Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"Last Semester" by Corine Mekaouche

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Last Semester
by Corine Mekaouche

Last Semester by Corine Mekaouche

Last Semester by Corine Mekaouche is currently on tour with Silver Dagger Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
College. Party. Drama. Life.
When Johanna ‘Jo’ Gold, witty college life blogger and senior at Rutan University, decides to move in with three male strangers her last semester of school, her life unexpectedly turns upside down. While dealing with her new roommates, A.J., the pompous rich kid who feels trapped in following his father’s footsteps; Rob, the prematurely engaged former womanizer who tries to force Jo out of the house at all costs; and Drew, the 21-year-old virgin genius whose encounters with women have been more than limited, Jo learns that change isn't always easy and it's up to her to learn how to survive the remainder of her time at Rutan the best that she can. Along with searching for her missing mother, figuring out a clever way to pay for school tuition on her own, and dealing with the childish pranks brought on by a certain roommate, Jo’s issues seem more complicated than the average 21-year-old. Can Jo endure the dramatic perils of college while planning for life after graduation?
Navigating through college isn’t easy especially when you don’t know what the future holds, but Jo is determined to conquer her present even if it means figuring out what being an adult is all about. With graduation around the corner, Jo and her roommates have some growing up to do and the last semester is all they have.
College is complicated.
Partying is a necessity.
Drama is guaranteed.
Life is just beginning.

Excerpt
“Breathe, Rob! Just breathe!” I demand in a panicky voice from the back seat as we swiftly pull up to the entrance of the hospital. Clutching his chest in pain next to me, he heaves out a few spouts of air, but it’s not enough to help him.
Shit!
I watch my roommate Rob’s cheeks turn from a shade of deep pink to a dark crimson red. “A.J.! He’s getting worse!” I yell to my other roommate in the driver’s seat. He rolls his eyes then turns around.
“Calm down, Jo!” he exclaims. “I can’t think when you’re yelling like this!”
Drew, our other roommate, and usually the voice of reason, says nothing as he quickly jumps out of the Range Rover and runs into the hospital entrance.
“Can’t. Breathe,” Rob manages to force out of his mouth, then before I know it, his body falls limp and his head somehow ends up on my lap. His eyes roll to the back of his head.
“I think he’s dying!” I whine and suddenly I’m losing my breath.
Releasing a loud groan, A.J. climbs out of the SUV and casually walks into the hospital as if nothing is wrong.
Why is he so calm and I’m flipping the hell out?
I begin to shake Rob’s shoulders but he doesn’t respond and I’m almost positive that he’s not breathing at all now.
It’s official.
I killed my roommate.
Okay, maybe he’s not dead yet, but if death was a road, he just made a left turn for the worse then ran over a few annoying potholes and some week old roadkill...and probably drove off a cliff or something...
Ugh! I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore! I feel guilty for doing this to him and I feel even more guilty because I kinda hate his arrogant, smug ass, but just because someone is an asshole doesn’t mean that they deserve to die, does it?
The back door opens and I see A.J. and Drew standing outside with a wheelchair. A.J. roughly wraps his arms around Rob’s body and begins to pull him out of the car. “Fuck! He’s like the size of an ogre,” he complains as he struggles to get Rob into the wheelchair. The fact that Rob is as useless as a wet noodle right now makes it difficult for A.J. to adjust Rob’s body in the chair. I cringe just watching it.
“I knew this was going to happen one day,” Drew says shaking his head. “The inevitable always happens.”
Shooting Drew a snarling glare, A.J. grits his teeth. “Just roll the goddamn chair into the hospital,” he instructs. Drew turns the chair around and begins to jog into the emergency room with Rob’s body leaning to one side. A.J. looks at me in the SUV, annoyed. “Well, are you coming?” he asks and I just freeze.
Do I stay? Do I go? I don’t know what to do with myself!
Taking a quick yet deep breath, I climb out of the SUV, shut the door and join A.J. on the other side of the vehicle.
“I’m horrible,” I blurt out and I can feel wetness welling in my eyes. “I’m a horrible person.”
“Dammit, Jo! I hate it when girls cry,” he complains as he shuts the other back door and begins to walk into the hospital. He pauses in his tracks when he notices that I’m not following him.
I’m frozen.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
"If you're looking for a new adult novel that's not all about romance, Last Semester would be the one to read. It was fun, fresh and contained a ton of character growth." ~ D. Hite
"While this book was definitely different than I had anticipated, I found I really enjoyed it. Last Semester was full of complex and compelling characters all going through one of the most pivotal moments of their lives, and growing to become responsible(-ish) adults. The author could have easily turned this book into an overdramatic, angsty romance, but instead wrote a believable coming-of-age story, which I really appreciated. Each storyline was engaging, and overall, entertaining. I would definitely recommend this book, and will absolutely read more from the author." ~ Nicki K.
"The writer creates the prefect college setting with the usual group of friends with each character sharing their own coming to age story. I really like how these characters seem like any other college student. The setting helps to add to the complex story line. I feel like you can easily relate to one or more. This book was a fun read for me that I really enjoyed." ~ Lovely Loveday
"I really related with Jo, and I think that is why I enjoyed this novel so much. She is going through the stress of College and graduation and what to do afterwards. It's definitely a scary time in anyone's life, and I would high recommend this novel to anyone entering college/university or about to graduate because it will definitely help you de-stress a bit, and it's a very quick read!" ~ Nicole
"The book made me laugh at the crazy antics the four characters got into in a short period of time. The characters started off with problems they didn’t know how to solve and as the story progressed, they were able to solve the problems they had. Each character matured and were able to face head on the uncertainty they would have in the future. They were able to form a strong bond between each other without having any romantic feelings for each other which is a great breath from the hundreds of NA books that focuses too much on romance." ~ Alia Therese Lazo

About the Author
The geek and the dreamer, Corine Mekaouche has always had the vision of becoming a writer. While growing up in the New Jersey suburbs, Corine spent her childhood immersed in music, novels, and writing. To her, the arts was the best escape ever. For college, she attended Rutgers University majoring in English and minoring in Theatre Arts. Somehow, Corine survived the college experience and became somewhat of a grown-up yet still kept the vision of being a writer alive because it may be all she’s qualified for. So, she wrote and wrote until Last Semester, a new adult novel about college life and growing up, was born. Currently, she is writing other novels and plays for future release. When she’s not writing, loudly singing to songs in her car or dancing in random places for no apparent reason, Corine is being an awesome wife and a mom residing outside of the wonderfully flawed New York City.

Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Links

Monday, May 29, 2017

"Watching the Detectives" by Julie Mulhern

GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY
Watching the Detectives
(The Country Club Murders Book 5)
by Julie Mulhern


Watching the Detectives is the fifth book in Julie Mulhern's Country Club Murders series set in the 1970s. Also available: The Deep End (read my blog post), Guaranteed to Bleed, Clouds in My Coffee, and Send in the Clowns.


Watching the Detectives is currently on tour with Great Escapes Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
Ellison Russell wanted a decorator, not a corpse. Too bad she finds Mrs. White in the study killed with a revolver. Things go from bad to worse when she finds Mr. White in the dining room killed with a candlestick. With so many bodies, is it any wonder Detective Anarchy Jones’ new partner considers Ellison a suspect?
With the country club gossips talking a mile a minute, an unexpected cocktail party, a visit from Aunt Sis, and a romantic decision, Ellison hardly has time to think about murder. Unfortunately, the killer has plenty of time to think about her.


Excerpt
Click below to read an excerpt.


Praise for the Book
"The story is well-paced and the characters keep it moving." ~ Christa Reads and Writes
"Pretty much every new Country Club Murder mystery I read I proclaim my new favorite and Watching the Detectives is no different! Right from the beginning I was completely sucked in." ~ I Wish I Lived In a Library
"Watching the Detectives is a must read for anyone who loves a little 'meat' to their cozy mystery and a good dose of humor and wit to boot." ~ A Cozy Experience
"Good mystery and well written. Enjoyable read! Great book for fans of fun cozy mysteries!" ~ MysteriesEtc

Guest Post by the Author
Why I Set The Country Club Murders in the 70s
I’m often asked, "You could have set The Country Club Murders in almost any era, why the 70s?"
Here’s my answer ...
When I was a little girl, my parents offered me and my sister a choice. They could join a country club or buy a place in the country. The country came with ponies.
We picked ponies.
The place they bought was probably no more than an hour away from Kansas City, but to a girl in the backseat of an Olds station wagon, it seemed much farther. There was a pond, a river, woods, a pony named Pistol, a horse named King, more fireflies than a city girl had ever seen, and an enormous vegetable garden.
There was also one radio station, no television, and no access to other kids.
Those summers, I learned to entertain myself.
I read. Everything I brought with me - Nancy Drews, The Phantom Tollbooth, Watership Down, and countless Agatha Christies. And when I ran out of kids’ books, I read my parents’ books. Pearl S. Buck’s novel about the Empress Cixi [Imperial Woman], Michener, and Ludlum.
We swam in the pond, went fishing, took long horseback rides, and gazed at the stars.
I brought watercolor paper and paints and painted.
Sitting on the screen porch with the view of the pasture, I "helped" my father finish crossword puzzles.
Idyllic.
When I turned twelve, my parents added the country club.
Sunburned noses, tennis in the heat of the day, junior golf, lounging in the snack bar with a Tab and lime, dinners on the terrace, and being the kid with the worst tan because laying out was boring.
Summers in the city, I played kick-the-can with neighborhood friends till our mothers called us in for the night. I thought I was incredibly grown up when I walked to Brookside, bought penny candy at the Dime Store, and an ice cream cone (daiquiri ice in a sugar cone) at Topsy’s.
1976. The parades. The national pride. The fire hydrants painted to look like founding fathers.
Winters ... colder and darker, but the snow lingered and we went sledding at Suicide Hill every chance we got.
When it comes to the 1970s, my memories are gilded and my glasses are rose-colored. Which is why, when it came to picking a time period for The Country Club Murders, the decision was easy.

About the Author
Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders. She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean - and she's got an active imagination. Truth is - she's an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog, and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.




Giveaway
Enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of five ebook copies of Watching the Detectives by Julie Mulhern (US only).

Links

Saturday, May 27, 2017

This Week on Books Direct - 27 May 2017

This Week on Books Direct -
27 May 2017



Here's a list of some great articles you may have missed this week. Enjoy!

Write About What Scares the Crap Out of You by Bryan Hutchinson for Positive Writer

Write About What Scares the Crap Out of You by Bryan Hutchinson for Positive Writer



14 Twitter Apps and Tools for Writers by Frances Caballo on Social Media Just for Writers

14 Twitter Apps and Tools for Writers by Frances Caballo on Social Media Just for Writers



Find Your Book’s Best Market And Sell MoreBooks by Chris Syme on Smart Marketing for Authors

Find Your Book’s Best Market And Sell MoreBooks by Chris Syme on Smart Marketing for Authors



Why You Should Have a Professional Author Photo by D. E. Haggerty on My Musings

Why You Should Have a Professional Author Photo by D. E. Haggerty on My Musings




What New Book Should You Read This Summer? by Jarry Lee for BuzzFeed




How Do You BlogConsistently When You Have Very Little Time? by Ali Luke for ProBlogger




If you enjoyed this blog post, please visit the other This Week posts for links to more great articles.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Fat Girl Begone!" by D. E. Haggerty

GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY
Fat Girl Begone!
by D. E. Haggerty

Fat Girl Begone! by D. E. Haggerty

Fat Girl Begone! by D. E. Haggerty is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well. And don't forget to get your copy for only $0.99!



Description
I’m a total mess. My boyfriend dumped me – get this – because I diet too much. Not because I’m fat, mind you. Of course, this spurs me into the diet-fitness-revenge-plan of the century, which leads me to the gym and a scorching hot personal trainer. I even manage to make some cool new friends, including a millionaire if you can believe it.
Things are looking up! Naturally, that’s the moment my ex decides he wants me back, the personal trainer asks me out, and my millionaire male buddy decides to throw his hat in the ring. But that’s not enough drama. No, not for me. Because I’ve also lost my job and decided to start my own business.
Just call me Ms. Drama.
Warning: Bad language, bumpy roads, and embarrassing moments ahead. But there’s also more than a bit of romance and even, if we’re lucky, love. Fingers crossed.
Note: Not endorsed by or affiliated with any brand of tequila.


Excerpt
“You should totally jump that, chica.”
It’s Monday, and I’ve just survived another Zumba class. I only hit Tara once. Okay, twice, but who’s counting? I’m still trying to catch my breath and stop my heart from jumping out of my ribcage. None of which stops me from panting after my personal trainer. Before I get a chance to respond to her comment or tear my eyes away from Gabe’s epic ass, the rest of the gang joins Tara and me.
“What are you bitches yapping about?” Oh great, Charise didn’t just say that at maximum volume or anything.
“Everly taking her personal trainer for a ride.”
Oh my god. Please tell me no one else heard Tara announce that I’m lusting after Gabe. I hear giggles and murmurs of agreement from the other exercisers exiting the group exercise room. Of course, everyone heard. Charise, Tara, Naomi, and Jessie have one volume – embarrassingly loud.
I ignore them and head to the locker rooms with my head down. Of course, I can’t help but sneak another glance at Gabe. He’s doing squats for God’s sake! I defy any woman – or man for that matter – to not look. I keep my eyes glued to those glutes as I walk in the opposite direction. My foot hits something and before I know it I’m going down.
I end up sprawled on the floor of the gym. I look down at my outfit and sigh in relief. Good. No rolls of fat are showing. Thankfully, I had put a long sweatshirt on over the loose tank I was wearing during class. A hand appears in front of my face.
“Let me help you up, babe.”
I look up to see yet another example of male perfection. Does this gym have a portal to Mount Olympus for the Greek Gods to come and go as they please? Because damn. This is one fine specimen of manhood in front of me.
“Babe?”
His voice startles me out of my perusal of his perfection. I reach out and he grabs my hand to pull me up. Only he doesn’t stop there. He pulls me flush to his body and then leans down to whisper in my ear. “It’s okay, babe. Happens all the time when girls look at me.” And crash. There goes my adulation of the man. I knew there was a reason no one believes in the Greek Gods anymore. Vanity is not attractive. 
I pull on my hand until he releases me. “Thanks.”
“You okay, sweetheart?” As if I couldn’t be embarrassed enough, now Gabe’s here.
“I’m fine. Just wasn’t paying attention to where I was walking.” Out of the corner of my eye, I see the former Greek God puff out his chest as if I had paid him a compliment. I can’t help it. My eyes narrow at him, and I attempt to engage my eye lasers. Just like the two gazillion other times I’ve tried to use those lasers, they malfunction.
Gabe ignores the entire episode. “You here to do your exercise class?”
“Nope.” I shake my head. “I just put on some workout clothes and then ducked my head under the faucet to get my face and hair wet.”
My personal trainer laughs and grabs my shoulder to give it a squeeze. Why is he squeezing my shoulder? “You’re funny, sweetheart.” I wasn’t going for funny but whatever.
Someone shouts ‘Gabe’ from the other side of the gym. I look over to see the blond bimbo he was training staring daggers at me. Gabe squeezes my shoulder again. “Sorry, sweetheart, I need to get back to work. I’ll see you Wednesday, right?” I nod, and he winks before walking off.
“Looks like I’m not needed here.” I forgot Mr. Vanity was still standing here. I don’t bother responding to his obvious pout. I shake my head and walk to the locker rooms.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
"I really enjoyed reading this story. I loved all the characters and found myself laughing and smiling a lot when I was reading. I'm hoping this group of friends will continue and Blaze gets her own story." ~ T from Florida
"This is the best book I have read in a looong time. I loved it! [...]If you enjoy romantic comedy, I highly recommend this book." ~ Jo-Anne B.
"Fat Girl Begone is a really fun and relatable story. If you've ever had issues with your weight you will know exactly where Everly is coming from! [...] From start to finish this is a book I think a lot of women will see themselves in - there are pieces of Everly that every woman will be able to relate to. Ms. Haggerty did a great job of handling what can be a delicate and tricky subject. Fat Girl Begone is in equal measures uplifting and entertaining." ~ Shannon VM
"An Uplifting and Fun read with laughs." ~ Linda M.
"Every time I finish a novel from DE Haggerty, I'm excited to see what she is going to give us next. After I finished the last one, I wasn't sure what direction she'd go in and I was pleasantly surprised with what she delivered. Different from the last few I've read, this story didn't have the mystery/suspense aspect but it still gave me everything I have come to love from her; plenty of laughs, endearing characters, and an engaging storyline." ~ Erin G.


My Review
Everly is a beautiful woman, but she is severely lacking in self-confidence. When her boyfriend Josh dumps her because of her obsession with dieting, Everly drunkenly signs up for six months with a personal trainer. While she deals with the competing interests of her personal trainer Gabe (who she dubs Mr. Yummy or her "personal torturer"), cute gym geek Carter (aka Mr. Millionaire), and her ex-boyfriend Josh, she must also handle a group of raucous new friends, her betrayal by a colleague, and the loss of her dream job. Will Everly ever find happiness and true love? And maybe even learn to love herself?
Each chapter starts with Everly's amusing positive though for the day, e.g., "This journey may be hell but my new girl crew is AWESOME." The author's quirky sense of humor shines through everywhere in this delightful romantic comedy which is, in fact, a cleverly-disguised weight-loss manual. The book realistically portrays the trials and tribulations of dieting, without belaboring the point. At its heart, Fat Girl Begone! is an exploration of female friendship and the perils of dating. A true gem!
Warnings: coarse language, sexual references, tequila (lots of).

Some of My Favorite Lines
"Pizza, beer, and tequila shots are not as pleasant coming up as going down. A fact I seem to forget on a regular basis."
"Why is it that hot men look even hotter when they smirk? It’s cruel and unusual punishment if you ask me."
"The last thing I need to do is start crying in my office. Snot, tears, and runny mascara is not a good look on me."
"She says ‘big girls’ without any shame at all. I didn’t even know that was possible."
"Can I give myself a concussion from thinking in circles?"
"Floor-length mirrors are like the devil incarnate and should be avoided at all cost. You can gain ten pounds just by walking past one."
"Is it wrong of me to be excited my workout is cut short for an injury? Talk about being a glutton for punishment."
"It’s not only about the number on the scale. It’s about how you look, how you feel."
"Wow. Seriously. Best. Friend. Ever."


Guest Post by the Author
What's the Moral of the Story?
One of the questions bloggers love to pose to authors is: What should a reader get out of your book? In other words, what’s the moral of the story? I’m going to be honest with you. Every time this question has come up in the past, I just invented some cockamamie response. I have two college degrees and several post-graduate courses under my belt, I can concoct an answer to pretty much anything. And that’s what I did. Because I didn’t write stories with underlying moral premises. Until now.
Fat Girl Begone! is different. For the first time with my writing, there’s a moral to my story. Not only that, but I actually set out to write this book with a moral lesson in mind. Before I get into that, let me give you a bit of background about my dieting history. I’ve been a yo-yo dieter since I can remember. My mom was always pushing some weird diet on me even as a child. I was a perfectly normal child weight-wise, but because my mother thought I should be thinner, I developed a warped view of how I looked. 
Fast forward several decades and I’m living in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language, don’t have a connection with the culture, and work at home. Life as an expat quickly turned into a lot of eating and drinking with other expats. And when I say "a lot"’, I really mean way too much – even if it is difficult (and getting more difficult) to find somewhere that serves alcohol. After nearly three years of living the high life, I was at my heaviest weight ever. That’s never a good thing, but considering how heavy I’ve been in the past, this was a really, really bad place for me to be.
When I returned to the Netherlands, my mind was preoccupied with dieting and fitness. Naturally, this got me to thinking about my past triumphs and failures with weight loss. I also started pondering how the number of the scale can rule my life if I let it (which I totally do). While I was pondering and pondering (and getting bruised up from hitting myself with the tennis racket from playing too much tennis), I was also thinking about writing another romantic comedy.
The two thoughts converged in my head. Why don’t I write a romance about a woman who gets dumped because she’s fat? Everyone knows a romantic comedy should always start with a woman getting dumped. Even better – what if she’s not really fat but just chubby and lacking in self-confidence? Bingo! Yes, I actually shout "bingo" when I get a good idea.  
From there, the ideas just spiraled. Through my heroine, Everly, I could challenge a bunch of misconceptions about dieting and weight loss. Is the number on the scale the end-all be-all? Can you be chubby but also sexy? Can you lose weight with just exercise? I’m by no means an expert on any of these topics, although one of above-mentioned certificate programs did crown me a weight loss consultant (there were finals and everything, although no actual coronation for the crown). But I am an expert in what works for me and how I feel about my body at certain weights and fitness levels. Those experiences are what I used to develop Everly.
So, what’s the moral of Everly’s story in Fat Girl Begone!? It really boils down to the following: your weight is not who you are and should not rule your life. Luckily – or should I say, hopefully? – this lesson comes with a lot of laughs, some antics, and more than a bit of romance.

About the Author
I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on from my mom's Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn't flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed.
College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although I did manage, every once in a while, to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear.
After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law.
But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. So, I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic and followed the husband to Istanbul, where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go.
But ten years was too many to stay away from "home". I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.
Fat Girl Begone! is my eleventh book.

Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Links