Friday, 20 December 2013

Release Day: The Migraine Mafia

The Migraine Mafia
By: Maia Sepp

On paper, Viive McBroome lives the perfect life—a key player in a fast-paced, technical field, one promotion away from real success—but that’s only if you ignore one little problem.

Sandwiched between one migraine and the next, Viive’s life is like those choose-your-own-adventure books you read as a kid, only less fun and with a lot more drugs. And lately, as her bosses politely march her toward a vacation that might never end, even the good days seem like a struggle for survival.

Faced with frustration from her loved ones and the dark machinations of a new coworker, Viive feels herself getting pulled under by guilt, apologies, and workplace shenanigans. But then she meets the Migraine Mafia, a quirky, vibrant support group, and her fragile camouflage begins to crumble. She discovers that a room full of strangers just might be able to change the way she views her illness—and realizes that if she doesn’t learn to ask for help, her health isn’t the only thing she stands to lose.

Sometimes painful, frequently hilarious, never dull, The Migraine Mafia is the story of one woman’s life-altering decision to thrive in the face of chronic illness.

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Author Info
Maia left the tech sector to write about sock thievery, migraines, and...the tech sector. She lives on the Danforth in Toronto with her better half, John.
The Sock Wars is her debut novel. The first chapter of The Sock Wars was published as a short story/novel excerpt titled Irish Drinking Socks, and became a Kobo bestselling short story. The Sock Wars has been a top-100 digital bestseller on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the iBookstore, as well as a genre and Writing Life bestseller on Kobo.
Maia's next novel will be released in December 2013: The Migraine Mafia, a story about a nerdy thirtysomething's quest to come to terms with a chronic illness.

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Thursday, 19 December 2013

Review: In the Kitchen with Stefano Faita

I'm lucky enough to be a Penguin Star Blogger as part of their Daily December Delight event! If you haven't checked their bookish advent calendar out yet, you should! As part of being a Star Blogger, the lovely people at Penguin Canada sent me a copy of In the Kitchen with Stefano Faita to review. I love this cookbook! Here are the biggest selling points for me:

  • Almost every recipe has a picture. That makes it easy to see what it should look like when you finish and helps you quickly decide which recipe you want to make.
  • The recipes are really easy and well-written. I had zero failures and even though I can bake, that's a big deal when it comes to cooking!
  • Most of the recipes are also super quick - so you can make them after work - but they are also impressive so you can proudly serve them to guests.
  • The end of the book offers menu suggestions for different types of meals. I loe it when someone else does the planning for me.
  • You can easily substitute the meat in a lot of the recipes to make vegetarians happy.
  • Some of the recipes include tips for substitutions, variations, etc that encourage experimentation or help make your cooking process easier.
Of course very little is perfect so there were a couple things I was wishing for: pictures for absolutely every recipe - it's just better that way; more dessert recipes (because I am Paperbacks and Pastries, after all); a more lay-flat binding so the book stays open to the recipe you're using.

5 cupcakes out of 5!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Secret Santa Reveal

To get me in the Christmas spirit this year, I participated in a Secret Santa exchange hosted by Kym at Travel Babbles. My Secret Santa, Mar who blogs at t.o. & fro, sent me this wonderful gift:

and I wanted to send her a very special thank you. She took the picture on the card herself! It's pretty great, right? I hope Mar and her loved ones have a very special holiday.

Happy Holidays to all!

Guest Post: Sweet Nothings by Kim Law

Sweet Nothings
Sugar Springs #2
By: Kim Law
Releasing January 1st, 2014

Joanie Bigbee, cupcake baker extraordinaire, likes to keep her options open--and she's good at it. She's started and sold some 30 businesses in her postage stamp-sized Tennessee town, and at the moment she can be found in a short skirt and go-go boots, selling cupcakes out of the back of a converted Volkswagen van. What she moves on to next is anybody's guess. She knows better than to be tied down. In any way. She's watched every woman in her family fall head-over-heels, only to find themselves wondering how to pick up the pieces when love is lost.
When Nick Dalton shows up at the groovy cupcakery, all Joanie wants is a taste; a fling with no strings suits her just fine. But for Nick, a bite is not enough; he wants the whole cake: a big house, a family, true love. But love only makes you stupid, right? Joanie has to decide whether to follow where her free-spirit leads? or hold on to the sweetest thing she's ever known.

Pre-Buy Links
Link to Follow Tour:

Guest Post

In the spirit of cupcakes for the release of Sweet Nothings, I’m sharing a cupcake recipe that looks AMAZING to me! I haven’t tried it yet, but I will before the year is over. I’m hoping to tweak it to make it similar to a cupcake I use in the book!
Enjoy J
Orange Dreamsicle Cupcakes
1 box orange cake mix
1 3oz box orange jello
1 c boiling water
1 3½ box instant vanilla pudding
1 c milk
1 t vanilla extract
1 t orange extract
1 8oz container Cool Whip

Prepare cake mix according to directions and pour evenly into cupcake pans. After they are done, bring from the over and poke holes in the middle of the cupcakes with a fork. Prepare orange jello with 1 c boiling water and pour over the cake. Allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together pudding with 1 c milk. Stir in orange and vanilla extracts. Mix well. Fold in Cool Whip and spread over the cupcakes. Chill for 2-3 hours before serving.

Option: Add a small amount of mint extract for a hint of freshness to the cakes.

Recipe copied from:

Joanie stared through the open door behind him before heading across the porch. “Can we just hang out here a minute? I’m not ready to go home yet.”

“Sure.” He motioned to the door. The switch for the porch light was on the inside wall. “Want some light?”

“No,” she answered quickly. She paced in the shadows. “I prefer the dark.”

“Okay.” He moved to perch on the concrete railing, but stopped halfway down. “Want a beer? Whiskey?”

A ghost of a smile curved her lips. “No, thanks.”

He finished lowering himself but remained quiet, hoping she’d fill him in on the problem. She didn’t. Finally, her melancholy mood getting to him, he decided to start the conversation with something that should lighten her spirit.

“How about you tell me why your hair is now orange?”

“What?” She stopped in front of him and lifted her hands to her hair. “My hair is not orange. It’s blonde.”

He grabbed a curl and slid the end between his fingers. “The tips, blondie. Why are the tips orange?”

“Oh.” She smiled and his pulse informed him it was no longer just about kissing; he wanted her in his bed. “It matches Orange Paparazzi.” At the blank look he gave her, she added, “The cupcake of the week.”

He cleared his throat. “You change your hair color to match your cupcakes?”

“Only the cupcake of the week. And only the tips.” She pulled one of the orange locks in question in front of her face and held it up for him to see. “It’s a temporary wash, so it won’t damage my hair by changing it so often. I have boots to match, too.”

There went all the blood that had been in his brain. “More Go-Go boots?” he croaked out.

“Yep.” Her smile flashed, showing him a hint of the carefree woman he liked so much, and not the sad one who’d shown up at his door. He almost leaned in and kissed her.

He needed to get away from her before he did something stupid, but couldn’t bring himself to move her aside. Or to walk away himself. Instead, he glanced down at the brown boots she wore. “When do you plan to wear these orange boots? Or did I miss them already?”

Please, he silently pleaded, please don’t let me have missed them.

The thought that she might have been prancing around town in the orange boots, and if he was guessing correctly, an orange mini-skirt, had him more than ready to go.

She stepped back from him, and moved to rest her rear on the railing to his side. “I’ve designated Thursdays as the day I take out the van. At least until tourist season starts. I’ll take it out more then and on Saturdays when the local soccer and baseball games kick off.”

“So that’s when you’ll wear your boots?”

“And the matching outfits, yes.”

He gulped. “Do you need any help on those days?” The thought of leaving her alone for all those men to ogle irritated him.

She laughed, a clear sound ringing out in the dark night that made him feel good inside. “Thanks, but I have Destinee for that. I suspect she’ll be far more help than you would be. You’d probably try to eat all the cupcakes.”

“Yeah,” he said. “Cupcakes. That’s what I was thinking about.”

Author Info
Award-winning author Kim Law wrote her first story, “The Gigantic Talking Raisin,” in elementary school. Although it was never published, it was enough to whet her appetite for a career in writing. First, however, she would try her hand at a few other passions: baton twirling, softball, and music, to name a few. Voted “Bookworm” and “Most Likely to Succeed” in high school, she went on to earn a college degree in mathematics.
Law spent years working as a computer programmer and raising her son, and she now devotes her time and energy to writing romance novels (none of which feature talking raisins).
She is a Romance Writers of America’s RITA® finalist, a past winner of the RWA’s Golden Heart® Award, and currently serves as president for her local RWA chapter. Her books can best be described as a light-hearted mix taking her readers on a sexy, fun, and emotional ride. A native of Kentucky, she now lives with her husband and an assortment of animals in her Middle Tennessee home.

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Friday, 13 December 2013

Release Day: Tousle Me

Tousle Me
A New Adult Parody
By: Lucy V. Morgan

He’s exquisitely hot. Exquisitely tousled. Exquisitely screwed in the head.

Cammibelle Hicks just wants to survive her first year of college. Desperate to forget her troubled past, she throws herself into her degree and book review blog. So what if her life is one long tumblr page of grumpy cat GIFs? She doesn’t need to get out more, and she definitely doesn’t need a man.

Hunter von Styles approaches life like he’s spoiling for a fight: with a tempting scowl. A cage-fighting, ex-rocker billionaire, it’s unclear why Hunter’s at college. Frankly, it makes no sense. Then Cammie falls into him—literally—at a party, and he’s obsessed. He needs her more than a moist towelette at a barbecue.

Though Cammie’s friends warn her against Hunter, she can’t resist his charms; especially not when he buys her shoes. And GoodReads. And a unicorn. But when her handsome best friend, medieval reenactor Archer Riddick, makes a play for her heart—and challenges Hunter to a jousting match—it turns out that Hunter has demons of his own. Demons that aren’t real ones, but metaphorical ones—which are MUCH WORSE, when you think about it…

Join Hunter and Cammie on an emotionally exhausting journey into love.

And co-dependence.

And probably therapy.

Author Info
Lucy V. Morgan writes sharp contemporary fiction, usually with a liberal splatter of filth. She is the author of the new adult WHORED series and the stand-alones TWISTED SUMMER and BEAUTIFUL MESS.
In her new adult parody, TOUSLE ME, Lucy pays homage to her genre in the best way she knows how: by mocking it mercilessly.
Lucy lives in England, where she also works as an editor. She spends her spare time consuming lebkuchen, working through her TBR pile, and pretending she's an urban fantasy heroine in body combat classes.

Author Links

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Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Cupcake Diaries: Spoonful of Christmas with Recipe for Deep Chocolate Cake

The Cupcake Diaries:
Spoonful of Christmas
By: Darlene Panzera

In this special Christmas novella from Darlene Panzera, THE CUPCAKE DIARIES: Spoonful of Christmas continues the adventures of three cupcake-loving women who work to keep their dream cupcake shop open while balancing love, family, and friendship.
When businessman Preston Pennyworth offers to buy Creative Cupcakes for a million dollars, the women are startled by his offer. Friends Andi, Kim, and Rachel have put everything into the shop and don’t want to give it up. Despite refusing the expensive offer, their worries are starting to pile up—just in time for the Christmas season.  Between Andi’s concerns about a potential cross-country move, Rachel’s wedding-day stress, and Kim’s love life woes, the spirit of the season seems to be lacking! With the added stress of the holiday season, the women can’t help but imaging the possibilities of the offer.
Things change when Andi decides to organize a Christmas party for the foster kids in the area and the whole town gets involved. The women of Creative Cupcakes are reminded of what truly matters, as they realize the best things in life are close to home! But, when the shop is vandalized, the foster kids’ gifts are stolen, and Rachel’s wedding is sabotaged by a real life Grinch, the women can’t help but feel hopeless on Christmas.  Will their Christmases be saved?
In this warm and heartfelt add-on to THE CUPCAKE DIARIES trilogy, Darlene Panzera’s Christmas novella will captivate reader’s hearts and capture the true meaning of Christmas. 

Buy Spoonful of Christmas

Recipe from Merrilee Shoop of Allyn, Washington

Mix all ingredients, in following order, in large mixing bowl with mixer:
3 cups flour                       1 Tbsp. vinegar
2 cups sugar                       1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda                 3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt                        2 cups water
6 Tbsp. cocoa

Bake in 13 x 9 inch pan (no need to grease and flour pan).
Bake 350° for 5 minutes and reduce heat to 300° for 45 minutes.


5 Tbsp. Flour             
1 cup milk
Cook until thick paste, then cool. Add:
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat until fluffy, then add the flour and milk paste and beat until spreading consistency.

About the Author

Darlene Panzera is the winner of the “Make Your Dreams Come True” contest sponsored by Avon Books. The win led her novella, The Bet, to be published with Debbie Macomber’s Family Affair. The award-winning novella (chosen in a blind-read by Debbie Macomber) was then published as a full length novel retitled, Bet You’ll Marry Me. Born and raised in New Jersey, Darlene is now a resident of the Pacific Northwest where she lives with her husband and three children. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her family, two horses, and loves: camping, hiking, photography, and lazy days at the lake.

Author Links

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Friday, 6 December 2013

Holiday Readathon

Today is the beginning of WhoRuBlog's 4th annual Holiday Readathon! Details can be found here if you're interested in participating. Because this is a holiday readathon and I have  long list of cookies to bake, presents to wrap, cards to mail and decorations to hang, I only have one goal for this one: read a Christmas themed story. I just love this time of the year, but for some reason I have never picked up any novels that have anything to do with Christmas. This year, that changes!

Happy Holiday Reading!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Taming the Hunted by Larisa Anderson

Taming the Hunted
By: Larisa Anderson

Marian is a hunter of night creatures. She stalks and stakes vampires, isn’t afraid of the odd silver bullet if a werewolf turns rogue and is perfectly happy with her complete lack of social life. So when a staking goes wrong and she finds herself having to be rescued from a man she can’t seem to take her eyes off, she decides she may as well just go along for the ride. But Gabriel isn’t all that he seems. Attacked in the dead of night Marian must fight to retain her identity. If Gabriel can keep her alive long enough for them to get justice they might just realize that sometimes opposites attract in the best ways. 

Buy Taming the Hunted

Link to Follow Tour:
Author Info
A librarian by day, author by night. There's nothing better than curling up with a good book on a cold Australian winter night, especially one that I have written myself where I get to control every kiss and caress.
I write stories that make me laugh, because life needs a little humor and a lot of spice. My heroes are strong and my ladies know how to take charge, even if they get a little distracted along the way.

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Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Review and Guest Post: Emotionally Compromised by A. Rosa

Emotionally Compromised
By: A. Rosa

"A smile will get you far, but a smile and a gun will get you farther" -Al Capone.

Federal Agent Alex Turner deals better with guns than boyfriends, and prefers it that way. Her emotional range is bleak, but her aim is damn near perfect.

Thinking saving the world is a far easier task than dating, Agent Turner springs at the opportunity to prevent young scientist Marcus Gibbs from selling his biological weapon to the highest bidder. With her goal in sight, and Marcus eating out of the palm of her hand, an obstacle she doesn't see coming interferes. Meet Jeremy Hunt -- the distractingly handsome CEO of Sunscape Biotechnologies, and Marcus's boss and best friend.

A man who is accustomed to getting what he wants, Jeremy's never been one to take no for an answer, which has Agent Turner realizing for the first time that her wit might get her farther than her weapon. With no protocol or training to reference when it comes to matters of the heart, she worries that this might be her hardest assignment yet.

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Will be sent around Nov 15th**

I try to soften my expression and unclench my fists as I stand before Marcus. The deep-seated hatred I feel for this man is indescribable, but I keep my cool. I don't have a choice.
Marcus's eyes feel heavy as they drag down my body and then back up, bouncing as they catch my eyes. His demeanor is harsher than I remember of the pleading boy I first encountered at the club. Despite his transformation, I feel like the man could show a little, I don't know, remorse? Decency? There is no shame in his salacious expression. I'm tempted to comment on his audacity.
Bravo, sir. You have made me feel incredibly uncomfortable in under thirty seconds.
Although, this might be my angle. I take another drag from my cigarette, smiling but eyeing him suspiciously. He lets the silence hang, and my patience wanes.
Fine, have it your way, Marcus. "I hope you don't mind my intrusion." I pout.
He shrugs, and I worry that he either knows my secrets, or is hiding his own.
I'll take option two, please.
"Glad to have some company, actually. What's your excuse?"
I raise an eyebrow, and I let my lip twitch, pondering his question. He doesn't seem too attached to his date. Thinking about that horrid woman, my eyes dart to the glowing windows. I spot Jeremy's towering, broad frame on the dance floor. My heart skips a beat. He is already dancing with her. He's smiling; she's smiling.
It's all going according to plan, isn't it? I feel my stomach plummet with jealousy. I take a deep breath, feeling the crisp night air burning an icy path where the cigarette smoke once was, trying to regain my focus.
"So, I see even you aren't immune to the Jeremy Hunt effect." Marcus interrupts my reverie. He takes a long drag, not taking his eyes off me.
Marcus is either entirely driven by his drug habit, or he has managed to accrue a substantial amount of confidence between now and our front door encounter almost a week ago. It’s in his eyes. Before he couldn’t even hold my gaze, but now his eyes are determined, teetering on piercing. I want to be impressed, but instead, I see it as another opportunity to work to my advantage.
I peruse the veranda, checking for any familiar faces. There is only one other couple out here canoodling, which means few observers. As my eyes swing back around, Derek makes his entrance onto the balcony through the double doors. Perfect timing, as usual.
Derek's lips don't move, and he doesn't make eye contact, but my earpiece buzzes with his disapproving tone. "Are you really smoking right now?"
The corner of my mouth twitches with a lingering smile. I take a defiant stance and take a long drag, bringing my eyes back to Marcus.

                                    Pretty Package With a Bad-Ass Bow
                                                           By: A. Rosa

I had one goal in mind when writing my first novel:
I wanted a strong, kick-ass female character. Period.  (No transitioning hormonal female pun intended).
While making it a point to read a lot of books last year, I realized I had pretty much only read Romance —this was an accident, but I found myself such a sucker for the genre. Who doesn’t love: girl-meets-boy, girl-falls-in-love with boy? *Fans-self* “Oh-Oh! ME!”
However, there was something frustrating about half of the books I read.
Their leading lady was flimsy, and at the whim of her leading man. The build of her confidence would be slow, and overwhelmingly frustrating to me, and all I thought was:
When does the girl get to take the wheel on this weird road of love?
Well, the truth of the matter is, men never let woman drive.
I needed to change that.
Finding that my first novel fit nicely into the genre of “Romantic Suspense” I found a home for my gun-wielding, witty main character, Special Agent Alex Turner, who’s lack of patience was a perfect characteristic for a woman who made her own destiny rather then simply let things happen.
I think Agent Turner, gives the female lead, and the avid romance reader, hope.
A main character perfectly flawed, but driven to do better, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Not to mention I wanted my main character to have the emotional range of a teenage boy, because let’s face it, not all girls know what the hell to do with their emotions.
Okay, I must confess something though, because my main character is not only emotionally underdeveloped, but a federal agent; trained to kill on a whim, her morality hits a grey area constantly when it comes to the value of a human life, and on top of everything else she openly prefers her gun to a boyfriend.
So, is she an impressively strong female lead, or an emotional nightmare? I like the dichotomy.
This is why I fell in love with the idea of this novel.
You’re suddenly being lead by Agent Turner, and you want her to succeed in a myriad of different ways. In Emotionally Compromised, she struggles to do her job, somehow manages a potential love interest, while at the same time keeping her sense of self, and doing the right thing —whether that means pulling the trigger, or taking down her emotional wall to do something as simple as telling her boyfriend how she feels. She’d argue pulling the trigger might be easier.
With Emotionally Compromised I wanted a pretty package with a bad-ass bow to place on top of it. I wanted a fluid combination of personal growth, wonderfully complicated emotional range, and heartfelt struggles of a powerful woman that could kick the butt of the average female lead.
I think I might have done it, and I hope the readers think so too.

This romance strikes a perfect balance between the kinds hot scenes we all love and quality characters. Agent Turner, for example, is strong, but has her...let's say quirks, making her believably real, because, let's face it, who among us isn't quirky? It's easy to become emotionally invested with characters like these.
It was also easy to become invested in the plot. The romance was hot (and okay, it kind of made me wish there was a someone special in my life) and the suspense was can't-go-to-bed-I-have-to-know-what-happens-next addictive. I'll definitely be looking for more of A. Rosa's books in the future!


Author Info
A. Rosa lives in San Diego, California. When she isn’t scouring city parks or cafe’s to write she is more than likely trying to convince her friends to join her on her next adventure. A sufferer of wanderlust, she is always looking for a new mountain to climb, a canyon to hike, or a plane to board. Her resume consists of coroner, to working at a zoo, and most recently as an executive assistant, but finds her home amongst words, whether it be in books, or in film. Her obsessions are on the brink of bizarre, but that’s just the way she likes it. 
Author Links

Giveaway: (5) Digital Copies of EMOTIONALLY COMPROMISED, (5) Signed Print Copies of EMOTIONALLY COMPROMISED, (5) 2 Promotional Pin/Button Packs
(5) Bookmarks w/ Charms
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