Thursday, June 30, 2016

Broken Ground by Karen Halvorsen Schreck & GIVEAWAY

Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by Howard Books

In BROKEN GROUND, Ruth, a woman from Oklahoma who is newly married and crazy in love, abruptly becomes a young widow when her husband Charlie dies in an oil production-related accident near their home in East Texas.  Ruth is forced to move back in with her disapproving, chauvinistic father and a mother who tries to keep the peace.  When an opportunity to attend a university in California on full scholarship opens up, she packs her bags and boards a train for the Pacific Coast.

Ruth is attractive and smart, and eventually catches the attention of one of her professors who recruits her as his personal assistant.  Things continue to go well for Ruth when a family friend invites her to their home for the holidays, and she develops an interest in their disabled son, Thomas.  Upon returning to school, Ruth’s life turns upside down when her professor crosses a line, but she is blamed and summarily expelled.  Instead of returning home to her narrow-minded father, she boards a bus and arrives on Thomas’s doorstep, where she asks him to bring her into the fold in a Mexican workers’ camp, where he has a teaching job. 

The challenges of Ruth’s transition from student to camp worker slowly dissipate, and she soon earns the respect of the campers by attracting the interests of their children.  Eventually, Ruth teaches by Thomas’s side and helps plan ways to protest the unlawful treatment of the Mexican migrant workers.  Nighttime raids—where entire camps are bused back to Mexico—were all too common, and Ruth needs to ensure the security of the camp, workers, and her new friends.

My Thoughts…

The locations, the settings, the story, the characters…everything in this book is absolutely amazing and real to life.     The Depression era is not an easy time to live yet people did and worked together to keep families safe and healthy.    The deportation of Mexicans, both legal and illegal, in the US was happening.   

While this is a fiction book I learned so much.   I learned how women were perceived in colleges when accused of things were not necessarily their fault.    I learned about how Mexican’s were treated, even when they were in the US legally, as they were sent back to Mexico.    I learned that people were living rough lives during the Depression and how they were able to keep food on the tables and families together.     This book is definitely covers some difficult times but there is so many positive things happening also.   Families are close, friends protect each other, and relationships continue to grow.    

Broken Ground is not an easy book to read.  It is not a “quick read.”    Yet, I could not put it down.   I read page after page, chapter after chapter, unable to stop.   I was invested in how the Mexican’s were treated.    The people in this book became friends of mine.   I needed to know that Luis’ family would be okay.    It was important to me to see Ruth come to terms with the loss of her husband.    I was hoping that Thomas would be able to help enough Mexicans and come to accept Lupe’s leaving.   


I recommend checking out Broken Ground.   It is an amazing book by and equally amazing author. 

Book Links
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Karen Halvorsen Schreck is the author of the historical novel Sing For Me (Simon & Schuster), which was praised in a Publishers Weekly starred review. She received her doctorate in English and Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Schreck teaches writing and literature and lives with her husband, photographer Greg Halvorsen Schreck, and their two children in Wheaton, Illinois.



"Readers interested in immigration issues and US history will discover much to enjoy in Schreck's well-written, lyric novel...Readers will love Ruth's stamina and heart, and come away with a new understanding of immigrant experiences both then and now." Publishers Weekly

"The characters remind the reader that while the world is full of broken people, promises and ground, there is hope. Ruth is an encouraging character who finds herself after losing everything." —RT Book Reviews

"A  compelling story, emotionally honest and beautifully written." —Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of The Opposite of Everyone

“Engaging, lyrical, and inspirational, this is a novel for anyone interested in American history, immigration, gender studies, agriculture, or just a good story about human relationships and all the different directions life can go.” —Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Feathered Bone



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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Original Ride by Chelsea Camaron & GIVEAWAY

Title: Originals Ride: Hellions Motorcycle Club
Series: Hellions Ride #8
Author: Chelsea Camaron
Genre: MC Romance
Release Date: June 27, 2016


Four men, four families, four originals, one club. 
Go back to where it all began so long ago for Roundman, Danza, Frisco, and the late Rocky Fowler. A life choice, a road less traveled, all coming together in the name of brotherhood. 
Some found love, some faced loss, and others learned real loyalty. This is the story before the chaos. This is how the originals ride. 

My Thoughts…

Have you ever wondered how a book started?    In Originals Ride Chelsea Camaron fills the reader in on how the Hellions MC got their start.   They tell what circumstances happened to cause 4 men to come together and form a motorcycle club.     Each book in this series has been a story about the club featuring one specific club member and his family.   In this book all the four original founding families are featured with their histories being the focus.  

I loved catching up with the characters.    Each character was memorable in their own ways yet when hearing their name, their story, and their life they were brought back to the forefront of my mind again.   Chelsea Camaron manages to tie up some loose ends, share some secrets, and clear up some misunderstandings.    

If you have been following along with this series you will love this book.   If you are new to this series I suggest you start with the other books in this series before you read this one.    The other books are all standalone yet this one needs the history of the others to be truly enjoyed.   

The last book in this series, Final Ride, is due out in November of 2016.   Catch up with The Hellion MC before it is out.  



*This is a full length novel. Each book in the Hellions Ride series can be read as a stand-alone story with NO cliffhanger endings. Contains adult language, situations, and violence not recommended for readers under the age of 18. This is not an exact depiction of life in a motorcycle club but rather a work of fiction meant to entertain.



Originals Ride by Chelsea Camaron
EXCERPT
ROUNDMAN

“Hush, little baby, don’t say a word,” Dia sings softly to our baby girl. “Daddy’s gonna buy you a Harley shirt.”

I can’t stop the laugh that escapes as I lean against the doorjamb.

Little noises come from our baby, and Dia looks up at me with sharp eyes.

“Well then, Mister Chuckles, you come put her to sleep.” She stands from the rocking chair and brings me the baby all wrapped in red.

Claudia was adamant that our nursery and baby not look like someone vomited Pepto pink in her room and her wardrobe. Can’t say that I’m sad she feels that way, either.

With her hair all wild around her face, her eyes tired from lack of sleep these last few days, and baby spit-up on her shirt, my wife has never looked more disheveled nor more beautiful.

Taking Delilah from her arms, I kiss my wife on her forehead. “Go shower and take a nap, love.”

“Gladly,” she says with an exhausted smile. With a quick kiss to our daughter’s head and one to my lips, she heads off to her sanctuary—our bedroom.

Sitting in the rocker that faces my daughter’s crib all decked out in hot air balloons with teddy bears, I have to smile at how life has changed from the moment they placed Delilah in my arms.

With the face of a doll, eyes of an angel, and a head of blonde hair to match her mother’s, my baby girl is absolutely perfect.

Bright eyes look up at me as she opens and closes her mouth like a fish. “Never known love so deep, dollface.” My voice is raspy as I try not to be loud, but I want to talk to my little girl. “Loved your momma before, but watching her with you, holding you, having you … Well, Doll, I’ve never know anything purer in my life.”

My daughter smiles. Dia says it’s gas, but I don’t care. My baby girl smiles before her eyes close, and she snuggles closer to me.

“Leather, oil, and man,” I explain happily. “One day, you’re gonna grow up, and when you find a man, he should smell like a hardworking man, Doll.” The thought of my baby girl growing up has me twitching to shoot something. “Never mind that, precious. I promise you, as your dad, I’ll be the man you look up to. I’ll be the man who makes you proud. I’ll be rock solid for you and your momma. I’ll give you my all and my love.” I rock her, thinking of what it’s going to be like to watch her grow. “When the time comes to let you go, I’m going to fight like hell to keep you with me. I’ll give my life before I’ll let anyone touch you.” Kissing her head as she soundly sleeps, I hold my daughter in my arms.
USA Today bestselling author Chelsea Camaron is a small town Carolina girl with a big imagination. She’s a wife and mom, chasing her dreams. She writes contemporary romance, erotic suspense, and psychological thrillers. She loves to write about blue-collar men who have real problems with a fictional twist. From mechanics to bikers to oil riggers to smokejumpers, bar owners, and beyond she loves a strong hero who works hard and plays harder.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Forever Beach by Shelley Noble

Forever Beach cover• Paperback: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 7, 2016)

 One woman struggling to hold on to what she has. . . . One woman learning to forgive. . . . Their lives entwined by one little girl. Sarah Hargreave is anxious to finalize the adoption of her foster daughter, Leila. Once a foster child herself, Sarah longs to become Leila’s “forever” family and give her all the love and stability she was denied in her own childhood. When Leila’s biological mother suddenly reappears and petitions the court for the return of her daughter, Sarah is terrified she’ll lose the little girl she loves to the drug- addicted mother who abandoned her. Having grown up in foster care, Ilona Cartwright is a lawyer who fights for the rights of children who have no one to fight for them. But to Sarah she is Nonie Blanchard, who grew up in the same group foster home as Sarah. They’d promised to be best friends forever, but then Nonie was adopted by a wealthy family, and Sarah never heard from her again. Sarah still hurts from the betrayal. But Nonie harbors her own resentment toward the past. Mistrustful of each other, the two women form a tenuous alliance to ensure Leila’s future, but when Leila’s very survival is on the line, they’ll have to come to terms with their own feelings of hurt and rejection to save the child they both have come to love.

My Thoughts…

There are two girls who are like sisters and one leaves when she is adopted.    The promise for letters never happens and feelings are hurt.     In time these two girls have grown to ladies and run into each other.    I was intrigued.   I was invested.   Nonie and Sarah have to make up.    It is only right.   The only way for this story to go.   Yet, I was never sure on how their relationship would end up.       Shelley Noble set up this part of the story perfectly.    She made both women real in their fears and feelings.    Their relationship was something that could happen, that did happen, and their reconciliation was perfect.

The story of Leila was heart breaking.   This is the part of the book that made me tear up.    How could a young girl go through so much?   I just kept thinking that this was happening in the world, this was real, it isn’t just fiction.     Being so young and torn from the person who has been your constant, the one who loves you, the one you trust and being sent to the unknown, a person who has hurt you in the past, who has left you in the past.   There is no easy way to come to terms with this.   I was amazed at how Sarah was able to handle the effects Leila’s bio mom had on her.     It wasn’t easy, for anyone, yet she never gave up.    


I thought I was picking up a great summer, beach book.   I was wrong.  It was an amazing book yet it was such a heavy topic.   I had tears by the 30th page and could not put it down.  I read all 400+ pages in one day.      I recommend picking up your own copy immediately.   



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About Shelley Noble

Shelley NobleShelley Noble is a former professional dancer and choreographer and has worked on a number of films. She lives at the Jersey shore where she loves to visit lighthouses and vintage carousels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America. Find out more about Shelley at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Once and Future Wife by David Burnett & GIVEAWAY



Jennie Bateman has again fallen in love with Thomas, her former husband, but Tasha, one of his children, is determined to destroy their relationship.

Jennie had done that herself a number of years earlier. In the midst of a manic episode, she had deserted Thomas and their two daughters, choosing, instead, a life of shameless debauchery.

Perhaps she was shocked when Thomas filed for a divorce. Perhaps it was the influence of a preacher who took an interest in her. Perhaps she simply cycled back toward normal.

Whatever the cause, years later, when she again made contact with her family, she was a different person. Even so, they wanted nothing to do with her.

But time moves on. Circumstances change.

Jennie has been accepted by her children. Thomas’s second wife has died, leaving him a single parent with four adult daughters and a newborn. In Jennie’s eyes, he is the same good-looking, kind, loving person she had fallen for when they were in college.

While Jennie has fallen in love with Thomas, he has no interest in romance. He is still mourning the loss of his second wife, he is caring for their infant daughter, and he still nurses the hurt he felt when Jennie abandoned him so many years before. He does not want her around his children, and he is determined to shelter his infant daughter from her.

As time passes, though, he finds himself attracted to Jennie again, discovering she now resembles the girl with whom he once fell in love, rather the shrew who once walked out of his life.

Tasha knows of Jennie’s earlier life and she has discovered that she still takes medication to control her behavior.

“Are these your crazy pills?” Tasha mocks her as she snatches the bottle from Jennie’s hand. “If I flush them, will you be crazy in the morning? Only a weakling depends on medicine,” she asserts.

She insists that whether Jennie takes the medication or not, she will ultimately relapse, that another manic episode lies ahead, perhaps just around the bend. She taunts Jennie by printing documents from the internet to support her claim. She reminds Jennie that if she were to relapse after marrying Thomas, she would ruin his life – a second time.

Shamed by Tasha, Jennie ponders tossing her medication, hoping to prove to both of them that she can live without it. As she considers what to do, she fears that she will fail the test, be unable to cope, and her demons– anger, alcohol, and sex − will come rushing back to thwart her chance for a second marriage just as they destroyed her first.

Thomas would not try to cope with those demons again, would he? She couldn’t ask that of him, could she?

In Once and Future Wife we follow Jennie as she goes a second round with her demons, hoping to find a way to stop them from destroying the love and happiness that finally seem to be within her reach.

My Thoughts…

While this is the second book in the series, each book can be read as a standalone.     Those Children Are Ours, the first book, was wonderful.     Once and Future Wife is even better.     Jennie is still redeeming herself to her ex and her children but she is doing it.    She is working hard to make a life for herself and be self sufficient.    Her children are working on accepting her and making her more of her life and the ex is letting them.     

David Burnett has a way with telling the story.   He writes with so much emotion and truth that I could not help but be pulled into the story.    I was invested in Jennie and Thomas.    Neither of them had an easy life and this book starts with Thomas losing his wife.    How he deals with the loss and raising of his children is absolutely amazing.     I love how he opens up his heart again, he learns to trust again, and he learns to love again.   

The ending is absolutely amazing.    I did not see how it would end.   I had my thoughts and hopes but I was sure that they were just mine.   I was thrilled when some of my thoughts came through and surprised at some of the twists.       The feelings, the reactions, and the story are all so real and true.   


I recommend reading Once and Future Wife.   If you have not read Those Children Are Ours I recommend starting with that and then continuing with the rest.      Yet, as I said earlier you can read this as a standalone.    

Once and Future Wife is a stand alone sequel to Those Children Are Ours. The first book does not have a cliff hanger of any kind at the end.  Once and Future Wife picks up with Jennie four years later and can be read apart from the other book.


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Also Available - Those Children Are Ours  ~  See my thoughts HERE
Jennie Bateman screamed at her daughters, cursed at her husband, packed a bag, and walked away. Twelve years later, she petitions the family court for visitation with her daughters, Alexis and Christa.

Her attorney tells Jennie that, ordinarily, she could not imagine that some type of visitation would not be granted. But, she warns, the situation is hardly ordinary. True, Jennie suffered from a bipolar disorder when she began to drink heavily, abandoned her family, and moved in with another man. True, she has turned her life around: leaving her boyfriend, returning to school, entering therapy, taking medication, finding a job, and joining a church.

But she pressed no claim for her children when her husband divorced her, and she has made no attempt to contact them in any way since then. Her daughters, now sixteen and fourteen, live four hundred miles away. They have busy lives that do not include her, lives that will be totally disrupted by the visitation that she requests. Their father is engaged to be married to a woman who has taken the role of their mother for a decade. Alexis remembers nothing good about Jennie. Christa recalls nothing at all.

Conflict ensues as soon as Jennie’s petition is served: her former husband does not want to share his children with the woman who deserted him; her children have no interest in knowing the mother who abandoned them, and her father insists that she is being timid and ought to demand full custody, not simply visitation.

As court convenes, Jennie’s past is dredged up− the desertion, the men, her drinking, her mental health − and paraded before the judge. Her claim to be a different person, now, is attacked. The judge hesitates to grant Jennie’s request, but reluctantly agrees to order three trial visits.

If persuading the judge to let her see her children was difficult, convincing them to allow her to be a part of their lives seems to be almost impossible. What happens as she finally begins to connect with her daughters places them all in grave danger and threatens her life, itself.

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About the author
David Burnett lives in Columbia South Carolina, with his wife and their blue-eyed cat, Bonnie. The Reunion, his first novel, is set in nearby Charleston.

David enjoys traveling, photography, baking bread, and the Carolina beaches. He has photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, a Native American powwow, and his grandson, Jack. David and his wife have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During one trip to Scotland, they visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen. In The Reunion, Michael's journey through England and Scotland allows him to sketch many places they have visited.

David has graduate degrees in psychology and education and previously was Director of Research for the South Carolina Department of Education. He and his wife have two daughters.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Bay of Sighs (The Guardians Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts

Paperback, 319 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by Berkley

To celebrate the rise of their new queen, three goddesses of the moon created three stars, one of fire, one of ice, one of water. But then they fell from the sky, putting the fate of all worlds in danger. And now three women and three men join forces to pick up the pieces…

Mermaid Annika is from the sea, and it is there she must return after her quest to find the stars. New to this world, her purity and beauty are nothing less than breathtaking, along with her graceful athleticism, as her five new friends discovered when they retrieved the fire star. 

Now, through space and time, traveler Sawyer King has brought the guardians to the island of Capri, where the water star is hidden. And as he watches Annika in her element, he finds himself drawn to her joyful spirit. But Sawyer knows that if he allows her into his heart, no compass could ever guide him back to solid ground...

And in the darkness, their enemy broods. She lost one star to the guardians, but there is still time for blood to be spilled—the mermaid’s in the water and the traveler’s on the land. For she has forged a dangerous new weapon. Something deadly and unpredictable. Something human. 

My Thoughts…

I had not read a Nora Roberts book in a while before I read the first book in The Guardians Trilogy.   When I finished the first book I knew that I had to read the second book.    This is an amazing trilogy.    The story flows perfectly from one book to the next.     The characters are familiar and the quest is known.       Now I need to get ready for the third one.

In this book we pick up after they have found the first star.   They are now searching for the star of water.   The 6 main characters know that they will have to use their own personal special talents to keep each other safe and find the star.   I cannot pick a favorite character but in this book it seemed that Annika and Sawyer were front and center throughout the entire story.     I felt invested in their safety and in their relationship.  I loved how na├»ve and unknowing Annika is.    Her understanding of all things human is so small that everything has to be explained to her.    The use of language, the use of human items, and the love between humans is all so new to her it was like discovering the world again through new eyes.  

In true Nora Roberts fashion, I could not put the book down.   I turned page and after page, reading paragraph after paragraph.  I had to know what was going to happen.   

As with many of her series this one does need to be read in order.    The need to understand the history and the characters is necessary.   


Check out my thoughts on book one HERE.

Book Links
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Thursday, June 23, 2016

All Summer Long by Dorothea Benton Frank

About All Summer Long

All Summer Long cover• Hardcover: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (May 31, 2016)

Dorothea Benton Frank novels are smart and witty fiction that readers want on their bookshelf: soulful, edgy stories about realistic characters familiar to us all that explore the most deeply felt moments of life with wry humor and heart.

All Summer Long follows one charming New York couple–prominent interior designer Olivia Ritchie and her husband, Nicholas Seymour, an English professor and true southern gentleman. They are seemingly polar opposites, yet magnetically drawn together and have been in love for more than fourteen years.

As they prepare to relocate to Charleston, South Carolina, Olivia, the ultimate New Yorker, has reservations about the promise she made to retire in the Lowcountry, where Nick wants to return home and lead a more peaceful life. They are moving north to south, fast pace versus slow pace, and downsizing. Nick is ecstatic. Olivia is not. She can’t let Nick know that their finances are not what he thought. Her client list is evaporating, their monetary reserves are dwindling, and maybe that house she picked out on Sullivans Island needs too much work.  Thank God for her assistant, Roni Larini, her right (and sometimes left) hand.

As they find themselves pondering the next step of their lives, Olivia and Nick travel with her billionaire clients and their friends and are swept up in the world of the ultra-rich, exploring the globe with a cast of zany eccentrics over one tumultuous, hot summer. All as Olivia grapples with what lies ahead for her and Nick.

This is a story of how plans evolve and lives change in unexpected ways, how even those who have everything are still looking for something more. Even the most successful people can often struggle to keep things together. All Summer Long asks the ultimate question: Can money buy happiness? From Sullivans Island to Necker Island to Nantucket to the beaches of Southern Spain, we’ll come to recognize the many faces of true love; love that deepens and endures, but only because one woman makes a tremendous leap of faith. And that leap changes everything.

My Thoughts...

All Summer Long is being promoted as the perfect summer read and it is exactly that.    The different locations from Manhattan, Nantucket, Spain, and Sullivan’s Island were absolutely wonderful.    The author did an amazing job describing not only the scenery but also the way the locals lived.   From the fishing, barges, and Southern ways near Sullivan’s Island to the yacht and food in Spain I could picture where the characters were visiting and the incredible lifestyles they are living.  

Olivia, the main character and story teller, is living a life that people dream of.   She has the dream job of interior designer to the biggest and richest, she is truly in love with her husband and him with her, and she gets invited on exotic vacations with her customers.    Yet, everything isn’t as it seems for her.   She is worrying about how she will continue to live her in her lifestyle and about the move from Manhattan to the South.    I loved how determined she was to make everything right and how faithful she is to her customers.    She not only works hard but she is a friend in their times of need.      Olivia is also fiercely independent.   Even though she is married she is not reliant on her husband for everything.   She is in control of their money, runs her own business, and makes her own decisions.     I found her refreshing from the sometimes needy women found in women fiction books.

All Summer Long had everything I love.    Love and passion, drama, and happiness.    If you are looking for a fun summer read this is perfect.    I recommend picking up your copy today.  


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Dorothea Benton Frank

About Dorothea Benton Frank

New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. She resides in the New York area with her husband. Find her on the web at www.dotfrank.com, or like her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.