Friday, September 27, 2013

Review of The Christmas He Loved Her (Bad Boys Of Crystal Lake Book 2) by Juliana Stone

In the small town of Crystal Lake, Christmas is a time for sledding, hot chocolate, and cozying up to the fire with those you love. For Jake Edwards, it’s also time to come home and face his past. He thought there would never be anything harder than losing his brother. Turns out there is: falling in love with his brother’s widow, Raine.

Ever since they were little, Jesse was the Edwards brother who was always there for her, and Jake was the one who knew just how to push her buttons. Raine can’t imagine a life without them, which is why it was doubly decimating when Jake left town after his brother’s sudden death. Now he’s back and she doesn’t know whether to be mad or thrilled. Maybe both. Maybe it will be the perfect chance for both of them to finally find happiness again.

Jake Edwards is back in Crystal Lake after a long absence. He’s home to make amends to his sister-in-law, Raine, and for his brother, Jesse. Emotions running high, Jake must deal with the guilt he feels over his brother’s death, the anger and hurt his absence caused to his family and Raine, and the feelings between him and Raine that have always been there since they were young. The Christmas That He Loved Her brought me to tears several times throughout the book. To be able to evoke that kind of emotion from a reader is, in my opinion, the sign of a fabulous book. It’s definitely one for the keeper shelf.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Review of Always On My Mind by Jill Shalvis

There’s nothing like the real thing.

After dropping out of pastry school and messing up her big break on a reality cooking show, Leah Sullivan needs to accomplish something in her life. But when she returns home to Lucky Harbor, she finds herself distracted by her best friend, Jack Harper. In an effort to cheer up Jack’s ailing mother, Dee, Leah tells a little fib – that she and Jack are more than just friends. Soon pretending to be hot-and-heavy with this hunky firefighter feels too real to handle…

No-strings attachments suit Jack just fine – perfect for keeping the risk of heartbreak away. But as Jack and Leah break every one of their “just friends” rules, he longs to turn their pretend relationship into something permanent. Do best friends know too much about each other to risk falling in love? Or will Jack and Leah discover something new about each other in a little town called Lucky Harbor?


Jill Shalvis always has some of the best heroes and she does not disappoint with Jack Harper. Jack’s best friend, Leah Sullivan, tells his mother, who has been sick, that they are a couple in order to raise her flagging spirits. Before long their “fake” dating turns into real feelings and they can’t keep their hands off each other. Always On My Mind is another great addition to Jill’s Lucky Harbor series. She's created the perfect little town that makes me wish it were real so I could live there. LOL I enjoy going back time and again and catching up with all the characters. You should definitely add it to your To Be Read pile!
Do you have a real life town like Lucky Harbor that you love? Where is it and what is it about the place that draws you to it?


Friday, September 20, 2013

THIRTY AND A HALF Excuses by Denise Grover Swank - Guest Post

Today we have a guest post from author Denise Grover Swank. I had the pleasure of meeting Denise in Seattle in August and am happy to be a part of her blog tour for Thirty and a Half Excuses. Welcome, Denise!
I’ve loved mysteries since I was a little kid. Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew. I cut my teeth on trying to solve the case. Adding an element of mystery makes a story that much more intriguing to me.
I write four genres—mystery, urban fantasy, YA sci fi/romance, and NA contemporary romance—and even though only one is a straight up mystery, all of my books have an element of mystery to them, even my contemporary romances.

When I write a mystery, I follow these rules. (And then sometimes break them.)

1) Know who done it when you start the book. You need to know who committed the murderer when you begin writing the book. You need to leave enough clues pointing to the real culprit so your reader can go back and say “Ah HA!” But sometimes I start writing, and halfway through the first draft, I realize that someone else actually committed the murder. Because I like to make things more difficult for myself. But sometimes, the red herrings you’re creating make you realize they actually had better motive.

2) Plant lots of red herrings. You need to give your sleuth—and your reader—plenty of suspects to consider. It’s not much fun reading a mystery where the obvious murderer is revealed on page thirty. Unless, of course, they’re not actually the murderer.

3) Don’t be afraid to misdirect your reader. Lead your reader down the opposite path away from the murderer and the motive. The TV show Castle excels at this.

4) Make sure your murderer has a solid motive. Don’t make up some namby-pamby reason. Give the reason some meat. Something really big had to drive the murderer to kill. Unless they are just a flat out whack job. But even they have a motive. Make it a good one.

5) In the vein of rule #4, if your detective is an amateur sleuth, give him or her a real solid reason for investigating the case. It may be tangible or emotional. But often the sleuth puts him or herself in danger to find the truth. Make it believable they would risk their safety.

Life in Henryetta, Arkansas is turned upside down with the arrival of a televangelist, but it’s the death of a little old lady on Rose’s street that catches her attention. The Henryetta police deem her death natural causes, but Rose suspects foul play and so does an unlikely supporter–-the president of the Busy Body Club, her eighty-two year old neighbor Mildred.

But Rose is in the middle of opening her nursery with her sister Violet, who’s separated from her husband Mike, as well as stalling her boyfriend Joe’s family, rich socialites who are determined to meet her. Along with her multiple encounters with Fenton County’s new assistant DA, Mason Deveraux III, it’s just another day in the life of Rose Gardner–-chaos.

 Buy It On Amazon


New York Times andUSA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.
You can find out more about Denise and her other books at:




Monday, September 16, 2013

Thank you!!!!!

Smart & Savvy with Stephanie has hit 250+ likes on Facebook.
Thank you so much. You.Are.Awesome!!!!!
As promised, to celebrate I am having a contest. I have a ton of goodies I picked up while at the Naughty Mafia event in Vegas in August. Lots of fabulous authors and an overall good time. Here are just a few of my favorite pictures from the event.
There are going to be 5 (five) winners! Prizes are:
1 winner - Autographed Tote Bag, $5.00 Barnes & Noble Gift Card and Author Swag WINNER: RACHEL H.
1 winner - $5.00 Barnes & Noble Gift Card and Author Swag WINNER: NICOLE M.
3 winners - Author Swag WINNERS: BRANDI G., BRANDY G. & PAM B.
Winners please email me your contact info at with "THANK YOU GIVEAWAY WINNER". Congratulations!!!!! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Blog Tour - Faithful by Kelly Elliott

I am so excited to be a part of the FAITHFUL blog tour. Be sure to check out the excerpt, playlist and giveaway!
No matter how faithful love can be…it takes only one moment to change it all.

After Heather Lambert’s parents died in a tragic car accident her senior year of high school, she refuses to let anyone into her heart for fear of being hurt again. Focusing only on school to follow her dreams of becoming an elementary school teacher, the last thing Heather intends to do is fall in love with Josh Hayes.

Josh knows the moment he lays eyes on Heather that she is the one he’s been waiting for. During months of obstacles and denied feelings, he is rejected by her time and time again.
When he finally wins her love, Josh and Heather start planning their future together…until Heather receives one bit of news she never wanted to hear again.

There has been a car accident.

Josh wakes up with no memory of Heather, and his ex-girlfriend, Victoria, is his nurse. Heather must decide if she’ll risk being hurt again and fight for the one man she loves with all her heart.

Will Josh remember Heather when she needs him the most? Or will Victoria take advantage of this opportunity, pushing Heather away from Josh for good?

Faithful is the third book in the Wanted series by Kelly Elliott.
Follow Kelly
Brad and Scott talked for a bit as I looked around for Josh. He was talking and laughing with the DJ.
Ah, so the little bastard is going to have his hand in the romance department this evening.
Gunner reached up and handed Scott a beer as Scott sat down.
Then, Gunner turned to me. He leaned in toward me, so only I could hear him. “Does he think he stands a chance?” Gunner looked out at Josh.
I laughed. “I guess he does. This should be interesting to watch.”
Gunner and I both sat back and started to drink our beers as we watched Josh talking to the DJ.
“He’s probably asking the DJ to recommend a good song,” Gunner said with a chuckle.
Brad sat down as he started laughing. “Think so? This is gonna be good. Gotta give him props for trying though. I think I have both of y’all beat with my song.”
Gunner and I both looked at Brad as he smiled and took a sip of his Coke.
“Ari cried,” I said.
“Oh, come on, dude,” Brad said.
Scott asked, “What in the hell are y’all talking about?”
Gunner looked over at the girls and saw they were deep in conversation. “We have a little romance contest going on. Trying to see which one of us can outromance the other with our song choices.”
Scott’s mouth dropped open. “That’s fucked up, y’all. Do the girls know what you’re doing?”
At the same time, Gunner, Brad, and I all said, “No.”
Josh shook the DJ’s hand, and as he started to walk back toward us, he had a cocky-ass smile plastered on his face.
Poor guy. He really doesn’t stand a chance.
He walked right past us and up to Heather. He took her hand and pulled her up to him. “I have something special just for you,” Josh said before he kissed the back of Heather’s hand.
Gunner muttered, “Pesh,” under his breath.
Ellie smacked Gunner on the back of his head. “Knock it off.”
Just then, the DJ asked for everyone’s attention. “Listen up, y’all. I’ve had a special request from one very lucky man in the house tonight. He’s getting married in a couple days.”
Everyone started to clap and whistle.
“Ah hell,” Gunner and I said at the same time.
Brad and Scott started laughing.
“Josh, bring your beautiful future bride out onto the dance floor,” the DJ said. 
Josh started leading Heather out to the dance floor. As he passed us, he smiled and winked. “Watch how it’s done, gentlemen.”
“Little bastard!” Gunner called out, earning another slap on the head from Ellie.
We watched as Josh walked Heather out to the middle of the dance floor. Her face was bright red, and when he kissed her on the cheek, all I heard were oohs and aahs. Someone handed Josh a microphone, and then he got down on one knee.
Brad, Gunner, and I all leaned forward.
“What in the hell is he doing? He can’t ask her to marry him. He’s already done that!” I said.
Ari smacked me on the shoulder. “Be quiet for Christ’s sake!”
“Holy hell, she’s already crying, and he hasn’t even started talking yet,” Brad said.
“Heather, I never in my life thought I could be as happy as I am in this very moment. The idea of spending the rest of my life with you just about brings me down to both knees. I cannot wait to make you my wife. I want to make all your dreams come true. I want to be the best husband and father to our unborn babies as I possibly can.”
Josh put his hand on her stomach and then kissed her belly as Heather brought her hand up to her mouth. He looked up at her and smiled.
“Is he crying?” Scott asked.
“Bastard,” Gunner, Brad, and I said at the same time.
“Shh!” Ellie, Amanda, and Ari said at the same time.
“Princess, I want to be your everything.” He stood up and took Heather in his arms as Keith Urban’s “Your Everything” started to play.
“Oh. My. God. If that is not the most romantic thing ever!” Ellie said.
Gunner snapped his head around and looked at her.
I was still staring out at them. They were the only two dancing as everyone stood around and watched.
“Holy hell, that just swept me off my damn feet! Heather is so lucky!” Amanda said.
Brad choked on his drink.
Ari walked around and sat on my lap. Her eyes looked like they were filling with tears as she watched them dancing.
Jesus H. Christ. Is she about to cry?
“So incredibly romantic…wow. Heather really is lucky.” She turned to me and smiled. “I think Josh won by a landslide. Don’t you think, babe?”
Scott busted out laughing as I just looked at her.
All I could do was let out a small laugh before I grabbed her and brought her in for a kiss. I pulled slightly away from her lips. “He certainly did.”
When she gave me that drop-dead beautiful smile of hers, my heart started racing.
“I love you, babe.” She captured my lips with hers.
I kissed her and poured as much love into the kiss as I could. When she ran her hands through my hair, I wanted to just rip off her clothes and take her right here and now.

The emotion that Kelly Elliott packs into her books is just amazing. I've never wanted to hit a character so much as I did Victoria. After recently finding the WANTED series and reading Wanted and Saved in quick order, I was impatient to get my hands on Josh and Heather's story. I was not disappointed. Dealing with Josh's memory loss and a scheming ex-girlfriend, Heather is determined to get Josh to remember what they mean to each other. I loved it from cover to cover, the story, the characters, everything. Kelly has a uniquely fascinating way of writing where she not only gives you Josh & Heather's story, but you also get to Gunner & Ellie and Jeff & Ari. If you've never read her, I definately recommend that you do. 

I asked a fellow reader who I recommended the series to what she thought of FAITHFUL:

"Out of all three books in this series (so far) this one tugged at the heart strings the most! Totally had me on a roller coaster of emotions from start to finish with a look into the next book (no spoilers don't worry!) Add to the story a killer soundtrack you don't have a prayer, you'll fall in love with Josh and Heather as they struggle to hold onto and remember what they fought so hard for!" - Mandi B



“Please Remember Me” by Tim McGraw—Heather and Elizabeth talk about Josh not remembering, and Heather says she’ll always love him.
“Everything” by Lifehouse—Josh and Heather are in the hospital when he tells her he is scared and wants to start off slow.
“Only You’re the One” by Lifehouse—In the hospital, Heather tells Josh how she feels about him.
“Boys ‘Round Here” by Blake Shelton—Jeff, Josh, Gunner, and Matt are fishing.
“Last First Kiss” by Ron Pope—Josh kisses Heather and (again) realizes he loves her.
“Hanging by A Moment” by Lifehouse—Josh tells Heather that he loves her and calls her princess.
“You and Me” by Lifehouse—Josh and Heather dance at his birthday party.
“Don’t Happen Twice” by Kenny Chesney—Gunner sees Josh and Heather dancing at Luckenbach dance hall.
“Give It Up to Me” by Shakira—Heather, Ari, and Ellie dance at Luckenbach dance hall.
“Come & Get It” by Selena Gomez—Heather dances with a turned-on Josh.
“If All Goes Right” by Matt Kimbrow—Girls are all dancing at Luckenbach dance hall.
“Bobblehead” by Christina Aguilera—Ari lays into Victoria before punching her.
“Save Me from Myself” by Christina Aguilera—Ellie realizes how silly she is behaving for being jealous for no reason.
“One of Those Nights” by Tim McGraw—Josh walks around Heather’s bedroom before they make love.
“Storm” by Lifehouse—Josh and Heather make love at Heather’s house.
“Stronger Than Ever” by Christina Aguilera—Amanda is sitting in her car after Brad tells his parents he is leaving with Amanda.
“I Still Believe in You” by Vince Gill—Brad’s dedicates this song to Amanda when she reads the letter he wrote her.
“I Need You” by LeAnn Rimes—Josh is on his way to find Heather after he gets his memory back.
“Kiss Me” by Ed Sheeran—Josh and Heather are at the gazebo when Heather finds out he has his memory back. She tells him she is pregnant.
“Everything to Me” by Brad Paisley—Josh asks Heather to marry him.
“Safe & Sound” by Taylor Swift—Ellie’s mom shows up at Gunner and Ellie’s house.
“Because of Your Love” by Kenny Chesney—Gunner tries to swoon Ellie during the romance contest with Jeff, Josh, and Brad.
“Like Jesus Does” by Eric Church—Jeff tries to swoon Ari during the romance contest.
“Never Stop” by SafetySuit—Brad tries to swoon Amanda during the romance contest.
“Your Everything” by Keith Urban—Josh swoons Heather during the romance contest.
“Dance Again” by Jennifer Lopez—Victoria and Rebecca are dancing.
“To Make You Feel My Love” by Garth Brooks—Scott dances with Jessie at Luckenback dance hall.
“Why Don’t You Love Me” by Hot Chelle Rae—Jessie leaves Scott’s house after they run into Chelsea inside Scott’s house. Scott accidentally calls Jessie “Chels.”
“Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts—Josh and Heather dance before they leave for their wedding at the coast.
“There You’ll Be” by Faith Hill—Greg (Josh’s father) dances with Heather for the father/daughter dance at the wedding.
“When You Walked into My Life” by Lila McCann—Josh and Heather’s wedding song.
“All You Ever” by Hunter Hayes—Scott asks Jessie to dance at the reception.
“New Favorite Memory” by Brad Paisley—Josh and Heather on their wedding night.
“Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert—Jessie walks into the Wild Coyote bar and sees Scott.
“A Little More Country” by Easton Corbin—Jessie dances with her high school friend at the Wild Coyote.
“Do You Remember” by Blake Shelton—Scott dances with Jessie and asks for her to forgive him.
“The One” by Skillet—Jessie and Scott make love for the first time.
“Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake—Josh and Heather tell each other they will love each other and be faithful forever. Eeeppp! This song is SO Josh and Heather’s song! *swoon*
“If You Wanna Touch Her, Ask” by Shania Twain—Jeff and Ari dance at the girls’ twenty-first birthday party.
“Buttons” by Pussycat Dolls—Everyone is dancing at the girls’ twenty-first birthday party.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review of Tempt Me, Cowboy by Megan Crane

Too much temptation...

Chelsea Collier wants nothing more than to save the old depot built by her railway baron ancestor and turn it into a museum—until it's sold out from under her!

Jasper Flint made himself filthy rich in the Texas oil business by the age of 35. Now he wants a quieter life and building a microbrewery in Marietta, Montana is the perfect project.

Neither one of them knows what to do with the passion that explodes between them! But Chelsea knows a man like Jasper will never stay in one place for too long. Can he convince her that this time, he means to stay?

USA Today bestselling author Megan Crane writes women’s fiction, chick lit, work-for-hire YA, and a lot of Harlequin Presents as Caitlin Crews. She also teaches creative writing classes both online at and at UCLA Extension’s prestigious Writers’ Program, where she finally utilizes the MA and PhD in English Literature she received from the University of York in York, England. She currently lives in California, with her animator/comic-book artist husband and their menagerie of ridiculous animals.

Montana Born Books

Chelsea Collier, always the dutiful daughter and school teacher was not expecting to meet Jasper Flint when she went to confront the man who bought the old railway depot. Despite their meeting where Jasper assumed she was there to hit on him, he touched something in Chelsea that she wasn't expecting. Before long she is throwing caution to the wind, ignoring the talk of the people in town and taking the chance at exploring the feelings Jasper inspires in her when they are together. There was just so much I loved about this book; the characters, the emotions, the town. Megan Crane did a fabulous job of bringing the town and characters of Marietta, Montana to life. I really enjoyed the debut novella from Montana Born books. I look forward to visiting Marietta again and again!

I love cowboy heroes, they are one of my favorites. Who are your favorite type of heroes?