A Wedding in Truhart by Cynthia Tennent – a Review

A Wedding in Truhart by Cynthia Tennent – a Review


A Wedding in TruhartAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

Welcome to Truhart, Michigan, population 1300 and dropping. Where everyone knows everyone else and garage sales are front page news. Not exactly where you’d expect to find the celebrity wedding of the year. As Maid of Honor, and the famous bride’s big sister, Annie has to plan a wedding suitable for America’s newest sweetheart reporter on The Morning Show. But what she didn’t plan on was seeing Nick Conrad again. Her older brother’s best friend who left Truhart for the big city, Nick just happens to be Annie’s embarrassing childhood crush. He’s also the Best Man.

As Atlanta’s High Society descends on the tiny Midwest town, Annie has the impossible task of controlling her eccentric family and nutty neighbors, while hosting a wedding fit for a princess at her family’s rundown Amble Inn. But what she can’t control is the spark reigniting between her and Nick. Between snowstorms, an A.W.O.L. gown, and the broadcast of the wedding on The Morning Show, Annie is just hoping to survive the big day without losing her mind. And to survive being around Nick again without losing her heart


A Wedding in Truhart by Cynthia Tennent is the first book in her Truhart series. This is a sweet romance that surrounds two families that are very different. One family is high society in Georgia, and the other is somewhat eccentric from a small mid western town in Michigan.

The premise of the story is a wedding between the bride from the small town and the groom from a wealthy high society family. Annie is our heroine, and we meet her when she and her mom, and aunt attend her sister’s engagement party. Annie’s sister, Charlotte moved to Atlanta and is now a rising news reporter for the Morning Show. Annie almost immediately senses her sister’s concern over their down to earth, loud and eccentric family dealing with the snobbish and rich Lowell family. Annie becomes defensive, especially when she sees Nick, our hero, who was her childhood crush and who is now part of the Georgia elite. Much of the early story, though at times funny, especially her aunt, but other times a bit embarrassing. Because Annie began to feel out of place, seeing her sister’s concern, and then she finds herself picking on Nick, which was annoying.

With a major storm causing havoc in Atlanta, the wedding plans are forced to move it to Truhart, and the inn they own, which is possibly on its last days. What follows is a nice and funny story of how everyone in Truhart work together to make this wedding surpass the expectations of the Lowells. What could go wrong does go wrong, as we did expect the unexpected.

I loved Annie’s devotion to her family, but also thought she was way too off the wall with her constantly getting mad or being mean to Nick. It did change, but she had begun to rub me the wrong way, despite the snobbish future family her sister was marrying into. I loved Nick, as I thought he was the best character, and his patience and forgiving attitude with Annie was great.

The Aunt was hysterical, though I have to admit I would have been embarrassed at times, too. Lol Charlotte’s intended, Henry was also a great guy, and though very rich, he was down to earth and quickly accepted Charlotte’s family.   It was a fun ending, though I thought it ended a bit abruptly.   A Wedding in Truhart was a different, but nice sweet romance.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


Slashed (Extreme Risk #3) by Tracy Wolff-a review

SLASHED (Extreme Risk #3) by Tracy Wolff-a review


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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 29, 2015

Bighearted and easygoing, Luc Jennings is falling behind in a family of serious overachievers. While he may be decent enough at snowboarding to turn pro and rack up some sponsors, he’s never topped any podiums—unlike his friends Z, Ash, and Cam. Luc’s always been head over heels for Cam Bradley, but she’s never seen him as anything more than a friend. Now, after years of coming in second, Luc can’t take it anymore—especially if it means watching Cam chase another guy.

Cam hangs out almost exclusively with dudes, and that’s fine by her. She’d much rather be shredding at the Olympics than primping in the mirror. Cam’s wildest dreams have a way of coming true—except when it comes to getting her longtime crush and best friend, Z Michaels, to notice her. Then her mother suddenly shows up after being gone for, like, ever, and Cam’s whole world comes crashing down. Desperate for a place to lay low, she turns to the one person who’s always had her back.


REVIEW: SLASHED is the third installment in Tracy Wolff’s contemporary, new adult Extreme Risk romance series focusing on a tight knit group of extreme snow boarders. This is Luc Jennings and Cam Bradley’s storyline. SLASHED can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.

Told from dual first person points of view (Luc and Cam) SLASHED follows the rebuilding of a friendship between Luc and Cam. Four months earlier Cam and Luc crossed the line between friends and lovers; Cam walked away distraught and embarrassed fearing reprisals and loss from her friendship with Luc. Fast forward to present day where Cam and Luc’s friendship is icy, still barely speaking to one another and making life miserable for everyone concerned. When Cam’s home life implodes, she finds herself on Luc’s doorstep, hoping for a place to stay and support when she needs it the most.

The relationship between Cam and Luc is one of friends to lovers to frenemies and back to lovers. Cam and Luc have always been attracted to one another but both of our leading characters have some major issues of self esteem, insecurity and lack the ability to communicate with one another. Cam sees herself as the ugly duckling whose mother abandoned the family when Cam was five years old; Luc’s success on the snow hills has been less than spectacular and he constantly compares himself to the success of the others. Both Cam and Luc’s mindset is tentative; they fear rejection and failure; and with it comes the inability to move forward or let go of the past. The $ex scenes are intimate and provocative.

All of the previous storyline couples and characters play secondary and supporting roles including Z and Ophelia (Shredded #1), Tansy and Ash (Shattered #2) as well as Ash’s brother Logan. I am looking forward to Logan’s story but the series would have to advance several years before we see a romance for our struggling, young hero.

The world building has deviated from the snow boarding competitions and the main focus is on the couple in question. The summer months finds the friends wake-boarding and considering the upcoming snow boarding schedule while the tentative friendship between Luc and Cam hits a major change in direction-their lack of communication and too many presumptions are the major causes of most of their issues and problems. Luc’s jealousy of Cam’s friendship with another snow boarder as well as Cam’s one time unrequited love for Z is a major stumbling block on their road to reconciliation-Luc’s issues are fueled by his own preconceived inadequacies.

SLASHED has moments of heartbreak and sorrow; anxiety and tension; letting go and moving forward. Luc and Cam’s storyline was at times frustrating watching two people whose love for one another was hampered by low self esteem and demons from the past. I shed a few tears-I am not sure if the tears were due to my own particular mind set at the time but the shear pain of Luc and Cam’s insecurities is all too familiar and relatable-believing you will never be enough or the best. Cam and Luc’s story continues; the final chapters reveal a surprise twist in their relationship but with it came an abrupt ending that leaves the reader waiting and wondering about hope for the future.

The premise is intimate and dramatic; the characters are engaging, animated and heartbreaking; the romance is impassioned and emotional. In the new adult storylines there are always issues from the past that control the future where an all-consuming love is easily destroyed by painful memories and dramatic realizations. SLASHED looks at fated lovers who fell into the gaping hole of disillusionment and doubt only to come away with the possibility of a promise of forever and a happily ever after.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy

Series Spotlight

(Extreme Risk #1)
by Tracy Wolff
Genre: contemporary, new adult, romance
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 4, 2014

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of SHREDDED

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ShreddedTwenty-one-year-old professional snowboarder Z Michaels is the bad boy of Park City, Utah. He’s always had his pick of any girl in town—and on the competition circuit. But underneath his cool exterior is a young man in turmoil, trying to take the edge off tragedy by overindulging in sex and shredding the slopes. In fact, Z’s reckless behavior is a thinly veiled attempt to blunt his emotional suffering with physical pain.

Ophelia Richardson isn’t like any girl Z has ever met. Though she’s from New Orleans high society, she’s no Southern belle—and she’s not shy about being miserable in frozen, godforsaken Park City. But laying low is her only option after her ex, a rich boy who couldn’t take no for an answer, nearly killed her in a jealous rage. Following that terrifying encounter, the last thing Ophelia needs is a boyfriend—especially one as rich and arrogant as Z. But Ophelia soon discovers that he isn’t what he seems. If anything, Z may be even more damaged than she is.

Tormented by their pasts and feeling alone in the world, Z and Ophelia find a connection unlike any they’ve ever known. But with Ophelia hiding the details of her life in Louisiana and Z’s death wish reaching terrifying new heights, their relationship seems to be going downhill before it even begins—unless they can find the strength in each other to trust, grow, and love again.


(Extreme Risk #2)
by Tracy Wolff
Genre: contemporary, new adult, romance
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 20, 2014

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of SHATTERED

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ShatteredAsh Lewis has poured every last ounce of his blood, sweat, and tears into reaching the very top of the professional snowboarding world—until the unthinkable happens. After the biggest competition win of his career, Ash’s mother and father are killed in a tragic accident. Unable to handle the idea of going back out on the snow to pursue the dream his parents shared with him, Ash feels that he has no choice but to walk away from snowboarding forever. Then he meets Tansy Hampton.

Wild, fun, and impulsive, Tansy has a different look and a new passion every week. As a cancer survivor who spent the past several years waiting to die, Tansy has a fresh perspective on life—even if she doesn’t have a clue about what she actually wants to do with it. But she’s determined to find out, and that means making the most of her time while she still can.

From the very beginning, their chemistry is intense. But while Ash can’t stop chasing the ghosts of what can never be, Tansy stays firmly focused on the possibilities the world holds for her—and for them. She’s already picked up the pieces of one shattered life. Now she’s determined to help Ash do the same.


Down the Rabbit Hole – Anthology – a Review

Down the Rabbit Hole – Anthology – a Review


Down the Rabbit HoleAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

You’re late for a very important date…
Enter a wonderland of mesmerizing tales. It’s a place that’s neither here nor there, where things are never quite as they seem. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s whimsical masterpiece, ranging from the impossible to the mad to the curiouser, these stories will have you absolutely off your head.
Don’t be afraid to follow them…


Wonderment in Death by J. D. Robb
Alice and the Earl in Wonderland by Mary Blayney
iLove by Elaine Fox
A True Heart by Mary Kay McComas
Fallen by R. C. Ryan

Down the Rabbit Hole is an anthology loosely based on a Alice in Wonderland theme, consisting of 5 authors, including J.D. Robb and an In Death novella.   I will be writing a review on Wonderment in Death by Robb, as most of you know, I am an In Death fanatic. I will briefly touch base on the other 4 novellas in this anthology.

Wonderment in Death by J.D. Robb

I really do enjoy Robb’s novellas, which gives us more of Eve and Roarke. Anything I can get my hands on that is part of this fantastic series, and time with Eve and Roarke, makes me happy. In Wonderment in Death, Eve must find a dangerous killer, who uses his hypnotic powers & drugs, to make people commit murder. A woman still grieving over the loss of her parents, goes to visit her brother with exciting news about her upcoming marriage. He ends up dead, and she throws herself off the roof to her death. It is up to Eve Dallas, with the help of her gorgeous hubby Roarke, and her team to find out why. Will Eve be able to find out the why and who? Your kidding, right. Eve always finds the killers. 🙂


Alice and the Earl in Wonderland by Mary Blayney

I not read this series that precedes this novella. However, it was a nice story about two people, who have difficulties with making their relationship permanent. Alice and Weston are our heroes, and as they travel separately they are whisked away 200 years into the future.

Alice especially cannot get over all the modern things, not to mention how far women have come. Weston finds some idea to help him fix his financial situation back in his time. What made this fun was watching their shocked reactions of the future. When they return to the past, Weston finds away to show Alice that her families past should not stand in the way of them getting married. This was a simple, but cute story.


iLove by Elaine Fox:

This was an interesting story, but it really did not keep my interest. It is about a woman who dumps her boyfriend because he pays more attention to his phone then her. He gets sucked into his phone’s ILove app and must llove to get out. This enables both the heroine and hero to learn more about themselves and each other.

A True Heart by Mary Kay McComas:

This was different and interesting, using a slight Alice in Wonderland theme, and even a Christmas Carol (revisiting her life troubles). It was an ok read.

Fallen by R. C. Ryan:

Next to the In-Death novella, this was my favorite story. I really enjoyed our heroines Colin and Beth, and the Highlander background. This was another one of those where the girl goes back in time and meets the man, she was supposed to meet, but in her current time. This was a fun read, though I wished it was a bit longer.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


About a Vampire (Argeneau #22) by Lynsay Sands-a review

About a Vampire (Argeneau #22) by Lynsay Sands-a review

About A Vampire

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About the book: Release Date September 29, 2015

With immortal good looks and scorching charisma, Justin Bricker has yet to meet a woman he can’t win over. His potential life mate should be no different. But instead of falling into his bed, Holly Bosley runs away and ends up mortally wounded. To save her, he has to turn her. And then Bricker learns the shocking truth: Holly’s already married.

Holly wakes up with a bump on her head, a craving for blood, and a sexy stranger who insists they belong together. She needs Bricker’s help to control her new abilities, even as she tries to resist his relentless seduction. Choosing between the world she knows and the eternity he offers is impossible. But Justin is fighting for his life mate—maybe even his life—and he’ll break every rule to do it.


Little did Holly Bosley know that when she forgot her purse at work (at a cemetery!!) that things would never be the same. When she retrieves her purse, she sees some papers that the guys need down at the crematorium, but the place scares the bejesus out of her. On top of that, it’s midnight and foggy. She conquers her fears and heads there anyway. But, when she stumbles upon two men throwing bodies into the crematorium, decapitated ones at that, she runs for her life. Anders is busy with the bodies which leaves Justin Bricker to chase after her. And, wouldn’t you know it? He can’t control her or read her thoughts. As he’s chasing her, she stumbles and falls. Bricker reaches her and as he turns her over, he sees that she has fallen on a pair of scissors and stabbed herself in the chest, as well as hit her head on the way down. Unconscious and bleeding to death, Bricker makes a split second decision to turn her. She is, after all, his life mate.

When Holly awakens in a strange room, she has no idea where she is. All she knows is she’s in a hotel room, one that she doesn’t remember going to, and the man’s clothing in the room is definitely NOT her husband’s. When she tries to leave the room, she encounters Lucian, the leader of the Enforcers and Justin’s boss. However, when Bricker tries to explain to her what has happened, all she can think is that this man is nuts and she needs to get away. Fast. As with all newly turned immortals, there is a training period and Lucian places Bricker in charge. His turn, his responsibility. What follows leaves them both confused, as well as attracted to each other. Will Bricker be doomed to live an eternity without his life mate, or will Holly come around when she figures out that there is something…………about a vampire?

The Argeneau Series is one of my absolute favorites, and I’ve waited a long time for Bricker’s story. So, it kills me to say that this one kind of missed the mark for me. Bricker is an awesome character. He’s given his fellow immortals absolute hell over finding their life mates. He’s made fun of them for the lengths they’ve gone to woo their life mates and, at the same time, he’s been their biggest supporter. Great guy, loyal, funny, handsome and deserving of a life mate that is his equal. I didn’t feel that Holly was all that she could be. She was meek and not a real go-getter. But she is loyal. And, she was married. Now, don’t get me wrong. I liked the story and, of course, they ultimately make everything work between them and she upholds her marriage vows, but it just didn’t flow like her other stories. We do get to see a lot of our old friends and their interaction makes you laugh out loud. Not to give away any spoilers, she kills two birds with one stone in this book, which was kind of strange as well, but it was necessary to get Bricker to his happily ever after. All in all, About a Vampire is a good story, written with all of the humor and family interactions that we’ve come to expect from the Argeneaus. If you’re a fan of the series, it’s one you can’t miss. Liked it, just didn’t love it.

Review by Vickie M

Copy supplied by Edelweiss


Addicted to Sin (Sinful Pleasures #1) by Monica James-a review

ADDICTED TO SIN (Sinful Pleasures #1) by Monica James-a review

Addicted to Sin

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 8, 2015

Tell me your deepest, darkest secrets. I dare you.

Addiction comes down to one simple, primitive concept. Desire.

My name is Dr. Dixon Mathews, and I’m New York’s finest shrink. For $500 an hour, people tell me their darkest, most sinful secrets.

My own addiction? Sex.

I might be certified in solving other people’s problems, but not mine –
I know I’m a lost cause. I don’t do relationships. I don’t even do the same woman twice.

But that’s all about to change, thanks to two entirely different women who awaken my deepest desires.

Who will I choose?

I know who I should choose, but I never said I was the hero of this story, or even the good guy. And besides, who wants to be good, when it feels so good being bad?

My tale isn’t for the faint-hearted. If you’re game, strap yourself in and expect the unexpected. But don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Achingly sexy and highly addictive, the first in the Sinful Pleasures Series will have you hooked. Driven to Sin coming very soon…


REVIEW: ADDICTED TO SIN is the first installment in Monica James’s contemporary, adult Sinful Pleasures erotic, romance series focusing on thirty two year old psychiatrist Dr. Dixon Mathews, and twenty three year old college student Madison.

Told from dual first person points of view (Madison and Dixon) ADDICTED TO SIN focuses on Dr. Dixon Matthews and his addiction to sex. Dixon is a man-whore; a man, who six weeks prior to his wedding, discovered his fiancé was sleeping with his best friend, and in the ensuing year our ‘hero’ has acted out his heartbreak and pain by screwing everything anyone has to offer. One year later Dixon will meet his future-a dual path of addiction-one for a woman who offers nothing but $ex, and the other for the woman who would steal his heart. But Dr. Dixon Mathews will soon discover that the two paths will cross and with it more heartbreak and the potential to destroy his life.

ADDICTED TO SIN follows Dixon’s spiral into h*ll. As a psychiatrist he continues to cross the line of professional ethics; as a man he has lost sight of what it is he truly wants and needs. The storyline is as tragic as a Shakespearean Play; heartbreaking as it reaches its inevitable final act; and as twisted as a gnarly branch of a family tree where sins of the past meet the sins of the present. The storyline twist is predictable, fateful and tortured; our heroine’s life is about to spin out of control.

Monica James pulls the reader into a story of one man’s addiction; an uneasy realization that his choices have led him to desperation; and a possible future where everything he knows will be ripped apart through blackmail and betrayal. There are moments of loss and acceptance; rejection and grief; falling in love and letting go. ADDICTED TO SIN is a story of impassioned need; detestable acts; and desperate attempts to make everything all right.

Copy supplied by Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy


Breaking a Legend (Kavanagh Legends #1) by Sarah Robinson-Review and Book Tour

BREAKING A LEGEND (Kavanagh Legends 1) by Sarah Robinson


Kavanagh Legends 1
by Sarah Robinson
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance, MMA

Breaking A Legend

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ABOUT THE BOOK: September 29, 2015

As one of the big names at his family’s gym, Legends, MMA star Rory Kavanagh is used to being in the spotlight—until a gruesome leg injury knocks him out of the cage. Rory is left feeling sidelined in more ways than one, battling the inner demons that come with losing the one shot at his dreams. Then Clare walks into his life and gives him a new dream: winning her heart. There aren’t many new faces in Woodlawn these days, but this tough, beautiful stranger makes Rory want to get his life back into fighting shape.

Clare Ivers doesn’t think she’ll be able to tell anyone what really brought her to the close-knit Bronx neighborhood where she just started bartending. But her life’s on pause and her past is catching up fast, try as she might to move on—with new friends, steady work, and a chiseled alpha male trying to get her attention. Even though Rory’s more than a little intense, she can’t deny that her heart beats faster when he looks at her with those soulful silver eyes. Clare thought she was done with love, but Rory might just be man enough to show her she thought wrong.


REVIEW:  BREAKING A LEGEND is the first installment in Sarah Robinson’s contemporary, adult KAVANAGH LEGENDS romance series focusing on the Kavanagh family of MMA fame. This is former MMA champion twenty eight year old Rory Kavanagh, and bartender Clare Ivers’s storyline.

Told from dual third person perspectives BREAKING A LEGEND focuses on the building relationship between Rory and Clare, and Rory’s recovery from a devastating career-ending injury. Tens months earlier Rory’s injury in the cage left our hero a broken man in more ways than one. Enter Clare Ivers, the newest waitress at O’Leary’s Pub, and the woman who would call to Rory’s heart. Coming from a big, Irish Catholic family, Rory has never lacked support but Rory’s choices in life have left our hero fighting the dark demons that resulted from the catastrophic injury.

Clare Ivers hides a secret. Our heroine is one the run, trying to stay one step ahead of her past and falling in love was never in the cards. When Clare’s past resurfaces, our heroine is willing to walk away from Rory and the family she has grown to love in order to protect everyone from the life she once led.

The relationship between Clare and Rory is one of immediate attraction. Rory is a man taught to respect women and in this Rory is the ultimate gentleman as he slowly seduces the woman who calls to his heart. The $ex scenes are gentle; there is no erotic, graphic imagery or text. But I did take issue with the lack of condoms. In an age of STDS and deadly viruses, the use of condoms should never be questioned.

We are introduced to Rory’s extended family including brothers- Quinn, Kane and Kane’s twin Kieran (who is currently in prison), and the youngest Jimmy, who is a member of the local police department. Jimmy has his hands full keeping his family on the straight and narrow. Rory’s loving parents Seamus and Dee Kavanagh are the backbone of the Kavanagh family ; and Rory’s cousin/sister Casey who befriends Clare when she needs it the most. The family ‘feel’ to this storyline is loving and supportive.

The world building focuses on Legends-the gym owned by the Kavanagh family where ‘legends’ are made and history is written in the Bronx borough of Woodlawn, New York. We are up close and personal with the fighters as they prepare for the next championship. There is some history with Seamus Kavanagh and the local Irish mob but we are not currently privy to the background information.

SPOILER ALERT: I did have some issues of believability with certain aspects of this storyline as it pertained to Rory and his ability to get clean and sober. It was all too neat and tidy; there is no mention of withdrawal, side effects or the physical and emotional pain one suffers during detox. Getting clean is a long process and doesn’t happen over night or in a matter of a couple of days. The unreality of the situation is questionable.

BREAKING A LEGEND is an easy read with a large ensemble cast of characters. The premise is entertaining; the characters are engaging; the romance is sweet and seductive but saying that, there was something missing in the telling of the story; the details are missing for many of the storyline components especially as it pertained to Clare’s past and Rory’s fall into the abyss

Copy supplied by Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy


Well, if it isn’t our long-lost brother,” a familiar voice said a few minutes later, as he meandered into the neighborhood bar that everyone he knew frequented. A hand clasped his shoulder. “Shit, Rory, where the hell have you been?”
Rory inwardly groaned as he turned to face his younger brother, Quinn Kavanagh. Rory wanted to wipe Quinn’s smug smirk off with his fist. He had been sporting that same cocky attitude since the moment he popped into this world, a trait that Rory found uniquely irritating.
Now I remember why I’ve been avoiding this bar, Rory thought as he forced a smile at his brother.
“Just stopping in for a quick drink, Quinn,” Rory said, attempting to make clear that he wasn’t interested in socializing.
He headed over to the long wooden bar that wrapped around two sides of the small pub and stood before walls of liquor bottles and televisions. Several bartenders moved around swiftly, filling drink orders and talking with the full crowd that O’Leary’s always attracted on weekend nights. Rory found an empty stool down at one end, far away from the door, and quickly staked his claim.
He saw Cian, who had worked at O’Leary’s for as long as he could remember, and nodded his head to him. Cian nodded back and put up his hand, indicating he would be over in a minute, as he finished serving the group of college-aged kids at that end of the bar. The door to the kitchen swung open and a short, petite blonde ambled through carrying a large bucket of ice that seemed much too heavy for her small frame to manage.
Rory smiled slightly as he lifted one eyebrow, watching her with interest while she carefully poured the ice over the liquor bottles that sat in a metal bin below the bar’s surface. She huffed and her face was slightly red at the task, but she still managed to completely empty the bucket’s contents evenly around each of the glass bottles.
He took advantage of her being distracted by her task to stare at her shapely legs, which disappeared under a short skirt barely longer than her small apron. Her skin was delicately pale and smooth, and he wondered what it would feel like to slide his fingers up the length of those legs. His eyes traveled up her body, disappointed that the thick, blond ringlets dangling halfway down her back were also hiding most of her face as she leaned over the bar. He wanted to see her perfectly sloped nose, catch her eyes with his, and see what her small pink lips would look like when they smiled.
Something about this woman was intriguing him, although he couldn’t pinpoint what.
Her work completed, she exhaled loudly and plopped the empty bucket at her feet, taking a breather. Rory chuckled lightly, finally grabbing her attention.
“You laughing at me?” She put her hands on her hips, daring him to make fun of her.
Her eyes narrowed as she spoke, but he was still able to catch a glimpse of the dazzling emerald color that contrasted against her light skin and golden hair so perfectly.
“Wouldn’t dream of it, mhuirnín.” A smile spread across his face as he watched her saunter over to him, her full, pink lips tightly pressed together in irritation.
“What’s that mean?” she asked when she reached him, standing across the bar with her arms folded across her chest and one hip tilted higher than the other. Her tone was defiant and he loved the feisty spirit she exuded.
“Mhuirnín? You’re all questions today. I’ll answer your question, if you answer mine.” Rory concentrated on keeping his speech normal and not slurring his words. He might have had a bit more to drink tonight than he had intended.
She turned away from him, looking back down the length of the bar and drumming her fingers on its surface.
Rory could sense her nervousness. He already missed her green gaze and silently begged her to turn back to him. There was something about her that stirred a protective instinct in him, a feeling entirely foreign toward anyone who wasn’t family. She was smiling, but there was an undercurrent of pain breaking through her friendliness.
He didn’t like it.
“I guess that’s fair,” she relented, turning back to him and leaning against the wall.
“I haven’t seen you here before. What’s your name?” His question was simple, but the desire in his eyes was not as he licked his bottom lip and admired how perfectly her uniform hugged her curves, even on her small figure. “Clare Ivers. I’m new in town. Needed a job.” She shrugged, not divulging much, but he felt a sliver of hope when he saw that the smile on her face had yet to disappear.
He knew that she could feel his attraction toward her when he saw the blush creep up her cheeks. The smile she couldn’t push away told him she was enjoying their banter as much as he was.
Despite her clear interest, there was a hint of disapproval as he watched her eyes roam over his torso. It was a look he was way too familiar with from the last year. Rory worried he might be slurring his words or sounding more drunk than he felt.
Wouldn’t be the first time, he thought.
“Your turn.” She pointed at him, biting the corner of her lip in an attempt to hide her smile.
“Mhuirnín means sweetheart. If you’re going to work in Woodlawn, Clare, you gotta learn some Irish.”
“Is that right? I guess I’ll have to find a good tutor then,” she taunted, before turning on her heels and sauntering off.


guest post

Developing the hero/heroine

Developing a hero and heroine for a novel is not as difficult as one might thing. There are millions of methods you can find online, different workshops you can take, or dozens of strategies you can learn in writing classes. Personally, I subscribe to the simple method of who, what, why- or if you want to get technical, goal, motivation, conflict.

First I plot out who my characters are, which is everything from what they look like, to their age, their background, and their personality traits. The hero and heroine need to have either similar backgrounds and different personalities, or different backgrounds and similar personalities, for me to really develop a great romance between them because while opposites attract, there needs to be things in common for that romance to work long term.

Once I know who my characters are, I create their worlds and situations, along with what they want out of life and what’s motivating them to achieve it. Then lastly, I decide what the conflict will be to throw them off course and how their motivations will help them surpass that. It’s like picking out what they want more than anything, than what they definitely refuse to do to get that, then making them do it anyways.

So, for example, in BREAKING A LEGEND, I have two main characters (along with a host of very vibrant secondary characters that you’ll learn more about in subsequent books) named Rory Kavanagh and Clare Ivers. I made Rory an ex-mixed martial arts fighter with a career-ending injury that had driven him into the grips of alcohol and prescription pain killers. He came from a boisterous and large Irish family with hinted ties to the mafia, and they all own an MMA gym in the Bronx. He’s at the point where his future plans have been destroyed and he doesn’t know how to move forward, or how to be the man he once was again.

Clare Ivers, his love interest, is from a mysterious and dark background and running from something, or someone. She starting anew in the Bronx as a bartender, trying to get back into school to become a veterinarian, however, life keeps putting up road blocks. While Clare lacks confidence, Rory definitely does not, despite his failures. Where Rory lacks ambition, Clare is steadfast and knows what she wants. Their best and worst qualities balance out the other, making their relationship the perfect opportunity for both of them to grow separately as individuals, and together as lovers.

To me, that’s the goal of every romance, and any story in general. How can we take the problems life gives us, and grow from it? How can we become our best selves in a relationship, and help our partner do the same? That’s certainly my goal for my own marriage, and so I’d love to portray those same qualities and purpose in every novel I write. People aren’t perfect, but together, we can fit perfectly.

About the Author

Sarah RobinsonSarah Robinson is the bestselling author of The Photographer Trilogy and the Sand & Clay rock star series. A native of Washington, D.C., Robinson has both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal psychology. She is married to a local police officer who is just as much of an animal rescue enthusiast as she is. Together, they own a zoo of rescue and foster animals.

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Playing with Fire (Hot in Chicago 2) by Kate Meader-a review

PLAYING WITH FIRE (Hot in Chicago #2) by Kate Meader-a review

Playing with Fire

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 29, 2015

As the only female firefighter at Engine Co. 6, Alexandra Dempsey gets it from all sides: the male coworkers who think she can’t do the job, the wives and girlfriends who see her as a threat to their firefighter men, and her overprotective foster brothers who want to shelter their baby sister at all costs. So when she single-handedly saves the life of Eli Cooper, Chicago’s devastatingly handsome mayor, she assumes the respect she’s longed for will finally come her way. But it seems Mr. Mayor has other ideas…

Eli Cooper’s mayoral ratings are plummeting, his chances at reelection dead in the water. When a sexy, curvaceous firefighter gives him the kiss of life, she does more than bring him back to the land of the living—she also breathes vitality into his campaign. Riding the wave of their feel-good story might prop up Eli’s flagging political fortunes, but the sizzling attraction between them can go nowhere; he’s her boss, and there are rules that must be obeyed. But you know what they say about rules: they’re made to be broken


REVIEW: PLAYING WITH FIRE is the second full length installment in Kate Meader’s contemporary, adult Hot in Chicago romance series focusing on the Dempsey family-a family of firefighting foster siblings who have seen their fare share of heartbreak and pain. This is female firefighter and only Dempsey daughter Alexandra Dempsey, and sexy Chicago Mayor Eli Cooper’s storyline. PLAYING WITH FIRE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty but for cohesion, backstory and family history I recommend reading the series in order.

Told from dual third person perspectives PLAYING WITH FIRE follows the antagonist relationship between Alexandra and Eli. For months Eli and Alex have been the bane of one another’s existence since Alex and her brother’s off hours antics find themselves the targets of paparazzi, media and you tube videos that find the Chicago Fire Department on the receiving end of harassment and lawsuits. The Dempsey family of foster siblings has a rocky relationship with the political elite of Chicago and adding Eli’s less than vague misogynistic insults directed at Alex, we have a volatile situation between our leading couple.

As the lone female firefighter at Engine Co. 6, Alex has presumably had her fair share of issues and problems with the other men, but Mayor Cooper is determined to throw Alex off of her pedestal by making her an offer she can’t refuse-Alex must pretend to be Eli’s girlfriend until the mayoral elections, and in return Eli will keep Chicago’s richest businessman from keeping true to a promise to sue Alex for a botched rescue that destroyed his $400,000 car. The only problem is the sexual energy and chemistry between Alex and Eli is off the charts, and the faux relationship between our couple will be anything but fake.

Eli and Alex have butted heads throughout the series and PLAYING WITH FIRE sees the misogynistic Eli brought to his knees by the loud-mouthed, alpha female who calls to his heart. But Alex ‘s feminist ideals are very radical in the face of main stream feminism-as the only female firefighter she has been targeted by the media and the men with whom she works, and in this Alex would over react and take comments and conversation out of context deeming them an attack against herself and woman as a whole. There were times Alex’s feminist beliefs were a little over the top as she was quick to jump, accuse and berate Eli Cooper for some perceived insult meant as a compliment or conversational starter. Romance storylines are not necessarily a platform for espousing radical feminism, or at the very least, presenting the heroine as a ball-busting b*tch of epic proportions-coming back from a less than positive characterization makes it difficult for some readers to find sympathy for the character in question. But we mustn’t forget Eli Cooper-as an arrogant and cocky politician, our hero knows how to play the audience, and Alexandra was a very captive audience. The $ex scenes are erotic, intense and seductive.

All of the Dempsey foster siblings play secondary and supporting roles including Luke Almeida and the love of his life Kinsey Taylor ( FLIRTING WITH FIRE #1), and Gage Simpson and Brady Smith ( MELTING POINT 1.5). Mayor Eli Cooper is a former military buddy of Brady Smith, and with it comes a life long friendship of kindred spirits. Eli’s family history is revealed a little at a time. Beck Rivera and Darcy Cochrane (Rekindle the Flame .5) play a larger role than in previous storylines.

PLAYING WITH FIRE looks at heartbreak and betrayal; family and love; secrets from the past and letting go. The premise is fast paced, sexy, engaging and clever; the characters are inspiring, impassioned and intense; the romance is playful, lighthearted and provocative. Alex and Eli’s road to a happily ever after was not always smooth but Eli was determined to win Alexandra’s heart anyway he could-Eli is a man who can grovel with the best. PLAYING WITH FIRE

Copy supplied by  Netgalley

Reviewed by Sand



Bound by Sin (The Immortal Brothers 3) by Jacquelyn Frank-a review

BOUND BY SIN (Immortal Brothers #3) by Jacquelyn Frank-a review

Bound by Sin

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 29, 2015

After being chained to a star to burn endlessly as punishment for stealing immortality from the gods, Jaykun has been unshackled to wage war alongside his brothers, in the name of a goddess. But his freedom comes with a price: Each night Jaykun must still suffer—his body burning from the inside out. One early morning, recovering from his torment, he encounters a beautiful stranger on the beach. Naked from her midnight-black hair down to her sandy toes, she approaches him with starry-eyed innocence and the unmistakable full body of a woman.

Soon Jaykun is swept up with the force of a comet, his desire for her hotter than any sun. His brothers fear he is blinded by her radiant beauty, that she has been sent by their enemies to seduce and destroy him. Jileana is indeed from another world—one Jaykun cannot begin to imagine. But will their passion burn brightly enough to light their way through the darkness that threatens to consume all in its path?


REVIEW: BOUND BY SIN is the third installment in Jacquelyn Frank’s adult, IMMORTAL BROTHERS mythological romance, paranormal fantasy series focusing on four brothers cursed, by the gods and goddesses, in their search for immortality. This is Jaykun and Jileana’s storyline. BOUND BY SIN can be read as a standalone but for backstory and cohesion, I strongly suggest reading the series in order.

SOME BACKGROUND: Two hundred years earlier, four brothers (Dethan, Garreth, Jaykun, Maxum) went in search of the waters of Immortality and upon the discovery drank from the forbidden streams. The gods and goddesses were angered and cursed each brother to suffer eternal damnation and pain. Each of the brothers will sacrifice for love landing them in the favor of the gods with a happily ever after. Jaykun’s punishment is to suffer an endless cycle of burning from the inside out-like a star going supernova on a nightly basis. Maxum’s story will be told next in BOUND IN DARKNESS (November 2015).

Told from third person perspective BOUND BY SIN follows the building relationship between Jaykun and Jileana-a young woman whose naivety and surprising beauty is unexpected near the battlefield and waters, and in Jaykun’s life. Jaykun has been freed from eternal damnation but still suffers the nightly fiery burns as will be witnessed by our storyline heroine. While Jaykun enjoys the ministrations of the strange female, Dethan and Garreth begin to suspect there is more to the young woman than meets the eye. When Jileana invites Jaykun to visit her forbidden world beyond the waters, our hero finds himself a virtual prisoner in a gilded cage until the rising of the next moon. Jaykun will soon find himself enmeshed in a political coup and uprising when, Jileana’s Empress is threatened, by members of her own royal family.

The attraction between Jaykun and Jileana is immediate and palpable but there is something otherworldly about Jileana. Her time on Jaykun’s world has an expiry date, and with it so too does their growing relationship and love. Jaykun has been burned by a former love and with it comes betrayal and issues of trust. The $ex scenes are intimate without the use of graphic sexual imagery.

Dethan and Garreth, Jaykun’s brothers play secondary and supporting roles throughout the storyline. Our series heroes are currently on location, warring and pillaging on behalf of the gods. We are introduced to Jileana’s family, including several of her over protective brothers and father, as well as the Empress, whose control of her own people is questioned and usurped. The requisite evil not only threatens Jileana’s future, but the future of her people and world.

The world building focuses on the continuing wars between the gods and goddesses as each brother must fight in the name of Weysa, the goddess of conflict, as she continues to demand obedience and subjugation. We are transported to Jileana’s world of immortal creatures with supernatural powers. Jileana’s true species and distinctiveness are easily identifiable early in the story but the path to realization is slow as the storyline builds and allegiances are drawn.

The premise is slow to build as the storyline focuses on the relationship between our leading couple while keeping Jileana’s identity a lightly, veiled secret. Most of the conflict arises within Jileana’s world where our hero is tasked with saving a world and species he knows nothing about. The characters are colorful and magical; the romance is hopeful but Joykun’s issues of trust have left our hero without the ability to love. We are offered a quick glimpse into Maxum’s mind- the final brother whose need for revenge is calculating and cold.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Series Spotlight black and orange

Cursed by Fire Feb 15CURSED BY FIRE
Immortal Brothers 1
by Jacquelyn Frank
Genre: fantasy, adult, paranormal, romance
Release Date: February 24, 2015

Amazon.com / Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date: February 24, 2015

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of CURSED BY FIRE

For centuries, Dethan has been trapped in a fiery inferno for defying the gods and snatching the power of immortality. Condemned to have his battle-hardened body licked by flames only to regenerate and be consumed all over again, Dethan has lost all hope—until the Goddess of Conflict appears. She will release him from torment—if he’ll use his power and strength as a warrior to raise an army and defeat a fierce enemy faction of gods.

Free to live as a man once again, Dethan meets Selinda—heir to the throne of Hexis—and his thoughts quickly turn from the conquest of cities to the conquest of this headstrong beauty. Betrothed to a cruel, calculating powermonger, Selinda needs a champion, and so Dethan enters into another bargain: If she will share her bed—and her body—with him, Dethan will save her city from destructive forces within and without. As the lovers ignite a searing passion, Dethan will risk all—even the wrath of the Goddess of Conflict—for a chance to make Selinda his forever.


Cursed by Ice Mar 15CURSED BY ICE
The Immortal Brothers 2
by Jacquelyn Frank
Genre: adult, paranormal, fantasy, romance
Release Date: March 31, 2015

Amazon.com / B&N / KOBO / The Book Depository

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 31, 2015

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of CURSED BY ICE

As punishment for plotting with his brothers to steal immortality, Garreth is suffering a freezing torment until the end of time. Again and again, his fierce fighter’s physique is frozen into a chiseled ice sculpture, his heart hardening like a diamond in his chest—only to thaw and resume the chilling torture. Until, like his older brother Dethan, he is offered a reprieve from a goddess—in exchange for his allegiance in a celestial civil war.

Garreth lives to fight and fights to live. But while laying siege to an embattled city, he finds another reason to go on—a beautiful warrior woman named Sarielle, who commands a mythic beast through a mysterious and powerful bond. Terrified of her strength, the city rulers have kept her captive, and now she refuses to submit to a new master. As Garreth seeks to unleash her passion and melt the icy resistance of her heart, will he become her ultimate salvation—or lead them both to greater destruction?