Cover Reveal: She Wears the Mask by Shelly Stratton

SHE WEARS THE MASK BY SHELLY STRATTON

Coming August 11th

No one can ever really know what lies behind the mask . . .

Gripping and moving, She Wears the Mask is a novel about two women from two very different worlds, both burdened with secrets from their pasts, who form an unexpected bond…

1950s Chicago: Angelique Bixby could be one of many fresh-faced sales girls working along the Magnificent Mile, but she’s unique. She’s a white woman married to a black man in 1950s Chicago, making her stand out among the tenements on the South Side where she lives. Despite the challenges the couple faces, they find comfort and strength in their love for one another. Angelique is content, as long as she has her Daniel by her side and their baby in her arms, until she loses them both—one to death and the other to dire circumstances.

1990s Washington, D.C.: Angelique Crofton is a woman of privilege. A rich, aging beauty and mother of a rising political star, she has learned to forget her tragic past. But now that she is facing her own mortality, she is finally ready to find the daughter she left behind, remember the young woman she once was, and unearth the bittersweet memories she had long ago buried.

Jasmine Stanley is an ambitious lawyer—the only black woman at her firm. She is too busy climbing the corporate ladder to deal with her troublesome family or their unresolved issues. Tasked with Angelique’s case, Jasmine doesn’t know what to make of her new client—an old debutante with seemingly too much time and money on her hands. Jasmine eagerly accepts the challenge though, hoping if she finds Angelique’s long-lost daughter, it will impress the firm’s partners. But she doesn’t count on the search challenging her mentally and emotionally. Nor does she expect to form a friendship with Angelique, who is much more like her than she realizes—because Jasmine is harboring secrets, too.

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EXCERPT

Chapter 1

Angelique

November 9, 1950

Chicago, Illinois 

She will never get used to the sound of the “L” train. 

Angelique realizes this for the umpteenth time as the train thunders above her and she ducks her head and clutches the collar of her wool coat in a white-knuckled grip with one hand. While crossing the street under the train tracks, she doesn’t look up—too frightened to witness its passage. She focuses her runny eyes instead on the puddles of melting snow where the halogen lights from bars and the late-night delicatessen glow. Her eyes then drift to the bundle in the basket she holds.

Hearing the steady click-clack of the train wheels, the seismic rattle of metal beams, and the whoosh of air as it passes will never become background noise to her, no matter how long she lives in the “Windy City” to some or “Chi-Town” to others—but it did for Daniel. He laughed at her the first time she cringed when the train passed their bedroom window. 

“Look at you,” he drawled that first night they slept in their apartment. “It’s just a train, sugar. It can’t hurt you none.”

But what did Daniel know? Even though he’d grown up on the alfalfa fields of North Carolina with dirt under his nails and the sweet stench of manure in his nostrils, he’d been a city boy at heart. The “L” was practically a Mama’s lullaby, lulling him to sleep at night, while it became her torturer, yanking her awake every time her eyelids would drift closed.

When she did sleep, the train would haunt her dreams—those hungry steel wheels gnashing at the tracks, sending up sparks into the dark night. Her mind’s eye would see the train barreling at high speeds over Logan Square, Hyde Park, and Chinatown, like it was searching for her, leaving quaking windows in its wake. 

She dreamed of standing with other commuters waiting to head Uptown, only to have someone accidentally shove her. She’d go tumbling off the platform, onto the train track, and get hit by the “L,” yelling for help as she watched it approach. She dreamed of Daniel riding on his way to work at the stockyards, and one of the train cars would derail and go careening to the busy street twenty feet below. She would wake up screaming, and Daniel would wrap her in his strong arms, pull her close, and let her tremble in his embrace.

After a while, she started to sleep with a pillow over her head to finally get some rest, hoping to drown out the sound of the train at night. Unfortunately, it also drowned out their baby’s cries. Daniel had to shake her awake and tug the pillow from her head a few times. 

“She’s hungry, sugar,” he would say, bringing their baby girl to her. 

She would turn onto her back, prop the pillow behind her, tiredly undo the ribbons of her night gown, and lower the infant to her tender breast, yawning and staring out the window at the passing of the “L” as she nursed.

Ultimately, Daniel would be proven right. It wasn’t the train she should’ve feared, but the street car. That’s what took her man away in the end. The sound of the trolley bell would be the harbinger of death for him, not the screech of train wheels.

She gives a bleak, dark chuckle at the irony as the “L” finally . . . mercifully passes overhead, leaving behind the distant sound of rattling metal and fluttering newspapers. She can hear her baby girl, Emma Jean, crying now and see her squirming in the basket at her side, making it hard not to drop the basket and the baby from her sore fingers. She holds fast though, and continues to walk in the cold and through the melting snow. Her leather shoes—one of her few remaining pairs—are covered in rubber booties, but the booties have holes in them. The shoes are now damp and she suspects her feet are starting to freeze. Her toes are stinging like they’re being poked by tiny needles. She wonders if she will develop gangrene, but she doesn’t stop to check her feet. She’s already walked this far. May as well keep going. 

“Hey, lady! What you doin’ out here with that baby?” a voice slurs, startling her and making her pause for the first time. 

Angelique turns to her right to find a figure lurking in a doorway. An old Negro man with weathered skin stumbles out of the shadows like someone has given him a hard shove. He clutches a half pint of Old Forrester in his dirty hand. He’s wearing several layers of clothing, all of which are either shredded, riddled with holes, or covered with stains. The rank smell of alcohol, body odor, and urine drifts from him like an atomic cloud. He narrows his bloodshot eyes at her.

She stares back at him, tugging the basket close to her side, but she doesn’t respond. She turns back around and starts walking again.

“Cain’t you hear that baby cryin’?” he shouts drunkenly after her and she starts to walk faster. “Shouldn’t be out here in the cold with no baby no way! Take it inside!”

When she nears the end of the block, she is almost at a run, jostling the infant in the basket and making her cry louder.

“Crazy cracker wench!” his voice howls against the growing wind.

Angelique is finally a block away. She stops at an empty wooden bench to regain her breath. She sets the wicker basket on the bench, sits beside it, and takes out Emma Jean. She holds her against her chest, cooing to her and rocking her softly. Emma Jean is no more than a little round face engulfed in blankets under the street light. Big brown, watery eyes gaze up at her. After a few minutes, the wails quail to whimpers and the whimpers die down to hiccups. Emma Jean’s eyes close. Long dark lashes like her daddy’s sweep her cheeks. Eventually, Emma Jean quiets, asleep again.

This is when Angelique begins to lose her nerve, feeling the familiar warmth of her baby girl against her body, seeing Emma Jean slumber so blissfully in her arms.

Her vision begins to blur as the tears well. She sniffs and a nose that was already chapped red from the chill and the wind, becomes even redder.

“I can’t do this. I can’t do this,” she whimpers, shakily rising to her feet, leaving the basket on the bench. She lurches back toward the corner with Emma Jean, and sees the outline of the drunken bum leaning against a brick wall, watching her from a distance like a specter in the dark.

Seeing him again, she suddenly remembers the empty shelves in the kitchenette cabinets back at her apartment and the icebox filled with one block of cheese and a bottle of milk that is about to go bad. She remembers the “Rent Due” notice tacked to her front door. And she remembers that she can’t return to her plush sales girl job thanks to Mr. Mullan. She probably will never be able to show her face, let alone work anywhere at the posh stores on State Street again. Odd jobs at night clubs and seedy bars won’t keep her and Emma Jean from starving. She could very well find herself on the street like that bum. She must move on and start all over again, but her baby girl will not be able to move on with her. Emma Jean does not fit into her life anymore. Not after the mess she’s made of it. That is why she is here to procure her daughter a new life—a better one.

She lowers the infant back into the basket, nestling her in the soft blankets, careful not to wake her again. She adjusts the envelope beside the baby, the one containing a note, a picture of Daniel, looking dapper in his Army uniform, and a lock of her own hair.

Angelique blinks through her tears and starts walking again, continuing to her destination. 

ABOUT SHELLY STRATTON

Shelly Stratton is the penname an award-nominated author who has published almost a dozen books under another pseudonym.

She is married and lives in Maryland with her husband and their daughter. Visit her at her web site http://www.shellystrattonbooks.com to learn more about her work.

CONNECT WITH SHELLY

AUTHOR SITE | FACEBOOKTWITTER | INSTAGRAMAMAZON AUTHOR PAGE 

New Release: Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan

QUEEN MOVE BY KENNEDY RYAN

“This thoroughly modern soulmate story blew me away!” 
— Talia Hibbert, USA Today bestselling author
 

Queen Move, an all-new passionate and unforgettable friends-to-lovers romance from RITA® Award-winning and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Kennedy Ryan, is available now!

The boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have…

Dig a little and you’ll find photos of me in the bathtub with Ezra Stern.

Get your mind out of the gutter. We were six months old.

Pry and one of us might confess we saved our first kiss for each other. 

The most clumsy, wet, sloppy . . . spectacular thirty seconds of my adolescence.

Get into our business and you’ll see two families, closer than blood, torn apart in an instant.

Twenty years later, my “awkward duckling” best friend from childhood, 

the boy no one noticed, is a man no one can ignore.

Finer. Fiercer. Smarter. 

Taken.

Tell me it’s wrong. 

Tell me the boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have. 

When we find each other again, everything stands in our way–secrets, lies, promises.

But we didn’t come this far to give up now. 

And I know just the move to make if I want to make him mine.

**QUEEN MOVE will have the special release week price of $3.99. After that, the price will increase.**

Download your copy today!

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Audio COMING SOON!

Add QUEEN MOVE to Goodreads

Enter to win a Queen Box

EXCERPT

 “You’re fucking brilliant.”

“Huh?” Ezra asks absentmindedly, paying more attention to the flame under his pan than to my compliment. “What’d you say?”

“I said you’re brilliant.” I hold up the iPad I’m using to read his manuscript. “Your book, the YLA story, is incredible, Ez.”

“Oh. Thanks.” He flashes me a smile and then goes back to his French toast. “The key to getting this right is the milk-to-bread ratio.”

I hop off the counter and walk over to stand beside him at the stove. “Would you forget about your French toast for a minute and listen to me?”

“But it’s stuffed French toast.” He takes the pan off the burner and pulls me into his arms. “And I could listen to you all day. What were you saying? Something about me being a handsome, sexy genius?”

“Um…those weren’t my exact words.” I laugh up at him.

“I could have sworn that’s what you said, and I’m never wrong.” He slides his hands over my ass in a pair of his boxer shorts. “Some even say I’m fucking brilliant.”

“They probably just like your big dick,” I whisper and blink up at him as innocently as I can manage.

“I get that a lot.” He drops a kiss on my head and turns back to his French toast. I lean down to rest an elbow on the counter and watch him work. 

“A lot?” I ask teasingly. “Have there been a lot?”

He pauses mid-toast-flip and slants me a glance. “Are you asking how many people I’ve had sex with?”

“I mean, it’s none of my business. If you don’t want to—”

“Eight.”

Eight?

Lord above, only eight?!

“Oh.” I straighten and rest my hip against the counter. “What a, um, single-digit number that is.”

“What about you?”

What about me? I’m tabulating years of hook-ups, one-night stands, fuck bois and carrying the one.

“If you don’t want to,” he says, cracking an egg into a bowl, “it’s fine. I don’t care how many people—”

“I don’t know.”

He glances up from whisking eggs, a small frown puckering his dark brows. “You don’t know what?”

“My number. I don’t know how many people I’ve been with.”

He resumes whisking, his frown clearing. “Oh.”

The whisking eggs and whirring refrigerator are the only sounds in the kitchen. I’ve never been embarrassed by my choices. I enjoy sex. I’ve had it with a lot of people. People I really liked…or tolerated…but didn’t want to commit to. I’ve always been safe and never mean about it. I was upfront, and when someone wanted more, I let them know “more” wasn’t an option.

“I just never…” I cross my arms over my stomach, fold one bare foot over the other. “I haven’t been interested in committed relationships. There hasn’t been anyone I wanted that with.”

“Tru.” He stops whisking and gives me the full impact of his undivided attention. His eyes are placid blue. No shadows or undercurrents. “I don’t care.” Ezra pushes the bowl aside and faces me. “But there is something I feel like we should be clear on regarding how you’ve handled sex in the past.”

Here we go.

“You’ve never wanted to commit before,” he says.

“Right. I’ve never wanted any strings attached.”

“I know I said we could be just sex, no emotional attachments.” He shoves his hands in his pockets. “But I feel like I have to be honest with you. Having you back in my life has been…it’s been exactly what I need, and what I felt last night… I’ve never felt that way before.”

I’m not even sure my heart is beating, but it also feels like there’s a tumult in my chest. “What are you saying, Ez?”

His mouth flattens into a hard line and his jaw hardens to stone. “I want strings.”

“Y-you do?”

“I want strings.” He links our fingers, strokes his thumb across my palm. “Ropes, if necessary. I want anything that keeps you with me and me with you and tells everyone else don’t even think about it.”

I’m stunned and incredibly turned on, but that doesn’t take much where Ezra’s concerned.

“You…you do?” I ask faintly…again.

“I wouldn’t do well sharing you.”

 

ABOUT KENNEDY RYAN

A RITA® Award Winner, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling Author, Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

Kennedy and her writings have been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour and many others. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but has a special passion for raising Autism awareness. The co-founder of LIFT 4 Autism, an annual charitable book auction, she has appeared on Headline News, The Montel Williams Show, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for ASD families. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son.

WEBSITE

CONNECT WITH Kennedy Ryan

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | READER GROUP | AMAZON | PINTEREST | BOOK + MAIN

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Review: Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan

Note: I was provided with an advance reader copy by the author. It was my decision to review the novel and receiving a copy in no way influenced my opinion of the novel or this review. 

I am a sucker for a second-chance-at-love story. It’s one of my favourite tropes. Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan definitely fits the bill.

Early on, the reader gets to see how Kimba and Ezra first meet and become best friends as children. Their friendship and their loyalty to one another is intense and a precursor to love. Life separates them as pre-teens, and it’s many years later when they’re reunited. From there, we’re pulled into a very intense and gratifying love story.  

What I loved about Queen Move: Kennedy is a master at creating credible and three-dimensional characters who are so strong, so well-drawn that they seem to have lives of their own. They live, they breathe and you believe in them completely. Whether it’s her protagonists, Kimba and Ezra, or her secondary characters, you believe in them. I also love how she weaves in history in this story — for those of us who were children during the time of Atlanta child murders, we remember the fear and how it left a pall over a part of our childhood. Kennedy weaves this into the beginning of the story, reminding us of how fearful and watchful black parents especially were even in the days following the arrest of Wayne Williams. 

But what I appreciate most is that Queen Move is a very realistic love story. Like real life, Kimba and Ezra’s story is not always smooth sailing. It’s messy, full of twists and turns. It’s two adults dealing with everything that life and love throws at them. 

My rating? 5 stars.


Highly recommended.

First Look: Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan

QUEEN MOVE BY KENNEDY RYAN

“Combining sweet nostalgia with the important issues Kennedy never shies away from, Queen Move is nothing less than wonderful. I couldn’t put it down and never wanted it to end!” 

— Alexa Martin, Author of Intercepted

Queen Move, an all-new powerful second chance standalone from Wall Street Journal bestselling and RITA® Award-winning author Kennedy Ryan, is coming May 26th and we have your FIRST LOOK!  

Make sure to enter on Kennedy’s site to win a QUEEN BOX, stuffed with a signed paperback and all the things you’ll need to treat yourself like a queen!

Prologue

Kimba

Two Years Before Present

Is there anything sadder than a daddy’s girl at her father’s funeral?

My mother’s quiet sniffs a few seats down give me the answer.

A grieving widow.

“He was a good man,” someone in the long line of mourners offering condolences whispers to her.

Mama’s head bobs with a tearful nod. In this day and age, she still wears a pillbox hat and veil. It’s black and chic like Mama, channeling tragic Jackie Kennedy or Coretta Scott King. My father was not just a good man. He was a great man, and everyone should know he leaves behind a widow, grieving deeply, but ever-fly. I squeeze the funeral program between my fingers, glaring at the printed words.

Joseph Allen leaves behind a wife, Janetta, three children, Kayla, Keith and Kimba, and six grandchildren.

He leaves behind.

Daddy’s gone, and I don’t know how to live in a world my father does not inhabit. The casket is draped with sweet-smelling flowers in the center of the funeral tent. When we leave the cemetery, it…he will be lowered into the ground with unfathomable finality, separated from us by white satin lining, six feet of dirt and eternity.

Kayla, my older sister, sobs softly at the end of our family’s row. Her four children watch her carefully, probably unused to seeing their unshakeable mother shaken and reduced to tears. Even I’d forgotten how she looks when she cries—like she’s mad at the wetness streaking her cheeks, resentful of any sign of weakness.

It’s not weak to cry, Daddy used to say. It’s human.

“But doesn’t the Bible say even the rocks will cry out?” I’d challenged him when I was young, loving that something from Sunday school took. “So maybe tears aren’t just for humans.”

“You’re getting too smart for your britches, little girl,” he’d said, but the deep affection in his eyes when he kissed me told me he was pleased. He liked that I asked questions and taught me to never accept bullshit at face value.

I miss you, Daddy.

Not even a week since his heart attack, and I already miss him so much.

Humanity blurs my vision, wet and hot and stinging my eyes. I want this to be over. The flowers, the well-dressed mourners, the news cameras stationed at a distance they probably deem respectful. I just want to go to the house where my parents raised us, retreat to Daddy’s study and find the stash of cigars that only he and I knew about.

Don’t tell your mother, he used to whisper conspiratorially. This will be our little secret.

Mama hated the smell of cigars in the house.

“Tru.”

Who would call me by that name? Now, when the only people who use it, my family, are all preoccupied with their own pain? A tall man stands in front of me, his thick, dark brows bunched with sympathy. I don’t know him. I would remember a man like this, who stands strong like an oak tree. A well-tailored suit molds his powerful shoulders. Dark brown, not quite black, hair is cut ruthlessly short, but hints at waves if given the chance to grow. His prominent nose makes itself known above the full, finely sculpted lips below. His eyes are shockingly vivid—so deep a blue they’re almost the color of African violets against skin like bronze bathed in sunlight. No, a man like him you’d never forget. Something niggles at my memory, tugs at my senses. I’d never forget a man who looked like this, a man with eyes like that…but what about a boy?

“Ezra?” I croak, disbelief and uncertainty mingling in the name I haven’t uttered in years.

It can’t be.

But it is.

Keep Going!

Read the REST of the prologue and enter the QUEEN BOX giveaway on Kennedy’s website:→ kennedyryanwrites.com/queen-move-prologue

**QUEEN MOVE will have the special pre-order and release week price of $3.99. After that, the price will increase.**

 

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

AMAZON | APPLE BOOKS | AMAZON WORLDWIDE | NOOK | KOBO | GOOGLE PLAY

ADD QUEEN MOVE TO GOODREADS

BE NOTIFIED FIRST WHEN QUEEN MOVE IS LIVE

SYNOPSIS 

The boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have…

Dig a little and you’ll find photos of me in the bathtub with Ezra Stern.

Get your mind out of the gutter. We were six months old.

Pry and one of us might confess we saved our first kiss for each other. 

The most clumsy, wet, sloppy . . . spectacular thirty seconds of my adolescence.

Get into our business and you’ll see two families, closer than blood, torn apart in an instant.

Twenty years later, my “awkward duckling” best friend from childhood, 

the boy no one noticed, is a man no one can ignore.

Finer. Fiercer. Smarter. 

Taken.

Tell me it’s wrong. 

Tell me the boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have. 

When we find each other again, everything stands in our way–secrets, lies, promises.

But we didn’t come this far to give up now. 

And I know just the move to make if I want to make him mine.

ABOUT KENNEDY RYAN

A RITA® Award Winner, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling Author, Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

Kennedy and her writings have been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour and many others. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but has a special passion for raising Autism awareness.The co-founder of LIFT 4 Autism, an annual charitable book auction, she has appeared on Headline News, The Montel Williams Show, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for ASD families. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son.

CONNECT WITH KENNEDY RYAN

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAMREADER GROUP | AMAZON | PINTEREST | BOOK + MAIN

NEVER MISS A RELEASE

BOOKBUB | TEXT ALERTS | MAILING LIST

CONNECT WITH BLUE BOX PRESS

WEBSITE

Review: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

I really enjoyed reading Beth O’Leary’s The Switch, an entertaining story about a grandmother and granddaughter who decide to “switch” lives for two months with the grandmother moving into the granddaughter’s loft apartment in London while the granddaughter moves into the grandmother’s cottage (and takes over all her grandmother’s activities) in Yorkshire. This is so much more than a simple “changing places” story — it tackles grief and its consequences, losing oneself in work (and other people’s expectations), frustrated dreams, etc.

Loved the multigenerational cast of characters and all the situations they got themselves into. Highly recommended! 

By the way, check out Beth’s other book (which I also enjoyed), The Flatshare.

Review: The Caretakers by Eliza Maxwell

I am a big fan of gothic mysteries and intricate storylines, and The Caretakers delivers in spades. 

I wanted a book I could really get lost in, with plenty of suspense and realistic and compelling characters. I especially loved delving into Tessa’s story. Her guilt and how she struggles to deal with it at the same time as she deals with the loss of her mother and the familial tension that ensues, is riveting. 

The Caretakers is the sort of book that keeps you up at night – you want to know what will happen next, so you keep turning the pages without caring a jot about the time or where you have to be the next day,

One of the things that I loved with The Caretakers was the attention to detail. Maxwell does a fantastic job of describing the setting, of taking her time to pull the reader into the story so that it has an almost cinematic feel. 
And, unlike many other books in this genre, the ending is perfectly paced and satisfying. 

So far, The Caretakers is one of my favorite reads of 2020. Highly recommended!

Disclosure: The links in this post are affiliate links. If you choose to click and purchase from the link, I will receive a small commission which will help with paying for the costs of running this site.

Cover reveal: Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan

QUEEN MOVE BY KENNEDY RYAN

Queen Move, an all-new beautiful and unforgettable second chance romance from RITA® Award-winning and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Kennedy Ryan, is coming May 26th and we have the stunning cover! 

The boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have…

Dig a little and you’ll find photos of me in the bathtub with Ezra Stern.

Get your mind out of the gutter. We were six months old.

Pry and one of us might confess we saved our first kiss for each other. 

The most clumsy, wet, sloppy . . . spectacular thirty seconds of my adolescence.

Get into our business and you’ll see two families, closer than blood, torn apart in an instant.

Twenty years later, my “awkward duckling” best friend from childhood, 

the boy no one noticed, is a man no one can ignore.

Finer. Fiercer. Smarter. 

Taken.

Tell me it’s wrong. 

Tell me the boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have. 

When we find each other again, everything stands in our way–secrets, lies, promises.

But we didn’t come this far to give up now. 

And I know just the move to make if I want to make him mine.

**QUEEN MOVE WILL HAVE THE SPECIAL PRE-ORDER AND RELEASE WEEK PRICE OF $3.99. AFTER THAT, THE PRICE WILL INCREASE.**



PREORDER TODAY!

AMAZON | APPLE BOOKS | AMAZON WORLDWIDE | NOOK | KOBO | GOOGLE PLAY

ADD TO GOODREADS | BE NOTIFIED FIRST WHEN QUEEN MOVE IS LIVE

Cover Designed by Asha Hossain Design
Photography by Sophia Barrett Studios
Model: Lashae Dennie

ENTER TO WIN

Cover Celebration Giveaway! Enter for a chance to win a $50 gift card and a signed paperback of Queen Move.

CLICK HERE

ABOUT KENNEDY RYAN

Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller and RITA® Award Winning author, Kennedy Ryan, writes about women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always worked with charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys raising Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine and Frolic, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta Autism families, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.

CONNECT WITH KENNEDY RYAN

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAMREADER GROUP | AMAZON | PINTEREST | BOOK + MAIN

NEVER MISS A RELEASE

BOOKBUB | TEXT ALERTS | MAILING LIST

Review: The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts

Imagine you work for a magazine called Posh! and your boss asks you to interview the most eligible titled bad-boy bachelor in the country? That’s Polly’s situation in The Plus One. We follow the previously unlucky at love reporter as she embarks on a whirlwind relationship with Jasper Milton, a sexy and too handsome for his own good aristocrat who’s got a reputation for being a playboy. 

The Plus One is a total rom-com with a fun and irreverent tone of voice and relatable characters. I thought the premise of how Polly and Jasper meet worked really well and hooked me from the beginning. However, the last few chapters left me feeling like something was missing, or as though the ending was rushed — which is a little frustrating since I enjoyed the rest of the book. 

And because the last third of the book felt so rushed, I give the book three stars. Would I recommend the book? Yes. It was a fun read and I really liked the characters and the premise. It was fun and frothy with just enough serious bits.

I just hated the ending.

New Release: Baby I’m Yours by Carrie Elks

Title: Baby I’m Yours

Author: Carrie Elks

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: Feb 12, 2020

Cover Designed by: Najla Qamber

Two tiny lines that change everything…

Doctor James Tanner is gorgeous, successful and decisively single.

He’s also a widower with a broken heart.

When he meets a beautiful woman on a fateful night out, their chemistry shocks him to the core.

Harper Hayes is irresistible. 

With her pink-tipped hair and tantalizing smile, she makes him forget all his pain.

One night together won’t hurt, will it? 

One night to get her out of his system. 

Then he’ll leave in the morning without a backward glance.

But actions have consequences, and this one will change their lives forever.

And when Harper sees those two little lines she knows exactly what that means.

Now she just needs to find her baby’s father.

What a shame she doesn’t even know his name…

Buy Links 

AMAZON US LINK: https://amzn.to/35F6taf

AMAZON UK LINK: https://amzn.to/35F6taf

AMAZON UNIVERSAL LINK: http://mybook.to/BabyImYours

GOODREADS LINK:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48672424-baby-i-m-yours

BEGIN THE SERIES WITH LET ME BURN (Angel Sands Book 1) for FREE in KU: mybook.to/LetMeBurn

Excerpt 

“I’m sorry I walked out that night,” he said when he closed the break room door behind them. “I don’t usually do that kind of thing.”

“Walk out after a night of amazing sex?” She raised an eyebrow.

“I meant having the amazing sex in the first place. But yeah, I don’t usually walk out without a word either.” He shook his head. “It was an asshole thing to do. The least I could have done was taken you to breakfast.”

“Don’t worry. Breakfast was included with the room. And it isn’t your midnight ghosting I wanted to talk about.”

“It isn’t?” 

“Nope.” She glanced at the door, as if to make extra sure it was closed. “Look, this is embarrassing and not at all how I imagined spending my day. I’d assumed I’d never see you again, and I was okay with that. Or as okay as you can be after waking up to an empty bed.” She took a deep breath. “So anyway, the thing is, I didn’t give you an STD that night, but you did give me something.”

“You think I gave you an STD?” He shook his head. “I couldn’t have.” She was the first person he’d had sex with in three years. “You’ve got the wrong guy.”

“I haven’t.” She pulled her lip between her teeth, her gaze meeting his. “It wasn’t an STD you gave me, James. It was a few extra sperm; I’m pregnant.”

Advance Praise For Baby I’m Yours

‘It had me smiling a lot and crying quite a bit too, definitely one that you should get ASAP..’ – A Book Lover’s Emporium Blog ★★★★★

‘A story that will touch your heart and have you cheering for James and Harper until the very end!’ – Merry, Booksprout reviewer ★★★★★

‘Baby I’m Yours has just shot straight to #1 as my favourite book in this amazing series!’ – Clare, Goodreads reviewer ★★★★★

‘One click this you will not be disappointed.’ – Mrs Kebab’s Book Blog ★★★★★

‘Grabbed my heart. Love this series. So ready for more’ – Teresa, Goodreads reviewer ★★★★★

About The Author

Carrie Elks writes contemporary romance with a sizzling edge. Her first book, Fix You, has been translated into eight languages and made a surprise appearance on Big Brother in Brazil. Luckily for her, it wasn’t voted out. Carrie lives with her husband, two lovely children and a larger-than-life black pug called Plato. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found baking, drinking an occasional (!) glass of wine, or chatting on social media.

FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/CarrieElksAuthor/

FACEBOOK GROUP: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CarrieElksWaterCooler/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/CarrieElks

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/carrie.elks/

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WEBSITE: https://carrieelks.co

Review: The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews

Title: The Winter Companion

Author: Mimi Matthews

Publication Date: 11 February

Available for preorder

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Yet again, Mimi Matthews delivers a deliciously addictive and wonderfully written love story with The Winter Companion. This time, we delve into the lives of Neville Cross and Clara Hartwright. If you’ve been following the Parish Orphans of Devon series, then you’ve already had glimpses of Neville. Of all the boys (now men) who’d grown up together in the orphanage, I was always most curious about Neville, especially considering the injury he’d sustained from his fall from the cliffs. We get more insight into his life and how his BTI has affected him and the choices he’s made along the way.

With the coming Christmas holidays as the backdrop, Matthews sets the stage for a very nice slow-burn love story. We have Neville, painfully shy at times and more at home outdoors than in drawing rooms making small talk, and Clara, a paid companion to Mrs. Bainbridge who longs to learn and know more–but held back because of her gender and a secret from her past. Already from their first meeting, thanks to an elderly pug called Bertie, we know that Neville and Clara are meant to be. The question is how will it come to pass. And their path to love is very satisfying.

There are so many things that I loved about The Winter Companion: the richness of the setting, how Matthews weaves in the cast of characters we recognize from previous books in the series, how even the secondary characters come across as fully realized people and not simply as props… I could go on. But the most important factor for me in loving this book was how Matthews writes about Neville and his brain trauma injury. Gaining insight into how it has affected his life and how he’s tried to deal with it…as well as the initial resentment he felt at being the one left behind…made me as a reader feel such empathy for him and gave me a better understanding of why Neville never strayed far from the abbey.

I also enjoyed that Matthews allows us time to get to know Neville and Clara. They’re complex characters and having the chance to find out how life’s experiences made them who they are gave even more depth to their story.

If you like historical romance, then I think you’ll love the Winter Companion. For me, reading this book was pure pleasure. Highly recommended!

Review: The Wicked Sister by Mary Lancaster

Another winner from Mary Lancaster! I’ve truly enjoyed the Blackhaven Brides series, and the Wicked Sister is a worthy finale to the series. 

When Maria, returns from London with a scandal (stemming from a misunderstanding) behind her, she expects to be punished by her mama and scolded by her older brother, Gervaise, Lord Braithwaite. She doesn’t expect to cross paths with Michael Hanson, who happens to be Gervaise’s personal secretary and something of a radical. He’s highly unsuitable – but when did that ever stop a flirt…or the possibility of love?

Add to it political intrigue as news of an impending battle with Napoleon Bonaparte threatens to tear Europe apart again…well, you’ve got yourself one hell of a fun page turner.

Great characters whom you instantly empathise with and the setting of Blackhaven is as wonderfully described in Book 13 as it was in the earlier books in the series. I feel as though I have been there many times. 🙂 

Loved it from start to finish. Highly recommended!