Diamonds and Dirt Roads (Billionaires in Blue Jeans #1) by Erin Nicholas-Review and Excerpt Tour

DIAMONDS AND DIRT ROADS (Billionaires in Blue Jean #1) by Erin Nicholas-Review and Excerpt Tour

DIAMONDS AND DIRT ROADS
Billionaires in Blue Jean #1
by Erin Nicholas
Release Date: January 26, 2018
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 26, 2018

A pretend relationship…within a pretend relationship.

Attorney Evan Stone knows every crazy stipulation in billionaire Rudy Carmichael’s will. After all, he wrote it. And he’s determined to make sure each one is fully met by Rudy’s triplet daughters. Even if that means dating the workaholic CEO, Ava. Or pretending to at least. And even if it means resisting the so-right-for-him-she’s-totally-wrong party girl, Cori.

Cori’s only got three things on her to do list from her dad:
• Move to Bliss, Kansas.
• Run his pie shop with her sisters for a year.
• No dating. For six months.

But stepping in for her sister when it’s clear that Ava and Evan aren’t fooling anyone with their “romance” isn’t really dating. And falling for her sister’s pretend boyfriend while pretending to be her sister…well, that’s ridiculous. No matter how real things feel whenever she and Evan are together.

•••••••••••••

REVIEW: Diamonds and Dirt Roads begins with triplets, Ava, Brynn and Cori, meeting with their billionaire father’s attorney, Evan Stone, for the reading of the will. Rudy, their dad, died after a brief illness. Ava runs the company, Brynn works in the lab and Cori, who is never in one place for very long. This is Cori’s story.

Once the will is read and the stipulations are laid out, the girls are left with their collective jaws on the floor. They ALL have to do as Rudy dictated, or they lose everything. Once the girls arrive in Bliss, Cori finds herself even more attracted to Evan, only to find out that he is to date her workaholic sister, Ava. As for Cori, she’s not supposed to date for six months. Unfortunately, the chemistry between Ava and Evan is nonexistent, and Cori finds herself stepping into Ava’s shoes a few times in order to meet the stipulations of the will. The chemistry between Cori and Evan is undeniable, even though they both try to fight it, and ultimately fail miserably. And, as Cori so eloquently put it very early on, “You can’t get to diamonds without dirt roads”.

Diamonds and Dirt Roads is a wonderfully written tale with intriguing characters and a fun premise. Cori is the one who always feels that she has to make everyone happy, which has left her feeling almost adrift for the last several years. She and her sisters have always had each other, but Ava and Brynn knew what they wanted to do with their lives early on. Cori, not so much. She has a very sharp wit and a mind for business, but has never stayed in one place long enough to see exactly what she was capable of. Evan has roots in Bliss, but has never settled down. He’s known as a bit of a party guy himself, always throwing parties for the benefit of others and his community. The chemistry between him and Cori is off the charts. Once their feelings and insecurities come to light, it only adds to said chemistry.

The secondary characters of Bliss are awesome as well. The citizens of the little town will leave you laughing and I loved the banter between them and Cori. The sisters are all very different, but love each other and have always had each others’ backs. Evan has two best friends that will (surely?) end up with the two remaining sisters. I’m already pulling for Ava and Parker to end up together, and can’t wait to read their story. Talk about opposites attract!! Diamonds and Dirt Roads is a fun and quick read that pulls you in from the very beginning. It’s a fun story with a great couple who develop a scorching romance. I, for one, can’t wait for the next installment. If you’re a romance fan, you’ll definitely find this to your liking. Well done, Erin Nicholas! Very, very well done!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

 

Is it just me or is this the most awkward date in the history of dating?” Cori asked.
“She definitely looks tense,” Brynn agreed.
“And he looks annoyed,” Cori said.
“He’s smiling,” Brynn pointed out.
Yeah, he was. But it wasn’t real. Maybe no one else in the restaurant could tell, but Cori knew that Evan was forcing it. He’d given Ava a few genuine ones too throughout their dinner. But this one was definitely fake.
“Well, you can’t really blame the guy, can you?”
Cori looked up as Noah pulled out one of the empty chairs at their table and dropped into it.
“Hey,” Brynn said, with a big grin, “what are you doing here?”
Cori wondered if Noah realized how unusual that grin was for Brynn.
“I’m here for the show, same as everyone else,” he said, reaching for a roll from the basket in the middle of their table. He pulled off a chunk and put it in his mouth.
“The show?” Cori asked.
“Evan’s first date with Ava, of course.”
Cori frowned and glanced around. “Everyone is here for that?”
He nodded as he chewed. He gestured around the room with the rest of the roll. “Ninety percent of these people are from Bliss,” he said. “And the other ten percent know Evan and all about Ava.”
“And she’s super interesting?” Cori asked.
“Well, she and Evan are super interesting,” Noah said, reaching for a cherry tomato from Brynn’s salad. Did he know that Brynn didn’t like tomatoes? “Ava is very different from Evan’s usual.”
Ugh. Evan’s usual. For some reason that made her stomach hurt. Because he had a lot of usual and because his usual women who were probably a lot like Cori. Him being with someone not like Cori was interesting to everyone. Great. Ironic that the woman so interestingly unlike Cori looked exactly like her.
“Well, he doesn’t look like he’s having a good time,” she couldn’t help but point out.
“There are two things going on over there,” Noah said, dipping the remainder of his roll in the house Italian dressing on Brynn’s salad.
Cori would be amused by how comfortable the two of them were together—if she wasn’t so unamused by her other sister and the man she was clearly uncomfortable with.
“What two things?” Brynn asked.
“One,” Noah said, “Evan has never been out with a woman he couldn’t charm before.”
“You don’t think he can charm Ava?” Cori asked.
“Can anyone truly charm Ava?” Noah asked.


 

Erin Nicholas is the New York Times bestselling author of sexy contemporary romances. Her stories have been described as toe-curling, enchanting, steamy and fun. She loves to write about reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines and happily ever afters. She lives in the Midwest with her husband who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books, her kids who will never read the sex scenes in her books, and family and friends who say they’re shocked by the sex scenes in her books (yeah, right!).

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

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

ebook only 99¢ Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk / Amazon.au /

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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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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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

Come Home With Me Banner

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.

Giveaway

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

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

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

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8. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY

9. Giveaway runs from December 28, 2017-January 2, 2018

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A Secret Scottish Christmas (Agents of the Crown #4) by Regan Walker-Review and Guest Post

 Secret Scottish Christmas (Agents of the Crown #4) by Regan Walker-Review and Guest Post

A Secret Scottish Christmas

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 6, 2017

Spies and Scots and Shipmasters, oh my!

Scotland 1819 – Twin brothers Nash and Robbie of Powell and Sons Shipping, London, sail with their fellow Agents of the Crown to Scotland for a secret celebration of Christmastide, a holiday long considered pagan by the Scottish Kirk. But more than Christmas is being kept secret. The two brothers have accepted an assignment from the Home Secretary Lord Sidmouth to ferret out a fugitive fomenting rebellion among the Scots.

Aileen Stephen, the only daughter of an Aberdeen shipbuilder, had to be clever, devious and determined to gain her place in the family business. She succeeded to become a designer of highly coveted ships. One night, a man’s handsome face appears to her in a dream. When two men having that same face arrive on a ship full of Londoners, Ailie wonders what her second sight is telling her. Is the face she saw a portender of the future, a harbinger of danger, or both? And which of the two Englishmen is the one in her dream?

Older than Nash by a mere five minutes, Robbie has always been protective of his twin. When he realizes Nash is attracted to the sister of their Scottish host, he thinks to help matters along. But Nash wants no help from his brother, not where Ailie Stephen is concerned because Robbie is attracted to the girl himself!

Two brothers vie for the affection of the Scottish lass but only one stirs her passion. Which one will it be? And what will she do when she learns both are spies?

•••••••••••

REVIEW: A Secret Scottish Christmas begins with a group of people traveling from England to Scotland to celebrate Christmastide, albeit a secret celebration, with friends. Once the group arrives in Scotland, it doesn’t take long for the Powell twins, Nash and Robbie, to notice not only Aileen’s beauty, but also her fiery spirit.

As the story progresses, the twins put their secret plan into motion, in hopes of making their mission a successful one. However, as the twins get to know Ailie, it becomes apparent that one is more enamored than the other when said twin starts questioning their mission altogether.

A Secret Scottish Christmas is a great addition to the Agents of the Crown series. Ailie is a wonderfully written character. She is intelligent and feisty, but also has a loving heart for those she holds dear. The Powell twins were wonderfully written as well. I love the fact that they love each other as you would expect, but what drew me in was their sense of independence. Regan Walker did a phenomenal job of making each one of them their own person with their own identities. I also loved that Ailie picked up on their nuances that were written so brilliantly. Walker has also, once again, woven actual historical events into her story seamlessly and built a world that you can vividly see in your mind. Whether it is the sound of a dog barking, feeling the wind in your face as you sail away or seeing a landscape covered in new snow, you will find yourself noticing all of the details she meticulously sets for us to truly feel as if we are a part of. Reading Regan Walker’s books is, at least for me, like watching a movie. You are swept into her world from the very beginning and you truly do hate for it to end. Added to all of this the fact that we get to see so many couples from previous books throughout the entire story makes it one of my favorites of everything she has written. If you’re a fan of historical romance, you will most definitely love A Secret Scottish Christmas. There is a beautifully developed romance, political intrigue and such well developed characters that you’ll swear this is your favorite as well….until the next one. Well done, Regan Walker! Very, very well done!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

Guest Post-Black and Blue

Scot, Scotsman, Scotch or Scottish… how to refer to the Scots?

By Regan Walker

For my new Christmas Regency, A Secret Scottish Christmas, I wanted to make sure I referred to the Scots as they would want, so I did a bit of scouting. What I discovered was that the terminology can be confusing. Robert Burns, Scotland’s beloved poet, referred to the people of Scotland as “Scots”.

As you know from reading my stories set in Medieval Scotland, the people have always been “Scots” and their kings were never Kings of Scotland, but Kings of the Scots, the people being of first importance, not the land.

The Scots refer to their stories and language as “Scottish” but, in past times, they used the word “Scotch” in place of “Scottish” or “Scot”, something not done today.

In Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character by Edward Bannerman Ramsay, first published in 1857, the author looks back “forty years” (which would be to the Regency era) and describes the unique “Scottish dialect” spoken at the time. In one place, he says, “I recollect old Scottish ladies and gentlemen who really spoke Scotch.” He also refers to the people of Scotland as “the Scotch” and describes himself as “an out and out Scotchman”. So there you have it. Clear as haggis… er, mud.

I hope you enjoy my Christmas story set on the Northeast coast of Scotland. The people there in 1819 would have spoken a unique dialect, except in prominent families such as the Stephens, who spoke the King’s English. (The journals of the Scottish upper classes read like ones written by the English at the time). They might have spoken with an accent, of course. Most of the common people would have spoken the Doric dialect. Since Doric would be hard for readers to understand, I used it sparingly and sprinkled the book with a few Scottish expressions to give you a flavor for the local speech, particularly in the taverns and for the heroine’s grandfather from Stonehaven.

About The Author Black and Blue

Regan WalkerRegan Walker is an award-winning, Amazon #1 bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romances. A lawyer turned full-time writer, she has six times been featured on USA TODAY’s HEA blog and nominated six times for the prestigious RONE award (her novel, The Red Wolf’s Prize won Best Historical Novel for 2015 in the Medieval category). Her novel The Refuge: An Inspirational Novel of Scotland won the Gold Medal in the Illumination Awards in 2017. And her novel To Tame the Wind won the International Book Award for Romance Fiction in 2017.

Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government have given Regan a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown”. Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding sovereign who taps his subjects for special assignments. Each of her novels features real history and real historical figures. And, of course, adventure and love.

Regan’s website: http://www.reganwalkerauthor.com/
Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076BBG6HV
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/regan.walker.104
Regan’s Author page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Regan-Walker/e/B008OUWC5Y
Pinterest Storyboard for the book: https://www.pinterest.com/reganwalker123/a-secret-scottish-christmas-by-regan-walker/

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Totally His (Opposites Attract #3) by Erin Nicholas-Review, Q&A, Excerpt & Giveaway Tour

Totally His (Opposites Attract #3) by Erin Nicholas-Review,Q & A, Excerpt & Giveaway Tour

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TOTALLY HIS
Opposites Attract 3
by Erin Nicholas
Release Date: October 31, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance

Totally His

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo / ibooks / Google Play /BAM /

About the book: October 31, 2017

Actress Sophie Birch is used to having to look out for herself. So when her theater catches fire and a big guy scoops her up into his arms to save her, she’s going to fight every step of the way. Even if he’s a cop. And really sexy. And his arms feel oh-so-good.

Finn Kelly can’t help but appreciate how good the woman in his arms looks in her sexy pink lingerie. Even if she’s currently resisting arrest.

But as the two get to know each other, they’re both surprised by the things Finn is willing to do to get closer to her. And when Sophie’s estranged father arrives in town and starts causing trouble, the stage is set for disaster…unless Finn can convince her that, for once in her life, she has someone to lean on.

••••••••••••

REVIEW: Totally His begins with Finn Kelly arriving at a theater fire to help with crowd control. One of the first things he spots is a woman in pink lingerie sneaking into the burning theater. He heads in to make the woman vacate the premises, only to be met with vehement resistance. Once he literally picks her up to get her out of the building, he takes her outside, only to lose track of her pretty quickly. It doesn’t take long for him to spot her, or someone whom he thought was her. He approaches “her” and immediately realizes that he has been duped. The woman who had donned the pink robe was not the woman he rescued from the building. Go figure….

Sophie Birch is knows she risked a lot going back into her burning theater to rescue a script that was an original written by her good friend, Angie. But, it was that good. She also a little side tracked with thoughts of the sexy as hell cop that carried her to safety. Those thoughts disappear as her estranged father, Frank, shows up looking for a place to stay and some quick cash.

It doesn’t take long for Sophie and Finn to realize that their lives are intertwined in ways that neither knew about. Once Finn mobilizes family, friends and co-workers to help Sophie repair the damage to her theater, Sophie starts to do something she swore she’d never do: long for a family and support system that she’s never had. Determined to not fall for Finn, Sophie tries to keep her distance from him, but ends up failing miserably. As Finn realizes that he’s fallen hard for Sophie, he vows to do everything in his power to keep her safe and make her totally his……..

Totally His is a wonderfully written story. Sophie is independent, feisty and loyal. She’s been her own support system for so long that she has a lot of trouble opening up and letting people in. Finn is caring, loyal and steadfast in his belief that he needs to give back and try to help everyone in need. When the two of them come together, along with his huge, boisterous family, it doesn’t take Sophie long to be overwhelmed. Throw in her player father, whom she tries to protect everyone from, and you’ve got a great story. The chemistry between Finn and Sophie leaps off of the page. Their banter is engaging and funny. The secondary characters only add to the whole experience. Totally His pulls at your heart strings, but it also makes you swoon with the sizzling romance and humor. I didn’t know this was the third book in a series until I went to write this review, so it can totally be read as a standalone, as I didn’t feel like I was missing any background information that made the story seem out of sorts. This is the first I’ve read by this author, but it will not be the last. Well done, Erin Nicholas! Very well done!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

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excerpt

Finn would have noticed her even if she hadn’t been wearing hot-pink lingerie. And nothing else.
He really would have. She was totally his type—brunette and curvy and, apparently, a little crazy. As evidenced by the fact that she was trying to sneak into a burning building. He did seem to be attracted to crazy. No matter how hard he tried not to be.
He watched the woman stop at the east corner of the Birch Community Playhouse, the one farthest from where the firefighters were working. Then he frowned as she slipped into the shadows along the side of the theater and out of sight.
Dammit. He started after her.
As one of the cops on scene, he had to keep the area clear for the firefighters and keep the crowd of onlookers safe. If one of them happened to have a great body and be dressed in nothing but a pink bra-and-panty set, well, he’d just call that a perk. And as he jogged across the street, Finn couldn’t help but wonder if she was in costume or if the alarm had caught her in the midst of a wardrobe change. If that was her outfit for the show, he might need to buy a ticket.
He turned the corner to the back of the building and looked around. He didn’t see her. She’d gone inside. Dammit. He climbed up the four steps that led to the back door of the theater.
Finn touched the door and found it cool. It seemed that the flames were still contained to the wall on the other end of the theater, but it was a mistake to assume anything when fire was involved.
He stepped inside and pulled the flashlight from his belt, then shone it back and forth. He turned a full circle, not sure where to go next. Just then Finn heard a door slam somewhere behind him. He swung toward the sound just in time to see the woman step out from a room.
Her eyes went wide when she saw him.
“Boston PD! Stop!” Finn shouted.
She had covered up. Kind of. She now wore a robe, short, sheer, and unbelted. Which really did nothing to cover his view of her panties and bra. Or all that skin.
And maybe that was why she suddenly took off at a run.
Finn stared after her for a moment, a little stunned. She was actually running from him?
The woman made it to the other end of the lobby and through one of the doors leading into the main theater before Finn got to her. He grabbed the door as it was swinging shut, nearly smashing his fingers. The lights were off in the inner theater but, as he plunged into the darkness, he got a big whiff of whatever body spray or perfume she wore. He took a deep breath. It was nice. Lemony. Sweet and…
Jesus. Finn scowled and turned his flashlight back on. He was thinking about how she smelled? How about the smell of smoke that was going to be chasing them both pretty soon?
“Hey!” he called into the theater. You have to come out, ma’am. It’s not safe for you to stay in the building.”
“Just give me a damned minute!” she shouted.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, I can’t do that,” Finn said.
“I have to find something. Then I’m coming right out.”
“Ma’am, I will have to remove you myself if you don’t come out immediately.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” he heard her exclaim.
“Ma’am, this is your last warning. Stop what you’re doing and come with me.”
Enough of this. Finn stalked over to her, put a hand around her upper arm, and turned to remove her from the building.
She dug her heels in, though, pulling against his hold. “Hey, you can’t—”
“Oh, yes I can,” he told her calmly, careful to keep his eyes off her body. The heat from her skin had immediately soaked through the thin robe, and Finn felt it traveling from his palm up his arm. “I’ve given you several opportunities to cooperate.”
“You’re arresting me?” she asked.
“Are you doing something that you need to be arrested for?” he asked, moving her toward the door, even with her resisting.
“No! I need to get something. It’s very important. It belongs to a friend of mine. It’s irreplaceable.”
“Ma’am,” he said calmly, “don’t make me carry you out of here.”
She pulled against his grip and leaned all her weight into fighting the forward motion across the room.
Well, shit. He’d kind of figured it would come to this, but he wasn’t sure he was ready to touch her more. Still, it didn’t look as if he had a lot of choice. Reminding himself that he was a professional, he bent and hooked an arm behind her knees, looped the other around her back, and lifted her.
She gasped, and for a moment she didn’t fight. And he thought maybe the hard part was over. But as he headed out the door, trying to ignore how warm and soft and fucking lemony she was, she started to wiggle.


 

 

Q & A

Erin Nicholas CREDIT Lifetouch Portrait Studios Inc

TRC: Hi Erin. Congratulations on the release of TOTALLY HIS. We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Erin: Well, I’m a mom of two, wife of one, cat and coffee lover, who spends 10 hours a day with imaginary people ☺ I grew up in a house of book lovers and I’ve been writing my entire life—started out with short stories in elementary school—and published my first contemporary romance, my true love, in 2009.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Erin: I’ve always been a writer. I don’t remember a time I wasn’t making stories up! I’m sure a lot of it came from the stories I loved as a child and the fact that both of my parents were rarely seen without a book! Books were our rewards for things growing up—good grades, etc.—so a love for books and stories was engrained from a very young age. I’m so grateful for that!

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

Erin: I’m very independent so it’s hard to sometimes have a lot of people weighing in on a project ☺ I guess that would be one thing! Lol! Another is dealing with negative reviews and harsh critics. I’ve gotten a tougher skin over the years, but those can sometimes really sting even now.

TRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of TOTALLY HIS and the OPPOSITES ATTRACT series? How many books do you have planned for the series.

Erin: There are three books in the series… Totally His is number three, and the final one. The idea game when a friend and I were talking about The Big Bang Theory and how fun it would be for the roles to be reversed with Geeky Girls and Hot Guys ☺ And that became our tagline for the series… “The Big Bang Theory in reverse!” My daughter and her “geeky” interests (which I think are just really cool) – like superheroes, online communities, and theater – was the inspiration for all the heroines in this series. There’s a little piece of her in each of them.

TRC: What was your hardest scene ever to write?

Erin: Oh wow. The hardest scene ever? It’s every dark moment—that point in the story when all seems lost—in every book! I hate those. In fact, I usually write them early on so I get them over with and know where I’m going with the story ☺ The hardest one of those in any of my books? Wow, maybe the one in Going Down Easy, which is a new book coming out in March. The hero is completely guilt-ridden over finding out his young son is being bullied at school. That was really hard to write about what happened to his son and then the hero’s reaction to it and the way he pushes the heroine away because of it.

TRC: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of TOTALLY HIS.

About the author

Erin Nicholas is the New York Times bestselling author of sexy contemporary romances. Her stories have been described as toe-curling, enchanting, steamy and fun. She loves to write about reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines and happily ever afters. She lives in the Midwest with her husband who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books, her kids who will never read the sex scenes in her books, and family and friends who say they’re shocked by the sex scenes in her books (yeah, right!).

Website: www.erinnicholas.com
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2ys6CA8
Twitter: @ErinNicholas
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2hPeCni
Bookbub: http://bit.ly/2vVyImO
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2vtoBTk

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Midnight Unleashed (Midnight Breed 14.7/ 1001 Dark Nights) by Lara Adrian-Review & Excerpt Tour

Midnight Unleashed (Midnight Breed 14.7/ 1001 Dark Nights ) by Lara Adrian- Review & Excerpt Tour

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MIDNIGHT UNLEASHED
Midnight Breed 14.7 / 1001 Dark Nights
by Lara Adrian
Genre: adult, contemporary, paranormal, romance
Release Date: October 10, 2017

Midnight Unleashed

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 10, 2017

For Breed vampire Trygg, a menacing former assassin and the ultimate loner, duty is everything…until his solo mission to destroy a powerful enemy earns him an unwanted partner in the form of Tamisia, a beautiful, ice-hot immortal who ignites a flame in his cold heart, and his blood.

Banished from her Atlantean colony, disgraced immortal Tamisia longs for a chance to redeem herself and return home where she belongs. Her work at a Rome women’s shelter has given Sia purpose, but when a break-in results in a brutal killing, her quest for answers puts her in the middle of the hunt for a dangerous enemy of the Order–and brings her up against one of the deadliest of their Breed warrior members, the Gen One vampire, Trygg.

A former Hunter enslaved to the commands of a madman, Trygg has devoted his life to the Order. Duty is his only master now, until an interfering beauty inserts herself into his investigation. The last thing Trygg wants is a partner in his mission, but Sia will not be denied–nor will the fierce desire she stokes in him. Soon the warrior who needs no one is craving the only woman he should not desire, unleashing a powerful hunger in his cold heart, and in his blood.

Review:
Midnight Unleashed begins with disgraced Atlantean, Tamisia, working in a home that takes in young women and children looking for a safe place to stay. After an ordinary night, Tamisia (Sia, for short) hears a noise and goes to investigate, after telling Phaedra (the director of the facility and also a fellow Atlantean) to call the police. Sia reaches the door where the noise is coming from and enters. What she saw was enough to leave her blood running cold…..

Trygg had one directive: follow one of the henchmen, Franco, who reported to The Order’s number one enemy, Roberto Santino, who was a cold and calculating human manufacturing and distributing a drug that would turn any Breed into a monster. Trygg had been following Franco for a couple of weeks, trying to get closer to finding Santino. As he sat in an alley waiting, the screams he heard set him in motion immediately. Once he entered the home Franco had entered, he saw the last person he’d ever expected to see. Standing over Franco’s dead body was none other than the beautiful Atlantean, Tamisia, who had stayed at the Order’s Rome compound after being banished from her own realm. Little did they know how much the break-in would affect both their lives………..

Midnight Unleashed is another wonderful addition to the Midnight Breed series. I was very pleased to see that Tamisia got her story so quickly. I was thoroughly peeved at her when she was banished from her realm, for reasons you find out in Defy the Dawn, but her heart in this book more than made up for it. Her determination was refreshing, but, for me, her empathy leapt off the page. Trygg was a surprise for me. If he’d been mentioned before, I totally missed it. I didn’t miss anything this go around. His story is familiar as he is a Gen One, created in Dragos’ lab for nothing other than to be a killing machine. Once freed though, his story took an unexpected turn that will break your heart. The fact that Tamisia could see past all of that, added to the fact that Trygg LET her, made them the perfect couple. As I’ve said every time before, I’ve been a Breed fan since day one, and am so glad I still get to see these guys. I can’t wait for the next installment. Well done, Lara Adrian! Very, very well done!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

Midnight Unleashed Teaser

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excerpt

 

While he’d sure as hell rather be surrounded by his tech equipment at the command center, Trygg couldn’t find much to object to as he followed Sia up an exterior staircase to a private third-floor entrance of the house. As irritated as he was after her power play in the car just now—not to mention her earlier act of defiance that had rattled him more than he cared to admit, even to himself—it was hard to think about much else except the rhythmic sway of her hips as she mounted the old iron steps.
Very hard.
Her long, elegant spine and firm backside were a temptation that stoked a growing heat inside him as he stalked up the climb behind her. Everything male in him burned with desire. Everything Breed in him hungered for her too. If she chanced a look over her shoulder, it would be damn close to impossible to hide the amber lighting his irises or the press of his sharp fangs as they filled his mouth.
Letting her win just now was a mistake he already regretted, but that’s where her control was going to end. He’d go inside as she insisted and they’d do a cursory look through the rest of the items they’d brought with them. He would point out something or other so she’d have a bone to chew on, then he’d take everything back to the command center and dig into the meat of the scant evidence alone.
The way he preferred to operate.
He scowled at her when they reached the top of the stairs. “Is this the way you sneak in all the men you bring home with you?”
“Only the surly ones.” Her blonde brow arched over her long-lashed eyes. “And to answer the question you really want to ask, I’ve never brought anyone up here before.”
He didn’t want to ask that, so why did her answer give him such a healthy stab of satisfaction?

 

 

About the author

LARA ADRIAN is a New York Times and #1 international bestselling author with nearly 4 million books in print and digital worldwide and translations licensed in more than 20 countries. Her upcoming release is FOR 100 REASONS, the third book in a contemporary romance series that reviewers are calling “phenomenal” and “one of the hottest series of the year.” Learn more about the author and her books at LaraAdrian.com.

Website – http://www.laraadrian.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/LaraAdrianBooks
Twitter – https://twitter.com/lara_adrian
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/375626.Lara_Adrian
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/laraadrianbooks/

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Game On (Hometown Players #6) by Victoria Denault-a review

Game On (Hometown Players #6) by Victoria Denault-a review

Game On

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

About the book: Release Date October 10, 2017

When it comes to scoring in the pro hockey league, Alex Larue is crushing it-with the hot puck bunnies. He’s the life of the party, the guy with all the jokes . . . and the one whose Party Guy mask keeps the real him well hidden. The last thing he needs is anyone finding out about his troubled past, or the nightmares that haunt him still.

Brie Bennett is less than impressed by Alex from the moment she meets him. And even though he insists on volunteering at the charity she runs, she doesn’t trust him. He’s hiding something…but so is she. She’s not just the rich, privileged New York princess he thinks she is. The animosity between them is undeniably addictive and as their worlds keep colliding it becomes supercharged with something else – attraction. But if they stop playing games and let each other in, they both might lose.

••••

Review:
Game On begins with Alex Larue on a new team, in a new city. His new team picked an old friend and fellow Frenchman, Luc, to be his “buddy” to show him around and also to show him the ropes as far as his new team goes. After Alex is shot down in hilarious fashion at Starbucks, they head to the arena for practice. Once practice is over, he finds out that his coach isn’t really game (pardon the pun) on having him on his team. He knows he’ll have to work harder than ever…… The one constant that keeps him sane is his work with children who’ve not had an ideal childhood. After all, why would he not try and stop kids from going through things that still, all these years later, give him nightmares.

Brie Bennett is bound and determined to keep the charity she founded afloat without asking her parents for help. She knows they’re in a bit of a jam financially, but vows to make ends meet one way or another. Enter Alex Larue, mega hockey star, and the guy that she shot down at Starbucks, wanting to volunteer for none other than her charity. What are the odds? She finally backs down and lets him volunteer when her best friend hammers it home that he can bring in a lot of money for them. Even though she doesn’t trust his motives, she does trust in the fact that big names draw big money.

Once Alex and Brie agree to be a team, and Brie lowers her guard, they come together to get a kid off of the streets. Not only does that help the kid, it helps Alex and Brie see that maybe they need to give their growing mutual attraction a chance. When obstacles hinder their progress, both professionally and personally, they both face them head on…….kind of.

Game On is a great story. Brie shatters that “pampered princess” persona so many of her ilk are known for. She’s ferocious when it comes to those she considers hers in the home that she runs for the homeless. She’s a great daughter to her parents and she’s a great friend. She is also very protective of her past. Alex is not your typical mega sports star. Yes, his reputation precedes him, but it is also a mask that hides a horrendous childhood that he is bound and determined to keep hidden. When he rises to the occasion and faces his past and puts it out there for all to see? Amazing. But, let me tell you….when you see how his and Brie’s lives were intertwined? Get a tissue. Game On is ultimately a story about facing your past in order to leave it there…in the past. It is also a story that shows that more times than not, karma can actually be your friend. I’ve not read any of Denault’s books in this series before this one, but I will rectify that as soon as I can. I didn’t see a problem with this being read as a standalone. I look forward to the next installment. Well done, Victoria Denault! Very well done.

Copy supplied for review.

Reviewed by Vickie M.

About The Author

Follow: website / Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook

Victoria DenaultVictoria’s a member of the Romance Writers of America and is  represented by Kimberly Brower.  Her debut novel, One More Shot, was released June 2, 2015. Making a Play and The Final More released later the same year and two years later, the now six book series, concludes with Game On, releasing October 10, 2017.

Victoria’s first trade paperback series, The San Francisco Thunder, debuted May 2017 starting with Score and the follow-up Slammed will release December 5, 2017.

If Nicholas Sparks and Christina Lauren had a love child, it would be Victoria Denault. Her characters are mostly from simple beginnings with big hearts, bigger passions, bold personalities and authentic obstacles on their winding path to true love. Their journeys are never easy, but they’re always worth it.

Victoria’s love of writing and books began at 12 when she picked up her first Sweet Valley High and grew from there as she devoured everything from Christopher Pike to SE Hinton to Mary Higgins Clark and more. Her favorite childhood gift remains the 1930s typewriter her parents found at a garage sale.

Victoria has a BA in English, a graduate diploma in Journalism and has taken both creative and screenwriting courses at UCLA Extension. She’s worked as a professional cheerleader, reporter, editor, stand-up comic, actor and in marketing and advertising before becoming a full-time author. She was born in Quebec, Canada where hockey is a religion and has been a fan of the sport since childhood. She’s written editorial and humor pieces on the National Hockey League for CanucksHockeyBlog.com, and has had her articles picked up by Yahoo Sports and the Vancouver Canucks.

Victoria has lived in many major cities across North America, spent her childhood summers in Maine and adult summers in Spain. She’s now happily settled in Los Angeles with her husband and their two chubby Chihuahuas, Gus and Belle.

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