A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Princess Wore Plaid by Karen Hawkins- Spotlight and Review

Sizzling Scottish romance abounds in this e-novella in the Princes of Oxenburg series, a spinoff to New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins’s delightful Duchess Diaries series.

A princess once bejeweled but now tattered…

Royal princess Tatiana Romanovin is the beautiful, wealthy, and spoiled favorite of the King of Oxenburg. On her way to her cousin’s wedding in the Scottish highlands, she and her entourage are held up by a gang of ruffians. Frightened, her servants flee, and Tatiana soon finds herself alone in an inn with no servants, no funds, and no proof of her identity. Destitute, she accepts the offer from a sympathetic (but unbelieving) innkeeper to work for her room and board while she waits for an answer to the missive she’s sent to her cousin Prince Nikolai. With no other recourse, Tatiana scrubs floors and dirty linens, waiting for her prince to come…

A proud lord once lost and now found…

After a brutal, bloody battle with the French Navy left Lord Buchan limping and surly, abandoned by his betrothed because of his twisted leg, his lordship hides away at his manor house in the countryside. He leaves only once a week to eat at the local inn, drawn by the expert cooking of the innkeeper’s wife. One day, Buchan arrives to find that the innkeeper has a new servant, a beautiful scullery maid with a queenly air, and flashing green eyes that leave him breathless and increasingly aware of his lonely existence…

Love may find them yet…

The challenge of winning his way into Tatiana’s heavily protected heart stirs Buchan back to life…but can he and his twisted leg—and broken heart—win a proud princess whose only goal is to leave Scotland and return to the court where she’s the crowning jewel.


The Princess Wore Plaid (The Oxenburg Princes, #2.5)The Princess Wore Plaid by Karen Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Princess Wore Plaid by Karen Hawkins is a 2016 Pocket Star publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher, Edelweiss, and as a member of the official street team of XOXO After Dark.

It is always a pleasure to read one of Karen Hawkins’ historical romance novels. This is a novella length story and is a part of the Oxenburg Princes series.

Most of the time fairytales end with the heroine marrying her prince, becoming a princess as a result, and living happily ever after, leaving us all sighing with happiness, because the prince is so handsome and being a princess sounds so cool and because who doesn’t want to be a princess… right?

In this “Beauty and the Beast’ inspired story, Tatiana, a princess, on her way to the Scottish Highlands to meet her cousin, suffers temporary memory loss after a carriage accident. Making her way to an inn, she is taken in by the owner and given a job in the kitchen. Once her memory returns, she contacts her family, but nobody ever comes to retrieve her.

Meanwhile, French Navy Lord Buchan, leaves home once a week to enjoy the outstanding cooking at the inn, which is how he meets the mysterious Tatiana. But, Buchan is a hard man to like due to the disfiguring injury to his leg, which has left him bitter, lonely, and in constant pain. But, he soon figures out that Tatiana is no servant, and believes she is who she claims to be. So, he vows to help her reunite with her family. However, he never expected she would bring him out of his self-imposed exile and give him a reason to live.

Away from her life at court, Tatiana finds herself enjoying being just a woman, letting her guard down, and enjoying the pleasures of cooking, and certain other pleasures the gruff Buchan is teaching her all about.

But, Buchan knows Tatiana doesn’t belong in his world and once her cousin arrives, she will go back to her opulent world of royalty and resume the life she was born to.

Are Buchan and Tatiana star-crossed lovers? Is their HEA doomed from the start? Only time and love will tell.

I really enjoyed this Scottish fairytale inspired story, which examines the effect of removing a princess from her duty bound life of stress and expectations, and seeing her blossom as a person in a completely different environment and perhaps finding true love in the process, creating a kind of HEA in reverse.

This is a cute, imaginative short story which also introduces us to Tatiana’s cousin who will be featured in “Mad for the Plaid” coming this summer.





The third captivating, sizzling Scottish historical romance in New York Times bestseller Karen Hawkins's Princes of Oxenburg series. Fans of Julia Quinn, Monica McCarty and Julie Garwood will be enchanted by this dazzling read.

Prince Nikolai Romanovin is bored out of his bejeweled crown with London's society scene. If he has to make inane small talk or dance with one more tongue-tied virgin, he might actually run off. So when he gets word his beloved grandmother might be in danger back in his homeland of Oxenburg, Nik is all too willing to rush to the estate she's been staying in in the snow-capped mountains of Scotland. Arriving in secret only to find his grandmother missing, Nik devises a plan to switch identities with a member of his honor guard so he can move around freely without the pomp and circumstance that comes with the Crown Prince title. He relishes the freedom that comes with losing his title, until he spots her...

While her five older sisters all enjoyed seasons, got married to men of high station, and had children of their own, Lyssa, the baby of the family, was left at home to be raised by her absent father and her sharp-witted, but ailing grandmother after losing her mother in childbirth. Now twenty-nine years old, the sole caretaker of her grandmother, and the entrenched mistress of the castle, Lyssa has resigned herself to living at the castle and enjoying the amusements offered - spending time with her grandmother, copious amounts of reading, wild rides through the moors, and the occasional ball in the local town. All in all, it's a satisfying, if sedate, life . . . But when she meets a guard more handsome, and far more arrogant and sure of himself than any man she's ever met, she's determined to figure out his secrets, no matter the cost.

Don't miss the previous sublime Princes of Oxenburg books: The Prince Who Loved Me,The Prince And I and The Princess Wore Plaid. And for more umissable Scottish historical romance, catch her amazing Duchess Diaries series.





New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Karen Hawkins is known for her wonderfully humorous and emotion-tugging historical and contemporary romances. The author of over 30 novels, Karen writes for a living between shopping for shoes, playing around on Facebook and Pinterest, looking for fun items for Hawkins Manor, and napping, although usually not at the same time. Sometimes, for fun, she takes Instagram pictures of her two rescue dogs, Sadie and Teke, and posts them online.

Yeah, she's a wild one.

Karen lives in balmy Orlando, Florida, with her husband, aka Hot Cop, and her two dogs. Her children are both out of college and have become productive, non-violent members of society. Karen writes six to eight hours a day when not obsessively reading research books on Regency-era Scotland, snacking on chocolate, or looking out the windows of her house and thinking about gardening. Her hobbies include sculpting, oil painting, playing badminton, and -- ok, ok, she doesn't have any hobbies, but if she did, she's sure they'd be something refined and fascinating.

If you want to follow Karen on any of the various social media outlets that allow her to engage in 'productive procrastination,' you can find her at:

If you'd like to keep up with Karen's crazed and hectic schedule, win free books, find out about her coming releases, or just want to engage in some easy on-line snooping, sign up for Karen's amazing newsletter!

Fighting for Devlin by Jessica Lemmon - On Sale for only .99 Cents for a Limited Time!

Lost Boys #1
Jessica Lemmon
Released November 24th, 2015

Perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Katy Evans, Jessica Lemmon’s irresistible Lost Boys series kicks off with the story of a good girl who plays by the rules—and the bad boy who brings out her wild side.

Devlin Calvary makes his own luck. Orphaned as a young child, he was taken in by a crew of bookies and gamblers—and they became his family. They’re the reason Dev’s running a trendy bistro, living in a high rise, and enjoying the good life with a string of women who never ask for too much. Until, one night, he finds out how much it hurts to trust the wrong people. . . .

Rena Lewis sticks to the straight and narrow, determined not to slip up again . . . like the terrible night of partying four years ago that ended in tragedy. A waitress at Oak & Sage, she knows that sleeping with her boss is not a smart move. But when Dev shows up on her doorstep, beat up and clearly shaken, Rena’s not about to turn him down . . . or kick him out of bed.

Dev reawakens something primal within her—a need to go wild. And Rena soon finds out that the heart she’d sealed away years ago still has the power to fight for love.

Buy Now for ONLY $0.99

A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Magic in the Stars by Patricia Rice - Feature and Review

As an astrologer, Lady Azenor Dougall sadly realizes her stars are a danger to her beloved siblings and has banished herself from her Scots home. As the Malcolm family librarian, she dutifully creates zodiac charts for her often eccentric and mysterious relations—until the day she realizes a dire conjunction of planets spells a fatal threat in a distant branch of the family.

Lord Theophilus Ives, heir presumptive to the Marquess of Ashford, Earl of Ives and Wystan, is a dedicated astronomer who has perfected a telescope capable of seeing beyond Saturn’s moons. Living in an all-male family that distrusts the women who regularly abandon them, Theo is undaunted by the tumult of his life—until the day the luscious Lady Azenor arrives to warn them that the marquess is in danger.

Can Aster, the Prophetess of Doom, convince a laughing disbeliever of peril? And what are the chances she can escape the fate her stars predict if she lingers too long in Lord Theo’s enthralling company?


Magic in the Stars (Unexpected Magic #1)Magic in the Stars by Patricia Rice
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Magic in the Stars by Patricia Rice is a 2016 Book View Café publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Occasionally, a mood will strike me, and I will start to crave something unusual, fun, quirky, and most of all original. After reading a few darker toned novels, this book was exactly what I needed.

An astrologer and an astronomer? Well, stranger things have happened. Aster goes about predicting, based on her zodiac charts, dire gloom and doom, earning her the moniker of “The prophetess of doom”. When she realizes the king and the Marquess of Ashford are in danger, she feels it is her duty to warn the family.

However, the only Ives brother around is Theo, the presumptive Marquess, and he basically shrugs off Aster’s warnings. But, when Theo’s brother, Duncan, barely survives a horrible accident, Theo wonders if perhaps he should take heed to Aster’s charts, after all.

Suddenly burdened with all of Duncan’s duties, Theo believes finding a wife to help him organize his estate and lands, a task he apparently can’t seem to get a handle on, is just want he needs. So, he goes to Aster for advice, and she agrees to help him find a suitable match. But, this task proves to be a monumental undertaking, made even more difficult by Theo’s wish to marry HER.

I actually, had a lot of fun with this story, enjoying the whimsical quality to it, and all the quirky characters, and of course of all those animals, especially the spaniels!!

However, I do have to be completely honest, and confess this book does have a few issues. There was a loss of control a few times, what with too many threads going on at once, and the burden of introducing the cast of characters we hope to follow as the series progresses, which made the story a tad too busy at times. This is a problem many ‘first in a series’ books grapple with, but usually by the third installment, the stories have become much more cohesive. So, even though it was a little uneven and rocky on occasion, I enjoyed it, and intend to proceed with the series.

Aster is more complex than one might think upon first glance. She believes she is doing the right thing for her family by staying away from them, and by avoiding marriage and children. She has resigned herself to this lot in life, dedicating her time to helping orphans and speaking out against child labor, and studying her charts. But, underneath her light, slightly flaky demeanor, is a sad person who believes herself responsible for every bad thing that happens to those closest to her.

Theo, a socially awkward, introverted scientist, finds himself way out his element, having to deal with people and cows, and potential brides, and struggles mightily with the responsibilities that have been thrust upon him, but with Aster’s help and advice he manages to get by. But, his biggest challenge is in convincing Aster she is not to blame for everything that goes wrong, and that the two of them belong together.

I loved Theo, his tenacity, his refusal to give up on Aster, no matter how exasperating she could be, and his common sense. He may seem a little unorthodox for a hero, but I thought he was pretty darned sexy. His determination solves the mystery of why his family has been so ‘accident prone’ and opens the door for Aster to make peace within herself.

If you are looking for a light, humorous, slightly quirky, historical romance, with a slight paranormal tint, something a little off the beaten path, with a zany cast of characters, then look no further. I for one found this one to be a refreshing reprieve from the standard historical romance we see far too many of today, and I applaud the author’s very vivid imagination.

This series has a lot of potential, and I’m excited to see where it will go from here. I think Duncan deserves some face time so hopefully his story will be next.




With several million books in print and New York Times and USA Today's bestseller lists under her belt, former CPA Patricia Rice writes emotionally-charged contemporary and historical romances which have won numerous awards, including the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice and Career Achievement Awards.

Her books have also been honored as Romance Writers of America RITA® finalists in the historical, regency and contemporary categories.

A firm believer in happily-ever-after for good reason, Patricia Rice is married to her high school sweetheart and has two children. A native of Kentucky and New York, a past resident of North Carolina and Missouri, she currently resides in Southern California, and now does accounting only for herself. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Authors Guild, and Novelists, Inc.

She also writes under the pen name Jamie Quaid

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag- Feature and Review


#1  New York Times Bestselling author Tami Hoag returns to the bestselling series of her career with a Kovac and Liska case that will delight fans and new readers alike.

A murder from the past. A murder from the present. And a life that was never meant to be... As the dreary, bitter weather of late fall descends on Minneapolis, Detective Nikki Liska is restless. After moving to the cold case squad in order to spend more time with her sons, she misses the rush of pulling an all-nighter, the sense of urgency of hunting a murderer on the loose. Most of all she misses her old partner, Sam Kovac.

Sam is having an even harder time adjusting to Nikki's absence, saddled with a green new partner younger than pieces of Sam's wardrobe. Sam is distracted from his troubles by an especially brutal double homicide: a middle-aged husband and wife bludgeoned and hacked to death in their home with a ceremonial Japanese samurai sword. Nikki's case, the unsolved murder of a family man, community leader, and decorated sex crimes detective for the Minneapolis PD, is less of a distraction: Twenty years later, there is little hope for finding the killer who got away.

On the other end of the spectrum, Minneapolis resident Evi Burke has a life she only dreamed of as a kid in and out of foster homes: a beautiful home, a family, people who love her, a fulfilling job. Little does she know that a danger from her past is stalking her perfect present. A danger powerful enough to pull in both Kovac and Liska and destroy the perfect life she was never meant to have.


The Bitter Season (Kovac and Liska, #5)The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag is a 2016 Dutton Books publication.

Back before everyone was trying to write the next “Gone Girl”, Tami Hoag was pumping out solid romantic suspense novels and edge of your seat thrillers. She has found a nice solid niche with her own brand of psychological thriller, in the Kovac and Liska series, this being the fifth installment.

Tami Hoag has always been one my ‘go to’ authors and I do make every effort possible to read every single one of her novels. This book, like all the others before it, drew me in immediately, and for the most part held my undivided attention from start to finish.

For those who have followed this series, you will find some things have changed just a bit, as
Liska joins the newly minted cold case squad, and Kovac is breaking in a new partner. But, never fear, the dynamic duo will soon find their paths crossing once more, in this dark, lurid, tale of suspense and mystery.

“Thou hast spoken right, ‘tis true. The wheel is come full circle…” from King Lear- William Shakespeare

Liska’s first assignment in the cold case squad is to solve a twenty-five-year old murder in which a sex crimes officer was killed while chopping wood at his family home. Naturally, with his line of work, he had enemies, but as Liska begins taking a closer look at the man’s family, friends and neighbors, she hits a nerve… or two.

Meanwhile, a much despised college professor and his wife are brutally murdered in their posh home, and Kovac is once more in the spotlight as the lead detective.

“If there’s one thing I can assure you about working Homicide, it’s that you are going to see some of the most mentally F’d-up family situations you can imagine. After all the years I’ve been doing this job, just when I say I’ve seen everything, somebody comes up with some new and different way to be a sick, perverted wack job. Never judge a family by their address or bank account,” he went on. “And never underestimate the power of the American public to utterly shock and disappoint you.” – Kovac

These words of warning Kovac gives his new partner proved prophetic as this case turned out to be one twisted tale of family dysfunction and abuse, which led to tragic consequences for so many people.

I was spellbound by the cold case more so than the murder of the professor and became annoyed by the intrusion of that part of the story. Of course the two cases are intertwined, and I confess, I literally gasped out loud with shock at the way it all came together. I never saw it coming, and for someone as jaded as I am, that’s saying something.

The only complaint I have is that going into the home stretch the story slowed down to a crawl without anything interesting taking place. There are portions of the book that could have been skipped over which would have helped to keep the timing sharp and the suspense from losing momentum.

However, the wait is worth it in the end, which left me feeling short of breath, and completely stunned. This is a traditional psychological thriller, gritty and dark, and disturbing, as it should be, but also emotional and sad, with a realistic conclusion, that left me feeling unsettled and maybe even a little melancholy, but happy that the truth was finally revealed, no matter how difficult it was to absorb.

Overall, this is another solid effort by one of my favorite authors.

 4 stars




Tami Hoag is the #1 internationally bestselling author of more than thirty books published in more than thirty languages worldwide, including her latest thrillers—BITTER SEASON, COLD COLD HEART and THE 9TH GIRL. Renowned for combining thrilling plots with character-driven suspense, Hoag first hit the New York Times Bestseller list with NIGHT SINS, and each of her books since has been a bestseller.

She leads a double life in Palm Beach County, Florida where she is also known as a top competitive equestrian in the Olympic discipline of dressage. Other interests include the study of psychology, and mixed martial arts fighting. A woman of eclectic tastes, to say the least, Tami was recently asked to list seven things people may not know about her:

1. I was once offered a job by a private investigator.

2. I have a license to carry concealed weapon, but never do. I took the course for research purposes.

3. My high school guidance counselor encouraged me to become an actress, but I thought that was too impractical (Of course, there's nothing practical about being a writer, either, but at least I'm not obligated to look good on a daily basis.)

4. I used to sing at weddings. 5. While I have no intention of ever getting married again, I love watching "Say Yes To The Dress."

6. I have legitimate knockout power in my right hand, and I'm not afraid to use it.

7. When I'm stressed out, all tech devices around me go haywire. I've stopped watches, and fried hard drives. I once killed a television in a store display by merely touching it. I'm better off sticking to life's simple pleasures--like books

Monday, March 28, 2016

Love Walks In by Samantha Chase- Feature and Review

The Shaughnessy Brothers are back

He lives by a schedule. Aubrey Burke is on the run from an about-to-be-disastrous mistake when resort owner Hugh Shaughnessy catches her climbing through his office window. Until Aubrey tumbled into his life, Hugh had relied on work and discipline to safeguard a heart damaged by family tragedy. Now his careful world will never be the same.

She lives for the moment. Hugh’s approach to life and love is the opposite of Aubrey’s, but she soon finds herself falling hard for the handsome hotel mogul. There’s a darker reason behind her “live for today” attitude than Hugh could possibly know, but for the first time Aubrey dares to hope this man’s love might make it worth taking a chance on the future.


Love Walks In (The Shaughnessy Brothers, #2)Love Walks In by Samantha Chase
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love Walks In by Samantha Chase is a 2016 Sourcebooks Casablanca publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I thought the first book in the Shaughnessy Brothers series got things off on solid footing and I had faith things would get even better as the we went along.

I was not disappointed! This book was better than the first one, bringing with it a few laughs and a few misty eyed moments.

Hugh has lived with heavy regret, blaming himself for his mother’s accident, all these years. As a result, Hugh never takes risks, and always plays it safe, which is fine, but he isn’t living life to its fullest and is missing out on some really great experiences, like falling head over heels in love.

Audrey sweeps into Hugh’s life like a category five hurricane, when she checks into one his resorts, and he finds she has broken into his office. The sparks fly immediately, but things keep getting better as Audrey ends up staying on and working for Hugh, and you can guess what happens next.

Hugh is beside himself due to his loss of control, over this business, and his life. He picks at Audrey for a long time, but soon finds she is just what he needs to help him finally break free of his self-imposed prison. I loved the dialogue between Audrey and Hugh, which went from bickering to flirting to bickering, to making up, which was highly entertaining.

While Hugh and his family are certainly a complex and complicated mix, each one coping with personal demons and issues, I found the dynamic between Riley and Hugh to be very interesting, but, it was Audrey’s story that had me reaching for my box of tissues. Audrey is truly inspirational and it was so rewarding to see her open her wings and fly.

This novel is a ‘feel good’ story which is both fun and emotional, with a nice love story, that’s touching, sexy, and sweet all at once, but it’s not overly cloying or heavy although some tough issues are addressed. I really enjoyed this one and will be eagerly awaiting the third book in the series.






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.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben- Feature and Review

#1 New York Times bestseller Harlan Coben delivers his next impossible-to-put-down thriller.
In the course of eight consecutive #1 New York Times bestsellers, millions of readers have discovered Harlan Coben’s page-turning thrillers, filled with his trademark edge-of-your-seat suspense and gut-wrenching emotion. In Fool Me Once, Coben once again outdoes himself.

Former special ops pilot Maya, home from the war, sees an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work: her two-year-old daughter playing with Maya’s husband, Joe—who had been brutally murdered two weeks earlier. The provocative question at the heart of the mystery: Can you believe everything you see with your own eyes, even when you desperately want to? To find the answer, Maya must finally come to terms with deep secrets and deceit in her own past before she can face the unbelievable truth about her husband—and herself.



Fool Me OnceFool Me Once by Harlan Coben
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben is a 2016 publication.

Taken at face value, however, this is an excellent thriller, packed with taut, edgy suspense, and is certainly entertaining, keeping me fully engaged from start to finish. What more can you ask for?

But, if you want to dig a little deeper, this story provides an interesting character study and one that left me feeling a little conflicted. I hoped the truth would set everyone free and in a bizarre way it did just that, but not in a way I ever would have imagined proving that pat, black and white answers are rare. What choices you make can and will come back to haunt you but are they entirely wrong? Are there extenuating circumstances? Is there a way to even the score? Maybe we all carry a little darkness in our souls or maybe we just want to see justice done the way we think is should be, and maybe heroism comes in many forms. You be the judge.

Because this is a stand- alone, anyone who loves a good old fashioned mind game with plenty of chills and thrills should give this one a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

This review is the copyrighted property of Night Owl Reviews. To read the full review click on this link: https://www.nightowlreviews.com/V5/Re...






With over 60 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben’s last seven consecutive novels, MISSING YOU, SIX YEARS, STAY CLOSE, LIVE WIRE, CAUGHT, LONG LOST and HOLD TIGHT all debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and lists around the world. His books are published in 43 languages around the globe.

Coben is the winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first author to win all three – and he has received an eclectic variety of honors from all over the world. His novel TELL NO ONE has been turned into a hit French film of the same name. His essays and columns have appeared in many top publications.

Harlan was born in Newark, New Jersey. He still lives in New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a pediatrician, and their four children.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Girl's Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber- Feature and Review

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this powerful and uplifting novel, a mother and her daughter-in-law bravely leave their troubled marriages and face the challenge of starting over. Leaning on each other, Nichole and Leanne discover that their inner strength and capacity for love are greater than they ever imagined.

When Nichole discovers that her husband, Jake, has been unfaithful, the illusion of her perfect life is indelibly shattered. While juggling her young son, a new job, and volunteer work, Nichole meets Rocco, who is the opposite of Jake in nearly every way. Though blunt-spoken and rough around the edges, Rocco proves to be a dedicated father and thoughtful friend. But just as their relationship begins to blossom, Jake wagers everything on winning Nichole back—including their son Owen’s happiness. Somehow, Nichole must find the courage to defy her fears and follow her heart, with far-reaching consequences for them all.

Leanne has quietly ignored her husband’s cheating for decades, but is jolted into action by the echo of Nichole’s all-too-familiar crisis. While volunteering as a teacher of English as a second language, Leanne meets Nikolai, a charming, talented baker from Ukraine. Resolved to avoid the heartache and complications of romantic entanglements, Leanne nonetheless finds it difficult to resist Nikolai’s effusive overtures—until an unexpected tragedy tests the very fabric of her commitments.

An inspiring novel of friendship, reinvention, and hope, A Girl’s Guide to Moving On affirms the ability of every woman to forge a new path, believe in love, and fearlessly find happiness.



A Girl's Guide to Moving On (New Beginnings, #2)A Girl's Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber is a 2016 Ballantine Books publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

It’s only been over the last couple of years that I have begun to appreciate the work of this acclaimed author. For a long while, I was mistakenly under the impression her books were more my mother’s speed and not something I could relate to.

However, I have taste tested a few of her books here and there and found they are very well written, with characters that have depth and are given real and meaty issues to combat which is something I find lacking in many contemporary novels. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what to expect from a novel written by this author and so when I saw this one up on Netgalley I didn’t hesitate to request it.

Almost immediately I was struck by the impression this book did not have the same tone as other books I had read by this author.

The story focuses on the lives of two women who have walked away from bad marriages. What makes the situation so unique is that Leanne is Nichole’s mother-in-law and through Nichole’s courage to leave Jake after discovering his infidelity, two women set out on their own, rebuilding their lives one day at a time.

Moving on proves to be a big challenge for these ladies, but life has a way of balancing things and before too long both Nichole and Leanne meet other men, and begin new chapters in their lives. Naturally, things are complicated as both ex-husbands wake up and smell the coffee, realizing too late the good thing they had thrown away.

Although, this book is just a little different from what I expected it to be, it was still in many ways, trademark Debbie Macomber. Funny at times, heartbreaking at others, uplifting and inspirational as always. Shake things up, don’t let men get away with mistreating you, rely on friends, make new ones, try something new, and most of all be true to yourself. There are toxic men out there of course, but there are lots of good ones too. So don’t stop believing in love, because it will always find you, often times in ways you would never have guessed.

Overall, this is a solid contemporary novel with romantic elements that everyone can enjoy.

4 stars





Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope. Macomber’s novels have spent over 770 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Ten of these novels hit the number one spot.

In 2015, Macomber’s all-new hardcover publications included Last One Home (March), Silver Linings (August) and Dashing Through The Snow (October) and paperback editions of Blossom Street Brides (March), Love Letters (July), and her Christmas novel, Mr. Miracle (October). In addition to fiction Macomber has also published two bestselling cookbooks; numerous inspirational and nonfiction works, and two acclaimed children’s books.

Macomber’s beloved and bestselling Cedar Cove Series became Hallmark Channel’s first dramatic scripted television series, Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove, which just completed its third season at #1 on Saturday nights. In addition, Macomber’s upcoming Christmas novel, Dashing Through the Snow, will be made into an original movie premiering on Hallmark during the 2015 Christmas season. The Hallmark Channel has produced four other successful Christmas movies based on Macomber’s bestselling Christmas novels, Mrs. Miracle, Call Me Mrs. Miracle, Trading Christmas, and Mr. Miracle.

Macomber owns two businesses in Port Orchard, WA, the town which inspired the Cedar Cove series. These include the Victorian Rose Tea Room, featured in the Cedar Cove series, and A Good Yarn Shop, introduced in her popular Blossom Street novels. They are located on the Village Square campus, which also serves as Debbie’s corporate headquarters.

She and her husband, Wayne, serve on the Guideposts National Advisory Cabinet and she is World Vision’s international spokesperson for their Knit for Kids charity initiative. A devoted grandmother, Debbie and her husband Wayne live in Port Orchard, Washington and winter in Florida.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Race The Darkness by Abbie Roads- Cover Reveal

First in a gripping paranormal romantic suspense duo by a Golden Heart finalist debut author whose clinical work gives her chilling insights...

Cursed with a terrible gift
Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn’t have to question you—he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night—the voice of a woman begging him to save her.

That threatens to engulf them...
Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except…there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.

About Abbie Roads:
Abbie Roads is a mental health counselor known for her blunt, honest style of therapy. By night she writes dark, emotional novels, always giving her characters the happy ending she wishes for all her clients. Her novels have finaled in RWA contests including the Golden Heart. Race the Darkness is the first book in the Fatal Dreams series of dark, gritty romantic suspense with a psychological twist.

Race the Darkness will be available on October 4th

 Amazon: http://amzn.to/22nGnVk

 B&N: http://bit.ly/1pwghOK

 BAM: http://bit.ly/1RmOgoN

Dear Readers,

I wrote Race the Darkness from start to finish three different times, with three different story lines, and with three different titles! The only thing that ever remained the same between the versions was Xander and Isleen. I believed in them and the story they wanted to tell. I hope you love reading about their tragedies and triumphs as much as I enjoyed writing them....All three times! And isn't the over amazing, beautiful, gorgeous? I cried the first time I saw it! It made all the hard work to get this book to you worth it!

Abbie Roads

P.S.  I would love to connect with you and hear what you think about the cover! You can find me here:

  • Website
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

An excerpt from Race the Darkness:

No fucking way was he going to die running. He stopped, turned and faced the truck barreling toward them. The tires ate the ground at an indecent rate. He clutched Isleen tighter to his chest. For her sake, he wanted it to be a quick death. No more lingering. No more pain. 

That thought infuriated him. None of this was right. They shouldn't be on the verge of death. Again.

The truck kept coming- twenty-five feet.

Everything slowed, happened as if through the quicksand of time. A white dandelion floaty meandered on the breeze directly between them and the truck. His heart no longer ran a staccato rhythm. Duh...duhm.  Pause. Duh...duhm.


His life didn't flash before his eyes. The future did. Isleen's future. In an ethereal dream beyond time, her skin was gilded by firelight, her eyes void of sadness and fear, her body whole and healthy. She smiled, an expression so full of warmth and tenderness and undiluted joy that it plucked itself down inside his heart and wouldn't leave.

He ached to create that kind of smile on her face, but their lives were over and it all could've gone so differently if he'd only listened to her, believed in her, found her years before now.


Once Burned by Lisa B. Kamps- Release Blast + Giveaway

Enter to Win a
$25.00 Amazon eGift Card

Firehouse Fourteen #1
Lisa B. Kamps
Released March 21st, 2016

Michaela Donaldson had her whole life planned out: college, music, and a happy-ever-after with her first true love. One reckless night changed all that, setting Michaela on a new path. Gone are her dreams of pursuing music in college, replaced by what she thinks is a more rewarding life. She's a firefighter now, getting down and dirty while doing her job. So what if she's a little rough around the edges, a little too careless, a little too detached? She's happy, living life on her own terms--until Nicky Lansing shows back up.

Nick Lansing was the stereotypical leather-clad bad boy, needing nothing but his fast car, his guitar, his never-ending partying, and his long-time girlfriend--until one bad decision changed the course of two lives forever. He's on the straight-and-narrow now, living life as a respected teacher and doing his best to be a positive role model. Yes, he still has his music. But gone are his days of partying. And gone is the one girl who always held his heart. Or is she?

One freak accident brings these two opposites back together. Is ten years long enough to heal the physical and emotional wounds from the past? Can they reconcile who they were with who they've become--or will it be a case of Once Burned is enough?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lisa B. Kamps is the author of the best-selling series The Baltimore Banners, featuring "hard-hitting, heart-melting hockey players" (USA Today), on and off the ice. ONCE BURNED is the launch title of her much-anticipated new series, Firehouse Fourteen, featuring hot and heroic firefighters.

Lisa grew up with an overactive imagination, strong encouragement from her parents, and an insatiable infatuation with the Peanuts gang. That infatuation—along with an impatience she has yet to outgrow—jump-started her love of writing. After all, why should she be forced to wait a whole week to read the stories of her favorite characters when she could create stories for them whenever she wanted?

That love of writing continued to grow, along with all those voices in her head, even during her assorted careers: first as a firefighter with the Baltimore County Fire Department, then a very brief (and not very successful) stint at bartending in east Baltimore, and finally as the Director of Retail Operations for a busy Civil War non-profit.

Lisa currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two sons, one very spoiled Border Collie, two cats with major attitude, several head of cattle, and entirely too many chickens to count.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Elizabeth Michels- Author of The Infamous Heir- Buzzfeed Interview- Check it Out!!

Elizabeth Michels just wrote a fun post for Buzzfeed about what it’s like to be a romance author and how expectations stack up against the reality:\
Praise for The Infamous Heir:
“[An Infamous Heir] is at once a well-crafted mystery and a simmering romance.”
Sarah MacLean, The Washington Post
“Michels’s latest is the complete package: a captivating romance with gripping suspense wrapped up in a novel to be savored.”
Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review
“Readers are treated to Michels’ strongest story yet. The engaging characters, intricate plotline and powerful love story hold readers from beginning to end as they watch the changing relationship between headstrong lovers as they unravel a mystery. Savor this tale.” – RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ Stars and March Top Pick!
The Spare Heirs Society Cordially Invites You to Meet Ethan Moore: The Scoundrel
Lady Roselyn Grey’s debut has finally arrived, and of course, she has every flounce and flutter planned. She’ll wear the perfect gowns and marry the perfect gentleman…that is, if the formerly disinherited brother of the man she intends to marry doesn’t ruin everything first.
Ethan Moore is a prize-fighting second son and proud founding member of the Spare Heirs Society—and that’s all he ever should have been. But, in an instant, his brother’s noble title is his, the eyes of the ton are upon him, and the lady he’s loved for years would rather meet him in the boxing ring than the ballroom.
He’s faced worse. With the help of his Spare Heirs brotherhood, Ethan’s certain he can get to the bottom of his brother’s unexpected demise and win the impossible lady who has haunted his dreams for as long as he can remember…
Elizabeth Michels grew up on a Christmas tree farm in rural South Carolina. After tip-toeing her way through school with her focus on ballet steps and her nose in a book, she met a boy and followed him a thousand miles away from home to Kansas City, Missouri, before settling down in North Carolina.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Swans of Avenue by Melanie Benjamin- Feature and Review

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife comes an enthralling new novel about Truman Capote’s scandalous, headline-making, and heart-wrenching friendship with Babe Paley and New York’s society “swans” of the 1950s.

Centered on two dynamic, complicated, and compelling protagonists—Truman Capote and Babe Paley—this book is steeped in the glamour and perfumed and smoky atmosphere of New York’s high society. Babe Paley—known for her high-profile marriage to CBS founder William Paley and her ranking in the International Best-Dressed Hall of Fame—was one of the reigning monarchs of New York’s high society in the 1950s. Replete with gossip, scandal, betrayal, and a vibrant cast of real-life supporting characters, readers will be seduced by this startling new look at the infamous society swans.



   The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin
The Swans of Fifth AvenueMy rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin is a 2016 Delecorte Press publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’m in the same boat as the author when it comes to my memories of Truman Capote. I remember him in “Murder by Death”, and have very vague memories of his making the rounds on the late night talk shows, pretty much making a fool of himself. But, later in life, I grew curious about Truman’s early life, his creation of the ‘true crime novel’ with “In Cold Blood”, and what led to his massive celebrity, and ultimately his downfall.

I watched the movie “Capote” as well as the lesser known “Infamous” and read Gerald Clarke’s biography. However, none of these works truly delved into Truman’s intimate relationships with the ‘Swans” since the focus was either on years he spent working on “In Cold Blood’ or on his unorthodox southern upbringing and his friendship with Harper Lee. This book only skirts around these elements of Truman’s life, only reminding us of his bitterness and hurt over his mother’s abandonment of him, the one person he longed for and longed to impress more than any other.

This story is a work of fiction, and is dedicated to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s, to the perfect and best dressed icon of fashion, Babe Paley, and the relationship Truman shared with Babe, and her “Swans”.

“The best time to leave a party is when the party’s just beginning” – Diana Vreeland

I was immediately caught up in the magic and glamour of the fifth avenue crowd, the behind the scenes look at the lives of Slim Keith, Babe Paley, Marella Agnelli, Gloria Guinness, and Pamela Churchill Hayward Harriman.

All these ladies lived within the confines of high society rules and demands, never daring to stray too far off course. Marriage wasn’t about love, it was about money, power, and position, and business. There were divorces, affairs, and betrayals, but their lives were as dull as a butter knife until Truman Capote waltzed in and turned everything on its ear. He brought with him a certain charm and grace, and drew the stuffy high society crowd into his web quite seamlessly, making them wonder how they had ever gotten along without him. He cajoled, and romanced these ladies, offering them a shoulder to lean or to cry on. But, while he was attentive to them all, I have no doubt Truman really did love Babe and of course she loved him.

‘Languid, Lovely, Lonely; the swans arched their beautiful necks and turned to gaze at him as he stood rooted to the shore, his feet encased in mud. They fluttered their eyelashes, rustled their feathers, and glided over to their leader, the most beautiful of all. There was no sound save the sigh of their graceful bodies drifting across the water. Watching from the shore, wringing his hands, willing himself still for once, even as he had a childish urge to hop first on one foot, then the other, he was filled with the old fear; that he wasn’t good enough, brave enough, handsome enough, tall enough--------

Still, he hoped, he dreamed, he waited; holding his breath, he fixed his gaze on the most dazzling of them all, the lead swan. Like he was making a birthday wish, he blew his breath toward her and her alone, praying the wind would catch it and carry it to her, a prayer. As she bent her lovely head toward the other swans, she was seen to listen gravely, as if this was a most solemn rite; as if there was no other topic in the world that needed her attention, no wars and deaths and treaties and dilemmas. Only this, his happiness. The other swans whispered, whispered; one hissed, but he could not tell which it was. Then they broke ranks; into a preordained formation, and perfect arc surrounding their leader, who remained utterly still, her head bowed in reflection. Then she raised her head, turned, and looked at him, still standing on the shore. They all turned to look; the swans, with one choreographed movement, beckoned to him with their blinding-white wings that were arms, he saw for the first time. Arms as white as snow leopards; whiter than pearls around the swans’ fragile necks. The lead swan did not beckon. But her eyes, those dark glittering pools of unfathomable loneliness, never left his as his feet took wing; as he skimmed the surface of the water, not a swan, no never would he be one of them, and even then he knew it. He was a nymph, a hovering dragonfly- a sprite, landing among the swans with a burst of delighted laughter. They laughed as well, all of them- except for their leader. She only continued to watch him as he was passed about from one to the other like a new baby. When the swans were finished, they sat him down on the water and took up their positions once more, he found himself between them and the lead swan. Uncertain, but dizzy with joy and belonging, he took a step toward her, still marveling at how the water was not water but the most polished marble beneath his feet, the feathers on the swans were not feathers but fur and cashmere and silk and satin, threaded together, hand-sewn to their disciplined bodies that were designed only for adornment. And HIS swan now- that was how he thought of her, and would forever, naming her, claiming her, forgetting already that it hadn’t been his privilege to do the choosing- held out her hand, and he took it, as trustingly as a child.

Mischievously as an imp.

Then the swans closed ranks about him.

And has home.”
Slim Keith

                                                     Marella Angelli

                                                               C.Z Guest

                                                         Gloria Guinness

                                                            Babe Paley

I think the author’s insights into Truman’s psyche, the type of person he was deep down, before and after his meteoric thrust into fame and fortune was probably spot on. I think she may have nailed it perfectly. She also did a great job of making the privileged life of a socialite seem shallow, hollow, and empty, tearing down the illusion of glamour and excitement to expose the dark and more depressing aspects of the lifestyle.

                                                                La Cote Basque

These women were dying for excitement when Truman stormed into their lives and penetrated the darkest corners of their existence. He even forged a close friendship with Babe’s philandering husband, William, who was initially put off by Truman, not quite knowing what to make of him at first.
This set up, based on true events, made for some very interesting characterizations, and frankly, none of the people examined here are all that likeable. They seemed morally bankrupt, living without any real directions, admired solely for their beauty, trapped by the rules and laws of society. This atmosphere fit Truman to a tee, I must say.

But, in the end, fast fame, coupled with a nasty and cutting side to Truman’s personality, that existed all along, brewing just beneath the surface, caused the house of cards to collapse spectacularly, and when it did, it took Truman by surprise, having grossly underestimated his swans, and gave me a look at Babe Paley, more than any other character, that left me feeling bereft on her behalf, as her immense sorrow and loneliness was palpable, making me furious at Truman and heartbroken for them both, at the same time. In the end, I came away feeling sorry for Babe on many levels, because her life never seemed to be her own. She was always under pressure to be perfect, was never more than an extension of her powerful husband, and her friends had no depth, thinking nothing about indulging in affairs, and resorting to catty gossip. But, when she met Truman, Babe came to life for the first time, and then faced the ultimate of betrayals.

One of the most interesting events that truly highlighted Truman’s acerbic nature was in regards to the former socialite, Ann Woodward, who was suspected of murdering her husband. Truman often referred to her as “Miss Bang, Bang”, even to her face. But, of course, as you shall see, his cruelty extended much further than mere name calling, which shocking results.

I also came away with a wistful sense of nostalgia for the glamour of New York in the fifties and sixties. Long gone are the days of ‘dressing for lunch’ and fabulous and newsworthy parties. Casual dress, pantsuits, jeans and T-shirts were allowed in the most exclusive clubs and restaurants, effectively ending this age once and for all.

Overall, I thought the author pinpointed the era, the atmosphere, the personalities, and events perfectly. No, the people are not easy to feel strong emotions for most of the time, except perhaps intense anger at the way Truman gave himself over to his insecurities, his perceived power, and his belief he was better somehow, that the hearts of his friends were something he could play with and use for his own gain. ‘The Swans’ did show some mettle in the end, closing ranks around each other, effectively.

This book is like a portrait, frozen in time, a rare glimpse into high society behind closed doors, a true life cautionary tale, filled with bitter poignancy. I was fascinated, outraged, mystified, and saddened, but came away with a firm respect for some of the players, and for a world that no longer exist, for better or worse. It’s seductive, alluring, and absorbing, well written, and reads like a Shakespearean tragedy, an epic love story, that ends badly, but which left an indelible imprint on many, for a long time to come.

Most of these events are long forgotten now, so, many modern readers may not fully grasp the reality of this life, but it was all true, and remarkable in its own way. As I finished this novel, I was left with a grudgingly admitted respect for Babe Paley, who held her head high through scandal, heartbreak, and most impressively as she faced her own mortality, whilst the person she loved most in the world, stuck a knife in her back, cruelly twisting it for the entire world to see.

I highly recommend this book for those who love historical fiction, and would also suggest taking the time to read the books the author suggested, for more insight.





Melanie Benjamin is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel, THE AVIATOR'S WIFE, as well as the national bestseller ALICE I HAVE BEEN, and THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB. THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE, a novel about Truman Capote and his high society "Swans," will be out in January 2016. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two sons. She's currently at work on her next historical novel.