Saturday, February 9, 2013

Heart's Storm-Excerpt and Giveaway

Elizabeth Shulman, a twenty-seven-year-old Russian Jewish immigrant, would like nothing better than not to die a corporate accountant working at a Fortune 100 company. She wants to walk away from the corporate rat-race, but...she’s still holding onto the painful memories from her poor past—from the days her family came to America with nothing so that their children could have a free life. But soon one day’s event turns Elizabeth’s world upside down and inside out. With her bubble burst, Elizabeth decides to take the first step, quit her job. However, her bullying boss from HELL offers her a promotion and a big raise. But there’s a hitch. She must also agree to do pro bono work to bolster the company’s image. Her pro bono assignment: tutor unprivileged kids in a Southwest Chicago elementary school. And there, in school, her life begins to change when she gets a peek at a different type of world from her own. Heart’s Storm is a bitter-sweet romantic comedy about love and career, family and friends, immigration and hardships, betrayal and forgiveness, and the promise of the American dream.
Links:Amazon Goodreads

Catch me,” I laughed and sprinted off towards the towers of Crown Fountain.
Liz, you’re crazy, you know that!” Justin yelled after me laughing, and I heard the sound of his running footsteps behind me.
Go get her!” someone yelled after us. “You can’t let her go!”
I’m trying to!” Justin yelled back, his loud voice echoing through the night. “She’s too fast for me!”
I reached my destination, took off my sandals, and tossed them on the bench by the fountain. The cold water felt good on my bare legs when I jumped into the shallow pool. This is fun, so much fun. I picked up the bottom of my dress, and ran through it, splashing loudly.
Justin approached the fountain and stood there watching me. “Come on, you coward!” I dared. He didn’t move, just stood there, smiling. He looked so tall and sexy in his ripped jeans and t-shirt, breathtaking in fact. I ran up to him and swung my arms around his neck. He laughed and wrapped his arms around me in a tight embrace, it felt so nice. Then he lifted me up and I wrapped my legs around his waist. “We’re the only ones here,” I whispered, playfully running my tongue against the tip of his ear. It felt like it wasn’t just here, but everywhere. There’s only us. There’s no one else, outside of this fountain, outside of this moment. Just the two of us, and it felt so right. “Wanna have some more fun?” I’ll do anything for you.
Grinning, he said, “You crazy girl, we’re gonna get arrested,” but then he moved his one arm underneath my dress, playing with my zipper with the other.
I’m not afraid to get arrested. I’m not afraid of anything when I’m with you. With a slight chuckle, I looked into his eyes. “That would be so cool.” I lowered my head and gently kissed his neck, feeling his breathing quicken. “Who would I call to bail me out?” I looked up and teasingly smiled.
They’ll let you go,” he whispered, running his hand up and down my back, and placed a light kiss on my lips. “You’re a good, nice girl.” He kissed me again. “Good girls don’t go to jail.” Good, nice girls are boring. I’m not a good, nice girl anymore.
Maybe I’m tired.”
Tired of what?”
I looked into his eyes again. “Of being a good girl.”
For a moment he looked at me as if he was considering something. “What are you thinking about?” I asked.
He was quiet, then he smiled and said, “Lean in close. I’ve got something I want to tell you.” He slid his hand underneath my hair and pulled me closer to him.
I love you.” My breathing stopped. What did you say? “I love you, Liz,” he repeated, his voice a whisper in at my ear, melting my heart. I love you more.
Yeah? How do you know?” I whispered back.
I just know.” His hands traced slowly over my back again. “You make me happy.”
I love you, too. I love you so much.” I love you more than life itself.

Author Bio
Julia was born in Minsk, Belarus. At the age of eleven, she immigrated with her family to the United States. She currently lives in Chicago, IL with her husband and their daughter, Arielle. She graduated from DePaul University in 2002 with a B.A. in Accounting and Finance. She also has an MBA from DePaul University in Entrepreneurship. She studied Creative Writing with Jerry Cleaver at the Writer's Loft, and with Susan Breen at NYC Pitch and Shop, among many others. Additionally, Julia was one of the staff writers for the Chicago Holocaust Project, "Evidence of Holocaust: Never Forget."
 Links:  Facebook   Twitter  Goodreads  


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Lucky Stars 18+

The following review is for 18+ readers.

Lucky Stars (Ghosts and Reincarnation, #5)     
4 of 5 stars false
Belle Abbott is pathologically shy and because of this, she’s living a nightmare due to the fact that she’s also a national treasure hounded by the media. James Bennett is known the world over as the perfect catch, handsome, wealthy and the owner of an intimidating castle on a Cornish Cliff, Chy An Als Point. Belle and James meet and in one night, they fall in love. The problem is, Belle’s dating James’s brother.As quickly as they fall together, Belle and James are torn apart. Not long after, circumstances throw them back into each other’s lives and they find they were right that first romantic night, they were meant to be.  Even if their families want them together, James’s brother Miles does not. Dogged by a rabid media who are fascinated by their love triangle, as well as Belle’s hidden demons, James and Belle find they have yet another problem to solve. The Point is haunted by the ghosts of two children murdered in the castle. Their murderer will stop at nothing to keep their souls tethered to The Point instead of letting them live eternity with their mother and father. Belle is determined to find her courage and help them and she enlists her loopy mother, loopier grandmother, James’s even loopier ex-girlfriend and the dubious (but talented) team of rock ‘n' roll witch Cassandra McNabb and Scottish ghost-hunter-extraordinaire Angus McPherson to help the children find their way back home.

Belle is a beautiful person, who is a little scarred by past events in her life.
She finally jumps back in the dating game after a few years only to realise that she has jumped into it with the wrong person, Miles. Things get more complicated when she meets Miles's brother Jack, and they have an instantaneous magical connection. This first meeting does not end well for anyone; misunderstandings, bitterness, hurt feelings and rejection ensue.
What we don't know is how this pair are going to get back together, how they will avoid the mortal danger they find themselves in and how they will right a 200 year old wrong.
This is number five in Kristen Ashley’s Ghost and Reincarnation series, so when you start this book you have to know you have to leave your skepticism at the first page. You are about to escape into a romance book that is really more like a modern day fairy tale, with "wee ghosties", evil spirits, curses, witches and souls reincarnated and attached to present day characters.
Our main characters of the story, Belle and Jack, are worthwhile characters, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute with them and watching them fight there feelings and fall in love, no matter what hurdles were thrown there way.
Ashley is known for her amazing heroes and they are usually of the “alpha” variety, but I have to say Jack was the perfect balance of strong man, gentleman and protector.
Belle was one of those “beautiful soul” type characters with a lovely presence, so often a heroine can let a romance down for me, but not in this case. Belle was very special and I felt and instant connection to her character. I was very glad to see the return of some already seen characters in this series and the introduction of some interesting new ones. I hope to see them again if there happens to be more of this set written.
As I always find in her books, Ashley’s secondary characters are amazing and her books just wouldn’t be the same if she didn’t make them as solid and real as her primary ones.
The plotline was great, and as always I felt totally absorbed in the story, it was a real escape from my own life. Whether this was to do magical fairy tale qualities of the book I don’t know, I just know I enjoyed it. The many twists and turns in the book surprised me and I was guessing what was going to happen right up to the end.
If you are not normally a lover of the paranormal when reading romance I would ask you to try not let that turn you away from this book. I suggest giving it a try because it is written in such a way that you are more focused on the romance and the characters than being bogged down with paranormal jargon.
It is quite simply a wonderful romance novel, very sweet, very enjoyable.

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