THE MILITARY WIFE by Laura Trentham – Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

THE MILITARY WIFE

Laura Trentham

 

SYNOPSIS

Military Wife_ Cover

A young widow embraces a second chance at life when she reconnects with those who understand the sacrifices made by American soldiers and their families in award-winning author Laura Trentham’s The Military Wife.

Harper Lee Wilcox has been marking time in her hometown of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina since her husbandNoah Wilcox’s death, nearly five years earlier. With her son Ben turning five and living at home with her mother, Harper fights a growing restlessness, worried that moving on means leaving the memory of her husband behind.

Her best friend, Allison Teague, is dealing with struggles of her own. Her husband, a former SEAL that served with Noah, was injured while deployed and has come home physically healed but fighting PTSD. With three children underfoot and unable to help her husband, Allison is at her wit’s end.

In an effort to re-energize her own life, Harper sees an opportunity to help not only Allison but a network of other military wives eager to support her idea of starting a string of coffee houses close to military bases around the country.

In her pursuit of her dream, Harper crosses paths with Bennett Caldwell, Noah’s best friend and SEAL brother. A man who has a promise to keep, entangling their lives in ways neither of them can foresee. As her business grows so does an unexpected relationship with Bennett. Can Harper let go of her grief and build a future with Bennett even as the man they both loved haunts their pasts?

Buy it here: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250145536

REVIEW

As a military wife myself (my husband served in the US Air Force for 25 years before retiring), I felt a strong connection with this book. I identified right away with Harper,  with her adorable little boy, friendship with Allison, childbirth experience, and frustration with the lack of job opportunities for military spouses no matter how qualified we are.

This doesn’t mean that you have to be a military wife to be able to relate with this novel. Far from it. Laura Trentham expertly interspersed the present and the past in this heartwarming second-chance-at-love story. Romance readers will love Harper’s sass, determination, compassion, strengths, and vulnerabilities. They will swoon at Bennett’s sexily gruff exterior matched by a generous and soft heart. They will definitely adore Ben and Jack London and smile whenever Gail Frazier enters the scene. Harper’s love stories with both Noah and Bennett are equally special. All these are the happy parts.

The angsty part is provided by Allison and her husband Darren who is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a difficult subject to tackle and I think Laura handled it incredibly well. I am so glad this is a romance with a guaranteed happily-ever-after because for a few scenes there I had wondered if there’s going to be a tragedy or two. I was relieved and satisfied with the resolution.

Splendid writing, relatable characters, relevant story lines, balance of humor and drama. These are the reasons why I’m highly recommending The Military Wife.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Trentham Author Photo

LAURA TRENTHAM is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She is a member of RWA, and has been a finalist multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.

GIVEAWAY

Macmillian is generously giving a paperback copy of The Military Wife 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 12 at 12 noon Central time.

ILLEGALLY YOURS by Kate Meader – Book Blitz Review and Giveaway

 

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ILLEGALLY YOURS

by Kate Meader
Laws of Attraction, #2
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Loveswept

illegally-yours-cover

AVAILABLE NOW!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2T33QbR
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2RDdmWA
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2CwCwvN
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2RyxTvs
B&N: http://bit.ly/2Cwewsq
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2FMsPwe
iTunes: https://apple.co/2sz1UMP

 

add to goodreads

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

Rule #1: Never fall for your client.
Rillegally-yours-teaser-1ule #2: Never fall for your client’s fiercely protective, smoking hot sister-in-law.

I’m the kind of guy who believes that everyone deserves the best legal representation money can buy—which just so happens to be me, Lucas Wright. Give me your henpecked, your cuckolded, your irreconcilable differences yearning to break free! And if you’re the bad guy in your marriage, that’s cool too. Your green is as good as anyone’s.

Tell that to Trinity Jones. It’s my job to destroy her sister—the soon-to-be ex-wife of my a-hole of a client—and Trinity’s “big sis” instincts are dialed up to the max. I admire that. I admire her. But she won’t stop me from representing my client to the best of my ability.

Not even if my chemistry with Trinity is undeniable. Not even if we can’t keep our hands off each other. Not even if she injects life into a heart assumed to be long dead.

Because when faced with a choice between love and duty, the job will always win—or at least that’s what I thought before I met Trinity . . . and suddenly conflict of interest never felt so right.

 

REVIEW

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I read Illegally Yours to reward myself when I reached the word count goal on my upcoming novel. After crying my eyes out from writing a break-up scene, I needed the humor and the clever banter Kate Meader provided through Lucas and Trinity.

I thoroughly enjoyed Down With Love, the first book of this series, but I have a soft spot for this one as interracial romance is my jam. Add that to the fact that there’s so much about family and friendship along with romantic love in this book, I can’t help but, well, love it.

I’ve been reading Kate’s books for a couple of years now and I’ve come to expect her to deliver an engaging read. She didn’t disappoint. She never does.

Amidst the divorce proceedings of Trinity’s overly-dependent younger sister from Lucas’s douche of a client Brian, we find a slow(ish)-burn love story that skirts ethical standards (hence the title). We learn that what these two show to the world–Lucas’s loudmouth clown persona, Trinity’s dependable competence–are nothing more than masks hiding painful personal history. Neglectful parent, guilt, misplaced pride, long-held resentments, etcetera. Their slow opening up to each other matched with simmering physical attraction made their relationship work for me.

I loved the older woman-younger man scenario, the varied locations, the trivia quiz, all the pop culture references, and the fascinating side characters. Grant and Aubrey’s awesome back-and-forth in this story had me excited for their own happy-ever-after.

Illegally Yours had been a great break from writing and I must get back to it so as to add more love to the world.  Thanks, Kate, for this fantastic story. Looking forward to more of these in 2019 and beyond.

ABOUT KATE MEADER

Kate-Meader-e1434416954712

Originally from Ireland, USA Today bestselling author Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Reader’s Group | Bookbub | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Profile

 

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

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A Rafflecopter Giveaway

 
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Happy Release Day, SOMETHING DIFFERENT by Allegra Johnson

something different release cover

ABOUT THE BOOK

something different ebook cover

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.

Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MNVQJQN

add to goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AllegraAllegra 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.

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

 

2019 Goals and Plans

2019 Goals and Plans

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry famously said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” And so, here are my goals for 2019 and my plans and strategies on how to achieve them:

On Writing:

  • Writing hours: 10 am – 2 pm with break for lunch; 7-11 pm
  • Finish SINGAPORE FLING and publish on March 20, the first day of Spring
    • Write 1,000 words a day in January
    • Send to Beta Readers on February 1
    • Cover reveal on February 14
    • Self-edit and send to editor on February 15
    • Edit and revise by March 6
    • Proofread and format by March 12
    • Preorders up on March 13
    • Launch wide on March 20
  • Write HUA HIN HEARTS short story for New Romance Cafe’s Summer Anthology
    • Write 1,000 words a day in March
    • Send to Andie April 1
  • Write SAMUI HEAT for a September Equinox release
    • Write 1,000 words a day in April and May
    • Send to Beta Readers by June 1
    • Self-edit and send to editor by June 15
    • Edit and revise by July 31
    • Proofread and format by August 31
    • Preorders up on September 14
    • Release wide on September 21
  • Write PALAWAN PROMISES for a November 21 release
    • Write 1,000 words a day in August
    • Send to Beta Readers by September 1
    • Self-edit and send to editor by September 15
    • Edit and revise by October 15
    • Proofread and format by October 31
    • Preorders up on November 14
    • Release wide on November 21
  • Write a short story as Zara
    • tentatively June and July

 

On Reading:

  • Read and review two books a week for a total of 104 in 2019
    • Add diverse authors and characters
    • Add craft books
    • Add indie authors
    • Max four ARCs a month
    • Prioritize two unread books from the Mount TBR per month
    • Increase usage of audiobooks

 

On Social Media: 

  • Limit to four hours a day. 8-10 am, 5-7 pm
  • Off during work hours
  • Prioritize writing groups

 

On Authoring: 

  • Get http://www.maidamalby.com website fully operational by April 30
  • Start a newsletter on May 1
  • Create a reader group: Mai Barkada or M’amies by June 1

 

Wish me luck, y’all. These are all doable with discipline. Here’s to a productive 2019.

goalwish

THE DUKE I ONCE KNEW by Olivia Drake – Blog Tour Review and Giveaway

ABOUT THE BOOK

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.

Duke I Once Knew_Cover.jpgFirst 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?

Buy this book: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250174376

REVIEW

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.

 

GIVEAWAY

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:

1. Amazon
2. Blog
3. BookBub
4. Books+Main
5. Facebook
6. Goodreads
7. Instagram
8. LinkedIn
9. Pinterest
10. Twitter 

I’ll draw the winner on Monday, January 7 11:59 pm CST.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Olivia DrakeOlivia 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.

Author website: http://oliviadrake.com/
Author Twitter: @OliviaDrake1
Author Facebook: Olivia-Drake

SMP Romance Twitter: @SMPRomance or @heroesnhearts
SMP Romance Website: https://heroesandheartbreakers.com/

Best 18 of 2018

In 2018, I wrote one novella (New York Engagement) and three short stories, published three of them, and started on a novel. In doing so, I had to curtail my reading by a lot compared to previous years (465 in 2016, 208 in 2017).

One hundred twenty-one is still decent. I’ve actually accomplished the goal I set out at the beginning of the year of reading ten books a month. For the most part, those books were excellent with only a couple of duds among them. So good that I rated 55 novels five-stars in Goodreads, Amazon, NetGalley, BookBub, Edelweiss, etc. That’s nearly half of them, that’s why it’s so hard for me to choose the traditional Top 10. The bare minimum I could do is eighteen. These books made me laugh, cry, feel, and love. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. A Distant Heart by Sonali Dev
  2. The Ones Who Got Away and The One You Can’t Forget by Roni Loren
  3. Dark in Death by J.D. Robb
  4. Hurts to Love You by Alisha Rai
  5. Making Up by Lucy Parker
  6. Undone by You and Hooked on You by Kate Meader
  7. Breathless by Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan
  8. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
  9. The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard
  10. When a Duke Loves a Woman by Lorraine Heath
  11. The Duke With the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne
  12. The Governess Game by Tessa Dare
  13. Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
  14. For the Duke’s Eyes Only by Lenora Bell
  15. Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh
  16. The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan
  17. Beautiful Sinner by Sophie Jordan
  18. Fierce, Funny, and Female by Marti MacGibbon

 

 

Looking forward to 2019 and more five-star reads. Happy reading!  

Meet the Parents – A Carpe Diem Chronicles Foodie Event

Like many cultures, Filipinos attach great significance to the introduction of a special someone to their immediate family. It’s a signal of deep commitment to the relationship often called “taking it to the next level.”

In BORACAY VOWS, it was extra special for Blake when Krista’s mother invited him to their home in the province of Quezon. Marissa Lopez had been opposed to her daughter being in a relationship with a foreigner. He was understandably nervous right before their meeting but their warm hospitality, which Filipinos are known for, put him at ease immediately. Blake knew things were going to be all right when he and Krista were presented with a feast.

Here’s an excerpt from that meeting:

Krista stroked Blake’s back as they walked, and asked, “You okay?”

“I’m great, baby.” He smiled down at her. “They’re nice—your parents. I like them.”

“I told you—” The sight of their dining table, groaning under the weight of the platters and platters of her favorite dishes, brought her up short. Pancit Malabon, lechon kawali, embutido, menudo, kare kare, lumpiang Shanghai, relyenong bangus, sapin-sapin, maruya, and rice crowded the long table.

In NEW YORK ENGAGEMENT, it was Krista’s turn to be introduced to Blake’s family. That meeting also involved food since it took place at the pub the Ryans co-own with the O’Connors. They serve a fusion of Irish and Filipino dishes since the cook/part-owner Belen O’Connor is from Palawan in the Philippines.

These were the food served as explained by Craig, one of Blake’s brothers who will be the hero of SAMUI HEAT:

“In front of you, Krista, is Guinness caldereta, our version of beef stew. There’s steamed rice, of course. Or brown soda bread, if that’s what you prefer. Next to that is longganisa coddle. Instead of regular bangers, we use the sweeter Filipino pork sausage. Lastly, we have chicken lechon with mushrooms and whiskey-cream sauce. Enjoy.”

Both “Meet the parents” events were successful for Blake and Krista and at the end of NEW YORK ENGAGEMENT, we see them planning a wedding for the following Christmas in the Philippines.

I will be writing that story soon, so watch out for announcements on publication here. In the meantime, please accept my gift for you this Christmas: the recipe of Longganisa Coddle.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon
  • 8 pork longganisa
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (substitute with 2 tablespoons dried if fresh is not available
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 pieces dried bay leaves
  • Black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • my secret ingredient: patis (fish sauce) to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook bacon in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towel-lined plate; cut into 1-inch pieces. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon drippings.
  2. Add longganisa to saucepan; cook about 10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove to paper towel-lined plate; leave whole.
  3. Add onions to saucepan; cook ad stir about 8 minutes or until translucent. Return bacon and sausages to saucepan. Add carrots, potatoes, parsley, bay leaves, and thyme; sprinkle generously with pepper. Pour broth over vegetables; bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low; partially cover and simmer about 1 hour 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add fish sauce to taste. Sprinkle with additional parsley, if desired. Serve with rice or soda bread.

**Recipe adapted from Irish Pub Food by Publication International, Ltd.