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I read because I must. It's like breathing to me. And I love talking about books. But I'm also an Arsenal fan, a wine drinker, a music lover and weirdly obsessed with pop culture. I mostly blog about books, but sometimes about things I'm thinking or doing. When I'm not on the blog, I'm managing software implementations.

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Recent Posts

  • Wild
  • Author Interview: Timothy Stedman
  • 2015 Reading Challenge
  • How Do You Know?
  • Cyber Monday Book Deals!

Wild

Posted on 19 Jan 2015 In: Reading

screenshot201I should have known. Wild is an Oprah’s Book Club pick, and that should have been enough to send me to the “Nope, not going to read it” line.  And I didn’t read it for a long time. But then Reese, who I liked until that Atlanta traffic stop “Do you know who I am?!” incident happened, made a film version. And people kept talking about Wild like Cheryl Strayed was the most enlightened person since… well, Oprah? and I finally decided to give it a read and judge for myself.

I confess, in this case, I read many reviews before I read this book. I’m not sure if that colored my reading.  I like to think they didn’t, because for every one star review, there’s a five star review.

But overall, I am meh about the book.  And I had a visceral reaction to Strayed.  I really shouldn’t let that affect my reaction to the book, but it does.  What she did, setting off to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone and unprepared,  was monumentally, appallingly stupid and dangerous.  It risked her life, and could have endangered others.

Aside from that, here are the things that just stuck with me while reading the book.

1) In describing a male nurse treating her mother in the hospital, she says something like “… and sometimes he just said no, his voice as soft as his penis in his uniform…” Really? Who says this? Ever?  That’s the best simile she can use? Is it an attempt to show that while she is dealing with her mother dying, she’s still noticing the opposite sex?  It just struck me as weird, put in there for shock value or… something.

2) I have to suspend belief to buy this whole tale.  Despite reading a guidebook for the PCT “at least a dozen times” before embarking on her journey, it never occurs to Strayed to take practice hikes with her pack before beginning? In fact, she doesn’t even pack it at all until the morning she embarks on her quest, and then can’t believe how heavy it is. Listen, I’m generously described as an armchair backpacker, and even I know you need to break in boots and gear  and do lots of little overnights before you undertake something of this magnitude.   I kept thinking of Legally Blonde, paraphrased, “Do you think she just woke up one morning and decided to hike the PCT?”

3) Strayed can describe, fifteen years later, in excruciating detail, what it was like to kiss and sleep with her random hook-up in Ashland, OR, on a twenty-two hour date. But her description of things on the trail are generic at best, and borrowed from guidebooks at worst. In fact, her most descriptive experience on the trail, Crater Lake, is of a location and experience that is able to be accessed by weekend hikers. Am I part of the camp who thinks Strayed didn’t really hike the trail like she says she did? I don’t know. But I do find it interesting there’s no photos in the book of her journey and very few real descriptions of what she might have seen along the way that couldn’t also be found in guidebooks, other’s tales, or day hikes.

4) Unlike a lot of the reviews and blogs I have read about Wild, I never really warmed to Strayed and felt her angst and redemption. It just didn’t ring as authentic to me.   First- and the part I admittedly struggle with the most- is Strayed’s complete inability to cope with her mother’s death. A part of me feels like that was an excuse for her to indulge in any and every bad behavior she wanted to.  And I find it hard to believe that after a heroin addiction and copious cheating on her husband that he was ready to just take her back?  Maybe. But it reads more self promoting than a sincere reaction- a way to paint herself in a better picture, if you will.  Second, the horse. REALLY? You let that horse starve, and then, well, I skimmed over a lot of that passage because I was so sickened.  I didn’t have the stomach to read that part in full and was so disgusted by the cruelty I considered not finishing the book.

5) I can’t decide how I feel about Strayed’s reactions to all her trail interactions.  From what I understand, the hiking and backpacking community is pretty supportive, but it was other people who made it possible for make it as far as she did.  Other people got her through the biggest obstacles of her trip, obstacles that were often of her own making.  And the time she was asked to leave a campsite she hadn’t paid for? She took it as a personal injustice, that they should have just let her stay and that the couple was mean for enforcing the rules.  It just bothered me.

6) I never got the payout that has made this book so life-changing for other people.  For whatever reason, I didn’t feel the personal epiphany, the freedom, the climax of the journey.

Sorry, folks. I just don’t get what all the fuss is about with this one.

 

 

Author Interview: Timothy Stedman

Posted on 5 Jan 2015 In: Reading

Dusk 2My friend Timothy Stedman has published his first book, Dusk:Lessons By The Fireside. Today, I’m sharing an interview with Timothy, and providing details on your chance to win a copy of his book.

Before we get started with the interview, I’d like to share the summary of Dusk with you, so you’ll have  a bit of context:

It was an average Tuesday for N. C. Ellison, Neach, closing down the bar, but then came the attacks that changed everything. A simple mugging started it, but multiple attacks from different sources confirmed it. Neach has some atypical abilities. Join Neach during the first steps into his new world as he is forced to stay on the run from the authorities and a number of other unknown hunters while trying to understand what he has become. He will meet many others on this path, others who will help him, others who will hinder him, and others who claim to know him from some other life. But who will he trust, and how will his decisions ultimately influence the force that he can become. While learning about the height of his new skills, he must also face the horrible price that comes with such power. What path will he choose? Honor? Indifference? Immortality? That is a choice that Neach will have to make on his own.
And now, Timothy Stedman
  1. The acknowledgements say that the Dusk story was inspired while you were recovering from a TBI. That made me wonder if there was particular symbolism to Neach’s emotions. Am I reading too much into it?

As far as a particular symbolism to Neach’s emotions, I think you may be reading more into it.  At least as far as I intended but let’s be honest, the TBI made me realize how complex, and quite honestly screwy the brain is.  I would not doubt, at all, that some of his emotions were influenced subconsciously by what was going on with me.  Emotions aside, there was also a definite correlation between Neach’s introduction to his new world and my recovery.  Recovering from a TBI is a long process which involves learning to do some of the simplest things again, things most people (myself as well previously) take for granted.  It really is like learning who you are all over again and how to function with and around other people.  “Welcome back to puberty.  You loved it so much we are glad you came by for a second visit.”  I jest, although recovery is a difficult and involved process, I think the best part about it is that I’m still here to talk about it.  It could have been just a little bit worse.  So to return from my ramblings, although I don’t see Neach’s emotions as a conscious symbol of my recovery, his basic introduction to this new reality definitely is.

 

  1. Because I know you, I kept hearing your voice in my head as I read the book.  And maybe in my mind, Neach resembles you a bit.  Is it weird to have your friends reading something you’ve written?  Was it scary to hand it over for the first eyes to see and critique?

That’s funny, because you are not the first person to tell me that they heard my voice inside their head when reading.  It probably sounds like me because while basically all the characters are combinations of myself, people I know, and sometimes generic stereotypes of heroes and villains, all of the dialogue is still coming out of my head, Neach more than others. I think my biggest fear handing it off to the group of friends who read it first, was whether or not they would give me an honest critique because they were my friends.  I had to trust that no one was going to dance around to be polite, and as they all promised they would not, and we all met after everyone had read it and had a very positive, and extremely helpful and productive, book club meeting full of praise and problems with the story.  I did not change everything that was discussed, but tweaked a few things to make them clearer and outright added others to help the book as a whole.  As a (very new) author, my feelings are as such:  Some people will not like my book.  They may not like the genre, my writing style, or the story as a whole, but I can’t worry about that.  There are people who will enjoy those things as well, and I hope to entertain those folks with something I absolutely love doing.  I love making these things up, connecting all of these dots, and seeing others enjoy the fruits of my not-so-right head.

 

  1. Reading Dusk made me finally check out Gogol Bordello. Are you the type who listens to music while you write? Who do you prefer or does it depend on what you’re writing?

Until late in life, I never learned to play an instrument. (I still can’t play one decently… maybe one day.) Music, however, was always a huge part of my life, and I reference lots of the music I like when I am writing.  In fact, some of my favorite writers are brilliant poets/songwriters (Justin Sullivan of New Model Army and David McWane of Big D and the Kids Table), but in most cases, no, I don’t listen to music when I am writing, but it also doesn’t distract me.  I’ve gotten to a place where I can sit anywhere at home and write with few or no distracting sounds, or go to my neighborhood pub and sit at a corner table and write with lots of distracting sounds that I have no control over. (Speaking of the neighborhood pub, the chapter in my book to which you are referring to was inspired by the Midway Pub (even though the scene in the book does not take part in a bar.) One night while throwing darts, that particular song started and everyone on the dart-board side of the pub sang the first line very loudly, and we were all happily surprised when the other end of the pub loudly sang back the next line.  Lots of little things like that in my book come from real situations that I adapt for my book. They are just changed a bit to fit the story properly.)  Back to the original question, though, if I am listening to anything, it is probably of the punk/ska variety

 

  1. Is Thoughts and Draughts based on a real place?

Both Thoughts and Draughts and Rudies are not based on any one bar in particular but really a conglomeration of many different bars I have been in. A lot of Rudies would be based on the neighborhood pub I mentioned earlier, The Midway Pub in East Atlanta Village.

 

  1. What else are you working on, and when can we expect it?

Two completely different sides of the spectrum (sort of)  My favorite authors growing up were Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein and I have written (circa 20 years ago) a few children stories.  The problem there was that I cannot draw and they just sat around for a while.  However, in the past year I have been working with a friend and illustrator to get my first children’s book “The Great Miraculous Puddle Stomp” self-published as an e-book.  I’m looking at February or March depending on external conflicts.  I think children’s books are extremely important.  We need to gets kids reading and enjoying reading when they are young.

 

For those that have no need for children’s stories I am currently working on the second installment of “The Fires of Pi” series.  It’s hard to say when I will be finished as I am a high school teacher in real life, and that takes up some time.  I also have an internet radio show (again ska/punk) Friday nights from 8-9pm on eavradio.com.  Those two things coupled together with writing make up the triumvirate of my working/tasking life, and when you mix in friends and family time can be scarce.  However, the story is outlined and well under way.  I am getting better about scheduling time and making myself write and I would assume a year or so until the first run comes out to my reading group for criticism, then formatting, and finally publication.  I don’t want to set a specific date though, as things change and grow when the story continues, causing me to have to rethink some aspects of it.  I don’t want to have to rush things to fit a schedule, as I would rather have a solid story than a quick one.

 

  1. What’s been the most interesting thing you’ve learned about the writing and publishing process? What would you share with aspiring writers?

As I mentioned, I have been writing children’s stories for a long time, which stemmed from writing poetry, and I have taken various creative writing classes in both high school and college with mixed results.  I think the best advice I could give anyone was what I took from Mark Sheppard at Dragon Con.  While on a panel he basically said (and I am paraphrasing) if you have an idea, write it down.  No one will hear it or see it if you don’t.  Write it down.  If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but you will never know until you start.  It was after that panel that I decided to write a novel.  I always wanted to, but never had the patience or drive.  I’ve spoken to lots of my friends who also have mentioned interest in writing, but they don’t simply sit down and do it.  It is time consuming, it is difficult, and at times frustrating, but you simply need to stick to your guns.  Also, self-publishing is easier than it ever has been.  You just have to make sure you dot all of your ‘i’s and cross all of your ‘t’s (formatting is a pain; easy but a pain)

 

One thing I have personally learned from taking on such a large endeavor is that no matter where you thought your story was going to go, it changes as you write it.  I’m not really sure how many left turns “Dusk” took me on while writing it, but it was a lot.  Don’t be afraid to take those turns.  A few times, the turns led to a dead end and I even had to back up, delete a chunk of the story, pick a new direction, and continue on.  On other occasions the story took me in directions I hadn’t even considered which, in my opinion, were better that my original ideas.  I think that is part of what I love about writing: seeing unknown places where my own crazy stories lead me.  I just hope other people get as excited reading these twists and turns as I do writing them.

 

  1. Who do you like to read? Favorite genre? What’s in your to-read pile?

As I said, I will always have a love for Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, but as far as most of the books I read now?  Mostly fantasy or science fiction.  I enjoy the Dresden File books by Jim Butcher, as well as most of the hundreds of Star Wars books to this point (especially the Timothy Zahn books.)  I found a book with an interesting description in a thrift shop, bought and read “Monster”, and then bought most everything A Lee Martinez had written.  Another of my favorite authors is Christopher Moore.  Start with “Lamb” and then move on from there.  As far as my to-read pile, I don’t really have one.  I’m currently reading the latest in the Dresden Files series, but for the most part just read things that my friends and family recommend.

 

  1. Anything else you want to share with readers/potential readers?

If you are a potential reader, I hope that title is only temporary and that you soon become just a reader.  You can give me any feedback on my Facebook page (T. Stedman) I always enjoy hearing what readers think.  Just like any endeavor, constructive criticism is what makes me improve.

You can follow Timothy on Facebook here.

You can find Dusk here.

Leave a comment on this post, and you will be entered in a drawing for your own e-copy of Dusk.

 

2015 Reading Challenge

Posted on 21 Dec 2014 In: Reading

I’ve not done a reading challenge in a while. This week I’ve read some posts from people saying why they won’t do a reading challenge in 2015 and why they will.  And I decided I would set a challenge for myself this year.

But there’s a lot I’m planning to do next year, and I want to be reasonable in the goal I set.  So  I won’t be doing another “52 Books in 52 Weeks” challenge, like I did when I started this blog.

I’ve put together a reading challenge that is a bit all over the map. And it’s a monthly goal- twelve things to accomplish with books this year.

1) Read the book from a movie I’ve enjoyed

2) Read three physical books that have been sitting on the shelves or the nightstand or the end table for far too long

3) Read three books that have been on my Kindle for ages

4) Listen to three audiobooks that have been in my Audible library

5) Give a genre a chance- I’ll read something from a genre that doesn’t normally appeal to me

6) Read one book that so many other people have loved that I’ve just not warmed to yet.

That’s twelve. Something for each month.

Feel free to join in- or let me know what your own challenge is.

How Do You Know?

Posted on 7 Dec 2014 In: Reading

screenshot196I like some Chick Lit, or lighter women’s fiction. It’s usually an entertaining read, and sometimes you gain some insight from the story.  In my experience, though, once you pass a certain age, a lot of  this genre begins to lose it’s appeal because you’ve been through the twenty-something angst and  your issues and concerns are different now.  Or you’ve figured out that you’re not like all the chick lit heroines who find their perfect guy by the time they are thirty, or even thirty five. You just want to read about someone more like YOU and it’s harder to find in the genre than the younger heroines. That’s why, for me, Meredith Schorr’s new release, How Do You Know?  is a fitting read.

From the publisher’s summary:

What if you were approaching the end of your thirties and all of the life milestones you took for granted in your youth suddenly seemed out of reach? On the eve of her 39th birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at 29, but with her 40th birthday speeding towards her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly-aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary “break” from her live-in boyfriend results in a “break-up”, Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0. In the profound yet bumpy year that follows, Maggie will learn, sometimes painfully, that life doesn’t always happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age really is just a number.

One of the most frequent conversations my girl friends and I have about relationships is about the “spark”. We all recognize that the initial electricity fades a bit, or morphs into something more solid and stronger as a real relationship grows.  But we’re all so inundated with drama from the Real Housewives of insert-city-here, and Sex and the City re-runs, and The Bachelor/Bachelorette, and every romantic comedy ever that sometimes it’s hard to believe that a lack of drama is not a lack of passion.  It’s that very dilemma that sets up How Do  You Know?.

What Schorr does really well in this story is show how no relationship is perfect.   No one ever really knows what is going on behind closed doors. That sometimes, a fear of rejection can be paralyzing in moving forward in a relationship- or even starting to move forward at all. That indeed, the grass is not always greener anywhere else.

Schorr also provides dynamic characters who do what the best of friends are supposed to do: Support you, but challenge you, too. Maggie’s friends are able to hold a mirror to her, force her to answer some tough questions about her perceptions and decisions.

But the thing I LOVED about this book is Schorr’s premise that age really is just a number.  It’s something I’m trying to remind myself of as I choke on saying my age out loud.  Because the premise of the book hits close to home.  I always thought my life was going to turn out a particular way.  I’d get married at a certain age, have kids at a certain age.  And it hasn’t happened.  My life is so very different from many of my peers, and it is sometimes a challenge being completely content in what is, overall, a pretty awesome life, even if it doesn’t conform to what nearly every pop culture and societal conception says it should be at this age.

Real characters, real emotions, real dilemmas.  Schorr continues to deliver authenticity while at the same time telling an entertaining story.

 

 

 

Cyber Monday Book Deals!

Posted on 1 Dec 2014 In: Reading

I haven’t read all of these, but some of my favorite authors (Laurel Osterkamp!) are featured here.  Get your Holiday reading here- or grab some to gift for y our reading friends!

 

Looking for great deals on some amazing books this Cyber Monday? Look no more! Below are books that are priced at 99 cents or lower – get them quick before the sale ends! From chick lit to women’s fiction to romance and more, we have something to keep everyone happy for this holiday! Find a special tweet at the end of each description and help us spread the word about these amazing deals!

 

Chick Lit

 

Pie Girls – Lauren Clark

 

Princess, Southern belle, and spoiled-rotten social climber Searcy Roberts swore on a stack of Bibles she’d never return home to Fairhope, Alabama. After marrying her high school sweetheart and moving to Atlanta, Searcy embraces big-city life—Carrie Bradshaw style.

But now, Searcy has a teeny, tiny problem. Her husband’s had a mid-life crisis. He’s quit his job, cancelled her credit cards, and left her for another man.

Searcy returns to Fairhope, ready to lick her wounds. But when her mother falls ill, she’s thrust into managing the family business—only to discover the beloved bakery is in danger of closing its doors forever.

Enlisting the help of the adorable bike store owner next door, an array of well-heeled customers, and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Searcy hatches the plan of the century to save Pie Girls.

 

Original Price: $3.99

Sale Price: $.99

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1omATqP

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lauren-Clark/235315706518284

Twitter: @LaurenClark_Bks

 

 

 

Dancing Naked in Dixie- Lauren Clark

 

Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired.

With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she’s offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage.

Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia’s story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage?

 

Original Price: $2.99

Sale Price: $.99

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/10dXICb

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lauren-Clark/235315706518284

Twitter: @LaurenClark_Bks

 

 

 

 

The Dr. Pepper Prophecies – Jennifer Gilby Roberts

 

25-year-old Mel Parker has a few tiny problems:
* Her job is terrible
* She’s been dumped yet again (and her ex is now her boss)
* Her parents think she’s a loser compared to her perfect younger sister
* All her efforts to improve her life seem doomed to failure
* There just isn’t enough chocolate in the world to make up for the above.

The best thing in her life has always been her best friend Will, who has seen her through every crisis from lost toys to pregnancy scares. But his girlfriend (who’s prettier, better-dressed, more successful and secretly evil) is determined to replace Mel as the woman in his life and how is Mel supposed to compete?

And what do you do when you’ve pretty much given up on your own life? You help others, of course!

Whether they like it or not.

 

Original Price: $2.99

Sale Price: $.99

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/ZLDdvT

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferGilbyRoberts

Twitter: @GilbyRoberts

 

 

 

French Twist – Glynis Astie

 

Sydney Bennett had spent her life in pursuit of perfection. She planned, weighed her options and made careful choices based on calculated outcomes. Through all of her efforts, she had come pretty close to perfection, if she didn’t say so herself. She had fled the cold winters in New York for sunny California, found a job that she loved and lived in the same town as her sister, and best friend, Kate. The one area of perfection that had always eluded her was her love life. No matter how hard she tried, she always ended up with a broken heart. After a particularly traumatic breakup, Sydney vowed that she was done with love.

Just as Sydney threw herself into her new plan to forget about men, a handsome Frenchman tossed all of her intentions out the window as he swept her off of her feet. Louis Durand had lived a life filled with excitement and adventure. He was impetuous, intelligent and incredibly charming. So naturally, he scared Sydney half to death. From the moment they met, Louis and Sydney’s romance progressed at warp speed. Sydney did her best not to run, but her deep rooted relationship anxiety threatened to provide an easy exit. When Louis mentioned marriage before Sydney even knew his favorite color, she was more than tempted to reach for her running shoes. Will she be able to put her fears aside to follow her heart? The one thing that Sydney will learn is that sometimes perfection comes with a twist…

 

Original Price: $.99

Sale Price: FREE

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/10dZnaM

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/glynisastieauthor

Twitter: @GlynisAstie

 

 

 

French Toast – Glynis Astie

 

Sydney Bennett is back! And her pursuit of perfection is alive and well. Naïve to the core, Sydney believed that when she finally married the man of her dreams, the hard part was over. Following a civil ceremony as a means to keep Louis from being deported, Sydney continues to plan the fairytale wedding that she had dreamed of since the age of five. Much to her chagrin, she discovers that her mother-in-law is planning what seems to be a rival wedding in France that SHE has been dreaming about for her only child since before he was born. How will poor Sydney be able to ensure two perfect weddings in the midst of Louis’ fruitless job search? Especially when her mother-in-law’s idea of perfection appears to be having Sydney embarrass herself in front of hundreds of French people that she has never met?
As if she didn’t have enough on her mind already, Sydney finds herself faced with the trials and tribulations of being a wife. Sydney had always heard that marriage was hard, but she thought that this was just a ruse that married couples portrayed in a bid to make single girls feel less desperate. But as the bills pile up and emotions run high, she realizes that there may just be some truth to this statement. And as she watches Louis’ perfection fade away before her very eyes, she begins to wonder if she made a rash decision in marrying a man that she had known for a mere six months.
With all of the obstacles that Sydney and Louis will encounter, will they be raising their glasses in celebration or watching their impulsive marriage crash and burn? One thing is for certain, Sydney and Louis Durand are headed for one hell of a toast…

 

Original Price: $2.99

Sale Price: $.99

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1yS3vLZ

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/glynisastieauthor

Twitter: @GlynisAstie

 

 

 

 

In Need of Therapy – Tracie Banister

 

Lending a sympathetic ear and dispensing sage words of advice is all part of the job for psychologist Pilar Alvarez, and she’s everything a good therapist should be: warm, compassionate, supportive. She listens, she cares, and she has all the answers, but how’s the woman everyone turns to in their hour of need supposed to cope when her own life starts to fall apart?

While working hard to make a success of her recently-opened practice in trendy South Beach, Pilar must also find time to cater to the demands of her boisterous Cuban family, which includes younger sister Izzy, an unemployed, navel-pierced wild child who can’t stay out of trouble, and their mother, a beauty queen turned drama queen who’s equally obsessed with her fading looks and getting Pilar married before it’s “too late.” Although she’d like to oblige her mother and make a permanent love connection, Pilar’s romantic prospects look grim. Her cheating ex, who swears that he’s reformed, is stalking her. A hunky, but strictly off-limits, patient with bad-boy appeal and intimacy issues is making passes. And the sexy shrink in the suite across the hall has a gold band on his left ring finger.

When a series of personal and professional disasters lead Pilar into the arms of one of her unsuitable suitors, she’s left shaken, confused, and full of self-doubt. With time running out, she must make sense of her feelings and learn to trust herself again so that she can save her business, her family, and most importantly, her heart.

 

Original Price: $1.99

Sale Price: $.99

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1DsNPi0

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/tracie.banister?fref=ts

Twitter: @traciebanister

 

 

 

Limoncello Yellow – Traci Andrighetti

 

Francesca “Franki” Amato is a tough-talking rookie cop in Austin, Texas—until an unfortunate 911 call involving her boyfriend, Vince, and a German female wrestler convinces her once and for all that she just isn’t cut out for a life on the police force. So Franki makes the snap decision to move to New Orleans to work at her friend Veronica’s detective agency, Private Chicks, Inc. But Franki’s hopes for a more stable life are soon dashed when Private Chicks is hired by the prime suspect in a murder case to find out what really happened to a beautiful young boutique manager who was found strangled to death with a cheap yellow scarf. When she’s not investigating, Franki is hoping to seduce handsome bank executive Bradley Hartmann, but most of her time is spent dodging date offers from a string of “good Italian boys”—make that not-so-good aging Italian men—that her meddlesome Sicilian grandma has recruited as marriage candidates. As Mardi Gras approaches and the mystery of the murdered shop girl gets more complicated, Franki must decipher the odd ramblings of a Voodoo priestess to solve both the murder and the mystery of her own love life.

 

Original Price: $3.99

Sale Price: $.99

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1zhY8Xo

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/traciandrighettiauthor

Twitter: @TAndrighetti

 

 

 

Prosecco Pink – Traci Andrighetti

 

For Franki Amato, life in New Orleans is anything but “The Big Easy.” When she met handsome bank executive Bradley Hartmann, she knew she’d finally found a man she could trust. But she can’t say the same for his sexy new secretary, who is about as trustworthy as Mata Hari and every bit as seductive. Meanwhile, Franki’s best friend and employer, Veronica Maggio, has named her the lead investigator in the murder of a gorgeous cosmetics CEO who was found lying dead in the master bedroom of a historic plantation home.
Now the pressure is on Franki to figure out what a bottle of pink lip gloss and the legend of a pink diamond have to do with the bizarre killing. The problem is that the plantation is notorious for being haunted, and Franki is less than enthusiastic about the prospect of meeting a ghost. Adding to her stress, her Sicilian grandma is up to her usual meddling antics—this time planning Franki’s engagement to Bradley before he’s even considered popping the question. As Bradley grows distant and plantation employees begin dropping like Southern belles during a sweltering summer, Franki turns to a psychic with a phobia of ghosts to solve the mysterious murders and her own relationship fears.

 

Original Price: $3.99

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/14djjw6

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/traciandrighettiauthor

Twitter: @TAndrighetti

 

 

 

 

Breaking the Rules – Cat Lavoie

 

When twenty-seven year old Roxy Rule’s best friend and roommate accepts a glamorous new job overseas, she expects their relationship to continue as it’s always been—carefree and easy—until they share a heart-stopping kiss moments before his departure. Overcome with mixed emotions, she fights the urge to over analyze the situation and resumes back to her normal life in New York City, working for an intolerable boss at a dead end job, creeping further and further away from her own dreams of becoming a professional chef.

While things become more complicated between her and Ollie, Roxy is sure that nothing can come between two lifelong best friends—not even mild jealousy over a thriving career or a silly little kiss that meant nothing. In fact, it was such a meaningless and forgettable kiss that she convinces herself that it’s not even worth mentioning to her fiancé, although it is all she can think about.

Roxy’s already topsy-turvy life only gets more complicated when her sisters Steffi and Izzie suddenly become her roommates. Steffi is six months into a pregnancy she refuses to discuss and Izzie is in the throes of a premature midlife crisis. Roxy tries to take control of her career, her love life and her sisters – but can she really handle it all? And can the Rule family keep it together – or break under the pressure?

 

Original Price: $3.99

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1umGCxm

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CatLavoieAuthor

Twitter: @Catenabi

 

 

 

 

Zoey & The Moment of Zen – Cat Lavoie

 

When coffee shop owner Zoey Everwood takes her obsession with ex-boyfriend Braden too far, everyone—except Zoey—is convinced a bit of fun in the sun at the Moment of Zen Wellness Resort will help her get over him once and for all.

But Zoey’s relaxing vacation turns out to be anything but peaceful when she meets Shane Lawson, a resort guest who bears a striking resemblance to Braden. And things get even more complicated when the resort’s owner starts spilling secrets about Zoey’s aunt Nessa, the woman who raised her. Add a snarky Wellness Coordinator and Nate Holmes—Shane’s grumpy friend—to the mix, and you’ve got the recipe for a perfect tropical storm.

When Zoey comes back home with a new husband instead of tacky souvenirs, she must convince everyone she hasn’t completely lost her mind. As Zoey and Shane struggle to keep the magic alive outside the resort, Zoey discovers that she isn’t the only one having trouble letting go of the past. And when Nate drops a bombshell that changes everything, Zoey must decide if the old saying is true—what happens at the Moment of Zen stays at the Moment of Zen.

 

Original Price: $3.99

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1EBDcKl

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CatLavoieAuthor

Twitter: @Catenabi

 

 

 

When Girlfriends Chase Dreams – Savannah Page

 

A novel about chasing dreams, for better or worse, and living your love story.

Claire Linley is finally a bride! After nearly ten years with her college freshman sweetheart, Claire is going to become Mrs. Conner Whitley. She’s got her bridal magazines, is the biggest Martha Stewart fan, and subscribes to all the major wedding blogs. She’s been dreaming of this moment for years! How could planning her dream wedding be anything but perfect?

The easy-going and bubbly type, Claire will obviously have a blast planning, and with her fantastic group of girlfriends-made-bridesmaids she just can’t go wrong. Whether it’s wedding gown shopping, makeup trials, or cake-tasting, Claire’s friends are there in a pinch.

But how big does the pinch get? All Claire wants to do is get married, but at every turn something seems to go awry and she’s starting to lose it. How is a girl supposed to remain cool and collected when the pricey dream wedding planner isn’t turning out to be so dreamy? When DIY projects and the perfect venue are going up in smoke? How is Claire supposed to marry Conner when the special day that’s supposed to join them together, forever, is slowly tearing them apart?

This is the charming story about how sometimes the biggest events in life are defined by the smallest acts of kindness and love. It’s a love story about dreaming large, loving deeply, and, in the end, truly having the happiest day of your life, no matter what happens (or doesn’t). About what happens when girlfriends chase dreams.

 

Original Price: $3.99

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1tAt3dC

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SavannahPageAuthor

Twitter: @Savannah_Page

 

 

 

 

When Girlfriends Collection 1-3- Savannah Page

 

This digital boxed set includes the first three novels of the When Girlfriends collection: When Girlfriends Break Hearts, When Girlfriends Step Up, and When Girlfriends Make Choices. 

 

WHEN GIRLFRIENDS BREAK HEARTS

Follow Sophie Wharton as she learns what to do about matters of the heart when things don’t quite go according to plan.

A novel about the bonds of friendship, the power of forgiveness, and the lessons you learn when you let go.

 

WHEN GIRLFRIENDS STEP UP

Join mom-to-be Robin Sinclair as she embarks on a journey she never could have imagined.

A novel about love and support, and learning that with enduring friendships, no woman is ever alone.

 

WHEN GIRLFRIENDS MAKE CHOICES

Follow Lara Kearns as she struggles with how far she’ll go for true love…however forbidden…

A novel about forbidden love, the choices you make, and discovering what’s important in life.

 

Original Price: $7.99

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1s92x6C

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SavannahPageAuthor

Twitter: @Savannah_Page

 

 

 

 

Women’s Fiction

 

Toronto Collection 1 – Heather Wardell

 

“Go Small or Go Home”: When massage therapist and aspiring artist Tess begins treating stressed but attractive hockey star Forrest, her art career soars due to his gallery-owning mother, but her creativity plummets under the weight of rules and deadlines. Soon, she’s lost the freedom and joy she’d always found in art. Is having her dream career worth losing doing her art her way, or can she somehow have both at once?

“Planning to Live”: Determined to lose weight for her best friend’s wedding, goal-obsessed Rhiannon flees her parents’ Christmas Day feast to avoid overeating but her car skids off the deserted road into a tree. Trapped and bleeding, with her cell phone out of reach, she struggles to escape, and to accept that she’s spent her whole life planning but hasn’t ever really lived. Will she get the chance to change that?

“Stir Until Thoroughly Confused”: Mary’s given up everything, including an unsatisfying marriage, to become a chef. But the career comes with a side dish: Kegan, her sexy but controlling new boss. They’re soon in a relationship, and in all-too-frequent arguments, and when it becomes clear they can’t work together and be together Mary faces a dilemma: keep her dream job or her dream man?

“A Life That Fits”: Twenty-eight-year-old Andrea is devastated when her boyfriend of fourteen years leaves her for a woman he calls Andrea’s opposite. Determined to get him back, Andrea changes everything in her life. New clothes, new activities, new friends… she’ll be her opposite in no time. But will she change enough to get Alex back? And if she does, will he fit into her new life?

 

Original Price: $9.99

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1r1aY3g

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/heather.wardell.author

Twitter: @heatherwardell

 

 

 

 

Toronto Collection 2 – Heather Wardell

 

“Live Out Loud”: Songwriter Amy wants to honor her late best friend by starting the support center for teenage girls they’d planned when they were just girls themselves. When her song becomes an internet sensation she sees how to get the money she needs, but soon realizes she adores her new pop star career. She must choose: create the center she needed herself as a teen or truly become Misty Will, pop princess.

“Blank Slate Kate”: Waking up with a strange man is scary. Realizing you lost fifteen years of your life overnight? That’s terrifying. With her memories from seventeen to thirty-two gone, Kate has no idea who she is and where she belongs. As she begins to fall for the man who found her, she wonders if she forgot those years for a reason. Should she keep trying to retrieve her original self, or start a new life?

“Finding My Happy Pace”: If thirty-year-old Megan were any more of a doormat, she’d have footprints on her back. She takes up running to strengthen her body, but marathon training with cute but heartbroken coach Andrew strengthens her assertiveness too. When her best friend’s demands threaten her race Megan must decide: cave in as she always has before or stick to her new-found ‘happy pace’ in running and life.

“All At Sea”: Three months after they met, Melissa will marry Owen on his family’s annual cruise. He’s a great catch, though, so although they’re moving fast she’s sure they’ll be fine. But when he proves to be a gambler and deserts her for the onboard casino, she wonders if she really knows him and if their marriage will meet her needs. Melissa must decide: stay with Owen or jump ship.

 

Original Price: $9.99

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1t2uVvs

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/heather.wardell.author

Twitter: @heatherwardell

 

 

 

 

Redesigning Rose – Lydia Laceby

 

Rose Parker’s husband has been lying. About everything.

When a conversation with her husband triggers questions, Rose Parker uncovers alarming answers that shatter her perfect life. But it is only when she shoves her belongings in her SUV and drives off that Rose realizes just how far from perfect her life actually was. She has nowhere to turn.

While debating between distressing sleeping arrangements–her mother’s house full of questions or a hotel room with too much solitude–Rose bumps into an acquaintance from her gardening class and allows bubbly, exuberant Becky to indulge her in a wild night full of whiskey, weeping, and whispered confidences. Suddenly, Rose has a new friend, a roof over her head, and two gorgeous men moving her out of her marital home.

As Rose struggles to settle into her new life, she remains determined to comprehend her past. And with time and distance and especially wine, comes knowledge. Frank wasn’t the only one lying to her. Rose was lying to herself.

 

Original Price: $2.99

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/ZLDwXi

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/lydialacebyauthor

Twitter: @lydialaceby

 

 

 

 

The Holdout- Laurel Osterkamp

 

Robin wanted to win The Holdout, a cutthroat reality TV show, so she gave it her all, challenge after challenge. Then she fell for Grant, with his irresistible eyes and heartbreaking life story.

But Grant was only using Robin as they competed for a million dollars. Once home, Robin wants to hide from the humiliation as episodes of The Holdout are aired, and she worries her family was right all along; she’s not a survivor.

Yet she could surprise everyone, and have the last laugh.

Besides, Robin now has jury duty. And as she forges ahead, confronting her demons about bravery, justice, and romance, Robin will come to decide which is more important: the courage to stand alone, or the strength to love again.

 

Original Price: $2.99

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1sGHNWl

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/laurel.osterkamp?fref=ts

Twitter: @laurelosterkamp

 

 

 

 

The Next Breath – Laurel Osterkamp

 

“I kiss him, choosing love over honesty, which is a choice nobody should ever have to make…”
Robin loves sweet, responsible Nick, with his penchant for Beethoven and Ben Folds Five. But she also still loves her college boyfriend Jed, an irreverent playwright plagued with cystic fibrosis. Now Robin is struggling to reveal her secrets and confront her past, as she finally performs in the play that Jed wrote for her, eleven years ago. Will Robin have the strength to keep her promise and stay true to her heart?
Alternating between present-day scenes, college flashbacks, and segments from Jed’s play, this tear-jerking yet uplifting tale illustrates how life is finite but love is infinite, and the road to recovery begins with the next breath.

 

Original Price: $3.99

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1FrbFfP

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/laurel.osterkamp?fref=ts

Twitter: @laurelosterkamp

 

 

 

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda – Tara Lee Reed

 

Elle Masters is over dating. It used to be fun: the drama, the angst, the exhilarating beginnings, the bittersweet middles, the blowout endings. Then the tears, hangovers, rebounds, and another addition to the Heartbreak Box in her closet. Now Elle can’t remember the last time a guy made his way into her box. When her friends Rachel and Valerie insist she snap out of her post-breakup funk with a girls’ night out/rebound hunt at a San Francisco bar, she isn’t expecting tall, dark, and hummuna-hummuna, Nick Wright. This is no rebound guy. He’s definitely, maybe, The One. In Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda, you play Elle as she and her pals put the “antics” in “romantics.” You’ll question everything you thought you knew about love, over-analyzing and second-guessing your way through hundreds of modern dating dilemmas and passionate predicaments. With 60 Happily Sometimes Afters, you’ll always have another chance with Mr. Wright.

 

Original Price: $3.99

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1vCDaie

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CouldaWouldaShouldaBook

Twitter: @DoorFlowerCO

 

 

 

 

A Questionable Friendship – Samantha March

 

Brynne Ropert and Portland Dolish have been best friends since being paired as roommates in college. Seven years later they are now twenty-five, married, and living in Maine–– but the two women couldn’t be more different. Brynne finds fulfillment in her life as a wife, mother and owner of a small café and bookshop, but is struggling to expand her family. Portland is still coping with her mother’s death during her childhood, and her marriage is unraveling before her eyes. Portland envies her friend’s seemingly stable and easy life while Brynne doesn’t understand the growing distance between them and cannot begin to guess what secret Portland is hiding about her husband and crumbling marriage. While one woman feels shut out, the other enters into a web of lies to protect herself.

A Questionable Friendship explores what really makes someone a true friend, a support system, a sister. How much trust goes into a friendship and when is being a friend not enough? Brynne and Portland’s story will attempt to answer those questions, and show that happily ever after isn’t in the cards for everyone.

 

Original Price: $2.99

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/10W3WGk

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/samanthamarchauthor

Twitter: @SamanthaMarch23

 

 

 

Something Yellow – Laura Templeton

 

Thirteen years ago, Holly’s nine-year-old sister, Rachel, disappeared without a trace. Thirteen years ago, Holly left her hometown. Thirteen years ago, Holly’s first love and high school boyfriend, Houston, was the only suspect. Now, another girl has disappeared. Holly is back, and so is Houston—never charged and still proclaiming his innocence. Can she trust him? Should she trust him?
When out-of-work banking executive Holly McCann moves to the rural mountain town of White Cove, Virginia to care for her dying mother, the past collides with the present. A violent crime against her nine-year-old neighbor evokes memories of the eerily similar disappearance of her sister thirteen years earlier. Holly is thrilled by the arrival of her estranged brother, Oliver, but concerned by his mysterious behavior. She is befriended by the new minister, Jonah, an outsider haunted by his own painful past, but it is Houston Phelps, the only person arrested for the disappearance of her sister, who forces Holly to confront the past and start living in the present.

 

Original Price: $3.99

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1pYp70V

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/LauraTempletonWriter

Twitter: @Laura1264

 

 

 

Romance & New Adult

 

The Right Design – Isabella Louise Anderson

 

Interior designer Carrie Newman could not have envisioned a more perfect life for herself. She had a great job doing what she loved, wonderful friends, and a close relationship with her sister and brother-in-law. Add in an amazing man who she’d hoped would soon become her husband, and her life was perfect. Until one devastating decision ruins her relationship and changes the course of her life.

Determined to make a new start, Carrie leaves Texas and heads to Palm Beach to pick up the pieces of her shattered and broken life. The last thing she expects is to find herself attracted to her first client at her new job–Brad Larson, who has proven himself time and time again to be caddish.

But there’s something beneath the surface of Brad’s arrogant exterior that keeps her craving more of him–something almost sweet that Carrie can’t seem to resist.

Is Carrie ready to take another chance on romance? And will this new design of her life prove to be the right one?

Original Price: $2.99

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1wjP26U

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Isabella-Louise-Anderson-Author/253277964716883

Twitter: @ILA121209

 

 

 

Laurel Heights – Denise Moncrief

 

A dark cloud of deceit hovers over her family tree…

Left an estate by an aunt she’s never met, Laurel Standridge takes possession of Laurel Heights, hoping it will be the safe haven she needs to recuperate from her ill-fated relationship with Rand Peterson. Secrets long buried rise to the surface when her cousin James is murdered and dumped on the highway just outside the gates of Laurel Heights.

Her past trails her to the mountains of Arkansas…

Caught in an obligation Chase Peterson feels he cannot ignore, he agrees to help his brother Rand take back the property he believes Laurel stole from him, but Chase remains at Laurel Heights after he discovers Laurel took nothing of Rand’s away with her except nightmares, fading bruises, and a broken rib.

Unexplained disturbances shatter her hopes of a normal life…

Are the strange bumps, thumps, and bangs reverberating through the night caused by the murderer of Laurel’s cousin James, someone Rand has sent to exact his revenge, or a disturbed soul existing in another dimension, trying to communicate with the living? Drawn together by the intrigue surrounding Laurel Heights, Chase and Laurel become hopelessly entangled in a relationship that goes deeper than mere physical attraction. Can their love survive the haunting of Laurel Heights?

 

Original Price: $2.99

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1CLjLMe

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DeniseMoncriefAuthor

Twitter: @DMoncrief0131

 

 

 

Chez Stinky – Susan C Daffron

 

Kat Stevens is a slightly insecure, mostly bored technical writer who likes her cat a lot more than her boss. She hasn’t laid eyes on her great aunt Abigail since she was eight, so she’s stumped when she inherits Abigail’s house in the small hamlet of Alpine Grove.Kat’s uncomplicated life gets decidedly less so when she discovers the inheritance comes with some hairy conditions: four dogs and five cats that her aunt wanted her to love as her own. Of course, the house smells like a barn–with a touch of antique skunk–and, naturally, has serious roof issues. And that’s before the three-legged cat gets stuck in the wall and the shower goes kablooey.

When Kat meets Joel, an unemployed techie type with no love lost for his sister, Kat looks past his obvious flaws, given his timely and desirable skill set: a talent for fixing things (and his own tools). Despite out-of-control dogs, cat fights, dust dinosaurs, massive spiders and an old grizzled hippie passed out in the yard, Kat discovers the tranquility of the forests of Alpine Grove starting to seep into her soul. And why she can’t she stop thinking about Joel?

 

Original Price: $2.99

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1sQOh4P

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/susandaffron?fref=ts

Twitter: @susandaffron

 

 

 

 

Hard Hats and Doormats – Laura Chapman

 

Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.

But after losing out on a big promotion–-because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.

While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.

Who says nice girls have to finish last?

 

Original Price: $2.99

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1GPd5l9

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/laurachapmanbooks

Twitter: @lmchap

 

 

 

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