Posted in 4 paws, Review, romance on July 1, 2017

Title: A New Leash on Love

Series: Rescue Me #1

Author: Debbie Burns

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 9781492650836

Synopsis

First in a fresh contemporary romance series from award-winning debut author Debbie Burns.

Every heart has a forever home.

Megan Anderson loves the animals at her no-kill shelter. She’ll do anything for them—even go toe-to-toe with a handsome man who’s in way over his head. She’ll help him sort out his troubles, but getting too close to an adorable puppy’s human counterpart? Been there, done that, got burned.

When Craig Williams arrived at the local shelter for help, he didn’t expect a fiery young woman to blaze into his life. But the more time they spend together, the more he realizes it’s not just animals Megan is adept at saving—she could be the one to rescue his heart.

Soon, Craig and Megan find that the magic of unconditional love can do anything…even lead to their forever home.

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Review

I have said this before but I am a sucker for any book that has dogs in it and this one has not one but MANY dogs since Megan runs an animal shelter. The biggest plus is how much it brings shelters to the front and gives the reader a look into how shelters operate and that it is not easy or cheap to run them and perhaps donations will be made after reading this book!

Megan and Craig are destined to be together but they don’t know it at first….Craig has baggage from his first marriage and he has 2 children. Megan was engaged before and his some issues after watching her parent’s marriage and her mother’s subsequent remarriage when her father dies. This leaves her with a lot of questions that she has let sit and fester somewhat instead of addressing them head on until she finds herself in a situation and has to have that talk with her mom. So as you can imagine there will be miscommunication between Craig and Megan and mostly because they don’t know they can be honest with each other.

I thought that many parts of this story was sweet with a little spice from Craig and Megan’s intimate relationship. There may be a 10 year age difference but when it comes to matters of the heart that really doesn’t matter much, we love who we love despite all. Megan develops good relationships with Sophie and Reese (Craig’s children) but they don’t know she is dating their dad which is ok because it doesn’t put any pressure on any of them to like each other for any reason other than liking each other for who they are and not because they might “have” to like each other.

Overall very enjoyable and a fun read.  We give it 4 paws up

About the Author

Debbie Burns resides in St. Louis, Missouri. Shelter is her first contemporary romance and has finaled in multiple contests. Her writing commendations include first place awards for short stories, flash fiction, and longer selections from the Missouri RWA and the Missouri Writers’ Guild.

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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.

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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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June 27-July 6, 2017

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Check out the other great blogs on this tour

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
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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.

Website * Twitter * Facebook

 

 

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 7/26/17

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

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Posted in 4 paws, Giveaway, Review, romance on June 27, 2017

Synopsis

Return to the beloved small town of Eternity Springs in the newest installment of Emily March’s New York Times bestselling series with A Stardance Summer.

Sometimes the end of one road
Brick Callahan enjoys every minute of chaos at his campground, Stardance Ranch, especially after the Tornado Alleycats arrive for an extended summer stay. The members of the all-female glamorous camping club are primarily seniors—active and adventurous, friendly and fun. But when he discovers Liliana Howe frolicking with the glamping grannies in a late night skinny-dipping session, he fears he’s in for a summer of trouble. Because his best friend’s kid sister has grown up to be drop-dead gorgeous.

. . .is the start of another

Betrayed by those she trusted, Lili decides she’s put her career first for too long. She sells her practical sedan, buys a travel trailer, and heads to Eternity Springs for a summer of rest, relaxation, and reassessment as the newest member of the Alleycats. The last person she expects to find running an RV resort is her high school crush. Their undeniable mutual attraction is a reminder that life is full of surprises. But when the past comes calling, will their summer romance stand the test of time?

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Books-a-MillionIndie Bound * Powells

Review

I was in the mood for a romance and this book fit the bill! I didn’t realize that there were 12 other books in this series but the hints and peeks into the lives of some of the others in Eternity Springs has me wanting to check out the other books to see how various couples got together.

This book focused on Lili and Brick aka Mark. They have known each other since they were younger and even though Mark was her brother’s friend, she had a crush on him. Of course as older brothers tend to do, she was off limits to Mark. They encounter each other again about 15 or so years later and she is not that pesky little girl he remembered from his childhood!

There are several areas this book touches on – fostering/adoption, fraud, illness and family loyalty. The author does a great job of weaving these stories together into this book and it held me captive through out. I thought I had figured a few things out and that the story line would be predictable, but I was wrong! Plus this book touched multiple emotions and the very last sentence had me laughing out loud.

We give this 4 paws up

About the Author

Emily March is the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a “master of delightful banter,” and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.

Author Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Author Website * Pinterest

Giveaway

Print Copy of A Stardance Summer
Open to US Residents only

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Posted in Christian, Giveaway, Guest Post, Historical, romance on June 26, 2017

HEART ON THE LINE

Ladies of Harper’s Station #2

by

Karen Witemeyer

  Genre: Christian / Historical / Frontier Romance

Publisher: Bethany House

Date of Publication: June 6, 2017

Number of Pages: 336

Scroll down for Giveaway!

Grace Mallory is tired of hiding. She hungers for a normal life, perhaps even a suitor like two of her friends in Harper’s Station have found. But when the man she believes responsible for her father’s death discovers her whereabouts, survival takes priority.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His fellow telegrapher, the mysterious Miss G, has been the ideal companion. For months, their friendship—dare he believe, courtship?—over the wire has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intends for him. However, when he intercepts an ominous message and discovers her life is in peril, Amos must shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

 

Amazon * Christianbook.com

Lifeway   Barnes & Noble

 

PRAISE FOR HEART ON THE LINE

“Witemeyer blends history, suspense, and romance with touches of humor. Women will enjoy this story that proves heroes come in unexpected shapes and sizes and not always on a white charger.”Christian Market

“Online dating meets 1890s Texas in this charming, spiritually deep, laugh-out-loud funny romance!”—reader review on Goodreads

 

The Inspiration behind Heart on the Line

The inspiration for Heart on the Line began way back in 2011 when I was doing research on telegraph communication for an older book. I stumbled upon a novel written in 1879 by female telegraph operator Ella Cheever called Wired Love.

Apparently many operators were women in the late 19th century, and they were often identified as such by the delicacy of their “sounding” on the wires. The hero in Miss Thayer’s novel, Clem Stanwood, knows right away that the operator at the “B m” station is female.

Nattie Rogers is intrigued by the mysterious “C” at the “X n” station and seeks out conversations that soon turn flirtatious. These two telegraph operators fall in love over the wire without ever laying eyes on one another.

There is one scene about halfway through the book that served as my inspiration for Heart on the Line. A case of mistaken identity had scared Nattie off, but Mr. Stanwood arranges a visit to her boarding house, and while sitting amongst others in the parlor, he begins tapping out code with his pencil against a marble table top. Nattie recognizes her call name and, taking up a pair of scissors, drums out her own answer. They carry on an entire conversation this way with no one else in the parlor suspecting their action were anything more than idle tapping. Until, that is, Mr. Stanwood reveals himself to be the real “C”.

Nattie jumps to her feet and exclaims aloud, “What do you mean? It cannot be possible!”

Don’t you love it? Hysterical!

Of course everyone else in the room thinks she’s lost her mind except the hero who crosses the room to take her hand.  Awww…

Wired Love: A Romance of Dots and Dashes was a best selling book for over 10 years. And why not? The story is timeless. Remember You’ve Got Mail, which was adapted to e-mail from The Shop Around the Corner where Jimmy Stewart did his courting through letters? Very similar premise. And there are so many parallels to dating in today’s wired world. Can you trust that she looks like her description? Is he a gentleman or a stalker? How about the awkwardness of the first face-to-face meet? And with all the abbreviations used on the telegraph lines, it reminded me of the text speak our kids use today. It is really rather eerie how easily Ella Thayer’s story translates to our contemporary society 130 years after it was written.

In Heart on the Line, I had a great deal of fun creating situations where my two telegraph operators communicated through coded tapping without anyone else being able to understand the significance of their private conversations.

You never know when a random research trail will lead to the perfect plot for a new book.

 

Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children.

 

Facebook * Website

Bethany House Facebook * Bethany House Twitter

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Grand Prize:

1 WINNER: ALL FOUR OF BETHANY HOUSE’S JUNE HISTORICAL RELEASES, including Heart on the Line

June 23-July 2, 2017

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Check out the other great blogs on this tour

6/23 Excerpt CGB Blog Tours
6/24 Promo Reading by Moonlight
6/25 Review  Missus Gonzo
6/26 Guest Post StoreyBook Reviews
6/27 Review My Book Fix Blog
6/28 Excerpt The Page Unbound
6/29 Guest Post The Librarian Talks
6/30 Review Books in the Garden
7/01 Promo Books and Broomsticks
7/02 Review Forgotten Winds


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Posted in Giveaway, romance, Spotlight, Young Adult on June 26, 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.

 

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.

Website * Twitter * Facebook

 

 

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 7/26/17

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

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Posted in Christian, excerpt, Giveaway, romance on June 22, 2017


UNDER A SUMMER SKY
Follow Your Heart, Book 3
by
Melody Carlson

Genre: Contemporary Romance / Christian / Inspirational
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: June 6, 2017
Number of Pages: 320

Scroll down for Giveaway!

High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house is luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promises interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn’t long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who’s determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of her childhood friends—who also happen to be brothers—vying for her attention.

With the backdrop of a gorgeous historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance . . . anything can happen!
Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites you to spend the summer surrounded by splendor . . . and tantalizing possibilities.

Baker Book House * Amazon * Christianbook.com

iBooks * Kobo * Lifeway * Barnes & Noble

Praise

“Heartwarming and uplifting.”—Library Journal on Once Upon a Summertime

“Sweet, romantic, and endlessly entertaining.”—Radiant Lit on Once Upon a Summertime

“This winsome romance [is] a perfect summer read.”—Publishers Weekly on All Summer Long

Excerpt: Chapter 1, Part 2
From Under a Summer Sky
By Melody Carlson

continued from the 6/17/17 Chapter Break Book Blog Tours stop

After the students had exited, Nicole smiled at her mother. “Thanks for asking that question, Mom. It was just what we needed.”

Caroline Anderson laughed as she walked to the front of the classroom. “Seemed like you were losing them, honey. I figured a little maternal prodding couldn’t hurt.”

“Well, I’ve never been particularly fond of the Renaissance period.” Nicole shut down the program on her computer and turned off the projector. “I appreciate what it did for the art world and all that, but it’s but it’s just not my cup of tea. You know?”

Her mom gave her a little hug. “I understand completely.”

Nicole closed her laptop. “But why are you here?”

“Because I knew you were stuck.”

“Huh?” Nicole frowned. “How could you possibly . . . ?”

“I meant stuck in general, Nikki.”

“What do you mean? Stuck how?” She studied her mom’s carefully made-up face. For sixty-five, this woman looked pretty good.

“Oh, you know . . . the things you were telling me last weekend at Michael’s birthday party—about how you felt sort of lost since you and Peter broke up, and you felt stuck in your job.”

“I really said that?” Nicole tried to remember how much she’d divulged at her nephew’s birthday party.

“You sounded like you were looking for a change.”

Nicole sighed. She’d been feeling a little envious of her older sister’s picture-perfect life last weekend. Oh, she knew Katy had her own challenges. But maintaining her career and raising three boys with a man she loved—sometimes it looked pretty good. “I was obviously kind of down that day, Mom. I didn’t mean to dump on you about—”

“No, no, that’s not it. It’s just that I have something exciting to tell you. And since you’re all done with classes today, why don’t you let me take you out for a cup of coffee.” She waved her hand like a fan. “Or maybe something icy. Good grief, it’s like a sauna in here. How can you stand it?”

“Even with all these windows, it gets pretty stuffy in here. Especially this time of year. And this building doesn’t have air-conditioning.” Nicole wondered why she felt so defensive about her “sauna.”

“It has been unseasonably warm for Seattle this week,” her mom offered.

“Anyway, I’d be happy to escape for a while.” Nicole went over to close the door that she’d propped open with a heavy clay pot. “Hopefully it’ll cool down some after the sun goes behind those trees. But I need to come back here when we’re done. I have to fire up the kiln.” She pointed to the pottery lined up on the counter. “I need to get those fired before the end of the week. I’ve been trying to run it at night because of the heat.”

“My poor girl,” Caroline said. “They’ve got you working in an honest-to-goodness sweatshop here.”

Nicole laughed as she went for her bag. “A lot of people would love to have my job,” she called from her office. “One more year until tenure.” Even as she said this, she wasn’t certain she cared. Was tenure about job security or about getting stuck in a job she didn’t really love? What was the point? She locked her office, and now more curious as to what her mother had to tell her, she hurried back out.

“So what’s up, Mom?” she asked.

“Not yet.” Caroline chuckled.

As they walked out to the visitors’ parking lot, Nicole continued to question her mother, determining that her news was nothing related to their family but still not getting to the bottom of it. “Can’t you just give me a clue?” Nicole said as she got into the passenger seat of her mom’s sedan.

“Okay.” Caroline started the engine. “It’s related to Vivian Graham.”

Vivian had been Caroline’s best friend throughout high school and college. She and her husband Robert lived in Savannah, Georgia, and were very wealthy. Caroline and Vivian had tried to remain close over the years, sometimes visiting each other’s homes on opposite sides of the country, occasionally sharing family vacations at places like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park. But Nicole hadn’t really heard much about Vivian and her family in recent years.

“I haven’t seen Vivian since I was fifteen—when we went to Alex’s college graduation.” Nicole tried not to recall how hurt she’d felt when Vivian’s attractive older son had totally ignored her. Naturally, Alex had seen Nicole as a juvenile. He had no idea that she’d been crushing on him since she was ten years old, during the summer their families had spent a week at Yellowstone and Alex had rescued her from being trampled by a buffalo. She felt childish even thinking of her crush now.

Read part three on the The Page Abound’s Blog Tour stop on 6/25/17.

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than 6.5 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and the contemporary romances Once Upon a Summertime and All Summer Long. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon.

Website * Facebook * MySpace

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Grand Prize: Print copies of the three books in the Follow Your Heart series, Thanks You’re A Peach Tea Gift Tin,12×18 Savannah travel poster, & Georgia Peach Cookies Tin
1st Runner-Up: Full series + $15 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
2nd Runner-Up: Full Series + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
June 17-26, 2017
(U.S. Only)


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Check out the other great blogs on this tour

 

6/17 Excerpt Chapter Break Book Blog
6/18 REVIEW Momma On The Rocks
6/19 Guest Post CGB Blog Tours
6/20 Author Interview Books and Broomsticks
6/21 REVIEW My Book Fix Blog
6/22 Excerpt StoreyBook Reviews
6/23 Scrapbook Books in the Garden
6/24 REVIEW Margie’s Must Reads
6/25 Excerpt The Page Unbound
6/26 REVIEW Reading by Moonlight

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