HOOKED ON YOU by Kate Meader – Review and Giveaway

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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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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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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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5/2           Review                             Hall Ways Blog

5/3           Review                             Books in the Garden

5/4           Guest Post                       Carpe Diem Chronicles

5/4           Excerpt                            That’s What She’s Reading

5/5           Review                             Reading by Moonlight

5/5           Promo+                            Chapter Break Book Blog

5/6           Review                             Momma on the Rocks

5/7           Author Interview            The Page Unbound

5/7           Top Five                           Story Schmoozing Book Reviews

5/8           Review                              StoreyBook Reviews

5/9           Guest Post                         Missus Gonzo

5/9           Character Interview       The Librarian Talks

5/10         Review                               Tangled in Text

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A BORROWED DREAM by Amanda Cabot – Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway

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A BORROWED DREAM

The Cimarron Creek Trilogy, Book 2

by

Amanda Cabot

Genre: Historical Romance / Inspirational

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: March 20, 2018

Number of Pages: 352

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Synopsis

Catherine Whitfield is sureCover hi res A Borrowed Dream_preview that she will never again be able to trust anyone in the medical profession after the town doctor’s excessive bleeding treatments killed her mother. Despite her loneliness and her broken heart, she carries bravely on as
Cimarron Creek’s dutiful schoolteacher, resigned to a life without love or family, a life where dreams rarely come true.
Austin Goddard is a newcomer to Cimarron Creek. Posing as a rancher, he fled to Texas to protect his daughter from a dangerous criminal. He’s managed to keep his past as a surgeon a secret. But when Catherine Whitfield captures his heart, he wonders how long he will be able to keep up the charade.
With a deft hand, Amanda Cabot teases out the strands of love, deception, and redemption in this charming tale of dreams deferred and hopes becoming reality.

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Review_preview

Amanda Cabot’s A Borrowed Dream is a departure from what I typically read and I like that. This inspirational small town historical fiction with romantic elements hits all the right spots when you want to take a break from the regency or contemporary books that dominate the marketplace today. It’s the second book in the series but the first I’ve ever read by this author, yet I did not feel lost in not having read A Stolen Heart first.

This book introduced a lot of characters (the children – Hanna and Seth – are my favorites), but Ms. Cabot was able to center her story around Catherine and Austin. I really liked that they’re fully formed characters with strengths and weaknesses, so well-developed that you can picture them in your head. By the time you get through reading the book, you’ll feel like these people actually lived in 1881, in the Hill Country of Texas.

There’s a lot to this book–romance, friendship, some suspense and mystery, medical history, small-town intrigues–but amidst it all there’s always the messages of forgiveness and faith. Although it’s an easy read, some themes Ms. Cabot touched on were quite heavy. Child abuse, rape, adoption, and murder were treated with sensitivity. Cruelty to children is something I cannot abide that’s why I really felt for Seth.

A Borrowed Dream is a well-written book by a talented author. I especially liked the Author’s Letter at the end with its surprising information about plastic surgery. I do love books that educate and inform as well as they entertain. I’ll now have to go back and pick up A Stolen Heart while waiting for A Tender Hope.

 

PRAISE FOR A BORROWED DREAM:

“Cabot’s sweet love story will appeal to readers of gentle romances. . .Although this title stands on its own, readers of A Stolen Heart (2017), the first in Cabot’s place-based trilogy, will be happy to revisit the folks of Cimarron Creek.” –Booklist

“The second book in Cabot’s Cimarron Creek trilogy is even better than the first, with a dash of suspense, an intriguing bit of medical history and a host of enjoyable characters.” –RT Book Reviews

PRAISE FOR A STOLEN HEART, BOOK ONE IN THE CIMARRON CREEK TRILOGY:

“Readers will enjoy the surprising ending as well as the romance always found in Cabot’s books.”—Publishers Weekly

“Moments of humor provide a nice balance to the heartwarming scenes and the mild suspense thread.”—RT Book Reviews

“Cabot’s nonpreachy inspirational romance features characters who genuinely try to live honorable lives, and their story has broad appeal for readers of gentle fiction and historical romance as well as for readers of Christian fiction.”—Booklist

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AboutTheAuthor

Cabot_Amanda_previewAmanda Cabot is the bestselling author of A Stolen Heart, the first book of the Cimarron Creek trilogy, as well as the Texas Crossroads series, the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.

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THREE WINNERS

1ST: Copy of A Borrowed Dream, Novel Teas (25 count), Paddywax Library Collection Ralph Waldo Emerson Scented Soy Wax Candle, Cedar & Wild Fern (6.5oz)

2ND: Copy of A Borrowed Dream + $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

3RD: Copy of A Borrowed Dream + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

APRIL 12-21, 2018 (US ONLY)

 

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

4/12/18          Excerpt 1                    Hall Ways Blog

4/12/18          Excerpt 2                    Book Fidelity

4/13/18          Review                        The Page Unbound

4/13/18          Author Interview      Chapter Break Book Blog

4/14/18          Excerpt 3                     Books in the Garden

4/14/18          Excerpt 4                     Books and Broomsticks

4/15/18          Review                         Missus Gonzo

4/16/18          Notable Quotable       Story Schmoozing Book Reviews

4/16/18          Notable Quotable        StoreyBook Reviews

4/17/18          Review                          That’s What She’s Reading

4/18/18          Guest Post                    Momma on the Rocks

4/19/18          Review                          The Love of a Bibliophile

4/20/18          Scrapbook Page           The Librarian Talks

4/21/18          Review                           Reading by Moonlight

4/21/18           Review                           Carpe Diem Chronicles

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FIGHTING IRISH by Katy Regnery – Book Birthday Review/Giveaway

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BOOK INFORMATION:

FIGHTING IRISH, The Summerhaven Trio #1

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Blueberry Lane series comes a new trio of romances featuring the Haven triplets!

Rory Haven and Brittany Manion knew one another as children…
…but it’s been a long time since their childhood summers at Summerhaven.

The Havens weren’t the children who attended exclusive Summerhaven Camp in Center Sandwich, New Hampshire. They were the children of the owners, expected to “pull their weight” and absolutely forbidden to fraternize with the paying guests. But that didn’t keep Rory from having a quiet, unrequited crush on gorgeous, popular, insanely-rich, Brittany Manion for four tortuous summers.

When all-grown-up, recently-engaged Brittany books the off-season summer camp for her upcoming spring wedding, she immediately recognizes Rory as the scorching-hot boy who wouldn’t give her the time of day. Meanwhile, Rory, who senses that Brittany’s nuptials are less about Mr. Right and more about Mr. Right Now, launches the fight of his life to win the heart of the girl he’s always wanted.

 

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~THE SUMMERHAVEN TRIO~
Book #1: Fighting Irish (Rory and Brittany)
Book #2: Smiling Irish (Tierney and Burr)
Book #3: Loving Irish (Ian and Hallie)

MY REVIEW: 

Fighting Irish is a sweet story of second-chance love amidst class differences and a history of betrayals suffered by the heroine Brittany Manion. Rory Haven is an ideal hero–responsible, kind, understanding, and patient. He’s had a crush on Brittany since they were fourteen, but his obedience to his mother’s edict of non-fraternization with their summer camp’s attendees won out over his adolescent feelings. Given another chance with the woman of his dreams, he took it, but he waited until she was ready and had developed feelings for him in return.

I liked that this was slow-burn and Rory and Brittany did not get together until they’ve declared their love for one another. I absolutely adore the highlighting of love for family in this novel. It’s Brittany’s dream and the happy ever after she deserves after all she’s been through. Rory’s bond with his siblings was celebrated without having it take over the book.

One mark of a good book for me is when I had a hard time putting it down. Fighting Irish is one such book, that’s why I’m giving it five stars.

For a chance to win a copy of Fighting Irish, check out my Carpe Diem Chronicles by Maida Malby on Facebook.