Here in My Heart by Anna DeStefano (Book Review)

HiMH FinalLive and work together, or lose everything that matters…

The ultimatum tilts Dru Hampton’s contented life in Chandlerville, Georgia, on its ear. The man that Vivian, her cantankerous boss and benefactor, wants Dru to partner with—live with—is Brad Douglas, who’s let Dru down every way a man can.

Sheriff’s deputy Brad Douglas has come a long way since his rebellious youth. He’s back home to care for Vivian, his ill grandmother. He’s stayed out of Dru’s way all these years to make up for the hurt he once caused her. Now, the delightfully mischievous Vivian’s dying wish is for them to rebuild at least a working relationship together…and she’s betting on them rediscovering much more.

The family business and the Douglas home that Dru and Brad both cherish will be sold if they don’t resolve their differences. Can these childhood sweethearts make up and reclaim each other’s hearts before it’s too late?

annaABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nationally bestselling author Anna DeStefano has searched her entire life for the soul of the matter at the heart of her world’s mysteries. As a small child, she drew from her experiences, senses, and dreams to paint a lush fantasy world, filled with endless possibility and characters of her own creation. Putting pen to paper, Anna transforms these inner landscapes into rich storytelling.

Hers is a realistic but optimistic vision, searching for hope and transformation through intense emotional journeys. Her fuel–the inner passions and conflicts of the characters she crafts. Much like a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, Anna’s characters face the ultimate of human choices: finding the courage to conquer their fears and thrive until, despite every obstacle, they become the beautiful things they’re meant to be.

An author, workshop and keynote speaker, writing coach, and acquiring editor, Anna’s creative vision permeates every challenge she undertakes.
She wants you to stop, look, and keep digging, until you find the soul of your own fantasies. Her novels’ rich blend of realism and fantasy invites Anna’s readers into her creative mission to dig deeper and see each of life’s moment with emotional honesty and clarity. Discovery and joy are her touchstones, regardless of how difficult her characters’ journeys might be. She will challenge you to transform into all you’re meant to be, as well. She speaks and blogs regulary. Join Anna each week for Soul Of The Matter, Dream Theories, Things My Teenager Says, How We Write, Waterfall Challenges, and more.

Past President of Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), Anna’s also Senior Tech Writer with a GA Tech honors degree an 10 years of experience working in Corporate IT. Her novels have garnered numerous awards including twice winning the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion, the Golden Heart, the Maggie Award for Excellence, and finalling in awards such as the National Readers’ Choice and Book Seller’s Best Awards. She’s the author of over 16 novels since 2004 in four different genres, with nearly half a million copies of her books in print in over 5 different languages.

Purchase Here in My Heart in these formats (click one):

 Kindle
Audiobook

My thoughts on the book:

The cover was one of the first things that caught my eye about HERE IN MY HEART. Although I had not previously heard of the author, once I read the book blurb, I thought, this sounds like a nice Sunday afternoon read. Turns out, it was.

HERE IN MY HEART had the usual small town characters and love gone wrong, and it was all very well written. But, what left an impression on me was the small town in which the story takes place. The author writes of a small town where everyone knows everyone else, where people still live at a slower pace and care about one another. They show up at the hospital when you are sick, they support their local kids, and they still find enjoyment in watching young love blossom and grow. It is a place where families know the name of their waitress and the waitress knows the family and service with a welcoming smile is the norm. It about a town who doesn’t forget about one of their own when she is moved to a hospice house in another town.

While I loved the storyline of young love, it was the town’s people I most enjoyed reading about. I am giving HERE IN MY HEART five stars. The book was well-written and had a wonderful storyline about love and trust; definitely one to add to your to be read pile.

My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book may have been provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

Cocktail Cove by Jennifer Saints (Review)

When life shakes you up and pours you over the rocks…

Socialite Nikita Derringer is hiding from the mob because of a deal her ex made with the devil, that she accidentally did her ex in with her designer heels, is… beside the point.
Guilt ridden developer Ben Harding walked away from his lucrative big city job and is searching for redemption in the quiet solitude of his grandfather’s sacred fishing cove. But fate has something else in mind for them at cocktail cove. Throw in sex therapy for the masses, a bear of a dog, the deep end of passion and you’ve got a potent mix guaranteed to ignite your senses and fill your heart with love and laughter.

Author Jennifer Saints:

Under a barrage of nagging by BFF’s, I’ve been told my bio was boring, not at all a reflection of just who I am beneath the surface, which is a compliment…I think. So, what can I tell you about me?
I don’t play video games or watch horror because I can’t take the heat, but give me a kick-ass thriller every minute of every day and I am there. Be prepared for a Hoover Dam meltdown if you’re with me and the movie is sad. So, to avoid disaster, I love romantic comedies.
Never coffee. Always tea. Never beer. Always champagne. There’s more, but hey, gotta save some secrets until after the first date, right?
I grew up in Miami. Went to nursing school in Georgia, where I now reside. I wrote for nine years before I sold a book, which made me a firm believer that a person should NEVER NEVER NEVER GIVE UP ON THEIR DREAMS.
Besides great kids, family, and friends, that perseverance has so far garnered me a USA Today Bestselling tag. I write in a number of genres and have won a number of writing awards, two National Choice Awards, three Maggie Awards, a RT Book Club Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, the Marlene Award, and the Golden Heart Award to name most of them. I work with several amazing women in a charity to raise money for a shelter that helps abused and homeless women and children and also contributes to the Angels of East Africa. I’ve revived my nursing career after a long hiatus, and currently work in a surgical clinic.
I write romance because I believe that when you take a human being to the very core of his existence, then you will find that what matters more than anything else is to be loved and to give love.

Review:

This is the first book I’ve read by Jennifer Saints, but I assure you that it won’t be the last. It was laugh out loud funny. It had adventure. It had a clumsy, but terribly mean hitman. It had love and twins and more twins, and love on the rocks, and love…well, love everywhere.

Take two proper British lads studying psychology and insert two American twins with mental telepathy and interesting things began to happen. Add in an overly protective brother, a grandmother, two maidenly aunts, and a dog and you’ve got trouble.

The book is well written, including the sex scenes – which by the way, left this Southern gal reaching for a tall glass of sweet iced tea many times. This writer can write and you won’t want to leave the front porch swing until you’ve devoured every page.

I’m giving Cocktail Cove five stars.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase on Amazon: Cocktail Cove: A Southern Steam Novel (Frankly, My Dear)

How to Get Over Your Ex by Nikki Logan – A Harlequin Romance

Being rejected is one thing. Being rejected live on radio takes it to a whole new level!

 

After her on-air proposal is turned down by her commitment-phobe boyfriend, Georgia Stone must learn to survive singledom. Unfortunately, thanks to a clause in her contract, she has to do it under the watchful gaze of brooding radio producer Zander Rush.

 And so begins the Year of Georgia! Lurching from salsa classes to spy school, Georgia discovers a taste for adventure. Her biggest thrill so far? Flirting with danger—aka the enigmatic Zander. But admitting she’s ready for more than just a fling…? Definitely Georgia’s scariest challenge yet!

 Next month, look for the second book in this duet: The Guy to Be Seen With by Fiona Harper. Harlequin KISS has 4 new fun, flirty and sensual romance books available every month.

 

 

Nikki Logan

Image of Nikki Logan

Nikki Logan lives amongst a string of wetlands in Western Australia with her partner and a menagerie of animals.

For many years she worked in advertising and film distribution before finally settling down in the wildlife industry. It wasn’t until Nikki had six months off work in 2007 that she applied herself to writing her first novel. Well and truly bitten by the writing-bug, she wrote more novels after her return to work and hasn’t looked back since.

Nikki was contracted to the Harlequin Romance line in December 2008 and has written fifteen books for them as at end 2012. The latest will come out around the world in time for Valentines 2013.

Nikki also writes Romantic Suspense for Entangled Publishing and her debut rom-sus “Wild Encounter” is out now.

Connect with Nikki at http://www.NikkiLogan.com.au

Enjoy an Excerpt: (from Amazon)

 Valentine’s Day 2012

 Close. Please just close.

 A dozen curious eyes followed Georgia Stone into Radio EROS’ stylish elevator, craning over computer monitors or sliding on plastic floor mats back into the corridor just slightly, not even trying to disguise their curiosity. She couldn’t stand staring at the back of the elevator for ever, so she turned, lifted her chin…

…and silently begged the doors to close. To put her out of her misery for just a few blessed moments.

Do. Not. Cry.

 Not yet.

The numbness of shock was rapidly wearing off and leaving the deep, awful ache of pain behind it. With a humiliation chaser. She’d managed to thank the dumbfounded drive-time announcers—God, she was so British—before stumbling out of their studio, knowing that the radio station’s output was broadcast in every office on every floor via a system of loudspeakers.

Hence all the badly disguised glances.

The whole place knew what had just happened to her. Because of her. That their much-lauded Leap Year Valentine’s proposal had just gone spectacularly, horribly, excruciatingly, publicly wrong.

She’d asked. Daniel had declined.

As nicely as he could, under the circumstances, but his urgently whispered, “Is this a joke, George?” was still a no whichever way you looked at it and, in case she hadn’t got the message, he’d spelled it out.

We weren’t heading for marriage. I thought you knew that…

 Actually no, or she wouldn’t have asked.

That’s what made our thing so perfect…

 Oh. Right. That was what made it perfect? She’d known they were drifting in a slow, connected eddy like the leaves in Wakehurst’s Black Pond but she’d thought that even drifting eventually got you somewhere. Obviously not.

‘For God’s sake, will you close?’

She wasn’t usually one to talk to inanimate objects—even under her breath—but somehow, on some level, the elevator must have heard her because its shiny chrome doors started to slide together obligingly.

‘Hold the lift!’ a voice shouted.

She didn’t move. Her stomach plunged. Just as they’d nearly closed.

A hand slid into the sliver of space between the doors and curled around one of them, arresting and then reversing its slide. They reopened, long-suffering and apologetic.

‘You mustn’t have heard me,’ the dark-haired man said, throwing her only the briefest and tersest of glances, his lips tight. He turned, faced the front, and permitted them to close this time, giving her a fabulous view of the square cut of the back of his expensive suit.

No, you mustn’t have heard me. Making a total idiot of myself in front of all of London. If he had, he’d have given her a much longer look. Something told her everyone would be looking at her for much longer now. Starting with all her and Daniel’s workmates.

She groaned.

He looked back over his shoulder. ‘Sorry?’

She forced burning eyes to his. If she blinked just once she was going to unleash the tears she could feel jockeying for expression just behind her lids. But she didn’t have the heart for speech. She shook her head.

He returned his focus to the front of the elevator. She stared at the lights slowly descending toward ‘G’ for ground floor. Then at the one marked ‘B’, below that—the one he’d pressed.

‘Excuse me…’ She cleared her throat to reduce the tight choke. He turned again, looked down great cheekbones at her. ‘Can you get to the street from B?’

He studied her. Didn’t ask what she meant. ‘The basement has electronic gate control.’

Her heart sank. So much for hoping to make a subtle getaway. Looked as if the universe really wanted her to pay for today’s disaster.

Crowded reception it was, then.

She nodded just once. ‘Thank you.’

He didn’t turn back around, but his grey eyes narrowed. ‘I’ll be driving out through the gates. You’re welcome to slip out behind me.’

Slip out. Was that just a figure of speech or did he know? ‘Thank you. Yes, please.’

He turned back to the front, then, a heartbeat later, he turned back again. ‘Step behind me.’

She dragged stinging eyes back up to him. ‘What?’

‘The door’s going to open at Reception first. It will be full of people. I can screen you.’

Suddenly the front-line of the small army of tears waiting for a chance to get out surged forward. She fought them back furiously, totally futile.

Kindness. That was worse than blinking. And it meant that he definitely knew.

But since he was playing pretend-I-don’t, she could, too. She stepped to her left just as the doors obediently opened onto the station’s reception. Light and noise filled the elevator but she stood, private and protected behind the stranger, his big body as good as a locked door. She sighed. Privacy and someone to protect her—two things she’d just blown out of her life for good, she suspected.

‘Mr Rush…’ someone said, out in the foyer. The big man just nodded. ‘Alice. Going down?’ ‘No, up.’

He shrugged. ‘I won’t be long.’

And the doors closed, leaving just the two of them, again. Georgia sagged and swiped at the single, determined tear that had slipped down her cheek. He didn’t turn back around. It took only a moment longer for the elevator to reach the basement. He walked out the moment the doors opened and reached back to hold them wide for her. The frigid outdoor air hit her instantly.

‘Thank you,’ she repeated and stepped out into the darkened parking floor. She’d left her coat upstairs, hanging on the back of a chair in the studio, but she would gladly freeze rather than set foot in that building ever again.

He didn’t make eye contact again. Or smile. ‘Wait by the gate,’ he simply said and then turned to stride towards a charcoal Jaguar.

She walked a dead straight line towards the exit gate. The fastest, most direct route she could. She only reached it a moment or two before the luxury car. She stood, rubbing her prickling flesh.

He must have activated the gate from inside his vehicle, and the large, steel lattice began to rattle along rollers towards her. He nudged his car forward, lowered his window, and peered out across his empty passenger seat.

She ducked to look at him. For moments. One of them really needed to say something. Might as well be her.

‘Thanks again.’ For sanctuary in the elevator. For spiriting her away, now.

 His eyes darkened and he slid designer sunglasses up onto the bridge of his nose. ‘Good luck’ was all he said. Then he shifted his Jag into gear and drove forward out of the still-widening gate.

She stared after him.

It seemed an odd thing to say in lieu of goodbye but maybe he knew something she didn’t.

Maybe he knew how much she was going to need that luck.

Hell.

 That was the longest elevator ride of Zander’s life. Trapped in two square metres of double-thickness steel with a sobbing woman. Except she hadn’t been sobbing—not outwardly—but she was hurting inwardly; pain was coming off her in waves. Totally tangible.

The waves had hit him the moment he nudged his way into her elevator, but it was too late, then, to step back and let her go down without him. Not without making her feel worse.

He knew who she was. He just hadn’t known it was her standing in the elevator he ran for or he wouldn’t have launched himself at the closing doors.

She must have bolted straight from the studio to the exit the moment they threw to the first track out of the Valentine’s segment. Lord knew he did; he wanted to get across town to the network head offices before they screamed for him to come in.

Proactive instead of reactive. He never wanted someone higher up his food chain to call him and find him just sitting there waiting for their call. He wouldn’t give them the satisfaction. Or the power.

By the time he got across London’s peak-hour gridlock he’d have the right spin for the on-air balls-up. Turning a negative into a positive. Oiling the waters. The kind of problem-solving he was famous—and em-ployed—for.

The kind of problem-solving he loathed.

He blew out a steady breath and took an orange light just as it was turning red in order to keep moving. None of them had expected the guy to say no. Who said no to a proposal, live on air? You said yes live and then you backed out of it later if it wasn’t what you wanted. That was what ninety-five per cent of Londoners would do.

Apparently this guy was Mr Five Per Cent.

Then again, who asked a man to marry her live on radio if she wasn’t already confident of the answer? Or maybe she thought she was? She wouldn’t be the first to find out she was wrong…the hard way.

Empathy curled his fingers tight on the expensive leather of his steering wheel. Who was he to cast stones?

He’d recognised that expression immediately. The one where you’d happily agree for the elevator to plunge eight storeys rather than have to step out and face the world. At least his own humiliation had been limited to just his family and friends.

Just two hundred of his and Lara’s nearest and dearest.

Georgia Stone’s would be all over the city today and all over the world by tomorrow.

He was counting on it. Though he’d have preferred it not to be on the back of someone’s pain and humiliation. He hadn’t got that bad…yet.

He eased his foot onto the brake as the traffic ground to a halt around him and resisted the urge to lean on his horn.

Not that he imagined a girl like that would suffer for long. Tall and pale and pretty with that tangle of dark, short curls. She’d dressed for her proposal—that was a sweet and unexpected touch in the casual world of radio. Half his on-air staff would come to work in their pyjamas if they had th…

My Review

Imagine feeling confident enough in your relationship to actually propose on air. Even as much I love my Hubby and know that he loves me, I never would have done it. 

 This seems to be poor Georgia’s lot in life. Her boyfriend’s sister convinces her to enter a contest at the local radio station to win a free wedding and the chance to propose on air on Valentine’s Day. As luck would have it, she wins. Georgia not only proposed, but got turned down – with a long explanation as to why. Could it have been more humiliating? 

 This leaves the executive, Zander Rush, in a pickle. How can he possibly spin  the disaster to not only save his job, but the contest. And, as if his day couldn’t get any worse, he steps onto the elevator with the devastated young woman from the contest.

 Knowing exactly how Georgia feels, he comes up with what he thinks is a fail-proof plan to help her get over her ex and fulfil the year long contract she signed with the station; and he plans to document the entire year! What follows is a story about finding out exactly who you are and what you love to do. How to Get Over Your Ex is also about finding love in unexpected places. It was everything you expect of a Harlequin Romance novel. It was light-hearted, fun, interesting, and had great characters. I loved the cover and thought it represented the book.

 “We plan to keep you so busy you won’t have time to wallow.” Wallow? Anger rushed up and billowed under her coat. But she didn’t let it out. Not directly. “Busy with what?” she gritted. “Makeovers. New clothes. Access to all the top clubs…You name it, we’ll arrange it. EROS is making it our personal business to get you back on your feet. Total reinvention. And on your way to meeting Mr. Right.” She stared at him, aghast. “Mr. Right?” “This is an opportunity to reinvent yourself and to find a new man to love.” She just stared. There were no words.

 “I’m going to take a year off life to just get back to who I really am. To avoid men altogether and just remember what I liked about being myself.” The idea blew across her mind likes the leaves on the gravel path ahead of them. But it felt very right. “It will be the year of Georgia.”

 Georgia watched the woman walk away from her. Heels. They did something very special to a walk, even on gravel and grass. Pity she didn’t have a single pair above a serviceable inch. Maybe that was something she could put on her Year of Georgia list. ‘Learn to walk in heels.’ And not because men liked them – though the distracted glances of two groundsmen passing the woman confirmed that they did – but because heels were a side of herself that she just never indulged. Heels and pole dancing. They could go on the sidelist she was quietly developing. Tough both could easily break her neck.

 “I’m saying all the classes in the world aren’t going to make your life better, because life isn’t something you apply like make-up. It’s something you grow and tend. Like a garden.”

 “What fills your life?” His answer was immediate. “Work. Running.” The only two things he did. They couldn’t both be gap fillers, surely? “What are you filling?” He stared. “A whole lot of empty.”

 “It’s not stupid to want to spend your life with someone. It’s brave.”

 The Year of Georgia was supposed to have taught her who she was. It was supposed to have given her a taste of what was possible and highlighted the deficiencies in her life. And it had worked. She was Georgia Stone. For better or for worse. Weirdly obsessed with plants, content to walk alone amongst Roman ruins, uninterested in cooking or wine appreciation or shoes, but a crack shot with a blankpistol and the fastest code-cracker the spy school had ever seen. Terrible at the contrived sexy steps of salsa but a natural at the private undulations of belly dancing. A decent rower but a terrible swimmer. She was a lab rat and a loyal and ethical employee.

 Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation – monetary or in kind – has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher, or PR firm.

 

 

 

Printers, screaming, and wailing

       My printer finally died. Actually, I had been expecting it for some time, especially with its habitual ink leaking.

But, with its death, that meant I had to begin searching for another printer. Running a business from my home office meant that I was sorely in need of a multi-purpose printer/fax/scanner and whatever else magic it might want to bring to the table.

The printer arrived this morning and the unpacking commenced. Just the magnitude of the number of cords, cartridges, and books was overwhelming. I unpacked and set all the items in order and began the arduous task of connecting printer to computer via wireless connection.

Screenshot of Lucille Ball from the trailer fo...
Screenshot of Lucille Ball from the trailer for the film Stage Door. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This task is not for the faint of heart. When I researched the printer, all of the ratings agreed that it was an easy set-up. HA! HA! HA! I don’t know what printer they speaking of, but it definitely WAS NOT this one!

After a couple of calls to my cousin in Georgia and reading and r e-reading the manuals, and having the monitor tell me one thing and the readout on the printer telling me another, I did manage to figure it out.     I don’t know if I wanted to wail to Ricky as Lucille Ball would have, or whine, as Gracie would have done to George – or perhaps both. But, now I am set up via wireless to print. The fax setup may be something altogether different. I’m saving that for another day!

As always, thanks for taking the time to visit today!

Donna