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All posts for the month December, 2015

One-Eyed Dukes Are Wild book review

Published December 31, 2015 by francesothomas

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One-Eyed Dukes are Wild is the second book I’ve reviewed recently whose author, Megan Frampton, I’m guessing is a Days of Our Lives fan just as I am. The afore-mentioned duke wears a black eye patch as does Stephen Nichols in his role as Steve “Patch” Johnson. The similarity, however, ends there. This one-eyed man doesn’t play a mean harmonica like Steve. That would be fun, and this man has no concept of what having fun might be.

Instead, Lasham is a lot like many of the men in our real lives, hardworking but uncomfortable talking about emotions. Into his conscientious but dull life bounces Maggie, sister of Isabella from Frampton’s earlier Dukes Behaving Badly book. Maggie has caused a scandal by refusing to marry the man her odious parents chose for her and been disowned. Now she earns a living besting gentlemen at cards and writing serial fiction.

Besides her own upkeep, Maggie needs the money to help other women to escape from abusive husbands and find gainful employment. That requires her to visit some dangerous neighborhoods. Lasham is too upstanding to allow her to go unprotected (except by her bossy maid.) He’s also the proverbial tall, dark, and handsome hero, so she can overlook his stuffiness.

Being an oldest child myself, I really relate to Lasham’s need to be perfectly correct and how stifling that can be. Luckily, I found an adventurer in my husband, just as he does in Maggie.

Don’t you love a HEA?

 

 

The Sale of Woodhouse Glass release

Published December 29, 2015 by francesothomas

 

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The Sale of Woodhouse Glass

by K.J. Watters

GENRE: Contemporary Romance (sweet)

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Please follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2015/12/bbt-sale-of-woodhouse-glass-by-kj.html

BLURB:

“Touching and intelligent, The Sale of Woodhouse Glass isn’t your ordinary romance. Kali Woodhouse is a widowed mother-of-two who spends her days running her deceased husband’s business, Woodhouse Glass, and flirting with the town police officer, who is exactly right for her in every way. He’s certainly a better choice than the bad-boy, screw-up she’s known since childhood, and who just so happens to need a job and has the necessary skills for Woodhouse Glass.

“No, this isn’t the generic storyline you’ve seen before with flat characters who play their roles according to the formula. Watters eschews cliche and instead tells a touching story about love, loss, family, and finding happiness again after tragedy.”

-Author of “Someone Else’s Fairytale” E.M. Tippetts

 

Excerpt:

“Hey, look at you in street clothes…You look tall. I mean good. You look good. Although not very detective-ish.” She’d blurted out her first thought to keep from staring, and she immediately regretted it. Hoping to come off as playful rather than unfiltered, she paired her words with a gentle tap to his shoulder with the back of her hand.

Parker chuckled, his broad smile and perfect teeth reinforcing the magazine-worthy image. “Well, thanks, but that was supposed to be my line. You look pretty good yourself. Beautiful, actually.” He paused long enough for her to blush. “Are you all ready?”

“Yep. I forgot how quickly I can get myself ready when it’s just me. You have no idea how much work it is to leave the house with kids. Getting everyone in shoes that match and fit seems like it should be easy, but I’m not kidding when I say that it takes half of our morning every single day.”

Please stop talking, she begged herself, turning to lock her door and trying to collect her thoughts—or at least shut her mouth.

“Huh. That’s probably why my sister-in-law keeps her kids’ shoes in the car. She and my brother have two kids about the same ages as yours. Two boys.” Parker led her to the silver SUV in the driveway and opened the passenger door. As he walked around to the driver’s side, Kali focused intently on buckling her seatbelt, an exercise in appearing to be a normal, stable, person.

“I was wondering if I was going to get to ride in a police cruiser tonight, but I guess I won’t get to cross that one off my bucket list.” Kali heard her voice again, nervously jabbering against her will.

Parker didn’t seem to mind following her rambling conversation. “I don’t drive it home. But I could probably arrange a ride if it means that much to you. A bucket list item is a big deal.”

“Well, maybe my list is too long. It also has ‘grow a prize-winning pumpkin,’ ‘fold a thousand paper cranes,’ and ‘catch a seagull.’” Luckily, Kali’s imagination kept pace with her mouth.

“I might need to rethink my list. I’m really not sure how I could have overlooked those.”

 

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

K.J. Watters is the author of The Sale of Woodhouse Glass, a solitary journalistic article, and a large number of unfinished manuscripts.

She has an underutilized degree in Communications, selected for its minimal math requirements. She married her math tutor who is now a CPA in southern Oregon.

Her hobbies currently include reading, writing, and watching beginner level gymnastics, ballet, and soccer practices. When she isn’t writing or being a mom, she also teaches high school conflict resolution classes part-time.

Links:

Website: Kjwatter.weebly.com

Twitter: karmajoywatters

Amazon: http://authl.it/B017IECVTI?d

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/KJWatters

 

 

Scandal Takes the Stage book review

Published December 21, 2015 by francesothomas

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Once upon a time, I used to be involved with community theater, so Scandal Takes the Stage by Eva Leigh brought back many happy memories for me. And as a writer, I thoroughly sympathized with her heroine Maggie, a playwright who is suffering from writer’s block. Quelle horreur!

Enter Cam, a viscount who has long been drawn to the theater and who has already fallen in love with Maggie’s words, if truth be told. When her theater company is in desperate need of a patron, he is only too eager to assume that role.

The plot was a little on the anemic side, I confess. It wasn’t hard to guess that a liaison with Cam was just the thing to release Maggie’s imagination. The supposed obstacle to their HEA, besides the obvious class difference, was that his parents and his best friend had found true love so having that same lightning strike him was an impossibility. Huh? He redeemed himself by coming to his senses in a suitably dramatic way.

All that aside, I enjoyed the camaraderie of cast of thespians. I even learned a bit about theater history. I had never heard the term “burletta” before. What fun it must have been to watch one of those precursors to melodrama, or, better yet, to participate in the creation of one.

For me, one of the most endearing qualities of this particular hero was his ability to back off when necessary and give Maggie the space and time she needed to complete her work. Funny, my husband has that quality too. Sometimes we writers just need some time alone.

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Moon Dark book blast

Published December 17, 2015 by francesothomas

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Moon Dark

by Patricia Barletta

GENRE:  Historical Romance

Patricia will be awarding winner’s choice of an ebook from Lachesis Publishing to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2015/12/book-blast-moon-dark-by-patricia.html

BLURB:

Lady Sabrina Dunfield is desperate. Widowed and destitute, she must rely on the dubious benevolence of her secretive uncle, an art collector living in Venice. Determined to make her way and provide for her young son, Sabrina is forced to take on clandestine and dangerous errands for her tyrannical relative. But when a mysterious shadow man saves her from an assassin’s blade, she knows she must do everything in her power to keep her son safe.

Alessandro D’Este, Prince of Auriano, is cursed. Doomed to live a life half in shadow, he is determined to free himself and his family from the evil that stalks them. When Alessandro saves the English woman’s life, he is captivated by her beauty and shocked at her ability to touch him in his shadowy form.

When Sabrina meets Alessandro in his human form, heady attraction sparks between them. She has no idea he is her shadowy savior, and she wonders what her life might be like with this charismatic man. Alessandro has never met a woman who affects him this way. Although life has taught him to trust only family, Sabrina might be the key that could deliver him from the diabolical darkness.

EXCERPT:

Venice, 1797

Someone—something—was following her.

Lady Sabrina Barclay hurried between the close-set houses of the humble sestiere of Santa Croce. She caught movement from the corner of her eye—down that narrow alley to the right, another to the left, even across the slippery tile rooftops. The motion was too quick, too nimble for a human. A shuddery twinge tiptoed down her back.

The alley opened into the Campo di Rigali, ringed by the plain stucco walls and dark windows of the houses. She halted in the shadows. Her destination was the chapel across the tiny square. Anxiety gripped her as she thought about crossing the open space to get there.

She peered into the deepening twilight. Nothing moved in the dusk. A line of laundry strung between two windows hung motionless. She could see no one lurking in the shadows. Of course she was alone. Everyone was out on the canals or celebrating in the Piazza San Marco. This was the time of the spring Carnevale.

Sabrina picked up her satin skirts and hurried across the cobbles, past the carved stone well. At the chapel’s wooden door, she glanced over her shoulder. As she did, her half mask caught on the hood of her black wool cape. She wanted to pull off the frippery of green velvet and yellow feathers, but instead, she pushed her hood back. No one went unmasked during Carnevale, and she had been told to remain anonymous. If anyone learned her identity or discovered the purpose of her errand, her son’s safety, her entire world, would be in peril.

Something skittered in a dark corner. Her hand tightened on the door pull of the chapel, the decorative ridges digging into her palm. She peered into the shadows. Only a rat. She grimaced in distaste.

An olive oil lamp flickered on in one of the small windows. Its pale light cast the animal carvings on the stone well into relief and threw the well’s shadow across the paving stones. She pressed back against the door and hoped no one could see her. With a click, shutters closed over the light. Stillness. Gloom. Yet she sensed eyes watching. Not from the windows. From somewhere else. She glanced up to the roofline of the houses but saw no silhouette against the dark, ethereal blue of the Venetian sky. An owl winged silently away into the night. The distant snap of a Carnevale firecracker startled her, prompting her to move.

Uneasy, she slipped into the chapel and leaned against the plain wood of the closed door. The sense of watching eyes receded, and she forced a breath into her lungs.

The chapel was small and dim and appeared to be deserted. The backless benches marched in formation to the sanctuary, where the carved white marble altar and the altarpiece behind it seemed to be waiting in holy repose. The sanctuary light glowed like a benevolent red eye. But she felt no sense of peace.

Gathering her courage, she pulled up her hood and hastened to a bench halfway down the aisle. Her soft dancing slippers made no noise on the marble floor. The muted swish of her satin skirt and petticoat sounded loud in the quiet. She had dressed as if she were attending a ball. Instead, she was here in this dark chapel on an errand that she had to complete.

The scent of incense and beeswax hung heavy in the air, still chilly despite the warming days of early summer. She shivered and hugged her woolen cloak closer as she sat. Pulling off her gloves, she folded her hands in her lap, bowed her head, and pretended to pray.

Her errand was to be conducted in secret. If someone followed her . . . No, she would not think of that. She must focus on what she had to do: Retrieve the note. Deliver it.

But first she needed to be sure she was alone. She listened for a footstep, a whisper, a breath—anything that would indicate another’s presence in the shadows. She heard nothing.

Sabrina glanced around in the dim light. The chapel was tucked into a quiet, working-class corner of Venice. No songs of gondoliers, no greetings of acquaintances passing on the canals, no shouts of Carnevale merrymakers reached her here. The silence was unnerving, but it assured her of solitude. A bank of votive candles cast a soft glow to the left of the altar. Shadows flickered along the frescoed walls and made the saintly figures portrayed there appear to dance. The stained glass windows, which would have sparkled like jewels during the day, were dull and dark, foreboding. Instead of safety and refuge, the dim chapel held an air of menace.

She turned from those unsettling walls and windows to the altar and the crucifix hanging there as if she were beseeching the Almighty, but no prayer formed on her lips. She waited, forcing herself to be patient, her fingers curling into her skirt. She just wanted to be done with her errand. Furtively, she glanced left and right. She saw no one.

She ran her fingers beneath the rough wood of the bench until she touched a small piece of folded parchment affixed to the underside. Prying the small square from the wax, she rolled it into the palm of her hand. Her errand was almost complete. She released a silent breath.

About to bow her head again, she saw the candle flames jump from a draft. The hair on the back of her neck prickled. Someone else was here. She sensed a presence that curled icy tentacles around her heart. A presence that triggered a frail wraith of memory: Evil.

Run. The word exploded in her brain.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Patricia Barletta always wanted to be a writer. That was right after she realized that becoming a fairy ballerina or a princess wasn’t going to happen. But being a writer meant she could go places in her head and be other people as much as she wanted. She could even be a fairy ballerina or a princess!

As a native of the Boston area, Patricia has been inspired by its history, which influenced her stories, and probably had an impact on her decision to become a high school British Literature teacher so she could pay the bills. She received a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree at the fabulous Stonecoast program in Maine. And now she’s an author writing about dark heroes, feisty heroines, magic, and other fantastical things.

Find out more about Patricia Barletta and her books on her website: http://www.patriciabarletta.com.

Connect with Patricia Barletta on facebook: Patricia Barletta on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patricia.barletta.3?ref=br_rs

Buy Link: Lachesis Publishing: http://lachesispublishing.com/?product=moon-dark

 

Montana Hearts book release

Published December 15, 2015 by francesothomas

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MONTANA HEARTS: SWEET TALKIN’ COWBOY

By Darlene Panzera

Avon Books, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Fiction; Western Romance

 

 

About the Book:

Darlene Panzera continues her heartwarming Western series with a roughed-up cowboy, the feisty girl next door, and the deal that brings them together

If it wasn’t for an injury to his leg, Luke Collins would be riding rodeo broncos all day, every day. Until he heals, he’s determined to help his family’s guest ranch bring in money any way he can. But when a cranky neighbor gets in the way of his goal, Luke turns to the only person he knows can help: the gorgeous, rodeo-barrel-racing spitfire next door.

It’s no secret: Sammy Jo’s father is a pain in the neck. But if anyone can persuade him, it’s her. So when Luke asks for help, Sammy Jo is more than willing to make a deal with the handsome cowboy. The cost? He’s gotta get back up on that horse—with Sammy Jo’s help, of course.

As teamwork reveals a deeper connection, Luke finds himself falling for the beautiful girl next door. But to win her heart? He’ll just have to do whatever it takes.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24805720-sweet-talkin-cowboy

 

Buy SWEET TALKIN’ COWBOY by Darlene Panzera:

Amazon \\ B&N \\ Google Play \\ iTunes

 

About the Author:

DARLENE PANZERA writes sweet, fun-loving romance and is a member of the Romance Writers of America’s Greater Seattle chapter. Her career launched when her novella “The Bet” was picked by Avon Books and New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber to be published within Debbie’s own novel, Family Affair. Darlene says, “I love writing stories that help inspire people to laugh, value relationships, and pursue their dreams.”

Born and raised in New Jersey, Darlene is now a resident of the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her husband and three children. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her family and her two horses, and loves camping, hiking, photography, and lazy days at the lake.

Join her on Facebook or at www.darlenepanzera.com.

 

Connect with Darlene Panzera:

Website: http://darlenepanzera.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4188608.Darlene_Panzera

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarlenePanzera

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@DarlenePanzera

 

 

Take Me All the Way blog tour

Published December 5, 2015 by francesothomas

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I agreed to write a review of Take Me All the Way because I am fond of stories set in small towns. The town of Coral Cove is not unlike the small Florida town where I live. As expected, I liked how the residents care about one another and look out for their own.

Tamra and Jeremy are not as appealing as the rest of the townsfolk, at least not at first. He’s back from war; she was effectively abandoned by parents who carted her off to a commune as a child. They’ve both erected hefty barriers to keep anyone from getting too close. Sparks fly when they are forced to work together, and not in a good way.

I had a little trouble understanding how a man who is supposedly so broke that he must accept a room in the local hotel without charge and handouts of food can somehow afford gasoline for his truck and a cell phone.

But I digress.

Of course, the two eventually help each other learn to trust. The title is a big tip off as to how that is achieved.

I’ll never look at hammocks the same way again.

 

Excerpt:

He was only vaguely aware of nearing a tall privacy fence, painted a weathered sort of white, before pass- ing through the open gate. He caught sight of Tamra’s legs and tennis shoes, too, and said, “Am I about to walk into anything?”

“No, you’re good,” she said.

“Where am I going with this thing? I want to put it down once.”

“Well, I haven’t had a chance to plan for this, so it might have to be twice—unless you want to stand there holding it while I think.”

“Nope,” he said, and let it drop right in front of him on the stone.

And then he took in everything around  him.  It was as if he’d entered a whole new world. One of lush greenery and bright blooms. Her entire backyard was a beautiful garden. “Shit, you weren’t lying,” he said without thinking.

“About what?” she asked.

“You could be a landscaper if you wanted.”

“Thanks.”  She  sounded  shockingly  bashful.  It threw him, drew his gaze to her face.

She was actually blushing a little. He wondered why, but didn’t spend much time trying to figure it out as his attention was drawn back to the garden.

From the trees hung delicate windchimes and other pieces, all made of colored glass. He caught sight of a blue glass bird that seemed to be flying past, and numerous  butterflies  in  yellow,  purple,  pink.  From the ground sprung the occasional birdbath, and more pieces of glass mounted on wrought iron sticks—a green glass dragonfly, a row of glass daisies. In be- tween it all ran the stone path—it seemed to make a circle around the yard, and near the house, where they stood, it widened to encircle a large fire pit. Wooden chairs rimmed the pit, and farther back in the garden he caught sight of a hammock that looked like the perfect resting spot.

“This is . . . freaking amazing,” he told her.

“Yeah?” she asked. Again, she sounded so much more delicate than usual.

“Yeah.” He nodded, still taking it in.

The truth was, he kind of never wanted to leave. It was . . . the perfect place to be alone, the perfect place to hide.

And then . . . he understood. The same way he liked to hide—so did she.

When his gaze returned to her, he saw her differ- ently. He understood her better now—not completely, not by a long shot, but better. He’d sensed a certain beauty in her before—he’d witnessed hints of it want- ing to creep out from around her more rigid persona— but now he really saw it. Looking down at her, here, she was . . . prettier. Her eyes more innocent. Her lips fuller, softer. Maybe he was crazy, or maybe the late day shadows were playing tricks on him, but she was truly beautiful here in a way he’d never seen her look before.

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About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author Toni Blake’s love of writing began when she won an essay contest in the fifth grade. Soon after, she penned her first novel – nineteen notebook pages long. Since then, Toni has become a RITA-nominated author of more than twenty contemporary romance novels including her recent 2014 RITA nomination for Half Moon Hill the last installment in her popular Destiny series. Her books have received the National Readers Choice Award and the Bookseller’s Best Award, and her work has been excerpted in Cosmo. Toni lives in the Midwest and enjoys traveling, crafts, and spending time outdoors. Learn more about Toni and her books at www.toniblake.com.

 

 

The Sound of Circumstance book tour

Published December 3, 2015 by francesothomas

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The Sound of Circumstance

by Susan Ann Wall

GENRE:  Contemporary  Romance

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:

Susan will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.  

Follow the tour and comment for better chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2015/11/book-blast-sound-of-circumstance-by.html

 

BLURB:

Stacie Nightingale doesn’t what the 2.5 million dollars of blood money she’s been awarded as a result of the lawsuit she filed. She also doesn’t want the memories that are flooding her mind, causing her to remember the betrayal that led to her friend’s death and left Stacie with a traumatic brain injury. Neither of those circumstances matter though once her boyfriend Owen Landry proposes to her. She doesn’t want his proposal because of the circumstances that drove him to it. The mysterious woman he seems to be keeping company only fuels her insecurity and doubt. Stacie loves Owen, but with her past continuing to haunt her, she questions if their love is strong enough to survive.

Excerpt:

“This closet may as well be a garbage can,” Stacie snarled as she stormed across the bedroom to the master bath. After slipping on a robe, she returned to the bedroom to find Jenny laughing at her.

Her best friend’s laugh was as irritating as Owen’s smirk had been. “Just yesterday you were bragging about your beautiful wardrobe. You didn’t find anything inspiring this morning?”

“I made Owen go limp last night,” Stacie confessed, tossing another outfit onto the garbage heap on the bed and disappearing into the closet again.

Another annoying laugh. “You broke the Cajun Sex God? Is that even possible?”

Stacie poked her head out of the walk-in closet. “Not. Funny. Wait, what are you doing?”

Jenny tapped away on the touch screen of her phone. “I’m letting Ty know that Owen’s human. It’ll boost his confidence.”

Stacie crossed the room and tried to snag the phone from Jenny’s perfectly manicured hands, to no avail. Jenny could text blindfolded with one hand tied behind her back.

“You can’t tell Ty. You can’t tell anyone.”

“It happens to every guy at some point, Stace. Don’t take it personally.” The phone beeped with the sound of a successfully sent message before Jenny practically pushed Stacie out of the way. Letting the fashion diva do her thing, Stacie dropped onto the bed, using the garbage heap as a pillow while an arm fell across her eyes.

“But it’s never happened before.” What kind of cheese went well with whine? “I’d be fine with it except for what happened yesterday.”

 

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Big dreamer and certifiable overachiever Susan Ann Wall embraces life at full speed and volume. She’s a beer and tea snob, can be bribed with dark chocolate, and the #1 thing on her bucket list is to be the center of a Bon Jovi flash mob.

Susan is a nationally bestselling, multi-genre author of racy, rule-breaking romance and women’s fiction. Her bragging rights include nine books in three different series,  three perfect children, adopting an amazing rescue dog, and a happily ever after that started while serving in the U.S. Army and has spanned nearly two decades (which is crazy since she’s not a day over 29).

In her next life, Susan plans to be a 5 foot 10, size 8 rock star married to a chiropractor and will not be terrified of large bridges, spiders, or quiet people (shiver).

 

Links

http://www.susanannwall.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/susanannwall.author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@susanannwall

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/susanannwall

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Susan-Ann-Wall/e/B007NZU7X0

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/susanannwall

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/nQ7wH

 

Buy Links:

BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-sound-of-circumstance-susan-ann-wall/1122731936?ean=2940152682212

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Circumstance-Puget-Alive-Love-ebook/dp/B015ZRALGU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447849883&sr=1-1&keywords=the+sound+of+circumstance