Thursday, June 23, 2016

Book Club Thursday:June Reading Challenge




Hi Readers! Thanks for joining my fellow bloggers and I for this week's Book Club Thursday. This week: our June Reading Challenge. Her is our list of the challenges that we selected for this year.

Read a New Author to You
Read a Book Published Prior to 2010
Read a Novella
Read a E-Book
Read an Erotica
Re-Read a Desert Island Book
Read a Book With a Heroine that Has Your Name
Read a Book You Bought For the Cover or Title Alone
Read a Book Recommend by a Friend
Read a Guilty Pleasure Book
Read a Pee In Your Pants Read
Read a Feel Good Book

My pick for June: Read A Feel Good Book
WORTH IT ALL by Claudia Connor




She’s fighting for control. . . . Paige Roberts learned to fend for herself growing up. Now she’s doing everything possible to give her daughter, Casey, the stability she never had. But when the vivacious five-year-old decides she’s done wearing her prosthesis, Paige faces her toughest challenge yet: trusting a handsome, brooding stranger who simply wants to help.

He’s struggling to connect. . . . JT McKinney lost more than his leg in a car accident that stole his dreams of pro football. Eight years later, he's made a new life for himself far away from his old one. His business is developing cutting-edge prosthetics and he’s more than happy to turn his attention to machines instead of people. Still, he can’t shake the feeling that something’s missing.

Will they take a chance on love? . . . When JT gets the chance to help Paige’s daughter, he takes it. He never planned on the two of them tearing down his walls or teaching him to believe in himself again. Paige might not believe in happily ever afters, but JT wants more than anything to be her prince. They’ll both have to let go of the past if they want a future.


I read this book a couple of months back, but when I decided to pick a feel good book, WORTH IT ALL is a story that fits the challenge to a T for me. 
     Jake aka JT is one of those special heroes that you can't help falling in love with. He comes from a family of great people, yet he lives in self imposed exile from his family that he loves. His dreams of playing football were dashed in an accident with his high school girlfriend when he was only nineteen. He lost a leg in the accident and more. But what fate threw at him made him stronger and he has built a successful career designing prosthetics for others in a similar situation.
     He meets Paige, a single mother and her little girl Casey, who also wears a prosthetic leg. Paige is a strong woman who is struggling to make something of her life. And she is tired. There is an instant attraction between the two adults, but neither was looking for love. And for JT, his guilt doesn't make him feel worthy of love and family.
     Claudia Connor writes this story at a wonderful pace, no insta love, and they are full of humor and heart. JT has lived with guilt, taking words said in anger and growing from them. He is generous and sweet, and yet he is alone. The way Ms Connor handled JT dealing with his past is spot on. I can't tell you what happens, you will just have to read it.
     McKinney men are special. You can't help but fall hard for them. They are all about love and family. JT is no exception. I couldn't help but root for JT and Paige to fall for each other and become a family with Casey. I know I felt good after reading this story and still think about months after reading it. This is a warm and emotional story written by an author who knows people well. I highly recommend WORTH IT ALL.
     


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Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to visit my friends and their blogs for their challenge picks. I hope you enjoy us again next week, June 30th, to see what we have on our minds. We love hearing from you. Until then, Happy Reading!





THE HANG UP By Tawna Fenske Review & Giveaway-Virtual Tour


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THE HANG UP
First Impressions #2
Tawna Fenske
Releasing June 13th, 2016
Entangled Publishing


PR specialist Miriam Ashley makes her living cleaning up bad boys. Mountain climber-turned-CEO Jason Sanders should be an easy fix. And with a nephew to care for, he’s motivated. The problem? Every time she tries to help Jason get his head in the boardroom, they end up in the bedroom.

What the hell is she thinking? He’s the definition of off-limits. Not just because he’s a client—he spends his free time risking his life mountain climbing. The same thing that got her father killed. She’s not going to open her heart to a guy who could disappear at the drop of a…well, she’d rather not finish that thought.

She needs to leave complicated alone, but every time she sees Jason, something tells her it’s her who might fall…




     Tawna Fenske is a new author to me. A good friend has been enjoying her books for a while, so when  the opportunity to read THE HANG UP came up, I signed up. Now I am thinking, why didn't I read her before?
     This opposites attract  story is FUN! The breezy pace and the wickedly funny banter between Jason and Miriam had me laughing out loud. The sizzling chemistry sparked between them since the moment they met, well nearly. He was covered in mud and Miriam assumed he was homeless. 
     Jason is a sportsman, but he is well educated and it's Miriam's job as a PR expert to help him fit in as the new CEO of a scandal plagued outdoor sports company. Neither is looking for a relationship, but they can't stop thinking about each other. He is focused on his new role so that he can secure a good life for his sister and her young son. Miriam is attracted to Jason, but not some of the dangerous adrenaline sports that he loves. Eventually, he is able to coax her into experiencing a couple of adventures in the great outdoors. 
     Jason is a fun and sexy hero who is focused while trying to breathe new life into the company. A good man, you feel the love for his family. Miriam is smart, sophisticated, and a little uptight like a big city girl. I loved how the two characters brought out the best in each other. Miriam had a good reason to not like the sports Jason sometimes experienced, but she was a trooper and willing to try to enjoy a little adventure thru Jason's eyes. And they had some heartwarming scenes with Jason's sweet little nephew.
     To me, this was an enjoyable feel good story. I can only feel that I have some new books on Ms. Fenske's back-list to discover as well as look forward to more good story writing in the future.
     


Homeless?” He quirked an eyebrow at her, which made more cracks in the mud on his face. “I’m not homeless. I just bought a place down the street. Two blocks away—it’s the blue duplex with the white shutters.”

He pointed toward a shady, tree-lined section of the neighborhood, and she recalled seeing the glossy “sold” sticker tacked up on the real estate sign a few weeks ago.

She looked back at the man. Okay, upon closer inspection, she could see he wore expensive running shoes and trendy, designer athletic apparel, even if it was covered in mud. What the hell?

I just did the Tough Mudder,” he said, answering her unasked question. “You know, the big race with all the mud pits and obstacles?”

Right,” Miriam said, and recognition dawned as the guy turned around to show her the dirt-covered number pinned to his back. At least, that’s what she assumed he was showing her, though her eyes strayed down to one of the most impressive asses she’d ever seen.

Even if it was covered in mud.

The guy turned back around before she thought to avert her gaze. The result was an awkward five-second pause where she found herself staring at his crotch.

Also very impressive.

She gave herself a mental slap and met his eyes again. “So what are you doing walking around looking like a giant malt ball? Don’t they have showers or something at the finish line?”

He grinned, flashing a set of perfectly white teeth that contrasted with the mud. “Just hoses. Hoses with really cold water. I figured since I only lived a couple miles from the race course, I could just run there as my warm-up and run home as my cooldown, and then I could grab a warm shower at home.”

Right,” Miriam said, trying to wrap her brain around the idea of willingly running four miles on top of whatever the hell they ran in the actual race. People really did this on purpose?

The thing is,” the guy continued, “I lost my key somewhere in the racecourse, and now I can’t get back in my house to shower off in time to make it to a doctor’s appointment.”

Sympathy fluttered through her belly, or maybe that was anxiety. Probably anxiety. The mention of doctors and hospitals and anything medically related tended to send her spiraling down a path of panicked memories and despondent terror, and she found herself gripping her keys a little tighter. “You have to get to the doctor?” she asked.

The appointment’s at two. Please, I just need to borrow your phone to call a locksmith. Then I’ll be out of your hair, I swear.”

She glanced at him, then back at her house. Her phone was back on the entry table, but right beside that was her guest bathroom with a shower the guy could use without stepping more than five feet inside her place. Ordinarily she’d think twice about inviting a strange man into her home, but there was something about this man that made her consider it. She could always stand there with a butcher
knife, ready to stick it in him if he tried anything funny. She hesitated, then looked back at the guy.

I’m Jason, by the way,” he said, smiling wider. “Jason Sanders. I’d shake your hand, but I don’t want to get mud on you.”

Miriam.” She added polite and considerate to his list of attributes. His eyes were kind, and he seemed sweet and well-spoken.

That’s probably what every serial killer’s victim thinks just before he strangles her with her own panty hose.

But she wasn’t wearing panty hose, and she did have a soft spot for friendly, burly, blue-eyed, stubble-jawed guys in need.

Come on,” she said and turned toward her walkway.

Follow me.”

Follow you where?”

My house. You can’t stand out here being dirty.”

He quirked one eyebrow, which caused the mud to crack on his forehead. “You’d rather I be dirty in your house?”



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Tawna Fenske is a USA Today bestselling author who writes humorous fiction, risqué romance, and heartwarming love stories with a quirky twist. Her offbeat brand of romance has received multiple starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, one of which noted, “There’s something wonderfully relaxing about being immersed in a story filled with over-the-top characters in undeniably relatable situations. Heartache and humor go hand in hand.”

Tawna lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband, step-kids, and a menagerie of ill-behaved pets. She loves hiking, snowshoeing, standup paddleboarding, and inventing excuses to sip wine on her back porch. She can peel a banana with her toes and loses an average of twenty pairs of eyeglasses per year.

To learn more about all of Tawnas books, visit www.tawnafenske.com




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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Release Blast: MAN OF ACTION by Janie Crouch Read Excerpt & Giveaway!


He was a man of action—especially when it came to 
protecting his new undercover partner…


MAN OF ACTION
Omega Sector: Critical Response #4
Janie Crouch
Releasing June 21st, 2016
Harlequin Intrigue


He was a man of action—especially when it came to protecting his new undercover partner… 

At nineteen, Andrea Gordon's life was forever changed. After proving herself instrumental in a bank hostage crisis, she became one of Omega Sector's top agents. Four years later, her skill at reading people is unrivaled—until she meets fellow profiler Brandon Han. Paired together to track a serial killer who has been targeting at-risk women, the two become entangled beyond the case. Their mutual attraction deepens as they get closer to the truth. But when Andrea's own sordid past surfaces, they will both be forced to question everything about the assignment…and each other. 


This whole thing was a terrible idea. Going back to Buckeye? Terrible. Going back with the likes of Brandon Han? Even worse. The plane hit some turbulence at thirty-five thousand feet, as if nodding in agreement with Andrea’s conclusion.
Brandon didn’t want to work with her on the case. He’d made that abundantly clear in Steve’s office. She wanted to assume it was her fault, that he knew about her shortcomings and lack of education as an Omega consultant, but forced herself to stop. He’d mentioned liking to work alone. She could understand that, too. Andrea liked working alone, but for different reasons.
Brandon’s irritation had been pretty tangible when she’d sat down next to him at the airport. It had just grown as they waited for their flight, first when she’d mentioned him being complicated, then when they were both looking through the case files.
By the time they got on the plane, about an hour after their scheduled departure time, Brandon was hardly even talking to her. He was mad—she had no idea why—and she was awkward—as usual around someone she was so attracted to. Good times.
Andrea tried to pretend she was reading the files when he handed them to her, but she wasn’t. She knew better than to even try. Her dyslexia made reading simple books difficult, although she had learned some exercises to help with that. But reading handwritten notes and case files often written in different fonts and sizes—that pretty much just led to a headache and frustration.
She’d had an extra hour at her apartment so she’d used the special software on her computer to scan a few pages so they could be converted into audio clips. She’d found that listening worked much better for her than trying to read. Unfortunately she hadn’t had enough time to scan all the files as she normally would.
Listening to the files on audio clips had just made Brandon more irritated. Andrea had no idea what to do about that, so she ignored it. She would listen to the clips she had, then spend this evening—all night if she had to—reading through the files in her room, when she was alone and it was quiet. She refused to go into that meeting with the local police tomorrow unprepared.
She didn’t want to go back there at all. If it wasn’t for Steve asking her to go, Andrea wouldn’t have done it, serial killer or not.
Maybe they wouldn’t run into anyone she knew. Or maybe the people in Buckeye wouldn’t recognize her. She’d gone to great lengths to look nothing like the girl who had worked at Jaguar’s. Her blond hair was shorter, cut in a flattering bob; her makeup was tasteful. She’d learned how to dress and present herself in a professional manner.
She doubted her own aunt and uncle would recognize her. Not that she planned to drop in on them. She hadn’t seen them since the last time her uncle, in a drunken stupor again, had awakened her with a backhand that had sent her sprawling from her bed to the floor when she was seventeen. Another punch had sent her hurling into a glass table. She’d gotten away from him and hidden that night, wrapping her cut arm in a T-shirt.
The next morning she’d told her aunt, who’d looked the other way again during all the commotion, that she was going to school.
Andrea hadn’t gone to school. And she hadn’t gone back home. Ever again.
She hadn’t gone far, just to the other side of the town she’d only ever known as home, but they hadn’t come looking for her. Had probably been relieved that she’d left.
So yeah, no joyous homecoming in Buckeye.

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Nominated for the 2014 & 2015 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, and a finalist in multiple other Romance literary awards, Janie Crouch loves to read – almost exclusively romance – and has been doing so since middle school. She cut her teeth on Harlequin (Mills & Boon) Romances when she lived in Wales, UK as a preteen, then moved on to a passion for romantic suspense as an adult.

Janie recently relocated with her husband and four children to Germany (due to her husband's job as support for the U.S. Military), after living in Virginia for nearly 20 years.  When she’s not listening to the voices in her head (and even when she is), she enjoys traveling, long-distance running, movie-watching, knitting and adventure (obstacle) racing.

She teaches online communication classes for an American college part time, and writes full time. Most of all, she loves to laugh and smile and count her blessings. And her blessings are many.




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Friday, June 17, 2016

Review & Giveaway for STIRRING ATTRACTION by Sara Jane Stone.


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STIRRING ATTRACTION
Second Shot #2
Sara Jane Stone
Releasing June 7th, 2016
Avon Impulse


The second, sizzling book in Sara Jane Stone's Second Shots series...

When Dominic Fairmore left Oregon to be all he could be as an Army Ranger, he always knew he’d come back to claim Lily Greene. But after six years away and three career-ending bullets, Dominic is battered, broken, and nobody's hero—so he stays away. Until he learns Lily has been the victim of a seemingly random attack. He’ll do anything to keep her safe . . . even go home.

Lily is starting to find a life without Dominic when suddenly her wounded warrior is home and playing bodyguard—though all she really wants is for him to take her. But she refuses to play the part of a damsel in distress, no matter how much she misses his tempting touch. He’ll leave as soon as she’s safe and Lily knows her heart will never heal.

But as attraction stirs to so much more, danger closes in. With more than Lily’s heart at stake, Dominic can no longer draw a line between protecting Lily and loving her . . .

You can always count on Sara Jane Stone to write a sexy and emotional romance that grabs your heart from the first page. You can tell from the prologue that Dominic and Lily belong together. This sizzling couple were made for each other. In love since they were teens, they had big plans and dreams for their future.
     Unfortunately, Dominic's dream of being one of the best Army Rangers is brought to a halt when he is seriously wounded. He still loves Lily, but doesn't think he is worthy of her anymore, so he locks himself in a cage of loneliness and self-pity. He doesn't even come back to town after being released from the hospital in Europe. His career has always caused a great strain in their relationship because he was always being deployed and he truly pushed her away the last time.

     When Lily is attacked, a friend convinces him to snap out of it and return to help her. The police believe it was random, but Lily knows that it is personal. And she also doesn't want Dominic to be her savior. Either be a part of my life or let me go. 
     I love how strong Lily is and sometimes I, as a reader, wanted to smack Dominic upside the head for Lily and yell at him not to blow his last chance. This story is a wonderful blend of romance, suspense, and the promise of a second chance. Ms Stone writes characters that you can connect with and care about while wishing for their happily ever after.
     



Prologue                                                              
            “You painted your toenails pink.”
            Dominic Fairmore stared at Lily’s bumble-gum colored nails. He didn’t trust himself to look up. Downstairs, his dad’s dogs made the familiar trip to the water bowl and back, probably stopping to sniff the bag of Chinese take-out he’d abandoned on the kitchen table. The animals’ nails tapped against the hardwood floors, but otherwise silence filled the farmhouse. His little sister was at the beach and his dad was pulling a double at Forever, Oregon’s woefully understaffed police station. And yeah, he kept track of their locations because at twenty-two he still lived at home.
            Lily raised one perfect eyebrow. “I have two hours before my mom expects me home and you’re looking at my toenails?”
            Her ironic tone pushed him damn close to his breaking point. He’d take her. Here. Now. Against the wall, pictures falling to the floor. Because he knew she reserved her humor for him. The rest of Forever saw a blond-haired, blue-eyed woman who charmed a room full of five-year olds day after day. A girl who’d been born here, grown up here, and put herself through the local university while still living at home to care for her wheelchair-bound mother and alcoholic father.
            But Dominic saw the only girl he’d ever loved. If he closed his eyes, he could still picture her, walking down the halls of their high school. She’d been one year ahead of him. She’d graced the dreary high school halls with her sunshine smile and confidence. And yeah, her short skirts.
He’d memorized the way her cheerleaders outfit teased her thighs while she led the squad her senior year. He’d been a junior, but already shepherding the football team to one victory after another. And sometimes it felt like he busted his ass on the field and won the game just to see her smile . . .
            But he couldn’t close his eyes and block out the way Lily looked right now.  His gaze drifted up her calves. Every inch of bare skin wrapped around his heart like a noose. He took in the curve of her thighs and tried to go slow. His jaw tightened and his eyes disobeyed.
Fuck slow.
 His gaze locked on the slip of fabric disappearing between her legs.
            “Your panties match your toenails,” he growled. There wasn’t a hint of humor in his voice. He couldn’t picture laughing now. In two days, he’d wreck her heart. He would shatter their love and leave her with nothing but memories and the promise that he’d come back.
I swear I’ll come back for her.
But so much could change while he was on the other side of the country training to be all he could be. And later, once he deployed, on the other side of the world.
Two more days. Two more nights. How many times could he make love to this woman before they ran out of time?
            “Are you sure they match?” she teased. Her fingers brushed the waistband of her panties and then her thumbs slipped beneath the pink fabric.
            His hands formed tight fists at his sides, watching as she drew her underwear down to her toes. Her upper body stole away his view of the blond curls, instead offering the sight of her full, bare breasts hovering in front of her legs. Long locks of blonde hair drifted down as she compared the color of her underwear to her nail polish.
            “Lily,” he growled and stepped closer.
            She glanced up at him and slowly, as if she knew every movement of her body turned him on and pushed him closer to that place where he lost control. But hell, after six years together, Lily Greene damn well knew how to drive him crazy with lust and longing.
            “My nails are a light pink. I think the bottle said ‘Ballet Slipper.’ But my underwear is closer to fuchsia.” She tossed her panties at him. “See?”
            Years of training on the football field kicked in and he caught the slip of fabric in his right hand. “You’re right,” he said and he took a step forward. He threw her underwear down to the carpet without bothering to study them.
            “You need to be home in two hours?” he asked.
            Her teasing smile faded at the reminder of the reality beyond the bedroom walls. “You know I do.”
            “We might not have time for the Chinese food.” He momentarily blocked his view as he drew his ‘Go Army!’ T-shirt over his head. He discarded the reminder of where he was heading in two days’ time. He wanted to leave this town and the dead-end future it promised, but not Lily.
            “I hate Chinese,” she said.
She reached forward and grabbed onto the belt buckle his father had given him after he won the state championship with his high school football team. He pressed his palms flat against the wall, one on either side of her head. He couldn’t touch her. Not yet.
            “I know.” He allowed her to pull him close, her fingers working to free his belt and undo his jeans. “I didn’t want to run the risk that you would want to eat first.”
            She smiled as her hands won the battle with his belt. Drawing his zipper down, she leaned forward and whispered in his ear. “Smart man.” Her hands pushed his pants over his hips and then went in search of their target.
            “Lily,” he gasped as her fingers wrapped around the part of his body that thought ‘slow’ spelled disaster. Hell, it just might. He wanted her so damn much he might come in her hand. “Careful,” he added. “Or I’ll be about as useful as I was the first time. In the front seat of my truck.”
            “Have as much self-control now as you did at seventeen?” she challenged, her hand moving up and down now.
            “You know it.” He took his right hand off the wall and cupped her jaw. Angling her lips up to meet his, he kissed her. He knew her mouth. He’d memorized the way she liked his tongue to tease hers.
His hand moved down her neck and over her shoulder. His fingers froze, hovering on her collarbone. He knew the feel of her soft skin as well as he knew his own. But dammit, he couldn’t take the weight of her breast in his hand, her nipple brushing against his palm, and still maintain control.
She broke the kiss. “Don’t hold back, Dominic,” she whispered. “You never have before. Don’t start now. You know how to touch me. You’re the only one—”
His growl cut off her hushed words. He was the only one who knew the color of her panties. The only man in her bed. The only one who heard her sly humor. And yeah, the only man in Forever, Oregon who loved her.
For now . . .
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After several years on the other side of the publishing industry, Sara Jane Stone bid goodbye to her sales career to pursue her dream-writing romance novels. Sara Jane currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her very supportive real-life hero, two lively young children and a lazy Burmese cat. Join Sara Jane’s newsletter to receive new release information, news about contests, giveaways, and more! Visit www.sarajanestone.com and look for her newsletter entry form.




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