Love All The Books.


A Bookish Christmas

The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! Too soon? As Halloween presses ever closer, the holidays are surely in the back of your mind. They’re in the back of mine, reminding me that at some point I’m going to have to get my shit together and figure out gifts. Of course, I thought books, and that led me here. What are some good books to give as a gift? I’m glad you asked! Because I have opinions! Obviously.

1) For the Petrol head in your life: And On That Bombshell by Richard Porter.
My husband is getting this book. It’s cool you guys, he doesn’t look here, this is a safe place. Richard Porter was a script editor on BBC’s Top Gear for 13 years and the book is supposed to be full of behind the scenes stories. Full disclosure: I haven’t read it yet, it’s new, but promises to excite any car lover.

2) For the Foodie: How to Bake the Perfect Apple Pie by Gina Henning.
This book is part of a scrumptious series, and if you want to start at the beginning, you should. This book will make you want apple pie and a delicious glass of wine. Like, seriously, the cravings. It’s short and sweet, romantic but not graphic and can be read in a weekend if you’re free to veg out.

3) For the paranormal lover: Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon
This book was so good. It’s long but it really draws you in. You might want to start earlier in the series but I do think this book could stand alone. And I love Greek mythology.

4) For the Rocker: Color Me Crazy by Carol Pavliska
This book is about Cleo, a rock star fan/groupie who happens to be a loveable disaster and Julian, a guitar playing God. This book is very sexy and very funny but also touches on some serious issues. Julian has synesthesia – he sees sound in colors. Its a real condition, you can look it up. I’ll wait… See? Told you so. I can’t imagine a more perfect or overwhelming job for him than a musician.

6) For Young Readers: Spy School by Stuart Gibbs
Full disclosure: I haven’t read this yet but I did buy it because it sounds so good. A nerdy middle school kid who dreams of working for the CIA. He gets recruited to a science school that is really a junior CIA academy! How will it turn out for him? We’ll have to read to find out. Bonus: There are other books in this series!

Also in this category: The Percy Jackson books, anything by Roald Dahl, and The Chronicles of Narnia (a personal fave of mine.)

7) For Babies: Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton
My baby couldn’t get enough of this board book. Granted, I do the animal sounds and sing the “La La La” part but the book has a nice cadence to it. It’s short, easily memorized, and fun. Babies love repetition and this book is perfect.  We’re on our second copy of this book actually.

Have a child a little older who doesn’t mind sitting for a slightly longer book? Try The Gruffalo  by Julia Donaldson.
Another HUGE hit on our house. Fun to read, vivid pictures, and a charming story about a mouse and a Gruffalo. I know one year olds and four year olds who love this book, so don’t worry if the kid doesn’t fall under the “infant” category. It’s available as a board book, hardback, paperback and audio!

8) For the romantic: Birthright by Nora Roberts
I love that the main character is an archaeologist. One of those things I think I might have done in another life. Callie is questioning her past and her ex-husband shows up on the dig site complicating matters. It’s so good.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This book is YA, very emotional (read: ugly cry) but so good. Romantic, gripping, emotional, brave, emotional, did I mention emotional? It’s about two teenagers who happen to have cancer, but don’t let that deter you. Get the tissues and read it. Okay? Okay.

9) For the Suspense Lover: Envy by Sandra Brown
So, I love this book, and I recommend it to everyone all the time. I love books, I love reading and writing, so yeah, it’s about a writer and a publisher. MAYBE that’s part of it. Maybe. But it’s woven so masterfully. Two stories collide, the past and the present, with flashbacks here and there that make you question everything going on in the present. It’s so good.
Darker Than Midnight by Maggie Shayne
This will keep you turning pages, I promise. I’ve read it a few times and will surely read it a few more. A prisoner out to prove his innocence, a police officer in a tight spot, a conspiracy… enjoy.

10) For the Mom/Sister/Bff in your life: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The story of Dinah, as in biblical – daughter of Jacob, Dinah. It celebrates the strength and resilience of women in a time when women were looked at as anything but. It’s very good.

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
This was recommended to me and I drug my feet about it because I’m a prat. It’s amazing. I devoured it. I also loved the movie, by the way. It’s lush and rich, it’s gritty and wonderful. I loved it.

Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

Perfect for the new parents in your life who desperately need a laugh to make them forget about all the sleep they’re not getting.

11) For the Forensic or Procedural Fan: A Necessary Evil by Alex Kava
Graphic in the way forensics can be but so good. A who done it mystery with an ending that left me surprised and gobsmacked. I actually need another copy of this book. I loaned mine to a friend and it’s been so long since I’ve read it. But I really liked it. I was taking a forensics class at the time when I first read it and I was super into the forensics, Locard’s Exchange Principle and all that. But you don’t have to be as nerdy as me to enjoy.

12) For the Conspiracy Theorist: The Millenium Series by Stieg Larsson.
I’d definitely start at the beginning and this book gets a big TRIGGER WARNING. There is pretty graphic rape and revenge. The first book is The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The books are long but well worth the read. The later books in the series are my favorite.

13) For the Hipster: The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig

This book follows Miriam Black, who can see how someone will die when she touches them. Wendig writes swear words with a connoisseur’s eye, weaving profanity together so artfully you can’t help but smile. It’s like wiping your ass with silk. The Cormorant is a gritty, dark, adventure with a crazy badass main character. It’s action packed and will keep you turning pages.

14) For the Game of Thrones fan: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

This is a series with all the elements of GoT: a paranormal problem, a corrupt King, power struggles, lies. It also has a badass female assassin as the main character. There isn’t strong language (that I can remember) or any graphic sex, though there is violence (I did mention the word assassin, right?) and a bit of a love story, so I could see this book being perfect for the twenty somethings or teens looking to dive into a series from the beginning. Really well developed worlds, too. As you get further in the series, it’s very well done. I love a good world builder.

15) For the Thrill Seeker: Bag of Bones by Stephen King

I read this when I was home alone, which in hindsight was a poor choice, and scared the crap out of myself. Bonus points for being a book about a writer!

The Good Guy by Dean Koontz
Real talk: My favorite part of this book is the set up, the beginning. But still, I always throw it out there. It’s good.

16) For the Asshole: I Hope they Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max
If you know a douchebag who LOVES being a douchebag, this is the book for them. Be sure and check that they don’t already own it. It’s equal parts funny and cringey.

Books that I’d like to receive for Christmas:
1) Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Dan Kindlon

2) Treasure Hunters Series by James Patterson (Always keeping an eye out for kiddo.)

3) The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz: This is the next book in the Millenium Series.

4) Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

I’d love to hear if you have any recommendations on books for the holidays. After all I haven’t started shopping yet. Got something perfect for the techie, the naughty bff, or the wine lover? Bring ’em on! Leave book recs in the comments below!

The Life of a Querying Writer in Gifs

So you banged out your masterpiece.

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It was a hard road filled with plot holes, distractions on the internets and shopping on Etsy that left you with half a manuscript for far too long. But you persevered through all that shit and finished! Plus, you got awesome new knickknacks from Etsy. Score! You totally needed that clay sculpture of a rainbow unicorn. ‘Cause it’s awesome.

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And bless your literary heart, you made it through edits, beta readers, more edits. Seriously endless edits. Then you sent that finished manuscript out. You’re officially a querying writer. Cue freakout.

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You will check your email compulsively. Endlessly. Irrationally. There is no way they’re getting back to you same day, but you’ll check anyway. Get a cup of coffee. Take a snack. Get comfy. You’re going to be there a while.

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And then you see it. There, in your inbox! You know that senders address! It shines like a beacon from the black hole that is your over-checked, newly cleaned out and organized, email inbox.

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But odds are, it’s a rejection. EVERYONE gets rejected. The greats, the amateurs, everyone. And usually a lot so bond with that. It stings, of course, but you don’t take it personally. You keep writing and querying but deep down at the mere mention of that agents/publishers name you recoil from the pain memory.

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Then, after many more rejections, you see something new in your inbox. This rejection reads differently. It’s got words like, “pleased to,” and “impressed,” in it. What sorcery is this, you wonder.

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You calmly read it twelve more times. You save it. You print a copy. You call your mother just so she can read it and verify that you haven’t finally lost your mind and are really seeing what you think you’re seeing. This one is not a rejection. Cue freakout!

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It was all totally worth it. You’re high on literary dreams. You drop names like Hemingway,Thoreau, and Woolf around your friends for a week because you can’t help it. You say things like, “Oh, I highly recommend that you read them,” with an asshole air in your voice. You might even point out similarities between their great works and your space opera about leper alien vampires with an unfortunate proximity to the sun. This affect should only be temporary. Because you’re a writer, not a douchebag, so you’ll get back to normal. You’ll read a few books. You’ll sell a few books. And then you get back to writing. Because writers write.

So, step one: you bang out your masterpiece.

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Hello word nerds. I’ve missed you. Things have been pretty busy over here at Casa de la Brasch. For starters, I had a baby. I’ve never done that before. It was pretty crazy, let me tell you. But totally awesome and worth it. I was filled with, “I am woman, hear me roar!” type pride. I think Mic Drop moments in the delivery room should be mandatory. Don’t get me wrong, there were also tears and swear words and drugs. It was glorious. Then, BAM! Baby!

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Since baby, I’ve been learning how to be a mother. There’s a steep learning curve for ya. And also wondering why I never realized just how little sleep the human body needs to function. It’s all good though. I have learned the art of the cat nap.

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Life was pretty much: Play with baby. Sleep when baby sleeps. Feed baby. Repeat.
Cooking wasn’t even on my radar. On a related note: Progresso soup and pop tarts are totally delicious, am I right?

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But I love every second with my little cub.

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We love music and dance time every day! We really know how to have fun together.

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But then something wonderful happened! What you ask? My baby started sleeping! Months and months (AND MONTHS) after all my friend’s kids started sleeping, mine finally considered it and found the idea amiable. And when he napped, I was like, “Hey. Remember that time I was a writer? I liked that shit.” I even got new book ideas!

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And while I’m convinced there’s an alarm to wake a baby underneath a mother’s pillow that the weight of a human head activates – I even managed to pick up a book or two and read for fun! Much like the pillow alarm, cracking open a book can also wake a child in another room instantaneously. Proceed with caution.

Ahhhh, secret reading.

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So now I’m drunk with sleep, baby snuggles, and book stuff. DRUNK WITH THE POWER, I SAY. And also maybe a glass of wine here and there. Just a small one.

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How have you all been? If you’ve been reading anything fabulous you’re under moral obligation to share. I’m too tired to keep up with the hot new books, so tell me all about ’em. (Dying to get my hands on The Girl on the Train, though. Bonus points if you want to tell me what you thought of that one.)

That’s all for now. We’ll talk soon I’m sure!


Color Me Crazy

I reviewed a book! The author is one of the nicest people and I jumped at the chance for an ARC. You should thank me for doing so because now I bring you my review of the book. COLOR ME CRAZY.

I received an advanced reader copy of Color Me Crazy for review. This book made me laugh out loud several times. I think we can all relate to the woman who doesn’t quite have it together, who is just shy of graceful and occasionally an outright disaster. I love that about Cleo. Julian is the rock star every girl has dreamed of at least once in her life but he’s so much more. He’s a synesthete. Imagine the benefit and hardship of actually seeing the music while being a rockstar. There were certainly times when I found Julian witty, strong, and unbelievably frustrating. This story has sex, drugs, rock and roll, yes. But it’s full of heart, struggle, and beautiful descriptions so that you too will be seeing the world in different colors. Author Carol Pavliska manages to be laugh out loud funny, real (writing you and your friends right into a novel as Cleo and her besties), heartbreaking, and sexy. I highly recommend this book.
(A side note: One of the most original book covers I’ve ever seen. Look closely. That’s Julian on the cover of his rock magazine, his tattoos accurately portrayed, right down to the line of music at his waist. I love it.)

That’s my Goodreads review but you came all the way to the blog – so you get a bit more. ;)
I started messaging Carol almost as soon as I started reading the book, telling her I was literally laughing out loud. Just as soon as I told her about my favorite part, I had new one. And I find synesthesia fascinating. I didn’t before, because I knew nothing about it before, but Carol pulls you into Julian’s world so well. She makes it fascinating, she makes it scary. Julian’s reality sucks you in and the author does an amazing job of describing it beautifully.
So if you’re all about books that keep you turning pages, here’s your next read. You’re welcome.
P.S. There’s a blurb below!
Carol Pavliska

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About the Author:
Carol Pavliska began her writing career as a family humor columnist and blogger, a pursuit she abandoned when her children became old enough to realize they were being exploited. To save them from further embarrassment, she turned to writing fiction.
Her debut novel is a steamy contemporary romance, so unfortunately, the kids are still embarrassed.

When she’s not creating unrealistic expectations as a romance writer (ripped abs, dramatic temperaments, and eyes like bottomless pools of Hey Girl), she functions quite nicely in her real world, which consists of a delightfully stable husband and five children.
Carol and her husband, both die hard Red Hot Chili Peppers fans, raise their vegan brood of mortified offspring on a cattle ranch in South Texas. No lie.

To learn more about Carol, visit her website at, or connect with her on social media:

Entangled Publishing, LLC
2614 South Timberline Road
Suite 109
Fort Collins, CO 80525

Everyone Loves The Back Jacket Blurb:
Title: Color Me Crazy
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Imprint: Entangled Select

Never fall for a rockstar…
Julian Wheaton views the world through a kaleidoscope of synesthesia, seeing the colors of every sound he hears. His life as an iconic rock guitarist was a stressful psychedelic trip that nearly destroyed him. Now he’s abandoned the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle for the peaceful sanctity of his recording studio, but when fiery Cleo Compton comes to work for him, she brings chaos with her.

Cleo Compton has had her flings with rockstars—and it’s left her wary and bruised. Julian may have those sexy bedroom eyes and drool-worthy tattoos, but Cleo is determined to keep things strictly professional—until Julian turns out to be every dream she’s ever chased. When he risks it all to hit the road with a band again, Cleo fears he’ll return as the one thing she can no longer abide—a rockstar.

Grab Your Copy Here:

Elected by Rori Shay


Today is my stop on the blog tour for ELECTED by Rori Shay! This is one book you don’t want to miss and is out TODAY! The kickstarter to this book is available at  You will be able to get a copy of ELECTED in hardcover and/or paperback with a free ebook, a lot of special limited-edition items and other free books. Don’t wait, get your copy today! Then tell us how you liked it!



It’s a YA SciFi out with Silence in the Library.


It’s the year 2185, and in two weeks, Aloy will turn eighteen and take her father’s place as president of the country. But to do so, she must masquerade as a boy to avoid violating the Eco-Accords, four treaties designed to bring the world back from the brink of environmental extinction. Aloy hopes to govern like her father, but she is inheriting a different country. The long concealed Technology Faction is stepping out of the shadows, and as turmoil grows within her country, cryptic threats also arrive from beyond the borders.

As she struggles to lead, Aloy maintains her cover by marrying a woman, meanwhile battling feelings for the boy who knows her secret – the boy who is somehow connected to her country’s recent upheaval. When assassination attempts add to the turmoil, Aloy doesn’t know whom to trust. She understood leadership required sacrifice. She just didn’t realize the sacrifice might be her life.


As if he can read my thoughts, Griffin says, “I know what you are.”

And before I can even think about the consequences of my actions, anger overtakes me. What I’ve hidden for so long and been so careful to keep secret is now in the hands of this impudent intruder?

I’m up out of my seat and running at him before I realize what I’m doing. I knock him forward, pushing with both my hands flat against his back.

He’s surprised and falls forward, losing his balance.

In this moment, I look around the room for some more dangerous weapon than my two hands. My knife is too far. I find what I’m looking for on the wall to my right. One of my fencing swords. I grab it off its decorative shelf and get in an offensive stance, right foot forward at an angle.

As Griffin regains his balance and faces me, I hold my stance, looking him fiercely in the eyes. He doesn’t say anything, but I see him scan the room fast. I lunge at him, but I’m a second too slow. He’s already run to my left and grabbed a wooden cane I’ve been carving. It’s now the wood cane against my steel sword. I’ve been fencing since I was seven, so I’m quick. I should be able to take him out easily.

I don’t mean to really hurt him, just push him back out of my room, get my anger out. But Griffin is stronger than I expect. We’re fighting, wood to steel, clashing in the air, the sword making gashes in the softer wood.

I jump back over furniture, toppling pieces as we both fly around the room. We’re both spinning, checking each other’s advances. Griffin surprises me, putting up a fight matching mine. I’ve received expert training, but who taught him to fight so well?

Griffin backs up against my door, but I can’t let him escape. Unless I win the fight, he could run out that door and tell the world my secret. My family’s future could come crashing down around me in an instant.

I push forward with more heat. We’re up close now, our weapons right at each other’s faces. I can hear his grunts through my own yells.

All at once his cane swings out at me, but not where I expect it to go. He doesn’t aim for my sword. He aims for my feet, knocking me off balance onto my back. My sword clatters to the ground in the onslaught, and before I know it he’s on top of me. I’m punching and pushing back at him, and we’re in a fist fight, rolling on the ground. I don’t easily give up, but he’s got a few muscular pounds on me.

I’m furious, kicking and shouting at him. In between our wrestling, he spurts out, “It’s your secret. Not mine.” He’s out of breath from our fight, so he has trouble getting the words out. “I’m not planning to tell anyone.”

While he’s trying to get the words out of his mouth, I take the opportunity to push harder. I end up on top of him and pin his arms above his head. He goes slack, letting me hold him there.

“You’re a girl,” he says, serious and amused at the same time.

“You have no evidence!”

He juts his chin out, pointing to my torso. His eyes are mischievous. I look down at what he’s pointing to.

And then I realize.

The shirt I’d been sleeping in has lost a few buttons. It hangs open and ragged off my torso. Immediately, I let go of Griffin’s arms and instinctively grasp around my chest for my bindings.

But I’m too late.

A milky white breast hangs out of the wrappings, announcing my secret loud and clear.






I see my opportunity to ask the very thing that’s been on the tip of my tongue for months. Something I know my parents won’t answer but that Tomlin might—if for no other reason than to further my education. “The Ship Accord didn’t stop everyone, though.” I know I’m bringing up something painful.

“You’re right.” Tomlin looks down.

“My brother.” I lean forward in my chair, expectant for some new tidbit of information from Tomlin. “What happened to him?” I am unwavering with my request for information on Evan.

“We don’t know.” Tomlin’s sadness is apparent.

“You were his tutor, right? What was he like? Would he have made a better Elected than me?” I’ve always wondered if Evan would have been better suited for the role than I. I know the answer must be yes since he was the true Elected, the only male heir of the family. Only men are allowed to be the Elected since women must focus on repopulation. But my parents and Tomlin encourage me to have more confidence. They have to, I guess, since they have no other choice. I’m their only option left.

I know Tomlin doesn’t enjoy talking about my brother. No one does. Evan was everyone’s pride and joy until he ran away. But I never knew him at all. My parents had me as a hurried attempt for another child after Evan disappeared.

I keep pressing Tomlin for other information, knowing I won’t get an answer about Evan’s character. “How does everyone know Evan escaped via boat? How did he even find a ship to get away? I thought my grandfather destroyed all of them.” I see Tomlin cringe at my word ‘escaped’, and I chide myself that I’ve yet again made the Elected role sound like a prison sentence.

“As far as anyone knew, they were all dismantled, the parts used for building materials.” Tomlin rakes a hand through the thin wisps of his hair.

“So how’d Evan get one?” I am relentless. “And how’d he get it past Apa?” I can’t imagine how Evan managed to plan such an elaborate departure under my father’s tight scrutiny.

“Enough.” Tomlin’s tone is harsh but quiet. I know he can’t be budged when he doesn’t want to proceed. “We need to keep going with your studies. The public will expect you to be well-trained when you take office.”

“Okay, just one more question?” I ask, looking at my fingernails. They are perfect half-moons except for the two pinkies on whose nails I obsessively gnaw. As I get nearer to the date of my inauguration, the two nails seem to get shorter and shorter.

“One more, then we go on. But it must do with the Accords.”

“It does. Sort of. What do other countries do with people who make it through the sea to their lands?”

I can’t look at Tomlin while I wait for the answer. It’s something I already know in my heart, but I want to hear it out loud.

Finally, Tomlin answers, his voice a mere whisper. “What would we do?”

I stretch my palm out so I’m playing with my fingers instead of concentrating fully on my own words. I almost don’t want to hear them—don’t want to hear what might have happened to Evan.

“We use hemlock.”

About the Author:

Rori Shay is an author living in the Washington, DC area with her husband, daughters, black lab, and cat – just not quite in the same exciting circumstances as ELECTED’s main character, Aloy. She enjoys running, gardening, reading, doing yoga, and volunteering with the Dwelling Place non-profit. Rori is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

 Author social media links:








~Items seen in ELECTED such as a marriage binding (temporary tattoo)

~Hemlock soap

~Necklace as seen in ELECTED

~Signed paperback copy of ELECTED

~Optional FaceTime or Skype session with the author for 1/2 an hour (can be used one-on-one or at the winner’s book club, etc.)


Rori Shay’s Top Ten Songs that she listened to (over and over again) while writing ELECTED to help keep her in the atmosphere of the book.

They just portray the mood well–a lot of conflict between desire and holding back!

1) Paradise by Coldplay
2) Away by Nicole & Denise
3) Hallelujah by Rufus Wainwright
4) Devil to Pay by Tommy & The High Pilots
5) Come Along by Vicci Martinez and Cee Lo Green
6) Every Teardrop is a Waterfall by Coldplay
7) The Only Exception by Paramore
8) What I’ve Done by Marie Digby
9) Love, Save the Empty by Erin McCarley
10) Set Fire to the Rain by Adele 


Just For The Weekend by Susanne Matthews

I’ve got some pretty talented friends and some great new reads coming out soon. That might be my favorite thing about ever getting into writing – getting to know all these other fabulous writers.

Today I’m sharing Susanne Matthews’ new book: Just For The Weekend



Book Blurb

Sometimes, you have to step out of the box.

Kindergarten teacher, Cleo James, needs a break. For the past three years, she’s put her life on hold to help her father deal with grief, but now she’s ready to move on. A weekend in Vegas at a sci-fi convention may be just the place to start. She’ll be costumed as an alien and no one will recognize her. What could go wrong? Things get complicated when she’s attracted to a conventioneer whom she believes is a gorgeous Chippendale dancer.  Can Cleo set her strict moral code aside and enjoy what promises to be a once upon a time weekend?

Multimillionaire real estate developer, Sam Mason has sworn off serious relationships. In Vegas to visit family and friends, he’s talked into attending a sci-fi convention for the night. Dressed as an alien, he’s confident he can elude the usual gold diggers looking to star in the role of Mrs. Sam Mason. When he spots a beautiful woman dressed as a green-skinned slave girl, he’s captivated by her and changes his plans to leave Vegas in the morning. The more time he spends with her, the more he realizes she’s unlike any woman he’s known. Fantastic sex and too much alcohol find him married to his alien siren, but before he can tell her the truth about himself and see if they can make their marriage work, the bride vanishes.  Finding her is going to be a challenge.

Excerpt from Just For The Weekend:

“Holy crap! You could have warned me.”

Mitch wore a long black wig, heavy brown makeup, and the facial ridges of a female Klingon warrior. Her body was shoved into a tight, black leather corset-styled top that accentuated her breasts and a long, leather skirt paired with heeled boots with silver toecaps. She had a knife of sorts shoved into her belt.

“Wow! You look fantastic. I could use one of the push-up bras from hell if I ever wanted to look sexy.”

“What are you talking about? You’re one of the sexiest woman I know, and you’re completely oblivious to it. Get your nose out of your father’s ancient history books and look at yourself in the light of the twenty-first century. I love you, girl, but sometimes you frustrate me.”

“Yeah, well, let’s agree to disagree on that. I don’t want to be noticed that way. There’s more to me than a set of boobs and long legs. I’m much happier out of the limelight. Now, are you going to tell me about your makeup?”

“It’s a mask. My friend Hailey works at Paramount and made it for me last year. It gets a little warm after a while, but it’s a lot easier than putting the makeup on each time.”

“I wish I had something like that. Where’s the rest of my costume? I’d better be wearing more than green body paint, blood red lipstick, and gold eye shadow.”

“It’s on your bed.”

Cleo stared at the scraps of fabric and jewelry on the spread.

“No way! There’s got to be more to it than that.”

The costume consisted of a burgundy silk bikini bra, a matching string bikini bottom with gold-colored sheer skirt panels front and rear, gold muscle bracelets shaped like snakes, and two-inch wide metallic fabric ankle shackles without the chain.

“You’ve got to be kidding. I’ll look like a semi-naked leprechaun. How does that fit into a sci-fi convention?”

“It happens to be one of the most popular women’s costumes. For the record, leprechauns wear green, and unless they’re some kind of mutants, they aren’t green. With my five-foot-four figure, the costume loses something, but on you, it’ll be awesome.” Mitch handed her a glass of wine. “Here, take a drink and relax. You showed just as much by the pool this afternoon.”

“Yeah, and whose idea was that? I don’t see why I couldn’t wear my black swimsuit this afternoon. You seem to forget about the moral turpitude clause in my contract. Lying around in the sun half-naked is pushing it. I certainly won’t be wearing that blue bikini to take the kiddies swimming at the local pool.”

“That clause is archaic, and you worry about it way too much—between your father’s ‘rules’ and the school board’s ‘thou shall not’s,’ you’re living in the past. Besides you needed a new swimsuit. Even my mother doesn’t wear a one-piece bathing suit like the one you had. I don’t even think my grandma would wear it. You chose the bikini—there was that gorgeous leopard one…”

“You mean the one cut down to my navel in front, and so high on the hips my ass hung out? No thanks. At least the bikini covered most of my boobs and butt.”

“Whatever.” Mitch rolled her eyes. “Let’s get you dressed. We need to be downstairs in twenty minutes.”

Mitch helped her put on what was surely the skimpiest alien costume in the universe. Cleo stood before the mirror staring at the creature looking back at her.

“I look like a mutant leprechaun belly dancer.” She took a sip of her wine. “It’s a damn good thing you didn’t show me this when you asked me to come. I’d have said no.”

“For the record, you’re not a mutant leprechaun; you’re an Orion slave girl. Men are powerless before you. Too bad that cutie from the bar last night can’t see you. You’re worth a dozen of the brunette he was with. Come here so I can spray the glitter on you.”

Two glasses of wine in quick succession were easing her embarrassment, but as she allowed Mitch to spray the liquid shimmer on her hair and body, she couldn’t resist one final complaint.

“Well, I’d rather wear what you’re wearing. If the air-conditioning is turned up as high as it was this morning, I’ll be an Orion slave icicle!”

“Seriously, Cleo, relax. Don’t be a prude. No one’s going to recognize you. I know you’re not used to showing so much skin, but you look fantastic, and the men will be drooling all around you. Every woman in the room is going to envy you. You’ll be the most sought-after slave girl here. ”

“God, I hope not. That’s the last thing I want. I feel like a chunk of meat on display for a starving man. You’re the extrovert, the one who wants to be the center of attraction. I’m not. I think that’s why we’re friends—because we’re so different.” Horror filled her eyes as she thought of something else. “Crap, I hope no one takes my picture. The last thing I need is to have someone see us on the Internet and recognize me. I’ll wear this tonight because it’s too late to find anything else, but we’re going costume shopping tomorrow. I’m sure we can find something a little less revealing.”

“Whatever you say, but I don’t think anyone’s going to recognize you.”

Cleo turned around and stood in front of the mirror. Her mouth dropped open in shock. Good grief. It’s even worse than I imagined. Thanks to the glitter, her skin reflected the light and looked alive, shimmering as she moved. Her hair shone the same way, and she looked alluring and mysterious. Her large, hazel eyes seemed more golden than ever. Mitch was right about one thing: she didn’t look like a kindergarten teacher from Gordon’s Grove. She looked like a sexy, alien siren. Just the look I want around a bunch of half-drunk Neanderthals. She remembered how decent guys had turned into absolute jerks at university costume parties.

“If it makes you feel better, you can stand behind the table replenishing the books as I sign them and handing out the bookmarks and the other swag the publisher provided. Come on, let’s go.”

Cleo followed her best friend out of the room. She shook her head. Why do I let myself get talked into these things?


Cleo followed Mitch into the convention hall packed with hundreds of people in various alien costumes, and allowed some of the excitement in the air to calm her fears. She recognized outfits from various sci-fi movies and television shows. There were several Orion slave girls in a variety of shapes, shades, and sizes, and Cleo saw the not-so-friendly glares she got from them—especially when one of their male friends stared admiringly at her. She nodded in return and chuckled when one girl gave the guy she was with a jab in the ribs.

She tried to keep up with Mitch, who barreled across the room as if she were in a speed-walking race. Barefoot as she was, conscious of the icky, sticky carpet, Cleo moved slowly to avoid stomping boots and heels. She’d almost made it to the promised land of booth security when a giant, in snake-like makeup and the dark gray leather and chain mail associated with the Cardassians, grabbed her arm. He spun her around quickly.

“Hey, let go of my …” Her angry words died on her lips.

“What have we here?” He eyed her hungrily. “Are you lost, my pretty little slave girl?”

Familiar chocolate eyes pierced hers, and she couldn’t think straight. His whiskey-smooth voice caressed her; his touch ignited a fire along her spine. Realizing what he’d said, she searched for an answer.

“Lost? No, I got separated from my Klingon friend. She’s over there.”

She pointed to the publishers’ autograph area where Mitch stood.

“Then allow me to escort you safely to her.”

Holding her close to him, he ushered her across the congested convention floor. He bowed to Mitch and gave the Cardassian salute.

“I believe she’s yours, but I’m entitled to a reward for coming to her assistance.”

He smiled wickedly before pulling Cleo into his arms and capturing her mouth with his.

Cleo held herself rigid, but the kiss poured liquid fire through her. Of their own volition, her arms wrapped around his neck both to hold her upright and to encourage the incredible sensations to continue. His mouth devoured hers as if she was his last meal. She’d been kissed before, but never like this. When he slowly pulled away, she was breathless. She read desire in his eyes.

“Later, my Orion beauty.” He turned and walked away, disappearing into the crowd.

“Who the hell is that?”

“I have no idea.” Cleo reached for Mitch’s blue-tinted Romulan ale and drained the glass.

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Author bio:


Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, a city of 46,000 located on the Canada-US border, Susanne completed her university education in two parts; she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History from Carleton University and her Bachelor of Education at Queen’s University in Kingston. She worked as an educator for more than thirty years. Susanne and her husband have three children and five grandchildren

Susanne is an avid reader and likes nothing better than curling up with a good book and a beer camping or sitting around the backyard on a hot summer day. Her reading tastes are varied as are her writing preferences, but no matter what sub-genre she chooses, all her books have Happily Ever After endings.




You can follow Susanne or buy her other books by checking out her website:


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Top Ten Things I Learned Writing Just for the Weekend:


You can never avoid research. No matter what genre you choose as a platform for your story, you have to be correct and knowledgeable. When I started writing Just For The Weekend, I knew next to nothing about Nevada and the area surrounding Las Vegas. I knew quite a bit about the various sci-fi characters, especially those related to Star Trek, and I knew Vegas was a casino resort that attracted people by the droves, but there were many other things I didn’t know. Some I managed to work into the story, others I’ve kept for future endeavors.

Here is a list of some of the interesting things I discovered. When you read the book, you’ll be able to see how I wove the research into the story. If you’ve been to Vegas or are from the area, they won’t surprise you, but if you haven’t been, let me entertain you.

  1. Rachel, Nevada, a town with a population of less than 100, didn’t have electric power until 1978. Most of the people who live there live in mobile homes on their very own patch of scrub desert.Rachel is best known for its UFO claims. It has one bar/inn that caters to tourists. Since 1989, people from around the world have come to Rachel along Highway 375, also known as the Extraterrestrial Highway with an unofficial speed limit of Warp 7, to look for lights in the sky they think are extraterrestrial.
  2. Flash floods don’t only happen in the desert. While Las Vegas’ minimal rainfall each year is only about four inches, those four inches come in the form of sudden, violent thunderstorms. The parched landscape surrounding the town and the ever increasing amounts of pavement in the city, cause dangerous flash flooding. The Clark County Regional Flood Control District sites the statistic explaining since 1960, 11 serious floods have occurred causing more than a million dollars damage each. In that same period, 31 lives have been lost in 21 separate flash flood events in the city of Las Vegas.
  3. Teachers in the United States are subject to a moral turpitude clause that is actually a federal statute that can prevent you from even being admitted to the country. Teachers can be reprimanded and even fired for doing perfectly legal and acceptable things if one person complains they found it immoral. A teacher got suspended for posting a holiday picture of herself touring a winery.
  4. Rape and aggravated assault take place at an alarming rate at sci-fi conventions, not only in Las Vegas but in other cities around the world. It seems that filling people in costumes full of alcohol brings out the worst in them. The same thing happens all too often at Mardi Gras and Halloween celebrations.
  5. The colors of the rock in the Grand Canyon vary according to the composition of the stone and the strata at which it’s found. The canyon is constantly being eroded still by the Colorado River which apparently started the process 17 million years ago.
  6. The Hualapai (WALL-uh-pie), the “People of the Tall Pines,” have always lived in an area stretching from Grand Canyon to the Bill Williams River in west-central Arizona and from the Black Mountains bordering the Colorado River to the San Francisco Peaks. The Skywalk is located on tribal lands. It consists of a horseshoe shaped steel frame with glass floor and sides that projects about 70 feet from the canyon rim. The deck of the Skywalk is built of four layers of Saint-Gobain Diamant low iron glass with DuPont SentryGlas interlayer, designed to withstand local seismic activity and high wind pressure. The glass railings, 5 feet 2 inches high, are made the same way but with fewer layers and bent to follow the walkway’s curvature.
  7. Oatman, Arizona  is one of the many ghost towns in and around Las Vegas.  The Oatman Hotel, built in 1902, located in the center of town is where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent their wedding night after being married in Kingman, Arizona on March 29, 1939. You can spend the night in that suite if you like, but watch out for Oatie the ghost who walks the halls of the hotel.
  8. The Hoover Dam is also known as the Boulder Dam and is 1244 feet long, 660 feet thick, and 726 feet high. It held back so much water at the time of its construction people claimed it deformed the earth’s crust and caused over 600  small earthquakes in the first ten years after it was built.
  9. Lake Mead is the largest artificial reservoir in the United States in maximum water capacity. It was created by the Hoover Dam. When at capacity, Lake Mead is 112 miles long has 759 miles of shoreline, is 532 feet deep, and can hold 28 million acre-feet of water. The lake hasn’t been full since 1983 due to increasing droughts.Since 2000, the lake has lost 4 trillion gallons of water, causing the famous bath tub ring to grow. Why is this happening? Because the Colorado River is drying up, meaning over 20 million people would be without water.
  10. More than 36 million people visit Las Vegas each year. The famous Las Vegas Strip is 4.2 miles long and home to more than 33 casino Hotels. The average stay is 3.7 days. Over 9 billion dollars of state tax revenue comes from gambling, which accounts for 43% of the state’s revenue. The city hosts over 3700 conventions annually. Other employers in Vegas include a number of high tech firms, colleges and universities in and around the city.




Tur & Elsker Cover Reveal by St Bende

Gorgeous book covers? Yes, please. St Bende has brought her special brand of Scandinavian hunk to life for our reading pleasure. Her books are NA and feature a love story worthy of the Gods. I’m talking about the Gods in Asgard. Think Odin. I love St Bende and these books just hit my TBR list – hard. The release is May 29th so we don’t have long to wait and they’ll be out just in time for us to drag them poolside or out on the patio on warm summer nights.

St Bende is also one of the nicest authors around so feel free to check out the links below and chat her up on facebook or twitter. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

And now for the covers.


The Elsker Saga #0.5 
by ST Bende

Inga Andersson is the envy of every girl in Asgard. On the surface she has it all — great friends, a job as Odin’s personal fight choreographer, and a happy ever after with her realm’s hottest assassin. But when evil invades Asgard, her perfect world comes crashing down. Someone is planning to kill off the gods, and Inga’s best friend Ull is first on their list. With the Norse apocalypse a nanosecond away, Inga has to decide how she’ll spend her final moments of freedom. Because from the moment this battle begins, Inga’s happily ever after will be nothing more than a memory.

Some things are worth fighting for.

ELSKER-Ebook-03-31-14 (1)

The Elsker Saga #1
by ST Bende

You don’t win the heart of an immortal assassin without making a few enemies along the way.

Kristia Tostenson prefers Earl Grey to Grey Goose and book clubs to nightclubs, but when she transfers from her one-stoplight town to Cardiff University in Wales she falls in love with Ull Myhr.  Her new boyfriend isn’t exactly what she was expecting.  He’s an honest to goodness Norse God – an immortal assassin fated to die at Ragnarok, the battle destined to destroy Asgard and Earth.  Kristia’s crazy visions are the only thing that can save their realms.  Her orderly life just got very messy.

Author Info:


Before finding domestic bliss in suburbia, ST Bende lived in Manhattan Beach (became overly fond of Peet’s Coffee) and Europe… where she became overly fond of the musical Cats. Her love of Scandinavian culture and a very patient Norwegian teacher inspired the ELSKER series. She hopes her characters make you smile and that one day pastries will be considered a health food.

You can follow ST Bende on Twitter @stbende, or send an e-mail to  



This giveaway has copies of both of these books and several others! Woo hoo! Love all the books!


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