Spotlight & Excerpt: It started With a List + Giveaway

it started with a list banner

It Started With a List

Pacific Grove University Book 1

by Tinia Montford

Genre: New Adult Romantic Comedy



Time’s up for Vassa Blackwell.

With her college graduation looming, Vassa reflects on the past four years. Man, she is mega disappointed. No wacky misadventures, no drunken nights, and no regrettable mistakes you can NEVER tell your parents. Work and class, Class and work. That’s it. College is suppose to be the best years of one’s life… Right?

Vassa feels as though she’s cheated herself out of a full college experience. Notably with romance and boys and stuff. So, she makes a college bucket list. Then the worse thing ever happens.

Her list falls into the hands of Lazarus Gilbert. King of the baseball team, sworn enemy (in her opinion), and her annoying upstairs neighbor. He thinks he’s found something fun to do. She thinks she’s in trouble. With the pressures of post-college decisions and failing classes looming, can they complete the bucket list before the semester runs out? Are Vassa and Lazarus just too different to get along? Or will Vassa learn to live and let live, and let love enter her heart?

It Started with a List is an opposites-attract romance. Perfect for readers who love drunk karaoke, spring breaks to Las Vegas, and sea lions at Pier 39. This novel contains cursing and sex scenes, and intended for audiences 18 years and older.

Goodreads * Books2Read

itstartedwithalist - excerpt

Craning her neck back, she looked at the sign. “Crooked Cloud Lounge. Sounds like a brothel.”
Lazarus threw his hands up. “Karaoke!”
Vassa shook her head. There was no way. She wasn’t drunk enough for that. She turned around when he pulled her arm. “C’mon, you can do it.”
Vassa shook her head. No, no way. She sang off-key in the privacy of her shower. He dragged her into the establishment anyway. The place was empty. Just a bartender and a bunch of standing tables. In the corner was a couple, a sleeping security guard, and a random businessman on his phone. He brought her to the table in the middle with a thick binder.
“We’re not leaving till we each do a song.”
Vassa shook her head still. She was the audience. The one that clapped and cheered for the people that were obviously horrible, but had self-esteem (and liquor) through the roof.
“We should just go home; it looks like it’s about to close, anyway.” Vassa looked around.
“How about Smashing Pumpkins, or are you feeling Michael Jackson at the moment?” Lazarus flipped the page.
“I’ll watch you do it. I need more liquid courage,” Vassa said.
He frowned. “You have to live, Vee. When are you ever going to get an opportunity like this again? A nearly empty karaoke bar and me?”
She tried to ignore how he was kinda making sense.
“Let’s get this over with.”
Lazarus smiled. “Now we’re talking.”
Flipping through the binder, she felt overwhelmed by the selections. Should she pick something classic? Off the Wall or Slippery When Wet? Or something modern?
“I’ll get us shots while you look.”
He left and Vassa looked around the room again. At least she didn’t know anyone here. They would only know her as the stranger who couldn’t hold a note. She was doubly grateful Dara wasn’t here to record. She tapped her hand against the table as her eyes scanned the names of the songs, but she found nothing was calling to her.
“Did you pick yet?” Lazarus sat the shots down onto the table. Six shots. Three for him, and three for her.
“Three shots at once?” Her liver was crying.
He rubbed his hands. “We can’t do this sober, can we?”
“What is it?”
Vassa made a face. “No vodka?”
“They were out.”
She resigned herself and reached for the lime and salt. “You’re going to have to pick me up off the floor.”
“Someone might have to pick me up,” Lazarus muttered and passed the shots to her. “Back-to-back, no stopping.”
She placed the salt on the curve of her thumb and picked up the first shot. Lazarus counted down. On three, she licked the salt and took the shot. She shivered as she swallowed, the liquor burning every tastebud on the way down. She tried to ride out the burn for as long as she could before biting into the lime. She looked at Lazarus, and he looked as winded as she did.
“That was one,” he gasped.
Vassa steeled herself as they tossed back the next two shots. She was feeling pretty warm at this point. They let the alcohol kick in longer before they went up.
“What did you pick?”
He closed his eyes leaning against the table. “It’s a surprise.”
They let the bartender, who was also serving as the DJ, know what their songs were. Lazarus grabbed another round of shots. The TV on stage turned on and the strobe lights whirled. The first cords of the song played and Vassa didn’t recognize it at first, but then she looked at Lazarus, who moved toward the stage.
“No, you didn’t.”
He winked before jumping onstage. Vassa covered her face. No, he wasn’t doing this. Peeking through her fingers, she saw him roll his shoulders back like he was getting into a fight. The beat of “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor started.
Vassa shook her head at him. No, he really wasn’t doing this. He pointed at her and shook his hips. This was not happening right now. The tequila was kicking in because she was hot and her body felt loose. She swayed to the beat and clapped as he hit the chorus. Lazarus pranced across the tiny stage. It was like a reject strip show. He gyrated his hips, pointing to the couple off to the side and then the businessman too.
He didn’t care that he was singing off-key. The couple cheered for him. Even sleeping security guard woke up.
Lazarus worked the small crowd. He jumped down from the stage and walked around the empty tables, dancing. He looked at Vassa and made a come-here motion with his finger. She shook her head as she laughed. He came to their table and pointed the mic directly in her face.
“C’mon, sing Vee.”
The music continued to play, and she shook her head again. The surrounding people chanted for her to sing.
Lazarus looked at her, and with the demand of the crowd, there was nothing she could really do. She sang a line before backing away from the mic. He said the next line and pointed the microphone back.
“Don’t leave me hanging!” He wiggled his fingers.
Vassa sang. They took turns for a few more seconds before he moved on, dancing around the tables. She clapped her hands together with the rest of the crowd. When the song finally ended, he did a bow. Vassa cheered for him. He passed the couple, and they reached out to high five.
Lazarus took a shot at the table once he came back.
“I don’t know what to say.” Vassa blinked slowly, her hands on her face.
“There’s nothing to say. You just saw a master at work.”
“If baseball or event planning don’t work out for you, maybe you could be a drag queen?”

Tinia Montford is a Pisces who’s a sap for romance, especially when there’s (loads of) kissing. Loves eighties sitcoms and will consume anything with chocolate. She graduated from the University of San Francisco with a degree in English and Graphic Design.

She is a world traveler having climbed a volcano in Nicaragua, scaled Angkor Wat in the blistering sun, and basked in the Acropolis of Athens. Oh, she also dabbles in short stories on occasion and blogs.

If you can’t catch her writing, you can bet she’s overindulging on poke bowls, listening to the same four songs, or chilling with her adorbs doggie. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Fiction.

You can catch Tinia here and sign up for her newsletter:

Website * Facebook * Instagram * Amazon * Goodreads

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$10 Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spotlight & Excerpt: Shadow Bound Souls + Giveaway


I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the SHADOW BOUND SOULS by Steven Rudy Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway! Link in bio.

About the Book:

Title: SHADOW BOUND SOULS (The Luminance Saga Book 2)

Author: Steven Rudy

Pub. Date: February 1, 2022

Publisher: MysticHawk Press LLC

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 430

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, B&N,

Shadow Bound Souls, blends Science Fiction
and classic high fantasy in a steampunk world.

The frontier of alchemy, magic and machines nears a breaking point.

Book two of The Luminance Saga is an action-packed sci-fi fantasy adventure, charged with a tension inherited from the epic climax of book one. Shadow Bound Souls picks up where the first novel left off, with a band of heroes stranded in a world on the brink of war.

The Sagean Lord has emerged.
While the Wrythen’s influence grows stronger, the Sagean and his power hungry acolytes, the Court of Dragons, are intent on delivering the gem of souls to the Temple of Ama; where the Sintering Fountain can transform the acolytes into Luminaries.

Meanwhile, the band of heroes find themselves separated in a world starting to tear itself apart. Having suffered a huge loss, Ellaria and Elias must escape the Mainland with the Sagean’s agents pursuing them. When Elias becomes sick, Ellaria decides to hide amongst the Showman’s Traveling Show of Wonders. But their journey is shadowed by darkness and when troupe members turn up murdered, Ellaria struggles to find the killer amongst her company.

Far away in the Warhawk Mountains, the three young rogues are stranded with the Tempest Stone. Aimless about what to do, their paths take a turn when they discover the horrifying magnitude of the Sagean’s return to power, the Scree.

Shadow Bound Souls continues the steampunk saga with a sequel that takes the plot to greater depths, while expanding upon the immersive world; with a ending that hurtles the series toward the coming World War.

The Luminance Saga
Book 1 – The Binding Tempest
Book 2 – Shadow Bound Souls



Haven’t started the series yet? Grab Book 1 THE BINDING TEMPEST in  Hardcover, Paperback, or read for FREE with a Kindle Unlimited membership!



The three of them walked into town on foot and for the longest time, Learon didn’t see anyone around. It was beginning to feel like a ghost town. A few shapes were seen inside houses, but Learon didn’t stop until they reached the town center.

In the open green space, about fifty townspeople lingered aimlessly. Learon almost went past them to the Inn until the truth of what they were doing hit him. He realized they weren’t moving. The sight of them standing still chilled him to his bones.

“What’s wrong with them?” Tali whispered.

“I don’t know. I tried talking to a few of them and none responded. Sometimes they’ll look at you, but that’s it,” Wade said.

Learon surveyed the area and waved for the others to follow, “Come on, I need to find Rose.”

He ran over to the Inn and up the porch steps. There were others inside all in the same static state, and a foul smell of mildew and excrement made it hard to breathe. In the kitchen, the smell was worse. There he found Jema, the cook. She was standing in the darkened room with a knife in her hand. The ghosted look in her eyes was frightening. They were glossy and yellowing.

“Jema. Jema, where’s Rose?” Learon said, but there was no response. Jema blinked and seemed to be breathing, but she didn’t answer. He stepped closer to her.

“Be careful, Learon,” Tali cautioned.

Learon tried again, this time touching Jema on the arm, “Jema, are you . . .”

At his touch, she took a step forward. The sudden movement startled Tali, and she backed into some empty egg crates. Learon moved away to give Jema space. Jema slowly strode to the counter and began to chop some rotten meat on the board. Jema’s movements were almost mechanical and she did it all without registering their presence in the room.

Praise for book 1, THE BINDING TEMPEST:

“This start of a saga is difficult to put down as the readers follow Ellaria Moonstone as she fights to protect all knowledge!”– Sara Anderson, Reedsy Discovery


“The Binding Tempest is highly recommended reading for steampunk fantasy and sci-fi fans interested in an epic work evolving on the scale of Lord of the Rings.”– D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review


“Bolstered by vivid, brilliant descriptions, Rudy’s high-intensity storytelling shines, and the assured, intelligent prose allow readers to stay invested. The expert combination of immersive storytelling, strong characters, and well-woven mixture of speculative and steampunk elements makes for an unforgettable experience. A dazzling, powerhouse… Fans of intricately crafted, sophisticated high fantasy won’t want to miss this.” – The Prairies Book Review


About Steven Rudy:

After attending the University of Colorado at Boulder, where Steven studied architecture, philosophy and writing. He has worked in the field of architecture for 20 years designing houses, commercial buildings and working on historic preservation projects across Colorado. He is passionate about sci-fi, fantasy, the Denver Broncos, architecture, and Bob Dylan. The Binding Tempest was Steven’s first novel and he’s thrilled to bring book 2, Shadow Bound Souls into the world.

Sign up for Steven’s mailing list for exclusive news & updates!


WebsiteFacebook | Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | BookBub

Giveaway Details:

2 winners will win a SHADOW BOUND SOULS bundle including signed paperbacks, bookmarks, a tote bag, & maps, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:











Writer ofWrongs



The Girl Who Reads



Sadie’s Spotlight



Rajiv’s Reviews



#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog



Eye-Rolling Demigod’s Book Blog





Week Two:


Thoughts on Books



A Court of Coffee and Books






Prison Wife Reviews



The Reading Wordsmith






Karen Dee’s Book Reviews



The Momma Spot






Two Points of Interest



Book Blitz & Excerpt: Between + Giveaway

Between Blitz Banner

by TJ Amberson
Publication date: January 24th 2022
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Lana Hathaway wasn’t supposed to die. But when she suddenly finds herself face-to-face with a handsome guardian angel named Kade, Lana learns she has just drowned in her best friend’s swimming pool. Kade explains that because of her untimely death, Lana has become a Watcher like him—a soul stuck in limbo between Earth and Beyond. However, not wanting Lana to suffer his same fate, Kade breaks eternal rules and releases Lana back to Earth.

Soon, Lana and Kade discover that releasing her back to Earth had profound and unexpected consequences: now Lana is being hunted by those who dwell Below, including an enigmatic soul named Damien. With both their eternal destinies on the line, Lana and Kade must decide if Damien is an enemy or an ally as they race against time to save themselves . . . and if they fail, they will remain Between forever.

Goodreads / Amazon


As the sounds of the conversation finished drawing me out of my slumber, I stirred and opened my eyes. I was lying in bed in my room at home. The golden sunlight of late afternoon was streaming in through the window at my right, casting a glow upon three people who stood at the foot of my bed. The people were talking amongst themselves, seeming not to notice that I was watching them.

Ignoring the dull ache in my head, I pushed myself up to a seated position. “Kade?” I mumbled in weary confusion, rubbing my eyes. “Is that you?”

All three of them snapped their heads in my direction. I stared back. I didn’t recognize the other two members of the trio, but the person who stood farthest to the right was definitely Kade, the same hot-guy hallucination I had seen when I drowned the evening prior. As before, Kade wore a gray t-shirt and jeans, and his dark hair was slightly tousled. This time, though, Kade’s brow was furrowed in a way I didn’t like. A sense of apprehension crept over me. Something was wrong—something even more wrong than the fact that I was apparently experiencing auditory and visual hallucinations, that is.

Author Bio:

TJ Amberson hails from the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her husband and nutty cocker spaniel. When she’s not writing, TJ might be found pretending to know how to garden, riding her bike, playing the piano, enjoying a hot chocolate, or scouring the Internet for cheap plane tickets. She adores all things cozy, seasonal, and holiday-themed; she cheers for happily-ever-afters; and she believes there’s no such thing as too much seasonal decor. With a love of multiple genres, TJ writes sweet romance and romantic comedies for adults and advanced teen readers, and clean fantasy adventures for teen and advanced tween readers.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted by:

Scroll Up