Friday, April 17, 2015

New Release: The Violet Hour by Brynn Chapman @PrismBookTours

Through Prism Book Tours.

We're celebrating the RELEASE of 
The Violet Hour
By Brynn Chapman

Check out the book and author info, exclusive excerpt, and enter the giveaway below...

The Violet Hour
Brynn Chapman
YA Romantic Historical Fantasy
ebook, 209 Pages


Allegra Teagarden, a musical prodigy, flees her father’s dominance and abuse while touring in pre-civil war Charleston, South Carolina. Plagued by depression over her mother’s suicide during their previous visit, she escapes in an effort to piece together the details behind her mother’s mysterious demise.


Down to her final coin, Allegra happens on Charleston’s Fancy, the first southern amusement park, which is searching for musicians for its orchestra. At first, the park seems her salvation; but she quickly realizes she has traded the dominance of her father, for the even more terrifying madness of the owner, Silas.

And more secrets.

Allegra meets the dashing Brighton LeFroy, Fancy’s engineer and pyrotechnics master. His shabby clothing cannot conceal the brilliant mind beneath. The musician’s whisper he is a witch, is obsessed with storms, and is fly. And despite the danger, despite her own misgivings, Allegra is inexplicable drawn to him.

She ventures to his reclusive home on Fire Isle during a thunderstorm and together they seek to unravel an ancient mystery.

Exclusive Excerpt

     LeFroy stares out the window, his brow creased in thought. He remains statue-still, as he has for the past quarter hour, oblivious to the late afternoon sun that bathes his face in a beautiful golden-amber.
     I stare intently, reveling in the rare opportunity to drink in his features.
     His dark curly hair is in need of a cutting and his thin lips turn down as he absently bites the side of his nail, lost to himself. He is not a classic beauty—but the singularity of his face demand’s attention.
     Not all women would swoon for him. But something about him draws me…makes him utterly irresistible.
     The warmth on my chest again. Almost hot this time. I struggle not to look down my dress to examine what I imagined to be an inevitable rash, but all I see is the Magnolia pattern—the patch on my dress, lovingly sewn by my mother’s hand.
     I banish the thought. I shall not think on her now.
     Brighton clears his throat, driving away my mother’s ghost and I struggle for words. When he regards me, my tongue seems to shrivel in my mouth.
     It is his eyes. They…speak. Sometimes whisper, sometimes shout.
     They now squint, as whatever vexing scenario playing on his mind continues to dominate his demeanor. He doesn’t move. Doesn’t speak.

Brynn ChapmanBorn and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love—not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism.

She also writes under the pseudonym R.R. Smythe .

Release Blitz Giveaway

$10 Amazon Gift Card, ebook of The Violet Hour, and Bracelet with: "Well behaved women seldom make history." - Eleanor Roosevelt 
Open internationally (bracelet to US entrants only)
Ends April 21st

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Prism Book Tours

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

4.5 stars for Victoria Alexander's The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress

The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress (Millworth Manor, #5)

The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress
by Victoria Alexander
Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: April 28th 2015 by Zebra
I scooped up the next in the series at the earliest opportunity.  Naturally.

Channing of Millworth Manor, formerly of the banking industry in America, was formerly unofficially engaged to Lucy Merryweather. Lucy came with him (or after him) to America and was delighted to see that he had fallen in love with Teddy. (Do keep up. That review was yesterday.)

Lucy is much more innocent than many of the rest of the scandalous ladies in this series, but she did have a character for a great aunt (of the same name) who left her an interesting list of regrets. Lucy decides to live the life her relative wished she had... but in her own way and with her own flair, which I love. She accomplishes the "getting painted in the nude" in a way she can live with and made me feel just enough daring without crawling out of my own skin. Perfect.

Cameron Effington comes from a very up-standing family, which I already know, as I've said already. We've met them before, but not so closely that we knew THIS brother in particular. I was, however, acquainted with his very stiff father, somewhat more accepting mother and brothers who are willing to hide each other's exploits, if needed. Because they keep their sister's business a secret. Hey... isn't she Lady Miranda Garrett, the architect?!  Nice.

They change names as it suits them, which is how Cameron becomes "Fairfield", his mother's name, so he can work as a writer for a (scandalous, of course) newspaper. He needs inspiration to produce a book before his father demands that he work nevermore (!!) and he finds his muse in Lucy.

Lucy is a bit of a flutterhead, so used to being good and kind that it takes her awhile to find her groove and sometimes she needs to express herself abundantly to find it. Lol. There are some repetitive bundles of dialogue as she makes her way, but they do fit her character, which really grew on me.  Cameron is great from the beginning, if he does have trouble finding his backbone.  Yeah... he also tries to appear like he's doing what he's expected to, much like Lucy. Only he nearly loses his way before he finds his, uh, you know.

I enjoyed the story immensely. I was delighted to find out more about a family with more siblings, too, which might mean more stories in the future since we seem to have run out of direct Millworth Manor connections.  This story takes place while Channing and Teddy are in limbo so we can borrow the Channing house before visiting Millworth Manor properly while Camille and Grayson are off on their honeymoon.   Oh yes, it's important to keep track of everyone and where they are. All of the characters, present or away, are vibrant and unique and I cannot wait for another in the series!!

4.5 Stars. Some parts in this story I loved more than the other books, like Lucy's innocence and choices, not to mention all the story-writing!!  There is an explicit love scene and it was great that it happened at night with the hall-sneaking that was so delightful in an earlier book... but I did skip it. It really, uh, got into detail and didn't require close attention to dialogue, or anything. *ahem* But I did pick up again just in time to get caught, which was hilarious.  No one ever gets caught, of course, until, you know, they do.

No real spoilers anywhere in this review. I left the fun stuff (hinted at in the premise) out. There is a colossal misunderstanding and story twists that are expected and unexpected, but the real fun is the writing style, again. Hilarious and fast paced, poking fun at all that's proper.

This book comes out very soon... you have time to read the entire series and figure out who is who and why it's shocking that Camille's dead father is now touring Europe with her mother and fun stuff like that.

Thx to the publisher and NetGalley for the early review copy.

Monday, April 13, 2015

3.2 Star review for The Shocking Secret of a Guest at the Wedding by Victoria Alexander

The Shocking Secret of a Guest at the Wedding (Millworth Manor, #4)

The Shocking Secret of a Guest at the Wedding
by Victoria Alexander

As the delightfully long name suggest, this is not a serious historical romance.

Once again a woman entrepreneur is hiding in proper society, only this is Delilah's best friend, the talented event planner, Lady Theodosia "Teddy" Winslow.  She has her hands full working with Camille, as we have already learned, is quite particular and a little looney.

The shocking secret guest is a long lost relative of uncle Channing. The return of Camille's father was quite shocking, already, but to discover that uncle Channing has an offspring and that he's male and therefore a successor to Millworth Manor... oh, yes, it is exciting.

Jackson Quincy Graham Channing thought his father was long-dead, proving that his mother fits in well with the rest of the characters in this series, since she let him believe so. Her only answer was, "I never denied that he wasn't."  Jackson has a lot to think about. Obviously Millworth Manor is a Big Deal, but so is his own legacy of taking over the banking business back home in America.

I enjoyed seeing all the Millworth Manor characters immensely. Teddy is fun, if a bit timid for my taste. Jackson is... well, definitely one of the relatives!  The ending is completely preposterous as if we must suddenly be realistic when nothing is remotely close to reality anywhere at any time.  Happily the characters have time to be themselves and work out their differences... but their patience, not to mention personal goals, etc, make this book probably my least fav of the bunch. Argh.

Happily... there's more.

3.2 Stars.

NOTE:  The required explicit romantic scene is included in the one chapter, just the way I appreciate it, where I can skip over and continue the otherwise clean-ish version. The writing style and witty dialogue will keep me waiting impatiently for more, thank you very much.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

4.8 Stars for The Scandalous Adventures of the Sister of the Bride by Victoria Alexander

The Scandalous Adventures of the Sister of the Bride (Millworth Manor, #3)

The Scandalous Adventures of the Sister of the Bride
by Victoria Alexander

Lol. This one is my favorite.  The adult content, I do warn, is more integrated through-out with the one explicit chapter (same as all the books in this series) but the scene includes important conversational pieces. There's no escaping the "adult", but I managed to bleep away details and laughed my delightful way through this book.  The title links to the Goodreads premise, if you're interested.

Obviously the title has gotten deliciously long. Hilarious.

Delilah is my favorite relative from Millworth Manor. She is so spunky, so full of attitude, I enjoyed her. She is so resistant to the idea of the American Samuel Russell, too.  It's one of those romances where she falls into it so thoroughly but denies every step, every look, every thought until she is completely contradicting herself from one end of a sentence to the other.

The story starts with a rather scandalous affair in America. Delilah has accompanied her older sister, Camille, as a proper escort as Camille visits her betrothed's (Grayson) connections and business associates. This is after that crazy Christmas in the first book and kind of during the second book.

As a proper escort, Delilah should NOT be having an affair with an unknown American. Who, as it turns out, is not really as unknown as she thought, but rather quite a business man and Grayson's best friend, Samuel Russell. But they don't know that until he shows up in England for the wedding and the two bump into each other unexpectedly.  It is especially hilarious since the affair was so memorable, but so completely impossible for either of them to pursue... so being thrown together all of a sudden, both of them staying at Millworth Manor (of course) is loaded with shocking, unexpected and laugh-out-loud moments.Samuel is just the right amount of persistent and stubborn to match Delilah very well with plenty of creative scheming of his own.

Delilah is widowed, naturally, so romantic interludes are acceptable in the society. The sneaking around in the middle of the night is absolutely hilarious. It's an entirely different perspective of proper English 1800's behavior.

The wit and charm and dialogue make this my favorite book, but there is enough adult romance to keep me from re-reading it much.  I'll give it 4.8 stars. Lol. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

4 Stars for The Importance of Being Wicked by Victoria Alexander

The Importance of Being Wicked (Millworth Manor, #2)

The Importance of Being Wicked
by Victoria Alexander
Mass Market Paperback, 358 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Zebra
So much for "never" reading adult romances with flashy women on the cover.  0.0

In my defense, the first book sucked me in and it's not my fault I needed to read more about the family.

Winfield, the gentleman in this story, is Grayson's very best friend and "brother" from What Happens at Christmas. In the first book we learn that Winfield has had multiple engagements that have all ended in being annulled, one way or another. The first time it happened was reasonable, the second time was astonishing, but three times is more like "fate" in this society where appearances is everything. (1800 something in England.)

He must, consequently, be avoided at all costs by everyone who is any eligible, marriageable woman.

HOWEVER... his house has burnt down. His manor is the large gorgeous thing next to Millworth Manor (of course) forcing Grayson to stay at Millworth (OF COURSE). Win is completely consumed with repairing the house. He is taking care of his aging parents who are really in denial at the scope of the project. So... he's on his own.

He gets bids and hires a very respectable construction company. And this is where it gets fun. *rubs hands gleefully*

The company is being run by a woman, unbeknownst to the wide world of "proper". Lady Miranda Garrett has been forced to continue the work of her dead husband because, as it turns out, he left her quite in debt. She was the secret architect all along, anyway, so it was easy to maintain the appearance of a successful business and pretend that she had no real part in it besides spending the income.

Except to the well-trained eye that recognizes her style of dress is a couple years out of date. As the Millworth Manor twins do. Of course.

The viscount (Winfield) project requires an architect to be on-site for the repairs, quite naturally, being an extensive, complicated project. Miranda manages to get herself invited to Millworth Manor where she can visit the project daily...

And so appearances start to break down and Win sees Miranda for who she (remarkably) is. Conflicts arise from all those fun things like being truthful and/or following society's rules. The biggest obstacles between these two are themselves and it is fun to watch as they accept themselves and each other... and appreciate the ghosts of ancestors past that come out of the woodwork.
4 Stars. I enjoyed it enough to continue the series, for sure. I love the idea of Miranda more than her actual character, but Win is wonderful. Plus there's enough of Millworth and those hilarious people to quite entertain... including sneak peaks at Camille and Grayson from another point of view and great preview of Samuel Russell and Delilah, Camille's younger sister, and the scandal of the next book in the series.

I don't remember why someone had to be wicked for this title.  It does come up, but I read this last December, so it has escaped me.

4.5 Stars for Victoria Alexander's What Happens at Christmas

What Happens At Christmas (Millworth Manor, #1)

What Happens at Christmas
by Victoria Alexander
Hardcover, 396 pages
Published November 2012 by Kensington
I found this bit o' treasure on BookBub for a great deal last December.  The cover is very innocent-looking compared to the rest of this adult romance series. My excuse for diving into the ENTIRE SERIES is this innocent cover, so look good and hard at the snow-globe setting and accept my innocence.  If you follow my blog, you know I don't "do" adult romance. My love scenes take place in my own bedroom with my own hero and I'm pretty stubborn about that.

I did read another book by Victoria Alexander, which I may review, and it was more of what I consider a "standard adult romance" with lots of innuendo and scenes and stuff. This series is unique, I like to tell myself, because the adult scene is (pretty much) contained to one chapter. There's adult situations, etc, don't misunderstand my meaning, but as an adult (who is married and "grown up" to some extent) who primarily reads Young Adult because of content level (not because I want to read about high school, no), but prefers "clean" romance, I have ADORED this entire series.

What Happens At Christmas introduces a hilarious family connected to Millworth Manor. Camille is the main character. She is a twin sister to a proper lady who is known for being scandalous in proper 1800's England. Her sister probably has a story somewhere... she's too detailed NOT to have a story, but I'm not sure I'm grown up enough to read it.

Camille is a widow, so we can toss the idea of "first time" out the window, which helped my sensibilities, anyway. She is known for getting into awkward situations from schemes gone awry. I did not at first like her character much, to be honest. Her morals are a bit upside down.

The hilariousness of this story happens when she decides it would be nice to marry a prince and snag him with a "perfect" English Christmas. Her family is far from perfect, so she hires actors to portray everyone. The concept sucked me in. The writing style had me laughing out loud. I was sold on the series, however, when NOTHING WORKED OUT.

The prince is not as romantic as he first appeared. An old friend drops in out of nowhere unexpectedly and turns every emotion upside down (yay, Grayson!) Actors get confused and "perfect" is left far behind... and then real family members drop in.  The more I read, the more I loved everyone, including Camille. Her family is outrageously fun and all proper behavior is abandoned to a mere, brittle shell of what it's supposed to be.

I loved it.

I'm giving this book 4.5 stars to leave room for others in the series I loved even more. If I could have warned myself I would have said, "when you reach the chapter where the clothes come off, just skip to the end of it and you'll have a clean read without missing too much story line."  The adult romance is quite explicit as would be expected from a bestselling romance author.

The high rating also takes into account how the characters remain through-out the series. Camille & Grayson are not my favorites, but I love that I know them.  I love that I met them first.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

4.5 Star Review of The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight, #1)

The Girl at Midnight
by Melissa Grey
Coming April 28, 2015
Early review copy from NetGalley

4.5 Stars. This story is refreshing and different and a lot of fun! The danger is real and pressing, the odd story strings make sense, the characters are unique... I thoroughly enjoyed it!!  Plus, it stands alone even though I seriously hope-hope-hope there's MORE!!

Echo is the main character, although the story jumps inside others' heads, as well. She is a thief, which is FUN and her home is a hidden nook in a library, which totally ROCKS - those are not spoilers. The story starts with that bit o' information.

As the cover suggests, there's opposing sides. The Avicen vs. the Dragons. The Avicen are bird-people who live super-long lives and were in New York long before we moved in, so they haven't moved, just slipped out of visibility.  My imagination is still stretched a bit thin about what they look like and how they get around in public. Goggles would not be sufficient for, say, the peacock, who is a super-fun character... I just am a bit hung up on how he is notoriously sneaky. HOW. I love the Avicen's bright plumage, but in my mind, it doesn't ruffle. Feathers go one way, so how do you run fingers through feather-hair? It'd be more like petting.

My other super-small hang up is the "vs. dragons" bit. Dragons trump birds of all sizes in my head. A more even battle might be snakes. I could see snakes and birds preying on each other, but then we'd lose the awesomeness of Caius.

Caius, the dragon prince is a main character and I totally love him. His character is not laid as open as Echo's, so I still have questions, which is a delight.  He is so... toweringly dominant with so much heart and looks, too. He zipped up to the top of my "awesome fiction guys" list very quickly. I like powerful types with heart. I am concerned that secrets might cause him issues. A couple centuries of living can't be shared in the cryptic moments he's allowed, only the highlights. So who knows what else he has to uncover?!

I would want to know that there's a very-mostly realistic guy-guy relationship with a couple vibrant characters.  (I say "mostly" because there's a very odd negotiation that I didn't quite swallow, but the attraction grows and is so non-instant, it was quite realistic.)

There's one freaky-scary frenemy... the violent twin sister is one of the best nemeses EVER in my opinion. Amazing. *shiver*

And Echo rocks. The itty-bitty clues that mean something through-out the book totally rock. The book has to be amazing because of Echo and the story and I'm sooooooo glad Grey wrote the story down and shared with us!!!!  and I cannot wait to read more!

DO NOT SPOIL THIS BOOK!!!  Seriously. Don't read spoilers. Follow the clues to the end. It's totally worth it!!!  :-D

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!!

Happy Easter!

I just wanted to pop online to say that. We're off to family's for a treasure hunt. Already ate an overly bright delicious boiled egg and too much chocolate. I love chocolate.  And Easter. "He is risen!" Woohoo!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

4.5 Star Review of Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief, #1)

Midnight Thief
by Livia Blackburne

It's not done!! There's another book coming out!!!  :-D  Woohoo!!!!

Some books honestly should not stop and thankfully the author realized we needed another story in this place with all these awesome people. This book is complete, yes, but there's MORE 'cause so much is revealed towards the END!  :-D

Why 4.5 and not 5 stars?  The romance is... not.  Really, what romance?  For me it would've been better if we left it at "what is going on, if anything and with whom?!"  Because this is a self-discovery story for Kyra. The potential of romance has just enough shock value plus a whole bunch of questions and I liked it at that level. Throw in a kiss and it's like... um... it felt young to me, like we stepped back into immaturity when we were grappling with gory death less than 24 hrs ago.

Not saying the next book won't tip me into wanting to re-read both of these (5.5 for me) 'cause the world-building and Kyra, herself, knock this story outa-the-park, into home run territory.

I really love Krya. She's loyal to her own family, whatever that means to her, and she earns my respect for that even has she balances difficult decisions and grows into her skin. She's true to herself and thinks fast on her feet. She's up there with my favorite heroines in fiction.

The world is nice and gritty, with just enough chance to fight and realistic odds of makin' it (not good). Yeah, it might get a little crazy how Kyra's survival techniques are so effective, but honestly, every escape from death felt downright deadly. I mean, just getting caught, for cryin' out loud... what thief/assassin ever gets caught?  That's not how stories work, right?!  Well, it makes more than one awesome character vulnerable.

Let's give a shout-out to great leadership, hey?  James rocks as a cold-hearted, calculating leader. Leyus takes the cake for the cave-man, gut-instinct Makvani (That is a fun word to say.) And Malikel wins for the civilized, counsel-ruled, stuck-up wall-hugging group. These three leaders give this story a sort of chess-moving strategy book where any of them might win and all deserve to.

Um... and Tristam?  Compared to these three and Kyra, our loyal knight is, you know, nice.  He is very nice. And kind-hearted, well-meaning... and a good strategist who overthinks things and chooses the right thing to do at great cost to himself.  So, he is self-sacrificing, too.

I don't mind that Krya is in a position to rescue some of these guys, that's cool with me. She could share a little of her good luck. She gets lots of good luck and they get lots... of bad luck. 

There are some really great side-kicks. Flick is a winner. He deserves more spotlight. Martin adds so much to other characters. He's one of those happy-go-lucky guys that shines the spotlight on those around him. Bella's presence in the story gives Kyra the chance to make better decisions. She's a 3 dimensional mom. The sort that don't make it into stories often. And Lettie adds a jolt of importance to everything just by being her little, vulnerable self.  I even like Rand and hope he survived (I can't remember). And Pashla... the one you can't help appreciate even after you figure out who she is.


My break-down is 5.5 Stars for the world-building and plot development and pace. Great pace, the story is hard to put down. Probably 3 stars for the romance and Tristam (sorry, dude!) and 4 stars for all the side characters except for the leadership. They're all 5's.  So my overall score is 4.5 stars and I cannot wait for Daughter of Dusk!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Grand Finale: Covering Home by Heidi McCahan @PrismBookTours

A themed tour through Prism Book Tours.

We're blitzing the GRAND FINALE for
Covering Home
By Heidi McCahan

We hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit about Britt and Caleb and a peak into Covering Home. If you missed any of the stops, go back and check them out now!

What do you hope readers take with them when they read your book?
The nicest thing a reader can say to an author is, “I just could not put your book down.” When someone tells me that, I’m overjoyed. So I hope readers turn the last page with a contented sigh, yet wish they had just a little more time with the characters. On a deeper level, I hope readers recognize that I write from a Christian world view and God is a God of second chances, who can redeem us from hard seasons.

 Letters from Annie (Douglass) Lima - Behind the Scenes of Covering Home
Initially, I saw a call for submissions from a publisher for a story set in Tokyo, Japan that featured a bat, a bell, and an angel. For the non-writers out there, a call for submissions is something writers pay attention to because it’s the publisher’s way of telling writers what they are looking for. This particular publisher wanted a novella, which is about 25,000 words or so. As soon as I dropped Britt Bowen and Caleb Scott in the lobby of that hotel, I knew I had something special going on. Once the characters came to life on the page, I couldn’t stop at a novella. It was sooo much fun to write.

I Am A Reader - Hero Interview: Caleb Scot
Which baseball stadium is your favorite?
It’s hard to choose a favorite. Each one has unique characteristics and it depends on if you’re playing there or just enjoying a game with your family and friends. As a player, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia will always be special to me, since we won the World Series there.

My Life Loves and Passion - 10 Fun Facts About Baseball in Japan
In Covering Home, Caleb Scott tries to rebuild his pitching career in the Japan’s professional baseball league. The cultural differences between the United States and Japan are significant, both in this story and in reality. Here are ten fun facts about baseball in Japan and how they contrast with the way the game is both played and watched in the USA.

Underneath the Covers - 5 Awesome Walk-Up Songs for Writing a Must-Read Romance
In professional baseball, players often have a ‘walk-up’ song that is played in the stadium when they’re … wait for it … walking up to the batter’s box. Hence the name, walk-up song. I’ve checked out a few lists and players have chosen everything from Ellie Goulding to Rage Against the Machine. It’s a big part of baseball culture and also helps the batter mentally prepare to step up to the plate and get the job done.

Mary Terrani - My TBR Pile for Spring 2015
I’m a voracious reader. A great story captures my attention, draws me in right alongside the characters, and keeps the pages turning long past my bedtime. There aren’t enough hours in the day to write well and read everything in my To-Be-Read pile, but here are the most anticipated books (for me) this spring.

i blog 4 books - Review
I truly enjoyed this sweet, romantic story. Readers who enjoy romantic stories with a little sports action thrown in are sure to enjoy Covering Home.

Mel's Shelves - Five Reasons Why I Wouldn’t Want to Be a Female Sportscaster
In Covering Home, the heroine, Britt Bowen is a television personality turned sportscaster. While it is her dream job, she faces a few challenges, which also happen to impact her personal life. Based on the research I conducted to write this novel, here are five reasons why I feel it would be a difficult profession.

Colorimetry - Heroine Interview: Britt Bowen from Covering Home
On a date, would you prefer an adrenaline-fueled adventure or a romantic candlelit dinner?
Oh, tough question. I love the adrenaline rush of a new adventure. But since it’s a date, I’d enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner.

Wishful Endings - Excerpt: Britt & Caleb Ride the Ferris Wheel
     He turned back from the window, the lights mounted on the frame of the Ferris wheel illuminating half of his face. Even in the semi-darkness, those dark chocolate eyes studied her.
     “What are you thinking about?” she asked.
     They cruised upward, each incremental turn of the wheel taking them higher and higher above the lights of Tokyo. Caleb raked a hand through his hair and released a slow breath.
     “I’m thinking about how I’m on the most romantic Ferris wheel ride of my life, with a beautiful woman who leaves town in a couple of days and lives on the other side of the world.”

I am such a sucker for baseball stories. Especially baseball and romance. . . . This is a good story, easy to read.

I especially appreciated how both Britt and Caleb grew as characters throughout the novel, and I enjoyed watching them forge a relationship. Fans of contemporary romance, especially those who like sports, will enjoy this novel.

Deal Sharing Aunt - My Favorite Sports Movies
     Movies about baseball, however, are available 24/7. I could watch The Natural again and again. I enjoy most movies with a sports-related theme, particularly if there is an uplifting, inspirational message.
     Here are my favorite movies with a strong sports theme that evoked a strong emotional response: laughter, tears, a compulsion to root for the underdog(s).

I couldn't help but to root for them, even though the odds were stacked against them. There were a few events that took me by surprise and I love being surprised. It's labeled as an inspirational read, but I didn't feel that religion played a big part.

My Devotional Thoughts - Spotlight

Covering HomeCovering Home
Heidi McCahan
Adult Inspirational Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 310 Pages
January 18th 2015 by Snug Corner Cove Press

On assignment in Japan, television personality turned sportscaster Britt Bowen is determined to land an interview with the most reclusive pitcher in baseball and prove she can succeed in a demanding profession. A relationship with a self-absorbed professional athlete is the last thing Britt needs. 

Shunning all media attention, former All-Star pitcher Caleb Scott is focused on rebuilding his career in Japan, far from his past and the horrible tragedy that nearly ruined him. Then he meets Britt, who is everything he vowed to avoid. 

But it doesn’t take long before Caleb is battling his attraction toward Britt. While she works to uncover his secrets, she can’t deny she’s drawn to his wounded soul. At a crossroads, Caleb must decide if he can break free from his past mistakes and give love another chance. And Britt must choose between advancing her career … or falling in love.


Heidi McCahanHeidi McCahan is a Pacific Northwest girl at heart. She spent her formative years in Alaska, where her unique upbringing, coupled with Alaska's breathtaking scenery, fueled her active imagination and loosely inspired her debut novel, Unraveled

Heidi graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Sports Medicine from Whitworth University and a Master's Degree in Athletic Training from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. After a brief career as a Certified Athletic Trainer, Heidi married her husband, Steve. They currently live in North Carolina with their three boys. 

When Heidi isn't stepping on Legos, chauffeuring the boys around suburbia or watching one of their many sporting events, she loves to read and write heartwarming romance.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

- US Grand Prize: Birchbox 3-month subscription ($30 value) & signed paperback of Covering Home (US Only)
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Thursday, April 2, 2015

My 3.25 Star Review of The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)

The Jewel
by Amy Ewing
Click the cover to read the premise on Goodreads.

I'm going to be a bit harsh with this book because I did enjoy it and I usually rate books I enjoy a tad higher than 3.25 stars.

The world is so... constricted, it's irritating.  Outside of this city is an ocean that would wipe out the known world, starting with the poorest on the outer ring.  At first glance, this is a cool idea... isolated city... maybe. But I'm NOT a fan of The Lord of the Flies and throwing a bunch of human beings into a constricted place brings out the worst in us in so many cases. I suppose what I hate about that is that not everyone is so evil, but the ones that are rule the world because they're ruthless and willing to do things the nice people won't. So the evil "win" or dominate. BOOOO!!!!!!!

This version of dominating evil includes fancy makeup and some super-cute outfits. Every bit of enjoying the fluff makes me want to growl, however, since evil may dress nicely, but it's still evil.

There's also some insight into the wicked dominator of the west, otherwise known as the purchaser of Violet, or the Duchess. The Duchess of something-or-other, I'm not thrilled with these politics because they're so darn rigid.  Speaking of... I really wanted to think more highly of the Electress, since she came from another class. Or the niece, who also came from that class. To discover that both of them are as wicked and selfish as the dominating founders of this stupid city just multiplies the hopelessness of ever surviving.

Maybe I'm one of those people who examine the odds and quit if I'm so far behind, there's no way I can win.  I honestly feel like Violet has no good choices and even by the end, her desperate moves might result in continuing to breathe, but where? as whom?  And honestly, what's the point?  Becoming a bomb and taking out as many evil dominators as possible seems to me as viable a solution as trying to escape.


So... I sympathize with Violet. I like her.  I like her decisions, as much as she has them. Including her decisions about Asher. I was totally cheering her on for living in the moment she's given. Why not? The world is, uh, believable and vibrant, even if it stinks.  The supporting cast is good. I'm not sure who to trust.  I will probably read the next in the series (also pretty cover, although I'm no longer fooled.) Or... I may read reviews and decide to kill this one while I still have my imagination to give Violet wings to fly from this city and find another continent.