Friday, August 1, 2014

Cinder and Ella by Kelly Oram: Cover Reveal, Excerpt and Giveaway!


It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder. 

… 

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancĂ©e—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.
Teaser excerpt: You do have someone who cares, he said softly. No matter how bad things are at home or at school or whatever, you have me. Youre my best friend, too. You have my number now. Save it in your phone and call it anytimeday, night, the witching hourit doesnt matter. Okay?
It took me a momentand a series of deep breathsbefore I could respond. Okay.
Promise?
I promise. As long as I always have you, Ill be fine. I kicked myself internally and laughed. Wow, that sounded really cheesy. You see? Thats why I didnt want to call you. I can filter my stupid mouth so much better when I have to type out my thoughts.
Cinder laughed again. Ah, but then you would miss out on all the sweet nothings I plan to whisper in your ear now that I know how much you like my ultra-sexy voice.
I blushed but refused to let him know that his flirting rattled me. I never said ultra, you egomaniac. But you should definitely consider recording audiobooks for a living.
Hmm. Thats not a bad idea. Cinders voice dropped to that slow, seductive purr again as he asked, Would you like me to read to you, Ellamara?
I thrilled at the thought and couldnt quite mask my excitement. Seriously?
Why not? Before you called, I was getting ready to have a Top Gear marathon all by my lonesome.
You are such a liar. Tonight is Friday night, and its Halloween. There is no way you dont have plans.
I dont have important ones. Its just a stupid party that my sort-of girlfriend wants me to go to.
Your sort-of girlfriend?
Yeah. Cinder stretched the word out in a long breath. Its a long story, but Im not that into her. Id much rather stay home and read with you. Besides, I cant hang up on you when youve had the worst day ever. What kind of best friend would that make me?
I almost cried again. The offer was so sweet. And thoughtful. Reading was a passion Cinder and I shared. We read and discussed books all the time. Wed even decided to read the same book at the same time before, but wed never read one together. Cinder had to know how much that would mean to me.
It has to be The Druid Prince, I said.
Cinder laughed. Its already in my hands.

Look for Cinder & Ella October 1, 2014!
      
Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and loves to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and four children.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sleeping Beauty and the Beast by Melissa Lemon

Trapped in a cursed sleep, the only experiences Princess Eglantine has are the ones in her dreams. There she meets Prince Henry of Fallund, a neighboring kingdom on the brink of war.

Meanwhile, Prince Henry's brother Duncan discovers a vicious beast imprisoned for murder. Captivated by her, he works to free her from both the prison bars she's locked behind and the ones surrounding her heart and mind. Sleeping Beauty and the Beast reinvents and seamlessly intertwines the classic fairy tales Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast.

This is a fairy tale re-telling like you've never encountered.  I don't know how author Melissa Lemon comes up with these ideas but I love them.  I think this book is my favorite of hers so far.  It's a little twisted!

I love how the two different fairy tales are merged into one that interconnects.  In this book, the "beast" is a female which is also a different take.

Two brothers are unexpectedly thrown into ruling a kingdom when their parents pass away.  These two brothers couldn't be more different but at the heart of it, they are really much the same.  I love how each brother has his own story going on but neither of them realize how much their individual stories depend on each other.

This book was fanciful, fun and intriguing.  From the very beginning.  I couldn't put it down.  I loved it and I know my daughter is going to enjoy this one too.  

This book is clean- no swearing, profanity or sexual situations.



Melissa Lemon is the author of two other fairy tale retellings: Cinder and Ella and Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem. She is also the author of a sweet romance called Blue Sky. Writing is just one of her passions. She also loves music, reading, baking and exercising. She is wife to a patient man, mother to three spunky girls, and warden to a tolerant cat named Matilda.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Four Weddings and a Kiss: A Western Bride Collection

In 1885 five western preachers sit around a campfire talking about unlikely couples they've seen God bring together.

“Spitfire Sweetheart” by Mary Connealy

Maizy MacGregor's reckless ways injured rancher Rylan Carstens, endangering his livelihood. So she signs on as his caregiver--but just until he's well enough to run his ranch. Maizy's tender care soon has Rylan falling hard and fast. Can these two willful souls give up their solitary ways to embrace love?

“A Love Letter to the Editor” by Robin Lee Hatcher

Molly Everton writes the most popular features in her town's newspaper. When newcomer Jack Ludgrove is named the new editor, Molly is flabbergasted. She wants the position for herself and will do what it takes to get it. But Jack is not easily intimidated. He’s determined to change Molly's mind about him--and win her heart too.

“A Cowboy for Katie” by Debra Clopton

After the tornado, Katie Pearl must rebuild her ranch. But she can't do it on her own. Treb Rayburn is a cowboy with a serious case of wanderlust. He signs on to help Katie so he can afford a new horse. But once Treb gets to know Katie, will his desire to stay drown the call of the open road?

“Courting Trouble” by Margaret Brownley

Grace Davenport is a young widow in a heap of trouble. When her son asks attorney Brock Daniels to take on her case, Brock plans to say no. But then he meets the lovely Grace. As Brock and the boy work to free Grace, Brock discovers that her arrest may be the best thing that's ever happened to him.

This book has been on my radar for awhile now.  I've been seeing and hearing good things about it and I decided it was time for me to get my hands on a copy and get reading!  :)  What attracted me to this book was first, the authors who I know are talented and write good, clean romance.  Second, I was attracted to the old western setting.  I'm a sucker for a good western romance.

The book begins with a prologue.  A group of ministers sit around the fire one night after a retreat of sorts.  One of the ministers, a young guy just starting out, is bemoaning the fact that the girl he loves is the wrong kind of girl for him.  He is convinced that she doesn't fit the mold of a preacher's wife.  The older, wiser gentlemen of the group begin to share stories of some of the most unlikely of match's they have known.

Each novella is told by a different author.  The stories are individual and not interconnected in any way.  They each have their own style.  Honestly, I really loved them all.  I thought they were well done and each one made me smile.  Sometimes with novella length stories you end feeling like you just didn't get enough of the story but with these, I felt like I knew the characters.  There was good development and the happily ever after resolutions that I am always craving.

My thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishing and NetGalley who made it possible for me to read this book.

You can pick up your own copy of "Four Weddings and a Kiss" at Amazon.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Magnolia by Kristi Cook + $25 Giveaway!



Magnolia
by Kristi Cook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 5th 2014


Synopsis:

In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents' wishes. They're only seventeen, for goodness' sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can't stand Ryder's nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn't exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma's and Ryder's true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.



I honestly think my favorite part of this book was the deep south setting in Mississippi, the ingrained customs, the violent storm and the swampy river.  Those were the things that made this book feel alive and textured to me.  I've never been to Mississippi but I'd like to.  Well, I'd like to go when there weren't hurricanes threatening!

Jemma and Ryder have grown up together.  They know each other well but misunderstanding still takes over in a delicate time for them and neither one knows how to move past that.  Since then it's been a mostly hate relationship fed mostly by Jemma who doesn't know how to communicate at all.  Instead of confronting the situation and asking Ryder directly about it, she takes on the hate role and plays it to perfection.  For years.

I'm not sure I'm an outright fan of Jemma but I do love her mad shooting abilities.  

I am a firm fan of Ryder though.  

The classic struggle of expectation verses desire is present for both Jemma and Ryder in this book.  Not just for their relationship but for college decisions as well.  Their parents have expectations for them.  Jemma and Ryder both have different desires for themselves though and fight against the carefully laid plans their parents set out.

This was an enjoyable book, a classic type of YA romance with the typical conflict and desire.  It was easy reading that didn't require much from me or my brain.  :)

The ending was good.  I'm a fan of resolution and happily ever after's.

There was swearing, including the F word, which I did not like at all.  I am a firm believer that strong language should not be included in YA books.  I know I may be in a minority on with this view but there it is.  The swearing was too much for me and I didn't like it.


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Follow the FFBC Magnolia Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.




As a child, Kristi Cook took her nose out of a book only long enough to take a ballet class (or five) each week. Not much has changed since then, except she's added motherhood to the mix and enjoys penning her own novels as much as reading everybody else's. A transplanted southern gal, Kristi lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

That's the official version-here are some other fun facts:

~ As an undergrad, I majored in History and minored in English at the University of Southern Mississippi. While at Southern Miss, I was a member of Phi Mu sorority, and I was a Dixie Darling. And yep, Brett Favre was our quarterback at the time!

~ I studied American History in grad school at Columbia University. I *love* history, especially the Civil War era (U.S.) and Regency- and Edwardian-era British history.

~ My all-time favorite book *and* movie is GONE WITH THE WIND. My favorite literary characters are Rhett Butler, Atticus Finch, and Mr. Darcy. I kind of want to add Peeta Mellark to that list!

~Weirdly enough (or maybe not so weirdly?) I'm also a big fan of STAR TREK (the original series). I never can remember if I'm supposed to call myself a "Trekkie" or a "Trekker," though!


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Monday, July 28, 2014

Never Forgotten by Kelly Risser and Clean Teen Publishing

One minute Meara Quinn is making plans for the summer before her senior year. The next she finds out that her mother's cancer has returned and they're moving away from the only home she's ever known. Every day becomes a struggle as Meara tries to cope with her mother's illness while being forced to move to another country to live with grandparents who are strangers.

Add weird visions of a father who was absent her entire life and top it all off with one whopping secret that everyone seems bent on keeping from her, and Meara has the perfect ingredients for a major melt down. The only things keeping her from coming unglued are some new friends and Evan—the son of her mother's childhood friend—who seems to know Meara almost better than she knows herself.

Together with Evan and her friends, Meara embarks on a new journey to unlock the secrets that will not only tell Meara who she is, but what she is.

I'm really excited about today's post.  This is the start of a new relationship between myself and Clean Teen Publishing, who I will tell you about more and in great detail after my review of this book, Never Forgotten.

First, I do love the cover of this book.  I love when book covers make sense and represent the story held within.  This one is pretty!

I will say that I enjoyed the story here, and the journey of Meara.  To me, this book was more sedate in it's telling.  Maybe gentle and lulling would be a better description.  There were no heart pounding moments or moments of desperation where, as a reader, I wanted to just tear through the pages to find out what was going to happen.  The paranormal aspect is minimal in this book but will definitely pick up in the next book.

I liked all the characters in this book, they were easy to imagine and I felt like I was there, hovering over them throughout the book.  I could easily see in my mind where they were and what they were doing.  Even thinking back now, I have clear pictures in my head.  I love when I get movies in my head!

Meara deals with a lot of heavy issues in this book.  Her mother's cancer, moving to a new place and leaving her life and friends behind, learning about a father she has never known, weird things happening... there is a lot going on.  Meara is a character that is easy to like though.  I was rooting for her.  It was more of in an outside way though.  Me, on the outside looking in on a great story.  I just needed that emotional connection to pull me in and make me a part of the story.

There are sexual encounters in the book.  They are not described in any detail, but you know it happens.  There are some instances of mild swearing and some under aged drinking.

Of course the ending left me hanging, wanting to know more.  I do believe the next book (Current Impressions) will be out soon!  You can purchase Never Forgotten at Amazon.  **As of today 7/28/14 Never Forgotten is FREE on Amazon!!  I don't know how long that will last but get it while you can!

Now, let me tell you a bit about Clean Teen Publishing!  I first came across them when I read the book "Rising" (which I loved).  They had a scan code in the book that led me to a content disclosure.  What?!  I love that!  I was so impressed and I wanted to know more about this publisher and why they were doing what they were doing.  Here is their statement on the matter.

OUR COMMITMENT TO OUR READERS:
AT CLEAN TEEN PUBLISHING, WE BELIEVE THAT OUR READERS DESERVE TO KNOW AHEAD OF TIME WHAT THEY ARE READING. WE DO NOT BELIEVE IN CENSORSHIP; WE BELIEVE IN THE RIGHT TO KNOW. EVERY READER, NO MATTER WHAT THEIR AGE IS, HAS CERTAIN BOUNDARIES THEY DON'T WANT TO CROSS. CURRENTLY THERE IS NO CONSISTENT RATING SYSTEM IN PLACE FOR BOOKS LIKE THERE ARE FOR MOVIES, MUSIC AND VIDEO GAMES. WE BELIEVE BY OFFERING A WIDER RANGE OF DISCLOSURE ABOUT THE CONTENT OF OUR BOOKS, WE WILL GIVE READERS OF ALL AGES AND PARENTS, A STRONGER SENSE OF COMFORT ACCORDING TO WHAT LIES BETWEEN THE PAGES.

WITH THAT SAID, WE WILL NOT DEEM WHETHER A BOOK IS APPROPRIATE OR INAPPROPRIATE FOR ANY PARTICULAR AGE RANGE. OUR DISCLOSURE IS SIMPLY FOR YOU TO KNOW WHAT IS IN THE BOOK AND WE LEAVE IT UP TO YOU TO DECIDE WHAT YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH READING.- See more at: http://www.cleanteenpublishing.com


This is exactly what I have always wished for.  Honest.  I do not want censorship, I just want to know and be able to make my own informed decisions.  Finally.  This is a publisher I am willing to stand behind.  Not because every book they publish will be books that I personally love, but because they are willing to give me information so I can choose the books I will be most comfortable with and what I believe will be most appropriate for my children.  I love that.  LOVE.  So, check them out.  Visit their website.  Check out the content disclosures.  Tell me what you think!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Becoming Lady Lockwood by Jennifer Moore and a $25 Giveaway!


Becoming Lady Lockwood
Amelia Beckett is delighted to be a widow. Married by proxy to a man she'd never met, Amelia recognizes that a fortuitous entry into widowhood frees her from meddlesome chaperones and matchmakers. Heiress to her mother's sugar plantation in Jamaica, she happily anticipates working in a man's world, with the additional credibility of her new title: Lady Lockwood. But with the arrival of Captain Sir William Drake, her plans quickly go awry . . . William has traversed the Atlantic with one purpose. If he cannot prove that Amelia's marriage to his brother was a fraud, she will be entitled to a sizeable portion of his family's estate. He is determined to return this duplicitous Lady to London for an official hearing, and he carries with him a letter that will ensure her cooperation . . . Left with no choice, Amelia joins the captain on his return voyage to England, and the two quickly find that ship life does not allow for evasion. Amelia and William are ceaselessly thrown together, and amidst fierce storms and ocean battles, what began as antipathy seems to be evolving quite unexpectedly. But as they draw ever closer to their destination, will the impossibility of their circumstances shatter any hope of a future together?


I have to admit, this book was right in my sweet spot. It is the kind of book I just love to read and then wallow in for a little while after I’ve read it. It was so romantic. <sigh>

William and Amelia were the perfect characters. William may have come off a bit nasty at first, but that’s because he was judging without knowing based on the little information he had. Shame on him. He quickly realizes the error of his ways though and goes about redeeming himself. He is the captain of a ship and a respected one at that. He is noble, gentlemanly and may just have a bit of hero in him.

Amelia is independent and strong but very feminine and sweet as well. You cannot help but love her. I love the way she cares about people and shows them that through her words and her actions. Don’t underestimate the heroine qualities in Amelia. She just might surprise you!

The whole voyage on the ship was so enjoyable to read about. Amelia is so sick at first and one of her first interactions with Captain William ends up with the contents of Amelia’s stomach on William’s feet. Ha ha! This year I went on my first cruise and one night the boat started rocking and I spent the whole night hugging the toilet. Amelia recovered in a couple days but I’m pretty sure I would have been one of those people who would have been sick the whole time!!

The developing relationship between Amelia and William is endearing and sweet. And the ending is swoon worthy, for sure. Think hero man swooping in (maybe literally) to get his woman. It was the perfect ending to a fantastic romantic book. Yay! I just love a good, clean romance.

This is an author I will be watching. I hope her next book comes out soon!!

Enjoy the following excerpt.  I hope it leaves you wanting to read this book!

He finally stopped and pulled his chair closer to her, raising her chin. “Amelia. I cannot begin to thank you for what you did. It was brave and brilliant, and it terrifies me to think that you put your life at risk for—”
“For my shipmates, Captain.” She kept her eyes lowered.
“I would never have forgiven myself if anything had happened to you.” He wiped the tears from her cheeks with his thumb.
“I would never have forgiven myself if I had not tried. These men, this ship, it has become . . . I care for them, William, for all of you.”
He raised her chin even higher, so that she was forced to lift her gaze his face. He stared at her for a moment. Then his eyes dropped to her lips, and Amelia’s pulse began to race. Would he kiss her again? They sat, frozen for a heartbeat, and then William stood, stealing with him all of the warmth in the room.


Jenny Moore
Author Jennifer Moore is a Passionate reader and writer of all things romance, helping her find balance with the rest of her world, which includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that are anything but romantic. Jennifer has a BA in linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family. You can learn more about her at authorjmoore.com. The author's first book, Becoming Lady Lockwood, is a regency romance centered on the British navy during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 1800s.  

Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 8/7/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

On Tour with Plantation Nation by Mercedes King + $100 Giveaway!!

Emma Cartwright survives a traumatic event on her family's rice plantation and soon decides she must take a personal stand in the fight against slavery. Leaving her home and all she's ever known, she heads to Washington, D.C. and joins the Union Army--disguised as a young man. Despite the challenges and hardships, she serves as a soldier, nurse, and even spy. But what becomes even more dangerous for Emma is falling in love for the first time.

I love historical fiction.  It's one of my favorite genres to read.  In this one, the main character, Emma, is fully a part of the civil war.  Growing up I learned about the civil war.  I knew the basic facts and it was a part of history I actually enjoyed learning about.  When we moved from the west coast to the east coast (Virginia) I learned a whole lot more about the civil war.  The feelings and history of the civil war still run deep in the south.  I visited the site of the 1st and 2nd battle of Manassas.  It was very close to my house.  When we got there, I called it the Battle of Bull Run (which is what the North referred to the battle as).  The tour guide said, "What are you, a Yankee?!"  Um, no.  I'm just an American, grew up in California.  The Civil War was emotional and desperately fought.  I saw many homes still raising the flag of the south from the civil war.  It changed how I viewed the civil war and helped me understand better the deep rooted feelings that carried both sides through that war.

I guess those experiences helped me appreciate this book more.  I really liked Emma and I admired her courage to see through a plan that she thought would help right an injustice.

Emma grew up on a plantation that owned many slaves.  Emma learned much from the kindness of the slaves on her plantation.  She loved them and tried to help them when she could.  The story opens as Emma is being punished for teaching a slave boy to read.  It is violent and a bit graphic but really lays the foundations for how Emma progressed through this book.

I enjoyed reading this book.  It held my attention and I thought the author did a good job of portraying both sides of the war and some of the deep feelings connected to both sides.

I'm still wondering about the ending.  I didn't love how it left off, leaving all kinds of things wide open.  I'm hoping that means there is another book to come.  :)

Enjoy the following excerpt:

Emma could no longer raise her head or open her eyes. She tasted her own blood and withered under the sun’s brilliance. Her back and legs throbbed from the lashes with the leather belt. The scent of honeysuckle drifted to her nostrils, but Emma quivered with agony and trepidation. She fought the oblivion that threatened to engulf her¾fearing it was death.
Her heart searched for a prayer or a plea but nothing came. She wanted to cry out for her father, forgetting he was long dead.
Someone snatched a fistful of Emma’s hair and held up her head.
“Look!” Quinn said through gritted teeth. “Look at what you’ve done.” He touched his mouth to her ear. “Ain’t like he didn’t deserve it, though. Worthless wretch.”
Emma tried again to focus on the scene. At first, through the narrow slits of her swollen eyes, all she saw was a row of brown feet, naked and caked with mud past the ankles, a sure sign that rice planting was underway. She couldn’t find or concentrate on their faces now, but she knew that among the clan of thirteen laborers, Basil’s mother and brother were there watching. Fear reverberated from the mass. Children cried and stirred, but no one moved or averted their eyes. George had insisted.

                                                    
Mercedes King is an Ohio native and founding member of Sisters in Crime Columbus, Ohio (affectionately dubbed SiCCO). With a degree in Criminology from Capital University and a passion for writing, she crafted O! Jackie, a novel focusing on the private life of Jackie Kennedy. She has also written The Kennedy Chronicles, a series of short stories featuring JFK and Jackie before they were married and before 'Camelot'. Mercedes writes in a variety of genres, including historical and mystery / suspense. In fact, she's working on creating a new genre, 'modern historical'.

Her newest release, Plantation Nation, follows the journey of Emma Cartwright, a 16 year old Southern girl who disguises herself as a young man and joins the Union Army.

Visit her sites, OJackiebook.com or Mercedesking.com . Contact her at Mercedes 'at' ojackiebook 'dot' com. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Twitter: @Mercedes_King_
Instagram: mercedes_king_author

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