LORDS of the UNDERWORLD: The Darkest Promise by Gena Showalter & BookSparks GIVEAWAYS





I must be one of the few remaining readers who thought she wasn’t into paranormal romance! I didn’t think reading about fierce, eternal, hunks of flesh being brought to their knees by beautiful woman would be my thing. Well hello, Gena Showalter! Thank you for waking me up, sunshine! I was given THE DARKEST PROMISE (Harlequin) and let me say, I’m addicted. Of course, I’m late to the party. Gena has written more than fifty-five books and has sold millions around the world. Now I need to go back and check out the previous twelve books in this series featuring delicious, intense, muscular immortal warriors.

Every book features a different gorgeous male deity. In THE DARKEST PROMISE, it’s Lazarus, The Cruel and Unusual, who rules his kingdom without mercy. His focus is to build up his military and destroy his enemies. Then the beautiful, delicate, Cameo comes into his life and he’s smitten, but she’s possessed by the demon, Misery, who makes it impossible for her to feel joy, without losing her memory. The attraction between Lazarus and Cameo is powerful, intense and dangerous. He’s determined to make her smile and seduce her into his bed.

But the demon, Misery is never far away, threatening to destroy their fragile bond. As Cameo fears happiness, Lazarus grows crazed.


Gena Showalter HQN

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld, Otherworld Assassins, and Angels of the Dark series, as well as two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series.  In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine.  She was interviewed on Nightline and has been mentioned in Orange is the New Black.  Her books have been translated in multiple languages.

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who takes control. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com or Facebook.com/genashowalterfan


Thanks to BookSparks we have two copies of Gena’s new book, THE DARKEST PROMISE to giveaway. Just tell us what you love about paranormal romance novels. We’ll announce two winners Monday. Good luck!




Hello Monday!

Thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin Publishing, we’re about to get closer to being ready to party this summer. Tomorrow two novels, Beth Harbison’s, ONE LESS PROBLEM WITHOUT YOU and Kim Gruenenfelder’s, LOVE THE WINE YOUR WITH are hitting bookstores. It’s all about partying with your girlfriends, talking about your favorite guys and drinking your favorite cocktails! Best part? These books include drink recipes!


Jessie, Nat and Holly love each other, but seriously wonder about how much they really love their current jobs and the men in their lives. So the BFFs decide to open a wine bar together in Kim Gruenenfelder’s novel, LOVE THE WINE YOU’RE WITH (St.Martin’sGriffin).

Jessie has the house and now she’s about to take the really big step and get married to her boyfriend of three years, Kevin. They had planned on filling that house with kiddies, but now Kevin suddenly has cold feet.

Nat is having a wonderful affair with her gorgeous British boss, Marc, but oops. Unfortunately, there’s a slight complication – he’s married.

Holly is dreaming of a career as an actress and still waiting tables, until she gets her big break. Her father passes away and she melts-down at an audition wondering if she really loves what she’s doing. And oh yeah, there’s that hot guy next door that has piqued her interest.

After each girl survives a particularly awful day at work, they meet up at their favorite wine bar, which has been sold and is going to close for good that night. Jessie, in an alcohol-induced haze suggests they open their own wine bar in the gentrifying neighborhood of Echo Park, in Los Angeles. The three of them could create a really neat girly place with good food and drinks. Of course, that leads to the challenge of each girl needing to fix her own life up first.

Some fun facts about author, Kim:

  1. She loves to write with the smell of Starbucks French Roast wafting in the air … and a big cup in her hand.
  2. She’s happily married, but her celebrity crush is Stephen Colbert.
  3. If she wasn’t writing novels, she’d be on the writing staff of a television show.
  4. Her favorite television shows growing up were “Charlie’s Angels” and “Mary Tyler Moore.”  CA, because she loved seeing how women could be as badass as men. MTM because she’s amazed women are still fighting for the same things today, as they were 30 years ago.


Kim Gruenenfelder lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son, and continues to avoid anything even remotely resembling a real job. Her acclaimed debut novel, A TOTAL WASTE OF MAKEUP, has been published in six languages and eight international editions to date. In addition to her new novel, she’s published A TOTAL WASTE OF MAKEUP, MISERY LOVES CABERNET, THERE’S CAKE IN MY FUTURE, KEEP CALM and CARRY A BIG DRINK. She has written feature films, episodic teleplays and two stage plays.

Kim also created the word “eciah” (featured in Love the Wine You’re With), and is the founder and curator of the website eciah.com. Kim loves her fans and readers, who can follow her through her Facebook. and Twitter.


In Beth Harbison’s, ONE LESS PROBLEM WITHOUT YOU (St.Martin’sGriffin), it’s going to take some love, hope, strength and even a bit of magic for three woman, who find themselves at different crossroads to find their way together.

Prinny owns Cosmos, a shop that sells crystals, potions, candles, and hope. It’s also a place where no one turns down a little extra-special cocktail that can work as a romance potion or heal a broken heart. But Prinny is in love with her married lawyer and she’ll need nothing short of magic to forget about him.

Chelsea works as a living statue at tourist sites around Washington, DC. It’s a thankless job, but she needs a paycheck. That, and her part-time job at Cosmos are enough. As her dream of becoming a successful actress starts to fade, and working as a struggling as one is too much work, she wonders, at what point do you give up on your dream? And God in heaven, will there ever be a man in her life?

No matter how many times her husband, Leif cheats on her, Diana Tiesman doesn’t leave him. She can’t let him go. Well, enough is finally enough, when Diana realizes the only way she will be able to let him go for good is when she goes where he won’t follow. Diana finds herself getting help from Leif’s stepsister, Prinny at Cosmos. Leif has always thought his step-sister was a bit loony, and would never think of his wife going to stay with her.

It’s not going to be easy, but ONE LESS PROBLEM WITHOUT YOU is certainly going to be a lot of fun!

Don’t think with a cover like ONE LESS PROBLEM WITHOUT YOU, you’re going to get to read the book without the perfect drink right by your side. Here’s one of thirty recipes listed in the book.

Marry Me Mimosa

The key to a great mimosa is using fresh squeezed orange juice.  Cheap sparkling wine is okay, though a good brut champagne is best. Top with a dash of Grand Marnier if you like it sweet. This is not only a breakfast drink. Enjoy it and celebrate all day. Since this is a drink that requires no ice, chill your glass in the freezer – or by filling with crushed ice that you pour out – before serving.

*2 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice

*½ teaspoon grenadine

*dash orange bitters

*4 ounces sparkling wine

*dash Grand Marnier, optional

Pour the orange juice, grenadine, and bitters into a champagne flute and top with sparkling wine.  Add a dash of Grand Marnier, if you like, and garnish with a slice of orange. Makes one drink.


Beth Harbison is the New York Times bestselling author of SHOE ADDICTS ANONYMOUS, SECRETS of a SHOE ADDICT, SHOE ADDICTS CHRISTMAS, HOPE in a JAR, and more. She currently splits her time between Washington, DC and New York City.


THANKS TO ST. MARTIN’S GRIFFIN, we have copies of LOVE THE WINE YOU’RE WITH and ONE LESS PROBLEM WITHOUT YOU to giveaway. Just tell us what your favorite wine or cocktail is. If you don’t drink, what’s your favorite non-alcoholic beverage? We’ll choose winners Monday.





There are occasions when I start a novel based on a time in our country’s history and I feel sick. Lisa Wingate’s brilliant novel, BEFORE WE WERE YOURS (BallantineBooks) is one such example. She manages to turn the true story about a woman in charge of the Memphis, Tennessee Children’s Home Society, who kidnapped and sold children – creating the great market of kicking flesh and blood babies – to wealthy families across the country illegally, into a thought-provoking story of sibling love and deeply buried secrets.

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four siblings live a life of wonder on their family’s Mississippi River shanty boat, the Arcadia. One night while their father rushes their mother, Queenie to the hospital, they are left alone, until strangers show up. The children are taken to the Tennessee Children’s Home Society and told they will soon be able to go home to their parents. But they don’t and soon realize the awful truth. They are prisoners of the facility’s cruel director and it’s up to Rill to protect her brother and sisters.

Aiken, South Carolina. Present day. Avery Stafford has it all – a successful career, gorgeous finance and an over the top wedding planned. But when she comes home to help her father with a health crisis, she faces a situation that leads her to question her family’s long hidden past. It’s a path that will take Avery down a road to either ruin or redemption.

Have you ever connected with characters that you kept reading until you finished the novel? That’s what happened with me and BEFORE WE WERE YOURS.  Lisa’s writing is lyrical, poetic and knowing the story is inspired by true events have me hooked. I cared so much for the Foss children, I couldn’t leave them. I somehow felt responsible for them, in my own way. Perhaps that sounds odd, but I think you will understand when you read BEFORE WE WERE YOURS.


lisawingLisa Wingate is a former journalist, inspirational speaker, and bestselling author of more than twenty novels. Her work has won or been nominated for many awards, including the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, the Oklahoma Book Award, the Utah Library Award, The Carol Award, the Christy Award, and the RT Booklovers Reviewer’s Choice Award.

The group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with six others as recipients of the National Civics Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life. Booklist summed up her work by saying, “Lisa Wingate is, quite simply, a master storyteller.” More information about her novels can be found at  www.lisawingate.com.

We are so fortunate to have one copy of BEFORE WE WERE YOURS signed by Lisa Wingate to giveaway. Just tell us what’s the latest literary novel you’ve read and really connected with. We’ll announce a winner next Friday.



There have been a few books we’ve been checking out over the past few months, but we haven’t had time to write-up full reviews. BUT, we don’t want you to miss them. …we have copies to giveaway!


Pretty creepy cover, right? Well you’d be correct thinking Barbara Gowdy’s new book, LITTLE SISTER (TinHouseBooks) is going to give you ibby-geebies. This was my first introduction into reading a Barbara Gowdy novel and it won’t be my last. Apparently she has rapid fans who can’t wait for her novels, and it’s been some time, since she published one. All I know it that LITTLE SISTER was weird, but wonderful, and its haunting style was more than a little unsettling. In other words, delicious.

LITTLE SISTER explores the always fertile territory of mothers, daughters and sisters – the guilt of the female psyche. I was sucked into her literary world and plan on venturing into her backlist. You may not hear from me for a while.


Barbara Gowdy is the author of seven books, including Helpless, The Romantic, The White Bone, Mister Sandman, We So Seldom Look on Love and Falling Angels, all of which have met with widespread international acclaim. Gowdy has been longlisted for The Man Booker Prize. Born in Windsor, Ontario, she lives in Toronto.




Suellen Dainty’s, THE HOUSEKEEPER (WashingtonSquarePress), is part of BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge 2017 #SRC2017. Anne Morgan’s super successful restaurateur boss-boyfriend dumps her for another woman and she’s desperate to find a new job and place to lick her wounds. At the same time, Emma Helmsley, England’s answer to Oprah and Martha needs a new housekeeper, pronto who is used to being around A-listers. Ta-da: A match.

Anne is quickly swept into a world of constant parties and media appearances. Emma tells the world how to live a perfect life, while her academic husband writes a book about a shrink leading a cult. Their two well-adjusted teens add to the picture of perfection they present to the outside world.

But everyone has dirty laundry, and its easy to find, especially when you’re doing the laundry. Anne tries to maintain order, meanwhile unburied secrets threaten to cause dangerous consequences. THE HOUSEKEEPER is a nail-biting psychological thriller about the dark places in our mind.


Suellen in her own words:

My first novel, After Everything, was published in 2014, by Atria/Simon and Schuster. Soon after, Target selected me as one of their 2015 Emerging Authors.

I grew up in Sydney, where I worked as a journalist and television reporter before moving to England two decades ago. I’ve worked for Sky News as a producer and director for the original series of The Book Show. I’ve also run a B and B, worked as a cook, a gardener and a carer. I live in London, where I like writing in the London Library, walking the Thames River towpath and going to the theatre as often as possible.




It’s Chicago in the 1960s in Renee Rosen’s novel, WINDY CITY BLUES (Berkley). Leeba Goski finds herself in the middle of a musical and social revolution. She doesn’t exactly fit in, but her love of music is not lost on her childhood friend, Leonard Chess, who offers her a job at his new record company.

What starts as low-level assistant job turns into  more than Leeba ever dreamed of. She becomes a songwriter and crosses paths with legendary performers like Chuck Berry and Etta James. But it’s Red Dupree, a black blues guitarist from Louisiana, who captures her heart and changes her life.

Their relationship is unwelcome in segregated Chicago and they are cut off from Leeba’s Orthodox Jewish family. Yet in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, Leeba and Red discover that, in times of struggle, music can bring people together.


Renée is the bestselling author of  WHITE COLLAR GIRL, WHAT THE LADY WANTS: A NOVEL of MARSHALL FIELD and the GILDED AGE and DOLLFACE: A NOVEL of the ROARING TWENTIES, as well as the young adult novel, EVERY CROOKED POT. She lives in Chicago.




Gritty New York City in the 1970s is the setting for Randy Mason’s debut novel, FALLING BACK to ONE (Archer). A cop about to lose his badge and a messed up abused teen are each other’s last hope at surviving in this fast-paced, multi-layered story.

Detective Sergeant, James Baker finds himself facing suspension or the end of his career at age thirty-eight, unless he agrees to something completely out of the box; being the acting legal guardian of a convicted juvenile offender. Under incredible stress, he choses being a guardian.

Seventeen-year-old Micki Reilly is not what Baker expects. First she’s a girl, she’s much more violent and she says she has no memory of her past. Baker can’t wait to get rid of her, while at the same time, she dreams of a new life. It’s a battle back and forth between Baker and Reilly, but they know they’re each other’s way out, so they need to stick together. It turns out this arrangement is more important and dangerous than either one of them expected. A tragic decision is made and they discover it’s going to take both of them working together to survive.


Randy Mason grew up in New York City, where she has lived most of her life. FALLING BACK TO ONE is her first novel.




Bestselling author, Anne D. LeClaire joins the Lake Union Publishing family with the release of her novel, THE HALO EFFECT. It was supposed to be a typical October evening for renowned portrait artist Will Light. Over dinner, his wife, Sophie, would share news about chorus rehearsals for the upcoming holiday concert, and their teenage daughter, Lucy, would chatter about French club and field hockey. Only Lucy never came home. Her body was found, days later, in the woods.

The Eastern Seaboard town of Port Fortune used to be Will’s comfort. Now, there’s no safe harbor for him. Not even when Father Gervase asks Will to paint portraits of saints for the new cathedral. Using the townspeople as models, Will sees in each face only a mask of the darkness of evil. And he just might be painting his daughter’s killer.



Anne grew up on a farm in a small town in Western Massachusetts. She’s a graduate of the MacDuffie School in Springfield, Massachusetts and an alumna of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams, Massachusetts and Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. Her interests are gardening, yoga, theater, travel and aviation (she’s a private pilot). She’s also interested in genealogy and a cousin of the poet Emily Dickinson.


Annette Gendler tells her personal story in her memoir, JUMPING OVER SHADOWS(SheWritesPress). When Annette falls in love with a Jewish man in Germany in 1985, history is repeating itself; her great-aunt Resi had been married to a Jew in Czechoslovakia before World War II. That marriage, while happy, meant tremendous difficulties for the extended family, once the Nazis took over their hometown.

While Resi’s marriage did not withstand the pressures of “the Nazi times,” Annette and Harry’s love was a nightmare for his family of Holocaust survivors. Burdened by their family histories, she and Harry kept their relationship secret until they could forge a path into the future.


Annette is a writer, photographer and blogger. She writes literary nonfiction and focuses on the photography of place. In 2014-15 she had the privilege of serving as writer-in-residence at the Hemingway Birthplace Home in Oak Park, Illinois.

Her essays have appeared in many literary journals, and links can be found under Writing. She regularly writes for the Washington Independent Review of Books and the Jewish Book Council.

She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte. After 15 years of working in consulting, she left the corporate world several years ago.
She teaches memoir writing at StoryStudio Chicago and handles communications for her children’s former school. She lives in Chicago with her husband and three children.




In this second book of the series, Henrietta and Clive, Michelle Cox delightfully rewrites Pride and Prejudice—with a hint of mystery in A RING of TRUTH (SheWritesPress).

Newly engaged, Clive and Henrietta now begin the difficult task of meeting each other’s family. “Difficult” because Clive has neglected to tell Henrietta that he is in fact the heir to the Howard estate and fortune, and Henrietta has just discovered that her mother has been hiding secrets about her past as well. When Clive brings Henrietta to the family estate to meet his parents, they are less than enthused about his impoverished intended. Left alone in this extravagant new world when Clive returns to the city, Henrietta finds herself more at home with the servants than his family, much to the disapproval of Mrs. Howard—and soon gets caught up in the disappearance of an elderly servant’s ring, not realizing that in doing so she has become part of a bigger, darker plot.


Michelle Cox holds a B.A. in English literature from Mundelein College, Chicago, and is the author of the award-winning, A GIRL LIKE YOU, the first in the Henrietta and Inspector Howard series. She is known for her wildly popular blog, “How to Get Your Book Published in 7,000 Easy Steps—A Practical Guide” as well as her charming “Novel Notes of Local Lore,” a blog dedicated to Chicago’s forgotten residents. Michelle lives with her husband and three children in the Chicago suburbs.




In Margot Singer’s novel, UNDERGROUND FUGUE (MelvilleHouse), the background is the 2005 tube bombings in London. For those reading who are unfamiliar with the term “tube,” it is the British subway system. Four characters are dislocated by personal loss, political violence and betrayal.

It’s April and Esther has left New York for London, partly to escape her dissolving marriage, and partly to care for her dying mother; Lonia, Esther’s mother, is haunted by memories of fleeing Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War II; Javad, their next-door neighbor and an Iranian neuroscientist, struggles to connect with his college-aged son; and Amir, Javad’s son, is seeking both identity and escape in his illicit exploration of the city’s forbidden spaces.

As Esther settles into life in London, a friendship develops among them. But when terrorists attack the London transit system in July, someone goes missing, and the chaos that follows both fractures the possibilities for the future, and reveals the deep divides of the past.


Margot is the author of a collection of short stories, The Pale of Settlement (University of Georgia Press, 2007), winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction; and co-editor, with Nicole Walker, of Bending Genre (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013), a collection of essays on creative nonfiction.

Her short stories and essays have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Gettysburg Review, Conjunctions, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Agni, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and many others. Winner of the 2013 James Jones First Novel Fellowship, she has also received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Reform Judaism Prize for Jewish Fiction, the Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, the Carter Prize for the essay, and an honorable mention from the judges of the PEN/Hemingway Award.



We have copies of all of these novels, except LITTLE SISTER to giveaway. Just tell us which one you’d like to read and why. We’ll announce winners next Wednesday. Good luck!


* THE PARTY by Robyn Harding & GIVEAWAY


One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.

The picture perfect, Sanders family plan a sweet sixteen party for their darling daughter, Hannah in Robyn Harding’s novel, THE PARTY (ScoutPress) and everything goes to hell.

Kim and Jeff Sanders decide to hold a sleep-over with pizza, movies and four of  Hannah’s girlfriends, instead of an over-indulgent affair for their daughter, in their fabulous home, in a wealthy San Francisco neighborhood. Mom shops all day for the specified trans fat-free treats, diet colas, veggie platters, Hannah’s favorite purple tulips and a cake that won’t embarrass her daughter, in front of her cool friends. When friends arrive, mom proceeds to lecture them on the rules of the house, including no alcohol, drugs or boys. What could go wrong? How about everything.

Mom and dad wake up the next morning to a completely freaked-out, Hannah standing at the foot of their bed, dripping in blood, telling them they are needed immediately.

Everything changes. The Sanders find the carefully constructed façade of their lives being dismantled right in front of them. Friends become enemies, dark secrets about their marriage are revealed and Hannah might not be such a sweet innocent girl after all.

Robyn Harding has said, she purposely wrote a dark story with unlikable characters making terrible choices. While reading, THE PARTY there were moments I could feel my chest tighten, while these characters chose to make “questionable decisions.” I found myself yelling at the book, “No, no, really?” Perhaps not under the exact circumstances as in the novel, but anyone of us could find ourselves facing similar situations like the ones described in THE PARTY. We’d have to deal with them head on hoping for some kind of a positive resolution. THE PARTY confronts some difficult subjects, teen drinking, bullying, teen suicide and drugs.

Robyn Harding has not only written a novel for women to enjoy at the beach and pool this summer, but THE PARTY can be used as a tool to spark conversation between moms and their tweens and teens.



Robyn’s story:

In addition to THE PARTY, published by Scout Press/Simon & Schuster, I have also written four novels of contemporary women’s fiction (AKA chick-lit), a young adult novel, and a comedic memoir with an environmental focus. My books have been translated into seven languages. I am also the screenwriter and executive producer of the independent film, The Steps which premiered at TIFF and was the closing gala film at the Miami International Film Festival. I live in Vancouver, BC with my husband, two kids, and a seven pound dog with no teeth.

You can connect with Robyn on her website http://www.robynharding.com

Thanks to Robyn and Scout Press (Simon and Schuster) we have one copy of THE PARTY to give away. Just tell us about a situation you were involved in that went terribly wrong. We’ll announce a winner Monday. Good luck.

THE GOOD WIDOW by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke & GIVEAWAY

good widow

llLiz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have been best friends for more than twenty-five years. They’ve survived high school, college, and the publishing of three novels together. Liz lives in San Diego, California, with her husband and two children. Lisa, a former talk show producer, now lives in Chicago, Illinois, with her husband, daughter, and two bonus children.

Here’s moi with the ladies!   Liz&Lisa