Sunday, April 30, 2017

#BookReview - Love's Sacrifice (Mystic Hope - Book 2) by #KelseyNorman

Title:  Love's Sacrifice (Mystic Hope - Book 2)
Author:  Kelsey Norman
Genre:  Fantasy, Inspirational Fiction
Release Date:  April 1, 2017

About the Book:

Nina and Liam are finally together, but at what cost to their future?

Nina Anderson is free of the man who hurt her for so many years. Now she can throw her whole heart into a relationship with her unearthly protector, Liam. She's thankful for the time she's been given with him but hates the restrictions. Nina is determined to find a way to make Liam human, even if it means putting her own life in jeopardy. 

Liam would give anything to be with Nina permanently, so when he's offered an assignment to investigate strange occurrences around Despair, he jumps at the chance. It appears to be an outbreak of crime, until he discovers that evil forces, called Rogues, are taking over human souls and forcing them to commit unspeakable crimes. Liam must race against time to save the woman he loves as well as the town he’s come to call his own.

Will Liam and Nina’s relationship withstand the incoming turmoil? Or will they be forced to make choices that will keep them apart forever? 

Buy Links: Amazon 
My Review:


A few months ago I read the first book in this series, UNBROKEN SPIRIT.  I absolutely loved it and I loved this author's style of writing.  I couldn't wait to read the sequel!  And I must say that I was not disappointed in the least!  This book was fascinating and I could not put it down!  It had everything in it that I love in a book.  There was action, tingly romance, deep love and family devotion and the big question of whether or not good will win over evil.

There were just a few editing problems, but I was able to overlook that because the story was so very good.  Hopefully those editing problems can be fixed easily.

Although Kelsey Norman gives little hints of reminders to bring the reader up to date, I heartily recommend that you read the first book in this Mystic Hope series before you read this one.  Otherwise the relationship between Liam and Nina could be quite confusing.  Their relationship is rather unique.  He is a Martyr and she is human.  He is her "protecter", but he and Nina have fallen deeply in love.  Their love is hindered by the fact that he can only be with her for two hours each day.

Life becomes even more complicated when Rogues (the evil ones) arrive and begin to inhabit the bodies of those humans willing to allow them in.  That "willingness" is often the result of lies and illusions created by the Rogues.  And the illusions are so real that Nina and Liam have a difficult time telling what is true and what is not.

Even though this was a fantasy/paranormal type book, the Christian aspects were neatly woven into the mix.  I wouldn't think that was possible but Kelsey Norman managed to combine these ideas into a well crafted world.  I loved it!

My Rating:

About the Author:


Kelsey is a wife and mother originally from Kansas. When she isn't writing she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, dancing, and being outdoors.

Follow her on 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorkelseynorman
Website: www.kelseynorman.com


Saturday, April 29, 2017

#IHeartBooks & #Authors - Free Event for Readers!

Yay!  More books!!


I just love going to events like this!  If you haven't been to a book signing convention, you should try it! You get to meet various authors and see their new releases.  If you buy one of their books, the authors will usually sign it for you. It's a great opportunity to go all fan girl (you may want to curb your stalker tendencies though, I've heard that scares some authors).

If you happen to be in South Florida on May 21st, swing by Lakeside Terrace in Boca Raton to meet some amazing authors.  This event is sponsored by Florida Writers Association and is FREE for readers from noon to 4:00 pm. (Entry is free, not the books... Although some authors may charge for hugs -- depends if you're the above mentioned stalker type or if they enjoy being molested by random fans. I'd offer to provide everyone with a poll on which authors charge for hugs, but I'm planning on spending my money on books -- not bail. Sorry!). 

So yes, I'm planning to be there.... wandering around and hoping to find some new and exciting books to read and review.  I love chatting with the authors...and I promise not to get too stalkery.

I may even set up some Author Interviews to post here on The Novel Lady Blog.  Anyone you want to know more about?  Let me know and I will seek them out!

If you see me at the event, come up and say hello. Hugs are free.

For more information, visit FloridaWriters.net.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

#BookReview: A Whisper of Smoke by Angela Hoke

Title:  A Whisper of Smoke
Author:  Angela Hoke
Genre:  Womens Fiction, Coming of Age
Release Date:  January 24, 2014

About the Book:

At thirteen, Susanna doesn’t realize she has a dysfunctional family – they are just hers. But when family secrets emerge that threaten Susanna and her siblings, she begins to see that things are not as simple as she’s always believed. Time passes, and as Susanna grows older to the backdrop of the 1960s, her best friends Calvin and Shelly are right beside her -- until her feelings for Calvin grow beyond friendship, and suddenly the world has turned upside down. Not even Shelly’s brash humor can break through her heartbreak as Calvin deploys to Vietnam, in love with someone else and even more out of reach than ever.


But then Susanna realizes that Calvin needs her like never before, and she won't abandon him - even at the expense of her own heart. And as trouble at home reaches its pinnacle, Susanna's sense of honor, and fault, are challenged by Calvin’s experiences in war. Now, even as her love for Calvin threatens to destroy her, she finds herself at a crossroads - repeat the mistakes of the past or face the awful truth. And, with her dysfunctional family surrounding her, it all boils down to a choice between fear and hope.

A WHISPER OF SMOKE is a coming-of-age love story that is rich and deeply sensitive. Winner of the 2014 Maggie Award for Excellence and the 2014 Heart of Denver Aspen Gold Award, it “reminds us of how exciting, beautiful and painful growing up really is." -- Judge, Writers' Digest

Buy Links: Amazon 
My Review:

I can almost feel my review blog co-author rolling her eyes when she sees that I am reviewing a novel about a thirteen year old girl.  Normally, we NEVER read anything involving thirteen year old girls... or boys for that matter.  Generally speaking, we don't like them.  But this author graciously donated signed copies of this book for a literary function I was speaking at.  After first being attracted by this beautiful cover, I read just a few pages... and yes, I got sucked into 1965 Kentucky!  I am so glad I temporarily set aside my list of "things I generally don't read" because this book was worth reading every single page!  

A Whisper of Smoke is a beautifully written story about a girl and her family dealing with painful secrets, life, love and loss.  Angela Hoke developed these characters so fully that you could "feel" their presence and her storyline pulled me right back into the 1960's with so many little reminders of things I had long since forgotten.

The emotions I felt as I read this amazing novel ran the gambit from smiling and laughing out loud to tears streaming down my cheeks, choking back sobs.

I applaud Angela Hoke for having the ability to write about a subject so many people have difficulty acknowledging.  And she wrote about it with so much depth of emotion and with understanding that so many people cannot face.  Life is not black and white with rigid guidelines.  Life contains too many variables.  This author handled it all beautifully.

I won't give away spoilers, but I do want to comment on the letters written between Susanna and Calvin while he was in Vietnam.  Being married to a Vietnam veteran myself, the realism in those letters brought to life images long past.  The letters... and this book... are beautifully written.  If I could, I would give this review six or more stars (or wine glasses).

Well done, Angela Hoke!  

My Rating:

About the Author:


Angela Hoke has worked for many years in accounting, writing in her spare time. She began writing at the age of eight, when she produced a neighborhood newspaper, until an expose written based on sketchy facts shut her down for good. A Whisper of Smoke is her debut novel, and winner of the 2015 National Indie Excellence Book Award, the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal, the 2014 GRW Maggie Award for Excellence and the 2014 Heart of Denver Aspen Gold Award. It was also a finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards. Her short story, The Ceremony (inspired by a scene in this book), was a finalist in the New Millennium Writing Contest, and she studied craft at the Algonkian Writers’ Conference. Her second novel, A Painted Lily, is expected to be released in May 2017. She lives in Nashville, TN with her family, one tiny dog and a bob-tailed cat.

Interview with Angela Hoke, Author of A Whisper of Smoke, April 22, 2017:

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in Kentucky, but I’ve lived in Nashville for over twenty years.  I’ve been writing since I was eight years old. I started with a newspaper that I wrote, illustrated and distributed with the help of my mom’s work copy machine. I had a successful run of two editions before publishing an exposĂ© based on sketchy facts in my third paper – that one shut me down for good! Since then, I’ve become an accountant that writes, sings, ballroom dances and paints in her spare time, a recently remarried wife and a mother, which is my favorite role of all.

What were you like at school?
I was a very good student – all A’s, or very nearly so. I had scholarships to college which was good, because I married young (at eighteen) and was living on my own with my new husband. We were broke and knew it (I always wonder how some people can say they were broke but didn’t know it – it was very apparent to us J). I guess you could say I was semi-popular in school – I was never excluded from anything and I had plenty of friends, but only a few really close ones.

Were you good at English?
Yes – I took college English in high school and made the only A in my class both semesters. That continued on through other English and Humanities courses in college, where my papers and essays were often read to the class.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To write books that inspire or entertain, that make readers think and feel. If that means I write a book a year, great! But if it means I only ever have one or two really great books to my name, I will feel honored and blessed to have been given such a gift.

Which writers inspire you?
I bow down to Barbara Kingsolver. Her use of the English language and imagery are incredible. J.K. Rowling has also been a huge inspiration to me. Even though we write different types of books, her ability to develop characters and create relationships is amazing to me. Finally, I love Diana Gabaldon – her gift of dialogue and her ability to convey everyday life in eighteenth century Scotland are awe-inspiring.

So, what have you written?
I’ve written two previous novels and some poetry. A Whisper of Smoke is my first published novel. I recently finished and am about to release my second book, A Painted Lily. Here is the description:
Tony Ramirez is a high-end real estate agent living the fast life in Miami, while his best friend Becca, social worker extraordinaire, does her best to keep him grounded. Still, he’s never been very connected to his past as a Cuban immigrant whose family fled Cuba in 1961, soon after Castro’s regime took over – until a tragedy rocks his family and he discovers that he actually fled his birth country, not with his family as he originally thought, but in the care of his oldest brother Pedro. As events unfold, he learns that not only were he and Pedro initially left behind, they were evacuated as part of Operation Pedro Pan (in English, Peter Pan), a crusade by the Catholic Church to save Cuban children by helping them escape to the United States.
As Tony’s search for the truth takes them into the past and to beautiful, tortured Cuba, only Becca’s friendship can help him unlock the secrets that will change his world. But while Tony searches his soul, and his past, for answers, his relationship with Becca is stretched to its limits. And in the land of Tony’s past, a land suspended in time, Becca may have found a path to a new future – one that may or may not include Tony.
From the Amazon best-selling and multiple award-winning author of A Whisper of Smoke, A Painted Lily represents the "best of relationship fiction, exploring personal struggles and growth delicately woven through a story of friendship, love and a quest for answers that many readers will relate to."
How would you describe A Whisper of Smoke?
The genre is up-market women’s fiction – think book club (in fact, A Whisper of Smoke includes book club discussion questions at the back). But men, don’t let that turn you off – I’ve had lots of men read it and love it! It’s a story about uncovering family secrets, and how one teenage girl’s life experiences shape how she deals with them. At the same time, it is a profound love story between the teenage girl, Susanna, and her best friend, demonstrating how star-crossed love and a war can teach important life lessons. In the end, it is a coming of age love story, involving both romantic and familial love.

What inspired you to write it?
Most of us have our share of family secrets. I was intrigued by what might happen to cause a new generation to deal with them differently from the older generation, and how cycles might be repeated or broken, depending sometimes on the smallest of decisions.  I also was interested in the notions of redemption and condemnation, and how complicated both can be yet, at the same time, intrinsic to the human condition.

What makes the setting, 1960s Kentucky, important? And how does the Vietnam War play an important role in the story?
The story took place in Kentucky because, as my home state, it is familiar to me – this story could have taken place virtually anywhere across America. However, the 1960s setting was essential because it was a time when dysfunction was as common as it is today, but very often not discussed. It was also a time when a nation’s innocence was passing away in the shadow of civil rights unrest and a foreign war with ambiguous purpose. I liked the parallels between our nation’s loss of innocence and Susanna’s, and how both were underlined by the strong personal and cultural desire to develop new moral boundaries that were different from those of the previous generations. The Vietnam War was an important part of the book because it emphasized for my characters, as in real life, the idealization that’s inherent in innocence, and how, when that innocence is lost, you are faced with the realization that even the most honorable person can be changed by his or her experiences.

Where can we buy your book?
It’s available in trade paperback on-line at Amazon. It’s available electronically for Kindle on Amazon.

What are you working on at the minute?
I just finished A Painted Lily, described above. I have an idea for my next novel, but it’s much too early to articulate – I’m still fleshing out the idea.
Occasionally, I also work on my young adult book about a teenage girl who goes on vacation to Ireland with her family and gets kidnapped by Leprechauns. Enough said J.

Your YA book sounds so different from your first book. Tell me more!
Here is a brief description: Upon hearing about the legends of Ireland during a family vacation, including the legends of Leprechauns and the Faerie Pool, Briley Dunn sneaks out in search of Leprechauns and fairies under a full moon. Accompanied by her reluctant sister, Briley’s moonlight dip turns to apparent tragedy when she disappears in the depths of the still waters. What her family doesn’t know is she’s been taken (by a Leprechaun Taker) to Coffers Glen, a world reminiscent of ancient Ireland. There she finds the stuff of legends is rooted in a terrible reality, and her adventure becomes a struggle between life and death – for herself as well as for the other stolen children in her care.

What genre are your books?
As I said, my first book is up-market women’s fiction, which is where my heart is. A Painted Lily is in the same genre, I think, even though one of the main characters is a man, since it still focuses on relationships and personal growth. But I also love and often read young adult books, so the Leprechaun book is still firmly inside my sphere of influence and has been a lot of fun to write.  That said, since it is so different, I may use a pen name to publish it.

How much research did you do for A Whisper of Smoke?
Quite a bit. I didn’t grow up in the 1960s (I was born in the 1970s and was Susanna’s age in the 1980s), so I did quite a bit of research , supplemented by interviews, in order to get a sense for that time period in history and the generation that grew up then. The majority of my research, though, was around the Vietnam War. I wanted the letters to have a realistic feel and for the reader to get a clear sense of what it might have been like for two people who cared about each other to be separated by that conflict. My research included reading lots of resource texts, watching documentaries and several interviews with a Vietnam veteran. In the end, though, the sentiments that were expressed between Susanna and Calvin, the farmboy-turned-soldier who was her best friend and secret love, were from my heart.

How long did it take you to write your book?
It took me ten years from start to completion, with many, many drafts in between. This was because I was also working full-time at my career as an accountant.

Is A Whisper of Smoke part of a series?
No, but my Leprechaun book is. I plan to write three books about Briley Dunn and her adventures with the Leprechauns.

How can fans contact you/learn more about you?

Website:  www.angelahokeauthor.com
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/awhisperofsmoke
Twitter: www.twitter.com/angiehokeauthor


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

#BookBlitz & #Giveaway - Shopping for a CEO's Wife by Julia Kent


Shopping for a CEO’s Wife
Julia Kent
(Shopping for a Billionaire, #12)
Publication date: April 25th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance
Snowbound. Sounds so romantic, with visions of cuddling before a roaring fire, hot chocolate spiked with brandy, and a secret elopement.
Wait. What?
My fiancĂ©’s father won’t stop trying to turn our pending wedding into a three-ring media circus so he can get free publicity for his family’s Fortune 500 company. My mother has decided she’s done with All Things Wedding and asks her teacup Chihuahua for mother-of-the-bride advice.
They’ve all gone certifiably mad.
Then the stress from the wedding puts my mother in the hospital, I scream at my future father-in-law in front of a camera crew and the video goes viral, and the romantic wedding that started with Andrew’s grand Pride and Prejudice proposal looks less like Jane Austen and more like Dostoyevsky.
So what do you do when you’re a fixer and you can’t fix something?
You give up on it.
Not on Andrew, silly.
The wedding.
Shopping for a CEO’s Wife is the 12th book in Julia Kent’s New York Times bestselling Shopping series. As Shannon and Declan enjoy their newlywed bliss, Andrew’s father wants to exploit Amanda and Andrew’s nuptials, much to Amanda’s chagrin. Can she learn to stand up to her future father-in-law and fight for what’s right? But the real question is: will Spritzy the teacup Chihuahua end up being a flower girl?
EXCERPT:
“You have a remarkable capacity for imagining the strangest worst-case scenarios, Amanda.”
“I have to. I’m in love with you.”
“Hey!”
“Did I or did I not walk miles in an 1800s Regency-era costume after you lost your car keys AND a three-carat diamond ring in Walden Pond?”
“Yes, but — ”
“Did you or did you not have to rescue me, half clothed, from a pool at your brother’s wedding?”
“I am sensing a trend.”
“And did you, or did you not, wake up with me in a Vegas hotel room, thinking for a few hours that somehow we’d both married more than one man?”
Now he just sighs.
Ah.
Victory.


Author Bio:
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men's room toilet (and he isn't a billionaire). She lives in New England with her husband and three sons in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever, down.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#BookReview - Allie and Bea by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Title:  Allie and Bea
Author:  Catherine Ryan Hyde
Genre:  Literary Fiction, Womens Fiction
Release Date:  May 23, 2017

About the Book:


Bea has barely been scraping by since her husband died. After falling for a telephone scam, she loses everything and is forced to abandon her trailer. With only two-thirds of a tank in her old van, she heads toward the Pacific Ocean with her cat—on a mission to reclaim what’s rightfully hers, even if it means making others pay for what she lost.
When fifteen-year-old Allie’s parents are jailed for tax fraud, she’s sent to a group home. But when her life is threatened by another resident, she knows she has to get out. She escapes only to find she has nowhere to go—until fate throws Allie in Bea’s path.
Reluctant to trust each other, much less become friends, the two warily make their way up the Pacific Coast. Yet as their hearts open to friendship and love from the strangers they meet on their journey, they find the courage to forge their own unique family—and begin to see an imperfect world with new eyes.


Buy Links: Amazon 
Available for Pre-Order prior to release date of May 23, 2017

My Review:


The first few chapters of this book were so emotionally charged and depressing I actually had to put the book down.  But once Allie and Bea met, the only time I stopped turning the pages was when I had to stop to grab a tissue.

This is one of the most heart-warming books I have read in quite some time.  The characters were so real and so loveable.  This author is one that I will follow in the future, grabbing everything I can find of hers to read.

Bea is an elderly lady who lost her husband a few years earlier.  She lived alone in a trailer, depending on Social Security as her only source of income, and a small savings account that became smaller and smaller each month.  When she is scammed by a supposed IRS agent who empties her bank account just prior to her rent check and other bills clearing her bank, Bea is left feeling desperate.  Her only option was to live in her van, using what little money she had for food and gas.

Allie is a teenage girl whose parents are suddenly both arrested on tax fraud charges and Allie is taken to a group home to wait for foster care.  With her life turned upside down, things go from bad to worse for Allie and she ends up running from a kidnapper with plans to do her more harm than she could possibly imagine.

Allie takes refuge in Bea's van and at first Bea is not happy about that.  Through their encounter, however, the two unlikely friends build a bond that is so heartwarming and real that it will bring tears to your eyes.  If two people on this planet ever needed each other more, it was Allie and Bea.

Lessons learned, life lived, and an unbreakable bond... that's what this book gives you.  I absolutely loved it and would highly recommend it to anyone!

*Disclosure:  A complimentary advance copy was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:


Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of more than 30 published and forthcoming books, including LEAVING BLYTHE RIVER, ASK HIM WHY, WORTHY, THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS, TAKE ME WITH YOU, WHERE WE BELONG, WHEN I FOUND YOU, WALK ME HOME, SECOND HAND HEART, DON'T LET ME GO, and WHEN YOU WERE OLDER. 


An avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, she has released her first book of photos, 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE: PHOTOS FROM A BEAUTIFUL WORLD.

She is co-author, with publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE: A SELF-HELP GUIDE.

Her novel PAY IT FORWARD was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller. Simon & Schuster released PAY IT FORWARD: YOUNG READERS' EDITION in August of '14. It is suitable for kids as young as eight. A special Fifteenth Anniversary Edition of the original PAY IT FORWARD was released in December of '14

LOVE IN THE PRESENT TENSE enjoyed bestseller status in the UK, where it broke the top ten, spent five weeks on the bestseller lists, was reviewed on a major TV book club, and shortlisted for a Best Read of the Year award at the British Book Awards. Both BECOMING CHLOE and JUMPSTART THE WORLD were included on the ALA's Rainbow List, and JUMPSTART THE WORLD was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. WHERE WE BELONG won two Rainbow Awards in 2013 and THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS won a Rainbow Award in 2015.

New Kindle editions of her backlist titles FUNERALS FOR HORSES, EARTHQUAKE WEATHER AND OTHER STORIES, ELECTRIC GOD, and WALTER'S PURPLE HEART are now available. Also available is THE LONG, STEEP PATH: EVERYDAY INSPIRATION FROM THE AUTHOR OF PAY IT FORWARD, her first book-length creative nonfiction. 

More than 50 of her short stories have been published in The Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train and many other journals, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog is my Co-Pilot. Her stories have been honored in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O'Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in Best American Short Stories.

She is founder and former president (2000-2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation, and still serves on its board of directors. As a professional public speaker she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with Americorps members at the White House and shared a dais with Bill Clinton. 

For more information and book club questions, please visit the author at catherineryanhyde.com


Monday, April 24, 2017

#BookReview: Country Heaven by Ava Miles

Title:  Country Heaven (Dare River Book 1)
Author:  Ava Miles
Genre:  Contemporary Romance, Womens Fiction
Release Date:  February 8, 2014

About the Book:


Millions of readers have fallen in love with Ava's bestselling books...come join the family.

International Bestselling Author Ava Miles presents a sweet and emotional love story about two people who should be wrong for each other but turn out to be so right. Chosen as Best Book of the Year and connected to Ava’s bestselling small town Dare Valley series, this romance will warm your hearts and curl your toes.

When famous--and infamous--country singer rock star Rye Crenshaw saunters into the diner where she cooks, Tory Simmons is certain she's got him pegged. He's a bad boy Alpha male who indulges himself in all things, women included. But while she couldn't care less about country music or arrogant men, Rye makes her an offer she can't refuse when he asks her to be his private chef on his multi-city concert tour. The job is the answer to all her prayers: it will clear out her debt and finance the fresh start she desperately needs.

Rye is certain his sassy new cook is the last woman who'd ever tempt him, but spending time with the wholesome girl next door will do wonders for his damaged public image, whether she likes being forced into the spotlight or not. Her food also happens to be the best he's ever eaten, both comforting and seductive. But spending time with Tory on the road shows him a new side to her--one that's as impossible to resist as her food. And when an emergency in his family whisks him home, he does the one thing he's never risked: he lets a woman into his heart... 

Soon the emotions Rye faked for the tabloids become all too real, but will the country heaven he's found in Tory's arms survive in the real world?

PRAISE:
"Ava's story is witty and charming." Barbara Freethy #1 New York Times Bestselling Author on Nora Roberts Land

"On par with Nicholas Sparks' love stories." Jennifer's Corner Blog

“The constant love, and the tasteful sexual interludes, bring a sensual, dynamic tension to this appealing story.” Publisher’s Weekly

"I am adding Ava Miles to my list of always reads like Susan Mallery, Jill Shalvis, Kristen Ashley, and NORA ROBERTS." Marjay's Reading Blog

"Miles' story savvy, sense of humor, respect for her readers and empathy for her characters shine through..." USA Today on The Gate to Everything

Buy Links: Amazon 
My Review:

LOVED THIS BOOK!  I had country music playing softly in the background while I devoured each and every page of "Country Heaven" by Ava Miles.  This was a contemporary romance with characters that you couldn't help but love.  

Country singer, Rye Crenshaw, sneaks away to enjoy some comforting diner food, but ends up being comforted by the cook.  Not at first!  She was not into country music or country cowboys.  And he was not into petite, intelligent women.  Let me tell you... there were lots of tingles in this book!  The romance grew and developed, and then it crashed and burned, and came back again full force.  THIS is what romance is all about!

This book was more than just a romance novel.  It delved into family.  Neither Tory nor Rye had family to start with.  Tory's family had all died and Rye had chosen to leave his family.  When the time came to make amends and rebuild the kinship, Tory helped Rye see what was truly important. 

If you want a Happily-Ever-After that will have you yanking tissues out of the box, one right after the next, I heartily recommend this book to you.

I am definitely going to look for more books by this author.  Her writing flowed with characters that will stay in your heart long after you read the last page.  This one positively deserves 5 wine glasses!

My Rating:

About the Author:


International Bestselling Author Ava Miles joined the ranks of beloved storytellers with her powerful messages of healing, mystery, and magic. Millions of readers have discovered her fiction and nonfiction books, praised by USA TODAY and Publisher’s Weekly. Women’s World Magazine has selected a few of her novels for their book clubs while Southwest Airlines featured the #1 National Bestseller NORA ROBERTS LAND (the name used with Ms. Roberts’ blessing) in its in-flight entertainment. Ava’s books have been chosen as Best Books of the Year and Top Editor’s Picks and are translated into multiple languages.

Ava calls herself a divine rockstar, something she believes everyone is deep down. She’s a unique expression of love and joy in the world with her own special gifts: writing stories with uplifting messages, being an intuitive healer, inspiring others to uncover their authentic selves and their highest path in the world; and creating artistic masterpieces like pottery and sculptures. And then there’s the cooking… She used to be a chef and rocks food big time.

A global awakener at the core, Ava has dedicated her life to uplifting everyone on the planet. In her former career rebuilding war zones, she worked in places like Lebanon, Colombia, Pakistan, West Bank/Gaza, and Congo to foster peaceful communities. Now she’s sharing her stories of love, forgiveness, and empowerment around the world—pretty much still changing lives.

If you'd like to connect with Ava or hear more about her upcoming books, check out the links below:

Sign up for Ava's newsletter at www.avamiles.com/newsletter/
Join Ava on Faceboook at www.facebook.com/authoravamiles
Follow Ava on twitter at www.twitter.com/authoravamiles
Visit Ava's website at www.avamiles.com
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7133520.Ava_Miles

Sunday, April 23, 2017

#BookReview - Not Long Ago by Susan A. Royal

Title:  Not Long Ago (It's About Time - Book 1}
Author:  Susan A Royal
Genre:  Time Travel, Romance
Release Date:  June 22, 2012


About the Book:


While doing research for a novel set in the Middle Ages, Erin and her employer, March, are transported to a time where chivalry and religion exist alongside brutality and superstition. Things are not quite right at the castle, and Erin and March feel sure mysterious Lady Isobeil is involved. Erin must cope with crop circles, ghosts, a kidnapping and death before the truth of her journey is revealed.

Forced to pose as March’s nephew, Erin finds employment as handsome Sir Griffin’s squire. She’s immediately attracted to him and grows to admire his courage, quiet nobility and devotion to duty. Yet, she must deny her feelings. Her world is centuries away, and she wants to go home. Despite that, Erin can’t stop thinking about her knight in shining armour.

Buy Links: Amazon 
My Review:

"Not Long Ago" was an interesting tale that reminded me of a mix between "A Yankee in King Arthur's Court" and "Yentl".

When Erin gets a temporary job with an eccentric author working on a Medieval novel, she and Marsh are somehow transported into a land of jousting and castles and one hot Knight by the name of Sir Griffin.  Trying to hide her identity, Erin becomes Aaron and somehow manages to acquire the position of Squire to the handsome knight.  This threw me off for a bit because I thought it was much more difficult to become a squire, but the reader can overlook that bit of info because the story was so dang intriguing.  Once I stated reading this, I read it straight through, not putting it down at all.

This was a fun read, and hit on a lot of those romantic tingles I love in a romance novel.  There were some interesting twists and turns that I didn't expect.

I got a bit caught up in the lack of editing with missing words and a couple of misspelled words, but the author created an interesting plot with great characters.  Hopefully a bit more editing can be done before this goes to print.

*Disclosure:  A complimentary copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:


Born in west Texas and raised in south Texas, Susan makes her home in a 100-year-old farmhouse in a small east Texas town that comes with a ghost who harmonizes with her son when he plays guitar. 

Susan is married and the mother of six (she counts her children's spouses as her own) and five grandchildren who are all unique and very special. Her family is rich with characters, both past and present. Her grandmother shared stories of living on a farm in Oklahoma Territory with three sisters and three brothers and working as a telephone operator in the early 20th century. Her father told her about growing up in San Antonio in the depression, and through her mother's eyes she experienced being a teenager during WWII. 

Susan loves to take her readers through all kinds of adventures with liberal doses of romance. Her latest book is From Now On, a time travel adventure/romance. It's the stand-alone sequel to Not Long Ago in her It's About Time series. In My Own Shadow is a Fantasy adventure/romance. Look for her books at MuseItUp/Amazon/B&N. Odin's Spear, one of her short stories is featured in a Quests, Curses, and Vengeance anthology, Martinus Publishing, available on Amazon. Look for her next book, Xander's Tangled Web, a fantasy due out in late 2015.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

#BookBlitz & #Giveaway - Debutante by Marie Silk


Davenport House Prequel: Debutante
Marie Silk
Publication date: April 21st 2017
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
The family saga begins in Debutante, a prequel to the best-selling Davenport House series. A life of luxury for the Davenports means drudgery for the servants on the grand country estate. This is their story in 1909 America, six years prior to the events of book one.
While her father is away on business, sixteen-year-old Mary Davenport feels confined and alone, despite her privileged life at the family’s mansion. As the day of Mary’s debutante ball draws near, the servants are conflicted by instructions from Mary’s mother to starve her until she fits into a gown that was made too small. Mary is also under pressure to act the part of society while being forbidden from seeing her only friend, the servant boy who works in the stable.
In a shantytown hours away, a young girl called Abigail is hired to sew a gown for a dressmaker’s wealthy patron. Abigail gives up her education in order to provide for her impoverished family. Neither she nor Mary is aware of how connected their futures are destined to become.
Special release price of 99¢!
AND: Each book in the series will be on sale for 99¢ between April 22-27!


Author Bio:
Marie Silk has enjoyed writing stories and plays since childhood. She lives with her family in the United States and travels the globe as often as life permits. She is an admirer of history, antiques, and architecture. Marie is the author of the best selling Davenport House family saga.

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