Excerpt: See Me by Nicholas Sparks {Giveaway- 2 Winners)

Buy it now! Barnes and Nobel 

See me just as I see you . . .

Colin Hancock is giving his second chance his best shot. With a history of violence and bad decisions behind him and the threat of prison dogging his every step, he’s determined to walk a straight line. To Colin, that means applying himself single-mindedly toward his teaching degree and avoiding everything that proved destructive in his earlier life. Reminding himself daily of his hard-earned lessons, the last thing he is looking for is a serious relationship.

Maria Sanchez, the hardworking daughter of Mexican immigrants, is the picture of conventional success. With a degree from Duke Law School and a job at a prestigious firm in Wilmington, she is a dark-haired beauty with a seemingly flawless professional track record. And yet Maria has a traumatic history of her own, one that compelled her to return to her hometown and left her questioning so much of what she once believed.

A chance encounter on a rain-swept road will alter the course of both Colin and Maria’s lives, challenging deeply held assumptions about each other and ultimately, themselves. As love unexpectedly takes hold between them, they dare to envision what a future together could possibly look like . . . until menacing reminders of events in Maria’s past begin to surface.

As a series of threatening incidents wreaks chaos in Maria’s life, Maria and Colin will be tested in increasingly terrifying ways. Will demons from their past destroy the tenuous relationship they’ve begun to build, or will their love protect them, even in the darkest hour?

I’m checking all the entries! So please actually do what you say you’re doing.
This ends OCTOBER 30 at midnight.
Reply to the email with in 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen.
This giveaway is fulfilled by Grand Central Publishing. 

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Colin was leaning against the side of his car as she pulled in behind him, and when he waved, all she could do was stare. He wore a gray T‑shirt that clung from his sculpted shoulders all the way down to his narrow waist. The sleeves could barely contain his well-​defined arms, and even from a distance, the deep blue-​gray color of his eyes was visible, set off by his sharp cheekbones.

As improbable as it seemed, her first thought was that he was getting more handsome by the day. When he pushed away from the car and smiled, she felt something jump inside her while a little voice whispered, If I’m not careful, I could get in serious trouble with this guy.

Forcing the thought away, she waved from inside the car, then took a deep breath as she shut the engine down. When she opened the door, the heat assailed her almost immediately. Thankfully, the humidity was minimal and a slight breeze stirred the air, making it a bit more bearable.

“Hey there,” she called out. “You’re right on time.”

She saw that he had brought a backpack, a small cooler, and a pair of towels. He leaned over, picking up the backpack and flinging it over his shoulder. “I got here early,” he said. “I wasn’t sure that I was parking in the right place. There aren’t any other cars around.”

“It’s always quieter on the tip of the island,” she said. “People don’t like to feed the meters, which is good, since it means we don’t have so far to walk.” She shaded her eyes. “How did sparring go?”

“It was a little more intense than usual, but no bruising or broken noses.”

“I can tell,” she said with a smile. “How about the other guys? You didn’t hurt them, did you?”

“They’re fine.” He squinted into the glare. “Your turn. How was brunch with your family?”

“No broken noses or bruising, either,” she teased, and when she heard him laugh, she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, reminding herself not to get too carried away. “On a more serious note, though, I should probably warn you that I told Serena we were going out on the water today. In case she hunts you down after class and asks you for lots of personal details.”

“Will she do that?”

For sure, Maria thought. “Probably.”

“Why doesn’t she ask you?”

“I’m sure she’ll be calling me later. She considers it her duty to be heavily involved in my personal life.”

“Okay.” He grinned. “You look beautiful, by the way.”

She felt a flash of heat in her cheeks. “Thank you,” she said. Then, trying to keep things light, she added, “You ready for today?”

“I can’t wait.”

With over 100 million copies of his books sold, Nicholas Sparks is one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. His novels include 12 #1 New York Times bestsellers. All his books have been New York Times and international bestsellers, and were translated into more than 50 languages. Ten Sparks novels have been adapted into major motion pictures, with The Choice coming in February 2016.
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Day 6 Self-Worth Week: Jackie W + #Giveaway

I just want to say thank you for being here, and reading the posts, and spreading the love. In this post, there’s a giveaway from a super sweet author who contacted me on twitter about helping out with Self Worth Week. She’s giving away two eBooks.

S. Usher Evans is giving away one copy of her book DOUBLE LIFE and one copy of her other book EMPATH. Both are ecopies. To enter just say something nice in the comments with your emails address.

SO. SELF WORTH WEEK. I’ll start you off with my playlist that I think sums up my week. I love all these songs. I hope you love them too.

There are so many things I could say right now to everyone who needs a little pick me up, but I don’t think any of those words can really say it all. Does that make sense? I wish I could tell you that as we get older, words get softer and bones get sharper and hugs get tighter. And maybe they do. I’m not able to say any of that yet. I know that I hope all that is true. 
I think what really happens is whatever we’re meant to become, we have the strength to become it. I think that maybe we grow shields made out of all the things and people we love that keep the harsh words from penetrating too deep. 
We sort of become modern-day, kick-ass warriors of words and wielders of weapons like swords made from all that ways we love ourselves and armor made from all the beautiful pieces that make us who we are. And we’re all pretty dang magnificent. I mean, it’s a proven thing that smiling has the power to actually help us be happy. The endorphins and serotonin and dopamine all send happy signals into our system. It’s like a natural feel-good-inator. 
I MEAN, Y’ALL. Dancing makes us happy. I can’t dance, but I love to. I like the way I feel when I’m moving, even if it’s just to a beat that only I can hear. The radio in my head that’s on replay of the last song I heard.

*hums some really obscure music*

ANYWAYS.

I just want to say hi. You’re a nice human. You have a great face. You’re personality is awesome. And you are so very worth it.

Remember to say hi and comment with your email address so you enter the giveaway!

Day 4 Self-Worth Week: Kelly Oram + International #Giveaway

Can you believe this this fantastic week is nearing it’s end? It honestly makes me a little weepy to think about. I would just like to thank Kelly for contributing for the week, and doing a FANTASTIC giveaway. I mean, it’s international, y’all. And we all know how much I adore her books. Cinder and Ella is the one from her writing I’ve most recently read, but THE AVERY SHAW EXPERIMENT  is awesome. So is V IS FOR VIRGIN, UNGIFTED and pretty much all the other books she has written as well.

On to the guest post + giveaway! To enter the INTERNATIONAL giveaway, leave a comment on the post for Kelly to read about YOUR struggle and what you do (or want to do, try to do) to overcome it. Fight against it. The winner will get their choice of one of Kelly’s fantastic books. The giveaway ends SEPTEMBER 30, 2015 at 11:59 PM + LEAVE your email so I can contact you!)

Hey everyone! I’m happy to be here today, and be part of self worth week. I love that Jackie wanted to do something to address this topic, and I’m honored that she thought of me. I’m a little passionate about this issue, so I’ll try to contain myself and not to ramble too much.
The topic of self worth is one that is very personal for me. Loving yourself is one of the most important things a person can do, and also one of the hardest. I have struggled with my own insecurities to the point where they literally ruled my life. I almost destroyed myself because I hated who I was.
It took me years to learn to love myself, and once I finally gained a little bit of self worth, my entire life changed so much. It’s like I was finally free to live my life and enjoy it. I am a better person now for having learned to accept my flaws and love myself despite them. I think that’s why the idea of believing in yourself is so important to me, and why it tends to be a recurring theme in all of my books.
From tomboy Ellie Westley and her socially inept Seth Bishop, to Virgin Val, to the physically scarred Ella Rodriguez, all the way to my favorite warlock Russ Devereaux, I think nearly every single one of my characters in my books has struggled with who they are, and has had to work to overcome their insecurities. I believe that’s what gives them their strength. As readers, we say we love strong characters. Well guess what guys, it’s the same in real life. We all have flaws, and it’s those imperfections that make us strong. We grow when we have to work to overcome our flaws. When we persevere despite our imperfections.
I’m going to get a bit personal with you now. Take what you will from my experiences. All my life I have struggled with mental illness. I have both Bi-Polar disorder and a severe social anxiety disorder. I’ve suffered from depression my entire life, and have been suicidal a handful of times. When I was nineteen, it got so bad that I had a complete psychotic break and had to go through a rehabilitation program.
Being suicidal, hearing voices, nearly flunking out of college, being unable to live on my own, and being mentally unstable aren’t things I’m proud of. For years I was ashamed of it. I hated myself because I wasn’t like other people. I thought I was crazy. I thought I was a freak. I thought I was a failure. I couldn’t handle things the way everyone else could. Everything seemed too hard. Was too big of a deal. Even the simplest things that should have been easy felt impossible.
I was bullied a lot growing up because I was a total tomboy and too shy to make friends. In grade school, before my parents knew what my problems were, my social anxiety made it impossible for me to act like the other kids in my classes at school. I couldn’t talk to people, couldn’t answer questions when I was called on by the teacher. I wouldn’t play with kids at recess. It made me an easy target for teasing, and I was picked on mercilessly. I was teased. I was beat up. I was never called by my name—only a handful of nicknames the entire school used. I was as young as seven years old, and that treatment continued for years.
Eventually my family moved and I went to a new school where no one knew me, and I got medication for my social anxiety. It helped, but the damage the bullies had done to my self-confidence was already done. Then my depression problems and mental illness started to manifest in high school. My lack of self worth became crippling. I stopped caring. I stopped trying. I became suicidal. And then, when I was forced to get help, I didn’t see the point in trying to make myself better. I didn’t think I deserved to feel better. I didn’t think I was worth the effort.
I was wrong.
It took me years, a lot of hard work, a lot of counseling and medication, and a lot of love and support from friends and family, but eventually I crawled out of the dark and started to fight back. I learned the importance of believing in myself. I learned that I am worth saving. That I am a person who deserves happiness. And most importantly, I learned that even though I’m flawed, I am still a great person, and I am capable of having a wonderful life.
Am I still mentally ill? Yes. Will I struggle with depression and anxiety my entire life? Yes. And now that I’ve had four children and have hit my early thirties metabolism slow-down I get the added bonus of struggling with my weight. (woohoo.) But am I happy? Very much so. Because I have learned to look at my flaws as my strengths, and I’ve learned to focus on the good qualities I have.
My life is hard. It’s a constant struggle. An endless battle that most people don’t have to deal with. Bi-polar disorder is an incurable disease. I will always struggle with it. I used to think that made me a crazy freak. Now I realize I am an incredibly strong person because I don’t let it beat me. I fight back, and I will continue to fight back. I have to work hard just to maintain the kind of life that comes naturally to most people. I’m better for it. Not worse.
We all have something we’re struggling with. For me, it’s mental illness. For others it’s body image issues, or money struggles, or home living situations. There are endless things for people to be insecure about. Everyonehas flaws. Flaws are a part of life. Embrace your flaws. Learn to appreciate them if not love them. They make you strong, and they make the good things in your life that much more worth it.
I didn’t think I had anything worth sharing. I didn’t think I was talented. I was a horrible student. I’m completely uncoordinated. I’m beyond inept artistically. And to top it off I can barely manage to get by in my day-to-day life. But in my struggles to overcome my flaws, I did a lot of soul searching and started to find things I am good at.
Now, I have a happy, successful, wonderful life filled with more blessings that I ever thought possible. I was told I shouldn’t have children because it might be too hard for me with my condition. I refused to take that. I was stronger than that. I have four amazing kids who are growing up beautifully that are daily proof of just how strong I am. I have an incredible husband who loves me and helps me when I struggle and makes me a better person than I ever have been. I have an amazing career that I love and that allows me to share a little of myself and my own struggles with the world. Every time I get an email from a fan who says my book touched them, or inspired them in some way, it puts me in tears. I’ve had a difficult path, but I’ve made the best of it and I love that my experiences can sometimes help others. That makes my struggles worth it. I’m worth it. And you are too.
Everyone has something that makes them special. Everyone has positive traits to make up for the bad ones. The hard part is focusing on the good instead of the bad. Like the amazingly optimistic Ryan Miller says in Being Jamie Baker says, “Life’s generally not so bad. Most people just choose to see the negative.”
It’s easy to see our flaws, but sometimes it takes serious effort to see our good side. It’s hard. But those good things are there. They exist. Search within yourself and figure out what makes you worth it. Maybe you’re patient. Maybe you’re a great friend. Maybe you are just so stubborn you refuse to quit. Whatever it is, you have self worth. Everyone does. Find yours and hang on to it for dear life. Figure out who you are and be true to yourself. Love yourself. That will be the single most important thing you ever do. I can’t stress that enough. Which is most likely the reason I always bring it up in my books lol.
My next release, The Libby Garrett Intervention is all about learning to love yourself. Libby Garrett (who you may know from The Avery Shaw Experiment) struggles with self-esteem. She’s overweight, and a social outcast. She’s a nerd. The book is about how her insecurity rules her life and how she manages to overcome it. I love the book. It’s more personal for me than most people will ever realize. I’m very excited to get it out there to the world, and I hope that people will not only enjoy the story, but take the underlying message to heart. I hope you all will take the time to read it. It comes out October 24th, and is available for pre-order now on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and iBooks. (hint, hint, wink, wink…) (JACKIE: REMEMBER WHEN I SAID EVERYTHING SHE WRITES YOU SHOULD READ? REAAAD IT)
I’d love to do a giveaway today in honor of self worth week. I’ll give a signed copy of any one of my books (your choice) to one lucky reader. It helps us to hear that we’re not alone, and to see that others struggle with the same things we do, so to enter the giveaway, comment on this blog post and share something that you struggle with and what you do to try to fight back against it. Show me your strength! I know you have it!

Thanks for letting me get all personal and preachy on you today. I truly am passionate about this and hope that you got something out of my story. Best of luck everyone in this life journey, and remember to love yourself!

Find Kelly on her website. It really is such a lovely little place. 

(JACKIE: Hey guys! The giveaway ends at the end of the month: September 30, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST. PLEEEASE leave your email so I can contact you that you have won. Don’t you want to see that in your inbox?) 


Finding You {Release Day Launch} #Giveaway


If Grace Johnson knew one thing at all, it was that all men were dirtbags.
All men … except Noah Bennet.
“I was lost in his eyes. Lost in his tears. My goal was to pull him out of the darkness … even if it dragged me in as well.”
If Noah Bennet knew one thing at all, it was he needed Grace Johnson.
Needed her … desperately.
“My pain was pulling me under … she was my only saving grace.”
Grace is willing to put everything on the line to help bring back the man she is hopelessly in love with. Even if it costs her the future she’s been longing for.
“If finding you means losing a part of me … I’ll do it.”


Amazon  //  Goodreads

EXCERPT

I wasn’t done setting up. “Shit! I still need to finish getting everything ready.” Rushing into the house, I made my way to the backyard, where I saw everything had already been set up. Looking to my left, I saw Will with two older guys. One looked familiar.
Very familiar.
Oh shit.
It’s Grace’s dad.
I’m so fucking dead right now.
The other guy walked up to me and smiled. “Hey, assmole. You want to date my Grace?”
Assmole? His Grace?
Looking back at Will, he stood there smiling.
Turning back to the guy standing in front of me, I asked, “Ah … I’m sorry. Your Grace?”
Nodding his head, he said again, “That’s right, assmole. Grace is my niece. Jeff said you’re not allowed to have my Grace.”
Turning to Will, I asked in a hushed tone, “Assmole? Did he call me … assmole?”
“Daddy? Uncle Matt? What are you doing here?”
Spinning around, I saw Grace standing there with a smile on her face. She glanced to the picnic and then to the flowers in my hand as her face lit up bright, I couldn’t help but smile back as she gazed into my eyes and whispered, “Noah, did you do this?”
 “I wanted to surprise you.”
Grace went to talk when her Uncle Matt tapped me on the shoulder. “You like Grace? You want to kiss Grace?”
Grace giggled and looked at Matt. “Oh, Uncle Matt. I missed you!”
Matt smiled. “Can I hug you, Grace?”
Nodding, Grace held open her arms as Matt quickly walked into them and gave her a hard but fast hug. Turning to me, he asked, “Assmole, can I hug you?”
“Um, sure?” I said as I looked around at everyone staring at me. Grace and Will wore smiles, but Jeff looked at me like he wanted to take my head off.
Matt walked up and hugged the hell out of me. He was fucking strong and I was not expecting him to squeeze me so tight. Stepping back, Matt laughed, then turned to Jeff. “Why do you want to hurt him, Jeff? He’s nice.”

Copyright 2015 Finding You Kelly Elliott







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Kelly Elliott is married to a wonderful Texas cowboy who has a knack for making her laugh almost daily and supports her crazy ideas and dreams for some unknown reason…he claims it’s because he loves her!
She’s also a mom to an amazing daughter who is constantly asking for something to eat while her fingers move like mad on her cell phone sending out what is sure to be another very important text message.
In her spare time she loves to sit in her small corner overlooking the Texas hill country and write.

One of her favorite things to do is go for hikes around her property with Gus….her chocolate lab and the other man in her life, and Rose, her golden retriever. When Kelly is not outside helping the hubby haul brush, move rocks or whatever fun chore he has in store for her that day, you’ll find her inside reading, writing or watching HGTV.

FACEBOOK      TWITTER       WEBSITE     GOODREADS   AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

Blog Tour: Top 5 Places to Get Married (or be told you still are) with Marina Adair

Welcome one and all! Welcome to the lovely blog tour for A TASTE OF SUGAR by Marina Adair. There’s a giveaway, an excerpt, a top five awesome wedding places and it’ll be lovely. 

A TASTE OF SUGAR by Marina Adair (August 25, 2015; Forever Mass Market; Sugar, Georgia #3)
A blast from her past…
Charlotte Holden, Sugar’s favorite pediatrician, knows better than anyone that love only leads to heartbreak. Instead, she’s focused on creating the Grow Clinic, an outpatient center for children. All she has to do now is to host the best Founder’s Day Parade in the history of Sugar, Georgia, to win over a big-city donor. Easy as peach pie. Then sexy Jace McGraw blows back into town and utters those three words every woman dreads: we’re still married.

…leads to tantalizing trouble
Jace McGraw was making an offer on his dream business in Atlanta when he was told that his wife had some credit issues. Wait, his wife? The annulment went through years ago—or so he thought.  He’d walked away only to keep his troublemaker reputation from ruining her dreams. But now that they have a second chance, Jace offers Charlotte a deal: he’ll grant a discreet divorce in exchange for 30 days and nights of marriage. Because this time he isn’t going to let her go without a fight.

Marina Adair is a lifelong fan of romance novels. Along with the Sugar series, she is also the author of the St. Helena Vineyard series and the upcoming Shelter Cove series. She currently lives in a hundred-year-old log cabin, nestled in the majestic redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains, with her husband and daughter. As a writer, Marina is devoted to giving her readers contemporary romance where the towns are small, the personalities large, and the romance explosive. She also loves to interact with readers and you can catch her on Twitter at @MarinaEAdair or visit her at www.MarinaAdair.com.

Top five places to get married (or be told you still are!)
5~Big Daddy’s Antiques in San Francisco. I was walking by one day and noticed a couple sitting in the window dressed as if a part of the display. Only they were in wedding attire. As it turned out, it was their wedding. I found out that this big, historic building with a bazillion windows is one of the top “antique” wedding spots in the city. 
4~Nesldown in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Surrounded by redwoods and beautifully landscaped gardens, this place has it all. Including Snow White’s house. Yes, they have a replica of Disney’s favorite house that sits at the head of the train that runs through the property. They also have several ponds, gardens, orchards, and a beautiful barn for dancing. Romantic, whimsical, and one of the prettiest weddings I have gone to.
3~ The Napa Valley has to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived. Surrounded by miles of rolling vineyards, oak trees, and a breath-taking landscape that speaks to its history, wine country is made for romance. You can get married on the wine train, on a vineyard, or even in a wine cellar that is carved into the hillsides.  
2~ Union Station in the middle of a flash mob!
1~ An old fashion southern barn. Down home or dressed up, it doesn’t get more romantic than saying “I do” in a barn. 
E X C E R P T 
“You can’t work here,” she said, angry that he hadn’t called to warn her he was coming home. He at least owed her that.
“Can and do.” He grabbed a rag off the hood of the car and wiped off his hand, then stuck it out. “Jace McGraw, Sugar’s newest resident mechanic.”
She swatted his hand away. “Since when?” Because Jace didn’t do home visits. And he didn’t stick around one place long enough to be a resident of anywhere.
“Since today.” He cupped the bill of his hat and pulled it lower on his head. “Let me guess, you’re here as the official Sugar welcoming committee. Where’s my pie?”
“What pie?”
“Pie? Something in a covered dish? You know, all those neighborly things people are supposed to do when someone comes to town.” He looked at her empty hands and then without a word his eyes dropped to her skirt and there went the other dimple—and her good parts. “Unless there’s something I can do for you, Charlie?”
The way he said her name in that low, husky timbre, almost whispering it while flattening the vowels, reminded her of a different time, a time when she naively thought he’d meant it. But she wasn’t that wide-eyed woman anymore. She knew what he was offering, and what he wasn’t capable of giving.
After all, once upon a time she’d been married to him. Yup, Charlotte Holden had fallen in love with and married the town’s biggest bad boy. Not that anybody except the two of them knew, since it had ended as fast as it had begun. But those few weeks as Mrs. Jace McGraw had been the most amazing of her life—and what had followed had nearly broken her.
“Yes,” she said. “You need to leave.” Because wasn’t that what he did best?
The briefest frown flashed across his face, and he grabbed some kind of wrench doohickey and busied himself with tinkering under the hood. “Wish I could, but it seems like my services are needed in Sugar for a bit.”
Charlotte didn’t know what hurt more, that he wanted to leave as much as she wanted him gone—which was ridiculous since him being here, during the most important time in her career, was a disaster waiting to happen—or that, after all the time she’d spent praying he’d come back to Sugar, he finally had. Only it wasn’t for her.
“That doesn’t work for me,” she said.
“Well, this isn’t about you. Now is it?” He wasn’t even looking at her but tightening some bolt inside the engine. 
Which was a good thing since she was pretty sure her eyes went glassy at his comment, because at one time he’d made her believe that everything he did was for her. Including walking away from their marriage. 
“I need to go. So if you could just point me in the direction of my keys.”
 “See here?” Jace walked over to her car and squatted down. She did her best not to notice the way his jeans cupped his backside—tried and failed. He filled out a pair of Levi’s like nobody’s business. “Teeth marks. Looks like you got yourself a raccoon or possum problem.” 
Seems she had lots of pest problems these days. “So can you just throw some new tires on it and I can be gone?”
“You don’t need new tires, what you need are new valve stems.” And wasn’t that just like a man, telling her what she needed. “Which for your sporty, two-door tiara on wheels is a special order. Imagine that.”
“So what you’re telling me is that I’m stuck here? With you. And my car won’t be ready until—”
“Best-case scenario, end of the week.”
She let out a completely undignified huff and resisted the urge to stomp her feet. She’d begged the universe for a way out of dinner, and apparently whoever was in charge of granting wishes had chosen today to listen.
She looked at her phone, considered calling Ben, and then realized she could only handle one man from her past at a time. Plus, he was on a date with the new nurse from radiology, which meant Charlotte was stranded. Something that must have shown on her face because Jace set the tool down and stepped closer—so close he was all up in her personal space, which did crazy things to her emotional space.
“I can take you home.” He looked at her buttons and back into her eyes. “Or I can take you across the street to the Saddle Rack and buy you a drink.”
Then he did something he hadn’t done in over four years, he cupped his palms around her hips and drew her to him, and damn it if she didn’t shuffle closer.
“Why would I let you buy me a drink?” she asked quietly, although her brain kicked off a hundred and one reasons on its own. The first being that was how their relationship had started.
Charlotte had been a stressed-out resident in Atlanta, lonely and so homesick it hurt, when she’d walked into a bar and seen Jace. He flashed her that bad-boy smile, bought her a drink, then another, and before she knew it he had sweet-talked her into his bed, then down to the Justice of the Peace.
“Because I think you could use a shot of something strong right now,” he said. “And we need to talk.”
“You lost the right to tell me what I need a long time ago. As for that talk you want, you’re about four years too late.”
“Not according to the great state of Georgia,” he said, and her stomach dropped. “Since legally we’re still married.”

MADE FOR US by Samantha Chase: Top Ten Romances + #Giveaway

Welcome one and welcome all! How are you! Why yes, I do know this is my second post of the day. (wooh) Aren’t you just the luckiest of ducks? Let’s all say hi to Samantha Chase, the author and featured guest post-er today. 
*waves*

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller/contemporary romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40’s to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well. 

When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.

——
Guest Post: Top Ten Most Feel-Inducing Romances of All Time by Samantha Chase
Hey, Everyone!  I’m Samantha Chase and it is a pleasure to be here in the land of bookish rambles talking about my new contemporary romance, Made for Us, – book one in my new family series, The Shaughnessy Brothers.  And I have to tell you, this family series is one that I know you are going to fall in love with as much as I have.
There are six siblings and at the point that you’re going to be meeting them seventeen years has gone by since they lost their mother, and we see how this affects who they currently are. Each book will not only introduce you to an individual Shaughnessy as they navigate through their life and eventually find love, you get to spend a lot of time getting to know the rest of the family, as well. 
As you can well imagine, I am a fan of all-things romance.  I am an avid reader of contemporary romances as well as writing them.  If I have a choice in movies, I prefer one with a romantic element.  To we’re talking about some of the most feel-inducing (LOVE that phrase!) of all time.  Here are my picks for the top ten:
10. An Officer and a Gentleman (movie).  Oh, my goodness.  When Richard Gere strides in there in his uniform and sweeps Debra Winger off her feet??  Totally swoon worthy.
9.   The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge aka William and Kate.  I just look at them and their two crazy-adorable children and just think that they are the most precious couple ever.
8.  Up (movie).  Carl and Ellie’s love story in those first ten minutes of the movie???  Probably the most feel-inducing in a short amount of time and told without any real words.  So beautiful!
7.   Only Yours by Susan Mallery (book).  Oh my goodness, a slightly insecure heroine, a dark and wounded hero?  Sigh.  It’s a perfect combination and the Fool’s Gold story is possibly one of the best in the entire series.  Dr. Simon Bradley is probably one of my favorite heroes ever!
6.  When Harry Met Sally (movie).  Yes, it’s a comedy but a romantic one and it definitely makes you feel.  We’ve all been there – at one time or another – and it’s just a wonderful reminder that the road to romance isn’t always smooth.  But it can be funny.
5.  Jim and Pam on The Office (TV).  I don’t let my older son know I watched this show because he is obsessed with it and I’d never hear the end of it, but I LOVE Jim and Pam.  Every secret look just made me love them more!
4.  The Return of Rafe MacKade by Nora Roberts (book).  This is my second go-to book when I want a romance that just makes me…feel.  Everything!  The angst, the bantering, the love, the hate…it’s got it all and I love every page of it!
3.   22 Indigo Place by Sandra Brown (book).  This is my number one go-to book when I want a romance that just makes me feel – again – everything.  This was probably the book that really hooked me on romances outside of the Harlequin’s that I grew up with.
2.  Beauty and the Beast (Disney movie).  Hands down, my favorite Disney movie ever and the greatest love story they over told/animated.
1.  Say Anything (movie).  To this day I tell my husband that he is my Lloyd Dobler.  Everything about that movie just makes me sigh.

Title: Made For Us

Author: Samantha Chase

Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Shaughnessy Brothers, Book 1
Summary
Can’t make time for love?
The Shaughnessy brothers have spent the years since their mother’s untimely death taking care of each other and trying to make their father proud. Oldest son Aidan is hard-working, handsome, successful-and still single. Sure, he’d like to have his own family someday, but who has the time?
She’ll show him how to find it
Zoe Dalton, a stunning designer Aidan meets on one of his construction jobs, has the beauty and heart to make Aidan realize how much he could be missing. But it’s not easy to break down walls you’ve spent years building up. Now there’s a major storm bearing down on the North Carolina coast, and it could be catalyst enough to force Aidan and Zoe into some major decisions of the heart.

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If Your Book Was a Food, and Other Answers from Jeff Bartsch + Giveaway

Two Across by Jeff Bartsch
Published: August 4, 2015
Grand Central Publishing
G o o d r e a d s // A m a z o n

Highly awkward teenager Stanley Owens meets his match in beautiful, brainy Vera Baxter when they tie for first place in the annual National Spelling Bee-and the two form a bond that will change both of their lives.

Though their mothers have big plans for them-Stanley will become a senator, Vera a mathematics professor-neither wants to follow these pre-determined paths. So Stanley hatches a scheme to marry Vera in a sham wedding for the cash gifts, hoping they will enable him to pursue his one true love: crossword puzzle construction. In enlisting Vera to marry him, though, he neglects one variable: she’s secretly in love with him, which makes their counterfeit ceremony an exercise in misery for her.

Realizing the truth only after she’s moved away and cut him out of her life, Stanley tries to atone for his mistakes and win her back. But he’s unable to find her, until one day he comes across a puzzle whose clues make him think it could only have been created by Vera. Intrigued, he plays along, communicating back to her via his own gridded clues. But will they connect again before it’s all too late?

Le Interview + Le Giveaway 
Before this interview starts, I just wanted to thank Jeff for answering all my questions in all their oddness, and with equally odd answers, yet rather lovely answers. Y’all leave some comment love and be sure to check out his novel!
To enter the giveaway (since it’s not a rafflecopter, like I usually do) it’s pretty easy to enter. OH AND YOU’LL WIN A COPY OF TWO ACROSS IF YOU WIN! Just leave a comment. Say hi and answer question number 3 or number 4 in the comments. Simple, right? GCP will be fulfilling the giveaway, so make sure you leave your email so I can get ahold of you. US only. Thanks and good luck! Ends July 20 at 12 AM
1) This book looks so adorable! Part mystery and other part romance. Where did the idea come from?
Thank you! And thanks for these questions – they’re great. The idea initially came from a joke. I heard someone make an offhand remark that a couple they knew just got married for the gifts. And I thought, “Hey, what if?” It became a con game in my imagination, with this Angelica Houston sort of grifter character and her con man boyfriend travelling from city to city, meeting wealthy people, and setting up fake weddings for the gifts, then skipping town. But that quickly became too repetitive and flat. The thought of the characters meeting in the spelling bee hit me, and it evolved into a more bookish, and, I hope, smarter story.
2) If this book was a snack what would it be? 
It would be freeze-dried ice cream, because it has texture and bite, but it’s also smooth, and it’s unusual. It would also like to travel to outer space.
3) Who do you think from real life would play Stanley and Vera? 
For Vera, I’m torn between a few people: Kiernan Shipka, who played Sally in Mad Men, has that cool, knowing, but also vulnerable quality that would be perfect for Vera. But Natalie Portman would also be great, or maybe Rachel McAdams (I’m thinking of her in The Notebook). For Stanley, Edward Norton would be good because he has the right mix of studious and quirky. Or maybe Jake Gyllenhaal, to go full Hollywood.
3) Let’s say the world is about to be taken over by aliens (they want to study our strange love stories-Romeo and Juliet, Anna and the French Kiss, The Fault in Our Stars, Cinder & Ella). If you were to fight for their side or the humans, which side would you choose (the humans want to integrate them into society, but stop the study)? 
I’m a pacifist, but even that ends in “fist.” When your back’s against the wall, you have to step into the fray. I could not turn on my species, so the humans it is. Besides, love stories should not be subjects of study, but rather, mysteries to be luxuriated in. (If I offend the human race, let it not be for treason, but for ending a sentence with a preposition.)
4) You’re in the middle of the desert. There’s an oasis on the distance. It has books and food. But only one of each. What are they?
Ah, but you didn’t say who put them there. If chance did, it would probably be an economics textbook and some liverwurst, that’s just my kinda luck. But if I got to choose, it would be… (You’re really going to make me choose just ONE book?!) …it would have to be Love in the Time of Cholera, and a very large veggie pizza.
5) Describe your book in three words.
Brain, meet heart.
Don’t forget to comment answering question number 3 or 4 to enter to win a copy of TWO ACROSS


Book Tour: Sideswiped by Lia Riley + Top 5 + Giveaway

SIDESWIPED by Lia Riley (June 30, 2015; Forever Trade Paperback; Off the Map #2)
Goodreads / Amazon / Book 1 / Book 3

It was only meant to last the summer . . .

Talia Stolfi has seen more than her share of loss in her twenty-one years. But then fate brought her Bran Lockhart, and her dark world was suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. So if being with Bran means leaving her colorless SoCal life for rugged and wild Australia, then that’s what she’ll do. But as much as Talia longs to give herself over completely to a new beginning, the fears of her past are still lurking in the shadows.

Bran Lockhart knows that living without the beautiful girl who stole his heart will be torment, so he’ll take whatever time with her he can. But even though she has packed up her life in California and is back in his arms for the time being, she can’t stay forever. And the remaining time they have together is ticking by way too fast. Though fate seems determined to tear them apart, they won’t give up without a fight-because while time may have limits, their love is infinite . . .

Let’s all have a round of applause for the paperback release of book two in Lia Riley’s Off the Map series! Today, Lia is going to share her top 5 reading places and snack with us. 
Top 5 Summer Reading Spots + Snacks
1.     Franklin Point (my favorite local beach haunt) with ice cold watermelon
2.     My bed with a cup of tea
3.     My parents’ lake house with a fresh-baked German pretzel
4.     The playground while poaching my kid’s juice box
5.     Airplanes going to fun places with a plastic cup of tomato juice.

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Excerpt from Sideswiped 

An hour later I’m zipping the back of Talia’s wet suit at the edge of the tide line. Moonlight glimmers on the black water. The waves line up perfectly, peeling clean. I breathe deep, savoring the air’s briny tang and the musty smell of decomposing kelp. My awareness is sharpened by anticipation, the five senses amplified by the dark.
Talia shuffles at my side, getting antsy.
“You sure about this?”
“Yes. Well, sure enough.”
Another set breaks. The conditions are choice. If she changes her mind, I might need to have a ride—a quick one.
Maybe two, tops.
“What’s that noise?” She stills. “There it is again. Can you hear it?”
I concentrate and smile when a sound like a wheezing donkey drifts from beyond the breakers. “Fairy penguin.”
“Shut up! There are penguins around here?”
“Sure. In the summer they build burrows in the scrub along the coast. If you stand outside a colony right after sunset, things get pretty noisy.”
“Penguins.” She almost whispers the word. “That’s so cool.”
The wash races over the sand and breaks across our toes. I figure out a plan of attack. “We’ll paddle to the left shoulder where the wave’s less steep. Stick with me, okay?” No one else is out and my voice feels extra loud even though I’m speaking quiet.
“Have you ever been to Rome?” She takes my hand.
“No, not yet.”
“Me neither. But I can’t imagine the Sistine Chapel being more amazing than this.”
Besides the moon, there’s zero light pollution. The Milky Way arches in a dazzling band across the sky’s apex. Individual stars are indistinguishable in the brilliant haze.
“You ready?”
She squeezes my hand in reply.
We paddle out.
“Whoa!” She pushes her chest up to better peer over her board’s tip. Around us the water casts a luminous green-blue light.
“Phosphorescence. Cool, eh? It’s blooming phytoplankton, caused by this marine species of dinoflagellates releasing enzymes that—”
“That’s enough, Sid the Science Kid. Let me retain this fairy kingdom illusion a little while longer.”
“Science is cool, Captain.”
“I never said— Oh, crap!”
Instead of duck-diving under the incoming wave, the water wall pounds her in the face. She breaks through the other side, coughing out a lung.
“We can head back to shore, don’t have to—”
“I’m fine. Please. There’s a wave coming. I can feel the pull. Can you?”
“You want it?”
“It’s all yours.”
I take off on a left break and fly down the smooth face. For a few perfect seconds, I’m right here in the moment. Rational thought is eclipsed and with it the aggravating confusion of having everything: Talia, Tasmania, honors, and still hungering for more like a greedy bastard. I paddle back to her.
“You looked great.”
“That was good.”
She sits, bobbing lightly. “It’s not as freaky out here as I imagined.”
“Fucking hell, Captain. You said you weren’t scared.”
“No, I never did. I’m scared by everything. But I want to do this.”
We’re quiet. A few more waves come but I let them go, happy to be with my girl, the stars, and the radiant water.
Hard not to believe in magic on such a night.
She clears her throat. “About what happened back at the house…if this is going to work, you can’t shut me out. You’re not just a you anymore; we’re an us. We have to be there for each other.”
I bob on my board and drag my fingers through the water. The phosphorescence lights from my touch. Finally I speak. “Karma’s got this mate; he’s on the crew of a Sea Alliance vessel. There’s an opening for a gig, with voyages to Japan and Antarctica.”
“You want to go for it?” I can’t decipher her expression.
I almost say no, but honesty’s easier in the anonymous dark. “Yeah, kinda. But I want to be with you more.”
“Oh, Bran, that’s way too much pressure.”
“What do you mean?”
“Imagine coming home in a few months and I’m all vegged on the couch, watching awful reality television. Will you think to yourself, ‘I could be gallantly defending the high seas but instead I’m attached to this boring anchor’?”
“Life with you is bound to be a lot of things, but boring isn’t the first depiction that springs to mind.”
“But life isn’t always night surfing. I…I can’t compete against a fantasy.”
“I never said you had to.”
“Isn’t supporting the other’s goals a fundamental part of the good girlfriend/boyfriend job description? I mean, say I always wanted to volunteer in Africa? Join the Peace Corps.”
“Do you?”
“I used to toy around with the idea. Now? I’m not sure but I don’t want to close myself off to opportunities.”
“We can travel through Africa someday.”
“Peace Corps is one of my dreams, not yours. I want you to have the freedom to pursue your own happiness.”
“You make me happy.” I strike my words like flint before sucking in a rough breath. “Look, I’m not a guy cut out for the long-distance thing. I hated every second we were apart the last two months.”
“Bran…” She reaches out her hand and I take hold. “I won’t let go.”
“Me neither.” I scrutinize the sky, heart clanging. Everything appears so deceptively still. In reality, the Earth careens through space. Talia and I, we’re little specks of cosmic dust in the grand scheme. It wouldn’t take much to blow away from each other.
“But in the future—”
“I hear what you’re saying and I appreciate the support. But the only future I’m willing to discuss is the one where it’s me and you—together.”
Better to orbit far away from black holes.
About Lia Riley
After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, Lia Riley scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

Happy Birthday to Me + #Giveaway for You! INTL

To celebrate my birthday, I’m giving away one of my favorite books EVEEERRR.

And it signed. 

So, what is being given away? If you are anywhere in the United States, you have a chance to win a singed copy of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. It’s one of my absolute favorites! It seriosuly needs to be on everyone’s shelves.

If you are anywhere else in the world (INTL) you have the chance to win a any book up to 10 USD from Book Depository.

Here are the rules:

Don’t cheat. I check all the entries. All the entries. All the entries. 
This starts June 7 and ends June 14.
I am not responsible for any packages lost in the mail.
You must be a follower to be able to enter the giveaway.
You can be US or INTL, but I am only giving one prize away.

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Now that that is all squared away, I’ll be giving away a few of my favorite things over the summer {June-August} so y’all be on the lookout. It will be stuff like snacks, bookish goodies, possible socks.

So how are you today? 


Cover Reveal + Giveaway + Sale

Hello everyone! Okay, first off, I adore this series. Like, this is one of my favorite Southern Gothic series ever. Angie is such a fantastic writer!

Don’t you just love the new cover?
Buy the first book in the series here

Is this love affair their destiny? Or is it doomed?

Paradise, Louisiana, is far from idyllic for Mala LaCroix and Landry Prince. Haunted by strange visions, the pair are drawn together by a mystery concealed beneath the polite facades and the murky swamps of the Deep South.  Landry had a crush on Mala all through high school and was her greatest defender, but now-up close and personal-he is starting to suspect that the rumors of witchcraft and voodoo are true. But he can’t let his doubts tear them apart because a day of reckoning is coming. As Mala struggles to conceal her powers and avoid the curse that has struck generations of LaCroix women, Landry will have no choice but to face his own demons. Both of them will soon be caught up in a web of deceit that reveals the dark side of Paradise.

Read the fourth book in Sandro’s series:
Dark Embrace 

Reader favorite Angie Sandro returns to the bayou with a bewitching paranormal romance perfect for fans of Beautiful Creatures . . .

Rescued from the brink of death by her cousin Mala, Dena Acker returns to the land of the living with a terrifying gift. Still connected to the darkness that almost claimed her, she can tell when someone’s about to die—but there’s nothing she can do to save them. Desperate to rid herself of this cursed ability, Dena has only one chance at peace . . . and it comes from an otherworldly stranger. For centuries, Ashmael has seen more souls than he can count but he’s never been drawn to anyone the way he is to fragile, beautiful Dena. She fills the dark void of his days with light, and he would do anything to ease her suffering. Even if it means sacrificing his only chance at a flesh-and-blood existence to truly be with her.

About Angie Sandro
Angie Sandro was born at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. Within six weeks, she began the first of eleven relocations throughout the United States, Spain, and Guam before the age of eighteen.  Friends were left behind. The only constants in her life were her family and the books she shipped wherever she went. Traveling the world inspired her imagination and allowed her to create her own imaginary friends. Visits to her father’s family in Louisiana inspired this story. Angie now lives in Northern California with her husband, two children, and an overweight Labrador.

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