Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sweet Salt Air - Review

Review by Darcie Czajkowski
Charlotte Evans hasn't seen best friend Nicole Carlysle in a decade. That was her doing. After committing an unspeakable act of betrayal against Nicole, Charlotte has kept her distance, the guilt too much for her to sustain a close friendship.

Nicole is in the dark. Sure, Charlotte is a wildly successful travel writer and is constantly flitting around the world, bouncing from assignment to assignment, but can't she at least say in touch on a basic level?

But when Nicole's organic and farm-to-table food blog turns into a cookbook deal, Nicole knows that the success of her book necessitates Charlotte's skill for interviewing and knack for convincing writing. Knowing that she owes Nicole, Charlotte agrees, and returns to Quinnipeague, an island off the coast of Maine where the girls spent summers together.

Only a summer of friendship-rekindling and sampling and transcribing local recipes are overshadowed by Charlotte's intrigue with Leo, a man whose mother grew and sourced the best of the island's herbs with her rumored magical touch, and Nicole's worry over a secret that her husband Julian has been forcing her to keep for four years.

In a sometimes slow unfurling of events, Charlotte and Nicole's lives become even more entwined when Nicole breaks down and reveals her secret. And as it turns out, the very thing that could be the dreamed-for cure of her husband's ailment is the very thing that Charlotte sacrificed her friendship with Nicole to keep hidden.

With the secrets revealed, will Nicole and Charlotte's friendship be able to withstand the blow? And how will Julian fare in the wake of the revelation? Will Charlotte connect in forever-type way with Leo, or will she be left once again broken-hearted and eager for her next assignment, far away from Quinnipeague?

This is the first novel I've read by Barbara Delinsky, so I didn't know what to expect. While the title made me think of a lighter, beach-read type of book, I found this story to be more literary fiction than mainstream women's. Initially, for the first third of the book, I found the storyline to be a bit slow-moving, with too-detailed descriptions of the types of plants and flowers on the island and the different manners in which the ocean ebbed and flowed. Still, I was impressed by how vividly Barbara brought the island to life in these details. She clearly had a very real picture of how the island was and executed that detail flawlessly. It was just a little much for me, as someone who appreciates more dialogue to keep the story moving at a quicker pace.

That being said, I found the story to be very captivating after surpassing that initial section of the book. I was drawn into the history of the friendship between Nicole and Charlotte, and wanted them to return to a place where they were once again best friends. At the same time, Charlotte's betrayal was incredibly damning and I do not know if the book's resolution was realistic. Nicole seemed to be forgiving, to the point of being a push-over and, even though I wanted to believe that I could be as forgiving, I feel that such a betrayal might preclude the return to a tight-knit friendship.

What mostly drew me into the story was Charlotte's relationship with Leo. I desperately wanted them to find a way to make their burgeoning relationship work, even though the odds were against them. I found Leo's tough exterior but lovable interior to suit Charlotte's worldly personality and was deeply engrossed in the development of their relationship and as individual characters over the course of the story.

I would definitely recommend this book, especially for readers who adore a happily-ever-after. While I believe that the conclusions to the storylines were a bit too perfect as a whole, I felt that Barbara's build-up to the resolutions made them believable if taken individually. I also appreciated and much respected Barbara's presumably vast and in-depth research on Multiple Sclerosis. She executed that storyline with thoughtful insight about the disease and how family members of those inflicted with the disease would handle the situation. While some might find Nicole's reaction and manner of dealing with the news insensitive, very few people can truly relate to the toll it takes on the wife and other family members when a loved one is stricken with a life-changing disorder. I believe that Barbara captured the moods and motivations of both Julian and Nicole's characters in this respect.

So add this book to your summer reading list and spend a little time on the charming island oasis of Quinnipeague.   

Purchase the book at:
Amazon * B&N 

About the Author:
Barbara Delinsky is an American writer of romance novels, including 19 New York Times bestsellers. She has also been published under the pen names Bonnie Drake and Billie Douglass.
In 1963, she graduated from Newton High School, in Newton, Massachusetts. She then went on to earn a B.A. in Psychology from Tufts University and an M.A. in Sociology at Boston College.
The Delinsky family resides in Newton, Massachusetts. 

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Say Never - Review & Giveaway

 Review by Marlene Engel

Some people are just born to be parents.  And others … not so much!  For Meg Monroe, she’s used to battling wits with her radio co-host, not with children.  So it’s no surprise that she loves living in New York City’s Upper West side, on the complete opposite end of the country from her family.  You can imagine her shock when she receives a call from her brother asking for help in caring for his kids while his wife recovers from an accident.  Reluctantly, she agrees.  After all, how hard can it be watching after little humans?

Things go from bad to worse as Meg embarks on her journey, starting with the airline losing her luggage.  But that’s the least of her worries.  As she comes face to face with her niece who makes no qualms of expressing her dislike for Meg, to almost burning down her brother’s house on the first day she arrives, Meg quickly realizes that this is going to be harder than she anticipated.

I loved this book!  It went from funny to funnier and had me laughing out loud at the turn of each page!  From all of Meg’s mishaps, including losing her nephew at Bloomingdale’s, your stomach will hurt from laughing so much by the time you finish this book.  I can’t say enough good things about this book.  But, don’t take my word for it.  Grab a copy and find out for yourself!

Purchase the book at:

About the Author:
Janis Thomas is a graduate of UCLA who was actually born in the University’s Medical Center. Upon graduating, she moved to Manhattan to get a taste of city life, and so liked the flavor, she stayed for eleven years. While there, she performed in several plays, including the Off-Broadway production of Your Children, was cast in the National Tour of Forbidden Broadway, and played out in some of the hottest clubs in the city with her sister and their band she said. While bartending on the upper west side she met her now-husband. She made him a margarita and they’ve been together ever since. Janis has written over fifty songs and two children’s books (with her dad). When she is not writing or fulfilling her PTA duties, she likes to channel her inner Ace of Cakes to create fun and fabulous desserts. She currently resides in Orange County with her Jersey-transplant husband, their two beautiful children, and dog Ruby. Mom, Dad, siblings, and treasured loved ones live nearby.

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Janis is graciously offering 2 lucky winners print copies of
Say Never!  Open to the US and Canada

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Shopaholic To The Stars - Review & Giveaway

Review by Deb Czajkowski
Sophie Kinsella’s latest Rebecca Brandon novel is Shopaholic to the Stars, the Stars referring not to celestial bodies but to the Hollywood variety.  Yes, Rebecca Brandon (nee’ Bloomwood) is leaving her beloved homeland, London, England, and moving to Los Angeles, California.

Becky’s husband, Luke, owns and runs an elite public relations firm.  Luke’s firm has accepted a new client, Hollywood actress Sage Seymour, and, stepping outside of his usual box, Luke takes point with this project.  Skeptical perfectly describes Luke’s attitude both toward actors in general and the success of this new venture with whimsical Sage.  But he does love a challenge, and, indeed, he won’t be disappointed!

How does Becky feel about this move, albeit a temporary one?  Can she leave behind not only her beloved homeland, but all that is familiar to her: her parents, her BFF Suze, her little daughter Mini’s school, and Harrods?

Yes, she can! Ecstatic perfectly describes Becky’s attitude about the move to Hollywood, with all its glitz, glitter, and glamour, and, of course, Rodeo Drive!  She envisions becoming best friends with Sage Seymour, meeting Sage’s actor friends, being photographed lunching with her new best superstar friends, and becoming famous herself by association.  She even foresees a new career for herself, Personal Shopper and Stylist for the Stars, perhaps beginning with Sage.

But before any of Becky’s great ideas can come to fruition, her new life unexpectedly gets outrageously complicated. Her London BFF, Suze, surprises Becky by arriving in LA with her family for an extended vacation.  At first Becky is thrilled, happily introducing Suze to the local culture.  Suze, however, is not impressed in the slightest, much to Becky’s confusion and dismay, and trouble brews for their formerly rock solid friendship. 
Then there is Becky’s goal of being Stylist to the Stars which necessitates Becky’s favorite pastime, shopping, as well as creating photo opportunities to promote a celebrity status.  Add to that the resurfacing of an old nemesis in the form of a benefactor, and the phrase “best laid plans” quickly comes to mind.

Author Sophie Kinsella remains true to form in this latest Rebecca Brandon novel, Shopaholic to the Stars. The author continues to use Becky naiveté and enthusiasm to teach life lessons.  Becky still struggles with shopping, and she clearly sees yourself as one of LA’s beautiful people.  Kinsella’s Stars saga takes one into the world of make-believe and exposes truths behind the masks. Readers can see how actors are often acting off-screen, not just on-screen. It’s also a great reality-check for everyone who thinks reality television is actually real.
 
If you like shopping, fashion, or all things Hollywood, you’re sure to enjoy Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic to the Stars.

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Madeleine Wickham (born 12 December 1969) is a bestselling British author under her pseudonym, Sophie Kinsella. Educated at New College, Oxford, she worked as a financial journalist before turning to fiction. She is best known for writing a popular series of chick-lit novels. The Shopaholic novels series focuses on the misadventures of Becky Bloomwood, a financial journalist who cannot manage her own finances. The books follows her life from when her credit card debt first become overwhelming ("The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic") to the latest book on being married and having a child ("Shopaholic & Baby"). Throughout the entire series, her obsession with shopping and the complications that imparts on her life are central themes.

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Shopaholic To The Stars by Sophie Kinsella
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Hilltop Sunset - Guest Review & Giveaway


NEW RELEASE.....
A mystery set in wine country pitting financial exec Brynn Bancroft against a determined stalker, a troubled love interest, and career clashes.

Brynn Bancroft learns that a former employee who beat her nearly to death has returned to stalk her and her friend, Jillian Hillcrest, also a former victim.

Recently divorced, Brynn turns to a new love interest only to encounter additional unwelcome issues. Meanwhile, short-timer Brynn, who has resigned from her Silicon Valley company, becomes bored fulfilling her remaining responsibilities there. She begins to prefer supporting the launch of her ex-husband’s new hilltop winery while waiting to move to her next position. Between her stalker and her new love interest, Brynn faces a series of life-changing events.

Book available from....
Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com   Barnes & Noble

About Brynn Bancroft
Brynn Bancroft evolved from the Jillian Hillcrest mysteries where she served as Jillian’s manager while Chief Financial Officer of Harmonia Therapeutics in Silicon Valley. A shapely blonde with a MENSA IQ, she had an affair with the CEO of the company. Unfortunately for Brynn, the CEO’s wife figured out that the two were involved and asked Brynn to leave the company, which she agreed to do. In the meantime, her husband, Liam—not unfamiliar with extramarital affairs himself but also understanding that Brynn grew up in an abusive household- grew tired of waiting for Brynn to commit to their relationship and asked for a divorce. At the same time, he solicited her assistance in developing his new winery in Sonoma County, Calif. Much like Jillian--who does appear in the Brynn Bancroft mysteries--Brynn, too, attracts mystery and murders as she grows to enjoy life at her ex-husband’s Hilltop Sunset Winery.

Other Books Available
      

Guest Book Review by Sahndra Fon Duffe

I am particularly fond of books that are in a series and Hilltop Sunset grabs the reader's interest from the get go. You have this powerful lead Brynn, who makes me fall in love each time I read about his character. The author succeeded in convincing me, each time. I don't want to give away too much plot info, for fear of spoiling it, but I’ll tell you, it is well written, completely engaging, and boy! Does this novel have characters to die for! It reminded me of CSI in novel version, with a great story.


About the Author
Joyce Strand, much like her fictional character Jillian Hillcrest, served as head of corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder in her career. She focused on writing articles and press releases and delivering presentations to publicize her companies.

Joyce has been a mystery fan since she read her first Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy stories as a teen-ager. She has always enjoyed the challenge of following clues to solve a mystery before it is revealed. Therefore Joyce relished the transition from writing press releases to writing fiction.

Joyce received her Ph.D. from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and her B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA.   She lives with her two cats in Southern California near San Diego.

Follow the Author
Website,   Blog,   Facebook,   Twitter,   Pinterest   Goodreads 


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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Talk To Me - Review

Review by Melinda Garza
Jules Wake's debut novel, Talk To Me, takes place in London. Olivia and Emily are flatmates and while Emily is dating Daniel, Olivia and he have had a connection and friendship filled with misunderstandings and a complete failure in communication. Since Olivia is hurt due to Daniel dating Emily she decides to do a night of speed dating. Emily, who is quite the selfish woman, decides to join Olivia that night. The night doesn’t turn out as hoped and strange things start to happen. Olivia and Emily have a stalker. Things become increasingly scary and odd. Several events later, including Olivia's sisters medical scare, Olivia and Daniel begin to sort things out and figure out their feelings for each other.

What happens to Emily? Do Olivia and Emily's friendship outlast the stalker? Do Olivia and Daniel have what it takes, including the ability to communicate, to overcome the stalker, Emily's bitterness, and ultimately become a couple?

Ms. Wake's novel is a superb read and keeps you wanting to know what will happen next. The characters are full of drama, romance, and intrigue and one never knows what is going to occur next. This is one novel you will be happy you read.

Purchase the book at:

About the Author:
I write contemporary feel good romance and my debut novel Talk To Me was published in June 2014. My next book will be out in May 2015. In the meantime, I am delighted to announce that I'm one of 13 authors who have contributed short stories to a special Halloween anthology, Hocus Pocus 14, a selection of spooky tales with a twist. 

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Enter to win a print copy of
Talk To Me
Open worldwide!!!



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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sweet Cowboy Christmas and The 12 Days of Sweet Blog Tour & Giveaway


 Sweet Cowboy Christmas 
Sweet, Texas # 3.5
By: Candis Terry
Releasing November 25th, 2014
Avon Impulse


Blurb
Mistletoe, holly, and cowboys, oh my! Christmas in Texas has never been sweeter.

Years ago, Chase Morgan traded in his dusty cowboy boots for the shimmering lights of New York City and a fast track up the corporate ladder. But when his shiny life is turned on end just in time for Christmas, Chase knows he needs to reevaluate even if that means going home to Texas to endure his least favorite holiday.

When Mr. Tall, Dark, and Smoking Hot walks through her door at the Magic Box Guest Ranch, Faith Walker sees just another handsome, rich exec looking to play cowboy for a week-at her expense. She’s sure the grumpy, but sexy as hell Scrooge will put a crimp in her holly jolly plans. Until a sizzling kiss has her seeing him in a new light.

Chase is haunted by secrets, and even though it goes entirely against her “hands off the guests” rule Faith is tempted to help him leave the past behind. As the magic of the season swirls around them, she is determined to succeed because now she is certain one sweet, cowboy Christmas will never be enough.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Author Info
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.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

12 DAYS OF SWEET BLOG TOUR—Candis Terry

DAY 3:
Abby Morgan Wilder (from Sweetest Mistake)

Firemen are undoubtedly hot. Jackson Wilder might lead the troops in the hot and sexy department. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t a whole handful of trouble. Doesn’t mean he isn’t worth it either. While he does love his sweets, he’s more of a cake and pie kind of guy than a chocolate fanatic. I discovered this recipe and he really seems to like it. Or maybe he just likes the whipped cream that he always seems to find to use another way. I’ll let you use your imagination.

Cranberry Shortcake

Shortcake Ingredients:
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup half and half
Melted butter to brush shortcakes
Cranberries
Ice cream or whipped cream

Shortcake Directions:
·       Heat oven 450 degrees.
·       In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
·       Cut in butter and shortening.
·       Mix in half-and-half.
·       Drop by large spoonfuls onto a baking sheet.
·       Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
·       Bake for 15 minutes or until brown.
·       Cool and eat with cranberries, ice cream and/or whipped cream.

Cranberries Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
4 cups fresh cranberries
1/3 cup orange marmalade
Juice of 2 lemons
1/3 Ameretto Liquer

Cranberries Directions:
·       Mix sugar and water, bring to boil.
·       Add cranberries, cook till they “pop” and become tender.
·       Add lemon juice, marmalade, and Amaretto.
·       Mix, then cool or serve warm with shortcake.

Exclusive Twelve Days of Sweet Giveaway
Leave a comment sharing the Holiday Dish/Desert/Drink you ‘Pass On’ every year, with a Valid Email Address, to be entered to win a Sweet Texas Series book of the winner’s choosing and Box of Candy straight from the lovely state of Idaho. (US ONLY)

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Flirting With Love - Review & Giveaway


Flirting With Love
The Bradens # 10
By: Melissa Foster
Releasing December 15th, 2014


Blurb
FLIRTING WITH LOVE is the newest addition to the BRADEN series by New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Melissa Foster. This contemporary romance series features alpha male heroes and sexy, empowered women. They’re flawed, funny, passionate, and very relatable to readers who enjoy new adult romance, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction.

IN FLIRTING WITH LOVE…

Elisabeth Nash has spent years dreaming of returning to the small town of Trusty, Colorado, where she spent summers with her favorite aunt. When she inherits her aunt’s farmette, she closes her Los Angeles pet bakery and pampering business, sure that life in Trusty will be as peaceful and as welcoming as she remembers. But being an outsider in the close-knit town proves to be very different from the happy summers she remembers from her childhood—and falling for Trusty’s hot, wealthy, and sinfully irresistible veterinarian, Ross Braden, sends the rumor mill into a frenzy.

Ross Braden learned long ago that gossip spreads faster than weeds in his small hometown, and Ross loves nothing more than his privacy.  For that reason, he doesn’t date women who live in Trusty. But that was before blond, beautiful, and refreshingly honest Elisabeth Nash flew into his vet clinic seeking help for her panicked piglet and turned his comfortable life—and his heart—inside out.

Despite rumors about Elisabeth’s motives toward her aunt’s property, passion brews between Elisabeth and Ross. Every steamy kiss and every sensual touch brings the pair closer together, and when Ross helps Elisabeth try to fit into the town he adores, it makes their bond even stronger. But even Elisabeth’s efforts toward reaching the community, and the love she and Ross so desperately believe in, might not be enough for the protective small town to offer them a future.

Buy Links : Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes


Review by Marlene Engel

As a child, some of Elisabeth’s best memories were spent on her aunt’s farm in Trusty.  Although she grew up in the fast paced, hustle and bustle life of LA, she knew that her heart was never far from Trusty. 

When Elisabeth’s aunt passes and leaves the farm to her, she doesn’t hesitate to close up her pet pampering business in California and move.  What she didn’t expect was the cold welcome she received from just about everyone in Trusty.  What happened to the small town closeness that she remembered as a child?  But the locals feared that she was just there to sell her aunt’s farm and move back to LA.

It soon becomes apparent to Elisabeth that life on a farm was more work that she realized.  When one of her piglets acts up, she rushes to the local veterinarian’s office for assistance.  She was greeted by tall, handsome and irresistibly sexy, resident doctor Ross Braden.  He not only took care of the problem at hand, he also warmed Elisabeth’s heart and reaffirmed all of the reasons why she loved Trusty. 

Ross and Elisabeth soon become inseparable, which only sparked the Trusty rumor mill.  But Ross knew that there was something special about her.  Special enough that he broke his own rule of not dating women from his town.  But when someone from Elisabeth’s past shows up in Trusty, it threatens to break apart the bond that Ross and Elisabeth have formed, and it doesn’t take long before rumors of Elisabeth’s intentions with the farm resurface. 

There’s just something about small towns that draw you in.  From the close-knit bonds to the local businesses, you just can’t go wrong!  That is, as long as you’re not an “outsider” trying to fit in.  I felt for Elisabeth who, although she had good intentions, had a hard time getting the locals to warm up to her.  If you like small town charm and tall, dark and dreamy men then this is the book for you!

About the Author:
"Melissa Foster is a wonderful connector of readers and books, a friend of authors, and a tireless advocate for women. She is the real deal"-- Bestselling Author Jennie Shortridge
"What sets Melissa Foster apart are her compelling characters who you care about... desperately. This  is psychological suspense at its most chilling. I dare you to read the first chapter and not be hooked."  International bestseller, M.J. Rose 

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. 

Connect with the author at:


Two ebook Copies of
ROMANCING MY LOVE
Braden's Book Nine

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