🏹🏆#TheHungryReadersGames Summer 2020 Challenge 🏆🏹

🎉🎉🎉 Hear ye, hear ye! 🎉🎉🎉

Join 6 voracious #readers#bookbloggers#bookreviewers, and #authors this #SummerReads2020 as they battle, #HungerGames style, to be crowned the most ravenous reader 📖 and 🏹🏆#theHungryReadersGames Champion! 🏆🏹

Like the original Hunger Games, there will be surprise challenges (😲!), sponsors (authors 🥰) and lifelines (reader followers 🤩). We will be highlighting our Challengers, throughout this event and hopefully provide you with your next great #SummerRead! ❤️🌴📚🌴❤️

Be sure to follow each of our Challengers on IG and / or Facebook! 🎉🎉🎉 District 1: @grannylovestoread
District 2 (& Host): @chicklitshop
District 3: @carpediemchronicles
District 4: @brmaycock
District 5: @bookloverfl12
District 6: @authorheathercastle
GamesMistress: @lauraheffernanbooks 🏆 

#MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavor! 🏆

Good books @chicklitshop‘s Amazon Online Bookstore: https://www.amazon.com/shop

Competition 1 – Power Reader Challenge:

Who will read the most books this month??? 📚🥰📚
~ 1 pt. will be awarded for novels (200+ pages!) 📚😍📚
~ 0.5 pts. for novellas (199 pages or less!) 📚

Competition 2: Bonus Points Challenge – #HungerGames style!
😱🙈😱

Ways Our Challengers Can Earn Bonus Points:

✔️ Read an ARC a week (up to 3 max per week) = Accept 1 Bonus Point or Go to GamesMistress @LauraHeffernanBooks & Dice Roll for 0 – 5 Bonus Points! 😮
✔️ Write a Review a Week = 5 Bonus Points 😍
✔️ Write a Blog or IG Book Post a week = 3 Bonus Points. Keep them, or Go to the GamesMistress & Roll for Double or Nothing! 🤔
✔️ Gain Lifelines –> Every 15 new Followers = 5 Bonus Points 🤩

Readers – Become a #Lifeline! Share the #thehungryreadersgames2020 Challenge and get your friends to follow your favorite Champion(s)!!! 🤩 For every 15 new Followers our Champions get on IG or FB, they will get 5 Bonus Points. Our Challengers will need them for the upcoming Surprise Challenges! 😲

Leave a comment if you’ve spread the word about #theHungryReadersGames or #hungryreaders2020 on Social Media for a special shout out as a Top Sharer! 🥰📚🥰
✔️ Gain Sponsors –> Every 5 Sponsors = 1 Bonus Points 📖
#RomanceAuthors 📖 – Need a review? Become a Sponsor today and support one or more of these 6 voracious readers! Have an ARC? Or a past book that needs a little #ReviewLove? Contact one, two, or all of our Challengers! (For more details, contact @chicklitshop.) 📖 🏹🏆

Finally, it can’t be #thehungryreadersgames2020 without some ways to LOSE ALL THESE HARD EARNED BONUS POINTS…Stay tuned & watch what happens!!! 🏆🏹 🏆 🏆

#BlogTour – THE FRIENDSHIP LIST by Susan Mallery

The Friendship List : A Novel 

Susan Mallery

On Sale Date: August 4, 2020

Fiction / Romance / Contemporary / 384 pages

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Already a worldwide success in mass market and trade paperback formats, Susan Mallery’s newest hardcover is an emotional, witty, and heartfelt story about two best friends who are determined to help one another shake things up and live life to the fullest…only to discover that possibilities are everywhere–especially in the most unexpected of places.

Ellen and Unity have been best friends basically since birth, but they couldn’t be more different. Unity married her childhood sweetheart just after high school and became an Army wife, moving from base to base…until her husband’s shocking death in the line of duty leaves her a widow. Grief-stricken, it’s time for Unity to come back home to Ellen—the only person she can trust to help her rebuild her life. But Ellen has troubles of her own. Boys never seemed to notice Ellen…until one got her pregnant in high school and disappeared. Her son is now 17 and she’s wondering what to do with herself now that he’s heading off to college and he’s literally her entire world.

But now that Ellen and Unity are reunited, they’re done with their stale lives. It’s time to shake things up and start living again, knowing that they’ll always have one another to lean on. So they create a list of challenges they have to accomplish–everything from getting a tattoo to skydiving to staying out all night. And whoever completes the most challenges is the winner. But with new adventures and love just around the corner, there’s no such thing as losing…

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Indie Bound | Kindle | Nook | Google Play | Apple Books | Kobo | Walmart | Target | Bookshop.org

Chapter One

“I should have married money,” Ellen Fox said glumly. “That would have solved all my problems.”

Unity Leandre, her best friend, practically since birth, raised her eyebrows. “Because that was an option so many times and you kept saying no?”

“It could have been. Maybe. If I’d ever, you know, met a rich guy I liked and wanted to marry.”

“Wouldn’t having him want to marry you be an equally important part of the equation?”

Ellen groaned. “This is not a good time for logic. This is a good time for sympathy. Or giving me a winning lottery ticket. We’ve been friends for years and you’ve never once given me a winning lottery ticket.”

Unity picked up her coffee and smiled. “True, but I did give you my pony rides when we celebrated our eighth birthdays.”

A point she would have to concede, Ellen thought. With their birthdays so close together, they’d often had shared parties. The summer they’d turned eight, Unity’s mom had arranged for pony rides at a nearby farm. Unity had enjoyed herself, but Ellen had fallen in love with scruffy Mr. Peepers, the crabby old pony who carried them around the paddock. At Ellen’s declaration of affection for the pony, Unity had handed over the rest of her ride tickets, content to watch Ellen on Mr. Peepers’s wide back.

“You were wonderful about the pony rides,” Ellen said earnestly, “And I love that you were so generous. But right now I really need a small fortune. Nothing overwhelming. Just a tasteful million or so. In return, I’ll give back the rides on Mr. Peepers.”

Unity reached across the kitchen table and touched Ellen’s arm. “He really wants to go to UCLA?”

Ellen nodded, afraid if she spoke, she would whimper. After sucking in a breath, she managed to say, “He does. Even with a partial scholarship, the price is going to kill me.” She braced herself for the ugly reality. “Out-of-state costs, including room and board, are about sixty-four thousand dollars.” Ellen felt her heart skip a beat and not out of excitement. “A year. A year! I don’t even bring home that much after taxes. Who has that kind of money? It might as well be a million dollars.”

Unity nodded. “Okay, now marrying money makes sense.”

“I don’t have a lot of options.” Ellen pressed her hand to her chest and told herself she wasn’t having a heart attack. “You know I’d do anything for Coop and I’ll figure this out, but those numbers are terrifying. I have to start buying lottery scratchers and get a second job.” She looked at Unity. “How much do you think they make at Starbucks? I could work nights.”

Unity, five inches taller, with long straight blond hair, grabbed her hands. “Last month it was University of Oklahoma and the month before that, he wanted to go to Notre Dame. Cooper has changed his mind a dozen times. Wait until you go look at colleges this summer and he figures out what he really wants, then see who offers the best financial aid before you panic.” Her mouth curved up in a smile. “No offense, Ellen, but I’ve tasted your coffee. You shouldn’t be working anywhere near a Starbucks.”

“Very funny.” Ellen squeezed her hands. “You’re right. He’s barely seventeen. He won’t be a senior until September. I have time. And I’m saving money every month.”

It was how she’d been raised, she thought. To be practical, to take responsibility. If only her parents had thought to mention marrying for money.

“After our road trip, he may decide he wants to go to the University of Washington after all, and that would solve all my problems.”

Not just the money ones, but the loneliness ones, she thought wistfully. Because after eighteen years of them being a team, her nearly grown-up baby boy was going to leave her.

“Stop,” Unity said. “You’re getting sad. I can see it.”

“I hate that you know me so well.”

“No, you don’t.”

Ellen sighed. “No, I don’t, but you’re annoying.”

“You’re more annoying.”

They smiled at each other.

Unity stood, all five feet ten of her, and stretched. “I have to get going. You have young minds to mold and I have a backed-up kitchen sink to deal with, followed by a gate repair and something with a vacuum. The message wasn’t clear.” She looked at Ellen. “You going to be okay?”

Ellen nodded. “I’m fine. You’re right. Coop will change his mind fifteen more times. I’ll wait until it’s a sure thing, then have my breakdown.”

“See. You always have a plan.”

They walked to the front door. Ellen’s mind slid back to the ridiculous cost of college.

“Any of those old people you help have money?” she asked. “For the right price, I could be a trophy wife.”

Unity shook her head. “You’re thirty-four. The average resident of Silver Pines is in his seventies.”

“Marrying money would still solve all my problems.”

Unity hugged her, hanging on tight for an extra second. “You’re a freak.”

“I’m a momma bear with a cub.”

“Your cub is six foot three. It’s time to stop worrying.”

“That will never happen.”

“Which is why I love you. Talk later.”

Ellen smiled. “Have a good one. Avoid spiders.”

“Always.”

When Unity had driven away, Ellen returned to the kitchen where she quickly loaded the dishwasher, then packed her lunch. Cooper had left before six. He was doing some end-of-school-year fitness challenge. Something about running and Ellen wasn’t sure what. To be honest, when he went on about his workouts, it was really hard not to tune him out. Especially when she had things like tuition to worry about.

“Not anymore today,” she said out loud. She would worry again in the morning. Unity was right—Cooper was going to keep changing his mind. Their road trip to look at colleges was only a few weeks away. After that they would narrow the list and he would start to apply. Only then would she know the final number and have to figure out how to pay for it.

Until then she had plenty to keep her busy. She was giving pop quizzes in both fourth and sixth periods and she wanted to update her year-end tests for her two algebra classes. She needed to buy groceries and put gas in the car and go by the library to get all her summer reading on the reserve list.

As she finished her morning routine and drove to the high school where she taught, Ellen thought about Cooper and the college issue. While she was afraid she couldn’t afford the tuition, she had to admit it was a great problem to have. Seventeen years ago, she’d been a terrified teenager, about to be a single mom, with nothing between her and living on the streets except incredibly disappointed and angry parents who had been determined to make her see the error of her ways.

Through hard work and determination, she’d managed to pull herself together—raise Cooper, go to college, get a good job, buy a duplex and save money for her kid’s education. Yay her.

But it sure would have been a lot easier if she’d simply married someone with money.

*

“How is it possible to get a C- in Spanish?” Coach Keith Kinne asked, not bothering to keep his voice down. “Half the population in town speaks Spanish. Hell, your sister’s husband is Hispanic.” He glared at the strapping football player standing in front of him. “Luka, you’re an idiot.”

Luka hung his head. “Yes, Coach.”

“Don’t ‘yes, Coach’ me. You knew this was happening—you’ve known for weeks. And did you ask for help? Did you tell me?”

“No, Coach.”

Keith thought about strangling the kid but he wasn’t sure he could physically wrap his hands around the teen’s thick neck. He swore silently, knowing they were where they were and now he had to fix things—like he always did with his students.

“You know the rules,” he pointed out. “To play on any varsity team you have to get a C+ or better in every class. Did you think the rules didn’t apply to you?”

Luka, nearly six-five and two hundred and fifty pounds, slumped even more. “I thought I was doing okay.”

“Really? So you’d been getting better grades on your tests?”

“Not exactly.” He raised his head, his expression miserable. “I thought I could pull up my grade at the last minute.”

“How did that plan work out?”

“No bueno.”

Keith glared at him. “You think this is funny?”

“No, Coach.”

Keith shook his head. “You know there’s not a Spanish summer school class. That means we’re going to have to find an alternative.”

Despite his dark skin, Luka went pale. “Coach, don’t send me away.”

“No one gets sent away.” Sometimes athletes went to other districts that had a different summer curriculum. They stayed with families and focused on their studies.

“I need to stay with my family. My mom understands me.”

“It would be better for all of us if she understood Spanish.” Keith glared at the kid. “I’ll arrange for an online class. You’ll get a tutor. You will report to me twice a week, bringing me updates until you pass the class.” He sharpened his gaze. “With an A.”

Luka took a step back. “Coach, no! An A? I can’t.”

“Not with that attitude.”

“But, Coach.”

“You knew the rules and you broke them. You could have come to me for help early on. You know I’m always here for any of my students, but did you think about that or did you decide you were fine on your own?”

“I decided I was fine on my own,” Luka mumbled.

“Exactly. And deciding on your own is not how teams work. You go it alone and you fail.”

Tears filled Luka’s eyes. “Yes, Coach.”

Keith pointed to the door. Luka shuffled out. Keith sank into his chair. He’d been hard on the kid, but he needed to get the message across. Grades mattered. He was willing to help whenever he could, but he had to be told what was going on. He had a feeling Luka thought because he was a star athlete he was going to get special treatment. Maybe somewhere else, but not here. Forcing Luka to get an A sent a message to everyone who wanted to play varsity sports.

He’d barely turned to his computer when one of the freshman boys stuck his head in the office. “Coach Kinne! Coach Kinne! There’s a girl crying in the weight room.”

Keith silently groaned as he got up and jogged to the weight room, hoping he was about to deal with something simple like a broken arm or a concussion. He knew what to do for those kinds of things. Anything that was more emotional, honest to God, terrified him.

He walked into the weight room and found a group of guys huddled together. A petite, dark-haired girl he didn’t know sat on a bench at the far end, her hands covering her face, her sobs audible in the uneasy silence.

He looked at the guys. “She hurt?”

They shifted their weight and shook their heads. Damn. So it wasn’t physical. Why didn’t things ever go his way?

“Any of you responsible for whatever it is?” he asked.

More shaken heads with a couple of guys ducking out.

Keith pointed to the door so the rest of them left, then returned his attention to the crying girl. She was small and looked young. Maybe fifteen. Not one of his daughter’s friends or a school athlete—he knew all of them.

He approached the teen, trying to look friendly rather than menacing, then sat on a nearby bench.

“Hey,” he said softly. “I’m Coach Kinne.”

She sniffed. Her eyes were red, her skin pale. “I know who you are.”

“What’s going on?” Don’t be pregnant, don’t be pregnant, he chanted silently.

More tears spilled over. “I’m pregnant. The father is Dylan, only he says he’s not, and I can’t tell my m-mom because she’ll be so mad and he said he l-loved me.”

And just like that Keith watched his Monday fall directly into the crapper.

*

Keith left work exactly at three fifteen. He would be returning to his office to finish up paperwork, supervise a couple of workouts and review final grades for athletes hovering on the edge of academic problems. But first, he had pressing personal business.

He drove the two short miles to his house, walked inside and headed directly for his seventeen-year-old daughter’s room.

Lissa looked up from her laptop when he entered, her smile fading as she figured out he was in a mood. Despite the attitude, she was a beauty. Long dark hair, big brown eyes. Dammit all to hell—why couldn’t he have an ugly daughter who no guy would look at twice?

“Hi, Dad,” she said, sounding wary. “What’s up?”

“Spot check.”

She rolled her eyes. “Seriously? There is something wrong with you. I heard what happened at school today. I’m not dumb enough to date a guy like Dylan who would tell a tree stump he loved it if it would have sex with him. I’m not sleeping with anyone and I’m not pregnant. I told you—I’m not ready to have sex, as in I’m still a virgin. You’re obsessed. Would you feel better if I wore a chastity belt?”

“Yes, but you won’t. I’ve asked.”

“Da-ad. Why are you like this? Pregnancy isn’t the worst thing that could happen. I could be sick and dying. Wouldn’t that be terrible?”

“You can’t win this argument with logic. I’m irrational. I accept that. But I’m also the parent, so you have to deal with me being irrational.”

He pointed to her bathroom. She sighed the long-suffering sigh of those cursed with impossible fathers and got up. He followed her to the doorway and watched as she pulled the small plastic container out of the bathroom drawer and opened it.

Relief eased the tension in his body. Pills were missing. The right number of pills.

“You are a nightmare father,” his daughter said, shoving the pills back in the drawer. “I can’t wait until I’m eighteen and I can get the shot instead of having to take birth control pills. Then you’ll only bug me every few months.”

“I can’t wait, either.”

“It’s not like I even have a boyfriend.”

“You could be talking to someone online.”

Her annoyance faded as she smiled at him. “Dad, only one of us in this house does the online dating thing and it’s not me.”

“I don’t online date.”

“Fine. You pick up women online, then go off and have sex with them for the weekend. It’s gross. You should fall in love with someone you’re not embarrassed to bring home to meet me.”

“I’m not embarrassed. I just don’t want complications.”

“But you do want to have sex. It’s yucky.”

“Then why are we talking about it?” He pulled her close and hugged her, then kissed the top of her head. “Sorry, Lissa. I can’t help worrying about you.”

She looked up at him. “Dad, I’m taking my pills every day, not that it matters because I’m not having sex. I’m not. I’ve barely kissed a guy. Having you as my father makes it really difficult to date. Guys don’t want to mess with you and risk being beat up.”

“Good.”

She smiled even as she hit him in the arm. “You’re repressing my emotional growth.”

“Just don’t get pregnant.”

“You need to find a more positive message. How about ‘be your best self?’”

“That, too. Gotta go.”

“I’m having dinner with Jessie tonight. Remember?”

“No problem. Be home by ten.”

He got back in his truck but before starting the engine, he quickly texted Ellen. I need a couple of beers and a friendly ear. You around tonight?

The response came quickly. Only if you bring fried chicken. I have beer and ice cream.

You’re on. See you at six.

Excerpted from The Friendship List by Susan Mallery, Copyright © 2020 by Susan Mallery, Inc.. Published by HQN. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship and romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—forty million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two Ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as Mom.

SOCIAL LINKS:

Twitter: @susanmallery

Facebook: @susanmallery

Instagram: @susanmallery

Author website: https://www.susanmallery.com/

#BlogTour #Giveaway – A BRIDGE HOME by Virginia McCullough

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

A Bridge Home (Back to Bluestone River #3) By Virginia McCullough Contemporary Romance Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
August 1, 2020 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Will a new beginning…

Lead to forever?

What good is a home without a family? School principal Eric Wells finally has the house he’s always wanted, but a painful childhood makes him question his ability to be a father. So when his high school crush Amy Morgan returns to Bluestone River with her troubled daughter, he’s surprised to find he wants to be there for both of them. Will Amy finally give him a chance?

(Affiliate links included.) Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Target | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo | Harlequin

While Eric got the snowblower going, Amy shoveled the back stairs and quickly brushed snow off the front porch and stairs. Between the two of them, the place was cleared in about a quarter of the time it usually took Amy by herself. Cassie and Grandma appeared in the front window to watch the snow pile up along the edge of the sidewalk. When he’d stowed his snowblower and the shovel, she led him inside through the back and into the kitchen. Cassie was waiting by the door.

“We hang out in the kitchen a lot, don’t we, Cassie?” Amy remarked. “What can we give Mr. Wells for a treat? We need to say thanks for helping me out.” She went into the living room where Grandma Barb was helping Grandpa out of his chair.

She heard Cassie say, “We’ve got cookies. Want one?”

Eric chuckled. “I’ve never said no to a cookie, if that’s the plan. Will you be joining me at the table?”

“Okay,” Cassie said. “But I’ve been sick.”

“Your teacher told me about your bad cold.” Suddenly, his voice took on a note of disbelief. “What’s this?”

Amy came back into the kitchen to see him grinning and pointing to a photo of Cassie anchored on the refrigerator with a magnet.

“That’s me and Miss Sparkle at the Snowball Fair,” Cassie said. “Remember, we got the Special Mention ribbon and we had burgers and fries.”

“Oh, I do recall that day. As a matter of fact, I have the same picture on my fridge.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really. And I also remember you and your mom feeding an apple to one of the horses.”

“And we saw the parrots.”

“Is that so, lassie,” he said in his pirate accent.

Eric had such an easy way of bantering with Cassie—probably all kids. Cassie didn’t seem nervous or like it was at all unusual for the principal to be in her kitchen recalling the day he’d taken her and Cassie to the Snowball Fair.

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to Amazon affiliate links.)

About the Author

Born and raised in Chicago, Virginia McCullough has been lucky enough to develop her writing career in many locations, including the coast of Maine, the mountains of North Carolina, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and currently, Northeast Wisconsin. She started her career in nonfiction, first writing articles and then books as a ghostwriter and coauthor. She’s written more than 100 books for physicians, business owners, professional speakers and many others with information to share or a story to tell.

Virginia’s books feature characters who could be your neighbors and friends. They come in all ages and struggle with everyday life issues in small-town environments that almost always include water—oceans, lakes, or rivers. The mother of two grown children, you’ll find Virginia with her nose a book, walking on trails or her neighborhood street, or she may be packing her bag to take off for her next adventure. And she’s always working on another story about hope, healing, and second chances.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Bookbub 

 Amazon | Newsletter

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive a $25 Amazon eGift Card and a $25 Etsy eGift Card Open internationally for those who are eligible Ends August 12, 2020

ENTER HERE

Grab Our Button!

#BlogTour #Giveaway – FALLING FOR THE INNKEEPER by Meghann Whistler

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Falling for the Innkeeper By Meghann Whistler
Inspirational Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 224 Pages
July 21, 2020 by Love Inspired

She’s the home he never expected to find.

A battle for a charming Cape Cod inn… But what happens when romance checks in?

Single mom Laura Lessoway won’t accept her mother’s plan of selling her late grandmother’s inn without a fight. But when big-city attorney Jonathan Masters arrives to arrange an offer from his client, she’s drawn to him. And working together as he helps with repairs only brings them closer. With his career and her home on the line, can they ever find common ground?

(Affiliate links included.) Goodreads | Amazon | B&NTarget | Walmart !ndigo ChristianbookApple | Google | Kobo Harlequin

Jonathan tried to go back to his own work, but he couldn’t focus. “Your ex. He’s not very involved?”

“More like he’s not involved at all. He hasn’t even met Emma in person, you know.”

“What?” He felt something hot and fierce tear through him, outraged on her behalf. “How is that even possible?”

Laura shrugged. “He cheated on me with one of his law firm partners while we were still married. She got transferred to the West Coast before Emma was born and—poof—he was gone.”

Jonathan scraped a hand down his face. “You’re better off without him. You know that, right?”

Her lips quirked up, almost as though she was trying not to laugh at him. “I know.”

Something uncomfortable occurred to him. “He was a lawyer?”

“I was wondering if you’d catch that.” There was more of that secret amusement in her eyes.

“What kind of lawyer?” He was suddenly very worried that he knew this guy.

She laughed, but it sounded flat. “Divorce lawyer.”

He scrubbed a hand over his face again. This just got worse and worse. “Please tell me he pays you child support.”

“He does,” Laura said slowly. “I don’t use any of it, though. I put it all in Emma’s college fund.”

“Alimony?”

She shook her head. “We were married for less than a year.”

“But you left school for this guy,” he protested.

“I left school for my daughter,” she corrected him vehemently.

He nodded. “Where’d he go to law school?”

“Boston University.”

He felt some relief that it wasn’t Harvard, but pressed on anyway. “Name?”

She lifted an eyebrow. “Does it matter?”

“I want to make sure I don’t know him.”

She touched the back of his hand, and he sucked in a breath at the unexpected contact, feeling like a schoolboy again. Since when did the casual touch of a woman’s hand affect him like that? It was odd, and a little bit thrilling, all at the same time.

“I don’t think you know him,” Laura said. “You’ve got Ivy League written all over you. You probably went to Harvard or Princeton or Yale, right?”

He nodded. “Harvard.”

“See? You’d never slum it with some awful divorce lawyer from BU.”

She was definitely laughing at him now, and he should be annoyed at her assumption that he was a snob, but he found he couldn’t let this go. “He’s giving all lawyers a bad name.”

She smiled, and this time it looked genuine. “Then make it up to me. Show me you’re not all the unethical, morally bankrupt people I think you are.”

“All right.” He held out his hand so they could shake on it. “Challenge accepted.”

She laughed. “For real?”

“For real,” he repeated, waggling his hand.

She put her hand in his and shook it. “Okay, Harvard. Enlighten me.”

About the Author

Meghann Whistler writes sweet, clean contemporary Christian romance novels that WON’T make your grandmother blush. A hopeless romantic who met her husband on a blind date, Meghann recently left her marketing career to pursue her lifelong passion of writing sweet, hopeful stories that demonstrate the power of love and grace. Before settling down with her rocket scientist husband and raising three rambunctious boys, she earned a B.A. in English from Amherst College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College. She loves to hear from her readers, who can reach her at http://www.meghannwhistler.com.

Photo by Sophie Jacobson

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a $25 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally for those who use one of Amazon’s branches)

Ends August 5, 2020

ENTER HERE

Grab Our Button!

#BlogTour #Giveaway – UNDER THE SHADE OF THE BANYAN TREE by Simi K. Rao

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree: Poems, Rants, and Short Stories By Simi K. Rao
Poetry, Short Stories Paperback & ebook, 144 Pages
November 22, 2019

Life is not about achieving perfection, it’s about reconciling with your imperfections.

Poems are fragments of life. In Simi K. Rao’s unique poetry collection for women, there are blissful moments; deep, invisible wounds; cries for help; declarations of defiance and philosophical observations. The poems and prose pieces compiling the collection are fragments of life elucidating the different phases of the human condition. Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree will leave readers wanting for more and have a deep impact on women of all ages.

(Affiliate links included.) Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Target

A Cup of Chai

(A Short Story)

Roma admired the okra. Long, slender green pods neatly arranged in parallel rows in the opened crate. They were fresh, therefore presumably good, yet she went through the process of selecting them individually. She bent their tips, applying slight pressure with her fingers and chose the ones that broke with a sharp snap.

“Is this any good?”

Roma looked up, startled.

A white woman, almost as tall as she was (and Roma was tall) stood in front of her with a box of frozen palak paneer in her hands. She was smartly turned out in a navy business suit and her red-gold hair was ponytail. An ID badge hung around her neck and said Christine in big bold letters. Everything was big, shining, and bold about her.

“Do you understand English?” Christine asked.

“Huh?” Roma realized she was staring. Embarrassed, she spoke fast. “Yes I do. Sorry, I can’t help you. I don’t cook frozen. Maybe Mrs. Shah, the owner would know better?”

The woman laughed. It was a full-throated hearty laugh. “According to her, this is better than what she cooks at home. Imagine that! Better than home? Unless she happens to be a really bad cook. Gosh, I love Indian food. I just wish I could make it somehow. It seems so complicated.” “Actually, it’s quite easy. All you need is some basic ingredients. I can show you, if you wish,” Roma said, wishing she hadn’t when her offer was taken up.

 “Is that a sari?” Christine asked.

Roma nodded.

“Do you mind if I touch it?”

Roma shook her head.

She watched as the woman caressed the fabric, as if it was a rare artifact. “It’s beautiful, and you wear it so well.”

Six yards of dyed cotton (synthetics irritated her skin, caused a rash, and made her sweat like a pig) that Roma chose to wrap around her gangly figure every day. She painstakingly washed it by hand, starched, (bought from Mrs. Shah’s store) and dried by hanging on the railing over the bathtub (the apartment lacked a balcony). Why did she do it?

 She couldn’t come up with a simple explanation, but lately, she always wore a sari. Not the more convenient and universal salwar kurta but a sari. It was very unlike her. Back home until a few years ago, she had liked to dress like a tomboy and reap the disparaging remarks and wrath of her family. They should see her now. The sari had become her symbol, her motif, the pristinely gathered pleats and perfectly arranged pallu.

About the Author

Simi K. Rao was born and grew up in India before relocating to the U.S., where she has lived for several years. The inspiration for her books, and other projects, comes from her work and experience with cross-cultural traditions, lifestyles, and familial relationships. Rao enjoys exploring the dynamics of contemporary American culture blended with Indian customs and heritage to reflect the challenges and opportunities many Indian American women face in real life. She is a practicing physician, and much of her down time is devoted to creative pursuits, including writing fiction and poetry, and photography. She is also an avid reader and traveler and has visited many locations around the world. She has written four novels. Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree is her first collection of poems and short stories. She is currently working on a new novel. She lives in Denver with her family. To learn more about Simi or her books, visit SimiKRao.com or find her on Facebook.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter Wattpad

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

Two winners will each receive an ebook of Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree by Simi K. Rao (US only)

Ends August 5, 2020

ENTER HERE

Grab Our Button!

#NewRelease – WILD COWBOY COUNTRY by Erin Marsh

Wild Cowboy Country by Erin Marsh
Genre: Contemporary Western
Release Date: July 28, 2020
Opposites attract, but the terrain between them is awfully rough…

Park ranger Lacey Montgomery and rancher Clay Stevens are on opposite sides of a thorny issue. Lacey has spent her career reintroducing wolves to Rocky Ridge National Park and now oversees the welfare of the pack. Clay has struggled for years to make a success of the historic ranch he inherited and is tired of losing his calves to predators. 

When Clay’s teenage nephew and his friends carelessly endanger a wild wolf and her pups, Clay and Lacey’s lives collide. They shouldn’t be so attracted to each other—she’s a hometown girl beloved in the community, while he’s still regarded as a city-slicker interloper. But Clay’s piercing blue eyes make Lacey’s pulse race, and her sweet face and kissable lips are drawing him under her spell, much as he tries to resist…

#NewRelease – FEARLESS by Katie Golding

Fearless by Katie Golding
Genre: Contemporary Western
Series: Moto Grand Prix #1
Release Date: July 28, 2020
He’s got one last chance to make things right 

Billy King may be smiling under his black Stetson, but the plain truth is this cowboy-turned-racer is hurting: for his horse back in Memphis, for his girl with one boot out the door, and for his faltering career thanks to an injury that’s not getting any better. The moment he’s free from the press circuit, Billy bolts home—resolved to heal, and ready to win Taryn’s heart a second time.

Hopefully, before the love of his life is gone for good. 

Taryn Ledell never wanted to fall for sweet blue eyes and a deep southern drawl. As a World Superbike racer, she had plans, and none of them involved playing second fiddle to any man. But now he’s back, and she’s forced to make some hard choices. With her sponsors eager for a decision, Taryn finds herself tangled in all the lines they’ve drawn in the sand. But broken bones and broken hearts don’t heal overnight, and the cost of forgiveness can be sky high: unless Billy can prove that his heart never left the ranch…or her.

#NewRelease – COME HOME TO DEEP RIVER by Jackie Ashenden



Come Home to Deep River by Jackie Ashenden
Genre: Contemporary
Series: Alaska Homecoming #1
Release Date: July 28, 2020

Coming home was the easy part. Facing her will take everything he’s got…

Silas Quinn hasn’t been back to Deep River, Alaska, in years, not since he joined the army. He left behind the best friend he’d ever had. But he knew Hope Dawson was meant for bigger things than Deep River—and he—had to offer. What he didn’t know was that when he left, he took Hope’s dreams right along with him…

Then tragedy strikes and sends Silas home, and the entire town is thrown into chaos when they learn what brought him back—he’s inherited ownership of the town and the newly discovered oil reserves under it!

Hope gave up on ever getting out of Deep River. Her mom needed her, then her grandfather died and left her the local hangout to run. Now Si is back in town, stirring up old feelings—including her anger at being left behind. His return brings Hope an offer that can change her life. Love, or adventure, are almost within reach—but she can’t have both…

#BlogTour #Giveaway – HEALING THEIR HEARTS by Cleopatra Margot

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Healing Their Hearts (Faith to Love, #6) By Cleopatra Margot Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 302 Pages
June 21, 2020

After spring’s many trials, Knox County Sheriff Liam McKay is ready for a season of restoration. He needs time to grieve the loss of his grandmother and work on becoming a better husband and father. Liam learned the hard way that life is fragile, and he doesn’t want to miss out on any precious moments.

Emma McKay loves her role as a wife and mother. After she lost her parents, the McKay family became her saving grace. Being married to a police officer brings both challenges and adventures into her life, though, and when something hits on a more personal level, will her past be brought into the light?

Officer Mark MacLaughlin is motivated by two things: his family and his job. Add a beautiful stranger to the mix, and Mark can’t help but want to get to know her better. But when he takes on fatherhood for a three-year-old girl, he has to learn how to blur the lines between his personal and professional life too.

Evangeline Taylor was on the way to confront her past, until her plans came to a grinding halt. Now injured and stranded in a tiny Nebraska town, Eva’s heart opens up. The town, the people, and maybe one handsome police officer in particular help her to heal…but will they be enough to make her stay?

(Affiliate link included.) Goodreads | Amazon

All right, ladies.” Mark handed Lainee the fishing pole he’d bought her and a container of worms, then gave Eva a couple poles. He grabbed the tackle box and net from the trunk of his Suburban before closing the tailgate. “We’ll just start by the bend here and see how it goes. Hopefully we’ll catch something worthwhile.”

“Big fishy,” Lainee exclaimed.

“I’d like it if we did catch a big fishy, yes.” Mark nodded in the direction of the creek and took Lainee’s hand. “Eva, do you need me to take those poles?”

“Nah, I’m good. I can see why you wanted us to wear boots, though. This is some tall grass.”

“You can get away with tennis shoes, but yeah, you’re generally better off with boots. Do they fit okay?”

“Oh, yes. Thank you.”

“Good.” Mark set his things down and took the bait from Lainee. “Okay, Lainee, can you wait for a second while I help Eva bait her hook?”

“That be ’kay.” Lainee pointed to a white butterfly. “Fly!”

“Pretty butterfly, huh?” Eva asked. “Just as pretty as Lainee.”

Lainee giggled and squatted down to examine a rock several feet back from the creekbank. Mark kept his eye on her as he tied a hook onto Eva’s fishing line, then opened the container of bait from the gas station.

“Under normal circumstances, I would require you to bait your own hook,” he told Eva. “That was Dad’s rule growing up—for boys and girls. But because of your wrist, I’ll make an exception.”

“Do I get ’xeption to?” Lainee asked, deserting the rocks to watch what he was doing. “But my wrist is ’kay.”

“How about I teach both of you to bait the hook, then maybe you can do it next time.” He grabbed a nightcrawler in his right hand and held the hook upright in his left. “Some people wrap them around it, but my dad taught me to stick it on there and just run it up the hook onto the line.”

“But that hurt the wormie,” Lainee said, her brow furrowed.

“It’s all a part of the food chain. The fish eat the worms, and then we get to eat the fish. God made it that way.” He finished Eva’s and set it on the ground, then grabbed Lainee’s child fishing pole. “Do you want to help me?”

Lainee hesitated. “Is it slimy?”

“Yes.”

“Don’t let go.”

“I won’t,” he promised. “Just set your hand on mine. There we go. Look, you’re doing it. Good job, Lainee bug.”

“Eva, I did it!” she exclaimed. “Did you see?”

“I did,” Eva said. “Great job. I’m sure you’ll catch a big fish with bait like that.”

Mark handed Lainee the plain white T-shirt he’d brought along. “You can use that to wipe your hands off, then I’ll use it after you.”

“Aren’t you going to fish?” Eva asked.

“Maybe, but I’ll help you guys for now. Let’s get Lainee set up right over here.”

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to an Amazon affiliate link.)About the Author

Cleopatra Margot resides with her family and their golden retriever in small town, rural Nebraska. Inspiration for her novels comes from both real life + fictional characters and storylines in her brain. The town of Believe is based on her own hometown, but with embellishments. She and her two younger siblings are homeschooled, and enjoy traveling with their parents and the dog. When she’s not writing, Cleopatra enjoys Bible journaling, time with family and friends, playing cards, being outside (when it’s not subfreezing temps), laughing, singing, and enjoying life.

Website | Goodreads | Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive a signed paperback copy of Healing Their Hearts by Cleoptatra Margot, a vinyl sticker, bookmark, and free shipping coupon (for a future purchase through the author)

US only Ends July 29, 2020

ENTER HERE

Grab Our Button!

#BlogTour – MIDSUMMER DREAMS AT MILL GRANGE by Jenny Kane

Thea Thomas needs to get away from her old life… and the interfering ex who won’t leave her alone. When she lands a job heading up the restoration of Mill Grange, a stunning Victorian manor, it feels like the perfect opportunity to start afresh.

What Thea didn’t anticipate was how hostile the volunteer team, led by the formidable Mable Hastings, would be about accepting new leadership. And with the deadline looming before the grand opening, Thea is in desperate need of more volunteers.

A broadcast appeal on the local news attracts the interest of arrogant but undeniably attractive celebrity historian Shaun Cowlson, who wants to make a TV programme about the restoration. It’s hard enough adding one more big personality to the mix – but then her ex turns up as one of the volunteers! What seemed like a dream come true is fast becoming a total disaster! Can Thea find a way to save the manor?

The kitchen clock struck a quarter to seven. The meeting wasn’t due to start for another half an hour. At least four of them would be early. Not one of them would be late.

None of the seven volunteers working to restore Mill Grange would want to miss what had been building up as a ‘Thea versus us’ showdown for the past fortnight.

She wasn’t sure how it had happened. In her naïvety, Thea had assumed the volunteers would be glad to have someone take the worry of time and expenses from their shoulders. Surely the job was easier for them, unpaid as they were, if they could get on with the tasks she saw as the most urgent. The main thing was to have the house ready to open in time for the approaching summer holiday period.

In reality, every suggestion or instruction she’d made had been listened to politely, before the volunteer in question reported to Mabel, as they’d always done. Sometimes the tasks Mabel had in mind coincided with Thea’s. Often they didn’t, and the allotted job would be substituted for another.

Thea had been polite and considerate, constantly making allowances for the fact that she was the newcomer. But no amount of explaining and cajoling made any difference. After fourteen exhausting days of making a concerted attempt to be accepted as manager, she had become tired of fighting against the way things had been done prior to her arrival.

Annoyed at her failure to manage the group, and resisting the urge to grab the emergency bottle of wine she’d hidden in the fridge, Thea put on the kettle. If she was going to get through this with her soul intact, it was going to take more than the heavily sugared lemon cake Tina had made her. It was going to take coffee. Strong coffee.

Heaping rather too many beans into the grinder, Thea wondered how her workforce would react if they discovered she’d been living in the attic since her arrival.

It hadn’t been her intention to use what had once been a maid’s bedroom as anything other than a temporary holding point for the few belongings she hadn’t put into storage and a place to sleep for two or three nights. Her new working routine however, had become so busy so fast, that Thea hadn’t got round to searching for anywhere to live. She needed to be on site during every hour of daylight if there was any hope of opening on the day the trustees had demanded. Anyway, all the available, affordable rental accommodation was over twenty miles away, along remote moorland roads. Finding a home simply hadn’t happened. The guilt of living in secret, rent-free, was offset by the knowledge that the only time Thea stopped working was when she slept.

The sound of boots crossing the stone chipped courtyard outside the kitchen door tied her stomach into a dozen knots.

‘Get a grip, woman. You co-ran an entire museum in Bath, for goodness’ sake. You managed a team so big that you never did find the time to meet them all. Surely you can sort out eight people and get them all to play nicely!’

Jenny Kane is the bestselling author of several romantic fiction series. Her first novel, Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press), was a Kindle bestseller. The final novel in this series, Another Glass of Champagne, was released in June 2016. Jenny Kane’s Cornish romance, A Cornish Escape, hit No.1 in the Amazon Romance, Contemporary Fiction, and Women’s Fiction charts, and was followed by a sequel, Abi’s Neighbour, Jenny’s seventh novel.

Follow Jenny:

  • Twitter: @JennyKaneAuthor
  • Facebook: @JennyKaneRomance

Follow Aria

  • Website: www.ariafiction.com
  • Twitter: @aria_fiction
  • Facebook: @ariafiction
  • Instagram: @ariafiction

#BlogTour #Review – MENOPAUSE TO MATRIMONY by Shelly Hickman

Author: Shelly Hickman

Narrator: Jazmine Ramay

Series: Fortytude, Book Two

Length: 5 hours 30 minutes

Publisher: Shelly Hickman

Released: June 10, 2020

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Although this is a sequel, it may be heard as a stand-alone novel. The sequel to Vegas to Varanasi catches up with Anna and Kiran a couple of years after the event that brought the once “ugly duckling” high school acquaintances together. But will their romance continue to flourish in the face of a whole new set of insecurities brought on by middle age? First, there’s Kiran, who has an unexpected health scare. While his doctors assure no permanent damage has been done, there seems to have been some damage to his personality, as the normally respectful and reserved Kiran begins behaving erratically and overtly. Anna wants to hope that this is temporary, sparked by the visit of Kiran’s womanizing, free-spirited cousin, Seth. But is this just the midlife Kiran surfacing? Anna has midlife issues of her own. Now forty-eight, she’s navigating the onset of perimenopause and all the delights that come with it, from facial hair to mood swings to body temperature issues. On top of that, her two-year-old granddaughter is starting to show signs of a behavior disorder, bringing with it a whole other level of stress and worry.Will Anna and Kiran finally find their happily-ever-after? Or end up stuck in a midlife mess in this romantic comedy of accepting change, and “the change”.

I’m a Las Vegas native who received both my Bachelor’s degree in Art and Masters degree in Elementary Education from UNLV. Pre-pandemic, I spent my days teaching computer science to middle schoolers. When we shifted to remote instruction, it was an adventure I don’t care to revisit. My hope is that it won’t still be necessary when school starts in the Fall. I celebrated my 30-year anniversary with my husband in June and we have two grown children. Though I’ve written five novels, my reading preference is usually nonfiction. Watching anything comedic is one of my favorite pastimes. (Netflix’s new series Space Force is my latest love. Check it out.) Oh, and I love musicals! Early this year, I started a YouTube channel that focuses on life topics for women over forty, but I haven’t decided if I’m any good at it.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads
Narrator Bio

Jazmine Ramay is a working actor based out of Los Angeles. She currently spends most of her career in the Voice over world but also loves to sing-starting her own Jazz band and exploring opera and musical theatre. A graduate of PCPA (Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts) and the Cabaret Conference at YALE, her credits include Cory (Barefoot in the Park), Penelope (Penelopiad), Jenny (Distracted), and the 2nd Wyrd Sister (Macbeth). Jazmine has worked in Theatre, Film and Television and has had appearances in Curb Your Enthusiasm and Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill . She was in the original cast of B Street Theatre’s hit production of Bars and Measures. Her all time favourite role was Gwendolyn in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. As a voiceover actor she works full-time and commits to making more great projects in the years to come.

WebsiteInstagramYoutubeSoundCloud

This was an entertaining book! The narrator brought the story to life. I enjoyed that the characters were older so their issues were easy to relate to. It is so fun to listen to someone else’s drama, especially for entertainment!

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Shelly Hickman. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Dream Cast
Author Shelly Hickman’s Casting Picks
by Author Shelly Hickman

I was going to include a brief explanation behind each song, but then thought it might be better to leave a little mystery. Maybe the selections will intrigue you to listen to the book and find out for yourself. Most of these songs and/or artists are specifically mentioned in the story, but the last two are simply love songs that represent the “Kiran and Anna” vibe well.

View the full schedule here

Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.

Sign up as a tour host here.