blog tour · feature

[book excerpt] twelve months of awkward moments – lisa acerbo

Twelve Months of Awkward Moments
Lisa Acerbo
Publication date: August 30th 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

Dani can’t wait for senior year at college. A straight-A scholar whose anxiety is a daily struggle, being awkward, introverted, and studious has become a way of life. She vows this year will be different. It’s time to move beyond her comfort zone, but that’s not easy.

Dani’s wild roommate and handsome best friend hate each other; her crazy family won’t leave her alone; and a new job forces her to be social. Unfortunately, when college romance finally calls, Dani is unable to answer thanks to a stalker who has her all tied up.

Can she stay alive long enough to find love and graduate?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

 

Author Bio:

Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and adjunct faculty at the University of Phoenix. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughters, two dogs, and horse. When not writing, she mountain bikes, hikes, and tries to pursue some type of further education.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


Excerpt:

I’m applying for a receptionist position at a physical therapist office. Stress has left my stomach upset, my head throbbing, and my bladder full. I need to find the restroom to both relieve my need and gulp down some headache medicine. I bolt up the concrete stairs on the sunless, November day, and enter the dingy white-walled lobby. A large white sign directs me to the Quest Physical Therapy office on the second floor in room B-Two. I hurry up the flight of stairs and search for the restroom. There’s a men’s room to the right and ladies to the left.

I stop, dumbstruck.  “Out of order” is written on the women’s room door.  Seriously? I glance at my watch. Less than five minutes before my interview. No time to run downstairs. Chance the men’s room? What’s the possibility someone would be in there? I open the door and glance around. Nothing. Safe.

I slip inside, and I’m about to enter a stall when a man exits the one next to me. A noisy flush sound swirls behind him. Tall, manicured, in a chalk gray polo shirt and khaki pants, he stares at me.

I stammer my reply. “Sorry. Girls’ room not functioning. Thought this was empty.”

His eyes fill with mirth. “Don’t let me stop you.” He shuffles to the sink.

I really have to pee. What are my options? I sprint toward the empty stall, watching his broad shoulders as he washes his hands. He eyes me in the mirror. I send him a weak smile before I close the door.

I pull down my sensible interview panties and wait. I can’t go knowing he is still in the room. I want to hear him exit out the door. Tense seconds tick by, but they feel like minutes. My bladder screams for relief as the water faucets shut off. The paper towel dispenser releases its crunchy square. Finally, the bathroom door opens. I wait until it slams shut. Relief. It’s a long time coming.

After, I quickly wash my hands, swallow my headache meds, and check my hair and teeth, not wanting to linger in the little boys’ room and encounter another stranger. I peek at my phone. One minute early. A few deep breaths for courage as I march down the short hall before I enter Quest Physical Therapy.

A manicured blonde receptionist sits behind the desk. She stares up at me inquisitively when I approach.

“Can I help you?” she asks.

“I have an interview with…” I scroll through the notes on my phone. “Brice James, or is it James Brice?” I’m suddenly confused. She doesn’t help me out.

“I’ll let him know. Take a seat, please.”

As I wait, I scan the room. Feeble old folks using walkers and canes sit next to super-fit athletes harnessed into walking casts and recuperative braces. A few middle-aged men and women with various ailments fill in the crowd.

An office door opens. Gray polo man enters the room.


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blog tour · feature

[book excerpt] the fae games duet – jill ramsower

The Fae Games Duet
Jill Ramsower
(The Fae Games #1 & 2)
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

When Rebecca Peterson walks away from everything she knows to follow her dreams in Ireland, she never expects to be thrown into a world of vicious Fae and deadly secrets. On the dreary streets of Belfast, her terrifying nightmares are rekindled, and this time they aren’t confined to her imagination. Complicating her life further, Becca crosses paths with two mysterious strangers—both alluring in different ways, but are either of them to be trusted?

Her journey takes her deep into the treacherous Shadow Lands, where both her knowledge and courage will be tested. Navigating this new landscape of deceit and manipulation is paramount if she is to stop hordes of blood-thirsty Faeries from invading Earth. With time running out, will her limited training be enough to take on a centuries old enemy hell-bent on death and destruction? To keep those she loves safe, Becca is willing to risk it all.

In this captivating duet, Jill Ramsower takes her readers from the streets of Belfast on a harrowing journey to the most dangerous corners of Faery, where fear is a lethal enemy and trust is a luxury few can afford.

Goodreads / Amazon

 

Author Bio:

Jill is a Texan, born and raised. She manages the hectic social calendars for her three active children and occasionally spends an evening with her dashing husband. Aside from being an author and a mom, she’s an attorney, travel junkie, and voracious reader.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


Excerpt:

On the other side of the bed from where I sat, the air shimmered with magic as a man materialized. Merlin stood opposite me, his features wrought with concern. Each time I saw him he looked exactly the same, whether it was as a vendor in a Belfast market twenty years ago, or a patron in the museum on my first day of work a month ago. White-blond hair neatly styled and sharp ice blue eyes softened by a few wrinkles in the corners. He looked sophisticated and worldly, but at that moment he also wore compassion and grief.  

Our eyes held each other for a long pregnant moment, long enough to further thaw my ravaged emotions. I had thought I would have nothing to say to this man who had set the events in motion that led me to the absolute lowest point in my life. However, seeing him stand before me, I had questions that needed to be asked. 

“Why have you done this? Why me?” My voice was no more than a whisper. 

“I spent years in that market, watching and interacting, knowing I had to find just the right child. Someone who was receptive to the magic, someone who lived far away where Morgan would not find them. When you approached my booth and were drawn instantly to the necklace, I knew you were the one.” 

“Did you know it would make me Fae?” 

“I wasn’t entirely sure, but I had my suspicions.” 

“Did you think about the other impacts on my life, the effect it would have on my loved ones?” 

“Nothing I could say or do will ever ease the burden of what I have forced upon you. There are some of us who bear a disproportionate degree of hardship in life, whether owed to circumstances of our birth or a course of events during our lifetime. There is never a reason adequate enough to justify our struggles sufficient to ease the burden. The only balm that will help you is that which comes from the acceptance of your circumstances.”

Twilight Siege, Chp. 11


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blog tour · feature

[book blitz] the unscripted life of lizzy dillinger

The Unscripted Life of Lizzy Dillinger banner
This is my stop during the book blitz for The Unscripted Life of Lizzy Dillinger by Marianne Hansen. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 5 till 11 November. See the tour schedule here.

The Unscripted Life of Lizzy DillingerThe Unscripted Life of Lizzy Dillinger
By Marianne Hansen
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Age category: Adult
Release Date: 25 April, 2018

Blurb:
She’s got a movie deal. He’s got the lead role. Can she choose between her family and the star of her fantasies?

Stay-at-home mom Lizzy Dillinger escapes the monotony of her humdrum marriage by writing down her daydreams. When her producer friend contracts her story for a movie and invites her on set, she jumps at the chance to leave the suburbs until the film’s in the can. But Lizzy’s big break gets even better when she learns the hunky character who starred in her daydreams will be played by her Hollywood crush, Ben Winters.

On location in Arizona, the desert gets even hotter when Lizzy and Ben strike up a flirtatious friendship. But her hopes of a celebrity fling shatter when a family visit brings her fantasy crashing into reality. Against the dazzling lights and the glamorous movie sets, her cookie-cutter life back home seems painfully bland. Torn between the man of her dreams and the family who helped define her, Lizzy must search her heart to find where her true passion lies.

The Unscripted Life of Lizzy Dillinger is a star-struck women’s fiction novel about once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. If you like authentic characters, silver screen romance, and humorous looks at life’s hard choices, then you’ll love Marianne Hansen’s story of dreaming big and loving wholeheartedly.

Buy The Unscripted Life of Lizzy Dillinger to step into the limelight for a cinematic masterpiece today!

You can find The Unscripted Life of Lizzy Dillinger on Goodreads

You can buy The Unscripted Life of Lizzy Dillinger on Amazon

Marianne HansenAbout the Author:
Marianne Hansen is a redhead who loves red lipstick and high heels. She earned a BA, MA and JD so she could ultimately stay home with her kids. She travels whenever she can and dreams of traveling when she can’t. She lives in Montana with her family.

She’s spent her life imagining alternative endings and wondering “what would happen if…”. She’s finally writing the answers down.

You can find and contact Marianne Hansen here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Amazon
Instagram
Bookbub


Excerpt:

“Are you late for something?” I was so focused on Tanya that I hadn’t even noticed that Ben Winters had walked up behind me.

I turned to face him.  My palms started to sweat.  I tried to covertly wipe them on my pants while praying he didn’t shake hands when he met people.  “Not really.  I’m just waiting for Tanya.”

“I think you may be waiting a while.” He gestured to Tanya with his head.  I spun around and saw her walking out the door.

“Tanya,” I called loudly.  “I need to talk to you.”

She held up her hand to me but didn’t glance back.  “I have a few things to take care of.  Catch up later.”

I looked back up at Ben and swallowed hard.  “Guess you’re right.”  I stared into his eyes.  They were a deep chestnut brown.  I forced myself to blink and look away.  His shoulders were at my eye level.  My head would fit perfectly into a shoulder as he rested his chin on my head.  The rest of our body parts would fit together nicely too.  I blinked again.  

“I have to say, I really enjoyed your book.” 

My cheeks hurt from grinning.  “Thank you.  I wasn’t sure anyone on the film would’ve read it.”

“Well,” Ben tilted his head. “I read it after I was sent the script.  But I did enjoy it.  And I think I like the book ending better.”

I glanced around to see who was nearby.  Almost everyone had left.  “I didn’t want to ask this earlier, but how is the ending changed?”

Ben looked at me for a second, confused.  “You just read the ending.”

“I, uh, know,” I cleared my throat.  “I’m just very nervous and couldn’t concentrate very well.”  I hoped I appeared calm and in control.

“Laura stays in Mexico.”

“What?” I asked, a little too loudly.

“You didn’t read the script before today?” 

“Honestly, I was too nervous.  I know that sounds naive, but it just made me anxious.  I assumed there would be changes, but nothing too major.”

“You signed off on all changes?”  He waived his arm, indicating I should go before him.   

“I guess so.”  I shook my head.  “It’s not that big a deal.”

“It just changes the whole ending,” he said nonchalantly.  

“I’m really just along for the ride.  None of this was supposed to happen.”

We walked out of the warehouse.


Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of The Unscripted Life of Lizzy Dillinger. One winner will win a signed copy of The Unscripted Life of Lizzy Dillinger and a $25 Amazon Gift Card. US Only.

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blog tour · review

[blog tour] maiden – teresa a. harrison

the basics.

Maiden 08
Title: Maiden
Series: 
The Lightwalker Series
Author: Teresa A. Harrison
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Format: E-book
Release Date: October 13th, 2018
Pages: 282 pgs.
Genre: New adult, fantasy, historical fiction

Goodreads | Amazon
I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher and Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.


Synopsis:

Marta and Jayme are childhood friends with different beliefs. Marta dreams of becoming a healer. Jayme has been schooled by the black-coats, a group of priests who claim women are inferior, and he fears Marta is jeopardizing her eternal future.

Despite a heated debate over Marta’s soul, Jayme betrays her to the priests. The consequences of this betrayal change Marta’s life forever and sends Jayme on his own journey.

After a brutal massacre, Marta awakens deep in the forest overcome with grief for her lost sisters, but the world will not let her rest. The tragedy has changed her. She hears the call of nature, eventually steering her toward a small cottage in the wilderness. There she learns of nature’s magic and what it means to be a LightWalker. The path is there for her to follow. If she’s strong enough to embrace it…


Author Info:

Teresa

Social icons by dreamstale (65)Social icons by dreamstale (70)Social icons by dreamstale (6)

Teresa Harrison grew up in Decatur, Illinois, and graduated from Eureka College with a BA in Speech and Theatre. She has a son and daughter-in-law and now two beautiful grandchildren.

She met her husband, Glenn, while on a spiritual journey to Sedona, AZ. They realized they had something special, but they lived on opposite edges of North America. Two years later, she joined Glenn in Southern California.

Teresa has been studying spiritual topics for nearly 40 years and is a Reiki Master, a Breathwork Facilitator, an herbalist and teacher. She has studied Universal Laws, Reincarnation, aromatherapy, yoga, meditation and many other spiritual topics.

Teresa has been reading and telling stories her whole life, and now she has finally written one of them down.


the thoughts

There’s always been this inextricable link between autumn and Celtic folklore in my mind. The thought of faeries and guardians lurking about in misty, chilly forests is such a comforting visual for me. Of course, it was only fated that Maiden, Teresa A. Harrison’s start to the Celtic folklore-inspired Lightwalker Series, fell into my lap at this time of year. This magic-infused coming-of-age story is great for not only existing fans of the young adult fantasy genre, but also for those who are just starting to get their feet wet into something more mystical.

After eighteen long years, it’s finally Marta’s turn to join in the celebration of Beltane, a Pagan festival honoring the start of the summer season. Despite a heated argument with her childhood friend Jayme, she’s ready to become one of the priestesses that protect her village from harm. A betrayal leads to a great massacre of the Pagans at the hands of the village’s growing Catholic contingent, but Jayme makes sure Marta’s life is spared. It’s here that Marta and Jayme are awakened to the magical world intertwined with the reality they knew — and the roles they both play in preserving it for generations to come.

Let me just warn you, dear reader, of something right off the bat: the massacre scene near the beginning is not pretty and it certainly be triggering for some. It is, however, the only scene in which there is a ton of bodily harm and character death, but if that content is off-putting to you, then this book may not be for you.

As someone obsessed with world-building, I cannot say enough about the gorgeous world Harrison crafted within the pages of Maiden. Her prose is filled with lush, detailed descriptions of both the magical and mundane worlds, making it a breeze to imagine every little thing happening in the story. Honestly, I could read Harrison’s descriptions of the clothing donned by Marta over and over to make sure I got all of the intricacies of the detail. I could easily picture Little Man and his ever-expanding cottage; Old Mother and her cave domicile leaped right off of the page and into my mind. Fans of well thought-out fantasy worlds would really like these aspects of the book.

Harrison’s talents with world-building also lend themselves to being adept at character development. Both Marta and Jayme took turns that surprised and delighted me along the way. Jayme, in particular, started out so egregiously bad as a character that it almost turned me off of the book altogether. (For context, I was also starting this book the same week as the Kavanaugh confirmation and we all know how that went for reasonable people everywhere.) As time went along, he was confronted with consequences for his actions, which actually allowed him to grow as a character. It was exciting to see the progression he made personally to meet his destiny.

Marta, too, went through a similar transformation. Though she wasn’t a “bad” or “evil” character before, she did start out pretty naive and selfish. These traits are generally par for the course for young women in “coming of age” type stories, but, again, Harrison puts Marta through the wringer in her magic training so that her development feels organic, not forced. She comes out of her trials and tribulations as the elegant, wise priestess she was meant to be.

I have a few gripes, though, about the book that prevented me from rating this higher, but they weren’t enough to turn me off of the book altogether. I was a little annoyed at Jayme having such a significant role on the book when everything else about it led me to believe that Marta would be The Main Character: she’s the titular Maiden, the cover features her, and the official synopsis is all about her starting the journey to be a Lightwalker. I’m certainly not opposed with her sharing the spotlight with Jayme, but I do think that it’s a little unfair to lead readers into expecting one thing, and then presenting them with something else.

Furthermore, and this is more so just a personal pet peeve, I did think that there tended to be a bit of navel-gazing happening. For those unfamiliar with the term, navel-gazing is when a character gets lost in their head and thoughts for so long, that they might as well be doing nothing but gazing at their navel. There were quite a few instances, especially in the early days of both Jayme and Marta’s training, that they tended to get caught up in their thoughts for a few pages. While there’s nothing wrong with giving some introspection into the feelings and motivation of a character, I don’t think that it should be a main expository tool.

Overall, Maiden is a lovely story that’s perfect for both long-term fans of fantasy and those just starting to stick their toes in the genre. It’s filled with a fair amount of great character development — and good politics, to boot — and gorgeous world building that makes this book wonderful for curling up on a picnic blanket for some afternoon reading. (Which is exactly what I did.)


the rating

🌟🌟🌟🌟

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review

[book review] perfect harmony – emily albright

the basics.

38214104
Title:
 Perfect Harmony
Series: n/a
Author: Emily Albright
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Format: E-book
Release Date: September 18th, 2018
Pages: 298 pgs.
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, romance

I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


the thoughts

I’m reviewing a ton of contemporary romance books lately, which is totally out of character for my usual tastes. Subconsciously, I think I’m trying to get myself amped up for my upcoming wedding, but I digress. Through this foray into the genre, I’ve found a few duds that are rife with stereotypes that cause my eyes to endlessly roll. I cannot, however, say that about Emily Albright’s latest novel, Perfect Harmony. In a sea of lackluster predictable books, I can definitely say that this is a shining, cozy beacon of romance leading us safely back to shore.

It’s Pippa Wyndham’s senior year and she’s determined. Determined to keep her first chair cello spot, determined to attend the top music college in the country, determined to achieve every goal she puts in front of herself. However, new student Declan Brogan has other ideas. After transferring from New York City, Declan’s set to make his mark at his new school — which means uprooting Pippa from her top spot. What will they make from their bitter rivalry: beautiful music or a cacophony of teen angst?

My five star reviews are not given lightly, but this book made me swoon and sigh like no other books have done lately. While the “bitter rivals dance around their feelings for each other” trope is par for the course at this point, the way in which Albright tackled it makes her a maestra. The undercurrent of Pippa and Declan’s rivalry still ran through all of their interactions, but readers were still treated to the two being friendly with one another. I mean, they’re both supremely talented teen cellists; real recognizes real. More often than not in books of this genre, this type of personality detail is generally overlooked in favor of creating more surface-level drama. However, I respect Albright’s inclusion of building an actual reason for whatever tension that existed between them.

On top of that, the majority of the featured characters — including Pippa’s brother Phillip, her best friend Quinn, and her romantic interest Noah — are all fully fleshed-out characters with their own personalities, desires, and goals. In a good amount of contemporary YA, all of the focus throughout the story is naturally on the two main romantic interests, but readers are very rarely treated to how intricate the world around the romance is. We get to see Quinn struggling with the loss of her father almost ten years on. We see Noah waffling between going to college because his parents want it for him and taking a gap year to find himself. These characters are real and flawed, rather than just emotionless background characters. World building like this is, admittedly, difficult to do, but it’s so nice to see someone like Albright take up the helm to make it easier for readers to fall into the situations she’s created.

Probably my favorite thing about the entire book is being shown, not told, exactly what playing music does to Pippa. It’s not enough to just be told that, yep, she’s a good cellist because of reasons. Albright takes readers a step further and actually puts them in the midst of Pippa’s thoughts, feelings, and sensations as she’s immersing herself in performing. While I can definitely relate to this as a former choir and theatre performer, that’s not a shared experience that other readers might be able to empathize with had these pieces were not included in the writing. I felt the chills that ran up and down her spine when she and Declan were in sync with each other. I felt every crescendo of intensity rolling through her body. These scenes were quite impressive and kept me turning page to page.

Every time I keep thinking that I’m ready to ditch the contemporary romance young adult genre to stay strictly in fantasy and paranormal, it’s books like Perfect Harmony that keep me coming back. Though the plot and idea itself are rather formulaic, it’s the skillful and breezy way in which Emily Albright has honed her craft to create this novel that sets it above the rest. She’s turned a fan of me yet; I can’t wait to dig my hands into her other books.


the rating

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟