Monday, February 25, 2019

BLOG TOUR: Tumble (Guest Post + Giveaway)



Guest Post: Spend a Morning with Dane Madden, The Hero of TUMBLE


I looked in the mirror this morning to shave. As I lifted the razor to my cheek, I saw a little scar that sits just to the side of my right eye. It’s not something most people would ever notice. Hell, I don’t notice it every day. But the light caught it just right and suddenly it was all I could see. I’m Dane Madden, the carpenter, not Dane Madden the philosopher, so why I stood there for a good five minutes remembering the night I got that scar is beyond me. But I did. I thought about how the barbed wire caught my skin and ripped the flesh and how Neely Kimber’s face filled with so much concern I was kind of glad I was bleeding. She and I were inseparable back then. From the moment she opened the door and our eyes locked, there was a bond between us that grew stronger. We went from finding ways to bump into each other, to hanging out with a group of friends, to dating in the sincerest way. She wasn’t just a girl. Neely wasn’t a pretty face I wanted on my arm, or in my bed as things evolved, like many of the guys I knew back then labeled their girlfriends. She was more than that to me—my best friend. My confidant when things with Dad went sour. My trusty right hand that bailed my ass out of more trouble than I was worth. The night my eye was cut, she remembered to go back and get my hat so it wouldn’t be found the next day. Had she not done picked up the evidence, the farmer whose cows my friends and I had been trying to tip (terrible idea, if you’re wondering) would’ve been able to track the mess in his field to me and my friends. Dogwood Lane is a small town. Word gets around easy enough without trying. Then there was the night my brother Matt, our friend Penn, and I went corning around Halloween. That’s another terrible idea, if you’re wondering, and involves throwing shucked corn at cars passing by. Let’s just say a certain driver in an oversized pick-up truck didn’t appreciate the sentiment. After being chased on foot to the outskirts of town, we had to hide in a chicken coop until Neely could come get us. Despite my antics, she was there. She might’ve laughed at me or pointed out how stupid we were, but she took my worst right along with my best. Our lives were entwined by shenanigans, stories, and so much love. Damn, I loved her. I didn’t know where she stopped and I started. I didn’t want to know. She was the best thing in my life. She made me better. And that was the ruination of us because I couldn’t bear to think I would make her life worse. Seeing her again after all these years lit a fire inside me that I didn’t think was possible. I haven’t felt this burn since the day I walked off her porch having broken her heart. I want to talk to her, touch her, hold her and I can’t do any of it. Even though so much of our lives were built together, our memories from the easiest time of our lives shared, we aren’t those people anymore. And it’s all my fault.

***

From USA Today bestselling author Adriana Locke comes a witty romance about first love and second chances.
After being burned by her dream job in New York City, sports journalist Neely Kimber suddenly finds herself jobless and paying a long-overdue visit to her hometown in Tennessee. Her plan? Relax, reset, and head back up the corporate ladder. There’s just one unexpected step. Neely’s back in Dogwood Lane for barely a day when she sees the man she ran from nine years ago: the bad boy next door who was her first kiss, her first love, and her first heartbreak.
Devoted single dad Dane Madden knows he hurt Neely in the worst way. He’s got a lot to make up for. And as passionate as their reconnection is, it’s a lot to hope for. Having her back in his arms feels so right. But falling in love all over again with a woman who wants to live a world away is bound to go so wrong.
What’s it going to take for Neely to give him—and Dogwood Lane—just one more chance? 
Tumble
Dogwood Lane #1
Adriana Locke
Pub Date: 2/26/19
Montlake Romance
Amazon | B&N | Audiobook


EXCERPT:

Splat!

The sound of the hammer crushing my thumb—swung with more force than was necessary, to boot—ricochets across the front lawn. The tool falls from my hand, striking against the sawhorse, and flips into the soft grass with a gentle thud.

“Son of a...!” My hand shakes, the top of my thumb threatening to explode. I tilt my head to the sky and try to find some peace in the clouds.

I come up empty. “Matt!” I call to my younger brother. “I’m taking ten.”

He nods from halfway up the ladder leaned against the side of the house.

Wrapping my good hand around my thumb, I head toward my truck. Sounds of construction ring out behind me. It’s usually music to my ears, the lifeblood of the Madden name. But each cut of a sawblade, buzz of a power drill, and swing of a hammer feels like a distraction this morning. I have a throbbing thumb to show for it.

Beads of sweat cluster along my forehead. I remove my hat with my good hand and run the back of my forearm along my brow.

“Damn it.” Everything feels sticky. Mildly irritating. And the progress on the project that usually energizes me has failed me epically this morning. I just don’t want to be here. Not that I have a better place to be. Quite frankly, I have a lot of places I shouldn’t be, and with Neely, or thinking about Neely, is one of them.

I would’ve recognized her anywhere. Same gray eyes that glimmer like she’s about to tell you a secret. Full lips that spread into a smile so infectious you can’t help but feel your own mouth following suit. The hint of floral perfume, the golden hair that may as well be silk, and the aura about her that’s just as strong as the day she left Dogwood Lane and me—it’s all the same. It’s like time forgot to age her. She somehow has become more beautiful, sexier, stronger. 

The world hates me. I’ve postulated this for a long time, but it’s obvious today.

The tailgate of my truck lowers. Scooping a handful of ice from the cooler in the bed into a bandanna, I wrap it around my injured digit. The relief lasts only a few moments.

“What are you doing down here?” Penn rests his forearms over the side of the truck, the tattoos carved in his skin like mini masterpieces on full display. He eyes my makeshift bandage. “What happened to you?”

“Hammer,” I groan, adjusting the ice.

“That’s interesting.”

“How you figure?”

“Never knew you to hit yourself with a hammer before. I find that interesting.”

“If that’s interesting, you need a hobby. Or you could work like I’m paying you to do . . .”

“I have a hobby, thank you, and you should’ve seen her last night,” he says, smacking his lips together. “Lord Almighty, she’s a—”
“Penn.”

“Yeah?”

The tip of my finger sticks out of the bandanna. It’s bright red and hot to the touch despite the ice packed around it. “All your escapades really sound the same at this point.”

“Is that jealousy I hear?” He cups his hand to his ear. “I thought so. Not my fault you’re in a dry spell.”

Leaning against the truck, I look at him. “Jealousy isn’t how I’d describe it. But if that makes ya feel good, go for it.”

“My hobby makes me feel good.” He moves his lips around, like he’s fighting the next words trying to pop out. He does this when he knows he shouldn’t say something but can’t quite convince himself not to. “From the looks of you, I’d say you’re more than jealous. I’d say you’re . . . tempted.”

My tongue presses on the roof of my mouth. “Tempted to what?”

He leans against the truck, too, the gold St. Christopher’s medal he’s worn since elementary school clamoring against the side. The corners of his lips nearly touch the corners of his eyes. He knows.

“Word travels fast, huh?” I say, prodding around to see if my guess is right.

He slow blinks. Twice.

“What?” I ask.

“That’s all you have to say about Neely being back in town? ‘Word travels fast.’ What’s wrong with you?”

We don’t have time for that conversation.

I sigh. “What do you want me to say?”

“I’d love to have been a fly on the wall for that little run-in.” Penn snickers. “Did you stutter around like I imagine? Or did you not manage to say an entire sentence?”

Working my jaw back and forth, I point a finger his way. “You better stop while you’re ahead.”
He reads me correctly, and his animation drops a notch. “Really, though. How’d it go? But before you answer that, let me toss out there that I heard sparks were flying all over the diner so hot Claire had to call the fire department.”

I shake my head. “Shut up.”

“Just telling you what I heard.”
“The firemen were there to order food, you idiot.”

He thinks he’s onto something. There’s a glee in his face that means only one thing: it’s going to be a long day around here.
“So, what happened?” he asks, resting his arms over the truck bed.

“You know, sometimes I think you should’ve been a girl with all the gossiping you do.”
“This isn’t gossip,” he contends. “This is Neely-freaking-Kimber, man. Every memory I have of my entire adolescence has her in it. She bailed me out of jail when I was too scared to call my dad and you and Matt were passed out on moonshine. Remember that?”

My chuckle is so hard, it causes my thumb to throb. “I forgot about that. She was pissed.”

“Neely came through, though. God, I miss her.”

Those last words echo through my mind.

I have shoved her out of my head for the last few years. Took over Dad’s business, took care of my business. Trudged forward without her because that was the only choice I had. I hardly even think about her anymore unless someone brings her up in conversation.

So why do I itch to crawl into the truck and hunt her down?


***

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

USA Today bestselling author Adriana Locke lives and breathes books. After years of slightly obsessive relationships with the flawed bad boys dreamed up by other authors, she decided to create her own. She is the author of Tumble, the first novel in her Dogwood Lane series; the Exception series; the Gibson Brothers series; and the Landry Family series.

She resides in the Midwest with her husband, her sons, two dogs, two cats, and a bird. She spends a large amount of time playing with her kids, drinking coffee, and cooking. You can find her outside if the weather’s nice, and there’s always a piece of candy in her pocket. Besides cinnamon gummy bears, boxing, and random quotes, her next favorite thing is chatting with readers. She’d love to hear from you! Look for her at www.adrianalocke.com.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

COVER REVEAL: WHISPERS OF SHADOW & FLAME by L. Penelope!

Today I have the cover reveal tour for book 2 in L. Penelope's Earthsinger Chronicles, Whispers of Shadow & Flame.

The first book in the series, Song of Blood & Stone, was named one of TIME Magazine's top 10 fantasy books of 2018! Check out the cover reveal and giveaway below!

Book Description:

The cursed will face the gods. They have nothing to lose.

"A master class in fantasy world-building.” - TIME Magazine on Song of Blood & Stone

The Mantle that separates the kingdoms of Elsira and Lagrimar is about to fall. And life will drastically change for both kingdoms.

Born with a deadly magic she cannot control, Kyara is forced to become an assassin. Known as the Poison Flame in the kingdom of Lagrimar, she is notorious and lethal, but secretly seeks freedom from both her untamed power and the blood spell that commands her. She is tasked with capturing the legendary rebel called the Shadowfox, but everything changes when she learns her target’s true identity.

Darvyn ol-Tahlyro may be the most powerful Earthsinger in generations, but guilt over those he couldn’t save tortures him daily. He isn’t sure he can trust the mysterious young woman who claims to need his help, but when he discovers Kyara can unlock the secrets of his past, he can’t stay away.

Kyara and Darvyn grapple with betrayal, old promises, and older prophecies—all while trying to stop a war. And when a new threat emerges, they must beat the odds to save both kingdoms. 

Whispers of Shadow & Flame
Earthsinger Chronicles #2
L. Penelope
Pub Date: October 1, 2019
St. Martin's Press
Genre: Fantasy


Pre-order the paperback today!

Amazon | B&N | BAM | Indiebound
Earthsinger Chronicles by L. Penelope

Catch up on the Series:

Song of Blood & Stone, Earthsinger Chronicles Book 1 : Special Edition Paperback releases July 16, 2019. (Ebook & hardcover available now).
Breath of Dust & Dawn, Earthsinger Chronicles Book 1.5 : Available now!

Cover Reveal Giveaway:

L. Penelope is giving away a signed, hardcover copy of Song of Blood & Stone. International welcome!

About the Author:

L. PenelopeL. Penelope is an award-winning fantasy romance author. Equally left and right-brained, she studied filmmaking and computer science in college and sometimes dreams in HTML. She lives in Maryland with her husband and furry dependents. Sign up for new release information, exclusives, and giveaways on her website: http://www.lpenelope.com.

Connect with the author: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Goodreads



Friday, February 8, 2019

#CoverReveal: The Truth About Cowboys by Lisa Renee Jones (+Giveaway)

I had my life figured out.
Engaged to a successful man.
About to make partner at my firm.
Bought a high-rise apartment in downtown Denver.

And then, poof, it’s all gone. Now, like in some cheesy romantic comedy, my car has broken down in the pouring rain on my way to “find myself” in The Middle of Nowhere, Texas. Cue hot guy coming to my rescue and changing my tire. This is the part where we flirt and have a meet-cute, right? That’s how it works in romance novels, and I should know—after all, I’m coming to Texas to write my own cowboy romance. But nope. This sexy cowboy lights into me about not being prepared for the country roads and how inappropriate my high-heeled boots are.

Little did I know, Michael Montgomery would tilt my world into a new dimension with his sinful smirk and his bad attitude. Every time I turn around, he’s there to reluctantly save the day. And every time, I think there may be something to that spark we ignite. But there’s a reason the majority of country songs are about broken hearts. The closer I get to this man, the closer I get to learning the truth about cowboys 
The Truth About Cowboys
Lisa Renee Jones
Pub Date: 8/27/19
Entangled: Amara
Pre-Order: Amazon | Entangled


GIVEAWAY:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series. Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland) on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara's character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy - a modern girl we all can identify with. In addition to the success of Lisa's INSIDE OUT series, Lisa has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa's other bestselling series include: DIRTY MONEY and WHITE LIES. She is presently working on her LILAH LOVE series to be published with Amazon Publishing/Montlake Romance. Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women's Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine. Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on Twitter and Facebook daily.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Military Wife (Review + Giveaway)

An emotionally layered novel about family, loss and what it means to be a military wife.

Harper Lee Wilcox has been marking time in her hometown of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina since her husband, Noah Wilcox’s death, nearly five years earlier. With her son Ben turning five and living at home with her mother, Harper fights a growing restlessness, worried that moving on means leaving the memory of her husband behind.

Her best friend, Allison Teague, is dealing with struggles of her own. Her husband, a former SEAL that served with Noah, was injured while deployed and has come home physically healed but fighting PTSD. With three children under foot and unable to help her husband, Allison is at her wit’s end.

In an effort to reenergize her own life, Harper sees an opportunity to help not only Allison but a network of other military wives eager to support her idea of starting a string of coffee houses close to military bases around the country.

In her pursuit of her dream, Harper crosses paths with Bennett Caldwell, Noah’s best friend and SEAL brother. A man who has a promise to keep, entangling their lives in ways neither of them can foresee. As her business grows so does an unexpected relationship with Bennett. Can Harper let go of her grief and build a future with Bennett even as the man they both loved haunts their pasts?
The Military Wife
A Heart of a Hero #1
Laura Trentham
Pub Date: 2/5/19
St. Martin's Griffin
Rating: 5/5
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audiobook

The Military Wife is a beautiful, moving dive into the joys and hardships of military family life. Laura Trentham draws readers in with the story of a young woman grieving the loss of her husband.

Harper realizes that her life has come to a standstill. Her son is now five years old, and the one thing that has kept her going, but she still finds herself feeling only contentment. While supporting her friend Allison, whose husband is suffering from PTSD, she realizes that military wives need support too. Drawing on her own experience, Harper decides to start a business to give them something to occupy their time and engage their creativity.

To get her plan underway Harper finds Bennett Caldwell, and with him secrets about Noah's final mission. Bennett is an interesting character. His past with Noah is what connects him to Harper and her son. I loved the background stories that lead readers to Bennett and Harper's present. The emotional ride from the moment Harper and Noah meet, to the moment when Harper discovers the next stage of her life is captivating and engaging.

The Military Wife is the kind of story that hits your heart and burrows deep. It's a look into someone else's perspective that will leave readers fully satisfied. I recommend to fans of Emily Colin.
*ARC provided in consideration for review*

GIVEAWAY: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

LAURA TRENTHAM is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She is a member of RWA, and has been a finalist multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.
Connect with Laura: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Thursday, January 31, 2019

REVIEW: The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen

From the bestselling author of The Tuscan Child comes a beautiful and heart-rending novel of a woman’s love and sacrifice during the First World War.





As the Great War continues to take its toll, headstrong twenty-one-year-old Emily Bryce is determined to contribute to the war effort. She is convinced by a cheeky and handsome Australian pilot that she can do more, and it is not long before she falls in love with him and accepts his proposal of marriage.
When he is sent back to the front, Emily volunteers as a “land girl,” tending to the neglected grounds of a large Devonshire estate. It’s here that Emily discovers the long-forgotten journals of a medicine woman who devoted her life to her herbal garden. The journals inspire Emily, and in the wake of devastating news, they are her saving grace. Emily’s lover has not only died a hero but has left her terrified—and with child. Since no one knows that Emily was never married, she adopts the charade of a war widow.
As Emily learns more about the volatile power of healing with herbs, the found journals will bring her to the brink of disaster, but may open a path to her destiny.
The Victory Garden
Rhys Bowen
Pub Date: 2/12/19
Lake Union Publishing
Rating: 4/5
Amazon | B&N

The Victory Garden is yet another wonderful historical fiction novel from Rhys Bowen. It will appeal to fans of Land Girls as it follows Emily Bryce joining the Women's Land Army to assist in the war effort against the wishes of her parents.

After falling in love with a pilot, Emily knows it is time to start living her life apart from the fears of her parents. Though her choices do not turn out like she expected, and she finds herself alone and with child, Emily decides that life must go on. She owes it to the man she fell in love with to survive and create a life for herself and their unborn child. Emily's journey is inspiring and touched by a little mystery. She meets people who influence her actions and support her decisions, but ultimately help her transition into a thriving independent life.

I loved how Rhys Bowen captured Emily's voice as she stands against her parents to fulfill what she believes is a higher calling. I felt invigorated as she fought to make her own way and saddened by her loss. The Victory Garden is one of those stories that stay with you long after reading because you wonder how the characters fare until the end of their days. The loss of their unique voices and compelling stories lingers long after the end of the story. If you enjoyed Bowen's previous works, In Farleigh Field in particular, then you will no doubt enjoy The Victory Garden!
*ARC provided in consideration for review*

Also from Rhys Bowen:

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

BLOG TOUR: One Tough Cowboy (Review + Giveaway)



First in a brand-new series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh and Veronica Chadwick about one man’s pursuit of justice—and unbridled desire. 

LAW AND ORDER. 







For as long as Samantha can remember, Hunter—a man as strong as steel, with a heart of gold—has been her hero. It came as no surprise to Samantha when she found out that the ranch-hardened cowboy who always protected her from bullies went on to become the town’s sheriff. What does surprise her is how incredibly hot he still is. And how much she still wants him…

PRIDE AND PASSION

And, lo and behold, Hunter still has feelings for Samantha. The long-smoldering heat of their innocent flirtation has grown into a full-raging fire. But when tragedy strikes, and their small-town community is shattered, Hunter vows to do everything he can to keep his childhood sweetheart safe. But can Samantha trust that Hunter has her best interests at heart…and that, after all these years, his love is true?

One Tough Cowboy
Moving Violations #1
Lora Leigh/Veronica Chadwick
Pub Date: 1/29/19
St. Martin's Press
Rating: 4/5
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audiobook


One Tough Cowboy is the first in a new series from Lora Leigh and Veronica Chadwick. I was a little wary to read it at first because in the past I've found Lora Leigh's writing style to be slightly confusing. However, I'm a sucker for cowboys and western romance is one of my favorite sub-genres. Add suspense to the plot and I've got my next weekend read!

Samantha was the wild child who looked to Hunter for protection. He's older and strong enough to fight off her bullies. Fast-forward to the present, Hunter is the sheriff of Deerhaven and Samantha has come back to town for her aunt's funeral. Now an officer herself, Sam won't rest until she discovers the truth behind the suspicious deaths of Deerhaven residents, including her aunt's.

The corruption in their small town was just a theory. When Hunter and Sam start working together the stakes are raised and learning the truth is even more dangerous. On the surface, the story seems like a typical small-town romance, but after meeting the determined hero and heroine of the story you know that you're in for a fast-paced romance with a side of action. The dynamic between Hunter and Sam is hot enough to melt the pages! I loved how they worked together on, and off, the case even when they didn't get along. It was like their relationship was inevitable even before there was sexual attraction between them. Readers who enjoy Donna Grant's Heart of Texas series will definitely dig One Tough Cowboy.

One Tough Cowboy is not a predictable story. Not to say that there are a lot of plot twists and turns, but it unfolded in a unique manner that kept me wondering where it was going. I can't wait to see where the next book in the series takes readers because it looks like it's going to be an enjoyable ride!
*ARC provided in consideration for review*

GIVEAWAY:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:


#1 New York Times bestseller Lora Leigh is the author of the Navy SEALS, the Breeds, the Elite Ops, the Callahans, the Bound Hearts, and the Nauti series.

Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook


Veronica Chadwick started storytelling when she was a little girl. She was first published in 2004. She lives in Tennessee with three cats, a very spoiled Shih Tzu and two grand dogs. When she’s not writing, she’s hanging out with friends, reading or badly playing video games.

Connect: Twitter

REVIEW: Don't Wake Up by Liz Lawler

A harrowing psychological thriller debut about a woman who awakens after an assault with no physical proof of the attack and who must try to convince everyone of what really happened.









When Dr. Alex Taylor opens her eyes, she is hooked up to an IV, is bound to an operating table, and her legs are raised in stirrups. Disoriented and alarmed, she assumes she's been anesthetized and brought to surgery after being in an accident. But the man standing over her, with his face hidden behind a surgical mask and wielding instruments, is no doctor she recognizes at the hospital where she works as a successful and respected doctor. He’s a stranger—and he’s calmly and methodically telling her how he's about to attack her. Before Alex can even scream for help, she succumbs to another dose of anesthesia, rendering her unable to defend herself….

When she comes to on a gurney, she finds herself surrounded by her colleagues and immediately reports the attack and rape. The police are skeptical of her bizarre story. And after a physical exam reveals no proof of any attack, even her boyfriend has doubts. Despite Alex's adamant claims, no one believes her, leaving her to wonder if she has, in fact, lost her mind.

Until she meets the next victim…

An edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller, Don't Wake Up is also a provocative, timely exploration of victimhood, abuse, and the discrediting of women in our culture.
Don't Wake Up
Liz Lawler
Pub Date: 2/5/19
Harper Paperbacks
Rating: 5/5
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audiobook

Liz Lawler's debut kept me gripping the edge of my seat! Don't Wake Up is a psychological thriller that is not only perfectly suspenseful, but it's relevant and relatable. The fear of someone, especially a woman, not being believed after an attack is something I've never thought about to this degree, but something that many have no doubt experienced.

Alex Taylor's story is fascinating because of its realness and Liz Lawler's ability to convey a wide range of emotions throughout the story. Alex's fear and confusion, Laura Best's snarky skepticism and dogged determination to prove Alex wrong, and even the disbelief and concern of Alex's colleagues all work to pull the reader into the twisty thrill of the plot. It was very easy to see why others didn't believe Alex's tale, and even I, as the reader who wanted to keep pace with Alex and believe in her, found myself questioning how she could be telling the truth when all signs pointed to her delusion.

That's what I love about Don't Wake Up. The story points in many directions at just the right moment to throw you off the scent. Even though I wanted to bang my head against the wall because no one would believe Alex, I read through the story in one sitting. It's that good! This story will appeal to fans of Courtney Evan Tate, Clare Mackintosh, or Alex Lake.
*ARC won via Shelf Awareness*

Friday, January 25, 2019

REVIEW: The Last True Cowboy by Laura Drake

This cowboy's got one last chance to prove himself. 

Carly Beauchamp has loved cowboy Austin Davis since first grade. Ask anyone in their dusty, backwater New Mexico town of Unforgiven, and they'll say "Carly and Austin" the way some say "big trucks and country boys." But after years of waiting for a wedding ring, Carly's done with being a rodeo widow . . .

Austin never meant to put his career on the circuit before Carly. She's always been his future, his one and only. But now that she's moved on, he's beginning to see where he went wrong, and he'll do anything to win her back. The only thing is, Carly's suddenly acting differently, and she's definitely hiding a secret-one that will test the depth of their love and open up a whole new world of possibilities. 
The Last True Cowboy
Chestnut Creek #1
Laura Drake
Pub Date: 12/4/2018
Forever
Rating: 5/5
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audiobook

Laura Drake's Chestnut Creek series begins with The Last True Cowboy. Childhood sweethearts, Carly and Austin, are the town's 'it' couple. No one ever believes she's serious when she breaks it off with Austin because she always goes back to him. This time she's fed up and standing up for herself lands her in a complicated situation.

I love that this story begins with a hero and heroine who are already in a serious relationship. I found it a refreshing take on second chance romances. When Austin continues to disappoint Carly over finalizing their plans for the future, she takes matters into her own hands. She decides to stop waiting for him and live the life she missed while doing so. Instead of rushing home to sort her problems, Carly leaves the comfort of Chestnut Creek to plan her next move. Her move turns out to be a wake up call for both Austin and Carly but their relationship doesn't resolve itself so easily. I got so caught up in her decision to leave. I was excited, nervous, worried about how the story would play it if she actually took this course.

Not only is The Last True Cowboy the perfect western romance, but it packs an emotional and humorous punch. The perspective switches between Carly and Austin which balances the novel and makes readers understand both sides of the story. The characters are fresh, engaging and my main reason for coming back for the next novel!
*ARC provided in consideration for review*

NEXT IN THIS SERIES:

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

BLOG TOUR: Guest Post from Author Tracy Brogan (Review + Giveaway)


The Risks (and Rewards) of Dating in A Small Town by Tracy Brogan


MY KIND OF FOREVER is the second book in the Trillium Bay series set on a small island in Northern Michigan, and tells the story of thirty-five year old Brooke Callaghan who has just been elected as the youngest, and first female, mayor the town has ever had. As the oldest of three sisters, Brooke is accustomed to taking charge and bossing others around, but the stodgy, long-time members of the decisively not-modern city council are determined to keep the status quo. In fact, the only one who seems to take Brooke seriously is Leo Walker, the new bartender whose reasons for being on the island are both short-term and known to him alone. 

Despite a budding attraction to Leo, Brooke knows she needs to focus on mastering her new job, especially when rumors of a jewel thief hiding out on the island begin to circulate and the well-established rumor mills goes into overdrive. And speaking of rumors, Brooke is more than a little concerned with what the townspeople might say if they discover she and Leo are spending time alone. Coming from such a small community, in this case a village with a winter population of just six hundred people, people’s private lives rarely stay private, and modest, pragmatic Brooke doesn’t like the extra attention. Especially since a bad relationship from her past has left her overly cautious.

Although determined to prove to her neighbors and family she’s got what it takes to be a great mayor, with Leo’s encouragement, Brooke comes to realize she’s also entitled to address a few of the more personal aspects of her life, such as finding romance. But when things with Leo get rocky, she falls back into old patterns, believing that love is too elusive and not for women like her. Fortunately, the local community knows otherwise. They see the real Brooke, the one she thinks is hidden. They know her dedication and intelligence and worth, and they know she deserves to have it all. They know she deserves to have a forever kind of love. And so does Leo.

***

As the youngest mayor Trillium Bay has ever elected, Brooke Callaghan wants to prove she’s up to the challenge. She’s stepping out of her practical teacher flats and into her sister’s treacherously high heels…with disastrous results. But if she’s going to (literally) stumble her first day on the job, why not fall into the arms of a handsome stranger?

Leo Walker is a rarity on Wenniway Island. Not only handsome, he’s also single, funny, and—most importantly—interested in Brooke. Unfortunately, his reasons for being on the island are temporary, so in spite of the undeniable chemistry between them, he’s not a forever kind of guy.
When a private investigator arrives with news of a jewel thief hiding on the island, Brooke finds herself dealing with one kerfuffle after another, and Leo proves to be a delicious distraction. What does she really know about him, though? And the biggest question of all? Does this short-term romance hold the possibility of long-term love?
My Kind of Forever
Trillium Bay #2
Tracy Brogan
Pub Date: 1/22/19
Montlake Romance
Amazon | B&N | Audiobook

Excerpt:

"I didn’t mean to eavesdrop,” Leo said after everyone else had left and I remained seated in the small meeting room holding my aching head in my hands. “But it sounds like you have your work cut out for you.”

Wow. Did I ever. I’d just spent the past two hours listening to so-called adults bickering about a litany of arbitrary topics. Should Polly’s Popcorn Shop be allowed to sell day-old products? Could the street sweepers add five minutes to their afternoon break? Who was going to play Santa during the Christmas Parade if Harry didn’t come back in time? And the biggest topic of the day? Did everyone see the awnings Tasty Pastries had put up, and who on earth had approved that?

“It’s like they couldn’t even hear me talking,” I said, looking up at him for a response, just to reassure myself that I was, in fact, speaking out loud.

He picked up an empty glass with one hand while wiping a ring of condensation off the table with a damp rag. “I’m not sure they could hear each other talking. Seemed like a lot of monologuing without any listening.”

“But I had an agenda.” I shook my paper at him, now covered in notes that I’d scribbled in the margins about all the other things I wanted to discuss. Things I would have discussed if I could have gotten a word in edgewise. The only one who didn’t interrupt me was my own father, but that’s because he didn’t say anything the entire time. Not unusual for him, but I had hoped to demonstrate a little more power over that cluster of clucking hens. “They were worse than teenagers. I have so many great ideas, but all they care about is the awnings.”

Leo wiped another spot off the table. “What ideas?” He gazed down at me, and I noted how dark blue his eyes were. Depths-of-the-ocean kind of blue. The kind of eyes that made every glance feel significant, even if it meant nothing at all. A flutter of something long-forgotten tickled inside my veins. Attraction. Followed by an immediate need to ignore it.

“Oh, all kinds of ideas.” I smiled tiredly and pushed myself up, because it was nearly five thirty and the Palomino Pub would start filling up with the evening crew pretty soon. “I’ll get out of the way now so you can have the room for dinner guests.”

“Speaking of dinner,” he said, “I’m new around here, so I was wondering, what restaurants do you like?”

“Oh, we have lots of great places to eat. All price ranges. The Windemere Grill is right down on the corner. There’s the Imperial Hotel dining room if you want something elegant. The Feast Well Bistro, Carmen’s Café, and Tate’s Tavern on the Bluff are good, too. At the tavern, you can watch the sun set behind Petoskey Bridge. It’s a great view. And for breakfast, I recommend Link & Patty’s Breakfast Buffet. The pink piggy décor is a little much, but the pancakes are the best.”

“Are you suggesting we have dinner and breakfast?” His dark eyebrow arched just as the corner of his mouth quirked in a ridiculously endearing fashion.

I pushed in my chair with an abrupt scrape. “Excuse me?”

“I was inviting you to dinner. You were inviting me to breakfast.”

That flutter of attraction multiplied even as my mouth fell open for a second. I’m sure it was a great look on me. “I wasn’t. And you weren’t. Were you?”

He laughed, and even though it might have been at my expense, the sound of it sent a flush over my skin and a tingle to places that hadn’t tingled for a very long time.

“I was inviting you to dinner, but not very well, apparently. I’ve been on the island a few days, but I don’t know anyone here, so would you like to have dinner with me?”

I was starving. And he was handsome. And new in town. And looked to be roughly my age. There was no history, no baggage, no reason to say no. But it had been so long since anyone had asked me out, it nearly felt improper. Everyone knew me around here. Everyone would know that we’d had dinner, and certainly everyone would have an opinion about it. And it’s not as if we could go someplace private because there was no place private on the entire island. And there was that issue of the flutter. I didn’t want to be fluttering. Fluttering led to heartbreak
.

Also in the series:


GIVEAWAY:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Amazon and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Tracy Brogan is a three-time Romance Writers of America RITA finalist for her Bell Harbor series. She writes fun, funny stories about ordinary people finding extraordinary love, and she lives in Michigan with her two brilliant daughters and their two intellectually challenged dogs. She loves to hear from readers, so check out her website at www.tracybrogan.com. You can also follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tracybroganwriter.

Connect with Tracy: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

REVIEW: What Doesn't Kill Her by Christina Dodd






One secret, one nightmare, one lie. You guess which is which.

1. I have the scar of a gunshot on my forehead.
2. I have willfully misrepresented my identity to the US military.
3. I'm the new mother of a seven-year-old girl.


Kellen Adams suffers from a yearlong gap in her memory. A bullet to the brain will cause that. But she's discovering the truth, and what she learns changes her life, her confidence, her very self. She finds herself in the wilderness, on the run, unprepared, her enemies unknown--and she is carrying a priceless burden she must protect at all costs. The consequences of failure would break her. And Kellen Adams does not break.

What doesn't kill her...had better start running.

What Doesn't Kill Her
Cape Charade #2
Christina Dodd
Pub Date: 1/29/19
HQN
Rating: 5/5
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audiobook

Christina Dodd does it again! The next novel in the Cape Charade series brings back the fierce Kellen Adams as she tackles the biggest challenge of her life: motherhood.

Dead Girl Running left me screaming with excitement so I was more than eager to get my hands on What Doesn't Kill Her. Kellen moves in with Max di Luca on his vineyard in order to get to know her daughter. I was so happy to explore this aspect of Kellen's life because it was so unexpected and shocking. I'm still wrapping my head around it! Kellen went from believing she was just missing a year of her life and bad memories to recovering a slew of memories that include her life with Max, and his family, and learning she's a mother.

Motherhood doesn't fit naturally for Kellen so when a job opportunity comes along she snaps it up. Unfortunately, she didn't expect to be targeted and stuck in the mountains with a young charge. This story is full of excitement and adventure. I almost forgot I was reading a mystery because I was so focused on other elements of the story, like the fate of Kellen and Max's relationship or whether Kellen can learn to truly bond with her daughter.

I'm amazed at how this story has expanded and still retained the elements which initially drew me to the series. Kellen's story is unique an so unpredictable that I find myself wondering what could possibly be next. What Doesn't Kill Her is perfect for fans of Kat Martin!
*ARC provided in consideration for review*

Also in this series: