Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A.J. Renee's Top 10

Okay, so I know it's Wednesday...however, I have a VERY special Top 10 List for you today! Currently going on is the Widower's Aura blog tour, in honor of A.J. Renee's debut novel, released August 18!  Welcome to my little stop on the tour.  You've read the Author interview, and now here are A.J Renee's Top 10 Books of All Time...yeah, I'm evil like that...I made her pick only 10 :D 

A.J. Renee's Top 10
Books of All Time

Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
Harry Potter Series - J.K. Rowling
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
Shadow Dance - Julie Garwood
Slow Burn - Julie Garwood
The Lion's Lady - Julie Garwood
The Secret - Julie Garwood
The Warrior - Margaret Mallory
Motorcycle Man - Kristen Ashley
Rising Storm - Kathleen Brooks

Thank you to A.J. Renee for allowing me to pick her brain on what her top 10 books of all time are!  No, seriously, I know her pain when it comes to books like this!  Because it always brings to mind one of my favorite Neil Gaiman quotes...





Review: Widower's Aura



Title: Widower's Aura
Author: A.J. Renee
Format: Kindle (A.R.C)
Pages: 260
Date(s) Read: August 17-19, 2016
Rating: 4

Summary:

Sofia Brazier escapes a career gone south as a juvenile probationary officer in New Orleans.  She moves from the large city to the small town of St. Fleur where she opens a photography business in an attempt to cleanse herself of the dark souls she'd tried to help.  All is going well, untill Noah enters the local pub.  Noah's wife died, and ultimately it is an act brought on by Noah's own daughter that brings their fates crashing together.

Review:

I was gifted an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.  I would like to thank A.J. Renee, Love Between the Sheets Blog Tour, and the publisher for offering me this opportunity to participate in the blog tour as well as offer a review.

All the emotion.

All of it.

This book is so very well written and it takes a trope that is quite difficult to get right and gets it so very, very write.  A.J. Renee's debut novel is filled with a little bit of mystery to add to the romance that is building between Noah and Sofia.  Everything flows so naturally through out the story, and even those scenes that are of an explicit sexual nature are so very well written.

The small paranormal aspect to the book is one that absolutely sealed my adoration to this story a bit more.  I love that Sofia can see auras, and the fact that she can't see Noah's was enough to give her pause and ultimately pique a bit of her interest because....well that's something that's never actually happened before!

After I started the book (sometime after dinner and before bedtime on the 17th) I knew it was one that I'd have to put down before I went to bed or I'd ultimately end up finishing it in one setting and getting absolutely no sleep on a night where I had one of my longest shifts that week.  My better judgement finally won out and I ended up puttin the book down and picking it back up after work and various other household errands.  Only reason it took me about 2 days to read it is because I chose to defy the pull of this fantastic novel and delve into the real world when I really, really wanted to stay with Noah, Sofia and Lexi until the very last word was read.

This is definitely one that I will recommend to anyone that loves a fantastically written story, in-depth and relate-able characters and a little small town magic.

Widower's Aura: Interview with A.J. Renee

I always love getting a chance to pick an author's brain!  No, seriously, it's so very much fun.  Apparently, I have a knack for picking questions that really, really make them think!  I loved interviewing A.J. Renee, and her answers are fantastic.  Thank you for allowing me to participate in the blog tour for Widower's Aura!




1. What was your inspiration to start writing a novel?

I’d love to say I had this A-HA moment but I didn’t. One of my best friends died way too young. I couldn’t get over the fact that she never got her own real-life love story. Writing Widower’s Aura was my own grief therapy and giving her the love story she never got. Sofia, while fictional, was inspired in many ways by my friend.

2. Do you listen to any music or anything while you write?
I do! I created a playlist on YouTube that includes John Legend, Gavin DeGraw, Christina Aguilera and A Great Big World, Christina Perri, Sam Smith, Paramore, Ed Sheeran, Jennifer Lawrence, Anna Kendrick, and a few more. I need music I’m familiar with so I don’t spend more time listening to the lyrics than writing. I also listen to my 6, 4, and 2 year olds playing around.

3. What are some of your go to writing snacks, drinks, etc?
Tea! I love this Lipton Green Tea that’s Jasmin, Orange, and Passionfruit. I’m not big into snacks because I’d eat the whole pantry if I did but I do grab about two squares of Dove’s Dark Chocolate. My friend laughs at me because she says I’m weird for only eating 1-2. I guess most people would eat a handful? Oh well, I guess that makes me weird, nothing new there.

4. What is your favorite part about becoming a published author?
Seeing something I started two years ago grow from grief into a wonderful love story that I can honor my friend’s memory with.

5. How do you keep your tasks organized? Between family tasks and writing tasks?
I’m still trying to figure out this balance. My family has to come first but there are some days that I’m reminded I’m struggling to juggle it all. There really aren’t enough hours in the day.

6. Do you have a favorite character in your books? Least favorite character?
My favorite character is always the one I’m working on. They become living and breathing people to me, even if it’s only in my crazy head. Least favorite character, wow that one’s hard. I feel like I should say Slick but I can’t and I can if that makes any sense. I want to protect him after everything he went through as a child but as a mom I want to smack him upside the head and tell him to take responsibility over his actions. The fact that he blames others for the things that were clearly in his own hands makes me CRAZY.

7. What authors do you draw inspiration from?
My love of small town stories comes from Marie Force and Kathleen Brooks. My love of the suspense mixed in with the love story comes from Julie Garwood. R.L. Mathewson’s humorous characters inspire me to create characters who can be quirky or silly.

8. If you could meet one author for 24 hours, how would you spend it?
Oh goodness. Just one? This is a really hard question. I have so many authors I love. Kathleen Brooks. So I can drink some of her special tea from Keeneston. We could talk about her lovely batch of friends who exist in my life as real beings. It would also be pretty awesome to brainstorm what characters should fall in love next.

9. If your books were ever made into a movie, who would you want as the cast?
Another hard one, HA! For the record it took me about 2 hours to figure out this list.

Sofia: Olivia Munn
Noah: Josh Duhamel
Lexi: India Eisley
Jaxson: Nick Robinson
Lindsey: Emilia Clarke
Marc: Jay Hernandez
Jaime Lynn: Nikki Reed
Jesse: Boris Kodjoe
Sheriff Randy: Robert Forster
Annabelle: Megan Fox
Slick: Logan Lerman

10. What color best describes your mood throughout the day?
Something bright like red or orange. My life is pure chaos with little kids and trying to balance all the hats I wear.

BotW: Widower's Aura


Okay, so it's Wednesday.  I'm a little late.  Blame the cold that decided to move in this past weekend and is still here! Yeah, loads of fun that.  However, I'm still getting book of the week up (while this week is still going so that's a plus right?!). 

This book is a new favorite of mine, recently released on August 18th, and written by a dear friend of mine...whose blog tour I'm also participating in...so today's posts will ALL be Widower's Aura themed...including a review and a Top 10 by A.J. Renee! There will also be a review by your's truly! 

Anyway, let's get this party started! 



Living in a world full of colors, Sofia Brazier escapes a career gone south as a juvenile probationary officer in New Orleans. After moving to the small town of St. Fleur, Sofia opens a photography business in hopes of ridding her life of all the dark auras surrounding the damaged souls she once tried helping. Her comfortable new life is upended when widower, and ex-security-forces-turned-handyman hunk, Noah Tyler enters the local pub.

Noah attempts to avoid the voluptuous beauty who has captivated his every thought. That is, until his daughter vandalizes Sofia’s building and effectively seals their fate. After cutting his daughter a break, Sofia begins tearing down the walls he built after his wife’s death.
Just when life finally seems worth living for Noah, Sofia finds herself the victim of a string of crimes. Can he protect Sofia when he failed to protect his own wife?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

RELEASE DAY!!! Widower's Aura IS HERE!!!

wid 2
Title: Widower's Aura
Author: A.J Renee
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 18, 2016
add-to-goodreads-button31
Synopsis
Living in a world full of colors, Sofia Brazier escapes a career gone south as a juvenile probationary officer in New Orleans. After moving to the small town of St. Fleur, Sofia opens a photography business in hopes of ridding her life of all the dark auras surrounding the damaged souls she once tried helping. Her comfortable new life is upended when widower, and ex-security-forces-turned-handyman hunk, Noah Tyler enters the local pub.

Noah attempts to avoid the voluptuous beauty who has captivated his every thought. That is, until his daughter vandalizes Sofia’s building and effectively seals their fate. After cutting his daughter a break, Sofia begins tearing down the walls he built after his wife’s death.

Just when life finally seems worth living for Noah, Sofia finds herself the victim of a string of crimes. Can he protect Sofia when he failed to protect his own wife?
Order your copy today!
Widowers Aura
Widowers 1
Excerpt
Noah felt the hair on the back of his neck rise before he even saw her. Her skin shimmered with sweat. A bright blue tank top hugged her breasts, short black athletic shorts clung to her curves, and bright blue sneakers covered her feet. The woman’s legs went on forever. He indulged in a brief fantasy of running his hands up those tan legs, hips, and up to her ample breasts. As his pants got tighter with a growing erection, he forced himself to turn and grab a drink of water.
For his sanity, Noah wanted to ignore her presence. Too bad he needed to speak to her. He couldn’t ignore what she was doing for Lexi. “Excuse me, Sofia?”
“Hello, Noah.” She smiled and continued to the bottom step of the house’s porch.
Noah walked toward her. “Can I talk to you?”
Her eyes locked on his with discomfort, “Yes?”
When they were a few feet apart, her smell hit him hard. Her sweat had yet to mask the sweet smell of peaches. She wasn’t covered in the strong perfume smell so many women seemed to bathe in. He noticed she wore no makeup either. The woman was truly stunning. He placed his hands in his pockets and rocked back on his heels.
“I wanted to thank you for what you’re doing for Lexi. You had every right to press charges, but I’m very grateful you didn’t. She’s a good kid…” He looked up at the second floor of his house, almost expecting to see Lexi standing at her window. “She’s just had a rough time, and I can’t snap her out it. I hope this close call does it.” He found himself wanting to tell Sofia more, but there was no point. Lexi would do her time with Sofia, and he would walk away with as little contact as possible.
Her head tilted to the side, Sofia’s knowing eyes pierced him. “Sounds like you both have been having a rough time.”
Her comment took him off guard. “Yes. No. Yes.” Noah struggled to breathe at the thought of how rough these last two years had been. When he looked at Sofia, he expected a confused look or even pity but not compassion. Yet her eyes sparkled when she gave him a small smile. Why did he always feel as if she was looking through him or reading his mind?
Widowers 2
About The Author
AJ
AJ Renee loves to travel and see family and friends whenever she gets a chance. She has a love of music, movies, and anything that can make her laugh. AJ believes in reading books with humor and mystery that end in a happily ever after to help ease our minds and hearts of life’s daily struggles. She currently resides in Nevada and spends her time with her air force husband, three young daughters, dog, and cat.
Giveaway
BTSP New

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

WLW: Bullet Journal


Two months ago, I ultimately started bullet journaling.  The end of June I started, and my first full month was July and by the first week of July I was one hundred percent addicted to the freedom it offered me.  I've been struggling with productivity, and organizing my thoughts.  I absolutely love everything about bullet journals.  Everything.  

I can be as creative as I need to, and ensure that I have organization for the projects I'm working on things of that nature.  Especially now that I am working on getting my crew trainer title back at work.  So, here are a few items on my wishlist for my bullet journal. 

The notebook I want: 

I've been going back and forth between this one and the Moleskine, however, this one is ultimately the one that I want, because of some of the features that it offers that put it a step or two above the Moleskine.  This one has numbered pages, index, as well as stickers for archival processes.  Thus, this is the one that I will hopefully be buying this month.  For now, I am using pocket sized sketchbooks. 

The pens: 

These pens are some of the most common used for bullet journals.  They don't bleed through and the come in a variety of colors and are good for fine line detail.  The current pens I use are good, but I want these to add detail and more color to my bullet journal and it will allow me to actually color code various tasks in such a way that it will stand out a bit more.  

Washi Tape..:

No, seriously...washi tape.  Do you have any idea how addicting this stuff is?!  GIVE IT TO ME!  All the colors.  ALL THE THINGS! 

It's good for quite a few different things in a bullet journal, and I need quite a bit more :D 

Do you bullet journal? 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Top 10 Tuesday: Classics


We've all read them.  Lots of them.  We were required to read many of them through our course work in high school and even in college.  You'll find several in this list..some of which I slogged through in high school, but now that I'm older I have a new found appreciation for.  So, with that in mind...ON WITH THE LIST! 


Top 10 Classics

10. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
9. Little Men - Louisa May Alcott
8. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
7. Paradise Lost - John Milton
6. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
5. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
4. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
3. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
2. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
1. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

There are several more that I enjoy, but this is my top ten list at least for now.  However, Gatsby usually ends up on top no matter what. 

What are your favorite classics?