If Only In My Dreams by Mariah Stewart

  • If Only In My Dreams 11:30Title:  If Only In My Dreams
  • Author:  Mariah Stewart
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Christmas
  • Pages:  112
  • Published:  November 30, 2015 – Pocket Star Ebooks
  • *Originally published as part of Upon A Midnight Clear anthology 1998 – Pocket books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

My take:  If Only In My Dreams is a heart-warming Christmas novella about two people whose lives were changed by a misunderstanding. And now, twelve years later, will Cale and Quinn get a chance to set things straight?

Also featured in the story are Cale’s two young sons and Quinn’s family who are gathering to celebrate the holiday at their parents’ home. It’s time to reminisce and look forward to new beginnings.

Mariah Stewart wrote a sweet Christmas tale that’s filled with the charm of the season and even a little magic. I enjoyed it and recommend it to fans of the author and a Christmas romance.

About the Author:

Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories.  A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens.  Visit her website at www.mariahstewart.com, and like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorMariahStewart.

Buy buttons for If Only In My Dreams:  $.99 in the US!



Spotlight/US Giveaway: Médicis Daughter by Sophie Peridot

Médicis Daughter


Winter, 1564. Beautiful young Princess Margot is summoned to the court of France, where nothing is what it seems and a wrong word can lead to ruin. Known across Europe as Madame la Serpente, Margot’s intimidating mother, Queen Catherine de Médicis, is a powerful force in a country devastated by religious war. Among the crafty nobility of the royal court, Margot learns the intriguing and unspoken rules she must live by to please her poisonous family.

Eager to be an obedient daughter, Margot accepts her role as a marriage pawn, even as she is charmed by the powerful, charismatic Duc de Guise. Though Margot’s heart belongs to Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot leader and a notorious heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. But the promised peace is a mirage: her mother’s schemes are endless, and her brothers plot vengeance in the streets of Paris. When Margot’s wedding devolves into the bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul.

Médicis Daughter is historical fiction at its finest, weaving a unique coming-of-age story and a forbidden love with one of the most dramatic and violent events in French history. (publisher)

Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois

by Sophie Perinot

Published by St. Martin’s Press

on sale December 1, 2015

Médicis Daughter

About the author: Sophie Perinot is the author of The Sister Queens. A former attorney, Perinot is now a full-time writer. She lives in Great Falls, Virginia with her three children, three cats, one dog and one husband.

Praise for Médicis Daughter:

“A riveting page-turner skillfully blending illicit liaisons and political chicanery.” – Kirkus Reviews

“This is Renaissance France meets Game of Thrones: dark, sumptuous historical fiction that coils religious strife, court intrigue, passionate love, family hatred, and betrayed innocence like a nest of poisonous snakes… highly recommended.” – Kate Quinn, national bestselling author of The Lion and the Rose

“The riveting story of a 16th century French princess caught in the throes of royal intrigue and religious war… An absolutely gripping read!” – Michelle Moran, bestselling author of The Rebel Queen

US Giveaway

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Médicis Daughter


Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Gift Of A Charm by Melissa Hill

the gift of a charm (10:13)

About the book:

From Melissa Hill, author of A Gift from Tiffany’s, comes The Gift of a Charm – another  New York Christmas love story to restore your faith in miracles.

Holly O’Neill knows that every charm bracelet tells a story. Many years ago she was sent one with just a single charm attached. The charms have been appearing ever since, often at challenging times, as if her mysterious benefactor knows exactly when she needs a little magic in her life.

As a result, Holly’s bracelet is her most prized possession. So when she finds someone else’s charm bracelet, she feels she has to try to reunite it with its owner-even if the only clues she has to follow are the charms themselves.

On a search that will take her all over New York City at Christmas, Holly becomes ever more determined to piece together the details of the other charmed life. But what she doesn’t know is that her quest may also lead her to someone she never, ever expected to meet…

Capturing the excitement of falling in love, plus the romance of New York City during a snowfall, the characters will warm your heart, and the artfully-crafted plot will keep you glued to the pages. The Gift Of A Charm is a contemporary romance that is truly not to be missed! (publisher)


About the author:

Melissa Hill lives with her husband Kevin, daughter Carrie, and dog Homer in South Dublin. She is the international #1 bestselling author of more than ten novels, including A Gift From Tiffany’s, and her books have been translated into twenty-five languages.

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the gift of a charm (10:13)

US Giveaway: Succession by Livi Michael

Succession (9:22) Thomas Dunne

About the book:

1445. King Henry VI is married by proxy to Margaret of Anjou. French, beautiful and unpopular, her marriage causes a national uproar.

At the same time, the infant Margaret Beaufort is made a great heiress and suddenly becomes the most important commodity in the nation. Her childhood is lived in remote, echoing castles, while everyone at King Henry’s court competes to be her guardian and engineer an advantageous alliance with her uncle, the Duke of Somerset.

With the collapse of Henry VI’s hold on France, discord among the English nobles breaks out into civil war. Henry becomes the mad king, and Margaret of Anjou declares herself Queen Regent, left alone to fight for her son’s position as rightful heir. Meanwhile, Margaret Beaufort, although still little more than a child at thirteen, has been married twice and given birth to her only son—the future King of England.

Succession is an imaginative and engrossing novel about the events that inspired George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. It’s the story of the fall of the House of Lancaster and of the two remarkable women who gave birth to the Tudor dynasty. The dramatic plot is supplemented with short chronicles that were written at the time, further rooting readers in the history. (from the publisher)


About the author:  Livi Michael is the winner of the Society of Authors Award and a finalist for the Mind Award She teaches literature at the Manchester Metropolitan University and has  been a senior lecturer in creative writing at Sheffield Hallam University. She lives in Yorkshire, United Kingdom.


Praise for Succession:

“Livi Michael’s lively historical novel, “Succession,” portrays something of a ­female-centric vision of the Wars of the Roses. The action centers on two ferocious women who stood behind — and sometimes in front of — prominent men…Michael paints the Middle Ages in spare and elegant prose. “— The New York Times Book Review

“Livi Michael engages meticulously with the diverse historical accounts of the Wars of the Roses, but she also invests intimate and poignant humanity into the personal tragedies of an era wrought with conflict and terror.”-Elizabeth Fremantle, author of Queen’s Gambit

Succession is a powerfully written account of the 15th-century Wars of the Roses…finely balanced between history and fiction, and a fascinating, riveting read.”– Historical Novel Society

“Clever…the narrative has the colour and power of the best of the chronicles she uses.”– Sunday Times (UK)

“Juxtaposing illuminating contemporary accounts of the Wars of the Roses with breathtaking insights into the minds of the principal players, Succession puts the conflict into a compelling context whilst exploring the human cost of the bloody, bitter birth of the Tudor dynasty….An impressive and exciting debut.”-Lancashire Evening Post (UK)


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Succession (9:22) Thomas Dunne

The Hundred Gifts by Jennifer Scott

  • 9780451473240Title:  The Hundred Gifts
  • Author:  Jennifer Scott
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction; Christmas
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  October 2015 – NAL
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  Christmas will be different this year for Bren. Her newly married daughter has moved to Thailand and her son who decided at the last-minute not to go to college is wandering the world. Her husband seems to go through a hobby every few weeks – a recent one had the house smelling like the inside of a gasoline can. So Bren is finding her nest empty and not pleased with that. When she’s approached to teach a cooking class she decides to do it even though she’s probably not the best person to teach others how to cook.

Bren’s students are her mother, her crusty aunt, a quiet young woman and a few others. They all get along fine but there’s a crabby woman who lives in the apartment above the kitchen classroom who complains from the very first day. She is unhappy that all these noisy people and smells are infiltrating her world. She’s determined to shut them down. The women are shocked by such a negative attitude – especially at this time of year. The class decides to “kill her with kindness” which yields unexpected results that ultimately gave surprising (to me, anyway) depth to what began as a fluffy novel.

Even though I understood Bren I didn’t always like her. At first she came across as kind of self-centered. Her inner dialogue was off-putting at times. Slowly, though, Jennifer Scott revealed Bren’s layers, as well as those of a few other characters, which gave me a fuller appreciation of her thoughts and actions.

There’s so much going on in this novel but Jennifer Scott did a great job weaving all the threads into a story that was highly entertaining and yet quite profound. We’ve all had losses and, as we do, we each react differently to loss. As I go through life I constantly remind myself to not judge at first glance – I don’t know what has happened to make a person behave the way she does.

I think if you’re looking for something a little different, that’s entertaining and yet will make you stop and think, you might enjoy The Hundred Gifts as much as I did. There are some laugh out loud moments and some very sad ones. I liked it all. This is one I’d love to see in film.


Jennifer Scott is the national bestselling, award-winning author of Second Chance Friends, The Accidental Book Club, and The Sister Season. Her acclaimed YA novels under a pseudonym, Jennifer Brown, have been selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA Perfect Ten, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.

Please visit Jennifer Scott online at:

Praise for The Accidental Book Club

“The Accidental Book Club will have you laughing and crying at the same time.” —Fresh Fiction
“The still-evolving relationships between the various women are touching…Scott has drawn an affecting tale of family, love, and forgiveness.” —BookNAround


Praise for The Sister Season

“Emotionally honest and psychologically astute, The Sister Season is ultimately an uplifting story about the pull of the past, the need for forgiveness, and the redemptive power of familial love.” —Liza Gyllenhaal, author of A Place for Us


“The Sister Season is a powerful, honest look at the harm that ripples out from every unkindness, and the strength inherent in the sisterly bond.” —Heidi Jon Schmidt, author of The Harbormaster’s Daughter



A Cold Creek Christmas Story by RaeAnne Thayne

  • a cold creek christmas story (11:17 pub)Title:  A Cold Creek Christmas Story
  • Series: Cowboys of Cold Creek #14
  • Author:  RaeAnne Thayne
  • Pages:  240
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Christmas
  • Published:  December 1, 2015 – Harlequin
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Sparkle In The Snow Leads To So Much More. Celeste Nichols has always preferred to keep to herself in her hometown of Pine Gulch, Idaho…until she becomes an instant celebrity! When one of her children’s stories becomes a major success, she’s suddenly the talk of the town. Celeste should be gloriously happy…but something, someone, special is still missing from her life. Could the return of her childhood crush be the answer?  

Flynn Delaney has moved back home for his daughter’s sake. Yet all the millionaire’s resources can’t help the little girl heal from the tragic loss of her mother. Shy librarian Celeste and her stories do hold some indefinable magic, though. Flynn came home looking for support—can he find that, and true love, in the one who got away?  (publisher)

My take: RaeAnne Thayne’s new Christmas story is a sweet tale about coming to terms with a new normal – especially for the young daughter of Flynn Delaney. When he comes back to Pine Gulch to prepare his grandmother’s house for sale Flynn meets Celeste who also happens to be his daughter’s favorite author.

Celeste and young Olivia find they have more in common than most people realize. That connection is a gift to them both. What no one expected was the connection made between Flynn and Celeste. What Flynn didn’t expect was a joyful Christmas this year.

A Cold Creek Christmas is a lovely novel and perfect for the season. I enjoyed it and recommend it to fans of RaeAnne Thayne and contemporary romance with a Christmas theme. Although this is the 14th book in the series it can stand alone. I’ve only read one other (last year’s Christmas book) and had no problem keeping up.

US Giveaway: A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison (signed copy)

a small indiscretion

A Small Indiscretion: A Novel
By Jan Ellison
Published by Random House
Hardcover: 336 pages
January 20, 2015; $27.00 US/ $32.00 CAN; 9780812995442

A Small Indiscretion fixes an unflinching eye on the power of desire and the danger of obsession as it unfolds the story of one woman’s reckoning with a youthful mistake.

At nineteen, Annie Black trades a bleak future in her washed-out hometown for a London winter of drinking to oblivion and yearning for deliverance. Some two decades later, she is married to a good man and settled in San Francisco, with a son and two daughters and a successful career designing artistic interior lights. One June morning, a photograph arrives in her mailbox, igniting an old longing and setting off a chain of events that rock the foundations of her marriage and threaten to overturn her family’s hard-won happiness.

The novel moves back and forth across time between San Francisco in the present and that distant winter in Europe. The two worlds converge and explode when the adult Annie returns to London seeking answers, her indiscretions come to light, and the phone rings with shocking news about her son. Now Annie must fight to save her family by piecing together the mystery of her past — the fateful collision of liberation and abandon and sexual desire that drew an invisible map of her future.

A Small Indiscretion is a riveting debut novel about a woman’s search for understanding and forgiveness, a taut exploration of a modern marriage, and of love — the kind that destroys, and the kind that redeems.

Author Bio
Jan Ellison 
is a mother of four and a novelist, essayist and short-story writer. Her first book, A Small Indiscretion (Random House 2015) is a literary suspense novel about a harrowing coming-of-age, a marriage under siege, and a mother who must excavate the truth of her past. It was an Oprah Editor’s Pick and a San Francisco Chronicle Book Club Pick.

Jan’s essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Narrative Magazine and elsewhere, and she received an O. Henry Prize for her first short story to appear in print.

Jan is a graduate of Stanford and San Francisco State University, where she spent seven years earning an MFA when her children were small. Jan had a brief career at a Silicon Valley startup, marketing risk management software to derivatives traders. The company went public, Jan became a mother, and instead of leaning in she leaned out, became a stay-at-home mom, and began to write.

Jan’s experiences living and traveling abroad after college continue to fuel much of her writing. She also left Stanford for a year at nineteen to live and work on a shoe-string in Paris and London. She took notes on yellow legal pads, and years later, those notes provided the inspiration for her first novel.

Jan grew up in Los Angeles and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband of twenty years and their children.

For more information please visit http://www.janellison.com and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

Praise for A Small Indiscretion:

“Delicious lazy day reading…just don’t underestimate the writing.” —Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 Editor’s Pick
“Ellison is a tantalizing storyteller…moving her story forward with cinematic verve.” —USA Today
“Lovely writing guides us through, driven by a quiet generosity.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Ellison’s debut novel is both juicy and beautifully written.” —Flavorwire 
“Ellison writes gracefully, with moments of startling insight.” —The Rumpus

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a small indiscretion

Sleeping with the Enemy by Tracy Solheim

  • sleeping with the enemyTitle:  Sleeping with the Enemy
  • Series:  Out of Bounds #4
  • Author:  Tracy Solheim
  • Pages:  320
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  September 2015 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher/NetGalley

Description:  Dot-com millionaire Jay McManus is discovering that owning a pro football team like the Baltimore Blaze isn’t easy. An anonymous blogger is out to destroy his reputation, and now his team is being sued by its own cheerleaders. If Jay’s not careful, he could lose big—and not just financially.

Bridgett Janik’s brother may play for the Baltimore Blaze, but she’s not thrilled to be defending Jay McManus, the man who broke her heart. It’s bad enough she has to mingle with Jay during games, but working beside her former lover may be too much for her body—and her heart—to resist.

Jay’s determined not to let Bridgett slip away from him a second time. But, as the two follow the mysterious blogger’s trail, secrets—both past and present—are revealed, and Jay and Bridgett must decide if their relationship can be something more than just sleeping with the enemy.  (publisher)

My take: This is the first book by author Tracy Solheim I’ve read and the fourth book in the Out of Bounds series. Happily, it can stand alone because Solheim provided enough information about previously featured characters who make appearances in Sleeping With the Enemy.

If you like confident (some might say arrogant) alpha characters you’ll probably like Jay McManus. Equally confident but more sympathetic is Bridgett Janik, the lawyer Jay wants working on the case against him and his organization. These two have a history and Bridgett is determined to keep their contact strictly business. Jay wants business with benefits. So, does Bridgett have the resolve to keep things above-board or will she let her emotions rule – and will they ever talk about what happened all those years ago?

The plot took a couple of turns that drew me in which is good because at first I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book. However, I thought Solheim brought all issues to a satisfactory conclusion and she had me wondering if there is going to be a fifth book in the series. I would read it.

If you like a contemporary romance about rich and famous characters with sports and second-chance-at-love themes I think you’ll enjoy Sleeping With the Enemy.

I read Sleeping With The Enemy as part of the BookSparks Fall Reading Challenge 2015



Monday Post

Good morning. I thought I should check in since I haven’t posted memes for the past 10-14 days. I’ve been sick. In bed. Not able to read for at least 10 days. That’s sick. Without going into details I’ll just say I can’t remember being so sick – ever. There were days I slept for 20 hours!

I also had to cancel a trip with my sisters to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Darn! I had scheduled posts to cover my time away so that ended up being convenient.


But now I feel like I’m on the road to feeling well again. I read a few pages over the weekend – nice to know my eyes can focus properly again. I’m not commenting on blogs yet but I will soon.

Anyway, it’s good to be on the upswing and I’ll visit soon.


PS My daughter created my bitmoji. It’s pretty close to the real me 🙂

Put A Ring On It by Beth Kendrick

  • put a ring on it (NAL 11:3)Title:  Put A Ring On It
  • Series:  Black Dog Bay #3
  • Author:  Beth Kendrick
  • Genre:  Chick Lit; Romance
  • Pages:  320
  • Published:  November 2015 – NAL
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Brighton Smith doesn’t do outrageous. As an insurance actuary, it’s her job to assess risk and avoid bad investments. But when her fiancé calls to confess he’s married someone else on a whim (“I looked at her and I just knew!”), she snaps…

That night, at a local bar, Jake Sorensen—hot, rich, and way out of her league—buys Brighton a cocktail. At midnight, she kisses him. And by dawn, they’re exchanging vows at a drive-through chapel.

Brighton knows Jake is a bad bet, but she doesn’t care. After a lifetime of playing it safe, she’s finally having fun. Until the whirlwind romance gives way to painful reality…and Brighton finds out the truth about why a guy like Jake married a girl like her. With her heart on the line and the odds stacked against them, Brighton must decide whether to cut her losses or take a leap of faith that this love affair is one in a million.  (publisher)

My take:  I read the second book in the Black Dog Bay series so I was familiar with some of the characters (including Jake) as well as the scenic beach town of Black Dog Bay. For some reason this little town attracts women who’ve recently gone through a break-up.

Brighton is a by-the-book, serious woman who plays it safe. When her fiancé asks for the ring back she decides to visit Black Dog Bay where her best friend from college has opened a practice (she’s a therapist). She meets Jack at the local pub and her life takes an unexpected turn.

Jake is a man of mystery and he seems intent on keeping it that way. That’s why I had a hard time believing Brighton would become involved with him. I guess she went a little crazy and then just went with it. It may sound as if I didn’t like the book but I really did. I thought that, despite their ridiculous situation, these two had real chemistry. Their entertaining dialogue often had me laughing. All in all, I was pleased with how their story wrapped up.

I’d recommend Put A Ring On It to fans of Beth Kendrick, the Black Dog Bay series, and fun, romantic novels.

US Giveaway: The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating by Carole Radziwill

the widow's guide to sex & dating - trade

Now available in Trade Paperback

The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating: A Novel

by Carole Radziwill

St. Martin’s Griffin $15.99

“Witty and charming, Carole Radziwill’s first novel is a delight. I fell in love with the character of Claire—a modern-day Holly Golightly.” —Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City and The Carrie Diaries

“Carole Radziwill writes like a cross between Sophie Kinsella and Christopher Buckley. Widow’s Guide is a sharp, flamboyant New York novel that revels in the tragicomic absurdities of the city. It’s a smart take on Hollywood, too, with gorgeous movie stars and a quirky cast. Cautiously romantic, unexpectedly moving, and funny!” —Susan Sarandon 


Claire Byrne is a quirky and glamorous 34-year-old Manhattanite who is nicely married to the renowned sexologist, Charles Byrne. He’s a man of contradictions: equal parts Alfred Kinsey and Warren Beatty; pompous yet charming; loyal yet unfaithful, and a firm believer that sex and love can’t coexist. Even though Charlie does little to hide his affairs, Claire can’t deny that her life with him is interesting. In a bizarre and comedic twist of fate, on an unassuming Monday, Charlie—fresh from a lover’s bed—is struck dead on a city sidewalk by a falling Giacometti statue.

With this deliciously irreverent opening, Claire sets out to reinvent herself and find the answer to a vexing question – Are widows the new virgins? The Widow’s Guide to Sex & Dating: A Novel is a wry take on death, sex and love, in that order, by New York Times best-selling author Carole Radziwill.

While Radziwill’s book is fictitious, she draws from her own dating misadventures as well as her experience as a young widow, as chronicled in the critically acclaimed and bestselling memoir What Remains about the loss of her husband, ABC News producer and Polish royalty, Anthony Radziwill.

Taking place over the course of a year, Radzwill’s protagonist Claire sees two shrinks and an oracle, hires a “botanomanist,” follows a griot, eats too little, drinks too much, dates a hockey player and a billionaire, and has a heady affair with the movie star Jack Huxley. As she grieves for Charlie and begins to find her footing, Claire comes to realize that she has an opportunity to find something bigger and better than she had before: real, authentic, passionate love.


About the author: Carole Radziwill grew up in upstate New York and earned a BA at Hunter College and an MBA at New York University. She spent more than a decade at ABC News, reporting from around the world, and earned three Emmys. Her first book, What Remains, a memoir, spent over twenty weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. She has written for many magazines, including Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, and Glamour. She currently is a star of and “the voice of reason” on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York”.

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the widow's guide to sex & dating - trade