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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Spotlight: Excerpt from The Summer Seekers by Sarah Morgan


 
Author: Sarah Morgan
ISBN: 9781335180926
Publication Date: 5/18/2021
Publisher: HQN Books
 
Get swept into a summer of sunshine, soul-searching and shameless matchmaking with this delightfully bighearted road-trip adventure by USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan!
Kathleen is eighty years old. After she has a run-in with an intruder, her daughter wants her to move into a residential home. But she’s not having any of it. What she craves—what she needs—is adventure.
Liza is drowning in the daily stress of family life. The last thing she needs is her mother jetting off on a wild holiday, making Liza long for a solo summer of her own.
Martha is having a quarter-life crisis. Unemployed, unloved and uninspired, she just can’t get her life together. But she knows something has to change.
When Martha sees Kathleen’s advertisement for a driver and companion to share an epic road trip across America with, she decides this job might be the answer to her prayers. She's not the world's best driver, but anything has to be better than living with her parents. And traveling with a stranger? No problem. Anyway, how much trouble can one eighty-year-old woman be?
As these women embark on the journey of a lifetime, they all discover it's never too late to start over…


Buy Links: 
 

Enjoy this excerpt:

1

Kathleen

It was the cup of milk that saved her. That and the salty bacon she’d fried for her supper many hours earlier, which had left her mouth dry.

If she hadn’t been thirsty—if she’d still been upstairs, sleeping on the ridiculously expensive mattress that had been her eightieth birthday gift to herself—she wouldn’t have been alerted to danger.

As it was, she’d been standing in front of the fridge, the milk carton in one hand and the cup in the other, when she’d heard a loud thump. The noise was out of place here in the leafy darkness of the English countryside, where the only sounds should have been the hoot of an owl and the occasional bleat of a sheep.

She put the glass down and turned her head, trying to locate the sound. The back door. Had she forgotten to lock it again?

The moon sent a ghostly gleam across the kitchen and she was grateful she hadn’t felt the need to turn the light on. That gave her some advantage, surely?

She put the milk back and closed the fridge door quietly, sure now that she was not alone in the house.

Moments earlier she’d been asleep. Not deeply asleep—that rarely happened these days—but drifting along on a tide of dreams. If someone had told her younger self that she’d still be dreaming and enjoying her adventures when she was eighty she would have been less afraid of aging. And it was impossible to forget that she was aging.

People said she was wonderful for her age, but most of the time she didn’t feel wonderful. The answers to her beloved crosswords floated just out of range. Names and faces refused to align at the right moment. She struggled to remember what she’d done the day before, although if she took herself back twenty years or more her mind was clear. And then there were the physical changes—her eyesight and hearing were still good, thankfully, but her joints hurt and her bones ached. Bending to feed the cat was a challenge. Climbing the stairs required more effort than she would have liked and was always undertaken with one hand on the rail just in case.

She’d never been the sort to live in a just in case sort of way.

Her daughter, Liza, wanted her to wear an alarm. One of those medical alert systems, with a button you could press in an emergency, but Kathleen refused. In her youth she’d traveled the world, before it was remotely fashionable to do so. She’d sacrificed safety for adventure without a second thought. Most days now she felt like a different person.

Losing friends didn’t help. One by one they fell by the wayside, taking with them shared memories of the past. A small part of her vanished with each loss. It had taken decades for her to understand that loneliness wasn’t a lack of people in your life, but a lack of people who knew and understood you.

She fought fiercely to retain some version of her old self—which was why she’d resisted Liza’s pleas that she remove the rug from the living room floor, stop using a step ladder to retrieve books from the highest shelves and leave a light on at night. Each compromise was another layer shaved from her independence, and losing her independence was her biggest fear.

Kathleen had always been the rebel in the family, and she was still the rebel—although she wasn’t sure that rebels were supposed to have shaking hands and a pounding heart.

She heard the sound of heavy footsteps. Someone was searching the house. For what, exactly? What treasures did they hope to find? And why weren’t they trying to at least disguise their presence?

Having resolutely ignored all suggestions that she might be vulnerable, she was now forced to acknowledge the possibility. Perhaps she shouldn’t have been so stubborn. How long would it have taken from pressing the alert button to the cavalry arriving?

In reality, the cavalry was Finn Cool, who lived three fields away. Finn was a musician, and he’d bought the property precisely because there were no immediate neighbors. His antics caused mutterings in the village. He had rowdy parties late into the night, attended by glamorous people from London who terrorized the locals by driving their flashy sports cars too fast down the narrow lanes. Someone had started a petition in the post office to ban the parties. There had been talk of drugs, and half-naked women, and it had all sounded like so much fun that Kathleen had been tempted to invite herself over. Rather that than a dull women’s group, where you were expected to bake and knit and swap recipes for banana bread.

Finn would be of no use to her in this moment of crisis. In all probability he’d either be in his studio, wearing headphones, or he’d be drunk. Either way, he wasn’t going to hear a cry for help.

Calling the police would mean walking through the kitchen and across the hall to the living room, where the phone was kept and she didn’t want to reveal her presence. Her family had bought her a mobile phone, but it was still in its box, unused. Her adventurous spirit didn’t extend to technology. She didn’t like the idea of a nameless faceless person tracking her every move.

There was another thump, louder this time, and Kathleen pressed her hand to her chest. She could feel the rapid pounding of her heart. At least it was still working. She should probably be grateful for that.

When she’d complained about wanting a little more adventure, this wasn’t what she’d had in mind. What could she do? She had no button to press, no phone with which to call for help, so she was going to have to handle this herself.

She could already hear Liza’s voice in her head: Mum, I warned you!

If she survived, she’d never hear the last of it.

Fear was replaced by anger. Because of this intruder she’d be branded Old and Vulnerable and forced to spend the rest of her days in a single room with minders who would cut up her food, speak in overly loud voices and help her to the bathroom. Life as she knew it would be over.

That was not going to happen.

She’d rather die at the hands of an intruder. At least her obituary would be interesting.

Better still, she would stay alive and prove herself capable of independent living.

She glanced quickly around the kitchen for a suitable weapon and spied the heavy black skillet she’d used to fry the bacon earlier.

She lifted it silently, gripping the handle tightly as she walked to the door that led from the kitchen to the hall. The tiles were cool under her feet—which, fortunately, were bare. No sound. Nothing to give her away. She had the advantage.

She could do this. Hadn’t she once fought off a mugger in the backstreets of Paris? True, she’d been a great deal younger then, but this time she had the advantage of surprise.

How many of them were there?

More than one would give her trouble.

Was it a professional job? Surely no professional would be this loud and clumsy. If it was kids hoping to steal her TV, they were in for a disappointment. Her grandchildren had been trying to persuade her to buy a “smart” TV, but why would she need such a thing? She was perfectly happy with the IQ of her current machine, thank you very much. Technology already made her feel foolish most of the time. She didn’t need it to be any smarter than it already was.

Perhaps they wouldn’t come into the kitchen. She could stay hidden away until they’d taken what they wanted and left.

They’d never know she was here.

They’d—

A floorboard squeaked close by. There wasn’t a crack or a creak in this house that she didn’t know. Someone was right outside the door.

Her knees turned liquid.

Oh Kathleen, Kathleen.

She closed both hands tightly round the handle of the skillet.

Why hadn’t she gone to self-defense classes instead of senior yoga? What use was the downward dog when what you needed was a guard dog?

A shadow moved into the room, and without allowing herself to think about what she was about to do she lifted the skillet and brought it down hard, the force of the blow driven by the weight of the object as much as her own strength. There was a thud and a vibration as it connected with his head.

“I’m so sorry—I mean—” Why was she apologizing? Ridiculous!

The man threw up an arm as he fell, a reflex action, and the movement sent the skillet back into Kathleen’s own head. Pain almost blinded her and she prepared herself to end her days right here, thus giving her daughter the opportunity to be right, when there was a loud thump and the man crumpled to the floor. There was a crack as his head hit the tiles.

Kathleen froze. Was that it, or was he suddenly going to spring to his feet and murder her?

No. Against all odds, she was still standing while her prowler lay inert at her feet. The smell of alcohol rose, and Kathleen wrinkled her nose.

Drunk.

Her heart was racing so fast she was worried that any moment now it might trip over itself and give up.

She held tightly to the skillet.

Did he have an accomplice?

She held her breath, braced for someone else to come racing through the door to investigate the noise, but there was only silence.

Gingerly she stepped toward the door and poked her head into the hall. It was empty.

It seemed the man had been alone.

Finally she risked a look at him.

He was lying still at her feet, big, bulky and dressed all in black. The mud on the edges of his trousers suggested he’d come across the fields at the back of the house. She couldn’t make out his features because he’d landed face-first, but blood oozed from a wound on his head and darkened her kitchen floor.

Feeling a little dizzy, Kathleen pressed her hand to her throbbing head.

What now? Was one supposed to administer first aid when one was the cause of the injury? Was that helpful or hypocritical? Or was he past first aid and every other type of aid?

She nudged his body with her bare foot, but there was no movement.

Had she killed him?

The enormity of it shook her.

If he was dead, then she was a murderer.

When Liza had expressed a desire to see her mother safely housed somewhere she could easily visit, presumably she hadn’t been thinking of prison.

Who was he? Did he have family? What had been his intention when he’d forcibly entered her home? Kathleen put the skillet down and forced her shaky limbs to carry her to the living room. Something tickled her cheek. Blood. Hers.

She picked up the phone and for the first time in her life dialed the emergency services.

Underneath the panic and the shock there was something that felt a lot like pride. It was a relief to discover she wasn’t as weak and defenseless as everyone seemed to think.

When a woman answered, Kathleen spoke clearly and without hesitation.

“There’s a body in my kitchen,” she said. “I assume you’ll want to come and remove it.” 

 

Excerpted from The Summer Seekers by Sarah Morgan. Copyright © 2021 by Sarah Morgan. Published by HQN Books.

 



Author Bio:

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes hot, happy, contemporary romance and women’s fiction, and her trademark humor and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. Described as “a magician with words” by RT Book Reviews, she has sold more than eleven million copies of her books. She was nominated three years in succession for the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America and won the award three times: once in 2012 for Doukakis’s Apprentice, in 2013 for A Night of No Return and in 2017 for Miracle on 5th Avenue. She also won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award in 2012 and has made numerous appearances in their Top Pick slot. As a child, Sarah dreamed of being a writer, and although she took a few interesting detours along the way, she is now living that dream. Sarah lives near London, England, with her husband and children, and when she isn’t reading or writing, she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Blog Tour: Review of Maybe We Will by Melissa Foster


Embracing Her Heart (The Montgomerys Book 1) by [Foster, Melissa]
NEW RELEASE........
From Melissa Foster, the New York Times bestselling author of She Loves Me, comes a sexy and heart-warming novel about finding love—and family—where you least expect it. 

When chef Abby de MessiĆ©res returns to Silver Island with her sister to get their late mother’s affairs in order, she expected to inherit her mother’s bistro along with their childhood home, not to discover a half sister they never knew existed, and a handsome vacationer camped out on her mother’s patio. 

Workaholic Aiden Aldridge has been sent to Silver Island on a work-free vacation, armed with a “Let Loose list,” and ordered to get a life by the much-younger sister he raised after the death of their parents. After years of focusing on his sister’s well-being, he’s blindsided by his intense attraction to the gorgeous, free-spirited Abby. 

Aiden might not know much about chilling out, but he’s excellent at striking deals. He helps Abby with the restaurant in exchange for her help in tackling the items on his list. Sparks fly as Aiden and Abby work, and play, side by side. Intimate conversations lead to steamy kisses and undeniable passion. But there’s more to Aiden than Abby knows, and when the truth comes out, their new romance is put to the test, as the two find out if true love really can conquer all.

Available to buy from ...
**FREE in KU
The Silver Harbor series is published by Montlake Romance and will be available in paperback and audio formats, and exclusively in digital format for Kindle and Kindle apps. Download a FREE Kindle reading app HERE (or order the paperback)

My thoughts:

Maybe We Will is the first book in the Silver Harbor series.  This one is Abby and Aiden's story.  As with all of Ms. Foster's books, this one was filled with fun characters and sexy times.  I really enjoyed Abby and Aiden's romance.  I would love to have Abby's cheery outlook on life.  Sometimes it's hard to keep that positive and forgiving outlook.  Aiden was just the sweetest and most loyal guy anyone could find.  I loved his need and willingness to help those that who were important to him.  I loved the idea of the Let Loose List that his sister Remi gave him.  His relationship with his sister was really cute. 

 Along with the sweet romance, the relationship that develops between Abby, Deirdre and their half sister Cait was a favorite part of the book.  In fact, I can't wait to read Cait's story  later this year!  This can be read as a stand alone and it's one I highly recommend.





Releasing November 2nd!!
Maybe We Should (Silver Harbor)
An emotional and sexy novel about guarded hearts, finding love, and families lost and found by Melissa Foster, the New York Times bestselling author of Maybe We Will. 

After spending years wondering who she was, tattoo artist Cait Weatherby finally found her answers on the sandy shores of Silver Island. With two half sisters she never knew existed, a group of friends she adores, and a devastatingly charming admirer who flirts with her at every turn, she’s ready to figure out her next steps. The trouble is, Cait lives in the shadows of a dark past, and she can’t afford complications that might cause her to lose the family she’s only just found―complications like blue-eyed boatbuilder Brant Remington, who is as open as she is guarded. If only the sexy charmer would take the hint… 

Brant is Cait’s opposite in every way, but he’s drawn to everything about the sexy newcomer―from the quiet strength that rivals the caution in her mossy-green eyes to her tough facade that he can’t wait to strip away. 

As Brant works his magic, Cait’s walls come down. But as sweet as that feels, Cait knows how quickly good things can turn bad. It’s going to take more than a little trust to beat the ghosts of her past and claim the future they both deserve.

Available to pre-order from ...
**FREE in KU
The Silver Harbor series is published by Montlake Romance and will be available in paperback and audio formats, and exclusively in digital format for Kindle and Kindle apps. Download a FREE Kindle reading app HERE (or order the paperback)

About the author
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and women’s fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance and new adult romance lovers who enjoy reading about loyal, wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines with complex relatable issues.

Melissa also writes sweet romance under the pen name Addison Cole.

Melissa enjoys chatting with readers and book clubs. Send her an email invitation to your next event!

Never miss a brand new release, special promotions or inside gossip again by simply signing up to receive your newsletter from Melissa.

Find Melissa on the following sites....
Follow the Book Tour
I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.



NOW FOR THE AUTHOR'S GIVEAWAY !!
Win a Bayside Romance ebook
Two Winners
Ending on Sunday 23rd May at 11.59pm EST
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Enter Below & Good Luck !!
Are you a book reviewer or book blogger? Join our book tours reviewers team - Apply Here
Current book tours open for sign ups HERE

Monday, May 10, 2021

Blog Tour: Review of The Amish Cowboy's Homecoming by Ophelia London

Author: Ophelia London
Publisher : Entangled: Amara 
Publication date : April 27, 2021

What happens when a traditional horse whisperer clashes with an unconventional trainer within the charming Amish community of Honey Brook?

Grace Zook has always held a talent with horses, ever since she was a child growing up in her quaint Amish village of Honey Brook. Now, as an adult, she’s become a master trainer—but still struggles to prove to her father that she is worthy of taking over the family’s horse farm. With a fiery new stallion coming soon, Grace knows this challenge is her chance to prove she can finally take the reins.
When widower and horse whisperer Isaac King is offered the lead training job on a new farm out of town, he’s thrilled to finally make a name for himself and provide some permanent roots for his young daughter. But not only is the stallion seemingly unbreakable, so, too, is the owner’s headstrong daughter Grace, who has drastically different ideas about how to handle the impossible horse. Yet somehow, he can’t seem to get the confident, beautiful woman out of his mind…even though as his boss’s daughter, she is completely off-limits.

There’s too much at stake for Isaac to gamble his future on Grace…even though suddenly, he can’t imagine one without her.

Each book in the Honey Brook series is STANDALONE:
* Never an Amish Bride
* The Amish Cowboy’s Homecoming

 
Purchase Links

My thoughts:

The Amish Cowboy's Homecoming is the second book in the Honey Brook series.  It can definitely be read as a stand alone.  I had a really nice time reading this book. The story involves Isaac who has come to Grace's horse training farm to train a wild horse for a wealthy owner.  Grace resents Isaac coming in to her family business, but knows she must work with Isaac to help out her family..

This was a sweet slow burn romance.  I loved watching Grace and Isaac become friends and fall in love.   I also loved the juxtaposition with their growing to trust each other and the both if them earning the trust of the horse, Cincinnati.  The story also has wonderful secondary characters. As irritating as she was, I had a lot of sympathy for Sarah.  I was rooting for her and Amos.    I highly recommend this one!  



About Ophelia London


USA Today bestselling author Ophelia London was born and raised among the redwood trees in beautiful northern California. Once she was fully educated, she decided to settle in Florida, but her car broke down in Texas, and she’s lived in Dallas ever since. She enjoys cupcakes, treadmills, reruns of Dawson’s Creek and obsessing over her Italian Greyhound, Peanut. Ophelia is the author of NEVER AN AMISH BRIDE (Honey Brook series), her very first Amish romance! As wells as the Sugar City series, the Perfect Kisses series, the Abby Road series, and other adult, NA and YA sweet romances. Visit her at ophelialondon.com, but don’t call when she’s streaming The Walking Dead.

Connect with Ophelia
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Review tour:
Tuesday, April 27th: @jenniaahava
Wednesday, April 28th: Blooming with Books
Thursday, April 29th: She Just Loves Books and @shejustlovesbooks
Friday, April 30th: The Adventures of a Travelers Wife and @travelerswife4life
Saturday, May 1st: A Baker’s Perspective
Saturday, May 1st: @littlebutfiercebookdiary
Sunday, May 2nd: Girl Who Reads
Monday, May 3rd: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Tuesday, May 4th: SusanLovesBooks
Wednesday, May 5th: Living My Best Book Life and @livingmybestbooklife
Wednesday, May 5th: @bookshelfmomma
Thursday, May 6th: @rozierreadsandwine
Friday, May 7th: Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama
Saturday, May 8th: @bookscoffeephotography
Monday, May 10th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, May 11th: Woven by Words and @books.n.blossoms
Wednesday, May 12th: @olivias.bookish. world
 

Excerpt Tour: The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery

Author: Susan Mallery
Paperback: 416 Pages
Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (May 25, 2021)

Once upon a time, when her dad married Sage’s mom, Daisy was thrilled to get a bright and shiny new sister. But Sage was beautiful and popular, everything Daisy was not, and she made sure Daisy knew it.

Sage didn’t have Daisy’s smarts—she had to go back a grade to enroll in the fancy rich-kid school. So she used her popularity as a weapon, putting Daisy down to elevate herself. After the divorce, the stepsisters’ rivalry continued until the final, improbable straw: Daisy married Sage’s first love, and Sage fled California.

Eighteen years, two kids and one troubled marriage later, Daisy never expects—or wants—to see Sage again. But when the little sister they have in common needs them both, they put aside their differences to care for Cassidy. As long-buried truths are revealed, no one is more surprised than they when friendship blossoms.

Their fragile truce is threatened by one careless act that could have devastating consequences. They could turn their backs on each other again…or they could learn to forgive once and for all and finally become true sisters of the heart.

Purchase Links


We are super excited to be a part of the excerpt tour for The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery.  This is stop #7  To read more, check out the rest of the tour below:


“Krissa is sick,” she said instead. “She’s throwing up and she has a fever. Ben’s better, but obviously he passed what he had along to her. Is it unreasonable to ask you to check on your kid?”
“Your sarcasm doesn’t help.”
“Neither does you blaming me for everything and then walking away. If you want to have a conversation about what we’re going to tell our children about you moving out, then I suggest we get that on the calendar.”
“I’ll be there after work.”
“Great.” She opened her mouth to say more, but he’d al­ready disconnected the call.
Much like the moneyed streets of Bel Air, the private school Sage Vitale had attended from third through twelfth grade was surprisingly unchanged. The wood paneling still gleamed, the students still wore black pants and white polo shirts as their uniforms. The computers appeared sleeker, but otherwise, she could have easily thought she had stepped back in time. Even Mrs. Lytton wasn’t that different. Her short, sensible haircut had a bit of gray in it, and reading glasses perched on the edge of her nose were a change, but otherwise the stern head of the languages department looked as she had twenty years ago.
“You’re late,” Mrs. Lytton said as Sage walked into her of­fice and took a seat. “By nearly half an hour. I shouldn’t have to remind you that our students are expected to be prompt and those around them are expected to set an example. Es­pecially our tutors.”
As a teenager, Sage would have slumped in her seat, al­lowing her posture and her eye roll to demonstrate how little she cared what Mrs. Lytton thought of her. Older and (hope­fully) wiser Sage knew that attitude would get her nowhere.
“I am late,” she said, offering her best smile. The one that nearly always worked on difficult clients. “I stopped to help someone with car trouble.”
Mrs. Lytton’s thin mouth pressed into a flat line. “Really, Sage? Is that the best you can do? You were always so inven­tive with your excuses. My favorite was the time you claimed to have stopped to rescue baby ducks from a bobcat prowling the streets of Bel Air.”
“I was helping Daisy,” Sage said. It was early to play such a powerful card, but Mrs. Lytton had left her no choice. “Krissa threw up in the car and Daisy had to pull over. I saw them and stopped to help. Then her car wouldn’t start, so I drove them home. That’s why I’m late.” She offered a forgiving smile.
“You’re welcome to check with her, if you’d like. Apparently Ben got the flu first and now poor Krissa has it.”
Mrs. Lytton’s eyebrows rose. “Well, if you were helping Daisy, then of course it’s all right. I didn’t know you two were still close.”
They weren’t. Not back when their parents had first mar­ried, not after the divorce and certainly not now. If Sage went the rest of her life and never saw her former stepsister again, she could die a happy person.
“We’re family,” Sage said simply, comfortable with the lie.
“All right, then let’s get to it.” Mrs. Lytton opened a folder on her desk before saying in Italian, “I understand you lived in Italy for nearly three years. Are you conversational?”
Sage answered in the same language. “Yes, and I have a basic understanding of grammar. My French is better. I lived in France nearly fifteen years. I’m fluent in both languages.”
Mrs. Lytton switched to French. “Your first husband was French?”
“Yes.” The third had been Italian. She didn’t talk about the second one.
The department head ran her through a series of grammar drills, had her read from a book of French poetry, along with an Italian fashion magazine. When they were done, the older woman leaned back in her chair.
“You have a decent enough understanding of both lan­guages,” she said, her tone faintly grudging. “The pay is twenty-five dollars an hour with a thirty-minute minimum. We’ll get you set up on the school’s app and students can book you when you’re available.”
Her gaze dropped to the Prada handbag Sage had set in the chair next to her own. “Are you sure you want to do this, Sage? Aren’t there other things you would rather do with your time?”
“I’ve been giving English lessons in France and Italy since I moved to Europe. I think it will be fun to switch things around.”
“You’re not going to get rich doing this.”
Sage kept her smile in place as she said, “Yes, I know. But sometimes the joy of giving back is more than enough pay­ment.”
Mrs. Lytton made a sound that was suspiciously like a snort. “Very well. I’ll walk you over to the front office, where we’ll get you set up on the app. You should see bookings right away.”
Sage followed the other woman down the long hallway. She was sure her willingness to tutor rich kids in French and Italian didn’t make sense to anyone but her, and sometimes she wasn’t sure about it, either, yet here she was.
The idea, born on the long flight from Italy to Los Angeles, had surprised her, not only with its arrival but with her own willingness to actually do the work to make it happen. She knew the reason was that tutoring was very close to teaching and lately she’d been thinking that maybe it was time to see if she could do that. Maybe being the operative word. Finding a rich husband while she still had her looks probably made a lot more sense. But every now and then a girl had to do some­thing crazy, right? So she would tutor a few kids, conjugate a few verbs. If it got too tedious or she met someone inter­esting, then she could dump the whole thing. No one, least of all Mrs. Lytton, would be shocked if it turned out she had no follow-through.

About Susan Mallery


No.1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives – family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages. Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur.

Connect with Susan
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
 
Excerpt tour:
Monday, May 3rd: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Tuesday, May 4th: Jathan and Heather
Wednesday, May 5th: Reading Reality
Thursday, May 6th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Thursday, May 6th: Reading Girl Reviews
Friday, May 7th: The Lit Bitch
Monday, May 10th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, May 11th: What is That Book About
Wednesday, May 12th: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, May 13th: Romantic Reads and Such
Friday, May 14th: View from the Birdhouse
Saturday, May 15th: Literary Quicksand
Sunday, May 16th: Pacific Northwest Bookworm
Monday, May 17th: Girl Who Reads
Tuesday, May 18th: Nurse Bookie
Thursday, May 20th: Why Girls are Weird
Thursday, May 20: Novel Gossip
Friday, May 21: Books & Bindings
Saturday, May 22nd: A Holland Reads
Sunday, May 23rd: Blunt Scissors Book Reviews
Monday, May 24th: Helen’s Book Blog
 
Instagram tour:
Monday, May 3rd: @bookscallmyheart
Tuesday, May 4th: @mommaleighellensbooknook
Wednesday, May 5th: @jenniaahava
Thursday, May 6th: @kelly_hunsaker_reads
Thursday, May 6th: @readinggirlreviews
Friday, May 7th: @welovebigbooksandwecannotlie
Saturday, May 8th: @lyon.brit.andthebookshelf
Sunday, May 9th: @k2reader
Monday, May 10th: @brianas_best_reads
Monday, May 10th: @sweethoneyandbrei
Tuesday, May 11th: @readsrandiread
Wednesday, May 12th: @mrsboomreads
Thursday, May 13th: @chill_jilland_read
Friday, May 14th: @marilyngcon
Saturday, May 15th: @bookshelfmomma
Sunday, May 16th: @pnwbookworm
Sunday, May 16th: @moonlight_rendezvous
Monday, May 17th: @booksloveandunderstanding
Monday, May 17th: @jenguerdy
Monday, May 17th: @rozierreadsandwine
Tuesday, May 18th: @nurse_bookie
Wednesday, May 19th: @readswithrosie
Thursday, May 20th: @readingwithremy
Thursday, May 20th: @novelgossip
Friday, May 21st: @bryantparkbooks
Saturday, May 22nd: @the_boozy_baking_bibliophile
Sunday, May 23rd: @bluntscissorsbookreviews
Monday, May 24th: @gingersbookclub


Sunday, May 9, 2021

Review: Tell No Lies by Allison Brennan

Author: Allison Brennan
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication Date: March 2021

Something mysterious is killing the wildlife in the mountains just south of Tucson. When a college intern turned activist sets out to collect her own evidence, she, too, ends up dead. Local law enforcement is slow to get involved. That’s when the mobile FBI unit goes undercover to infiltrate the town and its copper refinery in search of possible leads.

Quinn and Costa find themselves scouring the desolate landscape, which keeps revealing clues to something much darker—greed, child trafficking and more death. As the body count adds up, it’s clear they have stumbled onto much more than they bargained for. Now they must figure out who is at the heart of this mayhem and stop them before more innocent lives are lost.


Tell No Lies is the second book in the Quinn &  Costa series.  This time around, Kara and  members of the team are undercover in a small town to try to solve the murder of an environmental activist.  The investigation leads to a case that ends up being much more convoluted then they initially expected.  This definitely can be read as a stand alone, so dive right in if you haven't read the first one.

I thought this was a solid follow-up to The Third to Die.  I am still enjoying the characters, especially Kara and Matt.  I like their relationship both professionally and personally.  I can't wait to see where it ends up. One of my favorite parts of the book was the way Kara mentored her teammate on undercover work.  He has a lot of doubts and she ended up being a great sounding board for him to help figure things out.  The mystery was enjoyable and kept me guessing.  I highly recommend this one as well as the first one.




Saturday, May 8, 2021

Spotlight: Excerpt of Break the Stone by Cassie Swindon

Break the Stone
Cassie Swindon
(Golden Chains, #1)
Publication date: May 7th 2021
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense, Young Adult

Raelyn Bell’s father forces them to flee their quaint town, severing the last connection to her dead mother. Now, desperate and alone. But she won’t give up. In a new town, Raelyn defies Pa’s wishes by investigating the truth of her mother’s death. Only the answers will help her fill the void plaguing her heart.

Meanwhile, U.S. Army Specialist Kody Walsh’s duty is to obey orders, no matter how “gray.” His questionable actions lead him straight to Raelyn. If Kody aids in Raelyn’s quest, it could mean game over for his career.

As the two cut through layers of lies, threats, ambushes, and stalkers, their bond grows stronger. But the dangers prove worse than they ever feared. Can they see this journey through without losing their lives—and each other?

Break the Stone is a suspenseful mystery, perfect for fans of fast-paced storylines and heart-pounding romance. It is the first of three books in the Golden Chains series.

Content is for age 17+ with trigger warnings of mild: PTSD, profanity, sexual content, and violence.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Kody Walsh gripped the sealed red envelope tightly while his other hand steered around a John Deere. He pulled up to an old farmhouse where lace curtains blew out from an open window. His smart watch alerted him about his increased heart rate but Kody ignored it. He parked his Jeep at a distance behind a set of oak trees, leaving it running–just in case.

Hopefully no one’s home. I’ll be quick.

Kody patted his Glock and hustled past a blue Chevy with a dented-in door. It looked so run down that it probably couldn’t even start.

Good. No one can chase me when I leave.

A tall, broad, lumberjack-looking man with a trimmed beard marched out the side door, out to a barn.

Shit!

Kody plastered himself against the side of the house, then snuck inside the open window. He scanned the study room, taking inventory of the exit options: one closed door leading to the rest of the house, the window he just came through and a chimney. His gaze darted around the room.

Desk chair—blunt force trauma, non-lethal. Award hung on the wall—one quick slice from a shard of broken glass to the neck could do the trick if needed. Darts in the corner could poke out someone’s eye.

An antique desk stood against a wall in the small room. Kody dropped the red envelope on top of the desk as instructed. Then, he started searching for the item Snyder commanded that he borrow—steal. Kody’s hands were jittery, but he kept repeating the same phrase in his head.

A soldier does anything for the team. Anything.

He sprang across the study and looked in boxes, under books, on top of the shelf, in the cabinets, and rummaged through the drawers. As he slid the bottom drawer out, the rollers got stuck and fell off the track, sending it down at an angle. A girl’s voice started singing from the other side of the door. Kody’s heart raced as he ducked below the desk.

Wait! There it is!

A white marble box was taped underneath. It had a gold compass shape engraved on the front with tiny red specs sparkling like jewels. Kody ripped it off and jammed it in his pocket.

Sacrifices must be made for the team. There’s no other option.

The voice grew louder again and the door knob turned slowly.

Author Bio:

Instead of the boring bio info, here’s some interesting tidbits about the author:

• Tackled her father for a pair of Michael Phelps’ personal goggles
• Cried when the Cubs won the World Series
• Met husband freshman year of college- a blizzard & tequila may have been involved
• Moved to Raleigh by the flip of a coin
• Mutated into a zombie when daughter was born in 2013, then again 17 months later for son
• Evacuated from a boat crash in the Atlantic during a whale watching tour
• Witnessed a wild horse pack galloping through the Rockies
• Cofounded a three-person Beanie Baby Club in the 90s, in a treehouse
• Snorkeled in The Great Barrier Reef
• Broke her foot when pretending to be a Baywatch lifeguard
• Completed her first fiction read in 1992, “The Pig Can Jig”
• Stranded in a Cancun lagoon while jet skiing
• Crunched the back of a Dodge Neon against a wall while transporting a Medieval knight to a pub
• Watched Frozen more than any other movie combined to date
• Invented a symbol language to pass notes to her best friend in high school French class
• Swung off a rope swing of pirate ship in Aruba
• Backpacked through Italy
• Stole plaques showing what swim records she broke

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


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Friday, May 7, 2021

Review: Scared to Death by Rachel Amphlett

Author: Rachel Amphlett
Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Publication Date: December 2016

A serial killer murdering for kicks.
A detective seeking revenge.
When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.
But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.
When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realised.
With her career in jeopardy and desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.
For the killer, the game has only just begun…

I found this Scared to Death on my Hoopla account as an instant borrow for May.  I love when there is an instant borrowl list because I can try out a book without wasting one of my 5 monthly borrows.  Anyway, the synopsis sounded interesting, so I tried it out.  The story is the first in a series that follows Detective Kay Hunter as she solves crimes with her police team.

I am so glad that I gave this book a try.  I ended up really enjoying it.  I loved the characters as well as the mystery. It was refreshing to to read about a police detective who wasn't an alcoholic, had a traumatic past or was divorced.  Instead, Kay is dealing with a loss, but she has a great partner in her husband who actually mourns with her and supports her.  I loved Adam.  The other police officers were interesting and I think they all will end up making a good team going forward.   I also enjoyed the mystery.  Even though we do get a perspective from the killer, there are still some twists and surprises for the reader.  

I highly recommend this one if you missed it. It looks like there are 9 books so far in the series, so I have some catching up to do.



Thursday, May 6, 2021

Review: The Color of Lies by CJ Lyons

Author: CJ Lyons
Publisher: Blink
Publication Date: November 2018 

High school senior Ella Cleary has always been good at reading people. Her family has a rare medical condition called synesthesia that scrambles the senses—her Gram Helen sees every sound, and her uncle Joe can literally taste words. Ella’s own synesthesia manifests itself as the ability to see colors that reveal people’s true emotions…until she meets a guy she just can’t read.

Alec is a mystery to Ella, a handsome, enigmatic young journalist who makes her feel normal for the first time in her life. That is, until he reveals the real reason why he sought her out—he wants to learn the truth behind her parents’ deaths, the parents that Ella had always been told died in a fire. Alec turns Ella’s world upside down when he tells her their deaths were definitely not an accident.

After learning her entire life has been a lie, Ella doesn’t know who she can trust or even who she really is. With her adoptive family keeping secrets and the evidence mixing fact and fiction, the only way for Ella to learn the truth about her past is to find a killer.

The Color of Lies was a random pick from my library.  It involves Ella who has a condition called synesthesia which causes her senses to be scrambled.  She essentially sees the world in a different way.  She has been raised by her grandmother and uncles after the death of her parents.  On her 18th birthday, she learns that her parents death might not have happened the way she had been told her whole life.

I thought this was an fairly enjoyable YA mystery.  The reveal was a bit predictable if you pay attention early on. I really enjoyed the characters.  I'm not sure how synesthesia really works and whether or not it allows you to see "auras" that give away people's emotions.  I was able to suspend some disbelief for the sake of the book.  Ella was an interesting character.  I liked her loyalty to her family and her willingness to find out the truth.  I also liked Alec.  I wasn't sold on the slight romance.  The story takes place over 3 days.  If it had been left out, I would have been fine with it.  I also loved Ella's friends and their fierce loyalty to her.

I listened to the audiobook and I wouldn't recommend it.  The story is told through both Ella's and Alec's perspective.  The narrator did not distinguish between the two very well.  When Alec was speaking out loud,  he had a southern accent. However, when he was telling narrating his perspective, he sounded like Ella.  I found it easy to forget whose point of view I was listening to.  This would have been better with dual narrators. So read a physical copy instead.