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11.30.2011

BFB: Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest!



Christmas is a time for traditions, food, merriment, family, and...horrific seasonal sweaters. It's the only time of year where you can sport apparel with a Rudolph nose that blinks red lights without being teased (too much).

Enter the 2nd Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest and you could win a $500 Visa Gift Card...just in time for Christmas shopping!



There are two ways to enter:

  1. Enter the contest on Facebook
  2. Enter the contest on WaterBrook's Website

 Spread some Christmas cheer! Share your picture to win!

And don't forget to check out the ugly sweaters from 2010!

If you enter the contest, come back here and leave me your link! I would love to see all your Ugly Christmas Sweaters!

11.25.2011

Guest Post: Heather Huffman


Today I would like to welcome a very special guest, Heather Huffman. Not only is she releasing her fifth book in December, she also raises awareness about Human Trafficking. I feel more people should know about this, so I asked her to share some things with us today.



Many thanks to Ashley for allowing me to appear on The Blogging Book today – I appreciate the
chance to talk about my novels and the cause that drives them.

One of the greatest challenges I faced when breaking into the industry was the fact that my books
don’t fit neatly into any particular category, and they’re often hard to describe. The stories I write
don’t shy away from the darker corners of life, but they’re largely warm and funny reads. Although
my books are fictional, the characters and storylines are inspired by people I’ve met through my work.

There is always a piece of me in them, too. Some of the most outlandish tales are mine, tweaked to fit
the story. My failures and triumphs are woven into every page. Given my unlikely heroines, it makes
me giggle a little to see people try to figure out what’s me and what’s fiction.

Of course, each of the books is my favorite in one way or another. At the moment, I’m really excited
about the launch of my fifth book, Ring of Fire. While all of my books intertwine, this one really ties
together several themes and characters from my other novels.

Since the beginning, it’s been important to me to use the books as a way to not only entertain, but
to raise awareness for human trafficking. When I was researching Throwaway and Suddenly a Spy, I
was shocked to learn there are more people enslaved today than there was during the height of the
transatlantic slave trade.

According to the United Nations, more than 12 million people are exploited worldwide for forced labor
and sexual exploitation. Some place that number closer to 30 million. It’s estimated that 100,000
minors are in the commercial sex trade in the United States alone. Keep in mind, that’s just a best
guess. There are countless children missing from the foster care system. We have no way of knowing
for certain what their fate is, but many of them have been lost to the black market sex trade that runs
rampant in our country. The more I learn, the more my heart breaks.

It’s a massive problem. When I look at the whole picture, a part of me wants to curl up in the fetal
position and cover my ears. Instead, I try to chip away at it in the areas I can help.

For starters, I try to raise awareness through my books and speaking engagements. I raise funds and
support organizations I trust that are in the front lines. Project Liberty is a small but amazing group of
people out of Michigan. World Vision works on a global scale to fight poverty – which feeds the cycle
of trafficking. LiNK addresses the human rights issues in North Korea, a crisis that often results in
trafficking.

A great place to start your own research into the issue is Polaris Project. They have a wealth of
information and training materials available on their website.

For those truly wanting to become involved in the fight, there are countless organizations you can
plug into. I started by doing an Internet search for human trafficking coalitions in my area. The
organizations I mentioned above often have volunteer opportunities. If you’re struggling to find your
fit, you can always contact me. I’m happy to help my readers find their niche.

Many thanks again to Ashley for allowing me to share some information on human trafficking and
remember, if we all give just a little towards the fight, the result will add up to something huge!


Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to talk about how we can help out. Only if it's just a little.



Heather Huffman writes romantic suspense with strong female leads who refuse to lose hope. Though her stories never shy from looking into the world’s darker corners, they don't dwell there. Heather shares with her resilient heroines a passion to make a real difference and so donates a portion of her book royalties to organizations that fight against human trafficking.

Heather was born and spent her childhood in Florida but now calls the beautiful state of Missouri home. Her greatest joy, when not writing, is to hit the road with her three boys for adventures unknown. 



She has written four novels, that are out right now. 


 When society deemed Jessie a throwaway, she didn't let it stop her from finding the sunshine in her world...
But that world is threatened when she finds herself undeniably drawn to the mischievous glint in the eyes of a man unlike any she's ever met before.
What starts as a simple crush will lead them both on a journey they could never have anticipated. From a vibrant St. Louis neighborhood known as Cherokee Street to a cave in the Ozark Mountains with a 120-year-old mystery to hide, Jessie fights organized crime, corruption and her own fears to reclaim her life and leave her mark on this world.




 Neena Allen's life didn't exactly follow the path she'd anticipated. She couldn't have seen the twists and turns that would lead her to wander the woods, presumed dead by the prison guards. When Neena starts a new life in a little Arkansas town, she finds a contentment she never dreamed possible. The thing about skeletons in your closet is they always come back to haunt you.
 








Kate Yager never had a father, and she never minded - until her mom died. Now, acting on the name called out on her mother's deathbed, Kate has moved to San Francisco and gotten herself hired by the man she suspects to be her dad. As if a new job, new apartment, and new parent weren't enough, Kate finds herself head-over-heels in lust with a complete stranger she met at an art show. A stranger who, she later finds out, happens to work in her office.

As her relationships with her friends and father grow stronger, Kate has to confront the decisions of her past to find out whether she can love the man who gave her up, love the man who loves her truly, and even whether she can love herself



 
On her wedding day, Veronica Sinclair thinks she has it all: the loving family, the Vera Wang dress, the hunky husband. But then a mysterious and beautiful woman shows up at the reception, suggesting Veronica’s new hubby isn’t exactly who he says he is. As if that weren't enough, Veronica and Richard must flee gunmen in the middle of their honeymoon, convincing Veronica she got more than she bargained for when she said, “I do.”

Thrown into a world of espionage, seduction, and human trafficking, Veronica must fight for the life and husband she thought she had – and she must discover whether they are the life and husband she truly wants.


And Ring Of Fire will be out in December! I have heard nothing but good reviews for Heather's novels, so go check them out!


You can find out more about Heather Huffman and her books on:


11.23.2011

Author Interview & Giveaway: Chris Redding


I would like to welcome Chris Redding to the blog today!
She is releasing two novels this month,
Blonde Demolition, & A View To A Kilt
She's here to answer a few questions for us! Welcome Chris!
She is also giving away 1 ebook copy of Drinking Game!


Bio:
Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, one dog and three rabbits. She has always wanted to be a writer. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism with an English minor. When she isn’t writing, she works part time for her local hospital.

When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing when I was ten. We had an assignment for English class to write a story. I wrote about a lady with lots of cats.  I began writing for publication in 1997 when I was pregnant with my second child. Something about that pregnancy had my creative juices flowing.

What inspired you to write your first book?
I don’t remember. I was 14 at the time. I wrote in class instead of paying attention.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Written? Probably 8 start to finish. I have more than that half done. My favorite is whatever I am working on at the time.

Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?

I always love this question. No, there isn’t. I’m not that deep.


Do you have any current projects you’re working on?

Right now I am in the middle of developing 2 writing workshops. Then I will get back to writing another thriller.

What do you think makes a good story?

You have to identify with the characters and the story has to make you forget you are reading a book.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I have a laptop so I travel. In the winter I write in my front room because it is the warmest room in the house.

Anything you would like to add?

I love to write. I get cranky when I don’t write for a while and when I do write I feel as if my body secretes endorphins. I’m happy for the whole day.

Great answers! Thank you so much for answering those questions for us! And congratulations on your releases this month!

Want to know more about Chris?

Connect with the author

Here are the two books being released this month!



Waking up next to a dead guy can ruin your whole day.

When a wise-cracking interior decorator wants to put her past behind her, the dead body of the mayor’s son makes it pretty clear that won’t happen too easily.

A conservative former computer geek for the FBI is holding on too tightly to his past. His wife died under suspicious circumstances and he believes the decorator has the information to solve the case. Unfortunately for him, she isn’t talking… until a series of events convinces her she needs protection especially when her biggest secret threatens to destroy both their lives.






YOU JUST CAN'T HIDE FROM THE PAST...

Mallory Sage lives in a small, idyllic town where nothing ever happens. Just the kind of life she has always wanted. No one, not even her fellow volunteer firefighters, knows about her past life as an agent for Homeland Security.

Former partner and lover, Trey McCrane, comes back into Mallory's life. He believes they made a great team once, and that they can do so again. Besides, they don't have much choice. Paul Stanley, a twisted killer and their old nemesis, is back.

Framed for a bombing and drawn together by necessity, Mallory and Trey go on the run and must learn to trust each other again―if they hope to survive. But Mallory has been hiding another secret, one that could destroy their relationship. And time is running out.

11.21.2011

In My Mailbox # 14

Hosted by Kristy at The Story Siren,  inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.
Where we post about books we have received 
during the week via mailbox, local library, or store bought, etc.
_______
 
 
 
For Review
Switched - Amanda Hocking
Sphinx's Queen - Esther Friesner

Bought

Wings - Aprilynne Pike
It Girl - Cecily von Ziegesar
Wake - Lisa McMann
Fade - Lisa McMann
Elsewhere - Gabrielle Zevin
City Of Ashes - Cassandra Clare
Thirst No. 1 - Christopher Pike
The Fallen 2 - Thomas E Sniegoski
My Teenage Beating Heart - C. K. Kelly Martin

Library

Crossed - Allie Condie
 
 
 
That's it for me! What did you get in your mailbox?
Leave your link in the comments. I will check it out!


11.18.2011

Audiobook Review: The Skin Map


Title: The Skin Map
Series: Bright Empires Series #1
Author: Stephen R. Lawhead
Narrator: Simon Bubb
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Compact Disc , 9 discs
Listening Length: 11 hours and 24 minutes
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Source: Thomas Nelson, Book Sneeze



Synopsis

It is the ultimate quest for the ultimate treasure. Chasing a map tattooed on human skin. Across an omniverse of intereing realities. To unravel the future of the future.
Kit Livingston's great-grandfather appears to him in a deserted alley during a tumultuous storm. He reveals an unbelievable story: that the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legend or the weekend hobby of deluded cranks, but pathways to other worlds. To those who know how to use them, they grant the ability to travel the multi-layered universe of which we ordinarily inhabit only a tiny part.
One explorer knew more than most. Braving every danger, he toured both time and space on voyages of heroic discovery. Ever on his guard, and fearful of becoming lost in the cosmos, he developed an intricate code--a roadmap of symbols--that he tattooed onto his own body. This Skin Map has since been lost in time. Now the race is on to recover all the pieces and discover its secrets.
But the Skin Map itself is not the ultimate goal. It is merely the beginning of a vast and marvelous quest for a prize beyond imagining.
The Bright Empires series—from acclaimed author Stephen Lawhead—is a unique blending of epic treasure hunt, ancient history, alternate realities, cutting-edge physics, philosophy, and mystery. The result is a page-turning, fantastical adventure like no other.


Review

This is my very first Audiobook. I have talked to a lot of people who love them, but they are not for me. Maybe if I had the book to read along to it would be better. I find myself think about other things while listening then I don't know what's going on. Not because it's boring, I thought the narrator was very good. I just don't stay focused on the story.

As for the story, I absolutely love this book! The story is great! An amazing adventure about a boy named Kit, in search for a map tattooed to the skin. An adventure filled with ancient history, philosophy, and mystery. But it's not any ordinary map, it reveals a portal between worlds. Imagine having the ability to go back in time and change a few minor details to make your present better.

Over all I thought this was a very good story. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and it left me wanting more.


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Buy the Book


11.16.2011

Author Interview: D. F. Lamont

I would like to welcome D. F. Lamont to the blog today!
He is here to talk about his debut Novel The Jinx.
You can read my review here.




Bio:

D. F. Lamont, 42, is married with children and lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Jinx is his first work of fiction.


When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing for a long time. In university I had talked about starting a student newspaper, and in third year, in 1989, I did. It had a great response, and that experience ended up determining what I’ve done for a living – writing, editing, layout and design, journalism and PR.

Why did I begin writing? I started writing for myself for a couple of reasons. One was that in 1998, while I was working for a satirical magazine, which mostly made cruel fun of powerful people, I ended up working on three very personal pieces of writing – two eulogies and the speech for my wedding. I realized that words, and how you can put them together, can move people to feel better. They can provide comfort and solace in a way that I didn’t realize. 
I also decided to sit down and write something – and finish it – because in my work in P.R., I would sometimes write press releases or ads that would make the event I was trying to promote sound better than it actually was. This is actually the opposite of what you want in marketing, where you want to “underpromise and overdeliver”. But I thought, “if my own writing is the end product, maybe I can just sell that.”
I also have a Master’s Degree in English Literature, and when studying my favourite literary critics were the ones who took a practical approach to criticism, because they cared about good storytelling.

What inspired you to write this book?

The idea came from a dream that I had that I was having very bad luck, which then stopped affecting me but seemed to affect the people around me. People were having nasty falls in the kitchen, that sort of thing. In my dream, I ran away to keep them safe, and ended up coming up against big monsters made of boulders, running down a mountain road towards me. So I took that kernel of the story and built a book around it.  

Are any of your books based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

This is my first book, but I definitely share some experiences with the characters. Like Stephen Grayson, I also have an older brother who did karate, who used to jump out at me and say “Defend yourself!” I also caught my shoe in the front wheel of my ten-speed on the first day of Grade 8. But he isn’t me and his family isn’t mine. But I do dig through my own experiences in order to try to “anchor” those of my characters. 

What books have influenced your life most?

Wow! That is a big question. They tend not to be fiction. One is “Talkin’ Moscow Blues” by Josef Svorecky, who is a Czech refugee who moved to Canada. It is a book of essays on Jazz and Politics, and he has an incredible perspective because Czechoslovakia was occupied first by the Nazis and then by the Communists, and he talks about the similarities between the two totalitarian states and their hatred of freedom of expression. Another is Grammatical Man, by Jeremy Campbell, which is about information theory – in fact, the ideas of entropy and chaos and order in The Jinx all come from information theory. For Science Fiction, probably The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem.  

Do you have any current projects you’re working on?

I am close to finishing the first draft of my next book, which is also a science fiction fantasy book for young readers. If you like the Jinx, I think you’ll like what I’m writing next. I have a couple of other projects in the offing as well, including a comic book I would like to do. 


Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I find it easier to come up with plots than with characters. With the last book, and the one I am working on now, there was a point where I could sketch out the whole plot as an outline, and then I fill it in. But some stories have a bunch of elements and I just can’t bring them together, and it’s not always clear to me what I’m missing.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Well, The Jinx is pretty short. I’m not sure how other writers manage to tell such long stories. But it took about eight months to write, with quite a big break in the middle. I hope to be done this next book in about three months.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Plenty! Write what you like, not what you know. Remember: stories are about conflict. Don’t wait for inspiration, that will come to you in the writing. Write at least 1,000 words a day, every day. Try not to have more than three people talking in a scene.

This list of “rules” for writers is really good:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-one

What do you think makes a good story?

Whether it’s a film, a TV show, or a book, I like the feeling that I am being immersed in a real and different world. That’s what my favourite books do: Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series, Robert Van Gulik’s Judge Dee Murder Mysteries, the original Star Wars Trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. It takes a lot of different elements to make it work.

How do you react to a bad review?

Generally the reviews have been very positive, and not just from my friends and family! A couple of boys who bought it told me they really liked it. One of them says The Jinx is his second favourite book after The Hobbit. In lots of areas of my life I am “passionate” (a polite way of saying I blow my top) but after writing for so long I am kind of technical about my writing.
I want my writing to move the reader – to be excited, or creeped out, or laugh, but I know not everyone is going to like it, the way some people aren’t going to like certain kinds of food. Some people don’t like chocolate. You might say, “How can you possibly not like chocolate?!” but if you don’t like something, you don’t like it.

But if the people who might like it really love it, that’s what matters to me.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I do almost all of my writing in my home office, but I bought an old-fashioned fountain pen and a notepad and I love writing on that as well. Last month I sold copies of The Jinx at a table at the Central Canada Comic Con in my hometown and I found it really relaxing to work there. I had to keep reminding myself to try to sell my book to passersby because I was getting absorbed in the writing.

Anything you would like to add?

If you’re looking for a fun book for your kids, aged 9-13, check out the Jinx! You can buy it as an e-book for $2.99 anywhere, and if you order through lulu.com, you can get a paperback version for 15% off – just $12.74.



Thank you for stopping by and answering some questions for us!


You can find out more about D. F. Lamont on:


11.13.2011

The Jinx



Title: The Jinx
Author: D.F. Lamont
Genre: Young Adult
Format: eBook, 61pg
Source: Author, Requested Review
 
Connect with the author
Buy THe Book
 Amazon | B&N

Synopsis
13-year-old Stephen Grayson's run of bad luck gets so bad he worries he is endangering his family. Fearing he is cursed, he flees home to protect his family, only to find that he is in the middle of a tug-of war between a cult obsessed with order and misshapen monsters known as “Chaons” who seem bent on hunting him down. 


Review

Stephen has horrible luck. Crazy luck, like a gas can that falls over, then a file rubbing the concrete just right to make a spark. Whoosh.. Up in flames. Then his bad luck starts to rub off on the people around him. I would be ready to leave too.

At only 61 pages (nook) this story will leave you wanting more. The author has such a way with words, it leaves you on the edge of you seat the entire time. There is never a dull moment. I can't say too much more about the story with out giving away the whole thing. You should read this book, you won't be disappointed.


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11.12.2011

The Magi



Title: The Magi
Series: The Magi Series #1
Author: Kevin Turner
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: eBook, 350pg
Source: Author, Requested Review

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Buy THe Book

Synopsis

On a quest to solve his family's murders, thirteen-year-old Elijah Hawk stumbles upon the world of the Magi, a simple people with a very complex secret.

Elijah is soon accepted into their community and is permitted to train with their power. However, he soon learns that stumbling upon this world may not have been an accident. How does he know this? His family's killers are now hunting him! 


Review

This is a book that will keep you wanting more. It holds your interest from beginning to end. It reminded me of a cross between Harry Potter and Avatar the Last Airbender. A great adventure for any age!

From the start I felt sorry for Elijah. The beginning of the book pretty much throws you into the death of his parents and sister, who he loves deeply.  Family is a big theme in this book which I love. He goes to live with his Uncle only to have him disappear. Elijah is taken to a school which he later finds out is more than it seems. Things change pretty fast from there. The end is left wide open. I'm ready to read the next book!

This series is going to be great! I can't wait to see where this series goes! You can read the first 5 chapters on Kevin's blog here.  You should go read it. I promise you won't be disappointed.


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11.10.2011

Veteran's Day Blog Hop





A Salute to Our Veteran’s – Veteran’s Day Blog Hop  
In honor of Veteran’s Day & their awesome service for our country we’d like to celebrate with our very own Jessica Scottactive duty army captain, full time mom & author & her husband, first sergeant deployed with the army on his final tour; with promoting Jessica’s new book, BECAUSE OF YOU, the first in her Coming Home Series.



About Jessica Scott:

Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she's a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house. 

The Soldier
I'm a career soldier, with 16 years in the Army and I love everything about Army life. I joined right out of high school and was promptly shipped off to Germany where I met my husband. I went from Sergeant First Class (E7) to Second Lieutenant (01E) in 2007.
Now, I'm a company commander in charge of 130 soldiers, a mom with two young kids who never sit still, and an Army wife, whose husband is back in Iraq.

The Author
Until a few years ago, I had no idea hard writing really was. I'd always written and started several projects over the years, burning out after a few dozen pages. After the War was the first novel I ever finished and it will always hold a special place in my heart because of that, even if it now remains under my bed. Blogging from Iraq landed me a spot on PBS Point of View, tackling tough issues involving women and war. Its an experience I'll never forget.
After the War was followed by multiple novels, all pulled from my experiences as an soldier who has lived through both being deployed and being the spouse left at home with the kids. Most of those books will never see daylight.



Connect with the author


The Giveaway

1 Ebook copy of  Because of You
: A Love-swept Contemporary Military Romance




From the war-torn streets of Baghdad to the bittersweet comforts of the home front, two wounded hearts navigate the battlefield of coming home from war in this explosive eBook original from newcomer Jessica Scott.
 Keeping his men alive is all that matters to Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison. But meeting Jen St. James the night before his latest deployment makes Shane wonder if there’s more to life than war. He leaves for Iraq remembering a single kiss with a woman he’ll never see again—until a near fatal attack lands him back at home and in her care.
 Jen has survived her own brush with death and endured its scars. And yet there’s a fire in Shane that makes Jen forget all about her past. He may be her patient, but when this warrior looks her in the eyes, she feels—for the first time in a long time—like a woman. Shane is too proud to ask for help, but for Jen, caring for him is more than a duty—it’s a need. And as Jen guides Shane through the fires of healing, she finds something she never expected—her deepest desire.




Here’s what people are saying:

•  “Jessica Scott is an exciting new voice in romantic fiction who bursts upon the scene with an unputdownable debut novel! ”
 New York Times Bestselling Author, Robyn Carr
 

•  “Edgy and current—and a truly satisfying love story. Put this book, Jessica Scott’s, BECAUSE OF YOU, on your “must read” list.”
 New York Times Bestselling Author, Suzanne Brockmann
 

•  “Jessica Scott writes with a soldier’s heart. Because Of You is touching, authentic and a fantastic read.”
 New York Times Bestselling Author, Cindy Gerard
 

•  “Crackling with realism, sizzling with sexual tension, and pulsing with emotion, Jessica Scott has penned an unforgettable militaryromance that delivers heartache and hope on every page.”           
   New York Times Bestselling Author, Roxanne St. Claire



Giveaway Details
Open Internationally
Ends 11/13/11
To Enter fill out the Rafflecopter form:


IMPORTANT: The Blogging Book Disclosure

In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I would like everyone to know that the books featured / discussed on this blog were either provided to the reviewer by the publisher or the author for free OR were purchased by me. The ones I receive for free DO NOT influence my opinion of the book/author -- The Blogging Book