Release Day Review: Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton

Tuesday, March 19thAt thirty-eight, garden shop owner Jessie McBride thinks her chances for romance are years behind her and, after her failed marriage, she’s fine with that. She lives contentedly with her fiery mother and her quiet, headstrong daughter. But the unexpected arrival of two men on Glory Road make her question if she’s really happy with the status quo. Handsome, wealthy Sumner Tate asks her to arrange flowers for his daughter’s wedding, and Jessie finds herself drawn to his continued attention. And Ben Bradley, her lingering what-could-have-been from high school days who’s known her better than anyone and whom she hasn’t seen in years, moves back to the red dirt road. Jessie finds her heart being pulled in directions she never expected.

Meanwhile, Jessie’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Evan, is approaching the start of high school and trying to navigate a new world of identity and emotions–particularly as they relate to the cute new guy who’s moved in just down the road. At the same time, Jessie’s mother, Gus, increasingly finds herself forgetful and faces a potentially frightening future.

As all three women navigate the uncertain paths of their hearts and futures, one summer promises to bring change–whether they’re ready for it or not.

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Source: NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Publishing          Rating: 5/5 stars

I think I could legitimately spend far too much time waxing poetic about Lauren K. Denton and novels!  In Denton, I have found an author who has, to date, made every book worth the wait and Glory Road is certainly no exception to that rule!

For most of her thirty-eight years, Jessie McBride has lived on Glory Road, the long dusty stretch of road occupied by herself, her mother, her daughter, a whole host of neighbors who, like the McBride’s have lived in the area for generations.  Glory Road is comforting, comfortable, a place of refuge, and a place those who leave often come back to.  Jessie is a prime example.  After far too many years in a bad marriage, Jessie has built a life she quite loves in Glory Road.  She owns a moderately successful garden shop, works with her delightfully spry mother, and is raising an all-around good kid.  While Jessie may sometimes feel a bit lonely as far as romance goes, overall, she has little to complain about.

Oh, how fate and the universe just love to step in and shake things up. . . .

As if the universe just understands loneliness, within a few weeks of one another, two men come into Jessie’s life.  Sumner Tate is the epitome of southern charm and he is hell-bent on having Jessie work for him in the form of florist for his daughter’s wedding.  Additionally, Sumner makes it clear (in a totally charming way) he is interested in Jessie beyond her flower arranging abilities.  Though Sumner is certainly interesting, it is the other man who truly sets Jessie’s emotions aflame.  Ben Bradley, the one who could have been and should have been so many years ago is back on Glory Road and he’s looking to, at the very least rekindle the friendship he and Jessie once had. 

In addition to the men in her life, Jessie also has some disconcerting concerns over her mother, Gus.  Physically, Gus is as spry as ever, loves to putter around in the garden shop with Jessie, and cooks and bakes for the family on a regular basis.  Gus is kind, friendly, devoted to her girls, and, of late showing some signs of her age.  With increasing frequency, Gus becomes lost in her own mind and memories and when she comes out of these states, she refuses to speak of them with Jessie.  Though she’s not hurt herself or put herself or anyone else in danger, the episodes are troubling and need to be dealt with sooner rather than later. 

For someone who has long valued and protected her comfort zone, Jessie suddenly finds herself, with two men and her mother, very much outside her comfort zone.  Gus is completely encouraging of Jessie’s resurrected love life and ridiculously excited for the future possibilities the wedding flower project may bring for the garden shop.  More than anything, Gus wants to see Jessie happy and though she can’t make the ultimate choice for her daughter, she can share some her own life experiences and wisdom.  In turn, Jessie is passing on what she knows of life and love to her own daughter who is just beginning to understand the complexities of both. 

The Bottom Line:  At its core, Glory Road is the story of three generations of women who are, no matter their age finding their way in life, adjusting to the changes the universe likes to bring, and learning to truly lean on and rely on others when they need help.  This is the aspect of this read I loved the most!  Denton knows how to weave together lives, stories, events, and emotions that aren’t fictional at all and certainly not confined to her books. Glory Road may be classified among fiction books, but its story is real, relatable, and completely engrossing because it is a story so many among us can identify with at least on some level.  As I generally do with Denton’s books, I blazed through this read and came away almost totally satisfied.  They only thing I found lacking is an epilogue; if ever there was a book that simply begs for an epilogue, Glory Road would be that book.  With that being said, the lack of an epilogue isn’t enough to keep me from, yet again adoring this beautifully written family saga.  To get more like this, I will gladly wait until the next release this time next year.

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Spotlight: Just Once by L.M. Mountford

They were the very poster children for the boy and girl next door, if a couple of streets apart. 
Friends for longer than forever. They’d walked to school together. He’d protected her from the bullies when they teased her about her glasses. She’d tended to his cuts and bruises when he fell. He pushed her to try new things. She snuck looks at him when he wasn’t looking.
All her life, Faye had loved Terry, but he was oblivious. He’s her best friend, her closest friend, but he’s oblivious and now he has a Girlfriend. All day long, she has to watch them together and it’s killing her. She wants him, all of him, but he’s taken. So, instead, she wants one night. Just once, one night, between friends.
One night, just once…

 

A self-confessed tiger fanatic, L.M. Mountford was born and raised in England, first in the town of Bridgwater, Somerset, before later moving to the city of Gloucester where he currently resides. A fully qualified and experienced scuba diver, he has travelled across Europe and Africa diving wrecks and seeing the wonders of the world.
He started writing when he was 14. Under the pseudonym Dark Inferno, he has written more than thirty fan fiction stories. When he was 21, he started publishing independently through KDP and Smashwords, continuing Erotica, before switching to dark and contemporary romance.
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Spotlight: I Dream of Spiders by Elle Keating

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The move to the remote town of Quarry Hill, Pennsylvania was supposed to help Griffin McGuire start over and forget the two people who betrayed him. As a paramedic at the local hospital, he would still have to interact with people, but the rest of the time he could hole himself away in the secluded cabin he was renting. It was perfect. For the first time in over a year, he felt like he could finally breathe.

That was until he met her.

A woman who doesn’t know her own name or why she was covered in blood and standing in the middle of the road when he found her. Griffin knows he should contact the police, but something is preventing him from going to the authorities. It doesn’t take long for him to realize that he was correct in trusting his instincts. Every time she falls asleep, she dreams and another memory is unlocked. Memories that are horrific and make him want to protect and hide her from the world.

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Mini-Review: Sunrise Cabin by Stacey Donovan

Thursday, March 14

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Dylan’s an overworked investment banker. Paige is a free-spirited first-grade teacher. From the first time they meet, these two opposites attract.  Meanwhile, the cabin Paige is renting has gone up for sale. She loves living there, and she just might be able to buy it—if she finally achieves her dream of selling her children’s stories. When she learns Dylan is also determined to buy the cabin, their new romance turns into a real estate rivalry.
Dylan could tell her about his own connection to the place…but that would mean opening up about his past. As his relationship with Paige goes from funny to touching, they both discover more about love, hope, and the true meaning of home.

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Source: NetGalley and Hallmark Publishing          My Rating: 3½/5 stars

The Bottom Line:  I love the consistency in these Hallmark books!  I knew when I dove into this book, I would get likeable characters, a decent plot without too much crazy or drama, and a happily ever after that is both deserved and ever so sweet.  I think what I liked most about this book is the setting, the actual cabin.  The cabin becomes something of a living thing as Dylan and Paige try and work out who is going to be the owner of the cabin.  The history and age of the cabin become very real aspects of the read and absolutely impact both Dylan and Paige.  While it isn’t a massive home or super expensive property, it is an entity filled with love, laughter, and so much promise for the future. While the cabin remains steady and strong, Dylan and Paige have to work through a whole host of issues both personally and professionally to get to their HEA.  While I enjoyed Dylan quite a bit (especially his awesome job exit!) I found Paige a bit hard to really like; I tend to struggle with characters like Paige who are as naively optimistic as she is.  Paige’s personality is my only real complaint about this otherwise charming and sweet read.  

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Spotlight and Sweepstakes: The Runaway by Peter J. Thompson

 

43704435A corrupt corporation. Ruthless assassins. Will the family that runs together… die together?
Zach Monaghan just became a target. Under witness protection from his father’s whistleblowing, his reckless desire to win back a normal life compels him to run away. But escaping his new identity won’t last long if two contract killers catch up to him…
Richard “Birdman” Byrd has worked hand-in-hand with his tormentor Gorski for years. Siphoning away money and sending assassins to hunt down the Monaghans could be his only way out of the crooked partnership. But if Birdman doesn’t watch himself, the verbal abuse he’s received for years could turn deadly.
As the ruthless killer draws closer to Zach, surviving the greedy corporate plot may force the whole family to get their hands bloody…
The Runaway is a fast-paced thriller with dizzying twists and turns. If you like non-stop action, high-stakes tension, and large casts of compelling characters, then you’ll love Peter Thompson’s gripping novel.
Buy The Runaway to join a thrilling race against time today!
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About the Author

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Peter Thompson grew up on the east side of Chicago, in the shadow of the steel mills where the air was sooty and smelled of sulfur. His life wasn’t always so gritty, but the grit and realism find its way into his thrillers. He has always loved stories of every kind, and one of his joys is finding a way to get inside character’s heads, seeing the world as they see it and feeling their triumphs, pain, and fear. He visualizes his characters when he writes, and they are larger than life in the big screen of his imagination.
Before pursuing his passion and becoming a full-time author, he tried his hand at everything from factory work, breaking cement in a construction crew, running his own pizza shop, and he was a well-regarded presence in the mortgage industry for nearly thirty years. When he isn’t writing, Peter loves, spicy food, live music, and exciting and thought-provoking books and movies. He is a fitness buff who loves to spend time with his grown sons and is looking forward to traveling the world and seeking adventures with his lovely partner.
To get in touch, find out more about future projects, please stop by authorpeterthompson.com. Sign up for his reading list to find out about new releases and receive free perks.
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Excerpt: The Empire (Book #3: The Filthy Trilogy) by Lisa Renee Jones

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Passion. Lies. Family.  Eric and Harper will feel the push and pull of a dynasty gone wrong. Secrets remain. Danger is everywhere. And the pull of their forbidden love will not be ignored.  Can they survive their enemies and find a path to love and forever?

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Excerpt from The Empire (Book #3: The Filthy Trilogy):

In life, there are people who touch our lives and leave lasting marks. There are people who cut us and do so in a way that we feel as if we might never heal. If we’re lucky, we find that one person who can soothe the ache of our wounds, if not heal them. That one person who sees our flaws as perfection. That one person who can make us whole again.

Eric shoves me against the wall of that alcove, and with that window beside us, overlooking the city, his big body pressed to mine, his kiss not only devours me—it speaks to me. He’s my one person and I’m his. I feel that in his touch. I feel that in the way we connect. I taste it in his kiss. I don’t know where this leads us. I don’t know if it means we can overcome the Kingston family, but I know we can overcome his demons. He doesn’t, though. I taste that in his kiss as well. There is torment, a feeling like he’s bad for me. That he shouldn’t want me and the only comfort I find in this and where we’re headed is that he isn’t pushing me away—he’s pulling me closer. And I will hold him tighter.

I sink into the hard lines of his body, slide my hands under his shirt, hard muscle flexing beneath my palms, the thick ridge of his erection pressed to my belly. God, how I want him, how I ache for more, and the next lick of his tongue just about undoes me.  I tug on his shirt. “Take it off,” I order, wanting to feel him closer.

He reaches over his head and tugs it free and then fixes me in one of those scorching blue-eyed stares, the way he had the first night we met, and I’m melting right here in this office for him. He tugs my shirt over my head and unhooks the front of my bra, his gaze raking over my naked breasts, my nipples puckering beneath his inspection, and my sex clenching, empty, so very empty without him. “Better?” he challenges, his attention settling on my face.

My hands come down on his upper arms, the jaguar on his right shoulder, reminding me just how much he wants to deny his heritage. It reminds me just how much this family burns him alive. “A little.” I slide my hands down his hips and boldly stroke the line of his zipper, the thick ridge of his erection.

He groans, one of his hands covering my hand, the other hand catching my hair, a rough pull as his mouth closes down on mine again. And then he’s devouring me again and I love it. I love that I’ve drawn this deep, guttural reaction from him. I love that he’s all here with me, not in his own head, not doubting how good he is for me. Not swimming in the ocean of numbers in his head. Not in the hell of the Kingston family.

This drives me. I want to push him. I want to keep him here, with me. I squeeze his erection through his pants and whisper, “Why aren’t you inside me already?”

He turns me, pressing me to the wall like he had in the cottage, his big body wrapping my body, his hands on my breasts, fingers teasing my nipples, lips at my ear. “You were always sweeter than revenge,” he promises. “Always more addictive.” He plucks at my nipples. “So fucking addictive and I hated you for that.”

He reaches for my zipper and I squeeze my eyes shut. I don’t have to ask what he means. I understand. From the moment we met, he was in my head, in my heart, his touch imprinted on my body. The man I compared all others to, and they came up short. “I hated you, too.”

His hands press under the denim at my hips. He caresses them down my legs and then his arm is wrapping my waist and he’s lifting me. In a few quick moves, I’m naked and he’s standing at my hips, one palm possessively on my backside. The other on my belly.  “Do you hate me now?”  His fingers walk down to my sex and he cups me.

“Yes.” I look at him. “I still hate you for having this much control over me.” He slides his fingers along the seam of my sex, sending sensations darting through my body.

“Is that a bad thing?” he challenges, his palm squeezing my backside, his fingers slipping inside me.

“Yes,” I say, panting my way through that one word and somehow adding, “Because when I look in your eyes, like I am now, I see expectations. The wrong ones.”

He scowls and suddenly he’s turning me, pressing my back to the wall, his legs caging mine. “What does that mean?” he demands.

“It means as long as you expect to hurt me, as long as you expect you being a savant, you being different from me, to make us less, we will be. It means, you expect us to fail and so we will.” I swallow hard, my hand planting on his chest, his heart thundering beneath my palm, pounding out an emotional beat. “You think I can’t handle who and what you are. You still think I’m the princess and you’re the bastard.”

He tangles his fingers into my hair, his touch rough, erotic, as he drags my lips to his. “We are the bastard and the princess, but I don’t care anymore. I want you. I fucking need you. Do you understand me?”

Heat rushes over me, through my body, over my skin and settles in my heart and my sex. “I fucking need you, too.”

“Good, because I might have asked you to stay, but I never intended to let you go. I’m not going to let you go. I’m not going to let us go.”

THE BASTARD (book one) – Available Now

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THE PRINCESS (book two) – Available Now

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THE EMPIRE (book three) – Available Now

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About the author and where to find her:

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series.

In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, she has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is also the author of the bestselling WHITE LIES and LILAH LOVE series.

Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

 

Spotlight and Sweepstakes: Order (Tattoos and Ties Series) by Kindle Alexander

Assistant District Attorney Alec Pierce wants a future with the sexy, tough-talking biker who came to his rescue six months ago. But when evidence capable of destroying his future comes to light, Alec sets a plan in motion to keep the man he loves from a district attorney bent on vengeance.
Will Alec’s efforts pay off or will he destroy them both in the process?
As a Disciples of Havoc member, Keyes Dixon rides the line between society’s moral code and that of his brothers. He straddles two worlds… One owns him and the other seduces him with the promise of a future. But when a rush to judgment has him swerving to miss the roadblocks suddenly in his lane, he’ll have to choose between the club that demands his loyalty and the gorgeous assistant district attorney who deserves his commitment.
Can Keyes escape his circumstances to take a chance on a future he wants?
Six months into what started as a one-night stand, both men must navigate their developing feelings as they remain bound by differing oaths that threaten to drive them apart. Not only does their future hang in the balance of opposing forces, but an unexpected strike of the gavel could send them on a collision course neither is prepared for.
Will havoc continue to determine their lives or is their love strong enough to bring order?

 


Best Selling Author Kindle Alexander is an innovative writer, and a genre-crosser who writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and erotica in both the male/male and male/female genres. It’s always a surprise to see what’s coming next!
 
I live in the suburbs of Dallas where it’s true, the only thing bigger than an over active imagination, may be women’s hair!
Usually, I try for funny. Humor is a major part of my life – I love to laugh, and it seems to be the thing I do in most situations – regardless of the situation, but jokes are a tricky deal… I don’t want to offend anyone and jokes tend to offend. So instead I’m going to tell you about Kindle.
 
I tragically lost my sixteen year old daughter to a drunk driver. She had just been at home, it was early in the night and I heard the accident happen. I’ll never forget that moment. The sirens were immediate and something inside me just knew. I left my house, drove straight to the accident on nothing more than instinct. I got to be there when my little girl died – weirdly, I consider that a true gift from above. She didn’t have to be alone.
 
That time in my life was terrible. It’s everything you think it would be times about a billion. I love that kid. I loved being her mother and I loved watching her grow into this incredibly beautiful person, both inside and out. She was such a gift to me. To have it all ripped away so suddenly broke me.
 
Her name was Kindle. Honest to goodness – it was her name and she died a few weeks before Amazon released their brand new Kindle ereader. She had no idea it was coming out and she would have finally gotten her name on something! Try finding a ruler with the name Kindle on it.. It never happened.
 
Through the course of that crippling event I was lucky enough to begin to write with a dear friend in the fan fiction world of Facebook. She got me through those dark days with her unwavering support and friendship. There wasn’t a time she wasn’t there for me. Sometimes together and sometimes by myself, we built a world where Kindle lives and stands for peace, love and harmony. It’s its own kind of support group. I know without question I wouldn’t be here today without her.
 
Find out more by visiting http://www.kindlealexander.com or email me at kindle@kindlealexander.com