Are you an avid reader looking for your next "fix"? Can't bear to be without some form of reading material in your spare time? Welcome to my world! Whether you are seeking a new book to "feed your need", or you are an author seeking an unbiased point of view on your own recent masterpiece, this is the place to be. With life as with books, you never know where the next step might take you...

QUICK NOTE...Update: 6/25/19

Still working through things. We were right in the path of Hurricane Michael (like so many others), and while the family is safe (pups, and parents), the house didn't fair as well. You'd think we'd be back in our home by now, since the disaster occurred October 2018, but nope. Things are very slow to progress towards normalcy...and every day presents a new headache/nightmare to deal with. Thanks for stopping by and sharing my bookish adventures. It helps remind me I'm not alone in this crazy journey called life.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

S&S BLOG TOUR: The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.


Okay, so if you didn't know it already, I am TOTALLY and IRREVOCABLY in LOVE with...BOOKS!  Yep, that's right.  I'll take them any way I can get them.  I'm like SAM I AM in book nerd(ish) form.  So, yeah...the title of today's book of choice stopped me in my tracks.  I was CURIOUS.  I was INTRIGUED.  I was SO IN LOVE with not only the TITLE but also that GLORIOUS COVER!  Oh come on...don't tell me you didn't scroll down and PEEK at it already because we both know you did and that's TOTALLY OKAY!  It's SO DESERVING of peek-age.  Anywho, while I grab a handful of sea-salted popcorn (snackage of choice while reading and blogging!), you get cozy as we settle in to explore between the pages of a recent (YESTERDAY) book birthday celebrant...


Dove Pond, Book 1
by
Karen Hawkins
9781982121976
Gallery Books

About the book...
Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.




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Alright, just take another moment or two and gaze at the cover.
*sigh*


Isn't it simply GORGEOUS?!
I mean from the title to the cover image to the font to the sparkle effect, it's a total winner.  Honestly, I'd love to have a chair like that...the print is so cute without being TOO cute, you know?  Anywho, we're not here to talk FURNIture, but LITERAture, so let's get to it.

From page one, I was gone...as in my heart was sold to the highest bidder and that bidder lived in Dove Pond with these AMAZING characters, living lives full of COLOR and RICHNESS, sharing time with their loved ones which was pretty much the WHOLE TOWN because everyone knew everyone in the way that small towns do, and their only desire was to be happy and spread that happiness to others.  What begins as a tale of two trouble orphan girls, a child from a magical family with the town's future riding on her shoulders, and a grumpy old book unwilling to give up the details to make destiny easier to grasp, turns into a story has heart in abundance, a profusion of friendship, and love springing eternal even when the intended parties aren't truly seeking.  While these situations play out, we are gifted the chance to get to know Mama G despite her coming transformation, meet a rather articulate Daisy, despair as things happen beyond our control, and celebrate the moments of closeness never imagined.  As truly moving as the overall story is though, its the characters that make everything THAT much more special.

I adored Mama G and all her magical qualities.  She was a kind soul who could see into the hearts of others and know who truly needed her; an interesting talent to be sure, but when seen in action, inspiring.  The scene when she is taking the measure of our little orphaned sisters, I just knew she had read them accurately despite voices to the contrary.  As things changed for her, both circumstance and health related, I couldn't help but smile through the tears at her gentle yet determined spirit still shining through.  Grace was a remarkable woman who survived the tough times, made it through the difficulties life presents us all, and trudged headfirst through the challenges that no one could foresee.  I could feel her pain and anger.  I knew how hard it hurt her heart to do everything she had to do, but she did it...she made herself the unwitting champion for the two souls she cared most about in this life, while still leaving room for others.  Daisy is certainly Hannah's daughter, but she has a calmer head on her shoulders...unruled by the clouds, and moored to her family.  Her spunkiness and individuality shined through as did at times a wisdom beyond her years.  Then there's Sarah, and Trav, and pretty much the rest of the town because, yeah, they all play their part in making what could be a mere stopover in Grace's life path, a potential permanent home.

Image result for book love

In the end (since I seem to be rambling again), it was heart warming, friendship welcoming, moving, and all the beautiful things it promised to be. The idea of books actually talking to someone, even if only in their mind, was simply magical, as were the bonds of friendship, family, and love forged with every turn of the page.  My only wish...it was longer! ♡  Needless to say, I'll be keeping a spot on my reading list for book two when it makes its presence known.



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About the author...


A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Karen Hawkins writes novels that have been praised as touching, witty, charming, and heartwarming. A native Southerner who grew up in the mountains of East Tennessee where storytelling is a way of life, Karen recently moved to frosty New England with her beloved husband and multiple foster dogs. The Dove Pond series is a nod to the thousands of books that opened doors for her to more adventures, places, and discoveries than she ever imagined possible. 


SITE  |  FACEBOOK  |  INSTAGRAM



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Special thanks to Hannah at Simon & Schuster for the ARC for review (THANKS!).  For more information on this title, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title celebrated its BOOK BIRTHDAY yesterday (July 30th, 2019) via Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.  Be sure to check out the rest of the sites participating in this blog tour celebration going on now throughout the blogosphere!

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

RRR presents... WILLOW by Grace Parks - EXCERPT!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.


Today, we're joining Rachel's Random Resources for a stop along their current promotion featuring book one in The Pepper Lane Club series from author Grace Parks.  It's a little bit Young Adult, a little bit Romance, and a dash of Chick Lit, but it sounds like a whole lot of fun, so let's get this party started as we take a gander at today's title in the spotlight...


Willow
The Pepper Lane Club series, Book 1
by
Grace Parks

About the book...
Can a socialite and a technophobe fall in love?

A bubbly personality and a great job in social media didn’t mean that Willow Lawson had it all. Her love life was distant memory and her social life only work related. The maddening demands of life seemed to get in the way of finding time for herself or her friends.

She starts the Pepper Lane Club as a chance to step away from her busy schedule once a month to reconnect with her friends.

Thomas Greer, the proprietor of the Pepper Lane Café, annoys her. He’s her complete opposite; unsociable, serious, old-fashioned and dead set against social media.

Always game for a challenge, Willow decides to take him on as a client. She’s going to prove to Thomas that he needs her help. She knew she would be successful, she just didn’t know she would lose her heart along the way.

Can Willow fall in love with a man that doesn’t respect her profession? Will Thomas let go of his preconceptions long enough to get to know the real Willow? Enjoy this sweet romance as Willow finds love and friendship in the first book in the Pepper Lane Series.

Six women. Six stories. Six chances of love. One café.
The Pepper Lane Series follows the lives of six women as they share life, love and heartache once a month at the Pepper Lane Club. They might be an unlikely group of friends, but it takes all types to form a tribe.



AMAZON  US  |  UK



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~~~ EXCERPT ~~~

The voice that came from behind me was distinctly male. The man who had hung up on me, not once, but twice. Of all the times for him to come in, why did it have to be when we were talking about him? As if he didn’t have a big enough head as it was. I turned around, a sarcastic comment at the ready, but stopped when I saw him. Thomas Greer looked nothing like his voice. First off, he was a good forty years younger than I had expected, and probably only a few years older than me. He had dark neatly trimmed brown hair, bright green eyes, and glasses. He looked down at me now with a small smirk on his face that immediately made my blood boil.
“You must be Willow,” he said to me.
I nodded. “And you must be Thomas.”
“That’s right. Are you having a good time?” he asked.
“We are. Thank you.” Why did he have to come over when I had already forgotten how many glasses of wine I’d had? Why did he have to overhear me saying his name? Why did I care?
“Fantastic.” He turned his attention to the rest of the group. “I hear you’ll be coming here every month. I appreciate the support. How about a bottle of champagne on me?”
The women swooned. Luca came running to attention. Champagne was poured. Glasses were clinked. Thomas smirked once again.
“If you don’t want him, I’ll take him,” Mary said. Everyone burst out laughing. Mary was the oldest one in the group, and I’d come to see her as the sensible one. The one who would bring order to the table. Now I wasn’t so sure.
“Yeah, I’ll happily take him, too,” Aria said. “I love straight-laced men like that. They’re usually the wildest in bed.”
“I don’t want him,” I said. What was wrong with everyone? I didn’t want to be in the sort of group that went crazy every time a man walked in. We were all surely mature enough for decent conversations and intellectu—
“I want to rip his tie off.” Rachel interrupted my thoughts, and her words caused another ripple of laughter through the table.


The Pepper Lane Club
Six women. Six stories. Six chances of love. One café.
Willow Lawson is a fun loving social media expert, who helps companies stand out from their competitors. Yet, despite her bubbly personality, her social life is mostly work-related, and her love life is non-existent. That’s when she starts The Pepper Lane Club, a chance to get away once a month from her maddening life and reconnect with her friends. It’s at this very first meeting that she meets Thomas Greer, who owns the café. He’s everything she’s not. He’s serious, unsociable, unfashionable, and dead set against social media. She decides to take him on as a client despite his refusals. She wants the challenge, and she wants to prove to him that he needs her help. He frustrates her, but there’s something about his old fashioned ways that also intrigues her.

The Pepper Lane series tells the stories of six women, who agree to meet once a month at their local café. They promise to meet no matter what life throws their way, and, as we soon find out, life throws a lot more than any of them expected. Friendships are forged, and deepened, as the women get to know each other. It’s only once a month, but they soon realize how important this little club has become to each of them. They might be an unlikely group of friends, but it takes all types to form a tribe.




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About the author...



Grace Parks is a sweet romance / chick lit author with a penchant for the happily ever after.


SITE  |  FACEBOOK  |  INSTAGRAM



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Special thanks to Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for the chance to bring this tour to you. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, this tour, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above. Be sure to check out the rest of the tour for more bookish fun...


Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!


Monday, July 29, 2019

RRR presents...I CAN'T TELL YOU WHY by Elaine Robertson North - EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.


Today, we're joining Rachel's Random Resources for a stop along their current tour starring a Women's Fiction title that may also feature on Contemporary Romance fan's reading radars.  From the sound of things, it's a good reminder of the pitfalls of love and yet that undeniable desire to BE loved, consequences be darned.  So, ready or not fair readers, here comes today's title in the spotlight...


by
Elaine Robertson North

About the book...
Having an affair is inconceivable to Dani and yet she’s having one with Alex. He’s married, he’s an actor and she’s his agent.

Then Dani meets Sean, a paparazzi photographer with a formidable reputation. It’s a profession that makes him unpredictable at best. A dangerous trait when his motivation to expose becomes personal.

Dani knows she’s made mistakes. She also knows she’s not the first person who wilfully hurt someone they love and is simply unable to explain why.




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~~~ EXCERPT ~~~

I’ve chosen the opening of the book because within the first few pages, the core story is already underway as Alex (an actor and married with children) confesses to Dani (his agent) that he wants them to start a relationship. And we’re off!  (467 words)



“Well this is a first.” Dani sat down in front of the glass of wine that was waiting for her. “Since when did you start arriving early?”
     Alex smiled at her. “So I’ve been late a few times. Get over it.”
     “So come on then, how did it go?”
     “Oh who knows? It’s a great part, there’s no doubt about that. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
     Dani watched Alex for a moment, the conversation having prematurely dried up. His brow was furrowed, his hand rubbing it roughly as if trying to iron out the creases. She decided he looked nervous. “Alex?” There was a slight delay before he looked up. “What’s on your mind?” Dani continued to scrutinise him, keen to know where this was heading.
     Alex took a large gulp of his drink and then looked at her for a moment. “How would you feel about getting involved with me?”
     “I am involved with you.”
     “No, more involved.” He hesitated, a growing awkwardness inhibiting his normal eloquence. “I mean properly involved. A relationship.”
     “No thanks.”
     Alex looked a bit taken aback at the speed of her answer. “Don’t you even want to think about it?”
     “No.”
     “Well pretend then, if for no other reason than to protect my fragile ego.”
     Dani smiled. “It’s a ridiculous idea as you well know.”
     Alex shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “The way I feel about you doesn’t seem ridiculous.”
     Dani took a deep breath. For a moment, she had wondered if he was playing with her, thinking that maybe he was rehearsing a script, trying out a particularly important line on her but the look in his eyes told her he had never been more serious. “You’re married, you have three children and I can’t make a relationship work when it actually stands a chance, never mind starting one that’s doomed from the start. And I’m your agent. Sounding pretty ridiculous so far.” Alex lowered his head and for a moment Dani feared she might have been a little brutal. “Maybe you just can’t see it but it seems to me like you have it pretty good.”
     He looked up at her again, his eyes heavy. “Maybe I don’t.”
     Dani laughed. “Oh save me from the ‘my wife doesn’t understand me’ line!”
     “I wasn’t going to say that at all. I love my wife and I’d never leave her.”
     Dani looked confused. “If you mean that, what was in this for me?” Alex looked at her but as he went to answer she stopped him. “No, don’t answer that.”
     So he wanted to keep his neat little family life and use her for sex. Not the most attractive offer she’d ever had. Dani decided the conversation had gone quite far enough. “Go home Alex. I’ll see you tomorrow.”




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About the author...




Elaine spent 25 years working in marketing and communications in the media and entertainment industries. This included seven years marketing national newspapers and a variety of senior executive roles in TV, radio and film. I Can’t Tell You Why is her first novel.

 Elaine lives in North London with her husband and their two sons. When she’s not writing, she can be found looking harassed on the school run, cheering on the side lines of her sons’ football matches or singing her heart out at her local branch of Popchoir.





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UP FOR GRABS...
(5) paperback copies of I Can’t Tell You Why
 (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.







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Special thanks to Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for the chance to bring this tour to you. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, this tour, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above. Be sure to check out the rest of the tour for more bookish fun...


Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!



Saturday, July 27, 2019

RRR presents... BATTLE GROUND by Rachel Churcher - SPOTLIGHT!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.


Today, we're playing host to a stop along Rachel's Random Resources tour featuring a Young Adult novel set in a near future dystopia with underlying UK-based political drama.  Sound interesting?  I second that thought, hence the SPOTLIGHT we're shining on it today in THREE...TWO...ONE....read on my friend, read on!


Battle Ground
Battle Ground series, Book 1
by
Rachel Churcher

About the book...
Sixteen-year-old Bex Ellman has been drafted into an army she doesn't support and a cause she doesn't believe in. Her plan is to keep her head down, and keep herself and her friends safe – until she witnesses an atrocity she can't ignore, and a government conspiracy that threatens lives all over the UK. With her loyalties challenged, Bex must decide who to fight for – and who to leave behind.

The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.




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About the author...


Rachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.



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Special thanks to Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for the chance to bring this tour to you. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, this tour, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above. Be sure to check out the rest of the tour for more bookish fun...



Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!


Friday, July 26, 2019

PRE BOOK BIRTHDAY BUZZ: Cowboy Charming by Dylann Crush!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Today, we're jumping on board the Sourcebooks Casablanca blog train to shine the spotlight on a NEW title COMING SOON to bookstore/virtual shelf near you!  It's a Contemporary Romance with a side of sass, smarts, and Stetsons, and honestly, I'd have it no other way.  Though it was my first time in Holiday, Texas ...but it won't be my last!  Ready or not, here comes today's book of choice...


Holiday, Texas...Book 3
by
Dylann Crush
9781492662679
Sourcebooks Casablanca

About the book...
They call him Casanova.
But can this charming devil of a cowboy teach
a good girl how to change her ways?


Small-town preacher's daughter Dixie King is used to having a lot on her plate. Keep tabs on her flighty grandmother? No problem. Handle the honky tonk's first ever Chili Cook-Off? In the bag. Vamp it up to charm a would-be developer into leaving Holiday, Texas for good?

...now there she might need a helping hand.

Enter Presley Walker: Holiday's own Cowboy Casanova and the perfect tutor for a good girl looking to go bad. He's got charm in spades, and he's always seemed like a terrible idea waiting to happen. But as Presley and Dixie work together to save their beloved hometown, these polar opposites might finally see the good in each other...if they can only learn to trust their hearts enough to fall.



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Image result for rope heart
Be still my ever loving romantic heart...
...this one was full of sweet sassy fun that any girl could swoon over!

Dixie King is an absolute sweetheart.  Preacher's daughter she may be, but she has a streak of self-sufficiency that runs strong (totally gets it from her gram!), an aptitude for handling herself, and a know-how-go-getter-attitude that keeps her on the path towards whatever goal she shoots for (or crush she unwittingly seeks).  Though inexperienced in matters of the heart, she's got a wealth of love to give to the right guy...but what if the right guy doesn't seem to be so much long term as he does "for the moment"?  Ah, yes...that would be our cue to introduce lead number two...

Presley Walker is what ice cream is to a girl in need...delicious, crave worthy, but not necessarily good for your health, or in this case your heart...at least historically speaking.  His dating history leaves much to be desired because the words long and haul don't seem to appear anywhere near each other in his vocabulary...but sometimes it just takes finding the right filly (sorry, couldn't help myself!) to set a man straight...much to his own surprise.  Honestly, I adored Presley!  True, he didn't take most things seriously, but when the chips were down (literally and figuratively), you could count on him, no questions asked.  Together, they may seem like oil and water, but sometimes the most unlikely of matches make the most beautiful happy endings.

All in all, I enjoyed my time between the epages through and through!  I laughed (the pigs, the horn toads, the people...OMG!), I cringed (the audacity of some people!), I swooned (so much sparkage between these two! *happy sigh*), I rooted for the little guy (though little he is not!), and I walked away into that proverbial sunset with a happy heart.  If you like Contemporary Romance, or even Cowboy Romances, be sure to make room on your MUST READ list for this upcoming release!



=============================


About the author...

Dylann Crush

Dylann Crush writes contemporary romance with sizzle and sass. A romantic at heart, she loves her heroines spunky and her heroes super sexy. When she’s not dreaming up steamy storylines, she can be found sipping a margarita and searching for the best Tex-Mex food in Minnesota.


SITE  |  TWITTER  |  INSTAGRAM



==============================




Special thanks to the Sourcebooks Casablanca team for the ebook for review.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the author, the series, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title celebrates its BOOK BIRTHDAY July 30th, 2019 (as of this post), so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.  Be sure to check out the rest of the sites participating in the tour traversing the blogosphere as we speak for more bookish fun!

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!







Thursday, July 25, 2019

RRR presents... ONLY THE LONELY by Joanne Nicholson - SPOTLIGHT!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.


Today, we're joining Rachel's Random Resources for a stop along their current promotion featuring a Contemporary Women's Fiction novel just released June 2019.  From the sound of things, it's gonna raise an eyebrow or two, as well as quite possibly spark a few conversations, but hey, to each their own!  Let's get this book party started as we introduce today's title in the spotlight...


Only the Lonely
by
Joanne Nicholson

About the book...
After Tiffany is orphaned on the night of her 18th birthday, she discovers, as the sole heir to her parents’ estate, she has inherited a frozen embryo from when her parents did IVF to have her. Feeling lost, alone and longing for a sense of family, Tiffany can’t bring herself to destroy or donate the embryo. Instead, she decides to be impregnated with her biological twin. 

A legal battle ensues over whether the embryo is a person or property and the ethics of whether it is acceptable to give birth to your own sibling.

 Set in Australia, this contemporary fiction novel is full of emotion, dilemmas and unexpected friendships, as Tiffany forges a new life without her parents.

AMAZON  US  |  UK


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About the author...


Joanne Nicholson is an Australian author who enjoys boating, exercising, reading, writing, music and spending quality time with family and friends.

Joanne’s career began in advertising and marketing. After a hiatus to raise her four children, she owned an indoor play centre, worked in property management and bookkeeping. Joanne gave these up to focus on her passion for writing.

She has published the contemporary women’s fiction novels: ‘Intuition’, ‘In Another Life’ and ‘Positive’, as well as a YA novel ‘Music Score’ and several short stories. Her latest novel is ‘Only the Lonely’.


SITE  |  FACEBOOK  |  TWITTER  |  INSTAGRAM



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Special thanks to Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for the chance to bring this tour to you. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, this tour, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above. Be sure to check out the rest of the tour for more bookish fun...


Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!



Wednesday, July 24, 2019

PRE BOOK BIRTHDAY BUZZ: Don't Drink the Pink by B.C.R. Fegan

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.


Today, we're drumming up the PRE BOOK BIRTHDAY BUZZ for a NEW Children's Picture Book COMING SOON via TaleBlade Press!  It's from an author whose works I've sampled before, and they never fail to entertain, educate, and amaze.  Seriously!  The illustrations are always gorgeous, the story is generally filled with fun and humor, and the parting message is gifted with a smile.  The book on deck today does not stray from the "pack" and that, my friends, is a very good thing.  Ready or not, here comes today's book of choice...


by
B.C.R. Fegan
Illustrated by
Lenny Wen

About the book...
Madeline adores her Grandpa Gilderberry – she always has. To everyone else he might seem a bit strange – an eccentric inventor – perhaps even a little mad. Yet Madeline knows that these are his very best qualities.

One of Grandpa Gilderberry’s most secret inventions is his box of potions which he delights in giving to Madeline each year on her birthday. Each potion conveys an unexpected and magical experience for Madeline. Year after year, Madeline selects a new potion with exciting results, however each time she reaches for her enchanted birthday present, her grandfather reminds her of only one rule – ‘don’t drink the pink’.

Exploring the special relationship between a grandfather and his grandchild, the potions in Don’t Drink the Pink provide an apt metaphor for each magical moment. Yet with birthdays comes aging and this tale doesn’t shy away from what this means for both the young girl and her loveable grandpa.





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As I said, I've read this author's work previously, and have yet to be disappointed, so I knew when I saw the review request come through, it was one to get on the calendar.  What I didn't count on though was the emotional turn of events!  Be warned...bring tissues!

I selected this one to read to my mom while she was waiting to be taken into surgery (outpatient ear surgery...nothing major, but nerve wracking nonetheless). It seemed the perfect match for the reading situation...short on time, in need of a distraction, superbly gorgeous illustrations...I mean it was a triple threat!  So, I began to read aloud and we laughed, smiled, and awed through a rainbow of fun...all leading up to the inevitable drink of pink...and man I was not expecting that little twist and can I just say, it's HARD to conceal tears!  I mean don't get me wrong, it's WONDERFUL, SWEET, and MEMORABLE in the BEST possible ways, but that pink will do a number on you...yet at the same time it reminds us that those that are not able to be with us, whatever the reason might be, are always in our hearts.




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About the author...


BCR Fegan is a multi-award-winning author who has written a number of fairy tales and fantasies for children and young adults. He is inspired by stories that resonate deeply with our desire for adventure, yearning for magic and search for meaning. When Fegan is not writing children’s books, he is forging worlds in the realm of Young Adult Fiction.


SITE | TWITTER



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Special thanks to the TaleBlade Press team for the ebook for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title just is set to celebrate its BOOK BIRTHDAY August 1st, 2019, so mark your calendar or pre-order your copy today!


Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!



 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Rockstar Book Tours presents... ECRIVAIN by Elizabeth Dunlap - EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY!




I am so excited that ECRIVAIN by Elizabeth Dunlap is available now and that I get to share the news!
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Elizabeth Dunlap, be sure to check out all the details below.
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a finished copy of the book and swag, courtesy of Elizabeth and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.



Title: ECRIVAIN (Ecrivain Academy Book 1)
Pub. Date: July 21, 2019
Publisher: Elizabeth Dunlap
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 282
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindle
Read For Free on KU!



Welcome to Ecrivain Academy.
Here in these storied halls you will be trained to become one of the greatest writers the world has ever known.
There are poetry battles.
Friends. Enemies.
Is your story a romance?
Or is it something darker?
Explore all Ecrivain has to offer.
That is, if you can survive until graduation.











~~~ Excerpt ~~~
ONE

Hit send.
Just hit send.
My finger hovered over the enter key, and I chewed on my lip in hesitation.
Come on, Calliope, my inner monologue quipped. Don’t be a coward.
Taking a deep breath, I squeezed my eyes shut and slammed my finger onto the enter button. My lungs emptied with a very loud sigh and I peeked one eye out to see if the confirmation screen was up yet.
It was.
There was no going back now. I’d officially sent my story away into the electronic wild blue yonder. As scared as I felt, a swirl of excitement was building in my stomach. I tried to tamper it down so my hopes wouldn’t build up.
A sip of tea helped quell some anxiety for now, and I let the warmth of it wash over me like a bath. My fingers smoothed over the china while my eyes danced from the computer screen to the paper I’d been putting off to the last minute. One more sip of tea. I closed the tab with the writing contest and put it from my head so I could focus on packing up my bag for school.
My phone popped with a text and I laid out my math book over my desk before tapping my phone screen to see the message.
Did you send it? The text was from my best friend, Kathryn. A rush of dread flew up my throat. How had she found out? Was she spying on me? Did the entire school know? I’d never be able to live this down. I fumbled, trying to think of a response, and ended up having a panic attack via text message.
Send what? Did someone say something? What do you know? Who told you?
Way to play it cool.
She responded within a few seconds and I could feel her raised eyebrow in the text. Calm down, spaztastic. I asked for a cookie recipe yesterday, remember? Although I’d be happy to discuss whatever that was all about.
Nothing, I responded, and quickly sent her a picture of the recipe.
Thanks, she replied. I’m not forgetting what you said, though, just in case you were hoping otherwise.
Crap. I groaned and sipped another mouthful of tea. It didn’t make things better, unfortunately. I was of the belief that tea could solve almost anything, but it couldn’t solve my big mouth. Kathryn would be relentless at school until I either told her or made something up. My eyes went back to my laptop screen where a sheep danced around on my screensaver.
What was I thinking, entering a writing contest? I wasn’t a writer. Nothing would change that, not even my stupid story about a dog and a squirrel being best friends. I’d almost deleted it seven times since I’d finished it, but something stopped me every time. When I found a writing contest online, I decided enough was enough, and I’d hear for real that my writing was garbage so I could stop this fantasy and get back to everything I was supposed to care about, like boys and makeup.
If I kept sitting there regretting my decision, I’d be late to school. One last sip emptied my cup, and I grabbed my bag and headed out the door. Mom drove my brother Penny to school every day while I took the bus. The sticky, smelly, pressed together bodies bus. The bus that had already stopped at my house, apparently.
Cursing under my breath, I slipped my black ankle boots on at the front door and ran to make sure the bus didn’t leave me behind. It stopped at the stop sign on the end of my block and opened for me when I kicked the side with my booted foot.
My house was one of the last on the route, meaning I always had to sit in the undesirable spots on the bus. Today that happened to be a seat that looked like someone had spilled a soda all over it. I picked the very edge of the brown leather bench to sit on and hoped the bus wouldn’t lurch and toss me into the aisle.
As the bus rolled away from my street, the kids on the bus laughed, chatted to themselves, and beat out tunes on top of the seats. I bobbed my head along with it, trying to not bring attention to myself. None of them liked me, a fact I was well aware of. They were under the impression that I had a superiority complex because my parents were rich. It wasn’t my fault my parents made me ride the bus. I begged them for a car next year when I turned sixteen, and they met it with a resounding no. No car for Calliope. Riding the bus builds character. Wouldn’t want me to be spoiled like Penny.
My little brother, Penny, was ten years old, and my parents let him do whatever he wanted with the excuse of ‘boys will be boys.’ I struggled daily trying to tell myself that I’m supposed to love my brother, not to mention my parents. What kind of person doesn’t love their family? The bad kind, that’s what. I was a horrible person for not loving them. My alternative was that I could at least care about them. Maybe if I did, I would become a better person. Until then, I deserved to ride the bus like a loser. I stared down at the dirty bus floor and moped about my lot in life until the bus lurched and tossed me, not in the aisle, but right into the sticky seat puddle. My blue jumper was covered in soda, not to mention my hair. I pulled at my red strands and came away with sticky sugar.
“Aww, is richy rich in a sticky situation?” someone taunted. The bus erupted in laughter and my face burned with mortification. I looked up to see a boy wearing a backwards cap, sipping a soda through a straw and smiling at me with an evil grin. His straw bubbled like there wasn’t anything left in the cup, because he’d emptied it all over my seat. Pulling the cup away from his mouth, he shook it at me with a smile full of sarcastic venom. His friend fist bumped him in victory.
The bus rocked again when the driver pulled on the breaks as we reached the school, and I fell into the aisle this time. The dirt from people’s shoes stuck to my sticky arm. Everyone had a good round of laughter again and left the bus, leaving me behind. Somehow, I got up off the floor and got my sticky self out onto the sidewalk.
Kathryn was waiting for me as always with her golden tan and pink haired perfection, but her perfect face turned sour when she saw me messed up and dirty. She flew to me and fussed over taking my sticky bag and helping me inside the building, as if I couldn’t on my own. She snuck me into the girl’s locker room and I took my boots off before I stood under the showerhead and let the warm water flow over me.
“Those beasts,” she spat, watching me by the sinks. I ran my fingers through my tangled red hair and shook the droplets off my face. “They put the soda there on purpose to screw with you. I should join you today after school and show them what happens when you mess with my friend.”
“Please don’t,” I pleaded half-heartedly. She was the only person who cared about me. I couldn’t bear it if she was bullied too. I used a towel to dry off myself and my clothes as best I could. The shower room had a washer and dryer, but if I didn’t get going fast, we would miss first period.
“B. T. Dubs,” she said, pointing a perfectly manicured finger at me. “We’re going to talk about that freak out you had via text earlier.”
If I hadn’t just been doused in soda, I might’ve actually told her the truth, but my mood was ruined. I grabbed my bag from her and used the towel to try and salvage it without using water. It worked well enough, so I slung it over my shoulder and walked out without saying another word to her.

My favorite part of school was free period. I spent that time every day inside the library, soaking in every book I could get my hands on. I’ll admit that I was guilty of only choosing what was new and popular, just so I could add to the conversations at school. I never read anything older than myself, unless it was a hot topic, like Handmaid’s Tale or Outlander. I never read classics or non-fiction. I know that’s practically reader taboo, but I cared more about being able to impress people than reading about antique people doing antique people things. It was a conundrum, wanting to stay under the radar and yet be noticed at the same time. I didn’t care that it was ridiculous.
My current read was about a virtual world used to escape the doldrums of everyday life. It had been adapted into a movie and everyone at school was buzzing about plans to go see it. I’d saved enough allowance to go with Kathryn, and I fully intended to read the book first so I could be prepared just in case anyone talked to me about it.
Like Blades Sherman.
He was on the football team and he always dated curvy blondes that actually needed a bra. I knew he’d never notice me, but my teenage heart didn’t care. I wanted him to suddenly realize that I was perfect for him. Preferably before prom so he could ask me and I wouldn’t have to go with Kathryn. I was totally fine bringing a girl, especially one as pretty as Kathryn, but I wanted Blades like I wanted air, and really nice shoes.
“Wake up.” Kathryn poked me with a pencil and looked back down at her book, something with art on the pages. She was convinced that there had to be at least one book in our library with boobs in it. It was her daily quest, mostly so she had something to do while I actually read the books. “Is it boring?” She pointed the pencil at the book in my hands.
“No. I was just…..” I scratched at my leg. My skin was becoming increasingly itchy with my still slightly damp clothes. I could’ve spent free period cleaning them in the girls’ locker room, but why do that when I could read books? “…daydreaming,” I finished.
“About Blaaaades?” she teased, batting her eyelashes at me.
“Sssshut up,” I whispered in warning. She giggled at me and leaned in secretively.
“Tell me, Cals. What’s the thing you freaked out about earlier? Did you do something rebellious?” Her face lit up in hope and she grabbed my hand to shake it repeatedly.
“Kind of?”
She squeaked loud enough for the librarian to shush us, then leaned in closer. “What’d’ja do? Tellmetellmetellme!”
Having to say it out loud to her made it real, and scary. I couldn’t tell her I’d written a dumb story. She wouldn’t tease me, but she’d make it a thing. She’d never let me rest until I kept writing, and I wasn’t ready for that. I didn’t even want that.
Did I?
Before I could answer, Kathryn grabbed my hand and squeaked again, softer this time so we wouldn’t get in trouble. Blades had just entered the library with his newest fling, someone I didn’t know, but I wished I looked like her. Blonde hair. Big boobs. Actual booty. My envy of her almost distracted me from him, my Blades. My stomach flip-flopped at the sight of him and my lungs felt compressed inside my chest. I primped my hair a bit and straightened my sweater.
“Calliope and Blades, sittin’ in a tree,” Kathryn sang in a whisper. I batted her hands away. She brought her two pointer fingers together to mimic kissing. “Gonna F.K. with Blades, aww yiss.” Her abbreviation of ‘first kiss’ didn’t make her mashed together fingers look more appealing. It also sounded like she was saying a curse word.
I’d just hissed for her to stop when Blades and his girlfriend came closer. His eyes were busy taking in all the shelves while the girl approached me with a cynical stare. She adjusted her very large expensive purse and flipped her hand out in that ‘I want to talk to your manager’ kind of way.
“Hey, nerd,” she belted out in my direction. “Where’s the best corner in here to make out?” I was stunned into silence that she would even ask me anything, not to mention why did she want to know something like that? Ohh. Right. She scoffed at me when I didn’t answer. “Oh wait, I’m asking the wrong person, aren’t I? You only kiss your hand.” She sighed, as if teasing me was boring her. “Where’s the books on Napoleon?”
Kathryn leaned her arm over the back of her chair and scowled. “Do we look like librarians?”
The blonde girl’s look made it very clear she absolutely thought we did. “I need to write a stupid paper and I have no idea who Napoleon is.”
Kathryn shrugged. “French dude. Tried to take over Europe. Didn’t work out too well.” I found myself trying to catch Blades’ eyes, but he kept his gaze firmly towards the ceiling. If only he’d look down, he’d see how cute I looked in my navy blue jumper. It was almost completely dry now from the shower too.
My mind moved unbidden to thoughts of finding that quiet corner his girlfriend thought I knew about, only she wasn’t there, and it was just him and me. Maybe he’d laugh when he felt the dampness of the jumper and pull me close to him when I told him what had happened. It would be nice to have someone to save me from bullies. Maybe he’d become my champion and make sure no one hurt me ever again.
And maybe. He’d give me my first kiss. A stolen moment between the book stacks when our lips met.
His girlfriend snapped loudly in my face to wake me up from my daydreams. “Wake up, crazy face. Where’s the stupid history books, your friend doesn’t know.”
My cheeks flushed and I glanced at Blades again before looking down at my boots. “Over there,” I said meekly, pointing. She grabbed Blades’ arm and dragged him away from me.

Daydreaming was something I did every day. Yes, some of it was about Blades, as was to be expected of teenage girl hormones. The rest was about other things. How I’d fit in my favorite novels or tv shows, or what if this had happened in history instead of what actually happened.
Sometimes I daydreamed about things I made up and that was how I’d come up with the story about the dog and the squirrel. I saw someone walking their Labrador retriever across the street from my science class and watched as it tried desperately to catch a ground squirrel, even after the rodent had disappeared into its hole in the ground. Something sparked inside me, and I immediately flipped a few pages away from my science notes and wrote until the bell rang.
The dog and squirrel had lived in the same yard for all their lives, and the squirrel was convinced he and the dog were best friends. The dog had no such preconceptions and tolerated the squirrel’s antics until one day the squirrel didn’t come out of its tree, and the dog realized he missed his friend.
I knew the story wasn’t very good, but writing it made me feel alive, and as I sat in Algebra daydreaming about other things, I tried to convince myself that I was going to succeed at writing. My resolve was short-lived because I went home and remembered how life really was.
That was how I felt that day when I trudged up the stairs and dumped my bag onto my bed before changing out of the now dry jumper. My skin still had an edge of stick to it, so I walked to the bathroom to clean up. The large rectangle mirror showed a thin weed-like girl with freckles and red hair that was neither curly nor straight. I turned to the side and frowned at my lack of curves. I was still as skinny as I was before puberty. Shopping in the juniors section while everyone else had moved onto the women’s section was humiliating, not to mention I was the only fifteen year old who hadn’t grown proper breasts. A groan escaped my lips and I leaned forward to scowl at all the freckles that dotted every inch of my skin. I looked like a Dalmatian.
“If you stare harder, maybe you’ll stop looking like a turd face,” my little brother squeaked from behind the bathroom door. I caught his eye in the mirror and the sight of my angry face sent him off running down the hall. My feet flew out of the bathroom, through the hallway, down the stairs, and into the living room where he’d hidden behind something.
“Penny, you are so dead!” I shouted to him as I bent around looking for his hiding spot.
“Language!” I heard from the kitchen, right before my mother poked her head out from the archway that separated the two rooms. She looked at me with pursed lips and wrinkled disapproval. It took me a few seconds to realize that she was mad at me for saying the word ‘dead.’
I pointed to the couch where Penny was hiding. “Penny called me a turd face.”
Instead of coming to my defense, because she never did, Mom sighed heavily. “Calliope, act mature. This doesn’t become you.” She turned and went back into the kitchen. My mouth curled in anger at her retreating back. She was so mean sometimes. Why couldn’t she be fun like Kathryn’s mom? Kathryn’s mom let her do whatever she wanted, while my mom still insisted I hide my eyes when Aragorn decapitated the Uruk-hai in Lord of the Rings. Spoiler alert: I’ve seen blood before, Mom.
Seeing that I wasn’t paying attention, Penny crawled out from the couch and launched himself at my leg. “Alien attaaaaack!” he screamed. “I’m going to suck your brains out your butt hole!” I kicked at the leg he was attached to and looked hopefully at the kitchen to see if Mom would reprimand my brother for saying ‘butt hole,’ but she failed to appear. Typical.
“Penny,” I growled in annoyance. “Why are you being such a brat?”
“I’m not a brat! You’re a brat!” he retorted and stuck his tongue out at me.
“Don’t call your brother a brat,” Dad ordered from the front door. Him too? Of course, I forgot. It was pick on Calliope day. Every day was pick on Calliope day.
“Make him get off,” I whined, hoping one parent would have some sympathy on me.
“It’s time for dinner.”
Mom’s words made Penny fly off of me faster than a page load. He didn’t bother making sure I was okay, and his retreat almost knocked me over, slamming me into the edge of the coffee table. Pain sliced through my leg and I bent to checked the area. No blood. I limped over to the dining table where Mom had decorated the room like we were being filmed for HGTV. Flowers in vases, flowers in buckets, flowers in tiny wheelbarrows, and so. much. burlap.
I sat down in my country style ladderback chair with weathered paint and watched Penny kick his chair repeatedly as he swung his feet back and forth. My father, already sitting at the head of the table, ignored the noise and damage to the chair. I smiled when Mom came into the room and placed a large dish of roast beef stew on the table. She didn’t smile back, but that was okay.
“How was work, Dad?” I asked brightly, picking up my napkin to place in my lap. Yes. Mom made us use actual cloth napkins, like we were at a restaurant. It’s an understatement to say she tried my patience sometimes.
My father helped himself to some stew and diverted my question with one of his own. “Have you finished your paper that’s due tomorrow?” He was always on top of what I had to do at school.
I sunk into my chair and stared at the flowers in front of me. “No.”
“Then what, pray tell, was so much more important than your homework?” he asked me, his tone growing agitated. He passed the serving spoon to Penny next.
I watched my brother get a very large serving of the stew and thought about the story contest. Obviously, I couldn’t tell them about it. What would they even say?
Stop neglecting your studies for frivolous activities. Probably. Not that I wasn’t a straight A student, because I was. That didn’t matter to them, though.
When my brother stuck his tongue out at me and passed the serving spoon to Mom, something snapped inside me. I grasped at the receding tethers to stop the oncoming flood, but it was too late.
My mouth had a mind of its own and blurted out the sentence that changed my life.
“I entered a writing contest.”









About Elizabeth:

Elizabeth Dunlap is the author of several fantasy books, including the Born Vampire series. She's never wanted to be anything else in her life, except maybe a vampire. She lives in Texas with her boyfriend, their daughter, and a very sleepy chihuahua named Deyna.











~~~ Giveaway Details ~~~

1 winner will win a finished copy of ECRIVAIN & Swag, US Only.

Ends August 13th, midnight EST.







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