Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Excerpt and Giveaway: Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Title: Heroes Are My Weakness
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Genre: Romance / Contemporary
Publish Date: September 28, 2015
Publisher: Avon Romance (HarperCollins)
Where to Buy: Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  | Books-A-Million 


From the book:

The dead of winter.
An isolated island off the coast of Maine.
A man.
A woman.
A sinister house looming over the sea ...

He's a reclusive writer whose macabre imagination creates chilling horror novels. She's a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids' puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill with laughs.

But she's not laughing now. When she was a teenager, he terrified her. Now they're trapped together on a snowy island off the coast of Maine. Is he the villain she remembers or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.

It's going to be a long, hot winter.

    Annie didn’t usually talk to her suitcase, but she wasn’t exactly herself these days. The high beams of her headlights could barely penetrate the dark, swirling chaos of the winter blizzard, and the windshield wipers on her ancient Kia were no match for the wrath of the storm that had hit the island. “It’s only a little snow,” she told the oversize red suitcase wedged into the passenger seat. “Just because it feels like the end of the world doesn’t mean it is.”

    You know I hate the cold, her suitcase replied, in the annoying whine of a child who preferred making a point by stamping her foot. How could you bring me to this awful place?

    Because Annie had run out of options.

    An icy blast rocked the car, and the branches of the old fir trees hovering over the unpaved road whipped like witches’ hair. Annie decided that anybody who believed in hell as a fiery furnace had it all wrong. Hell was this bleak, hostile winter island.

    You’ve never heard of Miami Beach? Crumpet, the spoiled princess in the suitcase retorted. Instead you had to haul us off to a deserted island in the middle of the North Atlantic where we’ll probably get eaten by polar bears!    The gears ground as the Kia struggled up the narrow, slippery island road. Annie’s head ached, her ribs hurt from coughing, and the simple act of craning her neck to peer through a clear spot on the windshield made her dizzy. She was alone in the world with only the imaginary voices of her ventriloquist dummies anchoring her to reality. As sick as she was, she didn’t miss the irony.

   She conjured up the more calming voice of Crumpet’s counterpart, the practical Dilly, who was tucked away in the matching red suitcase in the backseat. We’re not the middle of the Atlantic, sensible Dilly said. We’re on an island ten miles off the New England coast, and the last I heard, Maine doesn’t have polar bears. Besides, Peregrine Island isn’t deserted.

    It might as well be. If Crumpet had been on Annie’s arm, she would have shot her small nose up in the air. People barely survive here in the middle of the summer let alone winter. I bet they eat their dead for food.

    The car fishtailed ever so slightly. Annie corrected the skid, gripping the wheel more tightly through her gloves. The heater barely worked, but she’d begun to perspire under her jacket.

    You mustn’t keep complaining, Crumpet, Dilly admonished her peevish counterpart. Peregrine Island is a popular summer resort.

    It’s not summer! Crumpet countered. It’s the first week of February, we just drove off a car ferry that made me seasick, and there can’t be more than fifty people left here. Fifty stupid people!    You know Annie had no choice but to come here, Dilly said.

    Because she’s a big failure, an unpleasant male voice sneered.

    Leo had a bad habit of uttering Annie’s deepest fears, and it was inevitable that he’d intrude into her thoughts. He was her least favorite puppet, but every story needed a villain.

    Very unkind, Leo, Dilly said. Even if it is true.


About the Author

Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Susan Elizabeth Phillips soars onto the New York Times bestseller list with every new publication. She’s the only four-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Favorite Book of the Year Award. Susan delights fans by touching hearts as well as funny bones with her wonderfully whimsical and modern fairy tales. A resident of the Chicago suburbs, she is also a wife, and mother of two grown sons.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Seaside Sunsets (Love in Bloom: Seaside Summers #3) by Melissa Foster

Title: Seaside Sunsets (Love in Bloom: Seaside Summers #3)
Author: Melissa Foster
Publisher: World Literary Press
Release Date: December 16 2014
Where to Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes
Rating: 4 stars

From the book:

Jessica Ayers has lived a sheltered life with little more than cello lessons and practices taking up her day. Now a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, she escapes the prim and proper symphony to vacation in the Seaside community in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, and determine if she is living life to the fullest or missing it altogether.

For the first time since developing the second largest search engine in the world, billionaire Jamie Reed is taking the summer off. He plans to work from the Cape and spend time with his elderly grandmother—and falling in love is not in his plans.

From the moment Jamie and Jessica meet, the attraction is white-hot. Once-overly-focused Jamie can think of little else than sensual, smart, and alluring Jessica, and Jessica discovers a side of herself she never knew existed. But when Jamie’s business encounters trouble and his attorney and best friend intervenes, he proves that the blond beauty is too distracting for Jamie. To make matters worse, it appears that Jessica might not be who she says she is, turning Jamie’s life—and his heart—upside down.

In a world where personal information is always one click away, Jamie must decide if he should trust his heart or watch the woman he loves walk away.

My review:

Foster can certainly tell a story that gives you a wonderful roller coaster of a ride. She turns just the right phrases to make you feel as though you're sailing on a strong summer breeze or crashing into the ground at light speed.

Her prose is strong and I didn't feel the story lagged at all - each scene was purposeful and moved the story without bogging me down in details. (However, as it was my first Seaside novel, I admit to being completely lost as to who was who, and with whom, for the first half of the book. It's an unfortunate nature of the beast with a series.)

The characters, Jess and Jamie, are wonderfully drawn and their romance is filled with the excitement of the first few weeks of love. But when reality intrudes upon that beautiful time, the way in which these characters handle it, and each other, left me feeling as though they were real. They work through it as grown adults would, and while my heart hurt for them as I watched the process unfold, the hope that weaves throughout the story held tight and led me towards a fully realized, believable, and happy ending. 

The secondary characters are well-developed, but as they have or will have their own books, I wasn't surprised. 

Seaside Sunsets is marketed as a stand-alone novel within a series that can be read independently. However, I encourage you to read the other two prior to reading this one - as this was my first Seaside novel, I was initially turned off by the antics of the women in the first few scenes, and it left a bad taste in my mouth as they appeared to be making fun of Jess. I think that, had I been privy to their friendship outside of Jessica's view (which was as unassuming as mine, being as I was also "new to the group"), I  feel as though I would've not had an immediate dislike of them. It felt like high school...and not in a good way. The book would've been stronger without what I'm calling the thong scene, but maybe I'm missing the humor because I don't have the vantage point of books 1 and 2. Don't let that stop you from reading, though - I think it's an enjoyable read, perfect to chase the winter blues away. Plus, it takes place in Wellfleet, MA, on the Cape - one of my most favorite places in the world!

Four stars.

(Disclaimer: I was provided a digital Advanced Reader Copy (e-ARC) from the publisher for an honest and unbiased review.)

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. 

Contact Melissa:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: SHARE THE MOON by Sharon Struth

Title: Share the Moon (Blue Moon Lake #1)
Author: Sharon Struth
Publisher: Lyrical Press (Kensington)
Release Date: August 4, 2014
Where to Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes
Rating: 3.5 stars

From the book:

Sometimes trust is the toughest lesson to learn.

Sophie Shaw is days away from signing a contract that will fulfill her dream of owning a vineyard. For her, it’s a chance to restart her life and put past tragedies to rest. But Duncan Jamieson’s counter offer blows hers out to sea.

Duncan still finds Sophie as appealing as he had during boyhood vacations to the lake. Older and wiser now, he has his own reasons for wanting the land. His offer, however, hinges on a zoning change approval.

Bribery rumors threaten the deal and make Sophie wary of Duncan, yet she cannot deny his appeal. When her journalistic research uncovers a Jamieson family secret, trust becomes the hardest lesson for them both.

My review:

Struth weaves a tale of unimaginable loss, grief, regret, hope and redemption in the first of her new Blue Moon series.

Duncan and Sophie are very realistic characters; Sophie cannot overcome her grief from losing her son, and Duncan, still recovering from the sudden death of his first wife,  is weighed down by the regrets he has from his earlier life decisions. 

I wasn't as connected to the characters as I wanted to be - usually, I strongly dislike reading about such horrible events in a person's life. I prefer light-hearted romances that leave me feeling happy and elated and full of hope. But this story is so well-written that I felt I needed to go on, to see how it played out - how could two such damaged characters really ever come to a happy place, when their lives are so upside-down? (I'm not going to spoil it. You have to read it to find out!)

I was pleasantly surprised at the mystery in this story - I have to admit, I wasn't expecting it. And when I closed the book, although I still wasn't connected to the characters, I did feel a sense of satisfaction and an interest in reading the next in the series. The secondary characters are well-rounded and I'm looking forward to what Struth has in store for us with Blue Moon Lake #2!

Three and a half stars.

(Disclaimer: I was provided a digital Advanced Reader Copy (e-ARC) from the publisher for an honest and unbiased review.)

About the Author

Sharon Struth is an award-winning author who believes it’s never too late for a second chance in love or life. When she’s not writing, she and her husband happily sip their way through the scenic towns of the Connecticut Wine Trail. Sharon writes from the small town of Bethel, Connecticut, the friendliest place she’s ever lived. For more information, including where to find her other novels and published essays, please visit her website.

Contact Sharon:

Website |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Blog


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Giveaway: The Playboy's Princess by Joy Fulcher

Today, I'm bringing you a book that looks VERY good to me - I can't wait to get my hands on it! It's called The Playboy's Princess:

Title: The Playboy's Princess
Author: Joy Fulcher
Publisher: Omnific
Where to Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

From the book:

What do a Hollywood playboy and a Disney Princess have in common? Not a lot, but they can fake it. 

Jade Pratt is living a tough life, surviving paycheck to paycheck by working at Disneyland. She'd like nothing more than to be swept off her feet by her own Prince Charming. 

Drew Malik is living what appears to be a charmed life: He’s the son of a famous actor and has money, women…anything he could want. But he's burning out in a life filled with booze and one night stands. When he finds out his trust fund is blocked until he either turns thirty or gets married, his friends plot to rescue him by placing an ad in the paper to find him a bride -- fast. 

When Jade answers the ad, the pair meet up and agree to an arrangement that will solve both their problems. But when their fake marriage elicits real feelings and real problems, they're both forced to re-evaluate their deal. 

Happily ever after was never the intention...but what if it's their destiny?

About the Author:


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book Review: Covering Kendall by Julie Brannagh

Title: Covering Kendall
Author: Julie Brannagh
Publisher: Avon (HarperCollins)
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Where to Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes
Rating: 5 stars

From the book:

Kendall Tracy, General Manager of the San Francisco Miners, is not one for rash decisions or one-night stands. But when she finds herself alone in a hotel room with a heart-stoppingly gorgeous man-who looks oddly familiar-Kendall throws her own rules out the window…and they blow right back into her face.

Drew McCoy should look familiar, he’s a star player for her team’s archrival the Seattle Sharks. Which would basically make Drew and Kendall the Romeo and Juliet of professional football…well, without all the dying. Not that it’s an issue. They agree to pretend their encounter never happened. Nothing good can come from it anyway, right? Drew’s not so sure.

Kendall may be all wrong, but he can’t stop thinking about her and he finds that some risks are worth taking. Because the stakes are always highest when you’re playing for keeps.

My review:

Julie Brannagh's fourth Love and Football series, COVERING KENDALL, is her best work yet. Brannagh is an author I've been with from the beginning - as an Avon Addict, I was introduced to her with her debut novel, Blitzing Emily (which I enjoyed). I saw improvement in her writing in her second, Rushing Amy, and her style became even better with Catching Cameron. (Why didn't I review this?! I loved this novel. I'll have to review it so you, dear reader, can make a decision to buy it. Spoiler alert: It's worth your money.)

But this one?

She. Nailed. It.

The characters' struggles are so real - career vs. personal life. It's one many of us struggle with in our everyday lives, and Brannagh injects so much feeling into the dialogue and setting that I related all over the place. (As I mentioned in earlier posts, I'm not a football lover. I'm not really a sporty type. But this series - this story in particular - transcends all that.)

Kendall is a busy career woman. She has climbed to the top by working her behind off; she's professional without being cold, which is a difficult thing for any author to pull off. Brannagh balanced her just right. One of the subplots in this book is that Kendall has to deal with one of her players involved in a domestic abuse case. Instead of going all icy and "I'm a woman and I'm bad-ass, I'm going to kick this guy out of the NFL," Kendall responds with such grace, humility and realism that I cheered out loud. It was wonderful. And that's just one example of the wonderfulness of this novel.

Drew is another well-rounded character. I wish I could turn on the TV and look for him on the field! Drew thinks he has it all together. He wants the perfect family - the same one he grew up with, really. Two loving parents, siblings, white picket fence. He even bought a house that would support such a family, when he found the perfect woman to marry. (Ha! I love that. He has such confidence that all will fall neatly into place. Life never works that way, and again, Brannagh nails this by blowing it completely out-of-the-water!) His high-profile job gives him a great insight into what it will be like for Kendall if their romance secret ever got out (which, of course, it does). Then it gives him great sensitivity to how she has to deal with it. He doesn't handle it perfectly - he is, after all, human - but his character arc is impressive, natural, and above all, realistic.

Drew's parents, by the way, are an excellent subplot that surprised me. Brannagh interwove it so seamlessly that I didn't see what she was doing until it was done. Read it. You'll know what I mean.

Five stars.

(Disclaimer: I was provided a digital Advanced Reader Copy (e-ARC) from the publisher for an honest and unbiased review.)

About the Author

Julie Brannagh has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She lives in a small town near Seattle, where she once served as a city council member and owned a yarn shop. She shares her home with a wonderful husband, two uncivilized Maine Coons and a rambunctious chocolate Lab. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, or armchair-quarterbacking her favorite NFL team from the comfort of the family room couch. Julie is a Golden Heart finalist and the author of contemporary sports romances.

Contact Julie:

Website |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Tour: Sweet, Texas Series by Candis Terry

Enter to Win
Halloween Socks and Halloween Candy!


If Charlotte Brooks thinks she and her TV makeover show can turn Reno Wilder’s hometown upside down, he’ll be happy to prove her wrong. The x-Marine has seen too much turmoil and he likes Sweet, Texas, just the way it is. Traditional. Familiar. A little dull. Everything Charli isn’t. But instead of backing off from his scowls like everyone else, Charli digs in her skyscraper heels.


Reno Wilder is a one-man unwelcoming committee, but Charli isn’t budging. It’s clear the gorgeous cowboy needs an overhaul just as much as Sweet. Someone needs to break him out of that gruff shell and show him how fun and rewarding a little change can be.


Check out my review of ANYTHING BUT SWEET!

Amazon | B&N iTunes


Firefighter and former Marine Jackson Wilder has tough guy down to an art, but he’s learned the hard way that promises were made to be broken. Abigail Morgan was once his best friend, his first kiss, his first love, his first everything. He’d just forgotten to mention all that to her and she blew out of his life. Five years later, she’s back and he’s battling a load of mistrust for her disappearing act. But for some reason he just can’t keep his lips—or his hands—to himself.


When her stint as a trophy wife abruptly ends, Abby returns home to Sweet, Texas, and comes face-to-face with Jackson—her biggest and sexiest mistake. Time and distance did nothing to squash her love for the act-first-think-later stubborn hunk of a man, and when he suggests they renew their old just-friends vow, Abby realizes she wants more. She’d cut and run once. Could she do it again? Or could she tempt him enough to break his promise?

Check out my review of SWEETEST MISTAKE!
Read an excerpt here.

 Amazon | B&N  | iTunes

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?

Check out my review of SOMETHING SWEETER!
Amazon | B&N | iTunes

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Caught in the Act by Sara Jane Stone

 Title: Caught in the Act
Author: Sara Jane Stone
Publisher: Avon (HarperCollins)
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Where to Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble  |  Google Play  |  iTunes
Rating: 4 stars

From the book:

Falling for his rivals' little sister could cost him everything … 

For Liam Trulane, failure is not an option. He is determined to win a place in Katie Summers' life before she leaves Independence Falls for good. But first, he needs to make amends for the last time they got down and dirty. 

Only problem? 

His professional success hinges on striking a deal to buy Katie's family business. And after Liam's relationship with their Katie went south years ago, the Summers brothers are more enemy than friend. If both parties agree to set the past aside, they can reach an understanding. But when Katie welcomes him back into her bed, Liam risks everything to make her his. 

After Liam betrayed her trust, Katie Summers will do anything to keep him from walking away with the family business. She decides to seduce him, knowing that when her brothers find out, they will back off from the deal. And she'll finally have her revenge. But when her plan spirals out of control, Katie learns that payback may come at too high a price …

My review:

The second book of the Independence Falls series (which can be read as a stand-alone novel) was a fun story about a scorned woman who really wanted revenge, but she simply couldn't make it happen no matter how hard she tried. The problem? Her own sweet nature and a true love's calling...

Liam and Katie have a bad past. After seemingly getting what he wanted from her, Liam left her in the dust and broken her heart. Now, seven or so years later, Katie's convinced herself she's moved on, yet Liam knows she's the one for him.

Watching Katie and Liam struggle - Katie with attempting her revenge plots that always seem to backfire in the best possible way and Liam with trying to convince Katie that he's changed for the better - was definitely the escape I needed this week! Katie's a spitfire and Liam is cool, calm and collected. The two of them burned up my Kindle with chemistry and sizzle, and I loved meeting everyone in Independence Falls. I can't wait to go back and read FULL EXPOSURE, the first in the series, and I'll definitely be picking up the next one!

Four stars.

(Disclaimer: I was provided a digital Advanced Reader Copy (e-ARC) from the publisher for an honest and unbiased review.)

About the Author

After several years on the other side of the publishing industry, Sara Jane Stone bid goodbye to her sales career to pursue her dream-writing romance novels. Sara Jane currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her very supportive real-life hero, two lively young children and a lazy Burmese cat. Join Sara Jane’s newsletter to receive new release information, news about contests, giveaways, and more! To subscribe, visit and look for her newsletter entry form.

Contact Sara:

Website |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: WHAT A WALLFLOWER WANTS by Maya Rodale

Title: What a Wallflower Wants
Author: Maya Rodale
Publisher: Avon (HarperCollins)
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Where to Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes
Rating: 5 stars

From the book:

In the third novel in Maya Rodale’s charming Wallflower series, London’s Least Likely to Be Caught in a Compromising Position finds temptation in a devilishly handsome stranger...

Miss Prudence Merryweather Payton has a secret.

Everyone knows that she’s the only graduate from her finishing school to remain unwed on her fourth season-but no one knows why. With her romantic illusions shattered after being compromised against her will, Prudence accepts a proposal even though her betrothed is not exactly a knight in shining armor. When he cowardly pushes her out of their stagecoach to divert a highwayman, she vows never to trust another man again.

John Roark, Viscount Castleton, is nobody’s hero. 

He’s a blue-eyed charmer with a mysterious past and ambitious plans for his future-that do not include a wife. When he finds himself stranded at a country inn with a captivating young woman, a delicate dance of seduction ensues. He knows he should keep his distance. And he definitely shouldn’t start falling in love with her.

When Prudence’s dark past comes back to haunt her, John must protect her-even though he risks revealing his own secrets that could destroy his future.

My review:

The third and final book in the Wallflower series has a darker bent to it than the previous novels. Rodale has masterfully brought to light the silent side of rape within the confines of a strict society, and in doing so, has created one of the strongest female historical romance characters I've had the pleasure of reading. 

Pru's discovery of herself throughout her journey is methodical instead of slow; her natural progression from "wallflower" to strong, fight-back-no-longer-a-victim heroine is nothing short of heartwarming and hope-inducing.

John is quite possibly the most perfect imperfect hero to ever grace the pages of a Regency. He's fighting the good fight for his family, himself - and, once he discovers her secret - Pru. He is all that is good in the world.

Born outside the ton, yet needing to break into their circle to save his family, John holds a secret of his own that, once revealed, pushes Pru further from the boundaries of the ton (and everything she has been raised to believe). 

This story is a must-read for historical romance lovers. It shows a darker side of the ton we all love to love (or hate, depending on the story!), the deep connections of female friendship, and redemption of a woman's once-bent (but never fully broken) spirit.

Five stars.

(Disclaimer: I was provided a digital Advanced Reader Copy (e-ARC) from the publisher for an honest and unbiased review.)

About the Author

Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.

Contact Maya:

Website |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads


a Rafflecopter giveaway