Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Love on the Edge Book Review and Giveaway


Experience love’s emotional gamut from the authors of Mindful Writers Retreat, sure to bring joy and bliss to your heart any time of year. 

From love in the time of war… to love at first sight and long walks in the snow… to sparks flying because of nosy neighbors… Love on the Edge reveals the essence and evolution of the human need for relationship, written in a time when we’re all searching for deeper meaning and connection. 

Featuring works by: Lorraine Donohue Bonzelet, Jennifer D. Diamond, Abigail Drake, Judy England-McCarthy, Phil Giunta, N. J. Hammer, Kimberly Kurth Gray, Hilary Hauck, S. M. Kraftchak, Ramona DeFelice Long, MaryAlice Meli, Amy Morley, Gail Oare, Kim Pierson, James Robinson, Jr., Kathleen Shoop, Demi Stevens, Lisa Valli, Deborah Vita, Madhu Bazaz Wangu, Denise Weaver, and Michele Zirkle. 

Proceeds benefit Allegheny Children’s Initiative—Partners For Quality, Inc.
 
My thoughts:
 
This is such an amazing compilation of stories about love! There are stories about romantic love, friendship, family love, and even what love isn't (there's a story about house remodels, and how we don't "love" that sink/cabinet/etc!) 
 
This is a fun group of short stories from an amazing bunch of authors. Some are very short (a page or two) and others are several pages long, but they all pack a punch! The beauty for me is that if a story or writing style wasn't a favorite, there's a new story to read in a page or two. But those that hit you in the heartstrings make you feel long after you finish reading them!

Available at....
FREE in Kindle Unlimited

Book Excerpts

Finn & Chloe

Kathleen Shoop

O

nce upon a time a guy sat in a bar. Stood up, mortified, unmoored. Finn Corbett’s perfect life had been balled up and tossed into the garbage like a plane spiraled out of the sky when its engine gave out. He sighed then downed the rest of his Iron City Light, glancing around the Three Rivers Tavern. Had anyone noticed the fat bouquet of ranunculus sitting beside him like it was his Valentine date? He’d gone to three florists on his postal route to find the right combination of every shade of pink and red colors that ValentineDreamer2 had said would melt her heart.

Turns out she was heartless, leaving a guy to stew in his ranunculus juices after sounding so excited to meet him. He checked his watch. Over an hour late. The lights dimmed, the dancefloor filled, and the band cranked out its first moody love song. Time to escape. He slid a twenty for a $4.50 beer under the bottle and stuffed the bouquet into his mail bag. Slipping out of the booth, trying to stay as small as possible, he jiggled the table, knocking the bottle off. A waitress breezed past, scooping it up just before it hit the floor. She set it on the table and bent down. “Um, your flowers.” She straightened bearing a couple of stems.

Pulling up to his full six feet four height, his hairline pricked with sweat.

“They tumbled out of your bag there… oh…” she brushed the blooms with her fingertips. “Like velvet. Ranunculus. A lucky la-dy…” her voice trailed off when she looked back at the table and realized there was no lady. She shoved them toward him. “They’re beautiful.”

“Keep ’em.”

Her face brightened, but before she said more, a customer called her away. Finn pulled his bag-strap over his shoulder and balked, the shocking pain reminding him he’d never get back on the pitcher’s mound if he didn’t baby it a little. Switching the bag to his other shoulder he limped, dismayed. He stopped and lifted his foot. What had he done to it? The leap over the fence when the Rottweiler chased him? The slip off the wet curb when the downpour kept Mrs. Renfrew on her porch with a letter she’d forgotten to add to the box?

He shook his head. Five months since he’d been released by the minor-league baseball team, Altoona Curve. There was only one way back to making his dream come true and that was to be fully healthy. Turns out, being cut from Double-A ball, having no savings or health insurance, made that harder to do than most would expect. But then his luck shifted, just a little tiny bit, like the sun splitting through dark clouds and an ump saying “Play ball,” he found the job as a postal carrier in Pittsburgh.

It had been perfect. His route kept him moving, he had the energy to work out and do physical therapy in the evening and the job paid that bill. All seemed to be going in the right direction until that night there in the tavern when his aloneness sat heavy as a just-filled mailbag. Weaving through dancing couples toward the exit, he considered that he’d never been stood up before, not once in his entire life. Perhaps he should have added the fact he had been (and soon would be again, he just knew it) a professional baseball player to his profile, and ValentineDreamer2 would be nesting the ranunculus in her arms that very moment.

But then he’d have to explain the whole system, why he wasn’t playing right then. It was true, very few people understood the competition in Double-A ball was often better than Triple-A… oh, there he went again. How often did he talk about baseball? Maybe ValentineDreamer2 could sense it through the internet, his self-centeredness sucking away all the energy in the room. Wasn’t that what Sarah had always said to him? Yep. He shook his head as he wove through the Valentine lovers, arms looped around necks, as bodies melded on the dance floor. Perhaps his loneliness had settled in long before he admitted it that night. Perhaps he was getting just what he deserved.


***

Angelica
(A Toxic Botanical Romance)

Lorraine Donohue Bonzelet

A

ngelica’s veins oozed of envy and spite. The sap coursed around her, bleeding down to her last veinlet. The unwanted jealousy was uncontrollable – and it was all Rosemary’s fault!

Before Rosemary’s herbaceous arrival, Edelweiss hovered over Angelica, showering her with loving dew-drops in the morning and glistening winks of his filaments at sunset. He hung high overhead from the rock wall’s crag, anchoring his roots deep into the gritty crevices.

Angelica lived amongst the wildflowers in the field below. She was grateful that she stood a solid foot above the others and closest to Edelweiss’s reach. He was her Noble White Matterhorn and she was his Chartreuse Elixir.

Angelica swooned remembering the days when she would splay her umbels wide and flash her snowy starburst to get Edelweiss’s attention. She wished that his silvery-white leaves would reach down to protect her from the sun and his hairy bracts caress her. Now, looking lovingly up at Edelweiss, all she could see was Rosemary’s orangish underside.

A tender perennial, Rosemary sat in her terracotta throne with the other potted plants: happy-go-lucky pansies, delicately drooping fuchsia, and sweet alyssum. Her handcrafted earthenware accentuated the oversized wrought iron stand that was strategically placed against the rock wall – blocking Angelica’s view of Edelweiss. The entitled plants luxuriated in a three-tiered towering complex, soaking up the organic tilth. From dawn of day until dark of night Rosemary flaunted her soft summer-blue flowers and petite sapid needles. She could almost, but not quite, touch Edelweiss. He shortened the gap, stretching his fuzzy filaments in her direction.

Angelica, on the other hand, was down with the dirt-trodden muck, disrespectfully grouped with the weeds. Her blistering sap was bubbling over! She could not allow Rosemary to connect with her true love. Born and bred on the wild side, Angelica had strong invasive and irritating qualities. But even with all of that going for her, she couldn’t tackle this devious task alone. Angelica called upon the queen of poisons, Aconite. Together they would formulate a lethal toxin to take out Rosemary and win back the undivided attention of Edelweiss. Aconite, the root of all evil, was devilishly up for an herbicidal attack.

Meanwhile, the unsuspecting Rosemary enjoyed being pruned and pampered and praised.


***

For Cheeku

Madhu Bazaz Wangu

A new sun rises, golden yellow, exquisite.

You spread freshness of swaddled joy in my lap.

Lips velvety petals, black amber eyes, silken eyelashes.

Fussy cheeks, wrinkly neck, dimpled hands.

Delight rises from the bottom of my belly, my heart, my head.

I am showered with bliss.


“Do you know who I am?” I ask, smiling from ear to ear. You simply stare.

I can’t stop hugging, can’t stop kissing until

you lay in your bassinet under moonbeams.

When you cry, adoring parents wrap you in a cocoon.

You lull back into a womb like trance.

Kisses on your forehead, on your cheeks, on your tummy

leave a sweetness in me lingering like a lullaby.

My cradle song puts me to sleep to treasure the day in my dreams.


***

Also available in the Mindful Writers Retreat Series...
Into the Woods is the title and theme for this assortment of short stories, poems, essays, music, and one walking meditation. Each piece is unique in tone and genre and the result is that the collection captures the fascinating, frightening, fun, healing, and fantastical wonder of time spent in the woods. The twenty-six contributors who attend Mindful Writers Retreats in the mountains of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, are donating one hundred percent of the proceeds to support the research and work of The Children’s Heart Foundation.

Available at....






A holiday pastiche from the authors of Mindful Writers Retreat, sure to light your festive candles!

From a Thanksgiving snow storm that mends old feuds… to the family misunderstandings that fuel new ones… a quirky elf and some romantic stardust will get you ready to go Over the River and Through the Woods on a journey through time!

Proceeds benefit Ligonier Camp & Conference Center Home of the Mindful Writers Retreats, Ligonier, PA

Available at....





Mindful Writers Retreat Authors 

The Mindful Writers retreat together several times a year in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. While there, they write books and come up with some wonderful stories. They share these in their anthologies.


Find the Mindful Writers Retreat Series on Facebook HERE

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Thursday, April 8, 2021

My True Love Review and Giveaway


Embracing Her Heart (The Montgomerys Book 1) by [Foster, Melissa]
NEW RELEASE........
Can a man who resents the hand he’s been dealt and a woman who spends her days grateful for every little thing find true love in each other’s arms—or are their differences stronger than both of them? Find out in this funny, sexy, heartfelt romance, and fall in love with Grant and Jules on the sandy shores of Silver Island, home to coffee shops, boat races, and midnight rendezvous.

Even war heroes need a little help sometimes... 
After spending years fighting for his country and too damn long learning to navigate life with a prosthetic leg, Grant Silver returns to Silver Island to figure out a future he couldn’t fathom without fatigues and a gun in his hand. He’d almost forgotten how a man could suffocate from the warmth and caring community in which he’d grown up, and if that weren’t bad enough, his buddies’ beautiful and far-too-chipper younger sister won’t stop flitting into his life, trying to sprinkle happy dust everywhere she goes. 

As a cancer survivor, Jules Steele knows better than to count on seeing tomorrow. She doesn't take a single moment for granted, and she isn’t about to let a man who used to be charming and full of life waste the future he’s been blessed with. She's determined to get through to him, even if it takes a few steamy kisses... 

Discover the magic of New York Times bestseller Melissa Foster's writing and see why millions of readers have fallen in love with the Love in Bloom big-family romance collection. Love in Bloom novels are written to stand alone or may be enjoyed as part of the larger series, so dive right into this fun, sexy romance.

The Steeles at Silver Island 
(order of future books subject to change). 
MY TRUE LOVE (Jules) 
CAUGHT BY LOVE (Archer) - releasing December 2021
ALWAYS HER LOVE (Levi) 
ENTICING HER LOVE (Sutton) 
WILD ISLAND LOVE (Leni)
 
My thoughts:
 
Oh my! This book made me grin, cry and steamed up my e-reader! Grant is a wonderful man who has been broken by so many things in his life. His parents' relationship breakdown guided his childhood, and his wartime injury took away almost everything he loved from adulthood.

Jules survived cancer at a young age, and has since lived every life to its fullest. She is joyous and helps everyone, so when her attraction to Grant builds, she obviously tries to cheer him up. As she slowly chips away at his surliness, Grant begins to fall for her too.

But can they survive his anger towards the past? As they fall deeper into a relationship their differences are even more pronounced. Can their fledgling relationship survive?

As always, Melissa Foster is an amazing writer, and you get tidbits about your favorite characters from her previous books (along with hints about future books)!
 
Available to buy from ...

melissa newsletter

Coming soon to audio!

"Melissa Foster is synonymous with sexy, swoony, heartfelt romance!" - NYT Bestseller Lauren Blakely​

"You can always rely on Melissa Foster to deliver a story that's fresh, emotional and entertaining. Make sure you have all night, because once you start you won't want to stop reading. Every book's a winner!" - New York Times Bestselling Author Brenda Novak 

"With her wonderful characters and resonating emotions, Melissa Foster is a must-read author!" - New York Times Bestseller J. Kenner

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Tempted by Love (The Steeles at Silver Island, Book 1)
Enjoy heart-meltingly beautiful and toe-curlingly sexy romance in Tempted by Love, an emotionally riveting story about a man who has lost it all and carries a torturous secret, a divorced single mother who has everything to lose, and the little girl who helps them heal. Fall in love on the sandy shores of Silver Island, home to coffee shops, boat races, midnight rendezvous, and the sexy, sharp-witted Steeles.

In TEMPTED BY LOVE… 
Years ago, bestselling author Jack “Jock” Steele lost his girlfriend and baby in a horrific accident that drove a wedge between Jock and his family, keeping him from sharing a devastating secret. An aging philanthropist saved him from the brink of despair, and for a decade Jock cared for his ailing friend who became his family. Now his friend has passed away and left him a fortune—on the condition that he publishes another book. Jock is floundering, unsure how to rebuild the life he’d walked away from, much less find his muse, have another relationship with a woman, or even think about having a family of his own. But he can’t get his sweet, sexy new friend, single-mother Daphne Zablonski out of his head, and her adorable toddler must know something he doesn’t, because she wraps her tiny fingers around his heart and won’t let go.

Daphne has been through the wringer with her ex-husband and doesn’t believe true love is in the cards for her. Friends she can handle, but letting a man see her mom bod naked? Especially someone as strikingly handsome and unbelievably sexy as Jock? No, thank you. Besides, she has a toddler to chase after and enough fictional boyfriends to fill her lonely nights. If only her book boyfriends could make her body tingle the way one look from her mysterious neighbor does.

As Jock and Daphne’s friendship turns to something too tempting to deny, their lives take an unexpected turn. Can a man who has lost everything find redemption with a woman who has everything to lose? And then there’s that secret…

Available to buy from ...

Releasing December 2021!!!
Caught by Love (The Steeles at Silver Island, Book 3)
Fall in love on the sandy shores of Silver Island, home to coffee shops, boat races, midnight rendezvous, and the sexy, sharp-witted Steeles. They have a penchant for pranks, a passion for loyalty, and a trunk full of secrets.

Archer Steele is one of the leading vintners on the East Coast. He’s arrogant, aggressive, and has never been interested in settling down, which is what makes his hookups with his sister’s beautiful blond best friend, hair and makeup artist Indi Oliver, the perfect escape. But Indi’s toying with moving to the island, and when she ends their no-strings trysts to focus on her business, Archer isn’t ready to let her go…

Available to buy from ...


About the author
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and women’s fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance and new adult romance lovers who enjoy reading about loyal, wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines with complex relatable issues.

Melissa also writes sweet romance under the pen name Addison Cole.

Melissa enjoys chatting with readers and book clubs. Send her an email invitation to your next event!

Never miss a brand new release, special promotions or inside gossip again by simply signing up to receive your newsletter from Melissa.

Find Melissa on the following sites....
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Friday, April 2, 2021

Ghosts of Love Book Review and Giveaway


NEW RELEASE...
Richard McNeil has loved three women in his life. 

He feels abandoned by all three. 

His wife passed away in childbirth, leaving him alone, a single father with an infant daughter. His daughter, Emily, now twenty years old, is leaving, marrying and moving away. Two months ago, Kim, his almost-fiancĂ©, the only woman he has dated in over twenty years, left as they broke off their relationship. 

On the weekend of Emily’s wedding, he is haunted by his memories. The day his wife passed away plays in his mind like a video. Stories of Emily’s childhood leave him both smiling and wanting to cry. And worst of all, his recollections of meeting, dating, and falling in love with Kim almost seem real, as if he can stretch out his hand and touch her. No matter how hard he tries, he cannot understand what went wrong between the two of them, and, although he yearns for a reconciliation, he cannot dismiss the cruel things she said to him. 

His memories haunt him like ghosts, and he knows he will not be happy until they leave him be. He wants his future to be like his past, and he suspects, that it is he who holds on to his memories, not they to him. How can Richard release them? Perhaps, he finally can lay his wife to rest. Surely, he can mumble the words to give Emily away. But releasing Kim might mean giving up all hope of ever being together. How can he do that? 

If you enjoy heartwarming stories with true-to-life behaviors, complicated relationships, and a less-than-certain outcome, then you will love Ghosts of Love. One Click this book today! 
 
My thoughts:
 
David Burnett made me smile, made me cry and made me sigh, all within a few pages! This is a fantastic book, set in the present, recent past and distant past, all in one story.

Richard is trying really hard to be excited that his daughter is getting married, but he's also losing the one woman left in his life. He's still grieving his late wife, and has not put the past behind him, which caused problems in the one relationship that he's had in twenty years.

But can Richard release the Ghosts of Love so that he can be happy and find love again? Or will he be alone for the rest of his life?

Available to buy from....
**Free with Kindle Unlimited

Other books by the author...  
About the author
David Burnett lives in Columbia South Carolina, with his wife and their blue-eyed cat, Bonnie. The Reunion, his first novel, is set in nearby Charleston.

David enjoys traveling, photography, baking bread, and the Carolina beaches. He has photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, a Native American powwow, and his grandson, Jack. David and his wife have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During one trip to Scotland, they visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen. In The Reunion, Michael's journey through England and Scotland allows him to sketch many places they have visited.

David has graduate degrees in psychology and education and previously was Director of Research for the South Carolina Department of Education. He and his wife have two daughters.

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