Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Long Way Home by Katie McGarry - Book Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

 
Book review
 
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Review by Suze
 
Violet's dad was a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club and he paid with his life for it. In Violet's world women are often treated as loyal subjects, the men protect them, they take the decisions and the women have to obey. When she and Chevy are being abducted on her eighteenth birthday Violet's nightmares come true. She can get out, but won't be left alone. She's being put under a lot of pressure and instead of giving in she decides to stand up for herself. While being held by the enemy Violet and Chevy learn a lot about their past. Is what they've been told actually the truth?
 
Violet is the love of Chevy's life, but they are no longer a couple. Violet doesn't want him to be like the other Reign of Terror members and has given Chevy a choice. So far he hasn't made a decision, which means he can't call her his girlfriend anymore. Chevy knows Violet is hiding something and he wants nothing more than to keep her safe, but will he be capable of doing so? And when Violet is ready to tell someone her secrets who will she turn to? A person can be a prisoner in many different ways and it's up to Violet, with or without Chevy's help, to find a solution and regain freedom.
 
Long Way Home is an impressive story about motorcycle gangs, betrayal, secrets, family ties, friendship and true love. Violet is strong, independent and honest. She says what she thinks, she can stand up for herself and she has a fiery personality. She's fabulous and I loved her courage and dedication. She fights for the people she loves and she isn't afraid to take risks to protect them. Chevy is kindhearted and chivalrous. He wants Violet to be happy and he wants nothing more than to be by her side every single day. He's caring and sweet, but he also has a blind spot. That's why he and Violet have plenty of meaningful discussions, which were interesting to read. They have a beautiful deep connection, but they have to work through a lot of problems as well. I loved the way Katie McGarry writes about this wonderful unique couple. 
 
Reign of Terror is a complicated network. For both Violet and Chevy the men in this club are family. They keep having conflicted feelings and I couldn't put the book down before I found out the truth. There are many surprising twists and turns, which is something I enjoyed very much. Long Way Home is filled with action, power struggles, heated discussions and intense relationships. Katie McGarry perfectly understands emotions and their consequences. Because of this the story progresses naturally. While there's a lot going on it never becomes too much. She's always in control of the moves and decisions her characters are making, which is quite a skill as her story is fast-paced and filled with adrenaline at the same time. She merges these two parts in a brilliant way. Long Way Home is an amazing original and gripping story. I loved the characters, the suspense, the complexity of the connections between people and the abundance of love. I highly recommend this fantastic book.
 
Advice
 
If you like stories about strong girls, protective guys, motorcycles, power struggles and suspense you will definitely like Long Way Home. It's the third part of the Thunder Road series, but can easily be read as a standalone.
 

 Excerpt

VIOLET

“Your car’s broke.” Chevy glances in my direction again, and there’s a softness in his eyes that I hate and love. It’s the same unguarded look as when we whispered our most intimate thoughts into each other’s ears. 
I hold his gaze for as long as he can handle. “Thanks for the update, Captain Obvious.”

Chevy mimics tipping a hat that isn’t on his head. “My pleasure.”

The right side of my mouth edges up. Damn him for being so charming. 
 
“Stone,” Chevy says. “Have you made big plans for tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow?”

“Violet turns eighteen.”

Chevy and I had so many plans for eighteen. Spent too many nights in each other’s arms planning out how we were going to celebrate this year. Dinner out of Snowflake. Prom. Laughter with friends. Midnight and dancing on a blanket in our field.

 “Mom’s mad at Violet and she said we might not do anything because of Violet’s attitude,” Brandon blurts out and he scratches his chin twice. “Violet cut class and the school called Mom to tell her. Mom’s really angry. She yelled. A lot. And Violet wouldn’t yell back. Violet always yells back, but not this time.”
Chevy’s adorable smile falls into a frown and it’s really a shame. Brandon looks over at me for confirmation that I’m not mad at him for spilling about my fight with Mom, because I’ve reminded him several times that personal conversations should stay personal, and I step toward him then briefly squeeze my fingers around his wrist.

My brother isn’t trying to tattle, he’s nervous being out in the dark and upset over the fight Mom and I had before we left for the game. He has a problem with letting negative emotions go. They circle his brain like vultures do with roadkill.

Headlights shine in the distance, and my shoulders relax. Last thing I want to do is get into a discussion with Chevy as to why I didn’t tell Mom that I handed Chevy my note. This has been an awful day, and I’m ready to pull the covers over my head and stay in bed for days, maybe weeks.

I step out onto the road, and using the flashlight cell, wave to signal Mom. This isn’t the first time Dad’s car has broken down, and unfortunately, it won’t be the last. Mom has passed us before. Though I’m not convinced those times were a mistake as much as Mom attempting to teach me another lesson of how unsafe I am in the world. 

 Footsteps against the rocks and Chevy eases beside me. The car weaves in and out of the center lane, and my arm hesitates in the air as unease tiptoes through me.

Chevy places his hand on my bicep and forces it down. “That’s not your mom’s car.”
It’s not. Mom would never drive like that and those aren’t the headlights of a minivan. Those belong to something with some muscle. A scary sixth sense creeps along my skin. 
Growling engines, then three single beams appear. Motorcycles. Those motorcycles aren’t chasing the car, they’re following. My stomach lurches as I stumble back. Chevy steps forward and he draws his knife out of the sheath. 

About Katie McGarry
 

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, NOWHERE BUT HERE, and WALK THE EDGE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine's 2012 Reviewer's Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

Links

Website: www.katielmcgarry.com
Twitter: @katiemcgarry
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katielmcgarry
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4575371.Katie_McGarry?from_search=true
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/katielmcgarry/
Tumbler: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/katiemcgarryauthor
Instagram: http://instagram.com/katielmcgarry
 
Giveaway

One very lucky winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card.
 

 

Planned Seduction by Jess Dee - Book Review & Giveaway


Book review
 
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Review by Suze

Amy and Daniel have been best friends since they were children. They spend a lot of time together, but Amy doesn't know that Daniel is in love with her. She's been hurt several times in her past and is afraid to give her heart to someone again. That's why Daniel has a plan, he knows there could be more between them and that they can have it all. Amy needs time to let down her guard and Daniel wants her to gradually get used to the idea of them as a couple.
 
Daniel never loved any of his girlfriends the way he loves Amy and that is why he had quite a few of them. However, because of this Amy thinks he will dump her after a few months as well and she's certain he'll get tired of her. She doesn't want to jeopardize their friendship for a fling, no matter how attractive she finds him. Will Daniel be able to win her heart or will his plan backfire completely?
 
Planned seduction is a fun and sexy story. There's plenty of chemistry between Amy and Daniel. They have a very close connection and know each other through and through. Amy is a sweetheart, but she is afraid to love again. Daniel keeps telling her how much he likes her and he's incredibly kind and caring. He doesn't show his love with words alone, everything he does for and with Amy makes it obvious how much she means to him. I loved that aspect of the story. Amy and Daniel are clearly made for one another and as I'm a big fan of stories about soul mates I enjoyed reading about these two wonderful people a lot.
 
Planned Seduction has plenty of hot scenes. There are so many sparks between the main characters that they almost ignite the pages. Jess Dee's writing flows easily and Planned Seduction is a nice, quick read. Daniel is a photographer and to raise money for the children's ward in a local hospital he's put together a beautiful impressive collection of pictures. I loved Jess Dee's vivid descriptions of the project itself and what spending time with the children means to Daniel. It gives the story an extra layer of depth and seriousness, which makes it well balanced. I really liked Planned Seduction it's a great, entertaining story.

Advice

Planned Seduction is a good choice for readers who like lighthearted flirty stories with a solid emotional basis.
 
About Jess Dee
 
 
An avid romance reader since her early teens, Jess knew one day, when she grew up, she’d have to write her own love stories. And she did. Although the first one was pretty awful.

But once she discovered it was okay to leave the bedroom door open in her romance novels, she decided to leave everything open. Buttons, zips, pants, number of lovers...Which is why her books are all steamy erotic romances. Jess’s first published story was originally contracted in 2005. Since then, she’s completed over 30 books, and is finally doing the work she loves most—writing romance.

While Jess lived most of her life in South Africa, the last fourteen years have been spent in Australia. From the fast-paced Sydney lifestyle to the laid-back islands and beaches, there’s always another gorgeous Aussie setting for a contemporary romance.

Connect with Jess

Author Website: http://jessdee.com/
Author Blog: http://jessdee.com/blog/
Author Twitter: @jessdeewriter
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jess.dee.921
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jessdeewriter/
 
Giveaway
 
Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card and digital copies of Party for Three and Table for Two by Jess Dee.
 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Behind Picket Fences by Hend Hegazi - Book Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


 Book review

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Review by Anniek

Four houses, four family's and four different ways of living. Everybody has their own opinions, their own choices to make and their own struggles. Most of the times these battles can be won together, but sometimes they have to be faced alone. Meet the people who live behind the picket fences:

Mariam and Morgan are living in the smallest house of their Street. Mariam decided to be a stay-at-home-mom for their four children. Unfortunately Morgan's income is not enough to cover the expenses. This forces Mariam to go back to work. She isn't happy with the decision, but is willing to put her own wishes aside for the benefit of the family. Morgan is a proud man and he's struggling with the fact that he can't provide for his family on his own. These financial problems could be the beginning of the end of their marriage.

Summer and Porter are happily married. Summer is an artist and Porter helped her to get into a routine that works. Porter has his own business and is a person who loves structure. He thinks that showing Summer how she can create more efficiently is the best way to tell her how much he appreciates her. Summer has the idea he isn't interested in her artwork and that makes her feel alone. The fact that she has a mental illness is making things even worse. When both of them are not filling each others needs happily ever after may turn out differently than they initially expected.

May and Hasan have an old-fashioned household. May is a stay-at-home-mom who takes care of their two children. May was incredibly successful at the job she had before she became a mother and has the outstanding offer to come back whenever she's ready. When May is not feeling well Hasan is taking over the care of their children. He will do anything to make May comfortable. After several medical examinations it turns out that May is even more ill than they thought. Taking on this, possible deadly, disease together will prove how much May and Hasan love each other.

On the outside Sidra and Farris must have the most perfect life imaginable. They are both successful at work and have enough money to live a comfortable life. They have the biggest house, the most expensive cars and their interior looks so good it could be featured in a magazine. Sidra and Farris are really happy together, but when their most desired wish stays unfulfilled Sidra starts to shut herself off. She doesn't know how to cope with the sadness and pain. Farris tries everything he can think of to get Sidra to let him back in, but what if he's already too late?

Behind Picket Fences is a realistic and honest story about four family's who live in the same street. My grandmother used to say: you're only seeing the outside, so don't judge people until you know what's happening on the inside. I kept this in mind while I was reading and she's so right. Hend Hegazi changed the way I look at my neighbors. When I see them now I find myself thinking about what their life could be like behind closed doors. The reality might very well be completely different from the image I have as a result of what they are showing me. Behind Picket Fences captivated me. All of the characters felt so real and even though what they are struggling with is difficult the story never became too heavy for me. These people could literally live in my street, which makes the story come fantastically close. Hend Hegazi's writing is amazing and I fell in love with her story straight away.

Advice

Have you always wanted to know what goes on Behind Picket Fences? Hend Hegazi shows you a glimpse of what the lives of others might be like. You will never look at your neighbors the same way again after reading this beautiful story.

About Hend Hegazi


Hend Hegazi was born and raised in Southeastern Massachusetts. Despite her desire to pursue writing as a profession, she graduated from Smith College with a degree in biology and a minor in religion. Shortly thereafter, the winds of life and love blew her to Egypt where she has been living for the past 14 years. She is a full time mother of four as well as a freelance writer and editor. Some of her work has been featured in SISTERS Magazine. Her fiction and poetry focus on the human condition, often shedding light on the Muslim American experience. Hend strives to be God-conscious and aims to raise that awareness in her readers. As a common theme in her pieces, the intimate relationship between God-consciousness and love is often explored. Hend’s debut novel, Normal Calm, was published in January 2014.

Links

You can read her poetry and blog posts on her website, www.hendhegazi.com, and follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorHendHegazi. For updates on giveaways and special offers, kindly opt-in to her free newsletter at this link http://eepurl.com/bZa7fH.

Both of her novels are available through most major book distributors, or click here to purchase through Amazon: Normal Calm, Behind Picket Fences.

Excerpt

At half past six she began to get worried, but told herself to give him fifteen more minutes. “His will be the next car around the turn,” she assured herself. But the passing of more than a few cars and fifteen minutes made her unable to wait any longer. She dialed his number once, with no answer. She hung up and dialed again immediately. The second time, there was an answer.

“Hello?” the woman’s voice said.

The words Summer had been ready to speak got lodged in her throat and she stood there, barely breathing.

“Hello?” the voice repeated, a little louder this time.

Summer’s hand began to shake and a moment later she let the phone drop from her weak fingers. Her breathing became labored and she raised her hand to her chest to soothe the jabbing, but the pain would not cease. Rather, it spread from her heart and ran all through her body. Her legs suddenly became too weak to hold her and she fell seated to the floor.

What a cruel way to tell me, Porter, she thought as the tears streamed down her face. So cruel.

The guilt in her told her she deserved it. She had deceived him in the worst way possible and broken his heart; why wouldn’t he seek comfort in the arms of someone else?

But then why had he agreed to dinner? Simply to get revenge? To make me feel the pain that I had put him through? Really? Why did I let myself get my hopes up? Why did I think he could forgive me? Why did I not expect him to turn to another woman? All the questions ran through her mind as her heavy breathing turned to sobs and she cradled herself, rocking back and forth. Porter had just shattered the last bit of hope she had been clinging to, and broken any remaining pieces of her heart.

The tears flowed for what felt like hours. When they finally stopped, she stood up feeling drained and jaded. Summer cleaned up the kitchen, her body unable to move at its usual pace. She threw the food directly into the garbage instead of putting it away in the fridge; she wanted no reminders of the evening she had expected to have. Carefully, she walked to her bedroom and stepped out of her dress and into a pair of sweat pants and a tank top. Pulling her hair into a tight pony tail, she turned off all the lights in the house, and paused just outside the bathroom. The medicine cabinet seemed to whisper her name.



Giveaway

One very lucky winner will receive a copy of Normal Calm and a copy of Behind Picket Fences by Hend Hegazi.
 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Book Review - Love, Alice by Barbara Davis

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Review by Suze
 
Dovie regularly visits the graveyard where she can spend time with her fiancĂ© William, the man she loved. He killed himself just weeks before their wedding. Dovie doesn't know why, but she hopes to find answers by visiting William's grave. At the graveyard she sees a woman who leaves a letter on the grave of a woman named Alice. Dovie can't help herself and her curiosity is getting the better of her, so she reads the letter. While she was looking for information about William, Dovie discovers a complex story about a family she knows via her work instead. She starts to dig and gets more information through letters written by Alice. Slowly she finds out what happened to Alice. How did an English girl end up in a grave on the other side of the ocean?
 
By learning about the grief of two other women, a mother and a daughter, Dovie can finally start to heal and maybe moving on will finally bring the closure she so desperately needs. Dovie finds herself by reading letters written by a woman she didn't know. Alice's life story gives her the courage to move on. Dovie can't let go, she needs to get to the bottom of the mystery and by doing that she might find out more about her own situation as well.
 
Love, Alice is a beautiful story about the unfairness of life, secrets, loss, what unconditional love can do to you and hope. Barbara Davis writes about two strong, remarkable women who both lost someone very dear to them in a completely different way. When Alice was a teenager she went through a terrible traumatic experience that lasted a long time. Dovie's nightmare was quite a bit shorter, but due to the multitude of unanswered questions about William's death she can't let go. Both women deal with their grief in their own way. There are many differences, but in their sadness and loneliness there are also similarities. They are being consumed by their grief and strangely enough because of it life brings them chances instead of just desperation. I loved how many emotional layers Love, Alice has and Barbara Davis describes everything the main characters are feeling in an amazing empathic way. She obviously thoroughly understands what she's writing about and that moved me to tears several times.
 
Love, Alice isn't an easy read. There are many obstacles, difficulties and frightening situations and together they form a heartfelt compelling story. I was greatly impressed by both Dovie and Alice, after all they had to endure love is what makes them pull through, what drives them to live and stops them from giving in to their sadness. Life can be hard, but it can also surprise you in a good way, which is a wonderful message. While the topics Barbara Davis deals with are all heavy this little spark of brightness brings a perfect balance. I highly recommend Love, Alice, it's a fantastically written thought-provoking story.
 
Advice
 
Love, Alice is a great choice for readers who like beautiful, but realistic and sometimes sad stories about complicated family relationships, secrets and problems that can't easily be solved.

Book Lover Tote Bag & Book of Choice Giveaway

 
Enter this giveaway for a chance to win this Book Lover pink tote bag made by Taylor Two and a book of choice worth $10. Good luck!
 

 
 The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. Please add withloveforbooks@gmail.com to your list of approved email addresses. All of our giveaways are international.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Book Review - Wenna by Virginia Taylor

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Review by Suze

It's 1865 and both men and women in Australia have the opportunity to make something of themselves. Wenna works as a lady's maid and has a secure business plan for her future. Unfortunately Devon messes things up for her. Because of him she loses her job and her reputation. Devon loved a fiery redhead in his past and decides to help the red haired Wenna by marrying her in exchange for an heir. Devon is the son of an earl from Cornwall. He needs to go back to England and they plan to travel together, it is where Wenna wants to go to as well to visit her only living relatives. The match seems to be a good one, but can a man with a high status in society fall in love with someone from a much lower class? Wenna wonders why Devon married her. What will Wenna's future be like now that she doesn't even know if she's financially secure, does she need to look for work to support them and can Devon be trusted?

Wenna is an ambitious and driven person. She has a kind heart and she has a good head on her shoulders, which are ideal qualities for the business she wants to start. Devon doesn't seem to take earning money seriously and Wenna has no idea where his monthly payments come from. For her money is incredibly important, but Devon doesn't seem to care about it at all. They're from different backgrounds, but Wenna is a classy lady and can easily be taken to any society event. Devon might have made a good match, but at first he's a bit rude and incredibly selfish. He likes Wenna, but has a lot to learn about the woman he married. Their match seems random and unusual and that makes it really interesting and fun to read about.

Virginia Taylor's writing flows easily and I enjoyed reading about Australia in the nineteenth century. The relationship between Wenna and Devon is complicated, every day is a new challenge and because of that there happens a lot. I admired Virginia Taylor's ability to always be in control. She makes the sequence of events seem entirely natural. I loved how the two headstrong main characters are trying to find their place in their impulsive marriage and was fascinated by the many unexpected twists and turns. I was spellbound by Virginia Taylor's impressive descriptions of society and the large number of issues women were struggling with in that time. Wenna is an entertaining story and I loved reading it.

Advice

Wenna is perfect for readers who like fun, lighthearted historical romances. 

J.M. Barrie Quote Mug, Pillow & Tote Bag Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a J.M. Barrie quote mug, tote bag and pillow set designed by Abbie Imagine. Good luck!


  The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. Please add withloveforbooks@gmail.com to your list of approved email addresses. All of our giveaways are international.

Friday, January 27, 2017

YA Books of Choice Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to spend $25 on YA books of your choice. Good luck!


  The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. Please add withloveforbooks@gmail.com to your list of approved email addresses. All of our giveaways are international.

Friendship - Guest Post by Kelly Moore

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Guest post

Happy one year With Love For Books Anniversary!!
by Kelly Moore


I’m so excited to be included in their celebration. We met on twitter about a year ago. I feel in love with their passion for books. All kinds of books. I was a brand new author and Anniek and Suze took a chance on me and I’m so glad they did.

I looked up the exact meaning of friendship – a friendly feeling or attitude: kindness or given help to someone.

This fits them perfectly. They showed me kindness and they helped me get started with readers and even better, they fell in love with my books.

They spend countless hours reading and reviewing and creating special bonds between authors and reviewers. I’m always so anxious when I know one of them is reviewing my new releases. Part of that friendship is honesty and I’ve learned to rely on their honesty in my writing. They push me to be a better writer.

I see them constantly supporting others by sharing, tweeting, giveaways, and their positive attitude toward others. In this day and age, that is priceless.

I appreciate the fact, that they take time out of their busy lives to read and review books. I’ve spoken, via twitter, to Anniek several times and I know she just had a new baby. I can picture her rocking her baby to sleep with a book in hand. Congratulations on the new baby, by the way.

I have come to admire their professionalism and I cherish it.

Congratulations on your success, many of us value your friendship so much. You guys are awesome.

About Kelly Moore


I am a romance/suspense/erotic writer by night and a gypsy traveling nurse by day. My first book was traditionally published but I have since taking on the Indie world.

I love all things romance with heat and a happy ending. I am a sarcastic southern girl who loves great fictional characters.

Links

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

Book Review - The Keepers: Declan by Rae Rivers

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Review by Suze

Kate's mother raised her daughter to be independent and she taught her not to trust anyone. Kate has unique magical abilities and therefore she could be useful to a lot of people and they don't always have good intentions. When someone murders her mother Kate is on her own. Her mother told her about important artifacts and Kate tries to steal them. After a night with Declan she is the new owner of his key. She breaks into his home, but robbing him and his brothers doesn't go according to plan.

Kate is being hunted. Declan wants back what's rightfully his and his enemies want Kate because of her powers. Kate would rather remain on her own, but because of the precarious position she's in she does need help. Even though she stole from Declan he's nice to her. Their night together might have meant more than just a way to get closer to her goals. Declan is a keeper and his purpose in life is to protect Sienna, his witch, with everything he has to give, but that doesn't mean there's no room for Kate in his world. Will Kate eventually have enough faith in him to make the right choice, so she won't be another victim of a battle between good and evil?

The Keepers: Declan is a fast-paced adrenaline rush. Declan has to protect his witch, he has to run a business together with his brothers and he has to chase Kate and make her trust him enough to accept his help. That isn't an easy task. He's kind, strong and gifted. He fights for what he believes in every single day. Kate becomes part of the war against those who want to use their magic for total control, wether she wants it or not. She has a lot of raw power, but she isn't a trained witch. Kate hasn't reached her full potential and needs help to control herself. She's strong, independent and fierce, but she has no idea where her strengths and weaknesses lie. She doesn't want to be part of Declan's world, but she doesn't have much of a choice. They do have a lot of chemistry and he's incredibly patient with her, which was wonderful to see. There's hardly time for breaks, but between the battles something beautiful has the chance to blossom.

Rae Rivers writes about war, power and magic, but her stories are also about true love and family. Her main characters fight for their happiness and for what is right. Their enemies play dirty games and Declan and his brothers and witch need to keep up with known and unknown enemies, which is quite a difficult task. I couldn't wait to find out if they would succeed or not. The story ends with a fantastic battle that kept me on the edge of my seat. I really like this series and think The Keepers: Declan is another great story about an amazing magical family.

Advice

The Keepers: Sienna is a fabulous fee prequel. I'd advise you to start with this novella, so you can get to know the series and read it in its correct order.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

1st Birthday Giveaway 14: I Just Want to Read Tote Bag, Mug & Pillow Set


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win an I Just Want to Read tote bag, mug and pillow set designed by Eviebookish. Good luck!


The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. Please add withloveforbooks@gmail.com to your list of approved email addresses. All of our giveaways are international.

Book Review - Loving the Life Less Lived by Gail Marie Mitchell

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Review by Suze

Gail Marie Mitchell has struggled with anxiety and depression for many years. There were times she thought she'd be cured and then it often surprised her by coming back in full force. Living with her condition became easier when she accepted it would be permanent and stopped fighting it. Gail uses tools to deal with her problems and by learning to understand herself she learned to have a positive outlook on life. Not every aspect of her illness is bad and through coping strategies she began to love her life, Loving the Life Less Lived. Gail shares her battles and victories in her book together with tips, things that have helped her on her road to living with her illness.

Loving the Life Less Lived is an impressive book. Gail is honest and open about her life, which is something I greatly admire. Her book is useful for people who are trying to live with anxiety and depression and for people in their surroundings who want to give them their support. Almost all of us have someone in their surroundings with this, or a similar, condition. Gail emphasizes that everyone is different and her book contains a lot of useful information about mental illnesses and how to live with them. I loved that she's using her own experiences as examples. That makes the book pure and it gives insight in the condition itself.

Gail Marie Mitchell has an easy flowing writing style. Loving the Life Less Lived can be used as a book containing knowledge, but it can also be used to find guidance or to have something tangible to hold on to in times of need. Her thoughts are well phrased and clear and she has plenty of general wisdom to share with the world. Her life story and advice made me think about a lot of different aspects of life. Most people are fighting battles in their daily lives and what she writes about can be used as practical support or as suggestions that can help you finding your own path in many situations. What I love most about her book is that there's something in it for everyone.

If anxiety and depression are part of your life Loving the Life Less Lived is a book you could definitely benefit from. Knowing you're not alone is already something that can help you. Gail Marie Mitchell shares phone numbers people can call, she discusses different forms of therapies, there are several handy lists and she shares her own life lessons that can give someone direction. I highly recommend Loving the Life Less Lived. It's a complete, effective and compelling book about mental illness written by a woman who has courage, determination and strength in abundance.

About Gail Marie Mitchell


I’m a writer and I live with mental illness. Those two facts are the main motivation behind this website but they are only a small part of who I am and what my life is about.

I say I live with mental illness, I don’t suffer from it, I don’t battle with it (although for many years I did until I learnt the futility of the fight). I was first diagnosed with depression twenty five years ago and have been variously diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, generalised anxiety disorder and depression ever since. At times I manage my condition well using a toolbox of resources that I have discovered and developed over my lifetime. At other times I crash and burn, I have left upwards of ten jobs due to my mental health issues and spent many months and years on and off of benefits, hiding in my house unable to face the world or complete even the most simple tasks.

I have always been a writer, maybe not published, maybe not successful, but since the earliest age I have written poems, stories and articles in an attempt to make sense of this confused and broken world we live in. This led me to write Loving the Life Less Lived. That’s not all about me – I qualified as a Chartered Accountant, I have worked as a Secondary School Teacher, I am a member of Mensa I have travelled around Europe, the Middle East and North America. I have taught in the favelas of Brazil, I am married, I am a fairy Godmother I am so much more than a medical label given by psychiatrists and GPs. I am not cured – but I am at present relatively stable. I work as a bookkeeper/accountant, write in my spare time and enjoy life to the full. It isn’t the life I planned, it is The Life Less Lived and it is immeasurably more than I could ever have asked for or imagined.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

When the Black Roses Grow by Angela Christina Archer - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Emmalynn's mother was declared a witch. It's 1962 and Salem is a scary place to live. Many people suspect Emmalynn to be a witch as well and she's living in constant fear of condemnation. While Emmalynn doesn't think she's a witch weird things start happening to her after she visits her mothers grave. Black roses suddenly grow in several different places and Emmalynn has no idea how she can remove them and doesn't know where they come from.

Emmalynn misses her mother dearly. She can use a friend and when she meets the handsome James she finally has someone to talk to. There's a connection, but Mary, the local deacon's daughter, wants James to be hers. She isn't someone who should be antagonized, so Emmalynn is advised to be wise and stay away from him. The deacon is involved in the witch hunts and his daughter shouldn't be provoked. James has secrets and isn't who people think he is. Mary doesn't know him at all, but when she wants something she usually gets it. Will Emmalynn's fate be the same as her mother's because of finding a friend and will the black roses be discovered?

When the Black Roses Grow is a beautiful story. Emmalynn is kindhearted and generous, but hardly anybody in Salem wants to come near her. She lives in a difficult time. When someone's suspected to be a witch their death is more or less guaranteed. Reading about the cruel methods that were used to make people confess was sad, but also historically interesting. Angela Christina Archer has clearly done her research and the result is a compelling story filled with fear of being convicted, friendship, love and black magic. I loved the combination and Emmalynn is a great main character. I admired her strength and determination. I could understand why she wanted to get to know James better. He's a friendly man who doesn't mind being associated with a possible witch. He also has plenty of secrets and can be quite intense because he knows life is short. He shoulders a lot of responsibility and I couldn't wait to discover what he was hiding. I was so curious that I read the book in one sitting.

When the Black Roses Grow is written in an old fashioned style, which I liked a lot because it gives the story an authentic character. I loved the combination of history and magic. Angela Christina Archer uses the fear that comes from the risk of being exposed as a witch in a skillful way. One accusation is all it takes and there's no real proof that the women, and sometimes men, who are being killed are actually witches. I had tears in my eyes when I read about the fate that could await Emmalynn and I admired the strong way she deals with it. She remains true to herself, even if her behavior might cost her dearly. Her connection with James is fascinating. I loved reading about the magic as well and was surprised by the clever way it finds a way into the story. All of these aspects together made me enjoy When the Black Roses Grow very much.

Advice

When the Black Roses Grow is a great choice for readers who like stories about magic combined with history.

About Angela Christina Archer


Living in a small town in Oklahoma with my husband and two daughters, I spend my days enjoying the outdoors with my family and chasing around two horses, four goats, six chickens, a dog, and two cats. I live life on a farm, milking goats, collecting eggs, and cooking and baking from scratch. It's hectic, at times, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Growing up, I always wanted to write a novel. I never believed I could, though, so every time the desire flickered, I shoved the thought from my mind. Burying it deep down and ignoring it until one morning I awoke with the determination to finally follow my dream.

Find out more at

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

Interview

1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in Reno, Nevada riding and showing horses from a very young age. I still ride, though, it's only for pleasure. My husband and I moved from Nevada to Oklahoma in 2007 and in 2009, after being laid off from a job, I woke up, sat in front of my computer, and just started writing my first novel. While I'd love to say my words were beautiful and wonderful that would be a lie. My first several drafts were awful, and I cringe when I think of them. Of course, everyone has to start somewhere, though. My first novel took me four and a half years from writing the first word to seeing it live on Amazon, and I didn't tell anyone I was even writing it until about a year and a half in. It scared me too much to say anything. Since then it's just been this indescribable whirlwind and I don't think my feet have touched the ground once.


2. On your blog you write about forgotten blessings each week. Would you like to share a blessing with us?

Recently, I've reflected on legacy and the one I wish to leave when pass away. Of course, having my novels in print, sitting on my mantel where I can hold them in my hands is wonderful. It is always my sincere hope that I entertain and inspire people, and to have left that mark, however large or small on someone or many someones, is a dream come true. With that said, I believe the most important one isn't my written craft, though, but it's in what I hope to leave with my children. I want to leave them with passion, the drive to follow their dreams, the will to fight for what they believe in, and the ability to just enjoy every day for the blessing it is. Sure, some days will be bad, but they are still gifts when you can spend them with those you love.


3. You have a household filled with your family and animals. What does a typical day look like for you?

Oh boy, is this ever a loaded question. Not only do I work on my novels, writing, editing, promoting and marketing, but I'm a stay-at-home mom and I homeschool. My husband and I also have a small farm we are trying to grow into a homestead. I'm up pretty much everyday around 4am, so I can get my work done before the kids wake up for the day. Once that happens, it's school, chores, feeding animals, my daily workouts, more chores, meals, bath times, and of course playing and enjoying the day. Needless to say, I don't have any trouble going to sleep at night. Currently, we have two horses and one chicken, but we are adding a cow and several more chickens this year to the farm as well as bringing back our garden. I like to cook and bake from scratch and I can wait to add cheese, yogurt, cream, and soap to the mix.

4. Could you describe yourself in 5 words?

Stubborn, Quiet, Old-Fashioned (wait, is that two of the words?), devoted, passionate.

5. What's the most romantic thing that ever happened to you?

I actually laughed when I read this question. Lord knows I love my husband, but he is not a romantic person. In all honesty, I may write about romance, but I'm not really romantic either. We are the type that just want to have fun together. Like the night of our wedding after everyone was gone, we were both starving and the only place that was open at such a late hour was Jack in the Box. So there we sat in the drive-thru while I was in my gown and he in his tux ordering tacos and sourdough jacks, and laughing at how perfect it was.

6. You like cooking and baking from scratch. Could you tell us your favorite recipe?

I have so many on my website (and so many more to post in the coming months) that it's hard pinning it down to just one. But I suppose if pressed, I'd have to say my favorite is my enchiladas. I think I could eat those every day and not grow tired of them. Although, I also have a Dutch Apple Pie Cheesecake that is pretty amazing. I have only made that once, though since I would probably have to triple my workouts each day to burn off all the calories in just one slice. I love cheesecake. Like love it. Like I would eat it off the floor type love it.

7. Could you tell us about the books / genre you personally love to read and why?

I mostly stick to Contemporary, Chick Lit, and Historical Romance. Just as I prefer to write clean, sweeter romances, I tend to stick closer to reading them as well. However, if I come across a blurb that piques my interest, but isn't as sweet or has a hotter heat level, I'll read it anyway and just skip over the parts I don't wish to dive into.

8. What can we expect from you in 2017?

Currently, I'm working on the final draft of my 6th novel, A Road Paved in Copper, that I hope to release sometime in May of 2017. It's another historical romance set in 1903 during the gold, silver, and copper mining days in Tonopah, Nevada. Once that novel is release, I have a Contemporary/Historical novel set for 2018 titled Another Tomorrow. It follows the two lives of a mother and daughter in 1964 and 1994, and weaves the two stories into one as it shifts back and forth between the two time periods. I'm very excited about both of these novels and can't wait to share them with the masses. You can read about them both on my website.

Giveaway

Three very lucky readers of With Love For Books will win a digital copy of When the Black Roses Grow by Angela Christina Archer.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. Please add withloveforbooks@gmail.com to your list of approved email addresses. All of our giveaways are international.

Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis - Book Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


Book review

 
Review by Suze
 
Elle is the manger of a building that houses both people and businesses. She's very good at her job and she runs the place with efficiency while she also studies for an accounting degree. Elle is known for her temper and she especially clashes with Archer, who runs a business and is the head of security of the building. They have a history together. Archer helped Elle when she needed it the most and because of that he lost his career. Elle feels she owes him and she's trying to make things up to him, but Archer never lets her get too close. Is that actually wise?
 
 Archer has kept an eye on Elle ever since he met her and is also trying to keep her safe. Is it just because he cares for her as a friend or do his feelings run deeper? He's deliberately keeping Elle at a distance, but when she starts dating again Archer doesn't know if he can stand seeing her with other men. Can he risk letting her into his heart and is Elle finally ready to learn the truth about his feelings for her?
 
Accidentally on Purpose is a sexy romantic story. Archer is protective and strong. He's good at what he does and has a successful business. He's helped Elle a lot since he got to know her, but Elle tries to be there for him too. They have plenty of arguments, because they keep irritating one another. Their relationship is tense with a lot of chemistry. Elle is fiery and fierce, she's a force to be reckoned with. However, Archer has seen how vulnerable she can be. Everybody in their circle knows they are meant for each other, but Archer has his reasons to avoid Elle, until he can no longer stand it. Their game of pushing and pulling is fascinating and it results in some incredibly hot scenes.
 
Jill Shalvis writes about a fascinating group of people. Their lives all evolve around the same building where everyone seems to know and like each other. I like that friendship is as important as love in the Heartbreaker Bay novels. The people who are connected to the place all have an amazing story to tell, which is a solid foundation for a great series. I absolutely love the setting and Jill Shalvis describes it in a detailed and entertaining way. In the building anything is possible and that makes the stories wonderful to read.
 
Accidentally On Purpose is a fast-paced story and Jill Shalvis's writing flows easily. I enjoyed the story so much that I couldn't put the book down and read it in one sitting. The characters effortlessly come to life and I loved every single one of them. When I read a story written by Jill Shalvis I can literally feel the love she has for her main characters. That makes her books heartwarming and fantastic to read. The Heartbreaker Bay series is one of my favorite romatic series and I love the dazzling stories that always have a spellbinding effect on me.
 
Advice
 
Accidentally On Purpose is the third book of a series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. The other books are just as good though, so I'd recommend you to read all of them.


About Jill Shalvis


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Links


Excerpt

“Hey, honey,” Trudy said in her been-smoking-for-three-decades voice. “Need anything?”

“Nope, I’m good.” Good plus mad, but although she adored Trudy, the woman couldn’t keep a secret to save her life. “Just taking in the nice morning.”

“Oh, that’s a disappointment,” Trudy said. “I thought maybe you were looking for that hottie with the nice package, the one who runs the investigation firm down the hall.”

Elle nearly choked on her tea. “Nice package?”

“Well I’m old, not dead.” And with a wink, Trudy pushed her cart down the hall.

It was true that Archer was annoyingly hot, not that she cared. Hot was useless to her. She’d much rather have the things that had eluded her for most of her life—safety, security…stability.

Three things Archer had never been accused of.

At the other end of the hall, she stopped in front of the door with a discreet sign: HUNT INVESTIGATIONS.

The investigative and elite security firm was carried on Archer’s reputation alone, no ads or marketing required. Basically Archer and the men he employed were finders and fixers, independent contractors for hire, and not necessarily tied by the same red tape as the law.

Which worked for Archer. Rules had never been his thing.

She opened the door and let herself into the reception area, which was much bigger than hers. Clean, masculine lines. Large furniture. Wide open space. A glass partition separated the front from the inner offices.

The check-in counter was empty. The receptionist wasn’t in yet—it was too early for Mollie. But not for the other employees. Past the glass Elle could see part of the inner office. A group of men, five of them, entered by a private door. They’d clearly just come back from some sort of job that had required them to be locked and loaded since they currently looked like a SWAT team.

Elle literally stopped short. And if she was being honest, her heart stopped too because sweet baby Jesus. The lot of them stood there stripping off weapons and shirts so that all she could see was a mass of mind-blowing bodies, sweaty and tatted and in all varieties of skin colors.

It was a cornucopia of smutty goodness and she couldn’t tear her eyes away. In fact, she couldn’t speak either, mostly because her tongue had hit the floor. Her feet took advantage of her frozen brain, taking her to the interior door, where she wanted to press her face up against the glass.

Luckily, someone buzzed her in before she could. They all knew her. After all, her job required her to work closely with the security firm, and therein lay her deepest, darkest problem.

Working closely with Archer Hunt was dangerous in oh so many, many ways, not the least of which was their history, something she did her best to never think about.

She was greeted with variations on “Hey, Elle” and “Mornin’” and then they all went their separate ways, leaving her alone with their fearless leader.

Archer.


Giveaway

Three very lucky winners will receive a copy of Sweet Little Lies, The Trouble with Mistletoe and a wine tumbler.
 

Book Review, Interview & Giveaway - The Lost Child by Ann Troup

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Review by Tanya

 Elaine Ellis has hired a cottage in Hallow's End in rural Devon because she wants to scatter the ashes of her recently deceased mum, Jean, who spoke with some fondness of the time she spent at the village with her cousin. Jean was a difficult woman to understand and was incredibly smothering in her upbringing of Elaine. Whilst in the quiet village Elaine hears about the mysterious missing of a three year old girl, Mandy Miller, thirty years on. The appearance of Brodie, Mandy's younger sister, causes a stir and she wants to find out what happened thirty years ago.

Elaine is not a very confident person and is shy and this is all due to to her being under control of her mum until her recent death. Being in Hallow's End is her opportunity to release the power Jean has over her. Elaine doesn't really know why she felt the need to go to Hallow's end, but she wanted to do something different and allow herself to find out where her life should lead her. Whilst there many strange things happen and start to be revealed and getting to know Brodie, who seems to form an attachment to Elaine, is the catalyst of her future.

The characters in The Lost Child are strong and each is different to the other. They all play significant parts in the story, which unfolds in an interesting way. Brodie is a young girl that is struggling in a new environment. She resents the fact that her older sister's disappearance has had such a big impact on her life and has caused her mother, Shirley, to have mental issues which has lead to her being left with strangers in the village.

The Lost Child is an exciting and captivating story that will have you turning the pages for just one more chapter before you sleep until you've finished the entire book. The pace of the story is good. I enjoyed visiting various places around the village together with Elaine, going back to the town where she grew up. As the onlooker you are aware of what is going to be revealed to Elaine before she does. The clues all point to a shocking discovery. However, there are still mysteries to be uncovered and Ann Troup holds her readers in suspense of certain parts of the story until the very end.
 
Advice

This is the first novel I have read by Ann and I highly recommend it to readers who like stories about small villages and intriguing family histories.
 
About Ann Troup
 
 
Ann lives in Devon in a small house just a pebble's throw from the beach. She shares her home with her husband and a small white dog, both occasionally allow her to be inattentive to them so that she can write. Her many skills include an unparalleled ability to consume coffee, and the gift of being able to kill houseplants by merely admiring them. In addition to that she is a great proponent of the Miss Havisham method of housekeeping, which includes regarding cobwebs and dust as nature's ornaments. Her first novel The Lost Child was published by Carina UK/Harper Collins on 19/5/2015 her second, The Silent Girls, will be published in February 2016.
           
Interview

What type of books do you like to read?

All sorts, though I’m not a huge fan of high fantasy or romances, I love watching them on screen but for some reason dont enjoy reading them as much. I love Crime, Thrillers, a sneaky bit of Lit Fic and the odd (usually very odd) Urban Fantasy. When I’m writing I tend to err towards non fiction, I like nothing better than books of old photographs or great big, fat social history books. I generally sulk if I don’t get a pile of them for Christmas. Unfortunately I don’t get a lot of time for reading these days, between my own writing and making the book sculptures there aren’t many chances. But I have recently started to use Audible and have rediscovered the joy of being read to, when I’m ‘making’ I will often be listening to an audio book. It’s a very different experience, and I find that I hear books differently to the way that I read them. Either way, I wouldn’t enjoy life without books.

What inspires your writing?

Anything and everything as far as coming up with ideas is concerned. The things people do, why they do them, over heard conversations, news stories… all sorts. All of my books are loosely based on incidents that have actually happened, I just combine lots of them into what I hope are ‘ripping yarns’ - so even though I am not telling anyone’s personal story, I am doing what most writers do and borrowing from real experiences. The other side of my inspiration is just the desire to entertain, storytelling is probably our most ancient source of entertainment, I like the idea of that.

What is your normal writing/paper craft day?

It varies depending on how much there is to do. I have an average working day, though with more flexible breaks than most I imagine. Creating things is slightly different to most jobs, with the writing sometimes I have to go off and do mundane things whilst ideas ferment for a while. With the book sculpture’s I often have to take a break or work on something else whilst the glue dries! If either are urgent, I am known to work through the night to get things done on time. I’m not fit for much the next day though. Doing both writing and crafting has it’s advantages - if my brain hurts from writing I can dip into a bit of paper sculpting. If I’m fed up of being covered in tiny bits of paper I can do a bit of writing. As long as I’m busy, I’m happy.

How did you learn your paper craft? And is there a favourite one that you have made? 


I’ve been making things ever since I can remember. I have a vivid memory of sitting in the classroom in infant school making some monstrosity out of tissue paper and loo roll inners whilst all the other kids had their afternoon nap (yes, I’m that old! Haha - I wonder how many teachers would love to bring nap time back?). When it comes to art and crafts I am one of those annoying people who always assumes they can do something, and I’ll have a bash at most things. I did a few courses many years ago, but most of what I do is self taught (just never ask me to show you the early efforts…) I love books, writing and anything creative, so the book sculptures came from combining all the things I love. I am a very visual reader/writer, in that I see scenes in my mind. Making the book sculptures allows me to bring those scenes to life. I don’t have a favourite as such - I try not to get too attached to them as most are sold or given away, but I do have some really tiny ones that I’m fond of and I’ve kept.

When is the next book due out and any little insights into what it is about?

Aha, good question. I am just finishing the final edits on it now, even though I wrote it at the beginning of 2016. It’s been ‘that’ kind of year for so many people, and I’ve had a ton of stuff happen which has really hampered working on the book. Fortunately my editor at HQ, has been extremely understanding and patient with me and the book will be published in early August 2017. 

                What’s it about she asks…. Well, it’s set the the creepiest, weirdest house that my imagination (and some very interesting research) could conjure and tells the story of the people who are connected to, it whether they want to be or not. Most of them wouldn’t want to be, especially when all those who are linked to the house start to get picked off one by one. It’s about the mad, the bad and the sad and the things that made them that way. I’ve had great fun writing it, even though I do worry about my imagination sometimes.

You live by the sea in Devon in a lovely village I recently visited. Could you describe the beautiful area to encourage more visitors.

North Devon is rugged, fairly unspoilt and beautiful. Living here is little bit like stepping into the past sometimes - it’s a quieter, more contemplative place on the whole. We have everything from surfing and watersports, to art ( Damien Hirst’s Verity in Ilfracombe), literature ( Tarka the Otter was written near by, and Agatha Christie had her summer home in the south of the county) and everything in between. There’s something for everyone in Devon, but bring your wellies, it’s often wet!

We also have wonderful and intriguing history - if you want a real clue to the next book the inspiration for it is a nearby house (Chambercombe Manor). Give it a Google if you want to know more…

What is on your birthday list his year?

Books! No surprises there. I’ve asked for Lost England, a book of photographs that depict things that are long gone. Apparently I am impossible to buy for because I have such particular and peculiar tastes. Personally I think it’s an excuse… and isn’t that what Pinterest is for? ;)

What three books are your favourite and why?

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck because it has the best opening page ever written. The Oxford Anthology of British Ghost Stories, because it’s downright creepy and I love a good ghost story. Every Day is Mother’s Day by Hilary Mantel, because it gets under my skin every time I read it. I have hundreds of books that I love, but those are the ones I’ve re read the most over the years, so I suppose they must be favourites.

What is your New Years resolution? 

    I am entirely bereft of willpower so rarely make any - I’ve certainly given up any real hope of ever being lithe and skinny! 2016 has taught me that life is far too short for such worries.

Someone who is a Facebook friend posts three good things that happen to her each day, usually small things, but positive ones. I think I will resolve to do that, find at least three good things in every day and make a note of them.

***

I told Suze that I’d give you a bit of info about From The Bookshelf:

From The Bookshelf is a venture between Ann Troup, a writer and Tom Quinlan, an illustrator. Between them they bring new life to old books by making them into three dimensional stories that are no longer confined to the page. They create and sell their work through Fromthebookshelf, their Etsy shop. Both are happy to consider commissions and can be contacted via the shop, Ann’s Facebook page or twitter (@TroupAnn).
 
Giveaway
 
One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a kindle copy of The Lost Child.
 
 
The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. Please add withloveforbooks@gmail.com to your list of approved email addresses. All of our giveaways are international.