Saturday, October 3, 2015

Quick Pick: The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

  • Opening lines: (Prologue)
    I don't know what to do.

    The calls and texts are starting to pile up, relentless and suffocating. I'm afraid of what will happen if I don't give him what he wants, and I'm afraid of what will happen if I do. The TV isn't soothing my nerves, given that global hysteria over my impending wedding is the lead story on every channel. 
  • Reason I picked up the book: I had heard a lot about this book, and I started reading it on my tablet on Southwest's site (yay for free books while in the air!) during my recent L.A. trip - only the first 7 chapters were provided, and after those I was already hooked. 
  • And what's this book about?
  • American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it's Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain's future king. And when Bex can't resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

    Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick's sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he's fated to become.

    Which is how she gets into trouble.

    Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she's sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.
  • Favorite Paragraph: ... I was increasingly nervous. Intellectually, I knew I wasn't being introduced to the extended family as anything more than Nick's friend, and that Cilla and even Bea being there would bolster that cover. But I wasn't the kind of moneyed or titled aristocrat with a plummy accent and a Bentley that Nick's relations were used to; I was a first-time skier whose father made comfortable appliances for beer lovers. I didn't know how any of that would go over with them, no matter what they thought he and I were to each other - and on that score, Richard was still in severe, sometimes apoplectic denial.

    Gaz studied me, then raised his glass. "No need to panic," he said. "We'll keep you out of the blast radius."

    As we clinked wine glasses, mine cracked and squirted thick red port all over my couch.

    "Don't tell Cilla about that," Gaz warned. "She'll say it's an omen."

    "I don't believe in omens," I said.

Friday, October 2, 2015

GIVEAWAY: You'll Be Thinking of Me, by Densie Webb {ends 10/9}

Author Densie Webb (you read that right - Densie, not Denise) has a new book out, and two of my lucky readers will win a copy.

Official synopsis:
A chance encounter with a celebrity, an impromptu video, and a shiny new espresso machine. It all added up to a juicy tale for 24-year-old Rachael Allen to share with friends. But when her best friend posts the video online, bizarre threats, home break-ins, and deadly gifts from an obsessed fan follow close behind. Mick Sullivan, the star in her video, offers to help and in the process, Rachael discovers that despite his reputation as a player of Olympian caliber, he’s down-to-earth—and emotionally damaged. He has secrets; some he’s shared only with his pseudo best friend. Others he's shared with no one. But there's one secret he’s hidden from himself, washed away by too many beers. Despite wildly divergent life paths, their shared southern roots (and a passion for good music) creates a common thread that draws them together. As the threats escalate, and their relationship deepens, Rachael struggles to accept Mick’s past—and his present. And she is forced to confront her own obsessive love to ultimately decide if being with Mick Sullivan is worth the collateral damage.

YOU'LL BE THINKING OF ME is the story of Rachael's serendipitous encounter with a celebrity, her brush with obsessive love, and the bittersweet gift left behind by the very person fixated on destroying her life.

About the author:
Densie Webb is a full-time freelance writer/editor of nonfiction, mainly health and nutrition topics. She is currently working on two other novels, a paranormal romance novel and a women's fiction (family drama) book. She would eventually love to write fiction full-time. 


Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Friday, October 9th, at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified the next day via email, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

Two winners will win a paperback copy of You'll Be Thinking of Me.

U.S. and Canadian residents only, please.

Good luck!

You'll be Thinking of Me

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

GIVEAWAY: Becoming Famous, by Natalie Scott {ends 10/7}

Becoming Famous is the sequel to Rules for Riders, and was released in August 2015. You can win yourself a copy here!

Official synopsis:
Bebe Barkley has never released a sex tape. She’s not America’s Next Top Model. She didn’t get pregnant at 16, and has never auditioned for American Idol. In fact, she’s holed up in a hotel room at the Waldorf in New York City, totally depressed. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s about to become famous. A former equestrian rider, Bebe had a bright future until a tragic accident changed everything. Now she’s unable to return to her old life, yet incapable of moving forward. 

Follow her as she ventures from New York to LA, the City of Broken Dreams, where she will find everything she’s ever wanted, only to risk losing the things she truly loves. Join Bebe in her heart-stopping journey in Becoming Famous.

About the Author:
Natalie Scott enjoys writing young adult contemporary romance novels. She published her debut novel Rules for Riders in August 2014. Rules for Riders is a fast paced coming-of-age novel set in the competitive world of equestrian riding. Becoming Famous, the long anticipated sequel to Rules for Riders, was released in August 2015.

Natalie is originally from Australia and has lived in New York and Los Angeles. She currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.

To learn more, go to

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, by Camille Pagán {ends 9/29}

"I'm sorry, Libby. I was only trying to be helpful when I said you should see someone. You should, you know. You're not acting like yourself."

"The Libby you know is dead, Tom," I said. "And by the way, I changed the locks. Until I get back and hire an attorney, you'll need to find somewhere else to live."

I took my luggage and rather ungracefully maneuvered it through the front door, down the sidewalk, and onto the crub. Then I stuck my fingers in my mouth and whistled for the livery cab I had called to take me to O'Hare. The rest of my life was waiting, and I did not intend to be late.

This was a quick read that I was able to devour on two separate flights home from L.A. this past week, where I was at an entertainment bloggers conference. I read a little bit on my first flight (Burbank to Vegas) and finished it on my second (Vegas to Detroit) and even though it deals with some heavy subjects, overall it's a light and fast read.

Official synopsis:
Libby Miller has always been an unwavering optimist—but when her husband drops a bomb on their marriage the same day a doctor delivers devastating news, she realizes her rose-colored glasses have actually been blinding her.

With nothing left to lose, she abandons her life in Chicago for the clear waters and bright beaches of the Caribbean for what might be her last hurrah. Despite her new sunny locale, her plans go awry when she finds that she can’t quite outrun the past or bring herself to face an unknowable future. Every day of tropical bliss may be an invitation to disaster, but with her twin brother on her trail and a new relationship on the horizon, Libby is determined to forget about fate. Will she risk it all to live—and love—a little longer?

From critically acclaimed author Camille Pagán comes a hilarious and hopeful story about a woman choosing between a “perfect” life and actually living.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Dark Wild Night, by Christina Lauren {ends 9/22}

I rarely take a day off - in fact, I haven't taken an entire day away since the store opened four months ago - but I need it today.

I sleep in, have coffee on the back porch, and watch a mourning dove build a nest in my eaves.

I run a few miles along the water, to Cove Beach and back.

I get the car serviced and washed.

I clean the house, shower. Eat and dress.

And I give myself the entire day to think about what's happening with me and Lola. 

I love Christina Lauren's books. I always fly through them because they're so easy to read. Dark Wild Night is the third book in the "Wild Seasons" series, which focuses on a group of six friends who end up romantically involved and paired off. Dark Wild Night focuses on Lola (real name: Lorelei) and Oliver, the only pair of the friends who annulled their Vegas marriage (the 3 pairs all got married in Vegas, drunkenly, one night) and didn't end up together afterwards still.

Official synopsis:
Lola and Oliver like to congratulate themselves on having the good sense not to consummate their drunken Las Vegas marriage. If they’d doubled-down on that mistake, their “Just Friends” situation might not be half as great as it is now.

…Or so goes the official line.

In reality, Lola’s wanted Oliver since day one - and over time has only fallen harder for his sexy Aussie accent and easygoing ability to take her as she comes. More at home in her studio than in baring herself to people, Lola’s instinctive comfort around Oliver nearly seems too good to be true. So why ruin a good thing?

Even as geek girls fawn over him, Oliver can’t get his mind off what he didn’t do with Lola when he had the chance. He knows what he wants with her now…and it’s far outside the friend zone. When Lola’s graphic novel starts getting national acclaim - and is then fast-tracked for a major motion picture - Oliver steps up to be there for her whenever she needs him. After all, she’s not the kind of girl who likes all that attention, but maybe she’s the kind who’ll eventually like him.

Sometimes seeing what’s right in front of us takes a great leap of faith. And sometimes a dark wild night in Vegas isn’t just the end of a day, but the beginning of a bright new life.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper, by Hilary Liftin {ends 9/16, 2 winners!}

I had married a blank slate, a hollow man. Our love was an invention scripted by a stranger, the elusive Emil. And yet Rob was exactly who he seemed to be: the best actor in the world. In a way I understood him better than I ever had. But I didn't love him. Not anymore. Not after this.

Worst of all, in this phony romance, I had played my part, and it was a doozy. I was the cliched princess, swept off my feet, willing and eager to accept this faux Prince Charming at face value. I should have known. Rob may have commissioned this false romance, but I was complicit.

There were two days remaining before Rob left for Turkey. I'd had six months with the husband I'd longed to know better. Now I couldn't bear to look at him. I climbed into bed and pretended to have a migraine until he was gone.

I found this book to be extremely interesting, not only because I'm a movie blogger, but because it's written by a woman who is a ghostwriter (she helps celebrities tell their stories in memoirs) who decided to write a memoir about a fake celebrity. Lizzie Pepper may be fake, but seems to be based on a real-life couple, at least in my opinion, and I found this to be a great read.

Official synopsis:
“I’ve had a million meetings in my acting career, and I had no idea that this would be the one that would change my life forever. I walked into the room, and there was Rob . . . in the flesh.”

Actress Lizzie Pepper was America’s Girl Next Door and her marriage to Hollywood mega-star Rob Mars was tabloid gold—a whirlwind romance and an elaborate celebrity-studded wedding landed them on the cover of every celebrity weekly. But fame, beauty, and wealth weren’t enough to keep their marriage together. Hollywood’s “It” couple are over—and now Lizzie is going to tell her side of the story.

Celebrity ghostwriter Hilary Liftin chronicles the tabloids’ favorite marriage as Lizzie Pepper realizes that, when the curtain falls, her romance isn’t what she and everyone else thought. From her lonely holidays in sumptuous villas to her husband’s deep commitment to a disconcertingly repressive mind-body group, Lizzie reveals a side of fame that her fans never get to see. Full of twists and turns,
Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper is a breathless journey to the heights of Hollywood power and royalty and a life in the spotlight that is nearly impossible to escape.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Memory Painter, by Gwendolyn Womack {ends 9/13}

Review by: Rachel Gonzales

“I am here now. I’m here now. I’m here now. I’m here now.” Bryan Pierce chanted the words over and over with desperate intensity, keeping his eyes squeezed shut as he rocked his body back and forth in a soothing motion. But then just as suddenly, he stopped. His body went slack and his eyes grew distant as a strange calm descended over him. He got out of bed.

This debut novel by Gwendolyn Womack wonders what might happen if you could take a drug that helped you remember your past - not just your immediate past, but all of your pasts, going back to the beginning of your being. And what would happen if, in remembering, you found out that your pasts lives have been intertangled with others’ going back decades, centuries, even millennia?

Official Synopsis:
Bryan Pierce is an internationally famous artists whose paintings have dazzled the world. But there’s a secret to his success: Every canvas is inspired by an unusually vivid dream. When Bryan awakes, he possesses extraordinary new skills … like the ability to speak obscure languages and an inexplicable genius for chess. All his life, he has wondered if his dreams are recollections -- if he is re-experiencing other people’s lives.

Linz Jacobs is a brilliant neurogeneticist, absorbed in decoding the genes that help the brain make memories -- until she is confronted with an exact rendering of a recurring nightmare at one of Bryan’s shows. She tracks down the elusive artist, and their meeting triggers Bryan’s most powerful dream yet: visions of a team of scientists who, on the verge of discovering a cure for Alzheimer’s, died in a lab explosion decades ago.

As Bryan becomes obsessed with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the scientists’ deaths, his dreams begin to reveal what happened at the lab, as well as a deeper mystery that may lead all the way to ancient Egypt. Together, Bryan and Linz start to discern a pattern. But a deadly enemy watches their every move, and he will stop at nothing to ensure that the past stays buried.