Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Favorite Books of 2014

Friday we will be revealing the winners of the 2014 Swoony Awards, but I couldn't wait to share my favorites.  I read over 240 books this year and I wanted to share them with you (I stuck with only the books I read that were published in 2014), so here are my top 14 favorite novels of the year!

#1 Lady at Arms by Tamara Leigh
#2 Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson
#3 Falling For Rayne by Shannon Guymon
#4 Under a Georgia Moon by Cindy Roland Anderson
#5 A Cliché Christmas by Nicole Deese
#6 Son of War, Daughter of Chaos by Janette Rallison
#7 All's Fair in Love and Weddings by Christine Feldman
#8 Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae 
#9 Lady Emma's Campaign by Jennifer Moore
#10 Bewitching the Knight by Diane Darcy
#11 Fiancé by Fate by Jennifer Shirk
#12 Split Second by Kasie West
#13 Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen
#14 The Longing by Tamara Leigh

Technically, they're all number one! I loved each of these books and would recommend them to anyone! It was hard choosing just 14 since I read so many amazing books this year, but these ones really stuck with me and will be ones I'll be reading again!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tess in Boots by Courtney Rice Gager

Tess in BootsTess in Boots by Courtney Rice Gager
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Do you ever get a feeling you're going to love a book before you even start? I sometimes get "book vibes" before I start a book just knowing I'm not going to want to put it down.

This is one of those books that you can't say much about without giving things away. I liked that as I was reading I didn't know what was going to happen. I had my ideas, but I had to fight to not jump ahead to make sure I was right. I love that in a book! I was easily sucked into the story and Tess, our heroine, was easy to like and root for. The book opens with Tess about to be proposed to, at least that's what she thinks is going to happen. Things don't go as planned and soon her well ordered life is turned upside down. I liked the journey her character goes through and how she is able to really take a look at her life and who she has become and who she wants to be. I also liked seeing her reconnect with her twin brother. I love reading about close sibling relationships, since it reminds me of my own brothers.

There is a bit of a love triangle, but its handled really well and uniquely. You're not really sure what will happen (and again I had a hard time NOT peaking to see how it would end) and it was fun to see how each relationship evolved. Is that vague enough?

Overall, a very engaging read. I will definitely read it again and look forward to seeing what Ms. Gager comes up with next! Go grab a copy...right now! Make it an early Christmas present, you won't regret it!

Content
Romance: Clean
Language: None that I remember
Religious: Very mild

Source: Amazon Kindle

View all my reviews

Monday, December 8, 2014

2014 Swoony Awards Blitz with Giveaway


What Are the Swoony Awards?
The Swoony Awards were created to recognize excellence in clean fiction. There are so many books published every day and it can be hard to find the ones worth reading. We want to help recognize authors who write entertaining books that are wholesome. It’s our hope that each year we will help provide everyone with a great list of books to read and maybe introduce them to new authors.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements?
-Publication Year: Only books published during the current contest year may be nominated. To be fair to all books, contest dates will run from December 1, 2013 – November 31, 2014.
-Clean romance: No sex or closed door, low/mild innuendo. Only M/F romances.
-Language: None/mild, anything over a handful of profanity (especially the more offensive words) would not be considered clean.
-Violence: None/mild
-Other: Nothing overly dark, depressing or heavy subject matter

Novels, novellas and short stories are all eligible for nomination, no limits on page number. Any (clean) genre is eligible (i.e. contemporary, fantasy, mystery, historical, etc.).

Each voter is able to choose up to 100 books to vote on or nominate each contest year. There is no cap on the overall number of books nominated.

How Are Winners Selected?
We will be accepting entries throughout the year and the winners announced the first week in January. There are fifteen award categories (i.e. Best Novel of the Year, Best Historical, Best Contemporary, etc.). Winner’s will be announced via our blogs (Bookworm Nation, KJ’s Book Nook and Katie’s Clean Book Reviews) and through Goodreads Swoony Awards Group.

Since this is a reader’s choice award the winners are determined by a combination of the number of votes received and how high the voter rated the book and what rank the voter gave each book they voted for.

Who Are We?

Kathy 
Kathy (Bookworm Nation)
I've been hosting a book review blog, Bookworm Nation, for over five years. I love to read and review books. And of course, I love to discuss books! A few years ago I started the Goodreads group, Happily Ever After Book Club. It's through Goodreads that I met Katie, Kathy Jo and Heidi and while discussing our love of books one day we thought it'd be fun to host our own Reader's Choice award. We're excited to introduce the Swoony's this year, it's going really well and we look forward to hosting it for years to come. 
Contact Info for Kathy:
Twitter: @bookwormnation
Kathy Jo 
Kathy Jo (KJ's Book Nook)
This may come as a shocker but I have NOT always been a little bookworm. In fact growing up I was not the kid you saw jumping at the chance to read. I was the one that just did it to make my teachers happy. That silent reading time during school?! Yeah.. I was the kid napping! ;) About 12 years ago someone loaned me a book and said I just HAD to read it. I took it just to get them off my back and much to my surprise I could NOT put it down! And from then on I would read... but only that one author. I refused to read anything else! It wasn't until 2009 when 2 of my favorite people introduced me to the Twilight Series that I actually started branching out. And ever since then I haven't been able to STOP reading! ;) About 5 months ago I decided to start a book blog and I have been loving it! I get to be another voice for all the amazing authors that I love! How cool is that?! And of course through my adventures in reading I have been able to meet some amazing women who love books just as much as, if not more than, me! I love chatting with them about all the books we read! We have become such great friends that at times I forget that I've never really met them in person! Books just have a way of bringing people together! My reading choices vary... I love a lot of different genres.With that said... I am not ashamed to admit that I am a romantic and I love fluff! As long as it's clean and has a HEA, I'll definitely give it a try! Any book that gives me a break from reality and puts a smile on my face is definitely a book for me!   
Contact Info for Kathy Jo:
Email: kjsbooknook@gmail.com
Blog: kjsbooknook.blogspot.com 
Twitter: @kjincali

Katie Watkins 
Katie (Katie's Clean Book Collection)
I started blogging about a year and a half ago. I've always loved to read and talk about books--it's my obsession. The first book I learned to read on my own was Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham. I love a lot of different genres, but my favorite is clean romance, which is perfect for the Swoony's! I've had a blast meeting new friends who enjoy the same types of books that I do.

Contact Info for Katie:
Email: lilacqueen75@gmail.com
Twitter: @lilacqueen75
Blog: www.katiescleanbookcollection.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/katiescleanbookcollection

Heidi 
Heidi 
I'm a mother of four amazing kids and married to my own Prince Charming. I love to read, kiss my handsome Prince, bake, run (because I love to bake), ride horses, play sports, and spend time with my little family. I first fell in love with reading at a very young age because of my sweet grandmother who always took the time to read me my favorite books over and over again. She could never tell me no. My wonderful mother is also entirely addicted to reading and we love to "talk books" late into the night....and plot how we are going to buy more. :) I adore clean, happily ever after books, and I've loved getting to know so many other women who do as well. Who knew books would be the reason I would meet some of the dearest people in the world?! 
Contact Info for Heidi:
Email: curlyhide9@hotmail.com

Note to Authors:
If you’ve written a book that matches the above criteria fill free to nominate it for a Swoony! Don’t be afraid to promote the award or to let your fans know your book is up and that it needs votes. We are doing some promoting, but sometimes a Facebook, Twitter or blog post directly from the author is the best way to let your fan base know your book has been nominated. Only books with a minimum of THREE votes will be added to the official nomination list found on the Goodreads Swoony Awards group page. Winners will be announced January 2015.

To stay up to date on voting and nominations, please join our Goodreads Swoony Awards group page!

Note to Readers:
If you’ve read a book this year that you think is awesome…VOTE! This is a great way to let authors know you appreciate all that hard work. You can vote for up to 100 books on the list. We’ve also learned that the order you rank the books you vote on does affect the overall score of the book. So take a minute and make sure you have your books in the order you want them. Invite your friends to vote! Voting ends December 31, 2014.

The 2014 Swoony Awards is now accepting nominations and votes for your favorite books of the year. Polls will be open until December 31, 2014. 

Join us on Facebook and Twitter.

As a thank you for making the Swoony Awards a success,
we'd like to offer an Amazon gift card! The winner will
have 48 hours to claim the prize. Only valid
where Amazon gift cards may be used. You must
be 13 or older to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dark Destiny by Kari Gray

All Lily Bordeaux wants is a shop of her own in the French Quarter, but the family legacy, passed down from her Salem witch ancestors, is bearing down on her despite her efforts to avoid it. A series of events place her in danger, but an old friend from college, Bennett Duschesne, may be the one person who can convince her to confront her past demons and embrace her gifts. As she grows closer to Bennett, evil forces threaten to destroy everything she loves. Will she have accepted her family legacy, only to find she was too late?
I’ve read all of Nancy C Allen’s (aka Kari Gray) books and was so excited when I saw she was going to be writing a new paranormal novella series. I got it the day it came out and devoured it in one sitting. She really can write any genre!

Lily is a descendent from the Salem Witches, but after losing her parents she doesn’t want anything to do with her “powers” and closes them off. Then one day she awakens after a bomb exploded at her aunt’s boutique and she realizes she should have been honing her powers, not ignoring them. To get answers and to protect her aunt she opens herself up to her powers and goes on the hunt for an elusive talisman. I thought this was a fun novella; a lot is packed in to the 118 pages!

Lily was a likable heroine, I liked that she was strong and wanted to take matters into her own hands. I also liked that she was willing to accept help when she needed it. I liked the romance with her and Bennett. They had been friends for a long time and had drifted apart when he started dating another girl. They’re reunited after the explosion and realize the depth of their feelings. The romance was sweet, a little fast, but considering the length of the novel and the fact that they had known each other before made it believable. The overall story was fun and I look forward to reading the rest of the series! Beautiful cover!

Content, PG:
Romance: Clean, mild innuendo (a little steamier than her other books, if I remember)
Language: Mild (H, D, S)
Violence: Mild

Source: Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Rough around the Edges Meets Refined by Rachael Anderson

Rough around the Edges Meets Refined (Meet Your Match, #2)Rough around the Edges Meets Refined by Rachael Anderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another hit by Rachael! I loved this one and stayed up way too late to finish it. I kept saying "just one more chapter" until I ended up finishing the whole thing!

Cassie is a recent widow and trying to get back on her feat and discover who she is and what she wants to do with her life. She does not want another man around telling her what to do, so she has her guard up with Noah enters her life. It doesn't take long for his charm to work through her walls. I liked Cassie, she was easy to relate to and to root for. I was glad she got a second chance at happiness. I liked the growth her character went through and it was nice to see her discovering herself again. Noah was great! I liked him in the first book and it was fun to see him and to reconnect with his sweet daughters. I loved the romance between Cassie and Noah and how their relationship developed. They have great chemistry together! I liked that there was more going on with them besides the romance though, they both have lost spouses and have their own issues to work through.

This is a companion novel to Prejudice Meets Pride and it was fun seeing characters from the first book make an appearance. I love Rachael's books and always have to stop whatever I'm doing when a new one comes out so I can dive in! This was a real page-turner, I read it in one sitting and loved every minute! Highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a great heartwarming romance!

Content
Romance: Clean

Source: Received complimentary copy from author in exchange for honest review.

View all my reviews

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bewitching the Knight by Diane Darcy

In Medieval Scotland if she dresses, talks and curses like a witch.... Archaeologist Dr. Samantha Ryan does not want or need the public relations firm her boss hired to give her advice on how to speak, act, or charm. She’s busy. She’s just found out where the Scottish Crown of the MacGregor’s is hidden and needs to beat her lying, cheating competitor, Jerry, to the Scottish highlands and claim it for her University! After finding it, and her nemesis, a struggle ensues and they travel back in time to medieval Scotland where Jerry calls her a very ugly name. Unfortunately the villagers think he said “witch”, tie her up, and start gathering wood for a bonfire.

Laird MacGregor is a dead man walking. It’s only a matter of time before one of the many attempts on his life will succeed. When Ian is informed that the villagers are burning another witch, he is determined to save the hapless female. While trying to find out who is trying to murder him, keep the crown entrusted to him by his father safe, and control a rowdy woman who may indeed be gifted with foresight, Ian decides he more than willing to give her the firstborn she’d initially demanded.

I've been waiting for this one for a while now and couldn't wait to get started when I saw it had finally been released. I loved the first book, She Owns the Knight, and couldn't wait to go back to this setting.

We meet Ian MacGregor in the first book and I was excited to see his story and see what kind of women would win him over. Samantha Ryan is a modern-day Indiana Jones. She has been traveling the world working as an archeologist practically her whole life. She loves history and over the past couple years became interested in one Ian MacGregor, she's studied his life and knows all there is about him. She couldn't be more pleased when she is transported back in time and able to meet him in person. I thought this was a fun read, I loved Samantha and Ian and thought they were really cute together. The overall story was fun, there is a bit of a mystery, someone is trying to kill Ian and he's trying to figure out who. We're also briefly reunited with Gillian and Kellen from the first book, it was SO fun seeing them again and I loved how they were worked into the story.

Overall, a really fun read. I liked the mix of the modern with the medieval. Can't wait for more!

Content
Romance: Clean
Language: None
Violence: Mild-Moderate, medieval violence/fighting, nothing too graphic
Nominated for a 2014 Swoony Award, to vote click here.
Source: Amazon Kindle

Monday, November 17, 2014

Rough Edges Cover Reveal

I am happy to be a part of Kimberly Krey's cover reveal. The Sweet Montana Bride series was one of my favorites this year and I am looking forward to Allie's story (which is a companion novel to the trilogy). If you enjoy contemporary romance you'll want to check this series out. And now, without further delay, here are a few words from Kimberly and the big reveal! Enjoy!

I'm thrilled to present the cover to my upcoming novel, Rough Edges. A companion to the Sweet Montana Bride Series, this sweet story provides a closer look at Allie Emerson. Some of you might know her from novels Reese's Cowboy Kiss and Jade's Cowboy Crush. From one story to the next, we see this adorable character go from supportive wife of a selfish man, to a recently divorced woman raising two girls on her own. With Terrance out of her life for good, it's time for Allie to finally get her happy ending. And what better place to start than Fox's Custom Woodwork, where Braden Fox acts as both owner and carpenter. Oh, and did I happen to mention that he's Terrance's old best friend?

Now for the cover to what will be the forth part to the Sweet Montana Bride series.




Since most of us skip the paperback and go right for the ebook, the back covers are often left unseen. For that reason, I thought I'd include the backside as well, along with the spine. I love this one because it includes a rare and beautiful glimpse into Braden's wood shop, a place I have come to love through discovering more about these characters and their past.




And in case you can't read it from the pic, here's the book blurb:

Divorced mother, Allie Emerson, never imagined she’d be raising two teenage girls on her own. Between parenting and paying the bills, she hasn’t even thought about meeting a man. That changes once she hears local carpenter, Braden Fox, is in need of a secretary. Back in high school, Allie had done all she could to deny the sparks burning between her and Braden; perhaps now they could explore the possibilities.

Braden has heard all about what Terrance did to Allie and the girls, has been planning to stop by and see how she’s getting along, but Allie beats him to it by showing up at his shop in search of a job. Her single visit reignites the old flame Braden used to torch for her; trouble is, old feelings of resentment return as well. Allie did choose Terrance over him, after all. And as much as Braden wants Allie in his life, he’s not sure he can open his heart again.

With this second chance at romance, will the bumps in their relationship be too much to get over, or will this carpenter learn to smooth out the past?

Rough Edges will be available on Amazon soon. For updates, sign up for my email list by clicking here. Also receive updates on my FB author page here.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Bold Heart by Carmen Cain

As Scotland's greatest warrior and heir to the earldom of Mull, few dared to cross swords with Ewan MacLean. But the price he paid for his fearsome reputation was a heavy one. To survive, he buried his emotions and became only the warrior, riding from battle to battle with his men to protect Scotland from threats within and without her borders and letting himself feel nothing else. After a bold, mysterious youth rescues Ewan and his men from the English, the group swiftly makes their way back to Scotland. But no sooner embarked on their journey home, a young Prince James sounds the call to arms, rises against his father, King James III of Scotland, and plunges Scotland into a dangerous civil war. But as they journey to join the prince, both Ewan and Alec discover their rescuer's secret--and both men find themselves falling unexpectedly in love with a raven-haired beauty.
I ended up really enjoying this one! We met Merry in [book:The Kindling Heart|18626393], as a young child she was wed to an evil Scottish Lord and her brother Ruan rescued her with the help of Ewan MacLean. Years later Merry learns that Ewan has been captured and scheduled for execution. Without giving it much thought she cuts her hair and rides to his rescue. Disguised as a boy she is able to travel the countryside and arrive in time to free Ewan and his men.

This is the last book in the series and some loose ends are tied up from previous books, but technically it could probably stand on its own. Merry was an extremely likable heroine, she continued to surprise me. I liked her outlook on life and how she could lighten the mood. I was a little nervous about her story since we first met her under upsetting circumstances in the first book, but years have passed and she is at peace and not haunted by what had happened to her. It's barely talked about. I loved how loyal she was to Ewan and they had great chemistry. I also loved that Ewan recognized early on that she was the only one for him. He was always loyal and kind to her. We had seen him in previous books and he is a fierce warrior, so it was great being able to see a softer side of him. I also loved Alec, he was great and I was heartbroken for him!

Overall, a fun medieval series! I think [book:The Bedeviled Heart|23248214] and this one are my favorites!

Content
Romance: Clean-Pretty clean, mild innuendo. Fade to black intimacy (after marriage), just kissing. Language: None
Violence: Mild-Moderate, some fighting nothing too detailed

Source: Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Nominated for a 2014 Swoony Award

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lady Emma's Campaign by Jennifer Moore

The London Season is ushered in with a thrilling flurry of invitations, gowns, and parties. But despite her status as belle of the ball, lovely socialite Emma Drake simply cannot fathom becoming entangled with any gentleman of her acquaintance. For in truth, since childhood her heart has belonged to Captain Sidney Fletcher, a man of the sea—and her brother’s best friend. Emma knows that Sidney’s directive to free the Spanish city of Cadiz from French occupation will be dangerous, but when word arrives of his capture, she is frantic. Determined to aid her brother in Sidney’s rescue, she hides aboard his ship and sets a course to Spain. But the realities of war are a far cry from the drawing rooms of London, and Emma finds the man she loves a mere shadow of his former self. When a series of events leaves them trapped together behind enemy lines, Emma and Sidney must embark on a journey fraught with danger—from a bloody hunt for Spanish treasure to the battlefields of war-torn Spain, new threats lurk around every turn. As their flight becomes increasingly perilous, Sidney and Emma must trust each other with their lives—but can they trust the other with their heart?
I was playing on Goodreads one night and went to look if Jennifer Moore had any upcoming books, I was pleasantly surprised when I found her blog and it showed Lady Emma's Campaign was available! I hopped on over to Amazon and grabbed a copy. This is a companion novel to [book:Becoming Lady Lockwood|21947381], but can stand on its own.

Emma has had a hard life, growing up with an abusive father has given her an inner-strength that she doesn't even realize yet. Because of her hard childhood her mother and brother tend to shelter her, as well as the men trying to court her. She is also secretly in love with her brothers best friend, Sidney. When an opportunity arises where she can help rescue Sidney from worn-torn Spain she jumps (or sneaks) at the chance.

I loved the romance in this one. I love stories about girls falling or their brothers friends (or similar). I like that they already have an established relationship and so their transition from friends to...more, is believable. Emma and Sidney are perfect together. I like how they bring out the best in each other and how they respect one another. They treat each other kindly and build each other up. It takes awhile for them to figure things out, but it was a nice journey to be on.

While the romance was great, the setting and subject matter is pretty heavy. War is just a horrible thing and it can be upsetting to read about some of the things that go on in war. The majority of the book is with them on the run and there was never a slow moment. It was definitely a page turner. I appreciated that while the subject was heavy there was no overly detailed violence. There was a good balance of war and hope. The side characters added a lot to the story, I loved Serena, Jim and Marco. I hope they all get books. :)

Overall, a great read. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good Historical Romance.

Content
Romance: Clean
Language: None
Violence: Moderate Non-detailed talk of torture, beatings, non-graphic depictions of war, etc.

Source: Amazon Kindle

Nominated for a 2014 Swoony Award.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Petticoat Detective by Margaret Brownley

Pinkerton detective Jennifer Layne is no stranger to undercover work. But posing as a lady companion named Amy at Miss Lillian’s Parlor House and Boots is a first for her. She’s finally landed a high-profile case and is on the trail of the notorious Gunnysack Bandit, when one of Miss Lillian’s girls essential to her investigation meets an untimely demise. Only a handful of people are in the house at the time of her death, including handsome Tom Colton, a former Texas Ranger determined to clear his brother’s name. Amy has many reasons to suspect Tom of murder—and one very personal reason to hope that she’s wrong about him.
I really enjoy Ms. Brownley's Westerns. She is always able to weave in a fun western setting with humor and romance.

Even after reading the synopsis I didn't realize the story takes place at a bordello, our heroine Amy has to pose as a prostitute in order to track down the Gunnysack Bandit. Even though the story takes place at a bordello and the mystery around two murders, it was an uplifting and pretty lighthearted read, never felt too heavy even though the subject matter was pretty serious.

Amy works for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, I remembered studying them a little while in college and it's always fun to see them references in my historical novels. Anyway, Amy has a hard time with this assignment, but it was interesting to get a "behind the scenes" look into a bordello and your heart can't help but hurt for ladies forced into this profession. One of the girls Rose is killed the day Amy arrives, she was also supposed to be Amy's contact so she's having to start from scratch. A mysterious stranger in town, Tom Colton is also investigating the case and the two pair up to try and solve the mystery. Tom doesn't realize Amy's true identity and purpose and is turn when he starts to have feelings for who he thinks is a prostitute. There are some funny situations that arise from Amy's deception and I was impressed that the author was able to keep things light. I also liked how things wrapped up at the end.

Overall, a fun western romance.

Content
Romance: Clean
Language: None
Violence: Mild
Religious: Moderate
Other: Mild (details about life at a bordello)

Source: Received ARC from publisher for honest review.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Cliche Christmas by Nicole Deese

This was so, so good! I loved it!

Finding a good Christmas story can be hard to do, but this book was perfect. It balanced all the Christmassy stuff, romance and was well written. Georgia is a successful screenwriter, her specialty Christmas movies. She spends her whole year working and writing Christmas movies and usually takes the month of December off to go on some exotic vacation. This year, her grandmother ropes her into returning home to work on the towns Christmas pageant. When she returns she comes face to face with Weston James, the very person who made her flee home seven years before.

I loved the relationship between Georgia and her Nan, very sweet. I also liked Georgia, she was easy to root for. It was nice to see her find peace and love. Speaking of love, wow I really liked Weston! I thought they had a nice relationship, it progressed nicely. It wasn't insta-love or insta-forgiveness. They had great chemistry and banter, but I liked the underlying of respect they had for each other. I liked that it wasn't completely conflict-free, they had to work through some issues, but it made their relationship that much stronger.

I loved the setting of Oregon and the Christmas feel. I half expected to find snow when I walked outside! I'm so glad I found this gem and I look forward to reading more of Ms. Deese's books! Go grab a copy!

Content: CLEAN

Source: Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Nominated for a 2014 Swoony Award (read it and then come vote for it!).

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Saving Grace by Michele Paige Holmes

After the death of her grandfather, the Duke of Salisbury, Grace Thatcher wants nothing more than to live quietly in the country with her younger siblings. Her father’s debts thwart those plans, and to protect her sister, Helen, Grace must marry a man of her father’s choosing. As each suitor proves less than desirable, Grace comes up with clever schemes, causing each to reject her. While staying at the mysterious Sutherland Hall, a middle-of-the-night mishap sends Grace into the arms of a stranger, Nicholas Sutherland—and provides inspiration for her grandest plan yet—one that will leave her reputation in tatters yet free both her and Helen from all possibility of marriage. Too late Grace regrets her rash actions when her father’s last choice, Mr. Samuel Preston, proves to be a gentleman and a friend. But Samuel is the sworn enemy of Nicholas Sutherland, the man responsible for her “ruin.” Now instead of being free, Grace is caught between two men—each with his own agenda.
I love picking up a book and falling into the story right from the start. I knew early on that I was going to enjoy this one, and I did. Grace Thatcher finds herself in a tricky spot, her father is trying to marry her off to any wealthy man that he can find to cover his extensive gambling debts. Grace has no desire to marry and simply wants to take her siblings and hide away in the country. Her plans run amok when her carriage breaks down and she finds herself in the home of Lord Sutherland. Through a series of unfortunate events the two find themselves engaged.

I loved the evolution of their relationship, from hating one another to eventually caring rather deeply for each other. I though this had a strong start, I did feel at times it was a tad slow, but I enjoyed it. Grace was a likable heroine, she was kind and honest. I liked that she always attempted to make the right choice, even if it didn't always turn out the best. Nicholas was pretty broody and full of revenge when the book starts, but Grace brings out his softer side. They were a good couple and it was fun seeing them together. There was a bit of a love triangle, but was well done. I actually came to like Samuel Preston quite a bit. I would have liked a scene where Nicholas and Samuel really come to an understanding of what happened with Elizabeth. But, I was happy with how everything turned out.

Overall, a fun regency story and one I'd recommend!

Content: Clean
Nominated for a 2014 Swoony Award.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Swoony Awards

I've been wanting to do an award for a long time. I think it'll be a fun way to recognize the awesome books we read each year and to help share those books with others. I also wanted to let these amazing authors know how much we appreciate their books and all the hard work that goes into it. I'm a sucker for romance and love reading books that have a sweet, swoony romance involved. Hence "Swoony Awards" for books that make you believe in love and happily every afters.

The Swoony Awards is brought to you by Happily Ever After Book Club and my good friends Katie from Katie's Clean Book Collection and Kathy Jo from KJ's Book Nook have helped develop the Swoonys and I couldn't have done it without them, this is our baby! I also want to give a BIG thanks to Tiana at The Blog Decorator for designing our logo, which I think turned out amazing!

So, if you've read an awesome book this year (or more) come officially nominate it for a Swoony, here. And be sure to vote for any of the other books already listed (no limit on votes). We’ll be accepting entries until the end of the year; winners will be announced January 2015. The only thing was ask is that nomination be for books published in 2014 and are clean (no sex (closed door), mild/no language and mild/no violence).

Have fun voting!

Sponsors: Bookworm Nation, Katie's Clean Book Collection and KJ's Book Nook

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Christmas Bargain by Shanna Hatfield

Luke Granger is about to get more than he bargained for… As owner and manager of the Hardman bank, Luke Granger is a man of responsibility and integrity in the small 1890s Eastern Oregon town. Calling in a long overdue loan, Luke finds himself reluctantly accepting a bargain in lieu of payment from the shiftless farmer who barters his daughter to settle his debt. Philamena Booth is both mortified and relieved when her father sends her off with the banker as payment of his debt. Held captive on the farm by her father since the death of her mother more than a decade earlier, Philamena is grateful to leave. If only it had been someone other than the handsome and charismatic Luke Granger riding in to rescue her. Ready to uphold her end of the bargain as Luke’s cook and housekeeper, Philamena is prepared for the hard work ahead. What she isn’t prepared for is being forced to marry Luke as part of this crazy Christmas bargain.
I loved the setting and time period of this one. Based on the real town of Hardman, Oregon (which is now a ghost town) it was easy to step back in time and imagine what life would have been like back then. I liked that it took place around the early 1890’s and I liked how the author worked in their “modern” inventions into the story. It’s fun to think about how things we take for granted now used to be a nifty invention back then. I liked the mix of the old west with a touch of the modern, at least modern for them. I also love marriage of convenience stories and liked how that plot was used here. Luke is a successful banker and in a moment of weakness agrees to take a wife in order to cover the debt. Philamena Booth once had a happy childhood, but that all changed when her mother passed away and her father turned to drinking to try and forget how good he once had it. She has spent the last thirteen years in isolation and being abused by her father. While she had a really hard time, I’m glad the ugliness of what she went through wasn’t dwelled on. The story picks up right when Luke takes Philamena away and for the most part the story is lighthearted and conflict-free. I thought Philamena and Luke had a sweet relationship and were good for each other.

Overall, this is a pleasant step back in time to when life seemed so much simpler. I loved the story takes place over Christmas and thought it added a nice festive feel to the story. A nice, cozy read.

Shanna-Hatfield-Nov-Blog-Tour

Welcome to the

Cowboys & Christmas

Blog Tour!

A kickoff of two new holiday romances by Shanna Hatfield
and a fundraiser for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund

An Interview with Shanna Hatfield

Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with realistic heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”

What inspired you to write the Hardman Holidays Series? I chose the town of Hardman as the setting because it was fun to imagine what the town as like back when it was booming. Today, Hardman is a ghost town. I wrote this particular series because I enjoy creating strong female characters and men brave enough to walk beside them.

What's the series about? Hope. Faith. Love. It’s about never giving up, finding inner strength, and giving love a chance. Filly faces a dismal future until Luke opens a new door for her. Ginny is running away from her past, trying to find a future. Alex thinks her nomadic lifestyle will keep her from ever experiencing true love. Despite everything, each of them hold onto the hope that tomorrow will be a new, better day.

What made you decide to make this a holiday series? I love historical romances, especially those set during the holiday season. Tying in a holiday theme to each story seemed like a perfect fit for the setting and the characters.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Filly is the heroine from The Christmas Bargain, the first book in the series. Much braver than she thinks, she’s endured her father’s abuse and imprisonment on their farm for thirteen years. Luke Granger accepts her in lieu of payment on a loan just to get her away from the cruel man she used to call Papa. She needs all the courage, strength, and humor she can find when the pastor insists Luke take her as his bride. Ginny is the feisty lead character in The Christmas Token, the second book in the series. She grew up in Hardman and fell in love with Blake Stratton. Since he came from a poor family, her mother decided to whisk her away before the two teens could wed. Relocated to New York City, Ginny enjoys life there until she arrives back in Hardman quite unexpectedly and realizes she never stopped loving Blake. In The Christmas Calamity, the newly-released third book in the series, Alexandra Janowski is a prestidigitator on the run from her past, from men out to do her harm, and the opportunity to fall in love. Forced to stay in Hardman while the blacksmith repairs her wagon, she finds her heart and thoughts drawn to banker Arlan Guthry.

Where do you get the inspiration to write? My inspiration for sitting down every day and writing comes from the fact that I love doing it and there is nothing else I’d rather be doing. I left my day job a year ago to write full time, so this truly is my chosen career and source of employment.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers? Thank you for hosting me today. I’m so grateful for this wonderful opportunity to connect with your readers. I hope those who enjoy historical fiction, sweet romances, or a good western, will consider reading  
 

Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund®

Now through Dec. 24, Shanna will donate 10 percent of the net proceeds from all her book sales to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. JCCF logoThe JCCF is a non-profit organization that assists rodeo athletes who’ve sustained catastrophic injuries and are unable to work for an extended period.  

You’re Invited to PARTY!

You’re invited to join in the online Cowboys & Christmas Facebook Party Thursday, Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (PST). Drop in anytime during those four hours to enter to win great prizes, chat with guest authors, and more! Here’s the link to the party: http://tinyurl.com/cowboychristmasparty The third book in the Hardman Holidays sweet Victorian romance series releases that day! The Christmas Calamity takes readers back to Hardman just in time for the holiday season. Preorders are available now for just $1.99 on Kindle. You can reserve your copy here: http://amzn.com/B00OGOO994 In addition, the first book in the Hardman Holidays series, The Christmas Bargain, will be available free that day, as well!

Prize Basket

Enter to Win Prizes!

To enter the drawing for an Amazon gift card, autographed books, chocolates, original western artwork, and more fun goodies, fill out this form. http://tinyurl.com/cowboychristmasprizes

About Shanna Hatfield

Shanna Hatfield 2A hopeless romantic with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good measure, Shanna Hatfield is a bestselling author of sweet romantic fiction written with a healthy dose of humor. In addition to blogging and eating too much chocolate, she is completely smitten with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller. Shanna creates character-driven romances with realistic heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.” She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Romance Writers of America. Find Shanna’s books at: Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Apple Shanna loves to hear from readers! Follow her online: ShannaHatfield | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | You Tube | Twitter

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Now Accepting Nominations for 2014 Swoony Awards

The Swoony Awards is live and now accepting nominations. The Swoony Awards is brought to you by Happily Ever After Book Club. We want to recognize all the great books we’ve read throughout the year. In order to be eligible any books added must have been published during 2014 (if it has previously been published and was re-released in 2014 that counts too!). It also has to be clean (no sex/closed door, no/low language, no/low violence). Nominations can be full length novels, novellas or short stories. We’ll be accepting entries until the end of the year. The winners will be announced January 2015. It is our first year hosting the Swoony Awards so hopefully it’ll go smoothly and we can get all the kinks out and most importantly we want to make sure everyone has fun!

Please feel free to add any books you’ve read and enjoyed this year and be sure to tell your friends! And Authors, feel free to vote for your books too!

Sponsors: Bookworm Nation, Katie's Clean Book Collection and KJ's Book Nook

Friday, October 31, 2014

Winners & Final Poll

I can’t believe Swoon Fest is over! This month has flown by and reading all these awesome McClure books made it so much more fun! I am so grateful for everyone who participated! We had over 850 entries throughout the month! That is awesome! Now I’m sure all of you are wondering who our final winners are, so here you go:

 
1st Place: Autographed Hardcopy McClure Book
(signed and provided for by Marcia)
Heidi Jensen
 
2nd Place: $15 Amazon Gift Card
Tiffany Odell
 
3rd Place: $10 Amazon Gift Card
Jennifer H

I'll send the prizes to the email addresses provided, let me know if you don't receive it. Heidi, I'll be contacting you in regard to which book you'd like, etc. Thanks again to everyone who participated, you all made it so much more fun!
Poll
110643
Happy Halloween! Which paranormal hero would you like Marcia to write about...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Top Ten Favorite McClure Books

I thought it’d be fun to compile a list of everyone’s favorite McClure books. It was actually a little harder than I thought it would be. I ended up with four different versions and used those to make a master list. The first version is based on Amazon reviews (average customer review), the next based on Goodreads (average ratings), next is based on the Goodreads Listopia and lastly one based on all the different lists that were submitted to me directly. So, I give you the master list of favorites (I’ll post the other lists in the comments, if you’re curious like me). And I should add, this is probably always changing, the more votes that come in can tweak things a bit.

Top Ten Favorite McClure Books
Visions of Ransom Lake
Kissing Cousins
Highwayman of Tanglewood
A Crimson Frost
Dusty Britches
Weathered Too Young
Saphyre Snow
Shackles of Honor
Heavenly Surrender
Touch of Sage


 
“Falling in love is an adventure--the breathless, goose-bump-rendering voyage of a real-life hero and heroine. Falling in love is simultaneously wonderful and painful -- a mingling of uncertainty and euphoria. Love stories are, after all, like people -- as individual as snowflakes. Each love story is entirely unique -- each love story should be admired, cherished, and valued!”
-Marcia Lynn McClure
 
*These results are from October 30, 2014

Character Casting Reveals

When I woke up this morning I realized I didn't have anything to post today. But, then I realized I still had a few character reveals that I forgot to put up. Personally, I think these are better than the originals. What do you think?
Untethered
Kathy and Heathro
Kissing Counsins
Kathy Jo and Swaggart
The Crimson Frost
Katie and Broderick
The Pirate Ruse
Tori and Trevon
Poll
110590
I LOVE fairytales and I've enjoyed the few MLM retellings she's done. Which fairytale would you love for Marcia to write?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fall Yummies Week 5

Surprise! It's Friday! Hehe. Just kidding. I know y'all are probably thinking what in the world is KJ doing posting her recipe on Wednesday instead of Friday?! Well... the answer is simple! We wanted to go out with a BANG and decided to do the Winners on Friday instead of today. So keep those reviews coming all you Swoony Participants! We LOVE hearing from you guys and reading your reviews!

And before I post the recipe I personally want to give Kathy a HUGE THANK YOU for putting this all together for us and making it SO much fun!! Not everyone got a chance to see how much work she actually put into this and I was blown away by how much she accomplished and did for Swoon Fest all the while taking care of her family! She is definitely Wonder Woman!! I have absolutely LOVED working with her on this and can't wait for the next one!! Kath... you are an AMAZING person who went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure our First Swoon Fest was such a HUGE success!! I am so very grateful that you were willing to not only host it BUT agree to do another one... or two... or five!! ;) Hehe. You completely and totally ROCK my friend!! Can't wait to work with you again on the next ones!! :)

Ok... and now for our amazing recipe for this week. Kathy found this one and shared it with me and I knew I just HAD to share it with you guys!! It looks and sounds absolutely DECADENT!! I REALLY want to hear from you guys if you try this out!! So... without further adieu I give you... 


Marshmallow Pumpkin Bars!! Don't they look AMAZING?! *swoony sigh*

Ingredients:

4 eggs
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 15-oz can pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 bag chocolate chips
1 10-oz bag mini marshmallows

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, sugars, oil, and pumpkin until completely combined.
3. In a separate, small bowl - mix together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture, and then the chocolate chips.
5. Pour the mixture into a baking sheet (15x10x1) and bake for 25-30 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and let them cool completely.
7. Top with marshmallows, and broil in the oven for 1 minute or until golden brown. (Be sure to watch them closely so they don't burn).
8. Let them cool completely and then serve.

Enjoy! And don't forget to share with us if you try them! ;) 

MLM Favorites Voting

Okay, so I know I asked everyone to submit their top ten favorite lists to me, I've gotten a great response and will still post those results. But, Katie had a great idea about hosting a vote through Goodreads. I thought this would be a great and easy way for everyone to vote. I went ahead and added all of Marcia's books to the list, now you just have to go and vote for your top TEN favorites. I know doing it this way will be tempting to vote for more than ten, but try and stick with ten. :)

To vote, visit my Listopia page on Goodreads HERE. Voting is easy, if you haven't done it before you can see in the picture below. Under the title of the book there is a "vote for this book" button. Just click on that. On the right there is a My Votes field and you will be able to see your list of ten books. Let me know if you have any questions. I'll announce the final winners in a couple days.

 
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