THE LITTLE TEASHOP ON MAIN by Jodi Thomas – Book Blog Tour Giveaway

Little Teashop Blog Cover

THE LITTLE TEASHOP ON MAIN

by

Jodi Thomas

Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction / Coming of Age
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Number of Pages: 336 pages

Scroll down for the giveaway!

Synopsis

Little Teashop Book Cover

A rainy-day ritual—a tea party between three little girls—becomes the framework of not only their friendship, but their lives.
Blonde, curly-haired Zoe is openhearted, kind and free-spirited, and dreams of becoming a famous actor in New York City. Shy Emily struggles with mental health but has the heart and soul of a writer. And Shannon—tall, athletic, strong—has a deep sense of loyalty that will serve her well when she heads off to military college.
As Zoe, Emily, and Shannon grow into women—forging careers, following dreams, and finding love—they’ll learn that life doesn’t always unfold the way they want it to, but through it all, the one constant is each other and their regular tea parties. And when the unthinkable happens, the girls must come together to face the greatest test of all.

A deeply moving novel about the family that raises us, the hearts that nurture us, and the great friendships that define our lives.

 

PRAISE FOR THE LITTLE TEASHOP ON MAIN:

“Heart-wrenching as well as heartwarming, the book reflects the experiences of these seven multifaceted and compelling characters as they journey through challenging years together.” — NY Journal of Books

“A comforting treasure for regular Thomas readers who enjoy the easy flow of her writing, a little steamy romance to spice things up, and the development of vulnerable, realistic characters.” — Booklist

CLICK TO BUY:

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AboutTheAuthor

Author Pic ThomasWith millions of books in print, Jodi Thomas is both a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 45 novels and 14 short story collections. Her stories travel through the past and present days of Texas and draw readers from around the world.

In July 2006, Jodi was the 11th writer to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. With five RITA’s to her credit, along with National Readers’ Choice Awards and Booksellers’ Best Awards, Thomas has proven her skill as a master storyteller.

Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, Thomas enjoys interacting with students at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence.

When not working on a novel, or inspiring students to pursue writing careers, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating an historic home, and “checking up” on their grown sons and four grandchildren.

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GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

ONE PRINT COPY OF MORNINGS ON MAIN,
THE FIRST LAUREL SPRINGS BOOK

May 8-18, 2019
(US ONLY)

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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

5/8/19 		Notable Quotable 	Texas Book Lover 
5/8/19 		Notable Quotable 	Reading by Moonlight 
5/9/19 		Review 			Missus Gonzo 
5/10/19 	BONUS Stop 		Hall Ways Blog 
5/10/19 	Guest Post 		Chapter Break Book Blog 
5/11/19 	Review 			Momma on the Rocks 
5/12/19 	Review 			Book Fidelity 
5/13/19 	Excerpt 		StoreyBook Reviews 
5/13/19 	Author Interview 	Kelly Well Read 
5/14/19 	Review 			All the Ups and Downs 
5/15/19 	Excerpt 		Rainy Days with Amanda 
5/15/19 	Review 			Bibliotica 
5/16/19 	Excerpt 		#Bookish 
5/16/19 	Excerpt 		Story Schmoozing Book Reviews 
5/17/19 	Review 			That's What She's Reading 
5/17/19 	Promo 			Carpe Diem Chronicles 

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THE KEY TO HAPPILY EVER AFTER by Tif Marcelo – Happy Release Day

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THE KEY TO HAPPILY EVER AFTER

by

Tif Marcelo

KeytoHappilyEverAfter (1)

All’s fair in love and business.

The de la Rosa family and their wedding planning business have been creating happily ever afters in the Washington, DC area for years, making even the most difficult bride’s day a fairytale. But when their parents announce their retirement, the sisters—Marisol, Janelyn, and Pearl—are determined to take over the business themselves.

But the sisters quickly discover that the wedding business isn’t all rings and roses. There are brides whose moods can change at the drop of a hat; grooms who want to control every part of the process; and couples who argue until their big day. As emotions run high, the de la Rosa sisters quickly realize one thing: even when disaster strikes—whether it’s a wardrobe malfunction or a snowmageddon in the middle of a spring wedding—they’ll always have each other.

Perfect for fans of the witty and engaging novels of Amy E. Reichert and Susan Mallery, The Key to Happily Ever After is a fresh romantic comedy that celebrates the crucial and profound power of sisterhood.

Buy here: 

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/2HitZik
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2LH1Dni
B&N: http://bit.ly/Key2HEABN
ibooks: https://apple.co/2wYD7En
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2WEIh3f 

 

REVIEW

tkthea flowersI hardly ever see myself represented in romantic fiction (which is why I write them myself), so I can’t help but gush whenever I read one that has someone like me as a main character.

Vanity, thy name is Maida, for when I read The Key to Happily Ever After–the latest work by Tif Marcelo–I feel like she based her heroines on me. I’m Filipino-American, a (former) wedding planner, and I lived in Alexandria. Like Marisol de la Rosa, I’m the eldest, the one who is expected to be responsible, to take care of her younger siblings, and someone who is a tad dictatorial. I’m also Jane, the middle sister, who is good with numbers and has a sweet little boy. Like Pearl, I’m resourceful, creative, I (used to) do yoga, and a little impulsive at times.

Even if I wasn’t Tif’s inspiration for her characters, I can still lay claim to these wonderful women like I never can for all the other female main characters in the hundreds of books I read and review every year. That’s what makes this book and this author special to me.

Not to say that only Filipinas can relate to these beautiful, complicated women. For surely, everyone who has ever had siblings, especially sisters, can put themselves in the shoes of the protagonists in this book. These are women who want to break free from long-held stereotypes regarding birth order, who struggle for individuality even as they remain loyal to the family, who retain unresolved issues from the past that color, if not outright dictate, their present attitudes and actions. They attempt to balance work and love amidst family drama and mostly succeed. Hey, it’s romantic fiction, after all.

Light but not fluffy, deep but not angsty, The Key to Happily Ever After is well-written, well-told, well done. I highly recommend this book to readers who value excellent storytelling  and who are open to reading books that accurately reflect the diverse world we live in today.

 

ABOUT TIF MARCELO

Tif Marcelo

Tif believes in and writes about heart-eyes romance, the strength of families, and the endurance of friendship. A veteran Army Nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Public Administration, she is a craft enthusiast and food-lover. As a military spouse, she has moved nine times, and this adventure shows in some of her free-spirited characters. Tif currently lives in the DC area with her own real life military hero and four children.

Follow her here:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

 

 

SAVING THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE by Linda Broday – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

STMOB Blog Tour

SAVING THE
MAIL ORDER BRIDE
Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride,
Book Two

by

LINDA BRODAY

Genre: Historical Western Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Number of Pages: 384 pages

SCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY!

 

Synopsis

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He may have a high price on his head, but all outlaw Jack Bowdre ever desired was a second chance. Now he’s been arrested and on his way to jail, completely unaware that his unexpected —and unexpectedly beautiful— traveling companion is none other than Nora Kane…his mail order bride.

It’s too bad Nora doesn’t know Jack is her groom-to-be. All she sees is a scoundrel. But when their stagecoach crashes, they’re suddenly handcuffed together and running for their lives with nothing but the clothes on their backs. A posse behind and unforgiving terrain ahead, how long can they survive? Hounded by desperate men bent on stopping them by any means necessary, Nora and Jack find the love they both desperately want. But the question remains: will they have a chance to claim it?

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Review_preview

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Just when I thought I had Linda Broday pegged, she goes and reveals another wonderful facet of her amazing talent as a writer. While the first book in this series (The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride) had me almost in despair for Clay and Tally’s chances in making it through their challenges–spoiler alert: they did–Saving the Mail Order Bride assured me of Jack and Nora’s happy-ever-after right from the start of their action-packed escape adventure. That’s because Ms. Broday infused this book with light humor and boundless optimism rather than angst and incessant suffering.

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I loved that Jack and Nora’s objective changed while on the run. Instead of getting away from enemies, it had become more about reaching a specific destination: Hope’s Crossing. Because in that place was community, support, and love.

I adore that during their journey, they managed to acquire an entire family. A family that’s formed from tragedy and abuse with a promise of a better future for the children.

I enjoyed how Jack and Nora always worked together to escape, evade, provide for one another, face their adversaries, and plan a course of action. I really appreciate how strongly the characters were drawn with admirable qualities and all-too-human weaknesses. Despite the title, it wasn’t only Jack who was saving the mail order bride, it was also Nora saving the outlaw.

20190416_195355501_iOSAt the beginning of the book, Linda Broday wrote a letter saying she hopes the readers are entertained by this story and that we’re left wanting to know more about the characters from Hope’s Crossing.

Well, this reader is happily entertained and is looking forward to reading more about these outlaws and the community they’re building from nothing. Bring on Ridge’s story please, Linda. I can’t wait for more.

 

PRAISE FOR SAVING THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE:

“Broday continues her Outlaw Mail Order Brides historical Western romance series with an interesting premise…” — Kirkus

“The adventure and dangers kept the pages turning – delivering quite a few surprises and heart-pounding moments. And generously balanced in were moments of peace and beauty.” — Sunshine Lake Reviews

“I loved every deep ravine-gun blazing-twist of this book.”
Glenda (Goodreads reviewer)

“Linda Broday has spun another great adventure that is full of surprises, has you rooting for the outlaws and people of Hope’s Crossing, and wanting some ‘lawmen,’ ‘businessmen,’ and other ‘questionable men’ to find their deaths. It’ll make you question who should be called an outlaw in this period of time.”
Stephanie (Goodreads reviewer)

 

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AboutTheAuthor

tomob linda brodayI’m a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty historical western romance novels and short stories. I reside in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and Comancheros once roamed, and at times if the breeze is just right, I can hear their voices whispering in the wind. Texas’ rich history is one reason I set all my stories here where cowboys are still caretakers of the land. I’m inspired every day by their immense dedication and love for the wide-open spaces.

When I’m not writing, I collect old coins and I’ve also been accused (quite unfairly I might add) of making a nuisance of myself at museums, libraries, and historical places. I’m also a movie buff and love sitting in a dark theater, watching the magic unfold on the screen. As long as I’m confessing…chocolate is my best friend. It just soothes my soul.

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FIRST PRIZE: Signed Copy of Saving the Mail Order Bride + $25 Amazon Gift Card
FOUR WINNERS: Signed Copies of the Book + $5 Amazon Gift Cards

MAY 7-17, 2019
(USA only)

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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

5/7/19 		Character Interview 	All the Ups and Downs 
5/7/19 		BONUS Post 		Hall Ways Blog 
5/8/19 		Review 			Book Fidelity 
5/9/19 		Excerpt 		StoreyBook Reviews 
5/10/19 	Review 			Carpe Diem Chronicles 
5/11/19 	Guest Post 		The Clueless Gent 
5/12/19 	Review 			Reading by Moonlight 
5/13/19 	Top Ten List 		That's What She's Reading 
5/14/19 	Review 			The Book Review 
5/15/19 	Author Interview 	Forgotten Winds 
5/15/19 	BONUS Post 		KayBee's Book Shelf 
5/16/19 	Review 			Chapter Break Book Blog

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SPRING INTO STYLE HOP

SPRING INTO STYLE HOP

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Hello, #ChickLitMay Hoppers! Thanks for dropping by my page Carpe Diem Chronicles.

I’m excited to join Spring Into Style Hop because fashion plays a huge part in my books. Krista from BORACAY VOWS and NEW YORK ENGAGEMENT has a small shoe and hat addiction, which is something the hero Blake enables by gifting her with them every chance he gets. Maddie, the heroine of my upcoming book SINGAPORE FLING is even more of a fashionista as she used to be a commercial and ramp model and now works in Singapore as a Public Relations expert. Aidan, the hero, is intoxicated by her scent and is enthralled when she wears her stiletto heels.

For my giveaway, I’ll be awarding one lucky winner a prize pack of the groundbreaking Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy box set and Blue-ray movie. This is open internationally. US winner will receive the physical copy pictured here. If the winner is from outside the US, they will receive the digital set or $40 gift card. I will draw a random winner on Monday, May 13 at 12:00 nn Central time. Note: This giveaway is not associated with or endorsed by Facebook.

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TO ENTER, accumulate points via follows:
– My blog (5 pts): https://maidamalby.com/
– On Twitter (1 pt): https://twitter.com/maida_malby
– On Instagram (1 pt): https://www.instagram.com/carpediemchronicles
– On BookBub (1 pt): https://www.bookbub.com/profile/maida-malby
– On Amazon (1 pt): https://www.amazon.com/Maida-Malby/e/B077GDVPTK
– Singapore Fling on Pinterest (1 pt): https://www.pinterest.com/MaidaMalby/singapore-fling-carpe-diem-chronicles-2/
– Want to Read Singapore Fling on Goodreads (1 pt):
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43467139-singapore-fling

– Bonus points for those who will Like and Follow my Facebook page (not mandatory to win) and who will share their favorite fashion accessory (photos and gifs are welcome).

Let me know in the comments how many entries you have and I will assign you random numbers.

Make sure to check out the Spring into Style Hop Group Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1962370290669865/ for participating authors and their awesome giveaways. Don’t forget to enter to win the Grand Prize (a $250 e-gift card to FabFitFun, which is a seasonal subscription box) or one of the three Runner-Up Prizes, which are 6-month subscriptions to Allure’s Beauty Box (a monthly box).

Happy hopping, y’all!

UNLACED BY THE HIGHLAND DUKE by Lara Temple – Release Day Review

UNLACED BY THE HIGLAND DUKE

by

LARA TEMPLE

 

unlaced cover

 

Unceremoniously packed off to Scotland to care for the Duke of Lochmore’s young son, practical widow Jo Langdale fears she will be ignored as always. But the deep connection and heated passion that develops between her and Benneit is far more dangerous! When Benneit is expected to propose to another, how dare Jo dream of becoming his duchess?

Part of The Lochmore Legacy: a Scottish castle through the ages

Buy links:
https://www.books2read.com/lochmore
Amazon: https://mybook.to/Lochmore
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/BNlochmore
Kobo: http://bit.ly/LochmoreKobo

 

REVIEW

I thought I’ve gotten tired of reading about a handsome duke and a plain “poor relations” governess until I read Unlaced by a Highland Duke and realized I can still love this classic trope. That is provided the author is as talented as Lara Temple and the story and its characters are as well-written as this book.

I continue to admire Lara’s mastery of the English language. Her impressive vocabulary lends her narrative authenticity in terms of placing the story in its proper time period and exact locations. Whether the scene is inside a carriage, on a beach, or in a castle, the reader views them the same way a character does through exquisite visual descriptions. One could see the stark beauty of the landscape, feel the jagged edges of the rocks, hear the roar of the wind as they happen in the book.

That high quality is carried through in the well-developed characters, especially Jo and Benneit. What I love is that they didn’t need to change who they are and that layers of their personalities are revealed throughout the book. Their discovery of their feelings for one another was beautifully laid out amidst the obstacles they face especially that of Benneit being unofficially affianced to someone who can secure his son Jamie’s future. It’s incredibly easy to root for them to obtain their happy-ever-after.

Another thing I appreciate from this Unlaced is the fact that the secondary characters all served a purpose. They’re memorable and each is distinct from one another. I really approve of Lara making Jamie a normal boy who is adorable but can also be a brat sometimes.

I really enjoyed reading this novel. It has the style and feel of the old school romance books by Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood, and Johanna Lindsey that I love so much. Great story, fascinating characters, engaging dialogue,  and fantastic writing. A five-star read.

 

ABOUT LARA TEMPLE

Lara Temple

Lara Temple writes strong and sensual regency romances about complex individuals who give no quarter but do so with plenty of passion.

When she was fifteen Lara found a very grubby copy of Georgette Heyer’s historical romance novel Faro’s Daughter in an equally grubby book store and fell completely in love with historical romance. It took three decades and several fascinating but completely unrelated careers in finance and high tech before she turned this love into writing Regency romances.

Lara lives with her husband, two children and a very fluffy dug who are very good about her taking over the kitchen table for her writing (so she can look out over the garden and dream). She recently went looking for that crowded little bookstore but couldn’t quite remember around what corner it was. Hopefully it is still there and another girl is in the corner by the window, reading and dreaming…

Social Media links:
Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/LaraTempleAuthor
Facebook: www.facebook.com/LaraTemple1
Twitter: @laratemple1
Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2mWin9R
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/LaraTemple
Website: www.laratemple.com

DRIFTWOOD BAY by Irene Hannon: Book Blog Tour – Review and Giveaway

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DRIFTWOOD BAY

A Hope Harbor Novel, Book 5

by

IRENE HANNON

Genre: Contemporary / Christian / Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: April 2, 2019
Number of Pages: 368

Scroll down for Giveaway!

 

Synopsis

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After tragedy upends her world, Jeannette Mason retreats to the tiny Oregon seaside town of Hope Harbor to create a new life. Vowing to avoid emotional attachments, she focuses on running her lavender farm and tea-room—until a new neighbor with a destructive dog and a forlorn little girl invades her turf. But she needn’t worry. Dr. Logan West is too busy coping with an unexpected family, a radical lifestyle change, and an unruly pup to have any interest in his aloof and disagreeable neighbor.

Yet when both Jeanette and Logan find themselves pulled into the life of a tattered Christian family fleeing persecution in war-torn Syria, might they discover that love sometimes comes calling when it’s least expected?

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon invites readers back to the charming seaside town of Hope Harbor, where they are sure to find peace, healing, and a second chance at happiness.

 

Excerpt

>> CLICK TO READ CHAPTER ONE! <<

 

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Review_preview

DB my bookstagramDriftwood Bay is a beautifully-balanced and uplifting read. I come into this aptly-named series quite late with this, the fifth book, as my introduction. It’s also the first Irene Hannon book I’ve ever read. I must say I need to read the first four now, especially if they’re as heartwarming as this one. It’s the kind of book that makes you feel good after reading it. It leaves you believing the best in people and strengthening your faith in God and in love.

The way Ms. Hannon blended heavy drama with canine-provided comic relief, steadfast spirituality, inclusive diversity, and wholesome romance worked for me. Her storytelling is evocative and involving. Her words are inspired, eminently quotable. Some of my favorites are:

  • “Don’t let fear stop you from being everything God intended you to be. Go. Learn. Live. Love.”
  •  “… like a ship that never sails, a heart that’s never used isn’t living up to its potential.”
  •  “… love is better than lonesome.”

Most of these quotes are said to Jeanette who has been guarding her heart by isolating herself in her lavender farm. How her new neighbors Logan, the new town doctor; Molly, his grieving niece; and their rambunctious puppy Toby drew her out is the main story of Driftwood Bay. It was told in a way that is moving and highly relatable.

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The other significant story, that of the Syrian refugees Mariam, Thomma, and Elisa was treated with sensitivity and respect. This is where the community of Hope Harbor shines in their coming together to provide a fresh start for a family trying to recover from a devastating tragedy. I could only hope such a community exists in real life for we need them now more than ever.

While all the main characters–both Americans and Syrians–are sympathetic, it is the little girls Molly and Elisa who brought tears to my eyes. They are the catalysts for everything that happened in the book. Their insta-friendship and their unspoken need to be loved by their respective fathers really touched my heart.

Finally, I cannot complete this review without mentioning Charley, the mystical fish taco food truck owner who dispenses wisdom that helps guide the actions of many characters in Driftwood Bay and possibly the series. He’s one of the reasons why I would like to read the other Hope Harbor books.

 

AboutTheAuthor

Irene HannonIrene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect Spring, Hope Harbor, Sea Rose Lane, Sandpiper Cove, and Pelican Point, as well as Dangerous Illusions and the Private Justice and Men of Valor suspense series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, and she is a member of that organization’s elite Hall of Fame. Her many other awards include National Readers’ Choice, Daphne du Maurier, Retailers’ Choice, Booksellers’ Best, Carols, and Reviewers’ Choice from RT Book Reviews magazine, which also honored her with a Career Achievement award for her entire body of work. In addition, she is a two-time Christy Award finalist.

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GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

Grand Prize:
A Copy of Driftwood Bay + Oregon Coast Rain Globe
1st Runner-Up:
A Copy of Driftwood Bay + Book Lover’s Coffee Mug
2nd Runner-Up:
A Copy of Driftwood Bay + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
April 2-12, 2019
(U.S. Only)

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

4/2/19 		Series Spotlight 	The Clueless Gent 
4/2/19 		Scrapbook Page 		Hall Ways Blog 
4/3/19 		Review 			Forgotten Winds 
4/4/19 		Review 			That's What She's Reading 
4/5/19 		Character Interview 	Sybrina's Book Blog 
4/6/19 		Guest Post 		All the Ups and Downs 
4/7/19 		Review 			Carpe Diem Chronicles 
4/8/19 		Author Interview 	Story Schmoozing Book Reviews 
4/9/19 		Top Ten List 		Rainy Days with Amanda 
4/10/19 	Review 			Bibliotica 
4/11/19 	Review 			StoreyBook Reviews 

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LIVE WIRE by Pamela Fagan Hutchins: Book Blog Tour – Guest Post and Giveaway

Live Wire blog cover

LIVE WIRE

(Maggie, Book One)
A What Doesn’t Kill You
World Romantic Mystery

by

PAMELA FAGAN HUTCHINS

Genre: Romantic Mystery
Publisher: SkipJack Publishing
Date of Publication: March 6, 2019
Number of Pages: 270

Scroll down for giveaway!

 

Synopsis

A hook-up turned lethal. A spurned, angry cowboy. Can rebel Maggie turn the tables before a killer adds her to the list of lost causes?

Live Wire book cover

Washed-up alt-country rocker-turned-junker Maggie Killian is pulled to Wyoming by an irresistible force . . . former bull rider Hank Sibley, the man who broke her heart fifteen years before. When she unexpectedly meets his Sunday school-teaching girlfriend at a saloon, Maggie seeks liquor-fueled oblivion between the sheets of a younger man’s bed. But after her beloved vintage truck breaks down and leaves her stranded in the Cowboy State, she learns her hook-up died minutes after leaving their rendezvous. Suddenly surrounded by men with questionable motives, Maggie searches for the murderer while fighting the electricity between herself and her old beau, and her new penchant for local whiskey.

When the police zero in on Maggie despite a disturbing series of break-ins at her guest cabin, she realizes she’s got no one to rely on but herself. To keep herself happily in bars instead of behind them, she must stop the killer before the cops realize the man she really suspects is a jealous, angry Hank.

Live Wire is the first standalone book in a trilogy featuring sharp-tongued protagonist Maggie Killian from the addictive What Doesn’t Kill You romantic mystery series. If you like nerve-racking suspense, electric characters and relationships, and juicy plot twists, then you’ll love USA Today best seller Pamela Fagan Hutchins’ Silver Falchion award-winning series.

 

“Maggie is irresistible.”
Robert Dugoni, #1 Amazon bestselling author of My Sister’s Grave

 

CLICK TO PURCHASE

Amazon * iBooks
Kobo * Smashwords * Nook

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Live Wire extra 2

GuestPost_preview

My Life and Privacy as Novel Fodder:
The Story Behind the Story of LIVE WIRE
By Pamela Fagan Hutchins
(originally posted on the author’s blog)

In the winter and spring of 2017, I learned the hard way to trust what my animals were telling me. I had a stalker. And one day I walked in on him in my house.
I should have known better. My gut had been telling me for months that something was wrong, but, since my husband Eric was traveling all the time, I worked hard at justifying away my paranoia. I didn’t want anything to steal my peace.

My dogs told me. They would bark like crazy when the guy would show up and hide out to watch me. I ignored them.

My common sense told me. I found food wrappers and fast food cups in odd places in the private, remote forest outside our bathroom window. I didn’t want to believe it, so I let my husband come up with alternative explanations, ones that wouldn’t confirm I was being watched.

My horse told me. Katniss used to snort and jump sideways when we passed his hiding place. I ignored her.

I ignored everything and everyone until I opened the back door to my house one day to find him inside and running out the front door. He ripped up the electric tape grazing fence in his haste to get out of there, then left footprints all around our property until they disappeared into the woods about half a mile from the little nest he had cleared by the picture window to the bathtub.

The deputies were nice when I called, but they didn’t believe me at first. I didn’t have a name, I didn’t see the guy’s face, I didn’t have my back door dead bolted (although I did have the front, his exit, dead bolted), or use an alarm system. It’s the country, y’all. We don’t worry about security. So they didn’t fingerprint. They did encourage me to do a lot of target shooting, keep my dogs with me, and let them do drive-through welfare checks for the next few weeks (which they did).

My husband went on a ninja reconnaissance of the neighborhood, dressed in camo, toting his shotgun. But the guy was “long gone.”

Except that he wasn’t. Not from how I felt (violated; see self therapy anthem above) or in actual real life either. He lived up the street. How did we know this, besides the fact that it was clear from the footprints that he lived or parked a car close to our remote, rural little ranch?

It comes back to my horse.

A week before the incident, Eric and I were out riding. A weird neighbor guy waylaid us, getting right in front of Katniss and putting his hands on her face. Now, you just don’t approach a horse and rider and put your hands on that horse, especially the face. And Katniss is a snotty girl. She doesn’t like anyone but Eric and me touching her face, and only then if we have treats to put in the mouth end of it. But this creeper put both his hands on her face, and she let him. He proceeded to talk at a dizzying speed for half an hour, without ever acknowledging Eric, and repeatedly telling me that if I ever saw him in the woods in the area, it was just because he was care taking for neighbors when they were out of town.

OKAAAAAYYYY.

We put up game cameras and security cameras everywhere after the incident. At the point where the guy’s boot prints disappeared from our property, we caught Katniss on camera two nights in a row at five am standing for 45 minutes with her head over the fence. She had no reason to be there. There was no gate. The only reason she comes to the gate by our house (half a mile away) is for food. And it hit us: she was waiting for food. Someone was feeding her there. At five am. Repeatedly. The same person she’d let touch her face?????

We asked all the neighbors whether they used this guy for care taking. The answer came back a 100% resounding “never.” I ran criminal background checks on every male neighbor within two miles. One came back as a multiple felon for breaking and entering, and for drug crimes: yep—the weird guy. We ran into him at a restaurant. Suddenly, he wouldn’t look at me at all, after having all but spirited me away a week earlier.

Fast forward to a week after the incident. Eric walked into a local gas station. The same creeper was there, talking to someone at the counter. He looked up and saw Eric and dropped what he was holding and ran out the back door of the station.

If we weren’t sure before, that did it for us. We called the deputy. Told him about my horse and the other incidents. He was a country boy, so he “got it” about Katniss. We identified the guy, but while I now knew for sure it was him, I could not lie and say I saw his face. The deputy offered to charge him with criminal trespass. But what good would that do? He’d be out of the slammer in a hot minute, if he was convicted. And he’d be pissed. I declined.

So, yeah, that’s the incident that inspired LIVE WIRE, which comes out March 6th. You can preorder now. In it, you’ll see my experience woven into the plot, if you look closely.
As for me, I practice my shooting a lot. I keep my dogs with me. I lock my doors now, and we use an alarm system. Weird things have happened since. I won’t elaborate, because we’re hoping someday to nail him on all of them. And I’m still waiting for next time. Because when it happens, he’s going back to jail for a long, long time.

Live Wire series

AboutTheAuthor

Pamela Fagan Hutchins

Pamela Fagan Hutchins is a USA Today best seller. She writes award-winning romantic mysteries from deep in the heart of Nowheresville, Texas and way up in the frozen north of Snowheresville, Wyoming. She is passionate about long hikes with her hunky husband and pack of rescue dogs and riding her gigantic horses.

If you’d like Pamela to speak to your book club, women’s club, class, or writers’ group, by Skype or in person, shoot her an e-mail. She’s very likely to say yes. Connect with Pamela on the web.

 

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Praise for Pamela Fagan Hutchins

2018 USA Today Best Seller
2017 WINNER Silver Falchion Award, Best Mystery
2016 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Cross Genre Fiction
2015 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Cross Genre Fiction
2014 USA Best Book Award Finalist, Cross Genre Fiction
2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-finalist, Romance
2013 USA Best Book Award Finalist, Business: Publishing
2012 Winner of the Houston Writers Guild Ghost Story Contest
2012 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Parenting: Divorce
2011 Winner of the Houston Writers Guild Novel Contest, Mainstream
2010 Winner of the Writers League of Texas Manuscript Contest, Romance

 

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