Monday, May 30, 2016

Saddle Up by Victoria Vane

Title:  Saddle Up
Series:  Hot Cowboy Nights #4
Author:  Victoria Vane
Publication Date:   June 7/16 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length:  320pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play

Back Cover Blurb:

Award-winning author Victoria Vane lets loose the fourth in the Hot Cowboy Nights series

WILD HORSES COULDN'T BRING THEM TOGETHER...
With exceptional talent and looks, cowboy "horse whisperer" Keith Russo once had the world at his feet - until his career was unwittingly destroyed by an aspiring filmmaker. After being rejected by his family for exploiting his Native American heritage, Keith has no choice but to turn back to his humble beginnings as a wild horse wrangler.

BUT MAYBE THEIR PASSION CAN...
Miranda Sutton always dreamed of making films, until wild mustangs captured her heart. But turning her grandmother's Montana ranch into a wild horse sanctuary proves harder than she thought. She needs someone who knows wild horses. Keith and the mustangs need each other. And while working together to save the herd, Keith and Miranda discover a passion as wild as the mustangs they love.

About Victoria Vane:

Victoria Vane is a multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of the Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers Goodreads group and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog. She lives on the east coast of Florida.

Connect with Victoria:  Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads


Excerpt:

“I can’t believe this whole experience,” she said. “It’s like a weird dream. Do people really live like this? With poisonous snakes and horse-eating lions?”

“Where I come from they do. We coexist with many predators, including wolves and grizzlies. I thought you said your grandparents have a ranch. Didn’t you ever encounter any wildlife there?”

“It’s actually just my grandma’s now. We rode horses and played around with the cattle, but I never experienced anything like this before.”

He chuckled. “You aren’t in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.”

“Funny you said that. The Wizard of Oz is my favorite film. I’ve watched it thirteen times, part of which was a twenty-four hour marathon.”

“I don’t understand you.” He shook his head with a wry smile. “How can you watch the same film over and over when you already know what’s going to happen?”

“Because every time I watch it I focus on a different character and try to experience the events through his or her eyes. It’s all about the journey, not the destination.”

“Which character do you best identify with?” he asked.

“Well, usually it’s usually Dorothy, given that we’re both country girls and my experience in L.A. was all too much like hers in Oz, but I have to admit that tonight I’m identifying a lot more with the cowardly lion.”

“If that’s so, I have something that might help.” He reached beneath his shirt for a leather cord that he pulled over his head.

“What is it?” she asked, fingering the object that hung from the necklace.

“A grizzly tooth. It was my boo-ha-gant.” He slipped it over her head. “Now it’s yours.” He smiled into her eyes. “It will give you courage, but you must keep it secret, or it’ll lose its powers.”

“Courage? So this is really how you killed that snake? Won’t you lose your superpowers without it?”

“No.” He stroked a finger along her collarbone above where the tooth lay nestled between her breasts. “For the record, you have yet to know my true superpowers. We were interrupted before I could demonstrate them to you.”

Her face flushed. “You do think a lot of yourself, don’t you?”

He brought his finger back up to her mouth to trace her lips. “Let’s just say I wouldn’t have disappointed you.”

But disappointment reflected in her eyes. “Well, I guess we’ll never know now, will we?”

“No,” he replied, regretfully. “We never will.” He wasn’t likely ever to see her again, but in their short time together he’d opened up more with her than he had with anyone else in years. “Are you sorry you came?” he asked.

She exhaled a soft sigh. “No. Even with all that happened, I’m still glad I came.”

Maybe her answer shouldn’t have surprised him, but it did. This day had put her mettle to the test, revealing a strength she probably didn’t even know she possessed. She still had so much to learn about herself. He would have enjoyed the chance to watch her journey, but it wasn’t meant to be. There was no point in dwelling on it. The opportunity was lost. Tomorrow they’d find the missing horses and part ways.

He pulled her head onto his chest and stroked her hair. “Sleep now, Aiwattsi. I’ll keep you safe.”

My Review:

As usual, Vane brings the cowboy way to life in a big way, mixing chemistry with romance, the outdoors with hard work, for an altogether rowdy good time. Her picturesque writing brings the setting forward in a manner that allows readers to see it, not simply read about it, creating the perfect backdrop for her uniquely plotted novel. The way that horses, and mustangs in particular, were developed really worked to further the tale without being completely off the walls.

Both of the main characters were quite well developed. I actually quite liked getting to know them. I enjoyed how they were thrown together by circumstances that highlighted both their similarities and differences from one another. The chemistry between them, even if denied at times was impossible to ignore. I did find the fact that they both had tendencies to blame others for the way that their lives were currently turning out to be both ironic and a little tedious at times but, it worked for them for the most part.

As a whole this was a fun romance with a twist. It was great to read as a standalone or as part of this series.

And be sure to enter this fantastic tour wide giveaway!

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Broomstick Breakdown by Eve Langlais

Title:  Broomstick Breakdown
Author:  Eve Langlais
Publication Date:   October 15/10 by Amira Press
Length:  86pgs
Genre:  paranormal romance
Shelf:  giveaway
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Google Play

Back Cover Blurb:

Fate works in mysterious ways.

Sophia is on her way to her first Halloween gathering for witches when her broomstick breaks down. Luckily, she lands at a garage where a hunky mechanic, after a spell of persuasion, agrees to act as chauffeur.

Aidan is more than just a sexy driver though. As a wolf shapeshifter, magic doesn’t affect him, but he’s not immune to the powerful draw of his true mate. Mating should be simple, but he didn’t count on a stubborn witch making abduction his only option.

With the factions they belong to discouraging mixed species mating, will they find love like fate intended?

My Review:

This one was a barrel of laughs from the 1st page. I enjoyed how witch’s magic and broom flying were developed. It was interesting and comical while also adding to the plot. To be honest, Langlais’ entire concept of magic was very well laid out and a unique take on it. The misconceptions between witches and shifters definitely lead to some very comical moments and some tense ones.

There is some very intense chemistry between the two main characters in this tale. The tension between them really enhances the tale. At the same time, as individuals they were a blast. I love Aidan’s caring nature. He’s alpha in every sense of the word.

This was a quick, fast, hot read that I had a blast with. It was a fantastic escape from the everyday for me.


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Susannah's Garden by Debbie Macomber

Title:  Susannah's Gardden
Series:  Blossom Street #3
Author:  Debbie Macomber
Publication Date:   May 1/07 by MIRA Books
Length:  394pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  own
My Rating: ★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play - Audible

Back Cover Blurb:

When Susannah Nelson turned eighteen, she said goodbye to her boyfriend, Jake--and never saw him again. She never saw her brother, Doug, again, either. He died unexpectedly that same year. Now, at fifty, Susannah finds herself regretting the paths not taken. Long married, a mother and a teacher, she should be happy. But she feels there's something missing in her life. Not only that, she's balancing the demands of an aging mother and a temperamental twenty-year-old daughter. Her mother, Vivian, a recent widow, is having difficulty coping and living alone, so Susannah goes home to Colville, Washington. In returning to her parents' house, her girlhood friends and the garden she's always loved, she also returns to the past--and the choices she made back then. What she discovers is that things are not always as they once seemed. Some paths are dead ends. But some gardens remain beautiful....

My Review:

This was an emotionally turbulent novel. Hard choices are made that affect so many lives. Macomber’s inviting writing shines through in every aspect of the tale. This was an interesting tale but not nearly as captivating as the 1st two novels in the series. Susannah’s opinions and prejudices permeate everything. The entire novel revolves around her need to do something that may not necessarily be in everyone’s best interest. Through it all, Macomber develops her cast of characters in a manner that allowed me to get to know them all very well.

All in all I think my biggest issue with this novel was the fact that I don’t really understand how this novel fits into the Blossom Street series (other than a single sentence at the end). It seemed out of place for me.


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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Cloaked in Blood by TF Walsh - Giveaway

Title:  Cloaked in Blood
Series:  Wulfkin Legacies #3
Author:  TF Walsh
Publication Date:   May 9/16 by Crimson Romance
Length:  270pgs
Genre:  paranormal romance
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play

Back Cover Blurb:

The daughter of a sultan alpha, Selena Kurt agrees to an arranged wulfkin mating to protect her sister from a dangerous alpha from the enemy clan. To her surprise, her match is Marcin Ulf, the next in line for the Hungarian throne…and the wulfkin who broke her heart years ago.

Marcin is just as shocked to learn he’ll be matched to the enemy’s daughter and the woman he’s never forgotten. Before they can be paired, however, they’re drawn into a tournament where Marcin will compete to free his estranged imprisoned brother, while Selena battles for the life of another wulfkin alpha. Both intend to seize this chance to save those they’re fighting for—even if it means facing off with one another just as their romance rekindles.

Will tribe loyalty triumph, or will they realize they’re better off as a team before it’s too late?

My Review:

Fantastically vibrant and in-depth world building and an unforgettable plot combine in this fantastic novel to create a tale that held my interest throughout. Walsh brings everything to life for me in a big way, painting it with her words. Walsh’s straightforward writing brings this unique perspective to the paranormal romance genre. At the same time, her solidly crafted plot kept me on my toes throughout. It is a uniquely original plot that combines the best of the supernatural with something completely her own. Her writing really underlines the suspense of the tale, and the dark vibe that seems to run through the world, giving me chills while also keeping me guessing.

The realism of characters in Walsh’s novels always set them apart from the masses for me. This novel is no exception. I enjoyed the fact that they are likeable and also less than perfect. Their humanity shines through as much as their ‘otherness’ does. Walsh’s unique take on what it is to be a shifter, and especially a wulfkin is intrinsic to who her characters are. These are the type of charcters that readers must experience firsthand.

As a whole this was an absolutely captivating novel. Walsh still takes the paranormal romance genre and creates a unique novel within it that both stands out while still fitting in perfectly. This is a must read for lovers of all things shifter.

And now, enter to win in this fantastic giveaway with author TF Walsh
Prizes include a $5 Amazon voucher & 2 swag packs (beaded bookmark, wolf laptop decal sticker, TF Walsh autograph card)
Contest is open internationally, where applicable by law. 
Entries close at 11:59pm June 10/16. 
Winners will be drawn June 11/16. 
Winners will be notified via email to the email provided to the giveaway and will have 72h to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.



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Friday, May 27, 2016

To Tame a Scoundrel's Heart by Collette Cameron

Title:  To Tame a Scoundrel's Heart
Series:  Waltz with a Rogue #4
Author:  Collette Cameron
Publication Date:   May 30/16 by Blue Rose Romance LLC in partnership with Windtree Press
Length:  140pgs
Genre:  historical romance
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo

Back Cover Blurb:

Katrina Needham had her whole life planned: Marry her beloved Major Richard Domont and live happily-ever-after ... until he’s seen with another woman. Distraught, and needing a distraction, she agrees to assist the rugged, and dangerously handsome privateer, The Saint of the Sea, find a wife.

Dominic St. Monté loves everything about his life as a sea captain, but when he unexpectedly inherits a dukedom and the care of his young sisters, he reluctantly decides he must marry. Afterward, he can return to the sea-faring life he craves, leaving his duchess to oversee his dukedom.

Nic, now The Duke of Pendergast, enlists a family friend’s help in finding an acceptable bride and soon realizes Katrina possesses every characteristic he seeks in a duchess. However, he cannot ask for her hand. Not only is she promised to another, a man still determined to make her his, she has absolutely no interest in becoming a privateer’s wife.

Can Nic and Katrina relinquish their carefully planned futures and trust love to guide them?

My Review:

Cameron never fails to bring a smile to my face while creating a uniquely captivating romance. This tale is no exception. It was romance at its most basic level wound up in a comical tale that kept me on the edge of my seat. The plot was light but enriching, providing the best of all worlds to romance lovers. At the same time, Cameron brings the Victorian Era to life in a manner that allows readers to experience it without getting bogged down in technicalities.

The main characters in this novel were priceless. When you take a privateer cum Duke and turn him loose with a not-quite-proper lady and antics will follow. Cameron takes it even further, giving readers realistic and loveable individuals to journey with. Surrounding them with a secondary cast that are just as loveable and quite well developed, and Cameron has a winner with these individuals. To top it off, I absolutely love the curse words that he characters use. They were perfect. They never failed to make me giggle while also highlighting the ways that the times have changed.

As a whole this was a pricelessly romantic and wildly comical novella that held my attention from cover to cover. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone and I also can’t wait to see what Rogue she comes up with next.


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Jealous and Freakn' by Eve Langlais

Title:  Jealous and Freakn'
Series:  Freakn' Shifters #2
Author:  Eve Langlais
Publication Date:   November 18/11
Length:  231pgs
Genre:  paranormal romance
Shelf:  own
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Google PlaySmashwords - Audible

Back Cover Blurb:

Francine’s loved Mitchell, a wolf like herself, since she first set eyes on him back when they were just kids. However, Mitchell’s never seen her as more than another annoying sister. Determined to make him realize she’s all grown up, she enlists the aide of Alejandro, a gorgeous cat shifter. She never counted on wanting them both.

Alejandro knows Francine is special from the first moment he meets the fiery plump wolf, which is why he suggests she use him to make Mitchell jealous. A great plan, especially if it means getting to kiss those luscious lips. One taste though, and he’s addicted, but how does he make her see past the man she loves to realize she’s also meant to be his mate.

For a long time now Mitchell’s been running from Francine, certain she’s mistaken that their destiny’s lie together. However, the little girl he remembers is all grown up, and when he sees her in the arms of another, a need to claim her overrides all his common sense. But, he’s waited too long and fate has decided that he’s going to have to share. Can he bend enough to accept Francine and another man, or will his jealousy keep him freakn’?

My Review:

Langlais’ story is both sinfully hot and absolutely hilarious without ever being ridiculously over the top. The plot comes to life full of danger and suspense but also with romance and chemistry. The world is developed in such a manner that it’s easy to immerse yourself into while falling in love with the characters that Langlais develops.

The dynamic between Francine and Naomi was hilarious. I love how solid their friendship was. But it was definitely topped by the intricate yet difficult dynamic between Francine, Alejandro, and Mitchell. This ménage was interesting to read about, especially because of Mitchell. He’s unruly and impossible to reason with for reasons that even he can’t explain. All the while Francine & Alejandro are trying to make everything so much easier.

I love how Langlais can make me laugh while also making me fall in love with her fantastic characters. This is definitely a one of a kind novel.


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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Landquaker by Dean F. Wilson

Title:  Landquaker
Series:  The Great Iron War #4
Author:  Dean F. Wilson
Publication Date:   April 17/16 by Dioscuri Press
Length:  258pgs
Genre:  steampunk dystopian
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N

Back Cover Blurb:

The Resistance has barely nursed its wounds from the recapture of Blackout, and it is now looking to another, tougher target: the massive steam-powered railway gun known as the Landquaker. They call the vast railroad the Iron Wall, and that mounted barrel is its only sentry. It does not need another.

Blackout was a sitting duck, but the Landquaker is a moving target, and not only one that shoots back, but one that shoots first. The Resistance turns to old allies and new friends, from the land-loving tribes to the land-roving biker gangs. It will need every soldier it can muster.

The Landquaker was designed with a singular purpose: a monstrous gun to hold back a multitude of monsters. Except this time the multitude mans that weapon, and in its hands the land is not the only thing that will quake.

My Review:

This series just keeps on getting better and better! Wilson never ceases to amaze me with his intricate narrative and vibrantly captivating story. The plot is action intensive, with a great deal of danger to the main characters. I loved the mix of mechanics and people. Also, the continuation of world building brought everything to the forefront for me. I enjoyed getting to know the different peoples who populate this world. The way that everything ties together was phenomenal.

Emotions run high as characters try to recover from past losses while fighting their most dangerous battle yet. Teberah’s new vulnerability adds even more depth to her already intriguing character. I also like how Jacob is stepping up to the plate more and more. He’s grown so much since the 1st novel, while still remaining the same loveable character who first drew me in. Wilson’s intricate characters definitely capture your heart and draw you deep into this story.

Wilson brings such unique and unforgettable concepts forward in this novel. Each aspect of it piqued my interest, while the whole was something that I simply couldn’t put down. But I will warn you, the ending of this novel has me on edge, counting down the days until the next novel in this series.


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The Seeress of Kell by David Eddings

Title:  The Seeress of Kell
Series:  The Malloreon #5
Author:  David Eddings
Publication Date:   March 22/92 by Del Rey
Length:  374pgs
Genre:  fantasy
Shelf:  borrowed
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Indigo - Audible

Back Cover Blurb:

THE FINAL RECKONING

Time was running out for Garion and his companions in their quest to recover Garion's infant son and heir. If they could not locate the Place Which Is No More, then Zandramas, the Child of Dark, would use Garion's son in a rite that would raise the Dark Prophecy to eternal dominion over the universe!

Only the Seeress of Kell could reveal the site of that mysterious place--and that she could do only once Garion and Polgara had fulfilled an ancient prophecy in the mountain fastness of the Seers . . .

Kell itself was closed to Zandramas--but her dark magic could force the knowledge she needed from one of Garion's party. She laid her traps and dispatched her foul minions, determined to claim the world for the Dark God. But Garion would let nothing stand between him and his son . . .

Here is the epochal conclusion to David Eddings' bestselling The Malloreon, the culmination of an unparalleled quest across strange lands and among strange peoples--a magnificent fantasy of men, Kings, Sorcerers, and Gods caught up in the seven-thousand-year war between two ancient, opposing Destinies battling to determine the fate of all creation.

My Review:

What a fantastic ending to a great series. The plot of the entire series comes to a head with shocking clarity. The way that all of the different parts of the story are wrapped up was rewarding. At the same time, the forward progression of the tale and the intricate world building never ceases.

The dynamic between the members of the group is so well defined by this point in the series that I felt as if I were part of it. Each individual has captured a piece of my heart throughout the series yet they still managed to shine in unexpected ways throughout this novel.

The ending of this novel was a bittersweet moment. It was a brilliant journey but I’m sad to see it end.


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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Test Drive & Q&A with author Marie Harte

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
The short and sweet—I’m a coffee addict, romance reader and writer, mother of two ever-growing boys, and author of over 100 romance books. I’m a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who is constantly amazed I can do what I love—surround myself with terrific romance fiction.

If you could have coffee or tea with any author, who would it be and what would you ask them? And what would you have?
The real important issue here—my drink of choice. *grin* I’d order a hazelnut latte, then I’d sit down across from Snorri Sturluson, a deceased Icelandic chieftain and Nordic scholar (who passed away in 1241). He’s responsible for the Poetic Edda, a book of Norse mythology and spiritual verse, from which much of our knowledge of Norse myth comes. I’m a sucker for mythology, and I’d love to hear Snorri tell me some of his favorite stories, especially those that didn’t get in the book or have been lost in translation.

How do you think people perceive authors?
That’s a great question. I think before indie publishing became a popular venue, people idealized anyone who wrote as having an estate worth millions, eating bonbons by the pool while she/he waited for the muse to strike again. Now, I think most people view authors as just another gal/guy who decided to write a book. The mystique is gone.

How do you feel about self-publishing?
Both good and bad. I’m torn. Good, because I love the fact that the more traditional gatekeepers—editors and agents—now no longer stand between a good story and an audience of readers who can get what they want. Self-publishing also puts the control into the author’s hands, with a higher royalty return. I’ve published several of my own books.

Bad, because there’s so much fiction out there now, and a lot of it, frankly, has never seen an editor. There’s a glut—especially in the romance market—to wade through, which makes finding a quality read harder than ever. Many readers are sticking to their tried and true authors, not taking a chance on new stuff. Success in publishing is as much about discoverability as it is about a good book, which is too bad, because there are a bunch of self-published authors with terrific books, but not many have heard of them.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
Procrastination. “Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.” It’s a Demovitator quote from Despair.com. It’s snarky and funny and totally riffs on all those motivational posters. I love this site. It’s my kind of humor.

What is your favorite genre to read? To write?
I’m a mood reader, and I go through genres. I love romance books, period. Lately, I’ve been really sinking my teeth into paranormal romance, probably because I’m writing contemporary. (I’m a big fan of Thea Harrison and Nalini Singh.) I don’t like to concurrently write and read in the same genre, because I worry about picking up too much from another author’s style. I love writing contemporary romance, especially right now. But I’m itching to write a sci-fi romance again.

Are there any new (or new to you) authors that have grasped your interest recently and why?
I’ve recently been struck by the Urban Fantasy bug. Crazy I’ve never read much of it before. I was bored over Christmas and decided to see what Patricia Briggs was all about. Now, I’m happy to say I’m a huge Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, and Anne Bishop fan. If any of them have a book out, I’m all over it.

Why do you think romance readers love reading about mechanics and rough and tumble men so much?
There’s something about a tough guy with a hidden vulnerability that tugs at the woman (or man) in all of us, I think. I love a strong hero, both inside and out, who can soften for that special someone. Mechanics are stereotypically gruff, swearing, manly men. Making them deal with a strong heroine is like lighting fireworks and standing back to watch the sparks flare.

How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?
I’d always toyed with writing, or wrote for myself. But it wasn’t until I married and found a job in a cubicle where I realized that if I wanted to write professionally, I couldn’t just talk about it. I had to do it. So I’d write through every lunch. Then I realized it wasn’t enough. My then-husband and I had always wanted one of us to stay home and raise our children, when the time came. So I quit my job and wrote for close to a year. Nothing but writing from the time my stepchildren went to school until five or six at night. It was amazing. Nothing that got published, but those first nine books taught me so much! (I’m a really fast writer. Not saying it’s all good, but it’s fast.) Then I got pregnant with my first and devoted myself to writing fulltime. A lot has changed in the years since—the move out West, no more husband, two growing boys—but I’m still writing. And I still love it.

Do you have any writing rituals that you follow? What is your go-to snack while writing?
My ritual is making coffee, going through emails, then getting started by editing what I’d written the day before. After that, I write for a few hours until I need a break. I try to wrap up by 4, when my kids are home. My go-to snack—caffeine. Coffee or chocolate. I’m not picky.

Do you prefer to write in a small town or big city setting? Why?
It depends on the story. Small towns are nice, intimate, but limiting. Big cities are more freeing, because so many more characters and settings come into play. But you have to work to build a cozy feel.

Can you tell us about your latest release and what inspired you to write it?
My latest release is Test Drive, the first in the Body Shop Bad Boys series. It follows a mechanic named Johnny who’s had a thing for Lara since he first saw her years ago. But Lara doesn’t date the type of guys who frequent the bar where she bartends. She’s trying to get out of her neighborhood, attending nursing classes while working hard at the bar to pay the bills. But one night Johnny comes to Lara’s rescue, and she sees that there’s so much more to him than a playboy mechanic with dirty hands—and a dirty mind.

I needed a new series after the McCauley Brothers ended, and I had some trouble with my proposal for the Donnigans series (also releasing this year). So my editor helped me develop the mechanics of Webster’s Garage, the same guys who work for my heroine from my McCauley Brothers final book. There’s a lot of crossover in my series for Sourcebooks, and it’s so much fun to see my characters growing.

What is your favorite part or scene in the novel?
There are a lot of favorite scenes for me. I love these characters! But one that really comes to mind is when Johnny shows up to take Lara to dinner. He’s met at her door by a precocious eight year old and a laughing streaker covered in bubbles being chased by Lara. Lara totally forgot about her date because she’s babysitting for her sister. Johnny charms not only Lara’s nieces, but her as well. And then the girls go to sleep…

Can you tell us a bit about the process that went behind the cover artwork for this novel?
I gave the publisher an idea of what the story is about and what I’d like to see. Then they took it from there. Authors only have so much control over the artwork, but Sourcebooks likes to work with us. I was at a writer’s conference in Seattle, where my editor was also in attendance, when the cover came in. She showed me the model and the car, and I was in love. Sourcebooks does such a great job, and their art department is stellar!

What is your process for choosing character names?
I try to use different names for each story, but with over a hundred titles, I can repeat myself. Years ago, I kept using Sara/h. She was either a main character or a secondary character, and I’m not sure why. LOL I have a baby name book, and I look online if I want a character to have a certain ancestry. It’s actually a lot of fun picking names.

What characters did you find yourself especially drawn to and why?
Two come to mind from the series, not counting Johnny and Lara. Sam, whose story comes out in book three, Zero to Sixty. Sam’s a bruiser who doesn’t smile much. He had a troubled childhood, but he’s such a sweetheart. He totally loves animals, and he’s tender at heart. His story I couldn’t wait to write. (My editor has it now.)

And Cyn, the heroine from book two, Roadside Assistance. Cyn is a bigger girl, and I love that she’s not a stereotype. She also has mother issues, which contradict her self-assured attitude. Her vulnerabilities lie deeper, and she’s a terrific character. She also won’t let Foley get away with much.

What are you working on next?
I’m hard at work on Gavin’s story, the second in the Donnigans series for Sourcebooks, the first of which releases in November of this year. (The Donnigans are cousins to the McCauleys, the heroes of my McCauley Brothers series.) Then I’m back to my Body Shop Bad Boys to write the fourth book, then back to finish off the Donnigans. I’m busy into 2017 for sure.

Do you have any conferences/book signings/events coming up?
I’ll be signing in Bend, Oregon in June. And in July I’ll be in San Diego at the RWA conference presenting a workshop and signing at RWA’s Readers for Life literacy autographing event.

If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?
To be patient about publishing. Get to really know your story, the craft, the editing process. Make your story the best it can be before trying to get published or publishing yourself.

Thanks for having me!
Marie
marieharte.com

About Marie Harte:
Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author MARIE HARTE is a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking or biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. She lives in in Central Oregon.

Title:  Test Drive
Series:  Body Shop Bad Boys #1
Author:  Marie Harte
Publication Date:   June 7/16 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length:  352pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play

Back Cover Blurb:

GET TO KNOW THE BODY SHOP BAD BOYS
Johnny, Foley, Sam, and Lou are the rough and tumble mechanics of Webster's Garage. These reformed bad boys are used to living fast, but it's the women in their lives who take them from zero to sixty in a heartbeat.

JOHNNY
Johnny Devlin's a charmer with a checkered past. He's has had his eye on scorching-hot bartender Lara Valley for ages, but she's rejected him more than once. That doesn't mean he won't come to her aid when some dirtbag mauls her. When she asks him on a date as a no-strings-attached thank you, he can't say no. And then he's saying nothing but hell, yes.

My Review:

Harte has created a novel full of romance and real friendships amidst the lives of hard characters with true loyalty. Suspense and chemistry make their appearance throughout as we get to know these fantastic characters. I liked the way that the author builds an actual relationship between the main characters. It’s not all chemistry, even though that is definitely there.

There was a great deal of character development at the beginning of this novel, so it took me a bit to really get into the story. That said, it is also the 1st novel in the series and we meet characters who will be prevalent throughout. I loved the different personalities that we meet throughout this varied cast of characters. Some were fun, others were difficult, and yet others were absolutely drool worthy.

All in all, this was a great tart to a promising new series. I will admit that Harte did leave me curious as to what mess Foley’s going to get himself into in the next novel of the series.

And 1 lucky reader will win a print copy of Test Drive by Marie Harte (Canada & US only)
Contest is open internationally, where applicable by law.
Entries close at 11:59pm May 28/16.
Winners will be drawn May 29/16.
Winners will be notified via email to the email provided to the giveaway and will have 72h to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.
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Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Title:  Assassin's Apprentice
Series:  The Farseer Trilogy #1
Author:  Robin Hobb
Publication Date:   March 1/96 by Voyager
Length:  480pgs
Genre:  fantasy
Shelf:  Borrowed
My Rating: ★★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google PlayAudible

Back Cover Blurb:

In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals - the old art known as the Wit - gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

My Review:

Hobbs’ in-depth storytelling and world building brought this novel to life in a very big way. Being told in retrospective gives a unique perspective to the entire world. This author isn’t afraid to shock his readers. The introspective feel of the novel really made me think.

The 1st person narrative is well done and gives a very personal feel to the tale. The sense that Fitz is telling the story of his past gave a uniquely captivating feel to the novel. It made it very easy to identify with and connect with the main character.

I love the characters names in this story. They’re so simple yet perfect for each individual. They allowed me to keep up with all of the secondary characters. In fact, the entire cast was very well developed. I enjoyed getting to know each individual, finding out their good parts, and the bad. Everyone was so dynamic.

I love the voice that this author writes in. She kept me hooked from cover to cover and dying for the next novel. I can’t wait to read more from this fantastic author.


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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Q&A with author Cathy McDavid

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
A – First, let me say thank you for inviting me to your blog and allowing me to get to know you and, hopefully, meet new readers ☺ If I could also take this opportunity, I’d like to offer a free book (print or e-book) to three individuals who comment here and/or “like” my author Facebook page at: facebook.com/Cathy-McDavid-Books-824547790930440/ Go on, enter, it’ll be fun.

Whew! With business out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff (though, winning a free book can be fun!)

I’ve been published since --- ouch, I can’t believe it’s been this long --- 1999. You’d be hard pressed to find some of my early work as those books were released by very small, practically microscopic publishers and with very little fanfare. I often describe my writing career as a series baby steps. After those first few disasters, er, I mean, efforts, I sold to larger and larger publishers finally landing my first contract with my dream publisher, Harlequin, in 2005. I’ve written exclusively for Harlequin since then and have loved every minute of it.

Finally, in October of 2014, I quit the day job in order to write full-time. I’m a bit of a left brain, right brain person and always enjoyed my job as CFO for a mid-size construction company. But, with the kids grown and out of the house, and starting a new life with my wonderful sweetheart, it seemed a good time to make a change. I haven’t regretted a single second.

Q ~ What’s your favourite pass-time?
A -- I’m very involved in my local writers group. Does that qualify as a pastime? It must, because I really enjoy getting together with fellow writers. My sweetheart and I travel when we can, taking several trips, long and short, every year. In fact, we just returned from Seattle where we visited my daughter, saw the sights and ate a lot of GREAT food. I guess I’m a real cliché because, like lots of people, I enjoy the outdoors. We hike when we can, and I just recently went fishing with my son. I’m also a big animal lover, which you’ll soon figure out if you like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter ☺

Q ~ If you could go anywhere, real or imagined, where would it be and why?
A – Next big trip on my list: a cruise to a tropical location. After that, New Zealand.

Q ~ How do you think people perceive authors?
A- I think that depends entirely on whether that person is an avid reader or not. If someone reads, if they love books, they not only enjoy meeting an author, they have a great respect and appreciation for what the author does. If the person isn’t an avid reader, then being a New York Times bestselling author will make very little impression on them. Which is fine because, you know what? We authors are just regular folks.

Q ~ What is your favourite genre to read? To write?
A – My reading tastes are quite eclectic, and only about half of the books I pick up are romances. At the moment, I’m going through a woman’s fiction phase. The more emotional, the better. I still like romantic suspense and the occasional historical romance.

As for what genres I like to write, that’s also all over the place. My first long ago effort was romantic suspense. I’ve also been published in paranormal and historical (American west – which I dearly love and wish there was a bigger market for it). These days, I write exclusively Harlequin Western Romance (formerly Harlequin American Romance). My stories are best described as contemporary westerns, usually involving rodeos or ranches.

Q ~ Do you have a favourite author? Do they influence your writing?
A --- Sandra Brown. Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jodi Picoult are a few of my favorites. The list is much too long to include here ☺

I would say that Sandra Brown was my biggest influence. She was an author I couldn’t get enough of back when I started writing, and I wanted to be just like her. Especially the tall, slender and beautiful part.

Q ~ Are there any new (or new to you) Authors who have grasped your interest recently and why?
Interesting question. I just read a book by a new-to-me author I found really interesting. The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell. It’s a period piece set in the 1920s. I’d call it a cozy thriller, though even that’s not an accurate description. Ms. Rindell has a very compelling and unique voice, but it’s her characters that made the book such a good read.

Q ~ Who is your favorite literary villain and why? Your favourite hero(ine)?
Oh, wow. Hmm. I hate to be cliché (again) but I guess my favorite villain is Hannibal Lector. I read Silence of the Lambs many years ago when it first came out in paperback, and to this day it remains one of the most riveting books on my keeper shelf. Hannibal is that perfect combination of creepy, scary, and fascinating.

Favorite hero would probably be Jacob Jankowski from Water for Elephants. I just loved that book.

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?
Wow, I guess there’s not much about me that isn’t cliché ☺ Like a lot of authors, I started writing in high school and won my very first writing contest during my junior year – I wrote and illustrated an early reader book. I had a few minor publishing successes in college and wrote my first romance novel (not published!) on my portable typewriter when I should have been studying. I eventually gave it all up for the business world. Taking up writing again almost twenty years ago was something of a lark, and I’m pretty sure no one thought I’d stick with it even after completing that first (or, technically, second) book. I’m currently penning my thirty-eighth published novel and have twice made the NYT Bestseller and USA Today lists. It’s just crazy!

Q ~ When you write, do you lay out a solid outline before beginning, or start writing and iron out the kinks later?

I sell on synopses, usually sending three or four of them to my editor. So, the short answer is yes, I lay out a fairly solid outline before I start even the first chapter. I like to plot, it’s one of my favorite parts of the writing process, but I’m not obsessive. I do like to allow for inspiration to strike at any time. I have an idea folder and literally clip or cut or print out things I run across that I find interesting and with story potential. I’ve been known to pull out something I’ve had in the file for years. It’s all a matter of timing.

Q ~ Do you prefer to write in a small town or big city setting? Why?
Definitely small town. That’s a standard component in the Harlequin Western Romance line. Plus, I like the small town setting. It works well with the type of family orientated stories I write.

Q ~ Why did you choose to write romance as your primary genre?
I love to read it. That simple. Okay, well, I also find the complexities of romantic relationships to be compelling as a reader and challenging to write as an author. If you meet me, you might find I love hearing about your romantic relationships, past and present, good and bad. Not as fodder for my books, but because the more I learn about the dynamics of various relationships the better I can write them.

Q ~ Why do you think romance readers love reading about cowboys so much?
Cowboy heroes have been around a long, long time. Just look at this country’s earliest films. Even back to the silent era cowboy heroes and western settings were some of the most popular. From a guy’s standpoint the cowboy is someone he might wish to be like: strong, handsome, confident, skilled, and commanding respect. From a woman’s standpoint: the cowboy is someone who will protect her and care for her and make sure she’s safe. He may ride off into the sunset, but he’ll always come back for her. Tough and rugged on the outside, tender and compassionate on the inside.

Q ~ Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release and what inspired you to write it?
My next release, coming out in June, is titled HAVING THE RANCHER’S BABY, and is book seven in my Mustang Valley series. I will have four more books coming out in this same series, for a total of eleven. You can see I like revisiting Mustang Valley a lot!

This latest installment in the series has a common storyline for romance books: three estranged brothers and a cousin are united after the death of the brothers’ father to run the failing cattle ranch he left behind. I like stories (and series) with strong family conflict. Harlequin encourages its authors to use familiar and popular tropes in their books. In this case, the heroine is accidentally pregnant, and she and the hero must decide what to do. Of course, the timing isn’t good.

The concept for Mustang Valley, and all the books in the series, started with me taking a hike one day with my dog, gazing at the distant McDowell Mountains and wondering if any wild horses still lived in those mountains. When, after researching the area online, I discovered a few small herds of wild horses still lived there, the first three books came to me in a rush.

Q ~ What is your favourite part or scene in the novel?
In most every book I write, including HAVING THE RANCHER’S BABY, my favorite part is usually the climax. Because I write romance books featuring family dramas, the climax tends to be emotional rather than action-filled. My goal is always to write a scene that leaves me with a lump in my throat. If I can make myself want to happy cry, hopefully the reader will, too.

Q ~ What is your process for choosing character names?
We talked earlier how appealing the cowboy hero is. So, I’m always trying to find a “cowboy sounding” first name for my guys: Josh, Luke, Nick, Cody, Conner. For the heroine, I like picking names that fit her personality as I see her. If she’s sweet and gentle, she might be Anna or Lilly or Rose. If she’s a tough cowgirl, she might be Sierra or Sage or Miranda. If she’s bubbly and outgoing, she might be Liberty or Cassidy or Maddie.

Q ~ If you were stranded on a desert island with one of your characters (from any novel you’ve written) who would you choose and why?
Hands down, it would be Scott McSween from THE GATE TO EDEN. This book is one of my all time favorites, a western historical set in the Arizona territory. He’s exactly the kind of cowboy I described earlier.

Q ~ Do you have anything in the works at the moment? Care to give us a hint about it?
Sorry to repeat myself ☺ I just started book nine in the Mustang Valley series, the first of three in this installment. The story is one I’ve had banging around in my idea file for years. Three sisters’ lives are thrown into turmoil with the unexpected appearance of a younger half-sister they didn’t know about arrives in town, demanding a share of their recent lottery windfall. As usual, there will be good looking cowboys, lots of horses, rodeo events and cattle ranching.

Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t quit. It’s really easy to get discouraged. Even seasoned authors do now and again. Also, take the path to publishing that fits you. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Lastly, never stop learning.

Thanks again for having me. I really do appreciate the opportunity. I’m usually pretty open, especially about the business side of writing. If anyone has a question, ask away. And don’t forget to comment or like my author page for a chance to win a free book.

About Cathy McDavid:

Cathy has been writing contemporary westerns/ranch stories for Harlequin American since 2006 and loving it. Every day she gets to write about hunky cowboy heroes and spunky heroines who travel the rocky road to happily-ever-after. She writes full-time from the Arizona home she shares with her sweetheart Mike and what she affectionately refers to as "the animal kingdom", a trio of pets ruled by her 20-year-old cat. Her grown twins out and on their own, making their way in the world and, hopefully, finding their own happily-ever-after..

Visit her website website: cathymcdavid.com, or find her on twitter: @cathymcdavid

Title:  Having the Rancher's Baby
Series:  Mustang Valley #7
Author:  Cathy McDavid
Publication Date:   June 7/16 by Harlequin Western Romance
Length:  224pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: my reviewGoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play

SETTLE DOWN, COWBOY!

His family's Arizona cattle ranch is just the place for Cole Dempsey to hang his hat before he heads back to the rodeo circuit. That is, until Violet Hathaway makes Cole think twice about his future when the livestock manager delivers her game-changing news: she's pregnant!

One passionate mistake could cost Vi her job at Dos Estrellas. And whatever growing feelings Cole and Violet have for each other, she knows the professional cowboy hadn't planned on settling down in Mustang Valley. When he hits the road again, he'll take her dream of them making a life together. Or is a rancher's legacy about to come full circle?


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Cowboy All Night by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Title:  Cowboy All Night
Series:  Thunder Mountain Brotherhood
Author:  Vicki Lewis Thompson
Publication Date:   May 24/16 by Harlequin Blaze
Length:  228pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  Netgalley
My Rating: ★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play

Back Cover Blurb:

Blame it on the Stetson…

Brant Ellison's easygoing nature makes him one of the most sought-after horse trainers in Wyoming. His powerful muscles don't hurt, either. Nothing makes Brant happier than training a new colt at his foster home, Thunder Mountain Ranch—except maybe the colt's sexy new owner, if she wasn't all work and no play.

Aria Danes hopes that once trained, the colt will help her injured brother. But Brant is proving to be a distraction from her responsibilities—she has a wicked urge to strip him from his hat to his boots. Ride 'em, cowboy. Aria and Brant can't get enough of each other. Their craving is insatiable, even if they have nothing in common. Even if some cowboys can never be tied down…

My Review:

Thompson returns to the picturesque Thunder Mountain Ranch for this sizzling tale. I love how easy it is to picture the area surrounding the ranch. I also love the backstory that Thompson creates, not only for the ranch and its inhabitants but also for some of those visiting.

The chemistry in this novel is off the charts. The relationship between the main characters sizzles throughout. Unfortunately I found that I didn’t get to know them too well as individuals, which made it difficult to connect with them.

This was a very enjoyable novel. It was a lot of fun to read with romance and scenery to capture your heart. It simply didn’t have the same attention catching aspect that I’ve come to expect from Thompson.


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Monday, May 23, 2016

What Happens in Texas by Carolyn Brown

Title:  What Happens in Texas
Author:  Carolyn Brown
Publication Date:   June 7/16 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length:  384pgs
Genre:  Contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play

Back Cover Blurb:

Carolyn Brown brings her unique voice to this tale of twin sisters finding love in a small Texas town

Cathy Andrews’s biological clock has passed the ticking stage and is dangerously close to “blown plumb up”. While her twin sister Marty thinks settling down with one man is just a waste of good cowboys, Cathy wants it all: the perfect husband, the baby, and a little house right there in Cadillac. But even as the town is laying bets on whose wedding will be next, Cathy doesn’t see happily-ever-after happening anytime soon.

Fortunately, Cathy and Marty have best friends who aren’t afraid to stir up a ruckus—and if it means Cathy’s got to bust out and set the town on its ear they’ll back her up—no matter how hot things get.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author and RITA Finalist, Carolyn Brown, has published more than seventy books. These days she is concentrating on her two loves: women’s fiction and contemporary cowboy romance. She and her husband, a retired English teacher, make their home in southern Oklahoma.

Excerpt:

If Prissy Parnell hadn’t married Buster Jones and left Cadillac, Texas, for Pasadena, California, Marty wouldn’t have gotten the speeding ticket. It was all Prissy’s damn fault that Marty was in such a hurry to get to the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society monthly meeting that night, so Prissy ought to have to shell out the almost two hundred dollars for that ticket.

They were already passing around the crystal bowl to take up the voting ballots when Marty slung open the door to Violet Prescott’s sunroom and yelled, “Don’t count ’em without my vote.”

Twenty faces turned to look at her and not a one of them, not even her twin sister, Cathy, was smiling. Hell’s bells, who had done pissed on their cucumber sandwiches before she got there, anyway? A person didn’t drop dead from lack of punctuality, did they?

One wall of the sunroom was glass and looked out over lush green lawns and flower gardens. The other three were covered with shadow boxes housing the blue ribbons that the members had won at the Texas State Fair for their jalapeño pepper entries. More than forty shadow boxes all reminding the members of their history and their responsibility for the upcoming year. Bless Cathy’s heart for doing her part. She had a little garden of jalapeños on the east side of the lawn and nurtured them like children. The newest shadow box held ribbons that she’d earned for the club with her pepper jelly and picante. It was the soil, or maybe she told them bedtime stories, but she, like her mamma and grandma, grew the hottest jalapeños in the state.

“It appears that Martha has decided to grace us with her presence once again when it is time to vote for someone to take our dear Prissy’s place in the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society. We really should amend our charter to state that a member has to attend more than one meeting every two years. You could appreciate the fact that we did amend it once to include you in the membership with your sister, who, by the way, has a spotless attendance record,” Violet said.

Violet, the queen of the club, as most of the members called it, was up near eighty years old, built like SpongeBob SquarePants, and had stovepipe jet-black hair right out of the bottle. Few people had the balls or the nerve to cross her, and those who did were put on her shit list right under Martha, aka Marty, Andrews’ name, which was always on the top.

Back in the beginning of the club days, before Marty was even born, the mayor’s wife held the top position on the shit list. When they’d formed the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society, Loretta Massey and Violet almost went to war over the name of the new club. Loretta insisted that it be called a society, and Violet wanted it to be called a club. Belonging to a club just sounded so much fancier than saying that one belonged to a society. Loretta won when the vote came in, but Violet called it a club anyway and that’s what stuck. Rumor had it that Violet was instrumental in getting the mayor ousted just so they’d have to leave Grayson County and Loretta would have to quit the club.

Marty hated it when people called her Martha. It sounded like an old woman’s name. What was her mother thinking anyway when she looked down at two little identical twin baby daughters and named them after her mother and aunt—Martha and Catherine? Thank God she’d at least shortened their names to Marty and Cathy.

Marty shrugged, and Violet snorted. Granted, it was a ladylike snort, but it still went right along with her round face and three-layered neck. Hell, if they wanted to write forty amendments to the charter, Marty would still do only the bare necessities to keep her in voting standing. She hadn’t even wanted to be in the damned club and had only done it because if she didn’t, then Cathy couldn’t.

Marty slid into a seat beside her sister and held up her ballot.

Beulah had the bowl in hand and was ready to hand it off to Violet to read off the votes. But she passed it to the lady on the other side of her and it went back around the circle to Marty, who tossed in her folded piece of paper. If she’d done her homework and gotten the numbers right, that one vote should swing the favor for Anna Ruth to be the new member of the club. She didn’t like Anna Ruth, especially since she’d broken up her best friend’s marriage. But hey, Marty had made a deathbed promise to her mamma, and that carried more weight than the name of a hussy on a piece of paper.

The bowl went back to Violet and she put it in her lap like the coveted jeweled crown of a reigning queen. “Our amended charter states that only twenty-one women can belong to the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society at any one time, and the only time we vote a new member in is when someone moves or dies. Since Prissy Parnell got married this past week and moved away from Grayson County, we are open for one new member. The four names on the ballet are: Agnes Flynn, Trixie Matthews, Anna Ruth Williams, and Gloria Rawlings.”

Even though it wasn’t in the fine print, everyone knew that when attending a meeting, the members should dress for the occasion, which meant panty hose and heels. Marty could feel nineteen pairs of eyes on her. It would have been twenty, but Violet was busy fishing the first ballot from the fancy bowl.

Marty threw one long leg over the other and let the bright red, three-inch-heeled shoe dangle on her toe. They could frown all they wanted. She was wearing a dress, even if it only reached midthigh, and had black spandex leggings under it. If they wanted her to wear panty hose, they’d better put a second amendment on that charter and make it in big print.

God Almighty, but she’d be glad when her great-aunt died and she could quit the club. But it looked like Agnes was going to last forever, which was no surprise. God sure didn’t want her in heaven, and the devil wouldn’t have her in hell.

“One vote for Agnes,” Violet said aloud.

Beulah marked that down on the minutes and waited.

Violet enjoyed her role as president of the club and took her own sweet time with each ballot. Too bad she hadn’t dropped dead or at least moved to California so Cathy could be president. Marty would bet her sister would get those votes counted a hell of a lot faster.

There was one piece of paper in the candy dish when Beulah held up a hand. “We’ve got six each for Agnes, Trixie, Anna Ruth, and two for Gloria. Unless this last vote is for Agnes, Trixie, or Anna Ruth, we have a tie, and we’ll have to have a runoff election.”

“Shit!” Marty mumbled.

Cathy shot her a dirty look.

“Anna Ruth,” Violet said and let out a whoosh of air.

A smile tickled the corner of Marty’s mouth.

Saved, by damn!

Agnes was saved from prison.

Violet was saved from attending her own funeral.

The speeding ticket was worth every penny.

My Review:

Brown’s light-hearted writing style paints a vivid picture of this corner of Texas, inviting readers into an unforgettable story. She takes everyday life and shows you people how they really are. She brings the setting to life with picturesque yet extremely vivid descriptions that allowed me to walk through these ranches alongside the characters. All the while, Brown tells a complex yet easily enjoyable tale. 

Brown’s characters are fulfilling and a joy to get to know. I appreciated how the main characters stood out and truly became individuals that you come to know inside and out. At the same time, you get to know them as the story progresses, in a slow reveal. The dialogue in this novel was fantastic. The local drawl and speech patterns really shine through.

It was a fun read with that hint of emotion that makes the romance shine all the more brightly.


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Peripheral Encounters by James Litherland

Title:  Peripheral Encounters
Series:  Slowpocalypse #4
Author:  James Litherland
Publication Date:   May 25/16 by Outpost Stories
Length:  154pgs
Genre:  dystopian
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo

Back Cover Blurb:

—An Enlightening Expedition

SENT to scout the area surrounding the FURC, what Kat and Tony find among the crumbling remnants of civilization convinces them that for all the challenges they’ve faced inside the compound, they’ve had it easy. Hoping to help some of the survivors, they encounter difficulty and danger—but the real risk they run arises from a secret aspect of their mission Tony hasn’t shared with his partner, a gambit that will put the pair in extreme peril from a ruthless enemy.

My Review:

Litherland returns to the world of Slowpocalypse with the same unique writing style that we’ve come to expect from him. His descriptive writing shines as he continues to develop the world in which his characters find themselves. I enjoy the way that Litherland picks up threads from previous novels and how he develops new ones to continue on throughout the series. At the same time, this is a complete story in and of itself.

I enjoyed the variety of different character types that Litherland develops throughout this novel. The variety really gives a sense of travelling through different regions. The main characters shine, but you get to know everyone quite well.

This novel was a great addition to the series. Litherland’s writing style allows the characters to come to life while the plot develops.


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