Life is not a fairy tale … After five years as a widow, MacKenzie is ready to move on, maybe. Still unsure of herself, she agrees to attend a bachelor auction in which a date is up for bid. Could this be the step she needs to make that move?
There’s just something about her… Sebastian spent the year following his divorce throwing himself into work and avoiding anything that had to do with love. When a favor for a friend leads to a chance meeting with the lady of his dreams, he begins to believe in the happily ever after.
With an ocean separating them, it won’t be easy, but together they’re sure to discover a love that is something different.
Allegra is an indie author who enjoys writing steamy love stories with a twist. The twist would be her imagination. Originally from Massachusetts, she now resides in Southern California.
Some of Allegra’s favorite things include all things purple, glitter, fairies, and unicorns. Her hobbies are reading, procrastinating, listening to music, watching sports, and napping. If she likes you, she’ll bake you cookies or cupcakes. If she doesn’t like you, she’ll write you into a story and, well, bad things will happen. Never make an author angry. It won’t end well, trust me on this one.
You can find Allegra fluttering around Romancelandia, figuring this author thing out, one book at a time. You can follow her adventures in writing on most social media platforms.
Award-winning author Olivia Drake begins her new Unlikely Duchesses series with THE DUKE I ONCE KNEW (St. Martin’s Paperbacks; December 31, 2018). With compelling characters and skillful plot twists, Drake’s latest novel will take your breath away.
First love is always the sweetest…
For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again.
Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him … even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love?
The Duke I Once Knew will delight readers who are fans of historical romance novels that are light, entertaining, and simply about two people falling in love. There’s no deep angst, dark deadly secrets, or hardline stance of any kind. Just good story-telling. Sometimes that’s what I’m looking for. And it’s all right.
Abby and Max reunite after fifteen years and the return of their love for each other is utterly believable and quite obviously inevitable. The forces that are trying to keep them apart (misunderstanding about the lost letters, Lady Elise, Max’s poor example of a father) are addressed one by one and in a timely manner.
I love reading an older heroine in Abby. There are so few of them in historical romance that when I find one, I gravitate towards it right away. It was fine for me to read teenagers when I was younger, but not when I’m middle-aged and can’t relate. I also love her taking control of her own life and not letting herself be pushed around anymore. And when she and Max had their intimacy, she proved her strong will once more.
I also loved that the characters are flawed, but still sympathetic. Especially Max. It makes the book as close to reality as it could get.
If I have minor complaints (villainess with no redeeming factor, some repetition in the PoVs, so many named characters some of whom never got fully developed), they’re overshadowed by the positives.
SMP will send a paperback copy of The Duke I Once Knew to one lucky reader who follows me on social media and who likes this post. Comment here or my Facebook Author page to let me know you’ve entered. Here are my links:
I’ll draw the winner on Monday, January 7 11:59 pm CST.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Olivia Drake is the author of the Cinderella Sisterhood series (Seducing the Heiress, Never Trust a Rogue, Scandal of the Year, If the Slipper Fits, Stroke of Midnight, Abducted by the Prince, Bella and the Beast, His Wicked Wish, and The Scandalous Flirt). She has been a member of Romance Writers of America since 1981, and her novels have won the Golden Heart Award, Best Historical Romantic Suspense and Best Regency Historical from Romantic Times. She has also won the prestigious RITA award. She currently resides in Houston, TX.
This book is the celebrated prequel to the critically acclaimed, nationally award-winning and bestselling memoir, Never Give in to Fear. In her raw, vivid, and unabashed style, author Marti MacGibbon delivers a sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious, always engaging account of her passage through trauma, betrayal, and loss in adolescence and young adulthood to discover her inner badass self. As one of the first women to work as a laborer in the Texas oil field, she set off explosives and staked oil wells before realizing her childhood dream of becoming a successful standup comic. Marti introduces readers to a wide range of characters in her life: from sleazy authority figures, wannabe Sixties musicians and crazed Corn Belt cult leaders, to Texas oil billionaires and wildcatters, to wild-eyed redneck coworkers who robbed banks on their lunch hour―in the company truck. The book includes scenes with iconic comedians, Hollywood entertainment industry moguls, and a legendary bluesman, and offers insights into resiliency, courage, and self-empowerment.
WINNER, 2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards in Humor WINNER, 2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards in Women’s Studies WINNER, 2017 National Indie Excellence Awards in Women’s Health WINNER, 2017 Beverly Hills Book Awards in Women’s Issues WINNER, 2018 Independent Press Award in Humor WINNER, 2018 Independent Press Award in Women’s Studies WINNER, 2018 New York City Book Award, Women’s Studies FINALIST, 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Memoir (Overcoming Adversity)
I don’t normally read non-fiction unless it’s a craft book on writing or a cookbook and I hardly ever read memoirs, but there’s something about this book that called to me. The catchy title alone had me anticipating a good read and I wasn’t disappointed. Far from it.
The first third was quite harrowing, with Marti’s tales of abuse, drug addiction, sexual assault, hospitalization, brainwashing, and the most heart-breaking of all, her separation from her daughter. But the telling was quite fascinating in that through everything she had suffered, there was always her determination to do everything she could to get out of the bad situation. To rise and recover. To hope for a better tomorrow.
Quotes like this had me tearing up:
“… there’s more than one way to fight. You fight by living, and working, and showing your kid how much you care, in any way possible. And you wait, and watch, and when your time comes, you’re ready.”
Marti’s storytelling is absolutely fantastic. The scenes leap out of the pages, they come alive so vividly. I especially enjoyed her adventures all over Texas, laughed at some of the incredibly weird situations she got involved in and the colorful characters she met along the way.
She dealt with every discriminatory, sexist thing thrown at her with humor, positivity, and self-belief, proving the title of the book perfectly fitting.
I bookmarked several pages of this book, particularly the last few chapters where Marti was receiving advice from successful humorists and the final one where she imparted some of her own. Although not a comedian, I can definitely apply some of the wisdom she shared in my writing, in my living.
I love this advice best of all:
“Be yourself. You are enough, right now, as you are, and if you continue the brave work, you will continue to become more, and greater, exponentially. Trust in that, build your tenacity, and continue on your path, no matter the challenges.”
To end, I say to readers: buy this book. Read it and learn from Marti’s experiences. Be inspired. Be strong. Be Fierce, Funny, and Female. That’s what I hope to become, in my own way.
PRAISE FOR FIERCE, FUNNY, AND FEMALE:
“Being funny is a survival skill. Fierce, Funny, and Female is not only a survivor’s tale but an inspirational story of overcoming the unthinkable, again and again…Her courage and comedy make Fierce, Funny, and Female a winner.” — Foreword Clarion Reviews
“An effervescently witty…chronicle of perseverance and the power to overcome the darkest of days…Perhaps the most rewarding chapter in this chatty, affecting book is the concluding one, where MacGibbon lists the tried-and-true pearls of wisdom that continue to sustain her…” — Kirkus Reviews
“Fierce, Funny, and Female is a thoroughly engaging memoir packed with witty observations, high adventure, and a glimpse of behind-the-scenes Hollywood. Highly recommended!” — Midwest Book Review
“MacGibbon is a natural storyteller, and her life story is a most interesting one. The characters she has run across during her life journey are well-drawn and absolutely fascinating, particularly the good ol’ boys in the Texas oilfields.” — San Francisco Book Review
A compelling speaker and storyteller, Marti MacGibbon delivers high-energy presentations and writes books on overcoming adversity, addiction and recovery, and inspiration, with humor and a genuine, down-to-earth style. She’s experienced critical situations that no human being should have to face. In the past, she hit rock bottom in every possible way as a hard-core drug addict, was homeless, and was trafficked to Tokyo and held prisoner by Japanese organized crime. Her story of triumph is testimony to the power of the human spirit. Marti lives her message. She reveals simple, effective strategies that anyone can use to get back on track, build resiliency, reduce stress, and cultivate a sense of humor. Marti is a bestselling author, inspirational speaker, certified addiction treatment professional, Gorski certified relapse-prevention specialist, and member of the National Speakers Association. She’s been interviewed in Entrepreneur, Investor’s Business Daily, on ABC-TV, CBS-TV, and numerous radio shows. And she’s funny: Marti traveled all over the U.S. as a professional standup comic and performed at the Hollywood Improv and Comedy Store. She is founder, producer and host of Laff-aholics Comedy Benefit for Recovery, an annual charity fundraiser in Indianapolis featuring nationally headlining comedians. She also serves on the outreach committee of IPATH, Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans Task Force.
Each of Three Winners Gets a Signed Copy of the Book PLUS: FIRST PRIZE: $100 Spa Finder gift card + $25 Starbucks gift card + Moroccan oil sample collection SECOND PRIZE: Estee Lauder Limited Edition Gift Set + $25 Starbucks gift card THIRD PRIZE: $25 Starbucks gift card. DECEMBER 12-21, 2018 (U.S. Only)
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Action / Christian
Date of Publication: November 6, 2018
Number of Pages: 336
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Pete Brooks can’t believe he’s waited an entire year for Jess Tagg to return to Montana, only to have her break his heart by getting engaged to her ex-fiancé. Worse, a series of mistakes on the job have cost lives, and Pete isn’t sure he wants to continue to work in Search and Rescue. Maybe if he can just get over Jess, he can figure out how to move forward.
EMT Jess Tagg has returned to Montana to finally give her heart to Pete, but it seems he’s no longer interested. When a terrible fight between them sparks an impulsive decision, she finds herself crashed on the side of a highway along with Esme Shaw. And just when she thinks things couldn’t get any worse, she and Esme are taken captive and into the untamed Montana wilderness—with murderous intent.
Now Pete and the other PEAK Rescue Team members are in a race against time, the elements, and the actions of a vengeful man. Pete will have to use everything he’s learned to find Jess and Esme—and pray that his past mistakes don’t cost him the life of the woman he can’t stop loving.
Praise for the Montana Rescue Series
“Warren’s stalwart characters and engaging story lines make her Montana Rescue series a must-read.”–Booklist
“Faith, action, romantic tension, humor, and emotional depth.”
“Warren excels at creating flawed characters the reader cares about, as well as building a suspenseful adventure.”
—Christian Library Journal
Unputdownable, heart-pounding, action-packed romantic suspense novel revolving around not just one, but two fantastic love stories. On top of it all, it’s a Christian romance as well with the characters who were in mortal danger trusting God’s will at the same time that they try their hardest to rescue themselves.
Although I am coming into this series late (this is the first book I read and it’s the series ender), I didn’t feel lost in spite of the numerous named characters. It actually encouraged me to look up the previous five and add them to my to-be-read mountain of books.
Wait For Me had me turning page after page to find out how Pete and Jess will finally end up together and how the new romance between Shae and Ned develops, especially with Shae on the verge of death and with a killer still after her. It’s all very exciting and Ms. Warren’s writing is impeccable. She really takes the reader right in the middle of the book as if we’re witnessing the action as it happens.
I love that all the characters are capable, be they men or women. I love that Felipe is an upstanding guy, that he makes it hard for Jess to choose between him and Pete. Like I already said above, although they have faith in God, they don’t just wait to be rescued. Lastly, I love the family and community coming together to help each other out. Fantastic book. I highly recommend it.
Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels with more than 1 million books sold, including Wild Montana Skies, Rescue Me, A Matter of Trust, Troubled Waters, and Storm Front. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT Medallion and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She makes her home in Minnesota
Genre: Non-Fiction / Inspirational / Devotional Publisher: Inspire Books Date of Publication: July 11, 2017 Number of Pages: 92, 4.5″ x 6″
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This ninety-two-page gift book is a compilation of devotions, poems, prayers, and lists of things to be grateful for. The difference between having what you want and having what you need is a principle some people never grasp. In the reading of this book, you may realize you have much more to be grateful for than you were aware of. Use this little book as a daily devotional or pick it up at random times to remind yourself that you are a blessed individual.
I read Gratitude: The Art of Being Thankful at a time when there were too many distressing news – mass shooting, wildfires, friends of mine undergoing health crises. It was the absolutely perfect time to read it. How do you say thanks when people are dying, when you lose everything you’ve worked hard for? The booklet says you count your blessings. You focus on what you have rather than what you don’t have. You celebrate life.
Enhanced by Ms. Phelps personal anecdotes, Gratitude is an uplifting devotional that should be in everyone’s pockets and read daily. It’s a handy guide on how to say praises and thanks, on how to pray and offer thanksgiving. It’s the perfect gift and I am grateful that I received it.
PRAISE FOR GRATITUDE: THE ART OF BEING THANKFUL:
“This little gem of a book arrived before we left on vacation, so I took it along. It became our shared devotional and ‘thought for the day’ outlook … and colored our time away with gratitude. This unique discovery is one to treasure.”
– 5 Star Review, Amazon verified purchase
Vickie Phelps writes to encourage, inspire, and influence. She has published 200 articles, devotionals, and essays in more than fifty magazines and contributed to several anthologies. Vickie is the author of the novels, Postmark From the Past,Moved, Left No Address, Waiting for Joy, and a devotional book, Psalms for the Common Man. Vickie is co-author with Jo Huddleston of the gift book, Simply Christmas, and Writing 101: A Handbook of Tips; Encouragement for Writers.
1st Prize: Signed Copy of The Art of Being Thankful + $5 Amazon Gift Card + Simply
Christmas & Psalms for the Common Man (non-fiction themed pack)
2nd Prize: Signed Copy of The Art of Being Thankful + $5 Amazon Gift Card +
Postmark from the Past & Waiting for Joy (holiday theme pack)
3rd Prize:Signed Copy of The Art of Being Thankful
(Inspired by “Cinderella”)
A Modern Fairytale Collection
From New York Times bestselling author Katy Regnery comes a dark and twisted retelling of the beloved fairytale, Cinderella!
My name is Ashley Ellis…
I was thirteen years old when my mother – retired supermodel, Tig – married Mosier Răumann, who was twice her age and the head of the Răumann crime family.
When I turned eighteen, my mother mysteriously died. Only then did I discover the dark plans my stepfather had in store for me all along; the debauched “work” he expected me to do.
With the help of my godfather, Gus, I have escaped from Mosier’s clutches, but his twin sons and henchmen have been tasked with hunting me down. And they will stop at nothing to return my virgin body to their father
When Katy Regnery promised a twisted Cinderella, she delivered big time. Fragments of Ash is not your Disney-style fairy tale. There is no ball, no gown, no glass slippers. There IS a fairy godfather, a pervert stepfather, two cowed stepbrothers, and an initially-indifferent Prince Charming. It’s diverse and multilingual – Gus is gay, Mosier and his sons are Romanian, there’s a Catholic priest, the grandparents are from Wales, and the hero is half-French. It’s harrowing, angsty, heart-pounding, tragic, and sometimes all-too-real. But, it is also wonderfully sweet, especially in the slow-burn romance between Ashley and Julian.
I love the balance between good and evil with Mosier and Ash’s grandparents taking on the role of villains, while Gus, Jock, Father Joseph, and Julian are firmly on the side of the angels. I also like the ambiguity with Tig and Anders. The diary device is effectively used in having her be a big part of the book even after her death.
Highly evocative, Fragments of Ash will make you feel for the main characters. I was truly scared for Ash in a couple of early scenes. I was both disgusted and saddened by Tig’s lifestyle. And, I fell in love with Julian’s “courtship” of Ash – asking for her consent, giving her the control over their physical interactions, having confidence in her strength to face Mosier as bait, protecting her. He is the total opposite of Mosier. That is why he’s the hero. He is why we read romance.
Readers, heed the disclaimer. This is an adult story with profane language and themes that could trigger trauma: drugs, rape threat, murder. If you like light and fluffy, this is not for you. If you’re a mature reader who likes to be engaged, immersed, involved with the story, buy Fragments of Ash. Now.
FRAGMENTS OF ASH is part of the ~a modern fairytale~ collection: contemporary, standalone romances inspired by beloved fairy tales.
The Vixen and the Vet (Beauty & the Beast) – available now
Never Let You Go (Hansel & Gretel) – available now
Ginger’s Heart (Little Red Riding Hood) – available now
Dark Sexy Knight (Camelot) – available now
Don’t Speak (The Little Mermaid) – available now
Sheer Heaven (Rapunzel) – available now
Fragments of Ash (Cinderella) – available now
Swan Song (The Ugly Duckling) – coming soon
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Regnery started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract, and Katy’s first novel was published in September 2013.
Katy’s first modern fairytale romance, The Vixen and the Vet, was nominated for a RITA® in 2015 and won the 2015 Kindle Book Award for romance. Katy’s boxed set, The English Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1–4, hit the USA Today bestseller list in 2015, and her Christmas story, Marrying Mr. English, appeared on the list a week later. In May 2016, Katy’s Blueberry Lane collection, The Winslow Brothers Boxed Set, Books #1–4, became a New York Times e-book bestseller.
Katy’s books are available in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Turkish.
Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, two dogs, and one Blue Tonkinese kitten create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home.
Genre: Historical Romance / Christian
Date of Publication: July 31, 2018
Number of Pages: 416
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Welcome to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England. Tressa Harlowe’s father kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it.
Now Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune—before someone else finds it first.
I don’t normally read Christian Romance, finding some of them too forceful in preaching, but I made an exception for A Rumored Fortune and I did not regret it. Joanna Davidson Politano’s faith and the faith of her main characters Tressa Harlowe and Donegan Vance shone throughout the book and is essential to the growth of the hero and heroine and the development of the story.
Almost allegorical in its story-telling, A Rumored Fortune is a fascinating novel. The descriptions of the settings and characters, the dialogues, the conflicts, and the narration take the reader in a journey of intricate family relationships, class warfare, historical societal norms, viticulture, mystery, and romance.
I appreciate the deft way Ms. Politano drew her characters. They’re real and relatable. Tressa is kind, intelligent, and artistic but she has prejudices too. Donegan is forthright, but is also deceptive. Even the secondary characters are rounded out: Lucy, Tressa’s mother, Andrew, Margaret, Dr. Caine, Neville and Ellen, Mr. Prescott. They’re not caricatures and have reasons for their behaviors.
With its unpredictable twists and turns and affecting lessons in the practice of trust and acts of charity and sacrifice to demonstrate faith and love, A Rumored Fortune is a highly engaging read. I give it four stars. ✩✩✩✩
PRAISE FOR A RUMORED FORTUNE:
“Everyone loves a treasure hunt—pair it with a heroine you can’t help but love, a hero you can’t help but swoon over, and a family mystery that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, and you end up with A Rumored Fortune. This book is a treasure in itself and one you won’t be able to put down!”—Roseanna M. White, bestselling author of the Ladies of the Manor series and Shadows Over England series
“Politano combines romance and mystery with great skill to create plot twists that will keep readers captivated until the very end.”—Publishers Weekly
“The author has done a great job, offering up a plot filled with wit, charm, action, and a lot of female strength.”—Suspense Magazine
Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears. She freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her.
GRAND PRIZE: Copy of A Rumored Fortune + Novel Teas (box of 25 tea bags) + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card 2ND PRIZE: Copy of A Rumored Fortune+ $10 Starbucks Gift Card 3RD PRIZE: Copy of A Rumored Fortune+ $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Card (US ONLY) September 11-20, 2018