Wednesday, December 12, 2018

SONG OF THE BORICUA by Olivia Castillo

SONG OF THE BORICUA by Olivia Castillo, Fiction, 335 pp., $18.95 (paperback) $.99 (kindle)


Author: Olivia Castillo

Publisher: Independent

Pages: 335

Genre: Fiction


Puerto Rico an island of contradiction, serves as an enchanting backdrop following three generations of women.

Elena:  Resilient and ambitious, but trapped by duty to her children.

Maria:  Passionate and headstrong, but married to a man she does not
love. Josephina: Optimistic and romantic, but in love with an alcoholic.

Isabella: Clairvoyant and spiritual, but denies her heritage and roots.

Like the land these women are held hostage, unfulfilled and unable to
find their happiness. Each generation like the land is cursed. Can they
defy the powerful bond of the curse and free themselves to find love

New Author, Olivia Castillo, like the jibaros of the past weaves a
tale of sorrow and joy. Castillos’ fiction is timely, offering a glimpse
into the islands rich history and offering insight into the story that
has plagued women for all of time, the search for true love and
acceptance of self.



Book Excerpt 7 –

            The screen door opened and shut with a bang as Miguel came in. “Gracias, mi fleur,” he said as he saw the breakfast laid before him. Catala smiled and began to serve him.
            “My beautiful Elena, ready for school this morning?” Miguel asked.
            “Yes, Papi,” Elena said quickly, wanting to please her father.
            “It’s getting so bad now.” Miguel shook his head. “The poverty, the lack of jobs. Elena, I was a boy when things began to change and we were hoping for something better for our beautiful country. Now look at what’s becoming of this land!” Miguel’s voice trembled a little when he spoke. “It killed your grandfather and grandmother.” He shook his head again, remembering the illness that had taken both his parents.
            Elena felt her father’s pain. It was true, Elena thought. Everywhere there was suffering. Little tin shacks now dotted the landscape. Children played in the dirt with no shoes. At night the jibaros played their sad songs about their struggles, trying to make the best of things.
            Elena saw tears begin to form in her father’s eyes. “Papi, don’t worry; I will go to the university,” she said, horrified by her father’s burgeoning tears.
            Catala hugged her husband from behind. “Oh, my sweet, don’t worry so much. We are okay.”
            Miguel turned and looked at his wife, then roughly stood up and gently pushed her aside. “Excuse me, please,” he said gruffly as he walked out of the kitchen and slammed the door behind him. Catala sat at the table and shut her eyes for a second, trying to be brave for Elena. She thought of the desperate look in Miguel’s eye and her heart ached for him. She knew that he hated that his father’s hard work had come to this.

Olivia Castillo is a New York
native. After going to the prestigious Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of
Music & Art and Performing Arts, she went on to study graphic design at
Otis Parson's College in Los Angeles. Along with being an entrepreneur, she is
the mother of three children, and grandmother of two. When not writing or
spending time with her family, she travels the world and paints. Song
of the Boricua
is her first novel.

Website Address:          

Goodreads Address:

12 Days of Clean Romance - Rebecca Connolly

The Spinster and I by Rebecca Connolly

Poor, unfortunate Spinster...

Prudence Westfall, spinster, has unexpectedly had the greatest misfortune of all: she has inherited a fortune, and is now an heiress. But as a Spinster, and a stammering shy one, nothing could be worse than having a bevy of suitors pay her attention. Opportunity strikes at a house party when the most unlikely person offers the perfect solution.

Camden Vale is no gentleman, and he’s not prone to saving anyone, but something about Prue changes all that. When his offer to befriend her extends beyond the house party, and his feelings extend beyond expectation, no one is more surprised than he. Except, perhaps, for the other Spinsters, and they have much to say on the subject.

“Didn’t you hear how they flattered me? You said yourself, men lie through their teeth.”

He hissed, and she looked over at him only to see him shaking his head. “Prue, I didn’t mean… Sometimes we are sincere. Sometimes we do mean everything we say. And you should like it and take it as a compliment.”

Prue smiled a very tight, thin smile. “They never have before, so I have no taste for it.” She exhaled and looked back into the ballroom, clasping her hands before her. “I just wish to be left alone.”

“Well,” he sighed, “then we have another problem.”

She looked up at him wryly. “And that is?”
He shrugged, something new in his dark eyes. “I don’t think I can leave you alone.” He stared at her for a long moment, his hand stilled on her back, and added, “I know I can’t.”

Her head tilted in a question. “Why not?”

“Because I see you,” he admitted with a rawness she did not anticipate. “And I like what I see.”

You know we say "a good clean book" to indicate, yes there is no sex, no obscenities and very little kissing but a good read nonetheless? There is no "nonetheless" here. It is a good book without qualification. Nothing was missing. Prue was a character who faced serious debilitating problems communicating with others and villainous family members and Cam, who fought his own demons, helped her as she helped him. Her blossoming was realistic and touching. The writing was good and the treatment of characters and flaws sensitive and well developed. A good read.

Rebecca Connolly creates vivid characters who want to fight for, to laugh and cry with. Sweet and breathtakingly romantic. I read this book in kindle unlimited, but now I'm going back to purchase it. I really like Ms. Connolly's books!

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Prue and Cam. They appear to be complete opposites but they truly are wonderful for each other.
I especially love how they helped each other heal without even trying or realizing.
And of course, I love both Prue and Cam's friends. So much loyalty.
A wonderful clean read for a hopeless romantic like myself. The next book can't come soon enough! Thank you for another enjoyable read Rebecca Connolly, I needed this escape!

Author Rebecca Connolly

Rebecca Connolly writes romances, both period and contemporary, because she absolutely loves a good love story. She has been creating stories since childhood, and there are home videos to prove it! She started writing them down in elementary school and has never looked back. She currently lives in the Midwest, spends every spare moment away from her day job absorbed in her writing, and is a hot cocoa addict.

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash

Ends 1/6/19

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Inside the Chinese Wine Industry by Loren Mayshark

About the Book
Title: Inside the Chinese Wine Industry
Author: Loren Mayshark
Genre: Nonfiction

The wine business is one of the world’s most fascinating industries and China is considered the rising star. A hidden secret, the Chinese wine industry continues to grow at an amazing pace and is projected to soon enter the top five producing nations, supplanting long established countries such as Australia. Inside the Chinese Wine Industry: The Past, Present, and Future of Wine in China takes you through the growing Chinese wine scene.

Wine has had a meteoric rise in China over the past two decades. The nation is projected to become the second most valuable market for wine in the world by 2020. One recent study concluded that 96% of young Chinese adults consider wine their alcoholic drink of choice. Not only does Inside the Chinese Wine Industry explore current expansion and business models, it journeys back to the past to see where it all began.

There are more than seven hundred wineries in China today. Although it’s bit of an oversimplification, the vast majority of the wineries fit into one of two categories: the larger established producers who churn out mostly plonk to meet the growing demand for inexpensive wine and the newer wineries that try to cater to the tastes of the wealthy Chinese with money to spend on luxury goods like fine wine. In the words of wine guru Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible, “The cheap wines from the very large producers have mostly verged on dismal.” However, this should not be considered a blanket statement regarding every wine from large producers. Also, she has positive reflections regarding the level of wine produced by “cutting-edge wineries” which she finds “far better.” How good are they? MacNeil asserts: “Some of these wines are so good they could easily pass for a California or Bordeaux wine in a blind tasting.”

Author Bio

Loren Mayshark studied Chinese art, religion, philosophy, and history while earning a B.A. in history from Manhattanville College in New York. After graduation, he attended The Gotham Writers Workshop and the prestigious New York Writers Workshop. He has written about the Chinese wine industry for The Jovial Journey and Sublime China.

After college, he supported his itinerant lifestyle by working dozens of jobs, including golf caddy, travel writer, construction worker, fireworks salesman, substitute teacher, and vineyard laborer. Predominantly his jobs have been in the restaurant industry. He cut his teeth as a server, maĆ®tre d’, and bartender at San Francisco’s historic Fisherman’s Grotto #9, the original restaurant on the Fisherman’s Wharf. While working with a colorful crew of primarily Mexican and Chinese co-workers.

He spent much of his young adult life exploring the wine industry from Sonoma Valley to the North Fork of Long Island, immersing himself in vineyards and learning valuable lessons. He has traveled extensively in South America, Europe, and Asia. He presently splits his time between Western New York and Sweden.

His first book, Death: An Exploration, won the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Award in the category of Death and Dying and was a finalist for book of the year in the 2016 Foreword INDIES Awards in the category of Grief/Grieving (Adult Nonfiction). Inside the Chinese Wine Industry is his third book.

For more information visit his website:
Keep up with him on Twitter: @LorenMayshark

Author Website Bookpage:


Excerpt 3
Wine in Communist China

In 1949, soon after the communist party took power in China, Changyu was nationalized and focused on making brandy, to the delight of the communist party’s senior leaders. Under communist rule, the consumption of baijiu among other spirits and beer dominated the Chinese alcohol industry. Commonly, tipplers at lavish Chinese banquets, often thrown by a member of the communist party, were encouraged to “Gan bei” which roughly translates to empty the glass. In America, there are other related phrases such as “bottoms up.” Tony Stavely, professor emeritus at Keene State College and oenophile who has spent time in China, recalls speaking with a U.S. diplomat who served in Taiwan. He taught Stavely that at a proper Chinese banquet, a toast must be made by someone who wants a sip of wine, and then all at the table must raise a glass and sip also. The consumption of alcohol in China is often done by adherence to social rules garnered from old traditions. These traditions have made for some interesting situations for foreigners who are newly initiated into the drinking culture and perhaps no drinking tale is more colorful and significant than that of Richard Nixon’s visit.

In the winter of 1972, president Richard Nixon sat at a lavish dinner held in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, surrounded by many of China’s elite. This occasion was the eve of a momentous change in geopolitics. Nixon was encouraged by Zhou Enlai, Mao’s number one man, to gan bei the powerful baijiu in his cup. Instead, Nixon timidly sipped the fiery booze, walking a fine line of not insulting his hosts, while not getting too plastered to continue his negotiations. Nixon’s caginess proved fruitful for the United States and the Chinese wine industry, eventually opening China up to the West. But soon Chinese politics was headed for more major adjustments. As Chairman Mao’s days were numbered, the party began to drift in a different direction.

The most significant change in the economic structure of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) came with the emergence of Deng Xiaoping after the death of Chairman Mao in 1976. Deng drastically changed the Chinese communist orthodoxy by moving from a command economy to what was referred to as “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.” Deng rationalized this move with this famous analogy: “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.” As time wore on, China’s financial success was seen as fueling a rise in alcohol consumption. The grains used to make certain liquors were produced on a larger scale, making them cheaper and more available. Also, more people had disposable income to purchase powerful liquor, namely baijiu. The prevailing solution in the party was that the grains that were once used to produce hard liquor could be better utilized as fodder for animals and to feed the masses of starving Chinese who did not have the same opportunities as those with close ties to the ruling government. This created a demand for something to fill the void.

Deng had an ambitious plan to double the nation’s GDP during the 1980s. Although Chinese economy saw unprecedented growth under Deng, the party was still grappling with starvation and malnourishment as it strained to feed its rapidly growing population. This made the expensive baijiu that was still being consumed by the leadership (sometimes to the point of notable inebriation) a conspicuously frivolous way to use grains that could feed their starving countrymen. Unlike sorghum, rice and other grains used for baijiu, grapes could be grown in a wide array of territories, even in places where the soil and other vital conditions were not hospitable to growing grains used in baijiu.

Deck the Halls with Books Holiday Extravaganza tour for Gifted: The Dark Forgotten by Sharon Ashwood

Favorite Supernatural Holiday Carols

Who doesn’t like a playlist of
holiday favorites?  Whether you’re
rocking around the Yuletide tree or mixing punch in your festive cauldron, no
party is complete without a soundtrack of traditional and contemporary tunes.
We consulted with the good folks over at CSUP—the station that puts super in
supernatural—to get their most-requested numbers for the season. 

Here we go with the countdown:

1.       God Rest Ye Hairy Gentlemen
2.       Silent Night, Howly Night
3.       Here Comes Santa Claws
4.       Jingle Hells
5.       We Three Kings Disoriented Are (aka the mummy song)
6.       O Come, All Ye Fateful
7.       The Little Dragon Boy
8.       It Came Upon a Midnight Drear
9.       What Child is This? (Theme from The Gingerbread House in the
10.     The First Nom Nom (the werewolf did say)

For those of you planning a
sing-a-long this season, drop by the station for song sheets and a hot drink
between now and New Year’s Day.  Our
doors are always open! As for whether you ever leave again, your mileage may

Gifted: The Dark Forgotten
Dark Forgotten Series

Book Five

Sharon Ashwood

Genre: Paranormal romance/urban fantasy

Publisher: Rowan and Ash Artistry

Date of Publication:  November 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-7750279-3-5

Number of pages: 124
Word Count: 35,000

Cover Artist: Wicked by Design

Tagline: Who says the holiday season is just for humans?

Book Description:

For all the holly-jolly times, family gatherings are complex no matter who—or what—you are. When you’re hunting for the latest “it” toy to stuff a stocking, it doesn’t matter if you’re alive or Undead, fanged or furry—you’re just as desperate to be the cool dad. And then there are the family grumps who never send cards, the ones who eat all the good candy, and those who drool and dig up the neighbor’s yard.

No, the Yuletide Season isn’t for the faint of heart—and sometimes it’s downright demonic—but holiday miracles make it all worthwhile. Chance encounters and unexpected forgiveness remind us that joy doesn’t come in a gift-wrapped box.

This novella from the Dark Forgotten world catches up with favorite characters for a fresh take on the holidays. Those visiting the world for the first time will understand why Chicago Tribune called it “simply superb.”

Grab this book and return to the world of the Dark Forgotten. Santa Claws is waiting!

“Don’t you want
to go see Santa Claws?”  Errata Jones
asked in her husky, teasing voice.
“Meh,” Perry
Baker replied, still grumpy at the prospect of crowds and gift-giving
decisions. Plus, it was cold, gray, and rainy—a typical December day in the
Pacific Northwest.
“Where’s your
boundless holiday spirit?” She turned into the parking lot outside the Fairview
Sports and Recreation Center. It was the final day of the Yuletide Holiday
Market, an arts and crafts event by and for the local supernatural community.
“Counting today, there’s only three shopping days till Christmas.”
“I really hope
you’re not going to make me sit on Santa’s knee.”
“I don’t think
so, darling. That would be weird, even for us.”
Errata swung her
Jaguar coupe into the last parking space, beating out a massive pickup by a
whisker. The truck made a sound like a startled dinosaur as it lurched to a
stop on the frosty pavement. Turning off the Jaguar’s ignition, Errata smoothed
her chin-length, jet-black hair, then glanced in the rear-view mirror, looking
pleased with herself. Perry twisted in his seat to see the pickup driver turn a
Christmassy scarlet and lurch off. 
Perry willed his
heart to resume its normal rhythm.
Errata was a werecougar, and there were reasons cats shouldn’t drive.
Werewolves like him were another matter. Wolves appreciated order, including
stop signs. Cats did things because they could—like pester him into going to
this stupid craft fair. 
That’s what he
got for befriending a feline. He cast her a sidelong look, taking in her high
cheekbones and smooth, golden skin. It was all he could do not to reach over
and stroke her hair, but that would be crossing a boundary. She’d made it clear
from the start that cats walked alone.
Errata finished
preening and gave him an arch look. “Shouldn’t you be shopping for your human,
Perry released
his seatbelt. “Her name is Tiffani. With an i.”
“Tiffani. Of
course it is.” Errata patted his cheek with a pitying look. “Come on. First
fifty guests get a goodie bag.”
“She’s fun,”
Perry said, sounding defensive even to himself.
generally are,” she said agreeably. “You should buy her something really nice.”
“Men don’t shop
before December 23rd,” he protested as he got out of the car.
“Friends don’t
let friends give their sweethearts, even ones named Tiffani with an i, gift
“But gift cards
make sense.”
Errata flung the
end of her scarf over her shoulder with a flick of one gloved hand. “Be
grateful you have me to watch over you.” She clicked the locks and swept toward
the entrance of the building, leaving Perry to catch up.
“Cats,” he
grumbled. “What do you want for Yule?”
“Not a gift

About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author Sharon Ashwood is a novelist, desk jockey and enthusiast for the weird and spooky. She has an English literature degree but works as a finance geek. Interests include growing her to-be-read pile and playing with the toy graveyard on her desk. As a vegetarian, she freely admits the whole vampire/werewolf lifestyle would never work out, so she writes her adventures instead.

Sharon is a winner of the RITA® Award for Paranormal Romance. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and is owned by the Demon Lord of Kitty Badness.



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Beauty Met the Beast
Khardine Gray

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reeling from the double betrayal of her father and lover, Taylor
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her daughter suffering is breaking Regina’s heart. She yearns to
give all the help she can but… Ben is scheming to use Runway to
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finally gives in and goes to his ex even though he knows he
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Only the real killer is still on the loose and hunting…

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and Wesley dig deep to discover what is really going on and to prove
Wade’s innocence. The deeper they dig the more the shocking truth
becomes visible. Will they discover the man behind the drama? What
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Longer Hidden

light finally shines of the crimes that Ben has committed, but
unleashes more trouble. As always Regina is caught in the middle, but
this time it’s worse. She doesn’t know where she’ll begin to
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and Forget?

Taylor forgive, forget, and finally move on? Will she be able to see
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Chloe accept Wade’s past and all the chaos ebb to allow the deep,
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the twists and turns to the stunning conclusion of Into The Rabbit

Gray is a contemporary romance author who lives in England with her
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is well traveled, cultured, and a woman with a passion for dancing
and ice skating.

not writing you can catch her shopping, indulging on pizza and hot
chocolate, or hanging out with her family and friends.

need to spend money on an airline ticket. Simply pick up one of
Khardine's books to become immersed in the fascinating stories and
characters she creates.

the tour HERE
for exclusive content and a giveaway!