Football Widows, Pat Tucker {$3.79}

Football Widows are people who feel like their relationship dies during the NFL season. Their significant others are so focused on the game, they may as well be single.

What readers are saying:

Good read and the book was like looking into a TV realty show. Some of the characters were likable and some others were crazy!

This is a must read !!
If you are thinking about reading this book then I say do it !!
It makes you wonder who you can tell your deepest secrets to,or should you ?.
Be careful your secrets might come back to haunt you. They might even appear in a book ? Lol

Football Widows was so good that I am getting ready to order another book by the same author.

The average Amazon Reader Review Rating is currently 4.2 stars {18 reviews}.

 Click here to read more about and purchase Football Widows for $3.79

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: A Beautiful Heist (Agency of Burglary & Theft), Kim Foster {$4.61}

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Kim Foster‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of A Beautiful Heist (Agency of Burglary & Theft):

Everyone has a talent. Some are just more legal than others. Cat Montgomery steals jewels for AB&T, the premier agency for thieves in Seattle. Career perks: good pay, great disguises, constant adrenaline rush. Drawbacks: the possibility of jail time…or worse. Now she’s taken on a lucrative side job—recovering a priceless Faberge egg for an alleged Romanov descendant.

Though Cat is working solo, there are plenty of interested players. Her FBI ex-boyfriend is nosing around, as is her former mentor-turned-nemesis. Then there’s the charming art thief helping—or is he hindering?—her mission. If her luck holds out, this could be the case that allows Cat to retire with her conscience and her life intact. If not, it’ll be her last job for all the wrong reasons…

 

Accolades:

If you are a reader who enjoys thrills coupled with well-developed characters, pick up A Beautiful Heist. Not only will it have you on the edge of your seat at times, it will also give you a character who promises to only get more interesting in future installments. (Tia Bach, Mom In Love With Fiction)

Kim Foster’s debut novel is an enjoyable, convoluted and action-packed caper. It’s a nonstop ride from the first chapter until the very end. Full of schemes and betrayals, human sacrifice and treasure hunts, this new but capable author captures her audience in a tightly-plotted and intricately set up first-in-series. A complicated plot, likeable but imperfect characters, and Foster’s clear style of writing lend for an easy, entertaining and fast-paced read. A Beautiful Heist is less than three hundred pages, but the author manages to contain an interesting, complex, and original plot within those few hundred pages. (Jessie, Ageless Pages Reviews)

Cat herself proves to be more nuanced than I expected…A Beautiful Heist is a fun read–light, fast-paced, yet with enough character development to deepen the reader’s enjoyment. It’s got a good balance of action and suspense with real-life choices and implications. It’s a great summer read. (Elizabeth, 5 Minutes For Books)

A Beautiful Heist is a satisfying caper novel, with lots of twists and turns in the plot and plenty of glamour in the settings and the characters. There’s enough romance and suspense for readers of romantic suspense, but the complexity of the story and the characters lifts it from the genre. It’s a gripping novel and would make a great movie. (Rebecca, More Than A Review)

Reviews:

A Beautiful Heist (Agency of Burglary & Theft)  currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 3.8 stars from 11 reviews. Read the reviews here.


An excerpt from A Beautiful Heist (Agency of Burglary & Theft):

Everyone breaks the rules eventually. It’s just that some of us make a career out of it.
Lingering by the bar, I sipped my Veuve Clicquot and, with the utmost subtlety, tugged at the short neoprene wetsuit concealed beneath my cocktail dress.
The warm September evening air swirled with lush jazz; the chime of crystal mingled with the laughter of socialites and millionaires. It was a graceful affair. But I, for one, was far from relaxed. My eyes roved the party restlessly and my nerves sizzled with anticipation. And fear.
My safety that evening hinged on my skills of deception. On my ability to conjure the illusion that I belonged at this party. Whether I got my assignment done, however, depended on an altogether different sort of talent: the particular skill-set I happened to be born with.
As always, I needed to keep my fear in check and stay focused on my goals. Do the job, Cat. Make it out of here alive. Don’t get arrested.
I tucked a short lock of my platinum blond wig behind my ear. A saltwater breeze teased the hem of my black Dolce & Gabbana gown. The party occupied the lido deck of a 280-foot luxury yacht moored in Seattle Harbor. Which should explain the wetsuit. Rule number one for every professional thief: always have as many getaway options as possible.
Now—before you judge too harshly, consider this: everybody in this world is guilty of something. Everybody has dirty truths they keep tucked in linen closets and shoe boxes, secreted away in diaries and letters and the dark alcoves of their minds. Maybe yours isn’t anything all that grievous. Maybe you just cheat a little on your taxes. Maybe you sneak into a different movie once you’re inside the theater. Or, perhaps your dark secret is something worse. The point is, sooner or later, everyone behaves badly. Some of us are just better at it than others.
I curled my way through multitudes of rich and beautiful people who were busy rubbing shoulders and sundry other body parts. My muscles were coiled tight as a librarian’s bun, my face was impassive. I watched for signs that someone suspected what I was up to. The people at this particular party—and their hired security staff—would not react well knowing someone like me was in their midst. Weapons would be drawn. Blood would be shed. This was a state of affairs I preferred to avoid. Just thinking about it made the hairs at the nape of my neck curl with sweat. My mouth felt dry; I took another sip of champagne.
Maybe this was a mistake. I glanced at the exit points. Should I really be attempting this tonight? It was risky pulling a job on the night of a gala.
But no–I was prepared. Besides, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity—it meant too much to me. I had to do this. I couldn’t back down now. This could be the job that would finally banish the shadow.
I selected a vantage point on the upper deck and wrapped my palms around the cold chrome handrail. Stars dazzled in a tuxedo sky high above, reminiscent of the shimmering gowns and sparkling flutes of champagne below.
I kept my face expressionless and methodically scanned the glittering party below me. Glamorous young things lounged on curved banks of white tufted leather sofas, orchids spilled out of crystal vases, hundreds of fairy lights twinkled along the sleek lines of the yacht.
I was scouting for telltale signs: the distracted expression of someone listening to an ear-receiver, unusual body language, a waiter or a musician who looked strangely uncomfortable. Markers of a person who could interfere with my ability to do my job tonight, be it security staff, FBI, or—worse—one of those damned concerned citizens.
Then my stomach tightened: was that red-haired man by the oyster bar watching me? I narrowed my eyes and slid to my left, concealing myself behind a post. There was something odd, something furtive about the small actions of his hands. He was standing beside a woman, his date or girlfriend, but he seemed to be avoiding her gaze. Very strange. The set of his jaw betrayed a degree of anxiety. I bit down on the inside of my cheek. Then, I saw him reach into his jacket pocket and a small Tiffany box appeared in his hand.
Ah. I rolled my eyes and focused my attention elsewhere. He was going to propose tonight. Fine. Not interesting.
I continued raking the crowd of partygoers. But as I did so, I must confess to a small twinge of envy. As they sipped their mojitos and nibbled their canapés, everyone looked so, well, relaxed. I glanced back at the couple by the oyster bar.
For a moment I considered stuffing this assignment and simply enjoying myself, perhaps trying my chances at meeting my own Prince Charming equivalent, of which there appeared to be plenty.
No, Cat. I scolded myself and pushed those thoughts firmly from my mind. That was not for me. I had to get this job done. Besides, the truth was, people like me were not destined for storybook endings. Dreams of the moon belonged to much worthier people; I’d abandoned those hopes a long time ago.
No. This girl didn’t deserve the fairy tale. It wasn’t usually the villain who got the happily-ever-after.
A white-gloved waiter approached and, after mentally clearing him as a non threat, I accepted a divine smoked salmon crostini from his silver tray. I smiled at him, confident in my disguise: the wig, of course, plus chocolate-browncolored contact lenses and painstakingly applied theater makeup conveying much sharper cheekbones than I myself, sadly, possessed. I took a mouthwatering bite of the crostini and allowed a small shiver of delight. Another fringe benefit to the job.
On the surface, becoming a crook is an ill-advised choice. I get that. Very few people would see the appeal and, fair enough, it’s not a way of life that would suit everyone. But let me assure you: it’s a thrill like no other. And isn’t that what we all want, ultimately? A life purpose that we’re good at, and that we love?
Of course I’m making it sound like I had a choice in the matter. As if being anything other than a criminal was an option for me. It wasn’t. The universe made it clear, long ago, that being a thief was my role in this life. Bucking that fate was not only futile, it brought dire consequences. I know. I had tried it.
At the party, I popped in one last bite of crostini and was on the move again. I buried myself in the crowd and wove my way to a less populated area of the party on the aft deck. I needed to choose my moment precisely. It was a matter of sharpening my awareness of other people’s attention. I needed to have a clear perimeter in my peripheral vision, to know there were no eyes directly on me.
But although the crowd here was thinner, there were still a lot of people. I experienced fresh anxiety about doing this job tonight. It was never my first choice to do the actual heist on the night of a gala. Too many potential complications. Most crooks will tell you: parties are better suited for reconnaissance.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have an option. Davis Hamilton Jr, the steel magnate, sailed the Elysia into Seattle this morning and he was staying one night only. The next morning he would sail down the coast for California and I wasn’t about to miss the opportunity. I had done that before; it would never happen again.
Then, I noted that in the nearby knot of people a man was entertaining the group with an anecdote. I readied myself–this would be my chance. As he wrapped up the story and delivered the punch line, the group was laughing and distracted. That was my moment. I made a sharp right turn, melted into the shadows, and dove down the steps leading belowdecks.
The corridors were dark, narrow, and quiet. The ceiling hung low. The layout of the yacht and its suites was firmly etched in my mind, memorized from the blueprint. Fourth door on the left, just after the corridor took a sharp right turn. I was skulking along when a large, lumpy man suddenly emerged from a doorway and lurched out, smashing into me. Damn.
I’d have to bluff it. “Oops!” I giggled, stumbling against the wall. “Where’s the little girls’ room?” I said with an intentional slur. The man possessed an unfortunate physique: slopy shoulders and barrel torso. His small eyes were too close together, his teeth tiny and spaced apart, like those of a third-grader.
Unfortunately, the man moved closer. And started leering. “Hey, sweetheart, what’s your hurry?” A hot cloud of liquor-spiked breath floated my way. And now I had a problem.
Memo to self: Take a moment, next time, to size up your audience before knee-jerking into drunk, giddy female bit.
“What’s your name?” he said, taking another step closer. I cringed. Even an expensive suit couldn’t minimize the impact of hair like a Brillo pad. Why, oh why, was it always this type? Why couldn’t this be that Hugh Jackman-lookalike I noted by the Jacuzzi upstairs? I was sure I wouldn’t have been quite so irritated.
This was exactly the sort of thing I was afraid of. I should have aborted the job, right then.
But I didn’t.

A Beautiful Heist (Agency of Burglary & Theft) is available for purchase at:

 Amazon Kindle for $4.61

Connect with Kim Foster:

Website: http://www.kimfosterbooks.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorKimFoster

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DrKimFoster

THE FRUGA FIND OF THE DAY: The Day After Yesterday, Kelly Cozy {$1.99}

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Kelly Cozy‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of The Day After Yesterday:

The events of a single night can change a life forever, as musician Daniel Whitman discovers when he loses his family and home.

Overwhelmed by grief, unable to find solace in his music or accept comfort from his friends, he flees up the California coast. Daniel thinks he’s leaving everything behind, but his journey will take him to the places and people that will help him find his way back.

The Day After Yesterday is a story of hope, friendship, and the redemptive power of music.

 

Accolades:

“It’s breathtaking, heartbreaking, and just plain beautiful. I can’t recommend it enough.” – Tia Bach, author of Chasing Memories

“This novel captured both my attention and my heart. The characters are realistic, multi-faceted, and endearing. I shared in both their laughter and their tears, and was saddened to reach the end of their tale. Ms. Cozy’s masterful look into the human condition provides a message of hope and understanding for anyone that has experienced a loss, or knows someone who has. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading any future ones.” -Mary Smith-Fuller, Flurries of Words

“The novel presents you with these people and their situations, their desires and aspirations, their dark secrets and hidden fears, and then. . .life happens to them. Some of it is wonderful, some of it is a struggle; it is simultaneously the ultimate blessing while also being profoundly unfair in ways both vague and specific. Essentially, it will leave you laughing after it has left you sobbing, and one way or the other it will drain your tearducts to the point of dehydration. Emotional sissies need not apply. It is an excellent read, and a wonderful insight into the resiliency of the spirit as well as our capacity for love.” – A. J. Muller (Amazon reader review)

Reviews:

The Day After Yesterday  currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.6 stars from 19 reviews. Read the reviews here.


An excerpt from The Day After Yesterday:

Highway 101 was a dark strand along the California coast, all but invisible in the night and the rain. On this strand like a bright pearl was the Shoreline Diner. Zack Fuller stood by the window. Even when he shaded his eyes against the diner’s light and peered outside, he could see nothing. There were few lights on this stretch of the 101 and the storm shut out moon and stars. Nothing but midnight-in-a-mine-shaft darkness and no sound save for the rain, coming down hard, and the wind’s occasional lonely wail.

Zack placed one palm against the window to feel the chill. He rather liked these coastal winter storms. He much preferred them to the downpours of his native Louisiana; those warm rains smelled like wet plant life and reminded him too much of ‘Nam. By contrast, California storms were soothing, even inspiring at times. Some nights like these made him think he ought to try writing a book, or maybe a short story. He’d thought of an opening line — It was a dark and stormy night — but now had the uneasy feeling it might have been done before.

He turned away from the window. Two hours until closing but only five customers in the place — not surprising. No one was going out in this weather if they could help it. Four of the five he knew by sight and experience. Local teens who left their tables a mess, used foul language when ladies and kids were nearby, and never tipped. They’d long since eaten and paid, and were just killing time while waiting for the storm to die down. Zack ignored them and made his way to counter, where the fifth customer sat. A redhead, she sat with an empty plate in front of her — she’d had the Evening Breakfast Special. She had a book open but Zack had never seen her turn a page; she seemed more interested in the sketchpad she doodled on. The redhead gave Zack a quick up-and-down glance as he approached. Impossible to tell if she was pretty, for her face was half-hidden by her hair.

“Care for a refill?” Zack held up the iced tea pitcher.

“Yes, please. Is it still raining?”

“Cats and dogs.”

She glanced at the windows. Zack took the opportunity to sneak a peek at her doodlings, and was surprised by their quality — no stick figures or meaningless scribbles but detailed sketches of a saguaro cactus, a cat, the Golden Gate bridge. There were words on the sketchpad too, but he had to look away before he could read them, so she wouldn’t see he’d been peeking.

The redhead turned back to her sketchpad, biting her lower lip nervously. Zack could tell she didn’t want to venture out into the storm in search of a hotel, and he didn’t blame her. Pitching his voice low so the local quartet wouldn’t hear, he said, “Stay as long as you like. It’s not safe to be driving in this weather.”

“But you’ll be closed. I don’t want to keep you from home.”
Zack shrugged. “I’ve got insomnia.” A souvenir from ‘Nam. “And I don’t want to go out in this either.”

He thought of offering her a place to sleep. He had one — a tiny antechamber in the back among the canned goods and industrial-size boxes of flour and salt. An army cot with wool blankets, a space heater, and even a privacy curtain he’d sewn. He lay there on insomniac nights or when he and the old lady were going through a bad patch. But as he was about to offer he saw the way she regarded him — warily. Zack wondered how much of that was due to his admittedly scruffy appearance — bald head, tattoos, and long, white, braided beard. And how much of her wariness came from experience, from the telltale bump of her nose that told him it had been broken at least once.

She offered him a small smile. “Thank you. You’re very kind. I’m from Arizona, I’m not used to driving in this kind of rain.”

“Stay as long as you like.”

Zack occupied himself with cleaning the grill, brewing fresh coffee and decaf, and reading a New Orleans-set mystery titled The Jambalaya Alibi. The local quartet had run out of inane chatter. The redhead was writing something in her sketchpad. The storm had long since become white noise ignored by them all, so when the diner’s door opened with a thud, Zack started and looked up.

The man stood just inside the doorway, blinking dazedly as if astounded by the diner’s light and warmth. He was white-faced and soaked through — he might have emerged from the sea, which of course was impossible given the storm-tossed tide. He must have been walking in the rain for hours. Water dripped steadily from his clothes, his hair, the backpack he wore.

Zack walked over to the man, bringing a mug and the coffee pot with him. “God almighty, look at you,” Zack said. “Sit down and warm up.”

The man didn’t move save to look back over his shoulder. He seemed to be searching for someone. “Where did…” he said, but didn’t finish.

“It’s OK. Sit down.” Zack put a hand on the man’s shoulder — sopping wet and stone cold. When the man sat down, Zack poured some coffee. “Drink up.”

“Thank you.” The man hadn’t lost that dazed look. He sat with water pooling around him, hadn’t even taken off his backpack. He reached for the coffee mug, then with no warning slumped and toppled to the side, pitching headlong out of the booth. Zack dropped the coffee pot and caught the man bare inches before he’d have bashed his head a good one on the linoleum.

Zack grappled with the unconscious man’s dead weight while his shoes slid in rainwater and spilled coffee. He yelled over his shoulder at the local kids: “Hey, little help here!” But they were already out the door. Useless little twerps.

“Here.” The redhead helped ease the man to the floor. She checked the man’s pulse, his breathing, felt his forehead with the inside of her wrist. She did it quickly and professionally. Zack recognized that from field hospitals and the VA. “When he spoke, was it clear?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“He didn’t slur his words?”

“No. Is it hypothermia?”

“Probably. I think it’s mild but he should go to a hospital. Where’s the nearest one?”

Miles from here, he told her, and with the weather who knew how long it would take for an ambulance to get here.
She nodded, asked if there was some place they could get him warm.

Zack flipped the diner’s sign to Closed and together they carried the man into Zack’s makeshift bedroom. They worked with the efficiency of the nurse and the soldier and soon had the man’s drenched clothes off; they laid him down on the cot with the wool blankets over him and the space heater on.

Only once did Zack see the woman taken aback — when they took off the man’s shirt and saw the scars, red lines standing out angrily against the pale skin of his inner wrists. Not old scars, either. Zack knew wounds and gauged them to be a month or two old, at most. Nearly four inches long, straight and sure. The work of a determined man. The redhead paused for a moment, then went on with her work.
When they had the man as dry and warm as they could get him, she checked his pulse and breathing again. “He’s getting some color back,” she said as she held the man’s right hand. “That’s good. I’m going to stay with him a while.”

“OK. Let me take care of this.” Zack gathered the wet clothes into a plastic bag, thinking he’d hang them up somewhere to dry. Lastly he picked up the backpack and took it with him to the diner’s main room. He sat down in a booth and after a moment’s consideration, opened the backpack.

He expected to find the belongings a sodden mess but they were in Ziploc bags and had stayed dry. The box of Ziplocs, its cardboard wet, was the topmost item. It seemed a recent purchase; Zack found tucked inside the box a barely legible receipt from a convenience store some 25 miles north of here. Surely the man hadn’t walked 25 miles in the rain? No wonder he’d toppled over.

Zack reproached himself for prying but curiosity was too strong and the bag yielded up its contents. Two sets of clothes, jeans and shirts, not laundry-fresh but not stale either. One bag most curious — it held a woman’s gauzy blue scarf, shimmering cobalt beads embroidered on it, and a green teddy bear, most of its fuzz long since worn away. Zack shivered. He knew mementoes when he saw them. The last bag was a treasure trove. House keys. A wallet. A prescription bottle — Zoloft, half full. Papers: discharge papers from a hospital, referrals to a doctor, a sheet of notepaper from a motel with several names and addresses written on it, a letter sealed and addressed but with no stamp or return address.

Zack opened the wallet. About $40 or so. Standard-issue credit cards. A driver’s license for Daniel J. Whitman of Los Cielos. Zack had the notion Los Cielos was to the south — around San Diego perhaps? Health insurance and library cards. Musician’s Union membership cards. A “Buy 10 cups, get the 11th free” card for a coffee house called Java Man — he had three more to go. Nothing that explained why Whitman was so far from home with little beyond the clothes on his back, sporting wrist scars, near to collapse with cold and exhaustion.

Feeling like a voyeur, Zack turned to the wallet’s photo insert. A Christmas studio picture of Whitman with a pretty blonde woman and a towheaded young boy, the sort of picture sent out with holiday greeting cards. Whitman was a good-looking fellow when he wasn’t impersonating a drowned rat. A picture of the boy in his preschool years, holding the green teddy bear. Zack felt a queasy thump and flipped through the remaining photos hurriedly. A group shot of the blonde woman with what looked like her siblings and parents. The boy having a toy lightsaber duel with a bespectacled man, who turned up in the next picture, a wedding portrait with him and a brunette. Are these people looking for you, Whitman? What happened? Why are you here?

“Pardon me.”

The voice was soft but Zack jumped, and guiltily snapped the wallet closed.

“He’s better now,” said the redhead. “Just sleeping. I’m going to stay up with him if that’s all right.”

“Sure. You want something to eat? BLT maybe?”

“Oh, yes please.”

“I’m making a fresh pot of joe, would you like some?”

She cast a longing look at the pot. “I… I’d better not.” She made a vague gesture toward her midsection, didn’t seem to be aware she was doing it. Zack understood immediately. He was the oldest of six children and knew a breeding woman when he saw one.

Zack made the sandwich and brought it to her, along with a glass of skim milk. She was leaning over Whitman, examining his head by the light of a flashlight. Zack peered closely. “He didn’t get that bump when he fell. His head never touched the floor.”

She nodded. “He’s got a laceration too. That’s why I wanted to keep an eye on him. Pupils are dilating fine, so there doesn’t seem to be a concussion.”

Zack went back to his booth and packed Whitman’s belongings back into their Ziplocs. He picked up the backpack, intending to hang it up somewhere to dry, and as he did noticed several long green strands tangled in the backpack’s straps. Frowning, he looked at them more closely. Sea grass. On the wet clothes was more sea grass, and there was sand on the jeans, shoes, and socks.
Zack shuddered. He’d ventured out to look at the sea during these winter storms and had been amazed how fierce the gentle blue Pacific could turn. More amazed now that Whitman was here and not feeding the fish. He hung the wet things over chair backs to dry, then sat and laid his head down on the table. A long day and a longer night, and it wasn’t yet midnight. Zack didn’t mean to doze off but jerked awake at the sound.

The cry was not loud but the quality of it — the oboe tone of fear and desperation — cut through Zack’s uneasy sleep. He remembered a cry much like it, many years ago: some poor PFC stepped on a mine and wandered off mostly blind into the rice paddies where he bled out over half the night and called for his mother most of that time.
This voice wasn’t crying out for mother. It called for Sarah. And there was a phrase, one the unlucky PFC had used: Help me. Still woozy from his abrupt awakening, Zack went into the back where he found the redhead and the man holding each other. Zack couldn’t make out most of the man’s words. As for the redhead, she seemed unsure of what to say; she seemed uncomfortable in the man’s clutch. “Everything’s all right,” she said.

Whitman was having none of it. “No. Not ever.”
Nothing she said soothed him. But then she sang.
Something strange about her singing. Her voice was untrained, wobbly at times, yet a quality to it that wasn’t so much comfort as compassion. It said that she understood why he’d ended up here even if she didn’t know the exact reason. What she sang: it was slow, and strangely old-fashioned. The sort of music you’d hear from some woman in medieval clothes, playing a lute. Or so it seemed to Zack.

She sang, and held the man’s hand. A different song, one that made Zack think of long-ago Midnight Masses on Christmas eve; for a moment he even thought he caught a whiff of incense. The redhead didn’t look up at Zack — all her attention was on Whitman. He’d quieted down, lay still. Zack couldn’t tell if he was still awake. After a while Zack asked in a whisper if everything was all right, and she nodded, not taking her eyes off Whitman.

Zack went back to his booth. He meant to ask her about the songs. He laid his head down again, tried to remember the words she’d sung. A verse or two he could recall: Do way, dear heart, not so. Let no thought you dismay. Though you now part me from, we shall meet when we may. When he woke the rain had stopped. The dawn showed pearl-gray clouds and here and there a hint of blue. Whitman slept on in the makeshift bedroom. The redhead was gone.

 

The Day After Yesterday is available for purchase at:

 Amazon Kindle for $1.99

 

Connect with Kelly Cozy:

Author Website: http://kellycozy.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kelly_Cozy

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Salty Miss Tenderloin, Jacki Lyon {$2.99}

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Jacki Lyon’s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Get it now, here

Description of Salty Miss Tenderloin:

SALTY MISS TENDERLOIN is a fiercely tender novel by award winning writer Jacki Lyon. Never shying away from the dark side of humanity, Lyon introduces Starlight Nox, a scrappy girl born on the gritty streets of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District when Jimi Hendrix and the Vietnam War are center stage.

Starlight learns at an early age to rummage food from dumpsters and collect clothes from the corner charity for survival. When the girl’s father dies with a needle in his arm and her mother disappears searching for her next fix, the forsaken twelve-year-old is adopted by wealthy grandparents. Uprooted from San Francisco to Cincinnati, Star spends the next two decades learning that danger doesn’t lurk just in pimps and pill pushers on Turk Street. She discovers that evil finds a welcome host in tailored suits and Chanel dresses and even glossy church pews. Star calls on her early, bitter lessons from the streets to navigate the more sinister roads she travels as a young woman.

SALTY MISS TENDERLOIN is a poignant coming-of-age story that proves the transition from child to adult is a process that repeats itself many times in life. Coming-of-age is about survival. For the lucky, the change begins with a raging gnaw of desire; for the unlucky, the change begins with a crying gnaw of hunger. For Starlight Nox, the treacherous journey begins much too early in life and continues to test her ability to grow and persevere, time and time again.


Accolades:

Jacki Dillon Lyon hit a home run again!!! I loved this book. Star is a character that you will fall in love with because of her determination, loyalty to her friends and grandmother and her ability to keep it all together at times . . . Get your book groups to read this. You will not be disappointed. Barb Rohs, Cincinnati, Ohio

I just finished reading Salty Miss Tenderloin and am not ready to let the heroine, Star, go. Jacki Lyon has written an awesome novel, but more importantly, she’s shown through Star, that regardless what life offers, one can find the strength to overcome adversity and perservere! Becki D., Sarasota, Florida

 

Salty Miss Tenderloin is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99


An excerpt from Salty Miss Tenderloin:

Prologue
Oreo Cookies and a Snickers Bar . . .

Tenderloin District, San Francisco 1974
The hour before dawn was Tony Martinelli’s favorite time of night. Most of the guns would be sleeping by then. He could relax. If something was going to happen, it usually went down by 4 a.m. The dealers and pimps had parked their Cadillacs in front of their one room efficiencies, and the drunks and addicts had found their own piss-stained stairwells hours before. Even these people had a routine, Tony thought.
But that was before the Symbionese Liberation Army decided to kidnap Patty Hearst, the millionaire heiress, brainwash her and rob the Hibernia Bank over on Noriega Street. Two bystanders were shot, and the left-wing-terrorist thugs got away with ten thousand dollars. Now, the entire force was on pins and needles from dawn to dawn, staking out store fronts, safe houses and communes, searching for the SLA.
Tony slowly drove his cruiser down Jones Street past St. Anthony’s Dining Room. The Sunshine Bread truck was already at the cafeteria door, delivering the only bread that most of the visitors would eat that day. St. Anthony’s was the backbone of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, feeding the meager spiritual and physical needs of the community. Tony grimaced as ‘feeding the hungry’ was one of the alleged goals of the SLA. Part of Patty Hearst’s initial ransom was a two million dollar donation from her big-time papa to feed California’s poor. The food distribution exploded into mass chaos as people fought for whole chickens and bags of carrots. Tony looked up at St. Anthony’s steeple, thinking about all the good people who actually worked hard because they really cared about their fellow man, but around the corner or across the street was the other guy who had the devil hiding behind a deluded smile and glassy eyes.
The police radio chatter had died down, but Tony knew the city wasn’t sleeping. He rolled down the car window to let in the chilly night air. Long, high-pitched whines drifted in from the fishing boats that were inching their way across the bay, laden with early catches of salmon. Ever since he was old enough to cast a line, the fog horns had a way of soothing Tony to sleep on the nights his father wobbled in late, all liquored-up and looking for a fight with his mother. Fiddling with the tail of his coonskin cap, he’d close his eyes and block out all sounds, except for the quiet songs that echoed from the bay.
Tony sucked in the salty bay air and stretched his shoulders back against the car seat to rouse awake for another few hours. As he turned left onto Turk Street, a sharp movement in the shadows of the bus stop shelter caught his eye. Slowing the cruiser, he leaned toward the passenger window and spotted a pair of pale yellow dog legs with thick, black paws folded under the bench.
“Catching a snooze, ol’ boy?” Tony sighed. “Wish I could be doing the same.” He settled back into the driver’s seat and began to pull away, but something tugged at him. He stepped on the brakes and glanced in the rear view mirror. He rubbed his heavy eyes and stared back into the glass. A tangled mass of hair and large, round eyes had popped out from under the bench and was peering at the back of the cruiser.
“Goddamn,” he grumbled. “There goes my hour of peace and quiet.” He backed up the cruiser ten yards, stopped and slowly got out. Moving around the front end of the car with his hand held firmly on his gun, Tony could now see a small body wedged in the corner of the shelter.
He shined his flashlight in the shadows and feral green eyes glistened back. The urchin let out a sharp cry and covered her eyes with filthy fingers. The child looked like a night monkey with greyish skin and wide, dark eye masks. Tony shrugged, anticipating the pathetic story that was certain to follow. Tripping dad. Tripping mom. Mom’s psycho boyfriend. Psycho mom. Abandoned. Hungry. The stories were different yet all the same. Tragic kids caught up in a cloud of dazed parents who couldn’t escape their own youth. Tony shifted the bright light from the child’s eyes and asked her to crawl out from the corner.
“Go away!” she screeched back at him and shrank deeper into her nest.
“Come on out,” Tony commanded, shining the flashlight back into her eyes.
“Go away!” she screeched again, but this time she raised her moppy head and spat at him.
“Out, now!” Tony demanded. “And tell me what you’re doing under there.”
“I’m hidin’!” she hollered, still tucked tight into her corner. “Jack says hide from da’ cars.”
“Who’s Jack?” he asked, but the child didn’t respond. Tony knelt down to get a closer look at the girl. “Where are your parents?” he asked again. This time she slowly pointed to a dimly lit window across the street, three stories up.
“Then, why are you down here in the middle of the night?”
“I’m waitin’,” she snapped.
“Waiting for what?”
“Till Sue be done.”
“Done with what?” he asked, eyeing her hollow, dirt-streaked face.
“A man.”
Tony had had enough. He stretched out his hand and told her to come out. “Giant rats live under there,” he warned.
“I ain’t movin’,” she said stubbornly. “Jack says I don’t move I get a Snickers Bar.”
“Are Jack and Sue your parents?” he asked.
She hesitated at first but then confirmed the question with a silent nod.
“Why did Jack put you out here at night?”
“‘Cause of da’ man.”
“What man?” Tony asked, shifting the weight on his knees.
“I told you! A man with Sue.”
“Young lady, come on out from under of there. I’ve got a bag of Oreo cookies in the car. Are you hungry?”
She shook her head no and contracted deeper into the corner.
“Listen, your pops won’t mind if you talk to a policeman. He just doesn’t want you talking to bad guys. Right?”
The little girl just stared back at Tony. Still kneeling, he bent under the seat and said, “I’m Officer Tony. What’s your name?”
“Star,” she whispered.
“Star . . . that’s a beautiful name. How old are you, Star?”
The little girl raised four fingers in the cool air. Tony shook his head. Her big attitude already defied her age. But the Tenderloin had a way of doing that to kids—ripping childhood right out from underneath their feet, leaving them with the gift of street smarts but stunted in most every other way.
“You want an Oreo, Star?” he offered again.
She nodded yes but coiled deeper into her nook.
“Then come on out with me.” He stuck his hand under the bench again. This time she grabbed it and unravelled herself from the corner. Star stood just above Tony’s knee and wore a mess of black curls that were matted around her face. Her thin arms and legs were lost in a baggy t-shirt that hung to her knees and was decorated with pictures of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Her skin was grey, but Tony couldn’t tell if the grimy hue was from poor health or from living in the four walls of a shithole for her entire life.
He led her to the door of the cruiser and told her to climb in, but she refused to budge. She just stood next to the door, looking up at him with thick lashes and heavy eyebrows that were hiding a lot of life for her young age.
“Have you ever been in a police car, Star?”
“Nope,” she said with wide, frightened eyes.
“Well, jump in. It’s nifty-neat and extra cool, and the cookies are in there, too!”
With another mention of food, she slowly climbed into the backseat and tucked her knees under her shirt. She waited quietly while Tony unlocked the trunk and pulled out a blanket. He wrapped the scratchy wool around her shivering shoulders and then called dispatch for backup and a family service counselor. She kept a close eye on him as he grabbed the cookies from the front seat and squatted down next to the cruiser door. He pulled an Oreo from the bag and peeled it apart.
“Look, they’re Teddy bear eyes,” he said gently.
Star gazed at the chocolate and cream without saying a word.
“How do you eat an Oreo? I pull mine apart and eat the inside first. Like this,” Tony explained and then ran the creamy center across his teeth, leaving tracks in the hard chocolate cake.
“I never had a Oreo,” she whispered.
“You’ve never had an Oreo!?” he asked in mock outrage.
“Nope!” she said, shaking her head earnestly.
“You’ve got to try one!” He pulled a cookie from the bag and gave it to her along with a tired smile. Star raised the cookie to her nose, took in a deep breath then clutched the disk in the palm of her hand.
“Aren’t you going to eat it?”
“Nope,” she whispered. “Gonna’ let Jack and Sue have a bite.”
Tony sighed, thinking that she was still young enough to love those assholes. In another few years, the illusion of parental love would be lost, and in a decade, Star would be perpetuating the same cycle of dashed dreams, neglect and waste when her own kid would surely be found roaming the streets at four in the morning.
Tony rubbed his eyes and shook his head. “Listen, go ahead and eat the cookie. I’ll give you the whole bag if you promise not to eat them all at once.”
“Promise,” Star agreed and smiled for the first time.
Watching her relax, Tony pressed on with more questions. “Star, why’s your mommy with the man? Is he your uncle . . . or grandpa?”
She shook her head no and took her first bite of cookie. A wide grin spread across her face as she crunched down on the chocolate.
“Why is the man at your house when it’s bedtime?” he pressed again.
“To play,” she mumbled with crumbs falling from her lips. “Fat Albert loves cookies,” she giggled and pointed to the hefty black character in red on the front of her t-shirt. Star pushed her spindly knees to the front of the shirt to make her belly grow bigger and sang, “Hey, hey, hey! It’s Fat Albert!”
Emerging from the over-sized t-shirt was the little girl’s true four-year-old self, hidden behind the grit and grime of street life. Tony peered down at the girl’s shirt and smiled. Fat Albert and his junkyard gang was the genius cartoon creation of Bill Cosby, a gutsy comedian from the tough streets of North Philly. Cosby was pushing racial and cultural barriers with parents who were accustomed to pleasantville sit-coms like The Andy Griffith Show whose Sheriff Taylor spent his days keeping peace in the peace-loving white town of Mayberry R.F.D. Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, on the other hand, tackled real issues that tormented black, inner-city streets across America. Andy Taylor’s biggest threat was Otis, the town drunk, who let himself into jail on Saturday nights to sleep off his binge. Fat Albert faced real threats like the time when he mistakenly found himself entangled in a drug deal with Muggles, Franny’s older brother. Whether Fat Albert an d his gang were dealing with drugs, divorce, or bullying, they were always teaching a real lesson to real kids, which was part of Tony’s mission in the Tenderloin. He looked down at Star and understood that she was one of the kids that Cosby was trying to save, but he also knew her chances of success in the District were slim or none.
“Do you like Fat Albert?” Tony asked.
“Yepparoo! Bucky and Dumb Donald are funny, but Fat Albert’s da’ best,” she said with certainty, reaching into the bag for another cookie.
“He’s my favorite, too,” Tony agreed. “Now, tell me about your mom. Why is she playing with the man in your apartment?”
“Sue and him plays naked. Sue says they wrestle.”
“Does Sue wrestle at night a lot?”
Star nodded her head yes. “Da’ man didn’t want to play ‘cause of me. That’s why Jack says stay here.”
So, this john had a conscience, Tony thought for a second. Nah, not down here in the District. A performance problem, most likely. Probably couldn’t get it up with a kid in the next room. Eyeing the little girl behind her thick lashes, he was able to see the collateral damage brought down by needles and pipes and temporary joy rides. Just as he thought, she was one of hundreds of remnants from the psychedelic haze that blew over from Haight Ashbury, just one more kid who hid out in rancid apartment hallways while her old lady got some grandpa’s rocks off, just so she could get her fix for the night.
Tony patted the little girl’s thin knee and took in a heavy breath. She smiled with drooping eyes and rested her head against the seat. Tony tucked the blanket around her legs and stood up. He closed the door and leaned against the car, waiting for the social services counselor to arrive.

Salty Miss Tenderloin is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

 

Connect with Jacki Lyon:

Website: jacquelinelyon.com or jackilyon.com

Facebook: Search Jacki Dillon Lyon

Twitter: @jackilyon

Free Danner, Loretta Giacoletto {$0.99}

99-cent madness for a limited time! This coming-of-age novel for new adults is on the edgy side, as in dark humor with off-beat characters, some not-so-likable, others downright despicable. As for Danner, he’s the ultimate bad boy you’ll either love, hate, or love to hate.

Free Danner really is free, after spending ten years in Juvy for what the judge called an unspeakable act and Danner considered one of mercy. Now he’s determined to find the dad who doesn’t know he exists. One thing’s for sure: this is not The Maury Povich Show; it’s Danner’s. And he figures everybody’s out to screw him, especially the big shot who hired him as a hit-man-in-training. So what’s a guy to do? The right thing, but Danner has a problem distinguishing right from wrong.

Free Danner is eleven when his party-girl mom sends him to live with her parents on their Southern Illinois farm. The generation gap proves harder on the rebellious city boy than his grandparents and soon results in a tragedy so horrific no one could’ve predicted it. Fast forward to Danner at twenty-two, by-passing those years he spent in the juvenile system and then some. He locates his mom Lark in St. Louis and demands she name the clueless dad. Lark’s not sure but with Danner’s not-so-gentle persuasion, she comes up with three possibilities. Danner’s search for his dad and a better life takes him on a crisscross journey to Las Vegas, Southern California, and the Florida Panhandle. Most of the off-beat characters he encounters along the way either wind up dead or wanting Danner out of their lives. But these people don’t know the real Danner or what being free means to him.
Fans of the dysfunctional-family novels by Pat Conroy will enjoy FREE DANNER as will fans of the movie, WILD TARGET.

What readers are saying:

“In Giacoletto’s well-written, gritty, and touching novel, Danner seems to live on the fringes. Nobody wants him, neither his mother nor his grandparents. To me, the characters were real flesh and blood people, and some of their stories came too close to home.

The average Amazon reader review rating is currently 4 stars, with 9 reviews.

Click here to read more about and purchase Free Danner for $0.99

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Playing Along, Rory Samantha Green {$2.99}

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Rory Samantha Green‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of Playing Along:

Two Lives. Two Continents. One Song…

Then: George Bryce was an awkward, English schoolboy fantasizing about being in a band.

Now: George is frontman of Thesis, an overnight indie scene sensation. Intense, creative and self-deprecating, his childhood dreams have all been fulfilled – so why does George still feel so lost?

Then: Lexi Jacobs was a confident Californian high school cheerleader, planning her future marriage and a meaningful career.

Now: Lexi is searching for substance in a life full of mishaps. Cautious, bemused and rapidly losing the control she used to rely on, none of her teenage dreams have delivered and she’s left wondering, “What next?”

Follow George and Lexi as they navigate their days thousands of miles apart. Fly with them from London to LA and back again, as George copes with the dynamics of his tight knit band and loose knit family, while Lexi juggles her eccentric new boss, bored best friend and smother mother.

Even though there’s an ocean between them and their worlds couldn’t be further apart, George and Lexi are pulled together through music, and their paths appear determined to cross.

The question is – when?

At the end of this delightfully quirky, irresistible story, you too will be left wondering which of your fantasies are destined to come true…

 

Accolades:

“You’ll fall in love with George and Lexi…All the characters are so clearly defined. ””Green is an amazing writer, can’t wait to read more from her.”

“Love the references to music and the time it takes place. It’s hard to find books that will pull you in like PLAYING ALONG.”

 

Reviews:

Playing Along  currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 5 stars from 6 reviews. Read the reviews here.

 

Playing Along  is available for purchase at:

 

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

 

 

An excerpt from Playing Along :

PLAYING ALONG

by Rory Samantha Green

THEN

GEORGE, 1st November, 1994, Stanford in the Vale, Oxfordshire

“Your brother’s grown up a bit, hasn’t he?”

George holds his breath when he hears these words swoop past his bedroom door. He’s thirteen, but his sister is two years older and her friends are an enigma. They smell like grapefruit and cigarettes and layer mascara on their lashes until they look like pandas. Most of them have boobs. Big ones. He’s fascinated by the divide. George’s sister, Polly, has maybe said one word to him in the last two weeks and that was muttered in disdain when he had mistakenly knocked her make-up brush off the counter and into the toilet. It had floated forlornly in the bowl like a drowned rodent.

“Arsehole!”

But now there’s a chance of redemption. Despite his skinny legs and spotty rounded face, it seems as if one of the awesome grapefruit girls has noticed something in him. Something unique. He reckons it will take a very special woman to appreciate his nuances. His love of Grover from Sesame Street (so underrated – why did Kermit get all the limelight?) and his adoration of the most amazing music the universe has to offer – Bowie, U2, Portishead, Dylan, New Order. The woman who takes his heart must take his record collection as well.

“My brother?” replies Polly in dramatic shock. ”Yeah, you could say he’s grown up – into a first rate troll.”

The grapefruit girls giggle and their laughter snakes under his door and rings painfully in his ears. George bites his bottom lip, scraping his teeth against peeling skin. Another nervous habit.

“And listen to this… he claims one day he’s going to be in a famous band and be on the cover of NME and have groupies. What a joke!”

George, prepared for the inevitable cackle of mockery, grabs his headphones and his CD player and presses play with an urgency. “Fools Gold” by the Stone Roses floods his brain. He turns up the volume as loud as it will go and hurls his notebook across the room where it ricochets off the wall and slides under his bed. The notebook is filled with songs. George has been unpacking heartache from his sensitive soul since the age of ten.

His sister’s harsh words are never as brutal as the words he calls himself.

He knows what he wants, but he’s pretty damn certain that a boy like him is never going to get it.

LEXI, November 1st, 1994, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California

“I’m psyched about the game tomorrow!” Andrew enthusiastically polishes off his second burrito, gazing longingly at Lexi across the table. She smiles at him mischievously knowing that she drives him crazy with her Juicy Fruit breath, her shiny brown hair, and her legs which have conveniently slimmed out and toned up since she started diligently attending an after school kickboxing class.

“I’m excited too,” she replies, playfully nudging his size twelve basketball shoes under the table. “I hope you win, so we can celebrate.”

Lexi and Andrew are the couple at Pali High. Just embarking on their senior year, they have been an item since the eleventh grade. Andrew first kissed Lexi on Zuma beach with the waves lapping at their bare feet two nights after passing his driving test. His parents had given him a convertible Mustang for his sixteenth birthday and when he drove her home, one hand on the wheel, the other holding hers, Lexi had a sweet taste lingering in her mouth and salty wind in her hair.

“So unfair,” her best friend, Meg, had complained the following morning. “It’s not supposed to happen like that. He’s supposed to drool, or run out of gas, or step on your toe or something. Why is your life like an Audrey Hepburn movie and mine like a bad TV sitcom?”

And Lexi certainly didn’t want to be smug, but there was some truth in Meg’s observation. Things just seemed to go her way. Her parents had raised her to believe in herself and face life with a positive outlook. Not that she was syrupy or self-obsessed. She worked hard at her studies and had an excellent Grade Point Average. She volunteered at a local homeless shelter, fingerpainting with vulnerable kids after school. She’d started up a current events debate club in her junior year and persuaded many of her friends to join. They now competed nationally. Oh and of course, she kickboxed and played on the girls’ volleyball team, and thankfully had the sort of hair that didn’t frizz on damp mornings when the fog rolled in off the coast.

Lexi had lost her virginity to Andrew on the floor in his bedroom on a Sunday afternoon while his parents shopped at Target. He had lit a scented candle stolen from his mother’s bathroom, and the smell of orange mimosa flooded the room. “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by UB40 was playing on his CD player.

When it was over (slightly painful, but not nearly as uncomfortable as she had imagined), he leaned on his elbows beside her and whispered in her ear, “I can’t help falling in love with you…” One year later, sitting opposite him watching him wipe guacamole from the side of his lips, Lexi feels in her heart that she loves him too. In fact she is sure, along with almost everyone else at Pali High who either knows them or admires them from afar, that they will most likely end up getting married. Lexi’s mother has saved her own wedding dress for the occasion, wrapped in delicate layers of archival tissue in an ivory box on the top shelf of her cupboard. “It’s just waiting, my beauty,” her mother has promised.

Lexi can picture their home now (a cozy New England style house, a few blocks from her parents, with whitewashed floors and shabby chic couches), two or maybe three kids (she really doesn’t have a preference for boys or girls) and most definitely a dog, a black Labrador called George. She imagines a fulfilling and creative part time job as well, maybe a teacher or an art therapist, something that leaves her with the freedom to be a hands-on mom. So what if she is only seventeen? It’s just a dream, but life has already proven to Lexi that dreams do find a way of coming true.

NOW

GEORGE, 1st November, 2009, Greenwich, England

“George… I love you!” On certain nights this professed love is yelled out a hundred times from men and women alike. Most nights it disappears into the roar of the crowd, but at some gigs a single voice will miraculously separate out and hover above the throng of faceless fans and George hears it and needs it to be true.

George is at the piano finishing the final chords of “Beyond Being,” a poignant ballad based on his teenage existential musings and a lyric which popped into his head one day as he polished off a carton of mint chocolate chip ice cream. The audience sways in time and cell phones punctuate the blackness like rechargeable flames. George hangs his head as the song comes to a quiet end, his voice wavering with a sad clarity.

Thousands of fans cheer and whoop in adoration and George looks up shyly with his trademark grin. ”Thank you very much for coming. We appreciate you might have better things to do with your Saturday nights, like watching X Factor, and the boys and I really enjoyed playing to you tonight…” This, as intended, whips up the crowd into an even louder frenzy as George and his band mates lope off the stage with a schoolboy charm that has captivated fans across the world from Denmark to Chile, and every destination in between.

George has come a long way from the corner of his brown bedroom. His band, Thesis, stormed onto the music scene with an unstoppable force after his best mate and guitarist, Simon Ogden-Smith, persuaded George to start up a Myspace page and stream some of their music. George, Simon, Simon’s cousin Mark, and Mark’s sister’s friend Duncan from Australia, had been playing local pubs in Islington and had been slowly building up a loyal fan base. But the Myspace page catapulted them into a whole new stratosphere, and with a swiftness which at times found George’s throat closing with unprecedented anxiety, they burst onto the alternative music scene and made their mark. Three months after being signed by a record company they were flown to Los Angeles to record their first album,Twelve Thousand Words. George Bryce, still a sweaty lonely teenager at heart, found himself surrounded by attractive, fawning women called Claudia and Agnes and Nell. They willingly offered their breasts to him without any pleading involved and he indulged in a whole new adolescence at twenty-two.

The band’s first big hit was a rocking anthem called “Grapefruit Girls,” an opportunity for George to get his revenge on those elusive females who had inducted him into the hall of shame. George became an unlikely heartthrob, a self-deprecating lad who wore T-shirts with Grover on them and gave interviews about obscure comic books and rare vinyl. His boyish looks, lopsided smile and thick shaggy black hair, once his greatest insecurity, suddenly became irresistible. Even America, notoriously hard to break for an unheard-of alternative band, lapped up the accents and the awkwardness. Critics either loved or hated Thesis and George made a point of reading every review, because no matter how famous they became, he never stopped caring about what people thought of him.

 

Playing Along is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

 

Connect with Rory Samantha Green:

Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/RorySamanthaGreen

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: A Bibliophile Christmas (The Bibliophiles), Karen Wojcik Berner {$0.99}

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Karen Wojcik Berner‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of A Bibliophile Christmas:

HOLIDAY DIGITAL SHORT

From the author of “A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One)” and “Until My Soul Gets It Right (The Bibliophiles: Book Two)” comes a heartwarming holiday tale of friendship and family.

Sarah Anderson and Annie Jacobs have not had the best of years. And now, here come the holidays.

Great.

Sarah’s husband Tom is stuck in Boston after a nor’easter dumps a foot of snow on the day he is scheduled to leave for home.

And Annie is working hard at picking up the pieces of her life after a painful divorce.

But, maybe with a little help from their friends, Christmas won’t be a total wash after all.

This holiday season, take a break from all the hustle and bustle, pour yourself a beverage, and have “A Bibliophile Christmas.”

 

Accolades:

“At turns funny, frustrating (at least for the characters), and touching, A Bibliophile Christmas is a fun read that will be appreciated by fans of Berner’s series or anyone looking to get into the holiday spirit. Chances are you’ll recognize situations you’ve experienced yourself.”-BigAl’s Books&Pals

“A heartwarming tale from one of our favorite authors, Karen Wojcik Berner’s A Bibliophile Christmas is a story of love, family, and friendship that can make a chilly day much more pleasant. Featuring near-disasters around the holidays, Sarah and Annie need to find a way to rescue the holidays from bad luck and disappointment. This is a story any true bibliophile will love!” – Kindle Fire Department


Reviews:

A Bibliophile Christmas currently has a customer review rating of 4 stars from 1 review. Read the reviews here.


A Bibliophile Christmas is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99

 

An excerpt from A Bibliophile Christmas:

“God rest ye merry, gentlemen. Let nothing you dismay…”

Of course, men need not dismay, Sarah Anderson thought. What did they have to do for the holidays anyhow? Show up? Wow, that was taxing.

Her husband slammed the lid of his suitcase. “I’ll be back on Friday. Will you pick me up, or do you want me to take a cab?”

“If you’re back on Friday, you might as well go straight to the lawyer’s office.”

“Christ, Sarah. That’s extreme.”

“Friday’s December twenty-sixth.”

“Christmas is this week?”

“And they pay you the big bucks? You’d better be here on the twenty-third. The boys would be heartbroken if you missed Christmas Eve.” She lowered her voice. “You have to help me with the you-know-whats.” Let Tom think the kids cared if he made it home for Christmas all he wanted, as long as he returned in time to assemble the various cars and bikes slated to magically appear under the tree on Christmas morning. That was the one thing on her “To Do” list with the initial “T” next to it, one measly task among the never-ending items marked with an “S.”

“Four days? How the hell am I going to get the system up and running in only four days?” He picked up his suitcase, laptop backpack, and phone. “I’ve got to call Deanna and Shrevani and move Wednesday’s meeting to early Tuesday.”

She trailed him through the kitchen, family room and down the hall. He stopped briefly at the front door to dial a number on his phone.

She leaned toward him. “Have a good trip?”

He merely nodded, shushing her, as he balanced the phone between his cheek and shoulder. Picking up his luggage, he dashed outside to the waiting limousine.

Silly her, she had thought he might actually give her a kiss. “No need for formal goodbyes,” she muttered, slamming the front door so hard that the pinecones almost flew off the wreath.
Seven days until the big event. By this stage of the game, Sarah had already completed seventy-five percent of her list. Christmas cards depicting Santa’s workshop were signed, addressed, stamped, and mailed, complete with the requisite darling photo of the boys. The tree was decorated, wrapped boxes containing cinder blocks placed strategically around it, a barrier through which two-year-old Alex couldn’t pass. Since he had become mobile, Alex had spent most of the last year climbing. First, it was stairs. Going up was no problem. Watching him come down was the part that nearly gave Sarah a heart attack after seeing him tumble and land with a thud. Blood trickled over his mouth and chin from his nose banging on the last stair. Eventually, the little tyke learned how to scoot safely down each step on his bottom. After stairs, Alex graduated to the backyard fort’s ladder, followed by the rigging leading to the fort’s top tier. Each stage was accompanie d by many “Oh, shit!” moments that required several deep breaths for Mommy and the secret desire to down a bazillion martinis to calm her nerves.

The Christmas presents had been purchased, wrapped, and hidden someplace high and safe from prying eyes. Nicky was getting older and had heard some rumors questioning the validity of a certain round fellow typically clad in red. Other gifts, like those for the extended family, were also hidden in case Alex couldn’t control himself again. Last year, he had flown through all the presents on Christmas Eve like some sort of Tasmanian Devil. What did he know? He couldn’t read, an oversight her sister-in-law Marjorie could not get past. “When Peter was that age, he was already reading Cat in the Hat.”

Really? Her son could barely form a two-word sentence. He would be lucky not to flunk second grade.

The only items left on the “To Do” list were grocery shopping, cleaning, baking, and cooking. Tight, but doable. Maybe she and the boys would bake a batch of cookies together tomorrow

Anyhow, Tom would be home to occupy the kids while she prepared as much of Christmas dinner as possible before they left for the Andersons’. She was heading into the home stretch.

***

Sarah snapped Alex into a fresh, one-piece footie pajama. Yawning, he cuddled into her arms as they read Goodnight Moon. Somewhere between saying goodnight to the stars and air, Sarah kissed his damp head, a whiff of sweet honey combined with baby shampoo filling her nostrils.

“Mommy loves you,” she whispered. Alex smiled and pointed at the book, reminding her she wasn’t finished. After the last page, she tucked him in, turned on his teddy bear music box, and closed his door halfway.

“Hey, wanna watch Frosty?”

“Shush, honey! I just put Alex down.”

“Oops, sorry,” Nicky whispered. “Let’s go downstairs.”

They crept along, soft strains of Brahms’ “Lullaby” echoing down the hall, mindful that any creak of the floor could potentially wake up Alex, whom they still referred to as “the baby,” even though he was firmly into the toddler stage and would be going to preschool next year. Sarah didn’t want to think of that right now.

She had to get through Christmas first.

Copyright © 2012 Karen Wojcik Berner

A Bibliophile Christmas is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99


Connect with Karen Wojcik Berner:

Project Hope, Sean Joyce {$2.99}

In the Zones, a troubled society walled off from the outside world, nineteen-year-old Dylan lives in the crossfire between rampaging gangs known as hoods, and tyrannical government guards.

Trapped in a brutal reality, he confronts the helplessness of his situation the only way he can—through his art. By day, he takes on the role of protector, caring for his little sister, Lil. By night, he lives a secret life, breaking the curfew and braving the dangerous Zones to paint the perimeter wall with his subversive images. But with the eye of the warden upon him, and the hoods tightening their grip on the Zones, inaction is no longer an option. He must do the one thing no one else has dared to—unite the downtrodden residents and reawaken their hope.

What readers are saying:

“All in all, it was a quick read & an enjoyable one.” Amazon.com

“So did I enjoy it? Yes. Would I read a Bk2 or more by Sean Joyce? Yes. Would I recommend? Yes, for all those that love dystopian will certainly enjoy this.” Amazon.com

“Recently, i’ve been getting into buying these cheap ebooks by authors I’ve never heard of them, and while some of them are hit or miss, i thought this was the best book i’ve read for a good few months.” Amazon.co.uk

The average Amazon Reader Review is currently 4 stars {2 reviews}.

 

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Working the Hard Side of the Street – L.A. Cab Stories, Vol. I, Kirk Alex {$0.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

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Kirk Alex’s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of Working the Hard Side of the Street – L.A. Cab Stories, Vol. I:

“Working the Hard Side of the Street – L.A. Cab Stories is an anthology of powerful, caustic, original tales by Kirk Alex about the ups, downs, and hard knocks of Hollywood’s seamy underbelly. The perspective of a “fly-on-the-wall” cab driver provides a piercing realism and insight into the vicious clashes and personal struggles that lie hidden underneath the entertainment capital’s glossy, photo-touched exterior. Working the Hard Side of the Street is recommended as a gut-wrenching read for both its candor and bravado.” –The MidWest Book Review

 

Accolades:

“…highly recommended.” –Paul Lappen, Dead Trees Review

“…this is a nicely put together piece of work.” –BookLore

“The short stories–generally only a few pages in length each– are introspective and moving but also filled with humor, surreal moments and oddball characters. It’s a compelling read that successfully brings you into the mind of a conflicted, complicated man.” –Dave Heaton, Erasing Clouds


Reviews:

Working the Hard Side of the Street – L.A. Cab Stories, Vol. I currently has a customer review rating of 4 stars from 1 review. Read the reviews here.

 

Working the Hard Side of the Street – L.A. Cab Stories, Vol. I is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

The Sweet Life #3: Too Many Doubts, Francine Pascal {$1.99}

For Jessica and Elizabeth, the sweet life begins at 30…

From Francine Pascal, creator of Sweet Valley High and author of the New York Times bestselling Sweet Valley Confidential, comes the third and fourth novella-length installment of the groundbreaking, six-part, e-serial, The Sweet Life, continuing the adventures of beautiful blonde twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield and the gang from Sweet Valley.

Three years after the events of Sweet Valley Confidential, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are back in Sweet Valley and inseparable once more. But Jessica, now a mother, finds her marriage to Todd hanging by a thread. Meanwhile, Lila Fowler, reality TV star extraordinaire, embarks on a risky scheme that could win her fame but cost her everything. And the scandal rocking Sweet Valley deepens for Elizabeth and Bruce, who find themselves at odds when loyalty conflicts with the need for the truth. The Sweet Life #3: Too Many Doubts and The Sweet Life #4: Secrets and Seductions are full of secrets, betrayals and classic Sweet Valley cliffhangers.

The Sweet Life #3: Too Many Doubts

Jessica finds her marriage to Todd in jeopardy after she makes a terrible mistake. Meanwhile, reality TV star extraordinaire Lila Fowler’s fame-seeking scheme backfires in the worst way. And the scandal threatening to tear Elizabeth and Bruce apart only gets worse when the District Attorney gets involved. The Sweet Life #3: Too Many Doubts races to a shocking ending that will leave readers clamoring for more!

What readers are saying:

Having read Sweet Valley books for what feels like my entire life – from the Kids series, to the the Twins series, through all the high school and university books, I had a lot of anticipation when I first heard about this six part serial! The inconsistencies and outright strange shifts in characters that appeared in Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later dampened some of my initial excitement, but I have to say this book felt like the authors wrote it almost in direct response to the many negative reviews that Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later garnered. And one Amazon review for Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later is titled “Francine Pascal still hates fat people” and for the first time, a character who is a size twelve is introduced as not needing to lose an ounce. The laziness in editing that was so rampant disappeared, and errors were corrected (like Lila’s dad regained his rightful first name on the very first page) throughout. Obviously, there are five more to go, but I hope that this same attention to detail is shown throughout!

Unfortunately, Ken Matthews is a shadow of the character he once was – perhaps pro-football has led to so many concussions that he literally is no longer himself… But there is hope for his redemption at the end of the book… Elizabeth still doesn’t feel quite herself, either – some very shady journalism and outright lies were pretty shocking. And Todd Wilkins is supposed to be retro, so it is odd that Jessica and Elizabeth both are surprised by his old-fashioned ideas about family. There are some purposeful reminders of the original series, which is nice (the lavaliere necklaces!), and the book ends with the traditional lead-ups to the next installment, making it all in all a much more satisfying return to the wonderful world of Sweet Valley.

The average Amazon Reader Review is currently 4 stars {2 reviews}.

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