Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Huge Giveaway from NYT & USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Melissa Foster

Huge Giveaway from NYT & USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Melissa Foster

To help celebrate the release of her newest Romance, bestselling author, Melissa Foster, has created a fun Street Team for readers of her books and lovers of the Romance genre. As part of this launch, she will be giving away lots of prizes—and I mean lots. From chocolate gift baskets to autographed books to super swag, she will be giving away more than 20 prizes, and as many as 520!

If the Street Team reaches 500 members by Monday, December 22, every single member will score an Advance Review Copy of her upcoming novel, Seaside Secrets. That means that you can enjoy the newly released Seaside Sunsets and then immediately read the next installment in the series. Pretty cool, huh?
Not in the mood to join the team? Not a problem! You can still enter the Rafflecopter contest for your chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card and autographed book.

Now that I know you’re excited, read on to learn more about Melissa’s Street Team and her newest release, Seaside Sunsets.

About Melissa’s Street Team

Do you LOVE Melissa Foster’s hunky heroes and smart, sexy heroines? Want to tell others about her books and help spread the wordwhile gaining exclusive peeks at upcoming releases? Join Melissa’s Street Team, and become one of her most trusted fans!

Fab fan benefits:  Personal interaction with Melissa, lively discussions with other super fans and romance junkies, sneak peeks into future publications, exciting challenges with great prizes/swag, and fancy badges for your website, blog, and social media profiles.

About Melissa’s Newest Release


For the first time since developing the second largest search engine in the world, billionaire Jamie Reed is taking the summer off. He plans to work from the Cape and spend time with his elderly grandmother--and falling in love is not in his plans.

From the moment Jamie and Jessica meet, the attraction is white-hot. Once-overly-focused Jamie can think of little else than sensual, smart, and alluring Jessica, and Jessica discovers a side of herself she never knew existed. But when Jamie's business encounters trouble and his attorney and best friend intervenes, he proves that the blond beauty is too distracting for Jamie. To make matters worse, it appears that Jessica might not be who she says she is, turning Jamie's life--and his heart--upside down. In a world where personal information is always one click away, Jamie must decide if he should trust his heart or watch the woman he loves walk away

Recommended for readers aged 18+
Get Seaside Sunsets on AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunesKobo, or Google Play!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Recipe Hacker by Diana Keuilian - Review

The Recipe Hacker
(Comfort Foods Without Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Grain, or Cane Sugar)
by Diana Keuilian
Published: December 9, 2014
by Cedar Fort

Break the recipe code for your favorite foods! Free of grains, gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and soy, The Recipe Hacker is a mouthwatering collection of your favorite comfort foods with a healthy twist. Learn to use easy ingredient substitutions to transform traditional dishes into real, healthy comfort food masterpieces, without sacrificing any of the flavor! Enjoy healthier, whole-food versions of Key Lime Pie, Crispy Orange Chicken, and Banana Pancakes. Beautiful photos, dozens of recipes, and delicious flavors will keep you coming back for more. Enjoy all the comfort foods you crave and keep your body (and skinny jeans) happy at the same time!

My review:
I jumped at the chance to review this cookbook. We eat gluten-free in our house out of necessity because my son is celiac, so I am always looking for new, good recipes. This cookbook has recipes that are free of dairy, soy and cane sugar, in addition to being gluten-free. There are 100 recipes which include healthier versions of favorites such as cinnamon rolls, muffins, cakes, cookies, biscuits, and much more. There is a great full-color picture for every recipe, and the personal stories and comments make this cookbook seem like an old friend has put it together just for you.

I tried several of these recipes to review this cookbook, and I'm looking forward to trying out many more. I can see myself turning to this cookbook quite a bit for new recipes and to replace family favorites with great healthier versions. If you eat gluten-free or like healthier recipes, this would be a great cookbook to add to your collection. If you know someone who eats gluten-free or trying to cut out sugar, this would make a nice little gift.

A signed copy was provided for an honest review.

About the author:
Diana Keuilian is passionate about creating wholesome versions of your favorite foods. She removes the gluten, dairy, soy, grains and cane sugar from traditional comfort food recipes like cake, tacos, cookies, waffles, enchiladas and more. This hobby propelled her to start the popular blog, RealHealthyRecipes.com, where she shares hundreds of delicious recipes and mouthwatering photos. She lives in Southern California with her husband and two young children. 

Find out more at RealHealthyRecipes.com    

Saturday, December 6, 2014

High Tide Bikini by Lyla Dune - Review

High Tide Bikini
(A Pleasure Island Romance #3)
by Lyla Dune
Published: August 18, 2014 by Composesum Publishing

Hot and Hilarious with Heart!

Primary love story:
Dirk Davis is no knight in shining armor, more like gigilo in board shorts. Why twenty-five year old virgin Kendal Duvall has chosen to have a fling with him leaves him baffled. She’s the epitome of the wholesome girl-next-door. He is definitely attracted to her, but fears she’s luring him into a boyfriend trap. He’s never had a serious girlfriend, because he’s made taking care of his ailing father a priority, one that sometimes hinders his social life and stunts his ambitions.

Kendal Duvall has struggled to break free from her controlling mother and move past some dark memories. Now that she’s finally moved out on her, she’s ready to explore uncharted territory, bedroom territory. Who better to be her guide than the local playboy who is known for being both discreet and good in bed?

Secondary love story:
At age sixteen, Spencer Harris was paralyzed from the waist down after a head-on collision with a drunk driver. Ten years later, Spencer tries to come to terms with her desire to have the happily ever after she’s always dreamed of and the reality of what that happily ever after may look like in her current condition. She has so much love to give but doesn’t want to put limitations or burdens on others.

Earl Washington is a ball of insecurities after spending some time in jail and being labeled a bad egg. He’s ready to take charge of his life and pursue his dreams, but he longs for the love of a good woman. Spencer is the woman he wants, but will she want him when she finds out his deepest secrets?

High Tide Bikini is the third book in the Pleasure Island series. It takes place on an island that is home to some zany characters, an ostrich farm, and a senior citizen nudist colony. If you like romance with plenty of sizzle and giggle, you’ll love this series.

Mature/Explicit content alert - Readers should be 18 years of age or older

My review:
Kendal is ready to lose her virginity. At 25, she feels it is past time, but she is too anxious to allow herself to be natural with anyone she dates. Kendal decides she needs a summer fling to help her overcome her nervousness with men. She chooses Dirk, a long-time friend who is considerate of other people's feelings and is known to get around but also known to not kiss and tell. Dirk has mostly only considered Kendal to be a nice, quiet, shy person, but suddenly she seems to be breaking out of her shell. And once Dirk gets a good look at her, he is definitely interested. He is all for the summer fling, but also a little leery because he doesn't want Kendal to get hurt. When the 25 year old virgin and the island playboy get together, both get more than they bargained for.

I think Kendal is probably my favorite leading lady out of this series. Kendal is very self-conscious and has issues with her body, even though they are unfounded. She is sweet, sensitive, caring, and deeply loyal to her friends and family. She has issues with her mom and is trying hard to get out from under her mother's controlling thumb. Dirk is a great match for her. He gave up on following his own dreams and stayed in Pleasure Island to help his parents. Yes, he has the whole sleeping around thing working against him, but on the other hand, he is loyal once he finds the right woman. Plus, Dirk goes out of this way to make things special for Kendal. I mean, the guy decorates a tree house for one of their dates! I thought some of the things that were said were overly sappy, but that's just me. Most people love that sappy stuff.

Spencer and Earl's love story wasn't a big focus of this book. Sometimes it would suddenly say all of this stuff had happened between them, and I would wonder if I missed something. It might have worked better for their story to have been a separate novella instead of included with Kendal and Dirk's story; however, their love story was definitely sweet and interesting, and Spencer and Earl are perfect for each other.

I love Pleasure Island as a setting with Myrtle and Louise (a part of the community's senior citizen nudist group), the ostriches, and the close-knit family feel. These light, easy reads have funny, quirky characters and lots of romance and heat. Lyla Dune did a great job with her first romance series.

I really enjoyed High Tide Bikini, and I would recommend this book, as well as the whole series, to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance. You can read this book without reading the other two, although you will find a few spoilers along the way if you haven't read the first two. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

A copy was provided for an honest review.

Also, see my reviews of the rest of the series:

About the author:
Lyla Dune has taught and performed music for over twenty years. Like most band directors, she can play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on a wide variety of instruments, including tuba. Her primary instruments are clarinet, saxophone, flute, and piano.

Songwriting has been in Lyla’s blood since she was a young girl. She still enjoys writing songs. Songwriting led her to poetry, and she has published over a hundred poems. She has also published many short stories and flash fiction pieces in a multitude of genres.

Writing can be creative and cathartic, which is why Lyla fell in love with it, but she learned that writing from that dark place inside her heart made for a lot of sad days. Even though publishers kept begging for more of that sticky dark stuff, she changed directions and decided to fill her days writing happily ever afters. Now, she smiles and sings and enjoys each moment spent with her characters and hopes her readers will find as much joy between the pages of her books as she’s experienced penning the words.

Find out more at LylaDune.com.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Christmas to Remember by Jill Shalvis, Kristen Ashley, Hope Ramsay, Molly Cannon & Marilyn Pappano - Review

A Christmas to Remember
by Jill Shalvis, Kristen Ashley, Hope Ramsay, Molly Cannon & Marilyn Pappano
Published: December 2013 by Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

Curl up with this heartwarming Christmas collection!

Jill Shalvis, Dream a Little Dream: Melissa has kept every man at a safe distance-especially firefighter Ian, a sexy friend with sexy benefits. But Ian secretly longs for more. Luckily, 'tis the season for giving love a chance . . .

Kristen Ashley, Every Year: Holidays don't come easy for Shy and his brother, Landon. But with the magic of Christmas, along with a little help from Tabby and her family, the Cage brothers are about to get the gift of a lifetime . . .

Hope Ramsay, Silent Night: Down on her luck and evicted from her apartment, single mother Maryanne hopes to start over in Last Chance. When the snow begins to fall, it looks like her baby might literally spend Christmas Eve in a manger. And Maryanne might celebrate the holiday with a handsome stranger.

Molly Cannon, Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas: Lincoln is a bachelor who's set in his ways-until a professional organizer dressed up as Mrs. Claus changes his life, one tip at a time. . .

Marilyn Pappano, A Family for Christmas: War widow Ilena doesn't mind spending Christmas alone. But when a new doctor blows into town with the winter wind, will she get her secret Christmas wish?

Plus: Excerpts from upcoming novels!

(40,000 words)

My review:
Great collection of love stories to get you in the holiday spirit. These romances range from sweet to steamy, so there is something for everyone if you have a preference.

It's hard to say too much about these without giving huge spoilers, so I'm just going to give a little short and sweet "review" of each one.

Dream a Little Dream - I always love reading the Lucky Harbor novels by Jill Shalvis, and this first story takes you back to that great, quirky little town. Melissa thinks Ian is the perfect man, but she broke up with him because she was scared of getting too serious. After a stay at the hospital, Melissa realizes what she is missing.

Every Year - A great little story of acceptance, family and friends. What really impressed me about this one is Kristen Ashley's mastery of the "motorcycle babe's" lingo and ability to write the character. I seriously fell into this story as if it could have been told to me straight from the main character, Tabby.

Silent Night - Amazing and heartbreaking, all at the same time. This one really brought a few tears to my eyes. I've only read a few of the Last Chance novels, which I think came out before this one, but I'd be interested in reading more of them just to follow up with Maryanne.

Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas - This great little story shows how you can find love in the most unexpected places when you aren't even looking for it. Lincoln didn't think he needed the professional organizer his mother hired. Dinah tried to keep things strictly professional. They both found something they needed along the way.

A Family for Christmas - I loved Ilena as a character, and I really enjoyed Ilena's and Jared's love story. Ilena is just the sweetest thing. This wonderful little story is a tale of how sometimes "home" and the place you belong has more to do with the people who are there than the location.  

I really enjoyed this set of Christmas love stories. If you enjoy contemporary romance, I would definitely recommend picking this up to read here at the holidays.

A copy was provided for an honest review.

About the authors:
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures. Find out more at JillShalvis.com.

Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better. Find out more at KristenAshley.net

Hope Ramsay was born in New York and grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, but every summer Momma would pack her off under the care of Aunt Annie to go visiting with relatives in the midlands of South Carolina. Her extended family includes its share of colorful aunts and uncles, as well as cousins by the dozens, who provide the fodder for the characters you’ll find in Last Chance, South Carolina. Hope earned a BA in Political Science from the University of Buffalo, and has had various jobs working as a Congressional aide, a lobbyist, a public relations consultant, and a meeting planner. She’s a two-time finalist in the Golden Heart, and is married to a good ol’ Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her heroes. She has two grown children and a couple of demanding lap cats. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia where you can often find her on the back deck, picking on her thirty-five-year-old Martin guitar. Find out more at HopeRamsay.com.

Molly Cannon lives a charmed life in Texas with her husband, Mr. Wonderful and her extremely large cat Nelson. When she's not writing, she spends her days reading, taking dance classes with MW, and watching every kind of sporting event imaginable. Molly has three grown children, all married to terrific people and two wonderful grandchildren. Life is good! Find out more at MollyCannon.com.

Born in Oklahoma, Marilyn Pappano followed her career-Navy husband across the southern United States for fifteen years, living in California, the Carolinas, Alabama and Georgia -- all locations she's used regularly in her novels. Her first book, WITHIN REACH, was published by Silhouette Books in 1987, and she's gone on to sell about eighty books to Silhouette, Harlequin, Warner, Bantam, Dell and Forever Romance. She's made bestseller lists, won every major award in the romance genre, and seen a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie made from her novel, SEASON FOR MIRACLES. Marilyn writes both contemporary romance and romantic suspense and is best known for her richly-textured characterization. Her current publishers are Harlequin Romantic Suspense and Forever Romance, where she's using her experience as a military spouse and mother in her new Tallgrass books, a series about a group of best friends and military widows who help each other grieve, live and learn to love again. Find out more at MarilynPappano.blogspot.com.         

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Miles from Kara by Melissa West - Review, Excerpt & Gift Card Giveaway

The Charleston Haven Series (stand - alone)
New Adult Contemporary
Release: December 2, 2014
Published by Penguin/InterMix

Kara Marcus is desperate to forget the past and move on. But she can’t escape her choices—especially when she finds herself falling in love…

Since the first day she stepped into her childhood Southern Baptist church, two truths have been engrained in Kara Marcus’s head: sex before marriage is bad and murder is a sin. And that’s why Kara can never forgive herself for what she did at the age of sixteen.

Now, as second semester of freshman year comes to a close, Kara has stood by her high school boyfriend, Ethan. But as they seem to grow further and further apart every day, Kara realizes that she has feelings for someone else: Ethan’s roommate Colt.

Suddenly, Kara’s clear-cut world shifts out of focus, and she’s torn between what her head tells her is right and what her heart is desperately pushing her to do—even if it means committing another undeniable sin...

Add to your Goodreads list!

My review:
An up-front warning: this is a book that deals with abortion. Kara does not have an abortion in this story, but Miles from Kara is not only a romance between Kara and Colt but is just as much about Kara dealing with her emotions about her abortion when she was 16 years old.

Kara is majoring in psychology, and she starts volunteering in a counseling center. Kara is immediately confronted with her own past when one of the first people she is assigned to help is a young pregnant girl because Kara had been in this situation herself. Kara's mother had decided that she should get an abortion, and Kara basically went along with it. Some people will judge Kara for this and not like her as a character, but we also have to remember she was 16 when her mother scheduled the abortion for her and she basically felt she had no choice. The relationship that Kara develops with Maggie, the pregnant teen, is oh so unhealthy and unprofessional, but, at the same time, it seems to be what Kara needs to deal with the issues about her abortion, and Maggie certainly needs someone like Kara.

Kara's relationship with Colt just puts the icing on the cake. We already have a great story with Kara and Maggie, but the love interest with the sexy Australian accent makes it even better. Kara knows that things aren't right between her and her long-time boyfriend, Ethan, but she feels like they should stay together because it's what's familiar. However, she finally realizes that she needs to break it off. I didn't like how Kara wouldn't or couldn't break it off with Ethan until it seemed certain that Colt was going to return her feelings of attraction for him. However, the rest of the relationship with Colt made up for it. Colt is like a dream boyfriend. Besides being hot and having a sexy accent, he is very understanding and patient about Kara's issues in the bedroom. It certainly makes him a keeper.

A sweet and sexy love story with a lot of emotional issues all rolled into one makes this is a great read, and I would recommend it.    

An ARC was provided for an honest review.


Colt started to say something, then shook his beer. “I’m out. Want another?”

Three? I’d nursed the second one, so I wasn’t feeling it just yet, and I’d already said and done morethan I would have if I were fully sober. I should stop. I should let my buzz wear off and go sleep in Ethan’s room. But instead, I kicked off my sandals and pulled my legs crisscross on the sofa. “All right, I’ll have another,” I said, mimicking his accent.
He grinned. “Very funny. You know you have an accent, too.”
“Yeah, but mine’s not nearly as sexy.” As soon as the words slipped from my mouth, my eyes went wide and I covered my mouth, my face burning. “I . . .” There was nothing I could say to take it back.
His grin switched to a smirk and he cocked his hip against the kitchen counter, crossing his arms so his biceps bulged against the tightness of his T-shirt. “You think I sound sexy, huh? What else do you think of me?” He started toward me, a slow strut that made my insides ignite. His dirty blond hair fell over his eyes as he studied me. His jaw was covered in fine stubble and I found myself wishing I could run my fingers across it. I flushed.

“All right. How about I tell you what I think of you?” I started to argue, but he continued before Icould get a word out. “I think you’re smart, though you doubt yourself. I think you’re kind, though you’re hard on yourself. I think you’re funny and your laugh draws attention no matter where you are.” He was standing before me now, staring down, his presence a force I couldn’t ignore. “And I think you are the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen in my life. So beautiful, in fact, I have a hard time being around you . . . without staring.”
About the Author
Melissa West writes young adult and new adult novels for Entangled Teen and Embrace and Penguin/InterMix. She lives outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband and two daughters and spends most of her time writing, reading, or fueling her coffee addiction.
She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and a M.S. in Graphic Communication, both from Clemson University. Yeah, her blood runs orange.


The author is giving away (1) Copy of PIECES OF OLIVIA and (1) $10 Amazon Gift Card - International

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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