Welcome September!

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Image: Design Board

I love this time a year…it means we are closer to sweaters, scarves and Halloween.  It is also my birthday month.  I know, you are thinking, “a month?” It’s a day not a month.  I believe that for weddings there should be one day, but birthdays, there should be a month.  I am not a “throw-a-big-party” kind of gal.  I like one on one things, and for an introvert like me I have a lot of people to hang out with so a day is not a enough.  It’s not like I am saying I need gifts every day (which would be so cool) or to be acknowledged how special I am (which would also be really neat).  But that’s not what this post is about.

I haven’t really been motivated with writing the past several months.  I have been doubting myself a lot.  “What makes me special that anyone wants to read what I have to say, think or feel?” “What if I am not smart enough to do this?”  “What if my dreams are ridiculous?”  Then I thought of the Kardashians and gang.  Enough said.

I am in the middle of reading, Girl Up by Laura Bates (of Everyday Sexism) and hope to share a review with you tomorrow along with a few others if time permits.

P.S. I am not writing anymore today because it is 19 years later today and to celebrate I am reading the whole Harry Potter series again (well, not today, even I am not that good!).

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New Release: Mariah Stewart’s Chesapeake Bride

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THE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE (The Chesapeake Diaries: #11) written by Mariah Stewart

AUGUST 29, 2017; 384 Pages (Pocket Books)

Genre: contemporary, fiction, romance, small town, series

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart returns to the cherished Maryland shores of St. Dennis with THE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE (Pocket Books; August 29, 2017; $7.99), the charming story of a jaded architect who meets the one man who could finally melt her heart—if she’s willing to let him in.

Cassidy Logan has sworn off good-looking adventurers, having just divorced the one she’d married. Now working with her father’s construction company to build ecologically friendly, historically accurate homes on the Chesapeake Bay, she’s designing them for Cannonball Island. Knowing there’s been no new construction on the island in almost one hundred years, Cass is sensitive to the heritage and history of the sparsely populated island, and has come up with plans so perfect she’s determined to buy one for herself to live in. Even the fact that Owen Parker—whom she dismisses as a lightweight and a player— seems to be everywhere she goes isn’t enough to deter her from building her dream house.

Owen is and always has been sinfully handsome and wickedly clever, a magnet for mischief as well as the girls in St. Dennis. He’s also a rolling stone, going and doing whatever appeals to him, from flying a mail plane in Alaska to working on a cattle ranch in Australia and a shrimp boat in Louisiana, to surfing and diving in Costa Rica. When an old friend offers him a job salvaging a sunken ship in the Chesapeake, Owen gladly accepts. Something’s been telling him it’s about time to head home to Cannonball Island, and a job is as good an excuse as any. He’s totally smitten with the pretty architect, but it seems he’s finally met a woman who’s immune to his charms. Sooner or later, Owen will have to face the reason why he always runs, because this time, leaving just might be harder than staying.

EXCERPT FROM CHESAPEAKE BRIDE:

Diary~
I love the changing of the seasons—and I think summer into fall might be a favorite, being as how I relate to the whole “autumn of my years” thing. That’s how I see myself, anyway. If sixty is the new forty, I believe seventy must be the new fifty, eighty the new sixty, and so on. Therefore, I fall into that third quadrant. Don’t try to change my mind or
confuse me with facts. One of the reasons I love this time of the year: the steady influx of tourists into St. Dennis begins to wane. Not that I don’t love our visitors. Why, without them, St. Dennis would have continued to languish and would never have become the
Eastern Shore mecca it now is. But there’s something sweet about having your hometown belong to you and yours again, even if it’s just for a while. I know soon enough the holidays will be upon us and many will flock to town for all the beautiful festivities—the Christmas House Tour, the weekend of caroling, the tree lighting at the square on Old St. Mary’s Church Road, Christmas at the Inn (a favorite of mine), and, oh, yes, the shopping! But this little respite between the beginning of September, when the families leave to return their offspring to school, and the holiday madness belongs to us, we old St. Dennis folk who like a little downtime. Not to say there’s nothing going on here! There are new babies to celebrate and a special wedding on the horizon, one that makes me especially weepy. My dear nephew, Alec, will be marrying his lovely Lisbeth in an event that will be the talk of both St. Dennis and Cannonball Island for a long time to come. I’m not privy to all the details, mind you, but since my daughter, Lucy, is planning the wedding, I’ve heard bits and squeaks of what she has in mind, and it will, no doubt, be perfectly wonderful.

When we were children, Mama told us that when good folks passed, they earned a star in the heavens where they could sit and shine down on all the goings-on here on earth. Our brothers scoffed, but we girls believed her, and so it is that I know my beloved sister, Carole, will be watching happily from her star as her son marries his bride out on the point in just a few more weeks. Thinking about the point makes me think of all the changes that are coming to Cannonball Island soon. So much, it could make your head spin! For the first time in roughly two  hundred years, new dwellings will be going up on what had once been barren land. I heard from one in the know that some of the older homesteads—mostly those that have fallen into ruin or have been abandoned—will be replaced with new versions more suitable to modern living. Some are up in arms about this, but frankly, it’s about time. Those dilapidated old shells offer no shelter and, if anything, detract from the beauty of the island. My good friend Ruby Carter—the island’s matriarch—has given her blessing, and that’s good enough for me. Besides, Alec will be serving as the environmental consultant, so I feel confident that all will be well. The new homes are being designed with the island’s history in mind, so the legacy of those early settlers will be well protected. The architect is a lovely young woman who is serious about this project, so I know, eventually, all will be well. Of course I do. I know, too, that a certain islander with a “rolling stone” reputation will be finding his rolling days coming to a halt before too long. It will be amusing, to say the least, to see him meet his match. Will he be bested?

The smart money’s on the new girl. That’s all I have to say about that. And so much excitement over all the goings-on at the mouth of the river on the other side of Cannonball Island! Who knew such mysteries lay beneath the water, waiting to be discovered—and now that they have been, well, the flurry of activity these days has my poor old head spinning like an old-fashioned top. I cannot wait to see what they find, and I’m more than happy that one of the principal players is staying at the inn. Not that I’d pry, but if one overhears a snippet of conversation now and then . . . well, let’s just say it’s good to keep informed. Now, how all this is going to affect the construction that was slated to begin in November, well, I suppose everyone will have to wait and see. Could be
there will be delays, which will keep the new girl around for a while longer and will keep the rolling stone on his toes.

My, what fun this will be~

Grace

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories.  A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens.  Visit her website at mariahstewart.com, like her on Facebook at AuthorMariahStewart, and follow her on Instagram at mariah_stewart_books.

 

NOTE FOR THE NEW YEAR:

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Earlier this year I read and reviewed The Last Chance Matinee and loved it! If you did too, please stay tuned….Look for Gallery Books’ second installment in Mariah Stewart’s all-new trade original women’s fiction series, The Hudson Sisters, following a trio of reluctant sisters as they set out to fulfill their father’s dying wish—and discover themselves in the process. Book 2, The Sugarhouse Blues, will publish March 2018!

END OF SUMMER GIVEAWAY:

We’re celebrating The Chesapeake Bride and Summer 2017 with one giveaway for Driftwood Point, 10th  in The Chesapeake Diaries Series by Mariah Stewart! The last day for entries will be Friday, September 22nd (the official last day of summer!) The winner will receive one copy of Driftwood Point. U.S. only, please. You can enter at the participating blogs listed below – but you can only win once!

To enter for My Novelesque Life please leave a comment below.  A winner will be chosen randomly and announced on September 23, 2017.

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

 AUGUST 28

USA TODAY’S HAPPY EVER AFTER

 AUGUST 29

A MIDLIFE WIFE

ROMANCING THE READERS

AUGUST 30

THE LIBRARIAN TALKS

BOOK BITCH

ABIGAIL BOOKS ADDICTION

MY NOVELESQUE LIFE

AUGUST 31

DIRTY AND THIRTY

BOOK MAMA BLOG

SUZY APPROVED BOOK REVIEWS

COLLECTORS OF BOOK BOYFRIENDS

SEPTEMBER 1

SOS ALOHA

MARGIE’S MUST READS

PACIFIC NORTHWEST BOOKWORM

 SEPTEMBER 4

READING BETWEEN THE WINES

 SEPTEMBER 5

FRESH FICTION

SVETLANA’S READS AND VIEWS

BIBLIOTICA

MRS LEIF’S TWO FANGS ABOUT IT

SEPTEMBER 6

READ YOUR WRITES

REVIEWS BY CRYSTAL

BRAINFARTS AND BOOKS

SEPTEMBER 7

JOJO THE BOOKAHOLIC

LORI’S READING CORNER

HAPPYMOMBLOGGER’S BLOG

HARDLY A GODDESS

SEPTEMBER 8

READING FRENZY BLOG

THOUGHTS IN PROGRESS

DIVATUDE

 

 SEPTEMBER 12

SATISFACTION FOR INSATIABLE READERS

LINDA’S BOOK OBSESSION

SEPTEMBER 13

KATHERINE’S BOOK UNIVERSE

BOOKTALK WITH EILEEN

REVIEWS FROM THE HEART

KT BOOK REVIEWS

SHANNON’S BOOK BLOG

BIGREADERSITE’S BLOG

GRANNY LOVES TO READ!

SEPTEMBER 14

SCANDALICIOUS BOOK REVIEWS

ITCHING FOR BOOKS

COMMUNITY BOOKSTOP

SEPTEMBER 15

ROMANTIC READS AND SUCH

SUSIEQLAW’S BLOG

DEVILISHLY DELICIOUS BOOK REVIEWS

BOOKFAN

 

* As I loved Stewart’s romantic suspense novels and her last contemporary romance, I will be reading Chesapeake Diaries over the year and will be reviewing them on here!

Book Review: The Kept Woman

kept womanTHE KEPT WOMAN (Will Trent: #8) Written by Karin Slaughter

2016; 461 Pages (William Morrow & Company)
Genre: suspense, mystery, southern, police, murder, standalone

(I received an ARC from the EDELWEISS)

Rating: ★★★★★

WOWEE!!! Karin Slaughter has written another winner. Whenever I start a Slaughter book, I know I will not be doing much of anything else. From the first page I am hooked and I can read fast enough. I received this novel last year but I have been putting it off. I don’t really have many book crushes but Will, well he…is right up there with Gilbert Blythe (From Anne of Green Gables) for me. Slaughter is just amazing at characterization – as much as I love Will and Geoffrey for their flaws, I dislike very strongly Lena and Angie for their selfishness. Slaughter’s writing is not for the faint of heart – it is gritty and dark, very gritty and dark – so be warned.

In this one, Sara is called to a murder where the dead body is that of a police officer. Sara realizes that the extensive amount of blood does not belong to the corpse, but belongs to a woman. They must find the missing woman as she may be close to death with the loss of blood – victim or killer.

The body is found in a night club owned by a basketball star that was accused of rape. A case that Will had been investigating. With high priced lawyers, and other powerful allies, the athlete was able to walk. And if that is not enough on his plate, Angie is back in his life.

This book was a crazy ride – especially an emotional rollercoaster. We get to know Angie’s story. It gives you insight to how she got to be the way she is. I am still not a fan of her but I have moved her from the “hate” column to the “strongly dislike” one. I cannot wait till the next Will Trent book!!!

 

Next month I will be reviewing Slaughter’s standalone novels!

The Other Girl by Erica Spindler: Review and Q&A with Author

the other girlTHE OTHER GIRL Written by Erica Spindler

AUGUST 22, 2017; 352 Pages (St. Martin’s Press)
Genre: suspense, mystery, southern, police, murder, standalone

(I received an ARC from the PUBLISHER via NETGALLEY)

Rating: ★★★1/2

Officer Miranda Rader of the Hammond PD in Louisiana is trying hard to run away from her past. Everyone, including her own mother and brothers, saw her as heading for trouble and washed their hands of her fourteen years ago. Growing up she had everything to prove to the world – that she is one of the best detectives on the force and has honour. Everything is going well for Miranda until she is named the lead on the brutal murder of a beloved professor, Richard Stark.  Stark’sr father is the president of the college and wants the murder solved soon, without any scandal. Then Miranda finds a clue at the crime scene that is a tie to her own past and the worst time in her life. As she tries to uncover the truth of the victim, Miranda stirs up things that might be turned against her.  The “beloved professor” might in fact be a dark predator.  And, when another body turns up, of a police officer, Miranda is suspected. She has to find the killer before she is arrested.

I have been a fan of Erica Spindler’s writing since I picked up her first book, as I love the suspense she creates.  I enjoyed this book, but it was not the suspense thriller I was expecting.  I expecting a grittier novel.  This one was more of a simple mystery – meaning that you are interested in knowing what is going to happen, but you aren’t enthralled at the edge of your seat. I liked Miranda as a character and the lead, but at times the secondary characters were a bit one sided. I think this was because the author was trying to create more than one suspect in readers’ mind. The killer (and ending) is a bit predictable but I still enjoyed this novel. Miranda is interesting and I am hoping we will see more of her and the town.

 

Erica-Spindler1Q&A with Erica Spindler:

Q: Start by telling us a little about The Other Girl and what inspired the story?

A: In THE OTHER GIRL, the grisly murder of a popular college professor, forces Detective
Miranda Rader to face the traumatic past she thought she’d buried. It leads her on a quest for justice that may cost her everything—even her life. A real life event close to home inspired THE OTHER GIRL. I live in a family-oriented, bedroom community of New Orleans. One afternoon the news exploded with the account of an attempted abduction of a young girl walking home from her bus stop. The girl managed to escape and the
perp got away. As you can imagine, the story was everywhere and on everyone’s lips for days. She’s interviewed, her parents are on TV. But no arrests are made, and the case goes silent. Until—the sheriff appears on TV and announces the girl made up the whole thing. I was shocked. The girl’s identity is known—so now everyone thinks she’s a liar. All her friends, teachers, family, neighbors. Everybody. What if she really was telling the truth? How would that impact her life now—and in the future? Would she bury the past? Would she long for justice? And what if she wasn’t the only girl? What about justice for them? These questions are at the heart of both this story and my main character, Miranda.

Q: Can you give us a look into the character development process, more specifically how you developed protagonist Miranda Rader?

A: I started with the “What if no one believed you question” and built my character from there, by asking more questions, defining who she is at the time of the incident—and how do I make it believable no one backs her up. Then I tackled all the ways that might have changed her life. For example, I decided she would have felt powerless against the system, so she would choose to become part of it as an adult—and what’s more empowering than a badge and a gun? This really is a psychologically driven thriller, and my end goal was justice and healing, so every decision I made had to pass the test: Will this take me a step closer to that goal.

Q: How would you describe your writing process, including getting started, conducting research, and knowing when a work is complete?

A: Beginning always starts with what I call my “Dark Gift” moment. It a goosebumps reaction to something that happens to me personally, or in my personal sphere. And it starts the worst-case-scenario, what-if snowball rolling. I usually brainstorm on paper a lot. Jotting ideas, plot points, bits of dialogue, character characteristics, or whatever. The good stuff keeps coming back, the other just falls away. I do whatever research I need to start the book, then research as I go. (I don’t love research.) I’ve recently discovered a screenwriting book titled Save The Cat by Blake Snyder and have started incorporating his notecard, three act process and have found it very helpful.  When I think I have enough of a direction, I open a document on the computer and begin. There are days writing is the hardest job ever, and other days when it’s heaven on earth—and lots of
days in between. For me, I know it’s done when all the threads are tied up and I get this euphoric feeling of satisfaction—not for having finished, but for my characters. It their happy ending, after all.

Q: Tell us about your influences, from all-time favorite authors to most inspirational works. Additionally, are there any recent titles you’d recommend?

A: Down here in south Louisiana, we’re known for our gumbo. It started with the cajuns, who would throw whatever they had in an abundance into the pot to make a rich, flavorful stew. That’s the way I think of my influences—horror like Stephen King and Peter Straub; Glitz and Glamour like Judith Krantz and Sidney Sheldon; childhood influences like the Trixie Beldon and Nancy Drew mysteries; the Gothic Suspense from my teens years, like Phyllis Whitney and Mary Stewart; and the Contemporary Romance like Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown they all come together in my stories to create this complex and, hopefully, tasty mix.

Q: What would you say is the greatest writing tip you have for aspiring writers?
A: How about three instead? Believe in yourself, learn from your mistakes, and keep your butt inthe chair!

Q: When did you know being a writer was what you wanted to do? What was the moment like when you realized it was becoming a reality? Was the path to publication a linear one?

A: I always thought I wanted to be a visual artist, which is what I’m trained for. I’d completed my MFA and lined up a University teaching job for the fall. Then I caught the writing bug. A cashier dropped a free Nora Roberts novel into my shopping bag; I read it and was hooked. Although a big reader all my life, I’d never read romance. After a months-long reading frenzy, I decided I had to try to write one. The minute I put pen to paper, I knew I had found my true calling. I never looked back. As for a linear path to publication—if that includes rejections, rewrites, rejections, rewrites, yes it was linear. My very first novel, rewritten several times, is still in a drawer. I’ve nicknamed it Fatally Flawed, because I made every mistake a beginning writer can make. It’s my learning
curve, I’m proud of that fact, and it will never to see the light of publication. Promise!

Q: What would you say makes The Other Girl stand out amongst other popular thrillers from the last few years?

A: There have been so many awesome thrillers published in the last few years! What I hope stands out about THE OTHER GIRL is it’s main character’s authentic journey as she relives past trauma and fights for justice. I think readers will really like her and be rooting for her.

Q: Do you have any creative rituals for when you sit down to write?

A: Coffee. More coffee. And chocolate. Seriously dark chocolate.

Q: When you’re writing a suspense novel such as The Other Girl, how do you go about mapping out the plot? Did you know the ending ahead of time, or did you let the story unfold as you wrote?

A: In writing circles, you’re either a plotter or a pantser (as in the seat of your pants.) I’m
actually a bit of both. Some things I know. How it begins, who the hero is—and who the villain is. I also start out knowing what the hero desires—or thinks she desires.
I know the crime, or crimes, that make the plot move, and also what the hero has to learn from this journey. Everything else is the magic that happens as I’m writing—the story and characters take on a life of their own and things happen that I never could have planned beforehand.

Q: Are there any pieces of you in any characters in The Other Girl?

A: Yes, definitely. In all my books, there’re are bits and pieces of me scattered about. (Sounds like crime scene!) And my heroic characters are always colored with my world view.

Q: Are you a fan of Law and Order: SVU?

A: Nope, I don’t watch. I don’t want to be influenced by some cool plot twist or crime scenedetail they come up with. I do sometimes watch true crime and things like forensic files.

Q: What’s your favorite psychological thriller?

A: One of my all time favorite novels is Ghost Story by Peter Straub. Another is Along Came a Spider by James Patterson, and The Shining by Stephen King. The list goes on!

 

Erica-Spindler4_thErica’s Bio:

Catching a summer cold changed Erica Spindler’s life forever.

Up until that fateful malady, Erica planned on being an artist. She had studied for that profession, earning both a BFA and MFA in the visual arts. Then in June of 1982, she stopped at a local drugstore to pick up cold tablets and tissues; the cashier dropped a free romance novel into her bag. She hadn’t read a romance in years but once home, with nothing to do but sniffle and watch daytime TV, she picked that romance up — and was immediately hooked. For the next six months she read every romance she could get her hands on. Sometime during those months, she decided to try to write one herself.

The moment she put pen to paper, Erica knew she had found her true calling. Since that day, Erica has published more than twenty novels. Her titles have been published all over the world and Red was turned into both a wildly popular graphic novel and daytime drama in Japan. Critics have dubbed her stories as “thrill-packed, page turners, white knuckle rides, and edge-of-your- seat whodunits.”

Erica is a USA TODAY, New York Times and Amazon.com bestseller. In 2002, her novel Bone Cold won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence. An RWA honor roll member, she received a Kiss of Death award for her novel Forbidden Fruit and is a three-time RITA award finalist. In 1999 Publishers Weekly awarded the audio version of her novel Shocking Pink a Listen-Up award, naming it one of the best audio mystery books of 1998.

Erica and her husband — a man she describes as funny, handsome and way too sassy — met in art school and have been together ever since. They have two sons, born nine and a half years apart. Erica makes her home in the New Orleans area, although she originally hailed from Illinois.

Erica came to her present home in much the same way she came to writing — fate intervened. She and her husband, then college students, traveled to New Orleans to see the King Tut exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Without advance tickets, they had a choice: wait in line all day or spend the day sightseeing. They chose the latter and fell head-over-heels in love with the city.

Erica is currently at work on her next thriller for St. Martin’s Press.

Welcome to Cottonbloom: Book Blog Tour

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I do not read as many contemporary romances as I probably should, as mysteries are always calling my name.  When I do pick up one of these romances I usually go for small town series.  Cottonbloom was a great place to visit over the last few days.

A river divides Cottonbloom in two: the upscale enclave on the Mississippi side and the rundown, rough and tumble side in Louisiana. They’re worlds apart—but nothing can build a bridge like love…

26114466KISS ME THAT WAY (Cottonbloom: #1) Written by Laura Trentham

2016; 324 Pages (St. Martin’s Paperbacks)
Genre: romance, contemporary, small town, series

(I received an ARC from the PUBLISHER via NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★★★

Cade Fournette was born and raised on the Louisiana side of Cottonbloom, where life has not been easy for him and his siblings. When his parents died in an accident, Cade was left to raise his younger siblings, while having everyone expecting him to fail. He does find success once he leaves Cottonbloom behind but left behind his family and maybe his heart. Cade return home and realizes just what his departure had meant.

Monroe Kirby, a physical therapist, also volunteers her time to help girls learn self defense. Many years ago Monroe could have used this training and wants to make sure other girls have it. Cade had come to her rescue and became somewhat of a protector. When he left Cottonbloom without saying goodbye she thought she would never see him again.

Cade has turned to Monroe for her therapy and soon the two discover that the feelings they had all those years ago may have never extinguished.

I found that the first book was great in setting up the town and characters. I gave this book a three because I felt like while it was a good read there wasn’t anything exceptional or unique to set it apart. The story between Cade and Monroe has been done before and while I liked them, I found the chemistry was just so-so. The secondary characters also seemed to have more characterization than the hero and heroine. I am looking forward to he next book which I hope is Nash and Tally’s story.

 

26114329THEN HE KISSED ME (Cottonbloom: #2) Written by Laura Trentham

2016; 301 Pages (St. Martin’s Paperbacks)
Genre: romance, contemporary, small town, series

(I received an ARC from the PUBLISHER via NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★★★ 1/2

Tally Fournette, has her own business, with the help of her brother but still feels like she is not smart enough. When her childhood friend and crush, Nash Hawthorne returns to Cottonbloom to take care of his aunt, Tally feels the old feelings again. Nash has always been brilliant and has returned to his hometown to teach at a college. He has gone from being nerdy to sexy. And, the one woman he wants his Tally. As the two spend time together the flame burns brighter but the insecurities they both feel may drive them apart.

I identified a lot with Tally and loved Nash then and now. The characters were more vivid in this novel and I enjoyed the story even though it was a predictable. I did like that you knew there was a HEA coming but that there would be some tears before then. I am currently dating at this time, though a decade older than some of these characters so I did find the emotions quite realistic.

 

26114185TILL I KISSED YOU (Cottonbloom: #3) Written by Laura Trentham

2016; 320 Pages (St. Martin’s Paperbacks)
Genre: romance, contemporary, small town, series

(I received an ARC from the PUBLISHER via NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★★★ 1/2

Finally, we get Sawyer Fournette and Regan Lovell’s story! These childhood sweethearts both had their heartbroken by one another and have made it their mission to make the other suffer. Regan is the Mayor and Sawyer is the Commissioner, each is trying to make their side of Cottonbloom the best. As the days get closer to the festival the sabotage gets meaner. The two discover they may not be the ones behind the pranks so they team up for the good of Cottonbloom.

I loved the chemistry and banter between these two characters. And, like the second book it also had better characterizations. I also liked that there was a bit of a mystery aspect and wished that part would have been drawn out more. While this third book rounded out the Fournette family saga, there is more in these series with new characters.

 

31450643LEAVE THE NIGHT ON (Cottonbloom: #4) Written by Laura Trentham

AUGUST 1, 2016; 350 Pages (St. Martin’s Paperbacks)
Genre: romance, contemporary, small town, series

(I received an ARC from the PUBLISHER via NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★★★ 1/2

We return to Cottonbloom, but this time we meet the Abbott brothers – four brothers running their family business – fixing and restoring cars. Wyatt Abbott, one of the twins, is set to work on Sutton Mize’s fiance’s car for a big commission for the shop. As he empty’s the car’s glove compartment he accidentally unleashes heartbreak for Sutton. They find receipts for fancy dinners and a thong underwear that was custom made by Sutton for her best friend, Bree. When Andrew, Sutton’s finace, and Bree confront Sutton together she tells them she has been cheating too…with Wyatt.
Wyatt, who has always had a thing for Sutton as kids, readily agrees and the two end up falling for each other.

I really liked this one! I found Wyatt so endearing and I could relate to Sutton (like I could with Tally). Even though I knew they were destined for a HEA I was invested in seeing how they would get there. We do see some of the characters from the first three books come through so it is a nice surprise if you have read them before. If not, they just seem like random characters with some importance and they are overly described for the part they play. I recommend this series…and is perfect for the remaining weeks of Summer.

 

Laura Trentahm IIAbout the Author:

An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.

She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. Then He Kissed Me, a Cottonbloom novel, was named as one of Amazon’s best romances of 2016. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she’s shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as big as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.

 

Social Links:

Facebook

Author Blog

Twitter– @LauraTrentham

Author Website

 

Q&A with Laura Trentham

1. What inspired the novel plot?
Plots are strange things for me…I can rarely pinpoint anything in particular that triggers an idea. They usually pop into my head when I doing something else entirely like making dinner of driving the kids around.

2. What’s your favorite scene? Why?
I love the scene where Sutton gets drunk and finally propositions Wyatt for real. I hope it’s funny and sexy and the reader can feel her mortification when she thinks he turns her down.

3. Who’s your favorite character? Why?
Wyatt. He’s sexy and tough, but also incredibly sweet. He loves his family and would do anything for them. My heroes are complex and most definitely not a-holes.

4. Any other books in the pipeline?
Two more Cottonbloom books! WHEN THE STARS COME OUT (1/30/2018) features Wyatt’s twin brotherJackson. SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE (8/2018) is Mack Abbott’s book. Also, sometime in the fall of 2018, I’ll have a military themed romance/women’s fiction book releasing! I’m super excited about it too.

5. What led you to write in this genre over others?
Actually, my first books were historical romances, and I’ll be re-releasing two and adding a new book in my historical Spies and Lovers series this fall (Sept/Nov 2017). But, while the historical books were on submission with publishers, my agent suggested I try a contemporary. It sold to St. Martin’s Press only a couple of months after my historicals sold. I’ve set all my contemporaries in the American south because that’s where I was born and have lived most of my life. I understand the way southerners talk and think.

6. Do you have a favorite book and author?
I’m going to have to throw it back to Mary Stewart as my favorite author. I quite often reread her books. But as far as which book I’ve reread the most, it would have to be Julie Garwood’s The Bride.

7. Why and how did you decide you wanted to write for a living?
I’ve always been an avid reader, but I didn’t even consider writing until five years ago. My daughter started preschool, and going back to work doing what I went to school for (chemical engineering) wasn’t feasible. I sat down one morning and started writing. At first, I didn’t even tell my husband what I was doing. I won’t lie, it took a lot of work and rewrites to get those first manuscripts good enough. But, eventually, I signed with an agent and sold them both.

8. What’s your favorite way to relax?

Reading! (I know that’s a shocker:) I also enjoy the mindlessness of games on my phone.

9. What’s your favorite food?

Fried rice! I just learned to make it at home. My rice cooker is my second favorite appliance (behind my coffee maker!)

10. Sounds like Sutton’s fiancé’s a cheating…um…cheats. Why did you decide to use that as an aspect of your story?
Andrew is a secondary character in the first Cottonbloom trilogy about the Fournette siblings. He’s kind of a slime ball in those books too.

11. Tell us something about Wyatt that we don’t learn from the book.
He likes to wear women’s underwear. Just kidding!! Actually, I’m drawing a blank, he’s an open, honest kind of man.

12. This book is set in Mississippi. Does this location contribute to the story in some way?
It’s actually set half in Mississippi and half in Louisiana. I wanted a southern location. But, I also envisioned a twist on the wrong side of the tracks story. In Cottonbloom, the more affluent live on the Mississippi side and the blue-collar working class live on the Louisiana side. I wanted that push-pull and rivalry between the two. It informs the relationships between my couples.

 

Final Girls: Book Review

32796253FINAL GIRLS Written by Riley Sager

July 2017; 342 Pages (Dutton, Penguin)
Genre: mystery, suspense, fiction

(I received an ARC from the Publisher via NETGALLEY)

Rating: 3 STARS

A decade earlier, Quincy Carpenter while on vacation with friends, survived a massacre and was the sole survivor. She joins two other girls with similar fates as the “Final Girls”. Final Girls refers to the girl that survives in a horror film. They become big in the media and while they have so much in common they have not met in person.

Quincy who has not been able to remember the details of that night is now getting better. She has her own business, a fiancee and has a trusting friend in the cop who saved her. Just as her life seems to be settling down, Lisa, the first Final Girl is found dead. It is thought to be a suicide but the media is all over the cases again. Then Sam comes to Quincy and reveals things that may turn everything worse.

I could not wait to read this book since it was announced! I was so happy when the publishers approved my request. I wanted to wait till the book was coming out to read it, and I set aside time to read it in one sitting. I don’t know if it was my high expectations or what but I was really disappointed with this novel. There wasn’t too much suspense so I kept putting the book down and found it hard to pick it back up. I could not like or relate to Qunicy and felt no real tension. The ending was easier to figure out, and once I did reading the rest of the book seemed like a chore. I rated it a three because it was an unique idea, and Sager seems to have promise.

Brothers and Sisters: Blog Tour

Brothers & Sisters - jacketBROTHERS AND SISTERS Written by Adele O’Neill

July 2017; 364 Pages (Aria)
Genre: mystery, family drama, detective

(I received an ARC from the publisher via NETGALLEY)

Rating: 4 STARS

“Nothing remains buried forever… What would you do to protect the ones you love?  A gripping, highly emotive story of love, survival, dark family secrets and sibling loyalty.

Perfect for the fans of Kathryn Hughes and Dorothy Koomson.

When human remains are found on Fitzpatrick Estate, Detective Kelly is drawn deep into the complex web of Fitzpatrick family secrets as Timothy and his sister Rose, now in their sixties, are catapulted into the centre of the investigation.
When the pathology report identifies the remains as that of their uncle, Patrick Fitzpatrick, missing from Fitzpatrick Estate since 1970, they scramble to protect their past. What would you do to protect the ones you love?”

When I started to read this novel, I was expecting a standard mystery novel, but realized a few chapters in it was more of a drama. I was pleasantly surprised as I continued to read this novel that the drama and mystery elements worked in great balance. The novel opens up with a body being found on a farm. We meet the detectives assigned to the case, and the family that resides on the estate. Then we find out that the body has been there for decades so the previous owners may have ties and knowledge of the identity. I figured out some of the mystery but there was more to the story and I really enjoyed the storytelling and felt satisfied with the ending. I am not sure if this could be turned into a series with the two detectives as leads, but I am looking forward to the next O’Neill novel!

Adele O'Neill

About the author

Having lived and worked in the UK and Dublin since college, Adele now lives in her
hometown of Arklow, Co. Wicklow on the east coast of Ireland, with her husband and two teenage daughters. She writes overlooking the Irish Sea and is an active member of the Wexford Literary Festival committee.

 

Brothers & Sisters - blog tour banner.jpg

Summer on Firefly Lake: Blog Tour

SOFL Banner

I am very excited to read Firefly Lake series!  This is seems to be the book you need to add to your bag when you head off to the beach or sit out on the deck/patio.   I have a few days off and am looking forward to digging into The Cottage at Firefly Lake (Book 1) followed by the sequel Summer on Firefly Lake.

SUMMER ON FIREFLY LAKE (Firefly Lake: #2) Jen Gilroy
July 25, 2017; 368 (Forever)

summeronfireflylake-sharegraphic01

Genre: romance, contemporary, fiction, series, small town

Sometimes love is better the second time around . . .
Mia Gibbs spent her marriage putting her husband’s needs before her own. And now, after a painful divorce, she’s building a new life for herself and her two daughters back home at Firefly Lake. The last thing she needs is a man to complicate things. But former bad boy turned friend Nick McGuire—and the one kiss they’ve shared-has turned everything upside down . . .

Attorney Nick McGuire wasn’t meant to be a family man. His career has always been his focus and after taking time out to help his mother, he’s ready to get back to the city . . . until Mia and her daughters arrive at Firefly Lake. Mia is beautiful and intriguing, and it doesn’t take long to realize being “just friends” will never be enough. As the summer nights turn colder, Nick will have to choose between the life he’s always wanted . . .
and the woman he can’t live without.

Firefly Lake

 

THE FIREFLY LAKE SERIES
THE COTTAGE AT FIREFLY LAKE, #1
SUMMER ON FIREFLY LAKE, #2
BACK HOME AT FIREFLY LAKE, #3

Jen Gilroy CREDIT Robin SpencerABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jen Gilroy grew up under the big sky of western Canada. After many years in England, she now lives in a small town in eastern Ontario where her Irish ancestors settled in the nineteenth century. She’s worked in higher education and international marketing but, after spending too much time in airports and away from her family, traded the 9-5 to write contemporary romance to bring readers’ hearts home. A small-town girl at heart, Jen likes ice cream, diners, vintage style and all things country. Her husband, Tech
Guy, is her real-life romance hero, and her daughter, English Rose, teaches her to cherish the blessings in the everyday.

Rapid Review: STRESSED, UNSTRESSED: CLASSIC POEMS TO EASE THE MIND

stressed unstressed.jpgSTRESSED, UNSTRESSED: CLASSIC POEMS TO EASE THE MIND EDITED BY JONATHAN BATE AND PAULA BYRNE

2016, 272 Pages (William Collins)
Genre: psychology, poetry, nonfiction, anxiety

(I received an ARC from the EDELWEISS)

I have always loved reading poetry, especially classic poetry. I love the flow, imagery and words of poetry. I find that as I read them it is a way to calm my anxiety. It calms my worries more than my fears. It is a way for me to get grounded. As I learn more about myself through counseling, books and writing I am getting a better handle on what keeps me going. I requested this book in order to read cool poetry and instead I learned more about my anxiety and myself. This is a great book for discovering great poems and/or exploring yourself and your stresses.

A Dark So Deadly…it must be read! Book Review

33229330A DARK SO DEADLY Written by Stuart MacBride

2017; 608 Pages (Harper Collins)

Genre: Scotland, police procedural, mystery, suspense, thriller, humour, fiction

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)

Rating: ★★★★1/2

 

DC Callum MacGregor has been moved into the Misfit Mob squad.  That is where the POlice Scotland stick officers that have been tainted in some way.  Callum is accused of compromising a crime scene.  In fact, the real culprit is his pregnant girlfriend who needs the maternity leave pay.  For the sake of his new family he takes the blame and now must be one of the Misfits.  Being in the Misfit Mob means that you get the “no-where” cases, but Callum lands a big case.  A body has been found mummified but it turns out it has close ties to a current case. Since the other divisions are busy Callum and his team must solve the case…and hopefully without any mistakes!

This novel did take me a bit to finish but that is only because of the length.  I would stop to finish off other commitments but always came back when I had time.  I love all the quirky realistic characters and the dark humour.  I know this is a standalone novel but I do hope we see more of Callum, Franklin, Mother and the rest.  The chemistry between the characters are great and I was either enthralled or chuckling.  The ending, which I didn’t see coming was mostly great as it tied all the loose ends together. I really liked this novel and highly recommend it if you like gritty and dark humour in your suspense.