Monday, January 27, 2020

This and That


It’s time for a “This and That” post, which I haven’t done in quite some time. But let’s be honest, I haven’t done a lot of any posting here lately. I say I’m going to do better (with the best of intentions) and then life gets a little crazier and I let it sidetrack me.

I think some of my problem is that at heart I’m a list maker. And for some time now I’ haven’t been making lists. Without a list I feel a bit lost. I’ve never completely finished everything on a list, but I feel better knowing I’ve done at least a few of the things that needed to be done. I’m slowly starting to make lists again so maybe that will help. For some reason you can have five planners (which I do) but they don’t help if you don’t actually plan in them (LOL).

Before I get too carried away here, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who voiced concern over my sick family member. I didn’t mean to leave you hanging about that. The sick family member is my fur baby, Traveler. For those of you who have fur babies, you understand that even though he is a cat, he is my baby and a huge part of our family.

A short version of what’s happen with Traveler. End of September he got where he wouldn’t eat anything. Go to the vet who says he could be a virus. The vet said Traveler is probably older than we think (he was a stray that adopted me) and that he could have the beginnings of kidney problems. We got medicine, he started back eating and follow up showed kidneys not as bad as first thought but still need to watch closely. Weeks go by, he’s eating but looks like he’s losing weight and not really acting like himself. Begin to notice his breathing is also changing. Back to vet who say, “he doesn’t have long” fluid is building up. Get more medicine and a week later back for another follow up. This visit the vet say, “it’s like examining a different cat.” While he gives us a good report, he cautioned the fluid could return because Traveler’s heart isn’t pumping hard enough (due to his age). We’re advised to watch and if that happens begin giving him one of the medicines again once daily (for the rest of his life). He went two full days without any medicine before the breathing started changing again. We’re back on the medicine and his breathing is still not normal. He has some difficulty at times but other times does okay. I'm thinking he probably needs the medicine twice a day like before. We'll see what the vet says. (Ingrid, I just want to let you know I’m still heartbroken for you over your loss of Ruby. I’ve thought a lot about you during Travel’s illness. Prayers continue for you.) Thanks again everyone for your concern, it means a lot to me.

On to other things, I am hoping someone has a suggestion or recommendation for me concerning moving files from one computer to another. Back before Christmas I purchased a new HP laptop. I still haven’t started using it yet. I need to move all my programs and files to the new computer. I don’t have a clue how to do that. P-L-E-A-S-E someone help.

I’ve got a number of books that I want to share my thoughts on with you. In addition, there are several new-to-me authors I want to introduce to you. Hopefully I can get on track again sharing with you (no promises this time). There are so many wonderful books out there and I am so far behind. Two books I do want to mention (and I will go into more details about each at a later date) are MURDER, JUST BECAUSE by Yvonne Renee, the fifth installment in her Detective Quaid Mysteries series, and Jemi Fraser’s debut release, DANCING WITH DEMENTIA, coming out soon. Be sure to keep those two on your radar and check them out.

How do you relieve stress? Do you do exercises to help keep your mind sharp? Are the two things the same? Over the years, as crazy as it sounds, I’ve found that Spider Solitaire helps to relax me and helps me to concentrate. Granted I only play on the medium level, but it helps. It makes me focus on something different and for those few minutes I’m playing everything else melts away. I like to think it also helps my mind to stay sharp.

I don’t normally play any other games online, but I recently came across one that I’ve downloaded on my iPad. It’s called June’s Journey and it’s set in the 1920s. It’s all about finding objects hidden in a scene so you can advance to the next level. It’s entertaining and it works my mental process. If you haven’t seen the game, but sure to check it out. Besides, there’s a fun mystery plot that goes along with the game. If you have seen it, have you tried it? What do you think of it? Is it too childish for you? Do you like games that challenge you to remember where something was or find something that is not out in plain sight?

Well, I guess I’ve rambled on for long enough. Thanks for stopping by today and especially for continuing to support this blog. Y’all are the greatest. Now, what have y’all been up to?

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

What Are Friends For? (+ Giveaway)


*What Are Friends For?
*By Sarah Sutton
* Publication date: January 14th 2020
* Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
FALLING IN LOVE ISN’T COMPLICATED…UNLESS IT’S WITH YOUR BEST FRIEND.
A close, easygoing friendship can all change with just one kiss. Seventeen-year-old Remi Beaufort learns this the hard way when she plays a blindfolded kissing game at a party.
She thinks she’s kissing Jeremy, the totally hot basketball player she’s been crushing on. And the kiss…it’s amazing. Heart-stopping, world-changing, toe-curling. The kiss makes her forget about her overbearing mother, the next-door neighbor’s drama, and the probability that she’ll fail her senior year. The best kiss of her life makes all that fall away.
Until her blindfold falls off, and she realizes that instead of kissing her crush, she’s kissing Elijah, her best friend since third grade.

Though she manages to convince Elijah that he was kissing his girlfriend, Remi can’t get the thought of his lips on hers out of her head. As things between them grow more and more complicated—because it turns out her fantasizing about his mouth is more of a problem than it sounds—Remi has to make a choice: does she live the rest of her life loving her best friend in secret? Or does she tell the truth and risk ruining their friendship forever? 

Heart-melting and romantic, What Are Friends For? is a swoon-worthy best-friends-to-lovers story that will leave you crushing hard.
EXCERPT:
There were times between us that felt totally normal—like, almost the entire time we’d been cutting out snowflakes, things had felt normal. I hadn’t been staring at his mouth or imagining his body heat enveloping me into a hug. We joked like normal, laughed like normal. But the quiet moments between us had my heart aching, wanting.
“See you tomorrow,” Elijah said, and I saw from the corner of my eye the shadow of him rising to his feet. He pressed his hand once against the spot between my shoulder blades before walking off, his socks silent on the wooden floors. I counted each of my breaths as I waited for the sound of the door to open.
It took seven slow inhales and exhales and then Elijah was gone, leaving me with a torrent of thoughts and a hurting heart.


Author Bio:
Sarah Sutton is a YA Romance author, bringing you stories about teenagers falling in love (sometimes with magic). She spends her days dreaming up ideas with her two adorable puppies by her side being cheerleaders (and mega distractions).

Thanks for stopping by today. Doesn't this sound like it should be a Hallmark movie? Did you ever play spin the bottle and kiss someone you thought was someone else?

GIVEAWAY!
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Friday, January 3, 2020

Brewed Awakening by Cleo Coyle


This is a post that I should have shared with you early last month but due to sickness in the family (I’ll talk about that in a later post), crazy work schedules and the holidays I’m running a month behind.

*BREWED AWAKENING
*By Cleo Coyle
*Series: A Coffeehouse Mystery (Book 18)
*Hardcover: 368 pages
*Publisher: Berkley (December 3, 2019)
*Language: English
*ISBN-10: 0451488873
*ISBN-13: 978-0451488879

First, let me share a synopsis of the story:
When coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi awakens on a bench in Washington Square Park, she has no idea she's been missing for days, or that her friends and family have been frantic with worry. Now that she's back, everyone is overjoyed, including a handsome NYPD detective who claims to be her fiancé. But to Mike Quinn's crushing distress, Clare doesn't remember him, or much of anything about the last fifteen years of her life.
Clare's missing memory is tied to a crime she witnessed. An acquaintance of Clare's elegant employer--and fellow member of an exclusive Gotham circle known as "The Ladies Who Brunch"--invited Clare to her posh hotel to sample gourmet wedding cakes. After their indulgent tasting, they headed to the parking garage, where a camera captured a masked figure with a gun confronting the hotel heiress with Clare looking on. Did the kidnapper take Clare, too? The camera went dark, just like Clare's memory. Soon authorities grow suspicious. Is Clare really a victim? Or merely acting like one? Evidence is mounting that she set the woman up.
To clear her name, Clare must find a way to reclaim her memories and rescue the heiress before this high-stakes crime ends in tragedy. Otherwise, instead of walking down the aisle, Clare may find herself perp-walking to prison as an accomplice to kidnapping and murder.

Now for my thoughts:

Tackling realistic issues and adding a dose of mystery topped off with delicious recipes is what this author does with creative writing and fascinating characters.

Just when you might think a long-running series could begin to get stale, the author takes you on an intriguing journey fraught with twists, turns and surprises. Readers get an in-depth look at the characters as they traverse through danger and mystery. The plot might also give you pause to wonder what if you were in protagonist Clare Cosi’s place.

As the story unfolds readers are drawn into the world of the protagonist who has lost her short-term memory. Told from multiple viewpoints, the story is filled with humor, intrigue, alluring characters (old and new) and a well-rounded tale of excitement. The family atmosphere of The Village Blend is felt as the group tries to help Clare each in their own unique way. The colorful and quirky characters that make up the coffeehouse add depth to the story. Whether you are a returning fan or new to the series, you can follow along as the story unfolds.

Fast-pace and entertaining, this story will hold you spellbound from beginning to end. An extra bonus to the plot’s drama is the tasty recipes and helpful tips included at the end. You don’t have to be a coffee lover to enjoy this book (and the series), just a fan of heart-pounding murder mysteries.

******

I'd like to say a special thanks to Author Cleo Coyle (the writing team of husband and wife, Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini) for the opportunity to read this delightful book. I've been a huge fan of the Coffeehouse Mysteries since the first book and have learned so much about coffee and preparing it. Thanks guys, y'all are the best!

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I hope you’ll add this to your reading list for January if you haven’t already read it. Do you enjoy books that make you stop and say, “Wow, what would I do if that happened to me”?

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Devious Resolutions (+ Giveaway)


Devious Resolutions
Publication date: January 1st 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance
GLAM yourself up and get ready for Dinner at Midnight as twelve of your favorite dark authors take you on a wild ride for New Year’s. When a Good Boy shows his Aberrant Desires for Delicious Deviance, and being a Chew Toy can fulfill a Sinner’s wild fantasy.
Step into the role of being a Muse that comes from decadent Champagne Dreams. Get enticed into being Bait as you enjoy the show of the Hung. And when all is said and done, prepare to end your night with a tempting Bang, Bang.
Devious Resolutions: A Dark M/M Anthology.

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Monday, December 2, 2019

Slippers and Thieves (+Giveaway)


* Slippers And Thieves
* by Christina Bauer
* (Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #4)
* Published by: Monster House Books
* Publication date: November 26th 2019
* Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Years ago, Elle—never call her Cinderella—escaped her evil step family in order to build a new life for herself in Manhattan. Today, Elle’s awful past is a distant memory. In fact, Elle even attends West Lake Prep, an exclusive high school where regular humans mix with members of the Magicorum, such as fairies, shifters and witches. Although she still must live in hiding from her evil stepfamily, Elle has always found ways to get whatever her heart desires.
That is, until Alec Le Charme.
Alec is the heir to the Le Charme dynasty of high-end jewelers. He’s also kind, charismatic, has a knee-melting smile. Elle has fallen for him, hard. Unfortunately, thanks to Elle’s evil step family, Alec is absolutely off limits.
In fact, if Elle and Alec so much as kiss, it will start a magical chain reaction that would end in powerful factions of witches and wizards going to war. As a result, Elle and Alec vow to stay friends, no matter what. Then West Lake Prep holds a masquerade ball. Identities get mixed up and forbidden kisses are finally shared.
Time for the Magicorum to go to war, and for Elle to confront her hidden past in ways she never thought possible.


Author Bio:
Christina Bauer thinks that fantasy books are like bacon: they just make life better. All of which is why she writes romance novels that feature demons, dragons, wizards, witches, elves, elementals, and a bunch of random stuff that she brainstorms while riding the Boston T. Oh, and she includes lots of humor and kick-ass chicks, too.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.
Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/CBupdates
Now here's an excerpt for your reading pleasure.

Elle – Age Fifteen

First, homework.
Then, jewel heist.
Oh, yeah.
Rubbing my eyes, I refocus on my computer screen. A final study question appears.
SUN is to BRIGHTNESS as MAGIC is to…
a) casting
b) eternity
c) fading
I click on c) fading. A green check mark appears on screen.
Nailed it. Yay, me!
Not that the question was super-tough. Everyone knows magic’s disappearing from the world. Shifters, fairies and casters—folks called the Magicorum—are basically an endangered species. I should know. I’m one of them. In my case, my father’s a caster while my mother’s a fairy.  
A knock sounds on the door. “Elle, may I come in?” That’s my mother, Rae. 
“Sure.”
The door swings open; Mom steps inside. She’s willowy and petite with large blue eyes and long blonde hair. My heart sinks. Mom’s shoulder bones jut out against the straps of her yellow sundress. She’s getting more skeleton-like by the day. Meanwhile, I’m a younger and healthier version of her. I can’t help but feel a little guilty about that.
“How are you?” My voice wobbles as I ask the question.
“Better and better.” Mom waves me off. “Is your homework done?”
Once again, Mom veers the conversation away from her illness. In Mom’s mind, if you don’t talk about being sick, then it isn’t happening. And today, like most days, I don’t have the heart to bust up her system. If Mom says she’s better, then I won’t push it. After all, we’ve tried tons of healers. And we live in New York City, home of the best cancer treatment centers ever. Nothing has made a difference for Mom.
I plaster on a fake smile. “Almost finished here.”
Mom closes the door behind her. I frown. Closed door chats are never good.
“I wanted to talk alone,” says Mom. “You see, Marchesa’s daughters are the same age as you.” She twists her fingers together at her waistline. “Both Agatha and Ivy love their high school. They’re meeting all sorts of new people.”
In this case, Marchesa refers to my mother’s lifelong frenemy, Lady Marchesa Oakwood. Lately, Marchesa has been sharing supposedly helpful tidbits about her daughters. Sadly, the stories only make Mom feel like she’s failing me. A protective urge runs up my spine. Marchesa’s supposed to run our family store, not load Mom with worry.
“Agatha and Ivy aren’t me.” I tap my chest. “Here’s one girl who likes online stuff.”
“But this is your parents’ office.” Mom frowns. “It’s not a regular classroom.”
“Come on. This is a cool spot.” And I mean it. The office is small with red brick walls. There’s even a great view of Second Avenue.
Mom still looks concerned, so I go on. “Hey, I get the deal.”
There’s no need to explain more.
In this case, the deal is the fact that I’m the warden of all fae magic. It means I’m super-powered, which is certainly nice. But fae aren’t like other Magicorum. While shifters and casters worship their wardens, the fae kill theirs. That’s why I take online classes and generally avoid new people. My full time job is pretending to be the weakest fairy in the history of ever.
“I’m glad you understand the, uh, deal.” Mom’s face brightens. “And you’re absolutely fine with online classes?”
“Do you really think I’d keep my yap shut otherwise?”
Mom chuckles. “No, I don’t.”
“Then we’re both good, right?” In my heart, I want everything to be good, not just conversations about online classes. That’s not possible, though.
“We’re better than good,” replies Mom. “We’re great.” She heads back toward the door and then pauses. “Your father and I will be in the store this morning. Give us a yell if you need anything.”
“I will.”
Long after Mom’s left, I still watch the closed door. With every passing second, a weight of worry settles more deeply into my soul. All members of the Magicorum get pulled into a fairy tale life template. Mine’s Cinderella. So I can’t help but notice some facts.
Fact one. Marchesa has two nasty daughters who are my age.
Fact two. Marchesa also stares at Dad with googly eyes that make me want to puke.
Fact three. Mom has been sick for a really long time.
I’ve seen the Disney movie here. In short order, I’m heading into the not too pleasant phase of the Cinderella story. This is where my parents are gone and I’m stuck with a frenemy stepmother who names her kid Agatha. Other Cinderellas may sing at their window and hope for the best.
Me? I’ve got a plan.
Which brings me to the fave part of my day: planning my next jewel heist.

Thanks for stopping by today. Isn't it fun to explore genres such as this? Be sure to check out the awesome giveaway and enter for your chance to win.

 
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Monday, November 25, 2019

Tasting Her Christmas Cookies (+Giveaway)


* Tasting Her Christmas Cookies
* by Alina Jacobs
* Publication date: November 19th 2019
* Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance
Winter is coming—and unfortunately it’s bringing Christmas with it.
I loathe the holiday. I hate holiday parties, fragrant decorations, and hokey movies. If I had my way it would be winter all year round and never Christmas.
Nothing burns like the cold—except a hot oven.
That’s right; against my better judgment I agreed to let The Great Christmas Bake-Off film in my tower.
And St. Nick help me but I even agreed to be a judge.
Holly
Christmas is like the perfect sugar cookie—it slowly melts in your mouth, sweetening every taste bud, making you wish it could last forever.
I love Christmas. I love the cheerful music, the fun sweaters, and the holiday lights. Most of all I love Christmas Cookies.
A begrudging bake-off judge, I refuse to let grouchy billionaire Owen Frost hate Christmas. The man is overworked, his employees are uninspired, and his life is seriously lacking in Yuletide cheer. I want to stuff his stocking with sugary goodness to put him in a very festive mood.
So I dressed up as a sexy elf and gave Owen a taste of something extra special. You should have seen his eyes roll back in his head when he bit into the perfect sugar cookie!
I can’t let Owen Frost be a distraction. Things are insane enough without a sexy billionaire.
My baking subscription service is in the death throes.
My Christmas-ruining step sister is trying to sabotage me in the bake-off.
I’m being stalked by elves on the shelf come to life.
Ok that last one is a little weird, but welcome to my disaster of a life.
I need to win The Great Christmas Bake-Off to pay of my debts and launch my baking career. Sleeping with one of the judges is going to ruin my chance for a merry Christmas. Owen with his washboard abs and big Christmas package is a bad idea. It’s best to keep that all wrapped under the tree.
But when he said in that deep, sexy voice, “Can I have another taste of your Christmas cookies?” Well, let’s just say I’m unwrapping one particular Christmas present early!
Tasting Her Christmas Cookies is a standalone holiday romantic comedy. If you love Christmas desserts, like to laugh out loud at holiday innuendoes, and want Santa to put a tall, good-looking guy under your tree, then pick up this full-length, steamy romance novel! There are no cliffhangers but there is a very happy (Christmas!) ever after!
EXCERPT:
“We are having a Christmas bath scene in the near future,” I said to the camera, “with holiday bath bombs and themed cocktails. But unfortunately, it won’t be tonight. The bake-off starts tomorrow, baking fans!”
I looked longingly at the bathtub. Then, making sure the phone was definitely not recording, because I did not need to be that kind of Instagrammer, I took a quick shower. I seriously could not get over how huge the bathroom was. I could live in it. With a toaster and a mini fridge, I would totally be good.
After wrapping myself in the robe, I tied a T-shirt around my hair. I had frizzy hair on a good day; keeping my curls manageable was a perpetual struggle. I applied a gingerbread-cookie-scented moisturizer while my videos uploaded. Because I was busy scrolling through my phone and answering comments as I came out of the bathroom, I didn’t notice the half-naked man until he swore.
I looked up and screamed.
“Help! Help! Stalker!” I shrieked and ineffectively pointed at the stranger. Between the rippling muscles, the washboard abs, and an ass I could bounce a quarter on, I hoped he wasn’t actually here to hurt me, because he could do some damage. Pointing and shrieking wasn’t going to stop him. Fortunately, he looked more shocked and horrified than angry and violent.
“Stop screaming!” he bellowed. A freezing breeze blew into the room. It was as if the man had brought the rage of winter into the master suite with him. He looked like it, too, with his ice-blue eyes and silver-white hair. “This is my penthouse. You are not authorized to be here. That makes you the stalker!”
I stopped screaming. It clearly wasn’t helping anything. I also couldn’t help but notice that the bathroom wasn’t the only thing that was huge in the room. With him wearing nothing but boxer briefs, I could tell Santa had brought the handsome man a very large Christmas package indeed. The breeze blew in from the balcony, swirling the strange man’s clean and masculine scent around the room. I forced myself to ignore it.
“Get out of my house,” Big Christmas Package said flatly.
“You get out!” I shrieked. “I’m a bake-off contestant. This isn’t your room!”
“What the—” he grabbed his clothes, tugging on his pants. “The Great Christmas Bake-Off? I cannot have Christmas invading every element of my life. This is ridiculous. Christmas is ridiculous. It’s such a stupid, childish holiday.” He punctuated his words by snatching up articles of clothing.
“Hey now!” I said, hands on my hips, fear subsiding. “Christmas is never ridiculous. It’s the best holiday ever. And if you can’t see that, well then, you’re just a grinch, aren’t you?”
He advanced on me. I was suddenly very aware of how large he was. Christmas package notwithstanding, this dude was tall, broad shouldered, with rippling muscles. He could probably split me in two.
Yes, please.
“You’re some stupid little baker who never outgrew the childish fantasy of Christmas,” he sneered.
My nose was inches away from his chest. He glowered down at me. I was too angry to be aware of his half-naked body. Okay, maybe I was like fifteen percent aware. But the majority of my energy was focused on being offended on behalf of Christmas.
“Don’t insult baking,” I said, giving him my best “I want to speak to the manager vibe,” though it was ruined by the fact that I had to crane my neck up to see him and that I was completely naked under the robe. “And never insult Christmas!”
His nostrils flared slightly.
“Men like you constantly belittle the work that women do to keep cultural traditions like Christmas alive,” I continued, poking him in the chest.
“We decorate homes to make them cozy.”
Poke.
“We cook holiday dinners and bake festive desserts.”
Poke.
“We host parties that bring families and friends together.”
Before I could poke him again, he grabbed my hand in his much-larger one. Then, realizing what he’d done, he quickly released it.
“I will not stand for your bad attitude!” I declared.
He glared down at me, strong jaw clenched, eyes cold as a frozen lake. “I can’t even believe this,” he finally snarled. He grabbed his briefcase and stormed out, still shirtless.
“Oh my God!” Fiona exclaimed, wide-eyed, as she ran into the room. She hugged me then pushed me to sit on the bed. “Are you okay? Who was that? Why was he in here? Someone call the police!”
“I knew it! You’re trying to steal my boyfriend,” Amber yelled at me, rushing into the room. “That’s Owen Frost, and he’s mine!”


Author Bio:
If you like steamy romantic comedies with a creative streak, then I'm your girl!
Architect by day, writer by night, I love matcha green tea, chocolate, and books! So many books...
Sign up for my mailing list to get the free novella, AFTER HIS PEONIES, along with special bonus content, giveaways, and more! http://alinajacobs.com/mailinglist.html
Thanks so much for stopping by today. Doesn't this sound like one of those fun Hallmark movies we love to watch over and over again?

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