Sunday, August 31, 2014

The #TVDoneRight Round Up

I wanted to thank all of the awesome bloggers who participated in my blog hop over the last two weeks. I love these women, but even I was surprised by the diversity of our choices. (Admit it: you were not expecting The Walking Dead, Chicago Fire and Daria, right?)

Here's a list of all who participated and what they covered. If you're so moved, please hop over to their blogs and let them know why you loved (or didn't?) their picks.

Do you think they're watching Friends or The Walking Dead?

Caroline- Revenge
Isabella- Friends
Danielle-Claude- My So-Called Life, Daria
Erin- Hollyoaks
Deb- Mad Men
Monique- Ally McBeal
Courtney- Chicago Fire

Friday, August 29, 2014

Let's Move On- the Cover Reveal!

 Let's Move On

by Deborah Nam-Krane
Series: The New Pioneers
Release date: September 29th, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Isn't she gorgeous?
Zainab has spent years keeping Emily from going over the edge, giving Miranda a shoulder to cry on and nursing Jessie back to health. They'll be the first to agree that she she deserves whatever makes her happy, especially after the drama Richard put her through. But did she have to choose the guy who threw everyone's lives into the shredder?

Richard knows he screwed up and he'd do anything to get Zainab back—but first he needs to make sure his company—and his loyal employees—don't go under. (Who knew kicking your primary investor to the curb would have consequences?) Good thing his family has such deep pockets; too bad he doesn't want to take a cent from them. Why should Zainab take him back if he can't get out of his own way?

Maybe Zainab can eat her cake and have it too—that is, until she's given an ultimatum. The choice isn't Lover A or B; it's protecting her friends or letting them fend for themselves. With that hanging over her head, what's it going to take to make sure she and everyone else can finally move on? 

Let's Move On is Book Four in The New Pioneers series




ALSO AVAILABLE!
 The Family You Choose (September 2013) 
 The China Doll (March 2014).


Thank you so much to Danielle-Claude Ngontang Mba for organizing this event and thanks to all of the bloggers who participated! And I am filled with gratitude for Keri Knutson, the very talented (and patient!) woman who created this. Thanks my friend- I couldn't have done this without you!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sweet Contradiction by Peggy Martinez (New Adult Contemporary Romance)


~ About the Book ~


TitleSweet Contradiction
Series: The Sweet Contradiction Series #1
Author: Peggy Martinez
Published: August 26th, 2014
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Word Count: approx. 55,000
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Content Warning: Minor Violence, sexual references
Age Recommendation: 17+

~ Synopsis ~


When Beth Michaels hightailed it out of the hole-in-the-road town she grew up in, she only had two goals. One—get as far away as quickly as possible, and two—never set foot in her parent’s home again. But when she receives a heart breaking call from her childhood best friend, Jen, she has no choice but to turn her ’56 Ford pickup back in the direction of Salem, Missouri to attend a funeral.
There’s a new local in town when Beth arrives, and suddenly, it ain’t all that easy for her to remember her rules for dating.
#1. Cookie-cutter-perfect guys ain’t her type.
#2. Tie wearin’ and church frequentin’ is an automatic dismissal.
#3. Most importantly, never date anyone from small minded, conservative, Bible-thumping towns like Salem.
Unfortunately, Matthew Wright breaks all her rules and then some.
Matt might be from a small town and have small town values, but that doesn’t mean he fits into a little slot of Beth’s preconceived notions. After all, ever so often good guys are good. Now if he could just convince Beth to let go of her past and give him a chance, he’s pretty sure there’s a whole lotta sweet under that prickly exterior.
His own … Sweet Contradiction.

~ Excerpt ~


“You know, I’m beginning to think you’re stalking me.” I whipped around, my eyes wide in surprise. What were the odds? I rolled my eyes and clucked my tongue. “Don’t you wish, Matthew Wright?” He was grinning crookedly at me, an almost-full basket of apples in his hand. “You know, if you’d just text me your agenda each day, we could just carpool to all these places instead of running into each other. Save gas.” He shrugged. I laughed loudly. Matthew Wright was something else. “Is that your way of asking for my telephone number? You could’ve just asked,” I said with a cocky smirk. Matt walked closer and sat his basket on the ground nearby. “Would you have given it to me?” he asked, his voice low and serious. I inhaled sharply, realizing the error of my ways. I didn’t want to lead him on. He was an amazing guy. I frowned. “Hey, looks like you’ve still got some pickin’ to do.” He picked my basket up off of the ground to carry it along with his. I blew out a breath of relief. He’d changed the subject, and I was grateful. I reached up on my tippy toes to get an apple just out of reach. Matt came up behind me and reached out next to me, his arm skimming mine, his body heat enveloping me. He reached the apple easily, plucked it off the tree, and held it out to me. I smiled shyly and wrapped my fingers around the fruit. Matt didn’t let go right away. His eyes captured mine, and I held my breath. He leaned in just a bit, just enough to make my heart pitter-patter in my chest. “I’m going to kiss you, Elizabeth Michaels.” He made his intentions clear and even though I knew I should shut him down, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Both of our hands were still wrapped around the apple when his lips met mine. He feathered a tender kiss across my lips, tasting and teasing just a little. The apple dropped to the ground between us, forgotten. Matt wrapped his arms around me and held me as he kissed me gently, like he hadn’t a care in the world except getting to know how well we went together. I was surprised to learn that we went together very, very well.

~ About the Author ~



Peggy Martinez is the author of The Sweet Contradiction Series, which was picked up by Crimson Tree Publishing in early 2014 and is scheduled to release under this new imprint in the Summer of 2014. Martinez’s New Adult Contemporary Romance series will include Sweet Contradiction, Perfect Contradiction and Beautiful Contradiction.
When not writing, Peggy can be found spending time at home with her husband, her teen son and four little girls. She loves reading, writing, soap making, aromatherapy, gangster movies, prepping for the zombie apocalypse and downing insane amounts of Twizzlers and Kazoozles.
As if being a wife and homeschooling mom of five doesn’t keep her busy enough, Peggy Martinez is a full time Author who has six published books, including The Time Warper Series and State of Decay. Peggy’s dream is to own a small homestead where she can raise some chickens along with her five kids, tend to a large garden and one day take her dream vacation’s to Ireland, Greece and Scotland.

~ Giveaway ~




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Monday, August 25, 2014

#TVDoneRight: Mad Men

As far as I'm concerned, Mad Men is some of the most perfect television I've ever watched.

Mad Men is the story of Madison Avenue ad man (see what they did there?) Don Draper in the 1960s. Much has been rightfully made of the show's attention to historical detail, from the set design and costumes to the overall zetigeist of the year (and there's a big difference between 1960 and 1969). But it's the writer's attention to character that makes the show.

I've always seen Don Draper as the epitome of everything we disdained about the age of advertising: good looking and seductive, he's also painfully self-aware and knows that he's a fake. He's not even Don Draper; that's the name of the man he switched identities with after an accident while he was in the army. Poor, unloved Dick Whitman suddenly had the chance to rewrite his life story, and he took it without bothering to think the consequences through, including the loss of the little brother who looked up to him and the "acquisition" of the real Dick Whitman's wife, who became the one person he didn't have to lie to.
The difference between Don Draper and a Ken doll? Ken just might have a soul.
It's not just that Don's biography is built on lies; it's not a stretch to say that he is as empty as the ad slogans he comes up with. He sleeps around like it's a job requirement, and even more so when he's married. And while Don has been known to show glints of humanity that spring from knowing what it is to hold a secret and be on the outside looking in, letting Don find you vulnerable can be dangerous. Don ruined Sal's career not because he was gay, but because he wouldn't put out for their most important client; when Lane temporarily embezzled funds, Don forced him to resign, which immediately led to Lane's suicide; and, perhaps most injuriously, he disapproved so much of Ted and Peggy's attraction that he thwarted every attempt of theirs to be together.

Overall, just about every character on the show is perfect. My favorite: Joan Holloway Harris, who's gone from biding her time as an office manager while she waited for a suitable husband to a well-deserved partnership in the firm...which she didn't get until she was convinced to sleep with a powerful Jaguar dealer from Jersey. Other favorites: callow but ambitious Pete Campbell, the young man born with a tarnished silver spoon in his mouth who can't socialize but who manages to come up with brilliant insights almost in spite of himself; and how do you not love jovial and witty Roger Sterling, even when his peccadilloes end up causing a restructuring of the ad agency?

Joan used her sex appeal to get what she thought she wanted, then realized her intelligence was her best asset.
January Jones doesn't have to be a gifted actress for her to easily telegraph Betty's frustration at being reduced to a shiny bauble.
Of all of the characters, Betty Draper, Don's ex-wife, is arguably the hardest to take, and that's due in large part to the weakness of the actress who plays her. In a way, however, that makes her perfect for the role of a woman who has perfected the art of being a beautiful object but struggles with being a real person (and those struggles are most painful to watch when she's interacting with her children). As far as I'm concerned, finding a way to use a weak actress effectively is a sign of a clever writer.

Thanks for stopping by! Please visit Jami Deise tomorrow to find out what her TV Done Right pick is.

The Twisted Veil (A Twisted Sister Anthology, Book 1) (Paranormal)

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Title:  The Twisted Veil
Series:  A Twisted Sister Anthology, Book 1
Authors:   Dovey Mayali Cralk, Riley Ross, Kaydence Rayne, and Sally Slayer
Published:  August 25th, 2014
Word Count:  40,000
Genre:  Paranormal
Content Warning:  Mild Violence
Recommended Age:  16+
Synopsis:
Join the Sisters as they twist the veil of reality as we know it.
Good and evil collide in The Memory Remains, a short story by Riley Ross.  Samantha has to protect her loved ones from an evil witch, who also happens to be her mother.
Not all is what it seems in An Almost Ghost Story by Dovey Mayali Cralk. Pippa Harrington moves into her dream house only to discover she isn’t the only occupant. What will she do about this “Griffin” who haunts her new home?
BONUS: Get a sneak peek into the full-length novel The Summer of Alyssa by Kaydence Rayne! Alyssa has been trying to get Seth’s attention for what had felt like forever, but his family secret demands that he stays away from her. What will happen if she discovers the truth?
BONUS: Get a sneak peek into Deviate 2 (A Cleo Perry Novel) by Sally Slayer! Cleo’s struggles continue as she tries to determine her identity and keep her sanity intact.
If you would like to read book one, just send proof of purchase of this book to SallySlayerAuthor@gmail.com and she will send you a free e-copy.
Excerpts:
The Memory Remains Riley Ross “Hush baby girl, I am gonna keep you safe from her.” My grandma said softly as she touched my face. “She will never harm you. Delia and I will take care of you. My sweet baby girl, you are bonded to us.”
An Almost Ghost Story Dovey Mayali Cralk "Ha!" she laughed, "I'm not gonna be bossed about by some ghost! Sod off; I'm trying to unpack here." With that, she bent down and retrieved the cloth, then turned her back on him to spread it out on the table, picking up her tune again.
The Summer of Alyssa Kaydence Rayne "I suppose I should just come out and say it, because I can't stop thinking it. I would like to clear the air between us. Because, well, I haven't really seen you in years. And don't try to say some crap like, 'I see you every day', because it really isn't the same..." "I know," he cut her off, "and I have an explanation for it." She froze. This wasn't going as planned at all. She expected him to protest or something. She had a whole speech planned!
Deviate book 2 Sally Slayer "Hey, Cleo! What's got your panties in a twist?" Jack grinned playfully. I yelped and jumped, and cursed the blush that crept up my neck at his use of the word "panties". "Not a thing, all right? Not a damn thing." I grumbled uncomfortably.
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About the Authors:
The Twisted Sisters are a group of friends who happen to be writers. They had a cockamamie idea to write short stories together in a series of anthologies, and now they have! The Sisters included in The Twisted Veil include Kaydence Rayne, Dovey Mayali Cralk, Sally Slayer, and Riley Ross.
Riley’s Links: Goodreads | Amazon Author Page
Sally’s Links: Goodreads | Amazon Author Page
Kaydence’s Links: Goodreads | Amazon Author Page
Dovey’s Links: GoodReads | Amazon Author Page
Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • Two $10 Amazon Gift Cards & a print copy of The Twisted Veil
Giveaway is International.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Friday, August 22, 2014

Double Down: Game Change 2012 by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann

If you think you're going to read a book like this and come away with a better understanding of any candidate's policy on anything, you're mistaken. This is all political calculation with a big dose of gossip and some armchair psychoanalysis. Once you accept that, you can enjoy the ride.

This book lacks the fun factor of Game Change in part because the 2012 campaign wasn't nearly as much of a circus as the 2008 one. The Republican field was filled with unstable lunatics (calling the candidacy for Romney early on was easy) but, obviously, the Democrat's nominee was known from the get-go. And while the Obamans may have been as dysfunctional as any political operation, that's just not the same thing as John Edwards trying to get past his own mistakes and Hillary Clinton trying to overcome her reputation (and establishment sexism). On the GOP side, while Bachmann,Gingrich, Cain and Perry provided plenty of amusing and cringe-worthy episodes, they were never nearly as important as the star of 2008's GOP debacle, Sarah Palin. Oddly, there was almost nothing about Ron Paul, arguably the wackiest of all of the candidates.

People who watched the Republican presidential field closely might be surprised by how many, well, sane and sagacious characters there were: Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels and Jeb Bush most prominent among them. All of them had reasons to stay out of the race and away from the national stage, but they saw pretty clearly on that Mitt was a weak candidate who would create a vacuum that would invite a freak show.



The candidate that many thought had the best chance: Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. Although he flirted with the idea for a few weeks, ultimately he decided that his bona fides weren't strong enough. Once he made his decision to stay out, putting his clout behind Mitt was the obvious choice. While many thought he would make a strong candidate for VP, the vetting process dashed that notion pretty decisively. Suggestion: don't bet on Christie in 2016 (even if he clears BridgeGate). Who else will you probably not see again? Jon Huntsman, the ostensibly reasonable and moderate candidate who turned out to be not nearly as wealthy or principled as his public image led observers to believe.

The story presented here is that Romney lost because he refused to apologize even when he knew he had made a mistake and because he was so desperate to keep the conservative base that he wouldn't take on obviously offensive positions that he didn't agree with (e.g., Rush Limbaugh's insults to Sandra Fluke). While I agree that these were mistakes, I think it's odd that they didn't speak to the other obvious observation about the Romney candidacy: he lied and frequently, and his statements such as the infamous 47 Percent remark highlighted the electorate's worst fears that he was a plutocrat who didn't understand middle- or lower-economic-classes. (His team's explanations for why they lost only seemed to confirm those fears.)

Is that a lot of Romney? Yes- and perhaps it's even clearer why the book lacked the fun factor of Game Change.

Recommended for political news junkies who aren't interested in policy.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

#TVDoneRight- the British edition

Thanks to Caroline and Isabella for starting off the TV Done Right blog hop! This is my first installment (I told you, I love television). Today I'm going "across the pond" to talk about two of my most favorite shows ever.

Here’s what makes British television so good: brevity. It’s not that the episodes are shorter, but the seasons themselves. Whereas our seasons tend to go on for 22 episodes, in Britain eight is generous- and getting to five years is amazing. Why is that a good thing? Because it keeps everyone focused on the core story they’re trying to tell.

My picks: Luther and Footballers’ Wives. Other than the setting, they could not be more different, but they’re both equally well-done.

Luther is only 14 episodes long, spread out over three seasons. It’s the story of Detective Chief Inspector John Luther, who’s brilliant, hard-working and hot-tempered. That temper has cost him his marriage, and his wife has already moved on. So it’s that bit of instability plus the desire to solve a challenge that leads to what eventually becomes an obsession with Alice, a woman who called in the shooting of her mother but whom John realizes is actually the killer. Just one problem: Alice is as smart as Luther is, and whereas he’s constantly waging a war between his demons and his angels, she’s blithely thrown her lot in with self-preservation and has no qualms about breaking the law to get what she wants...or to help John.

"What? Isn't this what you look like during an interrogation?"
While John and Alice are escalating their game of Will They Or Won’t They, John’s increasingly threatened at work, which I suppose you have to expect when you’ve pissed off one too many people. Everyone knew John cut corners, it was just a matter of catching him in the act. To top it off, John had horrible judgment in his personal life, which came back to bite him when  a good friend on the force not only found himself caught up in a crime ring but then killed John’s wife as part of a convoluted plot to protect himself. And who was the number one suspect? You guessed it- John.

John found himself depending on Alice at the most interesting times, despite all protestations that she needed help (which, of course, she did). Most telling was when he pulled her out as his ace-in-the-hole when he needed to control a ruthless organized crime family- even though she hadn’t been in those episodes. Once we saw that, we knew that he was hooked even if he didn’t want to admit it.

Guess who's filled with respect for him and guess who's dying to take him down?
John’s attempt at a healthy relationship was derailed when the plot to get him off the force came to its fruition. In order to win back his girlfriend and stay out of prison, John needed Alice, and she couldn’t wait to help. In the end, John and Alice left together as fugitives- and it was the best Happy Ending ever.

At the other end of the spectrum that is British television was Footballers’ Wives, the most trashtastic television ever produced. “Narcissistic” doesn’t begin to describe most of the characters, and yet you couldn’t help root for some of them, in spite of (or because of?) it. And, of course, sometimes we watched just to see someone get taken down...that, and the stories were brilliantly out of control.

Footballer Jason and his grasping wife Tanya (the eventual star of the show) caused team owner Frank to have a terrible accident, and while unconscious he’s repeatedly raped (!) by nurse Jeanette. Tanya uses this information to try and get Jeanette to kill Frank, but he makes a miraculous recovery. (Tanya’s tears during that scene were darkly funny.) Frank is convinced he and Tanya are having an affair, then remembers both being attacked and being raped. It takes him a little while, but he finally gets what he needs to blackmail Tanya- into marriage!

Please! This was just two guys having an affair- boring compared to the rest of the show.
What about Jason? Tanya’s philandering husband got around- including with his team mate Kyle’s mother Jackie. (Kyle’s model wife Chardonnay never looked twice at him, surprisingly.) When Jackie ended up pregnant, Kyle and Chardonnay passed the baby off as theirs...until Jason figured it out and brought baby Paddy to Jackie. His marriage to Tanya on the outs, he and Jackie might have lived happily ever after if it hadn’t been revealed that Paddy was really an intersex baby. Jason freaked out and went back to Tanya, and when Kyle finally found out that Jason was really his brother’s father, he almost killed him. Tanya, fed up with Jason’s constant indiscretions, humiliated him during their vow renewal ceremony in one of the best takedowns ever. After Jason punched Tanya, he went to drown his troubles in a bottle of champagne while sitting on a ledge- and there was killed by none other than sweet Chardonnay, who had been devastated over the loss of Paddy. Her comeuppance? Death by anorexia.
*This* was nuts
Then Kyle started hitting his mother Jackie; Tanya..."fornicated" Frank to death so she could be with Conrad, who was ending his marriage to Amber; then Tanya passed off her baby with Frank as Conrad’s by switching her baby with Amber and Conrad’s- and then saw her baby suffocated to death by Amber’s poodle; Tanya grieved for about three minutes, then turned around and tried to gaslight Amber, who wasn’t as stupid as she’d previously acted and realized her baby was still alive. And...that’s just the first half of the episodes. I promise, the rest was just as consistently, amazingly trashy. 

As they say, go big or go home- and don't waste your time doing it.

What was your favorite, just-about-perfect television show?

Thanks for reading! Please join Danielle tomorrow as she takes on her favorites.