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2018 Grab Bag Give Away

I promised a give away around the holidays and I intend to deliver, even if the holidays are technically over. If you win this giveaway, I’ll mail you two signed romance novels by two authors. I won’t tell you which books they are, but the books will be signed!! This give away is open internationally. Once a winner is selected and notified (I’ll contact the winner through the social media platform that you entered in), you’ll have three days to give me your address so I can send your books out to you. If I don’t hear back from you by then, I’ll pick another winner.

You can enter in multiple ways and each method you use gets you one entry (for a maximum of 4 entries). Giveaway ends on January 16th:

–Like and comment on this blog post (I’d love to discover what book you’re looking forward to reading in 2018).

–Follow @loveserially (http://www.twitter.com/loveserially) and retweet the contest tweet.

–Like the Blog’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/loveserially) and like the contest post.

–Share the Blog’s Facebook page’s contest post.

Signed Books

*Note: Only 2 of the books pictured in this blog post will be given away. They will be randomly selected books.

Disclaimer: This giveaway is not sponsored in any way by Facebook, WordPress or Twitter.

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My 5 Most Anticipated Books of 2018

Penny Reid

marriage of inconvenience

Marriage of Inconvenience, March 06, 2018

This is the last book in the Knitting in the City series, a series which I adore. I can’t wait to find out how the cussing cuss Dan finally gets the woman of his dreams. Reid has already said that this is not a story to read if you haven’t read the rest of the series. This, more than anything, makes me super excited! Expect to see reviews of the other books in the series in the days leading up to its release.

Dr Strange Beard

Dr. Strange Beard, July 10, 2018

Book 5 in the Winston Brother series focuses on Roscoe, the brother I’ve seen the least of in the previous books. I’m looking forward to catching up on my favorite brothers and their wives and girlfriends, especially since one of them is expecting a baby!

Amy Harmon

 

the smallest part

The Smallest Part, February 13, 2018

A classic love triangle, which is a trope I happen to hate, about what happens after the happily-ever-after. Harmon has never failed me before, so I’m depending on her to convince me that a love triangle can be a good thing.

 

Kristan Higgins

kristan higgins

Good Luck with That, August 07, 2018

This is a story about three friends as they discover the possibilities of life. It is more of a women’s fiction book than a romance, but it will give me all the feels if it’s anything like other Higgins’ books. There has been a bit of controversy about the book and I can’t wait to read it for myself to see what all the fuss is about.

 

Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley

More of the Chaos Series, but with titles that have not been released, so this is my wing and a prayer that they’ll be released in 2018. According to Ashley’s website, they have been written, so fingers crossed.

Dear Kristan

Dear Kristan Higgins,

I wanted to write to you because all I’ve read is criticism about your unreleased book Good Luck with That. I’ve read a number of your books, I follow you on Twitter and I read your blog, so to say I’m a fan should be noted. I’ve found your books to be sensitive, I have found your Twitter account to be unapologetically political, and I’ve found your blog to be authentic.

So, I was surprised at the backlash of the synopsis of Good Luck with That. I didn’t see anything wrong with it. It clearly struck a cord, though, because there was an outcry by a number of people including authors I respect and read. But it seemed to me, as someone looking from the outside in, that the complaints had little to do with your story and much more to do with our culture.

I agree with the cultural criticism and I have a feeling you do too. The world judges us by our appearance. It is a sad, sad fact. And I know of no woman, “fat” or “thin,” who has not felt ugly, imperfect, or inadequate at some point. The thing about our culture is no matter how much I may want to reject those impossible standards of beauty, I still have that critical voice I’ve been socialized to have inside of me saying I’m not skinny enough, I’m not pretty enough, I’m not sexy enough, I’m not enough.

Your book is exactly about that feeling and I applaud you for putting yourself in the crosshairs, because reading someone else’s negative self-talk is not fun. It produces a lot of anger and resentment—I mean how dare a woman would ever be made to feel that way! But it seems like some are blaming you for writing characters that portray the sad reality of life.

I haven’t seen feedback from people who have read the book beginning to end. I’ve seen the screen shots of a few pages. And I’ve seen the negative feedback from those screen shots. People feel what they feel and they react the way they are going to react. But it seems that because a few people identify themselves as being “fat” (whatever that means), any character who is fat must react exactly the same way and so they ridicule your characters because they don’t.

I don’t know what it feels like to live in our culture overweight, but I don’t think that everyone who is of a similar weight as me reacts to things the same way I do. I can honestly say that I think there are a lot of “thin” people (whatever that means) who spend almost every minute of every day thinking about food. I, personally, have looked at my body and been disgusted by it. I’ve looked at the dips and swells and dimples of my body and thought, “when did I my body become like this?”

The sad truth, to me, is that many of us have become strangers in our own body. But the true truth, to me, is that we are enough. I am enough. And it makes me hopeful that the last line of your book’s new synopsis is that the characters “learn to embrace themselves just the way they are.” I look forward to reading your book.

Sincerely,

Christine

Kristan’s statement

Cover Reveal: Sweet Temptations

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Title – Sweet Temptations: The Boss’s Daughter

Author – L.M. Mountford

Blurb –

Once bitten, Twice Shy.

Still reeling from the Night of the Work’s Christmas Party, Richard Martin once again finds himself torn between his conscience and his desire. Only this time his temptation is in the guise of someone much more formidable… Scarlet.
The Boss’s Daughter.

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The first book in the Sweet Temptations series is currently free!

https://www.instafreebie.com/free/kcCtI

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Giveaway: Kissing Tolstoy by Penny Reid

I’m giving away 3 ebook copies of Penny Reid’s book Kissing Tolstoy. Penny is contributing one paperback copy. The proceeds of this book go to hurricane relief so the goal is to get these out to the winners by the end of the month.

To enter, head over to the blog’s Facebook page. It’s as simple as saying what you’re thankful for!

2017 Book Challenge: A Book Based on a True Story

The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines

The Magnolia Story

Synopsis: If you’ve seen the HGTV show “Fixer Upper” you might be wondering if Chip & Joanna Gaines are really that silly in real-life. Has Joanna always been a designer? Is Chip that impulsive all the time? And how did Chip land a beauty like Joanna in the first place? This is the story of how Chip & Joanna became Chip & Joanna (as seen on TV).

 

I enjoyed this book primarily because I enjoy their show. I laugh at Chip and wonder how Joanna keeps her cool. It was fun to find out how they met and married. How they make decisions and how Joanna and Chip wound up being on TV. It was ALL interesting to me because I find THEM interesting. While each chapter jumped around from topic to topic a little more than I would have liked, it is still a quick and fun read.

Philomena by Martin Sixsmith

image

Philomena Lee knew her son Anthony was destined to be beautiful; his father captivated her with his looks and promises that night at the fair and their child would look the same. Anthony’s looks would be her only reminder of his father. As was common in 1950’s Ireland, Philomena was thrown out by her family as a “fallen woman”, and sent to the convent at Roscrea. There she gave birth and raised him for three years under the supervision of the nuns, all the while laboring to pay off her debt. After swearing she’d never give away her son, even she was coerced by the Church to sign the documents agreeing to never look for her child.

Oh, this story is heartbreaking! My youngest son is 3 (same age as Anthony Lee/Michael Hess was when he was sent to America) and the thought of him forgetting me and forever feeling inadequate makes me feel ill. Philomena’s story seems like the perfect platform to point out the horrific policies of the Catholic Church, but the author’s story doesn’t focus on the obvious and instead pieces together the story of the man who came to be known as Michael Hess. I found the details of his adult life especially interesting as he struggled with the strange dichotomy of his homosexuality and working for the Republican Party. What I took away from this book is that we are complicated beings, juggling in the situations we find ourselves, and looking for acceptance.

 

Dark Historical Romance: Duke of Desire

Maiden Lane Series by Elizabeth Hoyt

Historical Romance

 

Duke of Desire

This is the 12th book in the Maiden Lane Series. I have not read the previous books so I can attest to the fact that this can standalone on its own. I received a free copy of this book and decided to review it because I liked it a lot and wanted to refute some of the negative reviews I have read.

 

Overall Rating: 3.5 (sXe)

duke of desire

Quick & Dirty summary: Lady Iris Jordan is almost certain she’s going to die. After being abducted by the vile Lords of Chaos on the way home from a wedding, she’s determined to fight no matter how hopeless the situation may be. When one of the (naked) Lords carts her off, she sees her chance and shoots him, not realizing that he’s trying to save her. Ralphael, the Duke of Dyemore cannot sacrifice the lovely Iris, even if saving her might reveal to the Lords that he is a traitor. He’s determined to bring them all down, but the price may come at the expense of a life, not his life as he was expecting.

I really enjoyed this book. Besides the obvious parts about Elizabeth Hoyt’s smooth writing style, great dialogue and steady plot development, I love Raphael’s psychological depth. I think broody heroes can be a tad overrated, but Raphael certainly earns his status. I admire Lady Iris and think she’s a good match for Raphael.

Character development aside, I think the novel also address some really important themes. Sexual abuse is a sensitive topic, and this book warrants a trigger warning, but what this book does more than others is shows the deep psychological damage and cost long-term abuse can cause. That there are two contrasting characters helps to show that the same abuse does not affect everyone the same way. So kudos to Hoyt on addressing this weighty issue and helping to diminish some of the stigma.

My one complaint is the lack of insight into Raphael’s emotional changes. He’s pretty consistent all the way through the book, but towards the end there are some important shifts and there’s not a whole lot of transition between them. As the reader, I’m not really sure why things change and that’s a little frustrating. I think a few sentences could have made the changes a little easier by providing some transitions and insight without adding too much verbage.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $7.99)

The kindle version of this book is a steep $8. I just don’t believe in paying $8 for an ebook unless it’s nonfiction/reference. BUT, the trade paperback is only $7.19 and I think 7 bucks is a good price for a book you can hold in your hands and share widely with friends. Buy the paperback.

Something else you might enjoy:

Try Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I. It’s the first book of the Bridgerton series, which is in my all time top 3 favorite series. The similarities are obvious.