Author Archives: Carrie

BOOK TOUR REVIEW: Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn T. Dingman

Cancel the Wedding

by Carolyn T. Dingman

Women’s Fiction

Book Description

On the surface, Olivia has it all: a high-powered career, a loving family, and a handsome fiancé. She even seems to be coming to terms with her mother Jane’s premature death from cancer. But when Jane’s final wish is revealed, Olivia and her elder sister Georgia are mystified. Their mother rarely spoke of her rural Southern hometown, and never went back to visit—so why does she want them to return to Huntley, Georgia, to scatter her ashes?

Jane’s request offers Olivia a temporary escape from the reality she’s long been denying: she hates her “dream” job, and she’s not really sure she wants to marry her groom-to-be. With her 14-year-old niece, Logan, riding shotgun, she heads South on a summer road trip looking for answers about her mother.

As Olivia gets to know the town’s inhabitants, she begins to peel back the secrets of her mother’s early life—truths that force her to finally question her own future. But when Olivia is confronted with a tragedy and finds an opportunity to right a terrible wrong, will it give her the courage to accept her mother’s past—and say yes to her own desire to start over?

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MY THOUGHTS: 3 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

Cancel the Wedding: A Novel by Carolyn T. Dingman

While Cancel the Wedding isn’t the deepest thing you’ll read, it makes for a good beach book and a quick getaway from whatever might be troubling you.

Our main character is Olivia, a 32 year old who’s soon to be married to her high-powered attorney fiance, Leo. However, when Leo surprises her by telling her that he’s got the date and venue picked out, Olivia sort of freaks out and decides it’s time for an impromptu road trip down to Georgia with her teenage niece. Olivia aims to spread her mother’s ashes according to her final wishes, and just maybe found out about the past her mom Janie never wanted to share.

Once she gets there, though, Olivia finds out there is so much more to the story than she could have imagined. She soon realizes that it will take some time to uncover all her mom’s secrets, and it’s OK with her because she needs some time away from her life anyway. Helping her along this journey is town newspaperman Elliot, whose sweet southern demeanor quickly pulls Olivia in.

I believe that a book’s review is ultimately affected by what the reader expects the book to be. I was hoping that Cancel the Wedding would be a book of discovery and growth, but unfortunately the writing and characters fall into that chick lit, rom com rut that is so filled with stereotypes.

Olivia is a woman in her thirties but she can’t pull herself together enough to break things off with a fiance she doesn’t love. He’s always busy and from the way he seems to be wanting to marry her only to further his career, you know as a reader that there is no chance they are going to work out. Inserting a new, angelic guy into the mix just really leads you down the road you think.

But, the journey was OK. At first, I thought I had it figured out as far as the terrible secret Olivia’s mom had hidden, but I soon found that I did not, and at least that was refreshing. The book also touches on some of the things I was thinking as I was reading it: Why did Janie hide her past but want to be back in it after her death? How did Janie’s husband cope with everything? How will her children shoulder the truth? I didn’t exactly get the answers I may have been looking for, but at least the book attempted to address these issues.

The romance unfolds exactly the way you think it will in this type of book, and there was no surprise there. While Olivia is immature and runs from confrontation, Elliot is painted as a saint, so it’s easy to see that Olivia will choose him over her overbearing fiance Leo. I also thought the scenes at the end with everyone present were wrapped up a little too neatly and on the unrealistic side for my taste, but hey, maybe my life is just too drama filled.

As I said, if you’re looking for light hearted summer reading material, Cancel the Wedding is a nice choice.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Carolyn T. Dingman lives in her adopted hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and two daughters. Cancel the Wedding is her first novel.

Find out more about Carolyn at her website, and connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Torn by Laney McMann

J. Taylor Publishing are giving away FIVE ARCs of Torn by Laney McMann!

Check it out!

TORN by Laney McMann

Find Max.

That’s all Layla cares about. Not healing from the Fomore attack. Not finding answers to how she survived a fall that nearly killed her. Nothing will stop her. She will find him. She’ll even pair up with an overbearing Fallen Angel who’s hell bent on making everything harder than it needs to be if she has to.

Protect Layla.

For Max, nothing else matters. Not the bruises covering his body. Not the pain radiating from his broken bones. Not even his hands tied behind his back. He will find a way to save Layla, and the Fomore will pay if they’ve hurt her.

Every. Single. One of them.

In the second installment of The Fire Born trilogy, a new breed of villain looms—one Layla and Max will never suspect, and this killer has nothing to lose. Better yet, with Max and Layla’s deaths, victory is in the grip of the enemy.

Will Max and Layla find each other in time, or is it already too late for them both?

If young love worth fighting for keeps you up reading all night, you will love this second installment in the Fire Born trilogy.

And J. Taylor Publishing is giving away FIVE ARC copies.

To YOU!

You don’t even have to be a book blogger!

Nope, so long as you are willing to leave an honest review* by September 14th 2014, you are eligible to enter.

Interested?

Then just fill out the form and keep your fingers crossed.

You have until midnight of August 25th, 2014 to enter.

*A review should consist of your honest thoughts regarding a book, usually a few paragraphs long and around 150 – 500 (or more, if desired) words in length.

About Laney McMann:

 

Laney McMann

Laney McMann

With a passion for the supernatural and all things magical, Laney developed a voracious appetite for reading fantasy at a young age. A vivid imagination helped set the stage for creating her own worlds and placed her onto the writing path.

By the time she reached her teens, she’d accumulated notebooks full of poems, which led to short stories and finally novels. Young adult dark fantasy, paranormal romance, and mythology are among her favorite genres.

A former classical dancer and chef, she grew up in sultry Florida where she still resides with her family.

Get a Fitness Boost from Bulu Box!

Who couldn’t use a little help when it comes to choosing the products that will help make your fitness regimen reach its’ maximum potential? That’s where the monthly subscription original, Bulu Box comes in! Here is a little more information on what they offer.

Bulu Box is the first health, nutrition and weight loss discovery box designed to help you feel your best. Each month, you’ll get a custom box filled with a new mix of 4 to 5 premium samples from top brands to try. Every sample is sufficient enough to decide if the product is right for you. Of course, shipping is always free and you can cancel anytime. Share your thoughts about each product in our sample surveys and you can earn 50+ Rewards Points (that’s $5!) each month! Use your points to purchase your new favorites in full size at BuluBox.com! Here you’ll also get expert tips, tricks and a supportive community of Bulugans just like you! Join the discovery and find a healthier you!

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Here is the first Bulu Box I received!  Doesn’t the bright orange and all the motivational quotes going on just make you feel pumped up?

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Inside is an informational card telling you what each item in the box is about, and where you can find the full size versions.

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And the contents of the July Box that I received!

Quest Protein Bar: A bit tough to chew and not coated with that fake chocolate coating, this bar is quite hefty and I ate only half before it satisfied my hunger. $2.39 Value

AdvanceMint Happy Hour Cocktail Supplements: Such a cool idea! These are breath mints that you take while drinking that will, hopefully, prevent you from having a hangover in the morning! While I haven’t yet found myself in a situation to use these, I can’t wait to see if they will really work.  $4.99 value for 2 packets

Garden of Life Raw Protein: Chai is far from my favorite flavor, but this is good mixed with either almond or soy milk.  Makes for an energy filled breakfast! $1.99 Value

Runa Focused Energy Traditional Guayusa Tea: Again, I’m not a big tea fan.  I think I am going to pass these packets on to someone who will make use of them.  $.99 value

Shapeology Burn Blend Capsules: I’ve never used a diet supplement before, but I also don’t think I would be able to feel the effects of these after just using the couple of capsules I received.  Approx $1.20 value.

The Good Bean Roasted Chickpeas: Surprisingly good!  I loved the crunch, and they provided a quick afternoon pick me up when I was getting hungry.  $.60 value.

Total box value: All in all I got about $12 worth of product for the $10 cost of the box.  I do love being introduced to new products though, and that’s what I liked most.

SPECIAL OFFER FOR MY READERS:

 

REVIEW: The Great American Slow Cooker Book by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

Book Description

The ultimate in slow-cooker books–with 500 recipes, each adapted for three sizes of appliance. From breakfast to soups, mains to grains, vegetables to desserts, this guide is the only book you’ll ever need to master your slow cooker or crockpot.

Millions of people are turning to slow cookers for their weeknight meals yet often can’t find recipes that match their exact machine. Adapting recipes meant for a different-size cooker doesn’t work–getting the right level of spice in your Vietnamese soup or keeping pulled pork tender requires having ingredients in the right proportion. But now, Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough have decoded slow cookers, and each of their recipes includes ingredient proportions for 2-3 quart, 4-5 quart, and 6-8 quart machines, guaranteeing a perfect fit no matter what machine you own. Each recipe is labeled for its level of difficulty and nutritional value, and they cover every kind of dish imaginable: delicious breakfast oatmeals, slow-braised meats, succulent vegetables, sweet jams and savory sauces, decadent desserts. This is the slow cooker book to end them all.

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MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

Before you even start looking up recipes in this book, it would benefit you greatly as a chef to read the introduction and tips in the beginning.  This book offers recipes for 3 common sizes of slow cookers, so you will need to know the size of your before you attempt any recipes.
Once you get to the recipes, you are greeted with a wide variety of dishes and ingredients, some common, some more obscure.  I like that this cookbook has slow cooker dessert and breakfast recipes, which for some reason are few and far between in most places.
The best part about this cookbook is that the reader knows that all the recipes contained within have been tried and found true.  At the end of each is a footnote that will help you achieve slow cooking success.  I’m glad to add this book to my collection and I know I will be referencing it often.

COVER REVEAL: Who We Were by Christy Sloat

Who We Were by Christy Sloat
Genre: YA, Contemporary Romance
Coming September 15th, 2014!

“Who we were had washed away with the summer. Who we are was yet to be seen.”

Summer school at Alcott High was only supposed to gain Sadie Peters extra credit, nothing more. Her goal wasn’t to make friends, or gain the attention of the most popular football player, yet she managed both. Her life was cruising along on course … until that summer.

Could a simple stint in a different school change her identity completely and introduce her to love for the first time? How would that affect her relationship with Lily, her best friend?

Hopefully their friendship was strong enough to make it through the tumultuous summer. Sadie learns that great things come with change, but sometimes memories of the past are hardest to part with.

 
About the Author

 

 

Christy Sloat is a SoCal born girl who resides in New Jersey currently with her husband, two daughters and Sophie her Chihuahua. Christy has embraced the love of reading and writing since her youth and was inspired by her grandmother’s loving support. Christy passes that love of reading, writing, and creativity to her daughters, family, and friends. When you do not find Christy within the pages of a book you can find her being mommy, wife, crafter, and dear friend. She loves adventurous journeys with her friends and can be known to get lost inside a bookstore. Be sure to venture into her Past Lives Series, The Visitor’s Series, and watch for many more exciting things to come.

 

 

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REVIEW: Dial Coconut Water Refreshing Mango Body Wash

With the scorching hot Louisiana summer we have had thus far, I was very much looking forward to trying a new body wash that seems perfect for cooling off. Luckily, new Dial Coconut Water body wash in Refreshing Mango scent seemed to be just the ticket.

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Here’s a bit of product information about the body wash.

 Treat your skin to twice the tropical refreshment with every shower. The rich lather of this body wash is infused with coconut water, known to be rich in hydrating antioxidants and electrolytes. While the scent of juicy, ripe mango leaves skin feeling fresh, clean and delectably fragrant.

The juicy mango scent is definitely the star of this show!  Even before you lather up, you can tell that the scent is strong.  It becomes even more so when you put it on your loofah–lathering up is a fantastic sensory experience.  The scent also stays on your skin well after you’re done drying off.

Dial body wash always lathers quite well and generously for me, and this new formula was no exception.  With just a quarter sized squirt, you will have tons of rich bubbles that rinse off easily.

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Dial Refreshing Mango is a great addition to the Coconut Water body wash line, and a perfect way to cool off and smell great after a super hot day.

Check out the Dial Facebook page for more info on their products, giveaways, and more!

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Flawed by J.L. Spelbring

Title: Flawed (Perfection #2)

Author: J.L. Spelbring

Release Date: August 12, 2014

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

In a world where Hitler won the The War, and perfection is constantly sought, Ellyssa has broken free from her austere life and has found another meaning for her existence.

Family, friendship, and love.

But her happiness is short lived. Ellyssa finds herself on the run, again. Her father’s work didn’t die with him, but lives on in her siblings, Aalexis and Xaver, and they are determined to complete his unfinished dream.

 

FLAWED TRAILER from irashiflet; on Vimeo.

AVAILABLE ON

AmazonB&N † Kobo † iBooksBook Depository



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GET BOOK ONE TODAY!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 

 

J.L. Spelbring lives in Texas, where she wanders out in the middle of the night to look at the big and bright stars. Besides knocking imaginary bad guys in the head with a keyboard, she enjoys being swept away between the pages of a book, running amuck inside in her own head, pretending she is into running, and hanging out with her kids, who are way too cool for her.

Her novel, Perfection, released in July 2013 and the sequel, Flawed, releases August 2014.

 

 

 

 

 WIN an ARC of Flawed!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

BOOK TOUR SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Death at Carp High by Jeremy Gold

 

Death at Carp High

by Jeremy Gold

Jake Brown Mysteries, Book One

Book Description

Jake Brown is your average, above-average kid. He generally has his mind on the usual things high school seniors think about: girls, avoiding Spanish class, girls, pizza, surfing, girls, and of course, girls. None of that changes when he and his best friend, Dean, go surfing and find a body with a hole in its head floating beyond the waves. Suddenly, Jake’s life is about to change, some of it in a good way, some of it, not so much.

Shortly after “the big discovery,” Sydney, a cross country teammate of Jake’s, asks him to go to Morp—Prom spelled backwards—a Sadie Hawkins-style dance where the girls ask out the boys. As if life isn’t exciting enough trying to solve a murder, it looks like Jake is about to have his fondest wish granted—a real, live girlfriend. Despite Sydney’s obvious attraction to him, it takes a little work to convince Jake the attraction is real. Luckily, Sydney is very convincing.

In the beginning, Jake and Dean try keeping Lily and Sydney out of harm’s way. Their concern for their girlfriends doesn’t last long. Eventually, the four of them become entangled in clues—and making sure dire threats from their prime suspect don’t pan out. Jake might not say he’s gotten himself into a life-threating situation but not wanting to say it doesn’t make it any less true.

“Death at Carp High” has as many peaks and troughs as a winter swell at Rincon, and it’s all Jake and Dean can do to avoid wiping out.

sshexcerpt

I’m pretty sure Sandra DeFargo wasn’t wearing any under- wear in homeroom, this morning,” I repeated to Dean. Dean was my best friend.
“How could you tell, Jake?” he asked.
“When I turned around to look at the clock, I noticed she was sitting with her legs slightly apart. She was wearing pantyhose but nothing else.”
“Do girls even wear pantyhose and panties at the same time? Aren’t the panties already built in to the pantyhose? They are called ‘panty’ hose, after all.”
“Good point. The real question is, however, why was she wearing pantyhose to begin with?”
“Nobody wears pantyhose to school.” “I know. So why was she?” “For that matter, why was she wearing a dress?” “Hardly any girls wear dresses.” “Maybe it has to do with some sort of medical condition.” “Like varicose veins.” “Do kids our age even get varicose veins? I thought only
old people got that.”
“It could be an anomaly,” I said. “Or cancer.” “What? Why would having cancer necessitate having to
wear pantyhose?” “Maybe it’s some sort of skin cancer. Maybe her legs would
look really bad without something to cover them up.” “So why wouldn’t she just wear pants?” I wondered out loud. “Exactly. Ninety percent of the girls at school wear pants.
Only the real slutty girls wear dresses.” “Short dresses.” “Sans underwear.” “Maybe Sandra decided to go slutty, all of sudden.” “Pantyhose, though, definitely detract from the slutty look.” “And besides, she’s way too straight to be a slut.” “Which means, you might just have imagined the whole
thing.” “So you’re saying it was just wishful thinking on my part?”
I asked. “That I imagined the whole thing?” “I’m just saying that maybe some part of your subconscious
mind saw what it wanted to see,” Dean said. “It’s possible. Still…it still doesn’t answer why she was wearing
pantyhose to begin with.” “No it doesn’t. And it also doesn’t answer a more funda-
mental question.” “Which is?” I asked. “Why was she sitting with her legs apart?” “Hmm? ” “Exactly. Why weren’t her legs crossed?” “Or pressed together?”
“We’ve already ruled out the whole ‘slut’ angle, right?”
“Right. Sandra DeFargo is not a slut. Too smart, too straight. Too Christian.”
“On the other hand, you know what they say about those Catholic girls.”
“Except we’re not going to a Catholic high school.”
“Which doesn’t mean she couldn’t still be a repressed Catholic, acting out against her priest and parents.”
“You make a good point. Just because she ‘appears’ to be straight, doesn’t mean she actually is. For all we know, she’s having wild sex with different guys every night.”
“Don’t you think we would have heard about it if that were true, though?”
“Probably. But it’s not like we’re part of that crowd.” “The crowd that has wild sex every night?” “Yes. That crowd.” “You think this was a one-time deal or you think she’s,
uh…turned over a new leaf, decided to spice up her life a little bit?” Dean asked.
“You’re suggesting the pantyhose could actually be an attempt to change things up and get laid?” I said.
“Hooking up and getting laid is always a good thing,” Dean reminded me.
“Definitely. Though if she thinks wearing pantyhose is what it’ll take…”
“Dude, it doesn’t take much for a girl to get laid at our school.” “I wish I could say the same for the guys.” “I know what you mean.” “At least you have a girlfriend,” I said.
“Yeah, but we’re not doing it,” Dean said, holding out his hands disappointedly.
“And why exactly is that again?” “The biggest reason is that she’s ‘not ready,’” he said. “And the lesser reason?” “It’s against my religion.” “Oh that’s right…you’re Mormon,” I said, pretending I
hadn’t remembered. “Hard to forget something like that.” “I can imagine it would be,” I said. Unless you knew Dean like I did, you never would have
known that he went to church at least once a week and planned on going on a two-year mission abroad after his first year of college.
“So you’ve finally decided not to have sex before you’re married?” I asked.
“Well…not completely. If the right girl threw herself at me…I might just give in to the temptation.”
“And Lily isn’t ‘temptation’ enough?” I queried. “She’s definitely temptation…” “But she isn’t enough temptation?” I pressed. “Well…given the right circumstances…”
“Like both of you inebriated at a party? Which incidentally is also taboo in the Mormon religion. Drinking alcohol, right? Which, of course, you have freely sampled more than once.”
“I have, haven’t I,” Dean admitted nodding his head.
“So what’s one more sin in the book? You just have to say a few extra Hail Marys, right?”
“We don’t say Hail Marys, dude. Catholics say Hail Marys.”

 

About the Author

Jeremy Gold is seventeen years old…in his mind. He lives in Carpinteria, California, a small beachside town, ten miles south of its more celebrated sister, Santa Barbara. He loves hiking, mountain bike riding, and of course, writing. Death at Carp High is the first in the six-part Jake Brown mystery series.

Jeremy and his wife, Calla, have been married since 1979. Any resemblance between their 21-year-old son, Dan, and Jake Brown is purely…understandable.

 

Putting a Twist to Your Classic (and Boring) Office Attire

Office attire can be very constricting, especially when the industry you’re working for is highly corporate. Unless you’re working for an advertising or entertainment company, you’re not free to wear shorts and crop tops at work. Make your office outfit interesting and fashionable with chunky heels, a bright coat, and a show-stopping handbag to fight a boring ensemble at the workplace.

1. Wedge Heels. Classic black pumps are a staple and they polish every look when paired with a blazer and pencil skirt combo. However, an all-black ensemble can be boring at times. Aside from pumps, what works just divine with a pencil skirt is a pair of wedge heels. They’re not just more comfortable than stilettos, but they also give a fresh and younger look on your whole ensemble. Choose one that’s made of suede material or with ankle straps. And if you can get away with color, choose dark ones that aren’t black (Bamboo Pamela wedge heels, $24.96).

2. Bright Coat. Dark colors typically constitute a highly corporate outfit. Even though you can’t wear something fun and bright at the office, always remember you can dress up and exude your fashionable side when you’re on your way to the workplace or when you’re going out for lunch. For spring, wear a trench coat in block colors ranging from pink, to apple green, yellow and orange. You may be old-fashioned underneath but you’re definitely one fashionable lady as soon as you step out of the building (Burberry London Single-Breasted Bonded-Cotton Trench Coat, £717).

3. Waterfall Blazer. When you can’t get away with a pink or coral blazer as much as you want to, make your typical black blazer extra special by opting for a waterfall-hem. Even if you’re wearing the classic black blazer, your style will be the talk of fashionistas because of its Victorian-inspired design and great-fitting cut. Pair a waterfall blazer with your favorite cigarette pants, pointy pumps and a sweep of bright red lipstick on your lips for that almost catwalk moment (Alexander McQueen Wool Blazer, $2,785).

4. Scarf. Scarves are great additions to any plain outfit. You know how a simple scarf can turn an ordinary basic tee-and-jeans get-up into something really chic and stylish. A silk scarf is a great addition to your top especially when you have a plain, round neck inner blouse. Another option is to tie your scarf on the handles of your handbag (Tiger Print Scarf, $8.70).

5. Handbag. If you want to showcase a striking fashion piece in your boring outfit, just carry a designer handbag. Louis Vuitton handbags are definitely classic statement pieces but younger generations are more inclined to choose colored leather goods than the usual monogram prints. If you’re a born New Yorker, this tip is already a no-brainer. For sure, you’ll find the chicest leather handbags from Michael Kors and Kate Spade (Saint Laurent Petite Y Line Top-Handle Bag, $2,490.00).

6. Lipstick. The right makeup at the office can instantly mean strictly business. Some businesses like airline companies require a certain makeup for their employees. Other businesses prefer the simple, natural look. Check your company’s guidelines to see if there’s a section on makeup and grooming. If they’re lenient, you can always put on lipstick shades ranging from nude to a touch of pink, to deep red and even a juicy orange shade. This is probably the cheapest yet easiest way to put a twist to your classic corporate ensemble (NARS Heat Wave, $26).

SPOTLIGHT: Coexist by Julia Crane

Coexist by Julia Crane

Book 1 – Keegan’s Chronicles

YA Fantasy

Sixteen-year-old Keegan is struggling to keep her huge secret from her friends–she’s an elf, descended from a long line of elves that live in secrecy alongside humans. 

In elfin society, mates are predetermined but not allowed to meet until they are eighteen. Against tradition, Keegan’s brother Thaddeus told her Rourk’s name because his visions warned him she’d need Rourk’s protection, especially since Keegan will play a key role in the coming war between the dark and light elves.

Rourk finds himself drawn to Keegan’s side every time she thinks his name. He wants to talk to her but remains in the shadows, silently guarding her every time she mentally beckons him. A twist of fate thrusts the two of them together when Rourk is forced to step up his protection and make his presence known.

An ancient prophecy deeply entwines Keegan’s family and the future of their society. Somehow they must find a way to thwart fate and win the battle…without losing Keegan. With war brewing, and dark forces aligning, will Keegan and Rourk ever have the life together that they both desire?

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1slj7EQ

Coexist is FREE on Kindle

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1yemf3u

Purchase

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1r0Lg4n

About Julia Crane

Julia crane is the author of the Keegan’s Chronicles, IFICS. She has a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination.

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