Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blog Tour: The Making of Michael Bishop

The Making of Michael Bishop

A Realm Walker Short Story
Kathleen Collins

Genre: urban fantasy, dark fantasy
Number of pages: 20

Book Description: 
Keep your distance. Don't look him in the eye. Feed him and leave.

Michael D'Augustino is a priest in the time of the Inquisition. Marked as weak for his refusal to torture those charged with sorcery, heresy, devil worship or worse, he's given another task. Feed the prisoner in the cell in the darkest corner of the dungeon. With the edict comes a set of instructions.

Ever obedient, Michael does exactly as he is told. Until the night his charge doesn't eat and Michael has to enter the cell to find out why. Instead of the beast he believes to be imprisoned there, he finds a man. A broken, tormented man who asks for help.

But all is not as it seems and, before the night is through, Michael will be changed forever.

Available at Amazon and BN

My Thoughts:
Whew this novella was a breath of fresh air.

I've actually not read the Realm Walkers series yet, but you can bet I'm going to. So the story starts out pretty fast. You've got Michael, the priest who has to feed the priests' monster, a vampire. Well, tonight, Mr. Vamp decides not to eat. Ugh, poor Michael. I like the story. Especially bringing in the church and all religious things and then having a vampire thrown in randomly. I also like continuing through to Michael's life after that fateful night. The character development is done well. I'll definitely be out reading the series.

The only thing I did not like was how short it was. Yeah, I know, I'm reading a novella, but still. I felt like everything was moved along so fast and in some places, I would've liked even just a page or two more.

Rating: 4 stars

About the Author:

Kathleen Collins has been writing since Kindergarten. And while her ability has drastically improved, her stories are still about monsters and the people who play with them.

The rare instances that she actually finds some spare time, she spends it playing with her two boys. Three if you count her husband.

She is currently hard at work on her next book.






Blog Tour: Falling: Angels Among Us

As soon as I’d written, ‘The End’ to the third novella in my Harper Impulse series:

Angels Among Us

(Falling, Forbidden and Forever)

I knew it wasn’t quite the end. Well, I suppose that was obvious as I’d already come up with two endings for Forever. But that’s the way it is when you are writing a story. It has a life all of its own, but readers don’t always get to see that, as a book can only have one ending. However …

In this series, which is a mixture of research and fiction, with an over-riding love story to add as many complications as you can possibly want, the ideas were limitless.

But the ending has to do the story justice and Forever ends with a scene that needed an explanation. Whether or not you’ve read the three novellas, there’s a surprise waiting for you in Falling: The Complete Angels Among Us series.

What happened after ‘The End?’ Well, in the combined series edition that’s exactly what the reader will find out. Releasing on 9 October 2014 in ebook format and 17 December 2014 in paperback, by Harper Impulse, it’s available to pre-order on Amazon now.

Ceri thinks she sees angels … everywhere. She struggles to keep separate what feels like two very different sides to her life. As a manager in an advertising company she’s been working with the gorgeous Alex for two years. The have a friendship based upon the image she portrays whilst she’s at work and it helps to keep her sane. One mad, crazy night spent sharing their secrets and a lot of wine result in them ending up in bed together and their relationship changes. When Alex explains that the reason he doesn’t date is because someone broke his heart, how can Ceri admit that she feels a deep connection to him?

Ceri knows she’s different. What she doesn’t fully appreciate, is that her task in life is to correct a series of incidents that affect some of the people’s lives with whom she comes into contact. She’s simply putting right little errors that could ripple outwards and change the course of their destiny. When she finds herself getting pulled into things that happen around her, how can she prove that she really has made a difference? Is it all in her head?

She’s alone for a reason; she’s not meant to fall in love in her earthly life. Alex is supposed to cross paths with her and help Ceri during a phase where she begins to question the signs she’s being given. It’s meant to be a turning

point for them both—but in opposite directions. They are destined to travel very different paths … but Ceri doesn’t know that and neither does Alex …

About the Author:

Linn B Halton lives in the small village of Lydbrook, Gloucestershire in the UK, but was born in Bristol. She resides there with her husband and cat with 'catitude'- Mr Tiggs. Linn began writing in March 2009 and her debut novel was published in February 2011. In a recent interview Linn was asked about genres: "From a very young age I knew romantic fiction was always going to be my genre. I am, and will always be, madly in love with love! Whether that's love of life, a partner, or the things I'm passionate about. My stories are about love, life and real relationships - but romance is always the one thing that holds each story together. Often there's a light, psychic touch and I never dreamed I would write drawing upon my personal psychic experiences. But as my interest and understanding has grown in the subject, it is now such a part of my life it finds its way into my fictional tales. However, what is heartening is that most of my experiences have been uplifting and it's wonderful to know loved ones are around me always. I hope it will make readers stop and wonder 'What if?' The result is that I get a lot of mail from readers who have had similar experiences and some are sharing theirs for the first time with me. I always feel that's something rather special and for which I'm very grateful." Love, life and beyond... but it's ALWAYS about the romance! Linn is published by HarperImpulse and Sapphire Star Publishing. Linn is the editor of Loveahappyending Lifestyle emagazine.

Website: linnbhalton.co.uk Twitter: @LinnBHalton Facebook: Author Linn B Halton Bookshelf: http://viewauthor.at/LinnBHalton

1st - prize a copy of The Restaurant @ The Mill and ecopies of Falling: Angels Among Us The Complete Series and Touched by The Light. 
 2nd Prize - 3 winners can choose which book they want from any of Linn’s ebooks. 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blog Tour: Eventide

(Iron Falls, #1) 
by Christine Allen-Riley

Release Date: 10/2014

Summary from Goodreads:

The driver in a tragic car accident that killed her best friend, Devon Greer is consumed by guilt. When powerful hallucinations convince her that she’s seeing Rachael everywhere, Devon thinks she’s going crazy. But her friend isn’t truly gone. To save Rachael from the faeries who stole her, Devon must pit herself against the Court of the Sidhe. Once she witnesses the true form of the fey, Devon’s life is in danger—and so are the lives of everyone she loves. Now, Devon must not only protect herself, but also Jonah Seafort, Rachael’s cousin and the only person Devon can trust to help her. While the Sidhe walk among them, no one is safe…

Add to Goodreads

Buy Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo Books

About the Author 
Lover of books, nature, cats and shiny things. Active disliker of cooking, cleaning and stress. Mom, freelance editor & YA author - also a bit of a nerd.

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook


I'm actually kind of upset that I couldn't review for the tour, but I have a copy to review really soon!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Blog Tour: Review: Street Food and Love

Street Food and Love 
by H.A. Enri 

Published by: Martin Sisters Publishing
Publication date: Summer 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Sole Eaby, seventeen, has a few complaints he’d like to lodge against life, the main one being that his dad, Cedro, has recently quit his job and withdrawn his entire life savings, which included Sole’s college fund. Why? To launch a food truck business he knows nothing about.
To cope, Sole uses his knifelike wit to moonlight as a stand-up comedian, and so far, it’s paying off. He’s not only replenishing his college treasury, he’s making people laugh; but it’s one person in particular he performs for. Her name is Ava. When the fated bond of humor joins the two, and they begin a sort of quasi-romance, things begin to seem somewhat bearable. Of course, that’s when an ill-timed event decides to put another spin on things. Just when Sole is ready to move on with his own life and disconnect himself from his father and the family business, he suddenly finds himself in charge of the food truck he desperately loathes. Here is where Sole must realize that the answers to love and life are not to be found apart but, rather, are more like a savory recipe: only by combining the ingredients will the wonderful flavors reveal themselves. When comedy isn’t enough, the future seems ever bleak, and a fledgling love has barely had a chance to bloom, where will Sole turn?

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22432900-street-food-and-love

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Street-Food-Love-H-A-Enri/dp/1625530684/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406558774&sr=8-1&keywords=Street+Food+and+Love
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/street-food-love-ha-enri/1119913578?ean=9781625530684

My Thoughts:
I'm actually really excited that I was chosen for this tour; I did the initial blitz a little while back and knew that I wanted to read it so badly. So here I am.

I'm very very pleased with the narration. We are told the story through Sole's eyes and I really like how developed he is. He's a very solid character and his actions are very him. Everything he does and everything he says is unique. I like that and I like the consistency of his character. I also like Sole's snark and all of his remarks. They are quite entertaining and I really enjoyed reading through them.

I like how the story falls in LA, a popular destination and often over-used in writing, but in Street Food, it is made unique by being the setting for a food truck business. Totally different. I think H.A. did a very good job with creating the world and setting it up. I've never been to Cali but I could envision everything.

I also enjoyed how the romantic interest, Ava, is older than Sole. Many people nowadays feel like the man has to be older in a relationship but it's not exactly true. I like how this shows some diversity in that trend.

I seriously just liked this book overall. It's a really cute story with a solid idea. Told exceptionally well, it had me smiling from when Ava first shows up. Actually before then. People probably thought I was weird, just smiling around. Whoops...

Rating: 4.5 stars! I feel like if I keep giving out five stars for books I love, they don't mean as much to me (or to you, either, probably). So I'll work on my rating scale and put it up hopefully this week. This definitely deserves a 4.5, though; I thoroughly enjoyed it!

H.A.'s love for all things caffeinated is what keeps him awake and alert so he can pursue that glorious tyrant called Nostalgia. And after all, isn't that what provokes most adult authors to write stories about the teenage years they long ago left behind (referring to Nostalgia, not the caffeine...he hopes)? When he isn't writing, H.A. can be found quaffing coffee (Yes, he might be addicted--don't judge) reading, riding his bike, snapping photos, making music, working on his theory of everything, and, on rare occasions, attempting to discover the elusive, and maybe impossible, secret to time travel. H.A. lives in So Cal. Street Food and Love is H.A.'s first novel.

Author links:

Thank you so much, Xpresso Book Tours, for putting me on the tour! Excellent book!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Ice Massacre

So, being me, I finished this book last week but I haven't been able tot think about how I would put my thoughts into words until today. And now I'm ready. Let's begin...

Ice Massacre
By Tiana Warner

22718724A mermaid’s supernatural beauty serves one purpose: to lure a sailor to his death.

The Massacre is supposed to bring peace to Eriana Kwai. Every year, the island sends its warriors to battle these hostile sea demons. Every year, the warriors fail to return. Desperate for survival, the island must decide on a new strategy. Now, the fate of Eriana Kwai lies in the hands of twenty battle-trained girls and their resistance to a mermaid’s allure.

Eighteen-year-old Meela has already lost her brother to the Massacre, and she has lived with a secret that’s haunted her since childhood. For any hope of survival, she must overcome the demons of her past and become a ruthless mermaid killer.

For the first time, Eriana Kwai’s Massacre warriors are female, and Meela must fight for her people’s freedom on the Pacific Ocean’s deadliest battleground.

My Thoughts:
Oh my gosh when is Number Two coming out?! Are you kidding me? Ice Massacre was so incredible!

All right, so right away, the reader is hooked. I LOVE that. We start with a boat full of male sailors that we actually don't really know until some time later. The action starts immediately and just keeps going. We are introduced to our main antagonists, or plural I suppose, because it is a species. Then we jump into the training sessions of Meela, our main character. We see that she is about to go on the same thing that was just shown.

I like that for two reasons. 1, it really connects the reader to the character. We've just seen what these monsters are doing, then we see that Meela has to go on the same trip, possibly with the same outcome. I felt so scared for her for so long. 2, we also get more background into the new world. We see that the sea demons, mermaids, sirens, whatever you want to call them have been attacking this tiny little island. And the island keeps sending boys out yearly to attack.

That's another thing that I really approve of in here. The originality of the story. Twenty boys yearly are sent to battle something that can so easily slaughter them. Then, after they fail for so long, after so many families have lost members, a group of twenty girls are sent. Yeah, the females. There were the understandable protests trying to protect them, but they went anyways. I like how the tables turned and the women got some power. I also like how the females, even in a literary power position, still act like females. Strong females, no less, but they don't take over and want to overthrow the men, nor do they think they are ten times better than the men. I think that's rather important, too, as I really don't approve of the "I'm female; let's kill all the males" idea. I like the equality experience.

Yay for the backstory! I was slightly confused at first when we were in the past, but definitely cleared up ASAP. I love how we see child Meela and child Lysi, her sworn enemy. I like their friendship, as well. I love seeing all of Meela's interactions with child everyone, including her two current best friends.

This book is all about diversity and friendship. I kinda got the romantic inkling throughout, but I still very much liked how it was put in. One thing I enjoyed is how it wasn't just "thrown in" randomly; it was very hinted at throughout the entire book. I LOVE that. I like how the relationship was very planned-out. I like how it is "new" in the sense that homosexuality in YA novels is just becoming popular. I think it is excellent. However, I didn't like the very last line (SPOILERS:"I was in love with a mermaid") only because I felt like the story was about that, yet so much more. I don't know, I just wanted a different last line.

Wow I cannot wait for the next book. I honestly, I'm just so excited! Yay for this book and everything in it because it was incredible, from page one to 100%. I'll be grabbing a paperback copy soon.

Rating: 5 stars

About the Author:
Tiana Warner was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada. She enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and collecting tea cups.

Follow her on Twitter @tianawarner

Friday, October 17, 2014

Blog Tour: A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother

A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother
by Christie Barlow

A hilarious observation of playground politics.' 'As funny as it is true...' Ever had the pleasure of collecting your children from the school playground? Even if you haven't this is a hilarious must read. A month by month comical tale of a young mother fighting for her place in the world against the backdrop of the Playground Mafia. As her life unfolds and she takes us through from one amusing anecdote to another the characters come to life. There is Penelope who has a lot more going on in her life than she bargained for and Mrs Noland who has a lot less than she claims, not to mention Rupert who is a VERY busy man. With Mrs High School Musical, The International Sex God and The Frisky Pensioner, the characters are undeniably fascinating and leave you compelled to read more. Who knew that one false move in the playground, one step in the wrong direction or smile at the wrong person could lead to such complications? The witty one liners and side splitting stories will keep you amused from beginning to end. Lively and entertaining, a hilarious comedy that every playground mother can relate to.

Author Bio

Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother. The book is a month by month comical tale of a young mother fighting for her place in the world against the backdrop of the Playground Mafia. This is a hilarious lively and entertaining first novel by Christie that every playground mother can relate to. A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother was inspired by Christie's fascination into the everyday playground politics and dynamics of primary school mothers. With four children all at various stages in their education, daily school life and friendships have provided a lot of inspiration for this comical fictional novel. Christie was born in the North West of England in 1973 and attended school in Cheshire until she went on to have a very successful career in the Civil Service. Christie currently lives in a small village in Staffordshire with her husband and four children and lots of animals!


Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ChristieJBarlow?focus_composer=true&ref_type=bookmark

The amazon page is http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00KWL0F8Y?ie=UTF8&at=aw-iphone-pc-uk-21&force-full-site=1&ref_=aw_bottom_links

Tour Giveaway
One (1) ebook of Playground Mother


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review: The Blood of Olympus

The Blood of Olympus
By Rick Riordan

18705209Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they're stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it "might" be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea's army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.

Okay, so I am a huge fan of the Percy Jackson series; I have been for about five years now. I remember reading the original series so quickly, then being ecstatic when the Heroes of Olympus series was announced. I have the entire new series in hardcover, from buying them on release day. And this year, for Blood of Olympus, I actually got to go to a Rick Riordan event. 
     I've been dying to see RR in person since Mark of Athena, when I checked the tour schedule and realized he was two hours away but the stop was that day and I couldn't go. The next year, no stops were close enough except for Nashville, which I went to two weeks later for James Dashner. So finally, this year, I got to see him for the BoO release and got my signed copy (!!!!).
     I actually got up on Saturday and read and read and read, stopping every once in a while to do things like laundry and other chores. About eleven o'clock at night, I finished. And I was not disappointed.
     Blood was full of the snark and sass that we love from the Seven, along with new sides of characters that we didn't really realize were there. The pov's are Jason, Nico (!!), Reyna, Leo, and Piper. I was really happy to see the different sides of Nico and Reyna, since they were totally new pov's. I also liked how they developed a unique friendship together.
     The characters face new situations in Blood and they are fighting monsters, just like always. It starts off perfectly, with Piper, Annabeth, and Jason getting attacked and bombarded by a bunch of spirits. Percy and Jason (SPOILERS) both get seriously wounded throughout the book, but they heal. Frank and Hazel make it okay, Percabeth is fine, Jason and Piper are great, Leo finds someone (*wink wink*). They meet more gods and goddesses, which is always fun. Also, I'm still so in awe of RR's talents with humor. His characters show it and I can tell you I was crying throughout the book from laughter. Especially at Apollo ("I must master the Valdezinator") and Nike (everything she says). RR knows how to keep readers laughing, young and old alike.
     I'm really happy with how everything tied together. All loose ends are fixed and things make sense. And I'm happy. The camps about to battle are cool, Octavion gets what he deserves (though his ending was a little quick), and Gaea is stopped (okay, yes that's a spoiler but it's a very obvious one). Nico finds someone (eeek!!!) and ties things up with Percy. I wanted to see more of them after the "chat" but that's okay. Maybe one day. Reyna regains power, yay!!! Everything works out really well and a fan won't be upset with the ending.
     I'm really happy about the whole giants and the fight scene that raises Gaea. Especially because of Percy's nosebleed. I also like how RR used the two oldest characters to raise Gaea. Percy and Annabeth do everything together, even wake the Earth Goddess. I like how the giants were there to stop them and how it turned into a trap and how the rest of the Seven came to save the day. AND THEN THE GODS CAME!!!! I was so happy with that part alone, because each god and goddess went and fought with their child. And a lot of the newer characters hadn't met their parent yet, so I was so happy that they got to meet in battle and fight together. And then Poseidon and Percy, Athena and Annabeth. Just a great scene. And it was so well-written, so fun to read.
     Then only thing I really didn't love is that Gaea was defeated so quickly. As in, she rises on Half-Blood Hill, is snatched up by Festus, and explodes. Boom. That's it. But Zeus even says the worst is yet to come after the Giants Fight, but it was so simple, almost too easy. I was rather upset by that. I wanted more detail into the battle with her. I know the battle with Kronos was an entire book (am I remembering wrong?) and the final showdown was CRAZY. Gaea, for being worse than Kronos, was a piece of cake to destroy.
     I'm so glad nobody really died. At all. But I'm kinda upset about that. What? Upset because there weren't any deaths? Yes, you read right. In The Last Olympian, the deaths kept you emotionally attached and reminded you that war is brutal and it destroys too many things. In BoO, it was almost too happy. As in, even in the battles, they got cuts and scrapes and that was it. It was even foretold that one of the Seven would die. That REALLY put me on edge and I was going crazy with worry but I was also ready to find out. Then there was the cure and the one to die could actually live and that really got to me. I wanted a disaster to happen, to keep it realistic. I get that this was the final book, the end of an era, but look at Deathly Hallows, The Last Olympian. The deaths were horribly sad, but good. Maybe even an emotional scar would have changed BoO. I needed a little more sadness.
     Overall, I loved this book. It was incredible. I'm so glad that the PJ series ended how it did, though I'm going to miss it. I don't think my brain has wrapped around the idea that it is OVER. Well, I suppose I'll come to terms eventually.

Rating: 5 stars I know I complained about two kinda-big things above, but trust me, I'm not in any way unhappy with this book. It was incredible and will stick with me forever. Excuse me, I'm going to go cry.

Favorite quotes: "You're not a Leo, I'm a Leo. You're a Percy." ~Leo
"I will learn the Valdezinator." ~Apollo
*I have so many more but I don't want to overwhelm you...*

-Rick Riordan's new series, about the Norse gods, will be called Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard!!!!! Yes, Magnus CHASE, as in relative of Annabeth. Magnus will live in modern Boston and everything will be Norse!
-Greek Gods is out. All the stories of the gods and goddesses, told from Percy's point of view! All that snark is back, yay!
-And after Greek Gods comes Greek Heroes! RR says that Percy will be back in the heroes' stories and that the book might be so thick it can't be lifted. I'll take that as a good sign.

                             Greek Gods                                                                    Greek Heroes


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Blog Tour: Review: Strigoi: The Blood Bond

Strigoi: The Blood Bond

Tales of the Strigoi Book 1
Ron D. Voigts
Genre: Paranormal, Horror

Book Description:
On the verge of suicide after his wife leaves him, Alex Regal learns he has inherited property located in a small town deep within the mountains. Putting things on hold, he heads to Glade, hoping for something positive in his life. Getting there is easy but leaving proves to be impossible. A spell exists, keeping everyone captive in this hidden place.
The town of Glade is run by a Shapeshifter called the Strigoi. The creature needs to drink human blood to survive. In folklore, taking the form of a man or an animal, the Strigoi became the basis of stories about vampires or werewolves. Now Alex must discover a dark secret before he becomes the vampire's next meal.

Available at Amazon

My Thoughts:

Whoa. Yes. This book. Go buy it. Yes, now. What do you mean the store doesn't have it? Find another store!

This book starts with a bang. A few (6) people are at a funeral and everything seems oh so spooky, what with the wind and being in a cemetary and all. And then the woman sees a man standing outside and she says that they are all damned. Then, it doesn't stop there. We see a man who is trying to commit suicide and another man is delivering papers to him. I like it because a) it adds some humor to the mix and b) the suicide is prevented, yay!

I also really like all the imagery. With the abovementioned cemetary, I felt like I was there with the mourners and seeing the man. In the suicidal man's kitchen, I could see all the dirt around the house, watch the other man arrive with papers. Everything is seen and everything is perfectly described.

Ron definitely knows how to keep a reader hooked. Each chapter ends with a "Wait, what?!" moment that keeps you reading. It's great. The events also keep you guessing and waiting.

I love how this book is written. It is very well-done, and someone obviously knows how to hook a reader. There isn't annoying unnecessary detail, either. Just what needs to be there and nothing more.

Wow, I loved this book. I'm honestly wondering if I'm ever going to NOT like a book, because I keep getting fantastic novels. This is no exception, though it is closer to the top of the "Amazing Books" list. Everything in it screams "READ ME; I'M GREAT". And it's not lying. You need to go out, right now, and find this book. It could be a life or death matter.

Rating: 5 stars

Maggie awoke in darkness. She blinked. Inky black filled her vision. She recalled the stag standing in the road, losing control of the car, and the accident.

She tasted salt and metal. Her lower lip felt fat. A dull pain throbbed at the side of her head. She slid her fingers across her scalp and felt a bump.

Her hand shook as she reached out and touched the steering wheel. She ran her fingers along the column and felt the keys dangling in the ignition. The engine no longer ran. Moving farther, she touched the headlight switch and turned it.

The world lit up in front of her. The car had nosed into a tree. The headlight beams didn’t travel too far, absorbed by the brush, nearby trees, and the night. The dash clock read 2:13.

By best estimate, Maggie had been knocked out for about ten hours. Hopefully only that. She didn’t feel too bad except for the pain radiating from the bump on her head.

Now came a decision. Leave the car and head down the road, or stay?

A black shadow passed in front of the car lights. If she’d blinked and she might have missed it. Possibly the night playing a trick on her eyes.

Something hit the car hard. The vehicle rocked for a second and then grew quiet. Maggie held her breath and listened. All was silent like before.

Above her, something moved on the car’s roof. First, the sound came as gentle thumps, like someone walking above her. The noise grew louder. Pounding and scratching. Maggie realized whatever had leaped atop the car meant to claw its way in.

“Stop,” she screamed.

The sound became intense, the action more violent.

She cupped her hands over her ears and screamed, “Please, stop.”

Another boom came from overhead. A silhouette passed in front of the car lights again and vanished into the darkness. Maggie wondered if it had left.

Then the shadow appeared again, she heard a crash, and the left headlight went dark. Maggie thought this could not be happening. Things didn’t happen like this in the real world. Another crash and the right light went out.

The only light in the car came from the dashboard. Whatever was outside could see her by the glow. Her fingers fumbled for the switch, twisted it, and darkness once more wrapped around her.

Her breaths came in short pants. Her heart pounded in her ears. Her eyes opened, her eyes closed—the darkness remained the same. Minutes passed without a sound. The quiet grew unnerving.

What had it been? She’d heard of bears attacking vehicles. Certainly that would explain the agility and size of whatever it had been. But did bears come out at night?

A sickening feeling overwhelmed her—she was not alone. Something still remained outside, perhaps only feet from the car. She had not heard anything for a while now. Reason said it had left, but she knew it hadn’t. Whatever was outside waited for her.

She raised her hand and touched the underside of the car’s roof. Her fingers dragged across the surface of the liner, sweeping in gentle arcs until she found the dome light. Her fingertip slipped over the rocker switch.

A cold feeling washed over her. Her imagination played with her. If she pressed the switch and lit the interior, would something be outside, waiting? Would that be the trigger to provoke it?

When she could no longer stand it, she pushed. Light flooded the inside of the car. Nothing happened. She was alone. The light soothed her and kept the darkness away. The night had no power over her.

Then it hit the windshield. Fur pressed against the glass. A patch of fog wafted from the nostrils of a black nose. Fangs glistened in the light. Two red eyes stared at her.

Maggie pushed on the steering wheel, and the sound of the horn blared.

About the Author: 

Originally from the Midwest, Ron D. Voigts now call North Carolina home where he and his wife have a small house off the Neuse River. Ron’s writing credits include the Penelope Mystery Series for middle-grade readers and the dark mystery thriller, Claws of the Griffin. His reading taste is eclectic and depends if the first sentence captures his interest. When not writing and reading, he enjoys watching gritty movies, cooking gourmet food, and playing games on his PC.

Twitter: @RonDVoigts

Tour giveaway 
 $10 Amazon Gift Card 

Blog Tour: Review: The Girl Who Came Back to Life

The Girl Who Came Back to Life is a Middle Grade Fantasy (fable/fairytale) and the tour runs October 13-17 with reviews only. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.

The Girl Who Came Back to Life 

by Craig Staufenberg

When you die, your spirit wakes in the north, in the City of the Dead. There, you wander the cold until one of your living loved ones finds you, says "Goodbye," and Sends you to the next world. After her parents die, 12-year-old Sophie refuses to release their spirits. Instead, she resolves to travel to the City of the Dead to bring her mother and father’s spirits back home with her. Taking the long pilgrimage north with her gruff & distant grandmother—by train, by foot, by boat; over ruined mountains and plains and oceans—Sophie struggles to return what death stole from her. Yet the journey offers her many hard, unexpected lessons—what to hold on to, when to let go, and who she must truly bring back to life.

Amazon | Goodreads

My thoughts:
This is such a cute book! I thought it would be when I got the first email and I'm so glad I picked it up! I honestly cannot stop smiling right now, which is probably annoying anyone around me...Oh well.

Sophie is a very cute and believable young character who is quite relateable. I like how she thinks. I also like how Craig describes her. It is in third person, but I feel so close to Sophie, like a third-slash-first person pov. Does that even make sense? Whoops.

I really really like the style of this story. It is very easy-going and enjoyable to read. I think I might start reading a lot more middle grade books. Yet, even with the story being easy to read, it is very descriptive and has a broad and enticing range of vocabulary. It keeps the story interesting.

This plot. Why are all these plots so good? I have no idea, but this is also on the list. I love the idea of the journey to bring her parents back. I also like how the dead don't just disappear; they go to the City of the Dead, which has a location. And that there are lessons learned, as well. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I hope Craig writes more that I can read. If he hasn't already...I must check.

Rating: 5 stars

About the Author:
Craig Staufenberg is a writer and filmmaker living in NYC.


3 signed copies of The Girl Who Came Back to Life by Craig Staufenberg (US)

3 ebook copies of The Girl Who Came Back to Life (INT)

Blog Tour: Guest Post: Third Time Lucky

Third Time Lucky 
 #3 in the Oxford Blue Series
by Pippa Croft

Information on the Oxford Blue Series

* Published by Penguin (October 9, 2014)
* Each book in the series can also be read as a standalone
* Previous novels are available on NetGalley


For fans of Sylvia Day and E. L. James, the third and final part of this exciting romance series.

'It's Sister Dixon from the Royal Infirmary here. I'm sorry to tell you that Captain Hunt has been involved a serious incident.'

Lauren Cusack should be on her way home for an holiday in Washington before her final term at Wyckham College, Oxford. But this call changes everything. Her relationship with impossibly handsome aristocrat Alexander Hunt has been turbulent and Lauren knows she needs to walk away. Yet now as she rushes to his side she knows she will be inevitably sucked back into his world.

And sure enough, Alexander - even a seriously injured Alexander - is an intoxicating cocktail Lauren cannot resist and despite everything that is sent to thwart them - and with Alexander there is drama at every turn - she finds herself happier than she's ever been.

But as her final term races by, and she is offered the perfect job back in Washington, the impossibility of their romance hits home.

Can there be a future for Alexander and Lauren?

The love trials of Lauren and Alexander continue in the third book in Pippa Croft's brilliant new Oxford Blue romance series.

Fans of E L James, Tammara Webber and Samantha Young won't be able to get enough of Pippa Croft's Oxford Blue romance series. Lauren and Alexander's journey begins in The First Time We Met, and follows on in the brilliant sequel, The Second Time I Saw You, which are both available as Penguin ebooks.

Your most treasured possession
by Lauren Cusack

An author friend asked me recently what my main character’s most treasured possession would be. It’s a great question, and so I put it to Lauren Cusack, the heroine of the Oxford Blue series.

This is her reply.

My most treasured possession? Oh, that is a hard question... can it be a person or people? No? So I can’t have my mom and dad... I guess that also rules out my Schnauzer, Buddy, who sadly passed away last summer at home in Washington before I started my master’s degree at Wyckham College, Oxford.

It also definitely rules out Alexander Hunt – not that I’d pick him anyway! He drives me insane at times; most of the time... in good and bad ways.

So, it has to be a thing, does it? An object?

Ok. I guess I treasure a lot of things; there’s my watercolour set, of course. I’m studying Art History and I love drawing and painting though I’m not very good at it. I’ve tried a few sketches of Alexander and to my shame, he found them. He didn’t laugh, which surprised me, and said they weren’t bad which is high praise from him. I wish he hadn’t seen them, however, because I don’t want him to think I’m in any way fixated on him. His ego is big enough already.

So what else do I ‘treasure’? There are the Tiffany studs my parents gave me for my twenty-first birthday last year. Granny also gave me a vintage marcasite hair clip which I love wearing to formal college dinners and commem balls.

Of course, there’s the necklace that Alexander gave me. It’s a beautiful Cartier diamond affair, subtle but absolutely beautiful. I have a weakness for elegant contemporary jewellery

but would never have splashed out on something so lavish. In fact, when the courier first delivered the necklace, I sent him straight back to the store with it!

At the time, it felt as if Alexander was trying to buy me. It was in the first few weeks of term, not long after we’d first met and he’d been pursuing me like he was riding to hounds and I was his quarry. I don’t run from a chase and I don’t lie down and give in, especially not to a man like Lord Alexander Hunt, who seems to always get what he wants.

Of course, he never gives in either. His family motto, it turns out, is ‘he conquers, and who endures’. So he turned up at my room with the necklace and, eventually, I agreed to accept it – and damn it, I ended up in bed with him.

I still have the necklace in the drawer of my desk in my college room. I take it out now and then, just to touch the cool diamonds and hold them against my skin. I wear them for Alexander and for myself; sometimes I wear only the necklace. He loves that and so do I...

But is it my most treasured possession? I really can’t decide. I still don’t know how I feel about Alexander Hunt...

About the Author

Pippa Croft is the pen name of an award-winning romantic novelist. After studying English at Oxford, she worked as a copywriter and journalist before writing her debut novel, which won the RNA's New Writers' award and was later made into a TV movie. She lives in a village in the heart of England with her husband and daughter.

Thanks so much for joining me on my blog today, Pippa! This series looks excellent; I'll have to read it!

Blog Tour: Spotlight: Sentimental Journey

Sentimental Journey

Home Front Book One
Barbara Bretton
Genre: World War 2 Romance

Book Description:

Before they became The Greatest Generation, they were young men and women in love . . .

It's June 1943. From New York to California, families gather to send their sons and husbands, friends and lovers off to war. The attack on Pearl Harbor seems a long time ago as America begins to understand that their boys won't be home any time soon.

In Forest Hills, New York City, twenty-year-old Catherine Wilson knows all about waiting. She's been in love with boy-next-door Doug Weaver since childhood, and if the war hadn't started when it did, she would be married and maybe starting a family, not sitting at the window of her girlhood bedroom, waiting for her life to begin.

But then a telegram from the War Department arrives, shattering her dreams of a life like the one her mother treasures.

Weeks drift into months as she struggles to find her way. An exchange of letters with Johnny Danza, a young soldier in her father's platoon, starts off as a patriotic

gesture, but soon becomes a long-distance friendship that grows more important to her with every day that passes.

The last thing Catherine expects is to open her front door on Christmas Eve to find Johnny lying unconscious on the Wilsons' welcome mat with a heart filled with new dreams that are hers for the taking.

"This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny."

--Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Available at Amazon iTunes Kobo BN Smashwords

Read a Sneak Peek: http://www.barbarabretton.com/sj.shtml

About the Author:

A full-fledged Baby Boomer, Barbara Bretton grew up in New York City during the Post-World War II 1950s with the music of the Big Bands as the soundtrack to her childhood. Her father and grandfather served in the navy during the war. Her uncles served in the army. None of them shared their stories.

But her mother, who had enjoyed a brief stint as Rosie the Riveter, brought the era to life with tales of the Home Front that were better than any fairy tale. It wasn’t until much later that Barbara learned the rest of the story about the fiancĂ© who had been lost in the war, sending her mother down a different path that ultimately led to a second chance at love . . . and to the daughter who would one day tell a little part of that story.

There is always one book that’s very special to an author, one book or series that lives deep inside her heart. SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY and STRANGER IN PARADISE, books 1 and 2 of the Home Front series, are Barbara’s. She hopes they’ll find a place in your heart too.



Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorbarbarabretton

Twitter: www.twitter.com/barbarabretton

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Barbara_Bretton

I'm so glad I could host this book, even if I couldn't review it! One day, I'll get to it!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Blog Tour: Prophecy

(Calypso, #1)
 by Julie Anne Lindsey

Summary from Goodreads:

On the other side of death, is destiny. Callie Ingram is spending her senior year focused on one thing: swimming. Her skill as a competitive swimmer is going to secure a scholarship and her future, or so she hopes. She has big plans, and Liam Hale, her gorgeous new neighbor, isn’t going to affect them. But when Callie sees Liam beheading someone, she learns his family has a secret that will change everything. The Hales are Vikings, demi-gods who’ve been charged by The Fates to find their new destined leader. Callie’s caught in the middle of a budding Norse apocalypse, in love with Liam Hale and desperate to protect her best friend…who the Hales believe is marked for transformation. Putting the clues together as fast as she can, can discovers she has the power to rewrite destiny, for herself and all humankind.

Add to Goodreads

Buy Links: AmazonB&NKensingtoniTunes

About Julie:

Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Julie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world.

Find Julie online: Julieannelindsey.com

Find Me on Facebook!
Tweet Me!! Read with me on Goodreads Pin with me on Pinterest Blogging at Musings from the Slush Pile Capturing life on Instagram


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to YA Book Bound for including me on the tour! I hope to read Prophecy really soon!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Blog Tour: Review: Charming

Good morning, everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Charming blog tour! I actually misread my date for this one, so I read it by September 10....

by Krystal Wade 
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and that’s great . . . as long as you don’t die.

Sixteen-year-old Haley Tremaine had it all: top-notch school, fantastic family, and a bright future, but all of that changed when an accident tore her family apart. Now, an alcoholic father, a bitter younger sister, and a cold headstone bearing her mother’s name are all she has left.

Chris Charming has it all: a powerful CEO for a father, a prestigious school, and a fortune at his fingertips, but none of that matters when he lands a reputation as a troublemaker. Struggling to follow in his father’s footsteps, he reaches out to the one person he believes truly sees him, the one person he wants: Haley.

Little do they know someone’s determined to bring the two together, even if it means murder.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21871876-charming?ac=1

--Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Charming-Krystal-Wade-ebook/dp/B00MQC07QC/ref=la_B0082RYLB2_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412004539&sr=1-5
--B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/charming-krystal-wade/1119992853?ean=2940046061161

My Thoughts:
I love this book. Let me just say that first. It was so incredible. Everything. But. I must actually type up my appreciation.

I honestly thought the writing style was incredible. You are thrown into the world and you definitely get the feeling of living with the characters. I was a witness to every crime committed and all things said. The style also flows perfectly. All the reader has to do is sit down and enjoy the ride.

I'm so impressed with the plot. It starts out with Haley as an abused teenager; her father beats her and keeps it from her younger sister who idolizes him. Then we see how Haley interacts with other characters-her best friend and a guy who happens to be Chris. We see how much she misses her mother and how she is struggling in the world without her. And then everything begins when her father disappears. Then her sister. Then her ex-boyfriend. Haley has to find everyone before they get killed. I love that bit, the race against the clock. It suits this story so perfectly. I also like how Haley is forced to trust people, something she'd never really had to do before. She learns so many things in the story.

The plot twist toward the end was great. There were so many times that I just gasped and freaked out. They kept me hooked on the story (not like I needed it; I was finishing this book even if an earthquake happened) and dying to find out what happens next.

I do like the happy ending. Everyone makes it out okay, which might seem a little too perfect, but a) Krystal shows the mental and emotional effects of all the trauma and b) if the rumors are true and this is a Cinderella retelling, she can't just kill everyone. That would be rude.

I'm not sure what else to gush about, so I think that concludes my review. This book is so incredibly great, well-written, and a lovely read. I'll definitely be picking up other Krystal Wade books and suggesting this to all my friends. And some strangers on the streets.

Rating: 5 stars
**I do remember thinking the synopsis was a little confusing. That last bit about getting them together makes the guy sound like an insane shipper. He's not; he's actually trying to get Haley to keep Chris away from his house, which makes it so much more interesting.


Krystal Wade is happily married to the love of her life (don’t gag) and raising three beautiful children in the gorgeous state of Virginia. They live just outside Washington, D.C., and every day she wakes up to find herself stuck in traffic trying to get there.
The horrid commute gives Krystal plenty of time to zone out and think about her characters in full, brilliant details (she’s a safe driver; don’t worry). Stories give her a way to forget about the sometimes smelly strangers sitting next to her on the fifty mile trek into town (she picks up hitchhikers every day. True story. Check out www.slug-lines.com if you don’t believe us).

Krystal has been a part of organized hitchhiking for nearly fifteen years, but that’s just one small aspect of her oh-so-large life. When she’s not working, commuting, or chasing after her three children (four if you count the man), you can usually find Krystal outside talking to her chickens like they’re the cutest things in the world (they are), or training her amazing dogs how to herd said chickens (which they love), or curled up on the sofa with a good book (why can’t that be 100% of the time?).

Author links:

Tour-wide giveaway (US) 
 A Kindle Paperwhite 


Friday, October 10, 2014

Blog Tour: Review: The Rebel Within

17724228The Rebel Within
Rebel #1
By Lance Erlick

Action packed first book in Rebel series.

Annabelle (16) faces adult dilemmas and a fight for her life. Orphaned at age three when the military took her parents, she’s a tomboy who rebels against her conformist society, which pushes her to become a cop intern to catch escaped boys. Then she’s forced to choose between joining the elite military that took her parents or being torn from her beloved sister and adoptive mom.

The Rebel Within turns our male dominated world upside down. After the Second American Civil War, the Federal Union pursues a utopian society without men by rounding up the remaining males, and enforcing Harmony. Central to their plan is EggFusion Fertilization and Female Mechanized Warriors.

In this world, Annabelle faces a cop intern boss who hates her, a military commander who demands too much, and an amazon bully who won’t leave her alone. She meets a handsome boy who escapes prison. As she tries to survive rigorous military training and hunt for her imprisoned birth mother, Annabelle must choose between capturing the boy and helping him escape, while she wrestles with the consequences of her actions.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon INT

My Thoughts: What, another short review? Oh, no. No, seriously guys, I'm telling you that a short review is better. It means that I am very impressed and liked the book so I can't find anything wrong with it.

First off, the beginning is incredible. In my time, I've come across books with really really good intros, and then I've hit some that are just plain eh. And it's rather annoying to get the latter and then have to finish the book. Luckily, this is not one of those. Its beginning is sound and keeps the reader interested in the next part.

The style of writing is so good. I'm really jealous and I might take notes because wow, I think the style is excellent. Lance knows how to write.

I like how the characters are developed right away and it doesn't take two, three chapters to know who our main character is. I got a feel for Annabelle right away, from page one.

Look at the synopsis if you haven't already, then come back to this paragraph. Isn't that such a great idea? I love it. And it progresses very nicely, shaping the story fully.

Of course I loved this book. I need to find the sequels now...

Rating: 5 stars

About the Author:
Lance Erlick grew up in various parts of the United States and Europe. He took to stories as his anchor and was inspired by his father’s engineering work on cutting-edge aerospace projects to look to the future. He studied creative writing at Northwestern University and University of Iowa.

He writes science fiction, dystopian and young adult stories and likes to explore the future implications of social and technological trends. He is the author of The Rebel Within, The Rebel Trap, and Rebels Divided, three books in the Rebel series. In those stories, he flips traditional exploitation to explore the effects of a world that discriminates against males and the consequences of following conscience for those coming of age. Erlick lives in the Chicago area with his family. Find learn more about the author and his stories visit his website at http://www.LanceErlick.com.

Twitter: @lanceerlick

(2) $25 Gift Cards to Amazon (INT) 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Blog Tour: Review: Hidden Sins

Hidden Sins 
by Karice Bolton 
(Luke Fletcher Series #1) 

Luke Fletcher asks himself one simple question. Is she worth dying for?

His answer is yes.

When Hannah Walker rolls into her new town on fumes, she doesn’t expect her past to catch up to her so quickly. But the moment her card is declined for a lousy cup of coffee, she realizes nowhere is safe, and her life on the run has just gotten more complex.

Luke Fletcher has made it his mission in life to protect. When he meets Hannah Walker, she makes it clear that his services aren’t needed and neither is he, but there’s something in her eyes that tells another story. Once he begins investigating the woman with many names, he realizes one thing is clear. Whoever, she’s running from won’t stop until she’s dead.

Determined to gain Hannah’s trust and break down her walls, Luke begins to share his own history, but where that leads could cost them more than their hearts as the sins of others threatens to destroy them both.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22404046-hidden-sins?ac=1

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Sins-Luke-Fletcher-Book-ebook/dp/B00KVOCLXE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406912197&sr=8-1&keywords=Hidden+Sins+karice
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hidden-sins-karice-bolton/1119701039?ean=2940149215003
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/hidden-sins-1

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hidden-sins/id887593379?mt=11

My Thoughts:
 Oh my gosh, why haven't I read this before? It's incredible! From the name to the plot, everything is enticing and great.

Hidden Sins starts off with a girl on the run. I love it. It's totally unique and I love how she acts and thinks, which we see in her POV. She has a strong flight reaction, but with good reason. I love how Hannah is written in general, as well. Her entire character is so strong, with depth and a face and everything. She seems extremely nice and just...I want her as a friend.

Luke is also such a fun character to read about. He is the really protective guy who also owns his own security firm and his parents were murdered. Which gives him reason. I think that is so important to have. He's also composed of so many secrets that we slowly get to read about.

The plot is well thought-out, perfectly paced, and quite unique. It starts off in an explosive prologue that hooks readers, then goes through Hannah's move to L.A. and how she starts a new life. I love it. It's nice to read a book with such skill visible and oozing out of the pages.

There are plot twists that you would never even guess. I'm the kind of person who starts to guess the most random, outrageous things, and I actually dislike it very much when I am right with those crazy suspicions. Yeah, I was so off in this book. Which I liked better. It wasn't bad at all and it kept me reading.

I don't know what else to really say, but I did like the romance. It was cute for the story, and I felt that it didn't come along way too soon. Like in some books where the characters meet and are "in love" the next day. No, this actually went through for a while and neither character thought they loved the other until sometime after they had started seeing each other. Yay for books that are realistic!

Overall, I really liked this book. Really. It was so good and has so much talent. I'll be reading anything else the author writes from now on.

Rating: 5 stars
I seriously need a rating for 5+ books, the ones that stick with me for a while, because, wow, I have a lot of those.


Karice received an MFA in Creative Writing from the U of W. She has written fifteen novels and has several exciting projects in the works. Karice lives with her husband and two English Bulldogs in rainy Washington.

Books currently available:
Luke Fletcher Series: Hidden Sins (Book 1), Buried Sins (Book 2) – coming soon
Beyond Love Series: Beyond Control (Book 1) Beyond Doubt (Book 2) Beyond Reason (Book 3) Beyond Intent (Book 4) Beyond Chance, Beyond Promise, and Beyond the Mistletoe coming soon
Afterworld Series: RecruitZ (Book 1) AlibiZ (Book 2) – October 2014
The Witch Avenue Series: Lonely Souls (Book 1), Altered Souls (Book 2), Released Souls (Book 3) Shattered Souls (Book 4)
The Watchers Trilogy: Awakening (Book 1), Legions (Book 2), Cataclysm (Book 3), Taken Novella (Watchers Prequel)
The Camp

Author Links:

Tour-wide giveaway (INTL) 
-25$ Amazon Gift Card 
-Rose necklace (image attached) 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Blog Tour: Spotlight: Tim on Broadway

Tim on Broadway: Season One

The Complete First Season
Books 1-5
Rick Bettencourt
Genres: New adult, LGBT

Book Description:

Carolyn Sohier, the Greta Garbo of divas, is giving a once in a lifetime concert that Tim can’t afford to attend. Tim—an overweight, twenty-something virgin—regrets lending the hunky bag boy at the grocery store money that could have bought him a ticket. Tim needs to call in his debts, but money isn’t the only thing holding him back.

The first time Tim met Javier, he was blown away by the attention. He didn't often—actually ever—get a guy, let alone a hot one, pay attention to him. The problem, Javier is straight; yet he gives Tim mixed messages. Tim can’t get Javier off his mind, unless he is pursuing his love for theater—or talking with his best friend, Julia, about the “unattainable” crushes they share on some of the guys back home.

With the Carolyn Sohier concert fasting approaching, Tim struggles to get tickets. If he hadn't lent Javier the money to, well, have his way with him in the beer cooler at the store they worked at together, maybe Tim wouldn't have lost his job, and would be able to see Carolyn perform. But Tim’s learned his lesson from all this…or so he thinks.

Available at Amazon Smashwords iTunes Kobo Scribd BN Inktera

The entire first episode (over 70 pages) is available for free at Amazon


Chapter 1: America’s Got Divas

I put down my doughnut, picked up my iced coffee and took a sip. The extra-extra cream and extra-extra sugar gave me a nice little rush. It wasn’t quite as good as Starbucks’ but being unemployed I had to make the best of my homebrewed pot.

I had my cell phone cradled in the crook of my shoulder, talking to my best friend Julia. “With my Kindle,” I said, “I can read them without people staring at me on the subway.”

“I still can’t believe you like girly romance books,” Julia said. I could hear her slurping her own coffee, probably an iced Double Mocha Grande, being that she was at our old Starbucks in Salem. “You’re the only guy I know who has every Chippendale Publishing book ever released.”

I didn’t really but I didn’t want to quibble over details. “Oh my God,” I said, as a bit of powdered sugar sprayed from my mouth and landed on the blanket I had covered over me. I was getting ready to watch TV. “I almost forgot to tell you.”

She slurped some more of her coffee. “What?”

“Guess who’s doing a comeback concert?” I brushed the sugar dust off the blanket.

“Who, Cher?”

“No,” I said, raising my voice.

“I don’t know. You got me,” she said, and from her muffled speech, I could tell she was eating, probably a slice of carrot cake or a blueberry scone. I know what Julia likes. When she eats desserts, she usually goes for something that has a vegetable in it or some antioxidant fruit, because, of course, they’re healthier than my powdered doughnuts.

I pulled the blanket closer to me. “Carolyn Sohier,” I said. “She’s finally coming out of seclusion and doing a concert.”

“Carolyn, who?” I heard the clinking of the fork against the plate. Carrot cake, I bet.

“Carolyn Sohier― you know, the singer who was in Witches of Salem, that movie we saw the night I slipped on the ice in Danvers? And she was also on Broadway in―”

“Oh, her. That movie was terrible.” I could practically hear her nose wrinkle in disgust. Julia was brutally honest.Well, I liked it,” I said. “She’s an amazing singer.”

“She didn’t even sing in that movie,” she said, with her voice trailing off at the end.

“Well, it wasn’t a musical. But she did sing the theme song. Remember, we saw her on last year’s America’s Got Divas. She was the guest judge.”

“I suppose you’ll want me to go with you,” she said.

I clicked the remote control. “We’ll see. Tickets are expensive. She’s decided to come out of seclusion, out from her Greta Garbo cocoon. It’s a one-night only performance up in Bar Harbor.”

“Maine? Who the fuck gives a comeback performance in Maine? Bar Harbor, nonetheless. What, is she going to come out on stage riding a moose?” She laughed.

My neck was beginning to ache. I rubbed it. “I guess that’s where she lives. It’s a benefit of sorts.”

“So are you going to take the train or bus your ass up here to see her?”

By here Julia was referring to New England, where we had both grown up.

“You wanna go?” I asked.

“You mean will I go?” Julia wasn’t a huge fan of divas like I was, but she knew I had no one else to go with and wouldn’t travel alone.

“C’mon, you like her,” I said. “You even said her rendition of that Barry Manilow song was better than his.”

“Is that the song she sang when she shit herself on stage?”

“Whatever,” I said and tossed the remote onto the seat cushion next to me. Julia was referring, of course, to Carolyn’s fairly well-publicized stage fright. Carolyn had suffered a particularly bad spell several years back and, well, embarrassed herself on live television. It was pretty sad. Julia thought it was funny.

I turned as an ambulance’s siren rang out from the street below, followed by a blare from its horn. I hated the sound of ambulances. I got up to shut the window as it took a turn down Charleston Place.

“Five floors up and it sounds like the cops are right next door,” she said. “I don’t know how you can stand living in New York City.”

“It was an ambulance and I’m in Brooklyn.”


I looked at the wall clock, a gift I bought myself. It had logos from nearly all the big Broadway shows over the past two years. “Shit. It’s almost time for America’s Got Divas and I haven’t even set the DVR.”

“Alright, I’ll let you go. Besides, I should check the dryer.” She was at our old Starbucks across from the Laundromat. “Oh and how are you going to come up with the money to buy tickets for this reclusive diva? Didn’t you just get done telling me you’ve already spent this week’s and next week’s unemployment check?”

I didn’t want to get into it. “Javier,” I said. “This week, he’s finally going to pay me the money he owes me.”

“Oh, God. Not Javier.” I knew her well enough to know that she was probably rolling her eyes as she said it.

“Shut up,” I said, with no real force behind it. Julia could be such a bitch. She was always reminding me of the things I did wrong, which were plenty, and the things I should be doing to better myself, which, quite honestly, were spilling out of my inbox.

I didn’t want to be reminded of the humiliating experience I had had with Javier, the bagger at the Good Barn, my former place of employment. In short, he got me fired. “He’s getting money from his student loan,” I said. “He is going to pay me back on Wednesday.”

“We’ll see about that. Didn’t I tell you not to give him that money? Didn’t I tell you you’d probably never see it again? But no,” she said, holding onto the vowel a bit longer than necessary. “You still went off and gave it to him after giving him a BJ in the beer cooler behind Produce. He’s going to ruin your wholesome, good-natured reputation.”

About the Author:

Rick Bettencourt is the author of Tim on Broadway, Painting with Wine and Not Sure Boys. He lives with his husband and their little dog, Bandit, in the Sarasota area of Florida. Rick originally hails from Boston’s North Shore where he learned to speak without pronouncing the letter “r”— and say things like “tonic” when he wanted a Coke, or “bubbler” when getting a drink from the park’s water fountain.

A few years ago, Rick was adopted by a Cairn Terrier named Bandit. Recently, Bandit moved Rick, and his husband of several years, to Florida to escape the New England winters and avoid being engulfed by snow drifts when going about their business.

When Rick is not being walked around the block by Bandit, he might be found working on a story about an underdog character triumphing over adversity. Or you might catch Rick watching The Walking Dead or Once Upon a Time, reading something like Running with Scissors or some personal development book, or writing to a group of folks on his mailing list.

In addition, Rick enjoys theater, art, old postcards, and amusement parks. He also loves to hear from his readers.

You can follow Rick on Twitter @rbettenc or subscribe to his mailing list at www.rickbettencourt.com

Twitter: @rbettenc

Tour giveaway 
 1 copy of Tim on Broadway: Season One (The Full Season) in any eBook format winner desires