AUDIOBOOK BLOG TOUR, GIVEAWAY and REVIEW of UPDRIFT – The Mer Chronicles BOOK ONE – 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Author: Errin Stevens

Narrator: Sean Posvistak

Length: 8 hours and 37 minutes

Publisher: Errin Stevens⎮2017

Genre: Romantic Fantasy

Series: The Mer Chronicles, Book 1

Release date: Apr. 20, 2017

Synopsis: For Kate Sweeting, love isn’t in the air. It’s in the water.
Since her father died, Kate Sweeting’s home life has been in the pits, her well-being on life support. Her future looks desolate until she and her mother, Cara, make another plan: abandon their shriveled existence for more promising prospects on the coast, where Cara can play small-town librarian-bachelorette and Kate can figure out what’s up with that secretive Blake family from the beach.
Everyone is eerily captivated with Kate and her mother, and Cara is the first to figure out why when the man of her dreams arrives all dripping and devoted and closed-mouthed about what he intends. Kate is willing to go along with their subterfuge for a while, but eventually makes a charge for the water to learn what her mother is hiding. Gabe Blake is there waiting for her…and so is someone considerably less friendly. By the time Kate navigates her way home, everything will have changed for her—what she feels, what she wants, and what she’ll risk to be with the man she loves.

Buy Links for Audiobook #1

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MY REVIEW:

Firstly I would like to say thank you to AudiobookWorm for providing me with a free copy of this audiobook.

UPDRIFT is the first book in a series called THE MER CHRONICLES. There are literally thousands of books on mermaids on the market today and most have been written for a Young Adult readership, this is not so for UPDRIFT.

This audiobook drew me in right away and held my attention for the entirety of the eight and a half hours.

I was pleasantly surprised by the storyline – there is no Disney princess in this book. The Mermaids and Mermen in this book are also called Sirens and it even gives a bit of history and explains how and why ancient sailors got their information wrong.

The story centers on two “people.” One is human (Kate) and one is a siren (Gabe). They meet at age five and the story follows the paths of their separate lives right up to the age of twenty-one. I don’t want to give too much away with my review, so, suffice it to say that the waiting is worth it.

But of course, someone is always out to stomp on another’s happiness.

The narration was terrific and even though it was a male Narrator, he did an excellent job of voicing characters of both sexes.

I rate this audiobook as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

About the Author:

Errin Stevens writes paranormal romantic suspense stories from her home in Minnesota. When not wrestling with unruly narrative – or reading literary and commercial fiction like a fiend – you’ll find her poring over seed catalogues (winter) or gardening (the other three days of the year).

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About the Narrator: Sean Posvistak

Sean is an aspiring game developer who’s used his years of work on Youtube to excel at audiobook narration.

Giveaway: $20 Amazon Gift Card

Runs Feb. 22nd to Mar. 7th⎮Open internationally

Click on the following link to enter:

The Mer Chronicles Giveaway: $20 Amazon Gift Card

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GOLDEN GREMLIN BLOG TOUR and GIVEAWAY

Book Details:

Book Title: Golden Gremlin: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers

Author: Rod A. Walters

Category: Adult Non-Fiction

Length: 228 pages

Genre: Humor

Publisher: Omega Man Press

Release date: November 2016

Tour dates: Feb 12 to 23, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Content Rating: PG-13 + M (Mild and indirect innuendo to both sex genitalia, a short essay about the fictional “AssBook,” an essay on current health-care talk, a teaser “is his cord long enough?” to get readers to choose a short piece on electric cars next, etc.)

Book Description:

Written to make Dave Barry, Lily Tomlin, and Ben Stein laugh, Golden Gremlin: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers delivers the experience of a balanced life, and the wisdom to like most of it, and then laugh at the rest of it. What the heck, Barry lives in Miami, habitat of geezers, and Ben Stein is one. The world really needs that push, vigorous or gentle, from misanthropes & geezers, the world’s most valuable golden gremlins. Misanthropes pretend to not like or need other people, but in reality, they merely prefer their own company much of the time. Geezers, aside from that silly name, also like their own company quite well. Both share the virtue of seeing the world calmly. You get pointy bite-sized life pointers from these experienced gremlins, told in easy bite-size chunks. Laughter included in the price! Two out of three wouldn’t be bad either.

Life is good! So laugh a little at yourself on the way through these pointy essays, and that will buy your laughing at the world’s simpler parts, guilt-free.

Golden Gremlin comprises about 70 short essays bundled into six topic areas:

NATURE: boys, ugly drivers, and coffee cups in the ‘fridge.

WORDS: the real meaning of Caucasian and Genre.

BUSINESS: deafness at the economics conference, and getting on AssBook.

KITCHENS: sushi chefs, and truth about manna.

HISTORY: when Hell froze, and Attila the Honey.

Golden boy gets to be GOLDEN GREMLIN: experience overcomes certainty.

What things could possibly be more important!

To read reviews, please visit Rod A Walters’ page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Book:

MY REVIEW:

Firstly I would like to thank both the author and iRead Blog Tours for providing me with a copy of this book.

I enjoyed reading the humourous opinion pieces in this book. GOLDEN GREMLIN: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers made me laugh out loud numerous times while reading and nothing is better for the soul than a good laugh.

This book was written with the silver-haired set in mind. Author Rod A. Walters has taken the wisdom he has learned through his long life and turned that into essays, stories, poetry and even songs. My favorite piece is a short poem about dog poop which you will need to buy the book to read.

This book will both inform and entertain readers and is a fun and funny read.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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About the Author:
Rod Walters lives and writes in upstate New York to prove he can be an all-season writer. Since he wants everybody to be all-season persons no matter her or his circumstance, his writing aims sharply toward the practical—without turning into one of those godawful do it ma’ way authors. Life, after all, is practical hour by hour. Self-described as “old enough to know better, and he probably is,” his former life as Army officer, engineer, and administrative assistant could not have better prepared him to write both light and more serious short pieces pointing to creating a balanced life. Chuckling at yourself usually makes a good takeoff, he says. Giving up having to be certain makes for a good landing, especially for one’s friends! Then again, who the heck wants to live a balanced life? Mostly everybody does. That’s why he now writes. Although many friends nudge and badger him to be a Facebook and Twitter butterfly, he tries not to spend many numbing hours a day with circular keyboard tapping. Writing works better.Connect with the Author: Website
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Giveaway:

Prizes: Win a paperback copy of Golden Gremlin. One winner will also receive a $25 Amazon GC. 5 winners total / open to wherever Amazon ships

(Ends March 3, 2018)

STEEL by J.L. Lora COVER REVEAL and GIVEAWAY – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and an eBook

STEEL

by J.L. Lora
The Trinity, #3
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Genres: Adult, Romantic Suspense, Cartel, Organized Crime

#PREORDER YOUR COPY NOW!

SYNOPSIS:

Only the Devil you know has the power to really hurt you.

Strong, daring, and loyal to a fault, Amelia Solis is the soul of The Trinity. Yet, this leader of New York’s top cartel has become a pawn in the game of revenge. All to hurt Leandro, the man she wants more than life but cannot be with.

The enemy’s always watching, biding his time.

Leandro Masseur, Lieutenant in the McLean crime family, earned his position through loyalty, shrewd business, and ruthlessness. His enemies never see the bullet until it’s ready to lodge between their eyes. When a dead woman is found in Amelia’s bed, his world is flipped off its axis.

Their Devil knows what buttons to push.

Four women will die before a killer finishes a macabre target list, with Amelia as his crown piece. Leandro and Amelia must dodge the barrage of bullets and bombs to keep her safe. Tragedy has left them scarred and broken. But love won’t be denied, won’t wait, and Leandro won’t stop fighting for a chance. The only woman he’s ever loved has been marked for death. Leandro won’t let that happen.

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EXCERPT

I never needed a drink to sleep before. Not the day I shot my first guy right through the eyes. Not during the years Sebastian tried to turn me into his little bitch. Not after I got shot, and it’d hurt like a motherfucker. I hadn’t needed a drink to sleep then.

Until Amelia Solis stormed into my life. It was bye-bye Leandro Masseur.

One fucking day, an elevator door opened and her laughter pealed out. God witnesses daily how much I wish I had never turned around to see her step out of that elevator. Every fucking thing in my life went to shit, dragged and smeared around at her will. One look at her and I’d fallen through a hole full of obsessions, eating all my player promises.

Never-love-them-Leo would never fall in love with a woman, let a woman call the shots, or spend hours thinking about a woman.

So how the hell do I, of all the fools in the world, find myself here? Waking up feeling like shit and worshiping at the altar of a woman determined not to be with me. The answer is simple and complicated.

Yes, it was the painted-on-her-skin, black dress that spotlighted her curves. And yes, it was the way she walked to a sexy beat like a Maxwell song. And yes, it was her Coke-can-red lips, weapons more dangerous than the knife she carried in her leather boot strap or purse or in a sheath under her skirts.

Last night, again, she’d driven me to the understanding, comforting arms of whiskey. Noah married Gia, but Amelia tells me we cannot be. We cannot be, but she eye-fucks me as our friends take their vows. I don’t blame her. I feasted on her, like a homeless man looking through the glass of a bakery. The things I did to her with my eyes and mind…me, her, the priest, the tent, the flowers, the chairs, all should have been on fire.

But no, the wedding’s over and she hightails it back to New York with some bullshit excuse about checking on her friend Byanca.

My phone beeps again. I snatch it and almost fall off the bed when I see her name. My heart jabs at my chest and I turn into a boy again. That’s what she does to me.

I’m sorry, her text says. I want to slam my phone against the wall, over and over until it shreds into plastic and wiry ribbons. I flip the cell on the bed away from me like it offends me. I lay back down, contemplating texting her back, telling her not to worry about me. I won’t be bothering her with my attention anymore. Leandro Masseur will go back to not begging her. She can have all the space she wants. As a matter of fact, I’ll give her more. I’ll be so distant that it’ll make all the states between New York and California seem like a stroll down the block.

A scream bounces off the walls and my heart punches through my chest. My hand palms the Glock under my pillow, my head already calculating where it came from, how to get there, if the hallway’s clear.

Everyone in the house scrolls through my mind at once. Alec, the twins, but my mind settles on Carissa. I don’t know when I left the bed. My next breath, I’m at the door, securing the hallway and making my way to the home office. Carissa wails, prickling every pore in my body and I know it’s bad. Bad enough to make my stomach clench because I don’t know what it is, or who.

Who, because someone’s dead.

ABOUT J.L. LORA

J. L. Lora is a Dominican-American author. Her stories explore the dark side of good characters, people living in the gray areas of life while playing the cards life has dealt them. She loves strong heroines and their equally powerful Men. She currently lives in Maryland, pursuing her dream of writing compelling, sexy, can’t-put-down stories about empowered, badass alpha heroines and take-your-breath-away alpha heroes

If you wish to know more information about J. L. Lora, you can visit her website: www.JLLora.com.

You can also sign up for J. L. Lora’s newsletter for news, releases, events, more information, and extras related to Boss, Made, and The Trinity Series. Visit www.JLLora.com/newsletter to sign up and never miss a thing!

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ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

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TRIBAL AFFAIRS by Matt Dallman BOOK SPOTLIGHT and GIVEAWAY (Intl)

Book Details:

Book Title: Tribal Affairs

Author: Matt Dallmann

Category: YA Fiction

Length: 277 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Matt Dallmann

Release date: July 2017

Tour dates: Feb 5 to 23, 2018

Content Rating: G (No bad language or sex)

Book Description:

Dahlia, a centuries-old genie, lies hopelessly trapped in a damaged golden locket charm attached to an ankle bracelet. Its owner, sixteen-year-old Liana, wears it for the first time during her father Jamison’s opening night illusion spectacular. Not only does its presence cause Jamison to folly his performance, but it also starts a chain of bizarre events that lead to a showdown with Dahlia’s mortal enemy, Stefan, and an unsuspecting romance between Liana and his son.

Buy the Book:

Add to Goodreads

Meet the author:

Matt Dallmann has a background in acting and holds a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. His films and screenplays have been featured at film festivals across the United States including Cinequest, Big Apple Film Festival, Seattle’s True Independent Film Festival, DragonCon and Zero Independent Film Festival. His piano compositions have been published for commercial use and he is a member of ASCAP. Matt is also the Co-Founder and Vice President of the boutique medical billing firm VGA Billing Services, Inc. in New York City. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Pinerest

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Win a paperback copy of Tribal Affairs! One winner will also get a $20 Amazon gift card (11 winners total / open internationally to wherever Amazon delivers)

(ends March 3, 2018)

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Feb 6 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway

Feb 6 – Book Reviews @Athena – book spotlight / giveaway

YOU ARE HERE:
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Feb 15 – Bound 2 Escape – book spotlight

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Feb 19 – Deborah Jay Author – Mystery, Magic and Mayhem – book spotlight / giveaway

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SNOWSISTERS – A New LGBTQ Young Adult Novel by Tom Wilinsky and Jen Sternick Releases in 8 Days

Title: SNOWSISTERS

Authors: TOM WILINSKY and JEN STERNICK

Genre: FICTION, LGBTQ, YOUNG ADULT FICTION, DIVERSE FICTION

Length: 256 PAGES

Publisher: INTERLUDE PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Cover Art: C.B. MESSER

Release Date: FEBRUARY 15, 2018

ISBN: 9781945053528

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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CONTENT WARNINGS:
***Some of the characters in this book are unreliable narrators. Some have opinions and information about the world which are not well-informed. Others are subjected to that ignorance.***

ADDITIONAL WARNING:

***This book contains transphobic and homophobic language and descriptions of transphobic bullying. It also contains misgendering of a transperson and a description of violent, homophobic child abuse.***

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DESCRIPTION:

High school students—Soph, who attends private school in Manhattan, and Tess, a public school student who lives on a dairy farm in New Hampshire—are thrown together as roommates at a week-long writing conference. As they get to know each other and the other young women, both Soph and Tess discover unexpected truths about friendship, their craft, and how to hold fast to their convictions while opening their hearts to love.

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MY REVIEW:

Tess is thrilled when she learns that her application to attend the Young Women’s Writing Conference has been accepted. Tess’s life on a dairy farm in a small town in New Hampshire is a far cry from the life led by fellow conference attendee Sophonia. Soph leads a life of privilege and luxury in New York City. In fact, her parents are some sort of exiled European royalty.

The two young women are almost complete opposites in every way. Tess is straight. Soph is gay. Tess writes anonymous Fan Fiction online and Soph writes rhyming poetry. Tess is an introvert and extremely shy. Soph is an extrovert who is a social butterfly. Tess plans to go into the army while Soph is applying to the prestigious Minerva College.

So, when these two girls are thrown together as roommates, neither one is sure of how to befriend the other, but both are determined to try.

Meanwhile, next door to their room are Chris and Orly. The tension between them is thick enough to cut with a knife. Chris fancies herself a feminist and a journalist, while Orly is planning to write a memoir about growing up in a small town. Chris may believe she is a feminist, but she is NOT. Orly is a trans girl which would not bother any true feminist, but Chris constantly refers to as her as “him.” She wants Orly banned from the retreat and her prejudice and discrimination are horrible.

How in the world are these young women all supposed to get along?

I have read some reviews of SNOWSISTERS in which people are upset by the inclusion of misgendering and discrimination in this story. However, it is the character they should be upset with, NOT the authors. This behaviour was included in the story because, unfortunately, there are still many people in the world that act just like Chris (or worse) when it comes to trans people. It is necessary to inform readers of the existence of this type of prejudice so that we can do everything possible to eradicate it. Tess says it best when talking to Soph: “It’s-it’s a hard world, Soph. It’s hard for everyone in different ways.”

As the Writing Conference progresses, so does the bonding between the attendees. Not only do they learn to improve their writing, they also improve their relationships and some form bonds that may last a lifetime.

This book is a glimpse into the lives of young women struggling with their identities and trying to decide what they want for their future. This applies to every teenager, whether gay or straight. They all need to find their place in the world and to do so while dealing with the massive changes in their bodies and minds that comes with adolescence.

The only issue I had with this story was with Soph’s diary entries. They are written in short verse and they seem very juvenile to me and as if they were written by a younger person. They definitely do not seem like they would have been good enough to gain her admittance to an elite writing workshop. Here is just one example of Soph’s diary entries:

“A powerless night with
three turns messy.
I’m surprised what comes
out with Hennessy.”

I believe that more books discussing being gay, trans, or pan and about coming out are necessary, but I look forward to the day when they are no longer needed. #WeNeedMoreDiverseBooks

I rate SNOWSISTERS as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

You can pre-order this book now by clicking HERE.

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ENTER TO WIN ONE OF FIVE Multi-Format eBook Editions of SNOWSISTERS by Tom Wilinsky & Jen Sternick + $25 IP Web Store Gift Card Grand Prize

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!!! Hurry! Giveaway Ends February 27th, 2018

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*Thank you to NETGALLEY for providing me with a free copy of this book.*

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

JEN STERNICK and TOM WILINSKY met in high-school where they started a conversation which, years later, is still ongoing.

ABOUT TOM: Tom lives in New York with his partner and the world’s most beloved orange tabby cat, Newky.

He likes cold weather, anything with zombies in it and old cars. Never has he ever…been picked first for a team in Phys. Ed… used a selfie-stick… gotten Jen to watch an episode of South Park….

ABOUT JEN: Jen lives in Rhode Island with her husband, two kids and a cranky seven-toed cat named Sassy.

She likes live theater, visiting any place she’s never been before, and admits to a mild Twitter addiction. Never has she ever…won a game of Scrabble…remembered the lyrics to the The Big Bang Theory theme song… been able to convince Tom to read a self-help book…

To learn more about these authors, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

TUMBLR

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Interlude Press is a boutique publisher of award-winning LGBTQ fiction. We publish fiction for Young Adult readers through our imprint Duet.

To learn more about this Publisher, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

PINTEREST

TUMBLR

DARE TO BREATHE by S.B. Alexander BOOK BLITZ & GIVEAWAY – WIN A $100 AMAZON GIFT CARD

Dare to Breathe

The Maxwell Series
by S.B. Alexander
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Read for FREE in KindleUnlimited: Amazon

Eternal love is worth waiting for.

Since Lacey Robinson trekked off to college four years ago, Kade Maxwell has worried non-stop that her blackouts and panic attacks would destroy her independence. But with her graduation on the horizon, he begins to relax, knowing she’ll soon be back in his arms. He’s excited to do the one thing he’s been longing to do-propose. But when he surprises her the day before graduation, he may be walking away instead.

Lacey was practically born with a baseball in one hand and a mitt on the other. The only time she hasn’t played was after the death of her mom and sister. The uphill climb to get back to pitching was painful, and if it weren’t for Kade, she might not have made it. Now, a major league team is interested in her, but she knows that her sexy bad boy wants to get married.

Fate is throwing curveballs at Kade and Lacey. Will they be brave enough to swing for love’s homerun?

This is the final installment of Kade and Lacey’s story. It’s highly recommended that Dare to Kiss and Dare to Dream be read before reading Dare to Breathe.

Intended for audiences 18+ Strong language and sexual content.

Start the Series for FREE in Kindle Unlimited

Dare to Kiss (#1) | Dare to Dream (#2) | Dare to Love (#3) | Dare to Dance (#4)

About S.B. Alexander

S.B. Alexander is a bestselling romance author. Her books are filled with stories that tug at your heart, and are filled with romance, drama, action and suspense. As much as she loves to write, she also loves to read. Some of her favorite authors growing up were Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe. She stills enjoy reading Stephen King. In fact, she loves most genres, although in the past three years she has gravitated toward the romance genre, which is when she started her journey to write her first book. Her motto: write what you love to read.

Aside from writing, she’s a huge sports fan, in particular, baseball. Since she hails from New England, she is a diehard Red Sox fan. She’s also a navy veteran and former math teacher, loves white powdered donuts, and handbags. Her husband calls her the bag lady. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing golf and hanging out with friends and family.

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DAUGHTER OF DEATH by Lexi C. Foss PRE-ORDER BLITZ and GIVEAWAY

Daughter of Death

by Lexi C. Foss
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Paperback Preorder: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

A dead body.

A missing daughter.

A silver blade.

All the clues point to one person: Me.

My name is Evangeline, and I’m a retired assassin who wants nothing to do with the underworld. But an edict from a Demonic Lord forces me to return to the man and the life I left behind.

I have seven days to prove my innocence.

Whoever set me up is going to die.

About the Author

Lexi C. Foss is a writer lost in the IT world. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and their furry children. When not writing, she’s busy crossing items off her travel bucket list. Many of the places she’s visited can be seen in her writing, including the mythical world of Hydria which is based on Hydra in the Greek islands. She’s quirky, consumes way too much coffee, and loves to swim.

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VALENTINE’S DAY ROMANCE – 12 Days of Clean Romance Books – Blog Tour & Giveaway

Ines Bautista-Yao is the author of One Crazy Summer, What’s
in your Heart, Only A Kiss, When Sparks Fly, All That Glitters, and Someday
With You. She has also written several short stories. Among them are “Plain
Vanilla,” “A Captured Dream,” one of the four short stories in Sola Musica:
Love Notes from a Festival, “Things I’ll Never Say,” part of the Summit Books
anthology Coming of Age, and “Before the Sun Rises,” part of the Ateneo
University Press anthology Friend Zones.

She is the former editor-in-chief of Candy and K-Zone
magazines and a former high school and college English and Literature teacher.
She is also a wife and mom who lives in the Philippines with her husband and
two little girls. Her books are available digitally on Amazon and Buqo.ph.

Connect with the Author here:

Twenty-four-year-old photographer’s
apprentice Regina has always felt like the plain, dull orange next to the shiny
red apple that is her best friend Lana. But then she meets Ben—the first guy to
ever break Lana’s heart, and the first guy to ever make Regina feel that he
only has eyes for her.

As Regina finds herself falling hard for Ben, she also
finds herself breaking all the rules of best-friendship. Will she give up the
love of her life for Lana, or will she finally realize that she deserves her
share of the spotlight, too?

~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~

~ Amazon Canada ~ Amazon Australia ~

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Regina Salvador wasn’t too sure what she
was doing at El Tomador on a work night. She had to be up and on location early
the next morning, which was going to be in, oh, maybe three hours—the Philippine
sun did have a habit of rising before six a.m. But she had promised her best
friend Lana Lucero she’d be there to support her. To support her as she drank
three boys under the table in a freaking drinking contest. Which just so
happened to take place in a dark bar, hidden along one of the shadier streets
of Makati, reeking of smoke and blasting grunge. What was this? A throwback to
their college days?

Through narrowed
eyes, she watched Lana chug down another tumbler of beer, the frothy amber liquid
dribbling down the sides of her mouth, running down her neck, and soaking
through the neckline of her white tank top, probably staining it forever. Why
her friend thought she had to do these things, she would never know. When Lana
triumphantly held the tumbler up and turned it face down to the whoops and
cheers of the thickening crowd, Regina felt someone jostle her arm, causing her
to lose her balance.

“Watch it!” she
snapped, feeling the beginnings of a tirade gathering in the middle of her
chest, just waiting to be released. She was tired and worried about Lana. She
didn’t want to acknowledge it, but she thought she knew why her best friend was
there. Regina didn’t even want to admit it to herself because that would mean
her best friend had it really bad, but at the back of her mind, there was a
nagging voice whining for attention, chanting one name: Ben. Ben. Ben. Ben
Marquez who didn’t call her back after turning her world upside down and making
her believe that she was the one—the one who was going to change him, the one
who was going to make him forget about all the other girls in his life, the one
he was finally going to settle down with—at their ripe old age of twenty-four.
Right.

Regina had no
idea who this Ben Marquez was. She had been out of town on another shoot when
it apparently had all taken place. She was training to be a photographer under
Paulo Javellana, one of the most sought-after lensmen in Manila. When she had
gotten back from a beach shoot in Boracay, a gorgeous island of powdery white
sand and clear blue water that was gaining popularity, Lana was already in
tears. She had fallen in love, she said. She had finally found him. The one.
The guy she was going to give up her wild, carefree days and take up an apron
and a spatula for. Regina was sure Lana didn’t even know what a spatula was.

Lana had met him
at this very bar, El Tomador, where their college friends hung out every
Wednesday night after work. He was someone’s friend from high school and had
wanted a change of scene. They’d had a drinking contest and he’d won. Lana was
smitten. No one had ever beaten her before. That was all it took. She was his.
But a few days later (“Days? How can you know you’ve found forever in a few
days?” Regina was incensed. Her irresponsible best friend had always been
flighty but this was the worst she’d seen her), he was gone. Not a call, not a
text message, not an email. She actually began stalking him, driving by his
apartment and dropping by places she thought she’d find him in. This was one of
those places. And when Regina heard what she was planning to do, she insisted
on coming along. No way was Lana going to make an utter fool of herself without
backup, without someone to take her home at the very least.

So here she was,
ready to snap someone’s head off just because he had bumped into her. “I’m so
sorry. Did I hurt you?” He had puppy dog eyes. Round, dark brown, and piercing.
Regina blinked, imagining herself getting lost in those warm pools, the angry
words fizzling out on her tongue.

“Uh, no, I…” she
stammered, unable to tear her gaze away. Well, he didn’t seem to be looking
anywhere else either.

When he broke
into a relieved grin, she found herself smiling too, the tirade all but a
distant memory. What was wrong with her? She’d seen cute guys before, kissed a
few of them too. But this one’s eyes made her feel as if she weren’t in a noisy
bar worrying about her best friend drowning her brain cells in alcohol.

“Did you want
another drink?” He gestured toward her empty glass. Which had been filled with
water earlier.

Regina twisted
her lips in a grimace. “No, I can’t. I have to be at the bus terminal at five.”

“Five this
morning?” His eyebrows shot up. “That’s like three hours away.”

“Yeah. I like
living dangerously.” She felt her lips twitch.

He laughed. And
she felt as if she had hit all three cherries on a slot machine. She usually
didn’t talk to strange guys in a bar, especially those with eyes that pulled
you in like magnets. But then again.

“I think a cup of
coffee is your best bet.” He didn’t even wait for her to agree. He wove his way
through the heated bodies cheering someone else on and asked the bartender for
the unexpected drink.

Regina watched
him walk away. He was in a long-sleeved blue shirt and dark pants. He probably
worked in an office or something boring like that. She rebelled against what
she called the corporate life. She hated dressing in clothes people wore to an
office. She had no idea what they consisted of anyway, unless Paulo had to
shoot them for a magazine spread. But otherwise, she lived in jeans, oversized
t-shirts, and Doc Martens. With the ease in his movements, this guy looked like
he lived in office clothes. She could easily picture him in jeans and a tee
though. And that made her smile.

“Reg! What are you
smiling at? Why weren’t you watching me?” a slightly slurry Lana yelled in her
ear.

Regina’s smile
dropped from her face and she grabbed her best friend’s upper arms, shaking her
slightly. “Are you okay?”

“God, Reg, what’s
wrong with you? Of course, I’m okay!” Lana swung herself free from Regina’s
grasp. “I won! And you didn’t even see!”

That’s right. She
didn’t. She was too busy being charmed by… where was he anyway? She looked
behind her, convinced that Lana would understand once she met him. But he
seemed to have disappeared. Was she that exhausted that she had imagined him?

“You!”

“Hi, Lana.
Congratulations.”

Regina spun
around to see who Lana was shooting daggers at with her wide, flaming eyes. Her
heart sank to her stomach when she saw who it was. He was smiling at her best
friend, holding coffee in a paper cup.

“Is that for me?”
The anger in Lana’s face was receding, as if she was willing to accept a peace
offering from him. Any peace offering.

But he didn’t
take the hint. Or maybe, wouldn’t.

“No, this is
for…” He turned to Regina and smiled again. “I’m sorry, we never introduced
ourselves. I’m Ben.”

Holy Crap.

“Regina.” She
felt her face closing, her heart shutting its doors. It was just as well. She
didn’t have time or space in her life for a guy. Much less Lana’s one true
love.

Lana was looking
at her as if she’d all of a sudden announced she was going to move to the
far-flung island of Tawi-Tawi. “You know him?” she demanded, her hands on her
hips.

“I just met him
two seconds ago.” But Regina didn’t even try to defend herself. She kept her
voice calm and steady, knowing that none of this mattered. What did matter was
that Lana would now be angry, stop talking to her, and accuse her of stealing
her future husband. It was time to get her home and in bed. No amount of reason
or caffeine was going to fix this. She thanked Ben for the coffee and took Lana
by the arm, dragging her out of the bar.

“Reg! What the—”
Lana tried in vain to yank her arm free but months of hauling heavy camera
equipment gave Regina a strength she didn’t know she had until now.

“We are going
home. I have a five a.m. call time and you don’t need this stress in your
life.” Regina hauled her a few cars away from the busy bar entrance and dug her
keys out of her pocket. She shoved her best friend into the passenger’s seat
and slammed the door. Taking a few deep breaths, she looked up to see a tall,
masculine form waving, walking toward her.

“She forgot
this.” Ben handed her a small, studded black bag. “And this is yours.” Before
Regina could say she didn’t bring anything into the bar but her car keys, he
gently placed the thick paper cup in her hand. Her coffee. “Have a safe trip.”
Then he smiled again. That smile that seemed to reach in and tug at the doors
she had shut on her heart earlier.

As she felt
herself turn toward the car to see if Lana was about to jump out and attack
him, Ben said, “She’s asleep. Too much partying tonight.”

Finally finding
her tongue, Regina blurted out, “Why didn’t you call her?”

His brow furrowed
and he took half a step back. “Call her? When?”

Regina was
confused now too. “When? You just swept her off her feet and then disappeared.
Who does that?”

“Oh, boy.” He ran
a hand through his thick, straight hair, looking away from her. Regina took
this as a sign of guilt and pressed further.

“Why did you make
her believe there was more to your relationship when you didn’t have any plans
of seeing her again? That’s not just despicable, it’s cowardly.” She was on a
roll.

“There was no
talk of a relationship.” Was that a
shudder he gave when he said the word? “That’s the last thing I want.” He
laughed. But this time, Regina didn’t feel as if she’d won a prize. She shook
her head, raised her cup of coffee, and decided she had had enough of him.
“Thanks again for this. Goodbye, Ben.”

“Wait! Can we
just talk a little longer? Hang for a while?” He reached for her free hand.

Regina yanked it
free when she felt a jolt of energy pass through. It wasn’t static electricity
nor was it anything she’d ever felt before. And she could still feel his hand
on hers even if he had already let go. Warm, soft, inviting. Was this how he
reeled girls in? Was this how he had won Lana’s heart? Persistent bugger,
wasn’t he?

“Ben,” she said
with a frustrated sigh, trying to keep her voice level. “I don’t want to talk
to you. I don’t want to hang for a while.
I want to get my best friend home and show up on time for work.”

He nodded,
chastised. “All right. I’m sorry. I thought you felt the connection between us
too.”

What a line.

And she said it
out loud.

His eyes widened
in what looked like slight panic. “No, it’s not, I swear.”

“Well it sounds
like one. And besides,” she threw a glance at her car, “your reputation doesn’t
exactly do you any favors now, does it?” Before her bravado could crumble
against those disappointed dark brown eyes, she spun on her rubber-soled heel
and entered her car.

She stuck the
coffee in the car’s cup holder and pressed down on the gas before she could
change her mind. After a few seconds of staring straight ahead, she allowed
herself to sneak a glance at her side mirror and wasn’t surprised to see him
still standing there, watching her drive away.

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page

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DEGREES OF LOVE by Lisa Slabach BLOG TOUR, REVIEW and GIVEAWAY

Book Details:

Book Title: Degrees of Love: A Novel by Lisa Slabach

Category: Adult Fiction, 344 pages

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Bookbaby

Release Date: Dec 1, 2017

Tour Dates: Jan 3 to 31, 2017

Content Rating: PG-13 + M (Adult themes including infidelity, occasional F-word, non-explicit sex scenes)

Book Description:

At thirty-six, Susan Sinclair has it all. She’s just been promoted to Senior Vice President of Mobile Banking at her firm, a prestigious position bringing fresh creative challenges and a hefty salary increase. Like the shiny new BMW in the driveway of the Silicon Valley home she shares with her husband, Matt, and their two beautiful boys, Susan exudes confidence and style.

Yet despite her success in juggling the roles of wife, mother, and businesswoman, Susan struggles with a secret dissatisfaction. Matt’s work in cutting-edge computer research pays less than her job, and with each advance in her career, he has grown more distant. But Matt refuses to admit there is a problem, and Susan forces herself to play along, determined to give her boys the close-knit family life she never had.

Then she meets her new boss, Reese Kirkpatrick. Working and traveling together, she and Reese become a crackerjack team, but little by little, pleasure mixes with business. For the first time in a long time—maybe ever—Susan feels seen and appreciated for who she is. Certain she would never allow their friendship to cross the line, Susan lets herself stray dangerously close to the edge.

A moment of weakness changes everything. Now, unable to stomach the façade her marriage has become yet unwilling to decimate her family by moving forward with Reese, Susan faces a choice that could cost her everything—including her children . . . but possibly bring her more than she can dream.

Praise for Degrees of Love:

“Slabach crafts a relatable, heartbreakingly real story that will no doubt resonate with those at a similar station in life: women who love their families yet yearn for just a little more—to feel wanted rather than needed, to feel passion rather than complacency. In engaging prose and through skillful storytelling, Slabach captivates with an all-too-familiar story that raises questions with no easy answers.”

Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“This does not read like a debut author’s book. Slabach shows herself to be adept at portraying the complex emotions of the human condition. Her characters live and breathe on the page in a way that every author strives for, but few actually manage. Susan’s struggles ring true, and the way she handles everything makes her a very likable and relatable character.”

Sarah Perry, San Francisco Book Review, 5 Stars

“Profound, heart wrenching and very emotional, it is hard to believe that Degrees of Love is a debut novel by Lisa Slabach. This is one of the best novels I have read this year.”

Rabia Tanveer, Readers’ Favorite
To read more reviews, please visit Lisa Slabach’s page on iRead Book Tours.

MY REVIEW:

Lisa Slabach has written a story in which it is easy to see yourself in the main characters. Anyone who has been married for a number of years can understand that sometimes daily life gets in the way of passion. Temptation to feel that excitement of new love can happen to anyone.

The author has deftly captured the imagination of the reader. This is classified as “Women’s Fiction.” There is a very good reason for this. Women can read a book about adultery and not have that translate to their real lives. I am not sure the same can be said about men.

I have to admit that I was utterly absorbed by this book and even though I am 100% against cheating in real life, I couldn’t help but wonder what way the main character would go.

Would she cheat? Would she resist temptation? If she did cheat, would she end up giving up her husband and children?

This book raises other interesting questions, such as:

* How important is your own happiness in relation to the happiness of your children?

* Do you have the right to do something simply to make yourself happy even when you know other people will be hurt by your actions?

I loved the ending of the book and I admit that I was certainly surprised by it.

I rate DEGREES OF LOVE by Lisa Slabach as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* Thank you to iRead Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of this book.

Buy the Book:

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~

Chapters-Indigo ~ Powell’s

Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:

Degrees of Love is Lisa Slabach’s debut novel. She is currently working on her third full-length manuscript and a collection of short stories inspired by her experiences growing up in a small farm community in Washington’s Yakima Valley. In addition to writing, Lisa works for a Fortune 500 Company, leading a sales team in the financial industry. She currently resides in Northern California with her husband and has two daughters, who are both pursuing careers in film. In her free time, she enjoys drinking wine with friends and cooking in her pink kitchen.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

Jan 3 – Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author – book spotlight / giveaway
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A Holland Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
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Jan 15 – Bookish – review
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Jan 17 – Books for Books – review
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Jan 29 – The Booksnake Etc. – review
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Jan 31 – Amie’s Book Reviews – review / giveaway

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Jan 31 – Novel Escapes – review
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TBD – Corinne Rodrigues – review / giveaway

This book review is also part of my #2018AtoZChallenge being hosted by GINGERMOMREADS

ICING ON THE CAKE BLOG TOUR AND GIFT BASKET GIVEAWAY

Icing on the Cake

by Ann Marie Walker
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Notting Hill meets The Prince & Me in Icing on the Cake, the second standalone laugh-out-loud romance in Ann Marie Walker’s Wild Wedding series

Cassandra Miller doesn’t have time for men. She’s far too busy trying to open a cupcake shop with her silent partner and best friend, not to mention catering her brother’s wedding. And let’s face it, it’s not like Prince Charming is going to stroll into the bakery and sweep her off her feet.

Henry has been a prince his entire life but for one wild wedding he wants to be nothing more than an “Average Joe”, or in this instance, “Average Hank”. However, when a case of mistaken identity and a batch of burned cupcakes ends in a night of passion, Cassie and Hank must decide if theirs is a recipe for disaster or the makings of true romance.

About Ann Marie Walker


Ann Marie Walker writes steamy books about sexy boys. She’s a fan of fancy cocktails, anything chocolate, and 80s rom-coms. Her super power is connecting any situation to an episode of Friends and she thinks all coffee cups should be the size of a bowl. If it’s December she can be found watching Love Actually but the rest of the year you can find her at AnnMarieWalker.com where she would be happy to talk to you about alpha males, lemon drop martinis or supermodel David Gandy. Ann Marie attended the University of Notre Dame and currently lives in Chicago.

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