Book Tour & Giveaway: Highland Hope (The Wild Thistle Trilogy, Book 1) by Madelyn Hill

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(The Wild Thistle Trilogy, Book1)
by Madelyn Hill
Releasing August 31, 2016
by Soulmate Publishing
288 Pages
“Remember, lasses. Through Hope, Faith and Honor, ye can rule,” were the last words Lady Laird Hope MacAlister’s father spoke before dying. Those very words direct her every action and thought. Sword fighting and leading the men of her clan is second nature to Hope and she has little time for herself or any thoughts of love. Until Aidan MacKerry is captured spying on the clan.

She is beautiful, strong, and quick to pull a sword. But when he kisses her, all thoughts of the Lairdship flee his mind. When the enemy continues to undermine Laird MacAlister, Aidan is determined to aid her—only he didn’t think he’d lose his heart to the Laird of Wild Thistle Keep. When the enemy reveals Aidan’s secret, he must fight for his right as laird and prove despite their differences, he loves Hope.

The enemy refuses to back down and continues to threaten not only Hope, but the security of the entire clan. Only together will they be able to save the clan and save their love.

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She sighed and set her free hand at her waist. “We need to find my sister, not stand her hovering.”

Sadness and worry flitted in her gaze. Heartache over her mother he assumed and mayhap a wayward sister. The grief seemed to consume her as they walked and Aidan loathed to see a sad woman—even if it was Laird Hope MacAlister. If she started crying he’d certain flee, for nothing was worse than consoling a woman in tears. But he doubted she’d show such vulnerability to him.She glanced toward the other caves and then back toward the keep. She gave a frustrated sigh. Her face soft with desperation to find her sister. She was worried and inside she was fretting and he knew only one way to take a woman’s mind off her troubles.

He stepped toward her and swept her in his arms. Her eyes widened as he descended, slowly so not to make her skittish, but with enough purpose she knew his desire. Her lips parted and her tongue darted out quickly to wet the plump surface. His lips brushed against hers with a soft caress. She gripped his arms and pushed. He kissed her again, slanting his mouth over hers. She stiffened, then her fingers dug into his biceps as her lips relented,
accepted his kiss.

As a moan escaped her lips, masculine triumph flared and he delved deeper. A sizzling leap of lust cursed through him. God, she felt good in his arms. Aidan ripped his mouth from hers and narrowed his gaze. His chest heaved. His blood sang. Through hooded eyes, he watched her and inhaled the womanly scent about her.

Hope’s face was flushed, her eyes glazed. Aidan reached for her again.With a flick of her wrist, a dirk appeared from its sheath and pressed against his ribs.

“You touch me again, and you’re a dead man.”here


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Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she’d sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a “closet” writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn’t be happier!

A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They have 3 children and keep busy cooking, avid movie goers, and of course reading!


You Can Find Madelyn at All the Places Below:


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Review & Giveaway: IT’S IN HIS SMILE (Red River Valley, Book 3) by Shelly Alexander



(Red River Valley, Book 3)
by Shelly Alexander
June 14th 2016
Montlake Romance
292 Pages

Miranda Cruz isn’t just the best darned waitress in town anymore; she’s Red River’s newest innkeeper. But first, she has to find the contractor who’s disappeared with her life savings so she can start renovations. Not so easy for a woman who never depends on anyone, especially a man. And when a gorgeous old flame shows up, the fire between them is reignited and threatens to send her dreams up in smoke.Acclaimed environmental architect Talmadge Oaks returns home to Red River on family business. He plans to get in and get out quickly because a professional catastrophe is waiting back in Washington. When an unforeseen snag keeps him in Red River longer than expected, he finds himself entangled in the renovations of his late grandmother’s Victorian inn. Handy with a hammer, he offers to help the beautiful new owner, but his motives aren’t completely selfless. Will his secret demolish everything they are building? Or can their undeniable passion keep them together?

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After Talmadge’s colossal gaffe yesterday at Joe’s, the chances of Miranda letting him take over the renovations at the inn were about as good as her contractor giving back her money.

The way he saw it, he had two options.

One: play the I’m-your-creditor card and take charge of the renovations whether she agreed or not. When it came to any kind of building project, everyone followed his lead. Hell, he’d earned that leadership role in world of architecture.

Miranda’s face glowed red with anger.

Right. Option one wasn’t working out so well.

He shifted to option two: make her think she was still in charge.

“Don’t be foolish, Miranda. You need help with this place.” Talmadge was trying real hard to keep his mind and eyes off the taut nipples showing through her thin shirt. The moment he’d turned and saw her standing in the dining room staring at him with sleepy eyes and messy pillow hair…glaring at all of them over the absurdity of superheroes while wearing silly cartoon pajamas…

Well, hell. His throat had closed up, and he’d wanted to toss her over his shoulder and take her to back to bed. This time with him in it too.



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It’s In His Smile is the first book I have read by Shelly Alexander, and I loved it!  This book is the third in the ‘Red River Valley’ series.  I haven’t read the first two, but I plan on it very soon.  Having not read the first two books in the series first, I didn’t feel like I was missing anything by jumping right into this one.  I enjoy small town romances (I prefer them), and this one takes place in Red River, New Mexico.  


The story starts with Bea’s wake, which Miranda is hosting at the inn she purchases from Bea.  Bea was like a mother to her, and one of her closest friends.  She saw something in Miranda, and believed in her when no one else would.  That is why Bea sold her the Inn.  Miranda Cruz has lived in Red River her whole life.  She was raised by her mother, and she didn’t have it easy growing up.  Her own mother had a bad reputation around town.  So Miranda has worked very hard to make sure that the people in Red River know that she is nothing like her mother.  She is bound and determined to renovate Bea’s inn, and be a successful business owner. For some people it doesn’t make a difference that Miranda is nothing like her mother… guilty by association and all.


Talmadge Oaks has returned to Red River to attend his grandmother’s wake.  He is full of guilt because he didn’t come home very often to help Bea over the years, and for death of both his parents.    He justified not coming home to often because he was busy.  Busy trying to make his grandmother proud of him.  Talmage is considered a rock star contractor to the rich and famous.   He is sought out by many because he is damn good at building things.  Now that he is back in Red River the feelings, and attraction he had for Miranda come back full force.  Especially now that he has to stay and help her with the renovations on Miranda’s inn.


I really enjoyed this story.  The author did a wonderful job of making me feel what Miranda and Talmadge were feeling.  Attraction ran rapid in this story, and while they tried to fight it,  in the end it was hopeless.  The chemistry between these two jumped right off the page.  This was a feel good romance.  It’s about hopes, dreams, forgiveness, and second chances.  One that made me laugh, and tear up a little.  The storyline and the issues that Miranda and Talmadge were dealing with were believable.  There was nothing far fetched in this book.   This story was balanced, with a mixture of romance and the plot.


There were several characters in the story that I liked.  Two women from the local senior citizens center, Francine and Clydelle, that were hilarious.  They said things like, ‘What’s wrong with you?  You got a third nipple or something?’  These two women were funny, busybodies, and pulled all kinds of shenanigans to get men to take off their shirts.  I enjoyed the mommy mafia, as Miranda called her girlfriends from high school.


Shelly Alexander has a way of pulling you into her characters lives, and keeping you there. This has made me want to go back and read the first two books in the series.  There are several sex scenes in this book, and some mild cursing.  I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys small town romance, with well developed characters, laugh out loud scenes, and a book that makes you feel.


Happy Reading!


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*I was given a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  All thoughts and views in this review are my own.





A 2014 Golden Heart® finalist, Shelly Alexander grew up traveling the world, earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing, and worked in the business world. With four older brothers and a sister, she watched every Star Trek episode ever made, joined the softball team instead of ballet class, and played with G.I. Joes while the Barbie Corvette stayed tucked in the closet. When she had three sons of her own, she decided to escape her male-dominated world by reading romance novels and has been hooked ever since. Now, she spends her days writing sassy and steamy contemporary romances while tending to a miniature schnauzer name Omer, a tiny toy poodle named Mozart, and a pet boa constrictor named Zeus.


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Review: A Girl’s Guide to Moving On (New Beginnings #2) by Debbie Macomber


New Beginnings, Book 2
February 23rd 2016
Published by Ballantine Books
339 pages


When Nichole discovers that her husband, Jake, has been unfaithful, the illusion of her perfect life is indelibly shattered. While juggling her young son, a new job, and volunteer work, Nichole meets Rocco, who is the opposite of Jake in nearly every way. Though blunt-spoken and rough around the edges, Rocco proves to be a dedicated father and thoughtful friend. But just as their relationship begins to blossom, Jake wagers everything on winning Nichole back—including their son Owen’s happiness. Somehow, Nichole must find the courage to defy her fears and follow her heart, with far-reaching consequences for them all.

Leanne has quietly ignored her husband’s cheating for decades, but is jolted into action by the echo of Nichole’s all-too-familiar crisis. While volunteering as a teacher of English as a second language, Leanne meets Nikolai, a charming, talented baker from Ukraine. Resolved to avoid the heartache and complications of romantic entanglements, Leanne nonetheless finds it difficult to resist Nikolai’s effusive overtures—until an unexpected tragedy tests the very fabric of her commitments.

An inspiring novel of friendship, reinvention, and hope, A Girl’s Guide to Moving On affirms the ability of every woman to forge a new path, believe in love, and fearlessly find happiness.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this powerful and uplifting novel, a mother and her daughter-in-law bravely leave their troubled marriages and face the challenge of starting over. Leaning on each other, Nichole and Leanne discover that their inner strength and capacity for love are greater than they ever imagined.









I chose to read this book because of the title, and then the blurb on the inside cover.  Women building each other up while going through divorce is not new, but two women forming a close bond through divorce when one of those women is divorcing the other ones cheating son is.  That is what drew me to this book.  This book is the second in the series, which I didn’t know when I purchased this one.  It can be read as a stand alone though.  The first book, Last One Home, is Cassie’s story. Cassie is Nichole’s sister.  So if you are a stickler for reading books in order, I would start with that one.


When Nichole finds out her husband Jake has been cheating on her, she knows what she has to do.  If there is one thing she is not putting up with, it is cheating.  She does not intend on waiting around for her husband to change, afterall his father has been cheating on his mother with different women for 35 years.  Why would the son be any different.  So she files for a divorce, and moves out.


Leanne (Jake’s mother) has known her husband, Sean, was cheating on her for over 35 years now, but she stayed in the marriage.  Although they have been living together in name only for the last 25.  They kept up appearances in public, and everyone has assumed they were a happy, married couple.  But when Nichole files for a divorce, it gives Leanne the courage, and hope she needs to walk away from her marriage, and file for a divorce also.


Leanne and Nichole have become close over the years.  Leanne thinks of Nichole as the daughter she never had.  When each woman walks away from their cheating husbands they rent apartments in the same building, right across the hall from each other.  They come up with a plan and a list to move forward with their lives, and call it ‘A Guide to Moving On’.  On the list there is three things in order to achieve this, #1 Don’t allow yourself to wallow in your pain.  Reach out.  Volunteer.  Do something you love or something to help others. #2 Cultivate new friendship, and #3 Let go in order to receive.  I expected there to be more than those three things, but I suppose those three were enough.


Nichole starts substituting as a teacher at the local school, and volunteers a few days a week at ‘Dress for Success’.  She meets Rocco when he comes to tow her broke down car, and the two form an unlikely friendship.  Leanne volunteers to teach English as a second language, and that is where she meets Nikolai.  He is one of her students, and fast becomes her favorite.


The story is told from each woman’s point of view, with each woman telling their story in alternating chapters.  I liked that, and it worked with this story.  I enjoyed seeing Nichole bloom, and get her confidence back.  My favorite chapters were those of Nicholes.  I liked how her and Rocco’s friendship was slow building.  Rocco was my favorite character in the whole book.  He is rough around the edges, and doesn’t try to be something that he is not.  I like men that are a little rough around the edges, and say what they mean.


The relationship between Nikoli and Leanne was nice and sweet.  The author did a great job with Nikolai’s voice.  He spoke broken english, and often took what was said literally, which made me chuckle.  His and Leanne’s relationship was sweet.  I like how both women grew throughout the story.  At times it was frustrating though, because they let their exes get away with things most would not.  I kept wanting both women to get more of a backbone and stand up to these men that treated women as sex objects and nothing more.  I mean who cooks and cleans for a man that cheated on her for 35 years!


The ‘cheating’ ex husbands change a little throughout the story, and there is a small amount of redemption.  I won’t say anymore on that, because I don’t want to give anything away.  It just seemed like for me it was a little too late.


The story was a little slow at times.  I didn’t finish the book with any ‘Ah Ha’ moments or profound insight., but it was a nice and sweet read.  It wasn’t exactly what I expected, and I am not sure if I will read the first book in the series.  We will see.  For die hard Debbie Macomber fans I am sure you will like it.


Happy Reading!


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Series order for New Beginnings by Debbie Macomber


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Review: Nora Roberts Land (Dare Valley #1) by Ava Miles


Dare Valley, Book 1
by Ava Miles
Narrated by Em Eldridge
11 Hours & 22 Minutes
Audible Audiobook
April 31, 2015 | Book published June 24, 2013


Journalist Meredith Hale’s ex-husband claimed her Nora Roberts addiction gave her unrealistic expectations about marriage, and she believed him. All dreams of happily ever after—or Nora Roberts Land as her mother calls it—went up in smoke. But when her family asks her to temporarily help their Dare Valley, Colorado newspaper, she decides it’s time to change her life and prove her ex wrong. She’s determined to find her own small-town Nora Roberts hero, prove that true love exists, and publish a story about her quest.

War correspondent Tanner McBride has just returned stateside to work for a major newspaper, and the last thing he expects is blackmail. Yet, before he can even unpack, he’s headed to Colorado. His assignment? Make his boss’s ex-wife fall for him and then break her heart. Her article about discovering love à la Nora might air dirty laundry about her marriage to the media mogul, threatening his senate run. The mogul wants Meredith stopped, and he makes sure Tanner has no choice in the matter.

When the two meet, the sparks between them are undeniable. Meredith, who vowed never to date another journalist, begins to succumb. Could Tanner be her Nora Roberts hero? As they work together to uncover the truth behind a suspicious death, the depth of their feelings unfolds and both realize they’ve kept their secrets for far too long. But before the truth can be revealed, their investigation takes a deadly turn, one that might make Meredith’s personal Nora Roberts Land go up in flames.

**Nora Roberts gave her blessing for the use of her name in both the title and the premise in this suspenseful and emotional contemporary romance.**




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I have had ‘Nora Roberts Land’ by Ava Miles on my TBR pile for a while now, and finally got the chance to read it.  I also downloaded the audible audiobook to alternate between listening and reading.  I mostly listened.  

I liked the story, the town, the characters, and the plot.Meredith Hale is a recently divorced woman set on empowering herself, and NEVER letting another man get too close to her.  So she invented an alter ego for herself, Divorcee Woman, and went out and bought herself a slew of La Perla under garments.  Armed with silk and lace, Wonder Woman has nothing on her.

Meredith is an investigative journalist, and goes back to her home town, Dare Valley, to watch over her grandfather, and help with the family paper.  She also plans on proving her ex-husband wrong by finding her own, Nora Roberts, hero.  Rick blames Nora Roberts for their divorce.  Claiming Nora’s books give women unrealistic expectations about love and marriages.  Ha, right!

Tanner McBride is a War Correspondent, and his new boss (Rick) has given him a new assignment, seduce his ex-wife.  He is supposed to make Meredith fall in love with him, and keep her from writing a story, and airing all his dirty laundry to the world. He didn’t plan on falling in love with her.

I liked Meredith, and she said some really funny things throughout the book that made me laugh out loud.  I liked the fact that she was moving on after her divorce, and not crying in a corner somewhere.   She was a funny, smart, and strong heroine.  I also liked the fact that this story was full of more than just romance.  There is suspense, and crime solving in this book too.  The first half of the book moved a little slow, but after that the plot moved along nicely.  The action in the book is not ‘edge of your set, biting your nails’ kind, but it did the job nicely.

I liked Tanner as the hero.  Meredith compares Tanner to ‘Roarke’ (the hero in J.D. Robb’s novels) throughout the book, and he measures up nicely.  Jill, Meredith’s sister was likeable, and I can’t wait to see what happens with her in the next book.  I enjoy stories that are set in small towns, and Dare Valley fit that bill.

The author did a good job of showing what was going on throughout the story, and not just telling.  There are a few hot sexual encounters in this book between the H & H, but they are not vulgar or nasty in any way.

There were a few things that did drive me a little crazy about this book.  Meredith and Jill kept referring to her ex-husband as ‘Rick the D*ck’.  He was a d*ck, but it was said many, many times in the first half of the book.  Too many times in fact.  In the first half of the book there was also quite a bit of breast tightening when Meredith looked at Tanner.  It was just said way too many times.   With those things aside I enjoyed Nora Roberts Land by Ava Miles, and will be giving book 2 in the ‘Dare Valley’ series a try.

The narrator of the Audible audibook did a wonderful job narrating this story.  I could tell the differences between each character .  She gave them each their own voice.  She narrated with expression in her voice, and not a flat, monotone.  I would definitely listen to other books she narrates in the future if the occasion should arise.

Cursing:  Yes, but it is mild.
Sex:  Yes, and it is on the steamy side.
Happy Reading!
pnk sig trans backgnd*I was given a free eCopy of this book by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.  All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.




USA Today Bestselling Author Ava Miles joined the ranks of beloved storytellers after receiving Nora Roberts’ blessing for her use of Ms. Roberts’ name in her debut novel, the #1 National Bestseller NORA ROBERTS LAND, which kicked off her contemporary family series, Dare Valley. A mere six months after her debut in 2013, she’d hit the USA Today Bestseller list.

Ava’s stories have been likened to those of Nicholas Sparks–a fellow University of Notre Dame graduate–with powerful messages of healing, mystery, and magic. While fiction is her primary love, she’s also released a companion cookbook (she’s a former chef), a children’s book, and a nonfiction memoir about happiness, something she writes about on The Happiness Corner blog on her website. Ava has also released a connected series called Dare River about the power of love and family. THE CHOCOLATE GARDEN, one of the books in the series, topped the USA Today Bestseller list and has been widely acclaimed.

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Scandalous Redemption (Ladies and Scoundrels, Book 2) by Amanda Mariel – Tour & Excerpt


Ladies & Scoundrels, Book 2
by Amanda Mariel
May 31, 2016
147 Pages

She never wanted him…

Ruined by scandal, Claudia Akford survived years of marriage to a cruel brute. Widowed, she is determined to regain her standing in society, but Lord Shillington personifies temptation. Kind and gentle, yet masculine and sinfully handsome, he would make the perfect lover, but he wants more than she is willing to give.

He needed her…

While Henry Shillington knows a little of the beautiful but notorious Lady Claudia Akford, he is struck by her kindhearted, accomplished, and witty demeanor. The more time he spends in her company, the more he dreams of a future with her. But the lady resists his honorable overtures, and a mistress will never do for him.

Can two wary people overcome past hurts, an old scandal, and social strictures to embrace true love?







Lord Henry Shillington strode across the music room of Lord and Lady Morse’s country estate intent on locating his sister. The force of someone bumping into him sent him stumbling backward. He whirled around, auburn curls catching his gaze as he reached out to steady her. “Excuse me.” He offered a slight bow but did not release his hold on her.

The lady peered at him through narrowed, fierce green eyes the color of emeralds. “You should watch your step. Kindly unhand me.”

Henry met her icy glare. She radiated the sweet scent of champagne. It clung to the air around her filling his senses as if she had used it for perfume. “Good God, you’re foxed.”

Her earbobs danced and sparkled as she leaned in close, the fire in her eyes growing more intense. “My state is not your concern.” She jerked free of his hold and took a step back. Her blue jewel-toned gown swooshed with the sudden movement.

He grabbed her arm, halting her. His pulse pounded through his veins. “You cannot stay here in your condition. You will cause a scandal for yourself and our hosts.”

“What concern is it of yours?” She rounded on him.

He had to prevent her from causing a scene. “Allow me to escort you outside. We can stroll through the garden.” Part of him worried for their hosts, Lord and Lady Wexil were dear friends, but, if he were being honest, he would have to admit he wished to know more about this beauty. Something about her captivated him. Perhaps her unusual eyes or the misery he saw in them.

A slow smile spread across her full lips. “Very well.”

She swayed and clung to his arm as he led her out through the veranda doors and into the country air. What would compel a lady to become foxed so early in the evening? The sun had yet to give way to the moon’s glow. And who was she? Surely, they had never met before.

He turned her down a path lined with flowers and green foliage. The details of who she was and why she’d overindulged did not signify. She was clearly in distress, and he intended to help if he could. He studied the profile of her delicate face.

“Might we sit…what is your name?” Her exhilarating laughter floated through the empty space.
He had never heard a sweeter sound. “Lord Shillington. And yours?” He stopped in front of a cast iron bench. He couldn’t look away as she lowered herself onto the seat in a flutter of skirts. She was a mystery he wished to solve.

“Do sit with me, Lord Shillington.” She patted the bench next to her.

Henry positioned himself near her, but not too close. Being out here with an unchaperoned lady was scandalous enough. It was not his desire to compromise her–or himself. Given her state, he had no choice but to remove her from the gathering. However, he also had a responsibility to control the propriety of his own behavior.

A cool breeze ruffled her elegant skirts, drawing his attention to her body. Heat fanned through him as he studied her. She was tall and lithe, yet she possessed curves in all the right places. He offered a polite smile. “Your name, my lady?”

She looked at him through hooded lashes. “Lady Claudia Akford.”

His heart skipped a beat as his throat tightened. The notorious Lady Claudia Akford.




About Amanda Mariel

Bestselling, Amazon All Star author Amanda Mariel dreams of days gone by when life moved at a slower pace. She enjoys taking pen to paper and exploring historical time periods through her imagination and the written word. When she is not writing she can be found reading, crocheting, traveling, practicing her photography skills, or spending time with her family.

Amanda lives along the Lake Huron shoreline in northern Michigan with her husband and two kids. She holds a Master of Liberal Arts Degree with a concentration in literature and has a long-standing love affair with sugary junk food.


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