Friday, April 18, 2014

**Blog Tour Spotlight ~ Marigny Street ~ Annie Rose Welch**


Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Annie Rose Welch's Marigny Street. This is the first book in her Saving Angels series. I have all the important details about the book for y'all, an excerpt, and a giveaway.


***

Marigny Street by Annie Rose Welch
Saving Angels #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance w/Strong Paranormal Element

Synopsis
Do you believe in the power of dreams? 

Way down south on Marigny Street in the heart of New Orleans, the land of Catholic intercessions, purgatory, and supernatural superstitions, young Evangeline Chenier dreams of a radiant boy who saves her from a storm. 

She takes the dream seriously – in her family, dreams are sometimes more than dreams. Sometimes they foretell the future. Sometimes they create it. 

Years later, Eva is no longer the same wistful girl but a hardened woman who no longer believes in dreams. Losing faith in her gift, she becomes lost in a nightmare of emotion, mourning her son, separating from her husband, and stewing in a dead-end job. And then fate brings her an unlikely surprise: one of the most famous movie stars in the world, Gabriel Roberts. 

Caught by something in his eyes, Eva agrees to show him the real Big Easy on his last night in New Orleans—an evening that turns into four dreamy days spent recapturing lost faith and discovering a love neither expected. 

Realizing Gabriel is the boy from her childhood dream, Eva must leave everything behind—her husband, her family, her history, and the beautiful city she calls home—and gamble it all for the dream that has saved her on MARIGNY STREET.





I shook my head. “Tell me, Gabriel, what are your dreams about?”

“Nothing. I never dream.” He shrugged.

“Never?”

“I’ve never once in my life had a dream. And I never look in a mirror – or I try my hardest not to anyway.”

“Why?” How could you never dream? Or look in a mirror?

He sighed. “I believe the only things in this life that can truly show your reflection are the things you love the most in this world. And I don’t love myself enough to want to look in the mirror.” He laughed. “But when I look at you I can see myself perfectly. And even though I never dream, I do pray. Do you want to know what I prayed for before I met you?”

I nodded.

“I prayed for an angel – to save me. I asked for a little help from up above, and now you’re here. You are cake and ice cream; sugar and spice, and everything nice. And when you smile, you make me feel the way the world looks when the sun shines through a foggy day.”


All I could do was smile.




***What People Are Saying***

"This is a story that sings the particular otherworldly song that is the melange of New Orleans, with a character in Eva that is particularly well developed and easy to like. Gabriel is a breath of otherworldly fresh air, tangible in his emotional connection to Eva. New Orleans becomes a character to fall in love with as well: you will walk the streets with Eva and feel the city through her eyes, incorporating her memories."

"That's the other thing about Eva. She was real. All the characters were real. The weather was real. New Orleans was a character herself. The story was alive to me. It was as if I lived the story as I read. There was a very surprising twist that wasn't expected and still has me reeling." 

"This book enchanted me from the quotes at the beginning. It is honestly a beautiful story. It pulls you in to a really quite magical place, yes, it's incredibly soppy (for my tastes) but it's undeniably beautiful."




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Enter the Goodreads giveaway for a win a signed copy by clicking here.




Born and raised in New Orleans, Annie has a habit of shortening her words and telling long stories. She speaks with a southern flair and cooks with it too. At the tender age of twenty- one, she hitched up her wagons (took her first plane ride) and moved out west to the big shake (California). Her writing career began one sleepless night when she imagined a gorgeous woman and a man with maniacal hair floating above her like lightening bugs falling from the sky. Curious about them, their story, and why they were floating around in her head, she sat down and penned (typed) her first novel, Marigny Street. A dream come true for her, she hasn't stopped
writing since. She loves a damn good love story, always has, no matter what the genre. She is particularly moved by imperfect love that in its own unique way is perfect, the notion of love at first sight, soul mates, and things that are generally out of the norm.

When she's not writing she enjoys dabbling in photography and finding new, inspirational music to add to her collection. She currently (still) resides in the big shake (although her southern roots are calling her home) with her husband, daughter, and their two peculiar dogs, Boudreaux and Tabasco (who, call her crazy, bark with an accent).

For lagniappe (a little extra), a virtual cup of cafĂ© au lait and beignets, please visit Annie's website: www.annierosewelch.com

She can also be found on Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon & Twitter


Thursday, April 17, 2014

**Feature & Follow ~ #46 ~ Destination**


Happy Friday and welcome to the Blog Hop! 

Feature & Follow is a weekly blog hop hosted by the talented ladies behind AlisonCanRead and Parajunkee's View. The intent of this blog hop is to get out there and meet other bloggers and gain new followers yourself. What sets this blog hop apart is the Feature. Each week, two blogs are featured, one at AlisonCanRead and one at Parajunkee's View. So make sure to hop over to those blogs to check out this week's Features.


This week's Features are:
Not Yet Read
The Sarcastic Palm Tree


This week's question is:
What is your favorite Spring Break destination?

I've only taken Spring Break trips since I've been married - because we got married during Spring Break. :) We've always traveled to different places. This year, we didn't get to go anywhere because of our daughters' music commitments. But since it was snowy, here's where I would have liked to have been. I've never been to the Florida Keys...but one day I will. 


**Promo & Giveaway ~ Teaching Willow: Session 2 ~ Paige James**


I'm thrilled to be taking part in the promotional event for Paige James' Teaching Willow: Session 2. You can read my review here. I'm loving this serial, y'all! It's just so...twisty. My review of Session 3 posts Monday.

(click cover for event homepage)


Teaching Willow: Session Two
Series: Teaching Willow: Session 2
Author: Paige James
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Hosted by: Wordsmith Publicity


Synopsis
Infatuated. That’s how it began.

Desperate.

That’s when it escalated.

Addicted. That’s what I’ve become.

Just when I think that I’ve discovered the one thing I wouldn’t do for Ebon, the one extreme to which I would not go, I find myself exceeding it. Looking back with regret, looking forward with dread, and living the now like it’s all I’ve got.

Because it is.

It’s pure bliss. It’s unimaginable hell. It’s all I know, all I want to know. A runaway train that I can’t stop, one that I don’t really want to.

But disaster is coming. It will turn sweet into bitter, deception into devastation. Perfection into wreckage.

Ruin. That’s what’s coming.

Ruin.





***Your Perfect Day***

Willow: If I could plan a day with Ebon, I would rent a private cottage deep in the forest in a lush place, like Oregon. There, we would read to each other, feed each other and make love until we were both exhausted. And then we’d sleep and wake up to do it all over again. Only in my perfect day, when Ebon breathed my name, he would call me Willow. Willow, Willow, Willow, over and over again.

Ebon: If I could plan the perfect day, I would blindfold Sage and drive her to a field in the middle of nowhere. I would lead her out into the soft grass, under the moonlight, and I’d strip her bare. I’d whisper naughty things to her, but I’d tell her not to say a word. I would wait until her body was wet and hot and ready to explode around mine and when I asked her to speak, she would part those sweet lips and she’d speak Willow’s words to me. And when I looked down into her face, blindfolded as she moaned my name, I’d see her beauty, but I’d hear Willow.




2 - $25 Amazon Gift Cards 

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My name is Paige James. I'm a fairly shy bookworm and lover of all things romantic and steamy. I'm a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a drinker of wine, an animal advocate (even the ones that look like rodents) and a spinner of tales. Thank you for taking a chance on my work. You're making this working girl's dream come true.



**Spotlight & Giveaway ~ Happenstance ~ Jamie McGuire**

I am thrilled to share the gorgeous cover and a teaser for Happenstance by New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Jamie McGuire! I'd love to know what you think, so please be sure to comment below AND don't forget to 
check out the amazing giveaway!


Happenstance by Jamie McGuire
Publisher: Jamie McGuire LLC (May 9, 2014)
Print Length: 100 pages
ASIN: B00JOPR0ZK

PRE-ORDER LINKS:
Amazon | iTunes | Smashwords


#1 New York Times Bestseller Jamie McGuire returns to self-publishing with this page-turning YA account of Erin Easter, one of three Erins in the small senior class of rural Blackwell High School who not only share a first name, but also their birthday. Erin Easter, raised by a neglectful single mom, keeps to herself and admires Weston Gates from afar. The other Erins, Erin A. and Erin M. are the darlings of the community: daughters of the two wealthiest families in town, best friends, cheerleaders, and everything Erin Easter isn't--and they never let her forget it. Erin A. has even claimed Weston since the 8th grade. 


Weston is a well-liked star athlete, and the son of two prominent attorneys. He struggles daily with the pressures of living up to his family name and secretly empathizes with Erin Easter's feeling that she belongs somewhere else; in a different life. Not until he begins sneaking nights out with Erin does he gain the courage to buck expectations and acknowledge his feelings ... both for his future, and
for her. 


But when a shocking tragedy rocks the tiny town, Erin's life is turned upside down in the best way possible. But when the truth is revealed and everything Erin thinks she wanted falls into her lap, life only becomes more complicated.




**TEASER**






a Rafflecopter giveaway






New York Times best selling author Jamie McGuire has penned the Providence series and contemporary romance Beautiful Disaster. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband and three children. She is an RT(R), a graduate of Autry and Oklahoma Northern College, and a full time writer.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

**Spotlight Tour Review ~ Against All Odds ~ Angie McKeon**

I'm thrilled to be a part of the Spotlight Review Tour for Angie McKeon's Against All Odds. My stop includes all the important details about the book, my review, and a giveaway.

This tour is presented by Truly Schmexy Promotions.


***

Against All Odds by Angie McKeon
Against #1 
Release Date: April 4, 2014
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an eARC in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 4 Bookworms

Synopsis
Our lives shattered... Our hearts broken... Our souls torn to pieces...

He was my world, my whole life. My reason for breathing. I had a perfect marriage, a baby on the way, and I felt fulfilled—almost invincible. 

Until the day life hit, leaving me broken, vulnerable, and alone.

She was my life. My ray of hope on the cloudiest day. With her, I thought I had the ultimate safety. A love that would never hurt or betray me. I gave her my heart, my body, and my soul. 

Until she broke me, destroying every dream and illusion I had about life, love, and marriage.

In our grief, we made a mistake. A mistake I'm not sure we can come back from.





It's going to take awhile for me to fully process this book. It was an emotional roller coaster, for sure. And a great debut.

I can't fathom the toll on a marriage that the loss of a child would incur. I can't imagine how this couple ended up where they are when we meet them. But it was heartening to see them find their way back.

I'm not gonna lie - I had a hard time connecting with Kylie. Not because of what she'd been through with the loss of her baby, but the choices she made afterwards. I know she had her reasons and the she and Cooper had an agreement but I still couldn't get on board with what she was doing. I did eventually warm to her though because I could see that she really loved Cooper. She was remorseful for the decisions she'd made that had hurt him. The hurtful things she did were her way of crying out to Cooper, and trying to put the pieces of herself and them back together. 

Cooper was equally as difficult to connect with until the story switched to his POV. I loved getting his side of the story because we all know that perception doesn't always equate to reality. I did want to smack him for only realizing what he wanted, and what it was worth to him, when it looked as though he might lose it. But I got to see how he truly felt about Kylie, his reasoning behind his emotional withdrawal...this man loved his wife. It just took him some time to figure out how to get back to the place he wanted to be with her.

The character I loved was Grayson Walsh. He is the epitome of a loyal friend. And he's been friends with Cooper forever. But he's also been a good friend to Kylie. He's been her rock since things went so horribly wrong with Cooper. He stood by them both for as long as he could stand it. But in the course of being there for Kylie, the dynamics change between the three of them. Grayson got caught in the crossfire.

I was thrilled to see Kylie and Cooper work their way back to one another. I wish we'd been privy to a bit more of that work though - especially after having been witness to all the hurt they'd inflicted on one another. But Ms. McKeon wove in the element of fate - things happening for a reason - and y'all know I love that. I appreciated that Kylie and Cooper get a second chance at love and a chance at redemption.

Ms. McKeon's debut novel shows a lot of promise. She's written an engaging story. Although I initially had trouble connecting with the characters, they were able to evoke emotions and I came to love them. I didn't realize this was going to be series but I was excited to see that Grayson's story is up next. I will certainly be reading that. :)

 




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A multi-tasker from birth—and now proudly able to add 'writer' to my resume—I'm a mother, wife and blogger. I love to read, write and drink copious amounts of iced coffee.
All three aforementioned addictions are detrimental to my sanity. I have a voracious appetite for dark, painful and twisted reads. I'm enamored with the concept of love and heart break. I believe life is a journey, a tale in its own for each of us. The road to happiness is sometimes paved with stones from hell, or glitters of satisfaction graced from the heavens above.
In my upcoming debut novel, 'Against All Odds,' I strive to make you feel. I believe any emotion—whether painful or happy—is good. To me, the key to living is to go through life feeling it’s ups and downs. Love is dark and it can be painful but, at the end of the day, it can save the most lost of souls and the most broken of hearts.

Find Angie here:

**Cover Reveal ~ The Devil's Contract ~ Claire Contreras**


I'm very excited to share the cover of The Devil's Contract by Claire Contreras! 

The Devil's Contract by Claire Contreras
Age group: Adult
Genre: Dark Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Najla Qamber


Synopsis:
He gave them a choice.

She took it.

He made her promise two years.

She should have known there was a catch.





As Amara stepped out of the car, a shiver ran through her. She felt eyes on her, and looked around quickly as she held on to Colin’s hand a little harder. 

“You okay?” he asked, looking down. He placed one hand on the small of her back as he held her other one. 

“Yeah...” she said slowly, still scanning the street. 

The neighborhood his apartment building was in was definitely safe, but in that moment she felt anything but. 

“You’re overworking yourself. I don’t understand why you won’t let me—”

Colin went on about that, as he usually did, but Amara was too distracted to argue with him. Her eyes wandered to the building beside them, where she saw a group of people in dress clothes getting into a limousine, and that’s when she saw him. Philip. Amara’s heart lurched to her throat so quickly, she thought she was
going to faint. She saw him around all the time, and he was always watching, always waiting. Amara always wondered when the day would come, but Philip never gave anything away. He just watched. 

Philip was dressed in a tuxedo, standing beside a woman in a red dress. They were looking at Amara, scrutinizing her as they exchanged words. Philip had a glass cup in his hand, which he raised as if to salute her. 

Amara felt her knees giving out beneath her. 

“Sweetheart, you’re scaring me,” Colin said. He stopped walking and faced her, holding both of her arms. Amara was still looking in Philip’s direction, and Colin’s eyes followed. He gave Philip a small wave, he’d met him a couple of times in parties and saw him around the neighborhood often.

“Is everything all right?” Colin asked, his voice full of concern.

Amara nodded, looking into Philip’s icy blue eyes. “Yeah, everything’s fine,” she whispered. “Just fine.”


Claire Contreras graduated with her BA in Psychology from Florida International University. She was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Miami, Fl, where she currently resides with her husband, two boys, and two American Bulldogs. 

Life is short, and it’s more bitter than sweet, so she tries to smile as often as her face allows. She enjoys stories with happy endings, because life is full of way too many unhappy ones.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

**Review ~ I Found You ~ Jane Lark**

I Found You
I Found You by Jane Lark
Starting Out #1
Release Date: December 4, 2013
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an ecopy through Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms

Synopsis
Tomorrow is for regrets. Tonight is for being together.

On a cold winter night, Rachel and Jason's lives collide on Manhattan Bridge. She's running from life, he's running toward it. But compassion urges him to help her.

His offer of a place to stay leads to friendship and trouble. There's his fiancee back home in Oregon and a family who just don't trust this girl from the wrong side of the tracks.



But when the connection between them is so electric, so right...everyone else must be wrong. And as the snow begins to settle on the Hudson, there's nothing but the possibility of what could be -- of this, right here, right now. Them.



I Found You was a compelling read about two people seemingly fated to be together. I enjoyed the element of fate as I'm a firm believer in things happening as they're meant to. The story also touched on a topic not often discussed - mental illness.

Rachel Shears has lived a hard life. Having left home at a young age, she's done what she had to in order to survive. She's done a lot she's not proud of. She can't seem to help herself and as she can't understand herself, she doesn't expect anyone else to. When things in her life erupt, she finds herself on Manhattan Bridge. It's there she finds Jason Macinlay.

Jason is a small-town boy who's come to New York to prove something - to himself and to his family and friends. When he finds Rachel on that bridge, his life takes on a new course. One he must decide whether he has to strength to endure. Because life with Rachel is anything but steady.

Jason shows maturity and strength of character as his relationship with Rachel evolves. He's chivalrous and a calm presence in Rachel's life. He makes Rachel want a good life. Rachel changes so much over the course of the story. It was nice to see - especially once her secret is revealed.

When Jason and Rachel visit his hometown, I was appalled at the welcome they received. I had to grit my teeth over the small-town prejudices and the repercussions they had on Rachel. 

Mental illness is not something spoken of often. It's not something many understand and so we ignore it. I applaud Ms. Lark taking a mental illness and using it as a focal element in this story. 

There were a few things about I Found You that bothered me. The main one being Ms. Lark's using the U.S. as her setting and then using British dialect. I literally heard these characters, who were supposed to be from New York and Oregon, speak with British accents. I don't take issue with that - I love British accents. However, I don't understand her use of the U.S. as a setting when the story could have easily been set in Britain. I also found some of the dialog a bit repetitive and it slowed the pace for me. And I questioned the necessity of the physical violence perpetrated by Jason's ex-girlfriend. However, as this is the first book in a series, this may be expanded upon in the future.

Overall, I Found You was a good read. I liked the story. I liked the element of fate and the mental illness angle. And I'm eager to know where Rachel and Jason go from this point forward.