Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Review: Mug Shot by Caroline Fardig

Title: Mug Shot (A Java Jive Mystery)
Author: Caroline Fardig
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: April 19, 2016

About the book: Former musician Juliet Langley has barely had a day off since taking over management of the coffeehouse owned by her best friend, Pete Bennett. But there's always more to be done—such as prepping for the annual Holiday 5K Race organized by Pete's snobby socialite girlfriend, Cecilia Hollingsworth. This year, Java Jive has a booth right at the finish line, and since Juliet and Cecilia don't always see eye to eye, everything has to be perfect. Nothing can go wrong. Nothing . . . like Juliet stumbling over Cecilia's dead body on the morning of the race.

When Pete is arrested for Cecilia's murder, Juliet sets out to clear his name. She'll do whatever it takes—even if it means standing up to the police, her ex-boyfriend, and the grande dames of Nashville. But there isn't enough espresso in the world for the greatest challenge in her path: infiltrating Nashville's high society to uncover the hidden hotbed of scandal without running afoul of the law herself. With her last dime staked on Pete's bail bond and her staff growing jittery, the last thing Juliet needs is for her trademark temper to land her behind bars. As time drips away, Juliet needs to crack this case before the killer comes back for another shot.


My thoughts: This was such a fun read.  I really like Juliet - spunky, mouthy, smart (though not always wise), loyal - really puts herself out there for her friends.   She is the kind of girlfriend that every girl (and boy) needs at least one of!  Especially if you have been arrested for murder!  She really puts everything on the line trying to prove that Pete didn't kill his girlfriend.  Pete seems like a good guy, though seems a little wishy washy at times.  Seems like he and Juliet are half in love with each other, but are afraid that if they have a relationship that they will lose the friendship - and the friendship seems to be more important to them.

As Juliet runs all over town doing her own "investigating" and dating most of the suspects, her on-again, off-again cop boyfriend Ryder tries to keep up with her and keep her out of jail. They seem like they are going to be a fun couple, as he seems content to put up with her sometimes reckless behavior (remember how I said she was smart, but not always wise?)  As for keeping the identity of the murderer a secret, I can say that I didn't see this one coming.  It wasn't until Juliet started to figure it out that I did as well. I think the author did a good job of keeping the waters muddied enough to not make it obvious who the  killer was.

I did not read the first book in the series, and do not think that it detracted from this story.  I would definitely pick up another book by Caroline Fardig though.

~I received a complimentary e-copy of Mug Shot through the Random House Chatterbox program by House Party from Net Galley.~ 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Review: Lies and Other Acts of Love by Kristy Woodson Harvey


Title: Lies and Other Acts of Love
Author: Kristy Woodson Harvey

About the book: After sixty years of marriage and five daughters, Lynn “Lovey” White knows that all of us, from time to time, need to use our little white lies.

Her granddaughter, Annabelle, on the other hand, is as truthful as they come. She always does the right thing—that is, until she dumps her hedge fund manager fiancĂ© and marries a musician she has known for three days. After all, her grandparents, who fell in love at first sight, have shared a lifetime of happiness, even through her grandfather’s declining health.

But when Annabelle’s world starts to collapse around her, she discovers that nothing about her picture-perfect family is as it seems. And Lovey has to decide whether one more lie will make or break the ones she loves . . .

My thoughts: I loved!! this book. Once I picked it up, I could not put it down.  The story is told from two points of view - Lovey's and her granddaughter, Annabelle's.  

Lovey's story also goes back and forth from the past to the present.  She met her husband, Dan, when she was about 10 years old, but because of the war and both their parents, it was many years before they were actually married. After high school, Dan and his family had moved to another town and he had enlisted in the navy.  It was serendipitous when they ran into each other in New York City when he was on leave. Now many many years later they have raised 5 daughters and Dan and Lovey have aged.  Dan is in a wheelchair with few lucid moments - moments that Lovey cherishes. 

Annabelle has been raised with this circle of women around her.  Her mom and sisters are all very close to each other - as well as to their mother. They have helped each other through joy as well as heartbreak. This is shown during a conversation between Lovey and Annabelle. 
I pushed her away, and I said what I always said to her mother.  "The only thing that matters is that we all know how much we mean to each other. We all know how much we love each other."  I could feel those tears clouding my throat again, thickening it and making it difficult to talk.  "So if I hadn't woken up this morning, you would have known that none of the other mess was important." (p286)
Annabelle has made some of her own messes - which include a lovesick ex-fiance who continues to text her long after she has married another man.  She also discovers a few secrets along the way - and realizes that even those in her family that she thought had perfect relationships had troubles to deal with along the way.  They all had choices to make and it was these choices that had kept their family strong.  Annabelle's choice to marry a man after only 3 days may not have been the wisest choice - but her family is supporting her as best they can.  
And that's the thing about your children.  No matter what they do or how much you disapprove or how much you wish you could change their actions, you love them madly all the same.  At the end of the day, that's the only choice that truly matters. (p218)
Underneath it all is an undercurrent of faith - that God is really the one in control and he can lead you where he wants you to go - even if you can't see it. I loved this gentle reminder that there is someone who loves us and is watching out for us.  (Quotes are from an uncorrected proof)

Okay - I just reread this review and I am not doing justice to this book at all.  It was beautifully written.  They story just flowed effortlessly.  I am going to borrow some endorsements to truly convey this great book. 

"LIES AND OTHER ACTS OF LOVE establishes Kristy Woodson Harvey as a major new voice in southern fiction. This book stirred mighty emotions in me, yet left me with a sense of peace. A truly delightful read." --Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author of The Rumor

"A richly detailed, intergenerational tale of love, loss and loyalty. Harvey pulls the reader into the hearts and souls of her characters."—Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence

"Harvey crafted a story so perfectly detailed that we could imagine ourselves on a wrap around porch in the South with a tall glass of sweet tea."—Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, authors ofYour Perfect Life and The Status of All Things 

 Buy Links



About the author: Kristy Woodson Harvey is the author of Dear Carolina, which was recently long-listed for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize and Lies and Other Acts of Love, a Romantic Times top pick and Southern Booksellers Okra Pick. She blogs at Design Chic about how creating a beautiful home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life and loves connecting with readers at kristywoodsonharvey.com. She is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's school of journalism and holds a Master's in English from East Carolina University. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and websites, including Southern Living, Domino magazine, Our State, Houzz, the Salisbury Post and the New Bern Sun Journal. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and four-year-old son where she is working on her next novel.

~I received a complimentary copy of Lies and Other Acts of Love from the author in exchange for my honest review.~

Blog Tour and Review: The Wedding Date by Kelly Eadon (with Giveaway $15 Amazon GC!)




Title: The Wedding Date
Author: Kelly Eadon
Published by: Forever Yours
Publication date: April 5th 2016
Genres: Comedy, Contemporary, Romance


About the book: A LITTLE FAKE RELATIONSHIP NEVER HURT ANYONE . . .


Kate Massie has big dreams-they just haven’t worked out. Yet. In the meantime, she spends her days clerking for a judge and her nights fantasizing about her tall, dark, and sexy gym crush. So when she runs into him one night, she’s shocked to realize he was her shy, nerdy junior-prom date. But that isn’t where the surprises end . . .

James Abell needs a date to his sister’s wedding. So when Kate agrees, he’s relieved . . . until one little lie turns their wedding date into a full-blown fake relationship. Only it doesn’t feel fake-not the toe-curling kisses and definitely not the electricity. Neither of them is looking for something real . . . but they just might fall for their own little white lie.

My thoughts:  This was the kind of book I needed to read this week.  It was lighthearted, fast paced - just a fun romp all the way around.  Some authors can get the chemistry between two characters just right - and Kelly did just that with James and Kate.  They have this initial attraction to each other, and due to some meddling friends, Kate ends up agreeing to be James wedding date for his sister's wedding.  This was a HUGE wedding (1000 guests! - 11 bridesmaids!) so this wasn't just a wedding date but a whole production.  

So how do you go on a pretend date when you are afraid that your feelings are real?  There are some humorous moments - some sad - and some hot and steamy scenes.  Of course, there has to be some friction - which comes in the form of an ex-fiance and an ex-boyfriend. 

If you are looking for a fast-paced romance - then pick up The Wedding Date.  It didn't disappoint!


Book Links



About the author: Kelly Eadon is a romance writer living in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and a house full of rescue animals, aka “the kraken”. She swears like a sailor and says whatever pops into her head. In order to counteract her big mouth, she wears high heels whenever possible. In her spare time she spins, kick boxes and attempts to renovate her farmhouse. She hates sanding drywall, loves to cook, drinks lots of wine, gets scary competitive at trivia, and enjoys time spent exploring with her rescued beagle mixes. – See more at: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/kelly-eadon/the-wedding-date/9781455593958/#sthash.nNkl4hSQ.dpuf


Author Links






Cover Reveal: Tuned into You by Cindy Dorminy (Giveaway $25 iTunes GC)


Tuned Into You




Tuned Into You

By Cindy Dorminy
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: Young Adult
Publisher: BookFish Books

A summer party is the last place Lydia Flowers wants to be. Beer pong? Stupid, foot-wrecking shoes? Random hookups? No thanks. Lydia would rather be in her cleats practicing her bat handling skills.

Enter Abe Fischer, the Nashville Teen Idol superstar. He’s a lip-syncing party animal with a short fuse; or at least that’s what the tabloids say. Except, Abe turns out to be nothing like the guy Lydia’s read about online. He’s sweet, and the way he talks to his horse…sigh.

Then life throws Lydia and Abe a curveball. They are wrongfully arrested for destruction of property. Their choices? Either work on the Fischer Farm for the summer earning nothing more than blisters and a sunburn, or have the arrest go on their records, which would ruin Lydia’s shot at a softball scholarship. It’s a no-brainer. Lydia picks up a pitchfork, pulls out the SPF 40, and prepares for the worst two months of her life.

When the press gets wind of a big secret Abe’s family has been keeping, things become even more complicated. Now Lydia has another choice to make: stick around for Abe’s messed-up life in the spotlight, or go for the scholarship of her dreams.

You can find Tuned Into You on Goodreads


Cindy DorminyAbout the Author:  Cindy Dorminy grew up on a steady diet of popcorn (the kind you pop in a sauce pan), Tab (pre-Diet Coke), and movies for teenagers. She can’t let a day go by without quoting a line from one of her favorite films, so quirky dialogue is a must in her stories.

When she’s not at her research coordinator day job, Cindy is writing funny love stories, walking her dog, or slinging iron the old-fashioned way. She shares her house with her musician husband, her awesome daughter, and a cool, four-footed child that would eat all the cheese if she could figure out how to open the refrigerator.

Cindy is a member of Romance Writers of America and Music City Romance Writers. She resides in Nashville, TN where live music can be heard everywhere, even at the grocery store.



Author Links



There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Tuned Into You. One winner will win a $25 iTunes gift card.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:





Thursday, April 7, 2016

Review and Blog Tour: A Shot of Bourbon by A.C. Land (With iPad mini Giveaway!)

A Shot of Bourbon banner


This is my stop during the blog tour for A Shot of Bourbon by A.C. Land. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 29 March till 11 April, you can view the complete tour schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.



A Shot of BourbonTitle: A Shot of Bourbon (The Bourbon Series #1)
Author: A.C. Land
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Publisher: BookFish Books

About the book: In the little highway town of Bourbon, Missouri, deadly secrets lurk behind Southern charm.
Seventeen year old Charli Valentine didn’t expect to spend the last few weeks of summer break nursing a broken heart, icing a black eye, and watching her ex kiss another girl. Since being a good girl has gotten her nothing but heartache, Charli decides to give rebellion a try. She pigs out, drinks, and hangs with Luke Parker, the son of the infamous Bourbon Butcher.

But there’s more to Luke than meets the eye. His tough exterior and terrible dialect hide a good person despite his bad boy reputation. No matter how hard he tries to fight it, Luke is drawn to Charli’s innocence and finds her clumsiness too charming to resist. Though they’re from opposite sides of the tracks, neither can resist the magnetism drawing them together.

When Charli discovers a box in her mother’s closet, she pieces together the truth about Bourbon’s past and uncovers a deadly secret about her family. And once Luke learns of it, he vows to protect Charli no matter the cost.


My thoughts:  Yeah - I was pulled into this book from the very beginning.  There is a mystery introduced in the prologue and it is kept under wraps for most of the book.  I had an idea - but of course my first thought was wrong (for which I was very happy!)  Anyway - loved the book. It kept me up way passed my bedtime.

I don't think the blurb above does the book enough credit.  She ends up getting together with Luke  more by accident than be design.  She does discover a box in her mom's closet - but others seem to piece together the secret long before she does.   She is naively innocent and doesn't really see what is right in front of her.

I loved the chemistry between Charli and Luke though - and also the relationship between Luke and Collin - his brother.   You can't help feeling for these boys - that they have been dealt such a raw deal and yet they are really trying to be good kids.  They just can't seem to get a break from anyone because of their parentage.  Of course, living with their drug addicted brother Midgey doesn't help any.

Being the first book in a series, while you get some answers - the ending is wide open as to what will happen in the second book!  Looking forward to it's release this fall.


Book Links

Goodreads ~  Amazon ~ B&N ~ Kobo ~


CHARLI

I waited while his fingers uncurled around the back of my neck. With the distant light, I
could just make out the deep, thoughtful lines etching his face. He stared at me like he’d never really looked at me before, eyes dancing over my cheeks. I leaned into his touch.

Clearing his throat, he pulled away.

I sucked in a breath that wasn’t tinged with the heady smell of his bar soap and laundry
detergent. Okay, as much as I’d wanted him to kiss me, or maybe profess his unwavering
devotion to me, it was probably better this way. There was a small voice in the back of my mind that kept reminding me: Pandora’s Box. Box. Box. I could not let myself get distracted by his unbelievably attractive charm.

He’d already taken off, walking swiftly across the turf. “Please slow down and tell me
what this is all about.”

He came to a stop again, this time at the top of a sandy pit. Lucas only stilled for a second
before sitting on his bottom and sliding down. I’d been to this course a few times, and I was
ninety-nine percent sure that wasn’t how you did it.

Then again, he did it so well…

He wiped his pants and held out his hands to me. “C’mon, Charli Chip, I won’t let
nothing hurt ya.”

Making the wise decision, I walked fifteen feet around the small obstruction. It was either
go around or inevitably hurt myself. There was no way I could slide with as much swagger as  Lucas had.

He glanced at the clubhouse in the distance. Wiggling his brows playfully, he whispered, “We’re breaking in.”

I spun on one foot and started marching back to the car. “Have a good night, Lucas.”

Strong arms wrapped around my middle, and he tossed me over his shoulder like a sack
of potatoes. My chest smacked against his back, and my legs slung forward, over his pecs.  My chest heaved as I tried to catch my breath. “Put me down!”

“We’re breaking in,” he repeated, having the audacity to sound amused.



A.C. LandAbout the Author:Author of the Bourbon Series, A.C. Land has been a lover of stories since she first read about Peter Pan giving Wendy an acorn and teaching her to fly. A.C. always dreamed of telling big stories about small towns.

Residing on a cattle farm in Missouri, A.C. loves playing with her rambunctious Jack Russell, Riley, making decorative cakes, taking pictures, drinking pumpkin spice coffee, and hanging out with her nephews.

Author Links







There is a blog tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of A Shot of Bourbon. One person will win an ipad mini (US Only)!

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:





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