Thursday, July 30, 2015

Book Tour and Giveaway: "Truly Sweet (Sweet, Texas)" by Candis Terry

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Sweet Texas Romance Prize Pack

Follow the entire tour here →  Truly Sweet Book Tour

Sweet, Texas #5
Candis Terry
Releasing July 28th, 2015
Avon Romance

Candis Terry returns to Sweet, Texas for the last time when former Marine Jake Wilder discovers how truly sweet love can be.

When the one you’ve always wanted

At sixteen, Annabelle Morgan hoped her crush on Jake Wilder was just a passing phase. Now she’s twenty-nine and nothing has changed except Jake. The once-carefree marine has come home with a giant chip on his shoulder. He insists a single mom like Annie deserves more than he can offer. Yet no matter how gruff his gorgeous exterior may be, Jake s toe-curling kisses convince her that this attraction is definitely mutual.

Becomes the one who wants you back

Butting heads with feisty Annie was always a thrill. Add other body parts to the mix, and Jake is in serious trouble. He can’t be a forever-and-family guy and Annie s not a friends-with-benefits kind of woman. But love has a way of changing the best-laid plans, and surrender has never been so tempting.

The outcome is truly sweet.

My Review:
In this final book in the Sweet, Texas series, we see the wonderful dynamic in the relationship between Annie and Jake. They had been buddies growing up, Annie's like the little sister he didn't have. But Annie has been nursing feelings for Jake for years, and the fear over his injuries really solidifies her feelings in her mind - she decides that she's not going to let her fear of rejection keep her from letting Jake know how she feels - she realizes that life is too short for those types of fears.

The author does a fantastic job of depicting a soldier suffering from PTSD and survivors guilt. His survivors guilt is so strong that it influences everything he is doing in his life, including his budding feelings for Annie. He feels incredibly unworthy of happiness in his life due to the loss of his best friend and the misguided guilt he feels over living when his friend died. The author's depictions of the emotions experienced by a soldier experiencing these emotions was realistic and emotionally wrenching for the reader.

Annie also epitomizes delightful character development, as she is a single-mom who struggles with every day living as a single mom, but eternally grateful for the gift she had been given in her son. She rarely demonstrates the "woe is me" attitude you often see in single moms in stories - she relishes every experience she has with her son and sees being a mother to Max as the most important job she has. The author provides a realistic view of life as a single mom - struggling from time to time with basic necessities but fiercely loyal to her child nonetheless.

But let's not forget the love story. the love story develops throughout the story, often derailed by the PTSD feelings Jake is harboring, or Annie's concerns over getting involved as a single mother, or even well meaning family and friends who aren't sure Jake and Annie should end up together. But it seems that Annie is just what Jake needs to help him see what he needs to see about the future, and do what he needs to do to heal and move forward - hopefully with her. Their happily-ever-after has such a feel-good feeling since he is the last one standing.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Candis Terry was born and raised near the sunny beaches of Southern California and now makes her home on an Idaho farm. She’s experienced life in such diverse ways as working in a Hollywood recording studio to chasing down wayward steers. Only one thing has remained the same: her passion for writing stories about relationships, the push and pull in the search for love, and the security one finds in their own happily ever after.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Book Tour and Giveaway: "The Secret Sister" by Brenda Novak

Welcome to my tour stop for The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak. This is the first book in her Fairham Island series. It is a women's fiction novel that released July 28th. The tour runs July 27- Aug. 7th. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.

The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak
Trade paperback, 400 pages
Published by Mira, July 28, 2015

Did she once have a sister? Has her mother lied all these years? Why?

After a painful divorce, Maisey Lazarow returns to Fairham, the small island off the North Carolina coast where she grew up. She goes there to heal—and to help her brother, Keith, a deeply troubled man who's asked her to come home. But she refuses to stay in the family house. The last person she wants to see is the wealthy, controlling mother she escaped years ago.

Instead, she finds herself living next door to someone else she'd prefer to avoid—Rafe Romero, the wild, reckless boy to whom she lost her virginity at sixteen. He's back on the island, and to her surprise, he's raising a young daughter alone. Maisey's still attracted to him, but her heart's too broken to risk…

Then something even more disturbing happens. She discovers a box of photographs that evoke distant memories of a little girl, a child Keith remembers, too. Maisey believes the girl must've been their sister, but their mother claims there was no sister. Maisey's convinced that child existed. So where is she now?
My Review:

This book is so much more than women's fiction, or a contemporary romance - its real life. The author gives us a look into the lives of Maisey and her wonderful, complicated family; and Rafe and his life, which USED to be simple until Maisey came along.

Josephine, Maisey's mother, is hard to like. I didn't like how Maisey kept bowing down to her, but in reality, its how she and her brother have learned to survive. The descriptions of treatments hefted on brother were disturbing - it's no wonder he turned to a life of mischief and drugs. And its a wonder that Maisey came out somewhat normal. The loss that she has suffered has been piled on and her wariness is understandable - but I feel bad for Rafe who got jerked back and forth as she worked her way through her relationship with him while struggling with her brother, her mother, and even her ex husband.

Boy, I love Rafe. He is sensitive and kind but doesn't just let Maisey walk all over him. He sets some ground rules for how he's willing to be treated, but also makes his feelings known for Maisey. I love that he is confident in how he feels and once he's confident in Maisey's feelings, he confronts what is probably the major barrier to his happiness with Maisey - Josephine. I believe that he earned her respect when he did that and Josephine is definitely redeemed in my eyes in the end, in her relationships with Laney and Roxanne!

Wonderful, wonderful read!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Brenda NovakAbout the Author:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak has penned over 45 novels. A two-time Rita nominee, she’s won The National Reader’s Choice, The Bookseller’s Best, The Bookbuyer’s Best and many other awards. She runs an annual online auction for diabetes research every May at To date, she’s raised over $2 million. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.

Find Brenda Novak Online:


Five (5) copies of The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak
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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Book Tour and Giveaway: "And Then Forever" by Shirley Jump

Enter to Win a $75.00 Amazon eGift Card

Fortune's Island #1
Shirley Jump
Releasing July 28th, 2015
TKA Distribution

Welcome to Fortune’s Island, where the only rule is to follow your heart.

Love is an extravagance Darcy Williams can’t afford. She prefers the simple life, which includes waitressing at The Love Shack and avoiding temptation. But when a forbidden part of her past steps off the ferry, her safe, guarded existence is turned upside down.

Kincaid Foster has never gotten over his first love. When he sees the wild, beautiful blonde again, dancing her way around The Love Shack, the memories of Darcy’s soft skin, gentle touch, and heated kisses come rushing back. As the privileged son of a wealthy family, Kincaid was too young to stand up to his overbearing father when he and Darcy were together. Now, he’s back on the island—free of the family shackles—and the chiseled, big-time lawyer wants a second chance.

But, Darcy made a promise to keep a secret from Kincaid—a secret that is now a six-year-old girl who looks just like her daddy. If Kincaid finds out about their daughter, Darcy could lose everything. But, she can’t resist the man who stole her heart all those years ago. And it doesn’t take long before both of them realize that anything can happen on a hot summer night.
My Review:

This book was recommended to me and not having read a Shirley Jump novel before, I was curious. The author does not disappoint. This is a wonderful story of a first love reunited, with a delightful twist of an unknown daughter. The author creates wonderful suspense by not introducing the "secret" daughter for a good bit of time, enabling us to get to know Darcy and Kincaid as the individuals, and former lovers that they are, without introducing the complexity of a sweet, bubbly six year old child. I love how Kincaid struggles with wanting, and desperating NEEDING his father's love, and wanting the life and love that he wants for himself, and the fact that these are disparate objectives. He realized as a teen that he couldn't get one while having the other, and after being pushed away from Darcy, he leaves, seeking for his father's love and approval by achieving the goals his father has set for him. When he returns to the island, he is confronted with old friends, old loves, and old feelings, and his deeply held desires for his life come bubbling back up to the surface. And as Kincaid finds himself caring for an old, lost dog and nurturing a fresh life for "Mooch", he is also nurturing the deeply-held desires for his life and does some soul-searching of his own. In true romance novel fashion, the author throws a few twists and turns at the couple, inevitably forcing them apart until one, or both of them, realize that their love is more important and stronger than anything trying to force them apart.

We also get a nice introduction to Fortune's Island and the wonderful inhabitants there and the author introduces us to some other delightful characters that we KNOW we'll be reading more about in future books from Fortune's Island.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump spends her days writing romance so she can avoid the towering stack of dirty dishes, eat copious amounts of chocolate and reward herself with trips to the mall. Look for her all-new novella in the anthology ASK ME WHY (with Marie Force, Virginia Kantra and Jodi Thomas), as well as the Sweet and Savory Romance series, including the USA Today bestselling book, THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE, on Amazon, and her Sweetheart Sisters series, starting with THE SWEETHEART BARGAIN.

Visit her website at for author news and a booklist, and follow her on Facebook at for giveaways and deep discussions about important things like chocolate and shoes.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Book Tour and Giveaway: "Just a Kiss" by Kate Kisset

Just a Kiss
by Kate Kisset
Release Date: July 23, 2015


Reeling from the loss of her mother, Sarah Dupont catches her fiancé doing the nasty on top of her pastry table at their San Francisco Bakery.

Devastated, she calls her best friend, lifestyle reporter, Danica Vargas. Danica convinces Sarah to start fresh and move in with her at Bella Villa mansion in Sonoma Valley.

With two roommates who act like the sisters she never had,and a feisty landlord to stand in as the grandmother she always wanted, Sarah’s opens a café on the Sonoma Plaza. 

Her life changes the moment the little bell on the door rings and the notoriously sexy actor Jamie Santino, swaggers in.

Jamie, one of the six Santino Brothers, of Napa Valley Winery fame, needs baking lessons for his new movie and Sarah is just the woman to teach him. Wine flows, their love affair heats up and a tempestuous femme fatale enters the scene. 

How can Sarah trust that Jamie isn’t acting when everything he says seems too good to be true?

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:

Just a Kiss is a sweet, light read about Sarah, who is looking to start over after professional and personal heartbreaks; and Jamie, who is looking to revive his acting career. This was a quick, easy read, but I felt that the author didn't dig very deep into the development of the characters, the setting, or the storyline. Being primarily from Sarah's perspective, I didn't feel like I really got to know Jamie well at all and then, all of a sudden, he was acting like he was in love with her and she was jumping into bed with him. Because I didn't feel like I knew Jamie and Sarah very well, the level of physical and emotional involvement felt rushed and premature. In true romance novel fashion, the couple is thrown a wrench and a simple misunderstanding turns into months apart. Thankfully, Jamie is confident enough in his feelings for Sarah to eventually push past the misunderstanding and fight for what's important to him - her. A light, fun read with a quirky set of roommates and a grandmotherly type who finds a love life of her own. A good introduction to the Single Girls Wine Club.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.



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About the Author:
Former San Francisco Radio Disc Jockey Kate Kisset, has a passion for telling great stories. After playing thousands of Pop, Country, Rock and Oldies tunes, for her primarily female fan base, she changed her tune and became an author.

Just a Kiss is the first book in her wine country romance series, The Single Girls Wine Club.

She lives in Northern California and Santa Barbara with her family and rescue pup "editor" Luciana Parmigiana, where she hikes, reads, listens to music, and drinks wine.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Review: "A SEAL's chance" by Cora Seton

SEALS of Summer 2 is a box set of 11 novels / novells featuring some of the best our U.S. Navy has to offer - Navy SEALs. This box set contains:

  • Fall Dark (SEALs Undone) by NYT and USA Today bestselling author Zoe York.
  • Hot SEAL (The Hostile Operations Team) by USA Today bestselling author Lynn Raye Harris.
  • SEAL'S HERITAGE by NYT and USA Today Bestselling author Sharon Hamilton.
  • THE GUARDIAN (SEALs Beyond Battlefields) by NYT and USA Today bestselling, RITA-award nominated author Kimberley Troutte.
  • ONCE UPON A BODYGUARD (Lucky Thirteen) by NYT and USAT bestselling author S.M. Butler.
  • The Strong Silent Type (East Coast 8 prequel) by USA Today bestselling, RITA-award nominated author Elle Kennedy.
  • HER NEXT BREATH (Uncharted SEALs) by NYT and USA Today bestselling author Delilah Devlin.
  • SEAL'S DEFIANCE (Take No Prisoners) by NYT and USA Today bestselling author Elle James.
  • A SEAL’S CHANCE by NYT and USA Today Bestselling author Cora Seton.
  • One Hot SEAL (When SEALs Come Home) by NYT and USA Today bestselling author Anne Marsh.
  • A SEAL’S DUTY, by NYT and USA Today Bestselling author Jennifer Lowery. (less)

This review will summarize A SEAL's Chance by Cora Seton.  I previously reviewed Fall Dark by Zoe York from this box set. That review was part of a composite review of all SEALs undone series here:

My Review:

A SEAL's Chance is a novella included in the SEALs of Summer 2 box set, but it also ties in to Cora's Chance Creek series. This novella provides a good depiction of Ben, a Navy SEAL who has lost his job, his purpose, and his way. He meets Caitlyn, who is a woman who feels defeated by where she is in life. These two are just perfect for each other for where they are in their individual lives. The author's portrayal of Ben's experiences after being forced to leave the service were compelling and shows the emotional turmoil that he faces when he no longer knows his purpose in life. And Caitlyn's feelings as she is living as a single-mom, feeling shunned by the town, establishes her as a wonderful pairing for Ben.

As Ben and Caitlyn meet each other several times, they experience several miscommunications, which are  delightful as they each inadvertantly insulted the other, but only because of the other's perspective on life at the time. I also really enjoyed how Ben and Caitlyn call each other on their words and their deeds as they are finding their strength.

I was so happy to see the obstacle course included - its a Chance Creek favorite, and I love how the author uses the obstacle course for Caitlyn to gain perspective on her life and Ben to prove to himself that he's still got a lot to offer. That doesn't mean the stumbles in their relationship are over. The novella has wonderful ending with a sweet declaration by Ben.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This novella is available EXCLUSIVELY as part of the SEALs of Summer 2 box set - Military Romance Superbundle for only 99¢: AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboiBooks

About the Author:
Cora Seton loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/eco-farmer, she ditched her California lifestyle eight years ago and moved to a remote logging town in northwestern British Columbia. Like the characters in her novels, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, spending mornings transforming a one-acre lot into a paradise of orchards, berry bushes and market gardens, and afternoons writing the latest Chance Creek romance novel on her iPad mini.

Website: Visit to read about new releases, locate your favorite characters on the Chance Creek map, and learn about contests and other cool events!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: "A New Hope" by Robyn Carr

After losing her child, Ginger Dysart was lost in grief. But since moving to Thunder Point, a small town on the Oregon coast, and with the help of her cousin Ray Anne, Ginger is finally moving forward. Her job at the flower shop is peaceful and fulfilling, and she's excited to start her first big assignment, assisting with the Lacoumette wedding. 

In spite of her lasting heartache, Ginger finds herself swept up in the pleasure of the occasion. But the beauty of the Lacoumette farm and the joy of the gregarious family are ruined by an unfortunate encounter with the bride's brother, Matt. Struggling with painful memories of his own recent divorce, Matt makes a drunken spectacle of himself and Ginger when he tries to make a pass at her, forcing Ginger to flee the scene in embarrassment. 

But when Matt shows up at the flower shop determined to make amends, what started out as a humiliating first meeting blossoms into something much deeper than either of them expected. Discovering they have a lot in common, they form a solid friendship, though everyone around them worries that Ginger will end up with a broken heart yet again. But if Ginger has the courage to embrace the future, and if Matt can finally learn to let go of the past, there may still be hope for a happy ending.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

My Review:

Every time I read a Robyn Carr novel, its like coming home again. It's so easy to step right back in to the lives of the residents of Thunder Point, even after time away. The author creates a compelling town with delightful residents and I love catching up with old ones and meeting new ones just the same. I finished this book with such a good feeling in my heart and I fell in love with Matt a little myself just as Ginger was falling in love with him! Matt and Ginger are such complex characters with complicated, grief-stricken pasts and both are just doing what they can to get by most days. I think the author's depiction of Ginger's grief over the loss of her child, which we mostly saw in the previous Thunder Point book, was incredibly realistic, and her depiction of Matt's dealing with his own loss was also incredibly genuine. The journey that Matt and Ginger took to each other was joyful but honest, and the maturity that each of them demonstrates is one rarely seen in couples today. The reason the couples in Thunder Point are so blissfully happy and fiercely in love is because the author creates loving relationships based on trust, sharing, and friendship. The drama isn't created for the sake of drama - it's real life experienced by the people living in Thunder Point and it makes you feel like a resident yourself.

In addition to getting a peek into the lives of Matt and Ginger, the book continues the storyline of characters we met in the previous book - One Wish - Grace, Troy, and Winnie. Winnie has moved to town and we get to see glimpses of a mature loving (if not IN love) relationship between Mikhail and Winnie as she continues to suffer from ALS. The love in the relationships we've already seen develop in previous books persists, and we meet new residents of Thunder Point that we know we'll get to know better in subsequent books. If you are a new reader to Thunder Point, never fear. This book reads just as well as a standalone - you'll love the characters you meet, and get a complete story of Ginger and Matt's love, but I guarantee you'll be headed back to the beginning of the series because you'll need to get to know the other folks in town, have a sandwich from Carrie, or check out some of the other folks hanging out on the beach outside Coopers. I leave A New Hope with a wonderful feeling in my heart but a yearning to head back to Thunder Point soon.

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About the Author:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: "Sweet Reunion" by Melanie Shawn


For Amanda Jacobs, dealing with the pain of losing her beloved Dad is the toughest thing she's ever gone through, and it comes with a lot of complications, as well - like taking over the family business, Mountain Ridge Outdoor Adventures. It makes her miss the simplicity of being a teenager, when she was surrounded by her amazing friends, The Fabulous Four, and she was madly in love with her Dad's right hand man, Justin Barnes. His sexy smiles and deep brown eyes had made her heart race in a way she's never felt before or since. When the Fabulous Four unexpectedly show up on her doorstep to support her through this complicated time, things seem to be looking up for Amanda. But that's not the only surprise visit in store for her...

Justin Barnes left Hope Falls ten years ago, in the dead of night, and didn't think he'd ever set foot there again. That was just fine with him, except for one little complication: Amanda Jacobs. He had fallen in love with her unruly blonde curls and sparkling sapphire eyes, but she had been a teenager then, five years younger than he - too young for him to act on his attraction. Still, he'd missed her every single day of those ten years. When Justin receives a phone call that his former mentor has passed away, he knows he has to return to Hope Falls. Justin just has one question - will the girl that once adored him have grown into a woman that can't stand him? Or will she still be the only thing in the world that feels like home?

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:

Sweet Reunion is another wonderful first love, second chance / forbidden love story. I was captivated from the very first chapter until the end of this delightful love story. From early in the book, we see how both Justin and Amanda are holding on to long-held feelings for each other and the scene where Justin returns, without Amanda's knowledge, is priceless. As the story progresses and Amanda and Justin navigate their present  together, I found myself hurting right along with them as they realize exactly how they have found themselves where they are in life - apart for ten years. Some simple misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and a forbidden love meant that Amanda and Justin lost so many years together. Perhaps, however, it took that time and those circumstances for them to be ready for their relationship; perhaps they both needed to travel the roads that they did to find themselves at the end together. Amanda and Justin are both strong, independent individuals but neither have gotten over their feelings for each. I really enjoyed how the author took us through their reunion and tough path navigating themselves back to each other while they both deal with the grief over the loss of Amanda's father, and unexpected complications in Justin's family. Also, by giving such a spotlight on the "Fabulous Four" - Amanda's friends from high school - the author also creates, for the reader, a compelling interest in subsequent books that we know will feature these strong, quirky, delightful characters. This is a great first book in the Hope Falls series.


About the Authors:
Melanie Shawn is the writing team of sister duo Melanie and Shawna. Originally from Northern California, they both migrated south and now call So Cal their home.

Growing up, Melanie constantly had her head in a book and was always working on short stories, manuscripts, plays and poetry. After graduating magna cum laude from Pepperdine University, she went on to teach grades 2nd through 8th for five years. She now spends her days writing and taking care of her furry baby, a Lhasa Apso named Hercules. In her free time, her favorite activity is to curl up on the couch with that stubborn, funny mutt and binge-watch cable TV shows on DVD (preferably of at least eight seasons in length – a girl’s gotta have her standards!).

Shawna always loved romance in any form – movie, song or literary. If it was a love story with a happy ending, Shawna was all about it! She proudly acknowledges that she is a romanceaholic. Her days are jam-packed with writing, being a wife, mom aka referee of two teens, and indulging in her second passion (dance!) as a Zumba instructor. In the little free time she has, she joins Melanie in marathon-watching DVDs of their favorite TV programs.

They have joined forces to create a world where True Love and Happily Ever After always has a Sexy Twist!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Review: "Laguna Nights" by Kaira Rouda


Madison Alcott left her Laguna Beach childhood in the past as soon as she could, never imagining she’d be forced to return. Caring for her ill mother and holding down a high-pressure position at the best resort in town, Madison’s life is as good as it could ever be in Laguna Beach. And blissfully, nobody knows her as Holly anymore, the name she used on television. Everything changes when her high school boyfriend appears in the lobby. He was the reason she’d left Laguna in the first place when he humiliated her on national television.

Josh Welsh’s star has been dimming ever since he shot to fame as the high school heartthrob on the reality TV series Laguna Nights. Hoping to reignite his career, he agreed to host a travel show, with the first episode shooting in his old hometown of Laguna Beach. Of all the negative scenarios associated with filming in Laguna, Josh hadn’t calculated a run-in with Madison, or that the same deep connection he felt for her in high school would still be there.

Madison and Josh’s reality TV relationship exploded years ago but when the new series forces them together, they must face Laguna Nights past and present.

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:

I love reading the first book in a series - it sets the stage for the tone of the series and introduces you to characters you'll fall in love with over and over again. Laguna Nights is no different. It is a great introduction to the Laguna Beach series and introduces us to a wonderful west coast town. I've read many romances set in beach towns but haven't visited Laguna Beach before. The author does a wonderful job of painting a picture of the town, with the cliffs and the caves and the beaches and the small town feel on the coast of California. She makes me want to walk down the street and have a seat on the patio of a local restaurant and watch what sounds like a spectacular sunset. 

The author creates compelling characters in Josh and Madison. This story is a first love, second chance story with an interesting twist - as teenage loves, the characters experienced their love and subsequent breakup on the world stage on a reality TV show. And in true reality TV fashion, everything is blown up to larger proportions than it actually is, and NOTHING is at it seems. What I like about Josh is that while he's confident in his feelings towards Madison the minute he sees her again, what he isn't confident in is his future as an actor. Josh demonstrates a vulnerability at times, and confidence at others, which makes him a very believable character. In Madison, the author creates a strong, intelligent woman who knows what she wants in life and is working to achieve just that. And from the moment Josh reenters her life, her head and her heart are at war. Her plans don't include reviving a hurtful teenage relationship with a wannabe Hollywood star. But plans don't matter when the heart's involved, and Madison finds herself drawn to Josh, and the spotlight, once again. Madison and Josh approach their relationship this time around with a maturity they didn't have at the time, and with their eyes open to the reality of reality TV, which gives them every opportunity for happiness.

This story isn't overly sensual - the romantic scenes are descriptive but tastefully done and appropriately included as to enhance the story and not dominate it. The landscape of Laguna Beach is wonderfully created through imagery that transports the reader along with the characters to what I can only believe through the words is a beautiful beach-side town. And the characters and storyline are compelling and draw the reader in, making me want to read faster and faster in hopes of finding the happily ever after that Madison and Josh deserve. In all, a delightful read!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


About the Author:
I’ve dreamed of being an author since third grade and that dream finally came true when Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs was released. I had 20-plus years of marketing experience under my belt, and I had created a personal and business branding process, which I packaged in Real You Incorporated to help women entrepreneurs define their brands. The experience of writing that book, and touring the country to speak about it, was an awesome culmination to my marketing and C-level business career. (I created the first female-focused brand in real estate, and the industry’s first consumer Web 2.0 portal. Before that, I showed an Inc. 100 firm and franchisor that women were their customers.) Along the way I’ve been honored with numerous Addys, Webbys, and Prism Awards.

During my time building the Real Living brand with my husband I won the Stevie Women in Business Best Entrepreneur Award, Entrepreneur Magazine’s Fifty Fastest Growing Women-Led Businesses and was named one of Forbes’ Top 50 Women in Business to follow on Twitter. (My favorite award, though, was Kiwanis International’s Humanitarian of the Year recognizing me for starting the first homeless shelter for families in Columbus, Ohio.) I have been interviewed on Fox News, NBC and local media outlets across the country. And once Real You Incorporated was released, I spoke to organizations across the nation including The Entrepreneurship Institute, NAWBO, the American Marketing Association, eWomanNetwork, Rotary, Kiwanis, YWCA, Austin Balance Expo for Women, Key4Women Program of Key Bank, Women’s Council of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. I’m looking forward to my first speech for the Romance Writers of America in July 2015.

And then in 2010, with the help of a tweet, we sold Real Living, the brand my husband and I had built together. I found myself in the enviable, but scary position of asking myself: now what? We’d moved from our hometown of Columbus, Ohio, to California and once the kids were settled, it was just me and my computer and a too-quiet house. The answer had been there all along. Finally, I turned to the career I’d always dreamed of and began writing full time.

My first women’s fiction novel Here, Home, Hope about a midlife makeover, ironically, was published in 2011. All the Difference followed a year later, and most recently, In the Mirror released in 2014. I love writing women’s fiction, and will celebrate two releases in 2016! I can’t wait to share more details about the stories.

I was happily writing women’s fiction, and that’s probably the path I would have followed until I went to lunch with Jane Porter, a fabulous bestselling author who had just moved to Southern California. She encouraged me to try writing romance and I did. And I loved it! The Indigo Island Series of contemporary romance novellas launched in 2014. Coming soon, expect more Indigo Island stories, as well as a new series set in my new hometown of Laguna Beach, California. Whether it’s contemporary romance or mainstream fiction, my hope is my stories sparkle with humor and heart, leaving a smile on your face when you reach The End.

I’m delighted to be able to say I’m a national bestselling author. My books have won the Indie Excellence Award, USA Book Awards, the Reader’s Choice Awards and honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest International Book Awards. The novels have been widely reviewed and featured in leading national magazines. I’m still working hard and building that career, learning from a wonderfully supportive reading and writing community. Speaking of support, I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful family. My husband and four amazing almost grown children are my biggest blessings. Oh, and my friends fill my life with joy. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Review: "Love on the Slopes" by Amy Manemann


Jessa Hartley is haunted by memories of the night she threw herself at her childhood crush, Dominic DeRenzi – and he turned her away. Years later, Jessa has managed to put the past behind her and climb up the ranks as head instructor of the ski lodge she one day hopes to purchase. Only her plans take a nosedive when the smooth talking Italian shows back up in town. Even worse, he’s planning on purchasing HER lodge. 

After surviving a disastrous marriage, Dominic DeRenzi returns to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, hoping to make a fresh start for him and his six year old son by purchasing the old ski lodge. Until a chance encounter with Jessa Hartley throws his well laid plans off track. The once innocent girl from his childhood has grown into the beautiful woman he always knew she would become, and he is painfully reminded of the night he over stepped his bounds and kissed her. Then broke her heart by sending her away. 

Rekindling the flames of their past isn’t part of the plan, yet Dominic and Jessa soon find they’re helpless to stop the fire that burns brightly between them. He broke her heart the first time he left, but can he make her see this time around he’s here to stay?

Genre: Contemporary  Romance
My Review:

I've read several of Amy's book and this one is by far my favorite. I think the characters are well developed and the story is very emotional. I love "first love" reunions and the author did a great job of creating stress and angst as the couple start to rediscover themselves. I love how Dom was initially blind-sided by Jessa's arrival but quickly decided he wants to rekindle what was there previously, and works methodically and sensitively to rebuild love with Jessa. As they get closer, it's fun to watch as Jessa sees a situation through the "goggles" of her previous relationship with Dom and jumps to the completely wrong conclusion. And Dom reactes in EXACTLY the right way and in the way that Jessa needed him to react to show he's truly serious about her and their future together.

As this is the first book in the series, the author has also set us up to get excited for stories about the other members of Jackson Hole, and the Hartley family and what is driving their lives and their loves. I look forward to reading subsequent books in the series, but in the meantime, I'll revel in the joy and love that radiate from Dom and Jessa in this story of Love on the Slopes.


About the Author:
Amy Manemann is an International Best Selling Author. She writes sexy and intriguing romantic suspense, contemporary romance (NEW), young adult paranormal romance, and dabbles in children's books. She resides in her hometown along the Mississippi river with her husband and their two children. When she isn't plotting her next book, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and diving into a good book.

Amy is also a site administrator for the World Literary Café, an online literary community for authors and readers.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

"Bury the Hatchet" by Catherine Gayle


He was poised to be an elite goalie for a contending team.

Hunter Fielding has long since proven himself to be one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. The problem? His former team had another (slightly better) backstop. They left Hunter out to dry, the upstart Tulsa Thunderbirds claimed him in the expansion draft, and he made a few stupid comments about backasswards Oklahomans. Now the T-Birds say the only way he can redeem himself is to make nice for the media with some local goody two shoes who’s made some mistakes of her own.

Oklahoma’s sweetheart could do no wrong until she could do no right.

Tallulah Belle Roth was the reigning Miss Oklahoma USA until a night of out-of-control drinking, a naked foray in a hot tub with very bad boy, and a bunch of lowlights on TMZ. Now she’s been stripped of her crown and is facing the censure of the same people who made her out to be Little Miss Perfect. Tallie won’t ever get her title back, but her life is another matter—and the only way the public will allow her to do that is if she presents herself as happily settled with someone else under Oklahoma’s eye.

The marriage is to be in name only—one year of sickeningly-sweet lovey-dovey PDA, all to get their detractors to bury the hatchet. Those kisses and tender moments for the cameras take an emotional toll, though. Can in name only be enough?

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:

This book started slow for me. As much as I wanted to like it starting out, I just wasn't. The premise seems contrived - two people who have damaged their public reputation will redeem themselves by getting married? You would expect to redeem your reputation by marrying someone with a spotless record, not someone whose public persona is as screwed up as yours. And, woo hoo, for a long time, I really disliked Tallie. She fits the definition of a "sheep" to a "T", not able to make decisions for herself or express her own opinion.  But, that is what her mother and her creepy image consultant Lance have created and she has perfected it. But Tallie really grew on me as the book progressed and she found her voice.

We really get to know Hunter in this book. I like how the author portrays his relationships with Carrie and his brother, and show that beneath all of his anger and disappointment around his brother, there is still a seed of love left. He is an alpha hero who immediately sees the need to protect Tallie, and also to release her from the figurative chains that have bound her her entire life. He does that in spades and throughout the book, you see Tallie emerge as the truly sensitive woman that she is beneath the plucking and the makeup and the airbrushing forced upon her. I enjoyed the character development of Tallie the most and by the end of the book, I found myself reading faster and faster to see how Tallie and Hunter work out.

The author has indicated that this series may be a bit more sensual / erotic than the Portland Storm series from which this was spun off.  Unfortunately, to me, that only translated into an almost excessive use of the "f" word, even when Tallie and Hunter were expressing their feelings for each other. I believe a book can be sensual and even erotic and not have to devolve into crassness, which I felt this did at times. I also struggled early on with some "pop culture" references the author includes - such as Game of Thrones - which will make this book lose some relevance quickly. I haven't watched Game of Thrones so I have no frame of reference for this mention and as time passes, readers will have little to no context with which to understand this statement.

So, after what I consider a weak start to the book, with characters I struggled to like and relate to as the book begins, as the book progressed it became enthralling to me and an enjoyable read by the end. Despite my struggles with certain aspects of the story, this book is what I would expect from Catherine Gayle and her hockey-based romances and was an enjoyable read!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Author:
Catherine Gayle is a USA Today bestselling author of Regency-set historical romance and contemporary hockey romance with a New Adult feel. She’s a transplanted Texan living in North Carolina with two extremely spoiled felines. In her spare time, she watches way too much hockey and reality TV, plans fun things to do for the Nephew Monster’s next visit, and performs experiments in the kitchen which are rarely toxic.

If you enjoyed this book and want to know when more like it will be available, be sure to sign up for Catherine’s mailing list. You can find out more on her website, her blog, at Red Door Reads, at Hockey Romance, at Facebook, on Twitter, and at Goodreads. If you want to see some of her cats’ antics and possibly the occasional video update from Catherine, visit her YouTube account.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Review: "Kiss Me" by Susan Mallery


After Phoebe Kitzke's kind heart gets her suspended from her job in LA, she swears off doing favors—until her best friend begs for help on the family ranch in Fool's Gold. Unfortunately, sexy cowboy Zane Nicholson isn't exactly thrilled by the city girl's arrival.

Thanks to his brother's latest scheme, Zane has been roped into taking tourists on a cattle drive. What Phoebe knows about ranching wouldn't fill his hat, but her laughter is so captivating that even his animals fall for her. One slip of his legendary control leads to a passionate kiss, but she's exactly the kind of woman a single-minded loner needs to avoid.

In his arms, Phoebe discovers she's a country girl at heart. Yet no matter how much the small town feels like home, she can't stay unless Zane loves her, too…but is this cowboy interested in forever?

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:

Kiss Me is the next installment in the Fools Gold series, but as we progress through the series, I feel less and less connected to what I consider the "original" Fools Gold residents that made me fall in love with the town. This story is also set on a ranch about 20 miles outside of town, so we don't spend a lot of time in town, or with the town residents - except for, of course, our resident octogenarian busy bodies - Eddie and Gladys.

I had a hard time getting to know Zane. Who he is and what drives him wasn't immediately apparent so it took longer to really get to know him. But as I finally got to know him, I really liked him. His relationship with his brother Chase is a struggle between being a brother and a father figure, influenced by Zane's relationship with their father, and it added an interesting dynamic to the story - those two brothers couldn't be more different.

Phoebe is like an open book - she loves easily and cares for everything and everyone, which leaves her open to being hurt. And she is - often. It was fun to find her confiding in Manny, the lead steer in the cattle drive! Her almost "innocence" with regards to her view of the world makes her endearing to the reader - and to Zane. It takes a while to see through his blathering and brooding behavior to realize that he really does like her.

The secondary storyline with the childless couple and two foster kids was difficult to follow. The children were introduced at the beginning of a chapter with no background - just BAM, an introduction about two children at a bowling alley. I didn't understand what was going on. And then as the foster parents, Thad and CJ, were introduced, I also was having difficulty following along with the direction of the storyline. The author ties everything together by the end but there were times that as the reader it was difficult for me to make the connections.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable story with great characters and a well-written struggle to find happiness for the hero and heroine. I do, struggle, however, with how far from the core of Fool's Gold that the books have had to stray in order to keep the stories fresh and the characters new and compelling.  Perhaps its time to consider where the ending lies for the citizens of Fools Gold.


About the Author:

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has won the hearts of millions of readers around the world with books described as “immensely entertaining, intensely emotional” (RT Book Reviews), “hilarious” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), and “heartwarming” (Publishers Weekly). One major retailer recently described her as “the queen of romantic fiction.” While she deeply appreciates the accolades of critics and booksellers, Mallery is even more honored by the enthusiasm of her readers and the word-of-mouth that catapults her toward the top of the bestsellers lists time and again.

Mallery lives in not-so-sunny Seattle with her husband, plus a toy poodle and two ragdoll cats who are not at all impressed by her growing fame.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Teaser: 7 days until "Laguna Nights" by Kaira Rouda

Laguna Nights 
Laguna Nights #1
By: Kaira Rouda

Releasing July 14th!
Adult Contemporary Romance
Cover designer: Okay Creations


Madison Alcott left her Laguna Beach childhood in the past as soon as she could, never imagining she’d be forced to return. Caring for her ill mother and holding down a high-pressure position at the best resort in town, Madison’s life is as good as it could ever be in Laguna Beach. And blissfully, nobody knows her as Holly anymore, the name she used on television. Everything changes when her high school boyfriend appears in the lobby. He was the reason she’d left Laguna in the first place when he humiliated her on national television.

Josh Welsh’s star has been dimming ever since he shot to fame as the high school heartthrob on the reality TV series Laguna Nights. Hoping to reignite his career, he agreed to host a travel show, with the first episode shooting in his old hometown of Laguna Beach. Of all the negative scenarios associated with filming in Laguna, Josh hadn’t calculated a run-in with Madison, or that the same deep connection he felt for her in high school would still be there.

Madison and Josh’s reality TV relationship exploded years ago but when the new series forces them together, they must face Laguna Nights past and present.


Enter a giveaway for a FREE copy of Laguna Nights → Goodreads Giveaway

About the Author:
Kaira Rouda is an Amazon #1 bestselling, multiple award-winning author of three women's fiction novels including Here, Home, Hope, All The Difference, and In the Mirror.

Tule Publishing Group's Southern Born imprint is publishing her new contemporary romance series set on INDIGO ISLAND: Weekend with the Tycoon, Book 1; Lines in the Sand, Book 2; The Trouble with Christmas, Book 3; and The Billionaire's Bid, Book 4. Three more books in the series will be out in 2015.

Her nonfiction title, Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, continues to inspire women internationally.

She lives in Southern California with her husband and four almost-grown kids, and is at work on her next novel. Connect with her on Twitter, @KairaRouda, and on Facebook at Kaira Rouda Books. For more about Kaira and her books, please visit