Friday, June 30, 2017

Spotlight: The Gypsy Moth Summer by Julia Fierro

Author: Julia Fierro
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Date of publication: June 2017

The Huffington Post: 2017 Book Preview: 33 Titles To Add To Your Shelf
The Week: 28 books to read in 2017
The Millions: The Great 2017 Book Preview
Nylon Magazine: 50 Books We Can’t Wait To Read In 2017
Read It Forward: 17 Books We’re Excited to Read in 2017
“Fierro doesn’t just observe, she knows. Like all great novelists, she gives us the world.” – Amy Bloom, bestselling author of Away and Lucky Us

It is the summer of 1992 and a gypsy moth invasion blankets Avalon Island. Ravenous caterpillars disrupt early summer serenity on Avalon, an islet off the coast of Long Island–dropping onto novels left open on picnic blankets, crawling across the T-shirts of children playing games of tag and capture the flag in the island’s leafy woods. The caterpillars become a relentless topic of island conversation and the inescapable soundtrack of the season.

It is also the summer Leslie Day Marshall–only daughter of Avalon’s most prominent family–returns with her husband, a botanist, and their children to live in “The Castle,” the island’s grandest estate. Leslie’s husband Jules is African-American, and their children bi-racial, and islanders from both sides of the tracks form fast and dangerous opinions about the new arrivals.

Maddie Pencott LaRosa straddles those tracks: a teen queen with roots in the tony precincts of East Avalon and the crowded working class corner of West Avalon, home to Grudder Aviation factory, the island’s bread-and-butter and birthplace of generations of bombers and war machines. Maddie falls in love with Brooks, Leslie’s and Jules’ son, and that love feels as urgent to Maddie as the questions about the new and deadly cancers showing up across the island. Could Grudder Aviation, the pride of the island–and its patriarch, the Colonel–be to blame?

As the gypsy moths burst from cocoons in flocks that seem to eclipse the sun, Maddie’s and Brooks’ passion for each other grows and she begins planning a life for them off Avalon Island.

Vivid with young lovers, gangs of anxious outsiders; a plotting aged matriarch and her husband, a demented military patriarch; and a troubled young boy, each seeking his or her own refuge, escape and revenge, The Gypsy Moth Summer is about love, gaps in understanding, and the struggle to connect: within families; among friends; between neighbors and entire generations.

“THE GYPSY MOTH SUMMER plunges the reader into a hazy, hot daydream of hidden truth, scandal, and racial prejudice. With bold strokes, Julia Fierro creates a vivid world where privilege and class are merely a veneer to distract from the cracks beneath the surface.” — Jodi Picoult, NYT bestselling author of SMALL GREAT THINGS and LEAVING TIME

Purchase Links
About Julia Fierro

JULIA FIERRO is the founder of The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, a creative home to more than 4,000 writers in New York City, Los Angeles and online. Her first novel CUTTING TEETH, was praised by The Boston Globe (“at once modern and timeless”) and The New Yorker (“a comically energetic début”).  A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Julia lives in Brooklyn and Los Angeles.
Connect with Julia

Julia Fierro’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Wednesday, May 31st: BookNAround
Friday, June 2nd: View from the Birdhouse
Sunday, June 4th: Writer Unboxed – author guest post
Monday, June 5th: Books and Bindings
Tuesday, June 6th: Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
Wednesday, June 7th: A Bookish Affair
Thursday, June 8th: Bibliotica
Friday, June 9th: Readaholic Zone
Monday, June 12th: Girl Who Reads
Tuesday, June 13th: Suzy Approved
Wednesday, June 14th: Bookchickdi
Thursday, June 15th: Wildmoo Books
Monday, June 19th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, June 20th: Anita Loves Books
Wednesday, June 21st: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, June 22nd: Write Read Life
Friday, June 23rd: BookBub Blog – “8 Beach Reads to Escape with this Summer”
Monday, June 26th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, June 27th: Book Chatter
Wednesday, June 28th: 5 Minutes for Books
Thursday, June 29th: A Bookish Way of Life
Friday, June 30th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, June 30th: Books a la Mode – author guest post

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Cheers to 7 years!

7 years ago, From the TBR Pile was started.  It's been a crazy whirlwind ever since.  We have even survived Autumn being in nursing school the past two years! 

To help us celebrate, we have a big giveaway to thank our followers. 

We are giving a $25.00 gift card to Amazon and 2 surprise mixed boxes of books filled with ARCs and books reviewed on this blog (US only for the boxes, please).  

3 lucky winners will be chosen at the end of the giveaway.  See the Rafflecopter for details. Good Luck!
Kari & Autumn

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

2 in 1: Dark Star by R.T. Martin & Truth or Dare by K.R. Coleman

Today, I have reviews of two middle grade books from the "Midnight" series that came from Lerner publishing imprint, Darby Creek, earlier this year. The books published under this imprint are meant for reluctant or emerging readers from ages 7-18.   Each book in the series is written by a different author and takes place in the fictional town of Middleton.  They are all very quick reads coming in at around a hundred pages

Dark Star by R.T. Martin (April, 2017)

One of the things that I have been enjoying about these short stories is that they remind me of an episode you would see on "Goosebumps" or on "Are You Afraid of the Dark".  Spooky and creepy, but not so much that they would scare the pants off of a YA reader.  In Dark Star, a group of students head to The Bluffs for an extra credit field trip to observe a meteor shower. They figure out that something isn't quite right about the newest student who seems overly enthusiastic about the shower.   Years before an entire class disappeared without a trace adding to the tension of the night.

This was definitely pretty creepy in an "invasion of the body snatchers" type of way.  One by one, the students seem to be enamored with the shower and something seems to have taken over their body. They also keep walking into the woods and disappearing. I won't give away what is going on, but I was intrigued out enough to want to find out what happened. I think any reluctant or emerging YA reader will find it entertaining.  

Truth or Dare bu K.R. Colemen (January 2017)

In Truth or Dare, four teens head to the lake for a final camping trip before leaving town for college.  Around the campfire, one tells a story of some teens that disappeared years before while camping.  When they decide to play truth or dare, one of the girls ends up disappearing into the woods.  

I thought this one was much scarier than Dark Star.  Reading this at a 4th grade level, I could see how it might scare some readers.  An ax-wielding maniac would kick up the scare factor a notch in any book.  The ending was a little to neat for me but I still was entertained.  These are definitely books that I will be recommending to my kids' middle school librarian.  I think the kids would get a kick out of them.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger

Author: Lisa Unger
Publisher: Touchstone
Date of publication: June 2017

Claudia Bishop’s perfect life fell apart when the aftermath of a brutal assault left her with a crumbling marriage, a newborn daughter, and a constant sense of anxiety about the world around her. Now, looking for a fresh start with a home restoration project and growing blog, Claudia takes on a crumbling old house—one that unbeknownst to her has an ugly history and may hide long buried secrets.

For Zoey Drake the defining moment of her childhood was the horrific home invasion murder of her parents. Years later, she has embraced the rage that fuels her. Training in the martial arts has made her strong and ready to face the demons from the past—and within.

Strangers to each other, and walking very different paths in the wake of trauma, these two women are on a collision course—because Zoey’s past nightmare and Claudia’s dreams for her future take place in the very same house. As Zoey seeks justice, and Claudia seeks peace, both will confront the monsters at the door that are the most frightening of all.

The Red Hunter is the latest stand alone by Lisa Unger.  When the book opens, we meet two women who are on very different paths in life.  Neither seems to have anything in common, but as the story progresses, their paths soon seem to be headed toward each other.

I ended up enjoying this book.  I thought it was a pretty good mystery.  About halfway through, i thought that I had it all figured out.  While I did get a couple of things right, there were couple of surprises as well.  For the most part, I liked all of the main characters.  There are multiple points of view and I felt like learned enough about the main characters to care about what happened to them. The story also goes between past and present. This did allow for the plot to be laid out in a timely fashion without a huge reveal at the end.  I really enjoyed that pace.

The one thing that I wasn't a fan of was Zoey's part being told in first person and the rest of the story being told in third person.  I will never understand why authors choose to write a book that way.But that is just a personal preference, I guess.   I think fans of Lisa Unger will enjoy this stand alone.  It's a good solid mystery and one I do recommend.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Blog Tour: Dark Deception by Nancy Mehl

Author: Nancy Mehl
Publisher:Bethany House Publishers
Date of publication: June 2017

New Edge-of-Your-Seat Read from an Established Romantic Suspense Author
Kate O’Brien has been leading a quiet life in small-town Shelter Cove, Arkansas, for the past four years when her past suddenly comes roaring back to life. Four years ago, she and her twin sister were attacked by an elusive serial killer. Only Kate survived, and it was her drawing of the attacker–along with some last-minute evidence–that convicted the suspect.
She’s been in witness protection ever since, but new evidence suggests the convicted man isn’t the murderer and she’s been subpoenaed to testify in the new trial. Nervous about the risk, she’ll only agree if the same marshal who protected her during the original trial escorts her to St. Louis.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Tony DeLuca accepts the assignment to bring Kate to the trial, remembering how her strength impressed him. While in Shelter Cove, however, he gets a call from his chief, advising them to stay in Shelter Cove until a new development in the case can be straightened out. But when Kate’s safety is threatened, Tony must race against the clock to keep her alive and put this ugly case to rest before anyone else gets killed.

Dark Deception is the second in the "Defenders of Justice" series.  I can definitely say that it works well as a stand alone.  Even though there seemed to be characters from the first book in the story, I didn't feel like I needed to know their story to read this one.  

There were things I liked and things I didn't like about this book. I liked that it was fast paced and kept me guessing.  There are quite a few twists. A couple I figured out and a couple I didn't.  That is always a win.  The plot was interesting enough to compel me to keep reading until the end.  I also really liked the main characters.  Tony was exactly the type of guy I pictured when I thought US Marshall..out to protect his charge at any cost.  That he had a deeper caring for Kate was just a bonus. I also thought that Kate's reactions to her situation came across as very real.  I liked that she was still flawed and was fighting to take her life back, even years later.

Having said all of that,there were a few problems I had with the book.  There were a couple of weird time jumps in the beginning that had me going back because I thought I missed something.  A title with the year or even a "4 years later..." would have been helpful.  I also wasn't a fan of the abrupt scene jumps mid chapter.  They took some getting used to.  The romance was non-existent.  I'm not even sure where the "I Love Yous" came from.  The reader is told Kate had a crush on Tony back during the first trial, then they're declaring I love yous at the end.  It was weird and really didn't need to be a part of the story. Finally, the ending was rushed and a little unsatisfying.  What was in that note? 

It is a faith based suspense, but I didn't feel it was overly preachy.  I thought the author found a nice balance in that regard.  I ultimately liked that mystery and action.  I did recommend giving this one a try.

Purchase Links

About Nancy Mehl
Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of
 Ginger Murray Photography

Nancy Mehl is the author of twenty-three books, including the Road to Kingdom, Finding Sanctuary, and Defenders of Justice series. She is a Carol Award finalist and writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their Puggle, Watson.
Connect with Nancy

Nancy Mehl’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, June 5th: Reading is My Super Power
Tuesday, June 6th: Books and Spoons
Wednesday, June 7th: Write Read Life
Monday, June 12th: Buried Under Books
Tuesday, June 13th: Cafinated Reads
Thursday, June 15th: Just Commonly
Monday, June 19th: Books a la Mode – guest post
Thursday, June 22nd: Reviews from the Heart
Monday, June 26th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, June 28th: Jathan & Heather

Sunday, June 25, 2017

June Mini Musings

Tell Me Again:  This was a fairly quick read, but I didn't really enjoy it.  Trevor was awful to Samantha throughout the book.  I never really understood why they would get back together when he acts like he did with her.  I kept hoping I would like this couple, but never did. The fact that Trevor had a child with Samantha's sister after she left made it all a bit strange and cringy.

Bachelor Auction;  I'm not sure what the deal is with heroes that are major jerks and heroines that are doormats that readers find so appealing.  I almost DNF'd this, but it was kind of like a car accident that I couldn't look away from.  I didn't buy into the romance.  Brock was a grade-A jerk and Jane was a doormat.  I didn't see how they would end up together.  This wasn't a great Cinderella "retelling"

Friend (With Benefits) Zone:   This one started out strong.  I was really loving the relationship and friendship between Devon and Jasmine.  I love friend to lovers stories and this one looked promising. However, by the half way mark, I was really looking forward to the book ending.  Jasmine just got really tiring. I felt so badly for Devon. She was so stubborn and created so much drama where there didn't need to be.  I ended up not caring if she got a HEA in the end.  The one thing that saved the book for me was the side romance.  That couple was cute.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Books We Didn't Finish - June Edition

The Cabin - I think I should know myself by now that if I keep putting a book down, that means I'm probably not going to finish it.  I really didn't care for this book.  I didn't like any of the characters from the first chapter, so I didn't care to find out who the murderer was.  It is another book that ended up reminding me of a cheesy horror film that I would stream on Netflix when there is nothing else to watch.

Killers of the Flower Moon - I was hoping for an intriguing story.  I just didn't find it here.  I found this rather long winded and dry. I got about 25% of the way through and gave up.  I ended up going and doing a google search for information on the topic.  

The Possessions This one looked promising.  I ended up DNFing it at about 30%.  I found that I wasn't comfortable with the story-line and really had no desire to finish the book.  I was a bit bored as well. I also was expecting it it be more spooky than it was, but it never got there.  

No One But You: I wasn't a huge fan of the first book in this series, but I was hoping that the second one would be better.  I ended up DNFing this one at about 40%.  I was just really bored.  It was predictable and felt like a story I had read a hundred times already.  I don't think I will continue with the series.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost

Author: Jeaniene Frost
Publisher: Harlequin
Date of publication: August 2014

Sometimes, falling in love really is the end of the world… 

Ivy has always seen things that she cannot explain. Strange things. Otherworldly things. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is imprisoned in a realm beyond Ivy’s reach. The one person who can help her is the dangerously attractive rebel who’s bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.

The fate Adrian has fought to escape is here – but he never expected the burning need he feels for Ivy. With destiny on one side and desire on the other, Adrian must help Ivy search for the powerful relic that can save her sister. Yet he knows what Ivy doesn’t: the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could destroy the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side, Adrian on the other, and nothing but ashes in between…

In preparation for a blog tour I am participating in during the month of August for Jeaniene Frost's upcoming book The Sweetest Burn, I picked up The Beautiful Ashes to read first. Since the The Sweetest Burn involves the same couple I figured it probably wouldn't hold up well as a stand alone. Anyway, I ended up enjoying this book tremendously.

In The Beautiful Ashes, Ivy is searching for her missing sister when she finds her life is about the change in ways she never dreamed possible. She has always seen strange images her whole life, but she thought she was just a little crazy.  She meets and is kidnapped by Adrian who doesn't seem to be completely human.  I am glad I read this one first as there is a lot of world building and mythology that is explained to Ivy along the way...think angels, demons and other realms. But not as cut and dry as just that. 

I enjoyed the characters.  Ivy really steps up to the plate when the need arises.  I liked her determination to get her sister back and to do whatever it takes to get it done. That includes bathing with hell hounds!  Adrian was a perfect partner for her. I also liked that he was flawed as you never knew if he was going to betray Ivy or not. I thought it was fairly light in the romance department.  I suspect that will increase over the next books in the series.  There were some humorous moments in the book that kept it entertaining.  The last 1/4 of the book was pretty intense and was my favorite part.

If you missed this one, I highly recommend it.  It was a fairly quick read.  Make sure to some back on August 10 to read my thoughts on The Sweetest Burn!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Blog Tour: White Fur by Jardine Libaire

Author: Jardine Libaire
Publisher: Hogarth
Date of publication: May 2017

A stunning star-crossed love story set against the glitz and grit of 1980s New York City
When Elise Perez meets Jamey Hyde on a desolate winter afternoon, fate implodes, and neither of their lives will ever be the same. Although they are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different worlds. Elise grew up in public housing without a father and didn’t graduate from high school; Jamey is a junior at Yale, heir to a private investment bank fortune and beholden to high family expectations. Nevertheless, the attraction is instant, and what starts out as sexual obsession turns into something greater, stranger, and impossible to ignore.
The unlikely couple moves to Manhattan in hopes of forging an adult life together, but Jamey’s family intervenes in desperation, and the consequences of staying together are suddenly severe. And when a night out with old friends takes a shocking turn, Jamey and Elise find themselves fighting not just for their love, but also for their lives.

White Fur follows these indelible characters on their wild race through Newport mansions and downtown NYC nightspots, SoHo bars and WASP-establishment yacht clubs, through bedrooms and hospital rooms, as they explore, love, play, and suffer. Jardine Libaire combines the electricity of Less Than Zero with the timeless intensity of Romeo and Juliet in this searing, gorgeously written novel that perfectly captures the ferocity of young love.

White Fur is set in the late 80's taking place over one year.  Elise is a girl from the wrong side of the tracks and Jamey is a student at Yale who comes from money and privilege.  Told through alternating points of view, the reader gets a glimpse into the year that they found each other and began their unlikely affair when the rest of the world didn't think they should be together. 

I am definitely going to be in the minority when I say I really didn't care for this book. I finished it because I was expecting it to get better.  It never really did for me.   First, I didn't care for the writing style.  At times, it felt like a laundry list of things the characters were doing. That made it drag at times. It also, in a way, prevented me from really getting to know either of the main characters. Second, I never got the sense that they liked each other for much more than sex. Often, Jamey acts like he despises Elise. You all know I am not at all a prude when it comes to sex scenes. but the ones in this book really turned me off.  They were all crude and just not the kind of "love" scene I enjoy reading.

I will say that the 80s references sprinkled throughout the book were fun for me having been an 80s kid.  But really, this story could have taken place in any recent decade.  This book has received rave review from others.  This is one I will have to chalk up to being not for me.  Try it out for yourself, you may like it.

“Each page crackles with the intensity, fury, lust, and pure insane pleasure of first love. Jardine Libaire has written a chronicle of one couple’s wild romance: its highs and lows, its delights and contractions, its beauty and its messiness. A delight to read.”—Nathan Hill, author of The Nix
“Brilliantly written and deeply felt, this is a love story by turns comic and tragic, but always moving. Whether her characters are on the social register or the welfare roll, Libaire is a keen observer of human nature.”—Philipp Meyer
White Fur is glorious: dark, dirty, and sexy, lit up with yearning and raw, young love. Libaire’s sentences left me breathless. This is a Roman candle of a novel. I absolutely loved it.”—Amanda Eyre Ward, author of The Nearness of You and What Was Lost
“This sexy American fairytale about a star-crossed couple solidifies Jardine Libaire’s status as poet laureate of late nights and young love.”—Ada Calhoun, author of St. Marks Is Dead 

About Jardine Libaire

Jardine Libaire is a graduate of Skidmore College and the University of Michigan MFA program, where she was a winner of the Hopwood Award. White Fur is her second novel for adults. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Connect with Jardine

Jardine Libaire’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Tuesday, May 30th: Books and Bindings
Wednesday, May 31st: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Thursday, June 1st: Palmer’s Page Turners
Friday, June 2nd: Nightly Reading
Tuesday, June 6th: Kahakai Kitchen
Monday, June 12th: A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, June 13th: Life by Kristen
Wednesday, June 14th: I Brought A Book
Thursday, June 15th: Booksie’s Blog
Wednesday, June 21st: SJ2B House of Books
Thursday, June 22nd: From the TBR Pile
Monday, June 26th: Books a la Mode
Friday, June 30th: Fuelled by Fiction

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pre-Order Blast: Just the Thing by Marie Harte

Author: Marie Harte
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of publication: July 4, 2017

"The sultry sex and seduction scenes are just the icing on this incredibly rich and satisfying cake. Readers will sit down, read this book from cover to cover in one sitting, and then pick it up to read it all over again."―RT Book Reviews, 5 Gold Stars


Gavin Donnigan left the Marine Corps a shell of a man, hounded by guilt for deaths he couldn't prevent. But teaching a self-defense class at the local gym brings some stability to his life―along with a gorgeous woman who won't give him the time of day.

Zoe York lost her twin sister to a freak car accident a few months ago. She's been struggling to bury her grief, but it isn't until she signs up for a self-defense class with its distractingly hot instructor that she begins to come out of her shell again. With the memory of her sister telling her to live a little, Zoe decides a fling with buns-of-steel Gavin Donnigan might be just the thing.

Soon they're sparring both in and out of the gym. And for the first time in a long time, each is looking forward to tomorrow.

It had been one helluva day already, and it hadn’t even reached six yet. He’d secretly called dibs on the last remaining treadmill, needing to run out some kinks.

Problem was, so had she—Pink Yoga Pants.

Gavin Donnigan locked gazes with her before eyeing the distance to the machine, then saw her doing the same. A gentleman would let her go first… While an enthralled man would stand back and watch her work those mag nificent glutes, those toned hamstrings and calves.

But Gavin was no gentleman, at least, not in the gym. His domain. His jungle. His—

“Dude, you’re blocking the Nautilus.”

“Oh, sorry.” He moved out of the no-neck’s path, now no longer able to see the treadmill. When he stepped around another idiot standing in the way, he saw her smirk at him as she stepped on the machine. She kept his gaze as she slowly warmed up, making a huge production out of stretching her arms up over her head, then grinning from ear to ear.

He frowned.

She gave him a mock salute—the sexy witch—then proceeded to ignore the holy hell out of him as she tuned out the rest of the world and ran. Not jogged, ran. That made half a dozen times she’d blown him off with that same smug expression. Then she’d pretend he didn’t exist. 

He’d like to throw her over his knee and spank the ever-loving—

“Gavin. Today, Bro. We have work to do before class.” 

He groaned, needing the stress relief from a good run. “But Landon, I need to work out first.” 

“Fine.” The dick wrapped a thick arm around Gavin’s neck and hauled him away in a headlock. “You want a workout? Let’s see if you can get out of this. Then I’ll throw you on the mat a few times and watch you flail as I beat your ass.” 

Gavin sputtered, trying to breathe as his behemoth brother dragged him down the hallway toward the self-defense classroom. 

Not cool to headlock a gym trainer in front of his many clients. Gavin tried not to wheeze as he fought Landon’s steel-hard muscles for breath. He glanced over and saw his nemesis laughing at him. Crap. The damage had been done. He heard snickers, mockery, and encouragement for Landon

Major Donnigan. What an asshole.

The former Marine choking him growled, “Now suck it up, princess, and let’s see your moves. If you can’t do it, you sure as shit can’t teach it.”


Meet the Donnigans

With the eldest Donnigan brothers adjusting to civilian life, their younger sister constantly in trouble, and their little brother clueless about life in general, falling in love is the last thing on anyone's mind...

Can this Bossy Badass Marine...

The Marine Corps was everything Landon Donnigan ever wanted in life...until a bullet sent him home with a medical discharge. Teaching a self-defense class at the gym is old-hat for a marine, but when he meets sexy Ava Rosenthal, his combat skills are useless for protecting his heart.

Be her Mr. Right?

Ava can take care of herself and likes quiet, bookish men-not muscular warriors who think women need to be coddled. But Landon is more than he seems, and when they come together, the results are explosive.

Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte has over 100 books published with more constantly on the way. She’s a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. Visit Marie's website and fall in love.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Blog Tour: Excerpts from Say Yes to the Scot by Lecia Cornwall, Anna Harrington, May McGoldrick, and Sabrina York

Authors: Lecia Cornwall, Anna Harrington, May McGoldrick, and Sabrina York
E-Original published by Swerve
Publication Date: June 20, 2017
ISBN: 9781250158383
Price: $3.99

 You are formally invited to the Highland wedding event of the year. These four lasses are about to meet their matches in an original digital anthology featuring stories from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sabrina York, Lecia Cornwall, Anna Harrington, and May McGoldrick.

In this retelling of The Princess and The Pea, Laird Alex Munro of Culmore has just five weeks to find a bride and marry her...or else the clan will be cursed with ill luck. Cait MacLeod finds herself caught in a clan feud, and when she tries to stop a deadly raid, she ends up as Alex Munro’s prisoner. With timing running out, is this couple meant to be? 

A MATCH MADE IN HEATHER by Anna Harrington
She was the laird's daughter. He was nothing more than a penniless, nameless Scot with nothing to offer but his heart. Fate tore them apart, but now he's back in her life with status, money and a title. Can they let go of past hurts and find love?

Their marriage was two decades in the making. The young, educated woman and her highland, pirate husband, betrothed when they were still children. But on the day of their wedding, Elizabeth Hay and Alexander Macpherson are in for a surprise.

THE SCOT SAYS I DO by Sabrina York
Catherine Ross's world is turned upside down when her brother gambles away every penny they own. But to make matters worse? He’s lost everything to none other than Duncan Mackay, the rugged Scot who Catherine loved for years--but he never noticed her, and now she positively loathes him. But her brother’s in danger of going to Newgate, and the despicable Duncan has a plan– she can claim back the money and save her brother. If she marries him…

Buy Links

Enjoy these excerpts!

How a Lass Wed a Highlander by Lecia Cornwall

Alex opened the door of the little storeroom on the third floor of the old tower.
Moonlight filtered in through the arrow slit and illuminated the pile of mattresses. Alex stared it. “Ye sleep . . . up there?” he asked.
Cait nodded.
He leaned on the doorframe and took note of the stacked crates. “And ye climb up?”
“Yes,” she said. She shrugged. “I’ve grown quite used to it. I don’t mind. I may have a similar bed made when I get ho—” she paused. “At Rosecairn.”
He looked at her. She stood in the center of the floor, her russet hair bright copper in the moonlight, her eyes luminous. He couldn’t look away. Desire flared all over again. Hector was one of his own, his clansman. His captain. But the thought of giving Cait to Baird tore at him.
“I mind,” he said, his voice thick as he looked at her sky-high bed again. “I find I mind very much.”
He looked back at her. She waited silently, her eyes on his.
“Alex? If I must marry Baird, I would like . . . that is, just once, I want—you.” She held out her hand to him. It was white in the moonlight, pure and pale, and for a moment he stared at her long fingers without moving. “I want you as a woman wants a man. I want to know what it’s like to be loved, because I can’t imagine wanting Baird like I want you. Will you stay with me tonight, while we are both still free?”
He wanted it too, wanted her, before he had to marry Fiona, or Nessa, or Coria, or Sorcha. He stepped into the room and kicked the door shut. He took her hand and pulled her into his arms. He kissed her once, gently, and stood looking down at her upturned face. “You’re beautiful,” he whispered. “I wish—” She put her finger to his lips.
“Just this, now.”
He took her hand, kissed her fingers, her knuckles, then claimed her lips. She pressed herself to him, kissed him back, and he moaned softly and wrapped his arms around her, claimed her mouth, deepened the kiss.
She was his. If only for this night.

A Match Made in Heather by Anna Harrington

“We would have lived in a cottage just like this,” she whispered, barely a sound passing her lips, “if we’d married.” Her belly tightened at the glimpse of the life they might have shared, spreading out before her. Once she’d wanted nothing more than to be his wife, keep his home, have his children . . . “We would have been happy here.”
“You would have been miserable,” he corrected gently.
She whispered, “Not with you.”
“Especially with me.” He shook his head at the futility of what she was suggesting. “Can you honestly tell me that you would have been happy living in a place like this, two rooms so poorly furnished that we would have been lucky to have a table to eat from, let alone any food on the plates? No pretty dresses or beeswax candles, no books, certainly no tea or sugar, no velvet or ribbons.” He reached out and tugged at the shoulder of her riding habit, adding, “No Rowland tartan for you or our bairn. Your father would have made certain of it.”
“I would still have been a Rowland by birth.” Resentment began to pulse inside her. “Entitled to wear the tartan.”
“You would have become a McGuiness. You would have been nothing.” His jaw tightened. “Just as I was.”
“Don’t say that! I loved you, more than—” The words choked in her throat. When they came, they were little more than a breath. “More than I’ve loved anyone else in my life.”
He froze, stunned at her unexpected confession.
“Not going with you that night was the most difficult choice I’ve ever had to make.” Her voice shook from the emotion of her admission. “I loved you, Garrick, but I loved my family, too. They needed me to be here with them, to face together all the terrible things that were about to happen to us.”
“A gambling debt?” he bit out. He shook his head, disdain darkening his features. “Terrible for Samuel, surely, but nothing you had to take on yourself.”
She hesitated, wanting nothing more than to tell him everything, to spill her heart and all the dreadful events of that summer—
But she couldn’t. Even now, the pain was still raw, still too difficult to share.
“I wanted to go with you that night,” she answered instead. “I wanted to be your wife and share a home with you, just like this one.” She glanced around her, unprepared for the rush of sadness that swept over her when her eyes landed on the empty cradle in the corner. “And fill it with our own children. There would have been love and happiness . . .” Her voice trailed off, and she drew in a deep breath, pressing her hand against her chest to fight back the memories of the past. The ghosts of a life that would never be. “I had to choose, and I chose my family. But not one day went by that I didn’t regret having to make that decision, not one night when I didn’t wonder what our life would have been like.”
Her gaze met his, and as she stared into his eyes, the rest of the world fell away around them. Just as it did ten years ago whenever his attention was on her, when it seemed only the two of them existed.
“I made the right decision, Garrick, I know I did,” she breathed out in a trembling whisper. “If I had to relive that night, even knowing now what would happen—” Her eyes began to sting as tears blurred his handsome face. She whispered softly, “I would make the same choice.”
He shook his head. “Arabel—”
“But that doesn’t mean I didn’t love you. That I didn’t want a life with you.” All the emotions roiled inside her so fiercely that she had to press a fist against her chest to keep breathing. The pain was unbearable, but the only way to end her misery was to sear the wound completely, to stir up the desolation and grief until no more pain was left. To answer the question that had been haunting her for ten years . . . “Why did you leave, Garrick? You left Kincardine when I . . .” When I needed you most.
“I didn’t have a choice,” he finished with a cutting iciness.
She flinched at the accusation, and old wounds bled anew. “Neither did I,” she admitted. “I’d thought . . .”
“You thought what?” he pressed.
Somehow she found the resolve inside her to not look away. “That you loved me enough to understand,” she whispered as the memories of that night spiraled through her, all the pain and panic, the desperation . . . “That you loved me enough to wait.”

A Midsummer Wedding by May McGoldrick

                Elizabeth suddenly felt the need to talk. If she was going to make good use of this time together, she needed to correct any misunderstandings now.
“I want to explain why I came to you at the tavern,” she began. “Why I pretended to be Clare Seton.”
His gaze was fixed on the fire.
“It was a foolish plan, I know that now. But . . . but the idea was to make you see Clare and her intended and think she was me and . . . and to make you believe that my heart belonged to someone else.”
He looked up at her. “Why? What did you hope to accomplish?” His tone was civil, but his expression was indecipherable.
“I wanted you to walk away from our marriage bargain.”
“What was wrong with meeting me in person? Why couldn’t you simply tell me?”
Reason. Of course, that would have been the logical thing to do. But how could she explain to him that such a thing took courage and at the time she didn’t trust him to initiate the break? That the stakes were so high and she wasn’t thinking straight?
“I should have,” she said finally. “That would have been the wiser course of action. I don’t want to marry you.”
There. It was out. She’d told him the truth. At least, part of it. She didn’t tell him about not wanting to defy her father, about the future she imagined for herself. He was staring again at the fire. She studied his face. There was no change in the relaxed way that he sat against the wall.
He glanced up at her, and something in his expression told Elizabeth that the man was relieved.
“Then . . . you’re fine with this?”
His eyes sparkled in the dark. “Aye,” he said, lifting a knee and resting an arm on it. “Why do you think I was so impatient to see you these past two days? I even sent a letter to you with my squire this afternoon. He passed you with it when you came into the tavern.”
“What did the letter say?” she asked, wanting him to say it. She didn’t want to assume anything.
“I feel no sense of duty toward the agreement binding us together. That deal was made decades ago, and both families have already profited by it. And in return for my freedom, I’ll provide a sizable sum of gold for you to do with as you please.”
“You don’t want to marry me?”
“Blast me if I do. You don’t want to marry me, and I don’t want to marry you either,” he responded, looking like he’d just won the prize pig at the fair. “You can choose anyone you please, so long as it’s not Alexander Macpherson.”

The Scot Says I Do by Sabrina York

                “Why do you want to marry me?”
“Oh! That!” He huffed a laugh and then sobered. His lips closed as he pondered the question.
And, really? Did he need to ponder the question?
“Don’t you know?” she snapped.
“Of course. Of course I do. I . . . need a wife.”
He nodded and stepped back, looking rather pleased with himself.
She shook her head and his smug smile deflated like a soufflé. “Any woman will do if you simply need a wife.”
“I need heirs. I have an estate now”—she assumed he meant Peter’s—“and I need heirs.”
“Again. Any brood mare will suffice.”
His brow furrowed. “You are hardly a brood mare.”
“Well, thank you very much for that. But you still have to answer the question. Why do you want to marry me?”
His throat worked again. “Isn’t it obvious?”
                She crossed her arms. “Apparently not.”
Another thing it was not, was even remotely romantic, but she supposed a woman in her position knew better than to expect such fribbles.
“Well, you are . . .” He waved at her person. Up and down in an illustrative manner that was not illustrative in the slightest.
“I believe we have established the fact that I am a female of child bearing years.” A brood mare, if you will.
“You are more than that, Catherine.” Ah. Now we were getting somewhere.
“Such as?”
“You are elegant. Genteel. Trained in the art of social niceties. You would make a proper wife.”
She sniffed. She was hardly proper. And she certainly did not care to be proper. “There are a thousand debutantes in London who fit that bill.”
He made such a face that she was tempted to laugh. Had she not been so adamant about discovering his true motives, she might have. “Debutantes? London debutantes? What a revolting thought.”
“I, sir, am one such creature.”
“You are nothing like them, my wee Cat.” His adamant tone stirred her, as did his intent stare. She insisted those feelings recede. “You have a highland heart. You love heather. You ride bareback. You run barefoot in the grass at dawn—”
“Good Lord, Duncan. None of those things are proper. And I did those things when I was a child.” She hadn’t known such joy since her father locked her up in Miss Welles’ Finishing School for Girls in Kent. Despite Elizabeth’s friendship, the school had done much to squeeze the wild child from her soul—a loss she felt deeply, even now. But, apparently, she was a proper English lady doomed to marry a proper English lord, and—
But no. She wasn’t. Not anymore, was she?
How strange that this thought filled her with unaccountable joy.
“You are no’ like them,” Duncan, oblivious to her epiphany, continued on. “You are clever and funny and interesting. Those girls have nothing of interest to say.”
“Most likely because I was ruined early,” she “said, tongue in cheek. “I did spend my formative years with savages, I’m told.”
It took a moment for him to realize she was jesting, and then his glower turned to a smile. “Aye.”
“So you want to marry me because I am better disposed to tolerate your unrefined manners?” She was teasing him now, but frankly, he deserved it.
His face went ruddy and he began to sputter.
“Or because I can converse with you on lower subjects, such as offal and breeding?”
“Or is it—”
“I would stop if you would tell me why you want to marry me—so much that you would blackmail me into saying my vows.”
“It was never my intention to blackmail you.” He seemed offended at the suggestion.
“Really? What were those threats about Newgate for then?”
His brow lowered. “Those were a statement of fact. And to be sure, I doona want a wife who felt compelled to wed me, one who felt trapped with a lesser soul as a husband. In fact, if that is the case, I firmly rescind my offer.” He stared at her for a moment, his eyes red-rimmed, then whirled around to leave the room.
Oh dear. Perhaps she had gone too far. She had not intended to insult or wound him, or disparage his person.
“Duncan.” Her voice was small, but he heard her. He stopped stock still, but did not look at her. “I do not feel that you are a lesser soul. You have to know better than that. You are and always have been one of the finest men I’ve met.” It cost her to admit that because of the bitter waters between them, but it was true.

About the authors:

Lecia Cornwall is the author of steamy Regency romances set in England and Scotland including the Highland Fairytale series for SMP Swerve, starting with Beauty and the Highland Beast. Her books are known for their layered plots and intriguing characters. Lecia lives in Calgary, Canada with four cats, two teenagers, a crazy chocolate lab and one very patient husband.


Anna Harrington is the author of The Secret Life of Scandals series with Forever romance. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time trying not to kill the innocent rose bushes in her garden. She is the author of The Secret Life of Scoundrels series, including Along Came a Rogue

USA Today bestselling authors Nikoo and Jim McGoldrick (writing as May McGoldrick) weave emotionally satisfying tales of love and danger. Publishing under the names of May McGoldrick and Jan Coffey, these authors have written more than thirty novels and works of nonfiction. Nikoo, an engineer, also conducts frequent workshops on writing. Jim holds a Ph.D. in Medieval and Renaissance literature and teaches English in northwestern Connecticut. They are the authors of Much Ado About HighlandersTaming the Highlander, and Tempest in the Highlands in the Scottish Relic Trilogy with SMP Swerve.

Sabrina York is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of more than twenty hot, humorous written works. Her stories range from sweet and sexy to scorching romance. She's the author of Hannah and the Highlander with St. Martin's Press.