eBook Contest June 29

Title: Under Your Skin by Shannyn Schroeder
For Your Love Series Book One
Publisher: Zebra Shout
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 320 pages

Summary:

Blood Is Thicker Than Ink. . .

Norah O’Malley has been alone for a long time. It’s been ten years since her father and four brothers shipped her off to be raised by her aunt. Seven months since she’s seen the guy who got her pregnant–who still doesn’t know. And it’s two weeks since she came home to Chicago and discovered none of her family wants to talk–or listen.

She never expected to walk into a tattoo shop seven months pregnant and get her socks knocked off by instant attraction. She can’t even see her socks. But Kai Ellis is big and gruff and sexy as hell, and if he has a past, well, so does she. Even more, Kai knows how to listen so that Norah feels just a little less alone . . .

All the chemistry in the world can’t help Norah make her decisions. And no sizzle of desire will make Kai believe in happy endings. But a little time with someone who understands might just change everything . . .


defending haydenTitle: Defending Hayden by L.P. Dover
Second Chances Series
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 227 pages

Summary:

The Carolina Cougars keep fighting for love as the Second Chances series from bestselling author L. P. Dover continues! In Defending Hayden, a damaged football star teams up with the only woman who can take the pain away.
 
No one’s tougher than Carolina Cougars linebacker Derek McLaughlin. But when a fatal car accident claims the life of his girlfriend, Derek finds himself caught in a destructive spiral of drugs, alcohol, and meaningless sex. But not even a string of one-night stands can ease the hurt. Football is all he has left. Then fate leads him back to the scene of the crash, and into the arms of a kind, gorgeous woman who sees past his façade to the man he once was . . . and can be again.

When a chance roadside encounter brings Derek into her life, veterinarian Hayden Hunter isn’t fooled by his bad attitude: All bark and no bite, he’s hiding a wounded heart beneath that gruff demeanor. And Hayden wants to be the one to kiss it all better. Soon they both find that a dose of passion is potent medicine. But when a hidden enemy lashes out at Hayden, Derek steps up to do what he does best: put his body on the line in the name of love.


second harvestTitle: A Second Harvest by Eli Easton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Romance
Length: 206 pages

Summary:

David Fisher has lived by the rules all his life. Born to a Mennonite family, he obeyed his father and took over the family farm, married, and had two children. Now with both his kids in college and his wife deceased, he runs his farm alone and without joy, counting off the days of a life half-lived.

Christie Landon, graphic designer, Manhattanite, and fierce gay party boy, needs a change. Now thirty, he figures it’s time to grow up and think about his future. When his best friend overdoses, Christie resolves to take a break from the city. He heads to a small house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to rest, recoup, and reflect.

But life in the country is boring despite glimpses of the hunky silver fox next door. When Christie’s creativity latches on to cooking, he decides to approach his widower neighbor with a plan to share meals and grocery expenses. David agrees, and soon the odd couple finds they really enjoy spending time together.

Christie challenges the boundaries of David’s closed world and brings out feelings he buried long ago. If he can break free of the past, he might find a second chance at happiness.


Wednesday is contest day on Book Reviews and More by Kathy. Three lucky winners will win the eBook of their choice! Here’s how to enter:

You must Do TWO of the Following:

1. Sign up for e-mail updates (upper left corner). One email daily with the day’s posts.

OR:

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Make sure you have filled out the contest entry form:

4. To be eligible to enter contests on Book Reviews and More by Kathy you MUST fill out the contest entry form (found HERE). This form only needs to be filled out ONCE. Your privacy is important to me, and I will not share your information.

And don’t forget to:

5. Fill out the form below by 5 PM Mountain Time Friday afternoon:

*I am the only person who will have access to info that is submitted to me UNLESS a publisher or author has donated an eBook for the giveaway. For a prize donated by an author or publisher, I will forward your e-mail and format selection to the person responsible for distributing the eBook. In the event the contest form is not working, please leave your book selection in the comments below.*

It’s that easy! The winners will be selected using random.org. I will e-mail the winners the eBook of their choice in their preferred format. The winners will be posted HERE on Saturday.

***The eBooks in this giveaway have been purchased by Book Reviews & More by Kathy.***

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Tour Stop, Excerpt & Giveaway: Blue Moon by Lisa Kessler

Title: Blue Moon by Lisa Kessler
Moon Series Book Six
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Imprint: Select Otherworld
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Length: 236 pages

Summary:

Falling for her means losing everything…

She’s his muse, his mate, and she’s completely off-limits.

He’s a jerk, a recluse, and her newest assignment.

Until he broke her heart, Vivianna Lopez loved Logan Reynolds.

Five years later, she’s an aspiring music journalist and he’s the camera-shy lead singer of Logan and the Howlers.

Armed with a backstage pass, Vivi’s back in her hometown of Reno, nestled in the shadows of the Sierra Nevada mountains. She must score an interview with Logan to land her dream job – otherwise it’s back to Boston, with no scoop and no job. It’s just business–at least that’s what she keeps telling herself.

Logan still loves Vivi, his soul mate, but there’s something even she doesn’t know about him: He turns into a werewolf every full moon and a secret organization is hunting down his Pack.

Vivi may not have Logan’s senses, but she can sniff out that he’s hiding something. He knows it’s only a matter of time before the truth about him – and his Pack – is revealed.

And then he really will lose her.

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Purchase Links: Amazon * B&N * iTunes * Kobo * Entangled Publishing


Excerpt

Logan

Paul jogged onstage with my Gibson. I swapped the electric guitar for the acoustic and slid the strap over my shoulder. Amazing that I could be sitting on a cold stool in the hot lights of a open-air college amphitheater with five thousand screaming fans and still feel so damned alone.

I sucked in a slow breath, my fingers instinctively reaching for that first chord. My Gibson was my focus. With her in my arms, everything else faded away.

“I love you, Logan!”

I peered into the blinding spotlight and leaned into the mic. “Love you, too.”

The crowd went ballistic. Tonight was my twenty-third birthday, and I was spending it with my alt-rock band, Logan and the Howlers. We were finally starting to see some success. Our songs climbed up iTunes charts as fast as we could release them, and our concert venues were getting bigger without the backing of a big record label. We were busy.

Even on my birthday.

Luke, my twin brother, was waiting somewhere in the wings. After the show, we were going to grab a couple of beers to celebrate, and I’d paste on a smile for my brother. For me, it was just another empty year. As my Pack brothers each found their mates, the one woman he would ever love, the ache for mine grew, but unlike the rest of the Pack, there was no hope of me being with her.

I blew my chance years ago.

Pushing the memories away, I leaned on the stool while the rest of the Howlers vanished offstage for a water break. This was my song. The crowd erupted as I strummed the first chord. “Madness in the Moonlight” was still one of our top selling singles, and a favorite at live performances. My pain on display.

She haunts my dreams.

Shadows of the past.

Ripping my heart down the seams.

No one to blame but me.

I’m a lone wolf now, but I still stare up at the moon,

Call her name, and wonder if she’s looking, too…

I sat back, letting the crowd finish the chorus, wailing the anger and rage.

Madness. Madness. Madness.

Wishing won’t change a thing.

Tell that to my fucking heart.

Welcome the pain, feel something.

Got to let her go.

Another verse, another chorus, but as I hit the key change, a familiar scent, clean and spicy like cinnamon ignited my senses. Oh shit. From where?

I was the only member of the Howlers who actually howled. Once a month, the wolf in my soul came forward and I shifted my form, surrendering to the animalistic part of my spirit. And right now the dormant wolf was clawing toward my consciousness, no longer content to rest in the background. Even as a man, my senses were heightened—especially my senses of smell and hearing, but my vision didn’t suck, either.

I’d performed this song hundreds of times. My fingers found the chords instinctively, but I almost missed my vocals, stumbling over the next verse while I scanned the crowd. Finally I turned toward the wings.

In the shadows offstage, my brother Luke waited for me…with a ghost from my past.

Anna.

Fuck.

I forced myself to face the crowd. This was no time to lose my shit. What the hell was she doing here? I powered through the ending of the song and stood to accept the cheers.

Grabbing the hand mic, I tried not to check the wings again. “Thank you. There’s no place I’d rather be for my birthday!”

A deafening roar erupted from the crowd. “Happy Birthday, Logan” signs waved back and forth as my bandmates came out to join me, taking the decibel level even higher. Stryker jogged out, still shirtless, his untamed long hair bouncing with each stride. The guy was a monster on the drums. He raised his drumsticks while Levi, tall and slender, pumped his fist from behind the keyboard.

Levi had a degree in music, and a knack for fleshing out harmonies. Plus he was our de facto social media manager, saving the rest of us from being near a computer. We loved him for that.

And finally Zane hustled out with his bass guitar on his shoulder, waving to fans. He was the “Old Man” of the Howlers. It didn’t help that he liked to keep his hair slicked back in a 50s pompadour.

Zane stopped next to me. “You okay, man?”

There was no way any regular guy would’ve heard it through the roar of the audience, but I caught every word. I glanced at the wings, relieved to see them empty. Maybe I’d imagined her.

Wishful thinking. I’d recognize her scent anywhere.

“I’m good.”

I swapped my Gibson for the electric guitar and hit a chord. The Howlers had my back, filling the concert hall with a wall of sound, but I couldn’t lose myself in it this time. Any movement offstage had me jumpy and tense. This concert couldn’t be over soon enough.


Author Bio

Lisa Kessler is an award winning author of dark paranormal fiction. Her debut novel, Night Walker, won a San Diego Book Award for Best Published FantasyScifiHorror
as well as the Romance Through the Ages Award for Best Paranormal and Best First Book.  Her short stories have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award.  When she’s not writing, Lisa is a professional vocalist, performing with the San Diego Opera as well as other musical theater companies in San Diego.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Newsletter


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Release Day Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: A Summer to Remember by Marilyn Pappano

Title: A Summer to Remember by Marilyn Pappano
Tallgrass Series Book Six
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages

Summary:

FIRST LOVE NEVER FADES . . . 



It’s been a long time since widow Fia Thomas felt the spark of physical attraction. But from the moment she meets Elliot Ross one stormy night, she yearns for a fresh start, for him to make her feel whole and well again. With his broad shoulders and a warm smile crinkling his dark eyes, he could finally offer her the solace she’s been seeking. And she’s willing to give him anything in return . . . except a promise that could break his heart.

Now that Elliot is out of the Army, he’s looking for a place to call home. Tallgrass was just a stop to stretch his legs, yet one look at Fia halts him in his tracks. In her sweet, sassy company, he finds the soul mate he never thought he’d have. But Fia is holding something back-something that keeps her from making any plans. Elliot’s new mission: gain Fia’s trust…and convince her that summer’s end can mean a new beginning.

Read my review HERE.

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Purchase Links: Amazon * B&N * Google Play * iTunes * Kobo


Excerpt

“Go on. Sing more.”

He did, and she listened with her eyes half closed. The tones were sweet, the emotion fierce, the quality hands-down better than the singer on the radio. Everything she learned about Elliot was adding up to an extraordinary man.

While she remained plain, average Fia. With “issues.”

“Beautiful,” she responded when the song ended. At about the same time, he turned into her driveway.

He came around and held hands with her to the stoop and up the steps, where he propped open the storm door with his boot while she unlocked the door. She set her purse on the floor inside the door, then faced him. “I’m not going to invite you inside because you’ve got to get up early.”

“Darn.” He moved a step closer, fitted his hands to her waist, and leaned toward her. She met him in the kiss, her mouth parting, her hands sliding around to the back of his neck, combing through his silky hair. Dear Lord, she’d forgotten how good a kiss could be. She nibbled at his lip, pausing only when his tongue thrust between her teeth, invading, exploring, rousing a long-unsatisfied need deep inside. Moving intuitively, her hands glided over soft cotton that covered the lean muscles along his spine. When they reached the rougher texture of jeans and leather belt, the tips tingled, like the briefest touch of a live wire, singeing and searing and sparking pleasure through her body.

When she stroked a few inches lower to slide her palm over his erection, his breath caught, and so did hers. It had been so very long . . .would be so very easy . . . back up one step, don’t let go, take him to the bedroom or, better, the couch, strip off their clothes . . .So easy. So perfect. So wrong.

Even the thought of that last word was wrong. It jangled in the midst of nerves humming with need. It pulled her out of the haze of what she could do, of the incredible satisfaction she could have, and brought back all the ugly uncertainty of her life. Elliot might be Prince Charming, but she was no princess, and her life was no simple, sweet fairy tale with a happily ever after.

Tears seeped into her eyes—disappointment, weariness—and she opened her eyes to blink them away. Apparently sensing the change in her, Elliot ended the kiss with another tiny, sweeter kiss, then clasped her hands in his. For a long time, he studied her face with an intensity that rippled along her skin, then he took a step back, putting breathing room between them.

When he spoke, he sounded as if he’d done a long hump with a heavy ruck on a hot day. “You never did tell me.”

“What?”

“Is Fia short for something?”

“You never did ask.” She didn’t sound much better. “Sofia.”

He laid his palm gently against her cheek, repeated her name, then backed away even farther. “Thank you, Sofia.”

“For what?”

“Being in that parking lot Friday night. For liking me and my dog. For kissing like—” Breaking off, he grinned and shook his head. “Damn.”

“It takes two.”

His grin strengthened, then slowly faded. “Good night.”

Leaning against the door jamb, she watched him go to his truck, get in, and drive away with a final wave. Sighing deeply, she stepped inside the house, closed and locked the door, and stumbled, hitting the floor with a solid thud.


Author Bio

Known for her intensely emotional stories, Marilyn Pappano is the USA Today bestselling author of nearly eighty books. She has made regular appearances on bestseller lists and has received recognition for her work in the form of numerous awards. Though her husband’s Navy career took them across the United States, he and Ms. Pappano now live in Oklahoma high on a hill that overlooks her hometown. They have one son and daughter-in-law, an adorable grandson, and a pack of mischievous dogs.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads


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Release Day Spotlight: The Reaper’s Sacrifice by Abigail Baker

Title: The Reaper’s Sacrifice by Abigail Baker
Deathmark Series Book Two
Publisher: Entangled
Imprint: Select Otherworld
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Length: 327 pages

Summary:

He bargained his soul for her safety…

It’s been two years since I tried to overthrow Death…

Now, all I have to show for it is a life in exile without my lover and personal Grim Reaper, Brent Hume. He bargained his soul for my safety. If I could get him back, I would, but I don’t don’t have the first idea how. So I live for the night when Reaper’s bring nightmares to the living—and Brent visits me in mine. Doesn’t make for a good night’s sleep, but I’ll take what little of him I can get.

When Death comes calling, sending me into an old foe’s camp as a spy, my inner rebel awakens once more. If I play my cards right, I might improve upon my growing Master Scrivener powers and finally free Brent so that we can be together for good. I know he’ll do anything to keep me safe—even if it means I’ll never see him again. And that scares the Hell out of me.

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Purchase Links: Amazon * B&N * iTunes * Kobo * Entangled Publishing


Excerpt

“I liked that dress on you. Sorry it’s ruined,” Brent said as I tossed the hippie frock aside and slipped into a pair of jeans.

The numbing elation of sex had faded. My body hurt like a bus had slammed it.

“As dresses go, I liked it, too.” I reached for the only clean shirt I had left: a black tank top. Just as I was about to pull it on, Brent moved with fast-as-light speed and tossed an arm around my waist. He laid his fingers over the scar from Gabriel’s attack.

I melted into his closeness, wishing he’d never let me leave the cage of his arms. “Gabriel attacked me. You would’ve been proud though. I still ran a half a mile before I realized what had happened.”

Brent’s attention was locked on the scar. It matched the scar on my rib cage where Nicholas Baird had attacked me two years ago. I was beginning to look like a pied animal.

Was it white with pink spots or pink with white spots? One of these days, I would own this evolving look. For now, I felt a little self-conscious.

“I should’ve been here to protect you from them,” he said.

“Doesn’t matter.” I put my hands to his bare chest, the muscle beneath unyielding to my touch. “Errol said something strange last night about Marin. It scares me.”

His hand traveled down the scar and cupped my breast as I breathed with relief. A gentle squeeze reignited feelings in me that would take a lifetime to satisfy. Everything was so fresh that even his hand on my skin forced my knees to buckle. Thank Hades his clutch on my waist was so tenacious.

His lips covered mine before I could tell Brent that Errol, and now I, too, were worried that Marin was actually a Scrivener. Brent didn’t care about what he didn’t know, as his tongue passed over the bridge of my teeth and then between them just as ardently it had as moments ago. This time, I put my arms around his neck to maintain stability.

“We should get downstairs,” I said between kisses.

He backed me into the vanity table and twirled me around to face it. Bent forward, I balanced on my hands as I watched Brent in the mirror, just as naked as before, the muscles of his abdomen flexed. His erection pressed against my jeans.

“I’m not done with you yet, darlin’.”


Author Bio

Abigail Baker shares her home with a Siamese cat endearingly named “The Other Cat” and two rescued mutts with mundane human names that people think are cute. In addition to writing about rebellious heroines, she enjoys hiking, discovering craft beers, baking the perfect vanilla bean cupcake, and rock climbing (going as far as scaling 800 vertical feet to the summit of Devil’s Tower National Monument in 2013.). Abigail won first place in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer’s 2010 Colorado Gold Writing Contest for Romance for THE BLOODSUCKER and first place in RWA’s Golden Network’s 2011 Golden Pen in Paranormal Romance for TATTOO OF YOUR NAME ACROSS MY SOUL (now THE REAPER’S KISS, Deathmark Book One). She regularly blogs about life observances, lives at the base of the Rocky Mountains, and can be easily found hiking any of Colorado’s best trails.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Pinterest * Instagram

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Review: A Summer to Remember by Marilyn Pappano

Title: A Summer to Remember by Marilyn Pappano
Tallgrass Series Book Six
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

FIRST LOVE NEVER FADES . . . 



It’s been a long time since widow Fia Thomas felt the spark of physical attraction. But from the moment she meets Elliot Ross one stormy night, she yearns for a fresh start, for him to make her feel whole and well again. With his broad shoulders and a warm smile crinkling his dark eyes, he could finally offer her the solace she’s been seeking. And she’s willing to give him anything in return . . . except a promise that could break his heart.

Now that Elliot is out of the Army, he’s looking for a place to call home. Tallgrass was just a stop to stretch his legs, yet one look at Fia halts him in his tracks. In her sweet, sassy company, he finds the soul mate he never thought he’d have. But Fia is holding something back-something that keeps her from making any plans. Elliot’s new mission: gain Fia’s trust…and convince her that summer’s end can mean a new beginning.

Review:

A Summer to Remember is an incredibly heartwarming addition to Marilyn Pappano’s warm and inviting Tallgrass series.  In this outing (which can be read as standalone), ex-Army sniper Elliot Ross is looking for a place to set down roots when he stops in Tallgrass, OK where he meets war widow Fia Thomas his first night in town.  Both are immediately drawn to one another and their attraction proves to be too strong to ignore.  While Elliot is beginning to dream of a future with Fia, she cannot help but wonder how her unresolved health issues will impact their relationship.

Once upon a time, Fia was a wild, fearless risk-taker who left her dysfunctional family behind as soon as she could. She unexpectedly found love with Scott but she completely embraced their life together. Heartbroken over his loss, she still desperately misses him but she finds a great deal of comfort through her close circle of friends.  With her health continuing to deteriorate, the doctors are no closer to diagnosing her illness than when she first began experiencing symptoms.  Now Fia has met Elliot, she feels like her old self again and she is content to enjoy their relationship for however long it lasts.  By the time she realizes their romance is more than just a temporary fling, Fia cannot bring herself to tell him about her health problems but it is only a matter of time before he finds out the truth.

Despite his rather nomadic life since leaving the Army, Elliot is happy, well-adjusted and content to continue looking for a place that feels like home. He is close to his family and he cherishes his memories of life on their West Texas ranch. Stumbling onto the perfect job almost immediately, Elliot begins settling into his new life in Tallgrass soon after his arrival.  Although he has not really had a serious relationship in the past, he genuinely likes women and he always treats his lady friends with respect. Elliot immediately realizes his feelings for Fia run deep and he is very eager to spend time with her although he senses that she is holding something from him.

The relationship between Elliot and Fia is delightfully light-hearted and mostly conflict free despite Fia’s health problems.  Both have upbeat, sunny personalities that perfectly complement one another.  Elliot is undaunted by Fia’s discussions about Scott and she loves listening to his stories about his family. There is plenty of sexual tension between them, but they take the time to get to know each other before acting on their mutual desire. Although they fall in love rather quickly, their feelings are believable since there is a genuine connection between them.

A secondary story arc features Fia’s friend and fellow Margarita Club member, Marti Levin.  Also long widowed, her well-ordered life is shaken up when her fourteen year old niece Cadence moves in with her temporarily.  Through her niece’s love of horses, Marti finds herself spending time with local cowboy Dillon Smith.  While she does not know much about Dillon, Marti is quite drawn to the somber man who has somewhat of a mysterious past.  The two are definitely attracted to one another, but the future of their relationship is left up in the air and hopefully, Marilyn Pappano plans to feature these two in a future novel in the Tallgrass series.

A Summer to Remember is another heartfelt and engaging installment in this delightful series that features a close-knit and loving group of friends who have suffered terrible loss. Newcomer Elliot is the ideal match for Fia and watching them fall in love is an absolute joy. Marilyn Pappano has once again written a realistic yet touching romance that old and new fans are going to love.

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Review: The Choices We Make by Karma Brown

Title: The Choices We Make by Karma Brown
Publisher: Mira
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Following her bestselling debut novel Come Away with Me, Karma Brown returns with an unforgettable story that explores the intricate dynamics of friendship and parenthood 

Hannah and Kate became friends in the fifth grade, when Hannah hit a boy for looking up Kate’s skirt with a mirror. While they’ve been close as sisters ever since, Hannah can’t help but feel envious of the little family Kate and her husband, David, have created—complete with two perfect little girls.

She and Ben have been trying for years to have a baby, so when they receive the news that she will likely never get pregnant, Hannah’s heartbreak is overwhelming. But just as they begin to tentatively explore the other options, it’s Kate’s turn to do the rescuing. Not only does she offer to be Hannah’s surrogate, but Kate is willing to use her own eggs to do so.

Full of renewed hope, excitement and gratitude, these two families embark on an incredible journey toward parenthood…until a devastating tragedy puts everything these women have worked toward at risk of falling apart. Poignant and refreshingly honest, The Choices We Make is a powerful tale of an incredible friendship and the risks we take to make our dreams come true.

Review:

The Choices We Make by Karma Brown is an emotionally compelling and deeply poignant novel about friendship and motherhood.

Hannah and Ben Matthews have been dealing with infertility for six long years.  With a series of failed procedures and heartbreaking miscarriages behind them, they are nonetheless stunned by the news that Hannah will most likely never sustain a pregnancy.  Not ready to give up their dream of having a baby, Hannah suggests a surrogate but Ben would rather look into adoption.  Much to their surprise, Hannah’s best friend, Kate Cabot, volunteers to not only carry a baby for them but also use her eggs.  Hannah and Ben eagerly accept her generous offer but their excitement over the impending birth is shattered by an unexpected tragedy.

Hannah is an extremely sympathetic character whose struggle with infertility is absolutely heartbreaking.  Emotionally and physically exhausted by various treatments and negative pregnancy tests, it is still difficult for her to give up on having a child.  While the quest for parenthood has taken a bit of a toll on her marriage, she and Ben still remain close and committed to becoming parents.  However, she is vehemently opposed to adoption but she cannot bring herself to discuss her fears with Ben so she dismisses the option outright without fully explaining her reasons.  Instead she continues researching surrogacy despite Ben’s reluctance to go that route.  Since she cannot discuss the topic with Ben, she turns to Kate for support.  Kate tries to dissuade her from going any further with her plans but will Hannah’s need for a baby lead her to make a decision she will come to regret?

Happily married to her paramedic husband David, Kate is a stay at home mom to their two daughters.  The two couples are best of friends so she is absolutely shocked by David’s initial reaction to her suggestion to become a surrogate for Hannah and Ben.  She is even more surprised by Hannah’s hesitance to consider using her as surrogate but once the Matthews are out of options, David reconsiders his decision.  With David now completely on board, Kate once again offers to be their surrogate using her eggs and she is soon pregnant.  While the pregnancy is mostly trouble free, there are a few unexpected hiccups that make both couples realize how fragile happiness can be.

Hannah’s struggle to become pregnant is realistically portrayed.  The emotional impact of her infertility is almost overwhelming as she is confronted by pregnant women and babies everywhere she turns.  An unexpected pregnancy close to home is especially devastating and her happiness over the news is tempered by her envy.  Although Ben never blames her for their childless state, Hannah carries a lot of guilt and shame over her inability to conceive.  There is a bit of a disconnect between them since she is convinced their infertility affects her the most since she is the one who cannot get pregnant.  Hannah is sometimes self-absorbed and she occasionally puts her needs and desires ahead of everyone else’s.  This is especially frustrating when tragedy strikes and while some of her actions and feelings are understandable, she is insensitive instead of supportive and some of her decisions are absolutely jaw-dropping and nearly impossible to comprehend.

The Choices We Make is a truly captivating novel that delves into emotionally fraught and morally subjective topics. Karma Brown presents these difficult issues with a great deal of sensitivity in a realistic and forthright manner. The characters are sympathetic and likable but when faced with a heart wrenching decision, a cherished friendship is nearly destroyed after sides are taken and harsh words are spoken. This touching story of friendship balances joy with sorrow as it culminates with an intensely emotional conclusion that will bring readers to tears.

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