Guest Post and Review: His Black Wings by Astric Yrigollen

I’d like to welcome Astrid here today.  She is taking over for a bit to promote her new book, His Black Wings.  Her book is such a good mesh of steam punk, young adult romance and fantasy.  Be sure to check out my review after Astrid’s take over.  So, without further adieu I hand the reigns over to Astrid Yrigollen, author of His Black Wings.

10 Things Reader’s Would Be Surprised To Know About You

10-I started playing video games at 5 years old back in the 80’s.

9-I went on to make my own video games for PCs.

8-Yes,I’m older then I look.

7-I believe chocolate cake should be its own food group.

6-I am a vegetarian almost vegan.

5-I speak 3 languages and want to learn a 4th.

4-I believe in God and have studied theology for the last 9 years.

3-I love baking.

2-I am really super(pathological) shy but sometimes have to act like I am not.

1-I used to work in a funeral home.

bookcover1font4Title: His Black Wings

Author: Astrid Yrigollen

Date Published: November 20th, 2012

Synopsis:
Claren Maidstone has been forced to flee her childhood home after the death of her parents and a vicious assault from a sadistic young man who intends to marry her. Claren changes her identity and finds employment as an assistant to the handsome Fredrick Lowood, a generous yet mysterious benefactor. However, she soon finds out his generosity comes at a price. Fredrick wishes for Claren to befriend his disfigured son who resides in seclusion at their estate, Westwind.

Fredrick Lowood knows what the history books do not teach, that the Grand Council built this new world of peace and beauty on hidden blood and greed. He has plotted for years to bring down the family that enslaved his own people. Suddenly, he has the last living heir in his grasp.

Etrigan Lowood rejects the world that forces him to hide. He is powerful, plagued with a terrible dark beauty: WINGS. It is these wings that carry him out only at night to watch the unwanted intruder in his home. A creature of refined instinct yet little social grace, he is strangely captivated by Claren but knows nothing of how her family’s dark past is intertwined with his own. Through their blossoming friendship, Etrigan realizes he still retains his human heart and yearns for Claren’s love.

Kurten Wandsworth is the only son of the Mayor of St.Marhen. Kurten lives his life fueled by cruelty and lust. Whatever he wants he takes and he wants Claren to be his wife even it if kills her. Scarred by Claren he hunts her down mercilessly until he can set a trap which she will never be able to escape from.

Excerpt:

Fredrick’s thoughts were interrupted by a loud crashing sound as he saw the double doors to his library burst open with tremendous force. They slammed against the inside walls to his library and bounced back.

“Etrigan. How good to see you so soon after my arrival.” Fredrick said to his son, genuinely pleased.

            Perhaps this would work after all. Especially now that I have put my original design on hiatus.

A tall form clad in black strode into the room sending books and paper flying everywhere. Etrigan was a younger version of his handsome father. Jet black hair that desperately needed a haircut, it curled around the nape of his neck and ears. While his eyes were blue, they were the darkest blue, darker than his father’s. Eyes that displayed anger and inner torment one moment, and great passion the next. His strong Greek nose fit perfectly with the rest of his features, not underwhelming and not overpowering. Lips red and pouty were always set in either a frown or a scowl but never in a smile. When he stood without slouching he was taller than most men at six foot five. His form was muscular, yet lithe, graceful, and strong. In a word, Etrigan was beautiful in a masculine way. He would have been the envy of every man in the outside world and the desire of every woman who set eyes upon him, save for one thing.

His black wings.

They were massive, soft, and leather like, similar to the patagium of a bat, but thicker. They started off narrow, then projected outwards from between his shoulder blades. He had slim bones that ran through them in true bat like fashion. At each wing tip he had a menacing glossy black spike. A natural bone that was part of his wingtips, he could use these tips to rip flesh or gently move things in his way, so great was his control. At their full expansion his wing span was easily twelve feet.

Fredrick looked up at his son who now stood menacingly over him and recalled when he was a small child, he had broken one of the bones in his wings. It took him a month to heal. He had been trying to carry off a boar that was larger than himself. Always the little savage, he insisted on eating the boar before his wing was set with a splint.

Now his son’s wings were being held in but wanting to span out in anger.

“Why have you brought her here!?” He demanded harshly of his father. Fredrick sighed.

 Review:

This was a great read.  The blend of steam punk, young adult romance and fantasy all come together in phenomenal new book.  Claren and Etrigan are excellently devised characters.  They are well-rounded and thought out.  Their story alone allows them to grow together while learning more about themselves.  I also enjoyed Horace and Dekkar.  Their additional as at first loves for Claren and then friends for both Claren and Etrigan added another level to the story and helped the growth of both main characters.  I would say though if I had a complaint about this book it seemed that after finding out about the mines and the vaccines it seemed to be repeated in the same kind of detail that it is initially explained.  It was honestly the only part of the book that really dragged.  I understand that part of the story was pertinent, but I didn’t feel like it needed to be repeated after such detail and care was taken with that topic the first time through.  Overall, this was an excellent book.  I would hope that we would see more of the 4 Musketeers in a series, but it did seem that this story was wrapped up in one book.  I would definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a unique dystopian young adult paranormal read.
I’d like to thank Astrid Yrigollen for stopping by today and Reading Addiction Blog tours for allowing me to host this stop.  For more information about Astrid you can click on her links below.  For more information about His Dark Wings you can go to Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any other book retailer.
astrid2Author Bio
Astrid Yrigollen is a native of the Bay area of California and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Astrid started writing stories for her friends in sixth grade. After working part time at a funeral home during high school, she channeled her love of story writing in to creating video games for PC’s which were featured in Shareware magazines.

In the early 1990’s she secured a position with International Video game giant, Sega of America but never lost her love for writing in traditional format. After leaving the video game industry, she worked briefly as a vet assistant, aiding in surgery until she found out she passes out at the site of blood!  Maintaining a great love of animals, but preferring work where there was no blood involved, Astrid became a boutique fashion designer for people ‘who like to dress like their dolls’, successfully placing her designs in boutiques in Europe, the U.S, and Australia.

She founded and now co-chairs with her husband for the California Coast Ball Jointed Doll Convention, an annual event for Japanese Super Dollfie Collectors. Astrid enjoys collecting dolls, Anime, video games, baking and sewing and is currently studying college level Japanese, her third language.

Works
She now enjoys writing Young Adult and Children’s books and has succeeded in putting out The Doughnut Tree, The Zombie Playground, A creature compilation , and The Mosswoods to name a few.

Guest Post: Hollywood Holiday by Sasha Summers

Today Sasha Summers will be taking over.  She is here promoting her new book, Hollywood Holiday.  She will be talking about the influential holiday music.  Be sure to check out Hollywood Holiday after Sasha’s takeover.

Holiday Mood Music

                  Music is magical, especially around the holidays. Is it just me, or does Nat King Cole singing ‘The Christmas Song’ take you back to some of your favorite holiday memories? I listened to lots of Christmas carols while writing Hollywood Holiday – to really put me in the mood.

                  Which ones?

                  I love this one. It’s holiday, but it’s also totally appropriate for my couple. And, I admit, I have a thing for Josh Groban. J

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoZsS0zq1hs

                  This one’s not quite as heavy, but you can’t fight the holiday vibe or the fun. Plus, it’s a holiday love story so totally appropriate for Jen and Gunner, right?

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxO1iGGw8t4

                  But I didn’t stick with Christmas carols only. I mean, this is a romance too… So here are a couple of non-holiday tunes from the unofficial Hollywood Holiday soundtrack.

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csnUV3Gz4Pk&list=PL82CE7EB058BAD4BF&index=18&feature=plpp_video

                  Nice, huh? I love it – I used it on the Hollywood Ever After playlist too. And finally, Plain White T’s.

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dktpycvIyA

I think these songs reflect the mood of Hollywood Holiday! At least I hope they do – balancing the good and the bad, the everyday with the extra-ordinary, and romantic love with family love.

May your holidays be surrounded by family, love, and great music too! Do you have a favorite carol during the holidays?

HHBlurb:

All she wants for Christmas is for Hollywood to love her again. But once she meets him, her Christmas list changes.

Jen’s only Christmas wish: Hollywood falling back in love with her. Meeting ex-Marine Gunner was a bonus. She likes that he isn’t impressed by celebrities or the movie biz. She likes that he’s funny and sweet … and drop-dead gorgeous. And she loves that he has no idea who her alter-ego is: Jen Fleming, Hollywood bad-girl and paparazzi target number one. Why ruin an amazing affair when he’s leaving after the new year?

But the closer they get, the harder she falls, and the more she wants to tell Gunner everything. Especially once he shares his secret with her.

Her new Christmas wish: Gunner accepts and loves her for who she really is.

SashaAbout the Author:

Sasha is  part gypsy. Her passions have always been storytelling, Hollywood, history,  and travel. It’s no surprise that her books include a little of each. Her  first play, ‘Greek Gods and Goddesses’ was written for her Girl Scout troupe.  She’s been writing ever since. She loves getting lost in the worlds and  characters she creates; even if she frequently forgets to run the dishwasher  or wash socks when she’s doing so. Luckily, her four brilliant children and  hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and supportive.

Please visit her website: http://www.sashasummers.com

 

Promo and Giveaway: Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil by Charlotte Henley Babb

I am featuring today Charlotte Henley Babb.  She is the author of Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil.  Be sure after checking out the book to enter the giveaway.

Maven_cover_333x500Title: Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil

Series: Maven Fairy Godmother, Book 1

Author: Charlotte Henley Babb

Genre: Fantasy,

Publisher: Muse It Up Publishing Company

Ebook

Pages: 279 / 101k words

Book Description:

Maven’s new dream job–fairy godmother–presents more problems than she expects when she learns that Faery is on the verge of collapse, and the person who is training her isn’t giving her the facts–and may be out to kill her. Will she be able to make all the fractured fairy tales fit together into a happy ending, or will she be eaten by a troll?

Excerpt:

A Handsome Prince (Excerpt from Maven Fairy Godmother)

As she entered the Twilight Lounge, Maven transformed into Biker Trash leather, complete with a tattoo on her shoulder—“Trolls need love too.” The handle of her wand peeked out of the calf of her right boot.

At the bar, Maven straddled a black fatboy motorcycle that rose to the occasion. She didn’t question how the Twilight Lounge knew what a motorcycle was.

Belle handed Maven a mug of some golden, frothy liquid without comment on her persona.

“What I wouldn’t do for a beer,” Maven sighed after knocking back the mug’s contents. She hoped it wasn’t hemlock. Belle did not seem pleased to see her.

“What good is it to work in a place where you grant wishes for a living, but you can’t get a beer when the job is done?”

“This is Faery, not Heaven,” Belle said, slapping the bar with her polishing rag.

Maven leaned back on her buddy bar and propped her boots on the gas tank. She fished her wand from her boot and held it to her ear to listen for the stories from her clients. She could not get a clear signal.

“Is this seat taken?” A Handsome Prince stood beside Maven. He smiled, sure of himself from his raven coiffure to his velvet-clad tush.

Maven looked up at him, a bit disoriented. “No. Take it.” She pulled herself back together, remembered where she was and how she looked. Whoever or whatever it was taking her away from Vivienne and Daisy, it was not a prince. “Take it somewhere else.”

She sat up and swung her leg over the bike facing away from him. She held the wand to focus back on Vivienne, but now the picture was unclear. The impostor prince blocked the signal.

“You must not be from around here,” The Prince said. “I have never seen anyone like you before.” He sat on a gilded throne.

“Just imaginative,” Maven said. Next time she’d be a harpy or a warthog. She didn’t know how close it was to midnight. She didn’t have lot of experience being hit on in bars in Mundane, especially not by enchanted un-Princes. “I am just learning how to turn people into frogs.” Maven smiled, but not sweetly. She aimed her wand pointedly. “Would you like to be my first attempt?”

The Prince transformed himself into a large slimy Frog with golden eyes, perched on a lily pad. “So, you like amphibians?”

“I’m all out of wart repellent.” Maven slid off the Harley and strode out of the Twilight Lounge, not stopping to change her garb. Maybe the short walk would let her think in peace.

jaguar-hatAbout the Author:

Charlotte Babb began writing when she could hold a piece of chalk and scribble her name–although she sometimes mistook “”Chocolate”” for “”Charlotte”” on the sign at the drug store ice cream counter.

When her third-grade teacher allowed her access to the fiction room at the school library, Charlotte discovered Louisa Alcott and Robert Heinlein, an odd marriage of the minds. These two authors have had the most influence on her desire to share her point of view with the world and to explore how the world might be made better. Her current favorites are Terry Pratchett’s Discworld and Shelly Adima’s Lady of Devices.

In the meantime, Charlotte has fallen prey to steampunk and the gears are turning…corset, bustle and magic, oh my! She brings to any project a number of experiences, including work as a technical writer, washing machine gasket inspector, cloth store associate, girl Friday, and telephone psychic.

She has studied the folk stories of many cultures and wonders what happened to ours.Where the stories are for people over 20 who have survived marriage, divorce, child-rearing, education, bankruptcy, and widowhood?

Charlotte loves Fractured Fairy Tales and writes them for your enjoyment

 Author Website | Book Site | Facebook (Author) | Facebook (Book) | Twitter: @charlottebabb |

Giveaway: Win a free tarot card reading!

 http://fmbblogtours.blogspot.com/2012/10/scheduling-tour-for-maven-fairy.html

Interview and Review: Shameless (Nashville Nights #1) by Cheryl Douglas

Nashville Nights Series Button 300 x 225Today I am welcoming Cheryl Douglas.  She is the author of the Nashville Night series.  Be sure to check out my review of Book 1 Shameless after my interview.

1.     What is the Nashville Nights Series?

Nashville Nights is a contemporary romance series that begins with the first book, Shameless. This book is about country music singer, Trey Turner, and his former wife, Sierra. Trey has battled addiction and tragedy while building a successful music career. He is finally ready to face the fact that his career has cost him everything, including the love of his life. This story is about redemption, the journey back from the brink of despair, and making amends for past mistakes.

2.     How many books are there in the series?

There are eight books in total.

3.     How did this evolve into an eight book series?

Shameless was a book I’d had in the back of my mind for years. When I finally sat down to write it, the book took on a life of its own. The secondary characters became so strong that it became obvious they each deserved their own story.

4.     Who was your favorite character to write and why?

I fell in love with all of the characters, but I was probably was most intrigued with Luc Spencer, the hero in book three, Ruthless. By the time I had finished writing the book, his character was nothing like the character I had outlined. As I wrote him, I realized there was more depth to him than I first realized, and there were more underlying issues than I ever would have expected.

5.     Is it important for readers to read these books in order?

I introduce all of the characters in previous books, so I think readers will gain better insight into the characters if they read the books in order.

6.     What is the most difficult part of writing a series?

It would have to be staying true to the voice of the characters throughout the series. A time or two my editor has said to me, that doesn’t sound like something the so and so we met back in book number two or three would say. The other thing is accepting that once a character is written a certain way in a previous book, it’s a done deal. You can’t change facts to suit the current story you’re working on, as much as you might like to.

7.     Would you have to be a fan of country music to enjoy this series?

No, the series isn’t about music. It’s about the trials and tribulations of couples who are falling in and out of love. The focus of every book is always the couple’s relationship. In fact, in several of the books, the characters are not even musicians. They are just on the periphery of the music scene, whether it be as a bodyguard, publicist, or stylist.

8.      What inspired you to write this series?

I love country music, and I love to read about cowboys, though I wasn’t necessarily interested in writing an entire series about either. Writing a series with an underlying country music theme that takes place in Nashville seemed like a great way to combine two of my passions while mixing it up, so I could introduce a variety of characters with different interests and backgrounds.

9.     Have you finished all of the books in this series?

I am currently working on the last book in this series, Careless.

10.  When will all of the books in the series be released?

The final book will be available October of this year.

11.  What’s next, after Nashville Nights?

I often say this series took on a life of it’s own, but it really did! Book eight is not the last readers will see of these characters. Fast forward a decade or more. It’s time for their children to begin finding their HEA in Nashville Nights, Next Generation! This is another eight book series, and the first book will be released November 2012.

12.  Where can people go to learn more about the Nashville Nights series?

People can visit www.cheryldouglasbooks.com to read about all of the books in this series,  find specific release dates, and read about the upcoming series.

Readers can also visit me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cheryldouglasbooks.com

2940033098941_p0_v1_s260x420Shameless

Book One

Nashville Nights Series

By Cheryl Douglas

Trey Turner may be topping the country music charts but his life has been going downhill since his wife left him five years ago. He’s desperate to make amends for the mistakes he’s made and convince Sierra their love deserves a second chance.

Sierra Brooks is happy for the first time since her divorce. She has a career she loves and a fiancé who loves her.

Unfortunately, her fiancé isn’t the only man professing his love. He may be able to offer her safety and security but will she decide to risk everything for another chance with the man who broke her heart?

 

Review:

I really enjoyed this book.  This is a wonderful contemporary romance.  Trey is sexy and Sierra is spunky.  You really root for them to get back together.  Being that this was the first book in Cheryl Douglas’ series she starts off with such a strong story and the supporting characters give you a taste of what’s to come.  I loved the setting and the drama of Shameless.  Cheryl Douglas’s talent as a story-teller is really illustrated in this book.  It will drive you to want to pick up the rest of the series.  I know the rest of the series has been put directly onto my TBR list.  I can’t wait to meet more of these sexy Nashville men and the women that get to tame/wrangle them into and out of bed.

I’d like to thank Cheryl Douglas for stopping by today and Bewitching Book Tours for letting me host this stop on the blog tour. For more information about Cheryl Douglas you can click on the links below.  For more information about the Nashville Nights series and Shameless you can go to Barnes and Noble, Amazon and any other book retailer.

About the Author

Cheryl began her professional career as a nutritionist, but her love of books started at an early age. She studied writing for many years before she decided to pursue her passion as a full-time career. After receiving constructive criticism from several well-known authors, Cheryl finally had the confidence to write her first romance novel.

The first book in the Nashville Nights series, Shameless, was a book that had been dwelling in Cheryl’s subconscious for years. For her, the surprise came when the manuscript began taking on a life of it’s own. Characters came to life, secondary characters became more prominent, outlines were forgotten, and a single title evolved into an eight book series, and another eight book spin-off series entitled Nashville Nights, Next Generation.

One word would aptly describe Cheryl: workaholic. She lives and breathes her writing, when she’s sleeping, watching TV, driving, reading… it’s always in the periphery of her mind. Her imagination rarely takes a holiday, even when she escapes to a sandy beach with her husband and son, she’s planning, plotting, outlining, and daydreaming.

Cheryl feels blessed to be able to get up every day and do something she loves. The thousands of fans who have embraced the Nashville Nights have made that possible. She writes for the readers who ask for more, she writes to satisfy the muse residing inside of her, but most of all, she writes because she couldn’t imagine doing anything else with her life. It took her thirty-seven years to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up, but now that she knows, she’s convinced she’s found her purpose.

Website: www.cheryldouglasbooks.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/cheryldouglasbooks

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5761770.Cheryl_Douglas

Blog: http://www.cheryldouglasbooks.com/updates.html

 

Release Day for Hollywood Holiday by Sasha Summers!!

Today I am privileged with celebrating the release of Sasha Summers new book, Hollywood Holiday.  This is book 2 in her Red Carpet series.  Not only am I announcing the release today but giving you a chance at an awesome giveaway.  Be sure to click on the link below to enter.  Also, on December 20 Sasha stops by and takes over my blog so make sure you come back and check it out!

“My new favorite author is Sasha Summers.  She’s as addictive as chocolate.” – Marcia King Gamble, National Best-Selling Author

HHBlurb:

All she wants for Christmas is for Hollywood to love her again. But once she meets him, her Christmas list changes.

Jen’s only Christmas wish: Hollywood falling back in love with her. Meeting ex-Marine Gunner was a bonus. She likes that he isn’t impressed by celebrities or the movie biz. She likes that he’s funny and sweet … and drop-dead gorgeous. And she loves that he has no idea who her alter-ego is: Jen Fleming, Hollywood bad-girl and paparazzi target number one. Why ruin an amazing affair when he’s leaving after the new year?

But the closer they get, the harder she falls, and the more she wants to tell Gunner everything. Especially once he shares his secret with her.

Her new Christmas wish: Gunner accepts and loves her for who she really is.

 

 

SashaAbout the Author:

Sasha is  part gypsy. Her passions have always been storytelling, Hollywood, history,  and travel. It’s no surprise that her books include a little of each. Her  first play, ‘Greek Gods and Goddesses’ was written for her Girl Scout troupe.  She’s been writing ever since. She loves getting lost in the worlds and  characters she creates; even if she frequently forgets to run the dishwasher  or wash socks when she’s doing so. Luckily, her four brilliant children and  hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and supportive.

Please visit her website: http://www.sashasummers.com

 

Giveaway:

https://www.facebook.com/InkspellPublishing/app_228910107186452

 You can buy the book at:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Inkspell Publishing

Know more about Hollywood Ever After – Red Carpet Series #1

HEAShe wasn’t meant for movie stars,  Hollywood, or happy endings. And then she met him.

Happy Endings are for fairy tales. Or the movies. Not for real life. At least, not in Claire’s life. Even though she’s starting over, she knows better than to want too much this time. But when she falls, literally, into the strong arms of Hollywood’s ‘it’ boy Josh Wiley, Claire’s in for some surprises. Her plans for rest and relaxation are  forgotten as one incredible night with Josh becomes two… And her heart begins to want him as much as her body. Will two kids, one bastard ex-husband, and Josh’s juggernaut career mean the end of their affair? Or can Claire find her happy ending after all?

Review: Labyrinth by Tarah Scott

This is the second book I am review by Tarah Scott.  Labyrinth, like My Highland Love before, is an exciting romance that draws you in and doesn’t let go.  Be sure you check out my review after reading the blurb about Labyrinth.

Labyrinth200x300 (1)Title: Labyrinth

Author: Tarah Scott

Genre: Historical Romance/Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense, Erotic,

Publisher: Set

Ebook

Pages: 154

Book Description:

Yes, magic exists. Not the backwater voodoo witches practice where Mississippi Deputy Sheriff Margot Saulnier grew up. But the age-old black magic a woman weaves around a man that draws him under her spell. The kind Margot’s best friend used to kill her husband…and get away with it.

Margot chases her friend to Scotland, determined to prove her guilty of murder. No one will stop Margot. Not the SAS agent sent to watch her…and not the Scottish lord legend says murders his lovers when they cannot free him from the spell that has imprisoned him in Castle Morrison for three hundred years.

He’s just a legend.

And magick doesn’t exist.

Review: 

Labyrinth was a hard book to categorize.  It throws in history, romance, erotica, paranormal and suspense.  Yes, I kid you not you experience all of these.  From the very hot sex scenes to the highlands of Scotland to the mystery of a Highland Lord forever spelled into a painting to a handsome SAS agent trying to know the heroines socks off.  I really enjoyed the ride that Tarah Scott takes you on in this book.  Margot is an unforgettable heroine.  She is well written to include beauty, smarts and a touch of hard ass.  Her beauty draws in the many men in the book, but its her smarts that help her to survive the plots of her best friend.  Cat is also a well written, though predictable, villain.  The mix of magic and superstition adds a wonderful level to this book. I highly recommend Labyrinth.  Especially if you want your heart pounding not just from the suspense but from the very detailed and hot sex scenes.

I’d like to thank FMB book tours for letting me host this stop.  If you would like more information about Labyrinth be sure to stop by Barnes and Noble, Amazon or any other book retailer.

Giveaway: Enter here to enter the tour wide giveaway.

About the Author:

An award winning author, Tarah Scott writes historical romance and romantic and paranormal suspense. She is published with Total E-Bound, Loose Id, The Wild Rose Press, and Etopia Press.

Born in New Mexico, Tarah grew up in the Southwest. Ten years ago, she relocated to Westchester County, New York, where she and her daughter reside in a lakeside community. Don’t be fooled by what sounds like a quiet life. The city that never sleeps is only an hour away, and this Texas girl and her New York bred daughter wouldn’t have it any other way.

Guest Post and Review: Keeper by Surprise by Laurie Larsen

I am happy to welcome Laurie Larsen today.  She is here promoting her new contemporary romance, Keeper by Surprise.  Be sure to check out my review after Laurie takes over the blog today.  So without any further adieu here is Laurie Larsen.

Thank you so much for hosting me today on my blog tour!  I make an appearance every Monday somewhere in cyberspace to promote my new contemporary romance, Keeper by Surprise.  It’s been so much fun.  Each stop, I do a drawing of one commenter for a small gift like a book or some promo items, then every commenter goes into a drawing for a BIG gift at the end of the tour: an e-reader of the winner’s choice!

So, today the Book Maven has asked me to discuss some of my influential authors.  It’s a terrific topic.  I find that what I’m reading at any given time influences what I’m writing, or more accurately, the WAY I’m writing.  I take notice of those things the author does exceptionally well in the book I’m reading, and try to make my own work measure up.

So, here are the writers I’ve learned the most from, and what I’ve learned from them:

  • Debbie Macomber: for her sheer mastery of building real, every day characters that we care about and want to keep reading about.  Her characters are so real, they jump off the page.  No zombies, vampires or aliens here.  Just your next door neighbor, or your best friend, every day people dealing with every day issues in a way that draws you in.  It’s what I aspire to in my own books.
  • Pat Conroy: for the intense level of emotion that he wrings out of every scene.  For his painstaking word choices to make each sentence its most perfect.  For his mastery of the intricacies of families and relationships. I learn from him every time I read or re-read anything he’s written.  He’s my literary hero.
  • Julie Kistler:  Previously a multi-published romance writer, now a prolific theater critic, Julie was a close colleague when I was learning my craft of writing (not that I’m not still learning!) and I always marveled over how naturally and easily she crafted her sentences, forming the most readable and funny stories.
  • Meg Cabot:  I admire Meg for a number of reasons, but most of all her versatility and readability as a writer.  She does it all:  adult contemporary, Young Adult, fantasy, reality, movies, best-selling novels.  I just love her.  If I could morph into anyone in the world and take over her career, it’d be Meg.  (No creepiness intended, ha ha)
  • R. T. Wolfe:   A newbie author with just one novel out at the moment, but wow, what a debut.  She wrote a stunning romantic suspense called Black Creek Burning, with a few more books planned in the series. I was lucky to be asked to do a pre-publication review of the debut, and although it had a lot of impressive features, what I loved the most was the way the author paints the love story from the male point of view.  She really gets inside males’ heads as they’re realizing they’re in love, and pursuing their mate.  It’s sometimes difficult for female authors to write convincing males, especially in the tricky business of falling in love, but RT has it down, making me fall absolutely head over heels with her heroes.

My own novel, Keeper by Surprise features the hero, Keith Hanson as the main point of view character, so if you love being inside the head of a man as he goes about his life, this book’s for you.  He starts out as a carefree college student, happy to be out from under the thumb of a very demanding father, his main goals in life doing well in college and convincing his love Carly to go that one step further in the bedroom. But life changes forever when his parents are killed in a tragic car accident, leaving him guardian over his teenage sister Dana and two little twin siblings, Leo and Linda.  Is he up to the challenge?  Why would his parents leave him with this responsibility when they never seemed to approve of him in life?

These questions and more are tackled in Keeper by Surprise, available NOW in paperback and every e-reader format!

KeeperFINALBLURB:

Life changes forever for Keith Hanson when his parents’ will declares him guardian over his three younger siblings. His new responsibilities are challenging, but he’s even less prepared to fall in love with Lisa Carle, a social worker with a devastating secret.

Excerpt Two:

The drone of a lawn mower floated on the hot summer evening. Lisa glanced towards the house and her breath caught in her throat. Oh. My. God.

The most gorgeous man in the world was over there, mowing the lawn.

Lisa paused in reaching for the door handle and slipped lower in her seat so she could spy on the hunk for a moment without being noticed. Was this the right house? She grabbed the paper and double-checked the address. Yes! It was.

Lisa took a deep breath to get her heart rate under control. Boy, it was beating up a storm! Like she had never seen a gorgeous guy before. Well, it had been a while.

His hair, a light chestnut brown, sported hints of blond highlights. But not intentional highlights. No way was this the type of male to sit in a salon seat, paying big bucks to get highlights chemically applied. He was clean-shaven and glistening from the heat of the evening. He wore only a pair of shorts, his chest bare as he pushed the mower back and forth across the lawn.

And wow, what a magnificent chest. Hair-free and muscular, he practically shone with physical fitness. Lisa squinted for a better view. This was a guy familiar with the inside of a gym. What kind of athlete was he? Not a body builder. He didn’t sport those obnoxious over-done muscles. His sport subtly sculpted his body. A swimmer, maybe? A gymnast? Who knew, but the guy had a perfect build. Not too scrawny, but without an ounce of fat on him; that was clear.

And his face. Straight out of GQ magazine, he had classic good looks. She imagined running her fingers along his chiseled jawline, then feathering across those luscious lips. They looked a tad bit full for a male – all the better to kiss you with, my dear!

Review:

This was a really well-written contemporary romance.  It manages to not only show you the romance, but the other challenges in the story really bring out frustration and you find yourself really backing the hero, Keith.  Its is a tough idea of putting yourself in the shoes of a young man in college who has to take over the responsibilities of being a father…especially when the children are his siblings.  It was hard to really read about all of the harsh ups and downs he goes through before he finds the romance, love and support he both needs and deserves.  Lisa and Keith’s love story is sweet and every bit what you expect out of a good romance.  I truly think the best theme for this is that love will overcome and bring together.   I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good love story with a heart wrenching life changing even in it.  If you like Nicholas Sparks and Richard Paul Evans you will like Keeper by Surprise.

I’d like to thank Laurie Larsen for stopping by today and talking about her favorite authors.  I’d also like to thank Goddess Fish Book tours for allowing me this spot.  For more information about Laurie you can click on her links below.  For more information about Keeper by Surprise you can stop by Barnes and Noble, Amazon or any other book retailer.

lauriepicAUTHOR Bio and Links:

Laurie Larsen is the EPIC Award-winning author of Preacher Man, Best Spiritual Romance of 2010. To date, she has published seven books in the romance and women’s fiction genres, including one Young Adult romance.  Keeper by Surprise is her latest release.  She lives in the Midwest with a strenuous day job, a husband of more than two decades, two amazing sons and Gracie the Wonder Dog. To keep up with Laurie and her books, visit her at http://www.authorlaurielarsen.com , on Twitter or Facebook.

FREE READ on Smashwords

Inner Diva:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/214208

AUTHOR WEBSITES:

Website/blog:  www.authorlaurielarsen.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AuthorLaurie

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/authorlaurielarsen

Author co-op:  http://www.randommoonbooks.com

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/412692.Laurie_Larsen

Review: Feedback by D.L Richardson

Today I am reviewing a fantastic new Young Adult Paranormal book.  Feedback by D.L Richardson is unique but sadly could be happening directly under out noses.  Be sure to see my review after the excerpt.

Feedback_DLRichardson_435-680Title: Feedback

Author: D L Richardson

Genre: YA Paranormal

Publisher: Etopia Press

Ebook

Words: 65,000

Release Date: 10/5/2012

Book Description:

Ethan James, Florida Bowman, and Jake Inala need organ transplants. When they receive the organs of a dead CIA agent, Dylan Black, they take on more than the task of completing the mission of deactivating bombs that threaten millions of lives. Kidnapped, their lives under threat, the memories stored in the CIA agent’s mind begin to awaken within each of them, except the one piece of information they are abducted for – the location of the bombs.

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Wednesday, November 9th, Ethan James

AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” blared through the speakers. Apt music considering the weather conditions. Rain pounded the windshield of the Lamborghini. Crushed beneath the noisy rain, the music took a beating, too. I flipped the volume control to the max, drowning out the steady slap of water on the roof.

The dark shroud of night cloaked the striped lines to my left and right. Street signs blasted yellow warnings to drivers to slow down on wet roads. I ignored them.

Instead, I pushed the car to 120 miles per hour. Coming around a curve in the road, I flew up on a van and sharply jerked the wheel to avoid ramming the Lamborghini up its rear end. I owed my life to my quick reflexes.

Pity.

I drove for another half mile at suicidal speeds, drumming my fingers on the steering wheel to the rhythm of the guitar riff. Another half mile. Then another. Just when the buzz of the ride plunged to a level of indifference, the car hit a pothole, veered me across three lanes, and like a punch from nowhere, it was game on.

A tsunami-sized wave of water fell from the sky. Momentarily blinded by the useless wipers, I sucked in my breath when two rows of lights cut through the haze. Two white lights on the bottom and six or more yellow ones on top—the bright circles headed straight at me.

Semitrailer. Not good.

Gritting my teeth, I tightened my grip on the steering wheel. The truck swerved at the last second, missing killing me by about half that length of time. The driver blasted four long bleats of the horn.

I laughed out loud as I spun around.

I accelerated till the car caught up to its former 120 miles per hour. The chorus kicked in, and I helped with the backing vocals. “Thunder. Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na. Thunder.”

Whether driving under a dome of blue, or a sky darkened by storms like tonight, I liked to push cars to their limit. It didn’t matter what sort of car, but slow cars tended to break apart sooner under extreme pressure. Fast cars handled the punishment of driving at stupid speeds much better.

Speeding made the rush last longer. It filled a void and carried me to a place where I let go of the angst over a waste of a life spent waiting to die of kidney failure. The rush reminded me that seventeen-year-old kids should wish for a professional ice hockey career instead of wishing to still be alive by Christmas.

The song ended, and in that second of silence, my thrill took a dismal nosedive. Images of the hospital I attended every week flickered across my vision. So, I increased the speed. Bad enough the bleak place filled my head and haunted my dreams, but to interrupt my fun—not going to happen.

The next song on the CD kicked in, and it did the trick of hauling me back to the driver’s seat, where I replaced the hospital corridor for a rain-slicked freeway. I figured if I had to die young, I’d do it on my terms. No doubt the doctors would have something to say about this philosophy. If I crashed the car and ended up in the hospital, I’d tell them I reached out to touch life. Better than dwelling on my postpubescent life spent hooked up to a dialysis machine.

I’d probably get pulled over by the cops first, and I couldn’t have that. Aside from speeding, I’d stolen the Lamborghini from a mall parking lot half an hour earlier, and I didn’t have a license.

A crack in my concentration appeared like the lightning bolts streaking the sky. The car drifted into the next lane, and I let it go. A set of lights rushed toward me, and I expertly got the car under control, but at this speed, and despite the car’s sporting capability, the Lamborghini was all over the shot.

Buzzed from pushing the car, I kept going.

At 120 miles per hour, streetlights floated like satiny, white ribbons. The rain-slicked road made it impossible to judge the lines marking the lanes. Curves were hard to anticipate.

Sometimes I oversteered; sometimes I didn’t steer enough and had to yank the wheel to the left or right at the last second. Other drivers blasted their horns. I didn’t care about the rules of the road. Rules were for pussies.

For each minute I survived this suicidal cruise, I’d get two points. So far, I’d accumulated over two hundred. Fifty were up for grabs, if I made it home alive. I had a lot to lose if I crashed the car. I had nothing to lose if I killed myself.

I jumped in surprise when a car came up on my left and honked its horn, whizzing by in a blur of chrome. “I don’t think so, buddy.”

I accelerated. If the cops wanted to stop me, they’d have to use air support. Getting myself on TV only added to the thrill of the chase.

Concern over my reckless driving should have registered, but it didn’t. The speedometer now read 140 miles per hour. AC/DC screeched about “Hells Bells,” and the rain didn’t lessen. If I lost control now, I’d smash into the concrete barriers lining the highway. It’d be game over. No way I’d survive the impact. What a shame this last train of thought wasn’t on whether I’d survive or not, but on whether I’d care.

Lightning bolts exploded across the sky and lit up the windshield. In that brief flicker of visibility, I spotted the plane on fire, blocking the highway—and the spaceship blowing up a bridge with luminous green laser beams. I let go of the wheel, idly watching the Lamborghini plow into the concrete barrier. Metal fragments and orange flames danced in front of me. The sound of something exploding boomed through the speakers. The words GAME OVER flashed across the television screen.

The plane had been okay, but the spaceship insulted me. For sure, the makers of the game reckoned it’d be a hoot to throw unrealistic obstacles in my path.

I tossed the Xbox controller aside and scratched my numb backside. My life couldn’t get any worse…might as well go to school.

* * *

Review:

Feedback is a wonderfully refreshing Young Adult Paranormal book.  It takes three teenagers, Ethan, Florida and Jake who have all recently gone through organ transplants and thrusts them into this elaborate intrigue.  Guided by the ghost of the CIA Agent who was there donor they must find three biological weapons that the pharmaceutical company has designed to make thousands ill.  It is while being held captive after their operations that the three of them find they must do something before their short lives are cut short.

I really enjoyed this book.  I loved that D.L Richardson took the reader through the lives of each of the three main characters.  You can immediately see how they are similar yet different.  Ethan is the jock, Florida is the dancer and Jake is the military/weapons specialist.  It is clear from the beginning that these characters and their stories are well written and constructed.  Normally, I don’t always like stories that continually bounce from one characters point of view to the next, but the way this is written it flows smoothly and helps to move the plot line forward.  Overall, the very plausible story of the biological weapons in connection with a pharmaceutical company with a touch of the supernatural with the ghost really works here.  You find yourself while reading this book saying “Wow…that could really happen.”  I would definitely recommend this book for any one who likes a touch of paranormal to their realism or a touch of realism to their paranormal.

I’d like to thank FMB book tours for giving me the opportunity to review a fantastic young adult book.  For more information about D.L Richardson you can click on her links below.  For more information about Feedback you can go to Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

OAbout the Author:

Music first captured the creative interest of D L Richardson. She got her first acoustic guitar at age ten, and in high school she sang with the school band. When she left school she helped form her own rock band where she sang lead vocals, played bass guitar, and wrote all the lyrics. At age 26 she realized she wanted to write novels for the rest of her life, or die trying, so she sold her equipment, quit pursuing a music career and began writing instead. She currently lives in Australia on the NSW South Coast with her husband and dog. When she’s not writing or reading she can be found practicing her piano, playing the guitar or walking the dog.

Website | Email: dlrichardsonbooks@bigpond.com |

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The Fallen Angels by J.R. Ward Fairy Tales by Eloisa James Night Huntress by Jeaniene Frost Fever by Karen Marie Moning Guild Hunter by Nalini Singh Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews
Mercedes Thompson by Patricia Briggs Midnight Breed by Lara Adrian The Hollows by Kim Harrison Witch by Carolyn MacCullough westfield wolves
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