Saturday, March 28, 2015

In My Dreams by Muriel Jensen

All he wants is family… 

Crawling on his belly through enemy fire is nothing compared to the murder that ripped Jack Palmer's childhood apart. Now that he's home from his tour of duty, the ex-soldier's most critical mission lies ahead: finding his long-lost sisters. And Sarah Reed can help.

The compassionate former pediatric nurse awakens powerful feelings in Jack. Yet Sarah's traumatic loss of a young patient prevents her from wanting a family of her own. Is Jack ready to risk his place in his adopted family for the chance to reunite with his biological one…and claim a childless future with the woman he loves?

I may have said this before, once or twice, but I really love Harlequin Heartwarming.  They put out sweet, clean romance books that I am happy to settle in and read.  I know I won't come across any sexual situations that would make me uncomfortable.  It's perfect for me.

Jack returns home from his tour of duty to find Sarah Reed.  He is instantly attracted to her but can't do anything about it because she is dating his brother.  Things get a little messy as both Sarah and Jack realize feelings for each other are growing and they have to do something about it.

I actually really like books like this where a couple falls in love and then together have to work through the things that are hard.  Jack and Sarah finally get together but realize that they just might be at an impasse because Jack really wants to have children and start a family but Sarah is dead set against it because she has seen so many children suffer and die in the hospital where she works.  

In the meantime, Jack is trying desperately to find the sisters that were taken from him when their family was split up by social services.  He has an adoptive family that he loves but really wants to find his sisters to make sure they are okay and happy.

I really enjoyed this book.  I loved the characters (Jack especially) and the journey.  I am looking forward to the next book which should bring Jack's adoptive brother and his biological half sister together.  There will be some fireworks there for sure!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cover Reveal for Saving Marilee by Annette K. Larsen + $25 Giveaway!

Coming May 1, 2015 - Saving Marilee by Annette K. Larsen

  Saving Marilee by Annette K. Larsen Marriage wasn’t bliss—not for Marilee. Instead of finding contentment with the handsome son of a sovereign duke, she found betrayal and neglect. And fear. A fear that finally lifts when her husband dies, freeing her from his domineering hand. But freedom alone can't give her peace, and she must battle to regain her love for life, rebuild her happiness, and reclaim the ability to trust. When her charming neighbor intrudes on her quiet life, offering his friendship (and a dog, of all things), she must determine whether his interest is genuine, whether he is a friend or foe, and whether he deserves the fragile bit of trust she has managed to scrape together.

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Author Annette K. Larsen I was born in Utah, part of a crazy, fun family of nine. I grew up in Flagstaff, AZ and St. Louis, MO before striking out on my own college adventure in Virginia. I decided to try my hand at writing novels after I was married and living in Idaho. I write clean romance because it’s my favorite genre, but often difficult to find.

I have Charlotte Brontë to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally, a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to face the reality of sacrificing what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but in the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it. I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.

Cover Reveal Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/8/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an 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 author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Covering Home by Heidi McCahan + $20 and Book Giveaway!

A themed tour through Prism Book Tours.

Covering Home
Covering Home
Heidi McCahan
Adult Inspirational Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 310 Pages
January 18th 2015 by Snug Corner Cove Press

On assignment in Japan, television personality turned sportscaster Britt Bowen is determined to land an interview with the most reclusive pitcher in baseball and prove she can succeed in a demanding profession. A relationship with a self-absorbed professional athlete is the last thing Britt needs. 

Shunning all media attention, former All-Star pitcher Caleb Scott is focused on rebuilding his career in Japan, far from his past and the horrible tragedy that nearly ruined him. Then he meets Britt, who is everything he vowed to avoid. 

But it doesn’t take long before Caleb is battling his attraction toward Britt. While she works to uncover his secrets, she can’t deny she’s drawn to his wounded soul. At a crossroads, Caleb must decide if he can break free from his past mistakes and give love another chance. And Britt must choose between advancing her career … or falling in love.

Amazon * Goodreads 

I am such a sucker for baseball stories.  Especially baseball and romance.  <sigh>  I'm so glad baseball season is upon us once more.  Yay!

This book took baseball to Japan of all places.  Honestly, my brain has never really given much thought to baseball in Japan.  It was kind of cool.  I loved the change from the norm in baseball settings.

Both Britt and Caleb are full of life and energy.  You can feel their emotions and struggles.  I enjoyed getting to know them both through this book.  There is obvious chemistry between the two of them but there is also a lot of resisting.  Britt is trying to prove herself in the demanding and mostly man dominated world of sportscasting.  She is focused and determined.  Caleb is trying to play a game that he loves and hide at the same time.  It isn't really working for him but he is also pretty determined to stay out of the public eye.

This is a good story, easy to read.  There was a lot of back and forth toward the end that kind of drove me crazy.  You know- yes I want you.  No, I don't.  Yes, I do.  Well, now I don't.  But, eventually I got to that happy place and I really enjoyed the ride.

Heidi McCahanHeidi McCahan is a Pacific Northwest girl at heart. She spent her formative years in Alaska, where her unique upbringing, coupled with Alaska's breathtaking scenery, fueled her active imagination and loosely inspired her debut novel, Unraveled

Heidi graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Sports Medicine from Whitworth University and a Master's Degree in Athletic Training from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. After a brief career as a Certified Athletic Trainer, Heidi married her husband, Steve. They currently live in North Carolina with their three boys. 

When Heidi isn't stepping on Legos, chauffeuring the boys around suburbia or watching one of their many sporting events, she loves to read and write heartwarming romance.

- US Grand Prize: Birchbox 3-month subscription ($30 value) & signed paperback of Covering Home (US Only)
- Gift Card Grand Prize: $20 Gift Card for Amazon/iTunes/B&N (winner's choice) & an ebook of Covering Home (open internationally)
- Ends April 7th

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Falling Slowly (Hostage Negotiation #1.5) by Julie Coulter Bellon

**This is a companion novella to All Fall Down (Hostage Negotiation #1)**

Rafe Kelly never thought he’d fall in love with Claire Michaels, the hostage negotiator sent to get him out of a life or death situation. Though it was easy to see from the beginning that Claire was good at her profession, Rafe quickly realized she was even better for him personally―and that they might have a future together.

When they get back from their mission in Afghanistan, however, Claire goes back to the Hostage Negotiation Team and Rafe is left to deal with the huge hole in his life after leaving the SEALs. Trying to balance an uncertain future with a new relationship is made even more complicated when a family crisis strikes. Will Rafe and Claire be able to turn to each other for strength or are they over before they’ve really begun?

* Amazon * Goodreads * B&N * Kobo *

Now here's something I love.  A sweet love story continuation from a book that I loved.  I first read about Rafe and Claire in "All Fall Down" which is a clean romantic suspense (more suspense than romance).  In that book they make a connection and we have a glimpse of what will come.  In "Falling Slowly" we get a follow up on Rafe and Claire's romance and I loved it.  It's sort of like a P.S..

Rafe and Claire are back in real life, trying to figure out how to navigate this new and growing relationship in uncharted waters.  This is a novella and so it went by way too fast.  I wanted more.  Yeah, greedy am I.  I love all of Julie's books.  They are fast paced and engaging.  This novella was less suspenseful and focused more on the growing relationship which is such a perfect idea for in between novellas, I think.  So fun!  I REALLY hope she does this for all her books.  That would be awesome!

If you haven't read any of Julie's books, this is a great time to start!  They are all fantastic.

All Fall Down  (Hostage Negotiation #1)

Falling Slowly (Hostage Negotiation #1.5)

Ashes, Ashes  (Hostage Negotiation #2)

From the Ashes (Hostage Negotiation #2.5)

Pocket Full of Posies  (Hostage Negotiation #3)

Ring Around the Rosie  (Hostage Negotiation #4)

Also, just as an FYI, "All Fall Down" should be released April 15th as an audio book!

Julie Coulter Bellon is the author of eleven romantic suspense novels. Her book All Fall Down won the RONE award for Best Suspense and Pocket Full of Posies won a RONE Honorable Mention for Best Suspense.

Julie loves her work partly because she gets to travel to distant lands to research and add an authentic feel to all of her books. Her favorite cities so far are Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She would love to visit Hawaii, Australia, Ireland, and Scotland someday. She loves to read, write, teach, watch Castle, Hawaii Five-O, and eat Canadian chocolate. Not necessarily in that order.

Julie also offers writing and publishing tips as well as her take on life on her blog

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hidden Identities: A Sweet and Sassy Anthology

Readers will be delighted with nine sweet, contemporary romance novelettes in Sweet & Sassy: Hidden Identities. In this charming anthology, you will fall in love again and again.

THE BEST OF ME by Paige Timothy
Becky is a cancer survivor who has been blogging about her journey. She's shocked to find that Josh, her one-time love and now-famous oncologist, is the main speaker at the symposium she’s been asked to attend. Has fate given them a second chance at a future together, or just a shot at miserably ever after?

When Elena sees Chase for the first time, his turquoise eyes and tousled blond hair convince her that she might believe in insta-love. Just in time, her brain takes over, reminding her that her business is in trouble, making the future uncertain—not a good time for love. But being with Chase is as easy as following her heart, until she finds he has a secret big enough to break it.

FIRST LOVE, SECOND CHOICE by Lindzee Armstrong
When wedding planner Keslee gets asked on a date by her long-lost high school crush, Bryce, everything should be perfect. But Bryce mistakes Keslee for her deceased twin sister, Jadyn. And she doesn’t correct him. Now they’re unexpectedly working together. Keslee knows the charade can’t last much longer, and fears she’ll lose Bryce forever when she tells him the truth.

HACKED by Stephanie Connelley Worlton
NSA data analyst Samantha Perry never knew being an introverted computer geek could get dangerous until she digs a little too deep into a greedy blackhat’s business, forcing her to change her identity and relocate. She risks everything to try to close the case, but may end up putting a nail in her own casket. And if she doesn’t, Seth, her hot new neighbor, just might.

First Son Daxon Hayward has refused a secret service detail since the day his father was elected President. This time the threat against Daxon is very real, and his father plants an undercover agent to protect him, Lorelei Davis who is capable and beautiful. She’s received her assignment: Protect the First Son, don’t let him know she is an agent, and don’t fall in love.

CLOSING TIME by Candice N. Toone
Chef Will Morrison can’t help himself after watching Kelsey sit alone at a table waiting for a blind date. When he steps in to save her from being stood up, he expects to exchange dull first-date pleasantries, but finds himself drawn in by her quick wit and spunk. Will hears himself confirming plans for a second date only to realize that she still believes he’s someone else.

SINK OR SWIM by Laura D. Bastian
Shelly can’t believe she’s fallen for another cheater. The last few weeks at the gym swimming next to Brandon had almost convinced her she could date again. Brandon’s excited to be back home with a career that can finally hold a candle to his twin brother’s success. When Shelly suddenly turns cold, Brandon can’t help wondering if it has something to do with his brother.

WRITE AND WRONG by Kaye P. Clark
Jon Patterson is burned out. After publishing a series of blockbuster novels under his pen name, he’s hit a brick wall. He escapes to a rural town in Idaho where he meets Abby, the local librarian. She ignites his imagination and quickens his heart. Without the pressure of his pen name, Jon is free to be himself. But will he lose Abby when she learns his secret?

UNDERCOVER LOVER by James C. Duckett
Agent Johnny Anderson is struggling with an investigation that could make or break his career. However, it’s love at first sight when beautiful and witty Hannah moves into the neighborhood. Will Johnny lose Hannah when she finds out his cover story is a façade? As things get hotter between them, his love for her might endanger her life.

I was excited to be able to read and review this new anthology.  The cover looks great and I love the premise of "hidden identities".  Every novella in this book revolves around that theme and I really liked it.

This book starts off strong.  I LOVED the first half of the book.  The stories were great and I was just eating them up.  I think my favorites were Second Hand Hearts, The Best of Me and Hacked.  After I read Hacked, I was over to Amazon trying to find anything about the next book after Hacked because it mentions it in the after word.  Alas, I could find nothing but I really want to read it!!

After the first five books, things sort of went downhill for me.  The stories just weren't as good.  Write and Wrong had sexual innuendo and frequent mild swearing which made it stick out in this collection as not quite like the others.  Undercover Lover is a lot like To Love and Protect in premise, but not nearly as good.  

Overall though, a great collection of stories.  As of today, you can pre-order this anthology for just $.99.  Seriously, that's a steal of a deal, even if you don't love every novella in there.  It releases March 26th.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Best Laid Plans by Amy Vastine + $50 and book Giveaway!

A themed tour through Prism Book Tours.

The Best Laid Plans (Chicago Sisters, #2)
The Best Laid Plans
(Chicago Sisters #2)
Amy Vastine
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback, 368 Pages
March 1st 2015 by Harlequin Heartwarming

She planned on falling in love. Just not with him!

Emma Everhart's life is going according to plan. Finish nursing school with flying colours… Check. Get a great job in the ER… Check. Marry a handsome doctor and have two babies, three years apart… Not quite yet. But with a dreamy new doctor joining the hospital staff, she's so close she can almost taste the wedding cake. Now is not the time to let the tall, dark and flirtatious paramedic Charlie Fletcher distract her! He may be the best date and best kiss she's ever had, but he's definitely not part of her plan. No matter how he makes her feel…

Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Harlequin

I'm so happy to be a part of this tour for "The Best Laid Plans" by Amy Vastine.  I've been following Amy Vastine and I really enjoy reading her books.  This book is the second in the Chicago Sisters series by Harlequin Heartwarming.  I got an e-book for review for this tour but I also entered to win a physical copy of this book because well, sometimes it's awesome to hold an actual book in your hands.  Guess what?  I won!!  In the mail came this book, signed by the author!  Woot!  I read the real book instead of the e-book.  It was oh, so satisfying!  

Emma is a planner.  To the extreme.  She has a life plan and she is determined to stick to that plan no matter what.  Emma likes to be in control and she believes that she must stick to the plan because if she doesn't, bad things will happen.  Yeah, she is a bit fanatical about her plan.  I'm a girl that loves to plan too, but Emma and her planning drove me nuts.  

I fell in love with Charlie long before Emma did.  Haha.  He is awesome and so, so, so incredibly patient.  He'd have to be with Emma!  Poor Charlie just wants to be loved.  He's been heartbroken before and he doesn't want to go down that road again with Emma but he just can't stay away from her.  It's a recipe for a good, romantic book!

I have to say that this book can stand alone but I think you will best enjoy it if you read "The Better Man" first.  This book kind of gives the reader a happily ever after epilogue for Kendall and Max from the first book which is all kinds of awesome and just what I love to read about.  

"The Best Laid Plans" is clean- no sexual situations or swearing.  It is easy, fluffy, and romantic.   I love Harlequin Heartwarming and I love Amy Vastine.  I cannot wait to read the next book in this series!  Enjoy the following excerpt from "The Best Laid Plans".

Scott turned around first. He stared at her, obviously aware of the length of her hair, but unlike everyone else, he said nothing. Did he love it? Did he hate it? Why wasn’t he saying anything?
Charlie faced her, that easy smile on his face. “I love the new look, Nightingale,” he said without hesitation. “You look gorgeous.”

The butterflies in Emma’s stomach fluttered ever so slightly. She swallowed down some of her worry. “Thanks, Charlie. I donate my hair every year to mark the day my mom’s breast cancer took her hair but not her spirit.”

“That’s awesome,” Charlie said, reaching up to move some hair out of her eyes. Emma’s butterflies tickled her insides. “My niece had leukemia when she was eight. Losing her hair was a huge hit to her self-esteem. She would have loved a wig.”

Scott cleared his throat. “Yeah, that’s really sweet of you. Those places give wigs to kids with alopecia and burns, too.”

“I didn’t know that,” Emma said, self-consciously raking her fingers through the hair at the nape of her neck. Having the attention of both Charlie and Scott was more than she could stand.

“I worked in the Burn Unit at my last hospital. Some of the toughest work I’ve ever done.”
Charlie shoved his hands in his pockets. “There’s nothing more gut-wrenching than trying to care for someone with burns. Those are always our most harrowing rescues.”

The conversation suddenly turned into a competition. “You’re lucky all you have to do is drive the patient to the hospital,” Scott said. “I don’t know who has it worse, the firefighters who rescue a burn patient or the doctors who have to try to ease their pain.”

Charlie gave him a curious look. “Right. Because all we ‘ambulance drivers’ do is drive the ambulance.”

Emma found herself feeling protective of Charlie. She had a lot of respect for EMTs and paramedics, but they didn’t always get it from everyone else. “Paramedics are in the trenches with the firefighters. We all know that. Plus, I think the burn victims have it the worst. If we’re voting.”

“Of course.” Scott cleared his throat again and shifted his weight from foot to foot. “Well, forgive me if you catch me doing a double take when I see you. Your new look is going to take some getting used to.”

“I won’t hold it against you.” Emma was unsure if that meant he liked it or not. Scott gathered up his things and went to check on another patient.

“Isn’t he charming?” Charlie said, watching him go.

“He’s a nice guy,” Emma said in Scott’s defense. “He didn’t mean anything by that comment.”

Author pic

Amy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read.

In September of 2012, she saw a tweet about Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest. She entered, hoping for nothing more than a little feedback from some people in the business. Amazingly, The Weather Girl made it into the semi-finals, thanks to the many wonderful voters out there! The manuscript didn’t make it to the finals, but the editors over Harlequin were still interested. A few revisions later and The Weather Girl was contacted for publication with Harlequin Heartwarming – a dream come true!

Amy lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, three fun-loving children, and their sweet but mischievous puppy dog.

- $50 Amazon gift card & signed paperback of The Best Laid Plans (ebook if international winner)
- 5 copies of The Best Laid Plans (paperback to US winners and ebooks to international winners) and Chicago swag and Sweet and Heartwarming Bracelet for (US winners only)
Ends March 29th

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

This Just In by Kathryn Scarborough

Science teacher Gina Thompson is as pragmatic and level headed as the next person except for the perpetual TV announcer that lives in her head and comments on everything she thinks. Her large family drives her crazy by getting her the worst blind dates on the planet. Ken Armstrong is an astrophysicist working at NASA. He is alone except for his grouchy old cat and his grouchy old uncle, Ken’s only family, and he likes it fine that way. Uncle Johann meets Gina and decides ‘she is the one’. Through a series of planned mishaps and an icy visit from Mother Nature these two seriously logical people discover that indeed, there is scientific proof of love at first sight.

This contemporary romance fell a bit flat for me.  I just didn't love it.  While the idea of the story is good, the execution left much to be desired.  I didn't connect to the characters and I never felt fully engaged in the story.  I think there is a lot of potential here but for me, this book just didn't work.

This is a clean romance.  There is some profanity (using God and Jesus as exclamations) but other than that it is sweet and clean.  

Not every story meshes with every reader but I do thank Astraea Press for allowing me to read and review titles for them.