Rulers of Deception by Katie Jennings – Review & Giveaway

Rulers of Deception by Katie Jennings – Review & Giveaway

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Rulers of Deception
Vassar Legacy – Book #3
by Katie Jennings
Release Date: May 15, 2014

Rulers of DeceptionAmazon

It’s taken a year to rebuild their empire, but with a thriving merger and its welcomed success, the Vasser Hotel family has risen beyond scandal. But things at the top will never be easy.

The unstable son of their business partner threatens to dissolve the relationship, claiming the Vassers are dangerous. With a twist of fate, a ghost from Wyatt’s past brings death threats from a Colombian drug lord who he’s been running from for nearly ten years.

Meanwhile, a well-respected journalist offers to do an extensive, positive piece on the family, but she may prove more foe than friend. As rumors circulate about Marshall being a killer, mysterious letters and photographs trickle in targeted at the heart of the Vassers. It will either destroy them or have them rising above all to seek the ultimate revenge.



Rulers of Deception by Katie Jennings is the 3rd book in her Vassar Legacy series. Rulers of Deception continues the Vassar family saga story; with their elite Hotel chain, and the family we have come to care about. I have reviewed the first two books, which if you need to get a refresher, you can find them under the Reviews tab (Barb’s Reviews – Katie Jennings). In the last book I mentioned in my review that Jennings had a few more characters that she could write to keep this series going, and I am happy to say she did do another story.

The Vassar family, after surviving a terrible scandal in the last book, have now successfully come all the way back. They are merging their hotel with another hotel, and plans are underway to complete this new addition to the Vassar Hotel chain. The main couples; Grant & Quinn, Linc & Lynette, & Madison & Wyatt are all either married or close. But when things go good, and you are on top, the danger rises from greed or jealousy that will rear its ugly head to try and destroy them again.

The story actually starts off years before, when Wyatt won a lot of money while playing cards with a Columbian Drug lord. But it was his friend Jimmy, who unbeknownst to Wyatt, secretly steals some cocaine. They were able to escape, but no matter how many years pass, things can come back and haunt you.

The Vassars are approached by a famous news reporter with a proposal to help promote them, and remove any previous lingering stains on their name. But shortly thereafter, things begin to happen, with threats, pictures exposed to the press, and possible murder charges. What follows is an exciting story, with all the family working together to find out who is out to get them.

Katie Jennings has created a number of villians, including the son of the hotel they are merging with; Wyatt’s friend Jimmy; the drug lord, and other surprising enemies. The family teams together to fight back, just as things spiral out of control.

What I loved about this story was how strong Madison remains to hold the family and the hotel together, despite attacks on her also. She is without a doubt the leader of the Vassars, even though Grant, and Linc are strong too. I also enjoyed seeing their better halfs.

I will not be giving spoilers, but only to say that Jennings has created a wonderful suspenseful story that flows so well. There were many twists and turns that had you guessing as to who was the mastermind behind the attacks on the Vassars.   Rulers of Deception has everything you would want in a story; suspense, betrayal, hatred, revenge and romance. Katie Jennings has created wonderful characters in the Vassar family that we would love to continue to revisit. If you have not read this series, you need to do so now.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Author


About The Author
About_Katie_2Nothing can compare to the exhilaration of discovering, at last, a mode of release for the imagination. Mine came, after years of struggling to visualize my creativity, in the form of written word. I found myself with my nose constantly in a book, absorbing the life of the characters and the beauty of the setting. It was intoxicating, to say the least, and the only thing I knew was that I wanted to give writing a shot, and take the thousands of characters and storylines in my head and put them down on paper, and form them into something real and compelling.

In truth, I’m just a girl from a small town north of Los Angeles, with an imagination for days and thank goodness a keyboard at my fingertips. And even though my husband thinks I’m a nerd and my mom is undoubtedly my biggest fan, at the end of the day I’m loving life and enjoying giving breath to the characters living in my heart, and sharing with others all the creativity I can harness.

I believe in true love, and I’ve always believed in happy endings. And that is just the beginning of the story.


Katie is offering an e-copy set of the entire Vassar Legacy series (When Empires Fall, Rise of the Notorious, and Rulers of Deception), to one (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

 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 your comment.

3. LIKE us on  FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

4. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry

5. LIKE  Katie Jennings on Facebook.

6. The giveaway is open Internationally

7. The giveaway runs from June 30  to July 4, 2014


Engaging the Earl by Diana Quincy – a Review

Engaging the Earl by Diana Quincy – a Review


Engaging the Earl
Accidental Peers – Book #4
by Diana Quincy
Release Date: June 9, 2014

Engaging the EarlAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

Vivacious Lady Katherine Granville is the toast of the ton, but society’s most eligible miss secretly yearns for her childhood love, an untitled loner who vanished long ago after her father forbade their marriage.

After years abroad, the dark and brooding Edward Stanhope returns to England a changed man. No longer a second son with no prospects, his battlefield strategies have won him an earldom. His return should be a victorious one, but the new Earl of Randolph is battling secret demons that no one can discover. Least of all, Kat.

When the man she can’t forget reappears at her betrothal ball, Kat’s perfectly arranged future is thrown into tumult. Edward remains cold and distant, hoping she’ll marry a man worthy of her. But nothing is settled when Kat sets out to win back her first love. Can the new Earl of Randolph resist the woman he’s loved for so many years?



Engaging the Earl is the 4th book in Diana Quincy’s Accidental Peers series and is Edward and Katerine’s story. I’ve only had the pleasure of reading the previous story in this series titled Compromising Willa and was quite happy to read the latest installment as I enjoyed the previous book immensely. Needless to say, I was not disappointed with Engaging the Earl, and of course not being one to read a series out of order, I went online and read story synopsis’ of the first two books in the series so I could be brought up to speed. 😉

Once again Ms. Quincy weaves her magic and transports the reader back in time to a place where women are the Belles of the Ball and every single available male is clamouring to seek their attentions and claim their hand in a marriage proposal. Her character and world building is superb in this one and allows the reader to get swept away on a fun, fast, yet emotional journey between two love struck characters. Both Edward and Kat are two very strong, determined, and capable characters and manage to carry the story and keep the reader involved from the first chapter. Their love for each other is so well written and felt from the first chapter that I found myself unable to root for anyone else in their lives as the story progressed.

Even though it’s years later when Edward returns from war with the title of Earl of Randolph for his bravery and strategies, he is still very much in love with his childhood sweetheart. However, after witnessing the horrors of war, he is now suffering bouts of melancholia, or as we call it today, PTSD. Edward loves Kat, or Kitty as he’s always called her from their childhood days, that he’s willing to sacrifice his own chance at love and happiness and allow her to marry the man she has recently become betrothed too. He’s worried that should he go to her and offer for her hand, she would be committing herself to someone who isn’t whole anymore. However, now that Kitty knows he’s alive and back in England, she isn’t one to idly sit back and allow Edward to get away with explaining himself, or for that matter fighting for their love. What ensues between them is nothing short of scandalous back in those days.

Kat “Kitty” Granville is a wonderful, feisty, and loveable heroine. I loved that fact that even though she’s the toast of the ton, the most incomparable as she’s been dubbed for her years of turning down suitors, she’s not afraid of being who she is and not what society expects of her. She loves her Edward, or Rand as he’s called now due to his new Earldom title, and she will stop at nothing till she gets him. The cat and mouse game that progresses between Edward and Kat is quite funny at times, but also hot and steamy as well. I often thought her betrothed Lord Sinclair had to be completely clueless to not see the attraction between Kat and Edward.

I absolutely adored this story and both Kat and Edward. Quincy’s take on PTSD back in those days is well handled and written with care, and watching Edward battle through those episodes and then finally opening up to Kat about them, allowing her to really see how the war has affected him is a very emotional yet uplifting scene. The love they have for each other just pours off the pages and sweeps the reader away on an emotional yet lovely journey between two people who are meant to be. Kat will keep you in stitches at times and other times have you yelling; ‘you go girl’, even though back in those days that was unheard of. Ms. Quincy definitely has another hit on her hands with Engaging the Earl. For anyone who loves historical romance, strong characters who will keep you captivated from beginning to end and rooting for love to win out in the end, then this one’s for you.

Until next time, happy reading everyone!

Reviewed by Marcie

Copy provided by Publisher


Hunted (The Claiming #1) by T.A. Grey-a review

HUNTED (The Claiming #1) by T.A. Grey-a review

Hunted / / Barnes and Noble /

About the book: Release Date June 26, 2014

For years, Penelope Farris, has been narrowly escaped the soul-searing gaze of General Ryon Amadeus Ward. No other in the village has the kind of reputation he had: for being a true dominant. When she learns that the overly-possessive Ryon plans to fight any male competitors on Penelope’s first Claiming Day—she is not happy. To win the Claiming is to win the female as a mate. Immediately following the male winning the female, he then consummates their partnership with a wild coupling filled with dominance and mind-numbing pleasure.

But Penelope doesn’t think she wants Ryon. He’s too big, too strong, too dominating, too everything for her. She wants someone a touch more submissive in her life. The days preceding her Claiming Day offers Penelope and Ryon the opportunity to test the bonds of their attraction to each other. Her greatest fear is of being caged by a man, but can Ryon let her run free even if it tears out his own heart to do it?


REVIEW: HUNTED is the first instalment and novella in T.A Grey’s adult, fantasy series The Claiming. This is General Ryon Ward and dancer Penelope Farris’s storyline-a second chance at love for two people who have ‘danced’ around one another for several years.

The focus of the storyline is the second chance relationship between Ryon and Penelope as well as the growing fear that the Tarle Kingdom is about to enter into another war. As Penelope’s claiming day approaches, more than one eligible bachelor lays claim to Penelope’s heart but General Ryon Ward is the man with whom Penelope has fallen in love.

The relationship between Ryon and Penelope is a second chance at love and Penelope’s claiming is the perfect opportunity for Ryon to claim the woman with whom he is falling in love. Their attraction to one another is tested when Penelope refuses to acknowledge her feelings for Ryon and another man makes a claim for her hand in marriage.

The secondary characters are colorful and drive a good portion of the storyline that introduces some history, backstory and potential conflict. We are introduced to family, friends, King Lyle and his court, and the Tarle’s most dangerous enemy-a species known as the Avagarian. HUNTED is a fantasy storyline where danger lurks in the forests beyond the walled kingdom of Tarle and none more dangerous than the Avagarian-the Tarle’s lay claim to a silver mine and the Avagarian’s intend to shut it down.

The world building includes a history of the Tarle at war and at peace; the people, their rites; and an upcoming war-not of their making.

T.A. Grey pulls the reader into a storyline of betrayal, jealousy, romance and love. HUNTED is a spirited, inventive and seductive storyline about two people who are meant to be together but time, history and a shapeshifting species will stand in their way until the very end.

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Sandy


Wind Chime Cafe (Wind Chime 1) by Sophie Moss-a review

Wind Chime Cafe (Wind Chime 1) by Sophie Moss-a review

Wind Chime Cafe / / Barnes and Noble / The Book Depository

WIND CHIME CAFÉ (Wind Chime #1) by Sophie Moss

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 2014

When single mother, Annie Malone, purchases a quirky Main Street cafe on Heron Island, she thinks she’s finally turned her dream of opening her own restaurant into a reality. Hearing rumors that a developer is about to build a five-star resort on the sleepy Chesapeake Bay island, she plans to transform the cafe into a premier upscale bistro. But Navy SEAL, Will Dozier, has no intention of selling his grandparents’ property to a developer. Back on Heron Island for the first time in ten years and secretly struggling with PTSD, Will decides that a fling with the new girl is the perfect way to help him “get his head straight.” The last thing Will expects is to fall in love…with his hometown and with Annie. But Will’s life and career are in San Diego with the SEALs. Can Annie’s love and the healing magic of the island be enough to convince him to stay?


REVIEW: WIND CHIME CAFÉ is the first instalment in Sophie Moss’s adult, contemporary Wind Chime romance series focusing on the people of Heron Island near the Eastern Shore of Maryland. This is Navy SEAL Will Dozier, and café owner and single mother Annie Malone’s story.

Told from third person POV the storyline focuses on the building relationship between Annie and Will. Annie is the new girl in town with dreams of making it big with her own restaurant. Hoping to settle both she and her daughter for the long term, Annie’s dreams are shattered when the five-star resort plans are put on hold. Will Dozier’s family owns the land and the lodge upon which the resort is to be built and Will has no plans to turn over the land to a big corporation whose only concern is the bottom line.

The relationship between Annie and Will is cautious. Annie refuses to allow anyone to get close enough to her daughter or her heart; and Will is considering returning to the SEALs for one final tour of duty. But Will struggles with PTSD and revealing that information to the commanders will place Will on a permanent leave of absence. It is a struggle for both Annie and Will who begin to fall in love with one another knowing that Will had plans to return to active duty.

We are also introduced to Annie’s daughter Taylor-a child who suffers her own form of PTSD and it is this small child that will show Will that love comes in all shapes and sizes.

Sophie Moss introduces a cast of secondary characters that bring color, emotion, realism and history to a storyline that is a true romantic tale. Wind Chime Café is a story with a little bit of everything-romance and sex; betrayal and heartbreak; loving and letting go. The town folk are charming, eclectic, spirited and moving.

WIND CHIME CAFE is a heartwarming, enjoyable and touching story about two people who beat incredible odds and find their way to one another in a sleepy but entertaining town where everyone knows your name, your business and your life.

Reviewed by Sandy


If I Say Yes (Say Something #1) by Brandy Jellum-a review

If I Say Yes (Say Something #1) By Brandy Jellum-a review

If I Say Yes / / Barnes and Noble / The Book Depository

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 20, 2014

Elizabeth Lewis was the child of Hollywood’s darling couple, until her father murdered her mother.

Six years later, she has traded her flashy, luxurious lifestyle for one of safe anonymity as a literary agent. With a different name and appearance, Liza Winter is living the life of her dreams—one where she’s known for who she is instead of what her father did. Except her apartment should be condemned, her car only starts when it wants, she hates the romance genre she has been assigned, and the CEO’s deliciously attractive nephew is out to ruin her carefully laid plans.

Reid Harder has never met an obstacle he couldn’t overcome. When his new position in the romance department comes with a benefit his uncle didn’t mention, he decides to wage a war against the intelligent, beautiful Liza to destroy every argument she has for turning him down. Still, the closer he gets to winning the prize, the more he realizes that the woman is keeping secrets that may endanger not just her life but his.

Will Liza overcome her mistrust of Reid to reveal her secrets before he learns the truth and walks away? Or will a grudge-wielding apparition from her past make her the next deadly Hollywood headline?


This book was a unique package. You get murder, crazy stalkers, lots of secrets, a brewing love story, and best of all some really unexpected twists. I’m not sure if this book was a romantic thriller or romantic suspense but whatever it was, I liked it. There was just so much brewing in this book so to speak and the author sure knew how to work it to her advantage to keep you on your toes throughout the entire book. The correlation between the murder of Liza’s mother and the scary emails from the stalker, Reid onto Liza trying to find out what she’s hiding from him no matter how much she tried to keep him out and the building romance that Liza fights tooth and nail. All of it brewing that it made me wonder when it was all going to blow up in Liza’s face.

My most favorite part was when Liza and Reid first meet. Liza is in an interesting predicament where the CEO’s wife dislikes Liza and wants to get rid of Liza. The thing is she makes it known that she wants the company rid of Liza. So in an effort to keep her job and possibly get transferred out of the romance department and into the horror department, she goes to talk to the CEO. Although she comes in with the intention of talking to the CEO, she ends up ranting and stuffing her foot in her mouth in front of not the CEO but the nephew of the CEO, Reid. I thought the scene was really hilarious and to make things worse she also finds out that Reid is the head of the Romance department. All I could think of was, “Nice one Liza.” LOL

This book also provided the nice aspects of a slowly building love story as well as good character development which I enjoyed very much. It was a joy to watch Liza and Reid’s relationship grow slowly at a more realistic rate. Yes when they first meet the attraction was instantaneous but they also danced around each other getting to know each other before they really did anything physical which was towards the end of the book. I admit that it did get annoying when both Liza and Reid had this whole hot and cold attitude. It was like one minute they were kissing each other like they couldn’t get enough of each other and then the next minute one of them would act as if they couldn’t be in the other’s presence any longer. Don’t get me wrong I really like Liza and Reid as a couple but a person could only take so much fickle-mindedness. The annoyance was very easy to overlook because Reid and Liza do stay together at one of Reid’s places and it was then that they let their walls down in front of each other. It was a very nicely written turning point for the couple.

Then there is the character development for Liza. In the beginning I got the vibe that she was a bitter and quiet girl who just ran away from all her problems. I can also see that she was a control freak. But throughout the book, you can actually see Liza mature in the sense that she tries to face all her issues one by one. In the end of the book, Liza does face her demons of going to the house of her childhood, visiting her father in prison, learning to realize that she does have a right to be loved and accepts a marriage proposal from Reid and even has to face her best friend Elias that they won’t be more than friends. Most of all, Liza learns to let go of some control and trust again. I admit that her stringing Elias along even though she couldn’t return his amorous feelings towards her but kept around as a crutch in her life was a little cruel. Although I frowned on that, I can also understand where Liza was coming from that she needed a friend to keep her sane as well as so she didn’t have to be alone in the world.

This book surprised me and I did enjoy every minute of reading it. Brandy has done well to keep the reader engaged and on edge which I admire is an art in itself. I take off my hat to her on pulling that off. The ending caught me by surprise and I look forward for the next book. ☺

Reviewed by Xtina

Copy supplied by the author

About The Author beige

Brandy JellumBrandy’s passion for writing began long before she actually sat down to write. As a child, she has had an obsession with reading. Everything from the classic stories by Jane Austen to YA Fiction by Richelle Mead. Finally, in 2012, she decided to create her own stories for people to fall in love with. Brandy bounces back and forth writing both Young Adult Fiction and Romance.

When she isn’t writing, she can be found chasing after her husband, her four children and her black lab Diesel. Or curled up on her favorite corner of the couch with her newest book.

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Underworld’s Daughter by Molly Ringle – a Review

Underworld’s Daughter by Molly Ringle – a Review


perf5.000x8.000.inddAmazon / Barnes & NobleThe Book Depository

New immortals are being created for the first time in thousands of years thanks to the tree of immortality discovered by Persephone and Hades. But Sophie Darrow is not one of them. Nikolaos, the trickster, has given the last ripe immortality fruit to two others, the reincarnations of the gods Dionysos and Hekate: Tabitha and Zoe, currently Sophie’s and Adrian’s best friends.

While the disappointed Sophie struggles to remember Hekate and Dionysos from ancient Greece, she must still face her daily life as a mortal university freshman. Tabitha and Zoe have their own struggles as they come to terms with being newly immortal and their own haunting dreams of past lives and loves. The evil committed by Thanatos invades all of them in heartbreaking memories, and worse still, Sophie and her friends know their enemies are determined to kill again. And even the gods can’t save everyone..


Underworld’s Daughter is the second book in Molly Ringle‘s The Chrysomelia Stories  (Book #1 Persephone’s Orchard review) The story continues with Adrian (Hades) and Sophie (Persephone) living between the real world and the spirit realm.

Sophie has made the decision to become immortal so she can be with Adrian forever, but Niko gives the last ripe immortality fruit to Tabitha and Zoe, who are Sophie’s and Adrian’s best friends. Sophie was very upset by this and a little jealous of her friends getting the immortality that she wanted. While Tabitha and Zoe adjust to being immortal, Sophie is trying to live her normal life and relive the memories of her past life as Persephone. The memories that she remembers are amazing. What she discovers is her best friends Tabitha and Zoe were once Dionysos and Hekate. I’m not going to tell you how important Hekate was to Persephone and Hades, you will have to read and find out, but I loved the addition of her character to the story.

Tabitha and Zoe are also experiencing the memories of their past lives and coming to terms with their feelings and the things they experienced. And if that wasn’t enough to deal with, the evil Thanatos is always lurking in the background, wanting to destroy any immortal, with their prime target being Adrian. Thanks to Thanatos, as Sophie, Tabitha and Zoe relive their memories, they are exposed to the heartbreak that Thanatos has inflicted with their crazy, cult like members in the present and the past.

This second book to Persephone’s Orchard was a great continuation of the first story. How the past and present characters are written together is great. I loved the addition of Hekate’s character, it brought so much more to the lives of Persephone and Hades, along with the other Greek characters that are in the story. I’m not going to give away too many details because that will only ruin what happens, you’ll just have to read it to find out.

I highly recommend reading Persephone’s Orchard before reading Underworld’s Daughter because the story means much more when you read the first book. I loved this book and can’t wait to read the next addition. I will wait very impatiently for the next installment because Ringle left me hanging with a very nice cliffhanger at the end…..what happens to Adrian and Sophie’s relationship???? Well played Molly Ringle, well played. Now how much time do I have to wait to find out what happens????

Reviewed by Tricia

Copy provided by Publisher

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Spotlight & Giveaway for Persephone’s Orchard &
Underworld’s Daughter

If you like Greek mythology, New Adult romance and a touch of the paranormal, check out The Chrysomelia Stories by Molly Ringle. The story centers around Sophie Darrow – a normal college freshman – who is abducted by a man she’s never met before and tricked into eating some pomegranate. What follows is her realization that she is no other than Persephone and her kidnapper – Hades himself.

As the official release date (June 27) of Underworld’s Daughter approaches, the second book in the series after the very successful and well received Persephone’s Orchard, we are very happy to point you towards an awesome giveaway!

The lucky winner will be receiving:

• Signed copies of both books

• 1 oz Persephone’s Pomegranate Blend looseleaf tea by Dryad Tea (black tea with pomegranate and vanilla)
• 25 plantable paper mini-flowers with wildflower seeds, by PaperSprouts (on Etsy)
• $5 Starbucks card
• Pegasus Greek coin pendant necklace from PartsForYou (on Etsy)

To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter and hopefully you’ll win. If not, never fear, apparently the publisher will be offering more awesome giveaways like this one in the coming weeks.

And if you haven’t read Persephone’s Orchard yet, there’s good news there too since the ebook will be only $0.99 on all major bookstores for a limited time starting on June 27!

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

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Windwood Farm by Rebecca Patrick-Howard – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Windwood Farm by Rebecca Patrick-Howard – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway


Windwood Farm Banner


Windwood FarmAmazon / Barnes & Noble / The Book Depository

Windwood Farm has a terrible secret-one that’s been buried for more almost 100 years. Taryn Magill aims to uncover it…or die trying.

As a mixed media artist and urban explorer with a love for abandoned houses and a big imagination when it comes to the past, 30 year old Taryn has never really met an old house she didn’t like. In fact, she’s made a career out of painting these sad, often derelict structures, to show them in their former glory for her clients.

With Windwood Farm, though, she might have bitten off more than she can chew!

The locals refer to it as “the devil’s house” and even vandals have stayed away from this once grand stone farmhouse in Vidalia, Kentucky. Hired by the Stokes County Historical Society to paint it before it’s demolished by a land development company, Taryn’s determined to make friends with the house and farm everyone around her seems to be terrified of.

As it turns out, though, their fears may just not be unfounded.

Who is the woman whose cries echo throughout the farm and what does she want? What negative force about the house is so powerful that it won’t even allow the upstairs bedroom to be touched? Does the 93 year old vanishing of the next door neighbor have anything to do with the house’s mysteries?

Taryn wants the answers to these and the house may just be trying to tell her because now, when she looks through her camera, she doesn’t have to use her imagination to see the past-


Will Taryn be able to figure out what happened here AND escape with her sanity and life before the house comes down? Because now it seems like someone is trying to kill her! Using what her camera reveals to her and her wits, she’ll try to unravel the mysteries of the farm and get out before it’s too late.


Windwood Farm by Rebecca Patrick-Howard is the First book in her Taryn’s Camera series.  It tells the story of Taryn Magill, an artist and Historical Preservationist who takes old, sad, dilapidated buildings and homes and paints a portrait of them, turning them into what it looked like in its heyday!   She is commissioned by the Stokes County Historical Society to do just this – paint a portrait of what Windwood Farm may have looked like in all its glory, before they tear it down.

As she turned onto the driveway for the farm – she knew right away – that there was something mysterious and dark about the old structure. Always having a sense about the places she visits – this one was overpowering to her. As she approached the house she could see that it was tragically time worn and in sad disrepair. But she could also see the beautiful potential that lay in front of her. Pulling out her trusty sidekick Miss Dixie (a Nikon camera) she set off to take photos of the old house (inside and out) – to use later to jog her memory when it came to the painting.  

From the first step into the house she felt that she was not wanted there. Something or someone was not happy that she was there.   She resigned herself to try and win over the house or whatever presence lurks there. She spent the first few days taking photos with Miss Dixie. And what she found when she looked at the photos on her computer was pure magic. The photos showed what the house once was, in all its glory. Furnishings as they should be, décor as it once was, it was like walking back through time.   As Taryn learned more about the house, the more emotionally attached she became to it. She wants to know the stories and tragedy it holds. And Windwood Farm does not disappoint. There is heartache in every piece of wood in this house and she needs to know what it is and who caused it.

This is a beautiful story right from page one. Taryn is a character with flaws yet easy to like and makes you want to know more about. I completely enjoyed the story of the house revealing itself to her and Taryn wanting to know more about the past. The past always has a way of coming back and I believe that through the lens of a camera was a truly moving way.

Reviewed by Erin

Copy provided by Author

Guest PostBringing the Ghosts-Gaining Inspiration from the Stories Around Me

There are two things I’ve always loved: old houses and ghost stories. As a kid, our family’s version of entertainment was to load up in the car and drive around looking for old houses to explore. Today, with copper thefts and vandalism that’s probably illegal but back then nobody really cared, as long as you didn’t bother anything.

I loved looking at the ruined homes and imagining what had gone in them, who had lived there, what their lives had been like…The houses often looked like ghosts themselves, just memories of a time that used to exist. They could be big houses, log cabins, little farmhouses–it didn’t matter to us.

I also loved ghost stories. The scarier, the better! My dad called the spirits that haunted the mountains around us “boogers” and would terrify me with tales of ghosts who walked around headless, men murdered for revenge, and country roads where you could hear the loud rattles of ghostly wagons.

As an adult, the exploration of the old homes continued. Of course, I tried to get permission when I could. There are some things you can get away with when you’re a cute 5 year old. Not so much as a twentysomething.

I didn’t give up the ghost stories, either. While researching a historical fiction I came across several old ghost stories from my county. I interviewed some of the town’s oldest residents and learned more about our local legends, haunted houses, and unsolved mysteries. My first book, HAUNTED ESTILL COUNTY, was thus formed. After that, more people contacted me and gave me their stories. I was able to release the sequel 8 months later.

I was very interested in the stories behind the hauntings. Why is it haunted? What happened there? How did they die? Why did they die?

For instance, consider the famous “oil boom murder” story. In that one, in one version a woman opened a boarding house and killed several of her boarders. Later, she threw their bodies in a hole in the backyard. That house is considered one of the most haunted houses in the county.

Then there’s the “ghost in the window” story. The old farmhouse was supposedly haunted because, while her father and husband were fighting, the bullet one intended for the other missed and went through the window, killing the young wife as she watched.

When writing my most recent paranormal mystery series, I drew on my urban exploring and love of ghost stories. It’s a mystery, but it’s also a good old fashioned haunted house story.

Taryn, my protagonist, has a lot of my interests. She loves the old houses, too. I didn’t have to go far to find the inspiration for some of the mysteries though. Although none of them are based exclusively on events from my county, they all share a little bit of the stories that have been passed on to me.

Sometimes, truth (even a half-truth) really is stranger than fiction!


About the AuthorRebecca HowardRebecca Patrick-Howard is a native of Wolfe County, Kentucky. She grew up on the campus of Hazel Green Academy and later attended Belmont University in Nashville and Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. She holds undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and Appalachian Studies.

For several years, Rebecca worked as a travel writer; backpacking around Europe (mostly) with a couple of bags, guide books, and maps. During those years, she explored Bosnia, Croatia, Ireland, Czech Republic, Austria, and Italy (amongst other places). She once took a train to Lichtenstein and paid to get a stamp on her passport just to say she’d been there.

Her love of the paranormal began as a child when she would listen to her grandmother tell her terrifying tales of witches, ghosts, and goblins before bedtime and during thunderstorms. After living in a few questionable houses, she began writing her own ghost stories at the age of 10 (they’re really bad, by the way).

While studying for her MA in Religious Experience (some of her friends thought she was going to become an exorcist and were sorely disappointed in the truth) in Wales, she met her future husband, Peter. She considers him her finest, and most expensive, souvenir. The two of them live in eastern Kentucky high on a windy ridge with their two living children. (A third passed away from SIDS in 2010.)

She is the author of Haunted Estill County, More Tales from Haunted Estill County, Coping with Grief: The Anti-Guide to Infant Loss, Finding Henry: A Journey into Eastern Europe, and the newly released, Windwood Farm– the first in the “Taryn’s Camera” series.

Rebecca is graciously offering an e-copy of Windwood Farm to to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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

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3. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

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5. Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL

6. Giveaway runs from June 28-June 30, 2014





Fissure Free by Shari J. Ryan – a Review

Fissure Free by Shari J. Ryan – a Review


Fissure Free

 Amazon / Barnes & Noble / The Book Depository

After nineteen years of suffering with a psychological condition, ethereal Chloe had finally come close to finding her ultimate escape—or, so she thinks on the vibrant streets of Paris. Finally in a relationship with Alex, a man she fell in love with in Schasm, Chloe thinks life is finally coming together. As she battles her own demons, she attempts to repair the damaged man she’s grown to love. But as his clouded past abruptly crashes into their lives and falls heavily upon their budding romance, Chloe must fight to maintain her relationship. Although even when the problems begin to subside, she comes to realize certain things cannot be escaped. Just as Chloe believes she might have sealed the doors of darkness once and for all, new questions, new findings and new inceptions arise. Whether or not Chloe wants to continue forward with the path her life seems to be leading, she quickly learns that any choice she makes will ultimately land her in a place she never knew she was destined to be



Fissure Free is the second book in The Schasm Series by Shari J. Ryan. It is six months after Schasm and Chloe and Alex are living in a perpetual drift in Paris, France. As perfect as their life is in the drift, Chloe knows they must go back to the reality of the real world and deal with unfinished business before it quite possibly may be too late. Once they decide it is time to return to the institution and see what has befallen themselves – their worst nightmares are realized. Franco is back and he seems to have plans for Chloe and Alex. But what are they and how will they affect the reality Chloe longs for. Is it all worth it – is reality worth losing all that they have?

I completely enjoyed the second book in this series. It was a psychological thrill ride. You have to pay close attention or you will get lost in a drift. I connected more with Alex in this book and found him more emotional and caring. Although that being said – the fact that he kept things from Chloe did not sit well with me. At times I truly could not believe the secrets he kept from her, although truly understanding the reasons. The sub-characters weave into the story like a fine thread. Intertwining into the world that is Chloe and Alex’s.

Chloe’s longing for a true real reality is palpable. It makes you want to figure out a way to help her. But does Chloe have the power to protect herself and bring the man she loves back to the real world. This book will confuse you and corrupt you. It will pull you in and you will begin to doubt what is a drift and what is reality. It truly is an epic tale into mental illness and the worlds that it can force a mind to retreat to. A world of mental illness that engulfs the characters and swallows them. It makes you truly wonder where does one world end and the other begin. And the ending is a shocker that left me breathless and wanting book three.

Reviewed by Erin

Copy provided by Publisher