Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Blog Tour Review with Excerpt: Tequila, Tequila by Emma Hart

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Tequila + your best friend + your bedroom =  um, whoopsie?

Tequila Tequila, an all-new hilarious standalone romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Emma Hart is available NOW!

Book info:
TitleTequila, Tequila
Author:  Emma Hart
Genre:  Adult Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Release Date:  November 13th, 2018
Source:  E-galley from Social Butterfly PR which did not influence my opinion
My rating: 5 stars
 
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Synopsis:
 
Don’t sleep with your best friend.
Take it from me. I did it. And it was awful.
I-wish-the-tequila-made-me-forget kind of bad.
The problem is, Luke has forgotten. He swears that he can’t remember a thing about that night beyond the trays of tequila shots being set on the tables.
Except I can’t forget. I can’t forget how good his hands felt until I fell over and hit my hip on the dresser, and I sure as hell can’t forget the entire two minutes of tap-tap-squirt.
Awkward. Embarrassing. And the new subject of a couple of dirty lucid dreams.
But I have no intention of telling him what we did. Nothing good comes from telling your best friend he’s the worst guy you’ve ever slept with.
Which makes the tequila on my birthday a very, very bad idea…

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Download your copy today!
Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2NdHdml
 
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Excerpt:
Have you ever walked into a store and had to ask where the lady section is?”  

I paused, my grip on the fridge door firm, and turned to him. I simply blinked. I wasn’t going to justify that with an answer.  

“It took three people before a poor woman at the customer service desk took pity on me and walked me to the tampon aisle,” he went on, oblivious to my death stare. “She hovered over me for a second and I started fucking sweating, Aspen. Sweating.”

I bit my lip and moved the ingredients for his sandwich over to the board on the island.  

“I almost dropped my phone trying to find the photo you sent me, and when I finally brought it up, I was so fucking confused I stood there like a lame damn duck for five minutes before she came back to help me like she knew I was a total idiot.”  

Was it wrong that I was way more amused about this than anything else? A part of me told me I should feel bad, but…  

“Did you know there are tons of those things? The boxes are all different. There are different brands. Different sizes. Different… absorbency levels.” He shuddered, his wide, muscled shoulders shaking with his cringey thought. “For flows and stuff.”  

“I shop there regularly. I am aware.”

“Not that fucking regularly if you sent me to buy them,” he muttered. “Anyway, the nice lady who was trying her best not to laugh at the idiot in the sanitary products aisle asked me who I was buying them for. My mom, my sister, my girlfriend…”

I chopped the lettuce.  

“When I told her it was for my best friend, she looked at me funny for a minute before nodding. Then, she dragged me over to the aisle with the candy and told me that Twizzlers went well with tampons. I was so confused I didn’t question her, so here.” He lifted a small bag from the stool next to him and tossed it in my direction. “You’re the proud owner of eight packets of Twizzlers.” 

“Oooh, Twizzlers!” I dropped the knife and dove into the bag, pulling out all the long, red packets. “This is like heaven!”  

“Dude.” Luke leaned forward and held his hands out. “My sandwich?”  

“Geez, who’s on their period? You or me?” I put the candy down and went back to making his sandwich. “You should have saved the Twizzlers until after you got your food.”  

“Rookie mistake.” He shook his head. “Please don’t ever ask me to buy you tampons again. I’m not sure my ego or reputation can take it.”  

“Your reputation got shot to shit on your twenty-first when you mooned the mayor in the town square,” I reminded him.  

“And I haven’t mooned anyone since,” he replied. “My pants now stay firmly on when I drink.”  





My Review:
Oh my gosh, I don't think I can tell you just how much I LOVED this book!  Even all the things that usually annoy me in stories, the not telling someone when you should tell them, even with those kind of standard story aspects, this is going to be one of my all time favorite books. Because even with those things, I still feel like the way they reacted when the secrets were revealed was realistic.  No one got all mad at the other, but they did get nervous and embarrassed, and that to me, is real.  Something I could see people actually doing.

Now, the best part of this book, was the comedy part.  If you read that excerpt above, you are already cluing in to how hilarious this book was.  I usually only post updates on Goodreads when I have to stop reading and am marking my progress in the book. But as I was reading this one, I had to stop a few times and mark the progress along with a quote or anecdote about the story.  Like the part about how being set up on a date could be compared to a dog having their face rubbed in their own mess.  Or the part when Aspen's best friend tells her:  "I'm ordering you a pizza.  You're dumb when you're hungry."  The characters in this book are just so real!  All the hangups that Aspen has about losing her best friend, as well as being embarrassed about what happened, and how it has changed her feelings, all real, something I have either felt in the past myself, or could totally see myself feeling.  And then there was Luke's family!  So funny.  I mean, actual, literal, laugh out loud funny.  

I am honestly not kidding when I say that Emma Hart is probably going to become an all time favorite, must meet author of mine. Now, who can convince her to either go sign at Book Bonanza in Dallas next year, or maybe stop by my hometown next year for Kinky in Kansas City? I have to meet her and tell her how much I love her stories!


About Emma Hart
Emma Hart is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels and has been translated into several different languages. She is a mother, wife, lover of wine, Pink Goddess, and valiant rescuer of wild baby hedgehogs. Emma prides herself on her realistic, snarky smut, with comebacks that would make a PMS-ing teenage girl proud. Yes, really. She's that sarcastic.

Connect with Emma

Stay up to date with Emma by joining her mailing list: https://www.emmahart.org/newsletter

Cover Reveal with Giveaway: Next In Line (Wait With Me #2) by Amy Daws

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Falling for your best friend's little sister hook, line, and sinker. 

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Coming December 6! 

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What happens when the cute mountain man you made out with in an ice fishing shack turns out to be your brother’s best friend?

A whole lot of awkward, that’s what.

Maggie’s mind is reeling when she discovers the guy she became tangled up with at Marv’s Bait & Tackle isn’t a stranger like she thought.

The big snag: Sam and Maggie’s chemistry is hot enough to melt ice, which makes keeping their secret far more difficult than either expected.

Especially when one of them decides they want this arrangement to be more than just a catch and release.

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⬇︎⬇︎⬇︎

 Goodreads

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⬇︎⬇︎⬇︎

 Alert

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Enter for a chance to win a Jill-E smart wallet and a $25 Amazon Giftcard!


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Enter Here!

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Amy Daws is an Amazon Top 25 bestselling author of sexy, contemporary romance novels. She enjoys writing love stories that take place in America, as well as across the pond in England; especially about those footy-playing Harris Brothers of hers. When Amy is not writing in a tire shop waiting room, she's watching Gilmore Girls, or singing karaoke in the living room with her daughter while Daddy smiles awkwardly from a distance. 

For more of Amy's work, visit: http://www.amydawsauthor.com





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Website/Newsletter: http://www.amydawsauthor.com 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #1


I just saw this awesome idea at The Life of a Book Nerd Addict, and decided it was definitely something I needed to participate in.  I love all the fun Top 10 and Stacking the Shelves memes, participate in those and Can't Wait Wednesday, when I have time.  But, this is a meme that I might actually get my TBR list on Goodreads taken care of.  I know earlier this year I decided I was going to start going through and weeding out books I either didn't think I was interested in anymore, or maybe I'd put them as TBR for a contest or something, or maybe it was by an author that I knew I'd never forget I wanted to read all their books, so it wasn't needed to be on my huge TBR list.  And I mean huge, I have over 3000 books just on my TBR list, and I've moved some to a list for free or very cheap ebooks I've downloaded, and there are almost 2000 books on there.  Now I won't cut off of that second list, they are books I actually own.  But the other TBR list on Goodreads, the one everyone has, that one I need to work on. 

This meme was started by Lost in a Story.  Here is how it works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
Because I have so many to do, I'm going to try to do this weekly, and do 10 at a time.  So here we go!

Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs by Michael Novacek:
Over the past six years Michael Novacek, the Provost of Science at the American Museum of Natural History, has led a team of international scientists to the Gobi Desert on the greatest dinosaur expedition of the late 20th century. 

Closed to the West since the 1920's, the remote sands of Mongolia's Gobi Desert constitute the richest fossil site in the world. In Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs, Novacek invites the reader along with his team as he recounts the day-to-day drama of field exploration and discusses the remarkable discoveries that he and his colleagues unearthed, fossil finds that have helped to reshape our understanding of the dinosaur and early mammal era. 

Interweaving the adventure of field research with chapters that bring the reader up to date on contemporary dinosaur theory and science, Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs brings the excitement of scientific discovery to life. 


My thoughts
Well, I love dinosaurs, and my 2nd dream job would have been to be a paleontologist.  I don't have a lot of time or the attention to read books like this these days.  However, I think this is a lesser known book, not a big name, so I don't want to forget it.  

Verdict:  Keep

Rex Appeal:  The Amazing Story of Sue, the Dinosaur That Changed Science, the Law, and My Life by Peter Larson and Kristin Donnan:
When Peter Larson and his team from the Black Hills Institute discovered the world's largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton beneath a South Dakota butte in 1990, they had no idea that it would be the find of a lifetime. Sue, as the skeleton came to be known, would ultimately not only lead them to international recognition, but also pull them into a world of FBI investigations, Native American land claims, competitive paleontologists, and avaricious museum curators. This gripping story chronicles the adventures of Larson and his group, explaining the art, technology, and politics behind one of the most successful group of T-rex hunters. 

My thoughts:  
Are you seeing a trend in the first TBR books I added to Goodreads?  This whole thing with Sue was going on, or at least coming to  light to the public about the same time that I was taking these types of classes in college.  So I have always been very interested in this whole story.  I think this unique and personal take on the story  is one that I will some day still want to read.

Verdict:  Keep

Quest for the African Dinosaurs: Ancient Roots of the Modern World by Louis L. Jacobs:
Winner of the Colbert Award for the best adult book about dinosaurs

Louis Jacobs reopened paleontologists' eyes to the African continent when he uncovered a major fossil site in the hills of Malawi in the 1980s. During five digging seasons in Malawi and three in Cameroon, Jacobs found the remains of two meat-eating theropods, two herbivorous sauropods, an odd crocodile about the size of a Chihuahua, and rare early mammals. Now in paperback, Quest for the African Dinosaurs includes Jacobs' new introduction, which discusses recent developments in paleontological research in Africa.  


My thoughts:
See both book thoughts above.

Verdict:  Keep


 Feathered Dinosaurs by Christopher Sloan:
All the dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago, right? Wrong. Exciting new fossil research suggests that though most of the dinosaurs did die out, flying dinosaurs didn't. They survived and changed over all those millions of years. 

My thoughts:
Well, this one is a National Geographic book, and while I know that means it will have some incredible illustrations, I believe there will be newer updated books with more up-to-date scientific facts and theories.

Verdict:  Toss


Heroes of the Holocaust:  True Stories of Rescues by Teens by Allan Zullo:
Maria Andzelm was a Catholic teenager whose family took in two Jewish men in Nazi-occupied Poland and hid them under their barn floor. She brought them food and books, but they were caught and paid a terrible price. Maria's stirring story is one of five featured in this important book of young people putting their lives on the line for others.  

My thoughts:
So, another topic I used to read tons and tons of nonfiction books about the Holocaust.  I guess I liked to cry or something.  This is a hard one, because I know it is something I'd probably be interested in. But, I don't know if I'll ever get to it.  So...

Verdict:  Toss


Loose Girl:  A Memoir of Promiscuity by Kerry Cohen:
For everyone who was that girl. 
For everyone who knew that girl. 
For everyone who wondered who that girl was.


Kerry Cohen is eleven years old when she recognizes the power of her body in the leer of a grown man. Her parents are recently divorced and it doesn't take long before their lassitude and Kerry's desire to stand out--to be memorable in some way--combine to lead her down a path she knows she shouldn't take. Kerry wanted attention. She wanted love. But not really understanding what love was, not really knowing how to get it, she reached for sex instead.

Loose Girl is Kerry Cohen's captivating memoir about her descent into promiscuity and how she gradually found her way toward real intimacy. The story of addiction--not just to sex, but to male attention--Loose Girl is also the story of a young girl who came to believe that boys and men could give her life meaning. It didn't matter who he was. It was their movement that mattered, their being together. And for a while, that was enough.

From the early rush of exploration to the day she learned to quiet the desperation and allow herself to love and be loved, Kerry's story is never less than riveting. In rich and immediate detail, Loose Girl re-creates what it feels like to be in that desperate moment, when a girl tries to control a boy by handing over her body, when the touch of that boy seems to offer proof of something, but ultimately delivers little more than emptiness.

Kerry Cohen's journey from that hopeless place to her current confident and fulfilled existence is a cautionary tale and a revelation for girls young and old. The unforgettable memoir of one young woman who desperately wanted to matter, Loose Girl will speak to countless others with its compassion, understanding, and love.  


My thoughts:
This one speaks to me for personal reasons.   Both for knowing people, and for feeling my own issues with some of it during my college years.  I still feel like I want to read this at some point, and so I will probably leave it on my list for a future read at some point.

Verdict:  Keep

Quirkyalone:  A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics by Sasha Cagen:
A funny, upbeat, inspiring guide for all those singles who identify with enjoying their unique lifestyles while waiting for the right romance to come along. A celebration of the discerning singles everywhere–the quirkyalone!

There was a time when a single woman over 25 was called an old maid. Mothers fretted these unfortunate creatures might be condemned to a committing a crime of tragic proportions: living a life of eternal spinsterhood. Fortunately, in the 21st century, tv shows like Sex and the City affirm that it's more than ok – it's cool to be single. Sasha Cagen has coined the term that defines the lonely romantic who prefers her (or his) own company to that of a less desirable counterpart. Defining "singledom as a natural resting state" for quirkyalones, Cagen's guide is the best kind of self–empowerment: incisive, savvy, hilarious. Equal parts self–help and hilarious pop culture, QuirkyAlone is self–empowerment for the wise people of the world. Including quizzes, lists, it's not–your–average–relationship–book.
  
 


My thoughts:
While this one still is me, alone and single and never not been single at the age of 46, I just never seem to get into singles books.  No matter how inspirational they are supposed to be, or help me not be alone, or empower me, whatever.  

Verdict:  Toss

Strange Attractors by William Sleator:
Recent high school graduate Max is looking forward to his visit to Mercury Labs, an honor for top science students, when his mother tells him he's already been there--yesterday. Then Eve, the daughter of the Lab's top scientist, Dr. Sylvan, calls Max and asks him to return what he took from the Lab. But Max doesn't remember anything at all, and discovers that there are two Eves and two Dr. Sylvans. Which ones are real and which are imposters? What does Dr. Sylvan's work on the chaotic bifurcation graph have to do with time travel?  

My thoughts:
I've never been disappointed in this author, and since there will not be any more books by him, I want to at some point in my life. read them all. So, goofy, outdated cover or not, I know that I will enjoy the story, and that it will be a fun, easy read.

Verdict:  Keep


The Spirit House by William Sleator:
A foreign exchange student comes to live with Julie’s family for a year—setting off a frightening chain of events  

Julie isn’t thrilled about her parents’ decision to sponsor a foreign exchange student from Thailand. Not only is the stranger going to live with them for a year, but Julie is convinced he’ll be a nerd and will embarrass her at school. But when a tall, handsome, super-cool guy named Bia arrives, Julie is suddenly the envy of all her girlfriends.
 
Dominic, Julie’s 11-year-old brother, is also thrilled to have Bia around the house. So to make the guest feel at home in America, Dominic builds a traditional Thai spirit house in the backyard. Overnight, Bia seems to undergo a major personality change. He’s mean and spiteful and lies about everything. He also seems terrified of something . . . or someone. Has Dominic’s construction somehow invoked a vengeful spirit? Is Bia the bearer of luck so bad it could harm Julie and her family?  


My thoughts:
As you can see, this one got an updated cover, looks like they did a reprint or republish in 2015.  Other than that, same reasoning as above, in that I still want to read everything by this author.

Verdict:  Keep

Dangerous Wishes by William Sleator:
Three years of bad luck have passed since Dom's sister lost a valuable jade necklace on her way to Thailand. When his family travels there, he is determined to recover the necklace and appease the vengeful spirit. When Dom meets Lek, an English-speaking Thai his age, he thinks he's got the solution. But Lek has something with supernatural owers, too -- powers that can be deadly. "Riveting. Vintage Sleator."-- "The Horn Book"  

My thoughts:
Again, I will read all this author's books.  Some day.

Verdict:  Keep








Boltzmon! by William Sleator:
A boltzmon, remnant of a black hole, materializes in eleven-year-old Chris's bedroom and transports him to a parallel world, where he encounters the bitter woman his overbearing older sister will become, after his death, if he cannot convince her to change.  

My thoughts:  Don't know if you caught it, but this is actually the 11th book I've included in this post, even though it is a 5-10 book meme.  Since the next one on the list was by the same author as the last ones, I figured I'd go ahead and include it this time, so that the next time I do this meme I'll be starting with something different instead of including something almost the exact same as another post.  So, all the same reasons as above.

Verdict:  Keep






Have you read any of these books?  Would you suggest that I keep any of the ones I thought I'd toss?  Let me know what you think of this post.  I cleared 3 books off of my list, that's a good start, right?  

ARC Review: The Lying Woods by Ashley Elston

Book info:
TitleThe Lying Woods
Author:  Ashley Elston
Genre:  YA Thriller
Release Date:  November 13th, 2018
Publisher:  Disney-Hyperion
Source:  ARC received from publisher which did not influence my opinion
My rating: 5 stars

Synopsis:
Owen Foster has never wanted for anything. Then his mother shows up at his elite New Orleans boarding school cradling a bombshell: his privileged life has been funded by stolen money. After using the family business, the single largest employer in his small Louisiana town, to embezzle millions and drain the employees' retirement accounts, Owen's father vanished without a trace, leaving Owen and his mother to deal with the fallout.

Owen returns to Lake Cane to finish his senior year, where people he can barely remember despise him for his father's crimes. It's bad enough dealing with muttered insults and glares, but when Owen and his mother receive increasingly frightening threats from someone out for revenge, he knows he must get to the bottom of what really happened at Louisiana Frac--and the cryptic note his father sent him at his boarding school days before disappearing.

Owen's only refuge is the sprawling, isolated pecan orchard he works at after school, owned by a man named Gus who has his own secrets--and in some ways seems to know Owen better than he knows himself. As Owen uncovers a terrible injustice that looms over the same Preacher Woods he's claimed as his own, he must face a shocking truth about his own past--and write a better future.


My Review:
The synopsis of this was definitely one that sounded good, but concerned me as one I wasn't quite sure how much I would like it.  However my doubts were definitely misguided, because I really enjoyed this one.  The author did a great job in throwing in lots of hints and clues throughout the story, including chapters from Owen's father's viewpoint.  Obviously those chapters were there to help you figure things out, or to at least add details to the story that would have been just an info dump from characters in Owen's present day.  Even with those additional details, I was still surprised at some of the twists and what exactly Owen's father was guilty of, as well as why he did the things he did.  It was hard to see just how his mother could be so believing of his father being guilty, based on the entries from his father, and how much they seemed to be in love. But then when you find out just what really was happening, it all clicked into place.  A lot of "A-HA!" moments for me.  

This was very hard to put down as I was reading. Each chapter gave just enough new drama or clues that I had so much trouble putting it down when I wanted to know the answers to whatever new question had arisen, or figure out where those clues could take the case.  I always get irritated with characters being treated poorly for something someone else in their family did, like in this case, Owen getting pushed around because of what his father did.  I liked how the author did bring in the other teens and their opinions and feelings, and how some of them did understand that about him, even if it took them a bit to come to the realization.  And of course I enjoyed all the New Orleans and Louisiana tidbits in the story, since it is one of my favorite places!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Blog Tour Review with Giveaway: The Color of Lies by C.J. Lyons


Book info:

Title:  The Color of Lies

Author:  C.J. Lyons

Publisher: Blink

Release Date: November 6, 2018

Genre: Young Adult -- Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Source:  ARC received from publisher which did not influence my review in any way
My rating:  5 stars



Synopsis:



From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author CJ Lyons comes The Color of Lies, a world drenched in color and mystery.

High school senior Ella Cleary has always been good at reading people. Her family has a rare medical condition called synesthesia that scrambles the senses—her Gram Helen sees every sound, and her uncle Joe can literally taste words. Ella’s own synesthesia manifests itself as the ability to see colors that reveal people’s true emotions…until she meets a guy she just can’t read.

Alec is a mystery to Ella, a handsome, enigmatic young journalist who makes her feel normal for the first time in her life. That is, until he reveals the real reason why he sought her out—he wants to learn the truth behind her parents’ deaths, the parents that Ella had always been told died in a fire. Alec turns Ella’s world upside down when he tells her their deaths were definitely not an accident.

After learning her entire life has been a lie, Ella doesn’t know who she can trust or even who she really is. With her adoptive family keeping secrets and the evidence mixing fact and fiction, the only way for Ella to learn the truth about her past is to find a killer.

Perfect for fans of Caroline B. Cooney, Ally Carter, and Jennifer Brown, The Color of Lies blurs the lines between black-and-white facts and the kaleidoscope of reality.



BOOK LINKS








My Review:
I am a big fan of this author's YA books:  Broken  and Watched.  And I am also very intrigued by the whole synesthesia thing.  I even have a really good friend who has the condition.   I remember first reading about synesthesia when I was in college.  Studying to be a science teacher, I had a subscription to Discover magazine, which I would read cover to cover.  That story on people who always thought of certain numbers having a specific color, or sometimes words had a taste to them, that story stuck with me.  This story was a really good one that used a few different types of synesthesia symptoms for characters in a family, since it is considered to be genetic.  I feel like this author with her medical background is able to be very realistic about things like this disorder, the same as she was with the genetic heart defect in Broken.  But we also had at the heart of this story a very good mystery.  To me, this book is right up there with many adult mystery titles that have a medical aspect to them.  It reminds me in a way of the good old fashioned Robin Cook novels.  Less complicated and conspiracy theory-ish, but definitely as good of a mystery with things you know are coming, but don't always see completely until the bad guys begin giving their plots away.  I guess that makes sense since the author does write those same books for adults. In this case I guess my point is that she does this well within the YA genre as well. 

Now I had a few questions about how it all wrapped up, and if there was more faking going on than just identities.  And maybe those things were actually touched upon, but I was at the exciting action point of the book and probably reading faster to get to find out how we could keep both Ella and her friends and family safe.  Other questions I pondered when I had to put the book down to go back to work included wondering if schools have synesthesia as something they might use to put a student on an IEP, or Individualized Education Plan,  so that they could get help from the special education teachers.  Because it seems to me that it could cause some learning environments to not be the best suited in some cases.  At some point I mean to reach out to those types of teachers in my school just to find out for myself about this very topic.

Highly recommended book, one I will be ordering for my school library with future budget money.

About the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over forty novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart. 

Two times winner of the International Thriller Writers coveted Thriller Award, CJ has been called a "master within the genre" (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as "breathtakingly fast-paced" and "riveting" (Publishers Weekly) with "characters with beating hearts and three dimensions" (Newsday).

Learn more about CJ's Thrillers with Heart at 
www.CJLyons.net






Giveaway:
Prize: 5 Copies of The Color of Lies by CJ Lyons (USA only)

Starts: 11/5/18

Ends:  11/16/18
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Check out the rest of the tour HERE

Friday, November 9, 2018

Blog Tour with Giveaway: Forever Found (Forever Friends #2) by Allyson Charles


Forever Found
Forever Friends #2

by Allyson Charles

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pub Date: 10/9/2018


Head vet at the Forever Friends animal rescue shelter, Gabriel Moretti is known as the Dog Whisperer because of his gift for soothing rambunctious patients. But it’s the two-legged species that has him, and his libido, working overtime. Marla Popov single-handedly saved the shelter from financial ruin. But the bossy trust funder is even more irritating than her snooty Standard Poodle. You’d think keeping his attraction on a short leash would be a no-brainer for Gabe. Unfortunately, Marla is also smart, beautiful, and intriguing . . .
Most of her life, people have been eager to tell Marla just what she wants to hear. So now that she’s nearing forty, she doesn’t expect to be refused—especially by a sexy younger man like Gabe. She also doesn’t expect it to sting so much. But when she discovers a scheme involving illegal dog fights, she gets a chance to show what she’s truly made of. And as she and Gabe team up to fight it, they discover a surprising respect for each other—and passion that might just grow into love. . .
Amazon * Apple * Barnes and Noble * Google * Kobo

Chapter One

Some days just sucked from the start and went downhill from there. Gabe Moretti knew this was one of those days. Tapping his fingers on his steering wheel, he dug deep for the restraint not to blare his horn at the old man at the pump in front of him. The Gas & Stuff had two islands with two gas pumps on each one. Two of those pumps were blocked off by a tanker truck, refueling the station’s supply. A dented Ford Fiesta sat at the front pump of the other island, filling up, and behind that car was the old man’s Oldsmobile.
 
The geezer had finished pumping gas a minute ago, but now was washing every window with streak-free accuracy. The man tugged a handkerchief from his back pocket and lovingly buffed the frame of the driver’s door.

Gabe dropped his head onto the car’s seatback. He had an eleven o’clock appointment with a favorite patient of his and hated to make the girl wait. Most animals instinctively had a fear of veterinarian offices, and Shelley, a sweet-tempered cocker spaniel, was no exception. The less time she had to spend shivering in the waiting room, the better.

Snowflake had been another favorite. Gabe swallowed, the back of his throat thick. By now, his body should have been picked up from the office by the crematory service. It had been Snowflake’s time—Gabe knew it—but that never made putting a dog down any easier.

The pump hog bent over at the waist and unscrewed the cap from the valve stem of his front tire. He pulled a small metal check valve from another pocket.

“Oh, come on.” Turning his ignition off, Gabe put a hand on his door, prepared to tell the man to move his car to the side for all this bullshit. Gabe didn’t care how ancient he was. Rude was just rude, and a person didn’t block a spot to check the air in his tires.

The owner of the Ford Fiesta replaced the nozzle and climbed behind the wheel of her car. She pulled out, leaving the front pump empty.

Finally. Turning the ignition, Gabe put his Chevelle in reverse, backed up two feet, and shifted into drive. He rolled an inch before slamming on his brakes, barely avoiding the Jaguar XK convertible that flew past him and squealed into the empty spot.

His spot.

He turned his car back off, gritting his teeth, and threw his door open. He recognized that car. More, he recognized the woman angling her body out of the convertible and strutting to the pump.

His anger faltered for a moment when her long, bare legs came into view. Those legs were the first thing he’d noticed about her when they’d met. She was a tall woman, and her toned and tanned legs seemed to stretch forever. She was wearing some kind of straw-covered platform sandals, adding another couple of inches to her already impressive height, and a pair of red shorts that should have been illegal for the amount of skin they exposed.

Her sense of entitlement had been the second thing he’d noticed, and its appearance now brought his anger flaring back to life. He strode toward her. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? There’s a line here.”

Marla Popov turned, nozzle in her hand and a surprised ‘O’ rounding her red lips. His stomach tightened. Jesus, everything about her was cherry. Her shorts, her car, her lipstick. Even her toenails were painted that deep, luscious red. The tempting splashes of color made him want to lean in and take a bite. Physically, this woman did it for him. Her selfish attitude, however, was another story. That spoiled his appetite right quick.

She tugged at the silk scarf that was knotted under her chin like she was Jackie O, and it slipped off her head and landed on her shoulders. The golden highlights in her strawberry blond hair caught the morning sun. The strands shimmered from blond to apricot to peach, a silky sunrise. She probably spent more money getting that color than most people did on food in a month.

Shooting him a bright smile, she stuck the gas nozzle into her Jag. “Hi, Gabe. I didn’t see you there. I’ll be super quick.”

“You’ll be super gone.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “There was a line. That is my spot. Move.”

She shook her head, as if he’d said something cute, and a hole burned into his gut. Her black standard poodle, who sat in the passenger seat wearing a matching and equally ridiculous scarf on its head, apparently didn’t find Gabe as amusing. She growled and stuck one paw on the creamy leather armrest between the driver’s and passenger’s seats, looking ready to launch herself at Gabe. For once, the feeling was mutual. There weren’t many animals Gabe didn’t like, but Marla Popov’s sissied-up poodle was one of them. The fur on her body was shaved close, except for little poofs that covered her lower legs, like fluffy leg warmers. A bubble of dark fur peeked out underneath the scarf. The red leather collar she wore dripped with crystal.

It wasn’t the dog’s fault. She was Marla’s, and dogs frequently took on the traits of their owners. As Marla was an annoying prima donna, it was only to be expected that the animal would have personality issues, too.

Gabe still didn’t like the poodle.


Forever Home
Forever Friends #1
Pub Date: 4/10/2018

LOVE UNLEASHED
 
Isabelle Lopez has never been a dog person. Raising her daughter alone and building a real estate career leaves no time for four-legged furballs. When she finds an abandoned mutt and litter of pups in a foreclosed apartment, Izzy intends to drop them off at a shelter and walk briskly away. Instead, her “heroic” deed makes her a local celebrity. Her boss is thrilled. Commissions are up. And thanks to gorgeous shelter owner Bradley Cohen, Izzy’s disciplined life is suddenly much, much more complicated.
 
He’s got a sexy smile, a wicked sense of humor, and a big, noble heart. Even as Izzy tries to get her libido to heel, boy, Bradley sets out to convince her there’s more to life than padding her bank account. But Izzy knows a trade secret that puts Brad’s beloved shelter at risk, and she can’t warn him.
 
Their relationship was barely getting started; suddenly it’s in the dog house. Now Izzy and Brad need to figure out what matters most, and whether this could be much more than animal attraction…




Allyson Charles is the author of humorous, small-town contemporary romance, including the Forever series and the Pineville Romance series. Born in California, Allyson now happily resides in Colorado in order to avoid the outrageous gas prices and the soul-sucking traffic of the Golden State (although it really does have the best weather). She worked as an attorney for over a decade before deciding that writing about men’s briefs was a lot more fun than writing legal ones. To find out what she’s up to next, visit her website at allysoncharles.com.



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