Monday, March 25, 2019

"Everyday Enchantments" by Maria DeBlassie

Everyday Enchantments:
Musings on Ordinary Magic
by Maria DeBlassie

Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic by Maria DeBlassie

Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic by Maria DeBlassie is currently on tour with Reading Addiction Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Spellbinding meditations on conjuring your own bliss.
Everyday Enchantments is a love letter to the magic of everyday life, the sweet moments and the profound that we often overlook in our hurry to get from one place to the next. This collection of essays reminds us to escape into the ordinary, find beauty in a simple cup of tea or rereading a beloved novel and joyfully let our world turn upside down when synchronicity strikes in the form of wrong turns down forgotten lanes and unexpected midnight conversations with the moon.
Everyday Enchantments is a study in what it means to live deliciously, joyfully, and magically. And it's an invitation to conjure your own bliss, because, let's face it, we could all use a little more magic in our lives.

To live with Enchantment is to see beyond the brick and mortar that make up your home and into the magic infused within its frame. It is made up of stories and dried bay leaves and dreams whispered into the heads of dandelions. Of bare feet on carpeted floors and the smell of burning sage. Crystals—amethyst, citrine, amazonite, smoky quartz—winding in and around your books; all the better to magnify their magic. It is to peel back the layers of your day-to-day and search for that elusive energy that winds its way up your spine and outward into your life. Let the snake at your base wriggle free of its coil to climb up to your shoulder blades and across your open back. There is no room for tightly stacked discs here, just the taste of joy when the sun licks your skin.
You might find it at the bottom of an empty teacup. Your future written in soggy leaves, or in the whisper of trees, their leaves rustling and murmuring secrets only they can understand. Sometimes they are kind enough to translate for you—if you listen long enough. If you shower their roots with distilled love songs and feed them the black earth from your compost. It’s there, too, when you run your tongue along the grooves and ridges of a well-loved sentence. It’s everywhere. Even in the spaces you think have lost hope, like the junk drawer where you keep your faded dreams, stray screws, and half-forgotten heartbreaks along with wine corks and a few rubber bands. They’re not lost, just resting like seeds in the earth before they are ready to break open.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
Winner of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award in the New Age Category for 2018.
Finalist for the Body Mind Spirit Book Awards in the New Age Category for 2018.
“Maria DeBlassie has crafted magic within the pages of her new book, Everyday Enchantments. Her eloquent words offer the ‘promise of soul replenishment’ as one traverses the journey of her - and their - metaphorical metamorphosis. Page after page, readers will experience the soothing balm of DeBlassie's words as they encourage one to open her heart, her mind, her ear, her thoughts and her soul to the unique transpersonal book they hold in their hands. Just as DeBlassie mentions early on in Everyday Enchantments when writing of the unexpected delight of discovering a double yolk, her heartfelt writing is like ‘cradling ... gold’ in one's hands. Reading and absorbing the beauty of Maria DeBlassie's Everyday Enchantments will have readers conjuring their own magical life. Her words will caress their soul and embrace their heart with inspiration and encouragement. Everyday Enchantments blends together poetic consciousness such as from Maya Angelou and Mary Oliver all while weaving in powerful and deep inner wisdom such as from Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Yet, Maria DeBlassie beautifully stands out given the uniqueness of Everyday Enchantments. It's a must-read and a must to be gently and lovingly held in a sacred place of honor in one's personal library. DeBlassie's Everyday Enchantments is like a heart song that every woman should feel.” ~ Janelle Alex, Ph.D., The Writer's Shaman
“An insightful collection of short writings that make you look at the everyday in a whole new light. Ponder how different life could be if you stop taking everything for granted and find joy in the simplicity of it all.” ~ Erin Elliott, author of The Sword of Lumina series
“Reading this enchanted collection is so much more than reading a book ... it's an unearthing of things half-remembered and bringing them into the light. Gorgeous and luminous ... thank you, Maria, for unwinding this spell for your readers.” ~ Laura Bickle, critically-acclaimed author of Nine of Stars
“To build everyday bridges between the magick and the mundane out of the long-sought and hard-won materials of will and wonder is the act of a true Priestess. In this book, DeBlassie offers rich glimpses of daily rituals, miniature spells in their own right that prompt the reader to look for the quiet divinity in their own lives, to see the subtle majesty in their day-to-day routines, and to question their perceived barriers between the modern and the mystical.” ~ Danielle Dulsky, author of Woman Most Wild

About the Author
Maria DeBlassie
Maria DeBlassie, Ph.D. is a native New Mexican mestiza blogger, award-winning writer, and educator living in the Land of Enchantment. Her blogging life started as a year-long journey to write her back into happy, healthy, and whole through daily posts about life’s simple pleasures, everyday magic, and radical self-care. That year-long experiment turned into a lifestyle, a book, a press - and her ongoing blog, Enchantment Learning & Living. She is forever looking for magic in her life and somehow always finding more than she thought was there.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Everyday Enchantments by Maria DeBlassie.


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Friday, March 22, 2019

"Small Town Hearts" by Lillie Vale

Small Town Hearts
by Lillie Vale

Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale

Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.
And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had - to never fall for a summer boy?

An hour before closing time, a stranger walked into the Busy Bean.
Next to me, Lucy dumped coffee grounds in the recycling bin. She bent over, flicking wet grounds off her fingers. “Hey, Babe, can you—”
“I’ve got it,” I said, grabbing my notepad from the counter, already on my way. The new guy was cute. If our new seasonal waitress had been out here, she would have tried to get to him first.
The boy hovered awkwardly near one of the corner tables. He was tall and lithe, with mussed brown hair that was on the side of gold, and a blue polo that brought out his eyes.
“Is anywhere fine?”
“Yeah,” I said, gesturing to the available seating. “I can take your order here if you’re ready or you can just come up later, if you need a few minutes.”
Mystery Boy chose a table that came from a home and garden center, chipped mosaics of stone in the face of a woman on the circular surface. The chair he sat on was wrought-iron and from a different patio set, the green seat plump and gleaming with the sheen of new leather.
He glanced at the chalk menu on the wall behind the counter. A smile bloomed over his face. “Nice art.”
I followed his gaze. Lucy alternated between neat capitals and loopy lettering to advertise the regular items and the day’s specials. Her daisy-chain border was in neon yellow, and some of the flowers had faces.
“Yeah, my friend’s a regular Matisse,” I joked.
The boy laughed, a rich, velvety sound, like the decadent filling inside a chocolate truffle.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale is a queer small-town romance that will give you major butterflies.” ~ Bustle
“A wistful, lingering romance. The best kind of summer love story - filled with characters that make you wish you could hang out forever in their small East Coast haven. I loved it!” ~ Aminah Mae Safi, author of Not the Girls You're Looking For
“It is a story of summer romance, friendship, breakups, baking, art, beaches and sandcastles. You will fall in love with Babe and Levi and would instantly want to visit Oar’s Rest. ... You absolutely need this amazing summery contemporary in your life.” ~ Flipping Through the Pages
“The writing is beautiful. The story is genuine. The characters reach out to you. In the world full of clichés, here's to one of my favorite book which defied them.” ~ Ojas, Swoon Reader
“The town of Oar's Rest sounds so real and the landscape of sand, sea, and small town life is painted with masterful brush strokes... I was hooked from the first page ... This is a story to be cherished and read over and over.” ~ AimeDelay, Swoon Reader

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
It’s the summer after high school graduation in the small beachside holiday town of Oar’s Rest. Babe has been looking forward to spending it with her best friend Penny and Penny’s boyfriend Chad. Babe knows things will change when they start college, she just wasn’t expecting it to happen so quickly. First, a misunderstanding leads to her losing both of her friends. Then Levi, the cute customer at the coffee shop where she works, catches her attention - but she knows better than to date a summer boy after what happened to her mother. And, finally, her ex shows up and starts making waves. It’s not quite the summer Babe was expecting. But it might just turn out to be even better.
It took a while to get the drift of this book, as I couldn’t tell who the narrator was or even what sex they were for half of the first chapter. In addition, it felt like I had missed a previous book, as we are thrown into the story and given very little background information. For example, it’s not explained how two recent high school graduates have their own homes (Babe the lighthouse and Penny the houseboat) until about a quarter of the way in. The chapters are very long, and the book is extremely long overall for a young adult novel, although it’s probably technically new adult (but without the explicit sex). There’s a lot of unnecessary detail throughout, but it all adds to the atmosphere. The book is extremely well-written, with near-perfect editing, and littered with gorgeous seaside similes and metaphors. Sights, sounds, tastes, and smells are evocatively portrayed, and I loved the descriptions of the food, so much so that I was disappointed there was no recipe at the end. Perhaps an accompanying cookbook is in order? 
By the end, you’ll want to visit this town and meet all of its inhabitants. An impressive debut.
Warnings: coarse language, underage drinking, sexual references, LGBT themes, drug use.

Some of My Favorite Lines
“… I wasn’t that girl anymore. That was what no one told you about the road not taken. You can’t go back to the start of something that was never yours to begin with. Sometimes you just had to deal with taking the wrong exit ramp.”
“Hearts were fickle things, always willing to beat for the exact wrong person.”
“… she was right. People who had hit their friend quotient tended not to look outside the equation.”
“He was just another memory waiting to happen.”
“Success, or anything, really, doesn’t come with a pushpin. You can’t just stick a destination into a map and think there’s just the one route that gets you there. And if you wind up right back where you started . . . well, that’s okay, too. We get to come back from our mistakes.”
“Beginnings could be scary, and there was always a chance that the ending wouldn’t be pretty, but the middle was what made it all worth it.”
“‘This feels—I’ve never—’ I couldn’t even articulate it. ‘God, I’ve lost the ability to word.’”

About the Author
Lillie Vale
Lillie Vale, upon discovering she could not be one of Santa’s elves or attend Hogwarts, decided to become a writer to create a little magic of her own. Enjoying the romantic and eerie in equal measure, she’s probably always writing a book where the main characters kiss or kill. Born in Mumbai, she has lived in many US states and now resides in an Indiana college town where the corn whispers and no one has a clue that she is actually the long-lost caps lock queen. Small Town Hearts is her debut novel.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale (US only).


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Thursday, March 21, 2019

"The Next to Last Mistake" by Amalie Jahn

The Next to Last Mistake
by Amalie Jahn

The Next to Last Mistake by Amalie Jahn

The Next to Last Mistake by Amalie Jahn is currently on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Tess Goodwin’s life in rural Iowa is sheltered and uncomplicated. Although she chooses to spend most of her free time playing chess with her best friend Zander, the farm-boy from next door, her skills as a bovine midwife and tractor mechanic ensure that she fits in with the other kids at East Chester High. But when her veteran father reenlists in the Army, moving her family halfway across the country to North Carolina, Tess is forced out of her comfort zone into a world she knows nothing about.
Tess approaches the move as she would a new game of chess, plotting her course through the unfamiliar reality of her new life. While heeding Zander’s long-distance advice for making new friends and strategizing a means to endure her dad’s imminent deployment to the Middle East, she quickly discovers how ill-equipped she is to navigate the societal challenges she encounters and becomes convinced she’ll never fit in with the students at her new school.
When Leonetta Jackson is assigned as her mentor, she becomes Tess’s unexpected guide through the winding labyrinth of cultural disparities between them, sparking a tentative friendship and challenging Tess to confront her reluctant nature. As the pieces move across the board of her upended life, will Tess find the acceptance she so desperately desires?

I’m almost asleep, barely conscious of drifting off, when I’m startled by a noise outside my window. Before I have a chance to turn on the light and investigate, the sash slides open and someone steps into my room.
I hope beyond all hope I’m not dreaming.
“Zander?” I ask, not wondering if it’s him but why he’s here.
He’s all the way in the room now, standing at the foot of my bed. “Did I wake you?” he whispers.
“No,” I tell him. He blows into his hands, and I lift my blankets, inviting him under the covers to warm up.
“It’s colder than a polar bear’s butt out there.” He snuggles against me in my tiny twin bed like we’re still six-year-olds, camping outside in each other’s backyards. I wrap my arms around him, and he settles against my shoulder. “You left your own party.”
“It wasn’t really my party,” I say. “More New Year’s than anything else.”
“The cake was good. Red velvet. You would’ve liked it.”
There’s so much I want to say. Apologies I want to give. Promises I want to make. But the words are jumbled around in my head, and I’m afraid if I speak everything will come out all wrong.
“I didn’t have anyone to kiss at the ball drop,” he says eventually, and I wonder if whatever was in his Solo cup has gone to his head.
“Tina and Claire were there.”
He chuckles grimly and his voice turns serious. “We’ve been together every New Year’s since we were babies, you know that?” His words settle over me, and I strain under the weight of them. Heavier still is the burden of what he doesn’t say: And this might have been our last.
“I’m sorry,” I say, feeling the need to explain, “but it was so cold and I knew my dad was gonna need help with the herd and…”
He rolls over to face me, placing a finger over my lips. “It’s okay, Tess. I get it. It’s been hard being around each other for the past few weeks. I didn’t realize the anticipation of you leaving was gonna suck so bad. I didn’t know how horrible I was at long goodbyes.” Now he’s the one who’s apologizing. “I guess I didn’t know what else to do. I figured this day might be easier for both of us…”
“If you left me before I had the chance to leave you?”
“Something like that.” He sighs. “It wasn’t intentional. I guess I’ve been sorta messed up in my own head, thinking about not having you around. You’re the best part of my days.”
I blink back tears I don’t realize are already spilling down my cheeks. His admission is true for me as well—something we’ve always taken for granted.
“It’s only eighteen months, then we’ll both graduate and head to college together like we always planned. You and me. It’s not that long, right?”
“It’s not that long,” he agrees. “But it’ll never be the same, not having you right next door.”
His body is relaxed against mine, and I’m reminded of all the nights we spent together growing up, head to foot and back to back, me teasing him for his stinky feet and him making fun of my retainer. “Maybe someone better will move in here,” I laugh between sniffles. “Some Victoria’s Secret supermodel, schlepping around manure in waders and a thong.”
He chuckles, too, and I imagine him smiling in the darkness. “As tempting as she sounds, I still wouldn’t willingly trade you for her.”
There’s something unspoken in his words, a tiny invitation across a boundary we’ve never crossed. But I can’t cross it now. I won’t. There’s no reason to take something painful and make it complicated as well.
“I should go to sleep,” I tell him. “We’re leaving after the morning milking, and I gotta be alert enough to drive.”
He stirs under the covers and his warmth leaves my side. As he stands over me, silhouetted in the moonlight cascading through my window, I hear him sigh. Then, he leans down to place a kiss on my forehead like a father tucking in his child.
“Bye,” I say.
“Love ya.”
“Love ya back.”
And then he’s gone, back through the window out into the night. I assume, in the wake of our farewell, it’s going to take me hours to fall asleep, but the next thing I know my alarm is going off, and it’s time to slide the chessboard of my past life on to the shelf and begin another match.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“This book stole my ENTIRE HEART. I loved everything about it.” ~ Mikayla Tewksbury
The Next to Last Mistake by Amalie Jahn will have readers considering their own lives through a bittersweet lens as they work through feelings of security, happiness, separation, loss, and inequality, among others. Jahn has written a story that will resonate with readers of all ages …” ~ Beth Rodgers
“A great read for any teen...and any adult who finds him/herself in unfamiliar territory. I highly recommend this book!!” ~ Christina Chisholm
The Next to Last Mistake is a quick, but meaningful, deep read that is not only good for the heart, but the soul as well. Make this a must!” ~ Jennifer H.
“I can say without fail that this will be one of my favorite books of the year. It's brilliant, with moments that will warm your heart, uplift you, tear you down, educate you, comfort you, and make you want to hug every loved one you have. It will stay with you LONG after you read the final word.” ~ Patrick Hodges

About the Author
Amalie Jahn
Amalie Jahn is a USA Today bestselling author of more than 8 young adult novels, including The Next to Last Mistake, her latest release (Light Messages Publishing 2019).
Amalie is the recipient of the Literary Classics Seal of Approval and the Readers' Favorite Gold Medal for her debut novel, The Clay Lion. She is a contributing blogger with the Huffington Post and Southern Writers Magazine, as well as a TED speaker, human rights advocate, and active promoter of kindness. She lives in the United States with her husband, two children, and three overfed cats.
When she's not at the computer coaxing characters into submission, you can find Amalie swimming laps, cycling, or running on the treadmill, probably training for her next triathlon. She hates pairing socks and loves avocados. She is also very happy time travel does not yet exist.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon or B&N gift card.


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