Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Book Review and Guest Blog: Promise Me Texas by Jodi Thomas

Promise Me Texas by Jodi Thomas

Release date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 978-0-425-25074-7
Whispering Mountain #7

Today I welcome one of my favorite authors.  Not only are her stories absolutely amazing whether writing her historical series, Whispering Mountain, or her contemporary romance series set in the fictional town of Harmony, Texas, but she wonderful to work with as well!  So please give a wonderful welcome to author Jodi Thomas and make sure you check out my review of this great historical romance below as well.
Jodi's  Guest Post:

Over the years of writing I’ve included a writer as one of the characters in a book many times.  Maybe it’s because I understand them so well.  In my new historical romance, PROMISE ME TEXAS, I wrote about Beth McMurray and Andrew McLaughlin. 

Beth is the spoiled, loving, very proper, youngest child of Teagan McMurray from Whispering Mountain. Andrew is drifting through life with no direction.  Like most writers, he’s interested in people of all kinds.  When he comes across a gang of outlaws, he can’t resist tagging along to hear the stories they tell.  Once he realizes they are about to rob a train, he can’t step away without putting his friend in danger.

These two very different people find a very unusual love amid all the friends and family who are trying to ‘save them’ from themselves.  Their make-believe marriage begins to feel very real as Beth lies to her father, the great Teagan McMurray.

I loved the way the characters came together in PROMISE ME TEXAS.  My hero is a watcher of people, afraid to ever get too close.  Everyone he’s ever cared about in his life is gone and he’s alone.  My Beth leads with her heart and not her head.  She’s a woman used to getting what she wants, no matter what stands in her way.  When she sees someone who needs her, even having to interrupt a gunfight, doesn’t pose a problem. Her bravery wins over the leader of an outlaw gang who is hunting her make-believe husband.

Since this book is set in 1879, a time of great change in Texas, I included a story of young love that flows along through the plot.  Not all great love stories start with passion, some start with friendship.  Cody wants to take care of Madie, but he doesn’t know how.  Because he is two years older, he begins to give her advice.
Come along with me on the journey with Beth and Andrew.  You’ll fall in love and laugh with them and see what a mess they make of their lives with only a few white lies. I’d love to hear how you like PROMISE ME TEXAS and if you’ve even had one simple little white lie turn your world around.

Jodi Thomas

My Review:
As a huge fan of Jodi Thomas and specifically her Harmony, Texas series, I was excited to read Promise Me Texas.  While a historical and part of the Whispering Mountain series instead of contemporary it reads with my favorite elements as the Harmony, Texas series.  It has family, friends and a close-knit group who will accept outsiders even if it's gradually.  It also has amazing characters that I loved getting to know which I think Ms. Thomas excels at.

Let me start with the characters.  There are the main characters Beth McMurray, the youngest daughter of the McMurray clan, and the most spoiled. And there is Andrew McLaughlin, a would-be train robber (or not) that saves Beth's life when the train goes off the rails.  At this point Beth and Andrew become tangled up as Beth claims Andrew is her husband to get rid of Senator Lamont LaCroix.  Even though they talk a lot in the book about Beth being spoiled, I would call her more determined and set in her ways.  She never grated on my nerves, so that's why, while she may have been spoiled she really doesn't come off that way. She is generous and helpful and very loving.  She is turned off to love after overhearing Lamont say some less than nice things about her.  She also has ideas ahead of her time, where she believes she would be equal in the marriage and that she can speak her mind when she wants to.  But I like that about her and Andrew seems to as well.  Andrew is a writer who doesn't seem to have a lot of motivation but moves around to get a feel for each new area and loves listening to stories so he can create his.  He's one of those I've loved and lost and can't love again men.   That is until he meets Beth, but he will try his best to not fall for her. But he gets sucked into her lies and feels the need to protect her.  He's a generous soul as well, taking in Beth, Madie, Colby, Levi and Leonard.  While all of them lived together I loved watching Andrew come out of his shell.  He's a great main character and an inspirational man.

There are many secondary characters that figure in. Madie, the waitress/cook who wants to head to Fort Worth to find her man.  Colby who was in the hospital/sick room with Andrew and was recently on a cattle drive and then beat to a pulp and he doesn't even know why.  And Levi and Leonard who tag along as well to Fort Worth hoping to find their gambling/actor father.  All four of these characters really add to the story and to Andrew and Beth's little family.  I loved watching the interactions of the six and the growth in the characters.  They way Ms. Thomas weaves together their lives is extraordinary.  Just this alone kept me reading the book.

As far as the plot goes, the main plot is the relationships between Andrew and Beth first and foremost and then the relationships with the other four secondary.  It's a romance so the focus is on the characters.  But Ms. Thomas doesn't stop there.  There is always a hint of something in the background that makes a suspense plot. Is Senator Lamont still looking for Beth?  What about Levi and Leonard's Dad, where is he and what is he doing?  Also why was Colby beat up?  There is a lot going on in this novel.  Not too much to confuse but just enough to keep you turning the pages.  The relationships alone kept me turning the pages, but I loved knowing there was more brewing as well.  And there are surprises around every turn as well. 

Ms. Thomas has wowed me again.  Promise Me Texas lives up to all it promises to be.  Full of rich, interesting characters, and an exciting plot line it is a hard book to put down.  Ms. Thomas manages to pack quite a punch in a little over 300 pages.  And if you are worried that this is part of a series, don't.  I have only read one other book in the series and I had no problems with this one.  I do plan on going back and reading more books in the series though.  It looks like Whispering Mountain is a wonderful series to read if the other books are anything like Promise Me Texas.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

About Promise Me Texas

Starred Review. Bestseller Thomas strikes gold again with her seventh Whispering Mountain historical (after Wild Texas Rose), set in 1879 Texas. When 24-year-old Beth McMurray sneaks onto a train to surprise her fiancé, former Senator Lamont LaCroix, she's shocked to overhear him bragging about his plans for her and her money. Then robbers board the train and it goes off the rails. Just before the crash, one of the robbers grabs Beth and jumps off the train, taking the fall to protect her. He's hurt, but she stays with him, claiming that he's her husband. The sheriff and the doctor believe that Beth is now Mrs. Andrew McLaughlin, but LaCroix does not. Meanwhile, widower Andrew reveals his hidden depths: when he's not robbing trains, he longs to be an author. By the time Beth drives a wagon out of town, she has collected a pretend husband, two little boys, an ill teen cowboy, and a pregnant young woman, and the adventure has just begun. Complex plotting, superb character development, and touching romantic scenes make this a winner.

About Jodi Thomas:
Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of 38 novels and 11 short story collections. A five-tme RITA winner, Jodi currently serves as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.


***I received this book from the author for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: I'll Be Home for Christmas by Jessica Scott

I'll Be Home For Christmas by Jessica Scott
November 5, 2013
 Forever Yours/E-Novella

I'm reading this one right now and really enjoying it, stay tuned for my review probably tomorrow!
About the book:
There's nothing in the world Army Sergeant Vic Carponti loves more than his wife and his country. Smart-mouthed and easy tempered, he takes everything as a joke . . . except his promise to come home to his wife, Nicole, for Christmas. As he prepares to leave for his latest deployment into Iraq, Vic will do everything he can to shield his beautiful, supportive wife from the realities of war . . . and from his own darkest fears.

As a career army wife, Nicole Carponti knows just what to expect from her husband's tour of duty: loneliness, relentless worry, and a seemingly endless countdown until the moment Vic walks through the door again. But when the unthinkable happens, Nicole and Vic's bond is tested like never before and changes everything they believe to be true about the power of love and the simple beauty of being home for the holidays.

Buy links:

Author Bio:

USA Today bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer; mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs; wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she's a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well-adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.

She's written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View: Regarding War Blog, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn and has served as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas.

She's pursuing a PhD in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she's been featured as one of Esquire Magazine's Americans of the Year for 2012. 

Author Social Media links:


“You’re not serious.”

Carponti turned around, his shoulders covered in flecks of red hair. “What?”

Nicole grinned as she leaned against the door. “Garrison is going to kill you.”

“Garrison is going to love my new hair cut. It looks just like his.”

Nicole arched one blond eyebrow. “Except for the bright red fuzzy patch in the center of your head.”

Carponti shrugged and rubbed his hands over his freshly shorn scalp. “I can’t wait to see what the sergeant major says.”

“Isn’t he going to be mad?”

Carponti brushed the hair off his neck. “We’re going to war. My hair isn’t on the list of things he’s going to worry about.”

Nicole looked down at the pile of hair on the floor and sighed. “Then why do it?”

Carponti smirked. “Because it’ll get a rise out of him and I live to make his blood pressure go up.”

She laughed. “You need a hobby. Other than blowing things up.”

He sidled across the room and hooked his thumb into the waist of her jeans and tugged her close until their hips met. “I have a hobby. Keeping you well satisfied.”

She sniffed but her lips curled at the edges. “You’re going to be derelict in your duties for a while.”

“But I’ll be home soon enough and then I’ll make up for it.”

“I think I’m going to need a deployment boyfriend.”

He grinned wickedly. “Did you already get one?” He backed her up against the wall, his body hard against hers. God but she loved this man. “Can I see it?”

A slow flush crept over her face and she tried to look away. He threaded his fingers with hers and lifted her arms over her head. Her back arched with the movement.

“Please?” he whispered against her lips. “That would be an awesome memory to take with me downrange. Just think of me, alone in the middle of the desert. One visual of you with your deployment boyfriend and it could make a lonely night go by so much faster.”

Nicole giggled until the laugh overwhelmed her and she was gasping for air. He released her hands and she threaded them around his neck. She buried her face against his throat and laughed.

“There’s something really wrong with you,” she said when she could breathe again. “I’ll send you a video.”

He brightened instantly. “Really?”

“Yes. And dirty letters.”

“Promise?” He nibbled along the edge of her jaw, guiding her slowly backward toward their bed, stacked high with his two duffle bags and all the crap he still hadn’t packed.

But he didn’t care.

“I promise. And you’re going to be late.” Her voice caught in her throat.

“Screw it,” he whispered. “This is the last chance to make love to my beautiful wife before I have to go traipsing across the desert like Lawrence of Arabia.” He nibbled at her earlobe while his hand slipped down her belly to the moist head between her thighs. “Tell you what. You send me a picture of yours and I’ll send you a picture of mine. Maybe I can get him a little horse and saddle and send you a picture. Maybe a Barbie camel. I can put him in a little man dress.”

She laughed and Carponti’s heart swelled in his chest at the sound of it.

“I’m going to hold you to that.” She traced her fingers over his scalp, her body soft and warm against his erection. “I want a picture of him in a man dress in exchange for a video of the deployment boyfriend.”

Her legs bumped into the back of the bed and he followed her down. Tangled between the duffle bags and his uniforms, he made love to her one last time before he got on a plane and headed to war.


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***I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Jagged by Kristen Ashley

Jagged by Kristen Ashley
November 5, 2013 

Zara Cinders always knew Ham Reece was the one, but he wasn't interested in settling down. When she found someone who was, Ham walked out of her life. Three years later, Zara's lost her business, her marriage, and she's barely getting by in a tiny apartment on the wrong side of the tracks. As soon as Ham hears about Zara's plight, he's on her doorstep offering her a lifeline. Now, it will take every ounce of will power she possesses to resist all that he offers.

Ham was always a traveling man, never one to settle down in one town, with one woman, for more time than absolutely necessary. But Ham's faced his own demons, and he's learned a lot. About himself, and about the life he knows he's meant to live. So when he hears that Zara's having a rough time, he wants to be the one to help. In fact, he wants to do more than that for Zara. A lot more. But first, he must prove to Zara that he's a changed man.

Buy links:
Author Bio:
Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake.

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

Author Social Media links:

When I saw who was outside, my mouth dropped open.

Luckily, the doorbell buzzing stopped.

Unluckily, the last person on earth I wanted to see was standing outside my door.

“Jesus, you don’t have a peephole?” Ham growled, looking incensed and Graham Reece looking, or worse, being incensed was a very bad thing. I’d learned that five months ago.

I didn’t have it in me to concern myself with Ham being incensed. I was more concerned with him being there at all.

To express this, I asked, “What the hell?”

“Open the fuckin’ door, Zara.”

I stared a beat, then pulled myself together.

This was not happening.

We were done.

I pushed the door closed.

The problem with this was it didn’t work, seeing as the toe of Ham’s boot was wedged between it and the jamb.

“Open the door, Zara,” he repeated.

“We’re done,” I told him through the gap in the door. “Move your foot.”

“Open the door.”

“We’re done, Ham,” I snapped.

“Right, then move back.”


He didn’t repeat his order. He moved his foot but only so he could rear back and plant his shoulder in the door.

The chain popped right open, as did the door, and I went flying.

I righted myself as Ham, now in my apartment, slammed the door.

“You’re payin’ for that!” I yelled.

His eyes were beyond me, examining my new space as his mouth moved.

“Not a problem. I’ll reimburse what they take out of your security deposit when we move you out of this dump.”

I didn’t know what he meant and I also didn’t care.

I switched subjects.

“How did you get here so fast?” I asked, and his eyes finally came to me.

“I hope to Christ you didn’t miss local gossip because you’re spendin’ your days at Deluxe Home Store and your nights at some titty bar.”

“I’m not working at a titty bar, Ham, so you can stop concerning yourself with me and move on”—I paused—“again.” I bit off the last word then what he said penetrated and I asked, “What gossip?”

“Managing The Dog, Zara, have been for a week. I live in Gnaw Bone.”

I felt my eyes get huge as my stomach clenched.

“You’re managing The Dog?” I whispered, aghast.

“Yeah. And you just got a new job. You start after you work out your notice at Deluxe,” he returned.

“What?” This also came out quiet and horrified.

“You’re waitressin’ for me. Shit hours but, if I remember correctly and since the view hasn’t changed except to get better, with your face, tits, and ass, great tips. In the meantime, we’re movin’ you out of this shithole and, you don’t got a girl who can take you on, you’re bunkin’ with me.”

Bunking with him?

Was he high?

“I am not moving in with you,” I declared.


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Cover Reveal & Paypal Cash Giveaway: All She Wants for Christmas by Sara V. Olds

May I present to you the cover reveal for All She Wants for Christmas by Sara V. Olds: 

George Clauson is Santa's daughter, but she can't stand Christmas. All that ho-ho-hoing, caroling and people's greedy wants? No, thank you. She's left the family business and struck off on her own in the human world finding her niche as a humble second-grade teacher.

Ebenezer Herod is a descendent of King Herod. His family has never stopped trying to destroy Christmas. This year they may actually get their wish, but not if Ben can help it.

George wants nothing to do with restoring balance to the Christmas season, and she certainly isn't interested in the shockingly handsome and devilishly rich Ben. A determined do-gooder, Ben's used to saving the day, but he can't rescue Christmas alone. Can George and Ben find a way to work together despite their opposing heritages to make the Season bright?

About Sara Olds: 
Sara V. Olds has been telling stories for as long as she can remember. One of her favorite memories is of unfolding a tale for friends while they were all bundled in sleeping bags watching a comet shower in the Uintah Mountains.
Mother of three: Large, Medium and Small, she welcomes her newest role, that of mother-in-law.

Life has taken her from thither to yon and back again—she's moved 22 times during her marriage. She breathes to travel. Longs to fulfill a lifelong dream of owning a horse. Is an addictive reader. Enjoys swimming, skiing, violin and movies. Wonders if she'll ever get to SCUBA dive again. And has found a calling that fulfills her in ways she never could have imagined—teaching history to—wait for it—8th Graders.

Her stories consume her. There's nothing she'd rather do than spend all day, all night and the next day conversing with her latest set of characters. History, adventure, action, romance, humor. Adults, YA and kids. Yep, she does it all. Looking for something to enjoy on a quiet rainy afternoon? Or wanting a pulse-pounding, stay up all night turning pages adventure? Or a you've-GOT-to-be-kidding romp? You'll find them in her pages.

Sara’s social media links:

$25 Paypal cash giveaway - this only lasts 48 hours so enter now!

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Cover Reveal: The Collection by Shannon Stoker

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***I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***

Entangled Teen November Release Day Blitz + Giveaway

Today we're celebrating the release of Entangled Teen's November books! Read about them and enter to win the giveaway below! 

Infinity (The Chronicles of Nerissette, #3)

Infinity (The Chronicles of Nerissette #3)
by Andria Buchanan 
Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Entangled Teen

Although she’s still stuck in the magical world of Nerissette, Queen Allie is finally ready to build a relationship with the half hottie, half dragon next door, Winston. But all isn’t really fair in love and war.

Unrest is quickly forming at the borders and soon Allie realizes that the Fate Maker wasn’t the only one who wanted her crown. When her trusted aunt Bavasama sends her troops into Nerissette on a campaign of murder and mass destruction, Allie has a tough decision to make.

She can’t take the chance of letting more people die or letting those she’s lost disappear from memory, but there is more at stake than even she knows. Still, Allie has to do something. And in the process she’ll discover what she’s truly made of when faced with a series of options…each more horrible than the last.

In the Blood

In the Blood 
by Sara Hantz
Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Entangled Teen

For seventeen years Jed Franklin’s life was normal. Then his father was charged with the abuse and murder of four young boys and normal became a nightmare.

His mom’s practically a walking zombie, he’s lost most of his friends, and the press camps out on his lawn. The only things that keep him sane are his little sis; his best friend and dream girl, Summer; and the alcohol he stashes in his room. But after Jed wakes up from a total blackout to discover a local kid has gone missing—a kid he was last seen talking to—he’s forced to face his greatest fear: that he could somehow be responsible.

In a life that’s spiraled out of control, Jed must decide if he chooses his own destiny with Summer by his side or if the violent urges that plagued his father are truly in the blood…

Spring Moon (Indiana Teller)
by HRH Princess Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian
Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Entangled Teen 

Amid the expansive plains of Montana, the Lykos Ranch stretches for miles. The inhabitants who live in near isolation from the outside world are members of the most powerful clan of werewolves in North America. Among them lives just one human: Indiana Teller.

Grandson of the clan’s leader and offspring of a werewolf father and a mysterious yet human mother, Indiana is rejected by his peers and heads to the University of Montana to find a normal life. Despite warnings from his grandparents, he falls in love with a beautiful human, Katerina.

Before too long, he is the victim of an accident that would have killed him had he not miraculously vanished at the moment of impact. Are these strange occurrences just chance or the machinations of a hidden enemy out to destroy him? Facing his destiny, Indiana will have to choose who to believe, and who to love.

Olivia Twisted

Olivia Twisted
by Vivi Barnes
Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Entangled Teen 

He tilts my chin up so my eyes meet his, his thumb brushing lightly across my lips. I close my eyes. I know Z is trouble. I know that being with him is going to get me into trouble. I don’t care.
At least at this moment, I don’t care.

Tossed from foster home to foster home, Olivia’s seen a lot in her sixteen years. She’s hardened, sure, though mostly just wants to fly under the radar until graduation. But her natural ability with computers catches the eye of Z, a mysterious guy at her new school. Soon, Z has brought Liv into his team of hacker elite—break into a few bank accounts, and voila, he drives a motorcycle. Follow his lead, and Olivia might even be able to escape from her oppressive foster parents. As Olivia and Z grow closer, though, so does the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, Z’s boss. And he’s got bigger plans for Liv…

I can picture Liv’s face: wide-eyed, trusting. Her smooth lips that taste like strawberry Fanta.
It was just a kiss. That’s all. She’s just like any other girl.
Except that she’s not.
Thanks to Z, Olivia’s about to get twisted.

To celebrate the launch of these books, Entangled Teen is giving away three ebooks. Check out the Rafflecopter giveaway down below for more information!

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