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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Review: Pretend You're Safe by Alexandra Ivy

Author: Alexandra Ivy
Publisher: Zebra
Date of publication: August 2017

HE SEES YOU
First came the floods. Then came the bodies. The victims—strangled, then buried along the shores of the Mississippi—have finally been unearthed, years after they disappeared. He remembers every satisfying kill . . . each woman’s terror and agony. But there’s only one he truly wanted. And fate has brought her within reach again . . .

HE KNOWS YOU
Jaci Patterson was sixteen when she found the first golden locket on her porch. Inside were a few strands of hair wrapped around a scrap of bloodstained ribbon. Though the “gifts” kept arriving, no one believed her hunch that a serial killer was at work. Now Jaci has returned home . . . and the nightmare is starting once more.

AND HE’LL NEVER LET YOU GO
Back then, Rylan Cooper was an arrogant deputy sheriff convinced that Jaci was just an attention—seeking teen. It was a fatal mistake. There’s a murderer in their midst, someone determined to settle old scores and keep playing a twisted game. And it won’t end until Jaci is his forever . . .


In Pretend You're Safe, a local farm is flooded when the levies break during heavy rains.  A dead body and a skull rise to the surface.  Jaci is worried the bodies may be connected to the mysterious lockets she received in high school.  Rylan once thought Jaci was over reacting, but when she gets a new locket after the flood, he sets out to help find the killer.

This was a fairly enjoyable romantic suspense.  There was a pretty solid mystery.  I definitely kept me guessing because there were several suspects.  So, I didn't call the ending because I was sure the killer was someone else.  Looking back, though, I can see the clues that I should have picked up on.  We do get the killer's point of view throughout the book and added to the suspense.  The characters were OK. I did like Jaci and Rylan separately.  It was nice to see Jaci finally believed by law enforcement. They did have a history, but their romance was a bit tepid for me.  There wasn't any real heat.  Truth be told, I would have been fine without the romance part.  I guess I just wanted a bit more between them.  I would love to see if Michael and Payton get a book.  The next book, What are You Afraid of?  is out now and is on my TBR pile.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Blog Tour: Review of The Spite Game by Anna Snoekstra


Author: Anna Snoekstra
Publisher: Mira
Date of  publication: November 1. 2018

Everyone does bad things when no one is watching

Mercilessly bullied in high school, Ava knows she needs to put the past behind her and move on, but she can’t—not until she’s exacted precise, catastrophic revenge on the people who hurt her the most.
First, she watches Saanvi. Flawlessly chic and working hard at a top architectural firm, Saanvi has it all together on the surface. But everyone does bad things when they think no one is watching and Ava only wants what’s fair—to destroy Saanvi’s life the way her own was destroyed.
Next, she watches Cass. She’s there as Cass tries on wedding dresses, she’s there when Cass picks out a cake, she’s there when Cass betrays her fiancé. She’s the reason Cass’s entire future comes crashing down.

Finally, Ava watches Mel. Mel was always the ringleader and if anyone has to pay, it’s her. But one tiny slip-up and Ava realizes the truth: Mel knows she’s being watched, and she’s ready to play Ava’s games to the bitter end.

The Spite Game is about Ava who was bullied in high school by three mean girls.  Unable to let it go, she sets out to seek revenge on them later in life.  I'll be honest, I can't put my finger on what I feel about this book.  In a way, I liked it because who doesn't like a good revenge story. The ending did have a ice twist.  But on the other hand, I felt kind of unsatisfied by the end. Because, how much did Ava really change?

I struggled to like Ava or feel sorry for her. A lot what happened to her in her life was her own fault. Yes, she was bullied and what happened to her was gross. But once she got out of school, wasn't it time to get over it and move on? I mean we all have hurts from our school days.  Yet, she never really did; going so far as to almost lose what was right in front of her.  Every time Ava got "revenge", it didn't seem to make her any happier.  I think I'll have to put this one out as one to read and judge for yourself.  It was compelling enough for me to finish yet it left me a bit unsettled in the end.  I'll probably be thinking about this one for a while.


Purchase Links

About Anna Snoekstra


Anna Snoekstra was born in Canberra, Australia to two civil servants. At the age of seventeen she decided to avoid a full time job and a steady wage to move to Melbourne and become a writer. She studied Creative Writing and Cinema at The University of Melbourne, followed by Screenwriting at RMIT University.

After finishing university, Anna wrote for independent films and fringe theatre, and directed music videos. During this time, she worked as a christmas elf, cheesemonger, a waitress, a barista, a nanny, a receptionist, a cinema attendant and a film reviewer.

Connect with Anna

Instagram Tour:
Monday, October 29th: @_ebl_inc_
Monday, October 29th: @amberafterglowreads
Tuesday, October 30th: @ladyofthelibrary
Wednesday, October 31st: @bookishconnoisseur
Thursday, November 1st: @jessicamap
Thursday, November 1st: @dropandgivemenerdy
Friday, November 2nd: @girlsinbooks
Saturday, November 3rd: @bookclubwithbite
Saturday, November 3rd: @love_my_dane_sailor
Sunday, November 4th: @bookishwinterwitch
Sunday, November 4th: @jennblogsbooks


Review Tour:
Monday, October 29th: @scaredstraightreads
Tuesday, October 30th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, October 31st: Jathan & Heather – review and excerpt
Thursday, November 1st: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Friday, November 2nd: Wining Wife
Monday, November 5th: @wherethereadergrows
Wednesday, November 7th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, November 8th: Why Girls Are Weird
Friday, November 9th: Books & Bindings
Monday, November 12th: Midwest Ladies Who Lit
Tuesday, November 13th: Staircase Wit
Tuesday, November 13th: @thecityofdarkclockwork
Wednesday, November 14th: @mountain_reader and Really Into This
Thursday, November 15th: Books a la Mode – excerpt
Friday, November 16th: @novelgossip
Tuesday, November 20th: @bibliotrix.lestrange
Friday, November 23rd: Kahakai Kitchen


Monday, October 29, 2018

Books I Didn't Finish - October Edition



The Disappearances: I found this book incredibly boring.  I got about halfway and gave up.  The "disappearances" made no sense.  I didn't understand the variants magic.  I didn't like any of the characters.  I wouldn't recommend it.

House: I didn't care fore this one.  I tried to hang in with the book, but it was just too crazy.  I DNF'd at 50%. I disliked the characters.  The story made no sense.  It was crude and a bit too violent to me. Another one I wouldn't recommend. 

Wicked and Wallflower: I think I am going to have to admit defeat with this author.  This is the third book I have DNF'd by her lately.  This one was not fun.  The heroine kept throwing herself at the hero.  The bet against his brother made no sense to me.  Felicity's family was horrible.  And for a women who doesn't want to bring scandal to he family, she keep sneaking out.  I gave up after I heard Devil call he Felicity Faircloth for the 200th time.  That got really old.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Review: Dead Ringers by Christopher Golden

Author: Christopher Golden
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Date of publication: November 2015

When Tess Devlin runs into her ex-husband Nick on a Boston sidewalk, she's furious at him for pretending he doesn't know her. She calls his cell to have it out with him, only to discover that he's in New Hampshire with his current girlfriend. But if Nick's in New Hampshire...who did she encounter on the street?

Frank Lindbergh's dreams have fallen apart. He wanted to get out of the grim neighborhood where he'd grown up and out of the shadow of his alcoholic father. Now both his parents are dead and he's back in his childhood home, drinking too much himself. As he sets in motion his plans for the future, he's assaulted by an intruder in his living room...an intruder who could be his twin.

In an elegant hotel, Tess will find mystery and terror in her own reflection. Outside a famed mansion on Beacon Hill, people are infected with a diabolical malice...while on the streets, an eyeless man, dressed in rags, searches for a woman who wears Tess's face.


Dead Ringers was an unexpected surprise for my Halloween season reading.  It follows a group of people who realize that there are people in the city with their own faces.  These strangers are almost better and more perfect versions of themselves.  The story is told through a few different characters' perspectives. Even thought there were multiple characters, each one had a unique voice, so it wasn't hard to keep them straight.  It is set in Boston and it was fun to read a book set in a city I know well.

I found this to be a unique take on the doppelganger story-line.   I thought this story was going to go one way, but it ended up down a different path.  While I wouldn't say it was a horror book or very scary in that sense, it was definitely creepy.   It's a hard book to talk plot without giving anything away.  I did ended up getting sucked into the book right way and wanted to race to the finish.  There was a nice little twist at the end that added to the creep factor and I loved it.  I definitely recommend this one.  I would love to see this made into a movie.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

October Mini Musings




Universal Harvester:  To be honest, I'm not even sure what I read.  It was NOT the horror book that I thought I was getting.  It was instead confusing and lacked any direction.  It was disjointed and often hard to follow which perspective I was reading.  I am surprised at all of the positive reviews.Do yourself a favor and skip it.

Wild on My Mind:  This was a cute romance that dealt with forgiveness and bullying.  It deals with how we carry  bad feelings from our teens into our adult years and learning to let go of them.  I liked the ending, especially how Bowie stood up to his ex. However, I didn't care for the animal perspectives.  I'm not a fan of those in general as the usually pull me out of the narrative.

Dolly:  This is another short story that was very disappointing.  I was expecting something spooky, Who wouldn't love a haunted doll story? But I just found it boring.  The ending was supposed to be shocking, but since there was no explanation or background for it, I was not satisfied. It's a novella, so it was a quick read.  But in my opinion, not really worth it.


Friday, October 26, 2018

Spotlight: November Road by Lou Berney


Author: Lou Berney
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: October 2018

Set against the assassination of JFK, a poignant and evocative crime novel that centers on a desperate cat-and-mouse chase across 1960s America—a story of unexpected connections, daring possibilities, and the hope of second chances from the Edgar Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone.

Frank Guidry’s luck has finally run out.
A loyal street lieutenant to New Orleans’ mob boss Carlos Marcello, Guidry has learned that everybody is expendable. But now it’s his turn—he knows too much about the crime of the century: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Within hours of JFK’s murder, everyone with ties to Marcello is turning up dead, and Guidry suspects he’s next: he was in Dallas on an errand for the boss less than two weeks before the president was shot. With few good options, Guidry hits the road to Las Vegas, to see an old associate—a dangerous man who hates Marcello enough to help Guidry vanish.

Guidry knows that the first rule of running is “don’t stop,” but when he sees a beautiful housewife on the side of the road with a broken-down car, two little daughters and a dog in the back seat, he sees the perfect disguise to cover his tracks from the hit men on his tail. Posing as an insurance man, Guidry offers to help Charlotte reach her destination, California. If she accompanies him to Vegas, he can help her get a new car.

For her, it’s more than a car— it’s an escape. She’s on the run too, from a stifling existence in small-town Oklahoma and a kindly husband who’s a hopeless drunk.
It’s an American story: two strangers meet to share the open road west, a dream, a hope—and find each other on the way.

Charlotte sees that he’s strong and kind; Guidry discovers that she’s smart and funny. He learns that’s she determined to give herself and her kids a new life; she can’t know that he’s desperate to leave his old one behind.

Another rule—fugitives shouldn’t fall in love, especially with each other. A road isn’t just a road, it’s a trail, and Guidry’s ruthless and relentless hunters are closing in on him. But now Guidry doesn’t want to just survive, he wants to really live, maybe for the first time.

Everyone’s expendable, or they should be, but now Guidry just can’t throw away the woman he’s come to love.
And it might get them both killed.

Purchase Links

About Lou Berney
© Brandon Michael Smith

Lou Berney is the author of three previous novels, Gutshot Straight, Whiplash River, and multiple prize-winning The Long and Faraway Gone. His short fiction has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. He lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Find out more about Lou at his website, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Instagram Features
Tuesday, October 9th: Instagram: @shereadswithcats
Wednesday, October 10th: Instagram: @reading.betweenthewines
Thursday, October 11th: Instagram: @dropandgivemenerdy
Friday, October 12th: Instagram: @throneofshatteredbooks
Saturday, October 13th: Instagram: @thepagesinbetween
Sunday, October 14th: Instagram: @oddandbookish
Tuesday, October 16th: Instagram: @readingbetweenthe__wines

Review Stops
Wednesday, October 10th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, October 12th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Tuesday, October 16th: Lesa’s Book Critiques
Wednesday, October 17th: Books and Bindings
Thursday, October 18th: TBR, etc.
Friday, October 19th: Jathan & Heather
Monday, October 22nd: Bewitched Bookworms
Monday, October 22nd: Instagram: @girlsinbooks
Tuesday, October 23rd: Instagram: @writersdream
Wednesday, October 24th: Literary Quicksand
Thursday, October 25th: The Pages In-Between
Friday, October 26th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, October 29th: Novel Gossip
Wednesday, October 31st: Jessicamap Reviews
Thursday, November 1st: The Paperback Pilgrim
Thursday, November 1st: Dreams, Etc.
Friday, November 2nd: Instagram: @reading.wanderwoman


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Review: The Fifth to Die by J.D. Barker

Author: JD Barker
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Date of publication: July 2018

Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days. While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.

Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.


The Fifth to Die is the second book in the 4MK Thriller series.  I loved the first book, The Fourth Monkey, and was eagerly waiting to get my hands on this one.  Sam Porter is back and he and his team are on the hunt for a new killer who has been kidnapping girls and killing them.  Porter is still trying to hunt down the 4MK killer.  Once again, this author has knocked it out of the park.  It is always refreshing to read a good thriller that keeps me guessing.

The one thing I loved about this book as well as the first.  There are a lot of twists and I called none of them.  Every plot point was given out to the reader in exactly the right time frame so that there was not a lot of foreshadowing to give away anything too soon.  The story is told through multiple perspectives and sometimes that can be confusing.  I didn't really mind it in this instance.  It was almost necessary to get the whole story out.  I'm not going to talk plot points here because I don't want to give anything away. The book ends on a huge cliff hanger.  I need the next book as soon as possible because I need answers!   I highly recommend this one as well as the first.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Blog Tour: Review of Mistletoe Miracles by Jodi Thomas


Author: Jodi Thomas
Publisher: Harlequin
Date of publication: October 2018

Griffin Holloway is desperate: the Maverick Ranch has been in his family for generations, but lately, it’s a money pit. He’d sooner marry one of his horses than sell the ranch. Marriage, though, could be a solution. If he can woo a wealthy bride, he might save the ranch—just in time for Christmas.

Jaxon O’Grady likes his solitude just fine, thank you very much. But when a car accident brings the unexpected to his door, he realizes just how much one person can need another.

Crossroads is the perfect place for Jamie Johnson: avoiding nosy questions about why she’s single, she’s happy to keep to her lakeside home. So she’s baffled when she gets the strangest Christmas present of all, in the form of a Mr. Johnson, asleep on her sofa. Who is he, and why does everyone think he’s her husband?

In this uplifting novel, three unlikely couples discover just what Crossroads, Texas, can offer: romance, belonging, and plenty of Christmas spirit.

Mistletoe Miracles is actually 3 little novellas intertwined into one story.  The three stories are not really connected and could have been written separately, but I liked this format.  I'm not sure I would really say Christmas is a huge part of book, really it could have taken place at anytime of the year.  Still, I did enjoy the book and it held up well as a stand alone.

You do have to suspend some disbelief while reading this one.  Each love story takes place over a month or so, so there is a lot of insta-love.  Out of the three, I liked Jaxon's story the most.  His was really sweet and very healing.  The Johnsons was cute as well.  The one I liked least was Griffin's story as I felt the least connected to the couple.  I would recommend this one.  It's a fairly clean romance and pretty quick read.



Purchase Links

About Jodi Thomas


New York Times and USA Today’s bestselling author Jodi Thomas has published over 30 books in both the historical romance and contemporary genres, the majority of which are set in her home state of Texas. Publishers Weekly calls her novels “Distinctive…Memorable,” and that in her stories “[tension] rides high, mixed with humor and kisses more passionate than most full-on love scenes.” In 2006, Romance Writers of America (RITA) inducted Thomas into the RWA Hall of Fame for winning her third RITA for THE TEXAN’S REWARD. She also received the National Readers’ Choice Award in 2009 for TWISTED CREEK (2008) and TALL, DARK, AND TEXAN (2008). While continuing to work as a novelist, Thomas also functions as Writer in Residence at the West Texas A&M University campus, where she inspires students and alumni in their own writing pursuits.

Connect with Jodi

Jodi Thomas’ TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, September 24th: Books & Spoons
Tuesday, September 25th: Stranded in Chaos
Wednesday, September 26th: @_ebl_inc_
Monday, October 1st: Moonlight Rendezvous
Tuesday, October 2nd: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Wednesday, October 3rd: A Night’s Dream of Books
Monday, October 8th: The Romance Dish
Tuesday, October 9th: What is That Book About – excerpt
Thursday, October 11th: Written Love Reviews
Saturday, October 13th: @omg.kacie.reads
Monday, October 15th: Cheryl’s Book Nook – review and excerpt
Monday, October 15th: @remarkablylisa
Wednesday, October 17th: A Holland Reads – excerpt

Monday, October 22nd: Evermore Books
Wednesday, October 24th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, October 25th: Books & Bindings

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Blog Tour: Spotlight of Seduced by a Scot by Julia London

Author: Julia London
Publisher: Harlequin
Date of publication: November 1, 2018


There’s no matchmaking an unruly heart
When a prominent Scottish family faces a major scandal weeks before their daughter’s wedding, they turn in desperation to the enigmatic fixer for the aristocracy, Nichol Bain. Remarkably skilled at making high-profile problems go away, Nichol understands the issue immediately. The family’s raven-haired ward, Maura Darby, has caught the wandering eye—and rather untoward advances—of the groom.

Nichol assuredly escorts Maura toward his proposed solution: an aging bachelor for her to marry. But rebellious Maura has no interest in marrying a stranger, especially when her handsome traveling companion has captivated her so completely. Thankfully, Nichol loves a challenge, but traveling with the bold and brash Maura has him viewing her as far more than somebody’s problem. Which raises a much bigger issue—how can he possibly elude disaster when the heart of the problem is his own?

Purchase Links

About Julia London


Julia London is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including the popular Secrets of Hadley Green series, the Cabot Sisters series and The Highland Grooms historical romance series. She also wrote the Pine River and the Lake Haven contemporary romance series. She is a six time finalist for the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction, and RT Bookclub award recipient for Best Historical Romance for Dangerous Gentleman. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Connect with Julia

Instagram Tour Stops
Monday, October, 29th: @novelgrounds
Monday, October 29th: @omg.kacie.reads
Tuesday, October 30th: @peacelovebooksxo
Wednesday, October 31st: @book_hangover88
Thursday, November 1st: @moonlight_rendezvous
Friday, November 2nd: @remarkablylisa
Saturday, November 3rd: @girlandherbooks
Saturday, November 3rd: @sarahandherbookshelves

Review Tour Stops
Monday, October 22nd: @radbabesread
Tuesday, October 23rd: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, October 24th: Jathan & Heather
Thursday, October 25th: What is That Book About – Excerpt
Thursday, October 25th: OMGReads
Monday, October 29th: OMG Kacie Reads
Tuesday, October 30th: Becky on Books
Wednesday, October 31st: The Romance Dish – Review and Excerpt
Thursday, November 1st: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Thursday, November 1st: Broken Teepee – Excerpt
Friday, November 2nd: Romancing the Book – Review, Excerpt, and Author Q&A
Friday, November 2nd: @addicted_to_reading
Monday, November 5th: A Holland Reads
Monday, November 5th: @bookish_4_life
Tuesday, November 6th: Book Fidelity
Wednesday, November 7th: Suey Library and @sueylibrary
Wednesday, November 7th: @_wordswithatwist
Thursday, November 8th: @thebookishsisters
Friday, November 16th: Books and Blends


Monday, October 22, 2018

Blog Tour: Review of Love in Catalina Cove by Brenda Jackson

Author: Brenda Jackson
Publisher: Harlequin
Date of publication: November 1, 2018

In her brand-new series, Brenda Jackson welcomes you to Catalina Cove, where even the biggest heartbreaks can be healed…
In the wake of a devastating teen pregnancy that left her childless and heartbroken, Vashti Alcindor left Catalina Cove, Louisiana, with no plans to return. Now, over a decade later, Vashti reluctantly finds herself back in her hometown after inheriting her aunt’s B and B. Her homecoming gets off to a rocky start when the new sheriff, Sawyer Grisham, pulls her over for speeding, and things go downhill from there.

The B and B, a place she’d always found refuge in when it seemed like the whole world was against her, has fallen into disrepair. When a surprising benefactor encourages Vashti to reopen the B and B, Vashti embraces a fresh start, and soon old hurts begin to fade as she makes new memories with the town—and its handsome sheriff…

But some pasts are too big to escape, and when a bombshell of a secret changes everything she thought was true, Vashti is left reeling. With Sawyer and his teenage daughter determined to see her through the storm, though, she’s learning family isn’t always a matter of blood—sometimes it’s a matter of heart.

I know I am going to be in the minority when I say Love in Catalina Cove was just an OK read for me..  I wanted to love it, but I just didn't.  I did like the setting and most of the characters.  The little town of Catalina Cove sounds like it is a place I'd love to visit.  I also liked the two main characters, Vashti and Sawyer.  I felt bad for Vashti for what happened to her.  I also liked Sawyer's relationship with his daughter Jade.  Their relationship was really neat and fun to read.  

What I didn't care for so much was the story or the romance.  I felt no connection between Vashti and Sawyer.  I think it was supposed to be a slow burn, but it was just too slow for me.  The story, once we get to the secret surrounding Vashti. was really unbelievable.  I can suspend disbelief sometimes, but I just couldn't in this one.  There were way to many coincidences.  There was one big one that I  just couldn't believe would happen. It really lessened my enjoyment of the book. The overall book isn't badly written and I think fans of this author will try it out.  It is the first in the series, so maybe the other books will be more enjoyable for me.



Purchase Links

About Brenda Jackson

Brenda Jackson is a New York Times bestselling author of more than one hundred romance titles. Brenda lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and divides her time between family, writing and traveling.
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Connect with Brenda

Instagram tour stops:
Monday, October 22nd: @createexploreread
Monday, October 22nd: @book_hangover 88
Tuesday, October 23rd: @girlandherbooks
Tuesday, October 23rd: @thebookishsisters
Wednesday, October 24th: @novelgrounds
Thursday, October 25th: @theliteraryllama
Thursday, October 25th: @mountain_reader_
Friday, October 26th: @pnwbookworm
Saturday, October 27th: @_ebl_inc_
Sunday, October 28th: @jennblogsbooks

Review tour stops:
Monday, October 15th: Amy’s Book-et List
Tuesday, October 16th: @bookandchinooks
Friday, October 19th: Books a la Mode – excerpt
Monday, October 22nd: The Sassy Bookster
Monday, October 22nd: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, October 23rd: Books and Blends
Wednesday, October 24: Becky on Books
Thursday, October 25th: Really Into This 
Friday, October 26th: Run Wright
Monday, October 29th: The Romance Dish
Monday, October 29th: Books and Bindings
Tuesday, October 30th: Book Fidelity
Wednesday, October 31st: Books & Spoons
Thursday, November 1st: A Chick Who Reads




Sunday, October 21, 2018

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of The Heartless Boyfriend by Erika Kelly


Author: Erika Kelly
Publisher: EK Publishing, LLC
Date of publication: October 2018

There's not an athlete alive who can match Will's drive and self-discipline...until an adorable two year old and a fiery chef land on his doorstep and turn his life upside down. If he wants to keep his girls, he's going to have to learn to lead with his heart and not his mind.

Will Bowie is supposed to be training for the Olympics, but the toddler unexpectedly dropped into his life isn't interested in his schedules. Still, he's pretty sure he's got things under control...

...until a sexy chef lands on his doorstep and offers a temptation he can't resist.

Hours after losing her restaurant, chef Delilah Lua enters a cooking competition thousands of miles away from home. Winning would resurrect the dream that's been stolen from her. If--no, when--she wins, she'll go back with the capital to open her own place and enough fame to do it with flair. Her roommate, though, is a delicious surprise she hadn't anticipated...

..but she's not sure how to have her cake and eat it, too.

Despite the undeniable sparks in the kitchen, Will's not about to give his heart to a woman who's leaving, and Delilah must decide if the delectable future she could cook up with Will is worth more than a childhood dream.


The Heartless Boyfriend is the second book in the "Bad Boyfriends" series featuring the Bowie brothers.  This is Will's story.  The first book ended on a big cliff hanger with a little girl being dropped off at the house.  Will doesn't care whose daughter she is, he is determined to make her feel welcome.  Delilah ends up entering the big chef competition at the ranch to prove to her family, she can handle running a piece of the family business. Neither one is counting on how much their lives will change.

I'm not sure I have read a cuter romance than this one in a while.  I absolutely loved this story.  The romance was sweet and refreshing. Will and Delilah just fit together so perfectly.  Will had spent his whole life training and she helped him see more possibles.  Delilah was finally able to find a place to shine.  But more than the romance, I loved the story-line with Ruby.  Will has a lot of hurt from how his mother treated him when he was little.  He thinks he is heartless, but a cute little two year old helps him realize he really isn't.  I loved their relationship. The scene in her mother's house was so gut wrenching but hopeful at the same time. I'm not sure how anyone can read this without their heart melting. I don't want to say anything more.  Just go read it.  I know you'll fall for Wheel., Wally, and Ruby just like I did.



Enjoy this excerpt:

Glancing up from the faucet, she expected to see an apology in his eyes for being so cold to her. Instead, she saw impatience.
“Can I wash my hands?”
“When I finish.” She didn’t know why she’d held her ground. It wasn’t like she hadn’t cleaned the pear enough. But she was pissed at him—no, herself. God, she didn’t know. Nothing made sense. They’d been so close last night—she’d felt so comfortable with him, so free. And then he’d ruined everything with that kiss-off. I have to stay on track.
Okay, Will. Sorry for cutting in on your eight hours.
He stepped closer, reaching around her for the soap. His big, sweaty arms boxed her in, his thighs touching the backs of hers. He lathered his hands. “Let’s not make things uncomfortable for Ruby, okay?”
He was right. “I won’t.” Of course, he was.
“I’m sorry if I hurt you, and we can talk about it later, but Ruby picks up on everything, and I don’t want a strained, weird vibe in her home.”
“I know.” She didn’t need to be bitchy. It wasn’t like they’d made each other promises. They’d gotten carried away, and it had been great. “It was just sex.” She’d meant to lighten the mood, but the way he flinched—his arm grazing her bare skin—made her sizzle down to the soles of her feet. “Lackluster at that.”
“Right.” He held her gaze—hard, intense—but his words came out nonchalant. “Basic.”
“Yep. I’m all about the extra.”
“Never settle, Delilah Lua.” He clamped down on what might’ve been an awesome grin. “Never settle.”
She set the pear down and turned in his arms. “So, we’re good?”
He gave her that burning, hungry look that made desire churn and a flash fire race across her skin. “We’re good.” And then he put a hand on Ruby’s head. “I’m gonna hit the shower. You okay to stay down here with Wally?”
“Go wif you.”
He lifted his sister and headed across the living room. When his foot hit the bottom stair, he turned to her. “For what it’s worth?”
She waited.
“It was spectacular.”



About Erika Kelly:


Award-winning author Erika Kelly has been spinning romantic tales all her life--she just didn't know it. Raised on the classics, she didn't discover romantic fiction until later in life. From that moment on, she's been devouring the genre and has found her true voice as an author. Over three decades she's written poems, screenplays, plays, short stories, and all kinds of women's fiction novels. Married to the love of her life and raising four children, she's lived in two countries and seven states, but give her pen and paper, a stack of good books, and a steaming mug of vanilla chai latte and she can make her home anywhere.




Saturday, October 20, 2018

Review: The Secret Room by Sandra Block

Author: Sandra block
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Date of publican: April 2017

Her patients are dying. Some are apparent suicides and others possible accidents, but rumors are flying that Dr. Zoe Goldman is an angel of death-intentionally helping hopeless cases go to a "better place"-or, worse yet, a dangerously incompetent doctor.


As a new psychiatry fellow at the local correctional facility, Zoe is still learning the ropes while watching her back to avoid some dangerous prisoners. As the deaths mount up, Zoe is wracked with horror and guilt, feverishly trying to figure out what is going wrong and even questioning her own sanity.


What Zoe doesn't realize is that someone is targeting her patients to get to her. Someone who has access to her deepest secrets and fears. Someone who will stop at nothing to take everything Zoe has, even her life.


The Secret Room is the third book featuring Zoe Goldman, Forensic Psychiatrist.  This time around, she is finally working on her fellowship at the prison.  Patients of hers seem  to keep dying and things are looking suspicious.  This was a welcome addition to the series.  

I loved this installment.  I read it in pretty much one sitting.  Zoe has been a favorite main character of mine.  I love a flawed character and Zoe has lots of flaws.  But, she is also smart and resourceful.  I love her drive to find out what is really gong on with her patients, even if it means breaking some rules along the way.  The other characters were great as well.  I loved Mike in the end.  The mystery kept me guessing.  I was genuinely surprised at one of the reveals.  I had my suspicions about the other one and was correct.    I'm not going to discuss the plot any more than that so I won't spoil anything.    

 The only negative thing I can say about this book is that is doesn't really hold up as a stand alone. You kind of have to read the first two to be caught up on some of the characters and how they relate to Zoe. I highly recommend this one as well as the series. 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Blog Tour: Excerpt of The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox




Author: Hester Fox
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin’s Graydon House Books
Format: Digital eBook / Print
Digital ISBN: B077MKGQLR
Print ISBN: 9781525833014

Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences, but those around you, as well.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.

The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…

Add to your TBR list:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes


Excerpt:
Copyright© 2018 The Witch of Willow Hall
Hester Fox

Hello readers, I’m so excited to share an excerpt with you from my debut novel, THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL (on-sale October 2, 2018). My name is Hester Fox, and hailing from Boston, I’ve always been fascinated with the rich and oftentimes dark history of this period. My novel takes place in a small New England town over 130 years after the infamous Salem Witch trials, and features a Gothic, melancholy atmosphere, restless spirits, and of course, resilient women. I hope you enjoy this excerpt I’ve pulled for you.

~*~

Gingerly, I get up, my legs full of pins and needles from sit­ting on the floor so long. Just like the night of the woman in the garden, I can’t stay in the library knowing that someone might be there. I must go and look for myself.
Even with the sun coming through the windows, illumi­nating the wood floors and catching the light of the crystal lamps, I feel as if I’m making my way through a dark, murky passage. My feet are heavy, as if they know something that my mind does not.
The door to the dining room is closed. It beckons me, yet repels me, exuding a sense of silent occupation. My ears buzz. A singsong chorus of whispers grows as I approach.
Are you ready?
I am here.
You attract them.
Are you ready?
Prepare for what lies ahead.
Prepare.
Prepare.
They mount and mount into a dizzying jumble of sound and I run the rest of the way to the door, my heart in my chest, my eyes squeezed shut. Grasping the knob, I fling open the door. The voices die away.
I knew it would be there. But it doesn’t stop me from gasp­ing as every part of me curls back in on itself in horror. My blood turns to ice.
Seated at the table is a woman, or what used to be a woman. She sits as if she has every right to be there, as if she has always been there. A veil covers her face, but it is gauzy and thread­bare, and I can see the contours of the features beneath. Her dress is old, black as night yet opalescent as the moon through a cobweb. Paralyzed with fear, I watch as it moves about her of its own accord, a soft undulation as if she were underwater. And though I can see her as clear as day, the veiled woman in our dining room, there’s a translucence to her, and the pan­oramic wallpaper is just visible behind her. She is like nothing and no one I have ever seen before, and yet she is familiar, as if I have always known her.
“Come, child.” Her voice comes from everywhere and no­where, and when her words are finished, I have the unnerving feeling that they weren’t spoken aloud at all, but came from within my head.
She beckons me with a knobby finger, more bone than flesh.
I can’t drag my gaze away from her face, the sunken holes where there ought to be eyes, the lipless mouth, all teeth and blackness. The cold pie that I just enjoyed churns in my stom­ach and threatens to come up. She beckons me again, and I imagine those long, terrible fingers closing around my neck and choking the life out of me. I imagine them raking me across the face until ribbons of skin flutter from my skull. I stand my ground, unwilling to deliver myself up to her. She is the stuff of my novels, a grotesque horror that titillates on the page, but sends terror into my heart when in the same room as me.
She gives something like a grunt, and as if able to read my thoughts, says, “One hundred and thirty years of death is not gentle on a body. Come, do not gawk.” I dare not disobey her, so I force my leaden feet to move a few steps closer.
The smell of decay and death fills the room, sickly sweet and putrid at the same time. My stomach clenches at the memo­ries the odor brings back of Emeline in her coffin. My throat is tight, my mouth cotton, but somehow I’m able to gasp out, “W-who are you?”
She makes a noise, something between a snort and a laugh, a scraping, rattling sound, though it’s devoid of humor. “Do you not know your own forebear?”
The blackness of her dress curls around her like a snake, but she sits as motionless as if she were carved of stone. Her still­ness is suffocating, it dares the house to be silent, and punishes the sunlight for filtering in through the window.
Warily, I come to a halt at the edge of the dining room table. I don’t know what she’s talking about. “Forebear?”
“Have you not looked upon me since you were a babe? Do you not recognize in me what flows through you?”
“I…” But then it comes to me. The lace collar, though tat­tered and black as her dress, is unmistakable around her neck. “You’re the woman in the painting. Mother’s ancestor.”
The inclination of her head is small, barely perceptible.


Praise for The Witch of Willow Hall:

"Fox’s spins a satisfying debut yarn that includes witchcraft, tragedy, and love, set in 1821 New England... The inclusion of gothic elements adds a visceral feel that fans of historical fiction with a dash of the supernatural will enjoy." -Publishers Weekly

"Hester Fox's THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL offers a fascinating location, a great plot with history and twists, and characters that live and breathe. I love the novel, and will be looking forward to all new works by this talented author!" --Heather Graham, New York Times bestselling author

"Beautifully written, skillfully plotted, and filled with quiet terror, readers will devour this absorbing, Gothic tale of romance and suspense. Perfect for fans of Simone St James and Kate Morton." -- Anna Lee Huber, the national bestselling author of the historical Lady Darby Mysteries

"Beautifully written, with an intriguing plot full of suspense and mystery, The Witch of Willow Hall will cast a spell over every reader." -- Lisa Hall, author of Tell Me No Lies and Between You and Me

"I was entranced by this intriguing and spellbinding novel with its messages of love and loyalty and being true to who you really are. I hope Hester Fox goes on to write many more such novels--I for one will be buying them." -- Kathleen McGurl, author of The Girl from Ballymor

"With its sense of creeping menace and chilling undertones, this compelling story had me gripped from the first page. The vividly drawn characters cast their spell so convincingly, I couldn't stop reading until I discovered what happened to them. A wonderful debut novel.”--Linda Finlay, author of The Flower Seller

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About Hester Fox:


Hester Fox has a background in the museum field as a collections maintenance technician. This job has taken her from historic houses to fine art museums, where she has cleaned and cared for collections that range from paintings by old masters to ancient artifacts to early American furniture. She is a keen painter and has a Master's in historical archaeology, as well as a background in medieval studies and art history. Hester lives outside of Boston with her husband and their two cats.

Connect with Hester:  Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  BookBub