Review and Giveaway: Run for the Roses by Rachel Schieffelbein

 

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I wanted to read Run for the Roses because the protagonist competes with her Arabian horse, and she rides saddleseat.  Do you know how many times I have read a book were the protagonist rides saddleseat?  Maybe three, and I read a ton of horse books.  Almost every book with competitive riding features hunters or jumpers, so I was stoked to read this story.  I wanted to see how closely Abigail’s preparations and challenges stacked up against mine.  Even though she competes in a different circuit because she shows Arabians and I show Morgans (and Saddlebreds), the run up to the biggest show of the year felt very familiar.  I really enjoyed Run for the Roses, and I wished that it was just a little longer.  At about 80 pages, most of the action takes place at the Youth Nationals, as Abigail is struggling to stay focused on winning what is essentially her last show.  She’s about to head off to U of M, and once she’s in college, it will be very difficult for her to be able to afford to show.

Read more

Review: Love and Other Games Anthology

 

Love and Other Games

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

All of these short stories take place during the Olympic Games in Switzerland, and they all feature a legend about a replica of the torch that brings good luck to anyone fortunate enough to find it.  I enjoy stories with sports settings, so I dove right into Love and Other Games.

Trouble with Gold by Melinda Dozier

I had a hard time connecting with these characters.  Ty is a US snowboarder, and Nadia dreams of landing a job at the Olympic Committee Headquarters.  Ty is a brash thrill seeker, while Nadia is conservative and serious.  I usually enjoy stories with total opposites, but this one didn’t work for me, and I don’t know why.  Ty came off as very immature, and the conflict with Nadia and her father was never resolved.  Granted, this is a novella, so there weren’t enough pages to flesh out all of the plot conflicts as much as I would have liked, so I wish that  her demanding father had never been introduced in the first place.  Nadia and Ty had enough problems to work through without her father chastising her for being seen with a wild snowboarder, which was putting her promotion in jeopardy.  The funny about that was Nadia’s supervisor assigned her to follow Ty and his teammates around to ensure they behaved.  Their antics and practical jokes were garnering complaints from other athletes, and it was her job to make sure they stopped pulling pranks on their competitors.

Overall, this is a fast read that entertained during my wait at the airport, but didn’t stick with me.

Grade: C

Ice Gold by Kara Leigh Miller

I was more interested in Cole and Brenna than Ty and Nadia.  Brenna is a photographer, and much to her dismay, she has been assigned to cover the USA hockey team.  She meets Cole on the plane over to Switzerland, and immediately thinks he’s an ass.  Granted, he behaves like one, so her impression isn’t out of left field.  He pranks her, she accidentally pranks him, and then, to top everything off, he is hurt on the ice because of her mistake.  Through it all, Brenna has to work through her dislike of both athletes and the Games.

Ice Gold is fast paced and a fun story overall.  I liked both characters, and found this a breezy read.  It doesn’t require much brain-power, so it was perfect for a light read after having to get up after only four hours of sleep to catch a plane.

Grade: B

The Girl Behind the Gold by Aria Kane

This one just clicked for me.  Lia is an aerial skier, and she desperately needs to score gold so she can get some lucrative endorsements.   Her family back in Greece is in danger of losing their family farm, and she will do anything to help them keep it.  Her only problem? She’s not very likable.  She’s been told she needs to lighten up because public opinion of her is not favorable.  It’s doubtful that even if she brings home the gold that she’ll win any sponsor money.  Then in walks Brandon, a journalist on a mission.  He has to find a story that will win the hearts of his readers, or he isn’t welcome back at the publication offices.  Just what Lia needs, right?

I found this one compelling and hard to put down.  Lia is driven to save her family’s home, so she is all work and no goofing around.  She’s puzzled why that would have any bearing on her pitching products.  I liked how determined she was.  She worked hard to get to the Games, and she’s not going to risk losing by playing around.  Then she meets Brandon, who fails to tell her that he’s a journalist.  Lia is a very private person, and she doesn’t want anyone to know about her circumstances at home.  The attraction she feels for Brandon is so strong that she puts aside her usual rule of keeping to herself while she waits for her turn at competing. 

Even though Brandon was not entirely honest with Lia, I liked him, too.  I started worrying about how Lia would deal with the news that he was a journalist.  I knew she was going to blow a gasket, and that it was just a matter of time before her happiness was abruptly brought to a halt.  Would it ruin her concentration enough to make her lose her competitive edge? 

This is one of the stronger stories in the anthology.

Grade: B+

Worth More than Gold by Ana Blaze

This was my favorite story.  The pacing is spot on, and relationship between Erik and Amy is engaging.  After an evening of letting her hair down, Amy wakes up in a stranger’s bed with little recollection of the night before.  All she can remember is meeting a hot Viking at party and having a little too much to drink.  She’s hurt that her hook up didn’t even bother to stick around long enough to say good morning or good bye.  Ugh! How mortifying!  Amy is embarrassed and ashamed, and firmly decides that she is going to stick to business for the rest of the Games.  She’s there to keep an eye on her sister, the current figuring skating sweetheart, and stay away from both guys and alcohol.

What she doesn’t count on is that Erik, her ski jumper hook up, considers her his lucky charm.  He pursues her relentlessly, unleashing his devastating charm.  Amy has some self-esteem issues from living in the shadow of her talented and beautiful sister, so Erik is careful not to scare her away again.  He is sweet and charming and impossible to resist.  How could Amy avoid her HEA with a wonderful guy like Erik?

I loved Worth More Than Gold.  The author manages to squeeze a lot of character growth into a small amount of space, and I didn’t put my Kindle down until I reached the last page.  What a great story to close out this anthology. 

Grade: A

Overall, I’d give Love and Other Games a B.  There is a nice mix of stories here, with enough variety that readers should find something to enjoy.  This is a perfect book to load up on your mobile device and read in small chunks when you are stuck standing in line or waiting to pick the kiddos up. 

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Jennifer Kloester, Author of The Cinderella Moment

Please give a warm welcome to Jennifer Kloester! She’s here to talk about her new release The Cinderella Moment.

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

[Jennifer Kloester] I’m an adventure-loving book addict with a passion for writing. I love karate, Paris and my garden. I believe in kindness and integrity.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Cinderella Moment?

[Jennifer Kloester] It’s a contemporary novel set in New York and Paris with a 16 year-old heroine who dreams of being a fashion designer. She’s entering a fashion design competition called the Teen Couture but when things go wrong she has to go to Paris and masquerade as her best friend. It’s all fashion, glitz and high society, and of course nothing turns out as she expected – especially after she meets a gorgeous guy who thinks she’s someone else!  

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

[Jennifer Kloester] I was living in the Middle East and read a story in a magazine about these girls who were in Paris  for a grand ball and my heroine Angel and her dream of winning the Teen Couture just fell into my head fully formed. I knew she wanted more than anything to be a fashion designer and that her mom was a housekeeper and her best friend the daughter of the mega-rich family her mom worked for and the story just grew from there. Funnily enough, I didn’t realise just how many links to the original Cinderella story there were in my book until I’d finished it!

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

[Jennifer Kloester] passionate, determined,romantic

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Angel had a theme song, what would it be?

[Jennifer Kloester] Adele’s version of "Promise This"

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Angel is never without.

[Jennifer Kloester] A sketchbook.

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

[Jennifer Kloester] A car key cause she hasn’t got her license yet and who drives in New York anyway?

A credit card – maybe one day when she can afford it.

Pepper spray – Angel’s not afraid of boys, she just hasn’t met one she really likes – yet!

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

[Jennifer Kloester] Other books, other writers – as Stephen Kings says – ‘if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.’ All kinds of music and the things people say – I love listening to people’s words and conversations – you never know where the next big idea will come from.  

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

[Jennifer Kloester] Time, a pen or laptop, discipline (is that four things?)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your biggest distraction while working on The Cinderella Moment?

[Jennifer Kloester] My family (immediate and extended) and household chores that suddenly became much more appealing than usual!

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

[Jennifer Kloester] "The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared" I loved it because it was clever, had memorable characters, and it made me laugh.

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

[Jennifer Kloester] When I was six I read "The Good Master’ by Kate Seredy. I still remember it vividly.

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

[Jennifer Kloester] I love karate and got my black belt last year. Training in the martial arts is the perfect contrast sitting at my computer all day. I also love gardening and the beach. I’d say travel but I usually write when I’m travelling – so much great material.

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

[Jennifer Kloester] I’m on Twitter (I love Twitter) @jenkloester, via email jenkloester@gmail.com and on my Facebook author page JenniferKloesterAuthor – I’ve also had letters from readers via my publishers (Penguin Aus, Sourcebooks & Swoon Romance) which is awesome fun. I love hearing from readers and will always reply.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Purchase link

 

About the book:

Let the masquerade begin!
Angel Moncoeur has always wanted to be a fashion designer, but without money or connections, it’s going to be a challenge. When an opportunity to leave her home in New York and head to Paris appears, Angel grabs it – even if it means masquerading as her best friend Lily. That can’t be too hard, can it? But when she falls in love with her very own Prince Charming who thinks she’s someone else, Angel embarks on a plan to secure her happily ever after.
THE CINDERELLA MOMENT is a fabulously fun story about high society, mistaken identity, love, betrayal, friendship – and great clothes

About the author:

Jennifer Kloester is passionate about books and writing. She is the author of two books on the bestselling historical novelist Georgette Heyer: Georgette Heyer’s Regency World and Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller. The Cinderella Moment is her first novel. She is currently writing the sequel The Rapunzel Dilemma. In her spare time Jennifer loves to travel and train in karate.

Love and Other Games Anthology Will Make You Swoon and Giveaway!

I love sports romances, so I’m happy to be part of the Love and Other Games cover reveal!  Get the deets below, and enter for a chance to win a gift card to the book store of your choice!
Love and Other Games is a collection of four sexy new adult stories centered around athletes competing in the Winter Games by Ana Blaze, Melinda Dozier, Aria Kane, and Kara Leigh Miller. It releases October 1st from Swoon Romance in all major electronic formats.
 
 
 
Worth More Than Gold by Ana Blaze
 
Amy Pierce, the klutzy sister and manager of America’s Skating Sweetheart, is used to being invisible. But when a friend drags her to a party near the Olympic Village, Amy catches the eye of a sexy Norwegian ski jumper. It’s a magical night, but an awkward next morning has her running.
 
Everyone knows Erik Andresen’s best shot at an individual medal was back in 2010, before an injury pulled him from the competition. He’s there for his team, but a hot night and a remarkable final training session have him wondering if a gorgeous good-luck charm could give him another chance at the podium. With a little bit of luck, these two might have a shot at something worth more than gold.
 
Ana Blaze’s: Website | Twitter | Facebook
 
Trouble With Gold by Melinda Dozier
 
US snowboarder and notorious prankster, Ty (Trouble) Madsen is only getting a taste of his own medicine when his Olympic teammates shackle him to a fence wearing nothing but his boxers.
 
Reception and protocol volunteer, Nadia Hoffman, gets up close and personal with the sexy snowboarder to rescue him, but she’s not the kind of girl who lets her hormones get in her way. A professional performance could help her land her dream job at Olympics Committee Headquarters, but her new assignment supervising the rambunctious US Snowboarding Team is making that difficult.
 
Can she see behind the snowman in the community center bathroom and into the warm heart of the man everyone calls Trouble?
 
Melinda Dozer’s: Website | Twitter | Facebook
 
The Girl Behind the Gold by Aria Kane
 
Greek aerial skier Lia Milonas’s parents are about to lose the family farm. Saving it means medaling and landing a huge sponsor. While her no-nonsense attitude has her well on her way to a medal, it hasn’t won her a place in fans’ hearts.
 
“Come back with a story that will make readers cry, or don’t come back.” This is what Brandon James’ boss told him before he left New York to cover the Winter Games for Moment Magazine. With a wink and a smile, he can charm his way into any invite-only party, but that career-making story is nowhere to be found – until he meets Lia.
 
The two strike a deal that should get them both what they want – but neither would have guessed they’d also find what they need.
 
Aria Kane’s: Website | Twitter | Facebook
 
Ice Gold by Kara Leigh Miller
 
Colton Campbell thrives on the fast paced, adrenaline rushed lifestyle of being an Olympic hockey player. Despite Brenna Jessup’s abhorrence for the games and the athletes, she’s hand-picked as the official photographer for the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team. When a faux pas by Brenna almost costs Colton his career, she owes him. Too bad for her, Colton doesn’t want apologies — he wants retribution! And he knows just how to get it — and her — in the process.
 
Kara Leigh Miller’s: Website | Twitter | Facebook
 
 
To celebrate the cover reveal, the authors are giving away a $20 gift card to the bookstore of the winner’s choice. Check out the rafflecopter below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Rafflecopter direct link