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Monday, September 3, 2012

Blog Tour - Made the Grade: Return to Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs | Interview & Review

Today I'm turning my blog over to Susan Wiggs, who I interviewed about her latest novel "Return to Willow Lake," which is the 9th book in her Lakeshore Chronicles Series!!

My Q&A with Susan Wiggs :

Jess : Who or what was your inspiration to begin writing?

Susan : There was never a time when I wasn’t writing. Even as a toddler, I used to dictate stories to my mom. Evidence here: early writings. I think people are born storytellers. Most grow up and get sensible jobs, but some of us never get over it.

Jess : Tell us a bit about your Lakeshore Chronicles Series.

Susan : It’s an unending series of books about the lives and loves of the Bellamy family. The setting is a nostalgic town in the Catskills, on the shores of Willow Lake. It’s become so real to me that the new book, "Return to Willow Lake," features endpapers with maps.

Jess : Which of your characters would you most & least like to invite to dinner, from which book and why?

Susan : Fun question! I would most like to invite Zach Alger from "Return to Willow Lake" to dinner, because he is total eye candy and he would make an awesome video of the experience. I’d least like to meet up with Zach’s father, Matthew, because he’s a total douchebag. Fortunately, Zach did a better job raising himself.

Jess : Please describe your heroine, from "Return to Willow Lake," in one to two sentences.

Susan : Sonnet Romano is smart, driven, loyal and romantically confused. She’s also a wonderful daughter to her mom at a time when her mom really needs her. And she can’t seem to stop thinking about this guy she’s not supposed to even like....

Jess : If "Return to Willow Lake" were to be made into a film, who do you see playing the main characters and why?

Susan : Sonnet looks a bit like Alicia Keys. She would be played by a lovely mixed race actress...And Zach, hmm...somebody tall, blonde and yummy. I’m open to suggestions.

Jess : In regards to "Return to Willow Lake," if you could write it all over again, would you change anything about it?

Susan : Gosh, no. I rewrote it so many times, my head would explode! If you find a typo while reading it, well, I’d change that.

Jess : How many books have you written? Which is your favorite and why?

Susan : I stopped counting after forty. So, probably fortysomething? My favorite is the NEXT one because I’m so excited to be writing it. Of my published books, "Return to Willow Lake" is my fave, because I just felt so close to the characters and their situation. I’ve never been in that situation, but I felt it very deeply.

Jess : Do you have any other projects in the works? If so, can you share a little of your current work with us?

Susan : I’m finishing up "The Apple Orchard," the first Bella Vista Cooking School novel which takes place in Archangel, in Sonoma County, California. It will be out next May. After that, I’m going to tackle Logan’s story in the Lakeshore Chronicles.

About the Author :

Using blunt scissors, pages from a Big Chief tablet, a borrowed stapler and a Number Two pencil, Susan Wiggs self-published her first novel at the age of eight. "A Book About Some Bad Kids" [I still have this-CL] was based on the true-life adventures of Susan and her siblings, and the first printing of one copy was a complete sell-out.

Due to her brother's extreme reaction to that first prodigious effort, Susan went underground with her craft, entertaining her friends and offending her siblings with anonymously-written stories of virtuous sisters and the brothers who torment them. The first romance she ever read was "Shanna" by the incomparable Kathleen Woodiwiss, which she devoured while slumped behind a college vector analysis textbook. Armed with degrees from SFA and Harvard, and toting a crate of "keeper" books by Woodiwiss, Roberta Gellis, Laurie McBain, Rosemary Rogers, Jennifer Blake, Bertrice Small and anything with the words "flaming" and "ecstasy" in the title, she became a math teacher, just to prove to the world that she did have a left brain.

Late one night, she finished the book she was reading and was confronted with a reader's worst nightmare—She was wide awake, and there wasn't a thing in the house she wanted to read. Figuring this was the universe's way of taking away her excuses, she picked up a Big Chief tablet and a Number Two pencil, and began writing her novel with the working title, "A Book About Some Bad Adults." Actually, that was a bad book about some adults, but Susan persevered, learning her craft the way skydiving is learned—by taking a blind leap and hoping the chute will open.

Her first book was published (without the use of blunt scissors and a stapler) by Zebra in 1987, and since then she has been published by Avon, Tor, HarperCollins, Harlequin, Warner and Mira Books. Unable to completely abandon her beloved teaching profession, Susan is a frequent workshop leader and speaker at writers' conferences, including the literary institution Fields End and the legendary Maui Writers Conference. Her novel "The Charm School" was voted one of RWA's Favorite Books of the Year. She is the proud recipient of three RITA awards for "Lakeside Cottage," "Lord of the Night" and "The Mistress," and is often a finalist for the prestigious award. Her books appear regularly on numerous "Best Of" lists.

Susan enjoys many hobbies, including sitting in the hot tub while talking to her mother on the phone, kickboxing, cleaning the can opener, sculpting with butter and growing her hair. She lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with her family.

- This is an ARC book - Available Formats through Hardcover - Pages: 311; Kindle Edition - File Size: 487 KB; Audiobook - Unabridged | Expected Release Date: August 28, 2012 | Publisher: Mira Books | Obtained: NetGalley

"Return to Willow Lake" [The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book 9] by Susan Wiggs

My Book Summary : Sonnet has always been the type of person who likes to plan out her life then strive to achieve her goals as quickly as she can. However, when she finds out that her mother (who's in her 40's) is unexpectedly pregnant and that the pregnancy has some high-risk complications Sonnet puts her life plans and goals on hold and moves back to her hometown of Avalon to support her mother through this tough process. Nevertheless, just because she back home doesn't mean she doesn't need to work, especially since she gave up her high-powered job in the city to be there. Therefore, she becomes the Casting and Location Coordinator for the town's latest reality show called Big Girl, Small Town, and working with her once best friend Zach.

Zach is a good guy who had grown up in a crappy home. However, Sonnet's mother always made him feel welcome throughout Sonnet and his friendship and that hasn't changed over the years. It does get complicated though after Sonnet and he share an unexpected sparks-flying night together, especially afterwards when Sonnet wants to forget about it and go back to being friends again.

Now with Sonnet working on the Big Girl, Small Town with him they try working through their feelings while dealing with the intense situations around them. Can they work through everything to finally realize what they truly want for themselves in life and love? Or will they find that it would be better to be apart for good?

My Book Review : 3.5 out of 5 stars, this is a moving charming novel. About the lengths, those will go to for the ones they love. I loved stepping back into Susan Wiggs' Lakeshore Chronicles world and catching up with all of these characters! However, I truly enjoyed reading about Nina's struggles, Nina's triumphs, Sonnet finding herself throughout this whole novel, the budding romance between Zach and Sonnet, and how no matter what happened between Sonnet and Zach they always were their for each other in the end. The town wraps you up and makes you want to read more!!

With that being said, I really hated Sonnet's father and the way she tried to please him at all costs. I mean I know where she was coming from since I was raised by a single mother for most of my life so I understand her need to show her worth to her father. However, when her father doesn't appreciate her efforts or thinks that only the path he picks is the correct one for her, then I really just don't like the man. Nevertheless, I like that throughout this novel Sonnet works out her issues with her father and comes to her own conclusions about him in the end.

In addition, I wish the epilogue had more!! I'm happy with the way it ended, who ended up with who, and how everything turned out. However, it leads you up to what you'll be expected to see and then it stops. =0(

Anyway ...

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I would recommend it and the Lakeshore Chronicles series to anyone who likes contemporary romances!!

Author's Novel Extras : Read an excerpt | Reading Guide | Booklist LURVE | dedication page | shout out to Library Journal

Author's Series Extras : When life gives you lemons... | How many books are in the Lakeshore Chronicles? | “It’s a Wonderful List” | reading to music | series or single title? | “Walk away.” | ‘fessing up | from today’s front page | cover art debate | just a taste | for reading groups | my grandma, the maniac | oopsie Daisy | fair enough question | women’s fiction | Daisy+Logan+Julian

Author's Book Trailer :

Author's Series Interview(s) :

Book Teaser(s) :
Zach thanked him and hung up, looking around the bakery at the coffee drinkers, the tourists and locals, the little kids smearing their hands on the glass cases, the old guys with their crossword puzzles. These people had no idea that the world had just shifted for him. Finally the dream was coming into reach. He'd been trying to get a break forever, sending out his portfolio of digital clips, emailing them into what seemed like a black hole of digital ether. He'd been networking through people in the business who were at least six degrees away from West Coast and New York producers. Each award he won, each scrap of recognition, hoisted him another rung up the ladder, but until now, nothing had materialized.
The opportunity was still so new, he had only the sketchiest idea of what was in store for him next. ~ within Chapter 4
"Tell you what," she said to the shaking boy. "Let's go together. You and me. What do you say?"
"What good's that going to do? Then we'll both die."
"Nobody's going to die. You saw everybody take a turn and they loved it. Come on, I'm scared, too, but I still want to do it."
"You're not scared. I heard you telling Salt over there that you couldn't wait to take a turn."
"That's what we call him." Andre jerked a thumb in Zach's direction. "'Cause the two of you are salt and pepper."
She felt her cheeks heat up. She didn't want to be pepper to Zach's salt. "Never mind that. Let's do this thing." ~ within Chapter 12
For more information on this book, series, and/or any other books by Susan, then please check out her website.

Find Susan Wiggs :

Friday, January 23, 2015

Blog Tour - Idolizing In: Huckleberry Spring by Jennifer Beckstrand | Review

Today I'm turning my blog over to Jennifer Beckstrand, with a review of her latest novel "Huckleberry Spring," which is the FORTH novel in her The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill Series!!

- This is an ARC book - Available Formats through Paperback - Pages: 352; Kindle Edition - File Size: 1128 KB | Release Date: January 27, 2015 | Publisher: Kensington : Zebra Books | Obtained: Pump Up Your Book / NetGalley

"Huckleberry Spring" [The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill Series, Book 4] by Jennifer Beckstrand

Author's Book Description : Ever since the Helmuths’ grandson, Ben, abruptly broke his engagement and moved to Florida, Emma Nelson has kept busy tending her vegetable garden and raising award-winning pumpkins. She can put her heartache aside to help Ben’s mammi with her own pumpkin patch. At least until Ben shows up to lend support to his ailing dawdi...

Gardening side by side with pretty, nurturing Emma is a sweet kind of torture for Ben. She could have her pick of suitors who can offer what he can’t, and he cares too much to burden her with his secret. Leaving once more is the only option. Yet Emma’s courage is daring him to accept the grace that flourishes here, and the love that has been calling him back to Huckleberry Hill.

“The much-loved matchmaker Anna Helmuth is back! Beckstrand is an amazing, talented author who gives the over-used matchmaking trope a fresh twist. The characters are sweet and caring, and the storyline runs smoothly.” - RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars

My Book Review : 5 out of 5 stars!! Anna & Felty are match making again! Only this time Felty is being pulled through the ringer just to keep his grandson living with them. Poor thing. Together they try to get Ben & Emma back together again but because of one big secret and a bunch of lies, it might be a harder job than Anna originally planned. But she won't give up without a fight ... and Felty's wise words of course.

I really enjoyed this dramatically touching novel. Anna's quirky ways were all fun to read about but I also liked how sweet Ben was and how determined Emma is to see everything through. All of it put my emotions through the ringer by laughing one moment to getting mopey the next. In addition, even though I guessed that the main reason for Ben & Emma being apart was because of something bad to do with Ben I never would have guessed the truth. With one twist after another, I didn't want it to end. However, alas, it had to end and I LOVED the way Ben & Emma's romance wrapped up!! They are just so sweet together and more passionate then I'm use to reading in Amish romances that it made me pleasantly surprised.

Other than the fact I really disliked Adam (Emma's "tester boyfriend") and Emma's mother, I enjoyed this novel tremendously! Therefore, I HIGHLY recommend this novel and series to those who like Amish Christian romances!

Purchase This Book and/or The Other Books From It's Series Here : Kobo (e-Book) : Huckleberry Hill | Alibris (Paperback) : Huckleberry Hill | Kobo (e-Book) : Huckleberry Summer | Alibris (Paperback) : Huckleberry Summer | Kobo (e-Book) : Huckleberry Christmas | Alibris (Paperback) : Huckleberry Christmas | Kobo (e-Book) : A Perfect Amish Christmas | Kobo (e-Book) : Huckleberry Spring | Kobo (e-Book) : Huckleberry Harvest

My Previous Review(s) for this Series : Book 3

Author's Series Extras : Huckleberry Hill Reviews | Huckleberry Summer Reviews | My near-death experience, or Does anyone have a good meatball recipe? | My trip to Wisconsin Amish Country! | Huckleberry Hill and a few of my favorite things | Amish Authors Break Their Silence | Teenage boys and raisin pie | Ask an Amish author about books and such... | Recipes and Hilarious Food Disasters | Writing process blog tour | Recipe for Amish Layered Jell-O Salad

Book Teaser(s) :
"Now, Felty," Mammi said, the scold rising in her voice, "there will be no talk of getting better."
Ben raised his eyebrows. Mammi certainly had a peculiar way of nursing her husband back to health. But Ben couldn't argue with it. Mammi and Dawdi had been together for over sixty years. Mammi knew better how to care for Dawdi than anyone. If Dawdi needed words of discouragement, who was Ben to question her methods.
Mammi tried to read the tiny directions on the pill bottle label. "Stuff and nonsense. Where are my glasses?" She handed the bottle back to him. "What does it say, dear?"
"Take one every six to eight hours as needed for pain."
Ben handed Mammi one pill, feeling guilty for conspiring against Dawdi. Mammi filled a glass with water and took it to Dawdi.
Ben tried to smooth things over with Dawdi. "The doctor said you'll heal faster if you take something for the pain. It helps reduce the inflammation."
Mammi snapped her head around to look at Ben and stopped in her tracks. "He did say that, didn't he?" She reversed direction, away from Dawdi's chair. "Never mind, then."
Felty held out his hand with a smug look on his half-covered face. "Come here, Annie Banannie. I'll have my pill now."
Ben pressed his lips tightly together to keep from chuckling. Had Mammi tricked Dawdi into taking a pill, or had she really changed her mind? Maybe she was way more clever than Ben could ever hope to be.
Sixty years of marriage was no small thing. ~ within Chapter 5
For more information on this book, series, and/or any other books by Jennifer, then please check out her website.

About the Author :

I grew up with a steady diet of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen. After all that literary immersion, I naturally decided to get a degree in mathematics, which came in handy when one of my six children needed help with homework. After my fourth daughter was born, I started writing. By juggling diaper changes, soccer games, music lessons, laundry, and two more children, I finished my first manuscript—a Western—in just under fourteen years.

I have always been fascinated by the Amish way of life and now write Inspirational Amish Romance. I am drawn to the strong faith of the Plain people and admire the importance they put on enduring family ties. I have visited and studied Amish communities in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where I met with a bishop and a minister as well as several Amish mamms, dats, and children. It has always impressed me at what salt-of-the-earth people they are. My interactions with these kind people have been some of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have a dear Amish friend with whom I correspond in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She helps me keep my facts straight and gives me inspiration for my stories.

My goal is to write uplifting, inspiring stories with happy endings and hopeful messages. If my books make readers want to give themselves a big hug or jump up and down for joy, I’ve done my job. I am a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers and am represented by Mary Sue Seymour of The Seymour Agency.

There are three Amish romances in the Forever After in Apple Lake Series (Summerside/Guideposts). "Kate’s Song," "Rebecca’s Rose," and "Miriam’s Quilt" are all now available.

I have six Amish Roamish buggymances in the works with Kensington Books. The first and second books, "Huckleberry Hill" and "Huckleberry Summer," are now available in stores and online. The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill is set in northern Wisconsin Amish country.

The series, The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill, is about an elderly Amish couple who try to find suitable mates for their grandchildren. What could be more fun than throwing two young people together to see if sparks ignite? No one would ever suspect two octogenarian Amish folks of mischief.

Romantic Times gave "Huckleberry Hill" 4 1/2 stars and chose "Huckleberry Summer" as a TOP PICK.

I have four daughters, two sons, three sons-in-law, and two adorable grandsons. I live in the foothills of the Wasatch Front with my husband and one son still left at home.

Be sure to follow the tour around the other blog sites!

Find Jennifer Beckstrand :

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Made the Grade: Children of The Night Series, Book 6

- This is an ARC book - Available Formats through Paperback - Pages: 352; Kindle Edition - File Size: 1170 KB | Expected Release Date: February 4, 2014 | Publisher: Zebra Books | Obtained: NetGalley

"Night's Promise" [Children of The Night Series, Book 6] by Amanda Ashley (aka Madeline Baker)

Author's Book Description : For beautiful heiress Sheree West, vampires are more than a fantasy. They are an obsession. Night after night, she dresses in black and immerses herself in L.A.’s goth club scene. Searching for a lover who is more than a man. A creature of the dark who lusts for her blood. A legend who lives in the shadows and not just her dreams. Then, one fateful night, she meets him...

Derek Blackwood is no ordinary vampire. Descended from a bloodline as old as Cleopatra, and blessed with unearthly powers of seduction, he is everything Sheree wished for—and more. When he takes her in his arms, she is powerless. When he kisses her neck, she is his. But when the full moon rises—and passions flare— something is unleashed in Derek he’s never felt before. Something wild. Something dangerous. Something he cannot control or stop...unless she can save him.

My Book Review : 3.5 out of 5 stars, a girl with an obsession of vampires finds what she was looking for and maybe a little more then she can chew...

For someone who hasn't read any of the other novels in this series, I was able to understand the plot while thoroughly enjoying the characters. Mara holds her world, and what she wants, together by shear will if not power. Sheree is a very naive girl but because of it, she is able to open her heart to Derek and love him through anything. Derek is very suave yet vulnerable and that combo is what helps Sheree fall in love with him. Together, Sheree and Derek are a sweet couple who make their love for one another pull them through all of the obstacles that get in their way.

Overall, I liked this novel. Yet, I just wish that Sheree could have dealt with her circumstances better then she did. In addition, the way this novel lays out I kept on thinking that there would be a "miracle" of some kind or to have something else unexpected to happen by the end of it and it just never happened, which made me a bit disappointed.

I do recommend this novel to anyone who's a fan of the series and/or to those who like paranormal romances.

Purchase This Book and/or The Other Books From It's Series Here :

My Previous Review(s) for this Author : Bound By Blood | Reckless Heart

My Previous Mention(s) of this Author's Books/Characters : Teaser Tuesdays: Bound By Blood | "Waiting On" Wednesday: Desire the Night | Teaser Tuesdays: Reckless Heart

Author's Novel Extras : NIGHT'S PROMISE - Overview & Excerpt | Update 3/4/13 | Update

Author's Series Extras : NIGHT'S KISS - Overview & Excerpt | NIGHT'S TOUCH - Overview & Excerpt | NIGHT'S MASTER - Overview & Excerpt | NIGHT'S PLEASURE - Overview & Excerpt | NIGHT'S MISTRESS - Overview & Excerpt | The latest news | How the Time Flies | Happy New Year!!!

Author's Book Trailer :

Book Teaser(s) :
Tugging on his hand, she led the way to the sofa and drew him down beside her.
He slipped his arm around her shoulders, and tucked her against his side.
Sheree snuggled against him. Was it possible to be both werewolf and vampire at the same time? What would it mean for the two of them if he changed into a werewolf and stayed that way?
"Is that what you're worried about?" he asked.
"Derek, you've got to stop reading my mind! It isn't fair."
He brushed a kiss across the top of her head. "I'm sorry. I can't help it." ~ within Chapter 25
For more information on this book, series, and/or any other books by Amanda, then please check out her website.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Disappointmentville: Ice Mountain Series, Book 1

- This is an ARC book - Available Formats through Paperback - Pages: 353; Kindle Edition - File Size: 1302 KB | Expected Release Date: November 4, 2014 | Publisher: Kensington : Zebra Books | Obtained: NetGalley

"The Amish Bride of Ice Mountain" [Ice Mountain Series, Book 1] by Kelly Long

Author's Book Description : Like most Mountain Amish girls, Mary King has always dreamed of her wedding day. But she never imagined that a sudden, irresistible kiss would result in marriage to the handsome Englischer professor studying her unique community. Or that doing the truly honorable thing means keeping their relationship chaste so both she and Dr. Jude Lyons can someday go their separate ways.

But when Mary accompanies her husband-in-name-only to Atlanta to meet his wealthy, overbearing family, she's tempted more than ever by Jude's kindness, humor--and vulnerability. And when a wrenching misunderstanding causes her to return heartbroken to her remote Appalachian home, she's certain she's lost the real love they have found...and the shared future she's come to want so much. But a crisis of more than faith will work surprising miracles--and show Mary that love is strong enough to make the impossible come true.

My Book Review : 2 out of 5 stars. This was a novel that didn't turn out as I had expected. And while that's fine, the turn of events that happen in this novel were just hard to overcome and appreciate, as I'd have liked too. So, I was able to read this up to Chapter 11 (27% on my Kindle) which is after Jude & Mary got off the mountain and it was her first experience in a hotel. While intriguing at times the plot was too slow for me to stick to it, I kept getting distracted. In addition, I found Jude to be a smart twenty-six year old man yet dumb when it came to his actions and Mary to be a naive nineteen-year-old when it came to anything outside her comfort zone (which was most things).

I was disappointed and wasn’t a fan. I don’t recommend it. But if you’re willing to read about a slightly “racier” take on the Amish world then this might be a book for you.

Purchase This Book and/or The Other Books From It's Series Here : IndieBound (Paperback) : An Amish Man of Ice Mountain (Book 2) | IndieBound (Paperback) : The Amish Heart of Ice Mountain (Book 3) | Kobo (e-Book) : An Amish Man of Ice Mountain (Book 2) | Kobo (e-Book) : The Amish Heart of Ice Mountain (Book 3) | (e-Book) : An Amish Man of Ice Mountain (Book 2) | (Paperback) : An Amish Man of Ice Mountain (Book 2) | (e-Book) : The Amish Heart of Ice Mountain (Book 3) | (Paperback) : The Amish Heart of Ice Mountain (Book 3)

IndieBound (Paperback) : The Amish Bride of Ice Mountain (Book 1)

Kobo (e-Book) : The Amish Bride of Ice Mountain (Book 1)

Author's Novel Extras :
My original models for Jude and Mary...Have you read it yet?
Posted by Fans of Kelly Long on Sunday, August 9, 2015

Author's Series Extras :
Here's to my Bishop Umble of The Amish of Ice Mountain Series!
Posted by Fans of Kelly Long on Sunday, January 18, 2015

An Amish Man of Ice Mountain...Joseph and Priscilla models!

Posted by Fans of Kelly Long on Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Ice Mine Reality--Coudersport, Pa. Inspired the Ice Mountain books!
Posted by Fans of Kelly Long on Monday, June 29, 2015

My models for Sarah and Edward in The Amish Heart of Ice Mountain...Preorder now for November 1st.....!
Posted by Fans of Kelly Long on Monday, August 10, 2015

Book Teaser(s) :
A five-foot-wide boarded gap marked the entrance to the mine, the base of the wood covered by ferns and long grass.
"Would you like to try and transplant some ferns, Professor?" Mary teased.
Jude knew the joke now. He'd discovered in his research that the type of fern that grew outside the mine was peculiar and native only to the mountain, and the many attempts made by science in the past to transplant and grow the ferns elsewhere had failed. It was only one small, intricate mysteries related to the mountain.
"Nee, thank you." He smiled at her. "You forget that I'm transplanting my own mountain flower and I must put every effort into that venture."
He admired the blush that stained her white cheeks at his obvious compliment. ~ within Chapter 8
For more information on this book, series, and/or any other books by Kelly, then please check out her Facebook Page.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Feasted On: The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill Series, Book 3

- This is an ARC book - Available Formats through Paperback - Pages: 352; Kindle Edition - File Size: ?? | Expected Release Date: October 7, 2014 | Publisher: Kensington : Zebra Books | Obtained: NetGalley

"Huckleberry Christmas" [The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill Series, Book 3] by Jennifer Beckstrand

Author's Book Description : Young widow Beth Hostetler has come to Huckleberry Hill to start afresh and make her own way without the interference of her late husband’s family. In addition to a feisty toddler, Beth has dresses to sew, cows to milk, and great-grandparents to care for. She doesn’t have the time or the inclination to entertain thoughts of a husband, even if every widower and bachelor in Wisconsin seeks her hand. Her first marriage to a harsh, demanding man was hard enough. She is perfectly happy being alone, not answering to anyone but God. Tyler Yoder is no different than the rest. With his infuriating sense of duty, he sees Beth as a woman in need of rescuing. His offer of marriage doesn’t tempt her in the least, but his handsome face and kind heart just might. Will this be the Christmas that she finally finds love?

After having been burned by love once, Tyler Yoder has given up on the whole idea of romance. He simply wants a godly wife with whom he can share companionship and the load of daily living. Beth Hostetler comes along at just the right time. She’s a hard worker, an excellent mother, and a beauty, to boot. And, with a son to raise, she needs a man’s protection. But when Beth spurns Tyler’s marriage proposal and offers to help him find a proper Amish wife, Tyler realizes where his affections really lie. Will he be able to convince Beth that love is at the heart of his persistence? And will she accept his heart for Christmas?

My Book Review : 4 out of 5 stars, two Amish grandparents are up to more matrimony scheming by trying to bring together their granddaughter Beth--a widow with a toddler son who plans to never remarry--and Tyler. This charming romance deals with serious issues yet is still lighthearted throughout with Anna and Felty Helmuth's anecdotes and Beth's humor.

For it being the first novel in this series that I've read, it kept me updated and involved without feeling lost, which was helpful. In addition to liking the plot, Beth & Tyler's unique romance was a delight to read about!! Together they were a fun couple that kept each other on their toes while building a sweet relationship between them. It was also entertaining to read about Toby (Beth's son) with his new words, mannerisms, and cute "rebellious" ways.

Plus, I loved Anna and Felty's buildup for "Huckleberry Spring," I can't wait to see what Anna will talk Felty into doing for that novel. *hahaa*

I recommend this novel and series to anyone who enjoys Amish/Christian romances!

Purchase This Book and/or The Other Books From It's Series Here :

Author's Series Extras : Huckleberry Hill Reviews | Huckleberry Summer Reviews | My near-death experience, or Does anyone have a good meatball recipe? | My trip to Wisconsin Amish Country! | Huckleberry Hill and a few of my favorite things | Amish Authors Break Their Silence | Teenage boys and raisin pie | Ask an Amish author about books and such... | Recipes and Hilarious Food Disasters | Writing process blog tour

Book Teaser(s) :
"I'm not a homeless puppy."
Puzzlement flooded his expression. "I never said you were."
"You want to help everybody because you are a naturally nice person, but I refuse to be one of your projects. I don't need rescuing. Like a puppy."
"I'm not fond of dogs."
"I'm not helpless. You don't have to bring bratwurst to make me feel better."
"I thought Felty might like it."
"We all liked it. You're so thoughtful."
He scratched his head. "You're not upset about Amos?"
His lips twitched. "You are annoyed because I'm nice to you?"
Beth rolled her eyes. "Well, when you put it that way, I sound like a crazy woman."
Tyler chuckled softly. "Jah, you do."
She growled and smacked him on the shoulder with what was left of her sunflower.
He laughed louder. ~ within Chapter 9
"She's here," Mamm said. "Time to put my plan into action."
"Don't even think about it, Mamm."
She pulled a pen from the drawer. "Don't worry. Beth won't suspect a thing." She scribbled on her palm. "Will she think I'm odd if I want to shake hands?" She opened her hand.
Tyler is a good catch, she had written.
Tyler chuckled. "You are odd, Mamm. No escaping that." ~ within Chapter 17

For more information on this book, series, and/or any other books by Jennifer, then please check out her website.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Disappointmentville: Drink of Me by Jacquelyn Frank

Format: Paperback | Pages: 371 | Release Date: October 2010 | Publisher: Zebra Books | Obtained: Friends of the Pasquotank-Camden Library - Fall Book Sale

"Drink of Me" by Jacquelyn Frank

Author's Book Description : In a world where emotion can be a deadly weapon, one slight, battered runaway holds the key to a dark and twisted enigma...

Drink of me, she whispers, her silver eyes trusting, pleading. What female dares speak such words to one of the Sánge? His people are scorned by every race for their fierce sensuality, their fearful rituals. And as Prime, Reule is the most telepathically gifted of them all.

But nothing has prepared him for the intensity of emotion radiating from the outlander rescued by his Pack. Terrified, tormented, but beautiful beyond measure, Mystique shatters his legendary control. As she reaches for him in the steamy heat of the healing baths, he knows this blind need can have but one end...

In blood, in knowledge, in ecstasy.

My Book Review : 2.5 out of 5 stars...

Okay. This is exactly what happened while I read this novel...

I was reeled into the beginning of this novel with its intriguing and mysterious buildup over Reule's people (the Sánge who are known as a savage group because they need to have blood while having sex and because of their fangs) and over Mystique (a woman who has run from her past while suffering from physical/emotional trauma and amnesia). Then the pretense of the novel hooked me when it came to the budding romance between Mystique and Reule, as well as the new developments that Mystique learned about herself. By then I was at page 178 (48% of the way in) reading while rocking my daughter to sleep where she ended up accidentally knocking the book out of my hands. When I got back to the novel, I didn't end up where I left off, not on purpose at first, a couple pages after where I ended just caught my eye and that is where I started again. To say it went downhill from there, me actually liking the novel, would be an understatement. I didn't like the way the plot was going.

Yet I wanted to give this novel the benefit of the doubt so I skimmed the rest of it so I could find out what happened to and between Reule, Mystique, her past, their future, and the funny secondary characters. What I found wasn't that I didn't enjoy what happened to the characters (well most of it), the reason for my rating was mostly because I didn't like what happened between Rye and Mystique at all (couldn't even find some goodness with the way that secondary plot wrapped up). In addition, I didn’t like the very end of this novel. Yes at the end it wraps up everything, but not quite the way I was hoping for. In addition, dealing with Mystique's insecurity about herself and her worth was annoying at times too. =0/

I don't recommend it; but if you do read it (since I found many positive reviews for this novel), I wish you luck and hope you like sci-fi-ish paranormal romances!

- On a side note -
So, basically what I'm saying (since this isn't my typical way to review a novel) is that the circumstances of how I read this novel could be why I rated it the way I did or if nothing unusual happened I might have felt the same way, I'm not really sure. =0/

My Previous Review(s) for this Author : Forbidden

My Previous Mention(s) of this Author's Books/Characters : "Waiting On" Wednesday: Forever | The Books I'm Thankful For (so far) in 2012 | Best Book Couples -- Happy Valentine's Day 2013

Author's Novel Extras : Mother's Day for Demons... | NOCTURNAL!! | DRINK OF ME

Book Teaser(s) :
"You're telling me you aren't at all worried that our Prime is forming an attachment to an outlander woman whom we know nothing about?"
"We know more than you think," Darcio hinted cryptically, "and no, I'm not worried. Reule isn't the sort to lose his head or his heart easily. And even if he did, Rye, I'm not entirely certain it would be any of our business."
"Everything is Pack business," Rye contradicted.
"Oh? Does that mean I can demand details about that pretty Janna you've been sniffing after all month?" Rye flushed a deep red at the mention of his rather serious flirtation with a young lady of the court. "After all, you are heir. If you're seeking to attach yourself to a woman who might one day be our Prima, perhaps we ought to be more involved in this."
"All right! Do you have to be such a cocky shit all the time?" Rye demanded. "You're right, as usual, and Delano, Saber, and I are assholes. Satisfied?"
"Immensely." Darcio chuckled. ~ within Chapter 5
For more information on this book and/or any other books by Jacquelyn, then please check out her website.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Made the Grade: Bound Series, Book 2

Format: Paperback | Pages: 340 | Release Date: October 2011 | Publisher: Zebra Books | Obtained: Walmart

"Bound By Blood" [Bound Series, Book 2] by Amanda Ashley (aka Madeline Baker)

My Book Summary : Kaitlyn, a half-human half-vampire who recently moved to Nevada, is intrigued by the local casino owner, Zack, with his handsome looks, his charming ways, and mysterious persona she can't seem to get enough of him during their dates. Zack feels the same way about Kaitlyn. However, when Kaitlyn realize what Zack actually is will they be able to keep seeing each other or will they have to end their relationship?

Finding out each other’s secrets isn't as important though when there is a pissed off witch plotting revenge on Kaitlyn's father by hurting Kaitlyn any way possible. Will the witch succeed or will Zack and Kaitlyn's family be able to defend her before anything bad happens?

My Book Review : 3.5 out of 5 stars!! This series has a great new take on the vampire romance theme!! I loved how the author wrote about Kaitlyn's lifestyle and the different types of vampires. The relationship between Kaitlyn and Zack was a little disappointing only because of how slow it progresses but that is only because of the racism Kaitlyn's relatives have of the "Others" and because of the vampires that are seeking revenge against Kaitlyn's family.

All in all it was a cute book that I'd recommend to whoever really enjoys new takes on vampire romance books.

Book Teaser(s) :
Teaser #1
"What are you doing here?"
The other vampire stared at him, his eyes wide with surprise, not fear. "I'm here to see Kaitlyn," he replied smoothly.
"Before the sun's even up?" Zack asked, still gripping the other man's arm.
"We're lovers," the man said with a leer.
"You're lying. Who the hell are you?" ~ within Chapter 12
"I can't wait that long. Will you help me?"
"I assume you tried to free Zack and failed?"
Kaitlyn nodded.
"That's what I thought. What do you think I can do that you couldn't? I don't have any superpowers."
"Maybe between the two of us, we can free him," Kaitlyn said. She didn't wait for an answer. ~ within Chapter 21
For more information on this book, series, and/or any other books by Amanda, then please check out her website.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What was I thinking?: Dark Swan Series, Book 1

Format: Paperback | Pages: 361 | Release Date: August 2008 | Publisher: Zebra Books

"Storm Born" [Dark Swan Series, Book 1] by Richelle Mead

What was I thinking? : Well, I really loved Richelle's Vampire Academy Series so I thought I'd try one of her other series and what a disappointment that was. Blah ....

My Book Summary : Eugenie is a powerful shaman, who's goal is to protect her "world" (and the human race) anyway she can from gentry (the fey) and things from the "other world" who happen to attack, haunt, or just bother humans. The good thing about it is she's a mercenary so she gets to choose which cases to take and gets paid for it. However, after years of being a mercenary, her name finally becomes known by the gentry and her life completely changes. When one of her latest clients needs her to rescue his teenage sister from a gentry, Eugenie learns about a disturbing prophecy that involves her first-born who will threaten the world as she knows it. So, now she has gentry coming at her from all sides ---- to be her unborn babies daddy or to kill her --- a teenage girl to save and she needs to work out who she can learn to trust when her world is turned up-side-down.

My Book Review : 1 out of 5 stars. From what I saw after I tried to read this book is a lot of people had bad reviews about the series too ... maybe not this book in particular but definitely a few books down the line. I liked the book up until the halfway point and then the plot went a way I just didn't like and I got bored with it. *shakes head* Too bad. Basically I never finished the book ... I just couldn't force my way to do so.

My Previous Review(s) for this Author : Spirit Bound

Book Teaser(s) :
Dorian's eyes flicked back to me. "Did you have any idea what a creature of nightmare you are around here? Mothers tell their children Odile Dark Swan will come for them if they're bad."
"Hey, I don't seek them out. I only come for them if they come for me first."
"Interesting," he said, arching an eyebrow. "But if that's how you like it, so be it. I always admire women who know what in the bedroom."
"Hey, that's not what I---" I hadn't realized the extent to which our slang had permeated the gentry world. Theirs was a reflection of my own; things seeped through. ~ within Chapter 8
For more information on this book and/or any other books by Richelle, then please check out her website.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Blog Tour - Feasted On: Not Always a Saint by Mary Jo Putney | Review

Today I'm turning my blog over to Mary Jo Putney, with a review of her latest novel "Not Always a Saint," which is the SEVENTH novel in The Lost Lords Series!! [Blog Tour will run on August 24 - September 18, 2015]

- This is an ARC book - Available Formats through Paperback - Pages: 352; Kindle Edition - File Size: 430 KB; Audiobook - Unabridged | Release Date: August 25, 2015 | Publisher: Kensington : Zebra Books | Obtained: Pump Up Your Book / NetGalley

"Not Always a Saint" [The Lost Lords Series, Book 7] by Mary Jo Putney (aka M. J. Putney)

Author's Book Description : “Adventure, passion and pure reading pleasure!” – Jo Beverley

After the death of his sweetheart when he was at university, Daniel Herbert buried his grief in medical studies and his passion for healing. Viewed as a saint by those who know him, in his own mind he never quite manages to live up to his own high standards.

Most men would be thrilled to learn they’ve inherited a title and estate from a distant relative, but Daniel is appalled because the burden of wealth will interfere with his medical calling. Warily he accepts that he must enter society and seek a wife—a sensible woman who can oversee his properties, leaving him free to continue his work. He does not expect to become intoxicated by a woman called the Black Widow, who is as mysterious as she is shockingly beautiful…

Jessie Kelham’s looks have always been a curse. Now alone with a young daughter and a perilous secret, she is in need of protection. But dangerously attractive Daniel Herbert is not the kind of husband she has in mind. If he recognizes her, the demons of her past will surely erupt. Yet they cannot keep apart—and soon they are drawn into a union that may bring joy—or shattering danger…

My Book Review : 4 out of 5 stars! Jezebel (Jessie/Lisbet) has had a tough life. Growing up as the daughter of a very strict vicar then to become married to an abuser and now to have her current husband pass away leaving her to safeguard her daughter by any means necessary, like finding another man to marry who can give her security and protection sooner then she would like too. Daniel is a perfect choice. He’s the type of man she would like to marry, if only he was a bit older, but with her “shady past” can she be the right woman for him?

While overall a mysterious novel full of intrigue, it was the characters’ banter and the circumstances that brought Jessie and Daniel together that held my interest! Set during the Regency era in England, it deals with abusive husbands/fathers, bigamy, treacherous nephews, an unwanted husband search, and more than enough other things to keep its readers on their toes. In addition, I enjoyed that while this novel is a part of a series, it brings the some previous characters in so seamlessly while building for the following novel (#8) and still coming off as a standalone so I could understand everything that was going on. Very well written and the ending was VERY surprising!

As for the main characters, Jessie and Daniel, they are a matched set. On paper, they were everything both didn’t want for in a partner. Yet, as they get to know one another, better they find that they are the perfect match! I don’t think I’ve ever stated this for a character, but I found Daniel to be pure, and while he constantly says that he is no saint, I will admit he is quite the gentleman. He’s one man I’d recommend anyone to fall for! Together Daniel and Jessie make a very good team. I’d LOVE to read more about them!

I recommend this novel to those who are fans of the series and/or to those looking for an intense Regency romance!

Purchase This Book and/or The Other Books From It's Series Here : IndieBound (Paperback) : Loving a Lost Lord (Book 1) | IndieBound (Compact Disc) : Loving a Lost Lord (Book 1) | IndieBound (Paperback) : Never Less Than a Lady (Book 2) | IndieBound (Paperback) : Nowhere Near Respectable (Book 3) | IndieBound (Hardcover, Large Print) : Nowhere Near Respectable (Book 3) | IndieBound (Paperback) : No Longer a Gentleman (Book 4) | IndieBound (Hardcover, Large Print) : No Longer a Gentleman (Book 4) | IndieBound (Paperback) : Sometimes a Rogue (Book 5) | IndieBound (Hardcover) : Sometimes a Rogue (Book 5) | IndieBound (Paperback) : Not Quite a Wife (Book 6) | IndieBound (Hardcover) : Not Quite a Wife (Book 6) | Kobo (e-Book) : Mary Jo Putney's Lost Lords Bundle: Loving a Lost Lord, Never Less Than A Lady, Nowhere Near Respectable, No Longer a Gentleman & Sometimes A Rogue | Kobo (e-Book) : Loving a Lost Lord (Book 1) | Kobo (e-Book) : Never Less Than a Lady (Book 2) | Kobo (e-Book) : Nowhere Near Respectable (Book 3) | Kobo (e-Book) : No Longer a Gentleman (Book 4) | Kobo (e-Book) : Sometimes a Rogue (Book 5) | Kobo (e-Book) : Not Quite a Wife (Book 6) | Alibris (Paperback) : Loving a Lost Lord (Book 1) | Alibris (Paperback) : Never Less Than a Lady (Book 2) | Alibris (Paperback) : Nowhere Near Respectable (Book 3) | Alibris (Paperback) : No Longer a Gentleman (Book 4) | Alibris (Paperback) : Sometimes a Rogue (Book 5) | Alibris (Paperback) : Not Quite a Wife (Book 6)

IndieBound (Paperback) : Not Always a Saint (Book 7)

IndieBound (Hardcover) : Not Always a Saint (Book 7)

Kobo (e-Book) : Not Always a Saint (Book 7)

Author's Novel Extras :

YAY! Besides getting a Top Pick from Romantic Times, NOT ALWAYS A SAINT received a starred review from Library Journal:...
Posted by Mary Jo Putney on Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Author's Series Extras :

Sherrie Holmes, the site manager for our WordWenches blog, has been raising an orphaned kitten, and teaching young...
Posted by Mary Jo Putney on Friday, September 27, 2013

Book Teaser(s) :
Refusing to back down, he asked, "Do you dislike me? I've thought there was a certain harmony of mind as well as a powerful attraction between us, but perhaps that's wishful thinking on my part."
She bit her lip. She was a good liar when necessary, but she didn't want to lie to this man. "You're not wrong, but attraction isn't a sound basis for a marriage."
"Isn't it a start?" he asked quizzically. "Shouldn't we at least try to discover if we'd suit?"
"Didn't anyone ever tell you it's ungentlemanly to ask a lady why she doesn't accept you?" Jessie said with sudden exasperation. "A simple 'no' should suffice!"
His mouth curved wryly. "As with the rule about morning calls, I'm aware of that, but I don't choose to comply. This is too important. You're too important." ~ within Chapter 11

NOT ALWAYS A SAINT by Mary Jo Putney -- Read my #bookreview here:...
Posted by From Me to You - Video, Photography, & Book Reviews on Monday, August 24, 2015

Book Preview :
For more information on this book, series, and/or any other books by Mary Jo, then please check out her website.

About the Author :

Mary Jo Putney was born in Upstate New York with a reading addiction, a condition for which there is no known cure. After earning degrees in English Literature and Industrial Design at Syracuse University, she did various forms of design work in California and England before inertia took over in Baltimore, Maryland, where she has lived very comfortably ever since.

While becoming a novelist was her ultimate fantasy, it never occurred to her that writing was an achievable goal until she acquired a computer for other purposes. When the realization hit that a computer was the ultimate writing tool, she charged merrily into her first book with an ignorance that illustrates the adage that fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Fortune sometimes favors the foolish and her first book sold quickly, thereby changing her life forever, in most ways for the better. (“But why didn’t anyone tell me that writing would change the way one reads?”) Like a lemming over a cliff, she gave up her freelance graphic design business to become a full-time writer as soon as possible.

Since 1987, Ms. Putney has published over forty books and counting. Her stories are noted for psychological depth and unusual subject matter such as alcoholism, death and dying, and domestic abuse. She has made all of the national bestseller lists including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USAToday, and Publishers Weekly. Five of her books have been named among the year’s top five romances by The Library Journal, while three were listed in the Top Ten Romances of the year by Booklist, published by the American Library Association.

A ten-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America RITA, she has won RITAs for "Dancing on the Wind" and "The Rake and the Reformer" and is on the RWA Honor Roll for bestselling authors. She has also been awarded two Romantic Times Career Achievement Awards, four NJRW Golden Leaf awards, plus the NJRW career achievement award for historical romance. In 2013 she was awarded the Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.

Though most of her books have been historical romances, she has also published three contemporary romances, several paranormal historicals with strong fantasy elements, a young adult historical fantasy trilogy, and numerous novellas and short stories. She is currently writing the New York Times list bestselling Lost Lords historical romance series for Kensington.

Ms. Putney lives near Baltimore, Maryland with her nearest and dearest, both two and four footed. She says that not least among the blessings of a full-time writing career is that one almost never has to wear pantyhose.

Mary Jo Putney is the recipient of the 2013 RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award

Be sure to follow the tour around the other blog sites!

Thank you everyone who participated in my #LostLords giveaway contest! I'll be emailing the winners tomorrow.Click...
Posted by Mary Jo Putney on Sunday, August 23, 2015

Find Mary Jo Putney :

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