Saturday, June 29, 2013

SUNNY: BOOK REVIEW "Making It Last" by Ruthie Knox

SUMMARY from Goodreads:
A hotel bar. A sexy stranger. A night of passion. There’s a part of Amber Mazzara that wants those things, wants to have a moment — just one — where life isn’t a complicated tangle of house and husband and kids and careers. Then, after a long, exhausting “vacation” with her family, her husband surprises her with a gift: a few days on the beach . . . alone.

Only she won’t be alone long, because a handsome man just bought her a drink. He’s cool, he’s confident, and he wants to take Amber to bed and keep her there for days. Lucky for them both, he’s her husband. He’s only got a few days in Jamaica to make her wildest desires come true, but if he can pull it off, there’s reason to believe that this fantasy can last a lifetime.

Wow, I'm stunned. If you've spent any time on this blog, you know that I am a fan of Ruthie Knox's books.  She always embeds a kernel of authentic emotion in her books whether it is a struggle with alienation, trust, self-esteem, or kinship.  But she outdid herself with this book.  Making It Last is the follow up story to Amber and Tony's story started in How to Misbehave and book 4 in the Camelot series.  It takes place 14 years after the first book - We enter the story after 10 years of marriage, three kids, a troubled business, and Amber adrift without an anchor.  I cried.  I cried and I cried in this book.  From the moment we see Amber in the lobby of the resort hotel helping her little boy overcome his vomiting, I felt it in my gut.  After ten years of cleaning up vomit, changing diapers, cleaning house and cooking dinner and trying to connect to her husband after his 80 hour work week, Amber can no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel. The saddest part is when one loses hope:  "You couldn't believe that there was enough fuel in the world, enough hope, enough love to spare."  I remember that feeling when my child was younger and there was always so much to do and I could never seem to catch up.  It felt like there was nothing to look forward to. This part made my heart clench and I took a sharp intake of breath.

Tony, with the help of Amber's mother and aunt, arranges for Amber to stay for a few days at the hotel while everyone else goes home.  He thinks he's giving her time to rest and relax.  But then knowing that things are not right at home, he begins to worry that she is getting to break from the marriage and so he returns to win her back. Over time and without an malicious intent, they stop giving to one another, holding back just a little bit at a time and then soon there is a chasm of loneliness even when they are in their own company. One of the best parts of this story is Tony's courage.  It takes him a bit to figure out what's wrong, but instead of running from it, he faces it head on. 

What strikes me is how important it is to have purpose in life - to know that you have a unique and important contribution to the world that encompasses who you are in your family AND outside of it. In his company, Tony gets to live his dream, and despite the downturn he still gets to make his mark inside and outside his family.  Amber, though she would never give up her role as mother, needs feedback and a reaction that says she is making her mark.  She needs signposts and boundaries in her life that give her permission to stop and switch gears.   

There are many poignant and important moments in this book. This is a story about rebuilding, reshaping, reforming a marriage in a real, non-fairytale manner, acknowledging the hard work and sacrifice it takes and then having the courage to go forth.   

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept for the ARC.  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

SUNNY: COVER REVEAL "Hold On To Me" by Elisabeth Naughton

Welcome to the cover reveal for Elisabeth Naughton's Hold On to Me, the follow up to Wait for Me, the 2012 Reader's Choice Finalist for Romantic Suspense. 


He thinks he’s finally found the one. 
Mitch Mathews never believed in love—at least not the happily ever after kind. Then he met Simone Conners. Just one night with the sexy lawyer made him reevaluate his priorities and look toward a future he never planned. The only hang up is making her see it too. 

She’s almost ready for a second chance.

What started out as a casual hookup with a rugged geologist has turned into something a whole lot more. Simone’s on the verge of handing over her heart, but fear over what Mitch will say and do when he learns who she used to be holds her back.

The past could destroy their future...

Just when Simone is about to take a chance on forever with Mitch, the mistakes of her past catch up with her. Suddenly it’s not just her safety on the line anymore, it’s his too. Forced into hiding, Mitch demands answers, and Simone realizes the only way to protect everything she holds dear is to delve into a past she’s spent fourteen years trying to forget. As they search for the truth, they discover secrets, lies and a rekindled passion that burns hotter than before. But they also uncover a conspiracy that threatens the very fabric of society. One that could cost them more than just their future…it could cost them their lives.
I was never one of those people who knew they wanted to be an author at the age of six. I didn’t have imaginary friends. I didn’t write stories in my journal or entertain my relatives by firelight after Thanksgiving dinner. For the most part, I was just a normal, everyday kid. I liked to read, but I wasn’t exceptional at it. And when my teachers complimented me on my writing abilities, I brushed them off. I did, however, always have a penchant for the unique and absurd. And as my mother told me all throughout my childhood, I should have been an actress—I was a drama queen before my time.
Years ago, my husband bought me Scarlett: The Sequel to Gone With The Wind. If you ever saw the book, you know it’s a long one. I sat and read that thing from cover to cover, and dreamed of one day being a writer. But I didn’t actually try my hand at writing until years later when I quit my teaching job to stay home with my kids. And my husband? After that week of reading where I neglected him and everything else until I finished Scarlett, he vowed never to buy me another book again. Little did he know I’d one day end up sitting at a keyboard all day drafting my own stories.

My writing journey has not been easy. I didn’t just sit down one day, decide I was going to write a book and voila! sell my very first attempt. As most authors will probably agree, the path to publication is filled with hours of work, pulling all-nighters I thought I’d given up in college, sacrifices, rejections, but a love I discovered along the way I just can’t live without. Instead of a big, thick book to read by lamplight (I do read much smaller ones when I get the chance), I’ve traded in my reading obsession for a laptop. And I’ve never been happier.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a wonderful family and fabulous husband who put up with my writing—and obsessive personality—even when life is chaotic. More than once my kids have been late to swimming or baseball because I needed just five more minutes to finish a scene. Their support and encouragement mean the world to me. I also have amazing friends and a support network I couldn’t survive without. So to all of you out there who have encouraged me along the way, sent me emails and fan letters, phone calls and congratulations, I just want to say, thank you. You make this whole writing gig that much more enjoyable. I truly wouldn’t be here without you.

Author Links:    Website Facebook Twitter Goodreads 


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

SUNNY: BOOK REVIEW "Flirting with Disaster" by Ruthie Knox

Fresh out of a fiasco of a marriage, Katie Clark has retreated to her hometown to start over. The new Katie is sophisticated, cavalier, and hell-bent on kicking butt at her job in her brother’s security firm. But on her first assignment—digging up the truth about the stalker threatening a world-famous singer-songwriter—Katie must endure the silent treatment from a stern but sexy partner who doesn’t want her help . . . or her company.

Sean Owens knows that if he opens his mouth around Katie, she’ll instantly remember him as the geeky kid who sat behind her in high school. Silence is golden, but he can’t keep quiet forever, not with Katie stampeding through their investigation. It’s time for Sean to step up and take control of the case, and his decade-old crush. If he can break through Katie’s newfound independence, they just might find they make a perfect team—on the road, on the job, and in bed.

Things I like about Ruthie Knox's books:
  • Her characters are completely accessible.  They could be your neighbors or the parents of the children in your kid's class.   
  • Their concerns are relatable. Katie is suffering from a crisis of self-esteem.  She keeps second guessing herself because her divorce left her wondering how she missed all the signs. And then they grow in a smart way: 
"I'm not anybody's dream girl.  And I guess I'm not all that tough, and we both know I'm not as smart as you.  But even so, I deserve better than what you're offering me."
  • The relationships are steamy and her couples are good (not necessarily perfect) together:   
"I'm not sure if you've noticed," Katie said, giving him a smile as twisted up and bliss-deranged as her heart felt, "but who you are with me is kind of a mess."
  • The men are multidimensional, not just alpha. Sean is confident and controlling on the outside, but on the inside he's an insecure mess. But they make it work.
And there you have it, the Camelot series.  

IN A NUTSHELL:  Flirting with Disaster is book 3 in the Camelot series by Ruthie Knox.   This book can be a standalone but why do that when you can have a nice three course dinner. Start with the appetizer, How to Misbehave and enjoy your meal.

SUNNY: BLOG STOP TOUR "Marathon Man" by Liz Cowen

Join us in celebrating the release of Marathon Man by Liz Cowen.  Learn about the book, meet the author and enter the giveaway!  Enjoy!

When is a problem not a problem? What if it is a conscious choice?

Thorn Burdette is a real life long tall, gorgeous Texan with the lean physique of an outdoorsman. He is content with his life. What’s not to like? Success, wealth and women equal smooth sailing, right?

P. J. McConnell is not your average police detective. If fact, average would be the last word Thorn would use to describe the Dallas special detective. She is tough and alluring in one potent package.

Smart, stunning and sassy, with evolving paranormal abilities, P. J. is nothing like the women who have conga-danced through Thorn’s life.

They have nothing in common. Nothing . . . except irresistible desire and a strong sense of destiny neither can ignore nor resist.

Then she discovers his secret. A secret which leads them on a twisted journey of passion and pain neither could have foreseen.

And P. J. may be the only one who can save him . . . save them.
Liz Cowan was born in Budapest, Hungary; graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in philosophy and a minor in English; and writes a weekly humor column.

Reading and writing have been my favorite pastimes since early childhood. During summer vacations, I checked out huge stacks of books from the library and in a couple of days I returned for more. My reading preferences run the literary gamut, including fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, romance, biographies, poetry, etc. 

“With my mind bursting with stories of my own, writing was a natural progression for this bibliophile.” 

Besides working as a legal assistant by day and plotting new stories at night, she loves reading, walking, gardening, and writing her weekly humor column.

Her published books include:
Fractured Proverbs and Twisted Thoughts--a humorous take on original and familiar sayings, written as E. Cowan.

Author Links: Website Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

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