Who doesn’t like a little shape-shifting, sizzling romance?

There is one thing as a reader that you should never do: start a new book a few minutes before going to bed.

Last night, while waiting for my husband, I did exactly that. I innocently opened up my Kindle app on my phone and started reading Chasing Sam by Krystal Shannan–book one of the Vegas Mates series. I happened to stumble upon this e-book when it was featured as a free download from BookBub.

Chasing Sam

Chasing Sam by Krystal Shannon

If you enjoy a little shape-shifting and hot romance, you need to read this book. The first thing I did this morning upon rolling out of bed was grab my coffee and picking up where I left off last night.

I hate just giving a plot summary, but it is rather unavoidable when talking about a book.

Sam is werewolf nobility, and unfortunately for her, she has no choice who she is going to mate with when she turns 25. Her father has invited 3 men from other noble families around the world to participate in a mate hunt–an antiquated tradition that only noble families participate in in the modern age. Basically, whoever is able to catch Sam in wolf form and marks her as his wins the hunt.

Sam has absolutely no desire to mate, especially with someone not of her own choosing. She’d rather finish her medical degree and be a doctor. When she innocently returns home for Christmas, a brush with this handsome soldier in the airport leaves her inner wolf howling before she realizes she’s getting auctioned off to the strongest,wiliest wolf with a blue bloodline during her visit.

How will Sam get out of this situation and be able to follow her heart–or the longings of her inner wolf?

Why you should read this book instead of other paranormal wolf romances:

  • The inner wolf was more of a supporting character in the book. Instead of the characters just changing forms, the wolf actually had a voice and Sam was able to have conversations with her inner wolf. That added a lot of depth to the story and was completely unique.
  • There is no need for a full moon to shift. No crazy, rabid wolves either make an appearance in this story.
  • The family dynamics will leave you wondering, what will happen next?
  • Chase is HOT. I mean, who doesn’t want a lone wolf who has saved lives in Afghanistan and other wars that has a sweet, caring side?

The only con:

  • I wish it was longer. I would’ve loved a bit more after the hunt ended.

Not convinced to pull out your wallet yet? Well, good news:

Vegas mates

The complete Vegas Mates series collection by Krystal Shannon

Chasing Sam is FREE currently on Amazon, Kobo, and possibly elsewhere. After you get a taste for the Vegas Mates series, you can buy this book and the rest of the series (5 books total) for a special price right now on Amazon of just $6.99. If you don’t have a Kindle e-reader, you can download the Kindle app for free and you can read it on your phone just like I did.

The author also gives you MORE free ebooks if you sign up for her newsletter.

Now go and enjoy the rest of your Sunday with your nose stuck in a book. You’re welcome!

 

It’s a hard life for Kali.

Two Cars and a Book has a guest blogger today. Kali “Flufferbutt/Twinkletoes” H-P. I will let her take over from here.

However an I going to choose what to read this weekend?!?

I love all of these Forever romance titles!

I can never choose just one to start. Woe is me. I might swoon! Which one do you guys think I should choose?

Cracking Open “An Elegant Facade”

An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann HunterWhen you’ve been reading romance books as long as I have, it’s a bit hard for an author to come up with a new plot twist that you haven’t read some form of in another novel. In An Elegant Facade, author Kristi Ann Hunter did just that.

If you don’t mind a wee bit of a spoiler, then please continue reading.

Lady Georgina Hawthorne, the daughter of an earl, like so many other women, feels like she HAS to marry well. The problem is, she has to get someone to the altar before they find out she can’t do what any well-bred lady can do: read.

Dyslexia was not recognized as a problem until the late 19th century, so if anyone knew of Lady Georgina’s problem, they would have thought she was stupid and definitely not wife material. After all, what good is a wife that cannot handle estate management? That’s why Lady Georgina strives so hard to make herself the Incomparable of the season. However, what happens when someone catches on that she has a hard time reading? You’ll have to read the book to find out if Lady Georgina gets ruined or if Mr. Colin McCrae is able to save her–and possibly win her heart.

I definitely enjoyed reading this Christian fiction book that I received in exchange for an honest review from Bethany House Publishers. Following Lady Georgina’s story was an emotional ride, resulting in me sometimes wanting to bonk her on the head for not seeing the worth of the title-less gentleman right in front of her. Mr. Colin McCrae and she butted heads, but as they started to understand each other, love bloomed before they were willing to recognize it. If you want a book with an imperfect heroine, this is an excellent choice.

Before wrapping up my review, in case anyone from the publisher ever reads this, I thought I’d point out something about the title. Although it’s a good title, using the word “facade” makes it seem like the only thing Lady Georgina has to offer is a beautiful exterior. I feel like this goes against one of the main points of the book–that those with the at-that-time unknown dyslexia are inherently broken–all of Lady Georgina’s additional internal attributes are worthless in comparison to her beauty. Maybe I’m reading too much into it–but that’s just some food for thought.

If you decide to pick up this book because of my review, I’d love it if you let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

Even geese families take vacations.

Anyone who has spent just a bit of time around me or on my blog may notice that… well… I have a proclivity towards geese, chickens, errm, cats, lizards, raccoons, bugs, okay, well–any animals really.

So, imagine my happiness when seeing that my family and I were not the only family visiting the Statue of Liberty this week!

Look at those downy, teenage geese. Their parents must be so proud of the fine young geese they are becoming!

To the tune of The Little Mermaid song, Part of Your World.

I wanna be where the geesey are.

I wanna see, wanna see them waddling.

Strolling along on those, what’s that word again? Webbed feet!

Up where they walk, up where they flap, up where they stay all day in the sun!

Wondering free, wish I could be, where the geese are!

If you enjoy geese adventures, I may have a few more of them for you to read: here, here, and here.

BITE ME: Two Words to Never Say to a Tick

Now that summer officially arrived, I wanted to write a post about an important subject: Lyme disease.

Being from South Carolina, I have heard of Lyme disease but I had no idea how many people it affects globally each year until I had the pleasure of working with Ally Hilfiger to promote her book, BITE ME. In fact, I was even tested for Lyme disease at one time due to some symptoms that I had, but the test came back negative. Even though I was tested for it, I honestly thought at the time, “Never heard of this. I’m sure I don’t have it.”

BITE ME book launch at The Jane, New York City.

BITE ME book launch at The Jane, New York City.

Over 329,000 people on average are diagnosed each year with Lyme yet so many more are suffering without even knowing it. Why? There is, unfortunately, no definitive diagnosis for the disease. Ally is just one of thousands who have gone from doctor to doctor knowing something wasn’t right and begging for someone to figure out what is wrong them. After 11 years, Ally finally found the right doctor who helped her get started on the long road to recovery. She is happily Lyme-free now and is using her platform and experience to work with the Global Lyme Alliance to raise awareness and much needed funding so that a cure can be found. In fact, I was just with Ally on May 9th at The Jane Hotel in New York City as she not only launched her new book but also advocated for a Lyme-free future.

Many people know that we must find cures for breast cancer, Hepatitis C, Colon cancer, and HIV. Maybe not everyone knows that more people are diagnosed with Lyme disease than the aforementioned diseases combined each year (Source: GLA).

If you don’t know much about Lyme disease, I encourage you to learn about it. Lyme doesn’t discriminate against man, woman, or child and sadly someone you know may end up with it one day. As you and your family go out and enjoy the warm weather, please remember to use bug spray and dress appropriately so that you and your loved ones stay healthy. Just as importantly, remember to keep your pets healthy and happy by treating them for fleas and ticks as well!

BITE ME: How Lyme Disease Stole My Childhood, Made Me Crazy, and Almost Killed Me by Ally Hilfiger is now available wherever books are sold.

Author Sean Patrick Flanery in the house!

Okay, so it isn’t every day that I share when an author stops by my office at Hachette while they are in NYC doing a media tour. However, Sean Patrick Flanery is such a genuinely sweet, polite guy that I wanted to give a shout-out to my fellow southerner and his coming of age debut novel, JANE TWO.

If you’d like to meet Sean yourself, he is going to be signing copies of JANE TWO at the Barnes & Noble at 46th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan (NYC) again tomorrow (4/7) at 1:30pm. Don’t worry, you can purchase his brand new book there if you haven’t bought one already.

Want to know what JANE TWO is about? I’m totally stealing the book description because if it is well-written, why try to rewrite it? Plus, I honestly have to go cook dinner!!

A coming of age debut novel from accomplished actor, director, and writer Sean Patrick Flanery explores that powerful first taste of love that sets the bar for something that we’ll chase, usually unsuccessfully, for the rest of our lives.
A young Mickey navigates through the dense Texas humidity of the 70’s and out onto the porch every single time his Granddaddy calls him, where he’s presented with the heirloom recipe for life, love, and manhood. But all the logic and insight in the world cannot prepare him to operate correctly in the presence of a wonderfully beautiful little girl who moves in just behind his rear fence. How will this magical moment divide Mickey’s life into a “before and after” and permanently change his motion and direct it down the unpaved road to which only a lucky few are granted access?

JANE TWO is available in stores wherever books are sold or online at: http://bit.ly/1XhZh9q

 

 

Polite Applause but No Standing Ovation for Turano’s “Playing the Part”

playing the partHave you ever been to a local community theatre and have been entertained but not because the set is magnificent or the acting is worthy of an Oscar? You tell people they did an awesome job but their performance would not hold a candle to successful Hollywood actors?

That’s kind of how I feel about Playing the Part by Jen Turano. The story never got boring but it was all in all a bit too light-hearted for me to feel like it was anything but a fluff novel. In comparison to some other novels I read, it just fell short in many areas. Before I get into why I felt it was “fluffy,” let me give you a quick overview of the plot that was given to me by the publisher.

“After a fan’s interest turns sinister, actress Lucetta Plum asks her friend, widow Abigail Hart, for help. Abigail takes her to a secluded estate, then reveals her own agenda by introducing Lucetta to her eccentric grandson. Bram is clearly interested in her but also mysterious. When danger catches up to Lucetta, will her friends be able to protect her?”

After reading this plot summary, I expected a sinister, danger-filled novel filled with mystery and excitement. There was a bit of danger, particularly towards the end as Lucetta is kidnapped and her mother is threatened, but the amount of hilarity and ridiculousness did a lot to keep the plot from feeling sinister. It made it hard to take the book earnestly, invest in the characters, and immerse myself in story, which is what I want to do when reading a book.

The majority of the book takes place in fictional Ravenwood castle above New York City in 1882 (I did love the unique time period/setting choice) that comes complete with its own fake cemetery and mausoleum to ensure Bram, the owner’s, need for privacy. Bram employs a motley crew of servants, a reformed group of criminals hailing from the Lower East Side. Their antics lends to the slight ridiculousness of the plot, including their frequently shooting cannonballs at anyone who dares approach the castle. Of course, the setting would not be complete without a misfit collection of unwanted animals, including a goat who loves (err hates?) anything in a dress; thus, leading to quite a few marathon runs around the grounds as Lucetta flees dearly for her life. All of this as well as other ragtag characters and suits of armor walking around the castle on their own make this book rather laughable–in other words, an entertaining bit of fluff if you are looking for something to pass time that doesn’t require much thinking or emotional investment. I imagine this is what the author intended when she wrote this book. If not, I would advise perhaps including a little less hilarity and spend more time creating characters immersed in a plot line with more depth. As it is, it’s an entertaining read–much like you’d get entertained at a local community theatre. However, I don’t think it has enough to make it to the New York Time‘s bestseller list or to carry it to Broadway, if I was to continue the theatre comparison.

Please note that I received a copy of this ebook for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Not So Sweet on “Amish Sweethearts”

Amish Sweethearts

Does it look like the forest is on fire to anyone else or is that just me?

Okay, it kills me that I don’t have a glowing review for Leslie Gould’s new book, Amish Sweethearts. I always look forward to being transported back to an idyllic setting where the modern world fades away as faith, farms, and friendships take the forefront. However, with this book, I was rather looking forward to the last page. It isn’t that I hated it–I just didn’t love it. I’m sure my Kobo Glo taking over a minute to flip a page did not help, but I truly am not holding that against the ebook itself. I’ll share one positive and one negative aspect of the story and then let you decide for yourself what you think of it!

I’ll start with the negative. For this being a love story, it drove me crazy that the two main characters spent over half of the book not saying a word to each other. To provide a little background, the two main characters (Zane, an Englisher, and Lila, an Amish girl) grew up next to each other and were best friends as kids. When Zane graduated from high school, they did not admit their secret feelings for each other. Instead, Lila started dating a nice Amish young man her father chose, and Zane, with a broken heart, joined the army so that he would have a purpose in life. Zane went off to war, which the peace-loving Amish people do not support. As the story progressed over the next several years, the pair would go out of their way to avoid each other, even though they were often within walking distance of one another. I just personally find it hard to believe that love could still burn so strong and could get stronger over time when you go out of your way to avoid the other person’s presence.

With the negative part of my review over, I’ll tell you what I thought Leslie Gould did exceptionally well and that is transporting readers to a little written about setting–that of the mountainous region of Afghanistan. As an American, I have limited exposure to the people and customs of Afghanistan. I’m afraid I only hear about the country in terms of the war in Afghanistan, which I’m rather ashamed to admit. However, through Zane’s time stationed in Afghanistan during the war, Gould really made me have a greater appreciation for the Afghani people and what their lives are like. I feel like I know more about Afghanistan from reading Amish Sweethearts than I have learned about the country in my entire life. She made the people seem real to me. I am more interested in what is happening in that country since I have a greater idea what daily life is like for its residents.

It’s not often that I don’t write a glowing review. However, I promised to write an honest review in exchange for receiving the free ebook. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the novel!

Nothing beats a man that comes with chocolate.

Carlson_Your-Hearts-Desire(TR)9781455528141Last week, I was visiting a part of the office we call the “take shelf,” which is a book lovers best dream and worst nightmare. It is an area where all of the extra ARCs and finished books from across all of my publishing house’s imprints go when they are no longer needed. It often results in me lugging home several new books a month, which means that I really need to get a second, matching bookshelf for my living room—like yesterday (hello Target, please get it back in stock)!

During my last sojourn to the take shelf, I picked up Melody Carlon’s sweet little book that comes out on January 5th called Your Heart’s Desire. I actually created some social media graphics for my company’s Center Street Facebook page to promote this title. When I was working on those graphics, I fell in love with the book’s cover. It is so retro and has an interesting clash of red and aqua that somehow works perfectly together. The soda pop shop makes me a little misty-eyed for an innocent, by-gone era that will never return again. I wouldn’t mind having one of those strawberry floats with a handsome, well-dressed man either…

Anyways, before I commence drooling, the story itself is as sweet and perfect as the cover. I felt like I had stepped back in time as I followed Caroline, a WWII widow, as she moved herself and her 10-year-old son across the country to California to begin a new life. In an era where most women were content to stay at home and raise a family (especially as jobs women had filled during the war were taken back over by the returning soldiers), I highly respected Caroline for the guts to leave a stable job to pursue a different, hopefully better life. I am not sure if I would have been brave enough to do so, especially with limited savings. Even though Caroline’s family thought she should get remarried if she wanted more children (since she was getting to be the ripe old age of 32), she found contentment in working and providing for herself and her son. Her dreams did not begin and end with finding a man so some major kudos to her! However, as it frequently happens, God brought her a man when she wasn’t particularly looking for one—one that came with an unlimited supply of chocolates on top of that. Seriously, how can it get any better than that?

I don’t want to give too much away, but you truly should read how this sweet romance between Caroline and her boss at the chocolate factory folds out. It’s one of those stories that I wish had not ended because I would have loved to have stayed longer in the world that Melody Carlson developed in Your Heart’s Desire.

Your Heart’s Desire goes on sale January 5th, 2016, but is also available for pre-order before that date. Get your copy today!