Monday, June 29, 2015

3rd Blogoversary Day 6 - Cringe-worthy Posts

First, I would like to start by saying that though I've been having difficulties with Blogger not posting scheduled posts probably helps if I don't accidentally schedule them for dates in July instead of June. Yeah...that would definitely help. So now a whole bunch of posts are going to show up since I fixed the dates now. I've also decided to extend the giveaway for another week due to the mess-up (though I won't be doing more posts about the blogoversary most likely). Anyways, now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Since it’s Monday (and not going so well for me already), I decided to share a little something that’ll hopefully cheer you up (or at least make you laugh). So if you have a bad day, just remember…we’ve all been there. Part of taking a walk down memory lane means admiring the good, the bad, and the ugly. So, for your enjoyment today, I present my (IMHO) most cringe-worthy posts formatting/design wise.

Hart Attack Tour So many different fonts, sizes, and coloring! I still have no idea how I ended up getting the white background on certain parts but not on others, even when I tried to remove them all.  Blogger was not working with me on this day.

Laura & the City of Angels Interview Another post for the same author…I feel like I should write her an apology for this…in my defense, this was me in my very early days as a blogger. In retrospect, most of my early blog tour posts weren't very great formatting wise, but these two stuck out the most to me.

Oh, and my 3 year long struggle to figure out what color my writing should be when I need to differentiate who’s “speaking”? Is it blue? Green? Pink? How about purple? Do I even need to differentiate colors? I’ve gotten better about sticking to just blue or red now (mainly blue). But darn. I just realized that the first three colors I listed were all on different posts about the same book series. *facepalm* Well, I am a rainbow supporter, so I guess that’s a good excuse for my abundance of choices (though really, I’m just indecisive at times and like all the pretty colors, but let’s just keep that between you and me).

Though at least I’ve pretty much gotten past choosing impossible to read colors for no apparent reason (at least, not one that I can remember). But I do still stick by my Christmas themed color scheme.

Oo, oo! Here’s a personal favorite of mine…forgetting to make sure the photo is facing the right way. 99.99% of the time I caught it…this just happened to be the .01%.

There are plenty more I’m sure I could go on about, but these are just the top 3 cringe-worthy-offenses that stuck out to me. So in conclusion, I hope this helped cheer you up a little and made your Monday a little more bearable. After all, laughter is the best medicine.

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

3rd Blogoversary Day 5 - Reflecting

While celebrating this milestone, I’ve found that I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting on the past. For example, looking back at some of my cringe-worthy earlier posts (see tomorrow for more details). I’ll admit, I was a newbie starting out with no clue what I was doing. What looked okay to me 3 years ago makes me cringe now. I’ve thought about going through and re-formatting my old posts to make them match my current layout, but I’ve decided against it. Why? Because it’s not just a timeline of my posts, it’s a timeline of my maturation and personal growth. When I started blogging back in 2012, I was going through a rough period in life. I didn’t really know what the heck I wanted or where I’d end up. I started blogging as an outlet (and on a bit of a whim to be totally honest). Yet I’ve grown personally these past 3 years, and I think it shows through in my posts. And as a wise soul once said, we learn from our past. And my past has shaped me into the woman I am today. So by keeping my posts the way they are, I feel like I'm honoring myself; both the girl I used to be and the woman I'm turning into. Plus, it'd be a pain in the ass to have to go back and fix all those posts :P

Wow, this turned into a much more inter-reflecting post than I thought it would. But hey, it's one of the reasons I started blogging, so it's nice to know I'm still true to my roots 3 years in :)  So thank you to all of you who have followed me and my blog through all the ups and downs, the missed posts, the crazy formatting, my ramblings, etc., etc... I truly appreciate it.

So I'm curious, how long have you been following my blog? Are you a new follower? If so, it's great to have you! Have you been following since the beginning? And if so, YOU ACTUALLY STUCK WITH ME??!! THROUGH ALL THAT??!! Are you crazy? It's okay, I'm crazy too. Must be why you stuck with me all this time. :)  Let me know in the comments, I'm genuinely curious to know. And have a wonderful Sunday!

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

3rd Blogoversary Day 4 - Blog Hops

I’ve participated in several hops throughout the years, but two of the most memorable were the first hops I ever participated in. The first hop I participated in was the Hot in Handcuffs Hop hosted by Under the Covers. I had recently won a pair of furry handcuffs I had no need for, and I got to talk about one of my favorite BDSM authors, Kim Dare, so it was great. But the most memorable part of this hop happened when I posted about it on my personal Facebook page. What I did not realize was that when I had recently friended my mother, she apparently somehow started getting emails whenever I did anything on my personal page. Can you see where this is going? Yep, my mother got emails about the Hot in Handcuffs blog hop, including one where her daughter mentioned giving away handcuffs…oh, and she didn’t tell me this until about halfway through the hop. Oh, and she dropped the “I’ve checked out your blog a few times” bomb at the same time, leaving me sweating what she’d seen or read. Yeah…talk about VERY awkward. Now I keep my blog related posts to the fan page, and let my mother know when there are safe-for-mom-to-read posts, and it works :)

The second hop I participated in was the Virtual Zombie Walk 2012 (followed shortly after by the Zompacolypse Blog Hop). However, this walk was fun, because I got to go all out sharing some of my favorite zombie reads and movies. Plus, I spent like an hour looking up humorous cat zombie photos. I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun creating a post as I did then (though I’ve had a pretty fun time with my Wellness Wednesday posts lately…). And then a week later, I was able to participate in the Zompacolypse Hop, through which I met and befriended another great author who had previously been unknown to me.

So, while these were both the first blog hops (and walks) I was a part of, they are some of my fondest blogging memories as well. What about you? Have you participated in any of my hops in the past? Which was your favorite? (If you need help with looking them up, just click on the blog hop tag at the bottom of the post).

For today, I'm offering one lucky winner their choice of any of the books I've offered as prizes during a blog hop. So leave your book choice in your comment along with your email address for your chance to win! Also, don't forget to enter the grand prize giveaway!

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

3rd Blogoversary Day 2 - Throwback Thursday

For day 2 of my 3rd blogoversary week and for Throwback Thursday, I’m sharing the first review (only) I ever posted on my blog. It was posted October 7, 2012, and was for The Brush Whistler’s Song by Augusta Li. I actually also had the pleasure of meeting Augusta at RainbowCon two years after I posted this review, and not only is she a great gal and author, she’s an amazing artist as well. So if you ever have the chance to read one of her books or meet her, I highly recommend you do.

My Review:
3.5 stars

What would you do if everything you believed was called into question? What if you found out you were wrong?

Young Arjin is caught in the web of an ancient truce. Barely into his adulthood, he is given as tribute to the mysterious Najadira, part of a race of nigh-immortal horned warriors known as the Ansari. But Arjin is no innocent. Since his childhood, he has been trained for this day, groomed by the temple priests for a singular purpose: not to please the Ansari, but to murder him and free his people from the terms of their agreement.

Najadira, though, is old and jaded, and unsurprised by Arjin's true nature. Still, he chooses to keep Arjin near to him, finding that the young man's zeal quickens his old blood like few before him ever did. He allows Arjin access into his world, a world of beauty and wonder that had before now been denied. And as Arjin learns more about Najadira, he begins to question his teachings about the Ansari. Ultimately, he must choose between taking a life in the service of his beliefs or abandoning his duty and thereby condemning his soul to the decadence and sin surrounding him.

This is an interesting story about discovering oneself and getting second chances. The entire story revolves around only Arjin and Najadira, as there are no secondary characters to speak of. This book's plot is very interesting. Usually, in most books, the big problem(s) that the characters have to overcome in order to get their happy ever after are big, external, out of the heroes' control that they must fight against. Well in this book, it's a bit different. Arjin has to overcome the false beliefs instilled in him while Najadira has to overcome his ennui. The characters are their own worst and sole enemies, which is an unusual twist. Most books have a hint of that, but that was all this book was about. Now that may not sound very exciting, but Ms. Li does a wonderful job of portraying their inner struggles, particularly Arjin's. I felt connected to the characters and eagerly reading to try and learn more about both of them.

Arjin first comes off as a righteous warrior, but then he turns into a bit of a brat. A confused, young, tad naïve brat, but still a brat. He was raised with strict morals, yet the very things he was trained to do go against his faith. There were parts of the story where I just wanted to smack some sense in him and tell him to let his stubbornness go. Najadira is a bit of a mystery. He doesn't entirely make sense for most of the book, until you discover all the reasons he let Arjin stay and why he is who he is now. I just wanted to cry for him, cuddle him, and let him know everything would be okay.

The world in this book is very fascinating. There is a clear divide between the humans and the Ansari. The main human religion, the group that trained Arjin, believes that pleasure and anything related to it are immoral, including homosexuality. Meanwhile, the Ansari celebrate all things pleasure related. These differences are very extreme, yet Ms. Li doesn't make them seem too fantastical or unbelievable. In my mind, I saw the human's world as being like the Dark Ages while the Ansari's world was reminiscent of the decadence of the Renaissance at its peak. They are almost exact opposites, which makes the clash of wills and minds between Arjin and Najadira even more interesting.

Now, the only problem I had with this book was also with the plot. It seemed to drag on at times and while I like the idea of the book being solely about the two characters coming to terms with themselves and one another, there were parts of the story I was tempted to skip, that gave me a "been there, done that" feeling. I think if the story had been shorter or had some more external forces in play, it would have been more exciting and wouldn't have dragged along as much.

All in all, I greatly enjoyed this book. It was a very unusual read and Ms. Li is a wonderful writer. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking to try something new.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Buy Links:
Amazon     |     Storm Moon Press     |     Smashwords

For day 2, and in honor of the first book I reviewed on my site, I’m giving away an ebook copy of The Brush Whistler’s Song. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment with your email address. Good luck!

Also, don't forget to enter the grand prize giveaway!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Happy 3rd Blogoversary Week Starts!

As some of you may know, this month marks my 3rd year blogging as Sharing Links and Wisdom! Due to being insanely busy (not to mention without my computer for most of this month), I decided to just do a week-long celebration instead of a month long celebration. So this week, I’m doing a look back at these past three years blogging, and offering a few giveaways along the way (so keep your eyes peeled!).

Starting today, for the next week, you have the chance to win the overall grand prize giveaway: a $30 Amazon gift card!! You can earn entries every day, so be sure to stop by daily for more chances to win! 

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One More Dance by Valentine Cardinale Review

One More Dance is a powerful tale about two people looking for love, a family in crisis, and the search for a mysterious assailant. After Julian Case, a Manhattan realtor and widower, meets Alegra Rossini, a university professor and single mom, at a wedding in Italy, he's confident he's found new love. On the plane back to the States, he's already making plans to see her again. But when he enters his home in New Jersey, he discovers his son has been savagely attacked and left for dead. Fearing that whoever beat the young man into a coma will try to finish the job, Julian puts his life on hold to assist in the investigation to find the assailant. And so the mystery begins, taking the first of many telling twists and turns. Who did it? Is there a likely suspect? Will the attacker strike again? Can a father unlock the secret connection and find his son's attacker before it's too late? Will Julian lose his chance at new love as he throws himself into the chase? In Italy, Alegra, who feels as strongly about Julian as he feels about her, can only continue teaching, caring for her eight-year-old daughter, and hoping. Will she let real love slip away from her? Can she wait as Julian deals with a family crisis that may take months, or years, to resolve while she struggles to get on with her life? The quest to find new love after the death of a spouse is understandable and a universal concern. But when it conflicts with a grave family matter, does it have to take a back seat? Should Julian be denied the chance for one more dance in his life?

My Review:
3 stars

One More Dance was an okay read for me. I enjoyed the suspense behind “whodunit”, as well as the vividly portrayed characters. However, I also had some issues with the story’s abrupt changes in scenes and POVs. For example, the book opened up with the brutal crime happening, and then abruptly switched to the happy wedding in Italy. Plus, there are so many different POVs in this story. Practically every secondary and main character has at least a few scenes seen through their eyes. While I think I know what the author was trying to go for, after a while, instead of keeping the story fast paced, it just kept throwing me off and pulling me out of the story.

My biggest issue with this book was that it wasn’t really big on the romance. Normally, I wouldn’t care, except the blurb, the book cover, and the author’s description on his website promoted this as primarily a romance mystery novel, which is why I wanted to read it. However, the romance played a secondary role to the mystery, and on the paperback, the book isn’t even categorized as a romance in any way.

All in all, this was an okay book for me, and if you’re looking for a mystery with interesting characters, this may be the book for you. However, if you’re looking for a romance mystery, I would recommend looking elsewhere.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
*This is a sponsored post.*

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tyler Knoll's Just For Fun: Snared VBT

Tyler Knoll was born one wild, stormy night in April 2013.

Of course, Tyler might tell you he was born twenty years earlier, but should we believe anything he says? That’s for you to decide.

In Tyler’s first adventure—like many a gay man before him—he was SNARED by gay porn, wallowing in tales of bigger, stronger, harder….

Buy links:
WIP     |     Amazon US     |     Amazon AU
Amazon UK     |     Amazon DE     |     ARe

Tyler Knoll’s Just for Fun full series:
Want the whole Tyler Knoll’s Just for Fun series? Check out books two, three, and four, to be released on July 10th: SHREDDED, SLASHED, and SCREWED.

In Tyler’s first adventure, he was SNARED by gay porn….

Then his fickle mind was seduced and SHREDDED by the prospect of BDSM and slavery.

When a Big Misunderstanding SLASHED at Tyler’s sanity, almost costing him his life, he turned to another genre for his salvation. But even this encounter proved potentially hazardous—not from freezing temperatures, but at the hands of irate fans.

Finally, tired and SCREWED by his all his trials and tribulations, he discovers—like many storybook heroes before him—that sometimes Mr. Right is closer than we think.

Pre-order links:
Everyone who buys SNARED gets a 20% discount at buying the Just for Fun composite from the WIP website! Check the website for details.

WIP     |     Amazon US     |     Amazon UK
Amazon AU     |     Amazon DE     |     ARe

Excerpt from Snared:
Seeing you’ve read this far, it’s probably time to let you in on a little secret. I’m into all types of porn, but suit porn hovers near the top of the list, hence my reluctance to betray that fact by having a permanent hard-on while checking out their threads. The other reason was because the guys in these immaculate suits all worked on the upper floors of Whoosit & Whatsit.

Now, before you scoff and say there’s no such place, let me assure you that I may not be the brightest bulb in the room, but I’m not stupid enough to divulge the real name of my employers. You might out me to my boss in the mailroom.

The thing is Mrs. Stringer wouldn’t give two hoots if you did. I was just the lowly guy who hand-delivered important contracts to the upper floors for signing. Nothing special. Just a hopeless idiot who barely made it through high school, thanks to his inability to get the middle letters of words in the correct order, and who still can’t see the connection between hippopotamuses, beasts that lurk in mud pools and triangles. Aren’t they swanky orchestral instruments?

And just in case you’re wondering how a dyslexic ignoramus like me can produce such flawless spelling and wonderful prose, it’s called an editor. I’d tell you her name, but then she might show you the original text, and I’d never live down the embarrassment.

Mind you, she wanted me to delete that last statement, saying no editor would ever be so unprofessional, but seeing she didn’t mind me having a go at readers; she’s fair game.

Holy catfish. Now, I’ve lost the plot and we’re not even half way through the first chapter! I better backtrack over what I’ve told you so far: Bar. Check. Friday night. Check. Suits. Check. Weird feeling. Ah that’s right. I felt someone watching me.

You’d think a classy joint like this would have mirrors around the wall to check out who was cruising who without being obvious. No such luck. This was all stained timber and the occasional out of focus painting. More like a swanky gentleman’s club than a bar.

There was that prickle again. I squirmed uncomfortably in my seat.

My Review:
Coming soon!

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June 23rd
Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
Bleeding Heart Blog
Sharing Links and Wisdom - review
Rainbow Gold Reviews
Gay Media Reviews - review
Alina Popescu, Writer

June 24th
Aimee Brissay
Divine Magazine
World of Diversity Fiction - Review
Read Review Repeat
Sarah & Kirsty's Book Reviews
Frosty's Adventures  - Review
Lily Velden
craving I candy - Review
Nicki J Markus

June 25th
MM Good Book Reviews - review
Saguaro Moon Reviews
Lily G Blunt - review
Lily Velden

EOB’s Next Favorite Reads - review

About the Author:
Unlike many authors, A.B. Gayle hasn’t been writing stories all her life. Instead she’s been living life.

Her travels have taken her from the fjords of Norway to the southern tip of New Zealand. In between, she’s worked in so many different towns she’s lost count. A.B. has shoveled shit in cow yards, mustered sheep, been polite to customers, traded insults with politicians. Sometimes she needs to be forgiven as she get confused as to who needs what where. 

Now living in Sydney, Australia, A.B. finally has time to allow her real life experiences to morph with her fertile imagination in order to create fiction that she hopes her readers will enjoy. 

A.B. values feedback on her writing, both negative and positive.

A.B. Gayle can be found at:
Website    |    Facebook    |    Twitter    |    Pinterest

Monday, June 22, 2015

Speedy Rewards VBT


Phil Mitchell pours his heart and soul into his job as manager of Speedy Mart, a local convenience store. He loves his work and he loves his fellow employees, but when it comes to his personal life, Phil is lonely and depressed and still pining for his long-departed ex.

He embarks upon the week from hell where anything that can go wrong does. It begins with a truck crashing into his outdoor sign and only goes downhill from there.

Add an asshole homophobic boss hell bent on seeing him fired and Phil realizes he needs to put into place a plan to save himself and his job.
First step in his plan… do something about his love life.

Meanwhile, Ezra, one of Phil's team members, is dealing with his own roller coaster ride of a week.

As is Brandon, the local cop…

And Mark, the homophobic boss…

Perhaps, with a little… luck, the next week will be better.

Buy Links:
Don’t miss the 1 Year Anniversary 40% off Sale on Wayward Ink’s Publishing’s site!

WIP     |     Amazon US     |     Amazon UK     |     Amazon AU
Amazon DE     |     Barnes & Noble     |     ARe

Though I’ve always been a fan of literature, I’ve never really thought of myself as a great judge of it. I’m not an expert, and I don’t view myself as being qualified to render any sort of reputable critique of which books or authors are the best. I used to co-own a review site and volunteered as a reviewer. Even in that capacity, I simply gave my opinion as to which books I really liked. I wasn’t comfortable sitting in judgment of other writers and critiquing their writing craft skills or analyzing how technically correct their stories had been executed.

There’s something I’ve discovered in recent years, particularly since consumer rating systems emerged on social networks like GoodReads, and on retail sites such as Amazon. The vast majority of people who read don’t judge stories using the same criteria as do the self-appointed literary experts. I guess this reality can be a double edged sword depending upon your perspective.

If you’re of the mindset that writing is a technical skill that should be learned and honed and perfected, and if you’re the type who believes that rules exist for a purpose and should be followed, then public opinion probably means less to you than does an official, erudite critique. The fact that anyone and everyone can now post their rating of a book on GoodReads or elsewhere must drive someone of this mindset insane.

They’re probably also the type who gets irritated when really poorly written books are made into movies or when very talented musical artists are ignored while less-accomplished wannabes skyrocket to stardom. They’re probably infuriated when a high quality piece of literature goes largely unnoticed while a trashy piece of work that’s neither well written nor carefully edited becomes a best seller.

On the other hand, if you’re someone who has always been passionate about reading and have always loved storytelling but you don’t happen to have any formal training, these public platforms could be a godsend. Writers of mm literature, in particular, do not have to hire agents and wait for years to be discovered like authors in the past. They merely submit their stories to publishers who then offer a contract and put the book through a series of edits. It doesn’t matter one iota what any literary expert says. The only thing that really counts is whether or not readers enjoy the story.

And since readers aren’t focused so much on technicalities, they’ll rate books based upon how much they enjoyed the story itself. And with that being said, it’s no surprise that a lot of the more popular authors in our genre are panned for not being “literary” enough, or they’re criticized for breaking too many writing craft rules.

In my case, writing became a passion when I began sharing my fantasies on an amateur website. I knew a lot about grammar and how to diagram sentences but almost nothing about writing craft. The first book I published contained almost every imaginable technical error, and on the rare occasion that a high school English teacher, copy editor, or other such literary expert decided to read my story, they had a field day criticizing it. But the overwhelming majority of readers judged the book by the story itself. For that reason alone, I sold enough books to begin taking my writing a whole lot more seriously.

Since that first book was published six years ago, I’ve learned a lot about technique. I’ve improved, at least in terms of writing craft. I know about point of view, showing versus telling, subtlety of voice, pacing, unpacking verbs, using primarily active verbs, creating realistic dialogue, cadence, and even following the basic story formula within my genre. My vocabulary has expanded. My manuscripts are tighter. I’ve learned a lot of words to avoid or eliminate altogether. Blah, blah, blah… In a nutshell, I’ve become a better writer. Technically.

But you know what else has happened during this period of evolution? I’ve come to realize that all my focus on the mechanics of writing hasn’t really impressed anyone. The one benefit is that I receive fewer negative reviews from the literary know-it-alls. But the average readers, the readers like me, don’t really seem to notice at all.

I’m not saying that I regret devoting effort to improving my craft. I’ll probably always strive to improve. But to those who go around with their nose in the air proud of their fancy fine arts master’s degrees, to those who have a meltdown when an author chooses not to stick strictly to third person limited point of view, to those who pride themselves in being so much better of a writer because they’ve learned to avoid using the adverb “then,” I have a message for you. Your vast, impressive wealth of knowledge and your fastidiousness in following all the rules doesn’t mean a whole lot to anyone but yourself. If you’re incapable of telling a story that touches the heart of your audience, it don’t matter how good you can write.

Book trailer

Trix’s Review:
4 stars

Since I'm sick of seeing billionaire alpha males in every book (I was never a big fan in the first place), I found SPEEDY REWARDS to be a breath of fresh air. There are a lot of characters involved here, but Erno does a great job of developing each one and keeping their plot threads balanced. Since it's the first book in the series, there can be a bit of clunky backstory exposition here and there to save time; luckily, this gets reined in before it becomes too noticeable. (The endings seem a little sudden as well, though the resolutions are satisfying.) Anyone who's wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a convenience store will be riveted by this story (inspired by true events, claims former convenience store manager Erno): it often makes the movie CLERKS look tame by comparison! I'm eager to see where the series goes from here. I have no idea if Erno is planning standalone stories for each volume, but I'd love to see what becomes of these characters!

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About the Author:

SpeedyRewards-smallpreviewJEFF ERNO began writing LGBT fiction in the late 1990s. Although an avid reader and amateur writer from a very young age, Jeff pursued a career as a retail store manager in Northern Michigan. When his first gay-themed novel was published, he was shocked that anyone would even want to read it. So far, he's published over thirty novels. Jeff lives in Southern Michigan, where he works part time at a convenience store.

Jeff's writing credits include a variety of themes and sub-genres including male romance, Young Adult, Science Fiction, erotica, and BDSM. He is the winner of a 2012 Rainbow Award and an Honorable Mention in 2011. His style is unpretentious and focused upon emotionally-driven, character-based stories that touch the heart. Jeff is especially passionate about young adult literature and combating teen bullying and youth suicide.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Here’s wishing a happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. And Dad…I chose this picture in honor of you, my personal handyman there to help me out when things go wrong. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Garbage Sifter by Barry Jones Review

By: Barry Jones
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

*I decided to use the Amazon blurb, rather than the blurb from the back of the paperback I read, since the Amazon blurb is much more accurate.*

This fast-paced thriller ensnares intelligence agents, drug cartel overlords and politicians in a twisted web of deceit and deception.

Camila Sanchez, an Argentinian garbage sifter, finds a partially shredded confidential CIA document among her overnight collection of refuse. This document describes a program to hack into the Argentine Intelligence agencies’ databases, including e-mails, and to glean details of their relationship with the powerful Mexican Gulf cartel.

Camila considers this find as treasure and sells the information to the Argentine Intelligence Secretariat. Armed with this knowledge, the Argentines begin to feed misinformation to the CIA. Crusading antidrug activists are falsely portrayed as being secretly in the pay of the cartel leading to numerous arrest warrants. Information and misinformation flows freely on the corrupted e-mail system but one Gulf Cartel directive surprises both the Argentines and the Americans—ACTIVATE ROSARIO 5.

Rosario 5 proves to be a highly effective sex stimulant that threatens to overwhelm the youth of America and Argentina. “Paradise Parties” mimicking the San Francisco sexual orgies of the past, become commonplace and pervasive. Both societies are deeply threatened. A cooperative effort between the two countries to eradicate the curse ensues.

My Review:
4 stars

I just have to start by saying that the blurb on the back of the paperback I received to review was very different from the one on Amazon. Had I read the above blurb, this story would have made more sense to me when reading it.

However, even though I was a bit confused with the direction the story took due to the blurb I read, I still greatly enjoyed the book. While it started out a bit slow for me in the beginning, by Parts 2 and 3 I couldn't put the book down. This book was a bit unusual in that the author provided a list of characters at the beginning of each part and also provided map illustrations at times, both of which I thought were very helpful, especially since this is basically 3 separate stories expertly interwoven into one big story. I'll admit, if I had read how these elements supposedly fit together before reading the book, I would have been very disbelieving, but the author manages to tie everything together to where it all actually makes sense. Enemies becoming allies, drug cartels bringing down presidential hopefuls...Jones makes it all work, and keeps it interesting. Though there are slow parts, the book mostly lives up to its title of a fast paced thriller. 

On a side note, I also liked the mix of fact and fiction. Factual events and feelings from the time period were included, which I found fascinating since I was a child for most of the 8 year time period of this book, so a lot of the factual events included (especially revolving around the 2000 presidential election and Argentinian life during that time) interested me as well as added context to the book. I usually find that mixing factual and fictitious events doesn't always work well, but Jones manages to not only do so, but he did so in such a way that I had to look up certain parts of his story because I couldn't tell if they were fact or fiction since the fictitious events were so believable.

All in all, while the book did have some slow parts, and was a bit overreaching, I still greatly enjoyed this thriller a lot more than I thought I would going into the story. If you're looking for a new read, I highly recommend giving The Garbage Sifter a look.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Breaking of Bonds Blog Tour

The Breaking of Bonds Tour Banner

A human sacrifice throws vampires of two worlds, trueborn and baseborn, into an escalating conflict. One side pushes for revenge, the other for freedom. The trueborns stubbornly hunt for Anthony and Louis, pushed by Hesrah’s desire to avenge her human best friend, Alexa. The baseborns are divided between rallying with those challenging the rule of Ankhsis and obeying the trueborns.

What emerges from the portal between Earth and Ankhsis in the middle of the turmoil rocking both worlds is more dead than alive. Neither human, nor baseborn, and certainly not trueborn. This new being will either damn them all or be their race’s most powerful weapon. Will they trust it not to destroy them, or will Ankhsis decide putting it down is the only solution?

In the end, who is guilty? Who will pay? Will anyone survive its wrath?

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Alina, thanks so much for stopping by. So, tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you so much for having me here! It’s always a pleasure to pay you a visit. I am a Romanian writer and I like genre hopping. I do prefer paranormal, fantasy, and science fiction, but I take just as much pleasure in reading or writing contemporary or romance stories. Writing has been my passion since I was still in primary school, but I only started focusing on my writing career a couple of years ago, with my debut novel, The Edge of Hope, being released in April 2014. I am known to be quite the coffee addict and I love traveling.

How did you get started writing?
Well, it started with a boy. Yes, I had a crush on him! He was a bit older and so cool. Also my reading buddy. We’d meet over the summer at our grandparents and when we weren’t running around climbing trees and getting into trouble, we’d spend long hours reading. We started writing a book together one summer. It was so bad! Anyway, after I returned home, I continued writing on my own. My first attempt at a novel involved karate, a male lead who resembled my crush quite a bit, and it had the feel old martial arts movies had :D

breakingbonds_promoWhat was the inspiration for your book?
I had been dabbling with a vampire story for quite a bit, not getting it quite right, when the inspiration for the Bad Blood trilogy hit. It was a pretty low point for me, emotionally, and in a way, it was part expressing my creativity and part purging my demons. It is probably why Alexa, the main character of the series, is so much like me. And by so much, I mean close to exactly me.

I felt a need to put it in writing that there was life after heartbreak. Well, several heartbreaks actually. The other part, the vampire setting, that seemed a perfect fit, along with the realms I’d come up with, the history, the tension, and the under-the-surface conflict.

What’s the one genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
Mystery! I would like to write a good mystery at some point. I’ve read a lot of them and quite enjoy them.

Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?
The genre I haven’t written in and probably never will is horror. I can’t really take horror stories in books or movies. I know some are brilliant, but they just scare the life out of me. I can’t imagine myself writing scary stuff in the middle of the night ;)

What are you up to right now? Do you have any releases planned, or are you still writing?
I have a gay romance released planned for… oh, gosh, it’s sooner than I thought :) Strength to Let Go will be released by Wayward Ink Publishing on July 7th and it will be the first in a werewolf series called Tales of the Werewolf Tribes. I am quite excited about it.

I have another few things in the works, a contemporary series of novellas (Famous on the Internet), a fantasy series (Warriors of Vis), and the third book of Bad Blood, The Fall of Darkness, which should be out in November.

Alright, now for some totally random, fun questions. Favorite color?
Still red! I expect it to change, but no, it’s always been my favorite color although I’ve toned it down a bit over the years. My wardrobe no longer contains 60% red clothes.

Favorite movie?     
I don’t have one favorite movie. Same as with books, music, and other things I love, I have a lot that I like. I grew up with action/adventure movies, from Bruce Lee to Van Damme and the Rambo series, with science fiction and fantasy films, and enough dramas and comedies to have a few favorites in all genres.

Book that inspired you to become an author?
There wasn’t one book that inspired me. I started to write early on, and I was addicted to reading even earlier. By age five I was reading books on my own and I guess a lot of those have inspired me. I’ve read folk and fairy tales from different cultures, a lot of mythology, especially Greek, more adventure and action stories than I can list here, and by middle school I had added a few mysteries, crime novels, and science fiction books. The Young Adult books I read were also on the adventure and mystery side, and I was pretty late at picking up romances of any kind.

I guess what I’ve read has influenced me and my preferences in how I write my story. There were authors, both Romanian and foreign, who inspired me and still do, but I can’t pinpoint just one or just one book. Wishy-washy, I know!

You have one superpower. What is it?
Flying! It’s by far the most fun. And quite effective, especially for someone who likes to travel.

You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
Well, Bruce Lee, clearly he’d be there. He was the first man I wanted to marry (until I figured he’d died before I was born and proceeded to cry my little heart out), Mihai Eminescu, the greatest Romanian poet ever, if you asked me. You could think of him as a Sheldon Cooper who wasn’t socially awkward and far more striking. Tall, dark, handsome, and yes, brooding at times :D The third? I’d have to pick Artemis. She was my favorite Greek goddess during my childhood.

Of course, if you ask me the same question a few hours later, I would probably choose three other people. Maybe switch it up from two dead and one fictitious!

Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
Like I said, Alexa is the closest I’ve ever gotten to turn myself into a character. But I have put pieces of myself in others as well. Shiki from Strength to Let Go and Wynn from Craving Stains both share some of my beliefs and characteristics.

That’s all from me, thanks so much for taking the time to stop by!
Thank you so much for having me here today and hope to see you again very soon!


Make sure you read book one of the series before enjoying book two!

The Edge of Hope – Bad Blood Trilogy, Book 1
badblood cover blog promo
Everyone she loved betrayed her. She felt lost and broken. Getting away from the pain and embracing a new path, Alexa decided to leave her old life behind and chase a long forgotten dream in Malta. There she met a gorgeous man, bearing the scent of fresh love. He led her to a new city to explore, Amsterdam. Is the tall, dark, and delicious man a dream come true or just a risky gamble?

Alexa chose hope and new beginnings over fear and warning signs only to be brutally dragged into a world she never really thought existed. Vampires, their feuds, and her future held tightly in their hands.

Trapped in a mysterious world, Alexa gives love chance after chance. Following her quest of self-discovery in a blood bound world, will she survive the journey?

Take advantage of the sale for The Edge of Hope – $0.99 everywhere

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About the Author:
Writer, traveler, and coffee addict, Alina Popescu has been in love with books all her life. She started writing when she was ten and even won awards in local competitions. She has always been drawn to sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural realm, which explains her deep love for vampires and is also to blame for this trilogy.

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