Tag: Sandy James

Review: Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Sandy James

Posted August 6, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Sandy JamesReviewer: Holly
Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Sandy James
Series: The Ladies Who Lunch #2
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: July 1st 2014
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Women, Romance, Contemporary, Humorous
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

For the fans of Jennifer Probst, Ruth Cardello and Jill Shalvis, comes a series about love, friendship, and lunch!
When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. High school teacher Juliana Kelley tells the Ladies Who Lunch that her life needs an overhaul . . . and gets a whole lot more than she wished for.
Juliana has spent thirteen years in the same teaching job. She's ready to dive into a new career with both feet . . . when a run-in with the hottest man she's ever seen knocks her head over heels. But with her failed marriage to a fellow teacher fresh on her mind, Jules can't afford to lose herself in a relationship-no matter how perfect it may seem.
Connor Wilson has hit rock bottom when he loses his career as a top-notch Realtor because of a large gambling debt. Now, in a small town he finds a fresh start-and a gorgeous redhead who sparks new life into him. Together they start a successful real estate company, but when pleasure sneaks into the business, they'll have to decide what they can let go . . . and what they can't live without.
Word count: 75,000-85,000

Juliana is a special needs teacher who is burned out after almost 15 years on the job. Her uncle mentions real estate to her and she decides to attend a seminar to see if it’s something she is really interested in. The seminar is a bust – the man putting it on is a chauvinist jerk – but she does meet Connor, who is also attending the seminar. They have an instant attraction and Juliana decides to break her own rules and go upstairs with him. They end up having the best sex of her life, but the emotional connection she felt scares her and she sneaks out first thing in the morning.

Connor is working on rebuilding his life. He’s starting over in a new town, in a new house, with a new business. He’s only at the seminar to check out the competition, until Juliana walks in. She captivates him right away and he knows what they’re sharing is more than a one-night-stand. Even after she disappears he’s determined to find her.

When they end up trying to get the same listing from a seller Juliana rashly announces they’re forming a partnership. It isn’t what Connor had in mind, but he’s willing to give it a shot, since he knows they’ll work well together. Even though he knows he should be focusing on overcoming his past and building his future, he can’t stay away from her. It isn’t long before he realizes he wants his future to include Juliana. He just isn’t sure she can get over his past. If he ever gets the courage to tell her about it…

Juliana is a redhead with the requisite temper. She’s quick to anger and slow to cool down. As a result, there were quite a few misunderstandings that came up. Since she often would get angry instead of listening, she jumped to conclusions. Connor did the same. Add into it his refusal to share his past with Juliana and her need to keep things close to her chest, and this made for some frustrating reading.

What saved the story for me was how quick her friends were to point out her behavior, and then how quick she was to fix it.

She was an idiot. Instead of opening up and sharing her news with him and making plans, she’d done what she thought she’d grown out of—she’d had a temper tantrum. Everything inside her hurt, from not only his accusation but from her broken trust. But those weren’t fatal wounds. She could heal, and she thought she could help him heal as well.
Way to go, Jules. Fucked that one up, didn’t ya?

Her unabashed desire and acceptance of her behavior helped, too.

Why should she feel any shame for accepting the invitation of a man she desired more than any she’d met before? Especially when she’d be much more likely to regret letting him slip right through her fingers. Life had taught her a hard lesson—that regrets over what could’ve been were stronger and more damaging than regrets over what happened.

Connor was a pretty solid character, despite his unwillingness to open up about his past. I felt that was understandable, considering the nature of his secret. The way he jumped to conclusions about Juliana was kind of immature, but they both recognized this as a flaw they shared and worked on it. Once their tempers had cooled that is.

The shortness of their courtship would have been unbelievable if not for their solid connection. That and spending pretty much 24/7 together for months on end, since they worked together and lived together (Connor’s house was being renovated and Juliana offered him a place to stay during construction).

The friendship between The Ladies Who Lunch is something that really stands out. The women are close and turn to one another for comfort and support, but also to laugh and have fun.

Juliana and Connor both frustrated me at times, but their connection was solid and emotionally charged. The friendship between the ladies is strong and real, which is what really sealed the story for me.

3.5 out of 5

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

three-half-stars

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The Bottom Line by Sandy James: Book Blitz and Kindle Giveaway

Posted June 4, 2014 by Tracy in Giveaways, Promotions | 0 Comments

The Bottom Line

Written by: Sandy James
Series: The Ladies Who Lunch
Sequence in Series: 1
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Forever Yours
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
ISBN-10: 1455575224
Genre: Contemporary Romance

When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. Surviving a failed marriage and an illness that almost takes her life, high school teacher Mallory Hamilton needs the Ladies Who Lunch more than ever . . .

After a year of upheaval, Mallory has had her fill of change—with one exception. Her house is a disaster, and she wants it fixed. Hiring a contractor to finish the projects her ex-husband started will help her banish the past so she can return to the life she had before everything went awry. But her contractor is sexy, sweet, and single, which threatens the peaceful, solitary life Mallory has planned for herself.

Ben Carpenter has had a hard time raising his daughter without his ex-wife’s help. His new client’s projects will give him the extra income he needs, not to mention afternoons alone with a gorgeous woman. Though their attraction is undeniable, Ben sees the fear and pain hiding in Mallory’s beautiful eyes. But how can he help her if she won’t let him in? Ben can fix just about anything—but can he fix Mallory’s broken heart?

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Mallory had just put the last of the dishes in the dishwasher when the doorbell rang. Ben Carpenter was here for his first day of trying to save her house.

She opened the door and managed a smile despite her exhaustion. “Hi, Ben.”

“Hey.” He stepped inside, setting a gray toolbox just inside the open foyer closet. “Did you have a good day at school?”

The question seemed so ordinary for him. Jay had seldom asked about her day. Then again, he’d never seemed very interested in her job. Hearing about the inner workings of a high school was probably boring as hell to most people. There she went again, making excuses for her ex-husband’s perpetual cold shoulder. Would she ever be able to break the habit? Would she ever learn to expect more from a man than taking her and her feelings for granted?

“My day was fine. Thanks for asking. Have you decided where you’re gonna start on this disaster?”

“I’m not starting tonight.” The grin he gave her was impish, so in contrast to the hard, masculine lines of his face.

Ben wasn’t classic “handsome.” No patrician nose. No prominent jaw. No fierce brows. But his brown eyes sparkled with life, and she loved the shadow of tawny stubble on his chin and cheeks. He was lean, but his arms were muscular enough to keep her attention. His backside was sublime in those weathered jeans.
Since he didn’t react to her obvious gawking, he probably knew he was appealing to women and was accustomed to their stares.

Besides, she was perfectly safe looking. She wasn’t on the market despite Juliana’s interference. Her dating life had died last winter, and she was content to let it rest in peace. She’d even be glad to erect a tombstone in its honor. No man would want to haul around the baggage that now accompanied Mallory Hamilton, nor would she ever ask one to. Besides, she was fine alone. Just fine.

“What do you mean you’re not starting now? I thought you said you’d start the renovations tonight,” she said.

“I did.” A crooked smile crossed his lips. The guy clearly loved to tease.

“Now you’re just confusing me.”

“Didn’t mean to. I’m here to start, but you have something to do first.”

Mallory chuckled. “I can pretty much guarantee you that anything I do you’ll have to redo.”

“Not this task. You’ll be great doing this.”

It had been so long since she’d played flirty little word games with a man. Ben’s bantering was so natural, she couldn’t help but smile. “Then what task do I have to do?”

“Every woman’s favorite, the one that gives them the most pleasure.” He winked at her.

Heat spread over her face, and she opened and closed her mouth, unsure of whether she should say anything.

He laughed at her embarrassment. “Shopping, Mallory. You need to go shopping with me.”

“Very funny, Ben.”

“I thought so.” He opened the door and gave her a half bow. “After you.”

Sandy lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis with her husband of thirty years and is a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband own a small stable of harness racehorses and enjoy spending time at the two Indiana racetracks.

She is published through Forever Yours, Carina Press, and BookStrand, as well as self-published. She has been an Amazon Bestseller many times and has won numerous awards, including two HOLT Medallions.
Look for a new contemporary romance series–Ladies Who Lunch–from Grand Central Forever Yours!

Author Contacts:
      

(1 Winner)
Kindle
without Special Offers

(3 Winners)
1 Ebook Copy of
The Bottom Line by Sandy James

June 4 – June 11, 2014
(Contest Opened USA and Canada Only)

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Review: The Bottom Line by Sandy James

Posted May 8, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

the bottom lineHolly‘s review of The Bottom Line (The Ladies Who Lunch, Book 1) by Sandy James

When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. Surviving a failed marriage and an illness that almost takes her life, high school teacher Mallory Hamilton needs the Ladies Who Lunch more than ever . . .

After a year of upheaval, Mallory has had her fill of change—with one exception. Her house is a disaster, and she wants it fixed. Hiring a contractor to finish the projects her ex-husband started will help her banish the past so she can return to the life she had before everything went awry. But her contractor is sexy, sweet, and single, which threatens the peaceful, solitary life Mallory has planned for herself.

Ben Carpenter has had a hard time raising his daughter without his ex-wife’s help. His new client’s projects will give him the extra income he needs, not to mention afternoons alone with a gorgeous woman. Though their attraction is undeniable, Ben sees the fear and pain hiding in Mallory’s beautiful eyes. But how can he help her if she won’t let him in? Ben can fix just about anything—but can he fix Mallory’s broken heart?

This is the first installment in a new series featuring four women who lunch together. The Bottom Line focuses on Ben and Mallory and tells a tale of second chances and learning to trust again.

Mallory had a bad year. Her ex leaving her with a disaster of a house was just the icing on the cake. After so much upheaval she decides she needs to take control in at least one area of her life – her house. She hires Ben Carpenter to finish the work her ex started and feels an immediate attraction to him. She’s still recovering from her past, and guarding a pretty big secret, which puts him off limits. But as Ben repairs her home, he also begins to repair her heart. Just when she begins to trust him, her world is rocked again and the foundations they built start to crumble.

This is an engaging tale. Ben and Mallory build a solid friendship while he works on her home, which really set the foundation for their relationship. Mallory kept parts of herself back, because she was afraid Ben’s feelings would change when he found out everything about her. Though she was hard to relate to at times, James did  a good job giving Mallory depth of character.

Her past issues were the main source of conflict between her and Ben, which made him the more sympathetic character. At least initially. He decides fairly early on he wants something more than a friendship or a fling. He then does most of the pursuing. That isn’t to say he didn’t have his own baggage. He definitely caused his own share of misunderstandings and drama. It was hard not to become frustrated with both of them at times. Their chemistry was palpable and the basis for the relationship solid. Though they had issues to deal with, it wasn’t hard to believe they could go the distance.

The secondary characters added flavor to the story without detracting from the main romance. Mallory’s girlfriends – those who will be getting their own books in this series – especially added weight and levity to the story. It was curious that Ben seemed to adopt her clan, rather than coming with his own.

Though there were some minor quibbles, this is an engaging story about two people who have been given a second chance at love.

3.75 out of 5

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

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Excerpt: The Bottom Line by Sandy James

Posted May 8, 2014 by Holly in Promotions | 0 Comments

The-Bottom-Line-Blog-TourTHE BOTTOM LINE by Sandy James (May 6, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book)
When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. Surviving a failed marriage and an illness that almost takes her life, high school teacher Mallory Hamilton needs the Ladies Who Lunch more than ever . . . 
 
After a year of upheaval, Mallory has had her fill of change-with one exception. Her house is a disaster, and she wants it fixed. Hiring a contractor to finish the projects her ex-husband started will help her banish the past so she can return to the life she had before everything went awry. But her contractor is sexy, sweet, and single, which threatens the peaceful, solitary life Mallory has planned for herself.
Ben Carpenter has had a hard time raising his daughter without his ex-wife’s help. His new client’s projects will give him the extra income he needs, not to mention afternoons alone with a gorgeous woman. Though their attraction is undeniable, Ben sees the fear and pain hiding in Mallory’s beautiful eyes. But how can he help her if she won’t let him in? Ben can fix just about anything-but can he fix Mallory’s broken heart?
James_TheBottomLine_ebookRead an excerpt:

“How old are you, Mallory?”

“You really aren’t afraid to ask questions, are you?” Trying to lighten the somber mood that always accompanied a discussion of her disease, she grinned. “How old do I look?”

Was he growling? Good Lord, that’s all she needed: a guy with a bad temper and no sense of humor. “Do we really have to talk about this?” she asked.

The waiter interrupted, bringing them their entrees and grating more cheese on her fettuccine and Ben’s spaghetti Bolognese. She’d had no idea what “Bolognese” was when he’d ordered it, but from the looks of the food, it was a lot like regular meat sauce.

“Is there anything else I can get for you?” the waiter asked Ben.

“Mal?” Ben asked. “Need anything?”

“No, thanks.” She twirled her fork around, gathering the fettuccine into a small ball. “This looks wonderful. Nothing like fresh pasta. The box stuff always comes out kinda clumpy when I make it.”

“You need to add some olive oil to the water and wait to drop the pasta in until the water is already boiling. I always make my own pasta instead of using the crap they put in boxes.”

“You really do know how to cook! Most guys can only do one dish. Figured chili was yours.”

“You doubted me?”

She put her fork down against the side of her plate. “Look, Ben… I’m not sure exactly what I believe about you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“We’ve known each other a couple of months, but we don’t really know each other.”

“That’s why we’re on another date. To talk. To see if we click. After those kisses—”

So that was the catalyst, the kisses they’d shared. The ones she’d let get entirely out of hand.

Why were all men so preoccupied with sex?

Her heart sank at the thought that he’d only asked her out to get in her in bed. “I’m not having sex with you.” The words came out much louder than she’d intended, and a few heads turned their way. “Sorry. I just… If the only reason you asked me out again is because of kissing—”

“Hotter-than-hell kissing,” Ben corrected. “But that’s not why we’re here. You’d recognize that if you’d drop your firewalls long enough to—”

“Firewalls? What firewalls?”

He leaned back in his chair and simply stared at her for a moment. “You’ve been through hell this year, haven’t you? Maybe I’m expecting too much too soon.”

That made absolutely no sense to Mallory. “What exactly were you expecting, Ben?”

“A chance.”

“A chance to do what?”

“Make you love me.”

 

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About Sandy James:

Sandy James

Sandy James lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis with her husband. She’s a high school social studies teacher who especially loves psychology and United States history. Since she and her husband own a small stable of harness racehorses, they often spend time together at the two Indiana racetracks.
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What I Read Last Week

Posted February 17, 2014 by Tracy in Features | 0 Comments

It was so nice waking up this morning with no alarm and then instead of freaking out because it didn’t go off and I’m late, I luxuriate in bed and don’t worry about going anywhere today if I don’t feel like it.  Fuck yeah. lol  I love my days off. Oh and Happy President’s Day. 🙂

I promised that I’d share the video of my girls ringing from the 9th.  If you’re interested it’s posted on the church’s YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lr7kkAO-6c&feature=share&list=UUf4h0tL1rSelSGFf4qGMIbw.  My youngest is the one on the end – far left, and my oldest is the bleach blond that’s 5 people from the left end.

Not much happening around here so I’ll just get on to what I read last week:

I started off the week with After the Rain by Daisy Harris.  This is the story of Henri who’s used to living the high life with his ex-boyfriends and Logan who is from Texas and proud of it.  Logan knows he’s gay but has never even kissed a man.  Logan and Henri share a tent on a camping trip and things steam up.  Good story of two very different men finding each other.  You can read my review here.  3.5 out of 5

Next I read Redeemed by Sandy James.  This is book 3 in the Safe Havens series and it was a good one.  Sara heads to White Pines, Montana to see her brother, Ty, after she finally gets herself out of the brothel she was forced to work in.  Caleb is at the train station expecting his mail order bride to arrive.  There’s a bit of confusion, to say the least, and next thing you know the two are married.  When Caleb finds out the truth he’s not a happy camper – to say the least.  This was another great story and I’m so happy I read it.  You can read my review here.  4 out of 5

Vampire Most Wanted by Lynsay Sands is book 20 in the Argeneau series – can you believe it?  This one was pretty different from the others as it was darker.  It was really good and we learned a lot about a particular character from a previous book.  My review will post tomorrow. 4 out of 5













I can’t believe I forgot to add For His Eyes Only by Liz Fielding!  The story was about a real estate agent who puts an add for a house in the paper and it’s sabotaged.  The add says horrible things about the house.  She gets fired but is determined to save her career.  She goes to the own of the house – who she lusts after madly and offers to sell the house for free.  The two hit it off but he’s a broody artist with secrets and she’s got secrets of his own. Good story and I really enjoyed it.  4 out of 5 (read for Book Binge) 


When the Duke was Wicked by Lorraine Heath is the first book in a new series.  Grace is the daughter of a duke but a woman who needs to marry for love. She’s certain that this is the only way she can marry.  She’s stymied though as to when she can tell that a man truly loves her.  She seeks assistance from her old friend the Duke of Lovingdon and even though he doesn’t want to he finds himself giving her advice about men.  This one was really great and I’ll be posting my full review either this week or next.  4/4.25 out of 5

Last for the week was Carnal Secrets by Suzanne Wright.  This was a much anticipated read for me as I loved her first two books in the Phoenix Pack series.  This book has Shaya who has finally run and her pack has hidden her away from her mate, Nick.  Nick knows that Shaya is his mate but hasn’t claimed her for months.  Nick has his reasons but he never shared those with Shaya.  Now he’s off to find his mate and finally claim her – hoping she’ll have him.  This was not quite as good as the first two books in series but still really good.  I loved seeing the softer side of Nick and the tougher side of Shaya.  While this was a great read it was a little slower than books 1 & 2.  I’m not sure where the term Carnal came for the title because I thought it had less sex in it than the previous books.  I could be wrong. 🙂  4 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Shh…Mine (This. Is. Not. Over) by Shannon Dianne

Happy Reading!

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