[Blog Tour] Forever’s Holiday Blog Tour

Uncategorized 0 Comments 8th December, 2016

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‘Tis the season to celebrate! Five of Forever’s authors with brand new Christmas romances are sharing their favorite holiday recipes and memories.

CAROLYN BROWN’S PUMPKIN BREAD

Kids, grand children, great-grands, all coming home for the holidays—the aroma of pumpkin bread baking in the oven—everyone waiting for it to get done so they can slice it up while it’s still hot, slather butter or whipped cream cheese on it, and tell the age old stories about the holidays we’ve had in the house. That’s the stuff memories are made off and every time I smell pumpkin bread it puts a smile on my face for the whole day.

PUMPKIN BREAD

This makes 2 loaves and 8 muffins; Or it makes one Bundt cake

 ½ cup butter

½ cup shortening

2 2/3 cups of sugar

4 eggs

2 cups canned pumpkin (one 15-16 ounce can)

3 ½ cups flour

1½ teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons soda

1 cup pecans (optional)

2/3 cup of cold strong black coffee

(NOTE: I use all butter if I’m out of shortening or even oil)

  1. Cream first four ingredients.
  2. Add canned pumpkin.
  3. Add dry ingredients alternately with coffee
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour for loaves or bundt cake, 25 minutes for muffins, or until they test done in the center.
  5. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.
  6. Cool completely before frosting with Harvest Moon Frosting (below).

HARVEST MOON FROSTING

3 egg whites

1½ cups brown sugar

6 tablespoons water

Pinch salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients except vanilla in a double boiler. Cook 7 minutes, beating the whole time with an electric mixer, over the boiling water.  The frosting will stand in peaks when done. Add vanilla.  Beat until thick enough to spread.

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Find out more about Carolyn Brown at her website.

PAULA QUINN’S CHRISTAS COOKIES

My dad used to live across the street from us. Every year, when my
kids were little, he would dress up like Santa, climb out his window
on the second floor, and hang Christmas lights on his fire escape. My
kids would watch from our window with wonder in their eyes, unaware
that it was grandpa. He would turn and wave to them, sending them into
little fits of breathlessness. Later, we would visit grandma and
grandpa’s for homemade cookies (left there for them by Santa). The
house was always fully decked out with every Christmas decoration
imaginable with Alvin and the Chipmunks on repeat while the kids
hunted down little “pre-Christmas” gifts he’d hide for them. I loved
witnessing the magic of Christmas and love through their eyes. Now
grown, my kids will sometimes still look out the window at his fire
escape and smile, remembering a grandpa who loved them beyond measure.

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GRANDPA’S CHRISTMAS COOKIES (A favored Italian recipe)

4 eggs

1 cup sugar

½ cup butter

2 teaspoons vanilla

3½ cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

  1. Sift dry ingredients.
  2. Cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs; add
vanilla and dry ingredients.
  3. Knead and add flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to hands.
  4. Pinch off dough, roll in your hands to form a log and then twirl into
shape.
  5. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

ICING

2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 teaspoons water

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Stir until creamy. Dip cookies into icing and sprinkle with trim. Place on wire rack with wax paper on counter to collect the dripping icing and sprinkles.

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Find out more about Paula Quinn at her website.

 

DEBBIE MASON TREE TRIMMING PARTY

One of my family’s favorite holiday traditions is our tree trimming party. We’ve held one every year for the past thirty years. Though I don’t know if it qualifies as a party seeing as it’s just the immediate family. But we do make a thing of it with our favorite carols playing in the background, fire on (mostly for ambience), hot chocolate served in festive mugs, lots of holiday treats, and a special ornament for each of the kids and grandkids to open before the tree decorating gets under way.

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But I think the most fun for all of us isn’t decorating the tree, it’s unpacking the ornaments. I’ve always tried to buy an ornament that’s uniquely suited to each of the kids, whether it was a sport they were into that year or a movie, book, or hobby they loved, so unwrapping each one brings back a lot of special memories. Here’s a peek at just some of the collection. I don’t think it will be long before we have to break from tradition and let the kids take some of the ornaments home to decorate their own trees. Either that or we’ll have to put up another tree.

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And this one in my office doesn’t countJ Every year, my family gifts me with an ornament too. This year they gave me these three adorable oranaments to celebrate the release of the first book in the new Harmony Harbor series, MISTLETOE COTTAGE, and the short story, CHRISTMAS WITH AN ANGEL.

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Find out more about Debbie Mason at her website.

 

HOPE RAMSAY’S GINGERBREAD COOKIES

Every year for the last quarter-century, or possibly longer, I have set aside the Saturday closest to Christmas to bake gingerbread cookies with my children, and now, with my grandchildren.   These are the only cookies I make at Christmas time, and the activity is more about family fun than turning out a perfect cookie.  Usually I do most of the rolling, cutting, and baking.  And the rest of the family does the decorating.

The magic is in the royal icing.  The white icing is a snap to make, and it can be divided up into small bowls and colored with food dye, creating pots of colored cookie paint.  I give each child (or adult) a watercolor paint brush and let them paint the icing onto the cookies.  The kids have a blast, and the cookies always come out looking wonderfully homemade.

To me, cookie baking embodies everything I love about Christmas: kids, family, baking, and yummy desserts.

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 GINGERBREAD COOKIE DOUGH

Makes about 6 Dozen

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Dutch cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter
1 cup superfine sugar
1 egg at room temperature
½ cup unsulphured molasses

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients – flour cocoa, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, backing soda, and salt.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat thoroughly.
  3. On low speed, add the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  4. Cut the dough into thirds, pat into disks, wrap in plastic and chill until firm – 2 hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/16 inch thick and cut cookies with cookie cutters.  Transfer the cookies to an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges of the cookie turn brown.
  6. Let cool on sheets and then transfer to a wire rack. Decorate with royal icing.

ROYAL ICING

2 egg whites, at room temperature
1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup water

Using a mixer, place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat at high speed until fluffy, thick & shiny (about 10 minutes.)  Divide the icing into smaller bowls and color it using food coloring.

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Find out more about Hope Ramsay at her website.

 

OLIVIA MILES SNOWFLAKE COOKIES

In my newest release, CHRISTMAS COMES TO MAIN STREET, my heroine owns a cookie bakery. As this story takes place over the holidays, I thought hard about a signature cookie she might make, and eventually I settled on charming snowflake cookies. Of course these are not just any old cut out cookie, though. No, Kara makes them by the dozen, sure to keep each one in the batch distinct in shape and decoration, because no two snowflakes are ever the same, after all! And it’s these snowflake cookies that she delivers every day to the inn in Briar Creek…where a Christmas visitor falls in love with more than just her cookies.

I hope you all enjoy these snowflake cookies as much as Nate does! J

KARA’S SNOWFLAKE COOKIES (sugar cookie cut-out and royal icing recipes courtesy of Martha Stewart)

4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
  2. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into a disk. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let one disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4 inch thick. Remove top layer of plastic wrap. Cut out cookies. Transfer cookie dough on plastic wrap to a baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to freezer, freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from freezer and transfer shapes to baking sheets lined with nonstick baking mats. Roll out scraps, and repeat. Repeat with remaining disk of dough.
  4. Bake, switching positions of sheets and rotating halfway through, until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

ROYAL ICING

2 large egg whites, or more to thin icing

4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, or more to thicken icing

Juice of 1 lemon

3 drops glycerin

Beat the whites until stiff but not dry. Add sugar, lemon juice and glycerin (if using); beat for 1 minute more. If icing is too thick, add more egg whites; if it is too thin, add more sugar. The icing may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Decorate each as you wish!

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Find out more about Olivia Miles at her website.

[Blitz] Luke by R. C. Ryan

Uncategorized 0 Comments 29th November, 2016

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ABOUT THE BOOKryan_luke_mm

Title: LUKE

Author: R. C. Ryan

Series: The Malloys of Montana, #2

On Sale: November 29, 2016

Publisher: Forever

Mass Market: $7.99 USD

eBook: $7.99 USD

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In the New York Times bestselling tradition of Linda Lael Miller and Diana Palmer, comes the second book in R.C. Ryan’s new series about the Malloy brothers, Montana ranchers who find love while uncovering the dark secrets of their past.

Wild. Reckless. Stubborn. That’s Luke Malloy in a nutshell. The solitary life of a rancher and the untamed Montana wilderness make him feel alive-and nothing will ever change that. Not even being thrown from his horse and forced to accept a stranger’s help. The fact that this stranger is a beautiful blonde with a passion for ranching that rivals his own doesn’t hurt. But there’s a secret she’s hiding, and Luke won’t rest until he uncovers it…

Ingrid Larsen doesn’t need anyone’s help. Not with managing her family’s ranch. Not with raising her little sister. And certainly not with the mysterious incidents occurring on her property. When this too-sexy-for-his-own-good cowboy needs a place to recover, she hopes he’ll be in and out in no time flat. But just as she’s beginning to trust Luke’s promise of protection, Ingrid’s secret threatens to tear them apart.

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THE SERIES

Matt, #1malloys-of-montana-series

Luke, #2

A Cowboy’s Christmas Eve, #2.5

Series Page on Goodreads

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORr-c-ryan

New York Times bestselling author R.C. Ryan has written more than ninety novels, both contemporary and historical.  Quite an accomplishment for someone who, after her fifth child started school, gave herself the gift of an hour a day to follow her dream to become a writer.

In a career spanning more than twenty years, Ms. Ryan has given dozens of radio, television, and print interviews across the country and Canada, and has been quoted in such diverse publications as the Wall Street Journal and Cosmopolitan.  She has also appeared on CNN News, and Good Morning America.

R.C. Ryan is a pseudonym of New York Times bestselling author Ruth Ryan Langan.

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[Blitz] Once a Gypsy by Danica Winters

Spotlights & Tours 0 Comments 1st November, 2016

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ONCE A GYPSYonceagypsy_coverlarge
Book One of The Irish Traveller Series
Danica Winters
Diversion Trade Paperback Original
$14.99 | 275 pages
ISBN: 978-1682303078
November 1, 2016

Praise for ONCE A GYPSY:
“A haunting and fresh voice in paranormal romance. Be prepared for Danica Winters to ensnare you in her dark and seductive world.” 
—Cecy Robson, 2016 Double-Nominated RITA Finalist and Author of The Weird Girl

Helena has never fit in with her Irish traveller family. Aside from her opposition to marriage and determination to attend university, Helena has the gift of the Forshaw, the ability to see the future.

Graham is the groundskeeper at a manor in Adare, Ireland. Though the estate appears idyllic, it holds dark secrets, and despite his own supernatural gifts, Graham can’t solve Adare Manor’s problems by himself. Desperate for help, Graham seeks out a last resort: Helena, whose skills are far greater than she knows.

When he promises to teach her to control her powers, Helena resists, afraid both of the damage her abilities might do and her increasing attraction to the handsome groundskeeper. Her entire way of life is at risk: any involvement, especially romantic, with non-gypsies like Graham is forbidden. But fate has other plans for Helena’s clairvoyance — and her relationship with Graham.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:authorphoto
Danica Winters is a bestselling author who has won multiple awards for writing books that grip readers with their ability to drive emotion through suspense and occasionally a touch of magic. Most recently, Danica was the winner of the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Paranormal Romantic Suspense Book of the Year Award and Chanticleer Media’s Paranormal Book of the Year for her novel Montana Mustangs. She is currently the finalist for the Chatelaine Award. When she’s not working, she can be found in the wilds of Montana testing her patience while she tries to understand the allure of various crafts (quilting, pottery, and painting are not her thing). She always believes the cup is neither half full nor half empty, but it better be filled with wine. Visit her online at www.danicawinters.net.

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[Audiobook Review]The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard

Amy's Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 17th October, 2016

[Audiobook Review]The Architect of Song by A.G. HowardThe Architect of Song by A. G. Howard
Series: Haunted Hearts Legacy #1
Published by Independent by Author on August 15, 2016
Genres: Historical, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 425
Source: Audible, Purchase
Goodreads
four-stars
Amazon
A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower - intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.

For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.

To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.

International and NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as - haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts - they search for self-acceptance, love, and happiness.

I am big fan of A.G. Howard’s Splintered Series. When I saw The Architect of Song was now available on audiobook I bought it and started listening to it right then. I was not disappointed by this audiobook. I really enjoy a good audiobook that can distract me from the frustrations of say traffic while I am driving in my car. It is definitely the type of audiobook that is a great escape from the monotony of my day. The Architect of Song is a gothic romance that swept me right up into the story and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Vintage 3D love funny vintage lol

 

 

 

The Architect of Song is about Juliette a deaf young woman living with the grief of her mother’s death. Then one day Juliette steals a flower from a grave and takes it home. Upon touching the petals of the flower a ghost appears. Juliette is not scared of her ghost she is intrigued by him and actually feels for compassion for the lost spirit who has appeared to her. Unfortunately, Hawk, the ghost, doesn’t remember anything about himself or how he died. He just knows that there is something he must do. Juliette sets out with the help her ghost to solve the mystery of his death and right the wrongs done to him. Along, the way Juliette discovers that her ghost is the twin brother of the Viscount determined to woo her. Juliette finds herself torn between the brothers one very much alive and the other a ghost she can never be with.

I liked this book because I am actually a sucker for Victorian romances. I enjoy reading about the ladies of the past who came before me. These women who pushed the boundaries of their societal restrictions. Juliette is a deaf woman living in a time that is already tough to be a woman but she has fight the prejudices of her disability. I admired Juliette because being deaf is just an aspect of her but not who she is. She is a beautiful, head strong, compassionate woman who loves with her whole heart. For, those reasons I felt like I could connect with Juliette and understand why she loves two men but for different reasons.

I liked the mystery aspect of this book because I felt I never trust anybody. There were times this book was super creepy. There were times when my heart was breaking because I was like no don’t let it be true. The romance was of course my favorite part because Juliette chemistry with Chaine the living brother was off the charts. There were a few times I had to fan my face it just that sexy.

I thought the narrator, Gemma Dawson, only added to the drama and romance of the story. I enjoyed how she helped make the story come to life for me. The Architect of Song is a story that grabbed me up because it was a story about choosing life over death. Dying that is the easy part it is the living that is hard. That is what makes this story so beautiful because there is a strength in continuing to live day to day.

 

 

[Review]Bedmates by Nicole Chase

Amy's Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 16th October, 2016

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

[Review]Bedmates by Nicole ChaseBedmates by Nicole Chase
Series: American Royalty #1
Published by Willam Marrow on October 4, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
four-stars
Amazon
From the bestselling author of Suddenly Royal comes the first in a sparkling new series about America’s favorite royal—the First Daughter.

Everyone makes mistakes, especially in college. But when you’re the daughter of the President of the United States, any little slip up is a huge embarrassment. Maddie McGuire’s latest error in judgment lands her in police custody, giving the press a field day. Agreeing to do community service as penance and to restore her tattered reputation, Maddie never dreams incredibly good looking but extremely annoying vice president’s son, Jake Simmon, will be along for the ride.

Recently returning from Afghanistan with a life-altering injury, Jake is wrestling with his own demons. He doesn’t have the time or patience to deal with the likes of Maddie. They’re like oil and water and every time they’re together, it’s combustible. But there’s a thin line between love and hate, and it’s not long before their fiery arguments give way to infinitely sexier encounters.

When Jake receives devastating news about the last remaining member of his unit, the darkness he’s resisted for so long begins to overwhelm him. Scared to let anyone close, he pushes Maddie away. But she isn’t about to give up on Jake that easily. Maddie’s fallen for him, and she’ll do anything to keep him from the edge as they both discover that love is a battlefield and there are some fights you just can’t lose.

Bedmates is the first Nichole Chase book I have read and it definitely won’t be my last. Bedmates was a sweet and sexy read set in the back drop of American politics. I liked that Bedmates was really a story about two people growing up while finding a way to make their dreams come true. Sometimes it is not always about politics but finding the path to happiness that truly matters.

The story is about Maddie the First Daughter of the United States. Maddie is a young college student intent on making the lives all animals better. She just doesn’t have the patience to go through proper legal channels. That is how Maddie finds herself arrested for breaking into a lab to set the animals. Then she is ordered to volunteer with the Vice President’s Son Jake helping build housing for Veterans.

I thought Maddie and Jake were so right for each but sometimes people have to save themselves first in order for a relationship to work. The book is more about these characters growing into the people they want to be. I really enjoyed that aspect of the book because it made the story that much more believable. Sometimes standing up for what you believe is the easy part. I believe the hard part is having the patience and perseverance to make those dreams come true. Like I said I liked this romance because it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. It was about two people fighting for their happily ever after. I know people make mistakes every day. I know make mistakes in my relationship and there are times I annoy my husband. Just like Maddie and Jake have to learn, at the end of the day what matters is being with someone that will fight to be with you even if what they are fighting are their own demons. I look forward to reading more books by Nicole Chase because Bedmates was just that good.

jennifer lawrence okay thumbs up k no problem

 

[Giveaway US & International] Books to Movies Giveaway Hop

Giveaways 43 Comments 8th October, 2016

books-to-movies-hop-16Welcome to another great giveaway here at Romancing the Laser Pistol. As part of the “Books to Movies Giveaway Hop” hosted by BookHounds. Some books make great movies, as part of this giveaway hop we are giving away a prize pack including a softcover copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and a $25 AMC Giftcard so you too can go see the movie inspired by this book.

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[ARC Review] The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

Amy's Reviews, ARC Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 6th October, 2016

I received this book for free from BEA, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

[ARC Review] The Lovely Reckless by Kami GarciaThe Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia
Published by Macmillian Children's on October 4, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Source: BEA, Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars
Amazon
I’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

OMG this book is amazing!!! Like if my life didn’t get in the way I would not have put this book down amazing!!!!  I can not express how much I loved this book but I will try.

happy disney cartoon sleeping beauty wonderful

 

 

I loved Marco and he might have made a book boyfriend list I may or may not have.

sexy supernatural sam winchester jared padalecki

 

 

 

 

The Lovely Reckless is sexy, a tear jerker, and most of all a fantastic story!!! What I loved most about this book was the message: save yourself because you are the only who can. It has been a year since Frankie watched her boyfriend get beaten to death in the parking lot of a night club. She has been on a reckless path ever since. But, it’s when she gets arrested for driving drunk that her parents decide she needs a change. She goes to live her cop dad who lives on the poor side of town in the Downs.

 

Frankie discovers she isn’t a little goody two shoes rich girl anymore. Frankie isn’t a bad girl either. She is somewhere in between. Along the way she helps her old friends save themselves, helps her new friends, and falls in love with a car thief. In the end, including Frankie, has to learn to trust others and ask for help in order to save themselves from the trouble they have gotten into. Every problem seems so much bigger when you are the one going through it. There is always a way out if you have people you trust to help you.

[ARC Review] The Diabolic

ARC Reviews, Fry's Reviews 0 Comments 4th October, 2016

I received this book for free from Edelweiss, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.
[ARC Review] The DiabolicThe Diabolic on November 1, 2016
Pages: 416
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars
A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.

I have to say, for a book with such a simple premise, it sure went pear shaped quickly and continued to do so without fully righting itself. We open on a small, biologically engineered girl named Nemesis. Though, what form of monster picked that name for a small girl, I will never know. Were this a Robin Hobb book, I would consider that quite an ill omen, especially considering what form the end of the book takes. Did they just throw a bunch of adjectives in a pool and pull one out? All Diabolics seem to be named according to this awful set of rules.

I had no way to warn them away from me. Even if I had, they would not have listened. Their ringleader had declared me only a girl- and so that was what they saw now. That was their fatal mistake.

Honestly, okay, that’s a pretty good line. Nemesis was raised to basically straight murder people and be a ice cold lackey for whoever purchased her. The ultimate in hired muscle for any aspiring mob boss, or, in this case, space nobility. The thing about the space nobility though, is they’re straight classist, and have a whole hierarchical system that involves the cosmos blessing people. They believe that engineered people, such as Nemesis herself, do not have a soul or posses the capacity for soul like machinations such as feelings. That’s only part of their space thoughts. The other part is, that despite using outdated space ships that like to rip the fabric of space time asunder when they ultimately break down and malfunction, their society is a religious one, and scientific and historical pursuits are frowned upon.

At this point, you wonder how they haven’t imploded upon themselves into one massive black hole, how they had gotten that far in the first place. At one point you learn that they’re still building ships and rebuilding ships so someone must have a rudimentary knowledge of mechanical systems. Especially considering that they have a special space ship race every so often in honor of the placement of their suns. Clearly, mechanical and GENETIC science is okay, but for some reason no one is allowed to fix their warp cores or repair their larger, long distance travel crafts. Like, what is that even? Why is some science okay and other science absolutely the opposite of okay. God forbid you look at a book, so how do people in this age even learn about this stuff? Clearly they don’t have universities anymore. I don’t know if this was just something overlooked by the author, but it’s a pretty glaring plot hole.

Speaking of not having universities! That happens to be what Nemesis’s owner’s family wants to do. They want to get all that good book learning into people so that everything doesn’t implode upon itself and the galactic empire doesn’t turn into a bunch of backwater space people.

Ugh, I got ahead of myself. Nemesis is bought to be the fiercely loyal protector of a flights of fancy girl named Sidonia, which, overall is not much better of a name. Anyway, they spend lots of time together and it’s great and Sidonia develops feelings for Nemesis that go much farther beyond friends. Sidonia, at one point in the book, clearly wants to be in a “Harold, they’re lesbians,” relationship with Nemesis, though Nemesis is mostly straight and always oblivious. I felt that plot point added nothing. Mostly it just left a bad taste in my mouth. Honestly, was it because Sidonia couldn’t have possibly have had friendly feelings and done the same things for Nemesis? I don’t know. It seems like she could have. I love my friends enough for that. I don’t have to be -in- love with them to try and want better for them, to worry about their safety, to inconvenience myself on their behalf. At some point, Diabolics are outlawed, but Sidonia convinces her family to keep Nemesis. And so they do, because that would have been a super short book if they hadn’t.

Okay, so Sidonia’s father is found trying to get the good book learning into the masses and the Emperor, he doesn’t like that one bit. He demands that they send Sidonia as a hostage. Nope, the family isn’t into that. Sidonia could be killed just by showing up there. They hatch a plot to instead send Nemesis in Sidonia’s stead. There’s complicated things that go into this. Nemesis has to learn etiquette and get cosmetically altered to be more like a real person and less like what you turn into at the end of Fable II. Then then dispatch this creature who’s been consistently told she can’t have feelings and isn’t real to try and fake nobility.

That’s where things get really weird. Not only do we have to deal with the deception plot with Nemesis pretending to be Sidonia, we then have to deal with the Emperor moving against those who want the book learning. We then also have to deal with a thousand other little plots, because the author decided to make it needlessly complicated and watched too many Game of Thrones episodes and tried to emulate them. People’s motives stopped making sense. Things started happening just for shock value. There was no lovingly crafted plot or treachery.  Nothing made sense anymore. Everyone was lying. Everyone was awful. Nemesis did not go full Carrie on them like she should have.

No, no. She fell in love and had feelings. The source of her love is the so-called mad prince, Tyrus, whom we originally meet as he nonchalantly shoots someone in the chest. He also pretends to rape people and all manner of gross things. He’s honestly the grossest. Finding out that most of what he is was carefully crafted lies so that he wouldn’t be murdered didn’t actually help his image in my eyes. He asks Nemesis to marry him, and also asks her to be his ally and everything seems like it should go smoothly until that point, but that’s where, as said above, things get needlessly complicated.

Overall, I wanted more from the book. Nemesis’s feelings didn’t have to be so catastrophically screwed with more than once. They didn’t have to have blasé mentions of transgender disapproval and rape. The intrigue could have been more intriguing. I shouldn’t be questioning the characters or their motives when the book wraps up. Therefore, my rating is just lukewarm, much like Nemesis’s, “Eh, okay, I guess I’ll marry you,” ending.

[Blitz Tour and Short Review] In Ruins by Danielle Pearl

Amy's Reviews, Reviews, Spotlights & Tours 0 Comments 3rd October, 2016

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ABOUT THE BOOKpearl_inruins_tr

Title: IN RUINS

Author: Danielle Pearl

Series: Something More, #1

On Sale: October 4, 2016

Publisher: Forever

Trade Paperback: $14.99 USD

eBook: $4.99 USD

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The first New Adult spin-off novel in the bestselling YA Something More series by Danielle Pearl!

She wanted to start again. To be someone—anyone—different. . .

Freedom. When Carleigh Stanger thought of college, that was the word that came to mind. Freedom from her unhappy home life. Freedom from high school mistakes. Freedom from the memory of that terrible morning. Only instead of bringing a sweet escape, Carleigh’s first campus party traps her in the scornful gaze of the last person she wants to see, Tucker Green.

It wasn’t long ago that being close to Carleigh was everything Tucker wanted. But that was before he realized she was just another scheming girl who’d do whatever it took to get her way. Even lie to the guy she claimed to love. Unfortunately while Tucker’s brain remembers the pain Carleigh caused, his body only remembers the pleasure . . .

My Review

In Ruins was a sweet, funny, sexy, and at times thrilling read. I am big fan of second chance romances and redemption through love. I should say correction, I am big fan of romance stories in general. I really enjoy the stories about forgiveness and redemption like In Ruins. The story starts off with a college girl finding out that the ex who shattered her heart is going to the same school as her. Once I got used to the story jumping between the past and present, I have to admit I was intrigued by what circumstance could be so bad to break up a couple who has been in love for most of their lives. I don’t want to give any more away because it makes the story more interesting going in almost blind like I did. It is a romance story so I knew how it was most likely going to end but I didn’t expect the journey to be so thrilling. I read this book in two day because I could not put it down. I will most definitely be reading the next book which is about two friends of Carl and Tuck finding love.

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THE SOMETHING MORE SERIES

something-more-seriesIN RUINS, #1

IN PIECES, #2

Series Page on Goodreads

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

danielle-pearl-credit-lidia-anichDanielle Pearl is the bestselling author of the Something More series. She lives in New Jersey with her three delicious children and ever-supportive husband, who—luckily—doesn’t mind sharing her with an array of fictional men. She did a brief stint at Boston University and worked in marketing before publishing her debut novel, Normal. She writes mature Young Adult and New Adult contemporary romance. Danielle enjoys coffee, wine, and cupcakes, and not in moderation.

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What are your top 5 books you would bring to college?

1-Wurthering Heights by Emily Bronte, to make any relationship feel healthier by comparison.

2-You by Caroline Kepnes, as a cautionary tale (thank God there was no Instagram when I was in college).

3-The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, because learning curves can be just as merciless.

4-It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, because every woman should read it, and college is as good a time as any.

5-The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, to make me feel sane by comparison.

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[Review] Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Amy's Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 2nd October, 2016

I received this book for free from Audible, Edelweiss, Purchase in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

[Review] Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri ManiscalcoStalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #1
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on September 20, 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Source: Audible, Edelweiss, Purchase
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four-stars
Amazon
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

There are two things that I will always watch or read about: Victorian London and Jack the Ripper. When I saw the synopsis for Stalking the Jack Ripper I was like sign me up because I am definitely reading that book! I was sold on this book by the synopsis alone, I mean who doesn’t want to read about a young woman of society bucking tradition to become a female forensic scientist. Her first case study just happens to be the Jack the Ripper. I thought I couldn’t want to read this anymore than I already did then they released the cover. I know they say you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover but can I take a moment to say, wow it’s gorgeous.

happy disney romantic sigh marie

 

 

I am sad to say I started this book when at the beginning for September because the publisher generously let me view the ARC. Then, I hit this two week reading slump; ugh. I was able to pick up the audiobook and listen to the rest of the story while I was at work. It may have taken me longer to finish Stalking Jack the Ripper than I intended. But, it was worth because Stalking Jack the Ripper is a creepy romantic thrill ride. I have to say I really enjoyed the experience.

Stalking Jack the Ripper is a murder mystery first. I have to say on that aspect I was kept guessing the entire time. I had no idea who the real identity of Jack might be. I really enjoy a good murder mystery that keeps me guessing until the end.   I found the forensic pictures really added to that creep factor. The reason I am so fascinated by anything to do with Jack the Ripper is that he could have been anyone. From a governess, to a fish monger, to a high born person of society. The actual Jack the Ripper was never caught. There is something truly terrifying about the mind of serial killer, especially one for all intents and purpose got away with it. I have always thought people are the real monsters not some boogey man who lives under your bed. I have to admire the strength and the will of a young woman that is willing to try to step inside the mind of a killer in order to stop him even that means turning in someone she loves.

But Stalking the Jack the Ripper is also a coming of age story during the Victorian era. A time that always fascinated me because it is time when society was on the brink of change. A woman’s place in life was still to marry and bear children. Some women were willing to buck tradition and go after what they wanted. Even, gasp, pursue careers as doctors or forensic scientists. Audrey Rose is one of those determined young women bent on following her heart. I like historical fiction in which the heroine is actually a modern heroine who buck tradition in order to follow her dreams.

After the way this book ends I hope this isn’t the last we will of Audrey Rose and her beau. I would definitely read more of the crime solving adventures.