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Review & Giveaway: Doing It Over (Most Likely To, Book 1) by Catherine Bybee

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Doing It Over
(Most Likely To, Book 1)
by Catherine Bybee
334 pages
Montlake Romance
(Contemporary Romance)
Format: eARC NetGalley
 
Voted Most Likely to Succeed, Melanie Bartlett ended up anything but. The down-on-her-luck single mom wants a complete do-over—is that too much to ask? With her family long gone from River Bend, strong, independent Mel is as surprised as anyone to end up in the quaint small town she once called home. But with her friends, Jo and Zoe, by her side, and a comfortable room at Miss Gina’s quirky bed-and-breakfast, she just might have turned the corner on a new life.Wyatt Gibson never liked the big city. River Bend suits the ruggedly handsome builder just fine. Wyatt knows he’s home, even if that means being charmed by the appearance of Melanie and her spunky, adorable daughter. Is Wyatt’s calm devotion—even amid a coming storm—enough to convince Mel she may have found a home to call her own, a family that never leaves, and a true love to last a lifetime?
 

 
 

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‘Doing It Over’ is the first of Catherine’s contemporary romances I have read.  I love her historicals, and decided to give this one a try.  I am so glad that I did.  I love, loved this book, and I can hardly wait for the next in the series.

Have you just wanted ‘a do over?‘ I know that I have a time or two.  That is what Melanie is hoping for when she returns home to River Bend, after being gone for ten years.  Melanie is a little embarrassed to be returning to River Bend as an unwed mother, no job, and a car that ‘died’ 25 miles before reaching town.  She knows that everyone expected more from her, and they all think that she was married to Hope’s father, Nathan. She wouldn’t change being a mother to Hope for anything in the world.  It’s her ex, Nathan, the dead beat dad that she could’ve done without.  Melanie is stronger than she realizes, and that is something she will come to realize the longer she stays in River Bend around her family and friends.

Melanie and her two best friends, Zoe and Jo were inseparable, and in high school Melanie was considered  ‘the most likely to succeed’  , while Zoe was considered the most likely to never leave River Bend, and Jo, the most likely to end up in jail. They all have grown up, and while they have talked over the years, they haven’t seen much of each other.

Wyatt Gibson is not from River Bend, but he has come to considered it his home. He is keeping out of trouble, and building his contracting business. He is confident, sexy, protects those he cares about, and down to earth. He is also just about the only contractor in River Bend, so he stays pretty busy, and has made some good friends along the way. He is not looking for a serious relationship. The truth is he could have his choice of women, he just chooses not to. He steers clear of women in River Bend, because he doesn’t want all of the drama in case something goes wrong (and it usually does). So when he does want female companionship he goes to the next county over. He wants a simple life in River Bend with his family and friends. When he meets Melanie for the first time, he is determined to have her.

I loved that Melanie and Wyatt’s relationship wasn’t a ‘cat & mouse’ game. They were honest about their attraction to each other, and that is refreshing in romance books these days. Mrs Bybee did a wonderful job! I enjoyed the secondary characters, Zoe, Joe, Luke, William ‘Wild Bill’ Gibson (Wyatt’s father), Miss Gina (I wish I had a Miss Gina), and Hope was an absolute delight. I despised, Hope’s father, Nathan. Mrs Bybee knows how to make you dislike the bad guy. Well I am not sure ‘bad’ is a strong enough word. He was a disgusting, pitiful excuse of a father and human being.

I felt a kinship to Melanie, and I believe that is why I liked her so much. Everyone needs friends like the ones Melanie has in River Bend. The characters were believable, the story was fun, and the plot kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. I liked the town, and people so much that I felt like I was right there with them every step of the way. There are a few laugh out loud moments, and a few times I actually cried a bit (yes I did).

I am betting that the next book in The Most Likely To series will be Zoe and Luke’s. I suppose we will have to wait and see. I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys romance, likeable characters with depth, an H&H with real chemistry, and a story that isn’t only about the sex (while there is a scene or two), but about family and friends that takes care of each other, and new beginnings. I loved this book!
 

Happy Reading!
 

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I received a eARC copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  I have received no compensation for this review, besides the free eARC.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  You can read my Disclosure Policy here.

 
 
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New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Weekday Brides Series and the Not Quite Series. Bybee lives with her two teenage sons in Southern California.

 
 
 

 
 

Praise for Doing It Over

“The romance between fiercely independent Melanie and charming Wyatt heats up even as outsiders threaten to derail their newfound happiness. This novel will hook readers with its warm, inviting characters and the promise for similar future installments.” –Publishers Weekly

“This brand-new trilogy, Most Likely To, based on yearbook superlatives, kicks off with a novel that will encourage you to root for the incredibly likable Melanie. Her friends are hilarious and readers will swoon over Wyatt, who is charming and strong. Even Melanie’s daughter, Hope, is a hoot! This romance is jam-packed with animated characters, and Bybee displays her creative writing talent wonderfully.” –RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

 
 

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Steelheart (De Lohr Dynasty) by Kathryn Le Veque

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Steelheart- De Lohr Dynasty
by Kathryn Le Veque
Released on February 9, 2016
(Dragonblade Publishing)
495 Pages

1192 A.D. – David de Lohr, the younger brother of the great Christopher de Lohr (RISE OF THE DEFENDER), is a man who has lived his entire life in his prestigious older brother’s shadow. While his brother was nicknamed “The Lion’s Claw” as the right hand of Richard the Lionheart, David was nicknamed “The Lion Cub” because of his youth.

But David is a force to be reckoned with. Lightning-fast with a sword, he is a knight of the highest order and worthy of his own great legacy. And so, the story of David de Lohr, the knight with the heart of steel, begins.

Newly returned from the Holy Land where he fought with the Christian armies, David returns to find that England is perhaps more dangerous that the sands of The Levant. At a grand tournament given by Richard’s brother, John, David finds himself entrenched in the danger of the politics of England. Mercenaries hired by the prince are posing as legitimate knights, trying to kill those loyal to Richard.

News of Richard’s disappearance on his way home from the Holy Land only feeds John’s lust for the throne. As he brings a mercenary army to England’s shores, David and his brother must combat this tide of evil. Politics and mayhem follow David wherever he goes.

But what David didn’t count on was the introduction of a lovely young woman, the daughter of the Earl of Canterbury. Casually acquainted at first, David must save Emilie Hampton from the prince’s clutches not once but several times, throwing Emilie and David together again and again. Emilie makes her feelings for David known but David, the confirmed bachelor, is terrified of his feelings for her. As the fight for Richard’s throne gains in intensity, David finds himself increasingly distracted by the lovely lady who has stolen his heart.

It’s politics, mystery, passion, and chaos for David and Emilie as they try to find their way in a world that would see the two lovers torn apart.

 

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Emilie had lived in castles her entire life, with military capabilities, but she’d never been this close to a knight who was dressing. It was very interesting to watch and very intimate. Somehow, she felt closer to David than even when she’d given him her favor. She was seeing the man on an entirely different level now, in his natural state, preparing for war. In this case, even though it was a competition, she knew that it would be a battle.

This day had shown her that there was a fine line between an enemy and an ally, and even men under the guise of pleasantries were not to be trusted. She’d learned that all too quickly. All was not as it seemed in the upper hierarchy of the royal court. As David and his squires worked, a soldier came into the tent to bring her hot wine, which she accepted gratefully.

“I am sorry I do not have much more to offer by way of comfort,” David said when he noticed the soldier hand her the hot wine. “I had to have my men hold that cup over the fire to warm the wine so it is likely to be quite hot.”

 

Emilie grinned as she held the pewter cup with the blanket. “I have quickly learned that,” she said. “I am very grateful for your hospitality, my lord.”

David gave her a half-smile, his gaze lingering on her blonde head as she sipped at the liquid. He hadn’t spoken to her much since he’d brought her back, mostly because he assumed she was too distraught to speak, but her state of mind seemed improved as she gingerly slurped the wine. He thought it might be a good time to find out what, exactly, had happened.

“It is my pleasure,” he said. He hesitated a moment before continuing. “Do you feel strong enough to tell me what happened with the sheriff? I should probably know since I am risking my life to protect you from him. Tell me of the wonderfully terrible thing you did to him that made him chase you into hiding.”

He was smiling as he said it and Emilie laughed softly; it wasn’t as if there was really much to laugh about but David’s attempt at humor made her feel better about it, as if it were not as serious and horrible as she thought it was. She knew the man would protect her until the death and that thought alone made her feel braver.

 

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ABOUT KATHRYN LE VEQUE

KATHRYN LE VEQUE is a USA TODAY Bestselling author, an Amazon All-Star author, and a #1 bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author in Medieval Historical Romance and Historical Fiction. She has been featured in the NEW YORK TIMES and on USA TODAY’s HEA blog. In March 2015, Kathryn was the featured cover story for the March issue of InD’Tale Magazine, the premier Indie author magazine. She was also a quadruple nominee (a record!) for the prestigious RONE awards for 2015.

Kathryn’s Medieval Romance novels have been called ‘detailed’, ‘highly romantic’, and ‘character-rich’. She crafts great adventures of love, battles, passion, and romance in the High Middle Ages. More than that, she writes for both women AND men – an unusual crossover for a romance author – and Kathryn has many male readers who enjoy her stories because of the male perspective, the action, and the adventure.

On October 29, 2015, Amazon launched Kathryn’s Kindle Worlds Fan Fiction site WORLD OF DE WOLFE PACK. Please visit Kindle Worlds for Kathryn Le Veque’s World of de Wolfe Pack and find many action-packed adventures written by some of the top authors in their genre using Kathryn’s characters from the de Wolfe Pack series. As Kindle World’s FIRST Historical Romance fan fiction world, Kathryn Le Veque’s World of de Wolfe Pack will contain all of the great story-telling you have come to expect.

Kathryn loves to hear from her readers. Please find Kathryn on Facebook at Kathryn Le Veque, Author, or join her on Twitter @kathrynleveque, and don’t forget to visit her website at www.kathrynleveque.com.

 

 

Scrolls of Cridhe, Highland Winds, Vol. 1 by The Guardians of the Cridhe

http://romancewithabook.com/2014/11/scrolls-of-cridhe-highland-winds-vol-1-guardians-of-the-cridhe.html
Scrolls of the Cridhe, Highland Winds, Volume 1
 
 The Legend…

Long, long ago, in the time before time, seven sisters were called from the far reaches of the realm. Each brought unique talents, but had one common gift; the ability to weave ageless tales of love and courage. An evil witch coveted their gifts and locked them in a tower, silencing their voices upon threat of death. But the Highlands are enchanted, and magic will not countenance seven pure hearts such as theirs to be lost.

With no one else to hear them, they sang their stories to each other. Fate blew a braw Highland wind to their prison, and the sweet, high timbre of the sisters’ voices enthralled it. The wind gathered close their silver words as it raced past each day, and carried their love and goodness throughout the world…then across the ages.

Today, their words live on in the Guardians of the Cridhe, seven sisters who have sworn to preserve those pure and musical hearts so long as they live. It is said these seven descend from those ancient female bards. Only their words can bear witness to that truth… 


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Available for preorder  on Amazon today, and will be live on November 17th, for purchase.  You can purchase the Kindle Edition or the Print Edition.
The Scrolls of Cridhe, Highland Winds consist of 7 novellas from 7 beautiful, talented women:
(Click on names for authors Facebook Page)
The authors are donating a portion of the royalties from the sale of all e-books to the Cancer Research Institute, the world’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to advancing the science of cancer immunology with the goal of developing new ways to harness the immune system to prevent, treat, and—one day—cure cancer. 
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Highland Revenge by Ceci Giltenan
Scottish Highlands in 1340

Does he hate her clan enough to visit his vengeance on her? Or will he listen to her secret and his own heart’s yearning?

Hatred lives and breathes between medieval clans who often don’t remember why feuds began in the shadowed past.

But Eoin MacKay remembers.

He will never forget how he was treated by Bhaltair MacNicol—the acting head of Clan MacNicol. He was lucky to escape alive, and vows to have revenge.

Years later, as laird of Clan MacKay, he gets his chance when he captures Lady Fiona MacNicol. His desire for revenge is strong but he is beguiled by his captive. Can he forget his stubborn hatred long enough to listen to the secret she has kept for so long? And once he knows the truth, can he show her she is not alone and forsaken? In the end, is he strong enough to fight the combined hostilities and age-old grudges that demand he give her up?

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The Taming of Mairi MacKenzie by Sue-Ellen Welfonder
Western Highlands. The year is 1351, in autumn…

A forbidden love so powerful it could destroy them both.

Mairi MacKenzie can bring the dead back to life. But her fame as this special healer is a curse too much to bear, and she takes refuge in the ancient broch of Dunwynde, the Glen of Winds, her secret, well-guarded home. Many are her reasons for hiding from the world, allowing folk to believe she’s a banshee. Clan MacKenzie protects her as one of their dearest treasures. Only Mairi knows how unworthy she is of her clan’s devotion.

Sir Gare MacTaggert only desires redemption. Once counted amongst Scotland’s greatest warriors, he hasn’t lifted a sword in years because of a battlefield tragedy that broke his soul. All that is left to him is his clan and his home, and now he stands to lose them as well. Scotland’s crown wants his corner of the realm strengthened and so a King’s writ has ordered him to forge an alliance – through marriage.

Yet his honor won’t allow him to wed any woman, dead as he is inside. He seeks the aid of the Glen of Winds banshee, but before she can restore his will to live, they must face a greater challenge: the forbidden love that could destroy them.

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Stealing Moirra’s Heart by Suzan Tisdale
Moirra Dundottar needs a man. Much as she hates to admit it, it’s true. With a reputation for losing husbands, her prospects are slim, her outlook bleak. Until the morning she sees a strange man on the town square–a man who’s accused of being a thief and is locked in the pillory.

“Something tells me ye be no thief.”

The strange man gives her a quick glance up and down, flashes a brilliant white smile and laughs. “I am many things, lass. All around bastard, ne’er-do-well, and rakehell. But I be no thief.”

She didn’t believe he was a thief when she rescued him … until he stole her heart.

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Spirit Stones by Kate RobbinsSheona MacLeod has a gift.

Connected to the spirit world, Sheona engages with souls long departed. Caught in the middle of the most vicious battle she has ever witnessed, she is captured by her bitter enemy. Armed with only her gift, can she escape his clutches and return to the safety of her clan?

Malcolm MacDonald seeks change.

Exhausted from the centuries old feud between his clan, the MacDonalds, and the MacLeods, Malcolm sees no future for any of them. His enemy’s intoxicating daughter stirs a need for peace within him that drives him to risk everything—except her.

Together, they can change destiny—if they dare.

At the climax of one of the bloodiest feuds in clan history, Malcolm and Sheona forge a powerful bond strong enough to break the shackles of prejudice and hatred.

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A Tear For Memory by Kathryn Lynn DavisHow can a seer paint ‘Truth’ when she’s lived a life of lies? Will she allow a man who has twice deceived her to open her heart to the truth?

In the Highlands of Glen Affric, years after The Forty-Five—the Jacobite rising led by Bonnie Prince Charlie—Celia Rose lives happily in Faeries’ Haven, where the lies that protect her from the past keep the magic and the faeries away. She finds her only magic when she paints, and “sees” things she cannot possibly know: she has been blessed with the Sight.

When a stranger comes on a mysterious errand, he threatens those who want to keep her safe at home. Little by little, he shows her new colors, new worlds and, most compelling—new passions. But he also brings danger, for he, too, lives a lie and is not what he seems. Still, danger comes in many forms, and the truth he offers leaves Celia with a difficult choice: to believe in those who loved and raised her; or trust this man, and learn the dark secret that could both destroy her innocence and forge in her a woman’s heart. 

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A Jewel in the Vaults by Lily BaldwinShe has never met a man like him before. Then again, he has never met a lad like her.

In 1802, Edinburgh’s poverty-ridden Old Town is rife with danger, but it is the only home Robbie MacKenzie has ever known. To safeguard herself against the worst villains of the street, Robbie conceals her femininity behind her shorn hair, dirt-smeared face, and tattered breeches. To all the world she is a lad, but beneath the ruse is a woman aching to break free.

Leaving his beloved Highlands behind in pursuit of his prodigal brother, Conall MacKay journeys to Edinburgh. There, he solicits the aid of a young street lad named Robbie. But Conall soon realizes that there is more to both Robbie and Edinburgh’s Old Town than meets the eye.

In a world where wickedness governs and darkness reigns, a savage struggle for dignity, survival, and love begins.  


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Lord Grayson’s Bride by Tarah ScottShe can’t allow his love for her to destroy him…
When Nicholas Spencer, Earl of Grayson, returns to claim the woman he loves, Lady Josephine Knightly isn’t willing to forgive him for abandoning her six years ago. But neither can she resist the man he’s become.
Two days after Josephine signs the marriage contract she discovers a nasty secret that will destroy her family. The only way to protect them—to protect the only man she’s ever loved—is to disappear…or die.
Nicholas won’t make the same mistake twice and let Josephine Knightly go. She loves him. He felt it in their one kiss before he left, and in the single kiss she allowed since his return. But she’s doing everything in her power to sabotage the marriage even before it’s begun. Nicholas doesn’t care. If Hell is where he must live to have her, then she must stand by his side in the fire. 
Happy Reading!
 

 



 

Review: The Seaglass Sisters: Prelude to the Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate

http://romancewithabook.com/2014/08/review-seaglass-sisters-prelude-to.html

Title:  The Seaglass Sisters:  Prelude to the Prayer Box
Author:  Lisa Wingate
Date Published:  July 15, 2013

Elizabeth Gallagher has been balancing on the ragged edge for a while now. Then a rough case on the boards of her 911 operator’s job collides with a family conflict at home, and Elizabeth finds herself finally coming apart at the seams. A four-state road trip—trapped in a car with her mother—is the last thing she needs. Their destination may be beautiful Hatteras Island, but the reason for going is anything by pleasant. After one disastrous hurricane, and with a second one working its way up the coast, it’s time to convince Aunt Sandy to abandon her little seaside store on North Carolina’s Outer Banks and return to the family fold in Michigan. But when the storm sweeps through, the three women will discover that sisterhood and the sea can change hearts, lives, and futures . . . often in the most unpredictable of ways.

My Review

 ~~(Excerpt)  “I always thought that was the strangest name for a grocery store.  .  .  .” Her face turns solemn as she leans forward to get a better view of the Piggly Wiggly sign. For a moment, there’s a mist in her eyes. “You were such a cute little thing  .  .  .” The sentence goes unfinished as if she knows that I’ve reached a point in life where a sense of yearning for the past strikes me too. There’s something magical about that time when your babies are small, when you’re the center of their world, the person they love the most.~~

I really enjoyed this book!  It is a short novella that I read in about 2 hours. 

Elizabeth is a  911 operator and she is suffering with guilt about a call that went terribly wrong.  On top of that her children are almost grown and will probably be going their on way soon, and she is left to wonder what she will do with her life then.  She and her husband haven’t been to close lately and she hates to ask him if he is having an affair, because right now she doesn’t want to know the answer.

Elizabeth is sleep deprived and getting some much needed rest when her mother pops in and wants her to drive to Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with her.  The mission is to talk some sense into her aunt Sandy, and make her come home.  To top it off there is a hurricane that is due to reach Hatteras Island in less that 24 hours.

This book  while being short, only 86 pages, was not short on anything else.  The author did a beautiful job of letting her readers know the characters in such a short time.  Three generations of women come together and help each other physically and mentally.  Reading this book felt healing to me somehow.

Happy Reading!

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