Days of Desire (Pirate’s Prize #2) by Tina Donahue-Review & Guest Post

Days of Desire (Pirate’s Prize #2) by Tina Donahue-Review and Guest Post

Days of Desire / / B&N / KOBO / BAM /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 4, 2017

In a pirate’s lair, nothing is as it seems . . .

Shipwrecked! When Royce Hastings is found washed up on the shore of a verdant tropical island, he tells the natives he is a merchant headed for Mozambique. The truth, however, is far more mercenary. Noble by birth, the once favored Royce has lost his fortune and family; now he is a hired henchman on the trail of an elusive pirate. His “shipwreck” was a fake. He’ll stop at nothing to infiltrate the island and capture his prey. His mother and sisters’ lives depend on it.

The last thing Royce expects is to be captured himself. But the lovely young woman who tends to his wounds in the tropics quickly takes hold of his heart. Simone is the island’s healer, and her skilled ministrations not only awaken his soul but disturb his conscience. His path has been predetermined; his identity must remain concealed at all costs. Yet the passion he feels in Simone’s sultry, loving arms cannot be denied. With his loyalties torn, Royce must make an agonizing, unthinkable choice.


REVIEW: 4 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Days of Desire by Tina Donahue is a loving, action packed, with a little suspense kind of historical romance which takes you out of proper dukes and ladies and gives you good ole fashion pirates. Love me some pirates! LOL The second book of her “Pirates Prize” series, it takes place on a stunning tropical island where you will meet some absolutely incredible islanders with our main characters. I didn’t read the first book so I cannot comment on whether this could be a stand alone, but I will be picking it up in the near future.

Royce Hastings is our lead guy, and he is some stuck between a rock and a hard place. He is a noble by birth, but daddy dearest has lost the family fortune and Royce is paying the price. His mother and sister are being held hostage by a real SOB and Royce is being tasked via blackmail to capture a notorious pirate living on an island with his wife. If he cannot deliver, he can kiss his own family goodbye. Royce then arranges his own “shipwreck” on this island so he can infiltrate, assume a different identity and get the job done. Except .. nothing is ever as easy as all that!

Simone is the island’s healer and the woman who helps bring Royce back to health. Simone is kind hearted and she really appeals to Royce. Before he knows it, Royce is head over heels in love and now standing at a crossroads. Not only has he fallen in love with Simone, but he has befriended Tristan (AKA notorious pirate) and Diane (his wife) and finds a comfortable place amongst the islanders. How could he possibly betray these people and deliver the worst kind of ugly to them. But he has to, his family will be much worse off is he doesn’t.

This book is a quick read, but full of story. There was a good flow to it, the characters well developed in the short amount of pages offered. I would of loved to be stranded on this island that Tina writes so lovingly about. She really made it endearing. My only complaint would be the length. I WANTED MORE! LOL I am all about the slow burning build and that is near impossible when a story is on the shorter side .. but again, there is much awesome on the pages that were written!

Definitely a summer beach read. If you are looking for a quick historical romance fix then you will find it here!


Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T.

Guest Post beige

It’s All In the Details…

Romance is about challenges: those faced by the heroine and hero in their bumpy journey through lust to friendship and finally love; creating likeable characters, along with daunting yet realistic villains; choosing a setting and time period that will appeal to most readers; and in the case of historical romance, making certain that details from way-back-when aren’t only accurate but interesting.

As an avid reader of historical romance, I know what I don’t like and that’s a history lesson. Pages and pages of details that bring the plot and love story to a screeching halt. I can only speak for myself, but I skim those parts until I get back to the meat of the story. And that presents another challenge – exactly how much detail should an author provide?

I’ve found that making the setting and time period an integral part of the story, another character, if you will, allows those long-ago times to come alive.

For instance, in Days of Desire, book two in my Pirate’s Prize series, the action takes place on a secluded island in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar. After researching the area, I knew such a lovely and wild place would be ideal for my romance. Who doesn’t want to fall in love with a brave, hot hero beneath a velvety black sky studded with stars and a tropical breeze ruffling his shoulder-length hair? With that settled, I had to determine how folks lived in such a primitive setting during the early seventeen hundreds and how they kept healthy.

To ensure the medicinal part was interesting, I made my heroine Simone a healer. She’s an island woman skilled with plants, potions, and poultices. One of the interesting things I learned is that periwinkle stops bleeding. When Royce, my hero, washes up on shore, shipwrecked and injured, Simone tends to his injuries. While weaving in historical detail about healing, I created a bond between Simone and Royce…the beginning of their romance.

Since Royce is on the island for less-than-honorable purposes, that created conflict for him in terms of whether he should desire Simone. More importantly, whether he can go through with betraying her and the others on the isle. To up the ante, I gave him little choice. However, at that point, I had to have him remain in contact with the merchant who sent him on this mission. As Mozambique (where the merchant resides) and the island are separated by the Mozambique Channel and several hundred miles, I faced a dilemma. In a contemporary romance, I’d simply have Royce use his smartphone. Obviously, that wouldn’t work here, but carrier pigeons would.

While researching them, I discovered that carrier pigeons were used in Baghdad as early as 1150 and that they can fly between 600 to 700 miles per day and journeys of 1000 miles are routine. Wow. That worked perfectly for my plot. I also learned that carrier pigeons can do round-trip flights, which dovetailed with what I had in mind.

As I wrote Days of Desire, I appreciated the hardships people faced in 1717 and how they overcame obstacles with intelligence and sheer will. Life wasn’t easy then, but it wasn’t as primitive as I had believed. Research taught me that Islamic medicine was well-advanced long before modern times and that pigeons can be as effective for communicating as sending a text (albeit slower).

Penning a romance is never easy. Historical details make it more challenging, but well worth it in the end.


About The Author beige

Tina DonahueFollow: Goodreads / Blog / Twitter / The Reading Cafe /

I’m an award-winning, Amazon and international bestselling novelist in erotic, historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised my work. Three of my erotic romances (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover) are Readers’ Choice Award winners. Three more (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were finalists in the EPIC competition. Readers’ Choice Award (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover). The French review site, Blue Moon reviews, chose Sensual Stranger as their Book of the Year (erotic category). The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for Lush Velvet Nights, and two of my titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). I’m featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before writing full-time, I was the editor of an award–winning Midwestern newspaper and worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.


Killing June (Saved by Sin #1) by May B. Bridges-Review and Guest Post

Killing June (Saved by Sin #1) by May B. Bridges-Review and Guest Post

Killing June / / B&N / KOBO / BAM / Google Play / ibooks

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 4, 2017

At night I’m June, dominating with the whip, even as I crave the hot, searing blow of the cane, myself. I loathe this side of who I am, but I can’t deny it or escape it. And as my clients cry out for me, begging for mercy, I can’t help but want June dead.

By day, I’m Alex Ryan, the good, successful Southern woman everyone thinks I am. I’ve compartmentalized my life to make it bearable, and to get what I want most: revenge. I can have a future with June dead, as soon as I confront the man that terrorized my past.

Cade Brannon is the local gun for hire, part of the seedy underworld of Dallas, but he may also be my savior. I want his help and he wants me. But Cade refuses to play by my rules and is forcing his way into every one of those compartments that I want to lock away. Now the parts of my life I’ve fought so hard to keep separate are bleeding together and it’s tearing me apart.

I just want to go back to being Alex Ryan. But at what cost am I willing to kill June?



5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Dark, deep, roller coaster emotion riding, naughty, angst filling … just a few words to describe this book. I LOVED IT! 🙂 This is the kind of book that sits with you long after you finish the last sentence. Gave me shivers. I will say, if you are not a fan of the dark romance, BDSM genre then skip this read. It could also be triggers for some who have personal issues with this kind of story. If you are okay with it all, then by all means jump in, full on, you will be taken for one amazing ride!

Killing June by May B. Bridges is the first book of her “Saved By Sin” series. How appropriate is “Saved By Sin”! Brilliant really. As I mentioned above, it’s a dark romance with BDSM elements, hot and very steamy, descriptive with a good dash of suspense. Not for a light afternoon over tea kind of read, but for a glass of red wine and a dark chocolate eclair. DECADENT!

Alexandria “Alex” is also known as “June” by a few chosen people. By day, she is Alex. A well put together lady who seems to have it all together. By night she is June, a highly complex, dark, tortured soul who indulges in BDSM lifestyle that she is NOT happy with. Events in her life have placed her on this unwanted path that she detests so much, but secretly craves. These events have been responsible for her being deceived and manipulated and now she wants answers and revenge.

Cade is the perfect man for Alex AND June. He is what June craves but what Alex needs. He is a healthy balance. He is dominant, self assured, caring, protective and loving but can bark and bite when the circumstance arises. Once he discovers Alex/Junes secrets, he is all in to heal and win this woman who fulfills all he needs in his own life. Alex/June want to fight him off however, but Cade is having none of it.

These two are very much a give and take couple, and May got the balance absolutely spot on. I loved the twists and turns, the suspense of the story and I found my heart racing a time or two when I really had no clue where we were going. BDSM can be a very tough genre to write as in truth, BDSM is not just physical. There is such an overwhelming emotional side to a BDSM relationship and convincing the reader that a couple will make it can be a hard task to accomplish. May you accomplished this perfectly. I am an emotional reader, and you pulled my heart strings as I flipped through the pages. I feel like a blabbering fool going on about it and not getting my words right here, but that is proof that you did your job as an awesome author in this genre. THANK YOU!

I never give storyline away on my reviews, you will have to take the ride alone. Just know you are in for an intense story, some incredible steamy scenes, a couple you can’t help but love, and a suspense where by the end you’ll be thinking “Oh freaking YES!”

So looking forward to more from this author! LOVED!


Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T.

Guest Post

Some Like it Hot! Navigating Romance.

I remember the first time I read a sex scene in a book. Wow, I was seriously unprepared. Being used to YA fantasy and a softer kind of romance, I wasn’t expecting it, at all. I was sure the scene would fade to black any moment. There I was, sitting at my daughter’s gymnastics practice, hordes of other parents around, and all of a sudden, I’m reading about penetration and hard coc… ‘Oh Jesus, did she just stay that?’ I snapped the book shut, face turning red, certain every other parent in the room somehow knew I was reading a dirty book in the presence of their precious children. The book was quickly shoved in my bag, not to make a reappearance at gymnastics. It was a surprise, to say the least. And though I enjoyed my first erotic romance read thoroughly, I’d have appreciated knowing what I was in for when I chose that as my casual daytime reader.

Romance, erotic romance, erotica, it can get confusing. So how is one to know what they’re in for when they pick up a romance book? And is the book you’re picking up a romance at all? Let’s see if we can’t sort it out.

Romance is a broad genre. That’s probably why it has so many sub-genres. If you’re searching Amazon for a romance book, you’ll have over 25 categories to browse. If Barnes and Noble is more your style, you can search over 40 romance categories. That’s a whole lot of books! And seeing that some of those categories are as opposite as night and day, romance runs the gamut of topics, themes, and plot lines.

So if there are so many sub-genres, so many ways to write these books, what makes them all romance? To be a romance, a book needs two things: A central love story, and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending—Also known as a happily ever after or happy for now. No, I didn’t come up with those from my own writerly genius. I stole them from Romance Writers of America. Pretty basic, right? Once you have a story with a conflict and climax that focuses on developing a romantic relationship, and a happy ending, pretty much anything goes. It’s all of the other elements and subplots that define your sub-genre.

The jump from romance to erotic romance is an easy one. It’s romance because we have our two central elements in place. It’s erotic because we’ve taken the sex from PG 13 to NC-17. The sex almost never fades to black, and authors tend to be less coy in their descriptions of the body.

Erotic romance is almost as wide of a descriptions as romance itself. These novels can be anything from cowboy romance, historical, supernatural, contemporary, to suspense. Erotic romance spans the full range of romance sub-genres, with spiritual romance possibly being the only exception. Many book sellers don’t even list erotic romance as a romance sub-genre at all. That very well could be because there are erotic novels in every sub-genre romance.

If you like your romance with a lot of heat, I’m sure you can find one that lights your fire. If you’re an easy blusher, you might want to think that through before bring these books with you to the kid’s practices. Public or private, erotic romance are some of my favorite reads

You might think erotica is simply the next progression. Isn’t it just erotic romance on another level? Or even simply another word for erotic romance? Actually, no. The two have some big differences and aren’t technically interchangeable. In fact, an erotica story may not even be a romance at all. It doesn’t have to deal with love or relationships, and might not have a happy ending. To put it plainly, these are stories about sex. They focus on the act of sex, and not always as a byproduct of a romantic relationship.

When I was younger porn came in movies, not clips. I know, that makes me ancient. The point is, these movies always had a plot line. A group of girls would be home, bored, and hungry. They’d start talking about all of the sex acts they hadn’t tried while waiting for the pizza they ordered. The pizza guy would show up, one thing would lead to another, and suddenly you have an orgy. The plot line was never important. It was the catalyst to get these people in a room together so sex could be the focus. Without sex you really had no story. Erotica can be similar in many ways. If you pull out the sex acts, you usually don’t have enough content left for a book.

In theory, you could write an erotica about almost anything. As I’m writing this, I’m watching my boyfriend play the new Friday the 13th video game. It’s gruesome and not my thing at all, but we could turn it into an erotic novel. If Jason had graphic, hot sex with the camp counselors before killing them, and we focused the story more on his sex drive and a bit less on the hacking and slashing, we’d have an erotic horror novel. Not one I’d be reading, but a novel that fit the bill, nonetheless.

Erotica novels can be fun and exciting reads. Many of my favorite erotica writers find a way to inject a bit of humor. And what is better than a book with hot sex and a good laugh? But know that when you are searching for an erotica title, all bets are off and you could end up with anything from something resembling a romance, to bored girls and a pizza guy, to Jason in a hockey mask getting busy before hacking off some heads. Anything is possible as long as sex is the star.

It’s possible that the misconception that erotica and erotica romance are one in the same comes from book sellers. As we mentioned above, a lot of them don’t list erotic romance as a genre. That leaves authors and publishers with a few options to let readers know that their book is erotic in nature. An obvious one is to list it under erotica. So before you jump up and down, yelling that you’ve found some of your favorite erotic romances listed as erotica, yep, I know.

Truth is, if it’s a book you love, a book that sweeps you away from reality for a few hours, then it doesn’t matter how a seller labels it. Trying to sort through it all is only to help you find the book of your dreams a little bit faster. For all of their differences and similarities, the greatest thing romance, erotic romance, and erotica have in common is how diverse they are. With books from one end of the spectrum to the other, whether you want something sweet and light, a love story that’s dark and steamy, or a book about a good roll in the sheets, one of these three genres are sure to have what you need.

Happy reading!

May B. Bridges


About the author

May Bridges

I write dark, gritty contemporary romance.  I am a Southerner in the Northwest by way of Colorado. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for updates, bookish and writing thoughts, and general life shenanigans.


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

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

Shattered King / /KOBO / B&N /Chapters Indigo / BAM/

About the book: Release Date June 27, 2017

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy


Excerpt provider by St. Martin’s Press

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



Interview seafoam:black

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

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

Sherilee GrayFollow: Website / Goodreads / Twitter /

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

TRC:Who or what influenced your career in writing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sherilee: I think a great cover definitely helps!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Sherilee: A proposal for a new series 🙂


Favorite Food

Favorite Dessert
Apple crumble

Favorite TV Show
Too hard to pick!

Last Movie You Saw
Can’t remember!

Dark or Milk Chocolate

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

Last Vacation Destination
The beach

Do you have any pets?
Two cats

Last book you read

Blood Vow by JR Ward

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

Sherilee:  Thank you!


An Interview with Model/Musician Justin Edwards

An INTERVIEW with Model / Musician Justin Edwards

TRC: Hi Justin, and welcome to The Reading Café.

Justin Scott Edwards 3Justin: Hi. Thank you!

TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you pleasetell us something about yourself?

Follow Justin: Instagram / Facebook / Twitter

Justin: Most of my life I have been a competitive athlete. I grew up as as gymnast and martial artist, also playing football, basketball, and playing baseball for a top collegiate program through college.

TRC: What were your dreams and aspirations growing up?

Justin: I wanted to be a professional baseball player, or an entertainer, from the time I can remember.

TRC: When not modeling what is your ‘day job’?

Justin: I’m a musician/entertainer, and a personal trainer.

TRC: What first sparked your interest in modeling? Is there a defining moment where you knew that modeling was something you were interested in pursuing?

Justin Scott Edwards cover 1Justin: There’s probably not really that one moment that sparked an interest. I really just fell into fashion and commercial modeling through singing and playing music.

TRC: Have you ever had a photo shoot that went completely wrong?

Justin: There’s always plenty of bloopers and mishaps, especially with me because I’m a big goofball, but none that I recall going completely wrong.

TRC: Nudity in modeling or acting can be controversial. Some pictures can cross the line between sexuality to pornography. What would you tell young models/actors /body builders just entering the business about nude modeling and photography?

Justin: My best advice would be to do only what you are personally comfortable with doing. There will always be critics, and those with different views. That’s life…but life is too short to worry about what everyone else thinks. Be happy.

TRC: The modeling industry exposes you to many people and sometimes it can be very stressful. At times do you feel alone, surrounded by so many people? What do you do when the stress becomes overwhelming?

Justin Scott Edwards 5Justin: I have gotten to meet so many great people through modeling, and have gained a lot of new friends. It does get hard to keep up at times, but I have a great circle of close friends who are very supportive.

TRC: At times, there has been a ‘stigma’ surrounding the male model and the romance-cover industry but the popularity of the romance story line has skyrocketed in the last few years especially with the erotic and sensual cover images. What is your opinion about the recent popularity and the very busy industry of the ‘romance cover model’?

Justin: I think it’s great! I have been able to see so many places, and meet so many people over the last couple years. Some will be lifelong friends with whom I will share lifelong memories. To some degree, it has become more like a brotherhood…a family.

TRC: What do you do to prepare yourself for a shoot?

Justin: I usually just cut out all junk food for a few I stay in pretty good shape being a personal trainer and athletic coach, so don’t have to do much to get my abs back. 😉

TRC: Do you know the number of novel covers that your image has appeared?

Justin: Hmm…I really don’t know. I’d say probably less than 100 novel covers.

TRC: Do you remember the first cover (book or magazine) on which you appeared?

JJustin Scott Edwards Cover 2ustin: My first book cover (Romance Novel) was ‘Wicked’ by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I don’t recall the first publication, or magazine. I’ve been in many more fashion and commercial publications than I have Romance novel covers.

TRC: Would you please tell us what you do to relax?

Justin: Usually goof off and joke around. Also, drink flavored water. *Some will understand that one.J

TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?


#1- Record (writing or recording artist).
#2- Own 3 of my own gyms (currently working on my first).
#3- Complete my novel.

TRC: What is something that few, if anybody, knows about you?

Justin: I’m a Sci-Fi Nerd!

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception about modeling ?

Justin: Probably that most models aren’t intelligent. A lot of us are well educated, and some of us speak up to 5 languages. Some of the most intelligent, and uniquely diverse people I have met have been in the modeling and entertainment industry.

TRC: What type of music do you listen to? Perform? and what is on your playlist today?

Justin: I mostly listen to oldies, classic country, classic rock, and rockabilly. I perform all of those genres, as well as some good dance/pop tunes for certain venues.

Justin Edwrds 6TRC: On what on your currently working?

Justin: I’m currently working toward moving into entertainment full time, and growing my health & fitness business.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Justin: I’d just like to thank everyone who works hard to bring each cover to life! Aside from the novel itself, there’s a lot that goes into bringing these books to life. Also, a huge thank you to all of the readers and fans! Without y’all, this industry wouldn’t exist!!


Favorite Food: Chocolate Gravy and Biscuits

Favorite Dessert: Banana Pudding

Favorite Movie: Major League or Lonesome Dove

Favorite TV Show: Supernatural

Last Movie that you saw: Wonder Woman

Secret Celebrity Crush: Kate Beckinsale

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Dark

Last Book that you Read: Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy

Pet Peeve: Unjustly being rude or unkind.

Justin Edwards covers

TRC:  Thank you Justin for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on all of your success and the amazing cover images. We
wish you all the best and many more covers !!

Justin: You’re very welcome! Thank you very much, and thank you for the opportunity to interview with The Reading Café!!


Surrender The Dark (The Dark #1) by Tibby Armstrong-Review & Interview

SURRENDER THE DARK (The Dark #1) by Tibby Armstrong-Review and Interview

Surrender the Dark / / B&N / KOBO / BAM /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 23, 2017

As a provocative series of paranormal temptation begins, a vampire king seduces the supernaturally gifted man hunting him. But when the stakes are literally life or death, their struggle for control is no game.

Benjamin Fuller is a hunter, born and bred. Blinded as a child by the vampire who slaughtered his family, he’s blessed with a second sight that allows him to catch and kill his quarry. What his gift can’t help him see coming is his fierce, almost carnal attraction to the mystery man who claims to be a fellow hunter and whose touch triggers both lust and revulsion. When he gains the upper hand, Benjamin vows to bring his enemy to his knees.

After many years spent in exile, the only one who can help restore Tzadkiel Dragoumanos to his rightful place as War King is a blind hunter with golden curls, a lithe dancer’s physique, and distinctive facial scars—scars Tzadkiel gave him two decades ago. The mere scent of Benjamin Fuller provokes an unwelcome rush of insatiable desire. Yet to win an all-out supernatural war, Tzadkiel must resist the ravenous hunger to possess his prey—for now.


REVIEW: I had not read anything by this author before reading this book.

I read the back cover and was hooked…. How could the author manage to make Ben the vampire hunter and Tzadkiel the vampire that killed his family and blinded him go from enemies to lovers?

Ben’s a hunter, from a long line of hunters, when Ben was eight, his parents and uncle were slaughtered by a vampire and he was blinded. Ben had to learn quick and he did….. For the last 20 years, Ben has hunted and killed as many vampires as he could find in his home town of Boston. He hunts with his two best friends, Nyx, who is part witch and part fae, and Akito, who has always wanted to be a superhero.

The vampire in question has been walking the earth for thousands of years, but the last 20 years Tzadkiel has been in hiding, trying to heal from his injuries that were inflicted by Ben’s family. He has a plan, though, to get his strength back and also strengthen his mora (his vampire family) once again, he will need to take out the hunter in Boston.

Tzadkiel sets out to teach Ben a lesson before he ends his life, so he pretends to be a hunter like Ben, and to reeducate Ben in the art of vampire killing. He makes Ben’s previous teachings from his family a sham, he puts doubt into Ben’s mind. He makes him question his own background.

Ben and Tzadkiel and are very attracted to one another and neither of them can seem to stop it. But there is so much between them, that it takes a while before any real feelings emerge. There is a lot of hatred and mistrust.

But there is a power struggle going on in Boston that puts everyone in danger, there are zombies and strange goings on, so Ben and Tzadkiel decide that it’s better the devil you know basis and form an uneasy alliance between them.

So will they have a happy ending? It was hard to believe they would, there was so much hatred and bad blood between them, I couldn’t see how. So I won’t tell you 😉you’ll have to buy the book and find out yourself.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Julie B


TRC: Hi, Tibby and welcome to The Reading Café.

Tibby: Thank you for having me. I’m thrilled to be here!

TRC: Congratulations on the release of SURRENDER THE DARK

Tibby ArmstrongTibby: It’s such a thrill to have the book out in the world and to be able to share it with you and your readers!

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

Follow: Website / Goodreads / Twitter /Facebook /

Tibby: I come from a family that had a book addiction. There are more bookshelves in my family than family members, and more books in three of our homes than in all of my home town public library. I think I started writing out of self defense. At least at first, writing my own stories was easier on my budget.

Thinking I would love to work as well as live around books 24/7, I obtained a Master’s of Library science in 2011. Alas, the economy and my student loans didn’t support my actually working in a library. So, now I work in the technology sector by day and allow my author alter ego to come out on nights and weekends.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Tibby: I grew up in a house with 10 people, my great grandparents included. My great grandmother used to tell me stories as I fell asleep at night. She came up with tales about elves who lived in our backyard, as well as relating the fun of being the middle of a family of 12 children. It’s safe to say that my imagination is influenced in large part by my relationship with her.

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

Tibby: I’ve been extraordinarily lucky with publishing my work. My third completed novel was picked up a few months after I completed the pages. I’ve had some wonderful mentors, friends, and professionals such as my agent and my editors to rely on. If I had to say anything has been difficult, it’s that I work pretty much seven days a week and don’t take vacations because I need to use that time to meet my deadlines. I love writing though, so it’s really no sacrifice.

Surrender the DarkTRC: Would you please tell us something about SURRENDER THE DARK?

Tibby: The plot of Surrender the Dark came to me almost three years ago when I had first moved back to the Boston area for work. I was walking down a snowy street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, wondering how a person with visual impairments would navigate the icy brick sidewalks, when I looked up and saw a Victorian building decorated with gargoyles and urns. I thought, “Hm. That would be a great place for a vampire to crouch in wait for its quarry.” On the heels of that came the thought, “Blind vampire hunter.” Boom! A story was born!

TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series? Is the series entirely M/M based?

Tibby: There are three books planned for the series. They are all m/m, of a sort. The third book explores some gender issues, but I think readers will be intrigued. I know I am!

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

Tibby: I think most folks enjoy a certain amount of predictability in Romance, but the key is to satisfy those expectations while keeping the world and conflicts fresh. Tropes can be used as long as they’re used for a reason. The key is to make those choices consciously and to let the characters and conflict drive the story. Also, I rarely read inside my own genre anymore. I read outside the genre and find that weaving storytelling methods from those other genres into my own process helps me not to reach for the “easy fix”. Some authors can read in their genre, but I’m not someone who can do that without getting bogged down.

TRC: You write several different genres. Which do you prefer? Which do you find the most difficult?

Tibby: True! I write contemporary, paranormal, m/m and m/f. I find PNR the most challenging, but the most enjoyable. The complexity of world building, characterization, and plot keep me engaged more fully. I have had a marvelous time writing contemporary stories, but PNR has long been my first love.

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

Tibby: I do believe the cover image is very important. It’s a shorthand that tells readers several things at a glance:

1. The genre
2. The tone (light, dark, fun, angsty)
3. The quality of production put into the book by the publisher (Did the publisher believe in the book enough to spend time on the cover?)
4. Author brand

If the cover is compelling it will make the reader stop and notice the book, picking it out of a sea of other available and often wonderful options.

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

Tibby: Oh, it’s very much the characters directing the show. If I don’t give them control, they simply shut up and I have nothing to write or what I write comes out wooden. I learned a long time ago that they run the show!

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

Tibby: My goodness. I don’t know that I’m qualified to say why writers might fail in showing emotions, but I think the key here is “show.” If you tell readers “It was a dark and stormy night,” you’re setting a scene, but it’s a cardboard cutout that evokes little. Writing, instead, “Tree branches scraped the leaded pane windows, their shadows like bony fingers on the ceiling. Thunder cracked, the simultaneous lightning flash illuminating the room. Sophia stifled a scream. Jared stood at the end of her bed i. He smelled of rain and freshly turned earth.”

We’ve set the scene and created anticipation so that when Jared does appear, we’re experiencing the authenticity of Sophia’s emotions. To merely say “it was a dark and stormy night” makes the reader feel as if they are watching a costume drama minus the costumes and period setting.

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

Tibby: I do! However, I don’t usually find my playlist for the novel until I’ve written several chapters and understand a little more about the characters. Then, I go on Pandora and listen to my Alternative station until I find the songs that speak to mood and psychology. Sometimes those songs influence the emotions later in the story, but mostly they support the ones I’ve already discovered.

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

Tibby: I have several critique partners. I also bounce ideas off of my editor and agent.

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

Tibby: Probably that we are born knowing how to write. Learning to tell a good story takes many years of practice.

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

Tibby: There’s not much I won’t tell people, given a chance. So, not much! Though my close friends know this, possibly not many of my readers do, however. The character of Greg in No Apologies lives the career that I wanted for myself. He also has some life experiences that were also my own.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Tibby: Currently, I’m working on the second draft of the follow-up novel to Surrender the Dark. It is titled Taste the Dark, and tells the story of Akito, who falls in love with Lyandros, brother to the vampire king.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Tibby: Thank you for having me! I hope you and your readers enjoy Surrender the Dark!


Favorite Food


Favorite Dessert


Favorite TV Show

Currently, The Crown and Victoria. I’m researching a historical PNR!

Last Movie You Saw

Oh dear. I can’t recall. It has been a while.

Dark or Milk Chocolate

It depends on the chocolate. If it’s really expensive dark chocolate, it can triumph over milk chocolate. My guilty pleasure, however, are Cadbury Mini Eggs.

Secret Celebrity Crush

Daniel Craig

Last Vacation Destination


Do you have any pets?

I have two cats, Dean and Diana.

Last book you read

Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold. If you haven’t read Cordelia’s Honor, pick it up!

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

Tibby: Thank you for having me. I’ve enjoyed myself immensely!


Interview with model Jacob Rodney Hogue

Interview with model Jacob Rodney Hogue

TRC: Hi Jacob, and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the cover of Laura Kaye’s RIDE WILD. We are BIG fans of Laura at The Reading Café. We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Jacob Hogue 4Follow Jacob on : Instagram

Jacob: I grew up living in multiple states temporarily, but spent most my time in Great Falls, MT until I was 15. I moved to Yuba City, Ca at that age. At age 19 I joined the Army reserve and after 8 years and one deployment to Afghanistan I chose not to reenlist and moved to Long Beach, CA to model and act.

TRC: What were your dreams and aspirations growing up?

Jacob: Dreams and aspirations as a child were very limited. I grew up in a loving yet sheltered Christian home. I loved singing and sports but never really approached either as a career possibility.

TRC: When not modeling what is your ‘day job’?

Jacob: I work security at Sgt Peppers Dueling pianos on the weekend and am also an avid writer in my free time. I write songs, poetry and am creating my own tv show.

Jacob Hogue 7TRC: Would you please tell us about your beloved four-legged friends?

Jacob: My pets are my children. I have two pitbulls. My male is 1/2 bullmastiff. I also have a savannah cat, who is the coolest guy ever (hence the name “Xander Cage” and my girlfriend has a dainty little Siamese girl.

TRC: What first sparked your interest in modeling? Is there a defining moment where you knew that modeling was something you were interested in pursuing?

Jacob: Modeling was something I never really considered, but my good friend, John DeWall, had dove into modeling and acting and put me in touch with Wander once I was out of the Army and now here I am.

Jacob Rodney Hogue cover 2TRC: Have you ever had a photo shoot that went completely wrong?

Jacob: I have never had a shoot go completely wrong, but if it ever does happen I’m sure I will make the best of it because that’s all one can do. I love to be challenged.

TRC: Nudity in modeling or acting can be controversial. Some pictures can cross the line between sexuality to pornography. What would you tell young models/actors /body builders just entering the business about nude modeling and photography?

Jacob: When it comes to nude modeling. My advice is always do your homework on those involved and then do what you want to do. I’ll repeat that. Do what YOU want to do. If you’re truly self aware and know who you are then focus on that. There will always be people who disagree with you or have different perspectives and that is okay. There’s always a chance that walking through a door can open others as well as close others. If you’re happy with what you’re doing than that’s what is important.

TRC: The modeling industry exposes you to many people and sometimes it can be very stressful. At times do you feel alone, surrounded by so many people? What do you do when the stress becomes overwhelming?

Jacob Hogue 1Jacob: I never feel alone. I consider myself an outgoing introvert. I thank my girlfriend and my younger Brother for that. We see most things the same way and they always have my back because of our similar perspectives on everything. She loves photography and modeling and he is a musician. I’m an outgoing introvert so if I’m alone it’s because I’ve chosen to be for that moment. When I’m stressed I just remind myself that I can handle it. Eight years in the Army help with that. I also smoke a joint and have a glass of wine. I focus on controlling what I can control.

TRC: At times, there has been a ‘stigma’ surrounding the male model and the romance-cover industry but the popularity of the romance storyline has skyrocketed in the last few years especially with the erotic and sensual cover images. What is your opinion about the recent popularity and the very busy industry of the ‘romance cover model’?

Jacob: When it comes to a stigma on the male model/ romance industry I don’t really give it much attention. There are so many perspectives and opinions out in the world. A person just needs to focus on doing what they want and love. I think the recent jump in the industry is due to the love of all the people involved. I’ve only been to one event/signing but the fans are fanatics and I believe the same could be said for the authors. It’s a community happy within itself and growing. There will always be those throwing shade or causing conflict but the few cannot destroy the masses.

Jacob Rodney Hogue coverTRC: What do you do to prepare yourself for a shoot?

Jacob: As an avid writer and inspiring actor when I get on set I just create my interpretation of the character and write my own scene in my head to play with. I become what is asked of me. And I love it. I always approach shoots like I’m in a scene of something.

TRC: Do you know the number of novel covers that your image has appeared?

Jacob: I’m the kind of person who doesn’t keep track of the number of stuff I’m on. I’m honored and enjoy every single one but I’m always chasing the next one. Plus, the goal is to be on more than I could count so why bother lol

TRC: Do you remember the first cover (book or magazine) on which you appeared?

Jacob: The first magazine I was on was a cover/ editorial for obvious magazine which was awesome. I actually wore most of my own clothes and helped style myself which was awesome.

TRC: Would you please tell us what you do to relax?

Jacob Hogue 2Jacob: I spend a lot of time on walks with my dogs to relax. I live 4 blocks from the beach so how could I not. Also, I’m a huge believer in the best way to relax is to just do nothin. Non-typical meditation of sorts. I just sit down somewhere and do absolutely nothing, except for maybe smoke a joint 🙂

TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?

Jacob: In the next 5 years I’d like 1) quit my day job 2) have my tv show idea really go into motion 3) still be happy. You will always hear me resort back to being happy. There are so many forms of it and I feel people get too caught up in chasing other people’s happiness or trying to please everyone. I believe in being selfish and kind at the same time. Do what you want, be nice to people and avoid those who aren’t.

Jacob Rodney Hogue cover 7TRC: What is something that few, if anybody, knows about you?

Jacob: I’ve actually already mentioned it in an earlier question. Hardly anyone knows I write and love to sing. I was a choir boy in high school and took vocal lessons.

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception about modeling ?

Jacob: The biggest misconception I’ve experienced is many people believe there is no hard work in it. It is unreal the work behind the scenes and when you’re on set shooting you are expected to do your job so it’s not all for nothing. People who don’t look for the big picture will never see it. Misconceptions are for the ignorant who are not concerned with learning. And I have ZERO time for that. I love to not know things so I can learn. But I do wish I knew everything.

TRC: What type of music do you listen to? and what music is on your playlist today?

Jacob: I listen to almost everything so I’ll name artist : Mixon (my brother) Logic, j cole , usher, JT, Lukas graham… all country, all types of rock, some classical, some jazz… like I said… everything

Jacob Hogue covers 8

TRC: On what on your currently working?

Jacob: I’m currently finishing up the script for my pilot episode and trying to book more modeling and acting jobs. To see my Latest project follow me @jacobrodneyhogueshow I put everything in instagram

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Jacob: I would love to stress my beliefs in being happy. Whatever your happiness is. Do that. Always try to understand others perspectives whether you agree. Seeing how all different types of people get to different types of places will help you navigate life. In the end do what you want and be happy. Stop caring about what everyone else thinks. You can always find people who are on your level. Be happy be happy be happy.

Lightning round

Favorite Foodpizza

Favorite Dessert-Twinkies

Favorite Movie-Legends of the Fall and Warrior (sorry had to give 2)

Favorite TV Show-Shameless

Last Movie You SawLa La Land

Secret Celebrity Crush-Michelle Rodriguez

Dark or Milk Chocolatemilk chocolate

Last Book You read-Inside Delta Force

Pet Peeve-ignorant pit bull comments

TRC: Thank you Jacob for taking the time to answer our questions. It is always a pleasure to meet the man behind the cover. We wish you all the best.


The Bridal Squad (Enchanted Bridal #2) by Samantha Chase-Review, Interview & Giveaway

THE BRIDAL SQUAD (Enchanted Bridal #2) by Samantha Chase-Review, Interview & Giveaway

The Bridal Squad Banner

Enchanted Bridal #2
by Samantha Chase
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance
Release Date: May 10, 2017

The Bridal Squad / / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

About the book: Release Date May 10, 2017

Click HERE for more details about Samantha Chase and the Enchanted Bridal series

The Friday Night Brides are back! And this time, it’s their first season running the business! It was one thing to just model in a weekly fashion show, it’s quite another to be the ones calling the shots and making future brides’ dreams come true. Their first client has them wondering if they’re really prepared for their new roles!

The Bride: Julianne is big on fitness, small on patience. And planning her wedding is grating on her every last nerve. As a Zumba instructor, she loves the freedom to create and choreograph her routines and help others achieve their goals, but having to stand back and let others choreograph her big day has her wanting to hip-hop toward eloping!

The Matron of Honor: As the only married member of the bridal party, Natalie considers herself the aficionado on all-things weddings. And even though her time in the spotlight is over, that doesn’t mean she isn’t full of ideas on how her best friend’s wedding should look and feel and be! And it doesn’t take long for her to realize that maybe it’s not so much that she’s wanting to help as it is that she’s afraid of her own honeymoon ending.

The Bride’s Sister: Nothing screams unwanted relationship advice than when your younger sister gets married before you. It’s not that Harper doesn’t want to get married, after three failed engagements she really does! But finding the right man to walk down the aisle with is proving harder than she thought. And it gets even harder when constantly being compared to the perfect couple!

The Reluctant Bridesmaid: There is nothing Kayla wants more than to see one of her best friend’s get married…if only the whole process wasn’t so exhausting! Travel and adventure and being on the go fuels her. Having to stay in one place for an extended period of time while wearing taffeta? Not so much. Her job tends to take her away on a moment’s notice and this is one time she may have to pass up the trip of a lifetime in the name of friendship.


REVIEW:  THE BRIDAL SQUAD is the second installment in Samantha Chase’s contemporary, adult ENCHANTED BRIDAL romance series. Like the first book Friday Night Brides, THE BRIDAL SQUAD focuses on four women-Julianne, Natalie, Harper and Kayla-four friends whose personal lives implode as they make preparations for Julianne’s wedding.

Told from several third person points of view THE BRIDAL SQUAD follows the four friends as they traverse a minefield of relationship hiccups and disasters-misunderstandings, new love, fear of commitment, meddling mothers, and being taken for granted. While Julianne makes plans for her upcoming nuptials, everyone’s life begins to spiral out of control until the bride-to-be announces she was done with it all.

THE BRIDAL SQUAD looks at four women whose personal struggles are not unlike the reality of relationships and love but for each their battles loom larger through a lack of communication, issues of trust, secrets and the sheer exhaustion of their friend’s impending wedding.

Samantha Chase writes a heartwarming, realistic and poignant story of romance, and love, heartbreak and pain, perception and emotional withdrawal for four women who love hard, and work hard for love. Julianne battles for control of her wedding; Harper can never measure up to her mother’s ideals; Kayla receives an ultimatum; and Natalie realizes she may had made the biggest mistake of her life. THE BRIDAL SQUAD is an enjoyable, animated and lighthearted look at life. The premise is playful and energetic, and the characters are vivacious and passionate.

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of book 1-FRIDAY NIGHT BRIDES

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy


CATCHING UP with Samantha Chase

TRC: Hi Samantha and welcome back to The Reading Café.

Congratulations on the release of THE BRIDAL SQUAD-the second installment in your Enchanted Bridal Series.SamanthaChase

For anyone new to Samantha Chase, please tell us something about yourself?

Follow: Goodreads / Twitter / Website / Facebook

Samantha: Thanks for having me back! I write contemporary romance – some call it sweet, but I like to just mention that most of the sexy stuff happens behind closed doors!


TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Samantha: I started reading romances in the 7th grade when my science lab partner introduced me to Harlequin romances. I was instantly hooked. I always knew that I loved writing stories, but it wasn’t until I got serious about reading romances that I knew that’s what I wanted to write. Sandra Brown was a huge influence on me wanting to do it.

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

Samantha: There are so many amazing authors out there that it’s hard to stand out and find readers! I am fortunate in that I am a full-time writer so I can set my own schedule and really write the books that I want to, but finding and keeping an audience is a constant challenge.

The Bridal SquadTRC: Would you please tell us something about THE BRIDAL SQUAD and Enchanted Bridal Series?

Samantha: There was never really going to be a series! Whew…it’s good to finally admit that! I had originally published THE WEDDING SEASON as a standalone. FRIDAY NIGHT BRIDES was a story that I always wanted to write because growing up, I knew a family who owned a bridal shop and they did those fashion shows and I was always intrigued by them. As I started to plan it, I was talking to a friend about it and she mentioned using some of the characters from WEDDING SEASON and I thought “Why not?” So we sort of considered that the prequel. Readers seemed to really enjoy FRIDAY NIGHT BRIDES and I knew I could totally do more with the girls from that story but bring them back in supporting roles.

I wrote THE BRIDAL SQUAD in a very short amount of time. I won’t say how short, but trust me, it was! And the interesting thing was that I didn’t really know what I wanted these girls to be dealing with. I knew the dynamic that I wanted but this story was truly a by-the-seat-of-my-pants event. As the story progressed, I have to admit that even I was surprised at where some of the stories went but in the end, I felt like these were women who I would want to be friends with and the response from readers has confirmed that they would as well!

TRC: Are any of the characters based in reality?

Samantha: The character of Angie is based on a friend of mine. I mean like solidly based on her personality, not the life situation that the character in the book finds herself in. But most of my characters end up being a combination of people that I’ve known in my life.

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

Friday Night BridesSamantha: While I’m physically writing, the only sound I usually hear is my dog snoring or I put on a Sounds of the Ocean CD. However, almost all of my books have at least one song that has either inspired a particular scene or even the entire book. I tend to turn to music when I have writers block and that’s how I’ll find that perfect song to help me out.

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

Samantha: That writing is easy. I get so upset when people get flippant about what I do and then say “Oh maybe I’ll write a book!” It’s not easy. And it doesn’t get any easier. Each book takes more hours that I think it will and it means that I sit at my desk for fourteen hours a day or I don’t go out of my house for days on end.

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

Samantha: I’m actually kind of an introvert. Online I don’t seem that way, but most times if given the choice, I will gladly stay home with my husband and son and just hang out and watch TV.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Samantha: I am currently working on two books. The first is a new book in my Montgomery Brothers series. No title yet and I’m about 40K into it. And the other is book three in the Preston’s Mill series that I am co-writing with Noelle Adams called Complicating.


Favorite Food – Steak

Favorite Dessert – chocolate milkshake

Favorite TV Show – Modern Family

Last Movie You Saw – Beauty and the Beast

Dark or Milk Chocolate – Dark

Secret Celebrity Crush – Jeffery Dean Morgan

Last Vacation Destination – San Diego

Do you have any pets? – Yes! My sassy pug Maylene

Last book you read – An ARC of GOING IN DEEP by Carly Phillips. And I LOVED it!!

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


Samantha and her publicist are offering an ecopy of THE BRIDAL SQUAD to THREE (3) commenters at The Reading Cafe.

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

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

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

3. Please follow Samantha Chase on Facebook.

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

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6. Please follow The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

7. Giveaway is open to  international entries.

8. Giveaway runs from May 12-16, 2017

Trident Media Group


Dating the Undead by Juliet Lyons – Review, Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway

Dating the Undead by Juliet Lyons – Review, Spotlight, & Giveaway


Dating the Undead
Undead Dating Service series – Book #1
by Juliet Lyons
Release Date: May 2, 2017

Dating the UndeadAmazon / B&N / Kobo  / BAM / Book Depository

Dating the Undead Promo

It’s Bridget Jones with vampires in this fresh and funny paranormal romance from debut author Juliet Lyons

When Silver Harris kisses sexy Irish vampire Logan Byrne on New Year’s Eve, she knows other humans just won’t suffice. Convinced she’ll never see him again, she joins the uber-popular vampire dating site,

What Silver doesn’t know is that the site is more dangerous than she could ever imagined, and soon she’s in over her head. When Logan returns, sparks fly and attraction sizzles, but they’ll have to escape some very real demons if they have any chance of lasting forever.



Dating the Undead by Juliet Lyons is the 1st book in her Undead Dating Service series.  This was a different type of paranormal story line revolving around vampires and humans.   Silver Harris, our heroine, is a beautiful feisty sexy young girl, who secretly is trying to find the person responsible for killing her mother.  Silver starts dating vampires, which in this book, seems the norm for human girls who find them sexy and attractive.  Silver has agreed to go undercover using the site to help the police learn more information about how vampires live and how to stop them. 

Logan Byrne is close to 200 years old, and is a gorgeous vampire with sexy green eyes.  He saves Silver from a bad vampire, and in no time their attraction for each other is hotter than hell. Logan works for Ronin, the ancient vampire who he is blood bound to; Little does Logan know that the assignment he is given, will bring him to Silver.   Their relationship was great, as Silver was a piece of work, with her off the cuff sassy comments, and  I loved them together.  They were so much fun, not to mention totally steamy. 

Logan realizes he is falling in love with Silver, having feelings he has not had for so long. Because he knows his boss will not approve, and his fear of his old dangerous sire coming back to haunt him, Logan will decide to break up with Silver to keep her safe.   Once he finds out that Silver is working for the police, Logan knows he has to protect her, and also knows he can’t live without her.  At this point, all hell is about to break loose, with Logan’s sire returning putting both of their lives together.   During this time, Silver will also find out who was responsible for her mother’s murder.

I enjoyed Dating the Undead, mainly because the main characters were lots of fun, likeable and their chemistry was off the wall.   After the exciting & surprise climax twist, there was an epilogue that moved forward three years in time, which was a nice touch.  Wonderful start of this new series by Juliet Lyons.  I recommend Dating the Undead to read if you enjoy paranormal romances with vampires.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

Guest post-White and Red

10 ways to tell if your date is actually a vampire by Juliet Lyons

  1. They only want to meet at night, using the excuse that they’re not ‘a morning person’
  1. On a date to the beach, you catch them harassing the lady in the mini mart to check the stock room for Hawaiian Tropics factor 500.
  1. When you get a paper cut, they’re oddly excited.
  1. They’re still not over their ex. Even though the latter has been dead for two hundred years.
  1. Every time you mention a church wedding they recoil in horror*.
  1. They often refer to Eric from True Blood as someone who ‘has their shit together.’
  1. They drink a lot of red wine, but never seem drunk. Wait — is that actually wine?
  1. They have pale, flawless skin despite the fact you’ve never once seen them cleanse and/or moisturize.
  1. When watching any kind of sporting event, they constantly scoff and sneer at the athletes.‘Please! Is that the best they can do?’
  1. They are particularly keen to remind you that the neck is a top five erogenous zone…

*Does not necessarily mean they are a vampire. Mortals — particularly males—are also prone to behaving in this way.

Clichéd lines from dating profile

Want to grab a bite?

I’d love to take you to dinner…If you’re okay with being the main course…
Male Vampire seeking a special someone to share his life—or death depending on how you look at it.
I can’t offer you sunshine, but I can offer you eternity.


I freeze in terror. What a waste of Dad’s money those self-defense classes turned out to be.
“Silver, it’s just me,” a lilting Irish voice says at my ear, the hand dropping from my shoulder.
I turn around to find myself nose to nose with my vampire from New Year’s Eve, his bright green eyes piercing mine.
I’m struck by several conflicting emotions all at once—anger, relief, and in a tiny measure—happiness. Anger wins out. On impulse, I slap him hard across the face, pointing with a white, clenched hand to the garden I’ve just sprinted across.
“I thought I was about to be murdered, asshole,” I hiss through my teeth. “I ripped my coat. My heels are ruined. All because you thought it might be fun to follow me home.”
He smirks, nonplussed, sliding his hands into the deep pockets of his navy pea coat. “I wasn’t following you,” he says, eyes twinkling.
“Oh, that’s right,” I say, voice dripping with sarcasm. “You were just walking me home again. Except this time from fifty yards behind and without me knowing.”
Before he has a chance to reply, the front door flies open and my landlady Vera emerges in a long, silky, oriental dressing gown. She is wigless for once, a Pucci scarf twisted into a makeshift turban covering her head. In her right hand, she holds a meat cleaver.
“Step away, you rapist bastard!” she yells, holding the large knife shakily aloft.
I glare at the vampire, expecting him to either throw his hands in the air or take a step backwards. Instead his brows knit together and his mouth drops open. “Etta Marlow?” he asks, staring at her as if she just walked on water.
The meat cleaver lowers a fraction. “What’s it to you?” Vera demands, her voice losing some of its previous menace.
I roll my eyes. Of course he remembers her. He’s probably seen all her films.
“It is you!” he erupts, wagging a finger in her direction. “You’re Etta Marlow! You played Susie De Sousa in Girl Uptown with Gregor Lane. I love that movie.”
The meat cleaver drops, forgotten, to her side as she pats her turban, eyelashes fluttering. “Fancy you recognizing me,” she mutters happily.
“Excuse me, Vera,” I interject, “but there’s still a potential rapist on your doorstep here.”
Vera looks back to the vampire, who shakes his head, smiling. “A misunderstanding, Etta. I was making sure Silver here made it home safely. She got the wrong end of the stick.”
Vera, or Etta as she was once known, glances over at me. “Do you know this charming fellow, dear?”
I scowl at them both. “Well, yes, but— “
“Well then, you must come in, dear boy. I could show you my Oscar, if you like?”
The Vampire looks as if he’s about to pee himself with excitement. “You mean the one you got for Days Like These with Vic Stevens?”
She holds out a thin hand towards him, gold bangles jangling on her wrist. “The very one, dear. Come, come in.”
I watch, stunned, as he takes her hand, green eyes lit up in excitement.
Before stepping through the door, he hangs back. “Ms. Marlow, I’m afraid it’s only courteous to let you know before I enter that I’m not human. I’m a vampire.”
Vera’s tinkly laugh echoes around the street like a bicycle bell. “Oh, you’re so sweet. Didn’t you know I’ve met dozens of vampires? They’re two a penny in Hollywood, darling.”
Following her across the threshold, he flashes the cockiest of grins. “Coming, Silver?”
My jaw drops in disgust. I’m tempted to sulk off to my basement flat, but instead, I trail after them and slam the door.
We follow Vera along an elegant gold and cream hallway into her immaculate, monochrome front room. Even though I’ve been here on numerous occasions, I’m always mesmerized by the sheer extravagance of the place—buttery white leather sofas, cream fur rugs, one wall is painted black and white to resemble piano keys. It should look tacky, but somehow, it works.
“You two make yourselves at home whilst I go and make myself presentable.” Vera says. “Then I’ll dig out that old Oscar of mine.”
I know, of course, the Oscar will not have to be ‘dug’ out of anywhere. It’s always on display in the den, alongside her film stills and other memorabilia.
“I didn’t catch your name,” she croons to the vampire before she leaves.
He puts a hand on his chest. “Forgive me, I should have introduced myself. Between the meat cleaver threat and getting slapped by Silver here, I seem to have forgotten my manners. I’m Logan. Logan Byrne.”
For strange and unfathomable reasons, my stomach flips. Logan. It suits him.
“Charming,” Vera says. “Don’t you go anywhere, Mr. Byrne.”
As soon as Vera disappears from the room, Logan collapses into one of the white leather arm chairs and puts his crossed feet onto the cut glass coffee table.
I’m still standing, one brow arched, arms folded across my chest. “So, Logan,” I hiss. “What the hell is this?”
He grins, dimples putting in their first appearance of the night as he gazes up at me. “Did anyone ever tell you, you’re particularly beautiful when you’re angry?”
“Oh, cut the crap,” I say, ignoring the hot flush climbing my neck. “Why did you follow me?”
“Like I told Etta, I wanted to make sure you got home safely, that’s all. Though I’m a little confused as to why you have three houses.” He holds up fingers to count. “The one I left you at on New Year’s, the one Nathaniel dropped you at, and now this—cohabiting with an aged 1940’s screen siren.”
“It’s none of your business,” I say, chin in the air. “And anyway, how do you know Nathaniel?”
He shrugs. “I know most of the vampires in London.”
I humpth. “I bet you do.”
In the blink of an eye, he is towering over me, face inches from mine. I inhale his clean, masculine scent like a drowning person coming up for air, and as he leans closer, I find myself gravitating towards him—a flower reaching for sunlight.
He pulls the collar of my coat aside and peers into the gap. As his fingers brush my jaw, an uncontrollable shiver zings through me. I disguise it by stepping out of reach and batting his hand away.
“He did a messy job on your neck,” he says, in a low voice.
“What’s it to you?” I snap.
Before I realize what’s happening, he closes the gap between us. One hand cupping my cheek, he bends over, lips brushing the place Nathaniel bit me, tongue gently swiping the puncture holes.
“That should stop the bleeding,” he says, pulling away. “But you’ll still have a bruise in the morning.”
I rub my neck and look at my fingers. No blood. “So, you can heal wounds? Just another of your unique skills along with beating up drunk men and following young women home for kicks?”
He sinks back into the armchair. “You’re a sexy girl, Silver. I’m glad we’ve met again.”
I snort incredulously, trying, without success, to forget the warmth of his hand on my face. “Well, you certainly made sure we did.”
“And of course,” he continues, pretending to examine a photo on the coffee table. “I’m hugely flattered I’ve managed to turn your head towards my kind.”
“You didn’t turn anything,” I say tartly.
He cocks a brow, gaze burning through my clothes like a laser. I feel a sharp twitch between my legs, as though he’s controlling my private areas by some invisible string. “Are you sure about that?”


About The Author

Juliet Lyons
JULIET LYONSis a paranormal romance author from the UK. She holds a degree in Spanish and
Latin American studies and works part-time in a local primary school where she spends far too much time
discussing Harry Potter. Since joining global storytelling site Wattpad in 2014, her work has receivedmillions of hits online and gained a legion of fans from all over theworld. When she is not writing, Juliet enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

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