Saturday, December 3, 2016

A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN Review

Are you a Sherlock Holmes fan? Do some of the books, movies, and TV shows inspired or crafted around and on his character make you cringe? A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN didn't bring about that reaction in me and, fingers crossed, won't do so in you. Enjoyable and entertaining enough to have me looking forward to the follow up. If you've read it, feel free to comment. Always up for discussing books! Y'all have a lovely weekend.

 

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London. 
 
When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.

But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind. (Synopsis from Amazon)

A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN is the promising start to a clever twist on the Sherlock Holmes character.
As a staunch Holmes fan, there are places I simply can’t go with Holmes inspired books, movies, and TV shows. The new PBS Sherlock works for me because it’s been updated, placing Holmes in modern settings and doesn’t attempt to compete with what I consider the quintessential Holmes portrayal by Jeremy Brett. The books work when they don’t, per say, focus on Holmes or make him something he wasn’t meant to be. Michael Kurland’s “Moriarty” series and Quinn Fawcett’s “Mycroft Holmes” series springs to mind. Two excellent Holmes inspired series.
Ms. Thomas’ take on Holmes keeps the essential elements that make Sherlock such an enduring and compelling character, while adding her own thoughtful and well played gender twist on both Holmes and Watson.
Charlotte Holmes’ looks belie the brain behind them. The effort she has to make to be socially acceptable with her family and society at large add depth and authenticity to her character. While her brain is superlative, some of her actions and conclusions reveal her naivete. This is where the Mrs. Watson’s character comes into play. As a member of the demimonde she possesses the worldly knowledge Charlotte lacks as well as moving on the fringes of the same social circles without being as stifled by the societal strictures of the time.
Granted, there were a few issues typical to first books in a series, but they were minor and not enough to putt me off. The biggest question I have is, “how long will they be able to pull off the charade?”
A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN struck me as inventive and fresh feeling; truly enjoyable, entertaining, and fun. I’m sincerely looking forward to the follow-up.
4 stars


Monday, November 28, 2016

Thomas Jay Berger, MD – Dueling in Death’s Backyard- Creating Dr. Cooper Logan

I’m often asked how much of myself can be found in my protagonist, Dr. Cooper Logan. I attended Tufts College and med-school, in Boston, just like Cooper Logan. In the seventies, I trained with Dr. John Kirklin, in Birmingham, Alabama. Cooper was a resident there with Dr. Joseph Kirkwood. We each achieved our mutual dream of becoming a cardiac surgeon. But Cooper is not me and I am not Cooper Logan. I had two loving parents and was a fairly decent wrestler. Cooper came from a broken home and won a wrestling scholarship. Cooper is a fictional character. I’m pretty sure I’m real. 

My residency was exactly like Cooper’s. Its rigors are meticulously and correctly described in the book and the OR action is accurate. Every case except one is based on a real patient. Nowadays, residents are often unionized and coddled with care taken to avoid damaging their delicate egos. In my day, the only right a resident had was the right to sweat. That’s the way it should be. If you’re not willing to go through total immersion in patient care, you should not be trusted with the lives of other human beings.

Cooper and I both chose heart surgery because we wanted the challenge of being forced to do demanding work skillfully, thoughtfully and gracefully even with the Grim Reaper’s icy breath on the backs of our necks. When Cooper finds himself on the wrong end of a .357 magnum wielded by his arch enemy who happens to be stark barking insane, he is able to stay calm, think and function effectively because he is used to working with life or death in the balance. In the OR, it’s his patient’s life at stake. In the gunfight, it’s Cooper’s life at stake. Cooper is surprised to find how little difference that makes.

There is some of me in my character. That’s what makes him so real. It’s what makes his experiences seem so real.


DUELING IN DEATH’S BACKYARD is an intensely, fast-paced medical thriller written by retired cardiac surgeon Thomas Jay Berger, MD who is the winner of a Faulkner award for writing.


Exposing a scandal at the VA hospital was Dr. Cooper Logan’s responsibility, and his first mistake. The world was background noise as Cooper worked to save lives. He’d won his scholarship wrestling and struggling with Death in the operating room was his new passion. But, hospital politics wasn’t Cooper's strong point and learning them the hard way cost him his residency. Then, to make matters even worse, the druggy nurse Cooper had exposed, turns up dead and Cooper is framed for the murder. Now Cooper must duel with death outside the OR and this time it's his own life that's at stake.

And the danger he faced now had Death staring him in the face.

About the Author:

Retired from active surgical practice due to vision problems, my wife and I bought a 50 ft. sailboat and sold or gave away everything that wouldn’t fit on board. We spent about 8 years sailing all around the Caribbean. Three years ago we settled in Miami, where we each have moms in their nineties who need us to be close by. Other than my medmal expert business, I box twice a week, pump iron twice a week and try to get to the shooting range whenever I can. If one is going write thrillers with action scenes including fist and gunfights, one should have a clue how to actually do these things. A famous medical thriller writer (who shall not be named) once wrote a gunfight scene where a revolver did not fire because the safety was on. He apparently knew absolutely nothing about firearms – not even the basic fact that revolvers do not have safeties. Fistfight scenes by meek or sedentary authors are often even worse – describing techniques that would never work in real life. I am proud of my OR scenes, which no one but me could ever write. But I am also proud of the of action scenes which my own knowledge experience and constant training allow me to portray realistically.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

RACE THE DARKNESS

Paranaormals haven't been high on my list lately, but RACE THE DARKNESS also has a mystery and that, along with the blurb and cover, are what drew me. Xander's eyes put me in mind of huskies with those spooky ice blue eyes.
What have y'all been reading lately? Looking forward to the holidays? Work load permitting I may have a go at my shelves and hold a giveaway. Please let me know if any of you would be interested in a "gently read" book giveaway.

I found an amazing yarn sale at a craft outlet store here so I'll be in my chair, crocheting this weekend. What are y'all going to try to do this weekend?



There's not a lot that's new in Abbie Roads', RACE THE DARKNESS:
-Dream walking
-Precognition
-Hearing the thoughts of others, though there is an interesting spin on Xander's condition with the lightning and scars.
-Soul mates but she does explain it with an interesting Native American legend.

What set RACE THE DARKNESS apart for me was Ms. Roads' voice; dark, highly descriptive (maybe a tad too much so at times), in your face, and unapologetically blunt. Not once while reading did another author come to mind as often happens. That's a good thing for me.
This is also a description of Xander. Yes, he's an ass, admits it freely, and hasn't a single issue with that. If you do, that's your problem not his. He's a wonderful anti-hero, and I was drawn to him immediately.
Isleen pales in comparison. For the most part she came across as milksoppish with only an occasion or two where she displays any real backbone. What she manages to survive is horrific, and you know there's some steel and gumption somewhere, but where? Maybe it gives Xander an opportunity to display his "softer, gentler" side. Maybe it's to emphasize the effect of their binding.
Personally speaking, despite all she goes through, she was a bit insipid.
My other issue was Gale. Her reasoning was beyond me. I just didn't get her or the why behind her actions.
Those two issues aside, RACE THE DARKNESS brings readers some exciting new characters and a bold new voice that, love it or hate, is bound to get your attention.

4 stars

Thursday, October 20, 2016

DECEIVING BELLA & giveaway with Cate Beauman!

Ethan Cooke Security and their bodyguard team return to action in Deceiving Bella – book eleven in Cate Beauman’s Bodyguards of L.A. County series.

With over 7700 reviews and a 4.4 rating for the entire series, see why the Bodyguards of L.A. County is a multi-award winning series.

Buy It Now!


New to the series? No problem! Each book in the “Bodyguards” series is a stand-alone title. Although reading the books in order is preferred, it is not necessary.  Each title features brand new primary characters and limited overlapping secondary characters.  Don’t hesitate to jump right in!


Isabella Colby has always yearned for normalcy. Now that she’s settled in LA, she finally has it. Good friends, a pretty home, and her thriving career as the Palisades’ top skincare specialist are a dream come true. Bella is content until she meets her hunky new neighbor, but her attraction to the blue-eyed cutie is the least of her worries when contacting her long-lost father threatens to destroy her happy life.  

Reed McKinley is more than ready to forget the past. His seven-year stint as an NYPD detective nearly got him killed. His wounds have healed and he’s starting over as Ethan Cooke Security’s latest recruit. With sixty-hour workweeks and little time to himself, the last thing on his mind is a relationship. Then he bumps into the gorgeous woman next door.

Reed and Bella become fast friends. Before long, Reed discovers that Bella is keeping dangerous secrets. Bella may have the answers to decades-old questions he’s been searching for. Reed will risk it all to uncover the truth, but he soon realizes that the deeper he digs, the direr the consequences.


The Inspiration Behind Deceiving Bella:

I must admit that one of my most favorite parts of the writing process is figuring out who my characters are going to be. Typically, I have vague ideas but as I start the storytelling process, my heroes and heroines evolve and grow until I can visualize them as living, breathing people. I always begin with character sketches, giving each central figure in the story a life that starts with their birth and takes them to the present day. It’s vital to know who they are and how they tick (the experiences that make them exactly who they are when my readers meet them). For Deceiving Bella, I thought it would be fun to share an adventure where the hero and heroine have absolutely nothing in common (or so it seems). Despite Reed and Bella’s differences, they make a great team. I hope you enjoy their story.


Read an excerpt from Deceiving Bella:

They kept a slow pace, strolling in silence as the breeze plastered their clothes to their bodies and the constant sound of waves hypnotized, lulling Reed into relaxing by degrees.
“Thanks for coming with me tonight. It’s nice having company.”
He looked at Bella, staring at the fading light playing off her eyes. “The water smells better than a bunch of sweaty guys.”
“Your gym.” Her brow creased ever so slightly as she held his gaze. “What do you do for fun?”
“Work and box.”
“Sounds…like a good time.”
“I like it.”
“Do you smile?”
He frowned. “Huh?”
“I was wondering if you ever smile—or laugh. I haven’t seen you do either since we met.”
He sent her an exaggerated grin.
She laughed.
He smiled for real this time, finding her laughter infectious.
“You do smile. I wasn’t sure if you had some sort of facial paralysis we hadn’t discussed yet.”
He grinned.
“You should do that more often.” She hooked her arm through his.
He almost missed a step as the warmth of her skin met his, surprised by her casual gesture. He wasn’t used to people being so touchy-feely. “I do it plenty.”
“I’ll have to take your word for it.”
How was it possible she smelled even better now that they stood so close? It had to be her hair. “I don’t know what to say to that.”
She stopped abruptly. “Are you seeing anyone?”
He studied her, not sure that he liked where this was going. “No. You interested?”
She shook her head. “You’re not really my type.”
He tried to ignore the direct hit to his ego. “You’re not mine either.”
Another smile warmed her face. “I think we could be great friends, and I like projects—love them, actually.”
His frown returned. “And that means…”
“It means I like you. And I love that you don’t seem to have any interest in getting into my pants.”
Years of concealing any and all facial expressions kept his eyes from popping wide. “Wow.” He ran his hand through his hair, speechless once again. “Okay.”
She laughed. “I’m a big fan of honesty—putting it right out there.”
He chuckled as he settled his sunglasses on top of his head. “Clearly.”
They started walking again.
“There’s something about you that feels…safe.”
He raised his brow, taken aback. He’d been called many things, but this was a first. “Safe?”
She nodded. “Safe. It’s a good thing, but you’re pretty serious. We need to lighten you up. You need to play more.”
“I play plenty. I box.”
She scoffed, “Beating someone’s face in can’t lead you down the road to happiness.”
Her side brushed his with every step. He imagined he should ease away, break their connection, but he liked the way she felt, that she trusted him. “There’s more to boxing than beating someone’s face in.”
She looked at him as if she wasn’t so sure.
“I’ll have to show you—” He glanced over his shoulder when he realized they hadn’t seen Lucy for a while and laughed as the dog lay on her back in the sand with her front paws in the air. “What is she doing?”
“Sunbathing.”
He laughed again, shaking his head. “I’ve never seen anything like that.” His eyes met Bella’s as she stared at him. “What?”
“You have a great laugh.”
To his surprise, he was having a great time. It shocked him further that he liked Bella as much as she seemed to like him. Being here with her was exactly what he’d needed. “How long do you want to stay?”
“The sun sets soon. It’s the best part.”
The sand wasn’t bothering him much, and he couldn’t remember the last time his shoulders felt so loose. “I don’t have a blanket.”
“We can sit on our shoes.” She tossed hers down. “We can plunk ourselves right here.”
Lucy rolled to her side, stood, and ran their way.
He shrugged, dropping his flip-flops to the ground. “I guess this is as good a place as any.”
“It’ll be spectacular.” She took his hand, pulling him down next to her. “You won’t regret it.”
“We’ll have to remember a blanket next time.”
She smiled. “You want to come back?”
He stared ahead, petting Lucy when she curled up next to him, breathing in Bella with each inhalation. “I could see myself doing this again.”
She gave his shoulder a bump. “Good. You can be my beach buddy.”
He nodded, liking the idea. “Yeah, sure.”
“Great.”
“Great.” He crossed his ankles in the sand, his foot brushing Bella’s as they settled in to enjoy the show. It had been too damn long since he watched a sunset.

Did you enjoy the excerpt?  You can read the first chapter on my website, www.catebeauman.com, or you can finish the whole book with the links below!



The Unofficial Deceiving Bella Soundtrack

I love music! I can’t imagine a world without catchy tunes playing, especially when I’m writing. Music is inspiration. Melodies, beats, and the mood of each song help me portray emotions and feelings as I tell a story. It’s a rare day when I don’t have my headphones in place, bopping my head, while my fingers race across the keyboard. You can listen to the “soundtrack” for each book on my website www.catebeauman.com.

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Deceiving Bella:
·       Favorite Song by Ben Rector
·       Lay It All On Me by Rudimental w/Ed Sheeran
·       Into You by Ariana Grande
·       Cake by the Ocean by DNCE
·       Truth by Steve Moakler
·       Any Other Name by Thomas Newman
·       Rock Bottom by Hailee Steinfeld
·       All I Want by Kodaline
·       Crash by Usher
·       Stand By You by Rachel Platten
About the author:

International bestselling author Cate Beauman is known for her full-length, action-packed romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Her novels have been nominated for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Golden Quill Award, Writers Touch Award, and have been named Readers Favorite Five Star books. In 2015, JUSTICE FOR ABBY was selected as the Readers' Favorite International Book Award Gold Medalist, while SAVING SOPHIE took the Silver Medal. SAVING SOPHIE was also selected as the 2015 Readers Crown Award winner for Romantic Suspense and FALLING FOR SARAH received the silver medal for the 2014 Readers' Favorite Awards.

Cate makes her home in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and their St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. Currently Cate is working on her twelfth full length romantic suspense novel.



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Saturday, October 8, 2016

THE BOOK CLUB MURDERS Review



Charley Carpenter has poured heart and soul into her clothing store, Old Hat Vintage Fashions. She’ll do anything to make it a success—even join the stuffy Agathas Book Club in order to cultivate customers among the wealthy elite of Oakwood, Ohio.
 
Although mixing with the most influential women in town has its advantages, Charley finds the endless gossip a high price to pay. But after two women with close ties to the Agathas are brutally murdered, everyone falls under threat—and suspicion. When key evidence indicates that both murders are the work of the same hand, Charley realizes that the killer has arranged each corpse in perfect imitation of crime scenes from the Club’s murder mystery reading list. She uses her membership in the Club to convince Detective Marcus Trenault to use her as an inside informant. Not that he could stop her anyway.
 
Intelligent, fearless, and every bit as stubborn as Marc is, Charley soon learns the Agathas aren’t the only ones with secrets to protect. Passions explode as she and Marc must race against time to prevent another murder. And if Charley’s not careful, she may find herself becoming the killer’s next plot twist.  (synopsis from Amazon)

3.5 stars
An entertaining cozy featuring red haired vintage clothing store owner, Charley Carpenter, and her best friends Frankie (Francesca) and Dmitri.

Charley joins “The Agathas’” book club to mix with the “elite”, thereby increasing traffic and business for her Old Hat Vintage Fashions shop. When the body of an Agatha member’s sister turns up as the victim in a tableau straight from one of their club reads, Charley gets a bit more than an uptick in business and lively plot and character discussions.

A murderer with a penchant for recreating scenes from their club picks makes every Agatha a suspect, while a multitude of red herrings will have readers vacillating between suspects one scene should cement the prime suspect for mystery aficionados.
There were times Charley was eclipsed by her friends and personally, I’d like to see more of Frankie and Dmitiri. So, something to look forward to perhaps.
Set in a quaint, homey town with a varied, likeable cast, and solid whodunit, THE BOOK CLUB MURDERS should have a strong appeal for cozy fans. A strong debut for a promising series.



Tuesday, October 4, 2016

TAFFY ~ Suzette D. Harrison

Please join author Suzette D. Harrison as she tours the blogosphere with  Write Now Literary Book Tours 
and her new release Taffy on
October 4, 2016.
Author: Suzette D. Harrison
Genre: Historical Fiction; Historical Romance
Book Title: TAFFY
Publication Date: February 11, 2016
ISBN-10: 1523298251
ISBN-13: 978-1523298259
About The Book
Welcome to the sleepy, all-Black southern town of Bledsoe, where Colored residents proudly declare "ain't nothing white here 'cept milk and teeth." It's 1935. A press-and-curl costs a quarter. Records play on phonographs. And a telephone is a luxury. Meet twenty-three-year-old Taffy Bledsoe Freeman. She doesn't need her gift of second sight to know her "mockery of a marriage" to a man twice her age is far from good. After a seven-year exile Up North, Taffy travels down-home to the small town bearing her family's name, plotting her escape from a marriage not worth the price of a press-and-curl. She only needs to retrieve the son her husband banished to her parents' care, before boarding a train headed for the Windy City filled with liberty and opportunity. Instead, Taffy stumbles into Roam Ellis: the man Taffy meant to marry. Twenty-six-year-old Roam Ellis is a "broad-shouldered, hard-bodied" Pullman porter riding the rails coast-to-coast, outrunning the bitter heartbreak Taffy left behind. Now, after a seven-year absence, Roam is face-to-face with his first love. Anger ignites. Old wounds are exposed. But when pain subsides, passion rises, thrusting Taffy and Roam into a hurricane of buried secrets and lies. Reminiscent of the works of Bernice McFadden, Bertice Berry, and Andrea Smith (The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner) this Historical Romance is bathed in southern lore and sweeping imagery. Lyrical and powerful, Taffy is a story of restoration and redemption that you won't soon forget.
About The Author

Suzette D. Harrison, a native Californian and the middle of three daughters, grew up in a home where reading was required, not requested. Her literary “career” began when her poetry appeared in a volume of creative writing published by her junior high school. While Ms. Harrison pays homage to Gloria Naylor, Dr. Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison for initially inspiring her creative spirit, it was Alex Haley’s Roots (which she read at the age of fourteen) that unveiled the tremendous power and importance of African American literary voices. In addition to being the wife of a university professor and mother of gorgeous children, Suzette is a cupcake proprietor who loves singing gospel-with-a-hint-of-jazz. An elementary school librarian, Suzette is currently working on her next novel…in between batches of cupcakes.
Excerpt
Taffy made ready to fuss him out only to reconsider. That steel-headed man won’t move. She would. Taffy eyed the fence, knowing she’d earlier hopped it with ease. But she couldn’t hike her dress up before present company. “Go ahead,” Roam goaded, popping peppermints in his mouth, ready to enjoy the spectacle. “I’d like to see you try.” Options were few with the opposite side of the road lined by a ditch and a frighteningly out-of-control briar patch. Taffy could reverse her path. I’m not! Taffy had long ago learned how to do what she had to. “You ‘bout to break something,” Roam warned, shaking his head as Taffy prepared to climb. “Gal, quit acting up and walk this way.” Ignoring Roam, Taffy hoisted herself onto the bottom rail. Fumbling, she tried climbing with shoes in hand, finally dropping them over the fence, onto the other side. Roam moved quickly before Taffy, too, was beyond reach. Taffy felt an arm snake about her waist, effortlessly hauling her backward as if it didn’t cost Roam a thing. “What’re you doing?!” “Whatever I want,” Roam responded, setting Taffy on her feet, anchoring an arm about her waist when Taffy spun, spitting heat. “Move, Roam.” Taffy strained against Roam’s iron hold. “Get off me before I hurt you!” “Already did.” Her fire fizzled. Voice softened, tongue tasted regret. “Roam, what do you want?” “You.” Taffy stilled. Roam reinforced his hold. “Two things I won’t do with you: mince words or waste time.” Lifting her chin, claiming her mouth, Roam proved his point. His lips were hot, soft, sweet. Taffy got lost savoring them and him, and the bombarding emotions of mere moments before became nonexistent. Oh my blessedness, Taffy inwardly purred, feeling a slow, unsanctioned melting. They’d shared quick, quaint kisses in adolescent sweetheart days. Never this. Never with man-to-woman savoir faire. Resuscitated passions exploded and multiplied. Taffy could barely breathe let alone think, so she followed love’s lead and held on for the ride.
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Tour hosted by WNL Book Tours 


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Please join author Paulette Harper as she tours the blogosphere with Write Now Literary Book Tours and her new release Secret Places Revealed, on September 27, 2016. Publication Date: September 16, 2016 Paperback: 342 pages Genre: Inspirational Romance ISBN-10: 0989969150 ISBN-13: 978-0989969154 ASIN: B01M0GXCGB
In celebration of Paulette’s upcoming release, Secret Places Revealed, she’s giving away one (1) autographed copy of Secret Places Revealed. This contest is open for US only through October, 7, 2016 Rafflecopter giveaway
A broken man, a woman on the run, a love that won’t be denied. Single—and very content—real estate developer Aaron Blackman is determined not to become involved in another relationship. He’s experienced enough drama to last a lifetime. The only thing garnering his attention now is his growing business. And he plans to keep it that way. Then Simone Herron waltzes into his life, beautiful and confident. Fighting to keep his promise to himself—to remain single—he soon discovers that when it comes to love, some promises must be broken. After losing her fiancĂ© in an untimely death, Simone Herron relocates. She desperately needs to put the past behind her and start a new chapter in her life. While love is the farthest thing from her mind, she experiences an attraction to the handsome Aaron Blackman that frightens her. She's built a wall around her heart, but can she find the strength and courage she needs to welcome love again? To do so, she must conquer her fears and allow God to put all of her broken pieces back together.
In addition to being an award winning author of Completely Whole, Paulette is an inspirational speaker, as well as a writing workshop instructor. She has a passion to coach aspiring authors and speaks into the lives of women from every walk of life. Her literary works have been spotlighted in a growing number of publications, including CBN, Real Life Real Faith Magazine, and Black Pearls Magazine. She has also appeared on numerous local and online radio shows. Paulette resides in Northern California.
In celebration of Paulette’s upcoming release, Secret Places Revealed, she’s giving away one (1) autographed copy of Secret Places Revealed. This contest is open for US only through October, 7, 2016 Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

HEART OF DELIGHT Excerpt & Giveaway w/ Jenna Jaxon

He’ll do anything to be her heart’s delight—except tell the truth.
Gabriella d’Adventure is on a mission. She has come to England as a lady’s maid in pursuit of the Duke of Rother. When she meets Horace Carpenter, valet to a marquess, she is delighted to enlist his aid in gaining her heart’s desire: a meeting with the duke. But will her growing feelings for the handsome valet interfere with her plans for the duke?
The eccentric Marquess of Halford, Hal to his friends, is tired of the demands of Society, especially his father’s decree that he marry this Season. When a breathtaking young woman intrudes on his solitude, he is captivated and introduces himself as his valet in hopes of learning more about her. Despite his fear about the true motive behind Gabriella’s quest to meet the Duke of Rother, Hal agrees to help her gain an audience with him, all the while praying his deception won’t ruin his chances of winning her love.
Amazon       a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bonsoir, mademoiselle,” he said, rising from the floor to bow. He hoped she would speak again. Her lilting, vibrant voice would haunt his dreams.
Bonsoir, monsieur.” She wrinkled her petite nose. “You are English, non?”
“I am. My French is abominable, but I hoped to impress you with what I remember of it.” Hal smiled. He’d never got the hang of languages other than his own.
The girl laughed, tossing her head. “You have a good accent for an Englishman.”
“Thank you.”
She glanced from the balcony rail to the doorway and bit her lip.
“Is there some way I may be of service to you, Mademoiselle…?” He must know the name of this beautiful creature.
“D’Aventure,” she said, with a small but graceful curtsy. “Gabriella Veronique Marie d’Aventure. Mais, non. I am fine, monsieur.” Again, she slid her gaze toward the balcony railing.
Well, he had a name, at least. Better than complete ignorance. “Have you, come, perhaps, to watch the dancing?”
She nodded, keeping her attention on him. “Yes, my lady does not require me at the moment, so I thought it would be nice to see how the English dance.” Her smile quite took his breath away. “May I?”
“Please.” Hal stepped back and motioned her in front of him.
She moved like air on water, seeming to glide without touching the planked floor. When she reached the railing, she studied the dancers, now engaged in a country dance. “They are very beautiful, the English ladies, in their best gowns.” A glance at him and her smile broadened. “Not as beautiful as the great French ladies of the royal court, of course, but their gowns are well made.” She giggled. “Perhaps they have a French modiste.”
“I suspect many of them do.” Unable to help himself, Hal stared at the charming girl. Fortunately, the dancers held her interest so she missed this lapse of manners.
Entranced, she peered over the rail, her gaze darting from one couple to another, her hand beating time on the rail. Then she frowned and shook her head. “Non, non. C’est impossible.”
“What is impossible, mademoiselle?” She was obviously looking for someone. But who?
Blog      @Jenna_Jaxon     FB

Jenna Jaxon is a best-selling, multi-published author of historical romance in periods ranging from medieval to Victorian.  She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager.  A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise.  She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and two rambunctious cats, Marmalade and Suger.  When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director.  She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.
Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America and is very active in Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA.

She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

STRIPPED BARE Review

Kate Fox is living the dream. She’s married to Grand County Sheriff Ted Conner, the heir to her beloved Nebraska Sandhills cattle ranch, where they live with Kate’s orphaned teenage niece, Carly. With the support of the well-connected Fox Clan, which includes Kate’s eight boisterous and interfering siblings, Ted’s reelection as Grand County Sheriff is virtually assured. That leaves Kate to the solitude and satisfaction of Frog Creek, her own slice of heaven.

One night Kate answers a shattering phone call from Roxy at the Bar J. Carly’s granddad Eldon, owner of the ranch, is dead and Ted has been shot and may never walk again. Kate vows to find the killer. She soon discovers Ted responded so quickly to the scene because he was already at the Bar J . . . in Roxy’s bed. And to add to her woes, Carly has gone missing.

Kate finds out that Eldon was considering selling his ranch to an obscenely rich environmentalist. Some in town hate the idea of an outsider buying up land, others are desperate to sell . . . and some might kill to get their way. As she becomes the victim of several “accidents,” Kate knows she must find the killer before it’s too late. . . .(synopsis from Amazon)

4.5 stars

STRIPPED BARE is a solid start to a promising series. Kate is a strong, take no prisoners heroine who isn’t afraid of hard work or the truth, even if it hurts. Ms. Baker introduces readers to a life that, while sharing many similarities with farming, is worlds apart. Kate loves the hard life of a cattle rancher and this grit is what makes her such an appealing protagonist.
-Who in this small tightknit community could have killed Eldon and shot Ted? It’s not comforting to entertain the thought of someone you’ve known for years being a killer.
-How long has Ted been cheating with Roxy, his former high school sweetheart?
-Does this spell the end of her marriage and where has her niece Carly taken off to?  There’s a lot packed into a short period of time in STRIPPED BARE as Kate deals with a plethora of problems and a series of “accidents”. Are they designed to scare her off or is there a more sinister motive behind them?

STRIPPED BARE features:
-A colorful cast, most of which are Kate’s family.
-An austere yet strangely appealing setting.
-A solid mystery with the who, why, and how wrapped up nicely without being predictable while leaving an opening for book two.
-Kate’s a lead with gumption, a strong work ethic, sense of right, wrong, and responsibility, and last but not least, a stainless steel spine.
-An ending that had me cheering Kate. Had my doubts for a bit…

STRIPPED BARE will no doubt have readers clamoring for book two.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sheryl Lister's PLACES IN MY HEART w/ contest

Please join author Sheryl Lister as she tours the blogosphere with Write Now Literary Book Tours and her new release Places In My Heart, Pre Order Blitz and Contest on September 15, 2016.
CONTEST INSTRUCTIONS
In celebration of Sheryl’s upcoming release, Places In My Heart, she’s giving away (5) five prizes: (4) four mini-swag packs and (1) one Grand Prize of a Reader Lovers Basket, including a Kindle Fire and $25 Amazon gift card. 
Pre-order your copy: Amazon: http://amzn.to/1OSFA3h
Once you've ordered, enter the contest here: http://sheryllister.com/contest
This contest is open to US only through September 30, 2016. 
Publication Date:  Oct 1, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN-10: 0373864701
ISBN-13: 978-0373864706
About The Book
Omar Drummond is a pro football superstar with a body that’s a pure work of art. But Morgan Gray is forbidden to act on their chemistry, or repeat their impulsive kiss. Proving her worth as a sports agent means securing the notorious celebrity as a client, not a lover. Yet between flowers, sweet notes and heady hotel interludes, Omar is shamelessly seducing her...
Other agents—and exes—have tried using Omar as a meal ticket, and he’s closed himself off from emotional entanglements. With Morgan, it’s a whole new playbook. Smart and tough, she can negotiate a contract and turn him on all in one go, and he craves more. But in matters of trust, he’s just fumbled badly. To win her he has to show her the man he can be away from the field and the limelight, and hope that this time they’re both playing for keeps.
About The Author
Sheryl Lister has enjoyed reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She writes contemporary and inspirational romance and romantic suspense. She been nominated for an Emma Award and RT Reviewer’s Choice Award and named BRAB’s 2015 Best New Author. When she’s not reading, writing or playing chauffeur, Sheryl can be found on a date with her husband or in the kitchen creating appetizers and bite-sized desserts. Sheryl resides in California and is a wife, mother of three daughters and a son-in-love, and grandmother to two very special little boys.
Excerpt
Omar knew he had taken a risk showing up at Morgan’s office, but he was desperate. It had taken a lot to persuade Malcolm to share his sister’s information, especially since Omar had declined to say what had happened between them. He toyed with calling first, but changed his mind because he didn’t want to chance her refusing to see him. The woman seated outside Morgan’s office, whom he assumed was the assistant, greeted him with a wide smile and an exaggerated sway of her hips as she led him to the office. Omar ignored the not-so-subtle brush of her breasts against his arm when she turned to leave. In his peripheral vision, he noticed the slight rise in Morgan’s eyebrow and knew she’d seen it, too. He waited until the woman closed the door before turning to face Morgan.
Morgan folded her arms. “What are you doing here?”
“Hello to you, too,” he said.
An embarrassed expression crossed her face. “Sorry. Have a seat.”
Omar took the chair opposite her desk. “I apologize for stopping by without calling, but I figured you wouldn’t see me otherwise.”
“You were probably right. How do you know I won’t call security to throw you out now?”
“I don’t, but I’m counting on your love of football to work in my favor.” They engaged in a stare-down for several seconds until she looked away first.
“How did you know where I worked?”
“Malcolm.” She frowned and he added, “If it’s any consolation, he adamantly refused to divulge your home address.”
“Well, maybe I won’t kill him, after all.”
He chuckled.
“Since you went through all this trouble, I guess I can spare you five minutes.”
Omar knew the mention of football would rouse her curiosity. “I’d like to talk to you about a business proposition.”
“What does that have to do with football?”
“My contract is up for renewal in six weeks and—”
“Don’t you have an agent? If memory serves me correctly, you have one of the best agents around.”
“Things aren’t always as they seem.”
She sat up straight. “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying it’s time for a change, and I’d like you to negotiate my upcoming contract. You’re an attorney and, according to your brother, you know football like you’ve played it all your life.”
Her eyes lit up and her mouth fell open. “Are you serious? Wait a minute.” She sat back again and angled her head. “What about your current agent? Did he dump you or something?”
Omar sighed. “No.” There was more to it, but he would only tell her if she agreed to represent him.
Morgan narrowed her eyes. “There are dozens of sports agents out there, and I’m certain any one of them would be happy to take you on, especially with your numbers from last year. Yet you’re in my office.”
He smiled. “You checked my stats? So, you’re admitting I’ve got game?”
A rush of color darkened her face. “Why me?” she asked, ignoring his questions.
“You want to be an agent, and I need one.” He leaned forward and whispered, “And I know you passed the sport’s agent certification test. It’s a win-win situation for both of us.”
“On second thought, I am going to kill Malcolm,” she muttered.
“I need your help, Morgan. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.”
“I have to think about this.” She turned slightly in her chair and stared out the window, and then back at him. “You realize I already have a job. And I’m working on a case.”
Omar nodded. “I understand, and I have no problems working around your schedule.”
“Even on weekends or late evenings.”
“Anytime.”
“I see.” She went back to staring out the window.
He could almost hear the wheels turning in her head. She bit down on her lip, drawing his attention and reminding him how much he enjoyed kissing her.
Finally she angled her head his direction. “I’ll agree on one condition.”
“What’s that?”
“You keep your hands and lips to yourself. No more kisses.”
Omar groaned inwardly. There was no way he could go without kissing her. In fact, it had been the first thing on his mind from the moment he saw her today. “Morgan—”
“No. More. Kisses,” she repeated.
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Tour hosted by WNL Book Tours