Friday, October 30, 2015

Review: All the Way to Heaven (The Fallout Series Book 1) by Becky Doughty

All the Way to Heaven (The Fallout Series Book 1) by Becky Doughty
Paperback expected publication: January 18th 2016 by Clean Teen Publishing (first published November 2nd 2015--Kindle)  
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25802468-all-the-way-to-heaven 
 
Description:
 
Anica Tomlin, business major, has just learned that the man she's been planning her future around, her Global Finance professor, already has a beautiful wife and family. Ani cashes in her graduation gift to herself a little early—a trip to Tuscany—but from the moment she boards the wrong train in Pisa, her plans for solitude and self-indulgence begin to unravel around her.
When a bicycle accident thrusts Ani into the skilled hands of the dashing Dr. Cosimo Lazzaro, she reluctantly accepts his invitation to recover in his family's country villa, perched on a hilltop surrounded by the Lazzaro olive groves. But it's been a black year for olive growers all over Italy, and generations of tradition are being put to the test like never before.
Ani is swept up in the drama of life in Tuscany, the convergence of old and new, and the passions that drive people to pursue the desires of their hearts. Just as Ani begins to get her feet under her again, an unexpected turn of events leaves her doubting the very existence of happily-ever-after, unless she can learn to trust the desires of her own heart.
Although All the Way to Heaven is a stand-alone novel, it is the first book in The Fallout Series, a collection of sweet contemporary romances that follow characters featured in the first book.
 
My Review:
 
The story starts out with Ani discovering that her boyfriend has a family...and her heart is shattered. In an effort to heal, she takes her college graduation trip to Italy a few months early, but a bicycle accident leaves her without a thing to her name. Up to this point, I wasn't sure about the book and if it would draw me in enough or just be a downer, but after this point, I found myself pleasantly surprised to see that everything turned right around and completely engrossed me.
 
I've never been to Italy, but I feel like I've been there now. Ms. Doughty's descriptions are vivid and detailed. Ani first encounters Paulo, but for some reason, although their paths have crossed a few times, he seems reluctant to help her. After the accident, Ani is taken to Dr Cosimo Lazzaro's family home to recover from her accident and finds herself enveloped in olive groves and romance. Cosimo is quite the charmer. Compared to David Gandy, he's very handsome and suave, yet Ani's heart isn't sure about another smooth talker. What's a girl to do--go for a reluctant man, a willing man, or no one at all?

I couldn't get enough of the setting descriptions. I also loved the other characters. Each is full of a  unique personality and true friendships are formed. I loved the growth and healing that Ani goes through. The surprising romance is toe tingling and believable. I love a story that is brain candy, yet has some substance and this is a perfect combination. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series!
 
Content: swoony romance (kissing, but clean); mild violence (accident); no language or religious elements, aside from the characters visiting an ancient religious statue. Clean!
 
Buy Links:
 
http://www.amazon.com/All-Way-Heaven-Fallout-Book-ebook/dp/B015Z3KJS4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1446084079&sr=8-3&keywords=all+the+way+to+heaven
 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/all-the-way-to-heaven-becky-doughty/1122509360?ean=2940152086546
 
About the Author:  
 
Becky DoughtyBecky Doughty is the author of the award-winning Elderberry Croft series and the voice behind BraveHeart Audiobooks. "I write fiction, mainly because nonfiction is hard! Yes, I've tried. Let's just say I like to color outside the lines when it comes to sticking to facts...or anything else, for that matter. I write Women's Fiction with strong elements of romance and Young Adult/New Adult Fiction. Some of my fiction is written from a Christian worldview (and labeled as such), and some of it is not. My stories, however, are all categorically "clean" or "sweet" (light on language, violence, and sex), so if you're looking for a book you don't have to shove under the couch cushion when visitors stop by, you've come to the right place!"

You can learn more about Becky and her books on her website: www.BeckyDoughty.com

Becky is married to her champion of more than 25 years. They have three children, two of whom are grown and starting families of their own, and they all live within a few miles of each other in Southern California. They share their lives with too many animals, a large vegetable garden, and a strange underground concrete room they're certain was built for dark and sinister purposes...
 
 
Twitter  ||  Website  ||  Facebook

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Review: Ghost for Sale by Sandra Cox

Ghost for Sale by Sandra Cox
ebook, 225 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Lyrical Press
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24940355-ghost-for-sale?from_search=true&search_version=service

Description:

Caitlin King can’t believe that her shopaholic cousin actually bought two ghosts off of eBay. But she can’t ignore the truth when she starts seeing sexy Liam O’Reilly, who’s been dead for over a hundred years. He’s a fascinating specter, and the more time Caitlin spends with him, the closer they become—sending them both spiraling into a star-crossed tailspin. No matter how desperately they long for each other, there’s just no future with a guy who’s already stopped breathing.

In order to help Liam and his twin sister, Anna, leave their earthly limbo and cross over into the light, Caitlin must find the ghost of Anna’s fiancé. But a malevolent spirit is dead set against Anna moving on. Now Caitlin will have to unravel the mystery surrounding the twins’ past lives in order to keep Liam’s spirit safe—even if it means sacrificing her heart in the process.


My Review:

I found myself intrigued by this story line--buying ghosts on eBay? What a concept. When Caitlin's cousin orders two ghosts on eBay, one never arrives, but the other one connects with Caitlin (Cat). Through various events, it comes out that Liam, the ghost, is the twin brother of a girl who died on her wedding day and is desperately trying to find her one true love, which leaves a mystery to solve. There are a lot of interesting and creative elements to the story that are fun.

Cat isn't a consistent character. She's a virgin, yet she purposely dresses provocatively, especially on first dates, which leads to mixed signals. She also claims to be falling in love with Liam, but she's very flirty with another man in his presence--multiple times. Cat also comes across as being very spoiled and entitled. I love it when she starts climbing out of her self-absorbed world. 

On the other hand, Liam is old for his age, having grown up in a different era. So much in the world is new, but he's very adaptable, committed, a true gentleman, and loyal. I liked his character and enjoyed watching him quickly figure our way of life out.

I enjoy a story that unfolds before my eyes, instead of just informing me of events and there were glimpses of showing here, but most of it is telling. That said, I did enjoy the moments with mystery and action and enjoyed the way the characters went about solving things. The ending is great!

Content: This book is technically clean (not squeaky clean), as no sexual events occur, but only moderately, as there's a lot of innuendo--talk of sex, being a virgin (or not), and other things that have to do with these two points; some mild violence; a fair amount of seances, Ouija boards, evil spirits, etc; moderate swearing.
Buy Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Sale-Sandra-Cox/dp/1616507748/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1446006188&sr=8-1&keywords=ghost+for+sale
 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ghost-for-sale-sandra-cox/1121228433?ean=9781616507749
About the Author:  

Sandra CoxMulti-published author Sandra Cox writes YA fantasy, historic and paranormal romance and metaphysical nonfiction. Sandra lives with her husband, a menagerie of pets, and an occasional foster cat in sunny North Carolina. To see the brood go to her website www.sandracox1.com and click on the cat tab.

Her twenty-second book, LOVE, LATTES AND DANGER, a YA fantasy published by Kensington comes out in August.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My Book Cave $50 Book Blast

My Book Cave - Free & Discounted Ebooks

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Have you ever started reading a book, only to be shocked at the content? Or have you ever read a book that bored you to tears with its lack of heat or action? Well, someone has finally created a site for you, taking the guesswork out of finding a good read that hits your comfort level. The best thing is that the books are always discounted and there is no cost to subscribe.   My Book Cave is the company behind this ingenious idea. The concept is simple. Just sign up for the genres and ratings you want to see, choose your heat, violence, and swearing comfort level, then My Book Cave delivers ebook deals to your inbox. Rating include All Audiences, Mild, Mild+, Moderate, Moderate+, and Adult.   And right now, My Book Cave is having a huge giveaway with two ereaders and three cash gift cards. Just for signing up, you’re entered to win one of the ereaders. Visit My Book Cave to sign up or check out their blog for the rest of the prizes.


Happy reading!

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P.S. If you’re an author and have a fantastic book you’d like to feature for free on My Book Cave, come on over. They’re always looking for great books.   

50_Amazon_Paypal $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash 

Ends 11/18/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  

The One Who Sees Me by Kandi J. Wyatt $50 Book Blast

The One Who Sees Me Cover The One Who Sees Me by Kandi J. Wyatt

Teenage slave girl Faru’s life has been turned upside down when she discovers she’s been traded to a new master, forcing her to leave all she‘s ever known. Upon her arrival, Faru meets a friend, Cailean, who helps her adjust to life in the strange location. Life settles into a new pattern, and romance blossoms between the young friends. But as soon as they plan to get married, another proposal comes about – one that cannot be ignored. Being a slave means not always marrying who you love. On a daring journey to heal her heart, Faru encounters the Existing One. Will she trust Him and do His bidding even if what He requests is so hard? Follow Faru’s tale in author Kandi J Wyatt’s retelling of a Biblical story found in the Old Testament book of Genesis, showing that when things don’t make sense, God will guide the way.


Praise for the book

"Kandi Wyatt has taken historical fiction and elevated it to a higher level. Her world building pulls you in and puts you right in the middle of the adventure. This is why I love her books." - Sandra Stiles

"Well worth the read. Kandi has done an wonderful job bringing this captivating story to life!" - Christianonfire2 on Goodreads

 add to goodreads 

Excerpt

My most recent book is The One Who Sees Me. It is about a slave girl, Faru, who is exchanged for a wife for the king. She finds herself in a new home with a new master and life is always going up and down. We’ll join her in chapter 2 when she is leaving her home for the new one:

The carriage pulled to a halt, and Lord Cegrol looked up from where he sat. The ride had lasted close to half a glass, Faru estimated, and in that whole time, the lord had not said a single word to her, nor had he looked up from his folded hands. Now he graced Faru with a smile. It was a sad smile, but a smile nonetheless.
“What is your name, child?” his musical voice inquired.
“Faru, milord.”
He seemed to see her for the first time. His eyes took her in, and Faru felt the heat rush to her face.
“Well, Faru, welcome to our home away from home.” He paused as he looked out the window. “It is nothing like my Castle Fearann, but it is comfortable.”
They descended from the coach onto a cobblestone drive surrounded by blooming rhododendron plants. The whites and pinks softened the harshness of the reds. Beyond the bushes, Faru noticed the house that loomed up above her. The dark bricks were a stark contrast to the stone she was accustomed to. Lord Cegrol led the way up wide, winding stairs to the front door. Torches on either side flickered against the brickwork, which seemed to trap the light instead of sending it out to welcome the master home. As Cegrol opened the door, he was greeted by a portly, elderly lady.
“Lord Cegrol, welcome home. You must be exhausted. Let me get your cloak. You just go up to your den. I’ll have Trystan bring you your evening meal.”
“Thank you, Kadi,” Lord Cegrol replied. “I would appreciate that. First, though, we need to help Faru get settled.”
“Don’t you worry at all about that. I’ll take care of everything.”
Lord Cegrol nodded and slowly plodded up another wide staircase. The motherly woman turned to Faru.
“And you are?”
“My name is Faru, ma’am,” the young slave girl replied, trying not to fidget with her long curly hair.
“Lord Cegrol told me your name. What I want to know is, why are you here?”
Faru shivered, not just from the draft that flickered the candles in their sconces, but also from the internal cold.
“Ma’am, a glass ago, I was preparing my mistress’s evening meal as I have done since I was old enough to help my mother. The queen came and brought me to a parlor where King Cyning and Lord Cegrol and Lady Cwen sat. King Cyning walked off with Lady Cwen, and my mistress showed Lord Cegrol and me to the door where the carriage was waiting. Lord Cegrol brought me here. I do not have anything with me. I am at your disposal.”
“You are right about that,” the woman said. “I am Kadi, the housekeeper. Anything that happens in this house, I direct. That includes you.”
Kadi paused, sizing up the new servant before she continued. “What besides serving meals are you good at?”
This was territory that Faru understood.
“I clean rooms. I’ve done some cooking, but more so, just helping the cook prepare food. I’ve taken care of little ones so others can do their work, and I’ve been taught to weave.”
“I see,” Kadi stated, pursing her lips. “You won’t have much opportunity to take care of children in this household unless it is servants’ children.” She stood, looking Faru up and down before she continued. “I suppose for tonight, you can just get settled in. Tomorrow is early enough to start. Follow me.”

KandiAuthor Kandi J. Wyatt

Kandi J Wyatt is a wife, mother of five, teacher, artist, and author. In her free time, she enjoys writing fantasy stories and Christmas programs, and drawing with graphite and colored pencils. Portraits are her specialty. Kandi also enjoys photography, thanks to her photographer husband who has let her join his journey as both his model and apprentice, and she occasionally serves as his assistant when he needs a “light stand with feet.”  

50_Amazon_Paypal

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 11/18/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Such a Clever Deception by Cortney Pearson {Spotlight/Tens List with Giveaway}

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Doing the right thing means turning his back on everything he knows.

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Talon Haraway was born to be a leader. Strong, confident, and skilled, at seventeen he commands the Arcaian army without thought, expecting results and getting them. When a new set of recruits arrives in Valadir, the last thing Talon expects is to have one of them redefine what he always thought he wanted. Now with pressure from his Arcaian leader and surrogate father, Tyrus Blinnsdale, Talon must decide who he wants to be and where his loyalty lies before it’s too late.

Don't miss this thrilling digital novella, set in the world of the Stolen Tears series!


https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-cGflywFSmEw/Vh6voWxNRNI/AAAAAAAAGk0/YWiUBtOI4rE/s400/Author%2Binfo.jpg

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-rQqmqnHBh7g/Vh6019bWTcI/AAAAAAAAGl8/ATNGlo6mKok/s200/Cortney%2Bauthor%2Bpic%2Bday%2B12.jpgCortney is a book nerd who studied literature at BYU-Idaho, a music nerd who plays clarinet in her local community orchestra, and a writing nerd who creates stories for young adults. She lives with her husband and three sons in a small Idaho farm town.

Links:

Those who sign up for Author Cortney Pearson's newsletter will get a free copy of HER MOON, Cortney's retelling of Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale." Here's the link: http://eepurl.com/W4pxj


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TEN THINGS:

1. I don't write from start to finish, but out of order, scene by scene.

2. I don't type on a computer until after I've written it out by hand first.

3. I hear voices and conversations in my head.

4. Whenever I feel stumped, inspiration comes a lot of times while I'm in the shower or
falling asleep.

5. I pants a story until I can't figure out where to take it next; then comes the plotting.

6. I'm currently working on four different stories at once (and my head is spinning!).

7. I carry a notebook in my purse just in case I get ideas while on the go.

8. I plot using note cards.

9. I can't "deep" edit without printing out an actual copy of the manuscript that I can
write directly on.

10. I keep a notebook handy while cooking--ideas come at the craziest times!

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 To view the Blog Schedule and follow along with this event check out our

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Review: Every Little Kiss (Kissed by the Bay Book 1) by Susan Hatler

Every Little Kiss (Kissed by the Bay Book 1) by Susan Hatler
Kindle Edition, 171 pages
Published September 3rd 2015 by Hatco Publishing
Source: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25534349-every-little-kiss?from_search=true&search_version=service

Description:

When Wendy Watts left Blue Moon Bay, she vowed never to return to the small coastal town where her parents had abandoned her and her brother. Now she’s a successful Realtor, and a workaholic who stays away from complicated emotions—until her grandmother dies, leaving Wendy the Inn at Blue Moon Bay and mandating that if Wendy sells it, she must put it on the market herself “in person.”

As soon as Wendy arrives in Blue Moon Bay, bad memories, the inn’s poor condition, and her brother’s pleas to keep the inn overwhelm her. Then she meets a sexy laid-back stranger on the beach, and Wendy does something she never does . . . she opens up and confides her problems to him. Since Max Huntington’s only in town for one night, Wendy spontaneously kisses him, hoping to be distracted from her troubles for just one evening.

But when Wendy begins the painstaking process of fixing up the inn in order to sell it, Max tells her he’s staying on longer. He’s enchanted by the charming inn and even more with the kisses they shared on the beach. He wants to help her with the repairs, and she reluctantly accepts his offer.

Although she’s determined to remain detached from the allure of her inn, Blue Moon Bay and Max, every repair, every stroll on the beach, and every moment spent with Max, draws her in and reminds her of the local legend she’d believed as a child: that being kissed by the bay under a blue moon will lead to love that lasts forever.


My Review:

I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again--I love a cute, first meet and this one is great! We first meet Wendy in Dash and Date, as a competitor on the reality dating show. She is a very no-nonsense, successful, high profile realtor and when her grandma dies, she goes home to fulfill the requirements of the will--to live with and help her brother run the inn for 30 days and then sell it, so that her brother can move on with his life.

Wendy can't get over the fact that her parents abandoned her (and her brother), leaving her grandma to raise them. As soon as she could, she left home and never looked back, working hard to make a home for herself. I get all of that, but I wanted Wendy to wake up and realize how much she actually had. I firmly believe if you can't find a way to be content with what you have, you'll never be content and will always be searching for more. She has some towering walls up around her heart, as well. I think Wendy could've used a good therapist. Those moments aside, I really did like Wendy and her determination to work hard. She's a great, complex character.

In a moment when her evil twin emerges, leaving her emotions on her sleeve, she meets Max. Of course, he sees her at her worst and still likes her, which is a good thing. Max is a saint--and a good-looking one to boot. I can't think of a more patient, accepting, and kind man than him. He is exactly what Wendy needs, but she may just push him too far--a person can only take so much of being pushed away.

I have two favorite parts of the story. First of all, I loved the legend that is associated with this town and the inn. What an incredible setting for this legend to be a part of! I couldn't help but get very caught up in it and the romance that ensued because of it is just perfect. So perfect. I also loved the way Wendy really dug in and did her part to fulfill her duties. By doing so, she got to know herself very well, as well as her grandma. I love the lessons learned and the way things resolved and I'm definitely looking forward to more! Yay for a new series!

Content: no language, violence, or religious elements; romance (kissing--some a little intense, but still clean). Clean!

Buy Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Every-Little-Kiss-Kissed-Book-ebook/dp/B00X7R3DFM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1445805790&sr=8-2&keywords=every+little+kiss
 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/every-little-kiss-susan-hatler/1122610014?ean=2940150977709

About the Author:  

Susan HatlerSUSAN HATLER is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, who writes humorous and emotional contemporary romance and young adult novels. Many of Susan's books have been translated into German, Spanish, French, and Italian. A natural optimist, she believes life is amazing, people are fascinating, and imagination is endless. She loves spending time with her characters and hopes you do, too.

You can reach Susan here:


Facebook: facebook.com/authorsusanhatler
Twitter: twitter.com/susanhatler
Website: http://www.susanhatler.com
Blog: susanhatler.com/category/susans-blog
 



Sunday, October 25, 2015

Review: Papa's Book of Mormon Christmas by Emma Rae Parker



Papa's BofM Christmas blog tour

Papa's Book of Mormon Christmas by Emma Rae Parker, Illustrated by Alexa Terry Hanson
Hardcover, 32 pages
Expected publication: October 13th 2015 by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media 
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25420890-papa-s-book-of-mormon-christmas?from_search=true&search_version=service
Description:
Six-year-old Alice would rather get toys than a book any day. But when her grandfather explains that this book is different, Alice begins to see why their first-edition Book of Mormon is so special to her family. Set in the early 1900s, this charming story is the perfect picture book to read with your family as you gather round the Christmas tree. 
My Review:
This is a sweet Christmas story specific to LDS beliefs. I love the relationship between this grandfather, or Papa, and his granddaughter, as it is apparent through the words and pictures on each page. My nine-year-old daughter and I read this together and she was very fascinated with the illustrations, which really brought this charming story to life.
I love the way this grandfather has something both tangible and emotional to share with Alice. Sometimes an object means more with the story behind it and this is exactly what is shown in this book. Alice learned a powerful lesson about giving through the story her Papa shared and it really is touching.
Highly recommended to any family for the Christmas season. It made me ponder on what we could change with our traditions to included stories or items to share from our heritage.
Buy Links:
http://www.amazon.com/Papas-Book-Mormon-Christmas-Parker-ebook/dp/B0155E1MK2/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1443841044&sr=1-1&keywords=papa%27s+book+of+mormon+christmas http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/papas-book-of-mormon-christmas-emma-rae-parker/1121731546?ean=9781462117413

 About the Author:
Emma Rae ParkerEmma Parker graduated summa cum laude from Southern New Hampshire University with her BA in English and Creative Writing. She was born and raised in Southern California but currently lives in Utah to work her dream job as an acquisitions editor for a publishing company.
Twitter  ||  Goodreads  ||  Amazon  ||  Website 
About the Illustrator:
Alexa Terry Hanson is a true-blue California girl born in Chico, California. She discovered her talents at a young age, and as the years went by, her skills continued to develop. After a few years of college, she returned home and fell in love with her husband. They currently live in California, where she has had many experiences and opportunities as a freelance artist with companies such as TOMS Shoes and Disney Television Animation Studios. Every day she continues to create new characters and new worlds using her artistic talents, and she could not be happier. 


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Monster Mash Book Blitz Countdown Event Day 12 -- Phobic by Cortney Pearson

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https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-NcpXCCvh_TU/VEVdj-oZ6VI/AAAAAAAAAvc/NHQZ2nHY_Ww/s1600/phobiccover.jpg Fifteen-year-old Piper Crenshaw knows her house is strange. As if never needing repairs since 1875, or lights flickering in response to things she says, aren’t creepy enough, it’s also the place where her mother committed murder.

To prove she’s not afraid of where she lives, Piper opens a forbidden door and soon after begins to witness a string of flashbacks—including a love affair between two young servants. Not only did these servants used to live in a set of rooms just down the hall from her bedroom, but they happen to be hiding a deadly secret. 

This secret is pulling Piper deeper into not only their story, but also her house. To sever her link to it, she must unravel the clues in the flashbacks and uncover the truth about her mother’s crime before becoming a part of her house for good.

Open the door to this striking, unstoppable mystery, but remember: sometimes a house…isn’t just a house.

Purchase your copy here:


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https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-sR7zNAEhuJk/VEVdP9arj3I/AAAAAAAAAvE/l4xVJtmhGgs/s200/Cortney%2Bauthor%2Bpic.jpgCortney Pearson is the author of Phobic, about doors that shouldn't be opened, and the Stolen Tears series, about a vial of enchanted tears and the only girl who can wield them. She is a mother, a musician, and a lover of pink and sparkles, and she lives with her husband and three sons in a small Idaho farm town.



Connect with the Author:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8304331.Cortney_Pearson
Newsletter (Sign Up and Get a FREE Copy of My YA Romance, HER MOON, a Retelling of Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale": http://eepurl.com/W4pxj

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Top Ten Places I'd Love to Travel To

1. Mount Rushmore
2. Disney World (and Harry Potter World, both in Florida)
3. New Orleans (I've never been to the southern US!)
4. Hawaii
5. Giza, to see the Great Pyramids
6. Venice, Italy
7. Stratford-upon-Avon, England, Shakespeare's birthplace
8. London, England
9. Haworth, England -- more specifically, the Bronte Parsonage to see the museum there
10. Paris, France!!! Ultimate destination!

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Sweet & Sassy Anthology: Castle Collection {Review and Giveaway}

Castle Collection (1) 

Castle Collection Sweet & Sassy Anthology: Castle Collection
Readers will be delighted with five sweet, romance novellas in Sweet & Sassy: Castle Collection. In this charming anthology, you will fall in love again and again. Dangerous Truth by Cindy M. Hogan All By My Selfie by Jo Noelle A Savage Ghost by Donna K. Weaver The Ghost of Dunlow Manor by Paige Timothy Rose of Sherwood by Kaye P. Clark

DANGEROUS TRUTH Olivia loves everything about Belgium. So far, her humanitarian trip has gone perfectly--that is, until she sees a picture of a man she thinks is her father in the newspaper. The father who abandoned her family nine years ago without a word. She tries to forget she ever saw his photo. He's forgotten about her, after all. But soon it's apparent that she can't leave without knowing what happened. Armed with years of hurt and the help of a gorgeous French photographer, she decides to confront him and his secrets once and for all. Unfortunately, her father seems determined to keep those secrets hidden. . . and Olivia is one of them.  

ALL BY MY SELFIE While on vacation at McLeod Castle in Scotland, Gwen Mackenzie has nightly dreams of an ancient warrior bound by a curse. During the day, she sees Niall, nicknamed #ScottishBoyfriend. Oh, and can that man rock a kilt! As she gets to know him, she realizes that Niall is the warrior from her dreams, cursed to live as a ghost for the past five hundred years, to see life around him but never sense any of it—except Gwen.  

A SAVAGE GHOST Lia Savage reluctantly puts her dream of opening a dessert boutique on hold to help her dad remodel a castle he’s inherited in Washington State. Soon, a specter targets her younger sister. Lia enlists the help of Coop Montgomery, the head gardener and her former crush. As they search together for a way to rid the castle of its ghost, the romance she used to dream about with him kindles. But Lia’s gentle giant means to stay in Washington while she’s determined to return to California. She must find the courage to face both the ghost and her future. With Coop. Or without him.  

THE GHOST OF DUNLOW MANOR Bestselling author Alexis St. John needs an escape, and Nate, her personal assistant, thinks that a trip to a real castle in England will be just the thing. What neither of them planned on, though, was to encounter an actual ghost. Lady Catherine Dunlow hates the idea of sharing her castle with tourists and does everything she can to chase them out, much to the amusement of her roguish suitor. But when her two newest guests stumble upon a mystery surrounding her death, she decides to let them stay. With an eternal fate in the balance, Nate and Alexis must move quickly to bring the killer to light before Catherine is trapped forever.  

ROSE OF SHERWOOD Lady Rosamund, Baroness of Ravenswood Manor, is a destitute widow, imprisoned in Nottingham Castle. When the prince declares she must marry the ruthless man who had seized Ravenswood, she escapes with the help of a band of outlaws to Sherwood Forest. Her first love, a battle-worn knight, promises to help her find safety at a convent. Confused and afraid, her heart yearns for love. But are the risks too high?

My Review

This time of year is perfect for ghost stories and since I'm not big on the gory, over-the-top scary stories, this one was perfect for me. Can I just say, who hasn't ever dreamed of living in, or at least, visiting a castle? I sure have and in fact, a few years ago, I had the chance to see one in Germany. As I stood along the wall and looked out in the distance, I could just imagine people watching for enemies and bustling around in every day life within the walls. These stories were all different, yet had that common castle theme running through them that really kept things interesting, especially as most of the stories had ghosts.

The collection starts out with DANGEROUS TRUTH, which is a suspenseful story of an American girl, Olivia, who is serving her way across Europe and encounters who she thinks might be her MIA dad. There are some intense and dangerous situations that arise and with the help of good-looking guy, she's determined to find some answers. I enjoyed the story, but thought it was a little choppy, as it was mostly from Olivia's point of view and then at the end, suddenly started switching, which threw me off. Olivia is brave, naive, and stubborn, which made for some crazy times. 

ALL BY MY SELFIE is a fun story in a Scottish castle. Gwen discovers that she's the only one who can see a #ScottishBoyfriend ghost and that leads to chasing a mystery to set him free. The characters are great and the setting is very intriguing. I was very curious to see how it would all end up, as a little romance blossomed, and loved the way it all worked out.

A family with multiple sets of twins inherits a castle from Ireland, now set up in Washington state in A SAVAGE GHOST. Lia and her younger sister, Mellie, are more sensitive to the pranks and feelings that are meant to scare the family away, but her brothers are blamed for the mischief. Coop is a crush from the past and he and his family are the caretakers of the castle. I loved the blooming romance, as well as the culmination of events that lead to a satisfying ending in yet another ghost mystery.

THE GHOST OF DUNLOW MANOR is a fascinating story of a young ghost who doesn't want people in her house. When writer, Alexis, and her personal assistant come to stay, the ghost takes a liking to them, since they are determined to solve her murder and set her free. I really enjoyed the way the characters interacted with one another, as well as with the ghosts. There are actual two romance stories running parallel to each other and the relationships are gentle and sweet, yet romantic. 

I found a few familiar characters in ROSE OF SHERWOOD, but with twists. Do any of these names sound familiar? Friar Tuck, King John, King Richard, Robin Hood, Maid Marian? This is a romantic twist on Robin Hood and is full of adventure and peril. I enjoyed the characters and the way the story line worked itself out in a pleasing way to the finish line.

All in all, a fun collection, especially for this time of year!

Content: I think one or two stories had one or two mild curse words; there are moments of peril, murders, etc, but nothing is graphic at all; the last story had quite a bit of religious elements, but the others did not; all of the stories had mild, clean romance with nothing more than kissing and two instances of unmarried couples sharing a bed with nothing happening and no details.

*I received a copy from the tour host in exchange for an honest review*
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars 


Excerpt

(#4) Lady Catherine Dunlow paced the balcony of her third-floor bedroom, her skirts swirling behind her as she moved. She was absolutely furious, and she pounded that fury into the stones beneath her feet. She hated strangers. She hated strangers coming into her house. She hated strangers coming into her house and acting like they owned the place. And yet, they kept coming, no matter what she did.
Dunlow Manor had been in her family for generations. It had belonged to her twelfth great-grandfather, and now she was its rightful owner. She had never given permission for unfamiliar people to come and stay within its walls, and yet they did, taking no thought for her feelings on the matter whatsoever.
 
She didn’t rest at all that night. Instead, she paced and fumed, fumed and paced. She went outside a few times and glared down at their car, but no ideas came to her. This had to stop somehow—it just had to.
 
About the Authors

Cindy M. Hogan is inspired by the unpredictable teenagers she teaches. More than anything she loves the time she has with her own teenage daughters and wishes she could freeze them at this fun age. If she's not reading or writing, you'll find her snuggled up with the love of her life watching a great movie or planning their next party. Most of all, she loves to laugh.  

Jo Noelle grew up in Colorado and Utah but also lived in Idaho and California. She has two adult children and three small kids. She teaches teachers and students about reading and writing, grows freakishly large tomatoes, enjoys cooking, builds furniture, sews beautiful dresses, and goes hiking in the nearby mountains. Oh, and she’s two people, Canda Mortensen and Deanna Henderson, a mother/daughter writing team.  

Donna K. Weaver: A wife, mother, grandmother, Harry Potter geek, Navy brat, Army veteran, and karate black belt. Donna is an avid cruiser, having sailed the Pacific five times. She’s lived in South Korea, the Philippines, Germany, and many US states. She and her husband raised six children and currently have nine grandchildren.  

Paige Timothy has been writing for as long as she can remember… and probably before that, too, because her memory gets spotty at a certain point. She loves watching romantic comedies, blushes when the characters do something embarrassing, and sighs in all the right places.  

Kaye P. Clark was born in New York City, grew up in southern California and raised her family living on remote cattle ranches in Arizona. She now makes her home in Idaho where she works part-time at the county library and teaches art to young children. She’s a mother and grandmother with a very patient husband who puts up with her passion for writing.

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