Showing posts with label Carla Laureano. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carla Laureano. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Review: Brunch at Bittersweet Café by Carla Laureano


Heidi Reads... Brunch at Bittersweet Café by Carla Laureano

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttp://www.bookdepository.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Baker and pastry chef Melody Johansson has always believed in finding the positive in every situation, but seven years after she moved to Denver, she can't deny that she's stuck in a rut. One relationship after another has ended in disaster, and her classical French training is being wasted on her night job in a mediocre chain bakery. Then the charming and handsome private pilot Justin Keller lands on the doorstep of her workplace in a snowstorm, and Melody feels like it's a sign that her luck is finally turning around.

Justin is intrigued by the lively bohemian baker, but the last thing he's looking for is a relationship. His own romantic failures have proven that the demands of his job are incompatible with meaningful connections, and he's already pledged his life savings to a new business venture across the country--an island air charter in Florida with his sister and brother-in-law.

Against their better judgment, Melody and Justin find themselves drawn together by their unconventional career choices and shared love of adventure. But when an unexpected windfall provides Melody with the chance to open her dream bakery-café in Denver with her best friend, chef Rachel Bishop, she's faced with an impossible choice: stay and put down roots with the people and place she's come to call home . . . or give it all up for the man she loves.


My Review

There are several elements in this book that make it stand out. The romance is always my favorite of course, but I also appreciated the focus on all types of relationship dynamics- family, friends, and co-workers. Melody's semi-estranged mother, her two well-meaning best friends, and Justin's sister and her husband all play important roles in the story. It was interesting to see the details involved in the food industry, and all the creativity and planning it takes to open a new restaurant. The descriptions of the food and desserts are divine, and almost convinces me that I need to become a foodie ;) I really enjoyed the chemistry between Melody and Justin, especially the adventure they go on in the mountains, but throughout the book their relationship is overshadowed by the temporary nature of their time together and each of their self-doubts in romance. There is a strong theme of God's influence in our lives and Melody and Justin both have their faith challenged with the situations they find themselves in. I assumed that there would be a happy ending, but Melody and Justin both go through so much on their way there that at times I was nervous that the book wouldn't end the way I hoped! Recommend to fans of contemporary romance and Christian fiction.

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

Don't miss the first book in the Supper Club series . . .

Heidi Reads... the Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano


http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttp://www.bookdepository.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back … even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.

Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t expect his interest in the beautiful chef to turn personal.

Alex agrees to help rebuild Rachel’s tarnished image by offering his connections and his home to host an exclusive pop-up dinner party targeted to Denver’s most influential citizens: the Saturday Night Supper Club. As they work together to make the project a success, Rachel begins to realize Alex is not the unfeeling opportunist she once thought he was, and that perhaps there’s life--and love--outside the pressure-cooker of her chosen career. But can she give up her lifelong goals without losing her identity as well?


Saturday, December 8, 2018

#FantasyforChristmas! Oath of the Brotherhood by C.E. Laureano

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

C.E. Laureano for
Days of Fantasy for Christmas

https://amzn.to/2PnIIujOath of the Brotherhood
(Song of Seare #1)
By C.E. Laureano
Christian Young Adult Celtic Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 435 Pages
May 1st 2014 by NavPress

In a kingdom where the Old Ways hold fast and a man’s worth lies entirely in his skill with the sword, Conor Mac Nir is a scholar, a musician, and a follower of the forbidden Balian faith: problematic for any man, but disastrous for the son of the king.

When Conor is sent as a hostage to a neighboring kingdom, he never expects to fall in love with the rival king’s sister, Aine. Nor does he suspect his gift with the harp (and Aine’s ability to heal) touches on the realm of magic. Then his clan begins a campaign to eliminate all Balians from the isle of Seare, putting his newfound home in peril and entangling him in a plot for control of the island that has been unfolding since long before his birth.

Only by committing himself to an ancient warrior brotherhood can Conor discover the part he’s meant to play in Seare’s future. But is he willing to sacrifice everything―even the woman he loves―to follow the path his God has laid before him?


Excerpt

King Galbraith had always loomed large in Conor’s memory, but he had chalked it up to a child’s outsized perceptions. Now, he realized his memories were accurate. Clad in a wolf’s-fur cloak with the steel crown of kingship upon his brow, the king nearly filled the throne. His waist-length hair, brown-blond like Conor’s, fell in warrior’s braids over his shoulder, and several plaits decorated his long beard. Beside him stood Lord Riocárd, Galbraith’s champion and captain of the guard, bearing the sword of kingship. The captain was a formidable man in his own right, fierce-eyed and broad-shouldered, but even he was dwarfed in his lord’s presence.

Conor looked away before his eyes could betray his anxiety—into the face of the only man he feared as much as his father. Lord Fergus, the king’s tanist, was an older, paunchier version of Galbraith, and he made the king seem downright warm by comparison. He took Conor in, a slow, predatory smile spreading across his face.

Beside him, a second man scrutinized him as one would observe an insect through glass, emotionless. The druid himself. Conor suppressed another shudder at the symbols of dark power tattooed on his neck and hands.

“Come here, boy,” Galbraith said. “Let me see you.”

Conor tore his eyes away from the observers and moved forward to kneel on the lowest step, his eyes downcast. He pressed his trembling hands together in front of him.

“Look at me!”

He jerked his head up and stared forward while the king’s gaze roamed over him.

One corner of Galbraith’s mouth twisted in displeasure. “Tell me, have you started your training yet?”

Conor swallowed hard. “What training would that be, sir?”

“Don’t be clever with me. You know to what I refer. Sword, bow, spear.”

“No, my lord.” Conor’s voice came out strangled, forced from his constricted throat.

“Then what exactly have you been doing for the last nine years?”

“Studying, my lord.”

“Studying?” Galbraith’s tone changed, a note of curiosity in it.

Conor’s heart lifted slightly. “Aye, my lord. History, mathematics, literature, astronomy, law, languages—”

“What languages?”

“I can read and write the common tongue, as well as Ciraean, Levantine, and Norin. My Melandran is passable, and I know a bit of the Odlum runes.”

Galbraith stared at him for a long moment. The hall fell silent but for the crackle of torches and the occasional rustle of a lady’s gown, every eye riveted on the spectacle before them. Then, in one swift movement, Galbraith reached over and ripped the sword from the scabbard in Riocárd’s hands. The ring of metal echoed in the hall as the blade stopped a fraction of an inch before Conor’s eyes.

“The only language our enemies understand is the language of the sword.”

Other Books in the Series

https://amzn.to/2Syfz1D

About the Author


C.E. Laureano’s love of fantasy began with a trip through a magical wardrobe, and she has never looked back. She’s happiest when her day involves martial arts, swords, and a well-choreographed fight scene, though when pressed, she’ll admit to a love of theater and travel as well. Appropriately, she’s wife to a martial arts master and mom to two black belt/musician sons. They live in Denver, Colorado, where they are owned by a cat.


Tour Schedule
(Links won't work until the posts go live.)

December 1st: Launch
December 2nd: Gillian Bronte Adams - The Songkeeper Chronicles
December 3rd: Morgan L. Busse - Mark of the Raven
December 4thEvangeline Denmark - Curio
December 5th: Kate Avery Ellison - A Gift of Poison
December 6th: J.M. Hackman - Spark
December 7th: Ronie Kendig - Embers
December 8th: C.E. Laureano - Oath of the Brotherhood
December 9th: Belle Malory - The Twelfth Keeper
December 10th: Melissa McShane - Voyager of the Crown
December 11th: J. Ellen Ross - The Remembered Queen
December 12th: Jennifer Silverwood - Silver Hollow
December 13th: Melissa Wright - Blood & Brute & Ginger Root
December 14th: Morgan Wylie - The Age of Alandria Series
December 15th: Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway


Grand Prize #1: Winner will receive a FIRE HD 8 TABLET along with the following ebooks (open to those who are eligible for the Fire Tablet in their area can receive Kindle gifted copies of ebooks):
- CURIO, MARK OF BLOOD and ALCHEMY (The Curio Prequel), and THE ICE CHILD (a holiday novelette) by Evangeline Denmark
- A GIFT OF POISON by Kate Avery Ellison
- THE TWELFTH KEEPER by Belle Malory
- SERVANT O THE CROWN or VOYAGER OF THE CROWN (winner's choice) by Melissa McShane
- THE REMEMBERED QUEEN by J. Ellen Ross
- SILVER HOLLOW by Jennifer Silverwood
- THE FREY SAGA (Books 1-3) ebook box set by Melissa Wright

Grand Prize #2: Winner will receive the following print books (open to continental US residents):
- ORPHAN'S SONG by Gillian Bronte Adams
- MARK OF THE RAVEN by Morgan L. Busse
- SPARK by J.M. Hackman
- ABIASSA'S FIRE 3-book collection by Ronie Kendig
- The complete set of SONG OF SEARE TRILOGY by C.E. Laureano
- SILENT ORCHIDS by Morgan Wylie

Ends December 19, 2018





Sunday, December 2, 2018

Double Review: Starstruck and Jilted by Carla Laureano


Heidi Reads... Starstruck by Carla Laureano

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Novelist Christine Lind has achieved her lifelong dream—a string of best-selling books and a cable-TV adaptation about to go into production. But on her way to London FanFest for the cast reveal, disaster strikes: their leading man is injured in a motorcycle accident… and his replacement is the one person she hoped she’d never seen again.

Nick Cleary has clawed his way to recognition as a Hollywood actor, but it’s long past time he get the chance to show he’s more than a pretty face and a chiseled set of abs. His big break comes in the form of a juicy lead role in a new steampunk fantasy series. There’s just one catch—casting has to be approved by the author… a woman he once devastated through his own youthful stupidity.

Christine is the last person to be starstruck by the handsome heartthrob, but as the clock ticks down to the cast announcement and Nick races to show that he’s really changed, she begins to wonder if there’s more to her ex than his Hollywood persona. Except now the consequences of being wrong no longer apply only to her career… but also to her carefully guarded heart.

My Review

I liked how Christine created an alter ego for her appearances before her fans, and that Nick was able to see past that to the real person inside. They definitely have a rocky past, and I appreciated that they both were able to eventually come to terms with their mistakes and own contributions to what went wrong. They are both more mature now and this is a great second-chance romance that explores  forgiveness and moving forward... after a little revenge, all in good humor ;)

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



My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

Exclusive e-book, free to Carla's newsletter subscribers!
More details on author's web site.

http://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Three days. Two jaded hearts. One unexpected love.

Bethany Hall is hiding out on a remote private island off the coast of Belize, creating romantic meals for the rich and the privileged. But when her client Derek Moretti’s bride jilts him at the altar, he’s left with a bitter view on love, a $30,000 a week bungalow, and for the first time in his life, nowhere else to be.

After Derek overhears his beautiful personal chef talking about how he dodged a bullet when his bridezilla left him, he begins to think that maybe she’s right. He convinces Bethany to act as his personal tour guide for the remainder of his trip, but neither expect that their purely platonic arrangement could shake their preconceptions about love.

Could Derek have been in the right place at the right time…just with the wrong woman?


My Review

This is a fun story complete with a narrow escape, beautiful travel excursions, and amazing food. I thought it was interesting how Bethany has created her own little world on the island, and yet has connections that allow her to give Derek glimpses into the tropical paradise. There's some attraction, some angst, and some great romantic chemistry as Derek and Bethany figure out what they really want in their lives and their relationship.

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


Thursday, November 1, 2018

New Release: Starstruck by Carla Laureano



NOW AVAILABLE! Only $2.99 for the e-book!


Synopsis

Novelist Christine Lind has achieved her lifelong dream—a string of best-selling books and a cable-TV adaptation about to go into production. But on her way to London FanFest for the cast reveal, disaster strikes: their leading man is injured in a motorcycle accident… and his replacement is the one person she hoped she’d never seen again.

Nick Cleary has clawed his way to recognition as a Hollywood actor, but it’s long past time he get the chance to show he’s more than a pretty face and a chiseled set of abs. His big break comes in the form of a juicy lead role in a new steampunk fantasy series. There’s just one catch—casting has to be approved by the author… a woman he once devastated through his own youthful stupidity.

Christine is the last person to be starstruck by the handsome heartthrob, but as the clock ticks down to the cast announcement and Nick races to show that he’s really changed, she begins to wonder if there’s more to her ex than his Hollywood persona. Except now the consequences of being wrong no longer apply only to her career… but also to her carefully guarded heart.


About the Author

Carla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.
 
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Get the first Discovered by Love novella for free here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Cover Reveal: Starstruck by Carla Laureano



When your fictional hero comes to life on the big screen, it’s easy to get starstruck…

Unless the leading man happens to be your ex.





Release Date: November 1, 2018
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42379240-starstruck

Synopsis


Novelist Christine Lind has achieved her lifelong dream—a string of best-selling books and a cable-TV adaptation about to go into production. But on her way to London FanFest for the cast reveal, disaster strikes: their leading man is injured in a motorcycle accident… and his replacement is the one person she hoped she’d never seen again.
Nick Cleary has clawed his way to recognition as a Hollywood actor, but it’s long past time he get the chance to show he’s more than a pretty face and a chiseled set of abs. His big break comes in the form of a juicy lead role in a new steampunk fantasy series. There’s just one catch—casting has to be approved by the author… a woman he once devastated through his own youthful stupidity.
Christine is the last person to be starstruck by the handsome heartthrob, but as the clock ticks down to the cast announcement and Nick races to show that he’s really changed, she begins to wonder if there’s more to her ex than his Hollywood persona. Except now the consequences of being wrong no longer apply only to her career… but also to her carefully guarded heart.



Get the first Discovered by Love novella for free here.


About the Author


Carla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night. 

Web | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest