Monday, September 30, 2013

The Trouble With Cowboys - Review

Review by Rachel Hamm

Amy Sorentino has just returned to the family farm after a humiliating appearance on a reality cooking competition.  She’s prepared for the small town gossip and her dysfunctional family, but she’s not prepared for Kellan Reed.  Kellan is a real-life cowboy, a troubled youth turned self-made cattle rancher.  And Amy has a big weakness for cowboys.

Their immediate and mutual lust for one another breaks Amy’s first personal rule: “Stay Away From Cowboys.”  Amy has a lot of rules for her life, all of which stem from not wanting to follow the same paths as her parents.   She’s just not very good at following them.

Though both try to deny wanting more, neither Amy nor Kellan are satisfied with a sexual-only relationship.  But, as they get to know each other, Kellan discovers a conflict of interest in their business affairs.  He wants to do the honorable thing and step away, but between Amy’s curves and the emotional trauma she’s facing dealing with family issues, he can’t stay away.

Cheese, cheese, extra cheesy.  But not in a bad way.  This is one of those don’t-take-yourself-so-seriously books that every girl should keep on her nightstand or in her beach bag.  Cutler paints a portrait of New Mexico farm life that is sad at times, wicked at times, and almost always HOT.  The steamy scenes aren’t overdone (no ick factor here) , though I would have liked the characters a little better if they could have held off more than two hours after meeting each other.  Call me a prude, I guess!

Mechanically speaking, Cutler has a great way with words.  I love when an author is able to effortlessly vary sentence structure and vocabulary in a way that does not intrude on the reader.  Her characters always seemed intelligent, without sounding overly so.  There’s nothing more annoying to me as a reader than characters assuring me how smart they are.  The dialogue felt a bit stiff at times, but for the most part, flowed well and always moved the story forward.

There were a few times, especially toward the end, that I teared up.  The family difficulties heaped on Amy were heartbreaking, but it was touching sharing her struggles and watching her hold tightly to her sisters to get through them.  Any woman with sisters will understand this.  Women without sisters will long for it.  The best part of the sisters’ relationships, though, was that they weren’t perfect.  They fought.  They kept secrets from one another.  They had different outlooks on life.  But in the end, they always found support for each other.  A true testament to family.

I’m a Southern California native, born and raised.  At eighteen, I moved a hundred miles down the coast from Orange County to San Diego to attend college and knew instantly that I’d found my heaven on earth.  Meeting the love of my life there was icing on the cake.

I love my life as a writer, wife, and mom.  With every unfolding day, the world seems more wondrous, more crowded with possibilities.   But while I still harbor dreams of fronting a rock-and-roll cover band, traveling to every corner of the world, and driving a race car, writing and reading romance novels are still my greatest joys.

When I’m not chasing after kids, trying to coax my nervous Siamese cat out from under the bed, or experimenting with cocktail recipes, you can find me hunched over my computer, dreaming up perfectly flawed characters and timeless romances…and those all-important love scenes.

Connect with Melissa at:

Bits Of Broken Glass By Martha Reynolds

How much really changes in 25 years?  Former classmates are poised to find out as their first-ever high school reunion gets closer. Some lives have improved, some have soured, but all remained connected by their shared West Alton High past...

Once the target of ridicule, one-time "ugly duckling" Kellie has transformed in both beauty and attitude, though her fears and fragility remain as deep scars within. Will facing those who once wronged her help or do even more damage to her delicate psyche? Joe was adored by everyone in school. Well...almost everyone. Being gay in a close-minded small town, he knew he had no future in West Alton, so right after graduation, he traded one ocean for another. Now an Oscar-winning Hollywood director, Joe is ready to return. Except that it means having to face the horrific event that ultimately pushed him away... Former cheerleader Cherry planned this reunion to make peace with those she may have wronged in school. But as she faces cancer and stares down her own mortality, will she really be able to make things right again? And then there's Scott, the West Alton "lifer," who's been collecting a disability pension from the town for a suspicious back injury, among other questionable life choices. Are his reasons for wanting to attend the reunion pure? Or does he have another agenda? As the months count down, long-kept secrets will be revealed as the question ever looms... Can you ever really go home again?

Q&A With The Author

When did you know you wanted to become an author?
My career took some unexpected turns, and some circumstances prevented me from pursuing this dream until recently. But once I'd left behind a toxic job that was likely going to give me a heart attack or a stroke, I focused on writing. So I guess I could say that I've "wanted" this for a long time, and am tremendously grateful to realize the dream now.

What gets you in the mood to write?
Coffee! Seriously. After two cups of good, strong coffee and a little breakfast, I'm ready to go. A quiet house, comfortable clothes, good lighting! I write for most of the morning.

What’s your go to snack when you’re writing?
I don't allow myself to bring food to the computer - it's distracting and messy. Usually I make a power shake in the morning (Greek yogurt, banana, frozen blueberries, some green powder in a can from Trader Joe's) and I'm energized. If I were going to snack on anything, it would be unsalted cashews. :-)

Describe your book in three words.
Real true fiction. I've adopted that as my "brand," based on what an editor once told me about my first novel.

What can your readers expect next from you?
 I've drafted the third and final novel in the 'chocolate' series, titled "Bittersweet Chocolate." It finishes out the trilogy. Also, I'm presently reading a journal that my grandfather wrote, in 1924, about a canoe trip he made with a buddy, covering three rivers in Rhode Island and Connecticut. While it isn't necessarily for the masses, I want to prepare a digital and print version for family members to cherish.

Martha Reynolds ended an accomplished career as a fraud investigator in 2011 and began writing full time. Her debut novel, CHOCOLATE FOR BREAKFAST, was named 2012 Book of the Year in Women’s Fiction by Turning the Pages Books. Its sequel, CHOCOLATE FONDUE, was released in March 2013.
BITS OF BROKEN GLASS is the author’s third novel. She is planning to publish the last book in the Chocolate Series, BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE, around November 2013.
She and her husband live in Rhode Island, never far from the ocean.
Connect with Martha at:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Purchase this book at:

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Trouble With Christmas - Review, Q&A and Giveaway!

Review by Marlene Engel

Thanks to Madison Lane, Christmas may be ruined forever.  Christmas, Colorado that is.  The people of Christmas have been hoping for a resort to go up in their small town.  They felt it would bring in more people and increase jobs in their community.  Thanks to Madison, the deal was off.  She had presented a twenty page argument against the construction of the resort.  She knew that this deal could potentially cause her boss to go bankrupt, but now she is facing much scrutiny from the press and the people of Christmas, Colorado. 

With a not so flattering picture of her on the front page of the New York Times, and the headline reading “The Grinch Who Killed Christmas”, her boss had to do some damage control … and quick!  He decides to send Madison to Christmas to speak to the people and hopefully get them to understand that their decision was the best for everyone.  However, from the very second Madison steps foot in Christmas, Colorado everything gets turned upside down.  She manages to nearly kill Santa.  Okay, not THE Santa, but the twelve foot Santa that held the, “Welcome to Christmas” sign.  And that was just the start of the craziness that Madison was able to stir up during her stay.

The town’s Sheriff, Gage McBride, is a popular and upstanding member of the community.  His family is one of the first families of Christmas and are very active in the community.  Sheriff McBride is also very popular among the women of this small town, but his main focus is on raising his two girls that his wife left him behind with.  Now Sheriff McBride also has to referee all of the conflict that Madison is causing in his town and try to get her to keep a low profile.  But what he didn’t expect was for him to find her so attractive and catch feelings for her.  Knowing that she’s only there for a week, he’s trying to stay professional.  But with every interaction his professionalism is getting more and more difficult to maintain. 

I was so excited to read this book.  I love the holidays and when I first heard about The Trouble With Christmas, I knew I had to read it.  It has everything that I love in a novel … comedy, a great story, amazing characters and drama.  I can’t say enough good things about this book.  It’s a fun holiday story that will make you laugh and also renew your faith in the magic of Christmas.

The 12 “This or That” of Christmas

Naughty or Nice?
Nice, but working on being a little bit naughty.

Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot chocolate with miniature marshmallows and/or whipped cream.

(Presents)Giving or Receiving?
Giving.  I love the feeling you get when you find the perfect gift for someone you love.

Real Tree or Artificial?
Both.  Artificial tree goes up in early November, and then we wait until all the kids are home for the holidays to pick out the real tree.

White Christmas or Warm Christmas?
White. For me, it wouldn't be Christmas without snow.

Miracle on 34th Street or Bad Santa?
Miracle on 34th Street.

Homemade Gifts or Store Bought?
Store bought.  Which makes my children very happy as I'm not crafty.

Jingle Bells or Santa Got Run Over By a Reindeer?
Santa Got Run Over By a Reindeer.

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?
Merry Christmas.

Deck the Halls or Decorate Like the Griswold’s?
Deck the Halls.

I Believe or Sister, Please!
I Believe.

12 Days of Christmas or One Is MORE Than Enough?
12 Days of Christmas. More would be better.

A special thanks to Debbie for stopping by Book Mama Blog! 

Praised as a “writer to watch,” by RT Book Reviews, Debbie Mason also writes Scottish-set historical paranormals as Debbie Mazzuca. Her MacLeod series debuted in April 2010 and is said to “combine the passion of Hannah Howell’s Highland romances with the seductive fantasy of Karen Marie Moning’s bestsellers.”

Connect with Debbie at:

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The Trouble With Christmas
(U.S only)
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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rocky Road - Blog Tour & Giveaway

It was supposed to be a girls’ weekend in scenic St. George, Utah that would include shopping, trying out the local cuisine, and participating in a breast cancer fundraiser. The fact that one of the organizers of the fundraising event, a local doctor, disappeared two months ago was not supposed to be Sadie’s problem. In fact, she refuses to participate in the grassroots investigation her friend Caro, and Caro’s cousin, Tess, have put together prior to her arrival. But then she meets the ex-wife of the missing doctor. How could she not ask a few questions . . . that lead to a few more questions . . . that lead to a small town and yet even more questions. Before she knows it, Sadie is in the middle of yet another murder investigation and trying to piece together a convoluted trail of good intentions, hidden motivations, and philanthropy turned big business.

Rocky Road buy links:
 
Author Josi S. Kilpack Born and raised in Salt Lake City Utah, I met my husband in high-school--well, he wasn't my husband then, just the cute guy in weight training with the permed mullet--and we married in 1993. I wrote my first book while on bed rest with my third child and have gone on to publish 20 novels, the most recent being part of The Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery Series. I currently live in Willard, Utah with my husband, children, and cat.  

Connect with Josi at:

Culinary Mysteries by Josi Kilpack
culinary mysteries


BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 10/6/13   Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mom at Last (How I Never Gave Up on Becoming a Mother)

Her biological clock ticking louder each day, Sharon Simon felt her heart sink as yet another “Mr. Wonderful” turned out to be a frog---not the prince she was waiting for. But when the right man did come along, their journey toward parenthood seemed more like a machete trail through a jungle than the smooth path of her dreams. Enduring multiple failed IVFs and the loss of their unborn twins, Sharon and her husband decided to adopt---taking a whirlwind trip to Russia and navigating the rough waters of international adoption red tape. Their journey ended, or rather began, when two baby boys were placed in their arms for the long trip home.

Part love story, part adoption memoir, and all heart, Mom at Last is the story of one woman’s fierce determination to become a mother. Full of setbacks and emotionally devastating pitfalls, ultimately the journey leads her to true love and pure joy. Mom at Last will inspire women who find themselves on that sometimes difficult journey to motherhood, giving hope that motherhood is possible and encouraging women to never give up on their dreams. While every journey to motherhood is different, Mom at Last lets women know they are not alone in the struggle toward motherhood. (Goodreads)

Mom at Last is a book that documents Sharon Simons' journey at becoming a mother.  Her determination to become a mother is just remarkable and truly shows that if you really put your heart and mind to something, you can make it happen!  As a mother to an adopted daughter, I can fully relate to Sharon's NEED (not just want) to be a Mom.  Although my story was a much easier journey to adopt, that's not always the case.  Mom at Last is a touching documentary of Sharon's journey at being a mom.

Sharon had a dream to become a mother which she was determined to follow. Her path was difficult but ultimately successful. Born in New Jersey and living in Delaware, she is married to her soul mate Rick and the very proud Mom to her two sons Dylan and Hunter.

Sharon struggled to become a Mom, dealing with the uncertain world of infertility including three In Vitro Fertilizations, Tubal Pregnancy, and the Loss of a Pregnancy with twin boys at 19 weeks. That loss only made her more determined to become a Mom. Thankfully that dream became a reality due to International Adoption.

Sharon is inspired to share her experiences, to offer insight, and inspire other women find their strength to achieve their goal of becoming mothers. Her passion involves using her journey to motherhood to educate and help women become a "Mom at Last". Her main message is to let women everywhere know that when you finally hold your child in your arms, no matter how that child became your child, you will understand and appreciate your journey to motherhood.

Connect with Sharon:


***Chick Lit Central has an interview with Sharon along with a giveaway.  Click HERE to check it out***

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Secret Storms - Review & Giveaway

Review by K.T Sullivan

Julie Mannix lived a dream childhood, surrounded by exotic animals her parents collected in their travels. She was part of Philadelphia society, became a debutante, and attended expensive boarding schools. She planned to grow up and become a nun, then a saint, and finally an actress. All went according to plan until she found herself unmarried and pregnant. Her parents treated her condition as an affliction and committed her to a state mental hospital. There she met many people on different journeys in life. Most helped her survive her ordeal. She delivered a healthy baby girl and chose the name Aimee. Julie was released once she signed off on the adoption papers. She later married the love of her life, Aimee’s father Frank, and had two more children. She never forgot her first born and dreamed they would meet some day. Aimee was rechristened Kathy and joined a wonderful couple. They adopted two boys. Life turned tragic when Kathy’s mother succumbed to breast cancer. At six years old, Kathy became the woman of the house. But not for long. Her father remarried a she-devil. She mentally and physically abused the children until the day she left. Her effect on the family lingered as her overspending drained their college savings. The stepmother blurted out Kathy was adopted and set her search for her birth parents into motion. Kathy’s father lost his job and almost lost the house.  He provided as best he could and taught his children resilience and independence. Kathy married her high school sweetheart and had a wonderful life. After her father’s death, Kathy found Julie. She and Frank had been very successful in the theater and television. They assured Kathy it hadn’t been their choice to give her up and always loved her.
  
I highly recommend this story of a heartwarming account of love freely given. Julie asks herself ‘What if’ until it hurts. She misses Kathy every day. The adoption left a hole in her heart. She and Frank only dared to dream she would reach out to them someday. When she did, they spared nothing and absorbed her back into their lives. Their family gave Kathy a glimpse of what she had lost and found. Lives filled with the bleakest lows and sky soaring highs. So many easily relatable moments between mothers and daughters. There will be tears of sadness and joy when you read this book. Not to spoil anything, but my favorite part is when Julie decided to “taste” a saint. A truly laugh out loud moment.

Julie Mannix von Zerneck was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. She traveled with her parents, living in Paris, on the isle of Capri and in several boarding schools around the world, before settling down at Sunny Hill Farm at the age of nine. There, she lived with a menagerie of animals, including a cheetah and eagle and her very own baby spider monkey. After attending the Neighborhood Playhouse in NYC, she became an actress on Broadway, had running roles in three soap operas and guest starred on many TV series. She is married to the TV producer, Frank von Zerneck. They have three children and four grandchildren and reside in Toluca Lake, California, where, for 26 wonderful years, they were the owners of Portrait of a Bookstore. She is a lifelong collector of antiques and antiquarian books.

Kathy Hatfield was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and grew up surrounded by two brothers, twenty-five cousins, and two sets of grandparents in Indialantic, Florida. She attended Florida Atlantic University, after which she worked as a mortgage broker while running her own small business selling men’s neckties. She now teaches World Literature at a high school in Florida where she serves as English department chairman. She and her husband of 25 years live in a quaint beachside community with their two daughters. She is a freelance writer and moderator of theAdoption Reunion Stories Facebook page, which currently has over 2,800 members. She’s a competitive runner and participates in 5k races when she’s not correcting papers.

Learn more about Secret Storms at:
Website Facebook  * Twitter

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Marry Me, Cowboy - Review

Review by Marlene Engel

Tegan and Chet, both riders in the rodeo, are about to get married.  Where most marry for love, these two are planning to marry for convenience.  Tegan is an Australian native whose Visa is about to expire in the next few weeks.  She knows that if she doesn’t marry an American citizen soon that she risks losing her Visa and being forced to go back to Australia.  Although Australia is home to her, she has no home to go to.  Her family sold the farm that she was hoping to take over.  She told them that she was only going to be gone for a couple years.  She even came home when she was able to, but that didn’t stop them.  And now Tegan has no place to call home.  Betrayed and determined to find a way to stay in the states, her and Chet arranged for this marriage to take place.  However, when the wedding day came, Chet couldn’t go through with it.  Scared and confused, Tegan is left to figure out what she’s going to do now.

Jamie MacCreadie knows how to draw the attention of the crowd at the rodeo and the women on the streets.  He’s a man of few words, but could get what he wants simply with his smile.  Jamie and Chet have been best friends, but Tegan isn’t too keen on Jamie.  From the very beginning their personalities clashed, but something has changed.  Trying to make Chet feel better about his decision to call off the wedding, therefore not being able to help Tegan, Jamie offered to marry her.  Tegan brushed off his offer, but couldn’t help noticing the physical attraction that she was starting to feel for him.  She doesn’t understand why she’s having these feelings, especially since her and Jamie don’t even get along.  But could he have been serious?  And could Tegan really consider his offer?

Marry Me, Cowboy is such an amazing book.  From the very beginning I felt like I was on a rodeo ride of emotions.  Each character had their own issues that they were dealing with, but through it all they were always there for each other. 

Purchase at:

This is the second novella in The Cooper Mountain Rodeo Series and I have to say that I’m thoroughly enjoying this series.  The cowboys are hot, the location is laid back and the stories are sexy.  I’m anxious to read what the last two novellas in the series have in store for us.  I would highly recommend these books.  If you’re looking for some romance with twists and turns, then this is the series for you!

Lilian Darcy was born on Valentine’s Day. This auspicious date, as well as a love of reading, set her destiny as a writer of romance and women’s fiction from an early age. She has also written extensively for Australian theatre and television, under another name. Her plays have been professionally performed by some of Australia’s most prestigious theatre companies, and have received two award nominations for Best Play from the Australian Writers Guild, while in 1990 she was the co-recipient of an Australian Film Institute award for best TV mini-series. She has now written over eighty romances for Harlequin, as well as several mainstream novels, including Cafe du Jour, originally published by Mira Books Australia.

Connect with Lilian Darcy at:

Learn more about Montana Born at:

Monday, September 23, 2013

Rescued By A Stranger Blog Tour & Giveaway


Rescued By a Stranger
By: Lizbeth Selvig
Avon Romance
Blurb:

She’s a woman full of dreams
When a stranger arrives in town on a vintage motorcycle, Jill Carpenter has no idea her life is about to change forever. She never expected her own personal knight in shining armor would be an incredibly charming and handsome southern man-but one with a deep secret.

He’s a man hoping to outrun a tragedy
When Chase Preston jumped on his motorcycle to escape his wounded life, he didn’t expect the perfect woman to fall into his arms... literally! But though he can’t deny his feelings for the sweet and beautiful Jill, he doesn’t see any way he and his mistake-filled past will fit into her bright future.

Falling in love may require more than either can give
The longer Chase stays in Kennison Falls, the more deeply Jill and the people of her home town pull him in. The more Jill discovers heroic qualities in Chase, the more she wants to find a home in his arms-if only he would trust her with the truth. But will truth tear them apart when Jill’s dreams start coming true and Chase’s past finally returns to haunt him? Or, can they get beyond dreams to find the love that will rescue their two hearts?

Teaser:

“You must be awful tired,” Chase said. “You haven’t stopped moving all day. Want something to drink? There’s a water pitcher in the refrigerator, or I saw hot cocoa mix and some tea.”
“Are you going to have something?”
“I’m not a tea man, but I’ll heat some water for the cocoa if you like.”
“Perfect.”
He eased from the couch, and Jill closed her eyes. Angel shifted and Jill stroked her head rhythmically. Nothing hurt. Nothing pressed on her body or her mind. Chase didn’t ask her what she’d done today, what she was doing tomorrow or next week or next fall. He shuffled pots in the kitchen and it sounded safe and comfortable .
She opened her eyes to a dim room. Warmth from a thick quilt cocooned her. Gentle snoring from the end of the sofa filled the room, and she lifted her head to see Angel curled like a little husky at her feet. Chase was nowhere to be seen. Struggling to her seat, she winced slightly at the stiffness in her shoulder and squinted at a mug on the coffee table in the middle of the floor. That’s when she heard it again. The voice that had awoken her.
“No.” Chase spoke softly, urgently, a note of despair in his voice. “She can’t be gone. You’re the…Brody…have to save her.” His voice trailed off into unintelligible syllables.
Jill stood, curious but confused. Who was he talking to? Someone in his sleep? What time was it? She pressed the glow button on her watch and read 2:15 a.m.
“This isn’t our place anymore.” Chase mumbled again. “Didn’t want. My fault. Brody…failed.”
He was curled into a loose ball on his side, fully clothed, on top of the bed quilt. Nothing moved, he didn’t thrash like a victim of nightmares supposedly did, and the only indication he was dreaming was a slight tic around his closed eyes. A deep frown.
Carefully she touched his shoulder. “Chase?”
“Huh?” Like a trap snapping shut, his hand shot out and clamped around her wrist. She screeched. “What the —” he began, and bolted upright. “Jill? What’s wrong?”
“Oh, lord, I was about to ask you the same thing. You scared the crap out of me.” She looked down at her wrist and he followed her eyes. When he realized how tightly he held her, his fingers sprang open.
“Sorry! Sorry.” He released a huge sigh and raked his hand through his hair. “You can’t sneak up on a guy from the hood.”
“The hood?”
“Memphis. Where I lived, it wasn’t cool to startle someone.”
“I’m really sorry too. You were —mumbling in your sleep. I was making sure you’re okay.”
He rubbed his eyes. “Was I saying anything interesting?”
“You were trying to save someone.”
He went still. She stroked the side of his arm. “Is everything okay?”

Buy Links:

Lizbeth Selvig lives in Minnesota with her cradle-robbing husband and a border collie that inspired the character Dug (”Squirrel!”) in the Disney movie Up. After working as a journalist and editor and raising an equine veterinarian daughter and a talented musician son, Liz entered and won RWA’s Golden Heart® contest in 2010 with her contemporary romance The Rancher and the Rock Star. In her spare time, she loves to hike, quilt, read, horseback ride, and play with her nearly twenty four-legged grandchildren.
Author Links
Website
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Twitter
Blog

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Finding The Right Girl - Cover Reveal & Giveaway


Finding the Right Girl
A Nice GUY to Love Spin-off
By: Violet Duke
Releasing October 28th, 2013

Blurb
Brian Sullivan has been in love twice in his lifetime. He lost his first love to early-onset Huntington’s, and the other to his brother.  And somehow, his heart has managed to heal itself after both. Amazingly, without therapy. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t gotten a bit more cautious, however. Lately, Brian’s been thinking that maybe his brother’s now retired nothing-but-flings rule wasn’t such a bad idea after all. But as the unofficial nice guy poster boy, Brian needs some help with the whole thing. So he looks to the outrageously ‘unique,’ inexplicably enigmatic, provokingly button-pushing Tessa Daniels.

There’s absolutely no way he’s falling in love with this one…right?

Tessa has no idea what she was thinking telling Brian that she was some sort of fling expert. She’s never been flung and she sure as heck doesn’t know where or how to begin flinging a guy like Brian. Tessa blames her temporary lapse in sanity on the can’t-help-but-fall-for-him brain fuzz that hits her whenever she’s around him. Not only does he have her being more herself than she’s ever been in her life, but he’s the only man that seems to have as many demons and skeletons in the closet as she does. What’s more, he’s got her thinking of the one thing she stopped letting herself even hope for years ago.

A happily ever after.

National bestselling author Violet Duke is a former professor of English Education who is ecstatic to now be on the other side of the page writing wickedly fun contemporary romance novels.  Besides writing and feeding her book-a-day reading addiction, she can often be found tackling reno projects with her power tools and trying pretty much anything without reading the directions first, or cooking 'special edition' dishes that laugh in the face of recipes.  Violet lives in Hawaii with her two cute kids and similarly adorable husband.

Author Links:

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Twenty Five by Rachel Hamm - Review

Review by Darcie Czajkowski

Abigail Bronsen doesn’t want to celebrate her birthday.  Feeling unsuccessful professionally and unlucky in love, she wishes everyone would simply forget that she is turning twenty-five.  More importantly, she wishes she could forget the list of things to accomplish by age twenty-five that she wrote ten years ago.  A list that she cast aside, too afraid to step outside of her comfort zone.

But a car accident on her birthday sends her colliding – literally – into Ben Harris.  A man whose piercing blue eyes mesmerize her and fill her with an undeniable calm.   Despite their obvious instant connection, the two part ways, letting fate decide whether they would meet again. 

A month later, their worlds collide once again – at a coffee shop across from the sport complex Ben owns.  Unable to deny the innate bond they share, Abigail and Ben begin to date, their love story unfolding as perfectly as those in the books Abigail is obsessed with.

The relationship, Abigail’s first, proves to be a challenge for her, as she is racked with insecurities, and her need for Ben’s encouragement abounds.  Ben, seeing past Abigail’s fears, offers his unconditional support and affection, proving to her time and time again that he will never leave her – even after she reveals that she is a virgin and wants to wait until her wedding night for her first time.

Emboldened by Ben’s love, Abigail strives for professional success, writing an article straight from her heart, which she submits to her boss, an editor of an international magazine.  But when an opportunity lands in Abigail’s lap that is too great to pass up, she has an unthinkable decision to make: stay with the love of her life, the man whom she wants to marry, or follow her dream, the very dream that Ben encouraged her to chase from the start.

Twenty-Five is a charming romance underscored by relatable themes.  Chase your dreams.  Don’t be afraid.  Live your life without regret.  Abigail is like many girls who don’t see themselves as they really are.  They underestimate their abilities and downplay their physical beauty; they unfairly judge themselves to their own detriment.  While reading this story, I was reminded of the Dove social experiment, in which each woman was instructed to describe herself to a sketch artist who drew a picture of the woman based on that description.  The ensuing result was that the women appeared significantly less attractive in the sketches than in real life.  This experiment demonstrated that women often see themselves in less favorable, unrealistic lights.  Couched in a sweet, fairy tale love story, Twenty-five urges women to pursue their dreams, whatever they may be.  This book is for every woman who has ever doubted her faith in herself and wants to be reminded that we are all capable of achieving greatness, if only we try and refuse to allow the fear of failure to get in our way.   


Rachel Hamm is the author or Twenty-Five, a contemporary romance novel. She was born in Buffalo, NY but grew up in Burlington, NC.  Raised by northern parents in the south, she likes to say she got the best of both worlds.  Her writing is inspired by classic authors like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, as well as contemporary ones like JK Rowling and Claire LaZebnik.  She loves to read and has been known to spend an entire weekend engrossed in the adventures of her favorite characters.

Rachel now lives in Raleigh, NC, but someday hopes to make it to London. She's pretty sure (if reincarnation exists) she was British in another life.

Connect with Rachel at: 

Chasing Hope - Blog Tour & Giveaway

Chasing Hope by Kathryn Cushman A Personal Drama of Shattered Dreams and Second Chances A talented runner fully committed to Olympic dreams, Sabrina Rice's future was shattered by a devastating diagnosis. One forfeited scholarship and several years later, she has new goals and dreams that have nothing to do with running--something that's become far too painful to think on. Until the day she sees Brandy Philip running across the community college campus, easily outpacing security. Sabrina immediately recognizes world-class speed, and it's all the more painful that it belongs to a teenage graffiti artist. When a chance encounter brings the two young women together, Sabrina becomes Brandy's best hope for staying out of juvenile hall. Soon, Sabrina begins to feel an uncomfortable nudge that her new life is just about to be toppled...that God may be calling her to minister to this talented but troubled girl.

Author Kathryn Cushman Author Kathryn "Katie" Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy. She is the author of five novels, including Leaving Yesterday and A Promise to Remember, which were both finalists for the Carol Award in Women's Fiction. She is also the co-author of Angel Song with Sheila Walsh. Kathryn and her family currently live in Santa Barbara, California.

BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 10/11/13   Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Getting Rooted in New Zealand - Q&A and Giveaway

Getting Rooted in New Zealand
By Jamie Baywood

Craving change and lacking logic, at 26, Jamie, a cute and quirky Californian, impulsively moves to New Zealand to avoid dating after reading that the country's population has 100,000 fewer men. In her journal, she captures a hysterically honest look at herself, her past and her new wonderfully weird world filled with curious characters and slapstick situations in unbelievably bizarre jobs. It takes a zany jaunt to the end of the Earth and a serendipitous meeting with a fellow traveler before Jamie learns what it really means to get rooted.



Q&A With Jamie:


When did you know you wanted to become an author?
I was very lucky in New Zealand to meet a lot of talented people. I had the opportunity to write and perform for Thomas Sainsbury the most prolific playwright in New Zealand. I performed a monologue about my jobs in the Basement Theatre in Auckland.  The funny thing about that experience was Tom kept me separated from the other performers until it was time to perform. I was under the impression that all the performers were foreigners giving their experiences in New Zealand.  All of the other performers were professional actors telling stories that weren’t their own. At first I was mortified, but the audience seemed to enjoy my “performance,” laughing their way through my monologue.  After the shows we would go out and mingle with the audience. People would ask me how long I had been acting. I would tell them, “I wasn’t acting; I have to go to work tomorrow and sit next to the girl wearing her dead dog’s collar.” No one believed I was telling the truth.

Where did you come up with the premise for this book?
While living in New Zealand, I had funny experiences that I had trouble believing were true. I wrote the stories down to stay sane. I wrote situations down that were happening around me and shared them with friends. Most of the book was written as the events happened; it just took me a few years to work up the nerve to publish. Publishing my book Getting Rooted in New Zealand was my way of transforming poison into medicine. I hope that it can help people that have had bad dating experiences or bad work experiences – make them laugh and not give up hope.

Describe your book in three words.
Funny travel memoir.

What can your readers expect next from you?
I plan to divide my books by the countries I've lived in.  I've lived in five countries; America, American Samoa, New Zealand, Scotland and now England.  My next book will be about attempting to settle in Scotland. 
About the Author: 

Jamie Baywood grew up in Petaluma, California. In 2010, she made the most impulsive decision of her life by moving to New Zealand. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is her first book about her experiences living there. Jamie is now married and living happily ever after in the United Kingdom. She is working on her second book.

Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available in paperback and ebook on Amazon  

Connect with Jamie at:

Jamie is giving one lucky winner an e-copy of
Getting Rooted in New Zealand
Giveaway open internationally

a Rafflecopter giveaway