Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Spotlight: Ready to Wed by Cindi Madsen + Giveaway

You all know what a big fan of romances I am, and I could always count on Entangled Publishing to satisfy my cravings: whether you are in the mood for a scorching hot steamy story, or a sweet, make you sigh and tear up romance, I'm sure you'll find it there. Today I'm happy to be featuring their brand new release Ready to Wed by Cindi Madsen, even more so since I am a wedding romance junkie! ;-p So join us, read on and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end!



Whether you’re looking for a romance that makes you laugh, makes you ‘walk the plank’, keeps you guessing, or stars your favorite paranormal, look no further. Select books have the single-title stories you crave, and the longer length you need to really get ‘lost’ in a great book. To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books are coming next, visit the Entangled website, follow them on Twitter, and like their Facebook page.


Dakota Halifax loves to be in love. In fact, as one of Las Vegas’s premier wedding planners, she’s built a whole career around romance. Which is why her own wedding has to be nothing short of perfect. And then her fiancé jilts her. While she’s waiting in her wedding dress. On a cruise ship already out at sea.

Once back on dry land, Dakota tries to pour her heart into her business and weekly wedding advice column, Get Ready to Wed. But how can the heartbroken celebrate others’ true love? When she reconnects with her childhood best friend, surprisingly sexy and all-grown-up casino bouncer Brendan West, Dakota wonders if maybe she can fall back in love with being in love.

But then her ex reappears, begging for another chance and suddenly Dakota questions if she’ll ever understand love. Can someone once-burned and twice-shy ever find her way down the aisle again?

Buy at Amazon - Kindle - B&N - Book Depository

Cindi Madsen is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.


For more info about Cindi and her books find her at 

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Friday, 18 July 2014

Things I Love Friday! #18

Wow, can't believe another week has whooshed by. Life has been busy with work (yep, I'm the one who hasn't gone on vacation yet and isn't planning on doing so until September...) and looking for apartments where to move from September. So you guessed right if you bet that my list this week will be topped by:
  • sleeping in, or rather knowing myself and how ridiculously early I wake up even in the weekends during summer due to the sun, naps in the afternoon;
  • resting at home in the garden (at least that is the plan for Saturday we'll see if I manage to keep it undisturbed);
  • fresh, crunchy vegetables -> I self-challenged myself if I could go without eating meet for a week or so (I am the biggest carnivore in our family, I seriously have meat cravings quite often). Well it came as a surprise that it's not as hard as I thought it would be. I've gone vegetarian for the past week, and though I ate 2 bites of chicken yesterday I didn't much care for it.
  • raspberries. They might be my favourite kind of fruit! What's not to love: they look pretty, love their vibrant red colour, they smell amazing and I just love their tartness. The raspberry seeds are my favourite! ;-)
  • my bright pink nail polish, which very aptly is called: "Raspberry Fields Forever" by Catrice ;-p
  • long hair. I didn't want to grow out my hair, I liked it at chin length but I did it for my boyfriend. Now it's long enough to do ponytails, braids and I enjoy changing it up, especialyl in the summer when I can pin it up.
  • Bones. I've been a fan of the series since its start, but now I initiated the Boyfriend and we are rewatching it from season 1. :-D
  • still a huge fan of summer dresses, they make my life (and getting ready in the mornings) so much easier!
  • sunbathing! Looking forward to soaking up the sun while reading some mags or books in the garden this weekend.
  • one of my high school best friend's is pregnant, and I'm putting together a small surprise pack as her baby shower gift :-)
So what are your plans this weekend, going away or staying in?

Source

Friday, 11 July 2014

Things I Love Friday! #17

Hey Everyone, happy pre-weekend! :-)

Thankfully the weekend is just around the corner and that is a great thing since I had such a busy week I couldn't go on for much longer without some rest and quiet.

This week's highlights were:
  • still my apricot pink roses on my desk;
  • fish and mussels dinner at a Belgian pub restaurant;
  • family Scrabble tournament;
  • summer BBQs with the family;
  • early breakfast before work with my best friend, nothing like starting Monday with a good laugh :-D
  • my dad. He truly is the best! :-))
  • laser tag! Never played it but wanted to try it every since I saw it on How I Met Your Mother, and hopefully this weekend I'll try my hand at it ;-)
  • discovering a great new place from where to order lunch: healthy, full of veggies and tasting delicious;
  • sleeping! Didn't get much during the week, so I'm looking forward to my weekend afternoon nap! ;-p
Isn't this SO cute? :-D

Do you have any special plans (BBQ, hiking, holidays)?
Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, 4 July 2014

Things I Love Friday! #16

Hey Everyone!

Sorry, last week/weekend was a bit hectic and I completely forgot to make a Things I Love Friday post, but here we are again, and hopefully summer is in full swing wherever you are!

Here are the things that make me happy this week:
  • summer sunshine (do you know the song by The Corrs? I loved it when I was in university),
  • fruity cheesecakes;
  • celebrating my friends' birthdays (tomorrow will be one of my high school best friend's b-day),
  • pool parties! Never been to one, but I've been invited to a pool birthday party later this summer, and I can't wait! :-D
  • rhubarb pie! I just love how tart that fruit is, I especially love it paired with vanilla or caramel.
  • going on a mini shopping trip with my mom this weekend;
  • family BBQs,
  • nonstop Scrabble matches - until now only my family was playing it but in the past week both my best friend and the Boyfriend got a taste and became addicts! Now I have at least 10 online games on my phone playing with sis, mom, friends and Bf! :-D
  • summer weekends: they just make you smile, the possibilities are endless: go for a walk, or spend the day lounging in the garden reading a mag and sipping a lemonade? Oh yes, I think that's how I'll be spending tomorrow's afternoon :-)
  • roses. Got a small pot of roses which I placed on my desk at work, it is of a colour between  apricot and pink, and always makes me smile when I get a glimpse of it.
So what are your plans for this weekend? 
Are you leaving on a holiday or spending the days at home relaxing? Either way, have a great time! :-)



Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Guest post by Debbie Mason + Giveaway


You all know that my favourite holiday is Christmas, I start counting back the days as soon as January rolls around, and usually by July I miss the festive spirit so much I hum Christmas Carols in the sweltering heat ;-) So of course when I heard that Debbie Mason's newest novel was titled Christmas in July, I knew I wanted to feature her and bask in the Christmas spirit a bit, even if it's July ;-) So please give Debbie a warm welcome, read on and don't forget to enter the great giveaway at the end!

Top 5 Favorite Christmas Traditions
by Debbie Mason

1. The town of Christmas is big on tradition. They kick off their month-long celebrations in late November with an evening procession down Main Street. Carolers carrying lanterns lead citizens and visitors to the town square for the lighting of a twenty-foot Douglas fir.

2. Around the beginning of December, you can buy one-of-a-kind presents by talented local artisans at the Christmas Bazaar. Nell McBride's gingerbread men and women are always a hit. Except last year when Nell bullied Madison Lane into doing the baking. Never one to go down without a fight, Nell tied a "Kiss the Cook" apron around Madison's waist and turned their table into a kissing booth. They sold out. I've heard there will be a kissing booth at this year's bazaar.

3. Last year, several of the floats for the Christmas parade were damaged. It took some arm-twisting by Madison, but she finally convinced the town council (Nell McBride) to hold the annual afternoon parade at night. The Parade of Lights was such a hit, they'll be continuing the tradition this year.

4. Months leading into the holiday season, residents of the small town are busy decorating their homes to compete for best-lit house in early December. Nell McBride won the title five years in a row. But last year, Madison took over the decorating due to Nell's injury, and Nell lost. Two days ago, Nell was spotted on her roof getting a jump on the competition. Bets are already coming in that Nell will once again be Queen of Lights. But I just saw a six-foot sleigh and eight reindeer being delivered to Gage and Madison McBride's house, so I wouldn't be placing my bet just yet.

5. As mayor of Christmas, Madison Lane McBride has started a new tradition--Christmas in July. Plans are in the works to build a Santa's Village to be ready in time for next year's celebration.


Book #2 in the Christmas, Colorado series

Grace Flaherty had given up hope of ever seeing her husband again. After all, it'd been over a year since he went missing in combat. So when he strides through the door of her bakery in downtown Christmas one sunny afternoon, she can hardly believe her eyes. But her happily-ever-after is going to take some effort - because Jack has no memory of his family.

All Jack Flaherty remembers about Christmas is that he couldn't wait to leave town. Now he's a local hero with a wife and son he doesn't know. Even as he struggles to rekindle the romance with his wife, he knows in his heart what he wants: a second chance at love.

Excerpt

Madison glanced at the door and reached for her hand. “Okay, just breathe.”

“What…” She followed Madison’s gaze and swallowed, hard.

Jill followed behind their friends—the twins Holly and Hailey and Sophia and her sister-in-law Autumn—with a life-size cutout of Jack tucked beneath her arm.

A warm hand gently squeezed Grace’s shoulder. Brandi, one of Sawyer’s waitresses and another of Grace’s friends, set a drink in front of her. “This’ll help. It’s a Hero. Sawyer named it after Jack.”

“Thanks, Brandi,” Grace murmured, wrapping her fingers around the cold, frosted glass.

“What do you think?” Jill asked, setting up the cardboard likeness beside Grace as the other women took their seats around the table. They placed their orders with Brandi while commenting on the lifelike Jack in his desert camouflage fatigues and Kevlar vest, a helmet tucked under his arm, his sexy grin flashing perfect white teeth in his deeply tanned face.

“There’s nothing hotter than a man in uniform. And Jack Flaherty was—” Autumn, the owner of Sugar and Spice, the woman who made Grace’s chocolate sugar plums, quickly corrected herself. “—is hands down the hottest man I’ve ever seen.”

He was. And looking at him now, Grace felt the same heart-stopping punch of attraction she did on the night he strode into the Washington ballroom to receive his Medal of Honor.

Sophia, owner of the high-end clothing store Naughty and Nice, pointed at Jack and in her heavily accented voice said, “Yes, and he is coming home with me tonight.”

“Grace?” Jill said, looking hurt.

She took her sister-in-law’s hand “It was a great idea, Jill. It’s like he’s here with us.”

Jill smiled, her eyes bright. Brandi came back with their drinks, and they lifted their glasses. “To Jack.”

Everyone in the bar followed suit, and then, one after another, they stood to share their stories about Jack and their prayers for his safe return. By the time they were finished, Grace had downed two Heroes.

Jill clapped her hands. “Okay, time for cake.”

They cleared the table and placed the cake in front of Grace. She stood, relieved that her emotional torture would soon be over. Gage, with Jack Junior in his arms, took his place beside Madison.

Sawyer came up behind Grace and whispered, “Hang in there. Not much longer.”

Before she could turn to ask how it went at the apartment, Jack Junior yelled, “Da, Da.” And put his arms out.

Grace’s breath seized in her chest.

Several people said, “Aw,” while her friends quietly sniffed. “He’ll be home soon, buddy,” Jill said, swiping at her eyes.

Grace wheezed out a relieved breath. Thank God, no one seemed to realize he’d meant Sawyer.

But Sawyer did. “How about that root beer float I promised you, buddy?” He went to take Jack Junior from Gage, who gave him a hard look before passing him over. Of course Gage would notice, Grace thought miserably.

“Me want beer.”

Everyone laughed as Sawyer carried her son to the bar. After they sang “Happy Birthday” to Jack, Grace cut the cake while Jill handed out the pieces.

She reached across Grace, bumping into her. “Sorry,” she said when Grace stumbled.

The knife jerked and hit the house, toppling it over, revealing the chocolate sugar plum underneath.

“Hey, no fair, it’s supposed to be hidden in the cake,” someone grumbled.

Grace sucked in a panicked breath and dove for the sugar plum. Jill beat her to it.

Her sister-in-law laughed. “Finally, I got a sugar plum.”

As Jill opened it, Grace wished the floor would open up and swallow her whole. Jill’s laughter ended on a choked sob. “How could you? How could you give up on him?” she said, her voice a strangled whisper.

“Jill, let me explain,” Grace called after her sister-in-law, who strode for the door.

From behind the bar came a shrill whistle. “Everyone quiet,” Sawyer yelled, directing their attention to the flat screen behind the bar where a newscaster announced breaking news. Sawyer turned up the volume. “We have just received unconfirmed reports that the four crew members of the Black Hawk that went down in the mountains of Afghanistan seventeen months ago have been recovered… alive.”


Praised as a "writer to watch" by RT Book Reviews, Debbie Mason also writes Scottish-set historical paranormals as Debbie Mazzuca. Her MacLeod series debuted in April 2010 and is said to "combine the passion of Hannah Howell's Highand romances with the seductive fantasy of Karen Marie Moning's bestsellers."

For more info about Debbie and her books check: 



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Friday, 20 June 2014

Things I Love Friday! #15

Hey Everyone!

Wishing you all a sunny Friday and a great weekend! :-) Thankfully it's right around the corner so only a few more hours to get through ;-)

I had an incredibly busy week: last Saturday attended a friend's wedding, slept 2 hours before leaving for the airport, spent 2 days with my family then once again got up at the crack of dawn to fly back home. Then I spent a whole day (running on about 5 hours of sleep only) trying to renew my driver's license and ID, so it was a hellish day and started work the next day. Can you say oompf? So yes, I've been counting back the days (what days, hours!) till the weekend so that I could get some rest and sleep. Can't believe it's almost here!

So these are the things that I love this Friday:
  • my bright firetruck red peeptoes with a bow! They are so cheery and cute, make me smile every time I glimpse them;
  • buying lots of cherries and sour cherries at the farmer's market and looking forward to baking something with them during the weekend;
  •  buying healthy aluminium salt-free deo. I've wanted to switch to a greener and healthier product and this one smells great due to the lemongrass and basil combo, hope it will work well;
  • a friend recommended to me Paula's Choice cosmetics and I ordered a bunch of samples to try out, I'm always so excited when trying out new things :-)
  • spending a relaxing weekend at home. At least that's the plan...
  • hearing the wind ruffle the leaves of the trees outside my window;
  • salty caramel sauce. Be it on ice cream or toast, with fruits dipped in it or just by itself with a spoon, it is delish! *yum*
  •  spending summer nights with my best friends until night falls sitting on the porch and drinking wine and chatting the hours away;
  • surprising Boyfriend on his return from his parents' after a 3 day-long separation;
  • flowers! The brighter the better :-D 
So what are your plans for this weekend? And what were the things that made you happy this week? :-)

Source: Sally's Baking Addiction

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Guest post by Diana Quincy + Giveaway

Please join me in welcoming the lovely Diana Quincy to Ex Libris today! Diana is here to tell us more about her inspiration for Engaging the Earl, the 4th book in her Accidental Peers series, which you might remember that I am a huge fan of! So read on and if you haven't read this series yet, don't waste any more time, pick it up, I'm sure you'll love it!

My Inspiration for Engaging the Earl
by Diana Quincy

In Engaging the Earl, the hero, Edward Stanhope, a second son with no prospects, is rejected as an appropriate suitor for Lady Katharine Granville, an earl's daughter. Devastated, he joins the fight against Napoleon, determined to make a name for himself. He returns years later on the very evening Kat becomes engaged to another man.

Edward’s journey was loosely inspired by Arthur Wellesley, the famed Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon’s forces on the battlefield and later became prime minister.

Elements of his personal story are surprisingly romantic and I drew on that for Engaging the Earl. Like Edward, the future duke fell in love—with a woman named Catherine Pakenham, known as Kitty—but his offer of marriage was rejected by the lady’s brother, the Earl of Longford. As the third son of an earl, Wellesley was in debt and his future prospects were considered to be poor. Devastated by the rejection, Wellesley, an aspiring musician, burned his violins in anger and vowed to forge a successful military career.

Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington
He succeeded and today is remembered as one of England’s greatest military heroes. After Napoleon was exiled in 1814, Wellesley was granted a dukedom for his exemplary wartime service. Ten years after his first proposal, Wellington returned to Kitty and renewed his offer of marriage.

Unfortunately, despite these romantic beginnings, the marriage was not a happy one. Wellington was disappointed by the change in Kitty. Where she’d once been pretty and vivacious, Kitty was now pale and in poor health. Wellington is reported to have said to his brother, “She has grown ugly, by Jove!” They lived apart most of the time, although they did have two sons together.

Wellesley became close to Harriet Arbuthnot, the wife of a colleague, who was also an accomplished diarist and wrote extensively about her relationship with Wellington. Regarding his wife, Harriet wrote that the duke had “repeatedly tried to live in a friendly manner with her...but it was impossible...and it drove him to seek that comfort & happiness abroad that was denied him at home.”

Duchess of Wellington
Kitty died of cancer in 1831 with Wellington by her side. Harriet’s death from cholera three years later devastated both her husband and the duke. The two widowers spent their last years together at Aspley House, Wellington’s London residence.

The Duke of Wellington’s story would certainly make an entertaining book; however, it does not make for a good romance. In Engaging the Earl, I borrowed some of the most romantic aspects of the duke’s life and then changed course, giving our fictional hero and heroine their own unique story, including the much-deserved happy ending that Wellington and his Kitty were denied.

Top 5 Reasons Engaging the Earl would make an excellent Beach Read

1. Intriguing set-up (long-lost first love, second chance at love) I don’t know about you, but I love stories of long-lost first love and second chances.

2. What's keeping them apart Not only does Lady Kat have a newly acquired fiancé, but Edward believes he is going mad because he suffers from nostalgia…better known today as Post Traumatic Stress, a condition suffered by soldiers who return from the battlefront. 

3. Twists & turns Elena, Edward's bombshell former mistress, and Viscount Lawrence Sinclair, Kat's betrothed, don't exactly behave as you'd expect which leads to some unexpected twists and turns. 

4. Real-life inspiration: As I mentioned above, Edward is loosely inspired by Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, who wasn’t allowed to marry an earl’s daughter because he was a second son with no prospects. Ten years later, after gaining a dukedom for his war service, Wellington returned to marry the woman he left behind.

5. There's a dog in it! The heroine’s dog helps Edward cope with his attacks. I decided to bring a dog into the story after being moved by an article about an Iraq war veteran whose trained service dog helps him manage his PTS.

Engaging the Earl by Diana Quincy

Book #4 in the Accidental Peers series

England, 1819

Vivacious Lady Katherine Granville is the toast of the ton, but society's most eligible miss secretly yearns for her childhood love, an untitled loner who vanished long ago after her father forbade their marriage.

After years abroad, the dark and brooding Edward Stanhope returns to England a changed man. No longer a second son with no prospects, his battlefield strategies have won him an earldom. His return should be a victorious one, but the new Earl of Randolph is battling secret demons that no one can discover. Least of all, Kat.

When the man she can't forget reappears at her betrothal ball, Kat's perfectly arranged future is thrown into tumult. Edward remains cold and distant, hoping she'll marry a man worthy of her. But nothing is settled when Kat sets out to win back her first love. Can the new Earl of Randolph resist the woman he's loved for so many years?

Buy at Amazon - B&N

Diana Quincy is an award-winning former television journalist who decided she'd rather make up stories where a happy ending is always guaranteed. Growing up as a foreign service brat, Diana lived in many countries and is now settled in Virginia with her husband and two sons. When not bent over her laptop or trying to keep up with laundry, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family and dreams of traveling much more than her current schedule (and budget) allows. Diana loves to hear from readers. You can connect with her at: 



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