Posted in Awards on February 19, 2018

The Lone Star Book Blog Tours team has voted, and the results are in!  From Best Fiction to Most Engaged Author, we have seventeen awards to hand out to the awesome Texas books and authors featured on Lone Star Book Blog Tours in 2017.

From February 15-23, 2018, please join us as we hop around the LSBBT blogs and share the winners, runners-up, and shortlisted titles. Don’t miss it!

Click to learn more about:

The Grave Tender by Eliza Maxwell

Death in D Minor by Alexia Gordon

Deep Extraction by DiAnn Mills

The Unremembered Girl by Eliza Maxwell (check out my review here)

Hidden Sea by Miles Arceneaux

Bombshell by Pamela Fagan Hutchins

Bonnie and Clyde: Resurrection Road by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall





Click to learn more about:

Badlands by Melissa Lenhardt (check out my review here)

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren

Knight on the Texas Plains by Linda Broday

Loving Luther by Allison K. Pittman

Comfort Plans by Kimberly Fish (check out my review here)

Cowboy, It’s Cold Outside by Lori Wilde

A Moonbow Night by Laura Frantz





Click to learn more about:

Bonnie and Clyde: Resurrection Road by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall

Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

One Night in Sixes by Tex Thompson

Bluster’s Last Stand by Preston Lewis



AWARDS SCHEDULE:
2/14: Awards Announcement
2/15: Best Hook & Best Creative Concept
2/16: Best Non-Fiction History, Best Biography/Memoir, 
& Best Western
2/17: Best Children’s/Juvenile/YA & Best Series
2/18: Best Literary Fiction & Best Religious/Inspirational/Spiritual
2/19: Best Mystery/Suspense, Best Romance, & Best Fantasy / Alternate History
2/20: Best Cover & Most Engaged Author
2/21: Best Texas Book
2/22: Best Non-Fiction Book
2/23: Best Fiction Book


PARTICIPATING BLOGS:
Best Mystery / Suspense, Best Romance,

& Best Fantasy / Alternate History

 


Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, Monday, mystery on February 19, 2018

Death by a Whisker: A Cat Rescue Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (February 13, 2018)
Hardcover: 320 pages

Getting used to life back home in Deer Park, North Carolina, Sydney McCall and her right-hand tabby, Toby, are helping her sister Kat run the local animal shelter. Syd and Kat are all excited about the prospect of the shelter’s newest fundraiser: shopping channel queen Ulla Townsend. Shelter admin Maggie Shayne vehemently refuses to have anything to do with the woman, but the fundraiser ensues as planned. That is, until Ulla turns up dead in the middle of the event.

The cause of death is determined to be an allergic reaction, but Syd and Toby are sniffing out something fishy. When Syd met Ulla, it was clear she was distasteful and rude. And right before the event, Syd spotted some behind-the-scenes drama between Ulla and her manager. As they begin to investigate, they realize there is no shortage of suspects, and Maggie is at the top of the list.

Now Syd and Toby must claw their way to the truth before everything goes paws up at their animal shelter in Death by a Whisker by national bestselling author T. C. LoTempio.

Google Play

Guest Post

OK You’ve written your book – now what do you call it?

T. C. LoTempio

You’ve spent hours, days, creating your little masterpiece, your baby, and finally – you’re done!  Now comes the hard part – what do you name it?

Sometimes thinking up a title for a book is even harder than the actual writing of the tome itself!  How do you come up with the perfect title? Well, I’ve found there are four things to consider:

  1. Make it Easy

A title that’s easy to remember goes a long way.  There are a few ways to make your title memorable:  Alliteration is always a good choice (Wind in the Willows, Christmas Carol).  Making it short is a good idea also:  Gone With the Wind, Little Women, Scarlet Letter.  OK, they’re classics but you get the idea.

  1. Hold their Interest

Just as your characters should be interesting, so should your title!  What makes a title interesting? Well, contradictory qualities help. (War and Peace)  Also, descriptive titles are eye-catching (Fahrenheit 451 comes to mind)

  1. Genre Indicative

Sometimes people like titles that clearly indicate the genre. For example, you’d hate to buy a book where the title indicates a romance and find out it’s a Neo-Nazi thriller instead, right?  Cozies are a good example of genre indicative titles, particularly where animals are concerned. My own series, which features a detective tuxedo cat, has titles like Meow if it’s Murder and Claws for Alarm.  Likewise the Cat Rescue seres, titled Purr M for Murder and Death by a Whisker. The titles don’t’ always have to refer to the feline characters, though. the Black Cat Bookshop series by Ali Brandon has titles that are more indicative of the location rather than the feline sleuth: Plot Boiler, Words with Fiends, A Novel Way to Die.

  1. Make ‘em Laugh!

Lastly, what attracts attention more than anything else?  A title with a bit of humor, or perhaps a “punny” one.  Many are inspired by popular movies:  Dead Witch Walking and For a Few Demons More, by Kim Harrison and Arsenic and Old Books and Twelve Angry Librarians by Miranda James are good examples.

You should research titles in your particular genre to see what the most popular titles are. What do they have in common?  Note the ones that seem particularly effective (sales figures help) and try to figure out how you might replicate them in terms of your own book.

Of course, the content of your novel should also be a factor.  Sometimes a line taken right out of the book can make a wonderful title. Check your text for memorable phrases or sentences.  Is there one line from the book that can sum it up?

Basically, a great title can be a popular expression, a play on words, an association of events – a title can be many things, but what it should be is something that will guide people right toward your book on the shelf!    A title, as long as it fits the story, can be simple.  And, as with writing, where choosing a title is concerned, practice makes perfect!

 

About the Author

fred-profileWhile Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – and in Spring 2017, the new CAT RESCUE msyteries from Crooked Lane! She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York.

ROCCO’s blogWebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads

Giveaways

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Posted in Cover Reveal, Cozy on February 19, 2018

 

Beauty is skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone. And doesn’t our Sheriff Kenni Lowry know that? Well, she knows a lot of things.

Lucy Lowell takes great pride in writing negative reviews in the local newspaper for anything that does not go her way. When Lucy is found dead, it appears to be from natural causes.

But Sheriff Kenni Lowry knows there is more to it because the ghost of her grandfather, the ex-sheriff, is standing over the body.

His presence can only mean one thing: Murder!

Since Kenni’s relationship with Deputy Finn Vincent has heated up, Kenni is having trouble conducting the investigation without Finn questioning her every move.

Can Kenni unravel the mystery on her own or will she have to tell Finn the real reason she knows it was murder—the ghost of her poppa?

It’s blowin’ up a storm and only Kenni knows how it’ll end.

 

Ready…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Set…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reveal!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dead as a Doornail by Tonya Kappes
will be available May 15 from Henery Press!

It is Available for Pre-Order Today!!

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Posted in Awards on February 18, 2018
The Lone Star Book Blog Tours team has voted, and the results are in!  From Best Fiction to Most Engaged Author, we have seventeen awards to hand out to the awesome Texas books and authors featured on Lone Star Book Blog Tours in 2017.
From February 15-23, 2018, please join us as we hop around the LSBBT blogs and share the winners, runners-up, and shortlisted titles. Don’t miss it!


 

 Click to learn more about:
The Grave Tender by Eliza Maxwell
Loving Luther by Allison Pittman
A Good Girl by Johnnie Bernhard
Nowhere Near by Teddy Jones
Before the Rain Falls by Camille DiMaio
Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

Click to learn more about

Loving Luther by Allison Pittman

Before the Rain Falls by Camille DiMaio

These Healing Hills by Ann Gabhart (check out my review here)

The Day the Angels Fell by Shawn Smucker

Almost a Minyan by Lori Kline and Susan Simon

A Moonbow Night by Laura Frantz

A Stolen Heart by Amanda Cabot (check out my review here)

AWARDS SCHEDULE:
2/14: Awards Announcement
2/15: Best Hook & Best Creative Concept
2/16: Best Non-Fiction History, Best Biography/Memoir, 
& Best Western
2/17: Best Children’s/Juvenile/YA & Best Series
2/18: Best Literary Fiction & Best Religious/Inspirational/Spiritual
2/19: Best Mystery/Suspense, Best Romance, & Best Fantasy
2/20: Best Cover & Most Engaged Author
2/21: Best Texas Book
2/22: Best Non-Fiction Book
2/23: Best Fiction Book
Posted in 5 paws, Giveaway, memoir, nonfiction, Review, Texas on February 18, 2018

WHY I HATE GREEN BEANS

and other confessions about relationships, reality tv, and how we see ourselves

by

LINCEE RAY

Genre: Humorous NonFiction / Memoir

Publisher: Revell

Facebook   ⎸ Twitter

Date of Publication: February 6, 2018

Number of Pages: 208

Scroll down for the giveaway!

Insecurity. As women, we all struggle with it. Our skinny jeans mock us. Our age-defying serums with flecks of gold refuse to erase our crow’s feet. Our social media feeds taunt us with everyone else’s picture-perfect lives. If you’ve ever felt uninteresting, unlovable, or unattractive, you’re ready for Lincee Ray’s particular brand of hilarious (and hard-hitting) self-reflection.

Like a trustworthy friend, she shows us that the fastest way to happiness is to embrace ourselves in all our imperfection and trust that God knew what He was doing when He made us. From maneuvering the muffin top to navigating the sketchy waters of singleness to walking the judgmental halls of the workplace, Lincee’s laugh-out-loud look at real life reveals many of the key truths she’s learned about her identity:

Yoga pants are your friend, Jesus sees you, and green-bean diets are never the answer.

PRAISE FOR WHY I HATE GREEN BEANS

“Lincee is a brilliant writer. She once described me as ‘smelling of worn leather, a vintage nine iron and swagger.’ She pretty much nailed it. She is definitely worthy of the final rose.” —Chris Harrison, host of ABC’s Bachelor franchise and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

“I found myself laughing out loud, wiping away a few tears, and cheering her on every step of the way. Lincee is the best friend you wish you had. Get ready to fall in love with her and her fabulous debut book!”  —Melanie Shankle, author of the Big Mama blog

“By the end of this book, you’ll think of Lincee as a favorite friend: someone who shoots straight, finds the funny in every situation, and reminds you what matters most. You are in for a treat!” —Sophie Hudson, author of Giddy Up, Eunice and co-host of The Big Boo Cast podcast

I am not even sure where to start on my review other than I LOVED this book.  It made me laugh, but there were also some parts that were poignant, such as, when Lincee wrote about her marriage and its failure.  I was truly amazed to read her story and enjoyed every minute…I did not want the book to end.

I have followed I Hate Green Beans for a few years after being turned on to it by a friend.  I thought the title of her blog was hysterical because I love green beans!  I don’t remember if I knew why she didn’t like that green vegetable, but I learned why in her book – an evil diet.  Then as I was reading her profile (way back when), I learned that we attended the same high school.  Not at the same time mind you!  But I felt a kinship when she spoke about her time in high school and what she experienced being on the Belles (drill team).  While I was a band geek, I also participated in the Flag Corps, so I could commiserate about those weigh ins!  While I might not be able to relate to everything she wrote about, I could feel her emotions – from angst to frustration to happiness – in each story she told.  She made me feel like I was sitting right next to her in each event in her life.

Lincee even puts her faith out there for all to see.  Her Christian beliefs helped guide her through the tougher times in life and kept her grounded despite any situation.  And trust me when I say there are lots of situations that would test any of us.  She shares various bible verses that helped her in situations when she needed support.  I appreciated her humility in admitting when she needed that extra assistance to get through.

For Lincee to put her life out there for anyone and everyone to read, it shows a courage that many do not possess.  Her honesty, quick wit, and fluid writing will entertain readers and if they enjoy it as much as I did, they will not want to put the book down.  Not all may be able to relate, but I am willing to bet that there is at least one story or situation that will seem familiar – even if it is the insecurity that many of us feel as a woman.

We give this 5 paws up!  We’d give more but our scale is only 5.

Lincee Ray is an accidental blogging superstar from Texas who now writes for EW.com and the Associated Press. An active speaker, she can be found at her popular website, ihategreenbeans.com, where she makes it clear that she believes it’s important to tell your story—even if it makes you seem a little crazy.

 

 ║ Blog║ Facebook ║ Twitter ║

║ Instagram ║ Podcast ║

————————————-

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

FEBRUARY 13-22, 2018

GRAND PRIZE:

Copy of Why I Hate Green Beans with a signed book plate, $50 Barnes & Noble Gift Card, and Lincee’s Loves Basket which includes: Rave travel hairspray, Minnie Mouse ears, Vodka*, Heartbreakers Candy, Dr. Pepper, chocolate rose, and green jelly beans.

2nd PRIZE:

Copy of Why I Hate Green Beans with a signed bookplate, $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

3rd PRIZE:

Copy of Why I Hate Green Beans with a signed bookplate, $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

(U.S. Only; *proof of age required for vodka)


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Check out the other great blogs on this tour

2/13/18 Notable Quotable A Page Before Bedtime
2/13/18 Notable Quotable Hall Ways Blog
2/14/18 Review Missus Gonzo
2/15/18 Playlist Reading by Moonlight
2/15/18 Author Interview The Librarian Talks
2/16/18 Review Forgotten Winds
2/17/18 Guest Post Texas Book Lover
2/17/18 Excerpt The Page Unbound
2/18/18 Review StoreyBook Reviews
2/19/18 Notable Quotable Syd Savvy
2/19/18 Notable Quotable A Novel Reality
2/20/18 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
2/21/18 Top Five Momma on the Rocks
2/22/18 Review Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
2/22/18 Review Margie’s Must Reads

Blog tour services provided by

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on February 17, 2018

A Pirate at Pembroke by Danielle Thorne

A Jane Austen-inspired Pirate Romance

Sophie Crestwood is never going to catch a husband, and she isn’t even sure she wants one. Her father is a gossip, her mother always has her nose in a book, and little Jack has shamefully been dismissed from boarding school. Worst of all, a pirate moves next door into Pembroke Hall!

When Sophie’s sent to a matchmaking party at a neighboring estate, the pirate from Pembroke arrives and distracts everyone from the summer festivities. Unguarded, her feelings about the mysterious Captain Murdock bloom into a trusted friendship that Sophie fears may come to mean much more than anyone would ever suspect. Keeping company with a reputed pirate is one thing but falling in love with him could ruin the eccentric Crestwood family for good.Danielle Thorne’s book A Pirate at Pembroke is up for nomination in the Kindle Scout Contest.

Please vote for her book!

If Kindle Scout selects A Pirate at Pembroke for publication you’ll get a copy of the book for free!

 

Excerpt

The sad sonata continued its siren’s call. It echoed a passionate and haunting melody, just like the dark halls of Pembroke with its soiled paintings of aristocrats from long ago. Sophie examined the chamber doors through the gloom and decided the door to the second room on the left was slightly ajar with a dim light shimmering around it. She moved in silence to the small gap and caught her breath.

Captain Murdock stood in front of a languid fire burning beneath a marble mantel. One bare foot was balanced on a low, milking stool nestled up against a heavy, velvet-covered chair. The other kept time on the floor. With his cane leaning against the fireplace, Murdock stood balanced on his own. In his hands, a violin tucked underneath his chin swayed. It moved in time with his body as he performed a strange dance to the music. His profile in the firelight was sharp and clear. He stood slender and tall. In these private bedchambers, half-dressed in loose buckskin breeches and an untucked shirt open at the neck, he did not seem as rigid and menacing as before. From his dreamy stare, his thoughts were somewhere inside the flickering blue and orange flames. The reflection of the firelight made his pale eyes glow.

Sophie noticed his hair was undone. It hung far past his neck, with slight waves resting on his broad upper back on either side of his shoulders. She put a hand to her mouth realizing it had fallen open, and at the same time, that it was scandalous to spy on her host. She swallowed and stepped away. The music stopped in mid-cry. Her heart jumped in her chest, and for a brief pause, the only sound to be heard was her own loud breathing. She stepped back and pivoted on her heel.

Horrified he might have felt her examination, she strode down the rug-lined hallway as quietly as she could, but each footfall sounded like muffled thunder as she hurried back to the stairs. She reached the banister and slipped down the first step, but her shift snagged on something, and she spun about to free it.

Captain Murdock stood behind her, silent. He held a handful of her shift in his fist. She had not snagged it after all. Rather, he had snagged her. She jerked in surprise, but his hold kept her from falling backward and tumbling down the stairs. His other hand trembled as it balanced precariously on a carved dragon head at the top of his cane.

“What do you think you are doing?”

“I… I heard music and followed it.”

His eyes blazed with accusation, and it unnerved her.

“I’m so sorry,” she said in a choking voice. Her nose tingled again. She touched it with her fingers to make it stop.

“It’s not possible you heard music from all the way down in your room.”

Sophie took a nervous breath. He stood there, one step above her like a giant, her bedclothes gripped in his hand so tight it shook. She hadn’t heard him shuffle down the hall after her. He moved as silent as a ghost when he wanted — even with a cane. She found the courage to meet his penetrating gaze. “I did hear something from my room. Then I was in the hall.”

Captain Murdock waited for a long pause, while the dust they had stirred up in the rugs pirouetted in the air and into Sophie’s eyes and nose. “You should not be out of bed,” he said.

Sophie swallowed down her frightened apprehension. She tried to beg his pardon, but her lungs failed her, and she coughed in reflex. She covered her mouth with her fingers. “I’m so sorry,” she repeated between them, her cheeks hot with humiliation. She stared at the fistful of her garments he’d snatched, aware his eyes examined her from her straight, waist-length hair down to her naked ankles. With a jerk, he dropped her shift like it burned his hand.

“Go to bed,” he said in a quiet voice.

Sophie’s nose had not quit tingling and itching. “Yes, sir,” she said at once, but not soon enough to keep a sneeze from erupting. It came so fast and without warning, she had no chance to catch it before it doused him with all her rejection.

Horrified, she stumbled down the next step, thankful the old handrail held fast. When she glanced back, he was wiping off his shirt with a look of disgust.

 

 

Author Danielle Thorne

Danielle Thorne is the author of classic romance and adventure in several genres. She loves Jane Austen, pirates, beaches, cookies, antiques, cats, dogs, and long naps. She does not like phone calls or sushi. A graduate of Ricks College and BYU-Idaho, Danielle saw early work published by Every Day Fiction, Arts and Prose Magazine, Mississippi Crow, The Nantahala Review, StorySouth, and… you get the idea. Besides writing, she’s edited for both Solstice and Desert Breeze Publishing. Her growing blog, The Balanced Writer, focuses on writing, life, and the pursuit of peace and happiness. Currently, Danielle freelances as a non-fiction author while waiting to hear from readers like you through her website. During free time, which means when Netflix is down, she combs through feedback and offers virtual hugs for reviews. A Pirate at Pembroke is her newest release. Her non-fiction book, The Story of Queen Victoria 200 Years After Her Birth, is coming fall 2018.

Website * Blog * Twitter * Instagram

 

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 PayPal Cash

Ends 3/15/18

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. This 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 Awards on February 17, 2018
The Lone Star Book Blog Tours team has voted, and the results are in!  From Best Fiction to Most Engaged Author, we have seventeen awards to hand out to the awesome Texas books and authors featured on Lone Star Book Blog Tours in 2017.
From February 15-23, 2018, please join us as we hop around the LSBBT blogs and share the winners, runners-up, and shortlisted titles. Don’t miss it!



Click to learn more about:

Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Lane
The Eldridge Conspiracy: Sir Kaye the Boy Knight, #4 by Donn Winn
The Secret Room by John Alexander (Check out my review here)
Hitchin’ Post by Julie Barker
Almost a Minyan by Lori Kline and Susan Simon

Click to learn more about:

The Sawbones Series by Melissa Lenhardt (Loved this series!)

The Ladies of Harper Station by Karen Witemeyer (Love Karen’s books!)

Sir Kaye the Boy Knight Series by Donn Winn

The Amber-Autumn Mystery Series by John Alexander (Wonderful mystery series for young children – adults too!)

The Montana Rescue Series by Susan May Warren 

The Gethsemane Brown Mystery Series by Alexia Gordon (Fun series! I’ve read the first one)

The FBI Task Force Novels by DiAnn Mills (Excellent author, books keep you on the edge of your seat!)

The Men of Legend Series by Linda Broday (Linda writes some great western romance novels!)

The Bonnie and Clyde Series by Clark Hays & Kathleen McFall

AWARDS SCHEDULE:
2/14: Awards Announcement
2/15: Best Hook & Best Creative Concept
2/16: Best Non-Fiction History, Best Biography/Memoir, & Best Western
2/17: Best Children’s/Juvenile/YA & Best Series
2/18: Best Literary Fiction & Best Religious/Inspirational/Spiritual
2/19: Best Mystery/Suspense, Best Romance, & Best Fantasy
2/20: Best Cover & Most Engaged Author
2/21: Best Texas Book
2/22: Best Non-Fiction Book
2/23: Best Fiction Book
Posted in Awards on February 16, 2018
The Lone Star Book Blog Tours team has voted, and the results are in!  From Best Fiction to Most Engaged Author, we have seventeen awards to hand out to the awesome Texas books and authors featured on Lone Star Book Blog Tours in 2017.
From February 15-23, 2018, please join us as we hop around the LSBBT blogs and share the winners, runners-up, and shortlisted titles. Don’t miss it!



 Click to learn more about:

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider
Yonderings by Ben English
A Witness to History by Janet Neugebauer
Baugh to Brady by Lew Freedman
Equal Opportunity Hero by Phil Price
Of Bulletins and Booze by Bob Horton

Click to learn more about:
Yonderings by Ben English
The Rebirth of Hope by Sau Le Hudecek
Of Bulletins and Booze by Bob Horton
Bending Angels by Jack Emmott
Equal Opportunity Hero by Phil Price

Click to learn more about:

Badlands by Melissa Lenhardt (read my review here)

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

To Marry a Texas Outlaw by Linda Broday

Knight on the Texas Plains by Linda Broday

Blood Oath by Melissa Lenhardt

AWARDS SCHEDULE:
2/14: Awards Announcement
2/15: Best Hook & Best Creative Concept
2/16: Best Non-Fiction History, Best Biography/Memoir, & Best Western
2/17: Best Children’s/Juvenile/YA & Best Series
2/18: Best Literary Fiction & Best Religious/Inspirational/Spiritual
2/19: Best Mystery/Suspense, Best Romance, & Best Fantasy
2/20: Best Cover & Most Engaged Author
2/21: Best Texas Book
2/22: Best Non-Fiction Book
2/23: Best Fiction Book
Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Romantic Suspense on February 16, 2018

Synopsis

“Vivid and charming.” —CHARLAINE HARRIS, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

He’s always been a haven:

For the lost. The sick. The injured.

But when a hunted woman takes shelter in his arms, this gentle giant swears he’ll do more than heal her battered spirit—he’ll defend her with his life.

K9 Officer Otto Gunnersen always had a soft spot for anyone in need. As Monroe’s very own Dr. Doolittle, he dedicates himself to rehabilitating the injured souls that cross his path—but for all his big heart, he’s never been in love.

Until he meets Sarah Clifton’s haunted eyes. Until he realizes he’ll do anything to save her.

All Sarah wants is to escape a life caught between ambitious crime families, but there’s no outrunning her past. Her power-mad brother would hunt her to the ends of the earth…but he’d never expect Sarah to fight back. With Otto and the whole of Monroe, Colorado by her side, Sarah’s finally ready to face whatever comes her way.

It’s time to take a stand.

Excerpt

Breaking out of his thoughts, Otto strode to the viner entrance. Even at that early hour, it was starting to fill up with customers. Giving Jules a nod of greeting, he made his way to the table that had become their usual meeting spot after the diner had been blown up two months ago.

Hugh saw him and swiveled around, attempting to prop his leg on the chair next to him, but Otto was already there, sliding into the seat.

“Quit swinging your leg around,” Otto grumbled, flipping his coffee mug right side up. “It’ll never heal if you keep abusing it.”

“I’m not abusing my leg. You’re thinking of another body part.” Wiggling his eyebrows comically, Hugh returned his foot to the chair across from him.

Otto didn’t laugh. “Your broken arm?”

“No, my…” Hugh’s reply trailed off as Otto gave him a stern look. “You know, I liked it better when you were obsessing over Theo, rather than me.”

“I didn’t.” Theo leaned back in his chair, his normally severe expression amused.

“Maybe if you’d quit getting shot and breaking bones, then I could ‘obsess’ less,” Otto suggested. Sometimes he felt like the ground crew for two reckless acrobats, running around trying to catch them before they hit the ground.

Jules hurried over to their table and poured him some coffee. “How are you, Otto?”

He couldn’t honestly say “good,” since he was living in a hot swamp of still-fresh humiliation after his last encounter with Sarah, plus he’d had to wake up every three hours to bottle-feed puppies, but any response other than “fine” would awaken Jules’s curiosity, and he didn’t want to deal with the interrogation that would follow. Instead, he raised a shoulder and grunted.

“Uh-oh,” Jules said, meeting Theo’s gaze. The two exchanged a look that Otto knew boded poorly for him. “There’s a story here. Hang on. Let me get the Lynches their breakfast platters, and then I’ll be back to hear the whole thing.”

“There is no ‘whole thing,’” Otto protested, but Jules was already gone. From Hugh’s laughter, his huffy mood had disappeared, as well.

Theo leaned toward them. “Before she gets back, what did you learn?”

“About what?” Otto’s brain felt foggy from lack of sleep.

“The newest houseguest,” Hugh prodded. “We haven’t had a chance to talk about it yet, and Grace still won’t let me near her. You’re the only one with access. Did you manage to get her license number?”

It seemed like he couldn’t escape from reminders of Sarah. A fresh wave of humiliation flooded him. “No.” Otto didn’t just mean he didn’t get her license number; he meant that there’d be no discussion about Sarah…not until he could forget what he’d said, which probably meant they could never talk about her. Otto would be okay with that.

“You didn’t?” Hugh sat back, wincing slightly and reaching his good arm to reposition his leg. “I knew I should’ve followed you up there, but Jules threatened my life if I did. What’s her last name?”

Pressing his lips together, Otto gave a single, sharp shake of his head.

“Are you blushing?” Hugh asked. “Holy monkey balls, you are! Why are you blushing, Ninja Paul Bunyan?”

“I’m not.”

“You are.” Theo eyed him from across the table. “Why?”

“What did you do?” Hugh gave him a feigned look of horror, and Otto resisted the urge to punch him.

“What could we have done?” he scoffed instead, staring down at his untouched coffee. “It was two minutes. Grace was there.”

Theo was still studying him. “You like her?”

Opening his mouth to deny it, to say he felt nothing, Otto found he couldn’t get the words out. Instead, he gave the same half-assed shrug he’d offered earlier.

“Yeah?” Hugh sounded fascinated, and Otto had to resist the urge to roll his eyes. It wasn’t that uncommon. “You have a thing for her? The last time you had a thing for someone, it was that dispatcher who moved to Cleveland right after you got up the nerve to ask her out. What was that—two years ago?”

“Three,” Theo corrected, his gaze not leaving Otto’s face. “Consider doing a background check before you get in too deep.” Otto gazed at him evenly, and Theo gave a half smile and a shrug. “Do as I say, not as I do.”

“If you like her,” Hugh said, “you’re not the right one to be investigating her. Things get fuzzy when there are emotions involved. I should know. Want me to dig around for you?”

“There will be no digging,” Jules stated as she pulled a chair from a nearby table and plopped down next to Theo. “Hey, sweetness. I’m on break so you can kiss me now.”

Theo gave her a smile and obliged. Otto focused on his coffee until they came up for air.

“Okay.” Jules sounded a little breathless. “Now what’s this about digging?”

“We were talking about gardening,” Hugh lied easily, and Otto held back a snort.

“Uh-huh.” Jules sounded as skeptical as she should be. “Gardening. In November.”

Hugh gave her a sweet smile. “Never too early to start planning.”

“Right.” After giving Hugh a suspicious look, she turned to Theo. “What were you really talking about?”

“Otto likes Sarah.”

Mouth open, Otto stared at Theo. He’d expected Hugh to spill the beans, but Theo? “What the hell?”

Looking completely unrepentant, Theo laid an arm over the back of Jules’s chair and picked up his coffee mug with his free hand. “I would’ve just told her later.”

“That’s true,” Jules said, leaning forward with the same gossip-loving expression as Hugh. “He knows better than to withhold juicy tidbits. It’ll be useful to have me in the loop, though. I can talk you up to her, arrange ‘coincidental’ meetings, let you know her date preferences, and all that.”

Otto groaned, tipping his head back and closing his eyes. Why had he even bothered getting out of bed that morning? He could be wallowing in embarrassment with puppies sleeping on him, rather than wallowing in embarrassment with a growing crowd of amused, overly helpful friends.

“I’ll find out today what she thinks about you.” Jules was still talking.

“Please don’t.”

Hugh was snickering. “Fair warning, buddy. I have to tell Grace, too.”

Opening his eyes, Otto turned his best glare—one that transformed even the surliest suspect into a compliant heap of goo—on his partner, but it only made Hugh grin wider.

“Sorry, but if she found out that she was the last to know, my life wouldn’t be worth living anymore. Grace would make sure of that.” Hugh made a mock-terrified face.

“I’m not interested in Sarah.” Otto held back a wince. It sounded like a lie, even to him.

It didn’t help when Jules and Hugh started laughing. Even Theo looked amused.

His only hope was to change the subject. “Jules, I need a favor.”

She bounced a little in her chair. “Do you want me to ask Sarah what her favorite flower is?”

“No. Can you take care of the puppies tonight during my shift?”

“Puppies?” Jules still looked excited, even though he’d shut down her matchmaking. “Of course. Dee is going to be out-of-her-mind thrilled.”

At the mention of the little girl, Otto managed a smile. “How’s the cat?”

“He’s great. Turtle is quickly becoming the king of the house.”

“Turtle?” Hugh repeated. “Interesting name for a cat.”

Jules shrugged. “It involved about eight hours of discussion over two days. Once everyone agreed on a name, I wasn’t about to argue.”

“Jules!” Megan, the diner owner, yelled from her spot by the window. “Break’s over. The Silver Fork Casino bus just pulled up.”

Making a face, Jules pressed a quick kiss to Theo’s cheek before standing. As she returned her chair to its rightful spot at the neighboring table, she said, “See y’all later.” She winked at Otto. “Drop the puppies off anytime this afternoon. I’ll make sure we’re all home.”

The emphasis reminded Otto that Sarah would be at Jules’s house, and he almost groaned. A part of him was eager to see her again, but facing her after his super-creep act the other day would be rough. He gave Jules a slight nod, hiding his apprehension, and then turned back to his partners.

When he saw their smirks, he braced himself. Breakfast was going to be rough.

 

About the Author

katie ruggleWhen she’s not writing, KATIE RUGGLE rides horses, shoots guns, and travels to warm places where she can SCUBA dive. Graduating from the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado Mountains really are that cold. While she still misses her off-the-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains, she now lives in Rochester, Minnesota near her family.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on February 16, 2018

 

Gladly Beyond by Nichole Van

An ancient curse, fractured at the birth of three brothers.
Two strangers helplessly drawn to each other.
A love story two hundred years in the making.

Claire Raythorn arrives in Florence, Italy, shattered, alone, and anxious to rebuild her life—preferably one without men. But she soon finds herself hunted and haunted— literally—when a mysterious stalker dressed like Mr. Darcy from BBC central casting appears in her photos. And only her photos. Who is this man? And what does his ghostly presence mean?

Dante D’Angelo simply wants to safeguard his brothers, despite the family curse that hounds his vision. But then Claire Raythorn walks into his life, untouched somehow by his curse. Soon, everything Dante thought he knew about himself starts to unravel, dragging Claire down with him.

Set against the lush backdrop of Florence, Italy—both past and present—Claire and Dante fight for a future together. But, first, they must uncover their shared past . . .

The thing I like about Van’s writing is that she builds up the love between hero and heroine in plausible increments. I think that’s why I always end up reading her novels in one sitting until the early morning hours; I know that in the NEXT scene the characters are going to finally realize their love. But then you get to the next scene and you simply want more and more. And I mean that in the best possible way.

 

 

I’ve always thought Italian cities are like guys I knew in college:

Rome—the hot frat boy I was dying to go out with (and I did, and it was awesome). But, turns out, everyone dated Rome.

Naples—Rome’s frat house roommate. The guy on no sleep and his tenth can of Red Bull. No one messed with him cause he knew people who knew people . . . catch my drift . . .

Venice—the dreamily gorgeous philosophy major. Brilliantly eccentric but exotic enough that no one quite knew what to make of him.

Milan—the second-year MBA student who was big on power-ties and power-lunches. Basically, the organized guy who held everyone else together.

And then there was Florence.

Firenze, to those who knew him.

Quiet and unassuming. When we first met, I wondered what all the fuss was about.

But Firenze . . . he was a subtle seducer. If I asked, he could talk for hours about art and history. But, generally, Firenze simply listened. Peaceful. Steady. Ready to shoulder my sorrows.

Firenze is the guy I never got out of my system.

I hit the ground floor and took two steps toward the large wooden front door.

How would the next few weeks play out? Like being a contestant on Survivor? The Great Race?

A male voice stopped me. “Just the person I was waiting for.”

I closed my eyes.

Nope. Things were shaping up to be The Bachelorette.

Honestly.

Pasting on my polite grin, which truthfully was more of a grimace by this point, I turned around.

“Mr. D’Angelo.”

“Dante, please.” He stepped out of the shadows at the base of the stairs. A window in the stairwell illuminated half of him. Even that half was huge.

Whereas I looked down on Pierce and was eye-level with the Colonel, I had to look up, up at Dante. At five ten myself, it takes a lot to make me feel short. But he somehow managed it. He had to be at least six four and linebacker-wide. Did he play football in high school?

His dark, wavy hair had been smoothly slicked back when he arrived earlier. But I had watched it creep forward as the morning went along until a section of it came loose, swinging down to kiss his jaw. My fingers itched to brush it back.

Dante was the type of man I had always had a sweet tooth for. Until I learned, oh-so-painfully, how bad for my health they could be.

 

Love’s Shadow by Nichole Van

Branwell D’Angelo . . .
Six years ago, I fell in love with Lucy—my brother’s girlfriend. Stupid of me, I know, but sometimes the heart doesn’t listen to reason.
Six years, I’ve lived on the sidelines. Seeing him love her, be with her, bask in her sunshine . . .
I watched her break his heart and then cleaned up the shattered pieces of him she left behind.
She’s the one woman I can’t have but still the only one my soul wants.
Now she’s back in our lives and needs the unique help only us D’Angelos can give.
He’s not emotionally strong enough to face her. So he’s sending me instead . . .

When tragedy strikes Lucy Snow on a visit to Italy, she can’t bring herself to call any of the D’Angelo brothers for help. There are consequences for falling in love with your ex-boyfriend’s brother. But Lucy desperately needs Branwell’s paranormal skills and his gift of Sight. And if seeing him will negate at least three years of therapy? Well, it’s a price she is willing to pay.

Thrown together in a desperate bid to save an innocent life, Branwell and Lucy struggle against their shared past, only to realize that something even more dangerous is reaching through the weight of time to stalk their every move . . .

 

Oh. My. Gosh! The feels! The feels are real my fellow bookworms! My emotions were all over the place while reading this book! I laughed, I yelled, I got teary eyed, I growled in frustration, I let out little dreamy sighs and fell in love right along with Branwell and Lucy. I can’t even begin to describe the amazingness of this book! One of my favorite parts of this book are the sour “punny” bears! *giggles* Oh! I can’t forget about that epilogue! Love… love… LOVE! And talk about swoony! *dreamy sigh* I had the hardest time putting this book down! I have discovered a love/hate relationship with real life. Haha.

 

 

“Wait, wait. Don’t move,” a woman’s voice said.

I froze, fork hovered over a particularly decadent piece of strawberry laden gooey-ness.

I lifted my head and encountered the most amazing eyes. Blue-green and wide-set. The smell of lemon-verbena and sunshine drifted over me. That fiery red hair tumbled around the gentle curve of her jaw. Window-light sculpted the arch of her rosebud lips.

Freckles. Freckles everywhere. Stars dotting her skin.

She was . . . stunning. Magnificent. Breathtaking in an unconventional way.

Maybe it was the jet lag, or the sugar and caffeine hitting my system in a knockout one-two punch.

But . . . it jolted me hard. That bolt of lightning.

This girl . . . woman . . .

Something about her tugged at me. A siren call of wedding bells and growing old hand-in-hand.

Then I noticed her t-shirt—The Empurr Strikes Back scrawled underneath Star Wars-themed, anime kittens.

Yep. That sealed the deal.

I was going to fall in love with her. So hard. So fast.

“So what’s your brand of crazy?” she asked.

After a pause, I went with, “I won’t eat anything green unless it’s a vegetable.”

She cocked her head, processing.

A beat.

“Green M&M’s? Skittles? Gummy bears?” she asked.

“Nope. Leave ‘em all in the bag.”

“Green frosting? Sprinkles? Mold?”

“Nope. Nada. And please, no.”

“So why no green?” she asked, genuine, sincere.

I pondered options and then went with, “Non-vegetal green things are the charlatans of the food world.”

“That’s about the best sentence I’ve heard all week.” She gave that giggly, wispy laugh of hers. “What about avocados? I mean, they act like a vegetable, but they’re really a fruit.”

“Masquerading vegetables get a pass. So do herbs.”

“What about kiwi?”

“The jury is still out on kiwi. They’re something of a Franken-fruit, to be honest . . . all that fuzzy hair and the tiny, crunchy seeds.”

She laughed again. “Please tell me you have no Irish heritage. You would destroy any St. Patty’s Day celebration.”

“None.” I smiled, shaking my head. “Though, I did have an Irish roommate once. He thought I was, and I quote, ‘A wee bit mad.’”

 

Lightning Struck by Nichole Van

Chiara doesn’t like Jack. Jack doesn’t like Chiara.
The story should end there.
Except . . . maybe Chiara finds herself daydreaming far too often about Jack. And maybe Jack finds Chiara aggravating in an adorable sorta way.
Maybe Jack and Chiara find themselves falling in love.
The problem, of course, remains.
Jack is a ghost.
And Chiara is not.

Jack Knight-Snow has had a bad year for losing things. So far he has lost a ship full of ancient treasure, his family, his friends, his title, his lands and money, his fiancé, the century into which he was born . . . oh, and his physical body. Worse, feisty Chiara D’Angelo might just finish the job and make him lose his mind.

For her part, Chiara simply wants to help Jack get his body back and move on with his life. She doesn’t want to like his snarky humor or his gorgeous eyes or the way he accepts her exactly as she is. She’s a hot mess when it comes to romantic relationships. Case in point . . . she’s developing feelings for a ghost.

But tackling the problem of Jack’s ghostliness is not straightforward. Soon, Jack and Chiara find themselves embroiled in a mystery which creates more questions about the D’Angelo brothers’ gifts of Second Sight. Set against the backdrop of Tuscany, Italy, Jack and Chiara race to uncover answers about the past before becoming history themselves.

 

Nichole Van has hit paydirt yet again with this latest Brothers Maledetti book! Chiara’s story has swoonworthy romance that is 100% clean, as well as laugh out loud humor and superb storytelling to make up this amazing, unputdownable book! Although you don’t have to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one, I’d highly recommend reading them to get further backstory on the D’Angelo family and their talents. Nichole Van is one of the few authors on my “instant-buy” list and this latest installment is another reminder why. Five stars just don’t seem enough.

“Jack, we’re all concerned about you,” I said the words carefully, keeping my tone flat and not screechy like I felt. “We’ve been concentrating on trying to find answers for your ghost-like state, but I think the constant focus is hurting more than it’s helping. It’s like picking at a scab over and over, never allowing it to heal. Maybe it’s time to take a step back from our research.”

Jack paused, giving me his best Regency-era, Lord Knight stare.

I had a love/hate relationship with that stare—I hated that I kinda loved it. It was snooty with an edge of dry sardonic humor, and it challenged every womanly impulse in my body to kiss it off his face.

Not that I would do that, of course, even if it were possible. But the urge was there.

“Would you prefer me to continue my exploration of modern names?” he asked.

I bit my lip, unsure how to reply. It was a decent threat.

Jack had gone through this whole phase where he mocked contemporary celebrity names.

Example: Brittany Spears.

It had been days of, ‘Pardon Siri, but who are the Spears of Brittany?’ and ‘Are Brittany Spears similar to Celtic weaponry from northern France?’

“I have yet to understand why Ryan cares so much about goslings,” Jack continued. “Does he have a fetish for young poultry?”

See?!

Honestly.

 

 

Nichole Van is a writer, photographer, designer and generally disorganized crazy person. Though originally from Utah, she currently lives on the coast of Scotland with three similarly crazy children and one sane, very patient husband who puts up with all of them. In her free time, she enjoys long walks along the Scottish lochs and braes. She does not, however, enjoy haggis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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