The Presley Thurman Mysteries
by Laina Turner

About The Author:



Who am I? It kind of depends on the day. I am a human compendium of unrelated things. I used to think I was just weird, had shiny ball syndrome and couldn’t focus, scattered, you name it. Then I decided it was OK to be all over the place as long as each avenue I wanted to explore had meaning and purpose or was fun. So I embrace the fact I am a college professor, a writer of fiction and non-fiction, promoter of other authors, human resource professional, business consultant, mom, and all around interesting person (according to my closest friends).

I admit it, I like to be lazy. Do you ever have those days when you just don’t want to get out of bed? I know I do, my friends have and it’s ok, we have all been there. Wouldn’t it be nice to actually be able to do that at least every once in a while? There of course would have to be some sort of rules put in place or some people would take advantage and stay in bed all day every day. But let’s say that twice a year you could just ditch everything and not do anything. If you had kids someone would come and get them ready for school and take them there. Someone would take care of all your work for that day. Get all your housework and laundry done so you didn’t have to work twice as hard to catch up after your time off.

Someone would make sure there were some good snacks and fun DVD’s for you (or a pile of books for me) to enjoy while laying in bed or on the couch so you would have to put forth no effort you didn’t want to. So if this could really happen how long do you think you could lie there before starting to wonder what was going on in the outside world? Would you feel compelled to call your friends or co-workers and see what was happening? Would you decide to get up and go outside in to the world anyways? Or would you really relax all day without worrying about anything more than pausing the TV in order to go to the bathroom and if you wanted chips and guacamole or twizzlers and diet coke?
It’s fun to think about but could you actually do it? If so what would your lazy day look like?

When I’m not working toward my goals I like, ok fine, LOVE wine, coffee, shopping, and books. I enjoy my kids, they are awesome. I hate the cold but yet live in the mid-west. Vegas is one of my favorite spots as I love to people watch and if I ever get married again it will definitely be in a drive through chapel by a fake Elvis.



Genre: Mystery Romance
Publisher: Five Seas Ink
Release Date: July 2012

Book Description:

This six-book set includes...

Stilettos & Scoundrels

Presley tells her boss what he can do with her job in HR and embarks on a new career as a freelance journalist. What seems like a simple interview with a Senator turns to murder when the day after her interview the Senator turns up dead. Does the fact that Presley was one of the last people to see him alive make her a suspect? Her ex-boyfriend Cooper, who was in charge of the Senators security, might think so. Presley is determined to clear her name but can she do it and resist Cooper’s charms?

Necklaces & Nooses

When Presley’s boss is found hanging she thinks its suicide until the police discover its homicide. Who would want to kill a boutique owner? Presley’s not sure but she’s determined to find out. The cute detective assigned to the case makes it all the more exciting.

Handbags & Hooligans

Presley went to Vegas to watch her friend Anna get married and the event turned into solving the mystery of her brothers girlfriend disappearance. But Ashley wasn't exactly the schoolteacher she appeared to be. Who was she and was she kidnapped?

The holiday short…Mistletoe & Murder


In this holiday short story, Presley goes home for Christmas expecting it to be a relaxing holiday until her old boyfriend, Brian, asks for her help finding out who has been stealing from him and it turns from theft to murder. Why would anyone want to kill Tommy and what was he hiding?

Gems & Gunshots

Presley heads to San Diego to hang out with Cooper and enjoy the great west coast weather. She didn’t expect that while hanging out at the local coffee shop she would be a witness to a robbery and murder at Gemstone’s Unlimited. Much to Cooper’s dismay Presley feels compelled to investigate. She discovers that not only was the store owner a womanizer but also was filing false insurance claims for diamonds that weren’t really stolen. Was that why he was being blackmailed? Was that why someone robbed his store? Presley is determined to find out!

As a bonus get the short story prequel, A Day in the Life of Trixie Pristine.

In this short story prequel, Trixie and her friends Berklie and Sophie, considered themselves typical thirty something females until someone turned up murdered in their newly opened bookstore/wine bar. They thought they would be living out their dream in their new shop not trying to catch a killer. Who killed Sylvia and why? Or was one of them the intended target?


Excerpt:


Stilettos & Scoundrels “Hello?” “Presley! I need to talk to you right away!” It was Helen Daniels, hysterical. I could hardly understand her. “What is it, Helen? What’s wrong?” I had fallen asleep, but the sound of fear in Helen’s voice quickly woke me up. “Just meet me at Gardner’s old warehouse in thirty minutes. If you’re not there, I will not be able to wait. It’s not safe. You have to hurry!” “Helen! Calm down, safe from whom? Why all the drama? Helen…Helen?” She’d hung up. I glanced at my watch. Crap! I’d never make it there in thirty minutes. All I could hope for was Dirt and his deputies were out investigating the Senator’s murder rather than trying to keep the streets safe from speeders. I ran out of the house, running past my mother still working in her garden. “Presley, where are you going? “I’ll be back in a bit.” “For dinner?” “I don’t know.” I said exasperatedly. I didn’t need the third degree. “Where are you going?” “I’ll explain later. Just eat without me if I’m not back.” “Pres!” “Bye, Mother.” I pushed seventy in a forty-five mile an hour zone, my Kia humming, just hoping to get there on time. I was surprised my car could go that fast. In Chicago, the traffic was so bad you didn’t really have a chance to speed this much. My phone rang again, but I didn’t look at it. I needed to concentrate on my driving. Gardner’s warehouse, located about twenty miles outside of town, used to be a production plant for some automotive part. The plant closed years before, when I still lived here. It was so long ago that I couldn’t remember what the company actually produced. I pulled in the parking lot, gravel flying, hoping Helen was still here. The clock on my dash said it had been thirty-three minutes since she called me. I pocketed my keys, not wanting to weigh myself down with my purse, and jogged around to the front entrance. I had on flip-flops, not the best jogging shoes, but I was so startled when Helen called I just ran out of the house without paying attention to what I had on. This was a big place, and I huffed trying to catch my breath. I really must get in shape, I wheezed to myself. Helen hadn’t specified exactly where to meet her, so I assumed she might be at the front entrance. She wasn’t waiting outside for me, so I tried the front door or what I presumed was the front door. It was unlocked, which I thought strange for an abandoned building, but I assumed Helen had unlocked it. Though had it been locked, I could have crawled through one of the many broken windows. I carefully stepped inside the building and the darkness engulfed me. The little bit of light in the building was let in by the broken windows, and it took a few minutes for my eyes to adjust. It smelled dank and musty, and I could hear the scurrying of what were probably little furry rodents. I shuddered involuntarily and didn’t want to think about what type of creepy crawlies were in this building, especially with me in flip-flops. I wasn’t thrilled about stepping any further into the building. “Helen,” I called softly. No answer. Where the hell is she? I tiptoed a little further into the building in an effort to be quiet, though I still couldn’t see very well, so tiptoeing wouldn’t do me any good if there was anything in my way. All of a sudden, I felt a hand on my arm; I jumped about ten feet and started to scream. “Shh, Presley. It’s just me,” Helen said. “Do you think you could be a little quieter?” “Then don’t ask me to come to an abandoned building and grab me when I’m not expecting it. I can’t see! You could have been anyone or anything,” I retorted. “I am not a big fan of the creepy things I am sure are in this building.” I took one look at Helen and grew concerned. She was usually one of those women who always looked impeccable, but her dark brown hair, usually in a knot at the nape of her neck, was disheveled and loose. I could tell Helen had been crying, from her smudged make-up. She definitely wasn’t her normal well put together self. I could see that, even in this poor light. I still felt a stab of jealousy because, even a little worse for wear, Helen looked better than most women. Not fair at all. “So what is going on, Helen? Why all the cloak-and-dagger stuff? Why did we have to meet here, of all places?” I asked, looking around and waving my arms. “Should we even be here? The place looks about ready to fall down. I’m sure the owners wouldn’t be too happy if we fell through the floor or something. This building is quite a liability.” “It’s the only place I could go where I could easily see if I was being followed. Besides, we own the building. Or rather, I do now,” Helen, replied giving a little laugh—the hysterical kind, rather than the ha-ha kind. “Why would anyone be following you?” I took a step forward, concerned Helen might really be in danger. It seemed so surreal. Helen tried to keep herself from crying again. “They called my house, Presley. They called my house and demanded money. They said if I didn’t pay up, they would make sure I met the same fate as Tom. I knew they would want their money, but I didn’t think it would be like this. I thought I would have some more time. I can’t get my hands on that kind of money right now. It would look too suspicious; besides, I don’t even know yet where I am going to get it!” Helen then burst into tears. I waited for a few uncomfortable moments for the tears to subside. To help Helen, I needed her to calm down and tell me everything she knew. Plus, I had a few questions of my own. “Do you know who it was that called you, Helen? Who did the Senator owe money to?” “I don’t know specifically who the caller was, nor who Tom owed money to. I didn’t recognize any voices and they didn’t tell me their names. Tom tried to hide as much as he could from me about this aspect of his life, I told you that already, and when I forced the issue, he told me as little as possible. Usually just enough to get me to shut up. To be honest, it got to where I didn’t even ask much because I didn’t really care.” “Who else knows about the Senator’s gambling problem? Maybe that’s who called you. Could it be blackmail?” I thought blackmail seemed as good a reason as any. “The only people who know about this, besides the people he owed the money to, are me and Tobey. As the Senator’s assistant, Tobey was privy to a lot more information than I thought he should have been,” Helen explained. “Tom said he would find out anyway, and that we could trust him. I don’t think Tobey is the type to try to blackmail anyone. Other than that, there is no way Tom would have told anyone else. He might have been a gambler, but he wasn’t stupid. At least not that stupid.” “What about Garrison Palazzo.”






Hello, all!

If you're a blogger who needs a button, I can help you make one! I've gotten a few emails asking how I got mine and my answer is: I made it using Photoshop.


These are my resources:


- Font from Da Font

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If you're looking to promote your blog with a button but have no idea how to make/find one, please email me at readingintwilight(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll see what I can do.


I can also do other graphics for you such as a header/social media links/ect.


Thanks!


- Julianna

The Cindy Chronicles by RaShelle Workman
Series: The Cindy Chronicles will be told in 6 volumes 
Genre: YA Paranormal

Synopsis:
Life sucks.
Possessing magic sucks.
What doesn’t suck? Fashion, Cindy's boyfriend Gabe, and her best friend, Snow White.

Cindy (Cinderella…shhh, don’t tell) was born a witch. It’s part of who she is. But there’s more to her than that. She loves deeply. And has a big heart. She’d do anything for those she cares about, including risk her own life to save theirs.

When her fairy godmother demands she leave Salem, Massachusetts and return to the land she was born to rule, she has two options. Tell her fairy godmother no, and seal a death sentence on complete strangers. Or, leave all she’s ever known behind, including the love of her life, for an unknown land she’s fated to save.

So, yeah, life sucks.
But Cindy is determined to change that.

Find it:





RASHELLE WORKMAN lives on a mountain with her husband, three children, and three dogs. From her back porch she can see the city lights and imagine... She's the bestselling author of the Dead Roses series (Sleeping Roses is being translated into Turkish, and will be available in print wherever Turkish books are sold in 2014), the Immortal Essence series, and the Blood and Snow series.

Author Links:






Title: The Wanted Bride 
Author: Sylvia McDaniel
Genre: Short Contemporary
Publisher: Virtual Bookseller
Publication: April 19, 2013
Number of pages: 232 pages
Word Count: 60,000
Cover Artist: Kat Baldwin

Summary:

She’s a Runaway Bride
Valerie Burrows is running from a wedding, her attorney fiancé and the law. Pampered Valerie takes a bus to nowheresville, where she learns her cash and credit cards have been stolen. Left with only her designer clothes and luggage she takes on a new identity and must learn to be self-reliant. She swears off men, especially attorneys, only to find the one man who refuses a one night stand and wants a relationship.

He’s Looking For A Wife
Matt Jordan, the Colorado Crusher, is the most successful liability lawyer in the state. After the death of his brother-in-law, he realizes he’s ready to settle down with a family of his own. His only requirements are intelligent, great-looking, wants more than a hook-up and doesn’t lie. After witnessing the lies his father told his mother, he demands complete honesty. Yet Valerie Brown shows him sometimes in order to find yourself, you must become someone else. Even if that means lying.

Find it:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads



Excerpt:

“I need a one-way ticket to anywhere,” Valerie Burrows commanded the girl behind the bus counter in downtown Dallas. A charred piece of her wedding veil sagged onto her face. 
Impatiently, she flipped the singed lace away, her throat  closing off the tears that threatened her vision.  On what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, 
she reeked of smoke, not flowers, saw red not white, tasted bile 
not cake.

Glancing up from the counter the clerk’s eyes widened, making Valerie acutely aware of her appearance. On what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, she felt 
traumatized, not joyous.

“Where do you want to go?” the clerk stammered.

“Anywhere, as long as I leave in the next five minutes,” Valerie insisted, wishing people would stop staring. So she looked like a crazy woman. After this morning maybe she was a 
little loco.

“The bus to Amarillo is loading now,” the agent advised, her large brown eyes riveted to Valerie. “I have one seat left. The one-way fare is sixty-five dollars.”

Though she preferred to travel by plane, there was no time or way to get to the airport. She could take the bus or stay and face the consequences of her actions.

Valerie dug the cash out of her Bottega Veneta purse and handed the money to the ticket agent. “I’ll take it.”

Dirty lace from her wedding veil fell onto her face again, so she yanked the offending garment off her head and threw the veil on top of her matching Louis Vuitton luggage. The beautiful lace of her Vera Wang wedding gown was streaked with gray and black. Burn streaks made a crazy pattern on the silk that didn't accessorize the seed pearls.

The heel of one of her Stuart Weitzman pumps had snapped several blocks ago, and her feet were blistered. And yet her heart beat on in spite of her ruined wedding.

The clerk handed her the ticket, sympathy in her dark eyes.  “The bus is ready. You’re the last one to board.” 

Not even time to change. Head held high, spine locked in place, she limped to the white steel carriage, her suitcases trailing behind.
There, she handed her two suitcases to a gawking young man. He opened his mouth to speak, but she held up her hand. “Just load my luggage.”

She glanced up to see faces pressed against the glass windows of the bus, gaping at her like she was a freak show. Hadn’t these people ever seen a runaway bride in real life before? Julia Roberts may have made the movie, but she didn’t own the copyright to wedding disasters.
With her carry-on bag hanging from her shoulder, Valerie marched up the steps of the waiting bus as if she walked around in a wedding gown every day. The babble of sixty voices ceased 
as she handed the driver her ticket.

He mumbled, “Lord, I need to retire.”

Her silk dress pressed against her legs and swished as she made her way to the only empty seat on her getaway bus. Thank God she’d ditched the petticoats in the Corvette.
A gray-haired woman glanced at her as she put her luggage in the overhead bin.

“Hm hm hm, I can’t wait to hear this story,” the elderly Hispanic woman said. “Are you all right?”
Valerie plopped in the seat, her ruined silk gown making a mighty swish. She exhaled loudly, her heart aching, her eyes blurring with unshed tears. For the last hour she’d been holding 
her breath while making her escape.

But now, now all the pain she'd carefully controlled broke free and she chuckled. Hysterical laughter rumbled from deep inside her, echoed through the bus. A single tear rolled down 
her cheek.
“I am now.”

About the author:


I never realized until I finished my last book how much I enjoyed writing about Brides.  I have four bride stories and frankly, I've loved them all.  Weddings are such an exciting time in a woman's life when she commits to the man she intends to spend the rest of her life with. (No, we're not going to dwell on the divorce rate, but I have written two books that deal with divorce.)
It's a joyous occasion that young girls dream about. When they meet the man of their dreams and he asks her to spend the rest of his life with him. Such an exciting time in a couple's life when they begin their journey together.
But what if you found out five minutes before you walk down the aisle, that your best-friend is pregnant by your fiancé? Everyone is seated in the church and Valerie goes running out the door of the church, jumps in his vintage corvette to escape until the car breaks down in downtown Dallas.
I won’t tell you what she did, but there’s a reason it’s called The Wanted Bride.  If you like sassy heroines and tales of women who change, then you’ll enjoy The Wanted Bride.  Here’s an excerpt.
“I need a one-way ticket to anywhere,” Valerie Burrows commanded the girl behind the bus counter in downtown Dallas. A charred piece of her wedding veil sagged onto her face. Impatiently, she flipped the singed lace away, her throat closing off the tears that threatened her vision.
On what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, she reeked of smoke, not flowers, saw red not white, tasted bile not cake.
Glancing up from the counter the clerk’s eyes widened, making Valerie acutely aware of her appearance. On what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, she felt traumatized, not joyous.
“Whe...re do you want to go?” the clerk stammered.
“Anywhere, as long as I leave in the next five minutes,” Valerie insisted, wishing people would stop staring. So she looked like a crazy woman. After this morning maybe she was a little loco.
“The bus to Amarillo is loading now,” the agent advised, her large brown eyes riveted to Valerie. “I have one seat left. The one-way fare is sixty-five dollars.”
Though she preferred to travel by plane, there was no time or way to get to the airport. She could take the bus or stay and face the consequences of her actions.
Valerie dug the cash out of her Bottega Veneta purse and handed the money to the ticket agent. “I’ll take it.”

Sylvia McDaniel is a best-selling, award-winning author of historical and contemporary romances.  Known for her sweet, funny, family-oriented romances,  Sylvia is the author of The Burnett Brides a historical western series, The Cuvier Widows, a Louisiana historical series, and several short contemporary romances.
President of the Dallas Area Romance Authors, a member of the Romance Writers of America®, and a member of Novelists Inc, her novel, A Hero’s Heart was a 1996 Golden Heart Finalist. Several other books have placed or won in the San Antonio Romance Authors Contest, LERA Contest, and was a Golden Network Finalist.
Married for nearly twenty years to her best friend, they have two dachshunds that are beyond spoiled. She loves gardening, shopping, knitting and football, but not necessarily in that order.

Currently she’s written fifteen novels and is hard at work on number sixteen, a Christmas Novella about the Burnett Family. Look for her the first Tuesday of every month at the Plotting Princesses Blogspot and twice a week at her own blog Downward Dog Diva With Sass.

Author Links:



**Everyone who leaves a message will be entered into a drawing and I will give away one free copy of The Wanted Bride.



This week I'm going to give you a choice between three ARCs! One winner.



 Love, fate, and power collide in this new series by #1 New York Timesbestselling author Aprilynne Pike!

Tavia Michaels is the sole survivor of the plane crash that killed her parents. When she starts to see strange visions of a boy she’s never spoken with in real life, she begins to suspect that there’s much about her past that she isn’t being told. Tavia will soon discover that she’s an Earthbound—someone with the ability to create matter out of nothing—and that she alone holds the key to stopping the Reduciata, an evil society that manipulates global events for its own shadowy purposes. Tavia will ultimately have to make a choice: to come into her powers and save the world from the evil Reduciata or to choose free will and a love of her own.








Only He Can Bring What They Needed to Survive.

In 2250, water is scarce, and those who control it control everything. And they’ll do anything to maintain their power – deceiving, dividing families, banning love ... even killing those who oppose them. But above all, they seek to control knowledge and communication – ensuring the truth that will bring their downfall will never be known. But one person verges on discovering it all. Sixteen-year-old Paki becomes the Deliverer, the only one allowed to contact the people called ‘Water Rats,’ who mine the essential water deep underground and bring it to the ‘Toppers’ who desperately need it above. But when he meets a Water Rat who captures his heart and leads him to secrets – secrets about a vast conspiracy, and about himself – the net around him tightens. Paki and those around him must uncover and share the truth needed to overthrow tyranny – even as they fight for their lives.










Mystery, suspense, romance and a touch of the paranormal, makes Fragile Darkness a strong, unique entry into the YA market!   How do you stop someone you can’t see? For as long as she can remember, sixteen-year-old psychic Trinity Monsour has seen things before they happen. But now, in the wake of tragedy, her visions have gone dark. She can still feel, though, and the danger she senses swirling around a new friend sends her into the New Orleans party scene, where nothing is as it seems, surprises wait at every turn, and the last guy she wants to see is the one she needs the most: the mercurial Dylan Fourcade, part stranger, part friend, part so much more.

It’s the so much more that confuses her. How can she be drawn to someone she barely knows?

But whether she wants him there or not, he’s by her side, shadowing her every step of the way, until the darkness clears, and a shocking truth emerges—a truth that changes everything. 





**I have other giveaways going on as well, including $25 & $10 dollar Amazon giftcards!Go here for more info!





a Rafflecopter giveaway



Title: Surface
Author: Tiffany Daune
Publication: February, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal

Synopsis:

Bound to the water bound to land, a Siren’s soul will never be safe on either side of the ocean’s surface. Hidden beneath the rolling waves lies the secret to Theia’s past and as she unveils each haunting truth, she realizes the last seventeen years of her life have been a lie. Now, drawn into a mysterious new world and with nowhere to turn, Theia must place her trust in Luc, a beautiful boy who stops her heart with each dazzling smile, but even his unearthly charm can’t hide the truth—he has secrets— dark secrets binding him to his world—an underwater world where Theia will never belong—a world determined to destroy her soul.

Find this book:




Excerpt:

Tears streamed down the girl's cheeks. She pounded her knees into Dumas's back, struggling to free herself. Dumas reached for his bag, yanking it closer, and pulled out a black hood. Cradling her neck, he slipped the hood over her head. She tried once more to jab him in the back with her knee, but, as the hood enveloped her face, she gave in to the darkness surrounding her, and her body fell limp.
Dumas turned to Oliver, but the boy was bent over, his chest heaving for air. Dumas shook his head, his lips pursed. He didn't have time for this right now. He needed to get the girl out of the house. With one arm, he dragged the girl to her feet and guided her down the hall while Oliver stumbled behind them like a newly resurrected zombie.
Downstairs, Dumas found Fiona pacing the kitchen, her black soles scuffing the tiled floors.
"What happened up there?" Fiona's gaze shifted to Oliver. "What's wrong with him?"
Dumas handed the girl to Fiona. "Take her to the van."
He tossed the keys to Oliver who grabbed them. Facing Dumas with hollow eyes, he awaited further instructions.
Dumas sighed. "Follow Fiona. You can hold the girl in the back of the van."
Oliver ran after Fiona, his feet shuffling through the fallen leaves. Dumas rolled his eyes—next time, he would leave Oliver behind.
Dumas knelt to wipe the floor clean. A little dirt wouldn't matter when he had already created such a big mess, but the simple action grounded his thoughts. He stood up, resting his gaze on the collection of photos pinned to the refrigerator, a museum of shared memories. A small picture of the girl's mother standing beside a handsome young man with golden hair and piercing sea green eyes stared back at him. The man's gaze haunted Dumas, filling him with unwanted memories, too painful to remember, and forcing him to look away.
Dumas sighed as he removed a crumpled envelope from his pocket. He held the letter tight for a moment before placing it on the table. He traced the scrawled name with his finger—Sophia. He hated leaving her this letter. She had already lost so much. Dumas hoped she would understand, but already he was pulling at stitches—opening a wound so deep nothing could stanch the bleeding. With a heavy heart, he closed the door and headed into the emptiness of the night.


Trailer:



About the author:

Tiffany Daune doesn't get why people want to grow up or why anyone would ever stop eating candy. Her purse is filled with books, lip gloss and a few pieces of Lego bricks. She writes best with a dish of chocolate chips on hand and finds licorice makes a better straw than plastic. 

She lives on an island and believes mermaids may be raiding her candy stash, though she hasn't caught them, yet.



Find her:
Goodreads




COMMENT to win an eBook of Surface, ends June 15th

Paperback
Expected publication:        May 24th 2013         by Dragonfairy Press 
 ***Genre - New Adult Paranormal Romance.

P.J. Stone is a Seer who saw too little, too late.

In the past, her biggest worries were boys and school—but war has a way of changing things. Now, the alien Riders are trying to overrun the world. As the last of their kind, P.J. and her friends must find a way to save humanity before there’s nothing left to save.

After choosing a mate, P.J. hoped she'd have time to enjoy her love life. But with everything changing so quickly and major secrets revealed, who knows what the future will bring?



Buy Links
Amazon
Publisher



About the Author
Cynical-Optimist. Chocolate-holic. Sarcasm Addict. Paranormal Believer. Romance Junkie. Self Imposed Insomniac. Animal Lover. Writer.
Website  /  Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads





Summary:


When Eleanor Brice unexpectedly wins the heart of Gregory Desmarais, Crown Prince of Cartheigh, she's sure she's found her happily-ever-after. Unfortunately, Prince Charming has a loose grip on his temper, a looser grip on his marriage vows, and a tight grip on the bottle.

Eight years of mistreatment, isolation and clandestine book learning hardly prepare Eleanor for life at Eclatant Palace, where women are seen, not heard. According to Eleanor's eavesdropping parrot, no one at court appreciates her unladylike tendency to voice her opinion. To make matter worse, her royal fiancé spends his last night of bachelorhood on a drunken whoring spree. Before the ink dries on her marriage proclamation Eleanor realizes that she loves her husband's best friend, former soldier Dorian Finley.

Eleanor can't resist Dorian's honesty, or his unusual admiration for her intelligence, and soon both are caught in a dangerous obsession. She drowns her confusion in charitable endeavors, but the people's love can't protect her from her feelings. When a magical crime endangers the bond between unicorns, dragons, and the royal family, a falsely accused Eleanor must clear her own name to save her life. The road toward vindication will force a choice between hard-won security and an impossible love.

The Cracked Slipper is a book club friendly fairytale retelling in the vein of Gregory Maguire, with a dash of romance. Set in a pseudo-renaissance, corset-and-petticoats enchanted kingdom, The Cracked Slipper brings a magical twist to women's fiction. 



Excerpt:


Their host, Sir Robert Smithwick, rose and gave a toast to the health of his nephew. Other speeches followed, each more suggestive than the next. She laughed out loud when Dorian subtly mocked Brian’s inability to hold his liquor. Gregory spoke last, and gave a surprisingly thoughtful salute to his cousin. She patted his arm when he sat, and he gave her a tentative smile.

As everyone returned to their venison and cliff shrimp Eleanor's stepmother tapped her goblet. Mother Imogene rose and lifted the cup. “I must ask you to pause for just one more moment,” she said. “I have another announcement.”

“My darling,” she said to Sylvia. “We’ve all so enjoyed your hospitality this summer. But now my daughter must remember herself, and rest, for with the winter will arrive a future duke! Our dear Sylvia is expecting!”

The guests applauded, congratulating Imogene and Sylvia. Sylvia gazed demurely in her lap, as if embarrassed by the association with procreation. As for the expectant father, he was nowhere to be seen. His wife’s entertaining had proved too much for him, and the duke returned to Harveston for some peace.

Eleanor glanced down the table. Anne Iris retched into her cup, but it was Dorian’s calm face that inspired her. She stood and the room quieted. “My dear sister,” she said. “Let me extend my good wishes.”

Sylvia’s simpering went rigid.

“I will say, Sylvia always had a flair for the dramatic when we were children. Who knew you would entertain so many with your widely varied talents? While I have recently been ill, I’ve heard you neglect no one, from the loftiest lord to the most common stable hand. We are so fortunate there is one among us who gives so generously of herself to others. It’s no wonder His Grace, your husband, took his leave. It must be difficult to share you with so many.”

Imogene’s eyes bulged and her nostrils flared, while Sylvia gave an uncertain twitter. Eleanor looked at Dorian again. He winked.

“So I salute you, Your Grace,” she said.“May your child look just like you. Just as lovely.”

The guests applauded, all the while hiding their smirks and chuckles in their goblets and napkins. Eleanor sat down. This time Gregory touched her arm. “Well played,” he said.

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About the author

Stephanie Alexander grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, the oldest of three children. Drawing, writing stories, and harassing her parents for a pony consumed much of her childhood. After graduating from high school in 1995 she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the College of Charleston, South Carolina. She returned to Washington, DC, where she followed a long-time fascination with sociopolitical structures and women’s issues to a Master of Arts in Sociology from the American University. She spent several years as a Policy Associate at the International Center for Research on Women, a think-tank focused on women’s health and economic advancement. 

Stephanie embraced full-time motherhood after the birth of the first of her three children in 2003. After six wonderful years buried in diapers and picture books she returned to her childhood passion and wrote her own fairytale. Her family put down permanent southern roots in Charleston in 2011. Stephanie is an adjunct professor of Sociology at the College of Charleston. 


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** Stephanie will be awarding a $10 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Title: Absolute Boyfriend
Author: Yuu Watase
Publication: February 7th, 2006
Publisher: VIZ Media
Reads: Right to Left
Rating: 5 out 5
Synopsis: Shy high school student Riiko Izawa aches for a boyfriend but guys just won't look her way. Then one day she signs up for a three-day trial of a mysterious "lover figurine," and the next thing she knows, a cute naked guy is delivered to her doorstep--and he wants to be her boyfriend!


Has Riiko died and gone to heaven? The cute naked guy turns out to be smart, super nice, stylish and a gourmet chef. Plus, he looks like a million bucks.... Trouble is, that's about what he's going to cost Riiko because she didn't return him in time!


Thoughts: Absolute boyfriend is about a high school girl – Riiko – who falls into a situation that involves having a robot boyfriend. She was chosen to help the robot – Night – gain information about how to please women in order for his type to act more human. When Night wakes up, all he wants to do is please her, not caring how *wink wink*. After freaking out (What high school girl wouldn't?) she gives him lessons on reactions, emotions, and how to live a daily life.

Riiko is extremely lovable. She's witty, fun, smart, and independent. Helping Night puts a bit of stress on her, but she deals with humor and looking on the bright side of things. All she wanted was a boyfriend, and now that she got someone with all the qualities girls want, what’s there to complain about? She starts caring for Night, and when women hit on him, she gets fiercely (and adorably) protective. Riiko cares for people, and doesn’t want them to get hurt. Her best friend Soushi confessed his love after Night showed up, so there’s a love triangle in the story as well.

Night… ohhhhh boy. Again, he’s every womans dream. At first he’s very calm, self assured, and not hassled easily. After a while with Riiko, he shows more emotion and tries to please her in different ways then when his system first started. In time he starts caring about her too. Night becomes extremely protective of Riiko and sometimes tries to fight her battles. They both become a team and end up having tons of fun together. It’s a great read for people who want to sit down for a romantic comedy, and there’s only six books in the series so it’ll take you about six hours to read all of them. You’ll love Riikos fierceness and Nights quirky actions. I recommend this book for all comic readers. Absolute boyfriend is one of the most popular Shojo mangas, so get your hands on it while you still can!

Originally posted on Wanted Readers


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What is Twilight?

twi·light

/ˈtwīˌlīt/
Noun
  1. The soft glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, caused by the reflection of the sun's rays from the atmosphere.
  2. The period of the evening during which this takes place, between daylight and darkness.
Synonyms
dusk - gloaming - nightfall

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