Friday, January 31, 2014

Book Blog Walkers: January Weekly Check-in Jan 31, 2014


Can't believe it's the last week of January...what a month! I really hope February brings some warmer weather...I'm not talking much - just give me some consistent temps in the 30s and I'll be happy! I really need to get some longer walks outdoors - my marathon is in a little over a month and a half!!!

Here's how my week went:

Jan 25:  rest   
Jan 26:  rest  
Jan 27:  3.75 miles - treadmill at gym  
Jan 28:  30 minutes indoor walking  
Jan 29:  30 minutes indoor walking  
Jan 30:  45 minutes indoor walking   
Jan 31:  45 minutes indoor walking  

How did your week go?


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Blog Tour & Review: Sea of Love by Melissa Foster

Title: Sea of Love   
Author: Melissa Foster 
Series: Love in Bloom: Snow Sisters & The Bradens #7; Love in Bloom: The Bradens #4   
Published: December 2013, World Literary Press   
Format: E-copy, 283 pages 
Source: Publicist  

Lacy Snow hadn’t been looking for love when she met strikingly handsome and seductive Dane Braden. But how could she ignore the six-foot-three darkly handsome God who tagged and researched sharks for a living—and made every nerve in her body tangle into an overly sensitive knot? Even her fear of sharks could not suppress their intense attraction.

As the founder of the Brave Foundation Dane Braden travels from port-to-port educating and advocating on behalf of the mammals he adores—and spends his nights finding solace in the arms of strangers. The last thing Dane was looking for when he met Lacy Snow was a relationship, and the last thing he expected was to fall in love.

Fifteen months—and hundreds of flirty emails, steamy phone calls, and sensual video chats later—they reunite, and the two take passion to a whole new level. But when Lacy’s phobia meets Dane’s past love life, and an unexpected tragedy strikes, their steamy romance is upended. Dane and Lacy are forced to face their deepest fears head-on and try and navigate their own sea of love.

My thoughts: Oh, this series just keeps getting better!!! Now, I will be honest and say that I didn't read the first three books, the Snow Sisters series, where Lacy was first introduced, but that in way detracted from my enjoyment of this book. I really believe that each of these books can be read as stand-alones, but do see how they work well when read sequentially in the series and I will certainly be going back and reading the ones I've missed as soon as the opportunity arises.

I really enjoyed Dane and Lacy's story.  Their story is different from the others that I've read so far in this series in that they were already in love when the book started but life had kept them apart for 15 months. Now, after months of communicating via email, phone and skype, they finally come face-to-face. Boy oh boy, absence sure does make the heart grow fonder and there's no lack of passion in their case!

I liked that both Dane and Lacy were dealing with some pretty major issues in their journey to their HAE and at times, I honestly didn't know if they would get there. Between Lacy's fear of sharks and Dane's second guessing of his relationship because of his job made their journey a difficult one. But, there were also some really tender, heartwarming moments - Dane reaching out to Lacy's sister to find a way to help Lacy overcome her fear - how sweet!

Once again, my ever-favorite patriarch makes an appearance and it seems that he's always there to offer guidance when his kids need him the most. He's that sounding board, willing to listen to his kids and offer support without ever telling his kids, now adults, what they should do. I think I love his character even more because it's rare that you find this type of role in a male character and yet, I find him to be real and sincere.

I read romance books because I fully admit I'm a sucker for a happy ending. I know the guy is going to get his girl, but I love the journey that the characters take to get there - that's what makes each story so different. Melissa Foster seems to create such different, unique stories for each of her characters. I've read three of her books so far and each has such a different feel to it and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series.

Books in the 9-book Love in Bloom series:
Snow Sisters                                 The Bradens
     1. Sisters in Love                       4. Lovers at Heart
     2. Sisters in Bloom                    5. Destined for Love
     3. Sisters in White                     6. Friendship on Fire
                                                               7. Sea of Love
                                                               8. Bursting with Love
                                                               9. Hearts at Play

*** Both Sisters in Love and Lovers at Heart are currently free on Amazon US.

More information about this series can be found here:

About the author: Melissa Foster is a New York Times USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women's fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown MagazineThe Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, and the World Literary Café. When she's not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on  Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. 

Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.

Visit Melissa on The Women's NestFostering Success, or World Lit Cafe. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

Authors Links: 
Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook  |   Pinterest   |   Goodreads


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich (CLOSED)

Title: Big Girl Panties  
Author: Stephanie Evanovich 
Published: January 2014, William Morrow 
Format: Paperback, 368 pages 
Source:  Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Holly didn’t expect to be a widow at thirty-two. She also didn’t expect to be so big. After her husband’s death, food was the one thing she could always count on. Then she meets Logan Montgomery, a personal trainer so hot that he makes her sweat in all the right (and so embarrassingly wrong!) places. Charmed by her witty wisecracks and sharp insights, he impulsively offers to help get her back in shape.

To Logan’s (and her own) surprise, Holly turns out to be a natural in the gym, slimming down into a bona fide looker with killer curves—and a new kind of hunger. Before either of them can stop it, the easy intimacy of their training sessions leads to even more steamy workouts away from the gym.

But can a man whose whole life depends on looks commit himself to a woman who doesn’t fit his ideal? Now that Holly’s turning other men’s heads, does she even need Logan anymore? Are they a couple built to last . . . or destined to fizzle?

My thoughts: This is Stephanie Evanovich's debut novel and I have to say it was quite the delightful read. It's a rather quick, charming read that touches on some pretty heavy topics, namely weight and the whole idea of looks can be deceiving. But it's also more than that - it's about liking who you are as a person first and foremost.

I really liked the character of Holly. I felt that she was a relatable character and loved how motivated she was to get her life back on track. I also enjoyed the relationship between Holly and Logan. It seems that while Holly needs to lose some weight and deal with her issues of isolation, Logan has his own issues to work through, namely that his ideal woman was far from what he really wanted. What I loved is that never once did Holly's weight loss become unrealistic - she's a big girl and while she did lose weight, she never became super-model skinny.

This book is filled with romance, one-line zingers and some heart-break. Holly is the type of character you want for a friend and you can't help but find yourself routing for her as she embarks on her journey to not only lose weight, but also to find balance in her life. Don't we all want that?

While most of the story focuses on Holly and Logan, we do meet Logan's best-friends, Chase and Amanda. They have an interesting story themselves and I can't wait to read about it in Stephanie's next book, The Sweet Spot, which is actually the prequel to this one. That comes out this summer and I am definitely looking forward to reading it!!!

About the author: Stephanie Evanovich is a full-fledged Jersey girl who attended New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts, performed with several improvisational troupes, and acted in a few small-budget movies, all in preparation for the greatest job she ever had: raising her two sons. Now a full-time writer, she’s an avid sports fan who holds a black belt in tae kwon do.

Connect with Stephanie on Facebook or Twitter

Thanks to Trish at TLC Book Tours, I have one copy of Big Girl Panties to give away to my readers.
To enter…

  • For 1 entry leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
  • Tweet, share on Facebook, or blog for 2 extra entries.
  • Please include email address so I can contact you if you win.

This giveaway is open to US/CAN residents only and ends February 4th. 

Good luck!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers (CLOSED)

Back in August, I read The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers for the Book Lovers Unite Book Club, and I really enjoyed it! You can find my thoughts on the book here. The book has recently been released in paperback.   

“Sharp and biting, and sometimes wickedly funny…Meyers writes beautifully about a formerly good marriage.”The Boston Globe 

“Meyers’ complex characters feel familiar yet flawed, and this sharply woven tale demonstrates her uncanny ability to explore and illuminate the nuances of life’s most thorny dilemmas.”The Brooklyn Daily Eagle 

“Meyers’ carefully told story is a satisfying examination of the imperfect paths we all walk." BookPage

“The characters crackle with both intelligence and wit…Meyers’ women resonate as strong, complicated and conflicted, and the writing flows effortlessly in this sweet yet sassy novel about love, women and motherhood.”Kirkus Reviews

“Meyers has crafted an absorbing and layered drama that explores the complexities of infidelity, forgiveness, and family”Booklist   

Since the release of her debut The Murderer's Daughters in 2010, international bestselling author Randy Susan Meyers has earned glowing critical praise, award nominations, and a devoted readership around the globe for her thought-provoking, emotionally-resonant novels.

Now available in an affordable paperback format, Meyers returns with her bestselling second novel, THE COMFORT OF LIES (Washington Square Press/Atria Books; On-sale: January 28, 2014; $16.00), a richly textured story that explores the complications of love and collateral damage of infidelity, as well as universal themes of motherhood, identity, trust, and forgiveness.

Told in alternating points of view, THE COMFORT OF LIES reveals the darkest and most private thoughts of three very different women all connected to a five-year-old girl: Tia, the birth mother; Caroline, the adopted mother; and Juliette, the wife of the birth father. The year their lives collide, the women must confront their choices while discovering sobering truths about their relationships and most importantly, themselves.

Five years ago, Tia fell into obsessive love with a man she could never have. A married man and a father, Nathan was unavailable in every way. When she became pregnant, he disappeared and Tia gave the baby up for adoption. Five years later, she struggles with the decision and years to connect with her daughter - and her former lover.

Caroline, a dedicated pathologist, had always been a bit ambivalent about motherhood, much preferring the freedom of her childless, work-addicted lifestyle, but attempting to please her husband, she agreed to adopt, hoping her misgivings would disappear. However after five years, she's questioning whether or not she's really cut out for a domestic life.

Juliette thought she had it all - a loving husband, two healthy sons, and a successful business. Then she discovered Nathan's affair. He promised he'd never stray again and she trusted him. Five years later, when Juliette intercepts a letter meant for Nathan containing photos of his daughter, her world crumbles, again. How could he keep this from her? What else is he hiding? Most importantly, how could he deny his daughter? Desperate for the truth, Juliette goes in search of the little girl. Her quest leads her first to Caroline, then Tia, and before long, the women are on a collision course with consequences none of them could have predicted.

About the author: The drama of Randy Susan Meyers' novels is informed by her past work with criminal offenders and families impacted by emotional and family violence, as well as through years spent bartending. The Massachusetts Center named Meyers’ debut novel, The Murderer’s Daughters, a “Must Read Book” and one of the “2011 Ten Best Works of Fiction,” noting From the very first page and straight on until the last, the clear and distinctive voice of Randy Susan Meyers’ The Murderer’s Daughters will have you enraptured and wanting more—even though self-preservation may curl you into a ball to shield yourself from the painful circumstances of the two sisters. This is a heart-breaking and powerful novel.” 

Her new novel, The Comfort of Lies, explores the collateral damage of infidelity, the difficulty of balancing motherhood, marriage and work, and the dark, private struggles many experience, but rarely reveal. The Boston Globe wrote of it: “Randy Susan Meyers’s second novel is sharp and biting, and sometimes wickedly funny when the author skewers Boston’s class and neighborhood dividing lines, but it has a lot of heart, too. Meyers writes beautifully about a formerly good marriage — the simple joys of stability, the pleasures of veteran intimacy — and deftly dissects just how ugly things can get after infidelity.” 

Meyers is a founding member of Beyond The Margins, a multi-writer site dedicated to the craft of writing and the business of publishing. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and has recently co-authored the guide What To Do Before Your Book Launch with bestselling writer MJ Rose. She teaches writing at the Grub Street Writers Center in Boston.

Meyers, the mother of two grown daughters, was born in Brooklyn, New York. She lives in Boston with her husband.

By Randy Susan Meyers
Washington Square Press / Atria Books
January 28, 2014 || $16.00 || Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-45-167302-9


Thanks to Elaine at Atria Books, I have one copy of The Comfort of Lies to give away to my readers.
To enter… 
  • For 1 entry leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
  • Tweet, share on Facebook, or blog for 2 extra entries.
  • Please include email address so I can contact you if you win.
This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends February 3rd. 

Good luck!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Sunday Post #9 (1.26.14)

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.   

I've decided to try a new weekly meme - a place where I can do both a weekly wrap up and share what books I get all in one post, so I'm going to give The Sunday Post a try, and also link up with Sheila's It's Monday Post over at Book Journey.  

Another really cold week here in NY with more snow. While I usually don't mind the winters, I do have to say I'm getting a bit tired of all this snow and really cold weather, and to think we have two more months of this...ughh!!! Good thing I have my walking dvds and the gym!

Last week on the Blog:  

* Blog Tour & Review: Friendship on Fire by Melissa Foster 
* Review: The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley
* Review: The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman
* Book Blog Walkers: January Weekly Check-in Jan 24th
* Review: Halfway There by Susan Mallery

Books Read:
* The Trouble With Love by Beth Cioatta (mine)
* The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (audio book, mine)  

Currently Reading:
* Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich (review book)  
* Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens (audio book)

Books Up Next:
* Sea of Love by Melissa Foster (review e-book) 
* Mrs. Lincoln's Rival by Jennifer Chiaverini (review book)  
* Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan (review e-book)

Recent Giveaway Winners:  
* Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge - Marie

Coming Up on the Blog:
* Book Spotlight: The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers (with giveaway!!!)
* Review: Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich (with giveaway!!!)
* Review: Sea of Love by Melissa Foster 
* Review: Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts
* Month in Review: January 2014

Book Haul:   
For Review:  
* Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (e-book ARC via Netgalley)
* Tea & Primroses by Tess Thomspon (e-book via Publicist)
* The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (audio book)


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Review: Halfway There by Susan Mallery

Title: Halfway There   
Author: Susan Mallery 
Series: Fool's Gold, #9.75 
Published: May 2013, Harlequin 
Format: e-book, 52 pages  
Source: Personal copy   

Fayrene Hopkins may be only twenty-four years old, but she runs her own business and has big plans--plans that don't involve falling in love yet. She's determined to make her mark on the world before settling down.

She thinks she's got life all figured out--until she meets Ryan Patterson on her latest job. Fayrene senses his interest in her, and she has to admit he gets her pulse racing. Luckily, starting a relationship with Ryan is safe--he's leaving Fool's Gold when his work contract is up.

Ryan has goals of his own and a job waiting for him in Texas. He doesn't expect to get waylaid by a sassy blonde and cozy town. But what started out as temporary is starting to look like the real thing. If only he can convince Fayrene that some plans are made to be broken.

My thoughts: I am just loving the Fool's Gold series and I keep finding that with each book and novella, that I fall a little bit more in love with the town and it's characters each time I get to visit! In this short installment, that sets up for Susan Mallery's newest trilogy in the series, we get Fayrene and Ryan's story. 

This is the perfect example, in my opinion, of a sweet romance that is perfectly created and crafted for a novella. They don't need a full-length novel to have their story told - theirs is a romance that is based on love at first sight without ever feeling too cheesy. They were both honest with each up from the beginning and thus had that to build on when plans changed.

I hope that this is not the last we see of Fayrene and Ryan as I liked both characters. I know Susan Mallery tends to have her characters stick around, so hopefully that includes these two as well!

If you read series, do you like when authors include novellas to tell some of the minor characters' stories? Or do you tend to skip them?

Books in this series:

     1.  Chasing Perfect                      9.5  A Fool's Gold Christmas
     2.  Almost Perfect                       9.75  Halfway There
     2.5  Sister of the Bride              10.  Just One Kiss
     3.  Finding Perfect                      11.   Two of a Kind
     4.  Only Mine                                12.  Three Little Words
     5.  Only Yours                              12.5  Christmas on 4th Street
     6.  Only His                                    13. When We Met - due out Apr 2014                     
     6.1  Only Us                                   14.   Before We Kiss - due out May 2014
     6.2  Almost Summer                  15.  Until We Touch - due out Jun 2014
     7.  Summer Days                         15.5  Yours for Christmas - due out Sep 2014  

     8.  Summer Nights                   
     9.  All Summer Long               

Friday, January 24, 2014

Book Blog Walkers: January Weekly Check-in Jan 24, 2014

Happy to report I am over whatever I had last week - and just in time as my sister ended up having the baby last weekend - she was scheduled to have the baby today! Luckily I was able to go down on Sunday and get lots of cuddle time with my newest niece! It was definitely love at first sight and I can't wait to start spoiling her as I do with all my nieces and nephews. 

Being that I was finally getting back to exercising after a week of being sick and we were dealing with another week of really cold temps and a snow storm, I decided to ease back into things. I started doing my own version of Leslie Sansone's walking dvd's while catching up on my shows - talk about multitasking!!!
Here's how my week went:

Jan 18:  rest   
Jan 19:  rest  
Jan 20:  30 minutes indoor walking   
Jan 21:  30 minutes indoor walking  
Jan 22:  30 minutes indoor walking, plus 30 minutes shoveling   
Jan 23:  45 minutes indoor walking   
Jan 24:  45 minutes indoor walking

How did your week go?

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