BOOK FEATURE: “Pleasure Island”

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“Pleasure Island” by Anna-Lou Weatherley

Blurb: 

Secrets. Scandal. Betrayal. In Paradise, pleasure comes at a dangerously high price…

Three couples each receive an exclusive invitation to the fantasy holiday destination of a lifetime…

The host: Martin McKenzie, global billionaire and media mogul. Charismatic, powerful and always gets what he wants.

The location: A breathtakingly beautiful undiscovered island, nestled in the Aegean Sea. Private, secluded and not quite as it seems.

The details: Seven days of pure hedonism, five-star luxury tailored to every desire, also includes… secrets, lies, and infidelity.

As the guests begin to enjoy everything the luxury island has to offer, cracks begin to surface between the three couples. But that is not all. Someone is watching them. When they discover the truth – it will be explosive in more ways than they can ever imagine.

A jaw-dropping, absorbing and spectacular blockbuster of a novel. THE beach read of the summer you won’t want to be without.

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Praise for “Pleasure Island”:

“Easily one of the best books I have read this year…a fast paced, engaging read, by an exceptionally talented author. Pleasure Island is a spectacular and intriguing story that is perfect summer reading.” Rachel’s Random Reads

“Pleasure Island was simply stunning and has left me with a huge book hangover that will take a considerable amount of time to cure. It has an incredible pace packed full of twists and turns full of manipulation and surprises…This is THE Summer read of 2015 go and buy it now.” Shaz’s Book Blog

‘This is a fast-paced, action packed read that held my attention the whole way through. Fans of Tasmina Perry and Rebecca Chance will love this book, it is full of drama, revenge, twists and turns.” Rea’s Book Reviews

“Anna-Lou Weatherley has written a fast-paced splendid hedonistic holiday read. Totally absorbing and incredibly fantastic. It left me breathless, and is one I truly recommend.” Postcard Reviews

“Pleasure Island is one of those rare things: a faultless novel…pure, unadulterated excitement…I loved Pleasure Island so much that I want to read it again, and I am already envious of those who have it to read.” Book Addict Shaun

**Buy “Pleasure Island” now: Amazon-UK   Amazon-US

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AnnaLouWeatherleyPic**About author, Anna-Lou Weatherley: Anna-Lou began her career as a dancer but a moped accident in Ibiza put paid to those aspirations and so she went back to her first and one true love – writing! She re-trained as a journalist, specialising mainly in women’s interest and celebrity, becoming the Editor of J-17 and Smash Hits as well as writing for a host of women’s magazines.

Anna-Lou has written two Adult Fiction titles – Chelsea Wives (Vengeful Wives in the US) and Wicked Wives, both published by Avon in the UK and Bookouture in the US and Canada.

**Contact the author: Website   Facebook   Twitter

 

BOOK FEATURE: “The Milliner’s Secret”

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“The Milliner’s Secret” by Natalie Meg Evans

Blurb: An epic and heart-wrenching love story set in wartime Paris, from the 2015 Romance Writers of America Awards shortlisted author.

London,1937. A talented young woman travels to Paris with a stranger. The promise of an exciting career as a milliner beckons, but she is about to fall in love with the enemy…

Londoner Cora Masson has reinvented herself as Coralie de Lirac, fabricating an aristocratic background to launch herself as a fashionable milliner. When the Nazis invade, the influence of a highranking lover, Dietrich, saves her business.

But while Coralie retains her position as designer to a style-hungry elite, Paris is approaching its darkest hour.

Faced with the cruel reality of war and love, Coralie must make a difficult choice – protect herself or find the courage to fight for her friends, her freedom and everything she believes in.

A breathtakingly beautiful and evocative tale for readers of The Book ThiefOne Lavender Ribbon, and Suite Francaise.

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NatalieMegEvans**About author, Natalie Meg Evans: In the late 1970s, Natalie Meg Evans ran away from art college in the Midlands for a career in London’s fringe theatre. She spent five years acting, before giving it up to work in PR. Natalie’s writing has also won the Harry Bowling Prize, placed third for the RWA’s Golden Pen Award and was nominated for the 2013 Daphne Du Maurier Award.

Her first novel The Dress Thief was recently released in the USA.

**Contact the author: Website   Facebook   Twitter

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**Books by Natalie Meg Evans:

THE DRESS THIEF   THE MILLINER’S SECRET

Recognition for Natalie’s debut novel, The Dress Thief:

  • WINNER – 2014 Festival of Romantic Fiction’s Best Historical Read.
  • WINNER – 2015 Public Book Awards.
  • Shortlisted – 2015 Romance Writers of America RITA Award – Best First Book.

RELEASE DAY BLITZ: “Up To I Do”

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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.

**Buy “Up To I Do” now: Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Kobo   Goodreads

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SamanthaMarchPic**About author, Samantha March: Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all-around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up-to-date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and beauty related. In 2011, she launched her independent publishing company, Marching Ink, and has four published novels—Destined to FailThe Green TicketA Questionable Friendship, and Up To I Do. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.

**Contact Samantha: Website   Blog   Facebook   Twitter   Instagram   Youtube

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**GIVEAWAY**

**Click HERE to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to enter to win a $10 Gift Card to each of the following: Amazon, Target, Ulta & Bed, Bath & Beyond-$40 Total!

BOOK REVIEW: “French Coast”

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“French Coast” by Anita Hughes

Blurb: Serena has the job she’s always dreamed of and Chase, the man her heart never dared to. As a new editor at Vogue, she bags the biggest interview of the year with Yvette Renault, the infamous former editor of French Vogue, in The Carlton-InterContinental Hotel during the Cannes Film Festival. She eagerly jets off to France while Chase stays home, working with her father, a former senator, on his upcoming mayoral campaign.

Everything feels unbelievably perfect…until it doesn’t. The hotel loses her reservation hours before her big interview. Serena fears that she’ll have to go home without her story, but then she meets Zoe, a quirky young woman staying in the suite below Yvette’s who invites Serena to stay with her. Serena is grateful for her mysterious roommate’s generosity, but it seems that there’s more to her story than meets the eye. To make matters worse, soon after arriving in Cannes, Serena learns a shocking secret about her parents’ marriage, and it isn’t long before she begins to question her own relationship. With her deadline looming and pressure mounting, Serena will have to use her investigative journalism skills, new friendships, and a little luck to get her life and love back on track. Fast paced and impeccably written.

French Coast will draw readers in to the intoxicating world of the Cote D’Azur. Hughes’ beautiful prose and sense imagery bring the food, fashion, and feel of the ocean to life in this audacious new novel.

My Review: “French Coast” has been a book I’ve been wanting to read for a long time now, and I’m so happy I was able to finally read it.

From start to finish, the author’s writing captured me (like it does with all the books I’ve read of hers), and I couldn’t get enough. I was a little curious as to why Serena would pick up and leave her new fiancé, Chase, so quickly, but she had a job to do, and she didn’t want to miss out on her big chance. Once she arrived in France, met Zoe, and learned Yvette’s stories, I found it interesting at how the stories from the past and the present correlated. I really enjoyed Serena’s character, and by the end, I saw that she’d transformed into her true self.

One of my main things I wished that there could have been more scenes with Serena and chase, because I really liked them.I also wondered if she wanted more closure from him. I also wish we could see into her new life, considering all the changes, (sorry, no spoilers).

I read this book in two days, so if you’re looking for a quick summer beach read, I highly recommend this book.

I give “French Coast” 5 stars!

**Buy “French Coast” now!: Amazon   Barnes & Noble

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AnitaHughes2About author, Anita Hughes: Anita is the author of Lake Como, Monarch Beach, and Market Street. She attended UC Berkeley’s Masters in Creative Writing Program, and has taught Creative Writing at The Branson School in Ross, California. Hughes lives in Dana Point, California, where she is at work on her next novel.

**Contact Anita: Website   Twitter

EXCERPT and BOOK REVIEW: “Neverending Beginnings”

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“Neverending Beginnings” by Mary Chris Escobar”

Blurb: This contemporary romance is Groundhog Day meets My Best Friend’s Wedding. Readers who like women’s fiction by Meg Cabot, Emily Giffin and Allison Winn Scotch will enjoy this romantic comedy.

Kate is alarmed to find out that her best friend Amy is getting married after dating for only six months. Her alarm turns to shock when she learns that the groom-to-be is Kate’s old college ex. As the big day approaches, Kate’s inability to hide her feelings is threatening to ruin her friendship with Amy.

Kate’s last minute, vodka-fueled wedding toast has her wishing she could turn back the clock and make things right. Imagine her surprise when she wakes up the next day and finds out she can.

Forced to relive one of the most painful weeks of her life, Kate slowly works to repair the damage she has done. In the process, she learns a lot about herself and the cynically charming best man, Ben.

**Buy “Neverending Beginnings” now!: Amazon   Apple iBooks   Barnes & Noble   Kobo   Smashwords

EXCERPT

“So, Katherine, another round before our big performance?” Ben asked, referring to the toasts and bringing my attention back to the present again. Somehow, I had managed to glide through dinner plus wine.

“Sounds like a plan.” I felt a little shaky as we made our way to the bar. Nerves, I was sure. Just one more drink couldn’t hurt.

Halfway through my second drink the DJ gave Ben the signal: one more song before the toasts. I took a deep breath. My toast was taken from one of those terribly cliché books. I added in a couple of details about Amy to make it more personal; and, of course, steered clear of the whole having dated the groom issue. I felt pretty good about what I had ultimately come up with. I made note cards and even practiced in front of the mirror a couple of times, determined not to let Amy down. The music stopped.

“All right folks, I’ve got a couple of people here to share some thoughts with the bride and groom,” announced the DJ.

It was time. Ben was up first, so I kept my seat at the bar.

“So, I’ve known Jack for a few years, and I’ve witnessed some of his biggest accomplishments. Three years ago, we finished our MBAs together. Jack went on to get a brilliant management position. After only two and a half years of hard work, he was recently promoted to vice president of his division. However, of all these accomplishments, I know that the one Jack is most proud of is his marriage to Amy today. Now, admittedly, I don’t know Amy that well, but I know she must be amazing because somehow she has inspired from my friend, not only a proposal, but also a wedding within months. Those of you who know Jack understand; he doesn’t do anything fast. This is a man who thinks through tying his shoes every morning.” Some laughter from the crowd. “In fact, I was a little worried there was something suspicious going on; maybe Amy had whipped up some gypsy love potion and baked it in the brownies.” More laughter from the crowd. “Admittedly, I looked for signs to make sure this wasn’t the case. But I didn’t have to look far. As many of you know, Jack’s father had a heart attack a few weeks ago and had to have surgery. He’s much better and here with us today, thankfully, but it was a tough time for the family. I went to visit at the hospital several times, and each time Amy was there. This is, I remind you, less then three weeks before her wedding, that she has had barely three months to plan …”

Shit. I hadn’t even known. The one thing that always stuck out in my mind about Jack was his close relationship with his father. It was admirable, almost inspiring. Amy hadn’t even mentioned the heart attack. Then again, why would she have? I would just have found a way to turn it into another reason the wedding shouldn’t happen. What was I doing? Why did this all matter so much to me? They were happy, they were right for each other. Amy said so, and no one’s family seemed upset—hell, they’re just happy to all be alive today.

“Kate, you’re up.” Ben nudged me. I had been too lost in my thoughts to even realize that he had finished, much less had time to return to his spot next to me at the bar.

I stood up and walked to the table where the DJ was waiting with a microphone. From the look on his face, I gathered it was taking me a while to get there. I dug in my purse for my notes as I walked across the dance floor. Car keys, wallet, lipstick, car keys, wallet, lipstick, car keys … no note cards. Shit. Where were they? The bar, I left them on the bar after looking over them. All the way in the back of the room. Shuffles and whispers began to spread through the tables. Shit. I had to get on with it. I took the microphone and turned to look out into the mirage of white linen and lilacs. The faces in front of me blurred.

“Um, hi. I’m Kate, one of the bridesmaids. Um, you see I have this toast all planned, but it seems that I left my note cards at the bar …”

Laughter from the crowd; OK, I could do this.

“So, I’ve known Amy for almost five years and Jack for, let’s see, I guess about six or seven … or, wow – maybe almost eight … maybe. Anyway, Amy and I met after college— and Jack and I actually dated in college …”

Silence. There was a tunneled din in my ears, the one where you can hear yourself talk, but your voice sounds like you are talking into a cardboard paper towel roll like you did when you were a kid.

“So, um, let me just say that until just now I didn’t even know that Jack’s dad had a heart attack. I’m so sorry, Mr. Cannon … and Jack. And Amy, I hate that you felt you couldn’t tell me. I’m sorry I’ve been such a bitch … I mean, I’m sorry I haven’t been so nice about …”

A tap on my shoulder. Ben with my note cards and a very concerned look on his face. The whole room was swaying as I reached out for them. The whirring had become so loud I couldn’t even hear what Ben was saying to me. My eyelids were heavy and the room had started to spin so fast that I searched for something to hold on to. I saw Ben reach out for me. Everything went black.

My Review: “Neverending Beginnings” is unlike any book I’ve ever read. From the beginning, Kate’s story begins immediately, and once it started, I didn’t want to stop reading. From the shocking news that Kate’s ex is marrying her best friend, to taking an interest in the best man, and a having happily-ever-after ending, “Neverending Beginnings” had me flipping pages like crazy, and enjoying all the twists, turns along the way.

Though, at times, reading about Kate’s week was a little repetitive (but I expected that), at the end of the book, I was not disappointed. I must admit that I was curious to see how the author would pull off repeating Kate’s week, but she did a fantastic job! It was interesting to see how Kate’s relationships changed throughout the book, and that was one of the things I liked best. As for how the book ended, I loved it, and even got a little teary-eyed! This was my first book by Mary Chris Escobar, and it will not be my last!

I give “Neverending Beginnings” 5 stars!

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MaryChrisEscobarPic**About Mary Chris Escobar: Award-winning author Mary Chris writes women’s fiction. She was destined to write romance from a young age (as a child, her stuffed animals always got their happily-ever-afters). She lives in Richmond, Virginia in a renovated parking garage with her husband. Find her on her website, on Twitter or just about anywhere good coffee or craft beer is served.

**Contact Mary Chris Escobar: Facebook   Goodreads   Instagram   Twitter

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GIVEAWAY

**Click HERE to enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

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EXCERPT: “The Broken Road”

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“The Broken Road” by Melissa Huie

Blurb: Twenty-six-year-old Megan Connors’s life is not going in the direction she thought it would. With her love life in the dumps, she doesn’t think it could get any worse until her long-time crush, Shane asks to move in. After all, he has no clue that she’s been in love with him for the past ten years. But fate has a way of turning things around.

As their relationship goes from “just friends” to lovers, life takes a turn for the unexpected. Shane isn’t the person that Megan once fell in love with all those years ago. Shane has a past; deadly secrets that are only revealed once the FBI knocks on Megan’s door.

Secrets, tragedy, and deceit force Shane—and Megan—to make choices that will change their lives forever. Once Megan learns the truth, will she still want to be with Shane? Or will someone else be at the end of her broken road?

The Broken Road contains mature themes, heart-pounding action, edge-of-your-seat suspense, graphic violence and steamy romance, with a side of strong language, drug dealing, and a lot of sarcastic humor.

EXCERPT

“Yeah, baby. I knew you’d remember me at some point. I didn’t forget you,” he said in a surly tone. He was obviously drunk and tried to run his hand down my arm. I pulled away.

“Yeah. Well, nice talking to you.” I turned my back to him and waited for Fallon to get my drink.

“Don’t turn away,” he said, touching my arm “You’re here, I’m here; let’s dance for a while and see how well you remember me.”

I yanked my arm back. “No thanks. And don’t touch me. I’m here with someone, not you.”

Dominic grabbed my arm roughly. His brown eyes blazed. I could tell he was not used to hearing the word no. “You don’t need to act like that. Come on baby. Let’s dance.”

I could see Fallon wave to someone, but I couldn’t see who. God, I didn’t want to cause a scene and cause security to come over. I didn’t need anyone to fight my battles, I could fight them myself. I looked down at his sleazy hand on my arm and balled up my fists.

“Listen, asshole, if you don’t get your hand off me, I’m going to break it,” I warned.

Dominic just laughed and let go. “If you’re here with someone, where is he? Huh?”

“Hey, baby, did you miss me?” said a voice behind me. A pair of muscular tattooed arms wrapped around my waist. I knew that voice. Shane. I breathed a sigh of relief. I looked up at him. His beautiful eyes were hard and his jaw was clenched. His body was coiled in anger. Shane was ready to drop this clown to the floor. I played the role and stood up on my toes to kiss his jaw line. I could feel a little quiver in his body as he relaxed his stance slightly.

“Hey, sweetie. Of course I did,” I said with a smug smile on my lips.

“What’s up, Dominic?” Shane said with a nod, his tone undeniably cold. Shane is a gentle man, but he is also a protector. He never fought unless it was necessary and when he did fight, he rarely lost.

“Shane. Sorry man, I didn’t realize she was with you,” Dominic said, backing off slightly.

Shane ignored him and loudly whispered, “Let’s dance.” Taking my hand, he led me to the dance floor. I turned and saw Fallon watching us with anticipation. “Thanks,” I mouthed, as Shane pulled me away. She just grinned. She knew how close Shane came to kicking Dominic’s ass.

My favorite Usher song came on and Shane pulled me close. With my body tingling from his touch, my hopes soared. But I felt the need to give him an out, just in case. “Thanks for helping me, but I could have handled him. I think you made your point. You don’t have to dance with me if you don’t want to.”

Shane gave me a mischievous grin. “We can’t let Dominic see you dancing alone can we? What, you don’t want to dance with me?”

I had to smile. “Oh shut up, you fool.”

He put his hands on my hips, and pulled me closer. Shane swayed his body in time with mine, matching me step to step. We fit perfectly. I was captivated by how well our bodies seem to fuse together. I threw my arm around his neck as he held me. We were so close air couldn’t have found a space between us. Electric sparks shot straight to my toes and I had to remember to breathe. I looked up at him; his eyes were dark and inviting. I don’t know if it was the loneliness of being single or the heat of the moment, but I put my other arm around his neck and tentatively touched my lips to his. I cannot believe I just did that. My cheeks flamed with embarrassment.

“Sorry,” I stammered.

Shane’s response stole what little breath I had left. He crushed his lips hungrily to mine. Those electric sparks were nothing compared to what I felt then. Fire broke out all over my body, the sensation shot right through me to a place that had been idle for far too long—my heart (and some place lower). His tongue gently caressed mine, and I sighed in ecstasy. Shane broke the kiss off first; there was fire in his eyes. “Damn, Megan,” he muttered, holding me tight. Oh my god, what did I do? I can’t believe we kissed!

“Let’s get out of here while we’re still standing,” he growled, pulling me off the dance floor.

**Buy “The Broken Road”: Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Goodreads

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MelissaHuie**About author, Melissa Huie: Melissa grew up in Maryland by the Chesapeake Bay, where her favorite memories took place near the water. Not having the physical coordination for most sports and the tendency to trip over air, she gravitated to books. She was never seen without a book. With her imagination running wild, she began to write her own stories at the age of nine, with her first book about a pet-loving family and the adventures they had. As time passed and Melissa grew up, reading and writing always stayed with her, becoming her escape from everyday life.

Melissa now lives near Washington, D.C. with her family, dog and a lot of fish. In between the chaos of laundry, chasing after her three children and trying to not to burn dinner, Melissa finds her escape by feeding her addiction of reading and writing of love, suspense and sarcastic humor.

**Contact Melissa: Email   Facebook   Twitter

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**Click HERE to see other stops on Melissa’s Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours!

EXCERPT & BOOK REVIEW: “Walk on the Wild Side”

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“Walk on the Wild Side” by Suzie Jay

Blurb: Violet Monte believed her love and marriage would last a lifetime–until she catches her husband in bed with a younger woman.

When she realizes she was nothing more than a trophy wife, Violet decides to chase her own dreams. The only problem is, she has no idea what they are. Violet begins to pursue her own interests which sometime include spying on her mysterious neighbor, who might actually be a lady of the night.

Just as Violet is finding stability–– and the possibility of opening her heart again–– her husband returns not with an apology, but with a signed pre-nuptial agreement, claiming he’ll keep everything and leave her with nothing.

Violet is far from the compliant woman he once knew but she doubts she has the strength to fight and win, until her intriguing neighbor unlocks what Violet has been looking for all along.

Can Violet fight back from a lost love and reinvent herself into the person she always wanted to be or will she forever be just an ex-trophy wife?

**Buy “Walk on the Wild Side” now!: Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Goodreads

EXCERPT

“Once upon a time, in a land meant only for the young and good looking, there lived an unemployable, unlovable, wretched old hag. How she survived to the ripe old age of forty-one remains a mystery. All the beautiful girls in the village used to stare at Violet, the old hag, and laugh at her attempts to find love and success. The beauties sat back, stroking their long blonde locks, while the handsome princes drooled like rabid dogs and obeyed their every command.

“One sunny summer’s day, Violet was out walking when she happened upon the most stunning, tanned goddess she had ever seen. Her attention was captured immediately, and she couldn’t take her eyes off of this mesmerising beauty. Unfortunately, the one man in the village who claimed to love Violet appeared to be equally smitten by this glamorous woman, and was pawing all over her. Violet was angry and heartbroken.

“She couldn’t stand to watch the man she loved turn his attention elsewhere, so she picked up a frying pan—one of the good, solid type that you see on the late night infomercials— and she swung it back with all her might and smashed it hard against the dirty, cheating, scumbag’s—”

Violet!” Her sister’s angry voice broke her train of thought. Damn, just as she was getting to the good part.

“I would appreciate it if you didn’t let your cynical and somewhat psychotic attitude influence my children,” her sister snapped.

Violet glanced down to see her twin nieces looking up at her with wide eyes and huge smiles.

“Oh, they’re fine, they love Auntie Violet’s fairy tales.” Violet laughed and ruffled the girls’ hair.

“We all know you are heartbroken, and you have no job and nowhere to live—yada, yada, yada—but filling my children’s heads with your daydreams of revenge is helping no one. You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself and get back out there. It’s been months, Violet.”

What the hell does that even mean? Get back out where exactly? Get back to my home so I can witness my husband flaunt his new love in front of me?

The way he looked at Magen or Meagan or whatever her stupid name was, broke her heart. He hadn’t looked at Violet like that for, well, ever. She had never seen such passion in his eyes until that day, and now that she had, she was beginning to think Jim never really loved her. Yet, he had been her one great love, her knight in shining armour, her dream guy. That dream had turned into a nightmare the day she got fired and came home early.

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My Review: I was looking for a light romantic comedy, so I decided to take part of the author’s Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, where I would read and review this book, and I’m so glad I did. At first, Violet seemed kind of weak, but hey, if I were in her situation, I would be, too. However, I love how she changes her way of thinking and goes to see her son, though, they seemed like more friend/son, rather than mother/son. As far as Violet’s curiosity about what it’s like to do her son’s job, I found that to be quite comical, and am glad it led her to be able to open her heart again. I loved how it ended, too.

Suzie Jay’s writing was delightful, and she managed to keep me quickly turning the pages, leading me to wander my way through Violet’s adventures.

My only issue with the book was that Violet’s sister’s children seem way younger than her son, which made me wonder about a possible significant age difference between the sisters.

“Walk on the Wild Side” was a very cute and fun read. If you’re looking for a laugh-out-loud and charming read, I highly recommend this book, and I give it 4.5 stars!

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SuzieJay**About author, Suzie Jay:

Suzie Jay is a mum of six who lives in Adelaide, Australia with her husband and children. She has a Diploma in Child Psychology and owned her own baking and cake decorating business. She is also a former school teacher, but escaped and now intends on torturing the world by sharing what’s inside her head. This is Suzie’s debut novel. Other published work includes an April fools day anthology titled ‘Fools Rush In.’

**Contact Suzie: Blog   Facebook   Twitter

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**GIVEAWAY**

**Click HERE to enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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AUTHOR & BOOK FEATURE: Cathryn Chapman, author of “Sex, Lies, & Cruising”

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About author, Cathryn Chapman: Cathryn nearly gave up her writing career when her eighth grade English teacher refused to believe her sensual poem could have been written by somebody so young. Two years later, when Cathryn was fourteen, that same English teacher declared she should start writing for Mills & Boon, and a women s fiction writer was born. Cathryn graduated from university with a Business Degree and spent seven years travelling the world working on cruise ships, and living in London, New York, Paris and South America. In her thirties, she left a successful marketing and public relations career to pursue her dream of gracing the stages in London s West End. When this failed dismally, Cathryn settled down with a husband and baby boy, and stayed in one country long enough to finally write her first novel, SEX, LIES, AND CRUISING.

**Contact Cathryn: Website   Facebook   Twitter

GUEST POST

My Fears as a Writer

Those of you who are also writers will probably understand this. People think I’m a really confident person, so it feels strange to admit it, but I have so, so many fears. Especially as a writer. It took me three years to finish ‘Sex, Lies, and Cruising’, admittedly with a few long breaks — but it took its toll on me, my finances, and my family… so while finishing it and putting it out into the world makes me feel proud, it also fills me with fear.

I read an interview with a successful author who said of publishing your first book – “Be prepared for reviews of people who do not know you. They don’t owe you anything.” Geez, that really scared me, because I had always feared that. I had seven amazing beta readers for this book, and all of them were either friends or family. A couple of them were very open and honest about what they didn’t like in the first draft (the published version is about the tenth draft!), but there is always that worry that the people who offer to help you with beta reading (or similar) are also the people who want to see you succeed. So waiting for the reviews to come in has been like waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I started seeing a life coach this month about it. She asked me to describe what I was feeling, and it all tumbled out…

“I fear that the book is no good and people won’t like it. I fear that the years of time, effort, and tears I’ve put into this will prove to be a big, embarrassing waste. I fear that the beta readers loved it because they love me, and that everybody else will think it’s a terribly bad joke. I fear that anybody who does like it, won’t like the sequel. I fear that people will think the lead character is me, and will judge me for it. I fear that I won’t sell many copies and will spend years paying off the loans I have taken out to pay for editing and promotion…” I said, very emotional. Yep, it turns out I fear a lot of things.

Doesn’t sound much like a romantic comedy writer, does it?!!

The counsellor summed it up pretty well. “Well, you’re pretty much stuffed no matter what happens, aren’t you?” she said, smiling kindly. “You’ve got a life script which says you’re not good enough, and nothing you do or achieve is going to make you feel like you are. You’ve seen to that.”

I suppose it’s strange that somebody with so many fears of judgement would choose to write a book and self-publish it. Not only that, but I took out loans to promote it, which means that even more people have had a chance to judge me and my work. I also allowed my publicist to tell people that I worked on cruise ships and allow everybody to think the book must be a thinly veiled autobiography, which causes a whole host of new problems for a new fiction author… Is it total lunacy? Or do I have some confidence mixed in with the fear, which dares to believe people will like what they read…?

It also makes me want to ask you, the readers of this blog: “What are your fears?” and “How do you overcome them?”

Having said all that, at the time of writing this blog, I’ve seen a few reviews of ‘Sex, Lies, and Cruising’… and they’re good! It makes me so, so proud and happy to have written something which people like, and I get the warm and fuzzies big-time when I read these reviews! As someone who has been a voracious reader since about the age of seven, I always took for granted that books just ‘appeared’ in the bookshop, and now I know that a whole bunch of those authors are probably as fearful as I am, having sweated for months, or even years, over their precious babies!

The book is basically a comedy, even though Ellie learns some difficult lessons. I hope you find her relatable, even if you think you wouldn’t make the same decisions she does. I hope you have a lovely few days or weeks getting lost in the crazy world of cruise ships, with a fair bit of sex, more lies than we’d like, and a little bit of cruising.

And at the risk of facing my fears, I can’t wait to hear your feedback!

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“Sex, Lies, & Cruising”

Blurb: Exotic locations, sexy men, and crazy crew parties… Ellie has her dream job… or does she?

When Ellie’s fiancé cheats on her with a younger, slimmer, blonde from the office, she boots him out of her life and finds solace in a fabulous photography job aboard a Caribbean cruise ship. Twenty-four hours on board and she’s already shagged her sexy Texan colleague, who happens to love her muffin-top. Unfortunately he’s leaving in a week, and his ex-girlfriend, a hot-headed Brazilian with stripper moves right out of the 90s and a talent for stealing boyfriends, is still on board and out for revenge.

Ellie must work out how to deal with the loco ex, sort the lying scumbags from the good guys, and figure out how many crew members in a cabin it takes before officially becoming group sex. Who the hell knows? (It’s five, actually.) It’s a world completely unlike the one she left behind, but as she tries to find her place on board, Ellie discovers laughter and tears in equal measure. And in the midst of the craziness, she realises the greatest thing this lifestyle change has given her is the chance to rediscover herself.

**Buy “Sex, Lies, & Cruising” now!: Amazon   Barnes & Noble   iBooks

EXCERPT

“Should we keep this secret?” I asked abruptly. “It’s a bit weird, right, that I only got here and yesterday and we’ve already…you know…”

“I wouldn’t worry about it,” he said with a shrug. “This is a cruise ship, little lady, not a convent.”

Our night of passion had been one of my exotic cruise fantasies, and he was being refreshingly nonchalant about it, but I still felt awkward as arse. It had been a long time since I’d had to deal with the walk of shame. But before I could skulk back to my own cabin, there was something I needed. I felt around under the covers and quickly scanned the floor. Damn, they were about three feet away, curled up in a little ball right near Seth’s left foot. Bollocks.

“Can you, um, please pass me my pants?” I felt my cheeks go hot. This was embarrassing.

He looked around in confusion. “I thought you were wearing a skirt?”

I suddenly remembered the difference in vocabulary across the pond. Cringing, I said, “My…underpants.” Excruciating.

He looked down and spotted them. As he handed over my pants, uniform, and thankfully, my bra, our hands met and I felt a little jolt of electricity. His hand lingered…then he leaned over and kissed me quickly on the lips. “Thanks for last night, Miss Ellie. I had a jolly ol’ good time,” he said, mocking my accent embarrassingly badly.

“Oh, no problem at all. I’m not normally so…forward…but it was fun.” I reached under the sheet, trying to struggle into my pants. Where was last night’s carefree Ellie when I needed her?

“Well, we should do this again,” he said over his shoulder as he disappeared into the bathroom. I heard the toilet flush, followed by the shower being turned on full blast. I swung my feet onto the floor, straightened myself out, and looked for a mirror to check how scary my hair and makeup looked after last night. I couldn’t find one, so I rubbed a finger under my eye and groaned when it came away black. I gingerly patted my hair and quickly discovered it was sticking up at the back. “Ugh.” Not the best look. Then again, if someone like Seth wanted to spend the night with me, again, I must have been doing something right…

I looked around Seth’s cabin as I squeezed myself back into my wrinkled uniform. It was the same size as mine, obviously, but surprisingly neat for a guy’s room. The desk held a laptop, iPod docking station, and a few books. At the back of the room were a couple of little chairs and a small, round table, where Seth’s crumpled uniform lay in a little heap.

I really couldn’t believe I’d slept with him. I hadn’t been with anyone other than Dan for years, and while I was looking for fun, I hadn’t intended to play ‘How’s Your Father’ with someone quite so soon. Mind you, I wasn’t complaining. Seth had the accent, face, and body of most girls’ secret (and not-so-secret) fantasies.

A knock at the door interrupted my thoughts. “Seth? Please hurry up!” It was a woman with an unidentifiable accent. “We were supposed to be on gangway five minutes ago. Justin is going to kill us!” Knock, knock, knock. “Seth!”

The door flew open and a short girl with wavy black hair burst into the cabin. “Oh, it’s unlocked. I hope—” She saw me and stopped short, staring. “Oh. You must be that new girl.”

Damn. So much for getting out of there before anyone discovered me and started labelling me as some wanton whorebag. I’d thought these doors automatically locked from the inside…

Naturally, I had to play cool. “Oh, hello, I’m Ellie. Really lovely to meet you.” I stuck my hand out.

She just looked at my hand without shaking it, and then looked back up at me. “You seem to have settled in.” There was no trace of a smile on her heart-shaped face. I figured she was South American, or maybe Spanish; either way, she was astonishingly beautiful, and I suspected I might hate her already.

The sound of the shower stopped. “Hey, Maria, how many times have I told ya not to come into my cabin without being invited?” Seth called from the bathroom. “I really need to get that lock fixed,” he added, almost, but not quite, under his breath.

“Sorry, Mr Big Shot,” she said sarcastically, watching me with narrowed eyes.

“What was that?” He stuck his head out the bathroom door.

“I said sorry, I forgot,” she said, smiling with total insincerity. “I see you have a guest.”

“Ellie, this is Maria. Maria’s a fellow photographer, from Brazil. Maria, Ellie is our new Pic Stop girl from England.” Seth came out of the bathroom, drying his hair, a towel casually slung around his waist.

Maria and I caught each other eyeing his toned torso. “We’ve met,” she mumbled, and swung around so that her back was to me. Her curvaceous figure was barely contained by her tight work skirt. I’d inherited my mum’s flat bum and cursed the fact I’d never look that good in mine. I was hoping eventually I’d fit into my uniform and look stunning, but right now I just felt like a cow in a skirt too tight for me. Far cry from Maria’s glamourous figure.

The tension in the room was very uncomfortable. I wondered if Maria was not the type to have fallen into a fling so quickly. According to Seth we didn’t have anything to hide, but I didn’t want to get a colleague offside so quickly, either.

“I just popped over to find out from Seth if, um, I could come and help today.” I stumbled over the lie and felt my cheeks going red.

“Oh yes, obviously that is what you were doing.” Already halfway out the door, she said over her shoulder, “Do not bother. We do not need help.” Then she was gone.

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BOOK FEATURE: “The Girl’s Guide to Getting Hitched”

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“The Girl’s Guide to Getting Hitched” by Sophie Hart

Blurb:

Rule number one: Keep calm and marry on…

When new mum and events planner Julia Crawford is given the opportunity to plan three weddings, she jumps at the chance. What could possibly go wrong?…

Forget bridezilla, Aimee’s future mother-in-law is the stuff of nightmares – hell bent on taking over the wedding entirely. Worse still, her fiancé, Jon, seems oblivious. Aimee’s starting to wonder if she and her groom-to-be are right for each other after all…

Body shy Debbie is on a mission. She’s determined to shed a lot of pounds before the big day. As the wedding inches closer, will the new Debbie lose sight of what’s really important?

Gill loves Mike and their blended family of five kids to bits, but with a house full of teenage hormones and her eldest, Kelly, struggling with so much change, Gill is feeling the pressure…

As the women bond over cake and a cuppa, can they each resolve their wedding woes before the big day?

An uplifting, warm-hearted read packed with love, laughter and friendship. If you’re a fan of Jill Mansell, Milly Johnson or Lucy Diamond you’re in for a real treat.

**Buy “The Girl’s Guide to Getting Hitched” now: Amazon – US   Amazon – UK

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SophieHart**Contact Sophie Hart:

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BOOK FEATURE: “Drive Me Crazy”

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 “Drive Me Crazy” by Portia MacIntosh

Blurb:

It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime…

In reality it was a business trip, prettied up as a romantic mini break, but the man behind the wheel was meant to be Candice Hart’s boss and (married but separated, I swear!) lover. Not Danny the new guy!
Not only is Candice faced with a new driver, but the office’s far too handsome hipster expects her to share the cramped space inside his “fully” restored VW Beetle, aka The Love Bug, and put up with his constant opinions about her life…

Before long she is tired of playing the ‘good girl’ and, with Danny’s help, is determined to finally show the world the real Candice Hart!

Don’t miss this hilarious new novel from bestselling author of Bad Bridesmaid

**Click HERE to buy your copy of “Drive Me Crazy” now!

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About the author, Portia MacIntosh: When she was fifteen-years-old, Portia MacIntosh fell in with a bad crowd… rockstars.

After disappearing on tour and living the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle for a few years, Portia landed a job in the music industry – but only so that she didn’t have to join the real world just yet.

Now in her twenties, Portia is ready to spill the beans on the things she has witnessed over the years. Well, kind of. If her famous friends knew that she was borrowing their lives to inspire her fiction, they would stop inviting her on tour and banish her from the inner circle. Then she really would have to rejoin the real world, and she’s still not ready.

Portia only started writing novels to share her secrets, but then she realised she actually quite liked writing – maybe even more than she likes living on a bus with a bunch of smelly boys – and has since tried her hand at writing about other things.

**Contact Portia: Facebook   Twitter