Tag Archives: Set in Hawaii

Life’s A Beach by Jamie K. Schmidt

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Life’s A Beach
Hawaii Heat Series
Book One
Jamie K. Schmidt

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Random House, Loveswept

Date of Publication: 1/5/16

 

Book Description:

Amelia Parker has booked a two-week vacation to Maui to surprise her boyfriend on their second anniversary. She works as a concierge in a boutique hotel in Manhattan. Her boss demands she cancels her vacation because her back-up has quit, leaving him without coverage for a major convention. Amelia won’t be able to get her money back and her boss won’t reimburse her. When she stands firm about still going on the vacation she booked a year ago, she gets fired. Amelia goes back home to her boyfriend’s apartment that she shares with him. She catches him in bed with the barista of her favorite coffee shop.

Amelia is out of a job

Out of an apartment

Out of a relationship

And shit out of coffee

When Amelia arrives in Maui, newly single and unemployed, she’s shocked to discover the resort she booked is actually a ramshackle little beachside hotel. At least the scenery is easy on the eyes—as is the toned, laid-back snorkel instructor, “Dude.” After two weeks of sun, serenity, and mind-blowing sex, she even accepts a job as the hotel’s concierge. But what Amelia really wants is to relaunch the place completely. And that means convincing the absentee Wall Street billionaire owner, Samuel Kincaide, to take a chance on her.

Samuel has a plan, too: selling off every last reminder of his former life and chilling all day, every day as his slacker alter ego . . . Dude. He loves his romps in the ocean, and under the sheets, with the feisty Amelia. If she discovers his true identity, her boundless enthusiasm and innovative business plan will seriously diminish his hammock time. But when Amelia runs into real trouble on the island, he’ll put everything on the line to keep her safe. He just hopes that the woman who’s falling for Dude will feel the same about Samuel.

My review:    Going to be 100% honest here, I took my sleep aid when I started to read this book and I regretted taking that sleep aid.  My body fought hard to keep reading this book, because this book is hilarious.  There were moments after midnight when I would bust out laughing and I am pretty sure I woke everyone up in my house.

I loved the dynamic between Amelia and “Samuel” over the phone, I won’t spoil it but I was laughing my butt off until the wee hours of the morning.  The situations were just hilarious to me.

Simply put I loved this book.  I hate the fact that I had to break it up into two reads because had I not taken my sleep aid I would have I finished it in one sitting.

I loved Amelia, I know what it is like to work for an impossible boss and I was glad to see her not back down.  Granted she lost her job, but I am glad that we have a strong kick ass female lead character.  I can’t say enough great things about Amelia, because I think at one point or another in our lives we have all been Amelia.

Long story short I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book, this book was a breath of fresh air and I enjoyed every moment of it.

Don’t trust me? fine but I am not the only on that says this book is funny as hell, read the advance praise below.

Advance Praise for Life’s a Beach

“An unputdownable, laugh-out-loud read, Life’s a Beach is filled with humor and heart.”—New York Times bestselling author Cherry Adair

“I can’t remember the last book that made me smile this much. Jamie Schmidt is ridiculously talented—she does fun and flirty every bit as well as she does hot and sexy, with just right amount of emotional punch.”—USA Today bestselling author Lauren Layne

Excerpt:

This couldn’t be happening to her. When she’d seen the ad for the all-inclusive resort in Hawaii last year, it had been like a dream come true. Fishing around under her desk, Amelia pulled out the brochure. It was creased and wrinkled from her having looked at it a million times. The hotel was shaped like a horseshoe around a gigantic pool and tiki bar. The beach in the distance showed cerulean blue waves with just a hint of whitecaps. She wanted to be on that beach so much, her teeth ached.
“Can you have this dry-cleaned?” A guest shoved a large plastic bag over the counter, knocking over her pirate’s chest of wrapped candy.
“Sure,” Amelia said, taking the bag. Once she got the guest’s room number and laundry preferences, she tagged the bag and called in a pickup at one of the local laundries. Then she booked a few more theater and dinner reservations and gave out some walking maps of the city. By the time she got back to her brochure, it was around three in the afternoon.
“Nine a.m. island time,” she said, dialing the resort’s number.
It rang and rang. No one picked up. No one picked up an hour later, either. Finally, around five o’clock her time, a groggy voice drawled into the phone.
“Whatchu want?”
“Um, is this the Palekaiko Beach Resort?”
“It is, sistah,” the voice said in a warm, smiling voice that made her toes tingle. “What can I do for you?”
She could almost picture him leaning against a desk like hers. Only his view wasn’t icy sleet and gray drabness, but lush greens and ocean blue. Shaking herself back into the present, she said, “I need to change my reservation.”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t know where Hani is right now.”
“Who’s Hani?” she asked.
He yawned. “He’s in charge of all that.”
“Who are you?”
“They call me Dude.”
“Seriously?”
“Ya, as in I’m the dude that teaches snorkeling. The phone was harshing my buzz, so I answered it.”
“Isn’t it before noon there?” Amelia was giddy at the thought of drinking before noon.
“It’s five o’clock somewhere, sunshine.”
That it is. She scowled at the mermaid clock on the wall. “Look, do you know when Hani will be back?”
He sighed. “No. In fact, I don’t see Kai or Makoa around either. Must’ve gone surfing.”
Amelia’s breath caught. “How are the waves, there?”
“Here, we’ve got some storm surge but down the coast there’s some beach break.”
“Are they . . . gnarly?” Amelia tried out some slang.
His husky laugh sent a shiver up her spine. “You should come see for yourself, sweet thing.”
There was one little problem with that. Her excitement deflated like a balloon, complete with the raspberry noise. “That’s actually the reason why I’m calling. I need to switch dates on my reservation. I know it’s last-minute, but my boss canceled my vacation.”
“Sounds like an asshole.”
Vindication surged through her and she looked quickly around, but the desk crew were the only ones around. “He is,” she whispered. “He wants me to move my two-week vacation to May.”
“Aw, honey, I’m afraid we can’t do that.”
“Why not? It’s all right if you have to charge me a fee.”
“Nah, you don’t understand. We ain’t gonna be here in May.”
“What?” She heard a screeching sound in her head.
“The big kahuna is selling and the new owners will tear it down to build condos.”
“Oh, no!,” she said. “Can I get my money back?”
“We can credit your card.”
“No,” Amelia said. “I paid by check. Monthly. For over a year. I sent in the last payment a month ago.”
“Hm,” he said. “Well, I’m sure something can be done. The kahuna is a big shot. If you write him a letter, he can fix you up.”
Amelia’s hand was shaking as she grabbed her pen. “What’s his name?”
“Samuel Kincaide.”
“I see.” She tried to keep the tears out of her voice.
“Don’t cry, wahine.”
She didn’t trust her voice. “I d-don’t want my money back. I want to go on my dream vacation.”
“Then come on.”
“I’ll get in trouble,” she said with a watery giggle.
“I get it,” Dude said. “But your kahuna sounds like a grade-A prick.”
“So does yours.”
He barked out a loud laugh. “I tell you what—you come on down and I’ll buy you a drink.”
She sniffled. “What’s the weather like down there?”
“It’s a little chilly today. It’s about seventy-five.”
Amelia bit back a moan. Seventy-five! She had a cute little sundress all picked out that would be perfect with a little lacy shawl.
“But that’s because of the wind. Once the wind dies down later this afternoon should be about ninety.”
This time she did let out a moan.
“Where are you calling from?” he asked, his voice sounding like honey over gravel.
“Manhattan.”
“Sistah, get on the plane.” He chuckled. “That’s a no-brainer.”
“What’s the worst he can do?” Amelia said, almost to herself.
“Are you a doctor?”
“Doctor?” She huffed in surprise. “No, I’m a concierge.”
“So no one’s life depends on you while you’re on vacation?”
“I don’t even have a cat.”
“If he fires you, can you survive?”
Amelia thought about it. Jay might be pissed. Although, truth be told, he really didn’t care about stuff like that. That’s what she liked about him. There were no problems, no troubles. In fact, he had asked her to move in when she didn’t have a job, so it probably wouldn’t be that big a deal. If worse came to worst, they’d eat ramen noodles for a few months until she got into another hotel. They could rekindle their relationship over a shared misery and look over the pictures of their once-in-a-lifetime vacation.
“Sistah, you still there?”
“Unfortunately.” She sighed.
“Look, you gotta do what you gotta do. I’ll make sure the kahuna gives you all your money back. He listens to me. You got no worries. You make sure you have no regrets.”
“Thanks,” she said. While the phone was cradled between her neck and shoulders, she rubbed her arms to stave off the chill as she stared dejectedly out the window. The sleet just kept coming down in gray icy waves. “I really appreciate that.”
“I got to tell you, though, that I’ve got a bucket of Coronas just waitin’ to be shared. I’ll even throw in a free snorkel lesson. Come find me.”
“Where are you going to be?” Her mouth curved into a smile.
“In my hammock. Just ask for Dude.”
“Dude?”
“Yes, sweet thing?”
“I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“That’s my girl.”
Amelia hung up and started shaking her head. Mr. Kensington would be disappointed, but he wouldn’t really fire her, right? She was the only experienced concierge he had, and she was a hard worker. She always picked up extra shifts and never complained. So he’d have to hire a temp, or get one of the desk staff to fill in for a few days. Most of them were native New Yorkers and could recommend restaurants. All of her contacts for shows and tours were on the computer. It was just customer service. She’d even stay extra late tonight to help train them. And she’d only be gone two weeks. It was only right that she took the vacation that had been booked and approved a year ago. She’d earned it. And she and Jay needed it. She couldn’t even remember the last time they’d had sex. Amelia needed to put her relationship first. Straightening her shoulders, she marched into Kensington’s office to tell him the bad news.
Amelia trudged to the bus stop with all of her personal belongings in a large plastic garbage bag. She no longer cared about avoiding icy puddles, because she was already soaked through.
By the time she got off at her stop, Zarafina was long gone, and the café where Quinn worked was closed. Too bad—she could have used another shot of caffeine. It felt like it was taking an eternity to get to her apartment. All she wanted was a nice hot shower and to put on soft wool socks. She’d tell Jay about losing her job after Maui. No sense ruining his fun. And if she started to stress, she’d just order more rum drinks. She deserved this vacation.
“I can’t believe that rat fink Kensington fired me,.” she told her reflection in the elevator.
Opening the door to her apartment, she dumped her belongings on the floor. Crap, she thought—she’d forgotten to pick up dinner. When she didn’t bring home dinner, Jay got cranky. Oh, well, they’d have to get delivery tonight. Thai sounded good. Or maybe a nice hot steaming bowl of pho? Squishing toward the bedroom, she heard loud moaning sounds.
“Yes, yes, yes!”
Great. Jay’s watching porn in surround sound again.
Shaking her head, she pushed open the bedroom door. Whatever witty remark she had prepared died when she realized it was live action instead of Internet porn.
Quinn in all her naked glory was bouncing on top of Jay, whose fingers were biting into Quinn’s butt so hard, he was going to leave marks.
Amelia’s feet were frozen in place. She opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Tears pricked at the corners of her eyes, but as she helplessly watched Quinn working toward orgasm, she wasn’t surprised.
Hurt. Betrayed. Pissed. But not surprised.
Is it wrong that I’m madder about losing my morning coffee?
Quinn’s head tilted back as she spewed a litany of swear words. Jay lay flat on his back with his eyes closed and let her do all the work.
Typical.
It was then she realized that her relationship had problems that even Maui couldn’t solve. She didn’t love Jay; otherwise she’d be more upset. He didn’t love her; otherwise he wouldn’t be banging the barista.
“You’re going to put somebody’s eye out with those,” Amelia said, finding her voice as Quinn’s big breasts heaved up and down.
Quinn shrieked and tried to cover up.
Jay pushed her over and sat up. “Babe, you’re home early.”

About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author, Jamie K. Schmidt, writes erotic contemporary love stories and paranormal romances. Her Club Inferno series from Random House’s Loveswept line has hit both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble top one hundred lists. She has two other series with Loveswept: Hawaii Heat, in which the first book Life’s A Beach will be out in January 2016, and The Sentinels of Babylon, about members of vigilante Motorcycle Club and their old ladies, which is scheduled for summer 2016. Her dragon paranormal romance series from Entangled Publishing, has been called “fun and quirky” and “endearing.” Partnered with New York Times bestselling author and former porn actress, Jenna Jameson, Jamie’s hardcover debut, SPICE, continues Jenna’s FATE trilogy.

An avid knitter and jewelry maker, Jamie is never bored. She can often be found with a mug of tea on the computer flanked by her little dogs & fluffy white cat.

You can follow her on twitter at @Jamiekswriter and her author page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EmergingQueens/

When she’s not writing or crafting, Jamie loves playing games, everything from board games to strategy card games, console and online MMORPGs.

Facebook www.facebook.com/jamie.k.schmidt.1

Twitter https://twitter.com/Jamiekswriter

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/jamiekswriter

Website http://jamiekschmidt.weebly.com/

Blog http://jamiekswriter.livejournal.com/

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Jamie-K.-Schmidt/e/B00B7CKKO6

Pinterest http://pinterest.com/jamiekswriter/

Tour giveaway

 

1 luau swag bag to a random person signed up on my mailing list through my weebly website.

Sign up is on the home page: http://jamiekschmidt.weebly.com/

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, as always the opinions are my own.  Thank you Bewitching Book Tours for allowing me to be part of this tour.

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The Amazing Journey by Grady Hicks

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Summary: 28 Days-24,000 miles-22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites-12 Cultures and Beliefs-1 Amazing Journey The Amazing Journey is a fast-paced, true story of Grady and Austin Hicks, a father and son who travel the world for twenty-eight days before Austin attends college. Austin is the first of three Hicks children who embark on this globe-trotting tradition with their father. In the spirit of adventure, their route and activities are kept secret-even from family. They complete daily, self-imposed Journey Tasks that deliberately immerse them into cultural authenticity, and far outside their comfort zones. As the journey unfolds, it becomes clear that these travelers are in store for much more than unfamiliar landscapes. From foreign militaries to spiritual clairvoyance, from serious illness to unnerving dares, The Amazing Journey reminds us to connect with people-be it those closest to you or those across the world-to test your limits, and to trust the Journey.

Paperback: $13.99 U.S. $17.50 CAN ISBN 13: 978-0-9864208-0-1
Hardback: $22.99 U.S. $27.25 CAN ISBN 13: 978-0-9864208-1-8
E-book: $9.99 ISBN 13: 978-0-9864208-3-2
TRAVEL / Special Interest / Family / Adventure

OH how I envy Grady & Austin. My original idea was to interview Mr. Hicks about his adventure, but as I am a claims adjuster in the Dallas area, we have had massive flooding that resulted in my extra time being dedicated to those that have lost everything. My saving grace was reading this adventure on my lunch break. Grady and Austin have accomplished what I dream of, to travel around the world jump outside of their comfort zones. I smiled, I laughed and I even talked about segments of the book with my co-workers.

Keeping their plans secret was brilliant, it was secret between father & son, and I loved exploring what they did on their secret adventure. I laughed at Grady’s take on sky diving (I agree, he is MUCH braver than me!). I loved how they planned their adventure on The Amazing Race, a show I also love.

What I enjoyed most about this story is the way that Grady expressed travel changes you. Travel is so much more than seeing the Eiffel tower and ancient ruins, it is stepping out of your comfort zone, finding who you are, immersing yourself into a different way of life. Travel changes you, and you can see the change in this memoir.

“I’m trying to prepare you for something deeper than a long weekend in Jamaica.”

This is the line that hooked me, and made me a fan of Grady. Grady get’s it, and he is preparing his son for the journey. Travel is a journey. That is why this book is amazing, Grady gets that.

I read travel memoirs I thrive on reading travel memoirs, because I love reading about experiences of other’s that travel because it gives me the satisfaction of knowing I am not alone when I preach that true travel changes you. This beautiful book does that, because not only do you see the change in Grady you see Austin change through his father’s eyes.

I can’t wait to read about the next adventure Grady is going to have with his daughter, starting in 10 days! I really hope he tweets when he can (yes I follow him on twitter now). The travel community really needs to read this book, you will not be disappointed.

This 5 star book is a heart warming story that shows the true meaning of travel. Change.

PS: Grady I am in the Dallas area! I would love to meet you & discuss your travels in further detail! I can’t wait for your next book!

Grady Hicks

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Grady is a native Texan whose family has lived and
worked in North Texas since the 1850s. He is an avid
traveler who has made his home base in Arlington,
TX, where he returns to relax in the backyard with his
family and to plan his next destination. He lives with
his wife of 27 years, Belinda. Their three children now
attend university, majoring in mechanical engineering,
business communication, and elementary education.
Grady is currently writing the second book in The
Amazing Journey series and planning the global
adventure that will become the third book.

Pearl Harbor

It has been a few months since I returned from Hawaii, the trip was an amazing trip and I know I will cherish the memories from that trip with my father for the rest of my life.  One of the major highlights of the trip was Pearl Harbor.

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I haven’t posted about this trip because the experience is so hard to put into words.  It was an emotional visit and one that is nearly impossible to put into words.  I think I am finally ready to try and put this trip into words because it was a true highlight of my trip, and I know without a doubt it was dad’s.

This is going to be a very long post because I am going to try and fit everything into this post.  I am also going to feature book recommendations to read before your visit these are recommended by Packabook. Go check them out they are AWESOME!

First don’t ask Siri to “get directions” to Pearl Harbor. I did that and ended up at a military check point.  While it was hilarious (I played dumb to the very cute military guy & dad pretty much rolled me under the bus) it was waste of his time to explain to a tourist this wasn’t Pearl Harbor, I needed to drive a little further.  The military is pretty busy, so try to use the actual memorial address vs the just being very vague to Siri.

Another pointer, don’t wear a dress.  I did, because I figured “Hey I was in Hawaii a dress is called for” it is very windy and I am pretty sure I flashed my fair share of people.

Also I hate that I feel I need to say this but I am going to just say it and then get off my high horse.  Half the people there WILL be Japanese.  Get over it, don’t be “that guy” that mouths off to them over the event.  Remember they were following orders too.  Be respectful.  Ok please excuse me while I step off my soap box.

OK now that I have given my tips, let me try to put the experience into words.  The memorial was something I hope every American can see in their lifetime.  It is a moment in our history when lives were taken and pretty much changed America forever.   We had a surprise attack, it was the first time this occurred and many American soldiers were lost.  Most teenagers or young adults.

I met a survivor, one of the few left.  It was such a sobering experience, and I can’t imagine what he feels when he visits the place where all his brothers were lost.  It is something I know I simply just can’t imagine and while I am not an emotional person. I couldn’t help but feeling emotional when I shook his hand.

Before you get on the boat to go to the actual memorial there is a very tasteful video that explains why Japan attacked us, why it was so easily taken and the aftermath.  Again I would be lying if I said I didn’t get slightly emotional watching that video, it was very informative and even brought understanding to the Japanese point of view.  War is war and it causes loss to both sides.

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When we arrived to the Arizona memorial I found it fascinating that oil still leaks from the ship.  I also found out the few survivors that should have been on the ship want to be buried at sea with their shipmates.   It was one of the most touching stories I heard.

Dad and I spent some time on the Arizona Memorial honoring the fallen, when we decided to go we decided to tour other parts of Pearl Harbor.  We decided to tour the USS Bowfin also known as The Pearl Harbor Avenger, we took part in the audio tour and again I was fascinated to see first hand the life our military men (and now women) endear for the safety of our country.

Simply put, I am 5’2″ and I had to duck to get into some of the rooms, talk about tight compartments.  The tour lasted about an hour and it was time to walk over to the museum and walk through that.  It was fascinating seeing World War 2 artifacts and hearing the stories from Military men, nurses and people who witnessed Pearl Harbor first hand.

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It was about lunch time but we were not done, we had to go see the USS Missouri. We spent easily two hours on this ship we took a walking tour with a guide who told us the stories and history of the battleship.   We boarded a bus and took us to the military base (the base I illegally had tried to enter earlier) where we were dropped off in front of this mighty battle ship.  I was awestruck! It was massive and I couldn’t believe the history that is associated with this ship.   Just further proof that travel is one of the best educational opportunities a person can take.

“Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always. These proceedings are closed!

–  General MacArthur, September 2, 1945, aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay

We were able to stand where the famous documents were signed and learned that this was the first AND only time Japan has surrendered.   We learned the theories as to why the battleship was chosen to have the papers signed.   We learned that a Japanese soldier attempted to kamikaze ship and lost his life in the process.  General MacArthur, stated that  he would have a soldiers burial  because he is a fellow soldier.    Touring the ship was deeply moving and I again I was awestruck with the life our military men and woman sign up for.

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We toured the ship and it was fun to see the decor of the 90s.  (it will make you realize just how old you are!).

By this point it was late afternoon and we still had one more stop to make the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor dad works with planes and this was going to be the final stop of our trip.

Again I couldn’t help but feel proud to have been born American and see what our ancestors endured so we could have the basic rights we have today, that so many do not have.

Overall this was a very long and very emotionally draining day.  I went through so many emotions touring this area while in Hawaii. I felt sadness, anger, pity, happiness, joy… pretty much every emotion a person could feel.  I would do this day all over again.  If you are in Hawaii this is an absolute MUST do.  Believe me you will not regret it.

I will share another post in the future of my favorite photos I took 300 from the day and it is hard to choose my favorites.

Planning a trip to Pearl Harbor soon? Below are some books to get you ready for this very emotional experience

Novels to read while visiting Pearl Harbor

The Lion in the Lei Shop by Kaye Starbird
Goodreads Link

The bombing of Pearl Harbor through the eyes of a young army officer’s wife and her 5-year old daughter. A rare chance to experience the impact this dramatic period of American history had on its women.

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Lucky Come Hawaii by Jon Shirota
Goodreads Link

The emotions and trauma of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on one Japanese-American family living in Hawaii.

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East, Wind, Rain by Caroline Paul
Goodreads Link

December 1941 and a place crash-lands in an isolated Hawaiian community. When a plane crash-lands on the island, the people who live there have no idea the pilot has just bombed Pearl Harbor.

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These reading suggestions are provided by Packabook Travel Novels, the place to go to find novels set in the place you want to travel to. Happy Reading!