THE SCOUNDREL’S NEW CON By Catherine Stein – Excerpt And Review

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Happy Release Day to Catherine Stein’s The Scoundrel’s New Con, a retelling of The Emperor’s New Clothes, part of the Lady Goosebury’s Tales series from various authors.

 

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He’s pulling the con of a lifetime. Unless she exposes the naked truth.

Conman Jack Weaver has his eyes on the prize. The arrogant Earl of Bardrick has offered five thousand pounds to anyone who can prove his castle is haunted. With money like that, Jack can ensure he’ll never end up on the streets or in prison again. And his spirit photography skills are just the trick needed to convince all of the earl’s houseguests to believe in something unseen.

Investigative journalist Tess Cochran believes in one thing: the truth. She’s not going to let phony ghosts and trick photographs swindle anyone, even a snobbish aristocrat like Bardrick. And she’s certainly not going to let herself be swayed by Jack Weaver’s charming smile and mischievous antics.

When Jack and Tess stumble upon one of the castle’s many secrets, they realize something nefarious lurks behind the earl’s competition. To solve the mystery, these rivals forge a reluctant partnership. As they strip down the facts, Jack and Tess begin to find that the deepest truths may be concealed in their hearts.

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EXCERPT

Weaver slid into the empty seat beside Tess as silently as the ghosts he supposedly photographed. Goosebumps rose on her flesh. The air seemed to hum with energy. And none of it had anything to do with the spiritualist at the front of the room. No, this was far too corporeal.

You did this to yourself, Tess.

A few single empty places remained in the rows closer to the performance. She could have taken any of them, and given herself a better view. Instead, she’d chosen the empty back row. It gave her the chance to slip away at any time, she’d told herself.

“Good evening, Tess,” he murmured. On his lips, her name sounded sensual. Illicitly enticing.

“Not photographing any longer?” she whispered.

“It’s past sunset. All the candles in this castle would give me nothing more than a blur on the plate.”

She looked at him just long enough to give him a sweet smile. “And here I thought that’s exactly what you wanted.”

“On the contrary.” He edged closer, until no more than an inch separated his body from hers. “I prefer a crisp, sharp photograph. One that exposes every detail.”

Thank the Lord the entire room was fixated on Rowland and his little pile of burning papers, or they might have noticed Tess combusting in the back row. Her simple dress felt stifling, and she wanted to tear it from her body to cool her heated skin. The thought of Jack Weaver seeing that skin only made her warmer.

Tess bit her lip. Enough was enough. She was tired of him having control of the situation. She was going to show him she could match him jab for jab.

“Oh, I would love to expose you, Jack.” Her whispered words were far too breathy, but she pressed on. “I intend to strip you bare for all the world to see.”

“My room, midnight.”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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Catherine Stein continues to show tremendous growth in her craft with her latest excellent offering.

The Scoundrel’s New Con is an incredibly original work in a subgenre that is often flooded with stories centered on the nobility. Here, as in most of Catherine’s books, the main characters are “ordinary” but remarkable people in the Victorian era. Tess is a news reporter, intent on exposing the truth about spiritualists and their ilk who seek to divest the gullible of their money. Jack, a spirit photographer and con man, is one of those she plans to discredit. There’s only one problem, she’s deeply attracted to him. The better she gets to know him, the weaker her determination to strip him of his livelihood.

I love that their flirtation is frank and sensual. I appreciate the slow reveal of their respective pasts to explain their present choices. I like the proper amount of push and pull that made me anticipate the eventual happy payoff.

I enjoyed the dialogue, pacing, action, and photography competence porn. I adored the cat Phantom. And, best of all, I admire the matter-of-fact feminism that was laid out in a manner that came naturally to the characters and not at all preaching to the readers. Brava!

4 Four-half-stars

 

 

 

 

BREAKFAST AT THE HONEY CREEK CAFÉ By Jodi Thomas: Review and Giveaway

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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

 

Scroll down for the giveaway!

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 . . .

CLICK TO PURCHASE:

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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.

 ║ Website ║ Facebook ║ Twitter  ║
║ Instagram ║  Amazon  ║ BookBub ║
║ Pinterest  ║ Goodreads ║

 

———————–

 

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

ONE WINNER: One signed copy of Breakfast at the Honey Creek Café
MAY 12-21, 2020
(US ONLY)

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VISIT THE LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE TOUR PAGE FOR DIRECT LINKS TO THE OTHER GREAT BLOG STOPS ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY, OR VISIT NOW:

5/12/20 Notable Quotable Texas Book Lover
5/12/20 BONUS Post Hall Ways Blog
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
5/18/20 Review Jennifer Silverwood
5/19/20 Guest Post Chapter Break Book Blog
5/20/20 Review Reading by Moonlight
5/21/20 Review StoreyBook Reviews

 

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BREAKFAST AT THE HONEY CREEK CAFÉ By Jodi Thomas: Pre-Order Preview

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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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VISIT JODITHOMAS.COM FOR ALL JODI’S BOOKS BY SERIES

Synopsis

From 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 . . .

CLICK TO PRE-ORDER NOW:

  AMAZON  BARNES & NOBLE 

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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.

 ║ Website ║ Facebook ║ Twitter  ║
║ Instagram ║  Amazon  ║ BookBub ║
║ Pinterest  ║ Goodreads ║

 

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

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VISIONS OF LADY MARY

by

Rachel Ann Smith

 

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

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

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

Battlefield promises are easy to make and hard to keep.

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

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

Buy it here:

Books2Read   –   Amazon   –   Barnes & Noble   –   Apple   –   Kobo

 

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

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

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

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

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

4 out of 5 stars

 

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Rachel Smith

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

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

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

Follow Rachel Ann here: 

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TUCKER by Emily March – Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

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TUCKER

by

Emily March

SYNOPSIS

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

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

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

Buy-Book Links:

Macmillan  –  Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble 

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

 

ABOUT EMILY

Copy of Emily March

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

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

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

 

REVIEW

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

4 out of 5 stars

 

GIVEAWAY

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

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.

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

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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

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.

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JACKSON by Emily March – Blog Tour: Review

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Jackson

by

EMILY MARCH

SYNOPSIS

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Sometimes it takes a new beginning

Caroline Carruthers thinks she buried her dreams along with the love of her life … until a stranger named Celeste dares her to chase a dream all on her own. Moving to Redemption, Texas, is chapter one in Caroline’s new life story. Opening a bookstore is the next. Finding love is the last thing on her mind as she settles into this new place called home. But when she meets a handsome, soulful man who’s also starting over, all bets are off.

to reach a happily-ever-after

Jackson McBride came to Redemption looking only to find himself, not someone to love. Ever since his marriage ended, he’s been bitter. Sure, he used to believe in love—he even has the old song lyrics to prove it—but the Jackson of today is all business. That is, until a beautiful young widow who’s moved to town inspires a change of heart. Could it be that the myth of Redemption’s healing magic is true … and Jackson and Caroline can find a second chance at a happy ending after all?

Buy-Book Link:
Jackson by Emily March

 

ABOUT EMILY

Copy of Emily March

 

Emily March is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the heartwarming Eternity Springs series. 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.

 

REVIEW

Whenever I come across a romance novel set in Texas, especially in the areas I’m familiar with, I jump at the chance to review it. Emily March’s Redemption seems to me inspired by Fredericksburg from the description of the German establishments, the distance to Austin, and the beautiful land around it. For me, the setting played a big part in making me enjoy this book as much as the development of the relationship between Jackson and Caroline.

I very much liked the flow of this story. From their first meeting, which was somehow orchestrated by Celeste, to a year later when their second chance at love started to bloom. There wasn’t much back story to trudge through as the reader is a witness to the events as they unfold.

I also appreciate the characterization of Jackson and Caroline. There’s a realism to their thoughts, actions, and words that makes one relate to them somehow. Jackson’s despondency at the prolonged separation with his daughter and Caroline’s grief over her husband’s illness and subsequent death rang true for me, as well as their friendship turning into love as they got to know each other better. It took them a while, but when they fell, they only had the utmost support of one another.

I absolutely love that both of them build something from scratch in their new hometown. Caroline’s bookstore The Next Chapter is the realization of my dream, I completely felt her emotions when she opened it.

There’s a lot of named characters. It got unwieldy at times, particularly when the horde from Eternity Springs came for the opening of the B&B Jackson and his cousins own. I also resented the scenes in the book that happened outside of Redemption. Apart from those things, I really enjoyed Jackson and I’m looking forward to reading the next installment in the series.

4 out of 5 stars

 

DRIFTWOOD BAY by Irene Hannon: Book Blog Tour – Review and Giveaway

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DRIFTWOOD BAY

A Hope Harbor Novel, Book 5

by

IRENE HANNON

Genre: Contemporary / Christian / Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: April 2, 2019
Number of Pages: 368

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Synopsis

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After tragedy upends her world, Jeannette Mason retreats to the tiny Oregon seaside town of Hope Harbor to create a new life. Vowing to avoid emotional attachments, she focuses on running her lavender farm and tea-room—until a new neighbor with a destructive dog and a forlorn little girl invades her turf. But she needn’t worry. Dr. Logan West is too busy coping with an unexpected family, a radical lifestyle change, and an unruly pup to have any interest in his aloof and disagreeable neighbor.

Yet when both Jeanette and Logan find themselves pulled into the life of a tattered Christian family fleeing persecution in war-torn Syria, might they discover that love sometimes comes calling when it’s least expected?

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon invites readers back to the charming seaside town of Hope Harbor, where they are sure to find peace, healing, and a second chance at happiness.

 

Excerpt

>> CLICK TO READ CHAPTER ONE! <<

 

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DB my bookstagramDriftwood Bay is a beautifully-balanced and uplifting read. I come into this aptly-named series quite late with this, the fifth book, as my introduction. It’s also the first Irene Hannon book I’ve ever read. I must say I need to read the first four now, especially if they’re as heartwarming as this one. It’s the kind of book that makes you feel good after reading it. It leaves you believing the best in people and strengthening your faith in God and in love.

The way Ms. Hannon blended heavy drama with canine-provided comic relief, steadfast spirituality, inclusive diversity, and wholesome romance worked for me. Her storytelling is evocative and involving. Her words are inspired, eminently quotable. Some of my favorites are:

  • “Don’t let fear stop you from being everything God intended you to be. Go. Learn. Live. Love.”
  •  “… like a ship that never sails, a heart that’s never used isn’t living up to its potential.”
  •  “… love is better than lonesome.”

Most of these quotes are said to Jeanette who has been guarding her heart by isolating herself in her lavender farm. How her new neighbors Logan, the new town doctor; Molly, his grieving niece; and their rambunctious puppy Toby drew her out is the main story of Driftwood Bay. It was told in a way that is moving and highly relatable.

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The other significant story, that of the Syrian refugees Mariam, Thomma, and Elisa was treated with sensitivity and respect. This is where the community of Hope Harbor shines in their coming together to provide a fresh start for a family trying to recover from a devastating tragedy. I could only hope such a community exists in real life for we need them now more than ever.

While all the main characters–both Americans and Syrians–are sympathetic, it is the little girls Molly and Elisa who brought tears to my eyes. They are the catalysts for everything that happened in the book. Their insta-friendship and their unspoken need to be loved by their respective fathers really touched my heart.

Finally, I cannot complete this review without mentioning Charley, the mystical fish taco food truck owner who dispenses wisdom that helps guide the actions of many characters in Driftwood Bay and possibly the series. He’s one of the reasons why I would like to read the other Hope Harbor books.

 

AboutTheAuthor

Irene HannonIrene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect Spring, Hope Harbor, Sea Rose Lane, Sandpiper Cove, and Pelican Point, as well as Dangerous Illusions and the Private Justice and Men of Valor suspense series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, and she is a member of that organization’s elite Hall of Fame. Her many other awards include National Readers’ Choice, Daphne du Maurier, Retailers’ Choice, Booksellers’ Best, Carols, and Reviewers’ Choice from RT Book Reviews magazine, which also honored her with a Career Achievement award for her entire body of work. In addition, she is a two-time Christy Award finalist.

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Grand Prize:
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2nd Runner-Up:
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April 2-12, 2019
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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

4/2/19 		Series Spotlight 	The Clueless Gent 
4/2/19 		Scrapbook Page 		Hall Ways Blog 
4/3/19 		Review 			Forgotten Winds 
4/4/19 		Review 			That's What She's Reading 
4/5/19 		Character Interview 	Sybrina's Book Blog 
4/6/19 		Guest Post 		All the Ups and Downs 
4/7/19 		Review 			Carpe Diem Chronicles 
4/8/19 		Author Interview 	Story Schmoozing Book Reviews 
4/9/19 		Top Ten List 		Rainy Days with Amanda 
4/10/19 	Review 			Bibliotica 
4/11/19 	Review 			StoreyBook Reviews 

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LIVE WIRE by Pamela Fagan Hutchins: Book Blog Tour – Guest Post and Giveaway

Live Wire blog cover

LIVE WIRE

(Maggie, Book One)
A What Doesn’t Kill You
World Romantic Mystery

by

PAMELA FAGAN HUTCHINS

Genre: Romantic Mystery
Publisher: SkipJack Publishing
Date of Publication: March 6, 2019
Number of Pages: 270

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Synopsis

A hook-up turned lethal. A spurned, angry cowboy. Can rebel Maggie turn the tables before a killer adds her to the list of lost causes?

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Washed-up alt-country rocker-turned-junker Maggie Killian is pulled to Wyoming by an irresistible force . . . former bull rider Hank Sibley, the man who broke her heart fifteen years before. When she unexpectedly meets his Sunday school-teaching girlfriend at a saloon, Maggie seeks liquor-fueled oblivion between the sheets of a younger man’s bed. But after her beloved vintage truck breaks down and leaves her stranded in the Cowboy State, she learns her hook-up died minutes after leaving their rendezvous. Suddenly surrounded by men with questionable motives, Maggie searches for the murderer while fighting the electricity between herself and her old beau, and her new penchant for local whiskey.

When the police zero in on Maggie despite a disturbing series of break-ins at her guest cabin, she realizes she’s got no one to rely on but herself. To keep herself happily in bars instead of behind them, she must stop the killer before the cops realize the man she really suspects is a jealous, angry Hank.

Live Wire is the first standalone book in a trilogy featuring sharp-tongued protagonist Maggie Killian from the addictive What Doesn’t Kill You romantic mystery series. If you like nerve-racking suspense, electric characters and relationships, and juicy plot twists, then you’ll love USA Today best seller Pamela Fagan Hutchins’ Silver Falchion award-winning series.

 

“Maggie is irresistible.”
Robert Dugoni, #1 Amazon bestselling author of My Sister’s Grave

 

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My Life and Privacy as Novel Fodder:
The Story Behind the Story of LIVE WIRE
By Pamela Fagan Hutchins
(originally posted on the author’s blog)

In the winter and spring of 2017, I learned the hard way to trust what my animals were telling me. I had a stalker. And one day I walked in on him in my house.
I should have known better. My gut had been telling me for months that something was wrong, but, since my husband Eric was traveling all the time, I worked hard at justifying away my paranoia. I didn’t want anything to steal my peace.

My dogs told me. They would bark like crazy when the guy would show up and hide out to watch me. I ignored them.

My common sense told me. I found food wrappers and fast food cups in odd places in the private, remote forest outside our bathroom window. I didn’t want to believe it, so I let my husband come up with alternative explanations, ones that wouldn’t confirm I was being watched.

My horse told me. Katniss used to snort and jump sideways when we passed his hiding place. I ignored her.

I ignored everything and everyone until I opened the back door to my house one day to find him inside and running out the front door. He ripped up the electric tape grazing fence in his haste to get out of there, then left footprints all around our property until they disappeared into the woods about half a mile from the little nest he had cleared by the picture window to the bathtub.

The deputies were nice when I called, but they didn’t believe me at first. I didn’t have a name, I didn’t see the guy’s face, I didn’t have my back door dead bolted (although I did have the front, his exit, dead bolted), or use an alarm system. It’s the country, y’all. We don’t worry about security. So they didn’t fingerprint. They did encourage me to do a lot of target shooting, keep my dogs with me, and let them do drive-through welfare checks for the next few weeks (which they did).

My husband went on a ninja reconnaissance of the neighborhood, dressed in camo, toting his shotgun. But the guy was “long gone.”

Except that he wasn’t. Not from how I felt (violated; see self therapy anthem above) or in actual real life either. He lived up the street. How did we know this, besides the fact that it was clear from the footprints that he lived or parked a car close to our remote, rural little ranch?

It comes back to my horse.

A week before the incident, Eric and I were out riding. A weird neighbor guy waylaid us, getting right in front of Katniss and putting his hands on her face. Now, you just don’t approach a horse and rider and put your hands on that horse, especially the face. And Katniss is a snotty girl. She doesn’t like anyone but Eric and me touching her face, and only then if we have treats to put in the mouth end of it. But this creeper put both his hands on her face, and she let him. He proceeded to talk at a dizzying speed for half an hour, without ever acknowledging Eric, and repeatedly telling me that if I ever saw him in the woods in the area, it was just because he was care taking for neighbors when they were out of town.

OKAAAAAYYYY.

We put up game cameras and security cameras everywhere after the incident. At the point where the guy’s boot prints disappeared from our property, we caught Katniss on camera two nights in a row at five am standing for 45 minutes with her head over the fence. She had no reason to be there. There was no gate. The only reason she comes to the gate by our house (half a mile away) is for food. And it hit us: she was waiting for food. Someone was feeding her there. At five am. Repeatedly. The same person she’d let touch her face?????

We asked all the neighbors whether they used this guy for care taking. The answer came back a 100% resounding “never.” I ran criminal background checks on every male neighbor within two miles. One came back as a multiple felon for breaking and entering, and for drug crimes: yep—the weird guy. We ran into him at a restaurant. Suddenly, he wouldn’t look at me at all, after having all but spirited me away a week earlier.

Fast forward to a week after the incident. Eric walked into a local gas station. The same creeper was there, talking to someone at the counter. He looked up and saw Eric and dropped what he was holding and ran out the back door of the station.

If we weren’t sure before, that did it for us. We called the deputy. Told him about my horse and the other incidents. He was a country boy, so he “got it” about Katniss. We identified the guy, but while I now knew for sure it was him, I could not lie and say I saw his face. The deputy offered to charge him with criminal trespass. But what good would that do? He’d be out of the slammer in a hot minute, if he was convicted. And he’d be pissed. I declined.

So, yeah, that’s the incident that inspired LIVE WIRE, which comes out March 6th. You can preorder now. In it, you’ll see my experience woven into the plot, if you look closely.
As for me, I practice my shooting a lot. I keep my dogs with me. I lock my doors now, and we use an alarm system. Weird things have happened since. I won’t elaborate, because we’re hoping someday to nail him on all of them. And I’m still waiting for next time. Because when it happens, he’s going back to jail for a long, long time.

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AboutTheAuthor

Pamela Fagan Hutchins

Pamela Fagan Hutchins is a USA Today best seller. She writes award-winning romantic mysteries from deep in the heart of Nowheresville, Texas and way up in the frozen north of Snowheresville, Wyoming. She is passionate about long hikes with her hunky husband and pack of rescue dogs and riding her gigantic horses.

If you’d like Pamela to speak to your book club, women’s club, class, or writers’ group, by Skype or in person, shoot her an e-mail. She’s very likely to say yes. Connect with Pamela on the web.

 

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Praise for Pamela Fagan Hutchins

2018 USA Today Best Seller
2017 WINNER Silver Falchion Award, Best Mystery
2016 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Cross Genre Fiction
2015 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Cross Genre Fiction
2014 USA Best Book Award Finalist, Cross Genre Fiction
2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-finalist, Romance
2013 USA Best Book Award Finalist, Business: Publishing
2012 Winner of the Houston Writers Guild Ghost Story Contest
2012 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Parenting: Divorce
2011 Winner of the Houston Writers Guild Novel Contest, Mainstream
2010 Winner of the Writers League of Texas Manuscript Contest, Romance

 

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Signed paperback of Live Wire + eBook of Buckle Bunny + $5 Amazon Gift Card
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Signed paperback of Live Wire + eBook of Buckle Bunny
THIRD PRIZE
Signed paperback of Live Wire
PLUS, ALL WINNERS
Audio downloads of Fighting for Anna and Searching for Dime Box
March 6-16, 2019
(International)

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3/6/19 		Character Interview 	Texas Book Lover 
3/7/19 		Review 			Reading by Moonlight 
3/7/19 		Review 			Hall Ways Blog 
3/8/19 		Series Spotlight 	Max Knight 
3/8/19 		Series Spotlight 	All the Ups and Downs 
3/9/19 		Review 			That's What She's Reading 
3/9/19 		Review 			Nerd Narration 
3/10/19 	Guest Post 		Carpe Diem Chronicles 
3/11/19 	Review 			Forgotten Winds 
3/11/19 	Review 			Syd Savvy 
3/12/19 	Character Spotlight 	Chapter Break Book Blog 
3/13/19 	Review 			Momma on the Rocks 
3/13/19 	Review 			StoreyBook Reviews 
3/14/19 	Author Interview 	The Love of a Bibliophile 
3/15/19 	Review 			Kelly Well Read 
3/15/19 	Review 			Book Fidelity 

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