Monday, July 25, 2016

Book Review: Gears of Revolution

Today's book reviewer is my thirteen-year-old son who has been reading J. Scott Savage's Mysteries of Cove series. He just finished Gears of Revolution and here are his thoughts:

"I was excited to read the second book after the end of the first one because Fires of Invention left me wanting to find out what happened next. Gears of Revolution was written so well I could really imagine it in my mind. The author gives such great detail, it's like I'm right there. 
I like how the author has built the story around a solid plot. It's an awesome adventure story and it really teaches you to care about other people no matter what their background is. My favorite character was Trenton because he is so central to the story. I like how he acts as he tries to find the inventor. The author really has a wide range of characters that are all interesting and different.
Gears of Revolution also ends on a bit of a cliffhanger so I'm excited to get the third one. I wish the author could write faster!"

I'm just starting to read this story myself and I'm really enjoying it as well!

Here's the back copy:

After finding a compass and clues left by Kallista's father, Leo Babbage, Trenton and Kallista head west aboard their homemade mechanical dragon to search for the missing inventor. The two teenagers hope to find answers about their mountain city of Cove, but instead, they find only a blackened forest, ruined buildings, and a small underground city

Almost immediately, Trenton and Kallista are caught up in a civil war between a clan of scavengers called Whipjacks and the Order of the Beast, people who believe that dragons are immortal and divine.

Stranded in a new city, the two friends meet Plucky, a Whipjack girl with mechanical legs, and Ander, a young member of the Order who claims humans are able to communicate with dragons. Can they trust anyone, or have they unknowingly stepped into a trap?

And high above in the sky, the dragons are gathering . . .

You can preorder your copy here

Friday, July 22, 2016

TWO Free Books Today!

Today's Freebie Friday is featuring TWO free books!

The first one is a romance by Heather B. Moore called One Chance. I read and enjoyed this entire series of novella about five high school friends all grown up.

Here's the back copy:

Welcome to the Aliso Creek Novella Series...

Liz, Gemma, Arie, Jess, and Drew have been best friends since creating “the Five” at Aliso Creek High School. But that was over ten years ago, and each is still trying to find that perfect someone... if perfect is even possible.

Valentina is the odd woman out. She was part of “the Five” when she dated Drew for a couple of years, and she remains friends with the women, but with her traveling schedule as a runway model, it’s impossible to maintain a real relationship. When Valentina attends her cousin’s wedding in LA, she runs into Cesar, who she was a school friend with in Puerto Rico. Cesar is not the young, skinny boy she remembers but a grown man who seems interested in what’s beyond her model appearance. Back in New York, Valentina can’t get him out of her mind, but she also can’t deny the fact that they’re separated by well over a thousand miles.

Download your free Kindle copy here


The second one is a dystopian romance by Rebecca Belliston called Life (Citizens of Logan Pond Book 1). I haven't read this one yet, but it looks good!

Here's the back copy:

In a world without money, the fight to survive begins . . .

The economy crashed, the country is floundering, and Carrie Ashworth struggles to keep her siblings alive. She has two jobs in her newly-formed, newly-outlawed clan: grow crops to feed thirty-six people, and maintain contact with Oliver Simmons, their local patrolman. Carrie's life is almost content when Greg Pierce shows up. A man with the ambition to help them survive. A man determined to hate her.

Greg sets to work devising systems to protect the clan from the new regime, but it doesn't take long to realize the true reason behind their safety. Patrolman Simmons has fallen for Carrie. When a government raid nearly wipes out their clan, Greg takes it upon himself to give the socially-awkward patrolman what he wants. Only Carrie doesn't like Greg throwing her in Simmons' path, especially when Greg's brusque exterior melts, and she catches a glimpse of the real man underneath. Carrie is forced to choose: follow her heart or save her clan.

Life won't let her choose both.

Download your free Kindle copy here

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Trying New Things & A Sneak Peek

As some of you know, I've been toying with the idea of writing a romance with no suspense elements in it for a long time. I just wasn't sure if I could do it. But then I got asked to be in Under the Mistletoe: Timeless Romance Anthology to write a romance novella and after that experience I knew I could do it. I was still nervous, though, since I usually write romantic suspense. Doing a full length romance novel would be a big departure for me. But I'm six chapters into my new novel now and so far I'm really enjoying it.

Here's a sneak peek of the first paragraph:
The sun peeked out from between the clouds, adding light to the somber cemetery gray all around her. When Victoria Newel had buried her husband exactly a year ago, it had rained and she was glad. No one had questioned why she wasn’t crying and the raindrops hid her lack of feeling as she let them run down her face instead of salty tears.
It makes me nervous and excited to share, but mostly excited. I hope my fans will embrace this new endeavor for me. What's that old saying? Life begins at the end of your comfort zone? Well, maybe my writer life is beginning to go in a new direction. We shall see.  But thank you all for your support, your emails, and for being the best fans an author can have. I am trying new things and it feels good!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I was given Rachel Rassano's new book Honor: Second Novel of Rhynan yesterday and I've had such a hard time putting it down! She creates this amazing world that is familiar, and yet not, with intrigue and treachery and romance. I really loved the first book in the series and the second one is just as good so far! I definitely will do a full review of this one when I finish.

***Edited to add:

I loved this book! It was layered with action and decision, romance and intrigue, and topped with treachery and treason. The author transports us to a somewhat medieval world with regency undertones, but grounds the reader so well, it feels real. I loved the depth of the characters and how their emotions intertwined with the events that shaped their relationship. It was easy to root for Dentin to find love after being so long denied and Elsa was his match in every way. So well done. I can't wait for more in this series!

Here's the back copy:

The Earl of Dentin excels in his position as Securer of the Realm. But the king's order to pluck an orphaned child from a loving home unsettles Dentin. When a dark-eyed woman challenges his honor regarding the mission, Dentin finds himself unable to justify his actions or get her out of his mind. Something about her lack of fear intrigues him.

Lady Elsa Reeve attempts to avoid the marriage of convenience her brother and mother demand of her. She understands the need to pay off her brother's massive debt. She only wants her family to consider her wishes in the process.

As Elsa becomes further entangled in a snare of her brother's creating, only one man defends her. But can she trust Dentin, her unlikely champion, and his motives? With a murderer on the loose, Elsa's fate in jeopardy, and a traitor plotting against the king, Dentin finds his priorities shifting in an unexpected direction.

You can get your own copy here

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My Apricot/Pineapple Jam Brings Out My Inner Domestic Goddess

I have been a domestic goddess today. I canned nearly seven quarts of apricot/pineapple jam! There is just something awesome about getting fruit freshly picked, cutting it up, and making it into jam. And it tastes so good!

Here's a picture of the first batch:

Someone recommended on Facebook to put the apricot/pineapple jam on grilled chicken so that's what we had for dinner tonight. It was SO GOOD! I highly recommend it. We also put it on pancakes. (And sandwiches. There are so many way to use it!)

Here's the recipe I used:

12 cups apricots, pitted and chopped
8 cups sugar
1 can crushed pineapple

Combine all three ingredients in a large pan. Cook on medium heat until it boils, then reduce heat and let simmer 3 to 4 hours. Stir often.

Do you can fruits and vegetables? What's your favorite recipe?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Book Review: Road Trip Collection

I loved the new Timeless Romance Anthology: Road Trip Collection. Each novella has the central theme of a road trip, but they are all so different!

The first one, What Falling Feels Like by Jolene Betty Perry, has a cute divorcee who refurbishes trailers while trying to get her life back together. She meets up with her best friend's younger brother that always hung around with them in high school. They take a little road trip to his sister's house and realize that maybe the feelings from high school weren't quite all resolved. Quite emotional for a short novella.

The second one is Antiques Road Trip by Sarah Eden. This one is about a reality show where the contestants dress like 19th century ladies and gentleman and have to get through challenges from the time period in order to win a trip to England and $100,000. There were so many sweet moments between Devon and Kelsey. I didn't know which one I wanted to win until near the end. This is one that you might need a tissue for, however, with a heart-tugging ending.

The third one is Wouldn't It Be Nice by Ranee Clark. Jacqueline's neglectful boyfriend lets her down and she's done. Leaving on a road trip with her friends, her old neighbor and childhood friend Hudson suddenly takes her boyfriend's place in the van. During the trip he tells her he has always had feelings for her, but things gets complicated when the boyfriend suddenly shows up. Who will she choose? Loved the characterization in this one and I definitely had a preference as to who I wanted her to pick!

The fourth one is Head Over Heels by Annette Lyon. This one was a fun and flirty meeting at a convention that leads to a road trip to Las Vegas. I loved all the witty banter between these two sprinkled with the romantic tension, especially with the feigned engagement. (Singing the 80s song together made me smile. I loved that part!)They were adorable while they were "pretending" and it was fun to see when the lines got blurred between what's real and what's not. Loved the ending!

The fifth one is Two Dozen Roses by Heather Moore. I was a little surprised to see a mother/daughter duo, but it totally worked. Dayna is driving her mother up the coast to her brother's home and they keep running into Garrett and Roman who are also traveling the same route to honor their sister's memory. I loved the emotional undertones and how kind Roman was. There was a really sweet energy in this one.

The last one was Try, Try Again by Aubrey Mace. Sarah has always loved Justin, and she might have a chance with him after he breaks up with his girlfriend. She doesn't want to be the rebound girl, though, and doesn't pursue it. After six months, though, the what-might-have-beens are kicking in and she takes a road trip (to a funeral!) to see him and figure out if they really have a chance or not. This one will pull you right in and hold you there hoping they'll get their happily-ever-after.

I love the Timeless Romance Anthologies because they are a sweet bite of romance. Each story is just long enough to pull you in and satisfy you like a slice of chocolate truffle. It hits the right spot every time!

Here's the back copy:

Six new contemporary romance novellas from bestselling authors:

High school was years ago, and Kendell is ready to admit that Tyler, her best friend’s younger brother, has matured into a good-looking man. But the once-popular Kendell is recovering from a marriage-gone-wrong, and she regrets turning Tyler down for high school prom. On their road trip to deliver a refurbished camper, Kendell rediscovers all the reasons she liked Tyler, but it might be too late to rekindle their friendship.

Kelsey is living out her dream for the weekend as she participates in a reality show contest by living on a 19th century film set. The contestant who wins the show receives a trip to England and $100k, more than enough to get her through grad school. When she meets Devon, who was coerced by his sister to participate, friendship blossoms. When things go wrong for Kelsey, Devon is there to help, and she soon realizes that winning the contest isn’t what she most desires.

WOULDN’T IT BE NICE by Ranee` S. Clark
When Jacqueline's boyfriend Colin drops out of their long-planned road trip with friends to put his job first—again—it's the final nail in the coffin of their dying relationship. But then Hudson, her best friend’s brother, takes Colin's spot for the road trip, and Jacqueline’s disappointment in her ex takes a back seat to the chance for reestablishing the close ties she once had with Hudson. When their friendship detours into romance, it forces Jacqueline to question her reasons for breaking up with Colin and her future with Hudson.

HEAD OVER HEELS by Annette Lyon
Tristan is proud to be an entrepreneur, running a popular singles’ lifestyle blog. So when she gets an offer to cover a singles convention in Las Vegas, she needs to find a way to get there from another freelance job in Salt Lake without breaking into her personal savings. Her friend sets her up with a co-worker who happens to be driving that way, and Tristan is more than surprised to come face-to-face with a man she has a lot in common with, not to mention seems to click with right away. The two decide to play a prank on Tristan’s friend, and pretend that they are smitten with each other, but soon, the lines between pretend and reality start to fade.

TWO DOZEN ROSES by Heather B. Moore
Dayna reluctantly takes time out of her busy work life to drive her mother up the Pacific Coast Highway from California to her brother’s home in Oregon. Strangely enough, they keep running into two brothers who are traveling the same route in honor of their sister’s memory. The older brother Garrett is a merciless flirt, but the younger brother Roman is who captures Dayna’s attention. Soon she realizes that the brothers are extremely competitive, and she’s just become their next target.

TRY, TRY AGAIN by Aubrey Mace
Sarah’s secret crush on Justin takes a sudden turn when he breaks up with his girlfriend and declares that he’s interested in Sarah. She believes he’s just on the rebound, and they slowly drift apart. Six months later, Sarah still can’t stop thinking about what might have been. She ropes her friend into taking a road trip to visit Justin, hoping for a second chance. When Justin sees her, he wants answers, and Sarah has to decide if she’s brave enough to finally tell him the truth.

You can download your copy here

Friday, July 15, 2016

Nearly Freebie Friday

If you haven't read any of Joyce DiPastena's historical romances, you've been missing out and now is your chance! Her novel, Loving Lucianna, is on sale today for only .99 cents!

Here's the back copy:

Sir Balduin de Soler gave up long ago on love. He never had the means to support a wife until an unexpected advancement in his fifties allows him to reassess his future just as the lovely Lucianna enters his life.

Lucianna Fabio harbors a secret, painful memory from her past that has kept her unwed, as well. Now in her forties, she thought herself too old to marry until she meets Sir Balduin. Now suddenly their lonely autumn lives feel very much like spring again . . . until Lucianna’s brother appears without warning and threatens to revive the secret that will destroy Lucianna’s second chance at love.

“Loving Lucianna" is a “Hearts in Autumn” romance, medieval romances revolving around heroes and heroines “in the autumn of their years.” Because love isn't only for the young!

Download your Kindle copy here