Monday, June 20, 2016

The Asset: Wounded Warrior Series Book 1


Title: The Asset 
Author: Anna Del Mar 
Release Date: February 22, 2016 
Publisher: Carina Press 
Genre: Mystery/Suspense 
Format: Ebook

Anna del Mar's explosive, sexy debut novel in the Wounded Warrior series, perfect for fans of Lisa Marie Rice and Lora Leigh—the story of a woman desperate to escape her dangerous past and the navy SEAL who would lay down his life to save her

Ash Hunter knows what it is to run. A SEAL gravely injured in Afghanistan, he's gone AWOL from the military hospital. Physically and mentally scarred, he returns home to his grandmother's isolated cottage—and finds a beautiful, haunted stranger inside.

Like recognizes like.

Lia Stewart's in hiding from the cartel she barely escaped alive, holed up in this small Rocky Mountain town. Surviving, but only just. Helping the wounded warrior on her doorstep is the right thing to do…it's loving him that might get them both killed.

 Soon, Ash realizes he's not the only one tormented by the past. Pushing the limits of his broken body, testing the boundaries of her shattered soul, he'll protect Lia until his last breath.

   photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpgB&N

Meet the Author:

Anna del Mar writes hot, smart romances that soothe the soul, challenge the mind, and satisfy the heart. Her stories focus on strong heroines struggling to find their place in the world and the brave, sexy, kickass, military heroes who defy the limits of their broken bodies to protect the women they love. She is the author of The Asset (Carina Press), the first novel of her Wounded Warrior series and three other novels scheduled for release during 2016.

A Georgetown University graduate, Anna enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, and the sea. Writing is her addiction, her drug of choice, and what she wants to do all the time. The extraordinary men and women she met during her years as a Navy wife inspire the fabulous heroes and heroines at the center of her stories. When she stays put—which doesn’t happen very often—she lives in Florida with her indulgent husband and two very opinionated cats.

Twitter
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Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 7 - Interviewed at Harmonious Publicity
Friday, June 10 - Book featured at Bound 2 Escape
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Tuesday, June 14 - Guest blogging at Write and Take Flight
Thursday, June 16 - Book featured at Mello and June
Friday, June 17 - Book featured at The Bookworm Lodge
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Monday, June 20 - Book reviewed at Our Families Adventure
Tuesday, June 21 - Interviewed at Infinite House of Books
Wednesday, June 22 - Guest blogging at Celebrate with a Book
Thursday, June 23 - Book featured at Authors and Readers Book Corner
Friday, June 24 - Interviewed at PUYB Virtual Book Club
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Tuesday, June 28 - Interviewed at Deal Sharing Aunt
Thursday, June 30 - Guest blogging at Bookjunkie's Book Blog
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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

HOW TO DRAW COOL STUFF

 
How to Draw Cool Stuff: Holidays, Seasons and Events is a step-by-step drawing guide that illustrates popular celebrations, holidays and events for your drawing pleasure. From the Chinese New Year to April Fools' Day, Father's Day to Halloween, Christmas and New Year’s Eve - this book covers over 100 fun days, holidays, seasons and events, and offers simple lessons that will teach you how to draw like a pro and get you in the spirit of whichever season it may be!

Giveaway: 
Catherine will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner, and a another winner will receive a print copy of How to Draw Cool Stuff (international) both via rafflecopter during the tour: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 


Enjoy an Excerpt: 

The Book Details:

Inside you will find specific exercises that offer step-by-step guidelines for drawing a variety of subjects. Each lesson starts with an easy-to-draw shape that will become the basic structure of the drawing. From there, each step adds elements to that structure, allowing the artist to build on their creation and make a more detailed image.

Each art project comes with a chart including information that the artist should be able to KNOW (facts, basic skills), UNDERSTAND (big ideas, concepts, essential questions), and therefore be able to DO (final assessment, performance, measurements of objectives) by the end of the lesson.

This additional information gives these pages more power than just 'art for art's sake' - not that you need it - because art is important enough on its own! Artists are learning about themselves as expressive souls through the process of creating beautiful and interesting work.

The best part is, this is stuff that artists want to draw.

Information for Teachers using this Book:

Teachers can feel confident that they are using instructional time in ways that make a difference for their students when using this guide. Each lesson includes easy-to-follow instruction where the whole process is viewed through a sequence of detailed illustrations that can be linked to historical connections, your curriculum learning standards or adapted into an arts integration lesson. You decide how intense to make each project.

The projects can be differentiated to respond to students' diverse learning styles through a mixture of visuals and text.


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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Catherine V. Holmes is an art/ELA teacher and visual artist from historical Plymouth, Massachusetts. She studied at Boston University and at Bridgewater State College where she earned her BFA and MA in ED. She is currently working towards her second Master's from the University of Scranton. Catherine Holmes specializes in portraits, architecture and illustrations. Her art is inspired by her feelings, ideas, and experiences, whether they are found in nature, the media or in man-made structures. Catherine is also heavily influenced by the interests and suggestions of her students. "To see success through their eyes inspires me to be a better teacher and creator of art."

Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drawcoolstuff
Website: www.HowToDrawCoolStuff.com
Amazon Link:  http://www.amazon.com/How-Draw-Cool-Stuff-Holidays/dp/0692661980
Series Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B00UNEFTYU



Monday, June 13, 2016

THE GIRL WHO COULD CHANGE FATE


Lacey Joy White considers herself unremarkable in every way: she worries over choosing the right clothes, tries to maintain a D in chemistry, and spends nights creeping on her crush on Facebook. And she can alter the future.

GIVEAWAY 

Cassidy will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Enter Below for your chance to win!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 



My Impressions: 
The Girl who Couldn't Change Fate is an amazing book for teens that centers around friendship, trust, love, and bullies. I really got sucked into the mystery of this book and all the different elements of romance, suspense and supernatural magic that this book offers. I started reading in the morning and was done by nightfall. Fast past book that really kept you engrossed in the plot line. I really enjoy a strong heroine that is pushed beyond what they feel they can endure, yet surprises themselves at their own inner strength and gumption. Adored this book and easy to recommend to the YA readers out there. 

Enjoy an Excerpt: 
“How did you guys know we were here?” asked Christian quietly.

Dawson dispelled his gaze from his dead friend.  “Some drunken buddies of mine told me they couldn’t believe part of the party was making fireworks out of my barn.  I came to check out what they meant when I ran into Brandon and Courtney.  They called the police and the Regime right away.”

I gaped at him.  Party?  What party?  And then it jolted me—Dawson’s Halloween shindig, where normal people were getting sloshed and making out with friends and not getting killed.  Had that all really been a mere half an hour or so ago?

I knelt down and cradled my face in my hands.  Trinity stooped to rub my back.  But her motherly caressing couldn’t stop the silently spreading need inside of me…I wasn’t normal, no—not like Emily Boyle and her Creepe cronies and all those others.  I had my gift, the one which I couldn’t help but seek to use…And did Christian undergo any of this when he exploited his Memory Shifting?

I glanced up at him, hoping to recognize any sign that he had enjoyed manipulating his power, savoring that untamed triumph, in that moment where he had control like no one else did.  But he just stood there, defeated, shaking his head absently. 


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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Cassidy Ostergren was born and grew up in the DC metropolitan area. She attended Roanoke College in Salem, VA, where she majored in Creative Writing and English, and published several of her works in both the college and local magazines. She is currently a full-time novelist of YA fiction and lives on Oak Island, NC, where she enjoys taking walks on the beach with her dog and composing her newest stories.

We'd also like the bloggers to include a link to our website, www.creativia.org, on the blog posts.

CREATIVIA FACEBOOK PAGE: http://www.facebook.com/ctivia
AMAZON COUNTRY-TARGETED LINK: http://mybook.to/TheGirlWhoCouldChangeFate

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

WILD WITHIN


Wild Within
Title: WILD WITHIN
Author: Christine Hartmann
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Pages: 274
Genre: Romantic Suspense
A year after a family tragedy, Grace Mori embarks on the journey of a lifetime…
Two thousand, six hundred miles of blistering heat, wilderness, and soul searching—that’s what Grace signed up for when she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s not a voyage for beginners, but with no husband and her family still recovering from her bother’s death, Grace is more alone than ever.

This trail meant something to her brother, and she’ll hike it in his memory, but she can’t do it alone. So with her brother’s gear and a small group, Grace takes the most important first steps of her life.

Grace finds something more than peace and magic on the trail…
When her first day of hiking ends in heat stroke, Grace is rescued by a handsome, red-haired hiker who calls himself Lone Star. Grace has an immediate connection with him, and their brief encounter leaves her fearing her soul mate has slipped through her fingers. Although he vows to keep in touch, Grace doubts she’ll ever see him again.

When fears become reality, the only people Grace can rely on may be killers…
Grace is surprised to find notes left at supply posts along the trail. Lone Star’s eloquent letters keep Grace going, clinging to the hope she’ll find him—and happiness—at the end of her journey. But as the trail becomes more perilous, menace grows within the group. And when Lone Star’s letters mysteriously stop coming, Grace fears the worst.

As tensions flare and a killer emerges, Grace must battle to survive…and reunite with the man she’s sure is her future.

For More Information

  • Wild Within is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
My Impressions

This was a great book. Easy to read, a little romance, some mystery, adventure, and self discovery all wrapped up in one book. For the most part the character development was great. Grace was an easy character to bond with and feel like someone you have known your whole life. Lone Star on the other hand, fell a little flat for me. He was not very complex, and no real growth that I could see. Most of the characters had good backstories that were fun to learn about.  I did enjoy the beauty of the book. You are transported into this very descriptive location that you can vividly picture which I adored. Overall an easy book to recommend to those who love to hike, romance and a little murder mystery to spice things up. 


Enjoy a Book Excerpt:

Later, after sharing a hearty dinner with the RV couple, Lone Star and Grace pitched their tents in adjacent campsites. For Grace, tent poles went into wrong grommets, stakes came loose, and clips misaligned. Lone Star set his up in a flash and sat in the entrance, watching her struggle. 

“I wouldn’t mind a little help here, if you’ve got the time.”
“I’ve got the time. But you have to learn this for yourself, darlin’. Soon it’ll be as easy as pie. But not if I do it for you. Besides, I enjoy watching you. You clean up real nice.”
“Thanks.” Grace curtsied. Her foot caught in a tent line and she fell. Lone Star chuckled so long he had to hold his sides.
“From where I’m sitting, Lone Star, you’re not living up to Southern gentleman standards.” She brushed herself off. “What’s the Texas expression for go jump in a lake?”
“What I think you’re trying to say is that you think I’m about as fine as cream gravy.”
Grace used a rock to pound in her final tent stake and attached its guy-line. “Yes, that’s what I meant.” She tossed a pine cone at his head. “You’re as fine as clean gravy. So is my tent. Not bad for a first try.”
“Not clean gravy. Cream gravy. And it’s a fine tent indeed.”
Once inside her shelter, Grace was too tired to crawl into her sleeping bag. She pulled it over her like a blanket, thought for a second of Lone Star’s blue eyes, and fell asleep before the cover reached her chin.
Cheerful whistling roused her when dawn was still a light orange glow on the horizon. She pushed the tent flap aside and made out Lone Star breaking camp.
“Didn’t mean to wake you, darlin’.”
“You’re leaving? Already?” Sudden anxiety prickled in her.
“Sure am. Today’s supposed to be cooler, they say. Still, it’s good to start early in the desert, no matter what the prediction.”
“Wait.” Grace scrambled out. “I can pack up and go with you. Quick as a caterpillar in heat. Or whatever you’d say.” She wrapped her arms around herself to keep warm in the crisp morning air.
Lone Star’s face shone with affection. “Just Grace, your coming with me is a sweet thought.” He took gentle hold of her shoulders and turned her around. “But you crawl right back in your bag. You’re staying put today.”
Her attention focused on his hands as he gently pushed her toward her tent. Warm, firm, comforting hands. A sudden longing enveloped her. She struggled out of his grip. “I don’t need any more rest. I’m fine.”
“You don’t know how tired you are.”
“I’m okay. Really.” She jumped up and down. “See?”
“No arguing.” He again ushered her to the tent and waited until she was tightly wrapped and zippered inside. His thighs appeared at the entrance as he folded his long body until his head was level with his knees.
“I loved hiking with you yesterday, Just Grace. My heart is saying stay here with you. But I’ve got 2,600 miles to hike before snow lands in Canada. And my law practice isn’t going to be there forever if I don’t get back to it as soon as I can. I’ve just got to skedaddle.”
He cares more about his work than he does about me.
She fought back tears and willed her voice not to crack. “Okay. I understand. You’ve got your…priorities.”
Lone Star reached for her chin but she jerked it away.
He let his hand drop. “Don’t be that way, Just Grace. You’ve got to have a little faith.”
“Faith in what?”
“Faith in us.” He rubbed his hand against her cheek. This time she leaned into it.
“There’s an us?”

Giveaway!

Christine is giving away 2 $25 Amazon Gift Cards & 20 Wild Within Coffee Mugs!
Terms & Conditions:
• By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
• Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Card & twenty winners will be chosen to receive one Wild Within Coffee Mug
• This giveaway starts April 4 and ends June 30
• Winner will be contacted via email on July 1.
• Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!
ENTER TO WIN HERE:
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

About the Author


Christine Hartmann grew up in Ohio and Delaware and loves traveling to exotic, romantic settings. After a college semester in Kathmandu, her first three “real” jobs were all in northern Japan, where she lived for almost 10 years. She currently splits her career between her daytime occupation (improving the quality of veterans’ nursing home care) and her nights/weekend avocation (writing both fiction and non-fiction books). Her husband Ron Strickland is a well-known long-distance hiker and trail guide writer and the founder of the 1,200-mile Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. Christine loves reading, pilates, bicycling, and snorkeling, and health foods that taste like they’re bad for you. You will often find her at a keyboard, a German shepherd at her side, and Ron whispering sweet edits over her shoulder.

Her latest book is book one of the Wild at Heart series, Wild Within.

For More Information
 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Super Summer Challenge


  1. Over the years, my Summer Challenge has morphed and changed (based on the ages of my kids and also according to what I most want them to learn/do/accomplish that year), but the underlying theme is the same: to teach our kids to become self-motivated to be productive (which has a bonus of not "wasting" the summer away). 

    how it works
    Basically each child is given a list of age-appropriate tasks to accomplish in order to receive a worthy award at the end. Each child has to meet his goal (from a point system) in order to receive the reward. As a parent, this reward must be enticing enough for the child, yet the parent must be willing to NOT give out the reward if the goal isn't met (ie: so NO family reunions should be used for the goal). It also works best if ALL children have to reach their goal in order to receive the reward. This promotes unity as the older children try to help the younger ones reach their goal.

    reward
    The first year, my children's rewards were a specific toy, the next year the reward was a fun family vacation to Yogi Bear Campground (which they ended up NOT receiving), and the other years have been monetary rewards. Their goal is to be presented at the "unveiling" of the Super Summer Challenge. Print out a picture or make a collage of the reward to get your children excited and motivated.

    modification 
    I've found that it is easier to do 3 goals (one for each summer month) for the first year this Challenge is introduced — especially if the children are younger. So each child will have a set of goals to complete for the month of June, receive a reward for successful completion, then another set of goals for July and August. This method keeps everything fresh and easier to attain for short attention spans and younger children — not so overwhelming.

    tasks
    I try to come up with a few challenges in 4 different categories: spiritual, mental, physical and helpful. Remember to choose age-appropriate tasks and some specific challenges you want them to accomplish over the summer. Not every task should be difficult or considered "work." It's important to throw in some easy and fun things — so the Challenge becomes something the kids WANT to do. Activities like building with legos, working a puzzle, jumping rope for 50 jumps in a row, and drawing a picture are lighter activities that still require hand-eye coordination, critical thinking, promote creativity and also physical activity. See how sneaky!? I consider almost anything "productive" if it keeps my children entertained, out of my hair AND away from fighting with each other!

    point system
    Each task is given a certain number of points. You'll have to base the points on what is easy/hard for your child and what you REALLY want them to accomplish. For example, if I really want Marielle to memorize some bible verses this summer, then I may make each verse worth 10 points instead of 1 point. And if I know that Josiah will play with legos with little effort, I may make it worth 1 point.  

    tracking the points
    All points have to be approved by me. I can't have them cheating! One year, my children put a small sticker on the corresponding shape every time they completed a task. Last year, I used beads. Each child put a bead in his labeled container for every point he earned. (ie: one bible verse memorized = 10 pts. = 10 beads)

    visual reference
    Here you will find some examples of how I've created the Challenge lists for each child. I am also including these files for you to download for your convenience. The pages for download have blank spaces for you to fill in your own personal information. Click here to download the Challenge images.




    The Challenge itself can be as simple or complex as you desire. I tend to go overboard sometimes. Here are some "extras" that I've done to make the summer more exciting and fill in the gaps.

    behavior
    When my children were younger (ages 2-6), I started noticing some bad habits forming. I decided to zero in on one in particular: not accepting my answer or not obeying right away without fussing. I gave them each an empty small coin purse. I had a bag of beads set aside for each child (each with their own color). Every time they accepted my answer without fussing, they got a bead. Also, when I caught them being good, thoughtful or playing nice, I gave them a bead. If they argued or didn't obey with a happy heart, I took a bead away. At the end of every 7 days, we counted up the beads. Each bead was worth 10 cents. We did this for one summer and I picked it back up again over the Christmas break.

    boredom
    I made a "Bored Box" last summer and plan to use it again this summer as well. Basically, my kids know that they're not allowed to say they are bored (or something equivalent like complaining about what to do). If so, they have to reach into the Bored Box and pull out a chore. These chores go above and beyond what I would regularly ask them to do.

    coupons
    Just to add a little fun to the Super Summer Challenge, I created some coupons for each child (only to be redeemed once per summer). They're favorite coupon to redeem is "Have a slumber party with mom." So with each child (on separate nights), we fold out the basement couch, rent a movie, eat pizza, popcorn or whatever they want and we always buy some special candy or dessert. When the movie is over, we fall asleep on the couch after we've chatted for awhile. There's just something so precious about listening to my child open up about EVERYTHING there in the dark — just the two of us. I love it, and I know they will always cherish those memories. I only give them 4 coupons a summer: besides the pj party, there's "Eat Dessert Before Supper," "Go on a Date With Mom" and "Sleep all night in a fort."

    incentives
    I made up a list of tasks that I want my children to accomplish on a daily basis — aside from their Super Summer Challenge. After all, their "Challenge" is optional and self-motivated, but I want my kids to form good hygiene and some things are just not negotiable. So this list doesn't have very many items, mostly things like: brush teeth after breakfast, practice piano, put dishes away, brush hair, etc. I put this list on the fridge and if everything is completed in one week, they get to "Pick a Privilege." I have a whole bunch of privileges written on pieces of paper. These privileges are simple things like: pick out a pack of gum of your choice, choose dinner for one night, pick out a new toothbrush of your choice, eat lunch with daddy, stay up 30 minutes later, make an ice cream run....you get the idea. For a blank copy of my weekly task form, click here.


    activity box
    We always "unveil" the Super Summer Challenge on or around the last day of school. I present each child with their own task list and supplies in a box/bag/crate. In their box, they are given every item they need to complete their Challenge (plus a few other "goodies" too!) So, for example, Marielle may receive a new devotional book, a list of Bible verses to memorize, some recipe cards, books to read, a puzzle etc. And Josiah may receive a lego kit, books to read, school work books, craft item, a new jump rope, etc. I also usually stick in some candy and/or a toy. The most important item in their box is the Super Summer Challenge binder. I put their tasks, point system and goal in a binder along with the coupons and a calendar. I started filling out the calendar with pictures of activities that will take place: ie: dates of swim lessons, VBS, out of town trips, music lessons, etc. Then the kids can refer to their calendar instead of always asking me and wondering what is going on. Here is a blank calendar for you to download.



    I try to always stock the kids' Activity Boxes with items I find secondhand through garage sales and thrift stores. Otherwise, it adds up! I've found some treasures that help me create the tasks for the kids! Some things I've found are: a sign language workbook, a book and cd that teaches beginning spanish, craft activities for each child, a cassette tape and workbook that teaches the Beatitudes, and of course many books, puzzles and games!

    This may seem overwhelming, but like I said it's possible to just implement a couple of things and make it simpler. I'm merely providing a list of resources to get your creative juices flowing.

    Hang in there! The first summer is always the hardest, because the kids aren't used to the Challenge. Every year thereafter is simply repetition with minor adjustments.

    The most important thing is to provide guidance and boundaries so your children will have the freedom to enjoy the summer (and you won't be pulling out your hair)!
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