The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon – a Review

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon – a Review

 

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Description:
Both Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw dutifully followed their soldier husbands to the U.S. embassy in Jordan, but that’s about all the women have in common. After two years, Cassie’s become an expert on the rules, but newly arrived Margaret sees only her chance to explore. So when a fender-bender sends Margaret to the local police station, Cassie reluctantly agrees to watch Margaret’s toddler son. But as the hours pass, Cassie’s boredom and frustration turn to fear: Why isn’t Margaret answering her phone, and why is it taking so long to sort out a routine accident? Snooping around Margaret’s apartment, Cassie begins to question not only her friend’s whereabouts but also her own role in Margaret’s disappearance.

Written with emotional insight and stunning prose, The Confusion of Languages is a shattering portrait of a collision between two women and two worlds, as well as a poignant glimpse into the private lives of American military families living overseas.

 

Review:

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon is a story about two military families, centering on two wives, living overseas in the Middle East (Jordan); the time is around 2011, when Osama Bin Laden was killed.  The two women are Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw.  Cassie and her husband Dan, are considered veterans living in the US Embassy for about two years.  When Margaret arrives in Jordan with her husband, Crick, Cassie will try to help her get acclimated to this way of life.  The two women are complete opposites, with Cassie, a stickler for following the rules and Margaret, a rule breaker talking to everyone, even those she should not be mingling with.  The other detail is that Margaret has a young son, Mather, and Cassie, who wants desperately to have children, is childless.

When their husbands are sent to Rome on an assignment, they tell Cassie to keep an eye on Margaret.  When there is a vendor bender accident, Margaret goes to report her accident to the police, while Cassie stays back to watch Mather.  As the hours pass, and Margaret has not returned, Cassie becomes worried, and contacts Crick to have the embassy find her.   While waiting, she comes across Margaret’s diary and we learn more about her life, as well as what Margaret has been doing during her stay in Jordan.  Margaret, being her careless self, will befriend some Jordanian people, which will cause problems for all, as the Jordanian rules do not allow for this. 

What follows is an interesting and somewhat complex storyline of two women so different, yet thrown together in a dangerous and different environment.  The two main protagonists, Cassie & Margaret were to me not really likable.  Cassie, being lonely and taught to follow rules came across as sarcastic at times.  Margaret was a bit too flighty and not responsible.  There were some surprises and twists along the way, which did help the story line.

The Confusion of Languages was a different type of read for me.  I thought it was interesting, but not sure I would read this type of book again.   Though I will say that the writing of Siobhan Fallon was very well done, and I did read that she has experienced military life abroad.  If you enjoy these types of stories, you can’t go wrong with this book, especially so well written by Fallon.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

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The Child by Fiona Barton – Review & Tour

The Child by Fiona Barton – Review & Tour

 

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Description:
As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

 

 

Review:

The Child by Fiona Barton is a psychological thriller.   I have read quite of few psychological thrillers this year, with many of them simply ok reads, with the authors using the same multi character POV’s, which can get confusing.  The Child started off a bit slow and somewhat confusing with multiple POV’s and I thought “here we go again”.  But things changed about a ¼ into the story, when it caught hold of me, and I could not let go; that being said, I loved The Child.

The story revolves around the discovery of a baby’s skeleton on a construction site of a torn down building.  Kate Waters, an investigative reporter, sees the notice about the finding of the “Building Site Baby” and decides to do some investigating.  The POV’s of this story are Kate; Emma and Angela, with a 4th, Jude, having an occasional narration. 

As Kate does her investigation, she will indirectly become involved with the other two ladies.  Angela gave birth to a girl over 20 years ago, only to have her child stolen out of the hospital room.  Angela and her husband Nick, have been living a nightmare all these years, especially in the beginning when Angela was an initial suspect. Emma is young lady who is emotionally disturbed, which was caused by nightmares from her harsh childhood.  Emma used to live with her mother, Jude, near the site where the baby was found.    

Kate is in the center of this novel, as she makes discoveries along the way that will bring her into contact with various people, including those who lived near the site all those years before.  When the body has been identified as having been buried for decades, Kate will find herself researching missing children from that time period.  This will bring her to Angela and her missing baby, Alice.  When DNA confirms the child is Alice, both Angela and Nick feel they finally have closure.  Then a strange turn of events will open the door for further investigation, as the lab informs the authorities that the things wrapped around the burial of the body was only 10 years old.  Was the baby’s body moved? Will Angela get closure?

The story becomes exciting & intense as Kate’s in depth investigation will come across more secrets along the way.  Emma’s emotional stability plays a major part of the ongoing story, which will introduce us to many of the other characters we get to meet, all whom were living near the site a decade earlier.  I loved the character of Kate, who was an awesome and caring reporter.  Her persistence and determination will help bring out the truths.

Once we get past the first quarter, which leads the way into meeting the main characters, it was such a captivating story.  I could not put the book down, as I needed to know what happened. What a tangled web it weaves.  To tell too much more would be spoilers.

The Child was an awesome thriller, with some great characters, and many amazing twists.  Fiona Barton has written a fantastic story, and I loved how things came to a very good and satisfactory conclusion.  Certainly not like most the psychological thrillers we have read that leave things to the imagination.  If you enjoy thrillers, The Child is a must read.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

THE CHILD by Fiona Barton

*One of Publishers Weekly and Bustle’s Most Anticipated Books of 2017*

*A TIME “Top 10” Summer Thriller*

*Pre-publication exclusives featured by Entertainment Weekly and theSkimm*

*Praise from Lee Child, Shari Lapena, and Clare Mackintosh *

*Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal*

*A June 2017 Library Reads Selection*

 

Fiona Barton credit Jenny LewisThis summer FIONA BARTON is back with a second novel that proves lightning can strike twice.

Barton’s 2016 debut, The Widow, was an instant global bestseller, captivating readers around the world and setting the publishing industry abuzz.

The highly-anticipated release of THE CHILD (Berkley Hardcover; June 27, 2017) reaffirms Barton’s growing reputation as a writer of rich, character-driven suspense novels. Like Tana French, Louise Penny, and Megan Abbott, Barton’s stories do more than thrill: they explore the complexities of a changing world.

The Widow delved into the secrets that exist within a marriage and the reporter’s role as voyeur. Here Barton continues to mine those themes. THE CHILD tackles the 24/7 news cycle, and lays bare the intricacies of a different but equally fascinating relationship—mother and child.

Says Barton: “The emotions, responsibilities—and the pain—of motherhood are unique to each of us with children. Ask any woman and she will have her own story to tell.”

In a working class neighborhood of London, construction workers make a grisly discovery: the long-buried remains of a baby. When a newspaper mention reveals the find, most readers barely give it a glance. But for two women, its threat to unearth hidden stories is impossible to ignore. For veteran reporter, Kate Waters (introduced in The Widow), it sparks the question “Who would bury a baby?” and starts a hunt for the truth about the nameless child. The story unfolds via the women’s alternating perspectives to eventually reveal: Who is Building Site Baby?

In fact, it was the allure of a hidden story that propelled Barton to her long-time career in news. A journalist and British Press Awards “Reporter of the Year,” she has worked at the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, and brings that experience to bear in her novels.

In THE CHILD she details how Kate’s lengthy investigation into Building Site Baby’s death represents a perilous breach of the newsroom’s new culture of 24/7 online news. Says Barton: “The danger for Kate is that she risks becoming one of the dinosaurs—sidelined because she is unable and unwilling to be part of the revolution. And I feel for her.”

Though THE CHILD delivers an evocative look at the changing face of journalism, and a delicious plot twist, it is the characters’ haunting and rich emotional lives that set Barton apart and confirm her stature as a crime novelist of the first order.

Visit Fiona Barton online at fionabartonauthor.com and on Twitter @figbarton. Join the conversation using #TheChild.

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Make Me Stay (Panic #2) by Sidney Halston-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

MAKE ME STAY ( Panic #2) by Sidney Halston -Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

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MAKE ME STAY
Panic #2
by Sidney Halston
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance

Make Me Stay

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 27, 2017

April: Walking away from Matt Moreno was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Lying to him was a close second, but for his safety, I had no other choice. I was undercover, working to put some nasty people behind bars. But when Matt nearly recognizes me on Lincoln Road a year later, all those very real feelings come rushing back. Now that my assignment’s almost over, will he understand why I lied? Why I had to leave? Most important, can he ever forgive me?

Matt: I was madly in love with June Simpson . . . or, at least, with the woman I thought was June. Then she just disappeared while my family’s nightclub went through hell. And after months of searching, when I think I’ve finally found that sexy, raspy voice and those exquisite blue eyes, she slips away once more. Turns out, “June” is actually Detective April White. She’s been playing me the whole time. And she’s about to rock my world all over again.

•••••••••

REVIEW: MAKE ME STAY is the second installment in Sidney Halston’s contemporary, adult PANIC erotic, romance series focusing on the men and women of the Miami nightclub Panic. This is nightclub co-owner Matt Moreno, and undercover police detective April White’s story line. MAKE ME STAY can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary. Some of the events of MAKE ME STAY run parallel and cross over with the events of book one PULL ME CLOSE.

Told from dual first person points of view (Matt and April/June) and divided into two parts (the present and the past) MAKE ME STAY follows two paths: eighteen months earlier Matt Moreno fell in love with ‘pharmaceutical rep’ June Simpson only to be blindsided when the woman he loved disappeared five months later without a trace. Not only did June disappear but Matt, his brother Nick and their father Victor found themselves on the receiving end of a police investigation that resulted in the imprisonment of Victor Moreno, and Matt spiraling out of control. Fast forward to present day wherein Matt believes he has found June Simpson only to discover that June is an undercover detective known as April White, and April was part of the investigation that landed his father in prison for the rest of his life. What ensues is the breakdown of a relationship and friendship, that will be given a second chance when April finds herself the victim of a near-fatal assault that leaves her without any memories of the past or her relationship with Matt Moreno.

The relationship between Matt and April is one of second chances but Matt’s hatred and anger towards April is caustic and unforgiving. April was only doing her job but Matt’s inability to forgive April finds our heroine looking towards a future without the man that she loves. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic, and intense.

Nick Moreno and Katherine (Katie) Wilson (Pull Me Close #1) play secondary and supporting roles, as well as April’s partner Detective Dean Scott, Panic bartender Lola, head of security (bouncer) Fox, and Matt’s friends David and Geo. There is a developing story line between Fox and Lola, one I am hoping will be revealed in the next installment-KISS ME BACK.

MAKE ME STAY is a story of second chances; a rekindling romance that was predicated on a lie that all but destroyed our story line hero. The premise is entertaining, sexy and intoxicating; the romance is sensual and provocative; the characters are colorful, dynamic and spirited. The conflict resolution felt a little rushed-for all of the hatred and vitriol spewed by the leading character, his about face was rather abrupt under the circumstances. MAKE ME STAY is an energetic story about two people torn apart by secrets and lies, and brought together by circumstance and tragedy.

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of book one -PULL ME CLOSE

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Make Me Stay teaser

 

Excerpt

NOTE: Excerpt contains mature, adult content and may not be suitable for all readers

“Slide over, will ya? I need to order a drink.” He sounds as if he’s already had enough drinks and doesn’t need another one. I’m about to tell the guy where he can stick his drink when I see her reach into her purse and pull out her phone. I’m mesmerized. What is she doing? The jerk is staring at her, waiting for her to move, but she’s reading a text instead, completely ignoring him.
But then the man makes the wrong decision. He grabs her elbow and pulls her up from the stool.
“Hey! Get your hands off me!” she shrieks. Her eyes, a piercing light blue that’s almost translucent, glare at the man.
“Is everything okay?” I ask loudly, to be heard over the music.
“Miller Lite,” the guy has the fucking nerve to call out.
But she speaks over him. “No. Everything’s not okay. This guy grabbed me.”
“Calm down, honey. You’ve been sitting here all night. Some of us need room.”
“Well, you could say ‘excuse me.’”
“And you can move your fat ass,” he spits back. “It’s not like you need any more drinks.” At that, her mouth opens wide and she gasps. From what I can see there is nothing fat about this woman, but even if there was, the guy’s totally out of line. With both palms on the bar I lean forward and get in the man’s face. “Outta my bar—” But I don’t have a chance to finish before she lifts her glass, stands up, and slowly and deliberately pours the entire drink over the guy’s head, olives and all.
Swear to God—swear to fucking God—all the lights, the music, and the people dancing come to a screeching halt as she slams her empty glass on the table and calmly sits back down. “Another martini, please,” she says sweetly, batting her lashes.
Fucking spectacular.
I think I might be in love.

About the author

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Sidney_HalstonUSA Today bestselling author, Sidney Halston lives her life with one simple rule: “Just Do It”–Nike. And that’s exactly what she did.

After working hard as an attorney, Sidney picked up a pen for the first time at thirty years old to begin her dream of writing. Having never written anything other than very exciting legal briefs, she found an outlet for her imaginative, romantic side and wrote Seeing Red. That first pen stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing. Sidney lives in South Florida with her husband and children. She loves her family above all else, and reading follows a close second. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading and reading and reading. She’s a reader first and a writer second. When she’s not writing or reading, her life is complete and utter chaos, trying to balance family life with work and writing (and reading). But she wouldn’t have it any other way.

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The Highland Commander (Lords of the Highlands #2) by Amy Jarecki-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER (Lord of the Highlands #2) by Amy Jarecki-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER
(Lords of the Highlands #2)
by Amy Jarecki
Release Date: June 27 ,2017
Genre: adult, historical, Highland,romance

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The Highland Commander

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 27,2017

She cannot resist the man behind the mask…
As the illegitimate daughter of a Scottish earl, Lady Magdalen Keith is not one to partake in lavish balls or other frivolities. Yet at her father’s urging, she agrees to dance with the battle-weary officers at this year’s holiday masquerade. It’s practically her civic duty! But when one such officer-whose dashing good looks cannot be disguised by a mere mask-sweeps her off her feet and into his arms, the innocent lass can’t help herself. Her lips are his for the taking.But will he betray his country for a kiss?
Navy lieutenant Aiden Murray has spent too many months at sea to be immune to the charms of this lovely beauty. Even after he returns to his ship, she lives in his dreams. But when he discovers Maddie’s true identity-and learns that her father is accused of treason-will the brawny Scot risk his life to follow his heart?

Lords of the Highlands series: The Highland DukeThe Highland CommanderThe Highland Guardian

•••••••••••

REVIEW:

4.5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

OH Amy I do love how you write an yummy Highland Romance! 🙂

The Highland Commander by Amy Jarecki is the second book of her “Lords of The Highlands” series. A historical romance that takes a fictional couple and weaves it into a very real part of history. I LOVE LOVE LOVE when an author knows their history and can make a story come alive by allowing the reader the “What If” aspect. My senses were alive with vivid descriptions of scenery and culture. A good ole highlander romance always puts a smile on my face and this book certainly did just that!

Lady Magdalen (Maddie) is introduced to us at a ball. We learn she is a bastard, but has taken her life in hand and decided to work in hospital aiding women who have been abused. Maddie is innocent, but realistic about her station in life. It would seem her step mother really has no wish to have her in the family so she is raised alongside a ladies maid. When her father is charged with treason, her step-mama sure finds use for her really quick .. go save daddy dearest! Off Maddie goes, not expecting all she comes to find.

Aiden is introduced to us at the same ball we meet Maddie. They share a moment but know their paths will never cross again. Aiden is the second son of an Earl and is serving in the Navy. Once time had past, Aiden can never really get this lady out of his mind and before we know it, their paths cross again. Then their lives become entwined and we are off to one heck of a story!

Ok, I have to swoon for a second here! Aiden! OH SWEET AIDEN. The man is a virgin, sweet without feeling like you are dunked in a tub of honey, heroic and the total opposite of a rake. How fricken refreshing. I love my rakes .. I love me a bad boy, but then Aiden comes and I am the girl blow away at this character who isn’t a pansy ass but all MAN! My heart ached for this man, as much as it ached for Maddie.

The one liners and jokes these two share had me laughing out loud. I loved how they figured “love” and “loving” out together. I loved that their relationship wasn’t clear cut, but they both really deserved to be with the other. Honestly when it comes to highlander historical romance, you tend to read big burly men with either the innocent lass or the spitfire .. and this felt a whole lot different to me! These two have quite a few obstacles to overcome for their HEA, but it’s a joy to go through it with them!

Sorry I don’t give away storyline (that is for your pleasure), but I do tell you that if you have any amount of history buff inside you, you will seriously appreciate Amy Jarecki’s writing. She is well researched. If I have to give a negative amongst all this praise, it was slow to start. Once it got going I was completely invested.

Absolutely could be a stand alone, but snag the first book too, it’s also very good!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Reviewed by Rachel

Copy provided by Publisher

the Highland Commander Teaser

 

excerpt

 

As in the Highland custom, Aiden wore the plaid belted at his waist, the length pulled from the lower right opening of his doublet, around his back and pinned at his left shoulder with a silver brooch bearing the Atholl arms. The valet had put forth a good effort ensuring there was neither wrinkle nor hair out of place.
He regarded himself in the looking glass above the mantle in the drawing room, sliding one foot forward as he would do for a portrait. Not liking the image, he puffed out his chest and moved a hand to his lapel.
God’s bones, take me to sea where I can cast aside these frills.
Tuning his back to the looking glass, Aiden resorted to pacing and pulling out his pocket watch. The coach would arrive in five minutes, and Maddie hadn’t yet made an appearance.
At least a light glowed from beneath her door indicating she was within. It cast a hazy glow in the otherwise dark passageway. After pacing around the chamber half-dozen times, he again eyed his timepiece. Another minute had passed. Perhaps he should knock on the door—perhaps Maddie’s mantle clock had stopped and she was unaware of the time. Just as he started off, her door opened. A burst of light flooded the passageway, and with the tap of dainty footsteps, an angel emerged.
Aiden knew she’d purchased a new gown, but he hadn’t expected this. His mouth went dry and he suddenly needed to take in two stuttered breaths to steady the thumping of his heart.
Christ, men aren’t supposed to experience such heart hammering. Especially men bred for the sea. Damnation.
She smiled, and his goddamned knees wobbled. He should have taken a healthy tot whilst he was pacing in the drawing room.
Her golden gown rustled as she walked forward, with a matching fan in her hand. She moved the fan to her waist…just below her breasts. Creamy skin Aiden knew to be softer than spun silk swelled above a dangerously plunging neckline. His mouth went completely dry. If Maddie’s serving maid had been anywhere but behind her lady, Aiden would have taken the lassie into his arms, pushed through his bedchamber door and damned the recital.
“I hope I haven’t made us late.” Maddie batted her eyelashes as if she had no idea of the effect she had on his aching cods. “Miss Agnes spent ever so long curling my hair.”
Aiden’s tongue slipped over his bottom lip. “Your curls are exquisite. You are exquisite, m’lady.”
Agnes cleared her throat, coming up behind with a cloak over her arm. “You’d best say so, m’lord. It took the greater part of the afternoon to make those ringlets.”
Nay, there’d be no slipping into the bedchamber for a hasty sampling of those pearl-tipped bosoms.
Aiden glanced to his pocket watch—they still had a few minutes—and now that he knew Maddie was ready, there’d be no harm in making the coach wait for a minute or two. “Fine job, Miss Agnes,” he said with more sobriety than he felt. “I think you deserve a healthy tot of fine spirit for taking such fine care of her ladyship.”
“Have we time?” asked Maddie.
Aiden led them into the drawing room and gestured to the settee. “A stolen moment will not set us behind overmuch.”
Agnes gave a firm shake of her head. “You needn’t make a fuss for the likes of me.”
“It is no fuss. You take good care of your lady, and for that I want to thank you.” Aiden poured three tots of sherry and offered each of the ladies a glass. “Shall we drink to Miss Agnes?”
Blinking, the woman drew a hand over her mouth, dipping her head and smiling broadly. “Heavens.”
“Aye, we should.” Maddie patted her chambermaid’s knee and raised her glass. “To the woman who has seen me through one and twenty years of happiness. I have no idea what would have become of me if you hadn’t been by my side. Sometimes I’ve felt as if you’re the only person in all of Christendom who cares.”
Aiden’s gut twisted. He cared a great deal, but it was inconceivable that Maddie had been made to feel like an outcast from such a young age. He drank thoughtfully, watching the two women as they sipped. Even their mannerisms had become similar. “Miss Agnes, how long have you been serving Lady Magdalen?”
The woman’s eyes glistened with pride. “Since the day she was born. The moment I held her in my arms I knew my purpose.”
Aiden glanced to Maddie and knitted his brows. “Did your mother pass in childbirth?”
Shaking her head, the lass bit her bottom lip. “Nay. My mother knew I would have a better life if she gave me to my father. Only…” Maddie looked away, and took another sip.
“What?”
“The one caveat was that she could never set eyes on me again.”
Grumbling under her breath, Agnes guzzled the remainder of her sherry. “We shan’t discuss the countess any longer. It sets both of our hackles to standing on end.”
“Agreed.” Aiden set his glass on the mantel and offered Maddie his hand. “Shall we be off, m’lady? We do not want to miss the opening. I hear it will be most spectacular.”
Maddie tapped the chambermaid’s shoulder before they strolled toward the door. “I want you to take some time for yourself this night. Do something that will make you happy. You have nothing to worry about, my pet. I’ll be in Lord Aiden’s capable hands.”


 

About The Author Black and White

Amy JareckiAmy Jarecki is a descendant of an ancient Lowland clan and adores Scotland. Though she now resides in southwest Utah, she received her MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Winning multiple writing awards, she found her niche in the genre of Scottish historical romance. Amy writes steamy edge-of-your-seat action adventures with rugged men and fascinating women who weave their paths through the brutal eras of centuries past.

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The Rancher and the City Girl by Joya Ryan -a Review

The Rancher and the City Girl by Joya Ryan -a Review

 

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Description:
Rancher and single father Tripp Montgomery is a master at French braiding and princess tea parties. He’s also the most eligible bachelor in Cheyenne, Wyoming. So when he stumbles upon a flashy, sexy city girl, he knows two things: 1) she’s a walking disaster, and 2) he needs to stay far, far away.

But she needs him more than he wants to admit…

Charlotte Gram knows what it’s like not to be wanted. She’s in Cheyenne for the summer to help her grandmother heal after surgery, but the farmhouse “chores” are proving much harder than she thought. If her day couldn’t get any worse, the sexiest man she’s ever seen strolls up to save the day…

…and he definitely doesn’t seem happy about it.

 

Review:

The origin of the Dedication Page was already swoon-worthy. Sounds like Joya Ryan wrangled up her very own cowboy, and that kind of firsthand experience is money for a fan. Tripp and Charlotte are strangers who indulge in a hot moment they desperately needed. When their paths collide anew, despite their mutual agreement to keep it to a singular spectacular event, does a second time automatically lead to Happily Ever After? Ms. Joya writes a bumpy love story in The Rancher and the City Girl that warms your heart and heats your senses.

Wyoming is a far cry from California, but Charlotte is in town to look after farm duties while her grandmother recovers from ankle surgery. Tripp is an overprotective, single dad who’s so focused on limiting his daughter’s outside influences, he negates his own happiness, thereby ignoring fulfillment of his own.

I understand Tripp’s reluctance to allow Charlotte into his life. Charlotte is in town for only a short while and he’s concerned that his daughter is already too attached; that she’ll be crushed when she goes. He’ll be damned if a temporary fling will cause upheaval in his stable home. But the truth is, Charlotte knows all about loss, and her influence is far from detrimental. Far be it from Charlotte, however, who has learned to fend for herself, her independence wrought fiercely, to share her demons. Could Charlotte give up Los Angeles, knowing it’s good for her career, just because Trip makes her feel whole again? Who will win this battle of wills? To lose would be a tremendous loss.

Joya Ryan writes about letting go and letting people in. There was so much heart behind what amounts to fear, you can’t help but forgive. This was a quick, fun read with genuine emotion. While steam will emanate from your device, the bedroom scene, in particular, was next level depth. *tingles*

Reviewed by Carmen

Copy provided by Publisher

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The Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan – Review & Giveaway

The Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan – Review & Giveaway

 

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The Legion of the Flame
The Draconis Memoria series – Book #2
by Anthony Ryan
Release Date: June 27th, 2017

The Legion of the FlameAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
Empires clash and a fell power stakes its claim in the second in a new series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Raven’s Shadow Trilogy.

For centuries, the vast Ironship Trading Syndicate relied on drake blood—and the extraordinary powers it confers to those known as the Blood-blessed—to fuel and protect its empire. But now, a fearsome power has arisen—a drake so mighty that the world will tremble before it.

Rogue Blood-blessed Claydon Torcreek, Syndicate agent Lizanne Lethridge, and ironship captain Corrick Hilemore embark upon perilous quests to chase down clues that offer faint hopes of salvation. As the world burns around them, and the fires of revolution are ignited, these few are the last hope for the empire and for all of civilization.

 

 

Review:

The Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan is the second book in his The Draconis Memoria series.  The Legion of Flame picks up after The Waking Fire left off.  Being an epic fantasy there is a lot of detailed information, as the story line progresses.  In this intense world, the humans and blood blessed (humans who drink the blood harvested from dead dragons), are in a fight for survival in a war against the onslaught of all dragons (blue, black, green, red and the new ultra powerful white).  It is also a world filled with magic, war, danger, destruction, ships, and dragons.

Lizanne and Clay, who are both blood blessed, continue as the main characters with POV’s  in this series.  Hilemore, the captain of one of the fleets, also has some POV;s, and Sirius, who has been captured by a white drake (dragon) now has his own POV, as he has been changed into a human-spoiled controlled by the White.   With the danger escalating, and the world very much in danger of being destroyed by the attacking Drakes;  Lizanne, Clay and Hiemore  take on various assignments to stop the enemy before it’s too late. 

Lizanne, after being successful in her last mission, will now go undercover to a city that is a prison for rough tough mean prisoners that survive in the city of undesirables.  Lizanne, who is an agent and assassin for the syndicate, is determined to find someone who has the ability to build items that could help fight the Drakes.   Clay follows a vision to also discover more about the Drakes, and someone who might be able to help them win this war.  Hilemore must push his men on the ship to fight the continued attacks by the Drakes.  Each of them faces terrible odds of survival, especially Lizanne and Clay.

What follows is an exciting, dangerous, intense storyline filled with non-stop action.  All three of our heroes are on their own, with no contact; and as the tension grows, we fear for their lives. The journey for each will take them to depths of hell.    To tell too much more is difficult, as in fantasies there are many details that need to be read to understand.  I loved Lizanne, as she was some tough heroine, who refused to ever give up.  I liked Clay too, but to me Lizanne stood out the most. 

Anthony Ryan does a masterful job in writing this complex story that intensifies the further we delve into the horrors we witness in a world that is falling apart.  As in most fantasies, this is a big book, just under 600 pages.  If you enjoy epic fantasies, in a sort of sci-fi dystopian world, with lots of action, then you should be reading this series.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

giveaway

Anthony Ryan’s publisher is offering a paper copy of the first book in this series, THE WAKING FIRE to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

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8. Giveaway runs from June 26 to 30, 2017

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Love, Sex, Music by Michelle A Valentine-Review and Release Blitz

Love, Sex, Music by Michelle A Valentine-Review and Release Blitz

Love Sex Music Banner

LOVE, SEX, MUSIC
by Michelle A Valentine
Release Date: June 21, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary,erotic, romance

Love Sex Music

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon. uk /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 21, 2017

Fame can disappear in an instant…

Fortune is a fleeting fantasy…

Laz Rawlings had them both, until he lost it all…

Laz, a former world-famous music producer screwed up everything thanks to his rock-n-roll lifestyle, but he’s been given an opportunity to prove his genius in the music industry wasn’t a fluke, and he’s hell-bent on not letting history repeat itself. But that’s proving difficult when the young singer he’s tasked with grooming has become the object of his every desire.

Life has been an uphill battle for Aundrea Newton, so when a sexy, tattooed stranger hand delivers her dream of a music career, she’s skeptical. Nothing ever comes easy, and she knows Laz has the power to crush both her career and her heart with his undeniable sex appeal and charismatic swagger.

When the line between mentor and student blurs, both begin to question what’s more important: Love, sex or the music.

**STANDALONE. No Cliffhanger**

•••••••••

REVIEW: LOVE, SEX, MUSIC by Michelle A Valentine is a stand alone, contemporary, adult, erotic romance story line focusing on former rock star, and music producer Lazarus ‘Laz’ Rawlings, and singer Aundrea ‘Drea’ Newton.

Told from dual first person points of view (Laz and Drea) LOVE, SEX, MUSIC focuses on the building but forbidden relationship between music producer Laz Rawlings, and singer Drea Newton. It has been five years since Laz Rawlings fell out of favor with his record company, his band and the rest of the world when addiction and the loss of someone close sent Laz Rawlings spiraling out of control. Fast forward to present day wherein Laz is desperate for a come back including the making of an all-girl band that will see our story line hero top the charts-once again. Enter eatery employee and singer Aundrea ‘Drea’ Newton, and her step-sister Candace-two sisters hoping to hit it big in the music industry. What ensues is the building romance between Drea and Laz, and the fall out when the competition for lead singer turns ugly, and Drea’s past comes looking for revenge.

The relationship between Drea and Laz is a forbidden romance in such that Laz’s come back is threatened if he becomes entangled with a member of the group. Throughout the story line, Drea and Laz keep their relationship a secret although everyone has their suspicions because Laz is unable to keep his eyes off of the woman that calls to his heart. The $ex scenes are intimate and intense, seduction and hot.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including Laz’s best friend and former member of the rock band the Romeos Cam Owens; friend and part of the group’s artistic development team Laurie; Laz’s father Mr. Rawlings, and his personal assistant Robert, as well as the new CEO of Rawlings Records Peter Lawson. We are introduced to the members of the Vixens including Drea’s sister Candace Montag, Annamea and Laycee. There is definitely an attraction between Candace and Cam-I am hoping the author continues their story in the future. The requisite evil has many faces including Drea’s ex-boyfriend Carlos who wants revenge against our story line heroine.

The world building focuses on the try-outs for the group: the auditions, the training, the potential fall out of Drea’s romantic relationship with a man who is technically her boss. Laz’s history with Peter, and the breakdown of the rock band The Romeos is revealed, as well as Drea’s heartbreaking back story.

LOVE, SEX, MUSIC is an emotional story line; an easy read that looks at the making of a band (singing group), and the fall out of jealousy, revenge and too much, too soon. The premise is entertaining and spicy; the romance is provocative and passionate; the characters are spirited and dynamic.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

About The AuthorMichelle Valentine

FOLLOW: Goodreads / Website / Facebook/ Twitter

Michelle A. Valentine is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Rock the Heart. Wicked White is the first novel in her Wicked White romance series. She attended college as a drafting and design major, but her love of people soon persuaded her to join the nursing field. It wasn’t until after the birth of her son that she began her love affair with romance novels, and she hasn’t looked back since. When she’s not writing, she feeds her music addiction, dabbles in party planning, and expresses herself by working with arts and crafts. She currently lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband, son, and two beloved dogs.

Join Michelle’s Reader Fan Group!

Be a little naughty – join Valentine’s Vixens (http://on.fb.me/1mh1uFqon Facebook for sneak peeks at Michelle’s upcoming works, as well as fun and chatting with her and other readers!

 

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Shattered King (Lawless Kings #1) by Sherilee Gray-Review, Excerpt & Interview

SHATTERED KING (Lawless Kings #1) by Sherilee Gray-Review, Excerpt & Interview

Shattered King

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca /KOBO / B&N /Chapters Indigo / BAM/

About the book: Release Date June 27, 2017

What if the man you love hated you more with every breath he took?

SHATTERED KING is an intense, ultra-sexy standalone novel set in the world of the Lawless Kings. Sherilee Gray’s raw, hard, beautiful, deeply-emotional voice will leave readers breathless.

He’s out to get revenge for a crime he didn’t commit…

Hunter King just got out of prison. Incarcerated for three years though an innocent man, his rage against the people who put him there knows no bounds. First up on his list for vengeance: the woman who betrayed him years ago. The woman he loved fiercely, the one bright light in his otherwise hard, ruthless life. She has information he needs. And he’s going to kidnap her, hold her hostage, in order to get it. But one look into Lulu’s eyes unleashes the true beast within. Hunter’s never hated anyone this deeply, or wanted any woman this badly.

Lulu had no choice: Either help send Hunter to prison, or see him destroyed. She couldn’t do that to the man she loved. Couldn’t do it to the father of her child. But Hunter was locked away before he had a chance to learn about his son—and a hard layer of despair has formed around his heart that she’s desperate to crack. And if Hunter is to give himself and Lulu a second chance at love, he needs to find a way past his darkest demons.

••••••••••••••

REVIEW: SHATTERED KING is the first installment in Sherilee Gray’s contemporary, adult LAWLESS KINGS erotic, romantic suspense series focusing on the men and women who work for the King Agency doing personal protection and security, private investigation (corporate and domestic) and high-risk fugitive recovery and missing persons and kidnapping investigations. This is Hunter King, and Lucinda (Lulu) Frost’s story line.

NOTE: SHATTERED KING contains graphic scenarios that may be triggers for some readers including attempted rape, abuse and questionable consent.

Told from dual first person perspectives (Lulu and Hunter) SHATTERED KING is a story of second chances. Three years and four months earlier Hunter King found himself charged for a crime he did not commit. The one person who would have been able to clear his name refused to testify for the man that she loved. Enter Lulu Frost, the woman who destroyed Hunter King’s heart. What ensues is the rekindling relationship between Hunter and Lucinda, and the struggle to stay one step ahead of the man hoping to destroy them all.

Lulu Frost has been on the run since the day she walked out of Hunter King’s life. With her past hunting her whereabouts, Lulu must return to the town where everything went wrong but finds herself imprisoned by the very man she betrayed-at a cost. But Lulu keeps secret the truth from all those years ago and once revealed will place her on a path towards a future-with or without the man that she has always loved.

Hunter King is a changed man since the day he was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Angry, determined and in desperate need of revenge, Hunter will make Lulu’ s life a living h*ll but for all intents and purposes, Hunter is a man still in love with the woman who betrayed his heart and soul. It is only when Lulu reveals the truth will Hunter’s change his path towards a happily ever after with the woman he loves

The relationship between Lulu and Hunter is one of second chances. There is a palpable sexual energy that is both heightened and damaged by Hunter’s behavior and actions towards our story line heroine. In the early stages of the book Hunter’s actions are reprehensible; his behavior and treatment of Lulu Frost is abusive, damaging and not without some questionable consent. The $ex scenes are angry, intense, seductive and promising.

We are introduced to Hunter’s older brother Van King, their guardian Raul Esposito, King Agency employees: former police officer Jude Wayland, PA Ruby Styles, ex-navy SEAL sniper Zeke Stanton, and tracker Neco Malik; Lulu’s ailing mother Elizabeth, and step-father Pierce, as well as Lulu’s Aunt Sara. Neco and Ruby’s story line is next in BROKEN REBEL.

The world building focuses on the rekindling romance between Lulu and Hunter, and the lengths Hunter will go to to protect the woman he has always loved. At times, Lulu Frost, is determined to push all of Hunter’s buttons, including placing herself in direct conflict to everything meant to protect her life.

SHATTERED KING is a dark, sexy, heartbreaking and emotional story of revenge, betrayal, and second chances. The premise is dramatic and intense; the characters are passionate, colorful and energetic; the romance is edgy and powerful. SHATTERED KING is an excellent start to a new series.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

excerpt

Excerpt provider by St. Martin’s Press

I blinked several times, working the heaviness from my eyes. Somehow I’d fallen asleep, locked in this room, surrounded by people that thought I was lower than dirt. God knows how I managed that, especially after what happened in that bathroom. I shivered. Every time I thought about it, my body heated. I was more screwed up than I thought.
The light in the room was diluted, gray. I guessed sometime late in the afternoon.
I froze. I wasn’t alone.
Hunter. His volatile energy filled the room, saturated it. My skin prickled and I sucked in a sharp breath. I didn’t move, stayed right where I was. I had no desire to find out what came next. I was still here for a reason. I didn’t know what that reason was, but considering the way he felt about me, things were not looking great.
“I know you’re awake.”
His voice was rough, low, but not angry for once. Something else, something I couldn’t name, set off little zaps of electricity in my lower belly. I’d decided before I fell asleep that I was done talking. Every time I opened my mouth, I pissed him off. And since he didn’t believe a word that came out of it, I was going to save my energy. With that in mind, I sat up, shoved my hair back from my face, and waited.
He was standing at the foot of the bed, arms crossed over his wide chest, chin dipped, head tilted, eyes locked on me. I couldn’t read his expression. But he was studying me in a way that made me want to squirm.
His jaw tightened, not much, but enough that I saw it. That gaze got more intense, so intense I couldn’t hold it any longer. I picked at the hem of my T-shirt, fidgeting.
“Why?” he said into the quiet room.
That’s it. That one word. I knew what he was asking. I’d heard that one word, Hunter’s voice, echoing in my head, for three years. The pain and anger distorting it as he was dragged away by prison guards.
I had nothing.
Nothing I was prepared to give, anyway. I made myself meet his gaze. It wasn’t easy. God, how I wanted to tell him everything, but I couldn’t and clamped my mouth shut instead. I refused to put Josh at risk just to appease my guilt. No good would come from telling him what happened, not now. Nothing would change. Nothing would make any of this all right. If I knew without doubt that Josh was Hunter’s, maybe I’d open my mouth. But I didn’t know that. Telling Hunter would only turn a spotlight on my little boy. It would make him a target, if he weren’t already. I’d die before I did that.
Hunter’s expression hardened. “You fucking owe me an explanation.”
I didn’t move, didn’t blink, just kept my eyes locked on his and my mouth shut.
He shook his head. “What did I ever do to you, Lulu? To make you hate me so damn much?”
I jolted, a full body spasm. Oh God. It was him. There he was. My Hunter. Just a glimpse of the man I loved beyond reason. It hurt to see him again. I wasn’t prepared for it. I looked down at my hands, tears stinging my nose, the back of my eyes. I swallowed down the lump threatening to choke me. My tattered heart couldn’t take much more of this.
I felt his gaze hot on me, waiting. Hoping I’d give him what he needed, give him the answers he wanted. I couldn’t do it.
Finally, after what felt like forever, he hissed through his teeth.
I looked up, couldn’t help it. His eyes were back to that cold, dead stare. He was gone again.
He tilted his head toward the door. “Time to go.”
I wanted to ask where, but since I’d just made a point of not talking, I had no choice but to keep my mouth shut. I stood as he opened the door and followed him back upstairs.

 

 

Interview seafoam:black

TRC: Hi Sherilee and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of SHATTERED KING

We would like to start with some background information. Would you please
tell us something about yourself?

Sherilee GrayFollow: Website / Goodreads / Twitter /

Sherilee:  Thanks so much for having me here! Well, I live in a small town in rural New Zealand with my husband and two kids. I’ve had quite a few jobs over the years, office manager, bank teller, sales assistant, and after I had my children, I painted and sold my artwork. I even fancied myself a chief for a while and did some training before working in a restaurant. But nothing was ever the right fit, not until I started writing about eight years ago. I haven’t looked back since!

TRC:Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Sherilee: So many romance authors. So many amazing books! After years of devouring romance novels, I knew I wanted to try writing myself. I had all these ideas, all these stories in my head. One night I just sat down and started.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Sherilee: I struggled a lot in school, and when I started writing I had to go right back to basics. It was hard going, but writing and being published was what I wanted so I persevered. And of course, there are the rejections. Most of us them, and no matter what stage you are at in your writing journey, they never get any easier.

TRC: You write novels in several different genres. Which do you prefer? Which do you find more difficult?

Sherilee: I don’t really find one more difficult than the other, just different. I don’t think I can pick one I prefer! I love them all 🙂

Shattered KingTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of SHATTERED KING and the LAWLESS KINGS series?

Sherilee: I love an alpha hero. I also love anti-heroes, and both describe the men in this series. These guys may be P.I’s, but let’s just say they’re not exactly law-abiding citizens. They’re hard, and rough around the edges, products of the crap they’ve been through in their lives. They’re also loyal to a fault, and extremely protective. And the women that crash into their lives shove these big, bad, emotionally stunted alpha guys right out of their comfort zones. With Shattered King, I used two of my favorite tropes, second chances, and enemies to lovers, the result was some serious fireworks. I loved every moment of writing it.

TRC: How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

Sherilee: Honestly? My plots can be a little wacky, and I tend to just go with it. As far as believability goes? I can believe almost anything if it’s executed well, and that’s what I try very hard to do. It’s the characters that make each story unique or unpredictable no matter what trope/setting etc you use in your story.

TRC: There is a fine line between romance, erotic, and erotica in many of today’s popular contemporary fiction. What do you believe accounts for the differences between the sub-genres in today’s romantic stories?

Sherilee: Romance and erotic romance are all about the Happily Ever After, or at least a Happy For Now. In erotic romance, the developing sexual relationship between the H\h is hugely important for character growth and getting to that all important HEA/HFN. In erotica, Happily Ever Afters aren’t necessary.

TRC: Where should authors draw the line when writing romance vs erotic vs erotica story lines?

Sherilee: I think it’s up to the author.

TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

Sherilee: I think a great cover definitely helps!

TRC: When writing a story line, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

Sherilee: I direct my characters…though, I do often end up where I hadn’t anticipated going. I’d love to be one of those authors that wake up to a story fully formed in their minds and characters yanking it up. Alas, that has never happened.

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the story line so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?

Sherilee: I don’t know about other writers, but there are several things I do. If I can, I draw from my own experiences, research if I can’t, and I also work really hard at putting myself in my character’s shoes while I’m writing. I want their reactions to be as believable as possible. Which is why writing those emotional scenes can be extremely draining.

TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the story line direction? Characters?

Sherilee: I listen to music while I draft a book. The music doesn’t really influence the direction of a story, but it can inspire me. I always try and choose songs that fit the mood of the book I’m writing.

TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?

Sherilee: My author friends. I have a small group of amazing ladies that are not only talented and knowledgeable, but extremely supportive as well. I couldn’t be without them. Also, my sister! I talk her ear off and she makes all the right noises when I’m freaking out about something.

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?

Sherilee: That writing is easy because we’re doing what we love.

TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?

Sherilee: If I could, I’d live somewhere remote, like an island with a tiny population. I’m a total introvert (Then again, maybe that’s not so secret!)

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Sherilee: A proposal for a new series 🙂

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
Cheese

Favorite Dessert
Apple crumble

Favorite TV Show
Too hard to pick!

Last Movie You Saw
Can’t remember!

Dark or Milk Chocolate
Milk

Secret Celebrity Crush
Tom Hardy (also not so secret!)

Last Vacation Destination
The beach

Do you have any pets?
Two cats

Last book you read

Blood Vow by JR Ward

TRC:Thank you Sherilee for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on your new release.

Sherilee:  Thank you!

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