Genre: Romance

Sweet Reality Summary and Expert Reveal

Posted August 14, 2017 by karenbaron in Summary & Expert Reveal / 0 Comments

Published by Kensington Genres: Romance

Release Date: September 5, 2017

 

Synopsis

SUGAR, SEA SALT, AND SHOW BIZ

Jen Reid’s life after walking off a reality show has been great–she’s gone from being a broke twenty-four-year-old Seattleite with no love life and no job to the twenty-five-year-old who got the guy, moved to Miami, and is starting a bakery with her best friend. She thinks her showmance love might be about to propose. And with mouthwatering goodies based on everyone’s favorite shows, her business, Sweet Reality, is destined for success.

That is, until a killer competitor opens right across the street. If she’s going to save Sweet Reality, Jen has to come up with a secret ingredient–like the recipe that won Totally 80s Bake-Off. Jen can get it–if she steps back into the spotlight. Soon she and her boyfriend are out to sea on a cruise ship full of reality stars, including her nemesis, Ariana; her lying, cheating ex; and some wicked producers looking to bring the drama. Separate cabins, “surprises” from her past, and scenarios tailor-made to spark fights are just the beginning. But with her self-respect, her business, and her future on the line, the fallout from this made-for-TV plotline will be all too real . . .

Goodreads

 

Excerpt

 

Sarah kissed both our cheeks before pulling away and handed me a small, clear plastic container. “You’re the best, both of you. I gotta go before they tow my car. Love you all, I’ll see you next Sunday. Bring me alcohol, and try not to get into any trouble. Especially you, Ed.”

He winked at her, and Justin pulled her aside, supposedly to talk about their mother for a minute before dropping our suitcases with the porter. I suspected he had another reason for this conversation, which made me grin far more than I should at the prospect of having my luggage checked.

This excitement would not be contained. Nearly two years ago, I’d been so sure my ex-boyfriend planned to propose right before I found out he was married. I’d been excited then, but the thought of spending my life with him never sounded as perfect as marrying Justin. He was my other half, the absolute best partner for me.

Sarah winked at me over his shoulder, her way of telling me she’d slipped him the ring. I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, wishing I could share my excitement with someone, but got distracted by the massive ocean liner casting shadows over the dock. More specifically, by the lifeboats.

Eyeing the orange rubber vessels lining the sides, I turned to Ed. “Do you think they brought enough lifeboats?”

“Yes. Also, this isn’t the Titanic. We’re not gonna sink. We have communications devices to call for help. And you, Jen, have your very own hunky stud in Justin to save you if anything goes wrong. Relax. Take your Dramamine.”

I rooted around in my carry-on for a moment before giving up. “My Dramamine must be in my big suitcase . . . which I probably shouldn’t have given to him to check. At least not without putting this Tupperware in first. The carry-on is about to burst.”

Ed gestured at the container Sarah handed me before leaving. “What’s that for?”

“So I can bring her one of Tammy Rae’s cupcakes. They’re doing a tasting after the bake-off tomorrow, remember?”

One of the onboard events pitted reality stars against each other in a baking competition, which Ed apparently forgot to sign up for. Hopefully, he wasn’t going to wing it. My friend created excellent meals for everyone while we were in the Fishbowl, but his laissez-faire attitude to cooking wouldn’t produce the same delicious results in baked goods.

Instead of competing against Ed, I signed up to judge with Justin. Partially as a way of getting on Tammy Rae’s good side, and partially because rumors said everyone involved got to sample her winning cupcakes after the event. I needed to be in the right place to snag one. Well, two. One for me, one for Sarah. Then I could verify whether these things tasted as good as the inter-webs claimed and butter Tammy Rae up by raving about what a baking genius she was before begging for a favor.

Where was Tammy Rae? Hopefully she hadn’t changed her mind and canceled at the last minute. According to E-Entertainment News Online, she’d mysteriously pulled out of Celebrity Poker Match a few years back, despite being a favorite to win. I scanned the docks, looking for her.

With luck, the recipe would be in my hand and I’d be lounging by the pool before the ship arrived in our first port. But one thing at a time. First, Justin and I needed to thoroughly explore and “enjoy” our cabin. Our glorious private cabin where we wouldn’t have to worry about my boyfriend’s sister or his somewhat creepy roommate hearing us through the paper-thin walls of our respective apartments. Or well, at least we wouldn’t know the people on the other side of our walls, so it wouldn’t matter what they heard.

Ed’s voice called me away from those thoughts, back to our conversation.

“What?” I asked.

“I said, calm down. Justin will be back soon, Tammy Rae will arrive before the ship leaves, and your suitcase, with Dramamine, will be delivered to your cabin sooner rather than later.”

“Why didn’t I take seasick pills before leaving home?” I moaned. “Why am I doing this?”

“You mean, freaking out over nothing? I couldn’t tell you.” Ed hugged me. “Really, Jen, you’ll be fine. I’ve cruised before. You won’t feel a thing.”

Finally, Justin walked toward us, sans luggage. I found myself relaxing as he put an arm around my waist and squeezed. I kissed him.

“Ugh. Lovebirds!” Ed moaned. “Get a room!”

“Hey, Ed, isn’t your boyfriend around here?” Justin asked good-naturedly. “Why don’t you go find him?”

Ed met his boyfriend Connor, formerly known to me only as Curly Beard, while filming The Fishbowl. Although the Network strictly prohibited staff from socializing with the contestants, they still found a way to make a connection. More importantly, they’d managed to keep it going ever since. The Network promoted Connor from production assistant to camera operator, and Ed recently moved from Boston to Los Angeles to be with him while pursuing a stand-up comedy career. I couldn’t have been happier for them.

“He’s doing some pre-boarding filming. I’m not allowed,” he said to Justin. “Besides, someone had to keep your belle here from having a panic attack. Did you know she gets seasick?”

Justin tilted his head at me the way he did when he didn’t want to say he thought I wasn’t being one hundred percent truthful. “You never mentioned that. You do?”

“I don’t know. When I was in high school, I threw up on the swan boats at the local fair.”

“Wasn’t that right after you bought tacos out of some guy’s van? Because I’m not sure that was the boat’s fault.”

This was the problem with dating someone long enough for them to hear all your stories. “Maybe…”

“You’ll be fine!” Ed said. “Now, let’s go before they take off without us.”

“Depart,” I said. “Or set sail.”

“Whatever.” Ed took off for the ship, luggage in tow.

“What’s really wrong?” Justin asked.

He gazed into my eyes until I realized I’d been freaking out over nothing. “I don’t know. I’ve been on edge all week. Partially it’s the bakery. What if Sarah can’t come up with new recipes? What if Tammy Rae hates me?”

“You are a resourceful, brilliant woman. You can be very persuasive. Plus, Sarah’s a genius in the kitchen. Even if Tammy Rae says no, the two of you will come up with something.”

I sighed. “You’re right, I’m sorry. I’m being stupid. I don’t know why I’m so jittery.”

Behind me, someone walked by wearing a t-shirt showing a woman with long, dark hair, pouting out from the inside of a clear fishbowl. And suddenly, I realized exactly why I felt so on edge: Ariana. The one person who could always make me act like my brain took a vacation without my body. No one confirmed whether she’d be onboard. I couldn’t relax until we set sail without her.

 

 

Giveaway

$20 Amazon Gift Card

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b1257f8d94/?

 

 

About the Author

 

Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off. When not watching total strangers get married, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, helping with writing contests, and seeking new experiences. She lives in the Northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.

 

Connect with Laura

 

Newsletter Sign Up: http://bit.ly/2tXagfL

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Twitter: http://bit.ly/2tCbFsT

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Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2sJNQz8

BookBub Author Page: http://bit.ly/2umbMwF

 

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Links by Lisa Becker

Posted August 1, 2017 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Fiction, Review, Romance / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Links by Lisa BeckerLinks by Lisa Becker
Published by Desert Breeze Publishing on August 1st 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance
Pages: 197
Format: ebook
five-stars

Charlotte Windham, a nerdy high school prodigy who tutored classmates to earn money for college, escapes her geeky past to become a celebrated novelist. During a chance encounter at a Los Angeles restaurant 15 years after high school, she reconnects with her secret crush, Garrett Stephens, the popular star athlete and teen heart breaker. Garrett, still leaving broken hearts in his wake, is now a successful professional golfer who recently suffered a possible career-ending shoulder injury. As he and Charlotte spend time together, developing a friendship based on mutual respect and comfortable companionship, can Charlotte forgive the past and can Garrett reform his lothario ways for a chance at love?

My take on this book: Links by Lisa Becker is another wonderful book. Ms. Becker is a wonderful author that can transport you into her stories, that once you leave you just want to hop right back into it to keep on living with the amazing characters.

Speaking of amazing characters, I felt like I was best friends with both Garrett Stephens and Charlotte Windham. Granted I probably felt more like a best friend to Charlotte more than Garrett but seeing from both sides of their perspective in this book made it seem like anyone could be friends with both of them.

Charlotte Windham is the main character, and the main female lead, of this book and she, is such a wonderful character. She makes you fall in love with her and want to be her best friend. The entire time of this book she knew about Garrett’s past of being a player back in high school and thought he was the same now that they are adults especially, due to the number of girlfriends that he has had. She also changed from what she looked like in high school but she never really got over her insecurities. She was still thinking that Garrett is the same boy that she had a crush on back in high school without realizing that he was doing things with her that he has never done with any of his past girlfriends at all. She took a while to figure out that she was worth his attention and love. It was wonderful to see her open herself up to those possibilities.

Garrett Stephens is the main male lead of this book and he is also such a wonderful character. At first, you hate him for not realizing that Charlotte is there in his house and then to also not recognize her when we are in his first perspective. He would be clueless if his sister didn’t tell him. The further you get into the story, though, the more you realize that oh hey he isn’t that such of a bad guy. I especially liked when he wants to protect Charlotte from all the harm that has happened to her when he wasn’t around. He tries to protect her now from anyone that doesn’t want to say anything nice to her. I also truly enjoyed Garrett changing and trying to be a good person for Charlotte. It was like I was there watching the story unfold.

The copy I received had some mistakes here and there with words being in the wrong spot or the author’s editor made a change that wasn’t taken out before it was sent as the was an ARC copy. Besides those things, which weren’t bad enough to take me out of the book. The words just fixed themselves in my head.

I am giving this book a five-star review because it was totally awesome and I am still having a little bit of a book hangover over as it was that good.

Links by Lisa Becker was such an awesome book and I can’t wait to read another book by Ms. Becker. She is an outstanding author and an even better storyteller that makes you, at least for me, feel like you are a part of the book and hanging out with her characters.

Anyways until the next time enjoy this review brought to you by

Baroness’ Book Trove.

five-stars

About Lisa Becker

Lisa had endured her share of hilarious and heinous cyber dates, many of which inspired Click: An Online Love Story, Double Click and Right Click. The books, about a young woman’s search for love online in Los Angeles, have been called, “a fast read that will keep you entertained,” “a fun, quick read for fans of Sex and the City,” and “hard to put down.” The first in the series has now been optioned for a major motion picture.

She’s written bylined articles about online dating and has been featured in Cupid’s Pulse, Garmental.com, TV Grapevine, GalTime.com, Single Edition, Career 2.0, The Perfect Soulmate, Chick Lit Central and numerous other book blogs and websites.

A former public relations professional, Lisa has worked with some of the biggest consumer companies in the world including McDonald’s, Ford, Sony and Gatorade. She’s also a former college professor, teaching public relations and communications classes at University of Southern California and Oglethorpe University.

As Lisa’s grandmother used to say, “for every chair, there’s a tush.” Lisa is now happily married to a wonderful man she met online and lives in Manhattan Beach with him and their two daughters. So, if it happened for her, there’s hope for anyone!


The Vampire’s True Love Trials

Posted May 31, 2017 by karenbaron in Berserkers, Cats, Magic, Paranormal, Paranormal People, Review, Supernatural, Valkyrie, Vampires / 0 Comments

The Vampire’s True Love TrialsThe Vampire's True Love Trials by Kristen Painter
Series: Nocturne Falls, #6.5
on 1/14/2017
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 55
Format: Kindle
five-stars

Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year. The tourists think it's all a show: the vampires, the werewolves, the witches, the occasional gargoyle flying through the sky. But the supernaturals in town know better.

Living in Nocturne Falls means being yourself. Fangs, fur, and all.

Vampire Sebastian Ellingham wants one thing: to marry Tessa Blythe, the Valkyrie he’s fallen madly in love with. So meeting her parents seems like the natural thing to do. He’s even looking forward to it, until he discovers they’ve already found her a husband. Now the only way to keep Tessa in his life is to complete a series of tests meant for a very different kind of supernatural. And failing means losing her forever.

Proof that they are a team in love.

This novella The Vampire’s True Love Trials picks up the love story of Sebastian and Tessa. They have just finished testifying and the Vampire Council regarding Sebastian’s ex-wife, Evangeline. If you want to know more about that check out The Vampire’s Fake Fiancée.

Sebastian and Tessa are planning to stay in Europe for a short vacation when Tessa’s parents call. Now they are off to meet her parents in Paris. Tessa is nervous and Sebastian knows that this is important for their relationship. So, he is fine with it.

I have always loved the confidence that Sebastian puts out there. He seems like the perfect guy to bring home to meet Mom and Dad, except for the fang part. However, if your parents are a Berserker and Valkyrie maybe bringing a vampire home isn’t the easiest thing. Tessa just wants her parents to approve of Sebastian and her together.

Den is Tessa’s Dad and he is huge, just as you would think a Berserker would be. Den is a mixture of the traditional and the historical worlds. He seems like your typical over-protective father to me, with lots of grunting and super tight hand shaking.

Magna is Tessa’s Mom and she is a Valkyrie. She seems to love her daughters and really want them to be happy. I like Magna, she seemed sweet and yet has that don’t mess with me vibe. She is more compromising than Den but still believes that Sebastian needs to prove himself especially since Tessa didn’t tell them about him.

The True Love Trials are there for the Berserker to prove his ability to take care of and cherish the Valkyrie that he wants. Since Sebastian is a vampire, the trails don’t work in the same way. Or do they? I thought that the spark between Sebastian and Tessa worked great with this story, and we got to see how important the two have become to each other.

At the end, we find that Delaney has had her baby as Sebastian and Tessa stop by to visit at the hospital. I won’t spoil it, you will have to read it yourself to find out if the baby is a boy or girl.

My rating is 5 stars. I love this short story as much as the rest of the series. Kristin Painter has created a wonderful world full of exciting characters. I highly recommend this series, Nocturne Falls to all who read paranormal romance.

**Where to find The Vampire’s True Love Trials**

** Goodreads **

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

five-stars

About Kristen Painter

About the Author:

Kristen Painter likes to balance her obsessions with shoes and cats by making the lives of her characters miserable and surprising her readers with interesting twists. She currently writes award-winning paranormal romance and urban fantasy. The former college English teacher can often be found on the social media links below where she loves to interact with readers.


Chakana by W.E. Lawrence

Posted May 29, 2017 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Adventure, Fiction, Mystery, Review, Romance / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Chakana by W.E. LawrenceChakana by W.E. Lawrence
on January 4, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Romance
Pages: 347
Format: Kindle
five-stars

In 1940, before the start of World War II, James Fleming, the original British secret agent, races on a high-stakes chase to track down the ancient lost treasure of King Huascar of the Incas. He must recover it before the Nazis do or the whole world will be in imminent danger.

But this is no ordinary treasure hunt. The Incas have proven their cunning and intellect in not only how they hid their treasure, but how they protected it. Fleming joins forces in the remote ruins of Peru, South America with Kate Rhodes, a policewoman on leave from the United States, her archaeologist brother, Nick, and their college professor, Dr. Charlie. Together, they must decode, interpret the clues, and face the challenges of the Chakana on their hunt for the treasure.

If this wasn’t difficult enough, the group is hounded throughout their search of the ancient Sacred Valley by international artifact smugglers, familiar with the Chakana and working with the Nazis, who are determined to acquire the treasure to help finance their war effort. Intrigue, danger, suspense, action, adventure, and even romance abound in this brave band’s quest to save the free world.

My take on this book:              Chakana by W.E. Lawrence is a great book. I was so happy when this book hit the top of my TBR List to read it. Most definitely a cross between Indiana Jones and James Bond.

The main character of this book is Kate Rhodes.

What I like about Kate Rhodes is the fact that she’s the youngest kid in her family. She knows what she wants in life. By this, I mean that by the age of eighteen she knew that she wanted to be the first female Chief of Police but that kind of changes further into the book. What I also like about her is that she can hold her own in a fight or even with a gun which is needed as a police officer but even more with what she needs to do thanks to her brother. What I didn’t like about her is that when it comes to James Fleming, who I will introduce soon, is that she at times lets her emotions get the better of her. And we all know that can be used against her. Then again, none of us can help that happening, at least most of the time or who we fall in love with.

The secondary character of this book is James Fleming.

What I like about him is that he tries to protect Kate even if she doesn’t want him. He tries to honor her request but he can’t help the way he was raised and wants to protect her as best as he can. Another thing that I like about him is that he tries to hide his obvious affections for Kate Rhodes and focus on the Incan trails that they have to face along with not being captured. He also struggles with this a lot throughout the book. James struggles with not only his feelings for Kate but also doing what is right by contacting his boss and stopping the smugglers from getting the gold.

The antagonist of this book is obviously the international smuggler.

He’s named in the book but I want you to find out about him on your own and draw your own conclusions about him. All I have to say about him is that Mr. Lawrence is great at creating bad guys.

Chakana by W.E. Lawrence is a great book and one that I couldn’t put down once I started to read it. I am giving this book a five-star rating. I love Indiana Jones and James Bond and that this book was a great mix of the two even though none of the two characters, that are in the male and female lead roles, have anything to do with archeology much. This book does have some grammar and spelling mistakes but not enough that it takes me out of the book to wonder what the author meant. I am definitely recommending it to my readers of this blog. Well to my adult readers this book does have some sex scenes in it.

Anyways until next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

Baroness’ Book Trove

**Where to find this book**

** Goodreads **

five-stars

About W.E. Lawrence

W. E. Lawrence graduated in 1978 from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with a BS in business administration. He has run a successful home health care supplies distributorship for the past twenty-three years.

Passionate about God, writing, reading, family, sports, politics, and America, Lawrence currently lives in Davidson, North Carolina, with his lovely wife and their two wonderful children.

W. E. Lawrence enjoys writing historical romance novels filled with action, adventure, and suspense. He published his debut novel Guardian of Paradise in October 2014.


American’s Next Reality Star

Posted May 15, 2017 by karenbaron in Contemporary Romance, Review, Romance, Series / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

American’s Next Reality StarAmerica's Next Reality Star by Laura Heffernan
Series: Reality Star #1
Series Rating: five-stars
Published by Lyrical Shine on March 7th 2017
Genres: Romance
Pages: 254
Format: Kindle
five-stars

SEEKING THE SMART ONE
Twenty-four-year-old Jen Reid had her life in good shape: an okay job, a tiny-cute Seattle apartment, and a great boyfriend almost ready to get serious. In a flash it all came apart. Single, unemployed, and holding an eviction notice, who has time to remember trying out for a reality show? Then the call comes, and Jen sees her chance to start over—by spending her summer on national TV.
Luckily The Fishbowl is all about puzzles and games, the kind of thing Jen would love even if she wasn’t desperate. The cast checks all the boxes: cheerful, quirky Birdie speaks in hashtags; vicious Ariana knows just how to pout for the cameras; and corn-fed “J-dawg” plays the cartoon villain of the house. Then there’s Justin, the green-eyed law student who always seems a breath away from kissing her. Is their attraction real, or a trick to get him closer to the $250,000 grand prize? Romance or showmance, suddenly Jen has a lot more to lose than a summer . . .

Reality TV in a book? What a great concept…

I felt like a binged watch an entire season of The Fishbowl. I have to say first the concept of the fish bowl house with all glass wall and such is totally amazing. The description that Jen gave of the kitchen sounded so cool. I am not sure what I thought of the couch tree though.

I could totally get on board with Jen. I loved her naiveté with men, her acknowledging her inner nerd and that she tries to be a good person. Jen is the all-American girl next door. I would so be calling in and voting for her, even with all the bad press on the outside of the Fishbowl.

Justin is a law student from Florida. He is nice, athletic, smart and a little competitive. He is also so polite and such a gentlemen. Jen and Justin make a cute couple. They really need to get over the trust issues that they each seem to have.

Then there is Ariana, wow, what do I say about her? Scheming, lying, cheating, jerk, well those are some options. I am sure there are more of the same but you should just read it yourself so you can dislike her too.

The concept of the book was great, I loved the story. It kind of gave you this look into the hidden side of reality television. I can’t imagine putting myself or my family through all that drama. However, everyone has their own thing. Oh and that ending was so great. Right out of the fairy tales. I love happy endings.

My rating is 5 stars. I loved this book. Thank you, Ms. Heffernan, for bringing reality tv to books. It is much more fun to read about it than I thought it would be. I personally don’t watch reality tv anymore but this book is awesome. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series, Sweet Reality.

**Where to find America’s Next Reality Star**

** Goodreads **

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

five-stars

About Laura Heffernan

Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off: AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR, the first book in the REALITY STAR series, is coming from Kensington’s Lyrical Press in March 2017. When not watching total strangers participate in arranged marriages, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, helping with writing contests, and seeking new experiences. She lives in the northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.

 Some of Laura’s favorite things include goat cheese, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, the Oxford comma, and ice cream. Not all together. The best place to find her is usually on Twitter, where she spends far too much time tweeting about writing, Canadian chocolate, and reality TV. Follow her @LH_Writes or visit www.lauraheffernan.com for more information.