Monday, August 31, 2015

Book Review & Giveaway for Joni, Underway (Hey That Rhymes!)






I am super excited to be part of the blog tour for Joni, Underway by Kelly Oram and Jonathan Harrow. I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but I have to say, I was impressed.

We first meet Joni while she's in the middle of a college softball game that her team will win or lose depending on what she does at the plate. I loved her inner voice and how easy it was to relate to her and not wanting to screw up.  During the aftermath of the game, however, Joni gets devastating news---her brother has been killed in a car accident.

That event turns her life upside down. She hadn't been close to her brother for years and now that chance was taken away forever.  He'd been the traveler of the family and had an amazing trip planned that he was weeks away from taking before he was killed.  Joni ends up going on the trip herself to escape everyone who is trying to help her cope with her loss. But it's on the sailing ship that she truly finds herself.

I loved the characters in this story with all their quirks and warts.  Their personal stories and how they were all meshing into each other's lives kept me turning pages long after I should have been asleep. (For my gentle readers, there is strong language in this book.) I liked the growth in Joni's character, which only added to her relationship with Reid and how it evolved over the trip. *le sigh* (Reid was an amazing hero. Truly.)  They all became family and with the way it was written, the reader became family along with them.

This is a story that will make you think about it long after you've read the end.

You can download your Kindle copy here for $4.99!

Here's the back copy:

Nineteen year old Joni is loving life as an adult—living on her own, dealing with grown-up things like jobs, hook-ups, and doing her own laundry. Best of all: after finishing her first year at ASU, she will never again be called a freshman.

But when her brother is suddenly killed in a car accident, Joni’s adult life is turned upside down. Struggling to cope with loss, guilt, and anger—not to mention the meddling of friends and family trying to “fix” her—Joni is relieved to be presented with an escape in the form of a sailing trip her brother had been planning for months before he died.

With her first step onto the sailing vessel Lady Marguerite, Joni plunges into an adventure that will mark the beginning of her real adult life—a journey across the ominous dark blue of the Atlantic Ocean with a small, eccentric crew, and the young Captain Reid, whose gorgeous looks are only outmatched by his talent for care and kindness. Unfolding through the ups and downs of life at sea is an unforgettable story reminding us that love will always be a work-in-progress and coming of age never gets old.



About the Author




Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen--a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful.

Jonathan Harrow left a career in Hollywood to pursue his dream of writing novels. He has an author crush on Charlotte Bronte, and a real crush on his author wife, YA bestseller Kelly Oram.

They live in Phoenix with their four kids and their cat, Mr. Darcy.

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Freebie Friday




Today's Freebie Friday is Lord Trowbridge's Angel by G.G. Vandagriff.  I really enjoyed this regency romance and you can read my review of it here

Download your free Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

The very handsome and very bored Lord Trowbridge knows something is missing in his existence. When he is asked by a friend to escort the seemingly quiet Miss Sophie Edwards to her first ball, he has no idea she possesses the key that will unlock him. It is her secret weapon.

Once he sees his own inner workings, life unfolds in a different manner. He will do anything to capture the love of his “angel.” Unfortunately, his old life and the shibboleths of the ton stand in his way. As he wades through these afflictions, Sophie is courted by another man. Who will she choose? How can he possibly show his love for her in a way as original and unique as she is? What are Sophie's feelings for him?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Under the Mistletoe Is Up For Preorder!




I'm so excited to let you all know that Under the Mistletoe, the Timeless Romance Anthology that includes six contemporary novellas by six award-winning authors (including me!) is up for pre-order! Yay! They are heart-tugging, awesome holiday stories and I know you're going to love them.

I haven't heard exactly what Mirror Press is going to use for the back copy yet, but thought I would share with you the one I wrote to describe my story.

"After a year of recovery, wounded war veteran Jonah Harrison comes home for Christmas. No longer the outgoing high school track star, he just wants to be left alone, away from well-meaning friends and neighbors. But when a blizzard strands him with Cami Jackson---the girl who once knew him best---he can’t hide anything from her, no matter how much he wants to. Cami has a wounded heart of her own, though, and it might take a Christmas miracle for them to find the healing they both long for and the courage to reach for a chance at love."

I can't wait to share all the stories with you. If you want to make sure you have the anthology delivered to your Kindle the moment it comes out, you can pre-order your copy here for only $4.99!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Writer Goal Wednesday

photo credit: plnaugle via photopin cc 


I think I forgot to announce on the blog who the winners were of the Freetown DVD.

*drum roll*

The two winners that will each receive a copy of the DVD Freetown are:

Peggy and Faelynn!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered!  Ladies, I will be contacting you so you can claim your prize.

This week's writing goals went great for me.  My goal was 3500 words and I almost made that. I got 3440, but considering the busy week I had, I was so happy with that! I should have pushed on for 60 more, but it's okay. The book is really flowing and I'm feeling fantastic about it.

I think that 3500 is a good goal for me, so I'm going to stick with that one for my next goal. I'm really excited for next week, though, because my youngest one will be in school as well and I'll have a lot more writing time. It's going to be awesome I can feel it!

How did your goals go last week?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Puppy Themed Birthday Party

I've been having a little too much fun lately planning my little girl's puppy themed birthday party.  It is finally over and I'm dying to show you all the pictures!

The Decorations



Puppy paws on the balloons



Adorable puppy cake!


I got brand new dog bowls from the dollar store for the treats and found cute little tags with dog themes on Pinterest.




The "Pup" corn was a bit hit!




Doesn't that really look like puppy chow? LOL It's just chocolate puff cereal.



Scooby snacks.  :)



Paw print sugar cookies, aren't they adorable?


Drink station and "chew" toys.






Doggie bags for the kids to take home. Included in them are: a ball, a "best in show" medal, puppy chow, scooby snacks, and a Snoopy fruit snack.  

The Fun




So when each child got there, they picked out some puppy ears and a tail, (I found fabric remnants and hot glued them to head bands for the ears, then sewed simple tails and put them on elastic) then we started working on their "collar" which was foam beads with a larger one in the middle for the "dog" tag.

then I face-painted simple puppy faces on them.



then each person got their own dog bowl for their snacks. (Also from the dollar store and washed thoroughly of course.)


We played games like obedience school (where they learned to roll over, howl, chase their tails, sniff for bones, play dead, and wag your tail) and then played "Simon Says" to show off their skills.

We also did a puppy obstacle course where they jumped through a hula hoop, pushed a ball with their nose, balanced a dog biscuit and dug for bones in the sandbox.  The fun one was "guess the smell" and we had a pickle and some fruity shampoo in paper bags that they were trying to guess. LOL

We couldn't find a poster for Pin the Tail on the Puppy so my son hand drew one for me. It was fun!


We made a simple dog house to take pictures of our puppies in front of and show off their puppy faces!


Then, my neighbor brought over her two month old toy Pomeranian puppy to show everyone and talk about dog safety (never approaching strange dogs, asking owners first before you try to pet a dog, that sort of thing) and then everyone got to play with the puppy. After that we did presents and cake and ice cream, then everyone went home with their ears, tail, dog bowl, and a doggie bag. I think it was a success! I know my little girl loved it and we had a lot of fun planning it together.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Double Book Review



I got to read an advanced copy of Shana Galen's new novel, The Rogue You Know (Covent Garden Cubs #2). I really enjoyed the first book in the series and was glad to see Gideon get his own story. I like how Galen writes the Regency period, but doesn't stick to the ballroom. She uses the stark difference of the gangs that weren't all that far away from the glittering ton.

In this story, Gideon is trying to get out of the gang and he's going to pull off one more jewel heist to do it. It doesn't go smoothly, however, and he's forced to run.  He ends up at Marlowe's home (who was the center of the last book) and she's very respectable gentry now. Unfortunately, Marlowe's debutante sister-in-law comes face to face with Gideon as he's breaking into her home to hide.

Susanna is sick and tired of her life.  Her mother dictates every move she makes and even the tiniest gesture must be "proper." She's going out of her mind, wishing for a bit of adventure, when Gideon enters her life.  The repartee between them made me laugh out loud and the old adage of opposites attract definitely applies here.  Susanna longed for adventure and when she strikes a deal with Gideon, she definitely gets that.

The one thing that struck me most as I read this story were the similarities to the Disney movie, Tangled.  The author admits this inspiration in her acknowledgments, so, if you've seen that movie, you can sort of see where The Rogue You Know is going to go.  (For my gentle readers, however, there are some sexual situations, but they are easy to skip over.)

You can preorder your copy here for $6.15

Here's the back copy:

She's beyond his reach...

Gideon Harrow has spent his life in London's dark underworld-and he wants out. A thief and a con, he plans one last heist to finally win his freedom. But when everything goes wrong, he finds himself at the tender mercies of one of Society's most untouchable women-Lady Susanna Derring.

...and out of her depth.

Susanna has spent her life in London's glittering ton, under the thumb of a domineering mother-and she wants out. When a wickedly charming rogue lands at her feet, she jumps at the chance to experience life before it's too late. But as she descends into London's underworld, she finds that nothing- not even Gideon-is as it seems. As excitement turns to danger, Susanna must decide what price she's willing to pay...for the love of a reformed thief.



The second book I want to tell you about today is Brenda Novak's new one, The Secret Sister. This one has a lot of mystery and intrigue, with a complicated romance mixed in.

Maisey is getting a divorce, she's got writer's block, and her brother tried to commit suicide.  Hoping to help things, she goes home to Fairham Island.  Talk about family issues! Her mother is controlling and critical, so Maisey decides to stay at her family's bungalow where she has great memories of her dad before he died.  It was damaged by a hurricane, though, so it needs work, but Maisey doesn't care. Anywhere her mother isn't, is where Maisey wants to be.  The only problem is, the guy working to restore the bungalow is Rafe Romero, a guy she had a fling with in high school. So, she's kind of between a rock and hard place, but chooses to face Rafe, rather than her mother.

Rafe just wants to keep the job and be able to care for his daughter (who was my favorite character I think! Laney was adorable.)  Maisey complicates that plan, but he's determined to show her he's not the person she remembers.  Before he has much of a chance, though, he comes across a box of old photographs hidden inside a wall and that starts off a chain of events that takes Maisey back into the past where some people don't want to go.

The mystery as to what happened to the secret sister was well done and had a lot of twists and turns. I was grateful there wasn't anything gory, just suspenseful and it kept me turning pages. I really enjoyed the ending and am looking forward to the second book in the series.  (For my gentle readers, there are some sexual situations to skip over, so be aware of that.)

You can get your copy here for $8.99

Here's the back copy:

Did she once have a sister? Has her mother lied all these years? Why?

After a painful divorce, Maisey Lazarow returns to Fairham, the small island off the North Carolina coast where she grew up. She goes there to heal—and to help her brother, Keith, a deeply troubled man who's asked her to come home. But she refuses to stay in the family house. The last person she wants to see is the wealthy, controlling mother she escaped years ago.

Instead, she finds herself living next door to someone else she'd prefer to avoid—Rafe Romero, the wild, reckless boy to whom she lost her virginity at sixteen. He's back on the island, and to her surprise, he's raising a young daughter alone. Maisey's still attracted to him, but her heart's too broken to risk…

Then something even more disturbing happens. She discovers a box of photographs that evoke distant memories of a little girl, a child Keith remembers, too. Maisey believes the girl must've been their sister, but their mother claims there was no sister.

Maisey's convinced that child existed. So where is she now?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Freebie



Today's Friday Freebie is a clean medieval romance called Lady At Arms by Tamera Leigh, a USA Today bestselling author. From the description, this heroine looks like she's no wilting violet! I know what I'll be reading this weekend. You can download your free Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

HE WAS THE VILEST OF MEN

Lizanne Balmaine has spent years honing her skills at arms, determined she will never again be at the mercy of any man. When she comes face to face with the one who stole her future, she seizes the opportunity to exact revenge. Soon he is her prisoner, at her mercy. But something is different about him, something that makes her question her purpose. Is it possible a man can be so changed? More, can she right the wrong that could lay ruin to her family?

SHE WAS A QUESTION NEVER BEFORE ASKED OF HIM 

Ranulf Wardieu does not seek a bride, nor a settling of scores when his mission for the king places him in the path of a beguiling, raven-haired maiden. But fascination turns to fury when she imprisons him. Accused of wrongdoing, the nature of which she refuses to reveal, he discovers the lady is as skilled at wielding a sword as she is at verbal sparring. When he bests her at her game and his jailer becomes his captive, he is determined to learn what wrong he has done her. However, as they engage in a battle of wits and wills and he glimpses her woman’s heart, he discovers Lizanne is a question never before asked of him—one his own jaded heart refuses to answer.