Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book and Author Spotlight: Borrowed Angel by Erica Kiefer

I've really enjoyed connecting with Erica Kiefer, the amazing author of Lingering Echoes. When I heard about her book Borrowed Angel and learned about Erica's story, I knew I wanted to share it with the readers of this blog. Many of us have either experienced or love someone who has experienced this kind of heartbreak as told in Erica's words about the loss of her beloved son, Ty.  Erica's hope is that, by sharing her experience, she can help ease some of the pain for those currently grieving the loss of a precious child.  Here's more about Borrowed Angel and this inspiring author:



Author: Erica Kiefer
Publisher:  Currawong Press
Published: April 9, 2014

Purchase:  Amazon | Deseret Book

Blurb: 

 “A day at a time, a week at a time, we hoped we would survive this.” 

Borrowed Angel is the poignant story of a mother who lost her first child to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In this captivating book, the author describes her journey through the gauntlet of grief and reveals how hope can be found even amid tragedy. 

Weaving spirituality with a practical approach to healing, Borrowed Angel reflects on motherhood, the grieving process, and the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.


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Erica has generously shared these heart-wrenching but touching excerpts and a brilliant post on her blog.  Just click the links below to be directed to Erica's beautiful site: 

And here's a wonderful interview from Erica's Borrowed Angel launch party!  Thanks so much for sharing, Erica -- I love this Q&A!

What is your favorite part of writing? 

I enjoy helping people feel emotion, which is probably why Lingering Echoes is emotionally driven. In Borrowed Angel, while I know readers will cry, I know it will help people better understand (and feel to a certain extent) what it’s like to lose a child or feel out of control… and then I hope readers can feel the comforting spirit that I felt and the beauty of the messages that I came across in my experiences. One of my favorite parts of writing is also hearing feedback and how readers connect with my work.

Is there a word, phrase or quote you like? 

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” ~ Plato

Before I was a mother and an author, I started my career as a Recreation Therapist. I’ll spare you the novel answer. In short, as a Recreation Therapist I believe in the power of spending time with people outside of conversation. When you interact with someone through play, whether it be sports or going for a walk, or whatever your favorite activities may consist of, barriers are quickly broken down. When people are having fun, I believe we all relax a little more and allow our true nature to emerge in ways that a formal conversation would not. I love to play!

Proudest moment? 

Giving birth to my son, Ty was my proudest moment. I went into the hospital to be induced and it all happened within four hours! The anesthesiologist didn’t make it in time, and my doctor arrived during the last ten minutes to “catch” my boy. It was scary and exhilarating at the same time to be able to hold my very first baby, especially under the crazy circumstances!

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

In both Lingering Echoes (which I wrote first) and Borrowed Angel, the underlying theme is finding ways to heal through grief. In Lingering Echoes, the two main characters, Allie and Damien, have painful experiences from their pasts that they are keeping to themselves, and it is only after meeting each other that their pain bonds the two of them. With my personal experiences in Borrowed Angel, like my characters in Lingering Echoes, I felt like certain people came into my life to help me work through my grief. There is power in grieving together.

Goals for your book? 

For Lingering Echoes, I would love to see it on the shelves of Barnes & Noble under “teen favorites.”

For Borrowed Angel, I just hope my experiences can ease some of the pain for parents suffering from loss or others struggling with challenges in their lives. That first year is so raw…if I could do anything to ease even a small measure of that hurt through the experiences shared in Borrowed Angel, that would make me happy.

Dream vacation? 

If I could have warm weather, a beach, and a place to lay out with a book or close my eyes and nap under the sun, that would be a dream vacation for me! Now, if I want to dream a little deeper…add in massages, manicure, pedicures, cheap shopping at a market and I’d be set!

Something unique about you? 

One of the things that bonded my husband and me in college was that we both played rugby for BYU in Provo. That was an incredibly fun time! The men and women’s rugby team hold a special place in our hearts, especially considering the touching act they provided on the day of Ty’s funeral. (You’ll have to read the book to find out!)

How many countries have you visited? 

United States, Taiwan, Fiji, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Phillippines, China, New  Zealand… 10! I lived in the first five.

About the Author: 

Erica Kiefer was born on Christmas Eve in Southern California to an American father whose ancestors arrived from Europe during colonial times and a Thai mother who moved to the US during high school. Adding to her rich and varied heritage, Erica grew up living abroad in Asia, including Taiwan, Fiji, Thailand and Indonesia. She gained a great respect for the beautiful mosaic of cultures found in various parts of the world. After graduating from International School Bangkok, she attended Brigham Young University in Utah, where she earned a degree in Recreation Therapy. Her career as a Recreation Therapist has allowed her to work with at-risk youth since 2007.

Erica made the best decision of her life by marrying her husband in 2005 and is currently a mother of three, one of whom awaits her in heaven. Erica also loves singing, reading, writing and satisfying her sweet-tooth with chocolate-chip cookies. Playing collegiate rugby was one of the most memorable experiences of her life, thus far. 

Erica's first book, Lingering Echoes, was signed by Clean Teen Publishing and is scheduled to release in early November 2013. 


Here's where you can find and follow Erica:





Thank you so much, Erica, for sharing your story and for stopping by the blog today.
 You are an amazing woman, my friend.

chelesiggy

Waiting on Wednesday (37): Wings (Black City #3) by Elizabeth Richards

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine,
that showcases our most anticipated upcoming releases.

Title: Wings
(Black City #3)
Author: Elizabeth Richards
Publisher: Putnam's Sons BYR
Expected Release: June 12, 2014

Pre-order:  Amazon | B&N

Summary: 

Following the cliffhanger ending of Phoenix, Natalie finds herself separated from Ash and unexpectedly reunited with her parents, including the father she thought was dead. But she can only think of Ash. She hasn't heard a word of him since she and Elijah were brought to the underground headquarters of the Sentry Rebellion. But she vows to find him.

Ash, meanwhile is back in Black City; it's the perfect place to hide from the Sentry government. But not for long. He won't give up on Natalie or bringing an end to the terrible reign of Purian Rose.



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I really enjoyed book one in the Black City series, and I'm looking forward to continuing this exciting trilogy as soon as possible.  I think the covers are so beautiful!

Black City (Black City, #1) Phoenix (Black City, #2) Wings (Black City, #3)
What book are you waiting to get your hands on?

chelesiggy

Book and Author Spotlight: Reluctant Guardian by Melissa J. Cunningham


by Melissa J. Cunningham



Guarding Brecken Shaefer—a dark and dangerous rebel—is harder than it looks. 

Death was nothing like sixteen-year-old Alisa Callahan thought it would be. Resting on pink, fluffy clouds for eternity with her gram and best friend sounded like a dream come true. After all, enduring one torturous experience after another in her short life deserved some kind of reward, right? Unfortunately, eternal rewards aren't given out so freely when you take your own life.

Required to pay the debt for committing suicide, Alisa must become a guardian. It sounds easy enough, but not when the boy she is forced to protect has a dangerous secret and wants absolutely nothing to do with her.

Brecken Shaefer isn't any normal teenager. He has special gifts that are sure to make Alisa's afterlife miserable. When feelings develop between them, everything spins out of control. Not only must Alisa face her own demons— but to protect Brecken, she must face an evil so heinous that it threatens to destroy their souls completely.

Alisa is tired of hiding from her past. When the easiest thing to do is run, can Brecken give her the strength to stay? 

Excerpt From Reluctant Guardian:

I should have realized that suicide was not my best option. But like most teenage girls, I hadn't planned ahead. I never pictured my parents and brothers picking up the pieces of my broken life, or the empty hole I would leave in my wake.
I honestly didn't think anyone cared that much.
The medication I'd been taking hadn't helped matters either. My doctor prescribed it after the death of my beloved grandmother who'd lived with us since I was a baby. Three months later, my best friend Natasha, died from a brain tumor. Nothing could have shattered me more. Not just because Natty and I were closer than Siamese twins, but because we shared a dark, horrifying secret.
Something I'd never told anyone. Not even my parents. Once she was gone I didn't know how to shoulder that weight on my own. I was drowning in sorrow. I'd fallen into a dark pit and had every right to take that antidepressant. My parents thought it would help too.
I should have been more open about my feelings. I should have confided in my mom and dad. Explained that the medication wasn't working. That in reality I felt worse. But I didn't. I didn't realize the drug was affecting me adversely . . . until it was too late.
The only thing I wanted that night was to not feel anymore, to not have my heart ripping in two, and to not cry so hard that my whole body ached.
Would it be painful if I rammed my car into the tall pine at the curve of the road? Would it do the trick or just turn me into a vegetable for the rest of my life?
I gambled. I took a chance and got what I wanted. Death.

About Melissa J. Cunningham

 
Melissa's first novel: Reluctant Guardian, was accepted for publication through Clean Teen Publishing in August 2013.  When Melissa is not writing you can find her spending time with her husband of eighteen years and her five children. Melissa studied music in college and loves to read all things fiction. Melissa lives in Northern Utah with her family, her horses, cats, dogs and chickens. 

Melissa's first novel: Reluctant Guardian, was accepted for publication through Clean Teen Publishing in August 2013.  When Melissa is not writing you can find her spending time with her husband of eighteen years and her five children. Melissa studied music in college and loves to read all things fiction. Melissa lives in Northern Utah with her family, her horses, cats, dogs and chickens. 
 


More from Clean Teen Publishing:


   


chelesiggy

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review: Sweet Little Thing (Sweet Thing #1.5) by Renée Carlino


Sweet Thing (#1.5)
Author: Renée Carlino
Published: March 3, 2014

Purchase:  Amazon  | B&N

Summary: 

Ever wonder what happened after the final pages of Sweet Thing? 

From his candid and sometimes neurotic point of view, Will tells all in this musical and sexy follow-up novella to Renée Carlino’s USA Today Bestseller.

Life is pure bliss for Mia and Will. They have a puppy, a loft in Brooklyn, and a new music studio on the rise. It seems things couldn’t get any better for this talented couple when life decides to throw them a sweet little curve ball. 

They quickly learn that things don't always go according to plan. Sometimes happily ever after is one giant leap of faith away. With the help of good music, good friends, and one eccentric old lady, they overcome a few of life’s little bumps to find the sweetest thing of all.


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“I was convinced we had lived twenty thousand lives, and in each one, 
we had found each other, like two tiny magnets in a drawer the size of the universe.  She and I fit and moved together with such ease, 
I couldn’t imagine ever being with anyone else.”

I’ve wanted more Will and Mia ever since I turned the last page of Sweet Thing, and this beautiful little novella was exactly what I craved.  Having the continuation of their story in Will’s voice made it even more charming.  Of course, Will’s neurosis also made parts of it EXTREMELY funny, and I laughed out loud several times.  But then there are the pages that are filled with the most heartwarming and poignant moments that make Will and Mia one of my favorite fictional couples.  

“I strained to listen to the sound I’ve heard so many times before when I’m in Mia’s presence.  It’s quiet, but if I tune everything else out, I can hear it. 
 It’s the divine sound of my soul. 
 It’s the sound I hear when I know everything is right in my world.”

When you add music into the mixture, this short story becomes absolutely perfect; and fans of Sweet Thing will most definitely want to own this delightful addition. Renée Carlino writes so lyrically, and she conveys her character’s thoughts in the loveliest ways.  You can’t help but fall deeply in love with them – and that is exactly what this reader has done. 

“We can find our people, love, respect them, and then hang on for dear life because it’s not where you go on this journey but who you’re with that matters the most.” 

Sweet Thing (Sweet Thing, #1) Sweet Little Thing (Sweet Thing, #1.5)
My Rating:  
Five sweet little musical stars 
chelesiggy

Teaser Tuesday: Sweet Little Thing (Sweet Thing #1.5) by Renée Carlino

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week’s Teasers come from the following book:

Sweet Thing (#1.5)
Author:  Renée Carlino
Published: March 3, 2014

Purchase:  Amazon  | B&N

Summary: 

Ever wonder what happened after the final pages of Sweet Thing? 

From his candid and sometimes neurotic point of view, Will tells all in this musical and sexy follow-up novella to Renée Carlino’s USA Today Bestseller.

Life is pure bliss for Mia and Will. They have a puppy, a loft in Brooklyn, and a new music studio on the rise. It seems things couldn’t get any better for this talented couple when life decides to throw them a sweet little curve ball. 

They quickly learn that things don't always go according to plan. Sometimes happily ever after is one giant leap of faith away. With the help of good music, good friends, and one eccentric old lady, they overcome a few of life’s little bumps to find the sweetest thing of all.


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My Teaser: 

"It was like Mia could sense when I needed her.  
There was this invisible string connecting our souls and it was as though 
we could feel each other tug on that string when we were hurting."
                                            
                                                        - Kindle location 199


This novella was so perfect.  If you love Will and Mia, then you need this continuation in your life.  If you haven't met Will and Mia... for the love of all that is holy, buy Sweet Thing here


Sweet Thing (Sweet Thing, #1) Sweet Little Thing (Sweet Thing, #1.5)

My reviews:

Sweet Thing | Sweet Little Thing


I'd love to know what your Teaser is!

chelesiggy

Monday, April 14, 2014

Congratulations, Winner!



Congratulations to Angel H. for winning the ebook of Wild Child by M. Leighton. 

A huge thank-you to everyone who stopped by and entered!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Review: Red at Night by Katie McGarry


Title: Red at Night
(Harlequin More Than Words)
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Published: April 1, 2014

FREE: Amazon  |  B&N

From Goodreads:

In Red at Night, Stella and Jonah are total opposites. She's the girl with purple hair from the wrong part of town. He's a high school senior who hangs with the cool crowd. Until a car accident leaves him haunted by guilt, and Jonah starts spending time at Stella's favorite refuge…the local cemetery.

Stella knows she should keep her distance—after all, she spent her girlhood being bullied by Jonah's friends. Once he's sorted out his tangled emotions, Jonah won't have time for her anymore. Too bad she's already fallen for him….

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“For the first time in my life, I feel small, 
and it’s not because I’m the one closest to the ground, 
it’s because I’m the boy who has hurt this little girl.” 

Stella and Jonah couldn’t be more different.  They’re from opposite sides of the tracks with high school popularity rankings that are worlds apart.  Stella has been bullied for most of her existence; and the ringleader of her torture has been Cooper Higgins, Jonah’s best friend.  Jonah himself has never called Stella by Cooper’s favorite moniker for her – “trash can girl” – or taken part in any of the verbal abuse Cooper has handed down.  He has laughed a time or two, albeit uncomfortably; but Jonah’s worst transgression – not once did he ever speak up and tell his friend to lay off.  When Stella and Jonah meet up under unusual circumstances, they form a friendship that eventually turns into a bond.  Jonah can’t stop re-living the night that shifted his whole world, and he’s never wanted to share any of those details with anyone… until Stella.  Stella can’t believe she’s actually spending time with Jonah Jacobson, and she knows it will never work between the two of them.  They are headed in different directions, and it doesn’t take a visionary to see it.  But before they part ways, Stella needs to show Jonah how standing by and doing nothing is just as bad as being an instigator.  Jonah has it in him to rise above his rowdy crowd and be more.  To be a better man.  Question is: Is Jonah brave enough to choose Stella over Cooper, and can he be everything Stella believes him to be? 

“‘Then tell me.  Tell me who you are.’ 
‘You won’t like me anymore.’ 
‘Stella, I like you.  All the rest of it, it’s just the stuff that came before.’” 

Guys, even in an estimated 84-page novella, Katie McGarry sneaks up on you and steals your heart by giving you characters to fall for and root for.  I love Stella, and I love Jonah; but the thing I most adore about this novella is the message.  I’ve read everything Ms. McGarry has written, and it’s what lies between the pages of Red at Night that ensures I always will.  If you’re a fan of the Pushing the Limits series, you do not want to miss this story – when a familiar face showed up in this book, I confess I had to blink back tears because she was such a welcome presence and EXACTLY who Stella needed in that moment.  

“She smiles and it’s the type that makes you think that 
happily-ever-afters do exist.” 

Along with this heart-warming and beautiful short story, the author gives us insight into a true heroine:  Nikki Berti.  Nikki founded the Goodie Two Shoes Foundation in Las Vegas, Nevada; and you’ll learn from Stella’s story that it’s not just any shoes the children receive, but brand new boxed and tagged shoes that the children can pick out themselves – something that Nikki believes raises a child’s self-esteem enormously.  There are too many Stellas in this world that need programs like Goodie Two Shoes, a foundation that outfits ten thousand children every year in southern Nevada.  

“Very rarely in my life have I felt empowered.  
When that trailer rolled into my neighborhood 
and they let me pick which pair of shoes I wanted, 
I felt in control of my destiny.” 

Even if novellas aren’t your thing, don’t miss this book and please don’t bypass the links and information in the beginning of the book that show you how you can help kids in need like Stella.  

“‘They gave me hope.’ 
‘Who?’ 
‘This foundation.  They didn’t just give me shoes.  They gave me hope.’” 

A huge thank-you not only to the author for this inspiring story but also to Harlequin and their More Than Words award given to three real-life heroines.  Harlequin not only honors these women, but they also donate $45,000 each year to be divided equally among their charitable causes.  I’ve already grabbed up You Are Here by Liz Fichera and The Gift of a Good Start by Earl Sewell
For more information, visit the Harlequin More Than Words website at www.HarlequinMoreThanWords.com.  Along with Ms. McGarry, these authors have written stories inspired by remarkable women and their charities.  All three novellas are free and available for download now.  Also, check out More Than Words: Acts of Kindness, which released in March and includes stories from Brenda Jackson, Stephanie Bond, and Maureen Child. 

This is a stand-alone novella.  You need not have read the Pushing the Limits series to enjoy this beautiful short (though it’s a series I highly recommend).  Get your FREE copy of Red at Night HERE, and please take a moment to visit www.GoodieTwoShoes.org and learn how you can help.  

“‘What exactly are we supposed to do?’ 
‘You and me?’ 
‘Yeah.’ 
I dig two shoe scales out of a box by the door and hand him one. 
‘We change lives.’” 

And one more piece of awesome news:  Amazon created the AmazonSmile Program through which they donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the charity of your choice.  The Goodie Two Shoes program is one of the many wonderful charities you can choose from; and I love knowing that by making my usual Amazon purchases, I’m contributing to this wonderful organization.  Learn more about AmazonSmile here:  http://smile.amazon.com/about 


My Rating: 
chelesiggy