Thursday, October 22, 2015

Let Me Love You Again by Anna DeStefano (Book 2 In Echoes of the Heart Series)


I've said it before, I love the writing style of Anna DeStefano. She's one of my favorite authors because she writes about difficult and complex relationships in a way that draws the reader in from the beginning. Book two in the Echoes of the Heart Series is Selena and Oliver's book. I think this is my favorite of the series so far. 

Here is a little blurb about the book:
Selena Rosenthal left behind her high school sweetheart, who was the love of her life, seven years ago.
Now, she and the once-rebellious Oliver Bowman are back in Chandlerville—after his foster father’s heart attack and Selena’s contentious divorce—to deal with her secrets, the recklessness that caused their breakup, and the almost-strangers they’ve become to each other and their families.
As soon as his father is stronger, Oliver must return to the successful career that helps support a new generation of foster kids. But he’s falling for Selena again, her daughter has a hold on his heart, and he can’t imagine leaving behind his brothers and sisters once again.
More attached by the day to their charming hometown and families, Selena and Oliver fall in love for the second time.
Has fate brought Chandlerville’s prodigal children together again…this time forever?

Now on to the review:
I fell in love with this story because it's everything you wished you had in a high school romance as well as all the mistakes young couples regret making. Oliver came back a successful man but not for the reasons most would think. He's a drop dead gorgeous hero who was the light in Selena's world up until their senior year when everything went wrong. Now being back in Chandlerville, all of the feelings he had for Selena in high school have come rushing back, and with a vengeance.

Selena is back in Chandlerville but not of her own free will. She finds herself newly divorced, no money to speak of and a little daughter to take care of.  The last thing she wants to face is her past. I loved Selena's character most of all in this book because I could really relate to her. I was a single mom and I KNOW how hard it is to take care of daughters and try to work at the same time. Seeing Oliver is bad enough but having a car that is not only embarrassing but that leaves you stranded more times than not is mortifying. Some of the situations Selena gets into are comical but each shows everyone just how strong she is. I loved that her character was portrayed in this way.

One thing I love about Anna's books are they aren't just small books. They are full bodied novels that are almost always 300+ pages. Although to some that might seem like a long drawn out book, I can guarantee you that when it's over you'll want it to have gone on for another 600 pages. Let Me Love You Again is an addicting read and heartwarming read. Even though there may be some very heavy subjects that are covered in the book, you will walk away saying "awwww, what a precious book".

The Echoes of the Heart Series is about the Dixon family. Marsha and Joe Dixon were foster parents to some of the most troubled teens. Through their love and respect for each child, they became real parents to every child who entered their home. The books in the series deal with the love stories of both the parents and the foster children they loved with all of their hearts. This is definitely one series you won't want to miss.

Let Me Love You Again is book 2 and you can purchase it by clicking here.

Here in My Heart is book 1 and you can purchase it by clicking here.

You can check out everything about  Ms. DeStefano on her webpage by clicking here. From her books to blog and everything in between, like information on contests and new releases, her site has something to please everyone. While you are on her author page, check out some of her books in different genres, they will take your breath away.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Answers for Julie by Cate Beauman *Giveaway* Q&A and Excerpt



Award winning romantic suspense author Cate Beauman is back with the ninth full length novel in the Bodyguards of L.A. County series.  Answers For Julie is on sale now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and more!





Julie Keller relishes the simple things: hot chocolate on winter nights, good friends she calls her family, and her laid-back career as a massage therapist and yoga instructor. Julie is content with her life until Chase Rider returns to Bakersfield.


Bodyguard Chase Rider isn’t thrilled to be back in the town where he spent his childhood summers. His beloved grandmother passed away, leaving him a house in need of major repairs. With a three-week timetable and a lot to do, he doesn't have time for distractions. Then he bumps into Julie, the one woman he hoped never to see again. Chase tries to pretend Julie doesn't exist, but ten years hasn't diminished his attraction to the hazel-eyed stunner.


When a stranger grabs Julie’s arm at the grocery store—a woman who insists Julie’s life isn’t what it seems, Chase can't help but get involved. Julie and Chase dig into a twenty-five-year-old mystery, unearthing more questions than answers. But the past is closer than they realize, and the consequences of the truth have the potential to be deadly.


The inspiration behind Answers For Julie:


I often get my story ideas from watching crime documentaries, but the plot for Answers For Julie came together after I read some sobering FBI statistics in a magazine about the odds of a missing child coming home. Unfortunately, many children are lost forever. The wheels began spinning quickly after that, and a few weeks later, the story was well on its way.


I hope you enjoy Julie and Chase as much as I enjoyed writing them!


~ Cate


Read an excerpt from Answers For Julie:


She frowned, glancing in her rearview mirror when someone honked. Gasping, she cringed, bracing herself for a nasty impact as a car approached fast from behind. When the vehicle barely missed hers, she accelerated, making space for the bully to go around, but the navy blue BMW moved closer to her bumper.
She punched the gas, moving over to the final right-hand lane. The car sped up directly to her left, until the dark tint of the passenger’s window was even with her driver’s side. Julie pressed on her brake, slowing on the damp roads, hoping the car would move on, but it decreased its speed as she did. “What are you doing?”
Unsure of what to do, she jerked her rental toward the upcoming off ramp. The car followed, closing the distance between them, and rammed her back door, forcing her closer to the guardrail. She screamed, veering hard to the left, barely avoiding a collision with metal and a plummet to the busy road several hundred feet below.
The vehicle sped off as she slammed on her brakes and sat where she was, closing her eyes and gasping in several breaths. She flinched and screamed again, her eyes flying open as a red Camero honked as it swerved to miss hitting her.
Trembling, she accelerated to the bottom of the off-ramp, knowing that if she didn’t move she would cause an accident. She braked at the stoplight, her teeth chattering and her eyes darting around, on the lookout for the BMW. There was no way that was some random act of road rage. She could no longer claim that the instances in Massachusetts were a string of bad luck. Chase was right. Someone was trying to hurt her, and she still needed his help.


Did you enjoy the excerpt?  You can read the first chapter on my website, www.catebeauman.com, or you can finish the whole book here!


The Unofficial Answers For Julie Soundtrack


Music still plays such a large part in my writing process. I listen to Pandora or YouTube and compile a collection of songs that I feel represent my characters or the situations they face as the novel unfolds.  Here are a few of the songs that I had on “repeat” while I created Julie and Chase’s story!  You can listen to all of them on my website www.catebeauman.com.


The soundtrack, of sorts, for Answers For Julie:
  • Leaving Home by Cody Fry and Raquel Cole
  • All The Stars by Ed Sheeran
  • Rust Or Gold by Jill Andrews
  • American Secrets by Parachute
  • Thinking Of You by Katy Perry
  • Battleship by Daughtry
  • Find My Way Back by Cody Fry
  • The Last Time by Taylor Swift ft. Gary Lightbody
  • Running Back To You by Matt Wertz
  • Ungodly Hour by The Fray
  • I Need You by LeAnn Rimes
  • Free Like You Make Me by The Cary


About the author:


Cate currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernard’s, Bear and Jack. She is the author of the international bestselling and award winning romantic suspense series, Bodyguards of L.A. County.  Before her career as an author, Cate worked in special education for 12 years.


“I'm a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, five years later, I'm working on my tenth novel! I remain so very grateful for the support and success that I have had.  Thank you!”  - Cate


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Amazon Author Page


Social links:



Friday, June 12, 2015

Accidents of Marriage by Randy Susan Meyers

ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE – Q&A with Randy Susan Meyers

1. Can you tell us a bit about the book and the relationship between the characters?
Accidents of Marriage asks what is the toll of emotional abuse on a family. It’s an account of life inside a marriage that seems fine to the outside world, an account of emotional abuse, traumatic injury, and how a seeming accident is really the culmination of years of ignored trouble. It’s the story of an unexpected gift of clarity making the difference between living in hell and salvation.
For Madeline Illica, the love of her husband Ben is her greatest blessing and biggest curse. Brilliant, handsome and charming, Ben could turn into a raging bull when crossed—and despite her training as a social worker Maddy was never sure what would cross him. She kept a fragile peace by vacillating between tiptoeing around him and asserting herself for the sake of their three children, until a rainy drive to work when Ben’s temper gets the best of him, and the consequences leave Maddy in the hospital, fighting for her life.
Accidents of Marriage, alternating among the perspectives of Maddy, Ben, and their fourteen-year-old daughter, Emma, takes us up close into the relationships between all family members. The children, lost in the shuffle, grasp for sources of comfort, including the (to them) mysterious traditions of their Jewish and Catholic grandparents. Emma and her grandparents provide the only stability for the younger children when their mother is in the hospital. Ben alternates between guilt and glimmers of his need to change, and Maddy is simply trying to live.  Accidents of Marriage reveals the challenges of family, faith, and forgiveness.

2. How many different titles did you experiment with before deciding on Accidents of Marriage?
My first working title was A Thousand Suppers (which comes from a line in the book, but ultimately made no sense out of context.) The title I used when I presented it to my editor was simply Maddy & Ben. After many long sessions with poetry books, anagrams of words, and other methods that I use, I came up with Accidents of Marriage.

3. How has working with batterers and victims of domestic violence influenced your writings?
Working with batterers taught me far more than I can put in a paragraph, but here is my version of the most important take-away: Never underestimate the hatred some men have of women. Never think that people (other than the truly damaged)  ‘snap’. If they chose to find it, people can access at least a sliver of decision-making. We have agency. We do not choose to hit and scream at our bosses. We choose to hit and scream at people in our homes. The hierarchy of power always comes into play.

Women (and men) do not choose abusive people as their loves—they pick the charming folks they meet in the beginning of a relationship. There might be signs to look out for, but abusers keep those traits in check until the relationship has solidified, when breaking up is more difficult.
There is not a black and white line between being abusive and not being abusive. There is a continuum of behavior, and most of us fall on the wrong side of the best behavior at some point—whether is be yelling, silent treatment, or some other hurtful conduct. Learning that this can be controlled is a job for everyone.

Batterers can change; we can all change our behaviors, but most often we choose not to do the difficult work that change requires. This is something I hope I bring to my writing.

4. Can you discuss the role of Maddy and Ben’s daughter in the book?
Emma is an average teenager who is thrown into very un-average circumstances. She becomes the stand-in mother, a role she takes on without credit or even being noticed. She is also the keeper of secrets, an impossible position for her to take on. In every stage of her family’s trauma, she is the silent absorber, who ultimately will break or find strength.

5. How did you portray someone with a traumatic brain injury so well?
I did an enormous amount of study. Luckily I find medical research fascinating. My shelves are crammed with memoirs of those with TBI and caretakers of those with TBI, workbooks for those with TBI, and medical texts—as well as spending time on line reading medical information for those in the field and information for those affected by brain injury. I had someone in the field read the novel and am also lucky enough to have a doctor in my writer’s group.

6. Did you have any say in choosing the cover for the book?
Yes! The final cover was the fourth one presented. It was tough finding the right ‘mood’ for the cover, but I was very pleased with the final version. Of course, most authors (including me) would love to actually design the cover, but my guess is our final products would not be the graphic success we imagine.

7. What made you choose a car crash as the tragic turning point between Ben and Maddy?
Abusive and bullying behavior very often plays out in driving. Road rage is a real problem on our motorways and seemed the logical vehicle for demonstrating how Ben’s bad choices result in devastating consequences.

8. Parts of this story make the reader begin to empathize with Ben. Why did you choose to do this?
I don’t believe books that present characters as all good or all bad can adequately capture life’s totality or experiences. It’s important for me to tap into how we are all the stars of our own show and how we often convince ourselves why it is ‘okay’ to act in awful ways.  Ben is not all bad, despite doing awful and bad things. The question I explore about Ben (among others) is can he change? Is he, are we, capable of change, and if so, how does will and can that change manifest?

9. Is Maddy modeled after anyone that you know?
Maddy is modeled after about a thousand people I know—including myself and my friends and family. Most of us have some Maddy in us, at least at some point. We close our eyes to the worst, or we use drugs or alcohol or food or something else to tamp down our feelings. We live in a maelstrom of problems and pretend it’s all okay. We deny and lie to ourselves. Until we can’t anymore.

10. What do you hope readers will take away from reading Accidents of Marriage?
Abusive behavior is wrong, whether it is physical, emotional, verbal or any other type of hurtful behavior. It overwhelms a family. Raising children with verbal and emotional violence is harmful and the ramifications last forever.
Most important, we can control our behavior.
But, most of all, I hope readers take a page-turning story from my book. I don’t write to lecture; I write to tell the stories that mesmerize me, and thus, I hope, fascinate others.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Pursued by the Rich Rancher by Catherine Mann


PURSUED BY THE RICH RANCHER
by USA Today bestselling author
Catherine Mann

Single mom Nina Lowery has never understood the sex appeal of cowboys. Until she brings her son to a weeklong horse camp and meets the wealthy rancher in charge. Seduction isn't part of Alex McNair's plan to earn his piece of his family's estate. Yet plans have a way of changing. Nina and her little boy hold the key to Alex's future. Breaking the promise he made to his dying grandmother is not an option but neither is breaking Nina's heart.
Love Lessons Learned
with Catherine Mann


What are some of the real-life romance lessons we can take away from PURSUED BY THE RICH RANCHER?

PURSUED BY THE RANCHER is all about second chances. No matter how bad the heartache (both the hero and heroine have suffered deep losses) and no matter how big the challenges (the heroine has special needs son), there is hope for the future. Finding a life partner, a true and lasting love, can heal those wounds and offer strength to build a beautiful forever—together.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
USA Today bestseller Catherine Mann has books in print in more than 20 countries with Desire, Romantic Suspense, HQN and other Harlequin lines. A six-time RITA finalist, she has won both the RITA and the Bookseller's Best Awards. Catherine resides in Florida with her aviator husband, their four children and a menagerie of pets.

Twitter: @Catherinemann1


Midnight Thunder by Vicki Lewis Thompson


MIDNIGHT THUNDER
by New York Times Bestselling Author
Vicki Lewis Thompson

Thunder Mountain Ranch was the only place cowboy Cade Gallagher had ever called home. But after he and Lexi Simmons broke each others’ hearts, he left it behind, along with his foster family. Since then, Cade has drifted, looking for something—anything—to call home. Until a call from Lexi changes everything.
Cade has been gone too long. His foster mother is hospitalized, and the ranch is in deep financial trouble. Yet even as his world crumbles, Cade’s hunger for Lexi is almost as tangible as the taste of her lips and the way her body fits deliciously against his. It’s bittersweet surrender. But Lexi isn't the girl she used to Thunder Mountain Ranch was the only place cowboy Cade Gallagher had ever called home. But after he and Lexi Simmons broke each others’ hearts, he left it behind, along with his foster family. Since then, Cade has drifted, looking for something—anything—to call home. Until a call from Lexi changes everything.
Love Lessons Learned
with
Vicki Lewis Thompson

What are some of the real-life romance lessons we can take away from the book?  

Cade reunites with Lexi five years after they were lovers and discovers she’s still the same to some extent, but in many ways she’s grown.  Healthy people are always growing, and any relationship requires the partners to make room for that to happen.   



Colton Cowboy Protector by Beth Cornelison


COLTON COWBOY PROTECTOR
by Award-Winning Author
Beth Cornelison

Rancher and single dad Jack Colton must face an assassin in the thrilling first book of The Coltons of Oklahoma… 
A beautiful stranger appears at the Colton ranch during a party, and Jack is none too pleased. With ties to his ex-wife, Tracy McCain claims to be on a mission to bond with his son. But this intriguing widow also has a target on her back. As the Colton family brings Tracy under its broad wing, a relentless assassin puts everyone in jeopardy. Jack's protective instincts go into overdrive and only fuel his secret attraction to Tracy. Living closely together under Jack's roof, the heat between them starts to sizzle. In fact, the only thing stronger than Jack's heady desire for Tracy is his will to keep her safe so that one day they can become a family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Award-winning author Beth Cornelison has been writing stories since she was a child. A University of Georgia graduate, Cornelison worked in Public Relations before becoming a full-time writer. She has won many honors for her writing, including the coveted Golden Heart, awarded by the Romance Writers of America. She lives in Louisiana with her husband and son.

Website: www.bethcornelison.com 

Twitter: @bethcornelison          

Facebook: www.facebook.com/beth.cornelison


Love Lessons Learned
with
Beth Cornelison

What are some of the real-life romance lessons we can take away from the book?
The love lesson to learn from Colton Cowboy Protector would be to judge people on their own merits and not allow old wounds to color your opinion of a new love interest. Jack Colton was badly hurt by the failure of his first marriage. He holds grudges against his first wife, and he lets those bad feelings stand in the way of seeing his ex-wife’s cousin without prejudice. Tracy McCain came out of a bad marriage and has to overcome the fears and hurts of her first marriage to fully trust Jack. Through the trials they encounter in the story, they learn to love each other for the unique individuals they both are without preconceived notions and clutter from the past distorting their perceptions and expectations.

             –Beth

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

RELEASE DAY for The Scoundrel and the Debutante by Julia London


It's release day for Julia London's The Scoundrel and the Debutante.  Here's a blurb for you:

The dust of the Cabot sisters' shocking plans to rescue their family from certain ruin may have settled, but Prudence Cabot is left standing in the rubble of scandal. Now regarded as an unsuitable bride, she's tainted among the ton. Yet this unwilling wallflower is ripe for her own adventure. And when an irresistibly sexy American stranger on a desperate mission enlists her help, she simply can't deny the temptation. 

The fate of Roan Matheson's family depends on how quickly he can find his runaway sister and persuade her to return to her betrothed. Scouring the rustic English countryside with the sensually wicked Prudence at his side—and in his bed—he's out of his element. But once Roan has a taste of the sizzling passion that can lead to forever, he must choose between his heart's obligations and its forbidden desires.

The Scoundrel and the Debutante is Book 3 in the Cabot Sisters series.


If you would like to purchase The Scoundrel and the Debutante, click here.


And Finally, click here for Julia London's official web page.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Quilt of Souls by Phyllis Lawson


Mark my words, this will be an author to watch!  I have a feeling Quilt of Souls is going to have great sales.  On Amazon, this book has nothing but five stars. In the future, I will have a review to post but while you wait for that, here is some information about the book.

Blurb:
Like many Black Americans of the mid-twentieth century, Phyllis Lawson’s parents moved from their hometown of Livingston, Alabama to the big city in search of a better life. It wasn't long before hardships left them unable to provide.
Soon, four-year-old Phyllis is plucked off her front porch, ripped away from the only family she knows, and sent to live with her grandmother Lula on an Alabama farm with no electricity, plumbing, or running water.
Heartbroken by her mother’s abandonment, Phyllis struggles to acclimate to her new surroundings. Thanks to the unconditional love of Grandma Lula and the healing powers of an old, tattered quilt, she is finally able to adjust to her new life.
In Quilt of Souls, Lawson documents her childhood growing up with the incredible woman who raised her and the powerful family heirloom that served as the cloth that would forever stitch their lives together.

Excerpt:
She held up the faded white cloth and told me it was from Ella's wedding dress. Ella, the woman whom I longed to know and whose portrait graced the hallway. I would finally learn about who she was.
“This here is the first cloth we are puttin’ in your quilt”.  
This was the beginning of a history lesson that would stick with me for the rest of my life. The folktales of my ancestors and Grandma’s friends who were born in the late 1800’s would be the layers of used clothes that laid the foundation for my quilt. Each piece portrayed the story of that person’s life and death. It wouldn't be only their garments that we would embed in my quilt, but their stories and what they were able to achieve regardless of the insurmountable obstacles they faced.

You can purchase Quilt of Souls by Phyllis Lawson by clicking here.  Right now, if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read Quilt of Souls for free.
About the author:
Phyllis Lawson is based in Florida. After going to college and serving in the military for twenty years, she reaches out through her website, publications and lectures to encourage people to understand that their old family stories and handed-down objects are valuable historical artifacts which need to be preserved. She also works as a genealogy researcher. 

She is married with two adult sons and five granddaughters.

Places to follow and contact Phyllis:
On Facebook, here is the link. CLICK HERE.
Her website is here.
Her Amazon Page is here.
And if you live in Baltimore, Maryland, you're in luck because she will be at the Baltimore Book Festival on September 26, 2015.  The time will be 11:00am. 

Here is the information on the Book Festival.
Baltimore Book Festival, Ste. 500 7 E. Redwood St., Baltimore, MD, 21203
and click here for the Baltimore Book Festival website.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Bon Appetit and a Book: Harlequin March Authors


Bon Appétit and a Book: A delicious recipe of your choice to enjoy alongside the book

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/shortbread-cookies-recipe.html 

Shortbread cookies.
They're so easy to make, and they’re perfect with a cup of Irish tea and a book.

Song Playlist: I usually have an odd mix for a book’s playlist, mainly because I’m writing anything from a love scene to a shootout. Here’s the playlist for The Deputy’s Redemption

All I Want Is You—U2
Different Drum—The Stone Poneys
Welcome to the Jungle—Guns N Roses
You’re the One—Dwight Yocum
Flesh and Blood—Johnny Cash
Take Me to Church—Hozier

Love Lessons Learned: Real life romance lessons learned from the book
Finding and keeping love is hard work but worth it when you’re with the right person.

Movie Star Cast:
A less buffed up Charlie Hunnam for Colt
Natalie Portman for Elise




Bon Appétit and a Book: There's something warm and homey about a couple of yummy cookies and a cup of hot tea. Add a good book, and it's the perfect way to spend a dreary afternoon or a cold night. My all-time favorite cookie is as easy to make as it is delicious. Even better, it's a six ingredient cookie! Quick, simple and delicious!

Mexican Tea Cake Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp . vanilla
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cups finely chopped pecans
extra powdered sugar
Mix butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt. Stir in pecans.
Chill dough for an hour.
Preheat oven to 350.
Roll dough into one inch balls and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. While cookies are still warm, roll them in the extra powdered sugar.
If you can, let them cool before eating.
If you can't, grab your book, your tea or coffee, find a comfy chair and enjoy!

Love Lesson Learned:

Cassie and Gavin aren't looking for love. They don't even want it. Sometimes, though, what we aren't looking for has a way of finding us. As I wrote PROTECTION DETAIL, I was reminded to keep my mind open and my heart ready. Even for someone who has been married for twenty-one years, these are important things. It is so easy to miss opportunities to show love to the ones who matter most. While we're living our busy lives, we can miss what is right in front of our noses and take for granted the things that we should cherish. Writing PROTECTION DETAIL reminded of how fleeting life can be, how quickly time passes and how important it is to express my love and appreciation to my husband. Not in big and grand ways, but in small ways, in gestures of compassion and tenderness that I sometimes forget to offer, I can build on the bond we already have and strengthen the foundation we laid years ago.

Songs:
What Faith Can Do, Kutless
Worn, Tenth Avenue North
I Need a Hero, Bonnie Tyler
Song for a Winter’s Night, Gordon Lightfoot
Make You Feel My Love, Adele
This is My Now, Jordin Sparks
Revelation, Third Day
Safe, Natalie Grant
Hero, Mariah Carey