Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Author Interview: S.R. Malley "Trouble in Glamour Town"



Trouble In Glamour Town 

by S.R. Mallery

Publication Date: November 12, 2017
eBook & Paperback; 202 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1979566070
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Mystery



Murder. Corruption. Romance. 

Movie stars. A modern day TV shoot ‘em up? No. It’s 1926 Old Hollywood, and a film producer is gunned down in cold blood. In comes Rosie, a pretty bit-player, who, in spite of her stage-mother’s expectations, just longs to be happy. Silent screen idols Clara Bow, Gloria Swanson, Lon Chaney, and Rudolph Valentino float in and out, as Los Angeles’ corruption is exposed, the era described, and a chase to find the killer revs up before there’s another hit.






Author Interview



JS: Hi S.R., thanks so much for sharing Trouble in Glamour Town with us! I loved how you set the novel during the early days of Hollywood with its glitz and silent stars. Could you tell us a little about the inspiration behind your novel?


S.R.M: First of all, much thanks for such great questions. AND your wonderful review!

Growing up with a father who wrote scripts from the Golden Age of Television well into the 1970s, I have always appreciated Hollywood, not only for its famous movies and stars, but also because of his stories about going out to Los Angeles in the early thirties to try and get into the film world. He talked about the wonderful Red Cars traveling from downtown City Hall all the way out to Santa Monica and the Pacific Ocean. He described the gorgeous “Wannabe’s,” those starry-eyed, girls from all over the country, who, as often as not, would end up as waitresses at local drive-in diners before returning home. He also chuckled about the Hollywood parties he and his friend crashed, pretending to be ‘directors,’ so hopefully girls would go out with them. (He did admit it seldom worked).
         
But talkies were widespread by the 1930s. I became curious about the decade before that, when films and actors were silent, and in some ways, more expressive. And when I started my research and learned just how corrupt Los Angeles also was back then, that did it. 1926 it was!





JS: Trouble in Glamour Town is both murder mystery while highlighting the beauty of this lost era in history. Have you always been a fan of murder mysteries and do you have a personal favorite?


S.R.M: Actually, I have. I’ve enjoyed so many mysteries – on television, in films, and in books. I don’t have a personal favorite per se. And although in general, my books have not been mysteries (the exceptions were two short stories in my anthology, SEWING CAN BE DANGEROUS), I decided it was high time for me to write a complete novel that was an actual whodunit––but set in the past.





JS: I love how you seamlessly teach about the old stars like Lon Chaney for readers not as familiar with the era. As an author, who would you choose as your Old Hollywood mascot/avatar/spirit Animal?


S.R.M: It’s funny. Once I decided I was going to set Trouble In Glamour Town during the 1920s, I did what I always do when creating an historical book. I began reading, watching you-tube video clips, and researching about famous film people back then. I learned about Rudolph Valentino and his screaming fans, Mary Pickford not really being “America’s Sweetheart” behind closed doors, Gloria Swanson’s “grande” entrances, and so on and so forth. But the more I researched that era, the more I fell in love with Clara Bow and Lon Chaney. Why Lon Chaney, you may well ask? To me, his creativity and cleverness at makeup was astounding. Basically, he, alone, created an entire world of makeup special effects! And as for Clara Bow, her lovely, highly expressive face was riveting. I found out how, because she was a warm, free spirit and didn’t bend to the usual studio ‘rules,’ she was shunned by the rest of the Hollywood elite. Thus, I thought she would be a strong role model for my main female protagonist, who’s somewhat lost in her life.






JS: You have been a singer/composer, an award-winning quilter and an ESL/Reading Instructor. How would you say your life experiences have shaped your writing?


S.R.M: Because I started writing much later than most authors I know, I have, from time to time, wished I had begun much sooner. I would probably have at least ten more books in my stables. But recently, I’ve decided to embrace the fact that I was so varied in my work experience; it exposed me to people of all walks of life, and I have memories that still touch me greatly. It also has afforded me a basic view that works well with being an historical fiction writer: no matter the place or time, no matter the economic circumstances, people have been and always will be basically the same: kind and generous, as well as avaricious and mean. They just have worn different clothes and have used different vernacular!






JS: You mentioned wanting to work from home leading into writing professionally. What first led you to become a writer and what continues to drive you today?


S.R.M: Besides my father, I come from a family of writers, so for most of my adult life, I instinctively knew I wouldn’t touch that profession with a ten-foot pole. Too intimidating! Then, when my daughter was a teenager, I remember we were shopping for underwear in a department store. I got mine lickety-split. She took forever to decide. As I sat waiting outside the dressing rooms, I decided to try writing a short story. The year before my father had told me about the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, where so many young immigrant seamstresses died. Being a quilter, that haunted me. With only a general idea of where I would go, I started in. When my daughter appeared forty-five minutes later and said, “I’m done, Mom. Sorry I took so long,” I looked up at her, in a fog. I was hooked. Have been writing ever since.





JS: Historical fiction at its best is backed with thorough research. Would you say your research for Trouble in Glamour Town impacted the story? How much of it is based in true events? 


S.R.M: As my disclaimer says, my conversations were very loosely imagined based on what I read. Definitely not quotes. Other things I wrote about were accurate, such as how one started and cranked up an early Ford car, how the actors and actresses had to apply blue and yellow make-up because of the old lights and cameras, the City Hall corruption and its participants in Los Angeles back then, and also the vocabulary used, both in dialogues and even the narration. I realize it takes much longer to write historical fiction, but to me, the research is completely worth it!






JS: Are your main characters based on people you know, or do they live solely in your imagination?


S.R.M: I usually make up my main protagonists. I might use a trait here or there based on people I know but basically, it’s all from my non-stop, crazy mind. However, like in “Forrest Gump,” I enjoy dovetailing my main characters with actual people of the time.






JS: Could you share any upcoming projects you have planned next with us?

S.R.M: I’m currently working on two books. The first one is a novella called TENDER ENEMIES, which will be part of a boxed set entitled, LOVE UNDER FIRE, due out in November. Here is that book’s blurb:

It’s 1941 in New York City, a time before Pearl Harbor, when Nazi spies are everywhere in the U.S. and no one knows who’s working for whom. In comes beautiful Lily, paid to gather intelligence by setting up a “honey trap” for Joe Stiles, a supposed German infiltrator. Problem is, she soon faces a danger she isn’t prepared for––falling in love.


The second book is a sequel to my historical western romance, The Dolan Girls. Not sure when that will be coming out!

I also have a possible cozy/paranormal series in mind after that...we’ll seeeeeee.



JS: We can't wait for your next release! Thanks again for visiting with us today, and best of luck with the rest of your tour. Keep reading for a recap on my review, plus more about the author, below.



My Review

5 of 5 Stars


Truly great historical fiction rests in the little details, minute things that give authenticity. From the first scene in Trouble in Glamour Town, we are dropped into a past as troubled as today. A constant theme is in the contrasting grit buried beneath the surface glamour so present with the '20s. 


Nostalgia abounds as we come across Old Hollywood starlets of the silent screen. I grew up on these films, thanks to my grandparents, so I knew them immediately. However, if you're a fan of the roaring twenties, but a little rusty on your cinema trivia, never fear. S.R. Mallery has written introductions and indications so effortlessly, you won't realize you're being educated. While I was familiar with Old Hollywood films and its stars, there was much about the industry at the time that I found fascinating. Clearly, Mallery has done her research. 


I can't say enough about the writing here, really. This is a great story, everything you can want in your next read. The author's writing was so immersive, I easily stepped back into 1926. I loved how the mystery unveiled itself through multiple perspectives, giving us tastes of very visceral emotions.


Remember what I said about great historical fiction? Mallery is truly an author for readers to invest with. In Trouble in Glamour Town, S.R. Mallery has spun words into gold and given us an trip through time.









About the Author



S.R. Mallery, two-time READERS’ FAVORITE Gold Medal Winner, has been labeled nothing short of 'eclectic'. She has been a singer, a calligrapher, a quilt designer, and an ESL teacher. As a writer, History is her focus and is woven into her stories with a delicate thread. When people talk about the news of the day, or listen to music, her imagination likens the story to a similar kind of news in the past and is conjuring up scenes between characters she has yet to meet. S.R. Mallery's books include The Dolan Girls, Genteel Secrets, Unexpected Gifts, Sewing Can Be Dangerous And Other Small Threads, Tales to Count On, and Trouble in Glamour Town. For more information, please visit S. R. Mallery's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.






Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, May 7 Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Tuesday, May 8 Feature at View from the Birdhouse
Wednesday, May 9 Review at SilverWoodSketches
Thursday, May 10 Feature at Just One More Chapter
Monday, May 14 Review at Donna's Book Blog
Tuesday, May 15 Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, May 16 Interview at SilverWoodSketches
Friday, May 18 Review at E. Lizard Breath Reads
Monday, May 21 Review at 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, May 22 Feature at Broken Teepee
Thursday, May 24 Interview at Passages to the Past
Friday, May 25 Review at A Chick Who Reads  &  Review at LadyJ's Bookish Nook



Giveaway


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away four eBooks of Trouble in Glamour Town! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below. 

Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 25th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open internationally. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. 

 

  Trouble in Glamour Town 






Monday, May 14, 2018

Book Review: The Forest Beyond the Earth by Matthew S. Cox


The Forest Beyond the Earth Matthew S. Cox

Publication date: February 6th 2018
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult



Under the watchful eye of the Mother Shrine, twelve-year-old Wisp ekes out a simple, but challenging life with Dad, foraging for food and losing herself in old books from the world that came before. She loves the Endless Forest ― except when the Tree Walkers come for her.

In ages past, the great rain of fire and ash destroyed the Earth, wiping out the ancients and everything they had made. Nature has reclaimed much since then, spreading out in a vast forest full of wonder and dread. Ever in fear of being taken away, she follows Dad’s rules without question while learning to survive off the land.

No longer a small child, she accompanies Dad on one of his treks, her first time more than a few steps away from the cabin. A day exploring with him is the happiest time of her life, but joy is short-lived.
A monster follows them home.

Safe in her Haven, she hides while Dad goes outside to confront the beast. She wakes alone the next morning, and waits. Alas, her hope of his return fades with the daylight. Desperate, she breaks his strictest rule and goes outside alone. Not far from the cabin, she discovers his rifle abandoned next to the monster’s strange footprints.

Afraid but determined, Wisp sets off on her own into the Endless Forest to find Dad ― before the Tree Walkers catch her.






My Review

4 of 5 Stars


Exceptionally well-written speculative fiction. That sounds awfully wordy, but words are this author's bread and butter and Cox uses them with expert efficiency with his post-apocalyptic adventure, The Forest Beyond the Earth. 


Our perspective remains closely tied to Wisp, a pre-teen with one mission in mind as she braves the forest; find her father and bring him home. From the beginning, we are drawn into the world according to Wisp. She knows how to forage and listen to the forest. At night, she reads and hides from the terrifying Tree Walkers. Soon we are given disturbing clues that not all is as it seems. Why does her father keep her in a cage at night? Why isn't she allowed to forage with him? Without giving away too much plot, these disturbing moments build until the moment Wisp's world is turned upside down. 


Without her father to protect and guide her, she must brave into an unknown world. And she is far more equipped than she realized. Soon Wisp encounters other humans, a few good, all struggling to survive in this dangerous land where resources are precious. Hints of what led to this dystopian world are revealed piece by piece as Wisp is driven beyond the forest and into the wasteland. Like any epic hero's quest, she encounters helpful friends, villains and a very eccentric old man. As she is exposed to wider perspectives, Wisp begins to internally question the life her father built for them. 


While some imagery was disturbing and sad in equal measure, The Forest Beyond the Earth manages to inspire a message of hope. Cox weaves together both dark fantasy and horror with a deft hand. A terrifying world that one brave girl proves she's not only capable but a survivor in her own right. An all-encompassing, engrossing journey, I loved every minute of it. 





Author Bio



Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Hobbies and Interests:
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour.



Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


GIVEAWAY!



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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Book Review: Trouble in Glamour Town by S.R. Mallery





Trouble In Glamour Town 

by S.R. Mallery

Publication Date: November 12, 2017
eBook & Paperback; 202 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1979566070
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Mystery

Murder. Corruption. Romance. 

Movie stars. A modern day TV shoot ‘em up? No. It’s 1926 Old Hollywood, and a film producer is gunned down in cold blood. In comes Rosie, a pretty bit-player, who, in spite of her stage-mother’s expectations, just longs to be happy. Silent screen idols Clara Bow, Gloria Swanson, Lon Chaney, and Rudolph Valentino float in and out, as Los Angeles’ corruption is exposed, the era described, and a chase to find the killer revs up before there’s another hit.






My Review

5 of 5 Stars


Truly great historical fiction rests in the little details, minute things that give authenticity. From the first scene in Trouble in Glamour Town, we are dropped into a past as troubled as today. A constant theme is in the contrasting grit buried beneath the surface glamour so present with the '20s. 


Nostalgia abounds as we come across Old Hollywood starlets of the silent screen. I grew up on these films, thanks to my grandparents, so I knew them immediately. However, if you're a fan of the roaring twenties, but a little rusty on your cinema trivia, never fear. S.R. Mallery has written introductions and indications so effortlessly, you won't realize you're being educated. While I was familiar with Old Hollywood films and its stars, there was much about the industry at the time that I found fascinating. Clearly, Mallery has done her research. 


I can't say enough about the writing here, really. This is a great story, everything you can want in your next read. The author's writing was so immersive, I easily stepped back into 1926. I loved how the mystery unveiled itself through multiple perspectives, giving us tastes of very visceral emotions.


Remember what I said about great historical fiction? Mallery is truly an author for readers to invest with. In Trouble in Glamour Town, S.R. Mallery has spun words into gold and given us an trip through time.





"Trouble in Glamour Town is very historically accurate, portraying the real workings of the Hollywood sleaze, dishonesty and corruption happening at that time. S.R. Mallery is a gifted author who drew me into the story from the first word and kept me reading until the very last page...Trouble in Glamour Town is an old fashioned type of murder mystery story and is a very good read." 

Trudi LoPreto for Readers' Favorite





About the Author



S.R. Mallery, two-time READERS’ FAVORITE Gold Medal Winner, has been labeled nothing short of 'eclectic'. She has been a singer, a calligrapher, a quilt designer, and an ESL teacher. As a writer, History is her focus and is woven into her stories with a delicate thread. When people talk about the news of the day, or listen to music, her imagination likens the story to a similar kind of news in the past and is conjuring up scenes between characters she has yet to meet. S.R. Mallery's books include The Dolan Girls, Genteel Secrets, Unexpected Gifts, Sewing Can Be Dangerous And Other Small Threads, Tales to Count On, and Trouble in Glamour Town. For more information, please visit S. R. Mallery's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.






Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, May 7 Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Tuesday, May 8 Feature at View from the Birdhouse
Wednesday, May 9 Review at SilverWoodSketches
Thursday, May 10 Feature at Just One More Chapter
Monday, May 14 Review at Donna's Book Blog
Tuesday, May 15 Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, May 16 Interview at SilverWoodSketches
Friday, May 18 Review at E. Lizard Breath Reads
Monday, May 21 Review at 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, May 22 Feature at Broken Teepee
Thursday, May 24 Interview at Passages to the Past
Friday, May 25 Review at A Chick Who Reads  &  Review at LadyJ's Bookish Nook



Giveaway


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away four eBooks of Trouble in Glamour Town! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below. 

Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 25th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open internationally. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. 

 

  Trouble in Glamour Town 





Thursday, May 3, 2018

Book Spotlight: The Enchanted Garden Cafe by Abigail Drake




The Enchanted Garden CaféSouth Side StoriesBook OneAbigail Drake

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Kindle Press

Date of Publication: May 1, 2018

ASIN: B079ST8JW1

Number of pages: 272
Word Count: 89,000

Cover Artist: Najla Qamber

Tagline: Something magical is happening in the garden.

Book Description:

For her sixth birthday, Fiona Campbell’s mother, Claire, made her a peace sign piñata filled with wishes for a better planet instead of candy. When she got her period, her mother held a womanhood ceremony at their café and invited the neighborhood. On her sixteenth birthday, they celebrated with a drum circle.

Fiona grew up trying to keep the impulsive Claire in check, and their struggling café afloat. She plans to move out, but first must find a way to stop a big corporation from tearing down their business and destroying her mother’s livelihood.

Claire thinks karma will solve their financial and legal problems. Fiona prefers a spreadsheet and a solid business plan. The last thing she has time for is Matthew Monroe, a handsome complication who walks through their door with a guitar on his back and a naughty gleam in his eye. But when disaster strikes, and Fiona’s forced to turn to him for help, will she learn to open her heart and find she can believe in something magical after all?



Excerpt


Falling in love is like baking.
Results may vary with experience.
~Aunt Francesca~


            I opened the box and stepped back, tripping over a pile of Himalayan wind chimes I’d left lying behind me on the floor of the shop. They clanked in a discordant melody as I untangled them from my feet.

            “What the heck?” I asked, ignoring the chimes and focusing on the parcel that had arrived in the mail earlier that morning. Tiny stone phalluses in various shades of gray filled the container to the brim. Checking the return address, I noticed the shipping cost and wanted to cry. Most of our inventory budget for the entire month had been used to mail this one small box halfway around the world.

            “Mom, what exactly did you order from Inuyama, Japan?”

            My mother popped her head around the corner, a bright smile on her face. “Did they finally arrive, Fiona? I’ve been waiting for ages.”

            “For stone penises?”

            Why was I even surprised? This wasn’t the first time something like this had happened, and it probably wouldn’t be the last. My mother, Claire de Lune Campbell, had never been the master of impulse control, and she had a history of making very poor decisions. She’d been born Claire Campbell and added the “de Lune” in, what I can only guess, was a moment of pot-induced inspiration. The pot no longer played a part in her life, but the total inability to make common-sense decisions remained.

            Mom picked up one of the stone penises, a happy twinkle in her eye. “Aren’t they lovely?”
On the outside, Mom and I looked alike. The same blonde hair, the same blue eyes, the same stubborn tilt to our chins, but there the resemblance ended. Mom was as happy and bright as a butterfly landing on a flower, and she had the same level of fiscal responsibility. I stressed about everything, especially money, but I had good cause.

            My mom owned and operated the Enchanted Garden Café, where we served food, coffee, and specially blended teas and sold unusual items in our small gift shop. Nestled in the middle of the South Side, the funky hippie district of Pittsburgh, it was the perfect spot for my mom but a constant source of anxiety for me.

            I wiped sweat from my face and brushed off my clothing. Dust covered my T-shirt and shorts, and some kind of stone powder had fallen out of the box from Inuyama onto my tennis shoes. Mom, glowing in a dress made from recycled saris, didn’t have a speck of dust on her, but she hadn’t handled the phalluses.

            Kate, the girl who worked behind the counter, came over to us, her blue eyes alight with curiosity. “I want to see them,” she said. Mom handed her one, and she studied it closely, peering at it through the thick black frames of her retro hipster glasses. Her ebony hair was pulled off to the side in a low ponytail, and her colorful tattoos peeked through the crocheted black cardigan covering her pale skin. “At least they are anatomically correct. Look at those veins.”

            My cheeks grew warm, and Mom smiled, putting a cool hand against my face. “Aww, Fiona is blushing.”

            “No, I’m not. It’s hot in here.”

            “Of course it is,” she said, making me feel twelve instead of twenty-five, but it was hot for early June, and the air-conditioning was broken. Again. Even with all the windows open, it still felt stuffy.

            I ignored her and picked up a penis. “What are these things anyway?”

            She beamed at me with pure, unfiltered happiness. “Fertility charms from a little shrine in the mountains of Japan. They have a big festival there every year. I went once.”

            She sighed, most likely remembering happy times at the fertility festival, and went back to the kitchen. I looked at Kate and rolled my eyes, making her snicker, before getting back to work. The fertility charms came in all sizes and seemed handmade. I just wasn’t sure how to sell them or where to display them in our shop.

            A Victorian eyesore, the café was painted on the outside in what once had been a mix of bright pink and various shades of green. The pink had faded to a dull rose, and the green looked like the color of old limes just before they rotted. It needed work and a fresh coat of paint, but instead of doing so, we spent our money on phalluses from Japan. That was how things worked with my mother. No planning. No rhyme or reason. No logic. No rational thought.

            The bell above the door tinkled, and I turned, a penis in each hand, as a stranger walked into the shop. I couldn’t see his face at first because the sun was at his back, but he carried a guitar case. A sure sign of trouble.

            “Hello,” he said as he came closer.

            He had straight dark hair that brushed his shoulders, brown eyes, and a goatee. He reminded me of a sexy, naughty French pirate, and I knew his kind well. Close to my age, he was definitely one of the artsy, flighty types who always hung out around my mom. I could spot them a mile away.

            “Holy guacamole, if he were any hotter, I’d need new underwear,” whispered Kate, taking off to the back of the shop and leaving me alone to greet the stranger.



About the Author


Abigail Drake is the award-winning author of twelve novels, including three young adult books under the name Wende Dikec. She has spent her life traveling the world, and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and International Economics in college and worked in import/export and as an ESL teacher before she committed herself full time to writing. She writes in several romance genres, and her books are quirky, light, and fun.

Abigail is a trekkie, a book hoarder, the master of the Nespresso machine, a red wine addict, and the mother of three boys (probably the main reason for her red wine addiction). A puppy named Capone is the most recent addition to her family, and she blogs about him as a way of maintaining what little sanity she has left.
She is a member of Pennwriters, RWA, Three Rivers Romance Writers, Mindful Writers, Women's Fiction Writers, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She teaches writing to children, and her non-fiction article about the life of a child in Istanbul was published in Faces Magazine (an imprint of Cricket Magazine) in February 2016.












Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Book Blitz: The Trouble with Unicorns by D.T. Dyllin



The Trouble with Unicorns
D.T. Dyllin

(Team Unicorn Talia, #1)
Publication date: April 30th 2018
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Paranormal, Romance

Part-time demon tracker, full-time optimist …
Talia White does what comes naturally to a unicorn: Balances the scales between light and dark with hefty doses of love and joy. 
Faced with a string of high profile demon possessions, Talia is determined to do her job, despite the fact that she finds herself strapped with a brooding dragon warrior as her new guardian.
That’s the trouble with unicorns … they’ll accomplish their goal one way or another, even if they have to get a little stabby to do it.







Excerpt






Author Bio


D.T. Dyllin is a bestselling author who writes paranormal, sci-fi, and contemporary romance. Basically, anything with a love story is her kryptonite. Her obsession with affairs-of-the-heart is what first drove her to begin twisting her own tales of scorching romance. 

D.T. was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Black & Gold for life, baby!) She now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, and two spoiled German Shepherds. 



GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Friday, April 27, 2018

Review & Giveaway: "First Crush, Last Love" by Elizabeth McKenna



On Tour with Prism Book Tours



First Crush, Last Love

by Elizabeth McKenna

Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 314 pages
August 1st 2017




Back in high school, Lee Archer made Jessie Baxter’s cheeks flush and her heart race. But the popular athlete never wanted to be more than just friends. Ten years later, after a failed marriage and with her journalism career on shaky ground, Jessie’s come home for her high school reunion—and Lee still has the power to make her knees weak and her pulse pound.


Lee’s teenage years were filled with more trauma and drama than anyone guessed. Though his damaged past has helped make him a successful police detective, it’s hurt every relationship he’s tried. But seeing the grown-up, stunning Jessie might just change his commitment-phobic mind.


Jessie’s psycho ex-husband had her convinced no one would ever love her, but Lee is ready to step out of the friend zone and into her heart. Can she learn to trust again before she loses her chance to turn her first crush into her last love?


Elizabeth McKenna’s novel will have you remembering the angst of high school, the grief of a failed relationship, and the joy of finding true love at last.






My Review

5 of 5 Stars

Everyone remembers their first crush and the agony of loving someone who can't seem to love you back. But what happens when you don't get your happily ever after? Do you dare hope for a second chance? This is what Elizabeth McKenna explores in First Crush, Last Love


Jessie and Lee are best friends in high school, tangled and thwarted in love. It's the early 80's and initially we're drawn deep into the nostalgia worthy and more tangible than a John Hughes film. Jessie and Lee are a product of misplaced chances and the foolish mistakes of youth. Most stories would tie things up quickly, give us an easy resolution where true love conquers all. But here is where Mckenna dares to take us farther, lifting the literary curtain a bit. 


Jessie finds herself in an abusive relationship while Lee can't seem to move on from his destructive past. Without giving too much away, this separation between them is truly the heart of this story. Because if we didn't see their individual journeys it wouldn't mean as much as the moment they are brought back together. 


A gripping, emotional tale more powerful because it based on a true story, First Crush, Last Love gives us the happy ending we all wish for. 






About the Author



Though Elizabeth McKenna’s love of books reaches back to her childhood, she had never read a romance novel until her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene). With the urging of her children, she decided to write her own Happily Ever Afters.


Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.




Tour Schedule



Tour Giveaway



- 1 winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card and ebook of Venice in the Moonlight- Open internationally
- Ends April 25th



Saturday, April 21, 2018

Grand Finale: "Bachelor Remedy" by Carol Ross

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Bachelor Remedy
By Carol Ross

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you can see snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:


Launch - Note from the Author


Welcome, welcome! I’m so excited to once again be on tour with Prism Book Tours. Bachelor Remedy is the fifth book in my Seasons of Alaska series. The hero, Tag James, has made a guest appearance in every previous book. In addition to his reluctant status in Rankins as the town’s Most Eligible Bachelor, he also has the distinction of being my Character Most Requested to Get His Own Story. Tag is everyone’s favorite – in his world and mine! When I set out to find a heroine to win his heart I knew she’d have to be really special - and a little unexpected. I think Ally is his perfect match, even if they do get off to a rather, er, muddy start. I hope you enjoy Tag and Ally’s story!

Ally my best,
Carol




“What I’m saying is that I can’t let you win.”

Sliding her gaze toward the hand still on her shoulder, she said, “Thanks for the warning. Better be careful, though. All this looking out for me and I’ll wonder about your intentions.”

He went hands up, palms out, eyes wide, like she’d just caught him robbing a bank. “No, no. I don’t… I’m not thinking about you…like that. I promise.”

An invisible pain hit her in the chest, so sudden and powerful that she brought a hand up and placed it there. She glanced away, forcing a smile that felt brittle enough to crack her face. How could she have been so stupid? He could have any woman he wanted. Why in the world would he consider…whatever it was she’d been thinking?




"You do have to pay attention to what you are reading. If you are a reader that skims as they read you may miss some great details of this book. Tag and Ally both are familiar with the medical field but Ally likes to stay true to her roots as well. They mesh so well together. This is an excellent read."




5) What inspired this book?

In a general sense, the main character, Tag James, was overdue for an HEA. He’s made an appearance in every previous Seasons of Alaska book. Readers seem to love him almost as much as I do, and I’ve received the most requests for him to get his own story. So there’s that.

When it came to setting him up with the right woman, I knew I needed a strong conflict. Ideally, one that had them at odds externally and internally, so that he couldn’t easily brush her off. Tag is a pilot who owns an air transport company that does emergency medical evacuations. Since health and alternative medicine is sort of a hobby of mine, it seemed like a good place for them to butt heads. I think it worked out beautifully and I hope readers do, too!



Remembrancy - Review

"The combination of combustive chemistry, tormented tension, an ex-girlfriend set on getting her man back, and an abundance of opinionated family members make this book a great read."




He went with “Yes, I am. That’s exactly what I’m going to say. Except it’s I… I shouldn’t have—”

She interrupted, “You mean I shouldn’t have? I kissed you.”

“No, I mean, I know you did. But I shouldn’t have let you.”

“Let me? You seemed to enjoy it. In fact, you kinda took over there at the end. Which is no surprise. You’re used to being in control, huh? To having things go your way?”

“No! I mean, yes, of course, I enjoyed…kissing you. Obviously. But we shouldn’t have. And we’re not going to do it again. I should have, I mean I shouldn’t have…and, yes, I like being in control of…certain things. But what does that have to do with this? I don’t even know what I’m saying…” Words lost, thoughts jumbled, he scraped a restless hand along the bench beside him.



Becky on Books - Interview

What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?

I’m currently working on Book 6 in my Seasons of Alaska series. This is Iris and Flynn’s story. And all I’m going to say about it is that Flynn is not having an easy time taking their relationship out the friend zone!

My next book comes out in August and I could not be more excited about it! The Rancher’s Twins is the first in a five-book, multi-author continuity series called Return of the Blackwell Brothers.

Here’s my pitch: When their grandfather goes AWOL five hot rancher brothers are called home to help on the family ranch. They’re bucking family issues, wrangling their personal demons and getting all tangled up in love! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist – it’s my first rancher book.)

It’s been such an incredible experience to work on this project with my four best author friends – Cari Lynn Webb, Melinda Curtis, Amy Vastine, and Anna J. Stewart. The books will be released one per month, August through December.



E-Romance News - Excerpt

She froze.

So did he. Then he sighed because what he wanted to do was pull her close and wrap his arms around her.

“Look, Ally, I’m the one who is let down. I like you, obviously. I’ve already told you that. And I’m beyond flattered that you would even entertain the thought of being interested in me.”

She stepped toward him, right into his comfort zone, and his pulse took off like a helicopter rotor at full speed.

“How could any woman not be interested in you?” Her voice was all soft, like she was about to tell him a secret, and his blood went hot as he remembered what happened last time she’d gotten this close...




"Bachelor Remedy is a sweet romance, as one would expect from the Heartwarming line, but there’s an unexpected complexity and depth in this story that I loved. Carol Ross is an excellent writer and her words flow smoothly across the page with wisdom and emotion. Family members from previous books in this series are involved, but this story easily stands alone.

...Bachelor Remedy is a wonderfully entertaining read. Highly recommended."




"This was a delightful tale of adventure, intrigue and romance....

This is a fast-paced tale of the rescue services we often take for granted, set within the majestic land of Alaska.

The story was very well-written, captivating the reader's interest most of the time." - LAWonder10

"Such a good story. I really like the relationships with Tag and his family and extended family.
The characters are well-developed and easy to feel their emotions. They all have distinctive personalities. I found myself really liking all of them...

I would highly recommend this book to other readers." - Vickie



I Am A Reader - Excerpt

“James. Tag James,” he supplied.

“Tag, huh?” Reaching out, Rita gave his shoulder a playful nudge. “You’re it.”

Wait… What? Was this woman hitting on him while Ally was sitting right here?

Rita thrust her ID in Ally’s general direction with a flat “Thanks, hon.” Eager blue eyes remained fastened on Tag. “Is this little cutie your daughter?”

Ally slid a hand across the table, threaded her fingers through Tag’s and pitched her voice to sweet. “Wife, actually. Thank you, Rita, for your meticulous and painstaking commitment to the law. You’re a credit to your profession.”

“Oh…” Rita drawled, her pale cheeks turning nearly as pink as her lip gloss. “Um…you’re welcome. Are you guys ready to order?”




Ally and Tag make a really great couple but he is just not sure of the age difference. Love how he flies patients to other hospitals or from the site they got injured... I enjoyed all the characters of the book but I believe Ally was my favorite."




She realized she was staring when he asked, “Is something wrong? Am I too early? I know I’m not late.”

“Um, no. I was just admiring your...you, to be honest. Your eyes change colors, sometimes green, sometimes brown. You’re so...”

Right before her, his eyes darkened, and he made a sound, part chuckle, part incomprehensible mutter while grasping the back of his neck in that way he did when he was uncomfortable. He took a step toward her. Her heart jumped toward him. She wondered if he was going to kiss her. That would be a nice change, since she’d been the one making all the moves up to this point. Which was funny, now that she thought about it, because she’d never kissed anyone first. Ever.

Until him.



Harlie's Books - Excerpt & Review

“Noted,” she replied calmly. “My turn.”

“What?”

Ally almost laughed at his look of utter confusion. “You said we were establishing ground rules. You gave me yours. If this works the way I think it does, then it’s my turn to outline my rules?”

Narrowing his gaze, he studied her like he was puzzling out this detail. His eyes burned into hers, and she couldn’t tell if they were green or brown. Inexplicably, the back of her neck began to tingle.

"Ms. Ross writes a true winner in the line and of course, I’m one of their biggest cheerleaders. They are heartwarming, funny, relevant with romance abound. Ms. Ross delivers a winner!"




Ally felt the back of her neck prickle. Her gaze swept across the sea of people and quickly latched onto Tag’s. His knowing grin paired with a quirk of one brow suggested he’d been waiting for her to catch sight of him. A furnace blast of heat radiated from her core all the way out through her skin. She returned the smile, and the next thing she knew they were moving toward each other.

“Hey,” he said, stopping in front of her. “Nice of you to come today.”



Among the Reads - Review

"I think my favorite part of the story was the basketball game at Tag’s family gathering. It had some great laugh out loud moments in it.

Bachelor Remedy is a great book to pick up for a nice romantic read."




"I enjoyed the fact that this book had a character of Native American descent. . . . I did enjoy Carol's writing style and look forward to reading other books by her."



Heidi Reads... - Excerpt

“Are you...serious with this?” Slipping an arm behind him to grip the back of the bench, she inched toward him, studying his reaction. “Do you really not...?”

She scooted closer. Desire and terror looked to be at war on his face. He stared at her lips and leaned away from her at the same time. She would have laughed if it wasn’t so exasperating.

“Not what?” The question sounded strained. He swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing in his throat.

Ally planned every beat of her next move because she wanted to catch him off guard, wanted to see the heat flare in his eyes, wanted to elicit a reaction without giving him time to think.




"Bachelor Remedy was a fun read, that kept me up late trying to finish.

I loved the setting and think the cover perfectly captures this book...

If you enjoy clean contemporary romance novels, I think you'd like reading Bachelor Remedy."




"Bachelor Remedy by Carol Ross has a vivid setting, engaging characters, and an electric chemistry between the protagonists. The small town feel adds to its charm, and lots of twists and turns keep reader interest high. While Tag and Ally may appear to be opposites in many ways, they actually have a lot in common where it really matters. There is still plenty to be said for the whole ‘opposites attract’ theory, however, and their witty banter and sizzling romantic tension prove why. A sweet story with just enough spice to be swoony!"




“Did you or did you not see a woman who you interpreted as too young for this job and then decided that you’d teach her a thing or two? You, with your wisdom honed from years of experience, would come to the aid of an inexperienced, newbie female colleague?”

“No!” That he was not doing. “Nope. No way. Don’t even try that on me.”

“Don’t try what on you?”

“There’s no misogyny or ageism or sexism or racism or any other ‘ism’ going on here. I have four sisters and a boatload of female cousins, all of whom are younger than me. Each one is equally as smart and capable as I am, more so in many, many ways. This isn’t about any of that. This is about your workplace attitude, your approach and your lack of respect. After your behavior yesterday, I would have come in here today if you were an eighty-six-year-old man wearing a honey badger suit.”




"I wanted these two characters to be alone, away from their lives, and just fall in love. However they had obstacles in their way. I would love to find out how they are living 10 years down the road. I am giving this book a 5/5."



Don't forget to enter the giveaway below and also check out the special post and exclusive giveaway at Harlequin Junkie on April 25th!




Bachelor Remedy
(Seasons of Alaska #5)
by Carol Ross
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
April 1st 2018 by Harlequin Superromance

She’s the most unconventional woman he’ll ever meet…

and the cure for a perennial bachelor?

Raised by her healer grandfather, former army medic Ally Mowak knows her alternative approach to traditional medicine puts her at odds with most of her Alaskan town. That includes Tag James, the rugged transport pilot with the sprawling family and political ambitions. Ally couldn’t be more wrong for the aspiring senator. Then why does everything feel so right when they’re together?




Other Books in the Series




About the Author


USA Today bestselling author Carol Ross grew up in small town America right between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, in a place where you can go deep sea fishing in the morning and then hit the ski slopes the same afternoon. The daughter of what is now known as free range parents, she developed a love of the outdoors at a very early age. As a writer, Carol loves to breathe the life she has lived into the characters she creates, grateful for the “research material” that every questionable decision, adrenaline-charged misstep, and near-death experience has provided.




Tour Giveaway


- 1 winner will receive a $50 Amazon e-gift card and a copy of Summer at the Shore (signed copy to US and Canada, ebook to international)
2 winners will receive a $5 Amazon e-gift card and an e-book of Summer at the Shore (open internationally)
- Ends April 25th





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