Thursday, June 30, 2016

Happy Friday! Bookcase tour

Prompt of the week

Tour your bookcase for us!

The lower portion is reserved for my kids' story books and some magazines.

These are my (usually) re-read section.

That upper middle part is my collection of Reader's Digest. There are tons of it from my 4-year subscription, most of them are still in the box.

I have a collection of encyclopedias (the 'must-have' in a family back in the old days), but I only display these three since Google is now here! 

When we moved last year, I wasn't able to unpack all my books. Still have two boxes left to open but since cleaning books can quite cause back pains (I dust them ONE BY ONE once a month), I think they should stay there for a long time lol. Or maybe they're getting out when I get a small, thin bookcase.   

How about you? Happy Friday!

For newbies, to join the hop, 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Free Kindle Download: Nowhere Safe by Dianna Love

Nowhere Safe:
Slye Temp book 1
by Dianna Love

About the book:

He'll give up everything ... except her.

Slye Temp agent Josh Carrington should have diedduring the blown UK mission, but he didn't. Scars fade and nightmares can bemanaged, but he'll never forget watching an innocent woman die in his arms.Tempted by the best, he sticks to Personal Rule Number One: Never mix businesswith pleasure.
Slye Temp sends Josh to uncover a leak in a DEA task force...a mole in league with the traitor who betrayed the UK team. A deadly shipment is bound for the US and nothing will stop Josh from taking down this mole, blocking the shipment, and nabbing the traitor. Not even Trish Jackson, hardheaded sister of his #1 DEA suspect. A faceless stalker has turned Trish's life into a living nightmare and threatens to kill anyone who helps her, including Josh, the new man on her brother's task force who has planted both unwelcome feet in the middle of her world and refuses to leave. The closer Josh gets to the twisted truth, the more he struggles to keep Trish out of harm's way--and his bed--but the sultry firecracker gets under his skin like no other woman, forcing him to question everything, starting with Rule Number One.

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Free Kindle Download: Royal Outlaw by Kayla Hudson

Royal Outlaw
(Royal Outlaw, Book 1)
by Kayla Hudson

About the book:

Mariel was born royal, but has spent most of her life as an outlaw, working for the Resistance—an underground organization attempting to overthrow Natric’s corrupt monarchs. When the royal grandparents who left her for dead long ago offer her the future crown, she declines, but when they threaten the life of her commoner father she is left with an impossible choice: become something she hates or watch her father die.

As Mariel fights against the new responsibilities and expectations that confine her, forgotten memories of her mother’s murder threaten her sanity and a creature who hunted her as a child returns to finish off his prey. Mariel quickly discovers that she may be a master sword-fighter, but not all enemies can be defeated with a mere blade . . .

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Wednesday Rewind: Guest Author│5 Book Marketing Ideas for the Self-Help Genre (Tamara Branch)

5 Book Marketing Ideas for the Self-Help Genre
by Tamara Branch

In June 2014, my first book, ITGIRL4LIFE was published. I had the paralyzing realization in that moment, that nobody in the Universe knows about this book. Seriously, no one on the planet knows this book exists, I thought. I had read articles and blogs that said you should be marketing your book 6 months before it comes out, at least. Well, I didn’t do that. Everything was new for me on this publishing journey. I was winging it. I did some of what was recommended and did my own thing in other areas, and made a few mistakes that I learned from. I would have started earlier looking back but I also know that there are no hard and fast rules, no black and white as a self publisher. You do what works best for your individual project, schedule and budget. Here are 5 marketing ideas that have really helped my book sales and increase overall awareness of my brand.

Get Social. You are IT. In other words, people, your fans, your target market want to hear from YOU. Your book - your platform! Share your writing journey, your personality, your truth, why you wrote your book. Talk about the messages you want to convey, the societal impact, who you want to inspire and why. Create a real ‘in person’ presence, beyond your book. Authenticity is your greatest marketing tool. Blogging, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are my go-to channels for promotion. Social media can have a tremendous impact, if used thoughtfully and with purpose.

Give Your Book Away For Free...Strategically. I wrote a self-empowerment guide for teen girls. My team of two reached out to hundreds of girls organizations, foundations, and philanthropists who are committed to the enrichment of girls. We also sent books to teen celebs, and young women in the entertainment industry. Countless pdf’s of my book went out to help spread awareness of how this book can be used as a tool to help build high self-esteem. Hard copies went out as well. It worked. We got a lot of support, reviews, shout-outs outside of customer reviews on Amazon. Think outside the box. Find people and organizations who will likely resonate with your mission and connect with them. It’s networking time. Don’t be shy!

Submit for Awards. Do some research - select the top awards for your genre and submit your book for a handful of them. Any award recognition is helpful, may bump up sales, add credibility and create a extra interest.

Check out Expo’s and Book Fairs. Good Expo's can draw a huge crowd and can be a great opportunity for YOU, the author to be seen, sell books and build your brand. I participated in The Ultimate Women’s Expo in Los Angeles, which exposed me and my book to hundreds of organizations interested in supporting girls. I gave it a whirl and it was a huge success - not cheap though. Book fairs are all about books. Traveling to Book Fairs can be very costly. There are companies that for a small fee will represent your book at fairs in the States and abroad. My book was represented in the Frankfurt Book Fair and Beijing International Book Fair and a few agents expressed interest while I stayed in the comfort of my home. That little move may turn into an international book deal. I do want ITGIRL4LIFE translated in several languages. We’ll see.

Set Aside Marketing Budget. You can do a few things with no money but you can do more with some cash. Put aside some money for your promotional budget. You will need it. You may have to hire an assistant, a marketing expert, pay a fee to submit your book for awards, get an intern, do a virtual book tour, or a traveling book tour, you will likely have to order your books in bulk to support your own events, etc. Make an early promise to yourself that you are going to give your book a fighting chance in the marketplace. Do whatever it takes to get it out there.

Let’s face it, there are a million ways to market your book and honestly, it can feel like a long uphill climb, at times. Bottomline, you have to promote from different angles. Some things will work and some won’t. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Keep building. Remember the joy and passion you had when you decided to write something and share it with the world. You need YOU in all your glory to be strong and committed to your success. Never give up. Your book just needs the right combination of buzz worthy activity to reach new heights.


Author: Tamara Branch
Publisher: Heart Project Publishing
Pages: 98
Genre: YA/Self-Esteem
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Writer, artist and speaker, Tamara Branch serves up 40 bite-sized chapters on how to build unshakable self-confidence, honor your life, and shine bright in the world, in ITGIRL4LIFE: How to bring out your special something and so much more. Packed with sage advice, life-changing insights and affirmations to help you soar, ITGIRL4LIFE offers ideas, tools and principles that you can reference and build upon, supporting you in becoming your best. Get ready to fall in love with your own wisdom, beauty and strength.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Free Kindle Download: Tempted by the Pack by Anne Marsh

Tempted by the Pack
Blue Moon Brides, Book #1
by Anne Marsh

About the book:

Once in a blue moon…

For Rafer Breaux, life in the Louisiana Bayou is harsh, violent—and deeply sensual. The Cajun werewolf lives for his Pack and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep his brothers safe. The longer a wolf lives without a mate, the harder it becomes for that wolf to shift back. To remember that he is a man—and not a monster. And those mates can only be found during a blue moon. When a blue moon finally rises, Rafer will need every weapon in his sensual arsenal to tempt one special woman into his arms and the heart of the Pack.

The Pack hunts for mates

Fighting to keep her family farm, Lark Andrews isn’t looking for love. Even if the very sexy Breaux brothers make her dream of hot bayou nights spent in their arms. When the blue moon leads Rafer to her door, however, Rafer has her rethinking her position on all work and no play. Now, the bayou nights are heating up as Rafer fights to convince her, one sensual touch at a time, to give love and passion a chance. But Rafer isn’t a one wolf deal. Is there room in Lark’s heart—and bed—for Rafer and his Pack?

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Monday, June 27, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

"It's Monday! What are you reading?" is a fun meme hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. This is where we share the books we have read the last week and our reading plans for this week.

Books Reviewed

An uphill quest for love. 

Nearly thirty, over-endowed with curves, and under-endowed with boyfriends, Gillian Shaw’s life is not going to plan. Still hopelessly in love with her childhood friend and neighbor Jack Larson—who only sees her as his best pal—she clearly needs to make some changes. Realizing she’s never going to get her happily ever after with the man she loves, Gill decides to date a nice bank manager in her first step toward a new life. She’s going to put her feelings for Jack behind her no matter how much it hurts. 

Jack loves Gill. He always has. She’s been his side-kick since school. Suffering with him through his failed marriage and has been a second mom to his six-year-old daughter. Seeing her in a relationship that gets serious way too fast is causing him sleepless nights. He’s worried that she’s rushing into things and worried that he’ll lose her friendship. But most of all, he’s worried that all this time he’s been a complete idiot, and the way he loves her might not be the way he’d thought.

* * *

When Killian MacGregor, the hottest quarterback in the NFL, eyes the perfect pair of female legs, he spends an hour tracking the gorgeous woman in a room filled with rowdy teammates until one gets out of line. 

Rebecca Cavanaugh, a long distance runner for the state team, intimidates boys and men with her quick wit and majestic height. The pre-season jock party isn’t her scene, but she’s roped into attending to provide her sister a sober ride home.

Hiding in the kitchen to avoid the athletic sex fest, a drunken thug forces Rebecca to her knees, and waves a giant ding-dong in her face. Before Rebecca can extricate herself from the hairy situation, an unknown champion saves the night. When Killian assists Rebecca off the floor, she’s stunned into silence while staring at the sexiest man alive.

Will Killian’s bad boy rep and Rebecca’s need for commitment, make this the most impossible “Play” of the season? Or, will Killian’s haunting past and need for victory destroy the most important game of his life?

* * *

My name is Meredith 'Merry' Gentry, but of course it's not my real name. I dare not even whisper my true name after dark for fear that one hushed word will travel over the night winds to the soft ear of my aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness. She wants me dead. I don't even know why...

I fled the high court of Faerie three years ago and have been in hiding ever since. As Merry Gentry, I am a private investigator for the Grey Detective Agency: Supernatural Problems, Magical Solutions. My magical skills, scorned at the courts of Faerie, are valued in the human world. Even by human standards, my magic isn't flashy, which is fine by me. Flashy attracts attention and I can't afford that.

Rumour has it that I am dead. Not quite. I am Princess Meredith NicEssus. To speak that name after dark is to call down a knock upon your door from a hand that can kill you with a touch. I have been careful, but not careful enough. The shadows have found me, and they are going to take me back home, one way or another.

So the running is over. But the fighting has just begun...

Rich, sensual, brimming with dangerous magic, A Kiss of Shadows is a dazzling tour-de-force where folklore, fantasy and erotically charged adventure collide.

* * *

In the Ichidian Universe, The League and their ruthless assassins rule all. Expertly trained and highly valued, the League Assassins are the backbone of the government. But not even the League is immune to corruption . . .

Command Assassin Nykyrian Quikiades once turned his back on the League—and has been hunted by them ever since. Though many have tried, none can kill him or stop him from completing his current mission: to protect Kiara Zamir, a woman whose father’s political alliance has made her a target. 

As her world becomes even deadlier, Kiara must entrust her life to the same kind of beast who once killed her mother and left her for dead. Old enemies and new threaten them both and the only way they can survive is to overcome their suspicions and learn to trust in the very ones who threaten them the most: each other.

Book for Review

What would it be like to be a carefree kite? This rhyming picture book imagines the world as seen by “The Wondrous Kite.” 

Currently Reading

Summer dreamed of becoming an artist and painting natural beauty on canvas. But all that changed when she married Joshua Hart, a man carrying a powerful dream of his own. With a temper to match his wild-boy good looks, he stormed out of their marriage to pursue a life as a musician, leaving her alone and, unbeknown to him, pregnant. 

Five years later, Summer is busy raising her daughter and managing the family’s camp and retreat center in the woods of Eastern Washington. With her artistic dreams all but forgotten, her world turns upside down the day Josh shows up with an offer to help her get the camp ready—and plans for divorce. 

Only Josh didn’t expect to find a blue-eyed darling who calls him “Daddy” living at Hart’s Camp. Not to mention his surprise over the attraction he still feels for Summer Day. Can he make amends for the past? Or is it too late? 

Ty and Winter Williams, marriage-retreat speakers, share their heartwarming story of second chances, and Summer and Josh must face the choices they’ve made. Is God’s grace enough to carry them through the divorce? Or can He change their hearts and help them find their way back to love? 

* * *

I came to work for Blake Carson under a ruse. I never guessed those false pretenses would lead to a job as his assistant. 

Or that I would end up pressed against a glass wall in his mammoth empire, naked and begging. 

I thought I was just using him to get back the only thing that mattered to me. And that he was using me too, for his own selfish, seductive reasons. Turns out neither of us have any clue who is using who. And it feels too incredibly good to stop. 

Especially since someone is out to get us—and Blake may be the last person I can trust. 
Or the only one.

* * *

Crystal Frost has spent her whole life believing she's ordinary, and her mother has long held the secret of her heritage. When Crystal begins seeing the ghost of a dead classmate, her life spirals out of control. She’s faced with the threat that everyone will find out she’s a freak, as if the struggle to figure out her new-found abilities wasn’t enough pressure. Crystal has to find some way to save the people who have come to her for help all while trying to keep her abilities a secret. Will she be able to fulfill these overwhelming demands while solving the mystery that is the ghost of Olivia Owen?

How about you? What are your reading plans this week? 
Happy Monday!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Recommended Read: Secrets of the Porch by Sue Ann Sellon

Secrets of the Porch
by Sue Ann Sellon

Amazon 5-star Ratings: 54%

About the book:

How long can a person hold their secret safe? The agony alone is unbearable. This porch has a story, a life. It breathes with memories of love and secrets. 

Sixteen-year-old Sophie Mae Randolph, caught robbing a gas station with her boyfriend Gabe, avoids the juvenile detention center by accepting the Judge's alternative: that she spend a year on a Nebraska farm with her grandmother, Lila, whom she has never met. None too happy at first, Sophie eventually settles into farm life and opens up to the love of her grandmother, a dog named Hunner, and a new boyfriend named Blake. 

Along the way, Sophie realizes that not only does she have her secrets, but Lila does too. 

When Gabe reappears, Sophie's very life may be in danger. Will Sophie and her grandma share their deepest secrets, or will they hide in the shells they've created for so many year? Discover the transforming power of love and the Secrets of the Porch

Book Review originally posted in April 2015

When Sophie lost her mother, the only one who has shown her real love, she felt God has forsaken her. She questioned HIM for almost every bad thing that comes her way. She became cynical, believing the only way to survive is to be dishonest and selfish. Her boyfriend Gabe, proves this to be a great 'life strategy'. By doing this, he has managed to survive on the street for years. 

One night, Sophie and Gabe were caught robbing a gas station. Gabe was sent to prison while Sophie, as she's a minor, was given a choice to either enter the juvenile detention or live with her grandmother, return to school, and all other conditions which should be met within a year. The latter sounds like a good choice, but thinking about her mom's past, Lila and her husband must have done something wicked that her mother decided to leave them for good, so it couldn't be that good.

After considering her two choices, she decided to try the second one: live with Lila in Nebraska but she will definitely go back to the city once the 'punishment' is completed.

The author wrote a very good, compelling story. Secrets of the Porch has it all; family, maternal affection, friendship, romance, faith, etc. I was intrigued by the secrets ...Why did Sophie's mother left her parents? Why didn't Lila looked for her daughter? Who is Charles?  Once you open the first page, you will feel the need to keep on reading. The 'secrets' were carefully woven, they managed to keep the story interesting until the last pages of the book. These secrets also gave me a wave of emotions I cannot adequately explain, couldn't count the number of times I had to pause reading as my tears kept on falling. 

There are few references to God and faith so I would also label this as a Christian book, though not a hard-core one. This is certainly a very good book I want to recommend to my dear readers. And I thank the author for sharing this book with me, looking forward to reading more from you!

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

This week's hop: 
Q - Who is your favorite fictional couple? (YA on my Mind)

A -  Oh...Dimitri Belikov and Rose Hathaway from the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Follow Friday

Prompt of the week

Name one or more standalone books that you wish was a series

I don't usually read stand-alone books so I have only one answer. I would love to read more about The Lure of Shapinsay. This is a Scottish folklore about selkies/seal men, really interesting mythology. 

How about you? Happy Friday!

For newbies, to join the hop, 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Free Kindle Download: The Amber Project by JN Chaney

The Amber Project: 
The Variant Saga Book 1
by JN Chaney

About the book:

In 2157, a mysterious gas known as Variant spreads across the globe, killing or mutating most organic life. The surviving humans take refuge in an underground city, determined to return home. But after generations of failures and botched attempts, hope is beginning to dwindle. That is, until a young scientist makes a unique discovery—and everything changes. Suddenly, there’s reason to hope again, and it rests within a group of genetically engineered children that are both human and Variant.

Terry is one of these children, modified and trained to endure the harsh conditions of a planet he cannot begin to understand. After years of preparation, Terry thinks he knows what to expect. But the reality is far stranger than anything he can imagine—and what he will become is far more dangerous.

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Free Kindle Download: Wasted Love Boxed Set: Second Chance Romance by Colleen Charles

Wasted Love Boxed Set:
Second Chance Romance Parts 1-3
by Colleen Charles

About the book:

He’s the one I can’t forget. She’s the one I let get away.
But sometimes life gives second chances.


I can’t forget Quinn. The dreamy athlete who took my v-card and my heart. My brother’s best friend. Then he left. Like that. It’s been years. And I haven’t seen him since.
Until now.


I can’t forget Ashton. My first and only love. Fate turned into an ugly dance partner and tore us apart. And I’m determined to get her back. It’s been years. I haven’t been able to get her to even look at me.
Until now.

And I’ll make it right.

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Wednesday Rewind: Guest Author│How to Write and Publish a Novel in Only 12 Years (Dennis Danziger)

How to Write and Publish a Novel in Only 12 Years

Writing my first book, Daddy, The Diary of an Expectant Father, was a breeze. From the day I was married until the day my son was born, I wrote one page day. Eleven and a half months later I had a kid and a book.  My agent sold my manuscript on the 33rd try, and after I received my advance and paid my taxes, I handed the rest over to a publicist who booked me on Good Morning America and the Phil Donahue Show.
My book was excerpted in magazines, written up in US Today, and translated into German and Korean.  I was a TV writer at the time and was hired to write a sit-com pilot based on my book.   
A decade later I was divorced, teaching public school and responsible for  200 students, leaving me little time to write.   Divorced and ready to re-enter the dating pool I decided to keep a journal focusing on my proactive search for the last great love of my life, who I imagined I would marry and who would be become a loving stepmother to my two teenage children.
Off I went seeking romance and writing about it. I figured my worst case scenario was that I would not find the woman for whom I was searching; but I might end up with another book.
And I did. But not the way I planned.  
After a year, neither the romance nor the literature was working out.  I gave up on both projects.

Weeks later, a high school friend wrote and informed me that he had given my email address to a beautiful, single woman who he had been friends with 25 years earlier. She wrote and suggested we correspond. 

Amy, my new correspondent, lived in Ottawa, Canada and believed that I lived in NYC, within visiting distance. But I lived in LA, a mere 3200 miles away. I figured there was no harm in continuing our on-line relationship since I rarely fly and doubted we would ever meet.       
Fifteen months later Amy Friedman, whose syndicated children’s column, Tell Me a Story, has been running for 20 years, moved to LA and we married. 
A month after “I do,” I showed her my dating journal and asked if she thought there was a book in it. “Absolutely,” she said, “except you should turn it into a novel.”
“I’ve never written a novel,” I said.
“I have.” And she gave me a tutorial in fiction. 

Five years later, I completed my dark, romantic comedy, A Short History of a Tall Jew. I wrote some mornings before work. Some afternoons on my lunch break. Some evenings when I did not have too many papers to grade. Always on weekends and holidays. Six months after completing my fourth draft, a NYC agent agreed to represent me.    Six months and 26 rejections later he quit representing me. Every winter break and summer for the next five years I re-wrote. 

I could not imagine dying with this manuscript unpublished. So I did something I had vowed I would never do: self-publish.

That process took another five months.      

My first reading was held in May 2010 at The Village Bookstore in Pacific Palisades, CA and since then I have been invited to read/discuss my book at the Houston and Ft. Myers Jewish Book Festivals. I have given readings in bookstores, theatres, salons and saloons in LA, West Hollywood, Santa Monica and Cleveland, Ohio, at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan on a February night when it snowed 19 inches and at a pool party/fundraiser in Northridge, California. I have received positive reviews (and one really ugly negative review). I have been invited to write for blogs like this one. I have been signed by an agent who is trying to sell the TV/movie rights. A blog I wrote for Huffington Post’s Divorce section quotes heavily from my novel.  One can buy my novel on and on Kindle.

From the day I put pen to paper until the day I held a copy of the A Short History in my hand, 12 years elapsed.

I have yet not recouped my investment; maybe I will; maybe I won’t. 

But other than running the AIDS Marathon (very slowly) in Hawaii, at age 53, writing and publishing my novel is the coolest thing I have ever done. And I am glad that when my agent quit sending it out, I overcame the depression that always comes with such rejection, and pushed on.  

The difference between allowing my manuscript waste away in a desk drawer and preparing for the three readings I have booked this fall was never, never, never quitting.  

**Original post published in August 2011

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