Releasing the Demons / Black Bullet by L.D. Rose-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Releasing The Demons / Black Bullet by L. D. Rose-Review, Guest Post and Giveaway

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Black BulletBlack Bullet
The Order of the Senary #2
by L.D. Rose
Release Date: November 9, 2016
Genre: adult, paranormal, romance

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 9, 2016

Fledgling vampire Jonathan Kerr has just met his match.

Not even his past life as a former Marine and FBI agent could prepare him for the battle against the monster inside him, struggling to take hold. After an old nemesis of the Senary surfaces in Brooklyn, unleashing chaos and terror in the battered borough, Jon sets out to take him down. Instead, he ends up with far more than he bargained for when he clashes with the beautiful half-vampire hybrid, Lawan Knight.

After escaping near death and suffering unspeakable horror at the hands of vampires, Lawan trusts no one, regardless of species. In between bouts of drunken stupor, her only goal is to exterminate all those who’ve wronged her, including every member of Jon’s vampire bloodline. But Jon’s soulful eyes and quick smile crawls under her skin, transforming her black and white world into a hazy shade of gray.

As the days rapidly grow darker, Jon and Lawan turn to one another, but their inner demons threaten to tear them apart. The only way either of them will survive is if they overcome their greatest fear–

••••••••••

REVIEW:

The second book to what’s turning out to be a really good series.

JJ was a marine, then FBI agent, now he’s a human turned vampire (against his will) and holds a lot of resentment still, but he puts his skills to good use.
He was saved by the Knights (his sister is marrying one) after saving one of the hybrids life.
(There aren’t many good vamps, and JJ finds it hard to come to terms with what he is)

Lawan is a knight, (the hybrids that all live in the same place, have the same father) a hybrid, but she works alone. Something really bad happened in the past, and it shaped her into the killing machine she is today.

Their first meeting is explosive, she literally kicks JJ’s butt, and after leaving him coughing up blood, their next meeting should be just as explosive.

One of the hybrids (Rome) explains that although females were once made into hybrids, they were quickly eradicated. But not all of them, how Lawna slipped through the net gets revealed in the book. But he knows Lawna, and she certainly knows Rome !

The story remains at a fast pace, and like the first book in the series, it’s a graphic but gripping read.
The characters slowly dance around their attraction for each other, JJ feels he doesn’t deserve anyone (who could love a vampire, right?) and Lawna can’t get close to anyone, and certainly not a leech. It would hurt too much to lose anyone else.

There is a sub-plot going on as well, and it’s interesting how the two move along together.

I’m totally hooked on this series, and can’t wait for more.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Julie B.

_____________

Releasing the DemonsReleasing The Demons
The Order of the Senary Series #1
by L.D. Rose
Release Date: August 19, 2015
Genre: adult, paranormal, romance

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

Back cover ……

Blaze Knight has been through hell and back, but the nightmares aren’t over yet.

Five years after Blaze was maimed by Cyrus Chimola, a powerful vampire with a penchant for torture, he’s still trying to pick up the pieces of his shattered life. As a genetically engineered mercenary with the ability to bend fire to his will and to see in infrared, Blaze’s mission is to protect what’s left of humanity. When Chimola and his crew return to the Bronx gunning for Blaze’s blood, Blaze is forced to face the demons of his past. Hell-bent on revenge, he seeks the help of Valerie Medeiros, an NYPD detective who manages to steal his heart and save his life in more ways than one.

Motivated by her sister’s gruesome death, Valerie has made it her life’s goal to bury every vampire in the ground where they belong. When she brings in Blaze Knight for suspected murder, she discovers he’s not only innocent, he isn’t a man at all–he’s a half-vampire hybrid working with a band of brothers for the U.S. military. Valerie has a hard time trusting anything with fangs, yet she quickly falls headlong into Blaze’s life, a life full of darkness and horror she can’t even begin to fathom. The bodies are stacking up, but Valerie can’t seem to let go of this hybrid, a beautiful monster filled with pain, rage, and passion unlike anything she’s ever known.

In a world where the line between good and evil is blurred, Blaze and Valerie will find danger at every turn, risking everything they’ve come to know and love, including one another.

••••••••••••

REVIEW:

G-Fusion project ……

Human embryos were fertilised with vampire DNA, then placed back in human women to gestate.

The experiments were deemed wrong, and the hybrids were eradicated. (Or so humanity thought) Blaze and his group of “brothers” (different mothers, same father) protect their world, the only only way they know how …..

The hybrids all have hidden talents, fire makers, healers, ice makers and telepathy, to name a few of their talents.

Blaze can generate his own heat internally and from his hands he can produce flames. A film of opal colours covers his eyes and he can only see in infrared, which is great for tracking the vampires, but otherwise useless in everyday life, so he has to wear sunglasses all the time. Tortured until he wished for death, he was rescued by one of his brothers. And now he seeks revenge on the master vampire who captured and tortured him.

Valerie is a cop with a grudge, after losing her little sister to vampires, she’s made it her duty to protect the people of her town against these things, but it’s a battle they aren’t winning.

The vampire came out to the world (years ago) and now they rule the night, the humans live in fear, populations of cities were wiped out, and vampires claimed the cities as their own. Even daylight isn’t safe, as they can use minions to do their bidding during the day.

Blaze and Valerie meet up after she arrests him for the murder of a girl he was sleeping with. But after meeting him, she knows he didn’t do it, but there is something about him that isn’t right. He smokes (but no visible lighter) and he won’t take off his sunglasses, and all those tats, it means he’s either a gang member or something else. And Valerie wants to find out more……

At first she is very wary and doesn’t trust Blaze, and once she meets his brothers, her fears aren’t laid to rest.

Blaze is intrigued with the female detective, and after he is released, he realises she maybe able to help him find his lovers killer, but he already has an idea who it might be.

And as the story goes along, we have a sub-plot (don’t want to give too much away) but it’s one of the reasons Blaze is targeted by his old adversary, and I have a feeling it could be in a few other stories that come along.

The story doesn’t stop, lots of action, and very well written, it flows smoothly from one scene to another.

Blaze is a hybrid trying to redeem his past, and Valerie wants justice. Will she run when she truly knows what a monster he is ? Or will she through him and see the hybrid that hides behind the scars and sunglasses ?

Hoping all the hybrids get a book and can’t wait to dive into the next one …..

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Julie B

excerpt

 

Jon only had time to take a single breath before a dark boot materialized in front of his face, the heel aiming straight for his throat. He snatched it before it made contact and twisted hard, thrusting it away from him. The limb yielded beneath his grip as his attacker collapsed beside him, metal clattering nearby. He levered to his feet, pulling a KA-BAR from his boot as pain lit up his nerves, setting his teeth on edge. His attacker was already standing, the blade of a gorgeous double-edged Kris sword pointed at his throat.
Holy shit.His opponent was female, wearing a slim-fitting black battle uniform and carrying enough artillery to outfit a small army. Her jet-black hair was tied in a long braid and a black mask covered the lower half of her face. Her dark, almond-shaped eyes revealed her Asian heritage, her skin the color of caramel. A scabbard stretched across her back, strapped to her chest, along with the M16 she’d used to tear up the warehouse.

Jon took a step back, but she didn’t hesitate, launching at him with the blade. Metal clashed and sparks flew as he parried the long sword’s quicksilver arcs with his dagger. Although she limped from her injured leg, her strikes were hard, fast, and precise, each blow intended to kill. He nearly tripped over the pirate’s body as she backed him against the wall of the refinery, and he ducked as the blade screeched along the brick.

Before Jon straightened, he jabbed the butt of his KA-BAR into her knee and she yelped, stumbling backward. He slashed at her and caught nothing but air as she lurched away from him. She swung the Kris at his head and he raised the KA-BAR to engage and bind the sword. Both of their weapons trembled as their eyes locked on one another across the tangle of deadly metal.

And as her smoldering gaze drilled into him, he smelled it.

Dama de Noche.

The Lady of the Night, a nocturnal blooming flower he’d first smelled years ago in Nepal, when he was a human soldier. The scent was unmistakable, underlying the incense of vampire. The stench of leech didn’t belong to her, but the floral aroma was all her own.

She’s not a vampire.

Stunned by the revelation, Jon wavered, and she quickly took advantage of him. She sidestepped and lunged at him, sinking the blade in his shoulder. He shouted, dropping his KA-BAR as pain erupted from his dominant limb. Moving lightning fast, she yanked the blade out and sliced an arc across his chest. Luckily, she only scored his Kevlar, and as the sword swooped around again, Jon caught it with his gloved hands, silver biting into leather.

“You’re a hybrid,” he ground out. “I’m on your side!”

She pushed hard against him, drawing blood. “Bullshit.” Her voice was a rich contralto, edged with a growl. “You reek of Temhota.”

The Dama drew back and chopped at his belly, but Jon blocked her with his forearms, metal jarring against his bones. Finally, he managed to kick the blade out of her grip and it spun away, clattering to the ground. She somersaulted backward to retrieve it, but Jon caught hold of her braid in mid-air and wrenched on it. She cried out and landed face-first on the pavement, her breath audibly whooshing from her throat.

Jon wound her braid around his hand like a rope and straddled her, pinning her down. He tore the M16 off and tossed it as she writhed beneath him, fighting hard. Yanking her head up, he leaned close to her ear. “I’m not your enemy,” he hissed.

Her already shallow breath quickened and her struggles intensified, her sweet scent pumping from her pores in cloying waves. Panic. Fear. Restraining her like this completely terrified her.

Jon let up, knowing it was a mistake, but the shred of humanity still left in him couldn’t resist. The Dama slammed the crown of her head into his face and his retinas exploded in a staggering palette of reds, whites, and grays. His nose caved in, but not so far as to bury the bony shards into his brain. Blood poured out of him like a leaky faucet as he fell back, propping himself up on the wall of the refinery.

She was on him in an instant, chopping the edge of a flat hand into his trachea before smashing a fist in his ear. She wobbled to her feet as he struggled desperately to breathe—remember Jon, you don’t have to—and she gave him a vicious kick to his solar plexus, doubling him over. The pain was terrific, a cacophony of agony echoing from every corner of his body.

Jesus Christ, she was beating the shit out of him.

The Dama stood there, shaking, the fabric of her fallen mask fluttering to the ground. Jon blinked, trying to clear his blurred vision as she picked up her sword. He stole a glimpse of her face as she flung the mask up with the blade and caught it. A tattoo marked her cheek, the black symbol unmistakable but jagged, as if she’d thrashed during the process.

The same mark he’d painted on his chest lay branded on her face—the emblem of the Temhota.

Jon yanked down the neckline of his shirt, much like he had with the pirate, but this time he wiped at the mark, smearing it. The Dama paused in front of him, eyes narrowed, a gash marring her forehead. Even with the mark of his enemy on her face, she was breathtaking, and he didn’t have much breath left to spare.

“Not real,” he said past swollen lips, lifting trembling fingers stained with both paint and blood. “No mark.”

“But you are a leech.” She pointed the serpentine blade at the hollow of his throat.

He nodded, swallowing iron. “I work with the Senary. I used to . . . I used to be human. I’m not what you think I am.”

“You stink of them.” Her lip curled in a snarl.

He nodded again, every muscle in his body screaming. “Because I’m one of them. Yet I’m not.”

Brilliant. Maybe a few of those bony shards made their way into his brain after all.

She flipped the sword deftly and held it in a two-handed grip, the sin qua non of impending decapitation. Her dark eyes didn’t have the cat-like gleam signature to vampires, but hate and anger bled through them anyway.

“Makes no difference to me.”


 

 

Guest Post black and purple

A Gritty Gotham by L.D. Rose

First, I’d like to say thank you for featuring me on your blog!

My name is Linda (writing as L.D. Rose) and I’m a doctor by day and author of dark PNR/UF by night. Today I’ll be talking about the world I created in The Order of The Senary series and my inspiration for the setting in the current books, RELEASING THE DEMONS and BLACK BULLET.

Although both novels are dark paranormal romances, they’re very heavy on urban fantasy, likely influenced for my love of all things gritty and metropolitan. This series takes place in the alternate present, in a dystopian New York City. I adore NYC and lived just north of the Big Apple during my medical school training. The sights and sounds of 469 square miles of concrete populated by 8.5 million people inspired me in so many ways, from the gothic architecture to the people watching to the visions of “what if?” What if vampires finally rose out of the darkness and attacked all of the major cities in the world? Where would humans run, hide, and would they fight back? How would they handle this evolutionary shift in power?

And hence, the premise for these crazy stories bloomed.

The Order of The Senary is one of a few groups of hybrid mercenaries genetically engineered by the U.S. government to exterminate vampires. Being half vampire themselves, they all undergo a constant battle between the monster and human inside them. Although they were socialized with humans as children, they grew up on military bases, trained to hone their powers (or the “side effects” of their hybridization, like pyrokinesis, telekinesis, and shapeshifting to name a few) and to become lethal killers. The psychological and physical trauma they endure is intense, but it’s all for the “greater good” of the human race. Taught to despise all things fanged (besides their own brothers), their love for their fellow man knows no bounds, but they’re banned from developing intimate relationships with others.

Until they each meet their own illicit partner, whether human, vampire, or something else entirely. 😉

Want to learn more? Check out the first novel, RELEASING THE DEMONS, available at all Amazon stores in both print and eBook. The second novel, BLACK BULLET, just released last month and I’m thrilled to share this vision of a dark world where love, brotherhood, and loyalty is the best means of survival.

Hope you enjoyed this post and thank you for stopping by!

Black Bullet teaser

About The Author

L.D. RoseL.D. Rose is a neurotic physician by day, crazed writer by night, and all around wannabe superhero. She writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy, but she’s been known to delve into horror, sci-fi, and medical suspense on occasion. L.D. Rose is a PAN member of the RWA, FF&P, NEC-RWA and CoLoNY. She currently lives in Rhode Island with her studly hubby, her hyperactive boxer, and her two devious cats.

Sign up for her newsletter for the latest on the Senary, sneak peeks, giveaways, and other fun stuff: http://eepurl.com/bKvuXD. You’ll receive a free horror short story with sign-up!

You can also join her street team on FB for more shenanigans. 😉 DEVOUR THE NIGHT: https://www.facebook.com/groups/15447…

Where else to find her:

Website: www.writerldrose.com
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/ldrose
Facebook: www.facebook.com/writerldrose
Author page: www.facebook.com/ldroseauthorpage
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ld_rose
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/ldrose
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/writerldrose
Tumblr: www.writerdoc.tumblr.com
Book Bub: www.bookbub.com/authors/l-d-rose

giveaway

L.D. Rose is offering an ecopy of book one RELEASING THE DEMONS in The Order of the Senary Series to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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

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. LIKE L.D. Rose on Facebook

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

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Please follow The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

8. Giveaway open Internationally

9.. Giveaway runs from December 27-31, 2016

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Lessons in Letting Go (Study Abroad #3) by Jessica Peterson-Review, Interview & Giveaway

Lessons in Letting Go (Study Abroad #3) by Jessica Peterson – Review, Interview & Giveaway

Lessons in Letting Go Banner

Lessons in Letting Go
Study Abroad #3
by Jessica Peterson
Release Date: December 12, 2016
Genre: new adult, contemporary, romance

Lessons in Letting Go

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 12, 2016

“Ten minutes ago, I was just an American student studying abroad in Spain. But now? Now I’m a professional soccer player’s muse. His good luck charm…”

Soccer star Rhys Maddox’s recovery from an injury isn’t going well—until one night with a beautiful American and a few terrible pick-up lines changes everything. With Laura at his side, he plays smarter, runs faster, and fights harder than he ever has on the pitch. She’s just the good luck charm he needs to turn his flailing career around.

Laura Bennet begins her semester in Madrid with plans to ditch bad habits and worse boyfriends. But when she unexpectedly gets caught up in Rhys’s A-list life, her plans are put on hold. Who wouldn’t skip class to fly on a private jet with a studly Welsh footballer? It’s a no brainer, or so she thinks. Turns out Rhys’s glamorous lifestyle hides an obsession with appearances—an obsession that makes her totally miserable. Determined to take back her happiness, Laura decides to dump Rhys and tackle a “Spain Bucket List” on her own.

But Rhys isn’t letting his good luck charm go without a fight. He’s spent his entire life trying to earn his way into the big leagues, and he’ll do anything to win—even risk his carefully crafted image to help Laura with her bucket list. Will he be able to let go of his ego? Or will he and Laura ultimately let go of each other?

•••••••••••

REVIEW: Let’s all be honest, we all have inner demons and hang ups in our lives. Whether we let those inner demons and hang ups control our lives is up to us. Whether it’s a past we are trying to leave behind or a fear that constrains way of living, we all have our inner demons and hang ups. In this story we have the beautiful yet bright student Laura who wants to shed her people pleasing skin to be more emotionally free to have more fun and to stop caring about her weight so much to enjoy real food. And then we have rising soccer star Rhys who came from a very poor family in Wales who puts so much unnecessary pressure on himself to provide for his family. He is always constantly fighting his inner demons that he doesn’t want to repeat his father’s mistakes. Will Rhys and Laura let go of their demons and hang ups to really live their lives and find love in each other’s arms?

I really enjoyed how likeable Laura was but what I really appreciated was how relatable her issues were. Being a people pleaser and being overly concern about weight are very relatable issues many women have. I also enjoyed reading about Rhys letting go of his inner demons as well, that just because he deviates from his rigid schedule and routine doesn’t mean that he’s going to end up a washed up failure at soccer like his dad. The character growth and development were elements of the book I really enjoyed. Laura was able to enjoy real food and not get upset over the slight weight gain. She was able to do things for her and not for others, she was even able to assert herself to do the things she wanted. Rhys was able to free himself of letting his father’s mistake rule his every action. I truly enjoy reading Laura and Rhys’s journey to emotional freedom.

I really liked this book. The book was tastefully sexy but had literary substance to it. You would think all the hangs ups and inner demons concept would bring down the mood of the book but doesn’t. The book has an uplifting and encouraging tone to it that is refreshing. I enjoyed this book so much that I went ahead to purchase the rest of the series. Another plus, the book can read alone with no issues of missing parts of the previous books. I highly recommend this read I really do.

Copy supplied for review.

Reviewed by Xtina

excerpt

 

Rhys That Night

“Zat, it was fucking awesome, mate!” Olivier says, pounding me on the back. “Where did it come from? For so many months, you play like a terrible child. But today? Today you play like a champion.”
“Thanks, dickhead,” I say, laughing as I tug on my trousers. The familiar scents of the locker room—sweat, soap, antiseptic—surround me. For the first time in forever, they fill me with hope. Happiness. I’m actually glad to be here. “Nice goal, by the way.”
“Not as nice as ze assist.”
“That’s it, Cabbage!” William Wallace—I don’t think anyone knows his real name anymore—appears at my elbow, clapping loudly. “Whatever girl you and your dobber mates were chattin’ about at training, I want you to see more of her! I haven’t seen ye play like this since before ye balls dropped.”
“Thanks,” I say.
“I mean it,” he says, looking me in the eye. “Ye’re comin’ back, lad. Keep it up, yeah?”
I fight back a smile. The relief that floods me—the disbelief that my luck might actually be turning—is overwhelming. I finally played like the legend I hope to be. In this sport, legends get paid very, very well. And heaven knows I could do a lot of things for a lot of people with that money.
My sponsors lit up my mobile tonight. I even got a new one—a giant diamond company—that promised to pay me twenty thousand euros if I showed up at their event tomorrow night.
Needless to say, I cleared my schedule and accepted the invitation. Relationships with sponsors are fragile, so I always make an effort to put my best foot forward and attend every event they invite me to.
I shake hands, slap backs, smile as the squad compliments me on the pass. But all the while I’m thinking of only one thing.
One girl.
I admit I’m superstitious—what athlete isn’t?—but even I’m not daft enough to think my legendary performance today has anything to do with Laura, or the ridiculously intense orgasms we had together. Orgasms are magical, sure, but they don’t have magical powers.
Do they?
Because that feeling I got when I gunned down the pitch, the way my instincts took over, and guided me—it came from the same deeply buried place inside me that came alive when I fucked Laura, her eyes wet and lucid, her hair wild, her silky skin flushed.
Maybe coach is right. Maybe Laura did make me play any better today. It makes sense—sort of. Nothing else about my life has changed in the past week. I ate the same food, trained the same way, slept my customary nine hours a night.
Hanging out with Laura was the only deviation from my carefully scripted schedule. It was the only time I had fun, cut loose. I spend so much time doing the things I should or need to do; I rarely do what I want. I wanted to get naked with Laura, so I did. There was something so…liberating about it.
Sure, I’ve thought about Laura this week. I haven’t called her, though, because that’s my rule. But I have to admit that even my training sessions were better—every single one of them.
I suppose playing so well in the match today just confirms that there’s something at work here.
That I finally played really, really well for the first time since blowing out my knee after I slept with Laura could be purely coincidental. It could be a not-so-funny joke, engineered by the big guy in the sky. The connection between my performance and Laura could mean nothing.
Then again, it could mean everything. It could mean the difference between being demoted from first team, and making all my dreams come true. If I keep playing like I did tonight, there’s a seriously exciting future ahead of me. A future where I can do right by my family, and prove to the world I’m not going to wash up like my deadbeat dad. A future with the biggest sponsors and the biggest paychecks and the best bet to live the life I’ve always wanted for myself, and for mum, and for Maggie.
The kind of life dad promised us, but never delivered on.
I’m certainly not alone in my superstitions. Alexandr swore it was wearing the bright yellow boots his wife “blessed” with a kiss every morning that made his performance in last year’s Euro Cup so astounding. Fred’s got his ice cream. Sergio bangs on the brick wall outside the locker room exactly six times before every match. If he doesn’t, his play will be rotten (so he says). As athletes, so much of our professional lives—our successes, our failures—depends on chance. To touch the divine, and play like the gods we want to be, the timing’s got to be just right; the stars have to align; that ever-elusive shadow called luck must be on our side.
No one knows what it is, exactly, that keeps that shadow in our corner, or lures it away. I’d sell my soul to know the nebulous math that solves the equation in my favor. But as much as I believe in the power chance, I also believe in my own power—my own agency. I can’t control luck, but I can run after it as hard and as fast as I can.
Tonight, I ran pretty damn fast.
Shrugging into my suit jacket, I know what I have to do. I have too much at risk to underestimate this Laura thing. Maybe it’s real, maybe it’s not, but I will do anything—bloody anything—to keep my stars aligned.
Lucky for me, that “anything” is a gorgeous girl with an even more gorgeous body. Just thinking about that body, the way her pussy clenched around me again and again, has me adjusting the crotch of my trousers.
I’ve got to run like hell after Laura, and convince her, somehow, to let me see her again. Tomorrow, perhaps. I’ll apologize for not calling sooner, tell her I’ve been busy with training. The diamond guys want me to bring a date to the event, and Laura would look really hot in heels and a tight little dress.
With the most important season of my career on the line, I have to see her. Perhaps make her laugh with more awful pick-up lines, or give her another orgasm, or five. God, the look in her eyes when I slammed inside her…
I swallow, hard.
It’s not serious. It can’t be. But I’ve got to see her.
I think I just stumbled upon the good luck charm I’ve been looking for.
***
Laura

Monday

Today is my first day at the Santa Caterina After School Program (bucket list item #6: Community service—tutor kids, literacy work). Considering I’ve spent the past hour in a classroom with twenty-three five and six year olds I’ve only just met, it’s going pretty well. Only one little boy peed his pants, and the kids seem to be enjoying my terrible Spanish renditions of some of my favorite picture books (The Giving Tree gets me every.damn.time., even in a different language).
I’ve always been a big reader—I began sneaking romance novels from my mom’s bookshelf when I was eleven, and now my massive collection of pink- and purple-spined paperbacks is the thing I treasure most in this world—so I knew when I got to college I wanted to do some kind of literacy work. My dirty book habit aside, I hoped to work with underprivileged kids. I remember what a proud, magical moment it was when I learned to read, and I wanted to relive that feeling with the children I volunteered with.
The kids and I are seated in a circle on the floor. They’re a little fidgety—being asked to sit quietly after a full day of school is not easy when you’re six—but they return my smile when I close The Giving Tree and settle it in my lap.
So, I ask in embarrassingly stilted Spanish, the giving tree was very kind and generous with the little boy. Is there anyone in your life who is kind and generous with you? Someone who gave you something special?
A few small hands shoot up. I point to a little girl who is missing her front teeth.
My dad says Rhys Maddox is going to give us a title this year, but only if he doesn’t play like garbage.
I blink. Seriously? I can’t get away from this guy. Less than twenty-four hours ago, I swore to dedicate myself to my bucket list. And yet here Rhys is, invading my carefully guarded personal space once again. Damn him and his ridiculous, delicious, rock-hard body. Oh, that body…
Yeah, another girl in pigtails says. My dad says Rhys Maddox can be the best player in the world if he just gets his head out of his ass.
“Whoa!” I say, before remembering to use Spanish. Celeste, excuse me, but you cannot use that word here.
Rhys Maddox would be kind and generous if he played as well as he did last night so we could win the war against Barcelona, a little boy named Miguel says.
Well, it’s not a real war, I say. The rivalry between the football clubs in Madrid and Barcelona is intense. Some Spaniards—older generations, mostly—see that rivalry as a continuation of the Spanish Civil War, or at least a reenactment of it.
My grandpa says it is, he replies. We’ve been fighting it for a thousand years, and only Rhys Maddox can win it with a league title.
I bite back a grin. I can’t resist. Do you think Rhys Maddox is kind, like the giving tree?
Maybe, a little boy says when I call on him. My mom says he is very handsome. It makes her happy when he takes his shirt off. So maybe that means he is kind?
Hmmm, I say. My belly aches from trying not to laugh. I’m not so sure about that one.
When we finish up reading hour, I take the kids outside to play on the playground. I jump when my phone, tucked into the back pocket of my jeans, begins to ring.
Are you all right, Miss Bennet? Miguel looks up at me, holding a hand to his forehead against the fading sun.
I grin at him and nod, even though my heart weirdly begins to pound as I dig my phone out of my pocket. The girls I went to the soccer game with usually text me; so do my friends back home. The only people who actually call me are Em and my parents. And considering both—well, all three of those people know I’m working right now, they wouldn’t be calling me unless it was an emergency.
I glance at the screen. It’s a number I don’t recognize—a European number. My heart pounds faster. For one stupid, heady heartbeat, I think it might be Rhys, finally making good on his promise to call.
I look around, quickly. I’m not supposed to use my phone while I’m with the kids, but this could be an emergency. Ducking into the shade of a nearby bench, I slide my thumb across the bottom of the screen.
“Hello?”
“Laura?”
My stomach plummets at the familiar rumble of the voice that greets me.
Holy shit. It can’t be. No way. No freaking way. I bite the inside of my lip, just to make sure I’m awake and alive and that this is really happening.
“Uh. Yes?”
“It’s Rhys. Rhys Maddox.”
I take a deep breath, let it out. “Oh, hey, uh, Rhys. What’s, um. What’s up?”
Barf. Why do I have to be so awkward?
“I want to see you,” he says.
“See me?”
“Yeah. Where are you?”
“Where am I? Like, physically?”
“Yes.” He laughs. “Where on the Earth are you located?”
“Right now?”
“Yes. Where are you right now?” There’s a loud noise in the background, like he’s vacuuming or something. Only Rhys wouldn’t vacuum because he’s, well, Rhys Maddox.
What the hell?
“Um.” I glance at the playground. “I’m volunteering at Santa Caterina. It’s this after school program in—God, I actually forget what the neighborhood is called. It’s not in the best area in the city…”
“You’re at Santa Caterina?”
My stomach drops again. “Do you know it?”
“No. But I’ve got Google maps. I’ll be there in twenty.”
Now I really feel like I’m going to barf. “Wait, Rhys—no. No, don’t…please, you don’t have to—”
He already hung up.
I drop my phone on the bench, my hands shaking as I smooth my hair back from my face. I feel like I just got electrocuted. Be cool, I tell myself. Stay calm.
But how in the world am I supposed to stay calm when Rhys Maddox is on his way here? After calling me? And inexplicably telling me he wants to see me?
I don’t get why he’s in such a rush. Did he just find out he has a horrible, non-curable STD he passed on to me? Is he just in a good mood after his win last night? Does he want to get naked again?
I mean, what the frick is going on?
I stand up and survey my outfit. Of course Rhys would pick the day I’m dressed like a sweaty hippie hobo to drop into my life. I was more than a little hung over this morning after yesterday’s shenanigans at the football stadium, so I only had time for cruddy jeans and a little mascara before I had to leave for class. And after hanging outside in this heat, I probably smell just lovely.
I run my hands through my hair, giving my tired waves a bit of a boost. I adjust my shirt and discreetly check for any signs of BO. The situation isn’t great, but it isn’t terrible, either.
I take another deep breath. Be cool. Be calm.
And then I laugh at the absurdity of trying to be either of those things when the hottest, sexiest human on the planet just called to say he wants to see me this very minute. I am so out of my depth here. And I can’t tell if that excites or terrifies me.
***
When the throaty rumble of an exotic sports car fills the playground, I feel like I’m going to faint. On cue, the kids drop whatever they were doing and hurry toward the fence. They let out little gasps of surprise as a black convertible Lamborghini pulls up to the curb.
I bared myself to Rhys in every sense of the word last week. I felt relatively brave then. But now? Not so much. I feel embarrassed. Some small, mean part of me thinks he came here just to make fun of me for my hairy vagina or awful, pretend o-face.
I remind myself I have nothing to lose, that I’m focusing on me, myself, and my bucket list this semester, but that doesn’t do much to slow my racing pulse.
I look down at a tug on my hand. It’s the little girl with the missing front teeth.
It’s all right, Miss Bennet, she says. That’s Batman. He is kind and generous, just like the giving tree. Although sometimes he kills people, too.
Rhys revs the engine one last time—boys and their toys, so ridiculous—before he turns off the car and climbs out, tucking his sunglasses into the front pocket of his tuxedo jacket.
That’s right. As if this whole scenario wasn’t ridiculous enough, Rhys is wearing a goddamn tuxedo. I feel like I’m in a commercial, one of those ads that’s trying to sell probiotic yogurt to middle-aged women. Rhys is one tall class of yogurt—water—whatever—in his dapper duds. I didn’t know feeling weak in the knees was actually a thing until this very moment. I grab onto the fence to steady myself.

 

Interview

TRC:  Hi Jessica, and welcome to The Reading Cafe.

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

Follow: Goodreads / Website / Twitter / Facebook

Jessica PetersonJessica:  Hi there! First, thank you very much for having me; I’m so excited to be here! So I’m a thirty-something writer living in North Carolina with my husband, Ben, and our smelly Goldendoodle, Martha Bean. My STUDY ABROAD series is based on my own experience studying in Madrid, Spain, more than ten (!) years ago.

TRC:  Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Jessica:  Great question. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but it took me a while to finally sit down and write a book. I started out writing historicals, but after I read the likes of Elle Kennedy and Kristen Callihan, I knew I had to write some smexy contemporary romance. It’s been a lot of fun!

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

Jessica:  Oh, wow, lots. I started out writing historicals for a traditional publisher, but they did not renew my contract for a second series. I was totally crushed and didn’t know where to go next with my writing. I wasn’t so sure about the indie thing, but once I started, I found I was a much happier writer–a much BETTER writer–and that I enjoyed the process so much more. It hasn’t been easy, and it’s a struggle sometimes not to get discouraged when everyone around you seems to be selling millions of books and you’re not, but I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I still get goosebumps every morning when I sit at my computer and read what I wrote the day before. It’s a dream come true for sure!

TRC:  Would you please tell us something about the premise of LESSONS IN LETTING GO?

Lessons in Letting GoJessica:  Sure! This is my first sports romance I’ve ever written, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the sports angle…maybe because I enjoyed googling shirtless footballers WAY too much. I pitch it as a hot, tortured Welsh footballer + ambitious American student + orgasm-heavy bucket list. Totally delicious!

TRC:  How many books do you have planned for the series? Can each book be read as a stand alone without any difficulty?

Jessica:  While LESSONS IN LETTING GO is the third book in the series, it can absolutely be read as a standalone–so can the previous two books in the series, SPANISH LESSONS and LESSONS IN GRAVITY.

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

Jessica:  So plotting is definitely not my strong suit, and I look to my editor for a lot of guidance there. I’m a “pantser”, meaning I don’t outline before I write (I just get bored). My method is labor intensive–edits can be a total beast–but I’d like to think it works!

TRC:  Are any of the characters or scenarios based in reality or from people you know or met?

Jessica:  None of the characters are, but this book is basically the fantasy I had when I studied abroad that I’d meet a cute footballer and he’d fall in love with me (ha!). That never happened in real life, so of course I had to write a book about it.

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?

Jessica:  Not necessarily. It certainly doesn’t for me. I read a lot of romance blogs and am active on Twitter and Facebook; if people are raving about a book, I’ll usually buy it and check it out, regardless of what the cover looks like.

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

Jessica:  The characters definitely direct the writing. It’s all about internal and external conflict–those drive the characters, which drives the plot.

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

Jessica:  My editor is AMAZING and we work really well together when it comes to plotting. When I’m stuck, or I’m brainstorming, I’ll usually give her a call and we’ll talk for, like, four hours about how to make the book work. I usually have the characters, and she has the plot ideas.

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?

Jessica:  I think it all comes back to the characters. You have to understand in them–you have to believe them and what they’re after. I think it’s especially to get the hero right in romance. I took Elizabeth Hoyt’s workshop on the hero a couple years ago at RWA, and her message–that if you get your hero right, you’re in a good place–has stuck with me.

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

Jessica:  I usually can’t listen to music when I’m writing, EXCEPT when I write a kissing or sex scene. Then music is essential. By the time I finish a book, I usually have a playlist of songs I’ve played hundreds of times. It captures the tone/mood of the story for me.

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

Jessica:  That writing is easy or enjoyable! Sure, I’m chasing down my dream job, but that doesn’t mean that I sit down at my computer with a smile and happily type away until the book is done. Most days are boring, lonely, and HARD. But then you get that one day where the plot comes together or you write a scene that gives you chills and you’re so happy you want to cry. THAT is what keeps me coming back, page after page.

TRC:  On what are you currently working?

Jessica:  I’m currently working on what was supposed to be a novella (STUDY ABROAD #3.5), but apparently I’m incapable of writing anything shorter than 60,000 words. So this next book will probably turn into a full-length novel. I’m kicking around the idea of using it to create a spin-off footballer series. We’ll see!

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else?

Jessica:  Thanks again for having me–this was so fun!

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite TV show: right now, THE CROWN on Netflix. Love anything to do with royalty!

Last movie you saw: DR. STRANGE. God I love Benedict.

Favorite Food: Right now? A great cup of coffee first thing.

Favorite Dessert: Definitely cake. Preferably from a box, with icing from a can. YUM.

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Milk chocolate all the way! Reese’s are my favorite.

Favorite Celebrity Crush: Right now I’m digging Sergio Ramos, a super hot Spanish soccer player. Google him. You won’t be sorry.

Last Vacation Destination: Colorado for some skiing.

Last book you read: EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID by Molly O’Keefe. So.damn.good.

Do you have any pets: Yes! Last year we got a Goldendoodle puppy named Martha Bean. Now I’m that crazy dog lady who treats her dog like a human. She’s the best writing companion ever!

Thank you Jessica for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of LESSONS IN LETTING GO

 

Giveaway Black and Lime

Jessica Peterson is graciously offering an ecopy of LESSON IN LETTING GO-book 3 in her Study Abroad series to three (3) lucky 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. LIKE Jessica Peterson on Facebook

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

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Please follow The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

8. Giveaway open Internationally

9.. Giveaway runs from December 12-16, 2016

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

Click HERE to enter the rafflecopter giveaway

 

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More Than Anything by Kimberly Lang – Review, Interview & Giveaway

More Than Anything by Kimberly Lang – Review, Interview & Giveaway

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More Than AnythingAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
The small, waterfront town of Magnolia Beach, Alabama, gets its fair share of tourists breezing in and out, but one handsome visitor might just be tempted to stay…
 
Running the Bay Breeze marina means Shelby Tanner is used to fielding strange requests from vacationers, but she is still less than amused when she gets a call in the middle of the night to rescue a boat stranded nearby. The clueless sailor is infuriatingly inexperienced—yet also frustratingly attractive.
 
Architect Declan Hyde only planned on stopping in Alabama briefly on his move from Chicago to Miami, but Magnolia Beach is proving to be more captivating than he imagined. For one thing, there’s the sweet, Southern charm. For another, there’s the stunning tomboy who rescued him from the bay and keeps invading his thoughts.
 
As the time draws near for Declan to weigh anchor, he begins to realize that Shelby may have saved more than his boat that night—and leaving Magnolia Beach might set his lonely heart permanently adrift…

 

Review:

More Than Anything by Kimberly Lang is the 3rd book in her Magnolia Beach series.  Shelby Tanner is our heroine in this book, and we met her in the first book of this series.   Shelby runs the Bay Breeze marina for her family, and she loves her job, even if she is always on call.   In the middle of the night, she gets an emergency call for help from a vacationer stranded on a boat.  Declan Hyde, our hero, is the stranger who needs to be rescued by Shelby.  Declan comes across as a loner, since people in Magnolia Beach never see him, including Shelby.  Declan is an architect, who is starting a new job in Miami in a couple of months.  His friend loaned him the boat to stay on, and Declan keeps to himself, reading and watching tv. 

Shelby finds him strange, but is determined to teach Declan how to use the controls on the boat in an emergency.  What follows is a friendship that will blossom into a scorching romance.  Both Declan and Shelby know this is short term only, but they are enjoying the benefits.  Declan, with Shelby’s persuasion, gets himself out into the town and meets all the townsfolk, including the overprotective Tanner family.  It was fun to watch Shelby’s family; especially her brother and cousins who put pressure on Declan.  In time, Declan learns more about Shelby, her life as the only Tanner girl, and her secret plans to upgrade the marina.  Of course, Shelby never thinks anyone will pay attention to her, but Declan pushes and helps her to explore the possibilities for the future of Bay Breeze marina.

As things continue to get hotter between Shelby and Declan, their feelings for each other become stronger, thereby creating problems when Declan’s job sends him away from Shelby and Magnolia Beach. Will Shelby be able to forget Declan?  Will Declan miss Shelby and Magnolia Beach?

I really loved their romance, and Lang did a fantastic job creating such a sweet storyline.  More Than Anything was a fun, sweet, enjoyable romance, and the town of Magnolia Beach remains a fun place to visit.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

Interview 1

Hi Kimberly.  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.

Kimberly Lang

 

Kimberly:  Hi there! I’m so happy to be here and will endeavor to be interesting (or at least entertaining!).

 

 

 

TRC:  Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Kimberly:   I’m a Sagittarius. I have a close, personal relationship with tea. I humor my dog’s neuroses a little too much sometimes. The Nerd Wars rage in my home (Liberal Arts Nerd vs. Science/Tech Nerd), and I think I am losing.  I love the soundtrack to The Little Mermaid.

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

Kimberly:  Like many English majors, I always threatened to write a book, and I always said that book would be a romance. Although I’ve been telling myself stories for years, I didn’t start writing those stories until I was in my 30s. I guess it took a while for me to work up the courage. I have a background in dance, so I was already familiar with the idea of being “good, but not good enough,” and I think that worry held me back for a while. I finally submitted my first manuscript in 2004 and sold (a completely revised version of it) in 2008.

TRC:  More Than Anything, the 3rd book in your Magnolia Beach series, was released on Tuesday.   For our members who have not read this series, can you tell us the premise of the Magnolia Beach?

Kimberly:  It’s the lives and times of the good people of Magnolia Beach, a small town on the Alabama coast, where the men are all ridiculously good-looking — and single — Alpha males.  

TRC:  How did you come up with the idea of Magnolia Beach, and how many books are you planning for this series?

Kimberly:  The Magnolia Beach books give me the chance to celebrate everything I love about the South and poke fun at it, too. It’s all rooted in truth, so there’s both freedom and joy in writing what I know. As for how many books… Well, there are more stories to tell, so if the readers are willing to read them, I’ll be happy to write them.

TRC:  Can you please give us a brief description of More Than Anything?

Kimberly:  This is Shelby Tanner’s story, the one girl in a generation of Tanner boys, who meets a handsome recluse who’s only in town for a short while. He needs something to believe in, and she needs someone to believe in her.

TRC:  You write Contemporary Romance. Have you thought about writing in other genres?

Kimberly:  I read in many genres, especially historical, and while I toy with the idea occasionally, I don’t think I’ll try.  I love contemporary too much and have too much fun writing it to do anything else.

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?

Kimberly:  I am learning to outline. I’m not great at it yet, but I’m trying. For the most part, I write in the mornings, either at my desk (with Cupid snoring behind me under the printer) or curled up in the recliner. Wherever I am, I have to have my tea. 🙂

TRC:  What books, authors or people in your life have influenced your writing? 

Kimberly:  Professionally, I’m fortunate to have a supportive group of writer friends who offer both great advice and support and are definitely an influence. Creatively, Jenny Crusie, Julia Quinn, Julie Garwood, Linda Howard, and Linda Winstead Jones — that’s the kind of writer I want to be.

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

Kimberly:   I teach a combination yoga-Pilates class (it’s fun and it combats the time I spend — and the snacking I do —  in my chair). I love crossword puzzles, and one day, I am determined to learn to knit.

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else?

Kimberly:  I borrowed a song from Chapman James, a songwriter friend of mine, to use in the book because it’s perfect for Declan and Shelby’s story. “My Soul’s in Alabama” speaks to Declan because it helps him see what he’s leaving behind. It’s a beautiful song, and you can get a listen here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/chapmanjames2

 

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Anything Mexican (please add extra guacamole).

Favorite Dessert:  Lemon things — lemon icebox pie, lemon bars, lemon cake with glaze…

Favorite TV ShowRight now, Jane the Virgin and Reign. I’m binging Reign on my own — it’s got royals and drama and romance and intrigue — and Jane the Virgin is something I’m watching with my daughter. It’s both campy and sweet, and we’re addicted.

Favorite Movie or TV Celebrity: Dame Maggie Smith.  She’s a genius in everything.

Favorite Fictional Character (not your own):  I’m loving Matthew from Jane the Virgin right now. He’s a sweet beta in an Alpha job and role. He screws up, but he owns it and his love for Jane is never in question.

Milk or Dark Chocolate:  Milk. I feel that dark requires a maturity I don’t have.

Dog or Cat:  It would break my Cupid’s heart for me to say anything other than dog.

TRC:  Thank you Kimberly, for taking the time to answer our questions.  We wish you the best of luck with More Than Anything

Kimberly:  My pleasure! Thanks for having me!

If you want to learn more about Kimberly Lang, you can check out the following links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

giveaway

Kimberly’s publisher is offering a paper copy of MORE THAN ANYTHING to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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

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

3. Please LIKE us on FACEBOOK and click GET NOTIFICATIONS

4. Please FOLLOW us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

6. Follow Kimberly Lang   on Facebook.

7. Giveaway is open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from December 8 –12, 2016

 

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Legacy of Lies by Jillian David – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Legacy of Lies by Jillian David – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

 

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Legacy of LiesAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM

Description:
Garrison Taggart doesn’t have time to deal with touchy-feely junk like “trust issues” or “feelings.” His dad’s health is waning and the family’s Wyoming ranch is being sabotaged. Too bad his supernatural ability to tell when someone is lying has been exactly zero help in ferreting out the betrayer so far. So, when sweet schoolteacher Sara Lopez raises concerns about his son being bullied, who can blame a guy for getting a little testy?

The last thing Sara needs is any more attention or gossip after her recent breakup with big-shot rancher Hank Brand. So her attraction to surly but sexy Garrison, Hank’s rival, is entirely unwanted. When she uncovers an insane plot to kidnap the Taggart boy and throws herself in harm’s way to protect him, Garrison must risk his deepest secret and his own life to save the people he cares for the most. But will his heroics cost him everything?

Review:

Legacy of Lies by Jillian David is a new series, and an author I’ve read before. So I eagerly said yes to this book. And I wasn’t disappointed…..

Sara is trying to forget her past, but coming back to her small town life isn’t going to be easy, people have long memories, and once a trouble maker, always a trouble maker. But Sara is now a teacher, she wants to make a difference, and if she can stick it here for a while, then once this job is done, Sara is out of there and she’ll look for a teaching post where no one knows her past.

Garrison is a single dad and a rancher, no time to meet women, and after being taken for every penny by the last woman he trusted, he won’t be in a hurry to trust another one.
His family, except his father, have abilities, he can sense the truth in people, his sister can find people and can feel their emotions, and her twin brother, he had an internal sat nav, he never gets lost, and had the ability to blend into the background. And a big brother who upped and left the family without an explanation (but something is mentioned in the book, that may shed some light on his reason for leaving) we don’t know his ability yet.
The ranch is a family owned ranch, but it’s not doing too well at the moment, and he really doesn’t have time to worry about bullies, and missing family members and his ailing father.
but there is just something about Sara that pulls Garrison in.

Their relationship is full of misunderstandings and distrust. But also filled with passionate kisses and tender moments.
Sara is warned by her ex to stay away from the “Taggart scum”, her boss (her ex’s brother,) also tells her to keep her nose clean, and not to interfere in the bullying of the Taggart “brat” otherwise she will lose her job, and Garrison is warned to stay away from Sara.

There is also a secondary storyline running through, and I’m sure this will be the string that keeps the stories linked.

It’s a great start to what I’m hoping is at least a four possibly five book series 😉
Oh, did I forget to mention there is a missing big brother ?

I’d recommend this book to anyone who has read this author, or to anyone that likes their stories with a mystery to solve.

Reviewed by Julie B.

Copy supplies for review

 

Guest post-White and Red

 

The Birth of Hell’s Valley!

Thanks for having me on The Reading Café, talking about my new paranormal western series, Hell’s Valley. The topic tonight is: How in the world did I come up with the idea for this series?

Let me start by saying, I’m still not sure what a “paranormal western” is, but wow, do I like it!

Here’s the rough and ready recipe:

            Start with hot ranchers, sexy cowboys, leather, lassos, horses, and log houses

            Mix in psychic/supernatural powers, dark dealings with strange neighbors, and a vendetta from the lord of the underworld.

What do you get? A Hell of a ride!

Each of the four books in the Hell’s Valley series is a standalone novel, but they are all connected together.

And the Hell’s Valley series? It’s a very loose spin-off from my first paranormal series, Hell to Pay. You definitely do NOT have to read the Hell to Pay series to enjoy Hell’s Valley, but if you do, you’ll find a bunch of fun “Easter eggs” in each book.

See, I was thinking about the last couple from my original Hell to Pay series, Ruth and Odie (she was a Civil War nurse and he was a Cajun rogue). They talked a lot about genealogy and their legacies and great-great-great grandchildren. Then at the end of the book, there was that massive threat from the big bad guy who promised to destroy their “legacy”. (I can’t get into much more detail without spoiling my entire first series and spilling all the beans on my current series — sorry!)

So I started thinking, what kind of legacy would Ruth have? Would her own strange powers flowed, even now, in her distant relatives?

Of course the answer was “yes,” and that’s how Hell’s Valley popped into being. I envisioned a ranching family in rugged western Wyoming. I imagined the ultimate evil returning and threatening the entire family. Would that family survive such an attack? How would the siblings work together to defeat such an overwhelmingly evil force?

Then I got to create a special power or two for each Taggart. And even more fun? Figuring out what made the powers — well now, I can’t go spilling all the secrets, can I?

Let’s just say Hell’s Valley is like riding a bucking bronco – the adrenaline rush blows you away, the twists and turns have you guessing the next move, and if you don’t hang on tight it’ll throw you for a loop!

Check out Legacy of Lies, Book #1 in the Hell’s Valley series! Order here: Legacy of Lies

 

giveaway

Jillian is offering e-copies of Legacy of Lies (Book #1  of Hell’s Valley series) to Three (3) lucky 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 in, 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 LIKE us on FACEBOOK and click GET NOTIFICATIONS

4. Please FOLLOW us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

6. Giveaway is open to Internationally.

7. Giveaway runs from November 13th to 17th, 2016

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Poet of the Wrong Generation by Lonnie Ostrow-Review, Interview & Giveaway

POET OF THE WRONG GENERATION by Lonnie Ostrow-Review, Interview and Giveaway

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POET OF THE WRONG GENERATION
by Lonnie Ostrow
Release Date: November 10, 2016
Genre: fiction, contemporary romance

Poet of the Wrong Generation

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

RELEASE DATE: November 10, 2016

“It’s not that I don’t love you, and my tears are yet to dry. But you can’t go back and forth forever and we’ve already said goodbye.”

Through these words, a young poet unearths his musical soul while severing ties with the woman he loves after her stunning betrayal. Unknowingly, in writing this ballad of liberation, he will soon evolve as one of the fastest rising stars on the pop music landscape.

The year is 1991; the place, New York City. Here we meet Johnny Elias, a college student from Brooklyn with boundless adoration for two things in life: timeless popular music, and the heart of a sweet, complicated young woman who is clearly out of his league.

Megan Price not only is the object of Johnny’s affection, but also the only daughter of New York’s most powerful PR woman: the indomitable Katherine Price.

Projecting that her daughter’s boyfriend will never live up to the family standard, Katherine cleverly perpetrates a series of duplicitous schemes to rid Johnny from her high-class world. But in her callous disregard, she inadvertently sets him on a determined course to his improbable musical destiny – while sending her own daughter spiraling down a path of devastation.

Poet of the Wrong Generation tells the symmetrical story of a lovable underdog and his meteoric rise to stardom, his humiliating downfall and his unprecedented attempt to reclaim his place as the unlikely musical spokesman for his generation. At the heart of Poet is a tale of star-crossed lovers and their struggle with unforeseen success and disillusionment, in an attempt to rediscover lasting harmony.

Uniquely integrating a variety of original song compositions, Poet projects the epic clash between true contentment and the fable of stardom’s rewards; a nostalgic journey through the major events of the 1990s, with a cherished cast of characters and a stunningly unpredictable conclusion.

•••••

REVIEW: POET OF THE WRONG GENERATION by Lonnie Ostrow is an amazing and cleverly written, contemporary romance story of fiction following musician Johnny Elias, and the woman he loves Megan Price.

Told from several third person points of view, POET OF THE WRONG GENERATION covers approximately six years in the life, beginning in 1991, of contemporary singer/song writer and poet Johnny Elias –from his early days in college to his meteoric rise to fame and fortune, and the eventual downfall, not of his making. The reader is front and center as twenty one year old Johnny Elias enters into the world of an upstart musician working his way to the top. Before Johnny’s life begins its quick ascent he will lose the one person who keeps his heart beating and his soul alive. Megan’s rejection of the boy that she loves is the perfect muse for our story line hero, and with it comes the fame and notoriety of celebrity status and the fortunes of success…but jealousy, revenge and betrayal are accomplices to Johnny’s fall from grace- a fall that is triggered by someone from his past.

POET OF THE WRONG GENERATION is an astonishing and profound story; a unique look at one man’s climb to the top only to be destroyed by someone else’s greed, ambition, and need for retribution and revenge; a story of forbidden love between two people whose lives will be destroyed by resentment, the hunger for power, and a need to control. Lonnie Ostrow’s POET OF THE WRONG GENERATION is a masterpiece of literary fiction for today’s generation and the next.Make POET OF THE WRONG GENERATION your next go to read and enjoy

Copy supplied by the publisher for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview

TRC: Hi Lonnie and welcome to The Reading Café.

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

Follow Lonnie: Goodreads / Website . Facebook Twitter /

Lonnie OstrowLonnie: I guess you could say that I have been an innovator, storyteller, promoter and celebrity-insider for more than two decades. With Poet Of The Wrong Generation, I combined all of my unique experiences to create a novel of love & betrayal, music & fanfare, downfall & redemption — a fable of stardom’s rewards, set in New York City during the 1990s. It’s been hailed as “the ultimate rock & roll love story.” Since 2001, I have been the publicity/marketing director & researcher for the iconic best-selling novelist Barbara T. Bradford. I also serve as an editorial and marketing consultant for a collection of first-time authors through The Editorial Department in Tucson, AZ. Previously I worked as a PR executive, promoting an assortment of first-time celebrity authors including Ray Manzarek of The Doors.

From 1995 – 2001, I was widely credited with inventing the “living celebrity postal phenomenon.” In all, I worked with more than 40 legendary personalities from the Bee Gees to Bob Dylan, Sylvester Stallone to Jackie Chan, creating media events to celebrate their postal recognition by an assortment of foreign nations.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Lonnie: Writing has been my backbone throughout my life. I recall my struggles in math and some science classes back in the middle years in grade-school. Out of need to impress my English teacher, I decided to sit down and write a handful of short-stories, which I turned in for extra credit. Mrs. Birnbaum, my 5th grade teacher, was particularly encouraging for me to continue focusing on creative writing. My college English professor in my freshman year was another great influence. Professor William Hochman pushed me to expand my skills in storytelling and in researching my subjects to create dynamic writing projects. It was my great thrill to recently present an advance copy of my debut novel to each of them.

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

Lonnie: The writing itself went rather smoothly. It took me four months of round-the-clock writing to complete the initial draft. I spent eight months working with a wonderful editor, whipping the manuscript into shape. When it was “publication-ready” I submitted query letters to more than a hundred agents. I researched the process extensively, then sent out 10 – 15 targeted letters every week for several months. It took a lot of patience and endurance of rejection before I drew interest from a trio a literary agents. I selected one based upon her enthusiasm for my project and her track record of placements for contemporary fiction. My literary agent who I signed with in 2007 became insistent on me changing my novel from a PG-rated story into something more hardcore and explicit. She insisted that it needed to be that way in order to sell my book as “adult fiction.” I tried to meet her halfway, but she was not willing to compromise her position. And I was not prepared to compromise my personal values. We reached an impasse and parted ways. I probably could have landed another agent if I had wanted to. Instead, I tucked away the project until recently when I was approached by Harmony River Press. They were perfectly comfortable with the content of my story.

Poet of the Wrong GenerationTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of POET OF THE WRONG GENERATION?

Lonnie: The great, late, Harry Chapin was sang that “sometimes life is better when we don’t get to touch our dreams.” If my story has a primary theme, this is it. Johnny Elias is a college student from Brooklyn with boundless adoration for two things in life: timeless popular music, and the heart of a sweet, complicated young woman who is clearly out of his league. Megan Price not only is the object of Johnny’s affection, but also the only daughter of New York’s most powerful PR woman: the indomitable Katherine Price. Projecting that her daughter’s boyfriend will never live up to the family standard, Katherine cleverly perpetrates a series of duplicitous schemes to rid Johnny from her high-class world. But in her callous disregard, she inadvertently sets him on a determined course to his improbable musical destiny – while sending her own daughter spiraling down a path of despair. “Poet” tells the story of a lovable underdog and his meteoric rise to stardom, his humiliating downfall and his unprecedented attempt to reclaim his place as the unlikely musical spokesman for his generation. At the heart of Poet is a tale of star-crossed lovers and their struggle with unforeseen success and disillusionment, in an attempt to rediscover lasting harmony.

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

Lonnie: Before I wrote a single page of this novel, I got to know my characters exceptionally well. They needed to feel “real” to me before I could convince readers of their authenticity. The story is rooted in some real-life incidents, and takes place in New York City in 1991 against a series of notable events. I think that using real history is essential in keeping the fiction “believable.” So much of what happens in the story has an element of reality to it, although there are a few rather sensational incidents that are eye-opening to the readers. Just not in a jarring way.

TRC: Are any of the characters or scenarios based in reality or from people you know or met?

Lonnie: There are elements in some of my characters that I find in myself and some other individuals who I know, or once knew. Johnny Elias is my protagonist. He isn’t me, but he is the fictional songwriter credited with writing and performing my song compositions. He’s the rock star who I never attempted to become. Howard Greffen is Johnny’s musical mentor. I based him loosely on a student who I went to Adelphi University with back in the early 90s. This too was a much older student with terrific musical ability. There’s a character called Larry Jacobs who is one of New York’s treasured FM radio personalities. I created him as a composite of several popular radio hosts including the legendary Cousin Brucie, whom I have had the pleasure of working with on several events.

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?

Lonnie: Absolutely. An eye-catching cover is essential, although perhaps less so today because so many readers purchase their books online, where the cover art appears smaller than a printed cover on a bookstore shelf. In my opinion, a strong cover is colorful, tells an element of the story, and best of all, it frames the title in a way that will visually resonate with readers.

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

Lonnie: The characters are my story. Yes there is a story arc which I had fleshed out in a detailed outline before writing the book. But when I sat down to write it, the characters came alive and elements of their personalities dictated the direction of secondary story lines. So many new wrinkles were worked in along the way because of how these characters influenced the pace.

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

Lonnie: My wife, Simona, was my first sounding board. I would share ideas and scenes with her as the story developed. A childhood friend, Ben Wulfsohn, was actually the first person to read the rough manuscript. Ben was helpful in the naming of a supporting character, and in helping me to catch errors like missing hyphens, quotation marks, etc. Eventually, I worked closely with an excellent editor on polishing the writing until it was ready for circulation to agents.

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?

Lonnie: I happen to work with many first-time authors in editing their novels. One thing they all have in common is that they tend to make the same mistake in their first draft. That is: they compose too much narrative summary and not enough scenes with action and dialog. The reader wants to feel like they are part of the drama with the characters. They don’t want to read about it after the fact in a wrap-up show. I’ve read entire novels that were done in this fashion and had to be completely re-written. Thankfully, if these are my clients, I make sure to point out every place where a real-time scene needs to replace the epilogue-like summary. However, there are some books out there that have been published by mainstream authors that fall into this trap. It’s quite frustrating as the reader to be “told” the story instead of being inside the minds and hearts of the characters.

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

Lonnie: My musical tastes are eclectic and range from classic rock to folk to 1970s/80s pop. But when I’m working, I strongly prefer to have on music without lyrics. Film scores are my primary choice. I have a few favorites including the soundtrack to the film Awakenings and The Last Of The Mohegans. Sad, expressive music can help me to squeeze out a more emotional scene. I also had my original song demos for the songs that are included in the story. I listened carefully to them during the time when I was ready to insert the song lyrics into my story.

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

Lonnie: To me, the most notable misconception is that just because an author writes one good book does not mean they will be able to duplicate this success, or creativity a second time. I happen to have a client author who had unprecedented exposure and sales for her first novel. Unfortunately for her, she has never been able to approach the quality of the story, or the strength of her characters in her subsequent work. Some writers really only have one good story in them. Those who are prolific at turning out a book a year are the ones who have both the skills and the deep imagination to keep on coming up with the next great protagonist and plot. But these are the rare and few.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Lonnie: I’m currently in the heart of promoting Poet Of The Wrong Generation. I’m fortunate in that I am a professional book marketer, so I’ve put together an extensive blueprint for spreading word for my debut novel. The campaign will keep me busy well into February of next year (2017). This includes my weekly blog articles, a pair of music videos, and a series of book commercials that I am producing. Beyond that, I plan to go back next spring and finish that second novel which I started long ago, but never completed. Mind you, this is not due to a lack of story, or ideas. I shelved it because I put all my focus into getting my first novel published. I’m now excited to revisit that second project with a fresh pair of eyes.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Lonnie: For readers who wish to hear the original songs contained in Poet Of The Wrong Generation, I have a page on my website where one can view a pair of music videos containing two of the more important songs from the story. The link is HERE: I know that readers will appreciate the concept of a book with an audio soundtrack.

TRC: Thank you Lonnie for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of POET OF THE WRONG GENERATION.

Giveaway-Black and Deep Blue

Lonnie’s publisher is graciously offering a’Greatest Hits of the 80s’ compilation CD to one commenter; and a paper copy of POET OF THE WRONG GENERATION to one commenter.

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Picture Perfect Wedding by Lynnette Austin – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Picture Perfect Wedding by Lynnette Austin – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

 

Picture Perfect Wedding Banner

 

Picture Perfect Wedding
Magnolia Brides series – Book #3
by Lynnette Austin
Release Date: November 1, 2016

Picture Perfect WeddingAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

Description:
One mistake can change everything…forever

Beck Elliot and Tansy Calhoun were inseparable-until Tansy left Misty Bottoms, Georgia, promising to come back after she finished school. Beck stayed behind to save the family business, dreaming of the day when Tansy would return. Instead, his trust and his heart were broken when she inexplicably married another man and bore his child.

Five years later, Tansy comes home, a sadder and wiser woman. Despite his anger, Beck finds it hard to avoid her and her adorable little daughter-especially with all the busybodies of Misty Bottoms going out of their way to throw him and Tansy together, hoping a lingering spark will reignite their enduring flame…

 

 

Review:

Picture Perfect Wedding by Lynnette Austin is the 3rd book in her wonderful Magnolia Brides series.  I have really enjoyed the first two books in this series, and once again, Lynnette Austin gives us another wonderful sweet romance, with a great couple.  In the last book, we knew that Beck and Tansy would be the leads in this book, and from the start, I was hooked again. 

In Picture Perfect Wedding, Tansy Cahoun returns home after 5 years, to Misty Bottoms, leaving behind an ex husband who gambled away all their money, and later on we learn more about Tansy’s miserable marriage.  Tansy will join her friend Jenni Beth, to help with future weddings at Magnolia Brides.  Tansy plans to find a place to build her new Sweet Dreams bakery, and she has her heart set on her former fiancée, Beck’s grandfather’s house. 

Beck Elliot has a successful contracting business, but Beck has never forgotten his true love, Tansy, who left him years before.  In fact, when Tansy returns home, Beck is a bit cold and tries to avoid her; he has never been able to forget her, nor move on.  But much to their dismay, both Beck and Tansy find themselves being pushed together by family, friends, and the whole town.  Beck is a true gentleman, and forces himself to have his men help fix up Tansy’s new place, which brings him closer to her.  Tansy has a beautiful precious 4 year little girl, Gracie Bell, and she is determined not to let her daughter lose another man in their loves, even if her ex didn’t care about either of them.

Tansy is excited to be working closely with Jenni Beth and Cricket, as we watch them plan the weddings. This was a fun part, with Tansy doing the fabulous different wedding cakes, and Cricket doing the flowers.  Jenni Beth’s Magnolia Brides business is just what Misty Bottoms needs to help rejuvenate the town. 

What follows is a sweet lovable romance that will find Beck slowly trying to convince Tansy to give their love another chance.  They both needed to overcome their fears of the past, and the addition of Gracie was another perfect choice to bring them together.  I loved every moment of this book; loved the small town atmosphere; loved all the characters; and adored the wonderful couple.   Lynnette Austin has done a masterful job in each book to make us fall in love with the leading characters.   Needless to say, I love this series, and Austin is fast becoming one of my favorite romance authors.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

Guest post-Black and White

Songs for the Bride and Groom’s First Dance

Is anything more romantic than that first dance as husband and wife? It’s unforgettable. Some bride and grooms already have “their” song, one that’s part of their journey together, the one they’ll dance to for their first spin on the dance floor as a married couple. For those who don’t, it’s important to choose the right song. One that has meaning. One that encapsulates their relationship. One they can sing to each other on the dance floor and in the years to come. For the rest of their lives, when they hear this song, they’ll be transported back to their wedding day. To new beginnings. To the start of their forever.

Unless both are extroverts, the first dance can be nerve-wracking. All eyes are on the new Mr. and Mrs. It doesn’t hurt to practice beforehand, to take an evening, push back the furniture, kick off those shoes, and enjoy the moment wrapped in each others’ arms. Hmmm…That sounds like a scene right out of a romance novel!

Then, when the bride and groom find themselves in front of friends and family, they can close their eyes or gaze into their new husband’s or wife’s eyes, and pretend it’s only the two of them. Together. In love.

In Picture Perfect Wedding, the third book in my Magnolia Brides series, Tansy Calhoun and Beck Elliot generate a lot of heat! I don’t think it’ll be long before they’re searching for their own perfect song. Because this is a second-chance romance, they’ll go for one that’s a little out of the ordinary, Back in Baby’s Arms, by Patsy Cline.

I’m back in baby’s arms,

How I missed those loving arms.

I’m back where I belong,

Back in baby’s arms.

Here’s my eclectic mix of favorite first dance songs—some old, some new:

Keeper of the Stars by Tracy Byrd. I heard Tracy perform this incredible song in the North Georgia mountains, and its poignant message has haunted me ever since. Released by Byrd in 1995, it’s timeless.

He sure knew what he was doin’

When he joined these two hearts

I hold everything

When I hold you in my arms

All of Me by John Legend. <sigh> Can I just say that Chrissy Teigen is one lucky lady? This song melts my bones!

Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran A promise of forever love regardless of future circumstances, for better or worse. It’s sheer“an” genius.

Amazed by Lone Star. A classic. The words and the message will never lose their meaning. The smell of your skin, The taste of your kiss, The way you whisper in the dark.

Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra. Dance to this one, and he’ll definitely love you to the moon and back.

So there are my top five. But wait…I have more! I love, love music, and I love, love LOVE! I just can’t stop at five.

The runners-up that I can’t leave out:

Love of My Life by Jim Buckman. Listen to these lyrics, and see if you don’t agree this is one great song!

Grow Old With Me by John Lennon. I know. The irony of this one hurts. I stood in Strawberry Fields, Central Park, a few weeks ago and wished John had been granted the gift of growing old.

At Last by Etta James. What a phenomenal song! And then the spell was cast, and here we are in Heaven, for you are mine at last. Don’t those lyrics say it all?

Can’t Help Falling In Love With You by Elvis. It had to show up on this list, didn’t it? I mean, come on, he’s the King!

Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You by Frankie Valli. As the bride, you’ll be the center of your new husband’s world…and everyone else’s as you dance.

How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) by James Taylor. And it will be sweet as you and your love start your life together.

I know I’ve missed a lot of great ones! What’s your favorite? What did you choose for your first dance?

 

Giveaway -black and white

 

Lynnette’s publisher is offering a paper copy of PICTURE PERFECT WEDDING to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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Deadly Silence (Blood Brothers #1) by Rebecca Zanetti-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

DEADLY SILENCE (Blood Brothers #1) by Rebecca Zanetti-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

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DEADLY SILENCE
Blood Brothers #1
by Rebecca Zanetti
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Genre: adult, contemporary,paranormal, romantic suspense

Deadly Silence

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM /Google Play / iBooks / Indiebound

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 4, 2016

DON’T LOOK BACK

Under siege. That’s how Ryker Jones feels. The Lost Bastards Investigative Agency he opened up with his blood brothers has lost a client in a brutal way. The past he can’t outrun is resurfacing, threatening to drag him down in the undertow. And the beautiful woman he’s been trying to keep at arm’s length is in danger…and he’ll destroy anything and anyone to keep her safe.

Paralegal Zara Remington is in over her head. She’s making risky moves at work by day and indulging in an affair with a darkly dangerous PI by night. There’s a lot Ryker isn’t telling her and the more she uncovers, the less she wants to know. But when all hell breaks loose, Ryker may be the only one to save her. If his past doesn’t catch up to them first…

••••••••••••••

REVIEW: DEADLY SILENCE is the first installment in Rebecca Zanetti’s contemporary, adult BLOOD BROTHERS paranormal, romantic suspense series-a spin off from her SIN Brothers series. This is brooding investigator Ryker Jones, and paralegal Zara Remington’s story line. You do not have to have read the original series to enjoy DEADLY SILENCE but for cohesion, backstory and connection I recommend reading The Sin Brothers series as several of the characters cross over, and the ongoing conflict continues from the original series.

Told from several third person points of view DEADLY SILENCE follows several paths: Ryker Jones and The Lost Bastards Investigative Agency are searching for a serial killer-the FBI is struggling with the investigation and the Jones brothers are running a side investigation of their own. Meanwhile paralegal Zara Remington has found herself caught in a legal conundrum between friendship and professional ethics; Ryker and Zara’s friends with benefits relationship becomes something more when Zara finds herself threatened by an unknown source; and the past is catching up with the Jones brothers who have been targeted for extinction along with their youngest charge.

Ryker is an over protective, dominant alpha male who has issues of control. His overwhelming need to ‘protect’ the woman with whom he is falling in love comes with some questionable actions and aggression. Zara is a woman who struggles with a relationship that has no potential future; and a friend is struggling with an impending divorce and is desperate for some financial help. Together Ryker and Zara must traverse a minefield of threats, as well as any threat to their possible future. The $ex scenes are numerous, graphic and provocative.

For fans and followers of Rebecca Zanetti’s SIN BROTHERS series you will recognize the ongoing conflict as the Jones brothers try to stay under the radar as it pertains to Dr. Isobel Madison aka Sylvia Daniels, and the covert government agency using experimental DNA to make the perfect super soldier. The continuing trope ventures into another direction as two more ‘family of brothers’ are brought into the fold. All of the brothers are ‘created’ in one way or another; they are experiments of Dr. Isobel Madison-a woman who is determined to destroy that which she made.

We are introduced to Ryker’s ‘brothers’-Heath and Denver Jones; and welcome the return of Jory, Shane, Nate and Matt Dean (Sin Brothers series), as well as the next generation of super soldiers Chance, Wade, Kyle and Greg who were introduced in the Sin Brothers series as well. Zara’s friend and lawyer Brock Hurst knows that his friend and co-worker is in some kind of trouble; and Sheriff Cobb- a abusive b*astard who wants retribution against the Jones brothers for sins of the past. Dr. Isobel Madison aka Sylvia Daniels returns with bigger plans for the soldiers she created.

There is quite a bit happening throughout DEADLY SILENCE with a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters that cross over between the two series. As an introductory story line DEADLY SILENCE follows several subplots where much of the conflict has yet to be resolved.

DEADLY SILENCE is a suspense filled tale with plenty of action, chaos, twist and turns but a familiar story line as Rebecca continues to focus on the genetically engineered super soldiers of Dr. Isobel Madison aka Sylvia Daniels. The premise is engaging; the characters are spirited and intense; the romance is passionate and emotional.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Deadly Silence Teaser

excerpt

 

Heat from his body washed over her, but she lifted her head to meet his gaze. “We don’t have a relationship.”
He smiled then, and the curve of his lips held more determination than amusement. “I’m not letting you run, and I’m certainly not letting you hide, baby. Although neither of us has been in this for the long haul, I’m staying in Wyoming for the moment. The first thing that’s going to happen is I’m going to figure out who dared put a hand on you and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
For the first time, she saw a side of him that gave her true pause. In the long haul, he’d be unbearably possessive. Why did that give her an intriguing sense of safety? “Knock it off,” she snapped in his face. “Get out of my business.”
That quickly, she found her back against the door and her front pinned by hard male. His hands planted on either side of her neck, his thumbs at her jaw, forcing her to look at him. “Something you need to understand and pretty damn quick is that your business is my business right now.” His thumb swept up and over the offensive bruise on her face.
“Step back.” Her voice trembled.
He ignored the very calm order. “No. You don’t want to tell me who did this? Fine. I’ll find out on my own, and I’ll have the name by the time I pick you up for supper. What you don’t want to do is deal with him or his case until I have that name. Kicking him in the balls might’ve just pissed him off more, and now you’ve let a bully stew on it for a while, which might be dangerous for you. Got it?”
“You have no right to interfere,” she whispered.
“Baby, I’ve been fuckin’ you for months. That gives me every right.” Anger glowed dark in his eyes.
“We’re done. Get out.”
His eyes softened. “You shouldn’t make statements you can’t back up.”
She shoved against his ripped abs.
He didn’t move a millimeter.
And then he did.
His head dipped, and his mouth found her neck and wandered up to her ear. His teeth scraped, and then his tongue licked the slight wound.
Of its own volition, her body did a full tremble.
He leaned back. “That.”
Her mind fuzzed.
His mouth slammed down on hers. She knew his kiss—often dreamed about it. Not soft and sweet . . . not even lustful. It was dangerous. From day one, she’d tasted danger on his tongue, and it burned her hotter than she’d ever been.
Never had she dated a bad boy, but after living her desired routine-driven life for years, she’d craved adventure, and he filled that need. He drew out a wildness she hadn’t realized she possessed.
He held her flush against the door, kissing her hard, sending a craving along her nerves that almost hurt. His tongue went to work, his left hand keeping her jaw open for him. His right hand found her hip and dragged her against the obvious bulge in his jeans. By the time he released her, she’d stopped thinking completely.
“What time are you finished today?” he asked, his breath heating her face.
“Fi-five,” she stuttered.
He leaned back and gently put her to the side. “Stay in the office until I come for you at five, Zara.” He ran his thumb across her bottom lip. “Cross me on this, baby, and I ain’t gonna be gentle.” He had already shut the door behind himself before she could take a whole breath.
She blinked several times, her fingers going to her still-tingling mouth. What had just happened?


 

Guest post-White and Red

Deadly Silence Top 5 List

Top 5 Actors to play main characters

1) Hugh Jackman would make a wonderful Ryker Jones from Deadly Silence. He’s intense, smart, dangerous, and sexy. Very, very, very, sexy. There’s a picture of him next to a motorcycle on Pinterest, and it’s perfect.

2) Jason Momoa is one of my favorite actors of all time. He’s sexy and smart…and he looks amazing without his shirt. He’s also tall, dark, and so intense. Great hero material here.

3) Emily Rose is the actress who played the lead on Haven. She’s smart and spunky, and I think she’d make a great heroine in any of the books.

4) Salli Richardson-Whitfield is beautiful, intelligent, and so graceful. She played Dr. Blake on the Eureka series, and I thought she was fantastic.

5) Chris Pratt makes for a great hero as well. It’s not only his looks (which are very nice), but his obvious sense of humor. It’d be a lot of fun to cast him.

About The Author

Rebecca ZanettiNew York Times bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti has worked as an art curator, Senate aide, lawyer, college professor, and a hearing examiner – only to culminate it all in stories about Alpha males and the women who claim them. She is a member of
RWA, has won awards for her works throughout the industry, and has a journalism degree with a poly sci emphasis from Pepperdine University as well as a Juris Doctorate from the University of Idaho.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides in the wild north with her husband, children, and extended family who inspire her
every day-or at the very least give her plenty of characters to write about.

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Dangerously Charming by Deborah Blake – Review, Interview & Giveaway

Dangerously Charming by Deborah Blake – Review & Interview, & Giveaway

 

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Description:
The Riders are three immortal brothers who protect the mythical Baba Yagas. But their time serving the witches has ended—and their new destinies are just beginning…
 
Ever since a near-fatal mistake stripped Mikhail Day and his brothers of their calling to be Riders, Day has hidden from his shame and his new, mortal life in a remote cabin in the Adirondack mountains. But when a desperate young woman appears on his doorstep, he cannot resist helping her—and cannot deny how strongly he’s drawn to her…
 
For generations, women in Jenna Quinlan’s family have been cursed to give up their first born child to the vengeful fairy Zilya. When Jenna finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she is determined to break her family’s curse and keep her baby, even if it means teaming up with a mysterious and charismatic man with demons of his own…
 
To unravel the curse, Jenna and Day will have to travel deep into the Otherworld. But the biggest challenge of the journey might not be solving an ancient puzzle but learning to heal their own broken hearts…

 

 

Review:

Dangerously Charming by Deborah Blake is the first book in her new Broken Riders series.  This is a spinoff from Blake’s successful Baba Yaga series.  I have not read that series, but this book read very well without having to read the previous series,  as the author gives us information along the way to make it easier.  However, with that being said; I enjoyed this book and Deborah Blake’s writing, and I will need to find time to read the Baba Yaga series (3 books and 2 novellas).

Mikhail Day, our hero, is a White Rider, who protected the Baba Yaga witches, and was immortal.  We learn at the start that Mikhail is a Broken Rider, after being tortured by a crazed witch in a previous story, losing his immortality.  When we meet Mikhail, he is still recovering but in seclusion.  On a stormy night a lost young lady knocks on his door to get into safety from the rains.  Mikhail’s life will once again change.

Jenna Quinlan is our heroine, and she is desperately trying to escape a fairy, who is determined to find Jenna.  It seems that Jenna is pregnant, and the fairy, Zilya has come to claim her first born child.  Jenna’s family has suffered this curse for generations, and Jenna is desperate to find a way out. 

Mikhail at first wants nothing to do with her.  All he wants is to be alone.  But he does take her to meet the fairy Queen, who would like to help Jenna, but this curse was created long before the rules changed.  As in the land of the Fae, the Queen gives a sly hint to Mikhail to help Jenna and warns Zilya to leave Jenna alone until after the baby is born.  This gives Jenna a chance to solve the curse riddle that will release Zilya’s claim. 

What follows is a fun and romantic story line, where Mikhail and Jenna will travel through the Otherworld to find the clues.  Barbara, one of the Baba Yaga witches, will offer some help in trying to unravel the riddle, but Mikhail and Jenna must do this on their own.  Despite his wanting to be alone, slowly Mikhail finds himself falling in love with Jenna, and she with him.  We also get to meet Mikhail’s brother, who is also a Broken Rider, and whose story will be next. 

The key to a good story is always to have characters you enjoy and care about.  Deborah Blake gives us this in Dangerously Charming.  I loved Mikhail and Jenna, as they made a great couple.  I loved the supporting characters, such as Barbara, the Baba Yaga witch; Gregori, Mikhail’s brother, Babs, the young daughter of Barbara, and even the Fairy Queen was nice.   This was an enjoyable read, exciting, action-filled, as they had to fight off those trying to stop Jenna; a sweet romance, great couple, as well as spending time in the land of the Fae.  Dangerously Charming is in fact a charming & fun story. I look forward to the next book in this series, and to find time to read Deborah Blake’s Baba Yaga series. 

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

Interview

Hi Deborah. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions today.We are always looking forward to reading about the author behind the book.  

TRC: Would you please tell us something about yourself? 

Deborah Blake
Deborah:
I live in rural upstate NY in a 130 year old farmhouse with three cats, my day job is running an artists’ cooperative shop a friend and I founded 17 years ago, and I am a practicing witch. Don’t worry…I’m a good witch, not a bad witch.  

 

 

 

TRC: Have you always been interested in writing? When and how did you first start writing? 

Deborah: I’ve been writing since I was a kid. (I think I wrote my first “novel” sitting at the back of a sixth grade class.) I dabbled some when I was in my teens and early twenties, but the rejections scared me off. I didn’t get serious until I was about 45 and had my first nonfiction book published. I guess you could call me a late bloomer!

TRC: Dangerously Charming is the 1st book in your Broken Riders series. Can you please tell us about the premise of this series? How many books are you planning for this series?

Deborah: The Riders were side characters in the Baba Yaga series, companions and friends of the Baba Yagas. Something BAD happened to them in the third book (hence the “broken” in Broken Rider) and this series follows the three Riders as they try to figure out new lives…and their mysterious new abilities. The Baba Yagas do make appearance in these books, too. At the moment, the plan is for three books, one for each Rider, Day, Sun, and Knight.

Dangerously Charming
TRC:
Can you please give us a brief description of Dangerously Charming?  

Deborah: Ever since a near-fatal mistake stripped Mikhail Day and his brothers of their calling to be Riders, Day has hidden from his shame and his new, mortal life in a remote cabin in the Adirondack mountains. But when a desperate young woman appears on his doorstep, he cannot resist helping her—and cannot deny how strongly he’s drawn to her…
 
For generations, women in Jenna Quinlan’s family have been cursed to give up their first born child to the vengeful fairy Zilya. When Jenna finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she is determined to break her family’s curse and keep her baby, even if it means teaming up with a mysterious and charismatic man with demons of his own…
 
To unravel the curse, Jenna and Day will have to travel deep into the Otherworld. But the biggest challenge of the journey might not be solving an ancient puzzle but learning to heal their own broken hearts… 

TRC: Broken Riders is a spin off from your Baba Yaga series.  For those who may not have read your Baba Yaga series, can you please give us a brief description of the series? 

Deborah: The Baba Yaga series is an updated version of the Russian fairy tales about a powerful witch. These days, Baba Yaga is more of a job title than an individual person, and the series features three different women—all powerful witches, but all very different—as they cope with magical challenges (and some pretty challenging non-magical men). Luckily, they have help from the Riders, and each has her own Chudo-Yudo, the Baba Yaga’s mythical dragon companion, disguised as a giant white pit bull, a huge black Newfoundland, and a massive Norwegian Forest Cat. (People would probably notice a dragon.)  

TRC: How did you come up with the idea of Baba Yaga

Deborah: My agent Elaine and I were talking one day about what I should write next. We agreed that we both liked my books that had witches as protagonists, and we both liked updated fairy tales. So I tried to figure out which fairy tales hadn’t been overused (and had witches in them that weren’t completely the bad guys) and ta da! Baba Yaga.

TRC: You write multiple genres, such as Paranormal, Romance, Fantasy, etc .   Do you have a preference on writing a genre, and have you thought of writing a different genre?

Deborah: I love both Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy I’ve written for Berkley (plus the nonfiction books on witchcraft I write for Llewellyn), but right now I’m actually working on a humorous contemporary romance. I love books that make me laugh. And romance, of course.

TRC: Can you please tell us what you working on now, and what you have upcoming in 2016/2017?

Right now I’m working on the romantic comedy, a book of cat magic, another Baba Yaga novella, and revisions on the second Rider novel, which will be out in November 2017. There will also be a second novel in the Veiled Magic series come spring, the novella towards fall, and I have a tarot deck coming out from Llewellyn in January 2017. 

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?

Deborah: I do outline. I have since about the second book I wrote, but now that I am working with an editor, I always have to submit a synopsis for each book anyway. I actually do fairly extensive outlines, since they help when I get stuck or overwhelmed. I write sitting in a red recliner or on the couch (which also reclines) in my living room, since it seems to be the easiest on my back and arms, and it also makes it easy for the cats to supervise me. I usually work in the evenings, from about 6:30 until 10:30 (give or take), although on the weekends and days off, I sometimes also do another stint in the morning. And yes, that means I work seven days a week, most of the time. 

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

Deborah: Besides cats? (laugh) I make jewelry, have an extensive garden, and I like to cook. I also am the high priestess of a small coven, so I do some magical things with the gang on occasion.   

TRC: Would you like to add anything else? 

Deborah: I love my readers—they have been so supportive of my books and my writing. I hope people will come connect with me on my blog, Facebook, and Twitter. And I hope they read and enjoy Dangerously Charming! 

To learn more about Deborah Blake, you can find her at the following links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

 

 LIGHTNING ROUND 

Favorite Food: Chocolate. No, lobster. No, chocolate. Okay, bacon.

Favorite Dessert: Tiramisu 

Favorite Movie: The Princess Bride 

Favorite TV Show: Firefly (yes, I know it is off the air—I’m still bitter) 

Favorite Movie or TV Celebrity: Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver) 

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Dark all the way 

Favorite literary character (not your own): Alanna (Tamora Pierce’s heroine) 

Dog or Cat: Cats (although I do like dogs too)   

Thank you, Deborah, for answering our questions. The Reading Café wishes you the best of luck with Dangerously Charming.

 

giveaway

Deborah’s publisher is offering a paper copy of DANGEROUSLY CHARMING to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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

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.

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

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8. Giveaway open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from October 7-11, 2016

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