Thursday, January 24, 2019

REVIEW: Work In Progress by Staci Hart


Shel: Let me tell you why I’ve been loving the girls in the RLC (Red Lipstick Coalition) and their stories. It’s been well established that I love a super strong female protagonist—and these women definitely have their strengths—but I also enjoy reading female protagonists who are relatable and every single one of these women, so far, have a struggle that is all too real for many of us. Whether it is an issue with confidence, shyness, or social anxiety—or a little of all of these—these characters show us that with a solid support network and a nudge or a shove out of our comfort zone that failures and mistakes are most certainly options but it’s what we learn and gain from those failures that is what helps us grow. Court: Staci does have a ridiculous ability to be able to give us strong characters yet also real and vulnerable ones as well. I love these characters because it is nice to see yourself in a book and when they're going through the same work, relationship and life issues as enjoy a beautifully written story and maybe feel a little more whole in the process! 

Shel: Amelia has also been a quiet character in the earlier books in this series, from my memory, and it’s in Work In Progress  that we learn why. Her shyness and anxiety is both understandable and infuriating because it seems so preventable but it’s also the thing that many people will relate to. At the beginning of the novel, it’s only when she’s behind the safety of her blog and her books that she feels the most secure and where her opinions are boldly stated—so bold that they catch the attention of one Mr. Thomas Bane—a hot heated rogue whom we learn has a tender heart, a sexy smirk, a protective nature, and a sense of righteousness that tends to always get him in trouble—not a good luck for his publicist or the publisher of his novels. Pairing these two was genius, in my opinion, and I loved the accurate portrayal of life as a blogger and what feels like an accurate portrayal of the pressures of being a full time novelist. Court: It is brilliant. They do say, write what you know, and all that. Blending the ins and outs in the book world is a great way to suck us in (because, y'all...we know it is hard!) but also giving a fun story with love and heart and an emotional punch is never a bad thing either. And going back to a character who has some serious emotional stuff going on, it is beautiful to see some emotional growth as well. 

Shel: A plan to work together soon becomes more and lemme tell you it’s been a while since I’ve had the simultaneous desire to have the tension break RIGHT NOW and for it to take its time. Gahhh. Amelia kept holding back and I was dying and loving it. And Teddy's protective nature, her growing confidence, and their make out sessions?!?!?! OMG. Those make out sessions...*fans self* These two were giving some real #couplegoals vibes. And the true sign that I adored these two? All was going so well that I did not want the bad stuff to happen--I was prepared to be okay with a minor petty conflict so that they could have their HEA. But nooooo. Staci Hart wasn’t having that. Hearts had to be badly broken. Grrrr. All worth it though because it all ends up happy and good and then the end until...welllll, read the sneak peek and diiiiieeeee of wanting April to come! Court: Couldn't have said it better! Slow burn is good. But...expecting Staci to go easy on the heart...probably not going to happen! Honest, we don't want it too, but we feel a little bit like we're going to have a coronary in the process!!! 

I never thought my first kiss would be on my wedding day.
But here I stand, clutching a bouquet of pale pink roses behind the doors of a Las Vegas chapel, and at the end of the aisle is the absolute last man I imagined would be waiting for me.
Thomas Bane.
Bestselling author. Notorious bad boy. Savagely handsome, dark as sin, chiseled as stone. And somehow, my soon-to-be husband.
Marry him, and I’ll land my dream job. Save him, and I’ll walk away with everything I’ve ever wanted. All I have to do is remember it’s all for show. None of it is real, no matter how real it feels.
But first, I have to survive the kiss.
And with lips like his, I don’t stand a chance.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

CHAPTER REVEAL: Fool Me Once by Nicole Williams

AP new - synopsis.jpg

Second chances are for kids, diets, and shelter pets—not for relationships. Especially not one like Chase and Emma’s.

Before he was writing chart-topping hits and smashing record sales, Chase Lawson was Emma’s childhood friend and first love. They promised each other forever, but forever expired at eighteen, when he landed a major record deal and left Emma and their hometown behind.

Ten years later, he shows up at their high school reunion with a proposition she can’t refuse. Six months. Seven figures. He gets a chance to clean up his reputation, and she gets the means to restore the old family farmhouse. It’s only for show—hold hands in public, kiss for the cameras—but boundaries blur behind closed doors.

It isn't long before Emma feels her resolve slipping, crushed by the shadow of the boy she grew to love in the man selling out stadiums of present. Can Emma resist one of the most irresistible bachelors in the world? Or will she fall for the same man twice?

Some things weren’t meant to be. That’s what I told myself for the thousandth time when I caught sight of my ex with his newest flame.
“You’re too good for him.”
“Way too good for him.”
My childhood friends, Brooke and Sophia, assured me as they circled in tighter.
“I don’t know why I decided to come to this thing,” I muttered before finishing what was left in my champagne glass.
“Maybe because a ten-year high school reunion only happens once in a lifetime?” Brooke spun me around so the happy couple wasn’t in view, while Sophia dashed off to grab another glass of champagne.
“You know what? A hysterectomy is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing too, but I’m not going to sign myself up just because.” I checked the time, my shoulders falling when I did. Barely an hour in and I already felt like this experience had extinguished whatever patience was left in my person.
“Just be thankful you didn’t waste any more time on a guy like that. Chalk it up to experience and move on.”
“And look at the line of men I have to move on with?” I motioned at the area in front of me; it was empty. “I should have been smart like you and Sophia and gotten married young to some nice, hard-working local boy.”
“Would you stop? You’re twenty-eight. It’s not like you’re horizontal and decaying,” Brooke put her hand on her hip, leveling me with a serious look.
“No. I’m decaying vertically”—I tapped the corners of my eyes, where I’d detected the early stages of crow’s feet earlier this summer—“practicing for my future as a cranky old spinster.”
“You girls talking about me behind my back again?” Sophia reappeared with a fresh glass of champagne, practically ramming it into my hand.
“Please. We prefer to direct our insults to your face.” I winked at Sophia as we clinked our glasses.
“That’s a sign of true friendship,” Brooke toasted before we all took a drink.
“Hey, ladies, this isn’t homeroom. Break it up and dance already.” Rob, Brooke’s husband, popped up beside us, ringing his arm around his wife’s neck.
“I hate this song.” My nose curled as I stayed planted in place.
The three of them headed toward the dance floor as Sophia made a face at me and said, “It was eleven years ago. Time to let it go, girl.”
Brady, her husband, joined her for a dance.
“Not likely,” I said under my breath, taking in the party from my spectator seat on the sidelines.
Almost everyone had made their way to the dance floor, singing at the tops of their lungs. I didn’t know how anyone could stand to hear this song after it had been played nonstop on the radio the past four months.
Jesse, another of my good friends, settled beside me. “Do you think he’s going to show?”
“There aren’t any cameras or fancy awards, so unlikely,” I grumbled.
“Ever since the accident, it seems like he’s been keeping a low profile anyway.” Jesse waved the bird at my ex, who was too busy lodging his tongue down his dance partner’s throat to notice. “I still can’t believe Chase was that drunk. I mean, blowing a point two isn’t for the faint of heart, and I don’t remember him drinking at a party even once when the rest of us were being rebellious teenagers.”
I rolled my eyes at my friend, who had this concerned expression as though Chase was the victim. “There was also the bit about him plowing his truck into a parked car and getting arrested.”
“Fame and money really ruin people.” Jesse clucked her tongue. “That’s why I’m so grateful to live paycheck to paycheck and have good friends who babysit for free at the drop of a hat.” Jesse nudged me. “Thank you again for last night. Johnny and I had a really nice night. Adult conversation, dinner that wasn’t some variation of mac n’ cheese, and I got to wear earrings without fear of having them ripped out by grabby baby hands.”
“They were perfect angels for me, as always.” I smiled at her. “And you’re welcome. Any time.”
“How are you?” Before I could even attempt to give the bullshit answer, Jesse added, “For real?”
“I’m okay. Learning to accept I might be happier alone than the alternative.” My eyes had wandered to a certain couple moving in such a way that made clothes seem pointless.
“You haven’t met the right one.”
“Because the right one isn’t out there.” I wound my arm around hers, hoping that would be the end of the conversation.
My friends cared, and that’s why they felt the need to dissect my every relationship-gone-wrong, but the last thing I wanted to do was detail my failures in the romance department. Especially with three friends who were happily married and starting their own families.
“Of course he’s out there. You can’t give up hope.”
I lifted my glass. “In my fourteen years of dating, I’ve been cheated on, lied to, broken up with over a social media messenger, heartbroken, ditched for an eight-figure record deal, and proposed to by seven African princes.” My gaze dropped to my bare left ring finger. “I have just enough hope left to say yes to the next prince who asks for my hand.”
Jesse shook her head. “He’s out there. And when you agree to marry him, it better be me you call to be your maid of honor.”
“Deal.” I clinked my nearly empty glass to hers, which was already empty. “Whatcha drinking? My treat for the relationship counseling.”
“A screwdriver.” She handed me her glass. “Hold the alcohol.”
“Wait. What?” It took me two seconds of confusion before my eyes dropped to her stomach. “Number three?”
Jesse’s hand lowered to her stomach. “All four and a half months of him or her.”
My face lit up before I threw myself at her, winding my arms around her as much as I could with two glasses in my hands. “Congratulations! I’m so happy for you guys.”
“Thanks, friend. I don’t know what I’m going to do with three in diapers, but I guess I’ll figure it out.”
“Are you kidding? You’ll more than figure it out. You are, like, the best mom ever.” I planted a kiss on her cheek before backing toward the bar. “I’m going to get some drinks to celebrate. Virgin screwdrivers coming right up.”
Jesse flashed a rock and roll symbol, biting her tongue. I chuckled before turning around so I didn’t run into someone or something. With the three glasses of champagne I had in my all of five-foot-four frame, it was an Easter miracle I was still upright.
I’d just made it to the bar when a chorus of cheers reverberated through the room. Jason Gallagher had probably stripped to his skivvies and was doing the moonwalk like he used to do every last day of school from the time we hit middle school.
But then I heard a familiar name being called out, practically chanted.
Good god, no. My luck wasn’t that bad.
Oh, wait.
Setting the empty glasses on the counter, I slowly turned around, praying I was mishearing the name still ringing through the reception room.
I saw him right away, as though my eyes were trained to find him in a crowded room. I hated that they still followed that habit.
There he was, Chase Lawson, the legend himself, sauntering into a high school reunion in the same small town he’d waved farewell to eleven years ago.
My stomach knotted as I scanned the nearest exits.
“What can I get you?” The bartender interrupted my mini panic attack.
“Um . . .” I tried to remember a simple drink order. It was difficult with two ex flames in the same crowded room. “Two screwdrivers.” I fumbled with the bills inside my leather clutch. “Two virgin screwdrivers.” I remembered right as he was about to pour in the vodka.
“So two orange juices?” He gave me a look that suggested I was even more unhinged than I thought. He shook his head when I held out a twenty. “On the house.”
I grabbed my OJs and hugged the perimeter as I made my way back to where I’d left Jesse. Except she’d been pulled onto the dance floor by her husband and was way too close to Chase and his ever-present following of fawning females for my comfort. Making a last-minute decision, I ducked through the half-open door leading outside.
“I knew I shouldn’t have come,” I said to myself before taking a sip of one of the orange juices. It wasn’t like I’d had to travel or rent a hotel—Jericho High was a whole four miles from my family’s farm—but I doubted I’d feel more inconvenienced if they’d held it on some iceberg in the Arctic.
Following the walkway toward the small pond tucked behind the reception hall, I settled onto the first bench I came across. My feet were killing me thanks to the weapons of torture I’d selected for tonight. My feet were used to boots, not four-inch strappy heels. But according to Sophia, our town’s resident fashion maven, the royal blue heels were exactly what my scarlet cocktail dress was in need of. We’d all felt really high class rolling into Tulsa a couple weekends ago to hit the mall for our reunion digs, but some articles were better suited for hangers than bodies. Mine in particular. I’d never in my life had to work so hard to take a full breath.
Once I’d torn off the shoes I had plans to drop off at Goodwill tomorrow, I sat back, made my best attempt at relaxing, and stared at the sky. It was overcast, but a few stars were popping through the thick clouds. How many times had I stared at that sky as a young woman, spinning plans that would never come to fruition? Dreaming dreams that would never connect with reality?
Too damn many, that’s the closest I could get.
I’d had plans to travel, to visit every continent before I had kids, and I’d barely made it to a handful of bordering states since. The upside was that I wasn’t going to be a mother anytime soon, if ever, so I still had plenty of time to visit those continents.
“Is this where the Anti-Social Club meets?”
I flinched so hard, I wound up with the majority of two cups of juice on my lap. Add the dress to the Goodwill pile. “Turn around. Go away.”
A low-timbered chuckle. “You always had a way with words, Em.”
My head whipped over my shoulder. “Uh-oh. No. You do not get to call me Em.”
Chase flashed one of his infamous smiles, the one that had made him a hit with the ladies before his face had been plastered across billboards, magazines, and screensavers. It was the part-smirk, mostly-smolder grin. Right dimple set. Cobalt eyes flashing. What Celebrity Instagrammers had labeled the underwear-incinerator.
But not these underwear. Chase Lawson had no sway over the condition of my underwear anymore.
“Okay, Emma.” The sound of Chase’s boots connecting with the pavement made my teeth grind together. In a different life, I’d loved the sound of his boots as he moved closer. “Is this seat taken?”
“Yes.” I slammed the empty glasses on the bench, lifting my eyebrow at him.
“Sorry about the dress,” he said when his eyes dipped to the wet circles dotting my stomach.
“Of all the things to apologize for, my dress is not high on the list.”
His smile stretched. “I’ve missed having someone around whose primary language isn’t bullshit.”
“Is that meant as a compliment?”
Inhaling, I twisted in my seat so my back was angled toward him. No matter how many pieces of confetti Chase Lawson had diced my heart into when he left me, it wasn’t safe for any red-blooded woman to stare at him face-on at this close of a distance. Not unless she was in the market for a heartbreak.
“How have you been, Em—Emma?” He caught himself, but from his smirk, the slip had probably been intentional.
“Amazing.” I breathed through my mouth when a familiar scent hit my senses. I couldn’t believe he still wore the same cologne. It seemed like I should have had some kind of proprietary right over it since I was the one who got it for him on our first Christmas together.
“How amazing?”
“Amazingly amazing.” When I caught him glancing at my left hand, I tucked my hands beneath my legs.
“Good to hear.”
I bit my cheek, wondering if I could figure out a way to time travel to freshman year when I’d agreed to be Chase Lawson’s date to homecoming. Even the fourteen-year-old version of me had known getting involved with Chase was equivalent to playing a game of Russian Roulette. She hadn’t heeded the warning, but she’d at least acknowledged it.
“If you’re looking for your fans, you’ll find them back in there.” My thumb hitched over my shoulder. “I know you can’t go more than a few minutes without being worshipped or else you risk spontaneous combustion.”
“Please. I can go a good ten minutes without being worshipped now. I’ve matured.” I heard the smile in his voice, but damned if I was going to check for it. That was the one-hundred percent smirk one.
“What are you doing out here?” I asked. “We both know you’re the center-of-the-crowd type, not the wallflower who sneaks off to be alone.”
From the corner of my eyes, I saw him slip his hands into the pockets of his snug jeans. Another Chase Dawson trademark—close-fitting jeans to better emphasize an agreeable rear and an even more agreeable swell around front.
“A person can change,” he said, his shoulders lifting. “A person does change when all day, every day they’re surrounded by people and noise.”
My eyes lifted. “Must be difficult making all of that money from all of those adoring fans.”
“I’m not going to be able to say anything without you twisting it, am I?”
A wave of exhaustion came over me as though twenty-eight years of life had decided to catch up to me all at once. “I don’t want to fight with you.”
“Could have fooled me.”
I chipped away at the fresh pale pink polish on my nails, a nervous habit. It was the first manicure I’d had in years, and it hadn’t survived twelve hours. “Why did you come back?”
His head tipped toward the reception hall. “It was the ten-year reunion.”
A huff escaped from my mouth. “Please, you left this place and haven’t so much as spared a second thought for anything or anyone here. And some lame reunion in the Best Western ballroom is the can’t miss event of the summer?”
He rubbed the back of his neck in a familiar way. Used as a stalling measure when he was trying to figure out what to say and how to say it, it was a display I was all too acquainted with.
“I came back from one reason.” He slowly angled in my direction. When he let out a breath, his gaze all-intentional, my chest seized.
“Me?” I screeched, at the same time choking on a laugh. “You’re out of your damn mind if you think I’ve been waiting here, on pins and needles, for you. Keep on strutting back to that fancy Nashville estate of yours, because the only part of you I still want is the cautionary tale.”
Chase’s hand rubbed his jaw, his smile unmistakable despite his efforts to erase it. “I didn’t come back for you,” he stated, promptly bringing a flush to my face.
Of course he wasn’t there for me. The seventeen-year-old version hadn’t expressed any qualms ditching me as an up-and-comer; the twenty-eight-year-old country icon certainly wasn’t back to rekindle anything.
“Sorry to burst your bubble, even though I can tell you’ll be all torn up knowing that,” he said.
“Good to hear you still have a knack for sarcasm.”
He crouched beside the bench, staring at the dark pond. I was more concerned with checking the shrubs and shadows for any signs of the paparazzi he seemed to attract wherever he went. Literally, everywhere. Some dude had managed to snap a picture of Chase through his Tennessee estate’s bathroom window, fresh from the shower and shaving. The thirst for Chase Lawson had gone from parched to panting in one intimate image.
“I’ve got a new album that just dropped,” he said. “A whirlwind tour kicking off next week. I’ve had a bit of a public image problem this past year, and my PR team assured me that getting back to my roots will help shift that.”
My fingers snapped. “I knew this had something to do with the media. By the way, where is the camera squad tonight?”
“Somewhere. They’re always around.”
“I’m sure you really hate all that attention,” I chided, wondering how much more I had to throw at him before he’d move on.
“I came back because I need to clean up my image and do some damage repair to my reputation.” He went back to rubbing the back of his neck. “Now that I’m here with you, and you sort of accused me of being here for you, a crazy idea popped to mind.”
“I’d like to recommend you keep this idea to yourself,” I suggested, but he was already talking.
“If I had my old high school girlfriend with me on tour—rekindling an old flame with a small-town country girl—how could that not clean up an image?” He motioned at me. “You’re exactly what I need to show fans I’m getting my life back on track. A wholesome, down-to-earth girl who gets up at five to water the horses instead of going to bed at that hour after drinking the town dry.”
My head whipped in his direction, finally looking at him to determine if he was being serious. My god, he was.
“Not a chance in hell,” I said, enunciating each word slowly.
Chase didn’t blink. “Even if that proposition was tied to a sum of money?” When I opened my mouth to argue, he added, “A large sum?”
“My principles aren’t for sale.”
He shuffled a little closer, still kneeling. Damn. He was just as attractive in person from three feet away as he was on the cover of Rolling Stone. My stomach knotted again, but this time for a different reason.
“I don’t want to buy your principles.” One brow lifted. “Just six months of your time.”
For a minute, I sat there silently, part hypnotized by his presence, part contemplating his ridiculous offer. There were few people I disliked more than Chase Lawson, but I also had big plans for my future. Plans that necessitated money.
“How much?”
My head shook when I heard my question out loud. What was I saying? What was I actually contemplating doing?
“One hundred thousand a month,” he replied.
My hand curled around the arm of the bench. “Six hundred thousand dollars?” I shrieked, giving him a look like he was crazy.
“Fine. Six months. One million dollars.” He exhaled. “Final offer.”
My hand was dangerously close to ripping the handle from the bench. “One million dollars.”
My mind raced with everything I could do with that money. Restoring the farmhouse the way I’d dreamed, turning it into a quaint B&B with an agrarian twist. Spoiling my parents with a fancy cruise and a new farm truck. Finally getting to travel to some of the places I’d only imagined through the pictures of a magazine.
All it would take was six months with Chase.
It wasn’t exactly an easy decision, but it wasn’t a hard one. I’d given two years of my life to him already, and it had cost me more than I’d been prepared to pay. This time, he’d be the one paying for it. One million dollars to be exact.
I couldn’t answer quickly enough. “Deal.”


AP  new -about the author.jpg

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.

Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.


Friday, January 18, 2019

REVIEW: The Hail Mary by Ginger Scott

We are celebrating the release of The Hail Mary by Ginger Scott! One-Click this amazing series today!

The Hail Mary by Ginger Scott
Adult Contemporary Romance
Release day: January 18, 2019


Nolan and Reed of Waiting on the Sidelines were the beginning of a beautiful book relationship for us and Ginger Scott--Ginger writes them and we read them and we hope this symbiotic relationship continues for as long as she has fingers to type and we have eyes to read (or ears to listen). I feel like Court and I have been fans of Ginger since forever, and you can try to imagine my excitement when I saw that Nolan and Reed were getting a third book but I really don't think you can imagine it...pretty sure it was the squeal heard around the world. And when Ginger sent me the finished product, I inhaled it and am still feeling that hollow ache you feel when a good book is finished and the characters are still living in your heart and head.

There's so much to love about The Hail Mary. I love that Ginger wrote Nolan and Reed as adults (not new my age adults!) and that she gave them some real and serious conflicts that many of us could identify with. I loved seeing them with family and friends, reliving memories and making more. I think I just loved getting this special look at them and seeing how perfectly imperfect they are.

The Hail Mary made me smile and tear up and had me reaching for my worn copies of Waiting on the Sidelines and Going Long--wanting to relive all of their moments for the umpteenth time. I love these guys and could read about them all day long.

The Hail Mary
Waiting Series Book 3
Adult Contemporary Romance, Coming of Age Trilogy

Sixteen years is a long time. In a marriage, it’s a milestone. On the gridiron, it’s a miracle. Reed Johnson wants more time for everything, but time is funny that way.

It can be cruel.

With a body that can’t quite take the hits it used to and a heart tired of being torn in two different directions, Reed is faced with a reality he’s not quite ready for—life without the game. He became a man under Friday night game lights and in college stadium tunnels, and without the grit and the glory that’s earned ten yards at a time, he’s afraid of what kind of man he’ll be.

But there’s more than a game at stake now.

Reed’s wife, Nolan, is afraid too. She’s seen what can happen when the love of her life pushes himself too hard, and she can’t escape the nightmares she relives after almost losing her entire world to one single play on the field.

There is no compromise when it comes to football. Same goes for the heart. You’re either all in, or you get crushed. For Reed and Nolan, the clock is ticking down. Time…it does that. One way or another, they’re going to have to make a choice.

This is their hail Mary.

This is win or lose.

(The Hail Mary is book 3 in The Waiting Series, which follows high school sweethearts Reed Johnson and Nolan Lennox through football, life, love and everything messy that goes along with it. The series begins with Waiting on the Sidelines and Going Long.)

Read the first two books in the series today!

Start with Waiting on the Sidelines here-
Going Long is book 2, and find it here -

About the Author:

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, Hold My Breath, and A Boy Like You.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at

When she's not writing, the odds are high that she's somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork 'em, Devils).

Social Media Links:
Facebook Page:
Twitter: @TheGingerScott

Thursday, January 17, 2019

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Voyages of Trueblood Cay as Told to Gil Rafael by Suanne Laqueur


The Voyages of Trueblood Cay
Being an especial accounting of his life at sea, as told by Gil Rafael
Release Date: January 24, 2019

The first thing that you should know is that I love everything I've read by Suanne Laqueur and I think I've read everything she's written, so while I don't think I'm biased, maybe I am?

The next thing that you need to know, which I find true for all of her novels but especially The Voyages of Trueblood Cay, is that she's not one for a quick plunge in the plot and character pool. What I mean by that is that she writes long and detailed and because of that you can't be looking for a quick jaunt with a few characters for the day. Her novels build to the crescendo and then break all over you (or just break you) before guiding you sometimes gently, sometimes not, home. I know that when I pick up something she's written I'll be in for something that will most likely punch me in the head and the gut multiple times and I'll be better for it. The long and short of it is that her novels, in my opinion, require your patience and attention and if you're not in the mood for that then wait until you are because her novels are 100% worth your time and attention.

Suanne Laqueur is a world builder, a mapmaker, a myth-maker, a wordsmith and I have absolutely no idea how she did what she did with The Voyages of Trueblood Cay but I'm in awe. Admittedly, I'm not much of a fantasy reader, nor do I read a ton of myths, so I may have had a smidge of hesitancy when I started reading. And, the first little bit of it is a lot of suspension of reality and world building so I had to get my bearings, but once I got to know the world Laqueur built, the hybrid language she created, and fell in love with the characters, I realized that I'd fallen down the ultimate rabbit hole and I wasn't sure if I would ever climb out, or if I even wanted to. 

So know this--if you're like me and you know you like Laqueur's previous novels but you don't normally read fantasy novels, you will like this one too. It's her style just set in a different world. You'll fall in love with these characters and yearn to see them triumph over every.single.obstacle. she puts on their path. You'll laugh and cry and try to soak every nugget of wisdom that these characters utter. 

One final thing. When you consider that this novel is a novel within a novel-- and if you've read her most recent series you'll recognize references and likenesses--how wondrous a place is Suanne Laqueur's imagination? That she can create  The Voyages of Trueblood Cay to stand alone or for those who've read her, to weave in allusions to events to her larks, is truly extraordinary. 


“What’s for you won’t pass you by. Not on my ship.”

PelippĂ© Trueblood is a giantsblood—one of the great mariners of House Tru. Raised on the mighty ship Cay, he’s chosen at nineteen for a perilous voyage predicted in ancient prophecy. Young and unseasoned, Trueblood fears the gods may have picked the wrong man for the job. Worse, prophecy demands he be accompanied by Fen il-Kheir, and nothing in Trueblood's life at sea has prepared him for this dangerous new crew member.

Fen is a kheiron—a creature with the ability to shift between man and horse. With a dark past, little love for humans and less love for ships, Fen proves a reluctant passenger whose secrets about Trueblood could jeopardize not only the voyage, but the future of the world.

A feud of the gods. Ships built by giants. Spice that makes the world beautiful. Flying horses. Murder and misery. Belonging and bravery. Sailors, centaurs, warriors, queens, courtesans and storytellers. A tapestry of mythology and human experience, The Voyages of Trueblood Cay is both Javier Landes’ love letter to his life, and Suanne Laqueur’s most adventurous love story.

Publisher's Note: Gil Rafael is the pen name of Javier Landes, who is a fictional character in Laqueur's Venery series. The Voyages of Trueblood Cay is the novel Javier is writing throughout the series. This novel-within-a-novel contains subtle references to people and situations in Venery, however it's not necessary to have read the series beforehand. Trueblood Cay can absolutely be enjoyed as a standalone. (Contains adult situations written in adult language.)

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To be shipped after the January 24th release date




A former professional dancer and teacher, Suanne Laqueur went from choreographing music to choreographing words. Her work has been described as Therapy Fiction, Emotionally Intelligent Romance and Contemporary Train Wreck. Whatever you want to call it, her goal is to write stories that appeal to the passions of all readers, crossing gender, age and genre.

Suanne Laqueur'sAn Exaltation of Larks won the Grand Prize in the 2017 Writer’s Digest Book Awards. Her debut novel The Man I Love and its follow-up, Give Me Your Answer True, won gold medals in the 2015 and 2016 Readers' Favorite Book Awards. Both were finalists in the 2015 and 2016 Kindle Book Awards, and Laqueur was named a gold medal Debut Author with Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater, and taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog EatsReadsThinks in 2010. She lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children. Visit her at All feels welcome. And she always has coffee.



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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

REVIEW: Fool Me Once by Nicole Williams


Fool Me Once by Nicole Williams is a second chance romance that you'll be able to start and finish in one sitting. It features a country music sensation, Chase, and the woman he left behind, Emma, and a unique opportunity for him to rework his image and for her to find a way to make some of her dreams come true. It's during this opportunity that flames rekindle and the romance is onnnnn.

Sometimes silly, sometimes smokin' hot, and all the time sweet, this romance will give you the warm fuzzies and is something you can start and finish in one afternoon--always so satisfactory, isn't?! With more and more authors turning to the country music/cowboy/farming scene this novel is very on trend and will give you just the escape you're craving.

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Second chances are for kids, diets, and shelter pets—not for relationships. Especially not one like Chase and Emma’s.

Before he was writing chart-topping hits and smashing record sales, Chase Lawson was Emma’s childhood friend and first love. They promised each other forever, but forever expired at eighteen, when he landed a major record deal and left Emma and their hometown behind.

Ten years later, he shows up at their high school reunion with a proposition she can’t refuse. Six months. Seven figures. He gets a chance to clean up his reputation, and she gets the means to restore the old family farmhouse. It’s only for show—hold hands in public, kiss for the cameras—but boundaries blur behind closed doors.

It isn't long before Emma feels her resolve slipping, crushed by the shadow of the boy she grew to love in the man selling out stadiums of present. Can Emma resist one of the most irresistible bachelors in the world? Or will she fall for the same man twice?

“We’ve got to go over something first,” he said, smirking at my efforts to budge his arm.
​“What?” I asked, annoyed.
​“We’re going to be a couple in the public’s eyes. Which means we’re going to have to do certain things that couples do.”
​I blinked at him. “Couples don’t do that in public. At least not the normal ones.”
​He gave a grunt of disbelief. “I’m not talking about sex.”
​“Then what are you talking about?” My voice was rising the more flustered I became. The lack of apparel, the warm water, the way Chase’s brown eyes seemed to melt when he looked at me a certain way . . . I was struggling to keep my composure.
​“Kissing.” He shrugged as though it were obvious. “We’ve had ten years to get rusty. We don’t want to look like a couple of fumbling amateurs when we kiss in public for the first time.”
​My mouth fell open a little as I tried to determine if he was serious. “Kissing is like riding a bike. We don’t need to practice to get it right.”
The corners of Chase’s eyes creased. “It’s more like riding a unicycle. Once you figure it out, with enough consistency, no problem. But if you go a decade without climbing on that unicycle, you’re starting right back at square one.”
I had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing. “You’re comparing kissing to a unicycle. You’re just as romantic as I remember.”
Chase treaded closer until my legs were brushing against his with each kick. “Come on. One kiss. Practice makes perfect.” His arms drew in, entombing me in his presence. One brow carved into his forehead. “That is, unless you’re scared to kiss me in private, half-naked in a swimming pool, because you still harbor some kind of feelings for me . . .”
I shoved his chest as a snap reaction, realizing too late that I should not touch him when he was this close, when I was this conflicted. “Fame has really gone to your head.”
His shoulders rose above the water before dipping below again. “So? Prove me wrong.”
“Fine.” The word materialized on its own. “But if you even try slipping me tongue, my knee is winding up in your groin.”
He wet his lips, fighting a smile. “When have I ever complained about any part of you nestling down there?”
My hands balled at my sides as I attempted to approach this whole thing like a science experiment. Objectively. Neutrally. Emotionlessly. “Just kiss me and get it over with.”
His smile quirked. “Once you’re finished whispering sweet nothings into my ear.”
When I tried to push him away, his hands circled my wrists. Chase’s eyes found mine, the color of his irises nearly indistinguishable from his pupils. My chest moved quickly when he swam closer, his head angling as his lips aligned with mine.
He hadn’t even kissed me and I’d lost all sense of direction. Up was as good as down in my present state. His breath fanned across my lips as he waited, perfectly at ease having me trapped in the corner of his pool, our mouths a sliver of air apart.
His grip on my wrists relaxed right before his mouth finally connected with mine. My body froze the instant he kissed me, but it didn’t last long, seeming to melt one piece at a time.
I didn’t realize I was sinking until Chase’s arm cinched around me, pulling my shoulders back above the water, his mouth not missing a beat. The last piece of me to unthaw was my lips, but the moment they did, they matched his urgency. My arms wound behind his neck as I drew closer, our bodies tangling beneath the water as he kissed me in a way I hadn’t been kissed in years; in the kind of way that made a girl feel delicate and invincible at the same time.
Chase treaded water, holding us both above the surface, the planes of his chest rising to meet mine with our uneven breaths. Before I knew it, our tongues were tying together, though it wasn’t him who’d broken that rule first. His chest rumbled against mine as my mouth and hands grew more feverish, no longer under the constraint of my better judgment.
​Kissing Chase was exactly as I remembered, yet totally different. The scrape of his calloused fingers against my skin felt the same, yet there was a newfound strength to it. His full lips moved with mine in a dance we’d mastered years ago, but there was a resolve I’d never tasted so deeply before. The way he held me was exactly the same, though the contours of his body had changed.
​When my chest was hammering from breathlessness, Chase broke the kiss, managing to evade my ensuing advances. His eyes remained closed for a minute, droplets of water winding down his face from where my hands had been.
​When his eyes finally opened, the look in them made my head dizzy, even as I reminded myself this had been a practice kiss. Nothing more.
“How was that?” he asked.
I had to look away in order to make my answer seem convincing. My shoulder lifted out of the water as I shaped my most detached expression. “You were right. Like riding a unicycle.”
“No, you were right.” Chase’s hand drifted up my back, his rough fingertips somehow soft against my skin. “Kissing you is like riding a bicycle.”

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Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.

Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

COVER REVEAL and GIVEAWAY: Surprise, Baby by Lex Martin and Leslie McAdam

Title: Surprise, Baby!
Standalone Companion Novel to All About the D
Authors: Lex Martin & Leslie McAdam
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Adult Contemporary
Cover Design: Najla Qamber
Photo: Cory Stierley
Models: Lela Hazary & Nate Peterson
Release Date: March 12, 2019


There’s a fine line between lust and hate.

I don’t care that Drew Merritt spent the last year transforming himself from grungy slob to sexy playboy. With messy, dirty blond hair and gorgeous eyes, his looks aren’t the problem.

His mouth is.

And the stupid things that come out of it.

But after an emergency strands us together, and he does his damnedest to take care of me… 

Let’s just say there’s one thing we don’t clash on.

And it doesn’t involve talking.

I’ve despised Drew since I met him years ago. One weekend can’t change us that much, can it?

Spoiler alert: It doesn’t.

Except he left me a little keepsake.

And in nine months, I’ll have a surprise for Portland’s most notorious player.

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99c for a limited time...
...and with a beautiful NEW cover!!


Lex Martin

Lex writes contemporary romance, the sexy kind with lotsa angst, a whole lotta kissing, and the hot happily ever afters. When she's not writing, she lives a parallel life as an English teacher.

She loves printing black and white photos, listening to music on vinyl, and getting lost in a great book. Bitten by wanderlust, she's  lived all over the country but currently resides in the City of Angels with her husband and twin daughters.

Lex is represented by Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary & Management.

Leslie McAdam

Leslie McAdam is a California girl who loves romance, Little Dude, and well-defined abs. She lives in a drafty old farmhouse on a small orange tree farm in Southern California with her husband and two small children. Leslie always encourages her kids to be themselves - even if it means letting her daughter wear leopard print from head to toe. An avid reader from a young age, she will always trade watching TV for reading a book, unless it's Top Gear. Or football. Leslie is employed by day but spends her nights writing about the men you fantasize about. She's unapologetically sarcastic and notoriously terrible at comma placement.

Always up for a laugh, Leslie tries to see humor in all things. When she's not in the writing cave you'll find her fangirling over Beck, camping with her family, or mixing up oil paints to depict her love of outdoors on canvas.

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