1.16.2017

Virtual Tour: Sweet Southern Hearts by Susan Schild

A humorous, heartwarming story of 
new beginnings, do-overs, and self-discovery… 

SWEET SOUTHERN HEARTS
Willow Hill Series #3
Susan Schild
Released: Jan 10, 2017
Lyrical Press


Susan Schild welcomes you back to the offbeat Southern town of Willow Hill, North Carolina, for a humorous, heartwarming story of new beginnings, do-overs, and self-discovery… 

When it comes to marriage, third time’s the charm for Linny Taylor. She’s thrilled to be on her honeymoon with Jack Avery, Willow Hill’s handsome veterinarian. But just like the hair-raising white water rafting trip Jack persuades her to take, newlywed life has plenty of dips and bumps.

Jack’s twelve-year-old son is resisting all Linny’s efforts to be the perfect stepmother, while her own mother, Dottie, begs her to tag along on the first week of a free-wheeling RV adventure. Who knew women “of a certain age” could drum up so much trouble? No sooner is Linny sighing with relief at being back home than she’s helping her frazzled sister with a new baby…and dealing with an unexpected legacy from her late ex. Life is fuller—and richer—than she ever imagined, but if there’s one thing Linny’s learned by now, it’s that there’s always room for another sweet surprise…

“This charming and well observed novel about finding the courage to love after loss will make you smile as well as cry more than a few happy tears.  Be prepared for a story of true tenderness, humor, and sometimes nail biting tension. Sweet Southern Hearts delivers all this and more.” --Holly Chamberlin, author of Summer with my Sisters



Excerpt

Jack stepped inside and gave her a wry grin. “I just texted Vera and told her the fighting was upsetting Neal and that we were coming home early to take him for a few days. I didn’t ask her, I told her. That should set off a firestorm.” He grimaced and held up his phone. “The furious calls should start in four, three, two, one…”
Linny stood with a hand on her hip, sent him a crooked smile, and waited. The phone rang, its tone sounding more shrill and urgent than it usually did.
Jack rolled his eyes, turned it off, and slipped it in his pocket.
Despite knowing that going home was the best thing to do, as they wound down the mountain in the truck, Linny fantasized about what it would be like to deal less with Vera, if just for a little while. Maybe she and Chaz would get a sudden burning desire to live off the grid for a year to fix their marriage. They'd move to a cabin with no plumbing in Talkeetna, Alaska. Normal-looking couples did it all the time on all those Alaska shows Jack and Neal watched. Vera and Chaz could re-bond while chopping firewood and fixing their broken snowmobile, which they urgently needed to go into town to get much-needed supplies because a blizzard was fast approaching. For one long moment Linny imagined how serene life would be with Vera in Talkeetna. She and Jack could walk together through a field of wildflowers, each holding one of Neal’s hands—something the boy would never allow them to do. Bluebirds and hummingbirds would fly around them.
Flushing guiltily, she glanced at Jack as though he could read her mind, but he was flipping down the sun visor. Linny blew out a sigh. Glumly, she stared out the window. She didn’t really wish for that Alaskan adventure for Vera. Neal really needed his mother and he’d grown to love his stepfather, Chaz, too.
Linny and Jack were quiet for much of the long drive home from the mountains to Willow Hill. Even her Technicolor daydream of Vera battling icy winds as she trudged to the outhouse in fifty below weather didn't cheer her up. Linny was just too disappointed to make conversation. Jack looked pensive, the muscles in his jaw working.
Her phone rang and she glanced at the screen. It was Ruby, one of her mother, Dottie’s, two best friends. Had something happened to Mama? Her stomach tightened as she pictured her mother lying on the floor like that woman on the TV commercial who lived alone and didn’t have the emergency clicker necklace.
But Ruby sounded cheery. “Hi, sweetheart. Hope you’re just walking on air now that you’re freshly married. You tell that handsome hunk of a husband of yours that I said hey.” Ruby had been a looker in her heyday and still had a flirty streak.
Linny breathed out. This wasn’t a meet-me-at-the-emergency-room call. She called to
Jack, “Ruby says hey, you handsome hunk of a husband.”
Jack shook his head, but his mouth crooked up.
“We’re at your mama’s house and you need to talk to her,” Ruby said. “For weeks now we girls have been planning to go to the RV show at the Civic Center to make a final decision about what kind of camper or RV we want to rent for our trip. We’re fixing to get in the car to go and now she’s making all kinds of excuses for staying home. This is the last day of the show,” Ruby said, sounding exasperated.
Since coming to terms with learning that her late husband had had a longtime mistress, her mother had shaken off her dour, church lady demeanor and blossomed. She’d given up the yard sale habit that bordered on hoarding, taken a two-week Caribbean cruise with her girlfriends, and was now seeing a charming older man named Mack whom she’d met on the ship. Oh, and Dottie—a card-carrying Baptist and member of the Sisters of Dorcas ladies’ prayer circle—had won $250,000 on the nickel slots on the ship. So, emboldened with her first big vacation, Mama and her two friends had cooked up this RV adventure they called their “trip to see the US of A.” It was all the three of them had talked about for months.
“Let me talk to her,” a woman’s voice said insistently. Linny heard a fumbling as the phone changed hands. “Dessie here,” said her mother’s other best friend, in her usual brisk tone. “This is the second time she’s backed out of the RV show. Yesterday she said her feet were hurting her and today she’s claiming her sugar’s high.”
Linny paused a beat, baffled. “She doesn’t have bad feet or sugar problems.”
“We know,” Dessie said drily.
“Can you put her on the phone?” Linny asked, rubbing the spot on her temple that had begun to throb. What was going on?
More fumbling sounds, and the phone clattered as it dropped to the floor. Dessie picked back up. “Your mama doesn’t feel like talking right now. She and Curtis are going in to take a little lie down.”
Linny wondered again how her mother could get any sleep at all sharing her bed with Curtis, her 170-pound Great Dane. But maybe Dottie really wasn’t well. “Dessie, does she seem sick? Should you run her by the urgent care?”
Dessie said, “We ate lunch at Captain Finn’s Seafood and she had the First Mate’s Special with an extra order of shrimp and lemon chess pie for dessert.”  She chuckled. “So her appetite’s fine and her color is good, too. You ask me, I think she’s just got a case of nerves.”
“Nerves about what?” Linny asked, coming up empty when she tried to think of any stressors in her mother’s peaceful life and remembered all the unexpected happiness that had been showered upon her over the last year.
Dessie’s voice was back at a normal decibel level and extra bright. “Well, we’re real glad you had a good visit to the mountains and we can’t wait to hear all about it.”
Her mother must have come back within earshot. Scanning the highway for signs, she saw they were almost to Greensboro. “Dessie, you and Ruby go on to the RV show yourselves and do reconnaissance for your trip. Jack and I are coming back early from the mountains and we’ll be home in two hours. Tell Mama I’ll stop by to see her this evening.”
“I will, honey, and you two drive safe.” Dessie ended the call.
“What’s wrong with your mama?” Jack asked, his eyes lit with concern.
“Not sure. The girls don’t think it’s anything serious, but I’ll run by and check on her. Dessie said it could be nerves.” She turned her hands palms up. “About what I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”

Susan Schild writes wholesome and sunny Southern fiction. She likes stories about charming men, missing money, adventuresome women, sweet dogs, and happily ever afters at any age.

Susan is a wife and a stepmother. She enjoys rummaging through thrift store for treasures like four dollar cashmere sweaters and amateur watercolor paintings. She likes taking walks with her Lab mix, Tucker, and his buddies. She and her family live in North Carolina.

Susan has used her professional background as a psychotherapist and a management consultant to add authenticity to her characters.

SWEET SOUTHERN HEARTS, the final book in the Willow Hill series, will be released in January of 2017. Readers can look forward to more adventures, new beaus, sinister ministers, lovebirds over fifty, a road trip for Mama and her pals, and maybe even an “I Do”...or two.

You can follow Susan on Facebook, Twitter and on her website or subscribe to her quarterly newsletter for inside scoop, sneak peeks and giveaways.



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1.11.2017

Book Blast: Friends ForNever by Melissa Baldwin

  friends-fornever 
Friends ForNever by Melissa Baldwin 
Erin Taylor is a hard-working journalist with a serious TV addiction and lack of a social life. She's focused on her career and determined to leave her tiny cubicle behind for a fabulous corner office! But when a new co-worker, a friendship drama, and a hot workplace crush collide, Erin finds it harder and harder to focus. Especially when that crush on the oh-so-yummy Aiden Thomas starts to materialize into what feels like a magical relationship. Erin's life seems to finally be heading in the right direction...until suddenly friends aren't such great friends after all, her magical relationship hits a bumpy road, and her career could be derailed by it all. Erin learns a lesson the hard way: Sometimes people aren't who they seem to be. With her happiness on the line, can Erin rise above her disappointments and create the life she's always dreamed of or will she be stuck being Friends ForNever?
  amazon 
Praise for the Book Friends ForNever is a cleverly written book that will keep you wanting for more until the very end! I highly recommend this book! Friends for Never is like listening to your best friend tell you about her day at work! And anyone who has worked in an office will totally relate to this book. I was absolutely sucked in. The love story was great! It was well paced and funny! The author is really good. An intriguing look at the demands of family and friendship when personal goals are at risk. A novel of back stabbing emotions.
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Author Melissa Baldwin
Melissa B
Melissa graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications; she has always had a love for writing. An avid journal keeper, she took her creativity to the next level by fulfilling her dream with her debut novel, An Event to Remember . . Or Forget. Since then, she has written and published four more novels, Wedding Haters, See You Soon Broadway, Not Quite Sheer Happiness and Friends ForNever. Melissa resides in Orlando, Florida, with her husband and young daughter. When she isn't writing, this multi-tasking master organizer is busy being a mother, wife, chauffeur, PTA President, and Fitness Trainer. When she has free time, she enjoys traveling, running, fitness, and taking a Disney Cruise every now and then.

amazon paypal
Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 1/26/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

12.26.2016

Virtual Tour: In Your Arms by Shannyn Schroeder


A KNIGHT IN SHINING LEATHER


IN YOUR ARMS
For Your Love #2
Shannyn Schroeder
Releasing Dec 27th, 2016
Zebra Shout


A KNIGHT IN SHINING LEATHER

Sean O'Malley has never tried to hide who he is. He shows it in the motorcycle thrumming between the legs of his tight jeansthe shaggy hair that falls in his gorgeous eyesthe wicked gleam in his smile when he asks Emma out for a drink. Sean is a rebel, a bad boy, and a ton of fun: exactly the kind of guy she's sworn off forever.

Emma isn't just the prim kindergarten teacher she appears to be. And somehow Sean can tell. As soon as he pulls up to her overheated car he knows that a fast bike and a cold beer will fix her rotten day better than compliments or a bubble bath. Her straitlaced exterior and her wild heart light him up. But Emma wants to escape her past and settle downand if her desk jockey dates don't understand where she comes from, at least she doesn't worry about them bringing her back.

One weekend of intense connection can't change the paths Sean and Emma have chosen. But with a little space to be themselves together, maybe the rest of the world can wait...



Excerpt 
They climbed back on the motorcycle and left the parking lot. Sean drove them into a quiet residential neighborhood of single-family homes. Not an apartment in sight. Her radar immediately pinged. This was not a guy who had his shit together enough to own a house. 
She could write a book on how to pick up the man-boy. Sean parked and she shoved the thought away. This was about the weekend. About her getting what she wantedno, neededfor the moment. Then shed go back to her real life and look for what she should have. What she really wanted. At least find a guy who was adult enough to not live at home with mom. 
Sean held her hand and pulled her to the back of the building. When he moved toward basement steps, she pulled from his grasp. Where are we going?
My place. He hitched his chin in the direction of the door. My rooms in the basement.
What are you? Twelve?
My brother Tommy and I have it set up as our own place.
She sighed. Do you at least have your own bedroom? Or am I supposed to screw you with an audience?
He laughed and reached for her hip. His voice dropped into the sexy range. While I share a lot of things with my brother, a woman isnt one.
Then he turned and pushed her toward the steps leading upstairs. We can have a drink upstairs first so you can see Im not a crazy guy looking to lock you in my basement.
She laughed a little at that. For a bad boy, Sean was pretty adept at reading things. He opened the back door and flicked on the light, flooding the kitchen. As he locked up, she saw how beat up his hand was. His knuckles were red and swollen. 
She winced. You should ice your hand.
Sean reached into the refrigerator and handed her a bottle of beer. With his own bottle in one hand, he grabbed a bag of frozen green beans with the other. Emma took his beer from him and opened it. 
He flexed his hand and looked at it as if he hadnt noticed before. No big deal.
But it was a big deal. Shed been in similar situations too many times to recall. Her mom had taught her to smile and laugh it off, but Emma had never been able to do that. It rattled her every time. Memories of the guy pressing against her, trapping her, washed over her now. From deep in her bones, she felt every part of her start to tremble. To cover it, she gulped some beer.
She gripped the bottle tightly as she set it on the table and took a seat across from Sean. He watched her closely. You sure that guy didnt do anything to you? I mean, other than get in your face?
She shook her head and didnt like the way the room started to spin, so she answered, No.
You look really upset.
Im fine. Are we going downstairs or what? Right now, shed give almost anything to forget this day. She pushed off the table, wobblier than shed thought she was. 
Sean stood, still eyeing her, and tossed his vegetables back in the freezer. She finished her beer and suddenly realized the goldfish crackers shed eaten in her car were the closest thing shed had to dinner. No wonder the alcohol had hit so hard. Sean grabbed her hand and led her downstairs. 
The basement was mostly unfinished. Concrete floor and walls. A washer and dryer sat against one side. Sean pulled her toward the back of the basement. Actually, the front of the house. There, crudely constructed walls divided the space. 
He pointed toward the corner. Thats the bathroom. Tommys room is next to it. This ones mine, he added with his hand on the doorknob.
She snickered. This is your idea of having it set up like an apartment?
Its better than a mattress on the floor or sleeping on the living room couch. 
The last remark hit home because that was exactly where shed found Nicky more often than she cared to consider. So at least Sean was a step up from her loser brother.

Don't miss the other FOR YOUR LOVE titles!




Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the OLeary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends finding love. Her new series (For Your Love) will release this summer with the first title Under Your Skin. When shes not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.



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12.12.2016

Review: The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere

The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere
Published: October 18, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Format: via NetGalley
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis

Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.

When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

My Thoughts
I fully enjoyed this tale of Lauren who after spending years in foster care finds herself on her own and wanting a real Christmas for once with a real family. She decides to put up an ad online and see if there are any takers, hoping someone genuinely wants to open up their family to her for the holidays.

One day an accident brings her to the small town of Grandon and while there she is soon swept up in this magical town and is accepted with open arms. She finds herself falling for the town and soon finds herself helping with Christmas festivities. She doesn’t know why she is so pulled to this town but in heart, it simply feels like home.

I love that this is a tale of hope and how Lauren while she has had a rough life still believes in it. All she wants is to belong and feel the unconditional love of a family and that no doubt touches your soul. You feel for her and want her to have all that and more. This is one read that confirms you should never give up.

12.09.2016

Christmas Book Bundle Giveaway!!

Just in time for Christmas, here's great opportunity to win six Christmas books by six bestselling authors! There's enough here to keep some for yourself and to share the love by gifting some to your friends and family! Enter to win A Lowcountry Christmas by Mary Alice Monroe, Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews, The Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber, Winter Storms by Elin Hilderbrand, Christmas in Paris by Anita Hughes, and A Shoe Addict's Christmas by Beth Harbison.
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Review: A Lowcountry Christmas by Mary Alice Monroe

A Lowcountry Christmas by Mary Alice Monroe
Published: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Gallery Books
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis
A wounded warrior and his younger brother discover the true meaning of Christmas in this timeless story of family bonds.

As far as ten-year-old Miller McClellan is concerned, it’s the worst Christmas ever. His father’s shrimp boat is docked, his mother is working two jobs, and with finances strained, Miller is told they can’t afford the dog he desperately wants. “Your brother’s return from war is our family’s gift,” his parents tell him. But when Taylor returns with PTSD, family strains darken the holidays.

Then Taylor’s service dog arrives—a large black Labrador/Great Dane named Thor. His brother even got the dog! When Miller goes out on Christmas Eve with his father’s axe, determined to get his family the tree they can't afford, he takes the dog for company—but accidentally winds up lost in the wild forest. The splintered family must come together to rediscover their strengths, family bond, and the true meaning of Christmas.

My Thoughts
In A Lowcountry Christmas we get to see more the life of Taylor before he married Harper and we see him coming home from war and the effects that his PTSD had on him. We see the McClellan family as they go through some hard times and how things go once Taylor is back home and tries to adjust to life.

As a reader of the Lowcountry series, I love that we get to see how some of the characters were. We can see how they have grown and where they were and all the progress they have made. I also enjoyed getting to know the McClellan family more, we see how close knit they are and all the love and support they give to each other.

This a perfect addition to the Lowcountry series as it continues the tradition of family and unconditional love for one another. We all have tough times and dark days but its being surrounded by loved ones that will alway pull us through. I also love that in a sense this is a stand alone and could be read that way, so this is perfect for those who haven’t read any of the series can still read this wonderful tale.