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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

One Snowy Night by Jill Shalvis

One Snowy Night
by Jill Shalvis
 


Oh gosh golly gee, its that time of year
again!! Reading Christmas stories. Though
I do it through the rest of the year as well.
Jill Shalvis is a very popular contemporary
romance writer. Because she is terrific.
Her stories always have at least a bit of
comedy. Regular people are reading these
stories after all. We all put off getting
the battery in the car changed. We all make
mistakes and wind up in odd situations.
And we all love reading about people that
do the same silly things we all do.
Then fall in head over heels in love.
 
'He hadn't so much as blinked as she basically
yelled at him but she thought maybe
there was a the slightest softening in his hard
eyes. "Okay," he said.
"Okay." She let out a breath and nodded. "Good."
"You ready to go inside now or do you need 
to yell at me some more?" he asked.
She choked out a laugh and 
got out of the truck.'
 
Max and Rory have known each other forever.
Only misunderstandings got in the way.
Now that they find themselves in a car
traveling through a terrible snow storm, can
they sort it all out? Can they leave the past
in the past and grab hold of each other?
Can they sort out the hurt and
misunderstandings?
 

One Snowy Night is a fun romantic story.
It can remind us how easy it is to let the
wrong things matter. We all can sometimes
make things worse in our memory than they
really were.  Forgiveness and the
benefit of doubt can sooth so many hurts.
 
I bought my copy from Amazon.
Review by Lisa Hutson 
 
 



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Trolls - Movie Review

Trolls
Movie Review
 

I take my granddaughter to the movies like this
these days. For this movie, I wound up with two of
her girlfriends and one other mom. I always enjoy
the kids. But not always the movies.



The Trolls people were very smart. While it's a sappy
sweet silly story, they were brilliant enough to use
music (lots of music) that will appeal to the adults.
Kids are easy when it comes to music. So they love
it too. And the Justin Timberlake song is a raging
hit with every age group! As soon as it started
playing, all the kids in the joint started bopping
in their seats!! I gotta say, it made me a fan
listening to kids singing a song with no curse
words in it!! No adult type content. 
Looking for some fun family time?
You wont do any better than going
to see Trolls. You will thank me!
 
Review by Lisa Hutson  
 
 


Sunday, November 20, 2016

This Is Our Song -- Review and Interview with Samantha Chase




New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Samantha Chase crafts a tender, hopeful family-centered romance

She knows him by reputation
Riley Shaughnessy knew that to stand out in his large family, he'd have to go big. Making a name for himself as a musician wasn’t easy, but he followed his dreams to rock-star success. But the relentless expectations of fans is not helping the slump he's in now. So of course the person who attracts him is the woman who is not impressed by fame.

Which gives Riley Shaughnessy a lot to prove
Entertainment reporter Savannah Daly is completely unfazed by pretty-boy rock stars. She’s just here to get her interview and write her story. But spending an entire month with the Shaughnessys is going to show Savannah a side of Riley she never could have guessed.


Read an excerpt here! 


I thought This is Our Song was going to be the typical journalist-falls-for-rock star story. I was certain that Samantha Chase would portray Riley Shaughnessy as a temperamental, self-centered, misunderstood musician. I was way off base! The first three chapters of the novel drew me into Riley’s story as they set the stage for the conflict and provided insight into the characters of Riley and Savannah.

Musician Riley Shaughnessy is in a slump. His self-confidence has taken a huge hit because he was unexpectedly excluded from a rock and roll documentary. While his band members are enjoying success in pursuing their solo careers, Riley has writer’s block. His management team is pressuring him to complete his first solo album and the music and the words aren’t flowing for him. To complicate matters, Riley’s manager has arranged to have him interviewed by a prestigious music magazine. Journalist Savannah Daly is not amused, she has been bumped off a fabulous cover story and assigned to interview musician Riley Shaughnessy. She’s not looking forward to dealing with another temperamental, self -centered rock star.

This Is Our Song is a poignant friends-to lovers- story. The author continues to explore how the death of Lillian Shaughnessy has affected each member of her family. The scenes when Riley remembers singing with his Mom are superbly written and made me cry. Ms. Chase does a great job exploring first impressions; Savannah’s first impression of Riley and Riley’s initial thoughts about sharing his story with a writer. Riley feels uncomfortable about the interview process and suggests that they travel to North Carolina and spend time with his family. He is hoping that Savannah will see beyond his rock star persona.

Loved the scenes with the Shaughnessy family! The author does an outstanding job as each member of the family is included in the story. Ms. Chase is known for her fabulous dialogue and the banter between the Shaughnessy brothers accentuates the feeling of family comradery! Enjoyed the heartwarming scenes between Riley and his father—especially when Riley recognizes that Ian has a social life! Riley is able to focus on his music and his relationship with Savannah during the trip to North Carolina.

The couple returns to Los Angeles and become immersed in their careers. Riley learns something about Savannah and the couple separates. The last few chapters of the novel were superbly written. The author incorporates Riley’s love for his music, his mother and his family as he prepares for a solo concert at the Hollywood bowl. The conclusion is perfectly written for this couple and has several surprises that fans of Ms. Chase’s Shaughnessy novels will adore! 

 Reviewed by Susan Gorman 
ARC provided by Sourcebooks


 🎼.  Lady Celeste Interviews Samantha Chase!  🎼                                                        

Lady Celeste: Welcome back to the blog Samantha! This Is Our Song Is fabulous! Why did you decide to feature a musician in the series?

Samantha Chase: I have ALWAYS wanted to write about a musician but never had the right story. When I created the Shaughnessys, I knew I had to make one of them musical.  Riley was the perfect fit.  My husband is a drummer and we are just a musical family – he’s the only one that actually plays an instrument, but the rest of us just love listening to all kinds of music.  So I guess you could say it’s something that’s a big part of our lives and I felt like I could give a musician a little of that passion.


Lady Celeste: Why rock-- not country, pop, rap?

Samantha Chase:  I’m a huge rock fan.  I mean, I enjoy pop, but primarily I am an 80’s rock girl.   I just think there’s something very cool about a rock star – a confidence, a sexiness – that I’m personally drawn to.  I don’t listen to country or rap and didn’t feel like that would make for a character I could relate to.  Rock stars?  I can totally relate to!  


Lady Celeste: Samantha, what does music mean to Riley? Is it s form of expression or just a way to become rich and famous?? 

Samantha Chase: It's definitely a form of expression for him.  He really isn’t interested in the fame and fortune as much as he is in creating the music.  He wants to be taken seriously for his talent and the money and the notoriety are really just an afterthought to him.  His parents raised him well!!



New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan's Return, in November 2011. Teaching creative writing to students from elementary through high school motivated Samantha to take that step as well. Since then, she has become a NYT and USA  Today bestselling author. She lives with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.



Sourcebooks is giving away a copy of Always My Girl to one person who leaves a comment. (US and Canada only and ends 11/27/16). To enter, add your email address and answer the following question! Do you have a favorite type of music?




Saturday, November 19, 2016

This Is Our Song-- Excerpt--Samantha Chase





New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Samantha Chase crafts a tender, hopeful family-centered romance

She knows him by reputation
Riley Shaughnessy knew that to stand out in his large family, he'd have to go big. Making a name for himself as a musician wasn’t easy, but he followed his dreams to rock-star success. But the relentless expectations of fans is not helping the slump he's in now. So of course the person who attracts him is the woman who is not impressed by fame.

Which gives Riley Shaughnessy a lot to prove
Entertainment reporter Savannah Daly is completely unfazed by pretty-boy rock stars. She’s just here to get her interview and write her story. But spending an entire month with the Shaughnessys is going to show Savannah a side of Riley she never could have guessed.



He didn’t just beat her in the best of three.

Oh, no. That would have been too easy.

No, Savannah—who realized too late that she was a very sore loser—kept egging him on until he finally put the paddle down after beating her in twelve games. Twelve! Why did she have to keep taunting him? Even while they were playing she couldn’t make herself ask him anything important. They talked about useless stuff—favorite bands, favorite foods—hell, at one point she’d even asked him his favorite color.

She hung her head low in defeat and put her paddle on the table. Riley had excused himself and went to get them each a drink. She prayed it was vodka. Something to make her forget this humiliation.
His prize at the end of the first three games was that she’d stay and have dinner with him.

After the next three she’d stay for a movie.

She really thought she was going to beat him in the third round. Unfortunately, it had been her biggest loss, and he’d simply chuckled and said he’d have to think about his reward. And he’d repeated that after the fourth and final win.

Riley cleared his throat when he walked back into the room and handed her a glass of ice water. They drank in silence for a few minutes. “That was fun,” he finally said, and Savannah realized he wasn’t being obnoxious and he wasn’t gloating. He genuinely looked like he’d had a good time.

And despite all the losing, Savannah would have to agree. It was fun.

“How do you feel about salmon for dinner?”

“It’s one of my favorites,” she said and was relieved he wasn’t gloating.

“It’s kind of early yet. Maybe we can watch a movie first?”

That was a reasonable request, and she agreed. Together they picked out a classic Neil Simon movie from 1967, Barefoot in the Park. “Ooo…Robert Redford.” She sighed. “Another favorite.”
Tucked away in a corner was one of the biggest flat-screen TVs Savannah had ever seen. Riley noticed her stunned look. “It’s one hundred ten inches. They don’t come any bigger than this right now. The picture’s great too.”

Two oversized recliners were centered in front of the screen and they each sat down. Riley started the movie and within minutes Savannah was more relaxed and they were both laughing along with the story.

She kicked her sandals off and tucked her feet up on the chair beside her. Next she pulled the clip out of her hair so she could relax her head against the back of the comfortable chair. Looking to her right, she saw Riley was watching her. His expression was intense and for the life of her, she couldn’t figure out what was wrong. “Is everything okay?”

He didn’t answer right away.

“Riley?”

“I still have to decide what I get for winning those last two rounds,” he said, his voice low and gravelly.
Savannah nodded, hypnotized by the way his eyes had gone so dark.
“I’m going to combine them into one request,” he said, and it sounded more like a warning than a statement.

“Okay.” Her own voice was almost a breathy whisper.

Leaning closer, Riley’s eyes zeroed in on her lips before meeting her eyes. “Savannah?”
“Hmm?”

“I’m going to kiss you. Twice.”

“Oh.”

His hand snaked out and around her nape and slowly drew her closer to him. And then his lips touched hers and Savannah’s brain simply stopped functioning.

                       *********************************************************************

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan's Return, in November 2011. Teaching creative writing to students from elementary through high school motivated Samantha to take that step as well. Since then, she has become a NYT and USA  Today bestselling author. She lives with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.




Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Barefoot at Midnight by Roxanne St Claire

Barefoot at Midnight
by Roxanne St Claire
 

Barefoot at Midnight is
part of the Timeless series.
 
Law Monroe has lived his life never quite sure just
where he was headed or where he wanted to be.
His guardian angel, Jake, has passed away and now,
Law thinks he is sure where he is supposed to be.
 
Only problem is, Libby Chesterfield is certain that
she is supposed to be in the exact same place.
 
 
The two of them are drawn together, physically.
Emotionally, they are worlds apart. Both keeping
secrets from the other. Not sure who to trust.
They are both in the time of life looking to settle
down. But who will get control of that special place?
 
Can they find a way to trust each other? Will either
of them be able to compromise? Can they make
it all work for both of them? Will their family and
friends get out of the way or help them?
 
Barefoot at Midnight is another romance for
grown ups by Roxanne St Claire. They are all
three easy to read stand alone style. But they
are fun as a series too. Terrific characters that
move along through the series.
I hope you enjoy reading this story as Law and Libby
 argue, kiss, eat, dance and solve a mystery in 
order to find their way.
 

 
I bought my copy from Amazon.
Review by Lisa Hutson
 
 
 



Thursday, November 10, 2016

WELCOME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS by Annie Rains - Tasty Book Tours


Their little charade is working a little too well . . . because Troy’s falling head over heels.


WELCOME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
A Hero's Welcome #4
Annie Rains
Releasing Nov 8th, 2016


The bestselling Hero’s Welcomes series continues with a juicy Christmas romance set in Seaside, North Carolina, where a bustling military base keeps this small town stocked with dedicated, lovable heroes.

Three-hundred-and-sixty-four days a year, Allison Carmichael doesn’t mind being single. It sure beats dating another loser, and it keeps her heart safe. Then there’s that three-hundred-and-sixty-fifth day: Christmas Eve, the traditional time her entire family gathers together—and gangs up on her, demanding to know when she’s going to get married. This year, she swears, is going be different. And that’s why, at a charity auction she’s throwing on-base, she buys herself a man.

Sergeant Troy Matthews insists that he’s not for sale. His time is, though, and he’s happy to donate it. Happier still when he learns the identity of the winning bidder: the redhead with the killer good looks and smart mouth who runs the veteran’s center. Allison needs Troy’s help to fool her family into believing they’re an item, and he’s all too happy to indulge her. But by the time Christmas Eve rolls around, their little charade is working a little too well . . . because Troy’s falling head over heels.







USA Today Bestselling Author, Annie Rains, is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors.



a Rafflecopter giveaway




Welcome Home for Christmas is an appealing opposites -attract story with charming characters set in near a military base in North Carolina. I appreciated how the romance between Allison Carmichael and Troy Matthews developed as the couple dated; the romance was not rushed and this aspect made the couple’s journey more genuine to me. Annie Rains’ use of dialogue is fabulous! Through the honest and sometimes emotional conversations between the characters the reader knew that Allison and Troy were attracted to each other. I enjoyed reading and anticipating when the two of them would realize that their relationship was changing from friends to lovers.

The author does a fabulous job of weaving the true spirit of Christmas in the novel. Allison’s hope is for the orphan’s to have their Christmas wishes fulfilled. She is a character who keeps Christmas in her heart all year long. The novel has a few unexpected plot twists, the ending for all of the characters was perfect. And the epilogue was AWESOME!

If you enjoy holiday novels by authors Debbie Mason and Sherryl Woods—pick up this book—you will love it!

Reviewed by Susan Gorman

ARC provided by the Publisher

video





"So there’s one thing I now know about you. You’re a good liar.” Allison folded her arms at her chest. 

“Good, maybe. But I value honesty. Sometimes lying to someone is for their own good, though. A little white lie never really hurt anyone. Here’s one for you,” he leaned in closer and lowered his voice, “I have absolutely no interest in dating you, either.” Her cheeks flushed. “And I don’t think you’re the most beautiful woman in this room, and the thought of taking you out does not appeal to me whatsoever.” He shook his head. “Nope, not one little bit.” 

She smiled. “Now I know two things about you. You lie well and you’re a smooth talker. So, do you agree to my proposal?” 

Troy could just say yes, but he was enjoying engaging her in a conversation. “You know, when I was kid, Christmas was always magical. I’d sit with the toy catalog and create this huge, mile-long list of the things I wanted. I never got so excited about a pencil and paper.” “Did you get everything on the list?” she asked. “Usually.” “So your family had money?” He nodded. His family practically owned the town he’d grown up in. He didn’t know what it felt like to want for something until his cousin Dale had died in 9-11, the deciding factor in him joining the military. 

“I figure the more money raised for those kids, the better their Christmas will be.” “That’s my goal. I want this to be the best Christmas Mercy’s kids have ever had.” “So, if I have to take you out . . .” He trailed off, smiling at her. “We’re just going to talk. Have a meal or something together. No kissing, no handholding.” Troy held up his hands. “I’m an honorable guy. I don’t force myself on women. Truth is, I usually have to fight them off.” He winked again. 

 “And you can’t act like that when you meet my mother.” “Like what?” he asked. “All flirty and charming. She’ll never believe that I’d fall for someone like that.” He tried not to take offense because no matter what she was saying, she was attracted to him. He could see it in her dilated pupils and the way her chest rose just slightly under her racing pulse. “No? What kind of guy exactly would you fall for?” Allison looked around the room. There was still a nice-sized crowd laughing and mingling. Christmas music filled the merry air. “I wouldn’t fall for any kind of guy right now. That’s why I’m pretending with you.”

Saturday, November 5, 2016

A Sure Thing by Marie Harte

Meet the Donnigans
With the eldest Donnigan brothers adjusting to civilian life, their younger sister constantly in trouble, and their little brother clueless about life in general, falling in love is the last thing on anyone’s mind…

Can this Bossy Badass Marine…
The Marine Corps was everything Landon Donnigan ever wanted in life...until a bullet sent him home with a medical discharge. Teaching a self-defense class at the gym is old-hat for a marine, but when he meets sexy Ava Rosenthal, his combat skills are useless for protecting his heart.

Be her Mr. Right?
Ava can take care of herself and likes quiet, bookish men—not muscular warriors who think women need to be coddled. But Landon is more than he seems, and when they come together, the results are explosive.


Excerpt:

'What is your problem?"  

"Me, I'm good." Before she could lay into him, he added. 'But you're not." 

She blinked. 'What's my problem, besides you?

'You and boring guy."

She frowned. 'That's not a nice thing to say."

"Yeah, I'm not known for being nice. But, I am honest. Honey, Charles is not the guy for you."

'Excuse me, but Charles was the perfect gentleman."

A jazz band started playing in the corner, making it harder to hear, so he leaned closer. Unfortunately, she got a good whiff of his cologne, and it went straight to her head. Just her luck Landon smelled like a dream.

She cleared her throat. "And my name is not 'honey'. It's Ava. She would have added Dr. Ava Rosenthal in a haughty tone, except Landon's breath brushed her ear and her, and her entire body locked up. Tight.

'Ava , you need someone who makes you hot. Boring is no good. Not for someone like you.'

Review:

A Sure Thing by Marie Harte is a fast-paced, sexy, opposites attract novel featuring Landon Donnigan, an ex-Marine and clinical psychologist Ava Rosenthal. Landon is getting used to his new civilian job and getting reacquainted with his family. Ava has decided to start dating and is using an online service. I doubt that the dating service would match Landon with Ava! Their journey begins when sparks fly when Landon and Ava meet at a local gym. The chemistry between the two sizzles!

The author does a fabulous job with the scenes when Landon sees Ava at a bar with a date. He sits down near the couple and proceeds to eavesdrop on their conversation. I could imagine Landon listening into the conversation between Ava and her overly polite, nerdy date and making faces at Ava when her date wasn’t looking. 

Loved the family relationships in the novel. The back and forth banter between the Donnigan family members during Sunday dinner and teasing between Ava and her cousins were well written and gave more insight to the main characters. I started to understand why Landon liked to be in charge and why Ava need to have her future mapped out.  Marie Harte touches on several contemporary issues throughout the novel. One of the characters has PTSD, another has been a victim of abuse and several characters are dealing with anger issues. These are issues that most families are familiar with and added authenticity to the storyline. Kudos to the author for having Landon and his brother teach a self-defense course at the gym.

Marie Harte is a new-to-me- author. I enjoyed the fast-paced love story between Landon and Ava and was fascinated by the couple’s desire for each other. The conclusion to the novel was excellent. It had several surprises and lots of romance! 
 
Reviewed by Susan Gorman
ARC provided by Sourcebooks.

Author Biography:

Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, MARIE HARTE is a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after.


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Thursday, November 3, 2016

How to Impress A Marquess By Susanna Ives


A Recipe for . . .  
How To Impress A Marquess - Wicked Little Secrets series book III

TAKE ONE MARQUESS: Proper, put-upon, dependable, but concealing a sensitive artist's soul.

ADD ONE BOHEMIAN LADY: Creative, boisterous, unruly, but secretly yearning for a steadfast love, home, and family.

STIR in a sensational serialized story that has society ravenous for each installment.

COMBINE with ambitious guests at an ill-fated house party hosted by a treacherous dowager possessing a poison tongue.

SHAKE until a stuffy marquess and rebellious lady make a shocking discovery: the contents of their hearts are just alike.

Take a sip. You'll laugh, you'll swoon, you'll never want this moving Victorian love story to end.






I love a fabulous house party romance! It’s interesting to read what develops when people are in close company—sharing meals, playing charades, listening to music or picnicking on the lawn. Susanna Ives has written a fabulous opposites attract romance between George, the Marquess of Marylewick and his ward Lilith Dahlgren.

George and Lilith are polar opposites. George takes his role in Parliament and his estate duties very seriously. He’s very structured and a bit boring until his unconventional ward moves in with him. Lilith is an engaging woman, she’s artistic and a bit of a free spirit. She is frustrated with how George treats her and manages her money. Lilith, using a pen name, authors the popular Collette and the Sultan series which George reads faithfully. He has no idea that Lilith has based the domineering Sultan on him.

Lilith discovers that George was an artist when he was younger and why he abandoned his artwork. During the house party, she begins to understand that George is responsible for caring for many people and understands why he is so dedicated to his job. This understanding causes her to regret her portrayal of George aka the Sultan in her stories. Self-discovery is important to several characters in the novel and the author does a wonderful job transforming Lilith from a spoiled heiress to a compassionate woman.

Susanna Ives is a new-to-me author. I enjoyed this Victorian romance, the fabulous banter between the two main characters and the house party setting. I am glad the author wrote a hero who was an honest, hardworking man, not the typical rake, spy or Duke character. There is a villain in disguise and a few surprises as the story reaches its conclusion which added to my enjoyment of the book. I adored the ending!

Reviewed by Susan Gorman
ARC provided by Sourcebooks



Chat with author Susanna Ives


My Top Five Things To Do On A Chilly Fall Weekend. 

I live in Hotlanta. I remain trapped inside during the inferno of summer, away from the smolder, vicious mosquitoes, and copperheads. I rush outside with wild joy when fall finally arrives. Poets may write of symbolic dying and withering in fall and winter, but I’m very much alive, my spirit renewed and bounding with energy in the wonderfully crisp weather. So here are my top five things:

1.) I love to sit outside at night, enjoying the refreshing cool air on the back of my throat and watching the white moon peeking through the tree branches.

2.) I am all things pumpkin spice. Pumpkin spice lattes, muffins, cookies, silk milk, peeps, even hair gloss. My friends laugh at me, because it seems pumpkin spice has lost its cultural coolness. Whatever. Pumpkin spice feels me with coziness and contentment. I highly recommend reading How to Impress a Marquess while ingesting some pumpkin spice goodness. For an add-on aromatherapy, light some pumpkin spice candles.

3.) My husband can build some amazing fires (in fireplaces, of course). He scavenges the neighborhood for the perfect firewood and then tends to his fire like a mother looking after her newborn. I’m not someone who relaxes easily. My caffeine-reliant brain is always buzzing and on alert. But the lulling hiss and pop of a fire quiets my mind more than a dozen meditation classes can.

4.) Fleece. I try to be hip and cool and go with the sweaters and sexy wools, but all I really want against my body on a chilly fall weekend (with regard to clothing, of course) is fleece. Perfection is resting under a fleece blanket in my fleece PJs and socks, watching the beautiful fire while sipping pumpkin spice tea.

5.) Wireless speakers. My husband and I recently became obsessive with wireless speakers. Now we have music flowing through all the rooms. Chilly nights call for soft jazz or calming romantic classical music in the background while you read or just drift off into a lovely pumpkin spice and fleece filled dream.





Susanna Ives started writing when she left her job as a multimedia training developer to stay home with her family. Now she keeps busy driving her children to various classes, writing books, and maintaining websites. She often follows her husband on business trips around Europe and blogs about the misadventures of touring with children. She lives in Atlanta.

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