Cover Shot! The Registry by Shannon Stoker

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

The cover of The Registry doesn’t really stand out much for me, and I think it’s very similar to the cover of Kimberly Derting’s The Pledge, but the premise hooked! 

In stores June 2013

 

The Registry saved the country from collapse. But stability has come at a price. In this patriotic new America, girls are raised to be brides, sold at auction to the highest bidder. Boys are raised to be soldiers, trained by the state to fight to their death.

Nearly eighteen, beautiful Mia Morrissey excitedly awaits the beginning of her auction year. But a warning from her married older sister raises dangerous thoughts. Now, instead of going up on the block, Mia is going to escape to Mexico—and the promise of freedom.

All Mia wants is to control her own destiny—a brave and daring choice that will transform her into an enemy of the state, pursued by powerful government agents, ruthless bounty hunters, and a cunning man determined to own her . . . a man who will stop at nothing to get her back.

Review: The Practice Proposal by Tracy March and Giveaway!

 

After the review, be sure to enter for a chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite (tour wide giveaway) and a bracelet!  Both are for US/Canadian addresses only, please.

 

Title: The Practice Proposal

Author: Tracy March

Publisher: Entangled

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Liza Sutherland isn’t looking for love. Not from a charity-auction date she didn’t even bid on and especially not with Nationals first baseman Cole Collins, the guy she obsessed over as an awkward teenager. She won’t get involved with a notorious player, no matter how attractive Cole is.

Cole Collins is up for contract renegotiation, but after too many late-night parties, he’ll need some positive publicity before he can make the roster. His agent, Frank, pitches Liza as the perfect prop…only Cole didn’t account for Liza no longer being just a teenager with a crush. She’s gorgeous and smart and he’s instantly hooked.

When Frank makes Liza a deal she can’t refuse—a bet she will fall in love with Cole or a cool half mil goes to charity—the game is on. But neither bet on the real feelings that surface. Could a fake fling turn into an official forever?


Review:

I was attracted to this title for two reasons:  it’s a second chance at love trope, and because hero Cole is a baseball player.  I have to say, when the story starts out, our Cole is not very heroic.  In fact, he’s pretty much a sleaze bag.  His contract with the Nationals is in its last season, and he desperately wants to remain on the team.  His behavior, however, is putting the contract renewal in jeopardy.   His date with a Hollywood starlet ended in disaster, with her being busted for possession and arrested.  Cole was drunk, but thankfully, he doesn’t abuse illegal narcotics, so he got off with an embarrassing headline in the newspapers and the dismay of the Nats front office.  The team is big on family values and keeping everyone’s noses clean, and Cole’s unruly behavior is frowned upon.

At the advice of his agent, an aggressive, wormy kind of guy, he agrees to go out with Liza Sutherland for the rest of the season.  If she’ll have anything to do with him, that is.  Liza’s mother runs a charity for disadvantaged boys, and through generous donations, helps send talented youngsters to baseball camps, where they can develop their talents.  They also preach about the dangers of professional players doping to enhance their performance.  Cole has donated a date to the organization’s charity fundraiser, and Liza is mortified when she discovers that her mother is the high bidder – and that Liza is expected to go on the date.  Digging in her heels, she protests that she’s still not over her fiancé, a Secret Service agent who was killed in the line of duty.  Her mother lays on the guilt trip, and Liza is forced to acquiesce.  She doesn’t want to see Cole again.  When she was  a teen, she had a monster crush on him, and she stalked him when he attended the baseball camp that her father, a retired pro player, ran.

Sparks don’t exactly fly when Liza and Cole are reunited. Liza thinks Cole is a player, and she’s not about the fall for the gorgeous baseball star.  Cole is only seeking brownie points for his contract negotiation.  To the surprise of both, they enjoy their evening out, but Liza isn’t ready for any kind of commitment, so she shoots him down when he asks her out again.  Then Frank, Cole’s meddling agent, approaches Liza with a deal to keep Cole out of trouble and dating her.  If she’ll continue to go out with him until the end of the season, and if she doesn’t fall in love with him, Frank will donate half a mil to the charity.  Liza is torn – she works for the charity and loves developing the summer camps.  She hates fundraising, and she is woefully behind her goal for the year.  She doesn’t want to hit her parents up for the the difference, and she already feels defensive around her coworkers because her mother runs the charity and they think she has it easy working there.  Woe is Liza!  What will she do!  That money will help so many needy boys!  Yes, yes, yes, she will sign that deal with the devil, despite her reservations.

After Liza signed the contract with Frank, I didn’t think Cole was such a sleaze.  Sure, he’s continuing to see Liza for purely selfish reasons, but Liza isn’t completely without guilt.  They are dating each other under false pretenses.  Cole wants a new contract with the only family he has, and Liza is too proud to ask for her parents’ help with her fund raising goals.  I honestly didn’t want to like either one of them, but to my dismay, I did.  As the story progressed, I began to understand how important a successful outcome was to both of them, and I grudgingly began to sympathize with them.  I know!  I have often been accused of being gullible.  Guilty as charged.

Though The Practice Proposal is a quick, easy read and  doesn’t break any new ground, the story kept me engaged.  The round of baseball games got a little repetitive, but the rivalry between Liza’s favorite team, the Orioles (which her parents are co-owners of) and Cole’s Nats, was fun.  As both teams progress through the playoffs, Liza’s loyalties are tested.  Does she root for her parents’ team, or for Cole’s?  Since baseball was a big part of the story, it was fun to see Liza’s Go O’s slowly change to Go Nats!

As  Cole’s motivation for wanting to stay with the Nats began to make sense to me, I started to understand why he was willing to resort to such desperate measures as  to string Liza along.  When he started falling for her for real, I wondered how he would ever convince her that his feelings were on the up and up after she discovered his deception.  She’s finally ready to move on after Wes’ tragic death, and the guy she’s falling for is being harassed into dating her by his obnoxious agent. Ugh!  That’s not going to go over well!

While the ending is a little too tidy, getting there was more emotional than I expected.  Cole’s special seventh inning stretch had me kind of choked up.  That’s when I finally believed that he was for real.  Who declares their feelings for someone in front of forty-two thousand of their closest friends?  It took a lot of guts to pull that off, and it’s one of the most romantic proposals I can remember reading.  Two thumbs up for Cole!

The Practice Proposal is another great read that I recommend tossing in your beach bag.  Entangled seems to be pitching out quite a few summer friendly reads, and if they keep this up, they will be my go to publisher when I’m looking for a light, satisfying and emotional read.

Grade:  B

GIVEAWAYS!!

There is a  tour-wide  Kindle Paperwhite giveaway!!  This giveaway is restricted to residents of USA/Canada only.  Please fill out the widget below to enter for a chance to win!

To enter for a chance to win a Practice Proposal bracelet, just enter the widget below.  Earn extra entries by following.  US/Canadian addresses only, please.

 

About the author:

Award-winning author Tracy March writes romantic thrillers influenced by her career in the pharmaceutical field, and her interest in science and politics. She also writes lighthearted romances inspired by her real-life happily ever after.

Always up for travel and adventure, Tracy has flown in a stunt plane, snowmobiled on the Continental Divide, ziplined in the Swiss Alps, and been chased by a bull in the mountains of St. Lucia. She loves Nationals baseball, Saturday date nights, and Dairy Queen Blizzards—and rarely goes a day without Diet Coke and Cheez-Its.



Edited April 9th to correct major brain fart – corrected Cole’s name

Interview with Jenna Rutland, Author of Just for the Summer

Please give a warm welcome to special guest Jenna Rutland!  She dropped by the virtual offices to introduce herself and to chat about her new book Just for the Summer.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Jenna Rutland] Happy, likes to laugh, okay sense of humor, enjoys cooking for family, loves being a grandmother.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Just for the Summer?

[Jenna Rutland] Dani Sullivan has come to Lake Bliss to write her latest cookbook and take a breather. After the year she’s had, she deserves a summer retreat to reevaluate priorities and make peace with past decisions. But from the moment single dad and sheriff Matt Reagan shows up, she has a hard time convincing herself that a life away from Lake Bliss could beat the life she might have here.

Recently divorced Matt is ready for a new relationship, but he doesn’t want short-term—his son needs permanence, and so does Matt’s heart. Unfortunately, it’s the smart-mouthed and sinfully sexy Ms. Sullivan who catches his eye. But when Matt learns Dani’s secrets, will he still want her to stay? Or will her chance for love last just for the summer?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Jenna Rutland] It was just a snippet of a thought about a woman who gave up her child for adoption, but yearned to see him, then realizing that the adoptive father was single.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Dani?

[Jenna Rutland] Loving, funny, sweet.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Dani is never without?

[Jenna Rutland] Her love for her son, Sam.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Matt’s bedroom?

[Jenna Rutland] A TV, scratchy sheets, towels on the floor.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Dani’s greatest regret?

[Jenna Rutland] That her mother never got to see an eight-year-old Sam.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Jenna Rutland] Writing – Rachel Gibson

Cooking – My mother

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Jenna Rutland] Big glass of Diet Pepsi, quietness, comfy chair.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Jenna Rutland] I loved reading Erin McCarthy’s, Flat-out Sexy.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Jenna Rutland] It was so far back that I can’t honestly remember. My mother taught me to read at age five.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Jenna Rutland] Cook, garden, read, spend time with my family, and spoil my granddaughter.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Jenna Rutland] I love talking with readers. You can connect with me here:

Email me at jennarutland@gmail.com

Write to me at Jenna Rutland, P.O. Box 116, Lambertville, MI 48144

Twitter me at https://twitter.com/JennaRutland

Facebook me at http://www.facebook.com/jennarutland

Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17562039-just-for-the-summer

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Thank you!

You can purchase Just For the Summer from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below:

 

About the book:

Dani Sullivan has come to Lake Bliss to write her latest cookbook and take a breather. After the year she’s had, she deserves a summer retreat to reevaluate priorities and make peace with past decisions. But from the moment single dad and sheriff Matt Reagan shows up, she has a hard time convincing herself that a life away from Lake Bliss could beat the life she might have here.

Recently divorced Matt is ready for a new relationship, but he doesn’t want short-term—his son needs permanence, and so does Matt’s heart. Unfortunately, it’s the smart-mouthed and sinfully sexy Ms. Sullivan who catches his eye. But when Matt learns Dani’s secrets, will he still want her to stay? Or will her chance for love last just for the summer?