Tag Archives: Contemporary Romance

FIVE GREAT READS YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS!

FIVE READS
FIVE AUTHORS
FIVE GENRES

99p/99c

FIVE DAYS ONLY

Discover a new author? Try something different? All of the authors below are offering readers the chance to download one of their ebooks that has received great reviews and has a high star rating. For the next five days you can download and enjoy any of these titles for just 99p or 99c  (from 10th–15th June). Just click on the links to view any book on Amazon!

 

What Jennifer Knows
Contemporary women’s fiction

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“I started off liking What Jennifer Knows…I finished the novel loving it.” ~ Judith Barrow, author and creative writing tutor.

Sensitively drawn characters charm us… The shifting nature of loyalty and love is portrayed through searingly honest glimpses into the characters lives, both past and present.” ~ Jenny Worstall, author and musician.

Jennifer Jacobs unwittingly discovers a link between two of her friends. Should she speak out or stay silent?

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What I Did Not Say
Mystery/thriller

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“Outstanding mystery/thriller. I was blown away by this novel…” ~ Babus Ahmed,  Amazon Top 1000 reviewer and prolific book blogger.

 “Part 2 was the trial, where the pace and tension were excellent. The pages seemed to  turn themselves.” ~ Amazon reviewer. 

Jessica Morley is on her way to meet with a man she has not seen for fifteen years. In her bag  there is a package she must deliver.

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The Sickness
Supernatural horror

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“If you like your supernatural horror to be dark, gruesome and unequivocally gory, then  this is the book for you. It is explosive, expertly written and riveting.” ~
Shelley Wilson, author of The Guardians, YA fiction novels.

“This book is subtly rather than in-your-face     creepy, and the story unfolds at a steady pace, building up to an explosive end; this is a  writer who totally ‘gets’ suspense.” ~
Terry Tyler, author of nine highly rated novels, including The House of York.

Forced home to attend his parents’ funeral, James Harris returns to a place of childhood  torment and gruesome horror.

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Death Times Three
Cozy mystery

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“Elinor (Gray) is a wonderful amateur sleuth—shes whip-smart and determined without coming across as nosy or arrogant.” ~ Elizabeth Maria  Naranjo. 

“I’m a sucker for stories involving a female who can’t resist sticking her nose into a  curious puzzle and the attractive man who can’t stop her.” ~ Terri Case.

A Las Vegas librarian trips over a murdered artist and an amateur sleuth is born. Two short  stories and a novella.

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The House of York
Contemporary family drama

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“The ending to the story kept me thinking for days.” ~ Shaz Goodwin, book blogger and  Amazon Top 100 reviewer.

“Best book I’ve read this year.” ~ Joanne Phillips, top selling women’s fiction author.

Love, loss, jealousy, abduction and murderous intent form the basis of this highly acclaimed,  complex family saga spanning the years 1993 – 2014.

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Dandelions on the Road

A runner-up on a Bachelor-type reality television show gets a second chance to find love.

Dandelions on the Road (Dandelion #2)

Dandelions on the Road

I’ve become a Brooke Williams fan over the past two years. She writes the kind of quirky romantic comedy that keeps you turning the pages. DANDELIONS ON THE ROAD is a cheerful, clean romance. The premise might seem a little too common these days, but Brooke Williams adds freshness by taking her fictional reality dating show on the road. The different locations offer lots of opportunities for complications and conflict.

It was also fun to catch up with Kate Covington (from WRONG PLACE, RIGHT TIME) and Renee Lockheart, the heroines of the first book in the Dandelion series. I will say that Eva Merida doesn’t have quite the same sparkle and charm as these two.

Part of the problem might be that she and the hero (Brian Schaffer) don’t spend all that much time together. He’s the host and she’s the contestant, and for most of the book he’s way more into her than she’s into him. So when she falls for him, it isn’t as believable as it might have been.

Still, even with the coolness of the heroine, this book has many funny moments and provided an fun afternoon of reading entertainment.

ONE NIGHT OF SCANDAL by Elle Kennedy

An ex-fighter turned nightclub owner struggles against his attraction to his best friend’s ex.

One Night of Scandal (After Hours, #2)

One Night of Scandal

When I read the first book in the After Hours series ONE NIGHT OF SIN I fell for Elle Kennedy’s well-developed characters and wildly effective scene setting. ONE NIGHT OF SCANDAL delivers the same excitement. Reed Miller and Darcy Grant have a lot of chemistry. Reed is a grump and emotionally shackled by his bad-boy past. Darcy is pretty wholesome, even if she does enjoy the occasional walk on the wild side.

The relationship develops against the backstory of a possible drug problem at the club. This plot line starts in book one and carries on through all three of the After Hours books. At this point, the club is in definite danger of being raided, so Reed is preoccupied with finding the dealer before the whole business goes under.

Darcy and Reed’s relationship has a great balance of romance and drama. The misunderstanding at the end is a little too engineered. There are enough real issues between the characters that complicate matters, so it was a little disappointing that Kennedy got so melodramatic at the end.

On the whole an entertaining experience.

Jackson & Washington’s DIAL L FOR LYNDA

* I received a copy of this book in return for a fair review.

Best friends turn detectives when one is arrested for the murder of her boss.

Dial L for Lynda (Linda & Lynda Detective Agency Book 1)

Dial L for Lynda

Having read a lot of Tracey Jane Jackson’s work, I was excited to learn that she was collaborating with Amanda Washington and branching into a new genre. DIAL L FOR LYNDA is a funny, sexy, well-plotted mystery. It might seem surprising to find wealthy, stylish Addison Allen’s best friend since childhood is a financially-strapped girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Harley James has been a hard worker from an early age and earned herself a scholarship to a pricey private school, which is where she met Addison and her twin brother Asher. They’ve been close ever since, though not as close as Asher would like. Harley keeps him at arm’s length as she tries to build a career that makes her feel more on his social/financial level. It’s her job that becomes the problem when she’d fired by her lecherous boss and then he ends up dead outside her apartment.

Jackson and Washington give us amusing, well developed characters who manage to get into all sorts of oddball scrapes as they try to find the real killer. Asher, a serious, sensible lawyer is a great foil for his emotionally overwrought sister. Whereas Asher tries to help Harley by becoming her legal advocate, Addie actually tries to get herself arrested so she can keep Harley company in jail over the weekend until a Monday bond hearing. And that’s just a taste of the lengths this wacky blonde will go to in order to protect her bestie. Though it doesn’t hurt that the lead detective is a tasty morsel who inspires all sorts of fantasies.

The comedy, mystery and romance are kept in fine balance. Jackson and Washington do a great job leading us through the tangled motives of the real killer, who came as a surprise to me, but is completely believable. Two small issues. The first was with Addie and Asher’s parents. They are a little too cliche “rich and snooty.” I would’ve liked more nuanced characterizations. Also the Linda/Lynda link seems a little forced. Even the authors can’t really explain the logic behind it. Harley’s middle name is Linn, and Lynda is the name Addie and Asher give to their GPS systems. Addie also uses it for a special phone line to throw off unwanted suitors.

Name confusion aside, DIAL L FOR LYNDA had me laughing out loud and reading way past my bedtime. Can’t wait for the next one.

Review: A NUN WALKS INTO A BAR

An orphan raised in a convent falls for a sexy bar owner and is drawn into a web of romance and danger.

A Nun Walks Into A Bar

A Nun Walks Into A Bar

I’m a fan of Tracey Jane Jackson’s Cauld Ane paranormal romance series and was excited by the premise of this book. A NUN WALKS INTO A BAR is funny and yet touches on some difficult subjects. It isn’t the ideal time for either Sadie or Ryder to focus on a romantic relationship. After an incredibly sheltered childhood, Sadie is trying to navigate the world outside her aunt’s insulated religious community. Ryder, the offspring of a biker of the mean-and-nasty variety, is desperate to locate his missing kid sister, who has been swept up into a human trafficking ring thousands of miles from their Portland, Oregon home.

Despite their opposing backgrounds and somewhat conflicting values, Sadie and Ryder share an undeniable and largely believable attraction. They manage to challenge each other and to protect one another from the forces of chaos swirling around them. There’s plenty of character growth on both sides and yet a consistency at the core of each.

The supporting cast is just as strong–par for the course in Jackson’s work. Plenty of tantalizing backstory. Troubled pasts. Secrets. This all bodes well for future “Nun Fiction” novels.

Jackson always does a good job with her villains. This time around the bad guy is SO bad, it boggles the mind. At the same time, he’s not overdone. As horrible as he is, it’s a believable horrible, which makes it especially creepy. You hope people this dark don’t exist, even though you know they do. There’s a scene in Sadie’s apartment that absolutely chilled my blood.

All in all, I loved spending time with Sadie, Ryder and their “gang.” I’m hoping it won’t be too long before there’s a sequel.

WILD IRISH HEART by Tricia O’Malley

A young woman living in Boston receives an unexpected gift that draws her to Ireland and reveals a birthright she’s not sure she’s prepared to claim.

Wild Irish Heart (Mystic Cove, #1)

Wild Irish Heart

The setting of this book enchants as much as the characters do. I could easily visualize the Irish coastal village and Keelin’s grandmother’s cottage and land. Keelin’s relationship with Fiona is wonderful…warm and genuine. The backstory is handled well, and the author communicates the complicated family situation in a way that keeps readers from getting confused. The otherworldly elements entertain without going over the top into full-on paranormal. This is still more a romance than a paranormal novel.

Uneven pacing distracted me in places. The author also repeats key phrases and emotions–like “soul sings.” Flynn makes a great love interest for Keelin, but the climactic scene between them, on the cliffs, is abrupt and less believable than the rest of the book. It was the only point at which the plot felt forced.

On the whole, WILD IRISH HEART is absorbing and full of romance.

Review: MAMARAZZI

A photographer forced to make her living as a member of the paparazzi unexpectedly finds herself on the other side of the camera lens and facing the sort of exposure that could ruin her career and her new relationship with a famous actor.

Mamarazzi

Mamarazzi

Danica Bennett has had a rough life. She gets her love of photography from her mom, who raised her alone and now suffers early-onset Alzheimer’s. Paying for her mother’s care is one of the main reasons Danica continues working in a profession that undermines her moral and artistic ideals. The one person who might have been able to give her a hand up in Hollywood, an actress cousin, doesn’t want to know her. At least not until Danica falls into a role on a hot new situation comedy and becomes a popular up-and-coming actress in her own right.

Of course, if Danica’s past publicly exposing fellow celebrities peccadilloes gets out–she’s toast. Not that she’s so in love with acting. But she may very well be in love with her handsome co-star Eliot Lane. There’s a lot of excitement and tension as Danica’s plan to silence the one person who knows her secret backfires and puts her into the power of someone even more vindictive and volatile.

MAMARAZZI is funny, fast-paced, and full of twists. I didn’t predict the resolution, but even though it was unexpected, it made perfect sense. My only issue with the book is that I found Eliot’s character a bit underutilized. He’s a great guy, but we needed more of him. He kind of fades into the background for the middle of the book, but he is pivotal to the ending.

Even so, if you enjoy well-plotted, clean contemporary romances, you’ll enjoy this book.

Review: FOREVER CHANGED

A woman’s cancer diagnosis leads her to transform her comfortable but unfulfilled life.

Forever Changed (The Forever Series Book 1)

Forever Changed

Ariana Logan appears to have it all. She’s beautiful, well off, and is the majority owner of the most successful real estate firm in town. She also lost her mother and her older sister to breast cancer. So when she’s diagnosed with the disease, it doesn’t come as a surprise to her. It is, however, the catalyst for a complete reevaluation of her marriage and work life.

Ingram is careful to make Ariana’s transformation from privileged doormat to self-directed independent woman gradual and believable. Ariana’s support system…her grandmother, her best friend…play key roles in encouraging her to change and then supporting her fledgling attempts. Also believable is the rapid-fire attraction between Ariana and tattoo artist Blaine Bennett.

Blaine’s love-at-first-sight reaction works because Ingram delays his and Ariana’s meeting and then uses geographical separation (and a carefully plotted misunderstanding) to put the brakes on the developing relationship. This flies in the face of conventional romance fiction, where the hero and heroine are never separated for very long. It succeeds here thanks to the rich backstories Ingram provides each character. They have genuine work lives and genuine romantic pasts. This makes for more complicated characters and a richer plot.

The setting (British Columbia) provides another enjoyable dimension to the story. Ariana has a strong sensitivity to place. She appreciates the beauties of her quaint town and that is part of what makes her profession (and her success at it) seem so believable. Also, the scenes at the seaside resort where she hides away to heal and, later, reconnects with Blaine are among the best in the book.

If I have one complaint, it’s how Ingram handles Blaine’s interactions with certain supporting characters. There’s a degree of conversation rehashing that becomes noticeable and weighs down an otherwise well-paced narrative. Also, Ariana’s husband and mother-in-law come off as a bit over the top in their behavior and attitudes. Ingram adds more complexity to Jeremy by the end of the book, but his character doesn’t ring as true as the others in the cast.

On the whole, FOREVER CHANGED is a well developed story told with emotion and sensitivity.

Review: FINDING US

A pop star fights her feelings for her bodyguard as she struggles to break free from her overbearing manager/mother and evade a disturbed ex.

Finding Us (A Nucci Securities Novel, #1)

Finding Us

Abby Murphy spent her whole childhood building what is now a stellar performing career. She seems to have it all–money, fame, and a sexy guitarist boyfriend. As FINDING US opens, we learn that public appearances are often illusions. Abby’s mother Vivian not only runs her career, she dictates Abby’s life. This includes pressuring her to stay with an abusive boyfriend for contractual and publicity reasons. Abby’s only support comes from her assistant/best friend Sophie and her bodyguard Danny Nucci. These two become pivotal to Abby’s emotional and physical well being when her ex’s pressure to reconcile turns into a nightmarish case of stalking and her mother refuses to take the threat seriously.

Presley does a wonderful job of taking Abby from a smothered, somewhat naive “asset” to a mature, self-directed adult. It isn’t a quick or easy path. Abby doesn’t suddenly wake up prepared to take on her iron-willed (and iron-hearted) mother. At first, Abby she’d much rather give in and keep life quiet. It might have been an option if ex-boyfriend Sean was simply annoying or even annoying and unfaithful. I could definitely see Abby choosing to play a part to shut her mother up. But Sean can’t hide his violent and obsessive nature. Fear forces Abby to take a stand. It’s only later, when she has a taste of independence (painful as it is at first), does Abby continue standing up for herself by choice.

Danny Nucci provides a safe haven for Abby. At first it’s an emotional haven. He takes her fears seriously, encourages her to fight, and isn’t afraid to get in Vivian’s face when Abby isn’t strong or confident enough to take the woman on. Later, after Abby barely escapes being kidnapped by Sean, the safe haven is literal. The scenes that take place in Danny’s Lake George hideaway are some of the best in the book.

The romance between Abby and Danny develops slowly. We readers are privy to how they both feel, but the obstacles standing in the way of them expressing themselves and, later, acting on their feelings are real. Often in this type of romance, the suspense wavers (or pauses) as the characters’ relationship blooms. Not the case here. Suspense permeates every chapter.

Presley also does a great job making Abby’s superstar life seem realistic. The opulence is tempered with enough gritty reality so that we don’t mistake this for a celebrity fairy tale.

There are a couple bumps in the characterization. I think Vivian is a bit over-the-top. Presley tries to humanize her by seeding in details of her tough past and the demons that drive her to behave the way she does. But it’s too little too late with this one. More subtlety early on would have enriched the character and added to the Vivian-Abby dynamics. It also would have made Abby’s conflict about breaking away even more pointed. The only other issue I had was with Abby’s tendency to keep important developments, mostly about Sean, away from Danny. The first time, she does it out of concern for Danny’s career. After that, when she knows how high the stakes are, it seems silly to hide calls and threats.

FINDING US is true romantic suspense. If this is Presley’s debut novel, I can’t wait to see what her future work will bring. I predict a lot of good reading ahead!

Book Launch! FINDING US

Finding Us RELEASE DAY

Release Day Blitz

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Book Title: Finding Us (A Nucci Securities Novel)
Author: Debra Presley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 31, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

Pop star Abby Murphy is living every girl’s dream. She has fame, fortune, and a handsome boyfriend, a guitar player named Sean. That changes the night she finds him in the arms of another woman. Hurt and betrayed, Abby ends their relationship. But Sean won’t accept the breakup, and she soon learns that he’s had a hidden agenda all along. Overnight, Sean transforms from loving boyfriend to dangerous adversary, and Abby no longer knows who she can trust among her friends and family.

Abby turns to her bodyguard, Danny Nucci, a man who will do everything in his power to keep her safe. But when Abby realizes her feelings for Danny run much deeper than she thought, she refuses to give in to her attraction in order to preserve her new found independence as well as protect Danny from Sean’s machinations.

When Abby finally finds the strength to reclaim her life and acknowledge her growing love for Danny, will she be able to let him in? And will Danny be able to overcome his own demons to be the man she needs him to be? Or will she be forced to let him go forever?

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Meet the Author

DebraPresleyButton.4Debra is a native New Yorker who made her escape to the suburbs. She often returns to her hometown to visit her favorite deli for a bagel with butter, because there’s no better bagel than a New York bagel. When not in search of bagels, Debra spends her time running Book Enthusiast Promotions, an online promotions company that helps indie authors spread the word about their books. She’s also the owner of The Book Enthusiast blog.

She started writing lyrics in her wall-to-wall NKOTB bedroom at the tender age of thirteen while dreaming of the day she’d become Mrs. Jordan Knight. That dream never came to fruition, but she has continued to write. Now she’s working on her first novel.

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