Magic in the Stars by Patricia Rice – Review, Interview & Giveaway

Magic in the Stars by Patricia Rice – Review & Interview


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Magic in the StarsAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

As an astrologer, Lady Azenor Dougall sadly realizes her stars are a danger to her beloved siblings and has banished herself from her Scots home. As the Malcolm family librarian, she dutifully creates zodiac charts for her often eccentric and mysterious relations—until the day she realizes a dire conjunction of planets spells a fatal threat in a distant branch of the family.

Lord Theophilus Ives, heir presumptive to the Marquess of Ashford, Earl of Ives and Wystan, is a dedicated astronomer who has perfected a telescope capable of seeing beyond Saturn’s moons. Living in an all-male family that distrusts the women who regularly abandon them, Theo is undaunted by the tumult of his life—until the day the luscious Lady Azenor arrives to warn them that the marquess is in danger.

Can Aster, the Prophetess of Doom, convince a laughing disbeliever of peril? And what are the chances she can escape the fate her stars predict if she lingers too long in Lord Theo’s enthralling company?



Being a fan of anything magical, I was really looking forward to this book because I guess I was expecting something a little different then what I read.  However, eventually I did come to enjoy Magic in the Stars by Patricia Rice, but it took me a little bit to get fully engaged in the story.  Magic in the Stars is a fast paced read, that I feel has laid the important groundwork for future books in this series.  It has a solid cast of characters, and its their personalities and antics that come to life on the pages that eventually held my interest.  The astrology parts, telescopes and planets not so much.  See I’m not a science fan and wasn’t fond of science class back in my school days.  I prefer the magical aspect, wands, witches, spells, that sort of thing and was kind of expecting more of that based on the title.  However, that being said, I did come to enjoy the book and it’s zany bunch of characters, who did manage to have me chuckling many times and shaking my head at their antics, or comments.  How poor Azenor, or Aster as her family calls her, handled the brother’s Ives is beyond me, and more, decided to marry into this crazy all male family was beyond me. Personally, based on first impressions I would’ve run screaming from their loony bin they call a home, but instead Aster somehow manages to deal with the brothers, and all the issues that arise , even though all she could see was impending doom in her astrological charts, as well as theirs.

Ms. Rice does an excellent job of weaving the astrological element with the science(planets/solar system), while slowly combining a budding romance between Aster and Theo.  Watching the two navigate their beliefs in their respected arts, Aster(astrology) and Theo(planets/solar system) was funny at times, and others frustrating.  Both believe in a form of science, but don’t see it that way, and at times it was frustrating to me to read their arguments.  However, I guess I should’ve kept in mind what time period this was taking place in, maybe that would’ve helped me out.  That’s okay, I made it through and Aster and Theo managed to worm their way into my reader’s heart and make me enjoy their story and want them to get to their HEA despite all the dangers in their charts.  Aster actually had me wondering by books end what my astrological chart would spell out if I ever decided to have it read.  Hmm, maybe one day. 

Magic In the Stars is a well written book, with a solid cast of characters that carry the story and kept me interested in what would happen next.  Theo’s rag-tag group of brothers/family are fun to meet, and watching Theo deal with taking up the reins of head of the family after his eldest brother’s accident is quite comical.  He’s completely out of his realm of planets and moons and has no idea how to deal with the everyday problems of the people who live in their town.  If it wasn’t for Aster who swoops in and pretty much saves the day for poor Theo, he would’ve been floundering in the wind and never would’ve found love, or the chance to make his telescopes and telescope glass famous.  I’m sure whatever Ms. Rice has in store for his fellow brothers will be equally entertaining.

Until next time, happy reading.

Reviewed by Marcie

Copy provided by Author



Hi Patricia.  Thank you for taking the time today, to answer some questions for our members at The Reading Café.  We are always looking forward to reading about the author behind the book.

TRC:  Would you please tell us something about yourself?


I’m young, tall, and attractive… and a fiction writer, so take that description with an entire cellar of salt. I sit at my desk and make up lies for a living, when I’m not moving across the country or making the occasional escape to Europe or the South Pacific with my trusty fellow traveler, my husband. It’s a rough life, but someone has to live it!

TRC:  Did you always have an interest in writing?  When and how did you first start writing?

Patricia:  Always, forever and ever, amen. I wrote in my first read-aloud books. I wrote mysteries by hand in fourth grade. I graduated to a typewriter in middle school—teaching myself to type so I could write faster. It’s much better to put these voices in my head on paper and sell them than to start answering them aloud in public!

TRC:  Magic in the Stars, is the first book in your new Unexpected Magic series. How did you come up with the idea of this book?  Can you please tell us about the premise of this series.

Patricia:  Ever since the original Magical Malcolms series readers have been begging for stories about their descendants (probably something about that baby boy lifting his ball without touching it!).  That series was set in the 1750s. I was a little weary of the Regency era. So I thought—aha, by 1830, the industrial revolution can throw a whole new set of problems at my characters, and now, even the men can have a touch of the Wyrd. I don’t really write about “magic” so much as psychic abilities that people claim are possible but science cannot duplicate. Astrology, precognition, levitation… human abilities can be endless, if we’re trained to recognize them. And that’s the premise—my Malcolms are trained to recognize their special abilities from birth, and to use them for good purpose, or to confuse logical men, whichever makes sense at the time!

Magic in the Stars
TRC:  Can you please give us a brief description of Magic in the Stars?

Patricia:  As an astrologer, Lady Azenor Dougall realizes her stars are a danger to her siblings and has banished herself from her Scots home. As the Malcolm family librarian, she creates zodiac charts for her often eccentric and mysterious relations—until the day she realizes a dire conjunction of planets spells a fatal threat in a distant branch of the family.

Lord Theophilus Ives, heir presumptive to the Marquess of Ashford, Earl of Ives and Wystan, is a dedicated astronomer who has perfected a telescope capable of seeing beyond Saturn’s moons. Living in an all-male family that distrusts the women who regularly abandon them, Theo is undaunted by the tumult of his life—until the day the luscious Lady Azenor arrives to warn them that the marquess is in danger.

Can Aster, the Prophetess of Doom, convince a laughing disbeliever of peril? And what are the chances she can escape the fate her stars predict if she lingers too long in Lord Theo’s enthralling company?

TRC:   You are a very diversified author, writing the following genres:
 Historical Romance
Contemporary Romance
Paranormal Romance
Romantic Mysteries

 Do you have a preference?  Which do you find the most challenging & why?

Patricia:  Diversified is such a polite way of saying “scattered.” I started in historical romance, and my heart is strongly in that genre, but my head has things to say that won’t fit into the past. Each genre has its own challenges. And it’s another challenge to keep word usage from creeping from one genre into another. “Contact” and “handle” for instance, had different usages in 1830 than today.

I also write straight mysteries, the Family Genius series, and plotting those with clues and red herrings is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done!

TRC:  Can you please tell us what you’re working on now, and what you have upcoming in 2016?

Patricia:  Whisper of Magic, the next in the Unexpected Magic series, is being proofed right now, getting ready for release in June. I’m currently revising Theory of Magic, the third book, for a late July release. I’m finishing up the first draft (she says optimistically) on the next Family Genius mystery, and plotting and researching a fourth book in the Magic series. Oh, and I’m editing a couple of old American historical romance backlist books!

TRC:  What is your writing process?  Do you like to outline your story before you start? Do you have a specific place you like to write?  Is there a special time of day that works best for you?

Patricia:  The only thing consistent about my process (and you may see a pattern here—scattered is me) is that I am more creative in the morning, so that’s my writing time. I attempt outlines before I start—or at least character descriptions, goals, conflicts, etc—but I stray. A lot. I like to sit in the sun when I’m creating—which works well here in SoCal. But otherwise, I’m stuck with whatever location works best for what I’m doing—a large monitor is needed when reading revision notes and revising, for instance. So I’m stuck in my office, grumbling, when I’m working through notes.

TRC:  When you are not writing, what other interests or hobbies do you have?

Patricia:  Reading, of course! Gardening, hiking, traveling… just don’t ask me to do anything athletic. I’m a world-class klutz.

TRC:  Many authors have friends or family, that they bounce ideas and information back and forth.  Do you have anyone you like to discuss your story with? 

Patricia:  I have a couple of brainstorming friends I sadly left behind on the east coast. We still email and get together on the phone when stories get stuck in a rut and need outside help to push them out.  I have some buddies at our publishing co-op I like to bounce ideas off of. But talking to family would be as helpful as talking to a crow. I’d get more response from the crow! So I’ll leave them to help me run the technical side of this business.

TRC:   Would you like to add anything else?

Patricia:  I’ve been selling books for a long time, and I could not have come as far as I have without my readers. They’re always there with an encouraging word on days when I want to fling the laptop through the window. They cheer me on, encourage me to make dangerous dives into unmarketable waters <G>, and to help me name characters, books, and anything else that I ask. They cheerfully review my books and tell me I’m not as much an idiot as I sometimes think. I simply want to thank all of them!



Favorite Food: chocolate (that counts as food, right?)

Favorite Dessert: chocolate brownies with mint chocolate ice cream

Favorite TV Show: Elementary

Favorite Actor & Actress (TV or Movies) Benedict Cumberbatch, Maggie Smith

Last Book You Read: Daughter of the Forest, Juliet Marillier

Favorite Fictional Character (not your own): if I’m on a Sherlock kick, might as well say Sherlock Holmes

Milk or Dark Chocolate:  DARK!!!!

Dog or Cat:  dog


TRC:  Thank you Patricia for taking the time to answer our questions.  We wish you the best of luck with Magic in the Stars.  .

Patricia:   Thank you!



Patricia is offering an e-copy of Magic in the Stars TWO (2) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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8. Giveaway runs from March 31- April 4, 2016


Playing the Witch’s Game by Zoe Forward – Review & Giveaway

Playing the Witch’s Game by Zoe Forward – Review & Giveaway

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Playing the Witch’s Game
Keepers of the Veil series – Book #3
by Zoe Forward
Release Date: March 21, 2016

Playing The Witches GameAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM

Pleiades witch Jennifer Marcos is certain that the host of Extreme Survivor is her soulmate. All she has to do is find a fake boyfriend, get on the show, and voila! She’ll have her destiny. Unfortunately, she has to rely on ex-Russian spy Nikolai Jovec’s six-foot-something of gorgeous, infuriating hotness. To make matters worse, the electric attraction between Jen and Nikolai is hotter than ever. But the only way Nikolai can protect Jen is by hiding the identity of her true Destined…him.




Playing the Witch’s Game by Zoe Forward is the 3rd book in her Keepers of the Veil series. This series revolves around the seven Pleiades witches, their destined mates who protect them, and the evil that is out to kill them. It reads very well as a standalone, though it is always better to get to know the previous characters in the earlier books.

Jen Marcos is our heroine, a Pleiades witch, who thinks she knows who her destined mate is. She has to participate in a TV reality show, Extreme Survivor, because her boyfriend is the host. Nik Jovec is our hero, and Alexi ‘s (previous hero) brother. Nik will be approached by Jen to be her partner in this dangerous game, and at first he refuses. But Nik feels his attraction to Jen, and knows that she may be his mate, and despite his fears for her survival, and her insistence to participate, he agrees to help. At the same time, Nik does not tell her that the man she thinks is her mate is not, that it is him.

As this game begins, they are met with danger at every step. It is very exciting and tense. On occasion, Jen will secretly transport them to another dimension, to help them recuperate, and in those moments their relationship heats up. Jen feels her attraction to Nik, but steadfastly refuses to believe that it’s just lust. When back in the game, they cannot quit, but they realize that they are actually targets by a dangerous and powerful villain. Alexi and Serenity secretly join them to help, and the TV show camerawoman, Shannon (who is also an upcoming Pleiades witch ) is also in danger.

Telling too much more would be spoilers, but this is a very exciting adventure that will hold you on the edge of your seat, unable to put the book down, as you needed to know if our couple will survive. I liked Nik a lot, he was not only a hunk; he was also so sweet and protective of Jen. I liked Jen, but wasn’t crazy about her insistence about her so called mate, not realizing until later that Nik was the man for her.

Zoe Forward does a great job continuing this storyline of the witches. This is a fun exciting series, which I wholly recommend.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Author


Zoe is graciously offering an e-copy of PLAYING THE WITCH’S GAME to TWO (2) lucky commenters at The Reading Cafe.

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8. Giveaway runs from March 31- April 4,  2016


Ruthless (Fractured Farrells: A Damaged Billionaires Series #1) by Mallory Crowe

RUTHLESS (Fractured Farrells: A Damaged Billionaires Series #1) by Mallory Crowe-a review

Ruthless / / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 31, 2016

Colin Carter was promised a fortune by his late boss, but instead the money was left to a daughter no one knew the old man had. Now he has to find the lost heiress before anyone else and claim his stake in the Farrell family fortune… even if that means claiming her.


REVIEW: RUTHLESS is the first installment in Mallory Crowe’s contemporary, adult FRACTURES FARRELLS: A Damaged Billionaires romantic, suspense series focusing on the Farrell siblings. This is personal security/fixer Colin Carter, and small-town waitress Jean Hill’s story line. The FRACTURED FARRELLS is a spin off from Mallory’s BILLIONAIRES IN THE CITY series. You do not have to have read the original series to understand or comprehend the premise of the new series.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Colin and Jean) RUTHLESS follows Colin Carter- a man whose previous line of work found our hero the personal security/fixer for the billionaire businessman Walter Farrell. Upon Walter’s death Colin discovered that the money promised to him throughout the years never materialized and Colin set into motion a plan to get what he thought he deserved. Enter Jean Hill, Walter’s illegitimate daughter, and Colin’s latest mark in his scheme to inherit billions from the Farrell family fund.

Jean Hill has never known prosperity, love, or the man her mother claims to be her father. When Colin Carter makes Jean an offer she cannot refuse, Jean takes the first steps in discovering her true heritage, and what it is like to be on the receiving end of death threats and a gun to her head. What ensues is the building relationship between Colin and Jean, and Colin’s need to protect Jean from the people out to do her harm.

The relationship between Colin and Jean begins as a business arrangement as Colin proposes a plan to get the money he believes he deserves. But everything begins to implode when Jean becomes the target of someone hoping for payment of a debt, and Colin finds himself protecting the woman with whom he will fall in love. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive without the over the top graphic, erotic sexual content.

The secondary and supporting characters include Jean’s ex Mark; her troubled mother Katherine; and local ‘mafia-style’ bad boy/casino owner Eric Nasser. We are introduced to two of the Farrell siblings (Robert and Nathan) who are not surprised by the latest revelation about their father’s indiscretions and illegitimate heirs.

RUTHLESS focuses on revenge and betrayal, family and secrets. The premise is intriguing; the characters are intense; the romance is challenging and hopeful. Mallory Crowe adds another exciting dimension to her billionaire series.

Copy supplied by the author

Reviewed by Sandy


Dare Me (Dare Me #1) by Rebecca Shea-Review, Book Tour and Giveaway

DARE ME by Rebecca Shea-Review, Book Tour and Giveaway

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by Rebecca Shea
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance
Release Date: March 28, 2016

Dare Me / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 28, 2016

Five coworkers.
Four drinks.
Three glances.
Two fleeting smiles.
One dare.

A dare that will change my life.

That’s all it takes to send me plummeting into the arms of the mysterious Holt Hamilton. Behind his crystal blue eyes is a secret, one that screams danger but calls to me anyway.

My name is Saige Phillips.

I never walk away from a dare.


REVIEW: DARE ME (Dare Me #1)  is an erotic romance story line written by Rebecca Shea that focuses on a forbidden romance between Holt Hamilton, the co-owner of Jackson-Hamilton Aviation, and interior designer at JHA Saige Phillips. Holt’s attraction to Saige begins following a night on the town but his connections to his fellow employee are wound tighter than anyone could have imagined.

Told from dual first person perspectives (Holt and Saige) DARE ME follows the building relationship between Holt and Saige-a relationship built upon betrayal and lies. Following a successful week at work five coworkers meet for drinks at one of Chicago’s newest night spots where Saige Phillips will find herself face to face with the man who stops her heart-Holt Hamilton-the owner of the company for which she works. On a dare, Saige will ask Holt out for drinks and when ensues is the growing love between two people whose secrets and back stories will affect one another’s lives, and their future together.

Holt is the well respected CEO of his own aviation company. His is ‘sex on a stick’, and a man who guards his personal backstory from the woman he loves. Saige is a young woman whose earlier years are shrouded in loss, grief and heartbreak. Returning to Chicago, finds our heroine working in the corporate world surrounded by rich billionaires and CEOs, and the possibility of a future with the man whose secrets are about to unfold. The amazing chemistry between our leading couple is palpable; the $ex scenes are intimate and hot.

DARE ME has a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including Saige’s roommate, and her four fellow co-workers whose personal lives are the topic of morning texts and social media updates. We are also introduced to Holt’s BFF Jack, Holt’s mother, and the man who is now the center of her life. Saige’s Uncle Brent, and Saige’s mother are the supporting factors in Saige’s life, and a welcome respite when her life begins to spiral out of control.

The world building focuses on relationship between Holt and Saige, as well as the secrets and lies Holt keeps hidden from the woman that he loves. The proverbial ‘elephant in the room’ is easily deduced early on, but the reveal finds Saige pushing away the man that she loves.

DARE ME is a provocative but familiar story line-one I have read many times in the past. The premise is dramatic and emotional; the characters are heartbreaking and beautiful; the romance is passionate and fated. Rebecca Shea writes a riveting and consuming story with a breathtaking happily ever after.

Copy supplied by the promoter

Reviewed by Sandy




Six lemon drop shots line the center of our table, and we’ve all refreshed our drinks and have fresh glasses of ice water. “Ready?” Emery asks, and looks around at everyone, a hint of a challenge in her eyes. “Let’s do it,” Zay says and rubs his hands together, ready to begin. Emery beams with delight. “Okay, so we’re going counterclockwise. Rowan goes first, then Saige, then Zay, then Kinsley, and I’m last. We’ll ask you Truth or Dare. If you pick truth, we’ll use the questions from the app. If it’s a dare, we’ll come up with one as a group. Rules though, friends.” She looks pointedly at each of us. “It has to be safe, but it has to push boundaries.” The guys grumble. “I refuse to kiss Rowan,” Zay teases. “You’re not my type,” Rowan jokes back. “So, Ro.” Emery grins at him. “Truth or Dare?” Rowan rubs his chin and ponders his two options for a minute. “Truth.” “I knew he’d go easy on us,” Kinsley says. “Hey hey,” he chides. “Let’s start off nice and slow. Build our way up.” Emery taps the app on her phone, and the questions scramble. “Okay,” she says and chuckles to herself as she reads the question before reading it back to us. “Have you ever cheated on a boyfriend or girlfriend?” “Really?” Rowan raises an unenthused eyebrow. “That’s the question?” “Yep.” She turns the phone to face him, and he turns up his nose. “Yes,” he answers, sounding bored. “I’ve cheated on both.” “What!” Kinsley screams across the table. “You’ve had a boyfriend and a girlfriend?” “Yes,” he mumbles and takes a sip of wine. “It was a long time ago.” She drops her head back in laughter. “I need to hear more about this.” I glance over to where Holt stands with his guest, and we make eye contact again, sharing a brief but friendly smile before I quickly turn my attention back to my friends. Emery is smirking at me, which means she caught me looking. “No, you will not hear more about this.” Rowan raises his chin in defiance, then snatches Emery’s phone. “Moving on. Saige, truth or dare?” I glance around the table at my friends and, without much thinking, blurt out, “Dare.” *Oh, shit.* My stomach twists into a giant knot as those words fall from my tongue. Everyone begins hooting and hollering, and I can’t help but laugh along with them. “Remember, safe,” Emery reminds us. “And, friends, let’s be reasonable.” “Reasonable,” Kinsley snorts. “Okay, let’s put our heads together, guys.” They lean in to the center of the small round pub table, and whisper-yell over the tops of empty drink glasses and finally all sit back in their chairs. “Bad idea.” Zay shakes his head and purses his lips. “I don’t like it.” “Well, if one of you disagrees, then maybe you should come up with something new,” I chime in and look at Zay, who looks irritated. “Not in this lifetime.” Kinsley giggles. “You ready, Saige?” I swallow hard against my dry throat. “No.” *Truth. Always choose truth. What was I thinking?* “Too bad.” She grabs a shot off the table. “You are going to go ask Holt Hamilton out for a drink.” “What?” I snap at her. I look around the table like my friends have lost their damn minds. “I can’t ask him out for drinks. He’ll think it’s a date, and dating a superior is strictly prohibited per the company handbook. There’s this thing called ethics in the workplace, people. Have you all lost your minds? Are you all crazy? Are you trying to get me fired?” They all roar with laughter and my heart races. “First of all,” Kinsley tips her head back and swallows the lemon drop shot, “it’s not against company policy to date a coworker. You cannot date your direct manager. Holt is not your direct manager.” She looks pleased, like she just solved a murder case. “He owns the fucking company,” I bark at her. “That pretty much qualifies as my manager.” “Pipe down, little one.” Rowan pats my hand. “It’s just a drink, and purely innocent.” I glower at him. “You said you’d have my back. This is not having my back, Ro.” I wipe my sweaty hands on my skirt. “It’s all in pure fun.” His eyebrows dance at me. “Tell him we dared you if you have to.” My frown deepens. “So I look like a thirteen-year-old? Hi, Mr. Hamilton. My friends over there dared me to ask you out. Will you have drinks with me? No thanks.” I cross my arms over my chest in defiance. Then, realizing that I probably look like I’m actually thirteen, I uncross them. Zay chimes in, “I’ll bet one hundred dollars she won’t do it.” “Chicken, Saige?” Kinsley kicks me under the table. “I’m not a chicken, you assholes,” I grumble. “I’m reasonable. This is not reasonable. I’d like to keep my job.” Emery nudges me. “It’s all in fun, and I am dying to see the look on his face when you ask him.” I glance at Holt, feeling anxiety building in my stomach. Suddenly, he turns in our general direction to find all of us watching him. His brows pinch together in a confused look, but he offers us all a polite smile and a little nod of his head. *Ugh… *“Fine. I’ll do it.” I add my two whiny cents, “This is really stupid, though, and if I wasn’t already close to being three sheets to the wind, I’d just take the damn shot.” I fan my face. The heat from the alcohol or the stuffy bar is getting to me. “Atta girl!” Rowan grabs my hand and helps me down from the tall barstool. My knees wobble, and I press a hand my cheek to cool the flush crawling across my face. Between my nerves and the alcohol, my stomach is twisting and turning. “Just breathe,” Rowan whispers in my ear as he grips my hand tightly. “Just ask him if he’d be interested in grabbing a drink sometime.” “And when he says no?” “You just smile and come back to us.” Zay clears his throat. “What if he says yes?” I turn around to shoot him a death glare. Emery answers, “Then just know that she asked out the hottest man alive, and he accepted. Win-win.” She offers me a reassuring smile. “Hottest man alive?” Zay mumbles under his breath and pffts into his glass of beer. “Yes!” Emery and Kinsley say simultaneously. “I can’t do this,” I say, reaching for my chair. Nerves are getting the better of me, and my knees are literally knocking together. “You can,” Rowan assures me. “Go.”


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Rebecca SheaRebecca Shea* is the *USA Today* Bestselling author of the *Unbreakable series* (Unbreakable, Undone, and Unforgiven) and the *Bound and Broken series* (Broken by Lies and Bound by Lies). She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her family. From the time Rebecca could read she has had a passion for books. Rebecca spends her days working and her nights writing, bringing stories to life. Born and raised in Minnesota, Rebecca moved to Arizona in 1999 to escape the bitter winters. When not working or writing, she can be found on the sidelines of her sons’ football games, or watching her daughter at ballet class. Rebecca is fueled by insane amounts of coffee, margaritas, Laffy Taffy (except the banana ones), and happily ever afters.

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After The Storm: Mid-Season Episode 1 (Rising Storm) by Lexi Blake-Review and Book Tour

AFTER THE STORM: Mid-Season Episode 1 (Rising Storm) by Lexi Blake-Review and Book Tour

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Mid Season Episode 1
Rising Storm
by Lexi Blake
Genre: adult,contemporary,
Release Date: March 29, 2016


*Welcome to Storm, Texas, where passion runs hot, desire runs deep, and secrets have the power to destroy…*

Nestled among rolling hills and painted with vibrant wildflowers, the bucolic town of Storm, Texas, seems like nothing short of perfection. But there are secrets beneath the facade. Dark secrets. Powerful secrets. The kind that can destroy lives and tear families apart. The kind that can cut through a town like a tempest, leaving jealousy and destruction in its wake, along with shattered hopes and broken dreams. All it takes is one little thing to shatter that polish.

Reading like an on-going drama in the tradition of classic day and night-time soap operas like Dallas, Dynasty, and All My Children, *Rising Storm* is full of scandal, deceit, romance, passion, and secrets.

With 1001 Dark Nights as the “producer,” Julie Kenner and Dee Davis use a television model with each week building on the last to create a storyline that fulfills the promise of a drama-filled soap opera. Joining Kenner and Davis in the “writer’s room” for the Midseason Episodes of this serial opera are bestselling authors Lexi Blake and Larissa Ione who have brought their vision of Storm to life.

*So get ready. The storm is coming.*

After the Storm / / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 29, 2016

Secrets, Sex and Scandals …

Welcome to Storm, Texas, where passion runs hot, desire runs deep, and secrets have the power to destroy… Get ready. The storm is coming.

In the wake of Dakota’s revelations, the whole town is reeling. Ginny Moreno has lost everything. Logan Murphy is devastated by her lies. Brittany Rush sees her family in a horrifying new light. And nothing will ever be the same…


REVIEW: AFTER THE STORM by Lexi Blake is the first installment in the Mid Season multi –authored RISING STORM serialized story line focusing on the people of Storm, Texas. Their continuing story focuses on the aftermath of a very public revelation, the truth about Storm’s golden boy Senator, and the havoc wreaked by a spurned young woman vying for attention and the love of a man she cannot have. AFTER THE STORM should not be read as a stand alone as the story line (and Mid Season 2) continues upon the events of Season One.

For followers familiar with the series, the revelations regarding Ginny’s pregnancy, and the senator’s numerous affairs have affected everyone in the small town of Storm, Texas. AFTER THE STORM looks at the devastating fall-out when secrets and lies are revealed by Dakota Alvarez that will have a domino affect upon all who are connected through friendship or blood. Lives will be destroyed; reputations shredded; hearts broken into a million pieces, and Ginny Moreno must go it alone in a town that is determined to brand her with a scarlet A.

RISING STORM, and thusly AFTER THE STORM, reads like a soap-opera serial; a Dynasty meets Dallas meets Peyton Place afternoon Soap where scandal, lies, betrayal and lust are the backdrop to a town controlled by the political elite, and powerfully rich. No one is innocent; blind eyes are turned to the truth; fingers are pointed in all directions.

AFTER THE STORM is the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of the people of Storm, Texas. Once protected by a bubble of their own making, Storm must face the clean-up of the destruction brought about by one man’s indiscretions and the lives he has destroyed along the way.

Lexi Blake pulls you in, ties you down, and straps you in for the ride that is Storm, Texas.

Copy supplied by the promoter

Reviewed by Sandy

After The Storm Teaser



“I didn’t know I was pregnant until I woke up from the accident.” Ginny’s voice was an impassioned whisper. “I found out two things that changed my life in that moment. I found out that my best friend was gone and that I was pregnant. And I prayed so hard that I hadn’t lost all of Jacob forever.” Forever. That’s what she was looking at. She was looking at an entire lifetime of being a mother without a son. She loved her daughters dearly, but she would mourn Jacob forever. And this selfish girl was equating her pain as though they were the same. As though one night of spreading her legs gave her the right to mourn him. “I think you woke up and realized you had two options. Take care of that baby alone or worm your way into Jacob’s family and his money.” “I never cared about the money.” Celeste wasn’t going to listen to that tripe. “Of course you did. Not enough to keep your legs closed. You say you loved Jacob but how long did you wait before you hopped into bed with that Murphy boy? Did you even break it off with my brother-in-law? How many men do you need on your string?” “I’ve never slept with Logan, but I will admit that I’m in love with him. I love him in a way I never loved Jacob. Jacob was my best friend, but I know now that he wasn’t my soul mate. I pray with everything I am that this is his child, that we receive a miracle because I don’t want him to be lost forever, but I won’t hide what I feel for Logan and I won’t pretend it’s nasty. Not even to placate you, Celeste. I want to make things right between us and that means apologizing to you. Celeste, I’m so sorry I hurt you. I never meant to. I should have been braver. I should have been stronger, but I woke up and the world had crashed around me and I wanted the love you could give me. That all of you could give me. I’m sorry that it brought you so much pain.” Something about the way she was standing there enraged Celeste. How could she stand there looking so innocent? How could she say exactly the right things to garner empathy? Celeste didn’t want to empathize. She wanted to fight and tear up things and destroy the world around her because it seemed so damn intent on destroying her. She wanted to burn it all down. She didn’t feel her hand snap back, didn’t quite understand what she was doing. The world seemed tinged in red at the corners as though rage now filtered her vision. And it slowed everything down. In horror she realized she was going to strike Ginny Moreno. Her hand was going to bring justice her words never could. And then it slapped against flesh. A strong hand circled her wrist and Travis stared down at her like he had no idea who she was.



About the author


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Lexi Blake*About Lexi Blake:*   *New York Times* and *USA Today* bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband and three kids. She began writing at a young age concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance that she found success. Lexi believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome or foursome may seem.


Visit Lexi Blake’s website and follow her on:

Rising Storm Website
1001 Dark Nights
Rising Storm on Goodreads

Ink Slinger


The Undoing (Call of Crows #2) by Shelly Laurenston-dual review

THE UNDOING (Call of Crows #2) by Shelly Laurenston-dual review

The Undoing / / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date march 29, 2016

No one would ever accuse Jace Berisha of having an easy life—considering her husband…you know…killed her. But that was then! Now she fights for mighty Viking gods with the spectacular and vicious Crows.

But things are turning very bad, very quickly because a vengeful, ancient goddess has come into the world with just one thing on her mind—ending it. And the only way they can hope to stop her is if the Crows join forces with their one-time enemies, the Protectors. A Viking Clan created to do nothing but kill every Crow they see.

Thankfully, Protector Ski Eriksen is a peace loving kind of guy. Because the woman he is desperately trying to get close to is the beautiful and not-very-chatty Jace. Battling Nordic clans? Unkillable goddesses? Jace’s mean-spirited dog? None of these things would ever get in the way of a true Viking!


Sandy’s REVIEW:

THE UNDOING is the second installment in Shelly Laurenston’s adult, contemporary CALL OF CROWS paranormal / fantasy series based upon the gods and goddesses of Norse mythology. The continuing story focuses on the upcoming battle of Ragnarok ; and the building relationship between Jacinda ‘Jace’ Berisha-a Crow, a Beserker, and a specialist in ancient languages, and Viking Protector Danski ‘Ski’ Eriksen. THE UNDOING can be read as a stand alone but for backstory and cohesion, I recommend reading the series in order as each installment prepares for ‘The Doom of the Gods’.

For more information about the meaning of Ragnarok click on this link: Norse Mythology: Ragnarok

Told from several third person points of view THE UNDOING is a story line steeped in modern day Norse mythology; of gods and goddess; of a pending war to end all wars; and the return of the goddess Gullveig-who wreaks havoc on Earth in order to instigate ‘The Doom of the Gods’. But there is a potential for human involvement as Jace’s ex husband-a false prophet-has a strong support network with close ties to our leading heroine.

THE UNDOING follows the Crows (Jace and her fellow sisters), the Protectors (Ski and his warrior brothers of Viking scholars), the Ravens and a whole other assortment of earth bound warriors whose duty is to protect, to battle, and to defend their gods.

The relationship between Jace and Ski is slow to develop as Jace must decipher and translate ancient text to unearth the secrets and stories of Ragnarok, and the end of the world. While our heroine is under the protection of the Protectors, she finds herself falling in love with her very own personal guard. The $ex scenes are limited, provocative and seductive. Jace and Ski are quiet but strong; shy but passionate-the romance is secondary to the over arcing story line premise.

THE UNDOING has a very large ensemble cast of characters from Norse and Celtic Mythology including gods, goddesses, Scandinavian and Viking influences, folklore and legacies. The world building continues to focus on the coming of Ragnarok, and the end of life as it is or once was. Jace’s Crow-sisters are a force unto themselves, while Ski’s Viking Protectors wait quietly to be called into war.

Shelly Laurenston blends humor with crazy characters and dangerous situations. You can always count on Shelly to add a bit of sarcasm and witty word play to her story lines making a difficult situation easier to fathom but in comparison to her Pride, and Dragon Kin series I found the humorous situations lower in number and less in your face ‘slapstick’ funny. The kickass heroines are strong and capable yet avoid the bitchiness factor that is the doom of many story line premises.

THE UNDOING is a story ripped from Norse mythology and Celtic lore. The premise is intense yet humorous with playful and entertaining moments; the characters are animated, colorful and action-oriented; the romance is a slow build between two quiet and introverted warriors. Shelly Laurenston’s CALL OF CROWS series is as much a story about family, as it is about the mythological gods and goddesses.


Barb’s Review:

The Undoing by Shelly Laurenston is the 2nd book in her wild crazy fun exciting Call of Crows series. If you have not read anything by Laurenston, then you are missing an adventure that will have you filled with wild excitement, sexy romance, and laughing all the way. There is no one like Shelly Laurenston. Thank you, Sandy. 🙂

The Call of the Crows is a totally different type of series, which takes place in a modern day Nordic world with Gods, Vikings, Crows, Ravens, Protectors, and even a flying pit bull. Every single one of the characters, many of whom we have come to love, are wild, vicious, and mostly crazy; but darn so much fun.

The Undoing belongs to Jace Barisha, who is a member of the female clan, Crows. Jace was murdered by her husband, and brought back to a second life after she promised her loyalty to a God. Jace is shy, and quiet, but she has the rage of a beserker, which helps when the crows have to fight the other clans or Vikings to save the world. In the last book, Kera became a Crow, and she is the one who is closest to Jace.

Ski Eriksen is our hero, a key member of the Protectors. Jace’s knowledge of all languages will put her in closer contact with the Protectors, helping them translate their many books. In a slow built romance, Jace will learn to control her rages, befriend all the Protectors, and fall in love with Ski. Ski falls hard for Jace, and is instrumental and helping her control her powers.   I loved most of  the Protectors, how they began to care about Jace. Everyone usually fears Jace when she flips into her berserker rages. Keep in mind, all the clans usually hate each other. Most of all I loved the crazy antics of the Crows, as well as the other clans. All the clans are vicious and wild, but we spend time with all the members of the crows, especially Jace, Kera and Erin , not to mention the Protectors and Ravens.

There are two parts of this story, which involves Jace’s ex who was released from jail, after murdering her. The other is about trying to stop a powerful goddess from causing the end of the world. I couldn’t even explain to you about the wild fierce fighting & battles among each other. It is non stop action; fierce and violent; loyal sisters who do anything to protect their own; but most of all it’s like following a wild bunch screaming along the way. I had so much fun reading this, as you couldn’t help laugh at the antics.

The climax was pulse pounding, as all our favorites work together to fight the goddess; but it will take Jace to rise up out of an  impossible situation to help save her sisters. Wow.   Shelley Laurenston, I do not know how you do this. You make us enjoy the crazy, wild, fierce and violent situations; you make us laugh hysterically at the antics of them all; and most of all, you make us love them too.

Reading Order and previous review
1. The Unleashing
2. The Undoing

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Barb’s Review


Edge of Surrender by Laura Griffin – a Review

Edge of Surrender by Laura Griffin – a Review


Edge of SurrenderAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM

The scorching-hot romance between Emma and Ryan that began in At the Edge: Alpha Crew Part One concludes in Part Two of this sexy, suspenseful adventure!

Ryan had one job: keep Emma safe at all costs. But after a night of passion, Emma takes off and Ryan soon realizes he’s not the only one looking for her. Can he figure out who’s after the beautiful government aide, and why, before she falls into the wrong hands…if she hasn’t already?

Emma’s fighting to get justice for her fallen comrades, but she can’t do it alone. She needs Ryan’s help, but that means trusting him–and dealing with the out-of-control desire blazing between them. Can there be any future for a marked woman and a man trained to kill? She hopes they live long enough to find out…

Don’t get spoiled! Be sure to read At the Edge: Alpha Crew Part One before devouring this sizzling romance!




Edge of Surrender by Laura Griffin is Part Two of her new Alpha Crew series. The start of this series revolves around Emma and Ryan, and consisted of two novellas a few weeks apart. You can read my review of Part 1, which starts this off. In Edge of Surrender, Ryan becomes frantic as he realizes that Emma is missing and in all probability kidnapped. Working with his Alpha Crew teammate, Jake, they will find Emma and get her safely into hiding. Ryan and Emma know there is a conspiracy that led to the plane crash, and has escalated into threats against her life. After a few close calls, they realize that someone on the inside is helping the person behind the murder and attempts to kill Emma.

Ryan and Emma go into hiding, as they continue to investigate and prove their suspicions, as well as resume their romance that becomes scorching hot. Jake begins to work with FBI agent, Alexa, whom he feels is trustworthy. Emma is determined not to let the threats stop her, and despite Ryan wanting her to stay into hiding, she will take risks to catch the enemies. The race to the finish was very exciting, with lots of action and suspense. The ending resolved many of the questions, but there were some minor things left open.   Will the next book in this series be about Jake and Alexa? Will Ryan and Emma continue to be a big part of the series, as we find out more about her and her father?

This was a very good story, though I would have preferred this to be one book. Laura Griffin is a very good writer, and she creates wonderful characters. I look forward to more novels in this series.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


Under the Desert Sky by Sara Luck – a Review

Under the Desert Sky by Sara Luck – a Review


Under the Desert SkyAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

Phoebe Sloan isn’t afraid of hard work—she couldn’t have survived on the Arizona frontier if she were. But ever since her husband was killed in a ranch accident, she’s struggled to make ends meet and preserve her young son’s birthright. Her last gamble was to start raising ostriches—the plumes are prized by fashionable city ladies—and it could work, but someone’s determined to sabotage her efforts.

Enter Christian de Wet, a South African importer who finds himself drawn to the fragile but determined Phoebe. He begins helping her around the ranch as a kindness, but the two quickly find that the heat rising between them has nothing to do with the Arizona desert! When the saboteur finds a way to endanger not just the ranch, but Phoebe’s family, will she have to forsake her happiness to save her son?


Under the Desert Sky begins with Phoebe being sent away by her father, for her own good.  Even though Phoebe doesn’t want to leave, she understands and takes a huge leap of faith.  As the blurb says, life in Arizona has been hard on Phoebe, but she is bound and determined to make it on her own terms and build a good life for her and her young son. 

Christian has basically been sent away from his home the same as Phoebe.  He needs to leave South Africa and it just so happens that the woman who raised him as her own needs some ostriches delivered to Arizona, so she enlists Christian to get the animals to the Arizona territories.  Christian and July, a hired hand who has been with the family for years, set out for Arizona.  It was a very long trip,  and are very thankful when they finally reach their destination.

Once Christian and Phoebe meet, they feel an almost immediate attraction.  Unfortunately, there are those who do not want Phoebe to succeed and those who want Christian gone.  However, Christian and Phoebe prove to be a formidable team and are bound and determined to make things work. 

Under the Desert Sky is a nicely written story, and it’s the first I’ve read by Sara Luck.  Her characters are well written and you will fall in love with Phoebe.  She is fierce, protective and loving.  Christian is perfect match for her.  He’s loyal as well as protective of everyone he considers his.  I loved the secondary characters as well and wished that we’d found out a little more about them. 

This one is a bit different that what I normally read, and I have to say when I saw “ostrich farm”, I was like????  LOL!!  Anyway, if you’re looking for a quick read with a sweet romance and lovely developed relationship, this one is for you.  For some reason, I keep comparing this to Out of Africa.  That, at least for me, is the kind of vibe I got while reading this story.  Well done, Sarah Luck.

Reviewed by Vickie

Copy provided by Publisher