Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye to 2012 ~ Bring it on 2013!

Well, another year has come and gone. As we get older, the years just seem to fly by. And this one feels like it was over in a blink of an eye. 

I am not one to make list of the 'best' books, authors, etc. I think if I started making lists, I just wouldn't know when to stop. I just want to say that 2012 was a heck of a ride for me in the blogging/book world. Last January, I set my Goodreads goal at 80, which was a slight increase from the year before.Well, I can't believe it, but I read 100 books this year! That is just an amazing feat for me to even think about!. I have read some really awesome books this year and have met some amazing authors along the way. And having personal contact with the authors has made their books even more special to me. 

As far as the blogging world goes, I have been much more active than in 2011. Last year I posted 133 times. In 2012, I posted 280 times. WOW! How can I top that? And the number of my followers has just exploded this year (not really sure why) but I love it and I must be doing something right. *blush* I am quickly approaching 1000 followers and I am already thinking about how I can celebrate that with all of you. 

Thank you all for dropping by to check out what little ol' me is up to. I love you all! I would like to wish all of you a very Happy New Year, blessed with health and happiness. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner and a Giveaway

“We understand what we want to understand.”

Leaving a life of privilege to strike out on her own, Lauren Durough breaks with convention and her family’s expectations by choosing a state college over Stanford and earning her own income over accepting her ample monthly allowance. She takes a part-time job from 83-year-old librarian Abigail Boyles, who asks Lauren to transcribe the journal entries of her ancestor Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials.

Almost immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. As the fervor around the witch accusations increases, Mercy becomes trapped in the worldview of the day, unable to fight the overwhelming influence of snap judgments and superstition, and Lauren realizes that the secrets of Mercy’s story extend beyond the pages of her diary, living on in the mysterious, embittered Abigail.

The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to the truth, will Lauren find herself playing the helpless defendant or the misguided judge? Can she break free from her own perceptions and see who she really is? ~~ synopsis from Goodreads

My thoughts about The Shape of Mercy ~~

I read this book in March of 2011 and posted my thoughts then. Let me tell you, I loved it! And then I loaned it to a friend and forgot that she had it. She returned it to me the other day and I was once again reminded of how much I loved the story.

Now, I have to admit, there is no way that I can keep all the books that come into my house (you probably know all about that) so I am going to offer The Shape of Mercy to one lucky follower of The Book Bag.

Here are my thoughts from March 2011 and a link to the original post. It's kind of amazing to me to see how my posts have evolved since then.
This book caught my eye because I have always been fascinated by the subject of the Salem witch trials. This is a story about a young woman, Lauren, who has been hired to transcribe a diary that was written by a young woman, Mercy, who was accused in the trials. This starts a journey for Lauren to discover who she is and to examine how she feels about her life of privilege.

One of the great lines from this book ~~"When you only do what is expected of you, you never learn what you would've done had you chosen for yourself." ~~ is exactly what Lauren is struggling with.
The Shape of Mercy is very well written and I found myself caring for both Lauren and Mercy from the very beginning. We also meet the owner of the diary, Abigail, an older woman who reveals in one of their transcribing sessions ~~ "He was the man I should have married." Lauren is determined to find out what she means by that statement but she also wonders if she, herself, in too concerned with what she 'should' do.

I enjoyed this book immensely and will be recommending it to my friends!

The author's website says she writes "Fiction for the Restless Reader". I am pretty sure that I am a restless reader and I know that I am going to be reading more of Susan Meissner's books!

~~ I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Enter the Rafflecopter below
for a chance to win this fantastic book! 

And be sure to check the sidebar for my other giveaways.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Winners @ The Book Bag!

I hope everyone had a great holiday. I am still on vacation and getting a lot of reading done but not much posting. But I did want to hop on the computer to announce the winners of a few giveaways that just ended. I only have one other giveaway going on at the moment (for some Ghirardelli Chocolates!!) but I promise to get some more up soon ~ I am in a bookshelf cleaning mode! And I have a few hops scheduled soon and those will be international.

So, drum roll please! Here they are!

The winner of Vision is .....

Jesse K.

And the winner of A Desire Path is .....

Shelly H.

Congratulations to both Jessie and Shelly!

Emails will be sent soon ~ watch for them and get back to me within 48 hours.

Be sure to check out the sidebar for more giveaways

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I will be away from my computer until after Christmas so I wanted to get this post up before we leave town. I won't have time to get any other posts ready to go either so it will be kind of quiet here at The Book Bag.

But I do want to wish everyone Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays or whatever this season is where you are.

I also want to share a little bit about me. I love the Pillsbury Doughboy and have for many years. I have a pretty large collection of Doughboy things in my kitchen. I asked him to help me celebrate with all of you.

So enjoy this little bit of Christmas cheer from me and Doughboy!

Hooo hooo!

And be sure to check out the sidebar for my giveaways!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winners @ The Book Bag!

I am so sorry for making you all wait to find out who won a couple of giveaways here @ The Book Bag. What a busy, busy time right now. 

So, drum roll! Here they are! 

The winner of Lasso the Stars is .....


And the winner of North Pole High is .....


Congratulations to both Janet and Kirsten!
Emails have been sent.  

Be sure to check out the sidebar for more giveaways

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

When You Were Older by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Russell Ammiano could not be more happy to have left his tiny Kansas town of Norville—or Nowhere-ville, as he calls it—behind forever. But on the morning of September 11th, 2001, a phone call makes him late to work. It’s from a neighbor in Norville. Russell’s mother has passed away suddenly. Russell must come home immediately, because someone has to take care of his older brother, Ben. Russell books a flight. But before he can even head for the airport, two planes hit the World Trade Center, where Russell worked. Russell would have been there, if not for the phone call. The life he’s so carefully built as a successful young ad executive comes tumbling down, literally. He hitchhikes all the way home.

His 30-year-old brother Ben, brain damaged in a childhood accident, hasn't changed a bit. And he never will. Russell has to try to figure out how his mother took care of Ben, without any “manual” of instructions. It’s not easy.

The town is a little different. Three of Russell’s high school friends are National Guard, and soon to ship out to Afghanistan. The old dry cleaners has been replaced by a bakery owned by naturalized Egyptian Nazir El Sayed and his daughter Anat. Russell befriends the two, and finds himself caught in the middle when post-9/11 fervor targets them for abuse. But the situation is further complicated when Russell falls for Anat, and she for him, challenging her traditional Egyptian upbringing. ~~ synopsis from Goodreads

My thoughts about When You Were Older ~~

I read another one of Catherine's book a while back (Don't Let Me Go ~ my thoughts are here) and I loved it. I wasn't really expecting to but I love when that happens, don't you?

Well, here is her newest book, When You Were Older - and I have to say, I think I love this one even more! I started reading it over the weekend, when I still had so much Christmas stuff to do and I did not want to put it down. But I do have my priorities ~ and my top priority last weekend was to get to the end of this story!

I immediately loved Russell and empathized with him in his struggle to get home after 9/11. That morning, he was running behind schedule and was still home when he gets a phone call telling him that his mother has died and that he needs to come home to take over the care of his brother. If he hadn't been home to take that call, he would have been in one of the Towers when it was hit and he would have died along with all of his coworkers. He just wants to get home, take care of things and then get back to his life.

Well ...... things are not that easy.

I also loved this story because it took me back to the time of 9/11 and made me remember what a sad, crazy time it was. It was also a wonderful time for the United States because we all came together and became more patriotic. When You Were Older reminded me also that this time was not easy for everyone. People were shunned and hurt. And life goes on. And all we want is to be happy.

This story is fabulous and different from anything I have read in quite a while. Catherine is a wonderful writer and her stories are so enjoyable to read and so easy to get lost in. I can't wait to read more of her stories! She is my new 'must-read-everything-she-writes' author! Thank you Catherine, for another wonderful story!

Author Bio

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of 18 published and forthcoming books. Her newest releases are When You Were Older, Don’t Let Me Go, Jumpstart the World, When I Found You and Second Hand Heart. Forthcoming is Walk Me Home (Transworld UK, Spring 2012).

Other newer novels are Becoming Chloe, Love in the Present Tense, The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance, Chasing Windmills The Day I Killed James, and Diary of a Witness. Both Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List. Jumpstart the World was chosen as a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards, received a third place Rainbow Award for Young Adult/Coming of Age Fiction and a tie for first place in Bisexual/Transgender Fiction. Love in the Present Tense enjoyed bestseller status in the UK, where it broke the top ten, spent five weeks on the national bestseller list, was reviewed on a major TV book club, and shortlisted for a Best Read of the Year Award at the British Book Awards.

Older works include the story collection Earthquake Weather, and the novels Funerals for Horses, Pay it Forward, Electric God, and Walter’s Purple Heart.

Pay It Forward was adapted into a major motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The mass market paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller. It is still in print, and was rereleased in a trade paperback edition in April of 2010.

More than 50 of her short stories have been published in The Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, The Sun and many other journals, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog is my Co-Pilot. Her stories have been honored in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O'Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in Best American Short Stories.

She is founder and former president (2000-2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with Americorps members at the White House and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

Connect with Catherine!

Buy the Book!

e-Book | Paperback

And be sure to check the sidebar
for my current giveaways!

WWW Wednesdays December 19

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Clicking on the book covers will take you to Goodreads
for more information about the books listed below.

What are you currently reading?

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
I am currently listening to this one in the car. I don't spend a lot of time driving so this one could take me awhile. I think this is the first Giffin book I have 'read'. Are you a fan of her books? 

Know Thy Neighbor by Shawn Kirsten Maravel 
I just started this one but I can already tell I am going to love it.

What did you recently finish reading?

When You Were Older by Catherine Ryan Hyde
 Loved this one! I didn't want to put it down. Catherine is my newest 'must-read' author! My thoughts will be posted tomorrow. 

What do you think you will read next? 

The Green Ticket by Samantha March
My stop on the tour will be January 1 ~ what a great way to start 2013! 

What's on your WWW this week?

Leave me a comment and
I'll stop by to check out your reads.

And be sure to check out the sidebar 
for my current giveaways! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Treats for Chick Lit Lovers

In the spirit of coming together for the holidays, eight popular Chick Lit authors are "partying it up" with a shared promotion for book lovers! That means eight fun and fizzy e-books, each priced at $3.99 or less, that are packed with plenty of laughs and romance to keep you entertained on those long winter nights! And if you'd like to gift one of these books to a Chick Lit fan, we've got you covered with your choice of paperbacks!

Which books are featured in this festive promo? 
Check them out below!

I've read a couple of these books and loved them!

I will definitely be filling up my stocking with the rest of these books! 

Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey

Daytime talk show producer Jamie Ross is beyond fed up with her toxic bad boy turned metrosexual boyfriend. Spurred on by her gang of quirky friends, she goes on a hilarious, at-times disastrous, and totally life-changing hunt to track down the "one who got away." But are some loves best left behind?

E-book and paperback available on Amazon

In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister

Handling the problems of hysterical hypochondriacs, lovelorn neurotics, and compulsive man whores is all in a day's work for super-shrink Pilar Alvarez. But can she deal with her crazy Cuban family, a trio of unsuitable suitors, and a threat to her practice without ending up on the couch herself?

E-book available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble; paperback available on Amazon

What the Dog Ate by Jackie Bouchard

Discovering what her dog ate turns Maggie Baxter’s world upside down. With her chocolate Lab, Kona, as her guide, can Maggie forego her overly analytical ways to find a new life filled with tail-wagging joy?

E-book available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes; paperback available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

The Girl, the Gold Tooth, & Everything by Francine LaSala

Suburban housewife Mina, beaten-down and struggling with amnesia, starts getting her memory and her mojo back. But she soon learns everything has a price in this fast-paced, richly layered, and darkly humorous satire!

E-book and paperback available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie

When Roxy Rule shares a passionate kiss with her lifelong best friend, she must come to terms with her feelings for him while dealing with two sisters in full crisis mode, a boss who makes her want to stab herself with a letter opener and a fiancé who can't wait to walk down the aisle. Can she keep it together--or will she break under the pressure?

E-book available on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble; paperback available on Amazon

Fashioning a Romance by Libby Mercer

Devastatingly handsome and deliciously weird, John Harrington is the man of Caitlyn Taylor's dreams… and her nightmares. She has no use for a womanizer like him, and dodges his advances like a pro. But when they end up in Paris together, Caitlyn feels her resolve begin to slip. How will she ever be able to resist the irresistible in the most romantic city in the world?

E-book available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo 

A State of Jane by Meredith Schorr 

Jane Frank is newly single after nine years and looking for a second chance at love. But when she dives head first into the NYC dating scene and finds it infested with flakes who are interested today and gone tomorrow, it may be time for Jane to turn the tables! 

E-book available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes; paperback available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble 

Picture Perfect by Lucie Simone 

Lauren Tate's perfectly planned life quickly unravels at the seams when a smear campaign threatens her career as a top TV executive, but she learns just how cutthroat showbiz can truly be when the hottest scandal in Tinsel Town turns deadly and the Hollywood hunk who's stolen her heart goes missing. 

E-book available on Amazon; paperback available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Libby Mercer talks about her voices ~ and a Giveaway!

Yesterday I posted my thoughts about this wonderful and fun book, Unmaking Maya. Read what I had to say here. Today I have the author, Libby Mercer, here talking about the voices she hears when she writes.

After you read what she has to say, be sure to check out the awesome giveaway she is offering for Ghirardelli Chocolates of San Francisco.Yummy!!

Hi Libby ~ I have heard other authors say that they 'hear voices in their head' and that is how they write their books: the characters are telling their stories. Not being a writer myself, that concept has always intrigued me.

When some people hear voices, we get them medical attention, others end up becoming writers. Does this happen to you? How do you come up with your stories?

The Voices in My Head

I’m pretty sure I’ll never be fitted for a straightjacket. Well… not because of the voices in my head, anyway. You see, the voices in my head are a bit shy. They only speak up in specific circumstances.

Usually when I come up with an idea for a story, I start by creating the bigger picture. For Unmasking Maya, I had a vague concept in mind to create a quirky love story with the guy being one of those ultra left-brained Silicon Valley genius types. Then I pondered what kind of woman would not be a good match for him. Wouldn’t be much of a story if they were compatible from the start. After letting this question simmer for a while, artsy Maya began to take shape.

Maya (and Derek – my tech guy) existed in my mind as abstract characters, and I knew some details about their past experiences, but not everything. Not yet. No need to be alarmed, though – this is how I write. So I had all the basics in place and I was ready to get started. I knew I wanted Derek to offend Maya in the opening scene and I had a rough idea of how it was going to happen. But it needed to be done through dialogue, of course, and this is where the voices in my head came in handy.

It’s very rare that the voices start talking when I’m sitting in front of the computer. For some reason, they seem to be at their chattiest when I’m walking around outside, usually while I’m running errands. Some of what I consider to be my best and most fabulous scenes have come to me while I was lugging a backpack full of groceries up a steep hill. And it’s rare that the voices will narrate the narrative (so to speak). Instead they will become my characters and carry on a conversation inside my head.

Um… honestly, I really don’t need a straightjacket.

Without the pressure of being in front of my computer, and feeling the urge to type everything out as soon as it comes to me, I play out these scenes in my mind as if I’m shooting a film. And I do as many takes as necessary until I get it right.

If Maya said something and then Derek responded, but whatever he said didn’t sound right, I’d yell, “Cut!” (inside my mind, of course. One of the voices in my head is mine) and I’d try something else, usually replaying the scene from the beginning. Once I got home with my groceries (or my laundry or whatever) I’d hurry over to the laptop and get everything down.

Sometimes the voices in my head keep chattering for a while after I get back home and start writing, but generally they tend to quiet down. If I need to get them back, the only way to do so is to step away from the laptop and do something else – wash dishes, have a shower, etc.

And there you have it: how the voices in my head help me craft my stories. Honestly, I don’t need psychological help. Tee he he.

About the author

Born and raised in the Midwest, Libby Mercer’s adventurous spirit kicked in after graduating from high school, and she’s since lived in Boston, NYC and London. San Francisco is the city she currently calls home. For several years, Libby worked in fashion – first as a journalist and then as a shopkeeper. She also dabbled in design for a while. Even through the crazy fashion years, Libby never let go of her dream of being a published author, and has since developed her signature writing style, crafting quirky chick lit/romance hybrids. Fashioning a Romance was her first published novel, and Unmasking Maya will be her second. Libby has a third novel, The Karmic Connection, scheduled for release in 2013.

Connect with Libby

Purchase on Amazon

Visit other stops on the tour here.

And now for the most awesome giveaway!!

Libby is giving one lucky winner
a 9 piece box of Ghirardelli Chocolates

Click here to see what you could win!

Ghirardelli Chocolates is a San Francisco institution. During the California Gold rush in the mid-1800s, Domingo Ghirardelli shrewdly discovered that the exhausted miners in from the fields were starved for luxuries and needed something to spend their gold dust on. To capitalize on this opportunity, he stocked chocolate delicacies to ensure that they solicited his shop.

How about that for awesome marketing!

And be sure to check the sidebar
for my current giveaways!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

On Tour and a Giveaway: Unmasking Maya by Libby Mercer

Defamed, Disgraced and Displaced...

Fresh from a career-killing scandal, New York fashion girl, Maya Kirkwood, arrives in San Francisco to reinvent herself as a fine artist. She's offered the opportunity to create an installation at the Silicon Valley headquarters of a hot new tech company. Fabulous, right?

Not so much.

She can't stand Derek Whitley - wunderkind software genius and CEO of the company. Hot as he may be on the outside, inside the man is a cold, unemotional, robotic type. Way too left-brained for her right-brained self.

As Maya and Derek get to know each other, however, their facades begin to crack. She catches her first glimpse of the man behind the superhuman tech prodigy, and he starts to see her as the woman she used to be. But is this a good thing? Once that last secret is revealed, will it bring them closer together or will it tear them apart?
~~ synopsis from Goodreads

My thoughts about Unmasking Maya ~~

I loved how this story started. We are at an art show. The artist, who wants to remain unknown to those attending the show, runs across the gentleman from a Silicon Valley business who wants to hire her. Yep, you guessed it, they start off on the wrong foot. He can't stand the art work he is looking at but he doesn't know that he is voicing all this negativity to the actual artist of the pieces he says he doesn't like. And then she finds herself too far into the conversation to let him know who she really is.

So, Maya starts off their relationship, both their business one and their personal one, by keeping secrets. But wait, Derek has his own secrets. And the two of them are as different as night and day, she is very artsy and he is very techy. There is a lot of chemistry under the surface but can they overcome their differences and get past all of their secrets?

Okay, so you can probably guess how this story turns out but let me tell you, it was a whole lot of fun getting to that ending and seeing how they go about figuring it all out. Libby does an excellent job with her story telling and this was a fabulous, enjoyable read. Libby has her next novel coming out in 2013 and I am definitely going to be watching for it!

About the author

Born and raised in the Midwest, Libby Mercer’s adventurous spirit kicked in after graduating from high school, and she’s since lived in Boston, NYC and London. San Francisco is the city she currently calls home. For several years, Libby worked in fashion – first as a journalist and then as a shopkeeper. She also dabbled in design for a while. Even through the crazy fashion years, Libby never let go of her dream of being a published author, and has since developed her signature writing style, crafting quirky chick lit/romance hybrids. Fashioning a Romance was her first published novel, and Unmasking Maya will be her second. Libby has a third novel, The Karmic Connection, scheduled for release in 2013.

Connect with Libby

Purchase on Amazon

Visit other stops on the tour here.

And now for the most awesome giveaway!!

Libby is giving one lucky winner
a 9 piece box of Ghirardelli Chocolates

Click here to see what you could win!

Ghirardelli Chocolates is a San Francisco institution. During the California Gold rush in the mid-1800s, Domingo Ghirardelli shrewdly discovered that the exhausted miners in from the fields were starved for luxuries and needed something to spend their gold dust on. To capitalize on this opportunity, he stocked chocolate delicacies to ensure that they solicited his shop.

How about that for awesome marketing!

And be sure to check the sidebar
for my current giveaways!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cover Reveal! And a Giveaway! Free Souls by Susan Kaye Quinn

Whoooo hooooo! 
The cover of Free Souls is revealed today!! 
Isn't it just gorgeous!! 

I got a peek at the first chapter and ... WOW! 
I can hardly wait to read the rest! 
This is an awesome series!! 

Free Souls by Susan Kaye Quinn
(Book Three of the Mindjack Trilogy) Now Available!
When your mind is a weapon, freedom comes at a price.

Four months have passed since Kira left home to join Julian’s Jacker Freedom Alliance, but the hole in her heart still whistles empty where her boyfriend Raf used to be. She fills it with weapons training, JFA patrols, and an obsessive hunt for FBI agent Kestrel, ignoring Julian’s worries about her safety and repeated attempts to recruit her for his revolutionary chat-casts. When anti-jacker politician Vellus surrounds Jackertown with the National Guard, Kira discovers there’s more to Julian’s concerns than she knew, but she’s forced to take on a mission that neither want and that might be her last: assassinating Senator Vellus before he can snuff out Julian’s revolution and the jackers she’s come to love.

All of the Mindjack stories are available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and iTunes
(Note Free Souls is not yet available on Kobo or iTunes)

Early Praise for Free Souls

“Quinn paints a picture of a not-too-distant America where politicians inflame the hatred of one section of the populace for another—all for their own gain—and you worry that her world is not so far off from our own.”
Dianne Salerni, author of We Hear the Dead, The Caged Graves, and the forthcoming The Eighth Day

"Free Souls starts with a bang and doesn't let up. Like a mash-up of all your favorite science-fiction adventures from Star Wars to The Legend of Korra, it blends nonstop action, nail-biting escapes, and great romance. I absolutely loved it! A great series conclusion—a must-read."
Leigh Talbert Moore, author of Rouge and The Truth About Faking

“Susan did it again. Free Souls was WOW! I expected Kira to step up to her role as heroine but not like this. Surprises kept coming until the very end which tied up more loose ends than I knew existed. Warning: Don't start reading until you have time to finish. I didn't want to put Free Souls down for a second. It's that kind of book.”
Sher A. Hart, Goodreads Review


Susan's over at Amy Saunder's blog today (12.14.12), answering questions about how she came up with the mages' abilities, what kind of mage she would be, and all about her future works.

Digital Box Set

Since Free Souls is out, there is now a Digital Box Set of the Mindjack Trilogy for those of you who want the whole series!

Available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble

Mindjack Origins Collection

Want more Julian? Wondering how Sasha's ability really works? Looking for EXCLUSIVE DELETED SCENES from Free Souls? This collection of novellas, scenes, and other goodies is for those craving a bit more of the characters and drama of the Mindjack series.

Mindjack Novellas
Mind Games (Raf's story)
The Handler (Julian's story)
The Scribe (Sasha's story)

TWO EXCLUSIVE DELETED SCENES from Free Souls (published nowhere else!)

PLUS Mindjack flash fiction, an (imaginary) conversation between Raf and Julian, and other goodies for readers who want just a little bit more of Kira, Julian, Raf, and the Mindjack crew.
Available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble

one of FIVE ecopies of the
Mindjack Origins Collection

Thursday, December 13, 2012

On Tour, an Excerpt and a Giveaway: On the Rim of Love by Marie Astor

Isn't this cover just beautiful? 

Enjoy this excerpt from On the Rim of Love and then 
visit these other stops on the tour to read more.

Taylor woke up at seven a.m. and shut off the alarm clock that was supposed to go off in ten minutes – he had always been an early riser, but he turned on the alarm clock last night just in case he might oversleep. He stretched and sat on the edge of his bed for several moments, gearing up for the day ahead of him. He could honestly say that today was the first day in his life that he did not look forward to spending the day on the mountain. That is, he looked forward to the skiing part - he just did not look forward to the company he’d be skiing with. Well, except maybe for one person – a girl, to be more precise, but he would not think about her now.

He got up and turned on the shower, making the water extra hot. Whatever is she doing being engaged to that moron Jeffrey? wondered Taylor as Maggie surfaced in his thoughts once more, she is too good for him. But then again, he hardly knew her; correction, he did not know her at all, although under a different set of circumstances, he would most certainly like to get to know her. Get a hold of yourself, man, thought Taylor, she’s the producer’s fiancée. Which of course was easier said than done - the way Maggie stood out in the room full of people, made it difficult for him to forget her. Perhaps it was because of her light brown eyes or her long, chestnut hair, or maybe it was the smooth, pearl-white of her skin or the delicate, chiseled features of her face, or her perfectly proportioned body - it could have been any of these things, but it was the way Maggie carried herself that really caught Taylor’s attention. Not only was Maggie beautiful, but she was also elegant and full of grace - the kind of girl a guy could fall in love with.

Snap out of it man. Taylor slapped some aftershave onto his face. It was half past seven, and he wanted to get to the Owl Lodge to make sure that all the equipment was in order well before Jeffrey and company arrived. At least Taylor would not have to be on his own – Shawn and Ryan would be there to help him guide the group.

Shawn Gregory was Taylor’s closest friend – the two had been exploring the wilderness of the Eagleville Mountains every winter since their early childhood – the tradition that still held true today. Their personalities were as different as the reasons why they both loved to ski: while Taylor was always looking for new lines and different ways to challenge himself, Shawn’s interests were more on the traditional side: an excellent guide, he loved to share his knowledge of skiing with those looking to improve their skills. Shawn knew the mountains of Eagleville like the back of his hand, and Taylor was glad that Shawn was going to be there this morning to help him shepherd the group. Today’s group was going to be no picnic - the lower the skiing ability, the greater the risks when it came to off-piste skiing, and Taylor held no illusions about Jeffrey’s skiing prowess or that of the rest of the group for that matter. Still, he had agreed to be their guide on the mountain, and he would do everything in his power to ensure their safety.

Ryan Gibson was ten years older than Taylor, and he was an excellent big mountain skier in his own right - he had to be; otherwise, he would never have been able to achieve the unique cinematography that was the hallmark of his films. Taylor knew Ryan well from other film shoots where Taylor had had a small part. In fact, it was Ryan’s idea to film Taylor’s descent of the Needle Eye when Taylor had confided to him his desire to ski the formidable couloir. Ryan had been invaluable in helping Taylor find the producer for the project, and now, almost two years later, their joint venture was finally about to come to completion.

With his two close friends by his side, Taylor was fairly certain that the three of them would be able to keep any mayhem in check. However, he sincerely hoped that it would not come to that, not after the agreement that he and Jeffrey struck last night – he did not expect Jeffrey to understand the reasons why he skied the way he skied, but he expected Jeffrey to respect him and his friends, and, more importantly, to respect the mountains; otherwise, the project Taylor and Ryan had worked so hard to bring to life would have to be put on hold indefinitely. 

**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered in the giveaway! Anyone who purchases their copy of On the Rim of Love before December 24 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will receive 5 bonus entries! Want to receive more bonus entries? Get 1 point for liking On the Rim of Love on Amazon, one point for liking Marie's Facebook page, and one point for becoming Marie's fan on GoodReads! Please leave your points in the comments section on the tour page here. Five individual winners will receive a piece of jewelry shown and one bonus winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift card! Please note this is open to US residents only.**

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