Review ~ Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold

Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new series of adventure mystery stories that are one part travel, one part history and five parts adventure. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations.

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty’s adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada and as the plot continues to unfold this spirited story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada’s Yukon, the harsh land made famous in the stories and poems of such writers as Jack London, Robert Service and Pierre Berton. It is a riveting tale that brings to glorious life the landscape and history of Alaska’s inside passage and Canada’s Yukon, as Kitty is caught up in an epic mystery set against the backdrop of the scenery of the Klondike Gold Rush.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves as Kitty prepares for her next adventure – flying around the world!



My ****4.5**** Star Review

Every now and then I like to take on a book for review that I’m not sure will interest me. I don’t like limiting myself to the books that I “typically” read. For me, I tend to like some romance in my books. This book is far from that category. I can’t say that it is completely without any romantic elements, though.

I decided to give this book a try as a read-aloud to two of my kids, ages 7 and 10. I had to lighten a little of the language, but there wasn’t much there. I think I used the word “heck” a whole lot in place of “hell,” but I’d definitely recommend this for early teens. My 10 yr old son absolutely LOVED it! He has requested me to get the rest of the series. We even did some research into the history behind the Yukon Gold Rush, and read the poem, “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” as a result of the book. It was a great educational experience for the three of us!

While I loved the educational side of the book, I’d be lying if I said that was what drew us in. It was the suspenseful adventure! We were right along side of Kitty and experienced everything she did. It was exhilarating! We loved guessing the outcomes and answers to the mysteries. Sometimes we were right, or one of us anyways. Other times all of us were left with our jaws dropping, shouting, “NO WAY!!!” It was an adventure for us! We’re looking forward to the next great experience with Kitty Hawk!

*I received a free copy via Book Publicity Services in exchange for an honest review.*

You can currently pick up the next 3 books in the series!

Happy Reading,


Review ~ Seduction & Snacks @tarasivec

Seduction & Snacks

Claire is a twenty-something, single mom that grudgingly helps her best friend sell sex toys while she attempts to make enough money to start her own business to give her foul-mouthed, but extremely loveable (when he’s asleep) toddler a better life.

When Carter, the one-night-stand from her past that changed her life forever, shows up in her hometown bar without any recollection of her besides her unique chocolate scent, Claire will make it a point that he remembers her this time.

With Carter’s undisguised shock at suddenly finding out he has a four-year-old son and Claire’s panic that her stretch marks and slim to none bedroom experience will send the man of her dreams heading for the hills, the pair will do whatever they can to get their happily ever after.

Warning: contains explicit sex, profanity and enough sarcasm to choke a horse.



My *****5 Star***** Review

Looking for a good romantic comedy, heavy on the comedy? Well, then this is the book for you! I read this one on my kindle with hubby asleep beside me, and I don’t know how I didn’t wake him up with my laughter. Normally I can contain it if I’m in bed beside him. Have you ever been caught off guard, maybe with a mouth full of soda, and something so funny and unexpected happens that you’re spewing it everywhere? Yeah, that was me with this book. I’m talking snorting here folks!

Ok, I have to comment on the romance, too. The biggest thing that stood out to me here was the lack of stupidity. Let’s face it! Most romance novels are full of one idiotic thing after another keeping the couple apart. There was none of that! Not one retarded thing! I was sooooo completely impressed with that! You get to see a natural progression of a relationship forming. It looks like there’s some of that to come with book 2, Futures & Frosting, though.

I can't dismiss 4 yr old Gavin. He really is the life of the party so often. But, then again all of the minor characters play such a great role in adding to the story. This novel is full of outrageous one-liners!

I purchased my kindle copy after a friend recommended it to me for a good laugh. I am now sharing that recommendation with all of you! I honestly can't wait to read more from Tara! I'm only sorry I waited this long to pick up one of her books!!

About the Author ~ Tara Sivec

Tara Sivec
Tara Sivec is a USA Today best-selling author, wife, mother, chauffeur, maid, short-order cook, baby-sitter, and sarcasm expert. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children and looks forward to the day when they all three of them become adults and move out.

After working in the brokerage business for fourteen years, Tara decided to pick up a pen and write instead of shoving it in her eye out of boredom. She is the author of the Playing with Fire series, the Chocolate Lovers series, the Chocoholics series, the Fool Me Once series and Watch Over Me. Her novel Seduction and Snacks won first place in the Indie Romance Convention Reader’s Choice Awards 2013 for Best Indie First Book.

In her spare time, Tara loves to dream about all of the baking she’ll do and naps she’ll take when she ever gets spare time.

Twitter: @tarasivec

Happy Reading,


Review ~ Wallbanger by Alice Clayton


The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she’s gaining an intimate knowledge of her new neighbor’s nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy’s athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed dating hiatus, and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly…

In a delicious mix of silly and steamy, Alice Clayton dishes out a hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight…


My ****4.5 Star**** Review

Hilarious~ The number one thing I have to say about this book is that it’s outrageously funny! If you’re looking for a good laugh, this may well be the book for you. This story is dripping with mirth from the plot and individual scenes to the witty banter.

Depth~ However, don’t assume that there’s no depth to the plot. This isn’t a shallow comedy, and despite the title, there’s no rush to the big bang for Caroline and Simon.

Intriguing Characters~ You may think I’m about to go into a spiel on how hot Simon is, or how much I could relate to Caroline. That’s not the case, though. Let me introduce you to Clive that cat. Now I’m not going to give away any of the scenes involving him, but this interesting character really added to the story!

Pacing~ I was sucked in from the start! There wasn’t a dull moment. This novel was far from being overly descriptive and bogged down by anything.

Negatives~ There were a few predictable moments. This wasn’t really a problem, though. There were still plenty of unexpected moments! There were also a couple times I got confused about what Caroline was saying was happening between her and Simon.

Warnings (for those that don’t see them as spoilers)~ You can expect strong language sprinkled throughout. It’s not wrapped in every sentence or paragraph, though. You can also expect a LOT of sexual banter followed up by a few steamy scenes. Despite the whole book having a LOT to do with sex, there honestly isn’t a whole lot of it in the story.

Recommendations~ I highly recommend this to those of you that love romantic comedies and don’t mind some steaminess! I definitely look forward to reading Rusty Nailed, the second book in the Cocktail Series, so I can get more of Caroline, Simon and Clive. I just can’t imagine how it will ever live up to the hilarity of Wallbanger, though!

Happy Reading,


Strangers on a Bus ~ Promo Blitz & Giveaway

Strangers on a Bus

Romantic Comedy / Memoir

Date Published: March 29, 2011


If you liked When Harry Met Sally, you’ll fall in love with Robb and Gertrude from Strangers on a Bus…

Robb is crushed by a failed relationship with the love of his life and finds himself unexpectedly on a long bus trip from his adopted home in the U.S. back to his native Canada.

At the first stop in NYC, a girl gets on and so begins a contemplation of life, love, and strange events that will bring tears of laughter and heartache streaming down your face.

Is this girl Robb’s real true love or just a rebound? How far can they get on a bus ride anyway?

This is a true story.


Book Trailer


Chapter 22

Things To Do in A Bus Stop Bathroom?

The sun started to come up as we crossed into Canada, and Gertrude told me we wouldn’t be making out once it was daylight. Lip dancing on a brightly lit bus was too “tacky” for her, and besides her lessons were having a not entirely unpleasant side effect on her.

I find it best to try not to understand women at all. But, there is one phenomenon that causes me more confusion than any of the other baffling behavior women indulge in.

When you tell a woman something and she doesn’t believe you, so you tell her the opposite, and she doesn’t believe that either, I like that.

So, you tell her the first thing you said was, indeed, the truth, and she doesn’t want to believe that one either.


So am I. Here is the latest incarnation of this occurrence.

Gertrude: “All this kissing isn’t bothering you? You’ve got more restraint than any guy I’ve ever met. I thought you would have been trying to feel me up hours ago.”

Me: “Would it have worked?”

Gertrude: “Maybe, probably not. I think it’s nice. You’re a gentleman.”

Me: “Not really. Every time we stop I take care of that in the bathroom.”

Gertrude: “You’re such a pig! You washed your hands right! You’re so gross! You didn’t! Did you?”

Me: “I thought I was a gentleman! I lie! I lie! I lie! Of course I didn’t.”

Gertrude: “You’re such a pig! You did! Didn’t you? You’re so gross!”

Me: “Stop laughing at me if I’m so gross! I didn’t! I didn’t!”

Gertrude: “You did so! You’re such a pig!”

Me: “Okay. Fine. I did.”

Gertrude: “No you didn’t! You’re not that big a pig. Close. But no. You didn’t.”

Me: “I tell you I didn’t and you say I did. I tell you I did, and you say I didn’t. You’re such a weirdo.”

And then I kissed her, because the sun was rising quick, and because I couldn’t see another way to end that conversation. It is possible that debate could have gone on indefinitely, and there was no way I could prove conclusively what I had or had not done in a bus stop bathroom.

After what might be our last extended lip dancing lesson Gertrude whispered in my ear, “I was horny and wanted Dicky-bird…that is fun to say, so in the bathroom… I did.”

Giveaway Time!!!

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Up For Grabs:

$5 Amazon Gift Card

5 The Robblogger Diaries eBook

2 Fame eBook

2 Onto Yourself eBook

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About the Author ~ Rob Manary

Rob Manary
Robert Manary is an international playboy and man of mystery, with the charm and sophistication of James Bond shaken not stirred with a couple ounces of Cyrano de Bergerac, a dash of Rasputin, and garnished with the rapier wit of Thurston Howell the Third.

That’s how he sees himself, anyway.

The truth is Robert Manary is a construct created to protect the dubious reputation of his Clark Kent like mild mannered writer/puppeteer/the man pulling the levers and breathing life into the Great and Powerful Oz (don’t look too closely behind the curtain).

Robert Manary’s alter ego dropped out of Radio Broadcasting College to pursue a lucrative career bartending at a seedy gentlemen’s club, played around stocking shelves at a small grocery store until he screwed up badly enough to be given a promotion, and finally left the glamorous life of fighting with Parmalat representatives over the quantity of soy milk required for a small Northern Ontario town to function adequately, for the bright lights of New York.

Wow that was one long sentence!

Manary is also a master of the run-on sentence, an abuser of commas, and has no idea how to properly use this bit of punctuation: “;”

He also thinks he is much “cleverer” than he probably is.

Manary is an award winning blogger, an erotic romance novel writer, the author of a pretty decent romantic comedy, and for a brief period in the early nineties served as dictator of a small South American country.

Most of that is true.

New York, New York, if you can make it there you can make it anywhere. Manary couldn’t make it there, and with only a little prompting from law enforcement agents returned to Canada, and chronicled the journey in that pretty decent romantic comedy mentioned in a paragraph above.

Manary is also an experimental artist who has no clue how to write an Author’s Bio, and definitely no idea how to end one.

He has only been in love once, and that didn’t work out so well, but he dreams and dreams of that girl he’s loved all along. Can a taste of love be so wrong?
P.S. He is also a shameless plunderer of pop culture.





Happy Reading,


Review ~ Only With You by Lauren Layne

only with you

Title: Only With You

Series: The Best Mistake Series

Author: Lauren Layne

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romantic Comedy

Release Date: July 29, 2014

Book Description

Love is the Biggest Gamble of All . . .

Cocktail waitress Sophie Dalton doesn’t exactly have a life plan. She’s perfectly happy being everyone’s favorite party girl. But when a Las Vegas bachelorette party goes awry and an uptight businessman mistakes Sophie for a prostitute . . . well, Sophie wonders if it’s time to reevaluate her priorities. Swearing off her thigh-high boots for good, Sophie slinks back home with damaged pride-and a jackpot of a hangover.

Yet what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay there. On a trip to Seattle to open a new office, Grayson Wyatt meets his latest employee-who turns out to be the same woman he recently called a hooker. Wealthy and gorgeous, Gray is a man used to getting what he wants. And it doesn’t take long to figure out that smart, sassy, sexy Sophie is everything he’s been looking for. As their late nights at the office turn into hot morning-afters, they realize their Vegas misunderstanding may lead to the real thing . . .

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My ****4.5 STRONG STARS**** Review

This was my first Lauren Layne novel, but it definitely won’t be my last! After my initial introduction to Sophie, I never would have guessed that I would have fallen in love with the book, but it was no time before I was laughing. Then laughing, laughing some more, oh yeah…and laughing some more. I’ve always enjoyed a good romantic comedy when it comes to movies, but I think there are slim pickings in the book world when it comes to combining comedy with a great romance. This book covered both well!

I really can’t even describe how I fell in love with the characters the way I did. Gray isn’t your typical hero when it comes to romance. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever read about a character like him. He’s your uptight professional that lacks in the communication skills department. He’s just not sociable – at all. Don’t mistake him for being a shy wimp, though. He’s all man!

Besides their contrasting personalities, Sophie and Gray have other obstacles in their way. Plus Sophie doesn’t know whether she should love him or hate him. Because of this, you get a nice slow build up to their relationship. It’s the second half of the book before you see the steamy action start to come in. I can’t deny that there are some intense and upsetting scenes added in the mix. At one point I was tearing up.

Most of the book is from Sophie’s perspective, but you do get a little glimpse at Brynn. Brynn is Sophie’s uptight sister who’s fighting her feelings for Sophie’s bff Will. There are plenty of tempting teasers thrown in to keep your tongue wagging for book 2 in the series! I personally can’t wait! Don’t fret if you’re not into cliffhangers. This is a complete stand-alone.

Negatives?? I don’t have many. I’m not crazy about the cover. This is just personal preference. I tend to prefer my romance covers to lack models. I like to let the words put the images of the people in my mind. No biggie here. Other than that, it just lacked that certain something that would make it unforgettable.

Overall, I highly recommend it to all romance lovers out there, especially if you want a good laugh and maybe a cry, too! As I mentioned at the start, this won’t be my last Lauren Layne book. I can’t wait for Made For You, book 2 in the series, set to release Oct. 28th!!

Warnings: strong language, sex scenes

*I received a copy via NetGalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) in exchange for an honest review.*

About the Author ~ Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne is a snarky smartass with a serious weakness for happily ever afters.

Marrying her high school sweetheart was a good start. *cue Disney soundtrack.*

But Lauren wanted all romance, all the time.

Now she writes fictional happy endings, and considers her job done well if you swoon while reading her books.

Don’t worry. You will.

Once upon a time she lived in a Manhattan high-rise, but now she’s on the laid-back train in the Seattle area. If you ever find yourself in Issaquah, she’ll probably buy you a drink. Maybe.

Twitter: @_laurenlayne

Happy Reading,


The Baby & the Bride ~ Spotlight & Giveaway



Poppy and Jazz’s lives sound perfect on paper. Jazz has a new baby and Poppy’s getting married. But their realities are very different.

Poppy must strive to keep her cool new job with crazy hours, while trying to keep Ryan happy. Before she knows it her wedding has got out of control, thanks to her mother, the runners at work are bullying her, her parents are in financial difficulty and she’s doubting everything and everyone she ever knew.

Meanwhile Jazz is struggling with motherhood, something a credit card won’t fix. Why won’t this baby give her a break? Will Jazz be able to cope before she loses it?

And will Poppy make it down the aisle? Will Ryan even be waiting?


Amazon UK * Amazon US * B&N


The Baby & the Brided is the sequel to the Amazon #1 best-seller in Humour and winner of Best Laugh Out Loud Book of 2013, The Debt & the Doormat. This is available for FREE download.

debt doormat


Poppy and Jazz have been best friends from the first week of university. Whenever these two get together trouble isn’t far away and things haven’t changed much. When Jazz gets herself into financial trouble Poppy, being a good friend, offers to help. She instead ends up being talked into swapping lives, with Jazz insisting it will be good and help her get over her broken heart.

Poppy is thrown into a new life, full of crazy housemates. There’s fitness freak Izzy, horrendously beautiful bitch Grace and the slightly gorgeous, if not incredibly grumpy Ryan.

Quickly, with the help of Jazz, her life is thrown upside down. Madness ensues and her need to please everyone gets her in more trouble than she could ever imagine.

Before she knows it she’s got a fake boyfriend and is hiding so many secrets she’s scared they’ll spill out any minute. With a bullying boss, a sex crazed colleague, a mental mother and three brothers each with their own dramas, life has gotten pretty difficult for Poppy. And all of this would be much easier, if she could just stop falling over.

Will she get her life back to normal before her brother’s upcoming wedding? And will she want to?

Amazon UK * Amazon US * B&N

About the Author ~ Laura Barnard


My name is Laura Barnard and I am an author from Hertfordshire, UK. My first chick-lit novel, The Debt & the Doormat was an Amazon number 1 best-seller and won Best Laugh Out Loud Book of 2013. It is available via Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks. Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository and many more.

In my spare time I enjoy drinking my body weight in tea, indulging in cupcakes the size of my face, drooling over hunks like Jamie Dornan, Ryan Gosling and Leo Dicaprio…oh and my husband of course! I like wearing yoga clothes and reading fitness magazines while I sit on the sofa and eat chocolate. I’m a real fan of the power nap and of course, READING!

I write not to get rich or famous, but because I LOVE writing. Even if one person tells me they enjoyed my book it makes the midnight typing worth it!
Twitter: BarnardLaura

Giveaway Time

One winner will receive a signed paperback of The Baby & the Bride courtesy of Laura Barnard!!

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Happy Reading,


Black Cats and Ballet Slippers ~ Week Blitz & Giveaway

black cats

Middle Grade Humor

Date Published: March 7, 2014


Gemma Mayfield feels like middle school is a lot to bite off and chew. School, ballet classes, and planning on how to get Trevor Davis to ask her to the Halloween Dance are a tough balancing act. On top of that, Gemma is convinced that her science teacher, Ms. Pruett, is a witch.

When things start getting fishy at school, Gemma knows that Ms. Pruett is behind it all! Students are getting spells placed on them and start to go missing. Gemma and her best friend, Izzie, vow to stop Ms. Pruett from doing any more damage. Will they be able to save Middleton Middle School from witchcraft?

Purchase Links:

Amazon * B&N * MuseItUp Publishing


Okay, so something REALLY strange is going on. Boys are from a different planet, but right now a few of them at Middleton are acting like they’re from a different universe. (Wait. Does this make sense? Is there more than one universe? Ugh. Maybe I should have paid more attention last year in Astronomy.)

So, by the time I got to Ms. Pruett’s class, I had already worked myself into a super version of “I Don’t Wanna Go To Class Because I’m Creeped Out!” mode. I walked into the Science Laboratory, and I swear I felt the cold of Building 400 smack me right in the face. I’m not kidding.

Of course Ms. Pruett was at the door, acting like her sweet old lady self (ha ha, I know better), and was welcoming all the kids into the classroom. I just kept my head down and muttered a hello as I passed. Staying below the radar was the goal. Then I sat down at my lab table and shivered a bit.

Joey sat down at the table just a second later. Normally he is really loud and obnoxious, cracking jokes, and calling to the other Soccer Jocks across the room. Today he was quiet.

“Hey,” I said, trying to be friendly. I thought maybe we could commiserate on us both having spells cast on us. Joey responded with a “hey” but didn’t say much else. Hello? Was this the Joey I knew?

“So, Joey, are you feeling okay?” I asked. “You know, after yesterday…”

Joey didn’t say anything, but began writing on a piece of paper. He folded up the piece of paper and passed it to me. I gave him a questioning look. He gave me a weird look back that I couldn’t decipher. The note was as follows:

Hey Gemma,

Sorry I gave you a hard time yesterday about the “Cute Boy” list. It was kind of rude of me.


That’s when it hit me that Joey hadn’t recovered from Ms. Pruett’s spell. For me it was just temporary, like a few minutes. But Joey was acting weird. It had to be the spell.

“Um, thanks,” I said. “Don’t worry about it.” I then started taking out all my school stuff so that I could look busy and not have any more awkward moments with Joey until he felt better. He was taking longer to recuperate.

After class I headed straight down toward the lunchroom. On the way there, I saw Trevor going in the opposite direction past me. Our conversation went like this:

Me: “Hi Trevor!” (with a big smile and enthusiasm)

Trevor: “Oh, hi Gemma.” (with zombie-like attitude)

Me: “Okay, have a good lunch!”

Trevor: “Okay, thanks. Bye.”

I wondered where he was going, in the opposite direction from the lunch room when it was lunchtime. It took me another couple of moments to realize that the ONLY classroom in that part of campus was Ms. Pruett’s room. He was headed back toward Building 400!

Yikes! I turned myself around in mid-stride and turned back the way I came. I knew there was no way possible that Trevor would be going to Ms. Pruett’s. Why would anyone in their right mind be going there by themselves?

I didn’t want Trevor to think I was stalking him, because of course I would never do that. But just in case that’s what it appeared to be, I used as much stealth as possible. I walked in the shadows and stopped to peek out behind bushes and building walls. I saw him up ahead…just before he ENTERED MS. PRUETT’S CLASSROOM.

My mouth fell open, and I just sort of stared at the door for a while.

Weird things are going on here at Middleton. And I think Ms. Pruett’s behind it all!

Giveaway Time!!!


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About the Author ~ Iva Valentino

Iva Valentine

Iva Valentino lives in Arizona with her husband and their dog, Lupo. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Education. She thinks visiting cold places is fun, but she loves living year-round in the warm desert.

Iva spent many years as a middle school teacher, where she enjoyed doing cool science experiments with her students. She currently works as a science editor at an educational publishing company. She loves travel, yoga, and photography. There is nothing that brings her more happiness than a good dance class!


Happy Reading,


Blunder Woman ~ Promo Blitz & Giveaway


Contemporary Romance / Chick Lit / Women’s Fiction / Romantic Comedy

Date Published: 1/15/2014

Chloe Knaggs is a bit of a nerd, a bit of a klutz, and all Blunder Woman, especially when it comes to love. Take the love of her life, Matt M. – or as she calls him – Mmm. He’s her consummate unboyfriend, meaning, they have all the intimacy of a dating couple without any of the intimacy. Confused? So is Chloe. When Matt decides to elope with the very beautiful, svelte Amber, Chloe goes a little bit crazy and takes her hippy mom and best friend Megan right along with her.

Blunder Woman is a hilarious romp with bright characters through a series of misadventures including a derby party gone horribly wrong, a night of drinking Flaming Turtles, and a fundraising event where the biggest blunder of all occurs. Blunder Woman is funny, fresh, and above all real…in a truly awkward way.

WARNING: “Blunder Woman” will make you snort out loud so drinking while reading is not recommended.


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Purchase Audio Book


A Brief (but not brief enough) History About Matt

I met Matt at a group training camp, you know those places to which companies take their awkward employees–employees who don’t get along and work better on their own. So the Company makes everyone go to a weekend long ‘retreat’ which is really a weekend long house-arrest without the little ankle bracelets.

I’ve done these things before.

You have the group leader and you’re locked in a room with your ‘teammates’ (or office workers who usually you have nothing to say to), and then the group leader leads you in an exercise of trust…usually something like falling backwards from a high perch and hoping to God your coworkers catch you. It’s supposed to teach you about trust and the importance of working as a team, but I don’t think it translates at all. During one of these exercises, I actually spend most of the time obsessing about how much I don’t trust my coworkers and how very little I want to fall into their arms. But I digress.

I didn’t want to go to the stupid Employee Esteem Training but I had to. I’d just been hired part-time at the musical society to write grants and organize fundraisers and I had to show that I was part of the team, a real go-getter, a team player. (More on this musical society later. Work is important, but right now I’m talking about the love of my life.) So the team-building thing was mandatory. No go, no job, end of story. So I was very pleased to walk into the Wedgwood Center (a.k.a. The Happy Place) and see a very handsome and very male individual standing in the center of the room, arms open and smiling. Sex appeal came off of him in waves, the way the scent of Axe deodorant pours off high school boys.

I can tell you what he looks like, but it doesn’t do him justice. Descriptions never do, you just end up envisioning a freakish monster with whatever hair and eye color I’ve described and try to think it’s sexy. So instead of saying he was tall and had dirty blonde hair and a wide smile (words that don’t really describe him at all), I’ll say instead that he was a mixture of Jason Bateman of Arrested Development quirkiness, with a Harrison Ford grin, and a body (I imagine) just like an oiled-up man posing in Glamour’s Hot Guy of the Month. This was Matt: sensitive, sexy, warm, sexy, open, funny, sexy, tall, ripped, sexy, and a smile that made me feel like he was looking just at me, even if he was looking at everyone the same way. And he was sexy. Did I say that? Like the kind of guy that should reproduce because, duh, that’s what we’re designed for, right?

I should have known I was in trouble right there. A man you’re attracted to somehow makes your brain stop working. It’s some kind of alien power, I’m sure of it. Attraction equals instant stupidity.

And when he opened his arms and welcomed us, I was ready to do any stupid trust exercise he asked, including the high wire walk between trees, which I did, all the while screaming, “I hate this! I can’t do this! Get me out of this tree!!!” Then I looked down at Matt and felt, somehow, I could do anything. Blammo. He suddenly became my rock, my force, and the new obsession of my life.

Two days later, I called him at his work. I called at 6:30 on a Sunday, certain he wouldn’t be there, and he wasn’t, thank the Gods, so I left a truly awkward message.

“Hi! Matt! This is Chloe!” My voice was so tight and peppy it sounded like I was on helium. “Oh. Chloe from that group you just had, you know, Mozart fundraiser go-go-go! I was the one with the curly shortish reddish hair, the one who talked a lot, the one who screamed ‘FOR GODDSAKES GET ME OUT OF THIS TREE!!!’ Yeah. So I was wondering if you’d like to go out for coffee with me? Scratch that. I don’t drink coffee, but maybe you do. You could get coffee and I could get something else. Tea maybe. Probably hot chocolate. Or maybe just water. And a scone. I like scones. Do you like scones? Yeah. So. I’d like to meet you. For an un-coffee. Okey-dokey? Okay.”
Not only had I actually said “Okey-dokey”, I also hung up without leaving my number. I had to call back and leave another message that I knew he’d get before the previous message so I basically had to repeat the entire thing. It was terrible.

He called me Monday morning.

We had uncoffee on Tuesday. Followed by unlunch (I was too nervous to eat) and an unwalk (we sat on a park bench and talked). I thought, I’ve found him. He’s the One, and leaned in to kiss him. He answered a call on his phone. It was his mom. At the end of our ‘date’ he hugged me to him, told me he loved spending time with me, that I was unlike anyone he’d ever met.

I’d been in love with him ever since.

I’ve loved him for two years. Two years of incredible conversations and ‘undates’. Of having dinner together, and movies, and celebrating each other’s birthday parties. Two years of meeting him for uncoffees and having unsex (meaning elaborate sex fantasies only in my mind), of being at his beck and call. Two years of celebrating holidays not on the holiday, but near it. Of talking about our daily lives on the phone or while curled up watching a movie. And when I stop to think about it, two years of never meeting his friends, never meeting his family, and never, not ever, meeting his penis.

I’ve loved him for two years. Two! I probably love him still. And I hate his guts for that. Really. I do.

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About the Author ~ Tanya Eby


Tanya Eby is an audiobook narrator and novelist living in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her tiki-obsessed husband and two quirky kids.


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Baby Bumps ~ Promo Blitz

Baby Bumps – PROMO Blitz
By Amy Sprenger
Non-Fiction / Parenting / Humor
Date Published: 7/27/2013

From the author of the award-winning blog Snarky Mommy comes a book that will make every woman who has ever been pregnant pee with laughter (not that that’s hard).
Wearing her highest heels and hottest pregnancy jeans, Amy Sprenger marched into her doctor’s office, latte in hand, ready to finally see whether her baby was a boy or a girl. Sure, sure, this appointment was supposed to be about checking the health of the baby, but everyone who’s ever been there knows it’s really about looking for what lays, or doesn’t lay, between the legs.
So when the doctor tells her she has an incompetent cervix, Amy does what any woman would do. She becomes immediately offended. Is that a politically correct way of saying her cervix sucks? Unfortunately, as she’s soon to learn, it’s a lot more than that. The only way to keep that baby from falling out on the sidewalk (probably in front of Starbucks) is for her doctor to stitch her cervix closed and for Amy to stay in bed for the next four months.
Four months that are carefully detailed in this “memoir.” A memoir that, while basically true, has been embellished with Amy’s signature brand of humor and hilarity.
With more time off than a castoff contestant on “The Bachelor,” Amy took pen to paper and settled in for the ride. But instead of sitting around eating bonbons, she’s popping hypertension drugs to stave off preterm labor. And complications? Oh, she’s got your complications. She’s gut-rehabbing her house. Her mother moves in to care for her. Her husband takes a “mancation” while she’s stuck in the hospital. And every time she has a contraction, she’s convinced it’s The Big One.
Living by the adage that laughter is the best medicine, Amy fumbles her way through a series of sometimes serious and usually embarrassing situations. And just to be clear, using a bedpan qualifies as both serious and embarrassing.

(The set up for this is the main character, Annie, has been
hospitalized with pregnancy complications and the nurse wants her to use a
bedpan. Annie most definitely does NOT want to use a bedpan, her husband, Jake,
is not being at all helpful, and hilarity ensues.)
The nurse comes back an hour later and stares pointedly at
my untouched water. I stare pointedly at the bedpan. It’s a pee standoff at the
O.K. Corral. She adjusts the belts holding the monitors in place and hands me
the glass. I take the tiniest sip I can possibly take and slam it down with a
fake smile. She sighs and leaves.
“Don’t forget to call Dr. Thornton!” I yell as she walks
down the hall.
Another hour goes by, and by this time, Jake has arrived and
he finds the whole thing to be highly amusing. He keeps trying to get me to
“You know what I could go for right now?” he asks. “A swim
in a cool mountain stream. You know what I’m thinking about right now? A crashing
Hawaiian waterfall. And a lazy brook, bubbling along in the woods. All that
cool, clear water. Would you mind if I let the water drip in the bathroom? I
just love the sound of moving water.”
“Can you kindly shut the hell up about water?” I snap. “I
don’t know why you would even want me to have to pee. Because you would have to
help me. And that wouldn’t be so funny anymore, would it? Just stop talking.”
“But we haven’t even talked about the Trevi Fountain, Hoover
Dam or Old Faithful. There are so many topics that I
feel are really important to cover right now.”
“Cut it out! I have been holding it for the last three hours
and I really have to go.”
“Then by all means, let me get you the bedpan.”
“I can’t. I’m scared.”
“There’s nothing to be scared of. Except getting it all over
yourself. And smelling like pee for the next three months because you’re not
allowed to shower. Oh, and me telling everyone we know that you’re
At this point, I am jiggling my foot and trying to cross my
legs because I have to go so bad. The pain in my bladder is unbearable. It
would be way worse to pee myself seeing as there’s a bedpan an arm’s length
away from me, so I admit defeat.
“Just give me the damn thing and get out,” I snarl at Jake.
“Your wish is my command. Now, where’s my camera? I need to
get a picture of this,” he says, with too much enthusiasm. I grab the pink bowl
from him and point to the door. I line the bowl up under my butt and somehow
contort myself so my nether regions are somewhat inside the bowl and I wait.
And I wait. And I wait some more. Of course, I couldn’t hold it before and now
I have stage fright. My bladder is all “Give it up! Give it up!” and my brain
is all “Does not compute, body not in the sitting-on-toilet position!” After a
full minute of lying there thinking about peeing, I feel a first trickle, which
quickly turns to a gush. I’m uneasy about the capacity of this thing, but
figure it will serve the nurse right if she has to clean up a pee-soaked bed.
As soon as I finish, I feel immensely better. I buzz the
nurse’s station and they ask what they can do for me.
“I peed in the damn bucket,” I reply. “Can you send someone
in to dispose of the evidence?” A woman’s voice says my nurse is helping
another patient right now, but she’ll be right in. Jake knocks on the door and
asks, “Everything coming out okay in there?”
“Shut up and come in,” I respond. “The deed is done. I am
completely shamed and will never again make fun of Depends commercials because
I’m pretty sure an adult diaper would be preferable to this. Get this thing out
from under me, would ya? I can’t move it without spilling it.”
“Are you kidding me? That’s a biohazard. I’m not coming
anywhere near you. You can wait for the nurse.”
On cue, she strides in and smiles at me.
“I’m glad to see you’re more comfortable now,” she says,
motioning for me to raise my hips and sliding the bucket o’ pee out from under
me with practiced ease. “Oh, and your doctor called. You were right, you didn’t
need to use the bedpan. You have full bathroom privileges. Sorry for the
Perfect timing, bitch. I swear she almost laughed as she
said it. If there’s a Yelp category for nurses, this woman is about to get
smacked down with negative reviews. I am planning to ruin her nursing career
and have no qualms about it. Although, if there’s any karma in this world, her
next patient will be someone with a horrific case of diarrhea that she needs to
collect for testing. 

About the Author

Amy Sprenger
Author Links
Buy Link

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Sparks the Matchmaker Blog Tour & Giveaway

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sparksSparks the Matchmaker by Russell Elkins

Ollie just wants one thing. The girl.

Things haven’t been going so well with Anne lately, though; their relationship has become a perpetual study date, and Ollie’s roommates are starting to worry about him. How to fix things? Why, with a marriage proposal, of course.

Unfortunately for Ollie, his relationship with Anne has run out of gas. Life feels like it’s counting down to one. And that one is the only person in Ollie’s life he really cares about: Ollie. Perhaps, then, he should get over himself. But first he has to deal with Sparks, the irritating little Yankees fan who invades his life in order to “help” him. And while Keith, his best friend, is doing all he can to help, Ollie’s other friend Richie never fails to show up and threaten to ruin everything just by being himself. Never mind all the drama Sparks brings to the party by forcing Ollie to take a job actually helping people in need.

Will Ollie meet the girl? Will it be in history class? On a road trip to Colorado? Can he get over Anne, or should he try to mend the relationship? Should he pursue the new girl Sparks is trying to set him up with? As the strings of the puppeteer tangle with the strings of the heart, only one person can sort out the mess Ollie has made. It seems that the harder he tries, the more Ollie messes things up. Is Sparks a cruel manipulator, or is he really going to help Ollie find his match?

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Praise for Sparks the Matchmaker:

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. How many “romance” novels do you read where the protagonist is male, or even where the author is male? At first, I thought that was going to be the unique focus of this story.

I was pleasantly surprised, though. The “Sparks” character was a completely unique take on things. Also, I tend to be one of those people who frequently predicts the endings of books and t.v. shows, etc., but I hadn’t seen the ending of this story coming. It was a quick and easy read (which was just what I needed right now) but with plenty of intelligence and creativity woven into the story. I think I can say with confidence that even my teenage son would enjoy it, as well as my Mom. Looking forward to the next installment in the series.

Definitely not what I expected from a romantic comedy novel, but in a good way! Can’t wait for the next one 🙂


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They sat in the car outside Anne’s apartment, watching her chat with someone. Ollie had never seen this guy before, which was odd, because he used to practically live at Anne’s place. He watched her laugh at something he said and she slapped his knee. An avalanche of bittersweetness let go inside of him. He felt sick inside at the thought that she only needed a few hours to move on from him, but Ollie also knew it had been a long time since she’d laughed like that at something he had done. He’d forgotten what it sounded like; it was music.
Ollie felt foolish, which dragged him mercilessly back to the softball field. He rubbed behind his ear. It was still tender. “Why didn’t you tell me the catcher was going to hit me?”
“I’m not the one knocking people over at home plate,” Sparks said. “Why aren’t you going to admit you’re the reason it happened; that it’s not anyone else’s fault?”
Ollie glared out the window, resenting everything in the world. Am I really asking for so much? Why can’t I just be happy? He blinked his eyes and groaned. It was masochistic, watching Anne laugh as her hand rested on this guy’s knee, but Ollie needed to punish himself for allowing their relationship to decay. It was like attending the viewing at a close friend’s funeral. “I ended up leaving the game looking like a fool.”
“Is that why you think I’m here?” Sparks asked.
“Isn’t it obvious? Everything’s your fault.” Ollie knew it was a desperate lie as soon as he said it, and he had a feeling Sparks would see through him.
“Can’t you just say it wasn’t my fault that the catcher hit you?”
“Fine. I shouldn’t have done it. I shouldn’t have knocked that guy down.”
“Actually, you should’ve stopped at third base.”
“Come on! Are you really going to make me admit every tiny thing I did wrong today?”
“Okay, fair enough. I knew he was gonna punch you. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to.”
“Just like that. Because you didn’t want to.” Ollie kept staring at Anne and the boy. “That’s it?”
“It’s more complicated than that, but yeah. I didn’t want to.”
“So why were you ‘helping me out’ in the first place?” Ollie looked at Sparks and made air quotes at him.
Sparks grinned at him and said nothing.
Ollie looked back across the street to where Anne was sitting. “You know what I think?”
“Of course. I think you do a lot of thinking without really thinking.”
“So now you’re going to insult me. That explains everything.”
“It does?”
“Yeah, it does. You enjoy watching me squirm, you enjoyed the little awkward dance you made me do in the outfield, and you enjoyed seeing me get hit by the catcher, too. I bet any second now you’re going to start pouring some lemon juice into the wound that Anne left for me earlier today. You are, aren’t you? You chose to come to me because I’m a miserable person and you’re a miserability magnet.”
“Is that even a real word?”
Ollie raised his hands in exasperation. “See?” He looked Sparks in the eyes. “You’re a parasite looking to feed on my misery.”
“You got part of it right.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You’re right that I chose you because I think you’re miserable.”
Ollie shook his head and looked back toward Anne: the object of all his affections, the One Thing he couldn’t have. Every second he stared kept the bubbles of pain boiling inside him, but every moment also brought him closer to letting go.
Sparks reached out and touched his shoulder. “Hey,” he said. “I know it’s tough to understand it. It’s just a little more complicated than we have time for right now.”
Ollie rolled his eyes.
“I promise I’ll give you all the details you can stand tonight,” Sparks said. “I just don’t think you want to know right now. At least not until you’re done staring at… at somebody else’s girl.”

russell elkinsAuthor Russell Elkins

Russell Elkins has become a leading expert on open adoption through first-hand experience that he now shares in Open Adoption, Open Heart. Russell regularly contributes to He also writes his own blog at to educate others in the struggles and beauties of open adoption.

Russell has always been a family man at heart, looking forward to the day when he could be a husband and a father. It took him a little while, but eventually his eyes locked onto a beautiful blonde, and he has never looked away. Russell and Jammie were married in 2004. They had the same goals for their home and didn’t want to wait too long before starting their family. However, filling their home quickly with children wasn’t in the cards, and they found themselves weighing their options to overcome problems with infertility. Their lives changed dramatically the day they decided to adopt.

Russell and Jammie have adopted two beautiful children, Ira and Hazel, and have embraced their role as parents through open adoption. Both are actively engaged in the adoption community by communicating through social media, taking part in discussion panels, and writing songs about adoption.

Russell was born on Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C., in the fall of 1977. Along with his five siblings, he and his military family moved around a lot, living in eight different houses by the time he left for college at age 17. Although his family moved away from Fallon, Nevada, just a few months after he moved out, he still considers that little oasis in the desert to be his childhood hometown.

Even after leaving home, Russell always stayed close to his family. He shared an apartment with each of his three brothers at different times during his college career. They formed a band together back in the 1990s and still perform on a regular basis under the name of the Invisible Swordsmen.

After nearly a decade of college and changing his major a few times, Russell received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He later graduated from Ameritech College where he learned the trade of being a dental lab technician. Russell now owns and operates Elkins Dental Lab located in Meridian, Idaho.

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