Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Cover Reveal: The Aftermath by Amy Matayo




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Synopsis

According to Riley Mae Floss, life is a ten-page menu of possibilities. As the owner of a cupcake shop in small-town Missouri, she thrives on candies and rainbows and spreading joy every chance she gets. Even her hair is the color of bubble gum. Life is just the way she likes it, so why would she want anything to change now? 

But when a tornado rips into Riley Mae’s southern town and destroys nearly everything in its path, her happy little life changes in less than forty-two seconds. Buildings gone. Homes carried away. People missing or even dead. Her bakery a shell of what it once was; also her life. Riley Mae’s picture-perfect world is shattered, and everyone she cares about has been hurt in the process. 

According to insurance adjuster Chad Gamble, life always works out exactly the way it’s supposed to…for other people. As for him, life is a bit of a crapfest—one where he never wins the prize, makes the starting team, or gets the girl. He’s straight-laced, suit-and-tie, all-business, and sees the world for the color it is: muted gray with a little black around the edges.  

So when Chad Gamble walks into Riley Mae’s ruined bakery to “assess the damages”—his words, not hers—he has no intention of getting bogged down by sentimental nonsense. Sparks immediately start to fly, and not the good kind. Who does this pushy, pink-haired chick think she is, treating him like an outsider when all he came to do was help?  He can’t figure out why the locals like her so much. 

Or worse, why he can’t stop thinking about her.






Sunday, July 28, 2019

Review: This Healing Journey by Misty M. Beller


https://amzn.to/2IfJA42

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

She’s never left her home in the mountain wilderness of the Canadian Rockies—until now. Little did she realize this journey would change her life in every way. 
 
The mountain wilderness of her family’s home in the Canadian Rockies is all Hannah Grant has ever known. Now at the age of twenty-four, she’s on a journey to help her father to find the son he gave up for adoption three decades before. This is Hannah’s chance to discover the life she’s missed out on so far—and hopefully find a husband along the way. But she certainly doesn’t plan to fall for the first man she meets.

Years in the cavalry provided Nathaniel Peak with more than his share of violence and adventure. That life behind him, he wants nothing more than to settle down in the beautiful Montana mountains and raise his own stock—in peace. The last thing he expects is the savagely wounded child who shows up in his barn. Nor the woman he comes to rely on for the girl’s care.

Hannah can’t help but fall in love with the brave Indian child who so desperately needs her, but no matter what, she can’t let herself fall for the man whose past choices go against everything she believes in. As the situation grows worse, Hannah and Nathaniel are forced to make a heart-rending decision to save the girl’s life. Little do they imagine, the choice they make could spell disaster for them all.

My Review

I was surprised and glad the author brought a new element into this final journey story as the Heart of the Mountains series concludes. The reunion of Simeon (This Treacherous Journey, Heart of the Mountains #1) with his son Reuben (The Lady and the Mountain Call, Mountain Dreams #5) is bittersweet since Reuben's adoptive parents didn't share the story of his birth with him, and his mother is suffering from dimensia. On top of that, new neighbor Nathaniel is struggling to establish his ranch and has the burden of caring for a mysterious and wounded Indian girl who cannot be moved. Hannah finds herself to be the perfect solution, finding purpose in nursing the child and helping Nathaniel. A friendship and romance naturally develop, and I appreciated how their combined efforts brought them closer together and also bonded them both to the girl in their care. Danger, adventure, and healed family relationships made this book standout among the others in the series.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)



Don't miss the other books in the Heart of the Mountains series . . .


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Review: Never Marry a Marquess by Regina Scott


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My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Shy Ivy Bateman has always felt more comfortable behind the scenes than front and center. She is happiest caring for her family and baking sweet treats. She certainly never expected the wealthy Marquess of Kendall to propose marriage, especially a marriage of convenience. It seems his baby daughter needs a mother, and Ivy cannot deny the attraction of the role, or the attraction she feels for the handsome marquess.

Kendall had asked Miss Thorn of the Fortune Employment Agency to find him a particular sort of lady. His heart went to the grave with his first wife. Now, all he cares about is ensuring his frail daughter doesn’t follow it. Installing Ivy Bateman as his next marchioness will not disrupt his life or make him question his love for his dead wife. But as he comes to appreciate Ivy’s sweet nature, he begins to wonder about their future. When an old enemy strikes at Miss Thorn and all her ladies, a grieving lord and a shy lady must work together to save the day. In doing so, they might just discover that love, and a good cinnamon bun, can heal all wounds.


My Review

Such a sweet story! We got to know Ivy in the previous book as Charlotte helps her and her sisters prepare to enter Society. I enjoyed Ivy's growth as she determines that helping baby Sophia will bring her happiness. Kendall is kind and overprotective, completely endearing as he learns from Ivy what his daughter truly needs. His joy at seeing his daughter thrive was lovely and I enjoyed the way he and Ivy quickly trust each other and the blossoming friendship that turns to more. The subplot of Miss Thorn and Julian's relationship that has lasted throughout the entire series is finally concluded as well. I've enjoyed this series and the consistent quality of storytelling and vibrant characters. I recommend that it be read in order for full enjoyment!

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)



Don't miss the previous books in the Fortune's Brides series . . .

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Review: One of the Girls by Robin Daniels


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My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

FROM ENDZONE TO FRIENDZONE...

Senior Nick Moody is the second string quarterback on Roosevelt High School’s championship football team. He’s crushed on Mia for years, but she doesn’t know he exists. It’s time to come off the bench and into the game. Nick refuses to graduate without getting the girl or the glory.

Mia Ashlock is the remarkably kind cheer captain. She’s a yes girl, and her penchant for people pleasing always leads to bad relationships. After being humiliated in a very public dumping, her teammates decide to break her bad habit with a ban on boyfriends.

When Nick sees a poster, advertising cheer tryouts, he has a crazy idea: quit football and become a cheerleader. It’s perfect! He can get close to Mia and steal the spotlight, using his true and hidden talent—gymnastics. Nick and Mia have instant chemistry, but it does him little good. If Mia’s zero dating rule weren’t bad enough, the team treats him less like boyfriend material and more like one of the girls. Breaching the friendzone will be much harder than he thought.

Content: This book contains kissing along with limited/mild swearing and minimal innuendo/crude humor. No explicit language or references to sex.


My Review

I loved this YA book and the way it looked beyond the surface to what deeper issues the teens were facing. Nick is not just a typical football player- he has hidden skills of gymnastics abilities that he enjoys more than being a benched quarterback, but even more importantly- he is a genuinely nice guy. Aren't those the best heroes? I loved watching him come out of his shell as he does his best to subtly pursue Mia and learn more about himself as he defies the social norms of his school and expectations of his grandfather/coach. Mia is a bit of a doormat in the beginning, but thanks to some overly helpful friends and new relationship with Nick, she also discovers her inner strength and experiences a good amount of growth. A fun book with dialogue and narration that felt authentic (several laugh out loud moments!) and kept me interested in the emotions of the characters.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)


Saturday, July 27, 2019

Review: An Amish Homecoming by Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Shelley Shepard Gray, Kathleen Fuller


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My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Four brand new Amish stories of coming home.

No Place Like Home by Amy Clipston
Estranged daughter Eva Dienner has been staying with her in-laws, the Riehls, since her husband was killed in a fire, but now she wants her son to meet his maternal grandparents. Upon her return, Eva finds that the man her parents always intended for her is living in their daadihaus and running the dairy farm for them for free, despite her suspicions of him taking advantage of her family. Eva knows she should put the past behind her, but is she ready to move into the future?

When Love Returns by Beth Wiseman
Hurricane Harvey forces Sarah Zook to return to the home she fled six years ago when she couldn’t face her stern parents’ reaction to her unplanned pregnancy. Upon her return, Abram King can think of nothing but the pain she caused him—until he meets Sarah’s daughter and realizes that he never really stopped loving Sarah. Sarah and Abram must find a way to face the truth of their past so they can rekindle their first love.

The Courage to Love by Shelley Shepard Gray
After the death of her Englisch husband, Irene Keim seeks a fresh start by staying with her new friends Mary Ruth and Henry Wengerd in exchange for helping them around the house. But when Mary Ruth and Henry’s son Marcus comes around, he isn’t pleased with the woman they’ve taken in and is determined to push her out. Misunderstandings abound, but both Irene and Marcus learn that people aren’t always what they seem.

What Love Built by Kathleen Fuller
Independent and headstrong, Carolyn is determined to forge ahead with the opening of her bakery, a lifelong dream, in the Birch Creek home she left ten years ago. But she’s in over her head and needs help with the cleaning, shopping, and deliveries. Carpenter Atlee Shetler is visiting Birch Creek to escape the memories of his late wife. He takes a job renovating the new bakery and finds the project—and its owner—to be much more than he bargained for. Both Carolyn and Atlee must face pains of the past if they want to have the bright future God has planned for them.


My Review

I enjoyed this collection of stories that are themed around second chances. Each story is unique from the others, and I appreciated the variety of characters and situations. When I read collections like this I'm always transported to the beautiful countryside and what seems to be a simpler lifestyle. The issues faced by the characters are universal ones and the themes of forgiveness, family, and love are applicable to all readers.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)


Review: A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund


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My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

Living in London's poorest slum, Mercy Wilkins has little hope of a better life. When she's offered an opportunity to join a bride ship sailing to British Columbia, she agrees. After witnessing so much painful heartache and loss in the slums, the bride ship is her only prospect to escape a bleak future, not only for herself but, she hopes, someday for her sister.

Wealthy and titled Joseph Colville leaves home and takes to the sea in order to escape the pain of losing his family. As ship's surgeon, he's in charge of the passengers' welfare aboard the Tynemouth, including sixty brides-to-be. He has no immediate intention of settling down, but when Mercy becomes his assistant, the two must fight against a forbidden love.

With hundreds of single men congregating on the shore eager to claim a bride from the Tynemouth, will Mercy and Joseph lose their chance at true love, or will they be able to overcome the obstacles that threaten to keep them apart?


My Review

I was enthralled by the journey of Mercy and her interactions with Joseph. There was a nice balance between the introspective thoughts of the characters and the adventurous plot as they travel through storms, illness, and other obstacles, all under the watchful eye of the bride program's chaperones. I loved the historical details that brought the era to life while the emotions of the characters brought the people to life. Mercy and Joseph both have a large capacity for compassion, and the self-sacrifice they see in each other draws them together. They are so well-matched, even though they come from completely opposite ends of society's spectrum. There is plenty of tension as they know they can never be together, but can't help falling in love. It was obvious to me that the future they could have together serving the less fortunate in London as doctor and nurse would bring powerful change, but I had to wait for them to realize and get on board with it ;) I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next in the series!

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)


Book Tour Grand Finale: Love's Remains by Jacqueline Simon Gunn #LovesRemainsPT

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Love's Remains
By Jacqueline Simon Gunn

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you'll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Author Interview

What do you hope readers take with them after they’ve read it?

I hope that readers will find something of themselves, something relatable within each character that will offer insight into their own relationships and choices and/or the possibility to think about their relationships differently. So many people find themselves in difficult relationships, holding on when it’s painful, staying when they want to go, being pulled toward the wrong people, not loving those who love them. The answers to these questions are complicated and not the same for everyone. That’s why I chose a fictional format as opposed to non-fiction. Instead of telling readers what they should do or advising, I wanted to give them the opportunity to see various relationship situations in action and then show “why,” show the motivation for the characters’ actions. I hoped by revealing the psychology through the characters, readers would find their own answers upon reflection. But the book is filled with drama and tension and like any other fiction writer, I hope my readers will enjoy the story.

underneath the covers - Guest Post

What does Alex learn from moving on?

Sometimes when we love we give so much of ourselves that when the relationship isn’t working it’s very hard to let go; our sense of self is invested and embedded in the relationship. We create illusions and hold on to them to make staying make sense. We create narratives to excuse behavior towards us that makes us feel bad. . .

E-Romance News - Excerpt

I pulled her against me as we walked. We had taken our shoes off and were strolling along the edge of the ocean, the water washing in and out splashing against our feet. She loved the ocean at night, same as I do.

“Let’s go in,” she said.

“We are a little overdressed.” I raised my brow. She was always full of surprises. As self-conscious as she said she felt, she did things that reflected her freedom or her desire for it. Just like me. It was intoxicating to be with a woman who I didn’t feel like I’d be tied down by. Someone I could want to be with all the time, not feel like I had to be with.

Colorimetry - Guest Post

Do we love people forever?

Since Love’s Remains explores what’s left between two people after the relationship is gone, people have written in and asked me if I think we ever truly get over someone. Love’s Remains addresses this theme in both romantic and non-romantic relationships. So, for example, Will has an estranged relationship with his father and new issues arise for him in the context of this relationship. The story shows that although he barely talks to his dad, there are ‘remains’ of that relationship within him that affect him in ways that he might not have even realized until he’s confronted with the unresolved emotions. . .


Jess : Which usually comes first for you, the character(s), story or the idea for the novel?

Jacqueline : Before I even begin writing a book, I usually have a vague sense of the story and the underlying themes I’d like to explore. When I actually start pounding the keyboard, I begin with the development of my main characters, holding the story in the back of my mind, but letting the characters sort of take over the direction. It’s like being a passenger. I’m there, but I’m not driving once we get going.

Wishful Endings - Guest Post

Why do we love, love stories?

If you think about any movie or book, even those that aren’t in the romance genre, there’s often a subplot that involves a romance or teases us with the possibility of one. When people come into therapy, no matter what the presenting complaint is, relationships inevitably become a central topic. . .
Paulette's Papers - Guest Post

Why do you usually write from multiple points of view?

Most of my fiction books have at least three points of view. I do this because I want to understand what’s motivating each character, and I want my readers to see that choices do not happen in a vacuum. Every decision made has an impact on those close to us and then those close to them and so on. In this way, there are always webs between groups of people even when the connections are not obvious and/or the relationships are remote. . .

I'm All About Books - Guest Post

What does the relationship between Alex and Cecilia reveal?

The unfolding of the friendship between Alex and Cecilia was unexpected. At first, Cecilia was meant to be a secondary character, but the deeper I got into the story the more fascinated I became with her psychological make-up, her background and her decisions. Her unpredictability had me captivated. . .


“You’ve ruined my life.”

“I thought we were waaaay past this.”

“That’s easy for you to say. I didn’t hurt you over and over and over.”

“I hurt myself by hurting you.” His face wore a look of compassion. I hated that look, because it reminded me that he was a good person, that he had tried over and over to apologize. He unwittingly brought out the part of me that I hated, and I projected that hate onto him, because it was easier to hate someone else than to hate myself. Tears poured out of my eyes. And he wrapped his arms around me, holding me as wept.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post, if you haven't already...

Love's Remains
(Where You'll Land #2)
By Jacqueline Simon Gunn
Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 250 Pages
June 4th 2019

The second year of graduate school started out as a new beginning. I felt stronger. My heart had stitched itself up. I had finally healed enough on the inside to let love flourish once again. But an ever-present ex-boyfriend made the unresolved emotions between us impossible to ignore.

Then new complications emerged: Said ex-boyfriend began dating Cecilia, who just happened to be the ex-girlfriend of my new love interest. I should have hated her. I wanted to hate her. But, I have to admit, I liked her.

As the semester progressed, the tangled web between us deepened in ways I never could have anticipated, and it spread to those closest to us. We had the same classes, the same friends, the same interests. Then, of course, there were all the secrets, some of which could ruin the love I believed I wanted, I deserved.

Once again, I got pulled into the dizzying vortex of all that remained unfinished. And doubt crept in. Had I really healed enough to make myself vulnerable again? Had I made the right choices?

But the big question is: Can we ever really leave past relationships behind?

This is the second book in the Where You'll Land series, but can be read as a stand-alone.


Other Books in the Series

Where You'll Land
(Where You'll Land #1)
By Jacqueline Simon Gunn
Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 408 Pages
January 8th 2019

After a bad breakup, I packed up my life and moved to Miami to study for my doctorate in psychology. I made one promise to myself: Do not get romantically involved while I was in school. I needed to heal. And then Will Easton came into my life. He was warm and sweet and intelligent. And he got me. What I didn’t know was that Will was running from a tragedy of his own.

When you try to escape your past without confronting your emotions, you repeat those same past patterns over and over. And that’s just what happened to Will and me, along with a few others who got swept up into the storm that was our relationship. Then came the awful secret. The one that changed everything.

Sometimes the most painful relationships are the ones that help us grow into who we are and to find the love we had been searching for all along.

Which begs the question: Can we choose who we love?


About the Author

Jacqueline Simon Gunn is a Manhattan-based clinical psychologist and writer. She has authored two non-fiction books, and co-authored two others. She has published many articles, both scholarly and mainstream, and currently works as a freelance writer. With her academic and clinical experience in psychology, Gunn is now writing psychological fiction. Her Close Enough to Kill series, explores the delicate line between passion and obsession, love and hate, and offers readers an elaborate look into the mind of a murderer.

In addition to her clinical work and writing, Gunn is an avid runner and reader. She is currently working on multiple writing projects, including three romance novels.


Tour Giveaway


One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Copy of Where You'll Land
  • A Kindle Copy of Love's Remains
  • A $10 Amazon Gift Card
Open to Kindle users
Ends July 31, 2019

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Friday, July 26, 2019

Review: A Timeless Romance Anthology: Midsummer Night by Charlie N. Holmberg, Julie Wright, Annette Lyon, Jane Redd, Amber Argyle, Luisa Perkins


https://amzn.to/31yfobY

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

ILLUSIONS OF LOVE by Charlie N. Holmberg
Aster has worked as the great magician Celtin's assistant for two years and has been in love with him nearly as long. After hearing he'll be looking for a wife at the house ball, Aster disguises herself as a high-class woman so she can woo him away from other bachelorettes. But not everything goes according to plan...

DANCING WITH THE MOON by Julie Wright
A girl may love a ghost, but where would they live? When a ghost who insists he isn't dead shows up in Grace's shed, he begs for her help. If they cannot reunite his spirit and body before the full moon rises, Arell will die in actuality and so will the royal family. The race against the moon becomes more frantic when Grace realizes she loves him and will die alongside him if she loses him. But can a ghost with no heart return her love?

THE TRUEST TREASURE by Annette Lyon

When Saara’s sister Fia is stricken with a fatal illness, she goes on a quest to find a magical treasure with which to pay a shaman who can save Fia. Midsummer Night is the best time to locate such a valuable item, as piru fire, which marks the location, appears then. Along the way, she meets Timo, who, unbeknownst to her, is on a similar quest: if he can’t find treasure to pay for an apprenticeship with a wizard, his magical abilities will never grow, and he’ll never reach his dream of becoming a wizard. They meet in the woods and become a team. but only one of them can come away with the treasure. As their feelings for each other intensify, deciding what to do when—and if—they seize the treasure becomes a much trickier proposition.

THE ISLE OF ROSE by Jane Redd
Cornelia's greatest secret is that she can read minds. When her sister elopes with another man, Cornelia must stand in her sister's stead to marry Lord Moss, a man with the same gift, who has the power to expose her.

FIRE AND FOUNTAIN by Luisa Perkins
Historian Lucie Tremblay loves studying Qu├ębec’s past, but when she accidentally travels back in time through a magical St. John’s Eve bonfire, she finds that life in 17th-century New France is far more complicated than it seems in books. As colonist Nicolas Beaubien tries to help her find a way back to 2019, Lucie finds herself falling for him—and must choose between her old life and new love.

LADY OF SHADOWS by Amber Argyle
Every year, girls go missing in the night—taken by the beast of the Forbidden Forest. A beast that has haunted the town of Hamel for centuries. A beast that is now coming for Caelia.


My Review

ILLUSIONS OF LOVE by Charlie N. Holmberg - 5 stars
There are Cinderella elements to this story but it was still different enough to be interesting. Loved the sweet romance!

DANCING WITH THE MOON by Julie Wright - 5 stars
Great suspense as Grace and Arell solve the mystery of his death and hurry to save the royal family. Loved how the ending worked out.

THE TRUEST TREASURE by Annette Lyon - 4 stars
Interesting world building with a culture and mystic elements so different from ours. I had to really concentrate to get into the story.

THE ISLE OF ROSE by Jane Redd - 5 stars
Enjoyed the way they used their gifts to work together and took the risk to trust each other which led to love. 

LADY OF SHADOWS by Amber Argyle - 4 stars
Such a great beginning to what seems to be an epic story... but the novella felt like reading the first few chapters of a much longer book and it ended right when the adventure was about to really begin! 

FIRE AND FOUNTAIN by Luisa Perkins - 3 stars
I’m not a fan of time travel stories, so this one wasn’t my cup of tea, although it was well written.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)