Sunday, June 24, 2018

Book Review: #NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line by David and Lauren Hogg

Put your politics away and read this short book by two of the survivors of the Parkland shooting and organizers for March for Our Lives (All proceeds from the book go to that organization).
The book starts by giving some background on the Hogg's lives. Their story is fairly well-known: they are white middle-class children of an FBI agent and teacher who found in Parkland an excellent school system. As a result, David and Lauren are mature, intelligent children, pretty normal, with the usual teenage introspection and foibles. February 14th changed their lives forever.
I was impressed by their ability to lay out facts and their use of social media. David talks about it here: "we are growing up in a time when technology gives us the confidence to assume that we can do things and figure out the world in ways that it hasn't been figured out before." They are honest enough to talk about the privilege they have, better teachers, equipment, a variety of classes, etc that have enabled them to speak out in a way others from less advantaged backgrounds often can't.
They are not gratuitous in writing about the shooting itself, but there are moments that just grab your heart: Lauren speaking of the four friends she lost or this quote from when her mom took her to counseling, "I nonetheless began to tell my story, which was hard enough, but harder still was sitting in that chair and watching the therapists weeping." The last section of the book is pages and pages listing the many school shooting victims since Columbine.
They lay out a common-sense 10 point strategy that respects both gun owners and the inherent right of people to live. Their parents must be so proud of them all, not just David and Lauren, but all the rest who are working to make a difference. As it says in the book, they are learning to change the world by presuming that they can.

Release Blitz & Giveaway: Kingston Court by Holly Kammier



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Contemporary Romance / Chick Lit
Available Now
Publisher: Acorn Publishing, LLC

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** Top British book reviewer says Kingston Court has some of the best love scenes she’s ever read. **



Sometimes you have to fall to learn you can fly.

Samantha and Natalie are at a crossroads. Gorgeous, over-the-top Samantha, hides from her past by hanging her status and her happiness on her “perfect” husband. That is until she learns his secret.

But she’s not the only mother on the block struggling. Natalie, nurturing and careful, is thrust back into the workforce after her husband barely survives a near-fatal car accident.

This fast-paced novel follows the lives of two dramatically different women who are faced with life-altering experiences.

Death and misfortune in the span of a single year force these two women to either sink, or rediscover their inner strength and independence. Described as a modern day twist between Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives, Kingston Court is full of scandal, temptation, and all of life’s juicy little secrets.




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Excerpt

NATALIE: MAY 22, 2014

I loved the Gaslamp Quarter at night. Here I got to wear heels instead of New Balance, trade my sweats for a little black dress and red lips. The city made me sexy.

It was a tranquil Thursday in late spring and I should have been hanging out with my mommy friends on Kingston Court. Once a week, without fail, we met up in the cul-de-sac with our kiddos in the evening to drink wine and catch up on all the neighborhood gossip. Tonight was special though. I had a date with my favorite man.

My husband Mark shifted the gears of our BMW as I peered up at the passing lights and giant fashion ads painted on the brick walls of San Diego’s classic building facades. Victorian era architecture mixed with modern skyscrapers. The din of traffic and dingy smell of the streets made me forget to worry over ladies’ night or our two children at home. At least for this moment, we were young again.

Mark slid a hand against my bare thigh as we slowed at a light. “Wanna ditch dinner and find a dark alley?”

The subtle streaks of his greying hair were hidden in the dimly lit sports sedan, turning him into a darker, more mysterious, version of himself. I laughed and leaned toward him, kissing the freckle below his ear. “Tempting. Very tempting. If I wasn’t so hungry I might take you up on that.”

I breathed in his citrus scented after-shave, as I wrapped my hand around his bicep. Mark flexed his arm and narrowed his green eyes at me. “You sure?” he teased in a low voice, almost like a growl. “I get all crazy when you dress like that.”

“Shoot.” My eyebrows sank as I glanced down at my open purse. A small green toothbrush sat on top of my wallet.

“What?”

“I have Ben’s toothbrush.”

My husband and I looked at each other in resignation.

“Jamie is watching him. Maybe it’ll be fine,” I said, though we both knew it wouldn’t.

Our five-year-old son could be difficult. His most recent obsession was brushing his teeth after every meal. I could think of worse things for him to be insistent upon, but going to bed without his toothbrush of choice wasn’t an option. It was only a matter of time before my best friend would call telling us to come home.

Mark’s tired face turned stoic without the charm of his smile. He pulled into the next u-turn lane to head back for the freeway.

“Are you mad?” I asked, reaching for his knee.

“Eh, we’ll just drop it off and swing by that Thai place you like.” He shrugged and took my hand, reverting back to the role of comforting husband.

I scrunched up my nose and removed the barrette holding back my shoulder length brown hair. We were celebrating my thirty-eighth birthday and there was nothing romantic about the Taste of Thai at our neighborhood strip mall.

The light in front of us turned green, and I brushed my hand against the back of his neck, hoping to be absolved of my guilt. “Maybe we can still—”

He turned to look at me. His eyes, focused only on mine, carried none of the fear I suddenly felt wash over me. In that single moment life froze. I needed to speak, to take the wheel, something. Instead, I watched the set of headlights outside Mark’s window get closer.

An intake of breath. A downpour of shattered glass. The sound of my scream as if it belonged to someone else.

The car lifted then tumbled. A dizzy Ferris wheel of lights …




About the Author

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Holly Kammier is a former journalist who has worked everywhere from CNN in Washington, D.C. and KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, to the NBC affiliate in small-town Medford, Oregon. A UCLA honors graduate, she is the author of the best-seller, Kingston Court, her debut novel.

Choosing Hope, her recently released novel, is a cross-over to Kingston Court with overlapping characters and locations.

The California native and mother of two, lives in San Diego, California close to her family and friends. Co-Founder of Acorn Publishing, Holly is available for speaking engagements and content editing.

You can visit her online at


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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Book Tour and Giveaway: Faking Lucky by Q.D. Purdu



Faking Lucky
by Q. D. Purdu
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Desdemona, a pianist in the Austin life-music scene, is channel-surfing when she stumbles upon the program Marriage Exposure. The trashy television show gets people to spill all the secrets of their sex lives, and Desdemona’s ex-boyfriend just happens to be a guest. To her shock and horror, Desdemona’s ex announces on national television that he dumped her because she never got the big O. “She faked…,” he says. Every single time.
Her life is wrecked! If her friends, family and colleagues haven’t seen the interview yet, they will.
How do you survive a scandal like this? How did he know she faked? And why is it that in the bedroom, Desdemona never, ever gets lucky?
The lovable, creative and quirky heroine tackles these challenges. As Desdemona tries to run damage control on her reputation, she begins to explore her sexuality. Along the way, she will get a second chance at genuine love.
Q. D. Purdu’s Finding Lucky won first place in the romance category of the Texas Writers’ League. Desdemona’s quest for the Big O is full of hilarious moments, handsome men, and heartfelt memories.



Q. D. Purdu’s debut romance FAKING LUCKY, under the title of DESDEMONA FINDS THE BIG O IN LOVE, won first place in the Texas Writers’ League Romance category, 2014. Her novella THE LIGHT WE FOUND, first published in MOTHER'S DAY MAGIC anthology, is now available as a stand-alone short read. 


Q. D. loves her rescued puppy, red wine, running through sprinklers, dark chocolate with sugared ginger, and anything wrapped in a corn tortilla. Her prized possessions include a hot pink Christmas tree and a garden full of okra and basil. 

She hasn’t decided what she’ll be when she grows up, but whatever it is will be filled with romantic impossibilities.




Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!




Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Trad Tuesday: Red is the Rose sung by The High Kings



"Red is the Rose" is a traditional Irish ballad of unknown origin. It's sung to the same tune as the famous Scottish song "Loch Lomond," and has a similar theme: the sadness of parting with one's lover.

I love this acapella version by the High Kings. The High Kings are an Irish folk group formed in Dublin in 2008. The band consists of Finbarr Clancy, Brian Dunphy, Darren Holden and George Murphy. By June 2016, the group had released four studio albums, two live albums, and two live DVDs. Their first three studio albums appeared at number three or higher on the Billboard world music chart, the first two went platinum in Ireland, and all of their albums charted in Ireland.

Book Tour and Giveaway: Margo & George Forever by Stephanie Queen



Margo & George Forever?
By Stephanie Queen
Genre: Romantic Comedy

There was no question in Margo's heart of hearts that she loved George. She really did want to marry him--scratch that--she really did want to be married to him.

There was a difference.
She hoped to heaven that the teeny-tiny distinction wouldn't be their undoing...

The stage is set for the wedding of the year in New York City featuring poor sweet beautiful Margo marrying the most eligible (read that: handsome and wealthy) bachelor, Regal Stores heir and CEO, George Regal, III. The Regal family has long presided over the social and fashion scene in Manhattan and they have embraced the marriage with enough enthusiasm to create a circus.
That could be why Margo feels like she's in the center ring and about to be swallowed by a lion.
But the best things about George, the strong powerful CEO, are the ones he's not known for, like his small thoughtful gifts, the crystal angel Christmas tree ornament he'd given her, the way he holds her hand at odd moments, the way he bear-hugs his grandma whenever he sees her and the way he speaks with misty eyes about his late mother.
Of course Margo wants to spend the rest of her life with him... if she could just get past the family’s ‘enthusiasm’ and THE WEDDING.

Warning: Once you open this book you'll get heart-warming romance, smiles, laughs & fun, but also an adult-sized portion of steamy love scenes. And of course, most important of all, a very satisfying Happily-Ever-After.




Stephanie Queen is the USA Today bestselling author of the romantic detective series, Beachcomber Investigations. She lives in the stunning state of New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty and her fun-loving friends. Besides going to the gym sporadically, Stephanie cooks and crochets and loves chocolate covered potato chips (yes, she should go to the gym more often). 

She used to be a 9 to fiver working in downtown Boston, but has thrown her stylish suits and fancy heels in a closet and now hangs out in UConn t-shirts, jeans and sneakers. “If I could come back in another life as anything I wanted, I’d be a regency era heroine.” (Not surprisingly) Regency romances are her favorite secret reads.





Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!





Thursday, June 14, 2018

Tour and Giveaway: Bound by Jennifer Dean


Bound
by Jennifer Dean
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

When fate leads Emma Morgan back to her small hometown of Washington, she learns that the life she knew three years ago has changed once she meets the charmingly, mysterious Liam Alexander. But when her brother Sean, voices his disapproval, Emma finds her loyalty in the way of her newfound curiosity of the youngest Alexander. Only the more she tries to avoid Liam the more she finds him in her constant company. 


A risk that leads down a dangerous path once Emma begins to discover a secret about the Alexanders that no human should ever know.






I was never that child you found in the corner reading. In fact, I loathed the idea of picking up a book. The activity seemed more of a chore than a past time.
All that changed when my brother began talking to me about the newest novel he was reading.Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix. Before I knew it, my curiosity got the better of me, luring me to try the series. It didn't take long for my mindset of reading to turn on its head. 
But even with my new hobby discovered it wasn't until my junior year of college that I developed a hidden desire for writing stories. And when I found myself writing scenes instead of paying attention to my professors, I knew becoming a writer was the career path I was meant to follow.



Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!





Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Trad Tuesday: Dacw 'Nghariad sung by Eve Goodman




This is a Welsh folk song collected in 1908 in Whitchurch, Cardiff by Mrs. Mary Davies.

Dacw 'Nghariad

Dacw 'nghariad i lawr yn y berllan,
Tw rym di ro rym di radl didl dal
O na bawn i yno fy hunan,
Tw rym di ro rym di radl didl dal
Dacw'r tŷ, a dacw'r 'sgubor;
Dacw ddrws y beudy'n agor.
Ffaldi radl didl dal, ffaldi radl didl dal,
Tw rym di ro rym di radl didl dal.
Dacw’r dderwen wych ganghennog,
Tw rym di ro rym di radl didl dal
Golwg arni sydd dra serchog.
Tw rym di ro rym di radl didl dal
Mi arhosaf yn ei chysgod
Nes daw 'nghariad i 'ngyfarfod.
Ffaldi radl didl dal, ffaldi radl didl dal,
Tw rym di ro rym di radl didl dal.
Dacw'r delyn, dacw'r tannau;
Tw rym di ro rym di radl didl dal
Beth wyf gwell, heb neb i'w chwarae?
Tw rym di ro rym di radl didl dal
Dacw'r feinwen hoenus fanwl;
Beth wyf well heb gael ei meddwl?
Ffaldi radl didl dal, ffaldi radl didl dal,
Tw rym di ro rym di radl didl dal

There is my sweetheart

There is my sweetheart down in the orchard,
Oh how I wish I were there myself,
There is the house and there is the barn;
There is the door of the cow house open.
There is the gallant, branching oak,
A vision, lovingly crowned.
I will wait in her shade
Until my love comes to meet me.
There is the harp, there are her strings;
What better am I, without anyone to play her for?
There’s the delicate fair one, exquisite and full of life;
What nearer am I, without having her attention?