Friday, April 30, 2010

Guest Post from author Diane Sweeney (Kissing Frogs In Cyberspace)



“Dianne, I know why you don’t have a boyfriend,” Macy says as she downs a cup of coffee at Starbucks in Downtown, Campbell. Macy is a cute, 44-year-old woman who is happily married with two teenage kids. Macy and I just recently met at a party and hit it off. She is funny, and I like talking to her.

“Really? Why’s that?” I ask as I’m about to shove a piece of red velvet cupcake into my mouth. Eagerly, I lean toward her to hear this latest revelation about my non-existent love life.
“You need to grow your hair longer, and you need to lose 20 pounds, maybe 25,” she says with an air of authority.

I lean back in my chair and stare at her for a moment. I then glance down at the last few crumbs of my cupcake lying on the napkin, and the only thing that I can think of is whether of not I should smash my thumb upon them and send them and my thumb hurtling to my mouth. Decisions… Decisions…I look at Macy, she looks at me, and then we both glance down at the minuscule pieces of red velvet cupcake scattered on the ugly brown napkin. Man, it is taking all of my will power not to gobble those few specks up. I know that Macy is waiting for a response, so I decide to let the crumbs go and crumble up my napkin. I look up, and Macy is still staring at me. I know she is waiting for a response, but I don’t know what to say.
“Maybe, you could have something there,” I say nodding my head in agreement. Macy’s brow furrows for a moment.

I mean what am I suppose to say to that? Actually, that has become my mantra since the release of Kissing Frogs in Cyberspace. Everybody has an opinion about my love life.
Is Macy, right? Will losing weight and growing my hair manifest into a boyfriend. Hardly. Come on. Really? Hmmm, I think this poses a new question, does weight loss equate to love gained? Let’s find out. I have a feeling this is going to be an epic battle.
I look at Macy and smile. She smiles at me. Let the games begin I say to myself.
About The Author:
Dianne Sweeney is the average, thirty-something, working woman of today–sometimes sarcastic, sometimes too honest for her own good–but she does tell it like it is. Professionally, she’s set. Friends–she has plenty. But love…well, isn’t that what we’re all looking for? Dianne resides in San Jose, California with her favorite cat, Scout.
You can visit Dianne at http://www.diannesweeney.com.
About The Book:
In today’s age of virtual “hook-ups” and online encounters, it is no surprise that there are thousands of websites devoted to Internet dating.
Told in a series of vignettes, Kissing Frogs in Cyberspace, Dianne Sweeney’s revealing account of dating in the 21st century takes you on a hilarious, often poignant journey of online dates, dumps, and disasters. As she discovers the world of Internet dating is blessed by those seeking true love and plagued by those just “seeking.” Kissing Frogs in Cyberspace uncovers the reality of online dating-its pleasures, its horrors, and all the quirky stuff in between.

Feature and Giveaway: Ravished By A Highlander

RAVISHED BY HIGHLANDER By Paula Quinn

About the Book:
Davina Montgomery is no ordinary English lady. For her own protection, she's been locked away from society, her true identity the Crown's most closely guarded secret. Until a shocking betrayal--and a bold rescue--land her in the arms of a fierce Highlander, a powerful warrior whose searing gaze and tantalizing touch awaken her body and soul.As the firstborn son of a powerful Scottish laird, Robert MacGregor has no loyalty to the English throne, but he's not the kind of man to leave a woman in distress, even if she is English. He vows to deliver Davina to safety, unharmed and untouched. Yet one stolen kiss leaves them both smoldering with desire...and desperate for more. With Davina's secret threatening to destroy his clan, Rob must choose between everything he holds dear and the one woman he can't live without.
Author Fun:
Follow @Paula_Quinn on Twitter
Friend Paula in MySpace
Thanks to Anna @ Hachette I have 2 copies of this one to giveaway!
-please leave a comment along with your email
-open to US and Canadian Residents only
-No PO Boxes
-Ends May 15th

Blogmania is Here! Welcome to Blog # 83!



WELCOME TO BLOGMANIA !

My Blog is 83 of 123
You’ve arrived at exactly the right time to explore lots of new blogs, all of which, ARE GIVING AWAY A VERY SPECIAL BLOGMANIA GIVEAWAY (For One Day Only – April 30th) .
We’ve done all the work for you. No hunting or surfing. Each blog will have a number and each new blog link will have a number. These numbers will allow you to keep track of which blogs you’ve visited and how many are left to visit. Why not take a moment to make a list of blog numbers 1-123 and check off the blogs as you go.

I know you’ll want to visit as many blogs today as you can. So, if you see something that interests you on any of our participating blogs, why not bookmark that site. Later, when you have more time, you can discover all its fabulous treasures.
CLICK! CLICK! CLICK!
MY GIVEAWAY and RULES:

For your reading pleasure I have an autographed copy of the Last Track: A Mike Brody Novel by Sam Hilliard

Chasing The Devil (A real life crime story)
Some "survival equipment" and a book light to keep you reading even in the dark!

Enter:
It's super simple to enter: become a follower and leave a comment that you did so. (please state if US/Canada/International entry) (If your already a follower then just let me know that) Leave your email so I can contact you if you win!
Prize Pack to US residents only
$10.00 Gift Card (your choice of book place) to Canadian/International residents
(I'm poor so I can't afford a ton of shipping....please keep in mind though that I have tons of giveaways on the blog that are publisher sponsored and open to Canadian residents! Stop by after Blogmania is over and enter some of those!)
(at the bottom of this post you can find links to more Blogmania participants to visit!)
The Prize Pack:
Here's more about my Blogmania featured author:

About The Last Track:
(from Pub's Website)
Imagine if being late meant a child disappeared forever. That is the fear that drives Mike Brody—the man you want, when the one you love is missing. Mike is more than just a master tracker. An ex-Special Forces operative, Smoke jumper, and now extreme adventure tour guide, he also possesses a unique ability to tap into the memory and emotional state of those he pursues.In The Last Track, a police detective recruits Mike to help find an asthmatic boy lost in the dense woods surrounding a dude ranch in Montana. An unwitting murder witness, the boy burrows ever deeper into the rugged terrain, fearful of being found. As Mike and a local officer search for the boy, the killer follows them. While the investigation expands, Mike’s ex-wife, a well-connected journalist, uses her contacts to unravel the truth behind the murder.Her discoveries threaten to snare them all in a treacherous conspiracy . . .
********************************
Q&A with author Sam Hilliard:
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

For starters, I can tell you that I’m delighted to be interviewed by the Cajun Book Lady! Thanks to review blogs like yours, not only do readers have a means to find new voices, they have the power to influence other readers in ways never before possible. Kudos to you for being at the forefront.

But to your question. The short version is by day I work at a private all-girls boarding school as the head of technology so I know world class drama first-hand. When I’m not getting roughed up by students who want the Internet turned back on now, I’m writing late into the night.

The long version involves a childhood spent moving around a lot. At some point in college I discovered I liked to write. I promptly drank some more beer and forgot about that for several more years. I graduated. I worked a bunch of jobs, got married and divorced. Now I live outside of NYC with my girlfriend and four cats, which is one feline under the legal limit. To relax I study Krav Maga, and at some point, I’ll finish my skydiving license.

***********************************

Have you always been a "writer" or was 'The Last Track' an idea that just came to you and you knew you wanted to write?

Lots of people can write, and many of them are really good at it, but what makes them writers is finishing the manuscripts they start and then doing whatever is necessary to get those manuscripts to readers. I always liked to write, it just took hitting a real low to get me to do something about it.

The idea for The Last Track began during a hike many years before the first word hit the page. Something about being among miles of pines got me thinking about how easy it would be to disappear. And for some reason the possibility of it seemed really intriguing, and I said something like, “I’m going to write books about a guy who finds missing people in the woods.” Even though I had the insight to consider it important, I lacked the motivation and time to do anything about it.

Flash ahead to three days after my honeymoon. My employer at the time decided he was tired of ripping the keyboard out of my hand. I also decided I was tired of him ripping the keyboard out of my hand. Suddenly I had some free time and lots of reasons to drink gin. That’s when Mike Brody found his way onto the page.
*****************************************

Can you tell us a little about how it was working on this one...writer's block? What kept you inspired?

The hard part was the rewriting. The seemingly never ending struggle to recognize and polish what worked, and discard what did not. That meant lots of drafts. I had to balance a lot of different voices in addition to the ones in my head, and resolve what I wanted to do with what was actually on the page. It meant several go-rounds with reader groups. Eventually the revisions meant bringing in two professionals—an editor and a copyeditor—who took the pages down to the woodshed and beat the manuscript within an inch of its life. Somehow the pages survived.

Along the way, what kept me inspired was the project itself. I think what I always liked about Mike Brody, even from the earliest drafts, was that no matter how bad the odds looked, he just kept going.
***************************************

I have a question about Mike Brody! Do you consider his ability more of a paranormal thing or more of a psychic ability?

Interesting! Usually the question is whether his ability is paranormal or the product of training, in which case my answer is that it’s both. Being able to see what other people might overlook at a crime scene isn’t necessarily paranormal, but knowing whether a missing person is still alive definitely is. Navigating through dense woods for days on end with very little gear when the clock is ticking, takes a certain amount of training and discipline, and will certainly help make a good tracker a better one—but it can be practiced and more importantly, explained.

Not everything can be explained about some exceptional abilities, including Mike Brody’s.

For instance, I’ve seen a seventy-three year old man, who walks with great difficulty, strike an opponent twice his size and half his age and send his opponent six feet from the point of impact with a movement that looks no more intense than a waiter presenting a bill to a customer.

So this is why I liken Mike Brody’s ability to that of a classic martial artist. Real mastery in the martial arts takes decades, even a lifetime. The greats often begin training as children. Among the true grand masters, there is a certain flow and emotion to their movements that defy any conventional explanation. But for those of us who have witnessed the effects, there’s no denying its existence.

Yes, SERE training and Ranger School and all the experiences in the military he had made Mike Brody a better tracker. But Mike can do more than what his training would explain. He can tap into the emotional charge that people leave in their tracks and channel it in ways that allow him to find the missing when no one else can. He has always had this gift; it’s the reason he survived his own abduction as a boy, the circumstances of which haunt him to this day.
********************************************

Will we be seeing more 'Mike Brody' novels anytime soon?

The publisher strongly suggested I have the next Mike Brody book done by June 2011. Given their lean structure and no nonsense tactics, if I make that deadline, they will have the book ready in time for the 2011 holiday season.
****************************************

Last but Not Least....Where can we keep up with you and your work? Twitter? Web Sites? Fan Pages?

I post at three places pretty regularly:
Website: http://samhilliard.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/samhilliard
Facebook: http://facebook.com/thelasttrack

You can see the book trailer on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQDFWmJOtIE

And of course there is also the publisher’s website: http://www.buddhapussink.com/
**************************************
And here are your next BlogMania stops:
(Blog- 1 – HOST OF BLOGMANIA) Between The Pages - http://betweenthelinesandmore.blogspot.com/

(Blog -2 – CO-HOST OF BLOGMANIA) The Black Sheep Dances - http://www.theblacksheepdances.blogspot.com/

(Blog-43 - CO-HOST OF BLOGMANIA) Books, Books Everywhere - http://bookywooks.blogspot.com/

(Blog-42) Information Central - http://blog.stephaniesuesansmith.com/

(Blog-66) Little Yayas and Blessed - http://littleyayasandblessed.blogspot.com/

(Blog-119) A Bead A Day - http://www.abeadaday.blogspot.com/

(Blog-72) Mommy Has To Work - http://mommyhastowork.blogspot.com/

(Blog-53) Dark Faerie Tales - http://www.darkfaerietales.com/

(Blog-76) Under The Boardwalk - http://nisefunpages.blogspot.com/

(Blog-80) I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read - http://ijustwannasithereandread.blogspot.com/

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Winners!

The winner of the Word Girl Giveaway is............
April
The winner of the 100 4x6 cards from DigitalRoom.com is........
Simcha
Congrats! I've emailed the winners already so check your inboxes!

Review and Giveaway: Cardiofitness Can Save Your Life by Forrest Blanding

Book Description:

(from Amazon)


Cardio Fitness Can Save Your Life is a readable analysis of new findings from scientific research on exercise that reveal its even larger importance to health, and how we can exercise much more efficiently for a longer and more enjoyable life.


We are told incessantly that we should exercise, buy not accurately how we need to exercise to usefully improve our health. Many are now wasting time doing far more incorrect exercise than is useful. Author and scientific analyst Forrest Blanding first showed the importance of cardiofitness to health in his 1982 book, The Pulse Point Plan (Random House). His new book is cited as ''excellent'' by top authority Dr. Kenneth Cooper, who is known as the ''Father of aerobic exercise.'' Cardio Fitness Can Save Your Life provides new insights on how we need to exercise to achieve better health.


He shows us how to measure our cardio progress with a new, simple-to-use Cardiofitness Point method, and how a correct Cardio Fitness ratio can be more important to our heath and future life than cholesterol, blood pressure, or even smoking! He shows how proper walking can be ten times more productive to health than ordinary walking. He also shows readers how to formulate new and more efficient moderate exercise programs for cardio and overall health, and how to make our future years significantly more healthy and enjoyable!

**************************************************

My Thoughts:

Well.....this one can scare the poopie out of ya (in a good way LOL)and make you want to get up and move!

It was a defenite eye opener on cardio fitness with very detailed, informative, and educational material. The info you read will want to make you exercise! The charts and graphs are great visuals for the reader.

This book really encourages you and focuses on the benefits of cardio exercise to extend your life expectancy. This one is for mature readers who really want in depth info.

*********************************************

Giveaway:

Thanks to the publisher I have a copy of this one to giveaway!

If you'd like to enter please leave a comment answering this question: What do you do for exercise?

-open to US residents only
-ends May 15th


**review copy provided by the publisher

Review: Dragon Moon by Rebecca York


The Moon Series, Book 9
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley; Original edition (October 6, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425230988
ISBN-13: 978-0425230985
****************************
My Thoughts:
This was a very cool book with a mix of genres. You had some paranormal, romance, and sci-fi all mixed into this book.
I thought it was unique...at least I've never read another book like it. This author really did a great job combining the mix of genres and making it work.
I loved the main characters, Talon and Kenna, boy...did these two have to go through some crud to reach their happy ending!
You know what I thought was really interesting with this one? The whole alternate universe thing...It was different and really added interest to the book.
This was the first book I've had the opportunity to read in the Moon Series by Rebecca York but I think I'll be looking up the rest of the series.
Overall, I was really happy with this one!
**********************************************
About The Book:
(from Amazon)
As a werewolf, Talon is no stranger to secrets, and he can sense that the psychic Kenna is keeping something from him. But Talon is powerfully drawn to the mysterious stranger, and the urge to claim her is just as strong as the instinct to keep himself guarded. With impossible secrets keeping them apart and the threat from the other world drawing near, their fate hangs in the balance- unless they can learn to trust each other.
**review copy provided by the publisher

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Review: Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr



OK everybody...fangirl squee because I adore the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr!

Radiant Shadows is book four in the series...

My Thoughts:

I sincerely hope that most of you are familiar with this series!? If you're not then you must go get them now! *smile*

Seriously, Melissa Marr is one of the authors that would make me embarrass myself if I ever met up with her in person. I'm a huge fan of the series so when this one came for review I was all over it.

Now that I have my gushing done, I'll tell you how much I enjoyed Radiant Shadows. I zoomed through because I adore the characters and world building Melissa creates in her books. I won't lie to you though...I was kinda disappointed at the start when I realized we wouldn't be seeing much of the "usual" characters. I quickly overcame my grief though! Ani and Devlin are just to interesting to NOT get caught up in the story. In my opinion, the ending of this one was awesome!

Besides my one moment of upset, I thought Ms. Marr wrote another winner with this one. I'll repeat this one more time...you must try out this series if you haven't yet. Just my recommendation...

Book Blurb:

(from Harpercollins website)


Hunger for nourishment.

Hunger for touch.

Hunger to belong.


Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers.


Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries' coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani's death.


Ani isn't one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin's plans—and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?


Alluring romance, heart-stopping danger, and sinister intrigue combine in the penultimate volume of Melissa Marr's New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series.

Review and Giveaway: Guest House by Barbara K. Richardson

Book Blurb:

(from author's website)

Driving home from work on a summer afternoon, Melba Burns witnesses a nightmare collision. The wreck ends her pursuit of success at any cost—Melba parks her car, quits her job and stops driving. She retreats into her beloved old farmhouse, yearning for a simpler peace. But peace and Melba’s new roommate, JoLee Garry, have never met. A shallow, self-absorbed stunner, JoLee magnetizes messes and trouble. She brings boyfriends, booze and a tag-along son with her—a series of unexpected guests who transform Melba’s solo life into something different, daring and richer.


My Thoughts:

In the beginning of the book we're introduced to the main players in the story, which are a diverse group coming from all walks of life. To be honest, I couldn't figure out how these people were going to relate to each other. I read on because I figured it would get to a point in which I'd understand.

I'll tell you this though...when these characters' lives ended up crossing I got it and the "light bulb went off!" After that point I was taken in with the book. This was a story that showed the way we can love or not love other people; the way a person can fall into our lives like it was fate. It was a sad but also inspirational tale about picking back up the pieces of your life when it falls apart.

Overall, I'll say that I really enjoyed this one. It was totally depressing at times yet uplifting to see such a horrid existence overcome with the help of a stranger. "Guest House" was a satisfying read for me.



About The Author:

Barbara K. Richardson's previous work has appeared in Northwest Review, Cimarron Review, Quarterly West and Dialogue. Barbara earned her MFA in Creative Writing at Eastern Washington University, where she studied with Ursula Hegi, Nance Van Winckel and John Keeble.


Want More Info?

-About GUEST HOUSE: http://www.barbarakrichardson.com/index.html
-GUEST HOUSE excerpt: http://www.barbarakrichardson.com/chapter-one.html
-Barbara K. Richardson's blog: http://www.barbarakrichardson.com/blog.html
-Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12xh5MeDA7Q


Giveaway:

Now thanks to the author and publisher I have a copy of this one to giveaway! If you would like to enter please leave a comment along with your email.

-open to US residents only
-ends May 15th

Kiddie Korner Review: Petals Of Love by Bernadette Callaghan-Joseph



Blurb:

(from Dorrance Bookstore)

Petals of Love is a superbly written poetic tale about two caring, generous, enchanting fairies in their magical land of Judeith, who present the Maiden Fairy Eliza with a precious gift. This story sends a simple, beautiful message to all readers of the importance of giving with love. According to the talented author, “Petals of Love is a story of unconditional love, and the innocence of a child’s heart. Children inspire us with their imagination, and they simply make the world a better place.”

The Review:

This was a cute children's book. I would have to say that little girl's would like this one but probably not those little boys. (Daughter loved it and son didn't stay around LOL!)

The message of the book was wonderful. It was based around that old saying "it's the thought that counts" or "something that comes from the heart." I enjoyed the simplicity of the story and so did my little girl.

I also want to mention the illustrator, Cindy Strasser. I loved the beautiful artwork.

Overall, we (except for my son) enjoyed this little book.

About The Author:

For years, Bernadette Callaghan-Joseph has been telling make-believe stories to her beloved children each night before bed. The whimsical fairies in her story, Petals of Love, were characters that were warmly embraced by her three children, who named Petals of Love as their favorite story of all. When she is not writing stories and entertaining her children with fanciful stories at her home in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, Bernadette Callaghan-Joseph works as a flight attendant for US Airways and also volunteers her time as a Sunday school teacher.

You can purchase this book here: http://dorrance.stores.yahoo.net/petalsoflove.html

** I received a complimentary copy of Petals Of Love as a member of the
Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. Visit
dorrancebookstore.com
to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

One Day Only Giveaway! Win 100 4x6 Cards to be Creative With!



Here's a really cool giveaway! This is a great opportunity for authors to promote your upcoming book, bloggers to promote their site, or anything else you can think of!

Recipe Cards, Thank you cards, Invitations, and much more… What better to use for these than these postcard prints? From marketing materials to personal invitations, postcards have developed from the rather plain and boring. Get a chance to win a set! Design them to your heart’s content and be as creative as you can be.

Here's what you can win:

Giveaway Prize:

100 4 x 6 Postcards for One (1) Winner
Paper Stock: 14pt Cardstock Gloss
Specifications: Full Color Both Sides; 3 Business Days Turnaround
Shipping: FREE UPS Ground Shipping




Giveaway is sponsored by DigitalRoom.com

-Open to US residents only

-You must be 18 and above to enter the giveaway

-Please leave an email where I can contact you if you win


This giveaway ends tommorrow (4/28) so get your entries in early!

Release Day Review and Giveaway! This Is Me From Now On by Barbara Dee

Today we have a fun release day review and giveaway from author Barbara Dee! She writes tween fiction and This Is Me From Now On is her third book. I was excited to have the opportunity to review it and I hope you'll pick this one up for a tween in your life. (I'm not that age anymore of course and I really enjoyed it. *smile*)

About The Book:
Sometimes your life just needs a little jolt.

This is what Evie's new friend Francesca tells her, and soon enough, Evie's life has had something more like an earthquake. Francesca thinks life is dull unless you go after everything you want and say everything on your mind all the time--and sometimes that includes giving other people a little behind the scenes help to give them what she thinks they want.

Evie can't always tell if she's horrified or fascinated by everything Francesca convinces her to do, but ultimately, she comes to see friendship--and life--in a whole new light.

My Thoughts:
I thought this one was an excellent middle grade novel. (also know as tween fiction) It really caught the dramatics of 7Th grade girls and I think Barbara did an excellent job of catching the pre-teen feeling of "OMG! My world is falling apart!" As adults we sometimes think that these problems aren't important but we tend to forget what it was like at that age.
The cast of characters was excellent, as the author managed to show of so many types of personalities within this group of kids. The personal struggle that the main character, Evie, faces as she is trying to find her place in the world are very true to life.
I think tweens and teens will enjoy this one because they'll be able to relate; probably pick out friends in real life who are like the characters in this book also. As an adult, I saw so many issues of growing up included in this book. Self-esteem, being yourself while trying to fit in, and accepting the consequences of the choices you make are just a few of the things that Barbara blends seamlessly into the story.
Overall...Excellent! I hope you'll pick this up for your tween or one in your life.


Now On To The Giveaway!

One winner will receive:
My copy of Just Another Day In My Insanely Real Life (it is not brand new...I've read it but I'd love to give someone else a chance to read it! It's Barbara's first book.)
An awesome little bag with some cool goodies including bubble gum, lip Balm, and an "amber" necklace made by the author herself (you'll see in the new book how this relates...isn't it cool that it's handmade by the author!)
and a bookmark!
One winner will receive:
The same goody bag bag described above
and the bookmark!
And I'll randomly pick some winners to receive the bookmarks pictured!
So you want to enter? Here's what you have to do...
-Leave a comment or question for Barbara
-for one extra entry you can follow @BarbaraDee2 on twitter
-open to US residents only
- Ends May 1st
**review copy provided by the author
*please note that this is not real amber; only a replica

Release Day Feature: Wicked Becomes You by Meridith Duran


Product Details:

Pocket, April 2010
Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
ISBN-10: 1416593128
ISBN-13: 9781416593126

Read an Excerpt
About The Book:
(From pub website)

She’s been burned not once but twice by London’s so-called gentlemen . . .

Gwen Maudsley is pretty enough to be popular, and plenty wealthy, too. But what she’s best known and loved for is being so very, very nice. When a cad jilts her at the altar—again—the scandal has her outraged friends calling for blood. Only Gwen has a different plan. If nice no longer works for her, then it’s time to learn to be naughty. Happily, she knows the perfect tutor—Alexander Ramsey, her late brother’s best friend and a notorious rogue.

So why won’t a confirmed scoundrel let her be as bad as she wants to be?

Unbeknownst to Gwen, Alex’s aloof demeanor veils his deepest unspoken desire. He has no wish to see her change, nor to tempt himself with her presence when his own secrets make any future between them impossible. But on a wild romp from Paris to the Riviera, their friendship gives way to something hotter, darker, and altogether more dangerous. With Alex’s past and Gwen’s newly unleashed wildness on a collision course, Gwen must convince Alex that his wickedest intentions are exactly what she needs.
About The Author:
MEREDITH DURAN blames Anne Boleyn for sparking her lifelong obsession with British history. A doctoral student in anthropology, she spends her free time collecting old etiquette manuals, guidebooks to nineteenth century London, and travelogues by intrepid Victorian women. She is the author of The Duke of Shadows, Bound by Your Touch, and Written on Your Skin, all published by Pocket Books. The Duke of Shadows was the winner of the Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition. Visit her website at meredithduran.com.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Guest Post and Book Promo: Avalon Revisited by O.M. Grey

Today we are welcoming steampunk author O.M. Grey as she tell us what made her decide to write steampunk and more about the just released book 'Avalon Revisited.'
Let's give a big welcome!


What made you decide to write steampunk?
I love vampires. I mean. I really, really love vampires. The only thing I love as much as vampires is English History. After watching the TV series Blood Ties several years back, where Henry VIII’s bastard son Henry Fitzroy was the sexy vampire, I have been unable to shake my desire to put another Tudor in that particular shadow of darkness. I’ve always been greatly fascinated with the Tudors, ever since studying British Literature in college. And one thing stuck with me more than anything else. A professor once lectured about how Henry VII, Henry VIII’s father, was obsessed with the Arthurian Legend. So much so, in fact, that he named his first son Arthur, intending him to be Arthur II of England. Henry, Henry VII’s youngest son, was never meant to be king. But when Arthur died suddenly, Henry became heir to the throne and went on to be the most notorious king in England’s history. My story takes Arthur’s sudden death and builds an entire new paranormal story around it.

My Shakespeare English professors whose words and wisdom has stuck with me for the last score of years. My love for England, especially the dirty, dark streets of London. It has always held a rather special charm. Several authors and storytellers over the last two decades, but Gail Carriger’s SOULLESS finally inspired me to actually put pen to paper. Brilliant work, that.
Between SOULLESS, the growing popularity of the genre, the wonderful aesthetic that it comes with, and my long time love for the original Steampunk crew: H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Mary Shelley, I knew that I had found a home for my story.
About The Book:

Arthur has made his existence as a vampire bearable for over three hundred years by immersing himself in blood and debauchery. Aboard an airship gala, he meets Avalon, an aspiring vampire slayer who sparks fire into Arthur’s shriveled heart. Together they try to solve the mystery of several horrendous murders on the dark streets of London. Cultures clash and pressures rise in this sexy Steampunk Romance.
About The Author:

O. M. Grey is rather camera shy and is a complete novice when it comes to modern technology. She prefers to live in the cobwebbed corners of her dark mind writing paranormal romance with a Steampunk twist.
When she’s not writing, she’s reading or tending the garden or drinking a hot cup of tea.
Just two drops, please.
Where you can find more info on O.M. Grey and 'Avalon Revisited' :

There is a contest on the author's blog to win a pair of cool STEAMPUNK goggles! Go on over and see how.

Review: Kissing Frogs In Cyberspace by Dianne Sweeney


About The Book:
In today’s age of virtual “hook-ups” and online encounters, it is no surprise that there are thousands of websites devoted to Internet dating.

Told in a series of vignettes, Kissing Frogs in Cyberspace, Dianne Sweeney’s revealing account of dating in the 21st century takes you on a hilarious, often poignant journey of online dates, dumps, and disasters. As she discovers the world of Internet dating is blessed by those seeking true love and plagued by those just “seeking.” Kissing Frogs in Cyberspace uncovers the reality of online dating-its pleasures, its horrors, and all the quirky stuff in between.
My Thoughts:
Loved this one! It was a hilarious memoir that gave us insight into the world of online dating. Let me tell you...I can relate! Dianne's story was real and spot on! I love that she included chat logs and emails. They were funny and oh so true. I don't know how many of you have tried online dating, but whether you have or haven't you really should check out this book.
I think I loved it because it was funny and you can relate to it. I myself actually met up with my husband online. (OK I love to tell the story but I'll keep it condensed) My husband was actual a "boyfriend" of mine when we were about 13. We hadn't seen each other in a few years...after a break up (not directly after of course) I went online and started chatting. Long story short...we figured out who the other was; he came to visit me two days later and never left. That was 7 1/2 years ago LOL!
So yeah, you never know what will happen in cyberspace, but if your ever looking for a funny POV on those cyber-weirdo's you meet, then this book is for you!
A question for all you lovely readers: I must know...do ya'll have any interesting cyber stories?
**Thanks to the author for the review copy and Pump Up Your Book for organizing the blog tour.

Review: My Own Personal Soap Opera by Libby Malin (arc)



Product ISBN: 9781402229428

Price: $13.99

Publication Date: April 2010
About The Book:
Is life stranger than fiction, or vice versa?Frankie McNally has found the perfect solution for life’s perplexing problems: as head writer for the daytime soap Lust for Life, she works them out on the air!

Meanwhile, Frankie’s being courted simultaneously by the dashing older man sent in to save the show’s sagging ratings and by the soap’s totally hot leading man. And just when Frankie thinks the plot couldn’t get more complicated, a jewel thief starts copying the show’s storyline-a development that could send the show’s ratings soaring, if it doesn’t get Frankie arrested first...

In her signature blending of the hilarious with the poignant, Libby Malin’s latest light-hearted novel combines the best of life and of fiction into an entertaining and incredibly satisfying read.
My Thoughts:
This one was a fun and enjoyable read. I liked the main character Frankie; she was a "power woman" in her business.
I grew up watching the "soaps" with my granny (as I'm sure a lot of us were forced to watch LOL) and I always thought they were scandolous. Reading about the inside world of the soap operas was entertaining.
It seems to me like there were a few points in the story that were left open? Maybe for the reader to form their own conclusions?
What I did really enjoy was Libby's humorous writing style. While I enjoyed the story itself; I think I enjoyed Malin's writing better.
Overall, I thought it was a good read...probably something that soap opera fans will enjoy.
**review copy provided by Sourcebooks

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Treasures In My Mailbox!

Mailbox meme's are hosted by The Printed Page and The Story Siren.



So I had an excellent book week this week and received several fun children's books!
Children's for review:
Blessings (giveaway with this one!)
A Tree For Emmy (reviewed and giveaway is open!)
Let's Have a Daddy Day
A Place For Frogs
A Big, Big Dream
YA for review:
Still Sucks To Be Me
The Turning: What Curiosity Kills
Adult Fiction for review:
Past Imperfect
Learning to Stand
Ironman 2 (giveaway coming!)
Forbidden Passion (giveaway coming for this one also!)
Thanks to the various bookish people who sent these my way!
So it was a fun week...what did you get in your mailbox or at the store? Leave a comment or link so I can check you out!

Winners!


I have plenty of winners to announce today!
If you see your name here then please email me with your mailing addy and the name of the book you've won.
Email me: ksg_amg(at)yahoo.com
This One Is Mine
#8 Simply Stacie
#11 Collen Turner
The Girl She Used To Be
#16 Nelsby
Presumed Innocent
#15 Darcie K.
#7 Edna
Admission
#2 Tribute Books
#11 Cheryl F (The Lucky Ladybug)
Dark Deceptions
#19 Isi and Jas' Mom
Pixie13
This Little Prayer Of Mine
#6 Katrina
Congratulations to the winners! If you didn't win this time make sure to enter the rest of the giveaways I have listed!

Audiobook Giveaway: The Art Of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar

THE ART OF CHOOSING (Unabridged)
About The Book:
Every day we make choices. Coke or Pepsi? Save or spend? Stay or go? Whether mundane or life-altering, these choices define us and shape our lives. Sheena Iyengar asks the difficult questions about how and why we choose: Is the desire for choice innate or bound by culture? Why do we sometimes choose against our best interests? How much control do we really have over what we choose? Sheena Iyengar's award-winning research reveals that the answers are surprising and profound. In our world of shifting political and cultural forces, technological revolution, and interconnected commerce, our decisions have far-reaching consequences.
About The Author:
Sheena Iyengar's groundbreaking research on choice has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Security Education Program, as well as by private institutions. In 2001, she received the Presidential Early Career Award and in 2005 she was invited to serve as a fellow at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study. She holds degrees from UPenn, The Wharton School of Business, and Stanford University (from which she also received the prestigious Best Dissertation Award in 1998, for her work "Choice and its Discontents.") She is a professor at Columbia University. Iyengar's work is regularly cited in the media, in periodicals as diverse as Fortune and Time magazines, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, as well as on National Public Radio and in books such as Blink by Malcolm Gladwell and The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz. She lives in New York City.
I'll have a review coming up on this one so stay tuned for that!
Thanks to Anna @ The Hachette Book Group I have 3 copies of this one to giveaway!
If you'd like to enter please leave a comment along with your email addy.
-open to US and Canadian residents only
-NO PO Boxes
-Ends May 5th

Audiobook Review and Giveaway: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

About The Book:
While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.
My Review:
I'm putting my review of the book which I've read here. When I saw it offered on audio I knew I had to have it!
I'll say I enjoyed it as much or more on audio than I did reading it. It was excellent!

What a fantastic book! We followed the life of Abraham Lincoln in the most fascinating way ever! This is an "old" vampire story. By "old" I mean the vampires of bad dreams...not the Edwards and Bills of today.

Seth's book had me at times rethinking my history lessons because this one really sucks you in and makes it seem so real! It was like a history book with vampires added in so smoothly that it tricked my mind at times.

Honestly, if a really hip history teacher hands this book to your teenager (or you) I think you would LEARN something. I know I would have learned alot more about the Civil War! That's the thing about this book....Seth flawlessly ties in his fact and fiction so while you're highly entertained, you still walk away with something.

I LOVED it! I give it five stars, two thumbs up, and will keep this one on my shelf permanently!
Book Extras:
Listen to an Excerpt
View the Video
Download the iPhone App
Become a Fan on Facebook
Thanks to Anna @ The Hachette Book Group I have 3 copies of this one to giveaway! I am so excited about being able to share the Lincoln love!
If you want to enter answer this question:
What do YOU think about ol' Abe being a vampire hunter?
-please leave your email addy so I can contact you
-open to US and Canadian residents only
-NO PO Boxes
-Ends May 5th
**review copy provided by Hachette book group

Blogmania's Early Bird Checklist!

Blogmania Early Bird Check List:


We want all of our visiting guests in our first Blogmania Event scheduled for April 30th to Get On Their Marks-Get Set…


It’s not time to go yet, but if you want to have the most fun and scoop up as much loot as possible, here are a few Early Bird Reminders to help you do just that.


1. Be at any of the blogs participating in the Blogmania Event as early as possible on April 30th. The easiest way to find a Blogmania Blog is to look for the Blogmania Badge.


2. This is an international event, so understand that there will be some differences in time zones. My advice is to start early and stay late to catch all the blogs.


3. Each blog will have their own giveaway requirements. Read them carefully, follow through, and then move on as quickly as possible.If you run across a blog that you really like and want to spend sometime exploring, copy their URL and then visit them after Blogmania is over.


4. We will have a 100+ blogs for you to visit. Each one will post their number like this. ( This is blog 47 of 100) This is to help you keep track of which blogs you’ve visited, and which ones you still need to reach. I’d suggest that you prepare a blog sheet which is numbered from 1 – 120, then mark off each numbered blog as you visit them.


5. All blog links provided will also have a number like (Blog 89 of 100). Look for the blogs that you haven’t yet visited and follow those links until you’ve checked off all the blogs on your sheet.


6. We have all types of blogs participating in Blogmania, which means that the range of items in their giveaways are diverse. I have previewed many and they are awesome.


7. Why not contact a friend and partner up. Compare notes, share loot, or organize your own friendly neighborhood Blogmania Competition.


This is our first Blogmania Event, but it isn’t our last.

Blogmania is a bi-yearly Giveaway Extravaganza. In fact, our next Blogmania Event will start September 15th, and do we have some cool stuff planned for you! So keep in touch with our Blogmania Blogs, because they will be giving sneak previews, secret codes, and who knows what else in the weeks and months ahead.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Review: Rock Stars by David Grant



About Rock Stars:

Rock Stars is a look back and forward with the glam metal singers from the eighties. Accompanied by illustrations of each singer, Rock Stars takes a tongue and cheek look at both the careers and music created during this time.
Twenty-eight mini-profiles detailing strengths, weaknesses, and X factors ranging from Kip Winger’s hair, David Lee Roth’s use of the microphone, to Bret Michaels reality series comeback. Think Behind The Music on cocaine.





My Thoughts:

I Wanna Rock!....after reading this book!

It's a definite walk down memory lane for the early MTV; rock concert generation.


Although I really enjoyed the history, trivia, and flashbacks given to me, I would recommend this one for the guy who has everything!

This would make a great gift: Who doesn't want to recapture their youth or for the music lovers to read up on legendary artists and their work.

I want to blow out my hair, put on spandex (which I can say in all honesty is a BAD idea...), slap on too much makeup, and go listen to some Poison!

Rock On!





About The Author:

David S. Grant was born in West Allis, WI. He is the author of Corporate Porn, BleachBlackout, The Last Breakfast, Happy Hour, Hollywood Ending, and the short story collection Emotionless Souls. David lives and works in New York City where he continues to bang his head to the glam gods of the eighties.

You can find David online at www.davidsgrant.com and the book’s website at www.rockstarbooks.net.


**review copy provided by the author

Guest Post by David Grant author of "Rock Stars" (and a pic of Bret Michaels!)

OK readers...I LOVE Bret Michaels (yep I was a big-haired kid LOL) and I grew up listening to bands like Poison. I'm pretty sure some of my family members (who shall remain unnamed) are still stuck in the 80's, so when this one came up for review I jumped on it! David sent this guest post and YAY I get the opportunity to post a picture of Bret! Now yes, he's the same age as my mom and dad but you know what....I don't care! No, I don't!
Now on to the post and some info about David's book!

The Unauthorized Story of Bandanas and Poison by David S. Grant

The story of Poison starts in the industrial town Mechanicsburg , Pennsylvania . With a name like that do we really need to say “industrial”? For those unfamiliar with this town, it’s just west of Hardhatville.

In 1985, Bret Michaels (vocals), Rikki Rockett (drums), Bobby Dall (bass), and Matt Smith (guitar) set out for the Los Angeles Sunset Strip, determined to make it as the next big hair band. Initially, the band struggled to survive; Matt Smith specifically couldn’t handle the poverty and left for back East. During this time Bret Michaels states that his only possession was a toothbrush. Behind The Music: One Toothbrush and Six Bandanas – The Bret Michaels Story.

With Smith’s departure, the band started looking for a new guitarist. In the end their search came down to C.C. Deville and Slash. Slash was clearly the better guitar player, but C.C. had that over the top glam look the band coveted. Essentially, Poison picked make-up over substance. This decision would end up being one of the most significant events in eighties heavy metal music. Not only was C.C. the right pick for Poison, but not taking Slash off the market proved to be more important, keeping the door open for him to join Guns N’ Roses, just months later.

Early on, Poison made a conscious decision to wear more make-up, tease their hair higher, and increase Aqua Net sales more than the other hair bands. The release of their first album, Look What the Cat Dragged In, would introduce the world to this glam foursome. The album depicted four head shots of the band, leading to criticism that they ripped off the cover idea from Motley Crue’s Shout at the Devil, which actually, was ripped off from The Beatles, Let It Be album. The cover would also lead to several debates. First, were these in fact men? After establishing that yes, in fact, these are men, the discussion would turn to which was prettiest of the group? Most of the time it was Rikki Rockett, edging out Bret Michaels in the beauty contest. I believe the amount of eye shadow Rikki used had a direct impact on this outcome.

Their first video, “Talk Dirty to Me” showed the band in full costume and make-up, rolling around a stage. No audience, just the band on a sound stage. With what would be become the patented “Jump and Roll” move, a choreographed step meant to show band unity and rock n’ roll at the same time, Poison was not only for metal heads, but the mainstream MTV audience as well. With several costume, headband, and hat changes it was clear that their look and catchy hooks with sex and rebellion at the core would carry a band that noticeably wasn’t breaking down any walls musically. The video did so well they created the same video over and over. The format used for “I Want Action” and then “Nothing But a Good Time” continued with the band on stage (no crowd), rolling around in between costume changes. Later, “Unskinny Bop” would use a similar format, only with a bigger stage and digital girls placed on the sides of Michaels. It was the image being marketed more than the music and it was genius, cementing Poison as one of the biggest bands of the eighties.

The videos showcased the talents of each member in the band. Rikki Rockett’s primary talent was playing the drums while standing. In “Talk Dirty to Me” we even see girls holding up the drums Rikki is playing, very unconventional and much cooler than playing while sitting. Bobby Dall was the trouble maker, the bad kid of the group. We know this because he is the one always smoking cigarettes in the videos. He plays the same role as the bad kid in the boy bands, usually the one that grows a beard. Despite lacking in the shredding category, C.C. Deville’s skills of guitar throwing and ability to spin on the floor while playing a solo are second to no one. It’s important to note that sometime during their third album C.C. decided to start wearing trench coats. This phase lasted approximately two years with no reason given. Someday I would like to see this explored further. Bret Michaels’ job description included strutting, thrusting, subtle looks into the camera, and the ability to coordinate many hats and bandanas with spandex and leather. Both Dall and Michaels were fans of cowboy hats, but they were never worn at the same time because that would look foolish.

The second album, Open Up and Say Ahhh!, included the ballad “Every Rose Has its Thorn”, a soft song written by Bret Michaels in a laundromat after a bad breakup with a stripper. In the video, a concert montage, we see the bittersweet side of life on the road. In one scene Bret is walking off the stage and throws a towel into the face of a roadie. Just minutes later we see Michaels throw a plastic cup of beer at a chalkboard that reads POISON. Chilling scenes. Regardless of the video, this song captured the broken hearts of teenagers across the globe, placing this song in history as the ballad of all ballads.

Poison’s third album surprised many when they listened to the song “Something to Believe in”; a sweet song about a friend that had gone off to war and died. This song proved that Poison could in fact write about something other than sex. A serious video accompanied the song. The seriousness of each Poison video was told by the number of crosses Michaels wore around his neck. The next single, “Life Goes On”, also had a video that this time featured Michaels wearing two crosses, proving to be their most serious song to date. However, this video didn’t capture the sweetness of the previous ballad, coming off as cheesy with neon words and images of the band members floating across the screen.

In 1991, Poison played the MTV Video Award show. Backstage a fight broke out between C.C. Deville and Bret Michaels, leading to an eight year break-up of the band. The grunge movement and drug use (C.C. had developed quite the cocaine habit at this point) was blamed, but I still believe the video for “Life Goes On” was the initial sign of this band breaking up.

A couple greatest hits albums would be released before the band patched up their differences and got back together in 1999. Touring and playing their old hits, Poison was again back and a hit with their fans. Since 2000 Poison has released the albums Crack a Smile, Power to the People, Hollyweird, and Poison’d, the latter a collection of covers. None of these albums approached the success of the first three albums. It was the first three albums where credit should be given for writing the same song (about sex) over and over again, yet somehow making it fresh enough that you wanted to listen. Michaels’ gift to write catchy hooks left after the third album. Despite only three major albums, Poison has over fifteen million records sold, making them the fifth most successful rock band from the eighties behind AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue, and Def Lepard.

In addition to the constant touring (they continue to tour as a band with other eighties acts) the band has also penetrated reality television. In 2006 C.C. Deville starred in the VH1 show, The Surreal Life, a show that takes B-list (and C-list) celebrities and places them into a house together for a month. Deville entered the house immediately after completing rehab for his cocaine addiction. It’s unclear if at the time C.C. thought this was one of the twelve steps.
Bret Michaels has taken reality television to a new level with his VH1 show Rock of Love. The purpose of the show is to put many women in one house and Bret gets to sleep with them, often more than one at a time. That is the point, right? Put it this way: Have you ever been in a gentlemen’s club with a guy who dated one of the dancers? It is uncomfortable. Now what if that guy had slept with all of the dancers? This is the territory Bret Michaels treaded during the show. In three seasons Michaels set multiple viewing records for the network as well as introducing us to Big John, Bret’s glorified security guard who also added babysitter for the girls (when Bret wasn’t nailing them) to his resume. Rock of Love also gave the viewers at home a new drinking game, taking a shot of tequila whenever Michaels said the word awesome. In addition to his VH1 franchise, Bret is taking his suitcase of bandanas to Celebrity Apprentice, a show hosted by Donald Trump, where millionaire contestants try not to get fired. But it’s not all dollars and roses for Bret. Sadly, he still has not found his rock of love.

Poison was and continues to be a band that defines the eighties hair bands and the rock star party hard attitude from this genre. A band that understood the glam look (pushing make-up and hair styles to a level early glam acts Motley Crue and Ratt only dreamed) and choreographed moves on video was more important than the actual music being produced. After Poison hit it big, many other bands joined and used their template for success; leading to the saturation of hair bands and the eventual bubble breaking in the early nineties.

David S. Grant is the author of several books including Rock Stars, Happy Hour, and Corporate Porn. For more information go to: http://www.rockstarbooks.net or http://www.davidsgrant.com.


About The Book:

Rock Stars is a look back and forward with the glam metal singers from the eighties. Accompanied by illustrations of each singer, Rock Stars takes a tongue and cheek look at both the careers and music created during this time.
Twenty-eight mini-profiles detailing strengths, weaknesses, and X factors ranging from Kip Winger’s hair, David Lee Roth’s use of the microphone, to Bret Michaels reality series comeback. Think Behind The Music on cocaine



About The Author:

David S. Grant was born in West Allis, WI. He is the author of Corporate Porn, BleachBlackout, The Last Breakfast, Happy Hour, Hollywood Ending, and the short story collection Emotionless Souls. David lives and works in New York City where he continues to bang his head to the glam gods of the eighties.