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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: romance, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 1,785
26. Novella Review: Rodeo Rebel by Donna Alward

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I am a big fan of Donna Alward, so when I saw this free novella, I scooped it up and immediately sat down to read it.  Like her other books, this short story just clicked with me.  I could easily relate to Megan; she’s a hard working vet during the week, but she loves participating in rodeo during the weekend.  Pax isn’t a bad guy, he’s just a bit misguided.  Five years ago, after a traumatic event puts him in charge of the family business, he abruptly breaks things off with Megan after she leaves for college.  He ignores her calls and emails, leaving her broken hearted and confused.  Hadn’t they fallen in love over the summer before she left for school?

Megan realizes that she never got over Paxton when she sees him at the fairgrounds where she’s competing.  His family breeds stock for rodeos, and he’s there with a trailer of animals for the show.  They immediately butt heads, and when he tries to apologize for ending things the way he did, Megan just can’t get past her anger.  He took the coward’s way out back then, and she doesn’t want to hear his excuses.  Deep down Pax thought he was doing the right thing.  By ending their relationship, he was ensuring that she would follow her dream of becoming a veterinarian, instead of being tied to the fortunes of his ranch. 

Now that Megan has built a life that she likes and is proud of, she resents that Pax has come marching back into it.  She has bulls to ride, and she needs to concentrate on that, and not let Pax distract her.  She keeps dredging up the past, though, and wonders if she’ll ever be completely over him.  When a bull ride goes wrong, Pax thinks that he made a mistake, but nothing has really changed, so he doesn’t see a way for them to be together.

Even though Rodeo Rebel is a short story, it packed a big emotional punch.  I could feel Megan’s pain and frustration over Paxton and his insistence that there was no way they could be together.  Though he originally thought he was acting in her best interests, he still refuses, years later, to compromise.  He doesn’t like being at the rodeo fairgrounds, but Megan thrives on the excitement and the commotion.  He loves the quiet of his ranch, and Megan has a job that she loves, at a vet practice far away.  Instead of thinking of ways to work things out, he keeps putting up road blocks, and threatening to break Megan’s heart all over again.

I enjoyed this so much that I grabbed the rest of the books in the Texas Rodeo Barons continuity, and I am looking forward to reading them.  I like the Harlequin American Romance line, but I don’t feel that I read enough of them, which is unfortunate, because I know I’m missing out on some good stuff.

Grade:  B+

Review copy purchase from Amazon – FREE

From Amazon:

The Barons, six tight-knit siblings—loud, daring and loyal—are about to discover that love can be as rough as the rodeo. Bestselling author Donna Alward introduces the exciting Texas Rodeo Barons series with her charming prequel novella, Rodeo Rebel.

Back in the ring

As the first female bull rider in her circuit, Megan Robertson needs to focus. But all she can think about is her ex, Pax Lantry. Megan knew their paths would cross again—she just wasn’t prepared for the effect it would have on her. More surprising than the old heartache is the jolt of pure attraction she still feels for him.

Even after five years, Pax has never gotten over Megan. All it takes is seeing her, just once, for him to know that their connection is as strong as ever. But he’s committed to his family’s ranch and Meg has her own demanding career. It seems as if Pax and Megan have moved on, so why can’t they let each other go?

Don’t miss the first heartwarming novel in the Texas Rodeo Barons series, The Texan’s Baby.

The post Novella Review: Rodeo Rebel by Donna Alward appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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27. Spotlight and Giveaway: Laura Marie Altom, Author of Control

 

Control

Shamed # 1

By: Laura Marie Altom

Releasing September 16th, 2014

Loveswept

Blurb

Laura Marie Altom’s heart-stirring new romance will have you believing in the power of love—and passion—to heal even the most wounded souls.

Never again. Fleeing her hometown to escape an abusive marriage, Ella Patton swears she has surrendered to a man for the last time. But while living under a new name, she meets a kind, handsome stranger who seems different—and will be moving on soon, making Ella reckless enough to break her rules. With a kiss, the stranger opens the door to desires Ella believed she would never know. Then he makes an unexpected proposal.

A dot-com billionaire from humble beginnings, Liam Stone is a man whose past has made him compassionate yet guarded—much like the beautiful, secretive woman he stumbles upon in a remote Southern town. Though he intends only a dalliance, when the time comes to return home to San Francisco, Liam cannot bear the thought of leaving her behind. But when he tries to entice her to join him, he finds the tables turning dizzingly fast. Suddenly a little seduction becomes a huge battle for one thing: control.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/control-shamed-1-by-laura-marie-atom.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21854540-control?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Control-Shamed-Laura-Marie-Altom-ebook/dp/B00J6YBOM4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1407208225&sr=1-1&keywords=Control%3A+A+Shamed+Novel

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/control-laura-marie-altom/1120019668?ean=9780553391435

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/control/id866755076?mt=11

Author Info

Laura Marie Altom is the author of more than forty books in three different genres. Now that her kids are in college, Laura spends her days writing and chasing after a menagerie of pets: a mini long-haired dachshund named Cocoa, a Yorkie named Daisy, a mutt named Sweet Pea, and Domino—a black-and-white stealth cat she rarely sees. She’s happily married to her college sweetheart (go Hogs!), and when night falls, Laura steals a few romantic moments for herself with her own hunky cover stud.

Author Links

Website: http://www.lauramariealtom.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LauraMarieAltom

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/131753.Laura_Marie_Altom

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25.00 eGift Card to Book Seller of Choice and Digital Copy of CONTROL)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Laura Marie Altom, Author of Control appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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28. It's Release Day Times Two!

Today I have not one but TWO books releasing into the world! First up is my YA contemporary romance, Perfect For You.

Seventeen-year-old Meg Flannigan isn’t very self-confident, but what girl would be after her sophomore-year boyfriend dumped her by making out with another girl in front of her locker? 

Now a senior, Meg catches the eye of not one, but two gorgeous guys at school. Sounds good, right? What girl wouldn't want to be in Meg's shoes? One cute boy happens to be her boyfriend, and the other? Well, he wants to be. And Meg? She's torn between Ash, the boy she's been with for nearly five months, and Noah who is pretty irresistible. 

But Meg is playing with fire. Pitting two boys against one another, even if she doesn't intend to, could end badly if she isn't careful. PERFECT FOR YOU is a teen romance from bestselling author Ashelyn Drake, where one girl will risk everything to find her perfect match.

Check out the opening pages below:



Need to know what happens next? Click here to buy the book for only $2.99 on Amazon.

Up next is Into the Fire, a YA romantic fantasy.
Seventeen-year-old Cara Tillman’s life is a perfectly normal one until Logan Schmidt moves to Ashlan Falls. Cara is inexplicably drawn to him, but she’s not exactly complaining. Logan’s like no boy she’s ever met, and he brings out a side of Cara that she isn’t used to. As the two get closer, everything is nearly perfect, and Cara looks forward to the future.

But Cara isn’t a normal girl. She’s a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical phoenix bird, and her time is running out. Rebirth is nearing, which means she’ll forget her life up to this point—she’ll forget Logan and everything they mean to one another.. But that may be the least of Cara’s problems.

A phoenix hunter is on the loose, and he’s determined to put an end to the lives of people like Cara and her family, once and for all.

Here's a video of me reading the opening pages:



You can get more of Cara and the other phoenixes for only $3.19 on Amazon or $3.49 on B&N.

Look for a SWAG and gift card giveaway this Friday! 

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29. Review: His Secret Superheroine by Patricia Eimer

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I love superhero books, so I immediately snatched up Patricia Eimer’s His Secret Superheroine.  While I did enjoy this romance, I have some reservations.  The biggest one?  I did not like the hero.  Dylan is Petyon’s neighbor, and once he discovers that she’s the newest superhero in town, he betrays her trust and treats her inexcusably poorly.  I never bought his redemption, and thought it was motivated only because of personal gain, not because he sincerely changed his mind about superheroes.

Peyton is a divorced kindergarten teacher struggling to make ends meet.  She’s also Fantastigirl, a superheroine.  Her ex, Mr Marvelous, tampered with her birth control pills, and the unintended side effect had her manifesting super powers.  She has to keep her crime fighting identify a secret, because Safer America, a powerful political group, is pushing for legislation requiring that all supers register with a national registry.  They promote distrust and fear of superheroes, and have infiltrated police forces and the government.  Peyton fears being locked up and treated like a lab rat if her super secret identity ever gets out.

After her landlord throws her out of her house because of her connection with her ex, she has nowhere to go.  Her gorgeous neighbor, Dylan, suggests she move in with him.  Peyton has been helping to care for his young daughter, Liza, and Dylan would be grateful knowing that she’s not home alone while he’s working his crazy hours as a police officer.  Peyton reluctantly agrees, hoping she can keep her attraction to Dylan in check.  She doesn’t need any more complications in her life; her ex husband won’t leave her alone, and she hopes that living with Dylan will keep him off her back.

I liked the world building, as well as Peyton. As I mentioned earlier, I did not like Dylan.  He behaves like a sheep instead of a leader, and he betrays Peyton in the worst way possible.  Worse, she is almost killed by an attacker, but because Dylan accused her of not being able to control her powers, she takes the beating and doesn’t fight back.  Why?  To prove herself to a guy who has already proven to be narrow minded and unforgiving?  I just didn’t think that Dylan was worth it, so I’ll recommend His Secret Superheroine with that one reservation.

Grade:  B / B-

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

All kindergarten teacher Peyton Pearson wants is a nice, quiet life. Unfortunately, quiet isn’t something she’s had a lot of after tainted medicine turns her into a superhero. She’s single, and saving the city from criminals—which is increasingly dangerous as the anti-superhero movement in St. Louis gains traction. Then there’s her hot next door neighbor who makes her think super-dirty thoughts, and has no idea who she really is. 

Police officer Dylan Wilson is trying to make the world safe by working to unmask all superheroes. When his sexy neighbor, Peyton, is evicted, Dylan offers her his spare room, unknowingly opening his home—and his heart—to the city’s most reluctant superhero.

Can love survive when the masks come off?

The post Review: His Secret Superheroine by Patricia Eimer appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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30. Interview with Claudia Connor, Author of Worth the Fall and Giveaway

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Claudia! Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Claudia Connor] I asked my family for help on this one. Weird. Tired. Fun. Loving. Hungry. I’d say that’s pretty accurate.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your book?

[Claudia Connor] Sure. Worth The Fall is a love story, plain and simple, though love is never simple. Abby and Matt are two people with no other reason to be together and lots of reasons to be apart. Matt’s a Navy SEAL hero with skills, badassness and an intense sense of responsibility, but he’s also a man with so much love to give. He’s just never found anyone he wanted to give it to. Until Abby. But Abby’s been left all her life and knows she can’t watch another person walk away.

So it’s about falling in love, making choices and taking chances. It’s also about believing you’re enough, believing you’re worthy of what’s being offered. I absolutely LOVE these characters. I spent three years with them before I ever considered writing their story, then almost three more years writing it. Any minute of any day I can pop into their lives, be a fly on the wall. It’s like watching your favorite movie that never ends! Hopefully when people read the book they’ll feel the same.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Claudia Connor] I don’t really feel like I come up with anything or create anyone, as odd as that may sound. I only try my best to write down what I see and fill in any blanks the characters leave. Though sometimes those blanks are more like craters. Black holes. I watch and listen and write down what they say and do and hope I do them justice.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Claudia Connor] The characters. I could stay with them forever. Even though it was hard, there was so much love between Abby and Matt it always felt good to be with them.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?

[Claudia Connor] Hmm…I guess I’d have to say the hero. I hate to point fingers fingers at Matt, but he had a lot to work out. And then there’s the whole men can be difficult thing:)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Claudia Connor] Ooh…That’s a tough one and it changes hourly, even minute to minute. Okay, I’ll admit, I even googled How To Find Your Theme Song. LOL It was a fun test but I’d never even head of the songs it suggested for me. Maybe…Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd. I’m not sure the song describes me in any way, but it’s always stuck.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

[Claudia Connor] During the day, my phone, my lifeline to the world. Over night, my little pillow, affectionately known as Baby Nino. It was in my crib when I came home from the hospital and I can count on one hand the nights I’ve slept without it. Where I go, Baby Nino goes. And yes, that includes my honeymoon.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Claudia Connor] Diet Coke. Empty mug. Laptop. And twenty-seven other things but you only asked for three;)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Claudia Connor] Back up dancer for J. Lo. Of course that would require a certain amount of talent. But, hey. It’s a dream.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Claudia Connor] Waiting On You, Kristan Higgins. It Happened One Wedding, Julie James. And a re-read, Safe Harbor, Christine Feehan

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Claudia Connor] I love watching TV. My husband and I have gotten into a habit of finding a show then watching the entire thing straight through a couple of episodes each night. We recently flew through every season of Game Of Thrones and just finished both seasons of Vikings. Now we’re sad. My all time favorite show was Alias. I own that and have re-watched with each of my daughters when they hit their teens. I LOVE going to movies. Gladiator is my all time number one favorite movie. I think at last count I’d seen it 14 times. If you haven’t seen it, GO NOW. I promise you will thank me!!! And of course, I love to read. Though there aren’t many hours in the day, not even on the weekend, that I’m not working, thinking, plotting, rewriting, or driving my children to activities.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Claudia Connor] I’m in all the usual social media places. In addition to the ones below, they can find me on Pinterest. I have a special board for each book, always great for procrastination:)

http://claudiaconnor.com

https://www.facebook.com/ClaudiaConnor

https://www.goodreads.com/claudiaconnor

https://twitter.com/Claudia__Connor

Thank you so much for having me!

Worth The Fall
The McKinney Brothers # 1

By: Claudia Connor

Releasing September 9th, 2014

Loveswept

Blurb

Prepare to be swept away by a talented debut author with a passionate, powerful story to tell.

They meet on a beach. . . . Abby Davis isn’t wearing a skimpy bikini or sipping umbrella drinks, not when she’s busy chasing around four little ones. And Matt McKinney isn’t looking for fun—he’s a Navy SEAL, a grown man with a long list of missions . . . and fallen brothers.

They only have a week. . . . Abby has brought her children to this beach to start over, to give them the enjoyable memories they deserve. Matt’s been sidelined by a combat injury, and haunted by the best friend he lost and the promise he made: to remain a SEAL—focused and dedicated. This leaves no time for what he’s always wanted: a family.

But a week is all it takes. . . . Matt opens her heart while Abby soothes his soul. And though they plan to say good-bye when the week is over, something magical happens on that beach, something neither can forget. Something utterly, completely worth falling for.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/worth-fall-mckinney-brothers-1-by.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21469653-worth-the-fall?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Worth-Fall-McKinney-Claudia-Connor-ebook/dp/B00J1IQX4E/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1407203839&sr=1-1&keywords=Worth+the+Fall

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/worth-the-fall-claudia-connor/1120019663?ean=9780553390919

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/worth-the-fall/id841778887?mt=11

Author Info

Claudia Connor attended Auburn University, where she received her undergraduate and masters degrees in early childhood education, and completed her studies in Sawbridgeworth, England. Always a lover of happy endings, she enjoys movies, reading, and spending her days putting on paper the stories in her head. She lives near Memphis, Tennessee, with her husband and three daughters.
Author Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/claudia.connor.18

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Claudia__Connor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8058866.Claudia_Connor

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25 Gift Card to eRetailer of Choice and Digital copy of WORTH THE FALL)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Interview with Claudia Connor, Author of Worth the Fall and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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31. Cover Reveal: Montana Actually by Fiona Lowe

 
 
Montana Actually
Medicine River # 1
Fiona Love
Releasing January 6th, 2015
Berkeley / Penguin
 
 
 

A big-city doctor in a small-town Montana practice….A former nurse who has sworn off doctors forever….The scene is set for passions to ignite in Big Sky Country. For readers of Robyn Carr and Sherryl Woods.

City doctor Josh Stanton and his sports car don’t suit the country, but with his medical school debt about to bury him, Josh has to make the best out of a bad situation. Adjusting to his new job and life in the middle of nowhere isn’t easy, but at least the views of the mountains—and one distractingly attractive local—are stunning…

After eight years away, Katrina McCade is back in Bear Paw for a break from her life, bad choices—and men. But when a broad-shouldered stranger bursts into town, she finds herself unexpectedly saddled with the town’s sexy new doctor as a tenant. Katrina doesn’t need a man to make her happy, especially a disgruntled physician. But try telling her body that…


 
 
 

Fiona Lowe is a RITA® and R*BY award-winning, multi-published author with Harlequin , Carina Press and, Berkley USA. Whether her books are set in outback Australia or the USA, they feature small towns with big hearts, and warm, likeable characters that make you fall in love. When she’s not writing stories, she’s a weekend wife, mother of two ‘ginger’ teenage boys, guardian of 80 rose bushes, slave to a cat and often found collapsed on the couch with wine.





The post Cover Reveal: Montana Actually by Fiona Lowe appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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32. Novella Review: Captured by S J Harper

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I enjoyed Cursed and have been waiting impatiently for the next book in the  Fallen Siren series.  When I saw Captured, a prequel, up on Amazon, I didn’t hesitate to click the “Buy” button.  And why would I?  This suspenseful read is FREE.  If you enjoyed Cursed, too, or just want to get to know the characters before diving into the series, you have nothing to lose to snatching is up!  Plus it will tide you over until the October release of Reckoning.

Captured chronicles the first case Emma and Zack team up on.  On loan from the San Diego office when Zack’s partner is unable to help with a case, Emma is in Charleston to help Zack with two mission objectives.  First, locate Cooper Anderson, a four year boy who has been kidnapped, and two, capture the kidnapper before he or she strikes again. The federal agents are racing against time; two other little boys have already been murdered, and all signs point to the same perpetrator in their latest case.

Zack is a werewolf, and Emma is a Siren.  She’s been cursed for failing to keep Hades from kidnapping Persephone.  Tasked with redeeming herself in the eyes of Demeter, she works tirelessly to save innocent lives from harm.  She has a couple of rules that she won’t allow herself to break, the most important being:  never fall in love.  All of her lovers have met with unpleasant fates at the hands of the vengeful goddess, so Emma tries to save herself a lot of grief by not getting involved with anyone.  This proves a challenging task because the sparks fly between Zack and Emma as soon as they meet.

While the mystery isn’t too challenging, the blossoming romance between Emma and Zack kept me turning the pages.  They really click as a team, their work styles complimenting and strengthening each other in their race against time to find the missing boy.  Emma’s quest is doubly urgent, because she never knows if this is the the case that will bring her redemption for her failure centuries ago.  Every life held in the balance may bring about her freedom from Demeter’s vengeful rage.  Zack is a complication she doesn’t need, but can’t resist, regardless of how many times she’s been burned in the past.

Likeable characters make this a worthwhile read.  Captured reminded me how much I’m looking forward to the next book in the series! 

Grade:  B

Review copy purchased from Amazon FREE

From Amazon:

Join FBI Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong.

She’s a Siren. He’s a Werewolf.

Their mission is redemption.

Emma Monroe is a Fallen Siren, cursed by the gods and banished to Earth for her failure to prevent the kidnapping of Persephone. She’s had many names and many lives, but only one mission: redemption. Now she works for the FBI and is on temporary assignment in Charleston. Solving this next missing persons case could be the key to ending her ancient curse—unless the temptation that’s her new partner gets in the way.

Zack Armstrong is a Werewolf. Tall, dark, and dangerous, he currently works for one of the bureau’s elite Child Abduction Rapid Deployment teams. In many respects the man is every bit as mysterious as his secret and perilous past. But there are two things he’s certain about, that he’s going to get his man and his woman.

When Zack finds himself suddenly shy a partner and a third child goes missing in Charleston, Emma goes from consultant to CARD team member in the space of a few hours. The abductions of the first two boys ended in murder, an outcome that neither Zack nor Emma can abide. As they race against time to track down the kidnapper and rescue the latest victim, they find themselves fighting something just as treacherous—a growing attraction that can’t be ignored or denied.

The post Novella Review: Captured by S J Harper appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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33. Interview with Ellie MacDonald, Author of The Governess Club Sara and Louisa

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Ellie!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Ellie MacDonald] Humorous, intelligent, ambitious, creative, foodie.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Governess Club: Sara?

[Ellie MacDonald] Sara Collins is having difficulty adjusting to life as part of The Governess Club School and has her sights set on marrying the local vicar, a handsome, gentle man. When they get a new neighbor, Nathan Grant, a man who is tormented by something that happened to him that made him flee London, Sara finds herself attracted him and turns to this worldly man for adventure.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Ellie MacDonald]  When I create my characters, I start with who the story is going to focus on. In the prologue in the very first book, she is the one who leaves the room, who had to be convinced to join the endeavor. I thought: why was that? Suddenly, she had secrets. Her oppressive childhood gave her anxiety to the point of not being able to stand up for herself, speak her mind, or deviate from the status quo; she is a pleaser to the extent of being a doormat and finds herself swept up in the whole thing when she doesn’t even like teaching. So what does she want? Peace, of course, but even more she wants adventure, to experience life in a way her anxiety has never let her. She is tired of being this traditional, anxious person. Around that, I created Nathan Grant. He promises anything but peace. He is unlike anyone she has ever met; he rocks her boat, pushes her past her boundaries. So when Sara gets pushed to the point of finally pursuing her adventure, she turns to him. The concept grew from there.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Ellie MacDonald] I liked seeing both protagonists develop. They both were difficult for me, so finally getting a good enough grasp on them and seeing where they led me was rewarding. And Sara undergoes such a difficult transformation that it was nice to see her come out on top at the end.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?

[Ellie MacDonald] This was actually a really hard story for me to write; it took me a long time to actually like my characters. I think in the case of Sara it was that she started off being such a weak person. I come from a family of very strong people – even the in-laws! – that it was hard for me to relate to her, to think like her. But on the flip side, she had more room to grow than any of her friends. I don’t think she will ever really be classified as strong, but she definitely ends the story stronger than when she started. In Nathan’s case, I had a hard time figuring out how to redeem him, but he did finally get to the point where he was putting Sara’s needs before his.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Ellie MacDonald] This changes daily! Today it is Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song.’ Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’ is a good one for most days too.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

[Ellie MacDonald] My smartphone. That sounds sad, when I put it in writing…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Ellie MacDonald] Pile of papers that I don’t know whether to toss or file, a picture with a flatmate from England, a coaster for all the drinks I have when writing here.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Ellie MacDonald] Prince Harry’s girlfriend, no matter who she is at the moment. Ooowee, the things we would do! ;0)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Ellie MacDonald] I am a big Grace Burrowes fan, and have loved her new series so far, with THE CAPTIVE and THE TRAITOR. I had tons of trouble putting down Sarah Maclean’s NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED. I recently binge read Candis Terry’s SWEET, TEXAS series. Two that have lingered in my mind for a few months now are from Courtney Milan’s The Brother Sinister series, THE COUNTESS CONSPIRACY and THE SUFFRAGETTE SCANDAL. And I am always anxiously waiting for the next Mary Balogh book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Ellie MacDonald]  Sleep! ;0) I read a lot, spend time with my family and friends. I watch TV, but have very little patience for shows I feel are wasting my time, so am pretty discriminating on what I watch; I usually stick to watching hockey. Facebook is also a big time suck for me.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Ellie MacDonald] My website is www.elliemacdonald.com. I have a Facebook page EllieMacdonaldAuthor and am on Twitter @elliemacdauthor

About the book:

The Governess Club: Sara &The Governess Club: Louisa

The Governess Club book 3 and 4

By: Ellie MacDonald

Releasing September 2nd, 2014 and October 7th, 2014

Avon Impulse

Blurb (Sara)

Sweet Sara Collins is one of the founding members of the governess club. But she has a secret… She doesn’t love teaching. She’d much prefer to be a vicar’s wife and help the local community. But this quiet mouse doesn’t want to upset her friends, and she resolves to help in whatever ways she can.

Nathan Grant is the embodiment of everything that frightens Sara. Which is why she can’t understand why the handsome but reclusive and gruff man is so fascinating to her. When Sara decides it’s time to take a chance and experience all that life has to offer, Nathan is the first person she thinks of.

Will Sara’s walk on the wild side ruin her chances at a simple, happy life? Or has she just opened the door to a once-in-a-lifetime chance of passion?

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22056725-the-governess-club?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Governess-Club-Sara-Ellie-Macdonald-ebook/dp/B00K53802M/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1407070787&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Governess+Club%3A+Sara

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-governess-club-ellie-macdonald/1119443763?ean=9780062292261

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-governess-club-sara

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-governess-club-sara/id874398049?mt=11

Blurb (Louisa)

Louisa Brockhurst is on the run – from her friends, from her family, even from her dream of independence through The Governess Club. But sometimes it’s easier for her to hide from those she loves in order to escape the secrets of her past.

Handsome but menacing John Taylor is a former prize-fighter turned inn-keeper who is trying to make his way in society. When Louisa shows up at his doorstep he’s quick to accept her offer to help – at a price. He knows that she’s hiding something and he can’t help his protective instincts around the beautiful woman.

Their attraction grows, but will headstrong, fiery Louisa ever trust the surprisingly kind John enough to tell him the dangerous secrets from her past that keep her running? Or will the power of her feelings scare her into running yet again?
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22056682-the-governess-club

See the SERIES on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/series/107899-the-governess-club

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Governess-Club-Louisa-Ellie-Macdonald-ebook/dp/B00K537ZXW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1407071103&sr=1-1&keywords=the+governess+club+louisa

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-governess-club-ellie-macdonald/1119443764?ean=9780062292285

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-governess-club-louisa

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-governess-club-louisa/id874396700?mt=11

Author Info

Ellie Macdonald has held several jobs beginning with the letter t: taxi-driver, telemarketer and most recently, teacher. She is thankful her interests have shifted to writing instead of taxidermy or tornado chasing. Having travelled to five different continents, she has swum with elephants, scuba dived coral mazes, visited a leper colony and climbed waterfalls and windmills, but her favorite place remains Regency England. She currently lives in Ontario, Canada. The Governess Club series is her first published work.

Author Links

Website: http://www.elliemacdonald.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EllieMacdonaldAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/elliemacdauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7034029.Ellie_Macdonald

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/08/the-governess-club-sara-governess-club.html

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Two Digital Sets of The Governess Club Books One and Two: CLAIRE & BONNIE)

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The post Interview with Ellie MacDonald, Author of The Governess Club Sara and Louisa appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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34. Book Spotlight: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

The Lil’ Diva wanted to read this one so badly, the librarian sped up getting their copy into the system so that she could borrow it. Have any of you read it?

stayJust listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (April 6, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 014241543X
ISBN-13: 978-0142415436

 

For interesting facts about the author, visit her website at http://gayleforman.com/


2 Comments on Book Spotlight: If I Stay by Gayle Forman, last added: 9/8/2014
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35. Guest Post and Giveaway: Chelsea Fine, Author of Right Kind of Wrong

Please welcome special guest Chelsea Fine to the virtual offices this morning! 

Top 5 items you won’t find in Jack’s backpack by Chelsea Fine

Hahaha. This is the best “Top 5” topic ever.

1. Tweezers. I just can’t see Jack, with his endless tattoos and giant muscles, plucking unruly eyebrow hairs—or indulging in any other forms of “manscaping” for that matter.

2. Any kind of self-help or how-to book. Jack is the type of guy who likes to figure things out for himself and proudly wear the scars of his mistakes.

3. A Giga Pet. Because really, how hilarious would it be if some hot hunk was walking around with an electronic pet he had to feed and take on walks every two hours. Haha. (Oh wow. I know, I’m a nerd.)

4. A blanky. Unless he was camping in the cold, I seriously doubt Jack would be toting around a tattered blanket from childhood. He doesn’t need any comfort aids (aside from Tequila) because this guy’s not afraid of anything—except for maybe Jenna, which is understandable since she’s feisty as hell. But still. Jack’s a lean, mean, blanky-free machine.

5. Evidence that he’s into any girl other than Jenna. Despite the fact that Jack’s no angel when it comes to hooking up with the ladies, the guy is completely crazy about Jenna, and Jenna alone. That’s what makes him so appealing. Well, that and his devastating good looks.

Hahaha. This has been so much fun! Thank you so much for having me on today! ?

RIGHT KIND OF WRONG by Chelsea Fine (September 2, 2014; Forever E-Book; $4.99)

Sometimes wrong can feel oh so right . . .
Jenna Lacombe needs complete control, whether it’s in the streets . . . or between the sheets. So when she sets out on a solo road trip to visit her family in New Orleans, she’s beyond annoyed that the infuriatingly sexy Jack Oliver wants to hitch a ride with her. Ever since they shared a wild night together last year, he’s been trying to strip away her defenses one by one. He claims he’s just coming along to keep her safe-but what’s not safe for her is prolonged exposure to the tattooed hottie.
Jack can’t get Jenna out from under his skin. She makes him feel alive again after his old life nearly destroyed him-and losing her is not an option. Now Jack’s troubles are catching up to him, and he’s forced to return to his hometown in Louisiana. But when his secrets put them both in harm’s way, Jenna will have to figure out how far she’s willing to let love in . . . and how much she already has.

Buy Links:

B&N

BAM!

Kobo

Amazon

iBooks

Google Play

About the author:

Chelsea lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends most of her time writing stories, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs. She’s ridiculously bad at doing dishes and claims to be allergic to laundry. Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks. She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen. 

Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Excerpt:

Opening my car door, I slide into the driver’s seat, turn to put the key in the ignition and—

“Ahh!” Jumping back, I thwack my open palm against the gigantic body of pure muscle seated in the passenger seat. “Dammit, Jack! You scared me!”

“Good morning.” He grins.

“What are you doing in my car?” I snap, throwing him some serious stink eye.

“I’m going with you to Louisiana.” He nods to a large duffle bag in the backseat.

I blink. “Uh, no you’re not.”

“Uh, yes I am.”

“Like hell.”

He crinkles his brow. “I’ve never understood that phrase. But okay. I’ll go with you ‘like hell,’ whatever that means.”

“Get out of my car.” I point to the door.

“Oh, Jenna.” He clucks his tongue. “This will be good for both of us. Listen.” He casually leans against the passenger window and pierces me with his gray eyes. “For reasons beyond my control, I need to go back home. And for reasons beyond your control, so do you. And since our ‘homes’ are right next door to one another, I figured we’d carpool to Louisiana and you can just drop me off at Little Vail on your way to New Orleans.”

He gives me that little-boy smile of his and it’s all I can do not to lean forward and soak it in. I hate me.

“I don’t see how that’s good for me,” I say. “At all.”

He shrugs. “You get some company on the road.”

I nod with a clenched jaw. “And you get a free ride.”

His smile grows and I instantly realize that was the wrong thing to say.

“Precisely,” he says.

I can’t afford to spend any excessive time with Jack. Not just because we fight, but because of what happened last year. It was one crazy night when we were both drunk, and we never spoke of it after the fact, but our “friendship” has been tense ever since.

“Well, I don’t need any company,” I say, shaking my head.

“Sure you do,” he says easily. “Everyone needs company.”

“Not me. So get out.”

He grins. “No.”

God I hate him. But not really.

God I hate that I don’t hate him.

I jut my chin and stare him over. “Fine. If you won’t remove yourself…” Exiting the car, I stomp around the hood to his door, yank it open, and wrap my hands around his bicep. Then I start pulling.

He doesn’t budge. Like, he literally doesn’t move an inch as I tug at his oversized arm and grunt like I’m trying to move a massive piece of hardwood furniture and not a human being.

His eyes dance as he watches my struggle. “What’s your plan here, Jenna? Haul me out of the car and leave me in the street?”

“Sounds good to me.”

“Well, that doesn’t sound friendly at all,” he says, flicking the lever to recline to seat a bit so he looks even more relaxed than before.

“I wasn’t trying to be friendly,” I grit out.

“Clearly.”

I try pulling him out again, to no avail. He’s giant and solid, and honestly, just touching him is turning me on.

I drop my hands and glower at him. “You can’t just tell me that you’re coming along on my road trip.”

He cocks his head. “Would you feel better if I asked?”

“Not especially.”

“Jenna.” He leans forward and his gaze bores through me, down into the deepest parts of my being. “Will you please let me join you on your trip to Louisiana?”

For a moment, I’m lost in his eyes, debating with myself. I don’t trust myself around Jack. Not at all. But I did spend half the night tossing in my sleep with nightmares about traveling alone so maybe having Jack tag along might not be so bad after all. Maybe.

Pulling back, I straighten my shoulders and relent, like usual when it comes to Jack.

“Fine,” I huff out as I stomp back to my side of the car in climb in. “But no talking,” I say, hoping I haven’t just made a huge mistake.

He grins and I turn away.

Surely I can manage to keep my panties on around Jack for a few days…right?

 

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36. Wickedly Dangerous Review at Romance at Random!

 

I have a new review posted over at Romance@Random!  If you have time, check out my thoughts on Wickedly Dangerous.

The post Wickedly Dangerous Review at Romance at Random! appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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37. Interview and Giveaway: Amy Woods, Author of His Texas Forever Family

[Manga Maniac Café] Good morning, Amy!

[Amy Woods] Thanks so much for having me as a guest today!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Amy Woods] Introverted, Curious, Dog lover, Writer

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your book?

[Amy Woods] His Texas Forever Family is a sweet, contemporary category romance set in the fictional small town of Peach Leaf, Texas.

Paige Graham only has room for one man in her life—her son, Owen. The little boy hasn’t spoken since his father died, but things change when he meets his new art teacher, Liam Campbell. Paige can’t help marveling at the progress Owen makes while working with his instructor—and Mr. Campbell isn’t exactly hard on the eyes, either! 

New to Peach Leaf, Texas, Liam is captivated by his beautiful boss—who is none other than Paige! He can’t risk his job or his future by falling for his supervisor, but there is just something about her he can’t resist. Thanks to Liam’s lessons, Owen is on the road to recovery. Now if only Liam can show Paige that the best way to heal her heart is to open herself to love again….

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Amy Woods] A spark of an idea, and the wonderful question, “What if?” inspired the story. I wondered what would happen if a child became mute following a terrible incident, and the only person able to help that child was someone with an unconventional way of treating psychological distress. I combined that person with the child’s mother—who has tried everything, without success, to help her son—along with a sweet romance, and the rest is history.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Amy Woods] I loved researching art therapy and all of the amazing ways it can help people overcome rough spots or challenges in their lives. It seems to me that there are just about as many ways to heal from trauma as there are people—horse therapy, dog therapy, art therapy, behavioral therapy, and the list goes on. I’m fascinated and inspired by the many wonderful people who go into these fields with the goal of making others’ lives better.

Also, this is my debut novel, but it’s also my very first book and I loved, loved, loved the experience of finishing a full story. Happily, I became addicted to that feeling and have gone on to write more. ?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?

[Amy Woods] At the risk of having tomatoes thrown at me by the writers out there…this story didn’t really give me much trouble. The characters were fun to write, even at their dark moments, and I didn’t ever get stuck for very long. I’m sad to say this hasn’t happened since, and I’ve finished several other books. I’m learning that some books just require either more or different work than others, and every book is its own animal. I’m still a fairly new writer, and I’m still working out my process. The minute I feel like I’ve grasped something pretty firmly, a fresh challenge pops up.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Amy Woods] Sara Bareilles’ “Brave”—not because I embody the lyrics but because I’d like to

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

[Amy Woods] My purse. Lord help me if I ever lose that thing! I’m pretty sure most women can relate.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Amy Woods] -Kleenex (I live in Austin, Texas and we have some of the worst allergens in the US)

-a pen with pink ink (I have approximately one million pens, and I get bored with them regularly and have to switch them out—neurotic much?)

-a hula girl (my brother serves in the Navy and is stationed in Hawaii)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Amy Woods] J.K. Rowling. I’d love to know what it feels like to have sold hundreds of millions of copies of something I wrote.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Amy Woods] The Winter King by C.L. Wilson, Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron, and What Once Was Perfect by Zoe York.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Amy Woods] The hubby and I are movie fanatics. I don’t care if it’s old, new, Netflix, or the cinema—if it sounds good, I’ll watch it. My favorites usually have a SciFi or historical setting. I also have a dog (read: child) and I spend a lot of time with her, mostly trying to get her to stop sniffing telephone poles so we can actually walk further than two feet.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Amy Woods] I adore hearing from readers, and they are welcome to contact me through my website at www.amywoodsbooks.com, on Facebook as Amy Woods Books, or on Twitter as @amywoodsbooks. I also have a (non-spammy) newsletter available at http://eepurl.com/0Vmi1, for anyone who is interested in keeping up with new releases

His Texas Forever Family by: Amy Woods

Released August 19th, 2014

Harlequin

“MR. CAMPBELL, PLEASE REPORT TO THE PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE…

Paige Graham only has room for one man in her life—her son, Owen. The little boy hasn’t spoken since his father died, but things change when he meets his new art teacher, Liam Campbell. Paige can’t help marveling at the progress Owen makes while working with his instructor—and Mr. Campbell isn’t exactly hard on the eyes, either!

New to Peach Leaf, Texas, Liam is captivated by his beautiful boss—who is none other than Paige! He can’t risk his job or his future by falling for his supervisor, but there is just something about her he can’t resist. Thanks to Liam’s lessons, Owen is on the road to recovery. Now if only Liam can show Paige that the best way to heal her heart is to open herself to love again….”

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/his-texas-forever-family-by-amy-woods.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21471411-his-texas-forever-family?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Texas-Forever-Family-Harlequin-Special-ebook/dp/B00JIH8ZAS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1404250167&sr=1-1&keywords=amy+woods

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/his-texas-forever-family-amy-woods/1118925347?ean=9781460338773

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/his-texas-forever-family
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/his-texas-forever-family/id857569196?mt=11

Publisher: http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=53590

Author Info

Although she’s wanted to be a writer since learning to read, Amy Woods took the scenic route to her job as an author. She’s been a bookkeeper, a high school English teacher, a claims specialist, and a call-center worker, but now that she’s tried making up stories for a living, she’s never giving it up. She grew up in Austin, Texas and still lives there with her wonderfully goofy, supportive husband and a very spoiled rescue dog.

Author Links

Website: http://www.amywoodsbooks.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/amywoodsbooks

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8059195.Amy_Woods

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Tour Wide Giveaway for $10.00 Amazon Gift Card and Print Copy of HIS TEXAS FOREVER FAMILY)

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38. Graphic Novel Review: Skip*Beat! Volume 25 by Yoshiki Nakamura

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Holy Cow!  Sometimes I just have to get that off my chest.  The 25th volume of Skip*Beat! ROCKED!  The drama was cranked up when Sho made a surprise appearance during the filming of Kyoko and Ren’s TV show and WOW!  He really knows how to stir up trouble.  And best yet, how to get under Kyoko’s skin.  Jealous when he thought that she was hung up on Reino, a rival singer, Sho wanted to make sure Kyoko knew what she was missing.  Delivering a huge bouquet brimming with all the things he thought she’d love, he throws down the gauntlet.   He’ll not be overshadowed by the Beagle or by smarmy Ren, either!

When Sho steals Kyoko’s first kiss, hilarity ensues.  She is distraught, Ren is quivering with rage, and poor Yashiro – he can only look on in horror as his client’s sense of well-being is shattered into a billion tiny pieces.  I didn’t know who I felt worse for – Ren, Kyoko, or Yashiro, who would have to deal with the fallout from Ren’s state of agitation.  Kyoko is traumatized, until Ren scoffs at her reaction to Sho.  If she wasn’t a willing participant in the kiss, is it really a kiss?  Besides, she’s an actress, and there will be times when she’ll have to kiss a co-star.  That’s not a kiss, either, it’s just part of the script, and part of the job.  Just when he’s made her feel better about the whole episode, Ren works in a little threat; she needs to be careful to never let Sho take advantage of her again, because she only gets one chance.  There will be no second chances.  Oh, dear!

Later, when Kyoko is alone in Ren’s dressing room, he does something to push Sho completely out of her mind.  Literally.  Suddenly, she can only think of Ren, and don’t think that doesn’t make him all smug and extremely self-satisfied.  Valentine’s Day was so much fun, I was sorry to see it end.  This has been my favorite volume of Skip*Beat! so far, and I wonder if it can be topped.  Even the art was kicked up a notch, but that impression might be due to the amount of illustrations featuring Ren.

Grade:  A-

Review copy purchased from Amazon

From Amazon:

Kyoko’s Valentine’s battle with Reino has finally gained her Sho’s attention—but now it’s the last thing she wants! Sho is determined to make her obsessed with him, and shows up on set with an over-the-top gift to taunt her. But when Kyoko explains her true relationship with Reino, Sho makes an inexcusable move. Has he undone her years of healing in one fell swoop?!

The post Graphic Novel Review: Skip*Beat! Volume 25 by Yoshiki Nakamura appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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39. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Earl’s Mistress by Liz Carlyle

The Earl’s Mistress

MacLachlan Family and Friends # 10

By: Liz Carlyle

Releasing August 26th, 2014

Avon Romance

Women rarely refuse the wicked Earl of Hepplewood, whose sensual skills are the stuff of legend. But when his new governess answers his proposition with a slap to his face, then stalks out with references in hand, Hepplewood finds more than his face is left burning . . .

Isabella Aldridge has brains, bravado, and beauty-but the latter is no use to a servant. With orphaned sisters to feed, eviction nearing, and Hepplewood’s words ringing in her ears, Isabella realizes she must barter her most marketable asset . . .

But when fate unknowingly sends Isabella back into Hepplewood’s arms, the earl must make an impossible choice-draw Isabella down into his sensual darkness, or behave with honor for the first time in his life.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/the-earls-mistress-maclachlan-family.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20457104-the-earl-s-mistress?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Earls-Mistress-Liz-Carlyle/dp/0062100300

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-earls-mistress-liz-carlyle/1117993473?ean=9780062100306
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-earl-s-mistress

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-earls-mistress/id833861816?mt=11

Excerpt:

“Mrs. Aldridge,” he said, snatching his shirt from the branch.  “Welcome to Greenwood Farm.  You’re a trifle early.  I shall take it as a sign of eagerness.”

Isabella stepped backward. “Eagerness?” she parrotted, her eyes fixated upon a broad expanse of bare chest. 

Hepplewood moved with a languid grace, shaking out his shirt as he came.  “I was glad to learn you’d taken my good advice,” he said, shoving an arm in a sleeve, “but the coincidence of the thing did take me aback—as it has you, too, I see.”

But Isabella couldn’t begin to make sense of it; her brain felt stuffed with wool and her lungs had ceased to work.  Hepplewood dragged the shirt on, his chest wall rippling as he drew it down his lithe, smoothly muscled torso. 

Somehow, she forced her gaze to his face, resisting the urge to run back to the carriage.  “I beg your pardon,” she said again, blinking slowly, “but whatare you talking about?”

He propped one hand on the gatepost that still stood upright, his gaze sweeping her length.  “My advice,” he said with a faint smile, “to give up the dull business of governessing for an option that better suits your . . . well, let us call them your God-given attributes.”

Indignation welled up inside Isabella.  “How dare you,” she said quietly.  “I do not know, Lord Hepplewood, just what sort of deceit you employed to trick me here, but I will have—”

“Mrs. Aldridge,” he interjected, his eyes flashing dangerously as he came around the gatepost.  “I should very much like the two of us to get on, butdeceit and trickery are not insults I’ll tolerate.”  He set a large, very firm hand on her forearm.  “Do we understand one another?”

But the word coincidence was slowly seeping into her consciousness. 

“Surely you don’t mean to claim . . . ”  Isabella cut off her words, and tried to draw back.  “Surely you aren’t suggesting this is purely—”

“Accidental?”  He gave an odd half-smile.  “Little in life is.  I saw a woman I wished to bed, but alas, she declined.  Still, women, to my mind, are very nearly interchangeable.  It was no great inconvenience to ask the resourceful Mrs. Litner to find me another raven-haired, violet-eyed beauty willing to slake my lust.  Imagine my surprise when she wrote that I should expect you.”

“Dear God.”  Isabella tried to back away, but the hand on her arm did not relent.  “I don’t believe it.”

“Mrs. Aldridge,” he murmured, his eyes roaming over her face, “you approached Louisa Litner with every intention of marketing yourself in just the fashion I suggested.  And she has sent you to—well, let’s be blunt—to charm and to flirt with and to almost certainly warm the bed of one Mr. William Mowbrey, a gentleman of very specific tastes.  What can it possibly matter to you that I have turned out to be Mowbrey?”

“I . . . I don’t know.”  Isabella tried to think.  “It just does.”

“Does it?”  His voice dropped, his eyes suddenly heavy.  “My dear, you intrigue me.” 

“I don’t wish to intrigue you,” she managed, setting a hand against his chest.  “I want n-nothing to do with you.”

But she knew it wasn’t true; not entirely.  More than once during the long drive from London, she had remembered their almost-kiss, and wondered what this man next would be like.  Would his eyes flash with fire?  Would his touch singe her through her clothes?

Oh, yes.  It would.

And she, apparently, was an idiot.

Hepplewood had caught her chin, and was holding it none too gently.  “No, Mrs. Aldridge, I was not mistaken in you,” he murmured, his voice thickening. “You are a stunning creature—and very much in need, I think, of being tamed.”

Author Info

A lifelong anglophile, Liz Carlyle cut her teeth reading gothic novels under the bedcovers by flashlight. She is the author of sixteen historical romances, including several New York Times bestsellers. Liz travels incessantly, ever in search of the perfect setting for her next book. Along with her genuine romance-hero husband and four very fine felines, she makes her home in North Carolina. You can contact her via her website at www.lizcarlyle.com.

Author Links

Website: http://www.lizcarlyle.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/liz.carlyle?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lizcarlyle

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21944.Liz_Carlyle

Rafflecopter Giveaway (A full set of Liz’s St. James society books (A BRIDE BY MOONLIGHT, THE BRIDE WORE SCARLET, and THE BRIDE WORE PEARLS))

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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40. Spotlight: A Love for All Time by Chloe Douglas

This morning I have a spotlight and excerpt from A Love For All Time.  Enjoy!

About A LOVE FOR ALL TIME:

From modern-day New York to Victorian London, one thrilling mystery brings together two passionate souls-for all time . . .

Homicide detective Mick Giovanni has seen lot a strange things in the NYPD-but nothing like Miss Lettitia Merryweather. Waltzing into his precinct dressed like some actress on Masterpiece Theater, the stunning British beauty implores Mick to find her missing sister. The strange part is, she disappeared in London-in 1888. Of course, Mick doesn’t believe Lettitia. Until he steps through a time portal onto a gaslit street-and sees a newspaper headline that reads:Jack the Ripper Still At Large . . . For Mick, it’s the dream of a lifetime-a chance to hunt down the most notorious killer in history. But for Lettitia, it’s all too personal, and Mick is her only hope. The tough, handsome cop has only seven days to solve the world’s greatest mystery before he loses his chance to go home. But the closer Mick gets to the truth, the deeper his feelings for Lettitia grow. Even if he solves the case, can these two soul mates say goodbye to a love that was meant for all time?

About Chloe Douglas:

Chloe Palov, writing romance as Chloe Douglas, was born in Washington, D.C., and graduated from George Mason University with a degree in art history. Although she began her writing career in the romance genre, Chloe switched gears several years ago, making the leap to thrillers, written under the name C.M. Palov. Chloe is excited now to be returning to her romance roots. Chloe lives and writes with a menagerie of furry family members from her home in Virginia.

Chloe’s social media:

http://www.chloedouglasbooks.com/index.html

Buy links:

Books & Noble: http://bit.ly/1uh1Jj0

iTunes: http://bit.ly/1qxerbE

Kobo: http://bit.ly/W7grMW

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1vPsiyy

Excerpt:

“Whoa. Serious fire power,” Mick uttered with a drawn-out whistle. “I’m glad we’re playing on the same team. Where did you get that thing?”

“It is Uncle Phidias’ service revolver from the Crimean War. After what transpired at The Golden Dragon, I thought it best to take precautions. One never knows where one’s investigation might lead.”

Smiling approvingly, Mick nodded his head. “You gotta be impressed with a lady who thinks ahead, hey guys? Now, I’m no expert on relic firearms, but that thing looks like it could take off a man’s head.”

Hearing that, Lettitia’s stomach muscles painfully cramped.

From the chorus of muttered grunts, she surmised that the remark had a similar effect on nearly every man present.

“Is that bloody thing even loaded?” Sweeney demanded to know, eyeing the monstrously large revolver with obvious trepidation.

“Of course it is loaded,” she snapped, thinking the man a simpleton. “Why would I go to the trouble of aiming an unloaded gun at you?”

Clearly amused, Mick swung his head in Sweeney’s direction. “The lady makes a valid point.”

Humph! Easy for him to smirk and snicker. He was not the one who would have to pull the trigger, quite possibly severing a man’s head from his body.

Slipping his hand inside his coat pocket, Sweeney extracted a sinister-looking knife. He tossed it into the air, deftly catching it by the carved handle. He then took a menacing step in her direction.

Lettitia had hoped that reasoned talk would prevail. Her hopes, however, were instantly dashed the moment Sweeney drew his weapon.

“Sir, you would be wise not to accost me,” she warned. “Furthermore, if you take one more step, you will not live to tell the tale.” She added the last bit of braggadocio to let the brigand know that she was in earnest.

Sweeney came to a halt. “You can’t shoot all of us. At the most, you’ve only got six bullets.”

“True enough,” she readily agreed. “Which means that two of you shall not feel the excruciating pain of a deadly bullet ripping through his tender flesh.” Having made her point, she gestured with her revolver to the company of men spread before her. “Whoever wishes to remain unscathed, I suggest he leave the premises now.”

To her utter surprise, six of the hooligans departed posthaste, leaving only Jem and Sweeney to contend with.

“If I did the math right,” Mick remarked, “that leaves three bullets apiece.”

“Shut your bloody mouth!”

“I do not like your tone, Mister Sweeney.”

“And I don’t like some Mayfair bitch threatening the likes of Bill Sweeney,” he countered belligerently. “In fact, I’m beginning to think that you’re all bluff.”

“Think what you will. Unless you release my companion, you shall soon discover the truth of the matter.”

Digging in his heels, Sweeney stubbornly shook his head. “Sir Charlie will ‘ang me by me balls if I was to come back empty ‘anded.”

Lettitia worriedly gnawed on her lower lip, the man’s obdurate refusal to untie Mick presenting her with a true dilemma. As she pondered her options, a bolt of lightning struck in the near-vicinity, instantly followed by an earth-shattering boom of thunder. Startled, Lettitia gasped, at which point Sweeney seized his chance and rushed toward her, his knife blade threateningly pointed at her heart.

With a terrified shriek, Lettitia pulled the trigger on the revolver.

The moment she did, Mick rose to his feet. Still bound to the wooden chair, he spun on his heel, forcefully slamming the wooden legs of the chair into Jem’s backside, the man crumbling to his knees under the force of the blow.

“The bloody bitch just shot off the top of me ear!” Sweeney hollered, dropping his knife as he slapped both hands to the side of his head, blood spurting between his fingers.

Wailing like a banshee, evidently afraid that she might pull the trigger yet again, Sweeney ran for the door. His minion, staggering to his feet, did likewise.

Wasting no time, Lettitia picked up the knife so that she could cut Mick free. The instant the chair crashed to the ground, he snatched both the gun and the knife out of her hand.

“You, Lettitia Merryweather, are one dangerous lady. Come on. Let’s get the hell out of here.” Grabbing her by the arm, Mick raced towards the door.

Outside, the rain came down in blinding sheets, soaking them to the skin. As they ran through a maze of alleys, the sky detonated with a brilliant burst of bright light, the buildings around them shaking with the thunderous encore. The wind, the rain, the lightning – under any other circumstance, Lettitia would have been terrified by those elemental forces. But for some reason, here, with Mick, it was exhilarating.

Panting, Mick came to a sudden halt at the intersection of two alleys. Gesturing to the right, he hollered, “It’s this way!”

“No, it’s this way!” Lettitia exclaimed, pointing in the opposite direction. “I’m quite certain that¾”

“Trust me.”

“Always,” she affirmed, placing her hand in his.

Hand in hand, they hurried to Dorset Street, Lettitia laughing with joy as they raced to the carriage.

Once inside the vehicle, she couldn’t stop laughing. Seized with a giddy euphoria, all of her senses were enlivened with an urgent sense of excitement.

Unthinkingly, she flung herself at Mick’s chest. “Kiss me,” she ordered, throwing her arms around his neck.

“You’re just saying that because of the adrenaline rush. The thrill of the chase has

got your hormones in a tailspin.”

“I have never been so thoroughly and deeply thrilled!” Lettitia exclaimed, not understanding a word that Mick just uttered.

“Me either.” Grasping her by the nape of the neck, Mick savagely kissed her.

The post Spotlight: A Love for All Time by Chloe Douglas appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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41. Destined for Doon

Destined for Doon
Author: Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon
Publisher: Blink
Genre: Fantasy / Romance
ISBN: 978-0-310-74233-3
Pages: 352
Price: $17.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

In this sequel to Doon, Kenna has returned to her life in the theater, and now she’s missing the prince she left behind. She has only now realized that they had a true Calling, and Duncan is her soul mate. So when he suddenly arrives to bring her back to Doon, she heads back willingly, hoping for another chance. But Duncan is harboring illusions that Kenna is already spoken for, and won’t listen to any explanations.

Meanwhile, Veronica is attempting to stop the witch’s evil spell, which has created a zombie fungus that threatens to overtake Doon. She and Kenna have defeated the witch once before, and she needs her best friend’s help once again. Can Kenna help Vee save Doon, and can she salvage the relationship she once had with Duncan, before time runs out?

Filled with drama and suspense, Destined for Doon picks up right where Doon left off. Complicated relationships take center stage, as both Vee and Kenna struggle to make things right with their Doonian princes. And of course, good must triumph over evil. My one complaint about this story is that it ends in a cliff-hanger that felt completely out of place. But otherwise, this is a great read.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


0 Comments on Destined for Doon as of 9/3/2014 2:08:00 PM
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42. Review: Dead Sexy by Aleah Barley #zombies

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I love zombie books, but I have to admit that boyfriend zombies are my least favorite trope.  I just can’t get onboard with undead boyfriends.  I mean, let’s think about it for a second.  They are essentially decaying corpses with a craving for brains and raw flesh.  Your flesh, or the flesh of your friends.  It just doesn’t seem worth the risk to date a dead guy who could turn on you at any moment, going from Romeo to Hannibal Lector.  Though, since raw meat is his preferred dish, even my humble cooking skills would wow a hungry zombie.  Just head up to the local butcher shop, buy a tasty steak, and serve.  No fuss, no muss, if you overlook the dripping blood.

Now, I might be willing to make an exception for DS Thomas Conroy, the zombie government agent in Aleah Barley’s Dead Sexy.  He’s gorgeous, tall, dark, and firmly in control of his motor skills.  He works for a government agency that works to ensure equal treatment for zombies.  Since the plague 12 years ago, businesses have found a way to exploit this new source of labor.  Zombies work for low wages, rarely complain, and contentedly accept ground beef for an annual bonus.  This cheap influx of employees has forced many of the living factory workers out of a job, so the economy hasn’t improved much in Barley’s post-rising Detroit.  With the dead and the desperate roaming the streets, Motor City is even more dangerous than ever.

Gemma Sinclair works at the family mortuary, in addition to hunting zombies to help make ends meet for her and her mother.  Her uncle Donny works for them, and he’s a typical zombie; slow, can’t remember the past, and speaks only in stilted sentences.  Still, he’s family, and Gemma loves him, despite his undead condition.  Gemma is still mourning the death of her father, the one person who understood her.  After his death, he made certain that he didn’t come stumbling back to life, and now Gemma is bitter about losing him.  She doesn’t get along with her mother, and she chafes at still living at home.  Worse yet, she’s still a virgin and with her dangerous profession, she worries about dying before experiencing some hot sexy times.  No wonder she can’t get DS off her mind.  He’s about the only guy she’s been attracted to, even if he is dead.

I really enjoyed this short read.  It’s about category length, and the tone is snarky and humorous.  I don’t always like snarky heroines, but I found Gemma engaging and relatable.  She’s just trying to make a buck, be independent, and find herself a guy to love at the same time.  She and DS get off to a rocky start; she Tasers him and turns him over to the police, even after he saved her from a feral zombie.  To say that he’s a bit annoyed with her is an understatement.  To make up for the major inconvenience she has caused him, he makes her partner up with him on the case he’s working on.  An agent from Toledo, he needs help from someone more familiar with the streets of Detroit.  Zombies are disappearing, and it’s his job to find out way.  For 150 bucks an hour, plus expenses, Gemma’s happy to pitch in on his mission to find the missing Biters.

There are some annoying editing errors that jarred me from the story, but at .99 for the Kindle, Dead Sexy is a great buy.  I liked the protagonists and the setting, but I would have liked more background on the zombie plague.  Maybe I’ll get that in the next installment of this series, which I am eagerly looking forward to reading.

Grade:  B / B+

Review copy purchase from Amazon

From Amazon:

Mortuary attendant Gemma Sinclair hunts zombies for a living. It’s messy work, but it pays the bills… right up until she stun guns the wrong dead man in the ass.

Now to keep her family business going, Gemma’s forced into a partnership with federal agent D.S. Thomas Conroy. Zombies are disappearing all over town, and he needs Gemma’s help to figure out why.

With a villain on her trail and a gang of zombies ready to attack, Gemma’s just glad her backup is dead sexy…

The post Review: Dead Sexy by Aleah Barley #zombies appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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43. Guest Post and Giveaway: Victoria Roberts, Author of My Highland Spy

 

Please give warm welcome to this morning’s special guest Victoria Roberts! She’s here with a Top 5 list, as well as a chance to win a copy of her brand new book, My Highland Spy!

Top 5 reasons Highlanders are so sexy by Victoria Roberts

Thank you so much for having me back at Manga Maniac Café. I love chatting about Highlanders. And there are many reasons why I find Highlanders sexy. See if you agree.

  1. The kilt. The mere thought of kilt wearing men make women swoon. Why? *shrugs* Perhaps it’s the mystery of what lies underneath said garment. It’s certainly something to ponder to say the least. Wouldn’t you agree? I think Lady Ravenna Walsingham does.

  1. That sexy Scottish brogue. Seriously. Isn’t it to die for? You can’t tell me whenever you hear Gerard Butler, Sean Connery or Sam Heughan speak that their voices don’t give you shivers from head to toe. Yep, pretty much every single time.

  1. Highland men have very big…broadswords and they’re not afraid to wield them.

  1. Highlanders ooze masculinity and take their alpha male roles very seriously. *raises hands* I surrender, my laird! God, who wouldn’t?

  1. Highland men know how to remove their plaids with a flick of the wrist. The men are very resourceful.

What do you love most about Highlanders? Sourcebooks will give away one paperback copy of My Highland Spy (US and Canada only, please.)

“An exciting Highland tale of intrigue, betrayal, and love.”

—Hannah Howell, New York Times bestselling author of Highland Master

“Roberts’ newest features a surprise-laden, quick-paced plot, replete with unconventional and fiercely independent characters. Her lyrical prose grabs readers’ attention, and the high level of emotional tension simply adds to the depth of the story. This book begs to be read and reread.”

—RT Book Reviews

This Highland Laird won’t bow to the Crown
Laird Ruairi Sutherland refuses to send his only son away to be educated by the English. And he most definitely will not appear in Edinburgh to pay homage to a liege who has no respect for Scotland. So he does what any laird would do-he lies to the king. The last thing Ruairi expects is a beautiful English governess to appear on his doorstep.

But this lady spy might make him…
Lady Ravenna Walsingham is a seasoned spy who is sent to the savage Highlands to uncover a nefarious plot against the Crown. Playing the part of an English governess—a job easier said than done—she infiltrates the home of Laird Sutherland, a suspected conspirator.

If she doesn’t betray him first
Ravenna soon discovers that the only real threat Sutherland poses is to her heart. But will the proud Highland laird ever forgive her when he discovers the woman he loves in an English spy?

Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1BCZNW8

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1l4KJa5

Indigo: http://bit.ly/1iSeyP0

Books-a-Million: http://bit.ly/VFXnFe

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/WR8U5Z

Website: www.victoriarobertsauthor.com

Award-winning author Victoria Roberts writes Scottish historical romances about kilted heroes and warriors from the past. She was named by RT Book Reviews as “one of the most promising debut authors across the genres” and was also a 2013 RT Reviewers’ Choice award winner for X Marks the Scot.

Represented by Jill Marsal of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, Victoria is a member of Romance Writers of America® and several local chapters, as well as a contributing author to the online magazine Celtic Guide.

Victoria lives in western Pennsylvania with her husband of twenty one years and their two beautiful children—not to mention one spoiled dog. When she is not plotting her next Scottish adventure, she’s dragging her clan to every Scottish festival under the sun. Visit her at www.victoriarobertsauthor.com.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/victoria.roberts.395

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5763317.Victoria_Roberts

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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44. Spotlight and Giveaway: Texas Twist by Cynthia D’Alba

 
Enter to Win
TONS of TEXAS TWIST Goodies
Gift Card, Mugs, T-Shirts, Etc


 
Real bad boys can grow up to be real good men.

Hit hard by the death of her parents, Paige Ryan needs to figure out what to do with her life. She moves to Whispering Springs, Texas, to be near her step-brother. But just as she starts to get her life on track, the last man she ever wanted to see again sends it right back off the rails.

Cash Montgomery was on the cusp of having it all. Three bull riding titles, fame, fortune and respect from his family. Until a bad bull leaves him injured, angry and searching for comfort at the bottom of a bottle. With nowhere to go, he moves into his sister-in-law’s old ranch house in Whispering Springs—which he’s surprised to find already occupied.

As Cash rebuilds the dilapidated home and Paige starts out on her medical career, their old friendship begins to reemerge and sparks are ignited. Paige knows that Cash is nothing but a heartache waiting to happen. But maybe this bad boy has grown up to be a real good man?

Warning: Watch out for falling lumber, falling in holes, and falling for the wrong guy…again. You can leave your hard hat on.


 

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

 
 
Award winning author Cynthia D’Alba was born and raised in Arkansas. After being gone for seventeen years, she’s thrilled to be back home living on the banks of an eight-thousand acre lake. When she’s not reading, writing or plotting, she’s doorman for her two dogs, cook, housekeeper and chief bottle washer for her husband and slave to a noisy, messy parrot. She loves to chat online with friends and fans





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45. Review: Irresistible Force by D D Ayres

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I don’t usually read romantic suspense because the heroine is usually put into a dire, life-threatening situation, and sometimes that just stresses me out.  I ventured outside of my comfort zone because Irresistible Force features a K-9 dog.  I wasn’t sure how big a part the dog would play in the story, but anything with the word “dog” pretty  much gets my attention.  I’m so glad I picked this up!  While there are several uncomfortable scenes for our heroine, Shay, she thinks well under pressure and refuses to allow herself to be a victim.  It helped that James, her police officer love interest, is brave, kind, and understanding, and oh, yeah, Bogart the dog puts all of his training to the test to save Shay from danger.  Thank goodness!

Shay is need of a serious break.  Her whole life has been one traumatic misunderstanding after another.  After an abusive experience when she was a young girl, she has lived with whispers, taunts, and outright bullying at one school after another.  Now an IT professional, she’s changed her name and buried her past behind her.  Or so she thinks.  When her ex, a powerful, wealthy banker, just can’t take “no” for an answer, all of her fears from her childhood catch up with her.  Fearful of Eric, who is stalking her, she rescues a shepherd from the animal shelter where she works as a volunteer.  A woman brought the dog in to be destroyed, claiming that he was aggressive and had attacked a child.  When he turned out to be anything but, Shay renamed the animal Prince and took her home, thankful to have such a trustworthy guardian at her side.

Police officer James Cannon is desperately searching for his canine partner, Bogart.  He gets a tip that the dog is at a cabin in the woods, and he confronts Shay, accusing her of dognapping his partner.  By the time they work out the misunderstanding, Shay can’t help but act on her attraction to the gorgeous cop.  She wants to be in charge for a change, and after another frightening encounter with Eric earlier in the day, she throws her inhibitions out the window.  Her no-strings encounter backfires because James is a great guy and wants more than what she’s originally willing to offer, but Shay’s demons won’t let her trust him.

Shay is a tragic character, and I couldn’t help liking her.  I wanted her to finally have a happy ending, because up until the start of this book, life has done nothing but crap on her.  Eric is a first-class bastard, and once Shay finds the courage to call it quits with him, he refuses to let her go.  His ego won’t let her call the shots, and his need to be in control puts her in an unenviable situation.  With the power that comes with his position at the bank, he arranges for Shay’s placement company to have her temped to bank.  Then he does everything he can to make her regret ever having met him.

Normally I would think the heroine was an idiot for not just going to the authorities when someone is harassing them, but Shay’s previous run-ins with the law makes it perfectly logical that she would avoid trying to get help from anyone.  She has always had one person to rely on, and that has always been herself.  The whole world seemed like it was out to get her when she was younger, so her reluctance to trust was believable.  James is still kind of an unknown, too.  She’s just met him, they got off on the wrong foot, and she can’t bring herself to confide in him, especially when he isn’t exactly upfront with her.  I loved the push and pull between them, and wondered how they would ever come to an understanding that allowed them to be open and trusting with each other.

If you like romantic suspense, you will love Irresistible Force. The hero is everything that Shay needs, Bogart has a starring role, and Shay learns to open her heart and finally learn to trust.  If you are like me and on the fence about romantic suspense, you have to give this book a try.  I couldn’t put it down, and even though I was squirming near the end during Shay’s life and death ordeal, I knew that James and Bogart would eventually race to her rescue – but only after Shay found the strength to save herself from the danger confronting her.  I can hardly wait to meet the protagonists from Force of Attraction, the next book in the series.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

“Incredible! You’ll be on the edge of your seat to see if the heroine can make it out alive.”—Catherine Coulter, New York Times bestselling author

When adrenaline runs high, so does the force of desire…

For Shay Appleton, it’s love at first sight when a gorgeous stray dog is brought into the animal shelter where she works. She just knows he’ll make a terrific watch dog—and with an abusive ex who won’t let go, she needs all the protection she can get. But Shay never suspected that her new pet is actually a trained police K-9 named Bogart—until Bogart’s even more gorgeous, human partner shows up on her doorstep.

IRRESISTIBLE FORCE by D.D. Ayres

Officer James Cannon is one tall, strong alpha male who’s convinced that Shay stole his dog. But once he gets closer to the suspect, he realizes that this stubborn, independent woman not only needs a guard dog, she needs James as well. It seems that someone from her past is stalking her, and threatening her life. When danger meets desire, will James risk his career and his best friend…to protect the woman who’s stolen his heart?

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46. Guest Post and Giveaway: Claire McEwen, Author of More Than a Rancher

Please welcome special guest Claire McEwen back to the virtual offices.  She has a guest post to share, and then you can enter for a chance to win an Amazon GF and a signed copy of More Than a Rancher!

Thank you so much for having me here today on Manga Maniac Café! I am so happy to be here celebrating the release of my new book, More Than a Rancher.

I love the topic for this post, because Sandro, the hero in More Than a Rancher, is a brilliant chef and a bit of a food snob. Not a snob in the sense that he only eats at the best restaurants – he still appreciates the rustic cooking he grew up with. But he’s a snob in the sense that he only wants to use the purest flavors, and the freshest ingredients. And he would prefer that those ingredients are organic and locally grown!

So here are some things that our hero would never allow through the door of his kitchen.

1) Store bought Pasta Sauce:

No Ragu, or even the organic, charity-supporting Newman’s Own would be allowed in Sandro’s cupboards. He wouldn’t be able to face the added sugars and all those herbs cooked down into nothingness. Instead he’d pick up a big bag of tomatoes at the farmers market and throw them in a pot with garlic, olive oil and a handful of fresh herbs. If he wanted to sweeten things up, some caramelized onions and carrots would do the trick, sugar free.

2) Margarine:

Oh no… never ever. Sandro is all about the real butter. And if he wants some oil for cooking or baking? He’d probably choose extra virgin olive oil, or maybe coconut oil if he wanted a more exotic flavor. He’s a purist – to him margarine is just a bunch of processed oils, blended together into an unholy substance that does not belong in the food that he makes!

3) Cheeze Whiz:

Cheese from a can? An abomination, according to Sandro. In his kitchen, cheese is always farm-fresh and pungent, its taste crackling sharply across the tongue. If it’s a mild cheese then it’s creamy, silken, and spread on a piece of baguette. Goat cheese, sheep cheese, Manchego, Pecorino, Port Salut. For Sandro, cheese is poetry, meant to be sampled and savored, and best in small doses.

4) Grocery store pastries:

Sorry, Pillsbury Dough Boy – you are not welcome in Sandro’s kitchen! No Pop Tarts, Hostess Ho Hos, or prepackaged cinnamon rolls allowed. Sandro believes that if you’re going to eat pastries, eat the good ones. In San Francisco there are dozens of amazing bakeries to choose from. For his Italian treats, Sandro might stop by the Stella Pastry & Cafe in the North Beach neighborhood and join the line that often spills out the door for their cannoli. For amazing scones, brioche and Danish he would probably head to Arizmendi Bakery, Panaderia and Pizzeria on Valencia Street. Their food is addicting! And when he’s out in Benson? He’ll make his own pastries, of course. Unless he can talk Betty, a local rancher and amazing baker, into making him some of her famous blueberry muffins.

5) Artificial Flavors:

You won’t find those little brown bottles of extract in Sandro’s baking supplies. But you would find real extract, the kind with the vanilla beans floating in it! Peppermint grows like a weed, so Sandro would plant it in his garden, or in a pot on the windowsill. Looking for maple? They sell pure maple syrup at the store – and Sandro would seek out a bottle labled Grade B – it’s even more divine. Sandro would tell you this: Artificial flavors are just a missed opportunity to take your cooking from good to absolutely unforgettable!

Hungry now? Me too! What do you kick out of your kitchen? What are the ingredients you must have around?

More Than A Rancher by: Claire McEwen

Releasing September 2nd, 2014

Harlequin: Superromance

Does he dare follow her lead?

Ballroom dancer Jenna Stevens is done with all things romance. It’s so much more satisfying to focus on her career. That is, until she meets Sandro Salazar – a handsome, brooding small-town chef and sometimes rancher. Jenna is drawn to him immediately, but there’s no way Sandro could fit into her fast-paced, urban life.

Still, as she gets to know this reformed bad boy, she begins to wonder if maybe their two worlds can merge. One thing’s for certain – Jenna will have to take the lead if she has any hope of Sandro seeing what’s possible for the two of them… together.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/more-than-rancher-by-claire-mcewen_25.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21489545-more-than-a-rancher?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/More-Than-Rancher-Harlequin-Superromance/dp/0373608713

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/more-than-a-rancher-claire-mcewen/1118936783?ean=9781460339190

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/more-than-a-rancher

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/more-than-a-rancher/id863396380?mt=11

Publisher: http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=53465

Author Info

Claire McEwen lives by the ocean in Northern California with her husband, son and a scruffy, mischievous terrier. When not dreaming up new stories, she can be found digging in her garden with a lot of enthusiasm but, unfortunately, no green thumb. She loves discovering flea-market treasures, walking on the beach, dancing, traveling and reading, of course!

Author Links

Website: http://www.clairemcewen.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMcEwen.writer
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ClaireMcEwen1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7226137.Claire_McEwen

Rafflecopter Giveaway ( Tour Wide Giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card and 3 Signed copies of MORE THAN A RANCHER)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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47. Guest Post: Tudor Robins, Author of Appaloosa Summer

I’m always excited for new horsey books, so I was happy for the opportunity to chat with Tudor Robins for her blog tour for her latest release Appaloosa Summer.

What are the 5 most important things you learned from working with horses?

As anyone who’s worked with horses knows, there’s always something new to learn about them, so on any given day, I could probably give you five completely different answers to this question. So, let’s start with what I just mentioned:

1) There’s always more to learn. Whether it’s learning about the actual horses, learning any of the sports associated with them, or keeping up with the latest changes and trends in the horse world, there’s something new to know every day. To me, this is a great parallel for life in general – especially my life as an author – where; again, there are always things to learn about the craft and business of writing.

2) Patience. This is a huge one! Lately I’ve worked with quite a few off-the-track thoroughbreds. These horses are sensitive by nature. They’re also young, and they’ve come to a completely new environment where we ask them to leg yield in a dressage ring, and jump over fences. Considering all this, I can’t believe how patient they are. If I ask them something they’re not sure of, they try, then wait for me to ask again, and try again. It’s an amazing experience, and one that reminds me to ask for what I want clearly, and calmly, and to be patient in return.

3) The value of reward / positive reinforcement. As humans we love positive reinforcement. As writers we crave it – we really want you to love our books! Horses have shown me just how important this is. My latest tactic, when riding a horse that has a reputation as a runaway, is to reach down and pat her neck every now and then. Every single time I pat her neck, she slows down, and her whole body relaxes. This has really brought home to me how powerful a kind word, or gesture can be.

4) The importance of having an outlet. It can be hard to find the time to ride. It can be hard to justify the expense. But it’s important. Being a rider is part of who I am. It adds dimension to my personality. It keeps me fit – mentally and physically. It’s the part of the week that’s mine alone. Your outlet may be riding, or it may be something different, but whatever it is, try to hold onto it.

5) The generosity of the horse world. The horse community is an amazing one. If you love horses, you’re in. My books have been supported by competitive hunter-jumpers, eventers, and dressage riders. They’ve been embraced by barrel racers and reiners. People who’ve never been on a horse, but just love looking at them, have read my books. No matter where you are in the world “horse” is a universal passkey.

Appaloosa Summer by Tudor Robins

ISBN: 978-0993683701

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary / Coming-Of Age / Romance / Horse-Themed

Format: Paperback and eBook

Sixteen-year-old Meg Traherne has never known loss. Until the beautiful, talented horse she trained herself, drops dead underneath her in the show ring. Jared Strickland has been living with loss ever since his father died in a tragic farming accident. Meg escapes from her grief by changing everything about her life; moving away from home to spend her summer living on an island in the St. Lawrence River, scrubbing toilets and waiting on guests at a B&B. Once there, she meets Jared; doing his best to keep anything else in his life from changing. When Jared offers Meg a scruffy appaloosa mare out of a friend’s back field, it’s the beginning of a journey that will change both of them by summer’s end. 

Appaloosa Summer can be compared to Heartland TV show – http://www.cbc.ca/heartland/

Book Excerpt: 

Chapter One

I’m staring down a line of jumps that should scare my brand-new show breeches right off me.

But it doesn’t. Major and I know our jobs here. His is to read the combination, determine the perfect take-off spot, and adjust his stride accordingly. Mine is to stay out of his way, and let him jump.

We hit the first jump just right. He clears it with an effortless arc, and all I have to do is go through my mental checklist. Heels down. Back straight. Follow his mouth.

“Good boy, Major.” One ear flicks halfway back to acknowledge my comment, but not enough to make him lose focus. A strong, easy stride to jump two, and he’s up, working for both of us, holding me perfectly balanced as we fly through the air.

He lands with extra momentum; normal at the end of a long, straight line. He self-corrects, shifting his weight back over his hocks. Next will come the surge from his muscled hind end; powering us both up, and over, the final tall vertical.

It doesn’t come, though. How can it not? “Come on!” I cluck, scuff my heels along his side. No response from my rock solid jumper.

The rails are right in front of us, but I have no horsepower – nothing – under me. By the time I think of going for my stick, it’s too late. We slam into several closely spaced rails topping a solid gate. Oh God. Oh no. Be ready, be ready, be ready. But how? There’s no good way. There are poles everywhere, and leather tangling, and dirt. In my eyes, in my nose, in my mouth.

There’s no sound from my horse. Is he as winded as me? I can’t speak, or yell, or scream. Major? Is that him on my leg? Is that why it’s numb? People come, kneel around me. I can’t see past them. I can’t sit up. My ears rush and my head spins. I’m going to throw up. “I’m going to …”

**********

I flush the toilet. Swish out my mouth. Avoid looking in the mirror. Light hurts, my reflection hurts, everything hurts at this point in the afternoon, when the headache builds to its peak.

Why me?

I’ve never lost anybody close to me. My grandpa died before I was born, and my widowed grandma’s still going strong at ninety-four. She has an eighty-nine-year-old boyfriend. They go to the racetrack; play the slots.

If I had to predict who would die first in my life, I would never, in a million years, have guessed it would be my fit, strong, seven-year-old thoroughbred.

Never.

But he did.

Thinking about it just sharpens the headache, so I press a towel against my face, blink into the soft fluffiness.

“Are you OK?” Slate’s voice comes through the door. With my mom and dad at work, Slate’s been the one to spend the last three days distracting me when I’m awake, and waking me up whenever I get into a sound sleep. Or that’s what it feels like.

“Fine.” I push the bathroom door open.

“Puke?”

I nod. Stupid move. It hurts. Whisper instead. “Yes.”

“Well, that’s a big improvement. Just the once today.”

She follows me back to my room. She’s not a pillow-plumper or quilt-smoother – I have to struggle into my rumpled bed – but it’s nice to have her around. “I’m glad you’re here, Slatey.” I sniffle, and taste salt in the back of my throat.

I’m close to tears all the time these days. “Normal,” the doctor said. Apparently tears aren’t unreasonable after suffering a knock to the head hard enough to split my helmet in two, with my horse dropping stone cold dead underneath me in the show ring. I’m still sick of crying, though. And puking, too.

“Don’t be stupid, Meg; being here is heaven. My mom and Agate are going completely over the top organizing Aggie’s sweet sixteen. There are party planning boards everywhere, and her dance friends are always over giggling about it too.”

“Just as long as it’s not about me. I don’t want to owe you.”

“’Course not; you’re not that great of a best friend.”

Purchase The Book:

Amazon – US: http://www.amazon.com/Appaloosa-Summer-Island-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00L047CXI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408843285&sr=1-1&keywords=appaloosa+summer

Amazon – Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/Appaloosa-Summer-Island-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00L047CXI/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/appaloosa-summer-tudor-robins/1119821268?ean=9780993683701&itm=1&usri=appaloosa+summer

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22619628-appaloosa-summer?ac=1

About the Author

Tudor Robins is an Ottawa-based young adult author whose first novel, Objects in Mirror, was named a Best Book for Kids and Teens by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

She gathered publishing-related experience in her roles as a magazine editor and publishing sales representative, as well as working in offset and digital printing. Tudor currently teaches writing workshops for adults and children, as well as developing writing contests and programming to motivate young writers.

Tudor loves reading, writing, and horseback riding, and spending time with her husband and two sons.

Receiving messages from readers is one of Tudor’s favourite things, so please feel free to visit her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Connect with Tudor Robins:

Website: www.tudorrobins.ca

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tudor-Robins-Author/420760904639930

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6459232.Tudor_Robins

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Appaloosa Summer Event Page

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2014/06/17/pump-up-your-book-tours-presents-appaloosa-summer-virtual-book-tour/

The post Guest Post: Tudor Robins, Author of Appaloosa Summer appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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48. TURNING PAGES: BOMBAY BLUES by Tanuja Desai Hidier

I was just starting grad school when the bright, thick, door-stopper of a book, BORN CONFUSED came out. I read it in between cramming other studies in, and found its sharply delineated cross-cultural content unlike much of the homogenized young... Read the rest of this post

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49. Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini {Review}

TRIAL BY FIREThe Worldwaker Trilogy Book 1by Josephine Angelini Age Range: 12 - 18 yearsGrade Level: 7 and upLexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)Series: The Worldwalker Trilogy (Book 1)Hardcover: 384 pagesPublisher: Feiwel & Friends (September 2, 2014) Goodreads | Amazon This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in

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50. Spotlight and Giveaway: Nightingale by Cathy Maxwell

 

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for Nightingale by Cathy Maxwell.  Be sure to check out all of the stops on the tour so you can read all of the excerpts and increase you chances to win!

Excerpt:

“Please,” she said, not knowing what it was she was asking him for. To please understand? To please honor her wishes?

To please forgive her?

Dane shook his head. “You have wasted your time and mine, Lady Mosby. The challenge is not mine to withdraw. Your brother claims to be the offended party. He challenged me and I will not back down from meeting him. I have no quarrel if he wishes to withdraw, but I will not sacrifice my honor and my reputation on the likes of him.”

“He challenged you?” Jemma repeated, astounded.

“Yes.”

“But why—?” she started, then stopped. Why did Cris do anything? She had thought he was growing out of his wild stage. It had been a long time since he’d been rash and foolish, but the possibility was always there, bubbling beneath the veneer of manners. All it took was a little drink. . . .

At her abrupt silence, a muscle tightened in Dane’s jaw. In three long strides, he crossed to the door behind her and opened it. “Go home, Jemma. I can’t save your brother from himself any more than you can. And I’ll be damned before I sacrifice my pride for him.”

Or for any of them.

Jemma nodded to herself. He was right . . . and yet, what would become of her family? Cris was the last of their line, a line that stretched all the way back to Normandy, to before the Conqueror. Duty, honor, and obligation to her name had been drummed into her from the cradle. Dane had been her one defiance, and in the end, she had done what had been expected of her.

Just as she would do what she must now.

Nightingale

By: Cathy Maxwell

Releasing August 26th, 2014

Avon: Impulse

Fate has brought them together -again.

At one time, Jemma had meant the world to Dane Pendleton, but then she betrayed their young love by marrying another for his title and fortune.

Now Time has turned the tables. Dane is wealthy, respected, knighted and the widowed Jemma has nothing but her pride.

His honor for hers . . .

Dane’s name is on the lips of every beauty in London. They whisper he learned “tricks” while he was in the Orient. But has he forgotten Jemma, now Lady Mosby, and what they had once meant to each other? And will he accept her devil’s bargain?

In every woman’s life, there is that one love who slipped away. The man who makes her wonder “what if?”

But is this a momentary madness or a chance to rekindle a love that could last a lifetime?

Originally appeared in the print anthology THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/nightingale-by-cathy-maxwell.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22103882-nightingale?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Nightingale-Originally-appeared-print-anthology-ebook/dp/B00JTYQIX6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406661266&sr=8-1&keywords=Nightingale+by+cathy+maxwell

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/nightingale-cathy-maxwell/1119290961?ean=9780062367679

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/nightingale/id867234286?mt=11

Author Info

CATHY MAXWELL spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, “Why do people fall in love?” It remains for her the great mystery of life and the secret to happiness. She lives in beautiful Virginia with children, horses, dogs, and cats.

Author Links

Website: http://www.cathymaxwell.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cathy-Maxwell-Fan-Page/144546442251787

Twitter: https://twitter.com/maxwellcathy

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/67037.Cathy_Maxwell

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Two Digital Copies of NIGHINGALE)

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Nightingale by Cathy Maxwell appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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