Friday, November 28, 2014

Once Upon a December by Sydney Logan






By Sydney Logan
Date of Publication: November 28th 2014

Goodreads

Christmas is in the air, and best selling author Sydney Logan is gifting readers with a short story collection, just in time for the holidays. Once Upon a December features Sydney’s latest story, “What Child Is This,” along with her previously published holiday stories in one complete collection. Available for the first time in both paperback and ebook, these heartwarming and romantic tales are sure to bring you joy this holiday season.




What Child Is This?

Estranged from his family and the love of his life, Thomas Fisher finds himself stranded in an airport on Christmas Eve. Imagine his surprise when a young boy takes him by the hand and shows him the way home.


Excerpt from “What Child Is This?”

Please come home for Christmas this year?
I don’t bother replying to my sister’s text. She knows I’m not coming home. I just power off my phone and stuff it back into my jacket. With a tired sigh, I lean back, close my eyes, and find myself doing the one thing I try never to do.
I think about the mess I’ve made of my life.

Ten years ago, I’d been an eighteen-year-old living in Paisley Springs, Tennessee—a tiny, rural town about two hours north of Nashville. Ten years ago, I’d been a popular athlete with dreams of becoming a professional basketball player. Ten years ago, I’d been the golden child of Dr. Benjamin and Olivia Fisher.

Ten years ago, I’d been a boy in love.

I still am.

Life is full of highways, and some are just too long when you’re trying to find your way home. In my case, some forgotten roads completely disappear. Time erases them, to the point that you begin to wonder if they ever really existed in the first place.

But they did. I know they did.

I close my eyes and try to ignore the image that flickers behind my eyelids. In my mind, Emma Hayes is still eighteen years old. With her long red hair and deep green eyes, she’d always looked at me as if I was her dream come true.

And I was, until I ripped those dreams away.

We were together for more than a year, and it had been the happiest time of my life. But being crazy in love makes you do stupid things. Careless things.

And then things happen that you never imagined would happen to you.

***


Mistletoe Magic

Melanie Taylor is on a mission to find the perfect Christmas gift for her husband. Something special. Something expensive. Something that will save her marriage. Can a chance encounter on an elevator make her Christmas wish come true?


Excerpt from “Mistletoe Magic”
“Doing some last-minute shopping?” Ethan asked.

Melanie blinked rapidly before nodding.

“I am,” she replied stiffly. “You?”

He lifted the gold bag, giving it a little shake.

She nodded. “For someone special?”

“For my wife. You?”

“My husb—”

Her reply was cut short when the lights dimmed, and the elevator lurched to a stop.

“Fantastic,” Melanie mumbled.

The emergency lights flickered on, and Ethan pushed the alarm button before grabbing the elevator’s phone. Melanie listened intently as he barked orders to someone before slamming down the receiver.
“The entire block is in the dark,” Ethan grumbled. He removed his jacket before settling himself on the floor.

“What are you doing?”

“Getting comfortable,” Ethan said. “The guy said it might be a while.”

Melanie glanced down at her silk dress.

“I’m not sitting on this dirty floor.”

Ethan shrugged. “Suit yourself.”

Melanie eyed his jacket.

“Speaking of suits, isn’t that Armani?”

“I have no idea which expensive name is stitched on the label.”

She smirked. “But you know it’s expensive.”

“There isn’t a suit in my closet that didn’t cost a fortune. My wife insists upon it.”

“Maybe that’s because your wife has good taste.”

“Maybe that’s because my wife is too hung-up on labels.” Ethan loosened his tie and sighed tiredly. “Just sit down. I hate enclosed spaces, and you’re making me nervous.”

A stubborn Melanie remained on her feet, but the four-inch heels of her favorite boots weren’t the most comfortable, and after a few minutes, she finally relented and removed her coat. It was far less expensive than the dress, after all. She placed it on the floor before slowly sitting down.

“See? Isn’t that better?”

Melanie sighed loudly.

“One of us should probably conserve our cell battery,” Ethan suggested, pulling his phone out of his pocket. “My Blackberry has a full charge, so I don’t mind keeping mine on if you’d like to save yours.”

With a nod, Melanie reached into her bag and turned off her iPhone.

“You don’t want to text someone first?” Ethan asked. “Your husband might worry if you come home late.”

Melanie somehow resisted the urge to laugh.

“No one worries about me,” she said.

A brief look passed between them before they both quickly looked away.


***


The Little Drummer Boy

It’s Christmas Eve, and Justin Banks is on the hunt for a last-minute gift for his wife, Megan. With the help of a homeless man and the beat of a drum, Justin stumbles upon the one thing Megan has always wanted. The one thing money can’t buy. It's amazing what we can hear if we just take a moment and really listen.


Excerpt from “The Little Drummer Boy”

Rum pum pum pum.

It’s faint, but it’s there. A quiet, rhythmic beat that blends into the night. How this old man heard the sound is beyond me.

“You hear it, don’t you?”

With a nod, I look around, hoping to find the source of the sound. The man points toward the coffee shop’s covered alleyway.

“Back there,” he says.

The carolers begin their rendition of “O Holy Night,” and once again, I hear the “rum pum pum pum” coming from the darkness.

Intrigued, I step away from the old man and walk slowly toward the alley. Each step brings me closer to the beat, until finally, I see a little boy, nestled in the corner. His only light comes from a lantern, and a snare drum rests in his lap. The drum is scarred and the strap is frayed, but it’s obviously his most prized possession.

Probably his only possession.

Does he live here? In this filthy alley? And where are his parents?

“Shall I play for you?”

His voice is just a whisper. His clothes are dirty and ragged, and the faded blue jacket he wears is about three sizes too big.

“I heard you playing,” I tell him, keeping my voice soft and light. The last thing I want to do is scare the kid. “You’re very good. Are you alone?”

He nods.

“Where are your parents?”

His face contorts in pain, and my stomach lurches. He can’t be more than five years old. Maybe six.

“Shall I play for you?” he asks again. A little stronger this time. A little more determined.

Because I don’t know what else to do, I nod. The covered alleyway has thankfully kept most of the snow away, so I find a flattened section of shredded cardboard and sit down. I don’t think about the fact that I’m probably ruining my thousand-dollar suit. I just sit and listen.

The boy’s sticks pound the head of the drum.

Rum pum pum pum.

Rum pum pum pum.

Each rhythmic thump pierces my soul, and when he comes to the end of his song, I reach inside my jacket for my wallet.

“No, sir,” he says softly. “I don't need your money.”

It’s hard not to laugh. The kid is surrounded by dumpsters and living in a cardboard box. If anyone needs my money, it’s this child.

“What do you need?”

“Just food.”

“I can pay you with food?”

The boy nods vigorously, and I notice his eyes are suddenly a little brighter. The poor guy is probably starving and could definitely use a bath. Dirt cakes his face, but he has the biggest, bluest eyes I’ve ever seen.

“Why don't you come home with me?” I hear myself say. “My wife loves to cook.”

He shakes his head. “I can't leave. My mom told me to stay here. I have to stay here.”

“How old are you?”

“I'm six, sir.”

“Do you have a name?”

“My name’s Luke.”

“Well, Luke, my name is Justin Banks, and it's cold out here. It's going to keep snowing.”

“Yes, sir,” he whispers, his voice trembling.

“I could take you home with me for a little while. You could take a bath and eat some dinner with us.”

At the mention of a bath, he smiles.

“And then we can try to find your mom and dad.”

The little boy bows his head, and when he looks up at me again, the light in his eyes is long gone.

“My mom told me to stay here.”

I close my eyes in frustration. I can talk a judge and jury into almost anything. Have I really met my match in a six-year-old living in a cardboard box?

Maybe so.


But I have a secret weapon.


Buy your copy here:




About Sydney Logan

Amazon best selling 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 several 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.




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Harlequin BLACK FRIDAY SAVINGS!




Your feet are exhausted! You've been shopping until you feel like dropping. You need a nice book to rest with, right? Harlequin has a ton of sales for you! You can shop from the comfort of your own home:


·        What: Early Black Friday sale
·        Discount: 50% off select titles (print & ebook!)
·        Includes recent releases such as No Limits by Lori Foster and Looking for Trouble by Victoria Dahl
·        Run time: now – November 27
·        Number of titles on-sale: 30



·        What: Black Friday Sale (image attached, you are welcome to use)
·        Discount: Site-wide, 40% off (list price) on all titles, print and ebook
·        Run time: November 28, 12amET-11:59pm ET
·        Use coupon code BF2014 at Checkout



·        What: Black Friday sale for Harlequin Books with other Vendors (Amazon, B&N, etc).
·        Run time: November 28 – December 1


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Dark Wolf Returning by Rhyannon Byrd


Dark Wolf Returning 

Bloodrunners #6

by 
When werewolf Eli Drake is banished from his pack, he leaves a devastated and heartbroken Carla Reyes behind. Three torturous years later, she tracks him down to a hole-in-the-wall Texas bar—the pack is in trouble and war is on the horizon. Carla needs Eli’s help, but wants nothing more to do with him—even though he’s as ruthless, domineering and sexy as ever.

Eli hasn’t forgotten Carla. And the partial bite he gave her their last night together has had him lying awake nights imagining her sumptuous curves and supple lips. And the scorching passion that almost consumed him that night. But Carla wants their bond broken, no matter the cost. Now, as he joins forces with Carla to save his pack, dare Eli hope that he can change her mind and claim a future he never dreamed possible?


Kathie's Review:

While there is another book (Blood Wolf Dawning) in this series, Dark Wolf Returning ties up the major story arc for the series. The bad guys need to get their comeuppance and they surely do. 

Eli hasn't wanted to return to the Pack, but Carla hunts him down and convinces him it's the right thing to do. They have a history that includes a partial bite that gives them a partial bond. Just enough to make them both crazed for the other.

All of the characters from the previous books are front and center here. Makes it feel like old home week! I always like that in a series.

What I wasn't so fond of was the, um, how can I say this politely? The c*ckblocking here was astonishing. Carla and Eli are right on the cusp of having sex...about a dozen times. Something always came up, and it wasn't in a good way. With each successive time, I started counting instead of enjoying the UST. It went way beyond UST, that's for sure. At least it was for this reader.

I did like seeing most of the threads pulled tight, and happiness for most of the inhabitants of the Alley. Book 7 is coming out on January 1, 2015. 


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


Connect with Rhyannon Byrd:


Dark Wolf Rising by Rhyannon Byrd



Dark Wolf Rising 

Bloodrunners #4


by 
April 15, 2014
Eric Drake, a powerful Dark Wolf, has never trusted himself around human females—preferring to mate only within his pack. That is, until he encounters Chelsea Smart snooping around Silvercrest pack land in search of her missing sister.

Secretly, Chelsea thinks Eric is the sexiest man she's ever seen, though she is wary of his potent Alpha energy. Then it's discovered that Chelsea's sister is being held by a pack of vicious Lycans, and Eric heroically leaps into action. Now, Chelsea will risk everything—her body and soul—to surrender to the passion that will mark her as Eric's woman for all eternity…if they survive.
Kathie's Review:
This is book four in the Bloodrunners series by Rhyannon Byrd. I haven't read the first three, but I quickly was brought up to speed as to what was going on. By reading this book first, you will be spoiled for what went on in the previous books. That doesn't bother me, but it might for some.
I was quickly pulled into this shifter world. Eric Drake is a very hot alpha Lycan, with a few control issues. Chelsea is a determined human, determined to find her missing sister.
I really enjoyed the first part of the book. Fast paced and kept me guessing. Once we knew what was going on (the bad guys really are pretty hideous) and Eric and Chelsea were getting closer, that led to some very steamy scenes. I didn't quite understand the whole "dark wolf" thing, though. 
I wasn't as fond of Chelsea's sister, Perry. She seemed very flat and unlikeable. And some scenes where some emotion could have been shown, were just skimmed over. Chelsea was all about finding her, and then a band-aid was slapped on and I was left feeling: What the heck?
The Pack confrontation (not a spoiler, as you know there is going to be one) was very well done. 
I felt the ending was tied up rather neatly, but with loose peripheral ends so that there can be more books in the series.
It was a pretty steamy way to spend a few hours.
Thank you, NetGalley and Harlequin Nocturne, for the opportunity to read DARK WOLF RISING.

Connect with Rhyannon Byrd:

My review of Book 6 will post shortly

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ENTANGLED Black Friday (early!) Sales!


Entangled Black Friday (EARLY!) Sales!


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Must-Have Husband by Ginny Baird



Must-Have Husband 
Summer Grooms #1
by Ginny Baird 
February 27, 2013

Fall for Love. Take a Chance...

A sweet comedic tale about love and taking chances. Based on a true tradition!

Book 1 of 4 in the Summer Grooms Novella Series

City girl Connie Oliver has a hard time hanging on to men, grooms in particular. Just nine weeks before her wedding, she’s seen another one slip away. To make matters worse, her ailing grandfather’s eightieth birthday is approaching, and he has one final wish: to see his last granddaughter married in the historic wedding gown that was first worn by his late wife and has been a family tradition for years. When her sister takes Connie on a girls’ getaway in the wild to soothe her latest heartache, she quips that Connie wouldn’t know a decent man if he fell on her. So, when a handsome stranger drops out of the trees, Connie’s got to wonder whether he’s some sort of madman – or an answer to her prayers.

Rugged outdoorsman “Mac” McCormack is down on his luck after having just lost his camping store in a forest fire. So he hits the trail to forget his woes and plot his next move. Little does Mac expect the fates to deliver an angel with a predicament in need of his skills. With Connie desiring a groom and Mac requiring a down payment, their meeting seems fortuitously timed. But how far will Mac be willing to go once he learns play-acting for the Olivers is not such smooth sailing? Despite the mishaps and mayhem that ensue, can Connie and Mac achieve an authentic happy ending? That all depends on whether both of their hearts can take a chance.

Kathie's Review:

Ms. Baird put a lot of heart in just a few pages (59 I think). This was a funny romp through the woods and on the dance floor. Connie and her sister are really not great at the outdoors stuff and they need saving. Too bad they guy they find appears to have been trying to hang himself (he wasn't). Their fear of the great outdoors was just the start of the laughs. There's a scene with THE WEDDING DRESS that had me laughing out loud!

Mac needs that down payment and it seemed like such an easy way to make a few bucks. Connie's family are pretty shocked when she brings the woodsman into the house for her grandfather's birthday. The mishaps continue to pile up, and the fun continues to grow.

Yes, a short story, but a totally fun way to spend an hour with a nice cup of tea.



Connect with Ginny Baird:
Twitter @GinnyBaird


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ruin the Turning by Lucian Bane

RUIN The Turning Cover



Paranormal Romance
LUCIAN BANE


Ruin wakes up on Earth knowing only one thing: to Judge and Execute. As an Angel of Judgment with no memory of his origins and no ability to communicate, he binds molecularly with Isadore, the first human he comes into contact with. In the fourth installment of the series, The Turning, Ruin must face his latest nightmare assignment: To judge and execute Isadore. Waging war against Heaven and Hell, Ruin collides with a diabolical crossroad of unforseen fate, and the nightmare of good and evil that ensues sends him spiraling into a darkness that he doesn't wish to escape. The Ruin Series sizzles with sexual, spiritual, funny, and truly inspiring romance. The unique concept and premise of this series surpasses the tropes and norms unlike anything you've read before. Bestselling Author, Lucian Bane, dominates his spin on the popular Paranormal Romance genre, quickly becoming one of the many masters that rock our beloved book world.   


  heaven tremble  

   Find the this series on amazon 

  You can follow this series and all Lucian's work on his Website Blog and Author Page.  

   the turning sacrifice tease   

Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh


Only Enchanting 

The Survivors' Club #4

by 
October 28, 2014

The Survivors' Club: Six men and one woman, all wounded in the Napoleonic Wars, their friendship forged during their recovery at Penderris Hall in Cornwall. Now, in the fourth novel of the Survivors' Club series, Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, has left this refuge to find his own salvation—in the love of a most unsuspecting woman.…

Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, was devastated by his fiancĂ©e’s desertion after his return home. Now the woman who broke his heart is back—and everyone is eager to revive their engagement. Except Flavian, who, in a panic, runs straight into the arms of a most sensible yet enchanting young woman.

Agnes Keeping has never been in love—and never wishes to be. But then she meets the charismatic Flavian, and suddenly Agnes falls so foolishly and so deeply that she agrees to his impetuous proposal of marriage.

When Agnes discovers that the proposal is only to avenge his former love, she’s determined to flee. But Flavian has no intention of letting his new bride go, especially now that he too has fallen so passionately and so unexpectedly in love.

Kathie's Review:

First, I love this cover. It's just so pretty and elegant. 

Something you need to know about Ms. Balogh's books...they are really long! This one is 400 pages. This is not a quick read. But...it is a lovely one. She's an expert at the "slow burn" as her characters get to know one another. Time passes and hearts are won over. 

While this is the 4th book in the Survivors' Club series, you don't have to read the others to make sense of what's happening here. The other Survivors are featured and all of the back stories are mentioned so you are in the loop. 

Flavian had a head injury in the war. He has holes in his memory and is just now getting control over the violent outbursts that he had when he first awoke. Certain things cause him to become distressed, and it distresses him greatly when he can't figure out what the trigger is. He feels it may have something to do with those dratted holes.

Agnes is content, mostly, with her life. She has been married and is just out of mourning for her somber husband. They weren't a grand passionate match, but they were affectionate. There's something from her past that just won't let her allow herself to be a bit wild. Love is certainly not for her! Well, at least not until Flavian dances with her...twice. Love smacks her in the heart and she is not amused. 

Time passes...six months...and she figures her heart has healed from that mess that is love. Then she sees him again. And all those feelings come flooding back, alas!

For his part, Flavian is having a hard time remembering her name (his head injury raises its ugly flag again) but he remembers that he thought she was "only enchanting". He is feeling quite stressed over the fact that his entire family is agog over the thought that his ex-fiancee, who jilted him after his injury, is now free. She had married his best friend who has been dead just over a year now. Something about this match that his family is totally pushing on him, worries him.

Agnes is shocked when he proposes. She felt that love really couldn't be for her, especially with him. She gives in to her heart...and accepts. 

There are schemes and worries to deal with before an HEA can even be imagined. But one of the best things this author does is have her characters behave like adults! They talk! They listen! They don't use trite plot devices to stretch the story out. Ah, what a relief it is to read this kind of story. Thank you, Ms. Balogh!

Yes, it's long...but it needs to be. I didn't want to leave these characters, but I do look forward to the next one! And, pretty please, doesn't Dora (Agnes' sister) need a lovely Duke in her future?

*Thank you, NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Berkley, NAL / Signet Romance, DAW Signet,  for the opportunity to read Only Enchanting


Connect with Mary Balogh:







Monday, November 24, 2014

How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You by T.M. Franklin

Another good day at my mailbox! My copy of T.M. Franklin's 

How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You

arrived and is now on my shelf!

There's nothing like actually holding my favorite books in my hands!
You can order your own at T.M.'s website. She will inscribe it to you!




How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You

by T.M. Franklin


1. Join the Drama Club
2. Do Your Research
3. Provide Something She Needs
4. Make Her Feel Secure and Important
5. Pay Attention!
6. Be a Good Friend
7. Be More Attractive
8. Be Complimentary, But Not Obsequious
9. Establish Rapport
10. Be Encouraging and Supportive
11. Give Her Space
12. Admit When You’re Wrong and Apologize
13. Find the Perfect Birthday Gift
14. Tell Her How You Feel

Seventeen-year-old Oliver Wendell Holmes (Yes, his parents are just that peculiar, but his brother’s name is Sherlock, so it could have been worse) knows that he’s different. He’s quirky, awkward, and he’s okay with that. Oliver also likes making lists—meticulous procedures for achieving his goals, step-by-step. Whether it’s “How to Get an A in Chemistry” or “How to Get Accepted to MIT,” he has a process, and it’s worked for him so far. He doesn’t even care that the popular kids mock him. Oliver’s got his eye on the prize.

So when he decides it’s time to declare his feelings for Ainsley Bishop, the girl of his dreams, it’s only natural for him to make a list—a point-by-point strategy to win her heart. He knows it will take a grand gesture for her to see all he has to offer, and her approaching birthday provides the ideal opportunity for Oliver to put his plan into action.

Finding the perfect gift is a challenge Oliver meets with his usual dogged determination. He’ll need to watch her carefully for clues to pinpoint exactly what he should give her. And along the way, he might just learn that what Ainsley really needs is not quite what he expected.

Please add to your Goodreads' Shelves


Reviews

Kathie's Review:

Took me a while to write this review...because I wanted to find the best words to use to sum up how wonderful this book is. 

I can't tell you how many times I laughed, right out loud. I was constantly nodding my head at the situations these teenage characters found themselves in. I have a daughter in high school drama...and this reads REAL.

Oliver and his lists. I loved them. He had plans for everything, including how to win Ainsley's heart. I think this book should be mandatory reading for all young males. See that list up there? Yes, that's how to be a friend...a boyfriend. Well, not ALL of the things on the list, but enough that they should be posted in every middle school and high school hallway. 

There's a scene that mentions CraigsList that made me laugh so hard, I scared the puppy sitting on my lap! Oh my gosh. REVENGE at it's sweetest!

I also loved the side theme of his parents and their relationship. And Oliver's relationship with Hank was a joy.

I enjoyed the main characters very much, but the supporting cast certainly added a depth to this story that made the reading even more enjoyable. Viney, Hank...Sherlock! Yes, Oliver's brother's name is SHERLOCK HOLMES. He was so much fun, too. 

Yes, this wonderful book made me laugh...and then Ms. Franklin made me cry. There's silliness, there's growth of characters, there's sorrow, and there's joy. THIS is what one reads books for. Thank you, Ms. Franklin, you are amazing!

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


Ainsley is available now!

Amazon |Barnes & Noble |iTunes |Kobo | TWCS









T.M. Franklin started out her career writing non-fiction in a television newsroom. Graduating with a B.A. in Communications specializing in broadcast journalism and production, she worked for nine years as a major market television news producer, and garnered two regional Emmy Awards, before she resigned to be a full-time mom and part-time freelance writer. After writing and unsuccessfully querying a novel that she now admits, “is not that great,” she decided to follow the advice of one of the agents who turned her down—write some more and get better at it. Her first published novel, MORE, was born during National Novel Writing month, a challenge to write a novel in thirty days.

She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Mike, is mom to two boys, Justin and Ryan, and has an enormous black dog named Rocky who’s always lying nearby while she’s writing. Whether he’s soothed by the clicking of the computer keys or just waiting for someone to rub his belly is up for debate.

In addition to MORE, Franklin penned the Amazon best-selling short story, Window, as well as another short story, A Piece of Cake, which appears in the Romantic Interludes anthology. The sequel to MORE, The Guardians, will be released November 7, 2013.

Connect with T.M. Franklin
Website | Facebook | Twitter @tm_franklin | Goodreads