Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Smolder

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I’m excited to share the cover for Smolder, book three in The Witchbound series by Kelbian Noel. This is a YA urban fantasy series and the first two books are Roots and Sprung. Check out the gorgeous cover and then enter to win a $25 gift card!

cbbtourhostTitle: Smolder
Author: Kelbian Noel
Release Date: May 2014
Series?: The Witchbound Series #3
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy
Source: CBB Book Promotions

Find the book: Website | Goodreads 

*****Cover Reveal*****

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Calida Cevallos has never been special. In fact, as far as she’s concerned, there isn’t an exceptional bone in her body. But, this summer, she’ll discover extraordinary literally runs through her veins.

I’ve always been a burden. The girl people put up with, the one they tolerated. When I finally found someone who actually wanted me around, I couldn’t have be happier. But lately something’s been bubbling at the surface. Something wants to break free…and I’m afraid it’s me.

I love him. And, for a time, I thought I needed him. Now I’m not so sure. These days, I get the feeling I’m the one who’s needed. By whom? I’m about to find out.

*****Other Books in the Series*****

unnamed (4)Roots (Witchbound #1) 
288 pages

Seventeen-year-old Baltimore Land just wants to be normal, but magic has other plans. 

I don’t consider myself a witch, that’s my parents’ thing. I’ve never really believed in magic either. Sure, I tried it a few times. Fell for the whole “magic happens” thing. But it didn’t happen to me. No amount of rhyming stopped my parents from moving me halfway across the country. Not one spell stopped me from being labeled the town freak.

And worst of all, no matter how many times I begged the Universe to bring my twin back, I was ignored. Until now.

He’s back all right. And in a magical bind of his own. Not the magic-won’t-work-for-me kind either. In fact, it’s working a little too well. Too dark. Too deep.
It turns out our entire family’s magical roots run just as deep and my brother didn’t end up where he is by accident. So I’m going to help him. But magic isn’t really on my side. Nope. Once I finally get the craft under control, I’m expected to abandon the one person in the world who’s closest to me, just to save myself.

Amazon | Goodreads | Sneak Peek

unnamed (5)Sprung (Witchbound #2) 
336 pages

Since she discovered magic, seventeen-year-old Skye Jackson’s life is almost perfect. Almost. Even perfect has its glitches.

What happens when the one with all the power makes the biggest mistakes? Welcome to my life.

Four months ago, I couldn’t have been happier. When my parents got divorced, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. Especially when Mom married a guy half her age. But then I found out I wasn’t the average Joana. Discovering magic existed and, best of all, I could use it, made everything easier to deal with. That is until I got a little too spell happy. But what girl wouldn’t defend her best friend against a world-class creep? Now I’m stuck in a nightmare, forced to make life and death decisions I never dreamed I’d face.

Love the magic, hate the responsibility.

Amazon | Goodreads | Sneak Peek

*****About the Author*****

unnamed (6)Kelbian Noel was born on a warm June night in Moncton, New Brunswick. From a very young age, she loved to read. She found herself engulfed in novels by Janette Oke and L.M. Montgomery, but never seemed to find herself in the pages. At the age of 11 she declared she would simply have to rewrite them, and become the youngest author in history. But life was full of baseball, homework, BFFs and boys. Decades later, having studied writing in college and pursued it as a career, she rediscovered her hobby. She is excited to introduce The Witchbound Series to the world with hopes someone will love this story as much as she does. Kelbian lives in Toronto, Ontario with her two children (where, thanks to a thick layer of smog, Junes are much warmer than they used to be).

She is the founder of www.diverse-pages.com and blogs there often, in the company of some pretty cool people.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

*****Giveaway*****

There is a $25 Amazon Gift Card up for grabs! Open internationally!

Review: Broken Branch Falls


Title:
 Broken Branch Falls
Author: Tara Tyler
Cover Artist: Ricky Gunawan
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Release Date: June 2014
Series?: no
Genre: Middle Grades, Fantasy
Format: e-book
Source: Curiosity Quills Press

Find the book: Website | Goodreads 

*****Synopsis*****

Doing homework for bully ogres and getting laughed at as the butt of pixie pranks, Gabe is tired of his goblin life. When he and his friends step out of their nerdy stereotype and pull a prank of their own on the dragons at the first football game, it literally backfires, bringing a High Council vote to dismantle not only Gingko High, but the whole town, too!

The Book of Ages–hidden handbook of the High Council, filled with knowledge and power–may be Gabe’s only hope. With the help of friends old and new, can Gabe complete his quest to find the Book in time to save Broken Branch Falls? Or will he remain an outcast forever?

 *****Review*****

This book was awesome! It was an incredible read, with such an important message. Despite the cover, it is a book for both boys and girls.

Gabe is a goblin, stuck in a high school with other creatures. Each species is regulated to certain aspects of life, activity and creativity. Ogres are the only ones who can play sports. Goblins are the only ones who can play instruments. And inter-species fraternization is heavily frowned upon. The First Law states that species need to remain pure…

After one seemingly harmless prank, Gabe is assigned to play on the football team to see what it is really like. Unfortunately for the principal, Gabe likes it. He’s good at it. And he makes up plans and the team actually wins some games…but that leads to Gabe and his ogre football buddies becoming friends…

When the High Council calls Gabe in for a special meeting, he and his friends are torn. Gabe wants to fight for Ginko High to stay together, but not all of his friends and schoolmates feel the same. It is up to the High Council to make all decisions, led by Gabe’s professor, who has it out for Gabe.

Gabe just can’t let the idea go of the town being split up. The last person he wants to talk to is his mother, but he finally does, and it ends up sending him on a journey with a mission all over the land, where Gabe meets a friend from each must sector – and each species! They must collect some particular items along the way, to aid in obtaining the book from which the High Council uses to set and follow the laws. Once they have the book, Gabe discovers a chilling reason why the species shouldn’t fraternize – one that the High Council had been hiding for centuries….as well as the truth about the destruction of the human race.

I loved Gabe. He is a pretty amazing kid, and he doesn’t just follow along with everything like sheep. In fact, he wants to think for himself, but in his world brainwashing is shoved downs students’ throats. Gabe doesn’t want to just follow the herd, and he doesn’t understand why the species are regulated in what they can do. It doesn’t make any sense.

Gabe’s voice in the novel could not be more perfect. He was very real, down to earth, and humble. There need to be more kids like him in the world.

This was a great read, with plenty of adventure and variety in Broken Branch Falls. I’d recommend for ages 8-14.

*****About the Author*****

Displaying Tara Tyler.jpgAfter having a hand in everything from waitressing to teaching math to rocket engineering, Tara Tyler now writes and teaches in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband.

This Lazy Housewife loves to share advice on organizing, time-saving, and multi-tasking, in addition to popping out her multi-genre adventure novels in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, and Chick Lit, all laced with Humor.

So many exciting stories to tell!

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google Plus

Off To Grandmother’s House We Go!

I love it when others share their trips and photos with me. It’s a glimpse at an area of the world I haven’t seen and may not get to. We can live vicariously, right? 

the start of the trip
the start of the trip

So this post is all about my trip to Pennsylvania last week. I talked about it initially in this post. Growing up, my parents were semi-separated (and yet I still got three brothers out of the deal), but for all intents and purposes my mom was a single mom until I was in high school, so there were no vacations or road trips. There were day visits to Six Flags or Sea World every so often, but as I got older and those trips become more expensive, they were few and far between. On the other hand, D got dragged around by his mom every summer to somewhere, and usually he didn’t give two flips about where they were going or what his mom made them do. He’s been to almost every continental state, and even Canada! This lead to some major differences of opinion on this trip.

The trip to him was well-worn, and he was on a mission: get to grandma’s!

He wouldn’t admit it until later, but he wanted to beat his dad’s record for this trip…and that is why we were on the road from Austin, Texas all the way to La Grange, Kentucky in less than 15 hours, including being at a dead stand-still for an hour and a half about 60 miles outside of Memphis. We were right at an entrance ramp, and people were going up the entrance ramp to get off the highway! Finally a state police officer came and blocked that off. I finally told D to shut off the car, and we rolled down the windows and opened the sun roof.

la grange
as you can see, we shaved two hours off of the travel time, according to Google

Then, D thought we were going to sleep in our car seats for the night at a truck stop. I put my foot down at that at midnight, when we finally pulled off in La Grange.

We got up six hours later and got back on the road. We hit Cincinnati not too long after that, and were at his grandma’s by lunchtime, which surprised the heck out of her! Usually this trip requires an entire day, and a second day that brings you in at dinner time. Needless to say, D broke his dad’s record.

This was the first time I met D’s Pennsylvania relatives (dad’s side), and they were a great bunch! His grandma refused to let us lift a finger, but was quick to shut down any squabbling. A true grandma, right?

One day we had pancakes, and after I finished I got up to wipe off the dripping syrup off the container. His grandma had her back to me, still sitting at the table, but all of a sudden said, “Hey, whaddaya doin’ kid!?” It started me so much I almost dropped the syrup!

On top of that, his grandma is just a hoot. She’s funny and quirky, and sees some of the world in a different light and perspective than most. It was refreshing and reminding to see that. I got to learn more about his family and enjoyed the stories they told.

I got to meet the aunts and uncles and cousins, two of which are about our age. One got married last summer, and the other is getting married next summer! We have been forewarned that June 13 is the date and we have to be there. They could not stop talking about the wedding last year, when D’s brother was floorboarded by his grandma’s sudden appearance in what was very obviously a wig for the rehearsal dinner. To sum up their hilarious retellings, D’s brother shit a brick…but never mentioned it when he came back home. Haha!

We didn’t do much while there – stayed in for relatives to stop by and what not, watched the news, Family Feud every Pirates game day and evening. The first few days I read voraciously on my Kindle. I finished four books on the trip, barely starting a fifth one on the return trip.

But something bad happened. Really bad.

I could not stay awake! Every day after lunch, I would get my Kindle and sit on the couch to read and simultaneously watch the news or Family Fued, and then I’d fall asleep. We’re not talking about power naps – we’re talking a few hours! I could not control myself. After the first couple times, I thought it was because I was trying to read on my Kindle. Read all about that suspicion in this post. I then stopped reading, and still I fell asleep. D would snooze on the couch, but then one day toward the end of the trip he went to take a nap and slept even longer than me! His grandma said it was because we drove too much, too fast. I suppose it’s the equivalent of jet lag?

One night, D’s uncle brought up his registered “specially crafted” motorcycle and took us both for a ride. That day he’d driven it in to Pittsburgh, and he told me he and his wife have driven over 100 miles in it at one time!

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On Thursday we went into Pittsburgh so D could go to the Strip district. We HAD to eat at Primanti Bros., which I was not too impressed with. He didn’t tell me my sandwich came with coleslaw on it, and it’s not any kind of coleslaw I’ve seen before, so I picked it off and he ate it. However, they had excelle1970818_10152244361202643_4908735890926776105_nnt fries. We walked down to the Strip, went in the stores and browsed the street vendors looking for the best prices. I bought a couple of items, and a souvenir for my mom, and then we headed back to the stores or vendors we wanted to buy from.

Then I twisted D’s arm and made him take me to the Pittsburgh Zoo. He was adamant that we had to get home before rush hour. It was 1:00! The last time I’d been to the zoo I was in first grade! I had to overly stress that I didn’t get to go to do these kinds of things growing up that he took for granted and came to abhor.  I also didn’t come 14000 miles to sit around at his grandma’s for five days, even though I enjoyed her company and being with his family.

I loved the zoo! Especially when I discovered they have a program for sea turtles called the Sea Turtle Second Chance Program. There was a great variety of animals, and most of it was shaded well. There were people of all ages there, which was wonderful to see.

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That night we did an experiment, recommended by his family. Apparently they had all done it (except his grandma) and his grandma was the ringleader. We lit beeswax candles and stuck them in our ears to draw out ear wax. D and I both did it, on both ears, and then we cut open the candles and examined the insides. It was frightfully disgusting, but we were all filled with gross curiosity. I think his grandma was the most fascinated, since she ran off to get a flashlight to shine down into the candles, and also readily produced the knife and scissors to cut open the candles. She even lit the candles while I held them for D!

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Since the candles worked so well, I got a set for my mom, dad and brothers, and a few extras for D and me to use. Then we browsed around his grandma’s town, and just went in to the furniture store for something to do. And I ended up finding the ottoman for the end of the bed that I could not find for the right size and most definitely not for the right price in Texas. The saleslady ended up giving me 56% off, and I walked out of the store with the floor model for less than $85.

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my ottoman!

We had dinner Friday night with D’s grandma and her sister and her husband. His (great) aunt even gave me a pair of earrings! The design almost matches the thumb ring I wear on my left hand. She was a little different than his grandma, a little quieter, but very sweet and kind.

And then the moment came. At dinner, D’s grandma started calling me D’s mother’s name! More than once! She said I looked just like her! That I walked like her, talked like her, laughed like her! OMG. Nooooo! I told D he was marrying his mother. Thankfully, his aunt came to my rescue and told his grandmother she was crazy.

We headed back to Texas on Saturday morning, and all along the way we were held up with torrential rain or construction or wrecks. I drove from the north side of Cincinnati all the way to Nashville, from about 10 to 2:30 when we hit traffic. We were finally able to reach an exit, and found an alternate route to get us farther up the highway we had just exited. Of course, D wouldn’t listen to my navigating, which he assigned to me, and got us in a bind. Then he insisted we go straight through the heart of Nashville instead of going around it on 155, but I decided to find something better to do. I tried to read, but just couldn’t focus. At one point while stopped in traffic for nearly two hours, we popped out the tablet, turned on Bluetooth and played a movie with pretty good sound coming out of my Jeep speakers.

We didn’t make that great time coming back home, but we did reach the south side of Little Rock before stopping the first night. I would highly recommend that you never stop to sleep for the night in Little Rock. Every place we passed, even during the daylight, looked sketchy. Where we stayed, D almost got beat up trying to come into our room! The guys all hanging around outside thought that he called either the front desk or police on them when he was calling his grandma!! Even after telling them he was just checking in with his folks – and that we had driven all the way from Pittsburgh – they still were insistent that he didn’t. I had to practically drag him in the door and slam it shut when I heard footsteps approaching.

We got home, unloaded, and went to pick up our sweet Baby from “summer camp” and were home by 4:00 the second day. 10386756_10152244399022643_2554286211519833605_n

In all it was a great trip, but I would prefer to fly next time, and go see and do more than what we did. Unfortunately, I did not get to go to Graceland after checking tour prices. It’s more than a tank of gas – for just one person! Alas, it will be for another trip.

Now, I have two things to share with you: Baby’s “letter” from “summer camp” and things I realized while on the trip.

Baby’s Letter

Baby’s letter, penned by our dog-lover friends who have a 12 year old lab and a “Mexican Hairless” dog. They rescued him and he had mange very badly, so they don’t know what he really is, and that’s what they call him, along with Pissy Pete. (His actual name is Conan.)

Dear Mom & Dad,

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Conan … aka Pissy Pete … aka Mexican hairless

Summer camp has been OK. I really don’t like this little Mexican I have as a roommate. He is a real jackass. He always barks at me even thought I’m not doing anything. The counselors have been cool. They let me just run around outside so I don’t pester them. The blonde dog started growling at me because when she is sniffing my butt I get excited and accidentally hit her in the face with my tail.

Hope you guys are having fun.

Love you!

Baby

Realizations

  1. There are still cash-only businesses in major cities.
  2. In that area of PA most people have their own well for water supply in the home. I grew up with one, but later our indoor water came from a water company.
  3. In that area of PA houses and land were cheap. His cousin was looking at a three bedroom house on three acres for only $125K. In Texas on average an acre of land is a good 5 grand.
  4. Most houses have an exterior of either brick or siding, entirely. Brick houses in Texas are very unusual, and cost a pretty penny.
  5. In PA, most places have what I call store-front awnings over doorways and walkways, even on the houses. In the south, there are no awnings like that except maybe on a Main Street.
  6. Some people do not believe in pets co-existing in the home…so they live in the basement.
  7. Most houses have basements for storage due to being snowed in.
  8. Highway systems are VERY different up north than they are in Texas.
  9. Predominantly, the vast majority of people own very new cars compared to in Texas. D says this is due to rusting undercarriages from the snow.
  10. I saw my first groundhog and chipmunk, which I’ve never seen in Texas. I’ve seen remnants of groundhogs, but never lazying away out in the open, or even out at all!
  11. Some folks have multiple jobs/tasks to sustain their family.
  12. For a while on the road everyone had trucks or minivans. In PA, most people had cars, SUVs and trucks…even with their gas prices.
  13. Did I mention their gas prices? How can they afford to drive a truck?

Blast + Giveaway: Mysteries of the Canyon

MDBR-Kid-Lit-Book-Promotion-Services-Button-FINAL1-222x300Title: Mysteries of the Canyon
Author: Marie von Minden
Publisher: Adventures of Discovery: Independent
Release Date: March 2013
Length: 110 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Children’s Literature

Recommended for ages 5-12.

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | iTunes

*****Synopsis*****

The author of the first interactive Grand Canyon ebook for children takes her readers on an exciting journey as a lively little dog befriends a California condor and an Abert’s squirrel, and together they explore the canyon.

book-coverWhat child wouldn’t want to go on the adventure of a lifetime with a great pup like Kristi Kay and follow her on a multimedia journey that is both fun and educational? Amazing stories told by her new friends keep you wondering what surprising new secrets they will reveal next. What happened to the people that lived in the canyon? Will the condors in the rescue program survive? This adventure story for elementary grade children offers an engaging way to experience the Grand Canyon.

For those who would like to learn more about the issues touched upon in the story, additional information is provided in the Kristi Kay Talks with a Ranger section at the end of the book via interactive media, photo galleries, maps, charts, and links to external websites.

This interactive ebook is especially appropriate for children 7-11 years old, and as a read aloud for younger children, and it would also be well-suited for an educational setting. Divided into 12 chapters, the book lends itself to be read in several sessions at the age appropriate pace.

“Mysteries of the Grand Canyon” is the first book in the A Cairn Terrier Travels to National Parks series, a series of educational adventure stories created to inspire appreciation and stewardship of our precious parks.

*****Sneak Peek*****

*****The Buzz*****

Mysteries of the Grand Canyon is educational, exciting, and entertaining all rolled into one. Marie Von Minden gives readers a fascinating glimpse into the canyon’s past as well as the creatures that still call the Grand Canyon home. The interactive function allows for further learning and the brilliant photos visually stimulate children and help instill the knowledge found within the story.” I highly recommend picking up a copy of Mysteries of the Grand Canyon.” BeachBoundBooks

“A must have experience for young people. With its cute, intelligent looking dog, and a bird that looks like it was conceived by Dr. Seuss, it puts us into an animal society – so beautifully conceived in its civility, generosity, and interest and care for the world – that it is reminescent of books like Winnie the Pooh. These elements, set in the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, beautifully brought out by magnificent photographs and videos, make it a compelling book from both parents’ and teachers’ points of view. ~ Mr. Naturally, iBookstore Review

“Overall, this iBook provides a great introduction to the Grand Canyon to children who are about to visit it or who just want to learn more about this important National Park. It includes lots of beautiful photographs, the story is engaging and there is a huge wealth of information included. I found it a great opportunity to talk about the Grand Canyon with my son, and tell him about my own experiences visiting the park and hiking into the crater. I also really enjoyed learning about the California Condor and all the effort that has gone into the Recovery Program; it provided a great opportunity to talk about Endangered Species and our responsibility to help preserve them.” iMum

“More than just a story, the book has incredible imagery that appears to lift off the page – a true photographic journey.” Mom’s Lifesavers

“Readers of all ages will enjoy this engaging story to discover one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World at the Grand Canyon National Park. This photographically rich and entertaining ebook is especially appropriate for 7-11 year olds and as a read aloud for younger children, and it would also be well suited for an educational setting.” The Appy Ladies

“As a teacher, I am grateful to use this amazing book with my class! My students loved learning about the Grand Canyon from precious Kristi Kay’s point of view, and they were excited to participate in the interactive aspects of the book; they didn’t want to put it down!” ~ A. Gillette, iBookstore Review

*****About the Author*****

Would you like to live each day surrounded by unsurpassed beauty and deeply connected to nature? Marie finds it hard to believe, but this is now her lifestyle and she wants to share it through her photography and stories.

KK-and-Marie-for-websiteJPG-269x300Marie von Minden was born and raised in Poland. She immigrated to Canada in 1982 and in 1999 she and her husband relocated to the United States. Like many Europeans, she was overwhelmed by the vastness and the beauty of North America and she developed a passion for landscape photography.

They began camping in the wilderness and connecting with nature on weekends and holidays, first in a tent and later in a cap-over camper. It was during those camping trips that a dream of full-time traveling and living in an RV evolved. In 2002 that dream became reality and they have been traveling in a 34 foot Airstream trailer ever since. America’s National Parks continue to be one of their favorite places to visit.

When Kristi Kay, a Cairn Terrier, joined them, the idea of a children’s book series about America’s National Parks as seen through Kristi Kay’s eyes grew as a natural extension of their lifestyle and love of nature. Through interactive adventure stories enhanced by photography selected from her vast photographic library, animation, sounds, videos, and unique graphics Marie hopes to express her gratitude for what has become her home, and to help cultivate appreciation and stewardship of these precious resources.

Find the author: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

*****Giveaway*****

Amazon $50 Gift CardAmazon $50 Gift Card

There are TWO $50 Amazon gift cards (or PayPal Cash) available in the giveaway.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Contest ends: July 25, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Marie von Minden and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

Author Interview + Giveaway: David Litwack

David Litwack is here at Land of 1000 Wonders today to chat about his latest novel, Along the Watchtower. For all the stops on this tour, visit the tour schedule.

*****Interview*****

Thank you for your interview. Can you tell readers a little about yourself? Why did you decide to become a writer?

The urge to write first struck me when I was working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter’s editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But I was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic.

Using two fingers and lots of white-out, I religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into my twenties. Then life intervened. I took a long break to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When I found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned.

My wife and I split our time between Cape Cod, Florida and anywhere else that catches our fancy. I no longer limit myself to five pages a day and am thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor.

Who are a few of your favorite authors? What are a few of your favorite books?

Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea, Arthur C. Clarke’s The City and the Stars, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Douglas Adams’ The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

Where do you like to write?

In my office, sometimes with the door closed. I’d love to say I write with a view of the ocean or something like that, but I’m too easily distracted.

When we bought our house in Florida, the selling point for me was the office, since I spend so much time there. This office was pre-furnished in a kind of a Caribbean motif, complete with a three-foot-tall, plastic parrot. He’s painted bright green and orange with a yellow beak and sits above me on a brass swing, looking over my shoulder as I write.

When I first saw him, I wasn’t sure I liked him. But then, on a trip to Key West, I was fortunate to tour the home where Hemingway lived for ten years and wrote some of his greatest novels. The office he wrote in was also decorated in Caribbean style. Since that trip, I’ve named the parrot Ernest. Each morning, before I settle in to write, I look up at the parrot and say “Good morning Ernest” before getting to work.

Along the Watchtower is your second novel, centered around the traumatic effects of being a war veteran. Could you tell us a little about your main character, Freddie?

Lt. Freddie Williams wakes up in a VA hospital after being severely wounded in an IED attack in Iraq. There, he struggles to recover, not just physically, but emotionally, from both the trauma of war and a tragic family background. Freddie has always been positive, able to overcome the many obstacles in his life. But this is his greatest challenge yet.

Why did you set Freddie up in such a parallel universe in his dreams?

In Iraq, Freddie played the multi-player, role-playing game, World of Warcraft, with the men in his squad (something very common for soldiers, a way of dealing with their off time, bonding with each other, and escaping the harsh reality of war) . Through his difficult recovery, he lapses in and out of reality, in his dreams seeing himself as a Prince in the gaming world, challenged with fighting off despair and saving his people. His quest in the real world mirrors that of the fantasy world—to find a reason to live.

What inspired you to focus this novel on the subject of PTSD?

I’ve always been fascinated by how our view of reality is subjective, how each of us brings our own experiences and biases into play. But when we’re ripped from our normal lives and placed in extreme circumstances, our reality becomes fragmented. Such is the case with hospitals and war.

A couple of years ago, I became engrossed in the online game, World of Warcraft, thanks to my son. I’m on the east coast and he’s on the west, so we’d meet every Wednesday evening in the virtual world of Azeroth, where our avatars would go on quests together. I was struck by how immersed I became in the mood of the game as we wandered through castles and crypts, solving riddles and vanquishing demons. For a short period of time, I could totally buy into the alternate reality.

The gaming experience has a dream-like quality to it. And I began to wonder: how would this experience affect the dreams of someone whose reality has been fragmented by the trauma of war? These concepts—war, hospitals, and the fantasy world of online gaming—came together in Along the Watchtower.

Your first novel, There Comes a Prophet, is structured in the years following the destruction and downfall of a society, and the rebirth. Your third novel, The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky, has just been released, also about the aftermath of war. There seems to be a common characteristic to your novels: a period of downfall, and a bond between a male and female character. Why have you chosen to write your novels in such a way?

Any good story is based on the struggle of a character to overcome a challenge and achieve some worthwhile goal. While war is in the backstory of all three novels, none of them take place during a war. The backstory in each of these books has created the situation the characters need to overcome: for Orah and Nathaniel, overcoming the powers that stifled growth following a war; for Freddie, fighting the despair brought on by his experiences in Iraq; for Jason and Helena, saving Kailani despite her being an “enemy” from a war fought long ago.

For all my characters, what helps them in that battle is the bond with another person, who gives them the strength to prevail.

What do you want readers to take away from Along the Watchtower?

Playing a make believe fantasy game and going to war both have a surreal quality that takes us out of our normal reality. But for war veterans, the sense of normality doesn’t return without a struggle.

The Wounded Warrior Project is a wonderful organization, dedicated to helping veterans adjust. Their stated mission is: “To foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.” How successful we’ll be at achieving that goal will tell a lot about who we are. It’s one of the most important stories of our time.

Do you have any other books in the works? Will any of your novels to date develop into a series?

I’m working on a sequel to There Comes a Prophet. I hadn’t planned on writing a sequel, but the main characters, Orah and Nathaniel, told me their quest wasn’t complete and kept nagging me to finish their story. Now, I plan on making it a trilogy.

****About the Novel*****

Title: Along the Watchtower
Author: David Litwack
Publisher: Dragon Publishing
Release Date: June 2013
Length: 214 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy
Format: e-book
Source: Masquerade Book Tours

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

*****Synopsis*****

A Tragic Warrior Lost in Two Worlds…

The war in Iraq ended for Lieutenant Freddie Williams when an IED explosion left his mind and body shattered. Once he was a skilled gamer and expert in virtual warfare. Now he’s a broken warrior, emerging from a medically induced coma to discover he’s inhabiting two separate realities. The first is his waking world of pain, family trials, and remorse—and slow rehabilitation through the tender care of Becky, his physical therapist. The second is a dark fantasy realm of quests, demons, and magic that Freddie enters when he sleeps.

In his dreams he is Frederick, Prince of Stormwind, who must make sense of his horrific visions in order to save his embattled kingdom from the monstrous Horde. His only solace awaits him in the royal gardens, where the gentle words of the beautiful gardener, Rebecca, calm the storms in his soul. While in the conscious world, the severely wounded vet faces a strangely similar and equally perilous mission—a journey along a dark road haunted by demons of guilt and memory—and letting patient, loving Becky into his damaged and shuttered heart may be his only way back from Hell.

*****About the Author*****

The urge to write first struck when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter’s editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But he was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic.

Using two fingers and lots of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned. His novels include: There Comes a ProphetAlong the Watchtower, and the newly released The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky.

David and his wife split their time between Cape Cod, Florida and anywhere else that catches their fancy. He no longer limits himself to five pages a day and is thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter

*****Giveaway*****

Go enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Displaying masq tour button.pngThere is a giveaway for this tour. A $100 Amazon/B&N Giftcard or a Book Depository shopping spree of the same value, plus two print copies of Along the Watchtower will be given away. Open Internationally. Ends 7/7.

Review + Giveaway: Suddenly Last Summer

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Title: Suddenly Last Summer
Author: Sarah Morgan
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: June 2014Displaying cbbtourhost.png
Series?: O’Neil Brothers #2
Genre: Romance
Format: e-book
Source: CBB Book Promotions

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon 

For all stops on the tour, please hop on over to the tour schedule.

*****Synopsis*****

Suddenly Last Summer (O'Neil Brothers, #2)Fiery French chef Élise Philippe is having a seriously bad day. Not only have the opening day plans for her beloved café fallen apart, but Sean O’Neil is back in town, and looking more delectable than ever. Last summer, they shared an electrifying night together…and the memories have Élise really struggling to stick to her one-night-only rule! Her head knows that eventually Sean will be leaving, so all she can do is try to ignore her heart before she spontaneously combusts with lust.

Being back in Vermont—even temporarily—is surgeon Sean O’Neil’s worst nightmare. For Sean, returning home to the Snow Crystal Resort means being forced to confront the reasons and the guilt he feels about rejecting his family’s rural lifestyle years ago. But discovering that Élise has settled in Vermont and still sets his blood racing is a very welcome distraction! Thinking he can persuade her into a replay of last summer is tempting, but remembering how good they are together is going to make walking away more difficult than he could imagine…

*****Review*****

This novel focuses on Sean O’Neil, the outsider in his family, and Elise, the passionate and loyal French woman forcing herself to continue after Paris and all of the bad memories, set on Sean’s Vermont family resort, Snow Crystal, which has been handed down for a few generations.

Sean’s twin, Jackson, is running Snow Crystal with his hot-shot PR fiancee and with the help his mother and Elise in the kitchen, and brother Tyler and friend Brenna with outdoor activities and programs, all under the supervision of grandpa Walter. Snow Crystal is just getting back on its feet after years and years of financial instability and almost ruin. There’s improvement, but Snow Crystal is not quite in the clear yet.

Final Elise webElise believes strongly in family and the amazing bonds of the O’Neil family and loves them with everything she is because they welcomed her and made Snow Crystal her home after leaving Paris with Jackson, who she is utterly devoted to. When things don’t pan out for the newest attraction at Snow Crystal- a boathouse cafe – in time for the grand opening, Elise’s misery is palpable. After all Jackson and the O’Neils have done for her she has let them down, and Snow Crystal might be at stake. For her and the O’Neils it is home. Worse, Sean is back at Snow Crystal, a place that causes him nothing but grief and guilt.

Sean and Elise think they are alike in the sense that they are committed to not having romantic relationships. One encounter, gone before dawn is the motto they both adhere to. For Elise, it is a protective measure, and for Sean it’s the easiest thing that doesn’t interfere with his work as a surgeon.

Final Sean webUntil a medical emergency prompts Sean’s immediate return to Snow Crystal. He and Elise are very comfortable in each other’s presence, not awkward in the least after spending a night the previous summer together. This surprised me, as I thought there would be some awkwardness, but they are both such forward-minded people, set and determined, that it’s not even an issue. In fact, she even gets Sean to open up a little about his life and his feelings, which once fully revealed, are strong reasons for staying away from Snow Crystal, and they have nothing to do with her, and everything to do with the men who ran Snow Crystal before Jackson.

Elise needs somebody to finish work on the boathouse, and Sean volunteers. Elise is trying to encourage Sean to have a much needed, and much past due, conversation with the one person who keeps him away from Snow Crystal. The novel progresses with Sean intermittently coming back to Snow Crystal to check in on the medical aspect, and also to continue having conversations (of the verbal and physical kind!) with Elise…except neither of them are a two-night kind of person. It scares the hell out of Elise and it takes longer to dawn on Sean. Elise is very good at deflecting Sean’s inquisitions into her personal history and walking away, so well that, once knowing why, it was painful to see. She is such a fabulous, kind, loving person, and it was almost like she was cutting off a limb by denying Sean access and insight into her life. Eventually though, things come to a head and it leaves Sean in a state. Sean realizes that he and Elise are not quite the the same one-of-a-kind as he previously thought.

This leads to a few revelations for Sean, along with the help of some of the O’Neil clan, and a series of events that forces Elise to come to terms with her past.

I enjoyed this book tremendously, and want to see more of the O’Neils, but I have to confess something: I hate the cover. After seeing the depth of Sean and Elise individually, this cover does not represent either of them. If there were a second book, perhaps it would represent them then, after the events of this book end, but about 1/3 of the way in to the book I started getting really bothered by the cover.

*****About the Author*****

USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes hot, happy contemporary romance and her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She has been nominated three years in succession for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America and has won the award twice, in 2012 and 2013. RT Book Reviews has called her ‘a magician with words’ and she has made numerous appearances in their ‘Top Pick’ slot. Sarah lives near London, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying. She loves chatting with readers by email and on Facebook and Twitter. More information can be found on her website.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

*****Giveaway*****

LastSummer_GiveAway_rev

Grand Prize includes a La Bonne Vie Cupcake necklace, Sleigh Bells in the Snow (first book in the series), Suddenly Last Summer and a bookmark.

Second prize is Sleigh Bells in the Snow, Suddenly Last Summer and a bookmark.

Go enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

 

*****Tour Schedule*****

6/23
6/24
6/25
6/26
6/27
6/28
6/30
7/1
7/2
7/3
7/4

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Diviner’s Fate

PhotobucketTitle: Diviner’s Fate
Author: Nicolette Andrews
Designer: Nadica Boskovska
Release Date: TBD
Series?: The Diviner’s Trilogy #3
Genre: Epic, Historical Fantasy
Source: Masquerade Book Tours

Find the book: Website | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

*****Synopsis*****

The man Maea loved is gone. Johai has been possessed both body and soul by the specter. The newly possessed Johai has not wasted time as Maea discovers through the link they seem to share. Johai is plotting with the Biski to start war against the kingdoms. In order to prevent the coming war, Maea goes south to the wilds where the Biski tribes reign in order to search out the Oracle, the only person who seems to know how to help Maea perfect her powers.

The prophecy has awoken and the prophesized day is fast approaching. Everything Maea has learned in her journey will guide her to the final meeting between Johai and herself. The age old battle between the diviners and the specter will end with her. Only one may live. Is Maea ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for love?

*****Reveal*****

Other books in the series designed by Nadica Boskovska…

   

Diviner’s Prophecy, Book One, is FREE on Amazon and B&N!

*****About the Author*****

Nicolette Andrews lives in beautiful Southern California with her husband and two daughters. She is the author of the Diviner’s Trilogy and other works of fantasy. She’s been know to often escape into world of fantasy and has happily been playing make-believe her entire life. When she is not writing, she enjoys gardening, spending time with her family and numerous outdoor activities, including hiking and camping.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

*****Giveaway*****

There is a winner’s choice for this giveaway. Winner may choose a $20 Amazon GC or the entire first two books in the series (print or digital). Open Internationally. Ends 7/2/14.

 Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!