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Thursday, December 26, 2013

On Tour: Bitter Pill by Stacey Kade - Q&A & Excerpt

Stacey Kade is now on tour with CLP Book Tours with her book, Bitter Pill. Please visit her tour page for more blog stops and a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card, a signed copy of Bitter Pill (US/CA only) or an eBook copy of The Ghost of Goth by Stacey Kade!

Bitter Pill 
by Stacey Kade

Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publication: October 2013
Connect: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads | Blog
Buy the Book: Amazon
The truth is a bitter pill...

Rennie Harlow is having a bad year. She had a handsome husband, a good job, and a renovated condo in Chicago. Now, thanks to one "exotically beautiful" paralegal, she’s divorced, faking her way through a writing career, and living above her hypochondriac mother's garage back in Morrisville, the small town she couldn't leave fast enough at eighteen. On top of all of that, she just found Doc Hallacy, the local pharmacist, dead behind his counter. And the worst part is, he's the third body she’s stumbled across this year.

Jake Bristol has lived in Morrisville his whole life. A former bad boy turned sheriff, he doesn’t believe it’s just Rennie’s luck or timing that’s the problem. He thinks she’s too nosy for her own good. The last thing he needs is her messing around with his murder investigation so that she can freelance for the Morrisville Gazette. But as they both delve deeper into Doc's death, they find that things don't add up. This isn't a robbery gone wrong or the work of a desperate junkie. Someone has a secret they're killing to keep. The only question is—who's next?
Q&A with Stacey Kade

1. Please introduce yourself and your book.
Hi! I'm Stacey Kade. I'm here today to talk about Bitter Pill, which is my amateur sleuth chicklit mystery. Rennie Harlow is kind of my grown-up version of Nancy Drew, only her life isn't nearly as picture perfect and pulled together.

After a horrible divorce, Rennie fled back to the small town where she grew up, to find new direction and to live over her mother's garage. (Well, the "live over her mother's garage" was more just a by-product of moving home than an active choice.) Now she's in love with someone she can't really have, and she keeps stumbling over dead bodies and getting pulled into the ensuing investigations, quite unintentionally.

2. What inspired you to write this book?
This is the only book out of all mine that was inspired by a dream, believe it or not. I woke up from a nap with the phrase, "Pharmacists know all our dirty secrets," floating through my brain. Combine that with homesickness for the small town where I lived in grade school, and that was the start of Bitter Pill. It's so weird, I know. :)

3. Grade your book. How many stars out of a perfect score of 5 stars? Please give the reason too.
Hmmm. You know, I don't think an author can ever satisfactorily judge his/her own book. We're too inclined to judge our work both too harshly and not harshly enough. There's no possibility for an objective perspective. So, I'm going to leave it up to the readers to decide.

4. Is there something you can be uniquely proud of?
In general, you mean? I make really good Christmas cookies. From scratch. I can also quote damn near all of the 1984 movie, Ghostbusters. Tell me that's not a marketable skill.

5. What are you working on right now?
Right now, I'm working on first pass pages for The Hunt, which is the second book in my young adult Project Paper Doll series.

6. Please say something to your readers?
Thank you for reading! :) I love telling stories and appreciate every opportunity you give me to spin a tale and try to entertain you. 

Bristol rubbed his face wearily, then stared at me, his warm brown eyes too intense. “How do you get yourself into this? The first person found on the scene is usually a viable suspect for the murder. But not in this town, not with you.” 
“I can’t help it, it just happens.” I tried not to sound too plaintive. 
“No, Rennie, lightning strikes just happen.” He shook his head with a tight smile. “You are a walking disaster.”
Stung, I shoved the thermos lid back at him, sloshing coffee onto the leather interior, and jabbed my car keys into the ignition. “Screw you, Bristol.”
He sighed. “Rennie…”
“What?” I jerked the gearshift into reverse.
He started to say something then shook his head. “I’m going to need you to come in to make an official statement.”
“Not till this afternoon.” I lifted my chin defiantly, daring him to challenge me. “I have to get home to explain to my mother that she’ll have to wait for her prescription and then I’ve got an interview with Gloria Lottich.”
“Fine. We’ve already got your prints on file, so we can rule out anything you touched.” His mouth tightened and he hesitated for the slightest of seconds. “We’re going to need your shirt.”
“What? Why?” I looked down at myself and saw, for the first time, a splotch of blood shaped like a tear drop on the stomach of my pale blue t-shirt.
“Crime lab will want to make sure that’s Doc’s blood and not the killer’s.”
I swallowed hard, struggling against the urge to pluck the fabric away from my skin. “So, I’m just supposed to drive home topless? This is Morrisville. There are laws about how long Christmas decorations can stay up. You’re telling me there are no ordinances about half-naked driving?” I asked, discomfort setting my tone a little too close to rude.
He walked back to his squad car, tossing out the remains of the coffee in the thermos lid on the way. He returned with a paper bag and a bright blue bundle of fabric. The fabric, a t-shirt, he handed to me, while he held onto the bag.
I put the car back into park and unfolded the t-shirt. The front had a small patch of writing over the left side in the shape of star. Morrisville Sheriff’s Office, it read. Interdepartmental Softball League. I flipped it over to look at the back. Bristol 17.
“Your softball shirt?” I asked. God help me, despite the circumstances, I loved the idea of his name on my back, his shirt against my skin. Bad, Rennie. Bad, bad.
He shrugged. “Unless you have a better idea.”
I shook my head. He stood and turned his back toward the window, blocking the view from the side of the car. That helped, but it didn’t keep anyone from looking through the windshield. I sighed. Oh, well, what little I had, they were welcome to see. Besides, Deputy Sheffey appeared to be occupied with taking notes anyway, and the first curiosity-seekers on the scene had their attention focused on the pharmacy door, now blocked off with crime tape.
I yanked the bloodied shirt off over my head, silently thanking whatever voice of caution in my brain had urged me to wear proper undergarments this morning. Much to my chagrin, bras were more wishful thinking on my part than a strict necessity. However, it would have been nice if the voice of caution had also recommended a little more time on my hair this morning—I could feel it standing up in messy spikes, like a blonde tumbleweed on top of my head. Very attractive.
I thrust my arms through Bristol’s t-shirt. The familiar smell of him, the clean scent of his clothing, surrounded me. I tugged the rest of the shirt down into place, loving the feel of it against my skin even as I knew it was wrong. After all, Bristol’s shirt smelled good, like him, because it had been recently launderedby his wife, Margene.
Without thinking, I bumped his arm with the back of my hand to let him know I’d completed my wardrobe change. As usual, he’d rolled his shirt sleeves up, revealing tanned and strong forearms. I jolted slightly at the warmth of his skin against mine, and my heart flipped up and twisted in my chest, like a paper cutout on a string in the breeze.
Bristol turned around and opened the paper bag. I dropped my bloodied shirt inside.
“So, how’s Margene?” I asked Bristol, as I always did when I started having trouble remembering he was married.
His face closed down, like he’d shut some internal door against me. “Fine.” He didn’t really sound surprised at the strange conversation twist I’d thrown him. “Getting ready for the Garden Show.” He closed up the top of the bag with precise, crisp folds in the paper.
“Right,” I said. Margene had been more than happy to settle into her role of Mrs. Sheriff, second only to Mrs. Mayor, Gloria Lottich. Margene and I’d also gone to school together, although she was a couple years younger than me. She’d moved to town in the seventh grade when her father took a job at the propane factory. By her junior year in high school, she’d worked her way up from trailer trash to co-captain of the varsity cheerleading team, second only to Laura Brown. Apparently, Margene’s ambition had limits. Word was, she’d caught wind of Jake’s upwardly mobile plans as soon as he’d returned to town from the Army and she’d trapped him with her reportedly magnificent thighs. Chelsea was born barely inside of wedlock, and then all Margene had to do was sit back and wait while Jake’s star kept rising.
“And Chelsea?” I asked.
“Finishing fifth grade in a couple weeks.” He frowned at me, highlighting those marvelous wrinkles near his eyes.
Time to change the subject again. “What about Max?” I asked.
“Max,” he repeated with a frown.
“Yeah. Editor of the Gazette, nosiest human being alive?” I waited for some flicker of recognition from Bristol and got a grim nod. “He’s going to want details for a story. Time of death, potential motives, the weapon…”
Bristol frowned. “I don’t want to share any of that information with the public just yet. Incidentally, I think you’re right about the cane being the murder weapon.” His eyes dropped to the phone in my lap. “I don’t want that part in the paper, got it?” He rubbed his face, the stubble on his chin making a rasping sound against his hand. “I’d rather not have anything in the paper just yet.”
I shook my head. “Max is sitting right over there.” I pointed at the Gazette office. “It’s not like he can’t see it for himself. You know him, he’ll print something. Better he get most of the facts from a reliable source.”
“You run all of it past me before anything hits the printer,” he said.
I made an exasperated sound. “We’ve been through this before. I get the lecture from you about responsible media. Then I turn around and get the freedom of the press speech from Max.” I glowered at him. “I should put the two of you in a room together and let you duke it out.”
Bristol’s mouth twitched upward in a smile. “Wouldn’t be fair.”
“Why not?”
“Max could convince a snake to go vegetarian. I just have a gun.”
I pretended to consider his words. “True enough. I guess my money’s still safe on Max.”
“Oh, ha, ha.” 
I smiled at him reluctantly. “I’ll see you this afternoon.”

Author Bio:

As a former award-winning corporate copywriter, Stacey Kade has written about everything from backhoe loaders to breast pumps. But she prefers to make things up instead. She's the author of two YA series from Hyperion: The Ghost and the Goth trilogy (The Ghost and the Goth, Queen of the Dead, and Body & Soul) and Project Paper Doll trilogy (The Rules, The Hunt, Book 3 TBD).

Stacey lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Greg, and their two retired racing greyhounds, Tall Walker (Walker) and SheWearsThePants (Pansy).

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Review: The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite (The Selection #2)
by Kiera Cass

Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Publication: April 2013 by HarperTeen
Format: Paperback, 323 pages
Source: Own
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Iléa.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

The Elite by Kiera Cass is the second book from The Selection series. I didn't really like the first book, but I wanted to give this series another chance. I wanted to see America matured just a little bit. I wanted to know more about the rebel. I mean, the series does have a good premise. But after a few pages into the book, I was disappointed. Mostly with America. I didn't like her character. She can't make up her mind and she sounded very selfish in this book. The only scene that made me like America a little bit was the part where she defended her friend in public. But that was it. 

I was really happy when the rebel made their appearance, even though just for a little while. I was hoping to see more of them. I wanted to know why they rebelled against the kingdom. Will I read the next book of the selection, The One? I might. I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about this series. I didn't like the characters and plot, but I still wanted to find out what happen at the end. I wanted to know the kingdom's history. It would be really interesting. I just hope that The One would be slightly better than The Elite.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Best of 2013 Giveaway Hop (INT)

December 11th to December 18th

So... I know that I haven't been a good blogger/reader this year. I haven't read many books, and when I did, I didn't post my review right away. Joining this giveaway is my way to apologize for my recent disappearance. One lucky winner will get the chance to win:

A Paperback of INK by Amanda Sun. I haven't read much book which was published in 2013. But I did enjoy Ink by Amanda Sun. Here's how to enter the giveaway:
  • To win this book, all you got to do is to read the rules and then, fill in the form below. Easy right
  • Please enter your contact details in the form below to enter this giveaway. Easy
  • This is an International giveaway. As long as The Book Depository ships to your location.
  • One entry per person, please
  • Winner will be notified via email.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected.
  • I'm not responsible for any lost package.
  • Have fun! And good luck :)

Be sure to check out the other giveaway stops on this blog hop:

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Book Review: Death of the Mad Hatter by Sarah J. Pepper

Death of the Mad Hatter
by Sarah J. Pepper

Genre: Adventure, Fairytale, Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Publication: November 29th 2013 by CreateSpace
Format: e-books
Source: ARC
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
The Jack prophesied: If the king loses his head, then the Queen with a Bleeding Heart would rule the Red Court until Time ceased to move forward. When a second carried on for infinity, every creature in Wonderland would tip their Hat to the misfit girl with a Boy’s name (or was it a boy with a Girl’s name?) who’d end the Reign of Terror. However, it all hinged on the One-Eyed Hare being able to convince an uninspirable Heir that the impossible was indeed possible—like stopping time—and that Love was worth a Beheading.

Heads would Roll…
Hearts would Break…
In the end, would it matter who Reigned?

I received a copy of this book from the author to provide an honest review.

Death of the Mad Hatter was written in Alice Mae and Ryley’s narration. It tells a story of Alice Mae, or Al who is the assistant of Queen of Heart. Then there’s Ryley who has moved around many times to keep his secret about his father safe. Ryley has no knowledge of the world of Wonderland, but things began to change when Alice Mae pokes into his life. 

Wow! I absolutely love Sarah Pepper’s version of Alice in Wonderland.  I love how there was this mystery around Ryley and the bleeding heart prophesy. At first, it took me a while to get used to Sarah Pepper’s writing, but in the end, I can’t bring myself to put down the book. I wanted to know what is it with Alice Mae, how does Ryley fits into the World of Wonderland and whether or not the prophecy will come true. 

There are lots of interesting characters in this book. I think Sarah Pepper succeeds in keeping the characters in their character while altering the plot to make it her own story. I love both Alice and Ryley. I love their interaction and how they drive each other crazy and slowly fall for each other. I love how the story progress. It was definitely well planned out. I definitely enjoy reading this one and would recommend Death of the Mad Hatter to Alice in Wonderland fans.
BIO: I specialize in dark, paranormal romance – think “happy ever after” but with a twisted, dark chocolate center. Real-life romance isn't only filled with hugs, kisses, unicorns, and rainbows. True-love can be more thoroughly described in times of darkness and tribulation. It’s in those harsh moments where you see what a person is truly capable of – both the good and bad. Sometimes prince-charming isn't always on time, and the glass slipper is a little snug. However, it doesn't mean Charming is not Mr. Right, and who says every shoe is the perfect fit?

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Monday, December 2, 2013

Review: I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

I've Got Your Number
by Sophie Kinsella

Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Humor, Romance
Publication: April 2013
Format: Paperback, 387 pages
Source: Own
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook
I've lost it. :( The only thing in the world I wasn't supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It's been in Magnus's family for three generations. And now, the very same day his parents are coming, I've lost it. The very same day. Do not hyperventilate, Poppy. Stay positive!! :)

A couple of glasses of bubbly with the girls at a charity do and Poppy's life has gone into meltdown. Not only has she lost her engagement ring, but in the panic that followed, she's lost her phone too. As she paces shakily round the hotel foyer she spots an abandoned phone in a bin. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number with the hotel staff. It was meant to be!

Except the phone's owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn't agree. He wants his phone back, and doesn't appreciate Poppy reading all his messages and wading into his personal life. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, phone messages and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents, can things get any more tangled?

Okay. At first, I wasn’t so sure what to expect with I’ve Got Your Number.  I mean, I do love the idea on how Poppy finding an abandoned phone in a bin and claimed it as her own. But I’m not sure how Poppy and Sam’s going to work with only the phone as their connection. But wow! After reading this one, I’ve decided that I've Got Your Number is definitely the cutest read from Sophie Kinsella.

I love Poppy. She’s one of Kinsella’s heroines that make me smile. I love how she’s always curious to read what was in Sam’s e-mail and interfering with his life. And Sam! I love how he’s always serious, but when he showed that soft and cute side, I just melted. I’ve Got Your Number definitely had great plot, lovable characters that makes me want to root for them, and brilliant dialogues that can make me laugh. I just can’t stop smiling and laughing while I read this one.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Friday, November 15, 2013

On Tour: Diner Impossible by Terri L Austin

Terri L Austin is now on tour with CLP Book Tours with her book, Diner Impossible. Please visit her tour page for more blog stops and a chance to win ecards for Diners, Dives & Dead Ends and ecards for Last Diner Standing.

Diner Impossible (Rose Strickland Mystery #3)
by Terri L. Austin

Genre: Chick Lit, Romance, Cozy Mystery
Publication: November 2013
Source: ARC, CLP Blog Tours
Connect: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads | HeneryPress
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 
After shunning her overbearing parents' wealthy lifestyle, waitress and part-time college student, Rose Strickland, is drawn back into their world when she tries to prove the impossible: the innocence of the town's crooked police chief. He's suspected in the gruesome death of Delia Cummings, his secretary and mistress, and all the evidence points to him. While she tracks down clues with the aid of her anime-loving bestie, Rose's pal, Axton, and his Klingon gang are feuding with their Starfleet rivals. Things get hairier than a pile of well-fed Tribbles, so Rose gets involved. In between interrogating Trekkies and quizzing socialites at high tea, she discovers the secrets Delia Cummings took to her grave. Suspects abound, but when Chief Mathers threatens to bring down Rose's criminally mischievous and maybe boyfriend, Sullivan, she makes it her mission to find the real killer before Sullivan finds himself in prison.

Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all! Diner Impossible is the third in the Rose Strickland humorous mystery series. In case you missed the first two, check out Diners, Dives & Dead Ends (#1) and Last Diner Standing (#2). Plus, Diners Keepers, Losers Weepers, a Rose Strickland novella, will be in the mystery anthology The Heartache Motel (December 2013).

I received a copy of Diner Impossible by Terri L Austin from the author/CLP Blog Tours as part of the blog tour.

Rose is back! This time she's out to investigate the murder of Delia Cummings, a police chief’s secretary and mistress when “Officer Hardass” asked for her help. But it wasn’t that easy to find out who killed Delia. Everyone hates her, and everyone have a motive to do so. 

Rose may not be a private investigator or any kind, but she’s good at cracking a case with her own method. I found this book to be a fun read. The plot and mystery was well written with a bit twist. I enjoyed the moments between Rose and her friends/sidekick, Ax and Roxy as well as her maybe boyfriend, Sullivan. They made me laugh. I always loved books that make me laugh. I feel like I’m starting to like Rose as much as I like Stephanie Plum. I’m definitely looking forward to Terri’s next book!
Book Excerpt

My mother leaned toward me, a smile firmly stuck to her mouth, like a beauty queen who forgot to put Vaseline on her teeth. Everyone probably thought she was saying something charming and witty. Well, knowing my mother, they probably didn’t think that.

“For God’s sake, you look like you’re standing before a firing squad. Remember to act the part.”

I forced a smile as if she’d just told the funniest joke. “Oh, Mom, you’re a card,” I said, a little too loudly. Then I guzzled half a glass of champagne.

A couple close to my parents’ age approached us. “Letitia, Edmund, do you know my daughter, Rosalyn?”

“I don’t believe we’ve met,” Letitia said. She was gaunt, but sinewy. Edmund was so florid, either he started drinking at breakfast or he was in the middle of a heart attack.

I said something banal and pleasant, but they didn’t hold my attention. The only people I was interested in were the Mathers and David Ashby.

While I checked out the room, the couple moved on. Another pair slid in their place. After the greetings and a little chitchat, they floated away, too. I glanced around once more, searching for my sister. Why had I gone this route instead of using my normal method—waylay people and harangue them into answering my questions. It had worked for me in the past.

“Let’s go to the powder room, dear.” Barbara snatched away my glass of liquid happiness and shoved it at a waiter, then grasping my wrist, tugged me past the bar to the ladies’.

Hmm, this bathroom must be new. I didn’t remember it from days of yore. Lots of granite with flattering lights.

My mother searched under the stalls to make sure they were empty. Then she rounded on me. “What are you doing?”

“Is this a trick question?” I glanced around and my eyes got stuck on a gold faucet. Real gold? Surely not. If so, I was never bringing Roxy here. I wasn’t sure how you went about stealing faucets, but she’d figure out a way.

“Rosalyn,” Barbara growled. “You are supposed to be charming these people. Instead, you look like a halfwit, wearing that insipid smile. Tell people you’re going back to school, that you’re putting your resume together, that you’re thrilled to be here. We’re bringing you back into the fold, remember?”

“I’m being perfectly polite. And I’m not here to impress your friends, I’m here to question David Ashby.”

My mother’s posture became stiffer than a priest’s collar on Sunday morning. “Now you listen to me,” she pointed her finger in my face, her polished nail almost grazing my nose, “we’re going to do this my way. I’ll not have you steamroll in here, cause a commotion, and then leave your father and me to pick up the pieces. Not again.”

Author Bio:

As a girl, Terri L. Austin thought she’d outgrow dreaming up stories and creating imaginary friends. Instead, she’s made a career of it. She met her own Prince Charming and together they live in Missouri. She loves to hear from readers. Find her on Twitter, FB,,Goodreads and Henery Press.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

On Tour: Unscripted by Jayne Denker - Review & Q&A

Jayne Denker is now on tour with CLP Book Tours with her book, Unscripted. Please visit her tour page for more blog stops.

by Jayne Denker 

Genre: Chick Lit, Romance
Publication: August 2013
Source: ARC, CLP Blog Tours
Connect: Facebook | Twitter | Blog
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
One of Hollywood’s hardest working women is about to discover there's a lot more drama behind the camera than in front of it... Faith “Freakin’” Sinclair probably shouldn’t have called her boss a perv…or grabbed his “privates.” But as creator of the hit dramedy Modern Women she’d had enough of his sexist insults. Now she’s untouchable in the industry—not in a good way. The only way to redeem herself is to convince Alex the wildly popular wildly demanding former star of her show to come back. But there’s one obstacle in her way—one very handsome broad-shouldered obstacle…

Professor Mason Mitchell is head of the theater department where Alex is studying “real” acting. The only way he’ll let Faith anywhere near Alex is if she agrees to co-teach a class. It’s an offer she can’t refuse—and as it turns out the professor just might end up teaching Faith that there’s more to life than work—and that real-life love scenes are way more fun than fake ones….

I received a copy of Unscripted by Jayne Denker from the author/CLP Blog Tours as part of the blog tour.

Faith Sinclair, a producer of a top rated TV show is now in trouble after she made a mistake by grabbing her boss’s privates. Now she found herself jobless and blacklisted. Faith needs to get back on her feet. And to get back to her show, she needs to convince Alex, a former star of her show, to come back.

Unscripted is a light, cute read with bits of romance and Hollywood scenes. I was hooked with Unscripted from the very beginning. I love the story line, the dialogues, characters and I love Faith ‘Freakin’ Sinclair. It was very hard not to like Faith. She’s smart, confident and she can be funny too.  I think the author did a pretty good job with writing this through Faith’s point of view. I thoroughly enjoy reading this book and I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fun, relaxing read.

Q&A with Jayne Denker

1. Please introduce yourself and your book.My name is Jayne Denker, and I’m a fairly new chick lit/contemporary romance author with Kensington Publishers. I’m big into snark and comedy and banter—in my books, of course. In real life, I can only wish. Unscripted is my second novel, about Faith Sinclair, a headstrong TV producer in L.A. who gets fired from her own show and moves heaven and earth to get it back, all while dealing with crazy friends, a mooching stepbrother, an overbearing movie producer mother, and the lure of a hot college professor.

2. What inspired you to write this book?A couple of things, actually. I always get irritated when executive producers/creators of my favorite TV shows get fired for whatever reason, and the networks think they can carry on without the program suffering, even though they’ve just booted the person who was the keeper of all the ideas, the story arc (often all the way to the last episode), and—most important—the characters’ voices. So I started to wonder what the fired producer thinks and feels when she has her “baby” taken away from her.

The other thing that inspired me was the desire to get out of my comfort zone, not only with regard to the characters, but also the story’s location. I live in a rural area of western New York State, and because I have a young son, I don’t travel as much as I used to, but I still want to set my stories in places other than, well, rural western New York State. However, I’m a real stickler for authenticity; I only want to write about places I know well, because I don’t want to get any of the details wrong. Of course, it sounds crazy that I decided to write a story about a Hollywood big shot, but at least I could do research on it. My brother and his family live in Southern California, and I visit them every summer, so by this time I’m an honorary native. I have driven their freeways and lived to tell the tale.

3. Can you relate yourself to any of the characters?I think every writer would say that there’s a tiny kernel of him- or herself in every character, from the main characters all the way to the minor, male and female, young and old. You just take that little bit and expand it, until you have a fleshed-out character. So I can relate to all of them, in one way or another. Of course, I adore Faith. She’s beyond ballsy, headstrong, tough, confident, successful, obnoxious, and a little insane—everything I wish I could be. I love to live vicariously through her!

4. What are the most offensive sexist insults you’ve come across?Egad, aren’t women on the receiving end of sexist insults all the time? I think the worst one—or at least the one that sticks in my memory very strongly—happened when I was in college. We had a “coffeehouse” on campus (but at the time there was very little coffee and a whole lot of beer) that held an open mic night once in a while. I was a pretty good singer and guitar player, so I went to the interest meeting to sign up. The three guys in charge of the open mic night were sitting around a table. I knew all of them well (one of them was my roommate’s ex boyfriend), but they looked at me like I was some sort of three-headed alien. One of them said, pretty formally, “Can I help you?” like he’d never met me before. I blinked at them. When I said I wanted to sign up for the open mic night, they all practically fell off their chairs. Girls didn’t perform at open mic night! They didn’t try to deter me or anything, but what was insulting was that they never once considered that a girl might be able to do that, or even want to. I proved them wrong.

5. What are your favourite romantic comedy reads and/or movies?Romantic comedy is my favorite movie genre, so I’ve got a lot of favorites. Right alongside the evergreens Bridget Jones, the Pride and Prejudice miniseries, and Love Actually, I’ll stack up repeated viewings of Easy A, Lost in Translation, Local Hero, Singin’ in the Rain, Dan in Real Life, and American Dreamer. Oh—and L.A. Story (of course, right?) As for romantic comedy reads, I’m a big fan of Kristan Higgins. I own every one of her books.

6. What are you working on right now?I’m writing the second in what I hope will be a small-town series. My third book, Down on Love (publishing November 21), is the first that takes place in the small town of Marsden, New York, and now I’m writing another, with a minor character from Down on Love as the heroine. This new story also gets back into the entertainment world a bit—the hero is a comedic movie star.

7. Anything you would like to say to your readers?
Just thanks for checking out my work! I know the romance market is glutted and it’s tough to figure out who’s worth reading. I hope you’ll give Unscripted a shot and that you’ll love Faith as much as I do.

Author Bio:

Jayne Denker is the author of three contemporary romantic comedies, By Design, Unscripted, and Down on Love, and is hard at work on a fourth. She lives in a small town in western New York, USA, with her husband, son, and one very sweet senior-citizen basement kitteh who loves nothing more than going outside, where she sits on the front walk and wonders why she begged to go outside. When Jayne’s not hard at work on another novel (or, rather, when she should be hard at work on another novel), she can usually be found frittering away stupid amounts of time online.

Friday, November 8, 2013

On Tour: Tiara Trouble by Lane Buckman

Lane Buckman is now on tour with CLP Book Tours with her book, Tiara Trouble. Please visit her tour page for more blog stops and a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card!

Tiara Trouble
by Lane Buckman

Genre: Chick Lit, Cozy Mystery
Publication: December 2013
Source: ARC
Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
What happens when Dynasty meets Honey BooBoo, they have a baby, and that baby is raised by Charlie’s Angels? You get TIARA TROUBLE, a bedazzled cozy mystery full of gritty glitz.

One foreign policy question five years ago sent Destinee Faith Miller’s dreams of being Miss American Universe up in flames and landed her back in her hometown of Phenix City, Alabama, with her tail between her legs. But like the mythological bird that her hometown is misspelled after, she rose from the ashes to create Destinee’s Dolls, a thriving pageant consulting business knee-deep in pink, prints and tulle.

A death at the local level of a national event lands her the job of pageant emcee, and Destinee dares to dream of bigger things—maybe even a reality TV show! But when judges start dropping like flies, she has her hands full keeping herself alive long enough to see those dreams come true. Contending with catfights, car bombs, and the camouflage-colored funeral of a redneck’s dream, Destinee gets a little help from her friends, family, and a pit bull named Clarabelle.

At first, it was hard to get into this one as I am not familiar with Beauty Pageant lifestyle. But Lane Buckman made me enjoy reading about them. Tiara Trouble was told in Destinee’s voice. It starts with Destinee recalling a scene she witnessed at the Miss Alabama American Universe pageant which happens years ago. Then, we were brought back to the day when Destinee received a call from her mother where she told her that Harland was dead.

I found Tiara Trouble to be a fun read. Lane Buckman was very good at keeping me guess who were the criminal. I enjoyed seeing what’s going on behind the beauty pageant and the mystery behind deaths of people involved in the pageant. This is definitely a fast-paced with some laugh out loud moments read that I enjoyed.

Excerpt from Tiara Trouble by Lane Buckman

The competition for the Miss Alabama American Universe title that would lead to a shot at the Miss American Universe event had been fierce. It came down to a real battle between Tonielle West, the sleek, elegant brunette representing Auburn, and Deenie Paul, the busty, bubbly blonde from Huntsville. When the final moment came down, the two of them standing there holding hands, grinning at each other, and whispering words of encouragement as they waited for the emcee to read the name of the winner, we were all holding our breath.

Personally, I was torn. I thought Tonielle’s beauty and interview had been the best, but Deenie had knocked it out of the park in swimsuit and talent. For me, it came down to the fact that our family Rolls Tide, so I just could not in good conscience root for anyone from Auburn—whether she went to school there, or not. For the record, she did.

Drums rolled for what seemed like minutes, and the tension built until the emcee opened the envelope and said, “Your new Miss Alabama American Universe is,” he paused again, causing Tonielle and Deenie to crunch up their shoulders and clutch hands even tighter, “Miss Auburn American Universe, Tonielle West!”

Both women screamed, hugged each other, and stayed there together for a moment, but then Judy Clawson, the current reigning queen, and I stepped up to draw Tonielle away into her own solo spotlight. I was a bit disappointed at the outcome, but not nearly so much as Deenie Paul was. Deenie clung to her victor’s arms, seemingly unable to believe Tonielle had won. In fact, I had to pry one of Deenie’s hands off Tonielle’s bicep, and the emcee had to help pull her backwards so that a junior girl could shove the First Runner Up trophy into her hands.

I had one eye on Deenie as I handed Tonielle her bouquet, and I couldn’t help thinking that the way she was looking between her trophy and the back of Tonielle’s head boded no good. It looked an awful lot like she might be thinking it was heavy enough to do some serious damage to her rival’s skull. But violence was avoided for the moment and Tonielle took her winner’s walk down the runway. Finally, after all the photos were snapped, short interviews were given, and autographs were signed, we were on our way back to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Birmingham, the official hotel of the Miss Alabama American Universe pageant.

It was a short ride, and we arrived just after the bus dropping off all the pageant contestants was pulling away, so we entered the lobby to a rowdy group of young women in sequins, sashes, and sky-high heels, toasting one another with champagne—a few of them drinking straight from big, green bottles. Everyone was happy and cheerful, as most girls are after the stress of an event like that is over with, and the after party was in full swing only moments after we’d all gotten inside.

Girls crowded around Tonielle. Every one of the fifty losing contestants came over to offer their congratulations and make over her crown, her sash, her trophy, and her bouquet, fairly smothering her with tipsy affections until the pageant handlers eased a throughway so she could pass all the way inside the lobby.

I saw Deenie Paul in the crowd and thought she looked especially happy, her lips turned up in grinchy glee, as she buttered a roll she’d grabbed up from a catering tray nearby. I thought she might just be excited to eat a carbohydrate, as those are verboten during pageant events—no one wants to be puffy for her close-up—but then I saw that she was watching our new reigning Miss like a hawk.

An official pageant photographer asked Tonielle to climb up the wide, white granite steps that led up to the second floor conference area. He wanted to get a few shots of her alone, before having the other girls crowd in to fill the stairwell for a group shot. Tonielle made it up the steep staircase, holding on to the chrome-plated rail. She had a funny look on her face when she got to the top, and I realized she was having trouble walking. I was trying to figure out if the trouble was her shoes, or how tight her evening gown fit her, when she did a little shuffle with her feet. Her arms flew out to either side and she started flailing.

It wasn’t a second before she was falling backwards, crumbling and tumbling. She didn’t even have time to scream before her head hit the edge of that first stone step with a horrible crunch, and then about every other one on her way down, leaving splashes and slashes of crimson on the light granite stairs and the glass partitioning along the rails.

When she finally landed at the foot of the stairs, her limbs were akimbo, and her head was tilted at an angle far too square to her shoulders. Her mouth was twisted and eyes were wide and staring up as though mortified by the splatters of blood that painted the gowns and faces of the beauty queens crowded around her. For a moment it was absolutely silent. It was so quiet you could hear the false eyelashes batting, as the gathered girls blinked, squinted and tried to make sense of what they’d just seen. Then, one girl started to scream and that set off the rest of them like car alarms in a parking lot.

Deenie Paul put down her roll, daintily wiped the corners of her mouth with a cocktail napkin, and strode over; bending to pick up the crown that had bounced off Tonielle’s head, somewhere halfway down the stairs. She considered it, turning it over in her hands twice before using her thumb to wipe away a smear of blood. Then, she put it right on top of her hairdo, whipping out a bobby pin from her chignon to hold it in place. That done, she walked back over to where she’d been standing. She noticed me gaping at her, looked me in the eye and grinned. Then, she picked up her roll again and licked it right down the center, her tongue coming away yellow before disappearing back into her smile. 
Author Bio:

Lane Buckman is a former beauty queen from Phenix City, Alabama. Growing up, she wanted to be Miss America, a criminal lawyer, a super model, the President, a Bond girl, a brain surgeon, a journalist, a back-up singer for Duran Duran, and a college professor of Medieval Literature. In order to fulfill those dreams, she became a writer. She lives in Texas with her family, and enjoys every miserably hot second of it.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

On Tour: Lichgates by S.M Boyce - Interview

S.M. Boyce  is now on tour with ABG Reads Book Tours with her book, Lichgates (The Grimoire Saga #1). Please visit her tour page for more blog stops.

Lichgates (The Grimoire Saga #1)
by S.M. Boyce

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Publication: January 2011
Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog
The Grimoire Saga: The Grimoire Saga Website | Grimoire Saga Facebook
Buy the Book: ePub | Mobi | Autographed Paperback

Kara Magari is about to discover a beautiful world full of terrifying things—Ourea.

Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother’s recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With no way out, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book’s untamed power. Discovered by Ourea's royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict—a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn’t trust anyone… but she’s being hunted and can’t survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn’t know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.

For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this human girl, there is something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire.

Welcome to Ourea, where only the cunning survive.
Interview with the author

1. Tell me about yourself & your book.
Hmm, let’s see. I am a fantasy and paranormal author who loves ghost stories and loose leaf tea. I’m gooey at heart and addicted to adding inspirational and vivid pictures to Pinterest. Writing is my passion and lifelong career.

My novel Lichgates is the first in the Grimoire Saga, an epic fantasy with a contemporary twist. It’s about a young woman named Kara who stumbles into a parallel world called Ourea, where monsters are very real and magic is commonplace. She has to grow up fast and face her fears, because in Ourea only the cunning survive.

2. What inspire you to write the world of Ourea?

Lichgates—and the whole Grimoire Saga, really—was an adventure. It started with the seed of an idea planted in 2006, when I was making little spellcaster things out of clay. I started tweaking and customizing them, wondering what kind of creatures or beings would use them. Over time, the story evolved into something epic and massive. I removed bits like the spellcasters from the story and added loads more, always questioning and expanding the storyline. It’s been so much fun.

3. Grade Lichgates. How many stars out of a perfect score of 5 stars? Please give the reason too.
Excellent question!

Because Lichgates was my first novel, I see flaws in it that I didn’t notice when I first started out. This is good, actually, because it shows growth in my writing. The goal for every serious author is to grow with every novel, and that means admitting flaws in existing work (as much as that SUCKS). Still, I am very proud of the novel and the world I created in the Grimoire Saga. I give Lichgates a 4-star rating, and each book after has only improved.

4. What are you working on right now?
Heritage (Grimoire Saga #3) consumed my life up until recently, as it has just released. My next project is the finale to the Grimoire Saga, Illusion. It’s going to blow even the other action-packed and emotional books out of the water. After that, I’ll be branching into some new series in different (though similar) genres. I’m thrilled to get started!

5. Anything you would like to say to your readers?

 Thank you a million times over. You are amazing. I get to live my dream because you enjoy my work, and that means the world to me. Please feel free to tweet me or leave a Facebook comment any time you want to drop in and say hello. Stay awesome, my dear!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Review: Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

Trail of the Spellmans (The Spellmans #5)
by Lisa Lutz

Genre: Adult, Chick Lit, Crime & Thriller, Humor, Mystery
Publication: First Published. February 2012
Format: Paperback, 416 pages
Source: Own
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook
For the first time in Spellman history, Isabel Spellman, PI, might be the most normal member of her family. Mom has taken on an outrageous assortment of extracurricular activities—with no apparent motive. Dad has a secret. Izzy’s brother and sister are at war—for no apparent reason. And her niece keeps saying “banana” even though she hates bananas.

That’s not to say that Izzy isn’t without her own troubles. Her boyfriend, Henry Stone, keeps wanting “to talk,” a prospect Isabel evades by going out with her new drinking buddy, none other than Gertrude Stone, Henry’s mother.

Things aren’t any simpler on the business side of Spellman Investigations. First, Rae is hired to follow a girl, but then fakes the surveillance reports. Then a math professor hires Izzy to watch his immaculate apartment while he unravels like a bad formula. And as the questions pile up, Izzy won’t stop hunting for the answers—even when they threaten to shatter both the business and the family

Clearly, I am reading the fifth book because I thoroughly enjoy the series. I’ve been a fan of the Spellman’s series since the first book and I just can’t get enough of it. In this book, the Spellman’s agency was hired for a few numbers of cases. There was a brother who hired them to follow his sister, a wife who wants her husband's every move tracked, and parents who want their daughter investigated for possible bad behavior.  Of course, Izzy was also investigating the strange behavior of her family member.

I love the whole Spellman’s family. They are always funny. I especially love the interaction between Izzy and her niece, Sydney and the ‘banana’ mystery. I can’t believe that Rae is all grown up. It feels weird a little bit.

This book is definitely one of my favorite. Then again, all the books in Spellman’s series are my favorite. Trail of the Spellman was definitely a quick and fun read. I would definitely recommend this one to anyone who looks for a light, fun read. I can’t wait to read the next book and found out what will happen to Izzy and her family!

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


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