Whisper of Love (The Bradens of Peaceful Harbor / Love in Bloom) by Melissa Foster-Review, Book tour & Giveaway

Whisper of Love (The Bradens of Peaceful Harbor/Love in Bloom) by Melissa Foster-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

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Love in Bloom / The Bradens of Peaceful Harbor
by Melissa Foster
Release Date: February 22, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance

Whisper of Love

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 22, 2017

The Bradens are a series of stand-alone romances that may also be enjoyed as part of the larger Love in Bloom series.

Tempest Braden adores her family and her small hometown, but sometimes too much of a good thing can be confining. At almost thirty, having watched most of her siblings find true love, she’s anxious to experience her own happily ever after, and the move to Pleasant Hill, Maryland, is just the change she needs. When she rents a room from ruggedly handsome, and closed-off, artist Nash Morgan and his adorable son, Phillip, she thinks she’s found a little slice of heaven on the outskirts of town, where she can concentrate on building her business. That is, if she can ignore the undeniable heat between her and the sinfully hot single father.

When Nash bought his farmette, he had one goal in mind—to provide a loving, stable home for his son. He never imagined he’d be raising Phillip alone, or renting out a room to keep their heads above water. Then again, he never imagined losing his brother, or spending two years sailing around the world with parents who seemed to forget one son was still alive.

Sparks fly from the moment Tempest moves in, and her positive energy and inquisitive nature brings new life into Nash and Phillip’s quiet, confined world. For the first time in years, Nash wants to let a woman into his world, but while his loss made him stronger, that strength came at a price, leaving him walled off and wary of opening his heart again.



Whisper of Love by Melissa Foster is the 5th book in The Bradens of Peaceful Harbor, MD series. This is a spinoff and  actually book #17 of the Bradens, and book #36 of Love in Bloom series.  Melissa is a prolific author who writes so many books, it is hard to keep up with her; especially when I do read a lot of books.  I did fall a little behind on the Bradens, and I will have to find time to catch up.   Whisper of Love was a fantastic sweet romance that had us emotionally invested in the characters from the start. 

Tempest Braden moves to Pleasant Hill, Md to start her own business, and decides to find a place to live, since her cousin is a night owl , keeping her up all night.  She meets her new landlord, Nash Morgan, and his adorable precious 3 year old son, Philip.  We never had a chance to decide if we liked Nash and Philip, as we fell just as hard as Tempest.  What a romance that Melissa Foster has given us.  So wonderful, with so many emotional and heartwarming moments that had us either laughing or happy tears.  So very well done.

Nash has taken care of Philip since his than girlfriend left after giving birth to Philip.  Nash loves his son so much, that he has sheltered him and even cut himself off from the outer world.  Once Tempest moves in, she will change both of their lives forever.  She will teach Nash how to allow Philip to make friends, go to school and learn to be more outgoing and free.  Tempest will also help Nash trust to let go of his son enough to allow him to be surround by wonderful people and to open his heart and live again.  Then he gets to meet the Braden family (very large family), which gives him a chance to see what a family is like.   It was wonderful to watch how quickly Tempest and Nash fall in love, and how she helps him let go of the past and allow him to believe in their future.  I loved every moment of this story.  I will say that I rarely find myself in tears, but Melissa, you pulled me totally in and the tears did fall during that show.  Wow If you enjoy pure romances, then you can never go wrong with Melissa FosterWhisper of Love was one of the best romances I have read this year, and I have enjoyed quite a few. 

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Author


Whisper of Love Teaser


Series Spotlight

Healed by Love (Love in Bloom, The Bradens of Peaceful Harbor #1)
Nate Braden has loved his best friend’s younger sister Jewel for as long as he can remember, but between their age difference and his respect for Rick, he’s always kept his feelings at bay. Now he’s back in Peaceful Harbor, and Jewel is no longer sixteen years old—but there’s an even bigger obstacle standing in his way. Nate and Rick joined the military together eight years earlier. Nate came home a hero, but Rick didn’t make it out alive.

HEALED BY LOVE is part of the Love in Bloom series. While this can be read as a stand-alone novel, for even more reading enjoyment you may want to read the entire Love in Bloom series in series order.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

Available to buy from …
Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk / Barnes and Noble/  KOBO /  iBooks /  GPlay

Surrender My Love (Love in Bloom, The Bradens of Peaceful Harbor #2)
Annalise “Leesa” Avalon never realized that one sentence could change her life until one of her students revealed his crush–and within twenty-four hours she finds herself under fire. After a grueling investigation that turns her life upside down, she steals away to Peaceful Harbor, Maryland, with a new identity to try to pull herself back together and figure out her next step.

From the outside, Cole Braden lives a charmed life. He’s a top orthopedic surgeon with a thriving practice, strong family ties, and friends he adores. But there’s a lonely spot inside Cole that no one can see. He has an enormous heart–and a painful past–but the desire to love and be loved is too strong to ignore.

A chance encounter brings Leesa and Cole together, and the attraction is immediate and intense. But a relationship is the last thing Leesa needs–and the only thing Cole wants. Long talks, heated moments, and deep connections are hard to resist, but the harder Cole tries, the more Leesa pulls away. Cole might truly be the right man for Leesa, but is Leesa the right woman for him?

SURRENDER MY LOVE is part of the Love in Bloom series. While this can be read as a stand-alone novel, for even more reading enjoyment you may want to read the entire Love in Bloom series in series order.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

Available to buy from …
Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk  /Barnes and Noble  /KOBO  / iBooks  /GPlay

River of Love Book (Love in Bloom, The Bradens of Peaceful Harbor #3)
River rafting and adventure company owner Sam Braden works hard and plays harder. He’s fast, focused, and determined—and never at a loss for a willing woman to share his time with. The trouble is, the only woman he wants refuses him at every turn.

Physician assistant Faith Hayes escaped her painful past and built a safe, happy life in Peaceful Harbor. She’s also put what she’s learned to good use helping others by founding Women Against Cheaters, an online support group. When her boss’s sinfully sexy brother sets his sights on sweet Faith, she knows the self-professed player is everything she shouldn’t want, and she’s determined to resist him.

Sam pulls out all the stops, proving to Faith that his past doesn’t have to define his future. As she lets down her guard and begins to trust Sam, intense conversations turn to intimate pleasures. But when real life steps in and their pasts collide, it’s Faith who’s left with something to prove.

RIVER OF LOVE is part of the Love in Bloom series. While this can be read as a stand-alone novel, for even more reading enjoyment you may want to read the entire Love in Bloom series in series order.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

Available to buy from …
Amazon.com /Amazon.co.uk  /Barnes and Noble / KOBO / iBooks / GPlay

Crushing on Love (Love in Bloom, The Bradens of Peaceful Harbor #4)
Steve Johnson is living his life’s passion watching over the Colorado Mountains as a ranger and wildlife consultant. But his peaceful life is upended when overzealous and insanely beautiful Shannon Braden flits back into his life after returning from a brief trip home to Maryland. He thought his attraction to her was under control—after all, she’s only in Colorado temporarily, and he doesn’t do casual affairs.

Shannon’s return to Colorado has as much to do with the game of cat and mouse she and Steve have been playing as it does the data she’s been hired to collect. But despite her efforts to explore the undeniable heat simmering between them, Steve’s intent on keeping his distance.

When a ranch abutting the national park goes up for sale, Steve will do whatever it takes to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. And when all his attempts fail, he’s left with no alternative but to follow Shannon’s guidance into the online world he abhors in order to raise the funds. The more time they spend together, the deeper their attraction becomes, and a game of cat and mouse turns into an unstoppable connection. But when Shannon’s assignment comes to an end, will it mean an end to them, too?

CRUSHING ON LOVE is part of the Love in Bloom series. While this can be read as a stand-alone novel, for even more reading enjoyment you may want to read the entire Love in Bloom series in series order.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

Available to buy from…
Amazon.com  /Amazon.co.uk / Barnes and Noble / KOBO  / iBooks / GPlay

About The author

Melissa FosterMelissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance (M/F, M/M, F/F), romantic suspense, thrillers, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary Café. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success.Melissa has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Her interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on Facebook
or her personal website.

Never miss a brand new release, special promotions or inside gossip again by simply signing up to receive your newsletter from Melissa.

Find Melissa on the following sites….
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Rough and Tumble by Rhenna Morgan – a Review

Rough and Tumble by Rhenna Morgan – a Review


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A self-made man with his fingers in a variety of successful businesses, Jace Kennedy lives for the challenge and he always gets what he wants. From the start, he sees Vivienne Moore’s hidden wild side and knows she’s his perfect match, if only he can break it free. He will have her. One way or another.

Vivienne’s determined to ditch the rough lifestyle she grew up in, even if that means hiding her true self behind a bland socialite veneer. Dragging her party-hound sister out of a club was not how she wanted to ring in the New Year, but Viv knows the drill. Get in, get her sister and get back to the safe, stable life she’s built for herself as fast as humanly possible. But Viv’s plans are derailed when she finds herself crashing into the club’s clearly badass and dangerously sexy owner.

Jace is everything Vivienne swore she never wanted, but the more time she spends with him, the more she starts to see that he loves just as fiercely as he fights. He can walk society’s walk and talk society’s talk, but when he wants something, he finds a way to get it. He’s proud of who he is and where he came from, and he’ll be damned if he lets Vivienne go before showing her the safest place of all is in the arms of a dangerous man.



Rough & Tumble by Rhenna Morgan is the first book in her new Haven Brotherhood series.  I loved Rhenna Morgan’s other series, and when I started this new series, I was not sure what to expect, as It was a totally different type of series.  I am happy to say I loved Rough and Tumble.  It had a wonderful, highly sexual romance with a great cast of characters.

Jace Kennedy, our hero, is wealthy, gorgeous, sexy, charming, and he loves to live on the edge.  He perfectly fits the rough and tumble description.  Jace and his ‘brothers’ own a series of clubs, which is not the average club for just anyone….enter at your own risk.  Jace and family also have some enemies, who would like nothing better than to bring them down, at any cost.

Vivienne (Viv) Moore, our heroine, also comes from an unhappy childhood.  She is trying to build on her new business, as a planner for events.  One night, she is desperately called by her wild younger sister, who is drunk at a club.  When Viv arrives to take her home, she meets Jace, who will help her with her sister, and though she feels the strong attraction, she quickly leaves.  But Jace has already set his sight on the woman who draws his attention, and frankly, she doesn’t stand a chance.  Jace is that hot; that sexy and determined to win her over.

What follows is an exciting story with a wonderful romance that will eventually change both of their lives.  Viv cannot resist Jace, though she knows that she is over her head.  She never grew up in a loving family, and when she starts to meet Jace’s ‘brothers’, and family, she begins to learn what it’s like to be part of a family.  As much as the romance is scorching hot, and maybe a bit more than I usually like to read; but the characters and the story line was sensational.  The men protect their family, and they will work together to fight off the enemies, including protecting Viv.  I loved all the ‘brothers’ and cannot wait for their stories.  Axel was one of my favorites.  I did not like Viv’s sister, but I am sure we will learn more about her in the future.  I loved how Jace immediately knew Viv was the woman he wanted to fill his life, and how he slowly worked on proving to her that she belonged with him, and also building her confidence that his family was nothing like her own.  I thoroughly enjoyed Rough & Tumble, and Rhenna Morgan has once again pulled me into another one of her wonderful series.   Look forward to the next book, Wild & Sweet.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy supplied for review


Kings of the Empire by M.A. Abraham – Review, Giveaway and Exclusive Cover Reveal

Kings of the Empire by M.A. Abraham – Review, Giveaway and Cover Reveal


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Kings of the Empire

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The Empire is rising to face the enemy. They are not alone, for their allies and neighbors have come to help; some have even come to fight despite the judgment of their own rulers. No one knows the extent of what they will be facing.

The Drazon is free, the Demon Hordes are on the march, and their numbers are staggering. Will the Empire survive this challenge? Or will their enemies prevail? The stakes are high, for in failing to win the upcoming battles, the lives of every Elf in the Empire are in jeopardy.

As the Elves prepare for the fight, the Drazon attacks at will. He challenges the might of the Dragons. He feels invincible. Omnipotent. Immortal. He will show the world who is in charge and the meaning of fear. His hatred knows no boundary.

While King Lothrariel fights to hold his Empire and, the lives of his people together, he is besieged by problems. He turns to Gabriel, to handle the greatest tasks, and to resume his place as Commander in Chief of the Combined Elven Armies of the Empire. Lothrariel answers his Life Mate’s call, and soon finds there is more to her summons than their bond. As an Oracle, she holds the answers in the back of her mind, although she cannot speak them, she can only guide




Kings of the Empire by M.A. Abraham is the final book in her wonderful Elven Chronicles series.  I have followed this series and M.A. Abraham from the very beginning, where it all began.   After reading Kings of the Empire, I was sad that this was the end, and at the same time happy with the wonderful conclusion to this series.  M.A. Abraham blows us away with a wild, non-stop, thrilling, exciting finale that wows us with her seamless flow, especially with the many characters, both new and those who have been with us from the start.  This will be a difficult review, as so much happens throughout the book that cannot be described unless you read it.  I will give a brief synopsis and tell you my over all thoughts. 

Almost everyone who has been part of this series makes an appearance.  When we last left off in the last book, we knew war was upon us.   The Drazon is now free to wreak havoc on the Elven empire, and the number of demon hordes is astronomical.  All the Kings come together to fight the Demons, but things are not looking good, as they are sorely outnumbered.   But never underestimate our elves, who have much magical power behind them to fight for their lives, but it will be at cost.  Constantly, throughout the book, and this is a big book, the battles rage all across the kingdoms.  Gabriel, Lothariel, Daroth, the other Kings, all our heroines,  and warriors, both and men and woman; new and old; come together to fight the odds.  The powerful Dragons will also come to try to stop the Drazon. As the casualties build up, on both sides, we are on the edge of our seats worrying who we will lose.

I loved seeing all of our favorites and there was sadness on those we lost. I was totally blown away on how M.A. Abraham was able to continue the flow of the battles, with so many characters.  An amazing feat.   I will say that all those characters, especially some new ones I hardly remember (that is me, not M.A.), became somewhat confusing.  But it did not stop me from understanding and knowing what was happening.  Nearer to the end of the book, I did become nervous about losing one of my favorites. I will not tell too much more, other than to say if you have read this series, you are in for fantastic adventure that had a great conclusion to a wonderful series.   We will miss our Elves.  Thank you M.A. Abraham for bringing us into your world of Elves, and your wonderful characters we have come to love.  Bravo!   Once again, if you have not read the Elven Chronicles series, I suggest you do so.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy supplied for review

cover reveal

To celebrate our Anniversary, M.A. Abraham has given us an EXCLUSIVE COVER REVEAL for her new series. Coming in February, 2018,  The Goddess – Book 1 of The Guardians of the Empire Series.

The Goddess

Chania is an Elven Princess in hiding, and content to stay that way.  She has lived most of her life in seclusion. She was placed amongst the humans that had once come to the aid of her ancestors, many millenniums before. She kept secreted by the head priestess, and revered as a Goddess by the people. She knows she is not what they think she is.  She also knows there is war looming in the future for these people, and it is time for her people to return, so they can keep their word.

Daeron is an Elven/Dragon shapeshifter, who has served as second in command of the Guardians of the Elven Empire for a long time. He comes from a long line of Kings, and has proven himself worthy of his position of life. He is a proud, noble, Golden Dragon, when he is not an Elf. He is not so pleased with the sudden match making ambitions of his leader, he is not about to give in without a fight. He will not be used in this manner, not by anyone.

Captured by her father’s guardians and forced to his side, Chania, is no happier about her father’s idea than Daeron. They recognize the Life Bond they share, but under the circumstances, they refuse to allow it to dictate their future. Can they fight an attraction that no Elf has ever been able to deny?




In celebrating the end of the Elven Chronicles series,  M.A. is graciuosly offering a paper copy of First Contact, Integration, and Hunter’s Challenge to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe, plus a paper copy of Kings of the Empire to Two (2) lucky commenters.

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Kings of the Empire

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Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb – a Review

Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb – a Review


Echoes in Death
In Death series – Book #44
by J.D. Robb
Release Date: February 7, 2017

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As NY Lt. Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke are driving home, a young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—suddenly stumbles out in front of their car. Roarke slams on the brakes and Eve springs into action.

Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for her husband Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil”…

While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked, this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions:

What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?



Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb is the 44th book in her fantastic In Death series.  I am an In-Death fanatic, having read every single book and novella in this series.  I have never been disappointed, each and everytime; which proves what a great author J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) is that she can keep us anxiously waiting for our next Eve Dallas fix.  As I have said before, Eve and Roarke are the best couple in the literary world and Robb/Roberts does this amazingly so well, without all the erotic sexual scenes, which seems to become the norm in romance.   The story is always on the forefront, and we still get our romance and deep love from this wonderful couple.  Ok, I guess I need to stop gushing.  Let’s discuss Echoes in Death.

Echoes in Death starts at 2am with Eve & Roarke on their way home from attending another gala that Eve so hates and she can’t wait to take off her shoes. But fate steps in, as it usually does with Eve, when they see a naked woman walking in front of their car on the icy streets; the woman is in shock, and is bloodied.  They rush her to the hospital, and when Eve tries to talk to her, the woman, Daphne Strazza, mutters about being attacked by the devil.  The doctors tell Eve that Daphne has been brutally beaten, raped multiple times, and is now totally traumatized.

Eve goes to the Strazza home with Roarke to look for Daphne’s husband, Doctor Anthony Strazza, whom they find dead.  The house was in shambles, with blood everywhere.  Once the house is secured, Peabody and McNab are called to help with the  investigation at the murder scene.  Eve surmises early on that with Daphne’s constant muttering of the Devil, it means that someone was dressed to look like that.

At the headquarters, the team will investigate any like types of crimes, and discover similarities in recent cases  that matched the same type of home invasion crimes of a  husband and wife, with various getups such as Dracula or a Ghoul.  This was the start of a fantastic story that will also hit close to home for Eve, as further investigation shows that Dr. Strazza abused his wife, bringing forward her own memories from her father’s abuse as a child. 

When the team begins to put pieces together to find a pattern, another murder of a husband and wife occurs, showing that the murderer is upping his game.  What follows is an exciting, tense race to find the killer before he strikes again.

Make no mistake, when you read an In- Death book the murders and murderer (‘s) are very violent. Our Eve is a hard as nails, tough murder cop, who will do anything it takes to bring the murderer to justice.  In between the tension of the case, there are always so many things that release the tension and make you love this series even more.   The secondary characters in this series are the best anywhere; such as Peabody, Mira, McNab, Summerset, Galahad, Baxter, Trueheart, and the entire police team that have become part of each new book.  Of course, Eve and Roarke are the main characters, but the others working with them make this a joy to read each and every time.  I love the banter between them, especially Peabody or Roarke with Eve.  I also adore her cat Galahad.  Over the years, this has become a wonderful ensemble to support Eve, and we didn’t even see Nadine or Mavis in this book. To tell too much more would be spoilers.

J.D. Robb once again gives us another fantastic edge of your seat thriller that was non-stop action, from start to finish.  The last quarter of the book, as Eve sets a trap for the murderer was sensational, and there were also some surprises.  I tried to read this book a little slower so that I can savior every moment, but I find it hard to do, since I want to know what happens.  So I end up the next day, going back and rereading a large majority of it. I will never have enough of this series; Eve and Roarke; and the entire In-Death team.   

Reviewed by Barb


Hard to Handle by Christine Warren – a Review

Hard to Handle by Christine Warren – a Review


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The only male among four sisters, Michael Drummond is no stranger to women’s strength and formidable will. His Dublin pub, the Skin & Bones, is his refuge, a reassuringly masculine retreat. Until a fierce woman warrior from another realm bursts into his life, bringing with her a battle between good and evil…and an explosive dose of desire.

The first and only of her kind, Ash is a lone female gargoyle, a creature destined to protect mankind from Demons determined to unleash their darkest forces. But her arrival on Earth is more confusing than she expected: her bone-deep instinct to do battle is matched only by her untamed attraction to stubborn, stalwart Drum. If they manage to keep the world safe, can they turn the passion crackling between them into a love that will withstand the test of time?



Hard to Handle by Christine Warren is the 5th book in her Gargoyles series.  This is the first book I am reading in this series, and it did read very well as a standalone, as Warren does give us information on the some of the other characters from the previous books.  In the first 4 books, the hero is a male gargoyle , who is a restored from stone, when the threat of demons and hell become real.  They are considered Guardians to protect humans from the darkness. For each Gargoyle, there is a Warden, who helps them.  

In Dublin, Ireland, Michael Drum (Drum)mond is pulled away from the pub he runs, becuase his sister, Maeve, has a vision of extreme danger from monsters.  On the way home, the earth quakes and it is not an earthquake.  What they perceive is a monster with wings, is actually a Guardian being summoned to life, as a terrible darkness is about to endanger all their lives.  Ash, our heroine in this story, is the first female Guardian, and she enlists the aid of both Maeve and Michael to find the warden who requires her help.  Wheras, Maeve, who has the sight and sees visions of the future, is more than ready to help Ash; but Drum wants nothing to do with monsters, demons and wants to head back to his pub.  But then they are attacked, and Ash is able to save them.  Ash is able to take a form of human female, when not being the Gargoyle.  In a short time, she will discover that Drum, who treats her rudely, is in fact the Warden she has been looking for. I thought that early on, Drum was easy to dislike, and even though he is being pulled into something he knows nothing about, I did feel he went overboard in his distaste for Ash, or her quest.

What follows is a very exciting action packed adventure, where Ash and Drum must try to find and kill the demons, and along the way they both begin to have feelings for each other.  When the danger escalates, Maeve will find information on the other Guardians/Wardens, and some will come from America to Ireland to help with the war. I loved meeting two of the previous heroes, and it was fun to watch them learn about each other.  The last third of the book was intense, with lots of action and dangerous situations, which had you sitting on the edge of your seat.  

Hard to Handle has a nice ending, but the war has just begun.  Drum and Ash’s romance heats up with a happy conclusion. The Demons are still around, and all the Guardians and Wardens will find themselves together at some point in future books.  Excellent suspenseful adventure, written very well by Christine Warren.  One day I need to go back and read the earlier books.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


Healing a Heart by Amy Lillard – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Healing a Heart by Amy Lillard – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway


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Healing a Heart
Cattle Creek series – Book #2
by Amy Lillard
Release Date: February 7, 2017

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As cowboys, the Langston brothers of Cattle Creek, Texas, know it’s easy to mend a fence. Mending a broken heart, however, takes time…
Rancher Jake Langston prides himself on being the sensible type. But five years after the loss of his wife left him to raise their daughter alone, he indulges in a one-night stand with a sexy stranger. He thought he’d never see the woman again. Four months later, though, she’s standing in his drive with a big surprise.
Bryn Talbot wants nothing from the hunky cowboy who got her pregnant, but her Southern nature demands she at least tell him about it. When Jake’s family persuades her to stay for a while, she’s soon won over by their charms—and by Jake. But with the losses the two of them have suffered in the past, neither is sure if they’re ready to take the leap to forever…




Healing a Heart by Amy Lillard is the 2nd book in her Cattle Creek series. This is a romantic story revolving around two people who each have their own heartbreaking issues, and their one night stand that changes their lives.

Bryn Talbot arrives in Cattle Creek, Texas to visit Jake Langston and make him aware that she is pregnant from their one night stand months ago.  She wants nothing from Jake, only to give him the courtesy to make him aware that she is having a child.  Jake at first was very rude and told her to have an abortion.  He lost his wife 5 years ago, and lives on his ranch with his mother, grandmother and adorable little girl, Wesley.  It will take some convincing from the mother and grandmother to get Bryn to stay a few weeks and get to know the Langston family.  Jake, who blames himself for his wife’s death during childbirth, slowly regrets his treatment to Bryn.  He will do everything to try and make her see she should marry him and bring the children up in Texas.  Bryn begins to enjoy being surrounded by a wonderful family, especially young Wesley, who is a treasure; but she fears becoming too close to members of a family, after the death of her younger sister.

In a short time, both Bryn and Jake being to have feelings for each other, but their stubbornness at times were annoying.  Bryn was determined not to stay in Texas, due to her fears, despite Jake giving her the promise of a wonderful life.  Jake was really nice after the early start, but along the way, when he couldn’t convince Bryn to marry him, he makes a decision that would destroy all trust between them.

What follows was a sweet story of family, love and romance.  Wesley was such an adorable child, and she is the catalyst that will eventually bring Bryn and Jake together.  Bryn sees the good in Jake, and that he meant well in his earlier decision, and she decides to stay and marry him, knowing it is the best thing for all of them.  Within a short period, both Jake and Bryn will put the past behind them, and their romance will blossom into full blown true love.  I loved the Langston family, and there is so much more to come from the other siblings.  Healing a Heart was a wonderful touching romantic story, with some great family dynamics, and great characters.  I suggest you read the Cattle Creek series.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


Guest Post

Cowboy Wisdom; Cowboy Wise

When I first started this post, my thought was to share some cowboy wisdom with you. But as I started collecting idioms and other nuggets of insight, one name kept popping up again and again, Will Rogers. Will Rogers who died in a plane crash in 1935. Will Rogers who was one of the greatest political sages this country has ever known. Will Rogers who was born just up the road from where I live now.

Here are some of his more colorful sayings:

There are two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither works.

Never miss a good chance to shut up.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

If you’re ridin’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.

Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier’n puttin’ it back.

Yes, he said these things back in the 1920s, and yet I can hear my contemporary cowboy heroes saying these very same things today. I guess that’s one reason why I love cowboys so much. Some might call their theories and practices outdated and trite, while the rest of us appreciate their pure honesty and truth. I’m sure that’s why cowboy romances are so popular these days. Lord knows, I love them!

And Jake Langston is as cowboy as they come. Jake, the hero from Healing a Heart, is the second oldest Langston son, but the one who has been designated to run the family ranch, the Diamond Duvall. Jake is a single dad, a widower, and recently he was voted as the fifteenth most eligible bachelor in Texas. (A fact his grandmother is sure will lead to another marriage and more grandchildren.) Jake has no intentions to marry again, until a one-night-stand turns into an unplanned pregnancy. What’s a cowboy to do, but propose?

Except jewelry designer Bryn Talbot isn’t sure she wants to be tied into a loveless marriage with a stranger. She’s a Georgia girl and doesn’t belong in the dusty wilds of West Texas–even if she has finally started designing again. Her muse seemed to dry up when her young sister died and she hasn’t been able to reclaim it. Now she’s drawing again, staying with Jake’s family to get to know them before the baby is born, and wondering how long before she’ll return to her empty Georgia home.

Want to know more about Healing a Heart? You can check out my website for a complete story over-view and an excerpt. https://amywritesromance.com/books-2/texas-contemporaries/cattle-creek-series/healing-a-heart/
And I’d love to hear from you! Have a favorite cowboy saying? Or perhaps you’d rather share the reason why you love western romance. Whatever it is, just leave a comment. Everyone who does will be entered into a drawing to win an autographed copy of Healing a Heart.

Thanks for reading!


Healing a Heart is the second book in the Cattle Creek Series. The books standalone well, but Healing a Heart does contain spoilers from book 1, Loving a Lawman.



Amy’s publisher is offering a paper copy of HEALING A HEART to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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Dare to Lie by Jen McLaughlin – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Dare to Lie by Jen McLaughlin – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway


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Dare to Lie
Sons of Steel Row series – Book #3
by Jen McLaughlin
Release Date: February 7, 2017

Dare to LieAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

As an undercover DEA agent in the most powerful gang in Boston, Scott Donahue accepts the risks of living a double life. But when Tate Donovan, leader of the Sons of Steel Row, assigns Scotty to take his place in a bachelor’s auction sponsored by his sister’s sorority, he’s exposed to a whole new level of danger. Even though Tate makes it very clear—Skylar is off limits—the second Scotty sees her, he’s a goner. But how does he tell Sky she’s falling for a man who doesn’t exist?

Sky can’t resist Scotty’s cool confidence or the raw, edgy power oozing from his perfect body. She’s always been the good girl, but he brings out the bad in her. And even though she knows so little about who he really is, Sky’s willing to take the biggest risk of all. But putting her heart on the line is no guarantee that Scotty won’t slip through her fingers…



Dare to Lie by Jen McLaughlin is the 3rd book in her Sons of Steel Row series. As noted in my previous reviews, I love this series; as it has everything you would want in a romance suspense.  Dare to Lie grabs your attention from the start and doesn’t let go until the very end.  The story is action packed, exciting, and a great couple, with sizzling hot chemistry.  I also loved the epilogue at end.  Thank you, Jen McLaughlin for another wonderful story in your Sons of Steel Row series. 

We have been following Scotty Donahue since the first book, which revolved around our then hero and Scotty’s brother, Lucas.  We have all been waiting for Scotty’s story, knowing that his life was hanging by thread, since he was an undercover agent for the DEA.

Skylar Daniels, our heroine, is the sister of Tate, the leader of the Sons of Steel Row gang. She is in medical school, and her brother helps support her; but Skylar knows nothing about Sons of Steel Row.  Scotty has been assigned to replace Tate at a charity event , which was run by Skylar.  Almost immediately, you can see the sparks flash between them, but Scotty wants nothing to do with his boss’s sister, as he was already warned to keep his hands off her.  Skylar felt the attraction right away, and during the auction, she won a bid for dinner with Scotty, which started off badly, as he was very rude.  But the chemistry between them had sparks flying off the wall, and soon both of them would act on their lust for each other. Scotty doesn’t see himself in any kind of long term relationship, since he feels he isn’t a good man, and his life would put anyone close to him in danger. 

What follows is an exciting adventure of gang land wars that was very suspenseful; I could not put the book down.  A rival gang has been attacking Scotty, Chris (previous book hero), and killing off some of the gang members.  Scotty will work behind the scenes with the DEA to help them capture the rival gang.  When the war escalates to attacks against the women/family of Sons of Steel Row members, an all out bloody war ensues, which also puts Skylar’s life in danger and Tate finding out about the relationship between his sister and Scotty.   Scotty must put aside his feelings for Skylar to not only protect her, but Lucas, Heidi, Chris & Molly, too.  Will Skylar & Scotty find away to stay together?  Will Scotty survive his double life?

Skylar was such a great heroine, being smart, savvy, tough, independent and stubborn.  Scotty was pretty great too, but his life was filled with so many secrets and living a double life, which put him at risk always. In reality, I can see why Tate did not want Scotty to have anything to do with his sister.  Dare to Lie was another wonderful exciting and romantic story in this fabulous series.  I suggest you start this series with the first book, Dare to Run, and enjoy the writing of Jen McLaughlin.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


Guest Post

Sons of Steel Row

Hello, everyone! Thank you for having me here today! I’m Jen McLaughlin (though I also write as Diane Alberts) and I’m here today to talk about books, antiheroes, heroes, and the challenges all those things represent. My latest book, DARE TO LIE, is the third book in the Sons of Steel Row series. The series itself revolves around a gang in Boston that sells guns illegally, and the heroes in the books are anything but hero material. They’re liars. Killers. Criminals.

Yet we all fall for them anyway.

Everyone has their favorite type of books or heroes to write, and I have to say, writing the Sons of Steel Row guys has been one of my favorite moments in my writing career. It’s easy writing heroes who are likeable when they’re…well…likeable. But to take men who are criminals, men who kill for a living, and somehow turn them into characters that a reader not only will root for, but will fall in love with? Yeah, that’s frigging amazing.

And a huge challenge.

A challenge I (gladly) accepted. I thought it would be fun to look at the three heroes in the Sons of Steel Row series, and to talk a little bit about the challenges they represented.

Our first hero, Lucas Donahue, is fresh out of jail, and looking to mind his own business in DARE TO RUN. No one else is doing the same, though, and it’s not long until we find out he has a price on his head. I think the hardest part about writing Lucas was his undying loyalty to his family—aka his brother, Scotty. No matter what happens, or who tried to kill him, he refused to turn his back on his brother, and for a guy who killed for a living, this was hard to portray at times.

Then our second hero…ah, our second hero. DARE TO STAY with Chris O’Brien. It’s hard to say why he was such a challenge without creating spoilers for people who haven’t yet read the series, but the biggest challenge with him was making readers like him. Everyone went into this book hating him, and fully prepared to continue doing so, but by the time they finished the book, a lot of readers wrote me and told me he was their favorite hero—above even Lucas. I could easily say that he was my biggest challenge ever, and he’s my favorite, too.

Last, we have Scotty Donahue, in DARE TO LIE. Oh, Scotty is and always has been more of a hero than an antihero like the other two men in this series. He’s got a good heart, despite his actions, and this has never been a secret. The biggest challenge with him was making him toe the line between both of his worlds (again, no spoilers!) without ever having him wonder if he was doing the right thing in his one world. His faith in himself and his cause had to be one hundred percent true and real, and he couldn’t afford to slip up.

Is there a certain type of hero that you love to read about, that no matter how many times you’ve read a book with this type of hero, you can’t resist picking up another, and getting sucked into the story of how he becomes who he is meant to be, with the help of a heroine you can’t help but envy?

For me, it’s the bad boy with a golden heart that’s buried way, way, way deep down, under lots of armor and weaponry. I just can’t get enough of them, and watching them soften.




Jen’s publisher is offering a paper copy of DARE TO LIE 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 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.


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

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

6. Please LIKE  Jen McLaughlin on FACEBOOK.

7. Giveaway is open to USA only

8. Giveaway runs from February 8 to 12, 2017




My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella – a Review

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella – a Review


My Not So Perfect LifeAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository


Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?



My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella is a standalone novel.  Katie Brenner, our heroine, has just started a new dream job in London.  Katie grew up in a small town, where her father has a farm.  She is determined to make a successful life in London, which she has always dreamed would be her perfect life; which at this point is not so perfect.  Katie, who uses the name Cat, hates her daily train commute to work, since she can’t afford the rent in London.

She is the new girl on the job at a marketing firm, where she finds herself totally in awe of her boss, and naïve as to the politics of the workers and management.  Her co-workers befriend Cat, and constantly complain about the boss, Demeter, who is somewhat of a bitch.  However, Cat sees in Demeter everything she wants for her future; successful high paying job, designer clothes, celebrity acquaintances, lives in a mansion, and has a happy family life. Cat feels if she works hard, she can attain the same life.  But nothing is always as it seems.

Just when she gets to impress Demeter with some of her ideas, and meets hot Alex, one of the owners of the firm, Cat is shocked when she is fired.  When she is unsuccessful in finding another job, Katie (back to her real name) is forced to go home; secretly telling her father that she is on sabbatical in order to help him with starting his new Glamping business on the farm.  Katie uses her wonderful marketing savvy to do a great job in setting up a website to promote the new business, utilizing an Instagram site for pictures, and other unique ideas. After a short time, Katie is shocked to see Demeter arrive on their farm for a family vacation.   Katie is still angry at Demeter, and goes out of her way to disguise herself somewhat and make life a little crazy for her ex-boss.  In a short period, Katie will see Demeter in another light, which turns out to be a not so perfect life. Once Katie learns more about Demeter, the book does take a turn, which for me I enjoyed much more.  I found the first half of the book a bit slow, and especially a little ditzy when she was doing those crazy antics to Demeter; but I really loved the last third of the book.

What follows is a nice story about learning that what you see in front of you is not always reality.  Katie begins to see how Demeter, living the perfect life, has many of her own problems; her marriage is suffering; she works long hours in a demanding and competitive job; she doesn’t spend much time with her children, who are somewhat distant with her.  Slowly, when Demeter finally recognizes and remembers Katie, things change with their relationship.  Katie privately gets Demeter’s kids to understand their mom better, and to be nicer. Demeter learns more from Katie about how the office staff hates her, and wants to make amends.  However, soon Alex arrives on the farm and Demeter knows he is here to fire her, since everything on the job was crumbling around her.  It will take Demeter and Katie to join hands to discover the truth about what was happening behind the scenes.

I really liked Alex, who was considered a womanizer, and whom Katie finds herself falling for, but she  thought  that he was having an affair with Demeter, which turned out to be another untrue fact.  When Alex shows up at the farm, their relationship begins to turn into a very nice romance.  There were some very good characters that Kinsella has created besides Katie, Demeter, & Alex.  Especially, Katie’ s Dad and Stepmom, Biddy were a lot of fun, and Demeter’s two kids.

As I have noted before, the last third of the book was great, with Katie rising up to help save Demeter, and her nice romance with Alex.  Katie herself used the time on the farm to prove that she was very talented in marketing and working with customers.  Her not so perfect life was a fun motto on her Instagram page, which added to the fun at the end.  This was a good and humorous story that I feel you should be reading.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher