Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Excerpt: Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen

Promo Signup || Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen by Colette Kebell (Blog Tour 1/29-2/4)Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen! (Or so Mother Says) by Colette Kebell

Published by Skittish Endeavours on December 25, 2014

Genre: Chick Lit


A Chick Lit Lover’s Delight.
Fashion may be the central theme; along with a nagging mother, but with friendships, intrigue, a villain, romance, food and laughter too. 
GiGi is a woman with a mission: to help people improve the way they look, increase their self-esteem, and eventually, make them happier people. Being a personal shopper is a dark art, with few tangible rewards. Spread by word of mouth, her clients would never admit they needed her assistance. Let us be honest, who would admit to being in need of a style consultant? 
The first step is to admit you need help with your wardrobe. When you have recognised that, you are on the path to recovery, and GiGi’s services will help you, despite her mother nagging that she is not doing a “real” job. 
So, is it just a matter of going around and helping people buy clothes and shoes? 
Not quite so. Money is tight; GiGi has to work with wealthy and eccentric people, who often do not have any idea about what they want. She and her business partner Ritchie are in a constant struggle to keep the business afloat, but as they say in Dragon’s Den, she is very investable. But, with success comes the difficulties, the Battersea Fashion Center is going to open soon, and they claim they will be fierce competitors. 
With the constant struggle to keep her business afloat; a powerful enemy lining up ready to make a meal out of her, knowing well that GiGi’s approach, eventually, will make her successful. The business expands, and they take onboard new partners, making them one of the most influential fashion consultancy firms in London. But, with a very demanding job, hours spent working, will she be able to balance her career and her private life?

Check out an excerpt:

I started by chance, when I was in my late twenties. I’m a compulsive shopper, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. The right to shop should be up there in the constitution (if I still lived in America, that is), just below the “free exercise of religion” and the “freedom of speech”, and above the “right to keep and bear arms” (unless they come in different colours).

A sort of Amendment 1B: Congress shall make no law in respect of the free exercise of shopping; or abridging the freedom of a shopping spree; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble (except during the sales period), and spend on clothes and shoes. Banks shall invest in the people’s right to their pursuit of happiness, by means of fashion design.

So the big question is, do I satisfy a potential customer – someone who might have thousands of pounds to spend – and forget my beliefs? Is it worth bending my ethics to please a client, just because we are in a post-recession period (and I actually need the money)?

The simple answer is, “NO. Never. Not a chance in hell. Zilch.”

Dear Jasper,

Thank you for contacting me at GiGi-Personal Shopper. I reviewed your request for helping you to find a Norwegian jumper for this Christmas but, unfortunately, I have to decline the request.

As a Personal Shopper, I should inform you that we do not shop for specific items upon request. We prefer a more personal approach, where we spend time understanding our customer needs and have a full review of their current style in order to then propose suitable alternatives. It’s a slow process, I suppose, that would not fit your requirements.

I appreciate the difficulties you might have encountered in finding the above-mentioned item. To be honest, I recollect my grandfather having one, a long time ago, but since then they seem to have entirely disappeared from the face of the earth.

I definitely have in my memory a scene from the Norwegian film “Troll i Ord”, 1954, where they wear one. Since “The Eiger Sanction” (starring Clint Eastwood, 1975), where the main character moved on to wearing a neck jumper, fashion seems to have evolved, somewhat, inexplicably.

I asked my partner to research the matter, and I understand there are niche markets for the item you requested. Please see the attached list for websites and shops (mostly in Norway) that could fulfil your desire for tradition.

Warmest (if you find your jumper) regards

GiGi Griswald.

About Colette Kebell

Colette Kebell is an author of Chicklit, though a relatively new one and thus far has self-published her books. Her books are light-hearted, fun and quirky and even considered by some to be inspirational. She has also found avenues to translate both into Italian (thanks to her husband), and one, thus far, into French, Spanish and Portuguese via Babelcube.

As a career, Colette spent her later years as a legal secretary. After a first attempt at writing many years ago (a book that still remains in her drawer) she resumed this passion a few years back, following being made redundant. After a few book signing events and a book talk, which almost caused her to collapse with nerves, Colette now spends her time between her home in the UK and her home in France.

Colette has two adorable dogs and spends some time, when not writing and marketing her books, cooking for herself and her husband, gardening or designing various items for their home. Amongst her other hobbies, she has also experimented with furniture upholstery, and she might, from time to time, have a paintbrush in her hand.

She can be found on twitter @ColetteKebell though doesn’t tweet a vast amount.

Blog Tour Organized By:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Kathryn R. Biel's practical a book giveaway

We're glad to have Kathryn R. Biel back at CLC today to help us close out our Romance month. Her latest novel, Queen of Hearts, published last week. It's part of her New Beginnings series. Each book in the series can be read as a stand-alone, but they are fun to read together. She has an e-book of Made for Me,  the first novel in the series, to give away!

Telling stories of resilient women, Kathryn R. Biel hails from Upstate New York where her most important role is being mom and wife to an incredibly understanding family who don't mind fetching coffee and living in a dusty house. In addition to being Chief Home Officer and Director of Child Development of the Biel household, she works as a school-based physical therapist. She attended Boston University and received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from The Sage Colleges. After years of writing countless letters of medical necessity for wheelchairs, finding increasingly creative ways to encourage insurance companies to fund her client's needs, and writing entertaining annual Christmas letters, she decided to take a shot at writing the kind of novel that she likes to read. Kathryn is the author of eleven women's fiction, romantic comedy, contemporary romance, and chick lit works, including Live for This and Once in a Lifetime. Visit Kathryn at her website and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

And then they lived happily ever after...

That's how all the fairy tales end, right? And certainly Maryn Medrovovich's life is a fairy tale. It was love at first sight between her and Crown Prince Stephan. He didn't care that she was a commoner, working multiple jobs to make ends meet after her father left the family in dire straits. He only knew he loved her and wanted to make her a princess.

But that's where the fairy tale ends and real life begins. Being a member of the royal family isn't everything it's cracked up to be, especially when your father-in-law, the king, only has interest in your ability to produce an heir. The mounting pressure to maintain a royal image and perform her royal duties become too much as Maryn realizes Stephan is not the white knight she once thought him to be.

Seeking solace in her childhood home, Maryn's path again crosses with that of George Panagogus, her childhood best friend and first love. He really is a good guy. Too bad she shattered and stomped on his heart all those years ago. It's time for Maryn to step up and start being her own hero. Will she finally get her storybook ending? (Courtesy of Amazon.)

As much as I love romance (obviously), I’m also somewhat a pragmatist. While I’d love for my husband to shower me with sparkly jewelry, I’d probably rather use the money to refinish the basement or to be able to get takeout instead of the more cost-effective cooking dinner after a long day’s work.

Most romantic gesture that happened to you:
My husband (we’ve been together almost 18 years now), is NOT a romantic. NOT AT ALL. I find the romance in the little things he does, like making me coffee and bringing it to me (unsolicited) or by doing things around the house without me asking. It’s nice to come home from a weekend away to a clean house.

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word "romance"?: 
The first thing I think about is books! I love a good romance novel, one that gives all the feels!

Favorite celebrity couple:
Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky. I mean, look at them. I hope they’re relationship is as perfect as it seems. At least in my fantasy world it is.

Favorite marriage proposal that you witnessed (okay if it's your own): 
The only one I’ve ever witnessed was my own. My husband put a lot of thought into it (and he’s not a planner). He proposed to me in a park, under the tree where we’d kissed on our first date. Got down on one knee and everything. We were both crying. However, in true rom-com fashion, just minutes before he’d intended to propose, while waiting in line, I put my hand on his chest and felt the ring box in his coat. He’s not a great liar (another plus), so I sort of had a clue it was coming. Otherwise, I’d have been totally blindsided. We’d also been eating chocolate, so when he finally stopped to propose, he had chocolate on his teeth. But that’s so us. We’re not super romantic, and when we try, we usually end up laughing. Humor is very attractive to me, so it all worked for us.

Most memorable date: 
Gosh, it’s hard to remember specific dates. There was one date that we went on after we were married with two kids. We’d gotten tickets to see an afternoon performance of Spamalot. He took off work and we snuck out, enjoying the frigid January day to ourselves. It sticks out in my mind because it was the only light spot in a terrible week in which we have a very sick baby, my grandmother had pneumonia, and our son was diagnosed with autism. That date was an oasis in a very bad week.

Best movie or TV show kiss: 
I’ve got to go old school on this and say Rhett and Scarlett in Gone with the Wind when he tells her she should be kissed and often and by someone who knows how.

Thanks to Kathryn for visiting with us and for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends February 5th at midnight EST.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Book Review and Giveaway: Still Me

By Melissa Amster

**Synopsis and review may contain spoilers for After You**

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the super rich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.

Before she knows what's happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. In
Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets--not all her own--that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself "Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?" (Courtesy of Amazon.)

After putting down After You, I was thrilled that there would be a third book in this series. Still Me picks up where After You left off. However, I enjoyed this part of Lou's journey even more! It was like if Nora Ephron directed The Devil Wears Prada.

Lou was just as fun and eccentric as ever and I really enjoyed spending more time with her in this novel. The story made me feel like I was right in the middle of New York City. I enjoyed seeing it through the eyes of someone who had never been there before. Even with all the stress and drama she had to put up with as Agnes' assistant, she found ways to make the city her own.

There was one aspect of the story that I wish more had been done with. Joshua reminds Lou of someone from her past, but I feel like there should have been more of an explanation behind why, or some kind of connection. I felt like I was just left wondering about that.

Overall, Still Me was very hard to put down and had a lot of great moments and interesting new characters. It was a sweet way for Jojo Moyes to tie up the series, even though I am hoping for another book about Lou's adventures. (A girl can dream!)

For casting, I didn't want to change anyone from the movie of Me Before You and could only picture Emilia Clarke as Louisa after that.
Agnes: Yael Grobglas (she can do some good accents and she has the right look for the part)
Margot De Witt: Gena Rowlands
Ashok: Kumail Nanjiani
Lydia: Michelle Trachtenberg
Sam: Jai Courtney (he's even acted alongside Emilia before)
Lily: Landry Bender

Thanks to Viking for the book in exchange for an honest review. They have TWO copies to give away!

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends February 4th at midnight EST. So that you can watch This is Us without worrying that you forgot to it now!

More by Jojo Moyes:

Friday, January 26, 2018

What's in the mail

Melissa A:
The Patchwork Bride by Sandra Dallas from St. Martin's Press
The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy from HarperCollins (e-book via Edelweiss)
The Way of Beauty by Camille Di Maio from Get Red PR (e-book via NetGalley)
Digging In by Loretta Nyhan from Lake Union (Enter our giveaway)
Lighthouse Beach by Shelley Noble from William Morrow
Dreaming in Chocolate by Susan Bishop Crispell from St. Martin's Press (Enter our giveaway)
Trouble the Water by Jacqueline Friedland from Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity
The Secret to Southern Charm by/from Kristy Woodson Harvey
Bridal Girl by/from Meredith Schorr (e-book via NetGalley)

Our Little Secret by Claudia Carroll from HarperCollins UK

Somebody's Daughter by Rochelle B. Weinstein from Get Red PR (e-book via NetGalley)

The Summer of New Beginnings by Bette Lee Crosby from SparkPoint Studio (e-book)
On the Road to Love by/from Melissa Baldwin (e-book)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Loretta Nyhan sows the seeds of a book giveaway

We're pleased to introduce you to Loretta Nyhan today. Her fifth novel, Digging In, is coming to bookshelves in early April, just in time for spring gardening! In the meantime, Amazon Publishing is giving THREE lucky readers a sneak peek!

A reader before she became a writer, Loretta Nyhan devoured everything she could get her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and the instructions booklet for building the Barbie dream house. Later, her obsession with reading evolved into an absolute need to write. After college, she wrote for national trade magazines, taught writing to college freshmen, and eventually found the guts to try fiction.

Loretta lives in the Chicago area with her family. She previously wrote All the Good Parts, which published September, 2016. Previous titles include The Witch Collector, a mysterious paranormal thriller from HarperTeen, an epistolary novel co-written with Suzanne Hayes, I'll Be Seeing You, and Empire Girls, a jazz-age mystery.

When Loretta is not writing, She's knitting, baking, and doing all kinds of things her high school self would have found hilarious. 

Loretta is answering our questions about romance to go along with our theme this month.

Visit Loretta online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Paige Moresco found her true love in eighth grade—and lost him two years ago. Since his death, she’s been sleepwalking through life, barely holding on for the sake of her teenage son. Her house is a wreck, the grass is overrun with weeds, and she’s at risk of losing her job. As Paige stares at her neglected lawn, she knows she’s hit rock bottom. So she does something entirely unexpected: she begins to dig.

As the hole gets bigger, Paige decides to turn her entire yard into a vegetable garden. The neighbors in her tidy gated community are more than a little alarmed. Paige knows nothing about gardening, and she’s boldly flouting neighborhood-association bylaws. But with the help of new friends, a charming local cop, and the transformative power of the soil, Paige starts to see potential in the chaos of her life. Something big is beginning to take root—both in her garden and in herself.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)

Favorite romantic movie: 
While You Were Sleeping. I love everything about this movie. Especially Sandra Bullock. And Bill Pullman. How can you go wrong casting those two?

Favorite celebrity couple: 
Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick (alive)/ Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman (not-so-alive)

Most romantic song:
True Love Ways by Buddy Holly

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word "romance"? 
Kissing, the slow, high-school-making-out kind.

Most memorable Valentine's Day: 
Honestly, the first time my boys were able to curl their chubby toddler fingers around a red crayon so they could make me a valentine.

How did you meet your significant other?
This is a tricky one for me, so I'll keep it lighthearted. I met my late husband, Tom, in fourth grade. Seriously. We didn't start dating then! That came later. I met my boyfriend, Gus, because my sister set us up. She kept running into him at the grocery store and thought it was a sign she should take action. I'm so glad she did!

Thanks to Loretta for chatting with us and to Amazon Publishing for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends January 30th at midnight EST.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Tracie Banister has the "Hallmark" on romantic a book giveaway

We're thrilled to have Tracie Banister back at CLC to launch her latest novel, Izzy As Is. Melissa A is currently enjoying this novel. She has read three of Tracie's previous four novels and loved them all. Izzy As Is follows a different character from In Need of Therapy. While it can be read as a stand-alone, there are some spoilers for In Need. And trust us, you will want to read that one anyway! (See Melissa A's review.) 

Tracie is here to talk about romance (and being a Hallmark movie aficionado, she has a lot to say on the subject). She also has one e-book of Izzy As Is to give away!

An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O'Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her fourtth grade class performed an original holiday play she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)

Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the back burner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a "real" job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. She is the proud winner of the 2017 Independent Press Award (Romantic Comedy) and a Bronze Medal in the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Awards (Chick Lit). Visit Tracie at her blog, Twitter, and Instagram.

The party is over for bikini model Izzy Alvarez. For six years she’s made a good living by flaunting her God-given assets on runways and in front of cameras, but now as she approaches the big 3-0, the bodacious Latina is shocked to learn she’s aged out of the profession that’s kept her in mojitos, mani/pedis, and designer thongs. What’s a girl with a taste for the finer things in life and no marketable skills to do?

Getting a regular job is too boring to even consider, so Izzy decides to follow in the footsteps of her newly-engaged frenemy and become a trophy wife. Although she’s desperate and too broke to get a chipped nail fixed, Izzy still has standards for her future husband, which means no uggos, no vertically-challenged guys, and no geezers who need to pop a blue pill to perform in the bedroom. Enlisting the aid of her computer whiz nephew and her closest pals, Izzy goes on the prowl for a rich, marriage-minded man, encountering likely candidates in a lot of unlikely places.

The high life she’s dreamed of may be within reach when Izzy meets a charming, successful man who’s not only hotter than a steamy summer night in Miami, but ready to settle down. Now all Izzy has to do is make sure her loud, crazy Cuban family doesn’t scare off el hombre perfecto—oh, yeah, and squelch those pesky, romantic feelings she keeps having for the sweet, cash-strapped guy she's known forever.

Will Izzy’s hunger for money win out, or will her fiery heart demand to be heard? (Courtesy of Amazon.)

Best Hallmark movie you saw this past year?
Hallmark’s holiday movies are always my favorites, and there were several good ones this past Christmas. If I had to pick one, I’d say, Christmas Getaway starring Bridget Regan (a.k.a. Sin Rostro for all you Jane the Virgin fans) and Travis Van Winkle. The actors had great chemistry and there was a lot of humor mixed in with some really poignant moments. I liked that the movie poked a bit of fun at some typical Hallmark tropes like the interrupted kiss. When this happened for a second time in Christmas Getaway, the heroine not only expressed her irritation, she grabbed her love interest and planted one on him!

Romantic gesture of your dreams:
Being whisked away on a private jet to some faraway location and I don’t have to do anything except enjoy myself. No planning, no packing, just lots of fun surprises. (This happens to the heroine in my new release, Izzy As Is!)

Favorite romance novel (or author, if you can't pick just one book):
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen—I like humor and witty banter in my romance, so it doesn’t get any better than Darcy and Elizabeth’s story for me. I’m a fan of all the modern interpretations of this story as well.

TV show characters you are shipping:
Liza and Charles on Younger. I love that they connected on a cerebral level first, talking about books and writers and how their experiences with both shaped them. The way the two of them have fought their attraction, then given into it, then pulled back for various reasons and pined for each other is hot, hot, HOT! I am dying to know how Charles will react when he finds out that Liza has been lying to him about her age all this time and I can’t wait to see the backside of Charles’s ex-wife who recently guilted him into a reunion. Roll on, Season five!

Who is your book boyfriend?
Well, that changes on a pretty much weekly basis depending on what I’m reading. ;) The book boyfriend I’ve been hanging on to since I read An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne during the holidays is Mark Blakely. Rowr! First of all, his physical description in the book was drool-worthy, and he was a chef, which is the sexiest of professions in my eyes. And I loved the slow burn of his romance with his bestie, Kelly. Men who are loyal and devoted like Mark was are very appealing!

Do you consider yourself a romantic person?
I’d better be since I write about romantic relationships for a living! I’ve always been a sentimental, hearts and flowers kind of girl who swoons over big, romantic gestures in chick flicks and cries at weddings. Love makes the world go ‘round as far as I’m concerned!

Thanks to Tracie for spreading the love and for sharing her book with our readers!

How to win: Use Giveaway Tools to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Giveaway Tools on our blog, enter the giveaway here

Giveaway ends January 29th at midnight EST.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Book Review: Sisters Like Us

By Melissa Amster

Divorce left Harper Szymanski with a name no one can spell, a house she can’t afford and a teenage daughter who’s pulling away. With her fledgling virtual-assistant business, she’s scrambling to maintain her overbearing mother’s ridiculous Susie Homemaker standards and still pay the bills, thanks to clients like Lucas, the annoying playboy cop who claims he hangs around for Harper’s fresh-baked cookies.

Spending half her life in school hasn’t prepared Dr. Stacey Bloom for her most daunting challenge—motherhood. She didn’t inherit the nurturing gene like Harper and is in deep denial that a baby is coming. Worse, her mother will be horrified to learn that Stacey’s husband plans to be a stay-at-home dad…assuming Stacey can first find the courage to tell Mom she’s already six months pregnant.

Separately they may be a mess, but together Harper and Stacey can survive anything—their indomitable mother, overwhelming maternity stores and ex’s weddings. Sisters Like Us is a delightful look at sisters, mothers and daughters in today’s fast-paced world, told with Susan Mallery’s trademark warmth and humor.

I've been a fan of this series ever since I read The Girls of Mischief Bay in 2015. The books are such comfort reads and the characters feel like real friends after a while. I like that Susan Mallery revisits some of her characters from previous novels. This time around, she included a couple of secondary characters from her first few books, but one had an even bigger role than last time. (I am still waiting to revisit with Shannon from the first novel of the series.)

Mischief Bay is easy to visualize from Susan's descriptions, and I can also picture the characters and their homes easily. I really got into this story to the point where I was squealing when certain things happened that I had been hoping for. Having said that, some parts felt a bit predictable, but there were still other surprises and I didn't mind when I got my wish for a particular outcome or two.

I liked that Becca was one of the narrators, as I always enjoy hearing a teenage perspective in a novel. Susan did a great job making Becca seem realistic. She was awkward and impulsive, dealing with peer pressure and feeling lonely and left behind. Bunny, on the other hand, seemed like a caricature. I had a hard time believing anyone could be that difficult to reason with. However, her role made me feel even more sympathetic toward Harper and Stacey.

Overall, Sisters Like Us was a sweet story and it is now my favorite in the series. I already am looking forward to a fifth novel (and a sixth, seventh, eighth, etc.) in this series. While it can be read as a stand-alone, I highly recommend starting with the first book and just binge-reading because they're that good!

Movie casting ideas:
Stacey: Shannyn Sossamon 
Ashton: KJ Apa
Kit: Mark Duplass 
Dean: Tom Ellis
Lucas: Johnny Messner (I chose him when I read A Million Little Things)

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the book in exchange for an honest review. See all the stops on the tour.

More from the Mischief Bay series:

Monday, January 22, 2018

Book Review: How Not to be a Bride

By Sara Steven

**May contain spoilers for Bad Bridesmaid, but can be read as a stand-alone**

One of my favorite novels from Portia Macintosh is Bad Bridesmaid (reviewed here). Mia Valentina is a character that sticks with you, so I was thrilled to discover that her story continues on in How Not to be a Bride!

We discover that Mia has chosen to to leave her life behind in sunny California, and start a new one with her gorgeous man, Leo, in Kent. And while that’s all well and good, it also means living closer to her family, who have always caused a lot of contention and chaos in her world. I felt pretty annoyed by them in the past, and it seems as though they’ve calmed down just a touch, but they’re still meddling and at times, downright obnoxious, which makes for some really great tumultuous relationships and scenes between all involved. Even through all of that, I could still feel the love that’s there, just beneath the surface, and I imagine it’s wanting to make sure Mia makes the right choices and lives the best life possible, that propels this family to try their damndest to keep her on the straight and narrow.

With that comes the realization that Mia has given up so much of herself to stay in Kent. I feel as though Portia did a wonderful job of showcasing what it’s like when someone makes such a drastic change in their life. I could really relate and identify with what Mia is going through, and I imagine most of us can, because so many of us have been where she is, where we go a different route in life in order to make everyone else happy. In doing so, I felt as though she lost some of what makes her sparkle, and it’s so beautifully laid out in great detail. This lends into a lot of contention with Leo, who doesn’t seem to understand the sacrifices Mia has made for him and really, everyone else.

So, the question becomes, should Mia continue to sacrifice and quelch who she is, or should she bring back some of the sass and sparkle that makes her who she is, and at what cost? Will it damage what she has with Leo? As always, the prospective is always honest and real, and I felt like Mia is a flawed, believable character, along with the others who are in her circle. I could see a lot of growth within her, a maturing that helped make her a lot more relatable.

While this novel can be read as a stand alone just fine, I highly suggest reading Bad Bridesmaid, too. It was nice catching up with the entire cast of eclectic characters who ultimately make Mia who she is, even when she least suspects it.

Thanks to Portia Macintosh for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Portia Macintosh:

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Eliza Gordon is in the mood for a book giveaway

A few months ago, we had an author named Peggy here. Now it's Eliza's turn. (Hopefully we'll find an Angelica soon to complete the trio! #HamilNerd fun...) 

We welcome Eliza Gordon to CLC to talk about romance with us in honor of the upcoming publication of her latest novel, Dear Dwayne, With Love. If the cover doesn't give you a sugar rush, perhaps what's inside will sweeten up your day! The icing on top of this treat is that Eliza is giving away an audio book, two e-books, and a signed paperback version with a bookmark and pen.

A native of Portland, Oregon, Eliza Gordon (a.k.a. Jennifer Sommersby) has lived up and down the West Coast of the United States, but since 2002, home has been a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia. Despite the occasional cougar and bear sightings in her neighborhood, there’s no place she’d rather rest her webbed feet (except maybe Scotland).

When not lost in a writing project, Eliza is a copy editor, mom, wife, and bibliophile, and the proud parent of one very spoiled tuxedo cat. Eliza writes stories to help you believe in happily ever after; Jennifer Sommersby, her other self, writes young-adult fiction. Both personalities are represented by Daniel Lazar at Writers House. (Bio courtesy of Amazon.) 

Visit Eliza online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Wannabe actress Dani Steele’s résumé resembles a cautionary tale on how not to be famous. She’s pushing thirty and stuck in a dead-end insurance job, and her relationship status is holding at uncommitted. With unbearably perfect sisters and a mother who won’t let her forget it, Dani has two go-tos for consolation: maple scones and a blog in which she pours her heart out to her celebrity idol. He’s the man her father never was, no boyfriend will ever be—and not so impossible a dream as one might think. When Dani learns that he’s planning a fund-raising event where the winning amateur athlete gets a walk-on in his new film, she decides to trade pastries and self-doubt for running shoes and a sexy British trainer with adorable knees.

But when Dani’s plot takes an unexpected twist, she realizes that her happy ending might have to be improvised—and that proving herself to her idol isn’t half as important as proving something to herself.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)

Favorite romantic movie: 
Who can pick just one? I think I'd have to say Leap Year with Amy Adams and Matthew Goode, the 2005 Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen, The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, and (don't laugh), P.S. I Love You with Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (yes, bad Irish accent and all). I watch these over and over again. They make me happy.

Favorite romance novel or author: 
I'd have to say Jojo Moyes because I love the way she paints characters. Me Before You was a real heartbreaker but the follow-up, After You, is terrific. I liked it better, to be honest. Another of her books, called One Plus One, is among my favorite books ever too. I don't read a lot of pure romance novels -- I prefer character-driven stories with elements of romance in them -- so I can't forget to mention Marian Keyes and Cecelia Ahern. These women are my writerly role models.

TV show characters you are shipping:
Hmmm, Brienne of Tarth and Jamie Lannister from Game of Thrones. Also, Carrie Mathison and Peter Quinn from Homeland but yeah ... season six ... never mind, just in case.

Most memorable date: 
My first date ever -- it was with a rebellious, spiky-haired, leather-jacket-wearing, brown-eyed boy named Tony. We went to see The Princess Bride and then we sneaked into his dad's church where Tony played the piano for me as I fell asleep on a pew. It was magical and perfect ... and then the next day, Tony realized I was a nerd and that one of the hot, popular girls liked him so that was the end of my fantasy. (I've used this date in one of my books, actually. It was that awesome.)

Do you consider yourself a romantic person? 
This is a tough question. I'm not very romantic, actually, not in real life. Lack of imagination, perhaps? Sadly, I'm pretty cynical, which is a weird demeanor for someone who writes romantic stories. But I try to temper my cynicism with the dreamier side I think a lot of us have. That's why I love movies so much, and why writing books is such a suitable occupation for me; I can live in a fantasy world where people are falling in love, and I can make it as messy or as perfect as I want. Real life is both messy and perfect, which is why my stories are never billed as a straight-up romance. More aptly, I write comedies or real-people stories with brushstrokes of romance to keep things interesting.

Best movie kiss: 
I love, love, love the Lord of the Rings movies, so at the end of Return of the King, when Aragorn sees Arwen again -- that is a kiss for the ages. Here's this man who possesses mythical powers, who has survived what should've killed him a hundred times over, who is the newly crowned king but is also a humble servant of his friends and subjects, and he sees Arwen after thinking she has died ... When he kisses her and tucks his head against her, you can see that he is a man desperately in love, that no crown or kingdom will ever come between him and this elf-woman. It's a perfect kiss, perfectly delivered by actors Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler.

Thanks to Eliza for visiting with us and sharing her book with our readers!

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends January 23rd at midnight EST.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Book Review: Totlandia Book a special giveaway

By Melissa Amster

**Synopsis contains SPOILERS. This is the last book in an eight-part episodic series. Each book completes a story arc, but it includes a series cliffhanger that connects Books 1-4; And then Books 5-8.**

The final book of the series is filled with surprising conclusions for the Pacific Heights parents you’ve come to love—and the one you love to hate:

Stress from the club and motherhood puts Lorna into a tailspin that threatens her life. Will Matthew make the right choice for her and their children?

Jade’s past puts her career and her marriage to Reggie in jeopardy;

And in the hope of salvaging her friendship with Jillian, Ally makes a decision that will affect their lives forever. But can it also save her relationship with Brady?

Finally: when Art’s funeral fails to end Bettina’s personal purgatory in San Francisco’s social circles, her new puts her back on top—but her successes come at a high price: the love and acceptance of those she loves most.

Welcome to Totlandia's summer of love, lust, temptation, and redemption. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

The wild ride has, sadly, come to an end. However, the last book is filled with some interesting surprises and wraps up the series nicely. As you may already know, I was completely hooked on Totlandia from book one. Each book is just the right length...not too long, not too short. They all packed a satisfying punch and quenched my thirst for gossip, scandal, revenge, steamy bedroom action, etc. There was an underlying theme of friendship throughout, as well. I even felt a kinship with the main characters. That includes Bettina, believe it or not!

I can't say too much as to not spoil anything, but if you're into a story with a telenovela feel or you just want something sexy and snarky (yes, a book series about motherhood has some NC-17 material...what else do you expect from Josie Brown?!?), give this series a try. You can take a break between books, or just devour them all at once; whatever works for your reading schedule! They're addictive though!

I hope Josie will revisit the moms of Pacific Heights in the future, maybe for a reunion series, or even a longer book that tells us where they are now. I have a feeling their stories are not over!

Thanks to Josie for the book in exchange for an honest review. She has TWO sets of the first four e-books (known as The Onesies) for some lucky readers!

My reviews for The Onesies:
Book 1: Fall
Book 2: Winter
Book 3: Spring
Book 4: Summer

My reviews for The Twosies:
Book 5: Fall
Book 6: Winter
Book 7: Spring

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends January 22nd at midnight EST.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Carole Matthews writes a love a book giveaway

We welcome Carole Matthews back to CLC today. Her latest novel, Million Love Songs, recently published and we thought it would be a great fit in our Romance month. Becky and Melissa A have read and enjoyed many of Carole's novels, so we're glad to introduce you to the fabulous woman behind the writing.

Not only is Carole a writer of romantic comedy, but she is also a drinker of champagne, baker of cakes, and eater of chocolate. She lives in the Costa del Milton Keynes with her dearly beloved, Lovely Kev, in a minimalist home with no carpets, curtains or ornaments. Carole likes walking, dancing, Zumba, movies and watching rubbish telly. You can find Carole at her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Thanks to Sphere, we have one copy of Million Love Songs for a lucky reader!

After splitting up with her cheating ex, Ruby Brown is ready for a change. She's single again for the first time in years and she's going to dive into this brave new world with a smile on her face and a spring in her step. The last thing she's looking for is a serious relationship.

Mason represents everything Ruby wants right now: he's charming, smooth and perfect for some no-strings-attached fun, and yet Ruby can't help feel that something is missing. Joe on the other hand is kind and attentive, but he comes with the sort of baggage Ruby wants to avoid: an annoyingly attractive ex-wife and two teenage children.

And though Ruby thinks she knows what she wants, is it what she needs to be truly happy?
(Courtesy of Amazon.)

Favorite celebrity couple: 
I’m not big on the celebrity thing, but we have a very inspirational young couple in the UK, Tom and Giovanna Fletcher. Tom is from the band McFly and is a very talented musician and writer of children’s books. Giovanna is a successful novelist. They both work really hard as parents to small children while being very down-to-earth about their success. I follow their social media posts which are always uplifting.

Most romantic gesture that happened to you: 
Lovely Kev went down on one knee and proposed to me in Summer 2017 while we were on a walk by our favourite lake, Buttermere, in the Lake District in England. We’ve had a whirlwind 17-year romance, so it wasn’t entirely unexpected, but it was still very romantic.

Most romantic song: 
Give the title of my latest book, I should perhaps choose "A Million Love Songs" by Take That which is a totally gorgeous song. But I also love "The Man Who Can’t be Moved" by The Script. It makes me cry every time I hear it. My hero, Danny, in The Cake Shop in the Garden and Christmas Cakes & Mistletoe Nights is somewhat inspired by lead singer of the band, Danny O’Donaghue.

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word "romance"? 
Two people in love.

Most memorable Valentine's Day: 
I’m hoping it will be the one that’s coming! At vast expense we’ve booked to have a romantic dinner in the Great Hall at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter Studios. Though I have to say it’s usually the little romantic things that make Valentine’s day – a cup of tea in bed, a long walk, a cosy lunch. It’s always lovely to have something to cheer up February.

How did you meet your significant other? 
Lovely Kev was my scuba-diving instructor – something I’ve been able to use for my latest book, Million Love Songs. Lots of excellent comedy material in being underwater in a wetsuit – not so much romance though

Thanks to Carole for visiting with us and to Sphere for the giveaway copy!

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends January 21st at midnight EST

Monday, January 15, 2018

Book Review: One Way Ticket

By Sara Steven

Sabrina Monroe is poised and ready for her future as Mrs. Todd Edward Blakely. Everything seems perfect, but on the big day, suddenly she's not so sure. Her nicely mapped out life ahead of her, she finds herself in her own movie scene as the runaway bride, climbing out of the bathroom window. All she can think is escape.

Addison Bloom needs a life makeover. She's travelled the world to find love--and failed. On her way back from yet another friend's wedding, she starts to feel ill at the mere thought of seeing another veil that's not hers. Should she go back home and marry her former sweetheart, or stick it out looking for love in her new home?

Sabrina and Addison are both on the run, wanting to escape to a new life. As the two strangers talk at an airport, discovering they have the same job at opposite ends of the country, a crazy idea unfolds--one which might provide the answers they've both been looking for. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

What a unique and refreshing twist on living vicariously through someone else’s experiences! At first I wondered, just as much as the characters had, how their ideas and brainstorming would unfold. Where would it take them, and ultimately, where would it lead? Then I found myself very much engrossed and invested in what Sabrina and Addison discover during their crazy journey, wanting to find out how they’d tackle the next hurdle, the next adventure, or should I say, misadventure.

I liked having insight into both Sabrina and Addison’s experiences. Written in alternating points of view allowed for that. It also gave me a better idea of who each character is, deep down, and how that relates to everything going on around them. It also allowed me to see the bigger picture, the background of where this story takes place, on opposite ends of the country; plenty of sunshine in Orlando, plenty of sea air in San Francisco, well described for both cities. I felt as though those two locations really added another layer to who these women are, and what makes them tick.

Fate has a way of bringing two people together, that ordinarily would never have entered into one another’s lives, as is the case for Sabrina and Addison. I think the thing I respected the most about this friendship, is their ability to lean on one another, even when faced with such an odd situation that usually would never present itself. This relationship may not span several years, but for what it’s worth, what they’ve been through has brought them together in such a way, that they’ve formed an impenetrable tie that sees them through, something I’m sure most of us strive for in our own friendships.

Thanks to Melissa Baldwin and Kate O'Keeffe for the book in exchange for an honest review. 

Purchase the book here. (Only 99 cents for Kindle!) 

Visit all the stops on the blog tour with Karan & Co.

Friday, January 12, 2018

What's in the a giveaway

Melissa A:
I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around by Ann Garvin from Tall Poppy Writers
The Truth About Thea by Amy Impellizieri from Tall Poppy Writers
Talk to the Paw by Melinda Metz from Kensington (e-book via NetGalley)
The Summer List by Amy Mason Doan from Graydon House (e-book via NetGalley)
Happiness for Humans by P.Z. Reizin from Grand Central Publishing (e-book via NetGalley)
The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White from Lake Union (e-book via NetGalley)
The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go by Amy E. Reichert from Gallery (e-book via NetGalley)
The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash from William Morrow

Hot Mess by Emily Belden from HarperCollins (e-book via NetGalley)
The Beloveds by Maureen Lindley from Gallery (e-book via NetGalley)
The Missing Wife by Sheila O'Flanagan from Grand Central Publishing (e-book via NetGalley)
The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams from BookPerk
Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren from Leo PR (e-book via NetGalley)

What could be in YOUR mail?

The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White. Thanks to Amazon Publishing, we have one copy to give away!

“This is an eye-opening and realistic exploration of mental illness—a topic that greatly deserves to be front and center.” —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things

Metal artist Katie Mack is living a lie. Nine years ago she ran away from her family in Raleigh, North Carolina, consumed by the irrational fear that she would harm Maisie, her newborn daughter. Over time she’s come to grips with the mental illness that nearly destroyed her, and now funnels her pain into her art. Despite longing for Maisie, Katie honors an agreement with the husband she left behind—to change her name and never return.

But when she and Maisie accidentally reunite, Katie can’t ignore the familiarity of her child’s compulsive behavior. Worse, Maisie worries obsessively about bad things happening to her pregnant stepmom. Katie has the power to help, but can she reconnect with the family she abandoned?

To protect Maisie, Katie must face the fears that drove her from home, accept the possibility of love, and risk exposing her heart-wrenching secret.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends January 17th at midnight EST.