The Eve Genome (Volume 1) by Joanne Brothwell-a review

THE EVE GENOME (Volume 1) by Joanne Brothwell-a review

The Eve Genome / / Barnes and Noble /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date August 15, 2013

Adriana Sinclair is an evolutionary mystery. Her blood type matches nothing in modern medicine. When a failed blood transfusion kills her twin sister, Adriana discovers she’s a throwback to an original human that scientists have coined the “Mitochondrial Eve.”

Still reeling from her sister’s death and the subsequent realization of her family’s secret, Adriana struggles to put her life back in order and focus on her college studies. She finds comfort in Kalan, the new guy whose striking albino features and friendly manner keep her distracted from the wreck her life has become. Kalan is exactly what she needs right now, even if he does seem a bit too interested in Adriana’s mysterious bloodline...


REVIEW: THE EVE GENOME is a storyline that borders science fiction, romance and the paranormal. The premise follows Adriana Sinclair and the blood abnormalities that have led to her twin sister’s demise and the discovery that there is more to the blood disorder than DNA-there is genetic manipulation and scientific experimentation. There are several characters whose stories have yet to be told and the presumption that the missing are dead and gone is something that no one is willing to admit.

The storyline reads like a study in psychological and scientific manipulation. From the outset the reader is pulled into a story of four- twenty something adults-good and evil; black and white; power and control. Two sets of identical twins who are identical in appearances only but with the building paranormal and supernatural powers, will be more alike than not.

With the discovery of gene manipulation and scientific experimentation the storyline characters will uncover the secrets to their existence and in doing so with realize that their DNA can be traced back to the origins of man-Adam and Eve. While two were given up at birth, all four were kept in the dark as it pertained to their genetic mutations and DNA anomalies. As their powers begin to manifest and surface so do the people hoping to locate their whereabouts.

Joanne Brothwell has written a storyline that will have you asking about the ‘what ifs and whys’ of genetic research and gene manipulation. If you could create the ‘perfect baby’ what lengths would you go to see it through?

The Eve Genome is a story of suspense and mystery all wrapped up nicely in a science fiction bow. Brothwell has taken a subject of scientific controversy and put her own spin on what could happen if the people in charge thought they could take over for God.

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Sandy


Allure by Lea Nolan – a Review

Allure by Lea Nolan – a Review

AllureLinks to order Allure: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

Worst. Summer. Ever.

Emma Guthrie races to learn the hoodoo magic needed to break The Beaumont Curse before her marked boyfriend Cooper’s sixteenth birthday. But deep in the South Carolina Lowcountry, dark, mysterious forces encroach, conspiring to separate Emma and Cooper forever. When Cooper starts to change, turning cold and indifferent, Emma discovers that both his heart and body are marked for possession by competing but equally powerful adversaries.

Desperate to save him, Emma and her twin brother, Jack, risk their lives to uncover the source of the black magic that has allured Cooper and holds him in its grip. Face with the horror of a soul-eating boohag, Emma and Jack must fight to resist its fiendish power to free Cooper long enough to join their strengths and face it together, before it destroys them all.


“It’s hoodoo…Not voodoo.  That’s a religion.” 

In case you were unclear, 14 year old Emma, apprentice to Miss Delia, the most powerful hoodoo Gullah root worker of the Lowcountry in South Carolina, will clarify the misconception and race against a deadline to save her BF, Cooper Beaumont from a 300 year old curse.  When you meet this young lady, you’ll know that this sort of urgent matter — it’s all in a day’s work for this gal!  Allure is book 2 in the Hoodoo Apprentice series by Lea Nolan.  I loved her writing style, the flow of the story so much, not only do I clamor for book 3 (please say there’s a book 3!), but I’ll retrace my steps in the meantime and start at the beginning with the debut novel, Conjure!  By the time I’m done with that, you should be ready to go…right, Ms. Nolan?  😉

While Allure launches straight into a fast-approaching target date of 3 weeks (Cooper’s 16th birthday) to break the curse, we’re immediately given snippets of information detailing missing Gullah artifacts pivotal in Conjure.  Overlapping mysteries including a stolen pirate’s dagger and a missing family heirloom are interwoven throughout the story, but Ms. Nolan features them all diligently.  Sure, Cooper’s soul is the most important (can’t lose focus there, lol), but the suspense behind the subplots were just as intriguing.  The 80-carat family heirloom ruby stolen from Cooper’s father, Beau, whose description resembles that of Jabba the Hut (minus the rotting bologna odor), detours off the main storyline, but snatches center stage when further explored by Emma, her twin brother, Jack, and Cooper, as it connects to the Beaumont curse Cooper is so desperate to avoid.

Sabina, an African queen with a brutal sense of justice…used her mystical hoodoo powers to seek revenge.  She…cursed the Beaumont progeny forever by stealing their souls when they come into manhood, turning them unspeakably dark and corrupt

A murder to be solved (along with identification of a tar-like substance found on the body), an unplanned stay from Miss Delia’s haughty great-granddaughter (intent on spoiling Emma and Jack’s young love), a shady investigator with a dark agenda, and all kinds of hoodoo magic, spell conjuring, and boo hags ultimately find its way back to the heart of the matter.  This isn’t stereotypical teenage amusement at play, but supernatural threats that are based in deep-rooted vengeance.

Before you know it, latent effects of the curse are taking root within Cooper and he begins to detach from Emma and Jack (the trio have been BFFs for years). 

My jaw drops as I stare at him, transfixed by the strange hue of his irises.  His eyes have always appeared to change shades, but I’ve never seen this one, ever.  It’s cold.  Lifeless.  Perhaps even soulless.  A chill ripples through me.  Is this proof that the Beaumont Curse has begun to set in?              

Will breaking the Beaumont curse rid Cooper of his sudden obsession with Miss Delia’s great-granddaughter?  Just when you hoped things/emotions would settle down, Ms. Nolan ramps up the hoodoo action, with even more action, and the mother of showdowns leaves you with baited breath (and a wicked oath for interference).  Quick resolutions?  Where’s the fun in that?!  BRING ON BOOK #3!!!

I loved the care, the respect, afforded to the practice.  Ms. Nolan clearly dabbles in the art or has done a marvelous job of research.  The gathering of herbs and exotic ingredients to execute a spell felt as if they were being concocted in my home.  I could almost smell the lemon verbena!  I got such a kick out of her flare for the dynamic imagery:  Referring to the first deputy on site of the murder scene, she described him as “a thick-necked, muscle-bound specimen of crime-fighting prowess”, or when explaining the impossible, she refutes, “But that’s like telling an ice cube not to melt in this heat”.  When voiced by a 14 year old girl, Ms. Nolan gives you hope for the next generation!  Even when Emma’s hoping justice is served, her indignation lies on the person mistreating hoodoo; for using it with malevolence.  I loved this young lady!  I did gasp, and gulp, when reading a kiss between Emma and Cooper that was just too “advanced” for my tastes.  Tracing kisses behind her ear…yiker bikers, slow down!  It didn’t go beyond that, thankfully, and we end up in love with young love…well, sort of.  An unexpected change of plans keeps Emma and Jack in South Carolina.  How long till Cooper and Jack notice Emma keeps looking over her shoulder from the supernatural threat that has a personal bone to pick with her?

It was indeed my pleasure to meet a lovely cast of characters, each equally impressive and unique.  I did end the story on an “Awww…”, so I’ll say it again:  I’M READY FOR BOOK 3!!!

Reviewed by Carmen

Copy provided by Publisher


Endless Blog Tour with Jessica Shirvington – Interview

ENDLESS – Jessica Shirvington Blog Tour – Interview

Endless Banner Interview


Endless (Book #4)
The Violet Eden Chapters
by Jessica Shirvington
Release Date:October 1, 2013

Review of Endless is below this post.

Endless Octo 2013Links to order Endless: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo


Violet Eden thought she was getting things under control. Then all hell breaks loose—literally. In the war between angels and exiles, she’s about to face the biggest baddie of all time. Except she’s not nearly ready.
The dark exile Phoenix is still messing with her head—not to mention her heart. And her undeniable attraction to Lincoln has gotten downright dangerous. When Hell unleashes its worst, Violet must embrace every facet of her angel self to save the people she cares about and the world as she knows it. But death is not the worst thing she will face…


About the AuthorJessica

Jessica Shirvington is the author of THE VIOLET EDEN CHAPTERS also known as THE EMBRACE SERIES, and stand alone novel, BETWEEN THE LIVES. An entrepreneur, author, and mother living in Sydney, Australia, Jessica is also a 2011 finalist for Cosmopolitan’s annual Fun, Fearless Female Award. She’s also one of the lucky few who met the love of her life at age seventeen: Matt Shirvington, a former Olympian and current sports broadcaster for FOXTEL and Sky News. Married for twleve years with two beautiful daughters, Sienna and Winter, Jessica knows her early age romance and its longevity has definitely contributed to how she tackles relationships in her YA novels.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads


Hi Jessica and welcome to The Reading Café.  We would like to start with some background information.

TRC: Please tell us something about yourself?  Have you always been interested in writing?

Jessica:  No, I haven’t. To be honest with you, I was the kid in school who watched the movie instead of reading the book. To me, it was pretty simple at the time, I wasn’t the fastest reader and so I figured why give it so much time when I could just watch the 2 hour movie version which most likely had some hunky guys in it.

Crazy, right?

Well, I only figured out how much I was missing out on late in life. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I really discovered my love of books. I have always been expressive, and have found it easy to put emotions into words, but storytelling came later.

TRC: How did you come up with the idea of your Embrace series?

Jessica:  I think the idea found me in many ways. I was reading a lot at the time. I had no plans to write a book of any kind. I don’t even know what possessed me that day to start writing, but one morning I finished a book and instead of opening a new one, I opened my laptop and wrote the names Lincoln and Violet and that was the beginning of the Embrace Series. It is strange sometimes, because I remember vividly sitting down at my breakfast bar with my laptop. But I had no idea that it would be a day, and a snap decision that would change the course of my life.

TRCWhen Embrace, the first book in this series, was published, what was your reaction to seeing your first book on the book shelves?

Jessica:  Ridiculous amounts of childlike excitement and an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment. I never saw a career as a writer coming, but once I realized it was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I was all in. Seeing my book on the shelves for the first time was a special moment.

TRC For our members who may not have read this series, can you give us a brief description of the Embraced series?

Jessica:  It is the story about Violet, a seventeen year old girl who works hard to keep her life in order. She likes having control and she also very much likes her trainer, Lincoln, who happens to be a touch older than her and lovely in so many ways. Embrace begins with her birthday and the discovery that she has a destiny much greater than she ever could’ve imagined. Violet was once given the essence of a very powerful angel and she much now choose her path – become Grigori, a human-angel hybrid warrior, or turn her back on her destiny. The series that follows is all the events that take place as a consequence of the choices that Violet and those closest to her make. All the while, despite the sacrifices and the heartbreak, despite the pain and suffering, relationships, allies and everlasting friendships are formed as Violet grows and becomes everything ‘they’ had hoped, and so much more.

Endless Octo 2013TRC: Can you please tell us the premise of your new novel, Endless, which is the 4th book in your Violet Eden Chapters series?   Also, how many books do you anticipate for this series?

Jessica:  Endless is the 4th book, and there will be 5 books in the series in total. EMPOWER will be out in April/May 2014. Here is a short synopsis:

Angels are real. They aren’t always kind. Violet Eden is certain of all this because she is Grigori – part angel, part human. She has felt the influence of both light and dark.

Since her 17th birthday, Violet has known she is a warrior. Though she is more powerful than she yet realizes, two men could still sway her from her path if she lets them. Violet’s uncertainty about Phoenix continually shakes her resolve and her love for Lincoln is perhaps her greatest weakness.

When Hell unleashed its worst, Violet must embrace every facet of her angel self to save the people she cares about and the world as she knows it. But death is not the worst thing Violet will face. For her, the endless question: ‘Can love conquer all?’ will finally be answered.

TRC: Can you please tell us a bit about your other novel, Between the Lives?

Jessica:  Sure! Between the Lives will be out in the US in late June 2014. It is actually going to be called ONE PAST MIDNIGHT there, so keep an eye out!

ONE PAST MIDNIGHT is about Sabine, an eighteen year old girl, who on the surface seems just like any ordinary girl. The problem is, she has two lives.

Sabine lives every day twice, though never repeats the same day. In her first life she lives in Roxbury, Boston, and have her parents and a little sister, Maddie. In her other life, she lives in Wellesley, and her parents (who are different) are divorced and she had two older brothers.

At midnight every night, Sabine shifts into her other life and relives her day in a completely new world.

She has never been anyway to stop this from happening, but then something changes. She falls down the subway steps in her Roxbury life and breaks her arm. When she shifts that night to her other life she expects her arm to be broken as well, but it is not.

This starts a series of very dangerous experiments as for the first time, Sabine is able to ask the question: If she died in one life, is there a chance she could live on in the other? For a girl who has only ever want to live fully in just one life, the real questions are, how far will she go to have that one life? And which one would she choose?

TRCWe know you have the 5th book, Empower being released in early 2014.  What are you currently working on?

Jessica:  I’ve been working on the American edit of ONE PAST MIDNIGHT, and also a new two book series that is on the way called DISRUPTION, which I am very excited about!

TRCWould you like to add anything else?

Jessica:  No, I think we covered it for now! Thanks for having me as a guest on The Reading Café!

Jessica,  thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions.  The Reading Café wishes you good luck with Endless and Empower.



Endless by Jessica Shirvington – a Review

Endless by Jessica Shirvington – a Review

endlessLinks to order Endless: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

Angels are real. They aren’t always kind. Violet Eden is certain of all this because she is Grigori – part angel, part human. She has felt the influence of both light and dark.

When Hell unleashes its worst, Violet must embrace every facet of her angel self to save the people she cares about and the world as she knows it. But death is not the worst thing that Violet will face. For her, the endless question ‘Can love conquer all?’ will finally be answered.


Endless by Jessica Shirvington is the 4th book in her Violet Eden Chapters series.  Before I go totally into my review, I have to say that Endless is one of the best books I have read this year, and I have read so many wonderful books in 2013.  Endless is almost 500 pages, and I read this in one day.  I could not put the book down, as the story held me totally engrossed, a page burner, filled with constant action, and suspense.

Violet Eden, who is part human and part angel, is a fantastic kick ass heroine.   Over the last few books, Violet has learned more about herself, as well as dealing with her increasing powers. In the last book, Violet was betrayed by Phoenix, an exiled Angel, and the son of the evil Lilith. Her romance with Lincoln, who is a powerful Grigori, kicks up a lot in this story, and it was worth the long wait.  Violet though is one lucky young lady, having two very hot men in love with her.

Endless brings Violet’s mom back after 17 years, and we discover where she has been all that time.  Violet must try to trust her mother, Evelyn, despite her concern for her father being hurt again.  Why did her mother come back now?  It all has to do with Lilith being freed by Phoenix and coming to kill them all, especially Violet and her mother. 

Violet, Linc, her mom, dad, and their friends head to NY to face the Academy, who doubt Violet’s motives.  When at attack happens at the Academy, Violet is blamed, with her and Linc escaping.

Violet must find a way to clear her name, and come up with a plan to save her mother, whom Lilith plans to kill.  Without the support of the Grigori, Violet and Linc must trust Phoenix to help them.   Can she trust him?  Though he knows Violet and Linc have bonded as soulmates, Phoenix knows he must help to stop his mother from mass destruction of the world as we know it.  He is willing to do what is necessary, even giving up Violet, whom he loves, to Linc. Will Phoenix help them, or will he use the situation to benefit himself?

Shirvington not only has a great love triangle in this story, but she has a terrific group of secondary characters, who help make this a fantastic book. Shirvington has a wonderful writing style and uses her knowledge of angels, exiled angels, seraphim to make this a wonderful complex mythology, filled with death, intense and violent action, and romance.

In a climatic exciting frenzied final last half of the book, we are on the edge of our seat the whole time.  What Violet has to endure at the end, has you gasping, and then the painful ending leaves us desperate for the next book.  Endless puts Jessica Shirvington on my list of must buys.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini-a review

The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini-a review

The Spymistress / / Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 1, 2013

Born to slave-holding aristocracy in Richmond, Virginia, and educated by Northern Quakers, Elizabeth Van Lew was a paradox of her time. When her native state seceded in April 1861, Van Lew’s convictions compelled her to defy the new Confederate regime. Pledging her loyalty to the Lincoln White House, her courage would never waver, even as her wartime actions threatened not only her reputation, but also her life.
Van Lew’s skills in gathering military intelligence were unparalleled. She helped to construct the Richmond Underground and orchestrated escapes from the infamous Confederate Libby Prison under the guise of humanitarian aid. Her spy ring’s reach was vast, from clerks in the Confederate War and Navy Departments to the very home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Although Van Lew was inducted posthumously into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame, the astonishing scope of her achievements has never been widely known. In Chiaverini’s riveting tale of high-stakes espionage, a great heroine of the Civil War finally gets her due.


5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

So if you have read my reviews before, you will know I am a bit of history lover. I am fascinated by the Civil War between the North and the South of America and this book just so happens to be the focal point of a non fictional character that braved the odds, fought for what she believed in and put her life on the line to make whatever difference she could in this war.

The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini is a page turning, compelling historical fiction based on the efforts of real life Elizabeth Van Lew. I enjoyed this read so much, that I actually researched more about this incredible woman. I was pleasantly surprised to find Jennifer write this piece of fiction around facts and true life historical events and kept Elizabeth as precise as she could. I have much respect for an author who can make a piece of real history come to life and make it completely believable! WELL DONE JENNIFER CHIAVERINI!

Ok, let’s get on with the review!

This book opens just as Richmond, Virginia has voted on seceding with the South in 1861. Elizabeth’s family is aristocratic and slave owners but her mother and her have come to believe that is no longer the future. Legally blocked by her father’s will, the Van Lew family are not allowed to free their slaves, but they sure make life bearable by granting them papers to live as free as they can (the slaves have to check in for legal purposes). Absolutely disgusted with the state of Virginia and the people who have flipped in agreement with secession (they realize that nothing but bloodshed and angst will come if war is declared … and they were right), they decide to do what little they can to fight against their own confederate army.

Throughout this novel, Elizabeth (Lizzie) and her band of ladies (my personal nickname for them Mary Jane Bowser (her coloured friend who gives up her freedom to serve as a servant and spy in Confederate leader Davis’s home), Eliza Van Lew (Lizzie’s beautiful hearted mother) and Eliza Carrington (a family friend who is as brave as Lizzie) work together as Union sympathizer’s. Realizing they are being watched and potentially cast as traitor’s, these woman take it upon themselves to outwardly show support for the Confederacy while internally they are spying for and supporting the union. They visit underground and aid Northerner’s in escaping, visit prisons and use the guise of being humanitarian to receive and pass on messages that aid the Northerner’s to success and go as far as hiding people in their own home. All of this is done right under the nose of the confederate army and at any time they can be caught and killed for espionage and treason.

Of course there are many other supporting characters and major events on both sides, men and women, North and South, that contribute to all the emotions you will experience while reading this book. So many in fact that I could easily write a four page review. LOL! I will not spoil anything, especially if you are not familiar with this part of history. Know however, that Jennifer Chiaverini writes all her characters with so many complex layers that they become clearly believable. Not many characters are written black and white, but very much shades of grey. You read many internal struggles and I can only imagine how hard it had to be to pick a side you believe in when outside influence greatly affects your way quality of life or even if you will live that life.

An absolutely fantastic book by a wonderful author. I am anticipating reading more of her books that follow this genre. If you are a history buff and/or this era is interesting to you, please have a read of The Spymistress. It most certainly has it all, from mystery, suspense, page turning anticipation, heart, and character.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Rachel T.


Rumor Has It – Jill Shalvis Blog Tour, Review, Interview & Giveaway

Rumor Has It – Jill Shalvis Blog Tour, Review, interview & Giveaway

rumor has it banner
Rumor Has It
Animal Magnetism Novel
By Jill Shalvis
Release Date: November 5, 2013

9780425255827_large_Rumor_Has_ItLinks to order Rumor Has It:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / The Book Depository

He’ll help unleash the new woman in her…

Special Ops soldier Griffin Reid doesn’t exactly have happy memories of growing up in Sunshine, Idaho. He’s only come back to recover from a war injury, and while he refuses to admit he’s in a weakened state, he finds comfort in the last person he’d expect.

Kate Evans teaches fourth grade science in Sunshine, the place she’s always called home. Dreaming of graduate school and a happily-ever-after, she’s desperate to break out of the monotony of Sunshine. Luckily, a certain sexy man has just come back into her life.

To Griffin, Kate as always been his little sister’s friend, but now he’s finding her to be so much more. As both attempt to forge their paths, they must decide if their passionate connection can turn into something lasting…


Kate Evans takes care of everyone’s needs, except her own.  Since her mother’s death, she has taken care of her dad, little sister and little brother.  Even though she doesn’t live in the same house as they do, she dutifully goes there every morning to make sure everyone has what they need to survive their day. Rumor Has It by Jill Shalvis begins with her making an emergency stop at a store en route to her dad’s house early one morning.  Upon her exit, she trips and falls.  And who walks up to help?  Her best friend Holly’s brother, Griffin Reid.  Kate’s had a crush on him for years.  Maybe time helped that crush fade.  Nope, not a chance.
Griffin Reid came back to Sunshine for his sister’s wedding to his best friend, Adam.  He’d been back a few times over the years, but he honestly thought that Sunshine had nothing to offer him.  He and his dad, Donald, never say eye to eye and Grif couldn’t get out of Sunshine fast enough.  He enlisted when he turned 18 and never looked back, until now.  He’d been injured in an IED explosion and could no longer continue in the military that had become his life.  So, his plan was to come back, attend his sister’s wedding and head out.  Funny thing about plans. They don’t seem to always work out the way you expected………
This is the first book that I’ve read by Shalvis, but I can tell you that it will NOT be my last.  She does a masterful job of character building.  In a short time, you feel like you’ve known these characters forever.  And, Kate was spectacular!  Her love of her family was very endearing, but her love of science will have you rolling.  Seems that when Kate gets nervous, she starts spouting random science facts, at the most inopportune times.

The first contraceptive was crocodile dung,” she whispered.  “The Egyptians used it in 2000 BC.”

You say the sexiest things,” he said, and gently sank his teeth into her earlobe.
You also fall in love with her family, namely her little brother Tommy, who dresses in superhero costumes daily.  Grif and his family are well written as well.  Not only is Grif drawn to Kate, but he’s also drawn to Tommy, which will just make your heart melt.
And, just to make it interesting, there’s a huge revelation concerning Grif and his family that sends him reeling, and running.  Will he stop running long enough to figure out that he belongs with Kate?  Will he figure out that he does belong in Sunshine?  Well, of course he will.  This is, after all, a romance novel.  But the journey will cause you to shed a tear, or two……….or a hundred!!  When he and his father finally have a heart to heart?!  Good Lord!!

For me, Rumor Has It has just the right amount of family, romance and hotness.  If you’re looking for a great read, you’ll not go wrong with this one!!  I definitely look forward to the next installment!!

Reviewed by Vickie

Copy provided by Publisher


about the author
Jill Shalvis

New York Times and USA Today bestseller Jill Shalvis is the award winning author of over four dozen romance novels, including her sexy contemporary and award winning Lucky Harbor series (FOREVER AND A DAY was one of Amazon’s Top Romances for 2012). She won a Rita for SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE and is a 3-time National Readers Choice winner as well. Make sure to click on the blog button above for her daily blog where she recounts her Misplaced City Girl adventures.

interviewWe’d like to give Jill Shalvis a warm welcome to our blog today!  Jill is the bestselling author of over four dozen romance novels, including her upcoming sexy contemporary romance RUMOR HAS IT, book four in the Animal Magnetism series set in the small town of Sunshine, Idaho.  Jill is known for stories that are sexy, fun and full of heart.  The 4-time Rita nominee and 3-time National Readers Choice winner makes her home near Lake Tahoe.  Visit her website at for a complete book list and daily blog.

Q:  Can you tell our readers a little bit about the Animal Magnetism (Sunshine, Idaho) series, and where your inspiration came from? 

A:  I’ve always wanted to write a series where I could incorporate cute animals.  Cute animals and sexy heroes together, who can resist that.  So I came up with a series about a set of wildly alpha brothers running an animal center in Sunshine, Idaho at the base of the Bitteroot Mountains. 

Q:  What is your favorite thing about writing this series? The sexy men, the heroines, or the animals?

A:  All of the above, but okay, let me admit the truth – the combination of hot guys and adorable animals is pretty much irresistible for me.

Q:  What do you think makes romance readers and the romance community so strong?

A:  I think what makes the romance community so strong is that romance readers are awesome.  They’re loyal and dedicated and always so willing to help support our community by talking about the books and making it okay to read whatever you want, may that be straight contemporary, romantic suspense, erotica, whatever.  I love that.  As far as having a strong presence, that is an accidental cause of working alone most of the days out of the year.  Reaching out to romance readers and writers via social media is just a really great way to not always be alone.  🙂

Q:  Are contemporaries your favorite genre to read as well as to write? If so, can you give our readers some of your favorite recommendations? 

A:  Yes, though I love to read everything, across all genres.  Heck, I’m happy reading the back of a cereal box.  But as for my recommendations in the contemporary genre, you can’t go wrong with Robyn Carr, Kristan Higgins, Carly Phillips, Susan Mallery, Lori Foster, Rachel Gibson…

Q:  Do you think reading romance makes us expect more from our own romantic partners? What effect do you think romance has on those that read it?

A:  We’re writing fiction.  Not nonfiction.  But made up stories, fantasies really.  I’m not writing “How To Have A Hot Romance.”  Or “How To Train Your Significant Other Into Being A Perfect Mate.”  I’m writing a fictional tale.  I think our readers are sharp, and are well aware and capable of knowing the difference between a pat Happily Ever After and real life.  If I can provide someone with a fantasy, a little escape from her reality, then I am considering it a job well done. 

Q:  You write so many wonderful contemporaries, how do you keep each novel fresh and exciting?

A:  Keeping it fresh is a constant battle, and I struggle with that daily.  I just love writing, and this genre, and work hard to do the job so I can keep doing it and pleasing readers.  Also, I find that stalking neighbors and friends, and being extremely nosy about their personal lives and conflicts is very helpful.  🙂

Q:  What’s your advice for a first-time pet owner?

1. Read up on your pet, on the specific breed.
2. Be patient.
3. Be patient.
4. Be patient.  🙂
5. Oh, and if there’s training issues?  Chances are it’s you, so revisit #1.

Q:  The interactions shared between you and Alpha Man always entertain; what is a recent “He Said, She Said” between you and Alpha Man that we may not have heard yet?

What are you eating?

Him (mouth full):

It smells like Oreos.


Are you … eating Oreos? I thought we were out of cookies!!

There’s only four left.

I need two.

I’ll give you one.

No! You can’t eat just one cookie!!! There’s a rule!!!

Show me the book where this rule lives.

I’LL WRITE YOU THE $%#!#$!@ book, give me a second cookie and no one gets hurt!

Is it possible that you need something to go with that cookie?


I was thinking Midol…

Q:  Your friendship with Kristan Higgins and your friendly battle for “Man Wars” has become infamous.  Why do you two connect so well?

A: I think our chemistry translates well because it’s genuine.  You can’t fake a real friendship.   We connect on lots of levels, such as competing for readers (kiddin!), and because we’re both raising aliens—er, teenagers.

Q:  What’s next for Jill Shalvis?

A:  If you read RUMOR HAS IT, you may notice a new vet is working at Belle Haven. Dr. Wyatt Stone.  He and his two sisters, Darcy and Zoe,  are each going to get their own story next year. :



Jill and The Penquin Group have graciously offered to give one lucky member of The Reading Café a copy of Jill’s new release, Rumor Has It.

1.  Please register using the Log-In at the top of the page, or by using one of our social log-ins.

2.  If you are using a social log-in e.g. Twitter, please leave your email address along with your comment.

3.  Giveaway open to U.S.Only

4.  Contests runs from October 30, to November 3, 2013




Allegiant by Veronica Roth – a Review

Allegiant by Veronica Roth – a Review

Allegiant Oct 2013Links to order Allegiant: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / The Book Depository

One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.


Allegiant is the 3rd and final book for Veronica Roth’s Divergent series.  I loved the first two books of this series.  They were great; wonderful exciting stories, and some awesome characters, especially Tris and Tobias.  I could not wait for this final book, and to see how Roth was going to end it all.  I discussed this with a few friends, who read this series based on my recommendation. 

Allegiant to me was a major disappointment.  It just wasn’t the same, with the book being very slow early on, as well as the constant redundancy.  I also did not like the POV’s that Roth decided to add into this book, which made it so different then the others.  It was almost like a different writer.

What drew me to this series were the young protagonists we met, as well as the exciting action throughout.  All of this was missing for the most part.  As much as I loved Tobias, the main character for this series, the one who we followed through it all, was Tris.  She was a fantastic character, strong, smart, tough,, and would make a fearless leader. In fact, in this book, I thought Tobias was no where near as strong as Tris.  The best part of the book, despite its climatic ending, was the epilogue.  Roth wrote this well….a nice tribute.

I have never done this before, but after reading this final book of the series, I feel I have to express myself.

An open message to Veronica Roth    SPOILERS ……SPOILERS…..SPOILERS
(Do not go past this point if you have not read this book, unless you want to be spoiled)




I have been a big fan of this series, and loved your writing.  But after reading Allegiant, and this is solely my opinion….I was sadly disappointed, as I did not feel this was the same author who wowed us in the first  two books.

Sure it’s your book, your imagination, your story, your heroes.  But you made us deeply invested into your characters.  We loved Tris and Tobias.  We get it…it’s a war. People have to die.  It’s reality.  But this is fiction; we read and imagine with you the excitement of the battles, the love, the friendships…….the ending game.

I totally understand that sacrifices have to be made in a story like this.  You did make them all throughout.  But to take a main character, and sacrifice that character is not what we invested in.  I wasn’t totally thrilled with the ending of the Hunger Games, but Katniss would eventually rebuild her life with someone who loved her.  She made her sacrifices, and paid the price, but she survived.

Was it necessary to kill Tris off, especially when she survived the serum? What was the point of risking her life (to save a brother who betrayed her), suffering, surviving, and then killing her needlessly, other then to shock us all?  She deserved more, as in real life how many people would offer their lives?

Again, this is my opinion. Divergent was great, more then great.  Insurgent was very good, though a tad less then the first book.  Allegiant had so much promise and to me it was a major disappointment, paling badly to the first two fantastic books.

Reviewed by Barb


Casa For The Holidays Virtual Tour and Giveaway from Sourcebooks

Casa For The Holidays Virtual Tour and Giveaway from Sourcebooks


Sourcebooks is celebrating the upcoming holiday season with an early gift for one lucky reader at The Reading Cafe. Read about each of the author’s favorite Christmas Story and then tell us what is your favorite holiday read. ONE lucky commenter will win ALL 4 new release holiday books from Sourcebooks. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.

Carolyn Brown Xmas

Carolyn Brown’s Favorite Christmas Books:

Holiday books are such fun and always put me in the spirit. My all-time favorite Christmas book has always been ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. The pictures and the rhyme speak volumes to my imagination. I can feel the cold outside and hear the jingle of the bells. I can even see Rudolph’s red nose. In my Christmas romance novel, The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby, Henry loves to read to Baby Joshua. Maybe Henry is just using the excuse to reread them to the baby, like I do when I read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to my grandchildren. One of Henry’s favorite Christmas books is Baby Jesus is Born and he is convinced that Joshua understands every single word.

My favorite Christmas book lately has been Grace Burrowes Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish but it could take a back seat to her newest one, Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait which I’ve promised to buy myself for the holidays.

A quick story here: I used to read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to our children during the season so Husband wrote his version of the poem when they weren’t very old. It became a tradition for him to read it to the children and later to all the grandchildren on Christmas Eve at our house when they gathered to open presents. I won’t quote the whole thing but it starts out: ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring except a flea and a louse.


Grace Burrowes Xmas

Grace Burrowes’ Favorite Christmas Books:

I love O’Henry’s “Gift of the Magi,” a short story supposedly written in about two hours flat. The penniless young husband and wife long to give each other the best possible holiday gift, even in their straitened circumstances. The husband sells his heirloom watch to buy his wife decorative combs for her beautiful hair; the wife sells her hair to buy her husband a gold chain to go with his prized heirloom watch.

The punch line of the story is that, in the Christian tradition, love was the gift of significance on the first Christmas, and love remains the essence of the holiday when it’s properly celebrated.


I don’t find that message reflected in too many longer works of fiction, so I’ll have to wiggle away from the notion of Christmas books, and say instead that “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is one of my favorite stories. When Linus comes out on that empty stage, makes his little speech, and uses his beloved blankie to begin the transformation of the bedraggled Christmas tree, I just tear up.

Every. Time.

Because the other aspect of Christmas that should be part of its proper celebration is togetherness. Love wants sharing, whether it’s love in the form of voices raised in song, a shared batch of cookies, two friends watching “It’s A Wonderful Life,” or a skating party that will end with an empty bowl of wassail.

And I do love “It’s A Wonderful Life.” I may not watch it each year, but when I do catch that story, I’m always heartened by it. Same with “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Garfield’s Christmas,” and “Rudolph” (all together now: “Bumble’s bounce!!!”).

How fortunate we are, to have so many Christmas stories, all of them cheering, and all of them about the enduring power of love, and the pleasure of celebrating that power with friends, family, and the entire world.


Terry Spear Xmas

Terry Spear’s Favorite Christmas Books:

Some of my favorite holiday books include The Snowman (watched the video with my married daughter last time I visited in the spring—it’s just special), The Polar Express, A Christmas Carol, Gift of the Magi, and The Elves and the Shoemaker… Notice they’re all Christmas stories suitable for children? I’m a kid at heart.


Juliana Stone XmasJuliana Stone’s Favorite Christmas Books:

I have a confession to make to you all—I don’t read a lot of Christmas books. And Ever since I bawled for hours watching The Christmas Shoes, I don’t watch many Christmas movies either.

But, there are some books that always remind me of Christmas, Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved all the books and of course watched the television series ( I had a huge crush on Michael Landon) but that first one, where they spent the winter in the big woods and had Christmas is special.

Another is Little Women. Both of these books are timeless classics and speak of a simpler time. For me, that is the real spirit of Christmas and sadly, sometimes that spirit is lost. I think that’s why—for me—Christmas is my favorite holiday. I keep it simple. It’s about family and that’s not always about blood either—a lot of my friends are as close to me as if they were family, and I love spending time with them!




To enter to win a prize pack of all 4 of these Christmas authors’ novels, tell us in the comments the books you love to read during the holidays!! This contest is open internationally.

Sourcebooks Xmas Giveaway

1.  Please register using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins

2.  If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with the comment.

3.  Tell us in the comments, which book(s) you love to read during the holidays.

4.   Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY

5.  Giveaway runs from October 29 to December 10, 2013

blog tour schedule


October-December 2013

Fun Holiday-Themed Posts from Carolyn, Grace, Terry and Juliana,

And Chances to WIN Books at Each Stop!



Oct. 8 Booked and Loaded
Oct. 16 Ramblings From This Chick
Oct. 23 Debbie’s Book Bag
Oct. 29 The Reading Café


Nov. 4 Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
Nov. 6 Smexy Books
Nov. 12 Cocktails and Books
Nov. 14 The Bookish Babe
Nov. 20 Night Owl Reviews
Nov. 22 Fresh Fiction


Dec. 4 USA Today HEA
Dec. 5 Under the Covers
Dec. 10 Romancing the Book
Dec. 11 Anna’s Book Blog
Dec. 16 What’s on the Bookshelf
Dec. 17 That’s What I’m Talking About