BOOK REVIEW: Twin Piques by Tracie Banister

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“Twin Piques” by Tracie Banister

Description:

Forensic accountant Sloane Tobin and kooky pet psychic Willa may have the same face, but that’s the only thing these identical twins have in common.

How she can read the hearts and minds of animals has always been a mystery to Willa, and her rotten luck with men is equally baffling. Although she’s been looking for “The One” for what feels like forever (A teenage marriage to a French mime and dating a guy named Spider seemed like good ideas at the time!), optimistic Willa refuses to give up on love. When she meets Brody, the handsome rose expert hired to save her grandmother’s garden, she’s instantly smitten, but why does he keep sending her mixed signals? Does he return her feelings, or is their attraction all in her fanciful head?

Unlike her twin, Sloane has zero interest in romance. Her passion is her job, where she uses her gift for numbers to take down slimy embezzlers and asset-hiding spouses. When she’s assigned two high profile cases, Sloane feels confident the promotion she’s been angling for is within her grasp. But will her plan to climb the corporate ladder be thwarted by difficult clients, her co-worker-with-benefits, or – most surprisingly of all – her own sister? And how’s she supposed to stay focused on the drama at work when her childhood friend, Gav, moves in next door and the spark between them becomes impossible to ignore?

To get what they both want, can Willa and Sloane band together and rely on each other’s strengths? Or will their differences drive them apart once and for all?

My Review:

I’ve been a huge fan of Tracie Banister’s, even before I read her book, “In Need of Therapy.” So, after seeing the adorable cover, along with reading the blurb, I knew I wanted to read “Twin Piques.”

From start to finish, this book held my attention, as I got to know Sloane and Willa, who are two very different twin sisters.  While I saw quite a few similarities between them, I have a feeling they would disagree 100% Sloane is the all-work and no play type, who doesn’t think she needs a relationship, but doesn’t mind mixing business with pleasure, on occasion. Though, her friend, Gav, is a whole other story…especially after they share a bottle of wine. On the other hand, Willa is the free-spirited quirky dog psychic, who believes in love (even finding it herself), and doesn’t second-guess throwing her sister and the man Sloane ends up with together, (no spoilers, but YAY).

“Twin Piques” had me laughing, along with cheering on Sloane (wishing she would open her heart) and Willa (hoping she doesn’t get into trouble, the more she meddles). At times, I felt the storyline was a little predictable, but just when I thought I knew what would happen, I was thrown for a loop–nice job, Tracie Banister!

If you’re looking for a quick and fun read, “Twin Piques” would make for a fabulous beach read!

I give “Twin Piques” 5 stars!

**Click HERE to buy your copy of “Twin Piques” now!

COVER REVEAL: Up To I Do by Samantha March

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It’s been a long time since I’ve done a cover reveal, but I’m fairly partial to this one. I’ve had the pleasure of beta reading Samantha March’s fourth novel, “Up To I Do,” and today, I’m beyond thrilled to share the cover release with you! ISN’T IT BEAUTIFUL?! While the book hasn’t been released yet, this is already one of the best books I’ve read this year, as Samantha March’s writing just gets better and better!

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“Up To I Do” by Samantha March

Blurb: Emerson Sinclair, twenty-seven year old hotel heiress, has said yes. With just over a year to plan her extravagant, over the top nuptials to Logan Worthington, it’s all hands on deck with the wedding plans. A Sinclair marrying into the Worthington family is the talk of their small New Hampshire town, and ideas include filming the wedding for a TV segment. But as the items get checked off the list, plans start to go…not as planned. From not getting a designer dress to a selfish bridesmaid and unaccountable best man, Emerson is afraid her wedding will be more a joke than anything.

When both her mother and sister seemingly begin to lose interest in her wedding plans in favor of their own personal lives, Emerson fears her big day will turn into the forgotten wedding. With the pressure to pull off a beautiful and elegant event that everyone expects from their respectable families, Emerson starts to forget the reason why she is saying I Do in the first place.
But her spirited Grams is there to make sure neither happens. With her help and guidance, Emerson not only has her wedding plans back on track, but she remembers the reason why they are going through the stress of wedding planning – because at the end of it all she gets to marry her true love, and marriage is defined by more than a wedding.

**Click HERE to add “Up To I Do” to your reading list on Goodreads!

RELEASE DAY: Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

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“Beach Town” by Mary Kay Andrews

Blurb: Greer Hennessy is a struggling movie location scout. Her last location shoot ended in disaster when a film crew destroyed property on an avocado grove. And Greer ended up with the blame.

Now Greer has been given one more chance-a shot at finding the perfect undiscovered beach town for a big budget movie. She zeroes in on a sleepy Florida panhandle town. There’s one motel, a marina, a long stretch of pristine beach and an old fishing pier with a community casino—which will be perfect for the film’s climax—when the bad guys blow it up in an all-out assault on the townspeople.

Greer slips into town and is ecstatic to find the last unspoilt patch of the Florida gulf coast. She takes a room at the only motel in town, and starts working her charm. However, she finds a formidable obstacle in the town mayor, Eben Thinadeaux. Eben is a born-again environmentalist who’s seen huge damage done to the town by a huge paper company. The bay has only recently been re-born, a fishing industry has sprung up, and Eben has no intention of letting anybody screw with his town again. The only problem is that he finds Greer way too attractive for his own good, and knows that her motivation is in direct conflict with his.

Will true love find a foothold in this small beach town before it’s too late and disaster strikes? Told with Mary Kay Andrews inimitable wit and charm, Beach Town is this year’s summer beach read!

**Buy “Beach Town” now!: Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books a Million   IndieBound   iBooks

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MaryKayAndrews**About Author, Mary Kay Andrews:

Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of SAVE THE DATE, LADIES’ NIGHT, CHRISTMAS BLISS, SPRING FEVER, SUMMER RENTAL, THE FIXER UPPER, DEEP DISH, BLUE CHRISTMAS, SAVANNAH BREEZE, HISSY FIT, LITTLE BITTY LIES and SAVANNAH BLUES.

A former reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she wrote ten critically acclaimed mysteries, including the Callahan Garrity mystery series, under her “real” name, which is Kathy Hogan Trocheck. Her mysteries have been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha and Macavity Awards.

A native of St. Petersburg, Florida (and a diplomate of the Maas Bros. Department Store School of Charm), she started her professional journalism career in Savannah, Georgia, where she covered the real-life murder trials which were the basis of MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL.

As a lifelong “junker” the author claims to know the location of every promising thrift store, flea market and junkpile in the Southeastern United States, plus many parts of Ohio.

She has a B.A. in newspaper journalism from The University of Georgia (go Dawgs!), and is a frequent lecturer and writing teacher at workshops including Emory University, The University of Georgia’s Harriet Austin Writer’s Workshop, the Tennessee Mountain Writer’s Workshop and the Antioch Writer’s Workshop.

Married to her high school sweetheart, Tom, she has two adult children and two grandchildren. After a three-year hiatus in Raleigh, NC, she and her husband moved back to their old neighborhood in Atlanta. She also owns two restored beach cottages on Tybee Island, GA, both of which are named for fictional locations in her novels.

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**Coming soon: A review of “Beach Town”, along with a special guest post by Mary Kay Andrews!

“Addicted” and “Trinity” by Nigel May

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“Addicted” by Nigel May

Blurb: Fame, fortune and five-star luxury. Meet four fabulous women – all of them hold a dark secret… one of them won’t live to tell the tale.

Nancy Arlow– thefading entertainer determined to gamble and charm her way out of a mountain of debt.

Laura Everett – behind the façade of the perfect politician’s wifelies a woman with an outrageous past and a spiraling drug habit.

Portia Safari– the world famous opera diva, adored by millions, has it all, but could her secret drinking problem cost her everything?

Martha Éclair– The millionaire wine heiress whose appetite for kinky sex could bring down her father’s business empire.

Each woman must face their own addiction before they pay the ultimate price…

Switch off your phone, grab a glass of bubbly and escape into an outrageous word of thrills, glamour and passion. You’ll be addicted…

**Buy “Addicted now!: Amazon – US   Amazon – UK

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“Trinity” Nigel May

Blurb: When friends become enemies there are no rules…

Ambitious gossip queen Anoushka Silvers is the daughter her abusive father never wanted. Determined to prove herself to her family, she’ll stop at nothing to get what she wants. But when her bitchy tongue gains her death threats and the unwanted attention of a stalker, it could be Anoushka who is making the headlines.

For actress Evie Merchant, her childhood dreams of becoming the world’s hottest movie star are just about to come true. But a string of hurtful liaisons with lovers out to use her fame, has made Evie uncertain about her future. And with Oscar day looming, Evie’s biggest prize of all could be cruelly snatched from her.

A loveless upbringing has made wild child Regan Phoenix search for quick-fix highs from drink, drugs and meaningless sex. But when the opportunity of starring in her own reality show comes along, Regan grabs it with both hands, hoping to put her trashy past behind her.

From fashionable London to stunning Venice and glitzy LA, Trinity takes you into a glamorous and thrilling world you won’t want to leave.

**Buy “Trinity” now!: Amazon – US   Amazon – UK

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NigelMayPic**About author, Nigel May:

Nigel May is a true all-rounder in the media world, working as a TV presenter, author, journalist and craft personality. He has written two glam-fiction books, Trinity and Addicted, as well as featuring in Sunlounger – a chart-topping anthology of short stories. A third novel will be released in July 2015.

**Contact Nigel: Website   Facebook   Twitter

Rock Star’s Girl

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“Rock Star’s Girl” by Jennifer Farwell

Blurb: Emily Watts just wants a weekend break from the workaholic hours she’s taken on to keep her business—a popular fashion-snark website—up and running. What she gets is overnight celebrity and a career-killing media scandal.

While taking time out to attend a concert in support of friend Jesse Cinder, a struggling musician, Emily meets Cory Sampson, the lead singer of a chart-topping rock band. When she agrees to a date with Cory, making entertainment headlines is the last thing she expects. Even so, it’s a minor surprise by comparison to her discovery that in the music world, media notoriety trumps all. Tabloid allegations erupt when Cory and fame-hungry Jesse use Emily for personal gain, and her tarnished image spells disaster—personally and professionally. To save the website and writing career she’s made her life and dream, Emily must go from being a pawn in the Hollywood headline game to becoming the media mastermind.

EXCERPT

“I wouldn’t want to be that guy,” Cory commented, sitting down.

“That was fast,” she said, trying not to look startled. “What guy?”

“The guy who invited us here. You were just giving him the death stare.”

“Did it look like a death stare?” She fought to keep her tone light. “My mind must have just drifted off.”

“Whatever you were thinking about, it couldn’t have been good.”

“It was about the piles of work waiting for me to tackle at home,” she said, offering him the first explanation she could think of.

“On a Friday?” he asked. She nodded, scrunching her face into what she hoped passed for an exasperated look. “What do you do?”

“I’m a writer, and I run my own website.” She tried to guess what his reaction would be before he spoke. Most of the people she met in L.A. first assumed she was an actress or a singer. She was never quite sure if her lack of being part of the entertainment world worked for her or against her in a city where make-believe was the main industry.

“A writer and a website,” he repeated. “Anything I know?”

“Maybe,” she answered. “I run Zeeked. It’s a fashion website. I do a regular column for Sweltry, too.”

“Oh, nice. That’s definitely different for this town.” To his credit, he looked impressed. “Sweltry does music reviews, right?”

She nodded again, wondering if he was genuinely interested in what she did or if he was simply being polite. “Among other things. I don’t write the reviews, but I know the guy who does.”

“Next time you talk to him, please thank him for me. Sweltry gave my band’s last album a great review.”

Great. He was a musician. If Wednesday night had taught her anything, the last thing she needed was to get involved with another boy in a band.

“So, you’re a musician, then?” She struggled to keep the disappointment from flooding her voice.

“I’m a singer.” She may have imagined it, but the look on his face seemed expectant of something.

“Huh,” she mused, trying hard to sound indifferent.

“What?” he asked. She could tell that wasn’t the reaction he’d been hoping for.

“What, ‘what?’” she answered, feigning ignorance.

“Is there something wrong with me being a singer?” he asked.

“Not if it makes you happy,” she said. “Just so you know, though, I’m not.”

“Not what? Happy?” He looked slightly confused, and, she had to admit, absolutely adorable.

“A singer.”

He gave her a curious look. “I know that. You just said you were a writer.”

“Yeah, I know. It’s just that if you’re a musician, and especially if you’re a singer, you should probably be flirting with another singer right now, or an actress. Maybe a model.” She paused when their margarita and chips appeared in front of them, and leaned in to sip from one of the two straws that peeked out of the giant glass.

“What makes you say that?” he asked, not making a move for the food or their drink.

“Experience.” She took another sip and looked him squarely in the eyes, silently daring him to tell her she was wrong.

He leaned back in his chair, laughing. “You’re probably right, but I’m not flirting with a singer, actress, or model right now, or sharing a drink with one. Does that count for anything?” He held her eyes with his, taking a drink from the other straw.

“Not really.” She watched him try to contain another laugh while swallowing.

“You have something against singers, I take it?” he asked, once he’d recovered.

“Well, singers, guitarists, bass players, drummers, keyboardists, and possibly cellists, so I wouldn’t take it personally.”

“Drummers, huh?” He raised an eyebrow. “Even bongo players?”

“Especially bongo players.” She picked up a chip from the platter in front of her and dipped it in the small bowl of guacamole.

“Well, while you’re at it, don’t forget about anyone who plays an accordion.”

She swallowed the chip she was chewing. “Why’s that?”

“Equal opportunity. If you’re going to slam us, don’t limit yourself to alt, rock, and country. Polka’s pretty badass too.” He took another sip from their glass.

She knew he was teasing her and could tell that her wariness amused him. Finally, she could only shrug. “No offense,” she said, looking down at their margarita and stirring its melting ice cubes with her straw. “I’m not a big fan of musicians.”

“I’m getting that,” he replied. “Why is that, anyway?”

She kept her eyes down. “I know too many of them,” she offered.

“Me too. Funny.”

Emily could feel the corners of her lips move while she fought a smile. She knew Cory had seen the change in her expression when, appearing encouraged, he stretched out one of his arms and laid it to rest on her shoulder. She didn’t move away.

“I thought maybe I’d switch it up a bit and hang out with a stunning writer,” he said. “Is that okay by you?”

She smiled in spite of herself. “I guess mass amounts of tequila must work in your favor. So what’s your band’s name?”

“Blistering Twilight.” He watched her while he answered.

She nodded and took a sip of their drink, aware that he was waiting for her reaction. From what she knew of Blistering Twilight, they had at least one album that had made it to the number one spot on Billboard and a few singles that had hit the top of the American Top 40 charts. She wondered if he expected those two words to be the magical key to getting her to retract everything she’d just said about musicians.

A long silence followed while she pretended to be incredibly thirsty. Finally, he spoke. “You don’t look impressed.”

She released the straw from her lips. “Are you used to girls looking impressed when you tell them what band you’re in?” she asked.

“I’m actually used to girls knowing what band I’m in before they meet me.” For a split second, he looked the slightest bit sheepish.

“I guess I’m not your typical girl.”

“I’ll drink to that.” He took a sip from their glass, moving the hand that was on her shoulder to play with a strand of her hair. “So now that my occupation is out of the way, can I go back to hitting on you?”

“Is that what you were doing?” she asked, unwinding her hair from his finger.

He put his hand back on her shoulder. “Before I realized telling you what I do for a living would be a turn-off, that’s absolutely what I was going for.”

“Hmm. What other lines have you got?”

“I’m afraid to try, given how badly that one bombed. It’s usually foolproof.”

**Find “Rock Star’s Gir”: Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Goodreads

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JenniferFarwellPic**About author, Jennifer Farwell:

Jennifer Farwell has been writing since the day she picked up a navy blue Crayola as a toddler and began scribbling on her parents’ freshly painted white walls. She’s the author of SEVEN WEEKS TO FOREVER and ROCK STAR’S GIRL. When not writing novels, she can often be found at a Kundalini yoga class, cheering on the L.A. Kings during hockey season, or curled up with a good book. Her love of storytelling led to completing a Bachelor of Journalism degree and a Master of Arts degree in English, both from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She grew up in Thunder Bay, Canada, and now lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Pico.

**Find Jennifer: Website  Facebook  Twitter  Snapchat: jennfarwell  Pinterest  Instagram  Tsu  Tumblr  Goodreads

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**GIVEAWAY**

Click HERE to be entered the in Rafflecopter giveaway!

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**Click HERE to see other stops on Jennifer’s Chick Lit Plus Blog Tour!

French Fry

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“French Fry” by Glynis Astie

Blurb: Sydney Durand had finally achieved the perfect life she had always wanted. After a whirlwind romance with a charming Frenchman, she endured the three weddings it required to satisfy the members of the newly formed Bennett-Durand clan. All she had left to do was stroll into the sunset with Louis to enjoy their long-awaited happily ever after.

But everything changed when the stick turned blue. Suddenly, Sydney finds herself facing the daunting task of becoming a mother before she has even returned home from her honeymoon. Keeping a tenacious hold on her hard-won happiness, Sydney is determined not to give up without a fight – no matter what or who is thrown in her path…and that includes an overbearing mother-in-law, a know-it-all father and her own anxiety about having a baby.

Will she finally be able to tame her neuroses for the sake of her unborn child? Or will her hormone-induced panic cause a meltdown of epic proportions? One thing is clear: Sydney and Louis’ nerves are going to fry…

**Click HERE to buy “French Fry”!

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GlynisAstiePic2**About author, Glynis Astie:

Glynis never expected in her wildest dreams to be a writer. After thirteen years in the Human Resources Industry, she decided to stay at home with her two amazing sons. Ever in search of a project, she was inspired to write the story of how she met and married her wonderfully romantic French husband, Sebastien, in six short months. The end result became her first novel, French Twist. As this was just the beginning of their epic love story, Glynis continued to chronicle their adventures in the sequel, French Toast and the final installment in the series, French Fry.

When Glynis is not writing, she is trying to keep the peace amongst the three men and two cats in her life, finding missing body parts (Lego pieces are small!), supervising a myriad of homework assignments and keeping a tenuous hold on her sanity by consuming whatever chocolate is in the vicinity.

**Contact Glynis: Website   Facebook   Goodreads   Twitter

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**GIVEAWAY — US only**

**Click HERE to enter to win a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card & an eBook Set of the French Twist Series**

The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan

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“The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan” by Whitney Dineen

Blurb: Move over Bridget Jones… here comes Mimi Finnegan!

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.

**Click HERE to buy “The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan”!

EXCERPT

My sisters, to my undying disgust, are all gorgeous and talented. Renée, the oldest one of the group is the unparalleled beauty of the family. Lest you think I’m exaggerating and she’s not really all that and a bag of chips, let me ask if the name Renée Finnegan means anything to you? Yes, that’s right, “The” Renée Finnegan, the gorgeous Midwestern girl who won the coveted Cover Girl contract when she was only seventeen, fresh out of high school. Try surviving two whole years at Pipsy High with people asking, “You’re Renée’s sister? Really?” The tone of incredulity was more than I could bear.

Next is Ginger. She’s the brain. But please, before you picture an unfortunate looking nerd with braces and braids, I should tell you that she is only marginally less gorgeous than Renée. She was also the recipient of a Rhodes scholarship, which funded her degree in the History of Renaissance Art, which she acquired at Oxford. Yes, Oxford, not the shoes, not the cloth, but the actual university in England.

The youngest of our quartet is Muffy, born Margaret Fay, but abbreviated to Muffy when at the tender age of two she couldn’t pronounce Margaret Fay and began referring to herself as one might a forty-two-year old socialite. Muffy is the jock. She plays tennis and even enjoyed a run on the pro-circuit before a knee injury forced her to retire. She did however play Wimbledon three years in a row, and while never actually winning, the experience allows her to start sentences with, “Yes, well when I played Wimbledon…” And make pronouncements like, “There’s nothing like the courts at Wimbledon in the fall.” Muffy is now the tennis pro at The Langley Country Club. Her husband Tom is the men’s tennis pro, insuring they are the tannest, most fit couple on the entire planet. They’re perfection is enough to make you barf.

I am the third child in my family, christened Miriam May Finnegan which against my express consent got shortened to Mimi. For years I demanded, “It’s Miriam, call me Miriam!” No one listened, as is the way in my family.

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Describe yourself in three words: Tall, funny, curvy.

If you could meet any author, who would it be? Fannie Flagg.

What made you want to be an author? Fannie Flagg.

Salty or sweet? Both, at the same time!

Describe your writing/editing/publishing process: I write when inspired only. I don’t adhere to a schedule. I just kinda do it when the spirit moves me.

What must an author have at all times? A fantastic imagination and a thick skin.

Where do you get ideas for your books? Directly from my own life!

Hard/paperback or eBooks? Paperbacks and eBooks.

Is social media a help or a hinder? Yes. The truth is that I’m relatively new to social media. I love the contact that I have with friends, loved ones and readers but I’m a little creeped out with people like “DoubleBananaHolder” following me on Twitter.

What was the last book you fell in love with? Twin Piques by Tracie Banister.

Do you have any writing rituals? I seem to eat an awful lot when writing. Perhaps this is why my heroines all wear double digits.

What is the best advice you’ve been given? As long as you believe in yourself, you will succeed. If someone else doesn’t believe in you, drop ‘em.

**Additional comments by Whitney: I love writing romantic comedies. Life is ridiculous, scary, frustrating and outrageous. I love reading and writing about characters who are real through-and-through and who get a happy ending every time.

WhitneyDineenPic2**About author, Whitney Dineen:

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.

**Click HERE to buy “She Sins at Midnight”!

**Contact Whitney: Email   Facebook   Website   Website – About

Cover Reveal: On The Edge

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“On The Edge” by T.S. Krupa

(on sale June 9th, 2015)

OnTheEdgeCoverPicBlurb: Andy Parker is a war widow raising her fifteen-year-old daughter on her own. Hayden Grace dreams of becoming a professional snowboarder, and Andy is doing everything she can to make that happen. When Hayden Grace’s passion begins to falter, Andy is at a loss for how to re-inspire her daughter.

Andy does her best balancing Hayden Grace’s competition schedule, practice, and school with her own work schedule at home, in the city, and on the mountain. But work starts to demand more from Andy. Then, Andy receives an opportunity of a lifetime. An opportunity that will turn their lives upside down. But is it too good to be true?

Soon, mother and daughter find themselves in Aspen for Hayden Grace’s first national competition when a chance encounter brings Andy into a passionate, unexpected romance, a romance that could change everything. Will Andy be able to find the happiness she deserves?

**Book link: Goodreads

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**About author, T.S. Krupa:
T.S. Krupa was born in New Haven, Connecticut. Raised in a Polish household with a blended American culture, she is fluent in Polish. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree from Franklin Pierce University, where she also played field hockey. She earned her Master’s from Texas Tech University and recently graduated with her Doctor of Education from North Carolina State University. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and her dog.
 
In 2014, T.S. Krupa published her award-winning debut novel Safe & Sound. On The Edge is her second novel. To learn more about the author visit her website.
**Contact T.S.: Website   Facebook   Goodreads   Twitter

Dear Carolina

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“Dear Carolina” by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Blurb:

A moving debut novel about two mothers—one biological and one adoptive—from a compelling new voice in Southern women’s fiction.

One baby girl.

Two strong Southern women.

And the most difficult decision they’ll ever make.

Frances “Khaki” Mason has it all: a thriving interior design career, a loving husband and son, homes in North Carolina and Manhattan—everything except the second child she has always wanted. Jodi, her husband’s nineteen-year-old cousin, is fresh out of rehab, pregnant, and alone. Although the two women couldn’t seem more different, they forge a lifelong connection as Khaki reaches out to Jodi, encouraging her to have her baby. But as Jodi struggles to be the mother she knows her daughter deserves, she will ask Khaki the ultimate favor…

Written to baby Carolina, by both her birth mother and her adoptive one, this is a story that proves that life circumstances shape us but don’t define us—and that families aren’t born, they’re made…

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EXCERPT

Khaki

Salad Greens

I designed a special scrapbook for each of my children. A custom-made blue or pink album with white polka dots and a fat bow tied down the side, the front center proudly displaying a monogram that was given to each of you. I take those books out every now and then. Sometimes I add a new photo or memento. Other times I gaze at the pictures and marvel at how quickly the eyes-closed-to-the-world phase of infancy morphs into the headfirst-plunging alacrity of toddlerhood.

Other times, like tonight, with your book in particular, my sweet Carolina, I sit on the floor of our family room overlooking my favorite field of corn and simply stare at the cover, running my finger across the scrolling monogram. It’s only a name, we have been reminded since middle school in what has now become perhaps the most cliché of Shakespeare’s musings. But, in what is certainly not the first exception to a Shakespearean rule, that name means more than the house your daddy built in this field where we spent so much time falling in love or the sterling silver service that has been in our family for generations.

It means more because that name wasn’t always yours. And you weren’t always ours.

I was, just like a mother should be, the first person to hold you when you were born. Your birth mother, after thirty hours of labor, fainted when she saw you, perfect and round and red as a fresh-picked apple. I felt like holding you first would be like stealing money from the offering plate. But as soon as the misty-eyed nurse placed you in the nest of my arms, you quit crying, opened your eyes, and locked your gaze with mine. That instant of serendipity was fleeting because it wasn’t more than a few seconds that your birth mother was out.

When she came to, and I was there, cuddling this lighter-than-air you that she had grown inside herself for nine long months, I begged for forgiveness. But she said, “I’m glad you got to hold her first. You’ve been here this whole dern time too.”

I had given birth myself before, and that teary first introduction to a new life after a forty-week hormone roller coaster was fresh in my mind, still damp like the coat of paint on the wall in your nursery. But I’d never been on my feet, outside the bed, when four were breathing the air and then, with one tiny cry, there were five. To experience that kind of wonder is like being born again.

Even in that resurrection moment, I couldn’t have known that one day, I would get to hold you, swaddled and warm, all the time. But I did swear that I would do everything in my power to protect you, love you, and make sure you grew up good and slow as salad greens.

And so, my love, if you ever look at your book and think maybe it’s a little thicker than your sister’s and your brother’s, it’s only because instead of having one mother to save snapshots and write letters and remind you how much she loves you, you have two: the one who brought you into the world and the one who brought you up in it. And if you ever start feeling like maybe you got dealt a bad hand, that having a mother who raised you and a mother who birthed you is too tough, just remember this: You can never have too many people who love you.

Jodi

Jam Left on Too Long

Some things in life, they don’t even seem right. Like how you can preserve something grown right there in your own backyard and have it sitting on your pantry shelf ’til your kids have kids. And how them women down at the flea mall can write a whole Bible verse on one of them little grains of rice. And then there’s the thing I know right good: how ripping-your-finger-off-in-the-combine awful it is for a momma to have to give up her baby.

I think you already got to realizing, looking at me right now, messin’ in your momma and daddy’s white, shiny kitchen, that I ain’t just your daddy’s cousin. ’Course, you’re still so little now, you cain’t know how I grew you in me, how I birthed you, how I loved you and still do. But you give me that same crooked smile my daddy had and squeeze my finger real tight—and it’s like you know it all. Whenever I say that to your momma, she says back, “Of course she knows. Babies know everything.”

It’s a right simple thing to say. And simple is who I am and what I’ve been knowing my whole life. I cain’t say a lot of fancy things, and I don’t believe in making excuses as to why I’m not doing your raisin’. So here’s the boiled-down-lower-than-jam-left-on-too-long truth: I gave you up ’cause I loved you more than me. I gave you up ’cause I wanted you to have more. I gave you up ’cause, in some, murky way, like that river that runs right through town, my heart knew that it’d take giving you up for us to really be family. I used to tell your momma I was scared that being in your life was gonna hurt you. But then she’d tell me, right simple: You can never have too many people who love you.

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Million Dollar Question

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“Million Dollar Question” by Ellie Campbell

Blurb: Just as a huge financial scandal throws New Yorker, Olivia Wheeler, from wealth and success to bankruptcy and shame, struggling impoverished single-mother Rosie Dixon wins an unexpected million pounds. Good luck? Bad luck? Who can tell? Both women have more in common than they realize.  While Olivia struggles to survive her humiliations, fleeing broke and homeless to London, shy unassuming Rosie discovers sudden riches arrive with their own mega-load of problems.

Can workaholic career-obsessed Olivia find a passion for something earthier and warmer than power and prestige? And can Rosie sift through envy and greed to discover true friends, true family and even true love?   Two strangers who’ve never met. Yet neither realises how each is affecting the other’s destiny or the places their paths touch and fates entwine.

How will they surmount the pitfalls and perils of outrageous fortune?

That is the million dollar question!

EXCERPT

PROLOGUE

The battered old transit had been on her tail since she left the office. Humming, the woman cut deftly in front of a rust-riddled Renault, screeched into a side street and watched the van fly past. Paranoid, maybe but she had a good reason for staying anonymous. Her eyes flicked to the briefcase on the back seat.

An extremely good reason.

Still she was more excited than nervous. Closing in on her target.

Even with its challenges this job fired her blood. She sang with the radio as she steered her elderly silver E-class Mercedes through the traffic. She adored its ‘birdseye’ maple trim, two-tone leather upholstery and quirky seatbelt that snaked round her body at the touch of a button. And being a bit shabby, it didn’t attract attention, which suited her perfectly.

Her boss asked once if she ever felt regret. She stole another peek at the innocuous-looking briefcase, so full of dangers and traps. No, being the messenger suited her fine.

The late spring sun pierced through the clouds, alloy wheels chewing up the miles as leafy North London avenues gave way to grimier streets. She spotted a boarded-up shop, a broken window in a litter-strewn yard.

Somewhere, close now, her unwary quarry was drying dishes or pegging out washing, never dreaming of the approaching tempest. She smiled. Like sex, the anticipation was frequently—

‘Go left on the roundabout,’ Ozzy ordered.

What reaction would she get? Shock? Tears? Prayers? Once a husband had burst through the door and furiously berated her for upsetting his wife.

Little did he suspect.

She began practising her patter as her eyes scanned house numbers. ‘Hi, my name’s Agent—’

Again Ozzy Osbourne interrupted. ‘You have reached your destination.’

CHAPTER 1

 

Rosie Dixon perched herself on the hard plastic chair, watching the drawing take shape. A line, followed by a squiggle. Snake maybe? Then what looked like a head of a person with ears on top. And was that a saddle on its back or—

‘Do you like it, Miss?’ Emily asked.

‘Oh yes, it’s good.’ Rosie smiled encouragement as the young girl plucked another crayon from the Tupperware box and worked earnestly, tongue curled stiffly against her cheek in concentration. ‘Extremely good. I love the bright colours you’ve chosen.’

Finished, Emily pointed at the purple object. ‘What do you think that is?’

‘Um. Let’s see.’ Rosie peered closer. It vaguely resembled a bear, although how that fitted in with the ‘My Family at Home’ project, heaven knew. She didn’t want to offend but… ‘What’s his name?’

‘Bruno.’

Ah yes. ‘Bruno the bear. Of course.’

‘Bear?’ The girl shook her two perfect bunches and wrinkled her tiny freckled nose. ‘It’s not a bear, Miss, it’s a chocolate Labrador. Mummy’s boyfriend has one. Durr…’

‘Well it’s lovely.’ Rosie stood up. ‘And I’m Rosie, remember?’

Not that Rosie didn’t appreciate being called Miss, she did. Made her feel like a teacher, although the rather less grand title of ‘Teaching Assistant’ suited her fine. She’d been working at Avondale Infants for eighteen months now, supporting primary-aged pupils in classes of thirty-plus without needing to fret about parents’ evenings, lesson plans and the mountains of paperwork expected of a real teacher. She loved the small children and the hours meant she could still collect her own two sons from junior school.

‘Miss?’ Max, angelic curls disguising an impish spirit, frowned at his latest creation. ‘Can you help me?’

‘Shove over then.’ She nudged him playfully, as she squeezed beside him. Who’d have ever thought that she, shy little Rosie, always too timid to raise her hand in class, would be making a difference, however small, in the world of education? Just showed that good could come from the direst of situations. Even if it had taken a broken heart and some other God-awful trials to get her here.

She tucked a lock of shoulder-length hair behind her ear and handed Max a glue stick.

All things considered she really was incredibly lucky.

 

$$$

 

Mid-morning, the kettle in the staffroom had boiled and Rosie’s fellow teaching assistant, Gemma, was handing round the custard creams. Also in her early thirties, Gemma was recently divorced and had a secret obsession with The X Factor’s Simon Cowell that Rosie was sworn, on pain of death, never to reveal.

‘Anyone got an astrophysics degree?’ Carol, teacher of Orange Class, leafed through a stack of forms, eyebrows furrowed. ‘Certainly need one to fill in all these bloody risk assessments. Talk about ’elf and safety!’

Rosie joined in the laughter as she dropped a teabag in a smiley face mug. She was about to ask her colleagues, flopped onto chairs for their short break, if they were all right for beverages when Pauline Dawkins, Admin Officer, sidled up, a giant birthday card tucked under one paisley-clad.

‘Barry’s fiftieth. Whip-round,’ she hissed, spy-like from the corner of her mouth, as if the sole male teacher might burst in and discover the dastardly plot. ‘Drinks and cake at four.’

Pauline took her charge of The Birthday Book extremely seriously. Rosie had suffered the same ordeal when she’d turned thirty-three in March.

‘Oh, I’d love to be there, but I’ve my sons to pick up.’ Dutifully she scribbled, ‘Have a great day, Barry!’ unable to conjure anything witty or mildly original.

The envelope under her nose was stuffed with pound coins and larger notes. Rosie opened her ancient leatherette handbag, pushed aside her soggy egg sandwich and peeked inside her purse.

A lonely fiver lay folded next to a single fifty pence piece.

Her heart sank. That cash had to last the next two days until her monthly salary reached her bank. The twins, being eleven, always needed money for this or that and Charlie’s cheque was late again.

But then again poor Barry had recently lost his wife. Fifty pence seemed so stingy and she’d never dare offer the five pound note and ask for change.

There was an uncomfortable beat. Rosie’s fingers froze. Nobody was paying attention but still damp pooled in her armpits and along her hairline, her insecurities running rampant under Pauline’s scrutiny.

Was she assessing the havoc a runaway husband could create? Maybe worse – thinking it no wonder he’d strayed? If Rosie had once felt young, pretty and loved, it had all vanished with the end of her marriage. She cursed herself for not finding something smarter to wear than the skanky black cords pilled from the washing machine and a faded cotton blouse (Selfridges Sale 70% off) which sagged where it used to cling. And she’d totally messed up her hair attempting to add subtle honey-gold streaks from a Superdrug box to her mousy-brown frizz and ended up with tiger stripes instead.

Blow it, she thought, and handed over the fiver with a flourish, smiling to silence the warning pang from her gut.

‘Ta ever so.’ Pauline stuffed the note in the envelope. ‘We want to buy him a special present. Poor devil’s all on his lonesome…’ She broke off, fiddling with the plastic ID badge dangling from her neck. ‘I didn’t mean…well, it’s different for you with those darling boys, never a dull minute in your house, I’m sure.’ Her eyes fired with matchmaking zeal. ‘Now there’s a thought. Don’t suppose you and Barry…?’

‘No. Really.’ Rosie tried looking appreciative instead of appalled. Bearded bespectacled Barry was even more tortuously shy than Rosie and any attempts to speak made him extra nervous. They only had to reach the kettle at the same time and Rosie could feel her hands sweat, watching him twitch and stammer. As for fireworks, there’d be more sparks with two squibs in a rainstorm.

‘Just an idea.’ Pauline shrugged it off. She was basically a kind woman, Rosie thought, whatever catty things people said – just maybe a touch too blunt for the fragile sensitivities of a mostly female environment. And it must be excruciating asking people to hand over cash.

Pauline left to corner someone else and Rosie slumped onto an empty seat, tea forgotten. Two years since Charlie had walked out and no one – except Rosie in the secret corners of her soul – believed he was ever coming back. The beautiful home they’d spent ages lovingly doing up had been sold, Rosie and the boys now installed in a tatty two-bed terrace in a scruffy housing estate, where luckily the neighbours had welcomed her as one of their own.

Better off without him, everyone declared. What self-respecting woman stayed with a cheat after all? Outraged friends wanted him to suffer and occasionally Rosie did too. Not in a nasty, vengeful way, but at least to experience a few twinges of her own devastation.

She had fantasies in which he came crawling back, grief-stricken over what he’d carelessly tossed aside. She’d imagine herself on the arm of Colin Farrell, wearing a fiery-red figure-hugging dress, strikingly elegant, flawlessly made-up, her belly flat and her legs mysteriously three inches longer. She’d be ice-cool, telling him it was too late but usually in these daydreams – and she knew it was wrong – just as Charlie left, dejected, her stony heart would relent, she’d apologise to Colin, kick off her heels and run to Charlie’s joyful arms.

**Click HERE to buy books by Ellie Campbell

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EllieCampbell2**Ellie Campbell:

Million Dollar Question is the fifth novel from sister writing team, Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell, aka Ellie Campbell, who collaborate from their respective homes in Surrey, England and Colorado, USA. Their previous books in include the Amazon bestsellers, chicklit mystery, Looking For La La and How To Survive Your Sisters. They aim to write novels with a sense of humor and romance but that are also realistic and thought-provoking. You can find more information on their blog: www.chicklitsisters.com.

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