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.

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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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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

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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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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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3/10/20 Notable Quotable Forgotten Winds
3/10/20 Review Librariel Book Adventures
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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
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3/15/20 Author Interview Carpe Diem Chronicles
3/16/20 Excerpt, Part 2 That’s What She’s Reading
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HIS SECRET MISTRESS by Cathy Maxwell – New Release

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HIS SECRET MISTRESS

by

Cathy Maxwell

Star-crossed lovers are brought back together again by chance–and an enduring passion–in this brand-new series from New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell.

One of Romance’s most beloved authors launches new “A Logical Man’s Guide to Dangerous Women” series … and early critical reviews are stellar!

“The first installment in Maxwell’s A Logical Man’s Guide to Dangerous Women series is deliciously sweet” ~ Kirkus Reviews

“The couple’s verbal sparring and well-matched wits hide their deep emotional vulnerability and make for electric chemistry. Readers will find it easy to root for their happy reunion.” ~ Publishers Weekly

 

SYNOPSIS

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This March brings HIS SECRET MISTRESS by Cathy Maxwell, the first in a planned trilogy.  At the Logical Men’s Society—an exclusive bachelor’s club—brandy flows like water, bawdy stories abound, and a gentleman tempted to marry is always persuaded to reconsider.

Brandon Balfour made the mistake of trusting his heart to the exquisite, strong-willed actress, Kate Addison, with whom he shared one intimate night before fate intervened. Now a decade later, Brandon is a leading member of the Logical Men’s Society—for no woman since Kate has managed to captivate him.  To Kate, the memory of that night still burns strongly, because it was followed by a stunning betrayal. A chance encounter may have brought Brandon back into her life, but that doesn’t mean Kate will ever forgive him. She’s vowed to make him pay—even as she realizes the promises of the young love they once shared are still etched upon her heart  … Loving her exiled him. Trusting him ruined her. And now, a clash of passions threatens everything each of them ever desired.

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ABOUT CATHY

Cathy MaxwellCathy Maxwell’s enthusiasm for life graces the pages of her books and are the topic of the talks she gives to readers and writers groups about her chosen career.  She is no stranger to the limelight.  After graduating from college, Cathy started off as a news broadcaster.  She later decided reporting was boring compared to making news and joined the navy.   After a successful stint in Naval intelligence, including a tour with the Pentagon, Cathy proceeded to pursue writing.  Now, she has over thirty-five published romance novels (and five anthologies) to her credit, many of them spending significant time on the New York Times and USA Today best-seller lists.  You can find her online at http://www.cathymaxwell.com, Facebook/maxwellcathy, and @maxwellcathy on Twitter.

 

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

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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

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Synopsis

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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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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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1/28/20 	Notable Quotable 	All the Ups and Downs 
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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
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SOMETHING REAL by Allegra Johnson – Happy Release Day Review

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SOMETHING REAL

by

Allegra Johnson

SYNOPSIS

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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.

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Facebook: (author page) https://fb.me/stumblingauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/allegra_johnson/
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Email: authorallegrajohnson@gmail.com

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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

CHRISTMAS IN WINTER VALLEY by Jodi Thomas – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

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CHRISTMAS IN WINTER VALLEY
Ransom Canyon, #8

by

Jodi Thomas

Genre: Contemporary / Western / Holiday Romance
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Number of Pages: 288 pages

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Synopsis

CiWV cover

Ransom Canyon welcomes you back for a Christmas that has everything you’re looking for: romance, family, and a whole lot of Texas.

Cooper Holloway would take nature over people any day—especially visiting relatives. That’s why he’s headed for a rustic cabin in remote Winter Valley, where he’ll care for a herd of wild mustangs. But Cooper’s plans are quickly thwarted by the arrival of two unexpected guests: one, a stranger in desperate need of his help, and the other, a very attractive young veterinarian.

Elliott is busy trying to keep Maverick Ranch running smoothly with Cooper gone, which is no easy task with family visiting. And when a long-lost love suddenly reappears in his life, Elliott knows he’ll have more than just books to balance this season.

With a big, chaotic family Christmas around the corner and love blooming in surprising ways, the Holloway men will have to make big choices about the future—just in time for the holidays.

PRAISE FOR CHRISTMAS IN WINTER VALLEY:
“This book has everything you would want. Laughter, drama. And tears both happy and sad. I highly recommend this book.” — Patty Champion (5 Stars, Goodreads Review)

“I could not put this book down once I started it and longed for more once I was done.” — Melanie (5 Stars, Goodreads Review)

“I got lost in the world that she [Jodi Thomas] has created and enjoyed seeing her characters with their overlapping and interconnected stories find a happiness that none of them expected to ever find.” — B. (5 Stars, Goodreads Review)

 

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Fitting the season of love perfectly, Christmas in Winter Valley tells the story of four romantic pairings finding their happily-ever-afters in snowy Ransom Canyon. There’s the seasoned romance between Tye and Dani, the opposites attract scenario of Creed and Dallas’s story, the second-chance love between Elliot and Jess, and the instalove between Coop and Hayley. If those are not enough, there’s also the happy ending for the orphaned Tatum. Truly, there’s something for everyone to appreciate.

Happening two weeks before Christmas day, the events in this book take place at a fast clip. A good number of characters are named, which would have confused many readers if not for the deft hands of Ms. Thomas. Each person mentioned has a distinct personality, even those who are only on the other side of the phone.

As is Ms. Thomas’s signature, Christmas in Winter Valley has plenty of humor, a touch of drama, and a whole lot of Texas. Long-time fans will love this series-ender, while new readers will want to read as many of the earlier books as possible. This book can be read as a stand-alone but for those just coming into this series late, I highly recommend reading Griffin and Sunlan’s story at the very least.

I enjoyed reading this book although I wish it’s longer so that the relationships are developed better. While I appreciate the inclusion of the older pair and the varying body types, I wish there’s more diversity in the characters. I would have loved to see some persons of color. For a contemporary novel not to have them present is unrealistic in this day and age.

4 out of 5 stars

 

AboutTheAuthor

Author Pic Thomas

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

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 a historic home, and “checking up” on two grown sons and four grandchildren.

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October 3-13, 2019
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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

10/3/19 	Notable Quotable 	The Page Unbound 
10/3/19 	BONUS Post 		Hall Ways Blog 
10/4/19 	Review 			That's What She's Reading 
10/5/19 	Author Video 		All the Ups and Downs 
10/6/19 	Review 			Librariel Book Adventures 
10/7/19 	Excerpt 		StoreyBook Reviews 
10/8/19 	Review 			Rainy Days with Amanda 
10/9/19 	Scrapbook Page 		The Clueless Gent 
10/10/19 	Review 			The Book Review 
10/11/19 	Review 			Carpe Diem Chronicles 
10/12/19 	Notable Quotable 	Missus Gonzo

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FAKER by Sarah Smith – Happy Release Day!

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FAKER

by

Sarah Smith

 

SYNOPSIS

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Emmie Echavarre is a professional faker. She has to be to survive as one of the few female employees at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company staffed predominantly by gruff, burly men. From nine to five, Monday through Friday, she’s tough as nails–the complete opposite of her easy-going real self.

One thing she doesn’t have to fake? Her disdain for coworker Tate Rasmussen. Tate has been hostile to her since the day they met. Emmie’s friendly greetings and repeated attempts to get to know him failed to garner anything more than scowls and terse one-word answers. Too bad she can’t stop staring at his Thor-like biceps …

When Emmie and Tate are forced to work together on a charity construction project, things get … heated. Emmie’s beginning to see that beneath Tate’s chiseled exterior lies a soft heart, but it will take more than a few kind words to erase the past and convince her that what they have is real.

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Buy Links:

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Books A Million
Hudson Booksellers     Indie Bound     Powell’s

 

ABOUT SARAH

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is a copywriter-turned-author who wants to make the world a lovelier place, one kissing story at a time. Her love of romance began when she was eight and she discovered her auntie’s stash of romance novels. She’s been hooked ever since. When she’s not writing, you can find her hiking, eating chocolate, and perfecting her lumpia recipe. She lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband and adorable cat Salem. Faker is her debut novel.

Follow her here:

Website
Facebook Author Page
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EDEN’S VOICE by Catherine Stein – Release Day Review

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Happy Release Day to Catherine Stein’s Eden Voice, the first book of a new series she’s calling Sass and Steam.

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Football, mechanical dragons, industrial espionage, sexy romance. Welcome to fall in Ann Arbor.

Eden Randall has her life under control. Sure, people call her weird for having a mechanical dragon with her at all times, but she’s content. All she needs are her studies and her sports—and for the football team to have another undefeated season. What she doesn’t need are nosy men from out-of-town poking into her business.

Spending months in a tiny town shadowing the football team is the last thing Boston reporter Bruce Caldwell wants to do, but the tedious job could be his ticket to something bigger and better. When he meets a sports-mad spitfire on the sidelines, he realizes the town may hold stories far more interesting than he expected.

With dragons running loose in the laboratory and a ruthless New York industrialist threatening their budding friendship, Eden and Bruce find themselves players in a game far more dangerous than the one on the gridiron. Never ones to quit, they know the only way to emerge as The Victors is to become a team. This football season, winning might mean losing their hearts.

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Buy links: 

Books2read      Amazon      Google Play      Kobo     Barnes and Noble

 

ABOUT CATHERINE

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: 

Facebook page        Facebook group        Twitter        Instagram        Pinterest               Bookbub        Goodreads        Amazon        Book + Main        Newsletter

 

REVIEW

In a genre often accused of being formulaic, Catherine Stein and her latest work of genius Eden’s Voice stand out as refreshingly original.

First, there’s the setting: 1904 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Most historical romance novels I read are set in England during the Regency. If they’re American-based, they’re typically in New York during the Gilded Age or in wartime Texas. I’m astounded by the depth of research Catherine must have undertaken to make the time period come alive as she did in this book.

Next, there’s the football theme. The historical sports romance category has only one entry and this is it. The author’s love for the game shines bright. Competence porn at its best.

Oh wait, there’s another unique sub-category for this book–historical STEM romance. All the biomechanics were explained in an engaging manner, I felt smart after reading those passages.

And then we have the characters. How I love Eden and Bruce. They come across as real, compelling, and sympathetic people to me and that’s not just because they both have disabilities. It’s because their thoughts, feelings, decisions, and actions appear true to who they are.

Catherine Stein has become my favorite steampunk romance author from the moment I read How to Seduce a Spy. Eden’s Voice only cemented that status in my mind with its fantastic story, smooth flow, wonderful characters (even including the villains), steamy sexy times, and amazing originality.

5 stars

THE READER AND THE ROAD by Brianna Nicols – New Release

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I’m so happy for my friend Brianna Nicols on the recent release of her latest novel The Reader and the Road, Book 2 of her Found Family series. As a reader myself, I think I’m going to be able to relate to Libby so much and enjoy the forced proximity of a road trip trope.

 

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As a voracious reader, Libby couldn’t be happier working in the Duchess of Winston’s workshop. She’s surrounded by books, one of her best friends, and Adam, the man she’s secretly loved from afar for years.

Their livelihoods are threatened, however, when a difficult customer demands a book so popular, there are no copies available in England. To save the bookshop’s reputation, Libby must set out for Scotland in the dead of winter with an impossible task: retrieve the book by New Year’s or else.

Due to a childhood filled with disease and poverty, Adam despises everything to do with winter. All thoughts of avoiding the season end, however, when he hears of Libby’s impossible mission. Without a second thought, Adam agrees to travel with her, though it will test his resolve to keep his secret—and his feelings for Libby—hidden.

As they deal with blizzards, delays, and other mishaps, the bond between Libby and Adam only grows stronger. Their weeks-long journey will reveal long-held secrets and buried passions. No amount of love will matter, however, unless they make their deadline.

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Buy it here: 

eBook: https://books2read.com/u/3JV6jB

paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1692359797/ 

 

REVIEW

Perfectly titled, The Reader and the Road is a sweet, slow-burn romance between bookseller Libby and her co-worker Adam who accompanied her to Scotland to retrieve a rare book wanted by a demanding client. I love that both of them had been yearning for the other and were finally able to express their feelings once in the close confines of a carriage during their two weeks road trip.

This book is light and entertaining and I really like that it features working people instead of members of the nobility. I’d have loved it if Ms. Nichols expounded more on the holiday traditions during the time in addition to the exchange of gifts. That would have given the story a richer sense of time and place.

 

ABOUT BRIANNA

Brianna Nicols

Brianna Nicols has always been a reader. Books about magic, history, or anything revolving around romance are her favorites. The idea of writing her own stories didn’t occur to her until 2017 when some awesome ladies online said: “Why not give it a try?”

Since then, she’s been experimenting with all sorts of ideas. Though a very organized person by nature, when putting words on the page, Brianna has found that she has to write the story as it comes to her. Unfortunately, she gets bored when trying to outline more than a handful of details. So far, Brianna has written in two genres; historical and contemporary romance. Anything paranormal is a love of hers, though, so something of that nature isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Rest assured, however, that when you pick up a Brianna Nicols novel, romance will always be a prominent, if not an integral, part of the story no matter the genre.

Follow her on:

Facebook       Twitter       GoodReads       Amazon       BookBub

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HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS by Kerrigan Byrne – Release Day Review & Giveaway

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HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS 

by 

Kerrigan Byrne

 

SYNOPSIS

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These men are dark, bold, and brave. And there is only one woman who can bring them to their knees…

Famed and brilliant, Lady Alexandra Lane has always known how to look out for herself. But nobody would ever expect that she has darkness in her past—one that she pays a blackmailer to keep buried. Now, with her family nearing bankruptcy, Alexandra strikes upon a solution: Get married to one of the empire’s most wealthy eligible bachelors. Even if he does have the reputation of a devil.

LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS
Piers Gedrick Atherton, the Duke of Redmayne, is seeking revenge and the first step is securing a bride. Winning a lady’s hand is not so easy, however, for a man known as the Terror of Torcliff. Then, Alexandra enters his life like a bolt of lightning. When she proposes marriage, Piers knows that, like him, trouble haunts her footsteps. But her gentleness, sharp wit, independent nature, and incredible beauty awakens every fierce desire within him. He will do whatever it takes to keep her safe in his arms.

Buy-book link:
https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250243270

 

ABOUT KERRIGAN

Kerrigan Byrne

 

Whether she’s writing about Celtic Druids, Victorian bad boys, or brash Irish FBI Agents, USA Today bestseller Kerrigan Byrne uses her borderline-obsessive passion for history, her extensive Celtic ancestry, and her love of Shakespeare in every book. With her handsome husband and three lovely teenage girls, Kerrigan has fulfilled her dream of settling on the Pacific Coast. Her Victorian Rebels novels include The Highwayman and The Highlander.

 

 

 

 

REVIEW

I am such a huge fan of the Victorian Rebels series that when a new Kerrigan Byrne series-starter was announced for the anticipated August release instead of Inspector Morley’s story, I was slightly disappointed. That feeling didn’t last long because this new Devil You Know series promises the same intensity and vivid imagery that made me love Kerrigan’s books from the first moment I started reading them in 2015.

How to Love a Duke in Ten Days introduces five (?) of the compelling characters in this new series: Alexandra and Piers, Cecelia and Case, and Francesca. (I have a suspicion about who Francesca’s partner will be. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read the book yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s someone from her past.) A close friendship, hair color, and shared secrets bind the three female leads while familial ties connect two of their love interests. Kerrigan drew each character so distinctively, I can picture them in my head clearly.

She did the same with the book’s many locations and action sequences, so much so that it has the feel of a gothic screenplay. There’s plenty of violence — from the shocking Prologue to the dramatic denouement. There are also tender moments in between wherein Piers and Alexandra learn one another on their way to falling in love. Instant chemistry, mutual interest in exploration, and emotional connection make these two work as a couple. After suspicions, misunderstandings, secrets, and threats to their lives, their happy-ever-after is well-deserved.

Both are heavily scarred. Piers physically, from a skirmish with a jaguar, and emotionally, from a negligent mother and an unfaithful lover that colored his opinion of women. Alexandra’s sexual assault when she was a teenager and the tragic events afterwards forever changed her personality. Fear, shame, and guilt warred within her despite accomplishing so much from her archaeological pursuits. Their coming together is a miracle only a romance novel and a talented author who wrote it can achieve.

The use of male names for the female characters, an abundance of villains, and the over-elaborate language are some of the elements I didn’t fully appreciate, but aside from these, I really liked this book and I’m extremely excited for All Scot and Bothered –Cecelia and Ramsay’s story.

4 out of 5 stars

 

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press, I’m giving away a paperback copy of Kerrigan Byrne’s How to Love a Duke in Ten Days to one of my US readers. All you have to do for a chance to win is comment below. I will draw a random winner at 12 noon on Tuesday, September 3. Watch out for the announcement here and on my Facebook author page Maida Malby.