Thursday, March 31, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Heart on a Stick by Carla Neggers

Author: Carla Neggers
First published in 1983 by Loveswept

Witty, unconventional JoAnna Radcliff fell off a ladder into brilliant heart surgeon Paul Houghton Welling's arms. But one look at him told her he belonged in the stuffy Philadelphia society world she'd escaped for a cottage in Pigeon Cove. She firmly believed she'd never fit into his life -- she, a puppeteer, spent her days in paint-spattered jeans and her evenings in antique dresses from her grandmother's attic. 

But she couldn't have been more wrong about Paul -- and he set out to show her, with infinite patience and fierce determination. She was the puppet master, but he knew how to keep her heart on a string.

I'm a huge fan of Carla Neggers.  After reading this, I am glad that her writing has improved over the years.  Don't get me wrong, Heart on a String isn't a bad book, but you can definitely tell it's an early work.  It has all the wonderful cheesy content that an early 80s romance needs. JoAnna is a puppet maker who falls fast for a heart surgeon.  She is convinced they won't work well together, but they can't deny their lust.  Paul will do anything to convince Jo that they are perfect for each toehr.

I thought this was a cute story.  I had a couple of issues, the first being the little amount of time they actually spent together. It kind of made it hard to see how they fell in love.  I also got a little tired of Jo constantly doubting Paul.  That just got old.  Their HEA was great and I loved Paul's "revenge" over the puppet show Jo put on at the holiday party.  That was really cute. I'd recommend going this early one a shot, especially if you are a fan of this author.  It's a very quick read.  Perfect for a rainy afternoon.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Blog Tour: When I’m Gone by Emily Bleeker

Author: Emily Bleeker
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of publication:

Dear Luke,
First let me say—I love you…I didn’t want to leave you…Luke Richardson has returned home after burying Natalie, his beloved wife of sixteen years, ready to face the hard job of raising their three children alone. But there’s something he’s not prepared for—a blue envelope with his name scrawled across the front in Natalie’s handwriting, waiting for him on the floor of their suburban Michigan home.

The letter inside, written on the first day of Natalie’s cancer treatment a year ago, turns out to be the first of many. Luke is convinced they’re genuine, but who is delivering them? As his obsession with the letters grows, Luke uncovers long-buried secrets that make him question everything he knew about his wife and their family. But the revelations also point the way toward a future where love goes on—in written words, in memories, and in the promises it’s never too late to keep.

Once again, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed When I'm Gone.  I was worried that it would be too much of an emotional book for me to read, but that wasn't the case.  Don't get me wrong, it is an emotional book, but I found myself quickly sucked into Luke's story and unable to stop until the end.  Luke has just lost his wife Natalie to cancer.  He has to now begin life as a single dad to his three kids at the same time handling his own grief.  He starts to get letters from his dead wife in the mail.  Through those he begins to learn that he might not have known his wife as well as he thought he did.

What I did like about this story was the way the author didn't hold back on the reality of what one goes through when losing a spouse.  I thought the feelings and emotions that Luke had came across as very real and very raw.  Especially once he starts learning how to move on without feeling guilty. As he begins to unearth Natalie's secrets, it  made me think about how well you really know someone.  I also had to wonder at Natalie's motivation for slowly revealing everything over time in letters after she died.  In a way, it kind of seemed like a slow torture, but maybe it was better since he could slowly get used to them.  I'm not sure what would be better.

I'm not going to go into too much of the plot.  There are a few twists and surprises that the reader really should learn about along with Luke.  My only complaint was the ending.  For me it was too abrupt and kind of left me hanging.  I'm never a fan of those.  Despite that, I do recommend this one.  It's an emotional ride, but definitely one worth taking.

About Emily Bleeker

Emily Bleeker is a former educator who discovered her passion for writing after introducing a writer’s workshop to her students. She soon found a whole world of characters and stories living inside of her mind. It took a battle with a rare form of cancer to give her the courage to share that amazing world with others. Emily lives in suburban Chicago with her husband and four kids. Between writing and being a mom, she attempts to learn guitar, sings along to the radio (loudly), and embraces her newfound addiction to running. Connect with her or request a Skype visit with your book club

Connect with Emily

Purchase Links

Emily Bleeker’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, March 14th: Book Mama Blog
Tuesday, March 15th: Why Girls Are Weird
Wednesday, March 16th: Buried Under Books
Thursday, March 17th: Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous
Monday, March 21st: Just Commonly
Monday, March 21st: 5 Minutes for Books
Tuesday, March 22nd: Mom’s Small Victories
Wednesday, March 23rd: Bibliotica
Thursday, March 24th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, March 28th: Books a la Mode
Tuesday, March 29th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, March 30th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, March 31st: Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, April 4th: BookNAround
Tuesday, April 5th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Wednesday, April 6th: Ace and Hoser Blog
Friday, April 8th: A Splendid Messy Life

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Blog Tour: Perfectly Broken by Robert Burke Warren

Author: Robert Burke Warren
Publisher: Story Plant
Date of publication: March 2016

His rock star days may be behind him, but stay-at-home dad Grant Kelly’s life is getting more interesting by the day. It’s the beginning of the post 9/11 era, and he and his wife and four-year-old son have traded a New York City apartment for a Catskills farmhouse, where ghosts from the past, worries for the future, and temptations in the present converge to bring about drastic changes in their marriage, their friendships, and their family.

A gorgeously nuanced novel with unforgettable characters, Perfectly Broken is a story of human frailty, the endurance of the heart, and the power and possibility of forgiveness.

Perfectly Broken is a great title for this book. Everyone in the book was broken in one way or another.   The book focuses on Grant who is a former rocker, stay at home dad and uncertain about the future.  His wife has lost her job and they have decided to move out of the city to try to get back on their feet.  I was a little wary of this book.  I wasn't sure if I would like the story.  But in the end, I found that Grant's story relatable in some ways.   

This book isn't exactly uplifting throughout most of it.  In fact, everyone in it is kind of a mess. But one thing I liked about this book was the writing. I felt like the author did a great job of putting me in Grant's shoes. It's 2 years after 9/11, when everyone was still iffy about the future.  I could really feel Grant's uncertainty about his marriage and being a father.  You know...when your life hasn't ended up where you thought it would.  How do you make peace with the past and figure out how to love your present and future?  I've also been through that panic of turning away for one second and your kid is gone.  It makes you wonder if you are really cut out for the job. I think a lot of parents go through that when they first start out. 

The characters are really what drive this novel.  I really hated Grant's choices, but I was really rooting for him to figure things out.  I hated Beth's choices as well, but I found myself rooting for her as well.  In fact, I found myself rooting for everyone to figure things out. I was about the same age as the characters in this book in 2003.  It think that is why the book really spoke to me.  It made me feel really nostalgic for the late 80s and 90s.  Even though I wasn't a fan of 90s music in general. Music is something that make memories more vivid in our minds, right?

I hope you will give this book a shot.  I was surprised at how much I ended up liking it.  I look forward for more from this talented writer in the future.

About Robert Burke Warren

Robert Burke Warren is a musician and writer whose work has appeared in Paste, Salon, The Bitter Southerner, The Good Men Project, The Rumpus, The Woodstock Times, Texas Music, Brooklyn Parent, Chronogram, The Weeklings, and the Da Capo anthology, The Show I’ll Never Forget. He lives in the Catskill Mountains with his family. This is his first novel.

Find out more about Robert at his blog and connect with him on Facebook.

Purchase Links

Tour Stops
Tuesday, March 8th: Vox Libris
Wednesday, March 9th: Becklist
Thursday, March 10th: I’m Shelf-ish
Monday, March 14th: Worth Getting in Bed For
Tuesday, March 15th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Thursday, March 17th: she treads softly
Friday, March 18th: Art @ Home
Tuesday, March 22nd: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Wednesday, March 23rd: An Unconventional Librarian
Monday, March 28th: Everyday I Write the Book
Tuesday, March 29th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, March 30th: The Book Chick
Thursday, March 31st: Chaos is a Friend of Mine
Monday, April 4th: bookchickdi

Monday, March 28, 2016

Books We Didn't Finish - March Edition

Try Not to Breathe - I tried several times to finish this book.  I even tried to listen to the audiobook.  I just couldn't get past 40%.  The problem for me was that there were too many points of view. It was also kind of boring. It felt like it was taking forever to get to the point.  I also had a hard time connecting with the characters, especially the reporter. It just wasn't for me.

The Dead House - This book was such a mess.  I made it through 2 discs on the audiobook before I gave up.  I think it had great potential to be a good ghost story or psychological thriller, but not both.  I also didn't like the format it was written in. The articles and diary entries got confusing.  It was just kind of all over the place for me.

I didn't finish The Dead House either.  I think I got a little further than Kari but the premise of the book was just really kooky.  The format of the book probably worked a little better in print than in audiobook format.  It was probably a really good idea in theory to have the interviews and the spooky music piped in and all that stuff.  Some audiobooks can do it really well, this one just made it really corny.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

March Mini Musings

A Good Marriage: I listened to the audio version of this novella.  It was originally part of the author's collection Full Dark No Stars.  I thought this was good.  The reveal was really disturbing.  It reminded me of the old Stephen King that I know and love.  Definitely worth a read.  I may have to track down the book and read the other ones in the collection.

The Infamous Heir: A great historical romance to warm your heart.  I loved the characters in this book.  Ethan and Roselyn were perfect for each other. I liked the "Spare Heir" society idea.  It was refreshing to read about the second son finding love and acceptance.  I definitely want to continue with the series.

The Guest Room:  I read this awhile back and it was a good book.  It was about a bachelor party that ends up in murder.  The hired "dancers" end up being sex slaves desperate the escape their captors.  The entire event takes place in an upscale, New England suburb so it ends up making the national news and tests the boundaries of the relationships of all involved.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Polos

by:  Rebecca Polos
published by:  Balzar + Bray
publish date:  January 26, 2016

All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It’s the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. 

Now Imogene is seventeen, and her father, a famous author of medical mysteries, has struck out in the middle of the night and hasn’t come back.  Neither Imogene’s stepmother nor the police know where he could’ve gone, but Imogene is convinced he’s looking for her mother. And she decides it’s up to her to put to use the skills she’s gleaned from a lifetime of reading her father’s books to track down a woman she’s only known in stories in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she’s carried with her for her entire life.

This was one of those random library picks that ended up being super good.  I always love a surprisingly good read.

Imogene doesn't know anything of her mother except for the few stories her father has told her over the years.  Now, her father has gone missing leaving her alone with her stepmother.  When she is dissatisfied with the lack of response by the police, she decides to embark upon her own search for her father.  After all, she knows him better than anyone else.  She thinks that he has gone looking for her mother and she has the clues to find her.  

This was a good YA mystery.  Imogene had to rely on people that she didn't want to and develop relationships that she didn't expect.  It was a very well written, very well laid out mystery book.   I'm really excited to find out about this new writer.  I can't wait to read more from Rebecca Podos in the future.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Total Package by Stephanie Evanovich

Author: Stephanie Evanovich
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: March 2016

Heartthrob star quarterback Tyson Palmer has it all: a million-dollar arm, a winning season and the promise of a Superbowl ring. But more importantly, football’s biggest star is the ultimate comeback kid. After an addiction to painkillers nearly derailed his career, Tyson got sober and went from zero to hero in the eyes of the public.

But one person remains unconvinced: Dani Carr, a sports commentator with high ratings and following of her own.
Dani can’t forgive Tyson’s transgressions or forget a single passionate night with him back in college. To make things worse, Tyson doesn’t realize that the bombshell with huge ratings is the cute co-ed whose heart he once broke.

But can a sports journalist trying to claw her way to the top and a quarterback who knows all about rock bottom make it to the Super Bowl without destroying each other? And what will happen when Tyson—riding high now that he’s revived his career—realizes he needs to make an even more important comeback with Dani? Can he use his million-dollar moves to get past her defenses—or will she sideline him for good?

I really like this author's first two books, so I was eager to get my hands on The Total Package. Wile it can be read as a stand alone, it does take place, partly, in the world of the first two books.  That means we get to see some old friends.  In this book, Tyson is at his lowest point in his life when her runs into Dani (Ella) at homecoming.  She has always regretted not hooking up with him in college and decides now is the time.  She also thinks she can save him in the process.  But like any addict, he can't see past the quick night with her and his next fix.  Meeting up again years later, Tyson is now clean and Dani has a secret.

I have kind of mixed feelings about this story.  While I did ultimately enjoy the book, I didn't love it as much as her first two books.  My most favorite part about The Total Package was Tyson.  I liked his journey to becoming clean and turning his life around.  I wish we could have seen more of his return to the football world and how he navigated that. But with the time jump ahead 5 years, it wasn't there. That was a little disappointing.  He was a great and humble character who didn't end up having a huge ego.  I found myself rooting for him.  I also did like Dani.  Normally, I'm not a fan of the "secret baby" story line, but I ended up agreeing with her reasons for keeping Brendan a secret.  Not being able to trust that Tyson was sincere about his change was pretty valid.

What I didn't ultimately love about the book was the relationship between Dani and Tyson.  For me they weren't really together enough to love their HEA.  That is what I loved about the first two books.  The main characters in those books spent a lot of time together in the story, so the reader gets to see the love really grow.  Dani and Tyson were barely together.  So, for me, this book was more about personal second chances and forgiveness than it was a love story.  Everyone deserves to start over and with hard work can make things right.  

In the end, I do recommend this book.  Ms. Evanovich has a talent for creating interesting characters that you can't help fall in love with.  I would recommend reading this one more for those characters and less for a love story.  You won't be sorry.

About Stephanie Evanovich

Stephanie Evanovich is a full-fledged Jersey girl who attended New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts, performed with several improvisational troupes, and acted in a few small-budget movies, all in preparation for the greatest job she ever had: raising her two sons. Now a full-time writer, she’s an avid sports fan who holds a black belt in tae kwon do.
Find out more about Stephanie at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Purchase Links

Tour Stops
Tuesday, March 15th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Wednesday, March 16th: Books and Bindings
Wednesday, March 16th: A Soccer Mom’s Book Blog
Thursday, March 17th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Friday, March 18th: Walking With Nora
Monday, March 21st: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, March 22nd: FictionZeal
Wednesday, March 23rd: Reading Reality
Thursday, March 24th: Luxury Reading
Friday, March 25th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, March 28th: Sarah Reads Too Much
Tuesday, March 29th: Read-Love-Blog
Wednesday, March 30th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Wednesday, March 30th: Stephany Writes
Thursday, March 31st: Book Journey

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Dead Connection by Alafaire Burke

Author: Alafair Burke
First published in 2007 by Henry, Holt & Co.

When two young women are murdered on the streets of New York, exactly one year apart, Detective Ellie Hatcher is called up for a special assignment on the homicide task force. The killer has left behind a clue connecting the two cases to First Date, a popular online dating service, and Flann McIlroy, an eccentric, publicity-seeking homicide detective, is convinced that only Ellie can help him pursue his terrifying theory: someone is using the lure of the Internet and the promise of love to launch a killing spree against the women of New York City. 
To catch the killer, Ellie must enter a high-tech world of stolen identities where no one is who they appear to be. And for her, the investigation quickly becomes personal: she fits the profile of the victims, and she knows firsthand what pursuing a sociopath can do to a cop--back home in Wichita, Kansas, her father lost his life trying to catch a notorious serial murderer. 
When the First Date killer begins to mimic the monster who destroyed her father, Ellie knows the game has become personal for him, too. Both hunter and prey, she must find the killer before he claims his next victim--who could very well be her.

I have read and really enjoyed the last two books in this series.  I finally got around to going back to the beginning to see how Ellie got started.  In Dead Connection, Ellie is a rookie detective who is temporarily transferred to a homicide division to work on a potential serial killer case.  She goes undercover on an online dating site to try to catch the killer.

I really enjoyed this mystery.  I thought the whole story was well planned out with a big twist in the end. I really wasn't expecting the reveal in the end.  I like Ellie's character a lot.  Even in her rookie years, she still had the same determination and smarts that I found in her in her later books. It was nice to see she stayed consistent.

My only complaint with this throwback was not in the story itself, but in the audiobook.  The story is told form a female point of view (Ellie's) yet the narrator was a male.  That was just odd to me especially since he didn't have a great female voice when Ellie was speaking.  Not a big deal, but it still got to me a bit.

The next book in the series is Angel's Tip, so keep an eye out for it here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Blog Tour: Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis

We are excited to be a part of Jill Shalvis's blog tour promoting her latest book, Nobody But You.  We have a special interview and excerpt for you.  Enjoy them after my thoughts on the book!

Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
March 2016

When Jacob was injured in the war, it changed him for life. Now all he wants to do is come home to Cedar Ridge, settle in at his lakeside cabin and get some much-needed peace and quiet. But there's no peace to be had when he finds a spitfire of a woman camping out on his property. Half the time he's not sure whether he wants to spank her or kiss--or maybe both. He's in a dark place and a dark mood, and here's this wildly hot woman who is also funny and light and may be the balm be needs to soothe his aching soul.

Sophie Marren is pretty much penniless after leaving her abusive husband. She doesn't have the money to pay rent or the slip fees for docking the boat where she's been sleeping. She was getting along just perfectly until the good-looking, brooding, I'm-too-sexy-for-myself guy moves into the lake cabin that the slip belongs to. Sure he's hot as the noon sun with those dark lens and even darker 'tude, but god forbid she tie herself to another man who's always telling her what to do. But the more she gets to know Jacob, the more she sees how willing he is to battle for her wounded heart...a battle she might just let him win.

Have I mentioned before how in love with this series I am?  I know I reviewed the first two in last month's mini musings.  Nobody But You is the third book and Jacob's story.  The long lost Kincaid brother has returned home after 8 long years.  After the horrors of war and losing his brother-in-arms, all he wants is to reclaim his family and home.  He didn't bargain on meeting red-headed Sophie and being thrown for a loop.  Sophie just wants to recover from her divorce and move on with her life.  Preferable without men, but Jacob might be able to worm his way past her walls.

This is definitely my favorite out of the series so far.  I loved Jacob. He has now been added to my ever growing list of book boyfriends.  I was really rooting for him to figure out that everyone wanted him home.  I was also pulling for him and his twin Hudson to figure out how to be brothers again.  More that that though, I loved him and Sophie together.  They just totally fit.  Sophie's unpredictability made for some funny scenes.  I also loved their game in the beginning. I would play "three truths and one lie" with Jacob any time!

Before I let you get to the interview and excerpt, I have to mention the "three months later" portion of the story. After reading that little teaser, I REALLY hope we get Kenna and Mitch's story.  I'll even take a novella!  I hope you are listening, Ms Shalvis.  But really if you have't delved into this series yet, start off with Second Chance Summer.  You won't be sorry!

And now for a special Q&A from the author:

What scene from NOBODY BUT YOU was the most fun to write?
Maybe when she gets seasick and nearly throws up on his shoes.

What can you tell us about Jacob and Sophie that we won’t find in the book?
Jacob has a secret sweet tooth and he stops at the convenience store for a daily candy bar.  Sophie too.  And one day, maybe a year from now, they’ll run into each other doing it and laugh.

As a romance novelist, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve given, or received, about relationships?
To remember in telling the story that there’s three sides to every story.  His.  Hers.  And then truth. 


She eyed the bench a long beat but did eventually sit, perching primly as far from him as she could get and yet still be close enough to grab the bottle.

Smart woman.

She took the Scotch and drank. Her eyes watered and she coughed as she handed it to him. With a sigh, she leaned back to study the night sky. Her bared throat was slim and creamy smooth. An unexpected temptation. Remembering the flash of pain and vulnerability she’d unwittingly revealed, and that for whatever reason he’d somehow added to it, he spoke. “I’m sorry.”

She glanced at him as if she’d never heard a man apologize before in her life. “For…breathing?” she asked. “Having a penis? What?”

“You were upset because you didn’t know I was a Kincaid.”

She sighed. “That was just me looking for a reason to be mad at you so I wouldn’t…”

She bit her lower lip, clearly not wanting to go on.

But now he had to know. “So you wouldn’t what?”

“Nothing,” she said. “It’s just that I’m trying to make better choices.”

“Of which I wouldn’t be one.”

“It’s not necessarily your fault,” she said. “It’s that you’re a man.”

“Guilty as charged.”

“And I’m off men right now.”

“And on…women?” he asked with admittedly more than a little fascination.

She rolled her eyes. “I’m on no one, but thank you for proving my point on men.”

“I get that,” he said. “But being off men doesn’t seem to be making you very happy, or sound like a whole lot of fun.”

“Maybe I don’t need fun.”

He understood that. He’d felt the same way since Brett died. “What do you need?” he asked, honestly wanting to know more about her.

Instead of answering, she reached for the bottle. He waited until she met his gaze before letting go.
“Nothing,” she said a little too quickly. “Everything’s…perfect.”

“And your glass is half full,” he said. “So you’ve said.”

But he didn’t believe her. “How about a game?”

“I don’t play games.”

Now, that wasn’t exactly true. Whether she knew it or not, she’d been playing with  his head since he’d first laid eyes on her. “Three truths and a lie,” he said.

She stared at him. “As in you tell me three truths and a lie, and I pick out the lie?”


She considered this. “What do I get if I win?”

“What do you want?”

For the briefest of beats, her gaze dropped to his mouth.

Oh, hell yeah, he thought. Want me…

“My first boyfriend taught me that game,” she said.

“What did the winner get?”

“A kiss.”

Definitely still playing with his head… “Is that what you want, Sophie? A kiss?”

Again she stared at his mouth before dropping eye contact and wrapping that eye-stopping pink robe tighter around her body. “Do you?” she asked.

“Hell yes.”

Her gaze flew to his.

“Problem is,” he said conversationally, “if I kissed you, I don’t think I’d be able to stop.”

Her mouth literally fell open. The pulse at the base of her throat jumped. And she seemed to lose her words.

He went on. “But you should know, I don’t lose. That means you’ll have to tell me three truths and a lie.” And he’d hopefully get to know more about her.
She closed her mouth to bite her lower lip in what could’ve been indecision or excitement. Obviously he was hoping for the latter. “But hey, if you’re not sure you can handle losing, we can just forget about it,” he said.

The challenge lifted her chin and put sparks in her eyes. That’s it, babe. Show me what you’ve got.
“Bring it,” she said.

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

About the author:

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Jill’s Social Media:
T: @jillshalvis
IG: @jillshalvis

Buy Links

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

by:  Jennifer Donnelly
published by:  Random House Delacourte
publish date:  October 10, 2015

Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.

Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead.  The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets.  Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. Only now it might be too late to stop.

This book takes place at the end of the 19th century.  Jo is a girl from a privileged family.  She's going to finishing school, but she really wants to become a reporter.  However, her family would never allow this.  Then, her father dies under mysterious circumstances.  Jo doesn't accept what she is being told about his death and begins to investigate what happened.  She meets Eddie, a young reporter, who helps her along the way.  He helps her realize that there is a whole lot more to life than the pampered life she's been living.

I thought this was a pretty good YA mystery.  I liked the historical aspects of it.  It takes place in New York City at the end of the 19th century and I always like to read about that particular time in history.  I would recommend this one to the YA readers.  Especially fans of historical fiction and mysteries.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Hard to Handle by RC Boldt

Author: RC Boldt
Publisher:  RC Boldt Publishing
Date of publication: February 2016

RC Boldt's Teach Me series gives us a closer look at just how thin the line is between love and hate… 

Fifth grade social studies teacher, Laney Kavanaugh, is no stranger to being left behind – her father taught her that at a young age. That's why she always has her eyes wide open when it comes to men. She's determined she will never again be the one left behind. She doesn't let sex blur what they're really doing; it's always just sex. 

Until Zach. 

Zachariah Mayson, fifth grade writing and English teacher, has been the bane of Laney's existence from the moment they met at their shared elementary school. She can't stand him. He gets under her skin like no other and is always utterly obnoxious in his attempts–and successes–in getting a rise out of her. 

Until the wedding. 

Hard to Handle is the second book in the Teach Me series.  Zach and Laney have been teacher "frenemies" for eight years. They are always sniping at each other.  However Zach secretly wants it to stop and become more than friends.  Laney has sworn off love and commitment ever since her father left when she was little.  

I really enjoyed this one, even though it was really gut wrenching at times. I will admit that I wanted to strangle Laney throughout most of this book. Zach was so in love with her and she was not wanting to see  any of that because of her childhood.  I loved seeing that Zach really wasn't a jerk,  It all just ended up being the only way he could get Laney to pay attention to him.  I don't want to say to much about the plot.  Just go read it.  The ending is super sweet.  I promise you will love it!

About the author:

RC Boldt is the wife of Mr. Boldt, a retired Navy Chief, mother of Little Miss Boldt, and former teacher of many students. She currently lives on the coast of North Carolina but dreams of relocating to a tropical island. When she's not writing, she can be found daydreaming of relocating to a tropical island, at the beach, going running with her family (and contemplating *gently* tossing her daughter out of the jogging stroller to reduce weight resistance), singing karaoke, harassing her husband or relaxing with a good book. And, let's be honest. Most of those activities listed probably include wine or a good microbrew. Except for the running. In that case, the drinks come afterward. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Joint Review: The Widow by Fiona Barton

Author: Fiona Barton
Publisher: Berkley NAL
Date of publication: February 2016

Jean Taylor’s life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she’d ever wanted: her Prince Charming. 

Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of unimaginable evil.

But now Glen is dead and she’s alone for the first time, free to tell her story on her own terms.

This book was one of those slow to grow on you stories.  I kept wondering "where is it going?"  I couldn't understand what the big deal was and why did all these people care about this woman's husband dying?  Finally, about halfway through, the lights came on.  It was a really captivating story from there on out.  It was hard to decide if this marriage was a like attracting like, as in they were both crazy people, or if he drove her to become quietly out of her mind.  It seemed like he was a sociopath from the beginning but her changes were more insidious.  Either way, it was a good, creepy story.  Just the kind I like.

This was an unexpected surprise for me.  I ended up really liking the story.  The alternating points of view helped keep up the suspense and the pacing.  The reveals came just at the right time without giving away too much too soon.  What I liked most was the ending.  It was really spine chilling and creepy. I thought the writing was really good for a debut novel. Definitely a book worth checking out and definitely an author to watch!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Interview with Terri L. Austin, author of His to Keep

We are really excited to have Terri Austin with us for a Q&A.  She is promoting her latest book, His to Keep!  Enjoy!

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of publication: March 2016

Iain wasn’t just rough around the edges—he was uncivilized, despite all the elegant trappings and expensive suits. And Brynn wanted more of it. She wanted Iain in full-on barbarian mode.
She wanted to be taken.

Filthy rich British bad boy Iain Chapman made a name for himself as a ruthless businessman, but if he can secure an investment from Vegas powerhouse Trevor Blake, Iain could take his business to the next level. Solution? Hire beautifully timid corporate trainer—and Trevor’s sister-in-law—Brynn Campbell and seduce his way to success.

Brynn’s everything Iain is not: kind, delicate, decent. But she’s also got a taste for something a little beastly, and it doesn’t take long for Iain to break through her every inhibition. Brynn was supposed to be his pawn, but as Iain gets closer to his goal, he begins to realize he’s not ready to let her go, not now, not ever—even if it costs him everything.

Kari& Autumn: What inspired you to become a writer?

TLA: From the time I was a little girl, I’ve heard characters talking—not only to me, but to each other. I’d see their stories played out in my mind. It seemed natural to start writing down their conversations.

Kari& Autumn: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?

TLA: I’m an avid reader. Not only books, but news, blogs, anything I can get my hands on really. I get my stories from the world around me. I’ll read a snippet of an article or overhear someone when I’m in a restaurant and an idea will spark.

Kari& Autumn: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

TLA: I’m working on a new series with Irish expats who inhabit a bare knuckle fight club. It’s called, naturally enough, the Irish Brawlers series. It’s set in Chicago, and I’m having a blast getting to know all the characters.

Kari& Autumn: Who is your favorite literary character?

TLA: As a kid, I read The Little House on the Prairie books over and over. Laura was so adventurous. As an adult, I’ve been obsessed with the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. Mac is such a fascinating character.

Kari& Autumn: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

TLA: I’d be one of Queen Elizabeth’s corgis. You know those dogs are treated better than some of the lesser royals. I’m not above being a pampered pooch. 

Get your copy today!:

About Terri Austin:

Award nominated author, Terri L. Austin, spends her time dreaming up fierce heroes and snarky heroines. At night, she watches too much reality TV, then blogs about it the next day. She met her own Prince Charming in the middle of a bridal shop, and they’ve been together ever since. 

Catch up with her on Twitter, Facebook, or at She loves to hear from readers.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Blog Tour: The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer

Author: Kate Hamer
Publisher: Melville House
Date of publication: February 2016

Newly single mom Beth has one constant, gnawing worry: that her dreamy eight-year-old daughter, Carmel, who has a tendency to wander off, will one day gomissing.

And then one day, it happens: On a Saturday morning thick with fog, Beth takes Carmel to a local outdoor festival, they get separated in the crowd, and Carmel is gone.

Shattered, Beth sets herself on the grim and lonely mission to find her daughter, keeping on relentlessly even as the authorities tell her that Carmel may be gone for good.

Carmel, meanwhile, is on a strange and harrowing journey of her own—to a totally
unexpected place that requires her to live by her wits, while trying desperately to
keep in her head, at all times, a vision of her mother …

The Girl in the Red Coat definitely drew me in right away.  It was a hard and emotional book to read.  As a parent, I think that is one of my worst child disappears and I have to try to figure out how to move on.  This story is told in alternating points of view.  We have Beth who loses her 8 year old daughter and her heart breaking count down of the days after. Then, we have Carmel's point of view.  This book is unique in that we get to see what actually happened to the child after she was taken.  Carmel's story is told through her 8 year old eyes and it is equally heart breaking.

I found Beth's story to be honest and sad.  It was heard to watch her struggle to continue on with her life after Carmel disappears. The red shoe scene was gut wrenching! But, even with the thought of never seeing her child again, she is still able to find a future.  I found Carmel's storyline more fascinating.  I liked that is was told through her 8 year old innocence.  And how even at that age, she is able to find coping skills to try to keep her identity.  That is really all I want to say about plot. You need to read it to find out what happened.

With that said, I was a bit disappointed with the ending.  For me, it was bit abrupt.  I wanted more resolution and to find out what happened next.  Overlooking that, I did like the rest of the book and do recommend giving this debut a try.
About Kate Hamer

KATE HAMER is a winner of the Rhys Davies Short Story Prize. Girl in the Red Coat is her first novel. It is shortlisted for the Costa Book Award for First Novel and a finalist for The Dagger Award. She lives in Cardiff, Wales with her husband and two children.
Kate Hamer’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, February 15th: Fictionophile
Tuesday, February 16th: Dreams, Etc.
Wednesday, February 17th: Life is Story
Thursday, February 18th: Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Monday, February 22nd: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, February 23rd: A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, February 24th: Laura’s Reviews
Monday, February 29th: Kahakai Kitchen
Tuesday, March 1st: A Book A Week
Wednesday, March 2nd: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, March 3rd: Luxury Reading
Friday, March 4th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Monday, March 7th: Raven Haired Girl
Tuesday, March 8th: Books That Hook
Thursday, March 10th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, March 11th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Monday, March 14th: A Bookworm’s World 
Tuesday, March 15th: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Wednesday, March 16th: The Well Read Redhead
Friday, March 18th: From the TBR Pile