Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Book Review: Stolen Obsession by Marlene M. Bell

 
On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Stolen Obsession 
(Annalisse Series #1) 
By Marlene M. Bell 
Contemporary Romantic Suspense 
Paperback & ebook, 294 Pages 
June 30th 2018 
by Ewephoric Publishing 

People die, but legends live on. 


New York antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury recently lost her best friend to murder. The killer’s identity may be linked to her friend’s expensive missing bracelet—a 500-year-old artifact that carries an ancient curse, one that unleashes evil upon any who dare wear the jewelry created for the Persian royal family.


Weeks later, Annalisse sees a matching necklace at a Manhattan gallery opening. She begs the owner to destroy the cursed piece, but her pleas fall on deaf ears—despite the unnatural death that occurs during the opening. With two victims linked to the jewelry, Annalisse is certain she must act. 


Desperate, Annalisse enlists the gallery owner’s son to help—even though she’s afraid he’ll break her heart. Wealthy and devastatingly handsome, with a string of bereft women in his wake, Greek playboy Alec Zavos dismisses Annalisse’s concerns—until his parents are ripped from the Zavos family yacht during their ocean voyage near Crete. 


Annalisse and Alec race across two oceans to save his mother, feared dead or kidnapped. When the killer changes tactics and goes after Alec behind Annalisse’s back, can her plan to rescue Alec’s mother save them all? Hold on for a heart-thumping, thrilling adventure through exotic lands in this fast-moving romantic suspense mystery by Marlene M. Bell. 



Praise for the Book "Debut author Bell delivers a great, slow-building romance, gently examining her characters' painful pasts." — Kirkus Reviews "An irresistible page turner and a successful melding of thriller and romance. With a splash of international adventure and plenty of surprises, Stolen Obsession is an entertaining read and a great beginning to the Annalisse Series." — Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★½





My Review
5 of 5 Stars

While I love watching revenge movies, filled with action & adventure, romantic suspense is not my usual genre to read. I'm so glad I took a chance on Marlene M. Bell's Stolen Obsession


Annalisse is an antiquities appraiser. She's brilliant at her job, can spot fakes a mile away. But behind her professional and beautiful veneer, she lives in fear. Fear that her best friend's murderer will walk away free. Fear that anyone who gets close to her will die, just like her parents did. It's easy for Annalisse to believe in curses when she's a living example. So when she spots a variation of the same cursed jewelry that brought about her best friend's death, she panics. 


The night the killer strikes again, also happens to be the night Alec, her older friend's gorgeous son, finally notices her. In a typical romance novel, this would be the part where the couple would fall in love, or into bed for the first time. Instead, the murderer strikes again, and Alec is determined to protect the woman he's secretly long admired. Alec quickly discovers Annalisse won't fall into his arms like most women. Soon they are swept into a flight for their lives, and the murderer is closing in. Whoever is after them believes the necklace belongs to them, and they'll kill to get it.


The pace of the story moved along swiftly and drew me in from the first page. The suspense is well crafted and had me on the edge of my seat several times, wondering who was in on the conspiracy. The romance in this book was very solid. Occasionally, the back and forth banter reminded me of Old Hollywood films. Instead of feeling cheesy, it made Alec & Annalisse's interactions fun and sweet. I loved all the nods to history and the author's vivid description, which made for a lovely read. A sweeping romantic and often deadly adventure, Stolen Obsession is my new standard for excellent suspense fiction.




About the Author

Marlene M. Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as, Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested at www.marlenembell.com or www.texassheep.com. Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in East Texas with their 50 head of Horned Dorset sheep, a lovable Maremma guard dog named, Tia, and 3 spoiled cats who rule the household.







Tour Schedule

July 9th:
Launch
Stacking My Book Shelves!

July 10th:
Life as Leels
#bookish

July 11th:
It's All About the Romance

July 12th:
Hearts & Scribbles
fundinmental
An Indie Adventure

July 13th:
Bri's Book Nook
Colorimetry

July 16th:
Two Points of Interest
Wishful Endings

July 17th:
Rainy Day Reviews

July 18th:
Handcrafted Reviews
SilverWoodSketches

July 19th:
Teatime and Books
Deal Sharing Aunt

July 20th:
My Life Loves and Passion
Locks, Hooks and Books

July 21st: Grand Finale







  Tour Giveaway


- 1 Grand Prize winner will receive: One signed copy of STOLEN OBSESSION, One lined Journal with handcrafted pen, One set of Wool Dryer Balls, a Pair of Stolen Obsession style earrings and a $50 gift card from Amazon - 4 winners will each receive: One signed copy of Stolen Obsession, One sheep bookmark, One lined journal and a pair of Stolen Obsession-style earrings-Gold-various styles - US only - Ends July 25th a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Grand Finale: Alaskan Hideaway by Beth Carpenter

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Alaskan Hideaway
By Beth Carpenter

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you can see snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Note from the Author


Welcome to the book tour for Alaskan Hideaway, the third book in the Northern Lights series. In this story, you’ll meet Mac Macleod, who is being hounded by the paparazzi after his daughter’s murder. He takes his daughter’s dog and moves to a little cabin in Alaska, where he can be alone in his grief. But he doesn’t count on his new neighbors, Ursula Anderson and her animal-loving goddaughter Rory, who can’t seem to help getting tangled up in his life...

Paulette's Papers - Excerpt


Suddenly Ursula smiled. “Look at that.” She inclined her head toward the dog.

Mac turned. The cat had come down from the cabinet and was gingerly touching noses with the pit bull, who thumped her tail against the floor. After a moment, the cat rubbed against the big dog’s face and then curled up against her. The dog seemed fine with that.

Ursula chuckled. “That’s quite a ferocious beast you have there. What’s her name?” She took a sip from her cup.

Mac glanced down at his plate. “Blossom.”

Ursula snorted and almost choked on her coffee. Once she quit coughing, she grinned at him. “Blossom? Really?”

Hearts & Scribbles - Excerpt


Mac handed her the cellophane-wrapped bundles. “For you.”

Ursula gathered the three, no, four bouquets in her arms. “Thank you, but why are you bringing me flowers?”

“I want to apologize.” Actually, from the pained expression on his face, the last thing he wanted was to apologize, but he was doing it anyway. This should be good.

Thoughts of a Blonde - Excerpt


“Who’s Andi?” Rory asked. “You talked about her before.”

Mac’s heart tightened, but he kept smiling for Rory’s sake. “My daughter, Andrea. Everyone called her Andi for short.”

“Rory is short for Aurora,” Rory explained.

“Aurora is a beautiful name.”

“Does Andi live in your house?”

“No.” Mac sucked in a slow breath. Ursula was watching him with sympathetic eyes. “Andi died.”

It's All About the Romance - Excerpt


“I suppose the only drawback is that now they all know I’m here.”

“Oh, they already knew. Terry says he spotted you buying groceries weeks ago. Word got around. It’s just that Alaskans figure if you want privacy, they’ll leave you alone.”

He chuckled. “All but you, I guess.”

Andi's Book Reviews - Review


"This was a beautiful story of fierce love for one's child, even when that child isn't biologically yours. It's about fighting for what is right and never giving up hope. It's about learning how to forgive yourself when things happen that are out of your control. (And honestly, so much of life is out of our control.) And it is about learning how to love again. I really enjoyed every one of these characters, particularly the spunky Rory."


underneath the covers - Excerpt


“That’s not going to happen.” Mac laid his hand over Ursula’s. “We won’t let it happen. That’s what you need to tell Rory. That these people want to meet, but she doesn’t need to worry. We’ll take care of everything.”

“We?”

“Okay, you. Officially, you’re the only one who can make that promise. But I intend to help in every way I can.”

The Power of Words - Review


"Beth Carpenter is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers in the Harlequin Heartwarming line, and I thoroughly enjoyed Alaskan Hideaway. Carpenter writes with a strong sense of place, good character depth, gentle humor, and creative storylines...
Alaskan Hideaway is a beautiful and heartwarming story. I look forward to more of Beth Carpenter’s writing."


Katie's Clean Book Collection - Excerpt


He pulled her closer and brushed his lips against the top of her head. “I could talk all night, but what it boils down to is this. I’ve made mistakes, and I’ve tried to learn from my mistakes. After my wife died, I took great care to avoid any serious relationships. I put all my energy into raising my daughter.”

“It can’t have been easy, raising a daughter alone.”

“Not always, but it was rewarding. But that’s not my point. What I’m trying to say, is that you and Rory have become very important to me. I don’t know if I can be any good at a relationship but I want to try. If you’ll have me.”

Rockin' Book Reviews - Review


"This is a wonderful story. I loved everything about it. I love small communities like the one in this story...
I highly recommend this book to other readers. It has a great plot and a sweet romance too." - Vickie
"The Alaskan Catch by Beth Carpenter is the latest in the Northern Lights series and did not disappoint the reader! This was a very captivating tale of two people very familiar with loss and a feeling of void in their lives." - LAWonder10


Book by Book - Review


"...I enjoyed the story of Alaskan Hideaway, and I’m sure other readers who enjoyed contemporary romance will enjoy this one, too. Though it’s the third in Carpenter’s Northern Lights series, it can easily be read on its own (but if you’re like me, Alaskan Hideaway will leave you wanting to go and read the first two, too)."


Among the Reads - Review


"Mac and Ursula were quite different. She was very friendly, positive and hospitable. Mac was … not. Both had lived through loss and dealt with grief, but the way they responded was different. And they needed each other. I may have liked them and their relationship even more because they were in many ways similar to my husband and myself."


Reading Is My SuperPower - Review


"Alaskan Hideaway is a sweet story of friendship, community, empathy, and healing. The romance progresses at a natural pace (not too rushed, not too slow) and Mac’s Oklahoma cowboy self will have you swooning every time his drawl and use of darlin’ resurfaces. The delightfully-rendered setting will have you adding Alaska to your bucket list for sure, and each of the main characters has you fully invested in their story from the moment you meet them. This can easily be read as a standalone but you really must read the first two books at some point, too, because they’re just as good!"


Stacking My Book Shelves! - Excerpt


He’d just leave the plate on the bench beside the door. He commanded the dog to sit-stay and started for the porch. As he reached the second stair, the front door opened and Ursula stepped outside, shaking dust and gravel off a rug and all over him.

“Oh my goodness, I’m sorry.” Her voice was apologetic, but the corners of her mouth twitched.

“No problem.” Mac dusted his coat with his free hand. “I was just returning your plate.”

“That’s thoughtful, but you didn’t have to do that.” She smiled, and it was like a sudden flash of sunshine, warming him. Her silver-shot hair fluttered in the breeze. “Come on in.”

Janice's Book Reviews - Review


"So nice that Mac was from the same town that I live. Enjoyed the characters. Always good with animals in a book especially dogs, loved the name Blossom."


Becky on Books - Review


"I loved Alaskan Hideaway. It is loosely related to the first book in the series (The Alaskan Catch)–Ursula is Sam’s foster mother–and the characters from book two (A Gift for Santa) make appearances, but it would also work just fine as a standalone. If you can manage to read this book and not want to go back to read the others, you’re a stronger person than I am."


Britt Reads Fiction - Review


"I really enjoyed this touching tale, set in Alaska. I liked that the main characters, Mac and Ursula were over fifty, a trait that is not very common in the books that I read. I loved the little girl, Rory. She was sweet, smart, and very believable."


Kimber Li - Review


"Spending time, getting to know each other, bonding with Rory who loves Blossom, it’s all so splendidly and believably written for a couple of fifty year olds. The setting is well-done and believable for a misplaced Alaskan like me too...
This is a warm story set in a cold place. Bring it home today."


Wishful Endings - Excerpt


“Your gates are cutting my guests off from the trails. I’d much appreciate it if you’d open them.”

He stared at her as if she’d suggested he cut off his foot. “You want me to let a bunch of strangers traipse across my property?”

“Only that little corner in the back.”

“That rather defeats the purpose behind private property, don’t you think?”

Inside The Mind of an Avid Reader - Review


"The many depths of emotions that you will read as you are reading through Ursula and Mac's story will keep you emotionally in tune with the store. I thoroughly enjoyed it just as well as I have the rest of Beth's work I have read."


SilverWoodSketches - Review


"From the first chapter, I was instantly hooked. Certain stories evoke just the right imagery and emotion in a reader. Alaskan Hideaway is one of those books...
The perfect read for all ages, when you need that extra dose of hope for happiness, and the faith in second chances."


Don't forget to enter the giveaway below, if you haven't already...




Alaskan Hideaway
(Northern Lights #3)

By Beth Carpenter
Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 368 Pages
July 1st 2018 by Harlequin Heartwarming
GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & Noble
HarlequinKoboGoogle PlayiTunes

He traveled 3,800 miles to be alone

…but is it what he really wants?

Relocating to Alaska after a family tragedy seemed an ideal way for author R.D. “Mac” Macleod to grieve in peace. But solitude feels overrated when Mac’s around B&B owner Ursula Anderson and her orphaned goddaughter, Rory, who’s already bonding with his dog. Worse, he’s imagining a future with Ursula and Rory. Is it time to finally forgive himself?

Other Books in the Series


The Alaskan Catch
(Northern Lights #1)

By Beth Carpenter
Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 368 Pages
August 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Where life's currents take you…

Dana Raynott just traveled 3,600 miles to reunite with the brother who changed his name and fled to Alaska nineteen years ago. It's impossible not to be moved by this wild, breathtaking state, even if Dana's no closer to finding the answers she came here for.

Her brother's best friend, Anchorage engineer Sam MacKettrick, might be able to help her. He's strong and kind—a six-foot, irresistible blend of diverse cultures. He's also haunted by a tragic family history with a startling connection to Dana's past…


A Gift for Santa
(Northern Lights #2)

By Beth Carpenter
Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
December 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

It’s the season for giving…and starting over?

A reindeer farm without Santa wouldn’t be Christmas in Marissa Gray’s Alaskan hometown. Luckily Chris Allen’s there to pinch-hit, although for Marissa, seeing her ex-fiancé again brings back memories of what might have been.

Ten years after their breakup, the feelings between the wildlife biologist and blue-eyed fisherman are stronger than ever. Only now there’s a foster kid in the mix, as well as the shocking crime that cost Marissa her job and her family’s security. She and Chris need to find their way to a meeting of minds and hearts to make this truly a season for second chances…



About the Author



Once upon a time ...

when Beth Carpenter was a little girl, she read everything she could get her hands on, and entertained herself on the school bus by making up stories in her head. Not a lot has changed. She's still consuming books like M&Ms, and spends her days creating happily-ever-afters for her imaginary friends.

She lives in Alaska and Arizona with her husband and an aggressively affectionate fifty-pound lap dog. She loves to hear from readers.




Tour Giveaway



PRIZE PACK #1: 1 winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card, a northern lights journal, a snowflake bookmark, and a signed copy of The Alaskan Catch (US and Canada)

PRIZE PACK #2: 1 winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card and e-book copies of The Alaskan Catch and A Gift for Santa (open internationally)

Ends July 18th





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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Book Review: Alaskan Hideaway by Beth Carpenter



On Tour with Prism Book Tours


Alaskan Hideaway 


(Northern Lights #3)
By Beth Carpenter
Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 368 Pages
July 1st 2018 by Harlequin Heartwarming

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & Noble HarlequinKoboGoogle PlayiTunes

He traveled 3,800 miles to be alone …but is it what he really wants? Relocating to Alaska after a family tragedy seemed an ideal way for author R.D. “Mac” Macleod to grieve in peace. But solitude feels overrated when Mac’s around B&B owner Ursula Anderson and her orphaned goddaughter, Rory, who’s already bonding with his dog. Worse, he’s imagining a future with Ursula and Rory. Is it time to finally forgive himself?





My Review

4 of 5 Stars


From the first chapter, I was instantly hooked. Certain stories evoke just the right imagery and emotion in a reader. Alaskan Hideaway is one of those books. 

I have long been drawn to Alaska, probably because I'm from the opposite end of the States. Beth Carpenter gives us a rare gift in allowing us to visit there. It almost feels as though we are visiting Ursula's B&B, or escaping into the wilderness with Mac. I quickly fell in love with these characters, with Ursula and her struggle to help her goddaughter Rory, and Mac's tragic past. Each of these characters are united in their understood grief. Their pasts allow them to build the bridge into something new. 

For Ursula and Mac, it's not love at first sight. Mac just wants to be left alone, while Ursula only wants access to the ski trails that run through his property. Neither can come to an agreement, but this is only the beginning of what becomes an unexpected, beautiful love story. This is a book and a romance about the little, in-between moments that make life worth living. The details and baring between kindred souls that reminds us we aren't alone in our tragedy.

The perfect read for all ages, when you need that extra dose of hope for happiness, and the faith in second chances.




  Other Books in the Series


The Alaskan Catch (Northern Lights #1) By Beth Carpenter Contemporary Romance Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 368 Pages August 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming Where life's currents take you… Dana Raynott just traveled 3,600 miles to reunite with the brother who changed his name and fled to Alaska nineteen years ago. It's impossible not to be moved by this wild, breathtaking state, even if Dana's no closer to finding the answers she came here for. Her brother's best friend, Anchorage engineer Sam MacKettrick, might be able to help her. He's strong and kind—a six-foot, irresistible blend of diverse cultures. He's also haunted by a tragic family history with a startling connection to Dana's past…








A Gift for Santa (Northern Lights #2) By Beth Carpenter Contemporary Romance Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages December 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming
It’s the season for giving…and starting over? A reindeer farm without Santa wouldn’t be Christmas in Marissa Gray’s Alaskan hometown. Luckily Chris Allen’s there to pinch-hit, although for Marissa, seeing her ex-fiancé again brings back memories of what might have been. Ten years after their breakup, the feelings between the wildlife biologist and blue-eyed fisherman are stronger than ever. Only now there’s a foster kid in the mix, as well as the shocking crime that cost Marissa her job and her family’s security. She and Chris need to find their way to a meeting of minds and hearts to make this truly a season for second chances…





About the Author


Once upon a time …
when Beth Carpenter was a little girl, she read everything she could get her hands on, and entertained herself on the school bus by making up stories in her head. Not a lot has changed. She's still consuming books like M&Ms, and spends her days creating happily-ever-afters for her imaginary friends.

She lives in Alaska and Arizona with her husband and an aggressively affectionate fifty-pound lap dog. She loves to hear from readers.




Tour Schedule
July 9th: Launch
Paulette's Papers
Hearts & Scribbles
Thoughts of a Blonde
It's All About the Romance
Andi's Book Reviews underneath the covers

July 10th: The Power of Words
Katie's Clean Book Collection
Rockin' Book Reviews
Book by Book

July 11th: Among the Reads
Reading Is My SuperPower
Stacking My Book Shelves!

July 12th: Janice's Book Reviews
Becky on Books
Britt Reads Fiction
Kimber Li

July 13th: Teatime and Books
Inside The Mind of an Avid Reader
SilverWoodSketches

July 14th: Grand Finale



  Tour Giveaway

PRIZE PACK #1: 1 winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card, a northern lights journal, a snowflake bookmark, and a signed copy of The Alaskan Catch (US and Canada)
PRIZE PACK #2: 1 winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card and e-book copies of The Alaskan Catch and A Gift for Santa (open internationally)
Ends July 18th



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Monday, July 9, 2018

Book Blast + Giveaway: The Daughter of River Valley



The Daughter of River Valley by Victoria Cornwell

Publication Date: July 17, 2018
eBook; Choc Lit; 313 Pages
AudioBook; Soundings
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Cornish Tales #3


Beth Jago appears to have the idyllic life, she has a trade to earn a living and a cottage of her own in Cornwall’s beautiful River Valley. Yet appearances can be deceptive … Beth has a secret. Since inheriting her isolated cottage she has been receiving threats, so when she finds a man in her home she acts on her instincts. One frying pan to the head and she has robbed the handsome stranger of his memory and almost killed him. Brought together by unknown circumstances, and fearful he may die, she reluctantly nurses the intruder back to health. Yet can she trust the man with no name who has entered her life, or is he as dangerous as his nightmares suggest? As they learn to trust one another, the outside threats worsen. Are they linked to the man with no past? Or is the real danger still outside waiting … and watching them both?

Amazon UK | Amazon USChapters




About the Author 

Victoria Cornwall can trace her Cornish roots as far back as the 18th century and it is this background and heritage which is the inspiration for her Cornish based novels. Victoria’s writing has been shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction and her debut novel reached the final for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award. Victoria likes to read and write historical fiction with a strong background story, but at its heart is the unmistakable emotion, even pain, of loving someone. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. For more information, please visit Victoria Cornwall's website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Goodreads.




Book Blast Schedule

Wednesday, July 4 100 Pages a Day Thursday, July 5 Maiden of the Pages Friday, July 6 Clarissa Reads it All Saturday, July 7 Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen Sunday, July 8 The Book Junkie Reads Monday, July 9 SilverWoodSketches Tuesday, July 10 To Read, Or Not to Read Wednesday, July 11 A Darn Good Read Thursday, July 12 Passages to the Past Friday, July 13 Trisha Jenn Reads History From a Woman's Perspective Sunday, July 15 Donna's Book Blog




Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a signed copy of Victoria Cornwell's previous novel, The Thief's Daughter! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below. Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. 


  The Daughter of River Valley