23 April 2014

Win a Critique on Your Writing and Support an Amazing Cause!

Today, I'm participating in an auction to raise money for RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) on Kelly Johnson's blog, My Countless Lives. Several authors, agents, and other publishing professionals have donated services like query critiques, phone consultations, and even full manuscript critiques. Plus, there are several autographed books up for auction, for those of you who read more than you write (or for those, like me, who are just obsessed with books)!


I've donated a critique of either a Query plus First Chapter OR a Query plus Full Picture Book manuscript (the winner gets to choose)! Bidding starts at $10 for each auction, so hurry over and place your bids to help a great cause!

21 April 2014

Book Review: MY NOT SO SUPER SWEET LIFE by Rachel Harris

Woo Hoo!! The third book in Rachel Harris' Super Sweet series is out today! You know I adored MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY, and I totally swooned over Austin in A TALE OF TWO CENTURIES. I feel like I've been waiting forever to read MY NOT SO SUPER SWEET LIFE ... and it's finally here!!!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Of course, you all know that I'm a huge fan of Rachel's. Her books are automatic must-haves, as far as I'm concerned. And this one did not disappoint! I absolutely devoured this one within hours (and then immediately passed it along to my daughter, who may just be an even bigger fan than I am)!

The official blurb: 

Cat Crawford just wants to be normal—or at least as normal as a daughter of Hollywood royalty can be. And it looks like fate is granting her wish: she’s got an amazing boyfriend, Lucas; her fabulous cousin, Alessandra, living with her; and her dad planning his second marriage to a great future stepmom. That is, until her prodigal mother reveals on national television that she has something important to tell her daughter…causing a media frenzy.

Lucas Capelli knows his fate is to be with Cat, and he’s worked hard to win her over once and for all. Unfortunately, Lucas has his own issues to deal with, including a scandal that could take him away from the first place he’s truly belonged.

As secrets are revealed, rumors explode, and the world watches, Cat and Lucas discover it’s not fate they have to fight if they want to stay together…this time, it’s their own insecurities.

Well, and the stalkerazzi.

My Thoughts: 

Okay, confession time: Even though contemporary stories are my absolute favorite, and I know Rachel totally rocks the contemporary love stories, I was so in love with the fantasy and time travel elements of the first two books in the series that I was afraid I might feel like something was missing in this third book. A Super Sweet book without Reyna? Say it isn't so!!

Yeah, I totally didn't need to worry. Cat and Lucas may not be traveling through time, but there's plenty of magic  here! I didn't miss Reyna at all ... because (spoiler alert) she's totally a part of this story in the best way.

I loved the dual POV in this book. I'll admit, I wasn't sure about Lucas when he was introduced at the end of the first book. But he kind of grew on me as I got to know him in the second installment of the series. And now, after reading his POV, I'm totally swooning! MY NOT SO SUPER SWEET LIFE is now officially my favorite Rachel Harris book. It was the perfect end to the series.

Though I wouldn't mind another sequel, with the story of my new favorite character ... a guy who who totally took me by surprise and stole my heart with the very first time he smiled! - Hint, hint, Rachel. ;)

Oh!!! And MY NOT SO SUPER SWEET LIFE is on sale right now for only 99 cents!! Go grab your copy now, before the sale is gone!

10 April 2014

Guest Post & Recipe Inspired by DAUGHTER OF CHAOS by Jen McConnel

Daughter of Chaos (Red magic #1)
by Jen McConnel
Publisher: Month9Books
Release Date: March 25th 2014

There comes a time in every witch's life when she must choose her path. Darlena's friends have already chosen, so why is it so hard for her to make up her mind? Now, Darlena is out of time. Under pressure from Hecate, the Queen of all witches, Darlena makes a rash decision to choose Red magic, a path no witch in her right mind would dare take. As a Red witch, she will be responsible for chaos and mayhem, drawing her deep into darkness. Will the power of Red magic prove too much for Darlena, or will she learn to control it before it's too late?
DAUGHTER OF CHAOS is the first in the RED MAGIC paranormal YA trilogy.

I'm so excited to be a part of the blog tour for my friend, Jen McConnel! We got to share a book birthday in March, and I'm thrilled to introduce you to her newest book,  
Welcome, Jen!

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be here today. When Veronica and I were talking about ideas for my guest post, she mentioned the recipe feature she has on this blog, and I thought that would be a really fun way to help y’all get in the DAUGHTER OF CHAOS spirit: sharing a recipe for a food that both Darlena and I adore. So today I’ll be sharing a recipe for chana masala with you! (Note: I don’t really cook, so my hubby was kind enough to pass on some of his secrets for this post).

This scene inspired this post because something pretty important happens during the meal...but I don’t want to give away any spoilers!

“Mom’s a vegetarian and she does the cooking, so I‘ve grown up on tofu and lots of spices. Vegetarian food is great, but for some reason, I was craving a juicy, red steak. I‘d never had a steak before, juicy or otherwise, so I thought this was pretty weird and didn‘t say anything. I just tucked into the chana masala Mom served, keeping my mouth as full as I could to avoid talking.”
From DAUGHTER OF CHAOS, available now from Month9Books

Like Darlena, I’m used to eating vegetarian meals.  I was a strict vegetarian for about a year, and since then, I’d still say 90% of my meals don’t involve meat. Chana masala is one of my favorite go-to meals when we try a new Indian restaurant, and my husband has finally found an easy, healthy way to make this dish at home. Now, I know you can make the sauce from fresh ingredients, but this is one recipe we actually seem to like better when it starts off in a jar. Without further ado, I give you:

Quick and Easy Chana Masala
·         One can chickpeas, drained
·         One jar masala sauce
·         One orange bell pepper
·         Garlic
·         Onion
·         Spinach
·         Olive oil

1. Dice the garlic, onion, and pepper. Simmer together in oil in large pan over medium heat until caramelized.
2. Add the sauce to the pan and keep simmering. Turn the heat down, stirring to prevent sticking. Bring to the edge of a boil.
3. Add the chickpeas and spinach. Cover and simmer together for about 5 minutes.
4. Serve over rice and/or with naan.

And it’s as easy as that! This is a recipe that even I feel comfortable with (I’d much rather bake than cook), and it’s one of my favorites. I hope you’ll give this quick and easy chana masala a shot, and when you do, make sure you think about Darlena!

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Click on the banner to follow the Daughter Of Chaos Blog Tour

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”).

She is also a former reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and a proud member of SCBWI, NCWN, and SCWW.

A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. She's a graduate of Western Michigan University, and she also earned her MS in Library Science at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. 

When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.

Follow Jen on Twitter @Jen_McConnel, and visit www.jenmcconnel.com to learn more.

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