Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Reading Goals

Just like in 2012, I'm setting a goal for myself for 2013.  Another TBR Challenge if you will, except this time it will be my contest.  I plan to read (and review) a certain number of books in 2013.  In 2012, I read over 200 ebooks and 30 print books.  In 2013, I want to continue that trend.  I found some amazing new books this year and can't wait to see what next year brings me.

My challenge - read and review at least 36 ebooks or books in 2013

You guys have to hold me to it!  That equals out to 3 books or ebooks a month.  Think I can do it?  Join my challenge, set yourself a reading goal (book bloggers, set yourself a book review goal) and see how you do.  If you meet the goal early, keep going!  See how far past the goal you can get.  I can't wait to see what happens in 2013.  I have a feeling it is going to be a phenomenal year.  Good luck and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

TBR Challenge 2012

In January of 2012, I accepted the TBR challenge.  The challenge was simple enough - read books only from your TBR (To Be Read) list that you did not purchase in 2012.  Here's all the info on the challenge.  I went for the "A Sweet Kiss" level, which meant I had to read 21-30 books from my TBR list.  Did I finish?

My TBR list in January contained exactly 267 ebooks on it.  The list now contains only 147 ebooks.  Here are some of the highlights from that list...

Best of 2012

My friends, this has been the best year for books.  I have found some of the most incredible novels I have ever read this year.  I am over joyed with each and every one on this list, and can't even tell you how much I love these books.  Some of them you've heard me talk about so much it's probably nauseating, but that's just how good they are.  Below are my favorites of my favorites from 2012. (This post should really be called "Favorites of my Favorites from 2012" but that's way too long).  I've narrowed my favorites from 2012 (the list has over 200 books on it!) down to these, uhm... relatively few.  Click on each of the titles to see my glowing reviews.  If my reviews don't express how much I love them - simply bring up the title and I won't stop talking about it for hours.  I hope you find some new books to read - if by chance you've read all of these (because you talk to me all the time) ask for the rest of my favs list!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The BEST holiday books EVER!

This year, I will take a break from blogging to allow myself and you time to spend with our friends and family.  I love this time of year - so full of yummy food, amazing decorations, cheerful music, chilly weather, cozy clothing and so much fun!  This will be my last post until December 26.  Happy Holidays from my little family to yours. <3

During your breaks, take some time for yourself and relax with a great holiday classic.  Here are my top four favorites that I re-read and watch the movies of each year.  They will fill your hearts with warmth, happiness, laughter and holiday cheer.  If you don't celebrate any holidays...these are still fun to read!

Here are some classic books for the holidays that have even been made into movies.  Enjoy these with your friends and family this season.

"Cruel miser Ebeneezer Scrooge has never met a shilling he doesn’t like...and hardly a man he does. And he hates Christmas most of all. When Scrooge is visited by his old partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come, he learns eternal lessons of charity, kindness, and goodwill. Experience a true Victorian Christmas"  Made into tons of different movies, my favorite is the Mickey Mouse version (yeah..yeah...not the most "realistic" version but hey! it's cute!).

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

ANSA: John Catennaci

WELCOME everyone to another meeting of ANSA!  John Catennaci is our newest member, keep reading to get to know him!

John Catennaci is an fiction author for adults.  He currently lives in Michigan with his Golden Retriever puppy and enjoying his retired life dedicated to Dianna's Way - his recently released novel.  Here's his official bio....

"All his life, John has felt fortunate to be doing work he felt passionate  about, supported by amazing family, friends, and coworkers.  While doing cement construction work at a tender age under his father’s watchful eye, he was tossed into a bundle of Italian immigrants and black laborers who shared their way of living with him—homemade wine, genuine Italian-bread-roasted-pepper sandwiches, fried chicken and drenched-in-oil-right-out-of-the-can sardines, garnished with a simple wisdom bathed in a luminosity that shaped his life.

Discovering molecules and atoms in high school, he was instantly drawn into chemical engineering. After twenty-five years of an immensely satisfying camaraderie only engineers can understand, the white collar/blue collar divide caught his attention, stimulating a curiosity about group dynamics, leading to a twenty-year, team-building career that took him across the US, Canada, Europe, and Saudi Arabia.

A common thread throughout has been a passion for writing, with a sprinkling of published short stories and articles in small magazines along the way, including a couple of Chicken Soup for the Soul stories. Dianna’s Way is his first book."

John began writing at a young age with journals and various publications.  It was just a hobby at first, but blossomed into a stunning novel about his wife years later.  His inspiration for Dianna's Way came from Dianna herself, "Everyone who knew her are in total agreement - she was a remarkable woman."  He was also inspired by other authors and the world around him.  "I write to understand myself and the world around me. I really don't know what I know until I write it down."   Authors that have inspired John are Ernest Hemingway and Khalil Gibran.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Quick Tip: Best of 2012

Today's quick tip is on eBooks gifting.  When you're shopping for eBooks this holiday season, make sure to check out the lists I have below.  The lists feature ebooks and books in every price range, including free, and by tons of authors - Indies and Best/Top Sellers.  You will find some gems on these lists that are worth your time and make great gifts!
I have found sooo many amazing gifts on these lists it's crazy.  I love the end of the year "Best of" lists!   Would you guys be interested in me doing one - "HileBee's Best of 2012" kinda thing... let me know, okay?  Authors, list where to find your eBook in the comments too!  Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

ANSA: Scott Thomas

WELCOME to another meeting of ANSA!  Scott Thomas is taking us on a tour of his writing career and novel.

Scott Thomas is a author of many genres - science fiction, supernatural/ghost stories, and fantasy.   "Primarily I think of myself as a ghost story author or writer of supernatural tales. But, I also have written a fantasy novel FELLENGREY and a fantasy collection called WESTERMEAD. I have also been known to write science fiction.  Some of my work could be called dark fantasy, I suppose, and some work may be described as straddling more than one genre."  He loves old houses, cats, New England, writing poetry, fiction and being an artisit.

He began writing at a young age with his own comic books.  "You could say it began with comic books I wrote and drew. I remember one in particular that I worked on for years, from when I was in the 5th grade on up to 1976 or 1977. In terms of actual fiction, I was writing as far back as 1971 or 1972 when I was 11 or 12-years-old. It’s continued from there on up to the present."  How cool is that?! Comic books first, then novels.

Scott's brother Jeffrey inspired him to write.  "My older brother Jeffrey is the person who really inspired my interest in actually writing fiction, though I always seem to have had a passion for making stories in some form or other. Jeffrey’s writing impressed me, and I began writing following his lead and largely to try to impress him and gain his approval. Jeffrey remains an inspiration to this day, of course! He’s a consummate writer, a brilliant author who should be making the kind of money that dreadful hacks like Danielle Steel (etc.) make. There have been others who have inspired me along the way, authors like Dylan Thomas, the brilliant singer/lyricist/poet Robin Williamson, M.R. James and others. Things that inspire me? New England and the natural world, the past."  Siblings and family are the best sources for inspiration.

Scott loves to read his brother Jeffrey's work, but also those of other authors.  "Authors I love include Dylan Thomas, M.R. James, Lovecraft, Truman Capote, H. Russell Wakefield, Poe, Dickens, Thomas Hardy. I largely like my authors dead, it seems! Living authors that impress me are my brother Jeffrey, Wilum H. Pugmire, Thomas Harris, Jeff VanderMeer."  His favorite novels are by his brother Jeffrey and Peter Blatty’s LEGION."

Here is Scott's official bio... "I am the author of 8 short story collections which include URN AND WILLOW, QUILL AND CANDLE, MIDNIGHT IN NEW ENGLAND, WESTERMEAD, THE GARDEN OF GHOSTS, and OVER THE DARKENING FIELDS. I am also the author of the fantasy novel FELLENGREY.  I have seen print in numerous anthologies, such as THE YEAR’S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR #15, THE YEAR’S BEST HORROR #22, THE GHOST IN THE GAZEBO, OCTOBERLAND, LEVIATHAN #3, OTHERWORLDLY MAINE, and THE SOLARIS BOOK OF NEW FANTASY. My work appears with that of my brother Jeffrey Thomas in PUNKTOWN: SHADES OF GREY and THE SEA OF FLESH AND ASH.  I live with my girlfriend Peggy in a small village in coastal Maine."

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dianna's Way Blog Tour!

Welcome to the Dianna's Way blog tour!  Today's spotlight includes a book blurb and author bio.  Follow the rest of the tour here.

Dianna's Way Book Blurb:

Dianna is a young woman in her late 20’s when she meets John, a man in his late 40's. They fall in love and marry. A central feature of their life plan is to have one child to fulfill her fervent lifelong dream of being a mother.

Not to be.

Not long into their marriage, Dianna discovers she has an aggressive form of breast cancer.

Hand in hand, they begin a 17 year spiritual journey into the nature of love and healing. Along the way, she discovers and fulfills her life purpose and, in the process, takes John by the hand, gently helping him to reveal, then fulfill, his own.

In the beginning, John, being much older, thought he would be her teacher but gradually discovers in the most important dimensions of life quite the opposite is true. With Dianna’s guidance, he ultimately discovers we are all teachers, we are all students and we are all one.

Theirs is a story of courage, determination and a lightness of being, as they descend into the deepest valleys of crushing disappointment, pain and suffering only to rise again to ever higher peaks of appreciation, gratitude and love. Throughout it all, their journey is laced with light and laughter.

Even today, after her passing, they continue their relationship, piercing the Illusion that veils this reality, exploring its limits while continuing a spiritual journey without end. (end)

Friday, December 7, 2012

ANSA: Frank Nappi

Welcome back to ANSA everyone!  This week Frank Nappi is joining the ANSA authors.  Follow along with his current blog tour here.

Frank Nappi is an multi-genre author and a high school English and Creative writing teacher.  I'll let him explain his writing genre..."Well, after the release of my latest novel, Nobody Has To Know, the literary world may have to come up with a new distinction just to classify what it is I have been doing the last eight years. I guess to call my work eclectic would be an understatement. My first novel, Echoes From The Infantry, is an adult novel that delves into the world of a WWII veteran’s damaged psyche and subsequent family drama. That was followed up by The Legend of Mickey Tussler, described as a YA crossover novel that chronicles the exploits of a 17 year old autistic pitcher during the 1940’s. The sequel to that, Sophomore Campaign, is more of a YA story as Mickey's journey continues and now my latest novel, Nobody Has To Know, is  another  adult release, but in the genre of Mystery/Thriller. Some say I am  experiencing a professional identity crisis. I’d like to think of it, as others  have suggested, that I am  just very versatile."

His first memory of writing is when he was a little boy, "I can remember writing a story when I was very young - maybe five or six years old. It was about a king who rescues a girl and makes her his queen. Not really sure where the idea came from, or even how good it was. I just remember my mom typing it for me when I was finished and that image always makes me smile."  He published his first novel in 2005 with St. Martin's Press where he has continued to publish three more novels.  " I have always had this propensity to write - a love for the written word that to the best of my recollection is ineffable. I really believe it is in my DNA."

The biggest inspiration for his writing has come from two WWII veterans.  "When I met two very special 

WWII veterans - Mr. Bill McGinn and Mr. Eddie Hynes -- during a Veterans Speaker Program that I initiated at Oceanside High School for my classes, I was inspired like never before. The stories they told me, and our subsequent friendship, became the basis for my award winning Echoes From The Infantry. I have been writing ever since. Thank you Bill and Eddie."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Review Day: Blissful Lies

It's Review Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Title: Blissful Lies
Author: Jennifer Brown Thomas
Rating: 5 stars

**Stay tuned until the end, you can win your very own copy of this amazing novel plus other prizes!**

Book Blurb:
Things are often not what they seem in the decadent lifestyles of the rich and famous. Life can be messy and at times people do what feels wrong, because in the end it may turn out to be the best decision ever made. A close bond between 5 lifelong friends, now of college age, find the limits of their relationships are tested when multiple secrets and lies begin to surface, which ultimately leave them wondering if it is all too much to move forward as the family they once were. Forbidden love, drug dealing, date rape, betrayal, cheating, and more begin to unravel the strong ties between friends. Can they overcome secrets which warrant a very difficult life altering response?

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Devil's Garden

WELCOME to the The Devil's Garden blog tour!!  I have a special giveaway just for my amazing followers! <3 Read the post and then enter the giveaway!  See where the rest of the tour schedule here.

Just released on November 11, 2012, The Devil's Garden is already making an impact with readers on Amazon.

The Devil's Garden Book Blurb:
A Marine’s past is never far behind him, but sometimes it’s a lot closer than he thinks...

After years of enjoying the soft, quiet, civilian, family life, former Recon Marine Brandon Colson still has a large price on his head…only his family doesn’t know it. That is, until a heavily armed squad of terrorists breaks into his house and tries to kill him and his family. 

After swiftly dispatching the would-be assassins, Colson realizes the ghosts from his past have somehow managed to come back to haunt him. His worst nightmare has come true. His identity—a secret until now—has been mysteriously compromised. Something he did years ago, while on a recon mission during his tour of service, has kept anger burning in the hearts of powerful Arab adversaries. And the men who attacked his house are simply an omen of what is to come. 

With his family in hiding, Colson and local detective Sam Collier set out to locate and neutralize the remainder of the terrorist cell. It’s a race against time, and the plot they uncover along the way defies all expectation. 

Their fates in the balance until the last second, the two men must fight for their lives as they navigate a trail littered with bloodshed and revenge that leads straight to hell on earth: The Devil’s Garden.

Friday, November 30, 2012

9 hours, 9 Persons, 9 doors

*Warning: The content below is for players over the age of 18 only.*

I started playing a new 3DS game lately called 999; 9 hours, 9 person, 9 doors - a visual novel video game.  This text adventure/visual novel 3DS video game is all about the story and puzzles.  Get all 9 people out alive, in 9 hours, by cracking all 9 doors.  I'm very intrigued by the story and can't wait to see how it plays out.
IGN gave the game a 9.0 (out of 10.0) rating.  Here's what they had to say about the game.

"999 is a text adventure game that follows the story of Junpei, a college student who finds himself involved in a deadly conspiracy. He and 9 others have been kidnapped and must play a series of deadly games to win their freedom...

In Nine Hours players only have hours before Junpei and 8 other kidnapped victims are drowned. Numerology, music composition and logic puzzles are just a few of the 32 + obstacles that stand in the way of their freedom. Then in 9 Persons Jumpei must uncover the mystery surrounding the lives of the captive characters and how their blurry pasts reveal a disturbing future. Finally in 9 Doors each hostage is cursed with a digital watch that displays their special number. These numbers are the keys to unlocking the 9 doors. Jumpei must explore his surroundings for clues to unlock the next door by picking up and examining objects in the different environments."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

DIY....with book pages!

Decorating for the holidays can be expensive.  Especially if you don't save the decorations year to year, but there is a simple solution!  Turn your old books into decorations!  I'm in love with these gorgeous decorations all handmade from book pages.  I think my apartment is about to get a makeover and my torn book pages are about to get put to good use! yay!

Book Page Trees
They vary from simple Evergreens to "Christmas-y" but each one is amazing.   A little glue, a little paint, some DIY time and book pages and you have a beautiful table topper!  Tutorials for each of these types of trees can be found on Google.

Made by Anthology on Main

Made by Anthology on Main
Made by Anthology on Main
This one doesn't even look like book pages, but it is!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday eBook Deals and Freebies!

Today is Cyber Monday!  yay!!  Today is when all the sales online are the best, when the servers break down because too many people are shopping, when everyone starts freaking out because they haven't started shopping for the holidays yet...  It's another great day to catch more good deals on eBooks, eReaders and accessories.  If you are planning to purchase an eReader for someone on your list, today is a great day to do it!  Nook and Kindle are both having sales for Cyber Monday on accessories or devices.  Simply go to Amazon or Barnes&Noble to view their Cyber Monday deals.

Retailers aren't the only ones participating this year.  Here are some authors who are having a few Cyber Monday deals of their own:
Let me know what other eBooks are free today in the comments.  Happy Cyber Monday!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Quick Tip: Surviving Black Friday!

Today, is the craziest of shopping days ever.... it's Black Friday.  Black Friday is the shopping day in the US (do they have it in other countries?) on November 23 each year where the most ridiculous of sales occur.  You can potentially save hundreds of dollars or more depending on how, when and where you shop.  If you're going out shopping, I hope you have a wonderful time (although I doubt you're reading this)!  Try not to get into a fight or get trampled.  If you're not into the whole "Black Friday" shopping thing, shop online!  Some stores are offering Black Friday deals online.  Here are some amazing book deals from Amazon and Barnes & Noble for both Kindle and print books that are worth it!

So...stay home! Relax! Get some holiday shopping done from the comfort of your home and have fun!  Let me know what good stuff you find.  Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gift Ideas for eReader Lover

Hey guys!  I decided I shouldn't leave out the eReader lovers out there (like me!) who love to get gifts for their eReaders.  Here are some fun, unique gifts that revolve around eReaders.  I'll let you know which gifts are best for which devices too, don't worry... I've got you covered.

Photo from Oberon Design
Gift: Unique eReader Cases
Devices: Kindle(s), Nook(s), Mini eReaders (small touch screens), Nexus 7, Siena Tablet, iPad(s)
Unique cases are always fun for eReaders.  The Oberon Design team knows their leather and always has something incredible.  I've been eyeing this dragon case for soooo long.  A little more expensive at $50+, but they are amazing covers!  They have tons on their website.  There are also a ton, of unique cases on

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gift Ideas for the Book Lover

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up this week, two of the biggest shopping days of the year, I thought I would give everyone some fun ideas for the book lover on their list - friends, co-workers, family, neighbors...whether you want to buy or DIY, I've got you covered. (I couldn't resist. heh.)

Best for: Anyone!
You can never go wrong with more books.  People who love books, always want more!  Try to find out their favorite author(s) or genre(s) and purchase something a little more thoughtful.  If you're unsure, the current top ten bestsellers are always a great way to go - whether they are ebook or print books you are sure to please your book lover.  If all else fails, a gift card to their fav book store will always be a good idea.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Carmen DeSousa - Two books in one stop!

WELCOME to the Carmen DeSousa blog tour! Today it is my privilage to introduce two of Carmen's novels to you and the lovely Carmen herself.  Enjoy!

Entagled Dreams Book Blurb:
When Alexandra's choices dissolve into Entangled Dreams, pushing her down a dark and dismal path, she must trust her instincts to escape danger, but be able to surrender all to find her happily ever after. Knowing how to decipher the difference, will be her toughest challenge.

The Pit Stop Book Blurb:
The Pit Stop (This Stop Could be Life or Death) is a FREE nine-thousand-word mini mystery with a paranormal edge by bestselling romantic-suspense author Carmen DeSousa. If you are looking for her full-length novels, please check out She Belongs to Me, Land of the Noonday Sun, and Entangled Dreams.

About Carmen:
While I do not write "Christian" books, I do share my characters' Christian beliefs. My characters are real people who come with real flaws; no perfect people allowed.

I characterize my stories as modern-day fairytales, as they are overflowing with romance, mystery, suspense, and of course, tragedy. After all, what would a fairytale be without a tragic event setting the stage? All of my novels are sensual, but not erotic, gripping but not graphic and will hopefully make you cry, laugh, love, and hope.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Review Day: Of Gods & Goats

It's Review Day!!!!!!!!!!!

Yay!! Here's the review!! No more delays!

Title: Of Gods & Goats
Author: V.L. Locey
Rating: 4 stars

Book Blurb:
Not Even The Old Farmer`s Almanac Could Have Predicted This!

I used to have a tranquil life in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. It was just me, my dog and cat (the ones with the wizarding monikers) a watch steer, three dairy goats and a flock of chickens. That was before that thunderstorm of all thunderstorms blew over my twelve acres of rural serenity and dropped one hell of a celestial body into my goat barn and my placid lifestyle

And to think, Libby Simons used to be known as ‘That goat-lady on the hill’ by her unique and very rural friends and neighbors. Now I`m known as the woman with that very odd ‘bison’ and a farm-hand who can lift a Hereford over his head and not break a sweat! Long gone are the quiet days and oh-so-lonely nights I used to know. 

I`m fighting to not only keep the knowledge that gods do exist from hitting the town paper, but I`m also squaring off against the very beings that reside up yonder (And I don`t mean Canadian`s) while trying to figure out if a farm girl like me and a war mongering god like Ares should act on the rather toasty impulses we both have.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review Day: Treason

It's Review Day!!!!!!!!

Title: Treason (Grimoire Trilogy #2)
Author: S.M. Boyce
Rating: 5 stars!!

Book Blurb:

Ourea has always been a deadly place. The lichgates tying the hidden world to Earth keep its creatures at bay--for now.

Kara Magari ignited a war when she stumbled into Ourea and found the Grimoire: a powerful artifact filled with secrets. To protect the one person she has left, she strikes a deal that goes against everything she believes in. But things don't go as planned.

Braeden Drakonin can no longer run from who--and what--he is. He has to face the facts. He's a prince. He's a murderer. He's a wanted man. And after a betrayal that leaves him heartbroken, he's out for blood.

To survive, both Kara and Braeden must become the evil each has grown to hate. (end)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ramblings in Ireland

Welcome to the Ramblings in Ireland blog tour!  Get to know the author, Kerry Dwyer, and her novel with a bio and book blurb.

Book Blurb:
This is not a book about rambling in Ireland. It tells the tale of one particular walking trip and the memories and musings it inspired. Exploring the West of Ireland is a time for meditation, spiritual reflection and strengthening the bonds of life. More practically the ability to read a map might have proved helpful. The tourist office in Ireland has all their paths clearly marked. You can’t go wrong if you follow that little yellow man. Or can you? As British ex-patriate Kerry Dwyer leads Bertrand, her trusting French husband, astray once more, they reminisce and reflect upon accents and accidents, family and friends, love and what it means to be alive. Bertrand doesn’t mind getting lost - he loves Kerry all the more for going off the beaten track. This is a book about ramblings in Ireland. Walk with Kerry and Bertrand and follow where your thoughts lead you.

Watch the Book Trailer!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cover Reveal: From Where I Stand (Poetry)

Hey guys! Today I have a cover reveal for you.  This cover and collection of poetry has been written/put together by one of my friends and blogging buddies Robert Zimmermann.

Book Blurb:
From Robert Zimmermann comes From Where I Stand, an emotional debut poetry collection.  Zimmermann explores strained parental relationships, loss of life, and the despair associated with grief.  Alongside these darker themes, he delves into the small areas of life that often go unnoticed but become the hope we are searching for.
Expected release November 2012

Example’s of Robert’s poetry can be found in the poetry section on his blog. He also has poems published by Albany Poets.
What everyone is saying...
"Rob writes with an incredible sense of observation and feeling made all the more poignant by his struggles. Every verse is genuine and every poem is a journey toward understanding the soul of a poet." Ben Ditmars, author of Night Poems

“Zimmermann has achieved something rarely seen in modern poetry. Each poem is a personal and detailed story that will strike the heart of the reader with a torrent of emotion.  Zimmermann balances the dark and light beautifully and without a hint of hesitation.” – Jessica Fortunato, author of The Sin Collector Trilogy

"Rob's poetry has a very real tone to it and in some ways creates a tragic yet poetic story." – Paulina Ulrich, author of the Flightless Bird Series

"Honest, heartfelt and moving" – Amber Jerome~Norrgard, author of In The Gloaming

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gilded Wings Day!!

BOOK 2 IS OUT!  BOOK 2 IS OUT!  This is not a drill - Gilded Wings: The Angel Chronicles Book 2 has been released!  What's that? You haven't read book 1 yet!?  Click here to read more about it.

Amy Lignor (author of The Angel Chronicles) is here today with a guest post with some fun-facts about book 2!  After the guest post there is: a giveaway (yay!), a sneak peek of the novel (read-a-long excerpt) and Amy's bio.  Keep reading!

The Summer ‘Cottages’ of the ‘Four Hundred Club’

Miss June ignored his remarks and continued her ‘who’s who’ tour of American society. “Now, Mrs. Astor never liked the Vanderbilt family. She thinks they’re basically businessmen – a very common lot. But Alva Vanderbilt built a stunning cottage in Newport, Rhode Island that rivals Beechwood. It’s absolutely huge. I’ve never been inside, but from what little I could gather from Mitchell, the thing is massive. Supposedly every room is filled with crystal, bronze statues, and expensive works of art…”

In Gilded Wings, as the angel/warrior team find themselves taking a journey through one of the most famous times in American History. this is the first we hear of the stunning summer ‘cottages’ that the elite of the Gilded Age owned. Back then, the women focused on throwing parties that made them the most famous and beloved; whereas the men became captains of industry - sometimes by very underhanded means.

The Breakers
Newport, Rhode Island was the ‘summer’ scene for the elite and pompous. Here, they would build houses to rival one another, with each female of the family wanting to make sure theirs was the grandest, most opulent of them all. In fact, the two most famous heads of household at the time - Mrs. Astor and Mrs. Vanderbilt - kept their competition going for quite some time. Vanderbilt’s mansion - The Breakers - was built with only the best; marble imported from Italy and Africa, plus rare woods and mosaics from countries around the world filled the place. And what upset Mrs. Astor the most was that, “if the Gilded Age were to be summed up by a single house, that house would have to be The Breakers,” seeing as that it was the largest, most ‘gilded’ house at the time.

Beechwood was Astor’s mansion; the home that Emily and Matthew find themselves entering in order to mingle in the famous Beechwood ballroom. Not only does Emily have to deal with the fact that she’s walked into a world she doesn’t understand, but here she must also face the fact that two very important men - her warrior/partner and her first love - are standing beside her glittering far more brightly than the excessive gold that seems to line every wall and rest on every table.

Built in 1851, Beechwood was the ‘show place’ for many of Mrs. Astor’s dinner parties. From a library to a dining room to a music room with wallpaper that was imported from Paris - the house had it all. After her son, John’s, death on the Titanic, the house was passed on to his widow who turned the entire third floor into her walk-in closet. (Yup,that’s the rich!)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Review Day: The Pursuit of Cool

It's Review Day!!!!!!!!

Title: The Pursuit of Cool
Author: Robb Skidmore
Rating: 3.5 stars

Book Blurb:
The Pursuit of Cool is a humorous, intense, and heartbreaking story of a pop culture obsessed, tragically romantic young man, sure to appeal to fans of Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, John Hughes movies, and the 1980s...

A novel that uniquely captures the 1980s, The Pursuit of Cool tells the story of Lance Rally and his turbulent college years. He faces pressure to live up to his super-achieving family and is fueled by grandiose ambition. He wants to become a success but is easily distracted and obsessed with pop culture. He also has a deeply romantic nature and though inept he is sincere and falls in love quickly. He discovers emotional complexities as relationships with a beautiful psych major and a feisty goth girl change him. Friendships with a punk rock actor and a subversive scholar challenge his future plans. This journey is a funny and emotional ride through album covers, dance techniques, all-nighter revelations, and corporate internships gone bad. The story comes alive with music and movies which give Lance solace as he questions his beliefs and his heart gets crushed. He tries to capture that illusive quality, that magic of youth, the essence that is "cool."

Join Lance on his intense and amazing ride!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Banker Spy - Blog Tour!

Welcome to The Banker Spy blog tour!  Today author William G Byrnes is here with a Q&A about his book, The Banker Spy, and we have a giveaway!

The Banker Spy Book Summary:

The Banker Spy weaves history into a contemporary thriller about ex-lovers who become entangled in a web of international intrigue. Investment banker Peter Armstrong believes he’s left his past in the States. He has an exciting new job in London and is managing the largest equity offering in European history. Behind him are an incident at his old employer and a broken engagement. He thinks his only problem is his client—an automobile company desperate for cash. Then he receives a phone call from his ex-fiancée, Dayna Caymus, a beautiful and unpredictable CIA agent. When Peter discovers that his client is secretly working for the German government the two ex-lovers enter into an uneasy alliance which their past sometimes helps and sometimes hurts, all the while sorting through their feelings for each other. Dayna puts her mission first, leading Peter into a labyrinth of deception and conspiracy. Peter loses his client, his job, and almost his life as they race to learn Germany’s secrets—secrets that could start a nuclear war.

Interview with William:
"The Banker Spy weaves history into a contemporary thriller about ex-lovers who become entangled in a web of international intrigue. Investment banker Peter Armstrong believes he’s left his past in the States. He has an exciting new job in London and is managing the largest equity offering in European history. Behind him are an incident at his old employer and a broken engagement. He thinks his only problem is his client—an automobile company desperate for cash. Then he receives a phone call from his ex-fiancée, Dayna Caymus, a beautiful and unpredictable CIA agent.

When Peter discovers that his client is secretly working for the German government the two ex-lovers enter into an uneasy alliance, which their past sometimes helps and sometimes hurts, all the while sorting through their feelings for each other. Dayna puts her mission first, leading Peter into a labyrinth secrets—secrets that could start a nuclear war.

Set against the backdrop of a national election, action takes place in and around Munich, and in Berlin, Washington and London."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

COG - Summer 2013

Coming in the Summer of 2013... 
"In a futuristic world where personalities can be downloaded at will, who's a girl to trust?"

COG by K. Ceres Wright - a Cyberpunk SciFi novel

Cover Artist: Bradley Sharp
Publisher: Dog Star Books

Read more about COG and K. Ceres Wright on her website here.  Happy Cover Reveal Day!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Review Day and Read-a-long: Owlet

It's Review Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I have an excerpt from the book as part of the review - a read-a-long excerpt - and a giveaway!

Title: Owlet
Author: Emma Michael
My Rating: 5 stars

Book Blurb:
Somewhere between falling and flying… there is a girl.

Iris has a secret. She lost her memory eight years ago and never told a living soul. After an asthma attack one night she finds out that her dreams of a strange house on a snowy island may be a memory resurfacing but the more she learns about the past the more she realizes the life she has been living is a lie. As the façade her father has built starts to crumble around her she will have to decide which means more to her; the truth or her life.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Susan Abel Sullivan - How I Got Started As A Writer

Hey guys!  Susan Abel Sullivan is taking over today with a guest post all about how she got started as a writer!  Enjoy!

Where do you get your ideas?  What inspired you to write this book? 

As an author, I’m frequently (and I mean, frequently) asked these questions by non-writers.  The answer is not always simple.  A work as complex as a novel is often inspired by a variety of sources.  Case in point: The Haunted Housewives of Allister, Alabama.

I’ve been writing since I was eighteen, but back in 2004 I hit a period of non-writing and floundering. Not really writer’s block.  More like a lack of direction and no concrete ideas that grabbed me.  I was lamenting all this to my sister, and in her infinite wisdom, she said, “Write what you know.”

Well, at that time, what I knew was: being a housewife, living in the Deep South, baton twirling, historic homes, marching band, and having a sister for my best friend.  My husband and I bought a Victorian home and we discovered a painting in the basement that raised all sorts of interesting questions.  There was also an internet hoax at that time about a haunted painting of a little boy and a bunch of creepy hands.  The little boy was reputed to leave the painting at night. 

So, I wrote a draft of a paranormal mystery about a haunted painting titled The House Detective, utilizing all of these things I knew.  I took the first few chapters to the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2005 and discovered A) haunted painted stories were a dime a dozen and B) I needed to either scrap the whole haunted painting plot altogether or come up with a fresh angle. 

However, one of the elements the writers-in-residence and other workshop attendees did like about the work was a paint-by-number Jesus.  And no, this was not the haunted painted in the book.  One of the writers-in-residence thought I should take that element, add in Holy-Roller antagonists and run with it, that it was my subconscious bubbling up and to trust my subconscious.  But the workshop director disagreed. 

So I put The House Detective aside and spent the next two years writing short stories to learn the craft of writing.  My workshop roomie had introduced me to Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels and I ate them up like candy.  I also watched TV shows like Desperate HousewivesFriendsThe X-Files and Sex and the City.  I wanted to try my hand at writing a zany romantic comedy fused with Southern Gothic, paranormal mystery and urban fantasy—a conglomeration of all the things I loved in fiction and TV. 

So, I asked myself, how can I turn the haunted painting motif on its head for comic effect?  And the answer was not a paint-by-number Jesus, but a black velvet painting of Elvis that supposedly sang “Heartbreak Hotel” in the dead of night.  And I took the Holy Roller idea and morphed it into a cult of Elvis fanatics who call themselves The Church of the Blue Suede Shoes.  And all those things I “knew” went into the mix again.  And what came out was The Haunted Housewives of Allister, Alabama.

So . . . everyday life is steeped with inspiration.  If you’re having trouble with ideas, take my sister’s advice and write what you know.  The results may pleasantly surprise you.

~Susan Abel Sullivan~

You can guarantee we will be hearing more from Susan in the future, especially her books.  It was such a pleasure to hear her story.  Check out her book Haunted Housewives on World Weaver Press.  Who else is feeling inspired to go write their *inner novel*?!  Happy Guest Post Day!