Friday, October 24, 2014

Review Tour & Giveaway for Pie Girls by Lauren Clark

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Welcome to my stop on the Review Tour, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions, for Pie Girls by Lauren Clark. Please leave a comment or question for Lauren to let her know you stopped by.  You can enter her tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You must comment in order to enter the giveaway.  You can follow the rest of the tour by clicking on the banner above.  The more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning.  

Pie Girls
By Lauren Clark

Publisher:  Camilla Press
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Chick-Lit Romance
Length: 338 Pages
ISBN:  9780990623137
ASIN:  B00MGX53RY

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Buy Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo |  iBooks

About the book:  

Princess, Southern belle, and spoiled-rotten social climber Searcy Roberts swore on a stack of Bibles she’d never return home to Fairhope, Alabama. After marrying her high school sweetheart and moving to Atlanta, Searcy embraces big-city life—Carrie Bradshaw style.

But now, Searcy has a teeny, tiny problem. Her husband’s had a mid-life crisis. He’s quit his job, cancelled her credit cards, and left her for another man.

Searcy returns to Fairhope, ready to lick her wounds. But when her mother falls ill, she’s is thrust into managing the family business—only to discover the beloved bakery is in danger of closing its doors forever.

Enlisting the help of the adorable bike store owner next door, an array of well-heeled customers, and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Searcy hatches the plan of the century to save Pie Girls.




EXCERPT



"C.C.," I exclaim, standing on tiptoes for an air kiss. "What a lovely surprise."
         
She clears her throat, and I step back. "You haven't greeted my Precious," C.C. warns in a lilting voice, tilting her head toward the pink sequined bag hanging over her left forearm.
         
Precious? Like as in the Lord of the Rings? Surely she doesn't mean...
         
A tiny black nose and beady eyes poke out of the bag.
         
"Eek!" I jump back and squeal, clapping a hand to my chest and dropping the keys.
         
The dog—if you can call it that—begins yipping and complaining like I've just whipped it with a cat o' nine tails.
         
I freeze in place, flush a lovely shade of violet, and want to self-destruct; certain that I've committed what equates to a mortal sin in the world according to C.C. Anderson. She's carrying her new puppy, a tiny Min-Pin; complete with pink collar and matching pink toenails.
         
"I'm so sorry—"
         
C.C. waves her own pink manicured fingernails an inch from my face.
         
"Mama's poor little baby," she coos in a high-pitched falsetto. "Are you okay, my sweetie-weetie, lovey girl?"
         
My jaw drops open slightly. I've never heard the woman utter a word of endearment toward any human being or living creature.

When I first dated Alton, I was almost certain that C.C., in fact, was among the un-dead. Five years ago, when she and Alton’s father decided to move to Atlanta—under the auspices of closer to their only son—I almost had him talked into buying some dove's blood from Marie Laveau's shop in New Orleans just to see if she'd drink it.
         
"Mama's Precious will be all right, won't she?" C.C. continues. "Searcy's just a bad girl. She'll do better, I promise, darling."

AUTHOR Bio and Links: 
 Lauren Clark writes contemporary Southern novels sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets. A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends.

She is the author of four award-winning novels, Dancing Naked in Dixie, Stay Tuned, Stardust Summer, and Pie Girls, as well as a short story, A Very Dixie Christmas, published in the Merry & Bright holiday collection. Lauren is a member of the Gulf Coast Writers Association and the Mobile Writers Guild. 

Check out her website at www.laurenclarkbooks.com.



Twitter:  @LaurenClark_Bks







Fans of contemporary Southern romance filled with colorful characters and good dialogue need look no further than Lauren Clark’s newest book, Pie Girls.  Filled with emotional angst, decades old secrets and lesson’s on what’s really important in life and love, Ms. Clark’s story kept me turning the pages.  Adding decadent Southern pie recipes to the mix, Ms. Clark had me wanting to pull out my pie pans to give her recipes a try.

Raised in a small Southern town by a colorful, hippie like mother, Searcy left her old life behind when she married Alton Roberts and moved to Atlanta to live the high life.  Shopping for designer clothes, eating lunch with her society friends and seldom seeing her hard working husband make up her life.  Until the night her husband comes home and everything about her life comes crashing down.

Ms. Clark does a good job developing Searcy’s character; she’s spoiled and self-centered at the start and was a little bit hard to connect with.  As her life spirals out of control, and she tries to deny there’s something wrong with her marriage, Searcy is forced to grow up and take a look at what’s really important.  Especially when she goes back to her hometown and realizes something is wrong with her mother, and with her mother’s bakery.  I really liked how going back home, re-connecting with her best friend and really talking with her mother helped Searcy face the truth.  Especially the truth about her relationship with Alton.

The secondary characters were all well developed and I really enjoyed getting to know Maggie, Searcy’s mom, Tobi, Searcy’s best friend from high school, and Luke, the owner of the bike store next to Pie Girls, her mother’s bakery.  While I didn’t care for Alton, Searcy’s soon to be ex, Ms. Clark does a good job developing his character and lets us know just why Searcy and Alton’s marriage was doomed from the start.  She reminds us that communication, real communication, is the key to any successful relationship and that family is the most important part of our lives.  We also get to know Quinn, a colorful businessman, who’s past with Maggie is important to Searcy’s future.

Will Searcy be able to put her life back together once it’s all fallen apart?  Will the chance of a new romance and saving her mother’s bakery be all Searcy needs for a new start?  You’ll have to read Pie Girls to find out, I enjoyed it and can’t wait to try out some of the recipes and look forward to reading more from Ms. Clark.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 Crowns





FTC Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour for a fair and honest review.  I received no additional compensation for my opinion of the material provided. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway for Christmas At The Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan


Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Book Tour, presented by Tasty Book Tours, for Christmas at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan.  Please leave a comment or question for Christy to let her know you stopped by.  You can enter her tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter Form below.  You can also follow the rest of her tour here,  the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning.

Christmas at the Cupcake Café
By Jenny Colgan
Cupcake Café, Book 2

Publisher:  William Morris/Harper Colliins
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Genre: Holiday/Chick-Lit/Romance
Length: 352 Pages
ISBN:  978-0751550337
ASIN:  B00K53EH56



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Buy Links:  Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

About the book: 

Issy Randall, proud owner of The Cupcake Cafe, is in love and couldn’t be happier. Her new business is thriving and she is surrounded by close friends, even if her cupcake colleagues Pearl and Caroline don’t seem quite as upbeat about the upcoming season of snow and merriment. But when her boyfriend Austin is scouted for a possible move to New York, Issy is forced to face up to the prospect of a long-distance romance. And when the Christmas rush at the cafe - with its increased demand for her delectable creations - begins to take its toll, Issy has to decide what she holds most dear.

This December, Issy will have to rely on all her reserves of courage, good nature and cinnamon, to make sure everyone has a merry Christmas, one way or another. . .

Indulge yourself and your sweet-toothed friends with Jenny Colgan’s new novel, simply bursting with Christmas cupcake recipes and seasonal sugar-fuelled fun.




Gingerbread


This is not for gingerbread men, which is more of a cookie recipe as it has to stay hard and crunchy.  And it is not for gingerbread houses, unless you have endless time on your hands and (let’s say it quietly) are a bit of a show-off who would rather their cakes were admired than devoured.

No, this is old-fashioned soft, sticky gingerbread. It doesn’t take long to make, but you’ll be glad you did.  NB:  Oil the container before you fill it with treacle. Otherwise you and your dishwasher are going to fall out really badly.

50g white sugar
50g brown sugar
120g butter
1 egg
180ml treacle
300g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp powdered cinnamon
1 tbsp powdered ginger (or a little more if you like)
1/2 tsp ground cloves (I just threw in a ‘lucky’ clove)
1/2 tsp salt
60ml hot water

Preheat oven to 175°C/gas mark 3. Grease a loaf tin or square baking tin.

Cream sugar and butter together (you can do this entire thing in the mixer), then add the egg and the treacle. Mix the spices, baking powder, flour and salt. Fold in to wet mixture.

Add the water, then pour into baking tin and bake for 45 minutes. You can sprinkle icing sugar on the top, or make an icing glaze, or just slice it like it is – proper yummy, sticky Christmas gingerbread. Serve liberally to people you like.


Author Info


Jenny Colgan is the author of numerous bestselling novels, including Christmas at the Cupcake Café and The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, which are also published by Sphere. Meet Me at the Cupcake Café won the 2012 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance and was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller, as was Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams, which won the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2013. Jenny is married with three children and lives in London and France.




Author Links

Website:  http://www.jennycolgan.com/ 







Being a reader who pretty much loves chick-lit romance, I jumped at the chance to read and review Jenny Colgan’s Christmas at the Cupcake Café.  Not only would Ms. Colgan’s book satisfy my craving for a holiday romance, it also includes recipes, which is something I love seeing in books.  Basically it killed two birds with one stone for me.  Filled with colorful characters, snappy dialogue, sweet romance, and recipes (from a British palate), this is a book almost anyone should enjoy.

A year after opening The Cupcake Café, Issy Randal is happy and in love.  Her business is doing well, her employees are working out and her love life is finally going in the right direction.  Looking forward to the upcoming holidays, and being surrounded by her friends, are what she looks forward to the most.  Only when her boyfriend has to travel to New York for business, and he receives a job offer too good to refuse, makes Issy wonder if the Christmas she’s been hoping for will go up in smoke.

Ms. Colgan does a really good job introducing Issy and developing her character; a single woman who’s had more than her share of bad boyfriends; all Issy wants is someone to love who’ll love her back and build a life with her.  Someone like Austin, her current boyfriend, who comes with baggage of his own, a younger brother named Darny.  Living together with boy boys, Issy has begun to feel as if her life is finally all right.  I really connected with Issy because she’s hard working, very likeable and a fellow baker who knows that good ingredients and the right recipe make everything taste better.

The secondary characters, from Austin and Darny, Pearl and Caroline (her employees), and best friend Helena and her family, added plenty of color and emotional angst to the story.  While it’s clear that Austin loves Issy, and that he’s a likeable character, I was a little put off by how easily he was willing to overlook Issy’s contribution to his and Darny’s life when he was making his decision about the future.  That, and the behavior of some of the children in this story, Darny and Helena’s daughter Chandani, are the only things that bothered me.  Otherwise I enjoyed watching how everyone works their issues out. 

Will Issy and Austin figure out what’s best for their future together or decide to part?  What will happen to The Cupcake Café in the future?  You’ll have to read Christmas at the Cupcake Café to find out.  I hope Ms. Colgan writes another story with Issy, Austin and the gang and lets us know what the future brings for all of them.  I’m definitely going to give some of the recipes a go. 

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5 Crowns


Virtual Blurb Blitz Tour & Giveaway for Say Nothing of What You See by Christy Effinger

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Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Blurb Blitz Tour, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions, for Say Nothing of What You See by Christy Effinger.  Please leave a comment or question for Christy to let her know you stopped by.  You can enter her tour wide giveaway, for a $25 Amazon GC, by filling out the Rafflecopter Form below.  You must comment in order to enter the giveaway.  You can also follow the rest of the tour by clicking on the tour banner above, the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning.

Say Nothing of What You See
By Christy Effinger

Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press
Release Date: August 29, 2014
Genre: Paranormal
Length: 282 Pages
ISBN:  978-1628303995
ASIN:  B00MW5HTZ0

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Buy Links:  Amazon | B&N | Kobo | The Wild Rose Press

About the book:

When her aunt steps off a grain elevator into the emptiness of a prairie evening, Mira Piper loses her one protector. Chloe, her flighty mother, impulsively drags her daughter to Bramblewood, an isolated spiritualist retreat in northern Michigan, run by the enigmatic Dr. Virgil Simon.

Chloe plans to train as a medium but it's Mira who discovers she can communicate with the dead. When her mother abandons her, Mira discovers a darker aspect to Bramblewood: the seemingly kind doctor has a sinister side and a strange control over his students.

Then one winter's day Troy Farrington arrives, to fulfill his mother's dying wish and deliver her letter to the doctor. But calamity strikes and he finds himself a captive, tended by a sympathetic Mira. Haunted by her dead aunt and desperate to escape Bramblewood, Mira makes a devil's deal with Dr. Simon. But fulfillment comes with a steep cost...betrayal.



Excerpt



I remember the way she fell.

I remember, too, the moment just before it happened, when I came home from my summer job at the snow cone stand and found the house empty.

Aunt Charlotte had not set foot outside her bedroom for days, and now suddenly she was gone. She left a candle burning on the kitchen table, a damp towel on the bathroom floor, an empty shot glass on the nightstand. Her bedroom smelled of rose lotion and whiskey.

One of her straw sandals lay in the living room. The other lay on its side in the hall, as if she had hastily kicked it off on her way out the door. It meant trouble, all right, if Aunt Charlotte was barefoot. She never did anything sane when she was barefoot.

I picked up the sandals and stepped outside. A fat bumblebee ascended from one of the peonies by the porch steps, drunk with nectar. He banged stupidly against the screen door once, twice, and then careened around the house, clearly annoyed.

My gaze swept across our small yard and down the country road to the grain elevator. From somewhere far away came the discordant wail of a train. I glanced along the tracks and out into the cornfield before turning back to the grain elevator. What I saw there made me drop the sandals. 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Christy Effinger’s poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in various print and online publications. She lives near Indianapolis. Her website is www.christyeffinger.com.










Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway for Jilted by Rachel Johns



Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Book Tour, presented by Tasty Virtual Book Tours, for Jilted by Rachel Johns.  Please leave a comment or question for Rachel to let her know you stopped by.  You can enter to win her tour wide giveaway, for a $20 Amazon GC, by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You can also follow the rest of the tour here, the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning. 






She'd left him at the altar, but her heart was always his……

After more than ten years away, Australian soap opera star Ellie Hughes returns to the small town of Hope Junction, determined to fly under the radar while caring for her injured godmother, Matilda.

But word spreads fast in the tight-knit community. It isn't long before the people of Hope Junction are gossiping about the real reason for Ellie's visit and why she broke the heart of golden boy Flynn Quartermaine all those years ago.

Soon Ellie and Flynn are thrown back together, forced to deal with the unresolved emotions between them. Because Ellie is not the only one with secrets. Flynn has his own demons to battle, and Matilda is hiding something from her much-loved goddaughter.


When all is uncovered, can the ill-fated lovers overcome the wounds of their past? Or is Flynn destined to be jilted again?







Ten Things About JILTED by Rachael Johns


  1. JILTED started it’s life as a category romance book called THE RETURN OF THE RUNAWAY BRIDE. I was then targeting Harlequin Mills & Boon and planned on submitting it to the Superromance line until rural romance became a ‘thing’ in Australia and I thought I’d try write a single title instead.
  2. Flynn and Ellie were very much inspired by the emotions I had for my first love and high school sweetheart. It was good to mine those teenage feelings when thinking about how Flynn and Ellie felt about each other.
  3. Hope Junction is based on Kojonup in Western Australia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kojonup,_Western_Australia) where my family and I were living at the time.
  4. Ellie is a soap opera actress because a) I used to be addicted to soap opera tv shows (Home &  Away and Neighbours) and b) because I minored in drama at university and always wanted to be an actress. Writing about one was the next best thing.
  5. Quartermaine is actually the surname of one of my now good friends, but I didn’t know her at the time I created Flynn Quartermaine.
  6. JILTED won the Australian Romance Readers Association Favourite Contemporary Romance of 2012.
  7. There is a windmill on both the US cover and the Aussie cover but there are no windmills in the book. I now wish I’d thought to write one in because I LOVE windmills.
  8. The US version of JILTED contains a glossary of Aussie words, therefore it is educational – i.e. Read it to learn a language!
  9. There is a scene in JILTED inspired by Charles Dickens’ Miss Havisham from Great Expectations.
  10. When my agent first read JILTED she was on a flight from Sydney to LA and she cried so much the flight attendant came up and asked her if she was okay.
  11.  (I never was much good at counting) – Publisher’s Weekly named JILTED a Top Ten pick for fall romance books!







Rachael Johns is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a supermarket owner, a chronic arachnophobic, and a writer the rest of the time. She rarely sleeps and never irons. She writes contemporary romance for HQN and Carina Press and lives in rural Western Australia with her hyperactive husband and three mostly-gorgeous heroes-in-training. Rachael loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website at www.rachaeljohns.com.











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