Monday, June 26, 2017

Goddess Fish Presents: Harper's Place by Sheryl Winters

Harper’s Place
by Sheryl Winters


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GENRE: Romance

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BLURB:

Harper Grey is fed up with over-bearing men. Her father wants to sell the family hamburger joint to her brother because a woman could never make it successful.

Harper knows she has the same flair for business as her mother, and sexy Navy SEAL Patrick O’Brien dares her to prove it to the world.

When duty calls and Patrick must leave her side, will Harper be strong enough to make her dream a reality?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excerpt:


Aunt Adelina’s dining room hasn’t changed in years. The same flower embroidered tablecloth adorns the long, low kitchen table. The material is only slightly yellow with age and protected by a heavy plastic covering. The hard, low-backed captain chairs have me squirming in my seat. Across the table from me, Tony and Dad shovel Aunt Adelina’s spinach lasagna into their mouths as if this were their last meal.

“So how’s the job hunt going?” Tony smirks. “I sent you that link for the secretarial position at my company didn’t I?”

I am here only for Aunt Adelina and her free food, I remind myself even as I twist the bread on my plate into tiny pieces onto my plate. “Was that the email I deleted?” I reply in a voice as sweet as maple syrup. I also blocked your fool-ass account.

“Now Slugger,” Dad says with a heavy frown. “I know Tony meant well. He tells me things have been rough since you quit Just Burgers.”

That is so not how I remember it. “My life isn’t rough. It’s gotten considerably better, and I didn’t quit, you fired me so you could shut down Just Burgers instead of letting your daughter run it remember?” I drawl out the ‘r.’

Uncomfortable silence reigns at the table, only broken by the crunching of a dinner roll by Aunt Adelina. In contrast, Uncle Ed’s hand is extended in the air with a roll clutched tight in his fist.

Dad clears his throat but not before shooting a dagger-filled look at me. “Harper, about that. I counted on you to help me with the cleaning of the store. You know my arthritis acts up in the winter and—”

I leap to my feet. “Yes, and I expected to be treated as part of the family and not just a helper when it’s convenient.”

“Who wants another garlic roll? Here, pass this around.” Aunt Adelina thrusts the basket into my hands. The basket has traveled the table so many times tonight I’m amazed it doesn’t have its own airline miles.

“It’s a good thing you closed the store, Dad.” Tony shoots a sly glance in my direction. “It was more than time for you to get out of that money pit. Wintering in Florida will be the best thing that ever happened to you.”

Tony shovels another piece of lasagna onto his plate, and I fist my hands at my side.

“Tony, are you sure you want that big of a piece?” The words erupt from my lips before I can stop them. “You’re getting kinda chunky, especially around the middle.”

“What?” Tony’s head jerks up. He straightens and sucks in his breath as if it will make his beer gut disappear.

“That’s one thing I admire about Patrick. He works out every day. My boyfriend picked an active job.” I glance at Tony’s midsection. “And you. You picked a job where you will get progressively fatter. By the time you’re forty-five, we’ll be picking out your coffin.”

Aunt Adelina coughs into her napkin. 

“Listen, Harper, just because I finally got Dad to see reason, doesn’t mean that you need to take it out on us. Dad closing down shop and not selling to you was for your own good, you know,” Tony says. “We thought about it carefully, weighed the pros and cons.”

“My own good! You are a sneaky toad of a brother. You have no clue what’s for my own good because you take the safe road, always! I’ve got half a mind to—”

“Enough arguing.” Aunt Adelina’s thundering voice has the entire table turning toward her. “It’s time for pie.” She grabs my arm and tugs me toward the kitchen. “Young lady, you will help me.”

“I’m not serving Tony. He’s fat enough,” I say over my shoulder loud enough that the sneaky toad will hear me.

“Harper Elizabeth Gray! Enough squabbling with your brother.” Auntie releases my arm and grabs up a pie knife, pointing its blunt end at me. “You will pretend to be nice if it kills you. We are a family and we will act like it.” She slices into the lemon meringue while I continue to stew. “Now give this to Tony.” Aunt Adelina slaps a full plate of pie into my hand and pushes me toward the dining room.

“Fine.” I hesitate, turn and grab another plate she’s dished up, and slide that pie on top of Tony’s. Grinning, I scoop up an extra spoon of whipped cream, smothering both pieces. Ooo… With my free hand, I locate auntie’s secret stash of chocolate chips and sprinkle some on top just for the hell of it. What is it about Tony that makes me feel like a ten-year-old again?

Aunt Adelina groans. “Child, you’ll be the death of me.”  

Tony accepts his piece, but not after giving me a pointed sneer. I pat my much slimmer stomach and smile as wide as I can.

I no sooner reach the kitchen than another slice of pie is shoved into my hand. Dutifully, I begin passing plates around the table again. When everyone has been served, I clear the table of dishes and escape to the quiet of the kitchen. The silence of the small room is a pointed relief. Twenty more minutes to the gift opening. Five minutes of Dad and Tony glaring at me over matching pink bow ties. Fifteen more minutes to clean up the living room and say my goodbyes. One hour to the subway and I’ll be home by midnight.

I can do this!

Filled with irrational anger, I begin scrubbing away at the plates. Stupid men and their inability to do any amount of dishes.

“Well, now, little girl. It’s not like you to slam things and run away.” Aunt Adelina drops an empty pie plate on the counter. “You want to tell me what’s going on? You didn’t break up with that nice young soldier of yours did you?”

The bitterness I’ve been keeping inside, the many days of stomping the pavement looking for a backer, the many nights of trying to come up with just the right words to convince bankers to loan me cash crashes down on me. “How come you’re not mad because they let Just Burgers go instead of helping me buy it?”

“Oh, honey.” She picks up a dish towel and dries off the plate I hand her. “Why should we be mad? It’s just the way the world is.”

“Chauvinistic you mean?”

“This whole thing reminds me of when your mom and dad started that damned money pit of a restaurant. Elizabeth had her heart set on some name and your father just wouldn’t give in. He was like that over the salad bar she wanted so bad. She would have been so ahead of her time.” Aunt Adelina pats me on the shoulder. “Your father loves you, baby girl, don’t ever forget that. It’s not his fault that he could never see the forest for the trees. Some men are like that. So damn fool stubborn they just can’t admit when they are wrong.” She dumps the empty ham platter into the soapy water. “So are you still committed to this dream of yours?”

I lift my chin. “I need time to regroup. I know what you’re thinking, that I’m wasting my time at the corner station, but it’s money coming in. I’ve been turning in resumes on my days off. I was told I needed experience, a backer, and capital.” Thank you, Mrs. Anderson. “I plan on working on one thing at a time.”

Can she hear the desperation in my voice?

Aunt Adelina sighs as she puts a plate into the cupboard over her head. “Well, the gas station is good honest work. That reminds me, I found something of your grandmother’s that I wanted you to have.” She peers around the corner, lifting up piles of mail off the counter. “Now where did I put my handbag?” She leaves the room and comes back a few moments later, her large black purse swinging from her arm. “I have to remember to clean this out. Do you remember that house Grandma Alicia lived in? That big rambling structure?”

“Yes.” Mom hated having to sell the house after Grandma died. She and Aunt Adelina split the profits in half. And Dad and Mom used her share to start Just Burgers. Aunt Adelina used hers to buy her home.

Aunt Adelina pulls out a photograph and hands it to me. It’s the three of them standing in front of that old house. Aunt Adelina, Mom, and Grandma, three of the toughest, hardest working women I know.

“Put that on the mantle.” She pats me on the shoulder. “Then you look at it every day. That’s a picture of women who know what good, hard drudgery is. You work at your gas station if you have to, to make ends meet, but don’t you dare ever give up.”

I finger the photograph. These women would never give up, but this is so hard. “I’m scared I’ll never get a loan.”

“You’ll get it, Harper. You just need faith. Mountains aren’t moved in a day. You just keep trying and I’ll just keep being proud of you.”

The photo bends in my hand and I carefully smooth it out. “Aren’t you afraid I’ll fail? What if no one ever believes in me the way you do, what if—”

The palm of her hand shushes me with one movement. She pulls me in by the shoulders with a gentle squeeze. “Enough. You are Harper Gray. The strongest, smartest kid I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. You come from a long line of strong women. Now hand me that dish. We’ve got to get these done or we’ll never get to opening those presents.”

Breathe Harper, remember you are a professional. You meet hot guys every day.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I never set out to be an author. Only a storyteller. Some days I succeed better than others.

Links:

Website: http://sherylwinters.weebly.com/
Blog: http://sherylwinters.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sherylwinters123
Twitter:https://twitter.com/WintersSheryl

Buy Links:

Roane Publishing: https://www.roanepublishing.com/product-p/hp-01.htm
Amazon  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XT6VPHK
Amazon (UK)  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XT6VPHK
Barnes and Noble  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1126040154
Kobo Books  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/harper-s-place
Smashwords  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/713416
Bookstrand  http://www.bookstrand.com/harpers-place

~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Sheryl will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Review: Wonder Woman

The Wonder Woman movie begins with a young Diana who lives on an island of all women.  Her mother is a queen and she gets trained to fight.  Later on, she is told that she needs to fight Ares, the god of war.  After saving a man whose plane crashes on her island, Diana brings him back to England and then sets out to fight during World War I.

My Review:  The first half of this movie was excellent.  I found Diana Prince's childhood very entertaining.  There were many references to Greek mythology that drew me in.  I also liked the scenes of Diana and the soldier she saved returning to England and getting ready to find Ares at the heart of the war.  The movie fizzles out a little towards the end when Wonder Woman fights Ares during the war.  I also didn't understand why a Native American Indian was in the cast when it took place in France.  Wonder Woman's outfit was not like the one Linda Carter wore back in the day.  The new Wonder Woman has a gold German eagle that is sewn on the top of the costume.  Someone got the symbolism wrong.  The special effects were great and the actress was gorgeous.  There were a lot of spectacular action scenes.  I recommend watching this in a theater.  4/5 Stars

Thursday, June 22, 2017

XPresso Tours Presents: Shades of the Gods by Erin Hayes


Shades of the Gods
Erin Hayes
(Elysium Legacies #1)
Publication date: September 27th 2013
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Mythology
Caught between life and death, all Callie wants is to live again.
Homicide detective Callie Saunders knows that death isn’t all pearly gates and angels. After being hit by a bus, she finds that it’s the ancient gods and goddesses of Greek mythology who are in charge of everything.
So when Hades offers her a deal, she accepts. If she wants to be brought back to life, she’ll have to figure out who is trying to kill his son. But if she fails, both her soul and the world will be destroyed.
With the odds mounting against her, it’ll take everything she has within her to wake up from death. But the rules are constantly changing. And someone wants her to stay dead.
(This book was formerly titled Death is but a Dream. The covers and titles have changed for The Elysium Legacies, but the content is still the same.)
99¢ for a limited time only!
EXCERPT:
“You’re blackmailing me,” I sneered at him, fury raging within me at the realization. “You want me to do something in return before you allow me to wake up.”
He raised his hand in a gesture of supplication. “Not blackmail,” he assured. “I’m looking to employ you for a time.”
I recoiled. “Employ me? As what? Muscle? Is this the Underworld’s version of the Mafia?” Now that I thought about it, Hades did remind me of a mob boss. He even looked like some I knew. “I don’t play that, sorry.”
Hades grinned. “I want to make a deal with you, Callista. You find out who is trying to kill my son. Give me a name and a motive. And I’ll restore you to life.”


Author Bio:
Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books.
She works as an advertising copywriter by day, and she's an award-winning New York Times Bestselling Author by night. She has lived in New Zealand, Hawaii, Texas, Alabama, and now San Francisco with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.
You can reach her at erinhayesbooks@gmail.com and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

XPresso Tours Presents: The Amethyst Bride by Kelsey McNight


The Amethyst Bride
Kelsey McKnight
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: June 20th 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical
British heiress Penelope Elmsly always thought she’d marry young and settle down to a life of domestic bliss. But her perfect plan may come unraveled, along with her corset strings, when two men vie for her hand.
One is a wealthy businessman who offers her the financial stability and social standing she always held dear. The other is a rugged Scottish highlander who gives her passion she never knew she desired.
With two amethyst rings upon her finger, Penelope has a choice to make, and she can’t afford to choose wrong, especially when more than just her livelihood is at stake.
Will she walk down the aisle into a life of luxury, leaving her heart in Scotland? Or will she choose to save her fortune, and her reputation?
Book trailer:


Author Bio:
Kelsey McKnight is a university-educated historian from southern New Jersey. She has married her great loves of romance, history, and literature to create her newly finished works. Her first books, "The Scottish Stone Series", are coming in April of 2017 by Limitless Publishing. Book one is titled "Queen of Emeralds", and is available now. "The Scottish Stone Series" take readers on a journey through the bustling streets of Victorian London and into the lush hills of the Scottish Highlands. Her second book, a contemporary romance titled "The Non-Disclosure Agreement", will also be available in May of 2017 and feature a bad boy politician and the small town girl that could change his ways. When she’s not writing, Kelsey can be found reading, drinking too much coffee, spending time with her family, and working on two nonprofits.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Novel Review: The Circle


The Circle is about a woman, Mae, who goes to work for a powerful tech company, The Circle.  She gets the job from her blueblood, WASP friend who is already high up the ladder.  The Circle campus is a dream.  The company has a million activities for the employees, a gym, a pool, a theater, croquet, plays, concerts, dorms, shuttles, an aquarium, and much more.  Mae starts off in customer service and then gets a quasi-promotion.  
After getting caught on cameras (the ones her company installs) stealing a kayak at a rental place, she is asked to go "transparent". What does that mean?  In this book, Mae as well as many others in the world are wearing cameras around their necks all day long.  The only time the cameras turn off are for bathroom breaks and bed time.  She is a huge success and has many followers who watch her all day long work at the Circle.  As she becomes more famous and more liked by the Three Wise Men (the three men who run the company), her best friend Annie starts to see the company in a different light.  Annie's program is like an Ancestry.com on steroids.  She learns her Mayflower family has a very dark past.
On the otherhand, Mae loves the attention and fame.  She becomes more and more indoctrinated despite being cut off from her family. Mae has two love interests in the book, one is another co-worker, Francis, who invents an tracker that is lodged into children's bones so that their parents don't have to worry about them getting kidnapped.  Another love interest, Kalden, is somewhat of a rebel and doesn't quite buy into the Circle philosophy of disclosing one's every move as well as liking, rating, writing, zinging, and sharing everyone else's life through the Internet.  I will not spoil the ending.

My Review: Dave Eggers beats you over the head with a lead pipe over and over again about the dangers and growing power of the Internet.  I can't help but think of Google when reading this book-the elaborate work campus, Google Circles, Google sharing, Google Hangouts, Google doc and surveys, etc.  
In the book, Mae is told right away that using the social media the Circle provides is expected.  She is supposed to join online clubs, respond to other's postings, and use smileys or frowns for others' comments.  Her job never seems to end.  The company is very good to her.  They put her father with MS on the company's health insurance and also pay her well.  She becomes more sucked into the world of sharing everything that you do.  The author mentions how the government tries to stop the company's growing power, but can't.  This is the one point that I disagree with the author.  Our government is not trying to stop anyone.  They are all bought and sold.  Our corporations do whatever they want.  The Circle is spying on the world much like the NSA.  They have SeeChange cameras placed in every country for everyone to view.  Anyone who disagrees is immediately accused of doing something illegal and immoral because they don't want to be watched.  They are accused of being selfish for not sharing their experiences.  The ones who object to any of the Circle's power, is backwards in his/her thinking.  
It's a very scary world in which privacy is obsolete.  The company defends its philosophy of transparency by claiming that crime, violence, and abuse would end if offenders thought they were being watched.  It's an interesting argument to make in the name of complete totalitarianism.  Overall, I really liked this book.  It was very entertaining, at times funny, and especially profound.  Eggers's book reads like a modern day 1984 with Big Brother watching everything we do.  Five star no-brainer.  I heard the movie is not as good, but still want to see it.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

XPresso Book Tours Presents: Traitor by Alyson Santos


Traitor
Alyson Santos
Publication date: June 6th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
They may be refugees but Andie Sorenson never chose to flee when government forces abduct her to the “safety” of a military-operated compound. Caught in an ugly civil war no one understands, she’s now a number, a uniform, her future reduced to three stale meals a day with the strangers who share her fate. She’s nothing, no one—until a random act of compassion and an electric smile turn her prison into a refuge.
It’s his eyes, his heart, his beautiful soul drowning in an ocean of secrets. Lance Corporal Kaleb Novelli is an enigma, but with each plunge through another layer, Andie finds herself captured in a way she never imagined. She knows they have no future. They can’t even have a present, but that doesn’t stop her heart from committing to a man she can never have. The only one she trusts in this battle of lies and manipulation.
But they’ve found their paradise in hell, and she can’t shake the feeling that Kaleb Novelli is not just a player. He’s the game.
EXCERPT:
His teasing smile plunges through me, settling low, hot and pulsating. It’s a dangerous offer, because soon, I’m on his lap, grasping his hair, claiming his mouth before he can change his mind. Our kiss intensifies, and my brain surrenders to instinct. It wants more, weeks of imagination straining for release. I want to own the smile that melts me, the eyes that haunt me, the compassion that transforms me.
He braces his hands on my back, and I gasp at the flames ripping through my veins. My groan leaks out when he hardens beneath me, and my body instinctively tries to pull him in. God, he feels so good, tastes so good. He’s infinite. There is no enough of this man. There are too many layers, and each one leaves me aching for the next.
I grip the collar of his shirt as he tugs at my hem. Fabric can be damn frustrating, and I’m desperate to fight through it. I want it all: mind, body, and soul, but he pulls back. Eyes clenched, captivating in that moment—overwhelming—I can’t bear the pain of the separation about to come. I’m already suffering the chill of the space between us. I breathe in my own recovery while he hauls himself together, but I don’t object. I care about him too much to make his battle unbearable with a direct assault on his will. I know his struggle against feelings he’s not supposed to have. A relationship he’s not allowed to have. I already broke my promise and won’t cause more agony for the man I’m terrified I’m coming to love.
It takes all my strength to distance myself when he can’t break us apart this time. His expression mirrors my heart, anguish and relief, as I round the corner of his desk to lean on a safer side. Our eyes lock through the gap, both of us aware of what happened, and all the reasons why it shouldn’t have.


Author Bio:
I’m a writer, musician, and cat lover. I also have an alternative music obsession. Seriously, it's a real problem.
I write what needs to come out, whether it’s pain, tears, or laughter. I write people and relationships, about the beauty and horror of what we do to ourselves and each other. I write Love. Vengeance. Compassion. Cruelty. Trust. Betrayal. Forgiveness. Darkness, and the incredible way humans destroy and heal each other.
I like to eradicate barriers, refusing to be confined by the laws of physics or limitations of reality. I will befriend a vast population of possibilities and introduce them in ways that might surprise you.

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

XPresso Book Tours Presents: Fate of the Stars by Arwen Paris


Fate of the Stars
Arwen Paris
Publication date: September 1st 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

When the fate of the world rests upon you…
Allison Delaney wants to spend her senior year healing from the loss of her father, to leave the shadows of his death and her junior year break-down behind. A Labor Day beach party seems like a good place to start…but there’s more danger lurking than anyone could imagine. Death is coming to Earth if the pods of infectious creatures aren’t stopped. But only one human can help…
To live or die is no longer a choice.
Eenoki is a protector of life but must have a sentient host to fight the invasion. A teenage girl would not be the best choice, but out of desperation Eenoki invades Allison’s mind and body, granting her unnatural abilities and strengths – and helping her escape certain death when the first wave of pods land.
As destruction rains down on Earth’s population, Allison realizes to save everyone, she must make the ultimate choice: Reject her human side and bond with Eenoki to become the Earth’s Priestess – or be killed along with the rest of humanity.
EXCERPT:
Why would they come out here?
I stagger back, shaking as I remember my narrow escape from town, and the aliens’ hissing reaction to sound. I hobble to the pilothouse. “Pete!” I shout, twisting the handle. It refuses to turn. “Shut off the engines.” I beat on the door.
“What the hell this yellin’ about?” he shouts, throwing the door open at me. The other passengers scream. Pete turns toward the shore. “Oh my God.” He runs inside. Revving the motor, he swings us back out into the bay. A loud screech jabs my eardrums as metal grinds on metal, and the engines come to an abrupt stop.
“No. No!” Pete shouts, turning the key. There’s no reaction at all.
Over the wind and waves, an odd clicking sound makes my flesh crawl. We all stand motionless trying to identify it. The clicks grow louder, overlapping until they become shrill. Something strikes the hull with a heavy thud, and everyone jumps. Then another pound on the boat, and another. I can’t decide whether to search for the source of the noise or hide below. But I have to know, so I follow the sound to the rear of the ship. Bobbing on the waves is a human, his face streaked with a black oily residue that’s oozing from his nose and mouth. It resembles the oily residue I saw on the back of Bob’s neck. His eyes are opaque and dead. Nausea rises in my gut.
They didn’t die. I’m not sure what they are now, but they’re no longer human.
I’ve put everyone here in danger with my selfish request to go to shore, attracting their attention. I grow limp and drop my head back, staring up at the sky.
So close, a thin voice says, seemingly right in my ear. It’s the voice that warned me to run. Clenching my jaw, I lash out through my mind at the voice. So close to what, dying?
Discordant memories churn in my head. I close my eyes to still the illusions. A glow illuminates the back of my eyelids and warmth spreads through me.
You must see, Allison. The only way left to explain in time.


Author Bio:
Arwen Paris is the author of young adult fiction. Her debut YA Sci-fi Urban Fantasy novel FATE OF THE STARS releases September 1, 2017. The actions packed pages of her novels are filled with characters that are forced to face fears they never expected. When she's not writing, you can see posts of her (too many) vacations that keep her sane. Arwen lives in Washington, has a big crazy family & after the day job, she writes Fiction For the Fearless - #F3Fanatic

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Goddess Fish Presents: Harper's Place by Sheryl Winters

Harper’s Place by Sheryl Winters ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ GENRE : Romance ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ BLURB: Harper Grey is fed up with ove...