Guest Post with Tessa Robertson

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hi Everyone!
I am excited to be here today to bring you a guest post from author, Tessa Robertson. Please help me by giving her a warm welcome!


Hello! I’m Tessa Robertson and I’m grateful to have this wonderful opportunity to write a guest author post on this blog. A bit about me. I was born in Ohio, but have lived in Iowa for the better half of my life. I began writing at age seventeen, but I truly didn’t consider writing a possible career until 2015. My debut book, Assassin By Day, will be published September 20, 2017 through Crooked Cat Books. It is a crime thriller novel with espionage and mafia affiliation. I’m a huge fan of action, adventure, and thriller movies and books. I’ve always been a bit unique as I’ve been 6ft tall since I was twelve. As I think back on it, all the things that I hated about myself were exactly what made me who I am. It also gave me a great outlook on writing characters. Tall women don’t get enough credit, which is why you won’t find a main character under 5’10 in my books.

When writing Assassin By Day, I was given the opportunity to truly express myself and my thoughts. I like to bend the ‘normality’ of characters and introduce readers to new experiences. My main character, Mishka Vald, is a Russian assassin who hasn’t had the greatest luck with men or life in general. Inspiration for her came easy as I wanted to showcase the blatant misconceptions people have about women. Though, we’re slowly accepting more from women, we have a long way to go. In truth, men can get away with basically anything and most won’t give it much thought as the man is clearly ‘still growing up’, ‘just being a guy’ or ‘going through a phase’. I’ve noticed more ‘shaming’ of women when it comes to relationships, whereas men are free to do as they please. I wanted to dive into that further, so I created a world for Mishka that is controlled by men and showcase how anyone can easily fall as prey. Nothing in life is always as it seems. The same can be said about Mishka and her search for the truth. Throughout the book, Mishka discovers that her duty to her country and her heart are often at war.

My motivation for Assassin By Day really comes from my desire to push the envelope for characters that are often disregarded because of their gender. So much happens in secret and the public doesn’t realize. Often blackmail can be the simplest of things such as an egotistical mate who attempts to puppeteer others or domestic abuse that women hide because they’re protecting someone else.

Assassin By Day is the first in the series. My goal is to have the next book ready for a 2018 release. Discovering one’s true self-worth and creating a Happily Ever After best suited for her is what Mishka will accomplish throughout these books. Women can be just as badass as men. Maybe even more. That’s enough inspiration for me.

Here’s my blurb for Assassin By Day. Enjoy.

What would you do if the mystery to your mother’s death lay with your employer? 

After years of unanswered questions, Mishka Vald sets out to uncover the skhodka’s involvement in her past. What she doesn’t expect is to join forces with men who push her to become a double-agent and confirm her future. While hunting down leads, the ruthless assassin realizes a life in the shadows is the only way for her to protect those she loves.  

For Mishka, forbidden love is worth the pain when it comes to Eddie Harper, a military man turned cop. Her affection waivers when duty comes first and she joins forces with an elite Russian soldier, Alexei Petrovich. With a blackmailer threatening her school love, she seeks refuge with a fellow assassin, Nickolas Volkov. And when pushed too far, she’s ushered to a secure location…and straight into the arms of mysterious handyman, Dylan Kain. As the pieces fall into place, their mangled order reveals each man’s true intention. Whose deceit can she accept and whose will obliterate her?

All roads lead back to the woman she thought dead—her mother. Now, as weddings are crashed and alliances tested, Mishka uncovers a deadly game and the players involved. Her heart, once unable to budge, is thrust into action, but which man can keep her soul intact?

Thanks for taking time to read. Feel free to reach out on social media.

Amazon Link: 

Thanks Tessa for being on the blog today! 

Happy Reading!

Waiting on Wednesday

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hi Everyone!

Stopping by to let you know about a book I am Waiting on Wednesday for! This one is from a series that I have enjoyed. I look forward to it!

Rat Queens, Vol. 4
Author: Kurtis Wiebe
Release Date: October 2017

Summary from Goodreads:
The Queens are back! Palisade is still a rat-infested hell hole, and Violet, Hannah, Dee, Betty, and the brand-new Queen, Braga are the only hope of saving it! It’s been a long time since they’ve done a good slaughter, so join them as they get back to the basics of killing monsters and drinking away the profits! This is a fresh, hilarious new take on the RAT QUEENS with new artist OWEN GIENI! Collects RAT QUEENS, VOL. 2 #1-5
Happy Reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Hi Everyone!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and Bookish. This week's theme is about Hidden Gems in a specific genre. However, since I read alot of different genres, I am just listing my own hidden gems. :) I really liked these and hope you will too! 

Hope you enjoy!

Happy Reading!

It's Monday, What Are you Reading?

Monday, August 28, 2017

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. I learned about this meme from Lori at Palmer's Page Turners. Thank you for sharing this fun meme! 

What I Just Finished Reading

This was a very interesting read! 

What I'm Currently Reading

What I am Reading Next


Happy Reading!

Dog Days of Summer Update Post

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hi Everyone!

I am stopping by to do a check in report on the Dog Days of Summer Reading challenge. I am happy to report that I have finished three dog related books and I have a few mini reviews to share with you!

Chester and Gus
In this middle grade novel, we met Chester who must help out Gus. Gus is a 10 year old who really needs a friend. Chester is a dog who needs confidence. The partnership is a duo made in doggie heaven. I enjoyed the book and how they managed to find the best in each other.

Two Good Dogs
In this book, we have two families who come across each other. In an interesting spin of events the pit bulls end up being two good dogs that are able to bring people together. I enjoyed the interactions of the people throughout the book and protrayl of the dogs in a positive light.

Secret Service Dogs
There is alot of work that goes into the handling of and training of K-9 dogs. Especially those that are in high profile positions and are required to keep others safe. I enjoyed reading this book because it talks about the dogs who serve a critical role. An interesting read!

I have enjoyed this reading challenge this summer! Thanks to Jolene and La La in the Library for hosting!

Happy Reading!

PS. Happy Belated #Nationaldogsday to my furry friends and their fur parents!

Guest Post with Maia Chance

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hi Everyone!

I am excited to be here today to bring you a guest post from author, Maia Chance. Please help me by giving her a warm welcome.

By Maia Chance

It’s 1965, and small-time American con artist Daisy Mattson considers herself more of a survivalist than a gold-digger.  But when her new husband Count Burkhart of Switzerland dies, she suddenly becomes the head of an international luxury hotel chain, heiress to a fortune . . . and the prime suspect for murder.

Daisy’s sister, seventeen-year old Jo, has chunky thighs, a penchant for wool cardigans, and a weakness for chocolate.  In short, she’s the polar opposite of her glamorous older sister.  Pent up in an elite finishing school, Jo discovers a group of distinctly creepy girls who look straight out of Vogue, secretly speak Russian, and who just might have something to do with Count Burkhart’s death.

Enter a butler who’s more James Bond than Jeeves, a sexy Swiss ski instructor, a legendary monster in the decrepit villa across the lake, and a world-famous plastic surgeon who specializes in transforming women into living dolls.  In the charming alpine village of Ober Spyri, the Mattson sisters race to clear Daisy’s name before she becomes the next one laid to rest in Château Burkhart’s family crypt.

Since 2014 I have traditionally published six mystery novels, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret: The Trophy Wives of Alpenrose was the first mystery I ever wrote.  For years it languished “under the bed,” as they say, but I retained a soft spot for this story of two sisters from Idaho navigating danger and intrigue in 1960s Switzerland.  So, this year I took it out, dusted it off, did some revision and editing, and sent it out into the world.

People often ask me about the stories behind my books, and the origins of this one in particular stand out vividly in my memory.  One day when I was hugely pregnant with my first child, I was lolling around eating frozen yogurt and watching 1963’s The Pink Panther.  I adore this movie’s glamorous ski mountain setting and its wonderful retro makeup, hair, fashion, and interior décor—not to mention the hilarious, action-packed plot.  That day, my imagination was captured.  Maybe it was because I had just finished reading  Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which, as you may recall, also has an alpine setting.  Maybe it was just the preggo hormones.

Whatever the reason, between bites of Haagen-Dazs peach fro-yo, I decided that since I couldn’t even get up off my couch, let alone time-travel to a glamorous version of Switzerland in the 60s, I’d just have to, you know, write a book about it instead.  I mean, I was about to have a baby and I was in the middle of a PhD program, so why not?

Once that story seed was planted, I drew from my own experiences (for instance, growing up in rural Idaho, and my own travels in Switzerland), and from some really fun research into vintage fashion magazines, the history of girls’ finishing schools, and Cold War Russian spies.  The book took more than a year to complete, given what was going on in my life.  I wrote the second half squashed in my quasi-soundproof Toyota for an hour here and an hour there while my husband looked after our (noisy) baby.  But I got it done, and now, at long last, it (like, well, a baby) is out in the world.

The Trophy Wives of Alpenrose: A Mystery is available for purchase on Amazon

Visit Maia Chance at

and on Facebook at

Thanks Maia for being here!

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Your No Fear Career

Friday, August 25, 2017

In celebration of Bout of Books, here is a review for the Friday schedule!

Author: Robin Fisher Roffer
Summary from Goodreads:


Business can be alluring, but like the jellyfish it can also sting. There are demanding clients, bosses who bully, conniving competitors, and people who like to play politics. It seems that fear, mistrust, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed run through the veins of business leaders at every level.

In her third book, Robin Fisher Roffer reveals the secret to navigating your career fearlessly. With lessons learned from inside the walls of the world's largest media companies, Robin inspires rising executives, business owners and those just starting out to courageously move forward and move up in the face of uncertainty.


Brand strategist and storyteller, Robin Fisher Roffer provides the rocket fuel that has launched and evolved dozens of media brands all over the world including A&E, Animal Planet, AMC, Bloomberg, CNN, Comedy Central, Discovery, Food Network, FX, History, Lifetime and MTV.

Inspiring executives to embrace change and reach their highest potential, Robin keynotes conferences and leads workshops at powerhouse companies like AIG, FOX, Sony Pictures, Walmart, Mattel, and Microsoft, where she unites teams and galvanizes brands behind an authentic mission, vision and narrative.

In addition to Your No Fear Career, Robin is the author of Make a Name For Yourself, The Fearless Fish Out of Water, and Reinventing Yourself. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico where she hikes daily, cooks for friends and raises her daughter Roxy.

Personal Review:
Have you ever wanted to work smarter not harder? Then this may be the book for you. This book was full of ideas about how to make an impact in the work place. I very much appreciated the easy to read nature of this book and it certainly got me thinking!

I think the thing that I liked best about this book was that the author talked from her own experience. She speaks about it from a perspective unique to her and her experiences.

I appreciated the opportunity to read this book! Thank you.

Disclaimer: I was awarded this book. Though I did not pay for the book, the opinions are strictly my own.
Happy Reading!

Guest Post with Tamara Palmer

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Hi Everyone!

I am excited to be here today to bring you a guest post from author, Tamara Palmer!

Please help me by giving her a warm welcome!

So, What Inspired You to Write This
Writing Missing Tyler was a 20 year journey, so my inspiration for the work feels more like recalling a dream, or a family story passed down through the generations and slightly altered over time, then a succinct and clear explanation.

So why did I write my novel, Missing Tyler? Well, here goes.

The Story I Never Should Have Heard
When I was around nine years old, I attended a family gathering. It may have been someone’s birthday or it may have been a Shiva (the Jewish practice of collective mourning). I was hanging out with a group of relatives, when one began recalling the story of how a neighbor boy had been riding his bike and was hit by a car. What I heard, and shouldn’t have heard, was graphic details of the boy’s death. He told of misplaced body parts. I have harbored that horror ever since.

The Funeral that Never Should Have Happened
Flash forward fifteen plus years from then, and I was living in Colorado and part of a creative writing group. The teenaged daughter of one of the writers committed suicide. Attending the funeral, I was struck by the creepy scene of a church full of crying teenagers. It was a surreal and unnatural scenario.

These two stories started playing out their own drama in my head, and formed the seed for Missing Tyler, the story of a teenage girl adjusting to life after losing her twin brother in a bike accident.

And Then There’s Judy
My favorite young adult novel is Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume. That novel was a huge influence for how I structured Missing Tyler, providing the outline of a summer transformation. Like my protagonist, Kit, Davey faces a sudden family loss that sends her nuclear family into crisis. New love helps her heal. Blume’s novel Forever was the most spectacular exploration of young love that I read as a tween. I recall being frustrated that there weren’t more books like it during my youth. Adding to the available love stories for tween/teen readers brings me a huge sense of satisfaction.

Religion vs. Spirituality
Like Kit, I’m a non-practicing Jew. When I was ten my family moved from South Jersey to an intentional community in the cornfields of Illinois. There I was taught spiritual beliefs such as reincarnation and karma, very much in-line with what Grandma Carlin teaches Kit in the novel. I’m struck by the lack of discussion of these concepts in contemporary society. We’re still very Judeo/Christian based. Death often launches a spiritual quest to arrive at a truth that feels right. I wanted to offer new concepts to readers in a non-proselytizing, casually curious way.

And Why Twins
Twins tie into the fascination around soul connection. I love hearing stories of how one twin will know when something happens to another. I wanted a space to explore this dynamic through my own creative lens.

I Didn’t Intend to Have a Message
But that happened anyway, as I suppose it often does. Missing Tyler explores a lot of tough topics including death, where do we go after we die, how do we find happiness again (is alcohol the answer) while also navigating the rough waters of young love. The reality that a crush can quickly lead to forced sex (especially when alcohol is in play), is unfortunately quite real. It’s my hope that someone experiences things safely on the page, before, or instead of, having to face it directly in real life.
Bringing Missing Tyler into the world has been my most fascinating, rewarding, outstanding creative experience. May it inspire others in pursuit of creativity, launch spiritual quests or just simply provide a good read.


Thanks Tamara for coming by the blog today!! 


More information: 


Happy Reading!


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Hi Everyone! 

Stopping by to let you know about another reading challenge..

A week-long colour based readathon, taking place from the 25th to 31st of August. There are blog, Instagram and reading challenges and reading sprints.

Follow us on twitter @Rainbowathon

Hosted by
Brooke @abookishweekend
Alexandra @thehufflepuffnerdette
Chloe @baudelairesbooks
Paola @bookishmancerelle
Kelly @struggling_bookaholic
Nana-Pomaa @4teenliars

Will you be participating?
Happy Reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Back to School

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Hi Everyone!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and Bookish and it is back! This week's theme is a Back to School Freebie, so I have decided to feature my "required reading list for young ones heading back to school."

Hope you enjoy!

Happy Reading!

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Monday, August 21, 2017

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. I learned about this meme from Lori at Palmer's Page Turners. Thank you for sharing this fun meme! 

What I Just Finished Reading

This was a very powerful read! 

What I'm Currently Reading

What I am Reading Next


Happy Reading!

Solar Eclipse Tomorrow!!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Image Credit: Rick Fienberg, TravelQuest International and Wilderness Travel

Tomorrow is the Solar Eclipse! Have you heard? We will be traveling for the event, so I wanted to be sure I shared this here today so you can get all the information you need before tomorrow! 

Guest Post: Mandy Jackson-Beverly

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Hi Everyone!

I am excited to be here today to bring you a guest post from Mandy Jackson-Beverly. Please help me by giving her a warm welcome to the blog!


What inspired you to write the book?

First up, lovely to meet you, Valerie!

So, what inspired me to write The Devil And The Muse? To answer this question I need to start with the first book in The Creatives Series, A Secret Muse. The story unraveled itself slowly over a period of a few years, but the catalyst of Coco Rhodes and the Allegiance came to me in a moment of separation anxiety early in 2014.

At the time, I was teaching art at a high school situated on nearly two hundred acres in Southern California. One evening, while going over my Advanced Placement Art student portfolios, I reached out to one particular painting, purely because I was so taken with the beauty and the creative power of the piece. I observed every brushstroke, the tone of the colors, and the emotions it brought out in me, and then realized my cheeks were wet with tears.

When I thought of my students venturing off to college and work, I wanted to protect their hearts from the harshness of the real world. But in reality I knew that no matter how cruel the world can be, these contrasts of life are also a vital part of the puzzle of inner growth that would help stretch my student’s creativity to a new level. What I was experiencing was similar to saying goodbye to my sons when they left for college.

A few hours later, I packed up my car and stood in the dark for a moment and listened to the sounds of the oak woodland around me. That’s when Professor Coco Rhodes, and her protector and leader of the Allegiance, Gabriel, came to me. I imagined a world where artists were honored and treasured for their creativity - a world where something or someone would keep artists and their artwork safe. Deep down I guess I crave another Florence Renaissance, and Lorenzo di Medici.

As for book two in the series, The Devil And The Muse, I knew this book would tell the backstory of Kenan; what made him so evil, and devoid of his past humanity. The challenge was to link Kenan’s backstory into present day. As it happened, my research led me down a rabbit hole where present day events collided with history and fiction. My hope with book two is to bring awareness to three areas: young girls missing in the United States, the misrepresentation of religion in politics, and the never-ending fight for women’s rights. And of course, for my readers to enjoy the ride!

Do you have a favorite character from the story?
No, because I love all of my characters equally. I can’t imagine writing a character into a story if I didn’t like him or her.

What is a typical writing day like for you?
No day is ever the same, and my schedule changes depending on where I am in the story. Currently I’m in a deep research phase, which means my time is filled with reading, painting characters and locations, and making notes. It’s typical for me to be up around 5:30 a.m. I exercise, browse over three newspapers, check my social media platforms, write and edit blog posts, and then bury myself in reading.

The writing of books kind of morphs into its own animal - it’s not like I suddenly think, “Oh, I’m going to start writing this baby, today!” The actual writing of the story happens organically, and I’ve found it normally begins with a poem. I’m not one to document my word count, purely because my focus is on quality, not quantity. I may spend an entire day working on one paragraph, and the next day I write pages. The book is done when the story is told, regardless of word count.

When I’m immersed in a plot-point or character arc, I tend to just go with the flow. I need absolute quiet to write, which means that if my husband is at the other end of our house recording music, I shut the door to my office, close the blinds and put in earplugs. I get food when I’m hungry, coffee when needed, and surface once the voices of my characters have faded along with my ability to concentrate.

When it’s time to hand over the manuscript to my editor, I move forward with other relevant publishing needs: book cover, synopsis, and publicity. Once the edits start coming in, I’m glued to my computer until every word has been scrutinized, rewrites completed and sent back for copy edits. I have a wonderful editor who calls me on everything – no letter left unedited!

What would you like people who read/other book bloggers to know about your book?

First up, this is not a book for YA readers. The Devil And The Muse deals with complex issues regarding religion, drug use, and sexual abuse.

The Devil And The Muse is the second installment of The Creatives Series. This is a fast-paced, cross-genre series, about an ancient organization called The Allegiance. This group protects art and Creatives (mystic artists), and gives sanctuary to those threatened by religious zealots.
The story opens with my lead protagonist - newest member of The Allegiance and Creative - Coco Rhodes, viewing a horrific vision beneath her most recent painting: the violent attack upon a fragile young girl. This leads to the discovery of a link between an education-finance fraud, girls disappearing from Washington D.C. schools, and a corrupt congressman. Concurrently, the dark and twisted past of Kenan, the Allegiance's sworn enemy, is revealed. With Kenan's whereabouts unknown, members of the Allegiance begin to unravel his sadistic plan.
From New York and D.C., to Tuscany and the Dolomite Mountains of Northern Italy, the supernatural guardians of the Allegiance are guided by both the lessons of history and the shocks of present-day life. Through magical twists and otherworldly subplots, this supernatural thriller weaves a web of intrigue, love, and conflict.

Keep a watch out for some exciting additions to The Creatives Series, soon to be posted on my website and social media platforms. That’s all I’m saying for now!

Here’s where you can find me:


Thanks Mandy!! So glad you could come by today!!

Mandy Jackson-Beverly

Mandy Jackson-Beverly was born in the bustling town of Pyramid Hill, Victoria, Australia ... Population: 419. This remote childhood kick-started Mandy’s imagination, as did the rugged coastline and rolling hills of Tasmania, where her family relocated when she was four years old.

In 1982, Mandy moved to London, where she discovered the importance of the creative collective: The 1980s fashion scene. A year later, in Los Angeles, she found her own creative freedom among the thriving, no-holds-barred visionaries of the music video world. As a costume designer and stylist Mandy worked for photographer Herb Ritts, and directors Joel and Ethan Coen, David Fincher, and Julien Temple, and music icons David Bowie, Madonna, and Tina Turner, to name a few.

Mandy has taught Advanced Placement Art, written and directed high school theater productions, is a contributor to The Huffington Post and a book reviewer for The New York Journal of Books. She resides in Ojai, California, with her husband, Brian Beverly, a crossed-eyed cat, Luna, a dog named Cash and, sometimes, her sons, Angus and Jack.

Happy Reading!

Bout of Books Readathon

Friday, August 18, 2017

Hi Everyone!

It's that time again! Bout of Books will be running August 21-27. It should be a great event and I hope that you will get a chance to join in on the fun! :) 

Here are few details:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 21st and runs through Sunday, August 27th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 20 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Footsteps

Thursday, August 17, 2017

THE NEW YORK TIMES is a daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed internationally. Founded in 1851, the newspaper has won 119 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper.

MONICA DRAKE is the editor of the Travel section at the New York Times.
Summary from Publisher:
A curated collection of the New York Times‘ travel column, “Footsteps,” exploring iconic authors’ relationships to landmarks and cities around the world

Before Nick Carraway was drawn into Daisy and Gatsby’s sparkling, champagne-fueled world in The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald vacationed in the French Riviera, where a small green lighthouse winked at ships on the horizon. Before the nameless lovers began their illicit affair in The Lover, Marguerite Duras embarked upon her own scandalous relationship amidst the urban streets of Saigon. And before readers were terrified by a tentacled dragon-man called Cthulhu, H.P. Lovecraft was enthralled by the Industrial Trust tower– the 26-story skyscraper that makes up the skyline of Providence, Rhode Island.

Based on the popular New York Times travel column, Footsteps is an anthology of literary pilgrimages, exploring the geographic muses behind some of history’s greatest writers. From the “dangerous, dirty and seductive” streets of Naples, the setting for Elena Ferrante’s famous Neapolitan novels, to the “stone arches, creaky oaken doors, and riverside paths” of Oxford, the backdrop for Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, Footsteps takes a fresh approach to literary tourism, appealing to readers and travel enthusiasts alike.

Personal Review:
Do you love to travel? Ever think about what inspires someone to write what they do? Then this may be the book for you. This book is full of short stories that talk about the experiences that had lead to some of the great works of literature in the world.

My favorite part of this book was understanding why the authors said what they did. It makes me certainly want to go visit those places and to read the books along with the essays. What a wonderful perspective.

I enjoyed this book and appreciate the opportunity to have read it. Thank you.

 Disclaimer: I was awarded this book as part of the Blogging for Books program. Though I did not pay for the book, the opinions are strictly my own.

Happy Reading!