Tuesday, August 31, 2021

#Review: UNMASKING THE HERO by Mary Lancaster


  5 of 5 stars

Oliver, the charming Earl of Wennng, thought he was living his perfect life. He had married Grace, the woman of his dreams and their life together looked wonderful full of love and laughter. Except, something goes terribly wrong on the wedding night and Oliver abandons Grace while he pursues a diplomatic mission in China. Grace was shattered and had not idea what had happened, but she soon tries to pull her life together and carry on. When word reaches her two years later, that her wayward husband is coming home, she vows never to forgive him his terrible treatment of her. But, are there other things in play keeping these two apart?

I absolutely loved this book! It was so heartbreaking for the suffering Grace had endured and she does her best to put on a brave face to Society. Everyone accuses her of driving her husband away, but how is that fair? There was mystery, intrigue and a slow understanding of what jealously can do to families. The pacing is good throughout the book and the ending is perfect! I'm looking forward to reading more from this talented author.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

#Review: THE WONDER OF LOVE by Meara Platt


Taunton’s magistrate, Shayne Brayden, never saw the punch from Willow Farthingale coming, but he wasn't about to let the fiesty miss out of his sight until he got her witness statement. Willow might have seen who set fire to the inn's carriage house and Shayne needed to catch the culprit(s) before even more damage was done. Though they had a rocky start, a sort of mutual respect developed between them, that is, until Willow is attacked. Now all of Shayne's protective instincts kicked in to protect the woman that was becoming very dear to him. Can he keep her safe before another attempt is made?

I loved all the Book of Love books. This was another tender and sweet story without too much conflict between the main characters, but more self-doubt than anything else. Shayne wasn't ready to admit he was falling in love with Willow and Willow couldn't believe a hunky and gorgeous man like Shayne would be interested in her. There's a mystery running through the story of who exactly wanted Willow dead and a past love of Shayne's that shows up to shake Willow's confidence. If you're looking for a sweet and romantic story, this series is definitely a favorite. Can't wait to read the next book in the story and see what happens with Willow's sister.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

#Review: A DUKE WORTH FIGHTING FOR by Christina Britton


  4 of 5 stars
Daniel Hayle, Duke of Carlisle, never wanted to be the duke. He was a soldier and knew war not glittering ballrooms and simpering misses. He agrees to accompany his mother on a trip to the Isle of Synne where she can rest and regain her health and he can practice his social skills. He meets Margery, a war widow who still misses her beloved, but there's something about her that Daniel can't get her out of his mind. When she volunteers to help him find a bride for a price, he readily agrees. What could go wrong?

I loved Daniel. Even though he was an awkward and scarred man who was just looking for a bride, he begins to look forward to outings because Margery would be by his side. He needs no love or tender feelings involved in his potential bride. He just needs an heir so his greedy cousin doesn't inherit the dukedom. Margery was so kind and could look beyond his scars to the honorable man he was and she makes Daniel feel more like a whole man despite his scars. Theirs is a slow burn romance amidst a blackmail mystery. Ms. Britton has a couple of clever twists in the story that kept me turning the pages to the end. I thoroughly enjoy this series and look forward to the next book in the series.
I  voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

#Review: ROMANCING THE DUKE by Tessa Dare


  4 of 5 stars

When Isolde Ophelia Goodnight receives a mysterious letter telling her she's gotten an inheritance, she hopes against all others that it's funds to get her back on her feet. What she doesn't expect is to inherit a decrepit castle with an uninvited guest, Ransome, the Duke of Rothbury. The castle is the only thing she has worth anything and when Ransome orders her to leave his castle, she digs in her heels and refuses. With neither of them budging in their stands, Ransome offers to pay her to be his secretary and review mountains of unopened letters. Izzy agrees and begins to wade their the piles of correspondence that has accumulated by the neglectful duke to find out why the castle was sold in the first place. Can these two come to a compromise that serves them both well?

I loved this book! It was a funny, silly and an engaging retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. There were several laugh out loud moments as these two adjust to each other as well as a growing mystery brewing on who exactly is stealing from the duke. Along the way these two begin to fall in love, but it could all disappear when the duke's competency is threatened. Can Izzy marshall her fantasy fans to help her convince the duke's solicitors that he is perfectly sane? Their attempts at this are silly at best, but suspending belief and just enjoying the premise, I found it all thoroughly enjoyable. My only criticism is that when they uncover who was stealing from the duke, there was no consequences for such egregious behavior. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021



  4 of 5 stars

Lady Mary Beresford is independent, impetuous and has a tendency to exaggerate the truth. When she sets off on a solo journey to Vienna, her brother asks his friend Lord Stephen Stanhope to follow her and keep her safe. It's a perilous journey and it takes a number of days to catch up with her. When he finally finds her, they become stranded at an inn in the mountains. Not only has the snow continued to pile up, but Mary is involved in a mystery involving an elderly companion who has disappeared and which the innkeeper insists there was no such woman. Stephen must weigh all the facts while dealing with a headstrong Mary to figure out the truth.

Ms. Bolen has written a unique and entertaining story. It's far from the glittering ballrooms of the ton. Being stranded at a snowbound inn allowed the mystery plot line to flourish and unfold at a steady pace. I thought Mary was a little bratty at times, but Stephen's steady influence calms her especially when he begins to believe her story. There's intrigue, a cast of shady characters and a sweet love story. I'm glad I came across this book.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.


Monday, August 9, 2021

#Excerpt: THE LIVING SWORD 3 by Pemry Janes

The Living Sword 3 – The Burden of Legacy
Pemry Janes
(The Living Sword, #3)
Publication date: August 6th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Leraine has finally returned home, but the welcome is not as she imagined it. Tension is rising within the Mochedan Federation as many advocate for an end to the long peace and a return to the glory of war.

She sets off to the most important festival of the Mochedan, hoping to preserve the peace for at least a little while longer. Eurik joins her, to help his friend and to finally find the answers about his parents he’s been chasing since he left the island.

What they find is theft, murder, and a conspiracy to end their world.

Goodreads / Amazon


“Ah, so we’re heading for smithies,” Misthell said.

Startled, Eurik glanced over his shoulder at the blade. “We are. How did you know?”

“We’re looking for my makers, that’s the point of this whole story. Also, there were at least two carts laden with iron bars and coal we passed heading the same way we are.”

Looking past Misthell, Eurik spotted one of the carts in question. “Right. I should have noticed that.”

“You’re too focused on one thing. Or should I say, one Way. Why don’t you try Dance of the Whirlwind to find what you’re looking for?”

He hesitated for a moment as the people flowed around him. But these past weeks, what little time he’d had for training had been taken up by Silver Fang. And on the Road, even wind chiri didn’t quite work as it should.

Taking a deep breath, he reached out only to have Misthell whistle sharply in his ear. Eurik flinched away. “What was that for?”

“Because you’re starting wrong. The wind is motion, so if you’re trying to become one with the wind . . .”

He sighed. He should know this and he did. “So must I.” Eurik moved forward, arms hanging loose at his side, fingers lightly splayed, and felt for the flow of wind chiri. Though flow was the wrong word for the chaotic mess swirling around him, a chaos he added to with every step, every breath. On reflex, he closed his eyes to better concentrate on his other sense.

He tried feeling for the ringing of steel, of hammers striking hot iron. But the wind chiri shied away from his reach, his flow rebuffing those around him.

Eurik sidestepped a group walking toward them, their wake washing over him. A sharp flow snaked its way out of a tavern to his left, carrying a jaunty tune. Behind him an ox exerted himself, hot air blasting out with every huff.

Those flows he could feel, because they mixed and bounced off his own, but they also constrained his world. He pushed, wind ruffling clothes and hair, and he felt his perception expand. So did the chaos, new flows emerging within his flow while more flows beat at it from without.

The wingbeat of a lake gull, the wind blowing over the rooftops of Urumoy, hot air rising from a dozen chimneys, the staccato of a thousand voices whispering, speaking, hollering.

Eurik swayed, and a wagon wheel ground past his toes, almost crushing them. “Look where you’re going!” Opening his eyes, he staggered away as he lost his connection with the world. Out of the flow of traffic, into a narrow, shadowed alley. The air hung in there, thick and fetid. His deep breaths only set him to coughing.

“What did you do wrong?”

“I—” Another cough. Eurik shook his head. “I don’t know.” Breathing through his nose wasn’t better, only made the smell worse, but it helped against the coughing. “I tried to reach out to find the smithy, but I got swamped by the city. There was too much.”

“Wind is not earth,” Misthell said, his voice changing into a familiar one. One Eurik had not heard in months. “It is more like water, flowing from a place of abundance to one where there is absence. The wind dances to its own music, and you must dance with it if you wish to guide it to where you need it.”

Eurik blinked until his sight stopped being blurry. “You talked a lot to sesin.”

“Yeah. What, you thought I’d spent all that time in a box?”

Eurik shook his head. “Hard to imagine. I would have found you within a year or so if that were true. All I would have to do is follow the stream of complaints.”

“You mean pointed reminders. Not my fault your fleshy minds leak memories like sieves.”

Author Bio:

Pemry Janes grew up on a family-owned farm. He has had a love for history for as long as he can remember and studied it at university. Fantasy he discovered a few years later and now tries to combine the two in his writing.

Website / Goodreads / Newsletter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted by:



Friday, August 6, 2021

#Review: DEVIL IN DISGUISE by Lisa Kleypas


  4 of 5 stars

When Keir MacRae goes to London to deliver his whiskey, he never believed he'd meet Lady Merritt Sterling or be the target of a murder plot. Merritt is everything he'd ever want in a woman, but she's too far above his station for him to court her except the heart wants what the heart wants. On his way to share a meal with her, he's attacked and injured, but that's not the last time someone tries to kill him. The next time he's seriously injured and Merritt takes him to her uncle Kington's seaside manor. As Keir recovers, he learns about his mysterious past.

This was the first book I've read in the Ravenels series and thoroughly enjoyed it especially that the story takes place far from the glittering ballrooms of the ton. Merritt was a strong, independent woman who took pride in running her dead husband's shipping business. I have to say that while I liked Merritt, I loved Keir. Who wouldn't fall for a tall, broad-shouldered Scot with an irresistible brogue? He was so honorable. I'm sure I'd enjoy the story more if I had read some of the previous books in the series especially Kingston's story.  The pace of the story moves along nicely and read the book in one sitting.

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Interview with Lee Matthew Goldberg, GRENADE BOUQUETS

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?

Yes, GRENADE BOUQUETS is the second book in the Runaway Train Series. It’s about a teen girl in the ‘90s who goes off the rails after her sister dies and find love and inspiration in grunge music and her dream to become a singer.


Do you have a favorite character?

The main character, Nico Sullivan. She has to be my favorite if I’m writing three books about her.


Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?

The character Clarissa is minor in the first book, but has a much bigger part in the second. There’s a love triangle plot, since the main character’s boyfriend Evan is Clarissa’s ex.


Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?

I have an agent, but sent this directly to its publisher Wise Wolf Books. I had a friend who recommended them for YA, and the deal happened very quickly. They liked the first book so much that they wanted to do a second book right away.


How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?

My first novel SLOW DOWN came out in 2015. I got the deal for that in 2013, but it took about two years with an agent to find the right publisher.


Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish? Are you doing both?

I’ve never self-published. I’ve worked with Big 5 publishers and Indies throughout my career.


What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?

For these books, I definitely listened to a lot of music since it’s set in the grunge world of 1994-1996.


Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?

Heavily outline, usually a paragraph for each chapter so I have an idea of what I’m writing each day.


Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?

Always, it’s the hardest thing about being a writer. Even with traditional publishers, a lot of the marketing falls on your shoulders too. That’s just the way it is.


Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?

Dogs by a mile, both vanilla and chocolate, tea never coffee, talk or text depending on my mood, and for writing, definitely during the day.


What’s next for you?

The third book in the RUNAWAY TRAIN series VANISH ME, which I’ve haven’t started yet. And I have an adult thriller STALKER STALKED coming out Sept 17th. I’m also working on some exciting screenplay stuff connected to my books!

Grenade Bouquets
Lee Matthew Goldberg
(Runaway Train, #2)
Publication date: August 5th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

I had stars in my eyes and I couldn’t see around them…

The year is 1995 and my parents have finally allowed me to take the summer to tour in a VW van across the country with my boyfriend Evan and our band. Yes, my dream to be a singer became reality. Even with Clarissa, Evan’s jealous ex-girlfriend, as the lead singer, it’s my presence on stage that led us to a major record deal. There are moments you’ll always remember in life, but I can’t imagine anything more cool than hearing your song on the radio for the first time.

But being a Rockstar isn’t as easy as it sounds. Using alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms, nothing but tension surrounded me, hurting my still blossoming relationship, and continued grieving over my sister’s death.

A love letter to the nineties and a journey of a girl becoming a woman, Grenade Bouquets charts the rollercoaster ride of a band primed to explode on the scene, as long as they keep from actually exploding.

“An engaging ’90s pastiche with an earnest heart beating at its center.”– Kirkus Reviews on Runaway Train.

Goodreads / Amazon

Author Bio:

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels THE ANCESTOR, THE MENTOR, THE DESIRE CARD and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the Prix du Polar. His first YA series RUNAWAY TRAIN is forthcoming in 2021 along with a sci-fi novel ORANGE CITY. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in The Millions, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, LitReactor, Monkeybicycle, Fiction Writers Review, Cagibi, Necessary Fiction, the anthology Dirty Boulevard, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. Follow him at LeeMatthewGoldberg.com

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted by:


#Excerpt: WARRIOR PRIEST by Kate Hill

Warrior Priest
Kate Hill
Publication date: August 1st 2021
Genres: Adult, Romance, Science Fiction

What happens when a warrior priest from a strict religion meets a free-spirited priestess from a new age commune? Jade and Selena are as different as two people can be, but to facilitate an alliance between their worlds, they engage in a cultural exchange. With their galaxy in danger from a planet that wants to conquer or destroy all others, they realize the importance of their assignment, but it is difficult for a warrior priest and a nonviolent priestess to understand each other. Selena is both attracted and appalled by his old school masculinity, and Jade is tempted to break his vow of celibacy until marriage due to his powerful desire for her. Will this unlikely pair not only find common ground, but unconditional love?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


“This is our last stop before the ceremony,” Ari Tobias said.

They walked through the courtyard to where dozens of priests engaged in hand-to-hand combat. Some wrestled, others kicked and punched, and others dueled with machetes.
They paused in a circular area where three priests attacked one.

“That’s Ari Jade.” Ari Tobias nodded toward the priest who fought the three. “He’s among those being honored at the ceremony today.”

Tall and broad with long limbs, Ari Jade moved like a predator. His braid lashed behind him as he defended against the attacking priests. The severe hairstyle did nothing to hide his remarkably large ears. His high-collared black uniform clung damply to his lithe, powerful body. A red-haired priest grasped him from behind, and he easily tossed the man onto his back and struck him in the stomach just seconds before spinning and kicking the second priest. The third lunged at him and for several seconds they traded blows before the redhead kicked Ari Jade’s legs out from under him. He landed with a grunt, partly breaking his fall with an extended arm. He kicked two priests and twisted to avoid a punch from the third.

“Is something wrong, Elspeth?” Ari Tobias asked, a smirk in his voice. His gaze fixed on the dark-haired priestess.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t understand how all this bloodshed fits with religion.”

“Probably because our religion is quite different than yours. Whereas you’re upset by this, your companion seems fascinated.”

It took Selena a moment to realize that he’d been referring to her. For some strange reason, she couldn’t keep her gaze from Ari Jade. There was something almost savage about him. Some might consider his heavy features ugly—except for his eyes. They were dark, almond-shaped, and more intense than lasers. A faded scar—like a slice from a dagger—cut across his right eyebrow. He both frightened and fascinated her.

A gong sounded and the priests stopped training. At that moment, Ari Jade turned and stared directly into Selena’s eyes. A shiver ran down her spine again, but this time it was as much from desire as from fear. Ari Jade unsettled her, but she wouldn’t allow him to intimidate her. She stared back at him, refusing to break contact no matter how much she wanted to look away.

The red-headed priest punched Ari Jade amiably in the shoulder, drawing his attention away from Selena. Grateful for his distraction, she released a pent-up breath.

“It’s time to prepare for the ceremony,” Ari Tobias announced and led the way back to the temple.

Elspeth followed close behind him, but Selena hung back for a moment, her gaze fixed once more on Ari Jade. He turned to her. His dark, almond-shaped eyes narrowed and his lips twitched in an animal-like snarl. To drive off her fear and discomfort, she again noted the size of his ears and decided that she would now think of him as Ari Donkey. She couldn’t keep from smiling, and Jade scowled, their gazes still locked.

“Selena!” Elspeth called.

“Coming!” Selena hurried to join the others.

Author Bio:

Kate Hill is a vegetarian New Englander who started writing many years ago for pleasure.

When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, watching horror and action movies, working out, and spending time with her family and pets.

She also writes under the name Saloni Quinby.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Pinterest / Bookbub

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted by:



Monday, August 2, 2021

#Review: WHEN A DUKE LOVES A GOVERNESS by Olivia Drake


  3 of 5 stars

Guy Whitby, the new Duke of Carlin, feels out of his depth when it comes to his young daughter. How can a 4-year-old child disrupt a household so badly? When his wife dies in childbirth, Guy sailed the world gathering specimens for his scholarly pursuits, leaving the infant in the care of his in-laws. But when he is thrust into the role of Duke by the deaths of his father and older brother, he returns to England to take up the mantel and the care of his daughter. He's now in desperate need of a governess for Sophy as she's driven away too many of them with her bad behavior. When Tessa James appears to apply for the position, Guy is suspicious of her qualifications, but hires her anyway. Little did either of them know, their lives would be changed forever.

I've read other books by Ms. Drake and have enjoyed them. I was on the fence with this one though and had to suspend belief right at the beginning that a duke would hire a governess with such sketchy qualifications. I did love the interactions with Tessa and Sophy as she taught the little girl that not everyone will leave her especially her father. The mystery "The Carlin Curse" that ran through the book wrapped up quickly when the villain spills all his secrets to Tessa thinking he'll get away with another murder. I thought the romance between Guy and Tessa took a backseat to the mystery in this book. The newly discovered family relations was a nice touch bringing Tessa's life full circle back to her dead mother.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.