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Wooing the Wedding Planner by Amber Leigh Williams

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Wooing the Wedding Planner by Amber Leigh Williams

Wooing the Wedding Planner by Amber Leigh Williams Wooing the Wedding Planner by Amber Leigh Williams
Published by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. on January 3, 2017
Source: Pump Up Your Book!
Genres: Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
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No more wedding marches for her!

Wedding planner Roxie Honeycutt can make happy-ever-after come true for anyone except herself. Freshly divorced and done with love, she's okay with watching clients walk down the aisle. What's not okay? Sharing a charming Victorian house with accountant Byron Strong. He's frustratingly sexy and determined to keep her confused.

Roxie thought Byron's expertise was numbers, yet somehow he sees her for who she really is. Somehow he understands the hurt she hides behind a trademark smile. Suddenly romance is tempting again, even if it means risking another heartbreak.

Wooing the Wedding Planner is the type of romance I enjoy. Both Roxie and Byron are good, solid characters on their own and their relationship gradually grows. Yes, they know they’re attracted to each other way before they do anything about it, but they both have pasts that are standing in their way. The problems aren’t too big though, they never seem insurmountable, which I like.

I could be friends with Roxie. She’s trying to be happy after her divorce, to make the right choices for herself, and she’s good at her job. For the record, her family is terrible. Byron is sexy and smart. Due to a mix-up, they are both at the Victorian, although he’s living in a separate apartment. He’s a widower and has always believed that Strong men have one true love and that love lasts a lifetime. His family is fabulous, funny, accepting, supportive. I never doubted that they would get their happy ending, but I enjoyed seeing how they got there.

This was a just a good, nice read that made me smile.

Book Excerpt:

“What was wrong with the old Roxie?”

His words stuck with her. And his kiss.

It was difficult to forget a kiss like that, especially coming from someone…well, someone like Byron. Roxie had spent more time than she’d like to admit trying not to think about the kiss – about how sweet it was. She’d forgotten kisses could be so sweet. She’d tried extra hard to forget how his lips had lingered. And how in lingering he’d awakened starbursts inside her. Starbursts of eternity.

She frowned deeply. Being touched…it had been so long since she had really been touched. The hollowness in her had turned into a resounding ache, and for a few moments she’d thought about bringing Byron’s mouth back down to hers. For a few moments, she’d craved more than his companionship. She’d craved the contact. The promise of heat that came with it.

But had she wanted it – had she wanted him – for the single reason that heat could erode loneliness? There was trust there. There was affection. For those small starbursts of eternity, there had been longing and the promise of flame. It had been too long since she’d felt the sheer, electrical pulse of new chemistry.

Why had Byron’s kiss made it seem like so long since she’d felt the flame? The passion?

GIVEAWAY!

Amber is giving away a $50 B&N Gift Card!

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• By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
• One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive a $50 B&N Gift Card.
• This giveaway ends midnight April 28.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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About Amber Leigh Williams

Amber Leigh Williams is a Harlequin romance writer who lives on the US Gulf Coast. She lives for beach days, the smell of real books, and spending time with her husband and their two young children. When she’s not keeping up with rambunctious little ones (and two large dogs), she can usually be found reading a good book or indulging her inner foodie. Amber is represented by the D4EO Literary Agency.

Friend of the Devil by Mark Spivak

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Friend of the Devil by Mark Spivak

Friend of the Devil by Mark Spivak Friend of the Devil by Mark Spivak
Published by Black Opal Books on May 27, 2016
Source: Pump Up Your Book!
Genres: Thriller
Format: Paperback
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In 1990 some critics believe that America’s most celebrated chef, Joseph Soderini di Avenzano, cut a deal with the Devil to achieve fame and fortune. Whether he is actually Bocuse or Beelzebub, Avenzano is approaching the 25th anniversary of his glittering Palm Beach restaurant, Chateau de la Mer, patterned after the Michelin-starred palaces of Europe.

Journalist David Fox arrives in Palm Beach to interview the chef for a story on the restaurant’s silver jubilee. He quickly becomes involved with Chateau de la Mer’s hostess, unwittingly transforming himself into a romantic rival of Avenzano.

The chef invites Fox to winter in Florida and write his authorized biography. David gradually becomes sucked into the restaurant’s vortex: shipments of cocaine coming up from the Caribbean; the Mafia connections and unexplained murder of the chef’s original partner; the chef’s ravenous ex-wives, swirling in the background like a hidden coven. As his lover plots the demise of the chef, Fox tries to sort out hallucination and reality while Avenzano treats him like a feline’s catnip-stuffed toy.

First a confession, I watch a lot of the Food Network, so I couldn’t pass up a “culinary thriller.” Friend of the Devil turned out to be a fun thriller full of drugs, sex and food. Not a bad combination.

David is a writer who first meets  Joseph Soderini di Avenzano while doing a story. He is then hired to write the famous chef’s biography and is summoned to the Chateau de la Mer, where the menu is amazing, the chef a brilliant, if often drugged-out, showman, and the hostess irresistible. Actually, that is my one complaint, how quickly David and Alessandra hook up. I guess they have to for the rest of the story, but it just seemed a little quick. Of course, everything at the Chateau is a little intense.

For me, it wasn’t a quick read. I’m not sure why exactly. The pacing was good and there was enough action to keep the story moving. I enjoyed the bits of history that Avenzano mused about. I guess maybe I just didn’t care about the characters. I think I was supposed to like David and be “rooting” for him, but I didn’t understand his obsession. It might just be me, though. It seems like it could be a page-turner for some people. It’s got all the right ingredients and it is a seasonal read. David heads to Florida for the winter, like so many people.

Overall, it’s a good thriller, and the food pushes it up a notch.

Excerpt:

Several years after the opening of Chateau de la Mer, the triumvirate of Avenzano,Walsh, and Ross appeared to be one big happy family, although there were rumors of strains in the relationship.

One night, at the height of the Festival of Champagne, there was an incident. Ross, a notorious womanizer, was sipping Cristal with a redhead at the restaurant’s corner table. His wife slipped through the front door of the mansion, unannounced. Walking slowly through the dining room, past the Medieval memorabilia and dramatic cast-iron griffins,she strolled up to Ross’s table, took a revolver from her evening bag, and calmly shot him through the heart.

The ensuing chaos did more to establish Joseph Soderini di Avenzano in the American imagination than his designer pasta, his Bedouin stuffed poussin, his recipes transposed from Etruscan or Old Genoese, or his library of ten thousand cookbooks.

This was more than a good meal, after all. This was sex and death in Palm Beach. Even more intriguing was the chef’s refusal to comment on Ross after his death, except for informal and effusive eulogies in his famous baritone.

“Watch that Cristal,” David’s friend Bill Grimaldi told him before he left Manhattan to do an assigned story on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Chateau de la Mer. “It’s a killer.”

About Mark Spivak

Mark Spivak is an award-winning author, specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants, and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, andwas honored by the Academy of Wine Communications for excellence in wine coverage “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001 he has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, as well as the Food Editor for Palm Beach Illustrated; his running commentary on the world of food, wine and spirits is available at the Global Gourmet blog on www.palmbeachillustrated.com. His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Men’s Journal, Art & Antiques, the Continental and Ritz-Carlton magazines, Arizona Highways and Newsmax. From 1999-2011 Spivak hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.

Spivak is the author of two non-fiction books: Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle (Lyons Press, 2014). Friend of the Devil is his first novel. He is currently working on a political thriller set during the invasion of Iraq

Bigfoot Blues by Ricardo Sanchez

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Bigfoot Blues by Ricardo Sanchez

Bigfoot Blues by Ricardo Sanchez Bigfoot Blues by Ricardo Sanchez
Published by Carina Press on May 4, 2015
Source: Pump Up Your Book!
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 251
Format: eBook
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She eloped with Bigfoot. Or maybe Bigfoot kidnapped her. Either way, I've been hired to uncover the truth behind Cindy Funk's disappearance. Me? I'm Floyd, and I'm a PI living my life as Elvis would have wanted. Not just in sequined jumpsuits. With character.

Cindy's trail leads me to River City, Oregon—aka the Mythical Creature Capital of the World—where I catch Case #2. This one from an eccentric billionaire who's lost a priceless piece of "art." Enter one dead body and I end up deputized to solve Case #3, tracking down a man-eating mountain lion. Or maybe it's a chupacabra. Or just an ordinary murderer. Hard to say.

I've handled my fair share of crazy, but River City's secrets have me spooked. With an influx of tourists arriving for the town's annual Elvis tribute contest—what are the chances?—I've got to save the girl, solve the rich guy's problem and leash that chupacabra before a second body is discovered. It might just be mine.

Loved it! I might have a soft spot for quirky mysteries that involve taxidermy – alright, I’ve only read 2, but both were great. Bigfoot Blues is the second in the series, and it works fine on its own, but honestly I’d suggest reading Elvis Sightings first. I read this one first and liked it so much I had to go back and get #1 anyway.

This is just a flat-out fun, quick read. Crazy characters, an evil corporation, mythical monsters. I will say you have to just relax and go with it. When you have a private investigator who dresses like Elvis and has a little person named Goliath as a side-kick, you know this is not your standard detective novel. It’s silly, but enjoyable with several laugh-out-loud moments.

It is a mystery though, and in the midst of the nutty characters and general wackiness of the town, Floyd has to follow the clues and keep from getting bit. Sanchez plays fair with the mystery and, believe it or not, the solutions are credible. It works. It doesn’t just rely on gimmicks.

If you’re like me and enjoy mysteries with more than a touch of humor, pick this one up.

Excerpt:

It was ten past two on a Wednesday and I was sitting behind my desk in the office I share with Franklin, a chiropractor. His wife had sent me looking for him almost four years ago, but she was such a harridan that once I’d found him, I couldn’t bring myself to turn over his location. He’d let me use his place as an office, rent-free, ever since.

I checked my watch again.

Wanda was flying back to Kresge today. I resented being dragged away from her, even for just an hour, but the man on the phone had insisted. It had been more than a month since my last case, so while Wanda packed, I came into the office to meet Peter Funk. And he was late.

The clock hit 2:15. I was about to leave when a very lost-looking man in his fifties opened the door.

“You must be Floyd,” he said, taking off his well-worn Caterpillar cap. His bald head had the baked look of someone who spent a lot of time under the hot Idaho sun. “Your Elvis outfit kinda gives it away,” he added.

“You’re Mr. Funk?”

He smiled weakly and bobbed his head up and down in the affirmative.

I pointed him to a seat and sat back down at my desk.

“So what can I do for you?” I asked.

Funk looked down at the cap in his hands and worried at a loose thread with his callused fingers.

“I need you to find my daughter,” he said and looked up at me. “You’ve got to help me. I don’t know who else to turn to.”

“I’d be happy to help, Mr. Funk, but with missing children you’re much better off going to the police.”

Funk stood up and slapped his hat against his thigh. A small cloud of dirt erupted from the dull blue denim of his pants.

“Oh, the cops won’t help me. Cindy’s eighteen. They said they can’t go looking for her if she’s just run off,” he said. “Besides…”

“Besides what, Mr. Funk?”

He took his seat again before finally blurting out, “She ran off to elope with Bigfoot.”

I would have laughed if Funk hadn’t looked so worried.

“Bigfoot?” I said. “That’s a nickname?”

“No, sir.”

Funk pulled a postcard out of his jeans pocket and handed it to me.

On one side was a teenage boy holding up a plaster casting of a giant footprint nearly three feet long. Across the bottom it read “River City—The Home of Bigfoot.” I turned it over. The postmark was three weeks ago in River City, Oregon. The note on the card read:

Dear Daddy,

I’ve fallen in love with Bigfoot and we’ve decided to elope. I won’t be coming back to Pocatello. I’ll write again soon.

Cindy

She’d put a little heart in place of the dot above the is in both Bigfoot and Cindy.

River City… The name was familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it.

“My girl, she’s a willful one she is, but Cindy’s never lied to me. Not once,” Funk said. “If Cindy says she’s eloped with Bigfoot, that’s exactly what she’s done.”

Why did I get all the weirdos? Was it the suit? Or the Lifestyle Elvis thing? Or maybe this was some sort of elaborate practical joke. I let out a low sigh.

A case is a case, I told myself. And this one was just too absurd to be someone shining me on.

About Ricardo Sanchez

Ricardo Sanchez is a writer, poet, Emmy winning creator, and executive producer. Elvis Sightings, the first book in his Elvis Sightings Mystery series, was released in September, 2014. Bigfoot Blues, the sequel, came out in May, 2015. His comic book credits include Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Resident Evil, RIFT: Telara Chronicles, and many others. His short story, Death and Life of the Hero, was a successfully kickstarted graphic novel. When he’s not writing , Ricardo maintains a vintage toy blog, drives 70’s muscle cars, and shops year round for Halloween decorations for his home in California.

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