The Lullaby Girl (Angie Pallorino #2) by Loreth Anne White-Review, Interview & Giveaway

THE LULLABY GIRL (Angie Pallorino #2) by Loreth Anne White-Review, Interview & Giveaway

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THE LULLABY GIRL
Angie Pallorino #2
by Loreth Anne White
Release Date: November 14, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, murder, mystery, suspense

The Lullaby Girl

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 14, 2017

Detective Angie Pallorino took down a serial killer permanently and, according to her superiors, with excessive force. Benched on a desk assignment for twelve months, Angie struggles to maintain her sense of identity—if she’s not a detective, who is she? Then a decades-old cold case washes ashore, pulling her into an investigation she recognizes as deeply personal.

Angie’s lover and partner, James Maddocks, sees it, too. But spearheading an ongoing probe into a sex-trafficking ring and keeping Angie’s increasing obsession with her case in check is taking its toll. However, as startling connections between the parallel investigations emerge, Maddocks realizes he has more than Angie’s emotional state to worry about.

Driven and desperate to solve her case, Angie goes rogue, risking her relationship, career, and very life in pursuit of answers. She’ll learn that some truths are too painful to bear, and some sacrifices include collateral damage.

But Angie Pallorino won’t let it go. She can’t. It’s not in her blood.

•••••••••••••

REVIEW: THE LULLABY GIRL is the second instalment in Loreth Anne White’s contemporary, adult ANGIE PALLORINO murder/mystery/suspense series focusing on Vancouver Police Department sex crimes Detective Angie Pallorino, and her partner/lover Detective Sergeant James Maddocks. THE LULLABY GIRL can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary but I recommend reading the series in order for backstory and cohesion.

Told from several third person perspectives including Angie and James THE LULLABY GIRL picks up immediately after the events of book one-The Drowned Girls-in which Angie Pallorino discovered that the life she lived has been based on a lie. Our heroine has recently been demoted and assigned desk duty in the face of violent take-down that was deemed excessive and unnecessary. Now with time on her hands, Angie begins a personal investigation into a thirty-year old cold case that will alter her life in more ways than one. Going rogue, and without the help of the man that she loves, Angie will come face to face with her past-a deadly encounter meant to end her life-a second time around.

Meanwhile, James Maddocks investigation into a sex-trafficking ring has caught the attention of the FBI and Canada’s RCMP. Partnering with the elite forces James will discover similarities between his case, and the one Angie has been investigating; and a potential showdown with the people in charge places Angie in the direct line of fire as she inserts herself where she doesn’t belong.

THE LULLABY GIRL is a story of betrayal and revenge, of power and control. The imagery and descriptive nature of the story line is dramatic and realistic. The emotional fall out is palpable and intense; the suspense is riveting and powerful. Loreth Anne White’s attention to detail is brilliant; the character development and world building is phenomenal; the energy and passion inspiring; the delivery fluent and artistic- a movie for the mind.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
The Drowned Girls
The Lullaby Girl

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview

TRC: Hi Loreth and welcome to The Reading Café.

Congratulations on the recent release of THE LULLABY GIRL.We would like to start with some background information.

Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Loreth Anne White 2Follow: Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Website

Loreth: Thank you for having me here! I’m excited to share Book 2 in my Angie Pallorino series with everyone. I’m a South-African-born-and-raised Canadian who lives in the stunning but wet, cold, and grey mountains of the Pacific Northwest. While it’s chocolate-box beautiful I miss blue African skies and sunshine and the wild ocean like a small hole in my soul. Like most writers, I’ve always loved books and stories. I’m a wife, a mother, a pet and nature lover, and weather influences my moods far more than it probably should.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Loreth: I’ve been lucky to have been surrounded by people who fed me books and stories from a very young age. From my Dutch grandfather, to my mother and father, my English teachers at school, my lecturers at university. Over the years these people all kept opening doors with secret keys to worlds of imagination.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Loreth: Early on, when I first seriously sat down to write a novel, I was still working as a journalist. By far the most challenging hurdle was to come home after a day of overtime, deadlines, and solid writing at work, and then to try and write even more at night and over weekends while still balancing family commitments. Also, at that time, my girls were young, we were new immigrants who lived in a very small space. Our jobs were insecure, and I had no writing corner I could truly call my own—I wrote at a tiny table in our bedroom for the most part, where I could hear the noisy neighbours through the thin condo walls. Writing a novel, in some respects, seemed a ludicrous idea at the time. But I managed to sell that first one to New York, and while many more challenges lay ahead–and still do—it’s a journey I am pleased I started, and it’s a road I am happy to travel.

The Lullaby GirlTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of THE LULLABY GIRL and the Angie Pallorino series?

Loreth: My Detective Angie Pallorino starts out in The Drowned Girls working sex crimes. It’s her wheelhouse. She’s good at it, and fiercely-driven to do it for reasons she doesn’t fully understand at the start of the series. By the end of that first book Angie has taken down a serial killer, permanently, and according to her superiors, with excessive force. Now, in The Lullaby Girl, Angie is forced back into uniform and she’s been benched on a desk assignment for 12 months. This challenges Angie in every way possible—if she’s not a detective, who is she? Then a decades-old cold case washes ashore, and Angie is pulled into an investigation she recognizes as deeply, frighteningly, personal. It could be a key to her past.

Driven and desperate to solve her own cold case in spite of her probation, Angie goes rogue, risking her relationship with Detective Maddocks, her career, and her very life in pursuit of the answers to her origins. But Angie will learn that some truths might be too painful to bear, and some sacrifices include collateral damage. And she’ll have to make some hard choices.

TRC: What type of research/plotting do you do, and how long do you spend researching /plotting before beginning a book?

Loreth: It depends on the story. I read non-fiction books, biographies, watch videos, movies, interview experts, do courses, and attend workshops. For example, for my Angie series, I read text books written for cops on how to investigate various kinds of homicides and crimes. I’ve done workshops conducted by law enforcement personnel, spoken with cops, and attended events like the wonderful Writers Police Academy that comes complete with hands-on weapons experience. And of course, there’s the writing craft aspect as well—for that, also courses, workshops, and better than anything—reading other novels in the genre.

TRC: How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believeability?

Loreth: I can only hope the plots are unpredictable while still delivering on genre expectations! I think the key is to develop rich characters who have their own unique takes on a plot situation, and to allow a unique setting to become character as well. Combined with one’s own voice and one’s own world view, hopefully the result is something fresh.

TRC: How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

Loreth: Hah! My editors and reviewers and readers all began to sit on my shoulder as I wrote. They’d jeer and point at the screen and yell: no, no ways can you do that! Oh no, that sucks, that’s silly!! …. I still struggle to shut them out and let my ‘girls in the basement’ loose–in private–on the first draft.

TRC: What was your hardest scene –ever-to write?

Loreth: I can’t think that there was any one scene particularly harder to write over any other. I do however find sex scenes challenging to craft because they need to deliver so much in a romance novel, in terms of not being gratuitous, in showing real character development, in driving the plot forward, and in still complicating or ramping up the suspense element of a romantic suspense.

TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

Loreth: Yes!

The Drowned GirlsTRC: When writing a story line, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

Loreth: They go hand-in-hand as the story develops.

TRC: How do you select the names of your characters?

Loreth: I do think about marketing and back cover copy when I consider names. I think about what might resonate with readers, and how some names might put readers off reading a story. Also, I try limit names starting with the same letter, or ones that sound too similar. And then I consider the sound of the name itself and try to match it to character. For example, for a certain kind of hero, or villain, one might want a harsher, or shorter sounding word. Or maybe something softer for a female character. Or, if she’s bad-ass, maybe certain names could undermine that tough quality. Then … at the final stage, an editor might still ask you to change a name! This happened to me with my book A Dark Lure. Cole, my hero, was initially named Hunter, and I was (rightly) asked to change this because of the hunting theme and metaphors already playing strongly through the novel. But to this day, when I get reader letters that mention Cole, I scratch my head thinking, who in the hell is Cole!? (to me, he’s still Hunter 🙂

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the story line so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?

Loreth: This is a big craft question! Bottom line, I think the key is to have real-time, blow-by-blow beats occurring in a scene–without summarizing–in order to make readers feel right there, part of the unfolding events. The summarizing–or introspection or ‘telling’–works better in the sequels that bridge the real-time scenes. It also helps to decide on who the focal character in each scene will be, and what his or her scene goal is. This goal, ideally, should be apparent to the reader at the outset, and the blows should come as that goal is obstructed beat-by-beat throughout that scene—either via dialogue/argument, events, or physical action. And at the end of that scene, that focal character should have arrived at a new direction, a next scene goal in mind.

TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the storyline direction? Characters?

Loreth: I used to. Now I prefer quiet. But I do listen to music in between, or before writing, to set mood/tone. And yes, I pick music I think might help amplify the tone I am seeking.

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?

Loreth: That authors enjoy writing!

TRC: What is something that few, if anybody, knows about you?

Loreth: Ooh, I don’t know … I was a competitive swimmer and once eyed by coaches as a potential Olympic hopeful. I still love long-distance, open-water swimming and have trained in the past with guys like Lewis Pugh who have crossed the English Channel and who swim the most extreme polar ends of the earth. I enjoy cooking, but not baking. I cannot sing to save my life but wish I could. I don’t like ice cream.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Loreth: Right now I’m tackling a project that is challenging me in new ways. It requires more research than I’ve ever done. There is an epic romance at the core—a love triangle–where my characters face impossible choices against extraordinary circumstances. And there’s a mystery. It’s something that is really pushing me beyond my traditional comfort zone. Which is both a good thing and scary! I’m terribly excited about it so far, but the perennial writerly struggle remains: Will I ever be able to meet my own vision for this idea? Perhaps not. But as my mother-in-law used to say: if you aim for the star you might hit the top of the tree. Heh. So I’m trying.

LIGHTNING ROUND

● Favorite Food – cheese!

● Favorite Dessert – more cheese! (and dark chocolate and espresso coffee)

● Favorite TV Show – too many to name, but at the moment I am hooked on several great Nordic noir-ish crime series, and UK and other European crime shows.

● Last Movie You Saw – Victoria and Abdul

● Dark or Milk Chocolatedefinitely dark and fine and bitter

● Secret Celebrity Crush I love Helen Mirren, Judy Dench, Emma Thompson – all wonderful celebrity role models who show women both young and old that females can age with ferocity and grace and embrace the wisdom acquired over years on this earth, and who are not shy of the wrinkles that come with that hard-won place.

● Last Vacation Destination – Australia

● Do you have any pets? – Hudson and Brunswick, my black labradog and my orange cat, and some wild birds who flap outside my window to be hand fed.

● Last book you read – Love In The Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

TRC: Thank you Loreth for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of THE LULLABY GIRL. We wish you all the best.

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More Than Anything by Kimberly Lang – Review, Interview & Giveaway

More Than Anything by Kimberly Lang – Review, Interview & Giveaway

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More Than AnythingAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
The small, waterfront town of Magnolia Beach, Alabama, gets its fair share of tourists breezing in and out, but one handsome visitor might just be tempted to stay…
 
Running the Bay Breeze marina means Shelby Tanner is used to fielding strange requests from vacationers, but she is still less than amused when she gets a call in the middle of the night to rescue a boat stranded nearby. The clueless sailor is infuriatingly inexperienced—yet also frustratingly attractive.
 
Architect Declan Hyde only planned on stopping in Alabama briefly on his move from Chicago to Miami, but Magnolia Beach is proving to be more captivating than he imagined. For one thing, there’s the sweet, Southern charm. For another, there’s the stunning tomboy who rescued him from the bay and keeps invading his thoughts.
 
As the time draws near for Declan to weigh anchor, he begins to realize that Shelby may have saved more than his boat that night—and leaving Magnolia Beach might set his lonely heart permanently adrift…

 

Review:

More Than Anything by Kimberly Lang is the 3rd book in her Magnolia Beach series.  Shelby Tanner is our heroine in this book, and we met her in the first book of this series.   Shelby runs the Bay Breeze marina for her family, and she loves her job, even if she is always on call.   In the middle of the night, she gets an emergency call for help from a vacationer stranded on a boat.  Declan Hyde, our hero, is the stranger who needs to be rescued by Shelby.  Declan comes across as a loner, since people in Magnolia Beach never see him, including Shelby.  Declan is an architect, who is starting a new job in Miami in a couple of months.  His friend loaned him the boat to stay on, and Declan keeps to himself, reading and watching tv. 

Shelby finds him strange, but is determined to teach Declan how to use the controls on the boat in an emergency.  What follows is a friendship that will blossom into a scorching romance.  Both Declan and Shelby know this is short term only, but they are enjoying the benefits.  Declan, with Shelby’s persuasion, gets himself out into the town and meets all the townsfolk, including the overprotective Tanner family.  It was fun to watch Shelby’s family; especially her brother and cousins who put pressure on Declan.  In time, Declan learns more about Shelby, her life as the only Tanner girl, and her secret plans to upgrade the marina.  Of course, Shelby never thinks anyone will pay attention to her, but Declan pushes and helps her to explore the possibilities for the future of Bay Breeze marina.

As things continue to get hotter between Shelby and Declan, their feelings for each other become stronger, thereby creating problems when Declan’s job sends him away from Shelby and Magnolia Beach. Will Shelby be able to forget Declan?  Will Declan miss Shelby and Magnolia Beach?

I really loved their romance, and Lang did a fantastic job creating such a sweet storyline.  More Than Anything was a fun, sweet, enjoyable romance, and the town of Magnolia Beach remains a fun place to visit.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

Interview 1

Hi Kimberly.  Thank you for taking the time today, to answer some questions for our members at The Reading Café.  We are always looking forward to reading about the author behind the book.

Kimberly Lang

 

Kimberly:  Hi there! I’m so happy to be here and will endeavor to be interesting (or at least entertaining!).

 

 

 

TRC:  Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Kimberly:   I’m a Sagittarius. I have a close, personal relationship with tea. I humor my dog’s neuroses a little too much sometimes. The Nerd Wars rage in my home (Liberal Arts Nerd vs. Science/Tech Nerd), and I think I am losing.  I love the soundtrack to The Little Mermaid.

TRC:  Did you always have an interest in writing?  When and how did you first start writing?

Kimberly:  Like many English majors, I always threatened to write a book, and I always said that book would be a romance. Although I’ve been telling myself stories for years, I didn’t start writing those stories until I was in my 30s. I guess it took a while for me to work up the courage. I have a background in dance, so I was already familiar with the idea of being “good, but not good enough,” and I think that worry held me back for a while. I finally submitted my first manuscript in 2004 and sold (a completely revised version of it) in 2008.

TRC:  More Than Anything, the 3rd book in your Magnolia Beach series, was released on Tuesday.   For our members who have not read this series, can you tell us the premise of the Magnolia Beach?

Kimberly:  It’s the lives and times of the good people of Magnolia Beach, a small town on the Alabama coast, where the men are all ridiculously good-looking — and single — Alpha males.  

TRC:  How did you come up with the idea of Magnolia Beach, and how many books are you planning for this series?

Kimberly:  The Magnolia Beach books give me the chance to celebrate everything I love about the South and poke fun at it, too. It’s all rooted in truth, so there’s both freedom and joy in writing what I know. As for how many books… Well, there are more stories to tell, so if the readers are willing to read them, I’ll be happy to write them.

TRC:  Can you please give us a brief description of More Than Anything?

Kimberly:  This is Shelby Tanner’s story, the one girl in a generation of Tanner boys, who meets a handsome recluse who’s only in town for a short while. He needs something to believe in, and she needs someone to believe in her.

TRC:  You write Contemporary Romance. Have you thought about writing in other genres?

Kimberly:  I read in many genres, especially historical, and while I toy with the idea occasionally, I don’t think I’ll try.  I love contemporary too much and have too much fun writing it to do anything else.

TRC:  What is your writing process?  Do you like to outline your story before you start? Do you have a specific place you like to write?  Is there a special time of day that works best for you?

Kimberly:  I am learning to outline. I’m not great at it yet, but I’m trying. For the most part, I write in the mornings, either at my desk (with Cupid snoring behind me under the printer) or curled up in the recliner. Wherever I am, I have to have my tea. 🙂

TRC:  What books, authors or people in your life have influenced your writing? 

Kimberly:  Professionally, I’m fortunate to have a supportive group of writer friends who offer both great advice and support and are definitely an influence. Creatively, Jenny Crusie, Julia Quinn, Julie Garwood, Linda Howard, and Linda Winstead Jones — that’s the kind of writer I want to be.

TRC:  When you are not writing, what other interests or hobbies do you have?

Kimberly:   I teach a combination yoga-Pilates class (it’s fun and it combats the time I spend — and the snacking I do —  in my chair). I love crossword puzzles, and one day, I am determined to learn to knit.

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else?

Kimberly:  I borrowed a song from Chapman James, a songwriter friend of mine, to use in the book because it’s perfect for Declan and Shelby’s story. “My Soul’s in Alabama” speaks to Declan because it helps him see what he’s leaving behind. It’s a beautiful song, and you can get a listen here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/chapmanjames2

 

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Anything Mexican (please add extra guacamole).

Favorite Dessert:  Lemon things — lemon icebox pie, lemon bars, lemon cake with glaze…

Favorite TV ShowRight now, Jane the Virgin and Reign. I’m binging Reign on my own — it’s got royals and drama and romance and intrigue — and Jane the Virgin is something I’m watching with my daughter. It’s both campy and sweet, and we’re addicted.

Favorite Movie or TV Celebrity: Dame Maggie Smith.  She’s a genius in everything.

Favorite Fictional Character (not your own):  I’m loving Matthew from Jane the Virgin right now. He’s a sweet beta in an Alpha job and role. He screws up, but he owns it and his love for Jane is never in question.

Milk or Dark Chocolate:  Milk. I feel that dark requires a maturity I don’t have.

Dog or Cat:  It would break my Cupid’s heart for me to say anything other than dog.

TRC:  Thank you Kimberly, for taking the time to answer our questions.  We wish you the best of luck with More Than Anything

Kimberly:  My pleasure! Thanks for having me!

If you want to learn more about Kimberly Lang, you can check out the following links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

giveaway

Kimberly’s publisher is offering a paper copy of MORE THAN ANYTHING to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please LIKE us on FACEBOOK and click GET NOTIFICATIONS

4. Please FOLLOW us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

6. Follow Kimberly Lang   on Facebook.

7. Giveaway is open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from December 8 –12, 2016

 

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Roadside Assistance (Body Shop Bad Boys #2) by Marie Harte-Review,Interview and Giveaway

ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE (Body Shop Bad Boys #2) by Marie Harte-Review, Interview and Giveaway

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ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE
Body Shop Bad Boys #2
by Marie Harte
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance

Roadside Assistance

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM /

About the book: Release Date September 6, 2016

Underneath the axle grease and tats he’s a gentleman.
Foley Sanders figured he’ll always be content with a life of cars and casual hookups. Until a run-in with Cyn, a statuesque firecracker with a hate-on for men, leaves him bewitched and intrigued-much to her annoyance.

Maybe Cynthia Nichols was a little hard on Foley, that muscular, tattooed, super-hot mechanic next door. But she’s tired of feeling defensive about her size and has sworn off men. She’s got a new job, new life, perfect plan. Foley has trouble written all over him-no way is she going to fall for his charms.

Foley might look like a bad idea, but underneath, he’s all gentleman. Too bad Cyn’s not buying it. What’s a bad boy to do when the goddess of his dreams won’t give him the time of day?

••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE is the second installment in Marie Harte’s contemporary, adult BODY SHOP BAD BOYS erotic, romance series focusing on the mechanic’s at Webster’s Garage. This is mechanic Foley Sanders, and café owner Cynthia Nichols’s story line. ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. BODY SHOP BAD BOYS is a spin off from Harte’s McCauley Brothers series but you do not have to have read the original series to follow the current time line. A number of the characters cross-over between the two series.

Told from several third person perspectives ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE follows the building relationship between Foley and Cyn, and the fractured family dynamics for the Nichols and Sanders’s families. Foley is a tattooed, bad boy, and a man with a past. Cynthia is a plus size, independent business woman whose self-esteem and body image have been destroyed by her toxic mother leaving our heroine with a less than idealistic view of herself and the world. When her most recent relationship failed Cyn pledged to remain celibate for the rest of her life but a mechanic with a soft spot for Cyn, and a loving relationship with his own mother has pushed Cyn’s promise of celibacy to the side. What ensues is a relationship that quickly builds into something more that may be destroyed when Cyn is unable to overcome the emotional and psychological abuse, inflicted by her mother, that continues to the present day.

The sexual attraction between Cyn and Foley is immediate but our heroine is reluctant to believe that Foley is interested in a plus size woman. Her self-esteem has been so badly damaged, that compliments and attention become fodder for arguments and fights. Foley has a protective streak when it comes to his family, and Cyn’s self-abasing attitude is difficult to overcome even for our story line hero. The $ex scenes are erotic, seductive and intense.

ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE has a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including Foley’s best friend, roommate, fellow mechanic and ‘brother from another mother’ Sam whose life begins to spiral out of control when Foley becomes preoccupied with the new woman in his life. All of the mechanics at Webster’s Garage play an active role throughout the story. We are introduced to Foley’s mother Eileen, and her beau Jacob, as well as Cyn’s brother Matt and his wife Nina; Cyn’s long suffering father Vincent, and her mother Ella. The poisonous barbs and toxic relationship between Cyn and Ella make for plenty of uncomfortable moments.

The world building continues to focus on the men and women at Webster’s Garage-their friendships, the camaraderie, relationships and love-there is plenty of humor and fun when the mechanics get together for a game of darts and a couple of beers. Cynthia Nichols’ low self esteem and negative body image is a constant theme running throughout the story, and for some readers the issues may hit too close to home but in the end our heroine finds the strength to take the first steps towards recovery and finding self worth.

ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE is a story about romance and love; family and friendships; letting go of the past and moving forward with your own life. The premise is emotional and impassioned but slow to build in the early stages of the book; the characters are colorful, animated and flawed; the romance is intimate and provocative. Marie Harte’s ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE is a welcome addition to her BODY SHOP BAD BOYS erotic, romance series.

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of Book 1-TEST DRIVE.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview

TRC:  Hi Marie and welcome to The Reading Cafe.

We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

My name is Marie Harte, and I’m a romance writer. I’ve written over a hundred books, have hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, and continue to write. I’m a mother of two boys who never seem to stop eating. I have a cat that likes to sneak attack, and I’m addicted to coffee. My family and I live in Central Oregon, and I’m in love with the mountains.

TRC:  Who or what influenced your career in writing?

My love of reading was my biggest influence. I’ve always loved to read, and I spent the majority of my younger years making up stories when I couldn’t find anything to read. Same with romance as I got older. I wrote the stories I wanted to read but couldn’t find on the shelves.

TRC:  What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Ten years ago when I started writing, it was still tough to get a publishing contract with the Big 6, but it seemed like it was easier to find a connection with readers. Now, there’s so much material to wade through when it comes to romance that it’s hard to get a leg up, I think. It’s more about marketing than I’m used to or even comfortable with, and I think I sometimes am not as effective as I should be. I just want to write, but it’s so much more these days.

TRC:  Would you please tell us something about the premise of ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE?

Roadside Assistance is the story of a hard-working, sexy, rough-around-the-edges guy finding love when he’s not looking for it with a woman learning to love herself–flaws and all. Because only when she feels right about herself can she love her perfect man. Note—her perfect man. Foley has flaws, but for Cyn, he’s Mr. Right. Also, the heroine in this story deals with body issues that a lot of us struggle with, I think.

TRC:  How many books do you have planned for the BODY SHOP BAD BOYS series?

Four have been contracted, with a fifth hanging out there. The fifth book centers around characters introduced in a previous series (The McCauley Brothers) as well as Body Shop Bad Boys, so though it’s not technically a BSBB book, it kind of feels like it to me.

TRC:  How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

This series is about real men and women. My heroes tend to be blue-collar, rough and ready, and my heroines have real issues and real looks. They’re not all gorgeous and lily white, but characters with personality. Those characteristics drive the plots. No one’s flying to Paris for a spy chase. The men and women fight, fall in love, fight falling in love, and deal with life as it comes to them in their city of Seattle. It’s challenging to keep it real but also fun to think that hey, this could really happen to someone like me! And let’s face it, truth is often stranger than fiction. Finding unpredictable plots is as easy as sitting in a coffee shop and listening to people talk about their lives.

TRC:  Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

I do. I’m a big reader, and I know that the first thing about a book I notice is the cover, then the blurb. After that, I’ll open the book to take a peek. But without a striking cover, I’m bypassing it to another book. Fortunately, I’ve been really lucky with Sourcebooks creating amazing covers for me. I mean, look at Roadside Assistance. Just…wow.

TRC:  On what are you currently working?

I’m working on the fourth Body Shop Bad Boy book, about Lou. My last wisecracking mechanic is about to meet his match in a woman who won’t give him the time of day. I LOVE stories like that!

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else?

Thanks so much for having me. I can’t wait to share Roadside Assistance with everyone! You can find me at http://marieharte.com .

TRC: Thank you Marie for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE

About The author

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Marie HarteCaffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte has over 100 books published with more constantly on the way. She’s a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. Visit http://marieharte.com and fall in love.

giveaway

Marie’s publisher is graciously offering a paper copy of TEST DRIVE (book 1) to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

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8. Giveaway open to USA and Canada only

9. Giveaway runs from September 5-9, 2016

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His To Keep (Beauty and the Brit #3) by Terri L. Austin-Review, Interview and Book Tour

HIS TO KEEP (Beauty and the Brit #3) by Terri L. Austin-Review, Interview and Book Tour

His To Keep

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 1, 2016

Iain wasn’t just rough around the edges-he was uncivilized, despite all the elegant trappings and expensive suits. And Brynn wanted more of it. She wanted Iain in full-on barbarian mode.

She wanted to be taken.

Filthy rich British bad boy Iain Chapman made a name for himself as a ruthless businessman, but if he can secure an investment from Vegas powerhouse Trevor Blake, Iain could take his business to the next level. Solution? Hire beautifully timid corporate trainer-and Trevor’s sister-in-law-Brynn Campbell and seduce his way to success.

Brynn’s everything Iain is not: kind, delicate, decent. But she’s also got a taste for something a little beastly, and it doesn’t take long for Iain to break through her every inhibition. Brynn was supposed to be his pawn, but as Iain gets closer to his goal, he begins to realize he’s not ready to let her go, not now, not ever-even if it costs him everything.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: HIS TO KEEP is the third full length installment in Terri L. Austin’s contemporary, adult BEAUTY AND THE BRIT erotic romance series. This is billionaire businessman/ British ex-pat Iain Chapman, and corporate trainer Brynn Campbell’s story line. HIS TO KEEP can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Some of the characters from the previous story lines play secondary and supporting roles. Any important information from previous installments is revealed where necessary.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Iain and Brynn) HIS TO KEEP continues on the theme of the Campbell sisters falling in love with British businessmen. Las Vegas is all about appearances but Brynn is a woman who is content to hide in the shadows, playing the yes-woman to her bosses demands-a bit of a doormat when it comes to saying no. When Brynn is forced into working with wealthy British billionaire Iain Chapman, all bets are off when Iain vows that one day she will be his. What ensues is the building relationship between Brynn and Iain, and the length Iain must go to, to hide his original intent. Iain is looking for investors, and Brynn’s brother-in -law Trevor is the perfect man to help with Iain’s investments.

The relationship between Brynn and Iain is one of immediate attraction but Brynn is not the usual type of woman Iain has by his side. Brynn is a woman who has written a book about office and business protocol, and Iain refuses to abide by any of Brynn’s suggestions and demands. Brynn is a woman whose sense of taste and style is a throwback to another time, and Iain finds himself ‘charmed’ but her nuances and little idiosyncrasies. Iain is a self made man; a billionaire who makes demands and doesn’t care who gets hurt in the fall out. While Iain continues to push all of Brynn’s buttons, Brynn finds herself falling for a man who is determined to keep himself apart from everyone he knows. The $ex scenes are erotic, intense, provocative and seductive. There is some very light bondage and discipline play-Iain likes control both in and out of the boardroom.

The secondary and supporting players include Brynn’s sisters and their husbands: Trevor and Allie Blake (His Every Need #1); Cal and Monica Hughes (His Kind of Trouble #2); as well as Iain’s best friend and business partner Marcus (Marc) Atwell who is having some woman troubles of his own; and Brynn’s hopeless neighbor Natasha. We are also introduced to Brynn’s boss Cassandra, and Brynn’s co-worker Paige.

The world building focuses on Iain and Marc’s business ventures, and Iain’s inability to acknowledge the people who work for him –every day. There is an abundance of British terminology and slang that is interspersed throughout the story.

HIS TO KEEP is a fun read; sexy look at a billionaire businessman who loses his heart and his soul to an American wall flower who runs at the first sign of trouble. The premise is entertaining and enjoyable; the characters are charismatic and charming; the romance is an erotic path to a happily ever after.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

reviewed by Sandy

Interview beige

TRC: Hi Terri and welcome to The Reading Café

Terri AustinTerri: Hello! It’s great to be here.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Please tell us something about your self?

Terri: I’m a writer, a mom, a lover of all things British. I’m an avid beader and reader. If I could find a way to do both at the same time, I’d be in heaven.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Terri: There are some authors I’ve loved and gobbled up throughout the years. Kresley Cole, Karen Marie Moning, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Janet Evanovich to name a few. When I read a good, fun book, it inspires me to be sharper, wittier, and have a stronger voice.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Terri: I think everyone has obstacles along the way. Trying to find an agent or a publisher is always a challenge. There are a lot of naysayers who like to tell you how impossible it is to make it in this business. I don’t listen to the naysayers. You have to have to be willing to work hard and persevere.

His To KeepTRC: Would you please tell us something about premise of your new release HIS TO KEEP-the third installment in your Beauty and the Brit series?

Terri: Iain Chapman is a beast of a man. Hailing from Manchester UK, he’s hard, aggressive, and has made his money the old fashioned way. But he knows that he can grow his business with an investor like Trevor Blake. Enter Brynn Campbell, Trevor’s sister-in-law and eternal pushover. Iain falls for Brynn immediately. But if she finds out he’s played her, she’ll not only be devastated, she’ll never trust him again.

Brynn begins to stand up to Iain and finds that once she becomes confident in the bedroom, that self-assured attitude spills over into other areas of her life. As she grows, she sees a different side of Iain. Maybe he’s not such a beast after all.

TRC: Are any of the characters based in reality or a mixture of real and fiction?

Terri: Brynn’s boss, Cass, was loosely based on a friend’s experience in the corporate training world.

TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series?

Terri: So far, just three. But I have a couple of novellas swirling around. The Beauty and the Brit world is a fun place I’d like to revisit.

Beauty and the Brit Series

TRC: How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

Terri: To me, the plots and the characters are intertwined. If I plugged a different hero into the scenario, the plot would be totally different. I let the characters tell their story. I know that sounds cliché, but if I push them in a direction they don’t like, they’ll let me know about it.

TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

Terri: It’s like a blind date. That cover is the first impression. If a potential reader likes the cover, they’ll glance at the back blurb. If they like the back blurb, they’re more likely to make a second date and give the book a try.

TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

Terri: My characters are absolutely in charge. If I can’t hear them speak to me, if they go radio silent, I know I made a wrong turn.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Terri: I’m writing a new series featuring Irish bare knuckle boxers. It’s called the Irish Brawlers series and takes place in Chicago.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Terri: Thanks for hosting me. I really appreciate it. And if your readers enjoy arrogant English heroes and hot, steamy love scenes, they might want to give His to Keep a try.

TRC: Thank you Terri for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the new release.

Terri: Thank you so much!

 

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Tracy Anne Warren – Happily Bedded Bliss – Review, Interview & Giveaway

Tracy Anne Warren – Happily Bedded Bliss – Review, Interview & Giveaway

 

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Happily Bedded BlissAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

Description:
When Lady Esme Byron happens upon a gorgeous naked man sleeping beside a secluded country lake, she can’t resist the impulse to sketch him. But when her highly improper drawing is mistakenly revealed at a party, she finds her once-pristine reputation in tatters. 

Gabriel, Lord Northcote, may be a notorious rakehell, but he is still stunned to find himself accused of despoiling a duke’s sister—especially since he’s never set eyes on her. When Esme’s six irate brothers demand a hurried trip down the aisle, he has no choice but to comply. He thinks he can forget about his inconvenient bride but Esme Byron is no ordinary woman and Gabriel is about to learn just how unforgettable she can be.

Review:

It seems I’ve stumbled upon book #2 of The Rakes of Cavendish Square series. If Happily Bedded Bliss is any indication of unmitigated delight, I cannot wait to retrace the path to the introductory novel and capture all the magic! Thank you, book gods, for introducing me to Tracy Anne Warren. Happily Bedded Bliss was beautiful beginning to end; it developed and bloomed into a gorgeous story.

Though of like minds regarding marriage, avoid it unless absolutely necessary, Gabriel and Esme will have to endure just that “penalty” for indulging in impropriety. Esme’s stunning sketch of an unbeknownst, naked Gabriel has obligated him to propose holy matrimony in Regency England (her older brothers might have beaten down his door?) Oh, joy. Can Gabriel, a notorious rakehell, inspire Esme to embrace their predicament? Will musings such as, “love was a delusion, a kind of temporary insanity that polluted the brain and the bloodstream, ravaging its unwitting victims like a disease until the fever eventually broke” be just those words? Trepidation is far too mild a description of the upcoming nuptials, but who has it worse?!

Forced into marriage as a result of her folly, are Gabriel and Esme to make a real go of it? They’re vastly different people. She, an animal lover (the proportions a veritable menagerie); he, a lover of women? What else is on his viscount acumen? Is there a happy medium to be found? Should Esme run back home, nestle in with the family and brave the wave of gossip set to drown her or accept the consequence/relationship as fearlessly as Gabriel — he had yet to leave the country after all?

And suddenly she could not do it.

Something about him called to her, like one of her wounded beasts, and she could not turn him away. She needed his name and protection in order to keep from being cast out of Society. But strangely, she realized, he just might need her even more.

As with any couple forced into such a corner, you pray for patience while tempers are tempered, and, well, moods managed. Ms. Warren lushly described the push and pull of Esme’s inexperience to the prodding, tempting ways of Gabriel’s seduction. My body caught fire at such pleasure, at such sensations! Though the companionship was amiable, one cross word or misunderstanding and the mood was suddenly ruined. Make mention of falling in love and things got downright heart-breaky! It’s my word – it means big, fat, sloppy tears that coincide with the heaviest of hearts lodged in your throat. ;( Ms. Warren writes a passionate, fraught-with-frustration, why’d-you-go-and-say-that-you-dolt, equally swoon-worthy story that enchants and gives hope for the unexpected miracles of life.

An assortment of wonderful, secondary characters expands the humor, partakes in the irreverence, and even makes your skin crawl with enmity (ok, only 1 familial was repugnant, but its effect was long-suffering). I thoroughly reveled in the camaraderie within Esme’s immense family. The punches hurled at Gabriel, both physical and mental, were riotous yet purposeful. What else are big brothers for?! Savvy advice and biting words are exchanged with balance and truly compliment their rougher natures.  

What an outstanding story! I was bursting from various emotions — all signs of a must-read!

The hardened rake and the tenderhearted innocent shackled together for life because of a single imprudent act.

Some people have all the luck! 😉

Reviewed by Carmen

Copy provided by Publisher

 

 

Interview

Hi Tracy Anne. Thank you for taking the time today to answer some questions for our members at The Reading Café. We are always looking forward to reading about the author behind the book.

Tracy:  Thank you so much for the warm welcome. I’m so pleased to be here with all the wonderful members of The Reading Café.

TRC: Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Tracy:   All right. I am the youngest of four siblings and have two sisters and one brother; my oldest brother and sister are fraternal twins. I grew up in a small Ohio town, graduated from The Ohio State University with honors and left home – and Ohio – after college. My mother is a widow and she lives in Virginia. To my great sorrow, my dad passed away a couple years before I first got published. I have two nieces, a great-niece, a great-nephew and an assortment of cousins.

TRC:  Did you always have an interest in writing? When and how did you first start writing?

Tracy:  From my youngest days, I’ve been a storyteller, making up tales to amuse myself and, occasionally, my friends. It wasn’t until high school, though, that I realized I had an affinity for writing. I took a creative writing class and from then on I wanted to be an author.

I completed my first manuscript right after I graduated from high school—a time-travel romance that I now realize was ahead of its time but still a very amateur effort. I sent it in to a major NY publisher, got a form rejection letter and was so devastated that I quit writing.

Regardless of that decision, the stories I had inside still wanted to be told. So, many years later—I’d rather not say exactly how many <g>—I decided to try again. That time I was determined I would get published. I wrote and wrote and wrote some more, collecting more rejections along the way, but refusing to give up. Not counting that first sad attempt at 17, The Husband Trap, my first published novel, was my fourth manuscript and my first completed historical romance manuscript.

As to why I choose to write romance–well, I love romantic stories. They are the ones that always spring to life inside my imagination, begging to be told. Like most authors, I am an avid reader. Around age 12, I began to read romance novels. I adored them, and still do for that matter. So, in some ways, you might say romance writing chose me, since I love telling stories that end with a happily ever after. What could be more fun than that?

TRC:  Happily Bedded Bliss was released last week, which is the 2nd book in your The Rakes of Cavendish Square series. Can you please tell us the premise of this series and how many books are you planning?

Tracy:   The Rakes of Cavendish Square novels, that are actually a trilogy, are a continuation of my earlier Byrons of Braebourne series. The novels are about the three youngest Byrons––Leo, Lawrence and Esme. The rakes in question are twin brothers, Leo and Lawrence, and their less-than-proper neighbor, Gabriel, Lord Northcote. They all revel in the delights that come with seeking out pleasure regardless of their tarnished reputations. The books let the reader experience the highs and lows that each of the youngest Byrons experience on the road to real love and happiness.

Happily Bedded BlissTRC:  Can you please give us a brief description of Happily Bedded Bliss.

Tracy:  Happily Bedded Bliss is the youngest Byron, Lady Esme’s – and her brothers’ rakehell neighbor, Gabriel, Lord Northcote’s – story. Throughout the original Byrons of Braebourne series, Esme was always drawing something. Once I decided to write a book for her, I immediately wondered what would happen if she drew the wrong thing – in this case, a gorgeous, naked man, who she just happens to find sleeping next to a secluded country lake.

That gorgeous, naked man is none other than Gabriel, Lord Northcote. Once her naughty sketch of him is seen by some members of the Ton, the only way to salvage Esme’s reputation is for the two of them to wed. After their hasty marriage, they have to learn who the other is before they can even think about love, and their road to discovery and ultimate happiness is rocky to say the least.

TRC:  You recently wrote the 3rd book in your contemporary romance, The Graysons. Will there be more books in this series?

Tracy:   Unfortunately, there are no current plans for additional books in the Graysons series. I hope some day to write P.G.’s story, but it will have to wait for the right time.

TRC:  You write Regency Historical and Contemporary Romance. Do you have a preference? Which do you find more challenging to write?

Tracy:   I enjoy writing both genres and have discovered that each has its own challenges. There is as much research needed for a contemporary novel as there is for an historical. A contemporary novel is challenging in that we all live in today’s world and can judge the authenticity of what an author brings to a modern story. Therefore, good research of the ever changing nuances of today’s society is a must.

And while none of us can truly know what it was like to live in the early nineteenth century, the desire to be as realistic as possible requires a level of historical knowledge that can only be acquired through careful research. So, I’ve found that there is no advantage to contemporary vs. historical romance when it comes to the writing.

TRC:  Have you thought about writing in other genres?

Tracy:  Yes, I have stories for a variety of genres, paranormal, American historical and YA, although they all share the common thread of romance. Much like a musician who can play a variety of instruments, I think most writers can write in a variety of genres. But at this time, I am happy writing Regency historical romance.

TRC:  Can you please tell us what you working on now, and what you have upcoming in 2016?

Tracy:  I am currently working on the last book in the Rakes of Cavendish Square trilogy. This is Lord Lawrence Byron’s story. His profession as a barrister brings a very special woman, with an unusual secret, to his notice and into his life. And of course, complications and seduction will ensue along the way.

TRC:  What is your writing process? Do you like to outline your story before you start? Do you have a specific place you like to write? Is there a special time of day that works best for you?

Tracy:  I have a home office where I always work; it’s rare that I write outside of my office. Typically, I try to deal with administrative matters during the day (you’d be amazed at all the emails and writing-related business things authors do). In the evenings, I write my books–generally well past midnight and into the wee hours. I work five days a week–unless I have a deadline that’s getting close, then you’ll find me pounding the keyboard at all hours, seven days a week, until the manuscript gets completed.

For atmosphere, I turn on my iPod and listen to instrumental movie scores and classical music. I love tea, so there’s always a mug nearby to keep me adequately caffeinated. I also have three little feline assistants who like to “help” me create. So far they’ve staked out most of my printer table, part of my desk and the top of my filing cabinet for use as cat beds. (To see photos of my furry assistants, please visit my website at www.tracyannewarren.com)

TRC:  What books, authors or people in your life have influenced your writing? 

Tracy:  On a personal level, my sister, Leslie, had a big impact on my writing before I got published because she always believed in me and encouraged me to go after my dream of becoming an author. She inspires me with her continued belief in me and support of my writing career.

Writers who inspired me when I was growing up and before I became published, include Judith McNaught, LaVyrle Spencer, Nora Roberts and Kathleen Woodiwiss, to name just a few. Judith McNaught and LaVryle Spencer are not only two of my personal favorites, but they showed me how it “should” be done through their beautiful words and compelling characters and stories. In fact, I had the opportunity to meet Judith McNaught in person, and let me tell you, she more than measured up to my expectations. She is a lovely, gracious lady, who was so kind to me. It was a real wow moment I’ll never forget.

TRC:  When you are not writing, what other interests or hobbies do you have?

Tracy:  I tend to be a homebody, so time away from writing for me usually means doing something at home. Cooking or maybe watching a TV show I’ve taped earlier that week—or a few weeks earlier––since I write when shows originally air. I enjoy crocheting, playing with my cats and reading, of course. It’s all terribly glamorous, as you can see.:)

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else?

Tracy:   I’d like to thank The Reading Cafe and its members for giving me the chance to introduce myself, and to chat about aspects of the writing process and my books. I hope all of you have as much fun reading Happily Bedded Bliss as I had writing it – and that you’ll look for Bedchamber Games, Lawrence’s story, in 2017!

 

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Chocolate – does that count as a food? <g>

Favorite Dessert:  Chocolate – in any form

Favorite TV Show:  I don’t have one favorite TV show, per se, because of the different types of shows available. Currently my top shows would have to be The Good Wife, for drama, The Big Bang Theory, for comedy and The Amazing Race, for a reality show.

Favorite Movie or TV Celebrity: I love movies, but can’t name a favorite off the top of my head. So, how about another television series? Definitely, Downton Abbey – particularly this final season and Mary’s husband, Henry Talbot (the yummy, green-eyed Matthew Good).

Favorite Fictional Character (not your own): Harry Potter

Milk or Dark Chocolate: Probably milk, but I wouldn’t turn down a piece of dark. <g>

Dog or Cat:  As anyone who has looked at the little furrballs on my website knows, it has to be cats.

TRC:  Thank you Tracy Anne, for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish you the best of luck with Happily Bedded Bliss.

Tracy:  Once again, thank you for inviting me to talk to everyone at the Reading Café. It’s been a lot fun!

 

 

 

 

giveaway

Tracy’s publisher is offering a papercopy of HAPPILY BEDDED BLISS to ONE(1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please LIKE and FollowTracy Anne Warren  on Facebook

4. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

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7. Giveaway open to USA only.

8. Giveaway runs from March 7 – 10, 2016

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Just This Night by Mari Madison – Review, Interview & Giveaway

Just This Night by Mari Madison – Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Just This NightAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

Description:
At News 9 San Diego, the hottest stories happen off camera.

Betrayed and abandoned by his wife and left to raise their young daughter on his own, TV news photographer Jake “Mac” MacDonald has moved to San Diego for a fresh start. He’s sworn off women forever and devoted his life to his little girl. But when his brother-in-law drags him out to a night club, Mac can’t help but be drawn to the cute blonde who asks him to dance. Maybe he can make an exception…for just one night.

A hot fling is exactly what news reporter Elizabeth White had in mind when she brought Mac home. A quick cure to help her get over her ex-boyfriend. But things get awkward when her anonymous hookup turns out to be her newest colleague. Now they must put their attraction behind them and find a way to work together. But when someone starts sabotaging Beth’s career, she realizes Mac is the only one she can trust. And maybe their one night has the makings of an exclusive after all.

 

Review:

Just This Night by Marii Madison is the 1st book in her new Exclusive Romance series. Jack Macdonald (Mac) is our hero, who has just moved to San Diego with his young baby daughter, Ashley. Jake’s wife walked out on both of them, forcing him to move close to his sister, who can help with Ashley . This has also caused Jake to swear off women and only concentrate on his new job and his daughter.

Elizabeth White (Beth) is our heroine, and she is an early morning news reporter for the News 9 TV show. With Beth depressed that her ex fiancée is now marrying her sister, her roommate forces her to out to a club and get herself laid for a one night stand. At the same time, Mac’s brother in law forces him to go to a club to relax and get drunk.

Beth and Mac do meet at the bar, where their banter with the bartender was cute. It did open the door for them to head back to Beth’s place and what they both thought would be a one night of fun for both of them.   When Beth wakes up, Mac is gone and she isn’t too happy that he didn’t even say goodbye. But in a short time, Beth will come across Mac again, but this time at News 9, as he is starting his new job and where they find themselves working together.

Despite Mac’s determination to not become involved, his attraction for Beth is strong. Beth at the same time knows she likes him, but is hurt by his attitude. What follows is a slow build romance that despite issues on both sides becomes a hot steamy relationship. I really liked Mac and Beth together, especially the friendship they developed, and the camaraderie Beth had with Ashley. It was nice to see how they helped each other professionally too. The story besides the romance also had a nice mystery that had someone sabotaging Beth at every turn on her job.   As she gets promoted, her best friend becomes her enemy. The mystery and suspense added a nice element to this story. There were some twists and surprises that showed not all was what it seemed.   Just when you think Mac and Beth are finally coming together, things will get more complicated as Mac’s ex returns,

Just This Night was very well written by Mari Madison. This romance had a bit of everything, which included a great couple; lovers to friendship to lovers again; family dynamics, steamy sex, mystery, and dire moments. I recommend that you read this book.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

Interview blue

Hi, Mari. Thank you for taking the time today, to answer some questions for our members at The Reading Café. We are always looking forward to reading about the author behind the book.

Mari:  Thank you for having me! I’m excited to join you guys!

TRC:  Please tell us something about yourself?

Mari:  I’m a former Emmy award winning TV news producer and now full time author, writing books for adults and teens. (The teen stuff is under the name Mari Mancusi.) I live in Austin, Texas and I’m mom to a very enthusiastic four-year-old girl. I love traveling, wine tasting, Disney, and, my favorite guilty pleasure, videogames.

TRC:  Have you always been interested in writing? When and how did you first start writing?

Mari:  I feel like I’ve always been a storyteller. Before I was old enough to pick up a pen I’m told I would dictate stories for my mother to transcribe and I’d draw the pictures to accompany them. When I was in high school I used to write fan fiction about my friends and the rock stars who loved them! But it wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I started getting serious about writing. I sold my first book—a time travel romance—eleven years ago and never looked back since!

TRC: Can you please tell us the premise of your new Exclusive Romance series? Also, how many books do you anticipate for this series?

Mari:  The Exclusive Romance series is set at a fictional TV newsroom in San Diego and follows the lives of the reporters and videographer and others who work there. As a former TV news producer myself I know first hand just how much drama can go on once the cameras stop rolling! There will be at least three books in the series and if readers like the stories I can see myself doing more. There’s just so much potential with that backdrop.

Just This NightTRC:  Just This Night is the first book in this series. Can you please give us a brief description of this book?

Mari:  Two people who have given up on love connect and end up having a one-night stand that ends badly. Unfortunately the next day they find out they’re new coworkers and will be forced to work together day in and day out at News 9. While Mac is still attracted to Beth—and feels terrible about walking out of her the morning after—he knows he can’t give her what she wants. His little girl, who he’s raising on his own, takes first priority. But Beth—who only meant the night to be a quick fix to get over her ex—can’t move past her growing feelings for this hot, single dad. And when someone starts sabotaging her career, she realizes he may be the only one she can trust.

TRC:  You write Young Adult as Mari Mancusi. Which genre do you find more challenging? Are you interested in writing any other genre?

Mari:  I think both YA and romance have their own challenges, but I enjoy writing both. Many of my YAs are fantasy or paranormal so there’s a lot of world building involved versus a contemporary romance that takes place in a town I used to live in. But with romance, you really have to dig deep—almost play psychologist—as you help your two characters get over their hang-ups and work to find and accept new love. So that can be a challenge all its own—especially since you want it to feel real to the reader and not over-the-top.

TRC: Can you please tell us what are you currently working on, for Mari Madison and Mari Mancusi?

Mari:  I am currently finishing up a middle grade novel about a group of girls who start a princess babysitting club to get a leg up on the neighborhood competition and earn money to go see their favorite YouTube star at a comic book convention. The working title on that one is “If the Shoes Fits” and sort of loosely follows the Cinderella story.

Once I am finished with that, I will be moving on to the third book in the Exclusive Romance series, which doesn’t have a title yet. It’s about a war-torn foreign correspondent who has returned home to San Diego after reporting in the middle east and is suffering from extreme PTSD which prevents him from doing his job. (He has panic attacks every time he goes live.).

TRC: What is your writing process? Do you like to outline your story before you start? Do you have a specific place you like to write?

Mari:  I do like to have an outline, though often I end up straying from that outline before I’m done writing the book. I also like to get the main plot down, then layer as I go, discovering things about the characters more organically, just as a reader would.

As far as “where” to write, I’m not one of those social writers that can easily plop down in a café with friends and get to it. I prefer the solitude of my office and the quiet. When I really need to get a lot of work done, I’ll even book myself into a hotel for a night and get away. Order room service and write all night. As much as I love my family, it’s a bit heavenly to get away once in a while, too!

TRC: Many authors have friends or family, that they bounce ideas and information back and forth. Do you have anyone you like to discuss your story with?

Mari:  My husband is great for plotting. He’s a big movie junkie so any plot problem I have he can bring up a movie that’s dealt with it and talk about how they handled it to help brainstorm. Also—don’t tell him but I stole a lot of good material to use in JUST THIS NIGHT from interactions between him and our daughter! I think that might be one of the reasons I love the hero, Mac, in this book so much. He’s such a good dad, just like my husband. And he really cares about doing what’s right for his daughter, even at the expense of his own happiness.

TRC: When you are not writing, what other interests or hobbies do you have?

Mari:  I am a total Disney freak so I’m usually planning a trip to Walt Disney World if I’m not already there! Last year we got to go on a Disney cruise, which was amazing. I also love reading and watching movies and TV. And I love playing videogames. Right now I’m deeply immersed in Fallout 4.

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else?

Mari:  If you enjoy this series, you might also want to check out News Blues, a book I wrote back in 2009 (under the name Mari Mancusi) that is also set at the fictional TV station, News 9 San Diego. It’s currently available in e-book form on Amazon.


LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Mashed Potatoes

Favorite Dessert: Cake and ice cream

Favorite TV Show: Game of Thrones or the Walking Dead

Last Book You Read: Red Queen

Favorite Fictional Character (not your own): Guinevere

Milk or Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate

Dog or Cat: Dogs (I have two of them!)

TRC: Thank you Mari for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish you the best of luck with Just This Night. Please keep us informed about your upcoming new releases, as we look forward to working with you again.

Mari:  Thank you for letting me stop by!!

 

About the Author

Mari Madison 2

Mari Madison is a multiple Emmy Award-winning television news producer and author of novels for adults and teens. She’s worked at television news stations in Boston, San Diego, and Orlando and helped launch the nationally syndicated morning show Better in New York City. Under the name Mari Mancusi, she writes young adult books, including the Blood Coven Vampire novels, the Scorched series, and Gamer Girl. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, young daughter and their two dogs.

Mari is pronounced like Mary.

 

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Blog / Mari Mancusi Website

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Mari’s publisher is offering a paper copy of JUST THIS NIGHT to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

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7. Giveaway is open to USA only

8. Giveaway runs from March 4 to March 8, 2016

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Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O’Keefe-Review and Interview

EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID (Everything I Left Unsaid #1) by M. O’Keefe-Review and Interview

Everything I Left Unsaid

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / The Book Depository / BAM

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 13, 2015

I didn’t think answering someone else’s cellphone would change my life. But the stranger with the low, deep voice on the other end of the line tempted me, awakened my body, set me on fire. He was looking for someone else. Instead he found me.

And I found a hot, secret world where I felt alive for the first time.

His name was Dylan, and, strangely, he made me feel safe. Desired. Compelled. Every dark thing he asked me to do, I did. Without question. I longed to meet him, but we were both keeping secrets. And mine were dangerous. If I took the first step, if I got closer to Dylan—emotionally, physically—then I wouldn’t be hiding anymore. I would be exposed, with nothing left to surrender but the truth. And my truth could hurt us both.

••••••••••••

REVIEW: EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID is the first installment in Molly O’Keefe’s contemporary adult Everything I Left Unsaid erotic, romantic suspense duology focusing on Annie McKay and Dylan Daniels.

Told from first person point of view (Annie) and third person perspective (Dylan) EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID follows Annie aka Layla on the run from her abusive husband, arriving in Carolina from the Flatlands of Oklahoma. Layla is hiding and working in a run down, trailer park to escape her life and the man who has all but destroyed everything she has ever loved. Enter the mysterious Dylan Daniels, a former NASCAR driver, and the man who will be the focus in all of Annie’s fantasies and dreams. When Annie answers a lost cell phone, she will inadvertently becomes part of Dylan’s life, but Dylan wants to remain anonymous, and Annie becomes a distraction that he isn’t willing to give up.

A good portion and the foundation of the storyline follows Annie and Dylan’s phone Sex and text messages. Not having yet met face to face with Annie, Dylan and Annie’s relationship is sexually aggressive and suggestive with Dylan instructing Annie in the ways of pleasuring herself and talking dirty on the phone. Annie is an innocent; inexperienced; and naïve. Dylan is an enigma with a dark past, and an even darker present. What little we know, leaves us wanting more. Most of the $ex scenes are limited to phone $ex; their physical intimacy has an expiry date when Annie decides she doesn’t want or need Dylan’s help.

EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID has a large ensemble cast of characters from the Flowered Manor Trailer Park and Camp Ground: Joan the stripper who hides her true identity from those around; elderly Ben whose past is mired in dark and dangerous secrets; Kevin the trailer park manager who hires Annie for maintenance and clean up; and Tiffany, a young mother in an abusive relationship.

The world building focuses on the lives of the people at the Flowered Manor Trailer Park and Camp Ground; Annie’s need to keep ahead of her past; and Dylan’s hermit existence upon the mountain he works and owns.

EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID ends on a cliffhanger that leaves many unanswered questions about the how and why. Dylan’s life is revealed a little at a time, but our leading hero has secrets that he doesn’t want anyone to know. EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID is a story of mystery and suspense; flawed, impassioned characters with heartbreaking stories and tragic lives but saying that the storyline barely scratches the surface of the truth. EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID leaves you wanting more-right now !

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Everything I Left Unsaid teaser

Interview

TRC: Hi Molly and welcome to The Reading Café.

We would like to start with some background information. Please tell us something about your self?

Molly O'KeefeMolly: Well, I’m a romance novelist by day and an ass-kicking vigilante at night? Actually, I’m a mom and romance novelist by day and exhausted at night. No time for ass-kicking vigilantism. I’ve written 30 books for Harlequin and Bantam over the last fifteen years.

I have two great kids and a lovely husband. We live in Toronto, Canada.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Molly: I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a kid. And a romance novelist since I was about fifteen years old. I’ve been incredibly lucky over the years to meet mentors, teachers and friends exactly when I needed them. And all along I’ve had hundreds of amazing books to inspire me.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Molly: Well, this business is both a challenge and a difficulty and an opportunity – often all at the same time. I find the largest challenge I have is in my own head. Staying motivated, not comparing my career to other author’s careers. Keeping my head down and getting the work done and constantly and consistently finding joy in the process and work.

Everything I Left UnsaidTRC: Would you please tell us something about premise of EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID-the first book in the series of the same name?

Molly: Well, it’s a dulogy – the first book ENDS ON A WICKED CLIFFHANGER – so be warned!

It’s about a woman on the run from her abusive ex-husband. She ends up in a trailer park in the middle of nowhere and finds a ringing cell phone that had been left behind by the previous tenant. She answers the phone and begins a dangerous and sexual relationship with the man on the other end.

The characters don’t actually meet for a huge portion of the book – so it’s all done through phone calls and texts.

TRC: Are any of the characters based in reality or a mixture of real and fiction?

Molly: Well, the hero is HEAVILY inspired by the delicious actor Tom Hardy!

TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series?

Molly: Well there’s Everything I Left Unsaid, The Truth About Him and then at least two more. Possibly more.

TRC: How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

Molly: It’s a matter of very carefully leaving hints so that when a big twist happens the reader is totally surprised and can still believe it.

TRC: There is a fine line between romance, erotic, and erotica in many of today’s popular contemporary fiction. What do you believe accounts for the differences between the sub-genres in today’s romantic stories?

Molly: That’s such a great question! When I started writing Everything I Left Unsaid I thought it was going to be just like my other books but with this really sexy premise. But then as I started to write it – everything was just…sharper. More dramatic. The language – the POV’s….so that’s one difference.

As for the erotica – I think the more crucial the sexual relationship is to the storyline and the characters development and arc – the more erotic the romance. And then it’s a matter of making those scenes as charged and unpredictable as possible.

TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

Molly: Absolutely. Lots of readers – myself included – pick up books on the amazing covers alone. I’ve found so many great books because of it. I’ve been burned too, but it’s a gamble I love taking!!

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen?

Molly: I think it’s a combination of a lot of things – for me it’s a matter of making the characters as human as I can – which means real and relatable flaws. Slick, perfect characters are a total turn-off for me.

After I come up with my characters and make them as three dimensional as possible – then it’s a matter of showing the characters to the reader.

I think as writers write faster and faster – we’re getting told so much about the story and the characters. We need to get back to that immersive showing rather than the slick telling.

TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?

Molly: I’ve had a crucial group of writer friends since the very beginning of my career. I would be LOST without them.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Website: http://www.molly-okeefe.com/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/mokeefeauthor/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MollyOKeefeBooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1657059327869189/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MollyOKwrites

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food –The steak and a beautiful salad

Favorite Dessert chocolate cake

Favorite TV Showoh, so hard. Currently obsessed with Scandal and The Walking Dead but all time favorite is West Wing.

Last Movie You Saw in the theater- Yikes it’s been ages. But we just watched the 3rd Harry Potter movie. Huge hit at my house.

Dark or Milk Chocolate –Dark

Secret Celebrity Crush Not- so secret – Tom Hardy

Last Vacation Destination –ha – we JUST got back from three weeks in a campervan in the UK. Though – it was so intense I’m not sure it counts as a “vacation”

Do you have any pets?- A dog named Daisy and a lizard named Pip.

Last book you read- oh I am LOVING A Madness So Discreet. Dark and scary and mysterious. LOVE IT!

Pet Peeve- hmmm… I can’t think of one specific thing which probably means I have seven million. But I really hate it when people don’t help. No matter how big or small I think we can all help out.

TRC: Thank you Molly for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the new release. We wish you all the best.

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Made for Us (The Shaughnessy Brothers #1) by Samantha Chase-Review, Interview and Giveaway

MADE FOR US (The Shaughnessy Brothers 1) by Samantha Chase-Review, Interview and Giveaway

Made For Us

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / The Book Depository / BAM

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date August 4,2015

The Shaughnessy brothers—Aidan in particular—have spent the years since their mother’s untimely death taking care of each other and trying to make their father proud. And Aidan has managed pretty well so far. But his father is starting to worry he’s neglected himself. At the age of thirty-four, he is successful and handsome, and he still has no grandchildren!

Aidan’s met plenty of attractive women over the years, but who has the time? It isn’t until he meets Zoe, a designer on one of his jobs, that he starts realizing he wants something more.

•••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: MADE FOR US is the first installment in Samantha Chase’s adult, contemporary THE SHAUGHNESSY BROTHERS romance series focusing on ….The Shaughnessy family. This is home builder/eldest brother Aidan Shaughnessy, and designer Zoe Dalton’s storyline.

Told from third person point of view MADE FOR US follows the building relationship between Shaughnessy Construction owner Aidan Shaughnessy and decorator Zoe Dalton. When the previous designer all but destroyed Aidan’s ideas and plans for his new series of homes, Zoe is tasked with correcting the problems and appeasing an irate Aidan in the process. What ensues is a relationship that finds Aidan at a loss as to what to do next. Sixteen years earlier, the Shaughnessy family lost their mother to a drunk driving accident and in the ensuing years Aidan has become a second father to his family of five younger siblings. Aidan is a man who doesn’t like change, and with Zoe’s presence in his life, change is happening at an all too rapid pace.

MADE FOR US focuses on Aidan’s need for control-almost OCD in dynamics-Aidan doesn’t like change or mistakes. When a hurricane catches Aidan and Zoe alone in a small one bedroom apartment, sparks fly, but Aidan’s ensuing guilt finds our storyline hero running away from a future that he refuses to accept or comprehend. In the process, Aidan will lose Zoe but not before further destroying any hope of reconciliation with the woman he loves. For all of his duties and responsibilities Aidan has a difficult time letting go and it is his anxiety that affects his relationships with family and friends.

We are introduced to all of the Shaughnessy siblings: youngest and only daughter Darcy; brothers Hugh, Quinn, Riley and Owen. Patriarch Ian Shaughnessy realizes he didn’t do his family any favors allowing Aidan to become a substitute father and in the end pushes his eldest son to live his own life and forget about the rest. The local sheriff has the potential for a romantic storyline as well.

The world building centers around the Shaughnessy family dynamics; their love, their support and their co-dependent relationship with eldest brother Aidan. Ian Shaughnessy is a widower who has struggled to raise six children as a single parent but in doing so ultimately became dependent upon Aidan for his help. There is the potential for a new love interest for Ian-let’s hope something comes to fruition.

MADE FOR US introduces the Shaughnessy family with the focus on Aidan and Zoe, as well as some tumultuous interaction between Darcy and her over-protective older brother. The premise is realistic and heartwarming; the characters are colorful, energetic and expressive; the road to a happily ever after finds our hero lost and in need of direction. There is plenty of angst, drama and disquiet right from the start.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview

TRC: Hi Samantha and welcome to The Reading Cafe.

We would like to start with some background information. Please tell us something about yourself?

SamanthaChaseSamantha: Thank you so much for having me here today. I am an avid reader of contemporary romance – that’s one of the reasons I decided to write it. You can pretty much guarantee that you’re going to find me working on two or three books at a time while reading at least one. It’s a good thing my family is understanding!

TRC: MADE FOR US is the first release in your new Shaughnessy Brothers series. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

Samantha: What I love about this new series is how much family means to each of them. When Lillian Shaughnessy was killed, she left behind a husband and six children whose ages ranged from eighteen to ten months. And rather than this tragedy tearing them apart, it made them closer as they clung together to get through their grief. At the point that you’re going to be meeting them, seventeen years has gone by and we see how the loss of their mother still affects who they currently are.

MADE FOR US introduces us to eldest son Aidan. He pretty much took on the task of taking care of his siblings and is the one they all turn to. He’s got a construction business that pretty much takes up most of his time but he’s stayed close to home. When he meets Zoe Dalton – she’s the new designer on his job site – he begins to realize how much he hasn’t been living his life for himself. While Zoe – who is new to the area – is starting her life over after losing her mom to breast cancer.

So really, they’re two people who are at a crossroad in their lives and happen to find each other.

TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series?

Samantha: There will be six books – one for each sibling.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics,) did you encounter writing this particular story?

Made For UsSamantha: I think this story was probably the most REAL story – emotion-wise – that I’ve ever written. I am lucky in that I still have both of my parents, so I really had to explore how it would feel if that weren’t the case. Sometimes in a story, it’s mentioned that one or both parents are gone, but you don’t really look into how that loss can still affect you years later. I cried a lot while I was writing – and then remembered to call my parents and tell them I loved them!

TRC: How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

Samantha: That is never easy to do. It’s hard to come up with something new and different for exactly what you’re asking – and keeping it believable. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you do end up with a predictable plot. The only way to mix it up is – to me – by keeping the dialogue fresh. I love some good dialogue!

For this story, Aidan and Zoe get stranded together during a hurricane. Yes, stuck in a storm together has been done a million times. However, it’s what happens between the two of them during that time – the things that they say and do that aren’t all about the bedroom – is what keeps things fresh. That, coupled with thinking about your actual life and keeping yourself grounded to that and not being outlandish helps.

TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

Samantha: Absolutely! I know that for myself as a reader, the cover plays a huge part in my decision to purchase a book or not, but it’s not the only factor. I know there are certain authors whose books I’ll read without looking at the cover at all – I just love their work and the cover isn’t an issue. If the premise and plot sound interesting, I’ll give it a try. Hopefully other readers feel that way too.

MadeForUsGraphic

TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

Samantha: People think I’m crazy when I say it, but it is primarily the characters directing me. I can plot out a book and then find it going in a completely different direction as I’m writing it because my characters are taking me in a direction I never even thought about. I love when that happens!

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Samantha: Thank you so much for having me to The Reading Café today! This was great!

TRC: Thank you Samantha for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the new release and new series.

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