Blitz + Giveaway: Flesh and Blood

Flesh and Blood
Cynthia Rayne
(Dixie Mafia Series, #1)
Publication date: August 29th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Sometimes it takes a bad guy to catch a killer…

Belle Nunn is a desperate woman. Someone’s following her, watching her—to make even matters worse, she was fired six months ago and hasn’t been able to get a job since. Belle’s down to her last ten bucks has no idea how she’ll make the rent when she’s abducted by Dixon Wolf’s henchman. Belle’s estranged father, Emmett, borrowed money from the Dixie Mafia for his latest get rich quick scheme and—big surprise—Emmett skipped town, leaving her holding the proverbial bag.

Dix is a loan shark and launders dirty Dixie Mafia money. Since his wife died, he’s devoted all his time and energy to the organization—and being bad pays damn good. Belle hasn’t seen Emmett in years and she’d like to keep it that way.

The mob boss is taken with her and offers Belle a job, her empty wallet won’t allow her to refuse—mob mistress. When Belle’s life is in danger, Dix steps into the unlikely role of hero.

Can Dix save her? And can they have a real relationship, one that isn’t based on sex and commerce?

Goodreads / Amazon

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Cover Reveal: Tied

Tied
Laney McMann
(Fire Born #1)
Publication date: Revised book with new content coming September 2016
Genres: YA Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Are some truths worth risking your life for?

What if it meant admitting your nightmares were real—and so were your delusions?

Seventeen year-old Layla Labelle’s hallucinations have driven her to the brink—and she isn’t telling anyone. But when her dreams walk into her life in the form of Max MacLarnon, she is forced to rethink everything she thought she knew. Including whether or not Max actually exists.

Learning the truth will mean fighting an arsenal of demons, and being with Max will put her on a path toward her own destruction. When Layla’s world erupts into a dangerous reality, and every fact of her life forsakes her, she must remember who, and what, she is if she’s going to stay alive.

In a world where nightmares walk the earth, an ancient curse lives in an age-old legend the supernatural aren’t prepared to reveal. Layla will have to uncover the secret her ancestors are hiding, and make the biggest decision of her life—embrace who she is and follow the one she loves into a world of deadly myth and legend, or turn her back on her history, her destiny, and her love.

In TIED, Book One of The Fire Born Novels, what Layla and Max don’t know could kill them both. And unless they can find a way to stop the curse—the truth might tear them apart forever.

How far would you go … to protect the one you love?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Back to School

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists. For the list of past topics and future schedule, click here.


Back to School – Books on My Classroom Shelf

I am a language arts teacher, and these are books on my classroom shelves IRL, not theoretically. Some have even been stolen. I hope that is a testament to how much they loved the book and not their forgetfulness.

 

What would you put on your shelf if you were a teacher? 

Cover Characteristics: Cheerleaders

Cover Characteristics2

This is a new meme hosted by Sugar & Snark. It came about when Sugar was wondering which cover to use for her #70 Cover of the Week post. Sugar kept on thinking of more than one, and they all seemed to have a theme/characteristic. So she decided to switch things up a bit!

Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite covers with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the week’s particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL in Linky (so we can visit). You don’t even need to participate, just stopping by and saying hi would be great! Don’t forget to stop by the other participants!

Today’s Cover Characteristic: Cheerleaders

I thought this was going to be a super characteristic for me to find this week, but I was surprised! I had to do some digging! Then once I got started down the right rabbit hole, I found several!

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Review + Giveaway: Rice & Rocks

BeachBoundBooks is pleased to be coordinating a Blog Tour for the charming children’s book written by Sandra L. Richards and illustrated by Megan Kayleigh Sullivan, Rice & Rocks. The tour will run from August 23 – September 13, 2016.

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About the Book

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Title: Rice & Rocksl

Author: Sandra L. Richards

Illustrator: Megan Kayleigh Sullivan

Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing

Publication Date: August 23, 2016

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Number of Pages: 32

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Tradition takes flight in Rice & Rocks, a picture book celebrating culture and diversity.

Giovanni’s friends are coming over for Sunday dinner, and his grandmother is serving rice and beans. Giovanni is embarrassed he does not like ‘rice and rocks’ and worries his friends will think the traditional Jamaican dish is weird. But his favorite Auntie comes to the rescue. She and Giovanni’s pet parrot, Jasper, take him on a magical journey across the globe, visiting places where people eat rice and rocks. This exciting story celebrates the varied traditions of every culture while also highlighting the delicious similarities that bring us all together.

REVIEW

This book is all about celebrating diversity, differences and ways we are still alike.

Giovanni is an interesting little boy who loves “rice and rocks”, playing his trumpet, drawing frogs and more. When his aunt tells him grandmother is making rice and beans, a traditional Sunday family dinner, for his visiting friends, Giovanni looses it. They can’t serve his friends rice and rocks!

His auntie takes him on a powerful trip to all of the homelands of his friends – Japan, Jamaica, and N’Awlins. Giovanni quickly discovers that each of his friends also have rice and beans as a traditional dish.

When his friends come over, rice and rocks are a hit!

I loved the drawings and representations of the various ethnic groups. I feel that was a strong component to helping tell this story.

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Sunday Post ~ 1 Week Down, 39 to Go!

0abf9b9e-b7ac-4d59-b451-7eb7c64ea1b9_zps47hi5hueThe Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, a post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things received, and share news about what is coming up on the blog for the week ahead. To get in on the Sunday funday, see the rules here: Sunday Post Meme.


The first week of school is over. Thankfully I did not have any emergencies, but we did have our first fire drill. I went over the policies and procedures stringently with my students and I also shared pictures of “teacher life” and bits from my life. The second morning of school I had an incredibly sweet and thorough message from a parent about how his child could only talk about my class and went into great detail and said some other nice things about me. This is the kind of connection teachers hope to make with their students and to ignite a passion within them to learn. I have a lot of siblings this year! Twice I almost called two boys by their older brothers’ names because I taught them, too. I think this was my best first week of school yet, even though I wasn’t mentally ready and the room also wasn’t fully ready.

In general, these kids are so well-behaved! I have one class that is 22 boys, but this wasn’t the class I had to break up a bromance in! I also have a student tell me “Thank you” every day when he leaves. I know his mother and have been with her frequently at events in our district. I have some students this year that just make my day.

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Feature Follow Friday ~ August 26, 2016

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Feature & Follow is a blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The goal of Feature & Follow is to meet new bloggers, make friends, and gain readers.

Disliked or “Meh” Books

Have you ever disliked or felt “meh” about a book only to later change your mind and love it?

I typically don’t change my mind so dramatically to the other end of the spectrum after reading a book.

I can say that some books I have read that I loved while reading I now feel “meh” about.

Typically if I dislike a book that much I won’t continue reading it.

 

Do your feelings about “meh” books change over time?

Blast + Giveaway: The Lost Eye of the Serpent

The Lost Eyes of the Serpent
Jeremy Phillips
(The Rose Delacroix Files, #1)
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: August 8th 2016
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult

It may sound crazy, but Jonathan Delacroix is certain his sister Rose really is Sherlock Holmes…

Girls are not detectives. But in the summer of 1893, in the small western town of Hope Springs, Rose Delacroix is bound and determined to prove them all wrong. When the famous Emerald Serpent Jewels are stolen from the Delacroix family hotel and the blame lands solely on her older brother Bill, Rose recruits Jonathan as her Watson-like counterpart to solve the case.

Proving your brother innocent is difficult when the evidence keeps stacking up against him…

Before Rose and Jonathan can properly start their investigation, another robbery is committed. The rusty revolver purported to have once belonged to Wild Bill Hickok has been stolen from the general store and found hidden amongst her brother’s belongings. With Bill in jail, and the owner of the Serpent Jewels planning to sue the Delacroix hotel, Rose knows she has to find a lead, and soon.

A witness comes forward claiming they saw Bill steal the jewels, but Rose isn’t about to be bullied into ignoring the facts…

Rose and Jonathan must put their sleuthing skills to the test or witness their family fall to ruin due to…

…the lost eye of the serpent.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Bonus Scene (short story):

Rose Delacroix Versus the Box
By Jeremy Phillips

Rose Delacroix sat on a stump in the bare and dusty yard behind the Delacroix Hotel, staring at a metal box sitting on another stump, a few feet away from her. She regarded the box with an ever-increasing intensity, not sure how to proceed. Time was very short, and she wished that she had more of it available to her right now.

“Whatever am I going to do with you?” Rose said to the box.

The box didn’t look like much. It was the size of a shoebox, but constructed of solid steel, with tight, straight corners. Its only visible feature was a place for a key to fit, in the front of the box. Really, it seemed simple enough. But looks, as Rose knew very well, are often deceptive.

In her hand, Rose held a couple of metal clips from out of her hair, clips which she had straightened out to use for this particular purpose. Except, it hadn’t worked yet. Rose approached the box again, the box which had at first glance appeared to be so simple, and yet had thwarted all of her prior attempts at entry.

Rose shook the box, which was deceptively heavy in addition to being deceptively difficult to break. Something solid thunked around inside of it. Whatever it was, Rose meant to have it out of that box, and soon.

Drawing a deep, calming breath, Rose tried once more to pick the lock on this thing. The books she’s been reading, the Sherlock Holmes mysteries in addition to other lesser Detective tales, always make this seem so simple, don’t they?

Using one of the hair pins that she had straightened out, Rose carefully massaged the top of the lock, to where she believed the pins that she needed to trick ought to be. She could feel the pins moving, so that was good. With a second hair pin, she applied a constant pressure on the bottom of the lock in the hopes of popping it open, when the pins were all equally deceived into believing that the proper key had been applied into the keyhole.

After another long effort, she stopped again. What time was it getting to be, now?

Really, she needed to pop this lock open. She needed, rather desperately, to know what was inside of this thing. All of her logic told Rose that whatever was inside of this deceptively secure box, was of vital importance to her investigation. Even as she sat there in this yard, monkeying around with this locked box, her brother Jon was confronting the box’s owner. Jon needed her, and he needed her now, not whenever it was that she managed to finally get this thing open.

Perhaps the problem was too obvious. This box, which she had confiscated, perhaps inappropriately, from its hiding place in a guest room of the Delacroix Hotel, belonged to a man who liked to think of himself as the world’s greatest “cracksman.” This was a term that Rose had only recently learned, but which referred to the man’s impressive ability to break into locked safes. Given the great trouble that this person had managed to cause to Rose and her family in the last few days, he had a point concerning his abilities, after all.

Rose took a moment, and tried to think about the problem logically. She had in her possession the small personal safe of a man who considered himself to be the greatest safe-breaker in the world. It only stood to reason, that the security on the safe of such a person would defy any normal attempts at lock picking.

Really, attempting to pick the thing was ridiculous, given the fact that she was an amateur at this sort of thing in the first place. Rose was self-taught, having only popped a few locks around town during her free time when no one was looking, to see if she could do it. To Rose’s way of thinking, skills such as lock picking were just the sorts of things that a self-styled Detective simply ought to know, after all.

Not that everyone was likely to understand this. She put this into the same category of small-minded thinking as seemed to possess most people that she met, the same type of small-minded thinking which implied that, given her status as a female, she was simply incapable of actual logic thought. Or much else, either. This was in the category of things that she simply refused to agree to wholesale, in other words.

Turning the safe around and looking into the keyhole with the aid of the heavy summer sunlight, Rose suddenly understood the problem more fully. The lock itself seemed to run deeper than most locks did, and what’s more, there appeared to be pins on the right interior side of the lock too. Those extra pins were placed at a different angle than were normally seen, in all of the others locks that Rose had encountered around the town of Hope Springs. This was actually a rather extraordinary lock, which would take a rather extraordinary key. It was a lock the likes of which Rose had never encountered before.

Given enough time, Rose was fairly sure that she could have broken the lock anyway. It would require another hair pin, and perhaps another hand too, to apply pressure to the lock with the tension wire while she worked at the pins from two different angles at once. But, time was something that she simply didn’t have much of. This was going to require a different approach.

Rose placed the box back on the tree stump, then went into a large work shed, which was attached to the barn in the family’s back yard. She returned a minute later with the heaviest wood chopping axe that she could find, and took a mighty swing at the top of the metallic box.

The first blow did nothing but mildly dent the box, causing it to bounce a foot or so up into the air with the force of her assault. A second and third blow did little more. But on her fourth attempt, after getting a reckless running start at the metal box from the other side of the yard, Rose managed to lodge the blade of the axe into the top of the steel box. Rose’s arms were feeling sore already, from the exertions of trying to break this thing.

It was almost comical. The axe was now lodged directly into the lid of the steel box. Feeling her anxiety increase, Rose wondered what time it was now getting to be. She wondered how things were going for Jon, who was even now confronting the burglar…a man who, the night before, had proven that he was not above pulling a gun on her brother. He might not be above murder, even.

With great effort, Rose was able to pry the axe blade back out of the top of the box. This left a large cut along the middle of the lid of the thing, but she could still not get to the contents of the box, or even really see what those contents were, rolling around inside of that damned box.

Rose set the box up on its edge. This time, it would have to work. She stepped back again, hefting the axe up over her head. She stepped back farther, and farther yet. An absurd feeling came over Rose, as though she were a baseball player up at bat, facing the third strike in the last inning of a tight game.

Well, and wasn’t that pretty much what this was, after all? How much time did Jon really have, facing off with that criminal? This was her last inning, and what all was on the line? Only the freedom and future of her other brother, Bill, who had been framed for two robberies and one attempted murder that he didn’t commit. Oh, and the possibility of the entire Delacroix family losing their ownership of the Delacroix Hotel to another criminal, and being kicked out into the streets of Hope Springs in the summer of 1893; there was that minor detail, too. Only those things. And Jon.

Steadying herself, Rose took a deep breath. In her mind’s eye, she imagined the cut that she would have to inflict to make this thing happen. She’s read someplace about the power of the mind, the power to make things happen by carefully visualizing them, first. This was something she believed in wholeheartedly.

The blow would have to be perfect. It would have to land squarely on the edge of the lid, to exactly where the hinge must be. Only that. Or else, perhaps she could go over to the Blacksmith’s shop and see if he couldn’t pop the thing open for her somehow. But there would be a lot of questions asked, then. And a lot of precious time wasted. She thought again of Jon, headed over to the Bromwell Hotel, across the street.

With a cry, Rose ran wholeheartedly up towards the box, to where it sat there on the tree stump. She brought the axe down with all her might, producing a bone-jarring ringing in her hands clear up to the shoulder, an ear-cracking SMACK when the unstoppable force of her axe came down on the immovable object of the steel box’s lid…and then the miracle happened.

The blow was perfect, more perfect than seemed fair. The hinge of the box gave way, and the contents of the box flew everywhere, scattering around to land everyplace on the dusty ground.

Rose quickly rushed around the yard, ignoring the ringing pain in her arms, picking up the box’s former contents and placing them back in the now-broken box.

There was a little leather pouch full of lock picks, proper ones, made of some fine thin steel that Rose had never seen before. These she would keep, if things turned out as she hoped they might. There was also a collection of paper money and coins. And there, sitting separate and apart from the rest of the stuff, was a round object about the size of an apple.

Quickly picking the object up, Rose examined it closely.

After a few moments a large smile came across her face, as she realized what the object in her hand was…and what it meant, for her and her all-consuming Investigation. This was becoming like a Sherlock Holmes story after all, Rose thought, which filled her with excitement and a powerful sense of adventure, although she might not have admitted this to anyone, perhaps not even to her twin brother John.

Holding on to the object and rushing out to Main Street, Rose found herself running as quickly as she could to go help her brother. Yes, this might help fix things. It might help fix things very well.

 

Author Bio:

Jeremy Phillips has been interested in Buddhist philosophy for more than twenty years, and attends services at a Shin Buddhist temple in Spokane, Washington. When he isn’t writing or keeping busy being a father and husband, he works as a Respiratory Therapist at several different hospitals. He lives in Spokane with his wife, children, dogs, and bonsai trees.

Facebook / Twitter




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Blast + Giveaway: Wicka

Wicka
Christy Deveaux
Publication date: May 28th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

While mourning the loss of a mother figure, Elizabeth Blake, a smart but socially introverted seventeen year old girl from Ann Arbor Michigan, thinks she’s enrolling in an international school in the south of France to finish her final year of high school. Instead, she falls in love; finds out that she is a witch from an ancient family –– who weren’t thought to exist anymore; and discovers that her life is in danger, as the Elders believe that she is the heir to a legend they fear above all else.

Wicka, the debut novel by Christy Deveaux, has been compared to other fantasy paranormal tales such as Twilight, written by Stephanie Meyer and Harry Potter, written by J.K. Rowling. Young adults and grown ups alike are sure to love this adventure filled magical romance.

Goodreads / Amazon

Grab your copy for 99¢ for a limited time only!

Book Trailer:

 

Author Bio:

Christy Deveaux is the author of The Chronicles of Elizabeth Blake series. Her highly anticipated first book in the series, Wicka, was just released this spring (2014). Inspired by traveling across Europe solo at a very young age, and many travel adventures since, the character and story line behind Elizabeth Blake was born. Christy majored in political science and earned a cross-disciplinary degree from the University of Western Ontario. She lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband, three children and a fish named Cow.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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WWW Wednesdays (August 24)

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This is a weekly meme hosted hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. To join in answer the following three questions and hop over to Sam’s and leave your link.


What are you currently reading? 

I haven’t done a post in the last two weeks and I feel terrible about that. But worse, I feel terrible I haven’t been reading in the last two weeks, either. With school starting and having less time to plan and work in our classrooms, it has made for 12+ hour days at work. Most nights I am so tired I don’t even eat dinner, I just pour a glass of milk.

However, I have a few reviews coming up and may have to start shifting books around and put some on hold.

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13516846I am still reading Regarding Anna and I tried reading a little more last weekend when time allowed. I also have Dodger on audio on hold until there is some time to listen again.

 


 What did you just finish reading?


What do you think you’ll read next?

I have a few review books coming up and I still have my other regulars to read. What I need right now is time!


 How about you? What are you reading this week?

Leave a comment with your answers! Share the link to your WWW Wednesday post OR leave your answers in the comments if you don’t have a blog. Happy Reading! 🙂