Faithless Elector / Dark Network by James McCrone-Reviews, Guest Post & Giveaway

Faithless Elector/ Dark Network (Imogen Trager Series 1 & 2) by James McCrone-Reviews, Guest Post & Giveaway

Faithless Elector Banner

Dark Network
Imogen Trager #2
by James McCrone
Genre: adult, contemporary, political suspense, thriller
Release Date: October 20, 2017

Dark Network

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 20, 2017

The FBI is leaking, the Attorney General is being undermined, politicians are spinning, and social media is in an uproar. No, it’s not another day at the White House, but the world of Dark Network.

Imogen Trager, the determined heroine of the “highly suspenseful” Faithless Elector is still searching for the truth, and the nation is without a president-elect. She’ll have to fight against time, a sinister network—even her own colleagues—to defeat the conspiracy to steal the presidency. Left on the edges of the investigation, she joins forces with Trey Kelly, an FBI network specialist, also a Bureau outsider. Together, they struggle to find the back door the conspirators may have left unlocked. They’ll have to hurry. There’s only a month until the inauguration of a new president..

••••

REVIEW: DARK NETWORK is the second installment in James McCrone’s contemporary, adult IMOGEN TRAGER political drama, suspense thriller series focusing on FBI Agent Imogen ‘Gen’ Trager and the investigation into the electoral process of the United States of America. DARK NETWORK can be read as a stand alone but I recommend reading the series in order as Dark Network picks up immediately after the events of book one Faithless Elector.

NOTE: If you have not read FAITHLESS ELECTOR there may be some spoilers in my review. DARK NETWORK and FAITHLESS ELECTOR are fictional story lines and do not reflect the current political situation in the USA (conspiracy theories, aside).

Told from several third person points of view DARK NETWORK begins three days after the events of book one Faithless Elector wherein Agent Imogen Trager and Professor Duncan Calder uncovered a political nightmare of voter tampering and murder for hire in an effort to elect Republican James Christopher to the highest office in the land.

Imogen Trager has been held in seclusion by the FBI where she now faces an interrogation about the events leading to the death of rogue FBI agent Thomas Kurtz, and the shooting of her boss Agent Doug Pollack, and lover Duncan Calder. With the mysterious deaths of seven ‘electors’ and the murder of three more ‘faithless electors’ Imogen and the FBI will continue to search for the ‘dark network’ responsible starting with the voter discrepancies in Illinois. Imogen’s own investigation will pull in the FBI’s underground IT specialist Trey Kelly allowing the Agents and investigators to follow a group of unfamiliar names with connections to high ranking officials both in and out of the political eye. What ensues is the intense and thrilling manhunt as, once again, the ongoing discovery of a broken trail of bodies will hopefully lead to the people in charge.

DARK NETWORK looks at the American electoral process including the damaging potential of voter fraud; of ballot stuffing; threats and intimidation at the highest levels; and a murderous plot to ensure the ‘right’ candidate is ‘elected’ to the job. The intrigue is heart pounding; the action is full throttle; the threats are real but the sources indeterminate. The FBI knows there is a mole amid their ranks but uncovering the truth reveals a deeper connection to an unnamed source.

James McCrone pulls the reader into an exciting and tension filled tale that will captivate your imagination; blow your mind about potential conspiracies; and make you wonder when it all went wrong. Fiction that reads like reality; reality that feels like fiction-you be the judge where the black and white slowly bleeds into grey.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

___________________

Faithless ElectorFAITHLESS ELECTOR
(Imogen Trager #1)
by James McCrone
Genre: adult, contemporary, political, suspense, thriller

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 2016

Everyone thought the election was over… A young researcher uncovers a series of mysterious deaths among Electors and must race against time and a secret, deadly efficient conspiracy. In an era characterized as cynical and paranoid, Faithless Elector poses a creditable threat to the integrity of the electoral process and the selection of the president. Faithless Elector is a timely, compelling novel for our turbulent times.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: FAITHLESS ELECTOR is the first installment in James McCrone’s contemporary, adult IMOGEN TRAGER political suspense thriller series focusing on FBI Agent Imogen ‘Gen’ Trager and the investigation into the electoral process of the USA. This is thirty two year old FBI Agent and statistician Imogen Trager and forty seven year old Political Science Professor Duncan Calder’s story line.

NOTE: FAITHLESS ELECTOR is a fictional story line and does not reflect the current political situation in the USA (conspiracy theories, aside).

SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION and DEFINITIONS: In the USA ‘Faithless Electors’ are members of the Electoral College who do not vote for their party’s designated candidate.(http://www.fairvote.org/faithless_electors )

The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. A state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for the State’s Senators. The meeting of the electors takes place on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December after the presidential election. The electors meet in their respective states, where they cast their votes for President and Vice President on separate ballots. Each state’s electoral votes are counted in a joint session of Congress on the 6th of January in the year following the meeting of the electors. The Vice President, as President of the Senate, presides over the count and announces the results of the vote. The President of the Senate then declares which persons, if any, have been elected President and Vice President of the United States.

The President-Elect takes the oath of office and is sworn in as President of the United States on January 20th in the year following the Presidential election.(https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/about.html )

Told from several third person points of view including Imogen Trager and Duncan Calder FAITHLESS ELECTOR follows the investigation into the fictional 2016 US Presidential election wherein Diane Redmond is elected the first female president of the United States with an Electoral College difference of only four votes 271- 267. Graduate student Matthew Yamashita, under the mentorship of Professor Duncan Calder, begins his doctoral dissertation on party identification beginning with an analysis of the recent election, and the examination of the members of the Electoral College only to discover a series of anomalies including the ‘accidental’ deaths of seven electors. Matthew’s research will catch the attention of some powerful people who will leave a trail of bodies in their wake including Matthew himself. Enter Duncan Calder and his former Political Science student FBI Agent Imogen Trager who will be caught in a storm of mystery and intrigue involving the FBI, Attorney General, and the powerful political elite.

We are introduced to grad student Matthew Yamashita; Imogen’s FBI partner Agent Thomas Kurtz, and her boss Agent Doug Pollack.

FAITHLESS ELECTOR reads like a sociological study; a political science and statistical crash course into the United States election process and the fall out of voter tampering at the highest levels. The intrigue is heart pounding as Duncan is targeted by an unknown source that is determined to shut down anyone connected with Matthew and Duncan’s original investigation. A cross country journey finds our hero struggling to survive as each step closer to the truth brings Duncan closer to his own demise. With FBI Agent Imogen Trager working alongside, our couple will be caught in political war of conspiracy, not of their making, as they face down the people willing to kill for their own agenda and candidate.

James McCrone writes an amazing and timely thriller with a little bit of romance thrown in for good measure; a fast paced, intense story of political intrigue and mystery; a relevant look into the political process and the real potential for fraudulent elections. The premise is intellectually stimulating, engaging and realistic; the characters are colorful, inspiring and passionate. FAITHLESS ELECTOR is a fascinating and riveting look at the conceivability of the unimaginable.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Guest post-White and Red

Sailing Too Close to the Wind
by James McCrone

A well-crafted political thriller should feel “real.” To do so, it has to flirt with real events. But sometimes I worry I’m sailing just a bit too close to the wind.

In search of verisimilitude, an author works to capture the mood of a given time, to color the scene with familiar, plausible events. I wrote the draft of Faithless Elector years ago, and it was finally published it March of 2016, long before either candidate was even the their party’s nominee. Frankly, as someone writing a thriller, I was less interested in what was really happening, than in working to capture the mood of the time, the sharp, singed odor of righteous, sanctimonious, incendiary anger; the mistrust and the erosion of constitutional order. That, itself, proved to be too close to the truth.

The book, of course, is not about this most recent presidential campaign, but about what could have happened. Indeed, it could all still happen: the weaknesses in the Electoral College system exploited by the Faithless Elector conspirators, sadly, are all too real. Worse, despite my best efforts to remain fictional, Faithless Elector presaged real-world Faithless Electors casting protest votes, as well as a campaign calling the very act of voting into question and using vote-rigging as a campaign tactic. There were even “manufactured” news stories. (How I wish I’d thought to call it “fake news!”)

In both books, the technical aspects of the conspiracy were the hardest for me to get right. In Faithless Elector I had to become something of an expert on Electors and the Electoral College. I had to ground myself in Constitutional law and statistical analysis models—not so I could bore you with it, gentle readers, but so I could portray those aspects accurately and maintain the pace of a page-turning thriller. Obviously, Faithless Elector doesn’t end in the same way as the true election. It was never meant as prophecy. Nevertheless, I wondered and worried about sailing my fictional course too close to the wind. I comforted myself, wrongly it turns out, that Dark Network would not be so potentially controversial or inadvertently relevant. How wrong I was!

As I worked to finish the draft with my editor back in April, the news was full of hacking, chicanery and fake news; and worse, the FBI itself had come under scrutiny, had itself become part of the story. Unfortunately (for me), to write Dark Network, I also had to become versed in the workings of the FBI, its hierarchy, its processes. I had to do research on how to track and hack cell phones, how to mask GPS signals. I had to figure out how much information was shared between clandestine organizations and the FBI, under what circumstances and by what mechanisms. At one point, I worried the FBI would come knocking, wondering what I was up to!

The epigram for Dark Network comes from Adam Smith, the 18th century Scottish philosopher: “Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience.”

Dark Network is about power. The umbral conspirators are bent on taking power for themselves at the expense of everything we hold dear. The chilling, dark recognition at the heart of the plot is that the conspirators would say they were seizing power in order to preserve everything we hold dear. They are doing the right thing, they would say. And people who are doing the right thing are rarely troubled by scruples or conscience. Why would they be?

The tension for the characters in the novel centers on how far they’re prepared to go in defense of their own principles before they’ve abandoned them all. Let’s hope there are fewer real-world analogues this time out. But, given how many things I’ve written have come to pass, when you read the third and final book in the series, Consent of the Governed (fall 2018), you’ll know why I dread the sharp knock at the door.

About The Author

Follow James: Website / Twitter /Facebook / Goodreads

James McCroneJames McCrone is the author of the Imogen Trager novels, Faithless Elector and Dark Network, suspense-thrillers about clandestine threats to the presidency. Coming next, Consent of the Governed!

James’s work both on an off the page deals with justice, politics and issues of personal and social responsibility. He received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of Washington in Seattle. He is back in the US, in Philadelphia, after a year abroad in Oxford, UK.

giveaway

James is graciously offering a signed, paper copy of FAITHLESS ELECTOR to ONE (1) lucky commenter, and a signed paper copy of DARK NETWORK to ONE (1) other 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 and Follow James McCrone on Twitter or Goodreads

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

5. Please 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 to USA and CANADA only

9.. Giveaway runs from October 21-25, 2017

Share

Concierge (Black Raven #3) by Stella Barcelona-Review, Interview & Giveaway

Concierge (Black Raven #3) by Stella Barcelona-Review, Interview & Giveaway

Concierge Banner

CONCIERGE
Black Raven #3
by Stella Barcelona
Release Date: September 27, 2017
Genre: adult ,contemporary, suspense

Concierge

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

About the book:

The Concierge delivers anything…for a price.
A provider in the underworld of human trafficking, the Concierge fills deviant orders of an exclusive clientele with inventory collected from people who live on the streets. As client requests are delivered, a personal obsession with New Orleans artist Andi Hutchenson festers…until the predator’s quest is possession..

Andi Hutchenson lives in a world of fear-fueled shadows. Two and a half years ago, Andi was kidnapped, tortured, and left for dead. Since then, crippling fear has ruled her life. Round the clock security enables her to leave her French Quarter home to paint the world around her, but Andi’s past is about to collide with her lonely present.

Gabe Hernandez believes his client is safe…but she isn’t. Protecting Andi is a given, but Black Raven Agent Gabe Hernandez is captivated by her and wants to entice her back to the land of the living. Yet with each tug on the lifeline he offers, Gabe is pulled deeper into Andi’s world, where the dividing line between imagined horrors and real-life demons is whisper thin.

••••••••

Review:

Concierge begins with Andi Hutchenson believing that she’s seen a young woman kidnapped in broad daylight in the French Quarter, not far from her home. The Black Raven agents assigned to her detail saw nothing. Which causes Andi more stress because she doesn’t know if the agents are lacking or if she’s having hallucinations. Due to the fact that Andi is best friends with one of Black Raven’s founding partners, who still feels somewhat responsible for what happened to Andi, she is a high priority client. When she fires yet another agent, they send in Gabe Hernandez.

Agent Hernandez is known for his quick wit and his charm, but even more for his almost empathic abilities. Once he makes the scene, it doesn’t take too long for him to ascertain that there is more to Andi than meets the eye. She has basically shut herself off from society, the same society that she once enjoyed, almost to the extreme. But what makes her stand out for Gabe, other than being a beyond gifted artist, is the way she sees herself….broken. That is NOT what he sees. He sees a beautiful, determined woman who is doing her best to navigate through what’s happened to her and try and make herself whole again. He makes it his mission to get her see to herself the way he does: unstoppable.

Andi tries to resist Gabe’s charm. She’s never even known another agent’s name. He invades her space, almost daring her to fire him, which she wants to do, but for some reason can’t. She eventually starts to feel something she hasn’t felt for two and a half years….safe. Just as Gabe starts to convince her that he’s the real deal, and so is she, evil rears its ugly head and upsets the calm they’ve been striving for. As Gabe and almost the entire Black Raven team race against the clock to save Andi, all he can do is pray that she’s still alive.

Wow……….just wow.

Concierge is an intense story from beginning to end. Your heart breaks for Andi and what she’s endured. It will also beat with pride as she is determined to make it out the other side of what happened to her. Yes, there are times that she doesn’t think she’ll be able to do it. Yes, there are times that she second guesses all aspects of her life that led up to her being kidnapped and tortured. Gabe is just what she needed. Of course, he’s charming and all of that, but it’s his empathic side that allows him to see Andi in a way that she doesn’t even see herself. All she has to do is believe in herself and in his steadfast support. Easier said than done when you’ve been through what she’s been through.

I have to say that there are a couple of parts of this book that are very dark. One particular scene in the beginning almost had me putting the book down, but I will say that I’m glad I didn’t. The Concierge (character) is a twisted, perverse being and Barcelona held nothing back in her portrayal of that character. Thankfully, there are only a few scenes where we are subjected to the Concierge’s whims. With all of that said, this book is by far my favorite in the series, and that’s saying a lot. Intense really isn’t a good enough word to describe it, but that’s what I’m going with. There is also not a problem reading this as a standalone. If you’re a fan of fast paced thrillers with phenomenal leads, sizzling romance and awesome secondary characters, you will never go wrong with one of Barcelona’s stories. I cannot wait for the next installment. Well done, Stella Barcelona! Very, very well done!!! (p.s. Stella Barcelona, please tell me Ragno’s story is coming soon!!!!)

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Deceived
Shadows
Jigsaw
Concierge

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M.

Interview

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

stella barcelonaStella: Thank you so much for inviting me. It’s great to be here.

TRC: Congratulations on the release of CONCIERGE, the third book in your BLACK RAVEN series.

Stella: Thank you!

TRC: We would like to start with some background information for anyone who doesn’t know Stella Barcelona. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Follow Stella: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

Stella: I write romantic thrillers. When I’m not writing, I’m a lawyer. I work for a court in New Orleans, Louisiana. I’ve lived in and around New Orleans my entire life. During one very special time in my past, I lived in an apartment in the heart of the French Quarter, in Jackson Square. I’m also a dog lover, and I have two adorable papillons, who appear occasionally on my website and my Facebook page.

TRC: What has been happening in your life since last we spoke?

Stella: I’ve been busy writing! As you know, Deceived was published in 2014. Since then, I released Shadows and Jigsaw, and most recently I released Concierge.

I’ve also revamped my website, stellabarcelona.com. I write blogs from time to time, some book related, some not. I’ve included book club discussion questions on my website for each of my novels; the discussion questions give insight regarding themes that intrigued me as I wrote each novel. I also have an “Ask Stella” blog, where people ask questions that I answer on my site. I love to hear from readers, so please visit my website and say hello!

ConciergeTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of CONCIERGE and THE BLACK RAVEN series?

Stella: “Black Raven” is shorthand for a continuing character in my novels, the security agency Black Raven Private Security Contractors. Each story that I write in the Black Raven series involves a high-stakes job for one or more agents.

In Concierge, A Black Raven Novel, after spending time in far away places in Shadows and Jigsaw, the action returns to New Orleans, Louisiana. The story involves a private security detail provided by Black Raven for an artist, where the job quickly goes awry in unexpected ways.

Concierge is set in and around a neighborhood where I once lived—the French Quarter. In the story, I provide a local’s glimpse of the chaos that ensues in the days leading to Fat Tuesday. It’s a thriller, where the action takes place along Royal Street, Frenchmen Street, Esplanade Avenue, and beyond.

Twists and turns will take the reader along French Quarter streets, into a world where peril ensnares vulnerable people who make the streets their home. In particular, a young musician who goes by the name “Pic” plays an important role in Concierge. Pic, a runaway who lives on the streets, was inspired by people I encountered while living in the Pontalba Apartments, in Jackson Square.

TRC: What kind of research/plotting do you do, and how long do you spend researching /plotting before beginning a book?

Stella: Although I spend significant pre-writing time conceptualizing each story, the time that I spend researching and plotting varies with each book.

In the pre-writing time, I usually develop the parameters of the Black Raven job that will drive the story. From there, I research thematic elements. My research results tend to drive some of the plot points. I add character development into the mix, and then I research the setting.

I develop points for chapters and scenes and lay everything out on a plot board, following, somewhat loosely, the method of plotting by color I learned from fellow author, and friend, Cherry Adair. I tend to rearrange everything for a while and obsess even more about various plot points and characterization. When I’m really, really tired of plotting, I start writing.

TRC: How do you select the names for your characters?

Stella: Names are difficult! I’m somewhat random with name selection in the beginning, then have to change the names midway through the story. For example, when writing Jigsaw I realized I had several characters with names that started with an “M.” It was confusing, so I had to come up with new names. It wasn’t fun, because I had been working on the story for months. It was hard to think of the characters with their new names.

TRC: How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

Stella: If anything, it made me more determined to be a productive author. My goal was never to simply write one book and then stop. My goal has always been to be a storyteller. Since stories always play in my mind, I have more than one story to tell. Finding readers for Deceived, my first novel, and each subsequent novel, has made the entire process a worthwhile, rewarding endeavor.

TRC: What was your hardest scene –ever-to write?

Stella: There are a few that come to mind, BUT, the hardest, by far, was one particular bridge scene in Jigsaw. I’m trying not to give too much away- but the scene takes place in Paris, on the Pont Neuf. The hero, Zeus Hernandez, has to think and act fast to stop an explosion. The scene is short, but it took me forever to write. To this day, I can’t explain why it was so difficult for me.

TRC: There is a fine line between romance, erotic, and erotica in many of today’s popular contemporary fiction. Many authors are re-issuing their previously erotic story lines with ‘cleaner’ versions without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. What do you believe has precipitated this move or change in direction?

Stella: Though my novels have a sensual element, I don’t consider myself an erotica author. I can’t really speculate on the reasons why erotica authors may be re-issuing their books with ‘cleaner’ versions. It sounds interesting, though, and it makes me wonder whether the reverse would work as well. Should authors of non-erotic fiction re-issue their books with more erotic scenes set within?

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?

Stella: I believe covers are extremely important, but truly, I think the quality of the story told within is even more important than the cover. Nevertheless, because of the importance of having covers that capture the imagination of readers, I tend to be extremely selective regarding cover elements. Recently, I wrote a blog about the cover of Concierge on my website. The blog, entitled “Musings…On the Cover of Concierge,” gives a bit of insight as to the depth of my obsession with covers.

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

Stella: Yes! I love to listen to music as I write. The louder it is, the better! It’s difficult to explain why music facilitates my writing, but I think the beat translates to story pacing. Fast paced songs remind me to incorporate action, while slower, more emotional songs remind me to reveal what my characters are feeling.

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

Stella: One misconception is that authors always feel inspired to write. In reality, at least for me, getting from the beginning to the end of a reader-worthy story is hard work that requires extreme diligence and self-discipline.

Also, I’m not sure the creative process will ever become easy, even though writing is something I love to do. I equate the difficulty that comes with producing a novel with the sort of difficulty I experienced in my third and final year of law school. The classes in that third year weren’t magically easier just because I had been through two years of law school. To perform in that third year at the level I hoped to achieve, I still had to work hard. The same goes with writing.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Stella: I’m writing my next Black Raven novel, entitled “Insertion.” It’s set in Alaska … and … Stay tuned! It will be released in 2018.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Stella: Yes – I love to hear from readers, so please reach out and say hi, either on Facebook or through my website.

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

Stella: You’re welcome, and thank you!

Giveaway

Stella is graciously offering a $25 Amazon gift card + a hand-blown glass fleur de lis paperweight + an autographed copy of Concierge. 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 and Follow Stella Barcelona on Facebook

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

5. Please 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 to USA only

9.. Giveaway runs from October 13-18, 2017

Share

Barking Up The Wrong Tree by Jenn McKinlay – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Barking Up The Wrong Tree by Jenn McKinlay – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

 

Barking Up the Wrong Tree Banner

 

Barking Up the Wrong TreeAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
LOVE IS A FOUR-LEGGED WORD.

Carly DeCusati returned home to Bluff Point, Maine, with her tail between her legs. But she’s determined to get her life back on track—and that means finding new homes for the elderly golden retriever and overly talkative parrot she inherited before her old life fell apart.

Enter physical therapist and hot one-night stand James Sinclair. James doesn’t care that Carly doesn’t do relationships. He is determined to win her heart, promising to help her with the pets if she’ll just give him the time of day.

Carly agrees to date the irresistible James, and, for the first time in years, she’s dreaming of a happily ever after. But James has secrets, and if he can’t open up to Carly, their future could go to the dogs…

 

 

Review:

Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Jenn McKinlay is the 2nd book in her Bluff Point Romance series.  Barking up the Wrong Tree continues the trend of a sweet cute romance that McKinlay gave us in the first book.   This series not only has cute animals, but a fantastic group of friends.    Carly Decusati, our heroine, has returned home to Bluff Point, Maine, with the help of her friends, to stay temporarily, until she finds a new job.  Carly, much to her displeasure was left to care for a senior dog (Saul) and a parrot (Ike), who loves to curse.  Carly does not do relationships, whether its men or animals. But sometimes things don’t go as planned.

James Sinclair has recently moved to Bluff Point, and when he sees the gorgeous and outgoing Carly, he is determined to get to know her better.  They end up having a one night stand, which James wants more of, but Carly is afraid to become attached…”no relationships”     I actually loved the hot hot James, who was a lot of fun.  He will do everything to win Carly over, even if he has to play just being a friend.  Early on, I kind of was annoyed by Carly, with her stubborn insistence to find homes for the pets and ignore her  growing feelings for James.

Other then Carly’s stubbornness, this was such fun enjoyable book.  James was fantastic in the many ways he would entice Carly, and by the half way point, she was succumbing to her feelings.  When James’s family comes out for a birthday party for his Dad, Carly is forced to help plan the party, which brings her into James life and great family. That was a lot of fun, especially when Carly knows she is falling in love with James.  They both had bad experiences with love that defined the story, and together they will both face their nemesis to get past those issues. 

It was great to see Mac & Gavin again, as well as Carly’s other girlfriends & the guys.  The camaraderie between them all was terrific.  As for the animals, they played a major part of this story.  Saul, the senior dog was quiet, but loving, which slowly wore Carly down.  James’s dog was very sweet, especially with him being handicapped and Ike was a riot throughout.  LOL

What follows is a sweet romance that was slow build, for Carly only, as James knew what he wanted; the two dogs and parrot added a nice element to the story, with much humor;  and a fabulous group of friends that were so much fun.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree was such an enjoyable read, fun, with likeable characters and very well written by Jenn McKinlay.  If you enjoy pure simple small town romances, fantastic secondary characters, humorous and fun camaraderie and two adorable dogs, and a rascal parrot, then should be reading this series. 

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

Guest post-White and Red

Hello, Reading Café, thanks so much for inviting me to visit. Barking Up the Wrong Tree, the second in my romantic comedy series, is out this week so it’s a very exciting time for me!

People frequently ask me what the inspiration for this series was. Quite simply, I am an animal lover – big time. If I am being completely honest, I love most animals more than I love most people. At a party, I am the one in the backyard, throwing the tennis ball for the host’s golden retriever or I’m the person who doesn’t move from her seat because the host’s cat has decided my lap is the place to be, and I can’t dislodge the cat, now can I?

In my own life, I live in a house overrun by pets. Currently, we have two dogs, two cats, and a fish who won’t die. No, I’m serious. Our neighbor gave us to him ten years ago to fish sit while he painted his living room. Kevin (named after the neighbor) is still here, while the neighbor has moved, left the state actually.

When I came up with the Bluff Point series, it was definitely with the intention to indulge in my love of animals, and so far I have had the best time. A puppy is the catalyst for romance in the first book ABOUT A DOG, and a geriatric golden retriever, Saul, a foul-mouthed parrot, Ike, and a disabled basset hound, Hot Wheels, are the champions of BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE. In January, EVERY DOG HAS HIS DAY, will feature an orange tabby, Chaos, and his bosom buddy a brown standard poodle named Rufus.

In BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE, our heroine inherits her pets and being averse to commitments of all kinds, this is anything but good news for her as you can read in this excerpt.

Excerpt:

     “Let’s just get on with it, dude,” Carly Decusati said.

     She figured Bartholomew Schuster would consider “dude” even more appalling than “Barry”. She was right. Instead of correcting her, however, he simply sighed as if he were being forced to do community service helping the rude and sarcastic.

     He opened his briefcase and pulled out a stack of papers. “It’s fairly straightforward. You sign these documents and the items Mrs. Genaro has bequeathed you become yours.”

     Carly looked at Barry. His face was a mask of benevolent innocence. That’s why she hated lawyers. You could never tell when they were hiding something.

     “She wasn’t rich was she?” she asked. “You’re not holding out on me, are you, Barry?”

     “Uh, no,” he said. “Her assets were minimal.”

     Carly glanced back at her friend Jillian Braedon. “See? Told you so.”

     She signed the papers and then handed Barry his pen.

     “So hit me, what’d she give me?”

     “One moment,” he said. He walked over to the door and stuck his head out into the hallway. “In here, please.”

     Jillian and Carly exchanged an intrigued glance.

     “Maybe it’s a piano,” Carly said. “I’ve always wanted a piano.”

     “What if it’s a leg lamp?”

     “From Fragile, Italy?” Carly asked. Then she started laughing. “Yeah, that’d be my luck.”

     Two burly moving men, wearing brown coveralls, came into the apartment. One was carrying a large glass bowl filled with water and a very round goldfish, aptly named Goldie by Mrs. Genaro. The other one was carrying a large rectangular case with a fierce looking lizard, Spike, Mrs. G’s pet reptile in it. Carly felt herself start to sweat. What exactly had she signed?

     The men set the pets down on the table and left the apartment. They didn’t shut the door, leaving Carly to believe there was more.

     “Oh, no,” Carly said. She looked at Barry as the panic began to fill her insides like water on the rise. “She didn’t.”

     “She did.” Barry looked smug.

     “What?” Jillian asked. “What’s going on?”

     Just then the men returned. One had a pretty golden retriever on a leash, the other carried a large rectangular object, draped with a cloth. The dog, Mrs. Genaro’s companion Saul, tipped his head to the side as if considering Carly. She ignored him, hoping with all of her might that there was a huge misunderstanding happening here.

      The man set the big object down in the middle of the room and stepped back. Carly grabbed a side of the sheet draped over it and gave it a good yank. Sure enough, there he was in all of his green feathered glory Mrs. G’s beloved parrot.

     “Hello, Ike,” Carly said. “Long time no see.”

     “Oh, for fork’s sake,” Ike squawked, except he didn’t say fork.

And this is why I love having animals in the books, you just never know what they’ll do next! Carly plans to unload these inherited pets at her first opportunity but then she meets hot physical therapist James Sinclair, who happens to live in a lighthouse, and all of her carefully laid plans fly the coop so to speak. If you’re looking for some hilarity and hijinks, and a story that will hit you in all the feels, I definitely recommend a visit to Bluff Point.

Happy Reading!
Jenn

 

Giveaway

Jenn McKinlay’s publisher, Berkley is offering a paper copy of BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE to ONE (1) 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. Please follow Jenn McKinlay on Facebook.

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

5. LIKE The Reading Cafe on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please follow The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

7. Giveaway is open to  US only.

8. Giveaway runs from September 29,- October 3, 2017

 

 

Berkley

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Share

Heart of Honor (Knights of Honor #5) by Alexa Aston-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

HEART OF HONOR (Knights of Honor #5) by Alexa Aston-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Heart of Honor Banner

HEART OF HONOR
Knights of Honor #5
by Alexa Aston
Release Date: August 21, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, medieval romance

Heart of Honor

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.au / Amazon.uk /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date August 21, 2017

1375 A.D. – When Sir Christopher “Kit” Emory’s beloved mother falls ill, he decides to seek the help of someone he met briefly at the royal court years ago—Lady Alys de Montfort, a renowned healer despite her young age. While traveling to her home at Kinwick Castle, Kit is accosted by a band of highwayman, who beat and rob him, leaving him to die. Fortunately, an escort party comes across him and Lady Alys insists they take the stranger home so she can use her skill in the healing arts to save his life.

The man awakens and has no memory of his identity, but Alys believes he might be Kit Emory, a young man she’d met once when she was a young girl. Kit comforted her when the queen died and Alys never forgot his kindness to her. Alys does what she can to jog Kit’s memory, even as she struggles with her growing attraction to him, knowing Kit was betrothed and must now be wed. Kit also finds his desire deepening for Alys, but he doesn’t know his own name, much less if he has a wife or family. Until he recalls who he is, he refuses to commit his heart to Alys.

Once Kit regains his memory and realizes he is free to pursue Alys, their road to love is anything but smooth.

Join Kit and Alys as they overcome events that continue to tear them apart and threaten the love they have for one another.

Each book in the Knights of Honor series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.

••••••••••••••

REVIEW: Heart of Honor is a medieval romance and book five of the Knights of Honor series by Alexa Aston.

This is the story of Christopher Emory and Alys de Montfort. If you are fortunate enough to have read the other books in this series, you will recognize Alys as the daughter of Lord Geoffrey and Lady Merryn. This wonderful story is every bit as talentedly written as the others.

Alys is in court and serving the ailing Queen Phillipa when she meets Kit (aka Christopher). He has been sent by the king to ask Alys to attend to the king’s headache. She also was requested by the queen to bring the king to see the queen. They have a momentous first meeting and the king attends the queen on her deathbed. This is also where she learns Kit (the only man to attract her attentions) is betrothed to another.

Six years later, Alys is home at Kinwick castle and learning more from her beloved mother. Her father and others have just returned from fighting the French. Kit has also returned from the war to find his beloved mother ill, his unbeloved wife dead. With his mother very ill, he remembers the lovely girl (the only one he’s ever been really attracted to) comes to mind as a wonderful healer and the wife he really wants to have. He immediately sets out to retrieve the Lady Alys for both reasons.

On his way to Kinwick, he is beset by robbers. The Montfort’s are escorting their sons back to their fostering home and find the unconscious man, stripped naked and left for dead. Alys doesn’t recognize him but sends for a cart and they take him to Kinwick for healing.

This is what begins this marvelously romantic and adventurous story. The twists are heart rending and the love scenes are heart thumping. The story is fast paced and full of familiar and wonderful characters. The two main characters are wonderfully developed and capture you heart.

If you’re a fan of this series, this story does not disappoint. If you have not read this series, Good Lord why not? These are tales of knights of honor and adventure, love at its finest. Do yourself a favor and put these in your collection or your TBR. You’ll be happy, I promise.

Click HERE for Georgianna’s review of book 3 CODE OF HONOR

Copy supplied for review.

Reviewed by Georgianna S

Guest Post

The Code of a Medieval Knight

I’m in the middle of writing my Knights of Honor English medieval romance series, so I’ve been doing tons of research about knights—their training, their oath of knighthood ceremony, and what they are responsible for once they’ve become a knight of the realm.

Various sources report about the vows every knight took. French literary historian Leon Gautier published La Chevalerie in 1883, where he tried to summarize many of the vows knights took into what he termed the Ten Commandments of Chivalry. They included:
• Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches and thou shalt observe all its directions
• Thou shalt defend the Church.
• Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
• Thou shalt love the country in which thou wast born.
• Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
• Thou shalt make war against the infidel without cessation and without mercy.
• Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
• Thou shalt never lie, and shalt remain faithful to thy pledged word.
• Thou shalt be generous, and give largesse to everyone.
• Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil
In The Song of Roland (La Chanson de Roland), an epic poem based upon 778’s Battle of Roncevaux, Charlemagne’s knights adhered to this code of honor:
• To fear God and maintain His Church
• To serve the liege lord in valour and faith
• To protect the weak and defenceless
• To give succour to widows and orphans
• To refrain from the wanton giving of offence
• To live by honour and for glory
• To despise pecuniary reward
• To fight for the welfare of all
• To obey those placed in authority
• To guard the honour of fellow knights
• To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit
• To keep faith
• At all times to speak the truth
• To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun
• To respect the honour of women
• Never refuse a challenge from an equal
• Never turn the back upon a foe
Taking all of these vows into account, I began crafting my different heroes and their stories. In my first Knights of Honor tale, Word of Honor, I combined a few of these ideas and had my hero Geoffrey de Montfort remain true to the word he had pledged to another and living a life of honor by keeping a sacred promise—even though it almost costs him the woman he loves, his wife, Merryn.

In Book 2, Marked by Honor, my knight Raynor Le Roux must protect weak and defenseless (or is she?) heroine Beatrice Bordel. He also must persevere to the end and remain true to his commitment to deliver Beatrice to her betrothed, although his heart breaks in doing so, for he has fallen in love with this lady.

Book 3, Code of Honor, has knight Michael Devereux valiantly serving his liege lord, Geoffrey de Montfort—and falling in love with Geoffrey’s niece—as well as keeping his faith in God and restoring his mother to her rightful, honorable position.

Journey to Honor, Book 4, features Kenric Fairfax, a fierce knight who believes he hasn’t lived up to his knightly code and hacks off his hard-won spurs, which reveals to the world he’s fallen short of his duties. With the help—and love—of heroine Avelyn Le Cler, Kenric redeems his honor and once more is seen wearing his spurs.

In my latest release, Book 5’s Heart of Honor, hero Kit Emory doesn’t even know if he’s a knight! Kit was attacked on the road and suffered a head injury, causing amnesia so severe that he doesn’t even know his own name. Heroine Alys de Montfort helps in the recovery of his memory, and Kit rises to the challenge, showing his valor and resourcefulness.

As I continue writing this series, I will weave in as many of these knightly tenets as I can!

One random commenter will win an electronic copy of Heart of Honor.

Stay in touch with me through my social media sites:

Website: https://alexaaston.com
Blog: http://www.embracingromance.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexaAston
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoralexaaston
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15846438.Alexa_Aston
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/alexaaston
Newsletter: http://madmimi.com/signups/422152/join

(A special thanks again to The Reading Café for having me as their guest today. They have been supportive of my Lauren Linwood books and now my Alexa Aston books, as well.)

giveaway

Alexa Aston offering an ecopy of HEART OF HONOR 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. Follow Alexa Aston 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 is open INTERNATIONALLY

9. Giveaway runs from September 2-6, 2017

 

Share

The Flirtation (The Submissive #10) by Tara Sue Me-Rview, Guest Post & Giveaway

THE FLIRTATION (The Submissive #10) by Tara Sue Me- Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

The Flirtation Banner

THE FLIRTATION
The Submissive #10
by Tara Sue Me
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, BDSM, romance

The Flirtation

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date August 8, 2017

Lynne has not wanted for anything since she began working as Nathaniel and Abby’s nanny–until the night they invite her to a group BDSM meeting. The abrupt breakup she had with her last Dom made her turn her back on the lifestyle, but now she’s ready to dive back in. When she starts chatting on online BDSM message boards, she’s shocked to discover Simon, her former Dom, is a frequent poster–and even more shocked at herself when she creates a secret identity and strikes up a conversation.

After messaging with a mysterious submissive online, Simon forms an immediate connection. Lynne and Simon’s D/s relationship grows in intensity, but can their relationship survive after the truth is exposed, and Lynne’s identity is laid bare?

•••••••••••••••

REVIEW: THE FLIRTATION is the tenth installment in Tara Sue Me’s contemporary, adult THE SUBMISSIVE erotic, BDSM romance series. This is Dominant and sadist Simon Neal, and masochist, nanny and college student Lynne Ryder’s story line. THE FLIRTATION can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary. Several characters from previous installments, including Nathaniel and Abby West, cross over for cohesion and familiarity.

NOTE: If you have issues with S & M (Sadism and Masochism) including whipping, flogging, spanking and punishment, this story line may not be for you.

Told from dual third person points of view (Simon and Lynne) THE FLIRTATION is a second chance romance story line that focuses on the rekindling relationship between Dominant and sadist Simon Neal, and the woman he claims as his own-masochist, and nanny Lynne Ryder. Months earlier Lynne Ryder was the submissive to Simon Neal but when Simon abruptly cut off their relationship Lynne found her life spiraling out of control including the loss of her job, a broken heart, and leaving the lifestyle she was growing to love. Working for Nathaniel and Abby West as their live-in nanny Lynne took stock of her life and with the decision to return to school to become a primary school teacher, our heroine found herself living in the West’s Manhattan penthouse, preparing for a future at Columbia University. But curiosity got the best of Lynne Ryder, as she began an internet search of the man who broke her heart-Simon Neal-masochist and Manhattan Dominant-and the man with whom Lynne had fallen in love. What ensues is an online relationship of lies between Lynne and Simon-a relationship that will fall apart when Simon discovers the truth about the woman he believes is someone else.

THE FLIRTATION is a story of second chances but Simon and Lynne will fall victim to an act of vengeance, jealousy and betrayal. Not only will Simon and Lynne be targeted but so will Simon’s New York BDSM club-a club that prides itself in privacy and anonymity. With so many unresolved issues between them Lynne’s lies add fire to an already volatile situation.

The relationship between Simon and Lynne is one of second chances but Lynne’s lies and online fake persona push Simon when the truth is revealed. The numerous $ex scenes are intimate; the S & M scenes are erotic and intense but may not be suitable for all readers.

There are a large number of secondary and supporting characters including Nathaniel and Abby (The Submissive Series), Dominants Cole Johnson and Luke DeVaan, as well as submissive Anna Beth.

THE FLIRTATION is a sexually graphic story line. The premise is interesting but the secondary conflict, the threats against our story line couple, seemed unnecessary and overdone. In my opinion it was a futile attempt to bring suspense into an otherwise predictable story line. The characters are colorful and energetic; the romance is erotic and intense. I received an ARC copy for review and the story line ended at 70%. The remaining 30% was a bonus novella-THE CLAIMING-originally released in September 2016.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

guest post

When I finished writing THE TRAINING, I had no plans to write anything else with Nathaniel and Abby. Their story had been told. After all, not only did I leave them happily engaged, but the Epilogue gave a sneak peek into their life after children.

But as soon as THE TRAINING was published,I started to hear from readers about how they wanted to see the wedding and the honeymoon. There wasn’t enough story to write an entire novel, so I decided to do a novella, THE CHALET.

And I still got requests for more.

So I thought about it and realized if I continued AND expanded, I not only got the opportunity to explore the relationships of different couples, but also to get glimpses of Nathaniel and Abby. In writing what would become THE ENTICEMENT, I realized that Nathaniel and Abby still had a lot of story left in their journey. After all, life doesn’t end with the Happily-Ever-After. That’s when it begins.

Because, you see, the wedding is never the end of the story, but the gateway into an entirely different one. There is so much that happens AFTER the couple gets together, AFTER the honeymoon, and yes, AFTER the kids are born. And it’s raw and real. It’s sexy and intimate. And it’s terrible and beautiful and so much more intense because OMG, you’re in this deal FOR LIFE.

The risk, of course, is throwing drama into the story for the sake of drama and I’ve never been a fan of that. There needs to be drama, but it has to develop naturally from the character’s growth and (big one here) it has to make sense. Any reader who has been with me since THE SUBMISSIVE will know immediately if I have Nathaniel or Abby act out of character and the story won’t be believable to them.

And that, that heartache and happiness, that joyous triumph, that emotional and physical connection with your soulmate is something worth writing about.

Just like everything else in life, writing a set of characters through several books is a balancing act. Treat it delicately and the story will flow. Throw everything but the kitchen sink at it and you’ll only have a hot mess.

I’m not a plotter and that works well for my writing style. I love not knowing what’s going to happen next in a book. I think I’m able to enjoy it because in romance you’re guaranteed a happily-ever-after. That gives me a certain level of comfort and I hope it does the same for my readers. They can go along with me because they know no matter what I put the the main character through, everything’s going to turn out okay.

The thing I have to remember as an author, though, is I can throw the twists in, but they 1) have to make sense and 2) there needs to be trail of breadcrumbs. I don’t think the reader has to see the breadcrumbs on the first read, but they have to be there. When they go back and reread the second time, that’s when they think, “Ohhh, now I see.”

The other thing that is imperative listening and trusting your author voice, which is more than your story voice, but also the one in your head that talks to you while you write.

If you’re a writer, you know all about That Scene. It’s the one where you stare at your laptop for hours at end. The one you try every trick you know and still only net 500 words, if that many. For me, it’s been up to two weeks of author hell, knowing something was wrong, that ended with me deciding I didn’t care what words I put on paper, I just wanted words.

And when I went back over them, that’s all they were, words. But the scene was finished so I wrapped up the chapter, sent it to my crit partner, and wiped my hands of it. Now as a writer, you need a crit partner who will be brutally honest with you. And that’s what mine was. She confirmed what I knew: the scene was merely there. There was no emotion, no intensity, nothing.

I took a deep breath and went back to the scene, determined to make it work. The first thing I did was start over completely. I didn’t want to use any of the previous words. I wanted a clean start. And so, even though part of me feared I was going to spend another two weeks struggling, I went to work.

I decided to change POV from the hero to the heroine. Just to see how it went. Maybe she’d be chattier while I was writing. I started typing and hours later the scene was finished. What had taken two weeks in the wrong POV was completed in hours in the right one.

Lastly, you can’t talk about writing romance and not talk about sex (well, you can, but you shouldn’t.) Let’s face it, we all know how sex works. And yes, writing it well is a must for erotic romance. However, you could craft the most perfect, mind-blowing, finely crafted sex scene, but if I’m not emotionally engaged with the couple, it’s going to fall flat.

If you were to ask me what makes one erotic romance better than another, it wouldn’t be how well the sex is written, the number of sex scenes, or even how creative the couple was during sex. What makes an erotic romance stand out for me is everything surrounding the sex. That’s what connects me with the characters.

It’s that connection with the characters that makes the physical scenes so intensely satisfying. It’s much easier to write insert part A into part B, but when you do that, it becomes exactly what it sounds like – cardboard. And cardboard may have its place, but erotic romance isn’t one of them.

Good erotic romance, the really good erotic romance, has the power to transcend itself beyond the sex into a work of fiction that literally makes your heart race and your knees turn to jelly.

And isn’t that why we all read romance?

~~Tara Sue Me~~

About the Author

FOLLOW: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Tara-Sue-Me-

Tara Sue Me is the New York Times bestselling author of the Submissive series, including The Enticement, The Training, The Dominant, and The Submissive. She lives in the southeastern United States with her family, two dogs, and a cat.

Giveaway

The Reading Cafe and Tara Sue Me’s publisher are offering a paper copy of THE FLIRTATION 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. Follow Tara Sue Me 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 is open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from August 9-13, 2017

Penguin Random House logo

Share

The Playboy Prince and the Nanny by Donna Alward – Review, Tour & Guest Post

The Playboy Prince and the Nanny by Donna Alward – Review, Tour & Guest Post

 

Playboy-Prince-blitz-banner

 

The Playboy Prince and the NannyAmazon / B&N Nook / Google Play / Kobo  / iBooks

Description:
Prince Diego Navarro is the “spare” to his brother’s “heir”. While Raoul performs his crown prince duties with the appropriate sense of nobility and poise, Diego’s garnered a bit of a reputation as a playboy – despite the good he does behind the scenes with his favorite charities.

But when tragedy strikes and his sister-in-law is killed in a car accident, Diego knows it’s time for the playboy to step up. If not for his brother, then for his niece and nephew, who now find themselves without a mother.

Which is where Rose Walters comes in.

Rose isn’t intimidated by money or glitz. The veteran nanny has worked for the rich and minimally famous, but a manor house is no comparison to a castle… or the handsome princes who live there. However, the worst thing she could possibly do is fall for the gorgeous playboy with a surprising heart of gold. He’s a prince; she’s the help. He lives in the tabloids; she loves her privacy. But when her two darling charges start to play matchmaker, Diego and Rose don’t stand a chance.

The Playboy Prince and the Nanny is the first book in Donna Alward’s royal duology.

 

Review:

The Playboy Prince and the Nanny by Donna Alward is the first book in her Royal Duology. Once again, Donna Alward gives us a wonderful sweet delightful romance.  The Playboy Prince and the Nanny revolves around a Royal family, but this book was so much fun to read, as every single character was great, and I loved every moment of it.

Prince Diego Navarro is with his friends at a bar, living the life of a playboy prince, when he sees on the television the news of terrible tragedy in his homeland of Mazazur.  His sister in law and the nanny were killed in the horrific car crash, and Diego heads home to help his brother, Raoul, the crown prince, as well  as his niece and nephew through this trying time.  Raoul has always performed along with his father, the King all the duties required of nobility, leaving Diego to live his fun wild life.  But Diego is determined to step in and show his brother and father that he is more than capable of handling any duties required.  It will be Diego who will hire a new nanny to help with the children.

Enter Rose Walters, the new nanny, who has come with excellent references with the rich and famous.  Rose knows the rules, and is very good at her job.   Rose was wonderful with her two charges, Emilia and Max, and in a short time they come to love her, as does she, and helps them learn to adapt to the loss of their mother.  When Rose arrived, she was met by Diego, and though he was handsome, caring and totally different than his playboy image, she knew she needed to avoid him as much as possible.  Her attraction to him was real, and soon Diego will find himself enjoying the friendship he had with Rose.  Both of them find it hard to keep their distance, as Diego tried to spend time with the children and Rose. 

Of course, with a Royal family, pictures are secretly taken and Rose find herself exactly where she did not want to be; on the cover of the papers.  She was help, and he was a prince.  There could be no future.  Rose must decide if she should stay, or leave the precious children, who would get hurt again. However, the Navarro family does not let the media dictate their lives, and to her surprise, Raoul and his father are supportive, finding themselves caring about her, too.  Diego is determined to show Rose how much he loves her and that she will be accepted into the Royal family.  I loved Diego and Rose together, and I adored both Max and Emilia. 

The ending was so well done, happily emotional and very satisfactory.  If you enjoy a sweet well written romance, with so many likeable characters, you should read The Playboy Prince and the Nanny.  If you have not read Donna Alward, and you enjoy romances, you should be reading her books.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

 

Guest Post-White and Aqua

The Inspiration behind the Princes of Marazur…

When it came to really sitting down and planning out the Princes of Marazur duet, I had to do some serious thinking about my princes. I’d already established them a bit in The Rancher’s Runaway Princess, but this was different. They had more of a walk-on role in that book, and now they were going to be center stage.

I knew that:

Raoul is the Crown Prince, and takes it seriously. That he’s married with a girl and a boy. That he and Diego lost their mother when they were very young, and that Lucy (their half-sister) is born of an affair.

Diego is the “Spare” heir, and he’s the one who rebelled as he grew older, establishing a reputation as a palace bad boy and playboy. Sure, he went to university, but he was more interested in the polo ponies and fillies of other sorts than really studying. I also knew that when the story started, he would need to be trying to shed that reputation, build some credibility, and be an asset to the family.

Sound like anyone else you can think of? #willandharry

I also found myself thinking about the remake of Sabrina that was out years ago, featuring Harrison Ford and Greg Kinnear. Now granted, this heroine isn’t going to fall for Diego and then really realize she’s in love with Raoul. But it does represent a bit of the dynamic between the brothers, much like Linus and David in the movie. Linus doesn’t think David will ever settle down, doesn’t think he takes things seriously, and David’s used to being underestimated. In the end, Linus learns to loosen his stranglehold on his responsibilities and trust David, who is ready to grow up and show there’s more to him than his past reputation.

Of course, once I started writing, the characters took on a life of their own and simply became Diego and Raoul, with their own issues and struggles and triumphs.

 

About The Author

Marti Corn Photography donna alward H-R 1600

 

A busy wife and mother of three (two daughters plus the family dog), Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist. Donna loves being back on the East Coast of Canada after nearly twelve years in Alberta where her romance career began, writing about cowboys and the west. She is the author of Somebody Like You, Somebody’s Baby, and Someone to Love.

Social Links:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Author Blog / Pinterest

SMP St. Martins

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Share

Knight on the Texas Plains by Linda Broday – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Knight on the Texas Plains by Linda Broday – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

 

 

Knight on the Texas Plains Banner

Knight on the Texas PlainsAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository  | iBooks | IndieBound 

Description:
UNDER A STARRY TEXAS SKY

Duel McClain was no knight in shining armor — he was a drifter who prided himself on having no responsibilities. But a poker game thrust him into the role of father to an abandoned baby, and then a condemned woman stumbled up to his campfire. The fugitive beauty aimed to keep him at shotgun’s length, but obvious maternal instincts belied her fierce demeanor. And she and the baby were clearly made for each other. Worse, the innocent infant and the alleged murderess opened Duel’s heart, made him long for the love of a real family. And the only way to have that would be to slay the demons of the past.

 

Review:

Knight on the Texas Plains by Linda Broday is the first book in her new Texas Heroes series. When I decided to read this Western historical romance that takes place in 1880 Texas, I was not sure what to expect, since I do not read a lot of this genre.  Upon completing the book, I am so glad I did. I loved Knight on the Texas Plains.

Duel McClain, our hero, is a loner who is privately grieving over the loss of his wife to childbirth years before. During a card game, Duel wins a little baby girl, and despite his original refusal to accept the child, he will change his mind.  Duel doesn’t want the child to be tossed around by the nasty man who was keeping the child, and the little girl (Marley Rose)was quickly clinging to him: he then  makes the decision to head home to his family ranch, where hasn’t been since he left home. 

Jessie Foulty, our heroine, is on the run, and comes across Duel and Marley sitting by a campfire for the night.  Jessie is scared, and badly bruised. Duel can see that she was beaten up, and tries to help her.  Jessie trusts no man, but when she watches Duel with little Marley, she begins to relax and in her desperation, she will accept Duel’s offer to come his ranch with him and take care of Marley.  Eventually Jessie, who feels she is unworthy will tell Duel the truth:  she killed her husband, and even if she was defending herself, Jessie knows if they find her, they will have her killed.  Duel, who slowly begins to care for Jessie, knows she suffered very badly, and when he sees the branding on her shoulder (like a cattle branding), he knows she is truly the innocent one.

What follows is a unique and wonderful story of two people broken, for different reasons, will find love for each other and a child, who has brought them together.  I loved when they got to the family ranch, and Duel’s family was great.  Marley was such a precious child, so cute and bubbly, and we too could not help but adore her.  I enjoyed when an injured stray dog becomes Marley’s friend (Boobie), and will become another addition to the family.  To protect Jessie, Duel convinces her to marry him, as they bring up Marley together.  Most important was watching both Duel and Jessie find their way past the loss of his wife, and her discovering how Duel was sweet, gentle, and loving, not like other men who tortured her.  This was a very emotional story line, which was also suspenseful, especially when Jessie is discovered and brought back to the town where she killed her husband.  But when the family stands by her and the truth of what she endured during her marriage is revealed to all to see, there is hope.

I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed this heart wrenching story, and the wonderful characters Linda Broday has created.  I strongly suggest you read Knight on the Texas Plains.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

Guest Post blue

What Were the Unique Challenges of a Romance on the American Frontier?

To survive on the frontier took a lot of hard work, but I think many things took a big toll on romance and marriage. Distance was a huge hurdle to overcome when they were courting. Even if the couple lived on ranches next to each other, they rarely got to do things together because the ranches back then were pretty large. Travel was so slow that it took hours to get anyplace and it wasn’t seemly for a young woman to stay over at her prospective groom’s house.

They lived for social occasions. The dances, church socials, harvests, other events were much anticipated. Life for those who lived too far to attend these functions was extremely solitary and boring. Humans are social creatures. We simply need that interaction—and to meet members of the opposite sex.

The lack of women presented the biggest problem to men. There just weren’t that many until after the Civil War when women in the East outnumbered the men and turned to the booming mail order bride business. They were willing to marry a man sight unseen so they could ease the loneliness and have a family.

Once a couple married, they faced many hardships—the weather, the crops, the prospect of losing their land and home. They worked from sunup to sundown and barely had any time to sit and just talk. The never-ending work took the romance from a lot of people.

I think wives had it harder though. They faced childbirth without a doctor or even a midwife. The mountain of work was unbelievable. Cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, milking cows, churning butter, and a million other things. They had no time for romance.

Also, loneliness stole a woman’s spirit. With her husband out working all day, she had no one to talk to and the incessant wind only made everything worse.

I hope readers will try KNIGHT ON THE TEXAS PLAINS. Duel McClain marries Jessie Foltry in order to hide her from the lawmen who are looking to arrest her for murder. Jessie’s been through a horrible ordeal and it take a while to see Duel as anything other than a protector. The bridge between them is a poor little babe Duel wins in a poker game. Together they become a patchwork family.

 

theauthor
LInda Broday

At a young age, Linda Broday discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award. She resides in the Texas Panhandle and is inspired every day.

 

Find Linda Online:

Website: / Facebook: / Twitter: / Goodreads:

 

 

BLUEANDYELLOWGIVEAWAY

Linda Broday’s Publisher is offering a paper copy of Knight on the Texas Plains 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. Please follow Linda Broday 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 is open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from August 3 to 7, 2017

 

sourcebooks logo

Save

Save

Share

SEAL Wolf Undercover (Heart of the Wolf 22) by Terry Spear-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER (Heart of the Wolf #22) by Terry Spear-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

SEAL Wolf Undercover Banner

SEAL Wolf Undercover
Heart of the Wolf #22
by Terry Spear
Genre: adult, contemporary, paranormal, romance
Release Date: August 1, 2017

SEAL Wolf Undercover

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Chapters Indigo / Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound

About the book: Release Date August 1, 2017

Never be so foolish as to fall for the enemy…
Special wolf agent Jillian Matthews has joined the jaguar-run United Shifter Force to track down a deadly criminal. She’s even willing to work with PI Vaughn Greystroke―until the hot, growly SEAL wolf makes the mistake of getting in her way. Naturally, she shoots him. Who could blame her?

Vaughn Greystroke has always worked alone. But when a string of attempted murders puts him in the crosshairs, teaming up with the Shifter Force begins to sound like a good idea. Even if he has to work with alluring―and potentially treacherous―Jillian Matthews. Vaughn is a trained SEAL, after all. He can surely keep his distance from Jillian…no matter how much she’s getting under his skin.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER is the twenty-second installment in Terry Spear’s contemporary, adult HEART OF THE WOLF paranormal, romance series. This is PI and former SEAL Vaughn Greystroke, and Special wolf agent Jillian Matthews’ story line. SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary. SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER crosses over with the HEART OF THE JAGUAR series, as the author continues to build the USF-United Shifter Force headed by the jaguar team of Demetria, Everett and Howard first introduced in A Very Jaguar Christmas .

Told from dual third person perspectives (Vaughn and Jillian) SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER follows the search for a potential killer. Vaugn Greystroke’s Colorodo pack mate and friend Douglas Wendish was attacked and left for dead while on vacation in the backwoods of Oregon, and the first person to stumble upon the scene is Special wolf agent Jillian Matthews, who shoots first and asks questions later including shooting our hero Vaughn Greystroke. But Vaughn struggles with the possibility that Jillian’s brother Miles is a suspect and the fact that Miles refuses to come forward places Vaughn in an awkward position as he quickly comes to realize that Jillian is his mate. Enter jaguar shifters Demetria, Everett and Howard, who along with Jillian and Vaughn, set out to hunt for the shifter responsible. What ensues is the fast-building relationship between Jillian and Vaughn, and the realization that Douglas Wendish kept secret his reasons for his most recent vacation

SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER is a detailed story with mystery, intrigue, family, friendship, romance and love. There are moments of humor and fun, action and danger, sexy times and a happily ever after. The relationship between Jillian and Vaughn begins as a case of mistaken identity as Vaughn targets Miles, and Jillian targets the shifter threatening her brother. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive. The sexual energy was low key as the story line focused on the search for the truth and the hunt for a potential killer. Jillian’s brother Miles struggles for meaning in his life but what he finds are lies and betrayal.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including both wolf and jaguar shifters. The requisite evil has many faces but not all necessarily with the same end-game in mind.

SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER is a lighthearted, spirited and energetic look at the supernatural. The premise is engaging; the characters are colorful and passionate; the romance is intimate and fated. SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER is a satisfying and delightful addition to Terry Spear’s HEART OF THE WOLF paranormal series.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

guest post

How do you develop your hero and heroine? Do the ideas come to you fully formed, or do you figure them out as you write?

Creating characters is fun, but I don’t make lists of their likes or dislikes. Or faults and strengths. I think that’s what makes them so interesting to me.

While I’m writing about my hero and heroine, they come to life in the situations they have to deal with. Conflict helps to show what they’re made of and everyone will handle a different scenario in their own unique way based on their life experiences. But I don’t know what they are, oftentimes, until I’m writing the story. It really depends on the story too.

When I was writing about Sarandon Silver in The Bounty Hunter Gets Her Wolf, the heroine is brand new to the scene, but he isn’t. He’s been in several Silver Town stories, and so he has a rich history of trouble with the pack, mostly concerning his father, the former sheriff of Silver Town. That means I have to use previous stories, his life history, to ensure he’s true to his character from the past.

With SEAL Wolf Undercover, SEAL wolf Vaughn Greymere has been in one other story as a secondary character. But I was also tying him in with the jaguars, who have been in other stories, and a brand new gray wolf, Jillian…to the scene. I wanted to open up the story where the two wolves see each other and admire each other, but don’t really meet. I wanted Vaughn to show the kind of stuff he’s made of. At a jaguar dance club, he believes a dancer on one of the high platforms that breaks away, is about to fall to her death, and being a SEAL, and an alpha wolf, and a hero type, he rushes to rescue her. This makes a great impression on Jillian, though she doesn’t know he’s a SEAL or a wolf. Or that jaguar shifters existed at that time.

They’re all thrown in together later—the jaguars and wolves—to search for whoever has injured wolves and jaguars. Only he believes Jillian’s brother is the suspect and she shoots Vaughn to protect her brother.
And that’s how it all begins when he actually meets her. He’s hot, naked, wounded, and she can’t help the way her pheromones are telling her this guy is the one she needs in her life, when he’s out to get her brother! And Vaughn’s sure she’s protecting her brother when he’s the one they need to be taking down. Though, despite her shooting Vaughn, he can’t help but want to keep her in his sights. And more.

Every hero and every heroine has their own past, their weaknesses and strengths, their dreams and goals, their likes and dislikes and all of these things help to mold them into the characters they are today. But I only learn this as they go through all their trials. In the beginning, all I know is they have to be in a situation that changes their life in some way and how the hero and heroine meet. This will also have something to do with who they are—their jobs, their goals, their dreams. And from there, the story and their characters unfold.

~~Terry~~

About the author

Terry Spear Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

Love, love, love romance, the paranormal, hunky Highlanders with their delicious brogue and hot kilts, so Terry Spear writes about those hunky Highlanders both in medieval times and as wolves in contemporary times. Jaguar shifters too! And young adult urban fantasy. And romantic suspense. She grew up reading mystery, adventure, mythologies from around the world, ghost stories, the paranormal, fell in love with Dracula and Wolfman, and felt they needed loving too. Everyone should have someone to love. Which means her stories always have a HEA. USA Today Bestseller residing in Central Texas from Sacramento, California who creates award-winning teddy bears too!

Giveaway

Terry Spear’s publisher is graciously offering a paper copy of SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER 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. Follow Terry Spear 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 is open to USA / Canada only

9. Giveaway runs from August 1-5, 2017

sourcebooks logo

Share