Sunday, December 31, 2017

Book of Choice January Giveaway!

Are you enjoying the winter weather? It's New Year's Eve and in Tennessee it's C-H-I-L-L-Y!
To keep warm, how about a giveaway to stir the embers of your imagination? 

Welcome to the Book of Choice Giveaway Hop
Hosted by Lonna @ FLYLēF  (http://reviews.flylef.com/)


To celebrate the new year and our love of reading, we're giving you free rein to decide the book and the store if you win. The contest runs from January 1 - 15, 2018.
The Prize: 
A $10.00 gift card from one of these vendors:
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or PayPal. 

So you could win this
or this
or this

This Book of Choice giveaway is free to enter via the Rafflecopter below. One winner will be selected Jan. 16, 2018. 
Happy New Years and good luck!
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All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater Cozy Giveaway

Brrrr! ❅❆❄❅ 
Image result for new year's toast gif
HAPPY NEW YEAR'S
and welcome to the
Comfy Cozy Reading Weather Giveaway Hop!

Thanks to the gals at Stuck in Books 
for hosting this event. It runs from January 1-15, 2018

Here in Knoxville, we're escaping the nippy winter weather with 
some terrific reads! HOPE YOU ARE, TOO!
Guess what I'm hunkering down with?
Related image
Another hint:
Image result for v.e.schwab gif
 A Darker Shade of Magic. A book I received from my awesome terrific super special 
crafty best Best BEST ever Secret Santa!!

Take a peek~

Soooo in the spirit of the holidays, when miracles abound, ya'll could use a cozy winter read, too. 
Am I right?

Let's do this giveaway southern style, which means it comes with a story. 
Background:
A few months back at Parnassus Books in Nashville, I had the fortunate experience to see, hear, 
and meet Maggie Stiefvater. She enthralled everyone with her tales about traveling across the U.S. and the story of how All the Crooked Saints took root by knocking on a stranger's door.
BTW, Maggie brought down the house when she played the bagpipes! 
I can't say enough, except that I've got an autographed copy of her latest book. No bragging, 'cause...

To celebrate 2018, a new year when lots of folks have fresh hopes, dreams, and goals, 
we're taking part in the Comfy Cozy Winter Reading Weather Giveaway Hop.
To foster this sense of awe (and maybe stir up a miracle or two), 
I'm giving one lucky reader
 ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS !!!
Autographed by Maggie Stiefvater

This is a free giveaway without strings. For a chance to win,
enter via the Rafflecopter below. That's it!

Thanks for stopping by and please, do share this spectacular giveaway with friends and family.
Visit the other incredible blogs listed below. There are books 
and prizes galore in this giveaway hop. 

Good luck!
Happy New Year's,
Alina

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Dear Secret Santa You Rocked My World...#TBTBSanta

There is no way I can let go of December without acknowledging a kindness. Many know, I'm new 
to this blogging adventure. As such I've found some kindred souls (channeling Anne of Green Gables). ONE blogger stands out whom I must somehow locate! I'm posting and pinning, bound and determined to find her. 
You know what they say about a picture and a thousand words. 
Image result for internally screaming gif

As a southern gal, everything has a story. I'll explain...

A holiday parcel arrived and was immediately unwrapped... Mas Aven. Arnesian for 'my goodness.'
 Can you believe it? Looooook at this bit of wonderment.
A Darker Shade of Magic!!!
Rachenast ~ Splendor, wouldn't you agree?
 
 Can you hear the hammering beat, bump-bump, 
bump-bump, 
bump, 
bump, 
bump 
of myrast (heart)?


 And then, I opened the envelope...you know what they say about aven(blessed) small packages...


Pure magical splendor. At long last, Kell wrote...to me!!

Rae, 
Rensa Tav!
I'm so very, very pleased by your incredible thoughtfulness.
Namaste~
Vas ir

Kindest regards,
Alina

A huge hug to Rae for gifts: xmas card, V.E. Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic, and the perfect addition: a character letter. I hope we can connect one day soon.

Dear readers, if you'd like to find Rae, head on over to her blog by clicking this link

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Would you rather...

My family and I love to play creative games, and gift each other games. This holiday season I gave my mom Storymatic, and Cards Against Humanity for my mother-in-law. But the most chuckleworthy game we played was a spin-off called Bards Dispense Profanity. Essentially, during each round one person reads a prompt, and the other players submit Shakespearean quotations. Get ready for lots of double entendres and inuendo though. #readtheroom

To really get the creative juices flowing in a group setting, when card games are in short supply, I recommend 'Would You Rather'. This game also works for creative writing prompts. Get characters or plot moving along, choose a conflict or villain, pick an ending. Yes, you could stick to a tried and true formula. But readers will appreciate something that feels a little more organic, and you might like your own story more if you exhibit a little more agency.

Give it a try. What are some of your favorite party and creative writing games?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Writing through it all

 Made it through Christmas day without getting sick, only to catch the bug that night. Major bummer, but life must continue. Lots to do. Pick up a sweet washer and dryer set for the new casa. Clean up the house a bit. Pack my suitcase. This writer will hit the road with the Knoxville fam to Atlanta tomorrow. And, of course, check-in with you fine folks.

As a new-ish blogger and writer I am still working on cultivating a space and schedule for my writing. I am sure many of you have encountered less than ideal writing situations- poor wifi connectivity, lack of physical work space, malfunctioning tech, family schedules and needs, or personal and medical issues. We cannot freeze our lives just to maintain an ideal writing schedule or space. Life doesn't work that way, no matter how committed we may be. We learn from each other, and adjust to new experiences. No pity parties here, please.


I often wonder what other bloggers writing life is like. Is everyone else writing and blogging in perfectly quiet, well lit, and organized offices? Surely not. Writers have endured plenty. Imagine some of the situations famous writers of the past had to endure and the rudimentary tools they used. Prison. Wars. Writing by candle light. Quill pens. Clay tablets. Yet we all find a way to make it work.

What blogging and writing tools help you? What's the craziest situation you blogged through?

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas Eve

A very merry Christmas eve to all tonight. Sent to you from the house with the aluminum tree. 
However you choose to spend this evening, I hope you get to be with the people (and animals!) you love.


And now a little twist on Twas the Night Before Christmas...
NORAD'S Santa tracker was on high alert,
While puppies and presents remained quietly inert.
 The Mister in his jammies and I in my nighty,
Are all Cuddled up by the tree lit so brightly.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas baking late night edition


Baking is a tradition I share with my mom and grandparents. Just earlier today, Granny and I reminisced about the infamous German chocolate cake we baked for Gramps years ago. 

 This week I tried my hand at baking a chocolate babka for my grandpa. This was my very first attempt and I think it turned out well. After looking at several recipes, I ultimately went with the recipe from Smitten Kitchen. This yeasty coffee-cake confection is packed with chocolate and cinnamon.

I wanted to bake something representative of my grandfather's Eastern European Jewish roots, and perhaps something he might not find everyday. It wasn't easy but it sure turned out pretty. 

Now if only I could get this royal icing to behave. What are you baking this holiday season? Also, how do you feel about books that feature recipes- yea or nay?

Monday, December 18, 2017

Love your style


Phew! This blogger has been busy since I rolled into town. Just wrapped up the most recent blog hop and already looking forward to more in the new year. Oh yeah, and I bought my first home too! Hanukkah is under way and Christmas is just around the corner.


I love the holidays because I love to give gifts. Blog readers, you know this from my giveaways. But I genuinely love to pick out gifts and create something special for family and friends.

Last night a friend told me that gift giving is a style of love. What does that mean you ask? Well, according to a book called The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, each person expresses love in 5 different ways in any combination. In his book the languages/styles are gift giving, spending quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch.

What's your love style?

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Bestselling Dream-Man Visiting Today!


Day #12 and we've come to the final post of the 12 Days of Clean Romance. A huge round of applause for Kathy of I Am A Reader blog for hosting this book tour and giveaway during the holidays.

 Without further ado, let's welcome romance author Cami Checketts 
and How to Kiss a Billionaire!



Miriam closed her eyes as Clay’s arms came around her and held her tight.
“Whoa, darling, if I would’ve known I’d get this reception, I would’ve broken into your house years ago.”
Miriam pushed away from him, stumbling from the realization that he hadn’t changed. Clay was a vicious flirt and never took anything seriously. She shoved at his chest, but he didn’t budge. He was real and he was here, and unfortunately for her unsteady nerves, it didn’t look like he was going away. “What are you doing here?” she demanded.
“Your daddy hired me.”
“My daddy … hired you?” She glared at him. “For what? A pinup model?”
He smiled and tilted his head to the side. “I know I look good, but I actually have a few skills in protection too.”
“You do not. All you’ve ever been good at is spending your billions of dollars and getting women to simper at your feet.” She knew he’d been in the military for four years after high school, but after that, he appeared to be the ultimate player. At least, it looked that way in the online photos she’d seen, when she’d googled him. Okay, it was pathetic that she’d googled him, but he was Clay Browning, a.k.a. Miriam’s dream man.
He spread his arms, and she couldn’t help but notice the definition from his forearms and biceps up through his shoulders and chest. Maybe he should find a shirt that wasn’t so … form-fitting. “Hey, I’ve got lots of talents. What can I say?”
Miriam pushed out a huffy breath. “You are not here. This is all some kind of crazy fantasy.”
“I know I’m the stuff fantasies are made of, but I really am here.” He sauntered a step closer, and that spicy cologne made her stomach heat up. “You want to enact some of those fantasies you’ve been having about me?”
She put a hand on his chest to keep him from coming any closer. Those muscles were real. Yikes. She dropped her hand and stepped back. “For one second, just for one, be serious. Why are you here, and how did you get in my house?”
Clay rolled his eyes and folded his arms across his chest. Sheesh. What did he do with biceps that defined? Wrestle bulls?
Focus, Miriam!
“Your daddy called me, said Greg was threatening and stalking you and I had to find you. So I found you, and now I’m here to watch over you.”
Watch over you? She would not survive with this man in the same town, let alone the same house. Her throat was dry and all those daydreams she used to have about him rotated through her mind.
“How did you get in?” she demanded.
“I told you: I have skills.” He smiled and finally admitted, “I was special ops in the Army and I’ve worked in private security since then.”
“You’re being serious now? This isn’t some bull crap line that Clay Browning is giving me?”
He smirked. “You can believe whatever you want, sweetheart.” He took a step closer, and her legs betrayed her by not backing up. “But do believe that I’m here and you I and are going to get real cozy.”
Miriam looked over his gorgeous face. She clenched her trembling hands together and swallowed hard. “I’m not one of your flavors of the week, Clay.”
He leaned in and sniffed her. “Ah. Yeah, I think you are. Vanilla with a hint of chocolate. My favorite flavor this week.”

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *
Author Cami Checketts
Cami Checketts is married and the proud mother of four future WWF champions. Sometimes between being a human horse, cleaning up magic potions, and reading Bernstein Bears, she gets the chance to write fiction.
Cami graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Exercise Science. She and her family live in the beautiful Cache Valley of Northern Utah. During the two months of the year it isn’t snowing, she enjoys swimming, biking, running, and water-skiing.

Giveaway Details


$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway
Ends 12/31/17
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 15, 2017

Marrying Miss Kringle: Lux by Lucy McConnell

A Sweet Santa Romance!
Day 11 of the 12 Days of Clean Romance and we're here with author Lucy McConnell.
Thank you visiting! This clean romance promotion is hosted by Kathy of I Am A Reader.


Christmas Magic is changing and the Kringle Family scrambles to keep up in this fun and entertaining, sweet Christmas romance from 
Author Lucy McConnell.
A normal electrical substation takes two years to build; but, Lux has 365 days to install one at the North Pole or Christmas Magic will overload the factory and send them back to the Dark Ages.
The one man on the planet with the know-how, the education, and the time to help Lux finish the substation before her Noel deadline, is also the one man who sends sparks through her heart and surges through the power system.
If Lux kisses Matthew Quik—again!—she could blow up Santa’s workshop before she has a chance to save it. If she doesn’t kiss him, she may lose him forever.

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *
 Praise for the book:
“For getting me in the mood for Christmas, and the romantic aspect of this holiday even before Thanksgiving, I’m happy to give Ms. McConnell the 5 STARS I’ve given her book.”
“Marrying Miss Kringle: Lux is a funny, tender, magical adventure into the sparkles of Christmas Magic and the sparks of human love.”
 Lux’s cheeks dusted pink. With her red hair and fair skin, she should have flushed bright red, but only this sprinkling of pink appeared, like she’d been dusted with pink powdered sugar. Why did this woman bring to mind sweet things like powdered sugar and chocolate and kisses at sunset? He gave his head a mighty shake. “You fell in the water.” “I know.” At least, he thought he knew. Everything had happened so fast. He’d fallen asleep and woken up when the ice cracked. He plopped his feet to the floor only to have them land in several inches of water. His stove had tipped over and the hot metal had melted clear through the ice. There must have been a crack in the ice nearby. “We pulled you out.” “We?” Quik adjusted the blankets over his arms. He could only imagine Lux and Ginger and Frost tearing his clothes off. Lux made to adjust her glasses, but they weren’t there. She looked around like they’d fallen off and she didn’t know how. So he wasn’t the only one thrown off by all this. Quik’s eyes traveled lower to find her bare shoulders and her skintight tank top. He jerked his eyes back up to her face, hoping she hadn’t caught his wandering eye. “Me and Dunder.” She chewed her lip. “My reindeer.” “Of course.” The situation was going up in weirdness. Having used up all his ability to care about propriety, Quik leaned back against the seat. He was in the bottom of a fancy velvet-lined sled. Yep. Weird. His eyes dropped shut. “You cut my pants?” he asked. “I’ll get you new ones,” offered Lux. “Did you cut my shirt too?” “No!” She was offended. That was kind of cute. “Too bad. I needed a new shirt.” He half smiled.
* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *
Author Lucy McConnell
Award-winning author, Lucy McConnell, loves Christmas, romance, chocolate and Elvis.
She started out as an editor at an advertising agency before moving on to teach in the marketing department of the local community college. She loved teaching and often misses the academic environment.
Lucy retired from teaching and began to write articles and sweet romance novels. She has been published in national magazines, newspapers, short story compilations, and she writes cookbooks under the name Christina Dymock.
If she’s not at the computer, you can find her trying to keep up with her husband and four kids on the ski slopes, in a boat, in the kitchen, or on a horse.

Also by Lucy McConnell

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/30/17
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Day #10 in the Clean Romance Book Blog Hop

We're back again! Day #10 in the 12 Days of Clean Romance with author Annette K. Larsen. A big thanks to Kathy of I Am A Reader blog for hosting this blog tour. 



Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen

Ariella was only looking for a distraction, something to break up the monotony of palace life. What she found was a young man willing to overlook her title and show her a new and vibrant way of life. But when her growing feelings for Gavin spiral out of control and clash with the expectations of her station, she will discover that the consequences of her curiosity are far more severe than she’d imagined.


“I watched in helpless horror as two guards hauled Gavin to his feet and dragged him from the room. My voice was frozen, unable to protest as another guard took hold of my arm, leading me upstairs. From the confines of my room, I stared into the darkness beyond my window, hoping to catch one more glimpse of Gavin. He was gone, and I wondered if he would have been better off if he had never met me.”

Customer reviews

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *
Praise for Just Ella
“This book is so well written it felt just perfect. Honest. I loved it from beginning to end.” -Aimee Brown, Getting Your Read On
“Full of those tender moments you want to go back and read again, plus exciting moments, clever humor, and some suspense as well.” -Jana, The Writer’s Assistant
“Loved every second of this book. It was engaging, eventful, beautifully written and hard to put down. It’s wonderful for all ages!” -Jen, Goodreads
 He gave me a sad smile and shrugged. “I apologize if my bluntness offends you. I figured you would leave if you were upset by me.”
“That would be very rude of me.”
“It’s what I’d expect.”
“Why? Because that’s what a noble would do?”
“Well.” The confusion was back, forcing him to make a slight concession. “Any other noble.” It was somewhat gratifying that he no longer felt compelled to lump me with the nobles he despised. However, the fact remained—I wasn’t a noble. And I knew he would think even less of me when he knew what I was.
I wouldn’t lie. “I told you, I’m not—”
“Come now, Ella. Your tree climbing hasn’t got me fooled.” He used an almost paternal tone, his eyes laughing. “You are nobility, aren’t you?”
I buried my hurt. “No, I’m something worse.”
“Oh, come now, I don’t think that badly of people. The only thing that might be worse is royalty.” How charming he was, even when insulting me.
I stood silent for a moment, wondering if he would catch on. When he continued to gaze at me, I simply said, “Exactly.”
A look of horror crossed his face and I gave him a sad smile before turning to leave.
“Oh,” I heard him stuttering behind me, sounding utterly mortified. “No, I…my apologies, miss—Your Highness,” he corrected himself sharply. “Princess, I’m so very sorry, I…”
I shook my head as I turned to face him again. He looked so different: the confidence, the grin, the amusement were all gone, replaced with a look akin to physical pain. “It’s all right,” I said quietly. “You’re not wrong.” I should have inclined my head, waiting for him to bow before I left. Instead I lifted my hand in farewell.



Author Annette K. Larsen
I was born in Utah, but migrated to Arizona, Missouri, and Virginia before settling in Idaho.
Though I dabbled in writing throughout school, being an author seemed like an unattainable dream. It took me seven years to write my first book, Just Ella. During that time, I taught myself how to write a novel. Not the most time effective method, but it gave me an education I wouldn’t have received from a class or a how-to book. Something about the struggle of writing without a formula or rules worked for me.
I write clean romance because I love it. Jane Eyre is the hero of my youth and taught me that clinging to your convictions will be hard, but will bring you more genuine happiness than giving in ever can.
I love chocolate, Into the Woods, ocean waves, my husband, and my five littles. And I love books that leave me with a sigh of contentment.
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway
Ends 12/28/17
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
a Rafflecopter giveaway