Review: This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Posted September 26, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth PhillipsReviewer: Holly
This Heart of Mine (Chicago Stars, #5) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Series: Chicago Stars #5
Also in this series: It Had to Be You, Dream a Little Dream
Published by Avon
Publication Date: February 5th 2002
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 432
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

This Heart of Mine..
Molly Somerville knows she has a reputation for trouble. She did give away her fifteen-million-dollar inheritance, but, hey, nobody's perfect. Still, if anyone has an almost perfect life, it's Molly. While her Daphne the Bunny children's books could be selling better, she loves her cramped loft, her French poodle, and her career creating the fictional animals who live in Nightingale Woods. She even loves her sister, Phoebe.
True, it was a little tough growing up in her shadow. Phoebe is beautiful, blissfully married, and the owner of the most successful professional football team in America. But who other than your sister knows you're about to do something drastic every time you change your hair? Yes, Molly's happy about almost everything ... except her long-term crush on the daredevil quarterback for the Chicago Stars, that awful, gorgeous Kevin Tucker, a man who can't even remember her name!
One night Molly's penchant for running into trouble runs right into Kevin himself, turning her world upside down. Heartbreak follows, and just when she's certain things can't get worse, Kevin forces his way back into her life. If only the overpaid, Ferrari-driving, poodle-hating jock was as shallow as she wants him to be, she could get on with her almost perfect life. But Kevin's hidden depths and iron will propel Molly out of her comfortable existence into an unforgettable summer at a place called Wind Lake. Surrounded by paintbox cottages and a charming old bed-and-breakfast, she and Kevin battle their attraction while trying to cope with an aging sexpot actress, a cranky world-famous artist, and a pair of teenage newlyweds.
Their careers and lives are in crisis ... yet they can't seem to stay away from each other. Before the summer is over, will they be able to learn one of life's most important lessons? Sometimes falling in love hurts, sometimes it makes you mad as hell, and sometimes if you're very lucky it can heal in the most special and unexpected way.

I really wish SEP didn’t humiliate her heroines quite so much. No matter how many times I re-read This Heart of Mine it never gets easier watching Molly hurt herself.

Molly’s actions in the beginning of the book were really hard to take. If the roles were reversed and a man acted as she did, we know what it would be called. Unlike other books where the heroine purposely takes advantage of the hero (generally to steal his sperm so she can have the baby she always wanted), I softened to Molly as the story went on. Probably because she suffered quite a bit for her actions. I’m not excusing what she did, nor condoning it, but I felt like she was truly remorseful and her suffering as the novel went on served to soften her actions just enough to allow me to forgive her.

Where SEP excels, in my opinion, is writing nuanced characters. There are no two-dimensional flops for SEP. Kevin, Molly and all the rest are fully three-dimensional, with struggles and emotions not readily apparent at first glance.

SEP has always pulled me into her stories and this is no exception. I lived at camp with Molly and Kevin, suffered along with them during their trials and tribulations and got to know their friends and family through them. I can’t say I love every aspect of this novel, but I can say I was fully engaged while reading it. Even though I’ve read it many times before.

4.25 out of 5

This book is available from  . You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-half-stars

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Excerpt: Sunrise Crossing by Jodi Thomas

Posted September 26, 2016 by Rowena in Promotions | 0 Comments

Sunrise Crossing by Jodi Thomas
Sunrise Crossing by Jodi Thomas
Series: Ransom Canyon #4
Released on August 30, 2016 by HQN Books

Return to peaceful Crossroads, Texas, where community comes first and love thrives in the unlikeliest places…

Yancy Grey is slowly putting his life back together after serving time for petty theft. As he rebuilds an old house, he finally has a sense of stability, but he can’t stop thinking of himself as just an ex-con. Until one night, he finds a mysterious dark-haired beauty hiding in his loft. But who is she, and what secret is she protecting?

The art gallery Parker Lacey manages is her life—she has no time for friends, and certainly not lovers. But when her star artist begs Parker for help, she finds herself in a pickup truck, headed for the sleepy town of Crossroads. A truck driven by a strong, silent cowboy…

Gabe Snow has been a drifter since he left Crossroads at seventeen after a violent incident. When he accepts a job in his hometown, he’ll have to decide whether he can put the worst night of his life behind him and build a future in the community that raised him.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || GOOGLE || KOBO

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Flight

January 2012
LAX

VICTORIA VILANIE CURLED into a ball, trying to make herself small, trying to disappear. Her black hair spread around her like a cape but couldn’t protect her.

All the sounds in the airport were like drums playing in a jungle full of predators. Carts with clicking wheels rolling on pitted tiles. People shuffling and shouting and complaining. Electronic voices rattling off numbers and destinations. Babies crying. Phones ringing. Winter’s late storm pounding on walls of glass.

Victoria, Tori to her few friends, might not be making a sound, but she was screaming inside.

Tears dripped off her face, and she didn’t bother to wipe them away. The noise closed in around her, making her feel so lonely in the crowd of strangers.

She was twenty-four, and everyone said she was a gifted artist. Money poured in so fast it had become almost meaningless, only a number that brought no joy. But tonight all she wanted was silence, peace, a world where she could hide out.

She scrubbed her eyes on her sleeve and felt a hand touch her shoulder like it were a bird, feather-light, landing there.

Tori turned and recognized a woman she’d seen once before. The tall blonde in her midthirties owned one of the best galleries in Dallas. Who could forget Parker Lacey’s green eyes? She was a woman who had it all and knew how to handle her life. A born general who must manage her life as easily as she managed her business.

“Are you all right, Tori?” Parker asked.

Tori could say nothing but the truth. “I’m living the wrong life.”

Then, the strangest thing happened. The lady with green eyes hugged her and Tori knew, for the first time in years, that someone had heard her, really heard her.

About the Author

Jodi Thomas

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

A fifth generation Texan, Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state.

With a degree in Family Studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A & M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer In Residence.

“My door is usually open to students all morning,” explains Thomas, who talks to the classes at the University and on other campuses during her many speaking engagements when not writing in her spacious office in WTAMU’s Cornette Library. “They come by to visit and ask questions about being a writer. When I was a child, being a writer wasn’t an option. All the people I knew had regular jobs. I’m hoping that students will see that being a writer is a possibility. This is particularly important in these days when programs in the arts are being cut in the public schools.”

Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher, or nurse, or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.”

While the author toured the country speaking to Desk and Derrick clubs about her 2003 novel, THE WIDOWS OF WICHITA COUNTY, the members of various chapters formed a Jodi Thomas Fan Club. The group enthusiastically promotes her novels and public appearances and even volunteers to provide drivers for her out-of-town engagements.

When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, Tom, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo, and “checking up” on their two grown sons.

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Guest Review: Sunrise Crossing by Jodi Thomas

Posted September 26, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Sunrise Crossing by Jodi ThomasReviewer: Tracy
Sunrise Crossing by Jodi Thomas
Series: Ransom Canyon #4
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Yancy Grey is slowly putting his life back together after serving time for petty theft. As he rebuilds an old house, he finally has a sense of stability, but he can't stop thinking of himself as just an ex-con. Until one night, he finds a mysterious dark-haired beauty hiding in his loft. But who is she, and what secret is she protecting?

The art gallery Parker Lacey manages is her life—she has no time for friends, and certainly not lovers. But when her star artist begs Parker for help, she finds herself in a pickup truck, headed for the sleepy town of Crossroads. A truck driven by a strong, silent cowboy…

Gabe Snow has been a drifter since he left Crossroads at seventeen after a violent incident. When he accepts a job in his hometown, he'll have to decide whether he can put the worst night of his life behind him and build a future in the community that raised him.

Parker Lacey is an art gallery owner who loves what she does and doesn’t have any plans on stopping until she’s dead.  She’s 37 and since everyone in her family dies young – she’s not planning on being around that long.  When she’s in the LA airport on a trip she runs into one of her artists who is not having a good life.  After hearing Tori’s story Parker decides to help her out and helps her get away to a place called Crossroads, Texas where Parker owns a house.  She always thought she’d use it as a getaway but she’s never gotten away.  She helps Tori escape for a while and is happy to do it.

Parker is having pain in her knee and back and knows that it’s cancer as that’s what both of her parents died from.  She goes in for tests and after seeing the look on the doctor’s face she doesn’t let him tell her what’s wrong before she’s out of there.  She decides that she needs an adventure before she dies so she gets things in order at the gallery and heads to Crossroads herself.  She gets there with the help of her neighbor, Clint Montgomery, and their tenuous friendship ends up turning into the greatest adventure of her life.

Tori is the artist who is trying to escape her life. She’s been a renowned painter since she was 15 years old but she’s 24 now and feels like she’s in prison.  After her father died and her mother remarried her stepfather drove her to do more and more and more.  She’s tired and hates that he has guardianship over her and her money.  She doesn’t care about the money so much as her freedom to live how she wants.  While she’s hiding out in Crossroads she loves walking and ends up in Yancy’s workshed.  Once the two meet they become closer than either thought possible.  What started out as the two just working on wood for his house remodeling project became much, much more.  Unfortunately Tori’s stepfather wants his cash cow back and has the authorities, FBI and even bounty hunters out looking for her and he’ll take her, dead or alive.

Gabe left Crossroads when he was just a kid and was beaten and forced out by his own family.  He was trying to run away with his love but neither family wanted them together.  He never went back to Crossroads and now that he’s a bounty hunter and back to get Tori he’s seeing it with different eyes.  He finds that the family he thought was all dead isn’t and he’s got a relative he never knew about. That one person changes his whole outlook on live and makes him determined to live a better life.

I have to say that when I agreed to read Sunrise Crossing I wasn’t sure if it would work as a standalone.  I haven’t read the other books in the Ransom Canyon series but I’m happy to say that you can read SC and not have a clue about the previous books and still really enjoy the book.

I love the way that Jodi Thomas takes an unlikely collection of characters, puts them all together and makes an awesome story out of their lives and loves.  Tori, Yancy, Parker, Clint, Gabe – all of them were such different people but Thomas brought them in and made them into a cohesive group.  I also love the way that Thomas brings townspeople into the story.  Even though the books aren’t about them they play a large part and it gives the story a more homey feel, imho.

Tori and Yancy were awesome together.  They were quiet artistic people and got on well together from the start.  Yancy had had a tough life and though he’d had first dates – never got a second with anyone.  He loved so much about Tori and just let her be herself which was exactly what she needed to heal from her home life.

Parker and Clint – I could not think of a more unlikely pairing.  He’s a gruff, quiet, rough and tumble cowboy and she’s a city girl with a gallery, designer clothes and not a lot of friends.  Parker really needed Clint’s quiet patience in her life- someone steady to lean on who would be there for her no matter what.  I loved how Thomas slowly got these two together and made it work.  He was so sweet and was just perfect for her.

There was also a very small third romance in the book with one of the deputy sheriff’s that was quite cute as well and that added another lovely element to the story.

Besides the wonderful romances there was the suspense portion of the book having to do with Tori.  This is where Gabe came in and we got to know his story about his life in Crossroads. It was moving and horrifying and I loved that what he discovered in Crossroads changed him.  He had hardened himself from feeling and life and coming back broke the ice around his heart and made him want to be a better person.  It was such a good part of the story and I was so happy that Thomas added this part in.

Overall I really enjoyed this book.  Thomas is one of my favorite authors and I plan on going back and reading all of the Ransom Canyon books.  I’m sure I’ll end up loving the Ransom Canyon books as much as I love her other books.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Weekly Wrap Up: September 19 – September 25, 2016

Posted September 25, 2016 by Rowena in Features | 0 Comments

Another week down and we’re coming up on the month of October. Can you believe that it’s almost Halloween? Where did the time go? Seriously! Here’s what you might have missed on the blog this week.

Reviews Posted

9/19: Tracy reviews Steady Stroke by A.M. Arthur | 2.5 out of 5
9/19: Holly reviews Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley | 3 out of 5
9/20: Tracy reviews Immortal Nights by Lynsay Sands | 3.5 out of 5
9/20: Holly reviews The Rock Wedding by Nalini Singh | 3.75 out of 5
9/22: Tracy reviews The One Real Thing by Samantha Young | 4 out of 5
9/22: Tracy reviews Miss Goodhue Lives for the Night by Kate Noble | 3.5 out of 5
9/23: Casee reviews Shadow Falling by Rebecca Zanetti | 4 out of 5

Posts from This Week

9/20: Blog Tour: The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
9/22: Jen discusses Fantasy Reading Spaces
9/23: What Are You Reading? (301)
9/24: WTF Cover Saturday (177)

That does it for this week’s weekly wrap up. How was your week in books? Hear any book news that we missed? Get any new books you want to share? Review any books we should check out? Please share.

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Sunday Spotlight: Bounty by Kristen Ashley

Posted September 25, 2016 by Rowena in Features | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Kristen Ashley is a popular author here on Book Binge. Holly binge reads her stuff numerous times a year and I’m a fan of the Colorado Mountain series so even though this is an older release (came out earlier this year) we still wanted to feature this book on the blog.

bounty

Bounty by Kristen Ashley
Series: Colorado Mountains #7
Released on April 18, 2016 by Kristen Ashley

Pre-Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Justice Lonesome has enjoyed a life of bounty.

Even so, she’s inherited the curse of the Lonesome. A poet’s soul. Which means she’s still searching for something. Searching for peace. Searching for the less…that’s more.

And when the foundation of her life is pulled out from under her, grieving, she goes to the mountains to find her oasis. She hits Carnal, Colorado and decides to stay.

Deke Hightower lost everything at the age of two. He lost it again at fifteen. His life has not been about bounty. It’s been about learning to live with less, because there’s no way to get more.

Deke’s also watched all his friends go down to the women who gave them what they needed. He wants that for himself. But he knows that search isn’t going to be easy because he’s a rider. His home is the road. That’s the only place he can breathe. And the woman who takes her place at his side has to do it sitting on the back of his bike.

When Deke meets Justice, he knows she’s not that woman. She’s cute. She’s sweet. And she’s into him, but she’s got it all and Deke knows he won’t fit into that. So he holds her at arm’s length. Establishes boundaries. And Justice will take it because she wants Deke any way he’ll let her have him.

But when Justice finds herself a pawn in a dangerous game, Deke makes a decision.

When he does, he has no idea he’s just opened himself up to bounty.

Jus is still reeling from some drama and our guy Deke is around to comfort her…

Excerpt

“Jus.”

Deke’s voice carved into the perverse, bitter sick my brother and his mother stirred up in me and I lifted my gaze, twisted my neck and looked to his face.

He was not close.

But he was concerned.

And that concern undid me.

I turned fully to him, dropped my head and fell forward.

He was not near and then he was, right there for me to collide with as everything pressed into me. So much, I couldn’t hold it back, and the tears came.

He wrapped his arms around me as he stepped farther into me so he could hold me close.

That was when I started sobbing. My body shaking with it, automatically burrowing into his heat, his solidity, his bulk, all Deke.

His arms tightened.

“I miss him,” I whispered into Deke’s chest through a hitch.

The words with that hitch barely sounded before I felt Deke’s hand glide up my spine and tangle in my hair.

“Get it out, Jussy,” he murmured, his words stirring the strands at the top of my head so I knew he was bent to me.

Deke.

Fuck me, Deke.

“My brother’s a p-p-piece of shit,” I pushed out through the tears.

Deke’s arm around me got tighter and the tips of fingers started stroking the side of my ribs.

Even this did not make me feel better. In fact this—all that was Deke enveloping all that was me—made it better at the same time so much worse.

“He’s contesting the…the will,” I shared.

Deke said nothing.

I kept crying.

It came to me slowly that I was pressed hard to him and had my hands clenched into his tee at the back. I felt the damp material against my cheek and knew how many tears had leaked and that Deke took them from me.

I also knew he was being cool, a nice guy, because that was who he was.

But I couldn’t let this go on.

So I pulled my shit together, unclenched my hands and smoothed the shirt before I dropped them to his waist and tipped my head back.

“Sorry.”

Lamentably, he took my cue and let me go.

Incredibly, he didn’t do this completely.

He put his hands on either side of my neck and bent close so his face was a couple of inches from mine.

“Think, from what you’ve told me, you get that times get bad. Hope, Jussy, you also get that those times pass. Whatever’s happening, this will pass.”

Jussy.

Shit.

I nodded because that was all I could do.

“Sorry, I…well, your shirt’s all wet,” I said, taking one hand from him to wipe my face.

“It’ll dry.”

I nodded again.

His fingers curled around my neck gave me a gentle squeeze.

“You good?”

I was not.

I gave him another nod anyway.

His eyes moved over my face and I knew he knew that nod was an inaudible lie but he didn’t call me on it.
He just said quietly, “Good,” gave me another squeeze and dropped his left hand.

But with his right, he lifted it up and I held my breath because I thought he was going to touch my face, dry a tear, something.

Instead, he raised it to the top of my head and tousled my hair before he gave me another close look, turned and walked away.

Shit, Deke comforted me then tousled my hair like I was his little sister.

Shit.

I didn’t like that.

But it was kind and it was sweet and it came from Deke.

So as was becoming my lot, I’d take it.

So sweet!

Not nearly enough though, we need more!

Colorado Mountains

Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

KristenAshley

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

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