Monday, May 2, 2016

Release Day! Mimi Plus Two by Whitney Dineen ~ My Thoughts and a FREE book!

Happy Release Day!

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Mimi Plus Two

Mimi Plus Two by Whitney Dineen
Series: Mimi Chronicles #2
Print and e-book, 330 pages
Published: May 2nd 2016

Mimi Finnegan is back and funnier than ever!

Mimi has it all. She’s marrying the love of her life, about to have his baby and is moving into the house of her dreams. 

Things couldn't be better! Until her wedding, that is, when everyone toasts to her perfect life. 

Not one to tempt the fates, Mimi is sure her loved ones are jinxing her future happiness. Enter pregnancy drama, aristocratic in-laws and catastrophic postpartum depression. Mimi’s journey is hilarious, heart-warming and borderline insane. Hormonal hell leaves her questioning her husband’s origins, prepping for the end of the world and wondering if her sanity will ever return.

This book is for every woman who understands that love, laughter and tears are the very foundation of being a wife, mother and daughter-in-law.


My thoughts about Mimi Plus Two ~~ 

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)

First line—"A mucus plug?" I ask in horror. "What is God's name is that?"

Okay, how can that first line not grab you and make you want to read more? I laughed out loud when I opened the book and saw that line jump out at me! I knew I was going to be in for a fun time.  

We first met Mimi in The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan. I loved that book and fell in love with Mimi. And I fell in love with Whitney's wonderful sense of humor. I was totally entertained throughout the whole book.  

So now, Mimi is with the man of her dreams, planning their wedding, all while trying to get through the first stages of her pregnancy. And.... she is having to deal with her future in-laws, who may just think that Mimi is not good enough for their son. This is a very stressful time for Mimi and we probably shouldn't laugh, but oh my gosh, what she has to go through is just hilarious.  

Mimi Plus Two is a wonderful, funny, entertaining, and heartwarming glimpse into Mimi's life as she becomes a wife, daughter-in-law, and mother. And she accomplishes all that with her great sense of humor and with the love of her family and friends. I really hope that that there will be more stories about Mimi's life—I feel like I have a beautiful friend who I need to visit again. 

(And..... I found out from Whitney that there will be a third Mimi book! Yay!!)


I loved book #1, The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan
(Read my thoughts HERE) What a hoot! 

And it's FREE!!! from May 2- May 6



Thirty-four year old, Mimi Finnegan is the third of four daughters and in her eyes, by far, the most unremarkable. She has no singular accomplishment that can stand up to any of her sisters. And if that isn’t enough, she is the only single sibling in her family.

Mimi’s sisters decide that it’s time she gets serious about husband hunting, so they begin a campaign to find Mr. Right for her. Considering her most recent dating encounters include a night club owner who stuffs bratwurst in his pants and a WASPy trust fund baby, living happily under his mother’s thumb, Mimi is more than ready to meet THE ONE. Enter celebrated British novelist Elliot Fielding.

Sexual tension and anger heat up between the duo and it isn’t until Mimi discovers that Elliot is almost engaged to another that she realizes she is head-over-heels in love with him.

The journey will make you laugh, cry and want to pull your hair out from frustration! Mimi eventually learns that she is quite remarkable in her own right and never needed to worry that she lived in her sister’s shadows.

The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan is the perfect laugh-out-loud, feel good book for any woman who has ever felt that she wasn’t good enough.


About the author


While attending the University of Illinois in Chicago, Whitney Dineen was discovered by a local modeling agent and began an unexpected career as a plus-size Ford model. She modeled in New York City before moving to Los Angeles with her husband.

When she wasn’t modeling, she was in the kitchen, baking delights to share with friends. Soon, her friends began asking her to send baskets of her wonderful candies and cookies to business associates, agents and production studios. Word spread like wildfire, and the rest, as they say, is history. Whitney’s sensational creations are still in great demand by her loyal celebrity clientele (www.WhitneysGoodies.com).

During “The Hollywood Years,” Whitney was bitten by the writing bug and started creating characters that are inspired by strong women with a great sense of humor.

In addition to her love of chick-lit, Whitney has also written a series of adventure books for middle readers. The first of which, Wilhelmina and the Willamette Wig Factory, is nearing completion.

Whitney and her husband, Jimmy, have recently relocated to the beautiful Pacific Northwest to raise their children, chickens and organic vegetables.

Connect with Whitney



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Release Day: The Independent One by Cami Checketts and an Excerpt

Happy Release Day!


The Independent One

The Independent One by Cami Checketts
Series: A Billionaire Bride Pact Romance
Kindle Edition
Published by Birch River Publishing


Haley Turnbow escapes to the tropical Isla del Sol for an ideal vacation with her five-year old. She doesn’t plan on the resident ghost stalking her and the island’s fine-looking owner drawing her in with his confident, fun personality.

Cal Johnson is king of his own island, happy and busy. A beautiful mom and her wild little boy flip his world upside down. He falls in love with both of them knowing they’re going to leave at the end of their vacation and he might not recover from the loss.

Can these two independent adults trust their hearts or is it not worth the risk?


Excerpt

A tall, well-built man swept in before Haley could reach Taz and easily lifted her boy into his arms. “Hey, bud, you’re not supposed to do flips on this staircase, that’s for the diving board.”

Taz laughed and Haley’s heart slowed a few beats. “Taz,” she cried out.

The man turned with her son and she noticed dimples and blue eyes, but she could only focus on her boy. Taz launched himself into her arms. Haley held him close, inhaling the baby lotion he kept claiming he was too old for. She took several long breaths as she tried to reassure herself he was okay.

Their rescuer turned to the older couple. “Are you both all right?” he asked.

“Oh, sure,” the man said, his arm around his wife’s waist. They were a darling couple, dressed to the nines with her hair perfectly coiffed and his hair missing.

“Is the little boy okay?” the woman asked, patting her hair.

“I think so,” Haley said. “I’m so sorry he hit you.”

“No, dear, I’m just fine.”

Haley nodded, grateful for their graciousness. She checked Taz for injuries. He had some rug burns on his face and elbow, but thankfully only the one on his elbow was bleeding. “Oh, bud, you scared me! Do you hurt anywhere?”

“Nothing ‘cept my endbow.” Taz held up his arm for her to see. “Kiss it?”

Haley laughed shakily and kissed near the ouchy spot. “We’ll find you a Band-aid.”

“A Ninja Turtle one?” Taz’s dark eyes lit up. He covered himself in Ninja Turtle Band-aids quite regularly.

The man with the dimples turned back to her as the older couple wished them well and headed down the hallway to the shops. He placed a warm hand on her back. “Ma’am, can I take him from you? You’re shaking like a belly dancer.”

Haley laughed, but clung tighter to Taz. This was her little man and she wasn’t about to hand him over to some stranger—she couldn’t resist looking the man over—no matter how intriguing the contrast between his dark hair and skin and his deep blue eyes. “I have specialized belly dancer training so it’s okay.”

His dimples deepened. “Nice.”

“Thank you for your help Mr…”

“Johnson.” He kept his arm on her back and wrapped his other hand around her elbow. His hands were strong and warm and she couldn’t help but notice how nicely he smelled, a great combination of musk and man. “Come up to my office so I can check both of you out.”

Haley bristled. The only men she let tell her what to do were her dad and her brother. Scratch that, the only men who ever tried to tell her what to do, but failed, were her dad and her brother. She shook him off. “Sorry, not going to some strange dude’s office and nobody needs to check me out.”

He laughed. “My apologies, ma’am, but I’ve already checked you out.” He pumped his eyebrows and she was struck by the fact that he was much too attractive and much too friendly.

About the author


Cami Checketts is married and the proud mother of four future WWF champions. Sometimes between being a human horse, cleaning up magic potions, and driving boys to lacrosse practice, she gets the chance to write fiction.

Cami graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Exercise Science. She and her family live in the beautiful Cache Valley of Northern Utah. During the two months of the year it isn't snowing, she enjoys swimming, hiking, biking, running, and water-skiing.

A portion of the proceeds from Cami's books will be donated to Humanitarian Aid.

Connect with Cami

Website | Twitter | Facebook


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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? May 2, 2016


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's an opportunity to visit other blogs and to comment on their reads. And ... you can add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!

Click on the book image to read more on Goodreads.

What I'm currently reading/listening to

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A Lowcountry Wedding (Lowcountry Summer #4)
by Mary Alice Monroe

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1)
by Ransom Riggs
(audiobook)
I love this series and I know I am going to love listening to it.

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She Poured Out Her Heart
by Jean Thompson
I sill need to get back to this one.

What I recently finished

Mosaics 2: A Collection of Independent Women
Mosaics 2: A Collection of Independent Women
by 20 talented authors
Another fab collection! Read my thoughts here.

The Last Dreamer
The Last Dreamer
by Barbara Solomon Josselsohn

If I Speak True (Flora, #1)
If I Speak True (Flora #1)
by Jessica L. Brooks 
(audiobook)
DNF. (for now) This audiobook just wasn't doing anything for me right now so I decided to put it aside and come back to it some other time.

What I am going to read next

Flight Patterns
Flight Patterns
by Karen White

I really love my reading life!

What are you reading this week?


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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Release Day: Mosaics 2: A Collection of Independent Women ~ My Thoughts

Happy Release Day!

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Mosaics 2

Mosaics 2: A Collection of Independent Women
Kindle Edition
Published: May 1st 2016 by DayDreams Dandelions Press

Mosaics: A Collection of Independent Women will inspire and shock you with its multi-faceted look at the history and culture surrounding femininity. If gender is a construct, this anthology is the house it built. Look through its many rooms, some bright and airy, some terrifying-- with monsters lurking in the shadows.

Mosaics Volume Two features twenty self-identified female authors writing about Intersectionality, including women of color, disabled, trans, and GLB/GSD* (Gender and Sexual Diversities). We have curated amazing short fiction, flash fiction, poetry, essays, and art. It’s personal, political, and a great read.

Volume 1 included Hugo Award Nominees, Tiptree Shortlists, Pushcart Prize Winners, USA Today Bestsellers, indie superstars and traditionally published talents alike. The anthology combines leading and new voices all proclaiming their identity as Women, and their ability to Roar. Volume 2 features many new voices debuting their gifts with us!


Profits will be donated to the Pixel Project to end Violence Against Women.



My thoughts about Mosaics 2 ~~

First of all, I have to say that I was totally impressed with Mosaics 1. The stories and poems included were amazing. So the bar was set pretty high for Mosaics 2, which is celebrating it's release day today, May 1st.

Well, let me tell you, Mosaics 2 is another great anthology full of incredible short stories, essays, poetry, and art work. It contains a little bit of everything, so there is something for everyone to enjoy. An extremely talented group of women came together to create this masterpiece!

And all the profits will be donated to the Pixel Project to end Violence Against Women. So you get a wonderful collection of work while helping out women in need.



Mosaics: A Collection of Independent Women Vol 1

Mosaics: A Collection of Independent Women (Mosaics #1)

Read my thoughts about Mosaics 1 here.


Mosaics 1 is only $.99 for a limited time!


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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Book Spotlight Giveaway! The Confessor by Daniel Silva


This week, I have one of the books donated from my daughter. I know Daniel Silva is a very popular author but this is just not a genre I read. I have a hardcover copy of The Confessor by Daniel Silva, book #3 in his Gabriel Allon series for one of you to win! 

Good luck and be sure to stop back next week!


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The Confessor

The Confessor by Daniel Silva
Series: Gabriel Allon #3
Hardcover, 416 pages

Published February 24th 2003 by Putnam Adult

Munich: The writer Benjamin Stern entered his flat to see a man standing there, leafing through his research, and said, "Who the hell are you?" In response, the man shot him. As Stern lay dying, the gunman murmured a few words in Latin, then he gathered the writer's papers and left. 

Venice: The art restorer Gabriel Allon applied a dab of paint carefully to the Bellini, then read the message thrust into his hands. Stern was dead; could he leave right away? With a sigh, the Mossad agent began to put his brushes away. 

The Vatican: The priest named Pietro paced in the garden, thinking about the things he had discovered, the enemies he would make, the journey before him. Men would surely die, and he wished another could take it for him. But he knew that was not possible. In the weeks to come, the journeys of all three men will come together, following a trail of long-buried secrets and unthinkable deeds, leaving each one forever changed. And with them, the lives of millions . . . 

Filled with rich characters, remarkable prose, and a multilayered plot of uncommon intensity, this is the finest work yet by a new master of the art.


About the author

Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva began his writing career as a journalist for United Press International (UPI), traveling in the Middle East and covering the Iran-Iraq war, terrorism and political conflicts. From UPI he moved to CNN, where he eventually became executive producer of its Washington-based public policy programming. 

In 1994 he began work on his first novel, The Unlikely Spy, a surprise best seller that won critical acclaim. He turned to writing full time in 1997 and all of his books have been New York Times/national best sellers, translated into 25 languages and published across Europe and the world. His latest book is The English Spy (Harper, 2015). He lives in Washington, D.C.

Connect with Daniel

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon





Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On Tour: Sister Dear by Laura McNeill, My Thoughts, and an Excerpt


Sister Dear


Sister Dear by Laura McNeil
Publisher: HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson
Pages: 336
Genre: Domestic Suspense

All Allie Marshall wants is a fresh start. But when dark secrets refuse to stay buried, will her chance at a new life be shattered forever?

Convicted of a crime she didn’t commit, Allie watched a decade of her life vanish. Now, out on parole, Allie is determined to clear her name and reconnect with the daughter she barely knows.

But Allie’s return to Brunswick, Georgia, sends earthquakes through the small, coastal community. Even her daughter Caroline, now a teenager, challenges Allie’s claims of innocence.

Refusing defeat, a stronger, smarter Allie launches a campaign for the truth, digging deep into the past. Her investigation threatens her parole status, her own safety, and the already-fragile bond with her family. What Allie uncovers is far worse than she imagined. Her own sister has been hiding a dark secret—one that holds the key to Allie’s freedom.

For More Information

My thoughts about Sister Dear ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)

First line—In her final moments as an inmate at Arrendale State Prison, Allie Marshall's body pulsed with tension. Eyes averted, managing any movements with robotic precision, she remained on guard. Only moments to go.

Laura has written another suspenseful, exciting, and touching novel. Sister Dear is full of great characters, some that you just love to hate. Allie is sent to prison for a murder she swears she didn't commit. When she is released, she comes home with a mission; to find out the truth and to put the man responsible behind bars.

She also wants to rekindle her relationship with her daughter, Caroline, who was five years old when she was sent to prison ten years ago. Will her teenage daughter even want her back in her life after all this time? And then there is Allie's younger sister, who took Caroline in and raised her as her own daughter. She has her own secrets and she is not at all happy about Allie's digging around in the past.

Sister Dear was a wonderful page turner, just like I knew it would be. The storyline felt like it was going to be predictable but then there were twists and turns that I wasn't expecting. And the suspense kept me reading. I thoroughly enjoyed this story to the very end!



Excerpt

In her final minutes as an inmate at Arrendale State Prison, Allie Marshall’s body pulsed with tension. Eyes averted, managing any movements with robotic precision, she remained on guard.



Only moments to go.

A sliver of time. Not even a quarter hour. An unremarkable measurement, when held up against the billion other moments in any person’s natural life. But after a decade inside, those last twelve minutes seemed the longest span in all of eternity.

To her right, rows of monitors blinked and recorded everything across the sprawling campus in Habersham County. Though the angles differed, the subject never changed: women in identical tan-collared shirts and shapeless pants. Inmates on work detail, in the cafeteria, in dormitories.

A corrections officer sat nearby, her pale-blue eyes scanning the screens. To this worker, to all of them, Allie was GDC ID, followed by ten numbers. Nothing more. Inside the thick metal bars, Allie’s life was suspended, a delicate fossil in amber.

Until now. Ten more minutes.

Her reflection stared back, unblinking, in the shatterproof glass window near the door. Green eyes flecked with gold, dark-blonde hair tucked in a loose ponytail, barely visible brackets at the corners of her lips.

Maybe, Allie thought, she’d forgotten how to smile and laugh. Happiness seemed unreachable, as if the feeling itself existed on the summit of an ice-tipped mountain shrouded by storm clouds. Indeed, the rush of pure, unadulterated joy belonged only to those with freedom. Allie’s memories of it—her daughter’s birth, Caroline’s first smile, first steps—were fleeting and distant.

Instead, the perpetual motion of prison, the waking, sleeping, and sameness, all blended together, like a silent black-and-white movie on a continuous loop.

Until the news of her parole.

At first, the concept of liberty seemed impossible—a hand trying to catch and hold vapor. The judge had sentenced Allie to sixteen years, and she fully anticipated serving each and every one of them. She didn’t believe she’d be granted an early release—she couldn’t—until she stepped beyond the walls and barbed wire and chain-link fence, barriers that kept her from everyone and everything she’d ever loved.

Allie focused on breathing, stretching her lungs, exhaling to slow her pulse. Her own belongings, a decade old, lay nearby. Keys that wouldn’t open doors. A watch with a dead battery. A light khaki jacket with a photo of then five-year-old Caroline tucked in the pocket, one pair of broken-in Levis, and a white cotton shirt. Gingerly, with her fingertips, she reached for the clothing, then gripped the bundle tight to her chest.

A second guard motioned for Allie to change quickly in a holding room. With the door shut, she pulled the shapeless prison garb over her head and picked up the shirt. The material, cool and light, brushed against her skin like gauze. Allie shivered.

For ten years, all she’d known was the rasp of her standard-issue navy jacket, the scrape of her worn white tennis shoes along the sidewalk.

Back in Brunswick, Allie had filled her closet with easy summer shifts and crisp linen pants. Now her body was different too—the soft curves had dissolved, leaving lean muscle behind. The jeans hung loosely around her waist and hips. The top billowed out in waves from her shoulders.

Nothing would fit, she reminded herself. Not much in her past life would.

And that was all right.

When she walked out of Lee Arrendale State Prison, home to thousands of female inmates, Allie didn’t want reminders. No indigo tattoo inked down her back or neck. No numbers or symbols etched into her arms or fingers. The only external validation of time served was a faint scar that traced her eyebrow.

The real proof of her internment lay underneath it all. Below the seashell white of Allie’s skin, hidden in blood, tendons, and muscle, the experience indelibly marked on her soul. An imprint made by incident, mistake, and tragedy.

Evidence, and lack of it.

“I’m innocent,” she’d insisted to everyone who would listen. Her lawyers fought hard, rallied a few times, but in the end, the jury convicted her. Voluntary manslaughter.

A year later, Allie’s appeal failed. Then money ran out. Her father turned his attention back to his veterinary practice after his cardiologist warned the stress of another trial might kill him. Her mother did her best to minimize worry while Emma, her tempestuous and fun-loving sister, assumed the role of doting aunt and guardian to Caroline.

And there was Ben. Sweet, thoughtful Ben. The man who’d wanted to marry her, who said he would love her always. Even after her arrest, he’d promised to wait for her if the worst happened. Allie couldn’t live with herself if he’d sacrificed everything—his rising political career, his reputation, and his life for a decade or more. She’d broken it off, knowing it would wound him terribly. When he’d finally left, when she saw him for the last time, it was as if the very core of her being had been torn away, leaving a vast, gaping emptiness she couldn’t fill, despite how hard she tried. Allie closed her eyes. She’s convinced herself it was the logical thing, what made sense. She had done her best to forget him. It hadn’t worked in the least.

The days and months blurred. Entire seasons dissolved, shapeless and gray, like the ink of fine calligraphy smeared by the rain.

The squawk of the prison intercom barely registered in Allie’s brain. Sharp insults and threats were routine, eruptions of violence expected. Even along the brown scrub grass and wooden benches of the prison yard, there was no escape. Allie always tried to disappear—pressing her body close to the concrete walls, becoming a chameleon against the barren landscape.

The women in Arrendale weren’t afraid of punishment; most had nothing left. Some bonded with other inmates for favors; others paid for protection with cigarettes, food, and stamps. For those prisoners who had lost everything; inmates with little hope of parole, life was almost unthinkable.

Clutching her hands in her lap to keep from shaking, Allie watched as a woman collapsed in the cafeteria, stabbed in the jugular with a plastic fork. The next week, a fellow inmate in her dormitory was choked to death, purple fingerprints visible on the woman’s throat when the guards discovered her body. Allie was haunted with grief for weeks after a young girl, only four years older than Caroline, tried to hang herself with a scrap of fabric.

Despite it all, despite the desperation that seemed to permeate the very air she breathed, Allie had survived.

In another few minutes, her younger sister, Emma, would arrive, as bus service didn’t run from Alto to Brunswick. Tomorrow she’d meet her parole officer at noon. And like every parolee, she would receive a check, courtesy of the Georgia Department of Corrections, enough to buy shampoo, a bar of soap, and a comb for her hair.

Allie blinked up at the clock, almost afraid the time might start going backward. She forced her eyes away, squeezed them shut. If she tried hard enough, her mind formed a picture of her grown daughter’s face. In her daydreams, she’d imagined their reunion a million times, rehearsed every possible scenario. She worried about the right words to say, how to act, and whether it was all right to cry. The enormity of it was impossible to contain, like holding back the ocean with a single fingertip.

All that mattered now was seeing Caroline.

The buzzer sounded long and loud; its vibration shook the floor. The burly guard sighed and lumbered to her boot-clad feet. She stood inches from Allie’s shoulder, her breath hot and rank from a half-eaten roast beef sandwich.

Locks clicked and keys rattled. The barrier, with its heavy bars, groaned under its own weight. An inch at a time, the metal gate heaved open. Soon, there would be nothing but empty space standing between Allie and the rest of the world.

She felt a nudge.

In that moment, Allie heard four words, precious and sweet.

“You’re free to go.”

About the author


Laura McNeil is a writer, mom, travel enthusiast, and coffee drinker. In her former life, she was a television news anchor for CBS News affiliates in New York and Alabama. Laura holds a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and is completing a Ph.D. in Instructional Leadership at the University of Alabama. When she’s not writing and doing homework, she enjoys running, yoga, and spending time at the beach. She lives in Northern Alabama with her family.

Her latest book is the domestic suspense, Sister Dear.

Connect with Laura

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