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Girls of Mischief Bay: Excerpt and Giveaway

[ 44 ] January 27, 2015

girls of mischief bay bannerPlease join Susan Mallery, author of The Girls of Mischief Bay, as she tours the blogosphere with TLC Book Tours!

I’m very excited to share an excerpt from Susan’s new book with a review to follow in March. I also have a very special California Dreamin’ Prize Package to give away (open to US and Canada residents) – be sure to visit other stops on the tour for more opportunities to win!

girls of mischief bay book coverExclusive excerpt from The Girls of Mischief Bay

“Come on,” Pam teased. “You know you want to.”

“Want to what?” Shannon Rigg asked as she walked into the studio. “I’ve had a horrible morning dealing with a misogynistic idiot from the bank who insisted on continually asking to speak to my supervisor. When I explained I was the CFO of the company, I think he had a seizure.” She paused, her blue eyes dancing with amusement. “I offered to send him a scanned copy of my business card, but he declined. Then I told him that if he didn’t get his act together, I would be moving the company’s four-hundred-million-dollar account to another bank.” She paused for dramatic effect. “I think I made him cry.”

Pam held out her arm, hand raised, for a high five. “You both constantly impress me. Nicole juggles her husband, her five-year-old son and her growing business. You’re busy frightening men who really should know better. I, on the other hand, will pick out my dog’s wardrobe for tomorrow and make biscuits from scratch. It’s sad.”

“I don’t even know what you put in the bowl to make a biscuit,” Shannon admitted as she gave her friend a high five, then turned to Nicole. “Do you?”

“Flour, water, something else.”

Shannon laughed. “Yeah, that’s where I would get lost, too. It’s the something else that always gets you.”

Nicole thought about how Pam had described her. Juggling sounded so perky and positive. Unfortunately most days she found herself cleaning up what had fallen and shattered rather than keeping her plates spinning in the air.

Okay, that was a confused and slightly depressing analogy. She really needed to think more positively. And maybe learn how to make biscuits.

Shannon had on a tailored sleeveless dress and three-inch pumps. Her legs were bare and tanned, her hair a glorious tumbling mass of auburn waves that fell past her shoulders. She wore expensive watches and elegant jewelry. She drove a BMW convertible. If Nicole could pick, she would want Pam for her mother and to be Shannon when she grew up. Only at thirty, Nicole had a feeling she was about as grown-up as she was going to get.

“Wait,” Pam said as Shannon headed for the small dressing room next to the restroom. “I thought we’d go to lunch instead of working out.”

Shannon already had her exercise clothes out of her gym bag. She turned back to Pam. “Not exercise?”

“Sure. We’re the only two today. It’s Friday, my friend. Live a little. Have a glass of wine, mock your uninformed banking friend and unwind.”

Shannon looked at Nicole and raised her eyebrows. “I’m in,” she said. “What about you?”

Nicole thought about her to-do list and the fact that she was behind on the laundry and had a stack of bills to pay and a husband who had walked away from a successful career in computer software to write a screenplay. She thought of the spinning and falling plates and how she spent her life exhausted.

She pulled the tie from her blond ponytail, shook her hair loose, grabbed her keys and her handbag and stood. “Let’s go.”

*

McGrath’s Pub had been around nearly as long as the Mischief Bay pier and boardwalk. Shannon remembered coming here when she’d been a teenager. The drive in from Riverside had taken about an hour, if there wasn’t any traffic. She and her girlfriends had spent the whole time talking and laughing, imagining the cute boys they were going to meet. Boys who lived by the ocean and surfed and had sun-bleached hair. Boys not like those they knew in high school.

Because back then all it took to get her heart beating faster had been sun-bleached hair and a retro convertible. She liked to think that in the past twenty-plus years she’d matured.

As she followed her friends into the pub, her gaze strayed to the sand and the ocean beyond. It was midday and low tide. No surfers out there now. As it was also a weekday in February, there weren’t any people playing volleyball. Despite the fact that it was probably seventy degrees.

McGrath’s was a three-story building with outdoor dining on the main level. Inside there was a big, open bar. Pam led the way directly to the stairs. They bypassed the second-floor dining room and went up to the top-floor eating area.

“By the window?” Pam asked, already heading in that direction.

The big windows offered a view of the Pacific. Today they were partially open, allowing in some fresh air. When temperatures dropped to anything below sixty-five they could be closed and in the summer, they were removed completely.

Shannon sat across from Nicole. Pam settled next to Nicole and put her tote on the floor next to her chair. The perfectly trained Lulu would stay hidden until they left.

The first time the three of them had played hooky and gone to lunch, Shannon had spent the entire time freaking out about Lulu. Now she saw the strange creature as the mascot for their friendship—odd, unexpected and over time, very comforting.

She turned her attention from thoughts of a Chinese crested to the restaurant location. The view should have captured their attention and left them speechless. Taupe-colored sand led the way to midnight blue water. A couple of sailboats leaned in to capture the light breeze, and in the distance container ships chugged toward the horizon and the exotic ports beyond.

But this was L.A. and amazing views existed around every turn. Whether it was a star sighting at a Whole Foods or the lapping waters of the Pacific. Instead of talking about the beauty of the moment, Pam passed out menus.

Text Copyright © 2015 by Susan Macias Redmond
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.

california dream prize package

Enter to win the fabulous California Dreamin’ Prize Package! 

Package includes:

A Pacific blue beach towel | Pure Paradise body cream | Luxury moisturizing bath bar from the San Francisco soap company | An autographed copy of Evening Stars by Susan Mallery (the first book with a character from Mischief Bay) | Flip-flop tea candle holder | Map of Mischief Bay | The Girls of Mischief Bay Post-It book |  The Girls of Mischief Bay bookmark | Handy bath mini-tote | Susan Mallery lip gloss | Susan Mallery 3D luggage tag | Susan Mallery pen

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Metabolism Solution by Lisa Lynn

[ 4 ] January 23, 2015

metabolism solution book coverPlease join Lisa Lynn, author of The Metabolism Solution, as she tours the blogosphere with iRead Book Tours!

Enter to win a a copy of the book below – open to US and Canada residents

Reviewed by Sarah McCubbin

In her book, The Metabolism Solution, Lisa Lynn compiles her extensive knowledge on the topic of weight loss to create a user friendly manual for anyone who needs to lose a lot or a little. Writing from her own personal experience, she shares her story of being overweight and what she did to move past it.

Knowing that weight loss can be a tricky topic for many people, Lisa addresses a wide variety of factors that affect whether one is ultimately successful. Initially she discusses supplements that boost metabolism and why they work. Specifically, she endorses her own personal LynFit brand and why she believes they are more effective than many other brands. She moves on to a specific way of eating that promotes radical weight loss and includes a wide variety of recipes to promote thermogenic eating. Pairing diet with exercise, she discusses the best workouts for weight loss with pictures for every step. Understanding that people are not just physical, she talks about the importance of one’s relationship with God and the impact that can have on one’s health.

Overall, I liked that Lisa addresses many factors that contribute to weight loss. If weight loss is your ultimate goal, this book would likely suit you. However, I found that in her effort to achieve this one goal, she advocated conflicting advice. On the one hand, eating sugar is detrimental to weight loss, and one should eat a lot of vegetables (preferably organic), but if one does have a dessert occasionally, a sugar substitute is preferable to the real thing. In her case, she says she drinks a Diet Coke and feels better about that than using sugar. Additionally, she heavily advocates supplements and specifically her LynFit brand. She dedicates 50 pages in this book to the topic and over half of that reads like an infomercial for her brand. She seems to have an odd relationship with food. According to her plan, some nutritious foods have too many calories, so she advocates taking the stripped down supplement form rather than getting the nutrition from its source. In the end, I found that her perspective lacked balance. She was willing to make dietary concessions as long as they led to weight loss. Nonetheless, I found that she did offer a lot of helpful advice and each person will ultimately need to decide which parts of her program they are comfortable implementing.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Sarah McCubbin is a homeschooling and foster mom in NE Ohio where she resides with her husband and 7 children. In addition to reading great books, she enjoys gardening, traveling and blogging at Living Unboxed.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Lisa Lynn. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Giveaway: An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey

[ 18 ] January 21, 2015

appetite for violets book coverI have a copy of An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey to give away!

Open to US residents only

About the book

That’s how it is for us servants. No one pays you much heed; mostly you’re invisible as furniture. Yet you overhear a conversation here, and add a little gossip there. A writing desk lies open and you cannot help but read a paper. Then you find something, something you should not have found.

Irrepressible Biddy Leigh, under-cook at the forbidding Mawton Hall, can’t wait to settle down with her sweetheart and set up her own tavern. But when her elderly master marries the young, enigmatic Lady Carinna, Biddy is unwittingly swept up into a world of scheming, secrets, and lies.

Forced to accompany her new mistress to Italy, Biddy takes with her an old household book of recipes, The Cook’s Jewel, in which she records her observations. When she finds herself embroiled in a murderous conspiracy, Biddy realises that the secrets she holds could be the key to her survival – or her downfall . . .

An Appetite for Violets is an utterly compelling story of food, obsession and mystery, introducing a brilliant new voice in historical fiction.

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Giveaway: In His Keeping by Maya Banks

[ 12 ] January 21, 2015

in his keeping book coverI have a copy of In His Keeping by Maya Banks to give away!

Open to US and Canada residents only

About the book

Filled with memorable characters and sexy storylines, the Slow Burn series explores new territories with suspense and psychic elements that are guaranteed to leave you breathless. In His Keeping is available in stores and as an ebook on January 27th. The third book in the series, Safe at Last, will be published in April 2015.

In His Keeping focuses on Arial, a beautiful girl with telekinetic powers who was left at the doorstop of a wealthy family when she was a baby. Like Rapunzel, Ari’s adoptive parents keep her hidden away from potential harm and exposure, leaving Ari in an isolated and lonely world.

When someone begins threatening her life and kidnaps her beloved parents, Ari reaches out to family friend Beau Devereaux, head of Devereaux Security and brother to the impatient Caleb from Keep Me Safe. Beau is a trained professional when it comes to discretion and ensuring the safety of his clients…but his growing attraction to his latest client creates a host of problems. Determined to keep Ari safe, Beau will sacrifice everything, even his life, to protect Ari at all costs.

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Giveaway: Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm

[ 20 ] January 19, 2015

unbecoming book coverI have a copy of Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm to give away!

Open to US and Canada residents only

About the book

Welcome to the world of Rebecca Scherm: a mesmerizing, nail-biting tale of lies and deception, desperate stakes and dual identities. Unbecoming is an intricately plotted, delicately nuanced heist novel with echoes of Alfred Hitchcock and Patricia Highsmith. Scherm’s accomplished debut has already won wide praise and comparisons to Gillian Flynn and Donna Tartt.

On the grubby outskirts of Paris, Grace restores bric-a-brac, mends teapots, re-sets gems. She calls herself Julie, says she’s from California, and slips back to a rented room at night. Furtively, she checks her hometown newspaper online. Back in Garland, Tennessee, two young men have been paroled and Grace knows that once they are free, her life will not be her own.

Riley Graham was the charming, favored small-town son who made Grace his own when the two were very young. Embraced by Riley’s family, especially his  mother, Grace polished her role as surrogate daughter and idealized girlfriend. But she stumbles over a dark passion for Riley’s best friend, and flees Garland for Manhattan, NYU, and a seedy job with an art appraiser to pave her way into the competitive social scene.  This leads only to dropping out and landing back home, broke and shaken. There, using her new skills and a knack for re-invention, Grace begins methodically to plan a robbery of a local historical museum with Riley and his friends. The heist goes bad—but not before Grace is on a plane to Prague with a stolen canvas rolled in her bag, a new haircut and a new name. And so begins a cat-and-mouse waiting game as Grace’s web of deception and lies unravels. Which part of her past will catch up with her first?

Unbecoming is a major debut novel of literary suspense about a small-town girl who dabbles in self-forgery even before being swept into the world of international art fraud–but then makes herself at home in a dangerous, dare-devil milieu far from everything she once knew.

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Giveaway: Bred to Kill by Franck Thilliez

[ 17 ] January 15, 2015

bred to kill book coverI have a copy of Bred to Kill by Franck Thilliez to give away!

Open to US and Canada residents only

About the book

In the internationally bestselling Syndrome E, Franck Thilliez explored the origins of violence through cutting-edge and popular science. Thilliez returns to this exciting territory in Bred to Kill, the shocking sequel to Syndrome E, which again injects ground-breaking science into a mesmerizing thriller that moves at breakneck speed.

In Bred to Kill, Lucie Henebelle and Inspector Sharko have reunited to take on a terrifying case. When a promising grad student is found brutally killed at a primate research center outside of Paris, the down-and-out Sharko is called in to wrap up what’s thought to be a straightforward crime. But what first appears to be a vicious animal attack soon proves to be something more sinister. Who would have wanted Eva dead, and why?

Though Lucie, still reeling from the tragic death of one of her twin daughters, is on leave from the police, Sharko feeds her information on the case. They begin to comb through Eva’s research for leads and are soon faced with a chilling portrait of the crime, one that becomes more disturbing as each additional clue is uncovered. Though Eva claimed to be researching the genetics of left-handedness in monkeys, she was secretly digging into something far more complex and dangerous.  Why was she visiting prisoners, all left-handed, all convicted of ghastly crimes – including the man responsible for the death of Lucie’s daughter? Could Eva have possibly been on the track of three fanatical scientists who control a thirty-thousand-year-old virus with plans to unleash it into the world?

With his unmatched ability to inject innovative science into his novels, Thilliez draws on genetics, paleontology, and the dark side of human nature to create this smart, adrenaline-fueled thriller. Bred to Kill moves from the rain-slicked streets of Paris to the heart of the Alps to the remote Amazon jungle as Lucie and Sharko work to solve the murder—before whoever killed Eva comes for them.

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