Wednesday, January 13, 2016 | By: Taffy

My 2015 Book List

RI read over 55 books and 14, 654 pages last year. Not as many as last year (147) but I read and listened to many, many amazing books!

The longest book I read at 538 pages (obviously there is more than one book):



#1 Bestselling Amazon Authors of Christmas in Snow Valley, have teamed up again with six wonderful summer novellas that are sure to make your summer sweet and sassy!





The shortest book (which was super cute):




When you babysit a grandma, if you're lucky . . . it's a sleepover at her house! And with the useful tips found in this book, you're guaranteed to become an expert grandma-sitter in no time. (Be sure to check out the sections on: How to keep a grandma busy; Things to do at the park; Possible places to sleep, and what to do once you're both snugly tucked in for the night.) 






My favorite books of the year, in no particular order:



They told David it was impossible--that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart--invincible, immortal, unconquerable--is dead. And he died by David's hand. 




Eleanor de Lacy is forced into an arranged marriage with her father’s greatest enemy, Brac Goch, the Welsh king. All Eleanor knows of Brac is that he is a ruthless, war hungry man.




Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. 




After 17-year-old Smitha is cursed to be as cold as her heart, Death himself offers her a chance for relief. Unwilling to give up her life, Smitha seeks redemption deep in the savage deserts, where her perpetual winter dares to make her a hero.




Postbellum America makes for a haunting backdrop in this historical and supernatural tale of moonlit cemeteries, masked balls, cunning mediums, and terrifying secrets waiting to be unearthed by an intrepid crime reporter. 




Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she's been making waves ever since. 







About a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.


Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships.







On a hike deep in the Rocky Mountains, Kai Monahan watches as a dozen dragons—actual freaking dragons—battle beneath a fat white moon. When one crashes nearly dead at her feet and transforms into a man, Kai does the only thing a decent person could: she grabs the nearest sword and saves his life.






The SARAH M. EDEN BRITISH ISLES COLLECTION contains two brand new historical romance novellas A FRIEND INDEED and A HAPPY BEGINNING, as well as four hand-picked readers’ and reviewers’ favorites of Sarah’s popular Timeless Romance Anthology novellas.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 | By: Taffy

Shadow of Angels by Laura Rollins BOOK TOUR




Shadows of Angels by L. G. Rollins


Blurb:
After the forest dwellers destroy her home and kill her father, Aerbrin sets off on a journey to find the truth about her people, her kingdom, and the mysterious Zaad stone that contains a power she never imagined. Magic and mystery join forces in this intriguing fantasy world. 
Full of shifting alliances and twists you won't see coming, it's a can't-miss read.





Shadows of Angels, by L. G. Rollins
Excerpt:
"Stay calm, her father’s words echoed in her head. When you find yourself in danger, above all, stay calm. Aerbrin took a deep, steady breath and leaned down, reaching for her bow. one of the Forest Dwellers charged. It collided with her and knocked her to the floor. Raising a knotted fist, he bashed her head.

Sparks exploded across her vision. She tried to raise an arm, tried to call out. Her body wouldn’t respond. The Forest Dwellers grunted again. The creature above her raised its fist again. She looked up. This was the end, she knew. When these monsters attacked, they killed everything. Animals, plants, and particularly humans. No one survived.
Closing her eyes, Aerbrin forced her body to relax. This time, there was no pain."



                  L. G. Rollins grew up in a far off land fighting dragons, stealing talismans, and traveling with dwarfs and elves. She is especially skilled at bribing giants with sweets. Currently, her husband and four kids live in Utah so that is where she spends most of her time. She may, or may not, have a Zaad Stone. To learn more about L. G. Rollins and her books visit LGRollins.com.
                  
Shadows of Angels comes out December 8th and is the beginning of the Zaad Stone trilogy.



Laura Rollins is an avid dessert creator, fiction writer, and probably Lucille Ball's biggest fan ever.
She homeschools her four young children and finds the kitchen a perfect place to teach them math - 1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup equals a full cup - science - add the lemon juice to the sugar because the acid is necessary for the sugar to melt - and, of course, manners - please don't grab the beater from your brother, I'll get you a spoon of cookie dough instead. While Laura enjoys all forms of cooking, baking, and any other culinary expression known to man, her heart always leads her back to deserts, treats and the sweet things on the table.

Saturday, December 5, 2015 | By: Taffy

Interview and GIVEAWAY with Mary McCoy! Author of DEAD TO ME


Welcome to the 2015 debut author bash!
Today we get to hear from author Mary McCoy!





Mary McCoy is a writer and a librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library. She has also been a contributor to On Bunker Hill and the1947project, where she wrote stories about Los Angeles's notorious past. She grew up in western Pennsylvania and studied at Rhodes College and the University of Wisconsin. Mary now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son. Her debut novel,Dead To Me, is a YA mystery set in the glamorous, treacherous world of 1940s Hollywood.
Twitter: @MaryElMcCoy


Tell us in one sentence about your book.


Alice Gates investigates 1948 Los Angeles’s seedy underbelly to find out who tried to kill her aspiring movie star sister - and turns up something even worse along the way.


What actors would you pick to play your characters?


Alice (the main character): Abigail Breslin
Annie (the big sister): Saoirse Ronan
Jerry Shaffer (the tough-talking private eye): John Hamm
Vivian and Nicky Gates (the Hollywood insider wannabe parents): Jennifer Connelly and Bradley Cooper
Ruth (one of Annie’s shady acquaintances): Jennifer Carpenter
Conrad Donahue (the psychopathic movie star): Chris Pine


What is your greatest accomplishment?


Living the life I always wanted, on my own terms, surrounded by people I care about


What is the biggest lie you ever told?


That I could be happy if I stopped writing


Do you have a snack you eat while writing?


I try to stick to tea and coffee.


Do you have any pets?


Two cats, advanced in age, demanding in demands.


What is your favorite part of writing?


When you’re working on a first draft and you get rolling on a scene that’s really going well, and you know you’re nailing it - that feeling doesn’t come along very often (maybe once or twice per book), but when it does, it’s the greatest.


What is your favorite book or author?


This changes all the time, but some of the best books I’ve read this year were A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin, the Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante, and Infandous by Elana K. Arnold.


If you were a superhero, what would your name be? Your superpower?


My name is Mary McCoy, which I think is pretty much a Marvel-ready superhero name as is. My superpowers are doing the thing that needs to be done and writing excellent last lines.


What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Finish it. Whatever you’re working on right now, see it through to the end, then move on to the next thing. Don’t get distracted by the tinsel and the shinies. Keep your eyes forward, fixed on a point just out of reach on the horizon. That point is the best possible writer you can be. You never catch her, but you never stop trying to catch her either.


Dead To Me (Disney-Hyperion, March 2015)

DeadtoMe_Final.jpg
LA Confidential for the YA audience. This alluring noir YA mystery with a Golden Age Hollywood backdrop will keep you guessing until the last page.

"Don't believe anything they say."

Those were the last words that Annie spoke to Alice before turning her back on their family and vanishing without a trace. Alice spent four years waiting and wondering when the impossibly glamorous sister she idolized would return to her--and what their Hollywood-insider parents had done to drive her away.

When Annie does turn up, the blond, broken stranger lying in a coma has no answers for her. But Alice isn't a kid anymore, and this time she won't let anything stand between her and the truth, no matter how ugly. The search for those who beat Annie and left her for dead leads Alice into a treacherous world of tough-talking private eyes, psychopathic movie stars, and troubled starlets--and onto the trail of a young runaway who is the sole witness to an unspeakable crime. What this girl knows could shut down a criminal syndicate and put Annie's attacker behind bars--if Alice can find her first. And she isn't the only one looking

Evoking classic film noir, debut novelist Mary McCoy brings the dangerous glamour of Hollywood's Golden Age to life, where the most decadent parties can be the deadliest, and no drive into the sunset can erase the crimes of past.
"McCoy's heroines are fierce crusaders for justice despite their own fears or the dangers they face in protecting each other. The examination of the glamorous face of fame and what lurks behind the scenes is rife with twists"  -Publishers Weekly
"Step aside, Nancy Drew; this dark mystery holds nothing back." -Kirkus
Add on Goodreads
Available to pre-order
Skylight Books

Want to win her book?? Leave a comment and random will pick a winner by December 15! GOOD LUCK and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 | By: Taffy

2015 Author Debut with Valynne E Maetani! Author of INK AND ASHES giveaway!!



Welcome to the 2015 debut author bash!

I'm excited to have Valynne here today!


Valynne E. Maetani (pronounced Vuh-lin Mah-eh-tah-nee) grew up in Utah and obtained a Bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In a former life, she was a project manager and developed educational software for children with learning disabilities.

Currently, she is a full-time writer. Her debut novel, Ink and Ashes, is the winner of the New Visions Award 2013 and is a Junior Library Guild 2015 selection. She is a member of the We Need Diverse Books team and is dedicated to promoting diversity in children's literature because every child should grow up believing his or her story deserves to be told. She lives in Salt Lake City.

 Other Trivia:
 Favorite book: To Kill a Mockingbird
 Favorite Snacks: Hot Tamales, Hi-Chews, Chocolate, Caramel, Dirty brand Salt & Vinegar chips, anything Peppermint (especially ice cream), popcorn
 Favorite Foods: Sushi, Eggplant Parmigiana, Green Curry
 Favorite Movies: Princess Bride, To Kill a Mockinbird, Die Hard 



 Claire Takata has never known much about her father, who passed away when she was a little girl. But on the anniversary of his death, not long before her seventeenth birthday, she finds a mysterious letter from her deceased father, addressed to her stepfather. Claire never even knew that they had met.  

Claire knows she should let it go, but she can’t shake the feeling that something’s been kept from her. In search of answers, Claire combs through anything that will give her information about her father . . . until she discovers he was a member of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. The discovery opens a door that should have been left closed. 

So begins the race to outrun his legacy as the secrets of her father’s past threaten Claire’s friends and family, newfound love, and ultimately her life. Ink and Ashes, winner of Tu Books’ New Visions Award, is a heart-stopping debut mystery that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page.


Tell us in one sentence about your book.


Ink and Ashes is a story about a Japanese American teenage girl who discovers her deceased father was once a member of the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia.


Are names important in your book?


Definitely!


If so, how did you come up with the names?


The family’s last name, Takata, comes from my father’s ancestry line. And because I wrote the book for my younger sister’s birthday, all of the names of girls on the soccer team are the names of my sister’s best friends.


What actors would you pick to play your characters?


Kimiko Miyashima has always been the actress I’ve pictured as Claire. She’s like a little sister to me and is currently living in L.A., waiting for her big break. As for Forrest, I envision someone like Dylan Sprayberry, but maybe a little older.


What is your greatest accomplishment?


Winning the New Visions Award was definitely a huge accomplishment for me.


What is the biggest lie you ever told?


I have never told a lie. Ever. Okay, maybe a few. Next question.


Do you have a snack you eat while writing?


Hot Tamales, chocolate, butter toffee peanuts, Big Hunk candy bars, and peppermint tea


Do you have any pets?


No, but I would love to have a dog someday.


What is your favorite part of writing?


I love writing dialogue and action scenes. If I could, I would write a book with nothing but those two things.


What is the hardest?


For me the hardest part of writing is revising because it means I have to fix all the parts that aren’t working and come up with ideas for all the moments I said, “I’ll worry about that later.”


What is your favorite book or author?


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


If you were a superhero, what would your name be?


Valynninja


Your superpower?


Stealthiness and, obviously, super ninja skills.


What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A lot of writers will tell you never to give up. But my advice would be to write because you love it. Write because you couldn’t give up even if you wanted to. Focus on craft rather than publication. Let others read your work, learn to take criticism, revise, revise again, and again and again. Rather than trying to convince the publishing industry your manuscript is ready, hone your writing skills, and the industry will let you know when it’s time.  

Thank you, Valynne! You all should run out and buy her book, right?? You could try and win one here too. Just leave a comment on this post about the best book you've read this year (and leave your email so I can let you know if you're the winner). 
The contest ends December 15 and Random.org will choose a winner. 



ABOUT ME

Valynne E. Maetani (pronounced Vuh-lin Mah-eh-tah-nee) grew up in Utah and obtained a Bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In a former life, she was a project manager and developed educational software for children with learning disabilities.

Currently, she is a full-time writer. Her debut novel, Ink and Ashes, is the winner of the New Visions Award 2013 and is a Junior Library Guild 2015 selection. She is a member of the We Need Diverse Books team and is dedicated to promoting diversity in children's literature because every child should grow up believing his or her story deserves to be told. She lives in Salt Lake City.

 Other Trivia:
 Favorite book: To Kill a Mockingbird
 Favorite Snacks: Hot Tamales, Hi-Chews, Chocolate, Caramel, Dirty brand Salt & Vinegar chips, anything Peppermint (especially ice cream), popcorn
 Favorite Foods: Sushi, Eggplant Parmigiana, Green Curry
 Favorite Movies: Princess Bride, To Kill a Mockinbird, Die Hard

 Claire Takata has never known much about her father, who passed away when she was a little girl. But on the anniversary of his death, not long before her seventeenth birthday, she finds a mysterious letter from her deceased father, addressed to her stepfather. Claire never even knew that they had met. Claire knows she should let it go, but she can’t shake the feeling that something’s been kept from her. In search of answers, Claire combs through anything that will give her information about her father . . . until she discovers he was a member of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. The discovery opens a door that should have been left closed. So begins the race to outrun his legacy as the secrets of her father’s past threaten Claire’s friends and family, newfound love, and ultimately her life. Ink and Ashes, winner of Tu Books’ New Visions Award, is a heart-stopping debut mystery that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page.