Thursday, November 16, 2017

Before It's Love

Before It's Love by [Pennington, Michelle]

This is my first read by Michelle Pennington. I'll be back for more.

What a tangled mess the characters of Lauren and Jake get pulled into, with so many love triangles, it'll make your head spin.

There's great depth to Lauren and Jake. They have insecurities, goals, desires, and art. It's obvious Ms. Pennington did her homework when it comes to describing the process of creating visual art. I learned loads but the descriptions invited insight to the characters rather than being tedious to read.

Emotions fly on the page, hidden under characters facades, and manifest in subtext. Wonderful.

It's a tale of falling in love when you haven't even dated. Lovely.


"Just Friends" was harder than they thought.

Moving to Arkansas is hard for Lauren, but it’s worth it to be near her boyfriend and pursue her art degree. That is, until she meets Jake, the guy her roommate is in love with. Now she’s stuck on a merry-go-round of love triangles, and someone is going to get hurt.

Jake is focused on juggling his two careers and taking care of his feisty grandma. The last thing he needs is a serious relationship, so when Lauren moves in, it's okay that she's dating someone else. Until being her friend is no longer enough.

Before It's Love is a sweet romance.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Once Upon a Wish

Once Upon a Wish by [Ferguson, Danyelle]

I'm a fan of Ms. Ferguson!

This book is decidedly different in voice, tone, style, and pacing than her other sweet romances. That is not a bad thing. While her previous books have a sassy and spicy swagger to them (which I love) , Once Upon a Wish is a slow simmering burn.

The imagery of the locale, the occasional French word, and the constant consumption of high caliber french hot chocolate, transport you to the lovely setting of La Rochelle in France.

The characters are charming, engaging, and well fleshed out. It seems easy to imagine having a chat with Delphine at the cafe or meeting with Jean Luc to see what magic he can work on your social media prescence. Both characters have their own obstacles to overcome in their personal lives as well as finding a way to walk a path together.

So grab your sadly watered down American version of hot chocolate, a cozy blanket, and get lost in France for awhile.


Be careful what you wish for . . .

Delphine Baudry wished to be a best-selling author, but now instead of celebrating and jumping into her next novel, she's frozen with fear. What if she turns out to be a one-hit-wonder? What if all her new fans hate the next book? To top it all off, she can't even discuss the situation with her favorite brainstorming partner, her mother, who is losing her memory to Alzheimer's. Taking a cue from some teens tossing Euros into a fountain, Delphine gives into some whimsy and wishes for her next book plot.

Jean-Paul Chassériau wished to start an online marketing company in La Rochelle. Now the real work begins. Feeling pressure to live up to his father's name in traditional marketing, Jean-Paul has a million ideas but no clients. When he finds a funky old Franc lodged between cobblestones near a fountain, there was only one thing to do. Make a wish.

When their coins collide, Delphine and Jean-Paul's wishes become intertwined, changing the course of their futures, and teaching them that wishes are sometimes fulfilled in unexpected ways.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Swing Vote

Swing Vote by Donna Weaver. I'm excited! She's one of my favorite authors!

An IED blew up more than Marc North's career as a Cobra pilot; it shattered his plans for marriage. After being dumped by his girlfriend and spending more than a year in rehab, all he wants is to fly again. He jumps at the chance to partner with a combat buddy in a helicopter sightseeing business. Now in a boomtown in southern Utah, Marc gets caught up with local politics. And the local election official.

At work, McKenzie Terkildsen struggles to keep control of a dangerously contentious election. At home, she shares the challenge of raising younger half-brothers with her older step-brother. He complicates things by inviting a Marine buddy to stay with them while the two build a business together. As a council member takes liberty with facts and stirs the already caustic election brew, the last thing McKenzie needs is one more guy messing up her life—or her heart.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Second Chance Kisses

Second Chance Kisses: An Echo Ridge Anthology (Echo Ridge Romance Book 4) by [McConnell, Lucy, Checketts, Cami, Rallison, Janette, Tullis, Heather, Christensen, Rachelle J.]

I love going back to Echo Ridge and watching new characters fall in love. It's so much fun!

All the stories are well told. Some move fast, others have a sprinted ending. Others melt slowly and satisfyingly like chocolate. All are good, though my favorite might be A Perfect Fit, but its really hard to choose.

I love the Homecoming theme. I hope we have more romances to come. Mason needs a love story!

Clean, sweeping you off your feet, inspiring; these women have done it again.

Do you remember your first love? Have you ever wondered what would happen if you had a second chance to follow your heart? In this collection of novellas written by award-winning and bestselling authors, come home to Echo Ridge as summer winds down and hearts once broken and lost are given one more chance, a second chance to love.

A Brand New Second Chance by Lucy McConnell
With a broken heart and an unsure future, Abigail Martin moves home to Echo Ridge to capture the parts of her teenage years she missed out on because she’d had a steady boyfriend. Kissing a random guy, flirting with strangers, hanging out at Fay’s after a football game—all of it. Carter Montgomery offers his help, because he’s a helpful kind of guy, and she quickly falls for his quiet humor, kindness, and heated kisses. Fearing that she hasn’t lived enough of life to settle down, Abigail must decide if she’s going to break Carter’s heart or give love a brand new second chance. 

A Perfect Fit by Janette Rallison
Jojo Halifax believes that winning Echo Ridge's float competition is just what her fledgling art career needs. And if that means giving her ex-boyfriend, Anthony, a second chance so she can be a designer on his team, well, she's willing to make the sacrifice. But when a lost bet leads to a blind date with her brother's friend, Wyatt, she begins to have second thoughts about second chances. Wyatt is handsome and charming and just might have been paid to make her forget about Anthony. Is falling for his charm worth the risk or should she take Anthony back again?

Almost Home by Heather Tullis
Damon lived in ten towns while growing up, but Echo Ridge is one of the few that started to feel like home before his parents relocated their family again. Now a widower, moving back to the small ski resort town is irresistible for him—but somewhat less so for his daughter, Maggie. Learning that Haley, the girl who had gotten away, is back in town is an unexpected bonus.

When Haley left a high-powered job in New York City to take care of her grandmother, she never expected to run into the boy she’d been crushing on sixteen years earlier. When they end up working together on the homecoming float, she finds the attraction between them just as compelling as before. But when given a choice, will she give him her heart, or leave love behind to return to her job in the city?

Change of Plans by Cami Checketts
Kaitlyn Johanson comes home to Echo Ridge planning to bring the sparks back with her high school boyfriend, Mason, work at Kenworth's, and enjoy family and the beautiful valley. She never expected her heartthrob, national-acclaimed lacrosse player, Axel Olsen, would visit her hometown. When Axel steals her attention and possibly her heart from the man she was supposed to marry, she has to choose if she'll take a risk on new love or give old love a second chance. 

Coming Home to Love by Rachelle J. Christensen
When Laney Richins left Echo Ridge, New York eight years ago, she vowed she’d never return, but life had other plans. Those plans included her cute little boy and a divorce, so Laney moved back home and started over. Working in the flower shop seems like the perfect plan until Billy Redford, the man she should have married shows up. 
Billy Redford’s heart was broken when his high school sweetheart turned her back on him and fled Echo Ridge for the big city lights. Running into Laney in Echo Ridge now brings up past feelings he thought were long gone. She’s prettier than ever, still seems to read his mind, and despite his protests ends up on the building and decorating committee with him for the Homecoming dance. Billy knows how to build just about anything, but he isn’t sure he knows how to mend a broken heart.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

House of Spies

House of Spies: A Novel (Gabriel Allon) by [Silva, Daniel]

Spy thrillers aren't my typical fare but my book club chose it, so I read it.

That being said, this isn't my first spy thriller read, though I hadn't read a Daniel Silva book before.

The writing is solid, well researched, and fairly clean in terms of language, though there are a few swear words. Spies, you know. There's violence and death, but I expected nothing different due to the genre. The deaths aren't gory.

Many in my book club had trouble keeping track of characters, which is understandable as several of them go by multiple names.

Though this is well into the series, it can be read as a stand alone and the reader won't be lost.

Four months after the deadliest attack on the American homeland since 9/11, terrorists leave a trail of carnage through London’s glittering West End. The attack is a brilliant feat of planning and secrecy, but with one loose thread. 
The thread leads Gabriel Allon and his team of operatives to the south of France and to the gilded doorstep of Jean-Luc Martel and Olivia Watson. A beautiful former British fashion model, Olivia pretends not to know that the true source of Martel’s enormous wealth is drugs. And Martel, likewise, turns a blind eye to the fact he is doing business with a man whose objective is the very destruction of the West. Together, under Gabriel’s skilled hand, they will become an unlikely pair of heroes in the global war on terror.
Written in seductive and elegant prose, the story moves swiftly from the glamour of Saint-Tropez to the grit of Casablanca and, finally, to an electrifying climax that will leave readers breathless long after they turn the final page.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

October a novel

For Emily Baxter, life is simple. Her world is made up completely of school, church, and the community
in the small farming town she calls home. All that changes one fateful Sunday, when a new girl shows up
at Pleasanton Baptist—a girl unlike anyone Emily has ever seen. A girl with long red hair, crystal green
eyes, and style and posture like royalty.
A girl named October.
The months that follow are filled with magic—the magic of ordinary things, of finding pictures in the
stars, of imagination and a new sense of beauty. But as time goes by, Emily begins to sense that her
enchanting new friend may have secrets that could break the spell. Is October really all she seems to be?
About the Author
J. Grace Pennington has been telling stories since she could talk and writing them down since age five.
Now she lives in the great state of Texas, where she writes as much as adult life permits. When she's not
writing she enjoys reading good books, having adventures with her husband, and looking up at the stars.
Grace has generously offered a paperback book of her new book as her giveaway prize. You can enter at
this link or the widget below.
<a class="rcptr" href="" rel="nofollow" data-
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Excerpt #1:
The first time I saw October Blake, I was sitting in the front right pew of the Pleasanton First
Baptist church, where we always sat, watching as people filed into the sanctuary. The rich organ tones of
'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus resonated through the chamber under the magic of Ms. Hendrix's wrinkled
fingers. Soft chatter and friendly greetings mingled with the tune. Stained-glass windows cast rainbows
across the scene.
October fit the setting better than anyone I had seen enter. She didn't walk in, she glided, moving
over the gray carpet with a grace that held the eye. Her thick red hair was piled up on her head like
something out of an Anne of Green Gables movie, her skin almost porcelain, her eyes a pale, crystal green
visible from across the sanctuary. A ruffled cream blouse left her arms bare, and a floor-length green skirt
swished as she slipped down the aisle.
I watched—stared is a better word—as she found her way to the third pew from the front center.
She laid a hand on the back of it, then turned to look at the people behind her. I hadn't noticed until then
that Mr. and Mrs. Rivers were there, shuffling to adjoining seats. She didn't seem to belong to them. But
then, she didn't seem to belong to anything about Pleasanton. Pleasanton consisted of farms, fields, and
stores reluctant to move into the twenty-first century, with a little brick high school and long, hot
summers. This girl seemed more fitted to lilac and lace and the smell of old books with long, beautiful
words in them.

Tour Schedule
October 25, 2017
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory post
God's Peculiar Treasure Rae – Character Spotlight
Letters from Annie Douglass Lima – Character Spotlight
Lisa Swinton - Queen of Random – Book Spotlight
Audrey Rich – Book Spotlight
October 26, 2017
Frances Hoelsema – Excerpt
Jaye L. Knight – Character Spotlight and Excerpt
Morgan Elizabeth Huneke – Review
October 27, 2017
Liv K. Fisher – Author Interview and Excerpt
Opinions, Thoughts, and General Rambling – Character Spotlight and Excerpt
Leila's Bookshelf – Book Spotlight
Britbear's Book Reviews – Guest Post
October 28, 2017
Rebekah Lyn Books – Excerpt
In the Bookcase – Review
Roxbury Books – Character Spotlight and Excerpt
J. Grace Pennington – Special author’s post
October 29, 2017
Bookish Orchestrations – Giveaway Winner

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Kiss Me in the Rain (Destined for Love: Mansions)

Kiss Me in the Rain (Destined for Love: Mansions) by [Armstrong, Lindzee]

I'm a fan of Ms. Armstrong and have been awhile. I look forward to each of her publications.

This one has all the bells, whistles, and strong writing I've come to expect from Ms. Armstrong. Along with steamy kisses, plot twists, and good old Southern charm.

You'll love the chemistry between Layla and Tyler, and it's clean too.

Set yourself up with some Southern tea and a beignet, and curl up in your cozy chair. You won't want to put this down.


Will she risk the home she treasures for the man she loves?

Cypress Grove has always been a treasured constant in Layla's perfect life. Now the mansion will be sold to the highest bidder if she doesn’t date an investor's son. The problem? The man she really wants just rolled into town.

Tyler is done being responsible and never going after what he wants. Layla's finally given him the courage to quit grad school and use his student loans to flip houses. And he's decided to move near Cypress Grove to do it.

When Layla happens upon suspicious ledgers at the mansion, her family's financial woes take a sinister turn. As Tyler and Layla work together to find the culprit, the attraction between them threatens to burst into flames. But admitting their feelings could spell disaster for Cypress Grove.

Devour this thrilling romance today!

Books in the Destined for Love: Mansions Collection
—Kiss Me in the Rain by Lindzee Armstrong
—Roping His Heart by Jaclyn Hardy
—The Princess and the Pizza Man by Cassie Mae
—Mending Fences by Lorin Grace
—Love Me at Sunset by Lucinda Whitney
—Saving Her Plantation by Cami Checketts