Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Western on April 12, 2017

Title: Texas Homecoming

Series: Night Riders, #1

Author: Leigh Greenwood

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 9781492648796

Synopsis

She’s his last chance to find peace…

Cade, Captain of the Night Riders, is determined to lead his men home to Texas to recover from a long and brutal war. But when a fellow Rider betrays the team, Cade sets aside his hopes for peace and swears he will hunt down the traitor no matter what it takes…

He has a foolproof plan to use the feisty Pilar diViere to lure her traitorous brother out of hiding. And yet when he takes the dark-eyed beauty into his arms, Cade can’t help but remember the passionate past they shared. He would do anything for a chance to rekindle that flame…even spare her brother’s life.

The war has changed them all, and each of the Night Riders must decide what is more important: love or revenge?

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Excerpt

“Let’s go for a walk instead.”

“I don’t want to walk,” she said, angry he’d forced her to leave the fiesta. “I can do that any time.”

“We can walk along the river. The moonlight on the water makes it look like a river of silver.”

A walk sounded awfully dull compared to dancing, but she’d never seen a river in the moonlight. Young ladies of aristocratic lineage weren’t supposed to be interested in such things. Cade made it sound very pretty. “Okay, but if I don’t like it, I want to go back to the fiesta.”

The fruit drinks had undoubtedly contained more tequila than she suspected. She had never felt so uninhibited, so unfettered by tradition, so unrestrained by her grandmother’s strictures. It felt absolutely marvelous.

“Have you walked along rivers in the moonlight with a lot of girls?” she asked.

Cade chuckled softly. “You should ask Owen that question.”

“I’m not interested in Owen. I’m interested in you.” She didn’t mean it quite the way it sounded, but it was too much trouble to explain.

“No one seemed particularly interested,” Cade said.

Pilar couldn’t understand that. To her, Cade seemed like exactly the kind of man a woman would want to walk with in the moonlight. He was strong, handsome, and dependable, everything a young woman would look for in a man.

“I can’t believe the young women you knew were so silly.”

“Young ladies want excitement, clever words, flattery,” he said.

“They’d want something very different if they’d been driven out of their home and forced to cook for a living.” She hadn’t meant to mention that, but what he said seemed so frivolous, she couldn’t help herself.

“Some lost more than you. They just wanted to forget.”

She would never forget. “Let’s not talk about the war. Pretend I’m one of those silly women who pant after Owen. Tell me I’m pretty and you get lost in my eyes.”

Pilar felt herself flush with embarrassment. She didn’t know where those words had come from. She’d never even thought anything so foolish in her entire life.

“You’re not pretty,” Cade said.

That’s what she got for putting words into a man’s mouth.

“You’re beautiful. Any man would give his right arm to be able to drown himself in your eyes.”

Pilar didn’t know what more those Virginia beauties could want. Manuel had never said anything half so poetic.

“Your fiancé should be cut into small pieces and fed to the coyotes for leaving you unprotected. If I had been your fiancé, not even loyalty to my country could have been enough to make me leave you.”

Pilar was wise enough to know that no man ever valued his wife above his loyalty to his country; his money or his children perhaps, but never his wife. But the effect on her was the same as if it had been the truth. She’d never felt so important in her life, and she liked it.

“Would you really have stayed in Texas if I’d been your fiancée?”

“Maybe not, but I’d have made sure you were safe before I left.”

“Why?”

“A man protects what he values. Nothing is more valuable than the woman a man loves.”

Pilar had never expected to be loved by her husband, but when she was alone and faced with the future, she couldn’t help dreaming about it. Respect and all that stuff about lineage and money didn’t seem enough in a world that could turn cold and cruel at any moment.

“How would you show a woman you loved her?” Pilar asked.

“Like this.” Cade took her in his arms and kissed her.

Pilar knew that some part of her must have been wanting this, hoping for it, but a part of her was shocked to find herself in Cade’s embrace. That same part was even more shocked to discover how much she wanted it, welcomed it, moved forward to meet him. Nor did she back away from the kiss when it turned from a genteel brushing of lips to an unbridled expression of pent-up emotions.

She didn’t know what was responsible for the feeling that her life had suddenly turned in a new direction, had taken on a different meaning. She didn’t know how to account for the emptiness inside her, or the conviction that Cade was the only one who could fill it.

She only knew she’d been swept up in Cade’s powerful embrace, and it was the most wonderful feeling of her whole life.

She’d never imagined that anything could feel as wonderful as this kiss. His lips were full, his mouth soft. His tongue darted between her teeth before she knew what was happening. But even as her conscious mind started to reject the idea, her body’s response was the opposite—and enthusiastic. Her own tongue rose to duel with Cade’s, entwining sinuously around his, plunging deep into his mouth.

Gradually Pilar became aware that other parts of her body were reacting to Cade’s embrace. Her breasts—pressed hard against his chest—had become extremely sensitive, her nipples swollen. A feeling unlike anything she’d ever experienced uncoiled deep in her belly, then began to spread through her limbs, causing her muscles to go limp. Instinctively she clung still more tightly to Cade.

Without warning, Cade broke the kiss, took her by the shoulders, and thrust her away from him.

The shock was total.

“We have to go back to the hotel before I forget you’re a lady I’ve promised to protect,” Cade said.

Pilar’s brain refused to function. She couldn’t understand what Cole was saying. She could only understand that all comfort had suddenly been torn from her. “What would you do if I weren’t a lady, if we didn’t have to go back to the hotel?”

About the Author

Leigh Greenwood is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Seven Brides, Cowboys, and Night Riders series. The proud father of three grown children, Leigh resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. He never intended to be a writer, but he found it hard to ignore the people in his head, and the only way to get them out was to write.

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Posted in Christian, Giveaway, Guest Post, romance on April 11, 2017

SANDPIPER COVE

A Hope Harbor Novel, Book 3
by

IRENE HANNON

  Genre: Contemporary / Christian / Romance

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: April 4, 2017

Number of Pages: 352

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Irene Hannon welcomes readers back to the enchanting seaside town of Hope Harbor, Oregon, in her novel Sandpiper Cove, releasing April 2017. Praised by Library Journal as a “master at character development,” Irene Hannon steps away from suspense writing once again to deliver another powerful, multifaceted romance that is sure to have readers coming back for more.

Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her coastal Oregon hometown. As a result, she has zero time for extracurricular activities—including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn’t looking for love either—but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief?

Nevertheless, when Lexie enlists Adam’s help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different—and better—future planned for them than either could imagine.

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PRAISE FOR THE HOPE HARBOR NOVELS

“Fan favorite Irene Hannon brings a whole new cast of characters to life in a charming Oregon seaside village. Emotional and heartwarming, this story invites reader to come home to Hope Harbor.” Christian Retailing on Hope Harbor

“A place of emotional restoration that readers will yearn to visit.” Publishers Weekly on Hope Harbor

 “Summer romance doesn’t get much better than this.” —Examiner.com on Sea Rose Lane

Lone Star Life Guest Post

Irene Hannon, Sandpiper Cove

When I decided to write a book set on the spectacular Oregon coast, my husband joined me on a research trip that took me from the tip-top edge of the state all the way down to the California border. Since he knows me well, he also brought along sturdy hiking shoes.

And therein lies a story.

For me, the best way to get to know a place is on foot. So every trip I take—whether it’s for fun or work—involves some long, often arduous, day hikes.

My husband is a trouper, and while long hikes weren’t necessarily his forte when we got married, in general he gets into the trek-taking spirit on our trips.

But every once in a while, during one of our more…ahem…adventurous hikes, he’ll give me the How did you manage to talk me into this? look.

The most memorable such look happened during a hike in the French Pyrenees.

The problem with that hike was lack of appropriate footwear. He was in the country on business and didn’t have room in his luggage for his hiking shoes. So no major hikes were planned for that trip. But when we came across a distant but visible waterfall, I convinced him it would be an easy stroll. The path was even paved at the beginning, and not very steep.

Three hours later, the smooth path long left behind, we found ourselves on a glacial slope—but still not at the waterfall, which continued to tantalize from a distance.

As we contemplated our elusive target, my husband cocked his head and said, “What’s that smell?”

I sniffed the spicy aroma. Familiar…but I couldn’t place it.

He bent down and picked the leaf off a plant.

“It’s thyme.” He passed it to me.

Yeah, it was.

Wild mountain thyme, to be precise—officially classified as a high-altitude plant.

“I guess we climbed pretty high.” I eyed the glacier at the base of the waterfall.

He sat on a convenient rock.

Not a positive sign.

“Let’s not give up now. We’re almost there.” I beamed him an encouraging smile.

“I can’t go any further.” He fiddled with his shoe.

“Yes, you can.”

“No. I can’t.” He removed the shoe and held it up.

The sole was hanging off.

His not-meant-for-hiking shoe had succumbed to the sharp glacial rock.

“Uh oh.”

“Yeah.” He gave the shoe a disgusted look.

“Can you make it back down?”

“Do I have a choice?”

Somehow he managed—but the return trip wasn’t a barrel of laughs.

So on the research trip to Oregon, he came prepared for some serious trekking.

As it turns out, we did do quite a bit of tramping about. We slipped and slid down steep paths to countless vast and wild beaches. We ogled colorful starfish, sea urchins and anemones while scrambling over slippery, jagged rocks at Cape Perpetua. We picked our way along narrow paths and up steep cliffs to visit every lighthouse we passed. On the John Dellenback Dunes trail, we trudged through sand deep enough to rival the Sahara. And of course we took endless strolls on vast, remote—and often very windy—beaches.

By the end of the trip, I’d gathered plenty of material to help me create my charming, fictional seaside town of Hope Harbor—where hearts heal…and love blooms.

In fact, the inspiration for the setting of the hero’s home in Sandpiper Cove is a pristine, sheltered beach in Shore Acres State Park that we reached via a hike.

Now that the Hope Harbor series has been extended—Pelican Point will be out in spring 2018, with at least one more book to follow—I’m thinking it might be time to go back to Oregon and do a little more research…and hiking.

Hmm.

Maybe I better start broaching that idea to my husband now…and dig out his hiking shoes!

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect Spring, Hope Harbor, and Sea Rose Lane, as well as the Private Justice and Men of Valor suspense series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, two Carol Awards, two Reviewers’ Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailers’ Choice Award, three HOLT Medallions, two Booksellers’ Best Awards, and a National Readers’ Choice Award. She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist. In 2014 she was inducted into the Romance Writers of America’s elite Hall of Fame, and in 2016 she received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work.

 

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Print copies of full Hope Harbor series, Mr. Munch Oregon Treat Basket, & Ann Clark Oregan 3.25” Tin Plated Steel Cookie Cutter.

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Full Series + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

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4/4 Character Interview Hall Ways Blog
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4/9 Author Interview Books and Broomsticks
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4/12 Review The Page Unbound
4/13 Author Interview Chapter Break Book Blog

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on April 5, 2017

Title: This Time Around
Author: Tawna Fenske
Pub Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Montlake Romance

Synopsis

Allie Ross is not living the life she once dreamed. Her law career ended before it ever started, her parents landed in jail for running a Ponzi scheme, and she just inherited her grandmother’s B&B—which is nice, even if it is full of extra-toed cats. As for her love life…she’d rather not talk about it.

When Jack Carpenter reaches out to reconnect with Allie, the girl who broke his heart in college, his plan is to impress her with the adult he’s become. Sure, he was a deadbeat then, but life has forced him to grow up. And it’s a relief to find out that things didn’t necessarily go the way Allie expected either.

As Allie and Jack get reacquainted, they rediscover the things they loved—and hated—about each other. But who they are now isn’t who they were then, and secrets—old and new—will test whether they have a future together, or if the past is destined to repeat itself.

Exclusive Excerpt

Allie stared at the little girl who held the hand of a tall, handsome man, dimly aware she knew them both, though not quite in this context.

“Jack,” she croaked out, finding her voice at last. “Paige. It’s so good to see you two again. What brings you here?”

“School shopping!” Paige chirped. “Daddy says this is a smart place to buy stuff if you want to dress like a rich snob but not spend stupid amounts of money.”

“Those may not have been my exact words.” Jack stepped closer, looking as surprised to see her as Allie felt seeing him. Which was saying something. He nodded at the cluster of hangers gripped in her hand. “Doing some dress shopping?”

Allie looked down at the froth of dresses looped over her arm, the silky fabrics a little too bright now that she looked at them with Jack standing this close to her. There was no point pretending she was shopping for someone else, so she shrugged like it was no big deal.

“Someone sprung a college reunion on me at the last minute, so I had to find something appropriate to wear.”

“Never figured you’d shop in a place like this.”

“Like what? A high-end boutique thrift shop?”

He shrugged, and Allie wondered if he was baiting her. Trying to make her defensive or to imply how far the mighty had fallen.

Or maybe she was reading too much into it.

“Oh, this one’s pretty!” Paige gripped the hem of one of the dresses Allie held, a fluttery, silk chiffon Vera Wang number with a V-neck and a draped skirt. “It looks like the green part of a peacock feather.”

“It kinda does,” Allie agreed. “That’s the one I like best. I’m crossing my fingers it fits.”

Paige beamed at her. “My favorite color is green, too.”

Allie glanced at the dresses, every one of them a slightly different hue of green. Heat crept into her cheeks, and she could feel Jack’s eyes on her. “Yes, uh—they do all seem to be green, don’t they?”

“A green dress?” The teasing note in Jack’s voice made her look up at him, and she wasn’t surprised to see traces of a smirk on that obnoxiously handsome face.

Allie straightened her spine. “Yes. A green dress.”

He grinned wider. “Is that in honor of our song? The one by the Barenaked Ladies?”

“No, I just—I like this color, that’s all.”

But that wasn’t all. Jack was right. She knew the song well, the one that used to make her laugh each time it got to the part about the green dress. The Barenaked Ladies had sung about the things they’d buy if they had a million dollars, and she and Jack used to sing along with them, twirling through the living room of their too-small apartment. They’d substituted words like textbooks and phone bill in place of items the singer claimed he’d buy for his sweetheart in the event of a financial windfall.

Allie felt the smile starting slow in her belly and spreading across her face. She saw the corners of Jack’s mouth tug, too.

“So,” she said, brushing hair off her forehead. “I didn’t even realize they had kids’ stuff here.”

“I can wear women’s extra-small stuff now,” Paige boasted. “And size-six shoes.”

“Impressive!” Allie smiled at the little girl, who wasn’t actually that little. She came up to Allie’s shoulder, probably four foot seven or eight. Was that above average for a ten-year-old? “You must have inherited your dad’s height.”

The second the words left her mouth, Allie wanted to kick herself. Good Lord, the girl’s mom was dead, and might have been a pro basketball player for all Allie knew.

But Paige just shrugged and looked up at her dad. “Can I go check out the jeans over there?”

“Sure. Looks like the smaller sizes are on this side. Remember what we talked about, okay?”

“I know, I know . . . nothing skintight.”

“Right.”

Paige wandered toward the opposite side of the store, leaving Jack and Allie alone. Allie held the dresses aloft. “I guess I should try these on.”

“You should. For the record, the skintight rule doesn’t apply to you. In fact, I encourage it. The tighter the better.”

Allie rolled her eyes. “You haven’t changed a bit.”

About the Author

Tawna Fenske is a romantic-comedy author who writes humorous fiction, risqué romance, and heartwarming love stories with quirky twists. Her offbeat brand of romance has been praised by Booklist as “a tame Carl Hiaasen on Cupid juice,” and her debut novel, Making Waves, was a nominee for RT Book Reviews’ contemporary romance of the year. She is a fourth-generation Oregonian who can peel a banana with her toes and loses an average of twenty pairs of eyeglasses per year. She lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband, her stepkids, and a menagerie of ill-behaved pets.

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Posted in Giveaway, Inspirational, romance, Spotlight on April 4, 2017

Synopsis

When Amanda Jarvis prays that a special friend will move into the vacant house near her isolated mountain home, she isn’t upset when God sends a boy instead of a girl. But Amanda’s not the only one receiving unexpected answers to her prayers. After fleeing with his mother from an abusive father, Tyler Armstrong finds much-needed love and acceptance with Amanda’s family over the next ten years.

​As high school graduation nears, Tyler is shocked when one carefree afternoon with Amanda churns up an inner turmoil he would have never imagined; he’s crushing on his best friend. And for the first time in his life he’s hiding a secret from Amanda. Convinced the timing is all wrong, Tyler pushes his feelings aside as he and Amanda prepare for the future. He will soon begin training to pursue his dream of becoming a Navy Seal, while Amanda makes plans to spend the summer in Manhattan with her aunt and then return home to the community college.

​When Amanda’s summer job catapults her into a modeling career, she readily accepts the much-needed distraction. Tyler’s impending deployment is turning her world upside down. Along with the fact that she’s falling for her best friend. And, for the first time in her relationship with Tyler, she’s hiding a secret, too.

​Phoebe Garrison, Amanda’s controlling aunt, is thrilled when she is given the power to act on behalf of her underage niece. Bored with her Fortune 500 advertising agency, becoming Amanda’s manager is just what she’s been looking for to rekindle her aspirations. But as Tyler becomes aware of Phoebe’s obsession to push Amanda into supermodel status, tensions rise. As the three of them become entangled in a mass of concealed ambition and desire, each will make decisions that will send ripples of turbulence across their futures.

About the Author

I began writing as a hobby while raising my two children. In 2015, I dusted off my stories and my dreams to see if I could turn my hobby into a career. My first story, Season of Hope, was inspired by summer vacations which always included a trip to Franklin, North Carolina, to visit family and explore The Smoky Mountains. When I’m not writing, I enjoy spending time with family and most anything that involves being outdoors, especially camping and hiking. I currently live along the Emerald Coast of Florida and never complain about the hot, humid summers, because that’s exactly how I like them! ​

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Posted in 4 paws, Book Release, Review, romance on April 4, 2017

Synopsis

Veterinarian Rory Gallagher chose a different path from his brothers, both of whom became first responders in the lovely little town of Darling, Vermont. Rory’s always had an affinity for animals—and the ladies. Known for his impressive track record in breaking hearts, Rory never meant to hurt anyone; he’s just never been in a hurry to settle down. It’s not as if he needs to pay a visit to the town’s famed Kissing Bridge to magically find love. He’ll know The One when he sees her. . .right?

Oaklee Ferguson is the kid sister of Rory’s best friend—and, even now that she’s all grown up, remains immune to the pet-doctor’s charms. When she shows up at Rory’s clinic late one night—devastated after hitting a stray dog with her car—Rory’s so-called “bedroom eyes” are the last thing on her mind. Still, his care and kindness toward the dog, and his concern for her feelings, catches Oaklee by surprise. . .and soon the two (and rescued dog makes three!) begin to share a deep connection that neither could have ever imagined. Could it be that love has been waiting for them by the bridge all along?

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Review

I will pretty much read any book when there are dogs involved and it doesn’t hurt when there is a cute vet in the story too.

This is the 3rd in a series and I’ve haven’t read the first two and it isn’t necessary other than maybe to be clued in to the back story of Rory’s brothers and a few other characters.

Rory and Oaklee have some major baggage with past relationships and it does infringe upon their potential relationship with each other. I think most people can relate to bad relationships that leave them feeling vulnerable or skittish on getting involved with someone again. This is definitely where Rory and Oaklee are but they are wise enough to learn that perhaps being together is worth the risk. I think this makes them very relatable because who hasn’t had their heart broken making it hard for them to trust again?

The setting of the book really makes me want to move there. I love the ideas of small towns and a close knit community. Maybe not that everyone knows your business but knowing everyone and knowing who you can call for different things.

All in all a very enjoyable book and we give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

While bestselling author Donna Alward was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, and Nora Roberts. Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers!

Donna lives on Canada’s east coast with her family which includes a husband, a couple of kids, a senior dog and two crazy cats. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading (of course!), knitting, gardening, cooking…and is a Masterpiece Theater addict.

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Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, romance on April 2, 2017

Title: Royally Bad
Author: Nora Flite
Release Date: April 1, 2017
Publisher: Montlake Romance

Synopsis

Kain Badd looks great on paper: rich, handsome, and he’s even a prince. But after spending a few minutes together, Sammy sees the real him—arrogant, possessive, and too hot for his own good. If she hadn’t agreed to help plan his sister’s wedding, she could have avoided him. Instead, she’s waking up in his bed after an unforgettable night she definitely wants to forget. But he won’t let her.

When Sammy thinks her life can’t get any crazier, the wedding is raided by the police, and she spends her first-ever night in jail. The irresistible Kain isn’t just bad in name—his family is connected to a dangerous underworld. Now she’s mixed up in a power struggle between his family’s empire and their rivals. She has no choice but to put herself back in this filthy prince’s extremely capable hands.

Sammy must trust Kain to keep her safe. She’s just not sure she can trust herself to resist temptation.

Guest Post

Tips on Resisting an Irresistible Bad Boy by Nora Flite

Royally Bad is a story about a modern day royal family that’s adopted a mafia style way of life.

Sammy Sage is a young wedding dress maker who just can’t say no when people ask her for help. So when Kain Badd shows up in her shop, demanding her expertise, she agrees.

Her gut told her to avoid this man with his wild blue eyes.

She should have listened.

Kain is the youngest son of the Badds. He’s aware of his royal blood, but he mostly uses it as a way to win over the women he’s into. Not that he has to try so hard; his come-closer smirk is usually enough. Plus, once people get a look at the ink running over his muscled body, they don’t usually walk away.

But Sammy does. And that blows Kain’s mind. A guy who’s used to getting his way, he can’t stop thinking about her.

It goes without saying that a bad boy can spot a tough woman a mile away. Kain was raised to rule a kingdom– even if there aren’t any in tiny Rhode Island. Being an alpha is in his genes. He knows how to use a gun or a knife, and he knows when doing nothing but staring someone down is enough. It takes a level of confidence to control a corrupt city.

You have to be willing to fight… willing to kill.

That’s what being a bad boy comes down to: never backing down.

It’s also what makes them so intoxicating. When you take a man– a hero– who is dangerous, and broken, and someone who you should just NEVER get close to… and you mix them with a heroine who completes them or even challenges them, that’s love.

And there’s nothing more exciting than watching characters who should not be in love at the start of the book, become something so perfect by the end that you can’t imagine them any other way.

This is true of my favorite bad boys, too. Q, from Pepper Winters Monsters in the Dark series, is such a bad boy! He’s dark and brooding and deadly. So watching him fall in love is a real treat.

Same for Gio from Hold You Against Me by Skye Warren. I adored that guy. He was hardcore, but deep down, totally head over heels for Clara.

Kain is softer than those heroes, but some of that was I wanted to introduce the Badd family gently. I wanted to give a peek at the darkness in the family, but not too much; not until people dipped their toes, and then, hopefully, they’d be hooked enough to see what else is waiting for them with these royal bad boy brothers.

 

About the Author

A USA Today bestselling author, Nora Flite lives in Southern California, where the weather is warm and she doesn’t have to shovel snow—something she never grew to love in her tiny home state of Rhode Island. All her romances involve passionate, filthy, and slightly obsessive heroes—because those are clearly the best kind! She’s always been a writer, and you’ll probably have to pry her keyboard/pen/magical future writing device out of her cold, dead fingers before she’ll stop. Visit her at www.NoraFlite.com, or drop her a line at noraflite@gmail.com.

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Posted in 5 paws, Christian, Giveaway, Guest Post, Historical, romance on March 31, 2017

A STOLEN HEART

Cimarron Creek Trilogy #1

by

AMANDA CABOT

  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian

Publisher: Revell / Baker Publishing Group

Date of Publication: March, 2017

Number of Pages: 352

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“Endearing characters, a tender love story, and intriguing mystery all work together to make Amanda Cabot’s A Stolen Heart a compelling and enjoyable read.”—Margaret Brownley, author of Left at the Altar

Bestselling author Amanda Cabot takes readers back in time to the 1880s Texas Hill Country in her new historical romance novel, A Stolen Heart. This is the first book in a brand-new series packed with tension, mystery, and a tender love story that readers won’t soon forget.

Cimarron Creek seemed like an idyllic Texas town. But as soon as former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford stepped onto its dusty streets, she noticed a deep-seated resentment of Northerners—like her.

That won’t get Lydia down, though. She looks forward to the day when she reunites with her fiancé—until she discovers her fiancé has disappeared without a trace and has left behind a pregnant wife. The handsome Cimarron Creek sheriff urges Lydia to trust him, but she is having a hard time trusting anyone in a town where secrets and suspense prevail.

Cabot weaves an elegant tale of pure love amidst heartache. With an absorbing plot and engaging characters, A Stolen Heart is a springtime showstopper fit for every historical romance reader.

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A Would-Be Candy Maker

Do you have a sweet tooth?  I certainly do.  My siblings still laugh at the fact that I once declared that a meal wasn’t a meal unless it included dessert.  Fortunately for me, I grew up in a home where dessert ended almost every meal.  Breakfast doesn’t count, does it?  It was also a family where everything – and I mean everything – was homemade.  We had wonderful cakes, pies, cookies, and puddings for dessert.  The one thing we didn’t have was candy.  Candy came from a store and was for special occasions, namely Christmas and Easter.

As you can imagine, the fact that candy was rare made me long for it all the more.  And since my mother had taught me to make cookies, cakes, and pies, I decided that the next culinary challenge would be candy.  How difficult could it be?  Mother smiled when I announced that I wanted to make fudge.  “It’s not as easy as you think,” she told me, undoubtedly hoping to discourage me.  She didn’t, and I persisted in begging to make candy.  “Later,” she said.

Later came when my Girl Scout troop leader invited us to her home to make fudge.  I was ecstatic.  At last I’d uncover the mystery of creating delicious confections.  Somehow, I was appointed Stirrer-in-Chief.  After an hour – or was it a week? – of stirring the chocolate, sugar, and milk until it reached the soft boil stage, I decided that no matter how delicious the final product was, it wasn’t worth the effort.  Mother’s smile broadened when I recounted my experience.  Although she said nothing, I suspect she was saying, “Just what I expected.”

A year or so later, when I’d forgotten how tedious it was to stir candy until it reached exactly the right temperature, I decided to make penuche.  Once again, there was a lot of stirring involved.  That was bad enough, but I might have persisted if the results had been exceptional.  They were not.  This time I’d learned my lesson and was done with candy making.

My youngest sister, however, took up the candy baton er … spoon.  One evening she persuaded my boyfriend to help her make what had been advertised as “foolproof two-flavor fudge.”  The picture she’d torn out of a magazine showed a piece of chocolate fudge topped with a butterscotch layer.  Easy, or so the recipe claimed.

The two of them remained in the kitchen for far longer than it should have taken to make such an easy dish.  To this day, neither of them will admit to knowing what happened, but while the chocolate layer was a success, the butterscotch one remained the consistency of soup – not exactly what they had had in mind and definitely not like the picture.  As a last resort, they placed it in the freezer.  That did accomplish the goal of changing the consistency, and for a few minutes, the candy bore a faint resemblance to the picture.  Then, of course, it melted.

“I’ll never again make candy,” my sister wailed.  And she hasn’t.  I, on the other hand, couldn’t resist the recipe that came with my first microwave oven.  It couldn’t have been easier.  Simply place a few ingredients in a bowl, microwave for a couple minutes, stir, then refrigerate.  And, unlike the two-flavor fudge that had been my sister’s nemesis, this recipe truly was foolproof.  It might not be “real” fudge, but it was quick and easy.  I could almost convince myself that I was a candy maker.  Almost.

The reality is that I’ll never be a candy maker, but I am an author, and that means I can create characters who have powers I do not.  That’s why I gave Lydia, the heroine of A Stolen Heart, a candy store.  She may not leap tall buildings in a single bound, but she can – and does – create perfect candy.  Lucky Lydia!

Amanda Cabot

I thought this was going to just be a clean historical romance, which it was, but there was also a mystery in the little Texas town of Cimarron Creek.

When I read books like this one and the setting is a sleepy little town, I imagine myself living there and enjoying life at a slower pace then what I live in now. No the town isn’t perfect, there are petty crimes and more, but the thought of everyone knowing each other and the sense of community that is often missing in today’s world calls to me.

Lydia is spunky and while she may have come to town for one reason, she does manage to find her place despite being an outsider. I enjoyed watching her find her place by opening a confectionery store, and how everyone in town seemed to gravitate towards the candies. I do wish the author had provided recipes at the end!

Travis has his own issues with his father and his father’s attitude towards Northerners, like Lydia. But luckily he doesn’t let that hold him back from realizing that maybe finding a special woman isn’t such a bad thing.

The story has some humorous moments and some nail biting moments especially near the end as the story reveals who the culprit is behind everything. There is maybe a clue or two left along the way, but I didn’t put it all together and I was almost right in suspecting the right person. Close but no cigar.

I look forward to reading the next book which is Catherine’s story.

We give this 5 paws up!

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of At Bluebonnet Lake, In Firefly Valley, and On Lone Star Trail, as well as the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.

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March 21 – April 4, 2017

 

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check out the other great blogs on this tour

3/21 Excerpt Hall Ways Blog
3/22 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
3/23 Author Interview Books and Broomsticks
3/24 Review Reading By Moonlight
3/25 Scrapbook Page Syd Savvy
3/26 promo Kara The Redhead
3/27 Review Margie’s Must Reads
3/28 Excerpt Forgotten Winds
3/29 Author Interview The Page Unbound
3/30 Review My Book Fix Blog
3/31 Guest Post StoreyBook Reviews
4/1 Review CGB Blog Tours
4/2 promo A Novel Reality
4/3 Character Interview It’s a Jenn World
4/4 Review Missus Gonzo

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Posted in Giveaway, Interview, romance, women on March 30, 2017

 

Title: The Lilac Bouquet

Author: Carolyn Brown

Release Date: March 28, 2017

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Synopsis

Come hell or high water, Emmy Jo Massey will have a wedding. After three generations of Massey women with children out of wedlock, she wants the whole town of Hickory, Texas, to witness the legitimacy of her union with Logan Grady. But dream weddings aren’t cheap. So she accepts a highly lucrative stint as a home health assistant to retired realtor, and town recluse, Seth Thomas—a decision her great-grandmother Tandy is dead-set against.

Seth isn’t happy about it, either. The eighty-two-year-old doesn’t want a “babysitter”—much less a Massey—something he makes clear when Emmy arrives at his house, an empty mansion built for the woman who broke his heart. But as Emmy stays and the two eventually open up to each other, she learns the reason behind a feud between Seth, Tandy, and Logan’s grandfather Jesse Grady that goes back six decades. She also uncovers a secret that forever changes how she sees her past and her future…

Interview

Hello to everyone at StoreyBook Reviews. Thank you so much for inviting me to make a stop here today to talk about my 84th published book, The Lilac Bouquet. It’s actually the first book I ever attempted to write over forty years ago. It didn’t sell—not at that time and not the second time when I revised it. Looking back I do believe with all my heart that the story was waiting on Emmy Jo to be born so that she could bring out the big Hickory, Texas secret that was more than sixty years in the making. But I understand you have some questions for me? I’ve got coffee in hand and donuts (with maple frosting) right here in a pretty platter, so let’s get started.

In The Lilac Bouquet, your heroine Emmy Jo Massey is on a mission. Tell us a little bit about her wedding goals.

Emmy Jo is determined to break the Massey curse—three generations of unwed mothers before she was born. A big wedding will show the whole town that she is indeed married and she intends to have that. But a wedding the size of what she wants is very expensive. When she’s offered a job as Seth Thomas’s assistant until his hip heals, it’s like winning the lottery. She’ll be able to pay for the wedding and her goal will be met. Even though her great grandmother, Tandy, throws a southern hissy fit about her working for Seth and her best friend comes close to disowning her, the wedding is that important to her. So she takes the job and then discovers that the wedding plans aren’t as important as figuring out what the secret between Seth, Tandy and her fiancee’s grandfather is all about.

Emmy Jo has been influenced heavily by the women in her family. Can you give us a rundown of these feisty Massey women? Do you have anything in common with any of them?

Tandy Massey, Emmy Jo’s great-grandmother, is full of sass even though she’s past eighty years old. She raised a daughter, Rose, back in the 30’s when it was way past socially acceptable. Then Rose had a daughter, Crystal, out of wedlock and left her with Tandy to raise. When Crystal was still in high school she got pregnant. She planned to marry her boyfriend but died when Emmy Jo was only a few days old. Living in a small town like Hickory, there’s no way to cover up a background like that. My mother was a single mother in the mid 50’s. My father had a problem with settling down to one woman so she walked away from the marriage. She was a strong, independent woman with a lot of spunk so maybe that’s where I got the inspiration for Tandy.

When Emmy Jo starts working for Seth Thomas, the town recluse, there is some major tension that erupts in Hickory. What should readers know about this infamous feud?

The folks in Hickory have known there was bad blood between Seth, Jesse and Tandy since they were all in high school. But not a single one of the three of them are willing to step up and tell the story. What happened back then set them each on a course that drove them apart for more than sixty years. Right up until Emmy Jo started digging into the past and got Seth to talking.

We also need some more info on Hickory, Texas. It seems like a great place to live, but there are also some … interesting characters that inhabit the area. Who are some of your favorite Hickory-ites? How do you create these characters? (Are they based on people you know?)

Hickory, Texas is a fictional town in north central Texas. It actually gets its name from an old country music song by Merle Haggard, “Hickory Holler’s Tramp” which was the inspiration for the original story that I wrote more than forty years ago. One incident that happened eighteen years before Seth was even born affected the lives of three people for the rest of those folks days on earth. Are they based on people I know? Not necessarily but any small town in Texas has a life blood of its own and that is sometimes fueled by gossip. The best way to feed gossip is to keep talking. The best way to kill it is to stop talking but then that’s when it becomes so enticing that everyone wants to know what’s going on. We have a saying around here. “Everyone knows everyone, what they’re doing, when they’re doing it, and where they’d doing it. They read the weekly paper to find out who got caught.”

Are you going to be returning to Texas anytime soon in your upcoming books?

Oh, yes. Most of my books are set in Texas. Authors tend to write what they know and I’m a Texan by birth. Even though Mama jumped over the Red River and raised me in Oklahoma, my Texas blood calls to me when I start to write. The Toughest Cowboy in Texas, the debut book in the Happy Texas Trilogy, is set in Happy, Texas and comes out May 30. The Strawberry Hearts Diner, a women’s fiction book is set in a fictional town of Pick, Texas, hits the market on July 18. And Long, Tall Cowboy Christmas, the second book in the Happy Texas Trilogy will be out Sept. 26. So keep your boots on folks, there’s more on the way.

Thank you again for the visit. Now let’s refill these coffee cups and have another donut before we turn out the lights on this party.

About the Author

Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, as well as a RITA finalist. She has written several beloved and popular romance titles, ranging from historical to contemporary to cowboy-themed. She and her husband live in Davis, Oklahoma. They have three grown children, and enough grandchildren to keep them young.

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Posted in romance, Spotlight, women on March 25, 2017

We are so excited to announce the tour for Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop by Isabella Louise Anderson!

 

“Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop is perhaps one of the most memorable stories I have ever read. The characters are a huge plus, but the main star was the wisdom hidden within this profound story.”

Get your copy today!

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“Engaging, heart-warming, and full of romance, this one is bound to please readers.”

As the owner of a successful florist shop, Khloe Harper trusts her instincts. She has a strong bond with her family and friends, but after being betrayed by her last love, she’s kept herself at arms’ length from romance. When dashing entertainment attorney Derek Thomas walks into her store, Khloe’s interest is piqued. What at first seems like a business relationship quickly turns into romance, and Derek slowly plucks away the petals she’s been hiding behind. Just as Khloe lets down her guard, she discovers that Derek may not be worthy of her love after all.

Frumpy Connie Albright has a faux fascination with an imaginary man named Walt, thinking that by sending herself flowers from him she’ll feel less out-of-place with the “mean girls” she works with. When she comes face to face with her possible prince charming and thinking she might have a happy ending, when a truth is revealed, she wonders if she’ll ever have a Cinderella story.

A recently widowed senior, Gabby Lewis, isn’t ready to give up on love—which means releasing herself from survivor’s guilt and taking a chance on finding happiness and companionship again. After signing up for an online dating site for senior citizens, much to her surprise, she’s matched with Harry, an energetic and loving man, who quickly eases himself into her heart. Will Gabby take the leap of falling in love again, knowing it’s possible to have two loves of her life?

As each woman’s story develops through flowers and cards sent from Khloe’s shop during the Fall months, they begin to learn that love can only truly blossom when you trust your heart.

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“In Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop, author Isabella Louise Anderson weaves a delightful tale that follows three women’s journey of self-discovery and finding an unexpected second chance at love.”

“Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop is a wonderful novel about finding love and happiness that will leave a smile on your face.”

Isabella grew up with a book in her hand, and to this day nothing has changed. She focuses her time on featuring other writers on her blog, Chick Lit Goddess, along with organizing Goddess Book Tours, and is a member of the Romance Writers of America.

She lives in Dallas with her husband, enjoys spicy Mexican food, margaritas, gin on the rocks (with a splash of lime). She loves spending time with family and friends and cheering on the Texas Rangers. Not only is Isabella an author, she’s also a Scentsy consultant and hoarder.

Isabella is the author of The Right Design and Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop. Her short story, “Meet Me Under the Mistletoe,” was featured in Simon & Fig’s Christmas anthology, Merry & Bright. She’s currently working on another book.

 

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Posted in 4 paws, excerpt, Review, romance on March 17, 2017

Title: A Way Back into Love

Author: Veronica Thatcher

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Notion Press

Synopsis

Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes, uncertain. People, irrational. But love…well, that makes everything complicated. And when you are caught in a tangled web of secrets, lies, and complex affairs, someone is bound to get burned.

Emily Stevens is a spunky, spirited college girl whose life gets turned upside-down when she realizes she’s in love with her best friend of fifteen years, Derek Thorpe. As Emily prepares to confess her feelings to Derek, something happens one night which changes her life forever. Five years later, Emily finds herself in Boston, alone and heartbroken. Will she ever be able to forget the past? And what will she find when she returns home…to the man she left behind?

Excerpt

Emily stepped back from him and shook her head. “Oh, you know damn well what I mean. You know what, Derek? I’m done having this conversation with you. I’m so done with this conversation and I’m so done with you,” Emily spat out angrily before brushing past him.

“Emily, wait,” Derek said, catching her by her arm. “Where are you going?”

Emily spun around and gave him a bitter look before looking down at his hand gripping her arm. “Leave my arm,” she said in a low yet threatening voice, “And why do you care where I’m going? It’s none of your business.”

Derek didn’t leave her arm in spite of her warning and said, “Em, you’ve had too many drinks. You can’t drive in this condition. I’ll drop you home.”

Emily jerked her arm free from his grasp and replied in a bitter voice, “Thank you, but no. I’m perfectly capable of getting myself home on my own. I don’t need you to drop me home. Do you get it, Derek Thorpe? I DON’T NEED YOU!” Emily yelled the last words, causing a few people to look their way.

Review

Best friends that fall in love with each other – sounds like a winner of a story line to me. And for the most part this book was very enjoyable. Emily and Derek have their issues and misunderstandings, but they have been best friends since the age of 6. It is hard to let something totally go after all those years, even if they fall in love with each other but do not want to admit and then Emily runs away to finish college and med school before returning to Fresno. I enjoyed their interactions, even the ones where they were hard for the characters to address (feelings for each other, situations, etc).

Emily has a sister, Emma (and by the way, it was hard to keep them straight at first because the names were so similar starting with Em) who is quite the brat. To top it off, while Emily has run off to Boston to escape an incident with Derek, Emma has wormed her way into his life and they are now engaged. Talk about awkward! Especially since Emily and Derek manage to somewhat clear the air and return to being friends. He wants to spend most of his time with Emily (when not at work) and this rubs Emma the wrong way. I don’t blame her for being mad at him, if I was engaged to someone and he wanted to spend all his free time with another woman…well things would not be pretty!

And then there is Emily’s mother – she has her own issues we learn about near the end of the book but you wonder if she loves Emily or not.

I did have a few problems with some inconsistencies. I did read an ARC so I hope the issues are cleared up before the final book. I also wasn’t wild about the author putting “Flashback” and then “End Flashback” for most of those scenes (there were some that didn’t notate that but because the text was italicized you knew it was a flashback). If you italicize you don’t need to put those words. I never could figure out if Emily was renting an apartment or purchasing a condo. In the US, you don’t normally purchase an apartment, they are rented. But in that chapter it was hard to really know what was going on. Also, when Emily runs into Derek’s sister, Jenny, the word “met/meet” was used and they knew each other. There were probably some other little things, but as I read an ARC I am hoping it was all corrected before the final release.

Overall I did enjoy the plot of the book and the characters. I think their story was one that could have happened to anyone.  We give it 4 paws up

About the Author

Veronica Thatcher is an exciting new contemporary romance author. Ever since she was very young, she’s dreamed of becoming a doctor when she grew up. While still forging ahead with that, majoring in pre-med in college, she unwittingly stumbled upon a new dream—becoming a published author. Some may call her an introvert or a wallflower, but she has always found she could express herself better in written, rather than spoken, words. However, never in her wildest dreams had she envisioned she would pursue writing as a prospective career, not just a hobby. Her love for writing goes hand-in-hand with her love for a good romance novel—whether it be a feel-good, sweet romance or a dark, suspenseful one. When she’s not studying, reading, or writing, she is usually found blasting her favourite songs, sometimes singing and dancing along to them.  She dabbles in a number of activities, including painting, karate, singing and dancing. She is a huge chocoholic – probably the biggest – and she is an ice-cream junkie too. She considers herself technologically handicapped forever and has no shame in admitting that. She also deems chocolates her boyfriend, Patrick Dempsey the love of her life, and Friends her life!

Her first book, A Way Back Into Love, is slated for release in February 2017, and she hopes readers will enjoy it as much as she enjoyed writing it.

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