Thursday, March 5, 2015

Character Casting Reveals

The Swoon Fest ladies and I have had so much fun putting these character casts together. KJ of kjsbooknook.blogspot.com , is the Casting Queen and most of the credit goes to her! We wanted to start out this first week with doing some of our favorite's. The Love and Dessert Series, and The Love and Trust Series. We hope you enjoy!!
    -Heidi-

                                                 You Belong With Me

                                                      I Belong With You


                                            My Sweetheart 
                                        
                                        Come to Me
                                                                                                                                                 Be Mine                                       

                                        Tough Love

For any of you who would like to do a little casting yourself, Kathy of bookwormnation.blogspot.com 
found a fun site called The Imagine Film List. Vote on who you would have play your favorite characters or even add new ones. Here is the link to My Sweetheart. Go check it out and let us know who you'd pick!  http://www.iflist.com/stories/mysweetheart#

                                                             Character Biography

  Who wants to know more about the characters we have come to love, in the books we have come to adore?! We do! And we thought you probably do too! Thankfully Shannon Guymon, being the sweetheart that she is, is going to help us out with that! Kathy, Katie, (katiescleanbookcollection.blogspot.com ) Kathy Jo, and I, each chose one of our favorite couples and Shannon has been kind enough to appease our curiosity. I'm the lucky girl who gets to go first and I chose Tate and Jane from My Sweetheart. Be still my beating heart. Here you go!
Thanks Shannon!!!


Tate & Jane
What do you like to do on a romantic date?
   Tate: We like to head down to the beach and have a picnic. Jane provides the food and I provide the blanket.  
What do you like most about each other?
   Tate: It's hard to pick just one thing about Jane, but I have to say her eyes. The first time I saw them I said they were chocolate eyes, and I was right.  
   Jane: What I like the most about Tate is his integrity. He's the best man I've ever known.
What is your favorite way to spend time together?
   Jane: Now that we're parents, we love spending time cuddling with Tele. He looks just like Tate.
What are  three things on your bucket list?
   Tate: For me, I want to take Jane to Samoa someday and show my son his heritage. I'd also like to run a triathlon and write a book about my life.
   Jane:  I want to be on Top Chef, Just Desserts. I want to compete with the best bakers out there. I also want to visit Paris and I'd like to have another baby.
What is “your song”? 
   Tate:  Our song is, When a Man Loves a Woman. It's the song we danced to at our wedding.
Beach or Mountains? Beach!
Book or Movie? 
    Jane: Book
    Tate: Movie
What is the craziest date you’ve been on?
    Tate: The time I took Jane on a date up to Seattle. We were at Pike's Place Market and this guy starts running through the crowd and some lady is screaming her head off that he stole her purse. So I chase after the guy and tackle him. I landed on him so hard I broke his collar bone.  Ended up down at the police station, making a report instead of treating my wife to a good time. We decided to grab some Fish and Chips and head home after I was done since we had a babysitter.
How would you describe each other to someone else in three words?
  Tate: Beautiful, Loving, Patient.
     Jane:  Gorgeous, honorable, strong.




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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Gabbing with Guymon

I am so excited to get to know Shannon a little better, this is really one of my favorite parts of Swoon Fest. It's fun seeing everyone's questions and of course hearing Shannon's answers.

What was your favorite book to write? What was your hardest book to write? Werewolf Dreams was my favorite book to write. That sucker just flowed out. I wrote it in 2 weeks and had a blast going all paranormal. My hardest book to write was My One and Only. I had been promising that book to my readers for months and it took me foreeeevvver to write. I was trying to write during the holidays and on top of that I had company and I’m telling you - those two things combined are not conducive to writing. At all. I loved the story. I loved my characters - but pulling it out of me took a miracle.

How do you come up your character names?
 My daughters always help me come up with names. They’re the best resource.

Which of your Heroes in your book would you must like to meet in person?
This one is tough! I love them all  Hmmm – I adore all of my Matafeo men so I’d have to meet Kam and Pule. Kam is so tough and loving and Pule is just a hoot.

Which are your top five favorite kissing scenes from your books?
 I just did 3 – hope that’s okay I loved the kiss between Ava and Cyrus in Werewolf Revenge – it was their first kiss after she returns when they’re in the office and I had to stop to fan my face. Ivy and Becket in Dreaming of Ivy when they kiss after she breaks up with him on the front porch. Their first kiss is one of my favorites too though. When Kam kisses Bailey at the very beginning of Be Mine just to prove a point and when he walks away, Bailey says, Wow.

Do you have any favorite onscreen/movie kisses?
Crazy Stupid Love (Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone – Holy. Cow) 16 Candles – (Molly Ringwald and that Jake guy – I was 14 and prayed that would happen to me when I turned 16) The Princess Bride kiss at the end. Come on, that was beautiful.

Would you ever consider writing fairytale inspired stories?
I would if I could put a contemporary spin on it. I’m a sucker for Cinderella. (Can’t wait to see the new movie!)

Love your covers! Do you help design them?
They are a collaborative effort in that I give a lot of input but in the end, they are the creative result of very talented designers. I especially loved what Sherry Gammon did for My One and Only. I can’t wait to see what she does for my next book.

How do you come up with your titles?
I LOVE using song titles to help me with my story titles. My first trilogy – Love and Dessert was Ho Hey by the Lumineers. My One and Only was inspired by an Ed Sheeran song. Not sure yet what my next title will be …

What three words would you use to describe your books?
Fun, uplifting and happy.

Can you tell us about any current projects your working on right now?
Right now I’m working on Pule’s story and it’s taking me longer than I had planned but boy am I having fun with him. This story is surprising me and going places I had never planned on or expected. I feel like I’m just along for the ride on this one, which as a writer, is the best.

Do you have a favorite place to write? Favorite writing snack?
I love to write on my living room couch. I hate writing at a desk because then I feel like it’s work. I like to get comfortable with my laptop and then see what flows. My favorite snack? Right now it would have to be pistachios. I’ve become addicted in a bad way.

Do you have a music playlist for each of your books?
Not necessarily a playlist because I like complete silence when I write, but when I’m riding around in my car, and certain songs come on, I’ll shout out to my kids – “That’s (fill in the blank) their song! That’s totally them!” And I’ll try and work that song into the story sometimes.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?
I have so many authors I adore, I honestly can’t even attempt to narrow it down but I’ll give you a few of my favorite books: The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Pride and Prejudice, The Harry Potter series, A Discovery of Witches and My Parents Married on a Dare - (non-fiction)

How did you get into writing?
I never planned on being a writer or even thought it was a possibility. I loved reading but writing was never my thing in school. But when I was a young mom, about the age of 25 or 26, words just started flowing through my mind and I figured I’d better start writing them down. I still remember jumping up and down in my garage the day I got a letter from a publisher telling me they wanted to publish my book.

What gives you inspiration for your characters and story lines?
To quote Stephen King –“ I have no idea.” It just comes. Every time I sit down on the couch and open my laptop to begin a new story, I plug into whatever source (muse) has gifted me with all of these fun stories and they just keep sending them to me.

Tune in next week for more Gabbing with Guymon!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tuesday Trivia #1


Welcome to the first week of Tuesday Trivia! I've decided to focus each week on a series of Shannon's/Katie's. This week, it's all about the Alpine series. There are four books in this series. Each one is about a different character, but they do overlap, meaning that they could probably stand alone, but main characters turn up as secondary characters in other books. They are all contemporary romance with some religious undertones, specific to the LDS Church., and they're all romantic and fun.


Makeover (Alpine, #1) Taking Chances (Alpine, #2)The Broken Road (Alpine, #3)Do Over (Alpine, #4)

If you've read the series, let's see what you know and remember!




Which Alpine character you are!
Quiz 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Shannon Guymon Swoon Fest 2015


Our last Swoon Fest was so much fun we wanted to do another one. This month we will be reading from one of my favorite authors, Shannon Guymon (aka Katie Lee O’Guinn). I discovered Shannon's books just a couple years ago and she quickly became an autobuy author for me. I hope we can have some fun over the next month reading her books again! And, rumor has it Shannon has a new book coming out this month as well!!

My good friends Kathy Jo (KJ's Book Nook), Katie (Katie's Clean Book Collection) and Heidi are helping me host this Swoon Fest, they've really helped to make this so much fun. Like last time, we have a lot of fun things planned for the month.

Monday Munchies
KJ’s Book Nook will be sharing some yummy recipes
 
Tuesday Trivia
Katie’s Clean Book Collection will be sharing quotes, trivia and other fun stuff

Gabbing With Guymon Wednesdays
Bookworm Nation will share interview Q&As with from our very own Shannon Guymon!

Thursday Character Reveals
Heidi is one lucky girl, she gets to do our fun casting reveals and character bios

Friday Fun in Fircrest
Every day you can earn points to be entered in a drawing for prizes.
Winners will be announced Fridays!
1st Place: $20 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Place: $15 Amazon Gift Card
3rd Place: $10 Amazon Gift card

Be sure to check back everyday to participate in our posts and to enter our giveaway. Earning points is easy through Rafflecopter.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Royal Date by Sariah Wilson

This Cinderella didn’t plan on a prince . . .

Kat MacTaggart is a girl who has a plan for everything—including her holiday ski trip to Monterra with her best friend. Everything is going according to plan until she finds herself careening out of control down a mountainside and being rescued by a guy who looks like Superman’s hotter Italian cousin. HRH Prince Nico is intrigued by the woman he saved on the slopes and her refusal to date him. He offers Kat a deal—let him show her his country and he’ll pay her to write articles that will help Monterra’s tourism industry. Kat agrees, but given her past and lingering distrust of men, she has one condition—absolutely no kissing. Thanks to the claims of a jealous British noblewoman and the schemes of a meddling paparazzo, Kat’s rule doesn’t seem to be a problem at first. But the more Kat gets to know Nico and the people around him, the harder it is to remember her keep-your-distance plan. Should she stick to it or risk everything for a chance at happily ever after?

Love!

I am official fan of Sariah Wilson! I love her books! I was excited when I heard about this one a few months ago and have been anxiously waiting for its release (which is still a little ways off). I won a copy from Amazon and I had to read it as soon as I got it. I was not disappointed! This was such a fun escape. Really enjoyable and kept me up way past by bedtime.

Kat was such a likable character. She had a rough childhood, but she made sure not to follow in her parents footsteps. She is determined to have a better life and to make smart choices. I really respected her for that. Nico was great as well, I love how he "got" Kat. They have a great connection and it was fun to watch their relationship grow. The side characters were also a lot of fun and added a lot to the story. I just thought this was a lot of fun and was hard to put down. In fact, once I started I couldn't put it down. The romance was great and even though they came from two very different backgrounds, you can totally see them make it as a couple. I highly recommend this to everyone!

Content
Romance: Clean, mild innuendo and kissing
Language: None that I remember
Violence: None
Other: Mild talk of drug use, in a negative light
Religious: None
Read Again: Absolutely!

This has been nominated for a 2015 Swoony Award, you can vote for it here. Seriously, read this book and then come vote for it!

Monday, February 23, 2015

When Two Rivers Meet by Deborah Hathaway

Almost four years after coming out into society as an accomplished young woman, Miss Lilyanna Crosgrove has become tired with her way of life at Heatherhill, the stately home she lives in right outside of Bath. Her mother decides what Lilyanna does and whom she speaks with each day. And when Lilyanna comes to discover what she wishes for most in life, as well as in a future companion, her desires remain unheard. One evening, however, Lilyanna's life promises to change forever when Mr. Elijah Bainbridge, a man as caring as he is handsome, asks her for a dance. Through various assemblies and balls, entertaining dinner parties, and horse rides across the green countryside, their attraction to each other grows. Their relationship does not come without difficulty, however, as outside forces, including an unrelenting suitor and a secret from Elijah's past, will stop at nothing to keep the couple apart. Will Lilyanna and Elijah waver under the pressure of cruel rumors and persistent threats? Or will they be able to join together, eventually overcoming the opposition surrounding their union?

Sweet Regency Romance

I was excited to receive a review copy of When Two Rivers Meet and couldn’t wait to get started. I enjoyed Ms. Hathaway’s first book and since Regencies are a weakness of mine, I knew I would enjoy this one as well.

I thought this was a sweet, pleasant read. Lilyanna is trying hard to be a dutiful, perfect daughter. Unfortunately, her mother has rather high, unobtainable expectations. As Lilyanna starts to receive the attention of two very different gentlemen she realizes she doesn’t want to spend her life making other people happy at the expense of her own happiness. It was nice to see Lilyanna stand up for herself and what she believed in. As time goes on, she quickly realizes she is developing real feelings for Mr. Elijah Bainbridge. Both Elijah and Lilyanna were likable characters and have a sweet relationship. Outside forces may be trying to keep them apart, but they work together to keep their connection alive and fight for a way to be together. I have to say, Lilyanna's mother drove me nuts, I wanted to shake some sense into her. She was true to the time period though. It always makes me wonder how many happy couples were broken up because of "well meaning" parents meddling in things.

I thought this was an enjoyable read and a pleasant way to pass the time. It kind of reminded me of the Proper Romance line that Shadow Mountain publishing has. Overall, an enjoyable read and one I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys sweet regencies.

Content: Squeaky Clean

Source: Received advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

This has been nominated for a 2015 Swoony Award, you can vote for it here.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Baron of Godsmere by Tamara Leigh

On the eve of the deadline to honor the king’s decree of marriage, the fair Elianor of Emberly takes matters into her own hands. Determined none will suffer marriage to the man better known as The Boursier, she sets in motion her plan to imprison him long enough to ensure his barony is forfeited. But when all goes awry and her wrathful enemy compels her to wed him to save his lands, she discovers he is either much changed or much maligned. And the real enemy is one who lurks in their midst. One bent on keeping the feud burning.

4.5

Tamara Leigh has become my go-to author for medieval romance. She has a captivating way of writing that sucks you into the story and has you falling in love with her characters. I love her medieval because they feel so authentic, without being boring or feeling like a history lesson.

Elianor suffered through a horrible first marriage. Although she was only married for two years, they were years filled with constant abuse. She is now a widow and learns she is to be wed to The Boursier (Bayard), who has a horrible reputation. Bayard also suffered from a bad first marriage and is not happy when the kind orders him to marry, given the choice of two brides, either Elianor or Thomasin, to try and find peace between the three warring families. Elianor will do just about anything to avoid another abusive marriage. Without thinking through her actions she sets in motion a plan that will change all their lives and have outcomes she may soon regret.

I liked Elianor. She had a horrible past and while it was a big part of the story, it was never overly detailed or felt too heavy. I actually liked seeing how strong she was and how all her abuse didn't break her. Bayard and Elianor's relationship is complex and has many layers. They both have preconceived notions and have to overcome their pasts before they can ever focus on a future. I loved how Bayard handled Elianor, he has an amazing amount of patience.  I ended up really enjoying their story and watching their relationship unfold. They had great chemistry and while it was fun watching them butt heads, it was even better when it slowly turned to respect and love. They easily made it to my Favorite Couple shelf.

There is a bit of a mystery throughout the story and one that will probably continue through the series. The book wraps up nicely without too many cliffhangers (which I love), but left me excited to read the next book. Ms. Leigh has woven an intense love story and one I'd recommend.

Content
Romance: Pretty clean, mild innuendo and fade to black intimacy
Language: None
Violence: Mild
Religious: Mild-Moderate, felt true to character and time period, not preachy
Read Again: Yes!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Winter's Solace by Heather Anne Demars

Ryan Winters is a broken man. Guilt and grief over the death of his wife have driven him to a life of seclusion. Haunted by nightmares, he refuses to move on, refuses to forgive himself, and refuses to love. Brianne Morgan can’t remember a time when she wasn’t in love with Ryan — or a time when she didn’t hate herself for it. He’d always been in love with her sister, and that didn't change after Laura's death. Though her heart has been his for years, how can she allow herself to love him? Three years after the tragic car crash, an unexpected encounter with Brianne has Ryan wanting her to disappear from his life once more. She’s a constant reminder of the love he lost, and she's breathing new life into feelings he assumed long dead. Feelings he has no intention of reviving, especially with Brianne.

I saw this one yesterday and thought I'd download the sample to see if it'd be worth reading, I ended up getting sucked in and was unable to put it down. I love stories that have a unique twist on the whole "boy meets girl" thing.

The story picks up three years after a car accident that took the life of Ryan's wife, Laura. Brianne is Laura's sister and an artist living in New York, she returns to Seattle for her best friends wedding. She was an easy character to like, she is nice and fun and can hold her own. She's secretly had a crush on Ryan since they were kids, but accepted long ago that he would always belong to her sister Laura. She is not prepared for those feelings to come back when she sees him again. Of course, they do have unusual reunion! ;) Ryan runs a successful company with his best friend, but has closed himself off from everyone else. I liked Ryan, especially those glimpses of his playful side. He is NOT expecting for Brianne to stir feelings he thought were long gone. Both struggle with guilt for their mutual attraction and are both still missing Laura. It was an interesting dynamic that I tried not to overthink. I really enjoyed watching their story unfold. Brianne and Ryan had great chemistry and some really fun scenes together. While I did feel like Ryan loved Brianne, I couldn't help wondering if part of the attraction had more to do with reconnecting with an old-friend and his old life, and also if he was just lonely and she was an easy fit. The whole thing takes place over a two-week period so their feelings were a little fast for me. Especially for all the things they're both having to work through.

I thought this was well written and moved along nicely. It was a tad long, I think it was a little overly descriptive at times which slowed it down a bit for me. Overall, I really liked it though and will be keeping an eye out for what Ms. Demars writes next.

Content
Romance: Squeaky Clean
Language: Mild
Violence: Mild An attempted rape, not overly descriptive and is interrupted
Re-read: Yes, I would totally read this one again

Source: Amazon Kindle

This has been nominated for a 2015 Swoony Award, you can vote for it here.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Catching Kind by Caitie Quinn

When camera-shy author Hailey Tate’s agent loses a bet and brokers a deal, it leaves Hailey in the last place she wants to be: backed into the corner of Publicity and Paparazzi. Now, thanks to her girl-next-door image and role as pretend girlfriend to a womanizing short stop, she's getting the attention she always managed to avoid. Connor Ryan is not only America’s Sexiest Athlete, he’s also the current Bad Boy of Baseball. But when he goes a base too far, management wants to bench him…permanently. One thing he never counted on? Falling for his sweet, fake girlfriend. He’s the guy who can catch anything and now she’s next on his list.

I really enjoyed this one! The Brew Ha Ha series has quickly become a favorite of mine and I can't wait to read more. There better be more!

Hailey is a fun character, I loved her spunk. She is a YA author and it was fun to see that side of things, I would totally read her books. ;) She is thrown for a loop when her editor gets her roped in to pretending to be the girlfriend of the super famous bad-boy baseball player, Conner Ryan. The two could not be more opposite and the sparks fly from their first encounter. I liked that Hailey wasn’t afraid to be herself and to put him in his place. I wasn’t sure if Conner could win me over, but he does. I ended up really liking them together, great chemistry. What I liked most is the friendship that grows between them, I love relationships built on friendship and then grow into something more. They just seem so much more stable and able to go the distance.

Overall, I thought this was fun. The story was well paced and I liked how the relationship and character grown felt believable. I was sucked in from the start and only put it down when I had to (i.e. the kids were screaming for some attention). I can’t wait to read more from Ms. Quinn. If you haven’t checked out this series yet, you’re missing out!

Content: PG
Romance: Clean
Language: Mild, maybe 3 cuss words
Other: Mild, social/casual drinking, talk of past relationships, couples living together unmarried, etc.

Source: Received review copy in exchange for an honest review.

This has been nominated for a 2015 Swoony Award, you can vote for it here.

Worth the Fall by Caitie Quinn

Kasey Lane is having a bad week. Understatement. Her idea of success never involved losing her job, man, and apartment in 24-hours. Now, with nowhere to go and no way to pay for it anyway, Kasey decides it’s time for a fresh start, which means a new apartment, a new career, and…no men. But as a magnet for ridiculousness and absurd brushes with the law, her start goes from fresh to stale in record time. It doesn’t help that Mr. Wrong keeps showing up during her adventures gone awry and taking over. Now, as Kasey plans her way to independence she has to decide if the only path to success is going it alone...or if maybe a partner in crime can make the journey sweeter.

Fun, lighthearted romance!

I really enjoy this series! The first couple books are short stories, this is the first full-length novel in the series and it was great spending more time with these characters and in this setting. I love the lighthearted feel of each story. The book has a fun start, it sucks you in right at the get go and I had a hard time putting it down. Kasey has had a bad week. She lost her job, her apartment and her boyfriend. She stumbles upon a cute coffee shop where she meets some new friends. I actually really loved the part of the story, her making friends and finding people who actually care about her and of course meeting a great guy, Max. I loved her interactions with Max, he always seems to be around when something is going wrong for Kasey. 

Overall, a fun read and one I'd recommend to anyone in the mood for a romantic-comedy.

Content: PG
Romance: Clean
Language: Mild
Other: Social drinking, talk of couples living together sans marriage

Source: Received review copy from publisher for an honest review.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Betting on Hope by Debra Clopton

A bet gone wrong. A small town s meddling. And a cowboy intent on saving his ranch. Maggie Hope is an advice columnist whose background leaves her with little advice to give . . . and it s beginning to show. When Maggie fills in at an interview with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan, the on-camera chemistry between them is undeniable. Maggie s bosses know this is the opportunity she's been looking for to launch her career and their bank accounts. In order to save her column, Maggie takes Tru up on the betthat he can teach her to ride a quick-stepping cutting horse like any cowgirl, despite the fact that she has never been on a horse. And in the meantime, she can get the scoop on the man under the cowboy hat. Tru has been on the competition circuit for longer than he d like, but he knows it's the only way he can afford to keep the Four of Hearts Ranch that means so much to his ailing grandfather. So when his sponsors see the opportunity for Tru s fans to get to know the star on a more intimate level, he knows he must oblige. To his dismay, Maggie not only invades his small town of Wishing Springs, but she also invades his heart, and that is something he cannot let any woman do for her own good. In Wishing Springs, Maggie finds what she has always been looking for: a community and a home. But when her past catches up to her, it threatens everything, even the tender hope that this town holds all of her heart s desires.

I really enjoying this one!

When I saw my friend Aimee's review mention swoony cowboys I had to give this one a try. This was a sweet contemporary western. I liked the overall plot and the characters were great.

Maggie has had a hard life, but is always able to see the positive in things. She has taken this talent and become an advice columnist. She was an easy character to like and relate to. I liked how even though she had experienced a rough upbringing, she was still a caring person. She went out of her way to help others and was always lifting up those around her. I loved that.

Tru Monahan was a true cowboy. He is hardworking and loyal and takes care of those he loves. He has to fight his attraction to Maggie, but still ends up doing a good job of courting her despite his intention to leave her alone. They have good chemistry together and I enjoyed watching their relationship evolve. I like that they were able to become friends and that Maggie was able to turn to Tru when she needed him (drives me nuts when heroines refuse to go to the hero for help), it was refreshing to see her actually trust him, especially after everything she had been through. It was a big move for her.

I also enjoyed the side-story of Jenna, which touched a little close to home. I am on the opposite side of adoption, I was blessed with a sweet little boy almost five years ago. I often think of his birth mother and the amazing sacrifice she made to give him up and to a loving family. I know that Heavenly Father sends extra blessings to these birth moms who are able to help a couple have a baby when they haven't been able to on their own. Adoption is truly a wonderful thing and even though I can't imagine how hard that sacrifice is, I know being on the receiving end is truly a miracle. I thought it was handled well in the story.

Overall, a charming read! I enjoyed the setting and am looking forward to reading Bo and Jarrods story, I'll be keeping my eye out for more in this series for sure! I do wish there had been an epilogue, there were a couple things left up in the air.

Content
Romance: Clean
Other: Mild talk of Jenna and Maggie's past, nothing graphic
Religious: Mild, very little religious content and not preachy at all

Source: Received review copy from publisher for honest review.

This has been nominated for a 2015 Swoony Award, you can vote for it here.
 
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