Thursday, February 14, 2019

Validated by Valentine's

Validated by Valentine's
(A Sweet Little Holiday Romance Book 2)

Validated by Valentine's (A Sweet Little Holiday Romance Book 2) by [Schultz, Joynell]

About the Book:

Title: Validated by Valentine's (A Sweet Little Holiday Romance Book 2) | Author: Joynell Schultz | Pages: 139 | Genre: Holiday Romance

Book Description:

Ivory has the perfect man, from his microchip processor to his flesh-like exterior.

Ivory hated that she loved her Christmas gift this year. Her sister gave her the perfect humanoid companion, but there’s just one problem: he’ll never be able to say he loves her, no matter how much Ivory falls in love with him.

Was her dream man a present or a curse?

But when Ethan (Ivory’s Dream Droid) looks at her with those sweet blue eyes and secretly earns enough money to enter her in the city-wide bake-off, she realizes she doesn’t care. He’s hers. And that’s the best gift of all.

Ivory's perfect world falls apart the closer she gets to the bake-off. It starts with a lost entry and Ethan having a few programming malfunctions, then she discovers someone's deliberately sabotaging her. What started out to be a dream Valentine's day, begins to turn into a nightmare. A large supportive family, a caring artificial companion, and the best cupcake recipe in the world might not be enough to uncover who's setting Ivory up to fail.

Grab your copy of this sweet little holiday romance and help Ivory solve her Valentine's Day cozy mystery today! This story will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy (and baking a batch of cupcakes!)

Purchase on Amazon

My Review:

A Cozy Mystery With All The Feels!

In Book 1, Ivy orders the perfect Dream Droid (Ethan) for companionship, but finds him to be too perfect. When she realizes that she has fallen in love with the man who created the droid, she decides to gift him to her sister Ivory, but only after having a few adjustments made along with wiping a couple of days off his memory drive.

Now, in Book 2, Ivory has Ethan all to herself in her tiny apartment and he's everything she wants in a man. Does it really matter that he's a humanoid and does she care if other people accept him or not? He's very attentive and wants her to be happy, but the adjustments in his program are causing some trouble in their relationship. Will Ivory send him for another tune-up or will she accept him the way he is? Then there's the problem with the bake-off and it looks like someone is sabotaging her work. Will Valentine's Day turn into a bust?

I liked Book 2 better than Book 1. There were more feels and great chemistry. This is a fairly clean romance with a mystery. I received an eARC of this book and this is my honest and voluntary review.

About the Author:
Joynell Schultz

Joynell Schultz

Joynell Schultz manages the family zoo (literally!) and writes romantic speculative fiction in her (nearly non-existent) free time. She's a pharmacist by training (boring!) but prefers to hang out with zebras and bears or some imaginary characters.


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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Sisters and Ziggy with a Linky


Today I have a photo of my eldest daughters and two cute shots of Ziggy, my in-laws' miniature Schnauzer. Both girls are at university this year. If you enjoy reading about my kids and missed my post a few weeks back, then be sure to check out What Our 3 Big Kids are Up To.





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Kite Surfing at Britannia Bay




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Blog Tour and Author Interview



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Thursday, February 7, 2019

If Wishes Were Curses Blog Tour and Author Interview


If Wishes Were Curses
by Janeen Ippolito


Book Description:

So I accidentally killed a shifter. On purpose.

With genie powers I shouldn’t be able to use, thanks to my curse-mark.

In my defense, the damn grizzly was threatening civilians and might have been a vampire as well. Pittsburgh is safer without him. Only the Fae court doesn’t believe my story, and the shifters are out for blood.

Now I’ve lost my job as a romantic investigator, and I’m on death row. My only hope is an oddly outgoing vegetarian vampire lawyer who seems strangely familiar. Too familiar.

Almost like we’ve met before, and this whole thing was a set-up to take us both down.

Wishing won’t get us out of this mess.
But my forbidden wish magic just might.

A snarky urban fantasy with a heart, some romance with heat (nothing graphic), and gleeful send ups of many tropes, all wrapped up with an otter-shifter in the bargain.




My Review:

If Wishes Were Curses is a heart pounding urban fantasy romance. There's lots of action and humor. All kinds of messed up stuff happens to Allis, who has out-of-control magic. That's why she's been subjected to curse-markings by the Fae courts to keep her magic under control. She has a pathetic love life and even her friends don't fully trust her. Allis has a big heart and likes helping people, so she doesn't understand all the animosity. While trying to protect herself and innocent bystanders, she ends up killing a rabid bear shifter who is behaving like a vampire. Now all the shifters want her dead, except for her half brother, Gideon. The only one who can help her now is a lawyer named Cendric who also happens to be a vegetarian vampire.

You'll want to clear your day or weekend when you start reading this book! I was stressed out for Allis and really worried for her well-being. Things just go from bad to worse, but it's really exciting too with a good dose of romance and witty banter. It also ends on a high note with some new mysteries to solve. I can't wait for Book 2!

Disclosure: I received an eARC of this book. This is my honest and voluntary review.



Author Interview:
Janeen Ippolito

1. When do you find time to read and what do you usually like to read?
I read on my lunch breaks, tea breaks, and just before bed. During the day I’ll read more intense fiction or intellectually stimulating nonfiction books that get my brain going. Just before bed I’ll read something that’s more lowkey for me, with humor, a lighter plot, or a more distant narrative style—so nothing with zombies, nightmares, or challenging questions that might keep me up at night thinking.

2. How do you prefer to write your books - with a pen/pencil, typing, or dictation?
I usually do my first draft in Google Docs so I can share easily with my alpha readers, and then I’ll copy and paste into an MS Word document and use that for the rest of the drafts.

3. Do you use your own name or a pseudonym?
I use my own name. However, if I ever turned towards something completely contemporary, I’d probably go for Janeen Allison, which is my first and middle names. I wouldn’t hide that it was me, but it would signal to readers “no magic or spaceships or tech in this one.”

4. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Keep at it. You might feel like just when you “make it”, things fall through, but you’ll get there. And when you get there, you’ll realize that no one really “makes it.” We’re all just practicing writers trying to make our mark on the world.

5. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Every single writing conference I’ve been to. I really enjoy that classroom environment and the interaction with other writers. Writing is so solitary, and I’m an extrovert. Going to writing conferences is still one of my favorite ways to refresh my brain, network, and have a good time.

6. If you didn’t write full-time, what would you do for work, or if you write part-time, what other job/jobs do you have?
My day job is as a freelance author services provider. I provide market-focused editing, author coaching with an aim towards problem-solving, and online courses (coming soon!). When I first stepped away from my career as a classroom instructor, I contemplated going full-time as an author. But I find deep satisfaction and meaning in helping other writers get their stories into the world—which is probably a carry-over from my love of teaching. So I doubt I’ll ever be a full-time writer. Working with others is half the fun! I also run a small science fiction and fantasy publishing house, Uncommon Universes Press. We’re on our fourth year, and it’s been an incredible journey publishing books, building a team, and mentoring my staff. I love it!

7. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
The 11th hour edits! My brain is the sort that really doesn’t find the final details of a story until I’ve gone over the manuscript and pondered it many times. So between the line edit and the final copy are about three passes of 11th hour edits where I wake up in the middle of the night going “wait! THAT’S what I should do. I must tweak the things!” I’ve recognized this as part of my process, and my writing critique partners are good at forcing me to step back when enough is enough.

8. Does your family support your career as a writer?
Yes, 100%. My husband is my biggest fan. Even when we were newlyweds with a very tight budget, he squeezed out enough for me to attend my first writers conference. Alas, he’s a slow reader, so he tries to read my books—but then I publish more! Whoops. My other biggest fan (yes, I can have two) is my mom, who raised me with a deep love of stories, especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery (which all influence my own writing). She’s amazing. And I have to shout out my in-laws, who were always very tolerant when I would visit on school breaks and vanish upstairs for hours at a time to get in my word count, which was hard to do as a full-time teacher!

About the Author:
Janeen Ippolito


Janeen Ippolito writes steampunk fantasy and urban fantasy, and creates writing resources, including the reference book World Building From the Inside Out and the creative writing guide Irresistible World Building For Unforgettable Stories. She’s an experienced teacher, editor, author coach, marketer, and is the leader of Uncommon Universes Press, a small traditional science fiction and fantasy publishing house. She’s also the cohost of the podcast Indie Book Magic. In her spare time, Janeen enjoys sword-fighting, reading, pyrography, and eating brownie batter. Two of her goals are eating fried tarantulas and traveling to Antarctica.

Social media links:
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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Sisters and Horses at the Beach and a Linky


I get to play Paparazzi with the powerful zoom on my compact Canon PowerShot. On this day I took pics of my 3 girls, a friend, Ziggy (the miniature Schnauzer), and horses at the beach. We were at Britannia Bay on South Africa's West Coast. I've got some more photos (some of my favorite shots) over on 1camera1mom. Be sure not to miss them!







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Here's a peek at
my latest post
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Horse Riding, Kayaking, Surfing, and More!



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My Latest Book Reviews:

Dragon Chameleon Books 3 and 4

Dragon Chameleon: City of Ice by [Wilson, Sarah K. L.]


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Amanda’s Books and More

Come link up your Wordless Wednesday
(with or without words) or any picture post
at this Picture Perfect Party Linky.
Join me on this fun and easy blog hop!


I would love for you to follow me on
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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Dragon Chameleon Books 3 and 4

Dragon Chameleon:
City of Ice

Dragon Chameleon: City of Ice by [Wilson, Sarah K. L.]

About the Book:

Title: Dragon Chameleon: City of Ice | Author: Sarah K. L. Wilson | Genre: Fantasy Adventure | Pages: 98 | Recommended Age: Young Adult

Book Description:

Out of the frying pan into the fire.

A new series by USA Today bestselling author, Sarah K. L. Wilson.

With Bataar deathy ill and a city on the lookout for Tor, things seem more desperate than ever for Tor and his dragon partner, Saboraak. But a new ally with a plan might be just what they need to find answers. Can they trust the mysterious stranger? Do they dare to refuse?

Perfect for dragon lovers everywhere, DRAGON CHAMELEON: ROGUE is episode one of a brand new series set in the world of DRAGON SCHOOL. It's the perfect beginning for readers new to this fantasy world but still contains hidden gems for long-time fans. Enjoy!

Expect a new episode every second Wednesday. Always free in Kindle Unlimited.

Purchase on Amazon

My Review:

Each novella (episode) in the Dragon Chameleon series is full of wonderful characters and heart pounding action. With Bataar near death from a magical attack, Tor and Saboraak are desperate to find Hubric's contact in the City of Ice. They originally took a risk on choosing Bataar as an ally, now they must do it again. However, not everything is as it seems in the city and everyone lives by lies. Zyla and Zin, two sisters, are also relying on him. Can Tor, a former street kid who is used to deception find help in time?

Disclosure: I received an eARC of this book. This is my honest and voluntary review.

Dragon Chameleon:
Mist of Power

Dragon Chameleon: Mist of Power by [Wilson, Sarah K. L. ]

About the Book:

Title: Dragon Chameleon: Mist of Power | Author: Sarah K. L. Wilson | Genre: Fantasy Adventure | Pages: 87 | Recommended Age: Young Adult

Book Description:

Magic isn't evil. But it's being used that way.

A new series by USA Today bestselling author, Sarah K. L. Wilson.

I'm in hiding with a man I don't trust, pitting my wits and guts against my enemies numbers, power, and weapons. Saboraak, my secret weapon is working with limitations and neither of us have any idea how bad it's about to get ...

Perfect for dragon lovers everywhere, DRAGON CHAMELEON: ROGUE is episode one of a brand new series set in the world of DRAGON SCHOOL. It's the perfect beginning for readers new to this fantasy world but still contains hidden gems for long-time fans. Enjoy!

Expect a new episode every second Wednesday. Always free in Kindle Unlimited.

Pre-Order on Amazon

My Review:

Tor and Zin face some magical horrors in Mist of Power when they discover just how corrupted the people are who want magical power. Zin becomes a more interesting character and I can't wait to read more about her. Saboraak is on her own mission to free the trapped dragons. It's tough with the team split up, but Tor does his best. Will his best be enough? This is another fast paced Dragon Chameleon episode with a cliffhanger!

Disclosure: I received an eARC of this book. This is my honest and voluntary review.

The Dragon Chameleon Series:

The Complete Dragon School Series:

More Books by Sarah Wilson:

About the Author:
Sarah K. L. Wilson

Sarah K L Wilson

USA Today bestselling author, Sarah K. L. Wilson, hails from the rocky Canadian Shield in Northern Ontario where she lives with her husband and two small boys. Her interests include the outdoors, history, and philosophy. Her books are always about fantastical adventures in other worlds.



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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

What Our 3 Big Kids are Up To and a Linky

Siblings: Jessica, Jeremiah, and Samantha

We started our family early after a year of marriage. Jeremiah and Jessica are only 18 months apart and then Samantha came into the world 2 and a half years later, so we can't say that we really experienced being parents of an only child. Now all 3 big kids are out of the house and it's just Amanda left. Samantha headed off to Stellenbosch University (Stellies) last Wednesday and Jessica to the University of Cape Town (UCT) yesterday (Monday the 28th of January). Jessica's res. is still under construction, so the students are staying in hotels for a few days. 

This is Samantha's first time entering university. She's studying a Bachelor of Arts. Jessica has already completed 2 years of university and received a certificate in Accounting at CPUT, Wellington. Now she wants to get a Bachelor of Social Science degree. In case you didn't know, schools in South Africa begin in January and end in December.

Stellies and UCT are jointly the oldest universities in South Africa. UCT is the highest ranked in all of Africa and currently holds the 141st place in the world. Stellies is the 3rd highest ranked in South Africa and currently holds the 390th place in the world. I posted photos of the UCT campus last October. It's one of the prettiest campuses in South Africa. I unfortunately don't have any of Stellies, but you can see how pretty the area is by the scenic drive. Their brother, Jeremiah, graduated from Rhodes University and has been working as an intern at Sintrex, a computer company in the Durbanville Hills winelands area. We just heard that he is the first intern in Sintrex's history to be invited to their annual team building weekend. The email with the invite explained that it's in recognition of his overall performance, including participation and attitude.

Samantha Going to Her Res.







Jessica Going to Her Res.







Jeremiah Going to Work






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Here's a peek at
my latest post
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Visiting the Estuary at Velddrif

Jessica

Amanda watching the flamingos

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My Latest Book Review:

To Court a Queen

To Court a Queen by [Burke, H. L. ]


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I've decided that my Picture Perfect Party Linky will now run from Tuesday to Tuesday and I will no longer host the Make My Saturday Sweet weekend blog hop. Please feel free to link any family friendly post below!

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Amanda’s Books and More

Come link up your Wordless Wednesday
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Join me on this fun and easy blog hop!


I would love for you to follow me on
and
Follow on Bloglovin

Here are the easy rules:
  • Follow me on one or more links above or via email.
  • Link-up any family friendly post with a picture and follow as many new blogs as you like.
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The Button Code:

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This is a Wordless Wednesday blog hop.
Please load page as http and not https.


How to use the linky widget:

First make sure that you load this page as http and not https if you want to see the linky. Type in the name of your blog post under Link Title, then type in your email under Email Address (which I don't sell to anyone), then copy your permalink to your post (most link parties ask for blog posts and not blog homepages) and paste that under URL (make sure that you use http:// or https:// only once), then click Submit Link and that's it!


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