Posted in Book Release, Giveaway, mystery, romance on July 7, 2017

We are so excited to announce the latest release in the Charlie McClung series by Mary Anne Edwards, Flirting With Time.

Now is your chance to get in on the mystery and suspense! This is the fifth installment in the series. You can get your copy of all five books on Amazon today!

Get the books:

Brilliant Disguise | A Good Girl | Criminal Kind
Sins of my Youth | Flirting With Time

Mystery ~ Romance ~ Murder
A Deadly Combination

The Charlie McClung Mysteries.png

Flirting With Time

Detective Charlie McClung is haunted by someone leaving mysterious paper hearts in odd places for his bride, Marian. Any thought that this is the work of a harmless prankster quickly vanishes when his men are attacked and people begin to die. The stalker is growing bolder and Charlie knows he needs to act quickly but there are too many suspects, too many alibis, and too much at stake.

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Add to Goodreads Shelf:
Brilliant Disguise | A Good Girl | Criminal Kind
Sins of my Youth

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What people are saying about Flirting With Time:

“Haunting, but in a good way. Twisty, turny, and full of heart.” ~Gretchen Archer – author of the USA Today Bestselling Davis Way Crime Capers

“Fans of Nick and Nora, fans of Tracy and Hepburn—rejoice. You’ll love Marian and Charlie. The talented Mary Anne Edwards weaves a charming, entertaining and delightfully romantic tale of small town deceit. It’s as if Agatha Christie wrote Hart to Hart—and happy readers will eagerly await the next page-turning puzzle.” ~Hank Phillippi Ryan – Anthony, Agatha, Mary Higgins Clark, and Macavity winning mystery author. Emmy-winning journalist.

“Mary Anne Edwards has written a classic whodunit, but the deeper mystery at its heart is who and how we love. Tender, fast-paced, and rich in character, Flirting With Time delivers malice and warmth in equal measure.” ~Tina Whittle – Bestselling author of the Tai Randolph Mysteries

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teasers

In case you haven’t already checked out the other books in the series, here are a few teasers to get you ready!

Brilliant Disguise Teaser

A Good Girl Candle

about the author

Born in Mercedes, Texas, Mary Anne has lived in Georgia most of her life. A life-long fan of authors such as Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, and Elizabeth Peters, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Mary Anne decided to listen to the voices in her head and began writing her own series of traditional mysteries featuring Detective Charlie McClung.

The first book in the series, Brilliant Disguise, was released to critical acclaim in January of 2014. The next three in the series, A Good Girl, Criminal Kind, and Sins of my Youth were released soon afterward. The fifth book in the series, Flirting with Time, released June 30, 2017 with at least five more to follow.

Mary Anne and her husband currently live in Smyrna, GA with an ill-tempered Tuxedo cat named Gertrude. Mary Anne is active in the Sisters in Crime Atlanta Chapter and sits on the advisory board of Rockdale Cares, a non-profit advocacy group for the developmentally challenged.

Brilliant Disguise.jpg A Good Girl.jpg Criminal Kind Front Cover.jpg Sins Cover.jpg

~Traditional mysteries with a touch of romance~

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Subscribe to Mary Anne Edwards’ newsletter to keep up to date on all news, and receive a copy of The Wedding, a short story by Mary Anne Edwards as our way of saying, “Thank you.”

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giveaway

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Mary Anne Edwards is giving away an awesome Swag Bag, mobi copies of all five books in the series, $5 Amazon gift card, and a signed copy of winner’s choice of one of her books!! Be sure to enter to win one of these great prizes! (US shipping only)

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on July 5, 2017

All Signs Point to Murder (A Zodiac Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in the Series
Midnight Ink (August 8, 2017)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738751078
E-Book ASIN: B01M14L2YK

Synopsis

The stars predict a wedding-day disaster, but San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never expected murder

Julia Bonatti is alarmed by the astrological signs looming over Geneva Leary’s wedding day, but nobody asked Julia’s opinion and being a bridesmaid means supporting the bride no matter what. Even with the foreboding Moon-Mars-Pluto lineup in the heavens, no one’s prepared for the catastrophes that strike: a no-show sister, a passed-out wedding planner, and a lethal shooting in the dead of night.

With anger and grief threatening to tear the Leary family part, Julia is determined to understand how such a terrible tragedy could occur. As she digs deeper into the family’s secrets, her astrological insights will lead her to the truth about a criminal enterprise that stretches far beyond the California coast.

Amazon * B&N * Indiebound

Review

This is the second in the series and I have always been fascinated by astrology and houses and all that, but I still don’t understand how they read the charts with what planet is in what house and if it is ascending or descending, but it is really intriguing to read how they read those charts.

I feel like a broken record when I say that I had no clue who the killer was…because it seems like I say that a lot lately! Either the authors are getting better at hiding those clues and throwing out red herrings, or my deductive skills aren’t up to snuff. I truly did not suspect this person at all and it was a huge surprise to me.

I think there Julia’s character is growing and her circle of friends is increasing so that there are more characters for her to interact with and have the personal side. I thought it was interesting that her deceased fiance’s mother played a small role that helped her decipher who the killer was…but the woman is not likable and hopefully we don’t see her much in future books.

Overall a very enjoyable cozy and we give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries from Midnight Ink.  She was fascinated by astrology at an early age and this was the inspiration that gave birth to Julia Bonatti, San Francisco astrologer and her newspaper column Ask Zodia.  Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime.  Connie lives in Los Angeles with her family and a constantly talking cat.

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

June 24 – Community Bookstop – INTERVIEW

June 24 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

June 25 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

June 25 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

June 26 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

June 26 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – INTERVIEW

June 27 – Sleuth Cafe – REVIEW

June 28 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

June 29 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

June 29 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

June 30 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

July 1 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST

July 1 – Blogger Nicole Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 2 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

July 3 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – GUEST POST

July 4 – OFF

July 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

July 5 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW, GUEST POST

July 6 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 7 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

July 8 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

July 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Historical, romance on July 2, 2017

Title: Lord of Lies

Author: Amy Sandas

Series: Fallen Ladies, #3

ISBN: 9781492618782

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

“You do strange things to me, Dell Turner. Tell me I am not alone in what I feel.”

His voice was low and rough. His eyes burned. “You are not alone,” he said.

Portia Chadwick longs for a life of adventure. When a dangerous moneylender kidnaps her sister, she dares to seek help from a man known only as Nightshade. Soon she finds herself charging headfirst into his world of intrigue and danger—and unexpected passion.

Dell Turner grew up in London’s back alleys and gin lanes. Vowing to escape his low beginnings, he hires himself out to society’s elite. When he accepts a job from a beautiful debutante, he doesn’t anticipate her relentless determination to join his mad occupation…or her unnerving ability to inspire emotions he thought long buried. She’s as dangerous to him as his world is to her, and yet Dell can’t bring himself to turn Portia away—even if it means risking her life.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound

Excerpt

He was home for only a few short minutes—not even long enough to shed the guise of Robert French—before there was a sharp knock at the front door. Morley was still taking care of the carriage and horses so wasn’t available to answer.
With a growl at being disturbed so blasted early in the day after being up all night, Dell lumbered from his study where he had been organizing a plan for his next steps in the Chadwick abduction. He opened the door just as the caller was about to knock again.

The disturbing slate-gray gaze of the precocious Miss Chadwick widened with a start before she low­ered her arm.

Dell’s immediate instinctive response was to slam the door shut. This woman triggered far too many distractions in his mind, as well as his body. She set him on edge, made him feel less in control.

He didn’t slam the door because his next thought was the realization that such a reaction would only pique her curiosity even more. He would need to employ another tactic to get rid of her.

Altering his voice to the smooth, unassuming, lilt­ing tones of Robert French, Dell asked, “Can I help you, miss?”

She tilted her head beneath the wide fall of her cloak hood, and her striking eyes narrowed dangerously. He was suddenly intensely aware of his appearance. French’s look often drew interested gazes from bold young women. Women who understood his jaunty swagger and the overt sensuality in his movement and expression.

Dell felt Portia Chadwick’s gaze like a stream of concentrated interest shooting straight to the center of his chest.

Then she smiled.

His body instantly reacted.

What the hell?

Dell straightened his spine and tried to look down his—or rather French’s—nose at her. Not that he thought any kind of intimidation would work on the chit, but he needed some way to distract from his unwelcome and wholly disturbing reaction.

“I believe you can,” she answered before she boldly strode across the threshold.

At any other time and with anyone else, Dell would never have allowed a person to just enter his home in such a way. But his current physical sensitivity to this woman had him stepping back on instinct to avoid direct contact, which gave her just enough room to sweep the rest of the way into the house.

Damn and blast.

Closing the door with a hard click, he turned to face her and saw that she had already crossed the small hall to the parlor. Dell gritted his teeth so hard his jaw ached. Following her into the front room, he watched with a further tightening in his loins as she swept her voluminous cloak from her shoulders to toss it care­lessly to the sofa.

She was still clothed in the same evening gown from the night before. Dell couldn’t stop his gaze from dropping briefly down her narrow back to the suggestive curve of her hips and buttocks before she spun around again to face him.

“I do not believe it is proper manners to so rudely force your way into someone’s home,” he said almost plaintively. “Especially when they are not at home.”

She laughed then, a full-bodied sound accompanied by a knowing flash in her eyes. She arched her winged black brows and placed her hands on her hips. “Do not bother with the theatrics. I know it is you, Mr. Turner,” she declared.

How the hell had she known?

The first time anyone had ever seen through one of his disguises, and it had to be she.

Dell considered denying it, but figured the truth would likely get her out of there faster.

“Fine,” he said in his natural voice, which carried more than a hint of his annoyance. “Mind telling me what the hell you are doing back here? I told you I would let you know when I learned something.”

“And did you? Learn something?” she asked, her tone hopeful.

“Not yet,” he replied stiffly, expecting her to press him further or demand he do more.

“Well, the situation has changed.”

Dell narrowed his gaze. “How?”

“My sister returned home safely less than two hours ago.”

It was not what he’d expected to hear. But it would do. “You have come to pay the remainder of my fee, then?”

She tipped her head, allowing the black ringlets falling from her coiffure to gently graze her col­larbone. “Not exactly.” Turning away, she strolled toward the front window.

“Then what? Exactly?” he asked, fighting the inex­plicable desire to follow her across the room.

She glanced back over her shoulder with a chal­lenging light in her gaze. “You were hired to find my sister and bring her home. Since she obviously managed to do that on her own, I have decided to give you another chance to earn your full fee.”

Crossing his arms over his chest, Dell asked, “What would you have me do now?”

About the Author

Amy Sandas’ love of romance began one summer when she stumbled across one of her mother’s Barbara Cartland books. Her affinity for writing began with sappy pre-teen poems and led to a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She lives with her husband and children in Wisconsin.

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Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Luck is No Lady, first book in Amy Sandas’ sexy and bold Fallen Ladies series!

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Posted in Giveaway on July 1, 2017

I love doing these hops and sharing some of my favorite books with my fellow bibliophiles.  I’m not sure which books I’ll be giving away, but like my last hop I will be giving away at least 2 books and up to 5.  There might be some romance, mystery or historical fiction.

 

And you can enter each day if you want….increase those odds of winning!

 

The Giveaway

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on July 1, 2017

Dead Air and Double Dares
by Janis Thornton

Cup of Tea Books, an imprint of PageSpring Publishing (June 18, 2017)
Number of Pages 310
E-BOOK ASIN: B071L28F34

Synopsis

Crystal Cropper, editor of the Elmwood Gazette, has added incentive in finding out who killed Horace Q. Ogilvie, owner of the local radio station and the most reviled man in town. Horace turns up dead minutes before he is supposed to broadcast his next malicious editorial, designed to destroy yet another Elmwood luminary. Fortunately for the police department, Horace’s list of future targets provides an abundant pool of suspects. Unfortunately for Crystal, her name is at the top!

Guest Post

Crystal and Janis … Inseparable!

By Crystal Cropper

Once again, my old chum, Janis Thornton, has immortalized me on the pages of yet another outstanding, cozy mystery. But, while Janis may tell you “Dead Air & Double Dares” is a work of fiction, there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

“Dead Air & Double Dares,” just like “Dust Bunnies & Dead Bodies” before it, is a slice-of-life tale, adapted entirely from my life. Thus, every sidekick, every villain, every victim, every suspect, every poke, every punch line, every wisecrack, every red herring, every MacGuffin, every cheeseburger and vanilla shake … They’re all true facts. They’re all mine! I lived them!

There’s no denying my good friend Janis is a superb scribe. However, had it not been for me standing beside her, whispering in her ear, telling her what happened to who, how and when, her career as a cozy mystery novelist might well be nonexistent.

Our alliance began some 10 years ago, after I returned to Elmwood. I was a seasoned journalist, having spent many years working as a crime-beat reporter at a West Coast daily newspaper. One day out of the blue, the Elmwood Gazette recruited me as its editor. I had thrived on big city chaos and wasn’t sure I could handle the no-drama predictability of a small-town newspaper, covering church bazaars, county fairs, and annual festivals. But what the heck? I figured a change of pace might do me good, so I said “yes.”

I had only been in my new gig a couple of weeks when Janis came in looking for a story. Although she didn’t know squat about crafting a decent cozy mystery, her writing samples were promising. But she definitely needed work.

Who better to take her hand and lead her into the world of Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich, and Joan Hess than me, Crystal Cropper? As Janis’ mentor, I’ve been schooling her for years on the correct way to craft a hard-hitting story by following her instincts, piecing together clues, keeping her mouth shut, her eyes open, and pulling it all together in a compelling way that keeps readers up at night.

To tell you the truth, I’m a little concerned about her cozy mysteries. Even though I willingly opened myself up to her like a … well, like a book, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with her telling the world my secrets, fears, and inner thoughts. This latest book of hers — “Dead Air and Double Dares” — hits a little too close to home. It makes me a tad uncomfortable.

Once she discovered I was one of the suspects in Horace Q. Ogilvie’s murder, she did her homework. She quickly learned the true identity of the radio station’s new manager, and why Elmwood’s interim mayor had spent time in Florida. But I have no idea where she dug up my deepest, darkest secrets involving that bogus plagiarism charge or my long-lost granddaughter. But if you want to know, you only have to read the book.

All in all, Janis has been an exceptionally good student — possibly my best, and I think “Dead Air & Double Dares” is a sterling testament to how far she’s come as an author. In the process, some might say we’ve become inseparable … two peas in a pod … yin and yang … bookends … birds of a feather … doppelgangers! And they might be right.

Simply put, Janis Thornton is nothing without Crystal Cropper.

And vice versa!

And now you know the rest of the story. •

About the Author

Janis Thornton is a freelance writer, personal historian, and award-winning journalist. She is the author of two local history books, Images of America: Tipton County and Images of America: Frankfort. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Indiana Writers Center, Association of Personal Historians, and the Midwest Writers Workshop Planning Committee. She lives in a small Indiana town not unlike Elmwood. Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies is her debut cozy mystery.

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June 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 20 – My Journey Back – REVIEW

June 21 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

June 22 – Author Annette Drake’s blog– INTERVIEW

June 23 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

June 24 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST

June 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST

June 25 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 26 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

June 27 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 27 – Blogger Nicole Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 28 – Celebrating Authors – SPOTLIGHT

June 29 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

June 30 – Teresa Trent Author Site – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 1 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 2 – deal sharing aunt – INTERVIEW

July 2 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on June 30, 2017

Synopsis

A FLING MIGHT BE JUST THE THING…

Gavin Donnigan left the Marine Corps a shell of a man, hounded by guilt for deaths he couldn’t prevent. But teaching a self-defense class at the local gym brings some stability to his life—along with a gorgeous leggy woman who won’t give him the time of day.

Zoe York lost her twin sister to a freak car accident a few months ago. She’s been struggling to bury her grief, but it isn’t until she signs up for a self-defense class with its distractingly hot instructor that she begins to come out of her shell again. With the memory of her sister telling her to live a little, Zoe decides a fling with buns-of-steel Gavin Donnigan might be just the thing.

Soon they’re sparring both in and out of the gym. And for the first time in a long time, each is looking forward to tomorrow.

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Excerpt

“Tell me more about the Donnigans. You were pretty close-mouthed yesterday.”

“Only because you wouldn’t stop talking about dirt.” He ate some pizza, disturbed to find his appetite off. Being so close to Zoe, all he could taste was the memory of her lips. Man, what a crock. Had he told Ava he didn’t want sex with Zoe? Right now he had a difficult time concentrating on anything but her fine, fine body. Her scent, the sound of her strong voice. The mouthwatering breasts pressed against the thin T-shirt she wore.

Zoe put the pizza back down on her plate. “Is that right? As I recall, you wouldn’t stop asking me stupid questions about what to do with that dirt. I mean, who doesn’t know what a trowel is?”

“It’s a mini shovel. Why make things complicated?”

“Because they just come that way.”

“Huh?”

“Complicated.” She shrugged and ate, so he continued talking before she blasted him for being ignorant about zone types.

“What about your family?”

“We’re not done with yours yet.”

“What else do you want to know?”

She crossed her eyes, and even purposefully looking goofy, she was beautiful. “Okay, it’s like this. Example: Well, Gavin, my family is pretty tight. My mom and dad live in Portland, and I see them once a month at least. Mom is an artist. Dad owns a natural foods shop. My mom and aunt are twins, which explains how Aubrey and I are twins. I mean, were twins.”

She swallowed but forced herself to look him straight in the eye. He could see so much pain in hers. “Aubrey was in a car accident back in January, and she didn’t make it.”

Hell. When she’d told him there had been a death in the family, he hadn’t made the connection to her twin. That seriously sucked.

“I’m sorry.”

She nodded, seemed to shake it off, and continued. “I work for a major medical group, where I train users on the software the medical staff uses. It’s fun. I’m good at it, and life is great.”

“Well. That was concise.”

She grinned, showing a lot of teeth. “Yes, it was.” She took a large swallow of beer, which physically hurt Gavin to see—her lips wrapped around a phallic-looking object.

He glanced down at his pizza and forced himself to take another bite.

“Now it’s your turn.”

He swallowed and chased the pizza with half his bottle of root beer. “Nice brew. Tastes great.”

“Thank you.”

“Now that I’ve been properly schooled in how to respond to your question—and see, I can totally tell you’re an educator—my family is filled with driven people. My mom is a real estate agent who hates to lose. She’s damn good at her job too. My dad works at a pharmaceutical company. Did twenty years in the Navy, retired, then went to work in the civilian sector and is a bigwig at his firm. I give it another five years until he retires, then spends all his time cooking or playing golf.”

“Cooking?”

“He’s an amazing cook. Always makes our dinners, or did when we were kids. He still dotes on my mom, which is nice. God knows Linda can be a handful.”

She stared, all that feminine energy focused on him, and it made him warm inside. Like, freakin’ hot. He reconsidered his option about bending her over the couch…

“Go on.”

Head out of the gutter, Gavin! “Landon you know. He works out to stay in shape. Medically retired from the Marine Corps after a bullet hit him in the knee and messed him up. Now he’s a manager at some logistics firm bossing people around.”

“That would suit him.”

He shared a grin with her. The kitchen felt intimate, just the two of them standing at the counter and eating. “Hope works for my cousin at his private finance company. Cam is smart and obnoxious, but he takes care of my baby sister. Plus he’s the easiest of my cousins to tolerate.”

“Your cousins?”

“Yeah, my mom’s sister and her husband live in town. She’s got four boys. I spent my childhood with Landon competing to be better than Aunt Beth’s crew. Well, technically only three are Aunt Beth’s, but they took Brody in when he was little. He’s just as annoying as the others. A real McCauley.”

“Wow. Big family.”

He nodded. “So where was I? Oh right. Theo. My poor baby brother isn’t sure what he wants to do now that he’s out of high school. I think he wants to join the Corps, but with Landon and me coming back kind of screwed up, he’s not sure.”

She studied him. “You’re screwed up?”

She had no idea. And he wanted to keep it that way. “I was shot and medically retired from the Marine Corps too. Saw some shit overseas. Not good. Anyhow, it’s done. So I’m back here, trying to figure out what to do. I work at the gym because it de-stresses me and I’m good at it. Being physical, I mean.”

Before he could fall into the memories, Zoe distracted him. “Oh, I bet you’re good at being physical. Or so I’ve heard from Michelle and Megan. And a few others.”

He flushed. “Yeah, well, I made some dumb choices when I first got back. I drank a little too much, so I don’t like to drink anymore.”

“Are you an alcoholic?”

“Didn’t you just minutes ago yell at me for asking your aunt blunt questions?”

“I didn’t yell.”

“It felt like it.”

“Yeah, but I’m mean and aggressive, remember?”

“There is that.” He took another swig of root beer, grinning. “No, I’m not an alcoholic. But the fact I was starting to drink too much scared the crap out of me. Now I stay away from it. I don’t want my thinking impaired. So yeah, no drugs either. And no cigarettes. I have no vices.”

“Except your poor taste in women.” She paused. “Present company excluded.”

“Oh, that was a nice add-on.”

“I thought so.” She smirked.

He couldn’t help it. He put down his root beer, took her beer from her hand, and caged her against the counter.

“Gavin, what are you doing?” she sounded breathy. Aroused.

Lord knew he was.

“I just need one kiss. Then we can go watch the movie. Okay?”

“O-one. I guess.” She licked her lips.

He leaned down, feathered his breath over her mouth, and kissed her. The taste of warm beer and woman went right to his head, making him drunk on her in a way he’d only ever felt with Zoe. The kiss last night hadn’t done them justice. This one just…

He slanted his mouth over hers, deepening the kiss when she put her hands on his waist and tugged him closer. She had to be feeling him hard and thick against her, but she only gripped his belt loops and refused to let go.

Zoe participated in everything. She followed his lead, stroked his tongue with hers, and shoved those amazing breasts against his chest. Nothing with her was tentative or half done. She gave him a full-body kiss that threatened to undo him the longer it lasted.

Gavin yanked his head back and leaned his forehead against hers, trying to regain his control. Right now, his body screamed at him to satisfy his needs by sinking inside her. She’d be hot, tight, wet.

But his brain warned him to slow down. To not rush or scare her, because they had so much more to share.

And his heart…the damn thing did nothing but race in his chest and ache for a woman he still barely knew. Except he felt like he knew everything about her. Which made no sense.

He pulled back and met her gaze. She seemed as bewildered and turned on as he was.

He had to do something, or he feared listening all too well to his baser instincts.

“So no sex tonight, right?” His thick voice attested to his desire. “Bending you over the couch is a no-no?”

She blinked, blushed, and scowled. Instead of berating him for being crude, she yanked him back for a kiss that about blew his mind—and his balls clean off. “Nope. Not even close.”

She was breathing hard, her eyes straying to his mouth time and again, her hands still clutching his sweater. She stroked his chest, brushing her hands over his tight nipples.

“Not even close,” he agreed. “Not thinking about it at all.”

“Not at all.”

And they both knew they were lying.

About the Author

Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, MARIE HARTE is a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Historical, romance, Spotlight on June 29, 2017

Title: Scandalous Ever After

Series: Romance of the Turf #2

Author: Theresa Romain

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 9781492649021

Synopsis

Does love really heal all wounds?

After being widowed by a steeplechase accident in Ireland, Lady Kate Whelan abandons the turf. But once her mourning is complete, her late husband’s debts drive her to seek help in Newmarket amidst the whirl of a race meet. There she encounters antiquities expert Evan Rhys, her late husband’s roguish friend—whom she hasn’t seen since the day of his lordship’s mysterious death.

Now that fate has reunited them, Evan seizes the chance to win over the woman he’s always loved. But once back within the old stone walls of Whelan House, long-held secrets come to light that shake up everything Kate thought she knew about her marriage. Now she wonders who she can trust with her heart—and Evan must decide between love and a truth that will separate him from all his heart desires.

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Chapters | Indiebound

Two of Theresa’s favorite summer activities

If I were creating the sort of profile I admire, I’d tell you that my favorite summer activities include splashing in the ocean, or camping in the backyard after having a barbecue. But the truth is that I’m hundreds of miles from the nearest beach, and my favorite thing to do there was always to make a giant dolphin out of sand. And I can’t bear to be outside in 100+ heat, especially when the mosquitos are biting.

However, there are so many lovely little things about summer that I do enjoy. Specifically…

  1. Having more time to read. I might not be on a beach relaxing to the sound of waves, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have a book in my hand. The pace is a little slower in summer, and I love taking time to sprawl out on the couch and whittle down my TBR pile. (Just kidding. The TBR pile never gets smaller, because I never stop buying books.)
  2. More flexibility in the schedule. Yes, my husband and I are still working, and sure, Little Miss R is still in school activities. But we can be more lax about her schedule, and there’s never any homework. That’s good news for the mom who wrangles all of the papers, as well as the kid who does the work.

In SCANDALOUS EVER AFTER, there are no frozen treats or backyard campfires—but there *is* a sea, and Lady Kate Whelan and Evan Rhys find themselves on a road trip of a lifetime. Between ferries and floods, treats and horses and races, sickness and health and more than one scandalous interlude, these two old friends will find a love they never expected—and unearth secrets they never dreamed of. I hope you’ll enjoy this romantic summer read!

Excerpt

“Kate, is all this for my benefit?”

“Why, what do you mean?” Seating herself on the red velvet settee, she hitched one leg up and spread the dressing robe about it. Then she lowered her leg again, crossing it over the other. Each time, pale flesh shone new and enticing through the shifting fabric.

The more she fidgeted, the more he wanted to gather her up in his arms and hold her. Settle her. Kiss her into calm and pleasure.

Lord. He was going to die in this room.

Already it had been a long day; agonizingly, sweetly long. They had stayed at the Rowley Mile’s rail for the day’s remaining races, though Evan couldn’t have sworn whether horses or dogs or monkeys ran the course.

No one else fell. He knew that much. One fall was bad enough.

Or had it been a blessing in disguise? Kate had been shaken, badly, at the sight of a prone body on a racecourse. But Evan could recall nothing so determined as the way she lifted her chin and decided to stick out the rest of the schedule.

Perhaps she saw nothing when she looked at the track. Perhaps she was in the Ireland of two years ago, remembering Con’s fall. But she had stood beside Evan and let him hold her, and he helped her not to be alone. Whether or not she knew it, she did the same for him.

“I was thinking”—she spoke again, still wildly rearranging herself on the settee—“that this could be the perfect arrangement. Two friends who care for each other very much, giving each other pleasure.”

The breezy explanation was perfunctory, so much so that it took him aback. From the end of the settee, he peered down at her. “Is that what this invitation meant to you?”

“What else should it have meant?”

“I don’t know that it should mean anything at all.” He sighed, tucking himself beside her at the end of the settee. “Kate. If you want comfort, I’ll comfort you, as innocently as you like. I’m good at brushing hair.”

Thunk. Her just-hoisted foot slid to the floor. “I don’t need my hair brushed.”

“I could let you hold my hand, then. It can be comforting, holding a hand.”

Her shoulders hunched. “I don’t need my hand held either.”

“Good, good. As delightful as that can be, it loses its savor after a while.” He trembled on the edge of honesty, then tipped. “You seem—is this—are you trying to recapture some old closeness? Because I don’t think we—”

“God, no.” She laughed, a shaky, startled burst. “I don’t want to recapture anything, Evan. If I did, you’d be eating porridge, and I’d be sipping whisky, and… well. The whole day would have gone differently.” Her whole body seemed to flush. She was pink and cream, warm colors all over.

Not unaffected, then. He could draw her out. “The day of races?”

“The day of…everything. Today, I decided I was ready for a change.”

“You were thinking of this sort of change,” he said. “Us. Alone. Tonight.”

“I was.” She tied her dressing robe about her more tightly. “I could not stop, once the idea seized me. Damn propriety and all that sort of thing.”

“Then why not untie the robe instead?”

“Well…about that. Now that you are here, I have started to…to think about what we might do.”

“That sounds delightful.” He grappled with the weighty bolster at his side, tugging it free and flinging it over the arm of the settee. “Though from the mil- lion pauses in your speech, I wonder if it strikes you the same way.”

“It…does. But I am so aware that you have seen me only in clothes—”

“As opposed to what? Mermaid skins?”

She sputtered. “Is that even a real—never mind… No. You know what I mean. This will be different.”

“It will only be as different as you want it to be.”

“Maybe. That’s what I was hoping. I want different.” She swung her feet, bare toes tapping the floor before the hearth. “Evan, I thought it would be easy. Being different with you. But now…I’m nervous. Are you?”

“No.”

For the sake of graciousness, he probably should not have replied so swiftly. But nervous? Not in the least.

Nervous was waiting not once, but twice, to hear whether she would be safely delivered of a baby, or whether she would lose her life in childbed. Nervous was waiting, five years ago, for her ship to return her across the Irish Sea from her last trip to England.

Nervous was how he felt when her life was at stake. Now? He felt newly born, in all the frailty and triumph that the phrase implied.

“I’m not nervous at all,” he said.

About the Author

Historical romance author THERESA ROMAIN pursued an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She then worked for universities and libraries, where she got to read even more. Eventually she started writing, too. She lives with her family in Wichita, Kansas.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Young Adult on June 29, 2017

Title: The Way It Hurts

Author: Patty Blount

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: August 1, 2017

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Pages: 352 pages

Synopsis

There may be two sides to every story, but sometimes there’s only one way to set things right…

Music is Elijah’s life. His band plays loud and hard, and he’ll do anything to get them a big break. He needs that success to help take care of his sister, who has special needs. So he’d rather be practicing when his friends drag him to a musical in the next town…until the lead starts to sing.

Kristen dreams of a career on stage like her grandmother’s. She knows she needs an edge to get into a competitive theater program–and being the star in her high school musical isn’t going to cut it. The applause and the attention only encourage her to work harder.

Elijah can’t take his eyes off of Kristen’s performance, and snaps a photo of her in costume that he posts online with a comment that everybody misunderstands. It goes viral. Suddenly, Elijah and Kristen are in a new spotlight as the online backlash spins out of control. And the consequences are bigger than they both could have ever imagined because these threats don’t stay online…they follow them into real life.

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Advanced Praise for The Way It Hurts

“Blount writes authentically; both protagonists’ voices are distinct. The author explores the rapidly consuming world of social media and how it affects relationships online and in real life. A relevant read and must-have for all YA collections.” – School Library Journal

“THE WAY IT HURTS draws our attention to the joy, heartache and confusing contradictions that arise as we try to find our place in the real world and the virtual one.” – Kimberly Sabatini

Elijah and Kristen’s personal evolutions through the novel, along with their chemistry, feel as authentic as the conflicts they face. A genuine plot filled with steady tension that will keep readers hooked.” RT Book Reviews

“This book sensitively covers topics such as sexism, handicapping conditions, communication, and ageism. Agency is also shown when Kristen says she wants to pursue studying in a conservatory rather than continue in the band and the three young men acknowledge her wish. Talking about what bothers us rather than trying to guess another person’s feelings is demonstrated through the actions of the characters. The characters’ issues are eventually resolved through hard work and understanding, making this an interesting and informative read. School Library Connection

Excerpt

I shifted in my broken seat, wondering how many more minutes of the hell that was Bear River High School North’s production of Cats I’d have to endure. My fingers itched for my guitar and notepad. Melodies played in my head, begging to be put down on paper, and there were a dozen other things we should have been doing to promote Ride Out so we could get the band some notice.

The music rose. Beside me, Nick sucked in a breath. I didn’t know Leah. Nick met her at a concert a few months back, and they’d been hanging out whenever they could because, Nick claimed, Leah was the One.

I hid half a laugh and shook my head. I didn’t get the whole concept of the One, but I’d help Nick get what he wanted.

Leah raised her face. When she opened her mouth, I sat up a little straighter. Her voice… Jesus, it was astounding. Clear. Strong. Powerful but sweet. I watched and listened, the audience around me fading away. Her voice swelled, and she attacked the high notes without hesitating, making goose bumps jump out of my skin. What was the top note of her range? She glided across the stage; she never struggled or stumbled. The audience waited for the crescendo, and when she reached it, holy God, it was like a…a promise kept. She blew me away. The notes faded out, and the rest of the production was a blur. I had no idea Leah could sing like that and couldn’t take my eyes off—

My best friend’s girl. Shit.

The lights came up, and everybody got to their feet, applauding like mad. Nick held up this lame poster board sign he’d made. I used that time to get my hormones under control and put Leah and her amazing voice out of my head. The rest of the cast assembled on the stage for their curtain call, and I locked eyes with one of the actors— the White Cat. She was incredibly hot—a solid body with an impressive rack. Her solo dance was the best part of the show up until Leah’s song. She looked amazing in that white cat suit. So freakin’ hot.

“Ladies and gentlemen, a moment please.” A teacher walked to the right of the stage and waved her hands. “Thank you all for attending our opening night performance! I am so proud of these kids. They made all their own costumes and designed the set themselves. And tonight, I want to share with you an amazing last-minute change-up to our program. Grizabella, played by Leah Russo, is ill and was unable to sing this evening. Her songs were actually sung by our White Cat, played by Kristen Cartwright.”

The teacher’s hand swung to my favorite cat, and my jaw dropped. That awesome voice was hers? Whoa. I stuck two fingers in my mouth and let loose with a shrill whistle while the audience roared their approval. The white cat’s eyes met mine, and I started to picture her in different clothes…maybe some black leather, studded bands on her wrists, hair long and wild down her back, strutting across a stage while I shredded the hell out of the guitar. If she could sing Broadway songs without breaking a sweat, what could she do with a hard metal rock track? I wondered—again—what her range was. Could she get low with some Halestorm or full-on mean with a Slipknot metal scream? I should put her in Ride Out right now. I grinned like a maniac because I knew that would really twist BroadwayBaby17 into a knot.

A brilliant idea struck. I pulled out my phone, snapped a photo of the white cat, and from the band’s Twitter account, posted this:

Ride_Out: This cat’s HAWT! And damn, can she sing.

It needed a hashtag. I tapped out “#CatCall.” Oh, this was awesome. My phone buzzed a minute later with a reply from a fan calling himself JJStix88.

Sweet! Get her to meow. #CatCall

I tapped out another post.

JJStix88: Make her arch that back! #CatCall

Ride_Out: Wanna hear her scream! #CatCall

Copyright © The Way It Hurts 2017 by Patty Blount

 

About the Author

Native New Yorker Patty Blount is the award-winning author of several critically acclaimed internet issues novels for teens as well as a few adult contemporary romances. She is inspired to write by such greats as Judy Blume, JK Rowling, and Gayle Forman. In fact, Judy Blume is the reason Patty elected to write under her real name…so she’d appear on shelves next to her idol. Patty adores writing; she’s written everything from technical manuals to song lyrics (see THE WAY IT HURTS, coming August 2017). Patty wants you to know she loves chocolate…really, really loves chocolate.

When not crushing on actors Gilles Marini or Sam Heughan, Patty can be found sitting in traffic somewhere on the Long Island Expressway, listening to audio books or talking wildly to herself about plots and characters. Prone to falling madly in love with fictional characters, Patty suffers frequent broken hearts when they all invariably prefer the heroine to her… go figure. When she’s not writing, Patty loves to watch bad sci-fi movies and live tweet the hilarity, and scour Pinterest for ideas on awesome bookcases. Patty lives on Long Island with her family in a house that, sadly, lacks bookcases.

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Posted in 4 paws, Adventure, Giveaway, Historical, Review, romance, Western on June 28, 2017

BADLANDS

Sawbones, Book 3

by

MELISSA LENHARDT

!!NEW RELEASE!!

 

  Genre: Historical / Western / Action-Adventure / Romance

Publisher: Redhook

Date of Publication: June 27, 2017

Number of Pages: 416

Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in the conclusion to Melissa Lenhardt’s fast-paced historical series.

Laura’s worst fears have been realized: Kindle has been taken into custody and she is once again on the run. The noose awaits her in New York, but Laura is realizing that there are some things worse than death. Finally running out of places to hide, it may be time for Dr. Catherine Bennett to face her past.

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The end of a trilogy that comes full circle for Catherine/Laura/Helen (the woman with many names).

When I first started reading this series, the grittiness and violence took me by surprise. While we know that the late 1800’s in the west was not a tame period or place to be, I was a bit surprised by how detailed the books were in describing the raids on and by the indians, the whore houses and just people in general. I have heard that some compare this to Outlander. I’ve never read that book but would imagine is it the raw and rough scenes that cause the comparison.

This book/series holds nothing back and really entranced me as the reader, imagining what it would be like to live in those times and under those conditions. The type of medical care that wasn’t really available and the charlatans that sold “snake oil” as cures for whatever ailed you.

Catherine/Laura/Helen is definitely a strong female character, but almost too strong in my opinion. I know that she never expected to fall in love and get married, and I know that this time period women were not seen as equals but almost as servants to their husband. Other women were fiercely strong too including Rosemond who is trying to make an honest living out her life and erase her own past. Laura and Rosemond may think they are different from each other, but really are alike in many ways and figure this out in the 2nd and 3rd books. I had to admire the gumption of many of the women in this book for taking their future into their own hands and not being dictated by society.

There are so many facets to this story that I thought the author did a wonderful job of exploring and leaving us with a mixed bag of emotions throughout the series.

We give this book (and the series) 4 paws up!

about the author

melissa-lenhardtMelissa Lenhardt writes mystery, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in Heater Mystery Magazine, The Western Online, and Christmas Nookies, a holiday romance anthology. Her debut novel, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest. She is a member of the DFW Writers’ Workshop and vice president of the Sisters in Crime North Dallas Chapter. Melissa lives in Texas, with her husband and two sons.

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6/27 Notable Quotable Momma on The Rocks
6/27 Notable Quotable Forgotten Winds
6/28 Review: Blood Oath CGB Blog Tours
6/28 Review: Badlands StoreyBook Reviews
6/29 Review: Blood Oath Reading by Moonlight
6/29 Review: Badlands Margie’s Must Reads
6/30 Review: Blood Oath The Librarian Talks
6/30 Review: Badlands The Page Unbound
7/1 Review: Blood Oath My Book Fix Blog
7/1 Review: Badlands Books and Broomsticks
7/2 Badlands Excerpt Books in the Garden
7/3 Bonus Review Blogging for the Love of Authors & Their Books
7/4 Bonus Review Hall Ways Blog
7/5 Badlands Excerpt Texas Book Lover
7/6 Badlands Excerpt Missus Gonzo

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Young Adult on June 28, 2017

 

 

The Ghost of You and Me by Kelly Oram

How do you tell someone who hates you and blames you for the death of his best friend that you miss him?

From the bestselling teen and young adult author of Cinder & Ella comes a new heart-wrenching romance sure to bring all the feels.

The tragic death of Spencer Schott unravels the lives of the two people he loved most—his girlfriend, Bailey, and his best friend, Wes. Secrets and guilt from that fateful night keep both Bailey and Wes from overcoming Spencer’s loss and moving on with their lives.

Now, nearly a year later, both Bailey and Wes are still so broken over what happened that Spencer can’t find peace in the afterlife. In order to put his soul to rest, he’s given one chance to come back and set things right…even if that means setting up his girlfriend with his best friend.

With the emotional resonance of Jellicoe Road and the magical realism of The Lovely Bones, The Ghost of You and Me is a story about overcoming grief, finding redemption for past mistakes, and the healing power of friendship and love. Fans of John Green, Sarah Dessen, and Nicholas Sparks are sure to love this haunting new tale from Kelly Oram.

This is a clean young adult romance stand alone novel that reads like contemporary drama romance and has just a touch of magical realism.

Excerpt

I open the door and slam into a solid chest. Strong hands grip my arms to steady me, and they don’t let go. I know the hands are Wes’s without having to look. “Are you okay?” he asks.

At first, I’m comforted by his presence. His smell is familiar, and the heat of his tall, lean body feels like it could thaw my frozen heart. For a split second, I melt against him. His arms come around me as if holding me is as natural to him as breathing. For a second, everything is right in my pathetic world. For a second, I’m alive again.

“Bailey, what’s wrong?” His usually smooth, deep voice is gruff.

My head jerks up at the sound of my name, and reality catches up with me. I scramble out of his embrace, attempting to swallow back my panic. He’s watching me, waiting for an answer. I haven’t spoken to him since the funeral, and I’m not sure I can do it now. It takes me a minute to find my voice, and when I do, I blurt out, “What are you doing here?”

He sucks in a breath through his nose as he steps back, gripping the strap of a bag slung over his shoulder. Seeing the backpack, my jaw drops. “Are you coming back to school?”

The genuine horror in my voice makes him flinch. There’d been a bit of light in his eyes, but it’s gone now. His face closes off. “No, I’m not coming back to school here.”

He adjusts that strap again, then switches the backpack to his other shoulder while glaring at the ground. I’ve offended him. Or maybe he just still hates me. I wouldn’t blame him. I got his best friend killed, after all. I hate me.

Seeing him reminds me of that night all over again. The events replay in my mind with vivid detail. Everything from finding Wes and stopping him from doing something unthinkable, to the kiss, to the fight, and finally the accident and Wes holding me back while paramedics did their best to try and save Spencer’s life.

One look at his face, and I can tell Wes is thinking about the same events. He closes his eyes and takes a breath. When he looks at me again, his expression has smoothed out. “How are you?” he asks. “You know…today.”

I swallow back a lump of emotion. I’m not surprised that Wes knows today is Spencer’s and my anniversary, but his acknowledgement of it feels like a knife in my heart. Why does he care? He hated that Spencer and I were together, and he used to get so cranky on this day every year.

“What’s today?” someone behind me murmurs. “It’s not the anniversary of Spencer’s death. That’s not for a couple weeks.”

A crowd of students have gathered to watch the drama. I don’t know who spoke, but I wish I could make them all disappear. Could people be any more tactless? Why can’t they just mind their own business?

When my eyes start to burn, I turn to leave. I can’t stand here any longer.

Wes puts a hand on my shoulder to stop me. “Bay, wait.”

I freeze. Aside from that night, Wes hasn’t used my nickname since I got together with Spencer and he started hating me for stealing his best friend.

Wes lets me go and rubs a hand over his head. “Sorry. I just—we should really talk.”

“Don’t.” With a quivering voice and stinging eyes, I whisper, “I can’t do this. Not today.” Maybe not ever.

I can’t take it anymore. I can’t stare into those knowing eyes for another second. My guilt is bad enough without seeing his sadness and anger.

Wes doesn’t say anything as I leave, doesn’t try to stop me. I head straight for my car and don’t care if I get in trouble for leaving. All that matters is getting far, far away from here. I’m not really running from Wes. I’m running from the past. Running from myself. Those are two things I will never escape, but I run anyway.

 

About the Author

Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She’s obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy.

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