A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Monday, August 31, 2015

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Made for Us by Samanta Chase- Feature + Review+ Giveaway! Meet The Shaughnessy Brothers!!

Feature Post: Meet the Shaughnessy Brothers
This month, bestselling author Samantha Chase launches her new contemporary romance series the Shaughnessy Brothers. In the series starter, MADE FOR US, readers are introduced to the five amazing Shaughnessy brothers–each more successful than the last. From a building contractor, to a scientist, to a former racecar driver, and even a rock star, these brothers are as different as can be, but also extremely close. Losing their mother early in their lives solidified the brotherly bond and helping raise their baby sister also brought them together. But with their sister raised and careers in order it is time for the next phase in their lives. And while these brothers might not be looking for happily-ever-afters, romance is looking for them! Below get to know each of these sexy Shaughnessys starting with Aidan from MADE FOR US.
Name: Aidan Shaughnessy
Occupation:  Building Contractor                             
Height: 6’2
Hair Color:  Dark Brown               
Eye Color: Blue
Age: 34
What makes you the perfect date?
No one – including myself – has ever said that!  But if I had to say something, it would be that I like to take care of all the details so that my date doesn’t have to worry about a thing.
What do you look for in a woman?
Typically someone strong and independent but also enjoys being taken care of.
Describe yourself in 100 words or less: 
I’m a bit of a control freak – or so I’ve been told!  I’m hard working and know exactly what I want out of life.  I can be quiet and observant – a bit of a people watcher.  I don’t enjoy crowds very much.  I prefer if I’m out, to be out in a small group or with one person.
Name: Hugh Shaughnessy
Occupation:  Luxury Resort Owner/Designer                     
Height: 6’3
Hair Color: Dark Brown
Eye Color: Blue
Age: 32
What makes you the perfect date?
I am extremely attentive.  I believe in taking a woman out for a romantic dinner with dancing and candlelight and making her feel like she is the most important thing in the world.
What do you look for in a woman?
She’s intelligent and easy to talk to but who isn’t looking for forever.  I travel a lot and she would need to be understanding of that.
Describe yourself in 100 words or less: 
I’m a really regimented man.  I mean really.  I like things done a certain way and I’m a stickler for routines and schedules.  Some say I’m overly cautious – in every aspect of my life – but that doesn’t mean that I’m boring.  I have an appreciation for the finer things and I’m outgoing and enjoy being around people and making new friends.
Name: Quinn Shaughnessy
Occupation:  Former Race Car Driver turned Automotive Restorer                          
Height: 6’
Hair Color:  Dirty Blonde
Eye Color: Blue
Age: 30
What makes you the perfect date?:  
I’m the fun one in the family.  I like to go out with a woman to a bar or someplace with loud music or find something athletic to do.  I want to be where the party is.
What do you look for in a woman?
I’ll admit to being a little shallow here – I am all about looks.  Tall, blonde, curvy…and that’s about it.
Describe yourself in 100 words or less
Like I said, I’m the fun one.  I am all about living life to the fullest.  I enjoy sports – all sports – and I hate to be idle.  Cars are my current passion and to me it’s go-big-or-go-home.  If I can’t succeed and excel at something, then it’s time to move on.  So far it’s worked for me.
Name: Owen Shaughnessy
Occupation:  Astrophysicist       
Height: 6’
Hair Color:  Dark Brown
Eye Color: Blue
Age: 28
What makes you the perfect date?
I don’t really think I am.  I don’t believe perfect is something anyone can attain.  Dating really hasn’t been on my radar but when I do take a woman out, we usually talk about science.  And she’s normally a scientist so I guess you can say I make sure we talk about mutual interests.
What do you look for in a woman?
I spend a lot of my time trying to not be noticed.  But if I notice a woman, it’s usually because we’re both working together or studying together.  I look for someone who understands me.
Describe yourself in 100 words or less: 
Quiet.  Shy.  Socially awkward.  At least that’s how most people tell me I am.  I don’t think about it much.  I’m devoted to my field of study and helping others learn about astrophysics and it pretty much consumes all of my time and energy.
Name: Riley Shaughnessy
Occupation:  Musician/Rock Star                             
Height: 6’
Hair Color:  Dark Brown
Eye Color: Blue
Age: 28
What makes you the perfect date?
When I’m out on a date with a woman, there is no one else in the world.  I put all of my attention on her and do my best to make sure that our date includes everything she wants.
What do you look for in a woman?
I used to be all about the looks – mainly because women were always chasing after me.  I had superficial relationships, now I look for a woman who sees more than a rock star, a celebrity.  I want to find someone who just sees me.
Describe yourself in 100 words or less: 
Confident.  Talented.  And currently, mildly insecure.  I have always loved music, loved to sing and if I couldn’t do that, I don’t know what I’d do with myself.  Music is just a part of me.  I put my partying ways behind me – not that I had much of one.  I’m just as comfortable on stage in front of thousands of people, as I am at home watching TV.
Book Information
Title: Made For Us
Author: Samantha Chase
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Shaughnessy Brothers, Book 1

Can't make time for love?
The Shaughnessy brothers have spent the years since their mother's untimely death taking care of each other and trying to make their father proud. Oldest son Aidan is hard-working, handsome, successful-and still single. Sure, he'd like to have his own family someday, but who has the time?

She'll show him how to find it
Zoe Dalton, a stunning designer Aidan meets on one of his construction jobs, has the beauty and heart to make Aidan realize how much he could be missing. But it's not easy to break down walls you've spent years building up. Now there's a major storm bearing down on the North Carolina coast, and it could be catalyst enough to force Aidan and Zoe into some major decisions of the heart.

Buy Links
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1CUdwvA
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1Kje4hf
iBooks: http://apple.co/1SAHlTT
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/1DtcvFI

Made for Us (The Shaughnessy Brothers, #1)Made for Us by Samantha Chase

Made for Us by Samantha Chase is a 2015 Sourcebooks Casablana publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first book in a new series which focuses around the Shaughnessy Brothers. First up , is Aiden, the “go to” guy in the large family of overachievers.

In the years since the death of his mother, Aiden, who took her passing particularly hard, has been the rock of the family. He's built a successful career for himself, helps his father and all his highly successful siblings, but has little time left over to work on his own life. Over the years he has become controlling, staid, an unbending perfectionist, and has garnered a reputation for being difficult to work with.

Enter, Zoe, an interior designer, a transplant from Arizona, grieving the loss of her mother, looking to make a fresh start in North Carolina. When she is told to drop everything and her current client list in order to correct some huge mistakes for Aiden Shaughnessy, she gets a first hand, face to face , introduction to the famous 'dictator'.

I'm not sure where to start here to be honest. Aiden is a very unique character, not unlike a lot of workaholic, highly successful men, who are used to being in charge, barking orders and having them instantly obeyed. But, truthfully, Aiden isn't really the total jerk he appears to be at first glance. He has some difficult inner demons to exorcise. It occurred to me while I was reading this book that Aiden seems to have some kind of personality disorder. It bothered me to the point that I decided to do an internet search and lo and behold I discovered Aiden's symptoms matched, almost to the letter, the co-dependent personality.

He was afraid to let himself be who was, he expected himself to be perfect, he appeared rigid and controlled, he was afraid to let other people be themselves and let things happen naturally, he thought he knew best how things should turn out or how people should behave.  

So, while Aiden is not the most likable person in the world, it's obvious he needs specialized help and frankly poor Zoe was not equipped to handle him. Zoe herself is dealing with a lot and Aiden's dark and brooding mood swings are mystifying to her, although Aiden's family is used to it, which is a huge part of the problem. As close as the family appears to outsiders, and as much as they would like to believe they are close knit, they are actually dysfunctional. The youngest child, seventeen year old Darcy, is just as much a victim to Aiden's heavy handed control freak tendencies as Zoe is. Then there is the patriarch of the family who enables Aiden and allows him to rule the family, because it's just easier that way. The other brothers have also found Aiden's leadership to be a relief since it has left them unencumbered with the burden of helping with their father and younger sister, freeing them to pursue their own paths in life.

I do think that if a serious issue is brought into focus in a novel, it might be a good idea to put a name with the face, so that readers will not presume this behavior is typical or normal. I love romance novels and their ability to bring difficult and misunderstood issues into focus, and of course I am a huge believer in the power of love and it's ability to bridge any gap, to heal any wound, to bring forgiveness, hope, and faith to even the most hopeless of situations. But, sometimes love must rely on common sense and that means seeking help from outside sources if need be.

After having said all that, I don't want you to think I disliked the story, because I DID like it! It's an unconventional love story and I love seeing very difficult and trying personalities come to their senses before it's too late. It was good to see Zoe finally get a grand gesture and have a little good come her way for a change.

The best part is that Aiden is not the only one who gets a wake up call, as his entire family will play a role in helping him understand he needs to face the inevitable changes that come in life and will help him see where he needs to make improvements. They all owe Aiden for one thing or another so, it was fun to see them come together to help him for a change.

Another charming aspect of the story was the mild paranormal undercurrent that cropped up from time to time that added a pinch of sentimentality and is a touching way to guide Aiden into understanding it's okay to be with Zoe and their relationship is meant to be.

There is a wonderful and very romantic ending and a happy ever after ,which is why we read these books and it makes it worth all the drama and tears and frustrations. This is a solid start to the series and I'm curious to see whose turn it will be next.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Biography
New York Times and USA Today Bestseller/contemporary romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan's Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40's to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.

When she's not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.
Social Networking Links
Website: http://www.chasing-romance.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaChaseFanClub
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamanthaChase3
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1250276.Samantha_Chase

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fallen - A Cassidy & Spencer Thriller by Carey Baldwin - A Book Review

A body just fell from the sky onto Hollywood Boulevard.

When a beautiful prostitute is dumped onto the Walk of Fame, FBI profiler Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in to solve one of their most baffling cases yet.
The media’s dubbed him the Fallen Angel Killer – a crazed murderer who’s leaving the bodies of high-priced call girls in Los Angeles tourist traps.

Then the killer raises the stakes, demanding that a mysterious celebrity publically admit to his sinful secrets —or he’ll dispose of his latest kidnapped escort. With every “john” the team exposes in their search for Celebrity X, another Hollywood secret is revealed and another charmed life is left in ruins.

Now time is running out, and Cassidy and Spenser will do anything to find the twisted serial killer…before another innocent woman winds up as the next grotesque tourist attraction.


Fallen (Cassidy & Spenser #2)Fallen by Carey Baldwin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fallen by Carey Baldwin is a 2015 Witness Impulse publication. I as provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

This is the second book in the Cassidy and Spencer series, but it can be read as a stand alone. However, to completely understand the dynamic between Caitlin and Spencer, I highly recommend reading the outstanding debut novel in this series- “Judgment.”

Caitlin and Spencer must put their tropical vacation plans on hold, and are off to La La land… Hollywood, California, in order to create a profile of the “Fallen Angel” killer.

  The LAPD is not all that crazy about a psychologist and the FBI working on their case and it makes for a tense work environment. But, the situation is spiraling out of control rapidly, as more blonde women are found murdered and the clock is ticking...

Once I got the gist of the plot, I pretty much went on auto pilot, since this story seemed like a fairly standard serial killer novel, with a few slick twist thrown in. In fact, I was much more invested in the romance between Caitlin and Spenser. I have already made it clear that I love Spencer, even if he goes “caveman” on occasion. So, I was thrilled to touch base with him again, but was worried Caitlin was going to break his heart.

If you read as many mystery, thriller, or romantic suspense novels as I do, it's easy to pick up on a formula and it's an 'occupational hazard', so to speak, to become jaded, and hard to shock or surprise, plus I am usually pretty good as figuring out who the killer is, even if I don't know the motive. Therefore, I was fairly smug, as I decided early on who the killer might be, so while I was canoodling with Spencer, the murder plot suddenly heated up and I found myself taken completely by surprise and I found the psychology behind the murders was very interesting, and I would have to agree with Caitlin's assessment. It's rare that a story will lull me into complacency like that, only to pull the rug out from under my smug and jaded brain, but I was completely taken unaware by the outcome. So, hats off to the author for giving me a wake up call and proving that not all serial killer tropes are created equally.

I love psychological thrillers because they are more about mind games than bomb explosions and shoot outs. This story has it's fair share of action and Caitlin is often in the wrong place at the wrong time, but this is still more a thinking person type thriller, and I do recommend paying close attention.

This second book in the series also solidified the partnership between Caitlin and Spencer, as they learned to balance a personal relationship with their professional one. I think these two will always have a few tug of war moments, but overall they make a great team and I hope we see more of them in the future.

I recommend this book to lovers of psychological thrillers, and romantic suspense fans, especially. But, anyone who likes dark serial killer thrillers or mysteries will enjoy this one as well.


Fallen: A Cassidy & Spenser Thriller

In real life I'm a mild-mannered brunette. A very nice doctor who happens to write edgy romantic thrillers.

Oh, and before I became a doctor, I used to be a clinical psychologist. I guess that's why writing about psychopaths comes naturally. I still haven't decided precisely what I want to be when I grow up, so you can expect to see me serving up a genre mix.

Here's my favorite recipe:
A dollop of romance + a dash of medicine + a cup of crazy. Fold into a story. Bake until it rises, and voila, you've cooked up a delicious thriller!
First Do No Evil
From Samhain Publishing June 26, 2012

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Adventures in Television Presents- Television Fast Forward, The Best Shows that Never Were, & Unsold Television Pilots

Television Fast Forward:  Sequels and Remakes of Cancelled Series - 1955-1992 by Lee Goldberg

Television Fast Forward by Lee Goldberg is a 2015 Adventures in Television publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was originally published in 1992, so if you missed it back then, which I did, now is your chance to check out a comprehensive look at all the television revivals, reboots, remakes, or movies based on television shows up to the year 1992.

While I was a huge television junkie at one time, I never gave much thought to how many shows were brought back after long absences, made into major motion pictures or were given a complete reboot. I was totally surprised by how many there were, and it seems this trend will continue for a long time to come.

There is a short synopsis of the plot, a cast listing, and commentary in regards to each show discussed, which is interesting, plus I had a lot of fun skipping down memory lane remembering these classic shows and the actors made famous by them.

Many will notice that this book is an updated version, and yes, there is new information in the appendix which covers the remakes and revivals from 1992- 2015. This addition to the original book is just a list, with the dates included, but does not give any specific details, which is my only complaint about this book.

It's obvious the author lovingly researched and spent a great deal of time on the older material, so, it would be nice to see that same attention to detail added for the post 1992 material as well.

The beginning of this trend, for all intents and purposes started with “Rescue from Gilligan's Island” and went on to break into feature films with “Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and many old shows were brought back to life, by showcasing them in made for TV movie specials such as Columbo, and Perry Mason, eventually leading to revivals like The New Adam -12 which is basically the same show, but with different actors.

Revivals such as Arrested Development – picked up by Netflix, reboots like Hawaii 5-O, and big screen adaptations such a Sex and the City are just a few examples of the more recent material.

I spent my Sunday afternoon combing through this book, which can be used like a reference book, or read all at one time. My husband and I enjoyed looking back and had a few good laughs along the way, plus we found some shows we were not familiar with and hope to look them up sometime.

Overall this is an interesting television 'list' style book, something the die hard TV fan will want to add to their library, for sure. But, if you are a pop culture enthusiast, enjoy trivia, history, or nostalgia, you will enjoy this book as well.




The Best TV Shows That Never Were by Lee Goldberg is a 2015 Adventures in Television publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was originally published in the 1990's , but has been released in digital format with some tweaks here and there.

Even the very casual TV viewer is aware of what a TV pilot is- but just to give you some more details – A TV pilot is basically the first episode of a proposed series. It is a stand alone in most cases, but can be a disguised within a popular long running series to give it an extra boost or lead in.

The point of this exercise is to test the reception of the viewing public to see if the show is worth continuing. Pilots can be expensive to produce and if the show doesn't generate enough interest from the networks or from advertisers it will never see the light of day.

This book organizes those pilots that never got a chance to entertain us, into groups – such as a 'concept' or 'high concept' shows.

What is a concept show?

Think “The Flying Nun” or may “Quantum Leap” , just to give you an example. Often these shows appeal to a select audience.

Some of the pilots filmed or pitched up until the early nineties- the time frame the book is mainly covering, were laugh out loud funny at times- “Mr. and Mrs. Dracula- (2 pilots), and at others times, I thought some of these pilots would have been successful if they had been given half a chance, such as “The World Beyond” from 1977 which reminded me of “The Ghost Whisperer” , which aired for five seasons- so go figure.

My favorite part of the book showcases the many pilots based on movies. The movie turned TV show, more often than not was a huge flop, with a few notable exceptions, such as M*A*S*H, which was a smash hit on both the big and small screen. Despite the very low success rate, it didn't stop anyone from continuing to make pilots based on films.

According the author, networks have always been suckers for the myth of the “pre-sold” idea, concepts that have a built-in audience and a minimum of risk. Nothing satisfies the desire for “pre-sold” ideas better than a movie.

Some worth noting are:

“The Bates Motel” - NBC – 1987- an anthology series.

Interestingly enough, in 2014 a new series aired on A&E, entitled “The Bates Motel” but is a prequel to Psycho.

“The Goodbye Girl” ( Goodbye Doesn't Mean Forever) – based on the 1977 movie- “The Goodbye Girl” - The pilot starred seventies perennials Karen Valentine and Michael Lembeck. ( 2 pilots- Jo Beth Williams starring in the second)

Then we have the pilots made for “The Name” such as “The Mary Tyler Moore”Show, as an example. These shows are built up around a well known, popular actor or actress at the time. There were some popular names the networks thought of capitalizing on- one notable example was “The Oprah Winfrey show” ( aka Natalie) This pilot was supposed to be sitcom based on Oprah's own life. Oprah herself called it horrible and chose to focus on her movie career.

The last part of the book provides a wonderful introduction to “Television Fast Forward” another book about television I enjoyed by this author, which is all about television remakes, reboots, and revivals.

The only thing this book is lacking in, is a few up to date examples of pilots that were unsold, or were passed on, as most of the examples here are from several decades ago and the modern television buff may wish to see a few mentions from the Millennial generation. I think the book would appeal to a wider audience if some newer material was added.

One small critque would be to add more up to date commentary because the material here is older, and is presented in a way that could be considered bland by some, so without a present day voice behind it, it seems truly dated and could do with a bit of freshening up.

Other than that, it's very interesting to see how far television as come over the years.

When this book was first published, the networks were feeling the pinch from the cable industry. Today, the competition is far greater with Netflix and You Tube to contend with, as well as changing viewing habits. But, the pilot is still a very valuable tool and Amazon Prime members have been given free access to the first episode of several series in order to entice them to purchase more episodes.

Overall, this was an interesting look into the television industry from the fifties through the early nineties, and the author is obviously a student of the business, is a big TV fan, and has a lot of insider experience, information, and insights.

This book would make a solid reference guide for the hardcore television buff, and for those who enjoy nostalgia or trivia.

I believe I have a better understanding now of how the networks think, why some pilots are sold, and others are not. Television is evolving rapidly and the way we watch is changing so quickly, I think it would be interesting to explore how networks decide what stays and what goes now, or if passed over pilots ever make it as original programming on cable networks like FX or TNT. How does Netflix and Amazon handle original programming and pilots? Lots of new territory to explore out there, but before we can understand the present or future we must first visit the past. This book would be good place to start.

Recommended to those who enjoy pop culture, list style books, television nostalgia, history, and trivia.



Unsold Television Pilots: 1955-1989Unsold Television Pilots: 1955-1989 by Lee Goldberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Unsold Television Pilots: 1955-1989 by Lee Goldberg is a 2015 Adventures in Television publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Richard Dreyfuss as Yossarian, in catch 22? Michelle Phillips and Tanya Roberts as undercover cops? ( Ladies in Blue- 1980) Hulk Hogan as a private detective? ( Goldie and the Bears)

Oh my goodness, this book was great. I never could have envisioned a list style book with such rare information! There really is a lot to digest here, so it's even more impressive how detailed and organized the book is.

Beginning with the year 1955- The list is broken down into several parts. For example: ABC/ Comedy or ABC/Drama and so on.

Whenever possible, the author list for each pilot - the production company, the writers, directors, and producers , as well as the cast of characters and the actors/actresses who portrayed them, and a brief synopsis.

It was fun to see how television changed from the 1950's - 1989. I could see trends, changes in social mores, and how many ideas were hashed and re-hashed with remakes and revivals- such as “The New Leave it to Beaver”, which had several incarnations before it actually stuck around for a few seasons.

Although, presented in a list style formation, it is still like watching history unfold and as a pop culture enthusiast, I found this fascinating.

While, many would like to see a newer version on this list with pilots listed from 1990- to present day, myself included, I thought the decades explored here were very interesting and insightful, plus I learned a lot about television in the 50's and 60's which was before my time.

You will never find another compilation of television facts this comprehensive, nor will you find this information anywhere else all listed in one place.

 For those who are unaware, this book was a huge hit when it was originally published and was the basis of several television specials, and was featured on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson.

This book can be a little bit of a time suck, if you aren't careful. Once I picked it up, an hour passed by before I knew it.

  Having said that, I would recommend reading it a little at a time, and it's not absolutely necessary to comb through it from cover to cover either, as it makes a great reference guide, and is perfect for the television zealot.

It is obvious the author is a television aficionado, having started to work on this list while he was still a child! So, it goes without saying this list was compiled with painstaking research, and took years to organize and complete. I am thrilled to see it now available in digital format, so I can carry it with me anywhere I go and impress the most fanatical of TV worshipers with my rare and unique knowledge.

Overall, I found this book very interesting and entertaining. It made for some interesting conversations with my family, and prompted a few “where are they now” internet searches. Again, I recommend this one to any student of television, to trivia and list lovers, to those who enjoy performance arts books, pop culture or nostalgia.

5 stars



New York Times Bestselling author Lee Goldberg is a two-time Edgar Award and two-time Shamus Award nominee whose many TV writing and/or producing credits include "Martial Law," "SeaQuest," "Diagnosis Murder," "Hunter,"  "Spenser: For Hire," "Nero Wolfe," "Missing." "Monk" and "The Glades." He's also the author of the Fox & O'Hare series with Janet Evanovich (The Heist, The Chase, The Job), "The Walk," "Watch Me Die," "King City," the "Dead Man" series, as well as the "Diagnosis Murder" and "Monk" series of original mystery novels.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Begun by Time by Morgan O'Neill- Guest Post+ Feature+ Review + Bonus feature for The Thornless Rose

In 1945, a man disappeared into thin air...

In the final days of World War II, Catherine Hastings meets the man she wants to marry. Flight surgeon Jonathan Brandon isn't just handsome—he's everything Catherine could hope for in her betrothed. But her dream of a happily ever after is shattered when Jonnie disappears shortly before their wedding...leaving Catherine bereft, broken-hearted, and with a lifetime of unanswered questions.

Arthur Howard is smitten with the lovely Catherine the moment he sees her. He's certain he's found the woman he wants to marry. Yet behind Catherine's sparkling green eyes is a haunted look—the look of a woman who has known loss. But can he love a woman who still grieves the loss of her fiancé? Now Arthur wants answers about the man Catherine intended to marry.


Begun by TimeBegun by Time by Morgan O'Neill

Begun by Time by Morgan O'Neill is a 2015 Entangled Publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book is the prequel to “The Thornless Rose”, which was originally released in 2014. I loved that book so much, I was thrilled to discover we were invited to learn the back story which will be Catherine and Jonnie, and to some extent, Arthur's story.

In 1945, as the war is coming to an end, Catherine falls in love with Jonathan Brandon, and they embark on a whirlwind courtship, become engaged and are planning a wedding, when suddenly Jonnie disappears, simply vanishes into thin air, leaving Catherine confused and deeply saddened, but ironically, she is not angry because she knows Jonnie didn't back out on her. Something terrible happened to him, but the worst part is not knowing the circumstances of why he vanished or what happened to him, leaving Catherine in an odd state of limbo.

When a few years pass, Catherine meets a wonderful man named Arthur Howard and for the first time in a long while she feels like living again. But, she is still haunted by Jonnie, so Arthur, wishing to give Catherine some kind of peace of mind begins a discreet investigation into Jonnie's disappearance. But, what he uncovers is shocking and only leaves them with more questions than answers.

Time travel romance is one of those hit and miss things with me. It has to be done just so or I end up rolling my eyes at the absurdity of it. But, this storyline is smart and well written with realistic situations and characters.

The historical setting in post war England was obviously researched , creating a very authentic atmosphere, giving the reader an idea of what it was like to live in this era of time.

Catherine is a sensible girl who is nice, caring, responsible, and head over heels in love with Jonnie. His disappearance changes her noticeably, even though she remains a sweet girl, her character takes on a new dimension and her innocence seems to disappear right along with Jonnie, and her character seems to become more cautious or wary, and she gives off a palpable vibe of sadness and grief.

Jonnie is obviously in love with Catherine, and the reader will certainly wonder about his sudden disappearance. There is never a doubt in Catherine's mind or in the reader's mind that Jonnie is an honorable man, one who would not have simply walked away from Catherine without an explanation. His story is central, but in this prequel we are only introduced to him and given a hint about what is to come later.

Arthur arrives at a pivotal time in Catherine's life and the chemistry between them jumps off the page. It's a different sort of feeling this second time around though, and a slower, more mature relationship develops between the couple as Catherine grapples with moving on after Jonnie's disappearance since she still has no idea what happened to him, and I guess the obvious question would be, what if he suddenly reappeared?

I think Arthur senses this in Catherine and while he knows she is in love with him, he also understands her conflicted feelings, which is why he seeks answers. He is a wonderful and patient man who must love Catherine very much because not every man would want to seek out answers concerning his future wife's former fiance.

Now, if you have read “The Thornless Rose”, then you already know what direction this story is going to take. You also know what happens in the future, so for me at least, there were no real twist or surprises. In fact, if I'm remembering correctly, Catherine tells some of this story in the next book, but it was a great idea to write out a prequel so we can better understand the events of the past, because there is an assurance now, that while things didn't work out quite like they were supposed to, Catherine was happy in her life with Arthur. I must also confess, that while I really like Jonnie, in this book , I was very drawn to Arthur, maybe even developing one of those 'book boyfriend' situations.

The real enjoyment I gained from the book came in getting to know Jonnie a little better, but mostly from meeting Arthur whose role is more critical than is stated. I enjoyed the in depth portrayal of the events leading up to “The Thornless Rose” and the insight into Catherine's mind set, her personality and feelings in 'real time' as opposed to her looking back on these events in “The Thornless Rose”. It was interesting to see how her relationship with Jonnie compares to her relationship with Arthur and why the couple felt to strongly about learning the truth behind Jonnie's disappearance.

Jonnie's experiences and episodes with the paranormal are not chronicled in any minute detail, but we are there when he has his first encounter, so to speak, and are privy to his thoughts, and fears when he starts having these odd episodes.

Does it matter which book you start with? Well, truthfully, you would be just as well off either way, but in this case I recommend starting with “The Thornless Rose”. If you have not read that book, and want to start with this one, then you will want to keep in mind this book is simply a gateway to the next one. “The Thornless Rose” is one of the best time travel books I had read, and this one, for me, made my understanding richer and deepened my love for this story. I recommend reading both books, because they certainly compliment one another and make great companions to each other. Either way you will love this story!

I do hope their will be future installments in this plotline. It is certainly a unique twist on the time travel trope and is really very absorbing. I recommend this book to those who like historical, paranormal, and time travel romance novels.

Buy Links:

Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Begun-Time-Entangled-Select-Historical-ebook/dp/B0122RZM92?tag=entangpublis-20&link_code=ur2&creative=9325&camp=211189

iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/begun-by-time-entangled-select/id1021176025?mt=11

Title: The Thornless Rose

An Elizabethan Time Travel Novel

Author: Morgan O’Neill

Publisher: Entangled/Macmillan Select Historical

Publication Date: December 29, 2014

Genre: Historical/Time Travel Fiction


No one ever knew what really happened to Dr. Jonathan Brandon back in 1945. He simply disappeared from a London pub, leaving behind an unsolved mystery and his fiancée—Anne Howard's grandmother. Seventy years later, Anne herself is haunted by the strange tale, along with inexplicable hallucinations straight out of Elizabethan England. Including a scarred, handsome man whose deep blue eyes seem to touch her very soul....

Anne wonders if there isn't something more to the story. Is it even possible that Jonathan disappeared into England's dark past? And why does Anne keep hearing him whisper her name? Because now she too feels the inexorable pull of the past, not to mention an undeniable attraction for a man she doesn't even know.

It's just a matter of time before Anne will step back into history, and face a destiny―and a love―beyond imagining...
Buy Links:
The Thornless Rose by Morgan O'Neill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of the best time travel romance stories I have read in a very long time. This novel has all the elements that make a great story - romance, action, intrigue, and suspense. This is the way stories should be written!!
Anne Howard happens upon an old trunk belonging to her grandmother and discovers a handful of old letters that were not from her grandfather. When she asked about the letters, her grandmother decides it is time to tell Anne the story of Jonathan Brandon, a man she was set to marry until he simply vanished without a trace in 1945.
While her grandmother moved on with her life, married, had children, is content, she had always wondered what really happened to Jonathon. Anne, intrigued by the story, sets out to do a little research, only to find herself thrust back into the 1500's and face to face with one Dr. Jonathan Brandon. That's right- the one and the same man her grandmother told her about.
This book is copyrighted and is the property of Night Owl Reviews
For the full review go to http://www.nightowlreviews.com
Team Work, Dream Work ~ How Morgan and O’Neill created the Elizabethan Time Travel series.

How many writing teams are there? We know of a few, but its rarity speaks to the difficulties of working together to create something as complicated as a novel, let alone a series. When we first began to work as a team, we had different styles and ways of approaching a scene. Our individual styles are still different, but we’ve learned to blend and edit our work so readers can’t tell who wrote what.
In addition to the blending of our writing styles we have to deal with the inherent complexity of time travel fiction. Our stories are woven with many threads, and in our Elizabethan series, it's particularly intricate because we have to contend with three separate eras – the present day, the WWII era, and the sixteenth century. They must be blended together on every level to make a cohesive whole.
To make things even more complicated, we wrote the prequel, Begun by Time, after the publication of The Thornless Rose. It came to us that readers would enjoy a firsthand account of the story of Catherine Hastings, Jonathan Brandon, and Arthur Howard in the 1940s. How did Catherine and Jonathan fall in love? What happened after he vanished? How did Arthur help her move on? We wove this together with the plot of The Thornless Rose, keeping in mind that continuity must be maintained with our work-in-progress-sequel, Ever Crave the Rose.
Blimey! Burnouts are avoided by lots of chocolate and wine!
We work hard to create rich and memorable time travel stories, with characters who will not be easily forgotten. And we hope our readers agree.


A chance meeting at a writers' conference brought Cary Morgan Frates and Deborah O'Neill Cordes together, two award-winning authors who connected because of a mutual love of time travel fiction. Collaboration ensued, the search for a pen name the first step in their working relationship. Their maiden names provided the solution - and "Morgan O'Neill" was born. 

Cary and Deborah's backgrounds are uniquely suited to writing stories steeped in atmosphere and history: Deborah has a Master's Degree in history and is a dedicated genealogist; Cary is a
talented linguist in French and is currently a student of Latin. They've traveled to Europe's ancient and medieval sites many times, with Cary living on the Continent for five years. 

The Morgan O'Neill time travel novels have received a number of literary awards, including two finalist wins in the Booksellers' Best Awards, two semifinalist wins in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, first, second, and third place wins for the Mainstream Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category of the Golden Rose Contest, a top ten finalist award in the Pacific Northwest Writers' Conference Zola Awards Literary Contest, and a top ten finalist win in the Orange Rose Contest.
Author Links:

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Tough Love by Lori Foster- Review + Excerpt+ Giveaway

Tough Love - Review & Excerpt Tour  banner  

We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Review & Excerpt Tour for Lori Foster's TOUGH LOVE! TOUGH LOVE is  the next novel in her Ultimate Series  published by Harlequin HQN. This amazing book releases on August 25th! If you haven't before, make sure you grab the other books in this fantastic series today!

  Tough Love - cover

 Amazon ** Barnes and Noble **iBooks ** Kobo ** GooglePlay ** Booksamillion

TOUGH LOVE Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule
August 17th
NightWolf Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Talk Books to Me – Review & Excerpt
August 18th
Romance Bytes – Excerpt
Indy Book Fairy – Excerpt
Romance Reviews and More – Review & Excerpt
Mythical Books – Excerpt
Read more sleep less – Review & Excerpt
August 19th
Reads All the Books – Review & Excerpt
Tome Tender – Review
Red Cheeks Reads – Review & Excerpt
I Heart YA Books – Excerpt From the TBR Pile – Review & Excerpt
August 20th
A Bookish Escape – Review & Excerpt
Riverina Romantics – Excerpt
Author Groupies – Review
Pages Abound – Review & Excerpt
BookWorm221 – Review & Excerpt
August 21st
grownupfangirl – Excerpt
Those Crazy Book Chicks – Review & Excerpt
Life With Two Boys – Excerpt
stories and swag – Review

August 22nd
naughty Book Eden – Excerpt
The Book Review – Review & Excerpt
The Smut-Brarians – Review & Excerpt
Making it Happen – Review & Excerpt
August 23rd
Cruising Susan Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Ashleyz Wonderland – Excerpt
YOLOFORALIVING – Review & Excerpt
Books and Warpaint – Review & Excerpt
August 24th
Will Read for Feels – Excerpt
Wild and Dirty Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Becky on Books – Excerpt
Book Munchies – Review & Excerpt
Vera is Reading – Excerpt
Jen's Reading Obsession – Review & Excerpt
BJ's Reviews – Excerpt
August 25th
Alleskelle Blogs – Review & Excerpt
August 26th
Oh My Growing TBR – Review & Excerpt
Stormy Day Reading Books – Review & Excerpt
Between The Lines – Review
I Bookin' Love To Read – Review & Excerpt
BBF BookBoyfriends – Review & Excerpt

August 27th
KT Book reviews – Excerpt
PBC – Review
Kimmy Loves to Read – Excerpt
The Book Maven – Review
August 28th
Talking Books Blog – Excerpt
Fic Central – Review
Coast to Coast Book Besties – Review & Excerpt
Caroline Jane Reads – Excerpt
The Book rogue – Review
mignonmykel : reviews – Review & Excerpt
August 29th
G&T Indie Café – Excerpt
My YA NA Book Obession – Review & Excerpt
alpha book club – Review & Excerpt
Read-Love-Blog – Review
August 30th
Books Need TLC – Review
Margie's Must Reads – Excerpt
Renee Entress's Blog – Review & Excerpt
Rock 'n' Romance – Excerpt
Books and Friendz – Review & Excerpt
Sexy Bibliophiles – Review

TOUGH LOVE is part of the Ultimate series. Check out all the books in the Ultimate series today!

Ultimate Novels- cover banner

Hard Knocks

No Limits

Holding Strong

Tough Love

Fighting Dirty

    About TOUGH LOVE: She's playing hard to get…to win the MMA fighter of her ultimate fantasies in a sultry new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster  Vanity Baker loves a good, clean match, but she's not above playing a little dirty. She's wanted Stack "The Wolf" Hannigan from day one. Seems as though the best way to corral the famously commitment-phobic fighter is to insist on keeping it casual. And her plan works—deliciously well—until Stack's past steps out of the shadows. Stack learned early to stay free of attachments. But with sexy, forthright Vanity, he's the one always left wanting more. Then his troublemaking family comes back into the picture, threatening everything Stack cares about—Vanity included. Suddenly he realizes they're much more than friends with benefits. He's ready to go to the mat for her…but will it be in time to protect the woman who's tamed him for good?   Tough Love - promo banner

  Praise for TOUGH LOVE: “Foster brings her signature blend of heat and sweet to her addictive third Ultimate martial arts contemporary. Foster ably tosses out red herrings and also seamlessly lays the foundation for the next book in this series. This luscious tale will appeal to Foster’s legion of fans and attract new ones—even those who aren’t fans of professional fighting.”- Publishers Weekly


Tough Love (Ultimate, #3)Tough Love by Lori Foster
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tough Love by Lori Foster is a 2015 HQN publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This third book in the Ultimate fighter series is focused on Vanity and Stack. If you read the previous installment you will remember Vanity made Stack an offer he couldn't refuse in order to get him to be her date for their friends, Cannon and Yvette, wedding.

Well, the time has come for Vanity to make good on the deal and hopefully she will win big on the gamble of a lifetime. Will the notorious commitment shy, Stack, gamble on the roulette wheel of love or will he cash in his chips once Vanity makes good on her promise?

Immediately, the author whips us up into a frenzy then slowly takes her foot off the petal leaving readers cooling their heels for awhile. But, the suspense was just getting started because it didn't take me long to figure out what Vanity had in mind for Stack. I was on pins and needles because it seemed like he fell into her web just a little to easily and was a bit too happy to have been ensnared. It was like watching a ticking time bomb and I wanted to cover my eyes before the thing detonated.

But, if that set up weren't enough, it seems Stack's family life is complicated and Vanity starts to become emotionally invested in their lives, befriending his mother and sister, to the point of making a grave error.

While Stack was the usual alpha male MMA fighter, and he was over the top macho, occasionally crossing over into being a borderline sexist, his character wasn't quite a bad as some of the guys preceding him in the series. Being alpha is one thing, sexism is another and the latter really turns me off. He still has preconceived notions about women, still tries to control not only Vanity, but his mother and sister too, even though he has their best interest at heart and feels protective of the women in his life.
You have all encountered, in one way or another, a woman like Stack's sister, and while terribly frustrating for Stack, he does try to help her and keep her from making the same mistakes over and over, which is what family does, no matter how badly we wish we could get that person to wake up and smell the coffee. I thought this was a very thought provoking story line and hopefully one that made a difference for people on both sides of the spectrum.

Vanity has her own money, is free and independent, clever and goes for what she wants... which is Stack, but surprisingly she gets more than she bargained for by meeting Stack's family which by extension, became her own, especially in light of the fact she didn't have a family of her own, which gave this story an edge depth wise , over the last two books in the series.

Overall, this story was my favorite one in the series to date, and makes for a great lead in to the one we have all been breathlessly awaiting. Overall this one gets 4 stars

View all my reviews  

Author Photo

About Lori Foster: Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. Lori has published through a variety of houses, including Kensington, St. Martin’s, Harlequin, Silhouette, Samhain, and Berkley/Jove. She is currently published with HQN. Lori hosts a very special annual “Reader & Author” event in West Chester, Ohio. Proceeds from the event have benefited many worthy causes, including the Hamilton County YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter, the Animal Adoption Foundation, The Conductive Learning Center for children with spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and The One Way Farm, Children’s Home. Each year Lori donates all proceeds from one book to charity. You can see the benefit romance books here: http://lorifoster.com/benefit-books/


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