I Can't Wait for... Forestborn by Elayne Audrey Becker (Can't-Wait Wednesday/Waiting on Wednesday) #CWW #WOW #fantasybooks #yalit #yabooks #newbook #bookrec


Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here, at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. If you're continuing with WOW, feel free to link those up as well! Find out more here.

Tag me on your CWW posts on Twitter (@wishfulendings) and I'll like and retweet!

I ran across this book while browsing NetGalley. The cover reminds me of older fantasy books and the cover and title remind me of Shannon Hale's The Books of Bayern and Juliet Marillier, both of which are old favorites. I'm trying not to have too high of expectations, but I am hoping it will be excellent. It's my pick this week...

Forestborn
(Forestborn #1)
By Elayne Audrey Becker
YA Fantasy
Hardcover, Audiobook & ebook, 368 Pages
August 31, 2021 by Tor Teen

Summary

A young, orphaned shapeshifter in a world that fears magic must risk everything if she hopes to save her only friend in Elayne Audrey Becker's Forestborn, first in a new fantasy series with a timeless feel.

TO BE BORN OF THE FOREST IS A GIFT AND A CURSE.


Rora is a shifter, as magical as all those born in the wilderness―and as feared. She uses her abilities to spy for the king, traveling under different guises and listening for signs of trouble.

When a magical illness surfaces across the kingdom, Rora uncovers a devastating truth: Finley, the young prince and her best friend, has caught it, too. His only hope is stardust, the rarest of magical elements, found deep in the wilderness where Rora grew up―and to which she swore never to return.

But for her only friend, Rora will face her past and brave the dark, magical wood, journeying with her brother and the obstinate, older prince who insists on coming. Together, they must survive sentient forests and creatures unknown, battling an ever-changing landscape while escaping human pursuers who want them dead. With illness gripping the kingdom and war on the horizon, Finley’s is not the only life that hangs in the balance.

(Affiliate links included.)


Will you be reading this one?

Read an excerpt from Pug Actually by Matt Dunn from @HarlequinBooks #romcom #womensfiction #romancebooks #newbook #harlequinromance #harlequinbooks


Welcome to my tour stop! Read the beginning of the first chapter below...

Pug Actually
By Matt Dunn
Romantic Comedy, Women's Fiction
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 320 Pages
June 29, 2021 by MIRA Books

Summary

Doug’s human, Julie, has been adrift since she lost her mom (which is strange, because she’s usually pretty good with directions). Doug just wants Julie to be happy, and he doesn’t think she’s going to get there while she’s seeing her married boss, Luke. What’s worse, she’s saying if things don’t work out with Luke, she might end up like her lonely cat-lady neighbor. Horrified by the prospect of a sad Julie and untrustworthy feline companion, Doug decides it’s time for an intervention.

Despite his short legs and some communication roadblocks, Doug sets out on a quirky, sweet, and hilarious mission to find his rescuer the love she deserves. Though he doesn’t totally understand the strangeness of human relationships, he knows he can’t give up on Julie - after all, being a rescue dog works both ways…

(Affiliate links included.)


Excerpt

According to Luke, he’s “about to leave the office.”

Despite what he just said to whoever is on the receiving end of the furtive cell phone call he’s making, Luke’s actually sitting in his car right outside the house I share with my best friend Julie. Which proves he’s lying. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Julie hasn’t heard his latest lie, of course. Her hearing isn’t as good as mine. She has heard the car pull up, waved to him, acknowledged his “on the phone” mime through the window, and left her front door ajar so she can return to the particularly gripping part of EastEnders we’ve been watching, where a mean-looking bald gentleman has just instructed the pasty-looking character he’s been threatening to beat up that he “ain’t worth it.” An appraisal that—if it referred to Luke—Julie and I would have wildly differing opinions about.

I take the opportunity to sneak out through the open door, trot along the path, and sit just the other side of the garden gate, where I can eavesdrop on what’s sure to be the latest twist in a saga way more complicated than the television shenanigans in Albert Square.

“Sure,” Luke says, after a moment, “Chinese or pizza?” which makes my mouth water, especially when he adds, “Chinese and pizza it is.” Then I’m brought sharply back to reality, because at his, “Love you, too, sweetie,” I realize he’s talking to his wife, and remember that not only is he a liar, but he’s a philanderer as well.

Luke finishes the call and checks his hair in that reflective device stuck to the car windscreen that Julie only ever uses to help her apply her makeup when she’s driving, smells his breath in his cupped hand and peers up and down the street as if looking for someone. Then he climbs out of his car, walks a pace or two away from the curb, and swivels around quickly to click the vehicle shut with the remote, as if he’s firing a gun in the opening credits of a James Bond film.

With a frown, he walks back up to the driver’s door and wipes a barely-visible smudge from the paintwork, then he takes a step backward and admires the vehicle—one of those sporty-looking coupes that, mechanically, is the same as the “family” model. Style over substance, as Julie’s dad would no doubt point out. Therefore pretty much the kind of car you’d expect Luke to drive.

With a last check of his cell phone, he switches it off, slips it into his pocket, and strides confidently toward Julie’s gate, hesitating when he spots me waiting for him in the garden.

“Doug,” he says.

It’s an observation rather than a greeting, so I give him a look, reluctantly step to one side so he can get past, then tail him back toward the house, nipping in through the front door before him, just in case he tries to shut me outside.

“Sweetie?” he shouts, as he regards me warily, and it occurs to me I rarely hear him call her “Julie”—a sensible tactic if you’re seeing multiple women, I imagine.

“In here,” replies Julie, from the living room, and Luke strides along the hall, peering around the house like a potential burglar, though if I know him, there’s only one thing he’s interested in getting his hands on.

I follow him into where Julie’s sitting expectantly on the sofa, taking up a defensive position at her feet as she switches off the TV. This is worrying: EastEnders isn’t over yet, and under normal circumstances, even if the house were falling down, she’d probably try and hang around, dodging falling masonry, until the end credits were rolling. Then again, as Luke’s all-too-regular off-hours presence here often reminds me, he and Julie aren’t exactly “normal” circumstances.

“This is a pleasant surprise!”

“Couldn’t stay away.” Luke collapse-sits onto the sofa next to her, then hoists his feet up onto the coffee table as if he owns the place. “You know me.”

I exhale loudly as I take up a guard position beneath his legs: If she really knew Luke, I doubt she’d let him in the house, let alone on the sofa. It took me long enough before I was allowed to sit there.

“Can I get you anything?”

“Just this,” says Luke, leaning across to plant a wet one (as Julie’s dad describes the way I do it whenever anyone raises me to face level) on Julie’s lips, and I have to look away. I don’t know why, but I find this “kissing” thing Luke and Julie insist on doing unsettling—possibly because of the weird hum of pleasure he makes every time. “I was just passing. Realized how much I missed you.”

Excerpted from Pug Actually by Matt Dunn, Copyright © 2021 by Matthew Dunn. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

About the Author


Matt Dunn's romantic comedy novels include The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook (shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award and the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance), A Day at the Office (an Amazon #1 bestseller across several categories), Thirteen Dates (shortlisted for the Romantic Comedy of the Year Award), and Kindle #1 Bestseller At The Wedding. He's also written about life and love for The Times, Guardian, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Company, Elle, and The Sun.


Check out the tour for Love Blooms by Jennifer Faye (Author Note & #Giveaway) #cleanromance #sweetromance #romancebooks #newbook #bookrec @prismbooktours

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Note from the Author

Hi. Thanks for joining me for the first book in the BLUESTAR ISLAND series. This book was so much fun to write. You know how readers have escape reads? Well for me, this was an escape write. I wrote this book during the lockdown—during the Christmas of 2020 that never happened for our family.

During that challenging time, I would dream about how much I wished I was sitting on the beach, running my toes through the warm sand and listening to the lull of the ocean as my family was all around me. And so began my desire to write a book near the ocean. Combine it with my love for small towns and all of the mayhem that exists when you put together a bunch of unique and colorful characters. Hence Bluestar Island was born. There is so much more to this small town/small island than I could fit into one book that it turned into a series.

Following your dreams isn’t always easy. Sometimes you have to really put yourself out there and even then, you face unexpected challenges. That’s the case for my heroine, Hannah Bell, who wants to start her own bakery. As the story opens, she’s at a crossroad: either give up on her dream or dig deeper into her determination and do whatever was necessary to keep her dream afloat.

Sometimes life’s path can lead you to dire situations. So is the case for the firefighter hero, Ethan Walker, who has been injured on the job. And now he’s questioning his choices in life. Maybe a sea breeze, warm sunshine and pretty baker will help him get some clarity.

Join these two as their lives intersect and nothing is quite the same again. And did I mention there’s a baby goat in the book? His name is Dash. And he’s totally adorable.

Happy reading,
— Jennifer

Love Blooms
(Bluestar Island #1)
By Jennifer Faye
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 284 Pages
April 13, 2021

“With the bloom of springtime flowers…
comes the opportunity for new beginnings.”

He's an injured firefighter. She bakes the most delightful treats. When their worlds collide will the baker help heal the firefighter with a mix of blueberry muffins and her caring way?

The elegant baker, Hannah Bell, has always lived on Bluestar Island with her family. While still grieving for her father, who died in a fire, she focuses all of her energy on making her dream come true--opening her very own bakery. But when a broken water pipe washes away her carefully laid plans, she's on the verge of losing everything.

New York firefighter Ethan Walker's life is in a tailspin after he's injured on-the-job. When an urgent call detours him to Bluestar Island, he agrees to help his lovable but meddlesome great-aunt. But organizing the island's Spring Fling proves a lot harder than he originally imagined. He needs help...and fast.

Under the magic of Bluestar Island's sea breeze and warm sunshine, Hannah and Ethan must not only face their immediate obstacles but also their own turning points in life. Will they have to do that alone? With a leap of faith and a dash of romance, they might just find the perfect mix to make their dreams come true.

Includes a delicious recipe for The Elegant Baker's Blueberry Crumble Muffin!

(Affiliate links included.)

Tour Schedule


Other Books in the Series

Harvest Dance

Coming October 2021
Pre-order from Amazon (affiliate link included)

About the Author


Award-winning author, Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming contemporary romances with rugged cowboys, sexy billionaires and enchanting royalty. Internationally published with books translated into nine languages. She is a two-time winner of the RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award, the CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Award, named a TOP PICK author, and been nominated for numerous other awards.


Tour Giveaway



One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card (open internationally)

Ends July 7, 2021

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New Releases/#Free & Bargain Books for June 21st - June 27th #freebook #booksale #booklinkup #booklinky


Here are the New Releases / Free & Bargain Books, hosted by
Sharon over at Beck Valley Books, for this week! Check it all out below...

Authors please feel free to add your own books.
Readers please free to add your own finds.
(any genre except erotica welcome)

This weekly link up is hosted by Beck Valley Books & these awesome book loving blogs...

For Pre-orders post - PRE-ORDER / genre / title /author
For New Releases post - NEW / genre / title / author
For Free Books post - FREE / genre / title / author / end date 
For Bargain Books post - SALE / price / genre / title / author / end date
(Strictly no Erotica please.  Steamy romance is fine but watch those covers people, incase any underage child is viewing it!)

Here is this weeks awesome selection!


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Come back and check out the new selection every week!

Read an excerpt... The Truth About Unspeakable Things by Emily A. Myers (Excerpt & #Giveaway) #womensfiction @prismbooktours

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to my tour stop! Read an excerpt and enter the giveaway below...

The Truth About Unspeakable Things
By Emily A. Myers
Women's Fiction
Paperback & ebook, 284 Pages
April 2, 2021

Summary

“He did more than break your heart, didn’t he?”

Emma Marshall is haunted by memories of a horrific attack she can’t bury deep enough. Most of all, Emma is haunted by fear — fear that she will never be free of her abusive ex’s control, fear she will never be able to trust another man again.

No one knows the unspeakable truth of what happened between Emma and her ex-fiancĂ© Beaux. It’s a secret Emma plans to carry to the grave, until Julian Cole, a music executive with a dark past of his own, moves in next door and opens Emma’s mind and heart to the possibility of love after a violent betrayal. As the reporter and music executive grow closer in the historic French Quarter of New Orleans, Emma realizes she must face her past in order to heal and move forward with Julian. But Emma soon learns Beaux will do anything to keep his sins a secret.

Emma must risk everything to protect her newfound happiness and Julian from Beaux’s threats. Putting her investigative skills to good use, Emma embarks on a dangerous journey to gather evidence and bring Beaux to justice. But the deeper Emma gets into Beaux’s wicked world, the more complicated things become. How far will Beaux go to keep his secrets? How far will Emma go to protect the ones she loves? Find out in this women’s empowerment thriller about life and love after abuse.

(Affiliate links included.)

Excerpt

I am entranced by Julian. Well, his music. It’s soft, tortured, and tangible. As he moves his bow back and forth across the strings of his instrument, triceps clenched, jaw sharp, the music moves around me. It caresses me and forms a warmth in my chest and a swelling of tense emotion in my cheeks. I want to cry, like really cry.

He doesn’t make eye contact with the audience. Instead, his eyes are closed, and he moves his head back and forth with the movements of his bow. The bodies on the dance floor beneath me mimic his movements. In an eloquent symphony, they dance.

The waiter comes and places my drink in front of me. I grab it and sip at it mindlessly without removing my eyes from Julian. He’s a musician, a true musician, the kind who moves people without a word.

About the Author


Emily A. Myers is a Women’s Fiction author based in Louisiana. Her debut novel, The Truth About Unspeakable Things, sets the tone for Emily’s future works as it follows a young woman’s journey through the dangerous pitfalls of adult relationships and the complexities of growing up. In addition to writing fiction, Emily also dedicates time to her blog, which helps other aspiring authors turn their passion into their profession, and her Facebook community for women in which she posts exclusive interviews with inspiring women from all areas of life. Learn more about Emily at emilyamyers.com Follow her on Facebook and Instagram @emilymyersauthor for real-time updates.


Tour Schedule


Tour-Wide Giveaway


Three winners will each receive a print copy of The Truth About Unspeakable Things (US only)

Ends June 30, 2021

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What did you think about the excerpt? Does this sound like a book you'd like to read?

Read an excerpt from this women's fiction... The Summer of No Attachments by Lori Foster with @HarlequinBooks #harlequinbooks #womensfiction #newbook


Welcome! I'm sharing an excerpt from this new release
that would make a great beach read today. Read on below...

The Summer of No Attachments: A Novel
(The Summer Friends #2)
By Lori Foster
Women's Fiction
Paperback & ebook, 336 Pages
June 22, 2021 by HQN Books

Summary

From New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Lori Foster comes the heartwarming story of two best friends who cross paths with a pair of new-in-town brothers with one angry little boy in tow. A standalone story of second chances at life and love, with found family and rescued animals, perfect for fans of Jill Shalvis, Sarah Morgan, and Lori Wilde.

Summer flings with no strings mean nobody gets hurt.

At least, that was the plan…

After putting the brakes on her dead-end relationship, local veterinarian Ivey Anders is ready to soak up this summer on her own terms. The way she sees it, no dating means no disappointment. Why complicate life with anything long-term? But when she meets Corbin Meyer—and his troubled young son, Justin—Ivey’s no-strings strategy threatens to unravel before she can put it into practice.

Trust doesn’t come easy for Ivey’s best friend, Hope Mage, a veterinary-clinic assistant who’s affected by an incident that’s colored every relationship she’s had. Though Hope’s happy for Ivey, she can’t quite open her own heart to the possibility of love. Not just yet… Maybe not ever. Soon, however, she’s faced with a dilemma—Corbin’s older brother, Lang. He’s charming, he’s kind…and he may just be the reason Hope needs to finally tear down her walls.

And as the sweet summer months unspool, the two friends discover love won’t give up on them so easily.

(Affiliate links included.)

Excerpt

Chapter One

Ivey Anders shoved back a wayward curl and gently secured the dog against her body so it couldn’t move while her tech, Hope Mage, carefully clipped away the twisted wire. The poor thing, a stray by the looks of it, had gotten itself tangled pretty tightly and one hind leg was in bad shape. Ivey wanted to get it to the clinic where she could properly assess the damage.

Mud caked the fur, making it difficult to find any other injuries just yet, but there was one astounding fact Ivey couldn’t ignore.

Behind her, the homeowner groused that the dog had likely been stealing eggs from his chicken coop.

Voice calm, temper mostly in check, Ivey said, “You didn’t hesitate to call me, did you, Marty?” It was well-known that Marty was not a fan of dogs, or cats for that matter, and mostly considered them a nuisance. However, they’d come to an agreement some time ago. Marty, who owned a fair amount of wooded acreage, was supposed to call her if a stray showed up, and she, as the local vet, would take care of the “problem” for him.

Laura, his wife, was quick to say, “I called.” Defiant to Marty, she added, “Soon as I heard the poor thing, in fact.”

Which didn’t mean much. The animal might have been there for hours. Possibly more than a day, though Ivey couldn’t bear the thought of that.

“She’s pregnant, you know.” Refusing to take her eyes off the dog and unwilling to raise her voice since it might frighten the animal more, Ivey said, “If she took an egg, it would have been from starvation—and you already know I would have compensated you for it.”

Affronted, Marty grumbled, “I wasn’t worried about one egg, just don’t want to lose my chickens.” He cleared his throat. “If it helps any, I was out here this morning and she wasn’t caught then. Afternoon I watered my garden, and that’s why there’s so much mud. So I doubt she was hung up there more than a few hours.”

The fist around Ivey’s heart loosened just a little. “That helps tremendously, Marty. Thank you.”

More times than she could count, Ivey had taken on problems with stray animals who needed special love and care. It didn’t matter that she’d been working as a veterinarian for years now, seeing all manner of hurt, neglected or just plain ill animals. She still loved them all, and when one hurt, she hurt with it.

“No thanks necessary,” Marty complained, his tone gruff with insult. “Not like I’d let an animal suffer.”

Ivey had a feeling their definitions of suffer varied a bit, but she realized this mattered to him, and she was too grateful to quibble so she just nodded.

Almost got it,” Hope murmured, and with one last clip, the wire loosened. “There.” Fingers gentle, she disentangled the dog’s leg, exposing a painful wound.

Ivey murmured to the small animal all the while, cooing softly, petting and holding her secure. The second she was able to sit back on the muddy ground, she pulled the dog into her lap. With her face close to the top of the dog’s head, she whispered, “There now, that’s better, isn’t it? We’ll get you all fixed up, I promise.”

“Here.” Slipping off her zip-up hoodie, Hope offered it to Ivey to wrap around the dog. “Do you want me to get the carrier?”

Busy swaddling the dog, careful not to jar her, Ivey shook her head. “She doesn’t weigh more than ten or eleven pounds. I’ll carry her to the truck and we’ll see how it goes.” Feeling mud seep into the seat of her pants, she realized she couldn’t get up without letting go of the dog. Lifting a brow at Hope, she said, “A little help?”

“Oh sure.” Hope caught her under one elbow, and Laura hurried forward to take the other, giving her the leverage she needed.

Marty stepped back to avoid getting muddy.

Carefully, the two women got Ivey on her feet. The thick mud was heavy on the seat of her pants, dragging on her stretch jeans that had loosened throughout the day. At least her rubber boots wouldn’t be ruined. Since they treated all sorts of animals, including those on farms, she and Hope each kept a pair at the clinic.

“Let’s go.” Plodding forward, Ivey led the way to the truck. Halfway there, the dog started panting. Concerned, she hastened her step, not at all worried about getting mud on the truck seats. “No need for the crate. Just get us back to the clinic.”

Picking up on her angst, Hope ran around to the driver’s side and got the truck on the road in record time. “Everything okay?”

“Not really, no. Something’s wrong.”

“What should I do?”

Poor Hope. A sick cat had kept them an hour past closing, and then Marty had called… “I’m sorry.” Ivey barely took her gaze off the stressed dog. “Do you think you could assist me at the clinic?”

“Of course I will! You don’t even have to ask.” Frowning, Hope muttered, “Did you think I’d drop you off with a dog in distress? Tell you good luck?” She snorted. “Have I ever done that?”

She and Hope were close enough that Ivey knew she’d inadvertently insulted her. “No, you haven’t. But it’s Friday night after a very long day.”

“It’s Friday night for you, too, you know.”

“What a sad situation for us both.” Despite her worries, Ivey chuckled. “Most women would have plans, and yet we never do.”

“You have Geoff.”

Ivey made a face. “Lot of good that does me.” Likely Geoff was settled on the couch already, watching sports or playing a video game. The excitement had left their relationship a long time ago, so she doubted he’d even notice her absence.

For her part, Hope never dated. That bothered Ivey a lot, but she loved Hope enough that she would never pry.

Smiling at her friend, Ivey said, “I’m glad I won’t have to do this alone.”

“Not ever,” Hope vowed. “Even if by some miracle I ever do have something worthwhile lined up for the weekend, I’d still be here for you, okay?”

Her friendship with Hope meant so much more than any other relationship Ivey had, including her lackluster romance with Geoff. “Smartest thing I ever did was hire you.”

“I’m so glad you did,” Hope whispered. “Otherwise we might not have become friends, then where would I be?”

“Let’s just agree that we’re better off together.” Though Ivey was ten years older than Hope, they’d still hit it off from the start, meshing together as if they’d been lifelong friends. Where Ivey was take-charge and sometimes a little too outspoken, Hope was an intent listener with an enormous heart.

Ivey often wanted to challenge the world, and Hope, sadly, wanted to hide from it.

Or more accurate, she wanted to hide from any interested men.

Hope had an affinity with animals, plus a gentle but sure touch. She was never squeamish, but she exuded sympathy. Ivey valued her. The clients loved her. And the animals trusted her.

Unfortunately, they were still five minutes away from the clinic when the dog went into labor. “This is definitely happening,” Ivey said, doing what she could to make the animal comfortable.

Leaning closer to the steering wheel, Hope drove a little faster. “Be there soon.”

They’d barely gotten in the door when her water broke. Hope ran ahead to prepare an area, moving with practiced ease as she opened an already cleaned kennel and set up a whelping box, then filled it with bedding material. The box had three tall sides to contain the coming puppies, and one low side for the mother to step out for food and water.

Knowing Hope had it in hand, Ivey began cleaning the dog as quickly and efficiently as possible. She managed a cursory job, removing the worst of the mud, when Hope rejoined her. “We’re all set.”

“With luck we’ll have enough time to clean and wrap her leg before she gives birth.” Usually that happened within two hours after the animal’s water breaking, so they didn’t have a minute to spare.

A day that had already been long just turned entirely endless.

Excerpted from The Summer of No Attachments by Lori Foster, Copyright © 2021 by Lori Foster. Published by HQN Books.

About the Author


Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author. She lives in Central Ohio where coffee helps her keep up with her cats and grandkids between writing books. For more about Lori, visit her website at www.lorifoster.com, like her on Facebook or find her on Twitter, @lorilfoster.

Photo Credit: Mason Combs


Are you a fan of this author? Will you be reading this one?

Read an excerpt from The Last Gasp by Chautona Havig, on tour with @celebrate_lit

The Last Gasp
(Ever After Mysteries #1)
By Chautona Havig
Christian Historical Mystery Fairytale Retelling
Paperback & ebook, 154 Pages
July 6, 2021

Summary

At the pinnacle of his Hollywood career, Garrison Prince’s reign ends tonight.

As plain old Gary Prinz, he can pursue his Bible education, buy a bungalow in Pasadena, acquire a few chickens, and marry the girl of his dreams. He just never imagined trading the silver screen for a pulpit would wreak such havoc.

A cigarillo girl, Lucinda Ashton spends her days with her boyfriend, Gary, and her evenings selling candy and “gaspers” to the Hollywood elite at the Taj Mahal Theater.

However, when gunshots ring out just as intermission begins, Lucinda finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a brouhaha that leaves three dead, and no one has a clue why.

All the police know is that the evidence points to Lucinda as the killer and Gary as the intended target.

Four new friends, one young orphan, and a potluck of clues that don’t seem to fit anywhere leave the police baffled, Lucinda in fear for her freedom, and Gary ready to trade in his acting shoes for gumshoes if it’ll save his “Cinda.”

The first book in the Ever After Mysteries combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries, The Last Gasp. This Cinderella retelling blends a murder with enough crime and story clues to keep you on the edge of your seat.

(Affiliate links included.)

Excerpt

Pointed toed shoes that tied with neat tassels clicked neatly on the paving stones as she strolled along the path and seated herself on the familiar bench. Self-doubts began the moment she settled there. I’m overdressed for a walk in the park. He’ll think I’m too forward or something. A dozen similar thoughts chased each other through her mind until Lucinda jumped up, ready to flee.

Gary approached, his face lighting up at her apparent eagerness to see him. “Cinda!” As he neared, he caught one of her hands in his and squeezed it. “Lovely dress. I don’t know that one, do I?”

“I finally replaced my shabby blue one and decided to wear it.”

A brief but definite examination of her in the dress produced a smile of admiration. “It looks made for you. I’m glad you wore it.” He spread a handkerchief on the bench for her and grinned down at her when she sat. “I wish there were a photographer near. I’d love to capture this. Maybe someday I’ll have time for a hobby.”

“Maybe.” Lucinda allowed him to take one of her hands in both of his as he seated himself beside her. “You look… excited.”

About the Author

Author of the bestselling Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.


A story of lost and new dreams... An Unlikely Pair by Traci Hunter Abramson (Review & #Giveaway) #historicalromance #cleanromance #cleanreads #yaromance #romancebooks @covenant_comm


Welcome to my tour stop! Read my review and enter the tour giveaway below...

An Unlikely Pair
(Dream's Edge #1)
By Traci Hunter Abramson
Adult Historical Romance
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 297 Pages
June 7, 2021 by Covenant Communications

Summary

After a family tragedy, aspiring ballerina Amaliya Marcell is adrift. When she is forced to leave behind everything she knows, the lost young woman struggles to build a new life in an unfamiliar city. But when she meets a handsome world-class figure skater, she finds a glimmer of hope.

After his sister’s unexpected retirement from figure skating, Tyler Linden is devastated to give up his shot at the US national championships. His only hope is to find a new partner, a task that proves nearly impossible—until he observes a beautiful young woman at the local ice rink. Struck by her grace and poise, Tyler takes an unthinkable risk and asks Amaliya to become his new partner. To both of their surprise, she agrees. The path to the championship won’t be easy, but Amaliya and Tyler quickly establish a solid partnership and a profound connection—both on and off the ice. However, competition at the championships is fierce, and when the time comes, they will be forced to put everything on the line if they hope to achieve their dreams.

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

AN UNLIKELY PAIR is the start of a new series where a teen finds her dream of being a professional ballerina changed and a guy whose dream of being an Olympic pair figure skater at risk. Together they find new dreams, but it isn't an easy journey and this is just the beginning. Readers who enjoy clean young adult and adult romance with an Olympic aspect will enjoy this story.

I think this might be the first book from this author where the story isn't finished or at least somewhat resolved at the end of the book. The characters are just at the beginning of their journey and there's more to come for them in subsequent books. This means that I have to be a bit patient waiting for the rest of their story, not something I always do well.

I really liked these characters. They are both driven, humble, hard-working, not into drama and close to their families. It was easy to cheer them on as they figured things out. The story felt more like young adult than adult at this point, but part of that is that Amaliya is a senior in high school and there's some drama at the rink as well as a bit of a love triangle. I'm a fan of YA so this wasn't an issue for me, but may be for other readers. The romance slowly builds as do some of the friendships. I'm very curious how things will progress and what new challenges this couple will face in the next book.

I think my only complaint is that I wasn't sure about the switch in point of view to Amaliya's parents. It felt like it broke up the story a lot and took me away from connecting more with the Amaliya and Tyler. Also for those who haven't read the prequel, the switch will probably feel unnecessary, especially as they won't feel a connection to Amaliya's parents from the other story. 

In the end, was it what I wished for? I enjoyed this story and these characters and am looking forward to the next book. Recommended to YA and clean romance readers.

Content: Clean
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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About the Author


Originally from Arizona, TRACI HUNTER ABRAMSON spent much of her childhood exploring the little town of Pinewood. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University and a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency. Since leaving the CIA, Traci has written multiple novels, including the Undercurrents trilogy, Royal Target, and the Saint Squad series. When she's not writing, Traci enjoys spending time with her husband and their four children. She also enjoys cooking, although she prefers an electric stove to the wood-burning variety.

Read an excerpt... An Alaskan Homecoming by Beth Carpenter (Excerpt & #Giveaway) #cleanromance #harlequinromance @prismbooktours @harlequinbooks

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to my tour stop! Read an excerpt and enter the giveaway below...

An Alaskan Homecoming
(Northern Lights #8)
By Beth Carpenter
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
June 1, 2021 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Summary

“Ever after” wasn’t the plan…
Until now!

Rowan O'Shea's intention was just to visit her family in the small Alaskan town she calls home. Now she's not sure she wants to leave, given the romantic mess she's left behind. A temporary fake marriage to gorgeous veterinarian Zack Vogel might be the perfect solution, if she can convince Zack. But Rowan's marriage of convenience has a seriously inconvenient snag—she's falling for her new fake husband!

A Northern Lights Novel
Book 1: The Alaskan Catch
Book 2: A Gift for Santa
Book 3: Alaskan Hideaway
Book 4: An Alaskan Proposal
Book 5: Sweet Home Alaska
Book 6: Alaskan Dreams
Book 7: An Alaskan Family Christmas
Book 8: An Alaskan Homecoming

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Excerpt

“Lauren?” a female voice called from the doorway. “Patrick said one of your goats was having trouble. Is there anything I can do?”

“It’s all good now. Zack worked his magic, and we have three new kids. How was Bonnie’s surgery?”

“The doctor said she breezed through it and everything looks good. Her friend Molly stopped by, so she’s with her at the house now. Patrick said to tell you the new hand didn’t show but he’s got everything covered at the milking barn.”

“Oh, good. Come see the new babies. Zack, meet Patrick’s sister, Rowan.”

Rowan? Zack, who had been in the process of stripping off his gloves and overalls, looked up. He’d known only one Rowan, one summer when he was a teenager, and he’d never forgotten her. Her hair had been long then, almost to her waist. Brown hair, but with copper-colored threads that caught the sunlight. Blue-gray eyes, magnified by glasses, that seemed to see deeper than the surface.

He recognized the curve of her smile. It really was her. He’d spent weeks that summer working up the courage to ask her out, but before he could, she’d gone. Back to school in Europe somewhere, according to Scarlett. Now her hair brushed against her shoulders in soft waves. There wasn’t enough light in the barn to tell if her eyes were still the same shade of blue, but a tentative smile revealed a familiar dimple in her left cheek. “Zack and I knew each other, a long time ago. I’m not sure if you remember?”

“Absolutely.” He felt his own mouth stretching into a grin. “Rowan, it’s good to see you. No more glasses?”

“Laser surgery.”

“You’re here visiting your family?”

“Taking care of my grandmother for a few days.” She came closer to look into the stall. “Aw, the baby goats are so cute. Look at that.”

Zack watched the first kid teeter on shaky legs and find his way to a teat. Lauren was rubbing the other two kids dry while Fudge watched. The goat already looked stronger. Zack smiled. “They’ll be fine now.”

“I love a happy ending,” Lauren said, as she guided the other two kids toward their mother.

“Me, too,” Zack admitted.

Rowan tilted her head. “Speaking of happy endings, I saw your segment on the news. You run a wildlife rehabilitation center?”

“It sounds grander than it is. We have a bit of land behind the vet clinic, and my partner, Christine, agreed I could use it for wildlife rehab.”

“Your moose calf is adorable. Does he have a name yet?”

“I don’t know.” Zack shook his head. “Jessie, the volunteer who does all our web stuff, is handling that. I don’t believe in naming animals we’ll be releasing in the wild, but I was overruled.”

“It’s a cute hook for a fundraiser. Getting attention is half the battle of marketing, you know.”

“I guess. I really hate the promo part of the job.”

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About the Author


Beth Carpenter is thankful for good books, a good dog, a good man and a dream job creating happily-ever-afters. She and her husband now split their time between Alaska and Arizona, where she occasionally encounters a moose in the yard or a scorpion in the basement. She prefers the moose.


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One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and Alaskan Dreams, An Alaskan Proposal and Sweet Home Alaska (paperbacks if winner is in the US, ebooks otherwise)

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What did you like about the excerpt?

I Can't Wait for... The Slow March of Light by Heather B. Moore (Can't-Wait Wednesday/Waiting on Wednesday) #historicalfiction #histfic #newbooks #CWW #WOW @ShadowMountn


Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here, at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. If you're continuing with WOW, feel free to link those up as well! Find out more here.

Tag me on your CWW posts on Twitter (@wishfulendings) and I'll like and retweet!

Sorry for this going up late, guys! It's been a bit of a crazy week, including my losing my phone for three days because I dropped it in water. Ugh.

I have loved all the books I've read from this author, but a couple of her newer releases have turned to telling more serious and inspiring stories. Her newest is set during the Cold War about two characters who persevere to do the good they can and build hope even during the bleakest of times. It's my pick this week...

The Slow March of Light
By Heather B. Moore
Adult Historical Fiction
Hardcover, Audiobook & ebook, 368 Pages
September 7, 2021 by Shadow Mountain

Summary

Based on a true story. Inspired by real events.

A riveting and emotionally-gripping novel of an American soldier working as a spy in Soviet-occupied East Germany and a West German woman secretly helping her countrymen escape from behind the Berlin Wall.


In the summer of 1961, a wall of barbed wire goes up quickly in the dead of night, officially dividing Berlin. Luisa Voigt lives in West Berlin, but her grandmother lives across the border and is now trapped inside the newly- isolated communist country of East Germany. Desperate to rescue her grandmother and aware of the many others whose families have been divided, Luisa joins a secret spy network, risking her life to help bring others through a makeshift, underground tunnel to West Germany. Their work is dangerous and not everyone will successfully escape or live to see freedom.

Bob Inama was an outstanding university student, with plans to attend law school when he is drafted into the US Army. Stationed in West Germany, he is glad to be fluent in German, especially after meeting Luisa Voigt at a church social. As they spend time together, they form a close connection. But when Bob receives classified orders to leave for undercover work immediately, he does not get the chance to say goodbye.

With a fake identity, Bob's special assignment is to be a spy embedded in East Germany. His undercover job will give him access to government sites to map out strategic military targets. But Soviet and East German spies, the secret police, and Stasi informants are everywhere, and eventually Bob is caught and sent to a brutal East German prison. Interrogated and tortured daily, Bob clings to any hope he can find from the sunlight that marches across the wall of his prison to the one guard who secretly treats him with kindness to the thought of one day seeing Luisa again.

Author Heather B. Moore masterfully alternates the stories of Bob and Luisa, capturing the human drama unique to Cold War Germany as well as the courage and the resilience of the human spirit.

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Will you be reading this one?

Read an excerpt from Expiration Date by Mardine Perrins (Excerpt & #Giveaway) #dystopian #medicalthriller @prismbooktours

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

I'm sharing an excerpt from this dystopian medical thriller and enter the tour giveaway below...

Expiration Date
By Mardine Perrins
Medical Thriller, Dystopian
Paperback & ebook, 304 Pages
March 4, 2021 by Kat Biggie Press

Summary

A conspiracy theory no one would have guessed.

It’s 2168 and expiration dates have been a part of the human genome for the last hundred years. Society has grown accustomed to these birthmark dates, revealing the day you will expire. But suddenly, an exponential number of infants are being born across the globe with very short expiration dates, giving them only hours, days to live.

Elisa Quinn’s cousin’s baby is amongst these born with shockingly short expiration dates. Devastated over the rapid demise of the baby, Elisa begins to search for answers. Not satisfied by the response the global government is providing for the growing number of short expiration dates, she sets out to discover what could be behind this alarming trend. Aided by two scientists, Ashlei Quinn and Claude Monark, Elisa investigates the long-standing gestational supplement of nutriment injections as a potential source in the shortened dates.

While researching, the trio uncover an extremist group, Restituere. They learn of the group’s plot to control the growth of the population, potentially exterminating a large portion in the process.

Armed with their new revelations, Elisa and Claude travel to Boston seeking help from the one person they thought they could count on, only to find themselves fighting for their lives. Unable to trust anyone, they venture out on their own to interrupt Restituere’s plot. They soon find themselves in the middle of a deep global conspiracy, and in the crosshairs of those who would stop at nothing to see this plot through.

Unless they can prevent this deadly group’s plans, their loved ones will be lost and the human race altered forever.

If you love Dan Brown’s, Deception Point; Michael Crichton’s, The Andromeda Strain; and A.G. Riddle’s, The Atlantis Gene, you will love Expiration Date.

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Excerpt

Three hundred seconds left now until the nanobytes reached their objective. John’s full body weight was elevated as Derrick used the floor as leverage to lift himself, tossing John onto the floor.

“What did you do?” he asked rhetorically.

Panting, John scrambled to his feet. “I’m sorry, Derrick. You’re a liability to our cause.”

One hundred and twenty seconds—the tiny programmed bytes raced through the bloodstream, rapidly targeting each cell in its host.

“I am what Restituere is all about!” Derrick said, lunging at him, his knee catching John’s side.

John doubled over, but mustered all his strength to match his young fellow Restituere brother’s. He grabbed the tail of Derrick’s shirt, pulling him down before he could reach the door, again throwing all his weight on him.

Thirty seconds—cell death had reached most of the organs. Der­rick’s eyes bulged and his breaths became raspy; his strength was fading fast.

John eased up on his hold. “I’m sorry,” he said again.

Complete cell death. Derrick’s body went limp. John stood and straightened his shirt and pants, now feeling the complete impact of Derrick’s side jab.

“This will not be an easy call,” he sighed.

“Sorry to wake you, Louise. Can you get me the family of Derrick Monahan. Yes. Immediately, please. I’m afraid our young friend reached his expiration date.”

About the Author


Mardine Perrins is a writer and a Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist in a Cardiac Catherization lab in upstate New York. Forever fascinated by the unknown and questioning the unexplored, you’ll find her curiosities displayed throughout her work. Her imagination is driven by anomalies in nature; bizarre creatures that live beneath the sea; underground caverns teaming with undiscovered prehistoric life. She’s captivated with the complexity of the human DNA, mind and body and is drawn to natures ability to overcome, adapt and persist. She investigates why these things exist and how she can bring them to their potential through her stories. She currently lives in East Greenbush, NY with her husband, children and two cats.


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Three winners will each receive a print copy of Expiration Date by Mardine Perrins (US only)

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Welcome to my tour stop! ...


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