Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Warrior of Clan Kincaid Concludes the Highland Warrior Trilogy (Review)

The stunning and dramatic final book in the Kincaid brothers' trilogy set in the wilds of Scotland.

LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS
Derryth MacClaren is on the run—having been sent from her castle home to avoid capture by the vicious nobleman known as the Wolf, who has vowed revenge against the Clan Kincaid. When a surprise attack leaves her vulnerable, Derryth ends up in the hands of an enemy warrior who claims her, with the Wolf’s blessing, as his prize. But her captor’s gentle words and touch seduce her heart—and body—completely. . . and when she discovers the tattoo on his arm that proves him to be the legendary, long-believed dead son of the murdered Laird of Kincaid, Derryth knows she must find a way to alter his fate—and her own. . .


Cull has no memory of his family or past—all he knows is the life of a warrior, trained to fight on behalf of the Scottish king. But now that Derryth has informed him of who he really is—Cullen Braewick, the youngest son of the slain laird—he is torn. If Cull exacts revenge against the Wolf, who executed his father, he stands to lose the precious lass who he has come to love. What is he willing to sacrifice for Derryth to keep her safe. . .and in his arms?
The Warrior of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood is not one to miss! 
The Warrior of Clan Kincaid
Highland Warrior #3
Lily Blackwood
Pub Date: 7/31/18
St. Martin's Press
Rating: 5/5
Amazon | B&N | Kobo 


The Warrior of Clan Kincaid is so amazing. It's A Kingdom of Dreams and Lord of the Black Isle rolled into one amazing Scottish romance. Lily Blackwood concludes the Highland Warrior trilogy which reunites three lost brothers by a distinguishable mark. It's only by chance that Derryth MacClaren is sent away from home in order to avoid danger, only to be captured by Cull, who leads the forces advancing on her home.

Once a captive, Derryth and Cull remain in close proximity to one another and the sparks start flying. Initially sparks of anger and fear keep Derryth on the defense as she tries to escape and keep her people safe. Twists and turns abound as the plot thickens and Blackwood offers readers a romance between two strong characters. Derryth gains strength even though she's pampered and unused to living outdoors, or being surrounded by dangerous, lethal killers. The desire to warn her people and keep the ones captive with her safe fuels her and makes her an admirable heroine. Cull is a hard character but little by little Derryth chips away at his icy exterior.

I loved watching these two characters discover each other. Every step of the way they have to contend with outside forces trying to tear them apart. This adds to the excitement of the plot and keeps you intrigued to the very end! Don't be afraid to jump into this story even if you haven't read the previous two entries. There's enough revealed that doesn't give away the plot of the first two stories, but you are able to come to a full understanding of the situation. It's a little complex, but what story with royals and politics isn't?

It's full of heart and passionate romance, too bad it's also the last in this series. The Warrior of Clan Kincaid is definitely one of those stories you'll be coming back to again and again!
*ARC provided in consideration for review*

Read from the beginning:

Monday, July 30, 2018

Project Earth Continues with Keepers (Review)

Two sisters, one from a megacity and one from the wilderness, work together to protect the wilderness and the reintroduction of wolves from a group more interested in private property than public good.

In a future Earth that's run by brilliant green cities separated by open land held in common for the good of wild things, two sisters must work together across and between the vastly different environments to root out dangers to both. They must protect the cities and the wild from the Returners, who prefer the toxic past to the difficult present. The older sister, Lou, her protector Shuska, and biologist friend Matchiko have reputations as successful rugged environmentalists. They must stay safe, listen, work, and sleuth out hidden nests of Returners. Oh, and save a few wolves along the way. In the meantime, Lou's younger sister, Coryn, is learning that working for the most powerful woman behind the scenes in a megacity is far harder than it looks. When the Returners threaten the city, the sisters must find a way to preserve both their ways of life. 

Keepers asks, Do humans have enough creativity, responsibility, and generosity to survive?
Keepers
Project Earth #2
Brenda Cooper
Pub Date: July 31, 2018
Pyr
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Amazon | B&N | Kobo


Brenda Coopers returns to a future earth where megacities are protected by domes and the Outside is filled with those who want to take revenge upon the cities for a lost way of life. Coryn and her older sister Lou have stepped into roles that will help shape the future of the Wilding and the cities.

While the story is an extension of the first, Wilders, the excitement of adventure and discovery gets lost in the politics and speculation of the world. Keepers dives deeper into the issues raised in the first novel, yet still doesn't provide a satisfying solution to the characters' needs. The main focus is to root out the Returners who attack the city through technological and physical means. While fighting the greater fight Lou is determined to not forget her purpose for going Outside in the first place. I do appreciate the insight we get into Lou's character, because before she was the elusive older sister who put trust in the wrong people. Now, she has the means to continue Wilding while also aiding the cities, and Coryn.

Coryn's side of the story didn't really appeal to me this time. After all the work she did to prove her mettle in Wilders, it seems like she's now floundering under pressure. She works with Julianna learning about the people with power within the city, but she doesn't take initiative and push for more power or action. It's like the loss of her goal, which was to find Lou Outside, has made her a vessel for the wishes of everyone around her. I never sensed that she desired anything for herself, above protecting the cities.

If there's another story in the Project Earth series I hope to see it come full circle. Coryn and Lou are two strong characters who get pushed to the background while others take hold of their destiny. I'd like to see them take charge, especially because it seems as though Coryn was being groomed for a greater role.
*ARC provided in consideration for review*

Friday, July 27, 2018

Opposites Attract: Character Questionnaire from Second Time Around by Nancy Herkness (Plus Giveaway + Excerpt)



Today it is a pleasure to introduce Will Chase and Kyra Dixon to readers! The hero and heroine are from Nancy Herkness’ newest release Second Time Around and the title of the story certainly is inspired by the characters’ story. The ‘first time around’ for this couple was in college when Will was dating Kyra’s roommate. This evil ex cheated on Will and while Kyra longed to comfort her secret crush, but she was firmly friendzoned.

Years later in an accidental meeting in NYC, Kyra and Will are reunited--only this time sparks fly with nothing to get in the way of igniting….except the fact that Will is a little (okay, a lot) out of Kyra’s social circle. This makes interacting with his family and friends a teeny bit awkward. But while Will may have money, he is also kind, funny, hardworking, and stubborn. Too stubborn in fact to let a little bit of status stand in the way of him and the woman he wants.

However, we have to ask: Just how different are these two characters really? Read on for a questionnaire where we find out if Will and Kyra are true opposites or if they are more alike than they realize.


***


Question #1: What can you tell us about your favorite childhood memory?


Kyra: My father worked at the Mack Truck factory so he was very wiry and muscular, even though he was short in stature. When I was a child, he would toss me up in the air and catch me. I’ll never forget feeling the strength of his hands wrapped around my waist as he boosted me up, the sense of exhilaration as I flew through the air, and the security of knowing with absolute certainty that his steely, powerful arms would be waiting for me when I came down.

Will: My parents’ house had a two story library with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and ladders on rails to reach them. It seemed like a magic cave filled with treasure to me. Once I convinced them that I would treat the books and the room with respect, they allowed me free run of it. I spent many a happy hour deciding which book to read and then stretching out on the Oriental rug to read it. Sometimes I even walked in merely to smell the scent of books waiting to be read.


Question #2: When you were growing up what types of activities did you enjoy?


Kyra: I was a voracious reader, and loved going to the public library where the librarians would set aside books they thought I would like. However, my favorite time spent there was wandering among the shelves until a book called out to me. Ice skating and riding my bike got me outdoors when Mom decided I’d spent too much time inside reading. Mom liked to shop, so we went “malling”, as she called it. I enjoyed that because I always got a treat.

Will: Reading was my activity of choice. However, my sister would sometimes bother me until I came to help her with her beloved horses at the stables, and I got to like that, especially because it was away from our parents. Tennis wasn’t bad. I hated sailing, which my mother forced me into. Couldn’t wait to give that up. I did the usual sports in school: soccer, lacrosse, basketball, etc. Working up a good sweat was satisfying.


Question #3: When it was time for college, how did you decide to attend Brunell college?


Kyra: I couldn’t afford to go far from home, so I stuck to schools in Pennsylvania. Brunell was the best school that offered me a good financial aid package. It also had a terrific English lit department, which was my passion. I only wish I had been able to finish my degree there.

Will: Brunell was my first flash of rebellion. Pops went to Harvard; Mum went to Princeton. I refused to apply to either of those. I wanted to study the classics and a noted authority on Homer taught at Brunell.


Question #4: What was your favorite part about college?



Kyra: Playing quote wars with Will Chase! Well, pretty much anything that had to do with Will. This smart, rich, golden boy from Connecticut was so alien that he fascinated me. Okay, so I loved the classes, too. I was pretty drunk on the whole “learning for the sake of learning” concept. The campus is gorgeous as well. All those brick buildings with white trim and vast, rolling, green lawns.

Will: The classics professor who made me choose Brunell, Dr. Weiss, was a spectacular teacher and mentor. His classes made me think and stretch and grow. Sometimes he’d hold class in his home where he always served the most delicious, sugary doughnuts from the local convenience mart. Every now and then, I still buy a box of those for nostalgia’s sake.


Question #5: What’s your career? How did you choose it?


Kyra: I didn’t exactly choose my career, if you could call it that. I needed to pay off the debt from college and my parents’ health issues and heard that bartenders at high end clubs in New York City could make a lot of money. I knew a little bit about bartending—and cooking— from working at a local restaurant in my hometown, so I packed up and moved. I also cook for the kids at the Carver After-School Care Center, which I love. But I started there only because the job offered a free apartment.

Will: I’m the CEO of Ceres, a multinational chain of cafés that I founded. I started the company because I didn’t want to join my father’s law firm, as he expected me to. Do you see a theme here? It was satisfying to battle the challenges of building a company, never knowing from day to day if it would survive or fail. Now that it’s grown so huge, I find myself restless.


Question #6: Do you have an active social life? What is a favorite date you have been on recently?


Kyra: Social life? I tend bar at night and cook for kids during the day. Who has time for a social life? I can’t remember the last time I went on a date.

Will: I’m the face of Ceres so I attend quite a few charity events, if you consider that a social life. I’m not sure I do. Between that and the hours I work, dating isn’t a priority. Not to mention, a broken engagement left a sour taste in my mouth when it comes to romance. My favorite recent charity event was held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I could wander through the classic Greek and Roman art exhibits without a crowd. That was an unexpected pleasure.


Question #7: What are your goals for the future? Where do you see yourself in a few years?


Kyra: My most urgent and immediate goal is to pay off my debt. Sometimes it feels like a boulder crushing me into the sidewalk. If I ever manage to do that, my aspiration is to finish my college degree in English lit and get a job as an editor at a publishing house. Hey, a girl has a right to her pipe dreams, doesn’t she?

Will: My goal is to figure out where the hell I see myself in a few years. Right now, my future looks like more of the same: long hours at work, too much business travel, attending events for PR purposes, and resisting my mother’s efforts to marry me off to one of her friends’ daughters. Not an exciting prospect. 
***

Second Time Around Excerpt


“Speaking of my family, I came here with an ulterior motive.”

“Oh?” What on earth could Will want from her?

“My mother throws an annual spring garden party—she calls it her Spring Fling—in Connecticut, on the family farm. She invites the whole extended family, all her friends, and my father’s business associates. I wondered if you might be willing to come with me. Next Sunday. Short notice, I know.”

His gaze didn’t waver from her face, which made it hard to respond, since she had to concentrate on not letting her mouth fall open in astonishment.

“I, um, well, that sounds like fun.” Total lie. It sounded terrifying. But she had Sunday off from work, so she had no commitments to stop her.

“Fun?” He shook his head. “It’s stuffy and tense and boring. My family all snap at each other when no one else is listening. That’s why I’m asking you to come as a buffer.”

“When you put it that way, how can I refuse?” She would be like a fish that didn’t even know which way the ocean was. But the chance to see Will in his childhood environment was irresistible. In college, he’d dropped casual comments about racing his sailboat on Long Island Sound, or his sister getting thrown from her horse in a cross-country event, or his mother winning the club’s tennis championship. It sounded like The Great Gatsby come to life. She had to experience it just once. “I’d be happy to go with you.”

The expression that crossed his face was hard to read, except for relief. “That’s the best news I’ve had all day,” he said.

“What’s the dress code?”

“Casual. It’s outdoors. There are tents in case it rains. Although even the weather rarely dares to displease my mother.”

“‘Casual’ covers a lot of territory for women,” she said. “Not jeans, I assume.”

He thought for a minute. “Dresses, sort of colorful. Flat shoes because of the grass. Straw hats, if it’s sunny.”

“What are you wearing?” That might help.

“My uniform. Khakis and a button-down shirt. Loafers.”

“No tie?”

“Hell, no!” he said. “Shirtsleeves rolled up, too.”

She got the picture, and she had nothing appropriate to wear. She sighed inwardly. This was going to cost her more money than she could afford. However, she couldn’t resist the opportunity to journey into the exotic country of upper-crust Connecticut. Not to mention, spending time with her college crush, who was even more crushworthy now.

“Okay, a rolled-up shirtsleeves kind of dress.” She took a gulp of her club soda as she debated where to find a dress that looked expensive but was bargain priced.

“I’ll pick you up at noon. We’ll make a fashionably late entrance. Which means we won’t have to endure the party as long.”

“This sounds more and more delightful all the time.”

Will finally smiled, albeit with an edge. “It won’t be as bad for you. They’re not your family.”

“I hear you.” But at least he still had his mother and father. As complicated as her parents had made her life, she sometimes felt terribly alone without them.

He sat back against the banquette. “Now I’m looking forward to the party.”

“You don’t have to flatter me. I’ve agreed to go.” But she couldn’t stop a smile of gratification from curling the corners of her mouth.

“You might begin to have second thoughts.” He pulled out his cell phone. “May I get your number so I don’t have to track you down?”

He tapped at the phone’s screen as she rattled off her phone number.

“Do you still have my cell number or did you chuck my card?” he asked with that self-deprecating smile that always charmed her.

“Just text me and I’ll have it on my phone.”

“So you chucked it.”

The disappointment in his tone surprised her.

“No, it’s at my apartment.”

His fingers flew over the keys of his phone.

A ping sounded from her back pocket, indicating she’d gotten his text, and she started to reach for her phone.

“Read it later,” he said with a roguish glint in his eyes. He placed his empty glass on the tray. “My apologies, but I have to go. Overseas business makes for odd working hours.”

***

About the Book:

A former love makes a lasting impression in a warm and sexy romance from Nancy Herkness.
Kyra Dixon, a blue-collar girl from the boondocks, is dedicated to her job at a community center that matches underprivileged kids with rescue dogs. When she runs into Will Chase—Connecticut blue blood, billionaire CEO, and her old college crush—she’s surprised that he asks a favor from her: to be his date for his uptight family’s dreaded annual garden party. If his parents don’t approve, all the better.


Kyra’s not about to say no. It’ll give her a chance to be oh-so-close to her unrequited love. What begins as a little fling turns so mad hot, so fast, that Kyra finds herself falling all over again for a fantasy that won’t come true. How can it? She doesn’t belong in Will’s world. She doesn’t want to. But Will does want to belong in hers.
All he has to do now is prove it. Will is prepared to give up whatever is necessary to get what his heart most desires.
Second Time Around
Second Glances #1
Nancy Herkness
Pub Date: 7/24/18
Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Amazon | B&N | Audiobook


Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author


Nancy Herkness is the award-winning author of the Wager of Hearts, Whisper Horse, and Second Glances series, as well as several other contemporary romance novels. With degrees in English literature and creative writing from Princeton University, she has earned the New England Readers’ Choice award, the Book Buyers Best Top Pick honor, and the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, and she is a two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award.

 Nancy is a native of West Virginia but now lives in suburban New Jersey with a goofy golden retriever. 

Social Media: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Friday, July 20, 2018

Welcome to the Wedding from Hell!



Don’t miss #1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward’s three-part ebook serialization: The Wedding From Hell. This exclusive prequel to her upcoming standalone suspense Consumed (available in October 2018) takes us back to where it all started between arson investigator Anne Ashburn and ‘bad boy’ firefighter Danny Maguire. The Wedding From Hell is a sexy standalone novella that sets up Consumed’s storyline, leaving fans hungry for more and dying to snatch it up.

The Wedding From Hell, Part 1: The Rehearsal Dinner: It’s a classic recipe for disaster: Take one bridesmaid who thinks pink is the root of all evil, mix with a best man who’s hotter than a four-alarm fire, add in their explosive sexual attraction, a nightmare bridezilla, two cat fights, and an emergency call, and you have the wedding from hell.


Experience the sizzling start of Anne and Danny’s intense relationship. Is this the start of something good...or just an erotic one-night stand that rocks their world, but must never be repeated?
The Rehearsal Dinner
The Wedding from Hell, Part 1
J.R. Ward
Pub Date: 7/17/18
Gallery Books
Amazon | B&N | Simon & Schuster


Excerpt:

Thursday, October 29
T minus 48 hours ’til blastoff
College Row, New Brunswick, Massachusetts

Because women are not frickin’ groomsmen! That’s why she can’t be in the goddamn wedding!”
As Anne Ashburn walked in the back door of the shotgun apartment, that happy little explosion was not only what she’d expected all along, it also offered her the out she’d been praying for. And it was probably the one and only time she was ever going to agree with the bride.
Not about the role of females in bridal parties, but that Anne wasn’t going to be in the “goddamn wedding.”
Everyone standing in the kitchen turned and looked at her: Deandra Cox, the impending wearer of the white dress; Robert “Moose” Miller, her exhausted fiancé and Anne’s fellow crew member down at the 499 fi rehouse; and . . . Dannyboy Maguire.
Who was the only one she really noticed and, for that reason, the person she refused to look at.
Too bad Danny always made an impression. Like most firefighters, he was in great physical shape, his big body thickly muscled and ready to snap into motion in an instant. With his heavy arms linked over that chest and his long legs crossed at the boots, he was leaning back against the chipped countertop, his too-blue stare missing nothing. He was fresh from a shower, his glossy black hair wet, and Anne tried not to picture him naked under the spray, his tattooed torso arching as he rinsed the shampoo out of his—
She put her hands up to stop herself as much as the argument. “Look, I don’t want to cause any problems. I’m happy to step aside—”
“And now I have one too many bridesmaids.” The bride-to-be refocused on her intended. “My count is wrong. You wait until two days before the wedding to tell me this when you know I’m not going to like it, and now my count is off!”
As the groom focused on the linoleum floor, it was impossible not to picture a wax version of the couple on a multi-tiered cake: Deandra in skinny jeans and that tight cashmere sweater, her dark hair streaked blond, her body cocked forward like she was going to throat-punch the man she was going to marry; Moose in his New Brunswick Fire Department T-shirt, all broad-shouldered and bearded around the face, easing back like someone with the flu was about to sneeze in his face.
Ah, true love.
“I didn’t think it was a big deal,” Moose muttered. “Anne’s a member of the four-nine-nine crew, and everyone else is with me.”
“She’s a girl.” Deandra pointed at Anne. “It throws off everything.”
“I really don’t want to cause any problems.” Anne put her hands up again. “So I’ll just be in the congregation. It’s perfectly fine—”
Deandra’s glare swung Anne’s way. “The count is still wrong. And my friends have already paid for their dresses. They were a hundred and twenty dollars apiece.”
And that’s my cue to go, Anne thought. Moose may have volunteered for this, but no one else had or needed to—
“I think women can be whatever they want.”
As Danny spoke up, everyone looked at him—including Anne, who suddenly felt shades of what Deandra was throwing out.
Don’t you dare, she mouthed at him behind the bride’s back.
Danny just shrugged like he’d thrown on a pantsuit and was channeling Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Hillary Clinton all at once. “I mean, Deandra, you’re above all that sexism, aren’t you? No one’s going to tell you what’s right and wrong for your own wedding. You’re more secure than that.”
I am going to kill you, Anne vowed“I think Deandra wants things done properly for her only wedding.”
Danny frowned in pseudo-confusion. “So you’re saying it’s okay to have a double standard for men and women? That’s a shocker given how you are at the station. I thought you believed in equality.”
“I do,” Anne snapped. “But this isn’t about equality.”
“You sure? I don’t know how you can support traditional gender roles when it comes to a wedding ceremony at the same time you defend the right for women to be firefighters, cops, and on the front lines in the military.”
“Spare me someone who’s never been in a dress having an opinion about women’s issues, okay?”
“I’m just pointing out that you don’t want women out of dresses.”
“It’s her wedding.” Anne jabbed a finger at Deandra. “She’s the bride. She gets to say what’s right and wrong for her, and she does not need some man telling her what to do.”
“Even if I’m defending the rights of women?”
“Until you grow a set of ovaries, you can shut the hell up about our rights!”
As Anne’s voice ricocheted around the kitchen, she realized that she’d marched right up to Danny—and that Deandra and Moose were watching the two of them in total stillness.
She cleared her throat and took a step back. “Anyway, Deandra’s made up her mind. And I support her decision.”
Deandra’s eyes narrowed on Danny, and something about the way the woman looked at him didn’t seem right.
“Actually,” the bride said, “maybe she should be in the wedding party.”
Anne prayed her expression stayed neutral. “Don’t compromise your vision on my account.”
“I won’t.” The woman stared at Danny. “Fine. Let’s put her in a tuxedo like the rest of the men. She can walk my sister down the aisle, just like a man should. Her shoulders are too big for a gown, anyway, and that way my count stays the way it should.”
Anne rolled her eyes. Let’s hear it for girl power.
“So it’s settled,” Deandra said with a tight smile. “You need a tux. Unless you already own one.”
For a moment, Anne waited for somebody to argue with the woman. Like Moose. But he was clearly done falling on swords over the wedding details, and Danny had just gotten what he wanted so he wasn’t going to say a damn thing.
And the truth was, after how many years of fighting fires with these men, they were her brothers in all but blood. Even though she thought Moose had lost his ever-loving mind marrying this beautiful but sour woman after knowing her for a matter of months, Anne was still going to stand up for the guy if he wanted her to—and he did. He’d asked her down at the stationhouse specifically.
“Where did you guys rent your suits?” Anne said to him.
“Tuxedoes,” Deandra corrected.
The groom blinked like he’d forgotten how to speak English. Then again, he’d been doing that a lot at the firehouse lately. “You’re actually going to wear one?”
“What the hell do I care?”
“Yes, she is wearing one,” Deandra cut in.

Danny spoke up. “I’ll go with you. I know where the place is.”


Stay tuned for part 2:
About the author:
J.R. Ward is the author of more than thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-six different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Cover Reveal: Darkest Heart by Juliette Cross

I'm so excited to share this beautiful cover with you all! Darkest Heart is the first in an all new paranormal series from Juliette Cross. Learn more about the book below and take time to gush over this amazing cover!


Anya—a stoic, blue-winged angelic warrior—was bitten by a demon prince in battle, and now she has precious little time to find a cure for his deadly venom. But the only archangel with the power to stop the dark poison from corrupting her body and soul is missing. She’ll have to trust her guide, the outcast high demon Dommiel, who is as handsome as he is dangerous if she has any hope.

An outcast of his own kind, high demon Dommiel stays under cover while the war between angels and demons rages on. When the only person who ever showed him kindness asks for his help, he has no choice but to try to save the angel. Venturing back into the dens he has avoided for so long, Anya makes him want and feel things he never thought possible.

But Dommiel knows there is no way an angel can ever love a demon…
Darkest Heart
Dominion #1
Juliette Cross

Pub Date: 8/20/18
Entangled Amara


About Juliette Cross:


JULIETTE is a multi-published author of paranormal and fantasy romance. She is represented by Rachel Brooks at BookEnds Literary Agency. She calls lush, moss-laden Louisiana home where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab named Kona. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance--alluring settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. Even then, she not only longed to read more books set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own. 

Connect with Juliette: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Street Team | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads
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Monday, July 9, 2018

Heart of Glass Will Break Your Heart (Review)

The next standalone novel from Nicole Jacquelyn about love, friendship, and forgiveness. 








Henry Harris was living his dream as a staff sergeant in the Marines. When he's killed in action, his devastated family is in for one more shock: he had a daughter they never knew about.

Morgan Riley has been raising Etta on her own, and that's always been fine by her - until Henry's brother Trevor arrives on her doorstep, willing to do anything to help and make up for his brother's mistakes. Their attraction feels wrong, but Morgan can't seem to turn him away.

Trevor is suddenly in too deep. He has always wanted a family, but Etta and Morgan come with complications. Yet as Etta brings them closer together, Trevor begins to imagine giving Morgan and Etta the life his brother never could. But he wonders if Morgan will ever learn to trust another man with her heart, especially a man whose last name is Harris.

Heart of Glass
Fostering Love #3
Nicole Jacquelyn
Pub Date: 7/10/18
Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5/5
Amazon | B&N | Kobo


The Fostering Love series is a treasure I stumbled upon when I picked up Heart of Glass. Nicole Jacquelyn pulls on the heart strings as a single mother comes into contact with her daughter's other family. When Etta's father's adopted brother pays a visit on behalf of the family, Morgan must decide whether she's willing to let them in. Readers will dive into this blend of romance and family drama with gusto and finish in record time!

The characters in this story are all struggling to return to normal life after the death of Henry Harris. For Trevor, it means cleaning up the mess his little brother left when he kept his own daughter a secret and left Morgan to raise her alone. At first glance I thought this would be a complex tale, but it's quite straightforward. The most complicated it gets is when Trevor and Morgan fight their attraction and attempt to sort out their feelings. Morgan and Trevor both have backgrounds in foster care, but time and experience turned out two opposite natured individuals. She refuses any offer of help, and won't ask for it, while Trevor is always looking for a chance to give a helping hand. I love that their differences were directly opposing because it made for an interesting read to see how they would work it out on top of their complicated family structure.

There's a lot of tension between Trevor's mom and Morgan that stems from the loss of Henry and Morgan's fear of not being a good enough mom. I love that it wasn't glossed over or resolved easily because forming family connection is always a piece of cake.

Jacquelyn adds a heavy dose of reality to her writing that will draw in readers from any background. Heart of Glass, and the companion novels of the Fostering Love series, is perfect for fans of Jamie McGuire or Catherine Bybee!
*ARC provided in consideration for review*

Explore the series:

Friday, July 6, 2018

Carolyn Brown Shares the Top 5 Biggest Scandals in Bloom, Texas! (Plus Review + Giveaway)


From New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown comes a funny heartache of a novel about overcoming the past, confronting the future, and defying all expectations.

Everyone is talking about Jennie Sue Baker and the mess she made of her life in New York. The former high school queen bee—and wealthy darling of Bloom, Texas—has returned home after all these years, riding on a common bus and bearing two bounced alimony checks. In a town that thrives on gossip, Jennie’s fall from grace has shamed her mother, set the town buzzing, and caused old, jealous enemies to whisper in delight. They say she’s taken a job as a housekeeper, gotten a garage apartment, and might be crushing on Rick Lawson, a simple farmer with modest dreams.
As romance starts to bud, Jennie relishes what it means to follow her heart, find real new friends, and finally be herself—regardless of all the lying town chatter. But fate has another twist in store. Rumor has it that Jennie now stands to lose what matters most…unless she can convince Rick of one true thing—and that’s love.

Small Town Rumors
Carolyn Brown
Pub Date: 7/3/18
Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5/5
Amazon | B&N



Carolyn Brown effortlessly drawers readers into the lives of well-meaning residents of Bloom, Texas. Small Town Rumors, humorous and sweet, follows Jennie Sue Baker to Bloom where the rumors run rampant of her return home. While the truth is more heartbreaking than anyone may guess, Jennie Sue is determined to find the place she belongs and heal from the turmoil of the past.


I don't even know where to begin to describe how much I loved this story. The characters were real and so easy to connect with. From Cricket, who hates Jennie Sue based on their differences in high school, to the Clifford sisters who gave Jennie Sue her first taste of true friendship, I couldn't get enough of their antics and drama! On the other hand, there's a serious aspect to the plot that makes you thankful for the levity. So much of this story broke my heart for Jennie Sue as she breaks free of the mold her mother is trying to force her into and live her own life.

Carolyn Brown is quickly becoming a new favorite author! Her way of writing is down to the point without leaving readers empty of pining for more information on the main characters. I felt like I was plunked down into the middle Jennie Sue's story, but everything that happened before I met her was dished out in due time. Small Town Rumors is one of those small town romances that fills you up with lighthearted sweetness and just enough humor to temper the heartache. I highly recommend to fans of  Catherine Anderson or Jennifer Probst!
*ARC provided in consideration for review*


Top 5 Biggest Scandals in Bloom, Texas by Carolyn Brown


Welcome to Bloom, Texas, where the gossip is hotter’n than the peppers in Rick’s garden. Bloom is located just north of Sweetwater where the land is so flat that you can see all the way to where the earth curves. Well, maybe not that far but it goes out there for miles until it finally meets the sky. It always reminds me of a child’s drawing. He/she makes a line on their paper. Above it is sky with fluffy clouds. Below it is grass with wild flowers. The streets are wide and the bus comes through on the way to Sweetwater once a day.

If you want to hear the local gossip, just stop by the Main Street Café. You’ll love the burger baskets and sweet tea, but if you listen closely, you can learn who didn’t come to church on Sunday and why, who died, who had a baby and whether or not she was married. The list goes on and on, so don’t bypass the café as you wander up and down Main Street. Oh, and ask Elaine, the owner, to fix you up with a large sweet tea to go when you leave.

A couple of doors down, you’ll see a used book store. Go right on in and Amos will tell you the whole history of Bloom. If you have a seat on the sofa inside the front door, he’ll entertain you until all that sweet tea is gone with stories about the folks in town. Don’t be shy, now. He loves company.

As a stranger, you probably won’t be invited to one of the Sweetwater Belle’s club meetings, but even their exclusive meetings aren’t so secret in Bloom. After all everyone knows everything about everyone. They know what they did with whom, where it happened and what time they got home afterwards. Then they read The Bloom Daily News to see who got caught!

After all, gossip is the life blood of the community. It’s what drives the people to get out in the blistering hot sun and go to town. It’s what sets the phone lines to smoking, and why there’s more than one cell tower pretty close to the town.

There were, have been, are will be many scandals in Bloom. But five come to mind. First is the fact that Jennie Sue’s dad has been having affairs for years and every year the mistress gets younger and younger. He has his reasons but Jennie Sue doesn’t know them until she comes home. Second would be the fact that she arrives in town, right there on Main Street on a bus. Not in a rented car from an airport. Not even in her own little fancy sports vehicle, but a bus! That alone will put a strain on the phone company. Third is that she intends to be independent and since her father won’t give her a job in the oil company, she agrees to clean houses for two elderly sisters, Lettie and Nadine, who are the biggest gossips in Bloom, Texas. Fourth is that she’s seen with Rick, a local farmer, and even worse that she’s working on his farm for no money but for vegetables as pay. And number five that she has a baby buried in an unmarked grave at the Bloom cemetery. Now when that last one hits the gossip vine, it really will be hotter’n the peppers in Rick’s garden!

Excerpt: Small Town Rumors 



“Well, well, well! Are you leaving us already? You only got here yesterday.” Lettie shoved the suitcase over and sat down across the table from Jennie Sue. Short, as round as Mabel, and sporting a kinky hairdo that had gone out of style years ago, Lettie hadn’t changed since Jennie Sue was a little girl.

“Yes, ma’am,” Jennie Sue answered. “How have you been, Miz Lettie?”

“Elaine, I’ll have a big stack of pancakes and two orders of bacon,” Lettie called out across the café.

“Got it,” Elaine yelled.

“So where are you going?” Lettie turned back to Jennie Sue.

“To find a job,” she answered.

“What kind of skills and experience do you have?”
Elaine crossed the floor and set Jennie Sue’s breakfast in front of her. “Millie will bring out your order shortly, Miz Lettie.”

“No rush. Just send me a cup of coffee, and I’ll be happy until it gets here.” Lettie waved her away with a flick of the wrist and turned back to Jennie Sue. “Now, you were about to tell me about your work experience.”

Jennie Sue picked up the saltshaker and applied an unhealthy dose to her eggs. “I have no experience, but I do have a business degree. The only thing I’m good at is keeping a clean house and organizing fund-raisers and parties.”

“Hmm.” Lettie pursed her lips. “So why didn’t you have a housekeeper up there in New York?”

“Percy was never pleased with the way they cleaned.”

“Was?” Lettie asked.

“Been divorced for over a year.”

“Oh, really?” Lettie cocked her head to one side.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Me and my sister, Nadine, lost our housekeeper a couple of weeks ago. The lady that worked for us cleaned for me on Friday and Nadine on Thursday. You interested?”

Charlotte would probably go into cardiac arrest if Jennie Sue became nothing more than a maid for her archenemies. But hey, it was a job, and Jennie Sue damn sure knew how to clean a house so well that it would pass judgment in the courts of heaven.

“I might be interested if you could point me in the direction of an apartment or a rental house of some kind that wouldn’t be too expensive,” Jennie Sue answered.

“I got an apartment over my garage. It’s pretty small, but it’ll work for a single person. I’d be willing to rent it to you furnished. You’ll clean for me on Friday each week, but the last week in the month, you won’t get paid. That’ll be your rent,” Lettie said.

Jennie Sue could imagine Charlotte throwing whatever she could get her hands on at the wall when one of the Belles called her with that bit of news. Even if she was angry with her mother over trying to mold her into another Wilshire woman, she couldn’t do that to her mother—or could she? How else would she be independent?

She picked up a piece of crisp bacon with her fingers and took a bite while she thought about the offer. It was a job that she could do. It was a place for her to live. She didn’t have to live in a shelter or sleep on a park bench. However, her mother would never speak to her again, and the rumors would be so hot that they might burn down the whole town of Bloom.
***

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About the Author
Carolyn Brown is a New York TimesUSA TodayPublishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and a RITA finalist with more than ninety published books, which include women’s fiction and historical, contemporary, and cowboys-and-country-music romance. She and her husband live in the small town of Davis, Oklahoma—where everyone knows everyone else and knows what they’re doing and when—and they read the local newspaper on Wednesday to see who got caught. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young.

Connect with Carolyn: Website | Facebook | Goodreads