SUMMER HEAT Charity Anthology

Summer Heat

Summer Heat Charity Anthology

by Rachel de la Fuente, A. E. Gamrat, Sonya Jesus, Cam Johns, Linny Lawless, and Sophia Peony
summer heat coverBenefitting Charity: Global Fund for Women
Genres: Anthology, Romance, Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance, Adult
Release Date: July 6, 2018
Purchase From: Amazon
With temperatures rising, the sizzling stories of Summer Heat will have you needing a dip in the pool. We’re turning up the heat and you’re going to be damp in more ways than one.
Second chance romance, star crossed lovers, a sexy vampire, an irresistible bad boy, dark secrets, and then some? There’s a little bit of everything for everyone. Grab a cold drink, come get down and dirty, and make this summer extra hot with Summer Heat.
Summer Heat is dedicated to all the strong and sexy women around the world. Yes, you, too! The proceeds of this anthology will be donated to the Global Fund for Women.

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Giveaway!

Want to win a copy of Summer Heat? The authors are giving away a copy for every 20 entries.

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About the Stories

Fate’s Kiss
by Rachel de la Fuente
When Shawn and Selene meet, they instantly know that they share a connection. But when Selene’s mother declares that vampire royalty doesn’t mate with humans, they’ll have to trust that Fate happens, even if it seems impossible.

Carnival of Love
by A. E. Gamrat
What happens when your crush makes the moves you’ve been dreaming about? Mags is about to find out.

The Dragon’s Chains
by Sonya Jesus
Keenan joined the Dragons to be closer to the woman he loved, Hannah. When the reason for him being there dies, he is left alone and with no way out. Keenan is chained to them forever.

Cuffed
by Cam Johns
Detective Tristan Lyndsey uses his cuffs to control his suspects and subs. Until he meets a woman that causes him to lose that control.

Neon Summer
by Linny Lawless
It was the summer of ’87. Opposites attract when a guitar player and an uptight virgin meet. What follows is a sizzling summer to remember.

Touched
by Sophia Peony
Melonie wants her father’s best friend, and she’s going to make sure she gets what she wants before she leaves for college.


About the Authors

Rachel de la Fuente
Rachel dela FuenteRachel de la Fuente (meaning of the fountain) lives in Maryland with the love of her life and two furry children that meow. She’s been writing since elementary school, and telling stories since she could speak. She is an avid fountain pen enthusiast with a bit of an ink problem, and often writes book notes and sections of stories by hand.
Rachel was born and raised in southern California, but spent many summers with family in Mexico. Her parents loved traveling, so she also spent many vacations in various locations, soaking up foreign cultures and sights. She still loves to travel, and is committed to crossing all of the locations off her bucket list.
Rachel is a proud Slytherin, and when not writing, spends much of her free time reading, cross stitching, and watching documentaries.
Author links: Website | Facebook Page | Facebook Group | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | BookBub | Amazon | Newsletter Sign-up


A.E. Gamrat
AE GamratGrowing up writing was second nature that soon become a distant memory. Turning 30 (not saying when) that memory was going to be brought back to life. Lover of all books I try to grab my audience in and never let go. Hoping to get all these thoughts and ideas down for everyone to enjoy, even if it’s a moment or a life time.
This is the new chapter of my life story. Hope everyone enjoys!
Author links: Website | Facebook Page | Facebook Group | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Newsletter Sign-up


Sonya Jesus
Sonya JesusSonya’s a science nerd who decided to give into her creative fictional side in order to balance out the non-fictional scientific side of her PhD. She doesn’t have much free time, but she spends it enjoying her family and friends, watching Netflix and playing with her dogs.
Author links: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

 


Cam Johns
Cam JohnsOkay, so I’m not one of those people that woke up one day and decided, “you know what, I think I’ll write a book today.” Who am I kidding, yes I am. However, I came to the decision because my fiancé was struggling with his MS, and sometimes when things that heavy are going on in your life, you need an outlet. So, that’s just what I did.
I started with just writing poems, which turned into short stories, then what do you know…a whole book! Trust me, I’m no genius! But I feel you might enjoy some of the things I decided to put on paper. Some may think, “My goodness she’s got a foul mouth!” Especially anyone that knows me, but what can I say, I must’ve been a sailor in my past life!
My first published book is an erotic romance, full of suspense, based on the life of Karisma Washington. The first of the Arousing Trilogy that, of course, leaves you hanging onto what happens next. Beyond it being a sexy tale of Karisma finding true love unexpectedly, she will also come to find some truth in the murder of her father.

Cam Johns started writing as a way to cope with her fiancé’s Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. Her quiet journey started with poems and short stories which she kept private. It wasn’t until she published her first novel, which turned into the Arousing Series, that she gained enough confidence to continue sharing her works.
Author links: Website | Facebook Page | Facebook Group | Instagram | Twitter


Linny Lawless
Linny LawlessLinny grew up in Northern Virginia, right outside Washington DC, and has a professional career in sales operations for over 20 years. She’s also spent 13 years riding with her husband on the back of a Harley! Linny loves the feeling of freedom, wildness, and rebellion that comes with it. The biker community can be tribal and primal at times.
Linny has also been a huge book worm since she was a young teen. She reads different genres of books, but the one Linny loves the most is Romance! She self-published her debut novel, “Salvation in Chaos” in January of 2018. Her stories are about scruffy, sexy alpha bikers who belong to a tribe, their club, and the women they fall in love with. They live in a world full of chaos, not unlike reality. But within that chaotic world, they live their lives the best way they can and discover true love.
Author links: Website | Facebook Page | Facebook Group | Goodreads | Instagram | BookBub


Sophia Peony
Sophia PeonyIn 6th grade I wanted to be a singer. In high school I wanted to be a lawyer, an astronaut and then a house wife when I thought I was going to marry my high school sweetheart. Then I wanted to be a pilot but found out I was too short to fly. So, I decided to become a photographer. When that didn’t work out, I decided to be a writer.
Author links: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

 

TO CATCH A TEXAS STAR by Linda Broday Book Blog Tour – Review and Giveaway

texas star blog tour

TO CATCH A TEXAS STAR

Texas Heroes, Book 3

by

LINDA BRODAY

Genre: Western / Historical / Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of Publication: July 3, 2018
Number of Pages: 352

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Synopsis

to catch a texas starOn her way to town early one morning, Marley Rose McClain finds a man unconscious and bleeding at the side of the road. She loads him in the wagon and takes him to her family ranch.
Drifter Roan Penny fights for his life, his one goal eating at him—to find the ones who murdered his best friend. As he recovers, he finds himself falling in love with Marley. She’s everything he wants and dreams of making her his wife even as he knows it’s impossible. A terrifying stranger appears and a long-kept secret shakes Marley to the core. Roan helps her through very frightening times and they pledge their love for each other. As Roan hunts down the hooded men who killed his friend and grows closer to learning the truth of the stranger’s identity, he finds both himself and Marley being stalked.Shocking events unfold, secrets come to light, and a love refuses to be denied in this cat and mouse game where danger lurks around every corner. Will Roan and Marley survive to see the future they plan?

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To Catch a Texas Star is the third book in the Texas Heroes series, but the first one I’ve read. It’s actually the first book by Linda Broday that I’ve ever read. I like it. I like her writing style. This book stands well on its own, but reading the two that came before it would probably enhance the enjoyment.

Texas Star is fast-paced and action-packed, featuring well-drawn characters you’d root for and the wild West as the exciting setting. At the center of everything is a sweet romance between Marley, a strong, caring young woman, and Roan, a determined, honorable drifter. Their story happens amidst grave danger and life-altering secrets.

This book captured my attention from the beginning with its dramatic first chapter. It kept getting better as the characters are introduced (Duel, Jessie, Matt, Granny Jack, etc.) and as the attraction between Marley and Roan grew. I liked that both of them have strengths and faults. I appreciate that they saved each other’s lives. Often in Westerns, the heroine is a damsel in distress, just waiting for the hero to rescue her. This one is not like that. Marley had her low moments, especially when she was scared for her family, but she had amazing highs like when she rescued herself and when she acted to make it easy for the good guys to win in the end.

This book follows in the classic Western formula of heroes being amazingly good (and seemingly indestructible) while the villains are incredibly bad. You can easily visualize this as a movie for Ms. Broday described the action and fight scenes well.

As a Texas resident, I like the feeling of being “at home” when I read a book set here. But, even those not from here will enjoy To Catch a Texas Star as it tackles universal themes of family, justice, loyalty, and deep-abiding love.

 

Praise for To Catch a Texas Star
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“Fans of the previous books will enjoy returning to the McClain clan, and new readers will appreciate the story’s layered mysteries, emotional depth, and believable scenes of attraction.” — Publisher’s Weekly

“I loved the twists and turns that this story takes. It is pretty interesting seeing this romance blossom and how much their relationship strengthens as they face danger and the truth together.”–Addicted to Romance

“Marley Rose has one of the most gentle and winsome souls; her affection and compassion for others and delightful creativity pour off the pages and you can’t help but adore her.”–Michelle (Goodreads)

AboutTheAuthor

linda brodayLinda is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of full length historical western romance novels and novellas. She’s published over twenty books and short stories and resides in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and Comancheros once roamed. On a quiet day, she can often hear their voices whispering in the wind. The love of this state and its people runs bone deep and she instills that into each book she writes. She sets all her stories in Texas because of the rich history and interesting people. A mother, grandmother, and soon to be a great grandmother, Linda finds research fascinating and always looks for little known tidbits to add realism to her stories. When she’s not writing, she collects old coins and confesses to being a rock hound in addition to making herself a nuisance at museums, libraries, and historical places which inspire her.

WEBSITE  FACEBOOK  PINTEREST  TWITTER  GOODREADS  LINKEDIN  BOOKBUB

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GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

Grand Prize: Signed Copies of Full Texas Heroes Series
Five Runners-Up: Signed Copies of To Catch a Texas Star
(US ONLY)
July 3-12, 2018

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

7/3/18		Excerpt			That's What She's Reading
7/3/18		Bonus Series Spotlight	Hall Ways Blog
7/4/18		Review			Chapter Break Book Blog
7/5/18		Guest Post		StoreyBook Reviews
7/6/18		Review			Carpe Diem Chronicles
7/7/18		Character Interview	The Librarian Talks
7/8/18		Review			Reading by Moonlight
7/9/18		Playlist		Tangled in Text
7/10/18		Review			Books and Broomsticks
7/11/18		Author Interview	Dressed to Read
7/12/18		Review			Margie's Must Reads

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BREATHLESS by Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan – Review and Giveaway

 

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SUMMARY

In Breathless, bestselling authors Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan will sweep you away—across continents and centuries, combining the best of all worlds in one unforgettable romantic saga.

She was “the Swan.” London’s premiere courtesan. Men want to be with her. Women loathe her success and yet admire her beauty, her riches, her independence. But when the jealous wife of her lover moves to have the Swan banished from her home on the high seas, she winds up crashed against Spain’s rocky coast with no shoes, no clothes—and no name. Taken in by a tortured, sensuous man known as The Artist, the Swan comes to know the woman she wants to be—her artist’s siren.

When Art Professor Brenna Anderson is in danger of losing her post at Harvard, the rule-following, prim professor is at a loss of how to salvage the shreds of her life. But when a new painting in the mysterious Siren collection is discovered in a dusty old house in France, Brenna does the unthinkable—hops on a plane to uncover the identity of the beautiful, enigmatic woman who is the subject of the paintings.

There’s just one hitch—the frustrating, irritating, bold and beautiful art hunter Fitch Wilder is also looking for the Siren. He’s been a thorn in Brenna’s professional side for years, but when their individual quests lead them to team up despite being enemies, a whole new sumptuous world of art and culture opens up for the two of them. And with it, they enter a realm of passion and love…

Info:
St. Martin’s Griffin
Pub date: 06/12/2018
ISBN: 9781250008060
384 Pages

Buy Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
IndieBound
Powells

 

REVIEW

A mix of contemporary romance and historical fiction, Breathless is an incredibly well-written book. The jumps between present and past are done seamlessly. Clever use of varying POVs (dual 3rd person for present and singular first person for the past) to make one time period distinct from the other.

The characterization and growth of The Swan/Siren and Fitch and Brenna were excellent. As was the keen sense of place. I was transported to every place in the book: to Paris, Boston, London, the ship, Castell de la Cala, and especially to Barcelona. The authors’ use of different languages was particularly well done. They added to the authenticity of the setting.

Enemies-to-lovers is my favorite trope and the contemporary part delivered on this. I loved Fitch and Brenna’s electric chemistry and I enjoyed their reluctant fall into love. Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

“You’re brilliant and funny. You never give up. You’re a hot mess of complexity with a dab of crazy and that intrigues me.”

There’s humor and pathos, heartbreak and triumph, mystery and adventure. Breathless is really an entertaining book. Even if I weren’t given an ARC by SMP through NetGalley, I’d buy it for myself. And buy the book before this too: Unbound.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Celeste Bradley

CELESTE BRADLEY is the New York Times bestselling author of the Runaway Brides, Heiress Brides, Liar’s Club, and Royal Four series. Her novel Fallen was nominated for a RITA in 2002. “When you are overendowed with imagination and underendowed with punctuality, become a writer.” Years of dreaming on the job paid off when Celeste Bradley quit the mainstream in 1999 and started writing historical romance. “Handsome heroes beat out cranky customers every time!” Bradley lives in New Mexico with her family, her desert garden and so many pets the house sometimes feels like an ark.

Social Links:
Celeste Bradley Author Website
Twitter: @CelesteBradley_

 

susan donovanSUSAN DONOVAN’s novels have won accolades for being witty, sexy, and entertaining. A former newspaper reporter with journalism degrees from Northwestern University, Susan is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller whose novels have been translated into dozens of languages. Susan is a two-time RITA Award finalist, and her novel Take a Chance on Me was named Best Contemporary Romance of 2003 by RT Book Reviews Magazine. She lives in New Mexico with her family and assorted dogs.

Social Links:
Susan Donovan Author Website
Twitter: @SDonovanAuthor
Facebook: @SusanDonovanFanPage

 

GIVEAWAY

I’m giving away a paperback copy of BREATHLESS to one of my US readers. For chances to win:

  1. Like my Facebook author page Maida Malby, this post, and comment (4 points)
  2. Follow @maida_malby on Twitter and Like my tweet about this review and giveaway (1 point)
  3. Follow me on BookBub (2 points)
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  5. Follow Carpe Diem Chronicles on Instagram (1 point)
  6. Follow me on Amazon (1 point)

 

HARMON GENERAL Cover Reveal

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Number  of  Pages:

HARMON GENERAL

Misfits and Millionaires #2

by

KIMBERLY FISH

Genre: Historical Fiction / WWII / Spies

Expected Date of Publication: June 16, 2018

Number of Pages: 330

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Harmon General is book two in the WWII historical fiction series entitled Misfits and Millionaires—set in Longview, Texas. The novel picks up about two months after the story line in The Big Inch ended.

Familiar characters and locations get a shot of adrenaline from the biological hazard espionage going on at the U.S. Army’s new medical hospital treating diseased and wounded soldiers—a 156-acre pop campus created as part of a master plan to place U.S. Army hospitals around Texas specializing in long-term wound care for WWII soldiers. The Office of Strategic Services has one of its best agents in place as a nurse at Harmon General—Sgt. Emmie Tesco—and she’s soon up to her blood pressure cuff in intrigues at the hospital campus, particularly the mission to stop a culprit code-named “Dr. Death” who is accused of skewing the malaria test protocols being established at Harmon so that no one will notice him preparing to sell the malaria research to the enemies of the Allies. Heroes and villains circulate in Longview from the post at Harmon General, and Emmie ropes Lane Mercer into helping manage the overload of responsibilities. Readers of The Big Inch will better understand what drives Emmie Tesco and why poking at old wounds can be a messy affair. The backstory of Lane Mercer and her first husband gets a brutal airing too, and stakes grow dangerous for Lane and Zeke Hayes as the plans they’d wanted for their wedding are upended by well-meaning, Aunt Edith.

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PRESENTING THE COVER

OF HARMON GENERAL

 

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PRAISE FOR HARMON GENERAL:

“The war that changed the world brought the world to East Texas through Harmon General, a significant US Army hospital that treated thousands of wounded soldiers in Longview. In Harmon General, we meet again Lane Mercer, a World War II heroine, and we enjoy again how the drama of her secret service to the nation and her complicated personal relationships pull us into the vast impact of the world war.” –Dale Lunsford, Ph.D., President, LeTourneau University

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author Pic FishKimberly Fish started writing professionally with the birth of her second child and the purchase of a home computer. Having found this dubious outlet, she then entered and won The Writer’s League of Texas manuscript contest which fed her on-going fascination with story crafting. She has since published in magazines, newspapers, and online formats and in January 2017, released the first novel in the Misfits and Millionaires series set during the World War II years in Longview, Texas—The Big Inch. Her second book, Comfort Plans, was published later that same year. She lives with her family in East Texas.

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HARMON GENERAL

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HOOKED ON YOU by Kate Meader – Review and Giveaway

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AVAILABLE NOW!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2I69t6V
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Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2re7KSP
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SYNOPSIS:

The steamy Chicago Rebels series returns with this racy and sassy tale of embittered hearts, second chances, and going for the goal—on and off the ice.

Violet Vasquez never met her biological father, so learning he left his beloved hockey franchise—the Chicago Rebels—to her is, well, unexpected. Flat broke and close to homeless, Violet is determined to make the most of this sudden opportunity. Except dear old dad set conditions that require she takes part in actually running the team with the half-sisters she barely knows. Working with these two strangers and overseeing a band of hockey-playing lugs is not on her agenda…until she lays eyes on the Rebels captain and knows she has to have him.

Bren St. James has been labeled a lot of things: the Puck Prince, Lord of the Ice, Hell’s Highlander…but it’s the latest tag that’s making headlines: washed-up alcoholic has-been. This season, getting his life back on track and winning the Cup are his only goals. With no time for relationships—except the fractured ones he needs to rebuild with his beautiful daughters—he’s finding it increasingly hard to ignore sexy, all-up-in-his-beard Violet Vasquez. And when he finds himself in need of a nanny just as the playoffs are starting, he’s faced with a temptation he could so easily get hooked on.

For two lost souls, there’s more on the line than just making the best of a bad situation… there might also be a shot at the biggest prize of all: love.

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REVIEW:

What a marvelous ending to such a fantastic series. Kate Meader’s Chicago Rebels books have been consistently amazing from the start with the prequel In Skates Trouble all the way down to the last Hooked On You. I have enjoyed reading about this team–this wonderful mishmash of a multicultural family–so much that I cried at the end. I will miss these characters, they have hooked me in and I’m finding it hard to let go. I might have to reread the whole series from the top.

Violet and Bren. I’ve been looking forward to their story since Irresistible You and Hooked On You delivered big time. They danced around each other for a whole season until finally, there was no fighting their feelings anymore. Their interactions are snappy, sweet, sexy, highly satisfying, and swoon-worthy. I laughed, I teared up, had a lump in my throat many times. I knew they’ll end up together, but man, did Kate make them work for it. I loved, loved, loved that they both have their demons to conquer and they each vanquished them individually, but with the thought of the other as inspiration when they claimed the victory.

Kate did a fabulous job of wrapping up the series, tying up all storylines from previous books while still keeping Violet and Bren at the center of Hooked On You. All the characters appeared and although I will forever be in love with Remy DuPre, I have room for everybody else in my heart: Harper, Isobel and Vadim, Dante and Cade, Addison and Ford, Erik, and Bren’s adorable daughters – Franky and Cat.

With themes of family, redemption, acceptance, and always, LOVE, Hooked On You and the Chicago Rebels should appeal to everyone. Oh, and there’s hockey, too. Five Stanley-Cup-winning stars for me.

 

DON’T MISS THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE CHICAGO REBELS SERIES!

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ABOUT KATE MEADER

Kate-Meader-e1434416954712

Originally from Ireland, USA Today bestselling author Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip.

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OPENED UP by Eva Moore – Review and Giveaway

Opened Up banner

Title: Opened Up
Series: Exposed Dreams #1
Author: Eva Moore
Genre: Sexy Contemporary Romance 18+
Release Date: May 2, 2018
Cover Designer: Render Compose
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39854198-opened-up

Blurb:

Payroll
Purchase Orders
Peanut Butter Cups

Not necessarily in that order…

Sofia Valenti dreams of a life spent designing beautiful homes for the family business. But as her to-do list can attest, that dream is still far away. Stuck doing office work for Valenti Brothers Construction and stress eating her weight in chocolate, she wants more than hand-me-down responsibilities. When her father, Dom, signs up the whole family for a reality TV show, Sofia sees a chance to grab the spotlight for her dream. What she doesn’t count on is the sexy head contractor knocking down her ideas and her barriers like it’s demo day.

Adrian Villanueva has spent his life on the outside looking in. When Dom talks retirement, Adrian sees his chance to finally buy his way into the company he helped build. He’s certainly not going to let the inexperienced designer daughter with expensive taste and mouthwatering curves stand in his way. Ignoring his old crush on Sofia the girl will be easy. He’s had a decade of practice. It’s the appeal of Sofia the woman that threatens to bring him to his knees.

When hidden attraction flares into open desire, they must decide if a chance at love is worth giving up on a lifetime of dreams.

blog_review

Intense and real

There’s a lot to unpack. First, I like the fact that the characters are deeply rooted in reality, that you can easily identify a friend, a family member, even yourself in place of Sofia, Adrian, Dom, Jo, the Shahs, etcetera. Eva has infused her characters with their unique sets of talents and insecurities in a way that is relatable to the readers. She has always been able to that with her books. Her heroines are often women who are besieged by self-doubt, even as they strive to gather strength to overcome them on their own. Sofia is one such heroine with her issues about her body image and her desire to have more control over her position in the family business.

Adrian as the hero is a good foil for Sofia. He is consistently on her side even as he has his own ambitions he wanted fulfilled. He is a great son, a supportive boss, and a considerate lover. What I like is that he is not without fault. His machismo sometimes comes out to play to the frustration of Sofia as she gets that from her father already.
I like the main characters in this book. I also like the inclusion of diverse supporting characters. My heart goes out to Adrian’s mom and her fears. I’m glad that was resolved in the end. On the other hand, I am not enamored of Sofia’s parents. Maybe they will be redeemed in the upcoming books, but right now, I am not simpatico with Dom and Jo.

Lastly, the “reality show” backdrop is fantastic and all the construction discussions and terminologies are fascinating. I don’t know anything about home renovation, I don’t watch it, but Eva made it easy to keep up with the narrative.

A good read, Opened Up deserves its place in your TBR.

Teasers:

Giveaway:

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Author Bio:

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Winner of Cherry Adair’s Finish The Damn Book Contest 2017, Eva Moore writes sweet and sexy contemporary romance, after leaving a career in the classroom to raise her daughters. Opened Up is the first book in her new Exposed Dreams series, set in the world of home renovation reality TV. Eva now lives in Silicon Valley, after moving around the world and back, with her college sweetheart, her three gorgeous girls, and a Shih Tzu who thinks he’s a cat. She can be found most nights hiding in her closet/office, scribbling away, and loves to hear from the outside world. You can find her at www.4evamoore.com.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/4evamooreauthor
Facebook Friend Page: www.facebook.com/4evamoore
Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/FriendsForEvaMoore/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/AuthorEvaMoore
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/authorevamoore
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Excerpt:

“Well, babe, I gotta say, more money always sounds good to me.”
Ugh. It’s like he does it without even thinking. She passed him the paperwork and pointed to the pertinent sections.
“I just started going through this. Give it a read-through, and tell me if you see any red flags. I’m going to refill my coffee.”
She needed a minute to calm her swirling thoughts, and sitting in a small room with a man who simultaneously generated a low-level buzz of attraction while also making her want to punch him in the stomach was not helping. His proposal had stunned her, and she’d not responded well. She pulled down another mug out of force of habit and filled it before topping hers off as well. She added one sugar and a healthy dollop of cream to his, fake sugar and cream to her own.
All done, but nowhere near ready to return, she braced her hands on the peacock granite countertop, stretched her arms long and dropped her head between them. She lengthened her spine and took a deep breath, aiming for some of the peace she’d felt when she’d dropped into a yoga class with Brandy.
Change itself was nothing to fear. So what if most of the changes in her life had been awful? That didn’t mean these changes were going to be bad, too. She could handle whatever needed handling. She’d managed before, and she could do it again. And she was absolutely full of crap. She was three seconds from panicking, and her deep-breathing exercises were getting trapped in her clenching throat.
“Hey, are you okay?” Adrian’s deep, husky voice skittered up her spine, leaving a trail of goose bumps that didn’t subside when she jumped and squealed.
Why did this man have the power to make her feel like a twelve-year-old girl? She spun to face him, only to find that he’d invaded the space she’d cleared and was reaching for her shoulder, as if to steady her. She backed away swiftly, bumping into the counter and rattling the cups. Remembering why she’d come to the kitchen in the first place, she handed him the coffee she’d made him, being careful not to scald herself with a brush of his fingertips. She could pick apart the ridiculousness of her response later.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” She retreated into a sip of her own fortifying mug.
He mirrored her sip and stepped back as well. Message finally freaking received. Good.
“You know how I take my coffee?” He grinned as if this detail somehow meant something special.
“I know everyone’s coffee order. Have you not noticed who keeps the lists for meeting coffee runs? Or who is constantly being charged with stocking the kitchen? Or did you just think a magical caffeine fairy came in at night and brought lattes to all the good little boys?” She tried once again to take him down a peg while setting him straight. She couldn’t have him thinking that she’d been watching him, paying attention to his personal preferences. Even if she had.
Once again, her sarcasm flew right over his head. He raised the contract in his hand and held it out to her.
“Listen, I tried to read through this, but it might as well be written in Latin. Can you walk me through the specifics?”
“I just got it myself. Give me a day or two to really pick it apart, and I’ll fill you in.”
“Thanks, angel. That sounds good.” He tossed the contract on the break room table, supremely confident, coffee in hand.
She’d wager he hadn’t even heard the “Sure thing” she’d managed through clenched teeth. How could she be so attracted to someone who pissed her off so royally?
Good thing he didn’t know, or he’d be insufferable.

 

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THE WAY OF BEAUTY – Camille Di Maio Blog Tour/Giveaway/Guest Post

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THE WAY OF BEAUTY

by

Camille Di Maio

Genre: Historical Fiction / 20th Century / Literary

Publisher: Lake Union Press

Date of Publication: May 1, 2018

Number of Pages: 384

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Synopsis

cover HI RES The Way of Beauty_previewHearts and dreams evolve in the shadow of the once-magnificent Penn Station.
Vera Keller, the daughter of German immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York City, finds her life upended when the man she loves becomes engaged to another woman. But Angelo Bellavia has also inadvertently opened up Vera’s life to unexpected possibilities. Angelo’s new wife, Pearl, the wealthy daughter of a clothing manufacturer, has defied her family’s expectations by devoting herself to the suffrage movement. In Pearl, Vera finds an unexpected dear friend…and a stirring new cause of her own. But when Pearl’s selfless work pulls her farther from Angelo and their son, the life Vera craved is suddenly within her reach—if her conscience will allow her to take it. Her choice will define not only her future but also that of her daughter, Alice.

Vera and Alice—a generation and a world apart—are bound by the same passionate drive to fulfill their dreams. As first mother and then daughter come of age in a city that is changing as rapidly as its skyline, they’ll each discover that love is the only constant.

 

PRAISE FOR THE WAY OF BEAUTY:

“The Way of Beauty is a thing of beauty. The writing is gorgeous, the story is engaging, the characters are amazing. The amount of research that goes into historical fiction just astounds me. Add this to your TBR!”

“If you want to be swept away by a love story set in a fascinating and meticulously researched past, Camille Di Maio is the author for you. Don’t miss this one.”

“A captivating story of love and family that spans several generations.”

“The writing transports you to the time, not so long ago when women had to choose between love and their rights. Camille Di Maio’s dialogue, descriptions, and relationships create a complete picture of the era and struggles. Great book club book.”

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GuestPost_preview

Inspiration for Writing The Way of Beauty
Guest Post by Author Camille Di Maio

It’s funny, for me at least, how a book starts and how it ends up.

The idea for The Way of Beauty came while I was sitting on my bed and my then-15yo daughter came to sit with me. She’s got a good creative head, so I asked her if she wanted to brainstorm with me.

We were all over the place. There was a secret diary, a father/daughter story thread, dual time periods, you name it.

But in the end, it was an image that came to my mind that became the foundation. I had this concept of a soldier kissing his girlfriend goodbye in a train station. He was in a WWII uniform and sunlight streamed through the cathedral-like windows making the dust look like sparkling diamonds.

The train station image stayed with me, so I began to do research. I knew I wanted to set it in New York, and as I was familiar with Penn Station, I started there.

I searched for pictures, and most of what came up was this beautiful, soaring structure. My first thought was, “I’ve been to Penn Station many times, but I must not have been upstairs. I’ve never seen this!”

What I did not know was this: it doesn’t exist anymore.

The gorgeous, marble, soaring, majestic train station I was seeing on the internet was torn down in the 1960s to build Madison Square Garden.

I dove into some research, my favorite part of writing historical fiction. And I learned that the station was the brainchild of Alexander Cassatt, the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad. And coincidentally, the brother of Mary Cassatt, the famous painter.

In 1900, Cassatt was frustrated that all train travel toward New York ended in New Jersey, where travelers would then take a ferry over crowded waters to Manhattan. So he began a project to build tunnels underneath the East and Hudson Rivers. He traveled to London and Paris to study some of the world’s greatest train stations and endeavored to make his bigger and better.

I researched the sandhogs – the men who dug those tunnels at great peril, and I read about the strangers Cassatt hired to secretly buy up buildings in the Tenderloin so that they could demolish them and build the station.

Penn Station was magnificent when it was completed in 1910 and it was expected to last centuries. But in the 1950s, as air and car travel increased, railroad companies fell into financial trouble. And Penn Station was sold.

The arc of the station – its creation, heyday, and destruction was fascinating, and I knew that this would be the backbone of my story. I created the characters of Vera, Angelo, Pearl, Emmett, Alice, and William and how their lives and loves paralleled the story.

All of this was planned out, the frailest of outlines laid out as a framework. But the joy of the writing – for me, at least – is putting meat on those bones.

The biggest surprise in my writing was how captivated I became by the suffrage movement. I vote in every election – midterms, local ones, presidential ones, you name it. So I wouldn’t say that I take the right for granted, and I appreciate those who’ve fought and died for that right. But that makes me think about the military. I hadn’t given significant thought to the women who championed that right a century ago. The character Pearl was a firecracker from the start, but her involvement in the suffrage movement became deeper and deeper and as I learned the extremities that some of the women went to – even going as far as having hunger strikes – and I knew that she needed to get that involved. Her storyline – initially meant to be somewhat secondary became much larger. A cornerstone of the story.

The book, then, evolved into the story of women and their emerging roles as the world changed around them. And I’m so happy that it did.

Life takes turns we don’t expect. And so does writing. But those surprises are often the sweetest bits. And I hope that as long as I have the privilege of doing this work, there will be many more discovers that wait to be illuminated.

 

AboutTheAuthor

~Romance Writers of America Honor Roll Inductee~

Camille recently left an award-winning real estate career in San Antonio to become a fuAuthor Pic DiMaio_previewll-time writer. Along with her husband of 19 years, she enjoys raising their four children. She has a bucket list that is never-ending and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She’s lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai’i to feel like a local. She’s traveled to four continents (so far) and met Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. She just about fainted when she had a chance to meet her musical idol, Paul McCartney, too. Camille studied political science in college but found working on actual campaigns much more fun. She overdoses on goodies at farmer’s markets (justifying them by her support for local bakeries) and belts out Broadway tunes whenever the moment strikes. There’s almost nothing she wouldn’t try, so long as it doesn’t involve heights, roller skates, or anything illegal. The Memory of Us was Camille’s debut novel. Her second, Before the Rain Falls was released on May 16, 2017, and The Way of Beauty is her third novel.

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5/1           Notable Quotable          Forgotten Winds

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5/6           Review                             Momma on the Rocks

5/7           Author Interview            The Page Unbound

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5/9           Guest Post                         Missus Gonzo

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