Friday, July 25, 2014

Spotlight/Giveaway!!  Mangled Hearts, by Felicia Tatum (Innovative Online Book Tours)

Welcome to this stop in the
Mangled Hearts Tour,
brought to you by

Mangled Hearts
(Scarred Hearts, #1)
Felicia Tatum
Trade Paperback, 232 pages
CreateSpace Independent Publishing
July 12, 2013
Contemporary Romance, 
New Adult Fiction

Book Synopsis
Francesca and Cade.  Can two loves find their way back to each other despite an addiction and a hardened heart? Will their love overcome it all? Francesca Taymon is young, successful, and broken. A tragic accident years ago haunts her to this day, and she blames only one person--the one that holds her heart. When she finally gets her first case, will she be able to handle seeing him again? Can she do her job and keep her heart intact? Cade Kelling doesn’t take life seriously. He’s reckless and irresponsible, drinking all his problems away. When his parents bail him out for the last time, will he be able to handle seeing Francesca after all of these years? Will he be able to tell her what really happened that night 5 years ago or will he lose her forever? And the most important question…. Can these mangled hearts be mended?

Amazon US/Amazon CA
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
The Book Depository

Book Excerpt

Chapter One: Francesca

The steaming hot water rolled down my skin, leaving a trail of red lines. I lathered the shampoo through my long, dark blonde hair. Closing my eyes, I let the lavender scent tickle my nose. Inhaling deeply, my lungs filled and my body relaxed. Continuing the gentle massage of my head, I thought about the past few years. The stress was consuming me to the point I missed much needed rest.

I went through the same routine every morning. Nightmares tortured me throughout the night, reminding me of all that could have been. I woke with the memory fresh on my mind. The day that was forever etched in my brain; my best friend coming to break the heart-wrenching news to me, the world shattering before my eyes, and the blur that followed. My day always started with me in a tangle of blankets and covered in sweat. I would lie in my bed attempting to calm my fast-beating heart until my breath would finally slow enough for me to get up and shower. At least I had a routine.

I finished rinsing my hair and body, the suds covering me like a white, fluffy blanket. The water mixed in with my lingering tears, clearing my face of the night before.


I hurried up the stairs of my building, tripping over my own feet and almost falling flat on my face. "Perfect," I muttered as I gripped the handrail for the support. I bent and slipped the too-high heels off. I usually took my shoes off in the office anyway, but they would have to come off a little sooner than usual today. I rushed in the door, raising my hand to wave at the office assistant, Zander. He usually wanted me to stop and chat, but I was running late. I slept too late, pushed "snooze" too many times, and spent too long in the shower trying to forget, and tripped over my own feet as I got dressed, so I was in a rush to get to he meeting with my boss.

I flung my briefcase on my desk, sending papers flying. Groaning, I crawled around the floor picking them up. Pain shot through my head as I rammed it into the desk while attempting to stand. I rubbed the spot in a circle, trying to ease the intensity of the throbbing. I searched for the folder with my notes on the Archuleta case. Being unable to find it, I slumped in the chair, closed my eyes, and rubbed my temples. This was the worst Wednesday I'd ever had. Nothing seemed to be going right, and it was only 9 a.m.

Being employed as a Worker's Compensation lawyer for the last three years had been rough. Directly after graduating with my B.S. in Business, I ran off to law school. I hoped being around new faces in a different town would help me forget. And I did for a brief period, but it didn't last. After the graduation ceremony, I got a job with a firm back in my hometown, putting me right back where I started. Now I had a job I didn't particularly like, mainly because they treated me like an intern. Most entry-level lawyers were able to move up to the higher-end cases after their second year, but not me. I was still stuck on the simple cases, and that frustrated me to no end. I was ready for the challenges that came with being a lawyer.

Sighing, I opened the top drawer of my rusted desk to see if, by some miracle, the folder was in there. I shuffled the contents, gasping when I realized it was in my briefcase. Muttering obscenities to myself, I pulled the heavy leather case closer to my seat. The lock clicked as I popped it open to reveal the treasure. I laughed at myself as I opened the folder to ensure all needed papers were present. I moved my feet around under my desk, attempting to find my shoes. I got them on just in time to see my boss walk by on his way to our meeting. Jumping up, I slid the chair away from my desk and rounded the edge to get to the door.

"Mr. Phlllips," I called, taking long strides to catch up. It wasn't difficult because I was fairly tall for a woman. At five feet, eight inches, I generally stood well above other women. And some men. When I was younger I hated my height. It seemed that every boy I had a crush on was at least three inches shorter than me, making me feel extremely awkward for most of my teen years. Once I hit my twenties and grew in confidence, I didn't it as much. If I was attracted to the man, height shouldn't matter.

"Ms. Taymon," he said, nodding in acknowledgement.

I smiled politely, and slid in step with him. "Good morning, sir. I was just on my way to our meeting for the Archuleta case."

"Yes, indeed. I am, too. Do you have everything ready?"

I held the folder up for him to see, shaking it a bit. "Yes, sir."

"Good. We have a conference call with the company at 11 a.m. This meeting needs to happen fast so we're prepared."

Great. A conference call meant he would want to make our final offers today. We had a long meeting ahead of us, and I dreaded what would happen. The Archulet case was about a woman that was injured while driving her company's car to the post office. A semi-truck rammed into the driver's side, completely crushing her. She had barely survived, and her spine had to be completely restructured. She was in a wheelchair and her doctors seemed uncertain if she would ever walk again. Her company didn't want to accommodate her new needs, nor did they want to pay the big settlement she deserved. The lawyers at J & B Law Firm were determined to get her the money she would need to survive.

I wished I was the lawyer fighting in court, but I was only here to gather facts, numbers, and information, The case would definitely go to court, because the company felt they were getting the low end of the deal. How they figured they were getting the bad end, when Ms. Archuleta may never walk again, I didn't know.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Christmas in July Giveaway Hop!!

Welcome to this stop in the 
Christmas In July Giveaway Hop,
which is hosted by the blogs
I Am A Reader and Laurie Here!!
The giveaway starts today,
July 22nd, and ends on July 31st!

This giveaway is specifically for 
Christmas-related books,
or for a gift card to buy such books.
For my own contest, the winner can 
select any Christmas book worth up to 
$12.00!  I have a list of great
romance novel suggestions right here, 
so be sure to enter!  After all, 
Christmas will be here before you 
know it, right?
(If you don't like any of these books,
you can select any other.
And it doesn't have to be a romance
novel, but it does have to be

This time, the contest is for 
U.S. residents only.  
The winner's book will be 
delivered by Amazon.

Here's a list of Christmas romance novel suggestions!

Good luck to everyone, and 
Merry Christmas
in July!!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Blogs and Copyright Infringement

I have decided that, instead of my usual "Shelf Candy Saturday" post (which would  be very late, anyway), I would publish a post on this very important issue.

About a year ago, I heard about how a blogger got in BIG trouble by posting images without permission from the copyright owner of those images. So I immediately began going  through my previous posts, in order to ensure that I was not publishing any images that might infringe on any copyrights. I read something about the Fair Use Act somewhere along the way,  but not in  depth. Unfortunately, I don't remember much about what I read, so I've researched this issue, and have also posted several links dealing with it, at the bottom of this article.

The bottom line is this: we bloggers (of any type, not just book bloggers) can't simply copy and paste images from Google just to enhance our posts. According to what I read, we can, however, use images under the Fair Use Act for the purpose of commentary on those images. Images can also be used in book review posts.

As for text, book bloggers may quote from books if those quotes are included in book reviews. That, too, is considered fair use.

As soon as I had found out the above, and made sure I was not infringing, I began to relax. After some time had passed, I simply put the whole matter out of my mind and went on with my blogging.

Just a few days ago, this whole issue came crashing down upon me again. How? Well, another blogger copied from me, without my permission, or even attribution and linking back to my blog. It was a complete shock. Somehow, we tend to think that we're immune from whatever bad things happen to other people.....

This other blogger, I later discovered, has since taken down their blog. Since this is the case, I will not mention them or their deleted blog here. I reacted pretty strongly to their use of my content, though, especially because of the fact that their use of said content made it look as if they had created it. 

Because of this unfortunate incident, I now have a Copyright Policy in place. It not only covers what I consider to be my exclusive intellectual property, but also how it may be used, if at all. My policy, which, by the way, may not be copied without my explicit permission, as I wrote it myself, also describes the specific steps I will take in the case of violations. 

I will be consulting with a lawyer next week, in order to make sure that everything in my policy is clearly and legally explained. However, I did feel it necessary to put something up as soon as possible, so I wrote it, and revised it several times as quickly as I could before finally putting it up. It may be easily accessed underneath the blog header, or by clicking on the link in the paragraph above.

All of this made me wonder again about my own use of copyrighted material. After all, we should always consider the Golden Rule. I certainly feel that I should treat others the way I myself want to be treated.  So I will be amending my policy to include statements about my use of copyrighted content.

In the case of text, I only use quotes from books in the context of reviews. If I see an interesting post on another blog, I always email the blogger first to ask if I may use the post as a guest post. In the past, I have contacted two bloggers who replied that I was welcome to use quotes from their posts, but not the entire posts. I therefore didn't use any of their material, as I felt that, in each case, the entire post would have been more effective. Still, I honored their right to decline.

I used to be very ignorant in the case of images. I have since then taken care of that. In the case of one weekly meme I participate in -- "Waiting On Wednesday" -- I purchased the image of the window with the sun rising over the Earth from a stock photo company, and then created my own logo with Picasa. I did the same thing with the image of the book stack for  "Shelf Candy Saturday", which is a meme that originally belonged to Stephanie @ Five Alarm Book Reviews. She subsequently passed it on to me when  she decided to stop blogging, taking her blog down as well. (For further details, click HERE.) I also purchased the image I use for my post signature, and added my name with Picasa. (See below.)

I will always conscientiously strive to avoid using copyrighted material without the copyright owner's permission. It would be nice if the same courtesy were extended to me, but, since that would only happen in an ideal world, I felt that I needed to create my own copyright policy to cover any and all future contingencies. I would like to encourage other bloggers, whatever the subject matter of your blogs, to do the same thing. A copyright policy is indeed a necessary and important thing for a blogger to have in place. A blog, after all, is an original creation.

At this point, I'm looking into the possibility of getting a Creative Commons license.

I'm including some important links on what constitutes fair use for bloggers, in regards to text and images. I sincerely hope that they will be helpful, as well as educational, for those bloggers who are starting out, and even for those who have been blogging for a while, yet may not be aware of how they are allowed to use copyrighted material.

Please leave any thoughts you may have regarding this very important matter in the comments section. If you would like to email me regarding this post, or to request permission to re-post my content, this is my email address:

Here are the links:

(This excellent article also discusses Creative Commons licenses and DMCA complaints.)


Book Review: State of Grace, by Elizabeth Davies

State of Grace
(Resurrection, #1)
Elizabeth Davies
Trade Paperback, 250 pages
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platfrom
October 12, 2012
Historical Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Science Fantasy

Book Synopsis:   When Grace, 27 years old and with only a few months left to live, returns to her home town of Brecon, she is catapulted nearly 1800 years into the past. At first she attributes her hallucinations to her brain tumour, but as the visions become more detailed and closer to the present day, she becomes involved with a certain wickedly handsome and rather inhuman Roman, who has an obsession with blood. Grace is forced to confront her fears when the past begins intruding on the present, and she falls deeper in love with her phantom man. 'Death is only one option.' This is the first novel in the Resurrection trilogy.

My Review

(Reviewer's Note: I received a PDF copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. I liked it so much, I've ordered a print copy from Amazon!)

It's really interesting to see how vampire romance authors have made the vampire mythos their very own by changing and adapting it to make unique stories that will appeal to paranormal romance fans.  Elizabeth Davies is no exception.  In this, the first volume of her Resurrection Trilogy, she has combined a typically Gothic story with the concept of time travel, although Grace, the female protagonist, doesn't use any machine to go back in time. Instead, she travels through a very mysterious process that she immediately attributes to her brain tumor. However, she comes to realize that her 'hallucinations' are very real indeed, and the people she meets during these experiences are also very real.

The full explanation for this unusual form of time travel will, I assume, be forthcoming in one of the sequels of this trilogy. Even  though I don't yet know why Grace is experiencing these hallucinations, or visions, there's no denying that they are totally fascinating and riveting! Because of this, I was able to finish the novel very quickly. Davies simply made her tale  so compelling that I couldn't stop reading, because I just had to know how the characters would be able to get to know each other, given the unpredictable nature of their encounters.

In this first volume, the relationship of Grace, a human, and Roman, a vampire, is only just getting started. She can only be with him when she's suddenly transported back to his time, which is Wales in the Dark Ages. Although Grace is in Wales, too, she lives in the 21st century. 

I had some mixed feelings about Roman at first. I liked that he was very handsome and sexy. However,  he certainly didn't hesitate to take Grace's blood at the beginning of their acquaintance, which made me dislike him. Thankfully, after the first two times he did this, he refused to drink from her again. When Grace asked him why, he admitted that he didn't want to take too much blood from her. That was when I started to warm up to him.

In spite of his immense attractiveness, however, Roman is also intimidating, especially in the beginning. Although he never kills his prey, he makes no apologies for his nature. He's still a predator, with an air of mystery and danger about him.  

I really like Grace. She's very courageous in the face of her illness, insisting on continuing with her life without any coddling from her family. She had been a pilot, so she misses the thrill of the open skies. Still, she  does what she can to capture some of that thrill, even climbing mountains in the darkness, something that I would never attempt in the full light of day. Thus, I really admire her. She also stands up to Roman on more than one occasion, which makes me admire her even more! Of course, being an independently-minded 21st-century woman, she immediately clashes with Roman and his time period, which makes for some very interesting reading.

The relationship between these two begins with mutual amazement and some mistrust, especially as neither can understand the other's language. This difficulty is gradually overcome as they get to know each other better. This is not an easy thing for them, though, as Grace flashes back and forth between  her own  time and Roman's, with no ability to control her intermittent 'trips', which sometimes span centuries. Still, eventually they do begin to communicate, and then to trust each other.

I did find it a bit comical, as well as unbelievable, that Grace did not immediately figure out that Roman, as well as his companion, Viktor, were vampires. Instead of  immediately coming to this conclusion, she asks Roman if they're 'aliens'. I suppose the author intended this as comic relief, but I didn't find it very realistic. After all, Grace is a very smart young woman. Surely she would have suspected the truth much sooner.

The sex scenes in this novel are, admittedly, a  bit too graphic for my taste, but on the other hand, they're very intense, earthy, and passionate. Grace's desire for Roman, as his for her, is exciting and fiercely romantic. Still, I would have preferred these scenes to be much more  on the tender side, and much less graphic.

The world-building is meticulously detailed; it's evident that Davies has thoroughly researched Roman's time period. I never felt that anything was anachronistic or out of place. The author has created vivid word pictures, not only to describe Grace's present-day world, but that of the 12th century, as well. The people, clothing, food, and social mores -- all were totally believable and authentic.

I especially loved the author's descriptions of the Welsh countryside! Grace lives on a farm full of rolling hills, mountains, and lush grasslands, all beautifully depicted in excellent prose.

I really enjoyed this novel, and found it to be a beautiful, well-written romance, with great characterizations and vividly described settings. It's a totally absorbing, addictive read, the perfect escape for any PNR fan! It's so mesmerizing, one immediately gets lost in the novel's world, emerging only when the last page has been turned, and one is, unfortunately, back in the 'real' world.....


About the Author

Elizabeth Davies was born and raised in South Wales more years ago than she cares to remember. She lived in England for nearly two decades but returned to her roots when she felt the mountains of her youth calling to her, and hiking in her beloved Brecon Beacons is now one of the joys in her life. When she is not working as a full-time secretary, Elizabeth loves spending time with her family, hates doing necessary chores, and tries to fit in writing whenever she can. She has published the Resurrection trilogy, beginning with State of Grace, continuing with Amazing Grace, and ending with Sanctifying Grace. She is currently working on another paranormal romance set in Wales. She is also seriously addicted to chocolate.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tour Spotlight/Giveaway!!  Forager, by Peter R. Stone (Innovative Online Book Tours)

Welcome to this stop in the Forager tour, sponsored by
Innovative Online Book Tours!! 

(Forager #1)
Peter R. Stone
Trade Paperback, 294 pages
CreateSpace Independent Publishing
November 20, 2013
Dystopian Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction,
Young Adult Fiction

Book Synopsis

Eighteen-year-old Ethan Jones lives in Newhome, a town built upon the decaying ruins of post-apocalyptic Melbourne, ruins haunted by the ferocious Skel, a nomadic tribe of degenerate savages.

The Skel are ramping up their attacks on Newhome's foraging teams and infesting Melbourne's ruins in ever greater numbers. Is this part of a larger plan that could spell the town's doom?

Meanwhile, the last thing Ethan expects when he and his companions rescue a two-car convoy from the Skel is a Japanese teenage girl with an outlandish dress sense, who, after they take her back to Newhome, goes to great lengths to ingratiate herself into his life. But is it in gratitude for saving her life or is she seeking something more?

And what a quandary she places him in, for he knows the rules, that no man is permitted to be alone with an unmarried woman. But how can he drive such a gentle soul away when she touches his heart so deeply, even though she clearly carries the pain of a broken heart herself?

At the same time, Newhome's police force, the Custodians, are suspicious of Ethan's foraging team's successes and are pulling out the stops to find out which member of his team has the illegal mutant ability that gives them an edge over the other teams. Should these peacekeepers discover Ethan is the mutant they seek, they will haul him away and dissect him like a frog.

Book Excerpt

Michal looked down at me, clearly displeased about something. "You gotta be more careful, Ethan."
"Me?" I asked, not having the slightest inkling of what he was referring to.
"Yes, Ethan, you," he confirmed as he turned the key in the ignition and pumped the accelerator gently to get the engine started. The truck was pretty old and I doubted it had a single part that hadn't been replaced or refurbished at some stage. "I'd wager my bottom dollar they're here 'cause they want to find out why our team brings in more metals than the others."
Our team was one of many that foraged in the ruins outside for non-corrosive metals - such as gold, platinum, copper, bronze and lead - that had survived the decades
since the Apocalypse. We would take them back to the Recycling-Works where they would be sorted, melted down, and handed over to the factories.
"What do you mean?" I replied, feigning ignorance.
"Them other three goons," he whispered as he jerked his head back to indicate our workmates in the back seat, "they ain't too bright. They think you just know the best spots to look, but not me. I've seen you."
That sent icy tendrils of dread creeping back into my gut. "Seen me what?"
"You can drop your act with me, okay?" he said softly as he shifted the truck into gear and drove it out of the Recycling-Works yard and towards the town gates. "I've heard about people like you, and you're secret's safe with me. Just don't keep hitting pay dirt every day from now on, 'cause those Custodians, they're not here to protect us from the Skel like they claim, or they'd have brought a Bushmaster instead of that G-Wagon."
He was right, and I knew it. The Custodians always rode in their Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles when going into situations they perceived as potentially dangerous. That they came in an unarmoured G-Wagon today proved they were not expecting to encounter Skel as they claimed. So that was just a smokescreen to cover their true intention - which was to find out which of us had my aberrant, mutant ability: the ability I used to locate the metals we were looking for.

About the Author

Peter Stone, an avid student of history, was reading books on Ancient Greece from the age of four. His periods of interest include the ancient world, medieval era, Napoleonic times, and the Second World War. He still mourns the untimely passing of King Leonidas of Sparta and Field Marshal Michel Ney of France.

A child of the Cold War Generation, Peter Stone studied the ramifications of a nuclear missile strike when he was in his senior year of high school, learning the effects of nuclear fallout and how to (hopefully) survive it. He has ever been drawn to post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels and films, and eagerly devoured The Day of the Triffids and John Christopher's Tripod Trilogy when he was a child.

Peter Stone graduated from Melbourne School of Ministries Bible College in 1988. He has been teaching Sunday School and playing the keyboard in church for over twenty-five years. His wife is from Japan and they have two wonderful children. Peter Stone has worked in the same games company for over twenty years, but still does not comprehend why they expect him to work all day instead of playing games.


Be sure to enter the awesome,  tour-wide giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 For the complete tour schedule,
simply click 
on the button below!