London Adventures

Welcome to part four of 4 in my ten part travel series. Check out Part I, Part II, Part III.

Today we’re going to London, England. This part of my trip was mostly business but I had a few days where I got the chance to sight see and explore the city.

I have never been in London, but I have read plenty of books and seen a bunch of movies to go with some expectations. The city itself (what I saw of it) was a beautiful and crowded city. There were a lot of things to do and see and I spent a bunch of time just walking around and seeing the sights. I thought that buying a tour bus ticket might be a good idea, but once I walked around for a bit, I was glad that I didn’t end up getting it. If you are a fan of walking or don’t mind it, I suggest skipping the tour bus and just exploring. A lot of the sights ended up being close to each other (in clusters). The best method of transportation to use is the tube and just by re-filling your Oyster card (tube pass). The system is so easy to use and the maps are not complicated at all. The price is dependent on the distance between your stops (a few of my stops cost 0.70£ and others were 1.25£), but at the end of the day it is still cheaper than the cabs.

View from the London Eye

Westminster Abbey

London Eye

Big Ben

Outside of Buckingham Palace

I was staying at an apartment that I got through Air Bnb, and the area was in Knightsbridge. If you have never been to London or never heard of the area, it is where the Queen shops. It had a lot of high end shops and it was very expensive so naturally I stayed away from that area when it came time to go shopping.

I saw a bunch of sites including Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Hyde Park and much more.

 Big Ben was a spectacular sight. It was so tall that it could be seen from a really far distance. The clock striking every hour was loud too and could be heard from the distance.

The London Eye was a sight to see and be on. It is pretty tall Ferris Wheel that goes really slow (it takes about 30 minutes to make one circle), however it is worth going on. You get to see all of London from the top and into the distance.You get to see just how big London is and how much you still cannot see from the top. Being afraid of heights, I was not really a fan of the height but I tried to distract myself from the height by looking all around me and enjoy the view.

Guard at Buckingham Palace

The Buckingham Palace was not that impressive to me. I didn’t go inside (for obvious reasons) but from what I could see from the outside, there wasn’t much to see. Not even the guards were that good (there used to be more outside, but now there is only one).

 Overall, my trip was pretty good, both on the business and personal side. One thing that I didn’t like London for was the British Pound. It is so much more expensive than the Euro or even the Canadian Dollar. A regular burger with friends could cost between 12-15£. (around 20-25 CAD). The pricing is the same in terms of Canada and England, however the currency exchange is what really makes the difference and makes it really expensive.

I definitely recommend that you bring enough money and a little extra in case you love to shop and eat at expensive places or have an expensive taste. It is not going to be cheap, that is for sure.

Lastly, although it was a great trip and a I  would love to come back, next time I will be going more out of the city to explore the rest of England. I have heard a lot of great things about the country side and I would love to see that part of the country.

Have you ever been to London, England? What was your impression?

Winter and Black Friday

Although it is only late November it feels like it is already winter. This year is a bit different compared to last year because we seem to have received a lot more snow in Toronto. Usually it is just cold in November and we hope to get some snow by the time Christmas rolls around. That is not the case this year and that is good news in my book. I love the snow and around this time of the year it is still decent enough outside that we can enjoy it without freezing our bums.

With that being said there are a few things that I am looking forward to come next week. Can you guess what it is? That’s right it is Black Friday and Cyber Monday! Although I am not one  to go and wait in front of a store at 5am, I do keep track of the deals just in case there is something out there that I can get and save a bit of money.

This year I am hoping to find a decent laptop. My current one is on its last legs and when you can’t really work on it properly, you know that it is really time to get a new one. I have been procrastinating on buying a new laptop for a couple of years because I seem to always find a temporary fix where my computer functions decently for a few months before reverting to its old habits.

On top of a laptop, I am also going to keep an eye out to see if I can get some of my Christmas shopping completed. I definitely don’t want to wait til the last few days before Christmas to start. Trust me it is not a good idea (I did it a few years in a row and it is a mad house).

 

Now if you are like me, you probably will be scoring sites on Black Friday to see if there are any good book deals or presents for book lovers. Seems like a good idea to stock up around this time of the year as there will be plenty of time to cosy up and read while watching the snow fall outside.  Check out this website for a few gift ideas (from book marks, matches, lights and candles (old book smell!) there is something that you can get for a fellow book lover.

What are you most excited for on Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Stargazer Blitz

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Stargazer by Sunniva Dee
(Halos #2)
Publication date: November 2014
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal
Synopsis:

I’m Luna, and I’ve been in the Twilight Zone since I moved in with my sister and her boyfriend.
I sense their secrets in every corner of the house.

Gabriel is eerily beautiful, and his personality disturbingly perfect, while Gaia’s inexplicable PTSD and mood swings bounce her between bliss and despair.

Until Gabriel’s brothers pay a visit.

Cassiel…
He’s the night to his brother’s day. He’s sex personified and the devil in one hell of a stunning package. It’s been years since I last saw him, but this man makes me burn. He hooks me with his touch. Enthralls me with those oddly simmering eyes. He pierces my soul with his knowing smirks, and I am losing myself in him.

Ka…
With pearlescent hair and spring green eyes, he crashes into my world. I thought this crazy, beautiful man could mend my bleeding heart. Make things recognizable again—normal. Instead he pulls me from the embers and feeds me to the open fire.

College life. Is this what everyone goes trough?

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AUTHOR BIO
Sunniva

I write New Adult fiction with a paranormal twist and don’t shy away from romance and heart-wrenching passion when necessary.I moved from Norway to the United States in 2001, and the first awesome five years I spent in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles. Then I read “The Book,” aka Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which spurred my husband and me to move cross country to beautiful Savannah, Georgia.

I’m currently on my seventh year in the Deep South, where I enjoy the heat and the humidity. Besides writing, I spend my time with our “petting zoo” as in an opinionated parrot, a herd of cats that are experts on keyboard shortcuts, and puppies that…uh, bark.

I hold a Master’s degree in languages, with concentrations within literature and linguistics. I taught at college level for a decade before settling in as a graduate adviser at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Writing is my passion, my joy, and my addiction. When I’m not writing, I read.
Shattering Halos is my debut novel, and its standalone sequel, Stargazer, is due out later this year.

Author links:

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Gideon Lee Book Tour

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Gideon Lee by  Lisa Orchard

Release Date: 10/21/14

Synopsis: Lark Singer’s relationship with her mother is prickly to say the least. As she enters a musical competition that could launch her career, Lark also searches for answers her mother would rather keep hidden. Throw into the mix the fact her best friend Bean has been acting strangely, and Lark finds herself launched into uncharted territory. Will her quest for answers sabotage her musical aspirations?

Blog Tour Schedule: http://yaboundbooktours.blogspot.com/2014/10/blog-tour-sign-up-gideon-lee-by-lisa.html

Personal Thoughts: This book was a pretty good read overall. I was excited to read it due to the musical aspect of it and I couldn’t wait to see how it would turn out. There’s Lark (the main character) who in my opinion was hard to relate to. She would like nothing better than to get out of her small town and go start her music career. She loves to play her guitar and  sing ( I loved that she’s in a band) and we get to see how she behaves when she enters a music contest with her band.

There is also Bean (what a funny name :) ) who is Lark’s best friend and a member of the band. He has been friends with Lark for 8 years and for the first time in her life, he’s behaving strangely and keeping secrets. I loved his character throughout the book and how things developed by the end. However, I wish both Lark and Bean were more developed as the story line progressed. It felt like there was a piece missing and I was just waiting to see it show up. Maybe in the next book?

Also, I wasn’t able to really relate of how she kept pushing the issue with her mother about her father and his identity. Some times there are reasons why something is not done, but in this case it was just a bit much and it made me dislike the character a bit. Lark focuses too much on her music and finding her father, instead of the things that are happening all around her. She soon starts to clue in and things begin to fall into place.

Overall this was a fast and enjoyable read, but there were a few places where the character annoyed me or it was a bit slow. I am curious to see where the next book leads. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good coming of age story and who loves YA fiction.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

 About the Author

I am the oldest of four children and grew up in a small town in Western Michigan. I grew up reading mysteries, starting with “The Bobbsey Twins” and “The Nancy Drew” series.
By fifth grade I was writing my own mysteries and illustrating them as well. I’ve always known that I wanted to be a writer and I tucked that little piece of information into the back of my brain; determined to take it out and use it when it was time.
After graduating from Central Michigan University with a Marketing Degree, I landed a sales job. I was on my way! After spending 13 years in the Insurance industry, I met my husband. We soon married and had two beautiful boys. I decided to stay home with my kids. A tough decision, but one I don’t regret.
I did, however, miss the hustle and bustle of work – and working toward a goal. That is when the little voice inside my brain said, “It’s time to write.”
So I did, and “The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer” was born, followed by my new book, “The Super Spies and the High School Bomber.”
I am very excited as I begin this new “chapter” in my life.

Author Links:

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EXCERPT

I want to be like Gideon Lee. My lips move as I read the title of my essay. They

twitch as I stifle a snicker. Looking around the room, I make sure no one has seen

my facial tic. My eyes light upon the Presidents’ pictures lined up on the wall.

They face me, each with a unique expression, and I wonder what they were

thinking while they posed. They are above the clock so my gaze naturally falls on

it. It’s almost time for lunch.

I settle back in my seat and my lips twitch again. A feeling of defiant exhilaration

washes over me like a tidal wave.

Montgomery’s going to freak when he reads this.

Despite my best efforts, a giggle escapes and the boy in front of me turns around

and gives me the evil eye. I return the glare. He is slumped over, and sweat beads

on his upper lip. I think this is odd — it’s rather chilly in the room — but dismiss it

before I turn back to my essay.

I bet old man Montgomery doesn’t even know who Gideon Lee is. This thought

sends another giggle to the surface, but I quickly squash it by biting my lip.

I picture him searching Gideon Lee’s name on the Internet. I see his expression

changing from confusion to disgust. I imagine him taking off his black, thick-

rimmed glasses and shaking his head. I hear him mutter, “Lark Singer, what are

you doing?” He rubs his face. I can actually hear the rough sandpapery sound as

his hand finds his day old stubble. He sighs and puts his glasses back on. “What

am I going to do with you?”

I remember when Mr. Montgomery first told us about the assignment. We were

supposed to write an essay on someone we admire, someone who has contributed

to society in some way. I know when he says this he wants us to write about an a

historical figure. After all this is history class, but I raised my hand anyway.

“Lark,” he called out as he stood at his lectern.

“Do they have to be dead?”

He cocked his head as he studied me with his piercing blue eyes. Then he ran his

hand over his military style crew cut, and I watched as his salt and pepper hair

flattened then popped back into place as if each hair was standing at attention. I

could tell he wasn’t sure where this was going. “Well… I guess not.” That’s when

he froze, as if he realized he had just opened a door for me and he wasn’t going to

like what was on the other side. He shifted his weight, and looked down at the

floor before he backpedaled. “But they have to have made a positive contribution

to society. It can’t be about a mobster or anything like that.” Pursing his lips, he

stared at me, fiddling with those glasses. “This is one half of your semester grade,

Lark. I wouldn’t pull any funny stuff.”

“Oh, I won’t. Scout’s honor,” I answered sweetly, placing my hand over my heart

and giving him the scout salute, while inside I planned my rebellion.

I have him. I’m going to write about Gideon Lee, and there’s nothing he can do

about it.

 

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Surviving Us Promo Tour

Blog Tour Surving Us

 

Title: Surviving Us
Authors: Erin Noelle
Genre: New Adult, Romance

Surving Us FOR WEB

 

synopsis

Two survivors.
Two weeks.
One awakening.

When Bristol Criswell travels to St. Lucia for an Enduring Life retreat, she hopes to discover encouragement and support from like souls. A vacation fling is the furthest thing from her mind, especially not with a cocky-mouthed, arrogant jerk like Davis McKay.

But when it becomes evident she can’t deny the magnetic attraction between the two, she gives in to her desires, and for the first time in her life, learns the difference between simply living and truly feeling alive.

As their time in paradise quickly comes to an end, will her heart be able to withstand another devastating loss when it’s time to say goodbye, or will their connection be strong enough to survive the real world?

Death brought them together, but love will give them a reason to live.

**This book is a full-length, stand alone novel that is not a part of a series**

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Tornado

Excerpt

IT TAKES EVERYTHING I have not to smile as I watch Bristol throw her little fit. Knowing that she came by my place last night, and she’s jealous because she thinks I was there with another chick, makes my ego swell and my cock hard.

Once she’s finished digging her finger into my stomach and calling me a dick—which I usually am, but surprisingly don’t want to be one around her; I refuse to ask myself why this is—I do exactly what I’ve yearned to do since the moment I laid eyes on her. I claim her perfectly pouty lips with mine in demanding, caveman-esque fashion, hoping every person on this beach understands the statement I’m making.

I’m not sure if her ‘friend’ from last night is even out here, but I hope to God he is, because as a guy, I know with certainty the way he looked at her wasn’t how a big brother should look at his little sister. Ever. The way his eyes roamed up and down her body, how his hand splayed out on her bare back, holding her close to him, and the way he called her ‘baby girl’, all said plenty about his true intentions. I’m not usually one to cock-block, especially knowing the reason he’s even here is because something really fucked up has happened in his life, but I’ll be damned if he’s getting anywhere near Bristol while we’re here. She’s mine.

Her lips part with no resistance as the tip of my tongue requests entrance, finally allowing me to savor the taste of her sugary sweetness. My hands glide around her jaw to the back of her neck, fingers threading through her silky hair as I continue to explore her mouth, our tongues curling around one another’s in an effortless, synchronized movement.

She moans into my mouth, a direct command for my cock to stand at full-attention, and suddenly, I no longer want these other people around us. They’re the only reason I’m not laying her flat on her back in the sand right now and devouring every inch of her body, like I’d promised her I’d do. And based on the way she’s digging her nails into my shoulders and not-so-subtly pressing her body into mine, I’m pretty sure it’s what she wants too.

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Author Bio

erin noelle

Erin Noelle is a Texas native, where she lives with her husband and two young daughters. While earning her degree in History at the University of Houston, she rediscovered her love for reading that was first instilled by her grandmother when she was a young child. A lover of happily-ever-afters, both historical and current, Erin is an avid reader of all romance novels. In 2013, she published the Book Boyfriend Series, which included books Metamorphosis, Ambrosia, Euphoria, and Timeless, and recently published When the Sun Goes Down, a contemporary romance novel. Her books have been a part of the USA Today Bestselling list and the Amazon and Barnes & Noble overall Top 100.

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Out Of The Blue Promo Tour


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Title: Out of the Blue
Author: E.L. Irwin
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Blue Tulip Publishing
Black_scroll_with_transparent_background 3out of the blue 500x750Black_scroll_with_transparent_background 3Synopsis

KatyBeth Reilly, horse-trainer extraordinaire, is capable, responsible and hard-working—she hates backing down in a fight. When she meets—completely by chance—Hollywood heartthrob, Asher Fitzpatrick, she decides she wants nothing to do with him. He’s arrogant, self-assured, and seemingly very assured of her.

Asher doesn’t like taking no for an answer—he’s determined to get to know Katy—so he makes a couple of phone calls that set the stage for their second meeting. When Katy comes face to face with Asher again, she knows she’s going to need help this time—not because she feels out-maneuvered, but because for the first time in her life she knows she doesn’t want to fight.

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Excerpt

There were three people in front of me when I stepped into the Palace — I didn’t think that was too bad — way less than I’d expected. I recognized Jeff, this morning’s barista, and gave him a half-hearted friendly wave as I stepped into line. Coconut and vanilla are my two favorite flavors. When I feel like behaving, I’ll order it sugar-free.

I didn’t feel like behaving this morning. I was in a bad mood.

I waited patiently, not really, for my turn, gently tapping my finger against my thigh to the rhythm of the music playing in the background. I listened to a couple songs play through while my patience slowly ebbed away. Just as I reached my limit, thinking the woman in front of me needed to make a final decision — she’d changed her mind now three times — I heard the door to the restroom open off to my right. Simultaneously, the woman ahead of me finally settled on her choice and stepped away from the counter.

A new song began to play — an old 80’s classic, Bryan Adams’ Can’t Stop This Thing We Started. Jeff smiled at me as I stepped forward.

And hit a brick wall.

Or, more accurately, the brick wall hit me.

I deal with large animals all the time so I’m used to being jostled by them. This one was huge — a virtual giant.

He was male — undeniably, obscenely, irresistibly male.

That was my first impression of him.

I couldn’t rightly put my finger on just what it was about him that so appealed to me but, whatever it was, this fella had it in spades. Everything feminine and womanly in me suddenly woke up and stood at attention. Fireworks exploding inside the Café Palace couldn’t have given me a bigger jolt.

This was more than just the simple acknowledgment of someone of the opposite sex, or even one who is exceptionally good-looking. I live in Wyoming for crying out loud, on a real working ranch, surrounded by cowboys.

In Wranglers.

So I’m used to men. I’m comfortable around them. Honestly, I find myself more comfortable with men than I do with women.

With a man, I always know where I stand. Whether they’re angry, tired, hungry, frustrated, in pain — I can always tell. And then I act accordingly. A woman? Well, it’s been my experience that a woman can smile in the most inviting, friendly manner and hate my guts all at the same time.

I’m confident around men. I don’t feel like I have to be guarded with them. Not so much, with women. Women can be so catty. Men aren’t. I feel freer to be myself around men.

Gina, one of my two very best girlfriends, says women tend to be uncomfortable around me because they’re just jealous. I’ve given this idea some consideration and try to take it into account when I’m around other women. This is where the being guarded comes in. Of course, when I’m more reserved women then tend to think I’m being snobbish and unsociable. It’s really an unfair assumption on their parts.

I mean, I get it, okay? I’m tall, blonde (mostly), and fit. I have a woman’s body. I have appropriately rounded parts where it’s appropriate to have rounded parts. So what? I still get PMS (like today), just like the rest of them. I get zits. I have bad hair days. Bad breath. I watch my weight (I try to) and nutrition. I have moody days. We’re really not that different.

Which brings me back to my original statement. As I said before, I’m way more comfortable around men. Generally I don’t have to wonder if they like me or not. I can just tell. Either they like me and it’s obvious; or they don’t like me, and that, too is… obvious.

Not so, with this one. He made me very uncomfortable. Bryan Adams kept singing about coming to get me and how I couldn’t stop him, which somehow made me feel hunted and prey-like.

He was more than just masculine, my giant. He was like… I don’t know… an alpha male. The kind other men, tough men, give ground to. The kind they’d look up to, defer to, or even be envious of. Which brought about my second impression. Irritation. For the first time in a long time, maybe the first time ever, I felt a frisson of uncertainty and unease course through me. Something quivered in my stomach, curled, and writhed there. My pulse beat faster… I hoped I wasn’t coming down with the stomach flu.

When a woman meets a man like this she doesn’t want to meet him under the circumstances I found myself in. She wants to be groomed and appealing, not dirty, sweaty, bleeding, and grumpy. So I hated him. Perhaps it was the circumstances I really was hating. I know it was probably completely irrational, but I just felt a flash of anger flood through me. I was mad clear through. I was mad at him for being so thoroughly male and attractive. I was mad that I was attracted to him. I was mad that I was mad.

I’m tall — I think I mentioned that before. Or at least, it’s been my experience that I’m typically taller than most gals I meet — I’m five-foot-nine. This fella topped out well over six foot. Other than his size and possible weight — he’d stepped on my foot and even with my boots on, I could easily tell he weighed more than two hundred — I couldn’t tell a whole lot more about him. The breadth of his shoulders suggested strength and mass, but it was hard to determine the extent of it.

He wore a black hooded sweatshirt with the hood up. His jeans were slung low on his hips; he wore some kind of utility boots in black leather. He carried a black leather jacket under one arm and a black motorcycle helmet under the other. He must like black. The helmet, I saw, had a white Mohawk — which I thought was kinda cool looking. Or at least I thought that later, after I’d gotten some sleep and was feeling more human.

This quiet analysis on my part took place in just a few seconds.

I shot a look of intense anger and disgust up at the hooded-head and found myself looking into the brightest blue eyes I’d ever seen.

Bright.

Brilliant.

Blue.

They were amazing; so amazing, in fact, that I forgot my pique for just a brief moment. It was like looking into the depths of a deep, cool mountain lake, or a rare gemstone; the color was incredible. I very briefly saw curiosity flare in those eyes as they quickly scanned over my face; they’d hesitated on the cut above my eye.

“Excuse me,” the giant mumbled before turning away from me and back to the counter.

Taking my spot at the counter.

The blue eyes were forgotten; my irritation was rising again.

“Don’t worry about it,” I clearly stated. “You go ahead — ladies first, right?” I replied. Two people stepped into line behind me.

I saw his shoulders stiffen and felt another aggravating moment of unease. He slowly turned back around, his eyes easily seeking mine and holding them. “I’m sorry?” he asked, like he wasn’t sure he’d heard me correctly.

Oh, you heard me, I thought to myself. I could feel my eyes narrowing a bit.

“Are you really?” I asked, and then said, “You’re holding up the line.” I knew my smile was sarcastic, but I couldn’t seem to help myself.

“You just said, ‘ladies first’, so please, you go first,” he said, indicating with a jerk of thumb that I precede him. I just mutely shook my head at him; I felt my right eyebrow rising.

“I insist,” he said, his voice just a tad firmer than it had been before. “And to prove I’m a nice guy, I’ll even buy your coffee.”

Like that made it all better, I grumbled to myself.

“No thank you,” I said and then leaned around his shoulder, trying to ignore the tension that continued to build inside me. Jeff had my coffee ready; bless him.

“Nice shiner.” Jeff nodded at my eye and then asked, “Coconut? Fully loaded?” He spared a quick glance at the large man before refocusing on me.

“Yeah… you should see the other guy.” I jerked my chin toward the horse trailer and offered him a small grin. “Thanks, Jeff, see you later.” I paid him as I took my cup and without a further look at the giant or the other poor folks still standing in line, I left the Café Palace.

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Author Bio
E.L. Irwin

A child of divorce and abuse, E L Irwin found escape in reading and writing, and through the school of hard-knocks, learned to be a fighter. She’s a self-described romantic-rebel who wears her heart on her sleeve and tends to shoot from the hip on subjects that matter. She enjoys riding horses, wearing heels, shooting her X D .40, tattoos, and of course, a good book and hot coffee.

Facebook | Website | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

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