Review by @LaurieKozlowski of “Throw like a Woman” by @SusanPetrone #women #fiction #baseball

Forty years old, divorced, with two sons on the verge of adolescence and an ex-husband who considers visitation to be optional, Brenda Haversham isn’t having a whole lot of fun. She’s also no longer qualified for the work she loves, so she’s toiling away in a cubicle instead, trying to make ends meet. Brenda is short on money, short on connection with her kids, and short on any kind of social life. The only thing Brenda has in abundance is her anger. And that turns out to be her greatest asset.

When she was a kid, Brenda’s father taught her how to throw a good fastball. That wasn’t of much use to a girl, but it is enough to astound onlookers at a “test your speed” pitching cage before a Cleveland Indians game. The more Brenda pictures her ex-husband’s face on the other end, the harder she throws. And when someone tapes her performance and puts it up online, Brenda becomes an Internet sensation – and then more than that.

The Indians come calling and Brenda finds her life taking a turn in a new direction. Soon, she’s standing on the mound as the first woman player in Major League history – and dealing with everything that comes with it. The money is great and the endorsement deals are even better. The fury of “traditionalists?” Not so much. And the conflicting emotions of her teammates are even harder to manage. Meanwhile, Brenda’s home life is evolving faster than she can keep up, redefining her role as a mother, a friend, and even a lover. As the season winds down Brenda will find out if she has what it takes to be a winner – at both baseball and life.

A funny, poignant, and endearing novel from a writer of rare warmth and humanity, THROW LIKE A WOMAN is a 95-mile-an-hour heater of a novel.

Susan Petrone's debut novel "Throw like a Woman"

Susan Petrone’s debut novel “Throw like a Woman”

*AMAZON* BARNES&NOBLE*

**** REVIEW ****

A Whole New Level of Brave

One of my favorite sports is baseball. I’m not a die-hard fanatic of the sport, but thoroughly enjoyed reading “Throw like A Woman,” because of the realistic angle it portrayed. It featured Brenda Haversham as a strong female who reached for a goal not many people would have the guts to pursue: a career in Major League Baseball.

Brenda isn’t any female lead character. She’s motivated, intelligent, and older, with two rambunctious boys and an ex who chooses not to be involved in their lives. She won me over to her side as the story opened with her envisioning her ex’s face as the ball’s target. This idea might seem harsh, but when you read the story, you’ll see she has every right to feel the anger she does toward her ex, Ed.

I wanted to strangle Ed’s character, especially toward the end, but Brenda’s sons were cute as heck in a destructive and fun-loving kind of way.

It was amazing to read about the different team members, each of them stood out in a small but significant way. They are the type of characters who you want to know more about. My favorite team character was Stuart, from the Minor Leagues. He has a superstition about touching people. Also, the rapport (bullying) from a few Major League players worried me until I realized Brenda could hold her own with them. I loved how the bullying issue panned out, in the end.

“Throw like A Woman” is packed with humor and grown-up words your mother would insist only hell’s angels would say (if hell’s angels played for the Cleveland Indians and had a woman’s body, heart, balls, and brains.)

I’m a sucker for a romance story, and the sweet romance in this novel was outstanding. The sparks between Brenda and Charlie knock this story out of the park. A must read for those who love inspirational stories based on breaking societal barriers.

Star Rating: Five Stars * * * * *

Reviewed by Laurie Kozlowski. Also posted on Goodreads.

*— Review disclosure — “Throw like a Woman” ARC was provided by the author and publisher  via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. *

* ~ * ~  *  Book Specs * ~ * ~ *

Published by: The Story Plant

Page count: 336 pages

Release Date: March 24, 2015

Like this review? Be sure to “friend” Laurie on Goodreads! 🙂 You are also able to follow this blog by signing up to receive recent book reviews in your mail box by clicking the “Follow Book Escape Reviews” via email button and following the prompts. Happy reading!

Susan has published several short stories and non-fiction writing. Visit her website “Clips & Credits” section to be directed to them.

About The Author

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Susan Petrone grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and although she’s moved away a couple of times (Annapolis, MD, and Alkmaar, The Netherlands), she lives there still. Her short fiction has been published by Glimmer Train, Featherproof Books, Muse, Conclave, and Whiskey Island. Her first novel, A Body at Rest, was published in 2009 by Drinian Press. Her second novel, Throw Like a Woman, is due out in March 2015 from The Story Plant. Her short story, “Monster Jones Wants to Creep You Out” (Conclave, 2010) was nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize. Her plays have had performances and/or readings at the Cleveland Playhouse, The Lamb’s Club (New York, New York), St. Johns College (Annapolis, Maryland), and several smaller non-Equity houses in Cleveland, Ohio. She co-authors the Cleveland Indians blog (ItsPronouncedLajaway.com) for ESPN.com’s SweetSpot network. On the non-fiction side, Susan’s work has appeared on CoolCleveland.com and ESPN.com. She holds a master’s degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from Cleveland State University and lives with one husband, one daughter, and far too many dogs in a little house near some medium-sized woods.

Review by @LaurieKozlowski of “Immortal Ever After” by Lynsay Sands #BookEscapeReviews #Amreading

A kiss doesn’t mean eternity . . .

Valerie Moyer doesn’t believe in vampires—until she is kidnapped by a fanged psychopath! After escaping her bloodthirsty captor, she’s through with creatures of the night. Until she finds herself under the protection of the darkly handsome Anders. Not only is she expected to accept that Anders is immortal, but also that she is the woman destined to be his life mate!

. . . Or does it?

Anders felt a connection to Valerie from the moment he cradled her bruised body in his arms. But before he claims her, he must destroy the vampire who almost stole her from him forever. His job would be easier if Valerie didn’t fight him every step of the way. Still, Anders loves a challenge, and the green-eyed beauty is worth fighting for!

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Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Kobo

u12441554Review of Immortal Ever After u12441554

A Dark and Sexy Book

Being pulled into a Lynsay Sands book means I will always satisfy my craving for the paranormal world of vampires, dangerous villains, great suspense, and the right amount of “thriller.”

“Immortal Ever After” is one book of several from the Aragenau series. In this novel, I was pleased to meet the hunky and heroic Anders as he protected mortal Valerie. The best thing about Anders was his dominance in the story (alpha all the way), without having a “heavy-handed” attitude. It allowed for his intelligence and scars to show without being caught up in ego too much. He had a great sense of humor, also. Which I LOVE in an alpha hero!

Valerie had a tragic beginning in the story. It was honestly spooky to read, but the good part is that soon Anders and the good vamps soon step in to serve justice to the rouges. I love how Valerie and Leigh (a pregnant vamp) work together to get out of a dangerous situation toward the end. What Valerie does to the bad guy is…well, I won’t ruin it for you, but I’ll just say this–who knew duct tape and good bludgeon could be so hilarious?!

And there is the beauty of the Lynsay Sands story. Always well balanced with just the right amount of alpha in a hero and independent heroine. Usually comic relief at the strangest time possible. Then you leave a book wondering…when can I read the next one? Beautiful.

FIVE STARS * * * * *

Reviewed by Laurie Kozlowski — Also posted to Goodreads. Like this review? “Friend” Laurie on Goodreads! 🙂

****New Releases By Lynsay Sands****

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u12441554About The Authoru12441554

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LYNSAY SANDS is the nationally bestselling author who is known for her hysterical historicals as well as the popular Argeneau/Rogue Hunter vampire series. With her witty and charming personality, Sands describes books as, “Waking dreams or stories, tales to amuse, entertain and distract us from everyday life.” She’s been writing stories since grade school and considers herself incredibly lucky to be able to make a career out of it. Her hope is that readers can get away from their everyday stress through her stories, and if there are occasional uncontrollable fits of laughter, that’s just a big bonus. Visit her official website at www.lynsaysands.net.

 

 

@LaurieKozlowski ‘s review @nextbookescape of “Love Hacked” by Penny Reid ( @ReidRomance )

There are three things you need to know about Sandra Fielding: 1) She makes all her first dates cry, 2) She hasn’t been kissed in over two years, and 3) She knows how to knit.

Sandra has difficulty removing her psychotherapist hat. Of her last 30 dates, 29 have ended the same way: the man sobbing uncontrollably. After one such disaster, Sandra–near desperation and maybe a little tipsy–gives in to a seemingly harmless encounter with her hot waiter, Alex. Argumentative, secretive, and hostile Alex may be the opposite of everything Sandra knows is right for her. But now, the girl who has spent all her life helping others change for the better, must find a way to cope with falling for someone who refuses to change at all.

This is a full-length, 110k word novel and is the third book in the Knitting in the City series. All books in the series can be read as a standalone.

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Five Stars * * * * *

One of The Most Unique Rom Coms I’ve Read

Love Hacked was an exceptional book. Alex is an original type of alpha male. He’s a waiter but has a secret side he could use to his advantage, but he doesn’t. Instead, his suspicious behavior will keep you on your toes as the humor and intelligence radiates between he and Sandra, a psychologist who makes all her dates cry.

Sandra is the epitome of alpha female if there ever was one. I loved how her words did not match her actions on her dates, and the confusion in the lack of her body language made for great comedic fodder throughout the book. She loves to stay in control and I admired that about her, because her smarts and self-control were apparent from the start. Don’t be fooled, though! Her controlling outward nature is opposite of her resistance in her intimacies with Alex.

Both of them nurture a fun and sizzling friendship as Sandra unfolds what her mysterious friend is hiding. Her response to his doubt is beyond sweet. I recommend this book for those who want to laugh, love nerdy characters, and who enjoy a sweet romance with a touch of steam and suspense.

Reviewed by Laurie Kozlowski — also posted to Barnes&Noble and Goodreads.

Like this review? Why not connect with Laurie Kozlowski on Goodreads, too?

To See More Books By Penny Reid, check out her book list on HER WEBSITE.

~*~*~ About The Author ~*~*~

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Penny Reid has difficulty writing about herself in the third person. She finds it strange and unsettling. Therefore, Penny will now switch to the first person.

I’m originally from California but now live in the Southeast US with my family after going to college in the area. I work full time at a large University in the field of biomedical research (e.g. clinical research studies conducted under the auspices of the FDA). I work a lot. I also love to knit and crochet; sew bags, blankets, and clothes; carve lino blocks for fabric printing; make homemade soap, jam, marmalade; and- most recently- I’m learning to garden.

I don’t like to sit still unless I’m writing, reading, or knitting and I usually only knit in my knitting group… or at red lights while stuck in traffic. I only read on planes (where I’m trapped). Luckily, I travel a lot for work.

The voices in my head (characters) became so loud over the summer of 2012- specifically, Janie Morris- that I was forced to write Neanderthal Seeks Human, my first attempt at a full length novel. It took me 7 months while working full time, crafting, and raising my people-children (boy-7, girl-5).

If I could have any job in the world it would be my job because I feel like what I do makes a tangible difference in the lives of every living person. If I could have any life in the world it would be my life. Happiness is the seed of good fortune and success. Do what it takes to be happy and be a source of happiness for others.

Review by @LaurieKozlowski of EXCLUSIVELY YOURS by Shannon Stacey

 When Keri Daniels’s boss finds out she has previous carnal knowledge of reclusive bestselling author Joe Kowalski, she gives Keri a choice: get an interview or get a new job.

Joe’s never forgotten the first girl to break his heart, so he’s intrigued to hear Keri’s back in town—and looking for him. He proposes an outrageous plan—for every day she survives with his family on their annual camping trip, Keri can ask one question.

The chemistry between Joe and Keri is as potent as the bug spray, but Joe’s sister is out to avenge his broken heart, and Keri hasn’t ridden an ATV since she was ten. Who knew a little blackmail, a whole lot of family and some sizzling romantic interludes could make Keri reconsider the old dream of Keri & Joe 2gether 4ever?

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* Barnes&Noble * Amazon *

Five Stars * * * * *

Romantic, Family-Centered, Page-Turner: A New Favorite Series!
The Kowalski series is quickly moving up on my reading list as this book was great! Joe, a bestselling thriller author, wears black boxer briefs, has a big heart for his family, and has overcome alcoholism to make a very decent living doing what he loves to do – writing. Keri, a magazine journalist in the entertainment industry, has one mission from her boss: get the dirt on Joe Kowalski in an interview, or lose her job.
The main issue for Joe is knowing if he can trust his ex-high-school sweetheart, after all the years apart. He was also betrayed by another girlfriend he trusted, just after he and Kari’s breakup.
For Keri, she’s unwilling to sacrifice a juicy offer for job security. But instead of Joe being at her mercy, the tables turn when he sets the rules for the trip, allowing her one question a day—if she survives the Kowalski family for a week.
This story moved quickly for me because I felt like I was right in the story, myself. I watched as Joe and Keri grew closer, through their doubts and fears. The children in this big family were not those of Joe and Keri, but were nieces and nephews…and they were silly and adorable. The Kowalski brothers’ bond was undeniable and endearing. Their roughhousing and teasing were hilarious. Ma and Dad of the Kowalski’s were another great couple of characters. Ma K was no-nonsense and loving while Dad K was loud, direct, and boisterous.
The side stories will capture your heart, too. Kevin, a Kowalski brother who is formerly Boston PD, has and interesting and dark past. I love how he is the loner of the group. Also, Terry (Kowalski) Porter and Evan have a very heart-wrenching story that will keep you optimistic concerning their love story. Lastly, what happens between Mike and Lisa may cause your eyes to mist.
Be prepared for a superb story, full of love, joy, passion, lust, and a great beginning to a series that will have you hooked from the start!

Reviewed by Laurie Kozlowski — also posted to Goodreads and Barnes and Noble

Like this review? Why not connect with Laurie on Goodreads, too?

~*~*~* Newest Releases By Shannon Stacey *~*~*~

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* Barnes&Noble * Amazon * iTunes *

Jack Donovan went through hell and back to save Isabelle once. Now she’s back in his life, hunted by an assassin so elusive some claim he’s only an urban legend. More than just a gun for hire, the killer is driven by a pathological need to take down his targets and, when Isabelle escapes the bullet meant for her, Jack knows he’ll strike again. The only way to keep her alive is to keep her close, and Jack’s about to learn what hell really is.

In the year since Jack rescued her from a guerrilla compound and then walked away, Isabelle Arceneau has begun to put her life back on track. Now somebody wants her dead and Jack is once again her only hope for survival. As the Devlin Group races to uncover the killer’s identity and Jack and Isabelle go on the run in a desperate bid to keep her alive, she knows she can trust him with her life, but never again with her heart.

No Place To Hide is also available in paperback from Amazon.

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* Barnes&Noble * Amazon * iTunes

Christina Forrester is starting over. After a financial scandal sent her ex-husband to prison, she’s left raising her young son without any of the comforts of their old life. Budgets, coupons, lawn care—you name it, she’s learning to do it all on her own. Well, almost on her own—she’d be lost without Gail Broughton, the kind widow across the street. But when Gail’s son comes home, Christina’s vow to never trust a man again is put to the test.

Will Broughton left town because he was tired of being “that poor man” who lost his wife and unborn child in a tragic accident. But years have passed and, with his dad gone and his mom alone, it’s time to go home. Only his mother’s not alone. She’s taken Christina under her wing, and the beautiful and determined single mother awakens something in Will he thought was buried forever.

As Will and Christina are forced to spend more time together, feelings that are more than neighborly grow between them. And with Christmas coming and a child filling both houses with holiday cheer, it becomes nearly impossible not to embrace the joy—and the love—in their lives.

~*~*~ About The Author ~*~*~

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New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily ever after and riding her four-wheeler. From May to November, the Stacey family spends their weekends on their ATVs, making loads of muddy laundry to keep Shannon busy when she’s not at her computer. She prefers writing to laundry, however, and considers herself lucky she got to be an author when she grew up.

You can contact Shannon through her website, where she maintains an almost daily blog, or visit her on Twitter, her Facebook page, or email her at shannon@shannonstacey.com.

Review by @LaurieKozlowski of “Hope Breaks” by Alice Bello #Amreading #Erotic #Romance #Humor

Review of Hope Breaks – A Short Story by Alice Bello

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Hope Breaks is about a young woman trying to hold onto the career she just began. It’s about the newness of love, and how easily it can break. It’s about the past, good friends, good food and laughter.
*****
Hope Jones has two problems: one is new, the other is depressingly old.
The new problem: the bestselling author the publisher she shoots romance novel covers for hates her newest batch of covers. She has until the end of the week to come up with a breathtaking shot or she’ll be replaced. And there’s a sudden model shortage; they’re out of season.
The old, depressing problem: she hasn’t had a date, sex or a relationship in over two years.
She also has one hell of a headache.
Hope finds the cures for her two problems during a search through Wal-Mart for a painkiller to kill her headache.
Turns out the aisles of the retail giant are rampant with hot young model worthy specimens. And when her trusty Ford Taurus breaks down in the parking lot, a hunky mechanic in the Tire and Lube Express department fixes more than just her car.
Seemingly her troubles are good as gone…but then her new, fabulous cover is rejected, and in a desperate moment she has to choose between keeping her job and keeping the man she’s just starting to fall in love with.

Five Stars * * * * *

Freaking Off-The-Charts Hot, Tender, and Funny Romance

I loved this book! The humor was great…and WOW do Jake and Hope have a hot attraction to one another. The passion leaps off the pages, as I got a glimpse into the life of a cover artist-Hope-trying to make ends meet in the creative and demanding field of e-book cover design, and Jake-a hunkadorable mechanic whose tenderness for Hope made my heart ache and swoon, all at once! If you love conversational humor, an entertaining read with LOTS and lots of sexual tension and just the right amount of erotic romance…you will love this book!

Ahem…one note: Has a a cliffhanger! You’ll want to buy the entire series, for sure, so you aren’t left hanging. But with heroes like these, who could read just one!

Reviewed by Laurie Kozlowski on Amazon and Goodreads

Like this review? Why not connect with Laurie on Goodreads?

More Works From Alice Bello

Available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE

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About Alice Bello

“Let me introduce myself. I’m forty one, and a proud indie author. I live to read and love to write. I love romance, comedy, brooding and sparkly vampires, and I love pizza. I have a dog named Jack, and I work somewhere I have to wear a blue top and brown pants (you can probably guess).

My books so far.

Un-Dateable: A Novel (07/04/2014)

At Last

Slash & Burn: Volume 1
Kiss: Slash & Burn Volume 2
Crash: Slash & Burn Volume 3 (Coming Soon)

Hope Breaks: a New Adult Romantic novella
Hope Entangles: a New Adult Romantic novella
Hope Rises: a New Adult Romantic novella
Holding onto Hope: The Complete Hope Series

Min’s Vampire

BETTER OFF DEAD: A Lucy Hart, DEATHDEALER Novel
NOT DEAD YET: A Lucy Hart, DEATHDEALER Novel
TO THE DEATH: A DEATHDEALER Novella (TBA)
DEAD AND BURRIED: A Lucy Hart DEATHDEALER Novel (TBA)

For Love of the Man: a Frisky Kittens novel (TBA)
A Hard Man to Love: a Frisky Kittens novel (TBA)

Contact me through:
alice.bello.romance@gmail.com ”

 

Review by @LaurieKozlowski of “Our Totally Ridiculous Made Up Relationship” #Romantic #Humor #Fiction

OUR TOTALLY RIDICULOUS MADE UP RELATIONSHIP~

All families have secrets, and Jules Stone’s is no exception. Deciding not to follow in her family’s Oscar-winning footsteps, Jules chooses to take a more behind-the-scenes career in one of the Top 10 Talent Agencies in Chicago. After being dumped five hours before spending Christmas with her dysfunctional family, she needs a plan to avoid their judgmental eyes.

Enter: Kayden Reece.

Kayden is the black sheep of his family, being the one actor drowning in a world of doctors and lawyers. Never really getting a jumpstart at his acting career or landing a big time role, he can feel his dad’s disappointment soaking into his spirit.

When Kayden gets a chance to meet and sign with a big name agent at Walter and Jacks Talent Agency, he’s ready to prove everyone wrong. Jules stumbles into the building in shambles, ugly crying, and begging to pay an actor a big sum of money to be her made-up boyfriend for five days, Kayden jumps at the opportunity—finally able to say he landed a role.

When secrets start to unravel, Kayden and Jules must learn that all families have their baggage, sometimes co-stars fall in lust, and it’s important to always have invisible mistletoe hanging around.

This holiday season join the two fake lovebirds as they partake in the role of a lifetime.

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Five Stars * * * * *

Cute and Extremely Funny Romantic Comedy

This novella is full of humor, love, and a bunch of over-the-top conversational humor. It is excellent because humor is within the dialogue instead of trying to describe the characters acting funny. So, it truly is a hilarious love story, with believable humor.

Both lead characters grab your heart as you see them transform while diving into this entertaining and lighthearted novella. Kayden is a hero that will steal your heart. He isn’t your average bartender…he’s also an aspiring actor carrying around a tragedy of his own. Julie Ann is a woman many can relate to as she’s given up on her big dreams because of past insecurities. Their shenanigans while meeting Julie Ann’s weird family during the holidays made me howl in laughter. Especially at how snarky and loving her grandmother is in not hiding that she is a cougar, taking on a young lover! Go grandma, go! Lol.

As you can guess, the side characters were also fun to read about. There is a hilarious scene where Kayden is coerced into reciting a scene with Julie Ann’s father – who reads in the nude. I completely lost it and couldn’t stop laughing for several minutes straight.

I recommend this book to anyone wanting a refreshing, funny, book to read with warm and sweet romance. Loved it!

Reviewed by Laurie Kozlowski on Amazon and Goodreads

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Other works by Brittainy Cherry

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* Amazon * Barnes and Noble *

About The Author

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Brittainy Cherry has been in love with words since the day she took her first breath. She graduated from Carroll University with a Bachelors Degree in Theatre Arts and a minor in Creative Writing. She loves to take part in writing screenplays, acting, and dancing–poorly of course. Coffee, chai tea, and wine are three things that she thinks every person should partake in! Brittainy lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her family. When she’s not running a million errands and crafting stories, she’s probably playing with her adorable pets.

You can find her on facebook at: www.facebook.com/BrittainyCherryAuthor