Shoeless Child (Detective Kerri Blasco #4) by J.A. Schneider-a review

SHOELESS CHILD (Detective Kerri Blasco #4) by J.A. Schneider-a review

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 24, 2018

A little boy has seen a horrific murder but is too traumatized to speak. Detective Kerri Blasco struggles to connect with him…

Charlie Sparkes peeks out to see his mother and another young woman brutally shot. Hysterical, the brave child bolts into the cold November night for help. He screams and cries, only to fall into more trauma.

Homicide Detective Kerri Blasco is called to the murder scene. One woman lies dead next to the blood soaked rug where Rachel Sparkes was seriously wounded. With little memory of the attack, she has been taken to the hospital – but where is her child? He too, Kerri discovers, now lies in a hospital bed, mute and traumatized in a fetal position, refusing even food and water.

Charlie must have seen what happened. Kerri’s heart aches for this piteous little boy and she struggles to help him; struggles, too to find the monster who did this horrible crime. “It’s your kind of case,” Sergeant Alex Brand, Kerri’s boss and partner tells her, stepping up police urgency when another innocent is shot, and then another.

Kerri Blasco finds herself more emotionally obsessed with this case than with any other, despite clear and onrushing danger to herself…

•••••••••

REVIEW: Shoeless Child begins with an unprovoked attack on two young women, leaving one dead and one in the hospital. The only witness is a little boy, Charlie, who was able to get away from the attacker and find help.

Detective Kerri Blasco, along with her partner, Alex, make the scene and it doesn’t take her long to surmise that the little boy must have seen the attacker. When they head to the hospital, they find the surviving victim, along with her very traumatized little boy. Kerri finds herself getting emotionally involved in helping little Charlie come out of his shell and vows to figure out exactly what happened. What follows is a suspenseful read that will keep you turning the pages until the final twist is revealed and leaves you floored……..

Shoeless Child is another nicely written story by J.A. Schneider. I love Kerri Blasco and her partner, Alex. Kerri’s character is very relatable. She has a bit of a horrific past herself, which humanizes her and makes her a three dimensional character. Alex, who is also her boyfriend, is the perfect partner for her. The secondary characters are well written and play off of each other beautifully. In typical Schneider style, there are lots of twists and turns, and just when you think you’ve got it figured out, you realize you don’t. I have to be honest though. I’m really funny about how children are handled in the stories I read. What happened to Charlie when he ran for help left my jaw on the floor. The last two paragraphs of the first chapter made me close my iPad and walk away. It wasn’t anything horribly graphic, but, in my humble opinion, was just too much and didn’t add anything to the story, other than more unnecessary trauma to a little boy. I thought about it for a day or two, picked my iPad back up and gave it another go. I’m glad I did. I really liked the story overall. I like Schneider’s style, and as I said before, I love Kerri’s character. If you’re a fan of suspense filled whodunits, you will never go wrong with one of Schneider’s tales. Well done, J.A. Schneider.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Fear Dreams
Her Last Breath
Watching You

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

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Wedding Bell Blues by Susanne Matthews-a review

Wedding Bell Blues by Susanne Matthews-a review

Wedding Bell Blues

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 15, 2018

Romance, mermaids, cursed treasure, and more.

MJ’s having a bad year. She’s canceled her wedding, but refuses to give up the honeymoon. When she arrives on Paradise Island, she discovers her ex has changed the reservation. Stranded, she has to rely on her first love, a man who sees her as his kid sister, for help. When Paul discovers the man behind her plight is the bully who made his own teen years hell, he gets MJ to agree to pretend to be his fiancée. Reluctantly, she agrees. Add in mermaids, treasure hunters, and Quimbois magic, and anything can happen—even falling in love.

••••••••••

REVIEW: Wedding Bell Blues is a romantic story of the mending of two broken lives. Susanne Matthews has mixed this lively tale with ancient mythical creatures, adventurous treasure hunting danger, and of course…romance.
The setup begins with MJ Summers (aka: Marilyn Jean) and her friend Carla house hunting for MJ. The circumstances of MJ’s broken engagement are slowly revealed as the story progresses, but you get the gist from the beginning. During the house viewing, she meets the man who has just bought the house she wants (it reminds her of home) out from under her. He turns out to be an old crush from her childhood she’d not quite forgotten. He was her older brother’s friend and the old chemistry wasn’t quite gone.

Paul Davis is a handsome man with a scarred past. Tragic military experience and wounds added to a horrible family life, has left him trying to heal his soul before returning to his police officer job. He bought the house because it reminded him of the Summer’s house. He’d spent so much of his childhood in their home, trying to hide from an alcoholic father and a weak mother. He had no idea MJ was trying to buy the house, before she started a new teaching job in this town.

Separately, and unknown to each other, they next meet on the resort island. MJ decided to go on her honeymoon alone (she’d bought the package). Paul had purchased a package from a friend for a vacation before returning to his police officer job. He had no idea it was a couple’s resort.

That’s the set-up. I don’t do spoilers but let’s just say this great story takes off from there with unending action and more than a little mystery. Susanne Matthews is a talented author and this new book is a delight to read. There’s much more to both the beginning I’ve given you and certainly the rest of the story, but it needs to be discovered as you read it. The action and romance build slowly but surely as they get reacquainted.
Legends and mermaids are a part of this fantastic story and add intrigue and spice to a wonderful romance. Grab a copy and get ready for a great ride!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Georgianna

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The Sea Devil (Pirates of Britannia:Lords of the Sea #3) by Eliza Knight-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway Tour

The Sea Devil (Pirates of Britannia:Lords of the Sea #3) by Eliza Knight-Review, Excerpt and Giveaway tour

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The Sea Devil
Pirates of Britannia: Lords of the Sea #3
by Eliza Knight
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Genre: adult, historical, Highlander, romance

The Sea Devil

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Add THE SEA DEVIL to your TBR pile on Goodreads

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 16, 2018

A daring brotherhood, where honor among thieves reigns supreme, and crushing their enemies is a thrilling pastime. These are the Pirates of Britannia.

Thornley “Thor” MacLeod, Captain of The Sea Devil and prominent member of the Devils of the Deep is out for one thing and one thing only—revenge against Santiago Fernandez, leader of Los Demonios de Mar. Tormented by the demons of his past, he knows the only relief to his pain will be spilling the blood of his enemy. When he learns that Santiago seeks to find a child he abandoned nearly two decades before, Thor is determined to find the precious treasure first. Which means, Thor may have to sacrifice his honor in order to exact the perfect vengeance.

Orphaned at a young age, Alesia Baird has grown up along the harsh coasts of Scotland, bearing witness to many a nightmare. With the hangman’s noose dangling ever closer to her neck, she has to find a way to escape the only life she’s ever known. When she overhears a pirate mention he seeks the child of Santiago Fernandez, Alesia takes the leap, knowing this could be her only way out.

Alesia must keep up the ruse long enough to escape with her life, and perhaps a sack full of jewels. But when it comes time to jump ship, she finds her destiny may have led her in a different path. Will the hardened Highlander allow a lass into his heart—or is she destined to be forever alone?

••••••••••••

REVIEW: 5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

OOOHHHH!!! Pass me some more Eliza please and thank you! This was AWESOME!

I am going to start this review off with a small note that I came across before I started this book. This series is collaborated by Eliza Knight and Kathryn LeVeque. Kathryn is my all time fave author of medieval romance so when I found this out I made sure that I got the other two books as well. I have yet to read them, and as detailed in the description above, you do not need to read them in order to enjoy this book. I will agree. I didn’t feel like I was missing anything at all. However, I loved the story so much, I am intrigued and curious as to how these two authors collaborated as if memory serves, their writing style is a little different. I’ll let you know maybe in the future. On with the review.

The Sea Devil by Eliza Knight is the third book in the “Pirates of the Britannia: Lords of the Sea” series. If you love highlanders and pirates with your historical romance then this is an must grab for you. This is a classic take of revenge with a side of mistaken identity, but turns out to be the best mistake one could of taken in life.

Thor MacLeod is a highlander and a pirate. A pirate who is always seeking revenge on a man who killed his mother. Thor is hard lived, determined, stubborn and very ready to right this wrong and he will do it at any cost. This cost comes in the form of his enemies daughter. If he can find his enemies daughter, he will kill her, and then the slate will be wiped clean and he can carry on his life as he was meant to. BUT, we all know two wrongs do not make a right, and certainly not when he learns that the one he finds is not in fact the one he seeks .. unless one is seeking passion and love.

Alesia Baird is the daughter of a whore and a thief. She is cunning and smart and will do what she must in order to survive a life she has had to live alone. She is also very stubborn and knows that she is facing certain hanging if she can’t think her way out of the mess she has found herself in. Opportunity comes knocking, and before she knows it, Alesia is pretending to be the daughter of some pirate in hopes of running away from a certain death. What she doesn’t realize is that she is jumping from one death right into another, unless she can once again think herself out of this dilemma. It’s too bad the man that has taken her makes her feel more alive than she has ever felt in her entire life. It’s too bad he is so intent on killing her …..

OYE! These two are smoking hot together. This is a quicker book and I don’t reveal juicy tidbits of story, but believe me, the tidbits are in fact juicy. Something about pirates and the edge of death and passion and .. and .. OYE! Yah you know what I mean! FANS SELF! The tension is built quick, but Eliza layers many complicated moral dilemmas of the pirate code, which makes this love and passion almost “forbidden” Well what does one want more is something is forbidden .. it usually comes in the form of indulging, personal reasoning and/or .. just plain ole not thinking! LOL

These two are an intense couple, and the backdrop of pirates, enemies and swords make the pages flip effortlessly. If you have a little bit of bodice ripper fan reader inside you (I am not talking bodice ripper psycho ..lol), then this will get your blood pumping for sure. Like I said earlier I am eager to read Kathryn’s take on these brutish pirates, because Eliza certainly did them justice.

Looking forward to the next book and certainly looking forward to the first two. I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T.

The Sea Devil teaser

excerpt

An excerpt from THE SEA DEVIL
Copyright © Eliza Knight 2018

 

“I’m a pirate, lass. What am I supposed to think when I come into my room and a lass has made herself at home, going so far as to take off her boots?”
She pushed against him more, and he did let go slightly, enough that she thought she might be able to draw a better breath, but it didn’t appear that his hold was what kept her from breathing. Struggling to speak without choking, she said, “I came here because I heard ye were looking for the bastard of Santiago Fernandez.”
“And ye claim to be that unfortunate offspring?”
She nodded solemnly. “I do.”
“Prove it,” he growled.
“How?” She wriggled against him. “Put me down first.”
“Say something to me in Spanish.”
He settled her in front of him, but not far enough away that she couldn’t still feel the heat of his body sinking into hers. Thinking quickly on her feet, Alesia frowned up at him. “My mother was Scots, and my father, the legendary Spanish pirate, abandoned me the moment he planted his seed, ye buffoon. Where would I have learned his language?”
“Point taken.” He studied her face, eyes narrowed. “Ye do have the look of him. In a feminine sort of way. Save for that hair. Tempestuous hair.”
Her mouth fell open at the insult. She moved to stomp on his foot but quickly found herself lifted off her feet, arms pinned to her sides by the steely strength of his own.
Fine, he wanted to play dirty. She’d already showed him once she knew how to take down a man. Alesia moved to kick him where she’d had the pleasure of socking him before, but Captain Thor clamped her legs between his thighs of steel.
“Uh-uh, princess,” he mocked.
Though she hated to head-butt anyone for the headache it always gave her, that was her next move. Alesia was fairly certain at this point she wasn’t going to be walking away with the silver, which meant she could at least walk away with her life—and figure out another way to escape the wharf.
Before she had the chance to make good on her decision to crack her head against his, she found herself flattened to the wood-planked floor, and his massive body on top of hers. Every hard plane pressed to the soft curves of her own. She sucked in a ragged breath, prepared to shout at him to leave off, but she found her throat too tight to speak.
“I’d have expected more from Santiago’s daughter, wee sprite.” His finger trailed over her cheek and along her jawline.
Alesia bared her teeth, trying to wriggle free but only managing to feel his body pressed harder to hers. “And I would have expected more from a pirate Captain.”
“Touché.” His grin was inviting. Unnerving. Disarming.
“Get off me,” she growled, trying keep her mind in the right place—the angry place. That was survival. To succumb to his disarmament was to lose.
His gaze shifted to her lips. “Not without a kiss.”
Alesia snorted and shoved at his unmoving shoulders. “I’d not kiss ye if ye were the last man on earth.”
“What if I were the second to last?” he teased.
She let out an exasperated groan. “Not then, either, ye ogre.”
He clucked his tongue. “Shame.”
“Why’s that?”
“Because, lass, if sparring with ye is this fun, kissing would be even better.”

About The Author Black and Red

Eliza KnightEliza Knight is an award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty sizzling historical, time-travel and contemporary romance novels. Under the name E. Knight, she pens rip-your- heart-out historical fiction. While not reading, writing or researching for her latest book, she chases after her three children. In her spare time (if there is such a thing…) she likes daydreaming, wine-tasting, traveling, hiking, staring at the stars, watching movies, shopping and visiting with family and friends. She lives atop a small mountain with her own knight in shining armor, three princesses and two very naughty puppies.

Connect with Eliza at: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

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Searching for Billy Shakespeare by Crista McHugh-a review

Searching for Billy Shakespeare by Crista McHugh-a review

Searching For Billy Shakespeare

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About the book: Release Date December 26, 2017

Intensely introverted and socially awkward grad student Kate Mireau has loved only one man since she was a little girl.

William Shakespeare.

Unfortunately, he died over four hundred years ago.

Since no modern-day man will ever compete with the Bard’s wit and wisdom, Kate is destined for dissatisfaction in matters of the heart. Besides, any attempt she makes to step out of her comforting world of books usually ends in humiliating disaster. But when she agrees to help her new roommate’s brother prepare for an upcoming audition, she meets a man who makes her pulse race almost as fast as Shakespeare’s insults. ‘Tis said the course of true love never did run smooth, and Kate discovers that Gabe is not an aspiring classical actor—he’s one of Hollywood’s sexiest leading men.

Experience has taught Kate that she’ll just end up embarrassing them both. Will she retreat to her safe world of beloved plays and poetry, consoling herself with the notion that he is a star out of her reach? Or if all the world’s a stage, then maybe Gabe is her chance to find there’s more to life than just words, words, words.

••••••••••••••••

Review:

Searching for Billy Shakespeare begins with Kate’s best friend, Livvy, talking her into going out with her and her girlfriend for the night. Even though Kate resists, she is eventually persuaded. They run by Kate’s apartment, which she shares with her fiancé. Upon entering, Kate’s world crumbles. She takes a little while to lick her wounds and find a new apartment.

Kate responds to an ad for someone searching for a roommate, and to her utter surprise, she is “approved” by her new roomie, Ari. There are stipulations, but Kate jumps at the chance. It doesn’t take long for Kate to receive a call from an unknown number, only to find out it’s Ari’s brother, Gabe, needing some help for an audition that is a little out of his comfort zone: the classics. Kate is a little intrigued, and before long, finds herself waiting anxiously for his next phone call. After a near tragic event involving Ari, Gabe flies to New York. Kate still has no idea exactly who Gabe actually is, which endears her even more to Gabe. They both eventually decide to take their relationship to the next level, albeit slowly. After a series of mishaps, Kate realizes that what she’s been searching for all along is right in front of her………

Oh, how I’ve missed Crista McHugh’s stories. Searching for Billy Shakespeare is a nicely written tale that moves fast from the very beginning. Kate is a loveable, and nerdy, introvert who is more than comfortable with herself. She just has a little trouble being comfortable with others being comfortable with her quirks, and afraid she won’t fit in, especially in Gabe’s world. Gabe is grounded, even though he is very famous. It absolutely adds to his lovability factor that Gideon Kelly (from the Kelly Brothers series by Crista McHugh) is his best friend. I did NOT see that coming, but was a fun bit thrown in by the author for her loyal readers.

Looking for Billy Shakespeare ultimately teaches us that if something looks too good to be true, it may, in fact, be just the opposite and be the best thing ever! If you’re a fan of quick romantic reads, with a bit of humor and relatable characters, you will never go wrong with anything written by Crista McHugh. Searching for Billy Shakespeare is fun, engaging and endearing. I’m hoping we’ll get a follow-up for some of the other characters we met in this one. Well done, Crista McHugh! Very well done!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

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The Madame Catches Her Duke (Craven House #3) by Christina McKnight-Review Tour and Giveaway

The Madame Catches Her Duke (Craven House #3) by Christina McKnight-Review Tour & Giveaway

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THE MADAME CATCHES HER DUKE
Craven House #3
by Christina McKnight
Release Date: January 4, 2018
Genre: adult, historical, romance

The Madame Catches Her Duke

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THERE’S A FINE LINE BETWEEN LOVE AND HATE.

Despite being thrown from her home and stripped of her place in society at a young age, Madame Marce Davenport is proud of what she’s accomplished with her family and the notoriously scandalous Craven House. Except it’s all built on a lie. When an arrogant duke strode into her home years ago, offering her a way to keep the brothel open, she agreed to his game of deception. But now that her siblings have found their happiness, Marce can finally live the life she’s always wanted: one that embraces the truth. And that means severing ties with the man who has claimed too many of her days—both in reality, and fantasy.

Rowan Delconti, the Duke of Harwich, has been angry for so long: at his father, at the woman who broke apart his parents’ marriage, and at the children who won is father’s love. He’s determined his mother won’t be unhappy again—even if it means pretending to be married to Marce, so that his mother will think he’s found love in his life. But the beautiful madame fuels his fire like no other, and the charade starts to feel all too real.

When Marce and Rowan’s secrets finally come to light, their passion may not be enough to staunch the hurt of the past. Can two people who were so wrong for each other, realize they’ve been right all along?

••••••••••

 

REVIEW: 5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

OH! That was really good! I gobbled this book up in a couple of sittings and I am looking forward to more!

The Madame Catches Her Duke by Christina McKnight is the third book in her “Craven House” series. A historical romance, this is a delicious story of a relationship consumed with much love and hate and saying that the lines are blurred in this “er .. courtship?” is a serious understatement. I loved every harsh, stolen moment, truths and untruths as it was completely fueled by passion. Passion can be dangerous though, and I always love it when our leads bring danger to the table!

Madame Marce Davenport is the big sister of her family (read the previous two books to get to know the others), and goes to exceptional odds to shoulder the responsibilities that come with that title. She is fierce, and I mean fierce! She is a no nonsense woman, brave and very courteous! I absolutely loved her as she held all the traits I LOVE in a heroine. She is no pushover, but she does not lack the ability to be warm and lovely. She had made a pact years ago to keep her brothel and come together with the most aggravating man she had ever met. Well now she is not loving the deal struck, she wants to discontinue it, but her heart is conflicted because against all her efforts, she fell in love with the arrogant ass!

Enter arrogant ass … Rowan Delconti, Duke of Harwich. Oh my this man! So easy to hate him, so hard to love him, but you will find yourself wanting to love him. He is totally redeemable and I do have a thing for a man that is a straight up jerkface, who gets his coming in the form of a beautiful woman. Rowan is a hard man, he is abrasive, angry but so full of passion I swear if I was reading a paperback my pages would of lit up! LOL He’s also in denial that the woman he has struck a deal with has gotten under his skin, and what was just a ruse to protect his mother’s feelings has turned into a reality!

The incredible bumps along this journey that Marce and Rowan face are sad, and wonderful, and angry and sad and wonderful …… They each had some supportive characters that made that journey a little clearer, but towards the end they do find their own way! This is not always a pretty story, and truthfully there were times it was straight up mean. BUT .. I understood the mean for what it was and if you can appreciate a good emotional rollercoaster storyline than I promise you will love reading this book. Christina has a way of making some very complex characters and storylines and turning them into a beautiful love story.

I don’t do spoilers, and I recommend you absolutely read the first two books first as there is a mystique surrounding Rowan that I believe was an addition to this storyline. I will also say the heat was perfect with these two .. very appropriate!

Another amazing book Christina McKnight and I am so looking forward to many more in the future!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T

___________

Haven’t started the series yet?

The Thief Steals Her Earl
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The Mistress Enchants Her Marquis
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about the author

Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since.

Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books…don’t forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.

You can visit her online at the following places:

Website Facebook | Twitter Goodreads | Amazon

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Come Home With Me (Blue Moon Harbor #2) by Susan Fox-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Come Home With Me (Blue Moon Harbor #2) by Susan Fox-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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COME HOME WITH ME
Blue Moon Harbor #2
by Susan Fox
Release Date: December 26, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance

Come Home With Me

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About the book: Release Date December 26, 2017

It may be a dot in the Pacific Northwest, but tiny Blue Moon Harbor always has room for love . . .

Miranda Gabriel has finally hit rock-bottom. As a high-school drop-out, she fled Blue Moon Harbor and her shattered family life, and chased after love in all the wrong places. But now, as a single mom, her priority is her two-year-old daughter. Her only choice is to swallow her pride and return to the island she’s always hated. At least between working and studying, she’ll be too busy for romance–especially when the prospect is a nice guy, exactly the kind she knows she doesn’t deserve…

The island veterinarian, Luke Chandler is a widower raising four-year-old twin boys. In high school, he found bad girl Miranda fascinating–and though life has changed them both, he’s still intrigued. Luke has known true love, and something about Miranda makes him long to experience it again. Yet he’s wary of opening himself, and his boys, to hurt. But his heart may not give him a choice. And together, maybe he and Miranda can give each other the courage to believe in themselves, and to embrace a promising new future . . .

••••••••••••

Review: Come Home with Me begins with Miranda trying to find her place in the world, and on Destiny Island. She along with her daughter, Ariana, had no choice but to come back to the island and accept the help that her brother offered. Miranda had always tried to make it on her own, but it became harder once she became a single mom. Although she and her brother, Aaron, have always been close, she can’t help but feel a little jealous at how his life had turned out. Newly engaged to Eden, Miranda couldn’t help but worry about her place in Aaron’s life. It had always been Miranda and Aaron against the world, and she just didn’t know if she would ever fit into the family that he was building. Determined to get an education and make a better life for herself and Ariana, dating was the last thing she was interested in….

Luke Chandler had tragically lost his wife four years earlier. Raising twin boys and his vet practice had always been his priority, but a chance encounter with Miranda at a store in which she worked left him intrigued. Luke and Miranda had gone to school together, but were never really friends. She seemed nothing like she’d been in high school, but he decided that maybe, just maybe, it was time to test the dating waters. Even though Miranda initially resisted, they decided to hang out with their kids as friends.

Miranda wants to take things slow. She’s never been lucky in the dating world, having made one bad choice after another, but she finds herself drawn to Luke, which gives her something she’s never really felt before…..hope. As she and Luke navigate a budding relationship, doubt gets in the way for them both.

Come Home with Me is a great addition to the Blue Moon Harbor series. Miranda, whom we meet in the first book of the series, is a nicely written character. She’s so defeated when she arrives on the island. Her life has never been easy and she has trouble accepting help from her brother, let alone all of the extended family opening their hearts and homes to her. Luke is great character as well. His sense of loyalty and honor leaps off the page as you read his story. His devotion to his family will endear him to you as he tries to bring Miranda into the fold. I also loved that the two of them had to work on their relationship and figure out exactly what they wanted from each other. The secondary characters are nicely written as well. This series, at least for me, is an emotional one. It’s a story filled with real life feelings and situations. Come Home with Me is ultimately a story of redemption and realizations that yes, you are good enough to be happy. Well done, Susan Fox! Very well done!

Reading Order and Previous review
Fly Away With Me
Come Home With Me

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

Guest post

Characters We Care About

Hi there, Reading Café readers! Thanks for sharing time with me today.

I was just listening to an award-winning author being interviewed on the radio. She was asked why readers feel so passionate about her books. She said it’s because they have empathy for the characters. They care about them, even if those characters aren’t perfect.

And I thought, yes! That’s exactly it for me, too. It’s about being drawn in deeply, emotionally, getting personally invested in a character’s life, so you care about what happens to her or him.

I’m sure each author has her/his own process for creating that kind of character. Some authors want to know pretty much everything about their heroine and hero before they start to write. Not me. I’m an organic writer, which means the story and characters develop as I write. It’s not particularly efficient, because it means a lot of going back and revising, but there’s a wonderful sense of discovery that keeps me enthusiastic about writing.

Some authors do detailed character profiles, including things like what they eat for breakfast and who taught them in first grade. Nope, not me. Not unless those details are important to the story. For me, what’s key is this: Who is this person today, and what experiences went into making her/him that way?

Character development, or maybe the better word is evolution, works a bit differently for me with each book. For example, if it’s the first in a series, I’m creating characters from scratch. But in the case of Come Home With Me, I already knew some things about the heroine, Miranda Gabriel, because she was a secondary character in my first Blue Moon Harbor book, Fly Away With Me. She’s the hero Aaron’s younger half-sister, a single mom with a two-year-old daughter. I knew about her and Aaron’s dysfunctional childhood, and how it had damaged them. I knew Miranda was fiercely proud, but that she hit rock bottom (in Fly Away With Me) and, for the sake of her daughter, was forced to accept her brother’s offer of assistance. That meant returning to Destiny Island, a place she hated.

So I had a good start on Miranda, and knew she’d evolve further as I wrote the book. As for the hero, Luke Chandler, I knew only a little. He was the widowed father of twin boys, and he was a veterinarian. I had a lot more “evolving” to do with Luke, as I wrote!

But for me, that’s the fun of it. As I work on a book, I think about family background, love lives, careers, friendships, community, all the things that make for a three-dimensional character, one whose thoughts and feelings ring true for the reader. One the reader can root for.

Luke turned out to be more “perfect” than Miranda, but perfect is boring so of course he needed some hangups. One was whether his love for his deceased wife would prevent him from moving forward. And then, at least three-quarters of the way through the first draft, I had one of those “aha” moments when a deeper level of his character revealed itself to me and I discovered another hangup.

Miranda was definitely not perfect. Luke refers to her as a “rosebud with thorns,” and yes, she’s plenty prickly. But her prickles are rooted in a very troubled past. As I wrote, I learned the details of that past, and the full significance of her dragon tattoo and the secret it hides.

I have a degree in psychology, and sometimes it seems to me that, with my characters, I almost play the role of counsellor as much as that of author. I listen to what they say and don’t say, I ask them questions, I reflect on how they’ve been influenced by the past, I come to know their values and philosophy of life. I learn what they fear most, as well as their secret dreams. Writing is a process of creation, but also a process of revelation. Sometimes I’m in charge, analyzing personality traits and doing research, and sometimes my characters are in charge, guiding my fingers as I type.

For me, writing is an intellectual process and it’s also an instinctive, intuitive one. And did I mention, it’s fun? As well as challenging, sometimes frustrating, and often stressful. But it’s worth every minute, when my characters come alive to me and to readers. When they’re as multi-dimensional as real live people. When their joys and sorrows tug at our heartstrings because we’re so invested in their personal journeys.

Yes, for me it’s all about character. It’s all about emotion.

How about for you, as a reader? What makes for a book that resonates with you, one that stays in your heart and your mind?

about the author

Susan FoxFollow Susan: Facebook / Goodreads / Website / Pinterest / Amazon / BookBub

International bestselling author Susan Fox, who also writes as Susan Lyons and Savanna Fox, “knows what women want in contemporary romance” (Publishers Weekly). Her books have won numerous awards and Love Somebody Like You: A Caribou Crossing Romance was a RITA® finalist. Her latest series is Blue Moon Harbor, from Kensington Zebra. A resident of both Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, Susan has degrees in law and psychology, but would far rather be writing fiction than living in the real world. Visit her at susanlyons.ca (where you can subscribe to her newsletter) and on Facebook.com/SusanLyonsFox.

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Susan Fox is graciously offering a signed, paper copy of COME FLY WITH ME to ONE (1) commenter at The Reading Cafe. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY

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The Duke of Ice (The Untouchables #7) by Darcy Burke-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

The Duke of Ice (The Untouchables #7) by Darcy Burke-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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THE DUKE OF ICE
The Untouchables #7
by Darcy Burke
Release Date: December 26, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, romance

The Duke of Ice

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

Everyone Nicholas Bateman ever loved has died. Except Violet Caulfield, which must mean he never loved her. Nine years after she threw him over to marry a viscount, Nick is a widowed duke who prefers isolation. When a friend convinces him to leave his lair of self-imposed solitude, he considers taking another wife, provided she agrees to his terms: no emotional attachment of any kind.

Now widowed, Lady Violet Pendleton hopes for a second chance with the man she’s always loved. But she isn’t prepared for the desolation in his soul or the animosity he still bears toward her. Despite those obstacles, it’s clear their passion hasn’t dimmed. However, the heat between them isn’t enough to melt the Duke of Ice, and this time Violet may find herself the jilted party. Can love, once so tragically lost, finally be found?

••••••

REVIEW:5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

So usually this far into a series one sometimes thinks, “ok 7th book this is getting a little old!” .. NOT THIS SERIES! Each book gets better and better and this novel was no exception. I think this one may be my fave yet!

The Duke of Ice by Darcy Burke is the 7th book of her “The Untouchables” series. A regency romance, this story follows the past and present of two people who once had it all, became jilted and are trying to find their way back to one another without ever thinking there was a possibility of second chances. OR the desire for second chances.

Nicholas Bateman is a Duke, and commonly nicknamed “The Duke of Ice” and for good reason. He use to be a loving kind man but his past has created a recluse, frosty character with so much deep down pain it’s near impossible to break through his defences. He has given up on life, friends, and for certain, given up on love. He is now widowed and he comes across as hateful and soulless, but deep down you know he has the most love of any of the Dukes in this series, and that love is so pure. He is not an easy character to love, but let me tell you if you open up to the possibility of warming to him, you will love him as much as I did. He has been jilted in his past and dealt with trauma. When his one and only friend turns up and tells him to get his rear end out the door and join him for a house party, he doesn’t realize this is an opportunity to face the core of his troubles .. a beautiful woman.

Violet Pendleton is a Lady of her times, beautiful, strong willed when need be, hopeful yet has struggled internally herself. Having fallen madly in love with Nick years ago, her family had serious issue and shipped her away to marry another. Heartbroken, she never forgot the one man she desperately wanted, and after a unhappy marriage, she finds herself widowed and now facing the man of her past at a house party … Nick.

These two have a rough story let me tell you. It’s truely heartbreaking. It turns out when Violet was forced to leave Nick, there was a note of explanation but it never reached Nick. All these years there has been a harboured resentment, one that surfaces when these two cross paths. Through all the discord, there is still a deep love, but both must work through their personal issues and learn to forgive the other for mistakes made. Always does sound easier than it actually is, and these two go through a whole hell of a lot more heartache before they finally decide to get their you know what together and make it work.

Such an emotional read, which is why I liked it so much, but hard to read a book like this when I am feeling the Christmas happy. There were times that Nick came a cross way too harsh but I understood the reason and maybe because I felt connected to these characters did I have more patience for it. Violet is lovely. I found myself feel more sorry for her than anyone else in this series. She strived to be so happy but it was always pushed a little further away everytime she had it in her grasp.

Once again, Darcy writes not just a superb story but gives us vivid imagery and a steady paced story. Loved seeing some old book friends again and I have to say I consider it a treat to be thrown back in time in her books. She writes so well that it makes me want to jump back and test the time out!

Great holiday grab, but please do read the previous books of the series to get the full appreciation. You could read this as a stand alone, but why deprive yourself of more fantastic stories. LOL

HAPPY READING!

Reading order and previous reviews
The Forbidden Duke
The Duke of Daring
The Duke of Deception
The Duke of Desire
The Duke of Defiance
The Duke of Danger

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Rachel T.

Excerpt

“Looks like it’s you and Lady Pendleton,” Simon said. His voice carried a hint of something.
Nick snapped his head toward his friend and detected the glimmer of a smile in his gaze. He was enjoying this. He was playing matchmaker. And he had his sights set on Nick and Violet. Bloody hell.
Nick wanted to be angry, but his pull toward Violet was too strong. He’d felt it last night and again today when Simon had asked if it would be odd for him to pursue her. Nick had been jealous. Shockingly, blood-boilingly, desperately jealous.
The realization shook him to the core.
“Who’s to be the crier?” Simon asked.
“Why not Mr. Adair since he won Kiss the Nun?” Seaver suggested.
With everyone in agreement, Violet and Nick moved to the center of the room.
“Is this awkward?” she whispered.
“No.” His pulse quickened. Should he kiss her or should he fail?
His mind screamed the latter. And really, that was for the best. Jealousy aside, he and Violet had no future, not when their past was so painful.
And yet when they knelt with their backs to each other, he caught her scent of rose and an earthy spice. It was wholly feminine yet slightly wild. He hadn’t smelled a rose in the past eight years without thinking of her. His body reacted, heating at her proximity.
“Make ready,” Adair said.
Nick looked over his right shoulder and felt the air move as she looked over her left.
“Present.”
Nick leaned close to her cheek. He could feel her warmth, and his skin tingled.
“Fire.”
He moved closer, but she sprang up. Instinctively, he reached for her, his arm curling about her waist. He pulled her back down. To stop her from hitting the floor, he spun to his back and sprawled, bringing her down on top of him. He cupped the side of her face and kissed her, his lips sliding over hers for a brief but delicious moment.
“The cheek,” she murmured, her gaze locked with his.
He leaned up and brushed his mouth against the soft flesh of her cheek. His lips lingered perhaps a second too long, but he didn’t care. Desire coursed through him, and for the first time in years, he felt alive.

 

About The author

Darcy BurkeDarcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, and three Bengal cats. Visit Darcy online at www.darcyburke.com and sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/darcyburke, or like her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans.

Connect:

 

Site: www.darcyburke.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans
Twitter: twitter.com/darcyburke
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/5823441.Darcy_Burke

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When a Warrior Woos a Lass (Highlander Vows: Entangled Hearts 6) by Julie Johnstone-Review & Giveaway

When a Warrior Woos a Lass (Highlander Vows: Entangled Hearts #6) by Julie Johnstone-Review and Giveaway

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WHEN A WARRIOR WOOS A LASS
Highlander Vows: Entangled Hearts #6
by Julie Johnstone
Release Date: December 18, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, Highlander, romance

When A Warrior Woos a Lass

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 18,2017

The past haunts them. Treachery awaits them. Love will save them.

A shattered lass…

Scarred by the cruel whims of her late husband, Lena MacLeod lives in fear of men and marriage. So when the king’s edict obliges her to wed Scottish warrior Alex MacLean, she never expects to feel safe, let alone happy. But behind Alex’s fierce exterior lies a gentle, gallant highlander who renews her soul, emboldens her, and offers her the one thing she never thought she would possess—true love. Now that Alex has her whole heart, she’ll settle for nothing less than all of his.

A tortured highlander…

Haunted by violent nightmares of his dark past, Alex MacLean has put off getting married for as long as possible. But now he finds himself the husband of the fragile, beautiful Lena, and he’s drawn to her as he has never been to another. He vows to protect and heal her, and as she grows stronger, so does his love for her. Yet, his horrible memories and a treacherous task are preventing him from giving himself to her entirely, and the secrets he harbors threaten to destroy their life together.

A union…

When Lena uncovers a dangerous scheme involving Alex, she embarks on a desperate journey to save the man she loves. But Alex still hasn’t let her in, and he runs the risk of losing her—and his life—unless he can accept that his once delicate wife is now an ally strong enough to light his way.

•••••••••••••

REVIEW: 

This is part of a series (book 6) and I found it pretty easy to follow, so I’d say you could read it happily as a stand alone. 

Leana MacLeod has suffered a lot in her young life and it has left her with physical and mental scars, she’s afraid of both marriage and men, and with good reason. 
Kidnapped as a child, abused in adulthood, by her husband, Lena wants nothing more than to be left alone and try for a normal life. An impossible task what with brothers and well  meaning sisters in law all trying to protect and smother her. 

So when the King dictates that she weds she is filled with horror. Until she is made aware of her her new husband is to be, she knows Alex MacLean, so she hopes it will be a better marriage than her first, but who really knows what goes on behind closed doors. 

The characters are well developed, Lena begins this book a frightened and defeated woman, but she grows into a strong, and very much determined woman. 

Alex was made Laird of his clan at only fifteen years old after the death of his father. He has always done his best to be a fearless leader and a strong warrior that his father would have been proud of.

Alex is seen as a hard warrior but he’s kind and caring, and is willing to lay down his life for those he loves. He is a fierce protector. 

However Alex is haunted by violent nightmares of his dark past. And those secrets could destroy the fragile bonds of trust that both Alex and Lena are trying to forge. 

The pace of the book is very good, we have intrigue and a few secrets which all add to a good read, I found it hard to put down in places. 

Reviewed by Julie 🦋

Copy supplied for review

 

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Julie Johnstone is graciously offering a paper copy or ebook (winner’s choice) of WHEN A WARRIOR WOOS A LASS to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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9.. Giveaway runs from December 21 to 26, 2017

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