Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Winter Collection

About the Anthology
A Timeless Romance Anthology: Winter Collection
Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed brand new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Winter Collection. A collection unlike any other, readers will love this compilation of six sweet historical romance novellas, set in varying eras, yet all with one thing in common: Romance.

The Road to Cavan Town by Sarah M. Eden, set in 1864 Ireland, combines Eden’s sense of humor with her signature sweet romance. Alice Wheatley walks each weekend into town, accompanied by Isaac Dancy. And while Alice finds herself falling in love with the gentleman, unfortunately he has his eyes set on the belle of the town, Miss Sophia Kilchrest. Alice must find a way to turn Isaac’s eyes toward her.

Regency author Heidi Ashworth’s delightful story, It Happened Twelfth Night, set in England 1812, follows Luisa Darlington who discovers the man of her dreams, Percy Brooksby, isn’t in love with her as much as she thought he was. When Percy’s friend, the mysterious foreigner, Mr. Flynn, visits for the twelfth night holiday, he promptly sweeps Luisa off her feet, quite literally. Luisa is left catching her breath in more ways than one.

An Unexpected Proposal by Annette Lyon is a captivating romantic novella, set in remote Wood Camp, the snowy canyon of Logan, Utah, 1880. When Caroline Simpson is forced to thwart the aggressive advances of Mr. Butch Larson, she discovers that her long-time friend, James, has genuine affection for her. But as stubborn as Caroline is, she minimizes the feelings he’s awakened in her, and it takes almost losing James to admit her true feelings for him.

In Joyce DiPastena’s charming medieval story, Caroles on the Green, we enter England of 1151, in which Lady Isabel has a dilemma. She promises herself that she’ll marry the man who sent a ring hidden in her pastry since the man she truly loves, Sir Lucian de Warrene, has proved to be impossible and exasperating. To forget him, Isabel sets her eyes on other eligible men, only to face another confrontation with Lucian—who isn’t about to back off and leave her to her newest plot.

Donna Hatch’s enchanting novella, A Winter’s Knight, begins when Clarissa Fairchild’s coach just happens to break down in front of the most forbidding estate in the county, that of Wyckburg Castle, a place where young brides have been murdered for generations by their husbands. Clarissa is horrified yet curious all in the same breath. When she meets widower Christopher de Champs, Earl of Wyckburg, she must decide if she should flee or uncover the greatest secret in the county about her handsome rescuer.

In Heather B. Moore’s exciting turn-of-the-century story, A Fortunate Exile, Lila Townsend finds herself the victim of a broken heart—broken by the most notorious bachelor in 1901 New York City. If that isn’t bad enough, her father sends her to Aunt Eugenia’s remote farm where Lila must wait for her father’s anger to subside and the gossip columns to find new fodder. When Lila meets her aunt’s boarder, Peter Weathers, she discovers a man who isn’t afraid to stand up to her formidable family and take a chance on a woman with a sullied reputation.

What is happier than reading one book with so many of your favorite romance authors?  I was so excited to get my hands on this book because just based on the authors and blurbs above I knew I was in for some great stories.  I was not disappointed.

I love anthologies.  It's like getting lots of flavors of ice cream, but it's all still ice cream.  You know?  Ice cream is yummy.  Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, cookies & cream, . . .

This book was so good.  I traveled all over the world and all through time.  I was in castles, canyons and along the roadside.  No matter where I was the endings left me satisfied and happy.  Very happy.  All these books are set in the winter or at Christmastime and it was the perfect book to read all snuggled up as it's cold outside.

I'm really looking forward to reading the next collection!

This collection is being exclusively released as an ebook for the Kindle, Nook and it is also available at Smashwords for just $3.99.  Awesome, right?

You can find out more about this book at 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!

Happy Halloween everyone!  

Welcome to my blog and thanks for stopping by!

I'm giving away a book of your choice, $12.00 or less from Amazon if you are US and Book Depository if you are INT (as long as they ship to you for free).

Enter using the rafflecopter below.  Easy as can be.  Enjoy this massive hop!

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Monday, October 22, 2012

The Sun, The Moon and Maybe the Trains by Rodney Jones + giveaways!

What would it take to convince you that the woods you just left is a hundred and forty-four years
distant from the one you entered?

Ten years have passed since the Civil War broke up John Bartley’s family. Living with his aunt and uncle in the tiny village of Greendale, Vermont, isn’t filled with excitement for a seventeen year-old.

Until John walks into the woods one day and stumbles into 2009…

Fortunately, he chances upon the outspoken Tess McKinnon. To earn her trust, he must first convince her that he is neither a lunatic nor a liar. The proof he needs is buried at the end of a mountain road, where the ruins of Greendale lie just beneath a layer of dead leaves and moss.

What became of his home? Why is there no record of its existence?

There is just something about time travel books, right?  I am drawn to them like a bee to honey.  Would it be cool to time travel?  I'm still not too sure, but it's such an interesting concept to read about.

Poor John stumbles a hundred and fifty years into the future.  Imagine his shock when he sees cars, electricity, cell phones and indoor plumbing!  He also finds Tess, who just may be more shocking than the cars and everything else combined.  

I honestly didn't care too much for Tess.  I thought she was mean, making so much fun at John's expense.  She did try to help him so she wasn't all mean but she was certainly pretty into herself.  It was nice to see her taken down a notch or two when she runs into some time travel trouble herself.

I thought John was a great character.  As his ideas and morals collide with the future, he remains true to himself.  He is kind and generous with impeccable manners.  I liked him a lot.  

Overall I enjoyed the story.  The ending third of the book had a bit more action and excitement and the ending was good, although I'm still not sold on Tess.

As for content, there was swearing and quite a bit of profanity (God, Jesus, Lord used as an exclamation).

Here is an excerpt from chapter one of The Sun, The Moon and Maybe the Trains:

I’d spent the first day of July, eighteen seventy-five, bouncing along behind my uncle’s two horses, driving a wagon of bagged flour and grist up over the mountain to Wallingford and then into Rutland. It’d often happen that farmers bringing their grain to my uncle for milling would have no other means to pay than a percentage of their crop. Whenever that percentage added up to a wagonload, I’d be employed to make a delivery to Jacobson’s General. But more and more, the farmers were giving up on grain and turning to sheep. It seemed like nothing was regular anymore, except for the sun, the moon, and maybe the trains.

The following morning, after lying there in the wagon listening to Rutland wake up, then getting up and going across the street to watch the seven-fifteen from Burlington arrive, I started home. Bright, cumbersome clouds lumbered overhead, small patches of blue setting one apart from the other; it looked as though it’d be a fine drive. About four miles before Greendale, at a level spot just beyond the last ridge, I stopped to give the horses a rest. I was carrying their watering pail up from the creek when I heard a faint whining from somewhere on the other side of the road. A dog is what I figured. I didn’t hear anything else, talking or anything, just that sorry-sounding critter.

I thought it curious, a dog being out there in the middle of nothing. I was never one to stand by while an animal suffered, though, so I went looking for it. I made a soft, chirpy whistle, thinking it couldn’t be far off, but then the sound quieted, and I couldn’t be sure where to look. I had my eye on a spot just south of me, near the base of a big old oak tree, when I thought I saw something move. Maybe it was that pup, maybe a rabbit, a squirrel, or something else; I caught no more than a brief, sidelong glimpse. I kept my eye at the
base of that tree and crept forward a little. I blinked and, just like that, the tree was gone, the oak tree. Just like that—a blink—gone.

The hairs on the back of my neck bristled. I stared. Of course, I knew that what I had just seen, I couldn’t have seen. I squinted and blinked, looked to the left and right and back again, then grabbed hold of a nearby maple sapling to keep myself upright while I gave the woods another goin’ over.

“No,” I whispered. My grip tightened on the sapling. “No, this ain’t right.”

It wasn’t just the one tree; it was all of them. They were, every last one of them, changed, as if they’d been rearranged, as if I’d been dropped on the other side of the world—an entirely different forest. I squeezed my eyes shut and then opened them.

“No.” I turned and looked behind me. For the life of me, I didn’t know where I was or even where to start sorting it out. But then I noticed a ribbon right there in the sapling I was holding onto, just above my hand, tied to a twig. I wouldn’t have thought much of it, given the circumstances, but it was especially queer. I’d never seen a ribbon that color—orange, bright as a setting sun. It had a hold of my eye just as I had a hold of that tree. I thought, why would someone go and put a ribbon in a tree, way the heck out here, in the middle of— 

I again glanced about. “This is crazy. It’s crazy.” I took a good solid look at that ribbon and noticed something even more peculiar about it. I squinted. “What the dickens?”

I had to let go of the scrawny trunk below it in order to have use of my hands. They shook as I untied the thing from the branch and continued shaking as I attempted to examine it. The orange strip was made of the strangest material—as thin as the skin of an onion, with a tiny, intricate, woven texture along its length.

The whining, the trees, the ribbon—it had not occurred to me that they might all be members of the same crazy clan. I’d altogether forgotten about the dog—didn’t hear it anymore—and had nearly forgotten about the trees as my attention was so completely fixed on that piece of ribbon in my hand. Then, a movement caught the corner of my eye, and I swung my head to the right. The sapling I had been holding onto just a minute before was gone. I looked to the south. There stood the oak tree in its proper place, the place where it had been deeply rooted for who knows how many hundreds of years. It didn’t take but a moment to realize I was exactlywhere I should’ve been in the first place.

“Move!” I started running, but then quickly stopped as I realized I was headed in the wrong direction. I glanced back at the oak tree, then up toward the treetops, searching for the sun while trying to find my breath. After a moment, I got my bearings and took one last look around to assure I was where I thought I was. “Go! Go!” I scrambled back to the wagon, slipping, tripping, and stumbling over limbs and branches along the way.

I covered almost a full mile before I found a normal breath and, in the time it took to travel that distance, made absolutely no progress in sorting out what had happened. My mind was a tangle of conflicting notions, and the only way to unravel it was to deny as much as I could; I didn’t see the oak tree disappear. Trees, as everyone knows, don’t do anything but stand in the same spot year after year and grow—and slowly, at that. I didn’t see the forest go from one thing, to another, and back again. It was all just a hiccup in my mind.

I held onto that ribbon—put it in the storage box under the seat. Every now and then, I’d
reach down for it, half expecting it not to be there. It was, though. Every time I went for it, it was

Red Adept Publishing is hosting an awesome giveaway over at their site (HERE) for Amazon gift cards and some other book related stuff.  Head over and check it out!  My thanks to Red Adept Publishers for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour.  They made it all so easy.

You can find all the places to purchase The Sun, The Moon and Maybe the Trains by clicking here.

About the Author:
While a past resident of Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Florida, New York, and Vermont, Rodney Jones now resides in Richmond, Indiana, where he whiles away his days pecking at a laptop, riding his ten-speed up the Cardinal Greenway, taking long walks with his daughter, or backpacking and wilderness camping. His list of past occupations reads like his list of past residences, though his life-long ambition was to be an artist until he discovered a latent affinity for writing. “In art,” Rodney says, “I was constantly being asked to explain images constructed from a palette of emotions and ideas, which usually required complex narratives to convey
their meaning, if there even was a meaning. In writing, the words are creating the images, images are telling a story, the story is evoking feelings. I like it. There’s nothing to explain.”  Rodney’s interests include: art, science, politics, whiskey and chocolate, music (collecting vinyl records), gardening, and travel.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume Blog Tour

With her love of sweaters, goofy hair, and awkward manners—not to mention her family curse—Treasure Blume knows love is not in her future. That is, until she matches wits with Dennis Cameron, a divorced chef with a six-year-old daughter. Full of mischief, mayhem, and laugh-out-loud humor, this is an unlikely love story you’ll want to read over and over again!

Treasure Blume has the coolest name.  Treasure.  Love that.

This book started out pretty slow for me.  I spent the first third of the thinking that this was labeled incorrectly as a romance.  When I finally got to the part where Dennis enters the picture, things started to pick up.  By the end of the book I was smiling and rooting for Dennis and Treasure.

Treasure has this family curse that makes everyone instantly dislike her.  Well, except for young children and old people.  When you take that into account, that doesn't leave very good odds for a great romantic life.  Poor Treasure.  I think the word that comes to mind when I think of Treasure is tenacious.  Second up would be compassionate.  She is a great character.  I sure am glad she found some help in the clothing department though.

This book has a whole cast of colorful characters from Grammy and her dancing team, to school teachers and of course Dennis and his daughter.

I loved when Grammy entered into a gift wrap competition.  That is hilarious.  I want to see one of those in real life some day.  I think my mother in law should enter.  She has spent years working in gift wrap and she does an amazing job wrapping.

All in all a good book.  I enjoyed it.  Squeeky clean and fun.

You can purchase this book at Cedar Fort and Amazon.

Lisa Rumsey Harris grew up writing stories and riding horses in Southeastern Idaho. She received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English from Brigham Young University, where she now teaches writing classes. Lisa lives in Orem Utah, with her ancient Siamese cat, her husband (who cooks nearly as well as Dennis) and her two adorable daughters. Check out her world at or on facebook at Lisa Rumsey Harris, author.

Thanks, Cedar Fort for another great blog tour.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sheltered by Debra Chapoton and a Giveaway!

Living together unsupervised, five troubled teens confront demonic forces and are compelled to deal with their problems in distinctly different ways. Paranormal meets psycho meets Goth in this story of a supernatural haunting and budding love.

High school junior, Ben, hacks into his step-father's real estate holdings and provides rooms in an old two-story house to various outcasts: the schizophrenic kid, the angry Goth girl, and the homeless girl who worships him. When Megan needs a place to live she comes to the rooming house with a different set of problems and the ability to confuse and attract Ben.

One by one strange and mysterious occurrences stretch the teens’ beliefs in the supernatural. How they deal with demons, real and imagined, has tragic as well as redeeming consequences.

Oh.  Demons.  Like I will possess you kind of demons.  Not in a paranormal world, but in our real life world.  Scary.  I didn't realize when I started this book exactly what I was in for!

I can't say that I am a fan of the demonic psycho kind of books or movies.  I avoid them like the plague.  Number one, because I am a chicken.  I prefer to feel safe and happy instead of scared and crazy.  Number two, because I just don't like it.  Borderline too real. 

I would say that this book made me uncomfortable.  All the demonic forces that possess the kids are freaky.  Ouija boards, chanting and levitating are just not my thing.  I had a hard time with that aspect of it although I know LOTS of people who love that sort of thing in books so I'm sure they will be interested in this book.

Let me tell you about what I did like in this book.  I liked the concept of a group of outcast kids making it together.  All with problems, all needing help.  I thought Ben was an excellent lead character in this book.  His protective, helpful role was awesome.   I thoroughly enjoyed the growing relationship between Megan and Ben.  The ice skating scene was my favorite.  :)

I think the book brings into play several different mental illnesses that generally not understood well.  It was hard to read about the kid planning the shootings.  Way to close to home for many people in recent years that have lived through that sort of horrific event. 

I would say that Debra has written a book that will appeal to many people.  Edgy, a bit freaky with a sweet romance.  Probably a perfect Halloween read for anyone in the mood for that.  Here is a excerpt from the book:

Next Wednesday
Emily knew the precise moment that Ben returned, she felt him in her scars. She watched him carry some things to the house, heard the door close; she smiled when she heard him call out that Santa was here. He did that once before, in early December, insisting that she accept the gift he held out, not wanting her to wait until Christmas to use the mittens he knew she needed.
She went toward her door now, wondered what he had brought, and then heard Megan’s voice below. Oh no, he probably brought something for her. She scuttled back to her nest by the window and stared outside, was still staring fifteen minutes later when she saw them walk down the street, Ben shouldering a shovel, his other hand knotted with Megan’s.
She touched the skin on her arms, lightly at first, making it tingle. The image of Ben with Megan multiplied across her mind in broken mirrors, a repugnant picture that reflected her own self-loathing. She scratched at her scabs, felt the pricks of pain force away the ticklish sensations. She closed her eyes.
When she opened them she saw a figure standing at her door.
“Who–?” she started, but the figment waned to less than a shadow. Still, though, there was something at her door.
She rose slowly and held her hand out.
Its face was more womanly now, friendly, motherly. Yes, she knew this face. Its pearly white skin so shocking against the ruby lips, the stringy hair a match to her own. Her mother.
She stretched her fingers toward the face. The hallucination faded then sharpened. The eyes began to blaze. She drew her hands back to her own face. What’s wrong with me? The delusion grieved Emily; all around her fluttered a longing.
And a deadly fear.

As far as content there was swearing, an almost sex scene, violence, self mutilation and some satanic/demonic rituals.

Something I can honestly say is that I love getting to know authors and I appreciate Debra entrusting her book to me for review.  She has so generously offered to provide for a giveaway of Sheltered.  One ebook, open Internationally.  Thanks, Debra!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Debra Chapoton has taught kids of all ages in her main career as a teacher. She has a BA in Spanish and a Master of Arts degree in Teaching English. She started writing in 2002 and was surprised to find out that the characters quickly take over the action and dialogue in the stories.

Her first YA novel, Edge of Escape, was self-published and then discovered by Piper Verlag Publishing and translated into German. Stalking and obsession get a sympathetic twist in this story of physical and psychological survival.

Her second YA novel, Sheltered, detours into a different genre as she writes about five teens who confront supernatural forces. Two boys and three girls all harbor secrets which make some of them susceptible to demon possession. Embracing all things supernatural might protect them, but are they ready for the consequences?

Chapoton has also written eleven chapter books for middle grade kids and a non-fiction work for adults, Crossing the Scriptures.

When she’s not writing Chapoton enjoys the quiet of the full log home she designed and built with her husband. They live in the middle of 62 acres of beautiful woods in northern Michigan.

Purchase Links: Available in Paperback and Digital (paperback link available in October)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Saving Savannah Blog Tour

Devan can't help but blame God for his wife's death, so the last thing he wants to do this holiday season is celebrate. But when his daughter, Savanna, makes a special Christmas wish, their little family will never be the same. Filled with faith and tenderness, this heartwarming story is sure to remind you of the real power behind the magic of Christmas.  (Paperback, 16 pages)

This was less like a book and more like a booklet.  It is a super quick read that will put your mind and heart in the Christmas spirit for sure.  If the sweet pleas of a young, innocent child cannot touch your heart, I'm not sure what can.  

Saving Savannah was the perfect reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.  Within it's short pages you will find warmth and love.  It certainly left me with a good feeling and put me right in the mood to get Christmas started!  I love the magic of Christmas.

This would be a perfect gift for friends and neighbors this holiday season.


My thanks to Cedar Fort for allowing me to participate in this blog tour.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Refuge by Carole Rummage

Laney Lowell moved across the country to escape her past, not to fall in love. But when she becomes friends with Gabe, a handsome artist plagued by a mysterious disease, she'll have to decide between facing his dark truth or walking away from him forever. This thrilling romance is full of twists that will keep you guessing to the last page.

I picked this book up at NetGalley (throwing out a bit of NetGalley love).  Honestly it was the cover that really drew me in first.  I love those golds and browns.  So pretty.

Well, I have to say that there weren't a lot of twists that kept me guessing to the last page in this book.  It was a pretty obvious plot line but there were good things to be had in this book.

If you are not an insta love fan, then you might be a bit annoyed by this book.  It really is an insta love kind of relationship between Laney and Gabe.  It didn't really bother me so much, probably because I felt like both Laney and Gabe needed someone to love them.  They were both lonely and vulnerable.  They needed each other.

The relationship I did love was the one between Laney and her aunt and uncle.  I felt like the understanding and love that grew between them felt more realistic and touching.  It was, for me, the best part about the book because I actually felt something.  

I enjoyed the setting, which I felt like I could see in my mind.  It felt so peaceful.

Overall it was an okay read for me.  It wasn't quite up to par with so many of the other YA paranormal books out there but there was no swearing and no sex which I always appreciate.

Release date for this book is November 13th, 2012.  You can find it at Amazon or Cedar Fort.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sing To Me by Michelle Pennington

Senior Prom is just a few weeks away, and Rylie’s long time crush asked her to go with him. Wow! Could things get more perfect? Oh, except her mom is making her earn the money for her dress, mostly by cleaning all the dead bugs out of their house, and a guy in choir is making her life miserable. Then her mom lands her a steady babysitting job and things start to look up. She’ll have her dress in no time and a two year old is better than bugs any day. Unfortunately, she’s in for a big surprise when she shows up for her first night on duty. One moonlit lullaby and Rylie realizes she’s in trouble. What do you do when you have everything you wanted… and you don’t want it anymore?

Sing To Me is a Young Adult novella (approx. 21,000 words).

I was first introduced to this series when I read and reviewed Candid by Michelle Pennington.  (You can check out my review of Candid HERE.)  In this novella, we get a little glimpse into the life of Rylie who thought she knew what she wanted but then changed her mind when she realized that it really wasn't what she wanted after all.

I just loved this little snippet of love.  It was perfectly dreamy.  My daughter is going to eat it up.  Seriously, is there anything sexier than a hot boy who can sing and play the guitar?  And he sings for you?  To you?  (well, for me there is.  At my age, sexy is a man who will scrub my shower clean for me. tee hee)  

Priced under a dollar, you can't go wrong with this one.  It's sweet and clean.
You can find it at Amazon.

My thanks to Michelle Pennington for allowing me the chance to read Sing to Me.  It was my pleasure.  I'm really looking forward to her next full length novel, Focused.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Review: Smart Move by Melanie Jacobson

The spark was undeniable the night Sandy Burke met the devastatingly handsome Jake. Conversation flowed easily, so after they parted, she waited eagerly for his call. It never came. A high-powered career woman at the ripe old age of twenty-seven, Sandy feels she has had her heart broken one too many times, and now the redheaded trendsetter is facing a major quarter-life crisis. After some introspection, Sandy determines that helping others may be the key to helping herself. When she's presented with a job offer in Washington DC as the director of New Horizons, a nonprofit organization benefiting women in poverty, it seems providential.

But now that she's moved, two major obstacles threaten the success of her first assignment: The first is her mother and her constant fog of less-than-helpful New Age advice. Secondly, plans to build another New Horizons outreach center have come to a screeching halt, thanks to the interference of a pesky lawyer and his attempts to reverse zoning approval for the building project.

After weeks of verbal sparring over the phone, Sandy is in for a shock when she comes face-to-face with her foe. The smooth voice at the other end of the line is a heart-wrenching blast from the past. In this twist of fate, Sandy sees the perfect opportunity to ensure the success of the outreach center — and to enact a little payback on this man she thought she'd left behind. And so the battle of wits begins. Will Sandy's "flirt-to-convert" plot sway her nemesis' determination to block the center, or will his charming and undeniably attractive ways convince the sassy redhead to give love a second chance?

Really, Melanie Jacobson?  You want ME to review your book?  (Big squee, little squee, dance a jig or two.)  Okay.  I'll review it.  :)

If you have never read a book by Melanie Jacobson, you are missing out.  Melanie writes LDS fiction with such fun and wit that you will be smiling the whole time.  

Sandy.  Oh, Sandy.  (I'm having some Grease flashbacks here)  You mean well.  You have such passion for your job and you are so good at it.  Your mom may be a TAD BIT odd and you may have been burned a bit by love in the past but can't you see that incredibly handsome, charming and determined guy right in front of you just begging for a chance to prove himself?!  Sheesh, Sandy.  Give the poor guy a chance.  And when he does an idiot thing, can't you be nice?  You do so enjoy his kisses, right?

The above was my plea to Sandy.  If you couldn't tell.  Sometimes I just wanted to shake that Sandy!  She was so obstinate.  She had some valid reasons for the wall of protection and it was good to see it come down as she learns to trust and love both mom and Jake again.

One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Sandy is trying to get something that has fallen way back inside a cupboard thing at work.  She is down on the floor, wiggling her way inside to get it when she realizes she has caught her hair and can't get out.  Guess who comes in at that very moment?  Jake.  Of course.  So, with her bum sticking out in a very less than lady like way and her humiliation at an all time high, Sandy accepts Jake's offer to help her untangle.  It is so funny and tension filled that I am still smiling and thinking about it days later.  

I enjoyed this book so much.  It was fun and flirty and provided me with a happy distraction from real life not so fun things.  Thank you, Melanie for letting me read your book.  It was really my pleasure.  

Melanie Bennett Jacobson is an avid reader, amateur cook, and champion shopper. She consumes astonishing amounts of chocolate, chick flicks, and romance novels. After meeting her husband online, she is now living happily married in Southern California with her growing family and a series of doomed houseplants. Melanie is a former English teacher and a popular speaker who loves to laugh and make others laugh. In her down time (ha!), she writes romantic comedies for Covenant and maintains her humorous slice-of-life blog. Her fourth novel, Smart Move, hits shelves in October.

You can purchase Smart Move on Amazon and Deseret Book.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happily Ever After Giveaway Hop

What a fun hop to be a part of!  I'm a girl who loves a happily ever after ending so this is perfect for me.

This time around, I'm going to do something a little different.  I'm going to be giving away one of my favorite recent reads, The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson.  It has a fantastic happily ever after ending.  But, instead of having just one winner, I'm going to choose 5 winners.  These will be ebooks, not print copies so that I can make this giveaway international.
If you'd like to read my review of The Reluctant Bachelorette, click HERE.

Just fill out the rafflecopter below.  Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the hop!

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Tour & Giveaway for The Guy Next Door by Kate Palmer

On the surface, Eva Black’s life seems practically perfect. The small-town kindergarten teacher is set to wed ambitious lawyer Sean Langley, and their plans for a dream wedding are well underway. Eva accepts that she will soon live life in the spotlight as a member of the prestigious Langley family, but can she overlook her fiancĂ©’s tendency to dominate the details of her life and push the limits of her standards?

Mere weeks before the wedding, Eva is thrown into a traumatic, life-changing event that changes her view of family commitment and creates a sharp contrast between her ideals and Sean’s. With her engagement to Sean in jeopardy, Eva finds herself relying on the support and encouragement of Peter, her kind and attentive next-door neighbor. Faced with a choice between her penitent fiancĂ© and the increasingly mysterious Peter, Eva is unprepared for the consequences—and peril—that come with her decision.

I'm so happy to be participating in this book tour with Lexi over at Book Bug.  Book tours are so great to be a part of.

The Guy Next Door is an LDS fiction novel.  I was excited to read this book and become acquainted with a new author (well, new to me).  The cover of this book looks so mysterious, right?  It made me very curious about what was inside.

Here's the main thing about this book for me.  It made me feel.  There was a part of the story where I seriously had tears in my eyes.  That is really hard to accomplish with me.  But, there it is.  I won't tell you what that scene was because that would be giving things away but it was so sad and emotional and I was all wrapped up in it.  Luckily that didn't last long though because nobody loves sad.  :)

There was romance and some heart pumping suspense.  I fell in love with Peter almost instantly.  Honest.  Wait until you read his sweet notes to Eva.  I think there aren't many things sexier than a guy that works hard to help you achieve your goals.  Physically and emotionally.  Peter is awesome.

There is no way you can read this book and not root for Eva.  She is strong and determined.  I love her loyalty to family and I think I want her to cook for me.  

I really, really enjoyed this book.  

Check out this book trailer and then the giveaway. 
As part of the tour, Kate is generously offering a grand prize giveaway of a copy of The Guy Next Door plus Junior Mints (Eva’s favorite candy), and a copy Eva’s lemon chicken recipe. 

To enter to win these prizes, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form provided.
Open from October 2 to November 2.
Must be 13+ years of age to enter
US mailing addresses only

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Kate began her career as an elementary school teacher, but was soon promoted to full time mom. She is the mother of six living in the country. Her husband is trying to teach her to be a farm girl. She can’t saddle a horse, but she knows how to butcher a chicken. After a day of chasing children, cooking meals, and folding laundry, she likes to escape into a good book.

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Friday, October 5, 2012

On Tour with Love's Providence by Jenniefer H. Westall + a Giveaway!

Collegiate athlete Lily Brennon has always been the piece that doesn’t quite fit in the puzzle, especially in her fragmented family, and no amount of rule-following perfection seems to bring her any closer to the love and acceptance she desperately seeks. If not for Jackson Carter, her childhood best friend and the only boy she’s ever loved, she’s sure she would have run away years ago. But when Jackson loses his father and a future basketball career within months of each other, his faith is so shattered, he shuts out everyone, including Lily.

After months of heartache, Lily begins to piece together a life without Jackson, and while vacationing on a beautiful island off the Georgia coast, she begins a long-distance romance with Alex Walker, a police officer with a quick wit and a cocky grin. He revives her hope in love again, but their intense attraction and his devastating secret test Lily’s values, stretching them until they break. Through her struggles to remain true to her principles, an agonizing choice between Alex and Jackson, and a series of terrifying events that threaten all of them, Lily must endure losing everything she’s been grasping so tightly. Only then will she discover the depth of the love that already surrounds her.

This book is labeled as an YA Edgy Christian Romance.  It sure wasn't like most Christian novels I've read.  Mostly that had to do with the sexual interactions between Alex and Lily.  They have some steamy make out sessions before Lily gives in to the pressure of sex, going against her moral values as a Christian.  Of course afterwards, she is devastated and full of guilt and remorse.

I think the book did a good job of reflecting Christian values, real world frustrations and heartache, making mistakes and finding your way back.

Jackson, Lily and Alex were all great characters.  It was a great emotional journey I took with each one of them.  Once I got into the book I was hooked.  I stayed up WAY too late one night reading it because I just could not put it down.  I was at a real tense part of the book and there was no way I was going to leave it hanging until the next day.  It was worth staying up late for.  :)

The following is an excerpt from the end of chapter one.  Enjoy!

Later that evening, Lily stood on the playground and squeezed the sand between her toes as a warm, moist breeze swirled strands of hair around her face. The village shops by the pier had been teeming with tourists all afternoon, but most of them had closed down hours ago. The sounds of traffic and screaming kids had faded into a gentle lapping of the ocean against the nearby rocks.

Her feet ached from walking around for the past several hours, and her head was beginning to throb as well. To make matters worse, her dad had insisted that she keep an eye on Kara and her cousin Rachel, which meant an evening full of aimlessly wandering through tourist shops and listening to shallow comparisons of one guy after another. At this point, she wanted nothing more than to go back to the beach house, put her feet up, and relax with a good book.

A few yards away, Kara and Rachel competed to see who could swing the highest. As much as they insisted on being treated like adults, it was amazing how childish they could be. She rolled her eyes and sighed, glancing down at her watch. Nearly time to go.

“Y’all about ready?” she called.

Rachel jumped out of her swing first, followed by Kara who narrowly missed landing on her rear. Rachel doubled over with laughter, and Lily couldn’t help but laugh too. Kara flushed bright red as she glanced around to see if anyone else had seen her stumble.

“Nice,” Lily said.

Kara ignored her and straightened her clothes. Rachel slid her feet into her sandals and tugged her shorts back into place, though they still left little to the imagination. She smoothed her dark hair and picked her purse up off the ground. Then suddenly she squealed like a mouse and waved Kara toward her.

“Look, those cops over there are cute!”

Lily followed her gaze to the massive live oaks that provided a canopy over a picnic area of the park. It was empty now except for two officers talking quietly at a picnic table in the lamp light, their bikes resting in a rack nearby. From several yards away they appeared similar—broad shoulders, dark hair, well-built. Nothing spectacular.

“You’re hopeless,” Lily said. “They’re way too old for you to even think about.”

Rachel shrugged. “So? Cute is just cute. Age doesn’t factor.”

Lily looked at them again. Maybe Rachel was right, but she wasn’t interested in another lame discussion about guys like they were a tasty dessert item.

“They’re all right, I guess. Not really my type.”

Kara snorted. “Oh please. I think you have to date more than one person to have a type.”

Rachel laughed and looked away from Lily’s glare.

“Well, you are the expert,” Lily said. “How many boyfriends have you had?”

Kara took a few steps closer and jutted her chin at Lily. “I know a lot more than you think. I know that hanging out with one guy since you were nine years old doesn’t make you an expert. You wouldn’t even know what to do if a great guy was interested in you.”

“Sure I would. I’d say thanks but no thanks.”

“Oh my word, Lil. Seriously. There’s something wrong with you.”

“I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t want to date right now.”

Rachel’s mouth fell open. “Really?”

“Look, I just want to enjoy my vacation. You know, relax a little, read a good book, take a walk on the beach. I don’t need drama.”

Kara shook her head. “I’m not talking about a serious relationship here. Look around. There are cute guys everywhere. Loosen up and have some fun.”

“I don’t need a guy around to have fun.”

Kara winked at Rachel. “Well, if you’re going to be hanging around us, you better get used to cute guys being around. In fact, I think we should start right now.” She nodded toward the tree where the cops were still seated. Rachel’s face lit up.

“Oh no,” Lily said. “We’re going back to the house. It’s nearly midnight.”

But they sped away before she could stop them, so she threw her hands in the air and followed. This was going to be humiliating. As she approached the officers, the girls sang hello in unison. She could just imagine what these two gentlemen must be thinking. Leaning back on their elbows in identical poses, both of the officers grinned at the girls.

Then she caught a glance from the one on the left, and his eyes traveled down her legs. A sliver of a smirk played at the corner of his lips. Maybe gentleman wasn’t the right word. Kara rattled off introductions, oblivious to the amusement on their faces.

“I’m Kara. This is my sister, Lily, and our cousin, Rachel.”

Lily offered a polite nod. There had to be a way to exit gracefully, but she couldn’t think of one. Kara and Rachel dropped onto the bench of a picnic table opposite the officers, looking entirely too eager. They were practically panting.

“I’m Steve,” the one on the right said. “It’s nice to meet you, ladies.” His smile lit up his whole face, and his eyes had a warm puppy-like expression. Lily relaxed a little. At least one of them was friendly anyway.

“You can just call him Poindexter.” The other officer’s eyes sparked with mischief, and Steve slapped him across the chest.

“I know you don’t want me to tell them what they can call you, Rambo.”

“Rambo?” Rachel asked, tilting her head.

He waved his hand to dismiss the question. “Forget it. It’s not that funny anyway.”

On closer inspection, the nickname seemed fitting given his dark waves and bulging muscles. He probably did think he was some sort of action hero. She could practically see him admiring his biceps in a mirror.

“So what is your name, Rambo?” Lily asked.

Their eyes met, and his lips tipped into a smirk.

“Walker. Alex Walker.”

Yep, definitely an action hero.

“So what are you supposed to be?” she asked. “Double-oh-six-and-a-half?” The retort slipped out before Lily could catch it.

Steve snickered and looked away from Alex’s murderous glance.

“Well, you can just call me Daddy.” He cocked an eyebrow at her, an obvious challenge, but his grin never changed.

Lily held his gaze, irritated by the way her stomach flipped. Must have been something she’d eaten.

Rachel finally broke the awkward silence. “So, um, is it usually this quiet around here?”

Steve shook his head. “Nah, it’ll pick up tomorrow, trust me. This place’ll be crawling with people and screaming kids.”

“And plenty of little boys for you girls to play with, I’m sure,” Alex added.

Rachel’s chest sprang out as she huffed. “We are not little girls, and we are not interested in little boys.”

“How old do you think we are anyway?” Kara asked.

Lily couldn’t wait for this response. Alex had wandered into dangerous waters, but he seemed oblivious. He put his fingers to his chin and assessed them.

“Hmm, let me see.”

Steve waved off the challenge. “I can’t ever tell.” He sent a knowing grin at Lily, and she couldn’t help but smile back. At least he had some sense.

“Well,” Alex said, looking first at Kara, then at Rachel. “With all the make-up, you look about twenty-one. So I’d have to say you two are about thirteen, maybe fourteen.”

Kara’s mouth dropped open and Rachel gasped. Lily could barely control her laughter.

“What?” Rachel exclaimed. “I am fifteen, almost sixteen!”

“And I am already sixteen!” Kara folded her arms across her chest.

“Whoa! Don’t get your panties in a wad.” Alex threw up his hands in surrender. “I was just giving you a hard time.”

As the girls continued to sulk, he winked at Lily. Something about him sent a shiver down her arms.

“And how about you?” he asked.

She hesitated. She shouldn’t let him bait her into comments she might regret. Arrogant or not, he was an officer of the law, a position she had always been taught to respect.

Rachel finally spoke for her. “She actually is twenty-one.”

Kara lifted a brow, a puzzled look that seemed to ask if she was okay. Lily decided to ignore it and Alex as well.

She turned and looked out over the ocean, wishing she could enjoy it alone. The ocean and sky had melted into one large black expanse, but she could hear the waves tumble into the rocks not far away.

“So, how long have you been police officers?” Kara asked.

“Seven years for me,” Steve answered.

“You’re kidding. You don’t seem that old.”

Steve laughed. “I went into the police academy right out of high school. Been doing this since I was eighteen.”

Lily glanced at Kara and caught the slight nod toward Steve. She knew she was being rude, but what did Kara expect? Flirting with a stranger wasn’t going to fill the hole in her chest. Still, she supposed she should at least be polite.

“That’s pretty young to become a cop,” Lily said. “You didn’t think about going to college?”

“Nah.” He grinned like the thought was absurd. “I never wanted to do anything but be a cop. Dad’s a cop. Mom’s a cop. Just seemed natural.”

He smiled at her again, and the warmth of it reached out to her. It wasn’t much, but it made her smile. Maybe getting to know Steve wasn’t the worst idea in the world.


Alex caught the flush in Lily’s cheeks as she smiled at Steve, and he took a quick glance at his partner. Steve was the nicest guy he’d ever met. Too nice. And he wasn’t about to let some snobby chick get the wrong idea about him. Besides, no matter how nice he was, even Steve could be tempted by a hot girl, and he had to admit this one was a looker. Her legs had caught his attention first—long, athletic—but it was her eyes that he kept coming back to. They were cool and aloof, wandering over everything in the park, except him. He could tell from the moment she walked over that she’d rather be anywhere else. Until now.

He’d have to nip the flirting before she mistook Steve’s goofy grin for something more than friendly conversation.

“So that makes you about, what, twenty-five?” Lily asked.

“Yep, I’m getting old.” Steve’s chest shook with his chuckle.

“Thankfully you finally found a good woman to take care of you in your waning years.” Alex darted his eyes over to Lily as he spoke, satisfied with the subtle fall of her smile.

Steve’s face lit up with his crooked grin, unaware of the hope he’d just crushed.

“Yeah, I got a good one alright.”

“How long is it to the wedding?” Alex threw that one in for good measure.

Steve looked up at the stars as if he expected the answer to be spelled out as a connect-the-dots puzzle.

“I guess about six weeks or so.” He looked back down at the girls and grinned. “I don’t have much to do with the planning. I’m just supposed to show up on time.”

The younger two dove into questions about the wedding, though Steve never seemed to give good enough answers. Lily hung back, of course, her eyes drifting down the beach. She crossed her arms over her chest and shifted her weight back and forth like she couldn’t wait to get out of there. The lights of the ice cream parlor across the parking lot went dark, and she looked down at her watch with visible relief.

“We should probably get going.”

The blond glanced at her watch as well. “We still have a little time left. What’s the big hurry?”

“You two are supposed to be back by midnight.” Lily pointed a look directly at the brunette with all the make-up. “Your parents would kill me if I let you stay out late, and you know it.”

“A few minutes isn’t going to hurt anything,” she whined.

He watched Lily squirm. She looked like a kid in desperate need of a bathroom break. Too damn good to hang out with public servants probably.

“Yeah, Lily,” he said. “What’s the hurry? Don’t you like us?”

“Uh, well…” she stammered. “It’s not that. I just don’t want them to get in trouble.”

“Let me guess,” he said. “You do everything you’re told and you’ve never disappointed anyone.” She opened her mouth to respond, but he cut her off. “You’ve never missed a single curfew in your life, have you?”

“What’s it to you?”

“Well, that must be an exciting life.”

She swung her weight to the other hip and shot bullets of contempt from her eyes.

“Just because I take my responsibilities seriously doesn’t mean I can’t have a good time.”

“Oh, I’m sure you’re the life of the party.”

Little Miss Perfect was making this way too easy. She turned and jerked her head at the other two.

“Let’s go.”

They stood up and flashed adorable smiles. Then they sang their goodbye as bubbly as they had their hello. The brunette flipped her hair and winked, and he stifled a laugh. That girl was going to be trouble in another year or two.

Lily, on the other hand, was already trouble. He could feel it. Something about her still lingered after she’d disappeared, like the aftertaste of an expensive wine. It reminded him of why he hated the stuff.

I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and Holly Pond, Alabama, two very different towns that I love for so many reasons. Holly Pond is my soul, the place where I go to remind myself of who I am and where I come from. It's a quiet place that allows me to reset when I've fallen off track.

Birmingham is my heart, the place where I lived out my story. I go there to remember my best friend, my first love, my first job, my first heartbreak.

And then there is Saint Simons Island, the place I go to feel alive, to feel the breeze off the ocean, the salt on my tongue, the excitement of my first (and only) summer fling. I may reside in the suburbs of Atlanta, creating memories with my sweet boys, but I call several places home.

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*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising*

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Reluctant Bachelorette Tour & Giveaway

Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town’s charity event, Taycee Emerson wants out. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it's up to the viewers--not her--to decide which bachelors stay or go.

Coerced into participating, Taycee does what any self-preserving girl would do. She launches a subtle attack on Luke’s good name with the hope of getting him voted off the show. Unfortunately, Luke's an eye-for-an-eye kind of guy, and when he discovers what she's up to, it means revenge.

But when their pranks go south, will they screw up any chance they have at a future together, or will they be able to forgive and forget and prove that love really does conquer all?

Honest to goodness, Rachael Anderson is one of my favorite clean romantic writers and this book is my favorite.  It just made me feel, well, happy.  Happy, happy, happy.  Like sunshine and lollipops.  Well, maybe not lollipops, more like sunshine and chocolate.

It's no secret that this book falls into my favorite genre.  What I love about this book is that it is witty and fun.  It's easy to read and just feels real.  You know?  I love the dynamics between Taycee and Luke.  Chemistry.  Yum.

Okay, so I want to share with you two of my favorite parts of the book.  The first has to be mentioned because I am in love with Captain America.  (Avengers is out!  I have a hot date with my man and the couch to watch it tomorrow!)  Anyway, love.  Captain America.  This is Taycee's first view of Luke after 10 years.

"Slowly, Taycee twisted around and then clenched her jaw to keep it from dropping.  It was like watching the Captain America movie where the scrawny guy goes into the machine and come out looking . . . well, everything but scrawny."

And my second favorite bit . . .

"You look good tonight," said Luke.
 "Thanks."  Okay, so maybe that redeemed him a tad.  A millimeter at most.
"I still can't get over the fact that you're all grown up now.  It's so . . . weird."
And like Humpty Dumpty, down he went.

I picked this book up the day it was released and I've read it TWICE now.  I know, sorta pathetic, right?  But I loved it.  Both times.  I'm so happy to be a part of this blog tour and I'm so happy that Rachael Anderson writes books for me.  

Here is the details on the giveaway.  (My husband and I love the movie Sneakers!)
-Grand Prize
Print copy of The Reluctant Bachelorette (Ebook for International winner)
$15 Amazon Gift Card
Copy of the DVD Sneakers (US only)

-Print copy of The Reluctant Bachelorette

-3 Kindle Ebook Copy of The Reluctant Bachelorette

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Rachael Anderson is the author of four contemporary romances: Divinely Designed, Luck of the Draw, Minor Adjustments, and The Reluctant Bachelorette. She's the mother of four, can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

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Ebook Buy Link:

Paperback Buy Link:

And, if you head over to Amazon by the 7th, you can pick this ebook up for just .99!  

My thanks to Kathy for setting up this great tour and for letting me participate.
Image is linked to the blog tour page so you can see what everyone else is saying about this book.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Reluctant Bachelorette Book Blast! Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town’s charity event, Taycee Emerson wants out. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it's up to the viewers--not her--to decide which bachelors stay or go.

Coerced into participating, Taycee does what any self-preserving girl would do. She launches a subtle attack on Luke’s good name with the hope of getting him voted off the show. Unfortunately, Luke's an eye-for-an-eye kind of guy, and when he discovers what she's up to, it means revenge.

But when their pranks go south, will they screw up any chance they have at a future together, or will they be able to forgive and forget and prove that love really does conquer all?

I love, love, love this book!  My review is coming in a couple days so check back for that.  Here is what I'm totally stoked about though!
Are you kidding me?!  That's a steal of a deal for one of Rachel's books.  Go.  Right now.  Pick it up for a penny under a dollar and have yourself a good day reading.  :)

About the Author:
Rachael Anderson is the author of four contemporary romances: Divinely Designed, Luck of the Draw, Minor Adjustments, and The Reluctant Bachelorette. She's the mother of four, can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Giveaway Details
$50 Amazon Gift Code
Ends 10/31/12
Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code. 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's permission. 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. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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