Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Book Review: Wish Me Luck as You Wave Me Goodbye by Marius Gabriel


Hi all,

I’ve been on a roll, reading all the great books that I didn’t have time for last year. This is one that sat on my Kindle way too long, and I’m so happy I finally got to it. It’s a wonderful story set in the WWII time period about three very different sisters and their journeys throughout the war. Here is more about the book and my review.

 

Wish Me Luck as You Wave Me Goodbye
Marius Gabriel

 

Book Description:

 
In a period of irreversible change, the Redcliffe sisters face monumental love and loss that will stretch the bounds of sisterhood to their limits…

As the perils of World War II loom ever closer, Chiara is more interested in the joyful whirl of the season than matters of faith or ideology. But even her breezy innocence cannot survive the harsh lessons of heartbreak and war. Meanwhile older sister Isobel is forced to face her misguided Fascist political beliefs in Nazi Germany as the shocking realities of the regime hit home. And then there’s Felicity, the youngest and most introverted of the Redcliffe sisters, who is about to take her vows and enter the convent against her sisters’ wishes. But a chance meeting with an American soldier threatens the very foundations of her decision.

As each sister follows her own path, will their differences force them apart and take them beyond the realms of forgiveness?

Wish Me Luck as You Wave Me Goodbye is the first book in the Redcliffe Sisters series, but can also be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.


Buy now on:

Amazon Kindle

Paperback

 

My Five Star Review:

I love reading novels set in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, so the cover and description of Wish Me Luck as You Wave Me Goodbye by Marius Gabriel drew me in. When I first started reading, I felt like I had started in the middle of a story instead of the beginning. The author drops you into the story and you learn the backstory along the way. I loved it. It kept me reading.

The story is filled with an array of interesting characters, all connected, in one way or another, to the RedCliffe sisters, the main characters in the story. We follow each sister as she pursues her own unique path in life before and during WWII. They struggle through hardship, danger, and heartache as the world crumbles all around them. I was so engrossed in the story; I was sad when it ended. I wanted to know more. (And luckily there will be a second book!)

I recommend this novel to anyone who loves a historical fiction novel filled with interesting characters, intrigue, and romance. This book has it all – you won’t be disappointed.

 
(I received an advance copy of this novel from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.)

 

About the Author:

 
Marius Gabriel served his author apprenticeship as a student at Newcastle University, where, to finance his postgraduate research, he wrote thirty-three Mills & Boon romances under a pseudonym. His identity as a man had to be kept secret until he turned to longer fiction under his own name. Gabriel is the author of eight sagas and historical novels, including the bestsellers The Mask Of Time, The Original Sin and The Seventh Moon, and was once accused by Cosmopolitan magazine of ‘keeping you reading while your dinner burns’. He very seldom burns his own, however, being an enthusiastic cook, as well as an artist and a musician. Born in South Africa in 1954, he has lived and worked in many countries, and now divides his time between London and Cairo. He has three grown-up children.

 

The good news is there will be a second book in this series coming in July 2016.

 
Coming in July 2016

 

Take Me to Your Heart Again
Marius Gabriel

 

Book Description:

Tensions between three sisters, divided by life and love, are about to spill over into all-out conflict.

It is 1942 and the world is at war. The eldest of the Redcliffe sisters, Isobel, impulsive and ideological, strives to make herself heard in a world distracted by violence. But her ambitious new path is strewn with obstacles, not least a private scandal that threatens to become public. Optimist Chiara has had to grow up fast, to set aside teenage dreams and make way for the unexpected realities of adulthood—but who can she count on for help? Meanwhile Felicity has challenges of a more spiritual nature: will her journey of self-discovery lead her away from the convent she thought was her calling?

Separated by distance and war, Isobel, Chiara and Felicity must learn to confront life’s challenges with passion, strength—and unity. Because family is the tie that binds tightest of all.

This is the second title in the Redcliffe Sisters series and follows on from Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye.


 
 
Cheers,
 
Deanna

Book Review: I’d Rather Be Growing Grapes by Jan Romes


Hi all,

If you love sweet, witty, and fun romances then you should be reading novels by Jan Romes. I’ve read nearly every novel she has ever written, and I’ve enjoyed them all. The stories are sharp, entertaining, laugh-out-loud funny, plus sexy and heartwarming. What more could you want? Jan’s latest novel, I’d Rather Be Growing Grapes is, I have to say, my favorite one of hers so far. You’re going to love it! Here is more about the novel and my review.

 
I'd Rather Be Growing Grapes
Cover by Tugboat Design

Jan Romes
 

Book Description:

Sabrina Kerrigan is a sassy, independent woman whose fiancĂ© ditched her a week before they were to be married. Since then, she gives all her attention to a backyard filled with flowers and a spindly grape arbor. Her meddling twin, Lilith, thinks Sabrina’s had enough time to grieve the relationship that wasn’t meant to be. Lil registers her to be one of twenty-one bachelorettes who will vie for one guy’s heart in an event called Pick Me. Sabrina is furious at Lil for immersing her in what is sure to be three weeks of nonstop chaos. The only reason she agreed to take part is because the entry fee goes to charity. The minute Sabrina arrives at the hotel a case of mistaken identity sets the chaos in motion.

Millionaire winery owner, Beau Reinholt has had the worst luck with women. He seems to pick those interested in his money not him. His best friend, Marco Santaguida, the director for Pick Me, cons Beau into being this year’s bachelor. Beau agrees on one condition - the women aren’t to know his true identity until he either falls in love or finds extreme-like with one of the candidates. Everything goes smoothly until he meets Sabrina Kerrigan. She ticks him off right away. She also turns him on. The more Beau tries to focus on the twenty other women the more he’s drawn to the one who says she doesn’t want any part of him.

Can two wounded people tune out the noise going on around them to listen to their hearts?

 

 

Buy now on:



Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

 

My 5 Star Review:

Sabrina Kerrigan’s twin sister, Lilith, decides to take it upon herself to find her a mate. So she signs her up for a local fundraiser based on The Bachelor called Pick Me. Sassy Sabrina wants nothing to do with it, but when she finds out how much money her sister paid for the event, she agrees. Her hope is to hide in the background and be one of the first women to leave.

 
Enter bachelor Beau Reinholt. Sexy, handsome, and oh, so delicious. Even when Sabrina fights with him, she can’t help but find herself falling for him. But Beau, who was also conned into doing this gig, only wants to get through the three weeks and get out of there. He doesn’t believe he’ll find his soul mate among the twenty-one women who paid to be there. But as the days go by, he begins to find his thoughts are constantly on Sabrina. Can he really find true love amidst all the chaos?

 
I’d Rather Be Growing Grapes is packed with wit, humor, and charm. Jan puts together a wonderful cast of characters that fills this story with all kinds of crazy scenarios so you don’t want to put the book down. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I’m sure anyone who loves a good romantic comedy will love it too. Thank you, Jan, for another entertaining novel! Can’t wait for the next one.

 

About the Author:

Jan Romes is a hopeless romantic who grew up in northwest Ohio with eight zany siblings. Married to her high school sweetheart for more years than seems possible, she is also a proud mom, mother-in-law, and grandmother. She likes to read all genres, writes witty contemporary romance and women's fiction, enjoys finding new ways to stay fit and likes to grow pumpkins and sunflowers.

Connect with Jan:





I hope you'll try this latest by Jan Romes. Her books are all delightful!

Cheers,
Deanna

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Book Review: Her Safe Harbor by Holly Bush


Hi all,

 
If you’ve read my blog, you know that I’m already a big fan of Holly Bush’s books, so of course when the opportunity to read her latest came along, I jumped at it. Her new novel is the fourth in the Crawford Family Series, which started with the first book I ever read of Holly’s, Train Station Bride. I’ve loved this series and following along with the adventures of the Crawford sisters and each book has been even better than the last. This is true of Her Safe Harbor. I loved this story! Here is more about the novel and my five-star review.

 

 
Her Safe Harbor

(Prairie Romance, Crawford Family Book 4)

Holly Bush

 

Book Description:

1893 . . . Jennifer Crawford, the peacekeeper in a well-to-do Boston family rife with anger, deceit, and even treachery, was born to solve mathematical mysteries at a time when women are only beginning to venture from home and into the world of commerce and politics. Beautiful and shy, she struggles to find the courage to face a scheming mother and guide a father denying their familial dysfunction, hesitant to traverse the volatile economics banks are facing at the turn of the twentieth century. But danger threatens when she discovers the crimes of an abusive man determined to make Jennifer his own.

Zebediah Moran, chief of staff for a new senator in Washington, is determined to uncover the lovely Jennifer’s secrets and guard her from danger. But will his sacrifices be enough to keep her safe? Will he be “Her Safe Harbor”? Find out in Book Four of the Crawford Family Series!

(Some scenes of violence and potential abuse.)

 

Release Date: March 10, 2016

Buy at:



 

My 5 Star Review:

Jennifer Crawford is a shy, gentle soul who only wishes to keep peace in her well-to-do Boston family. While her other sisters have gone away to find love and happiness, Jennifer feels she must stay home and help her father with her ailing mother. But Jennifer’s mother is a scheming, sick woman who will do anything to ensure her daughter marries a ruthless man who isn’t the gentleman he claims to be. In walks Zeb Moran, an employee of Jennifer’s brother-in-law. He senses all is not well with Jennifer and her supposed fiancĂ©, and he’s determined to protect her. Can he convince her to trust him enough to let him help her?

 
This latest novel, Her Safe Harbor by Holly Bush, is a gem. It continues the story of the three Crawford sisters which began with Holly’s novel, Train Station Bride. This heartwarming, emotional series starts out strong and gets even stronger with each installment. Jennifer’s story is such an emotional rollercoaster, heartwarming yet heart wrenching at times. I became so engrossed in the story, I honestly had trouble putting this book down. This story has strong, vivid writing and excellent character development—these characters jump off the pages at you. A truly amazing story that all historical romance readers are sure to love.

 

 
I hope you will give this novel – and the entire series – a try. I’m sure you will love it!

 
Read my reviews of the other Crawford Family Novels:

 




 

Cheers,

Deanna

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

First Chapter Reveal: Walking Sam by Deanna Lynn Sletten

Cover created by Tugboat Design
Hi all,

The release date for my latest romance novel, Walking Sam, is drawing near and I'm so excited about this story that I couldn't wait to share a little of it with you. Walking Sam is a sweet, heartwarming story that you are sure to fall in love with. I'm told the main character, Ryan, is adorable - and I agree. And of course, Sam, the beautiful golden retriever, is delightful, too. Below is the first chapter ~ hope you like it!


You can pre-order Walking Sam on Amazon Kindle

Release date: 3/29/2016



 

Chapter One


 

Ryan Collier awoke in the darkened bedroom to the feel of warm breath hitting his face. He was lying on his side, and even though he tried to look at the clock on the nightstand, something blocked his view.

Then that something licked his face.

“Oh, Sam!” he groaned, rolling over and wiping the slobber off with the back of his hand.

He heard the happy swish of Sam’s tail on the hardwood floor.

“Okay, girl. Just give me a minute,” Ryan said, closing his eyes. Then the alarm clock came to life, telling him it was time to start another day.

Ryan sighed and rolled over to turn off the blaring beeping and switch on the lamp. At six a.m., it was still dark outside and the sun wouldn’t show itself for at least another hour.

Sitting up, Ryan pushed his wavy brown hair out of his eyes. He was in desperate need of a haircut. His wife, Amanda, would have told him he needed a haircut weeks ago, and she would have been right. But she wasn’t here to remind him anymore—she hadn’t been for nearly three years.

A nudge at his other hand told him to hurry and get up. He smiled down at Sam. “Sorry, girl. I’ll feed you in a minute.”

Sam only smiled back.

After hitting the bathroom, Ryan walked downstairs with Sam leading the way. He went down the hall to the back door and unlatched Sam’s doggie door so she could go outside, then he walked to the kitchen and turned on the light. Two orange-striped tabbies sat on the floor by their placemat, patiently awaiting their breakfast.

“Yeah, guys. Give me a second, okay?”

Ryan started the coffeemaker and then turned to feeding the cats and the dog. He scooped canned food into each of their bowls as all three animals looked up at him expectantly. Seeing Sam, he couldn’t help but smile. She was always so happy and had that big silly golden retriever grin on her face.

He put Sam’s bowl down on one side of the tiled floor and set down the two for the cats on their placemat. “There you go, Punkin and Spice.” He no longer felt silly saying the name Punkin out loud, even though he was a grown man of thirty-eight. His wife had named all the animals and he was used to it. Just like he was used to having a female dog named Sam. Five years ago, when they’d gone to pick out a puppy from the litter of golden retrievers, Amanda had her heart set on naming the dog Sam. But it was a female puppy that had picked her, and Amanda fell in love with her instantly. “What about the name Sam?” he’d asked Amanda.

“We’ll call her Samantha. Sam for short,” she’d said.

All these years later, he was still explaining to people why they had a female dog named Sam.

It made him smile.

Ryan left the animals to their breakfast and walked from the kitchen through the living room to go upstairs. Passing the oak hutch, he quickly glanced at one of the many framed photos of his wife he had scattered around the house. Brushing his fingertips softly across her lovely face, he sighed, and then ran upstairs to get ready for work.

Thirty minutes later, Ryan was back downstairs, dressed for work. He never wore a full-fledged suit—just dress pants, a button-down shirt, and a tie—but he always looked professional and handsome. He was a little over six feet tall and he kept in good shape by working out at the company gym several nights a week. He’d found that staying late to work out helped make the nights go faster so he had less time at home to think about being alone. After ten blissful years of marriage to his soulmate, it was difficult to come home to an empty house.

He quickly poured a mug of coffee and made toast, eating it standing at the counter. He could have sat at the large island or at the dining room table in the roomy, airy kitchen, but he chose neither. He couldn’t even remember the last time he’d taken the time to sit at the table. What was the point?

The sun was making its way up by the time he gathered his coat, briefcase, and gym bag. He poured another cup of coffee into a to-go mug and snapped the lid tight.

“See you guys tonight,” Ryan said aloud to the animals. The cats were already sitting on the window seat in the living room, cleaning themselves. Ryan’s last glimpse of Sam was of her sitting at attention in the kitchen, watching him as he walked out the side door to the driveway.

The March air was crisp, and snow still lined the driveway where he’d pushed it aside while shoveling. In Minnesota winters dragged on, even as far south as Minneapolis. He walked to this compact SUV and slipped his things into the passenger seat. Then he stood a moment and stared out at the stillness around him. He liked the early morning in his neighborhood before everyone was fully awake and cars started making their way up and down the quiet street. He lived in an older neighborhood in South Minneapolis, about an eight-minute walk from Lake Harriet. It was a post-WWII neighborhood filled mostly with Craftsman-style homes, postage-stamp front lawns, and towering old oaks and maples lining the streets. Each house had a driveway and a one-stall garage in-between the next house. But Ryan didn’t use the garage for his car. His wife’s Mustang still sat, unused, inside theirs. He hadn’t had the heart yet to either drive it, or sell it.

When he and Amanda began searching for a house, she fell in love with the neighborhood’s charm. She hadn’t wanted one of the new cookie-cutter style houses being built in the newer suburbs. As an interior decorator, she saw potential in the cottage house immediately. She also loved the thought of living in a neighborhood where so many people had planted roots for generations. It felt like home to her.

Ryan glanced over at the For Sale sign on the neighbor’s front yard to the right. The Finleys finally gave in after living in the neighborhood for over forty years and moved to Florida full-time this past winter. They had been wonderful neighbors, kind and friendly, and Ryan missed having them next door. He hoped the house would sell soon for their sake. Hopefully, a nice family or elderly couple would move in.

Ryan slid into his car and pulled out of the driveway and onto the street. Noticing that Ruth Davis’s newspaper was on her lawn, he parked in front of her house a moment, retrieved it, and then set it close to her door so she could reach it. She got along fine in her wheelchair, but he figured her morning would be better if the paper was easy to retrieve. He got back into his car and headed for the highway.

Ryan’s base office was in a high-rise building in downtown Minneapolis just a short distance from the Nicollet Mall. It wasn’t too far of a drive if he didn’t get stuck in traffic, but he always gave himself at least a thirty-minute leeway in the morning. He’d go to the office, collect his paperwork, then head off to the first of his two appointments. He was a computer systems salesman, and he sold large systems to businesses and hospitals. Today, he was meeting with the board of a grocery store chain about a new computer register system, and in the afternoon, he’d be meeting with the president of a bank to discuss their needs. It was going to be a busy day.

 

***

 

Kristen Foster walked through the home with the real estate agent, carefully assessing every nook and cranny. It was nine in the morning, and this was the first house of the day. She’d spent the last two months looking for the perfect home in a quiet-yet-affordable neighborhood. So far, she was really liked this one.

“Do you know much about this neighborhood?” Kristen asked as she studied the living room.

“It’s a quiet, older neighborhood,” Greg Carlton said. “The Finleys lived here for over forty years and raised their family in this house. They’ve moved to Florida full-time now. There’s a nice elderly lady next door who is in a wheelchair, and an older man, a widower, next door. You can’t get much quieter than that.”

Kristen liked quiet. Her work was stressful, and she wanted to come home to peaceful surroundings. She walked all around the main floor, and then headed upstairs to where the two bedrooms and a bathroom were. “Everything looks so new in here. They must have remodeled recently.”

“Oh, yes, they did. Most of it was done in the past five years. The floors are the original oak, but the tile in both bathrooms is new as are the fixtures. The kitchen is completely updated. Their neighbor was an interior decorator, and she helped them fix it up for when they decided to sell.”

Kristen nodded as she pushed a loose strand of auburn hair back behind her ear. She was wearing her scrubs and had her thick hair pulled up because she had to go to work at the hospital at noon. She’d squeezed in this morning’s showing because the house and the price had been too good to pass up a look at.

She loved the old Craftsman-style homes. Even though the master bedroom walls slanted on each end, it was large and they had added a walk-in closet and small master bath. The dormer window was charming, and there was a large window facing the little fenced-in backyard. She glanced out that window and could see into the neighbor’s backyard, too. A golden retriever was sunning itself on the small lawn. Kristen smiled. She loved dogs. Gabbie would love a picture of this one.

Everything about this home was charming and Kristen found herself falling in love with it quickly. Finally! She was tired of living in the cramped apartment she’d moved into after her divorce two years before. She was thirty-two years old and had a good job as a pediatric oncology nurse, so it was time she found a permanent home. She’d just been too busy working nights and weekends to actually hunt for one. Now that her work schedule had changed to a five-day workweek with weekends off, she could start picking up the pieces of her life.

They walked out the kitchen back door that led to the driveway and down to the one-stall garage. There was a row of bushes that separated her driveway from the neighbor’s. An opening in the bushes showed that these neighbors had passed through to each other’s homes often. They inspected the garage and the backyard. Everything looked good. As they walked back up the driveway to the house, Kristen glanced over and saw the dog squeeze through a doggie door and disappear into the house.

“Well, what do you think?” Greg asked. “Does this one suit your needs?”

Kristen glanced around the kitchen once more. She loved the homey feel of it, the big eating area with the large front windows, and the cozy living room with the brick fireplace. The large, outdoor front porch was an added bonus. She could picture herself sitting in a rocker, watching the sunset in the evening. It was perfect.

“I love it. Let’s put in an offer,” she said, smiling wide.

“Wonderful.” Greg stood at the island and wrote up the paperwork for her to sign. Kristen walked around the house again as she waited. The living room held a built-in hutch, and the big front window had a window seat. It was all so lovely and cozy. She couldn’t wait to sit in front of a fire after a long day at work and relax. And best of all, summers here would be perfect. She liked that it was only a short walk to Lake Harriet, where she could get her exercise walking by the beautiful lake.

“Just sign here,” Greg said as she re-entered the kitchen.

Kristen didn’t even hesitate. She knew that no matter how much she’d have to pay, this was the home for her.

 


Cheers,

Deanna

Monday, March 7, 2016

Lucky Reader Giveaway!

Hi all,






St. Patrick's Day is around the corner and whether or not you are Irish, you have a chance to get lucky! In association with The Kindle Book Review, Digital Book Today, and several other amazing authors, we are giving away $400 worth of great prizes. Check out the prizes:

 
 7″ Fire Tablet with special offers
Amazon gift cards ($50, $25, $25, $25, $25)
Grand Prize to one lucky reader (Kindle 8″ HD 8 GB with special offers and a BONUS $50 Amazon gift card)!
That’s $400 in prizes and 7 lucky winners compliments of The Kindle Book Review, Digital Book Today, and the amazing author sponsors.
 
Contest runs March 7 - 17th
 
 
How do you win?
 
CLICK HERE to enter using the Raffelcopter form. It's that simple.
 
Good luck!


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