Monday, December 30, 2013

Album Review: Charles Szczepanek - Winter Day Dreaming

Artist: Charles Szczepanek

Album: Winter Day Dreaming

Review by Andrea Guy

There has probably never been another CD so appropriately named as Charles Szczepanek's

Winter Day Dreaming. This collection of instrumental holiday tunes will put anyone in a festive mood.

Winter Day Dreaming consists of nine holiday favorites played by Charles Szczepanek and two

original compositions. This is the perfect addition to anyone's holiday music collection. Solo

piano brings a wintry element to the music. The tinkling of the keys seems to add a chill to the

air.

Holiday music is something people love or hate. There's no way that you can hate the music

of Winter Day Dreaming. Though the songs are nearly all classics, their is nothing cheesy or

gimmicky about the arrangements that Charles has done. These are just songs that everyone

knows, stripped down to their barest, just a piano bringing their melodies to life.

Whether you are listening to "What Child Is This" or "O Holy Night" you'll feel like you are in

an intimate setting, perhaps in front of the tree, or the fire, with hot cocoa at hand. Whatever you

visualize, you'll probably feel the stillness and peacefulness of the music.

"O Holy Night" has a particularly quiet arrangement. This is a song that is usually comes with a

full orchestra, and yet, Charles brings it down a notch or two. It is so calm and so soothing. The

piano almost sounds like a music box playing.

"Silent Night" has a similar arrangement. It is hard to give words to the music that Charles has

created. It is easy to string adjectives along, such as beautiful, stunning, gentle and calming, but

those only touch the tip of what he's done here.

"Silent Night" is now a lullaby and that is perfect when you think of the lyrics that you aren't

hearing. (Even though they play through your head with each note.)

Charles does a marvelous job with "Carol Of The Bells." The keys ring out the tune, as lively as

any bells could do and without fanfare. This is probably the most energetic melody on the album,

especially as the melody reaches the crescendo.

"Snowfall" is one of Charles' original compositions. The arrangement, like those on the

traditional tunes, is one of lightness. This is music that is very visual. Without even knowing the

title of the song, you can easily picture a blanket of white covering a country landscape and feel a

bite of cold in the air.

"Winter Day Dreaming" has a lilting melody. It is easy to imagine this song in the background of

a holiday film, probably a romantic comedy. It would be playing as the guy finally gets the girl.

One of the most beautiful songs found in this collection is "Angels We Have Heard On High." As

Charles' fingers glide over the keys, it may be hard not to sing along with the melody, though the

piano keys do some lovely singing of their own. Charles has some drama and flair towards the

end allowing the song to pack a nice punch.

The album closes with "Auld Lang Syne" which is appropriate. Christmas is over and the New

Year is waiting. The solo piano seems to sound lonely sending off the old year.

In a world where big and flashy things are all the norm, Charles Szczerpanek delivers a holiday

album that is just the opposite. This album is beautiful in all its simplicity. One man, one piano

and eleven songs that will fill you with holiday spirit even in the middle of summer.

If you are looking for something that isn't all glitz and glamour for your holiday music collection,

Winter Day Dreaming is the CD you must have.

Rating: 5 (out of 5 stars)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Promo Spot: The Trust Me Trilogy




Trust Me?
The Trust Me? Trilogy
Book 1
KE Osborn

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

ISBN: 9780992333805
ASIN: B00F0G6JRW

Number of pages: 283 pages
Word Count: approx 89,000


Book Description:

This book is for mature audiences 18+ It contains explicit language and sexual content.

Jenifer Taylor is content with her life, dull and boring as it is. Being absent from the dating scene means she doesn’t have to deal with the major trust issues she has with men that stem from a controlling and aggressive ex-boyfriend and an absentee father.  She’s happy being alone, sharing her life with her friends and family.

When Jeni starts a typical day in the big city of Mornington Vale, California, it turns from bad to worse when she’s involved in a chain collision on her way to work.
Her world changes forever that day because she meets Aiden O’Connell, the billionaire son of Alistair O’Connell, who owns Mornington Vale’s largest financial corporation. Aiden is an up-and-coming young businessman who's ready to take on the vice presidency of his father’s company. He is the good son, and it’s imperative to Alistair that Aiden succeed and follow in his footsteps. Life for Aiden involves working hard and not much else.

After the accident, however, Aiden’s world changes as well. He finds Jeni irresistible and instantly pursues her. With some coaxing, she eventually agrees to a date, and the attraction is mutual.

Jeni finds love quickly with Aiden, but trusting him is another issue.  When to trust is tested in many different ways but comes to a head when Aiden is investigated for a serious crime.  As her trust issues spark, she is forced to go through a journey of self-discovery.

She must decide once and for all whether she trusts the man she loves when she’s asked the ultimate question: “Do you trust me?”

This is book one in a series of three.  Book two "Love Me?" was released on November 18th, 2013.


Short Excerpt Trust Me?

I turn to face him; he puts his other arm around me. We are in the same position as before when the last kiss attempt failed. My arms are tight around his neck, his arms around my waist. I look down. He lifts up my chin so I’m lost in his gaze. His hand goes back to my waist. He swallows; I think he’s as nervous as I am. He tilts his head and leans in … I back away quickly.
“What’s wrong?” he asks, looking hurt.
“Oh, no, it’s not you. I think … I might have garlic breath.”
He laughs and pulls me back to him. “So do I.” He pulls me in tighter, and before I know what’s happening, his lips are on mine. I give in and surrender to him completely.
This feels like one of my fantasies, only way, way better. He holds me tight as one hand moves from my waist to caress my cheek, kissing me softly but sensually. My hands move to the back of his head, and I grab a lock of hair in each hand. He moves our bodies so that I’m against the railing at the edge of the deck. He moves his hand from my waist to hold the rail as I still grasp his hair. The kissing becomes feverishly passionate; his tongue against mine as they intertwine with each other. Our breathing becomes faster and erratic. Our kissing becomes more intimate. We are in perfect sync with each other. I pull him closer to me, our whole bodies touching. My heart is pounding fast and hard. His hand moves from my face to the back of my head, pulling me tight. He moves my hair from the side of my neck, breaks our kiss and kisses my neck slowly and seductively. I sigh and breathe in a stuttering motion. I open my eyes to see the waitress standing there, gawking at us. I stiffen as I see her. He pulls back and looks at me. With my eyes, I gesture toward the waitress. He turns, looks, and lets out a little huff. He leans in towards me.
“Now that’s a first kiss,” he whispers as he grabs my hand and leads me over to the table. I can’t help but smile.
  

Love Me?
The Trust Me? Trilogy
Book 2
KE Osborn

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

ISBN: 9780992333812
ASIN: B00GMCILB0

Number of pages: 271
Word Count:87,000


Book Description:

This book is for mature audiences 18+ It contains explicit language and sexual content.

In the first book of The Trust Me? Trilogy, Jeni Taylor finds the love of her life, but as the second book begins, she finds herself lost without Aiden O’Connell, who’s been wrongly convicted of embezzlement charges and incarcerated. She must find the strength within to help prove he’s innocent while dealing with other issues. Aiden’s father, Alistair, still taunts her, making life between Jeni and Aiden more difficult, and an unexpected visitor enters their lives, creating havoc and turning it upside down. Jeni’s trust issues return in a major way after an incident leaves her fragile and broken. Aiden and Jeni find themselves going through more trials and tribulations than ever before in this second installment of the Trust Me? Trilogy. In the end, Jeni will be asked the ultimate question: Do you still love me?

  



Short Excerpt Love Me?

       My nerves start to get the better of me, I start to feel nauseous; those darn pesky butterflies attack again. I’m not sure why I’m nervous, whether it’s the shoes making me unstable or whether it’s the memory of our first date, our first touch, or our first kiss that’s making me bashful.
       I turn the corner to see him standing there with a bunch of red roses, in the suit that he changed into earlier, this time with a baby pink tie on. Behind him is that gorgeous waterfall cascading down the cliff with the lush greenery surrounding us. As I take a step closer, I hear music playing. “Thank You for Loving Me” by Bon Jovi. It’s our song. I feel my eyes welling up as all the emotion and love I feel for this man is becoming too much to bear.
       His smile is beaming from ear to ear when I approach. Finally I reach him. He holds out his hand for me to take. I take it, and he pulls me into a tight embrace.
       “This is perfect,” I whisper.
       “Perfection for perfection, my love.” He kisses my cheek, and places the bouquet of flowers on the railing.


About the Author:

K E Osborn is the Adelaide based Author of the Trust me? Trilogy, a romance series with love, laughter and plenty of lust!

K E Osborn was born in September 1984 and raised in Adelaide South Australia. She had a love of writing throughout High School but went down a different path to Design instead. It wasn't until she had a vivid dream about a three car pileup that the characters of her first book came to life.

Aiden and Jeni are the amazing couple from the Trust me? Trilogy and they were born into the world through the imagination of K E Osborn in 2012.













Saturday, December 28, 2013

Tasty Ham Salad

If you are looking for something quick and easy to make with your leftover ham, this super tasty sandwich spread is definitely the thing.

I improvised my recipe from Mr. Food.

Ingredients
2 cups cooked cubed ham
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup onion

Directions
Place all the ingredients in a food processor with the blade attachment.
Chop 1 minute on medium then scrape the sides of the bowl and then chop again until you reach your desired consistency.

Serve immediately or chill

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Oreo Cream Cheese Cookies

I found the recipe for these yummy cookies at Crumbs and Chaos

The original recipe only made 18 cookies, so I did some doubling and some tweaking (tweaking not twerking..m'kay!)

 Ingredients 
1 cup butter, softened
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cup flour
1 cup dark chocolate morsels
26 oreo cookies, crushed (Double stuffed ...and even good generic oreos work..to save some cash)

Instructions 

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and well combined.

Add the sugar and vanilla and mix until the ingredients are well combined.

Add the flour and mix on low until the flour is incorporated. Stir in the mini chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

Place the Oreo crumbs in a small bowl.

Create 1½" balls and then roll in the cookie crumbs. (I do mine smaller, cos I don't like big cookies)

Place the cookie balls on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the tops are slightly puffed.

Cool on the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Damn Snow

OK, Google has come up with something that makes your pictures come alive.

Usually I don't get all excited about stuff like that, but OMG it added snow to my snow picture!

I have to admit when I first saw the picture I let out a loud squee.

Yes, my friends, I am very easily amused

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Album Review: Erasure - Snow Globe


There are some artists that you just can't imagine putting out a full Christmas album, but when they do, you are so happy you could burst.

That's the case with Erasure's Snow Globe.

The album opens with the stunning "Bells Of Love" which really isn't holiday or winter related, but it is one of the strongest songs on the album. It is the one song that will stick with you all year long.

"Gaudete" is the album's lead single. It is songs such as this that show off Andy Bell's vocals. It leaves the listener breathless. It is a medieval song of praise written sometime between the 15th and 16th century.

Next up is "Make It Wonderful" another Erasure original that feels Christmasy but really is pure Erasure and not really holiday related at all, yet somehow it fits perfectly among all the other more festive tunes.

"Sleep Quietly" is a haunting carol. Vince Clarke provides an appropriately dark and atmospheric melody of bleeps and bloops.

Erasure recorded "Silent Night" many years back and Snow Globe wouldn't be complete without this song making an appearance. This is a song that so many have covered, some good, some bad and in the case of Erasure, some magnificent. If you are a religious person, you may feel like you are in the presence of angels when you hear Andy Bell sing this.

"Loving Man" is another departure from the festive fun. This song is fun and just what you'd expect from Erasure. It makes you want to get up and dance.

Vince Clarke once again brings some interesting electronic sounds to the standard "The Christmas Song." It is probably one of the weaker tracks on the album, mostly because in an album full of more unique selections this particular song feels a bit out of place.

"In The Bleak Midwinter" follows in the vein of "Gaudete" and "Sleep Quietly." This is a darkly beautiful carol. This song seems to be becoming a staple on holiday albums since The Moody Blues recorded it for their 2003 release December.

"Blood On The Snow" is another moody sounding song. Andy's range dips low for these, really low!

"There'll Be No Tomorrow" is another bouncy dance number. This is a great song to play to ring in the New Year.

The album closes with three holiday standards "Midnight Clear," the overdone, "White Christmas" and "Silver Bells."

Of the three, "Silver Bells" is the one that stands out. Andy delivers a theatrical vocal and Vince's melody is full of whimsy. It is the perfect song to close out an album that is a must have for your holiday.




Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Apple Raisin Bread Pudding

This is such a yummy bread pudding.

Ingredients

1 can of apple pie filling
6 slices of bread or enough to cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish
1 cup of raisins regular or golden
5 eggs slightly beaten
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups of milk
1 stick of butter
Cinnamon

Directions

Cut the bread up (I always remove the crusts) and line the bottom of the pan with the bread.

Top with raisins and then pie filling

In a microwavable bowl add the butter, sugar and milk. Microwave for a minute or more until the butter is melted.

Let cool

~ Tip if you take the butter/milk mixture out when the butter isn't completely melted and whisk it cools faster

Add the eggs to the milk mixture

Pour over the bread

Bake @ 350 for 45 minutes




Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Butterscotch Bread

This recipe is one that my family has made for years. My mother made it and so did my grandmother.

It is a nice dense quick bread..good as a sweet for breakfast or as a lighter dessert.

Ingredients

2 eggs
2 T melted shortening/butter
2 c brown sugar
4 c flower
1 1/4 tsp soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 c buttermilk or sour milk
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Beat eggs, add sugar and shortening. Mix flower,soda, powder and salt together. Add to egg mixture alternately with milk. Add nuts.

Pour into 2 greased/floured loaf pans. Place on 4th shelf from the bottom.  Both on one shelf

350 degrees for one hour...

From the recipe file of Emma Rehula

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Recipe: Crescent Turkey Pot Pie

Left over turkey anyone?

Here's an easy and pretty cheap way to use up some of those holiday leftovers

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of chopped turkey
3 cups of gravy...if you don't have any leftover, I recommend the Stonehouse mixes.
1 bag mixed veggies
1 package of crescent rolls

Directions

Warm the gravy or prepare according to package directions.
Add turkey and mixed veggies and heat until warmed.
Spoon into an 8 x 8 pan and cover with the crescent dough..you can make it pretty if you want or just cover the top of the pan. Whatever works for you.
Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

The result is super yummy!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cover Reveal: The Book Stops Here


The Book Stops Here: A Bibliophile Mystery will be out in hardcover in June 2014 and this time around, Brooklyn Wainwright is invited to be the book expert on an antiques appraisal TV show called This Old Attic. I worked in TV for many years and now I finally get to put all my backstage, death-around-every-corner daydreams into a book! Brooklyn appraises an autographed first edition of The Secret Garden, which happens to be one of my favorite childhood books, but then the book's owner is murdered....

The Book Stops Here is officially available for pre-order and on sale at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Check it out!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Doctor Who In Review: The Day Of The Doctor (A Mostly Spoiler Free Review)

Anyone of the millions that watched the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who, had to come away with a smile on their face and a few tears in their eyes.

I know I did.

Without any real plot spoilers...

Steven Moffat delivered an episode that wasn't scary...but more reaffirming what The Doctor and his companions are all about. This episode is about The Doctor...his past and his future.

You'll see one very early on in the form of an asthmatic girl who who is working for U.N.I.T.

But they are all over the place when you watch.

Plus you also have the return of David Tennant's 10th Doctor. He was the Doctor who drew me into the show, and I admit I was a fangirl for most of his tenure, and I love him, I really do, but for me, he was possibly the only slightly downside of the special. Not for any bad acting or leg humping that we got in the Rose Tyler days...(though Billie is in the special.....) but because it seemed like he was having trouble getting back into character.....except one time early on....with a woodland creature. I dare you not to laugh there.

But this special really is all about John Hurt's character. He was brilliant. He had humor and seriousness and a bit of the curmudgeonliness that will remind longtime fans of William Hartnell's 1st Doctor all those 50 years ago.

Probably my only gripe with the whole thing revolves around David Tennant. He just didn't seem to come back into character as well as I had hoped he would. Other people were smashing in their return..but Tennant...just didn't feel quite like 10.

This is also an episode that you want to watch over and over again, because you'll catch all sorts of wonderful things that Moffat tossed in to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the show's airing. Each time you watch you'll find something new.

If you are a Whovian, you're mind will be blown.

10 out of 10 Tardis


Friday, November 22, 2013

TV Review: An Adventure In Space And Time

When I first heard about the movie about the making of Doctor Who I was fascinated. When I sat down to watch it, I was excited, and by the time it had ended I was crying. The tears were tears of joy that Mark Gatiss brought the making of the show to the world so well and tears of sadness, because the show also shows how William Hartnell, who was THE DOCTOR was forced out due to health reasons, though not by his choice.

There was a lot of behind the scenes stuff in the early days. The show's producer was a young woman who really had a lot of spunk, or as they say in the movie, piss and vinegar. That producer was Verity Lambert who was played by Jessica Raine in the film.

However the best acting in the film is done by David Bradley who looked almost like a clone of William Hartnell. You really come to love the man, almost as much as you love The Doctor, watching this film. They really made you sympathetic to him, though if you read some bios of Mr. Hartnell, he wasn't always a sweet grandfatherly figure.

Not that it will matter as you are watching this, because you will fall in love with him, and at the end, you will cry. You will cry for the actor that let the role become his life and you will cry for The Eleventh Doctor who makes a cameo in the end.

It is just a shame that the actor portraying Patrick Troughton wasn't nearly as spot on.

Oh and did I mention the Daleks were an important part of the film?

It can't be Doctor Who without the Daleks. I loved the scene where Verity was arguing with Seymour about them.

Definitely a movie all Whovians should watch and will want to watch again and again.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Goddess Fish Promotions Blurb Blitz Tour: Choose Your Heart



Choose Your Heart
by Callie Hutton

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

BLURB:

Midwife Kerry Mackenzie has tried to move on with her life to no avail. Her deceased husband’s parents expect her to remain true to his memory. But at twenty-four, Kerry’s too young to wear widow weeds for the rest of her life. Seeking independence, she takes a job miles from home that will require her to move. Things may have worked out as planned if she hadn’t gotten stranded on the way…

Ranch owner Damian Greer happens upon Kerry perched alongside her disabled car on an Amarillo highway. Coming from a family whose members move quickly when it comes to love, the instant attraction he feels is no surprise. After observing her during an emergency, he suspects she may be the woman for him.

When it appears her car will be out of commission for a few days, Damian offers to drive Kerry to Albuquerque to meet with her realtor. Can Damian convince her to abandon her plan, and give them a chance?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Excerpt :

The baby boy slid out of its mother’s body just as two medics pushed a gurney up to the truck. Kerry quickly used her index finger to clear the infant’s mouth.

The baby sucked in a breath, and let out with a wail. Damian released the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding. Hopefully, he wouldn’t embarrass himself by having anyone notice the tears standing in his eyes.

His trembling fingers ran through his hair, tugging at his scalp. Never in his life had he witnessed anything so incredible. He took in a deep gulp of air and grinned. Kerry’s face lit up, and her gaze connected with his. In the flashing light from the bar, their eyes locked. Her face shone with sweat, curls plastered to her head, almost as if she had given birth.

Damian’s gut clenched, and a powerful, totally unfamiliar feeling raced through him.

He fought the urge to grab this woman and kiss her senseless. His previous sense of finally having found the right one for him hit him like a fist to the gut.

Dude, you’re in big trouble.


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


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Callie has been making up stories since elementary school, and writing gave her a way to turn off the voices in her head. After having a number of articles and interviews published in newspapers and magazines, she took on what she’d always dreamed of. Writing that book. She currently has a number of both historical and contemporary romance books published. Visit her website for more information. www.calliehutton.com

She currently lives in Oklahoma with her husband and adult children who move in and out with alarming regularity. Add three rescue dogs and the household is complete—and full. She enjoys hearing from her readers, and would love to have you visit her on Facebook.

Or First person:

I’ve been making up stories since elementary school, and writing gave me a way to turn off the voices in my head. After having a number of articles and interviews published in newspapers and magazines, I took on what I’d always dreamed of. Writing that book. I currently have a number of both historical and contemporary romance books published. Visit my website for more information. www.calliehutton.com

I currently live in Oklahoma with my husband and adult children who move in and out with alarming regularity. Add three rescue dogs and the household is complete—and full. I enjoy hearing from my readers, and would love to have you visit me on Facebook.





Buy links:



Callie will be awarding an autographed copy of any of her in-print books, (A Run For Love; An Angel in the Mail; A Tumble Through Time; Emma's Journey; A Prescription For Love) and a hand-made beaded bookmark (US ONY) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cover Reveal: Flashes of Me - Cynthia Sax



Blurb:

Henley, the head of cyber security at Blaine Technologies, is a man no one crosses. He watches employees constantly using his network of cameras and enforces his rules by any means possible. Rumors of his violent past, his scarred hands and huge size have resulted in him being feared by everyone… almost everyone.

Katalina, the new intern, worries about the revelation of her most painful secret much more than she fears her sexy boss’s wrath. She sees the loneliness in his dark eyes, feels the gentleness in his marred fingers, tastes the need in his kisses, and she knows he watches her. His silly rules about not stripping for the cameras and no sex at the office are destined to be broken.

Kat likes to be watched. Henley can’t look away. Will this beauty be able to tame her beastly boss?


Note From Cynthia Sax: 

I’m thrilled to reveal the cover and blurb for Flashes Of Me today! Bright color, especially pink, plays an important role in this story. Blaine Technologies has a very strict dress code yet Kat, our heroine, feels so strongly about wearing color that she risks losing her job.

Here is a brief excerpt giving you a glimpse at why color is important to Kat (this excerpt is completely unedited so please excuse any typos or my crazy use of commas)

***
Henley paces around the perimeter of the small room, his movements drawing my gaze. I sink into one of the black leather chairs, the seat cushioning my ass.

“The dress code at Blaine Technologies is strict,” he informs me. “The preference is a black suit. Gray and navy blue are also acceptable colors.”

“I don’t wear black.” I fold my hands on top of the tiny table and Henley glares at me. “My father told me not to wear black so I don’t,” I explain.

Henley’s face softens. “Your father’s not here.”

My father isn’t here and I miss him desperately, having spent the last five years by his side. He isn’t alone, neither of us are. My father has my mother to keep him company and I now have a rule-setting behemoth.

“When I give my word, I don’t break it.” I lean forward, willing Henley to understand. “Business deals are built upon trust--”

“And trust is built upon truth,” Henley completes my father’s saying.

“You remembered.” I smile at him, pleased.

“Yes.” Henley resumes his pacing, striding back and forth, back and forth, his hands gripped tightly behind his back as though he’s winding up for another round of his rules. “When we’re at work, we have to be professional. No taking our clothes off. No touching. No talking about sex.”

“Is thinking about sex okay?” I skim my fingertips over the collar of my blazer. “Because I think about having sex with you all of the time.”

***

Literary Nook Book PromotionsPromo Blitz: Dangerous Attraction





10 Award-winning, bestselling authors – 10 Hot Heroes – 10 Romantic Suspense Page Turners
99 CENTS THROUGH NOVEMBER 16th!

With nine full-size novels from bestselling romantic suspense authors and a brand new Christmas novella from New York Times bestselling author, Rebecca York, this boxed set can’t be missed. Sexy, steamy heroes to heat you up and twisting plots to keep you turning page after page well past midnight!Grab it at the introductory price of 99 cents. That’s 10 books for less than a buck!

From sweet to scorcher, these stories are a must read. Fall in love with our sexy cops, tough military heroes, and hot CEOs. Treat yourself to an amazing reading experience by top authors of romantic suspense collected in one boxed set at a price that can’t be beat.

Ignited by award-winning and national bestselling author, Kaylea Cross – Can sexy ex-SEAL Hunter Phillips keep Khalia safe from the terrorists who took her father’s life? (Scorcher)

Secret Guardian by international bestselling author, Jill Sanders – Will ex-special forces hero, Ethan, save Ann in time, only to lose himself to love? (Scorcher)

Deathscape by Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence recipient and Rita Award finalist, Dana Marton – Detective Jack Sullivan will do anything to put Ashley in prison for her crimes…even if he’s falling in love with her. (Sensual)

Legal Ease by award winning and national bestselling author Lori Ryan – Marrying Kelly solved the problems this steamy CEO faced at his company, but will he ever be able to forgive himself for the price she has to pay? (Scorcher)

The Killing Game by international bestselling author, Toni Anderson –Forced to choose between his country and his heart, British SAS Soldier, Ty Dempsey risks it all to save a wildlife biologist caught in the crosshairs of a ruthless killer. (Sensual)

Fallen SEAL Legacy by national bestselling author, Sharon Hamilton – Will Navy SEAL Cooper be able to survive the loss of the woman he loves, or will his self-sacrifice be enough to keep Libby safe? (Scorcher)

Three Days in Seattle by national bestselling author, Debra Burroughs – Trying to stay a step ahead of a lunatic set on revenge, Kate and Ryan are locked in a desperate race to find her missing sister and capture the madman before both women wind up dead. (Sweet)

See Me in Your Dreams by Patricia Rosemoor, Golden Heart Winner and two-time recipient of the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award – Her dreams allow her to see through his missing daughter's eyes, but he thinks she’s a con woman...until she dreams of something known only to him and the girl. (Sensual)

Catching the Bad Guy by national bestselling author, Marie Astor – Top-notch white collar crime investigators Janet Maple and Dennis Walker team up to solve what could be the biggest case of their careers, but will their attraction to each other get in the way? (Sensual)

Bonus Christmas Novella, Christmas Captive by Romantic Times Career Achievement Award Winner and Rita Finalist, Rebecca York – Her special sight let her glimpse the Christmases past of this international financier, but did he have a Christmas future?

Excerpts:


Excerpt from CHRISTMAS CAPTIVE, by Rebecca York:

        Hannah Andrews fiddled nervously with the tall latte on the table in front of her. Although she’d agreed to meet a man named Frank Decorah in this downtown San Francisco coffee shop, she was having second thoughts.
     She glanced around at the cheery Christmas gifts displayed on the shelves near the counter and at the ten other patrons enjoying coffee drinks, some working at computers, others getting e-mail on tablets. Safety in numbers, she thought. But not even Bing Crosby, singing White Christmas over the sound system, could make her relax.
     When the door opened, she glanced up and saw a tall man in the doorway. He appeared to be in his fifties with salt and pepper hair.
      Frank Decorah. She recognized him because she’d looked up his security agency on the Web and seen his picture, and she knew from his bio that he was an ex-Navy SEAL. He’d looked tough and capable on the screen. In person he seemed even more formidable, and she wondered again why she’d agreed to meet him when he’d been so secretive about the job he was offering.
            Yet two factors had swayed her. He was based in Maryland, and he’d offered to fly all the way across the country to meet her. And he’d made the meeting sound urgent—a matter of life and death.





Excerpt from DEATHSCAPE by Dana Marton:

Ashley wanted so badly to think, but she couldn’t. Those sculpted lips she’d thought about painting were over hers. Oh wow. The body she’d assessed with an artist’s eye was now pressed against her, suddenly gaining another dimension. So much more interesting, so much better, so much…everything.
As an artist, she kept her subjects at arm’s length. But now Jack was suddenly very, very close, her head reeling. Heat poured off him that threatened to set her on fire.
He was a ball of pain and hard man, a man on the edge, yet there was something heroic at the core of him, and at the same time something incredibly tragic. A complicated subject, layer upon layer, colors bleeding into each other, twisting. How on earth was she supposed to make sense of him?
She couldn’t, not for the moment. Right now all she could do was feel. She hung on to his wide shoulders, because she wasn’t sure how much longer her knees could hold her.
The passion that flared to life between them stunned her. There were parts of her that had been simply dead since the accident, most likely because of the depression and the pills she’d taken at the beginning. But suddenly everything came roaring back to life, passion as a swirl of vibrant colors. For the first time in a long time, she felt like a woman again. The fire was all-consuming, hotter and wilder than she’d ever felt before.
And it was all wrong.
He was the wrong guy for her, a drifter cop who was obsessed with a serial killer.


Excerpt from SEE ME IN YOUR DREAMS by Patricia Rosemoor:
In the midst of her sleep, she'd envisioned him kissing her.
   
Arousing her.
   
Confusing her.
   
For, while made of flesh and blood, human emotions and passions, Keelin was not a woman to be driven by sheer lust. She believed in the kind of love found in high romance – Romeo and Juliet, Guinevere and Launcelot, Helo├»se and Abelard – the utopian state of passion her parents had never found together, sadly enough.
   
The kind she had only dreamed of finding...
   
Nevermind that all of those great epics of literature and/or history had ended in tragedy, Keelin was certain equally many real romances ended in happily-ever-after. For some reason, one just rarely heard about the good endings. Perhaps they weren't dramatic enough. She believed that genuine and total love of mind, body and spirit existed. She was certain her grandparents Moira and Seamus had found such in each other, hence Moira's last wish for her grandchildren.
   
 For all of her adult life, Keelin had been waiting to meet the one man she couldn't live without...and according to the McKenna Legacy, she was fast running out of time.
   

But that man simply could not be Tyler Leighton...


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Link to tour schedule: 











Friday, November 8, 2013

Album Review: Paul McCartney - New


Just when you think you can write Paul McCartney off as just another classic rock god, riding on the coat tails of his past successes, he puts and album out like New, and you just sit back and go "WOW!"

New is an album that proves that age has nothing to do with the quality of music an artist puts out and that Paul McCartney is still one of the most brilliant songwriters of our time.

The title track is one of his finest earworms. Every so many albums Paul writes a Beatley song, and this is one of them. It is a short little ditty, full of fun. This is classic Macca.

All of the songs keep with the short and sweet format. Out of 15 songs only 2 top 4 minutes, but because Paul is a master and his finest work came from the decade where the majority of songs are short, sweet and to the point, the songs are all top notch.

The album opens with a rollicking "Save Us" But probably the most stand out and unique track is "Alligator." It is a song that draws you in because you are waiting to see where the alligator is. Unfortunately it isn't there, but in its place is a dark rocker.

"On My Way To Work" is another Beatley track. Its a slightly more poetic and modern "Penny Lane."

The album is an interesting mixture of darker rock and the usual fun pop flair. "Appreciate" has a bit of an electronic feel. The song "Ou est le Soleil?" has a similar feel.

"Everybody Out There" sounds like a song that might appear on a Ringo Starr album.

The tracks that really stick with you come early on in the album. The fabulous "Queenie Eye" rocks pure and simple.  It is followed by the acoustic "Early Days." This is a more reflective tune, and even someone unfamiliar with Macca will notice the imperfections that age has brought to this icon's voice, but that is what really makes this song so magical and special.

The album isn't perfect, Paul does his Texan from Liverpool routine with "Get Me Out Of Here." What is it with Brits and country music? When George Harrison did Miss O'Dell it was humorous, regardless of whether it was intended to be that way or not, but "Get Me Out Of Here" is a bit dull and monotonous and well....lifeless.

"Looking At Her" is a more experimental sounding song. Electronic beats and Paul McCartney just don't got together. However, Paul gets double props for doing things up different.

New is Paul McCartney reminding us all, that he has it. He never lost it. It is a well rounded album that should appeal to old fans as well as new. All Paul McCartney albums come recommended, but it has been awhile since there was one that is so good that everyone should own it. This is one of those albums.

Watch: New




Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Musical Hotties

Just thought I'd share some prettiness with you..young and older because that's how I roll



Josh Groban....ah....he's just adorkable!



Mika makes me want to buy a Swatch again!

Some geek chic, care of Nick Lowe

Friday, November 1, 2013

Album Review: Nick Lowe - Quality Street


Quality Street is a seasonal album by Nick Lowe. This is probably the most surprising holiday albums in the last 10 years. What is even more surprising is how fantastic it is.

Why?

Because this album is pure Nick Lowe and not some cutesy Christmas album. White Christmas doesn't even make an appearance here!

Quality Street is Nick Lowe doing Christmas as Nick Lowe. His songs all sound like Nick should sound and not full of sleigh bells and other cliches that usually fill up holiday albums.

The first track is the folksy "Children Go Where I Send Thee." It is perfectly Nick, even though it is hard to imagine Nick doing a song that is so religious in nature.

The next two songs "Christmas Can't Be Far Away" and "Christmas At The Airport" have the current Nick Lowe sound, that's a little bit like Bacharach & David. These are great songs for a night by the fire.

"The North Pole Express" is what happens when jazz and country get together. This is one of the songs that everyone, young and old can enjoy.

"Hooves On The Roof" is jazzy holiday brilliance. If Diana Krall hears this one, it may make it on her next holiday offering. Even the songwriter of this one, Ron Sexsmith probably pleased with the treatment Lowe gives to this song.

The songs that shine the most are the folk tunes. "I Was Born In Bethlehem" is another such song. Unlike "Children Go Where I Send Thee" and "Rise Up Shepherd" it is a much more subdued melody. Nick's more mature vocal really brings a certain intimacy to the song

If you enjoyed "Children Go Where I Send Thee" you will be over the moon at Lowe's version of "Rise Up Shepherd." This song conjures up a wonderful visual of Nick on porch playing this song with a backdrop of winter snow.

"Silent Night" is the only true holiday staple on the album, and you haven't heard "Silent Night" sung this way. Rockabilly "Silent Night" is bloody brilliant. This is a song that is always so serious sounding. There's absolutely nothing serious or silent about Nick's version. The percussion and organ are so lively that you may find your foot taping to this song.

If any song on this album could really convey Nick's recent style it would be "A Dollar Short Of Happy." This song could easily slip on an album like The Convincer. Nick has never been known for his "happy" tunes. He's always the heartbroken bloke, and this song is just pure Nick!

Nick saves the best for last. The album closes with Roy Wood's "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day." Though Nick's cover isn't as bouncy as the original, he gives it the Nick Lowe retro treatment. The arrangement goes back to his 70s sound. It is still the fun frolicking song most are familiar with
but Nick's version is more about the vocal and less about the glitz.

Quality Street is definitely one of the must have holiday albums of the year. 

Watch: A Dollar Short Of Happy




Rating: 5 our of 5 stars

Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Blast: Summerset Abbey



SUMMERSET ABBEY
by T. J. Brown

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

BLURB:

Reminiscent of Downton Abbey, this first novel in a new series follows two sisters and their maid as they are suddenly separated by the rigid class divisions within a sprawling aristocratic estate and thrust into an uncertain world on the brink of WWI...

Rowena and Victoria, daughters to the second son of the Earl of Summerset, have always treated their governess’s daughter, Prudence, like a sister. But when their father dies and they move in with their uncle’s family in a much more traditional household, Prudence is relegated to the maids’ quarters, much to the girls’ shock and dismay. The impending war offers each girl hope for a more modern future, but the ever-present specter of class expectations makes it difficult for Prudence to maintain a foot in both worlds.

Vividly evoking both time and place and filled with authentic dialogue and richly detailed atmosphere, Summerset Abbey is a charming and timeless historical debut.

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

EXCERPT:  A lump rose in her throat as she caught sight of the ornate casket, draped with a full spray of lilies, carnations, and palm fronds. The only reason she was here, clutching Rowena’s and Victoria’s hands in hers instead of shrinking into the background with the other servants, was the kindness of the man who lay inside. After Prudence’s father had died, her mother, who had worked at Sir Philip’s estate as a girl, had been sent to attend to Rowena and Victoria’s ailing mother. When his wife died, Sir Philip asked her to stay on to help raise the girls, and Prudence, exactly between his daughters in age, became part of the family. Prudence, who volunteered her time at several different poorhouses in the city, knew exactly what happened to young girls left alone in the world. She would forever be grateful to Sir Philip for not allowing that to happen to her.

She blinked away her tears and occupied herself by looking at the rest of the congregation. Only a few looked familiar. Among them were Rupert Brooke, the high-strung and handsome young poet; Ben Tillett, the iron-jawed union leader; and Roger Fry, the controversial artist responsible for bringing London’s shocked attention to postimpressionism some years prior. These were some of Sir Philip’s friends, a motley collection of artists, intellectuals, and misfits.

Because the Earl had arranged the funeral, most of the people in attendance were his peers, men from the House of Lords and others from the cream of London society.

Sir Philip would have hated it.

The beautiful gold arches and polished marble of St. Bride’s Church gleamed, just as they had the few times the family had attended church. Sir Philip had chosen St. Bride’s because, as he used to say, “Sir Christopher Wren built the kind of church that God might actually enjoy.”

Gradually, Prudence became aware of a young man staring at her from across the aisle. Her eyes darted in his direction, then away. Moments later, unable to help herself, she glanced back to see whether he was still looking at her. He was. She turned slightly and stared fixedly at the bronze candelabra to the left of him, her cheeks burning.

Victoria leaned around her to whisper to Rowena. “Look, Lord Billingsly has noticed our Prudence.”

“I’m right here,” Prudence whispered, and gave both their hands a hard squeeze for emphasis.

She didn’t look his way again.

Once the service started, Prudence sank into a well of grief that threatened to drown her. The waves of it lapped at her from all sides, covered her head, and made sight almost impossible. Inside, her heart broke and a waterfall of sorrow poured from the cracks. On one side, Victoria sobbed quietly, while Rowena’s stiff resolve buoyed her from the other. She clung to their hands as the service passed in a blur of speeches.

They remained that way until it was time to get into the ornate black and gold funeral carriages that would take them back to their home in Mayfair for the reception. Behind the carriages stood a line of motorcars; most of the wealthy guests had long given up their carriages for the convenience and speed of automobiles. The Earl himself had several, and Sir Philip’s sleek Eton-blue Belsize sat idle in the carriage house, but the Earl insisted on traditional horse-drawn carriages.

“Miss Tate will ride in the staff carriage.” The Earl’s voice brooked no opposition and his square jaw firmed. Prudence knew that look. Rowena’s pretty face held the same expression when she got all stubborn about something.

Victoria’s eyes widened. “Prudence rides with us.”

“Nonsense. The Duke of Plymouth wishes to join us and there isn’t enough room.”

Prudence placed her hands on Victoria’s shoulders. Tension vibrated through the young girl’s slender body and Prudence’s stomach knotted, sure that Victoria was going to throw a fit, the kind she used to throw when the family still called her baby and she wanted the biggest sweet in the shop. Even at eighteen, Victoria wasn’t above a tantrum or two if she thought the situation warranted it. But her waiflike face suddenly fell and her lower lip trembled.

“It’ll be all right,” Prudence whispered. “I’ll go back with the staff and meet you at home.”

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








AUTHOR Bio and Links:

TJ Brown is proud of her two children but coming in a close second is the fact that she parachuted out of a plane and beat the original Legend of Zelda video game. Her young adult historical about Harry Houdini’s illegitimate daughter came out in June from Balzer+Bray. She also writes adult historicals under TJ Brown. She resides with her husband and way too many pets in Portlandia.
@teribrownwrites



You can get Summerset Abbey @ B & N today for $1.99

Giveaway: The author will be awarding autographed copies of books two and three of the series, A Bloom in Winter and Spring Awakening to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour


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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bowties Are Cool

The Eleventh Doctor started it all. Allow me to show you a few reasons why bowties are in fact, very cool.


Mika proves that not only are bowties cool, but so are funny plaid suits!


Bill Nye has always known bowties were cool, but never more so than on Dancing With The Stars!


Heck, even Ashton Kutcher knows they are cool! Waves to Kelso!


Aw hell....and when it comes to David Tennant...everything is cool