Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Love in Lowercase {+ Giveaway}



With Valentine’s Day fast-approaching, LOVE IN LOWERCASE by one of Spain’s most popular authors, Francesc Miralles, is the perfect read.

Since its Spanish debut, this international bestseller has been translated into twenty languages and has captured the hearts of fans across the literary map. In the tradition of The Rosie Project, The Guest Cat, and the movie Amelia, LOVE IN LOWERCASE (A Penguin Paperback Original) is the feel-good story of the year that celebrates the pleasure (and havoc) of life’s beautiful surprises. 

Thanks to Meredith and the wonderful folks at Penguin/Random House, I have a print copy of the book to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for more giveaway details.

I had the opportunity to review this charming book and before I finished, I also able to listen to the audio version. Having both formats was a joy. When I had a few minutes to relax, I could sit down with the book and enjoy the protagonist’s adventure. When I was busy doing other things, I could continue with the book by listening to the audio – the best of both worlds. Now here are my thoughts on the book.

LOVE IN LOWERCASE by Francesc Miralles

Cause and effect says a lot about LOVE IN LOWERCASE by Francesc Miralles, but the story offers so much more.

Narrator Scott Aiello does an excellent job bringing the various characters to life giving each a distinct voice. His cadence and pitch adds depth to this enchanting story. 

This delightful romantic comedy centers around pragmatic Samuel de Juan, a 37-year-old brainy loner, who believes nothing new will ever happen to him and is content his life is more or less half over. A chance meeting with a stray cat one morning leads Samuel, a lonely linguistics lecturer, on a series of changes in his life that are most unexpected and life-changing.

Because of the cat (he names Mishima), Samuel is lead to meet Titus, his enigmatic neighbor. From there Samuel discovers his childhood love, Gabriela, and soon there are more people in Samuel’s life than ever before.

With a blend of classical music, linguistics and humor, the author creates a story that flows smoothly carrying readers/listeners on a magical journey of love and friendship The characters are well-developed and quite likable. Set in Barcelona, readers will get a feel for the area through the author’s rich descriptions.

A chain of events starts with a kind gesture to a persistent cat in this charming story. Cat lovers will cheer and non-cat owners may reconsider having a feline around. This is a heartwarming, quirky story that ends too quickly.

Love in Lowercase by Francesc Miralles, Penguin Books, @2016, ISBN: 978-0143128212, Paperback, 240 Pages 

Narrated by Scott Aiello, Penguin Audio, @2016, ASIN: BO1AO50WRQ, Unabridged, Digital Download, Run Time: 5 Hours and 15 Minutes 

FTC Full Disclosure – Copies of this book were sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copies did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Author Francesc Miralles.credit Yan Pekar
Francesc Miralles is an award-winning author who has written a number of bestselling books. Born in Barcelona, he studied journalism, English literature, and German, and has worked as an editor, a translator, a ghost-writer, and a musician.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

Thanks to Meredith and the wonderful folks at Penguin/Random House, I have a print copy of LOVE IN LOWERCASE by Francesc Miralles to giveaway. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Thursday, Feb. 18.

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. A winner will be selected by the Rafflecopter widget and I’ll send an email with the subject line “Thoughts in Progress Love in Lowercase Giveaway.” The winner will have 72 hours to reply to the email or another winner will be selected. PLEASE be sure to check your spam folder from time to time after the giveaway ends. If you win and you’ve already won the book somewhere else or you just decide for whatever reason you don’t want to win, once again PLEASE let me know.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope I’ve enticed you to check out this fascinating story and/or enter the giveaway. Do you believe in cause and effect? Do you think one action can lead to a chain of events?

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Hound’s Bite Cover Reveal {+ Giveaway}


I am excited to reveal the cover for HOUND'S BITE, the fifth full-length novel in the Ivy Granger urban fantasy series by E.J. Stevens.  We also have a giveaway and a sneak peek book excerpt to share!
Cover Reveal: Hound's Bite

Hound's Bite Ivy Granger urban fantasy by E.J. Stevens

Hound's Bite (Ivy Granger, Psychic Detective #5) by E.J. Stevens

Ivy Granger thought she left the worst of Mab's creations behind when she escaped Faerie.  She thought wrong.

In a cruel twist of fate, Ivy has unleashed a powerful horde of Unseelie beasts upon her city, turning her homecoming into a potential slaughter of innocents.  Now Ivy must gather her allies to fight a reputedly unstoppable force—The Wild Hunt.

Will the training Ivy received in her father's court be enough to save her city, or will Harborsmouth be forced to kneel before the Lord of the Hunt?  She is willing risk her own life, but some sacrifices come at a cost worse than death.  When an ally is bitten by one of The Wild Hunt's hounds, Ivy must face the possibility that winning this battle may mean killing the one person she has come to love most.

Release Date: July 12, 2016
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Add to Goodreads.

Hound's Bite Book Excerpt

     “Are you saying we should run?” I asked, eyebrows raised.  “Because you should know me better than that.”
     “What he’s saying, Princess is that you woke up something too big for the three of us to defeat alone,” Torn said.
     That made me pause.  We’d fought faerie queens, pyro demons, a lovesick necromancer, and a psychotic lamia, to name a few.  I may not have come through those battles unscathed, or with all my guts still on the inside, but with my friends at my side, and a new arsenal of wisp powers at my fingertips, I felt nearly invincible.
     I looked to Ceff, hoping he’d grab his trident and join me for some quick monster cleanup.  I may not be on the clock for this one, but I didn’t let hungry fae prowl the streets of Harborsmouth.  And if Torn was right, I’d somehow let this one follow us out of Faerie.  No way was I turning tail, no matter how tired I was.
     But Ceff didn’t reach for his weapons.
     “We need allies,” he said.
     “And larger weapons,” Torn said, with a wink.
     The cat sidhe looked excited, which was a clue that I wasn’t going to like the answer to my next question.
     “And what monster do we need to gather our allies and weapons against?” I asked.
     “Haven’t you guessed yet, Princess?” Torn asked, eyes gleaming.  “We’re not just facing one howling beast.”
     Ceff turned to me, closing the space between us.  In the moonlight, I could see my reflection in the dark pools of his kelpie eyes—eyes that were tight with worry.
     “What are they?” I asked.
     Ceff’s voice was low and reverent, and tinged with the taint of fear.
     “The Wild Hunt.”

Hound's Bite Cover Reveal Giveaway

To celebrate the Hound's Bite cover reveal, we are giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Win $10 Amazon Gift Card

To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  Giveaway ends February 23, 2016 midnight EST.
 
What do you think of the cover?

E.J. Stevens is the author of 14 works of speculative fiction, including the Hunters' Guild urban fantasy series, the Spirit Guide young adult paranormal series, and the award-winning Ivy Granger urban fantasy series.  She is known for filling pages with quirky characters, bloodsucking vampires, psychotic faeries, and snarky, kick-butt heroines.

Connect with E.J. Stevens by following her on Twitter, Facebook, Newsletter, Blog, Goodreads, and Amazon

Thanks so much for stopping by during this fascinating cover reveal. Are you a reader that is drawn to a book by its cover first or is the synopsis what draws you in?
 
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Monday, February 8, 2016

A Love Affair with Torties



It’s a pleasure and a delight to welcome my friend, fellow blogger, cat expert and author Ingrid King to Thoughts in Progress today to talk about one of the joys in her life – tortoiseshell cats.

Ingrid has just released a new book, TORTITUDE: The Big Book of Cats with a Big Attitude. It’s a fascinating book I review here last Wednesday.

Please join me in giving Ingrid a warm welcome as she joins us to talk about her “Love Affair with Tortoiseshell Cats.” Welcome, Ingrid.

I’ve been owned by tortoiseshell cats, affectionately known as “torties” by those of us who love these beautifully colored cats, for the past two decades. There’s just something about these cats with their unique personalities, often referred to as “tortitude,” that appeals to me. Maybe it’s because I can identify with their strong sense of independence. Maybe it’s because they seem to live by their own rules. Whatever it is, I’m a tortie lover for life.

It all started with Virginia, a high-spirited cat who I first met during an interview for the hospital manager position at a Virginia animal hospital. Partway through the interview, a beautiful tortoiseshell cat walked into the office.  Virginia proceeded to walk over to me, looked up at me, and then dug her claws into my legs and used them as a scratching post. At the time, I wondered whether that was part of the interview – a test, perhaps, to see how I would react?  I certainly ended up using a similar technique many times when I interviewed potential staff members – seeing how they reacted to my office cat sometimes told me more about how they would be with animals than anything they actually said during the interview. In hindsight, I realized that, of course, this was the moment Virginia marked me as her own. For four years, she made my office my home away from home.  When her miscellaneous health problems caught up with her, we let her go on a sunny April morning. I held her on my lap in the office, surrounded by all the people who had been a part of her world, as she took her last breath.

After Virginia came Amber. Amber and her five kittens were brought to the Middleburg Animal Hospital by a client who had found the little family in her barn.  Despite being emaciated and scrawny-looking, Amber’s eventual beauty was evident even then.  She was a dark Tortoiseshell color, with an amber-colored heart-shaped spot on top of her head, which became the reason for her name.  Her kittens found new homes in fairly rapid succession. 

However, nobody was interested in the beautiful mommy cat.  She spent her days in the big adoption cage in the hospital’s waiting area, but with the constant inflow of homeless kittens that is typical for spring and summer, nobody wanted to adopt an adult cat.  I had recently lost my almost sixteen-year-old soul mate cat Feebee, and the grief over his loss was still very fresh.  I did not think I was ready for another cat, but coming home to an empty house was becoming increasingly difficult.

One weekend, I decided to take Amber home, “just for the weekend”.  She never left my house again until her passing in 2010 after a sudden, brief illness. Amber was a wise old soul in a feline body, and the inspiration for The Conscious Cat.

Buckley came into my life in the spring of 2005. After Virginia died in 2002, my office at the animal hospital felt empty, but the right cat to succeed Virginia in the very important position of office cat had not come along – until that spring day, when I walked into the kennel area of the hospital and saw a cute little tortie in one of the cages all the way in the back. It was love at first sight for me. After that first encounter, I knew that she would become my new office cat.

A year later, I left my job at the animal hospital to start my own business. Initially, I thought I could live without Buckley, but eventually, I missed her too much, and a couple of months later, Buckley came home with me, and shared Amber’s and my life for the next two years, before she passed away from complications related to her heart disease. Buckley changed my life in ways I never could have imagined and inspired my first book, Buckley’s Story: Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher.

I currently share my life with Allegra and Ruby, two young tortoiseshell cats who came to me at seven and nine months of age, about a year apart. You can follow some of their adventures on The Conscious Cat (www.ConsciousCat.com) and on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/consciouscat). They both have tortitude in spades.

Ingrid, thanks for joining us today and sharing your love of torties with us. Having been owned by a tortie myself, I can say they are amazing creatures and will forever have a place in your heart once you’ve been around one.

Now for those who aren’t familiar with Ingrid, here’s a bit of background on her.

Author Ingrid King with Ruby
Ingrid King is the author of five books, including the new Tortitude: The BIG Book About Cats With a BIG Attitude. Tortitude is available from Amazon now, and will be in stores February 5.

For more information about Ingrid, please visit www.ConsciousCat.com.

Thanks so much for stopping by today during Ingrid’s visit. Have you ever had any interaction with a tortie? Be sure to drop by Ingrid’s website for loads of information about cats, even if you aren’t owned by a tortie.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Painting Rain Cover Reveal {+ Giveaway}

Painting Rain

How do you heal your heart after tragedy leaves you broken? When the person you loved didn’t deserve it and they can’t earn your forgiveness because they’re already dead? How do you move on, and heal, and love?
If you’re Princess Lorraina, you paint. A year ago Lorraina watched Tobias die, and she still doesn't know how she's supposed to heal—or forgive. How can she when she’s still running away? In an attempt to reinvent herself, she steps outside her comfortable life as princess and seeks the tutelage of a master painter—a man who is not at all impressed by her pedigree, and demands not just talent, but emotional honesty. Struggling to learn what’s being taught, she finds herself drawn to someone who not only knows her secrets, but who she once considered far below her notice. Now she is compelled to seek him out despite knowing their relationship would be forbidden if discovered. Staying away from him doesn’t seem possible when discovering him may be the key to healing her heart and rediscovering herself. 

add to goodreads pre order on amazon Annette Larsen Author Annette K. Larsen 
I was born in Utah, but grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona and St. Louis, Missouri, the fifth of seven children. I attended Southern Virginia University and Brigham Young University, where I studied English and Theater. I now live in Idaho with my husband and four children. 

I have Charlotte Brontë to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally, a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. 

My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to face the reality of sacrificing what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but in the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it. I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other. 


Cover Reveal Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Code or Paypal Cash Ends 2/22/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. 

This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Banished {+ Giveaway}


I’m delighted to be participating in the Xpresso Book Tour for author Kimberley Griffiths Little’s latest release, BANISHED, the second installment in her Forbidden series.

The book was released this week by HarperCollins. It’s labeled in the genres of historical, romance and young adult. There is a tour-wide giveaway being offered for a $25 Amazon Gift Card in celebration of the tour. Please see the end of the post for more details.

Here’s a brief synopsis:

She thought she’d lost everything . . .
After spending months traveling the harsh, unforgiving Mesopotamian desert, Jayden reunites with a broken, injured Kadesh. Although everyone was convinced the violent and unpredictable Horeb, Jayden’s betrothed, killed the handsome prince, Jayden knew in her heart that her love was alive and safe. But their reunion is short-lived, as they learn Horeb is on their trail and determined to take back the girl he has claimed. Soon, the two star-crossed lovers are on the run toward Sariba, Kadesh’s homeland, where, as heir to the Kingdom, he plans to make Jayden his princess.
But the trek to Sariba is fraught with heartache and danger. After narrowly escaping being stoned to death for a crime she didn’t commit, and learning that her sister has disappeared, Jayden’s only solace is her love for Kadesh. But even he is keeping secrets from her . . . secrets that will change everything.
This gorgeous and enchanting sequel to Forbidden, is full of love, danger, and heated passion that will leave readers breathless.

BANISHED is available at the following sites: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes.

BANISHED is the sequel to FORBIDDEN.

Booklist Review:
“This sequel to Forbidden (2014) picks up with desert girl Jayden, distraught that the young man she loves, Kadesh, might have died. But, of course, he hasn’t. Scarred and missing an eye, yes, but he’s escaped the clutches of Horeb, Jayden’s malicious betrothed. Traveling bravely through the desert, Jayden finds him. But that perilous trip is only the first of the dangers to come. Gathering an army, Kadesh is determined to return to his faraway home, where the valuable frankincense grows, and introduce Jayden as his future bride. First, however, they must face betrayal, danger, and a waiting evil. Jayden achieves almost superhero status here, moving from adventure to adventure—not even a near-death stoning can stop her. Little’s descriptions of the landscape are evocative in both desolation and in beauty. Just as good is her pacing, which gets the blood pumping for both characters and readers. Far more than a bridge book, this will heighten anticipation for a no-doubt exciting conclusion.


AN EXCERPT:

A dirty, callused hand slapped down over my mouth and the stale breath of a man hissed in my ear. “Don’t move or I’ll slit your pretty, little neck.”
I clawed at the stranger’s cloak, trying to push him off, but he was too heavy. A moment later, I realized my ankles were tied together. I couldn’t run, couldn’t even move. Shrieks gurgled in my throat as if I was drowning, his hand cutting off my air.

Only one day into my journey to find Kadesh and I was already dead.

The sharp tip of a blade pressed against my neck, and I whimpered.

“Give me the frankincense of the stranger we killed.” The man’s foul breath dragged across my face. He was referring to Kadesh, the boy I loved, who’d been murdered by Horeb, the prince of my tribe.

With myself as a witness, I’d watched Horeb plunge his sword into Kadesh and then order his soldiers to drag his body off.

Shock flooded me when I realized who my attacker was. I wrenched his fingers away from my mouth and with a raw voice, said, “Gad? What are you doing lurking about the cliffs of Mari?”

This man was a childhood friend of Horeb’s and one of my own tribesmen. His body pressed against mine, and I writhed in disgust.

There was only one reason Gad was in the foothills of Mari, far from the oasis of Tadmur where my tribe camped for the summer. He was a member of Horeb’s army.

Horeb, my betrothed. The man who’d attacked and scarred me. Blackmailed me for the murder of his father to hide the fact that he’d killed his own father so he could steal the tribal crown.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author Kimberley Griffiths Little
When I was a kid I read a book a day, scribbled stories, and dreamed about having my very own book on the library shelf. I grew up in San Francisco, but now live in an adobe house on the banks of the Rio Grande with my husband and sons. I think I've drunk so much Land of Enchantment water that some of that ancient magic got into my blood and now spurts out my pencil--I mean ergonomic keyboard. I adore anything old and musty with a secret story to tell.

I'm the author of 10 award-winning middle-grade and Young Adult novels with Scholastic and HarperCollins and I make way too many cookies when I'm writing - and I've got the best book trailers in the universe - for reals! Check them out here: www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com. Please find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and YouTube.

Awards: Southwest Book Award, Whitney Award for Best Youth Novel, Whitney Award Finalist and Association of Mormon Letters of Art Award, Bank Street College Best Books of 2011, 2013, and 2015, a Crystal Kite Finalist, and New Mexico Book Award Finalist.

For more on Kimberley, visit her website and connect with her on Goodreads and Twitter.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

This giveaway is for a $25 Amazon Gift Card. To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. It may take the widget a few seconds to load so please be patient.

Thanks for stopping by today. Do you enjoy books that fall under more than one genre label?

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tortitude: The Big Book of Cats with a Big Attitude by Ingrid King


*This post contains affiliate links
Having lived with a tortoiseshell cat for almost 17 years, I was eager to read TORTITUDE: The Big Book of Cats with a Big Attitude by Ingrid King. 
The book is both reassuring and most enlightening. It reassured me some of the unique traits my late cat had could be attributed to her being a tortie. It was enlightening to learn so much more about these wonderful creatures and their ways. The biggest surprised for me was to learn that tortoiseshell is not a breed (something I should have known but didn’t).
A true cat expert, King explores why tortoiseshells are so special and characteristically different from other cats. She offers new insight into the behavior of these fiercely independent felines. In addition, she talks about her own experience with tortoiseshells including the two she currently shares her home with.
TORTITUDE features a vast array of beautiful color photographs of tortoiseshell cats accompanied by delightful quotes regarding cats. The photos vividly demonstrate how distinctly different the cats are while at the same time each one displays that tortie attitude.
The book includes a quote from Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell, and a foreword by Kate Benjamin, founder of Hauspanther.
Cat lovers of all types will find this book charming, packed with information and a joy to read Non-cat lovers may just find themselves wanting to get to know a tortie better after reading this enchanting book. This is a must have for the library of all cat lovers.
Tortitude: The Big Book of Cats with a Big Attitude by Ingrid King, Passion Fruit Press, @2016, ISBN: 978-1633532939, Hardcover, 117 Pages
FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the author in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.
Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope I’ve enticed you to check out this wonderful book. Please be sure to stop by on Monday, Feb. 8, when author Ingrid King will be visiting. Many of you will know Ingrid from her blog, The Conscious Cat. Do you have a tortoiseshell cat or have you ever had the pleasure of living with one?