Category: Giveaways

Sunday Spotlight: Into the Dark by Karen Rose

Posted December 1, 2019 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

I love Karen Rose. She is at the top of her game with Alone in the Dark. If you like romantic suspense, or romance, or suspense, you need to give Karen Rose a try. She will not disappoint. She hasn’t disappointed me once as a matter of fact!

Sunday Spotlight: Into the Dark by Karen RoseInto the Dark by Karen Rose
Series: Cincinnati #5
Also in this series: Into the Dark
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: November 14, 2019
Point-of-View: Alternating Third

Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 480
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: five-stars

When Michael Rowland saves his younger brother Joshua from the clutches of his stepfather, he runs for his life with his brother in his arms. From his hiding place he sees the man who has made their lives a misery taken away in the trunk of a stranger's car, never to be seen again.

Doctor Dani Novak has been keeping soccer coach Diesel Kennedy at arm's length to protect him from her dark secrets. When they are brought together by the two young brothers who desperately need their help, it seems they might finally be able to leave their damaged pasts behind them.

But as the only witness to the man who kidnapped and murdered his stepfather, Michael is in danger. As Diesel and Dani do all that they can to protect him, their own investigation into the murder uncovers a much darker web of secrets than they could have imagined.

As more bodies start to appear it's clear that this killer wants vengeance. And will wipe out anything that gets in his way...

Excerpt

Cincinnati, Ohio
Saturday, March 9, 5:40 a.m.

Michael shifted in the chair in the corner of Joshua’s bedroom, trying to get comfortable as he kept watch over his little brother, who slept peacefully, unaware that anything had happened tonight. At least there was that. Joshua wouldn’t have the memory of being drugged by their stepfather. Of their escape through the old orchard.

Michael had tried to sleep in his own bed. He truly had. God only knew, he was exhausted
enough. But every time he closed his eyes, he saw Brewer jabbing Joshua with a syringe and carrying him away. He’d tried to force his brain to see Brewer going limp under the big bald man’s hands, but his brain kept seeing the bastard getting up and walking away. That wasn’t what had happened, but until Michael knew for sure that Brewer really was dead, he’d be on pins and needles, waiting for his mother’s husband to come home.

And watching over Joshua. It wasn’t like anyone else was going to. Their mother had never been what anyone would call maternal, but she’d gotten much worse since Brewer had entered their lives.

He shifted again, then froze as a familiar rumble beneath his feet sent an even more familiar bolt of fear through his body.

The garage door. Someone had opened it.

Someone is here.

Michael shot to his feet, fumbling for the gun he’d taken from Brewer’s safe. Tucking it into the waist of his jeans at his back, he looked around the room wildly, nearly scooping Joshua up into his arms.

But again he froze. There was no time. Someone was coming.

Someone is here.

Brewer? Or . . . He remembered the big bald man tossing Brewer’s keys into the air. Had the man come back? Had he killed Brewer and come back? For us?

Oh God. He saw me. Knows I saw him kill Brewer. He thinks I’ll tell. He’ll kill me, too.

Michael’s brain told him to run, until his gaze fell to his little brother, still asleep. I’ll keep you safe. I won’t let him touch you. I promise.

Stepping back, Michael hid behind the chair and drew the gun. He’d kill whoever walked
through that door. Unless it was his mother. Her, he’d let live. Although she didn’t deserve to.

He’d gone to her, terrified and bleeding. Scared. He’d told her what her husband had done, the first time it had happened more than two years ago. And the second. And the third. But she hadn’t believed him. Or she’d claimed as much.

You’re lying, she’d told him. Michael could still feel the sting of her slap across his face. It was a wonder she hadn’t broken any of his teeth. But he hadn’t been lying about all the things her husband had done to him.

He’d threatened to go to the police, hoping they’d believe him, but his mother told him that they’d take him away— and maybe her, too. He and Joshua would go to foster care, but not together. They’d be separated, she’d told him, and everyone knew what happened to kids in those homes. Joshua would be hurt and it would be Michael’s fault. Unless he stayed quiet. So he had, enduring his stepfather’s “visits” in the night, hoping that Brewer would just go away.

Now he had. Because he’s dead.

He shuddered, pushing those thoughts from his mind. Not now. He couldn’t lose it now. Later, he’d fall apart. Later, when Joshua was safe.

Joshua, the only reason he’d stayed in this house. This hell.

Michael clutched the gun in both hands, willing them not to shake. Willing his eyes to stay open, even though he wanted to clench them shut and pretend none of this was happening. Because the door was opening. Slowly.

He held his breath, his heart hammering in his chest. No, no, no. It couldn’t be Brewer. Brewer was dead. Please let him be dead. Please let this be Mom. Please.

A shadow appeared in the doorway. Big. Hulking.

It was the man. The bald man. The man who’d killed Brewer with his bare hands. He was here. He stepped into the room, the moonlight from the window reflecting off his head as he stopped at the foot of Joshua’s bed.

Michael could see his face clearly. Memorized his features. Every detail, so that he could tell the police.

No, no, you won’t. You can’t tell the police. Because they wouldn’t believe him. His mother would tell them he was a liar. Just like she’d done when he’d told her that her new husband came to his bed at night.

She’ll find a way to blame me. That’s the way it’s always been.

He glanced at the gun he held in his shaking hands. I won’t need to tell the police, because I’m going to kill him.

Except the man didn’t touch his brother. He simply stood there, his gaze fixed on Joshua. There was no anger on the man’s face. None of the lustful leering that Michael had seen so often in Brewer’s eyes. Actually, the man looked . . . relieved. And that didn’t make sense.

The man’s gaze jerked up and Michael wondered if he’d made a sound. But the man didn’t
come closer. He just turned on his heel and left the room.

Michael sagged back against the bedroom wall, letting out the breath he’d been holding. A few minutes later he felt the rumble of the garage door going back down.

He crept to the window and peeked out into the night. And sucked in a breath when he saw the big man running down the driveway, toward the flickering light at the road, a suitcase in his hand.

He was gone.

Michael and Joshua were alone again.

Michael’s entire body began to shake. He stumbled to the chair just as his legs gave out. He didn’t have to wonder what would have happened if the man had discovered him there. He’d have put his hands on Michael’s throat and choked him until he’d gone limp, just as he’d done to Brewer.

Oh God. Oh God. I would have been dead. And Joshua would be all alone, unprotected. He
glared at the gun in his hand. He’d frozen. He should have shot the man as he’d stood next to

Joshua’s bed, but he’d frozen.

I won’t freeze next time. If he comes back, I’ll be ready.

Cincinnati

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: December 2019

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 Karen Rose

Internationally bestselling, RITA-award winning, author Karen Rose was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. She met her husband, Martin, on a blind date when they were seventeen and after they both graduated from the University of Maryland, (Karen with a degree in Chemical Engineering) they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Karen worked as an engineer for a large consumer goods company, earning two patents, but as Karen says, “scenes were roiling in my head and I couldn't concentrate on my job so I started writing them down. I started out writing for fun, and soon found I was hooked.”

Her debut suspense novel, DON'T TELL, was released in July, 2003. Since then, she has published more than fifteen novels and two novellas. Her twenty-second novel, SAY YOU'RE SORRY, will be released in 2019.

Karen's books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, London's Sunday Times, and Germany's der Spiegel (#1), and the Irish Times, as well as lists in South Africa(#1) and Australia!
​​
Her novels, I'M WATCHING YOU and SILENT SCREAM, received the Romance Writers of America's RITA award for Best Romantic Suspense for 2005 and 2011. Five of her other books have been RITA finalists. To date, her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

A former high school teacher of chemistry and physics, Karen lives in Florida with her husband of more than twenty years, two dogs, and a cat.


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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Where Winter Finds You by J.R. Ward

Posted November 26, 2019 by Casee in Giveaways, Promotions | 4 Comments

Where Winter Finds You by J.R. Ward is out today! This is book 17.5 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. We are finally getting closure on Trez and Selena(?) or is it Therese? You’ll have to read it to find out!

Here’s a little tidbit to get you as excited as I am.

Blog Tour + Giveaway:  Where Winter Finds You by J.R. WardWhere Winter Finds You by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #17.5
Also in this series: Lover Unbound, Lover Avenged, Lover Unleashed, Lover at Last, Lover at Last, The King, The Shadows, The Beast, Lover Enshrined, The Chosen, Lover Mine, The Thief, The Savior, Where Winter Finds You
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: November 26, 2019
Format: Print
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third

Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 416
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: three-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward is heating things up this winter with a holiday novel featuring some of her most iconic Black Dagger Brothers.

When Trez lost his beloved to a tragic death (The Shadows, Black Dagger Brotherhood #13), his soul was crushed and his destiny seemed relegated to suffering. But when he meets a mysterious female, he becomes convinced his true love has been reincarnated. Is he right? Or has his grief created a disastrous delusion?

Therese has come to Caldwell to escape a rift with her bloodline. The revelation that she was adopted and not born into her family shakes the foundations of her identity, and she is determined to make it on her own. Her attraction to Trez is not what she’s looking for, except the sexy Shadow proves to be undeniable.

Has fate provided a grieving widower with a second chance...or is Trez too blinded by the past to see the present for what it really is? In this sensual, arresting book full of the themes of redemption and self-discovery, two lost souls find themselves at a crossroads where the heart is the only compass that can be trusted...but that may require a courage that neither of them possesses.

Excerpt

“Holy f–k,” Trez yelled as a semitrailer truck the size of a building went blasting past the front bumper of his brand-new BMW.

Like right past. Like . . . nearly peeling off the hood of the damned car.

As his four-wheel drive, heavily treaded snow tires abruptly grabbed at that which they had been spinning on, and a pedestrian who’d slipped suddenly righted himself out of the way of the truck, Trez decided that the definition of in-the-nick-of time was exactly what just happened. If he’d been able to go when the light had turned, if that pedestrian hadn’t caught himself just when he had, they would both have been filing their termination papers tonight.

Because about a split second prior to the almost catastrophe going down, Trez had been debating whether or not to just drive on. And not merely through the intersection.

Having spent two decades in Caldwell, watching with his Shadow eyes the way a couple generations of humans built up the city, he knew exactly where this particular street in this particular section of town ended up.

At the Hudson River.

So if he hit the gas and kept on a direct, no wavering course until the street ended, he could take a Fast & Furious jump off the concrete embankment under one of Caldie’s two bridges. The BMW would not last long in the free fall, the sleek car having been built to fly over asphalt, not literally fly, and soon enough, both he and all this expensive steel, leather, and plastic would be sinking beneath the cold, sluggish waters of the Hudson.

As his eyes had flashed peridot, his brain had imagined what it would be like. At first, the water would infiltrate through seams and vents, a trickle, not a rush. But that would change as he used the last of the electrical system’s power to lower the windows. After that, he would sit and wait for his drowning to take place, probably with his hands still on the wheel, maybe not, his seat belt remaining pulled across his chest, his clothes dampening and then clinging to his warm body with the clammy touch of the corpse he would soon become.

He would not struggle. He would keep his eyes open. He imagined himself feeling a calmness that had been missing since all the light in his world went out in that hospital room about twenty miles, and some distance underground, away from where he himself would die. He would be so relieved. Even as the water reached his throat, then proceeded over his mouth and into his nose and ears, even as his body temperature tried to rally against the icy submersion and failed to conserve any warmth, even as his air supply dwindled to that which was in his lungs and no more, he would be at peace.

The death throes, when they came—and they would, for his body was, as all were, evolutionarily adapted for survival, the conscious mind in charge only up to a dire point, whereupon autonomic function took over and things went haywire—would thrash him about in the bucket seat, throwing his head forward and back, his mouth opening and drawing in water as a reflex, as a desperate hope that his lungs were merely being denied oxygen as opposed to there being none available to them. He was under no illusions that it would be easy. There would be suffering from the suffocation, burning inside his body, perhaps even some last-moment panic kicked over his mortal transom by the lizard part of his brain.

But then it would be over. Done with. The whole miserable biological accident of his life dusted, in the bin, over and out.

A void, and nothing more.

Which was heretical.

As a Shadow, he had been raised in a slightly different belief system than regular vampires. His people, an evolutionary extension within the fanged species, relied a great deal on the stars in the sky, the traditions of the s’Hisbe a variant of what was accepted as the way the afterlife worked. The core tenets, however, were the same for both. It was like Protestants and Catholics—same essential language, but different dialects—and as such, his kind, too, had the theory that after you died, you went up unto the Fade, and lived out eternity with your loved ones under the benevolent auspices of the Scribe Virgin. Assuming you hadn’t been a total douche down on earth. If you had been an asshole, you were relegated to Dhunhd, also known as Hell, which was where the Omega and his minions hung out. Either way, your conduct over the course of your mortal nights determined your final zip code, and there was something after your last breath to look forward to—or dread—depending on your worthiness.

It was an okay theory, and a construct that he understood was, in its own fashion, to be found on the human side of things as well. Not the Fade or Dhunhd, perhaps, not the Scribe Virgin or the Omega, exactly, but rather other, similar belief systems that covered both how you treated yourself and others while you were mortal, and also considered what happened to you after your coil, so to speak, got popped. Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and countless other religions, they were all efforts to give more of a vista after death than just a coffin and a grave. Or a pyre.

He knew from pyres.

God, did he ever.

What he no longer knew from, however, what he no longer believed in, was all the rest of that stuff. He’d never been particularly spiritual, but man, you didn’t know how much you had been until you were not any longer.

At all.

Anyway, prior to the whole truck/intersection/ almost-obliteration thing, he had been considering what was not exactly a sin, but rather a really, very not-so-hot idea. Assuming you were a believer. In the lexicon of both vampires and Shadows, if you took your own life, that was it. No Fade for you, motherfucker. Now, no one had been able to provide him with a good explanation of what the alternative repercussions were—sure, lore had it you were closed-door’d on the whole Fade thing. But where did you end up? Dhunhd? Worm food? Who knew. Yet everyone and their uncle was damn clear on the fact that you weren’t going to be elbows deep in people you liked for the next jabillion years.

The message apparently being, if you took your own life, well, then, to hell with you if you didn’t appreciate the gift you were given at birth.

Yeah, like this whole breathing/heart-beating thing had been such a fucking prize, these years he’d been upright and walking around such a goddamn joy. He’d been destined for a loveless mating since the night he was born, been responsible for the senseless suffering of both his parents, watched a dear friend get tortured by a psychotic cunt for a good twenty years—that was fun—been a pimp, a drug dealer, and an enforcer.

Real partridge-in-a-pear-tree shit.

And then that heaping sundae of shit-chip ice cream—which he’d self-medicated with an outstanding sex addiction, thank you very much—had been cherry-topped by the granddaddy of all gutwrenchers.

He’d met the female of his dreams, fallen in love . . . and, after what felt like twenty minutes of happiness, had had to hold her hand as she died of a wasting disease right in front of him.

Honestly, he hadn’t just been born under a bad star; he’d been born under one that kicked him in the nuts so badly, he’d coughed them out in his hand.

So now he was here, in this BMW he’d just bought, on this snowy night, during the motherfucking human season of cocksucking joy, contemplating suicide—only to have the GODDAMN ACCIDENT THAT COULD HAVE MADE IT ALL COME OUT ALL RIGHT DENIED TO HIM BY A SET OF ALL-SEASON RADIALS THAT HAD WORKED JUST FINE AT EVERY OTHER FUCKING INTERSECTION HE’D EVER DRIVEN THROUGH.

Not to put too fine a point on things.

But FFS, he couldn’t even have a chance to get dead in such a way that he could both end this bullshit AND not run afoul of the maybe truth that suicide got you, literally, nowhere.

Not that he believed in the afterlife anymore anyway. No matter what he’d thought he’d seen after Selena had died.

Hell, if there was anything that the last three months had taught him, it was that death was a hard stop. Especially if you were the one left behind.

Well, Trez thought, as he sped along in the snow, at least there was still the embankment option.

There was that to look forward to.

Black Dagger Brotherhood

Giveaway

We are lucky enough to have one copy of Where Winter Finds You. Enter using the widget below. The contest is available to US residents only.

Blog Tour: Where Winter Finds You by J.R. Ward

Are you looking forward to Trez and Therese’s book?


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Sunday Spotlight: A Cowboy Like You by Donna Grant

Posted November 24, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: A Cowboy Like You by Donna GrantA Cowboy Like You (Heart of Texas #4) by Donna Grant
Series: Heart of Texas #4
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: November 26, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Westerns
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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In the Heart of Texas, a heartthrob cowboy may get his second chance at love…

Danny Oldman, the handsome Lone Star sheriff, is still single. He tells himself, and anyone who asks, that he is married to his job―and what matters most is keeping the people of his beloved Texas hometown safe. The truth? Danny still hasn’t gotten over his high school crush. She moved away after graduation and took Danny’s heart with her.

Skylar Long never thought she would have to flee Houston and return home―where it all began for her. But that’s what happened after the man of her dreams turned out to be an actual nightmare. Now, Skylar is desperate to escape her obsessive boyfriend. Nothing shocks her more than seeing Danny again and realizing that their long-ago attraction is more powerful than ever. But can she and Danny find a way to fight against Skylar’s wealthy, powerful ex who is dead set on tearing them apart?

New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant adds to her popular Heart of Texas series with A COWBOY LIKE YOU (St. Martin’s Paperbacks; November 26, 2019). In her latest captivating and compelling Western, a heartthrob cowboy who’s been stuck in a rut may get his second chance at a love with a woman he never forgot.

Excerpt

Excerpt from A COWBOY LIKE YOU by Donna Grant

Of all the people Danny had thought he might run into, he’d never in a million years expected to see Skylar Long again. If he believed in destiny, he’d almost accept that his thinking of her earlier had brought her straight to him.

One of the things he remembered about her was how she’d wanted to get out of their town and move to a big city. Her sights had been set on Houston or even Dallas. She had wanted to get lost in all the people.

Many of his classmates had spoken about leaving their little town, but few did. And many who left eventually returned. Not Skylar. She’d gotten out, and he’d figured she would stay gone forever. After all, her parents had moved about ten years ago, which meant there was no reason for her to return.

Yet, here she was. And more stunning than ever.

She had been Danny’s crush from the time they were in grade school. Skylar had always been a free spirit. She had confidence that most girls her age lacked. It wasn’t arrogance, simply a belief in herself that came through in everything she did.

While beautiful, she had been a little reserved. She had run with the popular crowd, but she didn’t wield that social level to degrade anyone or use it to her benefit like others had. She had been kind, and she wore her heart on her sleeve.

He and Skylar had been able to talk about anything. She was always open and engaging, but Danny had never pursued her as his girlfriend. He’d never thought he was good enough for her, not when so many of his other friends had wooed her.

Danny looked at her. The harsh light of the streetlamp above them couldn’t diminish her beauty. Her golden blond hair was pulled up haphazardly with strands falling around her face and neck. But her large, azure eyes still held more shock and fear than he liked.

She was on the petite side with curves in all the right places. Her lips were full, pouty even, and they made his blood heat just looking at them. Her skin had the dewy glow of a healthy lifestyle that made him want to reach out and run the pads of his fingers down her cheek to see if her skin was as velvety as it appeared.

Hearing her story earlier made him want to go find Matt and punch him a few times. Danny had never been so happy to be in the right place at the right time. He gave himself an inward shake to get back to the matter at hand. “And what happened tonight?” Danny asked to get the final piece of the puzzle.

Skylar shrugged. “It was Matt’s night out with friends. I made sure to keep to my same schedule, not doing anything that would alert him that I planned to leave. I waited an hour after he left before I grabbed an overnight bag and threw a few things in. I just wanted to get out. I didn’t care about the rest of my stuff. I figured I could get it back later or replace it.”

“It was a good decision. Things can be replaced. Your life can’t. So, how did he figure out that you left?”

“I honestly don’t know.” Concern clouded her face. “He was gone, I know it. I even drove by the bar to make sure his car was there. Then I headed straight out of town.”

This wasn’t the first time Danny had dealt with a domestic situation like this, but he didn’t like that he knew one of the parties involved. Mainly because he knew the odds of how such circumstances turned out.

Danny ran a hand down his face, his gut churning. “If he was gone from the house and at the bar, then he had to know you left somehow. Are there cameras in the residence?”

Her eyes widened, and her lips parted in shock. “I . . . I don’t know. There could be. It sounds like something he’d do. He was adamant about me moving into his place. It was bigger than mine, even though mine was in a better location, so I agreed.”

“What about tracking your car?”

She shook her head and shrugged her shoulders at the same time. “I wouldn’t put anything past him.”

“Does he always know what’s going on in your life?

People you’ve talked to, places you’ve been?” “Yes.”

“What about phone calls and texts? Does he ask you specifics about them?”

She frowned as she thought about his question. “He used to, but not anymore.”

Danny figured as much.

Skylar’s gaze sharpened on him. “Why? Do you think he installed some kind of spyware on my phone? Oh, God. He installed spyware on my phone.”

“We’ll get you a new one, and I’ll have my guys look over your car to see if there’s any kind of device.”

Her eyes filled with tears that she hastily blinked away. “How did I get into such a situation?”

“It doesn’t matter. What counts is that you’re getting out of it. If that’s what you want.”

Her head bobbed up and down rapidly. “Yes. I knew I was getting away from him tonight, one way or another.”

Danny recalled that she had said she had a handgun in her car. Not that he could blame her for having it, but he was happy she hadn’t had to use it. “I’m glad you pulled in here.”

“I wasn’t going to. As soon as I thought the headlights were from a car like his, I thought it was just my imagination, that I was just scared and seeing things. Then something told me to pull in here and see if the vehicle followed. As soon as it did, I knew it was Matt. Why were you here?”

Danny lifted one shoulder and twisted his lips. “Eating dinner.”

She blinked and looked around. “At a rest stop?” “Yeah. Where were you headed?” he asked to change the subject. He didn’t want to discuss his lack of a life, not when her situation was more important.

Skylar blew out a breath. “I don’t know. I just got on the road and drove. I didn’t even realize I was here until I saw the county sign five miles back.”

“Is there anyone in town you can stay with?”

Her gaze dropped to the ground. “I didn’t keep up with anyone here. I can stay at a hotel.”

“That’s the first place Matt will look for you when he gets out of jail. I could post a deputy to keep watch, but that’s a temporary fix.”

“I understand.” Her gaze lifted to his, and she forced a smile that didn’t reach her blue eyes. “You’ve been a great help tonight, but you’ve done enough. I’ll figure something out.”

Danny took a step toward her. “If you think I’m going to walk away, then you don’t remember me at all.”

“Oh, I remember you,” she said. This time, the smile was the one he remembered from years earlier.

“Then let me help.”

Worry crossed her face once more. “Matt is the kind that won’t give up, isn’t he?”

“Let’s just say that I don’t want to take any chances with him. I know the perfect place you can stay. It’s a fortress unto itself. There’s no way Matt can get anywhere near you there.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

Her relief was so great that her shoulders drooped with it. “I can follow you there.”

“Your car is staying here. I’ll have it towed to the station to be looked over. Get whatever you need. I’ll drive you.”

Hearts of Texas

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: November 2019

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 Donna Grant

Donna Grant Author Photo

Donna is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over forty-five novels. Her most popular series is the breathtaking Dark King (aka Dragon King) series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae.

In addition to her novels, Donna has written over forty short stories, novellas, and novelettes for digital-first and print release. She has been dubbed as giving the “paranormal genre a burst of fresh air” by the San Francisco Book Review. Her work has been hailed as having “deft plotting and expert characterization” by Publisher’s Weekly and “sizzling” by RT Book Reviews.

She has been recognized with awards from both bookseller and reader contests including the National Reader’s Choice Award, Booksellers Best Award, as well as the coveted K.I.S.S. Award from RT Book Reviews.

Donna travels often for various speaking engagements, conferences, and book signings. She is also a frequent workshop presenter at national conferences such as RT Book Lovers Convention and Thrillerfest, as well as local chapters.

Born and raised in Texas, she also has ties across the border in Louisiana. Growing up with two such vibrant cultures, her Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding. She is never far from her faithful 80 pound dog, Sisko, or her three cats. She can often be found at the movies or bookstore with her children. Or buying makeup. And shoes.


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Sunday Spotlight: The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

Posted November 10, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

What to do when everyone you’ve always relied on seem to disappear at the moment you need them the most? Look to yourself for the answers. From Stephanie Butland, the author of The Lost for Words Bookshop, THE CURIOUS HEART OF AILSA RAE (St. Martin’s Griffin, October 29, 2019, $17.99), will warm readers from the inside out. An emotional story about love and loss, Butland’s thoughtful imagination will tug at the heartstrings of all readers.

Sunday Spotlight: The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie ButlandThe Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 29, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Pages: 397
Add It: Goodreads
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Ailsa Rae is learning how to live. She's only a few months past the heart transplant that - just in time - saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But . . .

Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point. She knows she needs to find her father. She's missed so much that her friends have left her behind. She's felt so helpless for so long that she's let polls on her blog make her decisions for her. And now she barely knows where to start on her own.

And then there's Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn't make it. And now she's supposed to face all of this without him.

But her new heart is a bold heart.

She just needs to learn to listen to it . . .

Excerpt

9 October, 2017

Ailsa is alone when it happens.

‘We think we have your heart.’ Bryony, the transplant coordinator, is smiling from ear to ear, for once. Given that her usual message is No News Yet, that’s hardly surprising.

Ailsa feels her hands fly to her chest, as though to protect what’s in there, hold it before it dies. She makes herself move them to her lap. They are shaking. So is her voice.

‘A new heart?’ And then she feels the patched-up heart she has summon up the life to expand with hope: with permission.

Her head is a scramble of thoughts, the practical and the terrible. She needs to be nil by mouth, so when did she last eat? Where is her mum? If she’s getting a heart, that means someone, somewhere has died.

Ailsa’s mother rushes in behind Bryony, breathless, bringing cold air and cigarette smoke with her. They fight the stuffiness of the room for a second before being absorbed. ‘They told me at the nurses’ station to get along here fast. What’s happened?’ She steps across the room; her hand is in her daughter’s. All Ailsa can do is nod at her, squeeze her fingers, because her throat has tightened and her mouth is drier than usual. She wants to say: I wish you had been here when Bryony came in. You deserved to hear it with me. But that’s silly, and unimportant, and anyway, you don’t get to choose these things. You get to accept them.

‘We need to have you prepped and in theatre in three hours,’ Bryony says. ‘Hold onto your hats.’ She flips open the file in her hand, picks up Ailsa’s notes from the bottom of the bed, and so it begins.

Or ends, depending on which way you look at it.

From The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland. Copyright © 2019 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Publishing Group.

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: November 2019

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 Stephanie Butland

Author Photo

Stephanie Butland is a writer, who is thriving after breast cancer. (She used to say she was a survivor, but that was a bit lacking in joie de vivre.)
Although she’d never have chosen it, her dance with cancer has changed her life in many positive ways. Now she is happier, healthier, and more careful with her precious life and the precious people and things in it.

Her writing career began with her dance with cancer, and now she is a novelist.

Aside from writing, she works as a speaker and trainer, and she works with charities to help raise awareness and money in the hope that cancer will soon be about as scary as a wart.

She lives in Northumberland.


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Monthly Reads: October 2019

Posted November 5, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 9 Comments


Casee: October was a pretty pathetic month for me. I only read five books and that included one reread. Here’s hoping that November is a better reading month for me.

Live For You by Michele Mills | 2.5 out of 5
Drowning to Breathe by A.L. Jackson (audio) | 4.5 out of 5
Where Lightning Strikes by A.L. Jackson (audio) | 4 out of 5
Hold on to Hope by A.L. Jackson | 4.5 out of 5
Saving Grace by Julie Garwood (reread) | 5 out of 5 (every day, all day)

My favorite read of the month, hands down was Hold on to Hope. I adore that book. I couldn’t get enough of Evan and Frankie Leigh. My least favorite was Live For You by Michele Mills. It was just over the top, even for a dystopian. Like way over.

Holly: I had intended to read a lot more than I did, but the month kind of got away from me. I finished 18 books.

Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James (audio) | 4.5 out of 5
The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James (audio) | 4 out of 5
Shopping for a Billionaire by Julia Kent (audio) | DNF
Heartbreaker by Linda Howard (reread) | 3.5 out of 5
The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith (audio) | 4.25 out of 5
Saving Grace by Julie Garwood (reread) | 5 out of 5
Heart Thief by Robin D. Owens (audio) (reread) | 4.25 out of 5
Heart Fate by Robin D. Owens (audio) (reread) | 4 out of 5
Heart Change by Robin D. Owens (audio) (reread) | 3.75 out of 5
Heart Choice by Robin D. Owens (audio) (reread) | 3.75 out of 5
Angel in a Devil’s Arms by Julie Anne Long | 4 out of 5
Quiet Man by Kristen Ashley | 4 out of 5
Heart Sight by Robin D. Owens (audio) (reread) | 3.5 out of 5
Fairytale Come Alive by Kristen Ashley (reread) | 3.75 out of 5
Warrior Fae Trapped by K.F. Breene (audio) | 4 out of 5
Warrior Fae Princess by K.F. Breene (audio) | 3.5 out of 5
The Gamble by Kristen Ashley (reread) | 3.25 out of 5
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare (audio) | 4.25 out of 5

My favorite read of the month was Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James. It was just the book I was looking for. Honorable mentions go to The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare and The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith. I enjoyed both (and the narrators, as well). My least favorite was Warrior Fae Princess by K.F. Breene. It wasn’t a bad book, but it didn’t compare to the other books in the series.

Rowena: October was a busy month for me at work and at home but I still managed to get some reading done. I read 13 books and I counted Saving Grace twice because I read it twice. I love that book so much that I read it at the beginning of the month and at the end of the month to prepare for our team review. Man, I love that book.

Saving Grace by Julie Garwood (eBook) (Re-read) | 5 out of 5
The Wedding (Laird’s Fiancees #2) by Julie Garwood (eBook) (Re-read) | 5 out of 5
Moonlighter (The Company #1) by Sarina Bowen (eARC) | 4.25 out of 5
Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren (eARC) | 3.75 out of 5
The Bride (Laird’s Fiancees #1) by Julie Garwood (eBook) (Re-read) | 4 out of 5
The Bromance Book Club (The Bromance Book Club #1) by Lyssa Kay Adams (eARC) | 4 out of 5
Huge Deal (21 Wall Street #3) by Lauren Layne (Re-Read) (Audiobook) | 4.5 out of 5
Marriage on Madison Avenue (The Central Park Pact #3) by Lauren Layne (eARC) | 3.75 out of 5
Blitzed (The Play Book #3) by Alexa Martin (eARC) | 3 out of 5
Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally (eARC) | 4 out of 5
Saving Grace by Julie Garwood (eBook) | 5 out of 5
Getting Played (Getting Some #2) by Emma Chase (Audiobook) | 4.25 out of 5
A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh (eARC) | 3.75 out of 5

My favorite read of the month goes to Moonlighter by Sarina Bowen and Getting Played by Emma Chase. Honorable mentions go out to The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams and Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally. All of these books were fabulous reads and I can’t wait for everyone to read them. My least favorite read of the month goes to Blitzed by Alexa Martin. I wanted to love it but it was too slow in parts and I wasn’t as connected to Brynn and Maxwell the way that I was with TK and Poppy and that bummed me out.

Giveaway Alert

Three lucky winners will choose their prize (one book) from any of the books we logged this month. If you want to be entered to win, leave a comment on this post telling us what your favorite – and least favorite – reads of the month were.

Monthly Reads: October 2019

So…what was your favorite read of the month? And your least favorite? Use the Gleam Widget to enter! Good luck!


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