Monthly Archives: October 2015

clutch: a novel, by Lisa Becker {release day blitz + giveaway}

Clutch_releaseToday I’m participating in the Release Day Blitz for CLP Blog Tours in honour of Lisa Becker’s clutch: a novel. What a fun concept for a book! This chicklit novel pairs men and handbags in a hilarious look at modern dating.
Follow the links below for more about the author, giveaway details and how to purchase your own copy of clutch today!

About clutch: a novel

clutch: a novel is the laugh-out-loud, chick lit romance chronicling the dating misadventures of Caroline Johnson, a single purse designer who compares her unsuccessful romantic relationships to styles of handbags – the “Hobo” starving artist, the “Diaper Bag” single dad, the “Briefcase” intense businessman, etc. With her best friend, bar owner Mike by her side, the overly-accommodating Caroline drinks a lot of Chardonnay, puts her heart on the line, endures her share of unworthy suitors and finds the courage to discover the “Clutch” or someone she wants to hold onto.
Clutch

Author Bio

In addition to clutch: a novel, Lisa Becker is the author of the Click Trilogy, a contemporary romance series comprised of Click: An Online Love Story, Double Click and Right Click. She’s written bylined articles about dating and relationships for “Cupid’s Pulse,” “The Perfect Soulmate,” “GalTime,” “Single Edition,” “Healthy B Daily” and “Chick Lit Central” among others. She lives in Manhattan Beach, California with her husband and two daughters. To learn more, visit http://www.lisawbecker.com.

Clutch

Social Media Links for Lisa Becker

Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Web

Get Your Copy!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/clutch-novel-Lisa-Becker-ebook/dp/B015P09CBW/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Be sure to enter the giveaway below. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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One Wish in Manhattan – Mandy Baggot {feature} #bookoutureXmas

Screenshot_2015-10-25-22-44-11Today’s #BookoutureXmas feature is an excerpt of Mandy Baggot’s One Wish in Manhattan.
Do you have a certain type of book that always draws you in? Usually, a Christmas-themed novel is enough to draw me in, but I also love books where the heroine transplants herself into a new city. In this case, it’s Hayley and her daughter, Angel. Together they navigate the New York waters after travelling from the UK. Told in alternate voices of Hayley and Oliver, readers are suspended into this delightful holiday romance.
Look at that cover – SWOON!

bookouture

The Book:
The temperature is dropping, snow is on its way and Hayley Walker is heading for New York with one wish … to start over.

With her daughter Angel, Hayley is ready for adventure. But there’s more to New York than twinkly lights and breathtaking skyscrapers. Angel has her own Christmas wish – to find her real dad.

While Hayley tries to fulfil her daughter’s wish, she crosses paths with billionaire Oliver Drummond. Restless and bored with fast living, there’s something intriguing about him that has Hayley hooked.

Can Hayley dare to think her own dreams might come true – could A New York Christmas turn into a New York Forever?

Travel to the Big Apple this Christmas and join Hayley and Oliver as they realise life isn’t just about filling the minutes … it’s about making every moment count.

To buy:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Indigo Canada/Kobo

MandyB
About Mandy Baggot:
Mandy Baggot is an award-winning romantic fiction author, writing hot heroes and emotional reads. A contributor to writing blogs and short story anthologies, Mandy is also a regular speaker at literary festivals, events and women’s networking groups.
Mandy loves mashed potato, white wine, country music, and handbags. She has appeared on ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and auditioned for The X-Factor and lives in Wiltshire, UK with her husband, two children and cats, Kravitz and Springsteen.

Snowflakes on Silver Cove – Holly Martin {book review} #bookoutureXmas

bookoutureI have another book to feature on today’s #BookoutureXmas – be sure to follow along with that hashtag on Twitter to be up to date on all the bloggers’ features for the event.

Today, I’m showcasing “Snowflakes on Silver Cove” by Holly Martin. I adored this book and to me, it was the epitome of a feel-good Christmas read. I’ve included an excerpt (extract) for your reading pleasure, as well as my review.

Enjoy 🙂

SnowflakesSnowflakes on Silver Cove – Excerpt

Come and spend a picture perfect romantic Christmas at White Cliff Bay Libby Joseph is famous for her romantic Christmas stories. Every December, readers devour her books of falling in love against the magical backdrop of the Christmas season. If only Libby believed in the magic herself…
Struggling to finish her current novel, Libby turns to her best friend and neighbour George Donaldson to cheer her up. But George also needs a bit of support himself. Nervous about getting back into the dating saddle after splitting from his wife, he and Libby strike a deal. She will teach George how to win over the ladies, and Libby will in turn be inspired to inject her novel with a good dose of romance. As Libby and George explore the beautiful White Cliff Bay on a series of romantic Christmas-themed dates, Libby finds herself having more fun than she’s had in ages and…discovers feelings that she never knew she had for George.
But is it too late? Will George win someone else’s heart or can Libby act like the heroine in one of her stories and reach for her own love under the mistletoe this Christmas? Snuggle up with a piece of Christmas cake and mulled wine, and spend the festive season at White Cliff Bay.

My Review:

Well, what can I say? ‘Snowflakes’ was the perfect book for me to review for this #BookoutureXmas event! I was caught up within the first few pages and adored George and Libby from the start. The Christmas coziness of the novel shone through, and all I wanted was to curl up with this book in front of my fireplace drinking some hot chocolate with a candy cane floating on top. But alas, I have three children and they don’t allow me such luxuries. But, I was able to escape reading this book! Boy did I ever! I fell in love with Libby and George from the very first pages, encouraging them with my reading to “get together for goodness sake!” The cutest couple for sure.
Holly Martin’s writing is engaging from the start and it draws you in to the Christmas spirit.
The love that Libby and George surely have for each other (and hopefully will discover soon) is contagious and I wanted them to fall into each other’s arms for real; not just for the sake of these make-believe dates they’re on. In typical starcrossed lovers fashion, Libby and George need an extra push to see that they are smitten with each other. The setting of this novel was perfect for this romance with its small village bedazzled in Christmasey, twinkling lights…ahhh…magic!
The back story with Amy and Seb was also enchanting and I couldn’t help but root them on.
All of the villagers were a great addition to the story, and it was so much fun getting caught up with their antics against the backdrop of this charming village.
This is definitely a heartwarming book to devour this Christmas season!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Snowflakes-Silver-Cove-feel-good-Christmas-ebook/dp/B014T4W7BM

Disclaimer: I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley – thank you Bookouture!

holly_Martin

About Holly Martin – Holly Martin emerged onto the chicklit scene by winning the Belinda Jones Travel Club short story competition – and has not looked back since.
Her adult fiction debut The Guesthouse, hit number 5 on Amazon chart and she has now written three books with Bookouture: Fairytale Beginnings, Christmas at Lilac Cottage, and Snowflakes at Silver Cove.

#bookoutureXmas Kickoff! Difficult husbands – Mary de Laszlo {excerpt}

Difficult-Husbands-Mary-de-Laszlo-570px bookoutureHere in Canada we’ve just had a stunning election, Thanksgiving is over and now we’re in limbo leading up to Halloween. What a great time to celebrate…Christmas! Ditch the pumpkin spice lattes and heat up some mulled apple cider to get in the mood for #BookoutureXmas week! How awesome is that?!? This feature is hosted by ThisChickReads and Bookouture Publishing. I am so excited to be a part of this event – Christmas and Britlit – two of my favourite things!
When I first started reading chicklit books SO long ago, I started with British chicklit. This was before the ‘Shopaholic’ series was published and Chapters employees would say “chickWHAT” when I was looking for said reading material. As a Librarian in a public library, I was excited when they started ordering more chicklit books upon my recommendation, after noticing other young women my age were looking for the same type of reads.
So this week I am here to share Christmas-themed titles from Bookouture – a fabulous British publishing press – and they have the most scrumptious book covers out there! I absolutely love them! What’s even better…13 more book bloggers are also part of this blog tour, so you’ll have many more reviews and excerpts and blog pages to visit! Are you ready for it?!? Simply follow #BookoutureXmas on Twitter from Oct 22-27 for all the updates!

Today, I am happy to bring an excerpt to the post – called ‘extract’ in Brit language 😉 of Difficult Husbands by Mary de Laszlo “A Christmas tale of family, friends and new beginnings”
Look at the gorgeous cover!

Difficult-Husbands-Mary-de-Laszlo-570px

Find out more about Bookouture Publishing

Now onto the EXTRACT for Difficult Husbands:
PROLOGUE

Christmas in Summer

‘Reset.’ The director, his hair tied carelessly back in a ponytail, called out, and for the umpteenth time Lorna knocked on the fake front door, complete with Christmas wreath, while an underling, with the rosy face of a mischievous cherub, scattered fake snow at her from above. This tickled her nose and made her sneeze and the director sigh, call ‘cut’ and the whole take started again.
Christmas, anxiety gripped her, Christmas in summer. If only it was over when this
shoot was. Even though it was months away she was dreading the real thing; her first Christmas without Stephen, without even her parents to escape to.
‘Reset.’ This time it went better. She opened the door and the camera focused on the
‘room’ conjured up in this stark warehouse. She counted to five while she pretended to be amazed by the magic she saw before her; blazing logs in the fake fireplace, cards hung in streamers among sparkling decorations. There was a show of Christmas fare laid out before her – at least she hadn’t had to cook it, the thought scudded through her mind – then the camera wheeled away to groups of happy, happy people toasting each other with pretend champagne. There were some spotless, tidy children behaving so nicely and quietly – a dream Christmas, when in reality it was often hell.
A small girl – pretty in pink – ruined this cheerful scene by tearing the paper off a
‘present’ only to find a block of polystyrene concealed under the glitzy paper. She howled in disappointment.
Poor little thing, Lorna thought, as her mother scuttled onto the set to retrieve her
sobbing child, that is life though, disappointment often lurks under the glitz. She caught the eye of one of the ‘happy’ people, a woman whose face held remnants of beauty, who’d confided in her before they started shooting that she hated Christmas, her memories of a houseful of cheerful, noisy family celebrations taunting her, now she was alone.
At last it was over, ‘a wrap’. Thankfully, Lorna took off her winter clothes, handing them back to the wardrobe girl. She signed her chit, waved goodbye to the others and left, going back into the sunny day, probably the best one of the summer and she’d missed it while she acted out Christmas inside. Being an extra or ‘supporting cast’ as it was now called, was just another, rather predictable way – a fun way, if you didn’t count the early starts – of earning money.
It was a strange world of unreality; the commercial she’d just worked on portrayed
only the pleasure of Christmas. There was no sign of it being a religious feast, or of unhappiness from a fractured family. It peddled dreams and perhaps spawned resentment in people, most people she’d have thought, especially in these hard times, who’d never achieve such a spectacle.
What would her Christmas be like this year? She could hardly bear to think of it. All those years of special, magical times with her parents and siblings, and continuing with it all with her own children. Even when her parents died she had never confronted the fact that there could come a time when she could be alone for Christmas.
Lorna got into her car, hoping she wouldn’t get lost going home. These studios were usually stuck out somewhere on an industrial estate and were difficult to find, even sometimes for the Sat Nav. She always set off hours early for if you were late on set you were sacked – that was it. ‘End of,’ as her children would say.
Her children, the thought of their pain when Stephen left them brought tears. Marcus said he’d probably go away for Christmas, not able to bear it without his father there, the father as he used to be. Flora slammed a few doors, muttering the same threats. This Christmas she could easily be alone, for the first time in her life, and it terrified her.

Suzanne Nicole: Unravelled in New York {book tour and review}

Unravelled

I’m pleased to be part of another CLP Blog tours book tour today! This time we’re featuring Suzanne Nicole’s Unravelled in New York. It features the enigmatic Charli Cooper, an Australian transplant working as an intern at a New York daily paper. In charge of writing “about town”-type columns, Charli is drawn to the charming Jack Manning. But soon, she has to wonder if there’s more to him than just good looks and family success. What is hiding? Why’s he so mysterious?
Charli is such a likable character! You can’t help but like her from the start. She’s the perfect friend and real to herself, with no hidden motives. She’s eager to make a new start after a failed relationship, and with the help of her friends Mia and Clark, Charli is soon immersed into New York and her new job.
Early on in the book, Charli questions Jack’s motives and ways – what’s his secret? What’s behind his family fortune? Definitely out of the ordinary for a “chicklit” novel, I loved that this novel veered off the typical path and followed the path of investigative journalism, via our protagonist Charli.
She’s not out looking for love, but rather uses her position to investigate. As for the relationship between Charli and Jack, at times I was rooting for Charli and Jack to get together, and at other times I was hoping she would discover a major secret about him.
I did find that the New York dialogue sometimes took on some Australian phrases. It didn’t ring true that New Yorkers would use Australian slang.
In the end, ‘Unravelled’ is a modern story made up of friendship, intrigue, and love. It occurred to me early on that it would make a perfect travel/airplane read.

Book Link **99 Cents During Tour!**

http://www.amazon.com/Unravelled-New-York-Suzanne-Nicole-ebook/dp/B010ZGGPMK

CLP Blog Tours is offering a giveaway along with this tour. For a chance to win $25 Amazon gift card, enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt from “Unravelled in New York” (S.Nicole, 2015):
“Mr. Manning, Charli Cooper, New York Herald. I would like to ask you a few questions.” I hold out my hand confidently to shake his, hoping he doesn’t notice my slightly shallow breathing and trembling hands.

“So,” he says, taking my hand and slowly raking his gaze obnoxiously down my body. He seems so much taller and broader than I remember and I suddenly feel small and out of place. “Marla sends the international office junior to ask me a ‘few questions’ after the allotted time for interviews is over. An unusual move by Marla, I must say.” His voice is rich and strong. I’m momentarily paralysed by his statement and have to quickly gather myself. Set times for interviews? I mentally search for something that I’ve missed. I shuffle my papers nervously and watch in horror as they lazily flutter to the ground between us.

“Excuse me?” I say. I bend down quickly to retrieve my papers and take a moment to gather myself.

He pointedly looks at his big, ridiculously expensive watch, then at his phone, and finally lifts his eyes back to mine with a maddening smirk. “I’m sorry, Miss…Cooper, was it?” I give a small nod. “I’m sorry but had you read your brief properly you would have seen that interview times are finished for the evening.” He points to a tiny line at the end of the programme I’m holding. “Why don’t you call during business hours and see if a more appropriate time can be arranged.” And with that, he turns his back on me and saunters over to a tall flaxen-haired beauty. I’m left standing alone with my papers, mouth agape, mortified. I turn when I realise Pete has stepped in behind me.

“Pete, did that just happen?” I feel the familiar tightening around my ribcage. “It would have only taken him a few minutes. What’s his problem?”

“Yeah, sorry, I only caught the end of it.”

I want the floor to open up and swallow me. Embarrassment crawls its ugly red stain up my chest and onto my face. I fumble through my notes again, peeved when I see other guests still giving interviews.

“What’d I tell you, asshole, right? Don’t worry kid, leave it with me, we’ll get something before the night is out.”

I quietly slink back to the press corner to lick my wounds and pull myself together. Tears threaten but I will not cry. Arrogant bastard. I busy myself checking through the notes I’ve already made. I’m grateful to Pete who introduces me to associates from other papers before he moves away to take more shots. Wrapped up in my foggy brain, I excuse myself and drift across the gallery looking for the restroom and a chance to escape when his resonant voice accosts me from behind.

“You gave up very easily, Miss Cooper. I was led to believe you would be more tenacious.”

“Pardon?” I turn and see his ocean-blue eyes staring at me through his dark thick lashes. Why does his mere presence rattle me? My mouth loses all moisture and I swallow nervously. The worst thing is, I sense he knows the effect he has on me and he’s enjoying it.

“Well, Miss International Roving Reporter, you can’t work in this city if you can’t secure a story. If you don’t mind me saying so, you seem a bit out of your depth, sweetheart. Next time, I suggest you get your priorities right.” He puts his hands into his pockets.

Okay, so this guy is a patronising jerk. Did he really just say ‘sweetheart’? Who the hell does he think he is?

“I have to say that in the time you’ve stood there reprimanding me, I could have completed the whole interview and we could’ve moved on. But I’m guessing this is some sort of revenge for the other night, am I right, Mr. Manning? It’s not very professional.”

“Professional? A professional would know what order to run the interviews in, Miss Cooper. A professional would have read all the details about the evening. And the other night?” He raises his eyebrow and arrogantly leans against the wall. “Do tell? Sounds like a good story.”

“The other night when you…when you…ran into me.” I glare up at him and he purses his lips, deep in thought, then lets out a hearty laugh.

“Ah that. I remember it very differently, Miss Cooper. I remember it as a young lady too busy flirting with a barman to notice where she was going,” he says with a wink, enjoying antagonising me. “You are amusing, Charlotte, I will give you that.”

I search my brain for a witty retort, which I’m usually so good at, but come up empty. The silence spills out between us, before I finally find my voice. “Charli, it’s Charli Cooper, Mr. err…” I fidget with my notes on the pretence of searching for his name, scanning the list slowly. “Mr. Grainger-Smythe?” I blame jet-lag or a long day for my momentary lack of judgement.

“Very amusing,” he says, “I am looking forward to seeing what you can salvage from tonight’s debacle.” He looks down at his watch again, making ready to move on.

“Please don’t concern yourself over my story, I have plenty of quotes. Some more interesting than others.” I smile sweetly up at him, while inside my blood is boiling. He walks away in his big shiny shoes with his hands in his pockets, and I can see his shoulders moving. Is he laughing at me? He turns around and looks back at me over his shoulder, then saunters back towards me. I crane my neck to look up at him.

“It’s Manning, as you know full well. And I assume you do know I am the major sponsor tonight, Miss Cooper? So write what you will, I’ll look forward to reading it.” He lifts his eyebrows, daring me to challenge him before walking away again.

Suzanne Nicole links:

https://www.facebook.com/Suzanne-Nicole-Author-1698891897005531/timeline/

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25863173-unravelled-in-new-york

Disclaimer: I was provided an ebook copy by ChicklitPlus Blog Tours in order to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.

The Truth About Caroline ~ by Randi Sherman {book tour, review and excerpt}

the truth about caroline button

I have another great book review and excerpt from CLP Blog Tours (Chick Lit Plus) to bring to you today: The Truth About Caroline, by Randi Sherman (FriesenPress, 2015)

Randi Sherman’s The Truth About Caroline is a laugh-out-loud, coming-of-age, whodunit novel that focuses on the newly widowed, Caroline Matthews.
With a cast of off-the-wall characters, the first part of the novel focuses on Caroline’s trial for “supposedly” offing her cheating husband, in a murder-for-hire style. I loved the caricature-like characters presented during the trial, from the witnesses to the buffoon-like opposing lawyer.
For me, this was the highlight of the book and I would definitely look forward to sitting through a another fictional trial like the one portrayed here. I could really picture how everyone looked and acted; it made for great entertainment!
Throughout the novel, we heard about many different versions of Caroline: a mother who did everything for her children, but not a perfect mother, long-suffering wife turned murderer, a bubblehead who was disorganized, and so on. A lot of contradictions! And since I hadn’t read the first novel, I wasn’t sure if a reader would already know the “real” Caroline had they already read Caroline Starts Over (FriesenPress, 2014). However, this made for a fun read. I couldn’t wait to find out “the truth about Caroline” and enjoyed all the predicaments and antics along the way.
As Caroline reinvents herself, we are drawn in to her new lifestyle and attempts at rediscovering herself and living a truthful life (a toughie, as she’s been lying her whole life, so we’re told). An offbeat, but likeable character, Caroline’s fate is eventually revealed to us all in a surprising turn and end to the novel.

EXCERPT from The Truth About Caroline the truth about caroline

Sitting in the Human Resource reception area at Morgan’s appliances reminded Caroline of a dentist’s office. The receptionist or as her name placard read, “Executive Assistant,” occasionally looked up, gave Caroline a half-hearted smile and then turned her attention back to her magazine. Pictures of her boyfriend festooned her work area, along with a nearly deflated, Happy Birthday Mylar balloon as it sadly hung in the air, just two feet above the ground. And there was a bowl of hard candy positioned on the corner of the desk, next to the Sign-in Please clip board with its pen attached to it by a piece of yard. Caroline’s stomach was growling, she had skipped breakfast and sat there wondering if the candy was an innocent offering or a test of some sort.

If she got up and took a piece of the candy would it be considered too presumptuous? Would the action reveal some character trait that would result in a pass or a fail, rendering the applicant ineligible. The candy, Caroline thought, had probably been sitting there for months, maybe years. Like every grandmother’s coffee table candy dish, the candy in it was probably decades old. Would it be delicious and worth the effort to free it from the cellophane wrapper? Would it be worth the risk? Caroline wondered if other applicants obsessed about that sad, dusty little bowl of candy too.

Caroline looked down at her “interview” outfit, hoping that the scotch tape that she had used to hem her pants would hold until the meeting was over. Without much money or time to shop, Caroline grabbed the first affordable interview-type suit she saw at the Women At Work Shoppe in the strip mall near the Super Cuts hair salon where she had her hair dyed and cut in preparation for today’s meeting. She hadn’t bothered to try on the suit in the store. It was navy blue. The suit included a companion blouse and, more importantly, it was on sale. Unfortunately the pants were tailored for a giant. Without a sewing kit or a stapler, Caroline had improvised with transparent tape.

When a quiet ring came from the receptionist’s phone, she picked it up, whispered something and glanced at Caroline. “Ms. Pratt,” she announced quietly, “I’ll take you back to see Ms. Herrera now.” As Caroline passed her desk, she took a candy, unwrapped it and popped it in her mouth. “Oh, my mouth is so dry.” She smiled.

“Tell me a little about yourself.” Ms. Herrera poised her fingers above the keyboard of her computer, ready to take notes.

The truthful answer would be: “I just got out of jail after spending six months awaiting trial for planning a hit on my husband. Fortunately I was acquitted. I have no prospects or work experience to speak of. I’m lazy and get bored easily. I’m terribly disorganized and have a problem with honesty. I desperately need a job because the insurance money will not last forever. When do I start?” But instead Caroline answered, “Oh heavens, where do I begin?”

“Well,” Ms. Herrera smiled. “Why don’t you tell me why you left your last job?”

Realizing that she was enjoying the hard candy a little too much, Caroline discretely spat it into her hand and began her answer. “Well,” glancing at the resume she had on her lap, “as you know I have been self-employed for a while and to tell you the truth,” she was thinking on her feet. “Freelancing is drying up and I am interested in working for a growing corporation where I can apply my skills and experience.” Aced it! She silently congratulated herself.

“Well, Caroline, this is an impressive resume.” She reached up and touched the crucifix that was hanging around her neck. “I see you were a missionary in Mexico. My family is from Mexico, where were you assigned?”

Oh crap! “Oh, um, truthfully Miss Herrera, it seemed like I was never in one place very long. I went where I was needed most.” She was hoping that the answer would be sufficient. “You know missionary work. Move, move, move. I wish I spent more time in the capital.” Caroline’s palms were sweating, the candy started melting.

***************************

randi sherman
Randi Sherman – Links

http://www.randimshermanbooks.com
@RandiMSherman
http://amzn.to/1jckt2v
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26036274-the-truth-about-caroline