Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday
Flashback Friday

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Cowboy Christmas Miracle by Carolyn Brown- Feature and Review + Giveaway

It will take a miracle bigger than the state of Texas for these two feuding families to survive the holidays!
Opposites might attract…
The Brennans and the Gallaghers put aside their one-hundred-year feud every Tuesday for their weekly poker game. This week, the stakes are sky-high. Goaded to recklessness, Declan Brennan bets one thousand dollars that he can woo the next woman to walk into the saloon. A minute later, fiery-haired Betsy Gallagher pushes through the doors. If Declan can tame this wild Gallagher, he’ll have earned every penny.
If they don’t kill each other first…
Betsy can outshoot anybody in Burnt Boot and loves ranching more than anything—until she falls for Declan. He’s fallen for her too. But when she discovers what sparked their courtship, Declan will need a Christmas miracle to save his hide—and his heart.
NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author and RITA Finalist, Carolyn Brown, has published more than seventy books.  These days she is concentrating on her two loves:  women’s fiction and contemporary cowboy romance. She and her husband, a retired English teacher, make their home in southern Oklahoma.
Light from all the windows made a yellow streak across the yard at the Wild Horse ranch house. Betsy inhaled deeply and let it out slowly as she parked her truck in front of the house and got out. A blast of cold air hit her face and brought with it the first snowflakes of the season.
She wiped at the flakes stinging her face and opened the front door. A rush of warm air greeted her along with her grandmother’s voice yelling from the well-lit kitchen.
Betsy, come on in here. I’m having hot chocolate. I couldn’t sleep for thinking about the Thanksgiving dinner, so I got up and started making a list,” Naomi said.
Betsy stopped at the door and leaned against the doorjamb. “It’s getting close to midnight.”
Her grandmother had a deal with a very good hairdresser that kept her red hair beautifully styled and dyed so that not a single root or gray hair ever showed. Her green eyes, the same color as Betsy’s, were set in a bed of wrinkles, and her round face had begun to resemble a bulldog’s with its drooping jaws.
Betsy studied her grandmother carefully. She should look like a bulldog because her nature was exactly like one—grab hold of a bone and hang on for eternity, no matter if something better, like a rib eye, came along.
It took an attitude like that to run this ranch, young lady, the voice inside Betsy’s head said loudly.
Naomi pointed at the clock on the wall. “It is past midnight. Where have you been? Down at that bar trying to pick up a man?”
No, ma’am, to the last. Yes, ma’am, to the first. I had two beers and…” She stopped before she blurted out that she’d gone to the river and talked to Declan.
And a shot of whiskey. I can smell it on your breath all the way over here. You’re not drunk are you?” Naomi leaned closer to Betsy.
Betsy shook her head. “I had a couple of beers and shots of whiskey. I barely got a buzz and I’m not drunk.”
Could you pass a breathalyzer test?” Naomi asked.
I wouldn’t blow a zero, but I don’t think it’s enough to haul me into jail,” Betsy said. “Why are you being so nosy about how much I drank?”
You are going to take over Wild Horse when I’m ready to step down. You know that, and it’s time for you to start acting responsibly. You are thirty, Betsy. I want to see you settled in marriage within the next year, and that means less drinking and a lot less visiting the bar,” Naomi said.
Betsy did a half chuckle, part of it escaping her mouth and the other part hanging in her throat. Yeah right! She’d sure take that message to heart and get right on making it happen.
You think that’s funny?” Naomi asked.
Little bit.”
Mavis is now grooming Honey to take over River Bend since Leah screwed up her life by marryin’ that hippie cowboy. And I want you to be ready to take over Wild Horse when I step down.”
Betsy crossed the room, opened the refrigerator, and took out a jar of salsa. “It would be real nice if this wasn’t a competition between you and Mavis. What if I don’t want to run Wild Horse, or what if I want to run it different than you do?” She carried the sauce to the table and went to the pantry, returning with a bag of chips.
You”—Naomi’s glared across the table at Betsy—“will take care of this the way I’ve taught you. You can be displaced just like Leah if you get any fancy ideas.”
You mean like hookin’ up with a Brennan?” Betsy dipped the first chip deeply into the red salsa.
That’s blasphemy in this house, young lady. I’d just as soon shoot you as let that happen,” Naomi said.
How ’bout if I promise not to hook up with a Brennan, and you donate enough money to the church so we can have a proper Christmas program? Angela is fretting because she’s having a boy and there will be no program for him to play the role of the baby Jesus,” Betsy said.
Naomi shook her finger so hard that it was barely a blur. “That is not going to happen if it means letting the Brennans enjoy it. They shouldn’t have burned down our school. Then, we could have had a program. They have to pay.”
Be reasonable. Not only are they paying, but so are we, and Angela is upset and the townsfolk who aren’t part of this eternal feud are paying too. Come on, Granny, be the bigger person and show the Brennans that we aren’t—”
Naomi threw up both palms. “Enough! This conversation is over. I’m not giving the church a penny, and any Gallagher who does will be in big trouble.”
Don’t you ever get tired of this feud?” Betsy pushed harder.
Hell no! It’s what I live for. I only hope Mavis Brennan dies before I do so I can spit on her grave,” Naomi answered. “They are so high-and-mighty and holier-than-thou because their ancestor was a preacher and ours made moonshine. I’m expecting you to pick up the reins and keep ahead of them, and if you can’t, then I’ll choose another granddaughter to be the queen of Wild Horse. I’m going to bed now and you’d best think about what I said.”
Yes, ma’am. Married in a year. Runnin’ Wild Horse and keepin’ up the feud like a good Gallagher. Slow down on my drinking. Can I have one beer a week and a shot of whiskey, or do I have to choose between them?” Betsy cocked her head to one side. “Did I forget anything?”
Don’t you get sassy with me. I won’t tolerate it. Good night, Betsy.”
“’Night, Granny,” Betsy muttered.
And no pouting either,” Naomi said.
You ever known me to pout?” Betsy said loud and clear.
No, you’re like me. You go after what you want. You stand your ground, and you take out anyone who gets in your way however you have to. That’s why you will run this ranch and you will be settled before I turn over the job to you. That means a husband and hopefully a child or two. You aren’t getting any younger. If you got married in a year…”
When Naomi inhaled, Betsy butted in, “And a baby the next year. Tell me, Granny, when will I have time to run a ranch with a husband and a bunch of kids?”
I managed it and did a good job after your grandfather died. Wild Horse needs a strong woman. You think about that, and don’t disappoint me.”
Betsy crammed chips in her mouth to keep from saying another word. She was tired of the whole conversation, tired of the feud that had been going on over a hundred years, and, most of all, tired of listening to her grandmother issue orders.
Married in a year? It wasn’t damn likely.
A Cowboy Christmas Miracle (Burnt Boot, #4)A Cowboy Christmas Miracle by Carolyn Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Cowboy Christmas Miracle by Carolyn Brown 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.

Yes, it’s that time of year when reviewers are sampling the upcoming holiday themed books, recommending the ones that make us laugh, or warm our hearts and get us in the mood for the festive and magical season.

This is my first holiday themed book this year, and it’s off to a pretty good start!

There is nothing like a Texas themed holiday romp with sexy cowboys, humor, and of course a long running family feud….

The feud between the Brennan’s and Gallagher’s has been going strong for over a hundred years, but when a poker match between Delcan Brennan and Tanner Gallagher got a little out of hand, a dangerous bet takes place. Unfortunately, Tanner’s favorite cousin, Betsy, becomes the prize, when her arch enemy Delcan Brennan must win her heart in a month’s time or forfeit a thousand dollars.

During the holiday season, love’s magic is a little more potent than usual, but it still has to work extra hard to bring together two people who would never have given each other a chance under normal circumstances.

This book is laugh out loud funny, but there is an underlying bittersweet tinge to it because of the forbidden and unrequited love the couple felt they would have to live with forever because of their family names. But, when they begin spending time together, working on the church’s holiday program, they keep it a secret from everyone as they fall hopelessly in love. But, what happens when their families find out?

Since I have not read the previous installments in the series, I am not familiar with the dynamic or the secondary characters, so the church may have played a role in the series all along, but for me, I felt a little uncomfortable mixing church, praying, and the Christian holiday in with drinking, bars, sexy time, and cursing. It was a strange combination, but the pastor was pretty cool.

Other than that, this was a really cute story and has all the elements a good holiday romance should, infusing a nice amount of humor in with a spicy romance and a heartwarming happy ever after. So, when you begin picking romances for the fast approaching holiday season, be sure to add this one to your list!

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Hi! I'm twenty five years old and movie star gorgeous. The camera added thirty plus years and a few wrinkles. Can't trust those cameras or mirrors either. Along with bathroom scales they are notorious liars! Honestly, I am the mother of three fantastic grown children who've made me laugh and given me more story ideas than I could ever write. My husband, Charles, is my strongest supporter and my best friend. He's even willing to eat fast food and help with the laundry while I finish one more chapter! Life is good and I am blessed!

Reading has been a passion since I was five years old and figured out those were words on book pages. As soon as my chubby little fingers found they could put words on a Big Chief tablet with a fat pencil, I was on my way. Writing joined reading in my list of passions. I will read anything from the back of the Cheerio's box to Faulkner and love every bit of it. In addition to reading I enjoy cooking, my family and the ocean. I love the Florida beaches. Listening to the ocean waves puts my writing brain into high gear.

I love writing romance because it's about emotions and relationships. Human nature hasn't changed a bit since Eve coveted the fruit in the Garden of Eden. Settings change. Plots change. Names change. Times change. But love is love and men and women have been falling in and out of it forever. Romance is about emotions: love, hate, anger, laughter... all of it. If I can make you laugh until your sides ache or grab a tissue then I've touched your emotions and accomplished what every writer sets out to do.

I got serious about writing when my third child was born and had her days and nights mixed up. I had to stay up all night anyway and it was very quiet so I invested in a spiral back notebook and sharpened a few pencils. The story that emerged has never sold but it's brought in enough rejection slips to put the Redwood Forest on the endangered list. In 1997 Kensington bought two books for their Precious Gems line. Two years and six books later the line died with only four of those books seeing publication. But by then Avalon had bought a book and another, and another. Ten years later the list has grown to thirty nine. Last year Sourcebooks bought the Lucky Series which is in the bookstores now. They've also bought The Honky Tonk Series which will debut with I LOVE THIS BAR in June and will be followed by HELL, YEAH, MY GIVE A DAMN'S BUSTED, and HONKY TONK CHRISTMAS.

Folks ask me where I get my ideas. Three kids, fifteen grandchildren, two great grandchildren. Note: I was a very young grandmother! Life is a zoo around here when they all come home. In one Sunday afternoon there's enough ideas to keep me writing for years and years. Seriously, ideas pop up at the craziest times. When one sinks its roots into my mind, I have no choice but to write the story. And while I'm writing the characters peek over my shoulder and make sure I'm telling it right and not exaggerating too much. Pesky little devils, they are!

I have a wonderful agent, Erin Niumata, who continues to work magic and sell my work. I'm very lucky to have her and my editors who continue to believe in me.

Happy reading!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Nothing Short of Dying by Erik Storey- Feature and Review + Giveaway

Hailed by the bestselling writer William Kent Krueger as “the year’s best thriller debut,” this rollercoaster read features a Jack Reacher-like drifter protagonist with lethal skills whose mission to rescue his abducted sister pits him against a meth kingpin seeking to control all the trade in the Western United States.

Sixteen years. That’s how long Clyde Barr has been away from Colorado’s thick forests, alpine deserts, and craggy peaks, running from a past filled with haunting memories. But now he’s back, having roamed across three continents as a hunter, adventurer, soldier of fortune, and most recently, unjustly imprisoned convict. And once again, his past is reaching out to claim him.

By the light of a flickering campfire, Clyde received a frantic phone call for help from Jen, the youngest of his three older sisters. Then the line goes dead. Clyde doesn’t know how much time he has. He doesn’t know where Jen is located. He doesn’t even know who has her. All he knows is that nothing short of dying will stop him from saving her.

Tagging along with Clyde on this strange, desperate, against-all-odds rescue mission is a young woman named Allie whose motivations for hurtling into harm’s way are fascinatingly complex. As the duo races against the clock, it is Allie who gets Clyde to see what he has become and what he can be.


Nothing Short of Dying (Clyde Barr #1)Nothing Short of Dying by Erik Storey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nothing Short of Dying by Erik Storey is a 2016 Scribner publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is an amazing debut novel by Erik Storey!

Clyde Barr gets a frantic phone call from his sister, Jen, obviously in distress and in deep trouble. She needs his help and Clyde will do ‘nothing short of dying’ to save her.

Clyde is one of the most interesting protagonists to come along in crime fiction in a while. As the story begins, Clyde has just been released from prison, but don't let that fool you. He has a code of honor he lives by, and helping people in need happens to be his specialty, but it is especially important when it comes to Jen, the sister he shares a very close bond with.

So, leaving his peaceful Utah sanctuary, he heads to the rugged Colorado back country in search of Jen, determined to bring her home safe and sound. From this point on, the story takes on an adventuresome quality as Clyde meets a woman who can help him find Jen and insists on coming along with him.

The terrain they must travel over is rough, off the grid, with no technological help available. They must survive in a minimalist sort of way, hunting for food, showering in the rain, sleeping in tents, all while living on the edge of extreme danger from the men who are holding Jen hostage.

As the story unfolds, Clyde relates to the reader, via a first person narrative, his relationship with his sister and why they are so close despite, or because of, their turbulent upbringing. Clyde has never been able to stabilize, having spent significant time in Africa, then in prison, and is a bit of a loner/drifter. I get the idea he’s like a poor man’s ‘Jack Reacher’ and that his adventures are only just beginning. I predict the return of Clyde Barr and I rather doubt he will stay in one place for too long, and will always find a battle to fight on behalf of those unable to fight for themselves.

Overall, this is a gritty thriller, absorbing, suspenseful, fast paced and a multi-layered action-adventure, with compelling characters, emotional twists, and poignant, bittersweet coda.

Clyde learns a few life lessons along the way, that will most assuredly aide him in his quest to live in the moment and take life as it comes.

For a debut novel, this one is most impressive. Well written, perfectly paced, with excellent, often profound dialogue, constructed in a way that will appeal to a wide range of readers, from adventure lovers to the crime drama enthusiast.

Highly recommend!




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ERIK STOREY is a former ranch hand, wilderness guide, dogsled musher, and hunter.  He spent his childhood summers on his great-grandfather’s homestead or in a remote cabin in Colorado’s Flat Tops wilderness.  He has earned a number of sharpshooter and marksman qualifications.  Nothing Short of Dying is his first novel.  He and his family live in Grand Junction, Colorado

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley- Feature and Review

An aspiring suspense novelist lands in the middle of a real crime, in the first in a captivating new series by the author of the Undercover Dish Mysteries.
Lena London's literary dreams are coming true—as long as she can avoid any real-life villains...
Camilla Graham’s bestselling suspense novels inspired Lena London to become a writer, so when she lands a job as Camilla’s new assistant, she can’t believe her luck. Not only will she help her idol craft an enchanting new mystery, she’ll get to live rent-free in Camilla’s gorgeous Victorian home in the quaint town of Blue Lake, Indiana.

But Lena’s fortune soon changes for the worse. First, she lands in the center of small town gossip for befriending the local recluse. Then, she stumbles across one thing that a Camilla Graham novel is never without—a dead body, found on her new boss’s lakefront property.

Now Lena must take a page out of one of Camilla’s books to hunt down clues in a real crime that seems to be connected to the novelist’s mysterious estate—before the killer writes them both out of the story for good...


A Dark and Stormy Murder (A Writer's Apprentice Mystery #1)A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Dark and Stormy Murder ( A Writer's Apprentice Mystery #1) by Julia Buckley is a 2016 Berkley publication.

This first book in the series sets the tone for future installments with a solid base, interesting characters, and an ongoing investigation that will bleed over into the next release. I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery and enjoyed living vicariously through Lena. She lives out every reader or aspiring writers dream.

No doubt about it, I am definitely on board for the next installment. I can see this series becoming one of my favorites, if things continue on at this pace.

Overall, this is an excellent beginning for this new series. This book will appeal to a wide range of mystery lovers, but especially to those who enjoy clean reads and cozy mysteries.

4 stars
This review is the copyrighted property of Night Owl Reviews

To read the full review, click on this link:





Julia Buckley is a Chicago-area writer. Her first mystery, THE DARK BACKWARD, was published in 2006; since then she has published the Madeline Mann mysteries and the first in the Teddy Thurber series on Kindle.

She writes two series for Berkley Prime Crime, with debut titles THE BIG CHILI and A DARK AND STORMY MURDER

Buckley is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America, as well as the Chicago Writers Association. She blogs about writing and mysteries at Mysterious Musings, where she has interviewed almost 200 other mystery writers about their work.

She teaches high school English and enjoys reading, playing Words With Friends on Facebook, and spending time with her husband and two sons, along with their menagerie of animals.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hero of Mine by Codi Gary - Feature and Review + Giveaway


The men of Alpha Dog, a second chance program for at-risk teens, work hard and play hard. And when it comes to protecting the women they love . . . nothing stands in their way.

Danielle Hill used to live on the wild side, until a surprise pregnancy forced her to get her act together. Now her whole life revolves around her young son, and she will do anything to keep Noah’s heart protected, even if it means avoiding the Marine who makes her want to be oh so bad . . .

Tyler Best loves his family, his friends, and his life, and he plans on living it to the fullest after nearly losing it. But Tyler didn’t bank on running into a beautiful blond with blazing green eyes and temper to match his. Tyler always thought he wasn’t ready to settle down, but Dani and Noah make him rethink his playboy ways . . .

Only just as these two start to build something, a shadow from Dani’s past comes back to haunt them. But Tyler will do anything to keep her and Noah safe . . . anything.


Dani pointed to the far wall of cages, oblivious to his disgruntlement. “Those are all the dogs whose time here expires. Feel free to take them out into the holding room”—she indicated a white door that had a sign reading holding room— “and do whatever you gotta do.”

Turning her back on him, she squatted down in front of a large cage and opened it. Tyler bent down to see a massive gray dog with black spots and stripes. The dog lifted his head slightly, his floppy ears pricking as she cooed.

Hey, Fugly, how you doing, bud?” Dani’s hand glided over the dog’s head and neck, and he relaxed back on his side with a whimper.

What happened to him?” Tyler asked.

Someone hit him with their car. A yard crew behind them stopped and picked him up, brought him here, but there’s only so much I can do. The X-rays show he needs leg surgery, but my regular doctor is off today, and the prick subbing for him won’t do a damn thing to help.”

Tyler came closer, squatting behind her. The dog lifted his head and met Tyler’s gaze with soft green-gray eyes. Rex’s eyes had been a dark brown, nearly black, but the expression in this dog’s eyes was still the same—filled with trust. This dog wasn’t afraid of humans; he expected them to help him, to ease his pain.

Tyler’s chest clenched. Although he’d trained several dogs since Rex, he hadn’t experienced this pull, this kinship. This big, gray dog was calling to him, and he couldn’t ignore it, no matter how crazy it seemed.

Release him to me.”

Dani spun his way so fast, she nearly knocked him back. “What?”

Release him to me, and I’ll run him down to my veterinarian. They’ll go over the extent of his injuries and let me know what he needs.”

Dani stared at him, her gaze wary. “Why would you do that? And what about the dogs you’re supposed to evaluate?”

What the hell was he doing? He wasn’t even sure the dog was trainable, let alone what his injuries were.

But he could still remember Rex’s body as it cooled and stiffened in his arms. There had been nothing he could do to help Rex, but he could help this dog.

If you will run interference for me with that guy, I’ll drive . . .” Tyler hesitated to call the dog the bullshit name. “I’m sorry; he needs a better name than Fugly.”

Dani laughed, but her voice shook a bit as though she might cry. “The workers that brought him in were calling him that.”

Not anymore. Whatever his name is, I’ll drive him up there, drop him off, and come back here. If his owners show up, you can give me a call.”

I don’t have your number.” She closed the cage door and stood up.

The front desk has it, but do you have your phone on you?” he asked.

Yeah, I’ll go get it.” She left the room, and Tyler studied the dog. He was probably a good hundred and fifty pounds, which wouldn’t be a problem to carry, but if he had more injuries they couldn’t see, Tyler was concerned about jostling him around and doing more damage. He’d ask Dani if they had a stretcher when she got back.

She came back through the doors and handed him her phone. “Here.”

Tyler stood up, staring at the screen saver of a smiling toddler with his arms wrapped around Dani’s neck. Well, shit, that sent whatever attraction he’d had crashing to the ground. He had three rules for hooking up: Be honest from the get-go, no sleeping over, and definitely no repeats within the same week. And then there were the types of women he steered clear from.

No crazies. No attached or married women. And definitely no single moms.

No ifs, ands, or buts about it. He had watched his own mom get screwed over enough times to know that if you weren’t ready, just stay far away.

Clearing his throat, he swiped his thumb over to her contacts and put in his information. “Cute kid.”

Thank you.”

He yours?” he asked.

Yes, he’s mine.”

Was it just him, or did she sound defensive?

How old is he?” Tyler handed the phone back to her, disappointed that she was off limits.

He’s almost two.” Dani slipped her phone into her pocket. Her curt responses told him she didn’t want to discuss her child with a complete stranger, and he couldn’t blame her.

Apparently, he was just a nosy, interfering bastard today.

About Fugly. I was going to just carry him out, but I’m afraid of causing more damage.”

He doesn’t have internal bleeding, at least not that showed up on the X-rays. Most of the impact from the car occurred on his back end. Plus, I gave him a dose of pain meds when he first came in, and it should last him a while.”

Okay then, you get the door, and I’ll get the dog.”

Dani unlocked the cage again and unhooked the dog’s IV, wrapping the tubing over the mobile pole by the cage. As gently as he could, Tyler reached in and picked up the dog, who tried to thrash for half a second before Tyler spoke firmly. “Stay.”

The dog stilled, and Tyler stood up with him in his arms. “It’s gonna be okay, boy.”

Dani opened the doors as they went, but once they got to the lobby, Lab Coat Guy spotted them and spluttered, “What do you think you’re doing?”

Dani puffed up. “He’s taking the dog to his vet, since you won’t do anything to help him.”

Tyler had to admire the set of balls on Dani as every eye in the room swung on Lab Coat, pinning him with accusation.

I didn’t say anything like that. I told you his prognosis wasn’t good and he was suffering.”

And I wanted a second opinion, so we’re getting one.”

Tyler grinned, following Dani out the door. Pausing for half a second, Tyler gave Lab Coat a warning look. “I haven’t had a chance to evaluate the dogs yet. They’d better all be there when I get back.”

Lab Coat swallowed hard, and as she closed the door, Dani laughed. “I think he just pissed himself.”

Tyler liked her laugh, light and tinkling, like Christmas bells. “You’re pretty terrifying yourself.”

I don’t let bullies push me around,” she said. “Where are your keys?”

Right pocket.”

When the warmth of her hand pushed into his pocket and grabbed his keys, he couldn’t help his physical reaction. It was just too close to the groin, and the way she pressed with seeking fingers against him was enough to give him a semi. Despite it being October, it was still in the mideighties in Sacramento, and Tyler could feel beads of sweat dribbling down the sides of his face as she continued her search; he told himself it was just the heat getting to him.

Luckily, she hadn’t seemed to notice, and once she found the keys, she unlocked the doors and pulled open the back door of the Alpha Dog van.

Hang on.” She ran back inside while Tyler waited, the dog’s weight making his arms burn.

Suddenly, she was back and climbing past him into the backseat of the van.

What are you doing?” he asked.

Isn’t it obvious? I’m coming with you. You’re going to need someone to hold onto him while you drive, and besides,” she said, her expression a soft mask of worry, “I don’t want him to be alone and scared.”

Tyler nodded, knowing exactly what she meant. He’d been rescuing dogs his whole life, much to his parents’ exasperation. He remembered the first dog he’d brought home at nine, a skinny black dog with matted fur and a rank odor. When his mom had told him he couldn’t bring the dog inside, he’d teared up and told her, “But, Mom, he’s so hungry and scared.” His mom had caved like a big old softy, and his dad left, coming back with food, bowls, and a collar and leash. He’d named the dog Barney, and he’d been the start of Tyler’s love of dogs.

The fact that Dani appeared to have the same passion made him like her more. Cute, funny, didn’t take shit from anyone? Plus, he’d bet his last dollar she was great in bed.

But the tiny, smiling little boy on her phone screen was like a big fat stop sign. He didn’t do single moms—at least, not when he knew about the kid.

Laying the dog gently into the back, he watched her settle his head in her lap and begin stroking his gray coat. Suddenly, she looked up at Tyler, those green eyes filled with gratitude and . . . Hell, he had no idea, but it was a first for him.

Thank you.”

Tyler slammed the door to the van without responding, grabbing the keys out of the passenger door.

Tyler Best, bleeding-heart dog rescuer.

He climbed up into the driver’s seat, preparing to take off.

Really, why are you doing this?” she asked from behind him.

Adjusting the mirror so he could see her, he gave the only answer that made sense. “Why not?”


Hero of Mine (Men in Uniform, #2)Hero of Mine by Codi Gary
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hero of Mine by Codi Gary is a 2016 Avon Impulse publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I am unfamiliar with this author, but anytime I see a storyline involving animals, and military heroes, I usually can’t resist the temptation to try it.

I have to admit that after reading the first few chapters I was not sure if I was going to like this one mainly because of all the extreme cynicism and Dani’s over the top defensiveness. But, the more I read, the more the story grew on me.

Dani is a single mom who has sworn off men and dating in order to focus on being a good mother to her son, Noah. She’s been attracted to bad boys in the past, and doesn’t trust her choices in men. Not only that, she is finds that while parenthood is rewarding, she is always worried about her parenting decisions. She is way, way, way too hard on herself and if anyone offers advice or questions anything in regards to Noah, she gets really uptight and takes it too personally, which makes her appear rude and shrill.

Tyler is a player, no two ways about it. But, he also has some redeeming qualities, such as being a member of the ‘Men of Alpha Dog’, an organization that works with at risk teens, plus he works with dogs, trying to give them a second chance too.

When Tyler and Dani cross paths, they don’t exactly hit it off, but they keep bumping into each other, sometimes in a comical way. Once they get to know each other a little, Tyler begins to wonder if he is missing out on something special by avoiding a committed relationship and Dani begins to think she and Tyler have made a connection. But, with their combined issues, they decide to take it slow and easy. Things are going pretty well, until Noah’s biological father makes an appearance and begins to aggressively pursue a relationship with Noah.

I think this story takes a realistic approach to the contemporary dating dilemmas many single moms endure, and the admission that each of us brings a certain amount baggage with us, because we have all made mistakes and life is not a fairy tale. So, Tyler and Dani both brought problems from their past into the relationship, but for the most part they handled the challenges well. There are some misunderstandings, moments of doubt, a little angst, but in the end the characters blossomed and grew, which has a huge impact on the lives of others, which made the journey extra special.

I’m glad I decided to give this book a try because I ended up really liking it.

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An obsessive bookworm, Codi Gary likes to write sexy contemporary romances with humor, grand gestures, and blush-worthy moments. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading her favorite authors, squealing over her must-watch shows, and playing with her children. She lives in Idaho with her family.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams- Feature and Review


Two decades after the Civil War, Josephine Marcus, the teenage daughter of Jewish immigrants, is lured west with the promise of marriage to Johnny Behan, one of Arizona’s famous lawmen. She leaves her San Francisco home to join Behan in Tombstone, Arizona, a magnet for miners (and outlaws) attracted by the silver boom. Though united by the glint of metal, Tombstone is plagued by divided loyalties: between Confederates and Unionists, Lincoln Republicans and Democrats.

But when the silver-tongued Behan proves unreliable, it is legendary frontiersman Wyatt Earp who emerges as Josephine’s match. As the couple’s romance sparks, Behan’s jealousy ignites a rivalry destined for the history books…

At once an epic account of an improbable romance and a retelling of an iconic American tale, The Last Woman Standing recalls the famed gunfight at the O.K. Corral through the eyes of a spunky heroine who sought her happy ending in a lawless outpost—with a fierce will and an unflagging spirit.

The Last Woman StandingThe Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams is a 2016 Lake Union Press publication.

I have been curious about Josephine Marcus since watching the wildly popular motion picture, “Tombstone.”

I know Hollywood often takes huge liberties with the facts, so I decided to do an internet search to see what information was available about Wyatt Earp’s common law wife. To be honest, there really isn’t a lot of absolutely, positively true and documented facts about ‘Sadie’ or ‘Josephine’. There are large gaps of her life that are murky and much speculation has developed over time. Josephine went to great lengths to keep her life in Tombstone from becoming public knowledge.

So, I was immensely curious how the author would present Josephine’s life story in this work of fiction. Naturally, the book is written in first person narrative, as Josephine looks back on her life leading up to her arrival in Tombstone, how she met Wyatt, and how the two ended up embarking on life’s journey together.

The author bravely taps into the black hole of time that Josephine worked so tirelessly to keep private for so many years.


I loved the way Josephine came to life, her voice raw, pure, and brutally honest, revealing her naïvete, foibles, bad luck with men, and how she was rescued from a harsh life not befitting her beauty and talent by Wyatt Earp.

I do believe Josephine was a woman ahead of her time, a true adventurer, but also a person who suffered through some real regrets for the poor choices she made in her youth. She did not live like many ‘respectable’ ladies, and never went through a formal, legal wedding ceremony, which was perhaps more common in some places, like Tombstone, but was still quite scandalous. She lived unconventionally, and was quite an interesting figure who lived life with gusto and was lucky enough to find her soul mate and true life partner in Wyatt.


This fictional accounting of Josephine’s life mixes a few documented facts in to create a plausible portrait of a legendary figure of the old west. I think it’s as good a guess as any about the enigmatic actress that captured the heart of Wyatt Earp. It was fun to see all the legendary historical figures we have come to know in film and countless documentaries and books, come to life in this fictional take on events in Tombstone, seen through the eyes of Josephine Marcus.

Overall, this in a provocative read, interesting and engaging. If you enjoy Historical Fiction, this book is one you may want to try.






THELMA ADAMS' novel PLAYDATE was reprinted in paperback by St. Martin's Griffin in March 2012, following its hardback debut in 2011. The book is an Oprah Beach Read and a Parade Magazine pick of the week. She is a Contributing Editor at Yahoo! Movies, following eleven years as the film critic at Us Weekly, and six years at the New York Post. She has twice chaired the New York Film Critics Circle. She has written for The New York Times Magazine, O: The Oprah Magazine, Parade, The Huffington Post, Marie Claire, More, Interview Magazine, The New York Times, The international Herald Tribune, Cosmopolitan and Self. She has appeared on CNN, E!, NY1, NBC's The Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, Fox News Channel, Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, Bravo and VH1. In 1993, she earned an MFA in fiction from Columbia University; in 1985, she earned an MBA in Arts Management from UCLA; she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UC Berkeley in 1981. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband, son, daughter, three cats, one spaniel and a flock of wild turkeys.

The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies- Feature and Review

Nineteen-year-old Gwendolyn Hooper is newly married to a rich and charming widower, eager to join him on his tea plantation, determined to be the perfect wife and mother. But life in Ceylon is not what Gwen expected. The plantation workers are resentful, the neighbours treacherous. And there are clues to the past - a dusty trunk of dresses, an overgrown gravestone in the grounds - that her husband refuses to discuss. Just as Gwen finds her feet, disaster strikes. She faces a terrible choice, hiding the truth from almost everyone, but a secret this big can't stay buried forever . . .



The Tea Planter's WifeThe Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies is a 2015 Penguin publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and the LIbraryThing early reviewer program.

The Tea Planter’s Wife is an exemplary novel, written with a lush literary prose, which pulls me deep into the landscape and historical setting of colonial Ceylan.

Gwen, only nineteen, marries Laurence, a widower, after a whirlwind romance. Laurence is a tea planter running a successful plantation, and Gwen is determined to learn the business and be a good asset to her husband.

However, almost from the beginning, Gwen finds her husband is still haunted by the death of his first wife, the staff behaves oddly, and then Gwen finds she must cope with her sister-in-law, Verity, who wishes to keep Laurence all to herself, as well as watching another woman try to steal away her new husband.

If this were not bad enough, Gwen will soon face a crisis that will tear her heart to pieces while the atmosphere around her becomes almost oppressive.

This story is so absorbing and haunting, I couldn’t bear to continue reading it, but couldn’t stop turning pages. This book taps every emotion imaginable, as Gwen tries to navigate her new surroundings and faces one wall of opposition after another, one trial after another, while carrying a heavy burden on her heart.

I became frustrated with all the characters at one point or another, and Verity is most certainly a poisonous character, but I often found myself irritated with Laurence, who constantly turned a blind eye to those issues plaguing Gwen and the people causing her such great heartache.

This couple will encounter incredible adversity, survive hardships, and endure much heartache, make mistakes and harbor dark secrets in their souls. Naturally, the racial divide is one which causes so many misunderstandings, and it is so very sad to think how this situation could have turned out differently if not for that prejudice.

But, ultimately this is a love story, one that proves love’s power to overcome vindictiveness, jealously, grief and pain, and can give the heart the fortitude to forgive, accept, change, and move on with renewed hope.

This is a well written novel, with very interesting historical details, set in a magical location, and is packed with riveting dramas that kept me engaged and very invested in the characters on an emotional level.

I loved the atmosphere in this one, the slight Gothic tones, and the tantalizing pace that swept me away to another time and place.







In 1985, the sudden death of Dinah Jefferies’ fourteen year old son brought her life to a standstill. She drew on that experience, and on her own childhood spent in Malaya during the 1950s to write her debut novel, The Separation. The guns piled high on the hall table when the rubber planters came into town for a party, the colour and noise of Chinatown, the houses on stilts, and the lizards that left their tails behind.

Now living in Gloucestershire, Dinah once lived in Tuscany working as an au pair for an Italian countess; she has also lived in a ‘hippy’ rock’n roll commune based in an Elizabethan manor house, but started writing when she was living in a small 16th Century village in Spain.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

With Every Breath by Maya Banks- Release Blast + Review + Giveaway!


Eliza Cummings fought free of a monster who terrorized her when she was an innocent teenager and helped put him away for good. She took a job with Devereaux Security Services and devoted every hour to taking down the very thing she’d nearly become. No one, not even those closest to her, know her darkest, shameful secrets. But now the killer has been set free on a legal loophole and it’s only a matter of time before he comes for her. Eliza’s only choice is to run and lead the monster away from the people she loves.

Wade Sterling has always lived by his own rules, a law unto himself who answers to no one. He’s never professed to be a good man, and he’s definitely not hero material. Wade never allows anyone close enough to see the man behind the impenetrable mask—but one woman threatens his carefully leashed control. He took a bullet for her and the result was more than a piece of metal entrenched in his skin. She was under his skin and nothing he did rid himself of the woman with the courage of a warrior and who thinks nothing of putting her life before others.

But when Wade sees a panicked and haunted Eliza he knows something is very wrong, because the fool woman has never had been afraid of anything. And when she tries to run, the primal beast barely lurking beneath his deceptively polished façade erupts in a rage. She may not know it, but she belongs to him. This time, Eliza isn’t going to play the protector. She was damn well going to be the protected. And as long as Wade breathes, no one will ever hurt what is his.


Baby,” he whispered, watching as her eyes became cloudy and then shiny with tears when he murmured the endearment. As though she mattered to him. Didn’t she understand she was the most important thing in the world to him? No, she didn’t. Not yet. But she would. “Lay your burden down. It’s time to let someone carry it for you.”
He’d said it before but this time it seemed to really register with her and hit home. For a brief moment there was a spark of hope and so much yearning in her eyes that he automatically squeezed her tighter in his arms.
She wanted to lean on him. He’d seen that in her eyes right before defeat registered and with it her loss of hope. She truly believed that no one could help her, even if she wanted it. How to make her believe in him? How to make her believe that there was nothing he wouldn’t do for her, to alleviate the pain and guilt in her eyes, to permanently remove those bruising shadows?


With Every Breath (Slow Burn, #4)With Every Breath by Maya Banks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With Every Breath by Maya Banks is a 2016 Avon publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

While the last book in the ‘Slow Burn’ series was pretty good, this one tops it, and is more on board with the type of romantic suspense I usually go for.

In ‘Safe at Last’, we met Wade, a close friend of Gracie’s, and it was clear something was brewing between him and Eliza, which provided some comic relief as the two traded barbs, until things got serious, with Wade proving his mettle and becoming a hero in his own right.

However, any hope the relationship might somehow continue is lost when Eliza receives a disturbing call that will alter the course of her life forever. Planning to free the world of a notorious killer, even if it means sacrificing her own life, Eliza puts a plan in motion, one that does not involve Devereaux security. But, Wade knows something is terribly wrong with Eliza and makes it his business to find out what it is and keep her from doing anything that would put herself in danger, even she fights him every step of the way….

Eliza’s foe is formidable and is one she must do face to face combat with in order to free herself of the ghost of the past. But, even Eliza will need help with this enemy and Wade intends to fight alongside her every step of the way.

I really enjoyed this installment in the series for a number of reasons. One, the bad guy is really creepy and has a backstory that actually links to Eliza in a personal way, instead of the vagueness the enemies possess in previous chapters of the series. This heightened the suspense to a whole new level and gives the story a sense of urgency that has never been present before now.

Another reason this book stands out from the others is because in previous installments the female protagonist has been so vulnerable they are perilously close to the 'damsel in distress' type, rescued by the ultimate alpha male. But, in this book we are treated to a strong woman, capable of holding her own in a male dominated field.

The only man who has ever penetrated the walls she built around her heart, is Wade, and as he chips away at her rough exterior, he exposes her deepest fears, her immense guilt, and releases a flood of emotions that carry them both away.

The romance is intense, hot and steamy, and I think the chemistry between Wade and Eliza makes them the better suited couple, so far. They make a great team and hopefully Wade will team up the Devereraux’s again someday.

The writing has also tightened up quite a bit as well, with much less repetition and the dialogue is sharper too, giving the story much more depth.

Overall, this is the best of the series to date and if the author continues to develop it in this same vein, it could become a ‘go to’ series for me, despite the rocky road we took to get to this point. It may not have been smooth sailing, but arriving to this destination was definitely worth the bumpy ride.


Buy Links:     Amazon | B & N | Google | iTunes | Kobo
Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Maya_Banks_




Maya Banks is a #1 USA Today and New York Times bestselling author whose chart toppers have included erotic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, Scottish historical romances. She is the author of the Breathless Trilogy, the KGI novels, the Sweet series, and the Colters Legacy novels.
She lives in the South with her husband and three children and other assorted babies, such as her two Bengal kitties and a Calico who’s been with her as long as her youngest child. She’s an avid reader of romance and loves to dish books with her fans and anyone else who’ll listen! She very much enjoys interacting with her readers on Facebook and Twitter as well as in her Yahoo! Group.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads