Friday, May 30, 2014

Immersed by Jennifer Griffith

Immersed tourImmersed NewImmersed by Jennifer Griffith
Lisette Pannebaker speaks five languages and has a brilliant business plan—personal language immersion. Clients can hire her to shadow them and speak all day in any language they need to learn for business or travel—whatever.
But there’s a major hitch: she’s far too pretty. Clients with less than honorable intentions sign up just have Lisette at their side. Solution? A make-under. Way under.It works like a charm. None of her male clients show her the least bit of interest.
Until… Erik.
Erik Gunnarsson is charming, kind, and smart—everything she’s ever looked for. Even though he seems to have a secret and she swore she'd never date a client, Lisette is tempted to shed her disguise—even if it means jeopardizing her career.
unnamedFDRE9K6NAuthor Jennifer Griffith
Jennifer Griffith studied French, German, Japanese, and a wee bit of Spanish in her school days. Her grandmother was Norwegian, and Jennifer grew up with lots of Scandinavian traditions floating around, including fabulous cardamom laced cookies called Krumkaker, made on a fancy waffle iron. However, she’d never dream of trying to teach someone any of those languages. And she might botch the cookies. Instead, she writes novels in English, drives her five kids a million places, and laughs with her husband, who came up with the plot for Immersed because he’s just a cool muse like that.

This was it, the day she’d waited and worked for over the past years—her degree would be firmly in her hand. Lisette Pannebaker, Master of Business Administration. Her smile even made her eyes scrunch.
Dad’s dress shirt would’ve popped buttons, had he been here to see her.
But it wasn’t just the degree. Chances were that tonight she’d have something else in hand. Or, rather, on her hand. She’d seen the little navy velvet box on Justin’s coffee table—he’d left it in plain sight when she came by to drop off dinner for him last night—and she’d nearly fainted from heart palpitations last week when he’d dragged her past windows sparkling with diamonds and asked whether she thought round cut or brilliant cut had more fire.
Brilliant cut, of course.
Ah, Justin Fox. She sighed for his blond crew cut, his square jaw. Mrs. Justin Fox. It fit. Lisette Pannebaker, student, no more. Now she’d be Mrs. Justin Fox, Master of Business Administration.

Aunt Corky interjected with a selling point. “Amanda, I think Lisette might have a good thing going with this plan of hers. Only the wealthiest business people will be able to afford to hire her as a linguist. It’s going to be a good pool to draw from.” She aimed her fork’s tines for emphasis.
Geez. Great. Now her mom would think Lisette was only starting this business to catch a rich husband. And she’d expect Lisette to be actively looking among the clients—a complete no-no on Lisette’s ethical standards. She’d even written it into the boilerplate contract she expected to have every potential client sign. Aunt Corky meant well, of course. Lisette could forgive easily. At least what Corky said worked—there was a visible relenting in her mom’s countenance.
Lisette pounced on that. “Look, Mom. I have a proposal. Give me three years at this. That’s a reasonable amount of time for a startup company to either make it or break. If I haven’t both paid you back and paid off my student loans in that amount of time—in full, to the penny—I’ll come take the Mandarin job at Pannebaker.”
Mom took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and relented. “Fine. But three years. Every penny. It’s a deal.” She put an arm around Lisette’s shoulder. “I know you can do it. Of course, I’d really rather see you fail.”
“Amanda!” Aunt Corky scolded.
“No, not that. I just want to see her settled and having a family by then. It’s not business success that I count as a real measure.”
Lisette had just been forcibly booted from a relationship not an hour ago. Now was not the time to debate the merits of marital bliss.
“Three years. You’ll only be twenty-seven by then. There will still be a chance of happiness.” Mom sighed, but Aunt Corky squeezed Lisette’s hand and gave a happy little jump and a squeal.


“Plain and simple: you’re too pretty for this job.”
Lisette rolled her eyes and picked up her brush again, going at the high spots on the wall with vigor. “You’ve been talking to my mom again. Did she finally rub off on you?” Great. Now no one believed in her. Not even Aunt Corky. Just a pretty face.
“No, not in that way. What I’m saying is that your business has merit. It can totally work. But just not with you, the way you are.”
Aunt Corky probably didn’t mean to make Lisette want to cry, but the tears welled in her eyes all the same. This dream had taken every waking hour of the last eighteen months. She’d poured her heart and soul into making it grow, not to mention all the money she’d buried in it—advertising, the office, everything. And her time. Day and night. How entrepreneurs lived past age forty mystified her. She barely had time to keep an eye on her elderly next door neighbors. And when a girl was too busy to serve other people, she was too busy.
Aunt Corky reached over and grabbed Lisette’s hand. “What I’m saying is you need a makeover.”
Lisette raised an eyebrow.
“Don’t raise that eyebrow at me, Z. I’m serious about this.” Aunt Corky folded her arms across her chest. “Not a makeover in the traditional sense. More like a make-under. You know, to make you look less…gorgeous.”
Here it went again, with the appearance factor. Didn’t all the studies say that people who were good-looking had a better chance at success than those who were below average?
“You’re not buying it, I can tell. But think with me. Dark circles under the eyes. A greasy wig. Lines at the mouth. And right about here,” she pointed at her nostril, “a big wart.”
“A wart!”
“Okay, maybe not a wart. That might be over the top. But something that will keep all the pawing maniacs at a distance.” Aunt Corky shrugged and leaned against a dry wall like she’d made her case and the prosecution rested. “Think about it, Z. I mean, you want Immerse to succeed, right? All the years of language skills and business acumen you’ve amassed, they’re going to waste.”
Lisette sighed. Even though she wouldn’t admit it aloud to Aunt Corky, unless something changed at Immerse, things could go south pretty fast. However, she wasn’t convinced it was reason enough to subjugate her dignity and go into daily disguise just to ward off pretenders.
Aunt Corky resumed painting. “Just think about it. Don’t decide now. But if you want to do it, I know somebody. Samantha. A genius with bad makeup. She could absolutely transform you. No one would even recognize you.”
This was crossing over from ridiculous into the absurd.

Erik Gunnarson was unbelievable. Her mouth went dry when she saw him. Lisette hadn’t seen anything this good in months. Years. Maybe ever. At least not in person. Sure, in movies, when men were all filter-lit and filmed from just the right angle, they might have looked this good, but not in person.
Suddenly the room was far too hot for this stupid fuzzy pumpkin sweater with the shoulder pads. And this wig? She felt like a blooming fool in it.
“Hello. I’m Lisette Pannebaker.” She extended her hand, but immediately saw it tremble. His olive skin. Those dark brown waves in his thick hair. She could feel her voice quavering. Tiny beads of perspiration formed on her upper lip, and she touched the side of her eye, then her neck.
He looked up at her, looked puzzled a moment, and then gave her a crooked smile before standing to shake her hand. When he touched it, the trembling went into high gear, like she’d received an electric shock. Did he feel it too?
“Ah, you are speak the English now. I see.” His voice was like…butter. He cleared his throat and said, “I am please to meet you. My name is Erik Gunnarson.”
The accent came heavy, and the lilt was definitely Scandinavian. She’d lived in Norway, traveled all the Scandinavian countries. Was he Danish? He looked Danish. Lots of Danes she’d met had darker hair. Like Erik’s.
With effort she remembered to speak to him. “Where do you come from, Mr. Gunnarson?”
He squinted and shook his head, a sign she’d seen a thousand times before in these meetings, so she asked it more slowly.
“I come from Reykjavik. No.” He puzzled a moment and then continued. “A village…near…Reykjavik.”
Oh, Iceland. She wanted to ask him all about his life there, his upbringing, his family, his plans for a family of his own, and could she please be the mother of his children?
Get a hold of yourself, Lisette. She nearly slapped herself. This had to be professional. What a crying shame, too. He had such a nice crooked grin. And those upper arms. While most clients wore stinky sport coats over golf shirts or boring business suits and ties, Erik Gunnarson wore a plain grey Henley shirt—and looked like he’d just been at Henley itself, pulling the oars in the Thames. Those triceps. Who did he think he was? Thor?

Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 6/9/14
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent by Peter Van Buren's

18527432Peter Van Buren’s Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent
A story about growth, failure, and redemption, Ghosts of Tom Joadtraces the rise of the working poor and the don’t-have-to-work-rich as it follows the fortunes of the protagonist Earl. A product of the post–Korean War era, Earl witnesses his parents’ kitchen table arguments over money—echoed in thousands of other Rust Belt towns—experiences bullying, relishes first kisses, and comes of age and matures as a man before the economic hardships of the 1980s and 1990s wear on his spirit. Earl takes his turn at a variety of low-paying retail jobs in the new economy before becoming mired in homelessness and succumbing to meth, alcohol, and destitution. As he takes a final, metaphorical bus ride, Earl reflects on his past, considering the impact of the war on his father—and, subsequently, on himself—his own demise, and the romance between himself and Angel, which ultimately redeems him. This is a tale about the death of manufacturing, the deindustrialization of America, and a way of life that has been irrevocably lost. Anyone interested in the impact of political and business policy on the American Dream will be drawn to this profound, humorous, and moving novel.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Girl In The Empty Dress by Lise McClendon Plus Give Away

Author Lise McClendon

on Tour
May 26-June 4, 2014

The Girl In The Empty Dress

[Romantic Suspense]
 Release date: May 2, 2014
at Thalia Press
 257 pages
Buy the book:
Paperback on Amazon


It is the sequel to Blackbird Fly, but can be read as a stand-alone.
Merle Bennett and her sisters go on a walking tour on the backroads of the Dordogne. When they come across an injured dog their idyllic summer tour takes a dark turn. Who is this dog that everyone wants so badly? And who is this friend one sister brought along, the one without a history? Truffles, romance, wine, and intrigue in the French countryside. [provided by the author]
 My Review:
Four Stars
Received from France Book Tours for an honest review

I really like romantic suspense so “The Girl in the Empty Dress” by Lise McClendon was an enjoyable read for me.  Although I did not read “Blackbird Fly” the first book in this series, I did not feel like I could not follow the story and it did not stop me from enjoying it.  The author provides beautiful descriptions of the French countryside.  A couple of occurrences throw our protagonist, Merle, into some situations.  There is a family visit, a mysterious dog and a handsome Frenchman, Pascal.    
This was a perfect summer read: it had mystery, romance, the complexities of family relations and the beautiful countryside in France.  This was a fun and light read.  I enjoyed this fun story. The author’s writing was engaging and I loved how the different storylines were interconnected.  I recommend and enjoyed this story.


In her first stand-alone suspense novel, Lise McClendon reaches deep into the past to find a France untouched by the outside world of tourism and fashion. Writing in a “lyrical, often humorous style,” she brings both the pain and rewards of rebirth and the rich French countryside to life.
The descriptions of the French village and house make them a character. Blackbird Fly has love and intrigue, and proof that family bonds are strong enough to reach beyond the grave.
“This book brought me back to wanting to keep reading until the very end. Pour yourself a nice Merlot and keep turning the pages.” [on the author's website]
Lise McClendon
Lise McClendon
is the author of ten novels written as Lise McClendon and thrillers as Rory Tate.
Her suspense novel Blackbird Fly was released in 2009 and was an Amazon bestseller.
She lives in Montana when not walking the back-roads of France.
Visit her website.
Follow her on Facebook  | Twitter  |  Goodreads


Monday, May 26
Review + Giveaway at I Am, Indeed
Spotlight + Giveaway at Deal Sharing Aunt
Wednesday, May 28
Review at The French Village Diaries
Spotlight + Giveaway at Literary Chanteuse
Thursday, May 29
Review + Giveaway at Book Nerd
Friday, May 30
Review + Excerpt + Giveaway at The Most Happy Reader
Saturday, May 31
Review at Valli’s Book Den
Sunday, June 1
Spotlight + Giveaway at Books A to Z
Tuesday, June 3
Review + Interview + Giveaway at Words And Peace
Wednesday, June 4
Review + Giveaway at Booklover Book Reviews

The Paris Widow by Kimberly Belle

  THE PARIS WIDOW  Author: Kimberly Belle Publication Date: June 11, 2024 ISBN: 9780778307976 Format: Trade Paperback Publisher: Harlequin ...