Promo Thursday: Happy Book Birthday - Under Love's Influence $.99 SALE

Title: Under Love's Influence
Author: Ava Zeaux

Synopsis: When you let yourself go to love, how do you pick yourself back up after everything has shattered around you?
Life as Garner Mason knew it disintegrated in one single moment. As she rebounded into recovery mode, she inadvertently crashed into Ken Conly, who threw her into one hell of an unexpected tailspin. She needed to get it together because, even though he was sexy as hell, she wanted no part of anything inherently male.

Ken Conly's life was admittedly full with a job he loved, great family and great friends. When Garner Mason stumbled into his path, however, he found himself yearning for a life he wasn't aware even existed.

From the moment they met, there was an undeniable electricity, something so intense that Garner fought to ignore and Ken pushed to ignite. It was that uncontrollable chemistry that drew them deeper under love's intoxicating influence.

HEA Ending


Promo Thursday: Jenny Siegel books on Kindle Unlimited

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Promo Thursday: Marry Me for Money - Mia Kayla

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Marry Me for Money
Mia Kayla

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The Scheme

Everything Has Changed


Book Review: His Haunted Heart - Lila Felix

Title: His Haunted Heart
Author: Lila Felix
Genre: New Adult - Clean, Historical, Romance

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Six years ago, deep in the swamps of Louisiana, Delilah’s face was marred forever at the hands of her sisters by the point of her mother’s kitchen knife. Despite her protest, her parents insist she make haste in finding a husband. But finding a husband isn’t an easy feat with a scar running the length of your face.
Porter Jeansonne keeps to himself. He lives in his mansion, set apart from the town he’s grown to detest. One night, walking through the town, seeking to collect a debt, he hears a man selling off his daughter in the most deplorable part of the darkened streets. He chooses to take pity on her and set her free from her despicable family. Until he sees her face. He then knows that maybe she is the mend for his haunted heart

"Some scars are too devastatingly beautiful for the world to see."

My Review: His Haunted Heart sort of threw me for a loop, this is not Lila Felix’s normal style. Honestly, I thought she was going to throw a twist in the story about halfway through, and it was going to be a little bit more “The Village” than historical. (Though I’m pretty sure she makes it pretty clear in the beginning its historical, I just choose to set aside that detail). I like to try and find foreshadowing while I’m reading – so I tend to look for things that aren’t quite there.

While I had some reservations about some of actual story-line, this book really did suck me in. I enjoyed reading it because it’s been so long since I’ve been swept away from my world and felt like I left the cares of life behind to get lost in the book’s world – because it’s so different. Lila’s writing actually felt ‘haunted’ in this book – making this time of year (the time between summer and autumn) seem almost the perfect season in which to read it. (That might be silly and fantastical, but it was true for me!)

What I Loved:
There was just something about the melancholy setting of this book that drew me in from the very beginning. I was immediately rooting for Delilah, which is normal – you’re usually suppose to like the main character, but her life from the start just made me want her to have much better things.  Truly all of the sub-characters were perfectly written, as well as being melancholy, I felt like the story had an air of 'fairytale' as well, so the 'good' characters were great, upstanding people while the 'bad' characters were obviously bad.

I really enjoyed the chemistry between Delilah and Porter, their love and affection was pretty evident from the beginning. While there were some ups and downs, mostly on Delilah’s end – I kind of enjoyed that there was no major dividing line between them as a couple in the story. There wasn’t a huge falling out or major break in the relationship. They actually talked things out and there were even legitimate apologies for the way they behaved. I did like this for the simple fact that it breaks the norm when it comes to relationships in novels. It's also worth noting that I am sooo thankful that this wasn't a love triangle.  I had about a three second time-span in which I thought it was going to be - but Lila quickly nipped that one!

Not so Much: First of all, I felt like the ending was quite abrupt. It was like there is all this stuff, and then – done. So that was a little unsatisfying. It wasn’t in a cliff-hanger sort of way, but just a ‘…huh, that’s it...’ kind of scenario. I also felt like either we didn’t get enough correlation to things that seemed important in the story, and their purpose. There was a necklace, there was a lake, there was a witch-type person, there were ghosts and hidden backstories. There are the obvious facts which are laid out in the book, but throughout the story it felt like certain parts and scenes had much more significance, then when the “real story” or the mystery sort of unfolded I couldn’t decide if we were deceived and they weren’t really as significant as they seemed, or if I was just needing more detail – HOW was this used, what was the mechanics behind it. (My vagueness is purposeful to avoid spoilers).

PG - Sensuality, no cussing, no sex
Rating: 3 Stars - I enjoyed this book!


Short Story: Butch and Sam

Butch and Sam

     He spent the night out on the town running with his own kind, and they made a night of it. But it wasn’t what he wanted. He wanted a home. He wanted to be loved. He had been taken from his mother when he was quite young. In fact, he could barely remember his mother or his siblings. He had been given to a family that did not treat him well and at the first opportunity, he ran away.
He was tired, but on his way to find a place to sleep away the day, he came upon a young boy of about twelve years of age. The boy, whose name was Butch, smiled when he saw him.

“Hi. What’s your name?” asked the boy.

What’s my name? he thought, “I don’t know! No one has ever addressed me by any other name than “Hey you!” When I’m looking for something to eat in the trashcan behind the old lady’s house down the street and she catches me, she always says, “Hey you! Get out of here.” Then she takes a broom to me.

Butch approached, knelt down to eye level and said, “I like you. I think I’ll name you Sam.”

At that, his tail started to wag. Sam sounds like a fine name, he thought.

And so it was that the boy Butch and the dog Sam became fast friends.

Sam had finally found the love he had so yearned for all his life.

(This little short is brought to you by a previous guest poster that you can learn more about by clicking ----> HERE)


Series Highlight: Dream World & Daydreaming - S. J. Hitchcock

Book 1:  Dream World
I spot my mother’s car approaching me. I see her wave, and smile as our eyes lock. Then as if in slow motion, the most horrific scene plays out before my eyes. The van switches lanes once again, right into my mother’s path. The look on her face as she steps on the brakes shows SHE HAS REALIZED it’s too late, the car plows into the van as such speed she had no time to react. I watch in horror as my mother flies forward. I close my eyes, and crumble to the floor, shielding my eyes, not wanting to see the scene continue to play out. Hearing metal on metal as screams fill the air, it’s only then I realize it is me who is screaming.
My name is Debbie Conway, I am thirteen years old and FROM the day I witnessed my mother’s death I could think of little else. To ease my pain, I spent more time in my dream world, in the arms of Joshua Lawson, the guy from the poster above my bed, and staring in my favorite TV show, Victor.

Meet my best friend, Wendy, former best friend and school bully, Karen, and a boy who will confuse my love for Joshua Lawson, Mark Hobson. A new student from America, WHOSE accent alone sends shivers up and down my spine.

Book 1 link:

Book 2:  Daydreaming
My life has been turned upside down since I WITNESSED my mother's death nine months ago. To ESCAPE the reality of the accident, I would slip into my dream world to be with Joshua Lawson, the star from my favorite T.V show, Victor. Then it all CHANGED, when Mark Hobson joined our school. 

Wendy, my best friend was sure he liked me, and I liked him, but would we ever be in a relationship? I doubted it, when every girl in the school DROOLED over him. 

Book 2 Link:

After finishing high school and then training to work with children, Sarah started her first job. She currently works as a pre-school teacher.

Sarah has four children, and three dogs, and a partner who has to put up with her rambling on about all her WIP’s.

She recalls spending hours thinking about her characters and their story-lines. To this day, she often falls asleep thinking about where she can take new and old characters.



FB author page :



Weekly Workout: Cruise Vacation and Eating Vegan

So this isn't exactly a workout update, since I haven't really been working out.  I've been resting and relaxing and crusing on a Carnival Cruise ship.  This vacation has been being planned out for two years, mostly because it takes that long for us to plan to spend that amount of money on one thing, but also because we were planning this vacation with some friends of ours as well.  We had been on a cruise before; four years ago when Justin and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary, and just before Justin made the transition to a Vegan lifestyle.  The entire thing was easily a glutton-fest, because food is readily available all the time.  Good food, bad food, endless food.  Four years ago we took advantage of it every chance we had.  Since then we have made many life changes, and the biggest one of those is that not just Justin, but I myself have decided on a Vegan lifestyle.  This was probably our biggest concern going into this year's cruise because while there was food in abundance, the food was all very rich and filled with butter, milk, and eggs; that is unless we wanted to eat salad and fruit the entire week.

Times are changing, however, and even in the last four years the number of people who are eating vegetarian and vegan has increase dramatically.  So while planning the last few weeks before we left, we figured that there would be options available - but we had no clue to what extent, so we decided to ask.  The thing about Carnival is, if you have a log-in to their site, and you go and sign in to look over your cruise information, you are guaranteed to get a phone call.  I got a phone call every time until the end when I actually mentioned the fact that they were calling me every time I signed in to my account.  I think they must have made a note on the account.  Anyhow, a couple of times when they called to follow up on my online inquiries I asked specifically about vegan eating on the cruise, both time I got the same answer; in the dining hall they have what is called a "Spa Menu" which is just for  special diets and allergies.  To me this didn't fill me with any level of confidence that we would have options.  I had already been on a crusie and knew that the dining room was a drop in the bucket of food availablility, but it was hope at least that we wouldn't be eating "rabbit food" all week too. 

On Monday during our drive to Flordia, the couple we were going with mentioned going and talking to the dining room stafff to see if we could find out more information, so that was the very first thing we did upon arrival; we went straight to our dining room and discussed our diet with the staff.  They were very nice and basically handed us a menu and told us to pick what we'd be eating that evening and they would make sure that it didn't include any animal products.  Then every night at dinner they would give us the menu and we would pick out our meal for the next day.  So this "Spa Menu" that we were told about on the phone was not really a seperate menu at all - it is THE menu for the ship (which changes slightly every day) and the kitchen staff would make your food to match your diet.  If they could not make your selected items you would find out the next day (which did happen with Justin and I one day with our dessert).
We followed this same process for a couple of our breakfasts as well, we just picked the foods we'd eat and they made them vegan for us.  We ordered Room Service once, but made sure to pick items we knew we could eat.  For lunch, we had to rely upon what was available via room service or the buffet lines on the boat.  By the end of the week I was both thankful that we had so many food options and ready to get home so that I didn't have to think so darn hard about what I could eat.  I will say that this cruise was way different for me because of this too.  I think the first time around the unlimited food and options was so front and center to everything that what we did was almost scheduled around our trips to the buffets and trying a zillion different desserts.  On this trip, the food was a a by-product to the vacation, which we spent enjoying the sun, the water, the entertainment and just each other.  So there is a side of me that thinks that not having such an overwhelming amount of food - and NOT being "able" (yes it IS a choice..but still) to eat so much was ultimately a good thing.

My Tips for Eating Vegan on a Cruise (this also will work if you have food allergies):
  1. Make your dining room your first stop.  Set a precedent from the very first day.  Pick out your food, if you have suggestions for what should be substituted for any meats, have them write it down. (ie: Justin had sushi one day, and asked them to use avacado instead of fish.)  One thing we didn't really know for sure until the last day - they do have tofu.  On the last day a Tofu steak was on the menu.  I don't know if this is true of all cruises, but that leads me to a subpoint:
    1. Don't be afraid to ask for something.  They hand you the menu straight up, no other options are written down, so at first glance it looks like there's nothing for you.   We had vegan pancakes.  We had a mango cream soup made with soy milk.  They whipped up margrine for us made from vegetable oil - and no milk.  WE HAD SOY MILK!  I was so excited by this because they have coffee for free everywhere, but all the creamers were dairy.  I had to drink my coffee in the dining room or via room service, but I was thankful I didn't have to give it up.
    2. By the third day, most of the servers who were assigned to us knew we used a "special menu" and were automatically picking up the butter from the table in front of us, and not offering us any of the bread if they knew right off we couldn't eat it.  I felt like this was very respectful on their part.
  2. When getting food from the buffet line - grab staff members and ask questions.  There are plenty of items marked "vegetarian" - so in some cases that gives you a place to start.
    1. If the kitchen staff seems confused, have them verify.  More than once the person who actually cooked the food came out to answer our question.  
    2. If all else fails (there was one day where there were no options for lunch outside of the Mongolian Wok line) they do have salad and fruit all the time.
    3. Give up on any dessert from the buffet line.  It just isn't going to happen.  They do have french bread, and now and then something you can dip your bread in (no butter/margrine on the buffet)
  3. When you hit your shore stops, be aware that the natives WANT to help you, but they might not understand you right out.  They barely even have a word for "vegan" in Mexico, but once they understand what you're trying to say, they are more than happy to help (but then again, they have that tip jar out and waiting....cruise ships mean money to them!)
  4. Be nice, and understanding.  We are the oddballs, the weird ones, and we are a little difficult.  Being demanding and rude will not get you anywhere or anything but unhappy.  Sometimes things just don't happen the way you expect - shrug it off and move on.  Be thankful for what you get.
    1. We made good friends with one of our servers in the dining room, Marabel.  She was so understanding and did everythng she could  to help us.  She even told us we could have the chocolate melting cake made vegan.  That was exciting.  Not-so-much when the next day they told us they couldn't do it because they use milk to melt the chocolate.  Marabel was fighting for us, though, and wanted us to have that cake.  The last night of our cruise she went back to the kitchen and really pulled for us - telling the cook he HAD to give us something more than just fruit for dessert, and that he could indeed make the chocolate melting cake with soy milk.  And he did.  She was so happy to present those cakes to us, and we were more than happy to eat the rich chocolate dessert.  It was a small thing, but kind of huge at the same time.  


Book Blitz: Write to Rescue

Write to Rescue Anthology
Published By- SideStreet Cookie Publishing
Publication Date- November 1st, 2014

Rescue animals need love too. That’s why these nine authors got together to write stories that will warm your heart and entertain. All proceeds will go to animal shelters to help take care of and save the lives of the animals that may become your next family member. There’s a little something for everyone.

The Authors-
Taisheena Rayne - Win, Place, or Show
Shauna Wilhelm - Fostering Hope
Allana Kephart and Melissa Simmons - The Disturbance
Karli Rush - Nine Lives
Carolyn Wolfe - Miracle Paws
Emily Walker - Cats
Miranda Stork and Trish Marie Dawson - A Tale of Two Kitties
Laura DeLuca - Nine Lives
Michael Williams - The Pride


Guest Post: Andrew Joyce - Author of Molly Lee

A little something special for you today!  I was approached by an author hopeful to create a guest post.  I thought this would be a perfect break from review and covers and workouts!  A new voice to read - so I said, "Sure! Let's do this thing!"  Today I give you Andrew Joyce, the author of Molly Lee!


My name is Andrew Joyce, and I write books for a living. Anita has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new book, MOLLY LEE. The story is a female-driven account of a young naive girl’s journey into an independent, strong woman and all the trouble she gets into along the way.

Now you may possibly be asking yourself, What is a guy doing writing in a woman’s voice? And that’s a good question. I can only say that I did not start out to write about Molly; she just came to me one day and asked that I tell her story.

Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

My first book was a 164,000-word historical novel. And in the publishing world, anything over 80,000 words for a first-time author is heresy. Or so I was told time and time again when I approached an agent for representation. After two years of research and writing, and a year of trying to secure the services of an agent, I got angry. To be told that my efforts were meaningless was somewhat demoralizing to say the least. I mean, those rejections were coming from people who had never even read my book.

So you want an 80,000-word novel?” I said to no one in particular, unless you count my dog, because he was the only one around at the time. Consequently, I decided to show them City Slickers that I could write an 80,000-word novel!

I had just finished reading Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for the third time, and I started thinking about what ever happened to those boys, Tom and Huck. They must have grown up, but then what? So I sat down at my computer and banged out REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in two months; then sent out query letters to agents.
Less than a month later, the chairman of one of the biggest agencies in New York City emailed me that he loved the story. We signed a contract and it was off to the races, or so I thought. But then the real fun began: the serious editing. Seven months later, I gave birth to Huck and Tom as adults. And just for the record, the final word count is 79,914. The book went on to reach #1 status on Amazon twice, and the rest, as they say, is history.

But not quite.

My agent then wanted me to write a sequel, but I had other plans. I was in the middle of editing down my first novel (that had been rejected by 1,876,324 agents . . . or so it seemed) from 164,000 words to the present 142,000. However, he was insistent, so I started to think about it. Now, one thing you have to understand is that I tied up all the loose ends at the end of REDEMPTION, so there was no way that I could write a sequel. And that is when Molly asked me to tell her story. Molly was a character that we met briefly in the first chapter of REDEMPTION, and then she is not heard from again.

This is the description from MOLLY LEE:

Molly is about to set off on the adventure of a lifetime . . . of two lifetimes.
It’s 1861 and the Civil War has just started. Molly is an eighteen-year-old girl living on her family’s farm in Virginia when two deserters from the Southern Cause enter her life. One of them—a twenty-four-year-old Huck Finn—ends up saving her virtue, if not her life.
Molly is so enamored with Huck, she wants to run away with him. But Huck has other plans and is gone the next morning before she awakens. Thus starts a sequence of events that leads Molly into adventure after adventure; most of them not so nice.
We follow the travails of Molly Lee, starting when she is eighteen and ending when she is fifty-six. Even then Life has one more surprise in store for her.

As I had wondered whatever became of Huck and Tom, I also wondered what Molly did when she found Huck gone.

I know this has been a long-winded set up, but I felt I had to tell the backstory. Now I can move on and tell you about Molly.

As stated earlier, Molly starts out as a naive young girl. Over time she develops into a strong, independent woman. The change is gradual. Her strengths come from the adversities she encounters along the road that is her life.

With each setback, Molly follows that first rule she set against self-pity and simply moves on to make the best of whatever life throws her way. From working as a whore to owning a saloon, from going to prison to running a ranch, Molly plays to win with the cards she’s dealt. But she always keeps her humanity. She will kill to defend herself, and she has no problem killing to protect the weak and preyed upon. However, when a band of Indians (for instance) have been run off their land and have nowhere else to go, Molly allows them to live on her ranch, and in time they become extended family.

This is from a review on Amazon:
“A young female in nineteenth-century rural America would have needed courage, fortitude, and firm resolve to thrive in the best of circumstances. Molly Lee possesses all of these, along with an iron will and an inherent ability to read people accurately and respond accordingly.”

I reckon that about sums up Molly.

I would like to say that I wrote MOLLY LEE in one sitting and everything in it is my pure genius. But that would be a lie. I have three editors (two women and one guy). They kept me honest with regard to Molly. When I made her a little too hard, they would point out that she had to be softer or show more emotion in a particular scene.

I set out to write a book where every chapter ended with a cliffhanger. I wanted the reader to be forced to turn to the next chapter. And I pretty much accomplished that, but I also wrote a few chapters where Molly and my readers could catch their collective breath.

One last thing: Everything in MOLLY LEE is historically correct from the languages of the Indians to the descriptions of the way people dressed, spoke, and lived. I spend as much time on research as I do writing my stories. Sometimes more.

It looks as though I’ve used up my allotted word count (self-imposed), so I reckon I’ll ride off into the sunset and rustle up a little vodka and cranberry juice (with extra lime).

It’s been a pleasure. Thank you for having me over.


Book Buy Links:


Book Review: Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Young Adult - Romance/Fiction

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  
Cath is a Simon Snow fan. 
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...  
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.  
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. 
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.  
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?  
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?  
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

My Review:  When I left for my cruise I had loaded up both my iPad and iPhone (by loaded up, I mean predownloaded) with many book options for reading while on vacation.  When I got on the ship, however, I was more concerned about squinting and trying to see the screens - and kids who liked to splash a lot ruining my electronics.  (This didn't stop many people though, as I saw quite a few Kindles throughout the week). The great thing is, Carnival has us covered, and provides a nicely stocked library on board the ship.  On it I found Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  This seemed as good of a choice as any because while I have seen Rainbow's books come up over and over again, I hadn't actually read one.  And it seemed like a fun vacation read...plus I love nerdy/fangirlly books.

Reading on a cruise ship is both perfect, and difficult.  I loved relaxing in the sun or on the front or Hi Michelle!) which meant that I couldn't be "zoned out" for too long, people were bound to miss me.  That being said, I didn't finish the book.  I came really, really close - but not quite.  So when I got home I forked out the $4.99 to buy the e-book so I could finish FIVE CHAPTERS!  Money well worth it, because who in their right mind can just sit for long when you've only got 5 chapters of a book to read?!
back deck with the book and a cup of coffee and just zoning out.  However, there is so much to do on a cruise, and I was there with not only my husband, but my best friend and her husband (

What I Loved:  Characters always make the book for me.  And I loved Cather and Wren (and the origins of their name! :) )  They were so different, but still had that gravitational pull that you always hear about twins having.  Levi was excellent as well, I loved who he was for Cath - how patient and kind and exactly perfectly what she needed.  I already mentioned that I loved the fangirl stuff - It made me nostalgic for when I was all about Twilight, and everything Twilight related.  I wasn't like Cather or Wren - I didn't read FanFic, but that was mostly because I liked the "canon" and didn't want anything or anyone changing the characters or story-line for me.  However, I can understand the other perspective too...not wanting the world to end.

I found Rainbow Rowell's writing quite entertaining, her characters were witty and fun, and if I'm being quite honest, I was probably half through the book before I realized that it was written in third person and not first - that is how strong Cather's voice is!

Not So Much:  Okay all you 'fangirls' don't skin me alive on this one, but I didn't really feel like there was much of a climax/resolution in this book.  It all sort of was just a flat story that was entertaining to read.  I can't tell you that Cather was a stronger or better person at the end.  She was always capable, and usually did make the right decisions (eventually), regardless of any insecurities she had.  I can't say that Wren even was a better person at the end - although all things indicate that she was.  I feel like their father might have made progress - but nothing definite.  Their mother, well let's just say I side with Cath on that issue, and I don't know if I could say that part of the book went anywhere either. I guess it could be said that Cath and Wren grew as much as any young adult does at this point of life.  I'm just used to a more pronounced story arc, I suppose.

Rated: PG-13 - Good read for teenagers even though the characters are in college.  Some talk of sex, some cussing.
Rating:  3 Stars - I liked it, very entertaining.