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Thursday, May 31, 2018

I Don't Want To Be Friends by Camilla Isley - Book Review & Giveaway

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Review by Anniek

Haley has been in a steady relationship with Scott for quite a while, but can't deny that she also feels a deep connection to his brother David. When Scott goes away for a summer internship David uses this time to get closer to Haley. Haley's best friend Madison has a crush on Scott and it devastated her when Scott and Haley got together. Because Haley is also her roommate, Madison can't escape the happy couple. Two brothers are in love with the same girl and two best are friends in love with the same guy. Who will choose whom when the summer ends?

Haley and Madison have been best friends for a long time and are very considerate towards each other. Haley knows that Madison has a crush on Scott and she tries to keep Madison away from heartache as much as possible. Haley has gotten to know David on a deeper level and he has shown her his true colors under all of his bad boy layers. Haley knows she has to make a decision. She doesn't want to cause a argument between the two brothers. It has happened before that a girl divided them and she'll do anything to prevent that from happening again. Will Haley discover which brother is supposed to be her soulmate before it's too late?

I Don't Want To Be Friends is a story about searching for your true love, best friends and loyalty. The main characters of I Don't Want To Be Friends have already been introduced in the first three books of the Just Friends series. They have started their last year in college and are all getting ready for their adult life. I always enjoy to read up on characters that I've previously been introduced to and what I liked so much about this series was to actually follow them on their journey into adulthood. Camilla Isley never disappoints with her lighthearted romantic novels that she always fills with humor. I've read every book she has ever written and I'm a big fan of her stories. I highly recommend I Don't Want To Be Friends, just like any of her other books.

Advice

If you love to read fun and interesting love stories I Don't Want To Be Friends would be a perfect choice. Please keep in mind that this book is the last book (for now) in the Just Friends series. The books have to be read in chronological order.



Camilla is an engineer turned writer after she quit her job to follow her husband in an adventure abroad. She’s a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveler, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.

Links


Free books

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Let's Be Just Friends is currently free on Amazon.


Friend Zone, the second book in the Just Friends series, is free when you sign up for Camilla Isley's newsletter.

Giveaway

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One very Lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive an I Read Past My Bedtime throw pillow and digital copies of the complete Just Friends series, consisting of Let’s Be Just Friends, Friend Zone, My Best Friend’s Boyfriend and I Don’t Want To Be Friends by Camilla Isley. Two runner ups will receive digital copies of the complete Just Friends series.

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

It's All About the Duke by Amelia Grey - Book Review & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Rath has said yes to a request under the influence of too much alcohol. He will now be a young lady's ward. Marlena is an orphan and her previous guardian is gravely ill, so he can't prepare her for the season. Rath is a Duke with a reputation, but even though he's a rake he wants to make this task a success. Because of a scandal he caused years ago he's still the main target of plenty of gossip. Rath wants to do something good for a change and takes his duty to find a suitable husband for Marlena seriously. However, when he meets her he doesn't know if he wants another man to marry his ward. Rath isn't the marrying type, but will Marlena change his mind?

Marlena is a girl with secrets. Many young girls would dream of having a Duke as their guardian, but Marlena has to be careful when she's around Rath. There's something she doesn't want him to know. Rath should never discover what she's keeping from him, Marlena thinks she won't be able to handle the consequences. While sparks fly between them she knows she's getting in trouble. She desperately wants to be with the one man she shouldn't desire, but it's impossible to stop herself from falling for the gorgeous Duke. What should she do?

It's All About the Duke is a wonderful charming story. I was immediately intrigued by Rath. He might have his flaws, but deep down he's a real gentleman with a good heart. Marlena challenges him and that's exactly what he needs. She is an amazing woman, she's smart, talented and resilient. She's also a fabulous friend and her generosity knows no bounds. I love a good story about secrets and was fascinated by what she's keeping from the Duke from the beginning. I couldn't wait to find out what would happen between them and read the book in one sitting to find out if they'd get their happily ever after.

Amelia Grey has a mesmerizing descriptive writing style. I love how she makes her stories come to life. She laces them with energy, humor and entertainment. Her books are a true joy to read. It's All About the Duke is fascinating, enchanting and romantic. I loved the main characters and enjoyed every single page of their story. I like it when I'm so engrossed in a book that I don't want to put it down until I've read the last sentence. Amelia Grey has written another true gem, I absolutely love The Rakes of St. James series and highly recommend all of the books.

Advice

If you like regency romance you don't want to miss It's All About the Duke. Each The Rakes of St. James story can be read a standalone, but I'd advise you to read them all.

About Amelia Grey


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Amelia Grey read her first romance book when she was thirteen and she's been a devoted reader of love stories ever since. Her awards include the Booksellers Best, Aspen Gold, and the Golden Quill.

Writing as Gloria Dale Skinner, she won the coveted Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter and the prestigious Maggie Award. Her books have sold to many countries in Europe, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, and most recently to Japan. Several of her books have also been featured in Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs.

Amelia is the author of twenty-five books. She's been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over thirty-five years and she lives on the beautiful gulf coast of Northwest Florida. Her first book with St. Martin's was The Duke in My Bed.

You can follow Amelia on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AmeliaGreyBooks or email her at AmeliaGrey@comcast.net to be added to her monthly newsletter list.

Links


Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will win a $25 Amazon gift card. One runner up will receive a digital copy of one book from Amelia Grey's backlist (winner's choice).

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Cowboy Bold by Carolyn Brown - Book Review & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Retta's father passed away and she had to sell the family ranch to pay his large number of medical bills. She's a farm girl at heart, but working in the city's always been her big dream. For a few years it became reality, but when her father needed someone to take care of him Retta moved back home. Because she needs to work and the interview for her old job is a few weeks away, Retta applies for a position of counselor for the girls who are staying at Longhorn Canyon Ranch during the summer. When Cade, the owner of the ranch, meets Retta he hires her on the spot. Will she have a good time working at his ranch?

Cade is still getting over being jilted. He doesn't think he will ever be able to deal with so much heartbreak again. That's why Retta's presence at the farm proves to be a challenge. He likes her a lot, but they're both grieving and therefore they aren't ready to get involved with someone. Retta is magnificent when it comes to guiding the girls of his program and she's well loved by both the boys and the girls who are staying for the summer, but is she also perfect for Cade? While looking after eight challenging kids, sparks fly between them. What will happen when it's time for the children to go home, will Retta also leave and return to the city?

Cowboy Bold is a wonderful romantic story. Cade is a chivalrous man with a good heart. He loves looking after the children of his program and enjoys letting them spend several weeks on his farm each year. They are all kids who could use a break and that's exactly what he offers them. Retta instinctively knows how to handle each situation and she's a terrific asset to the ranch. She's loving and attentive and I enjoyed how she's protective of every single one of her girls. I admired her strong personality, her large number of useful skills and her sassy attitude. I liked the combination of romance and a meaningful program, it works incredibly well.

Carolyn Brown has an amazing heartwarming writing style. Her stories always make me smile and they all have that perfect feelgood reading factor. I love the many emotional layers, each of them is spot on. Carolyn Brown also knows how to describe true love. Her stories are filled with meaningful connections and beautiful bonds. One of the things I loved the most about Cowboy Bold is the beautiful friendship between a large variety of very different main characters. Carolyn Brown combines a gorgeous alluring story with a stunning setting, which made it easy to completely fall in love with Cowboy Bold. I highly recommend this mesmerizing enchanting and charming book.

Advice

If you love cowboy romance you don't want to miss Cowboy Bold.

About Carolyn Brown


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Carolyn Brown was born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma. These days she and her husband make their home in Davis, Oklahoma, a small town of less than three thousand people where everyone knows everyone, knows what they are doing and with whom, and read the weekly newspaper to see who got caught.

A plaque hangs on her office wall that says I know the voices are not real but they have such great ideas. That is her motto and muse as she goes through the days with quirky characters in her head, telling their stories, one by one, and loving her job.

She has been married almost half a century to a retired English teacher that she calls Mr. B and he does not read her books before they are published because she cannot afford a divorce. They have three grown children.—and enough grandchildren to keep them busy and young.

When Carolyn is not writing she likes to sit in the back yard and watch the two tom cats protect the yard from all kinds of wicked varmints like crickets, other cats, spiders and blue jays.

Links

Website // Amazon // Facebook // Goodreads

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback or Kindle copy of Cowboy Bold by Carolyn Brown (winner’s choice).

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Talented Artist - Miranda Pouliot from Mirkwood Scribes - Interview & Giveaway


About Miranda Pouliot


I am very blessed to have been able to be a stay at home mom for the last seven years. I have one great kid and a very supportive husband who works full time handling the finances of my families' various business ventures (farms, retail stores, antique shops, cafe, car wash, and the list goes on - he has a big job! ) while I have stayed home with our son and doing the most random assortment of design work for those businesses during naps and quiet times. I've done everything from product labels to billboards.

I love reading fantasy and sci-fi books and I am really excited to create THINGS inspired by my favorite stories. I'm also an obsessive gamer and a huge fan of Disney movies and anime. I hope one day to have a shop full of pretty things & nerdy goodies to share with all you people out there who love some of the same things I do.

Links

Website // Instagram // Pinterest

Interview


1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

My name is Miranda, I live in Missouri with my husband and 8 year old son. I am sort of a stay at home mom, but truthfully I have about three very flexible jobs, Etsy being one of them. I also run my mother's antique shop two days a week and while I am there I list her antiques on Etsy for her, and I design ads and signs for a local farm store. I love cats, books, Disney everything, and video games! And food.



2) What’s the inspiration behind your work?


I always try to make things that appeal to me. I am inspired by lost of things. I have several sets of bookmarks that are inspired by things I saw while travelling: art, patterns, or just feelings.


3) Where did you learn how to make your designs?

I actually went to college for design. I didn't love school, and never got a degree. I did go for five years (oops) and took all sorts of classes. Lots of art, geography, and equestrian instruction! Several of the courses I took used books from Lynda.com, and I still use that website as a resource when I want to learn new things. I don't feel like I am lacking by not having a degree. I can go online and learn what I want to, when I want to. I am always trying to learn new techniques!


4) What does your work place look like?

I have a large galvanized metal table for my computer with shelves (and usually a cat) under it. Its covered in a combination of nerdy toys, makeup, coffee cups, mailing supplies and little pictures my son drew for me. Behind me I have my grandpa's desk with a gigantic paper trimmer and more shelves for paper and card stock. Behind that is my big printer. This room has floor to ceiling bookshelves on the back wall, a piano, and an elliptical machine. Its a good room!


5) You make bookish items, where does your love for books come from?

Harry Potter.


6) Can you tell a bit more about how you started your store?

I designed the invites for my husband's sister's wedding and bridal shower. People kept telling me they were really good and I should start an Etsy shop! I thought about it and made a few invitation designs but was hesitant to pull the trigger on it. Because of course I imagined everyone would hate them. But my husband really pushed me to just do it, and he sat down with me one night and helped me fill in all the policies and paperwork to get my store up! I still do invitations, but I enjoy the bookish side more.


7) You use quotes for your bookmarks, where do you find them and do you have a favorite?

Usually Goodreads is where I find quotes. I've had quite a few requests for themes and I always try to take requests if I have the time. My favorite is an Edgar Allen Poe bookmark that just says "Nevermore"


8) People can buy bookmarks from you, but they also can buy the designs and print them themselves, how did you get the idea to let people print their own bookmarks designed by you?

It actually started the other way around! I only sold digital files at first because I was not confident in my printer or ability to make a great product. I have learned a lot and so many people don't want to do printing themselves. I feel really good about my prints these days as well as the quality of my card stock. I buy really good card stock. Digital files still have their place - I get a lot of teachers actually who want to print for their classroom. Another good use is party favors, book club, events, etc. I have a new-ish service in my shop called the "Bookmark Vault" where you can buy a link to my Dropbox, and have access to all of my bookmark files, forever. That includes all of the ones in my shop now, and all the ones I will make in the future.


9) You add a lot of new designs, how do you keep the ideas coming?

I like to set goals for myself. I just finished doing 100 bookmarks in 100 days! That was actually a pretty hard schedule for me, and I am really proud to have completed it. Before I started that challenge I had a notebook where I wrote down all of my ideas. I talked to friends and family, asked them their ideas for it too. A friend said her son wanted "weird pizza bookmarks", so that's what I did. Some of the things I wrote down never made it. Maybe they will some day. Other times I'll just see a nice color combination and want to theme a set of bookmarks around it. I source graphics from several places and sometimes that determines what I do. One of my more recent sets was "fairy tale" themed. That happened because I found the coolest, whimsical, watercolor owl, and I had to use him.


10) What are your plans for the future?

Some of my more popular designs are going to be on mugs soon! I looked at a huge print on demand company, signed up and started putting my designs on mugs. But I don't know. It seemed too ... cheap? I didn't love it. I have found a smaller company that does camp mugs, gold foiling, clear glass mugs, and just more than just your plain white mug. I am ordering samples from them to see how that goes.

Giveaway

Bookmark grab bag

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a bookmark grab bag from Miranda Pouliot.

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Girl Against the Universe and This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes - Book Reviews, Guest Post & Giveaway

Reviews by Suze
Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Bad things are happening to Maguire. Her uncle, father and brother died in a car crash and she was the only one who came out of it alive. She also survived a roller coaster accident and when a third incident happened, and then a fourth people started to talk. Maguire thinks she causes the bad luck and does everything she can to keep the people around her safe. Her mother remarried and had two more children and the family is now moving to a new place. Maguire has the chance to start over, but she thinks she's still responsible for other people's misery and a new home and school won't change that. That's why her mother sends her to a therapist.

Maguire meets Jordy at her therapist's office. She's surprised when she sees him again at the school's tennis practice. Jordy is assisting her coach. He's a young tennis star and wants to become a professional. Their therapist has given both of them goals to achieve and Jordy and Maguire decide to help each other with their quests. For the first time in her teenage life Maguire has a friend, but she doesn't know if it's safe. Shouldn't she stay away from Jordy, so he can avoid the trouble she brings with her?

Girl Against the Universe is a beautiful heartwarming story about a traumatized girl who develops mental health problems because of everything that happened to her. Paula Stokes writes about this topic in a sensitive and truthful way and I can't praise the way she's handles her topic enough. She's done a fantastic job. I loved Maguire, she's a sweet and talented girl. Unfortunately the universe has dealt her a bad hand. She tries to cope, but it isn't easy. She needs help and she's doing her very best to get better. She's incredibly strong and I admired that about her. Jordy is kindhearted and adorable and they are great together. I kept hoping they would both overcome their fears enough to enjoy life again. I loved their ending, it's not all sunshine and roses, but it's lovely and fitting instead, which was a wonderful surprise.

Paula Stokes has an easy flowing writing style. I read Girl Against the Universe in one sitting and couldn't put it down. I loved the vivid descriptions of both the thought processes of the main characters and their motivations. They are complete people and I could picture them without any difficulties, which enabled me to focus on the story itself even more. I think good books about main characters who struggle with mental health issues are really important and this is definitely one of my favorites. I enjoyed the loving way Paula Stokes writes about Maguire and Jordy. She is such a good writer and her stories are all unique and absolutely amazing.


Advice

If you love a good romantic YA story dealing with mental health issues in an amazing way, Girl Against the Universe would be a perfect choice.

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When Genevieve wakes up in a hospital room after a car crash she can't remember what happened. Her boyfriend Dallas was killed. He was on his way to fame and fortune, being a popular singer song writer who just released his first album. The accident is being seen as a crime. Brad, the driver of the other car that was involved, supposedly drank alcohol before getting behind the wheel. Was the accident really Brad's fault though? Genevieve was driving that night, what if she was somehow responsible? She wants to get away from the media attention, the accusations and (false) sympathy. While recovering many miles away with her dad and his new wife her memory slowly returns. What happened on that fatal night?

People's aggression towards Brad becomes worse. The abundance of negative social media attention around the accident makes Genevieve nervous. She might be far away from the scene of the accident, but it keeps haunting her and she realizes she can never truly escape the traumatic event. While spending a lot of time outside she has the chance to slowly work through her feelings. Can she accept the consequences of her actions that night and will she be able to find a way to deal with the aftermath?

This Is How It Happened is an impressive story. I was blown away by the thought-provoking subject matter. Paula Stokes doesn't spare her main characters. They aren't perfect, they make mistakes and they learn how to deal with difficult circumstances. I loved that about her story. Nothing is black or white and she fabulously explores the grey in between. She's given Genevieve a fantastic multilayered personality. She's introverted, complex and incredibly smart. Because of the accident she's lost someone incredibly dear to her and she has to come to terms with everything that happened that traumatic night. Watching her go through every single stage of the emotional roller coaster she's in moved me to tears. I was captivated from the very first page and couldn't stop reading.

Paula Stokes has a terrific engaging writing style. I love how well she understands what her main characters are going through. She describes every single detail of their emotional turmoil in a compelling way and the result is an amazing complete story. This Is How It Happened is a poignant story filled with hope, loss and dreams. It's clear that Paula Stokes puts everything she has to give into her writing, which is something I greatly admire about her books. I highly recommend This Is How It Happened, it's a beautiful story.


Advice

If you love thought-provoking stories about acceptance and personal growth you don't want to miss This Is How It Happened.

About Paula Stokes


Hey, I'm Paula. I write stories about flawed characters with good hearts who sometimes make bad decisions.

I got my start writing historical novels for a book development company. Then I wrote a fluffy YA romantic comedy called THE ART OF LAINEY. After that, I wrote a dark and twisty mystery called LIARS, INC. Those two books sold to the good people at HarperTeen, and since then I've released two action-packed sci-fi thrillers and two more contemporary novels. In 2018 I'll be releasing another mystery and my first new adult novel, a romance set in Thailand. Mixing it up keeps things interesting for me.

In addition to being a writer, I'm also a mental health nurse, online instructor, and freelance manuscript consultant. Several of my clients at Manuscript Critique Services have gone on to sign with agents and sell their debut novels.

When I'm not working (rare), I'm kayaking, hiking, reading, or seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. My future goals include writing more books, becoming a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, learning Krav Maga, and diving with great white sharks, not necessarily in that order. (Okay, probably in that order.)

Links


A peek inside my “book boyfriend” laboratory
Guest post by Paula Stokes

First a big thank you to Suze and Anniek for having me on the blog. I was originally going to write about why I like nice (book) guys, but then I decided to share how I create my own YA book boyfriends instead.

Step 1: Let the book boyfriend be who he is.

My main characters often pop into my head almost fully formed. Sometimes they are partially based on someone I know. Sometimes they’re partially based on a person I might have read about, overheard on public transit, or seen at the store, etc. Often they just appear and I can’t even begin to parse out where their individual physical and emotional characteristics came from. This is one of the magical things about writing, and as much as possible, I try to roll with whatever quirks and traits my characters are “born” with. For example, Jordy from Girl Against the Universe is afraid of grasshoppers. I don’t know anyone afraid of grasshoppers and I don’t know why he came with that fear, but I let him keep it and then came up with a backstory that explained it.

Step 2: But don’t let him be “too perfect.”

But Paula, books are fiction, they’re fantasies, what’s wrong with perfect, you might ask. When I’m reading, I appreciate the occasional perfect book boyfriend, the guy who is swoonworthy in every aspect and never lets me down. But at the same time, he doesn’t usually feel “real” to me, and if he does feel real then my inner high school girl is usually reminding me how a guy that perfect never would never talk to me because I am a giant, tangled mess of flaws. Plus, perfect book boys often come with idealized representations of romance and relationships, and I prefer not to encourage unrealistic expectations for either guys or girls.

When I first got into reading YA, paranormal was big, and not only were the book boyfriends handsome, smart, athletic, and talented, they also had super-human powers. Twilight is a good example of a “too perfect” book boyfriend in my opinion, and sure, I understand that Edward is actually a hundred years old or whatever, so his long list of talents makes sense with the story. But a lot of books came after Twilight where the book boy wasn’t immortal but still seemed to possess all of those “Renaissance Man” qualities. I don’t know about you, but the boys I knew in high school did not speak five languages, play classical piano, quote famous poetry, kick ass at sports, encourage their friends to recycle, and manage to do all of that without messing up their stylish clothing or perfectly coiffed hairdos. Maybe they kicked ass at sports, but they got sweaty and stinky while they did so, and then they went home and tossed their dirty laundry on the floor next to the cheese-encrusted plate from the sandwich they made themselves the night before when they stayed up late playing Playstation. Fun fact: The cheese-encrusted plate Lainey finds in Micah’s bedroom in The Art of Lainey is totally based on a whole collection of cheese-encrusted plates I encountered while dating.

Basically, my second step boils down to the following:

I want my characters to feel real.

I don’t want to create unrealistic expectations for girls.

I don’t want to create unrealistic standards for boys.

I want my book boyfriends to feel attainable to readers.

Step 3: But make sure underneath it all that he’s a decent guy.

Back when I was reading all those paranormal YA books, I noticed another thing: the book boyfriends were often either overly controlling or emotionally unavailable. (And I don’t mean to indicate this is unique to paranormal YA. I think this was just a trend ten years ago but I saw it mostly in paranormal because that’s what I read.) That resulted in a lot of book boys who watched girls sleep or kicked other guys’ asses for talking to them on one side, and book boys who dodged text messages and railed on girls for being too clingy on the other side. I’ve dated guys from both groups and I can tell you without even knowing who you are, that you deserve better. My first serious boyfriend was so controlling that he used to tell me how to dress and got jealous of the time I spent with my own family. After I finally broke up with him, I did a 180 and had such an issue with being attracted to emotionally unavailable assholes in my twenties and thirties that I’ve since gone years without dating, mostly because my relationships took a lot more from me than they gave and I’m just too tired to invite that hell back into my life. (It’s okay. I’m happy on my own for the time being ;D)

But still, despite the parade of sketchy dudes I’ve fallen for IRL, I’ve also dated/known a few really amazing guys—guys who never yelled at me, policed my behavior, or made me feel bad about myself, but still weren’t afraid to (nicely) call me on my bullshit. Guys who cared about other people and the planet. Guys who didn’t think being sensitive equaled being weak. Guys who supported me in my goals even if they didn’t share them or understand them. Plenty of guys like that exist. They are not perfect—often they are not the wealthiest, most athletic, most handsome, most successful, etc. But they’re out there, I swear. And although I don’t generally use my exes’ specific characteristics for book boyfriends, I do use the feelings I remember from those relationships to create stories showing that supportive and respectful guys can be even more attractive than the charming manipulators and brooding bad boys so many of us are naturally drawn to.

What about you? What sort of book romances do you prefer?

Giveaway

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One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive hardcover copies of Girl Against the Universe and This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

June Book of Choice Giveaway Hop



Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a June 2018 release of choice worth $16. Good luck!


The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Books, Tea, Candy, Infuser, Mug, Notebook and Chocolate Giveaway



Enter this giveaway for a chance to win three books, tea, an infuser, candy, a mug, chocolate and a notebook. Good luck!


The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Love, Lies and Wedding Cake by Sue Watson - Book Review & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Faye and Dan are happy together and Faye loves her life. However, Dan's brother is ill and Dan's going back to Australia to say goodbye. His ticket is one way, he's always dreamed of opening a café in Sydney and he finally has the chance. He asks Faye to join him and even proposes, but Faye's daughter has a little girl and Faye has promised to look after her, she can't just leave. Will this mean the end of their relationship?

Faye thinks she has to let Dan go. She doesn't believe there's a way they can be together and it breaks her heart to say goodbye. He's the love of her life, but her daughter and granddaughter will always come first. Has she made the right choice by staying while Dan is leaving and would like nothing better than becoming husband an wife?

Love, Lies and Wedding Cake is a wonderful romantic story about second chances, true love, being yourself and delicious food. Faye is a sweet woman whose sense of loyalty will always win. She doesn't have a selfish bone in her body and this leads to heartbreak and plenty of regrets. I couldn't wait to find out if she'd be able to fix things with Dan, because they clearly belong together. I really enjoyed reading about this amazing couple again and couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out if they'd get their happily ever after.

Sue Watson has a great sense of humor. Her stories always make me laugh. She writes about shame, embarrassment, bloopers and misunderstandings in a fabulous funny way. I like her heartwarming tone of voice and am always pleasantly surprised by the direction she chooses for her stories. Love, Lies and Wedding Cake is a fantastic sunny story that has the exact right feelgood factor. I really enjoyed reading this delightful book.

Advice

If you love funny romance Love, Lies and Wedding Cake would be a perfect choice. I'd advise you to read the books in the Love, Lies and Lemon Cake series in their correct order.

About Sue Watson


About the Blog: My blog is a bit like my handbag. It’s filled to capacity with a mess of random thoughts, recipes, favourite things and notes to and from my friends and family. Please feel free to have a delve in my blog handbag (sadly more Primark than Gucci) and say hello. If you should come across anything of interest among the favourite recipes, congealed sweets and old tissues of my life, please feel free to comment and share with your friends on Twitter and FB. And thanks for stopping by.

About Sue: Sue Watson was a TV Producer with the BBC who combined motherhood and family life with a busy career. However, one day it dawned on Sue that Cosmo magazine may have been telling porkies about 'having it all,' and her life had become a slightly crazed juggling act.

So after much soul searching (and comfort eating) Sue abandoned her TV career, bought a pink laptop and wrote a novel. 'Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes,' tells the story of Stella Weston, whose life is a constant struggle with a nasty boss at work, the weighing scales and being a mum, wife and daughter.

Originally from Manchester, Sue now lives with her husband and teenage daughter in Worcestershire. When she's not toiling over her latest novel, Sue bakes (and eats) cake and enjoys very large tubs of Caramel Chew Chew ice cream all to herself while watching 'The Biggest Loser USA.'

Links

Website // Blog // Twitter // Facebook

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love For Books will receive digital copies of Love, Lies and Lemon Cake and Love, Lies and Wedding Cake by Sue Watson.

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

The Thick of Things by J.L. Campbell - Book Review & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Khalila is heartbroken because of a terrible loss. Her husband wasn't able to support her and that means Khalila is also going through a divorce. The last thing she expects is to fall in love again. She thought she'd be numb forever, but Douglas manages to reawaken feelings in Khalila that she thought she'd never experience again. She isn't ready to deal with the changes his presence brings and tries to keep her distance. Douglas is persistent though. Will he be able to win Khalila's heart?

The Thick of Things is a moving romantic story. Khalila is grieving and this means she's just going through the motions. She is trying to survive each day and that's all she can manage. Douglas is kindhearted, patient, chivalrous, passionate and sweet. He truly listens and his gentle personality is exactly what Khalila needs to start healing. He's a wonderful man and Khalila deserves nothing less. She's a talented and smart woman who's been through a lot. She deserves some happiness after everything that happened to her and I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out if she'd give Douglas a chance.

J.L. Campbell has a vivid writing style. I loved how she makes Khalila's emotions come to life. The Thick of Things is an impressive story filled with hope, true love and silver linings. Khalila will never be the woman she used to be, but being with Douglas and feeling attractive again gives her strength. I loved this honest and open approach of a difficult topic. J.L. Campbell writes with empathy and compassion. The Thick of Things is a beautiful love story that greatly affected me.

Advice

If you like emotional love stories The Thick of Things would be an excellent choice.

About J.L. Campbell


J.L. Campbell wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. After a hiatus of more than two decades, Campbell started writing again in 2004, contributing to online craft magazines, including Vision and T-Zero: The Writer’s E-Zine.

After having three novels contracted by small publishers in 2010, Campbell opted to self-publish two collections of Jamaican-themed short stories in 2011 and hasn't stopped writing since.

She has been a contributor to Bookends (literary pages of the Sunday Observer). She has won several awards and medals, for her short stories and young adult novels entered in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) Creative Writing Competition, including Outstanding Writer in the novel category.

Campbell learned the craft of writing through workshops, books, reading hundreds of articles. She is an editor and workshop presenter, who openly admits to learning from better novelists than herself.

She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, women's fiction, new and young adult novels. and is the author of twenty-seven books and two short story collections. Her Amazon author page is here.

Links

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of The Thick of Things by J.L. Campbell.

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Harry Potter Mug, Book, Bag, Pins and Tea Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win Harry Potter tea from Literary Tea Company, a bag with pins from Nutmeg and Arlo and a Gryffindor mug and book. Good luck!


The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

The Witch's Kiss Trilogy, Tea, Mug, Chocolate, Tote Bag, Infuser & Notebooks Giveaway



Enter this giveaway for a chance to win The Witch's Kiss trilogy, tea, an infuser, chocolate, notebooks, a mug and a tote bag. Good luck!


The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Books of Choice worth $50 Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win books of choice worth $50. Good luck!


The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Fangs & Fins by Amy McNulty - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Anniek

Ember's life changes drastically when her mother remarries. She always was an only child, but now has to share her home with her two stepsisters. Adjusting to her new life with her popular stepsister Ivy might take some time, but both girls are willing to make it work. In town strange things are happening and there are two boys who suddenly show a lot of interest in Ember and Ivy. Are these boys genuinely interested or are they hiding something?

The merfolk and the vampires have lived in relative peace the past few decades. The Princes were waiting for their Champions and it seems that they have found them at last. With their Champions by their side the Princes have to end the war that has been building up between them. Ivy has just gained an extra sister and Ember has started to come out of her shell a bit. Ember never had a boyfriend and now that she's been chosen as Dean's Champion, hard decisions must be made. Will she stand by her Prince and fight to the death if she has to?

Nobody notices Ember as she is a shy, quirky girl who keeps to herself. She can't believe it when Dean, one of the hottest guys at school, seems to be interested in her. Ember is really sweet in her own funny way and I absolutely adored her. Being such a introverted girl was a big contrast with being the Champion of the vampire Prince. I loved that in her character. Ember and Ivy are very different and I really liked reading about how they were bonding as new sisters.

Fangs & Fins is a thrilling story about a battle between merfolk and vampires. I loved to read about magical beings, family bonds and ancient wars. Faeries are trying to keep everything fair, but that is not an easy job. I love stories about vampires and with merfolk and faeries present as well, I knew I was going to be hooked. Amy McNulty has created a terrific interesting world. Fangs & Fins is fast-paced and easy to follow. Amy McNulty knows how to write a magical story and definitely managed to enchant me. I can't wait till the next book in the Blood, Bloom, Water series comes out and am eager to find out how Ember and Ivy's story will continue.

Advice

I you love to read about magical beings, family bonds and ancient wars, Fangs & Fins is a story you shouldn't miss. Please note that this book has an open ending and that the story will continue in the next book of the Blood, Bloom, Water series.

About Amy McNulty


Amy McNulty is an editor and author of books that run the gamut from YA speculative fiction to contemporary romance. A lifelong fiction fanatic, she fangirls over books, anime, manga, comics, movies, games, and TV shows from her home state of Wisconsin. When not reviewing anime professionally or editing her clients’ novels, she’s busy fulfilling her dream by crafting fantastical worlds of her own.

Links

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest

Interview

1) Can you tell a bit about yourself?

I’m a writer and editor who works primarily with novels these days. I’m a fangirl for so many things: books, movies, anime, manga, and games. I also review anime and manga for Anime News Network.

2) Your stories all have a touch of magic. If you could be a magical creature yourself what would you be and why?

I’ve always thought fairies were the prettiest magical creatures, though I wouldn’t like being so small. Still, I like the wings and the nature-inspired outfits most fairies seem to wear.

3) Can you describe the main characters of Fangs & Fins in seven words each?

Ember: smart, naïve, shy, romantic, kindhearted, dreamer, awkward

Ivy: sassy, sardonic, sisterly, pragmatic, witty, resolute, easygoing

Dean: enigmatic, gentleman, protective, old-fashioned, melancholic, sharp, suave

Calder: anxious, determined, funny, friendly, kind, jock, wet

4) In your The Never Veil series the women hold all the power and are treated like goddesses. Where did your idea for this story come from?

I was going for a fantasy-setting dystopian. I originally just had the idea for a veiled lord in a castle keeping a strong-willed young woman his prisoner of sorts (like Beauty & the Beast), and I wanted to know why he wanted her there, even when he was antagonistic toward her. Then I thought about him being magically compelled to love her, and her rejecting that idea. Next I thought rather than find a specific reason why this couple is that way to just make everyone in their world that way. Every woman gets a man who’s magically compelled to love her. I wanted to contrast the “normal” couple in that world to the veiled lord and Noll, so most women get treated very well because the men are madly in love.

5) How did your love for fantasy start?

I’m not sure if I can pinpoint one specific thing, but I’ve always loved fantastical worlds and medieval/Renaissance-type settings. Probably the first fantasy I read on my own was The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander.

6) Do you have a favorite quote?

I’m kind of fond of George R.R. Martin’s “Some writers enjoy writing, I am told. Not me. I enjoy having written.” That’s mostly me. I can have fun writing, but it’s hard, too. It’s more fun celebrating the writing afterward.

7) Where did your fascination for mermaids come from?

I loved Disney’s The Little Mermaid as a kid, and I just love the idea of people loving under the water. If you think about it practically, a lot of it doesn’t make sense (how do they breathe?), but they’re a lot of fun to write in fiction.

8) Do you have a specific writing routine?

I don’t write every single day (I’d burn out), but when I get started on a new draft, I try to write every day. (Then I can take a month+ break afterward while I revise it.) I try to write for an hour or so first thing in the morning on my Alphasmart, away from the Internet and the glare of a computer screen. I get a lot more done that way! Then I spend the rest of the day working on client projects.

9) You often write about love, what does real love mean to you?

Having fun together and being there to offer a hug when feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I value independence, too, so love to me is when two independent people who can come together to enjoy each other’s company some of the time and don’t feel lonely or clingy when you spend some time apart.

10) What are your plans for the future?

Blood, Bloom, & Water is a five-book series, so I hope to get the rest of those books out as soon as I can. Right now, Book Two (Salt & Venom) is planned for a September 24th release. I also write under other pen names that have their own series going, so I have to balance all of those and somehow write all these books. But that’s what I love to do. I’m really trying to work toward making writing books more of my full-time focus. Right now, it’s just part-time.

Thanks for having me on the blog!

Giveaway

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One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive digital copies of The Never Veil: The Complete Series consisting of Nobody’s Goddess, Nobody’s Lady and Nobody’s Pawn by Amy McNulty.

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are
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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hearts of Resistance by Soraya M. Lane - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Sophia tries to give people a place to hide in her Nazi infested home country. When her father, an active member of the party, suspects what she's doing she flees Germany and joins the French Resistance. Rose has lost everything she holds dear and doesn't mind taking a risk. She's a French woman working for the Resistance, where she meets Sophia. Hazel spent a lot of time in France with her friend Rose and therefore she speaks French without an accent. This is just one of her skills and when she joins the war effort they're more than happy to train her. Her mission is in France, with the Resistance, where she coincidentally runs into her old friend Rose. Together Sophia, Rose and Hazel are trying to do what they can to beat the Germans, will they be able to remain safe?

Sophia, Rose and Hazel risk their lives for others every single day. They don't hesitate when it comes to fighting in the war. They do what they have to do to undermine the Germans, to keep their allies safe and to make sure information is being passed on to the right people. They are intelligent women with a strong bond, but will this be enough for them to survive the war? Can they stay out of the hands of their enemy or will their worst nightmare, getting caught by the German army, become reality?

Hearts of Resistance is a fantastic gripping story about three incredible women. Sophia, Rose and Hazel are brave, capable and smart. I equally admired them all because of their skills and determination. They never hesitate when it comes to helping others and doing their duty. Hazel is a kindhearted woman with an adventurous spirit. She's engaged, but doesn't feel like she should chase a boring and bland life. She has more to offer than that. Rose fights against the people who have taken everything from her, she doesn't feel like she has much left to lose and her country has everything to gain when it comes to this brilliant woman. The honorable and outspoken Sophia despises her own father and everything he stands for and fights for what is right. I loved their strong spirits and the friendship between these three remarkable women is beautiful. In the harsh world they're part of it's an amazing soft element that captivated me from beginning to end.

Soraya M. Lane kept me on the edge of my seat with her terrific suspenseful writing. She makes her main characters and the time she's writing about come to life in a fabulous way. I couldn't stop reading Hearts of Resistance, it's filled with surprising twists and turns, adrenaline rushes and fascinating emotional layers. Soraya M. Lane has written a mesmerizing compelling story that I highly recommend.

Advice

If you love gripping historical fiction you don't want to miss Hearts of Resistance.

About Soraya M. Lane


As a child, Soraya dreamed of becoming an author, recreating the types of stories she devoured day and night. Fast forward more than a few years, and Soraya is now living her dream. Working as a full-time author, she writes every day around her other job of being a mom to two little boys. Soraya describes being an author as “the best career in the world”, and she hopes to be writing romance for many years to come.

Soraya loves spending her days thinking up characters for romance stories, and her home is a constant source of inspiration. She lives with her own real life hero and two sons on a small farm in New Zealand, surrounded by animals and with an office overlooking a field where their horses graze.

As a historical women's fiction & contemporary romance author, Soraya now writes under two different names... from 2017, all women's fiction novels will be released as Soraya M. Lane.

Links

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Amazon

Interview

1. Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I’m a women’s fiction and romance author based in New Zealand, and published by Amazon Publishing’s Lake Union imprint, as well as by St. Martins Press. Being an author is my dream career, and I’m so grateful to have a job that I love!

2. How did you get the idea to write about three women from different countries all involved in the WWII resistance?

I had been thinking about this story for a long time, and I really enjoying writing historical novels with three main female characters. I was fascinated with the resistance, and I stumbled across some amazing true stories about the brave women who fought with the resistance, both in France and in the UK, and the story just grew organically form there. Sophia was a surprise to me, in that she is German but with a French-born mother, and I particularly enjoyed writing her story, although I was in tears sometimes writing the first part of the novel when it came to her scenes!

3. Can you describe Sophia, Hazel and Rose in eight words each?

Sophia is courageous, strong, fearless, passionate, capable, driven, powerful and loving. Rose is compassionate, strong, loving, driven, courageous, ambitious, empathetic and emotional. Hazel is quietly-confident, strong, courageous, companionable, capable, powerful and incredible. You’ll notice that I use the word “courageous” for all of them, and I think that all women involved in the resistance were incredibly courageous.

4. How did you handle the research for Hearts of the Resistance?

I did all the research myself for this project, although I have used a research assistant in the past. I spent at least a month researching the novel, and then every day I was always looking something up as I wrote the story.

5. How did you prepare to write a story about one of the most difficult times in history and how did you handle the sad scenes in your book?

The sad scenes were rough, I’m not going to lie. One day I was writing a particularly tough scene for Sophia, and I’m not going to say what happens as I think it’s a powerful turning point early in the story for her so it’s an important surprise, and I went to pick my boys up from school and I was trying not to cry in the car. The scene haunted me and really hit me hard emotionally, but I had to write it and I actually like the fact that I really feel for each of my characters! They’re very real to me when I’m writing them, and I hope that comes across in the novel.

6. Hearts of the Resistance is a story about friendship, what does true friendship mean to you?

My historical women’s fiction novels are always essentially about friendship, and usually they’re women who meet at some point, despite being from different backgrounds. I really believe that women should empower one another, and I like writing about women who are sometimes not the most likely of friends, yet they develop strong, unbreakable bonds. True friendship is very important to me.

7. How do you combine your writing with your busy home life?

This is a hard question - there is no easy answer! Writing is a full time job for me, but then so is raising my kids. I have two boys (7 and 4) and I love being a parent, and I’m very grateful to be able to pick them up from school and be at home whenever they need me. BUT, it’s a very real juggle to balance parenting and a big career, and there are many late nights writing to make up for the days I spend with the kids! My husband is very supportive though, and we are very much equal partners when it comes to our kids, our animals and our lives. In addition to our children, we also have two dogs, two cats (who adopted us and moved in a couple of years ago after being born as strays!) four horses and two pet sheep!

8. How did your love for books start?

I don’t ever remember a time that I didn’t love books. My parents read a lot to me when I was growing up, and reading was one of those things I found easy to learn and loved. I always had my nose in a book as a kid, and I’ve always been a big reader. We recently went on vacation for a week, and all I did was play with the kids and read! I find it hard to find time to read around parenting and writing though, so I generally have a huge to-be-read pile that I dive into after I finish a project or when I’m on vacation.

9. You write both historical fiction and romance, how is it to combine these two genres?

I love writing in more than one genre - for me it keeps my writing fresh. My focus is predominantly on historical women’s fiction now, but I will still continue to write contemporary fiction when my schedule allows it. I really enjoy the different types of writing, and it’s nice switching between historical and contemporary.

10. What are your plans for the future?

I’m currently busy working on edits for my next historical novel, Spitfire Girls, which will be released in January. After that, I’m jumping straight into my next historical, which is also contracted by Lake Union Publishing. That is a story set in Pearl Harbor and I can’t wait to get started!

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a paperback copy or Kindle copy of Hearts of Resistance by Soraya M. Lane (winner’s choice).

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are
international.