Friday, October 31, 2014

Party Games by R.L. Stine

Author: R. L. Stine
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Date of publication: September 2014

Her friends warn her not to go to Brendan Fear's birthday party at his family's estate on mysterious Fear Island. But Rachel Martin has a crush on Brendan and is excited to be invited. Brendan has a lot of party games planned. But one game no one planned intrudes on his party—the game of murder. As the guests start dying one by one, Rachel realizes to her horror that she and the other teenagers are trapped on the tiny island with someone who may want to kill them all. How to escape this deadly game? Rachel doesn't know whom she can trust. She should have realized that nothing is as it seems… on Fear Island.

After not loving (OK hating) Red Rain, I was a bit leery about reading Mr. Stine's latest in the Fear Street series. I am glad to say that Party Games was the complete opposite of Red Rain.  With this latest book, the author is back to his old writing self that we have all come to know and love with his Goosebumps and Fear Street Series.

I actually enjoyed Party Games.  For a YA horror, it had just the right amount of suspense and surprise moments to keep the reader on their toes.  I thought the characters were interesting and relevant.  I loved the creepy island and house setting.  The story did remind me a lot of the plot from "April Fool's Day" (The 80s version), at least in the beginning.  But, there are a few twists that took the story in a whole different direction.  I think this is a perfect Halloween read for the YA crowd!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Blog Tour: Married One Night by Amber Leigh Williams

Author: Amber Leigh Williams
Publisher: Harlequin
Date of publication: October 2014

What happened in Vegas…followed her home! 

Olivia Lewis is not the marrying type. So when a wild weekend in Vegas leaves her with a surprise husband, she's happy to sign anything to erase her mistake—even if that mistake is handsome, charming and comes with an English accent. Fortunately, her groom has other plans. 

Bestselling author Gerald Leighton knows he can make his new bride fall in love with him—he just needs time. In exchange for a quickie divorce, Olivia grudgingly gives him a few weeks to attempt to woo her. And whether Olivia likes it or not, Gerald plans on using every second to win her heart!

Are you in the mood for a sweet romance?  Give Married One Night a try. I really enjoyed this super cute story about two people who find love in a one night stand.  Olivia and Gerald meet in Las Vegas and end up married in a drunken haze. They part ways, but Gerald can't forget his bride.  He has three weeks to convince her that they have something worth fighting for.  

I loved watching Gerald set about wooing Olivia.  To her dismay, he manages to win the hearts of her friends and family.  She just needs to let go of her fear of love in order to give them a chance.  Even though I knew I would get a HEA.  I was rooting for them the whole way. There are some other characters that round out the story nicely. With a little research, I found that some of them are featured in previous books.  I definitely want to seek them out.  The book is a pretty quick read and one I definitely recommend!

About the Author

Amber Leigh Williams lives on the Gulf Coast. A southern girl at heart, she loves beach days, the smell of real books, relaxing at her family’s lakehouse, and spending time with her husband, Jacob, and their sweet, blue-eyed boy. When she’s not running after her young son and three, large dogs, she can usually be found reading a good romance or cooking up a new dish in her kitchen. She is represented by Joyce Holland of the D4EO Literary Agency.

Her latest book is the contemporary romance, Married One Night.

For More Information

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Barter by Siobhan Adcock

by:  Siobhan Adcock
published by:  Dutton Adult
publish date:  September 4, 2014

The Barter is a ghost story and a love story, a riveting emotional tale that also explores motherhood and work and feminism. Set in Texas, in present day, and at the turn of the twentieth century, the novel follows two young mothers at the turning point of their lives.

Bridget has given up her career as an attorney to raise her daughter, joining a cadre of stay-at-home mothers seeking fulfillment in a quiet suburb. But for Bridget, some crucial part of the exchange is absent: Something she loves and needs. And now a terrifying presence has entered her home; only nobody but Bridget can feel it.

On a farm in 1902, a young city bride takes a farmer husband. The marriage bed will become both crucible and anvil as Rebecca first allows, then negates, the powerful erotic connection between them. She turns her back on John to give all her love to their child. Much will occur in this cold house, none of it good.

The Barter was kind of strange story.  Firstly, I didn't really understand how "The Barter" really figured in to the story.  Maybe I was missing something about that.  I think that whole part of the story could have been left out and it would have been totally fine.  Secondly, it seemed like it was less of a ghost story and more of a work on feminism than anything else.  That was fine, it was actually pretty interesting, but I think it would have been more interesting to angle it that way than trying to work the barter issue.

Initially I thought I was going to like the Rebecca side of the story better because I was irritated with the kind of lifestyle that Bridget was leading.  However, in the end, I kinda ended up siding with Bridget because I felt bad for her.  She seemed trapped in her stay at home mom life and couldn't find away out without admitting defeat.  

I would recommend this book to mothers in particular because I think it has some important messages in it about how we can't do it all.  It's ok to pick work over staying at home, it doesn't make you a failure as a mother.  While, The Barter might not have been one of my favorites, I did find it interesting and it made me think and that's always a good thing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How to Bake a Man by Jessica Barksdale Inclán

Author:  Jessica Barksdale Inclán
Publisher: Ghostwood Books
Date of publication: October 2014

When 27-year-old Becca Muchmore drops out of grad school, all she has left to fall back on is her baking. Ignoring her mother’s usual barrage of disapproval and disappointment, she decides to start a small business hand-delivering her wares. A friend introduces her to an office of hungry lawyers, who agree to give her a try. Her lizard-booted neighbor Sal is happy to help out when he can, and almost before she knows it, Becca’s Best is up and running. 

Before she can settle into a routine, things get complicated. The office ogress could easily be Becca’s sister and has absolutely no patience with cookies or other frivolities. Even worse, her boyfriend is the man of Becca’s dreams – kind, funny, successful, and brain-meltingly gorgeous. As the dark undercurrents threaten to pull her down, Becca swiftly finds herself neck-deep in office politics, clandestine romance, and flour. Saving her business (and finding true love) is going to take everything she’s got, and more.

How to Bake a Man is another book that I have read lately that while I liked the overall story, I didn't love it.  It was overall a cute story about a woman who starts a baking business and finds love in the one place she didn't suspect.  The story has the feel of a rom-com movie. 

It also has some fun characters.I loved Sal and his "takes" on life.  They were clever and amusing. They were also a way to subtly convey messages to those he told them to.  I also enjoyed the little bits of baking wisdom that were included at the beginning of each chapter.  I found those to be entertaining and a nice addition to the story.  I was also very hungry while reading this and with all of the baked goods described, I swear I gained 5 pounds by osmosis!

What I didn't care for was Becca and her journey to finding love.  I didn't see the insta-love feeling between her and Jeff.  They weren't together enough for me to really feel the attraction.  I have always said that I can't like a character that I don't respect.  I lost respect for Becca about halfway through the book. First she looks down on Jennifer for cheating on Jeff, but then soon after she almost has sex with Jeff while he is still with Jennifer.  That was kind of a WTF moment for me and took the book down a few levels. I know a lot of readers can over look that, but I just can't.

I think fans of foodie books will like this story.  Just make sure to eat a full meal before you read it or you might find yourself at your local bakery trying to satisfy that craving for a brownie or scone!

About the author:

JESSICA BARKSDALE INCLAN is the author of twelve traditionally published novels, including the best-selling Her Daughter’s EyesThe Matter of Grace, and When You Believe. She has also published several ebooks and a women’s studies textbook, Diverse Voices of Women. Her work has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Czech.
Inclán teaches composition, creative writing, mythology, and women’s literature at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California, and online novel writing courses for UCLA Extension.

Find out more about Jessica at her website,

Purchase Links

Jessica Barksdale Inclán’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, October 13th:  A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, October 14th:  girlichef
Wednesday, October 15th:  Nightly Reading
Thursday, October 16th: Bookchickdi
Monday, October 20th:  Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, October 21st:  Giraffe Days
Wednesday, October 22nd:  WV Stitcher
Thursday, October 23rd:  Leigh Kramer
Monday, October 27th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, October 28th:  From the TBR Pile
Monday, November 3rd:  Kritter’s Ramblings
Tuesday, November 4th:  Kahakai Kitchen
Friday, November 7th:  Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Date TBD:  Book Marks the Spot

Monday, October 27, 2014

Blog Tour: The Unforgivable Fix by T. E. Woods

Author: T. E. Woods
Publisher: Random House Alibi
Date of publication: October 2014

The killer won’t come for you, you fool. He’ll come for me.

Detective Mort Grant of the Seattle PD has finally decided to sell. The home where he and his late wife raised two kids feels too large and too full of old memories. His son is married and raising a family of his own, and despite desperate efforts to find her, Mort has lost touch with his wayward daughter. That is, until the day she walks back into her childhood home and begs for his help.

For the last four years, Allie Grant has been the lover—and confidante, confessor, and counselor—of one of the world’s most powerful and deadly men. But a sudden, rash move has put Allie in the crosshairs of a ruthless Russian crime lord. Mort knows of only one place where Allie will be safe: with The Fixer.

As a hired desperado, The Fixer has killed twenty-three people—and Mort was complicit in her escape from the law. She has built an impregnable house, stocked it with state-of-the-art gear, armed it to the teeth, and locked herself away from the world. But even The Fixer may not be able to get justice for Allie when real evil comes knocking.

This is the third book in the "Fixer" series.  I really enjoy the first one, The Fixer.  I didn't have the chance to read the second book, Red Hot Fix, but I never felt like I was missing anything while reading The Unforgivable Fix.   There are two cases going on at the same time in this book.  One involving Lydia and her therapy practice and the other involving Mort's daughter Allie who is on the run from the drug world.

As far as story-lines go, I liked one involving Lydia's practice more.  I kind of wish the book was more about that whole scenario. Without giving too much away, I thought it was the more interesting of the two. The wrap up included a twist I didn't expect.  I also  had more sympathy for Lydia's patients and their families that I did for Mort's daughter Allie.  I don't have much sympathy in general for anyone who purposefully put themselves into a situation like hers.  I was a bit disappointed that Mort was so naive about his own daughter.  

So, in the end, it was a pretty good addition to the series.  I didn't love it as much as the first, but I still found it a good and quick read.  I will have to go back and try Red Hot Fix before the next book comes out.

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About the author:

T. E. Woods is as eager as her fans to return to the thrilling world of the Justice series. She’s busy writing the next installment and is developing a new series set in Madison, Wisconsin.

Connect with TE Woods: Facebook | Twitter
Connect with Alibi: Facebook | Twitter

Purchase Links
T. E. Woods TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, October 6th:  A Fantastical Librarian
Monday, October 6th:  Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, October 6th:  Kritter’s Ramblings – Red Hot Fix
Tuesday, October 7th:  Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, October 7th:  Kritter’s Ramblings
Monday, October 13th:  Patricia’s Wisdom – Red Hot Fix
Thursday, October 16th:  FictionZeal
Friday, October 17th:  Mystery Playground - “Drinks with Reads” guest post
Monday, October 20th:  She Treads Softly
Tuesday, October 21st:  Kahakai Kitchen
Monday, October 27th:  From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, October 29th:  Bibliotica
Thursday, October 30th:  Mockingbird  Hill Cottage – Red Hot Fix and The Unforgivable Fix
TBD: My Shelf Confessions – Wonderfully Wicked Read-A-Thon Giveaway

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stay with Me by J. Lynn

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout writing as J. Lynn
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication; September 2014

At 21, Calla hasn’t done a lot of things. She’s never been kissed, never seen the ocean, never gone to an amusement park. But growing up, she witnessed some things no child ever should. She still carries the physical and emotional scars of living with a strung-out mother, Mona—secrets she keeps from everyone, including her close circle of college friends.

But the safe cocoon Calla has carefully built is shattered when she discovers her mom has stolen her college money and run up a huge credit card debt in her name. Now, Calla has to go back to the small town she thought she'd left behind and clean up her mom’s mess again. Of course, when she arrives at her mother’s bar, Mona is nowhere to be found. Instead, six feet of hotness named Jackson James is pouring drinks and keeping the place humming.

Sexy and intense, Jax is in Calla’s business from the moment they meet, giving her a job and helping her search for Mona. And the way he looks at her makes it clear he wants to get horizontal . . . and maybe something more. Before Calla can let him get close, though, she’s got to deal with the pain of the past—and some very bad guys out to mess her up if she doesn’t give them her mom.

Stay With Me is the third book in the "Wait for Me" series. I really enjoyed the first two books, so I was hoping this one would be just as good.  While I liked Calla's story, I didn't really love it.  I was a little underwhelmed.  Calla finds out that her deadbeat, drug addict mother stole all of her school money and fraudulently rang up a ton of credit card debit in Calla's name.  She decides to head home to see if she can get some of that money back.  Once there she meets Jax who seems to be running her mother's bar. That attraction is intense from the start.

I say I was a little underwhelmed because while I liked Jax, Calla drove me crazy.  Her martyr complex just got too much for me at times. She made some incredibly stupid decisions that resulted in a few TSTL moments.  At times I couldn't understand what Jax saw in her.  I also had a huge problem with Calla not wanting to press charges against her mother for fraud.  Working at a bar over the summer is not to going to remotely come close  to paying off a hundred grand in debt.  But proving credit card fraud will help.  Especially after what her mother did to her in the end.  

What I did like about the story was Jax.  He was such a nice guy and I think ultimately good for Calla.  Once she got over herself and realized she could  rely on someone else, I felt like their relationship was more solid.  I loved how he kept wanting to help her experience things one her list of things she had never done.    

I am looking forward to Roxy and Reece's story in Fall with Me next year.  Those two really intrigue me!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Young World by Chris Weitz

by:  Chris Weitz
published by:  Little Brown Books for Young Readers
publish date:  July 29, 2014

After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.

The Young World is probably one of my favorite YA Post-Apocalyptic books I've read in a long time.  That's weirdly specific but there is a ton of YA Post-Ap out there, and I've read a lot of it.

There are a few things that I liked about this book that I thought kind of set it apart.  First, it takes place about 10 years out from the plague that wiped out all the adults and babies.  So while the survivors were young when it happened, they're all now old enough to remember what they lost.  Secondly, I liked how the tribes were formed.  It seemed to me a likely way that kids would congregate.  Lastly, this book was kind of dark and a lot grittier than I had expected and I appreciated that.  It made it seem a lot more realistic.

This is a series and I'm definitely curious to see where it's going to go.  The ending was such a cliffhanger.  Even now thinking back on it, I have so many questions about this book and none of them really make any sense or could be answered now knowing how the book ended.  So, I will have to read the next book in the series.  Looks like that book is coming out in July 2015.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Author Interview: To Love a King by Shona Husk

Today we are lucky enough to have author Shona Husk for an interview.  She is promoting her latest book in the Court of Annwyn series, To Love a King.

Publisher: Soucerbooks Casablanca
Date of publication: October 2014

He’s Trying to Reclaim His Past
To keep the balance between good and evil at the court of Annwyn, Prince Felan ap Gwyn has two weeks to marry and take the crown. But he wants more than just power—he wants love; a love he once had but was too stubborn to hold on to.

She’s Struggling to Face the Future
It took years for Jacqueline Ara to put her life back together after Felan abandoned her. She’s moved on, even if her heart still burns for him. But with war in Annwyn looming and death bleeding into the mortal world, Felan and Jacquie will need to heal old wounds and rekindle the passion that once welled between them…or face losing everything.

Kari& Autumn: What inspired you to become a writer?

Shona: I wrote as a child, but it wasn’t until I was on maternity leave that I started writing as an adult. I also discovered romance novels about the same time and I knew that was what I wanted to write. I love creating new worlds and putting my characters through hell as it makes the happily ever after that much sweeter.

Kari& Autumn: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Shona: Ideas are everywhere. I think lots of little things pull together to make an idea so by the time it snowballs into what I recognize as a story idea it’s been rolling around my mind for ages. I read a lot and widely, from current affairs (which is where the plagues came from in To Love a King) to mythology, to nonfiction, biographies as well as all kinds of fiction. The more I put into my mind the more there is for my subconscious to draw on. It does make it tough to pin point where exactly an idea came from.

Kari& Autumn: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

Shona: I’m working on a few more Annwyn books. The Darkling Lord (Court of Annwyn #4) will be out in March next year and two more will follow. I also have a contemporary series starting next year which is super exciting. You can keep up to date with my new releases through my newsletter:

Kari& Autumn: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

Shona: My first literary crush was Rhodry from Daggerspell by Katherine Kerr. He was a hot half-elf who was also a mercenary. He was ever so dashing and over the course of 15 books got into all kinds of trouble.

Kari& Autumn: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

Shona: A cat. No matter the size they are slinky when they move. They snooze a lot and eat whatever they want. They also look good in spots and stripes.

About the author:

Shona Husk lives in Western Australia at the edge of the Indian Ocean. Blessed with a lively imagination she spent most of her childhood making up stories. As an adult she discovered romance novels and hasn’t looked back. With stories ranging from sensual to scorching, she writes contemporary, paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi romance. 

Buy Links:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pre-Publication Teaser Tour: What to Do with a Bad Boy by Marie Harte

We are excited to be taking part in the pre-publication tour to promote Marie Harte's upcoming book, What to Do with a Bad Boy, Book 4 in the McCauley Brothers series.  Over the next two weeks, a different blog will be releasing a new excerpt every day.  We have the 4th one for you below! ( The full list of stops can also be found below) 

What to Do with a Bad Boy
Author: Marie Harte
Pubdate: November 4th, 2014
ISBN: 9781402287435
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Every time Delilah Webster runs into Mike McCauley, he practically bites her head off. The rough-and-tumble contractor clearly has baggage. Del has her own emotional scars and knows she’s better off keeping her distance, but Mike’s temptation in jeans and a T-shirt and she’s always been good with her hands…

There’s something about the strong-willed mechanic that sets Mike’s motor running—and scares the hell out of him. Mike has loved and lost and will never hurt like that again, even if that means walking away from a woman who makes him feel alive for the first time in years.

When a simple kiss turns hot and heavy, Mike discovers he can’t stay away, no matter how certain he is they’re destined to crash and burn…

An Excerpt

She didn’t like him towering over her desk. Over her. She rose to her feet and wondered if standing on her chair to gain a height advantage would seem too juvenile. “Well what? J.T. and I met Vanessa and Cam for a game of bowling. Colin was there. We might have let a few words slip, but it was an accident.” Through the door, a loud curse sounded. “I work in a garage. We’re not having a tea party, McCauley. Grow a set of stones and deal.”
He took a step closer, and she had a hard time looking away from his eyes. Man, she’d never seen a blue so…blue. “My name is Mike.”
“Mike.” She licked her lips, not liking the sudden dryness. To her consternation, his gaze fixed on her mouth. “So, uh, get over it.”
“Right.” Mike took a deep breath, then let it out and stepped back. “Quit cursing around my kid.”
“I’ll try.” For once he hadn’t ordered her to stop seeing Colin. “I don’t know when I’ll be seeing him again, so it probably doesn’t matter.”
Mike shrugged. “Abby’s putting together a celebration party Wednesday night, for her new book deal, I think. She’ll probably invite you.”
Actually, Abby had sent the invitation via email that morning. “Oh. You’re going?”
“Yeah.” That handsome smile he so seldom wore appeared, showing a dimple in his left cheek. “But I know how I scare you, so I don’t figure I’ll see you Wednesday night. Don’t worry, I’ll tell Colin you were busy.”
“Scare me? You?” She huffed. “In your dreams, Mike.” She moved around the desk to poke him in his rock-solid chest. “I’ll be there Wednesday. Try not to be more of an ass than you can help. I mean, your kid will be there. Don’t want to show Colin what you’re really made of.”
He leaned down, so that his nose was all but touching hers. “Sweetheart, you couldn’t handle what I’m really made of.”

Make sure to check out Book Hounds tomorrow for the next installment!

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About the author:

Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte is a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a  happily ever after. Visit and fall in love.

Throwback Thursday: The Man From Stone Creek by Linda Lael Miller

Author: Linda Lael Miller
First published in 2006 by  Harlequin

When trouble strikes in Haven, Arizona, Ranger Sam O'Ballivan is determined to sort it out. Badge and gun hidden, he arrives posing as the new schoolteacher, and discovers his first task: bringing the ranchers' children under control. So he starts with a call on Maddie Chancelor, the local postmistress and older sister of a boy in need of discipline.

But far from the spinster Sam expects, Maddie turns out to be a graceful woman whose prim and proper demeanor is belied by the fire in her eyes. Working undercover to capture rustlers and train robbers has always kept Sam isolated and his heart firmly in check until now. But something about the spirited postmistress tempts him to start down a path he swore he'd never travel….

The Man From Stone Creek was a bit underwhelming.  I liked the overall storyline.  Sam is undercover as a school teacher while he tracks down a group of bandits.  Maddie runs the local mercantile and takes care of her brother.  The attraction is there, but Sam is promised to another woman  

The problem i had with the story was the lack of heat between Maddie and Sam. They don't even kiss until almost the very end of the book.  When they do finally kiss, they jump right into bed together.  I just wasn't feeling the love between the two of them.  I also felt like it was a bit too long.  I definitely could have been shorter.    I wouldn't say skip it, but just don't expect too much.