for dating—especially not someone like Cassie Ellis, his girls' beautiful and sophisticated dance instructor, who is about as open and approachable as a brick wall. Rough around the Edges Meets Refined is about two people who think they know exactly what they want but who have no idea what they really need. It's about learning that people aren't always what they seem and that sometimes life’s detours take you exactly where you need to go.  


Purchase Your Copy from Amazon.com

add to goodreads new

15/12/2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - THE LAST ENCHANTRESS BY SCOTT AND JUDITH POWELL

last enchantressThe Last Enchantress by Scott & Judith Powell

 Being nineteen for over three hundred years bites, and being single in New York with magical powers isn't much better. Eva is trying to live an everyday life in New York. When this fails, she takes a seemingly unmagical job as a translator for a wealthy American family in Spain. Eva cannot stay out of trouble for long as she runs into a friendly but hungry vampire named Louis. Eva feels drawn to this handsome, dangerous stranger who has problems of his own. Louis's life was just fine until Eva walked into his church. She smells like heaven. Or is it hell, always smelling but never partaking? Surely she is the devil coming to collect on his lost soul.



Download a FREE copy of The Last Enchantress


Available December 15th to 17th

12/12/2014

BOOK BLAST + GIVEAWAY: TEARS FOR A WORLD BY ALEXANDER FERNANDEZ

Tears for a worldTear for a World by Alexander Fernandez

The holy artifact bonded around Marisylia Malludar's neck gives her incredible physical and magical powers—at a price. The bloody piece of vein is consuming Marisylia's body inch by inch, her skeletal hands and feet only the beginning of a slow death. A cruel sorceress and her assassins are on the hunt for Marisylia to steal the artifact. Religious fanatics, volatile and unstable in their blind faith, also seek her to exploit the vein’s most dangerous purpose—liberating the erratic Creator of the World, Lysielle, from her 1,000 year incarceration. With the vein the key to Lysielle’s freedom, Marisylia must use her abilities to survive long enough to find Lysielle first. Then her most grim challenge awaits—deciding if the Creator has truly repented for attempting to destroy all life. To achieve global peace, Marisylia must discover faith in the unpredictable Lysielle or rely on her own instincts to set the world’s fate.


  Excerpt 

 Marisylia blinked and rubbed milk out of her eyes, but the mob wasn’t finished. A stiff hand shoved her from behind and she stumbled against the table. Unfinished slices of pie and rolls of bread pelted her. With nowhere to hide, she dove into the horde and tried to shove her way out. Most of the people only yelled insults as they let her pass. Others bumped her roughly with their shoulders, tried to trip her, or pushed her around so she bounced back and forth between pairs of hands. One woman caught Marisylia and carefully steadied her. She peered into the woman’s eyes, one friendly person amid the riled swarm. The lady smiled softly, then suddenly spit into Marisylia’s face. When the saliva splattered her cheek, Marisylia stopped caring why the citizens acted like this. Whether due to fear of the religious power, worry that it would infest Three Fingers, or simply senseless anger, none of it mattered anymore since the time to quit had arrived. All of her determination to succeed had been ripped to shreds by the crowd. Each hand that shoved, every object that struck, drained her enthusiasm. Her devotion to the religion had drowned in the woman’s spit. It was all too much. Marisylia didn’t have Milick’s iron skin or Shri Lilyn’s boldness. She had nothing, only the desire to run away and forget everything. 

10/12/2014

SPOTLIGHT ON ... THE NOVICE BY MIRELLA SICHIROLLO PATZER + BOOK GIVEAWAY


A young woman on the verge of taking her vows to become a nun. 

A desperate flight from a murderous massacre. 
One honorable man comes to her rescue. 
Another becomes her nemesis and captor. 
And a life and death search to reunite with her one true love.


In 10th century Naples, Saracens run rampant, annihilating villages, murdering women and children. Death and despair is everywhere. Alone in the world, Sara is a young novice plagued with doubts about taking her final vows to become a nun. When her convent is attacked, she flees for her life straight into the arms of a group of Saracens who leave her to die alone in the woods. An honorable cavaliere named Nicolo comes to her rescue and offers to take her to the safety of Naples. As they journey together, they are irresistibly drawn to each other. Believing Sara to be a nun, the honorable Nicolo is torn between love and duty to respect her vows. Heartbroken, he does what honor demands and sets her free before she can tell him the truth that she is not a nun. In her search to reunite with Nicolo, she encounters Umberto, a dark and dangerous man who will stop at nothing in his obsession to possess her. With her sharp intellect, and her heart, Sara must rely on her own courage and strength to escape her abuser and find the only man she will ever love. A story that burns with intensity, intrigue, and passion from the author of the highly popular novels, Orphan of the Olive Tree, The Contessa’s Vendetta, and The Betrothal.

07/12/2014

BOOK BLAST - DAISY MCDARE AND THE DEADLY LEGAL AFFAIR ( A COZY MYSTERY) - WIN $100 AMAZON GIFT CARD OR PAYPAL CASH

Daisy McDareDaisy McDare and the Deadly Legal Affair by K.M. Morgan

Welcome to Cozy Creek, a quaint tourist town nestled along the Pacific Coast. Daisy McDare is busy nursing a broken heart, trying to build up her interior decorator business, and baking cookies when murder strikes Cozy Creek. At first she leaves the investigation to Chris Crumple, the local bumbling police detective. But when Crumple arrests the wrong suspect, Daisy takes the investigation into her own hands. Cracking the case won't be easy. She'll need help from her pastry-baking best friend Samantha, her wise-cracking Granny Annie, and her trusty West Highland Terrier Shamus. It's up to Daisy McDare to find the murderer in Cozy Creek before they strike again.

  Author K.M. Morgan

K.M. Morgan loves baking, crafts, cute cat videos, and reading mysteries.

05/12/2014

WHO R U REALLY? BLOG TOUR - AUTHOR GUEST POST: MARGO KELLY, TEENAGERS AND THE INTERNET

who are you

Who R U Really? by Margo Kelly 


 Thea's overprotective parents are driving her insane. They invade her privacy, ask too many questions, and restrict her online time so severely that Thea feels she has no life at all. When she discovers a new role-playing game online, Thea breaks the rules by staying up late to play. She's living a double life: on one hand, the obedient daughter; on the other, a girl slipping deeper into darkness. In the world of the game, Thea falls under the spell of Kit, an older boy whose smarts and savvy can't defeat his loneliness and near-suicidal despair. As Kit draws soft-hearted Thea into his drama, she creates a full plate of cover stories for her parents and then even her friends. Soon, Thea is all alone in the dark world with Kit, who worries her more and more, but also seems to be the only person who really "gets" her. Is he frightening, the way he seems sometimes, or only terribly sad? Should Thea fear Kit, or pity him? And now, Kit wants to come out of the screen and bring Thea into his real-life world. As much as she suspects that this is wrong, Thea is powerless to resist Kit's allure, and hurtles toward the same dark fate her parents feared most. Ripped from a true-life story of Internet stalking, Who R U Really? will excite you and scare you, as Thea's life spins out of control.



Author Guest Post - Teenagers and the Internet


The inspiration for my debut novel, Who R U Really?, came when my daughter was nearly abducted by an online predator.

There are countless—seemingly innocent—online games to play. Regardless if it’s a role-playing game, a racing game, a building game, a chess game, or a social media game … if there is a chat box, there is a danger.

My daughter participated in an innocent online role-playing game where a chat box was necessary to facilitate the game. Because of that chat box, she met a guy. He seemed nice. He seemed to need a friend. He seemed safe. But in fact, he was none of these things.

04/12/2014

WAS SHAKESPEARE A CATHOLIC? AUTHOR ELIZABETH ASHWORTH ON SHAKESPEARE'S LOST YEARS

In April 1757, men working on the house in Henley Street, Stratford, where William Shakespeare was born, discovered a six page, hand-written document hidden between the eaves and the joists. It was a copy of the Borromeo Testament, an affirmation of the Catholic faith written by Cardinal Borromeo of Milan. Each one of the six pages was signed by John Shakespeare, William’s father. It would seem to suggest that the Shakespeare family continued to practice the forbidden Catholic faith. In addition, two Stratford recusancy returns have survived from the year 1592 and on both John Shakespeare is listed. His excuse for not attending church was that he was in debt and feared his creditors – a myth which has persisted although evidence suggests that John Shakespeare was not in debt and that it was a common excuse made by Catholics to avoid the Protestant churches. The final clue that the Shakespeare family were Catholics is a list compiled in 1606, after the Gunpowder Plot, of people missing from the Easter communion in Stratford. On this list is the name of Susanna Shakespeere – William’s daughter.

03/12/2014

SPOTLIGHT ON ... UNDER A GEORGIA MOON BY CINDY ROLAND ANDERSON + GIVEAWAY

under a georgia
 Under a Georgia Moon by Cindy Roland Anderson

Addie Heywood thought she was doing okay after her fiancé dumped her just weeks before their wedding, claiming he’d found someone else more compatible with his health food tastes. But when he marries the other woman three months later, Addie needs to get away. Leaving her home in Idaho, she escapes to Mitchel Creek, Georgia to visit her Aunt Janie. She just wants to spend the next two weeks enjoying her aunt’s southern cooking, not dodging the guys her aunt is determined to set her up with. Chase Nichols isn’t looking for love. His dream is to trade his computer mouse for his guitar and make it big in the country music world. If he can land a job in Nashville, he might have a shot at getting discovered. His plans get derailed when he does his neighbor a favor and picks up her niece, Addie, at the airport. Things get even more complicated when his ex-girlfriend comes back into the picture. That’s when he hatches a new plan. Since Addie wants to avoid her aunt’s matchmaking schemes, and he wants to avoid his ex-girlfriend, they’ll fool the world by pretending to date. What neither of them counts on is actually falling in love.



Purchase Your Copy


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Praise for Under a Georgia Moon

“This is just the kind of sweet romance that I love. I thought the plot was fun and the writing well done, was paced well and kept me wanting more. Throw in some swoony moments and I was hooked.” –Kathy (Bookworm Nation) 

02/12/2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - THE AWAKENING BY DORINE WHITE

The Awakening by Dorine White
The Awakening by Dorine White 

Nightmares really do come true, and for fifteen-year-old Kyler Birkwood, they are just beginning. Raised on a farm by his Aunt Martha, Kyler has no clue about the magical heritage swimming through his blood. When he discovers evidence of a mythical creature, a terrifying beast thought only to exist in fairy tales, his safe world shatters. Left at a school of magic to hunt for clues, he is overwhelmed and disbelieved. As loved ones begin disappearing and Orcs roam the land, Kyler must undergo a journey that takes him from the High Courts of the King to the unknown forests of the East. His magic just awakening, Kyler is the lone hope for a world that will not listen.


Purchase Your Copy


Praise for The Awakening 

 "Dorine White delivers twists and turns to the plot that will keep you turning the pages." ~ Melanie Mason, author of the YA historical, The Line That Divides

23/11/2014

BOOK REVIEW - ROGUE SPY BY JOANNA BOURNE

 (by guest blogger and dear friend K/V)

The signs were all there: anticipation and the thrill of the hunt (just imagine my increasing anxiety until I was able to locate a B&N bookshop in Manhattan – too few bookshops left there, IMHO!); the awareness of being hooked from the very beginning – “The end of her own particular world arrived early on a Tuesday morning, wrapped in brown paper and twine, sealed with a blob of red wax”; the unusual desire to lengthen the pleasure of reading by stopping before I really wanted to; the frequent re-reading of entire pages; the feeling of emptiness when the book was over; the lingering sense of bliss even days after I finished reading; the compelling need to tell someone about it... 
And what’s more, it happened AGAIN within a matter of months! I already felt that way last spring, when I devoured Joanna Bourne’s Spymasters series all in one swallow, ending with The Black Hawk. At the time, I resisted the impulse, but this time I simply couldn’t. Also because the authors I usually feel inspired to congratulate happen to be dead for a long time, centuries sometimes, and it is a privilege to be able to do so with someone who’s not only very much alive, but also friendly available to readers through her own website and even a Twitter account! What a temptation!

I have always liked Spy stories and historical novels: the addition of a bit of romance is very welcome, but not necessary. The mixture can be (it usually is) very dangerous for a writer to handle, and the models are quite hard to compare with. I’m thinking of classics like Dumas’s Opera omnia, Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel, Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles and such. That’s why I admired Ms Bourne’s ability to blend the ingredients together creating her personal mix, with the addition of witty dialogue and insightful presentation of the characters’ psychology which I have seldom (if ever) happened upon. The characters, the main ones as well as the minor, are so cleverly portrayed and expanded,  that they immediately start to grow on the reader: you can’t help actually caring for them. That’s because you can follow their thoughts, not being just a witness of their actions. Ms Bourne handles their background stories very cleverly, moving to and fro along the whole series – this is the 6th book of the series (including Her Ladyship’s Companion, because of Hawker’s ‘cameo’). Ah, Adrian: how couldn’t we love him? Looks like the Author herself can’t let him off: even if other (major) characters don’t appear in every novel, Adrian “Hawker” Hawkhurst is always there - at various stages of his interesting and complicated life – and smart, witty, lethal and good-looking as always. Not flawless, mind you: but that’s another reason why we like him.

18/11/2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - SPELL FOR SOPHIA

SpellForSophia_453x680 Spell for Sophia

Sophia Perez-Hidalgo’s survival depends upon her mastering magic and the supernatural before her lawless parents and their vengeful boss catch up to her. How far must she flee to escape them forever? Sophia runs until she’s out of stolen money, then…Fate delivers her into the arms of Louisiana teen Shiloh Breaux Martine, and his grand-mère, a voodoo priestess living deep in the bayou. Breaux knows Sophia is trouble — but he’ll travel through time, battle zombies, and risk his bright future to protect her. While Ainslie, best friend extraordinaire, will jeopardize her sanity to find and aid Sophia. When friendship, magic, and love are not enough, Sophia will have to save herself. But first, she must believe she’s worth saving. Sometimes the worst scars are the ones you cannot see.  





17/11/2014

LOVING LUCIANNA BLOG TOUR - FIVE QUESTIONS TO THE AUTHOR, JOYCE DI PASTENA, AND GIVEAWAY

What made you write a book about an older couple falling in love?

I belong to a Facebook group called the Clean/Sweet Romance Group. Last spring we held a joint promo event on Facebook, and afterwards the group leader challenged us to write a fall-themed short story, novella, or novel for a promo event to be held in the fall. At first I simply tried to come up with a story set during the autumn season, but then I thought, “What if I wrote a story about a couple falling in love in the autumn of their lives?” (All good plot ideas begin with “What if…?”  ) And then I remembered a pair of secondary characters who fell in love in my medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart, who were in their 40s and 50s. Their romance was a very small part of the arc of that story, but I decided it would be fun to follow it up and see where their romance took them. And that became the kernel of my idea for Loving Luciannaand my Hearts in Autumn romance series. (Loving Lucianna is the first in my projected series. I have an idea for a second romance, hopefully to be completed by next fall.)

What advice would you give budding writers?

I  know this sound trite, but write. Write every day, even if it’s just 100 words. And most importantly, write whether you feel like writing or not. The best advice I ever received was from someone who said, “Real writers write even when they don’t feel like it.” That advice has gotten me through many a rough patch when I didn’t feel like writing but did it anyway. It’s the way books get finished. I may not enjoy every word that I write—some days it literally feels like pulling teeth to get 100 words on the page. But I have never once regretted “forcing” myself to write when I came back to the computer the next day and saw that I had made progress with my story instead of letting it stand still.

AN INTERVIEW WITH NLB HORTON, AUTHOR OF "THE BROTHERS' KEEPERS' + DOUBLE GIVEAWAY



In The Brothers’ Keepers, we meet archaeologist Grace Madison who is in Brussels cataloguing looted antiquities when her son’s bride is attacked in Switzerland. Her day careens from bad to catastrophic when daughter Maggie disappears in France.
Coincidence is a luxury Grace cannot afford as history — saturated in espionage — is repeating itself.


The title of the book, The Brothers’ Keepers, refers to heroine Grace Madison’s determination to protect someone important to her. To what lengths would you go to protect someone you cared about?



I would do whatever it took — and I remember the exact moment I decided that! I stood at the edge of the tel Dan (northern Israel) archaeological dig pit in 2007 with my husband and two then-teenage children. They had accompanied me on an archaeological survey as part of my master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. Heavy artillery fire began booming from Syria as staccato machine-gun reports peppered near the Lebanese border. An Israeli Defense Force camouflage-painted plane broke through an unseasonal cloud cover, circling the site. I hoped they could see we were unarmed! Grace Madison was born from this harrowing experience.

 The Brothers’ Keepers largely focuses on doing the right thing. Tell us about a situation in which you chose to do the right thing despite personal cost. Was it worth it?



My business was thriving, my children were young, and I had to choose between a smaller role in their lives or limiting my company’s growth. My husband was trying to transition from one career to another, and I was the family’s wage-earner.