Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blog Tour, Scavenger Hunt,Review & Giveaway: Run the Risk by Lori Foster (CLOSED)

If you're coming from the blog tour, welcome! Below you'll find the final excerpt of Run the Risk.  If this is your first stop on the tour, you'll need to start from the beginning to get the whole excerpt. Go here, to see the full list of blog tour stops.

Run the Risk by Lori Foster
Harlequin HQN
September 2012
Format: Paperback ARC, 379 pages

First line: Pepper Yates felt the intense scrutiny stroking over her as she make her way to her apartment building.

From the back cover: When Detective Logan Riske goes undercover to find Pepper Yates, a potential link to his best friend's unsolved murder, he vows to gain her cooperation by any means necessary. But the elusive beauty is more suspicious - and in far more danger - than he expected. And the last thing Logan needs is to start caring for her…...

Pepper has spent years dodging the corrupt club owner who will stop at nothing to keep her silenced. She can trust no one, not even the handsome new "construction worker" who's moved in next door. The heat between them is undeniable. But will surrendering to passion bring her the safety she so desires - or will her feelings for Logan draw them both into a killer's crosshairs?

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Lori Foster and I thoroughly enjoyed it - what's not to love with some steamy romance scenes involving a hot hunk! This is the first in her Love Undercover series and I am really glad that I signed up to be part of this tour!

In Run the Risk, we are introduced to Logan Risk and Pepper Yates. Detective Logan Riske is working undercover and attempting to get to know his neighbor, Sue Meeks in an effort to discover the whereabouts of her brother. He knows that she is really Pepper Yates but she doesn't know who he really is. Pepper and her brother Rowdy have been in hiding for some time and Logan and his partner Reece are trying to solve the murder of a friend, the murder that Pepper and Rowdy have information about and the reason why they are in hiding.

Full of deceit, action, many twists and turns, and suspense, I had a hard time figuring out who was on what side. The fear of police corruption meant that like the main characters I wasn't sure who to trust or believe and as a result I changed my mind about more than one character as the story unfolded. We meet quite a cast of characters and all have the possibility that they could be working for the wrong side. Even Logan's own partner is made out to have questionable motives. While Logan and Pepper's relationship is the main focus, we do meet the potential romances for Reece and Rowdy (Alice and the waitress, respectively). We get a few details about these characters - just enough to make us want to read more!

I'm looking forward to reading Reece's story in the next installment, Bare It All, and hope that Dash and Rowdy get their own stories, too! In the meantime, I will definitely be looking into Lori Foster's other books. If you read her, what other series or book would you recommend?

Scavenger Hunt/Excerpt:
Slowly, she lifted her head. Did she have a good reason to engage him in conversation? To get to know him better?
                She pressed her hands to her cheeks and fought off a smile.
                Yes, that’s what she would do. She would stop deflecting him, and instead—she’d shyly reciprocate. If that didn’t scare him off once and for all, she didn’t know what would.

I received a complimentary copy of Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Miller from Kate at Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.

Books in this series:
  1. Run the Risk
  2. Bare It All

Giveaway Information (CLOSED):

Thanks to Liz at Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, I have one copy of Run the Risk to give away to my readers.  Giveaway is open to US/Canada.

To enter please leave a comment below and include your email address (only comments with email addresses will be entered in the giveaway). 

- +3 additional entries become a follower of Always With a Book. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries (just leave the name you follow under). 

- +1 additional entry each, please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting, pinning to Pinterest or posting this giveaway on Facebook. 
All entries can be in one comment.

Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: Fool for Love by Beth Ciotta

Fool for Love by Beth Ciotta
St. Martin's Paperbacks
August 2012
Format: Paperback, 368 pages

First line: "How many years do you think I'd get for death by Cuisinart?"

From the back cover: SHE’S CRAVING A SWEET NEW LIFE… 
Call her a fool, but chef-in-training Chloe Madison wants to have her cake and eat it too. So when her boyfriend dumps her for some French tart, she decides to start over from scratch—with a new life and job in Sugar Creek, Vermont. What could be sweeter than cooking for an eccentric lady who’s crazy for desserts? What could be more tempting than joining a club called the Cupcake Lovers? Just one thing: local business-hunk Devlin Monroe…

Although he’s  the grandson of Chloe’s fun-loving boss, Devlin Monroe is all work and no play. Micro-managing the family business, he doesn’t have time to indulge in life’s  sweetest pleasures—until he meets Chloe. How can he resist such a vibrant, beautiful woman who brings so much passion to the table? But when old grudges and secrets threaten to destroy the Cupcake Lovers, Devlin must decide if his feelings for Chloe are a recipe for disaster—or a sinfully delicious ever-after…

My thoughts: This is the first in Beth Ciotta's Cupcake Lovers series and I really enjoyed it! It's a contemporary romance tale that you can't help but get caught up in and root for the pair to figure things out and get it right.

Having just been dumped by her boyfriend, free-spirit Chloe is at her wit's end. Luckily her best friend Monica has a solution - come up to Sugar Creek and be the companion to Daisy Monroe, a spitfire 70-something that needs someone to keep any eye on her. Not only will Chloe be able to use that culinary degree that she just got, but she will be near Monica. Sounds like a good plan, but things couldn't be that easy. First, Chloe literally bumps into Daisy's grandson Devlin, a hot hunk. Then she comes to find out that Daisy isn't so easy to keep an eye on - she's stubborn and still wants to live life.

In this first installment of the Cupcake Lovers series, we meet a whole new cast of characters. There's Chloe, Daisy, Monica and Devlin along with Devlin's brothers and sister, his cousins, and the rest of the Cupcake Lovers club members. Daisy's a pip and I hope she's around for a long time - her antics are hysterical!!! I love the premise behind the Cupcake Lovers - a club that was started back in the 1940s as a way for the members to commiserate over their loved ones away at war. They soon started shipping cupcakes over to the men and organizing charitable events here on the home-front. I also love that a few of the cupcake recipes are included in the back of the book - I will definitely be making a copy of these before returning my book to the library!

This is looking to be a promising new series and I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series, The Trouble With Love. Being introduced to so many characters in this first book, there are quite a few possibilities as to who the next book will focus on...although I do have my suspicions and that was before reading the short excerpt included at the back of this book. Do you read those excerpts or do you wait until the book comes out to find out what it's about?

(I borrowed this book from the library.)

Books in this series:
  1. Fool for Love
  2. The Trouble With Love - due out March 2013

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's Monday...What Are You Reading? (10.29.12)

It’s Monday What Are you Reading , hosted by Sheila, is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.

Where did this past week go? Oh, I know - I was crazy busy with work and then I spent the last part of the week getting ready for husband and I spent all day Saturday getting our boats ready - and boy was that tiring! For all you in the path of the storm - stay safe!!!

Books Completed last week:

  • Love Anthony by Lisa Genova (review audio book)
  • Run the Risk by Lori Foster (review book)
Reading Now: 
  • Wild Man Creek by Robyn Carr (e-book)
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (mine)
  • The Hot Flash Club Strikes Again by Nancy Thayer (library audio book) - car/house
  • Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts (library audio book) - ipod
  • High Five by Janet Evanovich (mine) 
  • The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy O'Brien (review book) 
 Reviews Completed last week:
 Other posts related to books:
Books for which I need to finish reviews:
  • Run the Risk by Lori Foster
Contest information:  
  • Check back later this week for another giveaway!
What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (21) 10.28.12

Tynga of Tynga's Reviews is starting a new meme to spotlight the books we receive each week.  Here's what I got: 
  For Review:

Crossing on the Paris
by Dana Gynther
This sounds like it will be an interesting read - it's set during the 1920's and is about three women crossing the Atlantic on the SS Paris's maiden voyage...I'm looking forward to reading this one!
From the Library:
The Hot Flash Club Strikes Again (audio)
by Nancy Thayer
I picked up a bunch of audios this week because I will be doing a fair bit of driving in the coming weeks. I listened to the first Hot Flash Club a while ago and thought it was hysterical. Hope this one is as good!
Comfort and Joy (audio)
by Kristin Hannah
I always enjoy Kristin Hannah's books and somehow I missed this one when it came out.

Hot Six (audio)
by Janet Evanovich
I'm slowly making my way through the Stephanie Plum books and I've found that they are great audios - very funny and the narrator, CJ Critt, is fantastic!!!
From the Library Book Sale:
by James Patterson
This one came out a while ago and I've been on the fence about reading it...still not sure if I will, but I found a hard cover copy to add to my collection, so I got it.
Lone Wolf
by Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult is another one of those authors that you just can't go wrong with. I love how she tackles controversial issues and this one sounds very interesting.
What did you get this week?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: Love Anthony by Lisa Genova (audio)

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova
Read by Deborah Messing
Simon and Schuster Audio
September 2012
Length: 9 hours

From the back of the audio case: I'm always hearing about how my brain doesn't work right...But it doesn't feel broken to me.

Olivia Donatelli's dream of a "normal" life shattered when her son, Anthony, was diagnosed with autism at age three. Understanding the world from  his perspective felt bewildering, nearly impossible. He didn't speak. He hated to be touched. He almost never made eye contact. And just as Olivia was starting to realize that happiness and autism could coexist, Anthony died.

Now she's alone in a cottage on Nantucket, separated from her husband, desperate to understand the meaning of her son's short life, when a chance encounter with another woman facing her own loss brings Anthony alive again for Olivia in a most unexpected way.

Beth Ellis's entire life changed with a simple note: "I'm sleeping with Jimmy." Fourteen years of marriage. Three beautiful daughters. She had never felt so alone. Heartbroken, she finds the pieces of the vivacious, creative person she used to be packed away in a box in her attic. For the first time in years, she uncaps her pen, takes a deep breath, and begins to write. The young but exuberant voice that emerges onto the page is a balm to the turmoil within her, a new beginning, and an astonishing bridge back to herself.

In a piercing story about motherhood, autism, and love, New York Times bestselling author Lisa Genova offers us two unforgettable women on the verge of change and the irrepressible young boy whose unique wisdom helps them both find the courage to move on.

My thoughts: I have now read everything by Lisa Genova and can say I am definitely a fan! Having the scientific background coupled with great writing skills really gives Lisa Genova the ability to explore topics that are at the forefront of the medical community. She looks at early onset Alzheimer's in Still Alice and one possible effect from a traumatic brain injury in Left Neglect. Now in Love Anthony, she takes a look at autism.

A chance encounter with a young boy on a Nantucket beach and his row of smooth white stones leads the reader on an amazing journey into the world of autism and the power of love. Love Anthony is the heart-breaking and life-affirming story of Olivia, who is dealing with the break-up of her marriage to David following the death of their son and Beth, who is struggling with her husband's infidelity and wondering if she can forgive him - and how they are brought together through the words of an 8 year old autistic boy named Anthony.  
Olivia and Beth meet on in a chance encounter and their lives then become intertwined in a way they could never foresee. The story seamlessly goes back and forth from Beth's point of view to Olivia's, all while moving the story ahead. Love Anthony really is a love story - especially about the unconditional love between a mother and child.  It is a heartwarming story that I think will stay with me for a long time. I've worked with autistic children in the past and could really see some of them in Anthony's character.  

I cannot wait to see what Lisa Genova gives us next...her stories are real, raw and heartfelt all the while giving the reader real information about a medical topic. 

Audio thoughts: I loved Deborah Messing when she was on Will and Grace and found her to be a great narrator for this book. She was able to give each character their own voice, raw with emotion when needed, and that includes the voice of Anthony. It was easy to tell when he was speaking This is the first time I've listened to Deborah Messing narrate a book and I will definitely be looking to see what else she has done.

I received a complimentary copy of Love Anthony by Lisa Genova from Lauren at Simon & Shuster Audio.

*** Devourer of Books hosts Sound Bytes every Friday - a meme to share the audio books that everyone is listening to. Stop by and you just might find your next audio book!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Review: Once Upon a Time, There Was You by Elizabeth Berg

Once Upon a Time, There Was You by Elizabeth Berg
Random House
March 2011
Format: Hardcover, 280 pages

First line: When John Marsh was a young boy, he used to watch his mother getting ready to go out for the evening.

From the inside cover: From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of Home Safe and The Last Time I Saw You comes a beautiful and moving novel about a man and woman, long divorced, who rediscover the power of love and family in the midst of an unthinkable crisis. 

Even on their wedding day, John and Irene sensed that they were about to make a mistake. Years later, divorced, dating other people, and living in different parts of the country, they seem to have nothing in common—nothing except the most important person in each of their lives: Sadie, their spirited eighteen-year-old  daughter. Feeling smothered by Irene and distanced from John, Sadie is growing more and more attached to her new boyfriend, Ron.

When tragedy strikes, Irene and John come together to support the daughter they love so dearly. What takes longer is to remember how they really feel about each other.

Elizabeth Berg has once again created characters who embody the many shades of the human spirit. Reading Berg’s fiction allows us to reflect on our deepest emotions, and her gifts as a writer make Once Upon a Time, There Was You a wonderful novel about the power of love, the unshakeable bonds of family, and the beauty of second chances.

My thoughts:  Shortly after this book came out, Elizabeth Berg came to the local independent book store near me and I went to see her. She is a lovely woman and to start out the evening, she read from the prologue of the book. I absolutely love listening to authors read their own work - their love and passion of their craft really comes out. Unfortunately, I only got around to reading this now - a year and a half after seeing her, and I have to say I was left wanting more.

One of the things I love most about Elizabeth Berg's works is her ability to give us in-depth character sketches. Her books are more character driven than they are plot driven. In Once Upon a Time, There Was You, we meet Irene, John and Sadie. Irene and John are divorced and trying to move on with their lives. Sadie is on the cusp of adulthood, about to go off to college, and definitely testing the waters of her independence. When one of Sadie's plans go awry, Iris and John come together to deal with the crisis. While spending time together, they reflect on their relationship - why they loved each other and what problems separated them. It is a rather thoughtful look back over their marriage without bitterness, just some sadness. 

The major crisis that Sadie goes through was, in my opinion, not fully explored. It seemed to be a driving point in getting Irene and John to come together, but then was rushed through and glossed over. I would have liked to see more about this - how moving forward, they deal with what has happened.

Overall, this was a good story, but definitely not my favorite. I will, however, continue to read some of her older books - I have 7 sitting on my bookshelf waiting for me to get to them!

What do you do when an author you like delivers a less than stellar book? Do you continue reading them or do you stop?

(I purchased this book.)


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fall Into Reading: 1st Question and Update

We are about a month into the Fall Into Reading 2012 hosted by Katrina over at Callapidder Days. This time around, instead of weekly questions, Katrina will post a question periodically. Here's the first one:

Is there an author (or authors) whose books you are always watching for? Do you jump to snatch up the latest literary offering from certain specific authors? In other words, who are your go-to authors?

I tend to read mostly fiction, so my to-go-to authors are all fiction. 
     Adriana Trigiani
     James Patterson*
     Iris Johansen
     Carly Phillips
     Elin Hilderbrand
     CW Gortner

* I read almost everything by James Patterson but there are a few books/series that I do not read by him. He is, though, the one author that I always buy books by and I get them in hardcover. For the other authors I listed, I buy books by Adriana Trigiani and CW Gortner. The other authors, I usually get from the library.

Of course, there are other authors that I read regularly, but the ones listed above I have have to say are my absolute favorites. Who are your go-to authors?

FIR 2012 update:
I have finished reading 10 out of the 25 books on my list, plus 1 not on the list. I am in the middle of 3 other books. If you are participating, how are you doing?


Review: NYPD Red by James Patterson

NYPD Red by James Patterson
Little, Brown and Company
October, 2012
Format: Hardcover

First line: It's the height of the breakfast rush at the Regency's world-famous You-Can-Kiss-Our-A**-If-You-re-Not-Rich-and-Powerful dining room.

From the inside cover: NYPD Red is a task force whose job is protecting New York City's richest, most powerful A-list citizens.

It's the start of Hollywood on Hudson, and New York City is swept up in the glamour. Every night, the red carpet rolls out for movie stars arriving at premieres in limos; the most exclusive restaurants close for private parties for wealthy producers and preeminent directors; and thousands of fans gather with the paparazzi, hoping to catch a glimpse of the most famous and beautiful faces in the world. With this many celebrities in town, special task force NYPD Red is on high alert-and they can't afford to make a single mistake.

Then a world-renowned producer fatally collapses at his power breakfast, and top NYPD Red Detective Zach Jordan is the first one on the scene. Zach works with his beautiful new partner, Detective Kylie MacDonald-who also happens to be his ex-girlfriend-to discover who the murderer might be. But this is only the beginning: the most brutal, public, and horrifyingly spectacular crimes they've ever encountered are about to send all of New York into chaos, putting NYPD Red on the ropes.

Zach and Kylie know there's no way of telling what a killer this deranged will do next. With the whole world watching, they have to find a way to stop a psychopath who has scripted his finale down to the last explosive detail. With larger-than-life action, relentless speed, and white-knuckle twists, NYPD Red is the next mega-blockbuster from "The Man Who Can't Miss." (TIME)

My thoughts: love affair with James Patterson continues!!! A new book out and I am at the bookstore when it first opens on release day...I think the employees at Barnes and Noble are starting to know me and my reading habits!

Detective Zach Jordan and his new partner Kylie MacDonald, an ex-girlfriend he still hasn’t got over, work for the New York Police Department’s High Profile Victims Response Team otherwise known as NYPD Red. This department is tasked with protecting the rich and the famous. Jordan and McDonald are charged with finding the serial killer who seems to be wreaking havoc on "Hollywood on the Hudson," an event the mayor has set up to encourage movie producers to make movies in NYC. For some reason, there is a "crazy" man fixated on killing as many people connected with films and film-making as possible.

NYPD Red is a fast paced, action packed thriller with lots of twists and full of suspense - a real page turner. I flew through this book and was left wondering if this is just a stand-alone book or will it lead to a new series? I would love to see how Jordan and MacDonald work out their partnership moving forward. Also there is another character introduced that could potentially lead to a love interest for Jordan...will we ever see where this leads to? James Patterson - if you happen to be reading this, I would love to see more of Jordan and MacDonald and the NYPD Red team.

Have you read ever a book that you wish was turned into a series?

(I purchased this book.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review: Home to Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani

Home to Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
Ballantine Books
October 2007
Format: Paperback, 336 pages

First line: As the wind blows through our bedroom window, it sounds like a whistling teakettle.

From the back cover: Nestled in the lush Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the town of Big Stone Gap has been home for Ave Maria Mulligan Machesney and her family for generations. But with her daughter, Etta, having flown the nest to enchanting Italy, Ave Maria has reached a turning point, and she realizes that it’s time to go in search of brand-new dreams. Yet before she can put her foot on the path, her life is turned upside down.

Ave Maria agrees to helm the town musical, a hilarious reunion of local talent past and present. A lifelong friendship collapses when a mysterious stranger comes to town and reveals a long-buried secret. An unexpected health crisis threatens her family. An old heartthrob reappears, challenging her marriage. An opportunistic coal company threatens to undermine the town’s way of life and the mountain landscape Ave Maria has treasured since she was a girl. Now she has no choice but to reinvent her world, her life, and herself, whether she wants to or not. 

My thoughts: This is the 4th and final book in Adriana Trigiani's Big Stone Gap series and I am so bummed it has come to an end...I loved this series. What started out as a slow read quickly became a much-loved series and I came to feel as if Ave Maria, Jack Mac, Etta, Iva Lou, Fleeta and all the rest of the gang were old friends.

Now that Ave Maria's daughter Etta is married and living in Italy, she experiences all the typical empty-nest worries - she worries about her and Jack's health, about their mortality, about their marriage, about family, and about friends. At the same time that she thinks she's lost her daughter, a dear friend discovers hers. And when a health scare comes about for Jack Mac, she finds out that he's always dreamed of visiting Scotland. Worrying has always been a part of Ave Maria, but when she begins to acknowledge her inability to control events around her, she relaxes and starts to enjoy her friends and family in a way she never has before. 

Taking us from a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to a small town in Scotland, Adriana Trigiani does so in such a way that you the reader feel like you are right there with the characters. Her writing is so descriptive and compelling that you can't help get caught up with all that is going on. 

I feel as if I have lost my best friend now that I have finished reading this series. It is definitely going to be a series that I will reread some time in the future - maybe I will even try the audio version of the books. Have you ever read a series that you just didn't want to end or do you have a series that you reread over and over again?

(I got this book from Paperback Swap.)

Books in this series:
  1. Big Stone Gap
  2. Big Cherry Holler
  3. Milk Glass Moon
  4. Home to Big Stone Gap


Monday, October 22, 2012

It's Monday...What Are You Reading? (10.22.12)

It’s Monday What Are you Reading , hosted by Sheila, is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.

Since Bloggiesta at the end of September, I have made a point of trying to stay up-to-date with my reviews. I have to say, I like being this on top of things! I started using a new organizational tool that I saw during Bloggiesta and that is helping tremendously. Hopefully I will be able to keep this up!

Books Completed last week:

  • Once Upon a Time There Was You by Elizabeth Berg (mine)
  • Fool for Love by Beth Ciotta (library book)
Reading Now: 
  • Run the Risk by Lori Foster (review book)
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (mine)
  • Love Anthony by Lisa Genova (review audio book) - car/house
  • Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts (library audio book) - ipod
  • High Five by Janet Evanovich (mine) 
  • The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy O'Brien (review book) 
 Reviews Completed last week:
 Other posts related to books:
Books for which I need to finish reviews:
  • NYPD Red by James Patterson 
  • Once Upon a Time There Was You by Elizabeth Berg
  • Fool for Love by Beth Ciotta
What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (20) 10.21.12

Tynga of Tynga's Reviews is starting a new meme to spotlight the books we receive each week.  Here's what I got: 
  For Review:

The Lincoln Conspiracy
by Timothy O'Brien
This is not my usual type of read, but I am completely intrigued by the title. I will be participating in the tour for this book in November.
To Die For
by Sandra Byrd
This is the first in Sandra Byrd's Ladies in Waiting series. I read the second one earlier this year and am looking forward to reading this one.
The Crown
by Nancy Bilyeau
This book just intrigues me and with the second book coming out early next year, I just had to get it.

Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot
by Bill O'Reilly
I got this because of my obsession with the Kennedy's. I'm not sure if it's really my type of book, but every time I was in the bookstore, I found myself looking at it, so I finally bought it.
What did you get this week?
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