Deep Dark by Laura Griffin – Review & Giveaway

Deep Dark by Laura Griffin – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Tracers #10
by Laura Griffin
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Genre: mystery, suspense


Deep DarkAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

The moment detective Reed Novak steps onto the crime scene, he knows the case is going to rock his world. A beautiful young woman murdered at home. No sign of forced entry. No motive. She’s obviously not the killer’s first victim, and Reed’s instincts tell him she won’t be his last. Reed’s first clue comes via a mysterious text that links to a dating profile, but even more intriguing than the clue is the person who sent it.

As a white-hat hacker in the Delphi Center’s cyber investigation unit, Laney Knox sneaks into some of the deepest, darkest corners of the Internet looking for predators. Laney would prefer to stay away from Austin PD’s most recent murder case, but she can’t ignore the chilling similarities between that crime and her own brutal attack years ago. Laney offers to help the sexy lead detective, but he wants more from her than just a promising tip—Reed wants her trust. Laney resists, but as their relationship deepens she’s tempted to reveal the closely guarded secrets that could make her a key witness…or the killer’s next victim.




Deep Dark by Laura Griffin is the 10th book in her wonderful Tracers series.  This is a series that though they do have recurring characters that are part of the Tracers team, it does read very well as a standalone.  The Delphi Center, which is private, specializes in elite experts in all aspects of foresenics, which help the police or FBI to solve difficult crimes, such as serial killers.   Deep Dark revolves around Laney Knox, a member of the Delphi Center’s cyber investigative unit and detective Reed Novak. 

The story starts three years earlier, when Laney wakes up in the middle of the night hearing a possible burglar.  Someone with a ski mask jumps her, but Laney is able to escape from being raped or killed.  Jump to the present, where Laney now works for the Delphi Center as a computer expert who is able to hack into any system to help find clues. When a young woman is brutally murdered, Laney finds herself unable to not get involved.  She tries to help finding some clues for the police to use, and meets the lead detective, Reed.  Even though he isn’t too keen on her becoming involved in his case, he learns quickly that she is very good at what she does.  Reed also finds himself becoming attracted to her, but shies away, since he is 39 to her 24.  Reed also senses that Laney is hiding something, as she seems to be taking this case personally.

With help from Laney, and some other members of Delphi, Reed begins to suspect there is a serial murderer on the loose.  Clues from other murders of young women from recent and years past start showing up.  Together, Reed and Laney will work to try and find the culprit, but are stymied at every turn, even when they get close, they are too late.  In time, Reed who has become involved with Laney, despite his better judgment, finds out the truth of what happened to Laney years before and why she stubbornly insists to help.  The clues of the murderer have so many similarities to her attacker.  The romance between Laney and Reed was really nice, as I loved them together.   Griffin does a wonderful job of giving us a very nice romance, but not letting it overtake the story.

What follows is a very exciting tense emotional story, where finding one victim leads to the discovery of more of the same over the last few years.   Reed will push to find the killer before another murder takes place, but it will be Laney who will find the clues.  Laney will find herself in danger, forcing Reed to race to save her.  Griffin had us holding our breaths throughout the story, and managed to keep us in the dark as to who the killer was; there was a surprising twist I did not see. As always, I love the main characters of each story, and Deep Dark was no different. Besides Reed, Laney, the Delphi members we have met previously, I enjoyed Jay, Veronica and Jordan.  Laura Griffin has once again given us another thriller, which is so well written with allowing us to see what goes on behind the scenes to find a murderer.  If you enjoy suspense, mystery, fast paced, forensics, great romance and bad villains to catch, then the Tracers series is a must.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


Guest post-White and RedSummer Bucket List by Laura Griffin


Summer will fly by if you don’t get out there and seize the moment! Check out these 11 ideas to add to your summer bucket list:

  1. Get new flip-flops. A little gift for your feet will put you in the summer spirit.
  2. Take a road trip. This is one of those things people always talk about, but never do. This summer just pick a destination and hop in the car! If you’re short on time, go for the day and discover a new lunch place along the way.
  3. Visit a national park. Some of the most beautiful spots in the world are within America’s 59 national parks. To find one in your area visit
  4. Go skinny dipping. Not necessarily in the national park…
  5. Make s’mores. Marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate. It’s that simple! If you don’t have a campfire site handy, the grille works, too.
  6. Plan a girls’ (or guys’) night out. Round up your friends and try a new place together, such as a beer garden or a café with a patio.
  7. Taka a yoga class. Especially if you think you don’t have time. Your mind and body will thank you.
  8. Catch an action flick. This summer’s list includes X-Men Apocalypse, The Legend of Tarzan, Ghostbusters and (my personal favorite) Jason Bourne.
  9. Try star gazing. It’s free! Sites such as can help you find a good time. This summer’s Perseid Meteor Shower will peak around August 11.
  10. Go on a picnic.
  11. Read a romance novel. Trust me on this one. You’ll be glad you did!



Laura’s publisher is offering a paper copy of DEEP DARK to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

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8. Giveaway runs from May 24 – 28, 2016


Cocktails in Camelot by Marianne Mancusi – a Review

Cocktails in Camelot by Marianne Mancusi – a Review


Cocktails in CamelotAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

Katherine “Kat” Jones is not your typical damsel in distress. She’s an outspoken New York City fashion editor, whose job is to claw through the hype and sniff out the trends. But an assignment at a medieval fair suddenly gets out of hand when Kat finds herself not at a modern fair but back in the actual time of King Arthur’s court. Suddenly Kat needs every ounce of her 21st century wits to navigate the legend. After all, surviving a magical plot, an evil prince, and a case of mistaken identity—all without changing history or scuffing your Manolos—takes some doing!

Luckily, she’s got her very own knight in shining armor, Lancelot du Lac, on her side. The honorable-to-a-fault and devastatingly handsome champion insists on helping her out, even though she’s not quite sure she wants him to. After all, shouldn’t he be off romancing Queen Guenevere or something? Will Kat manage to stay out of trouble long enough to get back to her beloved cappuccinos, cosmopolitans and cashmere? And what will Lancelot’s forbidden love mean for the kingdom of Camelot?




Cocktails in Camelot by Marianne Mancusi is a time travel story going back to the days of King Arthur’s Court.  Katherine (Kat) Jones, our heroine,   is a fashion editor in modern times.  When she is assigned to attend a medieval fair, she angers a gypsy with her flip attitude and is cursed.  When she wakes up, Kat is actually in the real medieval times, where she meets King Arthur, Sir Lancelot and Guenevere. 

At first Kat still thinks she is at the fair she attended, until she realizes she has time travelled.  Everyone there, who hears the strange language spoken by Kat, thinks she is a spy.  She manages to escape, and with Lancelot’s help she uns away, ending up meeting Nimue, the Lady of the Lake.  Nimue will proceed to tell her she must seduce Lancelot.  Why you ask?  Because Nimue and Merlin can see the future, and they want to save Guenevere from being burned as a witch traitor for sleeping with Lancelot, and betraying Arthur. 

She goes back to King Arthur’s court, with Lancelot and Guenevere and manages to make friends, and fall in love with Lancelot.  What follows is a cute story, that was funny at times with Kat use of modern day slang.  It is Lancelot and Kat’s hidden romance that will accidently lead the way of endangering Guenevere and Lancelot’s lives.

It was an interesting story, but one that I felt was overdone in some ways.  Kat’s quips and mistakes ended up being more annoying then fun to me. I did enjoy Kat and Lancelot’s romance.  I loved Guenevere, as she and Kat became fast friends. It was cute at times, and the ending was a bit exciting, as we wondered how Kat will help Lancelot and Guenevere.  We also wondered if Kat will find her way back home to the present.  If you like a nice but different romance, with a blend of modern day and time travel, you should give this a try.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Author


Sexiest Couple Alive (Knight Fashion 2) by M.Clarke-Review and Book Tour

SEXIEST COUPLE ALIVE (Knight Fashion #2) by M. Clarke-Review and Book Tour

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Knight Fashion Series #2
by M. Clarke
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance
Release Date: May 23, 2016

Sexiest Couple Alive / / B&N / KOBO / itunes

Add SEXIEST COUPLE ALIVE to your TBR pile on Goodreads!

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 23, 2016

Nathan Cross is living his dream. Not only is he modeling for Knight Fashion Magazine, recently voted “sexiest man alive,” but he is dating a beautiful photographer who could be his new future. When he unexpectedly reunites with his past love, his world crashes around him. Two loves. The past or the future: which one will he choose?

Olivia’s past choices come back to haunt her and could ruin everything she has worked so hard to build. Troy has the power to destroy any hope of happiness. She will do everything to keep that from happening, even if it means giving up her second chance with Nathan. Lies. Revenge. Scandal. Olivia could lose it all.


REVIEW: SEXIEST COUPLE ALIVE is the second installment in M.Clarke’s contemporary, adult KNIGHT FASHION romance series focusing on the models and photographers who work for Knight Fashion. This is model and ‘sexiest man alive’ Nathan Cross, and model Olivia’s continuing story. KNIGHT FASHION series is a spin off from M.Clarke’s Something Amazing/Something Great series. SEXIEST COUPLE ALIVE should not be read as a stand alone as it continues upon the events of book one and the cliff hanger ending.

NOTE: If you have not read SEXIEST MAN ALIVE there may be some spoilers in my review. See my review of book one below this review.

Told from dual first person perspectives (Nathan and Olivia) using present day and memories from the past , SEXIEST COUPLE ALIVE picks up immediately upon the events of book one wherein Olivia has dumped her photographer boyfriend and is hoping to rekindle her relationship with her former beau Nathan Cross….but things do not go according to plan when her ex boyfriend Troy is determined to keep Olivia for himself.

Throughout SEXIEST COUPLE ALIVE we are witness to Troy’s obsession with Olivia- an obsession that is both dangerous and deadly. While Nathan’s career continues to grow, Olivia’s is threatened by the man with whom she thought she could love.

Isla and Josh continue to play supporting roles throughout the story. There is a definite attraction between the secondary couple, one that I hope will be explored in a future installment.

SEXIEST COUPLE ALIVE is a fated story line about one couple’s love that has never died. There are moments of catastrophic pronouncements and vivid realizations. The premise is awash in the knowledge that Nathan and Olivia deserve their happily ever after but someone else stands in their way. The characters are colorful and spirited; the romance encouraging but is threatened from an outside source. M. Clarke invites you into the world of high fashion models and the people they love.

Copy supplied by the promoter

Reviewed by Sandy



(Knight Fashion #1)
by M. Clarke
Release Date: February 22, 2016 / / B&N / KOBO /


Nathan Cross is a struggling actor waiting tables at a local restaurant to make ends meet while he attends endless auditions. Though his hopeful career moves at a slow pace, Olivia is the strength and sunshine in his life… until she leaves him. One day, he is offered a contract with a modeling agent, leading him to work for Knight Fashion Magazine—a dream job he never imagined would become a reality.

Olivia swore she would always put her career first and that’s precisely what she did when she left Nathan. Having a deadbeat dad and watching her mom work two jobs to make ends meet have been her driving force. When she is offered a modeling career, she drops everything—even the love of her life—and moves to New York.

Though Nathan and Olivia try to steer clear of one another, working for the same fashion magazine causes their paths to cross again and old emotions are awakened. Can Nathan forgive Olivia or will he take the next step with the woman he is currently dating? Will Olivia do everything she can to break them apart? Or will she choose her career over her heart… again?


REVIEW: SEXIEST MAN ALIVE is the first installment in M. Clarke’s contemporary, adult KNIGHT FASHION romance series focusing on the models and photographers who work for Knight Fashion. This is struggling actor/model Nathan Cross, and model Olivia’s storyline. KNIGHT FASHION series is a spin off from M.Clarke’s Something Amazing/Something Great series.

Told from dual first person perspectives using present day and memories from the past SEXIEST MAN ALIVE follows the modeling careers of former lovers Nathan and Olivia. When Olivia turned down Nathan’s proposal before heading to New York and her upstart fashion career, Nathan found himself heartbroken and alone until a call from his agent found Nathan one of the number one male models for Knight Fashion Agency. What ensues is the building careers, at opposite ends of the country, for two people who have never stopped loving one another. From new relationships to successful runway and fashion magazine covers, Olivia and Nathan traverse more than a year without a backward glance but a mutual photo shoot finds our couple once again reminiscing about the past, and what could have been.

SEXIEST MAN ALIVE has a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including several male and female friends, photographers and models (Olivia’s roommate Isla; and Nathan’s friend and fellow model Josh) who work with both Nathan and Olivia. As Nathan begins a relationship with his regular photographer, Olivia runs into some trouble with a photographer who refuses to take no for an answer.

SEXIEST MAN ALIVE is a romantic, heartbreaking and revealing story of regret and loss love; about two people destroyed by wants and dreams. While Olivia followed her dream, Nathan had followed his heart. The premise is entertaining and enjoyable; the characters are colorful and passionate; the romance is a memory from the past.

Reviewed by Sandy



Love can heal and love can make you soar, but Nate’s expression said my love

had broken him. The thought of Nate not knowing how much I wanted him back

shattered me. As his eyes filled with utter confusion, he waited for me to continue.

“Then why didn’t you ask me?” Nate scowled. “What changed your mind? Or

should I say who changed your mind?” He didn’t wait for me to answer. Instead, he

gripped his hair with his fists and walked away.

“It isn’t what you think.” I searched for the best words to explain.

I might have screwed up finding the right words. It was hard to concentrate with

him standing there shirtless, water dripping slowly down his chest from his wet hair.

God, he looked sexy as hell. He had no idea what he was doing to me. I wanted to lick

every single drop. In my mind, my hands traveled all over his toned chest, wiping away

the water like I was his towel.

Nate glared at me, unbelieving, as if he expected me to lie. Then he rushed to me

and punched the wall with an expression of rage I’d never seen. His body so close to

mine, almost touching, caused my focus to slip away.

“Don’t fuck with me, Olie,” he gritted through his teeth. “It isn’t what I think? I

wasn’t given the chance to think.” He pointed to himself. “There wasn’t much to think

when I saw Troy practically on top of you.”

I had known that moment would cause me problems. Nate’s expression eased

when I began to tremble. His anger and how he’d reacted seemed to surprise him, too. I

found my composure again and continued before he had another episode that was so out

of character. There was no going back.

“I couldn’t tell you because of Troy. Not because I wanted to be with him, but

because I was scared of him.”

“What?” His eyebrows pinched at the center, and his pitch rose again. “What do

you mean you were afraid of him? Did he threaten you? Did he hurt you?”

When I nodded through unrelenting tears, Nate guided me to the bed with his

hand on my back. I wiped my cheeks and sat next to him. His proximity drove me insane,

especially when my hand accidently grazed his chest.

“Tell me everything.” he said softly, but it was more of a demand. I could tell his

anger had turned toward Troy and away from me.

About The Author

m clarkeMary Ting resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed


Website | Blog | Facebook (1) | Facebook (2) | Facebook (3) | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram | Subscribe to Mary’s Newsletter

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Under The Surface (Alpha Ops 4) by Anne Calhoun-a review

UNDER THE SURFACE (Alpha Ops 4) by Anne Calhoun-a review

Under the Surface / / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 31, 2016

Welcome to Eye Candy, the East Side’s hottest nightclub where the bartenders are hot, the cocktails are fancy, and danger lurks just under the surface…

Eve Webber, the gorgeous and savvy owner of Eye Candy, knows better than anyone that growing up on the wrong side of the tracks comes with certain complications. Determined to run a clean business and fix up the East Side, Eve’s plans get temporarily stalled when a potential new hire walks into her bar. The sexual chemistry crackling between them is a potent distraction…even if she refuses to mix business with the promise of pleasure.

Detective Matt Dorchester lives by strict rules that have kept him alive in impossible situations. When his latest undercover assignment has him playing a bartender, his desire for the passionate owner has him breaking every single one. Eve is in danger and her life depends on his secrecy. But once their attraction reaches a climactic conclusion, Matt must make a desperate choice: Tell her the truth about who he really is―or risk a once-in-a-lifetime love to save her life?


REVIEW: UNDER THE SURFACE is the fourth installment in Anne Calhoun’s contemporary, adult ALPHA OPS erotic romance series. This is detective Matt Dorchester, and bar owner Eve Webber’s story line. Eve was first introduced in Alpha Ops 3-THE SEAL’s SECOND CHANCE. UNDER THE SURFACE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.

Told from dual third person points of view (Eve and Matt) UNDER THE SURFACE focuses on an undercover operation in Eve’s bar-EYE CANDY-where Matt Dorchester (aka Chad Henderson) sets himself front and center as the newest bartender at Eye Candy. Hoping to gain information regarding a possible money laundering scheme, and threats against the people living on the East Side of Lancaster, Matt finds himself getting in deeper when his relationship with Eve Webber becomes personal and something more. Matt is an over protective male; a man who has closed himself off from the people in his life but a man who is falling for his latest assignment.

Eve is our heroine; a strong willed, alpha female who wants Matt but is unaware of his true identity and his undercover assignment at the Eye Candy bar. Several attempts to seduce our story line hero finds Eve frustrated and threatening to look elsewhere for comfort and sex. What ensues is the building sexual relationship between Matt and Eve, and the threats against our heroine because of her connections to both Matt, and the undercover operation. The $ex scenes are intimate, intense and seductive. Matt knows he has stepped over the line with his relationship with an undercover mark.

UNDER THE SURFACE has a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including Matt’s younger brother Luke who has been in a wheel chair since the accident that killed Matt and Luke’s parents. We are also introduced to Eve’s over protective parents, and her brother-local attorney-Caleb Webber. Several of the local law enforcement members go undercover at Eye Candy.

The world building focuses on the revival of East Side-a run down neighborhood known for corruption, drugs, and any number of unlawful businesses. Eve Webber is a one-woman revitalization tornado, and with it comes the start of a neighborhood clean up, and Eye Candy is the first of the new businesses in the area.

UNDER THE SURFACE is a story with mystery, suspense, action, romance and love. The premise is entertaining but slow to develop-the majority of the ‘action’ takes place in the final chapters of the book; the characters are colorful and animated; the romance is a bit of a struggle towards a happily ever after-but a happily ever after-none the less. This is my favorite Alpha Ops installment to date-I felt more connected to the characters than in previous story lines.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy


Sour Grapes (Blue Plate #2) by Rachel Goodman- Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

SOUR GRAPES (Blue Plate #2) by Rachel Goodman-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Blue Plate #2
by Rachel Goodman
Release Date: May 23, 2016
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance

Sour Grapes / / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 23, 2016

Margaret Stokes is bitter. And not in the robust fine wine or tangy dark chocolate kind of way. She just got dumped, is fed up with her job as a glorified party-planner for the rich, and can’t possibly listen to one more veiled insult from her impossible-to-please mother. So she retreats to the comfort of her grandmother’s ramshackle bed and breakfast, where the wide open vineyards are filled with surprises, from the shockingly delicious wine to the aggravating yet oh-so-tempting man who makes it.

Ryan Camden’s easy approach to life encourages Margaret to loosen up and have a little fun, despite her better judgment. She resists the urge to micromanage every detail, embracing the welcome distractions of her surroundings and letting their relationship unfold at a natural rhythm. But when a health scare forces Grammy J to give up the B&B, Margaret begins to wonder if Ryan really is the man he promises—and whether the problems she tried so hard to escape ever really went away.


REVIEW: SOUR GRAPES is the second installment in Rachel Goodman’s contemporary, adult SOUR GRAPES romance series. This is Texas winery owner/vintner Ryan Camden, and party planner Margaret Stokes’s story line. SOUR GRAPES can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Some of the characters from book one FROM SCRATCH cross over including Margaret’s ex-boyfriend Nick Preston whose actions, months earlier, set Margaret off on her adventure. SOUR GRAPES picks up following the events of book one.

Told from first person point of view (Margaret) SOUR GRAPES focuses on acerbic snob Margaret Stokes-a woman who finds herself on the run from family, so-called friends, and a thriving party planning business. Margaret is struggling with who she is, and what it is she wants from life. Months earlier Margaret was dumped by her boyfriend Nick for another woman-his ex Lillie-and things have gone down hill ever since. Without thinking, Margaret embarks on a journey where landing at her Grandmother’s struggling B&B finds our heroine battling with the local bad boy, and owner of the profitable local winery- Ryan Camden. What ensues is a building relationship between Margaret and Ryan, and the reevaluation of one woman’s life.

Wow, Margaret Stokes is a piece of work. I don’t know if I have ever met a heroine of whom I disliked to the extent that I considered DNFing. Not only is Margaret a snob, a condescending, caustic, judgmental b*tch but her so-called friends up the anti by ten fold. But I must say that Margaret comes by her attitude naturally once we meet her highbrow mother-a woman literally torn from Satan’s womb. In the early stages of the story line Margaret’s ability to put people down is nothing short of rude, destructive, patronizing and egotistic but her building relationship with Ryan, and the local townsfolk, find our heroine softening around the edges as love begins to enfold her heart. It is Ryan’s proclamation of love and plans for their future that sets Margaret off on another temperamental tirade of irrational accusations and name calling that finds our couple walking in opposite directions.

SOUR GRAPES is a well written, entertaining and engaging storyline once you ‘see’ beyond the heroine’s attitude and behavior. Ryan is a man who has fallen for the mercurial Margaret and finds himself falling in love when neither one expected anything beyond the present. The premise is passionate; the characters are animated and dynamic; the romance is intimate and seductive.

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of FROM SCRATCH book 1 by Rachel Goodman

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Guest Post

Researching the Premise of SOUR GRAPES

Thank you so much for having me back at The Reading Café!

Prior to and during the writing of SOUR GRAPES, I made several visits to Fredericksburg, a quaint town in the heart of Texas Hill Country that President Lyndon Johnson once referred to as “a special corner of God’s real estate.” In Fredericksburg, Main Street is lined with antique stores, art galleries, bed and breakfasts, and bakeries, and the surrounding area is filled with rolling hills, grassy pastures, and row after row of vineyards.

Fredericksburg was settled in the mid-1800’s by German immigrants whose culture can still be felt in and around town today, from the 19th-century vernacular buildings of stone and fachwerk—a traditional German building technique consisting of heavy timber framing and diagonal bracing, with an infill of limestone—to the German flags placed outside the Auslander Beirgarten and Der Lindenbaum restaurant.

And while Texas may not be the destination most people think of for spectacular wine, I’d say those people are missing out. Over the last decade, Texas Hill Country wineries have evolved significantly, relying on grape varietals that grow well in Spain and the Mediterranean and not trying to model their wines after those found in California or the Pacific Northwest. Wineries in and around Fredericksburg are proud of being big, bold, and hospitable like Texas itself.

Take Becker Vineyards for example, whose wines are award-winning and produced of only Texas-grown fruit. Established in 1992, it’s one of the oldest Hill Country wineries and the third largest in Texas. The property is filled with vineyards, lavender fields, a tasting room, and the winery. Becker Vineyards is the real-life embodiment of Camden Cellars, Ryan’s winery that plays a major role in SOUR GRAPES.

Perdernales Cellars—with wines that are robust, nuanced, and delicious—was the inspiration for nearly every wine mentioned in SOUR GRAPES—Reckless Love, Wild Abandon, and No Holds Barred. Set off the main drag of Wine Road 290, Perdernales Cellars is known for its Spanish and Rhone-style wines and its commitment to Texas fruit—about half their grapes are grown on the property while others are grown in different areas of the state. Just a taste of their Texas Tempranillo Reserve is worth the visit to Fredericksburg.

But it’s not just the Tempranillo that makes a trip to Fredericksburg well worth it. It’s the people, the relaxed vibe, and the hidden treasures that make it worth the trip south. But, if your summer travel plans are set and made, you can grab a little slice of Southern Texas charm in SOUR GRAPES to hold you over until next year.


About the author

Follow: Goodreads / Website / Facebook / Twitter

Rachel GoodmanRachel is a mojito lover, cheese enthusiast, wanderluster, book junkie, romance writer, and an enginerd. She is a Colorado native displaced in Texas and an engineer and university professor. When she’s not creating optimization models or traveling the world, eating her way through city after city, she is usually tucked in the corner of a coffee shop, dreaming up stories and typing away on the computer. She lives in suburbia Dallas with her husband and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Oliver Pancake and Rigby Peanut. FROM SCRATCH is her first novel.


Rachel and her publisher are offering an ebook copy of SOUR GRAPES to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

NOTE: The ebook copy will not work with Kindle ebook readers.

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8. Giveaway open to international

9. Giveaway runs from May 22 to 26, 2016



Blast from the Past: The Sands of Time by Sidney Sheldon-a review

Blast From the Past: The Sands of Time by Sidney Sheldon-a review

Blast From the Past

Welcome to a new feature at The Reading Cafe-BLAST FROM THE PAST-a look back at some of the oldies but goodies in the world of literary romance and ‘bodice-ripper- style novels. Our third installment is THE SANDS OF TIME by Sidney Sheldon.  Please enjoy Rachel’s review and tell us about some of your favorite romance story lines from the past.

by Sidney Sheldon
Release Date: 1989
Genre: historical, romantic, suspense
The Sands of Time / / B&N / KOBO /

Four nuns find themselves suddenly thrust into a hostile world they long ago abandoned for the safety of the convent. Unwittingly they become pawns in a battle between the charismatic Jaime Miró, leader of the outlawed Basque nationalists, and the ruthless Colonel Ramón Acoca of the Spanish Amy.

Four women – and the men they are forbidden to love.
Megan – the orphan, who feels an overpowering attraction to Jaime.
Lucia – the fiery Sicilian beauty on the run for murder – and Rubio Arzano, the freedom fighter who risks his life to save her.
Teresa – whose guilty conscience finally drives her to betray her friends.
Graciela – who bears a terrible secret that almost destroys her – and the courageous Ricardo who loves her.

From the same author of the books “The Other Side of Midnight”, “Rage of Angels”, “Bloodline” and “Windmills of the Gods”. The book is set in Spain and centres around four nuns and their unwitting involvement with outlawed Basque nationalists and the Spanish Army.


5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

I am an avid reader. I started young, and cannot ever think of a moment when I didn’t have a book on the go at any giving time. When I think of “Blast From The Past”, I think of the books that opened a whole new world of reading for me. I remember reading the teeny bopper books when I was a tween/teen, and compared to now a days , they were very PG. I remember checking out my mother’s bookshelf, not really knowing what I could expect to find, but knowing I was bored of tween/teen. Well .. in pops Sidney Sheldon into my life, and the official leap into adult reading was done.

Sidney Sheldon, the top author that I will reread and reread again and again. He wrote beautiful trashy books that had elements of danger, suspense, SEX (a huge deal at 13) and a whole lot of story I didn’t always grasp. When I spoke with my mom about them (she realized I was actually enjoying the storyline and not just the trash), I remember learning all about storyline twists and turns and not always understanding what had happened at that moment in the story (amazing platforms for some awesome bonding times with my mom) because I was still a little too young to grasp it. BUT, I grew up when I discovered Sidney Sheldon, and I smile fondly even to this day, when I crack a paper copy (GASP .. I’m mostly an ereader, but you have to read Sidney on paper that comes from an old used bookstore

Sands of Time by Sidney Sheldon was originally published in 1988, and it is my all time fave novel by him. Set during the Spanish Civil War, Spanish Inquisition in 1930’s, it follows the story of 4 nuns, a charismatic rebel and a Colonel who despite his position and rank, is an absolute horrible man.

Our 4 nuns are quite different. Lucia is in the nunnery because she is hiding from a murderous past. Megan is an orphan that is sweet and who seems to be made to be a nun. Graciella is the beauty of the group, so beautiful men lust after her with just s simple glance. Theresa is our older nun who is in constant turmoil with herself and her faith. In typical Sidney Sheldon writing style, we are taken back into each one of these four ladies pasts where we can appreciate what has molded them to be the ladies they are today. Some pasts are absolutely tragic.

During this war, the rebel leader Jaime is constantly being chased by Colonel Acoca. Jaime is a passionate soul who believes in his cause and reason to rebel. He has much responsibility on his shoulders, trusts who he believes he needs to, and right or wrong, will do whatever must be done for his cause. He is a doer .. not a talker! If you decieve him, you will pay. He has also found himself falling in love with one of the nuns he has agreed to protect when their nunnery was attacked. Col Acoca is a monster who hides behind a position in order to by a tyrant. He cares only for himself, not his people. He is on a mission to take down Jamie, and if killing nuns is what it will take, he will see it done.

The story goes on from there, and there are many turns and twists, and people who are good were really bad, and selfish people become giving, and oh .. so much more! When you dive into Sands of Time, you dive into a whole lot of story! LOL

So a great Blast From the Past to review. I usually go on a Sidney Sheldon kick once I pick up one of his books, so do not be suprised if you see him featured again! LOL


Reviewed by Rachel T.


On Higher Ground by Melissa Collins-Review and Release Blitz

ON HIGHER GROUND by Melissa Collins-Review and Release Blitz

On Higher Ground Banner

by Melissa Collins
Genre: adult, contemporary, M/M erotic, romance

On Higher Ground

NEED Amazon links:–> / / B&N / KOBO / itunes / Google Play

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 18, 2016

When there’s no peace after war…
When there’s no solace after death…
When there’s only pain and suffering…
Anxiety and loss…
All you can hope to find is something more…
Something that makes you whole and complete
Something that puts you
On Higher Ground


REVIEW: ON HIGHER GROUND by Melissa Collins is the follow-up to ON SOLID GROUND focusing on tattoo artist and shop owner Beckett ‘Beck’ Ridge and former soldier Jacob ‘Dax’ Daxton-two men with darks pasts and even darker issues. ON HIGHER GROUND is Dax and Beck’s continuing journey of loss, love, family, and personal struggles. The story line can be read as a stand alone but for back history and cohesion, I recommend reading the series in order.

NOTE: ON HIGHER GROUNDS contains graphic M/M sexual situations.

Told from alternating first person points of view (Dax and Beck) ON HIGHER GROUND advances the series one year and focuses on Dax’s continuing struggle with PTSD, and Beck’s acceptance of the family he has lost. The story line looks at family, healing, personal and emotional growth as well as acceptance of things one cannot change, and the power to change what can be done. From relationships to marriage, to friendships and loss, Melissa Collins touches on the personal cathartic moments, and emotional highs and lows for two people whose pasts are mired in darkness and loss. Marriage brings about a promise for the future, for family, and for a happily ever after-everyone deserves a happily ever after.

Copy supplied by the author

Reviewed by Sandy


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ON SOLID GROUND book 1 is available for 99¢ from the following ebook retailers: / / B&N / KOBO / Google / ibooks

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of ON SOLID GROUND






On Higher Ground teaser

About The Author

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Melissa Collins has always been a book worm. Studying Literature in college ensured that her nose was always stuck in a book. She followed her passion for reading to the most logical career choice: English teacher. Her hope was to share her passion for reading and the escapism of books to her students. Having spent more than a decade in front of a classroom, she can easily say that it’s been a dream.

Her passion for writing didn’t start until more recently. When she was home on maternity leave in early 2012, she read her first romance novel and her head filled with the passion, angst and laughter of the characters who she read about it. It wasn’t long before characters of her own took shape in her mind. Their lives took over Melissa’s brain and The Love Series was born.


NOTE: The Reading Cafe is NOT responsible for the giveaway. If you have any questions, please contact the author.



Completing the Pass (Santa Fe Bobcats #5) by Jeanette Murray-a review

COMPLETING THE PASS (Santa Fe Bobcats #5) by Jeanette Murray-a review

Completing the Pass / / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 17, 2016

Teamwork improves the chances of scoring . . .

When the Bobcats’ fate on the field is sealed, and they would rather give their starting quarterback, Trey Owens, a break, they call in Josh Leeman: “The Backup.” But after Trey is placed on the disabled list for the season, all eyes are on Josh to lead the team. Josh’s sudden superstar status thrusts him into the spotlight, and garners plenty of attention from the ladies—except for one.

Carrington Gray is delighted to see her father released from the hospital—but not so much to see Josh at the celebration. Their mothers have long tried to set them up, although it’s had the opposite effect. But under the circumstances, Carri and Josh would rather go on fake dates to appease their mothers than rock the boat. Yet the more time these two work together on their little lie, the more they see the surprising truth.


REVIEW: COMPLETING THE PASS is the fifth installment in Jeanette Murray’s contemporary, adult SANTA FE BOBCATS erotic, sports romance series focusing on the members of the professional football team of the same name. This is second string quarterback Josh Leeman, and real estate investor Carrington Gray’s frenemies to lovers story line. COMPLETING THE PASS can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Carri and Josh) COMPLETING THE PASS follows Carri as she returns to Santa Fe to help her mother look after her ailing father. Carri and Josh’s families have known one another all of their lives, and with Carri’s return their meddling mothers plan to push the couple together unaware that Carri and Josh’s relationship has been antagonist for many years. What ensues is the building relationship between Carri and Josh that slowly melts the ice around our heroine’s heart.

The long running love –hate relationship between Carri and Josh is a perpetual theme throughout the book but more so for our heroine who is unable to forget about the past. There is never a reasonable explanation as to why our couple has been frenemies for most of their lives but in the end, Josh needs someone to ground him as he takes over the Bobcats quarterback duties, and Carri is the only one to keep him in line. The $ex scenes are provocative and seductive.

The world building continues to focus on the Santa Fe Bobcats-the team, the friendships, the relationships and their loves. The epilogue fast forwards the story line four years, so I am not sure where that leaves the remaining players or the updates of the couples we have already met.

COMPLETING THE PASS is an entertaining and enjoyable read. At times Carri’s attitude and dislike of Josh ran a little too close to childish and immature-she was a difficult heroine to like in the early stages of the story as she continued to push too many buttons. The premise is heartwarming; the characters are engaging and colorful; the romance is a cat fight to a happily ever after.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
One Night With the Quarterback
Loving Him Off the Field
Takes Two to Tackle
Romancing the Running Back
Completing the Pass

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy