ONCE A RAKE, ALWAYS A ROGUE by Catherine Stein – Release Day Review & Giveaway

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Happy Release Day to Catherine Stein’s Once a Rake, Always a Rogue, the third book from her Potions and Passions series.

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He’s mended his ways.

Dr. Ernest Montford has left behind his rakish youth for a respectable life mixing medicinal potions and helping patients. So when his best friend’s sister is threatened with incarceration in an asylum, he rushes to help. But Lady Astrid Wembley isn’t keen to heed Monte’s medical advice. Worse, she’s part of his wild past: the mysterious girl he could never forget.

But the woman he can’t forget…

Astrid has fond memories of her long-ago passionate encounter on the beach. Unfortunately, the Monte who kissed her so thoroughly that day shows little resemblance to the stuffy, abstemious doctor with absurd health advice. Still, she has little choice but to put up with him until her sanity is proven and she can return to her life of scientific study.

Might be his undoing.

Dangerous potions and unethical experiments await Astrid if she fails, and only with Monte’s help can she expose the true horrors of the asylum and thwart the plans of the men controlling it. But the longer Astrid and Monte are together, the more their old passion sparks, and the more she longs to unleash the rogue that still lurks inside him.

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A long silence passed between them before Lady Astrid sighed.

“Very well. I shall practice my social niceties. Lovely to see you, Dr. Montford. How are you this morning?”

Hungover and lustful.

“Very well, thank you.”

“What are those peculiar little cakes on your plate?”

Monte glanced down at the small round cakes. The cook had done a masterful job, making them perfect circles of a lovely dark-brown color. “Bran loaves. I eat them every morning. Your cook was kind enough to make a batch for me.”

“How curious. May I try one?”

“Certainly.” He sliced off a small bite and transferred it to her plate. “You would do well to eat them, yourself. They are most healthful.”

She chewed her bite slowly, and her nose wrinkled in distaste. “Ugh. It’s like eating paper.”

“The rich foods you’ve eaten of late have no doubt overstimulated your palate. I assure you, if you were to eat them every morning as I do, you would find them appetizing.”

“I doubt that.”

Monte sipped his tea. It was as strong as he’d hoped. “The bran loaves stimulate healthful digestion and do not overset the stomach. This allows both the body and mind to begin the day in a restive state. Unlike your cheese, which may well cause dyspepsia when ingested so early in the morning.”

Astrid’s brow furrowed, but her tone remained even, “I’m very fond of cheese.”

“I never eat cheese,” Monte explained. “Nor do I adulterate my tea with milk. It adds an unnecessary richness and dilutes the beneficial properties of the beverage.”

“How unpatriotic of you.”

Was she mocking him again?

“What do you eat, Dr. Montford? Other than your revolting little cakes, I mean.”

“Vegetables.”

She gave him a skeptical arch of her brow once more. “Vegetables.”

“Yes.”

There was a distinct lack of vegetables at the breakfast table this morning. Dinner had provided only a few withered specimens with most of the nutrition boiled out of them.

“Nothing else? You did eat some of the chicken last night, though you avoided the sauce.”

“Moderate portions of meat. Nuts and beans. But primarily vegetables.”

“No fruits?”

“Rarely.”

“That’s a pity. I love fruit. There’s nothing quite like biting into a perfectly ripe apple, don’t you think? It floods one’s mouth with that crisp, juicy taste. So sweet, with just the right tart bite.”

Monte swallowed a groan. Now he was fixated on her mouth again. He gulped his tea to prevent himself saying anything he would later regret.

Astrid hopped from her seat, forcing him to set down the cup and rise.

“It was interesting chatting with you in a civil manner, Dr. Montford,” she said. “I must go and prepare for our journey. Enjoy your tasteless breakfast.”

He nodded and watched her leave before resuming his seat and pouring himself another cup of tea. He wished it were a good, strong whisky.

“Cal, you bastard,” he muttered. “You haven’t just asked for a favor. You’ve asked me to do the impossible.”

 

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Catherine Stein

Award-winning author Catherine Stein believes that everyone deserves love and that Happily Ever After has the power to help, to heal, and to comfort. She writes sassy, sexy romance set during the Victorian and Edwardian eras and full of action, adventure, magic, and fantastic technologies.

Catherine lives in Michigan with her husband and three rambunctious girls. She loves steampunk and oxford commas, and can often be found dressed in clothing that was purchased at a Renaissance Festival, drinking copious amounts of tea.

Follow Catherine here: 

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Catherine Stein’s books are auto-buys for me because they never fail to entertain and educate at the same time.  Her latest release Once a Rake, Always a Rogue brings an enhanced element of humor that, in addition to fascinating characters, fast-paced action, and expected competence porn, made reading it a delightful diversion. These days, when there’s still no antidote to the global medical crisis we’re facing, a potion comprised of those elements of great writing could be just what we need to get us through days and weeks of social distancing.

From their titillating first encounter, Astrid and Monte captivated my attention. Their witty and snappy banter incited hilarity which made me thankful I read it at home. Their expertise in their respective fields provided interesting information I didn’t expect to learn from a romance novel.  Both have likable, engaging personalities that make it easy to root for their happy ever after.

All that lightness doesn’t mean there is no depth to this book. On the contrary. Once a Rake, Always a Rogue touched on issues of female empowerment,  body positivity, interracial relationships, and patriarchy in a manner that is natural and integral to the story and not at all forced or preachy.

Funny, steamy, instructive, utterly enjoyable. Another five-star read.

5 stars

 

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Win an autographed paperback and a book pendant. Click on the photo to enter.

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FOR THE LOVE OF YOU by Claire Marti – Release Day Review

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FOR THE LOVE OF YOU 

by

Claire Marti

 

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For a French soccer icon, and a gifted artist, a fake engagement is the perfect solution for their current dilemmas. But when last summer’s fling slips from lust to love, their pretend relationship becomes too hot to handle.

Gabriel DuVernay is heir to one of the oldest wineries in France, but his passion is playing soccer, not tending vines. When he signs a multi-million dollar deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy, he’s able to postpone his unwelcome duties and help his younger sister convince their old-fashioned father she should be their family’s first female winemaker. Another bonus of moving to California is reuniting with the striking redhead who snuck out of his apartment after the hottest night of his life.

Last summer, artist Dylan McNeill’s life on her family’s Southern California horse-breeding ranch was thrown into chaos and she escaped to Paris. One electrifying night with a gorgeous playboy athlete helped her forget her problems. She’s never forgotten Gabriel, but aspiring artists trying to break into the elite art world don’t have time for romance. She’s determined to get discovered without trading on her family’s famous name.

When Gabriel suffers a career-shattering injury, he needs to buy some time to figure out how to remain in America and choose his own future. His influential mother can open important doors in the art world and help Dylan fulfill her dreams ––for a price. A fictitious engagement seems like the simple answer until living at Pacific Vista Ranch and pretending to be in love starts to feel real.

Can last year’s one night stand and this year’s fake engagement turn into true love forever?

Buy Links: 

Amazon:  amzn.to/3a95T7l
B&N: barnesandnoble.com/w/for-the-love-of-you-claire-marti
Kobo:  kobo.com/for-the-love-of-you-7
iBooks:  books.apple.com/id1494966200

 

REVIEW

Oh là là!  With a steamy one-night stand in Paris, a fake engagement in LA, two attractive and talented protagonists with respective family issues, For the Love of You offers an entertaining diversion from our current worries. In this third book of her Pacific Vista Ranch series, Claire Marti tells a sophisticated romantic fantasy-fulfillment story between American artist Dylan McNeill and  French soccer superstar Gabriel DuVernay.

There’s so much to like in this light contemporary novel. Both main characters have valid reasons for agreeing to the fake engagement and the benefit to both is equal. While there is a Hollywood gloss to the entire story, the emotions displayed by the characters felt real. Gabriel’s pain, both physically and psychologically with the end of his high-profile career, manifested strongly. Dylan’s guilt about lying to her family, especially to her twin, was incredibly apparent. Also obvious is their chemistry and the eventuality of their turning the fake into a true engagement.

Kudos to Ms. Marti for seamlessly incorporating updates about the couples from the other books in the series without taking away the focus from Dylan and Gabriel. Great job also of introducing several characters and giving each of them distinct personalities. I can honestly say that this book can be read as a stand-alone but it’ll make you want to read the first two as well. In my opinion, it’ll make you want to read all of Ms. Marti’s back list, if you haven’t done so already, and her future books too.

Content advisory: mild profanities, on-page injury, open-door sexual intimacy.

4 out of 5 stars

 

ABOUT CLAIRE

Headshotfullbody518smallClaire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.

Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga.

Social Media Links:

Website:  clairemarti.com
Facebook:  ClaireMartiAuthor
Twitter:  @clairepmarti
Instagramclairepmarti
Goodreads: Claire_Marti
Bookbub:  claire-marti
Amazon:  Claire-Marti

 

OUT OF THE EMBERS by Amanda Cabot: Book Blog Tour – Author Interview

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OUT OF THE EMBERS

MESQUITE SPRINGS, BOOK ONE

by

Amanda Cabot

Genre: Historical Fiction / Christian Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: March 3, 2020
Number of Pages: 336

Scroll down for the giveaway!

 

Synopsis

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Ten years after her parents were killed, Evelyn Radcliffe is once more homeless. The orphanage that was her refuge and later her workplace has burned to the ground, and only she and a young orphan girl have escaped. Convinced this must be related to her parents’ murders, Evelyn flees with the girl to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country and finds refuge in the home of Wyatt Clark, a talented horse rancher whose plans don’t include a family of his own.

At first, Evelyn is a distraction. But when it becomes clear that trouble has followed her to Mesquite Springs, she becomes a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants her dead? And will his own plans become collateral damage?

Suspenseful and sweetly romantic, Out of the Embers is the first in a new series that invites you to the Texas Hill Country in the 1850s, when the West was wild, the men were noble, and the women were strong.

 

PRAISE FOR OUT OF THE EMBERS:

Out of the Embers is part prairie romance, part romantic suspense. I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a book more. Amanda Cabot has written an intriguing, chilling mystery and she winds it through the pages of a sweet romance in a way that made me keep turning the pages fast to see what was going to happen next. An absolutely excellent read. And now I’m hungry for oatmeal pecan pie!”

~ Mary Connealy, author of Aiming for Love, book #1 in the Brides of Hope Mountain series

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CLICK TO ORDER ON:

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AboutTheAuthor

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Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Cimarron Creek trilogy, as well as the Texas Crossroads series, the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.

 

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INTERVIEW WITH AMANDA CABOT

What inspired the idea for your new book, Out of the Embers?

I’ve always been fascinated by the way that events of the past shape us, so I started brainstorming worst case scenarios. What if a young girl’s parents were murdered and she never knew why? What if she still felt as if someone was watching her and planning to kill her too, even though it’s been ten years? What if she narrowly missed being inside her new home when it was destroyed and everyone died? These were the seeds of Out of the Embers.

Out of the Embers is set in a fictional small town in the Texas Hill Country. What inspired you to create a place like Mesquite Springs?

By now, readers have probably figured out that I enjoy bringing small towns to life, particularly in the Texas Hill Country. The challenge for me is making each of my fictional towns different. After all, I wouldn’t want anyone to say “same old, same old” when reading one of my stories. What distinguishes Mesquite Springs from Ladreville and Cimarron Creek is that it’s experiencing a period of growth with new businesses and new people coming to town. Those people change the town’s dynamics—some in good ways, some in not-so-good ways—but they all make their mark on Mesquite Springs.

Two of the main characters in Out of the Embers, Evelyn and Polly, are joined together through a fire that destroys their home. But, that’s not the only thing the two have in common. Can you tell us a little more about their relationship?

Besides both being orphans, Evelyn and Polly share enough of a resemblance that when she flees after the orphanage is destroyed, Evelyn finds it easy to pretend that Polly is her younger sister. In truth, their relationship is more like mother and daughter than sisters, with Polly depending on Evelyn to make her fondest dream come true: finding her a new daddy.

Did anything surprise you as you were writing the novel?

Yes, as a matter of fact. Although I plot my books before I begin the actual writing process and rarely make major deviations from those plots, this time when I was about half through the first draft, I realized that what I had envisioned for Wyatt’s life after the book ended wasn’t the right one for him. He needed to stay in Mesquite Springs, and he needed a compelling reason to stay. The mayoral race was the result of those realizations.

Did you face any challenges in creating this story? What was the hardest scene to write?

The biggest challenge was not revealing too much about the two men who are secondary characters too soon but still giving readers enough reason to care about what was going to happen to them.

I wouldn’t say that any one scene was particularly difficult to write, but perhaps that’s because I tend to agonize over every scene, trying to make it as close to perfect as possible.

Do you see parts of yourself in any of your characters?

I’d like to claim that my characters are totally fictional, but the truth is that I, like all authors, bring parts of myself to each story. The fact that I’m the oldest of four children made Evelyn’s almost parental relationship with Polly an easy one for me to write.

What do you hope readers will gain from Out of the Embers?

As always, I hope they’ll finish the book with a smile on their faces, a renewed belief in the healing power of love, and the knowledge that God can—and does—answer prayers.

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THREE WINNERS
One Grand Prize Winner
Copy of Out of the Embers + Special Hill Country Sweets Cookbook
+$25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Next Two Winners:
Copy of Out of the Embers + Special Hill Country Sweets Cookbook 
+ $10 Starbucks Card
March 10-March 20, 2020
(US ONLY)

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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

3/10/20 Notable Quotable Forgotten Winds
3/10/20 Review Librariel Book Adventures
3/11/20 Review Jennifer Silverwood
3/11/20 BONUS Post Hall Ways Blog
3/12/20 Excerpt, Part 1 Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
3/12/20 Author Interview All the Ups and Downs
3/13/20 Character Spotlight The Clueless Gent
3/13/20 Review Reading by Moonlight
3/14/20 Guest Post Chapter Break Book Blog
3/15/20 Author Interview Carpe Diem Chronicles
3/16/20 Excerpt, Part 2 That’s What She’s Reading
3/16/20 Review StoreyBook Reviews
3/17/20 Review Missus Gonzo
3/18/20 Excerpt, Part 3 Max Knight
3/19/20 Review Momma on the Rocks
3/19/20 Review Book Fidelity

 

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VISIONS OF LADY MARY by Rachel Ann Smith – Release Day Review

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VISIONS OF LADY MARY

by

Rachel Ann Smith

 

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01_volm_cover_11202019_halfsize_ebookIt’s hard to connect with the living when you’re able to communicate with the dead. 

Lady Mary Masterson had no objection to being betrothed to Gilbert Talbot until he ridiculed her. Now, years later, it appears her chance for an adventure on the Continent will be thwarted by the very man when he turns up, vowing to keep her safe. Insufferable!

If only it weren’t so difficult to ignore her fluttering heart—and the voices constantly touting the advantages of marrying the man who long ago called her a witch.

Battlefield promises are easy to make and hard to keep.

They were at war when Gilbert Talbot, the Earl of Waterford, promised to care for the strange but fascinating sister of his dying best friend. But his is a perilous life, and to ensure her safety, Gilbert has avoided Lady Mary, a woman whose mere presence makes every cell in his body come alive.

Now fate has brought them together in more danger than Gilbert ever imagined. He could well lose the woman he loves to the enemy—or to the arms of another man.

Buy it here:

Books2Read   –   Amazon   –   Barnes & Noble   –   Apple   –   Kobo

 

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Intrigue-filled and adventuresome with a touch of paranormal, this road-trip historical romance is an engaging read.

Mary and Gilbert have separate reasons for avoiding the other despite the fact that people in their lives–both dead and living–keep saying they’re meant for each other. Mary resented having been called a witch when she was but a teenager by someone she fancied herself in love with. Gilbert has far too many responsibilities to be distracted by the odd woman he promised to protect. When they were thrown together through the machinations of her aunt and his superiors, they finally fulfill their intertwined fate.

But first, they have to endure danger, suspicion, the temporary loss of Mary’s ghostly support system,  rivalries, and their lack of trust for one another. All Mary wants is for Gilbert to believe her, believe that she can contribute to his work for the Home Office. Gilbert, while desiring Mary with all his being, wants to feel that he has control over his destiny and not get roped into an arranged marriage like his parents’ unhappy one.

Exciting and action-packed, Visions of Lady Mary is a fast-paced romp of a romantic novel. Sometimes too fast and too much action that I barely felt a sense of place. France is one of my favorite places to have had the opportunity to visit and I want to revisit again and again it even if only in books.

You may be able to read this fourth book in the series as a stand-alone but I recommend reading the previous three to get better acquainted with the characters, many of whom are mentioned here.

4 out of 5 stars

 

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Rachel Smith

Rachel Ann Smith writes steamy historical romances with a twist. Her debut series, Agents of the Home Office, features female protagonists that defy convention.

When Rachel isn’t writing, she loves to read and spend time with her family. She is frequently found with her Kindle by the pool during the summer, the soccer field in the spring and fall, or curled up on the couch during the winter months.

She currently lives in Colorado with her extremely understanding husband and their two very supportive children.

Follow Rachel Ann here: 

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ONCE UPON A SUNSET by Tif Marcelo – Release Day Review and Giveaway

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ONCE UPON A SUNSET

by

Tif Marcelo

SYNOPSIS

OUASbookcoverDiana Gallagher-Cary is at a tipping point. As a Washington, DC, OB/GYN at a prestigious hospital, she uses her career to distract herself from her grief over her granny’s death and her breakup from her long-term boyfriend after her free-spirited mother moves in with her. But when she makes a medical decision that disparages the hospital, she is forced to go on a short sabbatical.

Never one to wallow, Diana decides to use the break to put order in her life, when her mother, Margo, stumbles upon a box of letters from her grandfather, Antonio Cruz, to her grandmother from the 1940s. The two women always believed that Antonio died in World War II, but the letters reveal otherwise. When they learn that he lived through the war, and that they have surviving relatives in the Philippines, Diana becomes determined to connect with the family that she never knew existed, though Margo refuses to face her history. But Diana pushes on, and heads on a once-in-a-lifetime trip that challenges her identity, family history, and her idea of romantic love that could change her life forever.

Buy links: 

Tif’s Website
Indiebound
Amazon
B&N
Kobo
Simon & Schuster

 

REVIEW

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This richly-layered and immensely touching tale of family, friendships, and love is another winner from Tif Marcelo. I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to read both an early draft and an advanced copy of the final version. Both solidified my respect and admiration for the author of such engaging reads as Once Upon a Sunset.

At the forefront is the complicated relationship between super-analytical Diana and her social media-savvy mother Margo. Both are still reeling from the death of Leora, the third female lead of the book whose secrets affected her descendants’ present and future in ways neither of them imagined. Their separate quests to find answers to  individual questions about identity and purpose eventually brought them closer to each other which is as satisfying an ending as any happily-ever-afters out there. That both also found romantic love in the process makes this an all-around enjoyable read.

Set in both the US and the Philippines, Once Upon a Sunset presents aspects of Filipino-American culture that only someone who belongs could articulate. There’s plenty of delicious food, a smattering of Filipino language, and a bit of intricate family setup. And then, there’s the matter-of-fact acknowledgment of the Filipino migrants’ contributions to many US historical causes, particularly to their service during World War II through the character of Antonio Cruz.  That’s something that is seldom celebrated in publishing to the point that it adds to the sense of erasure that the minority group to which both Tif and I belong to experiences. For this solid piece of representation, I give this book top marks.

PS: I read this novel in both eBook and paperback and I have to state my preference for and recommendation of the paper version. The formatting of the letters and text messages added an extra-special dimension that enhanced my enjoyment of the story.

5 stars

ABOUT TIF 

Tif Marcelo

Tif Marcelo is a veteran army nurse and holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Public Administration. She believes and writes about the strength of families, the endurance of friendship, heartfelt romances, and is inspired daily by her own military hero husband and four children. She is also the author of The Key to Happily Ever After and the Journey to the Heart series.

Follow her here:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

 

 

GIVEAWAY

Gallery Books is generously sponsoring a paperback giveaway of Once Upon a Sunset to one of my followers. All you have to do to enter is follow Tif Marcelo on BookBub and tell me in the comments that you’ve done so. Bonus entry if you also follow me. I’ll draw the winner on Tuesday, March 10 at 12 noon Central Time.

 

Tif Heartwarming Fiction

 

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

TUCKER by Emily March – Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

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TUCKER

by

Emily March

SYNOPSIS

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From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Emily March comes the second book in the Eternity Springs: The McBrides of Texas trilogy, TUCKER (St. Martin’s Paperbacks, February 25, 2020, $7.99). Two business owners come head-to-head in a feud with tulle and grit in this passionate story. This tale shows that even when life changes from the stress of a military career to working next to a wedding planner, love always finds a way to begin, even if it was never thought possible.

Meet Gillian Thacker. Her business: Bliss Bridal Salon. Her passion: Weddings. Her own wedding: It’s complicated. Life isn’t turning out like she’d planned. The last thing she wants is for a real-life hero to ride to her rescue, but an unexpected event puts her entire future in Redemption, Texas, at risk. So what’s a brokenhearted bridal expert to do? Maybe a new set of survival skills is exactly what she needs …

Tucker McBride has been proud to call himself a U.S. Army Ranger. But now that his days of service are over, he’s decided to put his expertise to use by founding a wilderness skills training school. He sets up shop in Redemption, next to Bliss Bridal, and so begins life: Part Two. Marriage has been pretty low on his agenda, but as soon as he meets Gillian, Tucker can’t help but contemplate the ultimate challenge: Convincing the reluctant bride to take his hand and leap into the adventure of a lifetime . . . until death do them part.

Buy-Book Links:

Macmillan  –  Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million  –  Indie Bound  –  Powell’s

 

ABOUT EMILY

Copy of Emily March

Emily March is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a “master of delightful banter,” and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America.

A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.

Twitter: @emilymarchbooks
Facebook: @emilymarchbooks 
Instagram: @emilymarchbooks 
Author Website: https://emilymarch.com/
Macmillan Author Page: https://us.macmillan.com/author/emilymarch

 

REVIEW

Two of the things I admire most about Emily March’s writing are her great sense of place and her authentic “voice” for her male characters. Texan readers can immediately recognize references to state favorites like Buc-ee’s and Dr. Pepper and take sides in the rivalries between college football teams. The characterization of Tucker, Jackson, Boone, even Jeremy is believable. Their language sounds real.

I found myself charmed by both Tucker and Gillian from the start. I enjoyed their meet-cute and was invested immediately in their happy ending. Of course, the path to happily-ever-after is never smooth and we have to contend with an ongoing relationship that had to be resolved first before our pair is matched with each other.

I loved the strength of friendships and family relationships that run in these Eternity Springs books. I prefer it when the protagonists in the stories I read have a reliable support system. In this story, Gillian has her mother and her best friends while Tucker counts on his cousins.

Another aspect of the book I enjoyed so much is the competence porn – Tucker’s survival skills workshop was quite informative and incredibly useful in real life. I really appreciate a book that educates at the same time that it entertains.

As with the previous book, the scenes away from Redemption are not my favorites., although the Vegas portion was quite fun and the visits to Eternity  Springs in Colorado were necessary for the plot to move along. The number of named characters are more manageable here than in Jackson. There’s still a lot, but not as many as in the previous book.

Overall, I really enjoyed Tucker. It is light and entertaining with enough conflict to make things interesting. I’m excited to see how Emily writes Boone’s intriguing story.

 

4 out of 5 stars

 

GIVEAWAY

Macmillan is giving away a paperback copy of Tucker to one of my readers. All you have to do to enter is visit my column at Lone Star Literary Life called Texas Reads Roundup: Romance where I featured this book and tell me in the comments below if you’ve done so. I’ll draw the winner on Tuesday, March 3 at 12 noon Central Time.

AN EVERYDAY HERO by Laura Trentham – Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

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AN EVERYDAY HERO

Book 2, Heart of a Hero Series

Laura Trentham

 

SYNOPSIS

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From award-winning author Laura Trentham comes An Everyday Hero, an emotionally layered novel about redemption, second chances and discovering that life is worth fighting for.

At thirty, Greer Hadley never expected to be forced home to Madison, Tennessee with her life and dreams of being a songwriter up in flames. To make matters worse, a series of bad decisions and even crappier luck lands her community service hours at a nonprofit organization that aids veterans and their families. Greer cannot fathom how she’s supposed to use music to help anyone deal with their trauma and loss when the one thing that brought her joy has failed her.

When Greer meets fifteen-year-old Ally Martinez, her plans to stay detached and do as little as possible get thrown away. New to town and dealing with the death of her father in action, she hides her emotions behind a mask of bitterness and sarcasm, but Greer is able to see past it and recognizes pieces of who she once was in Ally. The raw and obvious talent she possesses could take her to the top and Greer vows to make sure life’s negativities don’t derail Ally’s potential.

After Greer is assigned a veteran to help, she’s not surprised Emmett Lawson, the town’s golden boy, followed his family’s legacy. What leaves her shocked is the shell of a man who believes he doesn’t deserve anyone’s help. A breakthrough with Ally reminds Greer that no one is worth giving up on. So she shows up one day with his old guitar and meets Emmett’s rage head on with her stubbornness. When a situation with Ally becomes dire, the two of them must become a team to save her—and along the way, they might just save themselves too.

Buy it here:

Macmillan / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Books-A-Million / Indie Bound / Powell’s

REVIEW

An immensely enjoyable read, An Everyday Hero elicits both laughter and tears. Ms. Trentham’s development of the story and the characters can only be described as skillful. She achieved a balance between humor and angst that I found utterly delightful.

Despite all of Greer’s setbacks, she remains funny and caring. Once roused from his wallowing, Emmett turns out to be an adorable hero. I love that both started out as messed up but once they rekindled their friendship, they started to heal and support each other in finding their purpose. Their sparkling banter made their dialogues fun to read. Their chemistry is obvious from the beginning and it’s easy to follow how they transitioned from friends to lovers.

“An anchor weighs you down. Keeps you in one place. Why would you want to be with someone like that? You should be with someone who encourages you to fly.”

Ally’s story is heartbreaking and far too real among military kids. I appreciate the way Ms. Trentham incorporated music in getting her to open up to Greer. The most important of the secondary characters, Ally is edgy and sympathetic at the same time.

The author really captured the essence of a Southern small town from the sweet tea to the busybodies to the country music. I also really loved the roles family and friends played in assuring that the story concludes happily.

I found this book highly-entertaining and recommend it to readers of romance and women’s fiction.

Content advisory – battle scenes in a nightmare and retelling.

Heat level – low (kisses only)

4 Four-half-stars

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Trentham Author Photo

LAURA TRENTHAM is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. The Military Wife is her debut women’s fiction novel. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.

GIVEAWAY

Macmillan is generously giving a paperback copy of An Everyday Hero to one of my lucky readers. All you have to do to qualify in a random draw is Like and Comment on this post and Follow this blog if you haven’t done so yet. I will announce the winner on Tuesday, February 11 at 12 noon Central time

THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE’S SECRET by Linda Broday – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

MOBS blog tour cover

THE MAIL ORDER
BRIDE’S SECRET
Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride,
Book Three

by

LINDA BRODAY

Genre: Historical Western Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Number of Pages: 352 pages

SCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY!

 

Synopsis

MOBS book cover

When the West was wild and man’s law favored the few, these extraordinary women could be found…in the heart of an outlaw.

When three young children show up on outlaw Tait Trinity’s doorstep, he knows he can’t help them―a wanted man has no business raising kids. And yet he can’t bring himself to turn them away. At a loss, he sends for the mail order bride he’d been writing to, hoping the demure dressmaker will be the answer to his prayers.

Melanie Dunbar is nothing like the bride Tait was expecting. She’s rough and tumble … and hiding an ulterior motive. Dangerous men have taken her sister hostage, and if Melanie wants to see her alive, she’ll have to betray her new husband. There’s only one problem―the more time she spends with Tait, the more she comes to care for him. Yet as the noose begins to tighten, Melanie will have to make a terrible choice: save her sister … or the man she loves.

 

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Review_preview

MOBS bookstagramHeart-pounding action from the deadly beginning to the daring rescue in the end. With her justice-seeking outlaw hero Tait and brave mail-order bride heroine Melanie, Ms. Broday once again gave readers an exhilarating tale of romance, family (both blood and found), and community amidst the lawless landscape of the Old West.

“I want someone to share my life with–the sunshine, the storms, and the days when everything seems just about perfect.”

What began as an unwilling deception on Mellie’s part and helpless desperation on Tait’s developed into heated desire and a love so strong they’re both willing to lay down their lives for the other. I really liked the slow build-up of the relationship between these two main characters. There was an instant attraction but they didn’t act on it until they were already wed. I appreciate the choice to have Mellie confess her deception mid-way into the story. Had her false act gone on too long without Tait knowing would have disappointed me and made me enjoy the story less. Even more so if he found out before she told him. That speaks so well about Ms. Broday’s expertise in crafting an engaging tale.

“I’ve found out that love is like the flow of a river–constant, something that fills up all the aching, empty places.”

I think this book is well-balanced in that the heavy elements are lightened by funny bits especially from the antics of the twins Joe and Jesse and their adorable sister Becky. What a scene-stealer! I also liked seeing characters from previous books featured to move Tait and Mellie’s story along without overpowering them. I suspect (and hope) that a couple of the secondary characters will have their full-length stories made and I am looking forward to reading them.

While I enjoyed the majority of the book, there were a few things that had me knocking down some points in my overall rating. I had to suspend disbelief with the speed of the telegram system they have in place, the convenient coincidences, and the ease in which the rescue was accomplished. Also, the villains needed more dimension in their characterization.

Content advisory: There’s plenty of gun violence in this book. This is a historical western novel and new readers should be aware of the numerous on-page shooting and taking of life scenes.

4 out of 5 stars

 

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PRAISE FOR THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE’S SECRET:

“This is another page-turning period romance from Broday.” Publisher’s Weekly

“Broday does a fabulous job of telling a story filled with humor, angst and some candid truths just so we don’t romanticize this period in our history.” Fresh Fiction

“This book was absolutely mesmerizing with nonstop action, full of laughter, tears and just a downright good Old fashioned Wild West story as only Linda Broday can do.” Glenda (Goodreads reviewer)

 

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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————————————-

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

Three Winners
1st: $25 Amazon Gift Card; 2nd: Autographed Set of All 3 Books in the Series; 3rd: Autographed Copy of The Mail Order Bride’s Secret.

January 28-February 7, 2020
(US Addresses only)
MOBS giveaway

Click on the photo to enter the giveaway.

A Rafflecopter giveaway

 

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

1/28/20 	Notable Quotable 	All the Ups and Downs 
1/28/20		BONUS Post 		Hall Ways Blog 
1/29/20		Excerpt			That's What She's Reading
1/30/20		Review 			Carpe Diem Chronicles
1/31/20 	Review 			Chapter Break Book Blog
2/1/20 		Character Interview 	It's Not All Gravy
2/2/20	 	Top Ten List		Storeybook Reviews
2/3/20 		Review	 		Books & Broomsticks
2/4/20 		Series Spotlight	Jennifer Silverwood
2/5/20 		Review		 	Missus Gonzo
2/6/20 		Review	 		Reading by Moonlight

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blog tour services provided by:

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ROUGHED IN by Eva Moore – Release Day Review and Giveaway

Roughed In 3d mock upBlurb:

Roughed In coverFrankie’s Punch-Out List:
1. Finalize plans to takeover Valenti Brothers Construction.
2. Nail this vineyard renovation in spite of it being cursed.
3. Prove to the world that I’m more than the comic relief.
4. Make out with my director on top of a bar.

Wait, how’d that last one get on there? But, as long as it’s on the list…

Frankie Valenti has always dreamed of taking over the family construction business. But as the baby of the family, and a girl to boot, she’s constantly having to prove her ability. Now everything she’s worked for hinges on one project, a made-for-TV vineyard renovation. She’s got to nail this, and not her infuriating but smoking hot director if she’s going to win her father’s trust. If life would just follow her damn blueprints, everything would be fine. But we all know how often that happens…

Jake Ryland will do whatever it takes to move his reputation from child actor burnout to celebrated director, up to and including manipulating “reality” to make the best shows possible. He’s never felt bad about it before, but there’s something about Frankie that makes him want to lift her up, instead of tearing her down. And if he happens to pin her to the wall while lifting her up, well, then everybody wins. Except for his execs who want to see her fail and owe them $100,000. Crap. He’s so screwed.

Rough and tumble hookups are one thing, but can they turn into a stable foundation for a relationship? Or will the whole structure crumble under the weight of pride and ambition?

Find out in this satisfying conclusion to the Exposed Dreams series.

Buy Links:

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082KJD15P
iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/book/roughed-in/id1490982360
Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/roughed-in
Barnes and Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/roughed-in-eva-moore/1135472540?ean=2940163412310
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/994808
My Reading List – https://books2read.com/rl/EvaMooreReadingList

Review: 

An emotionally satisfactory, (literally) fiery, and fanning-myself sexy ending to a wonderful series.

When the Exposed Dreams books started, I knew nothing about home improvement or make-up tutorial shows. After book 3, I still don’t know much but Eva’s incredible talent and immersive storytelling style had me entertained and educated at the same time. Competence porn for the win!

I love functional family storylines in books, whether found or by blood. Roughed In has both with the Valentis and Jake’s TV show family. What’s great is that the numerous secondary characters rightfully supported the two leads and nobody came out as distracting or overpowering. The focus remained on the main couple and I really like that.

I also really like the character development for both Frankie and Jake. The shift in their thinking from the beginning to the end flowed naturally, realistically. I like that they didn’t change who they are, just grew in the acquisition of a wider perspective that included them both.  I appreciate them better when I know their strengths and vulnerabilities.

The book shines best when Frankie and Jake are in the scenes together, striking sparks off each other.  It’s when they are apart that the book falters slightly with too much introspection. I don’t mind the quick resolution, I just wish there are more explanations and future planning because I care what happens to them. Eva made me care as if these people are real. That’s talent, I tell you.

I eagerly await Eva’s future works. For sure they’re going to be fantastic. Her writing keeps getting better and better with each book. She has become an auto-buy for me.

4 out of 5 stars

Review Spots:

Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48985780-roughed-in
BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/books/roughed-in-exposed-dreams-book-3-by-eva-moore

 

Teasers:

Roughed In teaser 1Roughed In teaser 3

 

 

Giveaway:

I’m giving away a Kindle eBook copy of Roughed In to one lucky winner. To enter, all you have to do is Like and Comment with your favorite reality show. I will draw the winner on Tuesday, February 4 at 12nn Central. Check back here to see if you won.

Roughed In teaser 2

 

Author Bio:

20200105_190721911_iOSEva Moore writes sweet and sexy contemporary romances featuring compelling characters finding love in the modern world. Pulling up her Chicagoland roots, she has chased adventures around the globe, with stints in France and Singapore. Eva now lives in California (at the wine end, not the movie end) with her college sweetheart, three gorgeous kiddos, and a Shih Tzu who thinks he’s a cat. She loves hearing from the outside world while she’s hiding in her writing cave/closet. Please visit her at www.4evamoore.com.

Social Media Links:

Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/4evamooreauthor
Facebook Friend Page: www.facebook.com/4evamoore
Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/FriendsForEvaMoore/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/AuthorEvaMoore
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/authorevamoore
Instagram: www.instagram.com/authorevamoore

 

 

SOMETHING REAL by Allegra Johnson – Happy Release Day Review

Something Real cover photo

SOMETHING REAL

by

Allegra Johnson

SYNOPSIS

Something Real book cover

Never say never.

For Taylyn, life has been a series of disappointments and heartache. Every relationship she’s had has ended in tears … and the occasional restraining order. Swearing to never get into another relationship, Taylyn is prepared to live the single life. So why is she drawn to the hometown hero who already hurt her once?

Wishful thinking.

Declan was destined for the NFL until a dirty hit took him out of the game for good. Before leaving for college, Declan shared one amazing kiss with the girl he always wanted but could never have. Now he’s back in Silverton rebuilding his life without football, and she’s single. This time he’s going to get the girl. He just needs to convince her he’s not like all the others.

Can Taylyn allow herself to believe in love again? Can Declan prove he’s the one made to love her? Will they find a love that is Something Real?

** Something Real, Silverton Series 1, contains subject matter that may be uncomfortable for some readers. Those subjects include mental illness, suicide, alcoholism through self-medication, sexual assault, and emotional abuse. **

Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XYDP1YN/

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ABOUT ALLEGRA

Allegra

After a lifetime of sharing headspace with an ever-growing cast of characters, Allegra threw caution to the wind and wrote a story. Since that day she’s been living her crazy author life writing love stories and happy endings. Originally from Massachusetts Allegra now resides in Southern California. When Allegra is not busy at work in her writing cave she enjoys spending time with her family, connection with her readers, procrastinating, and napping. You can usually find Allegra fluttering around Romancelandia trying to stay out of trouble while figuring out this author thing, one book at a time.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: (author page) https://fb.me/stumblingauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/allegra_johnson/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Allegra55302863
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authorallegrajohnson/
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/allegra-johnson
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15276339.Allegra_Johnson
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AllegraJohnson
Email: authorallegrajohnson@gmail.com

Something Real meme

REVIEW

With her first full-length novel, Allegra Johnson tells an emotional story of a woman’s journey to self-acceptance and allowing love into her life. It’s a story of found family and true friendship.

While Something Real is categorized as a romance, it’s main focus is Taylyn, the female lead character. On one hand, her rash actions and defeatist thoughts make it difficult to like her; on another hand, the very same things make it easy to sympathize with her, especially after her horrific past is revealed. My heart ached for her the entire time I was reading the book and that’s a testament of how well Allegra wrote her character. Damaged and suffering from crippling mental health issues, Taylyn comes across as a real person, one who needs love, support, and understanding. I love that in this book there are people who provide exactly what she needs — her found family consisting of MacKenzie, Ella, and Autumn.

I also love that Declan was all-in right from the start and he never wavered in his determination to be part of Taylyn’s life. I only wish he has a bigger role in Taylyn’s path to sobriety although I recognize how that would be tough considering his ownership of a bar. Ultimately, it’s Taylyn’s resolve that has to manifest for such a transformation to happen.

Because of the dark themes, this book might not be for everyone. That’s a pity because Something Real is a darn good read.

4 out of 5 stars