Saturday Series Spotlight & Giveaway: Michael Rupured’s Philip Potter

Title: Until Thanksgiving by Michael Rupured
Philip Potter Series Book One
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Erotic, Romance, Mystery/Suspense
Length: 232 pages

Summary:

Josh Freeman knows his best days are behind him. After his partner of seventeen years has an affair with a younger man, Josh buries himself in takeout boxes, half-smoked joints, and self-pity until his best friend gently kicks him in the ass and encourages him to try out a new job in Washington DC—at least until Thanksgiving.

Though DC has its share of troubles, specifically in the form of a murderer targeting gay men, Josh soon discovers its charms as well. Unlike his old home, DC is crawling with men who want to date him—apparently he’s not as overweight, out of shape, or over the hill as the man he once loved made him believe. In particular, Josh would love a chance with relocation expert Thad Parker, but Josh is sure Thad is seeing someone, so he looks for love elsewhere. He tells himself he and Thad don’t have anything in common anyway.

Then Josh learns Thad really is available. Maybe they can work it out after all. Suddenly the future seems bright again. Of course, Josh doesn’t know he’s the murderer’s next target….


no good deedTitle: No Good Deed by Michael Rupured
Philip Potter Series Book Two
Publisher: DSP Publications
Genre: Historical (60s), M/M, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 222 pages/Word Count: 64366

Summary:

2nd Edition

On Christmas Eve in 1966, Philip Potter, a kind-hearted Smithsonian curator, wraps up his last-minute shopping. Meanwhile, James, his lover of several years, takes his own life back in their home. Unaware of what awaits him, Philip drops off gifts at a homeless shelter, an act of generosity that will later make him a suspect in the murder of a male prostitute.

Following James’s shocking death, two men enter Philip’s life—and both drive yellow Continentals. One of them, though, is a killer, with the blood of at least six hustlers on his hands. And both are hiding something.

As Philip is about to discover, no good deed goes unpunished.

First Edition published as “After Christmas Eve” by ManLove Romance Press, 2013.

The prequel, Until Thanksgiving, is published by Dreamspinner Press.


happy independenceTitle: Happy Independence Day by Michael Rupured
Philip Potter Series Book Three
Publisher: DSP Publications
Genre: Historical, M/M, Romance
Length: 256 pages/Word Count: 80,026

Summary:

2nd Edition

Terrence Bottom wants to change the world. Little does he know the world is already changing, and his part in it won’t be what he expects. A prelaw student at Columbia University, Terrence’s interests range from opposing the draft and the war in Vietnam, to civil rights for gays, to anything to do with Cameron McKenzie, the rugged blond hanging around the Stonewall Inn. Too bad Cameron bolts whenever Terrence looks his way.

College dropout Cameron McKenzie left tiny Paris, Kentucky, with dreams of a career on Broadway. Although he claims to be straight, he prostitutes himself to survive. Now the Mafia is using him to entrap men for extortion schemes. He’s in over his head with no way out—at least not a way that doesn’t involve cement shoes and a swim in the Hudson.

Terrence finally confronts Cameron, and they return to the Stonewall Inn during another police raid. But this time the patrons aren’t going quietly. While Terrence sees his chance to stand beside his friends and stand up for his beliefs, Cameron sees the distraction of the riots as an opportunity to escape—even if it means walking away from the only man he’s ever loved.

1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2014.


Giveaway

I am giving away one eBook from the series-WINNER’S CHOICE. Here’s how to enter the Saturday Series Spotlight contest:

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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OR:

3. Follow me on Twitter (@BookReviewsMore)

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 Monday 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 winner will be selected using random.org. I will e-mail one lucky winner the eBook of their choice in their preferred format. The winner will be posted HERE on Tuesday.

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

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Friday Feature & Giveaway: Love Blooms on Main Street by Olivia Miles

Title: Love Blooms on Main Street by Olivia Miles
The Briar Creek Series Book Four
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages

Summary:

Love is always in season . . .

Florist Ivy Birch fantasizes about the day a man will surprise her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Especially if that man happens to be Brett Hastings. One stolen kiss at her best friend’s wedding and Ivy can’t get the sexy ER doctor out of her head.

In the small town of Briar Creek, you can’t avoid anyone for very long. Not that Brett has been trying to avoid Ivy. He just can’t afford to let anything distract him from his work-not again. So when a hospital fundraiser throws them together, love is the last thing on his mind. But with her quick wit and sweet laugh, soon the one woman he’s tried to keep at arm’s length is capturing his heart…

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Excerpt

A small gasp escaped from her but was quickly silenced by the firm press of Brett’s mouth on hers. Unlike their last kiss, which had felt so tender, this time Brett was leaving no room for confusion about his intentions. She stiffened against his touch, trying to resist him, but pleasure pooled warm in her stomach and the space between her legs began to ache as he wrapped two arms around her waist and pulled her to his chest.

Oh, God. She wanted to fight this. The feeling he was stirring within her. The need for more. She opened her mouth to him, letting him in. He kissed her deeply, not giving her a chance to break away, and she wasn’t so sure she could, even if she wanted to. Her hands, which had been pushed off her hips by the strength of his arms, hung loosely at her sides, as if determined to stay out of this drama she was creating for herself, but, like her mouth, they lost the fight. She slid her hands up onto Brett’s arms, taking in every curve of his hard muscles, and up onto his shoulders as she leaned into him. His breath was heavy as he kissed her harder, and she parted her legs to let his slide between and press against the tightness that was building within her.

“What are we doing?” she asked when they finally came apart. She blinked up at him and resisted the urge to flatten his disheveled locks. I did that, she realized with a flutter.

“I don’t really know.” Brett’s voice was low and coarse. “But I like it.”

She firmed her mouth and smoothed her dress. Not good enough.

Turning to stare at the folding table, she felt her spirits begin to sag. She’d let him in again. Let him take her to places she’d wanted, to dream dreams that should have stayed in her unconscious. And nothing had changed. Men don’t change, Ivy. That’s what her mother had always said. When would she learn?

“Well, it can’t happen again,” she insisted.

“Oh no?”

She glanced back to see that slow, sexy smile. “No.” But even as she said it, her body was saying yes.


Author Bio

o milesOlivia Miles is a Chicago-based romance writer. Having grown up in New England, Olivia attended McGill University in Montreal, Quebec before settling in Chicago where she lives with her husband, their daughter, and two ridiculously pampered pups.

When she is not chasing after her little ones, she is hard at work creating feisty heroines and alpha heroes with a heart. A city girl with a fondness for small-town charm, Olivia enjoys highlighting both ways of life in her stories.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads


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Tour Stop, Excerpt & PRINT Giveaway: Into Dust by B.J. Daniels

Title: Into Dust by B.J. Daniels
The Montana Hamiltons Series Book Five
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Length: 368 pages

Summary:

The Montana Hamiltons by New York Times bestselling author B.J. Daniels 

He’s meant to protect her, but what is this cowboy keeping from her about the danger she’s facing? 

As the daughter of a presidential candidate, Cassidy Hamilton left the Montana family ranch to escape notoriety and live her own life. But when someone tries to abduct her off a Houston sidewalk, Cassidy finds protection in the tall, dark and sexy form of cowboy Jack Durand. The gorgeous Texan doesn’t recognize her, wants nothing from her and is determined to keep her safe.

Jack hates keeping secrets from the beautiful Cassidy, but he knows more about her kidnapping attempt than he’s admitting. Forced on the run, Jack and Cassidy begin piecing together a jagged family puzzle, exposing a plot years in the making—one that will either tear them apart or bring them closer together than ever.

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Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

The cemetery seemed unusually quiet. Jack Durand paused on the narrow walkway to glance toward the Houston skyline. He never came to Houston without stopping by his mother’s grave. He liked to think of his mother here in this beautiful, peaceful place. And he always brought flowers. Today he’d brought her favorite, daisies.

He breathed in the sweet scent of freshly mown lawn as he moved through shafts of sunlight fingering their way down through the huge oak trees. Long shadows fell across the path offering a breath of cooler air. Fortunately, the summer day wasn’t hot and the walk felt good after the long drive in from the ranch.

The silent gravestones and statues gleamed in the sun. His favorites were the angels. He liked the idea of all the angels here watching over his mother, he thought, as he passed the small lake ringed with trees and followed the wide bend of Braes Bayou situated along one side of the property. A flock of ducks took flight, flapping wildly and sending water droplets into the air.

He’d taken the long way because he needed to relax. He knew it was silly, but he didn’t want to visit his mother upset. He’d promised her on her deathbed that he would try harder to get along with his father.

Ahead, he saw movement near his mother’s grave and slowed. A man wearing a dark suit stood next to the angel statue that watched over her final resting place. The man wasn’t looking at the grave or the angel. Instead, he appeared to simply be waiting impatiently. As he turned…

With a start, Jack recognized his father.

He thought he had to be mistaken at first. Tom Durand had made a point of telling him he would be in Los Angeles the next few days. Had his father’s plans changed? Surely he would have no reason to lie about it.

Until recently, that his father might have lied would never have occurred to him. But things had been strained between them since Jack had told him he wouldn’t be taking over the family business.

It wasn’t just seeing his father here when he should have been in Los Angeles. It was seeing him in this cemetery. He knew for a fact that his father hadn’t been here since the funeral.

“I don’t like cemeteries,” he’d told his son when Jack had asked why he didn’t visit his dead wife. “Anyway, what is the point? She’s gone.”

Jack felt close to his mother near her grave. “It’s a sign of respect.”

His father had shaken his head, clearly displeased with the conversation. “We all mourn in our own ways. I like to remember your mother my own way, so lay off, okay?”

So why the change of heart? Not that Jack wasn’t glad to see it. He knew that his parents had loved each other. Kate Durand had been sweet and loving, the perfect match for Tom, who was a distant workaholic.

Jack was debating joining him or leaving him to have this time alone with his wife, when he saw another man approaching his father. He quickly stepped behind a monument. Jack was far enough away that he didn’t recognize the man right away. But while he couldn’t see the man’s face clearly from this distance, he recognized the man’s limp.

Jack had seen him coming out of the family import/export business office one night after hours. He’d asked his father about him and been told Ed Urdahl worked on the docks.

Now he frowned as he considered why either of the men was here. His father hadn’t looked at his wife’s grave even once. Instead he seemed to be in the middle of an intense conversation with Ed. The conversation ended abruptly when his father reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a thick envelope and handed it to the man.

He watched in astonishment as Ed pulled a wad of money from the envelope and proceeded to count it. Even from where he stood, Jack could tell that the gesture irritated his father. Tom Durand expected everyone to take what he said or did as the gospel.

Ed finished counting the money, put it back in the envelope and stuffed it into his jacket pocket. His father seemed to be giving Ed orders. Then looking around as if worried they might have been seen, Tom Durand turned and walked away toward an exit on the other side of the cemetery—the one farthest from the reception building. He didn’t even give a backward glance to his wife’s grave. Nor had he left any flowers for her. Clearly, his reason for being here had nothing to do with Kate Durand.

Jack was too stunned to move for a moment. What had that exchange been about? Nothing legal, he thought. A hard knot formed in his stomach. What was his father involved in?

He noticed that Ed was heading in an entirely different direction. Impulsively, he began to follow him, worrying about what his father had paid the man to do.

Ed headed for a dark green car parked in the lot near where Jack himself had parked earlier. Jack dropped the daisies, exited the cemetery yards behind him and headed to his ranch pickup. Once behind the wheel, he followed as Ed left the cemetery.

Staying a few cars back, he tailed the man, all the time trying to convince himself that there was a rational explanation for the strange meeting in the cemetery or his father giving this man so much money. But it just didn’t wash. His father hadn’t been there to visit his dead wife. So what was Tom Durand up to?

Jack realized that Ed was headed for an older part of Houston that had been gentrified in recent years. A row of brownstones ran along a street shaded in trees. Small cafes and quaint shops were interspersed with the brownstones. Because it was late afternoon, the street wasn’t busy.

Ed pulled over, parked and cut his engine. Jack turned into a space a few cars back, noticing that Ed still hadn’t gotten out.

Had he spotted the tail? Jack waited, half expecting Ed to emerge and come stalking toward his truck. And what? Beat him up? Call his father?

So far all Ed had done from what Jack could tell was sit watching a brownstone across the street.

Jack continued to observe the green car, wondering how long he was going to sit here waiting for something to happen. This was crazy. He had no idea what had transpired at the cemetery. While the transaction had looked suspicious, maybe his father had really been visiting his mother’s grave and told Ed to meet him there so he could pay him money he owed him. But for what that required such a large amount of cash? And why in the cemetery?

Even as Jack thought it, he still didn’t believe what he’d seen was innocent. He couldn’t shake the feeling that his father had hired the man for some kind of job that involved whoever lived in that brownstone across the street.

He glanced at the time. Earlier, when he’d decided to stop by the cemetery, he knew he’d be cutting it close to meet his appointment back at the ranch. He prided himself on his punctuality. But if he kept sitting here, he would miss his meeting.

Jack reached for his cell phone. The least he could do was call and reschedule. But before he could key in the number, the door of the brownstone opened and a young woman with long blond hair came out.

As she started down the street in the opposite direction, Ed got out of his car. Jack watched him make a quick call on his cell phone as he began to follow the woman.

CHAPTER TWO Continue reading

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Tour Stop, Excerpt & Giveaway: To Have and To Hold by Lauren Layne

Title: To Have and To Hold by Lauren Layne
Wedding Belles Series Book One
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages

Summary:

Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, her sizzling brand new contemporary romance series about three ambitious wedding planners who can make any bride’s dream come true…but their own.

Discovering her fiancé is an international conman just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Baldwin’s business—and breaks her heart. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet, if slightly spoiled, hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse springs.

Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister’s fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiancé is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help. But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning…is theirs?

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Excerpt

It’s not as though Brooke had meant to start dating a con man. She certainly didn’t intend to get engaged to one.

But that’s the thing about con mans. The good ones were good at, well . . . the con.

And Clay Battaglia had been a good one. The best, actually, if you took the word of the FBI agent who’d debriefed Brooke and her family—while she was still in her wedding dress.

Turns out that while Brooke had been happily building her wedding-planning company, Clay had been quietly and competently been getting away with every white-collar crime in the book. While she’d been planning their wedding, he’d apparently been knee-deep in yet another Ponzi scheme.

Brooke hadn’t even known what a Ponzi scheme was when the FBI had told her.

She did now.

Following Clay’s arrest, she spent weeks researching white-collar crime. Wanting to know what he’d been up to all those times he’d quietly kissed her forehead late at night and told her he needed to make some phone calls for “work.” Wanting to know what her life would have been like if the FBI hadn’t taken him down before they’d exchanged vows.

Still, while Brooke would be ever grateful that she’d learned the truth before she’d become Mrs. Clay Battaglia, she’d be lying if she didn’t admit that the timing of it had stung just a little bit.

If they’d only taken him down a day before. Heck, even an hour before.

But no.

Just moments after Brooke kissed her father’s cheek and prepared to marry the man she loved at the wedding she’d poured her heart into, the FBI stormed—yes, stormed—the church.

Clay was in handcuffs before she even registered what was happening.

Numbly she watched as he listened to his Miranda rights at the precise moment he should have been listening to the vows she’d spent months writing.

And as reality slowly sunk in, Brooke waited. Waited for him to look at her. To look at her and say that it was all a lie. All one big misunderstanding, and that they’d be on their way to Bermuda as planned by tomorrow.

He didn’t.

He didn’t even apologize.

No, the man she’d loved for two years with every fiber of her being merely smiled at her and then shrugged.

There’d been plenty of photos taken that day, but that was the one that made it onto the front page of every major newspaper on the West Coast.

“The Greatest Con of All.” “Arrested by Love.” And her personal favorite, courtesy of her very own LA Times: “White-Collar Bride.”

The stories all read pretty much like you’d expect. About Clay, mostly, and the litany of accusations against him, but also about Brooke.

The papers had stopped short of defamation, but the implications were there. She was clueless and ditzy at best, a potentially overlooked accomplice at worst. Completely oblivious to the fact that she’d been sharing a roof with the most nefarious white-collar criminal in a generation—or pretending to be.

None of that had bothered her. What had bothered her was that she’d been a fool. Self-absorbed, naive, and downright blind.

Brooke had been dodging dumb-blonde jokes for most of her life, but the debacle with Clay was the first time she thought she might really, truly be deserving of the title.

She hadn’t been surprised when new clients had stopped calling. Hadn’t been surprised when current clients canceled. Nobody wanted to hire that wedding planner.

Brooke had even been relieved, at first. In those first weeks after Clay’s arrest, she hadn’t been able to handle any talk of weddings. Not her own, and not other people’s.

But the worst part of all of this, the part that kept her up long into the lonely nights, wasn’t the negative effect on her career. No, the worst part was that sometimes, in the very darkest corner of her soul, she feared that she might still love Clay, at least a little. Sure, her brain knew that all the things she’d loved about Clay had been a lie. Her brain understood that his name wasn’t even Clay.

But her heart? Her heart was having a harder time forgetting the way he always let her be the little spoon and tuck her cold feet against his warm calves. Or the way he’d brought her coffee in bed every morning. Or the way she’d come home after a long day with the worst sort of bridezilla and Clay would make them cocktails and sit on the deck with her, and watch the sunset and laugh.

She’d imagined that all their nights would be like that. All the nights for the rest of her life, with maybe with a couple of kids thrown into the mix eventually.

Brooke swallowed.

There wouldn’t be any more nights on the patio watching the sunset with Clay. Wouldn’t be any patio at all, because Brooke’s real estate broker had made it quite clear that she should be counting herself lucky to get a dishwasher in New York—a patio was out of the question.

So no patio. No Clay, or whatever his real name was.

No man at all, really.

No falling in love.

Not ever again.


Author Bio

L LayneLauren lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart–cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.

Five years ago, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan.

She writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush, and in her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

When not bringing The Sexy, she likes to blog about her Instagram addiction, and why mean girls are the worst.

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


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Tour Stop, Blog Post & Giveaway: Death at the Day Lily Cafe by Wendy Sand Eckel

The lost art of using a bread maker

I’m on my third bread machine. They are one of the greatest yet most unappreciated inventions ever made. Okay, maybe I got carried away with the superlatives, but I have a point.

In Murder at Barclay Meadow, the first of the Rosalie Hart mystery series, I share Aunt Charlotte’s five green bread recipe. It’s a complicated recipe and although I have made it by hand, enjoying the sensory input kneading bread can ignite, the bread itself is just as delicious out of a machine.

While raising my children, Sunday nights were designated soup and homemade bread night. I would start the bread in the early afternoon, adding the ingredients and plugging in the machine, and then maybe curling up on the sofa reading the Times while this miraculous invention plugged away at an organic whole wheat loaf of bread.

The soup would vary, lentil, black bean, chick pea and tomato, pesto vegetable. But the ritual was the same. A cloth on the table, candles that my two daughters would always light, practicing their match striking skills after setting the table. The rest of the house would be dark, no TV, just glowing faces.

These were some of our best conversations. The subdued light lowering inhibitions, the desire to linger longer than most nights at the table, and laughter to stoke the soul.

I’ve heard that most people have either donated or stored their bread machines in a dusty forgotten closet. I have often felt like a bit of a relic myself when I lift mine out of the closet and gather the ingredients for onion rolls, pizza dough, or rustic corn bread.

This winter I learned I am not alone. While vacationing on Anna Maria Island in Florida, I was lucky enough to spend the week at Harrington House, a lovely Bed and Breakfast on the Gulf of Mexico.

Included in your stay are free bike rentals, unlimited coffee, and a delicious breakfast each morning al fresco. During my first meal I decided to taste the bread they had delivered to us in a delicate wicker basket. I slathered it with butter and took a bite.

“Whoa,” I said. “This is amazing.”

When I asked the waitress what kind of bread it was, she offered to get me a copy of the recipe. “Wait, do you have a bread machine?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said enthusiastically.

“Then you’ll be good to go.”

“You make it in a bread machine?”

“We have four going just about all day.”

As we finished our delicious meal, the owner approached with a copy of the oatmeal bread recipe. “We get asked for this all the time,” she said. “I can’t say it’s original, I don’t have a clue where we got it, but here you go.

In Death at the Day Lily Café, the second in the series, Rosalie opens a restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch. You can bet the Harrington House oatmeal bread will be on the menu.

Harrington House Oatmeal Break

2 LB Loaf/Medium Crust

In a bread maker add in this order:

1 packet dry active yeast

1 cup instant 1 minute oatmeal

3 cups bread flour

1 Tablespoon margarine (I used butter)

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 cups warm water

Press Start

harrington


Title: Death at the Day Lily Cafe by Wendy Sand Eckel
Rosalie Hart Series Book Two
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 288 pages

Summary:

Rosalie Hart has finally opened the café of her dreams. Decked out with ochre-tinted walls and stuffed with delicious organic fare, the Day Lily Café is everything Rosalie could have hoped for. But not five minutes into the grand opening, Doris Bird, a dear and trusted friend, cashes in on a favor–to help clear her little sister Lori of a first degree murder charge.

With the help of her best friend and head waiter Glenn, Rosalie is on the case. But it’s not going to be easy. Unlikable and provocative, murder victim Carl James Fiddler seems to have insulted nearly everyone in town, and the suspect list grows daily. And when Rosalie’s daughter Annie gets caught in the crossfire, the search for the killer becomes personal in this charming cozy perfect for fans of Diane Mott Davidson and Joanne Fluke.

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Excerpt


Author Bio

w eckelWendy Sand Eckel is the author of MURDER AT BARCLAY MEADOW, the first in the Rosalie Hart mystery series set on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. A member of the Mystery Writers of America, she has degrees in criminology and social work and a passion for words and their nuanced meanings. DEATH AT THE DAY LILY CAFÉ, the second in this series, will be released by Minotaur Books July 26, 2016.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads


Giveaway

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Review: Sweet Tomorrows by Debbie Macomber

Title: Sweet Tomorrows by Debbie Macomber


Rose Harbor Series Book Five
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

The much-anticipated conclusion to Debbie Macomber’s beloved Rose Harbor series, set in the picturesque town of Cedar Cove, Sweet Tomorrows is a vibrant and poignant novel of letting go of fear, following your heart, and embracing the future—come what may.

Nine months ago, Mark Taylor abruptly left Cedar Cove on a perilous mission to right a wrong from his past. Though Mark finally confessed his love for her, innkeeper Jo Marie Rose is unsure if he’s ever coming back. The Rose Harbor Inn barely seems the same without Mark, but Jo Marie can’t bear to lose herself in grief once more. Determined to move forward, she begins dating again, and finds companionship when she takes on a boarder who is starting a new chapter herself.

Recovering from a twice-broken heart, Emily Gaffney, a young teacher, is staying at the inn while she looks for a home of her own. Having given up on marriage, Emily dreams of adopting children someday. She has her eye on one house in particular—with room for kids. Although Emily’s inquiries about the house are rudely rebuffed, her rocky start with the owner eventually blossoms into a friendship. But when the relationship verges on something more, Emily will have to rethink what she truly wants and the chances she’s willing to take.

The inn seems to be working its magic again—Emily opening herself up to love, Jo Marie moving on—until Jo Marie receives shocking news.

With Debbie Macomber’s trademark charm and wisdom, Sweet Tomorrows brings to a close the journeys of cherished characters who feel like old friends. Macomber has created an enchanting place in the Rose Harbor Inn that readers will never forget.

Review:

The final installment in Debbie Macomber’s heartwarming Rose Harbor series, Sweet Tomorrows is another emotional novel of healing that old and new fans are going to love.

Although it has been difficult, Jo Marie Rose has finally begun to move on in the months since she last saw Mark Taylor. Despite his declaration of love, he did not want her to wait around for his return from Iraq where he is attempting to save a good friend he was forced to leave behind several years ago. Having loved and lost her military husband years earlier, Jo Marie cannot bear to live with the uncertainty of whether or not Mark will safely return so, as he requested, she is moving on with her life. Finally ready to begin dating again, Jo Marie’s first foray into dating is rather lackluster but her dates with Greg Endsley are reminiscent of her relationship with her first husband. After receiving stunning news, her budding romance hangs in the balance as Jo Marie tries to decide whether or not to follow her heart in the midst of an uncertain future.

A concurrent storyline revolves around Jo Marie’s newest guest, Emily Gaffney, who is starting over in Cedar Cove following the end of her engagement. Staying with Jo Marie long-term while house hunting, Emily finds her dream home only to have her hopes dashed when owner Nick Schwartz rudely tells her to stay off his property. Swearing off love after two broken engagements,  Emily is drawn to Nick who is dealing with emotional wounds of his own as he renovates the house he inherited from his grandmother.  While sympathetic to Nick’s struggles with PTSD and panic attacks, she tries to extricate herself from their on again/off again friendship but Emily finds it difficult to stay away from him as she resists falling in love again.

Written though multiple points of view, the chapters alternate back and forth from the key players perspectives and this provides readers with insight as they struggle to come to terms with their various issues. Although Jo Marie is trying to move on, she cannot help but worry about Mark and her fears about his safety are renewed after she receives an enigmatic message from him.  Emily’s secret is heartbreaking and while she is certain she has found the perfect solution to avoid further pain, is her plan to avoid falling in love again realistic? Nick is unable to move on from a terrible tragedy and he remains mired in guilt and shame as he refuses to seek outside assistance in dealing with his PTSD and panic attacks.

As with the previous novels in Rose Harbor series,Jo Marie’s B&B is a place where guests find peace and healing. Emily is skeptical of Jo Marie’s stories of visitors whose lives were irrevocably changed for the better during their stay.  Through Jo Marie’s conversations with Emily, longtime fans will be given the opportunity to catch up with the lives of characters from previous installments while newcomers to the series will be charmed by these heartfelt stories of love and reconciliation.

Sweet Tomorrows is the perfect conclusion to the enchanting Rose Harbor series. Emily and Nick’s story arc is quite endearing and with a multitude of obstacles in their path, their road to happily ever after is somewhat bumpy. Debbie Macomber masterfully keeps readers guessing how Jo Marie’s storyline will conclude and the resolution is absolutely breathtaking.An outstanding conclusion to this beloved series that can be read as a standalone (but I HIGHLY recommend the entire series).

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Filed under Ballantine Books, Contemporary, Debbie Macomber, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Rose Harbor Series, Sweet Tomorrows