Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Romanov Sisters Giveaway

The Romanov Sisters Helen Rappaport
St. Martins Press
381 Pages

About the Book:
They were the Princess Dianas of their day—perhaps the most photographed and talked about young royals of the early twentieth century. The four captivating Russian Grand Duchesses—Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia Romanov—were much admired for their happy dispositions, their looks, the clothes they wore and their privileged lifestyle.

Over the years, the story of the four Romanov sisters and their tragic end in a basement at Ekaterinburg in 1918 has clouded our view of them, leading to a mass of sentimental and idealized hagiography. With this treasure trove of diaries and letters from the grand duchesses to their friends and family, we learn that they were intelligent, sensitive and perceptive witnesses to the dark turmoil within their immediate family and the ominous approach of the Russian Revolution, the nightmare that would sweep their world away, and them along with it.

The Romanov Sisters sets out to capture the joy as well as the insecurities and poignancy of those young lives against the backdrop of the dying days of late Imperial Russia, World War I and the Russian Revolution. Rappaort aims to present a new and challenging take on the story, drawing extensively on previously unseen or unpublished letters, diaries and archival sources, as well as private collections. It is a book that will surprise people, even aficionados.

Win 1 of 3 copies!  
I  absolutely love this time period in history and have always been fascinated by the Romanov family and the their story, as tragic and sad as it is. I read this when it came out in hard cover last year and I know you'll love it too!  So enter to win via the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Author: Beatrice Small
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 289

Synopsis: After her sisters become the scandals of Florence, Lucianna Pietro d’Angelo finds that the only wealthy man who’ll have her for his wife is an aging bookseller whom Lucianna comforts in his final years. When he passes away, she inherits his shop—and a sizable fortune affording Lucianna comfort in widowhood. Then Robert Minton, Earl of Lisle, visits her bookshop. The Englishman is not only dashing and handsome, he’s a trusted courtier of Henry VII.

Lucianna’s parents cannot deny the spark of attraction between their daughter and the earl, so they scheme to send her to London. There, Lucianna steps out of the shadow of her quiet Florentine life, pursuing a love she never dreamed possible—one unfolding in the court of the new Tudor king.

My Thoughts:
I highly enjoyed the first book in this series, Bianca, which was at least double the length of this novel. Lucianna didn't catch my attention as much as Bianca, but the author definitely knows how to tell a great story!  The Silk Merchant's Daughters is a series that has those who've read any previous installments ready for the next.  In this novel, much like the others, Orianna Pietro D'Angelo, matriarch of the family finds that at least one of her daughters will marry as she deems, when Lucianna easily and willingly enters into marriage of friendship with the much older and  wealthy bookseller, Alfredo Allibatore.  However, Alfredo passes, leaving 19 year old Lucianna a wealthy widow who could marry again easily, if she pleases, but she doesn't.  Much to the chagrin of her mother, who is hell bent on finding her the perfect husband. 

Enter Robert Minton, the Earl of Lisle, a handsome Englishman who is close confidant of the English King. Though the sparks fly when they meet, Lucianna is in complete denial. Her mother is not. Orianna sees the budding attraction and sends Lucianna to England as a representative of the silk merchants of Milan, a conspiracy meant to push Lucianna into marriage with the Earl. However, once Lucianna is in England she is is faced with learning the difference between the two cultures, a task easier said then done. The Earl is desperate for Lucianna's attention but she still has no intentions of partaking, aided by outside forces that tend to agree with her desires. 

Lucianna is the third book in the Silk Merchants Daughters series,and though well written and entertaining, it wasn't my favorite of the three, as it failed to capture my attention and hold it right away. The author does do a wonderful job of making the reader feel like they are part of the story. The settings come alive, as if you were there with the characters. This is perfect for me, as I like to travel to other places through books. The book just doesn't hold the same intrigue and sometimes, suspense as the others in the series.  Not much holds the two apart, and the story doesn't move with quiet the same pace. Overall this was a quick and easy read once I got into it.  If you like Beatrice Small's writing your sure to enjoy it, you just may be a little disappointed as she has delivered better.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

If the Viscount Falls

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Author: Sabrina Jeffries
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 374
Series: Duke's Men, Fourth Installment

Synopsis: The heir presumptive to the Viscount Rathmoor, Dominick Manton once had his heart’s desire within reach—a bright future as a barrister and engagement to Jane Vernon, a wealthy baron’s daughter. Then a shattering betrayal by his vindictive brother George snatched away Dom’s inheritance and his hopes of offering Jane a secure future. Brokenhearted, and attempting to end their engagement without destroying Jane’s reputation, Dom staged a betrayal of his own to convince her that he’s not the husband-to-be that she thought.

Now George is gone and the viscountcy restored to Dom, since his brother’s widow, Nancy—Jane’s cousin and closest confidant—never bore an heir. But when Nancy goes missing, a panicked Jane calls on her former fiancĂ© to track down her cousin. Dom knows the mistakes of the past may be unforgiveable—but now, entangled together in mystery and danger, will they rekindle a passionate longing that was never lost to begin with?

My Thoughts:  Absolute must read, but if you have read the first three go do that first!  Seriously, I love this series. I haven't been able to put a book in this series down, yet.  If the Viscount Falls was no different.  I read it in one sitting, staying up into the wee hours of the morning, I just couldn't put it down. The story is engaging and kept my attention, urging me forward, I had to know what was going to happen next.  Jeffries has a talent for creating characters the readers love.  I love each and everyone in this series. I love that I get to read more about them with each new book, their family story unfolding with each individuals story. Bring on the next installment!  I'm so ready!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Second Sister

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Author: Marie Bostwick
Publisher: Kensington Books
Pages: 335

Synopsis: Years of long workdays and little sleep as a political campaigner are about to pay off now that Lucy Toomey's boss is entering the White House. But when her estranged older sister, Alice, unexpectedly dies, Lucy is drawn back to Nilson's Bay, her small, close-knit, Wisconsin hometown. 

An accident in her teens left Alice mentally impaired, and she was content to stay in Nilson's Bay. Lucy, meanwhile, got out and never looked back. But now, to meet the terms of Alice's eccentric will, Lucy has taken up temporary residence in her sister's cottage--and begins to see the town, and Alice's life, anew. Alice's diverse group of friends appears to have little in common besides an interest in quilting. Yet deep affection for Alice united them and soon Lucy, too, is brought into the fold as they share problems and stories. And as she finds warmth and support in this new circle, Lucy begins to understand this will be her sister's enduring gift--a chance to move beyond her difficult past, and find what she has long been missing. . .

My Thoughts:
The Second Sister captured me from the first page. It was moving and emotional story about second chances, hope and family.  I found myself tearing up a few times, the connection between the characters and their individual feelings were vivid.  Having sisters of my own, I connected with Lucy, the main character. Though the story was predictable, I knew what would happen long before it did, but it was still a fun read while everything revealed itself. I was never distracted by the predictability, instead I found myself lost in the pages. Overall, the book is well written, full of in-depth characters. It's a great story that was memorable and easy to read.  I've verbally recommended it to others already.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pumpkin Seed Exploration

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Phew!  It's been a while since I've posted!  We've been very busy, moving, starting new jobs and schools and all the fun that comes with a new city and a family.  We are settled now and excited for our new adventure.  We kicked off the fall season in our new home by carving pumpkins and, for the first time, baking pumpkin seeds. It was so much fun, though I think the kids had more fun baking the seeds than eating them.  Regardless, we had a blast!  Sometimes it's just the little moments that make the greatest memories.

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: http://youtu.be/P7XtFFvibw8

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: www.dawnrachel.com (which I’m currently reworking due to a hosting issue)
Facebook: rachelcarringtonwrites
Pinterest: rcarrington2004
Goodreads: rcarrington2004

Wattpad: http://wattpad.com/RachelCarrington 

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 www.sixsistersstuff.com 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  http://bit.ly/SafeHavenEvent.  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: http://ow.ly/gkPcg

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 http://www.clpblogtours.com/ 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!