Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Last Chance Library

Bookworms near, far, and of every genre throughout the ages have been united by their love for a unique and special place: the library. Libraries are hardly just buildings that house books: they are dynamic community centers that serve everyone. The youngest patrons come to pore over picture books and attend story times; teens can be found doing homework after school and checking out non-school books for fun, and adults might meet with their local book clubs and writing groups at the library. It might be the most magical, multi-functioning place on earth.

Author Freya Sampson taps into the collective love we have for libraries in her quirky, warm, and fun-filled debut novel, THE LAST CHANCE LIBRARY (Berkley Hardcover; On sale August 31, 2021). In this special novel, a young, quiet librarian finds her voice when her beloved library is threatened with closure.

A book for book lovers, THE LAST CHANCE LIBRARY is perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. Freya’s debut novel offers a feel-good read that will make you want to give all your love to your local library!

June Jones is a 30-year-old library worker who has never left Chalcot, the sleepy English village where she was raised by her beloved, now-deceased mother. Shy and reclusive, June would rather spend her time at the library, or curled up at home with her cat, buried in books, than do…well, pretty much anything else.

June’s entire world is thrown in to chaos when she learns that the Chalcot Library is in danger of closing permanently. The library is underfunded and underperforming, according to a board of executives in charge of such things. But the people of Chalcot who use the library each day strongly disagree, and decide to push back against the decision.

To keep from saying goodbye to her beloved library, June is forced to emerge from behind the shelves to save the place that holds her happiest memories and the heart of her community.

Meet the Author: Freya Sampson

Freya Sampson works in TV as an executive producer. Her credits include two documentary series for the BBC about the British Royal Family, and a number of factual and entertainment series.

She studied History at Cambridge University and in 2018 was shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize.

She lives in London with her husband, two young children and an antisocial cat.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. When was the last time you visited your local (or any) library?

Friday, August 27, 2021

Sing for Me (+ Giveaway)


Sing For Me
By Tam DeRudder Jackson
(Balefire Series, #2)
Publication date: August 26th, 2021
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance


My entire life is my music—and all the trappings that come with it. Sex, booze, and rock ’n’ roll is all I ever wanted. Touring the world as the lead singer of Balefire, I have it all. Until on hiatus, I meet the girl next door.

Ashleigh Baker is nothing like the groupies and celebrities who usually have all my attention. In her cute floppy hat with her knees stained with dirt, she spends her days creating a flowering show piece from her rented yard. She’s the most gorgeous woman I’ve ever met, and she acts like she doesn’t want a damn thing to do with me. But from the moment I laid eyes on her, she’s all I can think about.


Growing up the only child of an Air Force Colonel, all I wanted was to stay in one place for more than a minute. When I score a pretty little house with a long-term lease, I just want to grow my flowers and my freelancing gig as a music reviewer. Then a loud Harley wakes me from a sound sleep and I discover my neighbor is Blu Connolly.

Yeah, that Blu Connolly, lead singer for my favorite band Balefire. With his killer good looks and panty-melting voice, he’s a walking temptation to sin. Though I do my best to avoid him, it seems Blu has other ideas. He’s on a mission to wear me down, let him in, but what happens when he stops wanting to sing for me?

Goodreads / Amazon

Now here's an excerpt for your reading pleasure.

“Oh my God, you’re seriously going to introduce me to Blu Connolly.” For a moment, her luminous green eyes flashed panic before she gathered herself and slid off the stool to join me.

The guy playing pool with Blu noticed us before he did. “Hell-ooo pretty ladies. You here to pick up a few pointers, or to challenge us to a game?”

The guy stood at least six feet six with shoulders nearly as wide. His sleeveless vest showed off the sleeves tattooed over his enormous arms. If one were so inclined, it might take her into the next morning to determine each tattoo he’d had inked over his muscular arms. His wide friendly smile, however, compensated for his imposing stature.

“Depends on the stakes.” Jaime parked a hand on her hip. “Low enough, we might be inclined to challenge you. High enough, we might need some pointers.”

I gaped stupidly at my friend before I realized how uncouth I must have looked and shut my mouth with an audible snap. Catching her eye, I mouthed at her, “Where did that come from?”

My normally sedate high school English teacher friend shrugged and ghosted a smile before returning her attention to tall, built, and inked.

“That does pose a dilemma. What would constitute low and high stakes to you?” he drawled, his dark coffee-colored eyes dancing.

Tilting her head and putting a finger to her lips, Jaime put on a show of considering the question. “Hmm, let me think,” she began. “Low stakes would be a drink. High stakes would be a date.”

My eyes nearly bugged out of my head when she dropped that one. From the other side of the table, Blu burst out laughing, and I finally looked over to see his laughter directed at my response. “You didn’t talk that over with your friend before you offered it, did you, darlin’?” he purred in that too-rich-for-my-own-good baritone voice of his.

“No, but to be honest, I was too busy bugging Ashleigh to introduce me to you to notice your hot friend,” Jaime said before she returned her attention to shorty. “I’m Jaime, and you are?”

“Delighted.” He grinned. “This is a first, Blu old man,” he added with a smirk in Blu’s direction before he turned back to Jaime. “My name is Vaughn. And I’m very pleased to meet you, Jaime.”

He stuck out his hand, which swallowed Jaime’s when she took it, but I don’t think she noticed. At last, they let go of each other, so I had a chance to do what Jaime had demanded of me in the first place.

I couldn’t believe her. With his size and charming smile and dancing eyes, Vaughn certainly grabbed a woman’s attention, yet I couldn’t see how my friend preferred him to Blu. Vaughn’s size intimidated me while Blu’s long, lean frame, all sinewy muscle and grace, made my lady parts pulse with interest. Where Vaughn cut his dark hair short all over, Blu wore his hair short on the sides and back and longer on top, just enough for thick, soft, golden-brown curls to form. Vaughn’s full mustache and goatee gave him kind of a pirate air. Blu’s sexy stubble made me think of all the interesting ways I would enjoy it against my skin.

A not-so-subtle throat clearing jarred me from my private observations, and I tried to cover my lapse with an eye roll and a sip of my wine. Then I did the honors.

“Jaime, this is Blu Connolly. Blu, Jaime Hughes.”

“Pleasure to meet you Jaime. Ashleigh Baker, Vaughn Hamilton,” Blu said, returning the favor.

“Now that we have introductions out of the way, what’s the bet again?” Vaughn asked, mischief in his eyes.

“Drinks,” I said.

“Dates,” Jaime said at the same time.

“Glad that’s settled.” Blu laughed.

Meet the Author: Tam DeRudder Jackson

Tam DeRudder Jackson is the author of the paranormal romance Talisman Series and the contemporary romance Balefire Series. Her favorite “room” in her house is her back patio where she dreams up stories of romance and risk.

When she’s not writing her latest paranormal or contemporary romance, you can usually find her driving around with the top down in her convertible or carving turns on the slopes of the local ski hill.

The mom of two grown sons, Tam likes to travel, attend rock concerts, watch football and soccer, and visit old car shows with her husband. She lives in the mountains of northwest Wyoming where she spends most of her free time trying to read all the books. Her TBR piles are threatening to take over her office, and she’s fine with that.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Have you ever gotten to meet your favorite rock ’n’ roll star?

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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Seventeen Butterflies (+ Giveaway)


Seventeen Butterflies
By Anna Katmore
Publication date: August 23rd, 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

The embarrassment of being the only unkissed girl in high school is something Sandy Cardington refuses to accept. The first kiss project is her foolproof plan to finally get rid of the status at her 17th birthday party, while her parents are out of town.

With several kissable boys on her guest list, this should be a walk in the park. But she didn’t count on her older brother returning from college and throwing a wrench into her plans. To make matters even more complicated, he has a friend in tow, and the cute hockey player stirs unexpected butterflies in her stomach every time their paths cross.

While Sandy moves heaven and earth to make her party and project come true, it looks as if Thane Griffyn has his own plans to teach her the real meaning of a first kiss…

A compelling, sweet high school romance, perfect for fans of Kelly Oram, L A Cotton, Cassie Mae, and Erin Watt.

Goodreads / Amazon


“Who. Are. You?”

The words fly out of my mouth even before the front door falls shut behind me. There’s a stranger in my house—built like a demi-god, demonic dark hair, and with eyes like an angel. He comes out of the bathroom as if he’d just taken a break after parking himself in my home for a cozy film marathon. Hello?

The intruder with the white t-shirt wipes his still damp hands on the back of his washed-out jeans, not even half as confused as I am, obviously. “My name’s Thane,” he says. Then he smiles, and the sun is rising a second time today at half past six in the evening. What the hell?

He cocks his head. “And yours?”

My backpack slides from my right shoulder, pulling one side of my unzipped dark blue hoodie with it, and hits the tiled hallway floor with a thud so loud the neighbors could hear. That’s from the five new books I just borrowed from the library. All hardcovers. “Huh?”

Dimples and an amused look make the young man’s eyes scrunch a little tighter. “Your name?”

Jeez, burglars don’t usually smirk and engage you in conversations, do they? Then again, we’ve never been robbed before, so what do I know?

With a jerk of my shoulder, I push my hoodie back in place and then grab my brother’s old hockey stick from behind the chest in the foyer. We’ve been keeping it there since the day I watched my first murder mystery as a kid, and today I swing it for the first time.

“I’m Sandra Michelle Cardington. Cardington as in the name written on the mailbox outside this house. My house.” Need I say, “I live here!” My fingers clenching around the wood, I move one step closer to the housebreaker. “You don’t.”

“Whoa.” His chuckle runs wild into nice boyish laughter, and he lifts his hands in surrender.

Not gonna help, cutie. I’ll knock your lights out.

As I scowl like a wild dog, he keeps his body rigid, but his star-blue eyes move to the right as he shouts over his shoulder, “You didn’t say you’re living with Harley Quinn, Cam.”

The next instant, he moves forward so swiftly I totally miss the moment. With just one hand, he brings my arms down then casts a friendly look straight into my eyes. “Let me show you how this works. This isn’t a baseball bat, you know. You use it a little closer to the ground.”

Meet the Author: Anna Katmore

"I'm writing stories because I can't breathe without."

Anna Katmore lives in an enchanting world of her own, which allows only those to enter who are ready to hand in logic and rationalism. But beware, if you dare to step through this door, you'll never want to leave again...

Disney is her attitude towards life, and if she could, she'd save the world from itself. Her patronus is a wolf, her wand the broken twig of an apple tree, 13 inches long with a unicorn hair core. Glitter on her shoes is a must, though she doesn't care for Cinderella's glass slippers. Too risky that something might break...

For more information on Anna and her writing, please visit www.annakatmore.com

Website / Goodreads / Facebook

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Remember your first kiss?

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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Aloha With Love (+ Giveaway)


Aloha With Love
By Lindy Miller with Terence Brody
Published by: Rosewind Books
Publication date: July 13th, 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Soon to be a motion picture.
From the screenwriter of Rescuing Madison and
A Lesson in Romance on Hallmark

“[A] charming romance. Miller and Brody do a masterful job of pacing and plotting, while creating a hero and heroine readers will easily relate to. This sweet, G-rated contemporary should draw in Hallmark Channel devotees in droves.” ~Publishers Weekly

After a tough week that includes losing a big job opportunity and being dumped by her long-term boyfriend, Jenna Burke receives word that her beloved Aunt May passed away.

Traveling back to her Hawaiian hometown for the reading of the will, Jenna discovers she and her sister have inherited May’s dilapidated Victorian home on desirable beachfront land. The sisters can do whatever they want with the property, but there’s one catch: the house must be renovated before it can be sold, and Jenna has to oversee the work. Their Aunt even stipulated the contractor for the job—Ben Fletcher—who has a gift for making things beautiful again. He also has another skill: driving Jenna crazy.

Jenna vows to sell the property the moment the job is done. But as Aunt May’s broken old house starts to feel like home again, Jenna is torn between the life she’s been chasing in the city, and the one she’d left behind.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

My thoughts on ALOHA WITH LOVE.

If you've ever had a day or week when it seems everything is going wrong, then ALOHA WITH LOVE is a story you can relate to. It's a story of bad luck, a terrible relationship, and personal heartbreak masterfully crafted into a feel-good, hopeful adventure.

The vivid descriptions paint a breathtaking visit to Hawaii where second chances, love and a sense of place comes to life. The characters are well developed and realistic. Readers can relate to their sorrows and their joys.

The authors pull you in with the opening paragraph and hold your attention until the last line. This is a warmhearted story of finding one's place, purpose and love all wrapped up in a beautiful location. Can't wait to see the movie.

Meet the Authors: Miller & Brody

Lindy Miller is an entrepreneur, award-winning professor, and publishing professional. In 2011, Miller was part of the executive leadership team that founded Radiant Advisors, a data and business intelligence research and advisory firm, where Miller developed and launched the company’s editorial and research divisions, and later its data visualization practice, for clients that included 21st Century Fox Films, Fox Networks, Warner Bros., and Disney. She is the author of numerous papers and two textbooks under the name of Lindy Ryan, The Visual Imperative: Creating a Culture of Visual Discovery (Elsevier) and Visual Data Storytelling with Tableau (Pearson) Miller holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration: Entrepreneurship and Strategy, and a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership and a Doctorate in Education, Organizational Leadership.

Terence Brody is an active captain in the New York Fire Dept, assigned to Ladder 10 in lower Manhattan.

Two of his feature scripts, RESCUING MADISON (Ethan Peck, C. Thomas Howell, Alona Tal) and A LESSON IN ROMANCE (Kristy Swanson, Scott Grimes, directed by Ron Oliver) aired on the Hallmark Channel.

In 2021, his script, ALOHA WITH LOVE, was produced by Oren Kamara/Fade to Black Films, Branscombe Richmond, and Brian Bird of When Calls The Heart. The movie starred Trevor Donovan and Tiffany Smith and was directed by Brian Herzlinger. The novel is co-written with author Lindy Miller (July 2021).

Brody also wrote the screenplay for Miller’s novel Sleigh Bells on Bread Loaf Mountain (2021) and The Christmas Spirit by Alexandrea Weis (Nov 2020).
Brody resides in Long Island, NY with his wife and two children.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

How to Kill Your Best Friend

Author Lexie Elliott has a new book out with a title that is sure to catch your attention, HOW TO KILL YOUR BEST FRIEND.

This latest spine-tingling, trouble-in-paradise thriller brings to life another group of close-knit friends who are faced with shocking tragedy: the mysterious death of one of their very own. As the friends are reunited, trouble begins to unfold, leaving everyone questioning each other’s motives.

Sweet Bronwyn, fun-loving Georgie, and bold-and-beautiful Lissa were inseparable at university. The trio added Adam and Duncan to their crowd after joining the swim team, and even years later, their pastime unites them across time and long distance. But now, nearing 40 years old, the old pals find themselves gathering in tropical paradise for a more tragic circumstance: Lissa’s memorial service.

Nobody knows exactly what happened on the fateful night that Lissa went out for a swim at Kanu Cove and never returned. Lissa knew the spot well―after all, she and her husband, Jem, had been living on the lush tropical resort they newly owned together. And everyone on the island knows that something dangerous is rumored to lurk beneath the crystal-clear waters of the Cove.

So why would Lissa go for a swim at Kanu Cove, alone, at night? Is it likely that a champion swimmer really drowned―or was something more sinister at play?

The peaceful weekend in memory of a lost friend turns chilling as trouble starts brewing in paradise, and violent events begin happening at the hotel. Bronwyn and Georgie are quick to suspect that a member of the friend group may be up to something deadly. Lissa’s death was only the beginning….

Now join me in giving a warm welcome to Lexie as she talks about her new book. Welcome, Lexie.

Tell us about HOW TO KILL YOUR BEST FRIEND! What inspired you to write this story?

HOW TO KILL YOUR BEST FRIEND is a psychological thriller, told through the eyes of Georgie and Bronwyn, who, together with Lissa, have been inseparable since dominating their college swim team. But Lissa, the strongest swimmer they know, has somehow drowned off the coast of the fabulous island resort she owned with her husband. Gathering together with Lissa’s closest friends on the island for her funeral, the two women find more questions than answers, and as the weather turns ominous, trapping them on the island, nobody knows who they can trust… The idea came to me whilst I was on holiday and I really liked the juxtaposition of the beautiful, sun-drenched setting with the inner darkness within the friendship group.

HOW TO KILL YOUR BEST FRIEND finds a group of college friends reunited in a tropical paradise to attend a memorial service. But it’s well known on the island that something sinister lurks beneath the blue waters. What made you choose this setting for the book? Is it based on a real place?

It is based (loosely) on a real island resort in Southeast Asia, but I won’t be spilling the beans on exactly where! The idea came to me whilst on holiday there; we were fortunate enough to be staying in a beautiful eco-resort, which was just heavenly, but it occurred to me that, despite the sunshine and the luxury, it could actually be quite terrifying if you were somehow stuck there, with the staff gradually melting away…

The story explores changing relationships between friends over time. What do you think is a key takeaway from the interactions in the book?

The characters all met when they were much younger, and much more careless and reckless—but time and circumstances have changed that, and they have to take responsibility now for their actions, both those in the present and those in the past.  To me, responsibility is really the key theme of the novel: both responsibility for oneself and to what extent one should take responsibility for friends and loved ones.

Each character in this novel has something to hide. Do you think everyone has secrets?

I’m not sure everybody has secrets of the magnitude of the characters within my novel, but I do think everyone has secrets—or at least, some part of them that they want to keep private. Nobody is an entirely open book; it’s part of human nature to present a curated facade. And that’s okay—the demands of society are such that we can’t display every little annoyance and irritation. Our curated facades allow us to have a civil, functioning relationship with the friend that we harbor some lingering resentment toward. Of course, in extreme cases, it might also allow us to consider killing that same friend!

Your two protagonists, Bronwyn and Georgie, are very different from each other. Do you relate to either character?

I relate to both, actually; more than that, I like them both very much. I think there’s a lot to like in both of them: Bronwyn is both a loving mother and a bright, practical woman who is trying to find some balance for herself now that family has overtaken career in her life, and Georgie is an extremely resilient young woman who has dragged herself out of desperate circumstances and is trying, in the face of all obstacles, to be a loyal friend.

Your characters are bonded by their love for swimming – tell us about your hobbies, and what you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Spare time—hah! There’s not a lot of that in my schedule! Exercise is important to me, though; I try to run most days, and I usually enter a marathon every year or so. Swimming has long been a passion of mine, both in the pool and in open water (I swam the English Channel solo in 2007), and I have a lovely group of like-minded friends with whom I used to go on swimming holidays, back in the days when travel was possible… As a family, we like to go on bike rides together and then snuggle up to watch a movie afterwards, and when we have the chance to travel again, anywhere with either surfing or skiing will be top of our list.

If HOW TO KILL YOUR BEST FRIEND became a movie, who would you cast as its main characters?

I always struggle with this question. The characters are exactly who they are in my mind, I can’t really think of them as anyone else—though I dare say if you gave me some suggestions, I’d have an opinion!

What are you working on next?

I’m working on my fourth novel, but it’s very early days and not fully formed in my head at present, so I can’t say too much about it for now. It will definitely be another psychological thriller, though.

Lexie, thanks so much for stopping by today and sharing this insight into your new fascinating book.

Meet the Author: Lexie Elliott

Photo © Nick James Photography

Lexie Elliott 
graduated from Oxford University, where she obtained a doctorate in theoretical physics. A keen sportswoman, she swam and played waterpolo at university, and later swam the English Channel solo.

She works in fund management in London, where she lives with her husband and two sons.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. Do you think everyone has a secret they are hiding? What’s your secret?