Sunday, October 26, 2014

All I Want For Christmas Is You by Jessica Scott - iPad Mini Giveaway

Title: All I Want For Christmas Is You
Author: Jessica Scott
Release Date: October 24, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Novella (108 pages)

Goodreads * Amazon 

All Major Patrick MacLean wanted was Christmas with the woman and child who were his family in everything but name. But Captain Samantha Egan has come back from the war a different woman than the one who left - and she doesn't know if she can love him anymore.

But neither of them counted on the determination of a little girl they both call daughter and if Natalie has her wish, her parents may have no idea what's coming for them. It's going to take Christmas miracle to bring these two wounded warriors back from the edge of a broken heart. 


Excerpt

It was not a gentle kiss. It was not tame or timid or questioning.

It burned her down to the root of Sam's soul. It touched something deep and dark and hidden.

Something she'd thought was long since dead and buried and gone.

Patrick’s tongue slid against hers, stroking to life the very sensations she thought she'd never feel again.

It was electric, the feel of his mouth against hers. The scrape of stubble against her chin, the taste of him. The smell of his skin.

He nipped her. Pinched her bottom lip between his teeth and sucked it. And she sighed at the pleasure, at the raw ache his taste and touch aroused in her, pushing aside the darkness that haunted her.

Sam felt him. Felt everything. The heat of his skin. The warmth that drew her closer. That made her want to crawl into his lap and unzip his pants and push up that damned flannel shirt until they were skin to skin and there was nothing between them but sweat and heat.

One hand slid down her side. Tugged at her fleece and...

"Dear lord how many layers of clothing do you have on under this thing," he muttered against her lips.

She smiled. "You weren't wondering why I wasn't cold?"

"Well you'd be a champ at strip poker right about now," he murmured.

Then his fingers found her skin and she was no longer thinking.

About the author:

Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she's a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.

She's written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View Regarding War, and IAVA. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of OIF/New Dawn and has served as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas.

She's pursuing a PhD in Sociology in her spare time  and most recently, she's been featured as one of Esquire Magazine's Americans of the Year for 2012.

Find out more at JessicaScott.net.

The novella ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU is also included in November 11th release HOME FOR CHRISTMAS with Joann Ross.


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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Forget You by Jennifer Snyder - Review

Forget You
(A Coldcreek Novel #4)
by Jennifer Snyder
Published: September 2014

(Fourth novel in the Coldcreek Companion Series.Can be read as a standalone.)

Eva Bennett might be known for her candid approach and sharp tongue, but on the inside she’s still a vulnerable twenty-four year old who’s sick of kissing toads and being habitually single.

Full of comical one-liners and wielding a charming smile, Sawyer Keeton is more than meets the eye. After the news of his brother’s tragic death, however, Sawyer is pulled into a place filled with crippling emotions and pain—a place no one can seem to reach him…until the moment Eva steps into his life.

A twist of fate will bring them together and then tear them apart, forcing the two to learn there are people in life whom you cherish and pray will never forget you.
 



My review:
Eva is seeing all of her friends find good relationships and is ready for one too, but she has had more than her share of cocky, arrogant men. After a chance encounter with Sawyer, she automatically pegs him as another cocky man, especially when she later runs into him at a party. However, there is something there that makes her keep thinking about him, so when he gets her number from her friend and texts her the next day, she agrees to go on a date with him. Sawyer takes her on what she considers a "juvenile" date, and she is surprised to find she has a great time. Eva finds there is more to Sawyer than meets the eye with his unexpected date choices combined with his comical one-liners and the grief he is still experiencing over the mysterious circumstances surrounding his brother's death. They both soon realize they are falling hard for each other, but then they are torn apart.

When the big twist happens, we know something immediately that Eva doesn't know. I think it would have made the whole story more dramatic and suspenseful if the author had left readers in the dark just a little longer. Other than that, this is a really sweet love story and a great read. My heart ached for Eva when she thought she wouldn't see Sawyer again, and then it ached some more for Sawyer when he found out what really happened the night his brother died. I adored Eva and Sawyer, and I absolutely loved the relationship that Eva had with all of her friends. Forget You can be read as a stand-alone, but I would enjoy reading the other novels just to get to know these other characters better because I liked them so much. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys sweet, emotional love stories. (*Note that "sweet love story" does not mean no sex in this case, but it isn't overly explicit either.)

I won a signed copy on Goodreads. I was not required to write a review.

About the author:
Jennifer Snyder lives in North Carolina were she spends most of her time writing New Adult and Young Adult Fiction, reading, and struggling to stay on top of housework. She is a tea lover with an obsession for Post-it notes and smooth writing pens. Jennifer lives with her husband and two children, who endure listening to songs that spur inspiration on repeat and tolerate her love for all paranormal, teenage-targeted TV shows.

Find out more at JenniferSnyderBooks.com.   
 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What Happened to My Sister by Elizabeth Flock - "Throwback Thursday" Review

A "Throwback Thursday Review" is either a book I read way back when but didn't write a review for whatever reason (usually, probably forgot ... oops...) or it is a review on a book I got but then didn't get around to reading until now (again, usually, probably just forgot).

Up this week is What Happened to My Sister by Elizabeth Flock. This is another one from my long list of ones I read back in 2012 right before it came out but then, for some reason, never wrote a review for it. 

What Happened to My Sister
by Elizabeth Flock
Published: August 2012
by Ballantine Books

From the author of Me & Emma comes a dazzling novel of two unforgettable families bound together by their deepest secrets and haunted pasts—perfect for fans of The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes and The Book of Bright Ideas.

Nine-year-old Carrie Parker and her mother, Libby, are making a fresh start in the small town of Hartsville, North Carolina, ready to put their turbulent past behind them. Violence has shattered their family and left Libby nearly unable to cope. And while Carrie once took comfort in her beloved sister, Emma, her mother has now forbidden even the mention of her name.

When Carrie meets Ruth, Honor, and Cricket Chaplin, these three generations of warmhearted women seem to have the loving home Carrie has always dreamed of. But as Carrie and Cricket become fast friends, neither can escape the pull of their families’ secrets—and uncovering the truth will transform the Chaplins and the Parkers forever.



My review:
Get the box of Kleenex for this emotional read. Carrie and her mother are relocating in order to have a better life. Only things really don't seem to be any better, and it doesn't look like they will improve anytime soon. Carrie has memories of a sister but doesn't remember what happened to her, but her mother tells Carrie that she is imagining things and forbids her to talk about it. Carrie and her mother end up living in a run-down, seedy motel, and Carrie is usually left alone in the room. They have very little money, and Carrie does without a lot, even food. It is absolutely heartbreaking to read about this little girl eating things like dirt and clay pots just to ease the hunger pangs.

What Happened to My Sister is very touching. The characters were great, and the story was engaging. Carrie is one of those characters that grab a hold of your heart and burrow their way in. I first read this story 2 years ago (I don't know why I didn't write a review back then), but I have found myself suddenly thinking of it over the years. The Chaplin family is quirky and loveable. Perhaps they didn't see the obvious abuse that was right in front of them at first, but very few people really do. What really did happen to Carrie's sister? You will be left guessing until the end. I would without a doubt recommend this book to anyone. 

A copy was provided for an honest review.

About the author:
Former print journalist Elizabeth Flock reported for TIME and PEOPLE magazines before becoming an on-air correspondent for CBS News. Her acclaimed debut novel, BUT INSIDE I'M SCREAMING, chronically the psychological struggles of a young television reporter in New York, was released in 2003. Her second novel, ME & EMMA, became a New York Times bestseller and was an Indiebound (formerly Booksense) Notable Book of 2005. EVERYTHING MUST GO, Elizabeth's third novel, loosely based on a clothing store in Connecticut, was published in 2007. Elizabeth's books have been translated into seven languages and published in twelve countries. 

Her fourth novel, SLEEPWALKING IN DAYLIGHT, came out in 2009, and was chosen as an Indie Next List (formerly Booksense) title.

Find out more at ElizabethFlock.com.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Truth About Love by Sheila Athens - Review

The Truth About Love
by Sheila Athens
Published: October 14, 2014
Montlake Romance

Strong Convictions
After her testimony sent an innocent man to prison, law student Gina Blanchard vowed to spend her life righting that wrong. She passed up more prestigious opportunities to intern at a Tallahassee nonprofit dedicated to overturning wrongful convictions. But when she catches the eye of sexy green-eyed hunk Landon Vista, she realizes there’s room in her hardworking life for a little fun. Then she learns her newest case involves the man accused of murdering Landon’s mother…and possibly setting him free.

Stronger Passions
The people of Tallahassee still see Landon Vista as their golden boy and football hero…and as the man who tragically lost his mother. Yet Landon hides his emotional scars behind his handsome smile. While working for a senator who’s tough on crime, he finds himself keeping an eye on gorgeous redheaded Gina in more ways than one. But as their passion simmers, their secrets build…until Gina’s latest case collides with Landon’s heartbreaking past, threatening to tear them apart forever.



My review:
After Gina and Landon meet by chance and have an instant attraction, they realize that they are on opposite sides of a very important issue. Gina is convinced that the man in prison for killing Landon's mother is innocent, and she is working to free him. Landon is sure the right man is behind bars because his eyewitness testimony when he was 9 years old is what sent him there. Landon is, of course, very upset when he finds out Gina is trying to get the man released, but he decides to stay in touch with her in case he can get to the information she has about his mother's murder. As the relationship and the investigation progress, Landon starts to have doubts about what he really saw that day.

I chose to read this book because of the plot of someone working to overturn a wrongful conviction. For the most part, I thought this was done very well in this book. Throughout the entire book, you are wondering if he did it or not and if they will be successful in getting answers. Trying to not give any spoilers, I have to say that the wheels of justice never turn so quickly in any case but especially not when the person has already been convicted. But I understand this was necessary for this story, and it didn't hurt my enjoyment of this book. Speaking of things that bothered me, I am going to point out that Key Biscayne is not part of "the Keys." No big deal, but it irked me.

Overall, I did really enjoy this book. I really liked how Gina and Landon's relationship progressed. As Landon started having doubts about what really happened with his mother's murder, Gina was there for him. She understood what he was going through because she had testified against someone and then found out she was wrong. I liked both characters and thought they were well developed. Gina was determined to help others wrongly convicted because of her mistake even though she hated going into the prisons. Landon was still just a little boy inside, feeling all alone even though he was a celebrity to most of the town, and still looking for love from his father. This story was well-written and had a great mix of romance and mystery. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a sweet falling-in-love story with a lot of suspense thrown in.

Copy was provided for an honest review.

About the author:
SHEILA ATHENS writes contemporary romance set inside modern day dilemmas (think Jodi Picoult, but with a central love story, lots of sexual tension and a happily ever after). After a fair amount of success in regional writing contests, Sheila finaled in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart award in 2013. That entry, retitled THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE, sold to Montlake Romance for publication in the fall of 2014. She hopes you enjoy her stories, which explore the complications of modern-day life, illustrate the quiet dignity of mankind and celebrate the power of love.

Sheila grew up in the Ozarks, vacillating between climbing trees, reading books and neurotically working toward straight A’s. Many years later—after marriage, a couple of careers, and a Master’s Degree—she discovered her first romance novel in the gift shop of a hotel when she was supposed to be networking with fellow conventioneers. Now, some years later, she’s got a bright red study filled with romance novels, though the testosterone from her all-male household often encroaches upon her little feminine enclave. She’s a creative lefty who loves quiet spaces and eccentric people. She uses solitude to refill her writing well. Though she’s lived in the coastal south for more than twenty-five years, she looks forward to one day moving to the serene mountaintop cabin she and her husband have built at the edge of a national forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  

Find out more at SheilaAthens.com.     

Friday, October 10, 2014

Rip Tide Bikini (A Pleasure Island Romance) by Lyla Dune - Review

Rip Tide Bikini
(A Pleasure Island Romance #2)
by Lyla Dune
Published: March 2014
by Composesum Publishing

Hot and Hilarious with Heart!

(Mature/Explicit content alert - Readers should be 18 years of age or older)


Trent McAllister, ex Navy SEAL, is a bounty hunter in hot pursuit of Mazy Washington's twin brother and soon finds himself stranded on Pleasure Island with a flock of ostriches and some zany naughty naked seniors. He's immediately attracted to drummer girl/ mechanic, Mazy, and the feeling is mutual. But with this couple's opposing missions in regards to Mazy's brother, their relationship is off to a rocky start.

Will Mazy's brother and father drive a wedge between her and Trent, or will Trent manage to bring the family together in a way that includes him?  


My review:
Mazy's twin brother, Earl, is being chased by a bounty hunter for something he didn't do. Mazy is fiercely loyal to her brother because he is essentially the only family she has since her mother passed away and her father took off. Trent, the bounty hunter, has chased Earl to Pleasure Island. He then does damage to the island's ostrich farm following whom he thought was Earl but was really Mazy. Trent agrees to stay at the ostrich farm in lieu of facing charges for the damages. Trent's life is pretty stressful and really nothing more than being on the go all the time for the job, so Pleasure Island is a relaxing change of pace. Of course, the hot redhead, Mazy, is also a reason for him to stay. Mazy is conflicted about her attraction to Trent. She has the hots for him, but she is disappointed in herself because she feels like she is betraying her brother if she has anything to do with the bounty hunter that is chasing him.

Rip Tide Bikini is an entertaining read full of quirky characters, ostriches, and a pot belly pig named Rooster. A sexy massage, a provocative dance, and a sunburn down below will keep you both entertained and laughing. I really enjoy the mix of humor and heat that Lyla Dune weaves into her stories. Mazy and Trent are both well-developed characters, which makes it easy for readers to develop a connection with them. Myrtle and Louise, two of the "Naughty Naked Seniors," are hilarious and obviously care for Mazy very much. We also get to know Kendal quite a bit more in this book than we did in the first book of the series because her story is up next.

I will say this story could have used a little more proofreading. The name of the attack ostrich changed from Spike to Strike in a couple of places, and there were a few other things that were mainly typos. However, it did not detract from my enjoyment of this book. I recommend Rip Tide Bikini and this series to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance. If you are a fan of Jill Shalvis, Lyla Dune is right up your alley.

A copy was provided for an honest review.

About the author:
Lyla Dune has taught and performed music for over twenty years. Like most band directors, she can play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on a wide variety of instruments, including tuba. Her primary instruments are clarinet, saxophone, flute, and piano.

Songwriting has been in Lyla’s blood since she was a young girl. She still enjoys writing songs. Songwriting led her to poetry, and she has published over a hundred poems. She has also published many short stories and flash fiction pieces in a multitude of genres.

Writing can be creative and cathartic, which is why Lyla fell in love with it, but she learned that writing from that dark place inside her heart made for a lot of sad days. Even though publishers kept begging for more of that sticky dark stuff, she changed directions and decided to fill her days writing happily ever afters. Now, she smiles and sings and enjoys each moment spent with her characters and hopes her readers will find as much joy between the pages of her books as she’s experienced penning the words.

Find out more at LylaDune.com.  
 
 

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