Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Book Review - CHRISTMAS CHARMS by Teri Wilson

Title:  Christmas Charms
Author:  Teri Wilson
Genre:  Holiday Romance
Release Date:  October 6, 2020 
Available for Pre-Order Now!


About the Book:
She never dreamed her holiday would include her hometown, a dog, or a firefighter.
But a mysterious charm bracelet predicted it all…

Ashley’s supposed to be having the Christmas of her dreams. After four years of working at an upscale jewelry store in Manhattan, she’s finally going to get a little velvet box of her own—from her boyfriend Jeremy, who’s taking her on a romantic trip to Paris. What could go wrong?

Well, everything.

Ashley heads home to Owl Lake instead, falling asleep on the train ride there…and waking up with a beautiful antique charm bracelet on her wrist. Soon, she realizes that each silver charm predicts an event that happens in real life. What does this mean for her and Jeremy…or her and Aidan, her former high school boyfriend, who’s now a local firefighter? Is there still a chance that she could have the perfect Christmas?

This small town Christmas romance includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Spiced Walnut Crust Cookies with Chocolate Ganache and Sea Salt.

Buy Links: Amazon 
Release date: October 6th, 2020 - Available for Pre-Order Now!

My Review:
Even though I read this advance copy of Christmas Charms during the summertime heat in August, I was immediately engulfed in the Christmas spirit! Teri Wilson captured the pure essence of Christmas magic in this holiday novel about making your Christmas dreams come true.

When Ashley's boyfriend for the past three years, decides to whisk her away to Paris to spend Christmas with his family, and Ashley's best friend who works in the engagement ring department of one of New York's largest jewelry stores tells Ashley that Jeremy bought an engagement ring, what other explanation could there be? Of course she thought Jeremy was going to propose! Wait! What? The ring wasn't for her? He doesn't think people like them get married? Time for Ashley to drop this loser and head home to spend the holidays with her parents. But the train ride home brings her even more questions and surprises.

This book was such a delight! Thank you Hallmark Publishing and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review an Advance Reader Copy.

My Rating: 

About the Author:
Teri Wilson is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of heartwarming, whimsical contemporary romance. Three of Teri's books have been adapted into Hallmark Channel Original Movies by Crown Media, including UNLEASHING MR. DARCY (plus its sequel MARRYING MR. DARCY), THE ART OF US and NORTHERN LIGHTS OF CHRISTMAS, based on her book SLEIGH BELL SWEETHEARTS. She is also a recipient of the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction for her novel THE BACHELOR'S BABY SURPRISE. Teri has a major weakness for cute animals, pretty dresses and Audrey Hepburn films, and she loves following the British royal family. Visit her at www.teriwilson.net or on Twitter @TeriWilsonauthr.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Book Review - A HEARTFELT CHRISTMAS PROMISE by Nancy Naigle

Title: A Heartfelt Christmas Promise
Author: Nancy Naigle
Genre: Holiday Romance
Release Date: September 29, 2020
Available for Pre-order Now!

About the Book:
A perfect gift that captures the spirit of the season, USA Today bestselling author Nancy Naigle’s A Heartfelt Christmas Promise celebrates the holidays, small-town traditions, and the generosity of love between two lost souls who find everything they ever wanted in each other.

Vanessa Larkin was supposed to be spending Christmas in Paris, France on a business trip she hoped to enjoy as a working vacation. Instead, she’s been assigned to Fraser Hills, North Carolina—home of the Best Fruitcake in the USA—to convert her company’s property into warehouse space and shut down Porter’s, the fruitcake factory. Offering retirement packages and selling locals on new job opportunities may not spread holiday cheer, but Vanessa believes she’s helping secure the town’s future.

Mike Marshall’s family founded Porter’s. For decades, the factory served as the lifeblood of the community until his grandfather sold the business to a Chicago corporation. The sale cost the town its independence—and the Marshalls their family ties. A horse farmer, Mike was never involved with his grandfather’s company, but still felt Fraser Hills lost part of its identity. And as a widower raising a teenage daughter, he’s suffered enough losses in one lifetime. News of the factory’s closing means losing another piece of the town’s legacy.

Far from the skyscrapers and rapid pace of the city, Vanessa finds herself enjoying the easygoing rhythms of rural living. With Mike as her guide, she learns to appreciate the simple pleasures found in shared holiday festivities among friends. Fraser Hills is a town she is growing to love—and Mike is someone she is falling in love with. Now all Vanessa needs is a Christmas miracle to give her newfound friends and home a gift they’ll cherish for many New Years to come.
Buy Links: Amazon 
Available for Pre-Order
Release Date September 29, 2020

My Review:

Although the story started out like a typical Hallmark movie with the female MC being part of a big corporation, and the male MC being Mr. Good Guy in Small Town USA, it soon grew to be so much more. Nancy Naigle created a story with undercurrents of how a young girl with a brain for business should not be shoved aside. Vanessa listened to Misty's ideas and incorporated them into the Fruitcake production business. She also brought out the importance of family and the joy of a more simple life in a small town. Ms. Naigle's descriptions of the falling snow, the little shops in the town, the puppy who kept sneaking away and the sweet carriage house, made me feel like it was Christmas in the mountains of North Carolina, even though I was reading this in August in Florida.

This was a wonderful Christmas feel-good novel. Although I didn't feel many of those romantic tingles between Vanessa and Mike, the story was super good and well deserving of 5 stars.

I received an ARC from the author and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Nancy Naigle whips up small-town love stories with a dash of suspense and a whole lot of heart. She began her popular contemporary romance series, Adams Grove, while juggling a successful career in finance and life on a seventy-six-acre farm. She went on to produce works in collaboration with other authors, including the hilarious southern fiction G Team series. A Romance Writers of America Honor Roll author, her books have been translated in multiple languages and received favorable reviews from major trade journals.

In 2018, Crown Media brought two of Nancy's novels to life. Christmas Joy premiered on Hallmark Channel 11/3/18. Hope at Christmas premiered on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. She also novelized two Hallmark Original Movies set in the town of Evergreen, bringing the whole story and bonus epilogues to Hallmark fans.

Now happily retired from a career in the financial industry, she devotes her time to writing, antiquing, and horseback riding with friends. A Virginia girl at heart, Nancy now calls North Carolina home.

Download a complete list of Nancy's books at www.NancyNaigle.com, then stay up to date with future releases by joining Nancy's free newsletter -or-visit her on facebook and twitter (@nancynaigle)



Monday, September 14, 2020

Book Blitz & Giveaway - THE CAPTIVE KING (Royal States #3) by Susan Copperfield

The Captive King
Susan Copperfield
(Royal States #3)
Publication date: February 12th 2018
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

In the Royal States of America, magic rules all, but life—and love—always finds a way.

At the Texas Charity Auction, money can buy anything, and Summer Cassidy is under orders to take advantage of the opportunity. While she believes the marital collar once worn by an Aztec queen belongs in a museum, it’s up to her to sell the priceless treasure to one of the elite in attendance.

Meeting Bachelor #103, a man who finds her descriptions of human sacrifice charming rather than appalling, hadn’t been part of her plans. Buying his company for a quarter hadn’t been part of her plans, either.

One coffee date, a dinner, and a curse later, Summer’s catapulted across the Royal States on an adventure that will forever change her life, alter the course of an entire kingdom, and give her a chance to earn a love capable of defying even death.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

How had I gotten saddled with attending the Texas charity auction? I wanted to return to my tent in Mexico and hide, but no. Someone from the Nahua dig team at Joya de Ballesteros had to convince some overly wealthy, braindead elite to part with his money, and by virtue of being the only intern with tits, I’d gotten the job.

Hell, I was the only woman at Site C, and most of the team wasn’t sure what to think about that. The ones who weren’t busy trying to get into my pants blamed me for each and every disruption.

After the first time I’d buried a would-be assaulter neck deep in dirt, they’d kept their harassment verbal so history wouldn’t repeat itself.

If I wanted my doctorate, I needed to shut the hell up, sell the damned jade Nahua marital collar for top dollar, and deal with the humiliation of being the only unmasked attendee at a bloody masquerade ball.

I wished I was wearing something other than muddy cargo pants with pockets full of digging tools.

A little warning would’ve been nice.

“The last time a woman attended an auction looking like she’d just come in from the fields, she charmed herself a king,” a man murmured behind me.

The last thing I needed was to be compared to the talk of the entire auction, the future wife of Montana’s king. I scowled, clutching the polished wooden box containing the jade necklace to my chest. “I was at a temple, not a field.”

A field would’ve been a lot nicer; in some ways, I appreciated the respite from the smothering jungle humidity and the incessant attention of thirsty mosquitos.

“A temple? Were they having a mud-wrestling competition?”

I bit the bullet and turned to face him. He wore a suit like every other man present at the auction, although his was navy rather than the standard black. Unlike everyone else, he wore a plain black mask, just enough to cover his face so he couldn’t be readily identified. I found his lack of feathers, gemstones, and trappings reassuring.

He was either like me—a goose stuck among swans—or he was an elite with no fucks left to give about what anyone thought of him.

Author Bio:

Susan Copperfield is the royal romance, urban fantasy loving alter ego of award-winning & USA Today bestselling novelist RJ Blain.

Under the super not-so-secret identity of Susan, the Royal States of America is explored, where the work of sixteen founding royal families preserved the United States from destruction and civil war when magic swept over the world.

In the Royal States, life, love, and magic always finds a way.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Newsletter


GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Book Review - BURYING THE HONEYSUCKLE GIRLS by Emily Carpenter

Title:  Burying the Honeysuckle Girls
Author:  Emily Carpenter
Genre:  Suspense
Release Date:  April 26, 2016 


About the Book:
Althea Bell is still heartbroken by her mother’s tragic, premature death—and tormented by the last, frantic words she whispered into young Althea’s ear: Wait for her. For the honeysuckle girl. She’ll find you, I think, but if she doesn’t, you find her.
Adrift ever since, Althea is now fresh out of rehab and returning to her family home in Mobile, Alabama, determined to reconnect with her estranged, ailing father. While Althea doesn’t expect him, or her politically ambitious brother, to welcome her with open arms, she’s not prepared for the chilling revelation of a grim, long-buried family secret. Fragile and desperate, Althea escapes with an old flame to uncover the truth about her lineage. Drawn deeper into her ancestors’ lives, Althea begins to unearth their disturbing history…and the part she’s meant to play in it.
Gripping and visceral, this unforgettable debut delves straight into the heart of dark family secrets and into one woman’s emotional journey to save herself from a sinister inheritance.

Buy Links: Amazon 
Note: As of the date of this review, Burying the Honeysuckle Girls is available on Kindle Unlimited

My Review:
Although this book is described as "Occult Suspense - Ghost Suspense", it does not involve the occult or ghosts. But it is definitely suspenseful!

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this book. I had a difficult time putting it down and I found myself deeply engrossed with the story. The ending, however, left me feeling a bit flat. The story kept eluding to something mystical or magical, but instead it a huge dose of realism. 

If you are deeply troubled reading about drug addiction and domestic abuse, this is not the book for you. But if you enjoy reading about the deep south and generations of families and how their lives have changed, or not changed, over the years, or if you enjoy reading a book that really pulls you in, then this one is for you.

My Rating: 

About the Author:
EMILY CARPENTER, a former actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Auburn University. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she now lives in Georgia with her family. You can visit Emily online at emilycarpenterauthor.com.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Book Blitz & Giveaway - THE CROW KING (Wintervale, #1) by M.H. Woodscourt


The Crow King
M. H. Woodscourt
(Wintervale, #1)
Publication date: September 1st 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Magic is against the law. He must use it anyway.
The Crow King has outlawed magic. Despite the kingdom’s edict, Gwyn plunges into the ancient and deadly True Wood to find a magical cure for his dying brother. Within the shadowed realm, he must fend off more than violent and fallen fae-like Ilidreth when he learns the king is out to stop him at whatever cost.
On his desperate quest, he is joined by a unicorn, a quirky girl, and the maddest of the fallen fae. Together they must outrun enchanted crows and enemy armies, and face the ghosts of a shattered age, all while racing to save Gwyn’s brother. Meanwhile, war brews between countries, and a secret order of mages hunts Gwyn down.
Yet none of this can prepare Gwyn for the harrowing truth behind the fall of the Ilidreth long, long ago, and what it means for his life and his homeland.
EXCERPT:
Mist curled over the quiet hills of Vinwen. Somewhere a bird trilled, prophesying the coming dawn, and the sun answered with a ring of gold spilling over the horizon as it peeked at the slumbering world. Lazy clouds drifted by, grey, dappled with faint pinks and yellows.
Sitting on the wooden fence, Gwynter ren Terare squinted against the hovering gloom in the valley below, eyes fixed on the road. He strained for any sound beyond the faint chirrup of crickets, the song of birds, the gush of the nearby stream. A crow cawed as it landed on the fence.
There. Just there. A faint neigh. The rattle of a wheel against a stray stone. A cracking whip. Gwyn shoved against the rough wood post, leapt to his feet atop the fence, and wobbled once before he caught his balance. Perched, he soon made out the distant shape of the coming carriage, a single lantern bobbing to pierce the predawn shadows.
Gwyn grinned and jumped from the fence. The crow screamed and flew off. Gwyn loped along the streambank up toward the manor house. His shoulder-length hair flounced in his eyes, but he ignored it as he cut through a protesting gaggle of geese and threw himself against the kitchen door to stumble inside.
“Mercy, child!” cried Mavell, spoon in hand. “You look a sight. What awful trouble could there be so early as this?”
Gwyn shook his head as he gasped for air, leaning forward, hands on his legs. He gulped a few times before he could utter a word. “Lawen’s coming. Almost here. Down the road a bit.” He straightened and headed for a bucket of water on the table, took up a ladle, and helped himself to a long, cool drink.
The cook grabbed the ladle, poured water into a cup, and handed that to Gwyn. “Master Lawen, already? Surely not. He’s not to come until tomorrow, so his letter said.”
Gwyn drained the cup. He held it out to let Mavell ladle him another. “But he’s always early. I had a feeling to watch for him, and here he comes.”
“And how do you know it’s Master Lawen?”
Gwyn smiled. “I always know.”
She pursed her lips but didn’t argue. There seemed no point, they both knew that.
“Well,” the slender woman said, rubbing her hands against her apron. “If it is Master Lawen, oughtn’t you go off and clean yourself up for his arrival? Your mother will have a fit if you greet him looking like a shepherd’s boy.” She swatted Gwyn’s backside with the ladle. “Off with you, go on.”
Gwyn chuckled and trotted out of the kitchen and into a long gallery. His feet echoed against the flagstones. He cast a glance out the windows to find that full dawn had banished grey in favor of a thousand shades of green and brilliant gold. He could hear the geese and chickens griping and dogs barking as the carriage rolled along the private drive leading to the house. Gwyn thought he heard the crunch of gravel and his heart leapt.
Lawen! Home, at last. How long had it been? A year or longer. Mount Vinwen had felt hollow in his absence, though none of the others appeared to notice.
Gwyn reached his room, brushed off his trousers to dislodge any dirt or wood splinters, and changed his coarse shirt for fine woven linen. He slipped on stockings, yanked on a pair of polished boots, then caught his hair in a ponytail. A last inspection in his mirror. Gwyn awarded himself a curt, militaristic nod. He tugged one last time on his long shirt front, wrapped his belt atop it, clicked his heels, and headed downstairs.
In the main vestibule he found the rest of the ren Terares assembled, even Mother, though her lips pressed tight and her eyebrows arched above eyes sharp as needles. She turned toward Gwyn as he reached the bottom of the sweeping staircase and her gaze softened.
“Gwyn, dearheart. Thank you for not looking like a peasant this morning.”
He kissed her cheeks. “Good morning, Mother. I thought this occasion warranted the change.”
She sighed. “Yes, I suppose the master is home today.”
Gwyn brushed off her tone, not willing to let it seep in. He could understand her resentment in a way. Last year Tynveer ren Terare, Gwyn and Lawen’s blood father, had been killed in a skirmish against the savage Ilidreth. Now Lawen was the master of Mount Vinwen, and Mother, Tynveer’s second wife after Lawen’s mother had passed, now suspected her stepson would soon send her and her three children to live at another of his estates, but Gwyn knew better. There was no kinder soul in all Simaerin than his elder half-brother.
The sound of crunching gravel outside the front doors ceased as the carriage bounced to a stop. Gwyn’s younger sisters laughed and tumbled forward as the servants pulled the manor doors aside to admit the Master of Vinwen.


Author Bio:
Writer of fantasy, magic weaver, dragon rider! Having spent the past 20 years devotedly writing fantasy, it's safe to say M. H. Woodscourt is now more fae than human.
Her published titles include The Crow King, book one of her YA/High Fantasy Wintervale series, A Liar in Paradise and Key of Paradise of her YA/Portal Fantasy Paradise series, as well as October Cove, an Urban Fantasy novella.
All of her fantasy worlds connect with each other in a broad Universe, forged with love, sadism, and no small measure of blood, sweat, and tears. When she's not writing, she's napping or reading a book with a mug of hot cocoa close at hand.

XBTBanner1

Monday, August 31, 2020

Book Blitz & Giveaway - BLACK DOG RISING by Kat Caulberg


Black Dog Rising
Kat Caulberg
Published by: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication date: July 1st 2020
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Since arriving in England, nothing has made sense for Emma Aubrey. Forced to flee her ex-boyfriend and the vengeful ghost of his dead wife, she seeks refuge in Ninestone Downs, a sleepy country village where people still whisper of fairies and a hellish phantom canine prowls its streets.
Toby Deering has no more room in his life for the paranormal. He’s got secrets of his own, including a four-hundred-year-old curse and a past he can’t escape. The last thing he wants is a quirky American woman on his doorstep in desperate need of shelter, or the accidental touch that awakens a bond between them neither can ignore.
But ancient forces are stirring. When Emma finds herself the target of a shadowy stalker, will her bond with Toby be enough to withstand the evil Fae Court and the hellhound on her heels?
EXCERPT:
The trill of a penny whistle tugged Emma to an avenue winding away from the heart of the village. The buildings grew smaller as she reached the stream marking the town’s boundary. It fed the river she and Toby crossed earlier, a medieval stone bridge bowed over its banks. Beyond lay the fen. The Nine Sisters stood at the edge of one of those watery coils where drier land took over, forever imprisoned.
She slowed.
With no lights on the fen to soften the darkness, there was no way to determine solid ground from the wet, marshy soil snaking for miles into the country. Wandering out into the fields would be dangerous, even deadly. She turned to leave.
A fiddle wept in the night. The sound came from the route toward the standing stones, binding Emma to her need to find it. The tune dipped low, pulling at the invisible link. Her feet moved, taking her with them, each soft step issuing a warning against going further. Something was wrong, she knew, but the music cajoled, it coaxed, and although she wrapped a hand around the pillar beside the bridge to stop herself, the music sweet-talked her into letting go.
She would follow and happily be lost.
The beast growled before she saw it. Slinking from a patch of darkness, a blocky figure materialized on the opposite side of the stream. Its shoulders reached as high as the sides of the bridge, making it taller than Emma’s hip. The stench of sulfur crawled over the water and scraped at her hindbrain.
Claws clicked on clunch stone, leading up to legs seemingly too spindly to sustain the weight of the beast’s shaggy body. A chain dangled from its neck. Doglike, it pinned its ears to its skull and sniffed the wind.
Suspended in blackness darker than the rest, two bright, red eyes burning with infernal light flicked open.
She clamped a hand to her mouth too late to stop her shriek. This was no shade, no outline, no trick of the night. The thing standing before her was real. A name circled her brain, seeking exit.
“Shuck,” she croaked.
The beast stretched its mouth and grinned.
Long, tapered needles glistened in crimson gums. Emma’s blood ran cold. It had heard her. It had understood. In a corner of her mind, a rational voice broke through her terror, whispering warnings. If she ran, it would follow. Not just follow, but chase, track, hunt, destroy.
She stretched her hands to show she held no weapons and was no threat to it, although what threat could she present to a creature crafted of midnight and hellfire? The thing was a demon.
A demon that saved a man from a flock of runaway sheep, a second inner voice piped up. One that might have just saved Shane. Maybe. Or maybe it’d been unsuccessful in its bid for an evening snack.
“Sit,” Emma whimpered. “Stay.”


Author Bio:
For as long as she can remember, Kat Caulberg has been obsessed with history and the paranormal. Somewhat to the dismay of her parents, her interests led her into both museums and graveyards as a child, a trend which has continued into her adulthood. This has influenced her reading tastes and her writing, whether it be a good ghost story, thrilling tales of time-travel, or devouring endless volumes of ancient warfare.
She signed a contract with Soul Mate Publishing in 2018 for her first novel, Three Star Island, a time-travel story set in 1721. She enjoys writing strong, quirky heroines, and has a weakness for cheeky heroes who have as much compassion as they have flaws.
Kat currently lives in North Carolina with her Englishman and a few cats.

XBTBanner1

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Book Review - THE GIVER OF STARS by Jojo Moyes

Title:  The Giver of Stars
Author:  Jojo Moyes
Genre:  Women's Historical Fiction
Release Date:  October 8, 2019 


About the Book:

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A REESE WITHERSPOON x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB PICK

USA Today's top 100 books to read while stuck at home social distancing


I’ve been a huge Jojo Moyes fan. Her characters are so compelling. . . It’s such a great narrative about personal strength and really captures how books bring communities together.” –Reese Witherspoon

From the author of Me Before You, set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond.


Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England.  But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

The leader, and soon Alice's greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who's never asked a man's permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky. 

What happens to them--and to the men they love--becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic--a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond. 

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE!

Buy Links: Amazon 

My Review:


Every now and then, a book is read that will leave a deep impression on me. A book that I know I will remember for a long time. A book that evokes uncontrollable tears to stream down my face. A book that will be the first on my lips when asked to recommend something good to read. 

"The Giver of Stars" by Jojo Moyes is such a book. Deeply emotional and full of historic facts, this book blends joy, friendship, women's rights, changing times, and the hardships endured by women in the back woods of Kentucky in the 1930's.

Without a doubt, this is the best historic romance I have read this year. Highly recommended!

My Rating: 

About the Author:
Jojo Moyes is a British novelist.

Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist.

Moyes' novel Foreign Fruit won the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004.

She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children.



Website


Twitter


 

The Novel Lady Published @ 2014 by Ipietoon