Free Publicity Friday-Beekeeper Edition

Truly by Ruthie Knox

TrulyI was in a rut. I read, like, three shifter novellas in a row that I’d gotten on discount from a small publisher, and all three were blah. The dialog didn’t grab me. There were typos. Generally, I felt like I was critiquing rather than kicking back and reading for relaxation and enjoyment.

Where does a girl turn when she needs a good book, and I mean, NEEDS. If I picked up one more dud, I was going to lose my mind. What author could I trust to lead me into a story that wouldn’t be too heavy but would make me fall in love and make me laugh and cringe with the characters and highlight awesome lines on my Kindle?

I picked up a Ruthie Knox. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

12991105I’ve read quite a lot of Ruthie. I loved Ride with Me and About Last Night. I’ve devoured everything in her Camelot series. I adored her novellas in the Strangers on a Train and Naughty and Nice anthologies.

Like any hard-core fan, I haven’t been smitten with all things Ruthie. I wrinkled my nose at the whole serial novel thing she did with Roman Holiday and have still not purchased it, even though it’s out in the full version now. It’s on my “someday” list.

But Truly was awesome, and it was just what I needed to get out of the bad-book rut.

Right from the beginning, Ruthie dropped me in a bar in New York with May as she hopes against hope some kind and matronly tourist from Wisconsin will notice she’s just been mugged and offer a shoulder to cry on and a phone to use, maybe even a ride to the airport, where the fairies of air travel will grant her passage back to Wisconsin despite her lack of identification. What she gets instead is Ben, a taciturn beekeeper with a face and manner about as welcoming as a pitchfork.

But it turns out Ben is exactly what she needs. And he’s not all that unwelcoming once May gets past his gruff exterior. In fact, Ben turns out to be a decent host as he welcoms her into his home and a great tour guide as he shows her a thrilling, honest New York she hadn’t yet met in her brief stay.

Ben helps May discover things about herself that a kinder, gentler person would not have. Ben sees in her a creative free spirit dying to break free from the mold of steady, average May her family’s words and actions have created for her.

As always, Ruthie entertains me, makes me think, and inspires me in equal measure. Her voice makes her such a wonderful author to read. She writes from a place of intelligent curiosity about human nature in a way few other writers do. She just clicks for me, and Truly was right on par with what I’ve come to expect from her.

Here are a few of my favorite lines:

Ben was far from her ideal shelter, but he was sturdy, and he was offering food.–Kindle location 532.

He made his face stern and uncompromising in the mirror. “No kissing, no touching, no f—ing,” he told himself. “Be normal.”–Kindle location 1589

That was life. There were always so many of these awkward moments, these miscalculations between two people. There was beer breath and the occasional need for lube. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t magical.–Kindle location 1939

Ben wasn’t easy, and he refused to behave in a way that the movie reel in her head could work with.–Kindle location 2879

And some fantastic dialog to leave you with:
“Tell me,” he repeated. “I don’t care what it is. Tell me I’m a shitty kisser or you’re worried my dick’s too small. Tell me you want me to tie you up and lob tennis balls at you. Tell me you’re worried about flesh-eating bacteria. I don’t give a shit what you say, but you’re going to tell me.”

“Tennis balls?”

“Tell me.”–Kindle Location 3672

And there you have it. May and Ben in a nutshell. Don’t you want to read their story? It’s a 5-star winner. Ruthie’s one of my go-to gals for when I NEED a good book. So go get Truly. You won’t regret it.

 

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New Release and Giveaway

Sweet Holiday Second-Chance Romance

Wow, is it new release time again already?!JessiGage_ColeInMyStocking_1400px

Help me celebrate the Nov 1st release of Cole in My Stocking with TWO giveaways!

I’ve got a Rafflecopter going that you can enter with just a couple clicks. Prizes include a $25 gift card, a set of holiday bracelet charms, and e-copies of Cole in My Stocking.

Over at Goodreads, you can enter to win one of three print copies of Cole in My Stocking. A print book would make a great Christmas gift for a girlfriend or mom. It’s a sweeter romance about a girl who ran from her troubled past and a cop in her hometown who wants nothing more than for her to make peace with that past and move back.

Here’s the blurb and links. Thanks for reading!

Mandy never planned to return to Newburgh, New Hampshire, the hometown that unfairly branded her a slut, but she has no choice. Her father has died, and she’ll be spending Christmas settling his affairs. She hopes to get in and out of town without attracting the looks of disgust that drove her away, but when a certain Oakley-wearing, Harley-riding cop starts hanging around, an old crush is revived and the rumor mill restarts with a vengeance.

Cole has always been attracted to Mandy, but he has never acted on it. Besides being sixteen years older than her, he was friends with her father. The rumors people in town spread about her were bad enough without an inappropriate relationship adding fuel to the fire. But when Mandy returns to Newburgh fully adult and looking more gorgeous than ever, he can’t keep his distance, especially when an old secret of her father’s surfaces and puts her in danger. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her, but convincing her to stay in Newburgh, with him, will take a Christmas miracle.

Reader Advisory: Contains references to a past sexual assault

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | All Romance | Goodreads

 

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Free Publicity Friday-Breeches Edition

Must Love Breeches by Angela Quarles

angelaquarles_mustlovebreeches_200pxIf you ask my husband what is favorite letter is, he’ll say B. All the best things start with B. Baseball, beer, bacon, boobs, babies… he could go on and on, but you get the idea. Today, I’m adding a new B word to the list of awesome things: Breeches.

I love Angela Quarles. She burst onto the indie scene with her novel-length time-travel Must Love Breeches after publishing her debut novella with Secret Craving Press. I love reading her blog and hearing about her adventures in self publishing.

Seriously, this lady is so generous. She shares so much of what she learns for the rest of us to benefit from. If you’re considering self publishing or wanting to explore more about maximizing the effectiveness of social media or just looking for recommendations for quirky, interesting, romantic books to read, tak a few minutes and click around her blog.

Here’s the blurb for her debut indie novel, which, might I add, has a 4.5/5-star average on the Zon:

HOW FAR WOULD YOU TRAVEL FOR LOVE?

A mysterious artifact zaps Isabelle Rochon to pre-Victorian England, but before she understands the card case’s significance a thief steals it. Now she must find the artifact, navigate the pitfalls of a stiffly polite London, keep her time-traveling origins a secret, and resist her growing attraction to Lord Montagu, the Vicious Viscount so hot, he curls her toes.

To Lord Montagu nothing makes more sense than keeping his distance from the strange but lovely Colonial. However, when his scheme for revenge reaches a stalemate, he convinces Isabelle to masquerade as his fiancée. What he did not bargain on is being drawn to her intellectually as well as physically.

Lord Montagu’s now constant presence overthrows her equilibrium and her common sense. Isabelle thought all she wanted was to return home, but as passion flares between them, she must decide when her true home—as well as her heart—lies.

I’ve got it on my Kindle and can’t wait to read it and give it a review here. Go buy it and support a talented, generous indie author. Clicking the image will bring you to the book’s Amazon page.

Thanks for reading! No, go tell a friend about Must Love Breeches.

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Llamas in Labor, Elvis Suits, and COWBOYS!

Free Publicity Fridays Cowboy Edition

cowboy up2Is there any woman alive who can’t appreciate a well-build man in a beat-up pick-up truck and a Stetson? This week, I lost myself in a set of seven cowboy romances by some very talkented ladies. Cowboy Up is burning up the charts on Amazon, and you can get your hot little hands on it for just $0.99.

For me, it was more than worth the price.What a fun ride! I might be a little chafed… in a good way, lol.

Some of the stories in this set were heart-string tuggers. Some were fun romps. All were entertaining. My two favorites were Cowboy Trouble by Autumn Piper and Cowboys Don’t Cry by Vickie Taylor.

These two novels both showed exceptional characterization and unique plots with elements I hadn’t seen before. With Autumn Piper’s Cowboy Touble, the heroine, Suzie, was perfectly believable as a Texas debutante. Not only were her speech and manerisms spot on, but her thoughts reflected her privileged southern uppringing.

Suzie’s past was so poignant to me. Her issues felt so real and I wanted so badly for her to get her happy ever after with Cash, the cowhand from her daddy’s ranch. I was not disappointed. Cash was delicious, especially that one time he put on the Elvis costume. The dialog between these two was hot and honest. Every aspect of this novel left me feeling satisfied.

With Cowboys Don’t Cry, Vickie Taylor treated me to an opening scene the likes of which I’ve never seen before. There were blood and guts, secrets and shotguns… and instant attraction. I was hooked from page one and couldn’t put the book down ’til the happy ending. Again, the characterization was brilliantly done. The issues the characters work through were unique and so, so sweet.

The others in the set are good, too. They all entertained me. This set is definitely a great value. I highly recommend it, especially for Piper’s and Taylor’s contributions, which each get five stars from me.

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Working Out My Non-Writing Muscles

Here is what I hoped I looked like during my first ever meeting with a personal trainer:

This was probably closer to the reality:

Yeah, so…I’ve reached that age where I need to start making an effort to maintain my fitness. In my twenties, I was blessed in that I didn’t have to pay attention to what I ate and how active I was. As an undergraduate and then a graduate student at the University of Washington, I walked or biked to school every day and speed-walked across campus to make my classes, often hauling a bag loaded with books and a laptop. Wasn’t hard to stay fit.

In my early thirties, I had kids. I paid absolutely no attention to my own fitness, but thanks to breastfeeding, I didn’t put on too much unwanted weight. Now I’m in my late thirties. I’m done breastfeeding. I sit in the car 2+ hours a day to get my kids to school and run errands and then I sit at the computer to write or blog or play Candy Crush when my brain is too fried to do anything productive.

Being active these days includes walking up and down the stairs to do laundry, helping my 5 year-old ride her bike, weilding a hammer to build cabinets for my upcoming kitchen remodel, and doing crunches on the living room floor.

I wish it were enough. It’s not.

I’m not unhappy with my physique, and if that were the only factor, I probably wouldn’t change anything at this point. But weight/appearance isn’t the nly factor. My bloodpressure is too high, and I’m tired pretty much all the time. My body is sending me signals that I need to DO something to improve my health.

So…I joined a gym.

I despise cardio, but I like putting on muscle. The ergonomic machines at the gym are totally adjustable to my 5’1″ height, and I can choose the amount of weight I want to work with. I can target my big muscle groups and challenge myself however I see fit.

In the past, I’ve had good luck putting on muscle to battle the bulge. I’m hoping my metabolism remebers that and behaves for me.

So why am I posting about my journey to better fitness here, on my writing blog?

Because when I’m fatigued and not feeling good, I can’t focus enough to write. I’ve been disappointed with my writing output this year. Something needs to change. By getting into better shape, I hope I will feel better and see an improvement in my concentration and creativity.

I’ll let you know how it goes! Wish me luck!

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Review: Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair

Mae Clair_Eclipse LakeSlowly blooming romance meets Murder She Wrote

I love Mae Clair for the generous, kind person she is and for her wonderful ability to tell a story. She also blogs about fascinating topics like cryptozoology and hauntings. If you don’t follow her, you should. Her posts always brighten my day.

This week was a challenging one for me. Between a mysterious illness whose only symptom is making me feel constantly tired, first week of school for my kindergartener, pitching in to take care of a sick friend, and building cabinets for the kitchen remodel we have coming up, its been a hectic season. Every night, before going to bed, I retreated to a small town named Onyx and into the lives of some charming and captivating characters. The respite revived me every single time. Not every author can do that. So thank you, Mae, for creating such a lovely world I could retreat into.

Mae drew me in with a single dad of a teenager, a jetsetting photographer, a sheriff with a grudge, and a park ranger with a German shepherd. Even the teenager, who plays a role in the story, fascinated me with his nose for mischief and his sweetness.

My review in a nutshell: Eclipse Lake is beautiful and sweet and You Gotta Read it.

Here’s the longer version.

A grisly discovery of a skeleton throws small-town Onyx into a frenzy of gossip. The romantic hero of this book is the primary suspect. He has been living on the opposite coast of the country for fifteen years. In that time, he has reformed his bad-boy ways. Now he has returned to Onyx to renew a relationship with his estranged brother. But an old mystery is renewed instead.

The primary theme in this book is the idea that a bad reputation lives forever in a small town. Poor Dane is a different man than when he left his home town fifteen years ago, but Onyx natives can’t see past his juvenile detention reputation. The resident who has the hardest time acknowledging the changed man he has become is his brother Jonah, whom Dane hopes to reconcile with.

Amidst family drama and a murder investigation, Dane falls for a magazine photographer who wishes for more than constant jetsetting to photogenic locations. Ellie can’t envision leaving her career to settle down in a traditional relationship, but meeting Dane makes her realize just how empty her life is.

These two start to let love slip through their fingers, but new twists in the old mystery put them in danger and make them realize how much they’re willing to sacrifice for each other.

This was a sweet, emotional, and beautifully written page turner. Mae Clair has a knack for putting me in a scene with her characters. Her lush descriptions fill my senses. Her slowly blooming romance made me mentally swoon.

I highly recommend Eclipse Lake for all readers. Whether you love mystery or romance, there’s plenty of both in this book. I can’t wait to read more from this author.

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A Virgin Walks into a Strip Club…

Jade’s Spirit is here!

JessiGage_JadesSpirit_1400pxHow many virginal heroes are we up to now?

Let’s see. There’s Darcy from Highland Wishes #1 WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER, Riggs from book 2, THE WOLF AND THE HIGHLANDER, and now Emmett from Blue Collar Boyfriends #2 JADE’S SPIRIT.

I might have a thing for virginal men. Is there a support group for that?

So who is Emmett and why do you want to read about him and his sexy new girlfriend, Jade? Well, Emmett is a small-town, hard-working guy with a lawncare business. He’s your typical blue-collar hottie. Except for one thing. He’s a twenty-seven-year old virgin determined to “wait for marriage.”

But Emmett has a little problem. Ever since his parents’ divorce, he has been skittish about saying “I do.” How does a guy who takes his vows seriously vow to love one woman forever? No one can know the future.

Something is going to have to give. Either Emmett will blow a decade of “waiting for marriage” or he will have to come to terms with his fear of matrimony and find a girl to commit to forever.

When he meets Jade, a stripper from Boston, he knows she is the one. The question is whether she is the one with whom he will break his decade-long virginity vow or the one he will commit to forever.

So that’s Emmett. Jade has her own issues, including being on the run from an abusive ex and getting possessed by a dead witch turned demon minion.

If that sounds interesting, check out the blurb and buy links below. Don’t forget to share!

Jade’s Spirit

When exotic dancer Jade seeks refuge from an abusive boyfriend in her grandmother’s aging Victorian home, she finds she’s not the only houseguest. A dream-invading incubus has taken up residence, and it wants Jade’s soul. Fortunately, a flirtatious lawn-care provider has a trick or two up his sleeve for dealing with hauntings. And he has definite rebound-guy potential—if only he would stop inviting her to church.

The virginity vow Emmett “the lawn guy” Herald took when he was seventeen has become legendary in Dover, Vermont. Ten years later, everyone is waiting to see if he’ll blow a decade of “waiting for marriage” now that he’s dating the new girl from the big city. Even Emmett thinks he has met his match in the vivacious Boston beauty. In fact, he’s starting to think virginity may be overrated.

A spark of attraction ignites between Jade and Emmett, and quickly grows into a roaring inferno. But with a demon fanning the flames, attraction has never been so perilous.

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Google Play | All Romance | Goodreads

 

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