Friday, October 17, 2014

Lesson's Learned by Sydney Logan Cover Reveal

lessons learned GR
Author: Sydney Logan
Date of Publication: October 17th 2014


About Lessons Learned: A young girl needs to spread her wings, but a young woman needs roots. English teacher Sarah Bray never thought she’d return to Sycamore Falls, but a traumatic event at her inner-city school leaves her desperate for the sanctuary of home. By returning to her roots, an older and wiser Sarah hopes to deal with the demons of her present and confront the ghosts of her past. She discovers a kindred spirit in Lucas Miller, a teacher from New York with demons of his own. As the newest faculty members at Sycamore High School, they quickly become friends – bonding through Lucas’s culture shock and their mutual desire to build new lives. When they open their wounded hearts to each other, their friendship effortlessly evolves into romance. Their love is put to the test when Matt, the quarterback of the football team, shares his deepest secret with Sarah. When the conservative community finds out, Sarah and Lucas – along with the town of Sycamore Falls – are schooled in the lessons of acceptance, tolerance, and love.

 NOTE: Sydney will be donating 10% of all sales during the month of October to in honor of October's Bullying Awareness month. In LESSONS LEARNED a secret of the quarterback of the football team sends a small conservative community reeling. Bullying can take on all forms and Sydney would like to give back to this worthy cause.


Kathie's Review:

Lessons Learned is a lovely romance with a center of drama...made me laugh, made me cry...made me root for Sarah, Lucas and Matt.

Sycamore Falls was a character in itself. I've lived in small towns, and Sydney Logan caught the flavor of it to a T. There were characters that I loved...and some I wanted to smack really hard.

While one part of me wanted a "Footloose" ending, with parades and banners and cheers, the way Ms. Logan had the scenes play out were much more true to life.

Some people were schooled and some people didn't let their minds be opened or their heart be touched. Just like in real life. One thing is for sure, Lessons Learned will make people think about how they might react in this kind of situation.

I look forward to more from this new author. I am definitely be ready for her next book!

I would, and HAVE, read this more than once.
I love the letter from her grandmother...

Q/A with Sydney Logan 

 How did you come up with the idea for this story? They say to write what you know, so for Lessons Learned, I knew I wanted to write about teaching since that’s my “day job.” Thankfully, I haven’t had to deal with the traumas my main character faces. I also knew I wanted to write a love story with a message, and bullying is such an epidemic in our society that I wanted to highlight that in this book.

 Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? The most challenging thing is balancing writing and promotion. I’m not very good at it. It was easier when I only had one book, but the more I write, the harder it gets to juggle it all. I’m not complaining, because I love it, but that’s the biggest challenge for me.

 What are your current projects? I’m getting ready to release a holiday collection of short stories titled Once Upon a December. It will include two previously published Kindle short stories along with a new short story. It will release on November 28. I’m also working on my fourth novel.

 Chapter 1 

 The piercing chime of my phone jerked me awake. Disoriented and shaking, I grabbed my cell and struggled to focus on the screen.

Congratulations, Sarah. You slept a whole three hours.

Falling asleep had been difficult. My restlessness could easily be blamed on yesterday’s long drive or spending the night in a new place, but I hadn’t slept well in months, so my fitful sleep wasn’t all that surprising.

However, I could do without the nightmares.

It was nearly three in the morning when I’d finally arrived in Sycamore Falls. Exhausted from the drive, I’d collapsed on the couch, but sleeping proved impossible. It was just too quiet. I’d grown accustomed to noisy neighbors and blasting car horns.

A change of scenery could be exactly what I need, my therapist had told me.

Sycamore Falls was definitely a change in scenery.

Stiff and sore from the uncomfortable couch, I groaned as I struggled to sit up. My body trembled when my bare feet hit the hardwood floor. I’d forgotten how cold this house could be, even in the summer, but anything with long sleeves would be in a box, and all the boxes were arranged in a chaotic mess in my living room.

Maybe some sunshine will warm me up.

I wrapped my blanket around me and circled the maze of boxes before shuffling toward the kitchen.

It was neat and tidy as ever, with its faded yellow wallpaper. Grandma Grace had always loved wildflowers, and I smiled as I gazed at the collection of daisy canisters lining the wall next to the sink. Mom had been a terrible cook, so grandma had taken it upon herself to teach me. Baking was my favorite, and we’d spent countless nights in this kitchen with my apron covered in flour. Grandma had been fine with making a mess—as long as I cleaned it up—and that freedom had led to many honest discussions throughout the years.

“Sycamore Falls has its issues,” Grandma had told me one autumn day while teaching me how to make fried apple pies. “We’re too sheltered from the rest of the world. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes it isn’t. The world can be a scary place. It’s good to know you have a safe place to come home to when the world gets a little crazy. You’re one of the lucky ones, Sarah. You will always have a home here. Remember that.”

I remember.

I opened the front door and was instantly greeted with cool morning air. Eager to see the house in the daylight, I gingerly walked down the steps and onto the sidewalk. Thankfully, Mr. Johnson had hired someone to mow the grass before I arrived, which allowed me to mark one thing off my to-do list.
As I gazed up at the house, I could see my list would be long.

Growing up, I’d thought my grandmother’s home was the most beautiful in Sycamore Falls. Majestic and blue with its white shutters and wrap-around porch, it was the place I’d always felt the most comfortable and safe.

Time hadn’t been kind to the house, and that was my fault. Mr. Johnson had done his best, but a house needs tender loving care, and its last two years without an occupant had been rough on the place. The chipped siding needed a coat of paint, the flowerbeds resembled a jungle, and some of the shingles needed to be replaced, but none of that mattered.

I felt a small sense of satisfaction and breathed a sigh of relief.

I was safe.

I was home.

sydney logan
Sydney Logan: Amazon bestselling author Sydney Logan holds a Master's degree in Elementary Education. She is the author of three novels - Lessons Learned, Mountain Charm, and Soldier On. Sydney has also penned four short stories and is a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul. A native of East Tennessee, Sydney enjoys playing piano and relaxing on her porch with her wonderful husband and their very spoiled cat.



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Beneath the Scars by Melanie Moreland

by Melanie Moreland 
Publication date: October 14th 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

The sound of the ocean, the crash of the waves as they kick up against the sand and rocks—these are the only sounds Megan Greene wants to hear. She wants to leave the rest of the world behind, and find some peace.

The offer of a private house on the beach, set in a small town in Maine, is perfect. Time to think—to be by herself. It’s all she wants. It’s the escape she needs.

Until she stumbles across the painting that seems to echo her own chaotic mindset.

Until she meets the unfriendly artist behind the stormy painting and discovers his secrets.

All Zachary Adams wants is to be left alone. His canvases, and the unending scope of the ocean and sand, are his life. They direct him—fill his hours. Bring him focus.

Until she enters his life.

She dredges up memories of the past—the haunting images he has hidden for years; the fears he has never shared.

A story he keeps buried below the surface.

Can she make him see what he is missing? Can he trust her enough to believe?

Together they embark on a journey where their pasts collide and threaten to tear them apart.

Will their fragile bond hold or wash away with the ebbing tide?

Kathie's Review:

I love this cover. It's so vibrant and makes me want to be there, watching the waves roll in. The blurb also drew me in. This is a beauty and the beast story with all the bells and whistles one could want from that trope. 

Megan is hiding from a very deep hurt, one that seems like it's never going to end. She's a writer whose work was stolen. 

Zachary (never Zach) is an artist who hides from the world while he paints emotion filled canvases. 

They meet when their dogs meet on a shared strip of beach. The dogs, Dixie and Elliot truly try to steal the show. Their exuberance and joy in life was fun to read. It took the humans a few more pages to come to terms with their attraction to each other, and their need, too.

There are lots of people to hate  in this book, which is the second novel by Ms. Moreland. Just like in life, not all of them got their just rewards. But my motto is: Living life well is the best revenge. And that does happen here. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that an HEA happens. It's the getting there where you find the fun. 

While I enjoyed the book, with all the descriptions of the ocean and the beach (I really wanted to be there), I was a bit disappointed in the miscommunication trope. A few words between characters, a moment of listening on their parts, would have spared all involved quite a bit of heartache. Would have made a lot shorter book, too! But then we would have missed all the fun stuff that had to do with painting and the publishing world. As someone who is in both worlds, I found those passages made up for the other trope. 

Ms. Moreland can certainly spin a tale, and I look forward to reading more from her.

*Thank you, Ms. Moreland and Xpresso Tours, for the opportunity to read Beneath the Scars.

Amazon and B&N

Add to your shelves at Goodreads

Melanie Moreland lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her husband and fur children. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them.

Known as the quiet one with the big laugh, Melanie works for the sporting teams of a local university. Her (box) office job, while demanding, is rewarding as she cheers on her team to victory.

While seriously addicted to coffee, and somewhat challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties and socialize, and also enjoys travelling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip.

Melanie delights in writing a good romance story with some bumps along the way, but is a true believer in happily ever after. When her head isn’t buried in a book, it is bent over a keyboard, furiously typing away as her characters dictate their creative storylines, to her even more inspired tales, for all to enjoy.

Author links:

Tour-wide giveaway 4 ebooks of Beneath the Scars (INTL) 
2 signed Paperbacks of Beneath the Scars (US/Canada only) with book marks 
1 package of Into the Storm/Beneath the Scars Paperbacks with bookmarks – both signed (US/Canada only)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Desert Bound by Elizabeth Hunter


By Elizabeth Hunter
October 14, 2014
Paranormal Romance

Can you turn the clock back on your first love? Would you even want to try?

Alex McCann and Teodora "Ted" Vasquez left Cambio Springs together. Ted came back. Alex didn't.

Now, years later, the future alpha of the McCann wolves has returned with plans to bring new life to the dying desert community. Plans that could change everything for the isolated enclave of shapeshifters in the California desert. Some love the plan. Others hate it.

As the town's doctor and one of the strongest daughters in the cat clan, Ted has her own concerns about exposing her community to outsiders. The two former lovers are at each other's throats. And everyone is watching to see what happens.

But when murder once again strikes Cambio Springs, can they overcome their past to help the community they both call home? And can the love they shared once burn again when so many stand against it?

Elizabeth Hunter is a contemporary fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance writer. She is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College and a former English teacher. She once substitute taught a kindergarten class, but decided that middle school was far less frightening. Thankfully, people now pay her to write books and eighth-graders everywhere rejoice.

She currently lives in Central California with her son, two dogs, many plants, and a sadly dwindling fish tank. She is the author of the Elemental Mysteries and Elemental World series, the Cambio Springs series, the Irin Chronicles, and other works of fiction.


Monday, October 13, 2014

The Texan's Surprise Son by Cathy McDavid

The Texan's Surprise Son
By Cathy McDavid

Harlequin American Romance
Pub Date   Oct 7 2014

Taken By Surprise

Jacob Baron is shocked to discover he's a father. But he's determined to do right by his son, despite the lack of strong role models in his own life. Jacob's a bull rider, and there's no halfway with him. He'll be the kind of dad his son needs…even if Cody's attractive aunt, Mariana Snow, seems to question his daddy skills at every turn.

Jacob cooks, cleans and has a nice touch with a two-year-old. He also has broad shoulders, gorgeous eyes and a mouth that can only be described as sexy. But Mariana's own part-time, no-good father was a rodeo star. She knows their charms can't be trusted. She's hanging around for Cody's sake, that's all. At least, that's what she keeps telling herself…

Kathie's Review:

This is book Five in the Texas Rodeo Baron's Series. It can be read alone, but characters from the rest of the series make appearances. This series was written by six separate authors. That was fun. Isn't that cover great? What a little cutie.

At the beginning, Jacob is on a bull, waiting for the chute to open. He sends a prayer heavenward. I liked that. His faith isn't the first thing you see, but it is a part of him. No beating us over the head with  it, it's just a part of him. Didn't stop him from being totally shocked to find he has a son from a weekend romp. And that the boy's mom has died leaving Cody to her sister, Mariana.

He is pretty clueless about how to care for the little guy, so he coerces Mariana to stay with the two of them until he gets the hang of it. Doesn't hurt that she's really pretty, either. 

While I appreciated that Mariana wanted to do the right thing by letting Jacob know about Cody, she didn't come off as being that great of a parent stand-in. It actually felt like she was just too busy to deal with her nephew, and since he had a DAD, why not let him shoulder some of the weight. Now, don't get me wrong, I totally understand how much work kids are; I've got three. But she didn't come off all that sympathetic to me. 

As this is a Harlequin, we all know that there will be a few trials and tribulations (little guy gets a broken arm!) and then we'll see everyone get their HEA. I did love Jacob and Cody's interactions. And since I liked Jacob, I was glad to see him find happiness with his ready-made family. This was an easy way to spend a few hours.

*Thank you, NetGalley and Harlequin, for the opportunity to read this book.

Connect with Cathy McDavid: