Tuesday, August 23, 2016

First Star I See Tonight (Chicago Stars #8) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

First Star I See Tonight (Chicago Stars #8) Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips 
Publication: August 23, 2016
By: William Morrow

A star quarterback and a feisty detective play for keeps in this sporty, sexy, sassy novel—a long-awaited new entry in the beloved, award-winning, New York Times bestselling author’s fan-favorite Chicago Stars football series.

Piper Dove is a woman with a dream—to become the best detective in the city of Chicago. First job? Trail former Chicago Stars quarterback, Cooper Graham. Problem? Graham’s spotted her, and he’s not happy. 

Which is why a good detective needs to think on her feet. “The fact is...I’m your stalker. Not full-out barmy. Just...mildly unhinged.”

Piper soon finds herself working for Graham himself, although not as the bodyguard he refuses to admit he so desperately needs. Instead, he’s hired her to keep an eye on the employees at his exclusive new nightclub. But Coop’s life might be in danger, and Piper’s determined to protect him, whether he wants it or not. (Hint: Not!) If only she weren’t also dealing with a bevy of Middle Eastern princesses, a Pakistani servant girl yearning for freedom, a teenager who just wants to fit in, and an elderly neighbor demanding Piper find her very dead husband.

And then there’s Cooper Graham himself, a legendary sports hero who always gets what he wants—even if what he wants is a feisty detective hell bent on proving she’s as tough as he is. 

From the bustling streets of Chicago to a windswept lighthouse on Lake Superior to the glistening waters of Biscayne Bay, two people who can’t stand to lose will test themselves and each other to discover what matters most.




My Thoughts

It was a lot of fun being back in the world of the Chicago Stars! While this is part of a series, it can be read as a stand alone. Fast-paced, interesting, romantic and funny. First Star I See Tonight is everything I've come to expect from a SEP novel. 

Piper is a no-nonsense, shrewd business woman. She's comfortable in her own skin and doesn't give one iota about Cooper Graham's appearance or his star power. Not at first anyway. Things change once she gets to know him. Cooper Graham---Coop is a trip! The opening scene had me laughing out loud. He too, knows what he wants and what he doesn't, and Piper Dove is not his type. Until she is. 

Watching the two of them work together while trying not to fall for each other was entertaining. And the Epilogue was great!

One of the things I enjoy about SEPs characters is, her heroines can survive all on their own. They aren't damsels in distress, they don't need a man--a hero to complete them. And her heroes are often attracted to the heroines strengths, not just a great pair of legs. When the two eventually do fall in love, it's a true partnership.  






About the Author 

The Huffington Post says the books of Susan Elizabeth Phillips provide a “gateway drug to the whole [romance] genre,” which she assumes is a good thing. Bookpage magazine calls her “the crown jewel of romantic comedy writers,” which is definitely a good thing. Since she wrote her first novel on a typewriter in her kitchen, her books have been published in over 30 languages and appear on bestseller lists all over the world. 

In addition to being a New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today bestseller, she is a hiker, lazy gardener, horrible singer, passable cook, passionate reader, wife, mother of two grown sons, and grandmother of two adorable little ones. Her newest book, HEROES ARE MY WEAKNESS, is now available in paperback. Susan is excited to announce her next book FIRST STAR I SEE TONIGHT, the next edition in the CHICAGO STARS SERIES, will be released Aug. 23, 2016. You can visit Susan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or on her website.


Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram






Wednesday, August 17, 2016

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Unknown (Unknown #1) by Wendy Higgins

Series: Unknown (Unknown #1)  
Author: Wendy Higgins
Published: August 16, 2016 

Amber Tate believes the worst thing she’ll suffer in life is dealing with the unrequited love she feels for her brother’s best friend, Rylen Fite. She also believes war is something unfortunate that happens places far, far away from her rural Nevada town. She’s wrong on both counts.

When an unknown organization meticulously bombs major cities in the United States and across the globe, a trickle-down effect spreads to remaining towns at an alarming speed—everything from food and water sources to technology and communications are compromised. Without leadership, the nation is split between paralysis and panic, but Amber isn’t one to hide or watch helplessly. She’s determined to put her nursing skills to use, despite the danger, even if it means working alongside the man she can never have.

In this first installment of NY Times bestselling author, Wendy Higgins’s debut New Adult series, a frighteningly realistic apocalyptic America is brought to life, entwined with searing romantic tension that will leave you eager for more.


This is a portion of my email [edited to remove spoilers] to Wendy upon finishing the book--which I read in a short amount of time. I couldn't put it down!

"I finished UNKNOWN, and I'm going to need Book Two like yesterday, okay? Thanks.

I really enjoyed the story, especially the old school Red Dawn vibe it had going on! I still remember how scared I was to go to school after watching that movie, convinced enemy soldiers were going parachute onto the playground and take me hostage.



I liked how opening chapters laid the groundwork for the series and wasn't simply a bunch of flashbacks. I never felt like I was confused about what was going on or where I was in the timeline. I loved Amber and Rylen, and her family is the best! It was nice to see a diverse, multi-generational family under one roof.

The camping scene made me laugh! 

I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!"
 
In this first installment, action, tension and relationships take center stage, which adds a layer of authenticity to the overall story. Don't get me wrong, I love kissing and everything else that goes along with romance, and it's there simmering below the surface, but the world is literally falling down around these characters. They're focused on survival, as they should be. 

A fast-paced, action packed start to what's sure to be an epic love story. READ IT!



About Wendy (Who is honestly one of my FAVORITE people!)
 
Wendy Higgins is the USA Today and NYT bestselling author of the Sweet Evil series from HarperTeen, the high fantasy duology The Great Hunt, and her independently published Irish fantasy, See Me. She is a former high school English teacher who now writes full time, and lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her veterinarian husband, daughter, son, and doggie Rue. 

Wendy earned a bachelor's in Creative Writing from George Mason University and a master's in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford University.

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 ~ GIVEAWAY ~

One EBOOK Copy (Kindle or Nook) of UNKNOWN 
Must be 13 years old to enter


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

SERIES RECAP: Chicago Stars by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Welcome to Jenuine Cupcakes!  

We're only TWO WEEKS away from the release of the long-awaited addition to New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Chicago Stars football series, First Star I See Tonight!

In case you're new to the SEP (Susan Elizabeth Phillips) fandom or just need a refresher, here's a recap of the series, which can be read in order or as stand alones.

This is an adult contemporary romance series, best suited for readers 18+. 


It Had To Be You (Chicago Stars #1)

The Windy City isn't quite ready for Phoebe Somerville—the outrageous, curvaceous New York knockout who has just inherited the Chicago Stars football team. And Phoebe is definitely not ready for the Stars' head coach, former gridiron legend Dan Calebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. Calebow is everything Phoebe abhors. And the sexy new boss is everything Dan despises—a meddling bimbo who doesn't know a pigskin from a pitcher's mound.

So why is Dan drawn to the shameless sexpot like a heat-seeking missile? And why does the coach's good ol' boy charm leave cosmopolitan Phoebe feeling awkward, tongue-tied . . . and ready to fight?





Come heck or high water, Gracie Snow is determined to drag the legendary ex-jock Bobby  Tom Denton back home to Heaven, Texas, to begin shooting his first motion picture. Despite his dazzling good looks and killer charm, Bobby Tom has reservations about being a movie star -- and no plans to cooperate with a prim and bossy Ohio wallflower whom he can't get off his mind or out of his life. Instead, the hell-raising playboy decides to make her over from plain Jane to Texas wildcat.

But nothing's more dangerous than a wildcat with an angel's heart in a town too small for a bad boy to hide. And all hell breaks loose when two unforgettable people discover love, laughter, passion -- and a match that can only be made in Heaven.




Nobody's Baby But Mine (Chicago Stars #3)
 

Genius physics professor Dr. Jane Darlington desperately wants a baby. But finding a father won’t be easy. Jane’s super-intelligence made her feel like a freak when she was growing up, and she’s determined to spare her own child that suffering. Which means she must find someone very special to father her child. Someone who’s more comfortable working out his muscles than exercising his brain.

Cal Bonner, the Chicago Stars’ legendary quarterback, seems like the perfect choice. But his champion good looks and down-home ways are deceiving. Dr. Jane is about to learn a little too late that this good ol’ boy is a lot smarter than he lets on—and he’s not about to be used and abandoned by a brainy, baby-mad schemer.




Dream A Little Dream (Chicago Stars #4)


A Desperate Young Mother

Rachel Stone's bad luck has taken a turn for the worse. With an empty wallet, a car's that's spilling smoke, and a five-year-old son to support, she's come home to a town that hates her. But this determined young widow with a scandalous past has learned how to be a fighter. And she'll do anything to keep her child safe—even take on...

A man With No Heart

Gabe Bonner wants to be left alone, especially by the beautiful outcast who's invaded his property. She has a ton of attitude, a talent for trouble, and a child who brings back bad memories. Yet Rachel's feisty spirit might just be heaven-sent to save a tough, stubborn man.

Dare To Dream

Welcome to Salvation, North Carolina—where a man who's forgotten what tenderness means meets a woman with nothing to lose. here two endearing lovers will set off on a funny, touching journey of the heart...to a place where dreams just might come true.




This Heart Of Mine (Chicago Stars #5)
 

Molly Somerville knows she has a reputation for trouble. She did give away her fifteen-million-dollar inheritance, but, hey, nobody's perfect. Still, if anyone has an almost perfect life, it's Molly. While her Daphne the Bunny children's books could be selling better, she loves her cramped loft, her French poodle, and her career creating the fictional animals who live in Nightingale Woods. She even loves her sister, Phoebe.

True, it was a little tough growing up in her shadow. Phoebe is beautiful, blissfully married, and the owner of the most successful professional football team in America. But who other than your sister knows you're about to do something drastic every time you change your hair? Yes, Molly's happy about almost everything ... except her long-term crush on the daredevil quarterback for the Chicago Stars, that awful, gorgeous Kevin Tucker, a man who can't even remember her name!

One night Molly's penchant for running into trouble runs right into Kevin himself, turning her world upside down. Heartbreak follows, and just when she's certain things can't get worse, Kevin forces his way back into her life. If only the overpaid, Ferrari-driving, poodle-hating jock was as shallow as she wants him to be, she could get on with her almost perfect life. But Kevin's hidden depths and iron will propel Molly out of her comfortable existence into an unforgettable summer at a place called Wind Lake. Surrounded by paintbox cottages and a charming old bed-and-breakfast, she and Kevin battle their attraction while trying to cope with an aging sexpot actress, a cranky world-famous artist, and a pair of teenage newlyweds.

Their careers and lives are in crisis ... yet they can't seem to stay away from each other. Before the summer is over, will they be able to learn one of life's most important lessons? Sometimes falling in love hurts, sometimes it makes you mad as hell, and sometimes if you're very lucky it can heal in the most special and unexpected way. 




Match Me If You Can (Chicago Stars #6)

Annabelle's endured dead-end jobs, a broken engagement...even her hair's a mess! But that's going to change now that she's taken over her late grandmother's matchmaking business. All Annabelle has to do is land the Windy City's hottest bachelor as her client, and she'll be the most sought-after matchmaker in town.

Why does the wealthy, driven, and gorgeous sports agent Heath Champion need a matchmaker, especially a red-haired screw-up like Annabelle Granger? True, she's entertaining, and she does have a certain quirky appeal. But Heath is searching for the ultimate symbol of success -- the perfect wife. And to make an extraordinary match, he needs an extraordinary matchmaker, right?

Soon everyone in Chicago has a stake in the outcome, and a very big question: When the determined matchmaker promised she'd do anything to keep her star client happy...did she mean anything? If Annabelle isn't careful, she just might find herself going heart-to-heart with the toughest negotiator in town.





Natural Born Charmer (Chicago Stars #7)*  


It wasn't every day a guy saw a headless beaver marching down the side of a road, not even in Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard's larger-than-life world. He slammed on the brakes of his brand-new Aston Martin Vanquish and pulled over in front of her.

The beaver marched right past, her big, flat tail bouncing in the gravel, and her small, sharp nose stuck up in the air. Way up. The beaver looked highly pissed...

She was definitely a girl beaver because her beaver head was missing, revealing sweaty, dark hair pulled into a scraggly ponytail. He'd been praying for a little distraction from his own depressing company, so he threw open the door and stepped out onto the shoulder of the Colorado road...

Funny, sexy, and touching—Natural Born Charmer is the unforgettable love story of a golden boy who might be losing his luster and a spirited woman who's learned never to depend on anyone but herself. 


*This was the book I started with and it's still my favorite in the series. Because Dean Robillard. 



Publication: August 23, 2016

A star quarterback and a feisty detective play for keeps in this sporty, sexy, sassy novel—a long-awaited new entry in the beloved, award-winning, New York Times bestselling author’s fan-favorite Chicago Stars football series.

Piper Dove is a woman with a dream—to become the best detective in the city of Chicago. First job? Trail former Chicago Stars quarterback, Cooper Graham. Problem? Graham’s spotted her, and he’s not happy.

Which is why a good detective needs to think on her feet. “The fact is...I’m your stalker. Not full-out barmy. Just...mildly unhinged.”

Piper soon finds herself working for Graham himself, although not as the bodyguard he refuses to admit he so desperately needs. Instead, he’s hired her to keep an eye on the employees at his exclusive new nightclub. But Coop’s life might be in danger, and Piper’s determined to protect him, whether he wants it or not. (Hint: Not!) If only she weren’t also dealing with a bevy of Middle Eastern princesses, a Pakistani servant girl yearning for freedom, a teenager who just wants to fit in, and an elderly neighbor demanding Piper find her very dead husband.

And then there’s Cooper Graham himself, a legendary sports hero who always gets what he wants—even if what he wants is a feisty detective hell bent on proving she’s as tough as he is.

From the bustling streets of Chicago to a windswept lighthouse on Lake Superior to the glistening waters of Biscayne Bay, two people who can’t stand to lose will test themselves and each other to discover what matters most. 



If you've read the Chicago Stars series, do you have a favorite? 
Are you excited for First Star I See Tonight? 

Monday, August 8, 2016

COVER REVEAL: Every Little Thing by Samantha Young

Jenuine Cupcakes is so excited to be part of the cover reveal for EVERY LITTLE THING by New York Times bestselling author, Samantha Young! The second book in the new Hart’s Boardwalk series returns to the picturesque Delaware beachside town for another heartfelt and sexy story...

March 2017
 

Hartwell, Delaware—the perfect place to get away from it all, and find what you never knew you needed…

Bailey Hartwell has many reasons to feel content—her successful business, a close circle of friends, and her steady boyfriend…even if their romance feels staid after ten years without a serious commitment. The only challenge in her life comes in the form of sexy businessman Vaughn Tremaine. She thinks the ex-New Yorker acts superior and that he considers her a small-town nobody. But when Bailey’s blindsided by a betrayal, she’s shocked to discover Vaughn is actually a decent guy. 

Vaughn admires Bailey’s free spirit, independence, and loyalty. As his passion for her has grown, his antagonism toward her has only worsened. Every little thing Bailey does seduces him. But when Vaughn’s painful emotional past makes him walk away in fear he will hurt her, it opens an old wound in Bailey, and she uncharacteristically retreats.

Once Vaughn begins to realize he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he has no choice but to fight like he’s never fought before to convince Bailey that the love they’ve found together only comes around once in a lifetime.




We can’t wait for Bailey and Vaughn’s story! But in the meantime, we’re looking forward to the first book, The One Real Thing, that goes on sale September 6th! Pre-order the first book in the Hart’s Boardwalk series today!



Welcome to Hartwell, a quiet seaside escape where uncovering old secrets could lead one woman to discover the meaning of a love that lasts…

While Doctor Jessica Huntington engages with the inmates at the women’s correctional facility where she works, she’s always careful to avoid emotional attachments in her personal life. Loss and betrayal taught her that lesson long ago. But when she comes across a set of old love letters in the prison’s library and visits the picturesque town of Hartwell to deliver them to their intended recipient, she finds herself unable to resist the town’s charm—and her attraction to the sexy owner of a local bar proves equally hard to deny.

Since his divorce from his unfaithful ex-wife, Cooper Lawson has focused on what really matters: his family and the boardwalk pub they’ve owned for generations. But the first time Jessica steps into his bar, Cooper is beyond tempted to risk his heart on her.
Yet as their attraction grows hotter and Jessica remains stubbornly closed off, he begins to realize it will take more than just passion to convince her there’s only one real thing in life worth fighting for…
  




Samantha Young is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series, including Moonlight on Nightingale Way, Echoes of Scotland Street, and Fall from India Place, as well as the standalone novel Hero. She resides in Scotland.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Author:
Publication: August 9, 2016
By: St. Martin's Press
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You'd like to get to know Grace better. But it's difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace's friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn't Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?


*I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review* 

This was my first B.A. Paris book, but it won't be my last. And I say that as someone who doesn't read a lot of psychological suspense thrillers. (They usually stress me out too much.)

I picked this up expecting to only read a few pages, but before I knew it, I was halfway through the book. I COULD. NOT. PUT. IT. DOWN. The story is told from Grace's POV in a PAST and PRESENT style that is seamlessly blended and leaves no stone unturned. It's really hard to talk about what I enjoyed without spoiling anything, but most of my reading time was spent perched on the end of my seat with my heart in my throat. And the end choked me up me, something that caught me completely off guard. 

If you enjoy a book that messes with your head, this one is not to be missed!










 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

UNITED Launch Blitz & Giveaway!

UNITED Launch Blitz & Giveaway 

Hey there, booklovers! 

I’m author Melissa Landers, and I’m thrilled to announce the release of UNITED, the final book in the Alienated trilogy. Our star-crossed lovers Aelyx and Cara have overcome some heavy obstacles to be together—riotous mobs, alien hybrids, and worst of all, high school on two planets. Now to stay together they’ll have to unite their people against a common enemy, a threat more deadly than they ever imagined. (NBD, right?) I’ve written an ending to this trilogy that makes my heart happy, and I hope you’ll love the conclusion as much as I do!

 What do reviewers have to say about the series?

“The author’s storyline is out of this world.” –VOYA on Alienated

“The unusual plot and world building are ingenious.” –Library Media Connection on Alienated

“If [the third novel] is as entertaining as this tale, it can’t come soon enough.” –Kirkus Reviews on Invaded

“A fun genre-blending series that will only gain traction as it continues.” –Booklist on Invaded

If you love hot aliens, snarky humans, and wild sci-fi adventure, make sure to pick up a copy of UNITED today. It’s now available in stores and online.




After thwarting a deadly coup and saving the alliance between their worlds, Cara and Aelyx have finally earned a break. Their tiny island colony is everything they dreamed it would be―days spent gathering shells on the beach and nights in each other’s arms.

But the vacation is short-lived.

The treaty between Earth and L’eihr has awakened an ancient force that threatens to destroy them all. The Aribol, mysterious guardians charged with maintaining interstellar peace, deem the alliance a threat to the galaxy. They order a separation of the races, decreeing humans and L’eihrs must return to their own planets within the month or face extinction. In fact, they already have agents in place on Earth, ready to begin.

With the clock ticking, Aelyx and Cara assemble a team of colonists and race back to Earth, where they unite with old friends to solve the mystery of who the Aribol are, what they want, and the real reason the alliance has provoked them. As tensions build to a full-scale war, Aelyx and Cara must fight harder than ever―not just for their future, but for the survival of both their worlds.

 Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Book Depository (free international shipping) | Indie Bound



To celebrate my book birthday, I’m offering one lucky winner a set of all 3 mini-posters in the Alienated series—signed by me! The giveaway is open internationally.

Best of luck, and happy reading!




Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.” For more information or just to say hello, visit www.melissa-landers.com

Monday, August 1, 2016

BLOG TOUR | GUEST POST: Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles #3)


Welcome to Jenuine Cupcakes, this is my stop on The Beauty of Darkness blog tour!
I love this series, and CAN NOT WAIT to read the final installment!



Publicaiton: August 2, 2106
By: Henry Holt 
Lia and Rafe have escaped Venda and the path before them is winding and dangerous - what will happen now? This third and final book in The Remnant Chronicles is not to be missed.

Bestselling author Mary E. Pearson's combination of intrigue, suspense, romance and action make this a riveting page turner for teens.





 ~ Guest Post ~

QUESTION FOR LIA: As women, we tend to focus on what we consider to be our flaws, things we don't like about ourselves, or what we wish we could change. What is one thing you (as Lia) like about yourself and why?

Lia: It is perhaps a bit odd, but what others might consider my flaw, I consider a strength: My mouth. I tend to say what I’m thinking. I know at times, I don’t choose the best timing, but sometimes the best timing never comes. We dance around words like they are fragile goblets. I am not afraid to break a goblet or two.

I like this aspect about myself because I see how often voices can be quashed and told they don’t matter. Every voice matters. Mine does too.

Griz, a Rahtan soldier, recently tried to “override” my voice. I set him straight. A lot of goblets were broken in that conversation. 

And then there’s the Komizar. He tried to steal my voice entirely. We know how that turned out for him. Sometimes more than a goblet breaks.

Every woman has different strengths. We should celebrate them all and not focus on the flaws. My friend Pauline, for instance, has a quiet voice but a mean streak when it comes to loyalty. And Gwyneth, she is one savvy and perceptive lady. And then there’s Berdi who is intensely practical, and dependable. These women are my army--even when we are separated by hundreds of miles. I feel very fortunate to call them my friends. Why dwell on flaws?







~ About the Author ~

Mary E. Pearson is the award-winning author of The Jenna Fox Chronicles, The Miles Between, A Room on Lorelei, and Scribbler of Dreams. She writes full-time from her home office in California where she lives with her husband and two golden retrievers.
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