Review: Some Lucky Woman by Carmen DeSousa

Morning, peeps! I don’t know about you, but spring — when it’s finally sunny and warm as it should be! — always puts me in the mood for reading some chicklit. So a couple of days ago I picked up Some Lucky Woman by Carmen DeSousa — I went for the audio version, because this is my favorite format. The only thing I can’t do while listening to a book is vacuum, but one of these days I plan to buy myself one of those new silent vacuums.2307321_orig

Anyway, this is my second book by Carmen DeSousa, after Love Like Crazy, and I’m not just hooked, but amazed of how versatile this author can be. She tackles the chicklit genre just as well as she does young adult, suspense, and paranormal romance. With this audio book, she literally had me laughing out loud from the first paragraphs, in such a well written scene that is enhanced by a great narrator, whose interpretation is suitably quirky. Jana is your average woman with high intelligence and bad luck in love. Add a cheating ex-husband named Dick in the picture… Go figure! After she divorces him, her professional life becomes her focus, and soon she becomes a successful writer — that’s what I call living the dream! Her love life on the other hand is inexistent. That is, until she meets the handsome Adrian…
Overall, I thought this was a lovely, light-hearted journey that kept me smiling and wishing I were Jana, even in the trickiest of situations, which she treats with the best weapon she has : humor and sarcasm. Not to mention I was thrilled to see there’s a second book in the series: Down on Her Luck. Can you guess what I’m doing today? 😀

If this book appeals to you, I’ve also put together a selection of similar books you might like. I’ve read and LOVE all of them — reviews to come! ❤

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The Easter Bunny brings you The Spring Book Fair!

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Reading is trendy,

Reading is cool,

The Easter Bunny

Has presents for you!

Because it’s spring and it’s sunny, and there’s nothing better than to sit in the park and read a good book, eNovel Authors at Work and eBookBetty have joined forces to make your spring amazing! Below you have a listing of free and 99 cents books, AND an invitation to enter our giveaway, to win one of these awesome prizes!

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Here are the book deals we put together for you, available through March 25. After you check them out, don’t forget to scroll down the page and enter our giveaway!

Creatus - Carmen DeSousa

FREE

The Amulet - Effrosyni Moschoudi

$0,99

The Job Blower - Melinda De Ross

$0,99

The Egg Basket - Cait London

$0,99

51qA3ioM5KL

FREE

This Piece of My Soul - Robyn M. Ryan

$0,99

No Perfect Fate - Jackie Weger

FREE

Ruse Romance - Suzanne G. Rogers

$0,99

We hope you liked the selection of books we carefully prepared for you. To enter the giveaway and take a closer look at the fabulously extravagant prizes, click on the image below, and find the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of the page. Good luck! 🙂

March 2018 Meme Designs 2-28-18 10AM - 4

 

Need an original, outstanding cover designer? Call Melinda De Ross

susanne matthews

Jpeg Melinda

Good morning! It’s definitely cold and wintry here this morning, but it can’t last. Spring is only 4 days away!

This morning, I would like to pay tribute to Melinda De Ross, and if you haven’t seen here here before, I would like to introduce you to this incredible cover artist, one who has created several covers for me over the years.

With Simon & Schuster’s recent decision to shut down the Crimson Romance imprint, many authors may be considering indie publishing books orphaned in the move. There are many steps and stages to Indie publishing, but one of the most important is finding the right cover. So, let me introduce you to mine.

WBB final coverIn my opinion, I believe an eye-catching cover is the first step to  attracting potential readers.  My most recent release, Wedding Bell Blues features on of De Ross’s covers. She worked with me to create…

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Review of The Diary from InD’tale Magazine

Good Sunday morning, everyone! It’s a dreary, cloudy day here, one of those days when you just want to cuddle with a good book, a huge mug of hot chocolate and a spouse/kid/pet by your side. Lucky you if you have all of that AND time to read. 😀

My day has suddenly brightened an hour ago, when I saw that InD’tale Magazine has finally reviewed my book, The Diary, which I submitted in August 2017. I was a little anxious  because I know this magazine is quite exigent, and The Diary is one of my best books, so imagine my delight when I saw it got a 4 star review from Majanka Verstraete!

Without any more preamble, here is the much-expected review:

The diary teaser

stars-4 GOTHIC:  In Transylvania, a castle is uncovered that once belonged to Erzsébet Báthory, the infamous Blood Countess. Cameraman Hunter Cole and journalist Serena Scott are called to the castle to make a documentary about the discovery. The more they work together, the more they’re drawn to one another, as Serena uncovers certain hidden depths to Hunter’s character. As tension lingers between them and the attraction between them grows, can they still keep things professional? When in a nearby village, two girls are tortured and killed in a manner very similar to Báthory’s modus operandi, Serena and Hunter fear they might have a copycat killer on their hands. Then the question arises: who will be next?

As far as murder mysteries go, “The Diary” is quite solid, with a few unexpected twists. The throwback to Báthory’s way of working is intriguing too, as the Blood Countess was certainly an interesting historical figure, although quite frightening and deadly too. The author shines when describing atmosphere, not just in the old, decrepit castle, but also in the nearby village. There’s a palpable sense of isolation for both characters, contradicted only by the growing bond between them. Fans of mystery novels, especially ones with a lot of romance and historic twists, will definitely enjoy this book.

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Monday Teaser: THE DIARY

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Hello, friends and fellow book lovers! I hope your week started as well as mine, because today I finally began writing again, after a pause of several months. The novel I’m working on is a complex thriller, probably the first in a series. And speaking of series, I have taken another important decision, based on the wonderful reviews and emails I have received from readers regarding my novel, THE DIARY: I have decided to continue Hunter and Serena’s adventures, and write an entire series featuring these amazing characters! I’m not revealing more at the moment, but I promise 2018 will be a year full of surprises. 😉

For those of you who haven’t already read THE DIARY, this is the blurb:

In the legendary Transylvania, a castle belonging to Countess Erzsébet Báthory is discovered. Cameraman Hunter Cole and broadcast journalist Serena Scott arrive to make a documentary about the discovery, and the sinister Hungarian noblewoman, known as the most prolific female serial killer in history. 
The two Americans could cope with roughing it in a fifteenth-century castle, with no modern amenities. They can even cope with each other, despite their initial mutual dislike for one another, which gradually turns into a mind-blowing attraction. The Diary Cover
But when two girls are tortured and killed in Báthory copycat style, the nearby village is shaken to the core. In terror, they wonder who will be next…

Author’s Note

Erzsébet Báthory (1560-1614) is a known historical figure and was a Hungarian countess, also known as Elizabeth Báthory, The Blood Countess or Countess Dracula. She has been labeled the most prolific serial killer in history, being responsible for the torture and murder of hundreds of young girls. The exact number of her victims is unknown, but is estimated at six hundred and fifty. It is speculated that she kept a diary with the names of all her victims, but if such a document exists, it has never been made public.
*This work is entirely fiction.

EXCERPT from THE DIARY

There are certain dreams where one knows that one’s dreaming. Those dreams where one can even choose and control what happens in the dream—the chances of actually fulfilling some of the fantasies each of us have.
Then there are the true nightmares, which seem more real than any reality one has ever known. The kind of dreams that swallow you whole, consume you, enslave your mind and bend it to their own illusory will.
The girl lay on the table in the torture room, her cuffed hands and feet struggling weakly, rattling the rusted chains. Her body was a mass of wounds, cuts and burns. Blood had clotted in rivulets all over her flesh. She didn’t have the strength to scream anymore, just whimpered pitifully from time to time. I stood helpless in the doorway, unable to move or to utter a sound, feeling trapped in my own terrified body.
The Countess stood looking down at Romelia, eyes glinting with cold-blooded madness, just like the knife she used to caress the girl’s naked body. Her splendid silk gown was the same color as the blood staining the blade. Her hair was piled up high, exposing the milky white, graceful curve of her neck. Her beauty was staggering, but poisonous—the beauty a demon is gifted to lure the innocent to their destruction.
Her red lips stretched into a wicked smile as she ran her finger over one of the girl’s wounds and lifted it to her mouth. When her eyes met mine, I looked into the abyss of evil, as paralyzed as the victim of a snake that mesmerizes its pray.
“It’s not only their blood I need,” she said in a low, sultry voice that chilled my bones to the depths. “I need their fear, their cries. I want to test their pain endurance. It’s fascinating how long they last, some of them. Others are a disappointment.” She shrugged her elegant shoulders. “Their minds just shut down. Their eyes become dull, even duller than they usually are.”
She grabbed the girl’s hair and lifted her head, putting her face close to the young woman’s.
“Wake up!” she shouted, but then let the head drop in disgust when she got no reaction. She sighed.
“This one is gone. Better end it. It’s no fun anymore.”
So saying, she put the knife to the girl’s throat and pressed the sharp edge into the soft flesh, bit by bit, as though cutting into a loaf of bread. When the girl’s body began to convulse and her blood gushed, my own scream seemed to tear me apart from the inside.

“Serena, wake up!”
“No, please, don’t! I beg you, don’t do this!”
“Baby, it was just a dream. Wake up now!”
My eyes were open, but I couldn’t see anything. I only heard Hunter’s voice through the ragged sound of my breathing. He was shaking me, murmuring words I could barely understand over the mad thumping of my heart.
“You were only dreaming,” he said again, taking my face between his hands and staring into my eyes. “It was just a nightmare. It’s gone now, do you understand? Look at me.”
Gradually, I brought his face into focus, concentrating on taking slow, deep breaths that cleared my head. When I nodded, he lowered his forehead over mine for a long moment.
“You know, being awakened by your screams in the middle of the night is going to make my hair gray prematurely.”
Though he tried to sound amused, I could hear the worry in his voice. I stifled a sob.
“I’m sorry, Hunter, I couldn’t help it. It was awful, the dream…”
I closed my eyes, unable to fight the shudder that shook me. He noticed and, drawing the sheet aside, pulled me onto his lap, rocking me gently like a child as he held me tight in his arms.
“I know, baby, I know. I was just kidding. What did you dream about?”
I burrowed my face into his shoulder, trying to get as close as possible to his warmth. I felt so safe and protected by the solid shield of his chest that my terror started to fade, even as I recalled the horrible dream.
“I dreamed of The Countess killing Romelia. She… She had tortured her, and then she started cutting her throat, slowly, agonizingly. She spoke to me. She said it wasn’t only their blood she needed, but their fear and their cries. She wanted to see how long they lasted.”
He stroked my hair as I spoke, keeping my face hidden into his shoulder. I dimly noticed that he had turned on the bedside lamp, which bathed the room in a soft, golden glow.
“It’s normal for you to have such dreams after all that’s happened,” he said, angling my head back with two fingers on my chin, to look down at my face. “You’ve taken this documentary too seriously. That alone was bound to give you nightmares, but Romelia’s murder is far worse than that. It triggered something dark in your subconscious.”
“Hunter, to me it’s obvious there’s a connection here. Don’t you agree?” I asked, staring earnestly up at him.
He nodded grimly.
“Of course there’s a connection. When a castle of The Blood Countess is discovered, a girl is tortured and killed in the same manner The Countess used on her victims. A blind man could see a connection, but what is it?”
I tucked my head under his chin again, unable to find a reply that would ease the frustration in his voice.
“I don’t know.” I sighed. “All I know is that I want to get the hell out of here as soon as possible. I know I’ll never forget this, but at least I want to be far away from this place.”
We sat in silence for a while. Finally, I raised my head again to look at him. The low light cast deep shadows over his face and under his eyes. His skin was pale under the two-day stubble.
“I’m sorry I woke you up. I know you need the rest as much as I do. But I really appreciate you coming to my rescue. Thank you,” I added, smiling faintly.
“You’re welcome,” he replied, his voice deep and husky.
At that moment, I discovered he was naked, except for a pair of black boxers. I had been sitting on his lap for at least a quarter of an hour, crawling all over him, but barely now the realization struck me. The smooth skin of his bare chest looked well tanned. His nipples were taut, dark against the dusting of golden hair sprinkled over his magnificent pectorals. It arrowed down over the length of his sinuous, muscled abdomen to disappear under the waistline of his underwear.
I swallowed hard, unable to keep my eyes off his body, so well sculptured it simply defined pure, raw masculinity. My gaze meandered up again and I noticed the tattoo on his left shoulder. It was a dark-gray snake curled around his rounded biceps. Its snarling head with demonic red eyes and bared fangs covered a good portion of the muscled shoulder. A triangle darted through the beast’s mouth, its top corner spearing its head.
“Any special significance?” I asked, indicating the tattoo with a motion of my chin.
“Just a little souvenir I brought from Saudi Arabia.” When I kept staring at him, he elaborated, “A cobra snuck up on me during my last mission in the Force. I was crawling on my belly during a hostage rescue mission, and the son of a bitch jumped right out of the sand. See? The eyes are drawn right where the fang marks were.” He put his fingers on the tattoo, where I could see two small, faint scars beyond the snake’s eyes.
“You were in the Army?”
He nodded shortly.
“Yeah, for ten years or so. But it wasn’t the life I wanted.”
I looked again at the tattoo. Then the light dawned on me. The triangle was in fact the Greek letter Delta.
“Delta Forces?”
He seemed surprised by my perceptiveness, but he nodded again.
I lifted my fingers to trace the marks on his flesh, invaded by an overwhelming feeling of tenderness. My heart melted as I thought of the pain and agony he must have experienced. He had been a soldier. A tough life, for tough men…
“You could have been killed,” I whispered, still touching him gingerly. Absurdly enough, I felt tears sting my eyes for the man who seemed to have such little happiness in his life. I wanted to cradle his head to my chest and comfort him like a child, to stroke his hair and show him the beauties of the world.
“I wasn’t,” he said gently.
He bent his head, lifting my hand to his mouth. His lips were incredibly soft on my palm, his hot breath sending shivers of arousal through my body. Our fingers interlaced and he looked up again. The intensity of his gaze was almost tangible, making my pulse accelerate as desire sizzled between us.

Available as eBook and paperback everywhere books are sold online, including AmazoniTunesBarnes&NobleKoboGoogle PlaySmashwords

Best Black Friday Book Deals You’ve Seen This Year!

Happy Friday everyone! Happy not because the weekend starts, but because today I have a big bundle of free and 99 cents bestsellers for you. So grab your virtual shopping cart and start browsing. 😉

creatus

FREE

In every myth, there’s a modicum of truth…

For four thousand years, creatus have concealed themselves from humans, who hunted them almost to extinction. Now, one creatus will endanger them all by falling in love–with a human. Prepare to believe the myths. Creatus exist!

VISIT AMAZON

holiday m

99 CENTS

The betrayal of her cheating fiancé stole the joy of Christmas from Georgia Baxter. Finding Mark in bed with another woman was painful enough, but having to work with him three years later is worse. Especially since he’s determined to make her give him a second chance…

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the Ebb cover ABNA 533x800

FREE

On a long holiday with her grandparents, Sofia Aspioti meets Danny Markson, a charming flirt who makes her laugh. Although she tries to keep him at arm’s length, worried that village gossip will get back to her strict family, she falls desperately in love. That’s when strange dreams about Brighton’s West Pier and a woman dressed in black begin to haunt her.

VISIT AMAZON

aa-mimi

99 CENTS

Christmas is family time in small town, Carlton Grove.

A homeless pup adores a child, and his new master falls for her mom. This heartwarming tale about a puppy, a brave little girl and a single mom who can’t refuse her munchkin the chance to get to know her father creates a real page-turner.

VISIT AMAZON

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$1.99 NEW RELEASE – Special pre-order price!

If her husband turns up alive… she’ll kill him!

When Fiona lifts her head above the chaos of kids, carpools, and a million things to do, she discovers her husband is missing. As she searches for him, she is forced to realize her life will never be the same.

VISIT AMAZON

 

Friday’s Featured Author: Melinda De Ross and her new book, Celebrity

A wonderful history about how I started writing and made a wonderful friend and partner in crime. 🙂
Thank you so much for this lovely post and the trip down memory lane, my dear Susanne. ❤

susanne matthews

Jpeg Jpeg

Welcome to this week’s featured author, Melinda De Ross, who’s showcasing her newest novel, Celebrity.

Melinda is no stranger to Living the Dream, but you may not realize how our association developed.

We met online back in 2013. It’s hard to believe that was only four years ago. At the time, she and I were both publishing our first novels with Front Porch Romance, a crooked publishing house, run by a scam artist, an unscrupulous woman whose lies and thefts hurt a lot of new writers.

Some gave up writing, others, like Melinda, refused to allow her to ruin her dreams.

While Melinda and I have never met, we chat regularly and support one another’s careers. In addition to being an author, Melinda is a tremendously talented cover artist. If you would like to see some of her work, check out yesterday’s post.  Here’s a little more about…

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Happy release day, CELEBRITY!

Celebrity Teaser

 

Dear Reader,

They say 7 is a magic number. Since this is my 7th novel, released on November 7th, and it took 7 months to write, I tend to agree. During this time I was engrossed in the journey of my heroine, in the glamorous Hollywood life, where the general motto is “live fast, die young”.
However, few people know this book was inspired by one of my previous novels, The Diary. To me it is such a powerful book I would love to see it turned into a movie one day, and Celebrity includes how I imagined The Diary would come to life on screen. If you enjoy this book, I hope you will also check out The Diary and find out what inspired me so much. To entice your curiosity further, I’ve included an excerpt from The Diary on the last pages of this book.

Enjoy!

 

First readers’ impressions:

“If you enjoy Jackie Collins, you will love CELEBRITY!” – Editorial Review 

“This gutsy woman won’t be broken as she sets out to remake her life Hollywood style. A MUST-READ!” – Susanne Matthews, international bestselling author

And the first review, as well as an interview I very much enjoyed from Ana K, book blogger and aspiring writer: https://toyangi.wordpress.com/2017/11/07/book-review-celebrity-by-melinda-de-ross/

Until next week, CELEBRITY is 99 cents, so be sure to get your copy before then, and don’t forget to leave a review ❤

Available as eBook and paperback everywhere books are sold online, including AmazoniTunesBarnes&NobleKoboGoogle PlaySmashwords

Three days left before you pay the full price for CELEBRITY

Happy Sunday, everyone! It’s November, so my weekend started with cold weather and fog so thick I couldn’t see beyond the edge of my balcony railing. However, I hope you have better weather, especially those of you who live in places warmer than my moody yet lovely Romania.

Celebrity CoverThis week has been a productive one, a week of hard choices and major changes for me, which I’ll be announcing soon on the website. However, today is dedicated to my latest novel, CELEBRITY, which will be released on November 7th, when the price will become $2,99. Until then, you can still preorder it at 99 cents.

Since preorder books don’t have a preview, I’ve decided to post a little excerpt – the first peek into my first contemporary romance, which follows the journey of Kendra Kensington, a young writer who trades her simple existence in Chicago for the glamorous Hollywood life, full of luxury and scandal. In this excerpt, Kendra has just found out her agent landed her a million dollar contract for one of her scripts, and she’s going to surprise her boyfriend, Richard, with the amazing news. However, she’s the one who ends up being surprised, and not in a good way.

 

EXCERPT

When the elevator stopped, I smiled at my reflection in the mirror and stepped out. I took Richard’s key out of my purse and inserted it into the lock as silently as possible. I was sure he was still asleep, but I didn’t think he’d mind being awakened earlier.

As it turned out, I was wrong in both assumptions. The moment I entered the apartment I realized two things: Richard was not asleep, and he was not alone. Judging by the noises coming from the bedroom, he was either watching a porn flick, or he had company. I stood motionless, struck dumb and still by this discovery. I even stopped breathing, while my heartbeats accelerated madly.

Then I was jarred out of my shocked stillness by a particularly high-pitched moan. Feeling as though clouds of steam were coming out of my ears, I walked to the bedroom and pushed open the door. For a moment, I just stared stupidly at the way Richard and his blonde, huge-breasted partner were tangled. It crossed my mind that he’d never been this inventive and energetic with me. Then the adrenaline kicked in, and with it, a wave of fury that made my pulse and breathing go into overdrive.

“You motherfucking piece of shit!” I screamed, advancing into the room, clutching my purse like a weapon.

The rocking stopped abruptly. The blonde let out a girlie scream, but my attention was all on Richard. His eyes were as big as saucers, as he was trying to yank a sheet to cover himself.

“Kendra… It’s not what you think,” he stammered. “I-I can explain…”

“You whore-fucking, cock-sucking, pencil-dick son of a bitch! Is this why you never had enough energy for me?”

I grabbed the first handy thing—which happened to be an inoffensive stack of files—and threw them at the bed. Sheets of paper spread everywhere, but without doing any damage.

“Kendra, listen to me…”

“Shut up, you cheating louse! And you,” I turned to the blonde, who was uselessly trying to cover up her tits. “I hope he’s better with you than he ever was with me. I haven’t faked it so much in my life as I did with this lousy bastard!”

I whirled around and stormed out, slamming the door as hard as I could behind me.

If you have enjoyed this excerpt, rush over and preorder CELEBRITY from your favorite retailer, and don’t forget to leave a review. ❤

 AmazoniTunesBarnes&NobleKoboGoogle PlaySmashwords

 

And So It Begins: Wedding Bell Blues Kindle Scout Campaign

susanne matthews

WBB final cover

As the idiom goes, third time’s the charm, and I’m hoping that proves to be true as I make another attempt to win an Amazon publishing contract. This time, I’m trying something a little different from my usual suspense/romance books. Wedding Bell Blues has it all–romance, humor, magic, mystery, mermaids, cursed Inca treasure, and last but not least, an unexpected wedding.

Here’s the blurb:

MJ’s having a bad year. She’s canceled her wedding, but refuses to give up the honeymoon. When she arrives on Paradise Island, she discovers her ex has changed the reservation. Stranded, she has to rely on her first love, a man who sees her as his kid sister, for help. When Paul discovers the man behind her plight is the bully who made his own teen years hell, he gets MJ to agreed to pretend to be his fiancee. Add in mermaids, treasure hunters, and Quimbois…

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