THE OUTLAW’S DAUGHTER by Margaret Brownley – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

 

THE OUTLAW’S DAUGHTER

HAYWIRE BRIDES, BOOK 3

by

MARGARET BROWNLEY

Western / Historical Fiction / Clean and Wholesome Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of Publication: May 26, 2020
Number of Pages: 384

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Synopsis

TOD book coverHe may be a Texas Ranger, but he only has eyes for the outlaw’s beautiful daughter . . . 

Texas Ranger Matt Taggert is on the trail of a wanted man. He has good reason to believe that Ellie-May’s late husband was involved in a stagecoach robbery, and he’s here to see justice done. But when he arrives in town, he discovers the thief has become a local hero . . . and his beautiful young widow isn’t too happy to see some lawman out to tarnish her family’s newly spotless reputation.

Ellie-May’s shaken by her encounter with the ranger. Having grown up an outlaw’s daughter, she’ll do anything to keep her children safe—and if that means hardening her heart against the handsome lawman’s smiles, then so be it. Because she knows Matt isn’t about to give up his search. He’s out to redeem himself and find proof that Ellie-May’s husband wasn’t the saint everyone claims . . . even if it means losing the love neither expected to discover along the way.

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Whenever I read a book by Margaret Brownley, it’s always exactly what I needed at the time. Cowboy Charm School provided a humorous break from the controversies in the fall of 2018. In 2020, when there is widespread distrust against those who work in law enforcement, The Outlaw’s Daughter allows the readers to visit a time when people in the profession were like Texas Ranger Matt Taggert — honest, honorable, determined to fulfill his sworn duty while caring deeply for the innocent family members whose lives will be affected adversely by the justice he seeks.

From the first chapter, the stakes were set high for Matt and Ellie-May. Matt was investigating her husband for a possible connection to a crime. Ellie-May was resolute in trying to keep her children’s father’s reputation sterling. She didn’t want them to suffer as she did from society’s ill-treatment because of who her father was.

The two main characters were at cross purposes for most of the book, I wasn’t sure how the author would bring about their happily ever after. Of course she did and it was a satisfactory resolution as far as I’m concerned. Such is Ms. Brownley’s writing prowess that my belief regarding Neal’s innocence closely matched Ellie-May’s in that there was a point that it wavered slightly.

There’s a lot to love in this book. The characters, including secondary ones like Lionel and Alicia, Anvil, and Jesse James, are sympathetic, the storytelling is topnotch, the romance is sweet and natural. If not for some repetitive elements that lengthened the story unnecessarily, a bit of an ineffectual villain, and parroting of oppressive gender roles  Ellie-May had to adhere to, I’d have given this the full marks.

Content advisory: six-year old child in peril and handled firearm, alcoholism, child neglect

4 out of 5 stars

AboutTheAuthor

Margaret Brownley

New York Times bestselling author Margaret Brownley has penned more than forty-six novels and novellas.

A two-time Romance Writers of American RITA® finalist, Margaret has also written for a TV soap and is a recipient of the Romantic Times Pioneer Award. Not bad for someone who flunked eighth-grade English. Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.

 

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TWO WINNERS each receive signed copies of the first two books in the Haywire Brides series, Cowboy Charm School and The Cowboy Meets His Match
May 26-June 5, 2020
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5/27/20 Review StoreyBook Reviews
5/27/20 Review Book Bustle
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5/28/20 Review That’s What She’s Reading
5/29/20 Review Books and Broomsticks
5/29/20 Review The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
5/30/20 Review Book Fidelity
5/31/20 Review Bibliotica
6/1/20 Review The Page Unbound
6/1/20 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
6/2/20 Review Carpe Diem Chronicles
6/3/20 Review It’s Not All Gravy
6/4/20 Review Forgotten Winds
6/4/20 Review Momma on the Rocks

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THE FIRST EMMA By Camille Di Maio – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

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THE FIRST EMMA

by

Camille Di Maio

Historical Fiction / Historical Romance / Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing
Date of Publication: May 5, 2020
Number of Pages: 315

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Synopsis

TFE book cover

The First Emma is the true story of Emma Koehler, whose tycoon husband, Otto, was killed in a crime-of-the-century murder by one of his two mistresses—both also named Emma—and her unlikely rise as CEO of a brewing empire during Prohibition. When a chance to tell her story to a young teetotaler arises, a tale unfolds of love, war, beer, and the power of women.

PRAISE for The First Emma: 
“Di Maio’s take on a shocking American drama pleasantly blends romantic and historical fiction . . . a sweet memorialization of a real-life female business pioneer in San Antonio.” —Kirkus

“A beautifully crafted portrait of an intriguing woman. Mystery and romance are set against the backdrop of fascinating pieces of twentieth-century history, and a richly drawn setting leaves the reader feeling wholly immersed. Historical fiction fans will love this one!” —Chanel CleetonNYT bestselling author of Next Year in Havana

“Di Maio does a brilliant job of weaving together all the threads—from past to present—while unearthing a tale of blossoming love, the power of our chosen family, and the losses that make us whole again.” —Rochelle B. WeinsteinUSA Today bestselling author of This Is Not How It Ends

 

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Born out of Camille Di Maio’s creative imagination and impeccable research, The First Emma is a wonderful tribute to a remarkable woman whose historic contributions to San Antonio have not been much touted as she deserved. Seamlessly intertwining fact and fiction, dual timelines, details of the brewery business, and the intricacies of the lives of two women, Ms. Di Maio has created a novel that engages the emotions and captivates the intellect at the same time.

In this book, close-to-dying Emma Koehler narrates her life story to young Mabel Hartley, spanning from her and her husband’s beginnings in St. Louis through their move to Texas and until the end of the Prohibition. All the while, the titular Emma provides a new home for the lonely young woman, matchmakes her with Erik, a nephew, and inspires her in her future. As Mabel said in the book, “Mrs. Koehler’s story was interesting, yes. But more than that, it offered hope to girls who were beginning to see a world where opportunities were available to them that were never there before.”

Having lived in San Antonio, I delighted in being transported to its past. I’ve only seen Pearl as it is now, a tourist destination filled with chic shops and fancy restaurants. This book took me on a fascinating “tour” of how it was eighty years ago through detailed descriptions of the brewery, the theater, cars, and the war. I can only say the “trip” was awesome.

So many themes in this book resonated with me–female strength, found family, hope, and love. I highlighted several passages that spoke to me.

“… there is much in life that is out of our control. The answer is not to give up and crumble. The answer is to find a way around it, no matter the difficulty. No matter how impossible the obstacles.”

I related so much to this because I met cousins in San Antonio I didn’t know I have. “… what I can give them is the gift of each other. It’s not easy to come from a different country and make a life here. But if they have each other to lean on, they will have a far better foundation than most.”

Well-crafted and evocative, The First Emma is a novel I highly recommend for readers of historical fiction and historical romance, and maybe even those who like true crime.

Content advisory: On-page deaths, gun violence, alcoholism, war.

4 Four-half-stars

 

AboutTheAuthor

Camille Di MaioCamille Di Maio always dreamed of being a writer, though she took a winding path of waitressing, temping, politicking, and real estate to get there. It all came to fruition with the publication of her bestselling debut, The Memory of Us, followed by Before the Rain FallsThe Way of Beauty, and The Beautiful Strangers. In addition to writing, she loves farmers’ markets, unashamedly belts out Broadway tunes when the mood strikes, and regularly faces her fear of flying to indulge her passion for travel. Married for twenty-three years, she home-schools their four children. (Though the first two are off at college now!) She is happy to live in Virginia near a beach.

Newsletter ║  Website ║ Facebook  ║ YouTube
Instagram ║ Amazon Author Page ║ BookBub
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May 19-29, 2020
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5/20/20 Review Missus Gonzo
5/21/20 Author Video Max Knight
5/22/20 Review Librariel Book Adventures
5/23/20 Excerpt Part 1 All the Ups and Downs
5/24/20 Excerpt Part 2 Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
5/25/20 Review Carpe Diem Chronicles
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5/27/20 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
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BREAKFAST AT THE HONEY CREEK CAFÉ By Jodi Thomas: Review and Giveaway

BATHCC bbt cover

BREAKFAST AT THE HONEY CREEK CAFÉ

A Honey Creek Novel

by

Jodi Thomas

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: May 26, 2020
Number of Pages: 336 pages

 

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Synopsis

BATHCC cover embellishedFrom Jodi Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of Mornings on Main and Indigo Lake, comes this heartwarming new novel set in Honey Creek, Texas—a small town where family bonds and legends run deep, and friendship and love are always close at hand . . .

Piper Jane Mackenzie, mayor of Honey Creek, won’t let a major scandal rip her quirky hometown apart or jeopardize her dream of one day running for higher office. So she’s willing to welcome undercover detective Colby McBride, hired to help solve the mystery behind her wannabe fiancé’s disappearance. Colby’s cover? That he is an old boyfriend now begging Piper for a second chance—always when there are plenty of townsfolk around to witness his shenanigans.

Piper hardly knows whether to laugh or cry, especially when she finds herself drawn to the handsome rascal. He’s not the only newcomer she has to deal with. There’s a new interim preacher in town, Sam Cassidy. Drifting from one assignment to another since his one love died, Sam isn’t sure he’s the right fit for Honey Creek. But as Piper knows, this is a place chock-full of surprises. And if she can keep her town—and her heart—from going completely off the rails, there may be a sweet, unexpected future in store . . .

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20200407_164151556_iOS

This was a hoot, a zany, funny light read that’s sure to entertain readers who like romantic fiction that’s set in a small town and that contains a little mystery to liven things up.

Breakfast at Honey Creek Café tells the intertwined stories of three couples – Piper and Colby, Sam and Anna, and Pecos and Kerrie. All different, all romantic in their own way.

Piper is the mayor of Honey Creek whose rumored boyfriend went missing and is now under suspicion of foul play. Colby is a trooper who was sent by her Texas Ranger brother to investigate the case and also to protect her. The cover story they came up with has Colby posing as an old suitor so that he can get the townspeople to talk to him. Both have bad experiences with relationships in the past that made them wary about their attraction to each other. With the entire town looking on, their pretend courtship soon turns oh-so real.

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Sam is a former firefighter and former soldier who takes up the position of temporary preacher originally meant for his deceased father. After the death of his girlfriend, he found himself drifting along without any real purpose until he came to Honey Creek. There, he realizes that preaching isn’t for him, but Anna, the feisty world-saver definitely is. Their snappy banter made me laugh out loud.

The third story–told from the point of view of Pecos, the graduating high school student who wants to leave town to be somebody–is the one that touched me the most. Pecos has the most tremendous growth of all the POV characters. He made me tear up with this line: “That living through any storms with her was better than facing the world alone.”

Jodi Thomas described a setting that’s quirky enough to be fictional, but also familiar enough to be realistic. There’s a lot of named characters necessary to paint a complete picture of a community. My favorite is the generous Mr. Winston.

This book is a different style from what I’ve read of Ms. Thomas’s work before. It’s more comedic and less angsty. It’s still her usual heartwarming story and I love that. My only critique is in the inconsistency of the tone. It started really serious with the mystery of the missing boyfriend but as the book went on, the graveness was abandoned in favor of attempts to elicit laughter from the reader. Also, the ending was a tad rushed, with the villain’s motivations not fully fleshed out. But all of that is minor compared to my overall enjoyment of the book. How could I not when this quote from Anna expresses my carpe diem motto exactly?

“We don’t know what the future holds, but we want to step into it together. It’ll take some work, but we’ll fit each other in our lives.”

4 out of 5 stars

 

AboutTheAuthor

Jodi Thomas 2With millions of books in print, Jodi Thomas is both a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels and countless short story collections. Her stories travel through the past and present days of Texas and draw readers from around the world.

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

Thomas was honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas and served sixteen years as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

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

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5/13/20 Review Carpe Diem Chronicles
5/14/20 Guest Post All the Ups and Downs
5/15/20 Review Momma on the Rocks
5/16/20 Author Interview Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
5/17/20 Scrapbook Page That’s What She’s Reading
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5/19/20 Guest Post Chapter Break Book Blog
5/20/20 Review Reading by Moonlight
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SADDLED by Linda G. Hill – New Release Review

SADDLED

By

Linda G. Hill

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Saddled(1)

Will an office no-dating policy stand in the way of love?

Since her breakup with her cheating ex, Sandra Weber has been just going through the motions as Sales Manager at Studletter Condom Company. But when Michael Thorne is hired as an assistant, sparks in the office begin to fly.

Though Michael, aka Saddle McFleshbomb, loves dancing at Woody O’Flanagan’s Pub, he’s looking to move up in the world. His schooling almost finished, he lands a plum job as the only man in an office filled with women: four so exasperatingly humorless that it’s funny, and one stunning beauty with a laugh that warms the cockles of his heart.

When Sandra shows up at Woody’s on a rare night that he’s dancing for men, she assumes he’s gay, and therefore the no-dating policy doesn’t apply. But he’s not. He’s intensely interested in her. And he’s afraid to tell her he’s straight.

If you like light romantic comedy, hot office flirtations, and a long slow burn, you’ll love Saddled, the first book in Linda G. Hill’s “Once a Week at Woody’s” series.

Score a seat at Woody O’Flanagan’s Pub today!

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Buy it on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0879DXVVG
And everywhere else: https://books2read.com/saddled

 

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Saddled is a fun read, low-angst and uncomplicated. Reading it is a great way to escape the grim realities of current events. The main characters Sandra and Michael are likable and easy to root for. Michael, especially, is endearing with his fondness for romance reading and shoe buying and his patience with everyone. Sandra is relatable with her doubts and not having it all together. The secondary characters are diverse and quirky.

It’s a workplace romance without the power struggle between the two leads since their jobs are not competitive and one is not in-charge of the other. The only real conflict is the no-dating policy which Sandra instituted. How they navigated through that obstacle in full view of their resentful officemates was a hoot.

I love that both Sandra and Michael have supportive friends. I also appreciate the matter-of-fact acceptance of stripping as a respectable profession.

This book showcases Linda’s versatility as a writer. With The Great Dagmaru,  she displays her dark paranormal side with various intrigues and machinations. Here’s her light, humorous side with cross-dressing dances and Karens at the office. Both sides form a pretty talented whole. I’m looking forward to more of her unique and fascinating brand of entertainment.

4 out of 5 stars

 

mm about the author white

51zEkWS7bmL._US230_Award-winning author Linda G. Hill was born and raised an only child in Southern Ontario, Canada. She credits the time she spent alone when she was growing up, reading books and building worlds and characters of her own to keep her company, as the reason she became a writer.

A stay-at-home mom of three beautiful boys, Linda is a graduate of the Writing Program at St. Lawrence College in Brockville, Ontario. Aside from caring for her family, she enjoys traveling the world, eating trout cooked on the barbecue, and, of course, reading.

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FULL CIRCLE by Pamela Lombana – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

Full Circle tour cover

FULL CIRCLE: A MEMOIR

by

PAMELA LOMBANA

Genre:  Memoir / Domestic Abuse / Forgiveness
Publisher: Wordfall Publishing
Date of Publication: December 5, 2019
Number of Pages: 217

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Synopsis

Full Circle cover 3D 2Alcoholism and domestic abuse creep silently into people’s lives, shattering dreams. For Pamela Lombana, the excitement of marriage turned into paralyzing fear as alcohol became her husband’s best friend. Surviving the daily physical and emotional abuse was the norm for her and their children. Full Circle tells the story of how love and God’s abiding grace helped Pamela find the strength to leave her husband, Fernando. During this journey, healing and forgiveness allowed her and the children to be there for him when he needed them the most.

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A mother's love for her children empowers her to find her voice, forgive, and begin to live again.

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Pamela Lombana is unflinchingly honest and incredibly brave in sharing this autobiography that narrates how she and her children freed themselves from the harrowing shackles of domestic abuse and led fulfilled lives after allowing themselves to forgive. Full Circle is an affecting memoir, a valuable first-hand resource for those in a similar situation, and a testament to the power of faith and love.

Ms. Lombana’s narrative is real and believable. She could have overly-dramatized the situations of gaslighting, verbal assaults, and even physical violence she had suffered in the hands of her husband but she didn’t. She was fair to Fernando by providing his background of parental cruelty, allowing the readers to have an understanding of his situation. His alcohol addiction, his unwillingness to seek psychiatric help, the presence of enablers, and the lack of a more powerful influence placed him beyond saving from his path of self-destruction.

In life, everyone has their own struggles to fight and their own battles to win. I hope I can give my children the tools to do this.I like that the author balanced the heavy and serious accounts of helplessness and depression with light and uplifting anecdotes about the children and their adjustment to moving and living with limited resources. I also appreciate her acknowledgment of the people who’d helped her escape and supported her throughout her struggles. Readers of this book who recognize similar situations in their friends and family could learn how to assist the victims in making the changes they need to break away from the chains that bind them to an abuser.

A non-fiction book like this memoir is not my first choice of reading material. I read, write, and live romance. Full Circle compelled me to make an exception because above all, this is a book filled with love–love of self, of family, and of God. It warms my heart that Ms. Lombana shares the story of finding a new partner at the end of the book and from her accounts, they’re working together for their happily-ever-after. That is the very definition of romance.

5 stars

 

AboutTheAuthor

Pamela Lombana

Pamela Lombana grew up in Colombia, South America, and emigrated to the United States to attend university. In 1999, Pamela became a pediatric nurse practitioner and went on to run a pediatric clinic in Spring Branch, Texas. Pamela loves working with families and children and focuses on educating her patients and their families. Pamela values strong family ties and friendships. She has three children and four stepchildren. Writing is a passion that started in Pamela’s teenage years. She enjoys being amongst nature and loves to go hiking with her husband, Mark.

Pamela is passionate about empowering women and providing them with tools to navigate life through her book, Full Circle: A Memoir, her blog, and Wordfall Publishing. Pamela wrote her memoir to offer hope and courage to women experiencing alcoholic and abusive situations.

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4/23/20 Excerpt The Clueless Gent
4/24/20 Review Tangled in Text
4/25/20 Review KayBee’s Book Shelf
4/26/20 Author Interview StoreyBook Reviews
4/27/20 Review Rainy Days with Amanda
4/28/20 Guest Post All the Ups and Downs
4/29/20 Review Carpe Diem Chronicles
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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

Eternity Springs_ Tucker Blog Tour Banner

TUCKER

by

Emily March

SYNOPSIS

Tucker (2)

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

An Everydaty Hero On Sale Banner

AN EVERYDAY HERO

Book 2, Heart of a Hero Series

Laura Trentham

 

SYNOPSIS

An Everyday Hero cover image

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

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

 

 

MY TOP 19 READS OF 2019

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I read 190 books in 2019, seventy more than in 2018. Audiobooks made all the difference in my reading habits this year. They contributed to eighty of the books I experienced in 2019, seven of which are in my Top 19.

Here they are in the order I read them. In the interest of full disclosure, I want to inform you that some of the links in this post are affiliate links to Indie Bound store 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.

  1. American Gods by Neil Gaiman – Probably the best audio I listened to all year. I loved the all-star cast.
  2. New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb – my favorite re-read of the year. One of my Top 5 J.D. Robb books.
  3. How to Seduce a Spy by Catherine Stein – a great debut by a fantastic indie author. I featured her Eden’s Voice here.
  4. Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas – possibly my favorite of the Ravenels. Gorgeous cover as well.
  5. Death’s Dancer by Jasmine Silvera – great world-building. Now, I want to go to Prague because of this book.
  6. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han – one of the rare times when I like the second book better than the first.
  7. Unlaced by the Highland Duke by Lara Temple – Lara is a new-to-me author this year whose writing really impressed me.
  8. The Emotion Thesaurus – this book is incredibly useful for writers who want to improve their craft.
  9. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang – I rarely say I can relate to the heroine in a romance not written by a Filipina. I did with this book.
  10. Kulti by Mariana Zapata –  hilarious. I have both the eBook and audiobook editions but I prefer the latter because the narrator really brings the book to life.
  11. There Goes My Heart by Bella Andre – how can I not love a book that’s dedicated to me?
  12. Dragonfly by Leila Meacham – I seldom veer away from romance but I made an exception for this one. My full review is here.
  13. Things You Save In a Fire by Katherine Center – In a slew of books where the female main character works in a male-dominated environment, this stands out.
  14. Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan – highly evocative, I can’t believe it took me so long to read this one.
  15. The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas – the only Young Adult book I read all year. I’ll bet when I watch the live-action movie I’ll say, “The book was better.”
  16. Singapore Fling by me – I am incredibly proud of this book. It’s probably the most #ownvoice of my works.
  17. Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh – Kaleb Krychek is my new Book Boyfriend and the Psy/Changeling is my favorite paranormal series.
  18. Paradise Valley by Robyn Carr – the entire series is amazing but this one moved me the most, so it’s my favorite so far.
  19. The One For You by Roni Loren – a highly-satisfying ending to a wonderful series. All five-star reads for me.

See my reviews on  add to goodreads

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