Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Glass Kitchen Giveaway

This book was amazing. I couldn't put it down. My review will come soon, but until then enter to win!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Catching Air

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Author: Sarah Pekkanen
ISBN: 978-1-4516-7353-1
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Pages: 331
Perfect for: Book Clubs & A day at the beach.

A chance to run a B&B in snowy, remote Vermont—it’s an offer Kira Danner can’t resist after six soul-crushing years of working as a lawyer in Florida. As Kira and her husband, Peter, step into a brand new life, she quells her fears about living with the B&B’s co-owners: Peter’s sexy, irresponsible brother Rand, and Rand’s wife, Alyssa…who is essentially a stranger.

For her part, Alyssa sees taking over the B&B as the latest in a string of adventures. Plus, a quiet place might help her recover from the news that she can’t bear children. But the idyllic town proves to be anything but serene: Within weeks, the sisters-in-law are scrambling to prepare for their first big booking—a winter wedding—and soon a shy, mysterious woman comes to work for them. Dawn Zukoski is hiding something; that much is clear. But what the sisters-in-law don't realize is that Dawn is also hiding from someone…

My professional opinion:
Sarah Pekkanen is a master at understanding and writing about women and their relationships.  Whether these relationships are between friends, sisters, moms and daughters or husband and wife, Sarah possesses the unique ability to write about them clearly and flawlessly, enabling the reader to fully immerse herself in the story, as if it was actually true.  I have enjoyed each of Sarah's books and this one is just as enjoyable as the rest!

The first thing that caught my attention about this book was the cover. It took me straight back home to New England and the mountains of NH, Vermont and Maine. It was comforting, inviting and quite simply something I wanted to frame on my wall.  I couldn't help but be drawn to the woman and wonder where she was headed and if her story was leading her away from something or to it? Not bad for a cover huh?

I quickly found myself immersed in this story, which I won't tell you about because I hate spoilers.  You're just going to have to read it for yourself, it's totally worth it! The characters enticed me to keep turning the pages as I learned more about each of them and got to know them. Soon I found myself wrapped up in the story, surprised when I found myself sitting in my living room instead of a bed and breakfast and in the middle of Missouri instead of Vermont. The novel, which is split in two parts, paints a vivid picture of its setting, giving the reader a clear image in their mind without taking away from their imagination. All to quickly, I finished the novel and found myself fully content.  I enjoyed the story.  I enjoyed the characters and I even found a few humorous moments along the way. In short, I loved it. If you haven't read anything by Sarah Pekkanen, I urge you to do so, your missing out!  If your already a fan, it's the perfect day for a new book.  You should pick this one up.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Authors In Bloom Hop

Why Enter?  Outside of the amazing fun, many prizes and fantastic tips/recipes you could be the grand prize winner!  GRAND PRIZE: We are giving away a Kindle Fire or Nook (winner’s choice) along with a $25 gift card for the same.  We are also giving away a 2nd prize of $25 gift card.  Visit all the websites and enter for the Grand Prize, here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 3, 2014

Author in Bloom Hop. Bloggers are now invited to participate as well!

Mark your calendars:  It's time to sign up for the third annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop where authors share their favorite gardening tips and/or recipes with readers in celebration of spring! The 10 day hop will take place from April 7 - 16 and once again include a grand prize ereader and gift card for one lucky winner. Additionally, I'm offering a second prize $25 ereader gift card this year. Authors will be asked to host a giveaway on their individual websites in addition to asking participants to leave a comment as entry for the grand prize. Hop is limited to 100 authors.

There is no payment necessary for author participation. However, any and all donations are appreciated! Those authors who wish to make contributions toward the hop grand prize may do so via PayPal to dianne (at) diannevenetta (dot) com -- payment will reflect "BloominThyme Press."

For more information and link sign up, please go to the event page:
Please note (US) or (INTL) eligibility for your specific author prize next to your name when you enter your sign up via inlinkz.

Hope to see you there and let's make this year the BIGGEST and BEST ever! Plese feel free to share invite with your authorfriends -- ALL genres welcome, including garden bloggers, review sites and more.

Looking forward to spring and meeting a host of new readers!

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Valentine's Day for the Birds...

Quite literally, this Valentine's Day was for the birds.  My oldest recently went on a field trip to a bird conservatory, located on a large college campus near us. She came home completely excited and ready to tell me all about the birds, their home and what she learned.  The class was given a pass to return to the conservatory, which is on our list of events to attend soon! After learning all about the birds living in the conservatory, it was decided that a bird house/feeder was something we simply must have!  So, since it was educational and not candy, we headed online to search for bird feeders and quite honestly, discover more about birds, the conservatories they can be found at and which feeders were right for which birds etc.  Since I am not a natural nature lover, I have to say this was quite informative for me, but watching her light up was wonderful.

So, now that my daughter had decided she wanted to feed Cardinals and other small birds, we bought bird feeders and some seed!  My daughter was very excited to tell her daddy that she was going to feed the cardinals, especially since they are his favorite baseball team!  LOL, kids are way to cute!  She is anxious for spring to come so we can hang the feeder outside our window, fill it and watch the birds. The experience was quite interesting as she had a lot of questions, to which I didn't have many answers.  I relied on the valuable and accurate information, I found online!

So since Valentine's Day, we have been waiting for our feeder to arrive and learning all about birds, where they live, what they eat and how they make a difference in the world around us.  I'm personally still getting used to her love of nature and science, but its fun to see her grow and learn and be excited about other living creatures.  I'm just hoping she doesn't request a bird as a pet!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Enter to Win Sabrina Jeffries Newest Book!

Enter to Win "When the Rogue Returns" by Sabrina Jeffries

The synopsis:

Victor Cale never imagined that his sweet, shy bride, Isabella, would use her talents for creating exquisite imitation jewels criminally. But there's no denying that her handiwork was used in the theft of the Dutch royal diamonds-- right after Isa disappeared into the night. 

Ten years later, Victor is sent to Edinburgh to investigate a wealthy baron's mysterious bride-to-be... who turns out to be Isa, masquerading as an alluring widow. No longer the meek girl he once knew, Isa boldly asserts that it was Victor who abandonedher, after he helped steal the royal diamonds!

Piecing together the truth of the past reawakens their volatile passions, which burns hotter than ever. But with a decade of secrets between them, Victor and Isa must trust each other to bring the real thieves to justice-- without getting burned themselves.

How to enter:
Leave a comment recommending to me three books you've read recently!  This is a flash giveaway... I will announce a winner in 48 hours!

Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

5 Reasons Why Life is Better with Books

Enjoy this guest post by Rachel Carrington!  If you'd like to hear an audio sample of her book use this link to access it via YouTube:

5 Reasons Why Life is Better with Books
A Guest Post by Author, Rachel Carrington

It should be no surprise that I love to read. I think all writers do. Words are in our blood. I have a few ideas why I think life is so much better with books. See if you agree.

1.      It’s an escape that allows you to step away from the stresses of the day.
2.      For a little while, your imagination can work overtime which gives the logical side of your brain a break. Okay, I could totally be making that one up, but it sounds right to me.
3.      You can live vicariously through the hero or heroine and not have to go through what they do. Let’s face it. None of us really want to battle vampires or fight off hungry zombies.
4.      Paperback books (and hardcover ones) can be read without the need for modern technology so you can unplug voluntarily…or if someone in your neighborhood hit a power pole, and you don’t have electricity.
5.      You’re learning as you read, and it isn’t painful. Even if it’s just a small bit of knowledge, like discovering Cleopatra was the first person in her Egyptian family to learn Egyptian, you’re still educating yourself. And these are helpful tidbits you can use when you’re having to make small talk. 

     I'm sure you can probably think of many more reasons why books just absolutely have to be a part of your life. Please share them in the comments below!

About Me

I started writing years ago, and my first attempt was a contemporary romance that will never see the light of day. I think I may even have thrown it away by now. It was absolutely horrific as I knew nothing about well…anything to do with writing.

After that, I started writing fantasy romances about wizards and wizards, and once those took off, I segued to paranormal romances (hello, vampires and ghosts) and romantic suspense. I also write articles for various magazines, including The Writer’s Journal, Writer’s Magazine, Writer’s Weekly, Writing for Dollars, Absolute Write, and Funds for Writers.

I’m fortunate to make my home in historical Charleston, South Carolina. Beautiful city. Beautiful people. When I’m not writing, I love to read, create videos, keep Target in business, play visitor in my city, and drink lots of coffee.

You can find me all over the internet, but here are just a few of the places:
My website: (which I’m currently reworking due to a hosting issue)
Facebook: rachelcarringtonwrites
Pinterest: rcarrington2004
Goodreads: rcarrington2004


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

5 Beach Reads You Won't Want to Miss (And Bonus Material!)

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After a few months of sabbatical, Fabulous Fiction is back and you won't want to miss the June article!  Find out which Beach Reads You Won't Want to Miss! out on this summer. Don't forget to check out the bonus book, featured ONLY here!  What are you waiting for?


With a max of 1,000 words for my monthly column, I can't always fit everything that I want to feature or in this case that deserves to be featured, so I decided to give this special book a spotlight here!  Are you ready for exclusive content?

One of my favorite authors won my heart with her first novel Wildflower Hill.  So, when I was offered the chance to review her newest book Lighthouse Bay, I jumped at it.  I'm happy to reveal Lighthouse Bay here today as the exclusive bonus material for your must read beach list!  Kimberly Freeman has again proved her talent as an author with this delicious novel!

book cover
Sneak a Peak: Travel more than one-hundred years between two love stories, set in an Australian seaside town called Lighthouse Bay. 

In 1901, a ship sinks off the coast of Lighthouse Bay in Australia. The only survivor is Isabella Winterbourne—escaping her loveless marriage and the devastating loss of her son—who clutches a priceless gift meant for the Australian Parliament. Suddenly, this gift could be her ticket to a new life, free from the bonds of her husband and his overbearing family. 

One hundred years later, Libby Slater leaves her life in Paris to return to her hometown of Lighthouse Bay. Living in the cottage that was purchased by her recently passed lover, she hopes to heal her broken heart and reconcile with her sister, Juliet. Libby did something so unforgivable twenty years ago, Juliet is unsure if she can ever trust her sister again. 

 Both Isabella and Libby must learn that letting go of the past is the only way to move into the future.

This perfect beach read has a setting that sticks with you long after the book is finished.  What better to read on a beach than a book set in a coastal town, complete with a lighthouse, which happen to be one of my favorite landmarks! I love stories that switch between characters.  This one was executed beautifully, which is difficult when the stories span across the centuries.  Both Isabella and Libby are wonderful characters. I fell in love with them.  So if a great setting, wonderful characters, great writing and attractive cover doesn't excite you, feel free to check this book out to see what others are saying!  I'm sure it will all be wonderful.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

And the winners are....

Congratulations to our Grand Prize Winner!!  Winners of the individual prizes will be notified by email and posted here as they respond.  If someone does not claim their prize I will choose another winner!

And the winner is…

Congratulations, Christine! And a huge thank you to everyone who participated. :) It was fun and we hope to see you next year!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Authors In Bloom - Win a Nook or Kindle!!

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Authors in Bloom Hop!
Enter for your chance to win a Nook or Kindle Fire!
 Multiple other prizes are available too!  
Visit all the author sites on the list below for your chance to win!
Make sure to leave a comment on each site for your chance to win the grand prize.

Authors in Bloom

Visit each author on the list for the Authors in Bloom Hop!

Six Sisters' Stuff - Recipes, Crafts and So Much More!

Taken from Six Sisters' debut book, these Mini-Maple Pancake Muffins are hands down, a delicious breakfast or snack! If you haven't yet discovered Six Sisters' Stuff, visit them at and don't forget to grab their debut!  It is filled with page after page of wonderfully inventive crafts, recipes and checklist and many other ideas!   

ISBN: 978-1-60907-324-4 and retails for $21.99  Here's one of the recipes you'll find!

Mini Maple Pancake Muffins

1 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. sugar
3/4 c buttermilk
1 egg
3 tbsp. pure maple syrup
2 tbsp. melted butter
1/2 c milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 24 cup mini muffin pan with nonstick spray.  (Don't be afraid to grease it up)
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. In another bowl, stir buttermilk, egg, maple syrup and melted butter until just combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until combined. Stir in chocolate chips, reserving a few ships to sprinkle on the tops.  Bake 8 to 9 minutes and let them cool slightly, removing from the pan.

Yield: 24 muffins

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Long Way Home

Within Maryland lies the beautiful town of St. Dennis, a town Ellie Chapman has only heard of. Ellie, the only child of a successful investment manager, had known only a life of privilege until her life takes a turn when her father is exposed for swindling billions of dollars from investors in a massive Ponzi scheme.  Ellie loses her money, job, home and her fiancĂ© who is found guilty along with her father. Her life in pieces, Ellie has only one place to go, St. Dennis.

Ellie arrives in St. Dennis with plans to leave as soon as she can sell the house her late mother left her.  With hopes of moving on with her life, Ellie keeps her true identity a secret from the residents of St. Dennis.  Unfortunately, Ellie’s luck hasn’t changed and her only chance at a new beginning is a house in dire need of expensive improvements.  In addition, Ellie will be the one who has to make most of the improvements, a task larger than life for a former rich lady. Ellie soon becomes one with the hardware store, as she works toward fixing the house on Bay View Road. Soon the charms of St. Dennis and Cameron O’Conner begin to grow on Ellie, who’s not the only one with secrets. Soon Ellie’s renovations become the beginning of rejuvenation as she learns more about herself, her past and her future in St. Dennis.

Within this beautiful town of St. Dennis are gorgeous houses, colorful characters, and a descriptive setting that’s sure to please contemporary fiction readers.  The novel is full of romance, warmth, personality and characters that capture the reader’s attention.  Ellie is a character who’s known one way of life and had complete trust in the one person who pulled her life out from underneath her, leaving her with no one and nothing.  Ellie is a character in survival mode; unsure of where to go or what to do she turns to the only home she has, her mother’s last gift to her, and the house on Bay View Road in the sleepy town of St. Dennis.  What begins as a place Ellie can’t see herself staying in, ends as an awakening of the heart, mind and spirit.  Ellie finds a home unlike any other she has known.  It’s a beautiful story to watch unfold as she finds her way and in-turn helps Cameron find his way as well.

I love Mariah Stewart’s novels and always look forward to more stories surrounding St. Dennis and its residents.  The Long Way Home did not disappoint me in my expectations.  I highly suggest this book and any other novel that you have not yet read in this series. They are novels you won’t want to miss.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Truth About Love and Lightning

Susan McBride, author of Little Black Dress, has released another wonderful title, The Truth About Love and Lightning.  At about half way through this title I found myself extremely anxious to get back to it after stopping for those pesky house task or chores such as cooking dinner or work. This novel is full of interesting and colorful characters as it weaves a tale like no other, keeping your interest from the start.  Here's a synopsis to enjoy.

As far as Gretchen Brink is concerned, the tornado that just ripped through her land has nothing on the storms of a different sort happening all around her. Her grown daughter, Abby, has returned home with news that she's pregnant, and no, she's not sure whether she's going to marry the father. A man with no memory has been dropped practically on her doorstep. And the not-so-little white lie she's been telling for years is about to catch up with her.

Abby is sure that the mysterious man is her long-lost father, Sam, who has finally returned just when she needs him most. As Abby, Gretchen, and the Man Who Might Be Sam get closer, the lie Gretchen told all those years ago begins to haunt her. When her secrets come out, and Sam's past is finally revealed, will it tear down this fragile life they've built—or will the truth bring them all closer together?

The Truth About Love and Lightning was released and available in stores on February 12, 2013.  Making it a perfect Valentines gift for any book worm!  I absolutely loved the charming characters, interesting and engaging story line and the uniqueness this book offered.  There are tidbits of the author scattered throughout this book, which made me smile. How anyone can come up with such imaginative and inventive stories while keeping it full of warmth, love and allure still baffles me, but Susan is one of those authors that does it again and again!  Don't miss reading this one!  Find out why it's all the rave among book lovers everywhere.  Oh, and hopefully your life isn't as busy as mine.  This was the first book I read this year and is only joined by one other book.  That's NOT normal for me!  I hope you've been able to read more than I have lately!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lunch Time Chat With Author Anne Barton

Name 3 things that help you gain inspiration for writing.
1) Song lyrics—Some songs move me every time I hear them. Usually, it’s a simple phrase or image that tugs at my heart, and I love the way songwriters manage to make us feel something with just a few, carefully chosen words.

2) Movies and TV shows—Movies are a nice way to recharge after meeting a deadline, and they’re also great teachers of story structure. TV shows like Downton Abbey are inspiring too—each episode is like a lesson in story-weaving and pacing. (So fun to watch, too!)

3) Real-life heroes—Sometimes the headlines give me ideas for heroes and heroines. Today I saw a news story about a man who jumped into a raging river in order to save a teen boy. That’s something one of my heroes would do!

Do you have another title in the works?
Yes! My second book, ONCE SHE WAS TEMPTED, releases in the fall. It features Daphne, Anabelle’s sister. Everyone thought she was the sweet, innocent sister, but it turns out she has a few secrets of her own!

What is your favorite season?
Summer! Sadly, however, it’s not my hair’s favorite season. Oh well, that’s what ponytails are for. :)

Best childhood memory?
I have lots of wonderful memories, and most of them involve my siblings. Just sitting around and talking with them was always a good time (and it still is!) Maybe that’s why my first two books feature the Honeycote sisters. :)

If you were given the chance to do any one thing over again, what would you do over?
My semester of college in London! I got to study architecture, literature, theatre, and art—all while living in the city. It was a wonderful experience, and more years ago than I care to admit. ;)

What are you most looking forward to this summer?
Reading on the beach and spending time with my family. The Romance Writers of America conference (in Atlanta this year) is also a highlight of every summer.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
 Join a writing group like RWA. Write a lot, and be as fearless as you can be. Don’t hold anything back!
Thanks so much for having me!

Thank you to Anne for being here with me today!  I hope you all enjoy "When She Was Wicked." My review is coming soon, but don't wait for it!  Get your copy today! 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tidewater Inn

Libby loves history and has a talent for restoring things, so inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the Outer Banks is like a dream come true. It's also somewhat exciting to learn about the family she never knew she had while getting to know a handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she's met while on the island.  One thing's for sure, he has the potential to be the man of her dreams! However, if we stopped there we wouldn't have a romantic suspense would we?  

Soon Libby is forced to realize that she can only afford to keep up the inn by selling it to developers who are stalking the island. Her unknown father, died before she could meet him, leaving Libby with a brother and sister who are convinced she is there to steal what is rightfully theirs. However, none of these new trials compare to the kidnapping of her best friend and business partner, a scene that takes place in front of Libby and puts her under speculation and suspicion for the crime.

Libby’s dream come true quickly becomes a nightmare. She must find her friend in order to prove her innocence, or risk losing everything she has wanted on Hope Island.

Tidewater Inn started off with a bang.  Almost instantly the action begins with a kidnapping in the first chapter! The story had some very intriguing parts which include the kidnapping, life changing long-kept secrets, and the romance of Libby and Alec on the backdrop of beautiful Hope Island.  The characters are well developed.  Colleen is an amazing writer.  This story will be enjoyable to her fans and those looking to find a new author to enjoy. This novel is full of secrets, love, suspense and faith. If you love romantic books with suspenseful elements, you will enjoy this book. It's an enjoyable read.

Safe Haven - Movie tie-in Giveaway

Safe Haven

Safe Haven will be in theaters Feb. 14, 2013!  If you're like me, you'll be there opening day.  Grab a chance to own a copy of this book or read or re-read before seeing the movie! For more information about the movie, tickets and the EVENT on Feb. 17, visit  1 copy of this book is available for US residents only, no PO Boxes.  The publisher will be shipping the prize to the winner.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Book of the Day: Condemn Me Not

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Don't you just love this cover?  Which path is right? What happens to the path not takin'? Do you walk the path alone?  So many questions!

I had the wonderful opportunity to beta read this book and let me tell you, it is wonderful!  Dianne is not one to shy away from hard hitting topics, and this book is sure to stir conversation.  It would be perfect for book groups, especially for mothers.  Read about it below and don't forget to check out the excerpt!  If you want a review copy and can post a review within 4 to 6 weeks, comment below!

About the Book:
The words no mother wants to say, and every mother yearns to hear.

 Bound by friendship, two women find themselves at common crossroads, struggling with choices both past and present, career and home. Simone Sheridan and Claire Atkins have been friends since college. Upon graduation, they took off in different directions, forging separate paths through motherhood. Neither planned to look back on the road they traveled with regret—yet that’s exactly what happens when their daughters issue opposing proclamations with regard to college.

Mariah Sheridan blows her mother’s expectations to pieces while Rebecca Atkins crushes her mother’s dreams.  Both mothers battle the news, but soon come to learn they must change course, or lose the sacred relationship between mother and daughter.

But change is not an easy task when Simone and Claire unexpectedly find themselves staring down their choices, confronted by the same question:  Where did I go wrong? This one is still about the women, their issues, but without the romance.  The debate is an old one, but continues to burn hot.  And why?  Is our sisterhood broken?  Have we taken sides, drawn lines in the sand?

Every woman has an opinion on this subject and most believe theirs is the right one.  I dare you not to find a piece of yourself in this book.  No kids?  A piece of someone you know will leap from these pages…  READ THE EXCERPT HERE:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Seven Steps to Closure

WARNING: Reading this excerpt will make you want to read the book.  Enjoy!

The Seven Steps to Closure by Donna Joy Usher

I was sitting in the hairdressers, resembling a large wet rat and feeling no closer to obtaining closure. To make things worse, a huge billboard of Jake had been erected straight across the street from Funk Hair - which was Elaine’s brother Tristan's hairdressing salon.
'Yummy,' Tristan had commented, rubbing his hands together when I pointed out the billboard to him and Elaine.
Elaine had kindly responded by sliding one of the pot plants into the window, and positioning me with my back to the board. But if I bent down a little and peered into the mirror I could still see the side of his face, one of his legs and the words Jake Well..... yor. It was a little disturbing.
Tristan is - of course - gay. He is much shorter than Elaine, and doesn't look anything like her - probably due to the fact that they have different biological fathers. Elaine's Dad died when she was quite young. She doesn't remember him and considers Tristan's Dad - a tidy looking Italian man - to be her father. Tristan has taken his father's dark looks and combined them with their mother's good looks and the results are quite stunning. A lot of the women who come to get their hair done at Funk Hair come to enjoy the scenery. Tristan hires a bevy of gay men and women, all of them desirable. He also won the ‘Australian Hairdresser of the Year’ award two years running, so the patrons are never disappointed when they leave the salon. It normally takes weeks to get an appointment at Funk Hair and months if you want to see Tristan. I was very lucky to be one of Elaine's best friends.
'Hmmmmmm,' said Tristan thoughtfully, as he lifted my hair from my shoulders and held it around my face at different lengths.
'Ahhhhhhhhh,' said Tristan contemplatively, as he pulled my hair back behind my head and played with my fringe.
'Uh huh,' said Tristan decisively, as he looked at a colour chart and held different swatches of pigmented hair around my face.
'I didn't say anything about a colour change,' I whispered urgently to Elaine, who was flipping through a magazine with Benny asleep on her lap.
She held it up for me to see. 'See this Tara?' She pointed to the date. 'A current magazine - you and Dinah should try it some time.'
I stuck my tongue out at her.
Meanwhile Tristan had stopped work and was staring at me in the mirror with one eyebrow raised.
Uh oh.
'Did you not ask Elaine to fix this appointment for you?' he asked imperiously. (Have I mentioned that not only is Tristan gorgeous, but he is also a huge drama queen?) 'Did you not beg her to get you in with me as fast as possible?'
'Well actually,' I said.
'Shhhh,' he responded, holding one finger up in the air. 'You beg and you plead and now you insult the master.'
'Oh no, no,' I gushed, 'no, it's just that I've never coloured my hair before.'
'Never?' He held the back of one hand to his beautiful forehead as if about to swoon. When he had recovered he snapped, 'Sebastian, Veronica, major hair emergency. I need you here now.’ And then he started pointing at the colour chart and very rapidly giving orders. I couldn't quite make out what he was saying, and I was trying really, really hard because I was starting to feel a little panicked. What if I looked awful when he'd finished? What if he gave me a hairdo that, while nice on someone else - someone hip and chic and eighteen years old - did nothing for me at all? And then I would have to smile into the mirror, and I mean really smile. Smile so that it made it right to my eyes while I gushed about my hair - when all I really wanted to do was go home and spend hours staring at myself in the mirror willing myself to like it. Oh and worse, I would have to pretend to Elaine that I loved it. I would never be able to get rid of it. Christ what had I done?

Thank you to Donna for allowing me to post this excerpt!  I wish I could have provided a review for this novel, as I certainly have added it to my TBR list!  Alas, it is the season for gift giving, Christmas plays, parties and many other things that have kept be very busy.  I relish my reading time these days!  Watch out, January will bring many new reviews and suggestions!  If you need a gift for the reader in your life or maybe a present for you, you've been good this year right?, this book is a great choice!  Check out for more suggestions and reviews!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Good Woman

The Good Woman

Author: Jane Porter
ISBN: 978-0425253007
Publisher: Berkley
Source: BookSparks PR
Rating: Highly Recommended

Is it possible to leave it all behind? 

The firstborn of a large Irish-American family, Meg Brennan Roberts is a successful publicist, faithful wife, and doting mother who prides herself on always making the right decisions. But years of being “the good woman” have taken a toll and though her winery career thrives, Meg feels burned out and empty, and more disconnected than ever from her increasingly distant husband. Lonely and disheartened, she attends the London Wine Fair with her boss, ruggedly handsome vintner, Chad Hallahan. It’s here, alone together in an exotic city, far from “real” life, that Chad confesses his long-standing desire for Meg.

Overwhelmed, flattered, and desperately confused, Meg returns home, only to suddenly question every choice she’s ever made, especially that of her marriage. For Meg, something’s got to give, and for once in her life she flees her responsibilities—but with consequences as reckless and irreversible as they are liberating. Now she must decide whether being the person everyone needs is worth losing the woman she was meant to be.

My Thoughts:

I always have a hard time putting Jane's books down, so I wasn't surprised when this one was irresistible to me. Jane has a knack for exploring her characters from the inside out. The characters grow and develop over the course of the story, just as we do when faced with trials and opportunities in our life.

The story is told from many points of view, enabling the reader to understand the story from all sides, which gives a unique perspective to the reader. I love this set up in novels. They can be extremely difficult to navigate but Jane makes it effortless for the reader.

The story is a picture of families and dynamics that make them one of a kind unique, special, infuriating and irreplaceable. I highly recommend it!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Paternity Test

Author: Michael Lowenthal
ISBN: 978-0-299290009
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Rating: Recommended

Having a baby to save a marriage—it’s the oldest of clichĂ©s. But what if the marriage at risk is a gay one and having a baby involves a surrogate mother?

    Pat Faunce is a faltering romantic, a former poetry major who now writes textbooks. A decade into his relationship with Stu, an airline pilot from a fraught Jewish family, he fears he’s losing Stu to other men—and losing himself in their “no rules” arrangement. Yearning for a baby and a deeper commitment, he pressures Stu to move from Manhattan to Cape Cod, to the cottage where Pat spent boyhood summers.

    As they struggle to adjust to their new life, they enlist a surrogate: Debora, a charismatic Brazilian immigrant, married to Danny, an American carpenter. Gradually, Pat and Debora bond, drawn together by the logistics of getting pregnant and away from their spouses. Pat gets caught between loyalties—to Stu and his family, to Debora, to his own potent desires—and wonders: is he fit to be a father?

    In one of the first novels to explore the experience of gay men seeking a child through surrogacy, Michael Lowenthal writes passionately about marriages and mistakes, loyalty and betrayal, and about how our drive to create families can complicate the ones we already have. The Paternity Test is a provocative look at the new “family values."

My Thoughts: 

The Paternity Test is a novel that is sure to turn a few heads as it takes a look at our evolving world and the many different types of families within it. I accepted this book for review because it’s quite different from most books in its genre. The writing is strong, weaving emotions throughout the story that are sure to tug at your heartstrings no matter what thoughts you may have on the topic. However, given that the subject matter attacks a widely opinionated topic, there are sure to be those that love and those who hate this book.  Keeping all personal thoughts and beliefs out of it, this author has a wonderful writing style, imaginative story, colorful characters and something to say that begs you to listen.  If it peaks your interest, go for it.

*Thank you to BookSparks PR for providing this review copy. Visit them at

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Perfect Bait

Author: Michael Fowlkes
ISBN: 978-0-9742406-5-7
Publisher: Thunderbird Press
Source: BookSparks PR
Rating: Recommended Read

Seattle’s commercial waterfront, San Diego’s topless beaches, and the waters of Cabo San Lucas are all breathtaking and beautiful, but in Perfect Bait, these settings are the backdrop for a story of kidnapping, rape and murder – leaving the reader deeply engrossed in a spellbinding and suspenseful thriller.

When Corey Phillips moved to Southern California to start a charter boating operation with his girlfriend Jennifer, he never expected he’d be looking for anything other than fish among the open waters. Lately though, young girls have been disappearing and the local authorities are depending on the FBI to put the pieces of this mystery together. However, the puzzle proves difficult to solve, until Corey and Jennifer find themselves the perfect bait and fighting for their lives.

Michael Fowlkes brings a smooth and addicting writing style to the pages of this novel. The story flows effortlessly across the pages as the action, adventure and suspense hold the reader captive.  While gritty and all-too-real, the book brings to life the horror of crime combined with the beauty of the ocean and a love for boating. Mixed within the pages is a story of love as Corey and Jennifer fight to stay alive, together.

I loved the thoughts that opened each chapter in this book. Simple sentences such as, “Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery” signify the beginning of a new chapter, often lending themselves to the story unfolding on the pages to follow. If you enjoy a good mystery/thriller/suspense novel, you’ll love Perfect Bait.

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Scandalous Viscount

My Scandalous Viscount
Author: Gaelen Foley
ISBN: 978-0062075932
Publisher: Avon Books
Source: TLC Book Tours
Rating: Recommended

Meet the courageous men of the Inferno Club as they face their greatest challenge yet: marriage!

Sebastian, Viscount Beauchamp, lives by a code of honor, and now honor dictates he must marry Miss Carissa Portland. He has no regrets over stealing a kiss from the adorable little busybody—a fitting punishment for putting her delectable nose where it didn't belong. But now, caught in a compromising situation, he knows he must make her his bride. He's faced danger before—but nothing like this!

Carissa is not a gossip—she's a "lady of information." And all she was trying to do was warn the rakehell Beauchamp away from an irate husband. But even she can't flaunt Society, and while her head tells her that Beau's a notorious scoundrel, her heart—and her body—are captivated by his dangerous charm. But when Carissa next goes snooping, the secrets she uncovers about the Inferno Club may prove even more hazardous than falling in love with her own husband.

My Thoughts:
Carissa Portland has always been full of information.  If anyone knows anything about society, it's Carissa.  However, her reasons for knowing the secrets flying through the ton are for her own sanity because she herself has a secret. In order to keep her past hidden, Carissa makes sure she knows what's being talked about among the rich aristocrats in London. When Carissa is caught searching for information, her snooping ends up leading to a marriage of safety. Will her knack for finding information threaten the survival of her marriage?

Viscount Beauchamp, Sebastian, is one of the men of the Inferno Club, a secret aristocratic Order of spies. When Sebastian is caught in a compromising situation with Carissa Portland, a sneaking busybody, he has no choice but to marry her, making his situation harder than intended.   When Carissa finds out more than Sebastian ever intended her to know about him, Sebastian finds himself trying to keep her quiet and safe, not realizing she may just be his greatest ally.

These two lead characters are quiet entertaining to read about. The sparks fly between them from the very beginning as their secrets unfold.  This romance is full of political unrest, spies, bureaucracy, aristocrats and secrets. From the moment you pick it up, you will find yourself wondering what's in it for Carissa and Sebastian, forced into marriage but not into love. It is an enjoyable read.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Advice for the Aspiring Writer

I've had my share of both good and bad advice, but the best advice? Actually comes from my years as a televisions reporter - and it fits in so well with writing that I'm going to write about that today.

Be Yourself.

Early in my journalism career I tried to emulate the best - Katie Couric, Jane Pauley, the list goes on. I watched them like a hawk - from their facial expressions to their little ticks. Did they hold their hands *this* way or *that*? How did that voice inflection go again? How did they say ____? I twisted myself up, down and all around trying to be exactly like my favorite news people because I thought that was what viewers wanted. After all, they were all working for major networks while I was still in small-market news.

One of my favorite people ever, a sports anchor in the town where I worked, was a rancher Monday through Friday and a sports reporter/anchor on weekends. He was funny - very dry humor - had amazing pipes - oh, what a voice! - and a way of saying things that still makes me melt. He'd been in the business for years and years, and one night as I was fiddling with my makeup and hair and going over the story scripts he said, 'You know, all anyone really wants is for us to tell them a story. Our way.'

He'd seen what I was doing - making myself into the perfect replica of what I thought a news person should be. When what I needed to actually do was just report the news in my own way. He mentioned that I was perfectly competent in my impersonations but all that preparation and practice was keeping viewers from relating to *my telling* of the story.

I think that relates to writing, too. Nora (Roberts) and Jayne (Ann Krentz) and Jill (Shalvis) may be best sellers, but they are because they tell their stories their way. They don't imitate or emulate. They are what we all need to be: unique. Shakespeare and Dickens told crazy-good stories. It's okay to hope to someday be that good. The key is to realize we'll only get to that level if we are true to our inner voices, our storytelling abilities and the stories that are in our hearts, waiting to get out.

--Kristina Knight, author of The Saints Devilish Deal

The Saint's Devilish Deal

Author: Kristina Knight
ISBN: 1440552355
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Source: CLP Blog Tours
Rating: Highly Recommended

Esmerelda Quinn has been looking for a place to belong since her parents were killed in a car crash when she was young. The closest thing to home has always been Aunt Constance's villa in Puerto Vallarta, so after a string of hotellier jobs, she's coming home to run the villa.

Santiago Cruz has called the villa home for as long as he can remember. In between surfing events, Constance has always had a room for him. Color him surprised when Constance leaves him with a joint interest in the villa - along with her niece Esmerelda.

Esme isn't thrilled to share ownership of the villa with the the youngest Cruz brother - especially as the Cruz family has been after the villa for years. But Santiago has grown up while she's been away and soon she finds herself falling for the rich boy down the hall - all over again.

My Thoughts:

One of the things I love about reading is the ability to go anywhere, all from the comfort of your own living room. I'm not a fan of flying, which limits the places I travel too, making books like this one great to read because their settings are somewhere I haven't been or likely won't go. While I am visiting another world through the story, I'm also visiting a place, adding to my reading enjoyment. 

I really enjoyed this book. The storyline that surrounds the villa and the plans to make it a successful establishment interested me.  Something about the setting of a villa intrigues me.  I would love to have my own Tuscan Villa, its romantic. Esme and Santiago have a connection that is spicy hot from the very beginning. Their past relationship and years of knowing each other adds to the connection. I found myself hoping that this time Santiago would settle down and stay in one place, minimizing the risk Esme feels is attached to a relationship with Santiago. Their relationship develops throughout the story, making this book a fun and easy read.  I read it fairly quickly once I started. 

This romance was simple and enjoyable but I found myself wishing the story went a little deeper, the plot line had room for expansion and depth without being too deep. Though this didn't effect my enjoyment of the story, I may have enjoyed it more if the story went deeper.  Needless to say, this book is about romance and romance you will get!  It was a wonderful read.  It took me outside my own life and into the lives of Esme and Santiago.  I highly recommend it.  

About the Author
Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police – no, she wasn’t a trouble-maker she was a journalist. When the opportunity to write what she wanted – business and family/parenting articles – and to focus more energy on the stories in her head, she jumped at it.

And she’s never looked back. Now she writes articles for magazines and such by day and writes romance novels with spice by night. And any toddler-free, five minute break she has. She lives on Lake Erie with her husband and 4 year old daughter. Happily ever after.

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