March 2015 - A Life Through Books

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Blog Tour: Running Interference by @elleywrites #review & #giveaway
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Contemporary Romance
Date Published: January 19, 2015

As an offensive linewoman for the Cleveland Clash, Tanya Martin is tough inside and out. The 5'9" beauty can take a hit and keep on going. But when the man she was best friends with - and secretly in love with - in high school comes home the same day she learns her father's gym is in financial trouble, she's unexpectedly blindsided.

Super Bowl MVP Cam Simmons is only back in town to convince his mom to move out of her failing neighborhood and live in luxury with him in Boston. But running into Tanya stirs up plenty of old feelings he never resolved. He was happy to leave his old life behind him when he hit the NFL, but walking away from their friendship was a mistake he wants to rectify.

As they work together to help save her dad's gym, Cam and Tanya's easy camaraderie and undeniable chemistry resurface. But can she open up enough to trust him with her heart a second time around?

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This is a second chance friendship that turns into a romance. I love the back story and the history these two had. They have so much in common and were really fun to read about. I love the fact that sports is such a huge part of the novel as well. Elley Arden just really has characterization down and makes them so compelling and easy to love. A sweet Contemporary Romance.

Elley Arden is a born and bred Pennsylvanian who has lived as far west as Utah and as far north as Wisconsin. She drinks wine like it’s water (a slight exaggeration), prefers a night at the ballpark to a night on the town, and believes almond English toffee is the key to happiness.
Charming characters. Emotional stories. Sexy romance.

Twitter: @elleywrites

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Blog Tour: Murder, Mystery, & Dating Mayhem by @denaehaggerty #interview & #giveaway
1:30 AM1 Comments

Humorous Chick Lit with a Dash of Murder/Mystery
Date Published: March 1, 2015

My name is Izzy. I drink too much, am clumsier than a newborn foal, and my brain-to-mouth filter often malfunctions. My daredevil husband killed himself in a parachuting accident five years ago and my best friend Jack has decided it’s time I jump back in the dating pool. He’s perfectly happy to throw me in if I don’t listen. Just when things in the dating world start to heat up, my grandma dies. Only her knitting group of Jessica Fletcher wannabes is sure it’s murder. I’m not convinced but I’m always up for a bit of excitement as long as it doesn’t lead to a night in jail. Well, more than one night anyway. Will I miss my chance at love because I’m chasing imaginary killers? Did someone really kill grandma or am I and my merry band of geriatric thieves imagining things?

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What is the hardest part of writing your books?
There comes a point in each novel when I think – I can’t do this! I can’t finish. OMG! What are the characters doing? Unfortunately, the only solution to this stage of writing is to just keep going. Eventually, the characters will let me know what they want to do.

What songs are most played on your Ipod?
In Murder, Mystery & Dating Mayhem I decided to make the chapter titles songs, which related to the content of the chapter. From the chapter list, a very eclectic playlist emerges.
“Middle of the Road” – The Pretenders, "Let’s Get It On" by Marvin Gaye, "Grandma" by Pam Feather, "That’s What Friends are For” by Dionne Warwick, "Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Friends Will be Friends” by Queen, "Lightening Crashes” by Live, "Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton, "Listen” by Beyoncé, "Call the Police” by James Morrison, "With a Little Help from my Friends” by Joe Cocker, "Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves, "I Fought the Law” by The Clash, "Please Read The Letter” by Robert Plant, "Dream Weaver” by Gary Wright, "Price Tag” by Jesse J, "I Knew You were Trouble” by Taylor Swift, "Land of Confusion” by Genesis, "Building a Mystery” by Sarah McLachlan, "I’ve been Searching” by Chicago, "Ice Cream” by Sarah McClachlan, "Contagious” by Avril Lavigne, "Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis, "I Never Knew You” by Jason Mraz, "I’m a Mess” by Ed Sheeran, "I’ll be Your Man” by James Blunt, "Barbie Girl” by Aqua, "I Can’t Drive 55” by Sammy Hagar, "Do You Want to Know a Secret?” by The Beatles, "Thieves in the Temple” by Prince, "Enter Sandman” by Metallica, "Why Can’t This Be Love” by Van Halen, “Guilty” by Joe Cocker, “The End” by The Doors, "Happy” by Natasha Bedingfield

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
I have a few friends that have volunteered – or perhaps I’ve blackmailed them – to be beta readers. For Murder, Mystery & Dating Mayhem it’s just possible I went overboard and had too many beta readers. The responses were so varied, I was a bit lost – or at least more lost than usual.  

What book are you reading now?
I’m never just reading one book! I always have at least one book I’m reading to review on behalf of the author, a book for fun, and a more serious book. Today I’m reading Shattered by Valerie Davisson.

How did you start your writing career?
After switching careers several times and still being a grumpy Gus about work and career, my husband suggested that I bring out my first completed novel, Unforeseen Consequences, as an eBook. I was like, why the heck not?

I’m working on two books at the moment. The first is a bit of a follow-up to Murder, Mystery & Dating Mayhem in which the heroine’s best friend Jack gets his own story. The second is a historical thriller set in Istanbul during the Second World War. This one is taking me a lot of time to research as there aren’t many research materials available in English.

I was born and raised in Wisconsin, but think I’m a European. After spending my senior year of high school in Germany, I developed a bad case of wanderlust that is yet to be cured. My flying Dutch husband and I have lived in Ohio, Virginia, the Netherlands, Germany and now Istanbul. We still haven’t decided if we want to settle down somewhere – let alone where. Although I’ve been a military policewoman, a commercial lawyer, and a B&B owner, I think with writing I may have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. That’s assuming I ever grow up, of course. Between tennis, running, traveling, singing off tune, drinking entirely too many adult beverages, and reading books like they are going out of style, I write articles for a local expat magazine and various websites, review other indie authors’ books, write a blog about whatever comes to mind and am working on my fifth book.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Blog Tour: Omari and the People by @xhosa60 #review
8:17 AM1 Comments

Action/Adventure - Historical Adventure
Date Published - October 2014

In an ancient time, a people made homeless by a devastating fire are led across a treacherous desert by a thrill-seeking thief, to a land he doesn't believe exists - and he started the fire. 
In a squalid ancient city on the edge of a desert (based on descriptions of the African Sahara’s Empty Quarter,) a weary, thrill-seeking thief named Omari sets his home on fire to start anew and cover his many crimes. When the entire city is unintentionally destroyed by the flames, the cornered thief tells the displaced people a lie about a better place to which only he can lead them, across the desert. With the help of an aged, mysterious woman who knows a better place actually does exist, they set out. The disparate people must come together to fight their way through bandits, storms, epidemics, and more. As a result of Omari's involvement with Saba, a fiercely independent woman who is out to break him in the pay of a merchant whom he has offended, his ability to lead - his very life - is jeopardized.

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This is a novel that is different than a lot of what is out there today. I really think that anyone who loved the classic writing styles of famous authors. Stephen Whitfield also manages to pen captivating characters that have depth. They are wonderful to read about. The action and pacing in the story is also spot on. It will keep the readers attention to the very end. 

Chicago-born Stephen Whitfield began writing as a Marine Corps print journalist. His writing has appeared in military publications, as well as the Kansas City Star and the Jersey Journal. He holds degrees from from Loyola University Chicago, Chicago Theological Seminary, and Indiana University. Stephen currently resides near Orlando, Florida.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Blog Tour: The Dead Room by @sm_erickson #review
7:00 AM0 Comments

Post Apocalyptic 
Date Published: March 11, 2015

322 years after the apocalypse, the world has changed, but her people have not. Secrets, lies, and manipulations endure among a small group of survivors taking refuge on an island in the Northern Pacific.   

 No one knows what claimed so many lives over three centuries ago, and no one asks, except Ashley Wortham. She can feel the secrets all around her, begging to be uncovered.   

But the nine elders who govern the island guard their secrets jealously. They believe the islanders know what they need to, and they hide their secrets behind a ruse of peace. But when Ashley, and her best friend Mason, go down the rabbit hole, no one is prepared for truths they uncover. What will they do when they discover the downfall of humanity lies within their own island, deep inside the dead room?

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Wow! There is a lot of action that unfolds throughout this novel. Being that it is the first in a series there is a lot of backstory that needs to be given and details on the world Stephanie Erickson has created. She does a great job of doing that without bogging down the reader with details and keeping the story fast paced. The sheer amount of action, twists, and surprises was shocking to me. It is very rare that a novel can surprise me as many times as this one did. It will definitely keep its reader on their toes. I think this is a fantastic start to a new series and really look forward to seeing where she takes both her characters and the world she has created from here.

Stephanie Erickson has always had a passion for the written word. She pursued her love of literature at Flagler College, in St. AugustineFL, where she graduated with a BA in English. She has received several honors in her writing career, including recognition in the 72nd Annual Writer's Digest Competition. 

After graduation, she married and followed her husband in pursuit of his dream. The Cure and The Blackout were written to reignite Stephanie's passion, when she found the time. Now that he is settled in his career, it's her turn to devote more time and energy into writing.

Stephanie currently has 4 projects planned for 2015. Her latest release, The Dead Room, is a post apocalyptic set on a lonely island 300 years in the future. 

Stephanie, of course, loves to read and write. She also enjoys living on the beach on the Florida's Treasure Coast. Most of all, she and her husband are in love with their baby girl.

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Blog Tour: Blind Confession by @violettarand #review
2:00 AM0 Comments

Historical Romance
Date Published: February 25, 2015

A heart closed to love ...

Abandoned by the woman he loved, Captain Marteinn wants to escape his misery by winning the summer games in Lagenheim. The champion is entitled to ask one favor from the jarl and he’s prepared to request his freedom.

A woman desperate for passion ...

Taken to Scandinavia after the Normans invaded England, Mercia works hard to prove her loyalty to the Vikings. Despite multiple offers of marriage, she fears she’ll never find true love. Until she meets a brooding warrior, who ignites a hidden passion she can’t ignore.

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This is one of my favorite historical authors and series, so when given the chance I jumped at reviewing it. I love the way that Violetta Rand stays true to the time period with her characters and setting. She manages to transport the reader back to a time they have only heard about and make them feel like they are a part of it. True testament to her writing ability. 

The characters are always lovable and compelling. They are the kind of protaganists you root for and want the best for. The way Marteinn and Mercia's love story unfolded was beautiful and perfectly paced. Nothing felt forced or rushed. Wonderful installment in the Blind Series! 

Raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, Violetta Rand spent her childhood reading, writing, and playing soccer. After meeting her husband in New England, they moved to Alaska where she studied environmental science and policy as an undergraduate before attending graduate school. Violetta then spent nearly a decade working as an environmental scientist, specializing in soil and water contamination and environmental assessments.
Violetta still lives in Anchorage, Alaska and spends her days writing evocative New Adult romance and historical romance. When she’s not reading, writing, or editing, she enjoys time with her husband, pets, and friends. In her free time, she loves to hike, fish, and ride motorcycles and 4-wheelers.

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PROMO: Seams and Cracks in Reality by @GraySpear #giveaway
1:30 AM0 Comments

Young Adult Fantasy / Thriller
Date Published: Sept 26, 2014 & December 25 2014

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SEAMS IN REALITY is the first book in the Seams in Reality Series.

As a freshman in a suburban college near Chicago, Andrew leads a mundane life until he meets a professor named Tonya. She is secretly a master sorcerer, and she invites him into a conspiracy of magic. Only those few who possess exceptional talent may join. A resourceful young woman named Charley has the same supernatural gift. She accompanies Andrew on his journey into a dark profession, and romance quickly blooms between the young apprentices. When Andrew meets Blake, a sorcerer who knew his grandfather, Andrew becomes embroiled in a game of lies and treachery. Blake's thirst for power leaves a trail of casualties, and in the end, only Andrew can stop him.

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CRACKS IN REALITY is the second book in the Seams in Reality Series.

The Vault is a fortress in the desert protected by the United States Army, and it contains the most dangerous, forbidden secrets of sorcery. Blake, master sorcerer and fugitive from justice, has a plan for robbing the place. He will create a tangled web of lies to trick the Army into delivering the treasure into his hands. He intends to use the stolen knowledge to destroy his enemies and become the most powerful sorcerer on Earth.

Two apprentices are on a mission to kill Blake. Andrew is a war mage, a genius at psychic combat. Charley is a young woman who commands physical sorcery. Their instructor, Tonya, will turn the two teenagers into warriors capable of defeating Blake, if they can endure the extreme mental and physical tests.

Tonya's training is just the beginning for Andrew and Charley. They must discover Blake's hidden objectives, and they don't have much time. A government agency called the Bureau of Physical Investigation has the same assignment, but the agents are unprepared for the dangers they will face. Other surprising threats await the apprentices as they pursue their enemy along a trail of bloodshed.

About the Author

Alex Siegel grew up a math and computer geek. At the age of twenty-five, he received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell. He continues to make a good living as a software developer in Chicago. In his late twenties, he took up creative writing as a serious pastime with the intention of eventually making it his career. This goal has been elusive, but failure is not an option. In 2001, his wife gave birth to triplet boys. People often ask him how he still finds time to write. In 2009, he began the Gray Spear Society series, and he hopes it will be his key to literary fame.

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$10 Amazon Gift Card

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Blog Tour: Chasing Shadows #giveaway and #review
5:00 PM1 Comments

A Brita Madison Paranormal Mystery

Paranormal Mystery/Crime Drama/Police Procedural
Date Published: January 26, 2015

"Only the living are so persistent. The dead seem to understand that time is no longer an issue for them."

Brita is at best a reluctant psychic, and Chief of Police James Weston is the "poster boy for conservative." Can he accept the unimaginable?

Brita Madison has found a sanctuary in Williams, Arizona, a refuge from the multitude of visions and voices that have chased her all her life. Then one vision touches her soul, and she finds herself embroiled in the middle of a missing person's case with a woman’s life at stake. Little does she know that this is only the beginning.

Brita's visions uncover a trail of murders centered around the historic Route 66. As Brita steps deeper into the world she has been trying to escape, she and Weston are in a race against time to identify the serial killer. This journey threatens to tear apart their lives as well as those closest to them.

"Chasing after the shadows left behind by sick minds is damaging to one's soul when you are just following the clues. Vicariously experiencing the trauma through visions like Brita's would have to tear at the very fabric of your being." – Chief of Police James Weston


This is an in depth mystery. It deals a lot in the actual procedures and actual processes that the police use in solving crimes. I thought that the detail to that was very well executed and added a whole extra level of believibility to the novel. 

Brita's abilities are something I have read about before but I think that this novel just really highlights them along with the way they can help the police. It reminds me of several movies like this novel, but reading a book is always better than a movie. 

Dannye Williamsen

Paranormal abilities related to the mind intrigue me because they draw attention to the possibilities that lie outside the acceptable range of thinking for most people. Stories that embrace the paranormal make the reader want to dig deeper and reach higher to partake of such miraculous experiences, to step outside the humdrum of one's normal life. Whether the stories are mysteries, suspense, or romance, the paranormal element allows a writer to present a unique perspective.

As an empathic writer, I experience an altered state when I sit down to the keyboard. I am not able to daydream about my story or work it all out in my head when I am away from the keyboard. Once my fingers are on the keys, I step into the characters emotionally. In writing the story, I experience intensely personal relationships with them, despite their being fictional. I feel their pain, their joy, and allow them to lead the way in unfolding the story. In writing all my books, including the nonfiction, it has been a dedicated investment of energy, and I am truly grateful for the experiences.

Sandy Wolters 
I started writing paranormal romance relatively late in life. I was fifty-years old when I published my first book. Many would ask why it took so long to start a writing career that I was so compelled to do, and I really only have one answer. Life experiences finally brought me to the place where I felt I had something to offer. 

The romantic influence of my writing career came easy because I married my high school sweetheart, and we’ve been together ever since. I thank the stars above for him every day of my life. I’m living the romantic dream, people, with the man I was destined to be with, and it feels wonderful! Every romance I write, he is right there in the forefront of my mind. 

The paranormal influence of my writing also came at a young age but was much more subtle. My books have always contained hints of the supernatural, anything from ghosts of loved ones to psychic abilities. My personal experience with the paranormal started at a young age and blossomed over the years.


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Friday, March 20, 2015

Blog Tour: Lexi Goes on Vacation to the Outer Banks by @janicekingsbury #review #giveaway
1:00 AM1 Comments

Children's Book
Date Published: October 2014

Ms. Janice and Mr. Rob have vacationed in the seashore town of Duck in North Carolina for 10 years. Duck is a friendly place with sandy beaches where children and dogs romp to their hearts content. This year Lexi, a new addition to their dog family, will come too. But the vacation will be like no other and as the sun sets on the beach it promises to be a long night, one the family will never forget!

Full color illustrations appeal to children and make the book come alive. The action and adventure encourage children to read to the end and learn new vocabulary. Even reluctant readers will want to finish the story.


What child doesn't like pets and dogs to be specific. I think this is a great premise for a Children's Book. Lexi is a puppy that children will gravitate towards. They will love reading about her without realizing they are learning valuable life lessons. And isn't that how children's books should be? I love the fact that the entire family is involved in the novel and the topic of pet adoption is huge. A wonderfully written children's book.

Janice Wills Kingsbury grew up in New Jersey.  She worked as a teacher and later as a School Psychologist for 18 years.  Janice also taught reading and has a love of children's literature.  Janice is also involved in animal rescue. Her children's books are written from the heart and portray her love of and knowledge about children and animals. The stories will capture children's interest and imagination.  Age 6-12, but suitable for all ages, even adults.

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