Better To Have Loved by Christy Jackson Nicholas

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Better To Have Loved by Christy Jackson Nicholas
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Historical, Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: Full Length (297 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by: Rose

Based on a true story.

In 1967, Julie was searching for adventure. What she found was herself, alone and pregnant, in a foreign country.

In 1985, Kristen was searching for her father. But did he want to be found?

Follow these two young women in a tale of a 30 year search for true love.

An interesting tale.

This story is told in alternating POVs— Julie, who in the 1960s, lived an adventurous life and found herself pregnant, alone, and in a strange county—and Kristen, a child in the 1980s on a search for the father she never knew. The book is based on the author’s and her mother’s own lives and the author’s search for her father. Other elements have been added to the story to fictionalize it and make it fuller.

There were a lot of good elements in the book—some of the writing was exquisite—and the juxtaposition of the two story lines is an interesting plot element which kept me reading to the end.

I had trouble fully connecting with the characters, though, because there was a lot more “telling” than “showing”. I never really felt like I was in either characters’ skin or walking their walk which might have invested me more in their journey. The majority of that issue was from the telling, but part of it was because, I feel, of the switching back and forth between the characters.

The story itself is interesting—and I have to admit to being curious about the Church that Julie worked for. I would be interested in trying more of the author’s work to see if the telling is limited to this memoir-style work.

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NACHO FIGUERAS PRESENTS: HIGH SEASON by Jessica Whitman – Spotlight

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher.

5_31 High Season_RGB300_1World-renowned polo player and global face of Ralph Lauren, Nacho Figueras dives into the world of scandal and seduction with a new fiction series set in the glamorous, treacherous world of high-stakes polo competition.

Georgia never wanted to be a jetsetter. A plain old country vet was fine for her. But one distress call from her best friend and the next thing she knows she’s neck deep in the world of polo’s most elite international players–complete with designer dresses, fine champagne and some of the most gorgeous thoroughbreds she’s ever seen. Some of the most gorgeous men too…

Alejandro Del Campo needs his team to win the season’s biggest polo tournament or else he’s not sure how much longer they’re going to be in business. What he doesn’t need is some sassy new vet telling him how to run his business–and distracting him at every turn. But as they come closer and closer to the championship match, it soon becomes clear that Alejandro wants to win Georgia just as much as the tourney trophy. But can he ever convince her his world is where she truly belongs?

Enjoy an excerpt:

The horse let out a whinny, and Alejandro swore softly in Spanish. The last thing he wanted to do was wake the entire barn. He slipped a halter on MacKenzie, the favorite in his current string of ponies, and led her out of the stables. The moon was bright in the sky as he swung onto the pony’s bare back. With a snort, she broke into a trot.

Approaching the gatehouse, Alejandro gave the guard a curt nod. He was determined not to seem furtive riding his own horse on his own time, but the guard’s professional discretion didn’t disguise his surprise that Alejandro was taking a pony out at night without a saddle. The Del Campo family team, La Victoria, had a match tomorrow, and with the odds already stacked against them, Alejandro knew he should be home in bed, not tiring out his best pony with a hard-riding midnight outing.

He couldn’t sleep, though. Not yet. It was one of those nights when the darkness weighed down and his mind raced on. He felt particularly caged in Wellington. Every last inch of the landscape was tamed. For all its luxury, he felt trapped by the gated community—his guards and staff and fleets of grooms—when what he needed was a solitary ride in the wilderness. That’s why he rode at night, willing to risk the hidden dangers on the dimly lit paths—the possibility of a shadowed dip in the earth where a hoof could catch, a nocturnal animal suddenly darting out in front of them and spooking his pony—in exchange for having the roads to himself. He needed to gallop, skin to skin, even if only for a short stretch, to lose himself in the strength and speed of his horse. To reach that soaring, unifying moment that felt less like riding and more like flying, when he and the horse joined together to become one seamless beast.

Alejandro turned onto the canal road, leaned forward, and tightened his thighs—clicking his tongue and murmuring in Spanish until the pony’s gait smoothed out into a fluid gallop.

MacKenzie picked up speed, responding to his movements as if she could read his mind. Alejandro smiled. This pony loved to run. She was one of the few horses who could sustain this kind of pace and still be in world-class form the next morning. MacKenzie was such a fighter that she seemed to gain more fire, more heart, with every step she took. He’d find a role for her in the match tomorrow. She needed the game as much as he did.

He pressed his legs harder, driving the horse faster, determined to calm his buzzing mind and push his body until he could collapse, exhausted. It was practically the only way he could get any sleep these days.

It didn’t use to be so hard, he thought, slowing to a canter. He’d always slept like a baby after they won a match, but Lord knows, those wins were few and far between these days. A few glasses of wine occasionally worked, but he’d stopped drinking as part of his training, knowing that even if the alcohol initially brought him relief, he’d be wide awake a few hours later, eyes on the ceiling, while ghosts and shadows chased through his brain . . .

He shook his head, wishing for other ways to exhaust himself.

A string of images flashed through his mind. The sweet, silken curve of an inner thigh. The beckoning swell between waist and hip. A flirtatious smile thrown over a naked shoulder, inviting him to take what he wanted . . .

He swore to himself and rode harder, violently shutting down this train of thought and replacing it with the simple conviction he had come to focus on since the death of his wife—he had to win. And in particular, he had to qualify for and win the biggest game of the season, the upcoming Carlos Del Campo Memorial Cup, named after his own late father.

In determined pursuit of this goal, Alejandro had turned to abstinence in this last year, in every sense of the word. He had given up most earthly pleasures—drinking, women, unnecessary socializing, anything that could distract him from the game—and channeled all his restless feelings of grief and anger directly into his training. Spending every spare moment in the saddle, mercilessly pushing his already hard and athletic body as close to perfection as he could get, riding until he could barely walk. And yet, despite his absolute focus on the field, La Victoria had already lost more games than they had won this season, making a mockery of their name.

Alejandro wanted to blame his other teammates. If only they would train harder, pay better attention, be willing to sacrifice more. His younger brother, Sebastian, for example, could barely bother to turn up for practice most days, much more interested in taking advantage of the endless parade of polo groupies that were at his beck and call. Rory, the other young pro on the field, was talented but suggestible, and only too eager to follow Seb’s party-happy lead. Lord Henderson, the patrón, had once been a formidable athlete, but a lifetime of hard playing had taken its toll on the older man, and these days, like many patróns, it was more his ability to bankroll half of the team’s expenses that secured his place on the field. Really, when Alejandro thought about it, it was a miracle they ever won a game.

Still, deep down, he knew that, as team captain, the responsibility for their losses ultimately lay upon his own shoulders. And that, despite his absolute personal focus and relentless pursuit of the cup, he was somehow failing them all.

Alejandro kicked his pony on, trying to shake loose his feelings of uncertainty and loss, to shed them like scales in his wake. The heavy sound of MacKenzie’s hoofbeats, the dull thump of his own heart pounding, all resounded as one. Behind them, motes of sand kicked up by MacKenzie’s hooves briefly danced in the moonlight and sparked a glimmering silver trail.

He rode until his body felt leaden, his muscles ached, and the sultry Florida air had soaked his shirt all the way through. Finally, turning for home, he felt the pull of his bed and knew that now he’d rest and get at least a few hours of sleep before he was up and ready to show the world his game face again.

About Nacho Figueras:5_31 FigurerasNacho2_byClaudioMarinesco_RGB72Argentine polo player Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras has become one of the most recognizable and talented polo players in the world. He is currently the captain and co-owner of the Black Watch polo team. In addition to playing polo, Nacho has been featured as a face of Ralph Lauren and its Black Watch clothing and watch collection since 2000. In June 2009, he was voted the second most handsome man in the world by the readers of Vanity Fair and has appeared on numerous television shows, such as Oprah and Chelsea Handler. Nacho currently splits his time between Miami and Argentina with his wife, Delfina and their four children, Hilario, Aurora, Artemio, and Alba.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, or IndieBound.

My Pet Peeves by Libby Fischer Hellmann – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Libby will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Some of My Pet Peeves
Writing pet peeves:

 Writers who repeat the same mistakes over and over

 Mistakes in grammar and punctuation (even though I know I am guilty of it myself)

 Misspellings… I am a pretty good speller so I suppose I’m a spelling snob.

 Reading a blurb about a book that says it’s the best thing since sliced bread then being disappointed in the story and/or writing.

In general

 People who are not courteous – the increasing lack of civility, courtesy, and good manners makes me very sad.

 Traffic (I used to tell my kids the ONLY time it was acceptable to curse was when you’re stuck in traffic)

 Narcissists – I think that speaks for itself.

MediaKit_BookCover_JumpCutChicago video producer, Ellie Foreman, has been absent from thriller author Libby Fischer Hellmann’s repertoire for almost a decade. Now she’s back…and soon entangled in a web of espionage, murder and suspicion that threatens to destroy what she holds most dear. Hired to produce a candyfloss profile of Chicago-based aviation giant, Delcroft, Ellie is dismayed when company VP Charlotte Hollander, the architect of a new anti-drone system for Delcroft, trashes the production and cancels the project. Ellie believes Hollander was spooked by shots of a specific man in the video footage. But when Ellie arranges to meet the man to find out why, he’s killed by a subway train before they can talk. In the confusion, she finds a seemingly abandoned pack of cigarettes with a flash drive inside that belonged to the now dead man.

Ellie has the drive’s contents decrypted, but before long she discovers she’s under surveillance. Suspecting Delcroft and the ambitious Hollander are behind it, she’s unconvinced when Hollander tells her the dead man was a Chinese spy. Ellie and her boyfriend Luke try to find answers, but they don’t realize how far into the dangerous echelons of hidden power they have ventured. When Ellie’s daughter is kidnapped and Charlotte Hollander disappears, it becomes terrifyingly clear that Ellie is in way over her head, and more lives are on the line, including her own.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Monday

Before my gangstah-rap neighbor emptied his AK-47 into his buddy, the most exciting thing to happen in our village was the opening of a new grocery store. The store hired a pianist who played Beatles tunes, no doubt to persuade shoppers to part with their money more easily. My neighbor, rapper King Bling, was helping his fans part with their money too, but the shooting ended all that. Once he made bail, he moved and hasn’t been heard from since.

And so it goes in my little corner of the North Shore, about twenty miles from downtown Chicago. There are benefits. The King, as he’s known to his disciples, gave our cops something to do besides ticket speeders. And the new grocery store gave me the chance to buy prepared dinners so I could dispense with cooking.

Both of which come in handy when I’m producing a video, as was the case now. We didn’t finish the shoot until seven. I raced up the expressway toward home, dropped into the store, and was eyeballing a turkey pot roast—the only one left—when my cell trilled. I fished it out of my bag.

“Mom, where did you get the shoes?” I heard chatter and giggles in the background.

“What shoes, Rachel?”

“The ones you gave Jackie.” My daughter, Rachel, had successfully, if unbelievably, graduated from college and lived in an apartment in Wrigleyville. Jackie was her roommate. “Everybody thinks they’re awesome.”

About the Author:Libby Fischer Hellmann left a career in broadcast news in Washington, DC and moved to Chicago 35 years ago, where she, naturally, began to write gritty crime fiction. Twelve novels and twenty short stories later, she claims they’ll take her out of the Windy City feet first. She has been nominated for many awards in the mystery and crime writing community and has even won a few. *

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_JumpCutWith the addition of Jump Cut in 2016, her novels include the now five-volume Ellie Foreman series, which she describes as a cross between “Desperate Housewives” and “24;” the hard-boiled 4-volume Georgia Davis PI series, and three stand-alone historical thrillers that Libby calls her “Revolution Trilogy.” Her latest release, The Incidental Spy, is a historical novella set during the early years of the Manhattan Project at the U of Chicago. Her short stories have been published in a dozen anthologies, the Saturday Evening Post, and Ed Gorman’s “25 Criminally Good Short Stories” collection.

* She has been a finalist twice for the Anthony, twice for Foreword Magazines Book of the Year, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Daphne and has won the Lovey multiple times.

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Buy The Incidental Spy, Sept. 2015 and Jump Cut at Amazon.
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Author Interview: Tara Wyatt

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Tara Wyatt who is visiting with us today.

Tara enjoyed writing short stories when she was a kid and teenager and, while she was in university, she took a creative writing class.

“I was a chronic non-finisher of projects,” she admitted, “and finally, about 3 years ago, I got serious about writing and haven’t looked back.”

Tara told me that sometimes she suffers from writer’s block and that if she’s stuck, it usually means she’s taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way.

“So, I’ll go back and try to figure out what that wrong turn was. Maybe a character did something that doesn’t fit with who they are. Maybe I included a scene that doesn’t belong. Once I figure out where the problem is, and I fix it, I can move forward.”

Typically, Tara writes in her office at home. I asked her to tell us about it.

“It’s the smallest bedroom in our house, and I have a pretty white corner desk where I sit. There’s also a bookcase (overstuffed with romance novels) and a comfy armchair that my dog usually naps in while I’m writing. Sometimes, I need a change of scenery, and I’ll write in the living room, or the basement. I write almost exclusively at home. I find I can’t focus if I try to write in a coffee shop or other public place.”

She has a full-time job, so she mainly writes in the evenings and on the weekends.

“I try to write for at least two hours a day, and for much longer stretches on weekends when I’m able,” she told me.

Tara is kind of a hybrid of pantser and plotter, although she leans much more heavily towards pantser. She comes up with the characters first and a very general outline of the story.

“I know where I’m going (I know what some of the bigger things are: the first kiss, the first time they have sex, the black moment, etc.), but I can’t tell you specific scenes when I’m just starting out,” she said. “Typically, I’m thinking a few scenes ahead, but not usually more than that.”

“Do you listen to music while writing?” I asked.

“Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on my mood, and if I have song that inspired the scene I’m working on. I do find music really inspirational, and I make soundtracks for all my books. Primal Instinct has mainly classic rock on the soundtrack, so I was listening to a lot of stuff like The Eagles, ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones when I was writing it.”

If she were going to adapt her newest book, Primal Instinct, into a movie, she would cast
Jensen Ackles (from Supernatural) as Colt…”so yummy!” she said… and Caity Lotz (from Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow) as Taylor.

Finally, I asked, “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”

“I would suggest joining a writers’ circle or critique group and finding people to exchange work with—you’ll learn lots from other aspiring writers. If you’re writing romance, join RWA and find your local chapter. Enter contests, if you can. I learned a ton from the feedback I got from contest entries. Take online classes—both RWA and Romance University offer different ones. Finish what you’ve started. Having a finished manuscript is a huge first step toward getting published. And finally, read. Read voraciously.”

5_31 tara book coverThe first time he lays eyes on Taylor Ross in a bar, Colt Priestley does something few men would dare to do. He approaches the world-famous singer, shamelessly flirts with her, and gives her a night in his bed that neither of them will soon forget.

When Taylor’s record label hires a bodyguard to keep tabs on the out-of-control rocker, she’s less than thrilled to find it’s her off-the-charts one-night stand who shows up for the job. She’s terrified of letting herself fall for the damaged ex-Army Ranger, and she’s determined to push him away. Yet every moment they’re together simmers with tension. As the danger from an obsessed stalker mounts, Taylor and Colt are tempted to cross that line again-baring their hearts and souls as well as their bodies-and there’s no telling how hot this song will get.


About the Author: Tara Wyatt is the author of The Bodyguards series, published by Forever Romance. Her debut novel, Necessary Risk, was published February 2016. Known for her humor and steamy love scenes, Tara’s writing has won several awards, including the Unpublished Winter Rose, the Linda Howard Award of Excellence, and the Heart of the West. A librarian by day and romance writer by night, Tara lives in Hamilton, Ontario with her dog and husband.

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Straight To Heaven by Christine Young

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Straight To Heaven by Christine Young
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Historical, Time Travel
Length: Full (389 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

Running from demons, Alexandra McMurdie stumbles into Forbidden Ground where up is down and elements of nature are contested. Though a strong independent woman in the twenty-first century’ she is unprepared for life in the 1800s. Her first sight of the formidable James Lawrence makes her heart skip a beat, giving her cause to reconsider her desperate need to find a way home.

Born with a silver spoon, James’ life was torn apart during the War Between the States. Moving west he vows to put the life he once knew in the past. When he discovers a half-frozen woman near Gold Hill, his heart begins to thaw. His love for Alexandra and his need to keep her from a man who has pursued her through time might cost him his life as well as hers.

A solid entry into the time travel genre.

James, an honorable man who was left damaged by the Civil war makes a wonderful hero. His honor is indisputable, as shown the by the way he devotedly takes care of his young, orphaned niece, Jessie.

Alexandra is a sweet woman who is pursued through time by a villain who wants her for his own. She unexpectedly falls into a vortex when running from him in 2015 and finds herself in the past, just following the end of the war between the states.

The villain, Sean Cassidy, is truly reprehensible. And single minded. All he wants is Alexandra, and he doesn’t care what he has to do to get her.

I enjoyed watching Alex trying to find her way around the past. It’s remarkable how many little slang sayings make no sense out of context, like when she wants to keep James from the treehouse where she and Jessie are talking, and gives as her reason that “it’s Grand Central Station” up there. Of course, the way women behave now and how they were expected to behave in the late 1800s was also an issue. Ms. Young does a good job painting the past through Alex’s eyes.

The romance between James and Alex is bittersweet, since Alex intends on returning to her own time. But neither can help falling for the other and it’s sweet and heartbreaking and helps both James and Jessie to heal from their emotional wounds.

The only “complaint” I had with the story is that James is so good and Sean Cassidy is so bad. I wish James had been more flawed and that the villain had a few redeemable qualities. Oh, and the other thing that made me a bit crazy is how the author seldom referred to him as simply “Sean” and mostly called him by his full name, Sean Cassidy. Not only did it feel a bit odd, but every time it happened I ended up picturing him as the teen idol from my youth.

Overall, though, Straight To Heaven was a well-written, interesting book that should appeal the time travel romance fans. And it should certainly touch your heart. It did mine.

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Descended from Dragons by Tricia Owens – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Tricia Owens will be awarding a $75 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_DescendedFromDragonsBeneath the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas lies another city. A secret city in plain sight, full of warlocks and demons, shape-shifters and golems. A city that feeds off the chance magick that is generated by gamblers and which is ruled by mysterious beings called the Oddsmakers.

It is in this strange underbelly of the occult that Anne Moody runs a cursed pawn shop for the desperate, the curious, and the magickally inclined. Though the job is boring, it keeps her under the radar. None of her customers have any inkling that she is a dragon sorceress with a power that’s been feared throughout history. However dragons are no help when a stone statue ends up in her shop that is more than it appears. The statue is a gargoyle named Vale, who is shrouded in mystery and secrets. When she learns that Vale is possessed, and that the person responsible for cursing him plans to take over Las Vegas with a horde of demons from Hell, Anne realizes it is up to her to defy the Oddsmakers and save the city, and possibly the world.

Enjoy an excerpt:

After silently parting the bead curtain I paused just at the threshold, listening. The shop was spooky enough without the lights on thanks to all the strange silhouettes, but knowing that half the objects were also cursed gave me another reason to shiver as I panned my gaze over the place.

Tick tick tick

I sent Lucky toward the sound. My dragon flew a loose circle around the left side of the room. That narrowed it down a bit, not that I felt comfortable putting my back to everything that was on the other side of the room. I displayed a few katanas and items that could be used as weapons there, but thankfully none of them were cursed with movement. At least, I hoped not. I guess I’d find out for certain when a spear pierced my back.

A fluttering sound, like the flapping of thick canvas, made me instinctively drop into a crouch. Lucky reared up, ready to attack. But nothing flew overhead. Breathing shallowly, I crawled toward the counter. I’d feel safer behind it and with the wall at my back.

As I rounded the counter, I realized I knew what had had made the noise. The only new thing in my inventory was the gargoyle statue. When I raised my eyes above the countertop, the gargoyle was gone from where it had sat. The cameos were quick to offer their opinions.

“You met the love of your life today…”

“…he’ll try to kill you, Anne Moody.”

“The cursed shall pay, Anne Moody!”

Yep, the damn gargoyle statue had come to life and was flying around Moonlight. Definitely a way to make me remember you, Christian.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_DescendedFromDragonsTricia Owens wants you to know that Las Vegas is actually a pretty cool place and you won’t be eaten by a troll there. Probably. A former casino games dealer and cruise ship editor, Tricia has traveled extensively, visiting over 70 countries. She writes full time in several genres including urban fantasy and romance. Her favorite setting is her home town, the city of sin.

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Buy the book at Amazon.

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Stare Him Down by Riley Murphy – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Riley will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

TOP This Dom’s life is turned upside down when he agrees to enter into a modern-day marriage of convenience with a woman who’s sassy and vanilla.

Only problem?

She’s not vanilla. And the side of sassy she comes with is sure to get them both into trouble when he finds out.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She closed her eyes and softly banged her head against the door. If she didn’t get the romantic ball rolling with him soon, her every chance with him could disappear. She hated having to throw Logan in the ring every time to get a reaction from James, but damn, how else could she…?

Suddenly another idea came to her.

She opened her eyes and looked down at the package. Did she dare?

The sounds of James moving around in the room next door cemented her decision. Absolutely. She’d do it.

In fact, by the time she’d washed up, unpacked the box of toys, and had given them a thorough going over, she’d convinced herself that James had really left her with no choice in the matter.

*

James got into bed and was determined to push thoughts of his in-name-only wife out of his mind. He was ready to count imaginary sheep, pennies, bouncing balls, real balls—damn—a picture of himself stationed quite happily between Michaela’s legs as he slammed into her over and over materialized—no.

“Think sheep. Count sheep. Sheep, sheep, sheep,” he whispered. Hoping to use this power of suggestion technique to his advantage. And it was working. He was slowly drifting off to sleep watching the…mechanical sheep? He tried to sink deeper into oblivion by overlooking the gears and metal parts that made the robotic animals leap effortlessly across the starlit landscape in his mind until…

He opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling. Why was he dreaming about mechanical—?

“Oooh…”

That soft moan woke him right up, and when he snapped into a sitting position he knew why he’d been dreaming about machines. Mickey had opened her package and if he didn’t miss his guess, that was a Hitachi humming away.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_StareHimDownRiley Murphy writes sexy, humorous, and emotional romance, happy ending guaranteed. An optimist, she believes life is amazing, people are complicated, but in a good way, and we should never stop learning. Riley currently calls Florida home with her gorgeous husband. She has two phenomenal kids, one adorable-to-the-max grandchild, and a very bossy pooch.

When Riley’s not working she enjoys reading, oil painting, and getting to the Sunday crossword before anyone else does, so she can fill-in all the easy answers first, and pull the smart card with the family.

Things Riley loves:

Writing books

Connecting with readers

Doing giveaways for her readers

Things Riley Hates:

Laundry. Seriously. She’d rather slam her fingers in a car door than do the dreaded bleach load.

A few of Riley’s favorite reviewer quotes:

If you love intellectual mind candy, read Ms. Murphy’s work!

Creative, profound and soul searing scenes abound…

One wonders if Ms. Riley is in the sex therapy and marriage counseling business as a day job. The D/s part of this story is Fabulous.

If Riley wasn’t an author she’d be an international spy with top-level security so she could have a peek at Area 51 and decide for herself if those green guys are for real. Failing that, she’d likely go with chicken sexer.

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Forbidden Heat by J.L. White – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. J.L. White will be awarding a $40 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_ForbiddenHeatThey call us the Firework Girls.

I’m Isabella. My comfort zone consists of a bank of test tubes and a Bunsen burner. But having to take a philosophy class to graduate from college—well, that’s causing a different kind of burn altogether. I mean, the hottest professor at Hartman is looking right at me.

Can you blame me for looking back?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Feeling dizzy, I back away from the table with heavy limbs. The girls I met don’t notice my departure but Justin Kirby does.

He’s right next to me with his hand on my lower back.

“I need to sit down,” I say.

“Okay sweetheart,” he says.

He steers me away, past an empty chair.

“Wait,” I say, but he leads me to the basement stairs and we start to go up. I’m having trouble managing them.

I mumble something as we wind through the crowd on the main floor, bumping against a shoulder here and an elbow there. The music is pounding. I feel it in my body, but it sounds muffled, along with all the other sounds in the room. He steers me up another flight of stairs. He has to put his arm around me to keep me from tripping on the steps.

What’s the matter with me?

There’s a long, dark hallway at the top, with several rooms breaking off on either side. Justin Kirby is practically dragging me along.

When he opens a door, I see a bed in the room and know I’m in trouble. I’m almost too out of it to panic properly.

All of a sudden, he half lets go of me, half shoves me into the doorjamb.

I hit my forehead on the wood, trying to hang on to something. There’s screaming and yelling—I’m hearing his voice, I think, and someone else’s, a woman’s voice—but it’s all confusion to me and now all I can do is think about the fact that I’m falling and can’t stop.

About the Author: J.L. White writes steamy romances featuring smart, sexy women and the swoon-worthy men who adore them. Her sexy love stories are full of passion but don’t skimp on the tenderness. She’s addicted to trendy coffee houses, poolside lounging, and HEAs. When not tapping blissfully away on her laptop, she takes time to enjoy life with her husband and their children.

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Forbidden Heat will be $0.99 during the tour. Buy Forbidden Heat (Firework Girls, Book 1) and Midnight Heat (Firework Girls, Book 2) at Amazon.

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Collective Ramblings Volume 1 Anthology

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Collective Ramblings Volume 1 Anthology by John Langmaack, Anthony Clark , Kayla Krantz, Ian Jordan, Dennis Barbee, Alexandra Peel, Virginia Carraway, David Martin, Jordan White, Jacky Liquori, Chris Todd, N.O.A. Rawle, Katie Cook, Steve Moore
Publisher: Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing Inc.
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (259 PAGES)
Rating: 5 stars
Review by: Rose

2015’s Twenty Short Story Contest winners assembled in one place. Five stories from each category (Super Powers, Deserted Island, Horror, and Labyrinth), including the top winners of each contest shown below.

The Era of Super Weapons – Roger, America’s super-soldier, embarks on what seemed a routine mission –until his enemies turn to allies against a horde revealing information that will turn the entire world on its head.

Synchronysi – A steampunk masterpiece. After her volunteer operation, a woman awakens to a world made entirely of tine crystals. As she travels the shining island, the product of her surgery reveals much more than she may be able to handle—neither the land of crystals nor the world from which she arrived are exactly what they seem.

Terrors Great and Small – A couple barricades themselves in their home to escape a viral outbreak carried by mosquito bites. As the days of panic and solitude stack up, they battle with both their own crumbling sanity and the terror of what really awaits them beyond their front door.

The Walls Are Alive – in a world where violent offenders are placed in a deadly, automated labyrinth—designed to let no one escape alive—the labyrinth’s caretaker steps inside for a routine maintenance. When the automation turns on him, he’s forced to run the maze like all the criminals he’s sent to their own demise.

This is an intriguing collection of short stories from four different categories—a wonderful mix of genres and styles. I enjoyed every story—and many of them left me wanting to read more about the characters and the worlds they are set in, so I’ll be checking out several of the authors to see what else they have available.

I love short stories because they are easy to read right before bed without investing the time a novel takes, but I have to admit that I ended up not reading just one story a night. The stories were so good that I didn’t want to stop reading!

It’s very hard to pick a favorite because the stories are all so different—and I could easily see many of them being my “favorite” depending on the mood I was in and what I was wanting to read. That said, some of my favorites are below.

“Heroes” by Ranger Reid. I would love to find out the circus freaks and where they all are now.

“Wake” by Anthony Morgan-Clark. This reads so much like a Twilight Zone show… gave me the shivers and I hope I never have to have surgery.

“Wrong Turns” by John Lanmaack. What a wonderful twist on a time travel story… love and redemption.

I’m looking forward to the next installment of short stories!

The Intergalactic Custody Battle by Lee J. Mavin – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lee J. Mavin will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN GC, 5 print copies of The Intergalactic Custody Battle (International Giveaway), and 10 print copies of The Diary of a 7th Grade Hybrid (International Giveaway) to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookBanner_TheIntergalacticCustodyBattleZiggy has been taken from away from Earth, stolen away so it seems to complete his training on another planet. Little does he know that his Alien father has grand plans for him, plans for him to take the royal throne and lead the Empire! Ziggy’s mother (a mere human) wants him back so she is going to fight for her Son’s custody, even if his father is the Emperor of an Alien race! An Alien race that has plans to expand its Intergalactic Empire. Ziggy’s best friend Hiroki, the tiny super genius, plans on finding Ziggy too, even if he does miss his year twelve math exams. The Intergalactic Custody Battle is the first of a trilogy that crosses the universe. Get ready for a wild ride across the galaxy!

Enjoy an excerpt:

Sigmund Zhao didn’t have a good memory. He was always forgetting things. He had barely scraped through Year Seven alive, trying to remember all those equations and diagrams in Science and Math. They kind of went in one ear and then out the other. It wasn’t just school either. Sigmund couldn’t remember a lot of things, like the different apartments and primary schools he had moved to all over Shanghai. He couldn’t even remember his mother’s birthday or even his own.

However he could remember one thing very well, the time his mother and father gave him the talk, the talk that no child wants to hear. It was the Divorce talk.

Sigmund remembered every word his mother had said.

‘I’m really sorry to tell you this, but your father and I are getting a divorce. Your father is going to move away for a while but this doesn’t mean he loves you any less. We are just not meant to be together.’

He remembered feeling alone and confused. He remembered crying for hours and hours. He even remembered shrinking down into the corner of the room, crawling like some sort of cockroach. Wait, that couldn’t be right. How could he have shrunk? That isn’t possible, is it?

But he did. He’d tried to hide away from it all, from the confusion and the pain. He’d felt himself shrinking smaller and smaller, then his arms had turned green and he felt things stretching out of his back. Yes, that happened but everything else was still cloudy.

Sigmund could hardly remember his father. There was just a hint of his voice echoing in the corner of his mind and a smell. He couldn’t quite remember what kind of smell, maybe a hint of pepper and something else. Something he had never smelt before. It was too weird a smell to be anything familiar. It was some sort of smell that didn’t belong in Shanghai, in fact it didn’t belong in China or the even the entire planet! It was a smell from out of this world!

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheIntergalacticCustodyBattleAfter six years in Shanghai, I am finally back in Sydney (brand new home). Here I will teach and focus on my writing! I will be starting my Phd in Arts at the University of Sydney in March 2015!

I have already polished off a children’s novel, a collection of poetry and am about to publish a series of stories titled “The Students Sold Us Secrets Volume One” with ASJ Publishers. http://www.asjpublishing.com/

I’m also kept on my toes by my feisty wife and three year old daughter both of whom are Chinese. They like to let me know how bad my Chinese is on a daily basis.Oh yeah, I used to be an MC, I mean I was potentially the next Aussie Eminem,(just kidding) but there is an EP by yours trully somewhere out there in the world wide web….

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