September 29, 2016

Guest Promo (CLXXIX) Fall #RomanticTravel Tour JMMaurer






It has been far too long since my last visit to Paris, but I can still say that I love France!




My romantic travel picture is a photo of a painting I did. I am not a painter, but with the encouragement of a couple glasses of wine, I tried my best. La Ville Lumière will always be one of my favorite romantic spots.
                                             Seeking Hope



In the Emerging From Darkness trilogy, we meet Jessica Winters. Sheis determined to dig her way out from under the dark clouds of depression and once again find the light of life, love, and happiness. With help from Dr. Matthew Moi, a psychiatrist/sex therapist who has been secretly in love with her for years, she finds herself living again. But with someone out to get Jessica, Matthew pledgesto stop at nothing to protect the love of his life.In time, he seizes an opportunity for a safe havenat his family home in France. With their wedding on the horizon, will he get Jess to safety in time?Will things end tragically, or will their journey to The City of Light be more than romantic?




Blurb for Seeking Hope (Emerging From Darkness Trilogy Book 3), contemporary romance 18+


I’d been given promises in the past, all of which were broken.

Inevitably, they broke me.

I wouldn’t let those broken promises stop me from believing in new ones, though.

I couldn’t.



Matthew Moi was different.

His dimpled smile and witty sexual banter has held me spellbound since day one.

Falling in love with him came easy.

Marrying him—a dream come true.



Now, he wants something I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready for.

As I struggle, he faithfully remains at my side.

Through it all, his protective nature shields me from an evil I didn’t see coming.



Together, we have it all—love, passion, trust.

Apart, the possibilities are endless, even death.



Seeking Hope is the final book in the Emerging From Darkness trilogy, and as such, is not intended to be a standalone. The trilogy reads as: Seeking Love, Seeking Redemption, & Seeking Hope.



Follow Jessica and Matthew’s captivating and steamy love story from the beginning—start the trilogy today!



Excerpt:

Late September



For the first time in a long time, I had an itch to do something ridiculous—two things, in fact. One was the reason I was sitting in the back of a musty old van. The other might just be the solution to my Holly problem.

At least I hoped so, because while my mind should have been racing with thoughts of my upcoming wedding, it wasn’t. Instead, I was thinking of my best friend. Problem was, no matter how I launched my plan to help Holly move beyond her commitment issue with Burdick, it wasn’t going to go over well. And the more I thought about her, the more I dreaded the growing possibility of a headache. I’d just gotten over a nasty headache and was now attempting to shake off the likelihood of another when the van rolled to a stop and the driver’s voice muttered in the distance.

“We’re here.”

Okay, Jess. You’ve got your plan and it’s a good one.

I was about to remind myself to stick to said plan when the driver hopped out and moved to my side of the van, his open door ushering in a blast of autumn air that chilled my skin. I shivered and scooted to the edge of my seat, waiting for what was to come next. The shrill of metal sliding over metal pierced my ears as the door slid open, and rough skin wrapped a secure hold on my wrist. This was it.

“End of the line.” His gruff tone registered somewhere between the brief time it took him to pull me out and when his tall, burly features came into full view. He snickered as I pulled the hem of my pullover down and worked to smooth it out. Judging by the way his eyes scanned up my body, I presumed his outburst had everything to do with my appearance. After all, this was the first time I’d pieced together an outfit for such an outdoorsy occasion. Eventually, he calmed and took my hand, turning it palm up. “You don’t want to forget this.”

Instinctively, my fingers clasped a tight grip around the cold steel as I stood, staring down at the black metal, hoping I’d do it right. I’d never held a gun before. They all made me nervous. Fact was, with a gun in the wrong hands, things could quickly turn ugly.

I knew all about ugly.

Drawing my attention his way, the driver stretched a tattooed arm, pointed a finger, and then offered his last words of advice. “Never give up.”

I swallowed back a lump of fear, absorbing a deeper meaning of the phrase, and took off running. For what seemed like forever, I ran up and down hills, climbed over a few sizeable rocks, jumped a tiny brook, and pushed forward until I needed to recharge and bring my thoughts back into focus.

At best guess, I’d been in the woods for several hours, alternating between steady jogs in the direction I was supposed to go and quick respites to catch my breath. I wasn’t sure exactly where I was, but as far as I could see, there was nothing but dense forest—and me. Panting, I leaned against a tree and listened to the rustle of withered leaves moving with the breeze.

One thing was comforting: I hadn’t run into anyone. Yet.

Crack.




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Bio:

J.M. Maurer started working as a registered nurse in the Pediatric Intensive
Care Unit where she cared for critically ill children, transported them from outlying hospitals, and even picked up overtime hours treating patients of all ages while inside a hyperbaric chamber. Holding a Bachelor's degree in nursing, she loves to write about strong characters and their struggles in life.



When not writing, you can find her spending time with family and friends, exploring the outdoors, or attempting most any sport. She resides in Chicago with her husband and son.

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September 27, 2016

Banned Books Week


  
I’m sad to see that books are still being banned in today’s society.
This is a week during which  attention is drawn to the books that have been censored, challenged and banned in schools and libraries and during which we also celebrate the freedom to read whatever we want.
You might be surprised to find some of your favorite titles topping the list. Here they are, in  no special order.



            
Looking for Alaska by John Green“Looking for Alaska,” by John Green.
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
John Green has recently risen to internet fame with his YouTube videos and beautifully written young adult novels. “Looking for Alaska” is one of the latter. In it, Miles “Pudge” Walter goes in search of something exciting, only to find exactly what he’s looking for: Alaska Young, a young, beautiful, crazy girl who steals his heart.
  

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan 



Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
An attempt to break the world record for the longest kiss is at the heart of this complex novel. The ALA cited challenges focused on ‘homosexuality’ and the suggestion that the book ‘condones public displays of affection’.


“Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E. L. James.
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit

It may not surprise you to see E. L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” at the top of the Banned Books list this year. This popular, erotic fiction series arose out of “Twilight” fan fiction and has graced the New York Times Bestseller list for some time. Its sexually explicit scenes is what has this book challenged in libraries across the nation.

I Am Jazz by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel
This autobiographical picture book (co-written with Jessica Herthel) tells how the activist and YouTube star asserted and embraced her transgender identity. Reasons given for challenges included the accusation that it was ‘inaccurate’ and ‘unsuited for age group’.
 

 


Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin

The photographer Susan Kuklin interviewed and photographed six transgender teens, presenting a diverse and complex portrait of lives crossing traditional gender boundaries. Challenges included the suggestion that it was ‘anti-family’ and used ‘offensive language’.





The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
 
A 2003 bestseller, this novel follows Christopher as he investigates the death of his neighbour’s dog, unravelling the emotional and moral confusions of the adults around him. This sensitive portrayal of a boy on the autistic spectrum won a host of awards and has faced challenges suggesting it included ‘offensive language’ as well as ‘profanity and atheism’.




The Bible

The Bible joined the ranks of the most challenged books for the first time this year. According to the ALA challenges to this classic story of wrath and redemption cited ‘religious viewpoint’.







Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
 
Bechdel’s graphic memoir of growing up in small-town Pennsylvania explores her relationship with her father and her own sexuality in a dense spiral of memory and allusion. Challenges in 2015 included suggestions that it contained ‘violence’ and ‘graphic images’.






Habibi by Craig Thompson

Thompson explores child slavery and sexual awakening in a graphic novel that took him seven years to complete. The ALA logged challenges objecting to ‘nudity’, as well as suggesting it was ‘sexually explicit’ and ‘unsuited for age group’.






Nasreen’s Secret School by Jeanette Winter

Winter depicts life in Afghanistan under the Taliban in this story of a girl who enrols in a secret school after both her parents disappear. According to the ALA, challenges included objections to violence and ‘religious viewpoint’.




Have you read any of them? What do you think?