Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Blog Tour Excerpt: SAVE THE DATE by Monica Murphy

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Save the Date by Monica Murphy is out in the world! And you can read an excerpt of this new contemporary romance right now. Read the excerpt and then get a copy at any of the retailers linked below.

ENJOY!

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Save the Date, an all-new standalone contemporary romance in a new series by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy.

Caroline Abbott loves her job—helping engaged couples pick out the perfect save the date cards and invitations for their dream wedding. Working at Noteworthy means she has to deal with the occasional bridezilla, but Caroline’s always up for the challenge.

Until one particular bridezilla walks into the stationery store who’s fiancé happens to be the boy Caroline shared her first kiss with. Alexander Wilder is all grown up now, helping run his family’s successful luxury hotel chain, and is somehow even better looking than she remembers.
When Caroline just happens to catch Alex’s fiancée half naked with another man well, of course she has to tell Alex. Of course, he breaks off his engagement.

And of course, the ex-bridezilla has gone completely bonkers.
At least Caroline has her friends to save her from crazy ex-fiancées. But she also has the sudden interest of…Alex? Caroline knows they share a connection, but is he on the rebound? Or after seeing her all these years later, does he really want something more?

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Download your copy today!

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2DIhImp

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Excerpt:

I head straight for the pickup counter, where I see my skinny vanilla latte waiting for me, my name written on the side of the cup in Stella’s familiar scrawl. Without hesitation I grab it, inhaling deeply before I take a sip. Just a tiny sip so I can savor it. I close my eyes for a second, maybe two, and when I open them, I find a guy standing there.
Watching me.
And he’s not just any guy. He’s cute. Wait, no. Not cute. He’s…hot. Dark hair. Blue eyes. Wearing a suit that fits him perfectly. I know just from looking at the fabric that it’s custom. Expensive.
He’s smiling at me. And I’m scowling at him in return because the caffeine hasn’t quite hit my bloodstream yet, so I’m not on top of my game.
“You looked like you were having a moment.” His voice is deep. Rich. His face…vaguely familiar?
I stand a little straighter. Take another sip of my coffee as I contemplate the man in front of me, because for some reason I still can’t come up with anything to say.
Listen, I always have something to say. But this guy. This gorgeous, well-dressed maybe-stranger, is leaving me a little…
Dumbstruck?
Huh.
“That moment you were just having. With your coffee,” he continues, gesturing at the cup I’m clutching in both of my hands, like it’s my baby. Which this morning—every morning—it is.
“She loves coffee,” Stella says from behind me.
Glancing over my shoulder, I give her a look, one that says shush.
“I can see that.” The amusement in his voice is obvious. He thinks it’s funny. The sacred moment I was having with my latte made him smile.
I wouldn’t mind coming up with other ways to make him smile.
Whoa. Where did that thought come from?
“What I want to know is, how did you get such special treatment?”
I blink at him like I’m an uncomprehending idiot. “Excuse me?”
“Well, I’ve been here for the last fifteen minutes. First, standing in line.” He gestures at the line of customers that trails out the door. “And now, waiting for my order.”
Guilt fills me. Just a tiny bit. Sweet Dreams Café is the most popular bakery and coffee shop in Carmel-by-the-Sea. All the tourists love it. All the locals love it too. It’s been in Stella’s family for generations.
“Yet you skip past the line, walk straight in here and grab your ready-made drink within a few seconds of your arrival. Do you have a Fast Pass?” A brow lifts, and I’m hit with a quiver. Like Cupid just drew back his bow and shot that arrow right in my heart.
Or perhaps that arrow struck me in, ahem, other places.
Who knew a brow lift could be so sexy?

Meet Monica:

Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and Harper Collins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance.

She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she's not writing, she's reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She's a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

Connect with Monica:

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

It's Release Day: SAVE THE DATE by Monica Murphy

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Save the Date, an all-new standalone contemporary romance in a new series by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy is LIVE!

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Caroline Abbott loves her job—helping engaged couples pick out the perfect save the date cards and invitations for their dream wedding. Working at Noteworthy means she has to deal with the occasional bridezilla, but Caroline’s always up for the challenge.

Until one particular bridezilla walks into the stationery store who’s fiancé happens to be the boy Caroline shared her first kiss with. Alexander Wilder is all grown up now, helping run his family’s successful luxury hotel chain, and is somehow even better looking than she remembers.
When Caroline just happens to catch Alex’s fiancée half naked with another man well, of course she has to tell Alex. Of course, he breaks off his engagement.

And of course, the ex-bridezilla has gone completely bonkers.
At least Caroline has her friends to save her from crazy ex-fiancées. But she also has the sudden interest of…Alex? Caroline knows they share a connection, but is he on the rebound? Or after seeing her all these years later, does he really want something more?

SaveTheDate - AN .jpg

Download your copy today!
Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2DIhImp

Release Blitz Teaser-2.jpg

Meet Monica:

Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and Harper Collins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance.

She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she's not writing, she's reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She's a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

Connect with Monica:

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop

Thanks for stopping by Actin' Up with Books as part of the Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop hosted by BookHounds. For my giveaway, I have a copy of BE TRUE TO ME by Adele Griffin.



BE TRUE TO ME by Adele Griffin
Published by Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: June 13, 2017

Synopsis

How far is too far to go for love?

Jean
: Could it be true? Instead of a summer playing handmaiden to Daphne, was I being delivered something entirely different—a summer in the spotlight? A summer starring Gil Burke and me?

Summer flings and sexy romances were Daphne’s territory. Not mine. I was the one you didn’t pick.

I swatted off my hope like a bumblebee, knowing it was already too late. I’d been deliriously stung.

Fritz: People always joked about summer romances because they didn’t last. Summer romances were made out of ice cream and cotton candy, intensely sweet before they melted into nothing. But I’d never thought of Gil as a summer thing.

Gil was my real love, my real first. We were outsiders together, we had each other, we didn’t care that we didn’t belong.


Giveaway Details
Must be 16 years or Older to enter
U.S. addresses only
To enter, fill out Rafflecopter below
(invalid entries will be disqualified)
Giveaway ends June 30, 2019

Friday, June 14, 2019

Blog Tour: THE PERFECT DATE by Evelyn Lozada with Holly Lorincz



THE PERFECT DATE 
by Evelyn Lozada
with Holly Lorincz
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: June 11, 2019


Synopsis:
When a single mom ends up playing an unwilling fake girlfriend to a charming playboy baseball player, love suddenly turns everything upside down in this fun, heartwarming multicultural romance.
Angel Gomez has never lived by the book. A Bronx-based unwed mother by the time she was sixteen, Angel’s personal mission has always been to show the world that a Puerto Rican girl is not to be messed with—especially by a man. The only thing that matters to Angel, now, is providing for her son and earning enough tips at the club to complete her nursing degree along the way. Love is nowhere on her agenda.
Caleb “The Duke” Lewis is a star pitcher for the Bronx Bolts whose romantic escapades make delicious fodder for gossip columns. But lately he’s been trying to keep a lower profile—so much so that when he meets Angel, first while she’s in her nurse uniform and the next time behind the bar, she has no idea who Duke is, fails to fall for his obvious charm, and ends up throwing a drink in his face! She is the perfect woman for Duke...to fool the tabloids into thinking he’s finally settling down. But what begins as a charade soon has Duke and Angel hurtling into a full-blown romance that rocks each of their worlds and begs the question: Is this the real deal—or are some love stories just too good to be true?

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Angel Gomez hissed under her breath.
Claro. Of course. If she was going to get a paper cut, it would be from the page illustrating the male reproductive system. The twenty-three-year-old sucked at the thin line of blood on the web of her hand, squinting hard at the flayed cojones in her anatomy textbook.
As a nursing student, Angel knew the male anatomy— from the bulb to the external urinary meatus—but her ability to reel off the Latin names of penis parts seemed to scare the living, breathing version away.
Not that I want a man, she reminded herself, her inner voice stern. Focus, girl.
Dark spirals of hair popped free from her ponytail as she bent closer to her textbook. Concentration was elusive. She closed the window next to her with a shriek of metal on metal, shutting out the gray February breeze and the number 4 train running on the elevated tracks down Jerome Avenue. She tilted her head, listened.
What is that? Breathing. It was gaspy, heavy breathing, coming from the depths of the worn corduroy couch behind her. Angel twisted in her chair.
“Jose,” she said, too loudly, knocking pages of lecture notes off her makeshift desk on the radiator.
“Mama, I’m fine,” the seven-year-old boy muttered. He turned up the live radio stream coming from the decrepit laptop and avoided her eyes.
“Go get your inhaler. Now.”
“Just a minute. The Duke is about to pitch.”
Faintly, she could hear Suzyn Waldman, longtime announcer for the Bronx Bolts, adding color to a local charity game. “He’s winding up and . . . another beauty, right over the plate . . . Ohh no, the batter’s hit a hard foul right into the dugout.” The announcer clucked, but then, “What’s this? The Duke seems to want off the mound.”
“No!” Jose yelled at the computer, as if it could hear his complaint.
“His ankle may still be giving him problems.”
“Jose! What’d I tell you?”
Jose’s face shone with perspiration as he stomped past her, wheezing down the hall to his room. That beautiful pouty face, she thought. His bronze complexion, a shade darker than hers, was the perfect blend of her and his father. Jose’s dad was long gone, however—the high school quarterback had disappeared when he found out his fifteen-year-old girlfriend was pregnant, but not before slapping her around, yelling, “That ain’t my kid.” Angel had shoved him into the hallway, slammed the door in his face. She didn’t want him. She didn’t need him.
Two years after Jose was born, her mother died. Angel was seventeen. She almost buckled from the pressure of the responsibility to care for another, tiny human. She had no safety net. His dark eyes, staring up at her with such adoration . . . She’d shoved steel into her spine, stood up straight, and vowed her boy would be safe, happy, and healthy on her watch.
And she was doing it.
In a few more weeks, she’d be done with nursing school and would take her final boards. She survived by putting her head down and pushing through, focused on getting them out of this decrepit apartment building filled with dust and screeching train brakes. She kept the rest of the world’s bullshit at arm’s length.

From The Perfect Date. Copyright © 2019 by Evelyn Lozada and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Griffin.


About the Authors

EVELYN LOZADA, is a high-profile American-Latina reality television personality, entrepreneur, author and philanthropist. She is best known for her role on VH1’s hit series Basketball Wives (2010-present), OWN’s hit series Livin’ Lozada (2015), author of the first installment of the book series: The Wives Association: Inner Circle (2012) and creator of Healthy Boricua (A Puerto Rican Lifestyle Guide to Healthy Living). Evelyn has become a national trendsetter, a “go to” fitness export, jewelry designer, fashion and beauty maven, social media royalty and a stimulating voice and proactive supporter of causes that effect women and girls through the Evelyn Lozada Foundation. Evelyn is a Bronx native, mother of two (Shaniece Hairston and Carl Leo Crawford) that currently resides in Los Angeles.

Holly Lörincz is a successful collaborative writer and owner of Lorincz Literary Services. She is an award-winning novelist (Smart Mouth, The Everything Girl) and co-author (best-selling Crown Heights, and How to Survive a Day in Prison) living in Oregon.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

New Release Excerpt: WAITING FOR TOM HANKS by Kerry Winfrey

IT'S RELEASE DAY!!

Enjoy this excerpt of Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey


WAITING FOR TOM HANKS
by Kerry Winfrey
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: June 22, 2019


Synopsis

Can a romcom-obssessed romantic finally experience the meet-cute she always dreamed of or will reality never compare to fiction, in this charming debut adult novel from Kerry Winfrey.

Annie is twenty-seven years old, single, and obsessed with romantic comedies (she and her mother watched them religiously, before her mom died). Her dating life is limited by the expectations she’s formed from these movies. She is not as open to new experiences as she might be, because she’s waiting for her Tom Hanks–i.e., a guy she’ll find in the perfect, meet-cute romantic comedy way. When Annie does finally meet her perfect match, it’s not quite in the way she expected, and she’s forced to reckon with the walls she’s built around herself over the years.
 

Read an Excerpt

I blink a few times, staring straight into Drew Danforth’s face. It’s like when you’re a kid and there’s a solar eclipse, and all the teachers are like, “Don’t look directly into the sun! You’ll destroy your retinas!” but there’s always that one kid (Johnny Berger, in our class) who can’t stop staring.

In this situation, I’m Johnny Berger. And I guess Drew Danforth is the sun.

“Are you okay?” he asks again, enunciating his words even more as if me understanding him is the problem. His brown eyes, I notice, are flecked with tiny bits of gold, which is something you can’t see when you watch him on TV. His hair is just as voluminous as it seems in pictures, but in person, I have the almost overwhelming urge to touch it, to reach out and pull on that one lock of hair that hangs over his forehead.

“She’s not responding.” He turns to Chloe. “Is something wrong?”

“She’s French,” Chloe says without missing a beat. “She only speaks French.”

“I’m not French,” I say, breaking my silence. Chloe and Drew’s heads swivel to look at me.

“I’m sorry about your coat,” I whisper, then I run toward Nick’s.

Chloe bursts in the door behind me, the bell jingling in her wake. “I’m not French?” she screeches. “Those are the first words you spoke to Drew Danforth? Really?”

“Well then, why did you tell him I was French?” I shout, ignoring the curious stares of everyone working on their laptops and the calming melody of whatever Nick put on to replace the Doobies.

“I don’t know!” She throws her hands in the air. “You weren’t talking, so I thought I’d give you an interesting backstory!”

I put my hands over my face. “This is ridiculous.”

“No,” Chloe says, grabbing me by the shoulders. “This is your meet-cute, and now you need to go back out there and find him and say something that isn’t a negation of your Frenchness or an apology for destroying his probably very expensive coat.”

“Meet what?”

Nick stares at us from behind the counter, a dishtowel in his hand.

“A meet-cute,” Chloe stands up straight, shoulders back, as if she’s delivering a Romantic Comedy 101 lecture to Nick and his patrons, “is the quirky, adorable, cute way the hero and heroine of a romantic comedy meet.”

Everyone stares at her blankly.

“Or hero and hero. Or heroine and heroine. Not to be heteronormative,” she clarifies.

“Like how me and Martha met at her wedding,” Gary says.

Chloe thinks about it. “I don’t know that I would necessarily call that one a meet-cute, but sure, Gary.”

“Did you just make that up?” Nick asks, arms crossed.

I shake my head. “No. It’s a thing.”

“Watch a romantic comedy, dude,” Tobin says.

Nick rolls his eyes.

“Anyway,” Chloe continues, “Annie straight up ran into Drew Danforth and spilled a cup of coffee all over his coat, which is, like, the cutest of meets.”

“That doesn’t sound very cute,” Nick says skeptically, rubbing the scruff on his chin. “Was it still hot?”

“Scalding,” I say, sinking into my chair and resting my head on the table.

“Sounds like a meet painful,” says Gary, and a few people laugh.

“Thanks,” I mutter. “I’m so glad you all find my embarrassment entertaining.”

“Annie!” Chloe sits down across from me as a customer walks in and the rest of the shop stops paying attention to us. “This isn’t embarrassing. This is merely a story I’ll tell in my toast at your wedding to Drew.”

I lift my head to look at her. “I hate to break this to you, but I don’t think he’s my Tom Hanks. I think he’s just a famous guy with a possible third-degree burn on his chest. And now my first day on set is going to be super awkward because I accidentally assaulted the lead actor with a beverage.”

Chloe’s about to say something, but then a song starts and she closes her mouth, looking up toward the speakers. “I swear to God, I told Nick not to play any more Bon Iver. It makes people look up their exes on Instagram, not buy coffee. I’m gonna go put on some Hall and Oates.”

As she walks away, I rest my head on the table again. As if it wasn’t embarrassing enough to have my uncle get me a job on set, now I have to deal with this.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Review: THE FRIEND ZONE by Abby Jimenez


THE FRIEND ZONE
by Abby Jimenez
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Published by Forever Romance
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher | Netgalley





Synopsis

Kristen Petersen doesn't do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don't get her. She's also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend's wedding is bittersweet for Kristen--especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He's funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he'd be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it's harder and harder to keep him at arm's length.

The Friend Zone will have you laughing one moment and grabbing for tissues the next as it tackles the realities of infertility and loss with wit, heart, and a lot of sass.
 



My Thoughts

THE FRIEND ZONE was one of my top ten anticipated reads of this year and while I received this copy for review a while back, I was completely scared to read it. I felt like I may have too much in common with main character - her infertility issues and her doubts of allowing someone to love her when it may alter the future they imagined for themselves. I had to convince myself to be brave and start it. This book is a romance with some comedy, which I love, so of course I should just go ahead and read it. 

I did experience the pain of the characters, but I finished reading it and felt a little less alone. While my circumstances aren't exactly the same, it's definitely something I understand and relate to. Yes, I did cry several times while reading THE FRIEND ZONE. Sometimes my tears were for the characters. Other times the tears were for myself.

And with all of the emotions that I felt while reading this book, what I can appreciate is how much this story made me laugh. Kristen just cracked me up. I loved her humor and her bluntness and the various ways she would make herself undesirable so that Josh wouldn't fall in love with her. I loved the fun little scenes with her yorkie, Stuntman Mike. 

And then we have the oh-so crush-worthy Josh. He's now on my book-boyfriend list. I love how he loves Kristen and how he would give her a run for her money when she would turn up the sass. He was her partner in every prank she wanted to pull. He was the one for her, no doubt about it.

Laughable Quotes:

“You should name any dog according to how it will sound while yelling his name and chasing him down the street in a bathrobe.” - How little doggies like Stuntman Mike get their names.


"Did you send me a potato?" - Potato parcels! I've sent one.

“Do I have to put on a bra? Because if I have to put on a bra, I’m not going.” - She's right this can be a make or break moment.

"Have you ever had the urge to tell someone to shut the f*ck up when they aren’t even talking? That’s how I feel literally every time I see his face.” - Oh, we all know someone like this!


I don't know how many times I turned to my husband to share these laugh-out-loud lines, but there were a lot!

THE FRIEND ZONE definitely met my expectations for a most anticipated read for 2019. Even though I was nervous to read it, I'm glad that I experienced all of the emotions I did. This is a book that I needed to read. I loved it.



Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from the publisher for review consideration.  I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Currently Reading and a Giveaway: IT IF MAKES YOU HAPPY by Claire Kann






IF IT MAKES YOU HAPPY

by Claire Kann

Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Published by Swoon Reads
Pages: 288
Source: Publisher | Xpresso Book Tours
Purchase Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo





Synopsis

High school finally behind her, Winnie is all set to attend college in the fall. But first she’s spending her summer days working at her granny’s diner and begins spending her midnights with Dallas—the boy she loves to hate and hates that she likes. Winnie lives in Misty Haven, a small town where secrets are impossible to keep—like when Winnie allegedly snaps on Dr. Skinner, which results in everyone feeling compelled to give her weight loss advice for her own good. Because they care that’s she’s “too fat.”

Winnie dreams of someday inheriting the diner—but it’ll go away if they can’t make money, and fast. Winnie has a solution—win a televised cooking competition and make bank. But Granny doesn’t want her to enter—so Winnie has to find a way around her formidable grandmother. Can she come out on top?

My Complete Review Will Be Posted Soon
But this is what I can share now.


I'm still reading IF IT MAKES YOU HAPPY and can't share my complete review just yet. It took me a while to get into the swing of reading Winnie's story, and now that I have I'm really enjoying it.

There are a lot of people in Winnie's life who she gives a big part of herself to. She has the kind of energy and presence that people want to be a part of. She knows who she is and doesn't mess when people want to tell her otherwise. I really like this about her. It doesn't mean that she has it all figured out, but she's definitely on her way and knows how to communicate that.

This idea of the Misty Haven crowning and a baking show seem like a lot all at once, so I'm interested to find out how one will play in the role of the other.

Once I finish reading IF IT MAKES YOU HAPPY, I'll share my complete review. Check back soon!

Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from the publisher for review consideration.  I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.


AUTHOR BIO:

Claire Kann is the author of LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE and an award-winning online storyteller. In her other life, she works for a nonprofit that you may have heard of where she daydreams like she’s paid to do it. Find out more by visiting her website: www.clairekann.com (and while you’re there, tell her about your cats. She loves cats. A lot.)

Author links: 

Giveaway:
Tour-wide giveaway (US/CAN)
Print copy of If It Makes You Happy

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