Monday, October 20, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Picked to Die

Picked to Die (Orchard Mystery - Book 8) by Sheila Connolly

Publication Date: 10/07/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0425257118
ISBN-13: 978-0425257111

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Sheila Connolly on the WEB: website, facebook, twittergoodreads

Books in the series

Orchard Mystery

1. One Bad Apple
2. Rotten to the Core
3. Red Delicious Death
4. A Killer Crop
5. Bitter Harvest
6. Sour Apples
7. Golden Malicious
8. Picked to Die

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.




Excerpt from, Picked to Die, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.

Synopsis:

The new Orchard Mystery--from the New York Times bestselling author of Golden Malicious andScandal in Skibbereen

A TREE IS KNOWN BY ITS FRUIT

 
It’s harvest time in Granford, Massachusetts, and orchard owner Meg Corey and her fiancé, Seth, are both racing to beat the New England winter. Meg is bringing in her apple crop with a team of workers, while Seth is working to restore an old building in the center of town. But when his project is set back due to the unexpected discovery of a skeleton under the building—and even worse, a young man related to one of Meg’s former apple pickers is found dead behind the local feed store—the couple’s carefully laid plans are quickly spoiled…
 
Meg can’t help but wonder: are they just unlucky, or is there something rotten in Granford? If so, she knows she’s got to seek out the bad apple before it ruins the whole bunch…


Thoughts:

Author Sheila Connolly takes readers back to Granford, Massachusetts. Picked to Die is Connolly's eighth book in the Orchard series which centers around Meg Corey and her heritage orchard in New England. It's harvest time in Granford and readers will be feeling the autumn season, with apple picking in full swing, as well as, a historic building project and a murder or two thrown in for good measure. This is a whodunit that may fall on the shoulders of a young boy scout, if Meg and her friends don't figure out who really did the deed. It's a great addition to this much loved series!

What I liked:

Sheila Connolly is a very busy lady. She writes several cozy mystery series, but the Orchard series has always been a favorite of mine. It may be the New England setting, or perhaps all of the information she instills in the story about apples and the growth and management of an orchard. It might be because of the Meg's love interest, Seth who adds so much to the series with his restoration business. It could be the quirky characters that Connolly brings to life from the small town of Granford or the fact that the author generally gives her readers more than one mystery solve in each book. There are so many reason, I could go on and on.

Meg Corey came to Granford with the intention of staying long enough to fix up the old house and orchard for sale and ended up with her own business, and a new lease on life. Now in the eighth book in the series, wedding plans are in the air, but there just isn't enough time to get started. I loved the excitement in the air with this book. It's harvest time and there is so much to do for Meg and Bree, her orchard manager. Seth also has a lot of irons in the fire with digging a new basement for one of the historic buildings in town and tons of other projects. There was an urgency in this book that made me want to read faster and faster. Connolly sets a blistering pace with this one and it was fun to be along for the ride.

Tensions were also getting a little high now and then as Meg took more time to sleuth and less time to work at the Orchard in this book. Readers will be able to feel Bree's frustration and I found myself wishing Meg was around more as well during this really difficult time of the year. When the apples are ready, they don't wait. But I suppose that's why Connolly gave us Bree's character in the first place, to give Meg that chance to dig around in the mysterious things that happen in Granford. I love all of the tidbits about apples and the harvesting and business side of the orchard. It's very interesting and I believe that's one of the reason readers are so drawn to the series.

With this book, we have not one, but two whodunit's to figure out. When Jeffery, a boy scout looking for a way to earn a badge offers to help with Seth's project, it seems like a win, win. Then he finds some bones that bring the bring the project to a stop and sleuthing begins. When Jeffery finds another body behind the feed store, he becomes suspect number one and Meg is determined to figure out what gives. Are the murders related? Years apart, do they have some sort of connection and who besides Jeffrey could have done it? It was a great set of clues and historic information about Granford that made this one a top notch cozy. Connolly kept me guessing to the end with this one and readers will love all the twists and turns it takes before the end. This one was just full of surprises.

What I didn't like:

I wanted a little more progress on the wedding in this one. Meg and Seth didn't get much done on their plans and I felt like that touch of romance that is normally present in the Orchard books was absent in this one. Not worry though, I think Connolly will get around to the big day soon!

Bottom Line:

This was a great addition to the series. I love the Orchard books and the way that Connolly weaves in all the details about the apple orchard and the restoration business into each mystery. I wanted a little more romance, but I got a whole lot of sleuthing which was almost just as good. Two great mysteries and some new characters. Just an all around good book!

Picked to Die is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!



Check out the quote from Debbie's Book Bag on the cover!

About the Author:


Sheila Connolly is the New York Times bestselling, Anthony and Agatha award–nominated author of the Orchard Mysteries, the Museum Mysteries, and the County Cork Mysteries. She has taught art history, structured and marketed municipal bonds for major cities, worked as a staff member on two statewide political campaigns, and served as a fundraiser for several nonprofit organizations. She also managed her own consulting company, providing genealogical research services. In addition to genealogy, Sheila loves restoring old houses, visiting cemeteries, and traveling. Now a full-time writer, she thinks writing mysteries is a lot more fun than any of her previous occupations. She is married and has one daughter and three cats.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Picked to Die by Sheila Connolly.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, November 3rd.

1. Please leave a comment with you favorite apple dessert.

2. Please fill out the FORM.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Broken

Broken (Cavanaugh Brothers - Book 2) by Laura Wright

Publication Date: 10/07/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Signet Eclipse
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
ISBN-10: 0451464990
ISBN-13: 978-0451464996

(Received for an honest review from Signet Eclipse)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Laura Wright on the WEB: website, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Cavanaugh Brothers

1. Branded
2. Broken

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.



Synopsis:

The Cavanaugh brothers left behind River Black, Texas, long ago. But after their father dies, bequeathing them the Triple C, a cattle ranch that sustains their small town, they return—and confront the painful memories of their childhood home and the truth about their sister’s murder…

For years, James Cavanaugh has traveled the world as a horse whisperer, but even the millions he’s earned hasn’t healed the pain he hides behind his stoic exterior. Forced to tackle old demons at the ranch, James throws himself into work to avoid his true feelings. Until he meets a woman who shakes the foundations of his well-built walls…

Sheridan O’Neil’s quiet confidence has served her well, except when it comes to romance. Refusing to allow her heard to led her to disaster, she chooses to focus solely on work. But after Sheridan is rescued from a horse stampede by the most beautiful cowboy she’s ever met, her vow to keep her heart penned wavers. Only, as Sheridan uncovers James’s belief that no woman is safe with him, she wonders if such a wounded man could ever give in to love, or if some hearts are too broken to be healed.…


Thoughts:

If you are a sucker for a tortured hero, James Cavanaugh will have you melting! Laura Wright returns with the second Cavanaugh Brothers novel, Broken. Readers who started out with Branded will find each brother just as intriguing as the others. James is a "horse whisperer' with a tragic past. Sheridan is a woman who puts work before relationships. When they rocket into each others worlds, the combination is explosive. A great addition to the series!

What I liked:

A hero with a lot of baggage generally gets me right in the heart. Add to that, that James Cavanaugh believes himself cursed and I was hooked, big time. This is a great contemporary romance with a western slant. If you are looking for a story about a modern day cowboy, you've come to the right place with this series and this book. Laura Wright gives readers not only a love story, but an added mystery thread that runs throughout the series. 

James is carrying around a lot of demons. He would generally rather be with the horses he loves than people. Since the death of sister Cassie, he has tortured himself with guilt and believes that he is unable to protect any woman he loves. I loved the way Wright was able to show the pain that James was in. She didn't just gloss over it by providing a love interest that automatically brought him out of the shadows and back into his life. James struggles with is feeling for quite awhile before he lets a little of Sheridan's light into his heart. Seeing his growth throughout the book was achingly sweet. A fantastic character.

Sheridan was a businesswoman at heart. No time for romance and not time to get entangled with the bosses brother. But there was just something about James that drew her in. She was able to look deeper into his heart than most people. She saw his pain but also saw who he could be, the man that was hidden underneath the weight of guilt. She was perky and bright and she also had a wisdom that didn't always fit with her personality, because there was more to her than met the eye as well. It had to take a strong woman to take James on and Sheridan more than fit the bill. Another great character!

I loved the sweet romance that these two characters shared. The way that they each showed their flaws and imperfections to each other and could still see what was deep inside. It wasn't an easy road for them and I think that made it all the more realistic and believable. The sexual tension was palpable. It zinged in the air like electricity arcing on a line when they were in each others presence and when they finally do let loose, the reader will be swept up like a twister. 

It was a great romance, but it was also a story about family. These Cavanaugh boys have been through the wringer. Their sister was murdered when they were teenagers and her murder is still unsolved. Their mother blamed them for her death and their father was living a double life. It hasn't been easy for them but their love for each other is very evident. Family means everything. 

The overall thread of the series centers around Cassie's death and finding out what really happened to her and who did it. That part of the story was riveting. Each new piece of information the brothers uncover reveals more of the story along with diary entries from Cassie's diary. I can't wait to find out what happens next in Cole's story. Will we find out who really killed Cassie? Will Blue get his own book? So many questions... What a great book!

Bottom Line:

This series is top notch! Everything about it rings true. The characters are amazing. The setting is authentic and the mystery is gripping. The love stories draw the reader in and then they become fascinated by Cassie's death and finding the answers. Broken is a excellent second book to the series. Laura Wright is definitely on to something!

Broken is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!



About the Author:


Laura Wright is a New York Times bestselling author who is passionate about romantic fiction. Though she has spent most of her life immersed in acting, singing, and competitive ballroom dancing, when she found the world of writing and books and endless cups of coffee, she knew she was home. Broken is the second novel in The Cavanaugh Brothers series, following Branded. Laura lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young children, and twolovable dogs.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Broken by Laura Wright.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, October 31st.

1. Please leave a comment. Do you believe in animal whisperer's? What's your belief based on?

2. Please fill out the FORM.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Sweet Harmony

Sweet Harmony (Cricket Creek - Book 7) by Luann McLane

Publication Date: 10/07/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Signet Eclipse
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0451470486
ISBN-13: 978-0451470485

(Received for an honest review from Signet Eclipse)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Luann McLane on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Cricket Creek

1. Playing for Keeps
2. Catch of a Lifetime
3. Pitch Perfect
4. Whisper's Edge
5. Moonlight Kiss
6. Wildflower Wedding
7. Sweet Harmony

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.




Excerpt from, Sweet Harmony, courtesy of the author's website.

Synopsis:

Cricket Creek, Kentucky, is no Nashville—it’s a sweet, small town outside the big-city limelight. But here, two headstrong country music stars will need to rely on their Southern roots and explosive chemistry to top the charts together.
 
When Cat Carson drops her record label and signs with an independent label based in Cricket Creek, it’s a huge upset in the music world. But the residents of Cricket Creek are thrilled to have a real country music star in their midst. Everyone except Jeff Greenfield, that is—a local rising star himself, who’s been asked to record a duet with the stunning beauty.
 
Jeff grew up on a farm, but his smooth, soulful country style is starting to get him noticed outside Cricket Creek. And while a duet with Cat Carson could send his career skyrocketing, he doesn’t want to lose touch with his roots—or lose his head. Because sparks are flying every time he and Cat hit the studio. And it’s more than a little distracting....


Thoughts:

Cricket Creek, Kentucky, is the setting for the seventh book in the Cricket Creek series, Sweet Harmony by LuAnn McLane. Readers will love the country music overtones in this book, as well as, the charming small town setting and robust characters. When a country/pop sensation moves to town, after ditching her big city record label for more musical control, things start to get out of hand for a local boy. Fans of the series will love the returning characters and embrace the new ones in this addition to a sweet romantic series.

What I liked:

Well, first of all I am a Kentucky girl and reading books set in my home state is always a pleasure. LuAnn McLane obviously knows a lot about small town life and big city dreams. These two ideas combine to make Sweet Harmony a great addition to this well written series. I love all of the nuances and enchanting little tidbits that make Cricket Creek so special. The small town flavor of this book is one of the things that makes it enjoyable. Readers will want to come to Kentucky just to find out if McLane's rendition of a Kentucky hometown is on the level or not and let me just say... it's spot on!

I am not always a big fan of celebrities somehow falling off the beaten track to become locals, but McLane tempers that to an extent in this book, by having Cat sign with a local small town record label. Great things often come from humble beginnings and liked the way that McLane is going with this. Cat is a great character in herself. She may be a famous singer but isn't full of herself. She wanted more control over her career and the music she was making. She could have stayed in Nashville and worked for the machine, making a ton of money, but she choose a different path. I liked her a lot. She was klutzy and sweet and she knew what she wanted out of life.

Jeff was a bit more of a stickler. He didn't say he didn't like Cat's music but he didn't say he liked it either when they met. He was not a fan of Cat's rise to success. His own career as a traditional country musician was a much harder fight and he thought Cat's breezy songs were not heart felt and real. He did however have a soft spot for Cat as a person. In fact he was very attracted to her from the first and when they have to work together on a song, he has a hard time reconciling how he feels about working with her with his attraction to her. I liked him better as the story progressed but I did want to beat him over the head now and then...LOL!

I'm not sure the story was completely realistic, but it wasn't out of the realm of possibility either. It was a sweet romance that builds slowly and allows the reader to enjoy the time these two spend together. I thought Cat and Jeff made a good couple once he was willing to accept that they could make a go of things despite both being in the music business. Like I said he was a little hard to convince, but what man isn't? 

What I didn't like:

I'm still not convinced that celebrities and locals make a good fit in most instances, but I in this novel McLane makes it work. Most of us read for escape and this was a good one. 

Bottom Line:

I loved the setting of course, being from Kentucky myself. The small town aspects of the book were a joy to read and reminded me of small towns I've been in myself over the years. Cat was a great heroine, strong minded, a little clumsy and very tender hearted. Jeff was a harder sell for me, but in the end he grew on me and I thought they made a good couple. A good addition to this excellent series.

Sweet Harmony is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag! 

About the Author:


LuAnn McLane lives in Naples, Florida, near the coast. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys beachcombing, reading, traveling, and entertaining friends and family. She loves hearing from readers.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Sweet Harmony by Luann McLane.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, October 30th.

1. Please leave a comment. Have you read any of the other books in the Cricket Creek series? What did you think?

2. Please fill out the FORM.

Review and Giveaway: A Midwinter's Tail

A Midwinter's Tail (Magical Cats Mystery - Book 6) by Sofie Kelly

Publication Date: 10/07/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Obsidian Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 336
ISBN-10: 0451414713
ISBN-13: 978-0451414717

(Received for an honest review from Obsidian Mystery)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Sofie Kelly on the WEB: website, news, goodreads

Books in the series

Magical Cats Mysteries

1. Curiosity Thrilled the Cat
2. Sleight of Paw
3. Copycat Killing
4. Cat Trick
5. Final Catcall
6. A Midwinter's Tail

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.




Excerpt from, A Midwinter's Tail, courtesy of the author's website.

Synopsis:

Kathleen Paulson is snowed under running her library and caring for her extraordinary felines, Owen and Hercules. But when a fund-raiser turns deadly, she’ll have to add sleuthing to her already full schedule....

Winter in Mayville Heights is busy and not just because of the holidays. Kathleen is hard at work organizing a benefit to raise money for the library’s popular Reading Buddies program. She has her hands full hosting the event. And when a guest at the gala drops dead, her magical cats, Owen and Hercules, will have their paws full helping her solve a murder.

The victim is the ex of town rascal Burtis Chapman, but she hasn’t lived in the area in years. And though everybody is denying knowledge of why she was back in town, as Kathleen and her detective boyfriend, Marcus, begin nosing around, they discover more people are connected to the deceased than claimed to be. Now Marcus, Kathleen, and her uncanny cats have to unravel this midwinter tale before the case gets cold.


Thoughts:

Owen and Hercules are back in the sixth book in the Magical Cats series by Sofie Kelly. A Midwinter's Tail takes place during the Christmas season in Mayville Heights and readers will quickly be drawn into a murder mystery. With plenty of suspects, some burgeoning romance, a wedding and fundraiser gone awry, there is plenty going on in this addition to the series. Readers looking for a fast paced whodunit, with a touch of magic will love this one!

What I liked:

As always with the Magical Cats series, Owen and Hercules are the feline stars of the show. With their magical abilities these two kitties have become quite the cozy sleuths. Kathleen may be the heroine of the series, but she wouldn't get anywhere without her feline sidekicks. In A Midwinter's Tail, the cats seem to have acquired a couple of new skills, reading and computer savvy. Though some suspense in reality is required for this series, Owen and Hercules make up for it by making their actions seem realistic for the situation. They still behave like cats for the most part, from one having a catnip addiction to spats between them. Kelly makes it easy to believe in magic, with these two around.

One of my favorite parts of this series is the interactions between Kathleen, Owen and Hercules and the rest of the town of Mayville Heights. From Kathleen's relationship with Marcus to the her friendships with Roma and Ruby and the rest of the gang. I love all of the side plots and stories that add so much to this series. In this addition to the series, there is a lot of romance in the air, as well as, murder. A wedding, some new budding relationships, and just the ongoing details of what's going on around town, make me smile every time I read one of the Magical Cats books.

The mystery in this one centers around the return of Burdis Chapman's ex wife Dayna and her subsequent murder during a library fundraiser. Now that puts a damper on one budding romance since Burdis becomes suspect number one. I thought this was an interesting turn of events and one I didn't see coming. The mystery itself was a bit overshadowed by all of the other things going on in town, but it was still entertaining and kept me guessing to the end. There were suspects aplenty, but the burden of proof eventually landed and Kathleen with the help of Hercules an Owen was right in the middle of it as usual. Another well written whodunit by Sofie Kelly.

What I didn't like:

As I said the mystery was slightly on the back burner due to everything else going on in the book. But I think that's a natural progression for a series sometimes. You just have to have those books that tie up a lot of loose ends or start new threads and that felt like what this one was. The mystery was still just as good, there was just a lot of other stuff getting in the way a little bit.

Bottom Line:

Mayville Heights is busy, busy, busy in this addition to a great series. Kathleen along with her friends and her felines once again are on the track of a killer. Romance is blooming but murder was looming! The background stories take over a little bit but not to worry the mystery is still there and is just a riveting as usual.

A Midwinter's Tail is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:


Sofie Kelly is an author and mixed-media artist who lives on the east coast with her husband and daughter. She is the author of the Magical Cats mysteries, including Final CatcallCat Trick, and Copycat Killing, and the Second Chance Cat mysteries, including The Whole Cat and Caboodle.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of A Midwinter's Tail by Sofie Kelly.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, October 30th.

1. Please leave a comment. If you had a magical cat what ability would you like it to have?

2. Please fill out the FORM.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Promise Me This

Promise Me This (Between Breaths - Book 4) by Christina Lee

Publication Date: 10/07/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Intermix
Genre: New Adult
Pages: 246 (Print Length)
ASIN: BOOKOU6MGQ

(Received for an honest review from Intermix)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Christina Lee on the WEB: website, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Between Breaths

1. All Of You
2. Before You Break
3. Whisper To Me
4. Promise Me This

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.




Excerpt from, Promise Me This, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.

Synopsis:

A new love will test the boundaries of passion between a privileged boy next door and the tattooed, blue-haired girl who helps him embrace his wild side...

Nate has developed quite a playboy reputation around campus. It's not that he doesn't respect or trust women; he doesn't trust himself. The men in Nate’s family are prone to abusive behavior—a dirty secret that Nate’s been running from his entire life—so Nate doesn't do relationships. But he can’t help himself around one girl…

Jessie is strong, independent, and works at a tattoo parlor. Nate can’t resist getting close to her, even if it’s strictly a friendship. But it doesn't take long for Nate to admit that what he wants with Jessie is more than just friendly.

With Jessie, he can be himself and explore what he’s always felt was a terrifying darkness inside him. Even when Nate begins to crave her in a way that both shocks and horrifies him, Jessie still wants to know every part of him. Testing their boundaries together will take a trust that could render them inseparable… or tear them apart.


Thoughts:

Christina Lee returns with the fourth novel in her Between Breaths series, Promise Me This. Readers looking for a romance that isn't afraid to brooch some hard-hitting topics will find this one right in their wheelhouse. Lee has a knack for writing with emotion, clarity and a sense of urgency that gives all of her stories a depth that is not always present in the burgeoning New Adult genre. This book is a lesson in contrasts and comparisons that readers won't forget any time soon!

What I liked:

Christina Lee is one of those writers who knows how to pack an emotional punch.  Some New Adult stories and novels shy away from too much drama, or too much emotional baggage, but not Lee's books. She has developed a strong sense of how much is too much and how much is just enough. She gives readers what they need, that strong connection to the characters, that sense of necessity to read, to delve deeper into them, but she doesn't go too far. Promise Me This has that great balance that makes the experience of reading it flow off the page. Very well done!

Jessie and Nate are very different. Jessie is a girl who knows who she is and she doesn't care whether you like it or not. She has this innate ability to believe she can do anything, change the world, or her hair color on any given day. I liked her a lot. She was sassy and spunky, but she was also deep and wise in her own way. Nate was the opposite. He was really afraid to figure out who he was, because he wasn't sure he would like that person. He was complex and driven to not let history repeat itself. Though they couldn't have been more different, these characters got each other. It's one of those romances where you know the characters were meant for each other, but it's all about the journey, their experiences together, their growth. Lee does a fantastic job of letting the reader 'get' the characters too. A couple I won't soon forget!

Domestic violence is a horrible thing. It is serious and it can be very dark. Lee was able to show Nate's very complicated and tragic history without overwhelming the reader with the gravity of it. Yes, it was emotional, and understandable and heartbreaking, but all of those emotions don't coalesce to make this a downer book. Instead Lee makes it uplifting. She shows the reader that their is hope after tragedy. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Nate's struggle was poignant and fulfilling and readers won't be able to get away from it until the last page, maybe not even then.

There is some serious chemistry between these two friends turned lovers. There was a time when Nate pined away after Jessie, but all Jessie saw was a 'square'. That moment when she sees him as more than just a friend was remarkable. When she realizes that, wow, he is really hot... LOL! And Lee doesn't stop there. Nate is scared of how he could possibly treat Jessie, and it's not just another break up he's worried about. It gives their first sexual encounter a very urgent appeal. There is angst and emotional turmoil and everything just works so well. I loved it!

Bottom Line:

This is a book with a deep soul. Yes, that's what I said, this book has a soul. That thing that you feel down deep that makes you who you are... it has it. It's a new adult love story, but's something more. It's hope between two pages! Enough said!

Promise Me This is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag! 




About the Author:


Christina Lee lives in the Midwest with her husband and son. She is the author of The Between Breaths Series, including All of You and Before You Break. She also owns her own jewelry business, called Tags-n-Stones, where she hand-stamps meaningful words or letters onto silver for her customers. 


Giveaway Details:

This is a tour wide giveaway hosted by Rafflecopter.




Pre-Release Celebration Blitz - Caged in Winter by Brighton Walsh

November 4th is the official release date for Caged in Winter, the fantastic new adult novel from Brighton Walsh. 

Today, you get an amazing opportunity to read an excerpt from this novel and have a chance to enter a Pre-release giveaway! Caged In Winter is also available for Pre-Order at select retailers NOW!

What's it all about?


In this emotional and sexy New Adult debut from Brighton Walsh, the only thing more frightening than commitment is hope…

Aspiring chef Cade Maxwell is immediately, viscerally attracted to Winter Jacobson. But it’s not her mouthwatering curves he’s drawn to—it’s the strange emptiness in her eyes. When Cade saves her from a drunken customer with grabby hands, he’s shocked at her response…

Winter doesn’t need Cade’s help. After a lifetime of getting by on her own, she’s happy to rely on herself. She’s exactly seventy-six days away from graduating college, and if she can hold it together that long, she’ll finally be able to rise above the crappy hand she was dealt.

But now, every time she turns around, Cade is there, ready to push her, smile at her, distract her from her plans. Winter knows she can’t afford to open up—especially to a man she’s terrified to actually want…


Who is Brighton Walsh?


Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with writing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children.

Find out more about the author here:

Website
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

WARNING: This excerpt has some explicit language that is not appropriate for younger readers! 

(Usually, I post a link to any excerpts of this nature which allows the reader to choose if they want to read it or not, but not the actual excerpt, however I did not realize this excerpt would include explicit language when I agreed to post. I apologize if this is offensive to some of my readers, but I really do think this is going to be an amazing book that many of you will enjoy!)

Excerpt:


cade
“Okay, now add the flour, but—” It’s too late, a puff of white exploding in Winter’s face before I can get the words out or reach to flip the switch. “You need to turn the mixer to low.”
She spins around, her cheeks covered in random white spots, some of the flour dusting her hair. “You couldn’t say that before, ‘Now add the flour’?” Her voice is low, her eyes narrowed, and I take a step back.
“Well, yeah, I guess I could’ve, but I just sort of figured you’d know enough not to add loose flour to a wildly spinning mixer.”
“Oh, you figured I’d know enough for that, huh? Even after I told you I’ve never made cookies before? Even then?”
She’s advancing on me now, and I shouldn’t be retreating like a scared animal. I have more than a foot on her, a hundred-plus pounds, but she looks pissed. And that glint in her eye tells me she’s up to something. I glance down at her hand, seeing a measuring cup half filled with flour, and I realize what she’s going to do a split-second before she does, but not soon enough to dodge it.
A cloud of white powder hits me straight in the face, and I cough as I inhale some. Wiping away the dust from my eyes, I say, “I can’t believe you did that.”
“Oh, well, I just figured you’d know enough to duck.” She shrugs and offers me a saccharine smile.
“I don’t think you want to start this with me, baby.”
“In case you missed the flour in your face a second ago, I already started it, baby.”
I stare her down, then reach over, grabbing the bowl of melted chocolate—my mom’s secret ingredient in her cookies—and dip my fingers into it. Winter narrows her eyes at me and takes a step back. “Don’t you dare.”
“Where you goin’? I thought you wanted to get messy.”
“No, I wanted you to get messy. I didn’t have a choice with this,” she says as she gestures to where the flour hit her. She darts her eyes down to the bowl of chocolate, then back up to my face. “Don’t, Cade. You’re going to get me dirty, and I have to be at work soon.”
“You maybe should’ve thought about that before you threw a scoop of flour in my face.” I don’t wait for her response before I smear the chocolate down her cheek to her jaw, then all the way down her neck and into the deep V of her shirt, stopping when I feel the swell of her breasts. “Whoops.”
“You did not just do that.”
“Looks like I did.” I shrug, putting the bowl back on the counter before I lick the chocolate from my fingers. She focuses on the act, her lips parted. I lean closer to her, drop my voice, and gesture to the spots of her skin that are covered. “You want me to clean you up, too?”
Glaring, she gives a jerky shake of her head, but a flush works its way up her chest to her neck—one of the tells she’s getting turned on.
I step closer, backing her into the corner until she’s pressed against the cabinets behind her. “Sure about that? It wouldn’t take much. Just a lick or two. Maybe a couple sucks. We’d probably have to take your shirt off, though, and your bra, too. I really got down in there.”
Her head’s tilted back as she stares up at me, her chest rising and falling in quick succession from her labored breathing.
I lean into her space, lick up a path from her neck to her ear. “I think you do. I think you want my tongue all over you, don’t you, baby? I got you all dirty. Seems only fair I clean you up.” Before she can respond, my mouth closes over her shoulder, my tongue tracing along the chocolate I smeared there. By the time I’ve dipped into the neckline of her shirt, my tongue in the valley of her breasts, her nipples are pressed tight against the material, and she’s got a white-knuckled grip on the countertop behind her.
“Want me to stop?”
I wait a second. Two. And when she gives the slightest shake of her head, I take. Gripping her face in my hands, my mouth covers hers, my tongue slipping inside. She groans into the kiss, her hands finally coming up to clutch my forearms.
“Wait.” She wrenches her mouth from mine, turning her head to the side. “Cade, wait. Your sister.”
I focus on licking every stray ounce of chocolate I can find, her hands a counterpoint to her words as she holds me close. “Not home. Gone till four.”
“Shit! Four. I have to be at work at four!”
“We’ve got time. Now stop talking.”
I peel her jeans and panties off, then lift her onto the counter, desperate to feel her around me. With one hand, I fumble with the button of my jeans, the other busy between Winter’s thighs, rubbing soft circles around her clit, getting her ready for me. She’s moaning, her head resting back on the cabinets, and the sight of her there, half naked in my kitchen, is too much. Too fucking much, and I can’t get my goddamn jeans off.

When she notices, her hands are there, opening my jeans and yanking my boxers down just far enough to pull me out. Her hands are around my cock, pumping slowly, and I need inside her now.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Gossamer Ghost

Gossamer Ghost (Scrapbooking Mystery - Book 12) by Laura Childs

Publication Date: 10/07/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 336
ISBN-10: 04252666643
ISBN-13: 978-04252666643

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Laura Childs on the WEB: website, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Scrapbooking Mysteries

  1. Keepsake Crimes
  2. Photo Finished
  3. Bound for Murder
  4. Motif for Murder
  5. Frill Kill
  6. Death Swatch
  7. Tragic Magic 
  8. Fiber & Brimestone
  9. Skeleton Letters
10. Postcards From the Dead
11. Gilt Trip
12. Gossamer Ghost

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.




Excerpt from, Gossamer Ghost, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.

Synopsis:

Carmela Bertrand knows that Halloween in New Orleans means a week of rabble-rousing, costumed craziness—and she can’t wait to get the party started. But when a local antiques dealer turns up dead, Carmela suddenly finds herself in a real-life danse macabre…

An evening’s work deciding on the class schedule for her scrapbooking shop has put Carmela in the mood to kick up her heels. But after some strange noises draw her into Oddities, the neighboring antiques shop, Carmela’s night is abruptly put on hold when a bloody body falls out of a curio cabinet—and into her arms.

While shop owner Marcus Joubert was known for being an eccentric with a penchant for eclectic merchandise, Carmela never thought he was the kind of man who could inspire the passion required to kill. But when Marcus’s assistant—and fiancée—Mavis reveals that a priceless death mask was also stolen, it becomes clear that murder wasn’t the culprit’s sole intention.

Carmela can’t resist the urge to investigate the growing mystery, but as the list of suspects increases, she realizes it’ll take every trick in the book to unmask the killer thief before there’s another night of murderous mischief…


Thoughts:

Cozy mystery fans, scrap-booking fans and even fans of voodoo will enjoy Laura Childs latest book. Book twelve in the Scrap-booking mystery series, Gossamer Ghost finds heroine Carmela and her sidekick Ava in the middle of mystery with the Day of the Dead right around the corner. The New Orleans setting at Halloween is the perfect backdrop for a diabolical murder and some stolen property. Fans of the series will love Carmela's antics and relish in her latest adventure in the "Big Easy!"

What I liked:

As many of you know Laura Childs is one of my favorite cozy writers. She has such a knack for setting the scene and bringing it to life. Her descriptions of New Orleans at this wonderful time of year were riveting. There is so much history and mystery surrounding the city and Childs uses it to her advantage in every book in this series. If you never wanted to visit the "Big Easy" before, you will after you read this book! I can just see myself visiting Carmela's scrap-booking shop and puttering around in Ava's voodoo store. I might even visit Joubert's antique shop. I think readers will find the setting exceptional as always with Childs books and having themselves wishing it was all real.

The mystery in each of the scrap-booking mysteries is always realistic and well thought out. In Gossamer Ghost readers are treated to a murder that may stem from a French mask that is worth a ton of money. The questions are... who murdered Joubert to get it? Did Joubert obtain it by illegal means? Was it worth killing over? I love it when Childs keeps me guessing and she certainly did with this one. The setting is always amazing but nitty-gritty of the mystery is what keeps readers coming back to this series and Gossamer Ghost does not disappoint in the least. I loved it when Joubert's body came flying into Carmela's arms, that was a nice touch! Having the mystery take place during Halloween was also a great plot device. Not much scarier than a murder in New Orleans, close to the Day of the Dead. *shivers*

Carmela and Ava make such a good team as well. Carmela tends to be a little on the more sedate side. She is controlled, although a bit snoopy. But Ava is spontaneous and vibrant. They compliment each other so well and their friendship is both dynamic and strong. Carmela's relationship with Babcock is also one of those relationship's that bring out the good things in each of the people. Edgar brings stability and strength to the table and Carmela tends to make him think outside the box. I love all of the personal drama, just much as the mystery in this series. 

What I didn't like:

There were a few things in this one that didn't make a whole lot of sense in the overall story. That doesn't happen too often with one of Childs' books, but in this case it did pop up a couple of times. I like for each significant thing that happens in the book to have a rhyme and reason to it and there were a couple of things that didn't. It was still an excellent book and deserves the five apple rating!

Bottom Line:

I loved this one just as much as any other book in the series and I know that fans of Laura Childs will as well. The mystery was engaging and took a clear path. The setting mas magical. New Orleans at Halloween... simply perfect! Gossamer Ghost is a great addition to the series and I can't wait for the next one. Carmela is one my favorite heroine's!

Gossamer Ghost is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!




About the Author:


Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, the Scrapbooking Mysteries, and the Cackleberry Club Mysteries. She is a consummate tea drinker, scrapbooker, and dog lover, and travels frequently to China and Japan with Dr. Bob, her professor husband. In her past life she was a Clio Award–winning advertising writer and CEO of her own marketing firm.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Gossamer Ghost by Laura Childs.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, October 28th.

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