Saturday, November 30, 2013

ARC Book Review: Fifty Million Reasons

Author: Heather Wardell
Title: Fifty Million Reasons
Publisher: Createspace
Publish Date: Dec 4, 2013
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: The author in exchange for an honest review
Book Blurb: 
Angela has typical lottery-player plans: help friends and family, give more to charity, and escape her rut. But when she wins big, she faces angry relatives, her own unexpected greed, and a lawsuit from the person who put her in that rut. Almost nobody treats her normally, and they've got fifty million reasons not to.

She can buy anything she wants now, but can she buy the life she needs?

Review: Everyone dreams winning the lottery, but in Fifty Million Reasons Angela does just that. Once again, Heather Wardell creates a cast of characters that are more than just names on the pages, Angela, John and Zack become your friends and neighbors. Just as in any of Heather's other books, you live through Angela's struggles and triumphs as she deals with her newly won riches and you cheer her on all the way through....There are more than Fifty Million Reasons why you will love this book.

That is my short concise review. If you want to know more...Angela is a travel writer who plays the lottery and has a very giving heart, but when she wins big things start to change in her life.

I think this book can be summed up with one song...Cyndi Lauper's Money Changes Everything. Heather Wardell does a bang up job making her characters feel like people that you know and love. I adored Angela, though there were times when I wanted to choke her (when she took back her ex). But that's how it is with family. You love them and you want to give them a swift kick sometimes.

What remained constant with Angela was her wanting to do good with her winnings. Yes, she wanted nice things for herself but she wanted help her family and friends, despite some nasty things happening to her, including a family member turning on her.

Heather researched this book well. Anything you've seen mentioned about the lives of lottery winners, is in here.

Some may try to put this book in the category of chicklit, but it isn't. That would consign this book to the fluff pile and Heather Wardell doesn't do fluff. This book, like all her others, will tug at your heart strings, make you laugh and probably make you cry. It is also a book you won't want to put down.

Rating: 5 flowers

Friday, November 29, 2013

Book Review: Death Comes To The Village

Author: Catherine Lloyd
Title: Death Comes To The Village
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publish Date: Nov 26, 2013
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
A wounded soldier and a rector's daughter discover strange goings-on in the sleepy village of Kurland St. Mary in Catherine Lloyd's charming Regency-set mystery debut.

Major Robert Kurland has returned to the quiet vistas of his village home to recuperate from the horrors of Waterloo. However injured his body may be, his mind is as active as ever. Too active, perhaps. When he glimpses a shadowy figure from his bedroom window struggling with a heavy load, the tranquil façade of the village begins to loom sinister. . .

Unable to forget the incident, Robert confides in his childhood friend, Miss Lucy Harrington. As the dutiful daughter of the widowed rector, following up on the major's suspicions offers a welcome diversion--but soon presents real danger. Someone is intent on stopping their investigation. And in a place where no one locks their doors, a series of thefts and the disappearance of two young serving girls demands explanation. . .

As Robert grapples with his difficult recovery, he and Lucy try to unearth the dark truth lurking within the village shadows, and stop a killer waiting to strike again...

Review: I love a good cozy mystery and I really loved the regency setting. Historical cozies are my my absolute favorite.

It is a shame that this particular mystery just seemed to plod along at a snail's pace. It is the first book is the first book in the Kurland St Mary Mystery series and most of the time seemed to be spent getting to know the two main characters, Lucy Harrington and Major Robert Kurland.

More time seems to be spent on Robert and Lucy and what seems to be a possible romance then the actual mystery and that would be fine, if there ended up being a romance when you hit the last page. Instead, you end up unsatisfied and unsure of whether or not you want to anticipate the next book in the series.

I truly felt bad for Lucy. She wants a Season in London, but her father who is a rather lousy rector in my estimation would rather her be the daughter that cares for him. I think that's why the ending wasn't satisfying to me.

When all is said and done, I wanted Lucy and Robert to be a couple, but maybe that is something for the next book.

The mystery involves, things that go bump in the night, some thefts and finally a murder. Since the Major is unable to get about due to his injury, Lucy is the one that does the poking about. I have to admit, I had no clue who the killer was and when it was revealed I was more than a little bit surprised.

Hopefully when the next book comes around, there will be more mystery, now that we've been introduced to the primary characters. I think Ms Lloyd has created an interesting setting for this series and it should be one worth revisiting.

Rating: 3 flowers

Book Spotlight: Love, Carry My Bags


Camryn Johnson’s world is turned upside down when long lost love, Reese Dahlgren, re-enters her life at a pivotal point in her already challenging marriage. She faces an excruciating predicament: choose between a broken home for her daughter or a broken life for herself. After her parents' divorce, Camryn first meets high school basketball star, Reese, at the Harvard Milk Day Festival bed races. Reese hides baggage of his own…until Camryn melts his heart and learns secrets entrusted only to her. Still, the weight is too much to bear. Unable to cope, Reese unwittingly backs Camryn into a corner during his air force enlistment—love him from afar, or leave him. Enter aerospace engineering student, Glenn Conroy. Persistent and savvy, he woos Camryn during her junior year of college and wins her heart. Or does he? When Reese re-enters her life, further disrupting her tenuous marriage, Camryn turns to best friend, Megan, for advice, but refuses to believe Megan’s suggestion that she’s caught in a “simple” love triangle. Camryn unveils hidden mysteries and secrets as she embarks on a life-changing journey of revelation and forgiveness, transcending doormat qualities inherited from her mother, and in the process finds what life's struggles are really all about. C.R. Everett's heart-wrenching debut novel takes the reader on an emotion-packed journey that lingers long after the last page is turned.

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Book Review: A Fairytale Life

Author: Matthew Sturgess, Kelly Yates, Brian Shearer
Title: Doctor Who: A Fairytale Life
Publisher: IDW Press
Publish Date: Nov 29, 2011
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 
What's better: an ugly reality or beautiful fantasy? This is the question the Doctor is forced to confront in a medieval fantasy world where Amy Pond finds herself reluctantly cast as a damsel in distress. Matthew Sturges, Eisner Award-nominated writer of Jack of Fables, spins this yarn, featuring covers by Mark Buckingham of Miracleman and Fables fame.

Review: I was so excited to see a Medieval Doctor Who graphic novel. It is a shame that there was so much about this particular story that fell flat for me. The first thing is the art. I realize Matt Smith's face is perhaps not the easiest to draw, but really? The Doctor hardly looks like ...well...The Doctor. At least Amy looks as she should. It is also a shame that except for a drawing in the book's last pages, there is no reference to Rory Williams anywhere.

Boo hiss!

I prefer the Doctor with the Ponds...not with just Amy, though I will give Amy credit here, she was pretty kick ass.

I did enjoy the tone of the story, the author really got the voices of 11 and Amy down perfectly, it felt like I was settling down to a bonus episode of Doctor Who. I liked the references to Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth the first...good continuity there.

I actually felt bad for the villain in the story....his decision while not the right one definitely gave the Doctor pause for a few minutes.

This is very quick fun read probably more so for younger Whovians because of the plot, but still worth checking out.

Rating: 3 flowers

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

TLC Book Tours: The Stranger You Know

Author: Andrea Kane
Title: The Stranger You Know
Publisher: Mira
Publish Date: Sept 24, 2013
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours & the publisher
Book Blurb: It begins with a chilling phone call to Casey Woods. And ends with another girl dead.

College-age girls with long red hair. Brutally murdered, they're posed like victims in a film noir. Each crime scene is eerily similar to the twisted fantasy of a serial offender now serving thirty years to life—a criminal brought to justice with the help of Forensic Instincts. 

Call. Kill. Repeat. But the similarities are more than one psychopath's desire to outdo another. As more red-haired victims are added to the body count, it becomes clear that each one has been chosen because of a unique connection to Casey— a connection that grows closer and closer to her. 

Now the Forensic Instincts team must race to uncover the identity of a serial killer before his ever-tightening circle of death closes in on Casey as the ultimate target. As the stalker methodically moves in on his prey, his actions make one thing clear: he knows everything about Casey. And Casey realizes that this psychopathic won't stop until he makes sure she's dead.

Review:  I'm not usually a fan of thrillers. I go in more for the cozy mystery, but there was something about this book that reminded me of Erica Spindler. It is also part of the Forensic Instincts series. (Definitely a series I want to follow)

In some ways the book reminds me a little of Patricia Cornwall's books with a touch of Kathy Reich's novels but I felt Casey was definitely more human and the crime had a personal element to it. I think that was the part that really drew me in, and the fact that it was such a dark mystery.

The murders are really gruesome, definitely not light reading.

But this is the kind of thriller that you can't put down.

I found it odd the killer went for redheads, but that added to the creepiness of this story and the fact that Casey was one of the targets made it an even more suspenseful read.

Highly Recommended!

Rating:  5 flowers

Monday, November 25, 2013

TLC Book Tours Book Reviews: The Whole Golden World

About The Whole Golden World

• Paperback: 448 pages

• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (November 5, 2013)

Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours

Kristina Riggle, the acclaimed author of Real Life & Liars, returns with a thought-provoking novel inspired by real-life events. Seventeen-year-old Morgan Monetti shocks her parents and her community with one simple act: She chooses to stand by the man everyone else believes has exploited her—popular high school teacher TJ Hill. Quietly walking across a crowded courtroom to sit behind TJ, and not beside her parents, she announces herself as the adult she believes herself to be.

But her mother, Dinah, wants justice. Dinah is a fighter, and she believes with all her heart and soul that TJ is a man who took advantage of her daughter. He is a criminal who should be brought to justice, no matter what the cost to his family.

Rain, TJ’s wife, is shocked that her handsome, loving, respected husband has been accused of a terrible crime. But has her desperation to start a family closed her eyes to the fault lines in her marriage? And can she face the painful truths about herself and her husband? Told from the perspectives of these three remarkable women, The Whole Golden World navigates the precarious territory between childhood and adulthood, raising questions about love and manipulation, marriage and motherhood, consent and responsibility. It’s a novel both shocking and unforgettable in its power.

Review: Kristina Riggle is an author that delivers and emotional read every time. This time the hard hitting topic is a teacher having sex with a minor student. In Keepsake, she dealt with hoarding.

These aren't comfortable topics and to be honest, it wasn't a comfortable read.

The story is told from all sides of the story, Morgan, Rain, and Dinah. Each of them have issues that really need to be dealt with, over and under parenting, infertility, and being forced to be a co-parent to twins.

I have to admit, I feel sorry for Morgan. For a 17 year old, she had an awful lot on her plate, but no more so than the other characters Kristina brings to life in this novel. By the end of the novel I want to kill her, or at least beat her with a stick.

At times, it is hard to like any of them. Rain is so wishy washy about her relationship with TJ and Dinah just needs a good slap upside the head. The amount of parenting she foists off on her daughter is ridiculous. Her husband, Joe, isn't much better. As an assistant principal of the school Morgan attends, he's a barely there dad.

Everyone in this story is dysfunctional.

All the characters made me uncomfortable at one point of time or another, sometimes all of them.

It was a hard read for me, but a good one, mostly because of the subject matter, but I expected that, having read Keepsake. (Though this book really makes you sit back and think, more than Keepsake)

Not a light read by any means, but definitely a good one.

I have only one gripe. I wish it hadn't started off so slow. I think that had something to do with the multiple points of view in the novel and I wish Kristina would have got into the mind of TJ. I would have really loved to know his motivation for getting involved with a 17 year old that was his student.

Rating: 4 flowers

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Chick Ponders Bookish Things: Life Interupttus

Life has interrupted in a very big way. My father's COPD has taken a turn for the worse. He is home from the hospital on hospice care.

He's in a bad way, but he is still with us, and that's important.

I will review as much as I can and keep everything as active as I can because without books I would likely lose my mind.

Keep us in your prayers

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bewitching Book Tours Promo Spot: Liz Carlyle - In Love With A Wicked Man

In Love with a Wicked Man
Liz Carlyle

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: Avon Books

Date of Publication: 10/29/2013

ISBN: 9780062100290

Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author Liz Carlyle has created a breathtaking new romance about a man without scruples and the lady who brings him to his knees.
What does it matter if Kate, Lady d'Allenay, has absolutely no marriage prospects?

She has a castle to tend, an estate to run, and a sister to watch over, which means she is never, ever reckless. Until an accident brings a handsome, virile stranger to Bellecombe Castle, and Kate finds herself tempted to surrender to her houseguest's wicked kisses.

Disowned by his aristocratic family, Lord Edward Quartermaine has turned his gifted mind to ruthless survival. Feared and vilified as proprietor of London's most notorious gaming salon, he now struggles to regain his memory, certain of only one thing: he wants all Kate is offering—and more.

But when Edward's memory returns, he and Kate realize how much they have wagered on a scandalous passion that could be her ruin, but perhaps his salvation.

Excerpt: Ned Quartermaine was in a dark and pensive mood. With his coat and cravat long ago cast aside, he sprawled by a dying fire in his finely appointed suite, his knees splayed wide and his shoulders thrown back against the buttery leather of his armchair. Only the faint chink! of his brandy glass striking the marble tabletop broke the quiet as Quartermaine stared out into his garden; a garden that would have been awash in moonlight had this not been London, and the night sky not choked with damp and coal smoke.
But Quartermaine was a creature of the darkness—and, truth be told, more comfortable in it. And on this night, he was embracing that darkness with a bottle of eighteen-year-old Armagnac and a strand of small but perfect pearls adorned with one teardrop sapphire.
They lay heavy in the palm of his hand—and heavy in his heart, too. But that organ so rarely troubled him, the ache in it tonight might have been mistaken for dyspepsia. Best to wash it back down again, he’d decided. Still, from time to time, between sips of the burnt, ashy spirit, he gave the pearls a pensive little toss, just to feel them settle back into his hand, clicking against one another before stilling again; cooler, yet ever heavier, it seemed.
Just then, as if to punctuate the regret, the gilt clock on his mantelpiece struck the hour.
Three chimes. Three o’clock.
An hour at which there was good money to be made from the vanity and desperation of others. Above Quartermaine’s head, the night’s work continued on as little more than a soothing rumble of voices; one that was occasionally broken by the faint scrape of a chair leg across his marble floors.
He gave the brandy another sip.
The pearls another toss.
His heart another hard wrench. As if he might, just this once, manage to wring from it the will to do the right thing. But before he could steel himself to the duty, there came a faint knock at the door.
Peters. No one else had permission to disturb Quartermaine once he had stepped from his office into his private domain.
“Come!” he ordered.
His club manager entered with a perfunctory bow. “You might wish to come upstairs, sir.”
Quartermaine tipped the Armagnac bottle over his glass. “Why?”
“It’s Lord Reginald Hoke,” said Peters. “I turned him off as you’d ordered but it didn’t sit well. Apparently the damned fool feels lucky tonight.”
After refilling his glass, Quartermaine lifted his lazy gaze back to Peters’s, his eyebrows rising faintly. “Lucky enough to settle his accounts?” he murmured. “For if he does not, Lord Reggie shan’t put so much as one manicured toe across the threshold of this establishment, lest I chop the thing off and use it for a bloody paperweight.”
“A paperweight, sir?”
“To hold down that stack of worthless notes he’s given us,” said Quartermaine without humor.
Suddenly, from behind Quartermaine, the sound of hinges creaking intruded, followed by the rustle of fabric. He twisted in his chair.
Her voice edged with irritation and her wild curls tumbling down, Maggie Sloan stood bracketed against the lamplight of his bedroom, Quartermaine’s silk robe gathered around her in voluminous folds.
“I’ve business to attend,” he said coolly. “Go back to bed, Maggie.”
He sensed rather than saw the disdain flick over her face. “No, I think I’m off.” Lip sneering, she slammed the door.
Emotionlessly, he turned back to Peters. “Where’s Hoke now?”
“Pinkie stopped him in the entrance hall, sir.”
“Alas, poor Reggie,” said Quartermaine, setting his bottle down. “Shall I set loose the hounds, old chap? Or is there a bit of blood yet to be wrung from the Hoke turnip?”
Peters laughed. “Oh, there’s blood,” he said. “That’s why you should come upstairs.”
That elevated Quartermaine’s brows another notch. “Indeed?” he said. “You shock me, Peters. I thought old Reggie entirely done in.”
 “He implies he’s to meet some of his cronies here in half an hour for something deep,” Peters suggested. “But he needs cash to stake at the card table, and he’s in a mood to bargain.”
Quartermaine sipped musingly at his brandy. “Well, I’ve never been known to sneer at a bargain,” he said, rising. “But bring him down here. I’d rather not put my coat back on.”
Peters bowed. “Certainly, sir.”
Quartermaine followed Peters back through the suite and into the adjacent study where the heart of the club was centered. No bacchanalia or whoring went on within these walls; the Quartermaine Club was simply a circumspect, high-stakes gaming salon where many a noble scion had sent ten generations of wealth shooting down a rat hole beneath Ned Quartermaine’s watchful eye.
But it was wealth, not blood, that determined whether a man—or a woman—could gain entrée to Quartermaine’s world. Blue blood alone was next to worthless in his estimation—and he had enough of it in him to know.
Suddenly Quartermaine realized he still held the pearls in his hand. On a pinprick of irritation, he jerked open the drawer of his desk and let them slither into it, a cascade of creamy perfection. Then he took a cigar and went to the French windows that opened onto his garden.
The ash soon glowed orange in the dark. He could hear the rattle of a carriage coming up fast from the direction of St. James’s Palace. The cry of a newspaper hawker in the street. And then the silence fell again. What the devil was keeping Lord Reginald?
Perhaps the craven bastard had turned tail and run back up St. James’s Place to cower in one of his posh clubs. It little concerned him. Quartermaine always got his money—one way or another. He puffed again at the cigar and pondered at his leisure how best that might be done, for patience, he’d learnt, was truly a virtue.

About the Author:

A lifelong Anglophile, Liz Carlyle started reading Gothic novels under the bed covers by flashlight. She is the author of sixteen historical romances, including several New York Times bestsellers. Liz travels incessantly, ever in search of the perfect setting for her next book. Along with her genuine romance-hero husband and four very fine felines, she makes her home in North Carolina.

Twitter: @lizcarlyle

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Virtual Author Book Tours Guest Post: Bryan Taylor w/Review: Three Sisters

The Three Sisters began with two photos of nuns that a friend gave me. I used these photos to create the first two episodes of The Three Sisters by xeroxing the photos, writing a story for each, and putting them up on the wall outside my dorm room. After I created the first two “episodes” of the three sisters with these photos, I used an illustration for each episode that followed. From the beginning, illustrations have been an integral part of The Three Sisters.
I think it is unfortunate that very few novels today have illustrations. It is either a written book with no illustrations or a graphic novel filled with illustrations and little in between. Since we assimilate visual information much more effectively than verbal information, there is no reason why novels shouldn’t be illustrated.
Though most novels have abstract cover illustrations, not providing portraits of any of the protagonists, I decided to do things differently, as I do in practically everything else in the book, and hire someone to provide drawings of the three sisters both on the cover and within the book because I think this helps the reader to identify with the three sisters and envision them and their adventures.
Illustrations have played an important role in books in the past. Before printed books came into existence, most books were illustrated. The Bible (in the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry among others) and most “classics” were illustrated by Gustave Doré and other engravers from the inception of the printed book until the nineteenth century. Most children’s classics, such as Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz are still illustrated today, but why limit illustrations to children’s books?  Many of the anti-Catholic books of the 1800s which I used in my research, such as Maria Monk or Why Priests Should Wed included illustrations of the horrific deeds Catholics were accused of committing by their Protestant detractors. “Serious” books for adults deserve illustrations as well.
So, I decided, why not continue this tradition in my own book, and include illustrations from the anti-Catholic books of the past as well as adding new illustrations which comment on the events within the book?
When I originally wrote The Three Sisters between 1980 and 1983, the only way I could add a visual element to the book was by including illustrations from other books which would be suggestive of what was going on in the novel. Once I got around to publishing The Three Sisters, copyright laws prevented me from including most of these illustrations, so I decided to change my approach, in part because technology now allows me to do things I could not have done before.
Today, not only can I take illustrations from books out of copyright and use them in the novel, but I can have someone create illustrations using Photoshop, and I can hire someone to create original illustrations for the novel. This allowed me to put together an interesting combination of illustrations from other books, photoshopped creations and paintings I commissioned to highlight different parts of the book. I was impressed by how well the illustrators were able to recreate my visions.
I had several goals by adding illustrations.  One was to clarify some of the actions in the book, a second was to help the reader to identify with the protagonists, a third was to make the book even funnier, and finally, I hope that anyone who picked up The Three Sisters in a bookstore would find the illustrations intriguing enough to buy the book. Of course, I also put up these illustrations on Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon, my website, and other sites hoping they would intrigue potential readers as well. Why is there a Wanted Poster? Virgin Mary Milk? What are three nuns doing on Abbey Road? Terrorists with Tits? The goal is to make the browser curious without giving away the plot of the novel.
Some pre-copyright illustrations were taken straight from nineteenth-century books. Photoshop allowed us to put together the Wanted Poster and a Tabloid mentioned in the novel. I had created The Cynical Cenacle as a xeroxed work of Mama art back in college, and this work now graces each page of the website, as well as being included in the novel. Photoshop was also used for the Virgin Mary Milk and Spanish Inquisition Toy Set commercials during the Festivities.
Finally, I hired Brent Schreiber to create original paintings of the three sisters for the novel. He was great to work with and did an excellent job. He illustrated the cover, and created three portraits of each of the three, which were incorporated into the Wanted Poster and Tabloid Cover. Although these illustrations emphasize the comic portion of the novel, his illustration of Lady Justice is somber. Finally, Brent did the cover for The Three Sisters’ record album which parodied Abbey Road.

Should I write another novel, I will also make illustrations an integral part of that novel as well. I can only hope that other authors will no longer see the written novel and the graphic novel as dichotomous alternatives, but will see illustrations as being an integral part of any written novel.        

Book Description:

Publisher: Dragon Tree Books (July 23, 2013)
Category/Genre: Humor, Literary Fiction, Inspirational, Satire, Philosophy
ISBN13: 9780988402478
Tour Date: November, 2013
Available in: Print & ebook, 401

Nuns just want to have fun! But when three former Catholic nuns, Coito GottTheodora Suora and Regina Grant have too much fun and get in trouble with the law, they become nuns on the run.

Driving back to Washington D.C. where they work at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Parts, the three sisters are arrested in Tennessee. After defeating the local deputy in strip poker, they escape from jail, and are pursued by the zealous Detective Schmuck Hole, who has personally offered a $10,000 reward for their capture on the 700 Club. Little do they know that when the three sisters visit the Washington Monument, their lives will change forever.

Set in 1979, The Three Sisters is a sacrilegious satire that skewers not only organized religion, but the government, the media, intellectuals, corporate greed and every other part of the establishment. Maybe not the greatest story ever told, but possibly the funniest.

"Blessed are they who read The Three Sisters, for they shall inherit eternal laughter." - Matthew 5:66

Review: It is a requirement for anyone wishing to read this book, that they have a healthy sense of humor and that they don't take things too seriously.

The antics of Coito, Theodora and Regina will have you in stitches. I laughed out loud many times especially at the beginning as Coito tells her story.

This is religious satire, and it is set in the 70s, but a lot of Bryan's writing will hit home for some people (a lot of them Catholics)

I have to admit, I liked the more sedate Theodora the best of the "Three Sisters"  I think because she was the least wild...oh and I loved Sister Carla the penguin too!

I think the best thing about the book is the time period it is set in. In some ways it reminded me of "Life On Mars" It read like the 1970s but it was kind of like an alternate reality.

Oh and Detective Schmuck Hole...well he lives up to his name!

Definitely a must read for those who need a good laugh and love satire!

Rating: 4 flowers

About Bryan Taylor:

Bryan Taylor is a double PK, a preacher's kid of a preacher's kid. With that legacy he faced two destinies, being an unhappy triple PK (Jubilees 17:23, "He that is born unto the son of a preacher and himself preaches shall be miserable until his dying day and suffer eternal damnation."), or being sacrilegious and happy.

He decided to forsake the Southern Baptists for Catholicism, but when he applied to join a convent, he was rejected (sex discrimination!), so he decided to do the next best thing: write a novel about the three nuns he would most like to meet.

Bryan Taylor was born in Louisiana, grew up in Michigan and Texas, went to school in Tennessee, South Carolina and California, taught in Switzerland for a year, and has traveled to 50 countries, more than any Pope except Saint John Paul II. He now lives in California, which is one of the few places with people crazier than him.

Promo Blitz: His Wicked Games Boxed Set

His Wicked Games Boxed Set
By Ember Casey

Title:  His Wicked Games Boxed Set Author:  Ember Casey
Genres:  Romance
Categories: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance Publisher: Ember Casey            Release Date: Oct. 25, 2013 Word Count/Length:  140,000 words (70,000 each book)
Buy links:

Two books in one! This boxed set includes HIS WICKED GAMES (His Wicked Games #1) and TRUTH OR DARE (His Wicked Games #2).

In HIS WICKED GAMES, Lily Frazer will do anything to save the Frazer Center for the Arts—even take on the infamous billionaire Calder Cunningham. When Lily breaks onto the Cunningham estate, she only wants to find and reason with Calder. (All right, all right, she wants to punch him in the face, too, but that's Plan B.) As it turns out, the arrogant billionaire is willing to give her the money he promised, but there's a catch: she must win it from him.

And the games he has in mind aren't exactly... innocent.

In the sequel, TRUTH OR DARE, Lily and Calder decide to take their relationship to the next level. But love in the real world isn’t all fun and games—especially when it becomes clear that Calder still harbors his share of secrets.

When Calder suggests they hold off on sex for a while, Lily makes him a proposal he can’t refuse: an ongoing match of Truth or Dare that she hopes will bring them closer together both physically and emotionally.

But as the contest increases in intensity, so do the stakes, and suddenly Lily and Calder have to face the question they’ve both been avoiding: what sort of relationship do they have when they strip away all the games?

"I know you haven't had many chances to visit the Center," I say, sliding my finger across the edge of my glass, "but I really think if you came by you'd see how much work we do for the community, and how much your family's contributions mean for our programs."
I glance up to find Calder staring at me, his fork frozen halfway between his plate and his mouth. He lowers it again slowly, his eyes still locked on me, and I squirm in my seat.
"Not yet," he says, taking up his wineglass.
I stare at him, confused. "What?"
"It's not time to discuss it yet." He takes a sip of his wine. "I think we should enjoy our dinner first."
I frown. "We had an agreement."
"We still do. You sit through dinner with me, and I sit through your speech about your little Center." He leans toward me, his eyes intent on mine. "Trust me, Ms. Frazer, I always keep my word."
"I'm not sure I do trust you, Mr. Cunningham," I say.
His hand slides toward mine on the table, and his finger brushes against the back of my palm. It sends a tiny shiver of heat up my arm.
Calder smiles, his eyes dancing wickedly. "You should, Ms. Frazer. Believe me, I think you would enjoy the experience very much."
I snatch my hand away from him.
"I'm not going to fall for that,” I say. "I’m not one of your little supermodels. I'm here for the Center, that's all."
I can tell from the way the corner of his mouth curls up that he doesn't believe me. This guy isn't used to women resisting his charms.
"I broke onto your property," I remind him. "And I dripped mud all over your precious house. Besides, I don’t think I’m your type, anyway."
"You don't think I can admire a woman with a little spirit? I told you before, Ms. Frazer, I admire your tenacity. And a few of your other assets, truth be told."
"You didn't seem particularly admiring when you were threatening to call the cops on me," I counter. "If you think you can make me forget about why I'm here, that I'll just throw over the Center for the chance to sleep with you or something, you're an idiot."
Humor dances in his eyes. "I never suggested that. I've already made it clear that I'm attracted to you, and it's quite obvious that you're attracted to me as well. I'm just saying that I don't see why you can't have it both ways. Or, come to think of it, why I can't have you a few dozen ways in the meantime."
"You're disgusting," I say, standing up and throwing my napkin down on the table. "This is serious. The Frazer Center has done remarkable things for this community and its people—more things than you'll ever appreciate or, dare I say it, do yourself, despite all your money or your fucking talking closets and fancy ceilings. If you refuse to talk about it… if you're just going to be ridiculous and crude, then fine. I won't waste any more of your time." I turn and storm toward the door.
"You can't leave," Calder says calmly after me.
"Watch me."
"No," he says, just as my hand reaches the doorknob. "I mean it's actually impossible for you to leave. Do you remember crossing the river on your way out here? The road between here and Barberville floods whenever there's heavy rain. With a storm like this, it's probably under three feet of water by now."
My blood goes completely cold. I freeze, my fingers closed around the doorknob.
"You're lying."
"I'm afraid not," he says, still as calm as ever. He raises his wineglass to his lips and takes another sip. "I'm afraid, Ms. Frazer, whether you like it or not, you'll be staying here with me tonight."

Author Bio: 
Ember Casey is a twenty-something writer who lives in Atlanta, Georgia in a den of iniquity (or so she likes to tell people). When she's not writing steamy romances, you can find her whipping up baked goods (usually of the chocolate variety), traveling (her bucket list is infinite), or generally causing trouble (because somebody has to do it).

Author Links:
Twitter: (@EmberCasey)

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Tasty Book Tours Release Day Book Blast: Christmas Dinner

Christmas Dinner
By: Robyn Neeley

 News anchor Amanda Turner used to love everything about the holidays—the eggnog sugar cookies, the tacky family Christmas sweaters, and a lawn decorated with so many multi-colored lights that 747s could land safely. That is until her boyfriend dumped her in front of the whole town on Christmas Eve. Humiliated, she fled her small town start a new life. Two years later, she’s finally ready to return to the scene of the emotional crime, until she learns that her ex is engaged. Now, the only thing worse than going home is going home single.
Tate Ryan, her tall, dark, and arrogant co-anchor, offers to pose as her boyfriend. There’s one problem, though: they barely like each other, and he recently scooped her story on live TV. But she needs a ride home and a boyfriend fast, so Tate will have to do.
As she watches Tate interact with her family and town residents, fully embracing the spirit of the holiday season, she starts to see his kindhearted side. She can’t help but wonder if she was wrong about him. Perhaps he isn’t the conniving co-worker that she once thought. And her new feelings for him would definitely put her on the naughty list.
Tate has his own agenda for the weekend that includes telling Amanda he’s been in love with her since the first time they met. He’s ready to reveal all during Christmas dinner but fate has other plans.
Behind closed doors. Similar to Christmas movies such as 12 Dates of Christmas, Holiday in Handcuffs, Snowglobe.

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Author Bio
Robyn Neeley is an East Coaster who loves to explore new places; watches way more reality TV than she cares to admit; can’t live without Dunkin Donuts coffee and has never met a cookie she didn’t like. If you have a must read romance suggestion or a fabulous cookie recipe, she wants to know. Visit her at

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Tasty Book Tours Book Review: Candlelight & Kisses

Candlelight and Kisses Anthology
By: Kaylie Newell, Nola Cross & Pepper Anthony

A Home for my Heart by Nola Cross
“They say you can never go home again. Try telling that to your heart.”
When big-city attorney, Jonathan Silver, agreed to be godfather to his infant niece five years before, he didn’t dream he would actually end up as her guardian. He’d never imagined himself as a family man. Now he’s not only an instant father to little Rachel, but also inherits the house where he grew up in the small town of Everfield, Washington. When he left Everfield fifteen years before, he never planned to return. Now for Rachel’s sake, he’s reordered his priorities and come home to join a two-man law practice.
Merridee Cresswell always wanted a big family. She and her ex-husband tried unsuccessfully for years to have kids; their marriage eventually failed from the strain. Since then, she has poured all her maternal feelings into her children’s clothing store, Frog’s Togs, and the special program she runs to help disadvantaged kids in Everfield.
When his first legal client hires him to sue Merridee for negligence, Jonathan has to investigate the shop keeper’s character. Is she really as flakey as his client says? Or is she the warm, lovely woman she appears to be, the woman so ready to take Rachel under her wing and make Christmas special again? And what about him? Could there be room in her heart for Jonathan too?
Sunny’s Second Chance by Pepper Anthony
“What if love really is lovelier the second time around?”
It’s a rough Christmas for the just-divorced Sunny and her six-year-old daughter, Jasmine. When your no-good husband leaves you for a pretty young dancer, it’s hard not to feel old, fat and frumpy. But then she meets a handsome widower, Ben Stillman, and his young son, Spencer. The two kids hit it off, dragging their parents into an unwitting friendship.
Sunny’s never thought about dating a white man. The whole interracial thing seems risky, especially since Jasmine is still struggling with adjusting to her father’s defection. What if the little girl gets attached to Ben and Spencer, and things don’t work out?
Ben has been struggling under the weight of grief since his wife’s death a year ago. He suspects it’s too soon to move on, but somehow he wants to make Christmas special for Spencer. Then he meets Sunny and everything changes. She chases away the darkness and makes him feel alive again. Can the two of them learn to trust the magic between them long enough to give love a second chance?

The Mariner’s Gift - by Kaylie Newell
Sometimes the best gifts are the ones you least expect.
When LA Times journalist Zola Mitchell decides to head home to San Francisco this December, it’s to write a piece on the legendary Alcatraz prison.  It has nothing to do with her high school crush Oliver Tworek, who’s recently moved back to start up a tour boat business to The Rock.  At least, that’s what she keeps telling herself.
But when Oliver ends up asking her to dinner, Zola can’t refuse.  And when he kisses her under a display of Christmas fireworks from aboard his boat, she can barely remember her own name.  After twenty years, nothing seems to have changed.  Oliver’s still popular and gorgeous, and Zola’s still…well, Zola.  Behind the successful job, and underneath her shiny new grown up exterior, Zola still feels like the skinny girl from junior year English.  Will she ever be able to conquer those little girl insecurities?  And more importantly, will she ever get to know the real Oliver; the one who might just have a few secrets of his own?

Buy: Amazon

Review: Usually I would review a collection of stories like this by each novella, but in this case I found that all of them were really lovely stories of second chances at love during the holiday season.
It isn't often that each novella in a collection is a perfect fit for the other books included, without them being tied together.
Each story fits into the sweet romance category, with the sex being more alluded to then shown in detail.
If I had to chose a favorite between the three stories, I would have to say I loved Sunny's Second Chance. It was more about 2 second chances and families coming together. There is pain on both sides one from divorce and the other from the death of a spouse.
This story should give you the warm fuzzies!
If you are looking to find a way to get some Christmas cheer, this is a sweet collection to start off with.

Rating: 5 flowers

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Author Info
Nola Cross is a two-time Golden Heart finalist. She’s been working toward her dream of being an author for almost thirty years. A Home for My Heart is her first novella-length story to be published, and is the introduction to the Everfield series she’s currently writing. She loves writing stories of small-town America, with plenty of emotion, the perfect touch of sizzle, and always a happy ending. Nola lives with her husband and younger son in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains of southwest Washington State. She hopes you’ll check out her website and email her with your comments.

For Kaylie Newell, storytelling is in the blood. Growing up the daughter of two gifted writers, she knew eventually she’d want to follow in their footsteps. While she’s written short stories her whole life, it wasn’t until after her kids were born that she decided to shoot for the moon and write her first romance novel. She hasn’t looked back since!
Kaylie lives in Southern Oregon with her husband, two little girls, two indifferent cats and a mutt named Pedro. She would love to hear from you! You can find her at:

Like most writers, Pepper Anthony has worn quite a collection of hats over the years ~ voice actor, artist, bookkeeper, retail sales ~ but she’s always wanted to be a writer. Her biggest dream has been to see her name on a book cover. Now, with the advent of e-publishing, the covers may be virtual, but the thrill of seeing her name on them is real. She’s humbled by the idea that her stories might draw in a reader and provide an hour or two of entertainment.

She’s been married to her best friend Tom for thirty-one years. Together they’ve raised two amazing sons, and recently welcomed their first grand-daughter. Most days you can find Pepper at the family's computer repair shop in a small town outside Portland, Oregon. At night she goes home to her rambling fixer-upper in the woods and toils at her writing, attended by a small menagerie of furry assistants.
She loves it when readers take a moment to reach out and let her know what they think of her stories. She hopes you'll feel free to contact her.

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