Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Don't Go - Review

Review by Deb Czajkowski

Baby Emily is only one month old when her daddy, Dr. Mike Scanlon, an orthopedic surgeon, is called into service as an army doctor in Afghanistan. Leaving behind his wife, Chloe, and baby Emily is so much harder for Mike than any hardships or dangers he knows he will face as an army healer.

It’s Chloe, though, who dies in their kitchen from a household accident.  Mike flies home to bury Chloe, heart-broken, confused, and looking for answers.  With mounting frustration, Mike discovers there are more questions than answers.  How could Chloe have bled to death, all alone and just inches from the front door?  How can he care for his seven-month-old daughter when she’s terrified of this stranger who says he’s ‘Daddy’? How can his medical practice have changed so much in such a short time?  And is there even a place for him there now?

Little does Mike know that things both in Afghanistan and on the home front are going to get worse, much worse, than he ever imagined before he begins for find answers to his many questions.  Mike finds himself searching deep inside himself to make sense of the battle fields that are his new normal, struggling to regain control of his life, a life with his precious daughter.

Many of us have experienced life-changing events in our lives.  It might have been a devastating car accident, an unconscionable act of force, an unexpected or untimely death of someone close. The fallout can be debilitating, the way back a series of struggles that feels like drowning.  Will the world ever stop tilting and shifting and right itself once again?

In Don’t Go, author Lisa Scottoline skillfully spins her own version of one event, Dr. Mike Scanlon leaving his family behind as he serves his country in Afghanistan, that changes many lives.  The author convincingly places you in Chloe’s kitchen during her last moments of life, in Afghanistan as Dr. Mike operates on injured soldiers for hours on end, in Emily’s tears as she first searches for her missing mama and then later screams when the stranger who is her daddy wants to love her, and in the courtroom where Mike ultimately fights for his life. 

Lisa’s heart-wrenching story reminds us that there are many heroes in wars.  The soldiers who fight for our freedoms, of course. The medical staff that dedicates days, months, years, and even their very lives, to saving lives, definitely. But the spouses and families back home are heroes, too, often the forgotten heroes.  I applaud Lisa Scottoline for her knowledgeable and captivatingly informative narrative. And I love that we in America have the freedom to write books such as Don’t Go, a book about the very heroes who have fought for our freedoms, including the freedom of speech.

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About the Author:
Lisa Scottoline is the New York Times bestselling author of seventeen novels including her most recent, THINK TWICE, and also writes a weekly column, called Chick Wit, for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Lisa has won many honors and awards, notably the Edgar Award, given for excellence in crime fiction, and the Fun Fearless Female Award from Cosmopolitan Magazine. She also teaches a course she created, called Justice and Fiction at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and regularly does speaking engagements. There are twenty-five million copies of her books in print, and she is published in over thirty other countries. Lisa graduated magna cum laude in three years from the University of Pennsylvania, with a B.A. degree in English, and her concentration was Contemporary American Fiction, taught by Philip Roth and others. She graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She remains a lifelong resident of the Philadelphia area, where she lives with her array of disobedient pets.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Meet Me in Barcelona - Review & Giveaway


Review by Marlene Engel

No matter how deep you bury a secret, they always tend to make their way to the surface eventually …

It’s been a tough time for Grace.  Dealing with her mother’s illness and her going into hospice care is at the top of the list.  But the horrible review that big-time music producer, Marsh Everett, gave Grace in Country Weekly was definitely up there too.  The timing couldn’t have been better for her boyfriend to win a trip for two to Spain.  She knew it would make for a great respite for all that’s been going on in her life. 

While in Spain, strange messages kept popping up.  First was the one in the matchbook that read, ‘Meet me in Barcelona.’  Then one was found in a book that was Grace’s favorite as a young girl.  But it wasn’t until she found an envelope that was slid under their room door that Grace was certain of who was leaving these “clues”. 

As a child, Grace’s parents took in foster children.  Carrie Ann came to them at nine years old and was the same age as Grace.  Although Grace always wanted a sister, something about Carrie Ann frightened her a bit.  She wanted to be a magician when she grew up and was one to always leave behind clues.  So when these strange clues kept popping up, Grace knew that it had to be her!  She had spent the last fifteen years trying to forget about her foster sister, but Carrie Ann was not one to go quietly.  She always had a motive and bad things seemed to follow her.  Currently running from an abusive relationship, she hopes that Grace will be there for her and not disappear like she had done many years before!

Mary Carter has a gift of captivating her readers from the first page, making it impossible to put the book down until you reach the very end.  This book was so mysterious and unpredictable.  I felt like I was on a literary scavenger hunt!  Meet Me In Barcelona is a must read for anyone who craves adventure in an exotic locale.

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About the Author:
MARY CARTER is a novelist and writing coach. Her novel with Kensington Books takes you on a heartbreaking journey through Italy in THREE MONTHS IN FLORENCE. Previous works include intrigue in a lighthouse with THE THINGS I DO FOR YOU, a journey to Ireland in THE PUB ACROSS THE POND, (also available as an audiobook through Blackstone Audio), a tale of twin sisters, one Deaf, one hearing in MY SISTER'S VOICE, a young woman trying to help a boy find his father in, SUNNYSIDE BLUES, a misguided psychic in ACCIDENTALLY ENGAGED, and a troubled kleptomaniac who falls in love in SHE'LL TAKE IT. In addition to her novels she has written four novellas: A Christmas Carousel in the upcoming anthology, NO PLACE LIKE HOME, A Kiss Before Midnight in the anthology YOU'RE STILL THE ONE, A Very Maui Christmas in the New York Times bestselling anthology HOLIDAY MAGIC, and The Honeymoon House in the New York Times bestselling anthology ALMOST HOME. Her novels have been translated in the UK, France, Germany, China, South Korea, Brazil, Portugal, and Romania. Mary just moved to Wilmington NC where she writes and hangs out with her energetic labradoodle.

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Mary Carter is generously giving a signed winner's choice copy of: THREE MONTHS IN FLORENCE, THE THINGS I DO FOR YOU, MY SISTER'S VOICE, SHE'LL TAKE IT, SUNNYSIDE BLUES, or OUR FIRST CHRISTMAS (Advanced Reading Copy headlining Lisa Jackson)

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Friday, July 25, 2014

After I Do - Review & Giveaway


 Blurb:
When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.
Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?
This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after.

Buy the book
Amazon Paperback * Amazon Kindle

Review by Marlene Engel

You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach, like a million butterflies are taking flight?  The electricity that shoots through your whole body when your hand brushes his or he glances your way?  Or the way it feels like a fire is lit under your skin when you both embrace or his lips touch yours?  There’s just something so magical and profound about new love.  A feeling like no other and one that you wish would never end.  Then there comes a time in your relationship, after you’ve gotten to know each other, after your first fight and after the newness starts to fade.  A time when everything is no longer exciting and new, when you’re no longer looking through rose colored glasses, when things get static.  That’s the place that Ryan and Lauren are at.  Gone are the days of longing for each other and anticipating their next encounter.  Current are the lonely days and passionless nights.  Not quite ready for a divorce, but both knowing that something needs to change, they reluctantly decide to do a trial separation.  For one year they will go their separate ways and cut off all communication.  They are free to do as they please during this time with the hope that, when they get back together in a year, the love that has gone will have found its way back.  As the old adage goes … absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Or, in this case, will absence make the heart wander?

What do you do when the romance has fizzled and the love is gone?

Join Ryan and Lauren in their journey of love, loss and self-discovery.  The ups and downs of a relationship and the people who are there to help you pick up the pieces.  The author writes a brilliant story that will make you both laugh and cry, but gives you a raw look inside the triumphs and struggles of a relationship and how these two people had to leave each other in hopes of finding themselves.

Put this book at the top of your to-be-read pile.  Such a page turner!  You won’t be able to put this book down until you’ve reached the last page. 

About the author:
Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. She graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Media Studies. Her first novel, Forever, Interrupted, was named one of the “11 Debuts We Love” by Kirkus Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and her dog, Rabbit. Her forthcoming novel, After I Do, will be published July 1, 2014.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fated For Love - Review & Giveaway


Fated for Love
The Braden’s Series Book 8
By: Melissa Foster
Releasing July 14th, 2014

Blurb
Librarian Callie Barnes has visions of reading and relaxing—and maybe having a few too many drinks—on her girls’ weekend away. Her hopes are crushed when her friends pull into a dude ranch instead of a spa, and she refuses to stay longer than one night. That is…until she realizes the ranch is owned by sinfully sexy, and dangerously rugged, Wes Braden—the subject of her late-night fantasies.

Fearless rancher Wes Braden thinks he’s the luckiest guy on the planet when the sweet, sexy librarian from his hometown shows up at his ranch. Their connection is white-hot, making it impossible for either to ignore their carnal desires. Wes is more than willing to convert sweet Callie from chick lit to a world of erotic romance, but Callie ties sex to love, and Wes avoids commitment like the plague.

Callie is thrust into physically demanding activities that ignite her deepest fears. Luckily, Wes is as tender as he is strong, and he’s there every step of the way to help her find her inner strength. With Callie’s influence, Wes might even discover that he’s been nursing a few fears of his own. Passion pulls Callie and Wes from their safe, comfortable lives into each other’s arms, and they’re about to find out just how alike they really are.

Purchase the book at:
Amazon * B&N * iTunes * Kobo

Review by Marlene Engel

Melissa Foster has done it again with another hot, hunky Braden for us to swoon over!  This time it’s sexy, cowboy Wes Braden.  And if his six plus feet of rock hard muscle doesn’t make you melt, his love for reading surely will!  Or, at least, it did with me.  I love me some sexy nerd boys in disguise!

To the average person, Thursdays might not be the most exciting day, but to Callie it’s the day of the week that she most looks forward to.  That’s because it’s the day Wes stops by the library to pick up the books she’s pulled for him.  As a librarian, she’s used to helping people find books.  But she takes special care in picking out the ones for Wes.  There’s just something about Wes that makes Callie start casting him as the lead hunk in the books in her mind.  But a guy like Wes wouldn’t be interested in a girl like Callie.  She sees the way the other women at the library come in droves to gawk Wes.  They’ve obviously caught on that he’s a Thursday regular.  But it doesn’t stop her from fantasizing about him …

Callie’s friends are concerned that she’s spending too much time with her nose in a book, so they have organized a girl’s weekend to the spa … or so they told her!  When they pull into a dude ranch Callie is anything but excited to be there.  That is, until she realizes that it’s owned by the man of her dreams, Wes Braden!  Maybe this weekend isn’t going to be so bad after all.  Although the eye candy is nice, Callie’s fears are put to the test.  Thankfully Wes is there to hold her hand through it all.

Throw on your cowboy boots and your ten gallon hat!  Melissa Foster has treated us to another hot book that will have you melting like an ice cube in the sun!  If you haven’t read the previous books in the Love in Bloom series … WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???  There are more hunky men and sexy girls in this series than you’ll know what to do with!  


About the Author:
Melissa Foster is an award-winning, International bestselling author. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary Café. When she's not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on  Fostering Success. Melissa is also a community builder for the Alliance for Independent Authors. She has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. 

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(Two Digital Copies of TAKEN BY LOVE, Braden’s Book Seven)
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Love by Design - Book Blast & Giveaway


Love by Design
By: Evie Knight
Releasing July 16th, 2014

Blurb
Rules are meant to be broken… only, he chooses which ones to break.

Renowned, self-taught baker Tristan James has everything going for him. Great friends. Women. Business success. His ultimate goal is to host his own TV show. All is perfect… until Mandy walks into his life. Tristan fears she’ll make him unearth the secrets he keeps.

She plays by the rules.

Amanda Roberts dreams of becoming a famous shoe designer, but her insecurities stand between her and her dream. She’s ready to give up when Tristan dares her to pursue her goal. Falling prey to his charms isn’t something she counts on, yet it’s unavoidable.

As their dreams finally become a reality, they must choose between love or the opportunity of a lifetime. 

Purchase the book at:
About the Author:
Evie Knight writes wickedly sexy contemporary romances with irresistible bad boys, sassy heroines, a bit of conflict, humor and a dash of spice. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time blogging, reading, listening to music, or looking for a muse.
She lives in sunny Southern California.

Evie loves hearing from her readers. Feel free to stalk her here:

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$10.00 Amazon or B&N & Five Digital Copies of LOVE BY DESIGN 
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Something Sweeter - Book Tour & Giveaway



Something Sweeter
Sweet Texas Series #3
By: Candis Terry
Releasing June 24th, 2014

Blurb

The men in Texas are hard to resist . . . Seattle event planner Allison Lane is an expert at delivering the perfect wedding—even if she might not exactly believe in the whole "'til death do us part" thing. When her father decides to tie the knot with a woman he barely knows, Allison heads to Sweet, Texas, to make sure his new honey is the real deal. What she didn't expect to find at the local honky-tonk was a sexy Southern man as bent on charming her pants off as he is on blowing her "true love doesn't exist" theory all to hell. And they always promise . . .

Veterinarian, former Marine, and Sweet's favorite playboy Jesse Wilder takes one look at Allison and knows she's a handful of trouble he can't deny. But even after a sizzling kiss and obvious mutual attraction, it seems Allison has no such problem. When Jesse uncovers her sweet side, can he crush his playboy image, melt her cynical heart, and change her mind about taking a trip down the aisle?

Purchase book at:
Amazon * B&N * iTunes


Excerpt:
“Something’s not right about her,” Jackson said from the picnic table where Jesse and Jackson sat long after dark and watched Allison Lane. Jackson sipped his fresh bottle of Shiner. “Can’t put my finger on it though.”

Allison currently stood near the blazing fire pit, talking to Jake, who was having a hell of a good time putting on the flirt.

Who could blame him?

Baby brother had been tromping across the sands of Afghanistan for too long, dodging bullets, IEDs, and figuring out how to stay alive. The hot brunette was probably the first pretty sight Jake had seen in a long time. Which was not a slight against women in camo. Women in the military were more likely to be focused on flying F-15s, defining logistics, or honing their lifesaving medical skills than the newest brand of lash-lengthening mascara.
Didn’t mean Jesse had to like the attention his little brother was pouring on the newcomer. Though he’d have a hard time explaining why that bothered him so much. It wasn’t like he’d been the one relatively quarantined from the fairer sex for so long. Maybe he wasn’t the manwhore everyone in town thought he was, but he still didn’t do too shabby when it came to his own share of female admiration. In fact, Allison might be the first to shy away from his attention.

Scratch that.

She didn’t shy away, she ran like hell.

About the Author:
Candis Terry was born and raised near the sunny beaches of Southern California and now makes her home on an Idaho farm. She’s experienced life in such diverse ways as working in a Hollywood recording studio to chasing down wayward steers. Only one thing has remained the same: her passion for writing stories about relationships, the push and pull in the search for love, and the security one finds in their own happily ever after.

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Giveaway
Enter the Wedding Themed Sweepstakes HERE 
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Storm In A B Cup - Review

Review by Deb Czajkowski

Nobody asks for Breast Cancer. Certainly Sophie Molloy didn’t. It chose her, a young mother with a six-year-old son. Sassy, sexy, sensible Sophie has Breast Cancer.
 What does one do when she hears, “You have Breast Cancer”? Some throw themselves pity parties. Lots of them. Complaining, moaning, and boohoo-ing every step of the way. Some withdraw from Family, Friends, even Life. They don’t want to be a ‘burden’ to them. Or they don’t want people to see them ‘like this.’

When Sophie hears these life-changing words, her sensible side steps immediately up to the plate. “Ok,” she says to her doctor, “I have Breast Cancer and I want it gone. What do we do first?” Once the plan is in place, Sassy Sophie leads the charge with her ‘every day’ philosophy that humor—and a positive attitude—is the best medicine. And she surrounds herself with her friends and family, allowing them to support and encourage her.
And so begins Sophie’s journey as a woman with Breast Cancer, along the very bumpy and windy road (which includes losing her breast, her best friend, her boyfriend, and her home) to becoming a Breast Cancer survivor.

Amidst the bad and the truly ugly, Sexy Sophie feels less and less sexy as she loses her breast, and subsequently her long-time partner rejects her, ultimately leaving her. Then she meets her plastic surgeon, Dr. Hanson, a.k.a Dr. Handsome to his staff. It takes all of five minutes for Sophie to fall for the dishy doctor, and for Sexy Sophie to begin to feel sexy again. But his tender and attentive care of her confuses her. Does it mean he has feelings for her as well or is his kindness purely professional? Will he give her a sexy new breast, and then simply walk away?

Author Lindy Dale is in fact a Breast Cancer survivor. While Storm in a B cup is fictional, it is based upon her own breast cancer story. So is her book a tedious and gruesome litany of horror after Breast Cancer horror? Hardly. Sure, it is a glimpse into the world of a Breast Cancer sufferer, but Lindy’s laugh-out-loud humor and positive attitude are purely infectious. In sharing Sophie’s story, Lindy Dale skillfully balances the seriousness of Breast Cancer and the benefits of humor (for her own personal sanity as well as the benefit of all those around her) and positive thinking—powerful all by itself. I learned a lot and enjoyed the learning. This isn’t a day-at-the beach read. It’s so much more, and entirely worth the journey.

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About the Author:
I live on an acreage in country Western Australia where I spend my days writing, walking and looking after orphan lambs. (SeeDaisy Darling)
On a typical day ~ when not at my day job ~ you can find me lurking around Twitter and Facebook so stop by and say hello. I love to hear from readers.
I'm a hopeless U2 and Bon Jovi fan ~ as judged by my collection of tour t-shirts. I'm also rugby union fanatic, coffee and champagne lover, chocoholic, over-exaggerator, trashy TV, music and iPhone addict. If you can't Google it then it's not worth knowing!

I've been writing in the genre of Chick Lit & Women's Fiction for the past ten years and have recently tried my hand at a paranormal romance too!  But Chick Lit is my main love. There's nothing like a dose of humor when you're feeling low.

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