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Dinner Guests: Guest Post by Henry Herz

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Dinner Guests (703 words)

When I interview authors on my blog, I often ask them, “If you could have any authors over for dinner, who would you choose?” With the pending release of my debut picture book, MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES, I find myself thinking a lot about fantasy and mythological creatures. And which fantasy characters would I like to have over for dinner.

MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES includes a hydra, which could be viewed as a multi-headed wingless dragon. And when I think dragons, I think Pern, Earthsea, and Game of Thrones. So, my first guest would be Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons. An excellent choice, no? She’s beautiful, brave, and compassionate. She’s been robbed of the throne, but she’s not whiney about it. She can eat raw horse heart without complaint, so my cooking is probably safe for her. But, her dragons would probably wreck my furniture, and formally introducing her to the other guests would mean we wouldn’t start eating until midnight.

MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES features a dwarf, and that’s just the right character to keep those pesky dragons in check. While Gimli is well-known, I have to go with The Hobbit’s Dáin II Ironfoot. He earned renown as a young dwarf by slaying the Orc chieftain Azog at the Battle of Azanulbizar. Like his kindred, the Lord of the Iron Hills is tough and battle-hardened. But unlike some dwarves of Middle Earth, Dáin has wisdom. He knew that even though the goblins were defeated, it was not yet time for the dwarves to reoccupy their ancient home of Khazad-dûm. After the Battle of Five Armies, he rules the Lonely Mountain with the good sense to keep on good terms with the Elves of Mirkwood and the Men of Dale. But, he’d probably drink all my ale.

MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES also features a witch, an ettin, sprites, a werewolf, and a minotaur. And since the witch in Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a false one, I will instead invite Jadis, Queen of Narnia, Châtelaine of Cair Paravel, and Empress of the Lone Islands. What is it with the ladies and long names? You may recall her by the more convenient title of White Witch, played so deliciously by Tilda Swinton in the movie version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The seven-foot tall sorceress could teach a class on being cold and goal-oriented. She uttered the Deplorable Word in order to vanquish her sister, even though that eradicated all life in the world of Charn. She subsequently sends Narnia into a deep freeze, although that skill could turn out quite handy keeping my ale chilled (at least until Dáin drinks it all). Jadis is tall. She’s immensely strong. She’s petrifying. And I mean that both figuratively and literally. And Jadis has minotaurs, ettins, werewolves, sprites, and other assorted minions. But, she’d probably eat the Turkish Delight I prepared for dessert.

MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES briefly mentions an elf. The Lord of the Rings offers us many elves, but none more tragic than Fëanor. Here’s a guy born with a mithril spoon in his mouth. He’s immortal, his dad is High King of the Noldor elves, and Fëanor lives in Valinor, which is THE primo real estate in Arda. He is the most gifted gemsmith to ever live. He crafted the palantíri, and he captured in the three infinitely valuable Silmarils the light of Laurelin and Telperion, the two trees that illuminate the world. When Morgoth kills the two trees, Fëanor is told he can restore them by giving up the Silmarils. But his pride, anger, and hatred prevent him from doing so. Morgoth steals the Silmarils, and Fëanor convinces many Noldor to pursue Morgoth to Middle Earth, even killing on three separate occasions fellow elves that won’t do their bidding. Though Fëanor and countless elves die in the attempt, they fail to finally recover the Silmarils. What a douche.

Hmmm. Upon further consideration, maybe I should just have some authors over for dinner…


This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Tristan by Randi Everheart

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Author: Randi Everheart
Title: Tristan
Series: A Kendall Family Novel #1
Five years ago, Tristan Kendall left home and the woman he loved to prove himself on the sport bike racing circuit. With his career briefly on hold, he’s come to realize everything - and everyone - he ever wanted was right at home all along. Now he’s determined to win back her heart no matter the cost.
But Victoria Lane’s been through more than Tristan knows since he broke her heart. No longer the girl he once knew, she has a life to live, and a heart to give, but only to someone who’s planning to stick around. And she’s sure that isn’t him. Can he convince her that she’s the only victory lane he wants to be in?
BUY LINK: Amazon | Createspace
Randi Everheart is an avid author of romance, due in no small part to being a diehard romantic.  After all, Randi once wrote a song for the object of a crush and penned a fifty page love letter for another! The same spirit now flows into these stories – hopefully to win your heart!
Randi has a Bachelors of Music in classical guitar but has always been more of a rocker, having released several albums under another name.  Tendonitis in both arms ended career plans in music, leading to a new career as a software developer. Today Randi co-owns a software consulting firm and lives in the Maryland suburbs north of D.C., is married, and loves spending time with son Ryan when not writing, playing guitar or golf, or writing smut.
Tristan Kendall wove his blue Yamaha R1 motorcycle in and out of traffic on I-270 in Maryland at over 140 mph. His sport bike was a marvel of engineering that allowed a rider to aggressively mate with it like two lovers in spoon position. Speeding up as he neared his hometown, he glanced in the rearview mirror. The cop behind him had grown smaller and smaller with each mile, but Tristan knew that if he didn’t get off the highway soon, police reinforcements would arrive. They’d never catch him, but one picture of his license plate and he’d get more than just a speeding ticket. Assuming he didn’t wreck and end up dead.
When he pulled off onto the winding back roads and slowed down, the cop didn’t see him exit. Familiar sights caused memories of home to return. He hadn’t been back in five years and more houses had sprung up. The plague of suburbia seemed to crowd in a bit more on the rural town of Comus, creeping up from D.C. to the south. One day there’d surely be a skyscraper in his backyard, but for now rolling farmlands dotted the landscape. Despite his familiarity with the roads, he rode them cautiously, his green eyes alert for patches of dirt or leftover road salt from winter storms. They could send him skidding off the pavement.
As if to prove his point, he came around a curve to find that another sport bike and its rider weren’t wrapped around each other anymore. The bike was upside down against a sapling. The rider stood with hands on hips, staring at the flipped-over Suzuki Hayabusa that no one would be taking for a spin anytime soon by the look of the chain, which had disengaged from the rear sprocket to drape near the ground. The clutch lever on the left handlebar hung loose as if snapped, paint had scratched off, and small dents had damaged the body work. Tristan quickly dismounted, running into the tall grass beside the rider.
“Hey, are you all right?” he asked.
The rider turned and Tristan stopped short, his gaze riveted on the rider’s brown eyes, which reminded him of melted chocolate, long lashes framing them. A spark of anger gleamed within. Her posture was defiant. His pulse raced faster now than in the last hour. Even with her helmet still on, the visor up, her face radiated beauty, though he couldn’t see more than those eyes and cheekbones, making him desperately curious to see more. Full breasts strained at the form-fitting leather suit of red and white. Her zipper was down enough to reveal magnificent cleavage pushed up like two mountains of fleshy delights that Sugarloaf Mountain behind them could not compete with; not all of Mother Earth’s mounds were created equal.
“I’m fine,” said the woman, hardly sparing him a fiery glance.
“Are you sure? Maybe you should get checked out.”
“I’m standing, aren’t I?”
He nodded, wondering if her bravado was covering for her being shaken up. By the look of the scene, she’d likely tumbled through the grass and that was all. They silently gazed at the Hayabusa together. “That was a nice bike.”
“Was being the operative word.”
He shrugged. “I’ve seen worse. It can be fixed.”
“Yeah,” she said, not sounding convinced.
“What happened?”
He cringed. “Ouch. That could’ve been a lot worse. Fatal, even. Whatever move you pulled to avoid colliding was worth it.”
She cocked an eyebrow at him, her face softening. “Thanks,” she said, noting the blonde hair peeking out from the back of his helmet. He hadn’t lifted the mirror visor, which hid his face. All she could see under the helmet were a sexy neck, Adam’s apple, and stubble, besides broad shoulders on a lean frame. He wore faded blue jeans, black boots, and a blue t-shirt under a white-and-blue summer riding jacket. “You always leave your visor down?”
“Sorry. No. It broke this morning. If I get it up, I won’t be able to get it back down, and catching a bug in the face sucks.”
“You have trouble getting it up?”
He hadn’t expected the joke and laughed, exaggerating the motion of looking her up and down. “Not at the moment.” Thinking she seemed amused, he added, “Well, you’re gonna need a ride. Can I take you somewhere? Like my place?”
The look in her eyes wavered between mirth and annoyance. “Does that line work on anyone?”
“You’d be surprised,” he said. Sensing that maybe his repartee hadn’t gone over well, he added, “Sorry. Not a great time for jokes. I was just trying to lighten things up. I know a fall can scare the crap of you.”
She nodded. “Crash much? Maybe I should get a ride from someone else.”
“You might be out here a while if you want to wait. You got a phone to call someone?”
Shaking her head, she said, “Didn’t bring it.”
“Mine died earlier. Forgot to charge it at my last stop. I can run by Clarksburg Motorsports and tell them to come get you. It’s about fifteen minutes away. They’ll need to come anyway to get the bike unless you want someone else to haul it.”
She turned to him and sighed, seeming resigned. “No. I know the place. That’s where I bought it. And they service it. I don’t feel like standing here for the time they’ll take to get here. Let’s go.” She headed toward his bike and he followed through the tall grass. He lowered the rear foot pegs and got on the front seat.
He had a knack for making suggestive remarks that were technically innocent, so he said, as if unaware of the double-entendre, “I don’t usually let a woman ride my crotch rocket so soon after meeting.”
“I find that hard to believe,” she said, smiling wryly. She stepped on a peg, grabbed his shoulder, and easily lifted herself behind him, sitting down gracefully. She squeezed her legs against his, her crotch against his ass. “Take me to the strip mall in Comus. I work there.”
“Okay.” Over one shoulder, he advised, “Try to find something hard to hold onto.”
“I’m afraid to ask what you had in mind.” She put her visor back down and wrapped both arms around him from behind.
“You’re gonna want to grip harder than that,” he said, starting the engine, which came to life with a loud growl due to the aftermarket exhaust system he’d installed. When she didn’t hold tighter, he smirked and took off with a small wheelie that caused her to yelp in surprise and squeeze hard with both arms and legs, her head pressed against his back. He let the wheel down softly and noticed she didn’t lighten her grip as he continued more safely, the heat of her warming him through his back, legs, and ass.
He was no stranger to women mounting his crotch rocket, whether that was his bike or not. Those who rode one were willing to ride the other. The lone exception had been Victoria, his high school sweetheart. Her father had been killed in a motorcycle accident, making her deathly afraid of them and for Tristan once they’d fallen in love. His high-speed shenanigans had caused no end of fights. When she found out he wanted to be a pro rider, she’d freaked. He’d certainly never gotten her onto the bike, which had bothered him. If you can’t share one love of your life with the other love of your life, something’s amiss. For him, it had taken some of the steam out of their bond and ultimately made it easier for him to leave town, even though he understood her fears. He hadn’t seen her in the five years since or learned what became of her except that she’d left town, too, but he was hoping to find out something about that now that he was back, however briefly. Maybe he’d even go looking for her.
The girl currently on his bike—and he only now realized he hadn’t gotten her name—distracted him from the thought when she unzipped his jacket some and slid one hand inside. Tristan’s pulse raced, his hand inadvertently pulling on the throttle so the bike revved like his heart. Her hand caressed his chest a few times, giving him a squeeze before dropping to his belly, running over his six-pack abs slowly, as if counting the ripples under the shirt. He struggled to keep his mind on the road and half-wondered if this is how she’d crashed. Had she been riding with some other guy and made him leave the road, his body nowhere in sight among the wreckage?
The thought brought him to his senses, but not for long. Her other hand slipped down to his inner thigh, close to his growing erection, and she playfully squeezed his ass with her legs, making him wish he was facing the other way and buck naked. This woman would be the death of them both, but if he got her back to her place and got her to mount his other rocket, the sex just might be worth the risk of bodily harm now. He’d give her a lift-off worthy of a Space Shuttle launch and all the media coverage that came with.
By the time they pulled into the only strip mall in Comus, where four businesses lay in a row, with parking out front, his visor had begun to fog up. His passenger pointed at a shop that said “Pilates” above it, and he smiled to himself as they parked before it, hoping she was an instructor. Flexibility in a woman was a good thing.
Looking for an excuse to get inside, he asked, “Can I use your bathroom?”
“Sure,” she said, turning toward the door and pulling her helmet off with her back to him. A tumble of silken brown hair fell out over her leather-covered back. She unlocked the door and went in without looking at him. He followed, fumbling with his helmet strap, finally getting the whole thing off just as she turned to face him. He barely saw her face before she slapped him.
“You bastard!” she screamed. “Get out!”
The color drained from Tristan’s face before anger brought it back in a flash. Then he got a good look at her and his mouth fell open.

Randi is offering e-copies to 5 winners of the Rafflecopter.  Below is the widget code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson

George Foss never thought he'd see her again, but on a late-August night in Boston, there she is, in his local bar, Jack's Tavern. 

When George first met her, she was an eighteen-year-old college freshman from Sweetgum, Florida. She and George became inseparable in their first fall semester, so George was devastated when he got the news that she had committed suicide over Christmas break. But, as he stood in the living room of the girl's grieving parents, he realized the girl in the photo on their mantelpiece - the one who had committed suicide - was not his girlfriend. Later, he discovered the true identity of the girl he had loved - and of the things she may have done to escape her past.

Now, twenty years later, she's back, and she's telling George that he's the only one who can help her...

Goodreads Summary

There are so many aspects that this book has going for itself that set it up to make it an amazing read that everyone will love. How confusing would it be if someone you thought was dead for a large portion of you life, just randomly popped up again one day. A double take is just the beginning of what would be going through your head, especially since this was a woman that you loved.

There are countless moments in this book that you can sense the intoxicating affect that this con woman has on George. Its sad that after all these years and all that he knows of the truth now, that he would still do anything for this girl that will undoubtedly leave him high and dry time and time again. Its a sad story of undeserved true love in a man that may end up sacrificing everything that he has made for himself just for a second chance at a short lived romance that he had in college. You will be covering your face over and over again as you read but still wont be able to drop this book until its done.

4 Stars

Reviewed by Chris

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Win a 25 Book Mystery Box!

Monday, January 26, 2015
Enter to win a box full of at least 25 books!

a Rafflecopter giveaway This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Tuck Everlasting 40th Anniversary Promotion Post!

2015 marks the 40th anniversary of Natalie Babbitt’s celebrated, ground-breaking title Tuck
Everlasting (Anniversary edition on sale January 20). In celebration of the anniversary,
Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group will publish a special anniversary edition featuring an
introduction from Wicked author Gregory Maguire.

Natalie will be in conversation with Gregory Maguire at Symphony Space in New York City on
Sunday, January 25 at 1:00 PM. Alexis Bledel, star of the 2002 movie adaptation, will read
from the book.

Tuck Everlasting asks readers “What if you could live forever?” Doomed to, or blessed with,
eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as
inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on
their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less of a
blessing than it might seem. Then complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger
who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

Upon the book’s publication in 1975, Natalie was greeted with concern from parents and educators who were stunned to read a book about death written for children. She is an author who challenges her readers and thinks the best questions are the ones without answers.

This 40th anniversary will introduce a whole new generation to this timeless classic. The book has sold over 3.5 million copies in the US alone, and has never been out of print since publication.

NATALIE BABBITT is the award-winning author of Tuck Everlasting, The Eyes of the Amaryllis, Knee-Knock Rise, and many other brilliantly original books for young people. She began her career in 1966 as the illustrator of The Forty-Ninth Magician, a collaboration with her husband. When her husband became a college president and no longer had time to collaborate, Babbitt tried her hand at writing. Her first novel, The Search for Delicious, established her gift for writing magical tales with profound meaning. Knee-Knock Rise earned her a Newbery Honor, and in 2002, Tuck Everlasting was adapted into a major motion picture. Natalie Babbitt lives in Connecticut, and is a grandmother of three.

What If You Could Live Forever?

I would take a lot of time to think about drinking from the Spring.  I don't think forever is all that wonderful.  Losing family, friends, beloved pets, and my overall environment (assuming massive changes in centuries) is a risk that doesn't outweigh the benefits.  At this time, I would choose not to drink from the Spring.  However, if I drank from the Spring without knowing it's longevity "cure" then I would spend my life trying to help others via volunteering, being a medical doctor, forging through aging research and honing in on specific diseases that have long plagued the human race.  I would see the world (assuming I didn't already do that in the life I was given) and make sure to spend time to truly get to know the flavor and culture of where I was.  If possible, I would travel to the deepest oceans and furthest planets.

What would you do if you could live forever?  Tweet with #Tuck40th and follow the conversation!

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Whipped Promo!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

“If you can’t sell a dildo in Vegas, you’re doing it wrong.” Vi, WHIPPED (Hitched, book 2) by Karpov Kinrade, coming February 2, 2015.

Yup–that’s Vi, a feisty redhead with mischievous green eyes and an attitude to match.


I love sex. I used to be a professional Dominatrix by day and a recreational Dom by night. Now I co-own a sex shop by day. I still do the Dom thing by night, when I can.

So, yeah, I love sex. But I’m not a sub. That’s never been me. I like to maintain control in the bedroom. That gets me off.

But when the guy I’ve been chatting up online as a potential roommate shows up at my condo dripping sex and temptation… let’s just say I might be open to trying new things… for him.

If his playboy ways don’t drive me insane.
And if I can do the one thing I’ve never done for anyone.

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. But when you live here full time… that’s not much comfort, is it?


Whipped (Vi’s story) is a sexy, full-length, standalone romance in the Hitched series. These books can be read in any order, but you might also enjoy Hitched, the first book in this series.

Content Warning: This book contains sex, swearing… and did we mention sex? Lots of sex. And abs. And Australian accents.

Coming February 2, 2015. Pre-order it now on:


Add it to your Goodreads list:


This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Hero By Night by Sara Jane Stone

Author- Sara Jane Stone
Format- E-Book
On-sale- January 20th

Description: He was nobody's hero until he landed in the wrong bed … Armed with a golden retriever and a concealed weapons permit, Lena Clark is fighting for normal. She served her country, but the experience left her emotionally numb and estranged from her career-military family. Staying in Independence Falls seems like the first step to reclaiming her life until the town playboy stumbles into her bed … Chad Summers is living his dream—helicopter logging by day and slipping between the sheets with Mrs. Right Now by night. Until his wild nights threaten his day job, leaving Chad with a choice: prove he can settle down or kiss his dream goodbye. But when he ends up in the wrong bed, the one woman in Independence Falls he can't touch offers a tempting proposition. Chad is ready and willing to give in to the primal desire to make Lena his at night—on one condition. By day, they pretend their relationship is real. But their connection extends beyond the bedroom, threatening to turn their sham into reality if Chad can prove he's the hero Lena needs night and day … forever. 

Author Info: After several years on the other side of the publishing industry, Sara Jane Stone bid goodbye to her sales career to pursue her dream-writing romance novels. Sara Jane currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her very supportive real-life hero, two lively young children and a lazy Burmese cat. Visit her online at or find her on Facebook at Sara Jane Stone.

Join Sara Jane’s newsletter to receive new release information, news about contests, giveaways, and more! To subscribe, visit and look for her newsletter entry form.

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

KissCon Promo!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Avon will be hosting a KissCon in Sarasota, FL, on Saturday, 1/31.  What does KissCon entail? A group of *amazing* Avon authors will be doing a signing, a Q&A, and fun, interactive events with the audience. There will be prizes, raffles, and so much more in the way of romancey goodness! Authors attending include Julia Quinn, Maya Banks, Jeaniene Frost, Katharine Ashe, Lena Diaz, Megan Frampton, Laura Lee Guhrke, C.J. Kyle, Kerrelyn Sparks, and C. L. Wilson! Attendance includes a ticket to the VIP author mingle reception, a book, and loads of amazing KissCon goodies.

Click here for more info on allupcoming  KissCon Events, or go to

KissCon Sarasota (Saturday, 1/31):
For $25 (or $32 for a trade paperback), readers can enjoy a special VIP meet and greet reception featuring all these beloved authors! Admission will include snacks and sweets, tea/coffee and Little Black Dress wine, in an intimate event with the authors, plus one signed mass market romance novel!

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Meet the Authors!

Meet the Authors!
Here are some upcoming events, on social media and in person:

1/22 (tomorrow!) Warm Up With Erotic Romance Avon Winter Party! It’s cold outside, but we've got some steamy books out this season from Avon Red, Avon Red Impulse, and Avon Impulse to help raise your temperature! The following authors will be joining us on Thursday, January 22nd from 12-6pm EST for a rollicking party with giveaways, Q&As, and more! RSVP today
Here's the full schedule:

Codi Gary 12 –1 
Shelly Bell 1-2pm
Sara Jane Stone 2-3 pm
Charlotte Stein 3-4pm
Helen Kay Dimon 4-5pm
Cynthia Sax 5-6pm 

1/24, 4:00 p.m. Kerrelyn Sparks will be at Barnes and Noble Firewheel in Garland, Texas

1/27, 3:30 p.m. ET Twitter chat with @Karen_Ranney to celebrate IN YOUR WILDEST SCOTTISH DREAMS, hosted by @FreshFiction. Follow with #ScottishDreams

1/28, 7:00 p.m. Jeaniene Frost is signing BOUND BY FLAMES at Malaprops in Asheville, NC. Can’t make it? Order a signed/personalized copy from the store here:

1/31, 1:00 p.m. KISSCON SARASOTA!! Join 10 of your favorite Avon authors for an afternoon of games, food, swag, and delicious Little Black Dress Wines: Authors attending include: Julia Quinn, Maya Banks, Jeaniene Frost, Laura Lee Guhrke, Katharine Ashe, CJ Kyle, CL Wilson, Lena Diaz, Megan Frampton, Kerrelyn Sparks. Find details/ticketing information about this and all of our upcoming KissCons here:

2/13, 7:00 p.m. Rachel Gibson, Candis Terry, Laura Lee Guhrke, and Codi Gary will be at Rediscovered Bookshop in Boise, ID

New Adult News
Pre-order Jay Crownover’s BETTER WHEN HE’S BOLD (on sale 2/3) and submit your order information to receive the first THREE chapters of ASA

E-Books On Sale
LORD OF SCOUNDRELS by Loretta Chase is on sale for $1.99
HARD TO COME BY by Laura Kaye is on sale for $2.99
THE FIRST LOVE COOKIE CLUB by Lori Wilde is on sale for $4. 99

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Love Gently Falling

Friday, January 16, 2015

Rita Jansen is living her dream as a hairstylist in Hollywood when her father calls with news that her mother has suffered a stroke. When she gets home to Chicago, Rita finds her mother is healing but facing a long recovery. Worse, without being able to run their family-owned salon, her mother could lose the business. Rita decides to help, but she only has until Valentine's Day to come up with a plan. 
As Rita takes her mother's place at work, the nearby skating rink she loved as a child brings back fond memories. Rita also finds herself renewing friendships with her childhood best friend, Marley, as well as her classmate Johnny. Although they now lead such seemingly different lives, Rita is surprised by how well she and Johnny connect and how far he will go to help her. Though Rita believes Johnny is only being kind, with romance kindling in the air and on the ice, their friendship may just fall into something more. 

Goodreads Summary

This is a great story of a woman that cares very deeply about helping her mother. It is touching to see that Rita is willing to drop everything that she has built in Hollywood to come back and save her mother and her business while she gets back on her feet slowly. 

This heartwarming story is a great read for when you want something wholesome and true to the heart to read. The budding romance that Rita has with Johnny is fun and exciting in an innocent and pure kind of way. The two have that true connection that you only find once in life. That person that you connect with in a way that you can talk for forever and never run out of interesting or silly things to say. Read this book to find out how Rita fares with her mothers business and with Johnny.

3.5 Stars

Reviewed by Chris

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Trusting Liam and Changing Everything Cover Reveals!

Thursday, January 15, 2015
Image Map TRUSTING LIAM by Molly McAdams On-sale 6/4/2014

When Kennedy Ryan moves to California, she never expects to come face-to-face with Liam Taylor-the intriguing man she hasn’t been able to forget. Somehow Liam managed to get Kennedy to let down her guard for a single night of passion that ended up meaning more than it was ever supposed to. Accustomed to disastrous experiences with men, Kennedy shields herself before he can break down more of the carefully built control she’s clung to for the last four years. But every time she sees Liam, she feels her resolve weakening. Liam Taylor has been asked to befriend his boss’s nieces. But what starts out as a reluctant favor ends up leading Liam to the only girl who ever slipped away before morning-a girl he thought he’d never find again. And now that she’s within reach, Liam’s determined to never let her go. When a secret from her past tests their relationship, will they be able to cling to the trust Liam has worked so hard to build?

 CHANGING EVERYTHING by Molly McAdams On-sale 3/3/2014

 Paisley Morro has been in love with Eli since they were thirteen-years-old. But after twelve years of only being his best friend and wingman, the heartache that comes from watching him with countless other women becomes too much, and Paisley decides its time to lay all her feelings on the table. Eli Jenkins has a life most guys would kill for: Dream job, countless women, and his best friend, Paisley, to be the girl he can always count on for everything else. But one conversation not only changes everything between them, it threatens to make him lose the only girl who has ever meant anything to him. When tragedy strikes his family and Eli is forced to reevaluate his life, he realizes a life without Paisley isn’t a life at all. Only now, he may be too late. This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Dark Sun, Bright Moon by Oliver Sparrow: Promo and Giveaway!

Monday, January 12, 2015
Chapter 1: A Small Sacrifice at Pachacamac

A priest knelt before her, a feather from his head-dress tickling her face. His musky odour of old incense and stale blood was rank, even here on the windy summit of the pyramid. Four other priests held her body tipped slightly forwards, and the pressure that this put on her tired old joints hurt far more than the fine, cold bite of the knife at her neck. Quick blood ran thick down her chin and splashed into the waiting bowl. Then the flow weakened, the strength went out of her and she died, content.

Seven elderly pilgrims had set out for Pachacamac, following their familiar river down to the coast and then trudging North through the desert sands. Two of the very oldest of them needed to be carried in litters, but most were able to walk with no more than a stick to help them in the sand. Lesser members of the community had been delegated to carry what was necessary. These would return home. The elderly would not.

The better-regarded families of the town were expected to die as was proper, sacrificed at the Pachacamac shrine for the betterment of the community. Such was to be their last contribution of ayni, of the reciprocity that assured communal harmony and health. It was also their guarantee of a smooth return to the community's soul, to the deep, impersonal structure from which they had sprung at birth.

The Pachacamac complex appeared to them quite suddenly from amongst the coastal dunes. They paused to marvel at its mountain range of pyramids, its teeming myriad of ancient and holy shrines.

Over the millennia, one particular pyramid had come to process all of the pilgrims who came from their valley. They were duly welcomed, and guards resplendent in bronze and shining leather took them safely to its precinct.

They had been expected. The priests were kind, welcoming them with food and drink, helping the infirm, leading them all by easy stages up to the second-but-last tier in their great, ancient pyramid. The full extent of the meandering ancient shrine unveiled itself like a revelation as they climbed. Then, as whatever had been mixed with their meal took its effect, they were wrapped up snug in blankets and set to doze in the late evening sun, propped together against the warm, rough walls of the mud-brick pyramid. Their dreams were vivid, extraordinary, full of weight and meaning.

The group was woken before dawn, all of them muzzily happy, shriven of all their past cares, benignly numb. Reassuring priests helped them gently up the stairs to the very top tier. In the predawn light, the stepped pyramids of Pachacamac stood sacred and aloof in an ocean of mist.

Each pilgrim approached their death with confidence. A quick little discomfort would take them back to the very heart of the community from which they had been born. They had been separated from it by the act of birth, each sudden individual scattered about like little seed potatoes. Now, ripe and fruitful, they were about to return home, safely gathered back into the community store. It was to be a completion, a circle fully joined. Hundreds of conch horns brayed out across Pachacamac as the dawn sun glittered over the distant mountains. Seven elderly lives drained silently away as the mist below turned pink.


Dark Sun, Bright Moon, by Oliver Sparrow, was published in July 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon in both paperback and ebook.

“Dark Sun, Bright Moon describes people isolated in the Andes, without the least notion of outsiders. They evolve an understanding of the universe that is complementary to our own but a great deal wider. The book explores events of a thousand years ago, events which fit with what we know of the region's history,” says Sparrow.

In the Andes of a thousand years ago, the Huari empire is sick. Its communities are being eaten from within by a plague, a contagion that is not of the body but of something far deeper, a plague that has taken their collective spirit. Rooting out this parasite is a task that is laid upon Q’ilyasisa, a young woman from an obscure little village on the forgotten borders of the Huari empire.

This impossible mission is imposed on her by a vast mind, a sentience that has ambitions to shape all human life. Her response to this entails confrontations on sacrificial pyramids, long journeys through the Amazonian jungle and the establishment of not just one but two new empires. Her legacy shapes future Andean civilization for the next four hundred years, until the arrival of the Spanish.

Dark Sun, Bright Moon takes the reader on a fascinating adventure that includes human sacrifice, communities eaten from within, a vast mind blazing under the mud of Lake Titicaca, and the rise and fall of empires cruel and kind.

About the Author:

Oliver Sparrow was born in the Bahamas, raised in Africa and educated at Oxford to post-doctorate level, as a biologist with a strong line in computer science. He spent the majority of his working life with Shell, the oil company, which took him into the Peruvian jungle for the first time. He was a director at the Royal Institute for International Affairs, Chatham House for five years. He has started numerous companies, one of them in Peru, which mines for gold. This organisation funded a program of photographing the more accessible parts of Peru, and the results can be seen at Oliver knows modern Peru very well, and has visited all of the physical sites that are described in his book Dark Sun, Bright Moon.

To learn more, go to


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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Amazon Burning by Victoria Griffith

Monday, January 5, 2015


"Victoria Griffith’s debut novel is a triumph! Amazon Burning is a spellbinding tale of love, intrigue, and murder set in the imperiled Amazon rainforest. A young woman’s coming of age story is deftly woven into this vast ecological conflict, as indigenous tribes struggle to defend their land against the loggers, ranchers, and miners who are destroying it. A nonstop thrill ride that will leave you wanting more."
--Courtney Farrell, author of Enhanced

Astor + Blue Editions is proud to present, Amazon Burning [ISBN: 978-1- 938231-94-0 (paperback); New Adult/ Romance/ Fiction; US $12.95; 338 pages; Pub Date: October, 2014 (paperback)], a debut young adult novel by Victoria Griffith.  In this page- turner, Griffith weaves a suspense- action thriller centered on coming of age in a tangled web of romance, mystery, and chaos in the Amazon.

When 22-year-old aspiring journalist, Emma Cohen, is forced to flee the comforts of her NYU student life, she maneuvers an internship from her father at his newspaper in Rio de Janeiro.  There, Emma is immediately swept into a major news story--and a life-threatening situation--when a famous jungle environmentalist, Milton Silva, is mysteriously murdered.

Emma must now enter the Amazon rainforest with her father to investigate; both awed by the enormity and beauty of the Amazon, and appalled by its reckless destruction.  Not only will Emma have to brave the primal world of the Amazon, she must fight to survive the kidnappers, villains, corrupt activists, and indigenous tribes that lay in wait along the ever-twisting trail of the murder case.  Stretched to the brink, it’s up to Emma, her father and the dreamy news photographer, Jimmy, to unravel the mystery and live to tell the tale.

Amazon Burning by Victoria Griffith is a spectacular debut Young Adult novel.  Griffith's powerful rendering of the Amazon rainforest forms the perfect, wildly exotic backdrop for this extraordinary tale of a young urban woman coming of age in the midst of intense conflict.

Victoria Griffith is the author of the award winning non-fiction picture book The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont (Abrams, 2011), which won numerous awards, including the prestigious Parents’ Choice. The book was recently translated into Portuguese for the Brazilian market and was also released in audio book version.

Before becoming a full-time author, Victoria spent twenty years as an international journalist, fifteen of those years as foreign correspondent for the UK’s
Financial Times. During that time, she had fun writing on a wide range of topics, including Brazil’s Yanomami Indians, architecture, space exploration, the human genome, and the growth of the Internet. She even managed to fit in some children’s book reviews. Her most terrifying assignment was preparing lunch for Julia Child, who praised the Brazilian fish stew but refused to touch the blackberry dessert. Victoria lives in Boston with her husband and three daughters.

When 22-year-old aspiring journalist, Emma Cohen, is forced to flee the comforts of her NYU student life, she maneuvers an internship from her father at his newspaper in Rio de Janeiro. There, Emma is immediately swept into a major news story--and a life-threatening situation--when a famous jungle environmentalist, Milton Silva, is mysteriously murdered.Emma must now enter the Amazon rainforest with her father to investigate; both awed by the enormity and beauty of the Amazon, and appalled by its reckless destruction. Not only will Emma have to brave the primal world of the Amazon, she must fight to survive the kidnappers, villains, corrupt activists, and indigenous tribes that lay in wait along the ever-twisting trail of the murder case. Stretched to the brink, it s up to Emma, her father and the dreamy news photographer, Jimmy, to unravel the mystery and live to tell the tale. Amazon Burning by Victoria Griffith is a spectacular debut Young Adult novel. Griffith's powerful rendering of the Amazon rainforest forms the perfect, wildly exotic backdrop for this extraordinary tale of a young urban woman coming of age in the midst of intense conflict."

Goodreads Summary


This is a great exciting romance about a young girl getting caught up in the majesty of the Amazon rainforest. You get conflict with kidnappers, intense tribal interaction, and witness to the exotic animal trade. Along the way you see Emma and Jimmy budding in romance as they search for the murder suspect in the forest with Emma's father. 

I really liked the imagery that was created of the lush amazon landscape. Griffith does a great job at painting the scene on what is surrounding the characters, and makes you feel like you are truly there breathing in the humid warm air and hearing the chatter of the animals in the background. On top of that, the story always keeps moving with another unexpected turn in the story along the way. Emma is young and adventurous and brings a fire to the story that will keep you interested and reading to the last page. Her desire to keep going deeper and find out more is inspiring as the story unfolds. This is definitely a book that you should explore.

3.5 Stars

**Reviewed by Chris**

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Trivia for Crouching Tiger, Forbidden Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks!

Tweet or Facebook your results with the #loveatstaketrivia for the chance to win a $50 gift card to an ebook retailer of the winner's choice!
This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Guest Article: A Writer's Life ~ Adventures & Perils with Television

Saturday, January 3, 2015
by D.J. Donaldson


Cajun Nights was my first novel featuring New Orleans medical examiner, Andy Broussard, and his suicide/death investigator, Kit Franklyn.  A few weeks after the book was published, I got a call from my agent with the surprising news that, “There’s been a flurry of movie and TV interest in your book.”  I’d never considered that such a thing was possible. So that was one of the best phone calls I ever had.

Subsequently, a production company headed by the former director of programming at CBS took an option on the series, planning to shape it into a TV show.  As perhaps some of you know, this phase of things is known as “development hell”, because it takes a very long time to make anything happen. So a year went by with no news.  I figure, okay, the thing is dead.  But, the producers renewed their option for another year, which meant I got paid again.  It wasn’t a lot of money, but with that check, I’d made more money from the two option years than the advance I was given on the book by the publisher. 

So more time goes by with no news.  Now, I’m not even thinking about it anymore. Then, while I was attending a scientific meeting in Dallas, I got a call from the agent in Hollywood who was handling the dramatic rights.  CBS had agreed to pay for a pilot screenplay. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but if this guy had tracked me down in Dallas just to tell me that, it must be a big deal.  And guess what… I got another check as an advance on the screenplay even though I wasn’t gonna write it.  I was beginning to love the agent who created that contract.

They chose as a writer someone who’d had several movies produced.  That may seem like something not worth mentioning, but I’d read an article once that said it was possible to have a career as a screenwriter and never have anything produced.  (Yeah, I don’t quite get that either, but it sure seemed like the writer we had, was the better kind.) With her experience and success, I was sure we’d get a great screenplay.

A few months later, a package arrives in the mail.  IT’S THE SCREENPLAY.  I’m so excited, I quickly skim the enclosed letter from the producers: “Read this over and tell us three things you don’t like about it.”  That’s ridiculous, I’m gonna love it.  After all, it was written by a pro.

Well, I hated all of it.  The writer didn’t seem to “get” the relationship between Andy and Kit.  I couldn’t believe it.  The books show that non-romantic love is possible between an unrelated man and woman of greatly differing ages. Though he can’t admit it, Broussard loves Kit like the daughter he never had.  Kit loves Broussard like a father, even though she has a father.  How do I boil all the things I hate down to just three items? Somehow I manage and send my reply back.

As it turned out, the producers didn’t really care about any of my thoughts.  Was I upset?  Not really, because I figured they know TV, I don’t.  And… surprise, when they gave the script to CBS, I got another check.  Now I definitely love my agent.

The producers are sure the script will be approved and we’ll soon be shooting a pilot.  They invite me to watch them film in New Orleans.  They say they’ll even find a bit part for me.  They predict that the series will run for ten years. And they should know. Their show, Cagney and Lacey, ran for seven seasons. Now I’m excited. 

But… later, I get another call.  CBS didn’t like the script. And they didn’t want to see a rewrite with the same story. The producers asked me if I had any ideas.  The screenplay was based on the second book in the series. When I got this call I was sitting at my desk looking at the rough draft of book number three.  I pitched them the story and they said, “Send us a copy by overnight mail.” This was back before manuscripts could be sent by e-mail. (I know, I can hardly remember those days myself.)

So another screenplay was written, which didn’t fare any better than the first. Thus life #1 of my hoped-for TV series went to a quiet demise.


A few years later, while I was at the Kentucky book fair promoting book number five in the series, a young blonde fellow bought a book.  We spoke for a few minutes and he moved on.  Later, back in Memphis, I get a call from this guy.  He wants to option the series for TV.  I tell him about my earlier experience with the other producers, who failed, but he’s unfazed.  We strike a deal.  There’s talk about John Goodman playing Broussard.  John Goodman… he lives in New Orleans and he’d be a great fit.  I love it.

Within a few weeks the producer calls to say he’s on his way to Memphis and could I meet him and John Goodman’s “best friend,” at the Peabody Hotel.  (The Peabody lobby is where William Faulkner and his mistress used to have drinks.)  The meeting takes place and I give the best friend a copy of the latest book, which he assures us, will be in John Goodman’s hands within twenty-four hours. That was the last time I ever heard from him or the producer.  So I guess the deal is off.


In my primary occupation, I taught medical and dental students microscopic anatomy.  One day I get a call from a former dental student.  He’s now a part-time actor who’s been in a couple of notable films.  He says that he and a long-time Hollywood promoter have formed a production company and are looking for material. He remembers that I wrote a few novels and wonders what I’ve been doing since he last saw me. I talk about my work and send him some books.

Very soon thereafter he calls me again and says he and his partner “are on fire over these forensic books.”  They believe the series would make a great TV SERIES.  He asks me who I’d like to play Broussard.  I tell him I’ve always believed Wilford Brimley would be perfect.  Incredibly, my former student says that his partner had lunch with Wilford just last week.  He’s sure they can get him to sign on.  With an actor of Wilford’s stature attached to the project, we’ll surely get a deal.

Was all this talk about Brimley just smoke?  No.  Because they actually got him on board.  And what’s even better, my former student and his partner were working with another producer who had a development deal with the Sci-Fi network.  They planned to present my series to the network three weeks hence, focusing on the real and apparent paranormal aspects of the first two books.

On presentation day at the Sci-Fi Network my student calls me just before they go in.  I wait anxiously the rest of the day to hear how it went.  Years later, I’m still waiting.  The only contact I’ve had since presentation day is a big envelope from the producer who had the development deal.  In the envelope is a bunch of stuff I wrote for the presentation along with a note from the producer that says, “Sorry we couldn’t have worked longer on this together.”


Early in the machinations of the first development deal, I used to caution myself not to spend any time thinking about how great it would be if every week I could watch my characters living and breathing on a TV show.  My thinking was that if I kept a tight rein on my expectations, it’d be much easier on my psyche if things didn’t work out.

But then I realized I was missing out on the excitement of the possibility.  Why not let my mind run with it?  Then, even if none of the deals came to fruition I would still have the pleasure of being part of a great endeavor.  So that’s what I did.  And now, even though I never played that bit part in a pilot and I’ve never seen John Goodman or Wilford Brimley bring Broussard to life, I sure had a lot of fun along the way.

(By the way, if you’re a TV/film producer, the rights are available.)



Nursery Rhymes and Murder-Suicides Haunt New Orleans
Black magic releases ancient curse in the Big Easy

"Action-packed, cleverly plotted topnotch thriller. Another fine entry in a consistently outstanding series.”

“D. J. Donaldson is superb at spinning medical fact into gripping suspense. With his in-depth knowledge of science and medicine, he is one of very few authors who can write with convincing authority.”
--Tess Gerritsen, NY Times bestselling author of the Rizzoli & Isles novels

Andy Broussard, the “Plump and Proud” New Orleans medical examiner, obviously loves food.  Less apparent to the casual observer is his hatred of murderers. Together with his gorgeous sidekick, psychologist Kit Franklyn, Broussard forms a powerful, although improbable, mystery solving duo.

Astor + Blue Editions is proud to release Cajun Nights (ISBN: 978-1941286-38-8; Fiction/Mystery & Suspense; $5.99 E-Book), the latest Broussard mystery by D.J. Donaldson.

Young and vibrant New Orleans criminal psychologist Kit Franklyn has just been assigned her most challenging case yet—a collection of victims with type O blood who drove an antiquated car, humming a nursery rhyme right before committing murder and then suicide. Welcoming the help of her jovial boss, chief medical examiner Andy Broussard, the two set out to solve the case devising strictly scientific possibilities. Not once do they consider the involvement of black magic until an ancient Cajun sorcerer’s curse surfaces—“Beware the songs you loved in youth.”

Written in his unique style, Donaldson’s Cajun Nights combines hard-hitting, action-packed prose with brilliant first-hand knowledge of forensics and the sultry flavor of New Orleans. The result is a gripping mystery involving murder and some occult flare in the creole heartland.

D.J. Donaldson is a retired professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology.  His entire academic career was spent at the University of Tennessee, Health Science Center, where he published dozens of papers on wound-healing and where he taught microscopic anatomy to thousands of medical and dental students.

He is also the author of seven published forensic mysteries and five medical thrillers. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee with his wife and two West Highland terriers. In the spring of most years he simply cannot stop buying new flowers and other plants for the couple’s prized backyard garden.

Shelby Howick

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ