Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Girl in Gray by Annette Lyon {Review}

The Girl in Gray by Annette Lyon
Kindle Edition, 318 pages
Published October 29th 2019 by Blue Ginger Books 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
*As an Amazon Affiliate, I received a small kickback with qualifying purchases.
A country fighting to stay free.
A woman with an impossible decision.
In November of 1939, Sini Toivola is sure of two things: she loves Marko Linna, and she has a comfortable life in Helsinki. But when the massive Soviet army invades her beloved homeland and Marko spurns her affections, her life is turned upside down. Needing a fresh start, Sini decides to join the female volunteer corps—the Lotta Sv√§rd—and is sent to serve near the front lines. Service at a field hospital proves a good distraction—until Sini discovers a Russian soldier lost behind their camp. Duty requires her to turn him in, but her heart begs to keep him safe and help him escape. Torn between love for her country and love for her enemy, Sini must choose—but no matter what choice she makes, heart-wrenching consequences await them all.
My Review: 5 Stars
War isn't pretty and this author does a fantastic job of creating a real, raw, and gritty tale of the effects of the fighting between Russia and Finland during WWII. 
Sini wants to do whatever she can to support her country and its efforts in the war and finds herself serving as a Lotta, working in the kitchen and as a medical assistant. I love how Sini learns to look beyond a face to find a person's true self through her experiences and how she discovers core values and priorities.   
I also loved the play on the title. Sini dresses blandly and in gray wool with her assignment, but she also learns that life and war isn't always clear cut between black and white, or good and evil. She finds there are a lot of gray areas and ends up smack in the middle of one.
I love a good history lesson, mingled with fiction and romance, and I haven't read much about WWII that takes place in this area. I enjoyed learning more and connecting with the emotions of these characters, as they not only battled the enemy, but battled their feelings and themselves. This story is gripping and definitely tugs at the heart.
Content: moderate romance (kissing, one scene that nudges the envelope and then fades-to-black); moderate violence (war stuff that is semi-graphic at times, but not over the top); mild language 

Monday, November 11, 2019

Catch a Falling Star by Cindy Roland Anderson {Review}

Catch a Falling Star: Hudson Brothers Romance (The Royal Palms Resort Romance #4) by Cindy Roland Anderson
Kindle Edition, 212 pages
Published October 18th 2019 
Source: Kindle Unlimited
*As an Amazon Affiliate, I receive a small kickback with qualifying purchases.
She dreams of happily ever after. He doesn’t believe in love. What happens if their hearts belong together?

Londyn Montgomery has had enough of doing what her parents want, especially when they’re determined to marry her to a man who isn’t faithful to her. She decides to run away, hoping to find out who she is and what she wants out of life. In her desire to escape a life of being controlled, she speeds straight past Sheriff Owen Hudson and narrowly avoids a ticket. She vows to stay off his radar, but destiny has other ideas, placing Owen and Londyn on a path that leads straight to a future neither one of them planned for. 
My Review: 5 Stars
I'm finding that this author is the queen of writing the cutest first encounters ever! And don't worry--the fun didn't stop there. I couldn't wipe the dorky permagrin off my face throughout this one, although there were times when the grin turned into a full fledged smile of swoon, because this one was super swoony!
Brooding and handsome Sheriff Owen swept me right off my feet as the instant and intense attraction zinged between him and Londyn. I absolutely loved Owen and Londyn, flaws and all, and their chemistry was flammable--I couldn't get enough. It was both heartwarming and heartbreaking to watch Londyn find herself, but the Southern charm that oozed through the pages definitely helped and gelled it all together. I loved everything about this story!
I cannot wait for the rest of the Hudson brothers series because these men are gentlemen, devastatingly handsome, and insanely intriguing. Bring them on!
Content: mild+ romance (some innuendo/affair, kissing--some passionate)

Friday, November 8, 2019

Heart Thief (A Love Under Wraps Novel) by Taylor Dean {Review}

Heart Thief (A Love Under Wraps Novel) by Taylor Dean
Paperback, 295 pages
Publication: November 1st 2019 by Taylor Dean Books
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.

I was warned about him. I should’ve listened. But I didn’t.

Of course, I also thought Ryker Martel was about to propose. He didn’t.

I was ready to say yes. He was ready to wait a little longer.

Now he’s out of the country on an extended business trip and I’m staying in his penthouse apartment with seeds of disillusionment taking over my soul. Ryker reminded me that his estranged brother might show up out of the blue at his penthouse. He told me to let him know right away if he did. He’d take care of it.

His brother is bad news. The rebel, the black sheep of the family. “Don’t trust him,” Ryker said. “Stay as far away from him as possible. He’s a thief, a snake.”

Warning duly noted. And ignored.

I considered myself equipped to handle whatever was thrown my way. I was wrong. Nothing prepared me for Zane and the havoc he would wreak in my life—and in my heart. He turned me upside down and knocked me sideways. Falling for the other brother is never a good idea. Keeping it a secret, even worse. Especially when he proves to be the thief he was purported to be.

My heart will never be mine again and I want it back. But it has been stolen and I’ll never be the same.


A stand-alone novel from the LOVE UNDER WRAPS series.

My Review: 5 Stars

I'm in love and I don't care who knows it! This is a favorite and my heart was completely stolen with this swoony romance Mila is a professional pianist and her boyfriend, Ryker, asks her to be caretaker to his penthouse while he's out of the country on business. But when his estranged brother, Zane, shows up, all bets are off. 

Zane and Mila fit together and complement each other like a hand to a glove and like peanut butter and chocolate. I love how real Zane is and how he subtly starts carving his way into the center of Mila's heart. Whereas Ryker is only falling, Zane is already there. His adoration, passion, and genuine care and concern won me over from the get-go. 

There's something about a forbidden and secret romance that adds an element of excitement and fuels an already combustible chemistry to high swoon levels. Taylor Dean writes a magical escape that captivated me from start to finish with its charm. I absolutely adored these characters and lived vicariously through them from China Town to Jeopardy to Lucky Charms. I'm still swooning over here.

Content: mild+ swoony romance (kissing, some light innuendo)
Don't miss the other titles in the Love Under Wraps stand-alone series:

December 2019
Rules are Made to be Broken
by Mylissa Demeyere

January 2020
A Wrinkle in Forever
by Charissa Stastny

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Ranger's Mountain Bride (Maplewood Book #5) by Elizabeth Bromke {Review}

The Ranger's Mountain Bride (Married in Maplewood, Maplewood Book #5) by Elizabeth Bromke
Kindle Edition
Publication: November 5th 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy through BookSprout. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
*As an Amazon Affiliate, I receive a small kickback with qualifying purchases.
A feisty reporter. A rugged Arizona ranger. And one sweet, small-town scandal...

Bo Delaney needs a juicy story, but small-town news is slow. She would be willing to set aside her career, if her boyfriend, Keegan, would just pop the question already. Frustrated and antsy, she strikes a deal: Bo promises to to stay in town and give Keegan time if he can get her early access to Maplewood's biggest stories. After all, as a search and rescue ranger, he lives the news.

Keegan Flanagan is afraid to commit to one more thing. On the brink of a promotion and trying to carve out time for date nights with Bo, all he wants is to keep things in order. That is until Keegan and Bo become ensnared in a scandal worthy of a tabloid. 

Can Keegan and Bo survive the rumor mill? Or will the Maplewood news cycle tear them apart? Order The Ranger's Mountain Bride, a sweet, small-town romance, today.
My Review: 5 Stars

Bromke has done it again! This author has delivered another sweet, small town romance with characters who are completely heartwarming.

I grew up in a small town and now live in a busy, thriving suburb, but this series sends me back to simpler times in a beautiful mountain setting with familiar friends. The root of the warm fuzzies for me is the feeling of nostalgia. Bo and Keegan struggle to articulate their feelings, as they don't know what they truly want from their on-again-off-again relationship, but a deal and a challenge help to put things into perspective and I loved watching them recognize their priorities and deep down desires. Their conflicting jobs brought a lot of entertainment to the story, and I especially enjoyed reading Bo's articles.

This beautiful romance and relationship is so sweet and pierced my heart with its lazy tendrils of friendship, old-fashioned values, and respect. My soul now craves to live in Maplewood.

Content: mild romance with some light innuendo.

Monday, November 4, 2019

To Die To Sleep by Stephanie Black {Review}

To Die To Sleep by Stephanie Black
Paperback, 272 pages
Publication: November 1st 2019 by Covenant Communications 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
*As an Amazon Affiliate, I receive a small kickback with qualifying purchases.
After surviving a difficult year, Natalie Marsh is heading for Ellsberg Keep, an exclusive mountain resort that promises to provide the tranquility she desperately needs. She’s eager to relax and to reconnect with her estranged cousin Lily, who works as the Keep’s nurse—a reunion that begins abruptly when an accident on the winding mountain roads lands Natalie in the infirmary in the care of her cousin. They have little time to bond over childhood memories, however. Everything is thrown into chaos when the owner of the Keep is rushed to the medical wing, wildly delusional and raving about a murder plot.

Despite Lily’s care, the owner dies. Is his death simply an accident, or are his frenzied suspicions true? Determined to help Lily cope with the loss of her patient—and the accusations that she’s to blame for his death—Natalie searches for answers and is swept into a mystery that grows more puzzling as frightening hallucinations torment the dead man’s son. When a staff member who asks too many questions disappears, it is clear that this idyllic resort harbors someone with deadly intent—and Natalie may not survive to uncover the truth.

My Review: 5 Stars

Ellsberg Keep is a mysterious place shrouded in death and danger, and when Natalie finds herself right in the middle of the peril, she can't seem to tear herself away, even though she's had a rough year.

Natalie is a solid character. As a psychologist, she has experience dealing with the crazy, yet nothing could have prepared her for what she finds at Ellsberg Keep. I loved the anticipation of wondering what would happen next and thrilling whodunit element that kept me guessing. 

Stephanie Black has created a subtly suspenseful story with characters who are alarmingly deceitful. I had no idea who to trust and who was going to die next. Some characters are completely creepy, with their psychotic behaviors, and others seem normal, but aren't. Relationships aren't always as they seem. I completely enjoyed this story and always look forward to more of these puzzling novels.

Content: mild+ violence (death--not graphic)

Friday, November 1, 2019

Autumn/Halloween Countdown Blitz 2019: Day 11

Arabella Sheraton grew up on a diet of Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and many other writers of that period. From Jane Austen to Georgette Heyer, Arabella has found both enjoyment and inspiration in sparkling, witty Regency novels. She also loves history and generally finds the past more fascinating than the future. Arabella wrote her first Regency romance to entertain her aged mom who  loved the genre. Arabella is honoured to share the adventures of her heroes and heroines with readers. 

A sparkling traditional Regency romance to enchant fans.

When the young and handsome Earl of  Pennington discovers the inheritance from his great-uncle depends on him marrying at midnight on the eve of his thirtieth birthday, he is irate.

Marriage is not part of his plan to save his  impoverished estates. He crosses paths unexpectedly with the beautiful Roxanne Chesney, who is fleeing from her abusive husband. 

He offers her a contract: marriage for six months to help him fulfil the conditions of his great-uncle’s will, enabling him secure his inheritance. In return he will pay her a small fortune. 

Can Roxanne resist this offer? What about the revolting Edgar Doyle who forced her into a loveless marriage that has not been consummated? Roxanne has escaped Edgar’s clutches, but she wonders how long she will manage to evade him. The earl’s contract has no strings attached. The offer is irresistible except for the fact that Roxanne is already married!

Q & A With the Author:

1.     When did you write your first novel? My mom asked me to write her a Regency romance story because she was tired of the ones she’d read before. I had already written a children’s novel, so I felt quite confident and I love the Regency era.

Coming from a background in publishing, it feels as if I have been writing forever.

2.     What drove you to write / why did you become an author? I always wrote for fun, then I drifted into editing and publishing, and then suddenly I was writing books. Once you have started, it’s impossible to stop.

3.     How do you create your characters? Interestingly, all I do is think of a catchy title and the rest all sort of happens by itself, as if the characters are waiting in the wings and just need me to create the title to bring them to life.

4.     What is one thing you love about Fall /Autumn? The weather is so lovely and cool, not the heat of summer or the biting cold of winter. Fall is just in between and very comfortable.

Plus, the leaves are changing colour and I love that.

5.     Who is the person or group of people that most support you in your writing? My mother was my biggest supporter and fan. Without her I would never have been able to write full time and without her encouragement, I might have given up. Sadly, she has passed on, but I think of her every day and her encouragement is evergreen in my mind.

6.     What is your favorite Halloween Memory? Telling my three younger brothers and their friend spooky stories about a haunted house and a gang of intrepid youngsters who fight off vampires, werewolves, skeletons and the like to survive!

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Autumn/Halloween Countdown Blitz 2019: Day 9

Marni Graff writes two award-winning mystery series: The Nora Tierney English Mysteries and The Trudy Genova Manhattan Mysteries. She teaches writing workshops and mentors the Writers Read program, and is Managing Editor of Bridle Path Press. 

Graff also writes the crime review blog Auntie M Writes,

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Bridle Path Press ~

Nurse Trudy Genova is making plans to take her relationship to NYPD detective Ned O'Malley to the next level, when she lands a gig as medical consultant on a film shoot at the famed Dakota apartment building in Manhattan, which John Lennon once called home. Then star Monica Kiley goes missing, a cast member turns up dead, and it appears Trudy might be next. Meanwhile Ned tackles a mysterious murder case in which the victim is burned beyond recognition. When his investigations lead him back to the Dakota, Trudy finds herself wondering: how can she fall in love if she can't even survive?

Readers of Death Unscripted, the first book in the Trudy Genova Manhattan Mystery series, will find the same pleasures in this sequel: fast pacing, engaging characters, twists and turns on the way
to a satisfying close. From the award-winning author of The Nora Tierney English Mysteries, this second series is a winner. Once again M.K. Graff reveals her talents in crafting this delightful mix of amateur sleuth and police procedural.

Part procedural, part cozy, Death at the Dakota is a well-crafted and highly entertaining mystery.- Bruce Robert Coffin, #1 bestselling author of the Detective Byron mysteries. 

I fell in love -- not only with co-protagonists, Trudy and Ned, the richly detailed and historic setting of The Dakota, and the unique cast of characters, but with the unusual plot of Death at the Dakota. Sherry Harris, Agatha Award nominated author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries

Q & A With the Author:

     1.    When did you write your first novel?  I wrote my first novel when we were still living on Long Island, a mystery set at the Frick Museum in NYC.

Unfortunately, our house burned down and I lost the entire manuscript, as well as my first computer and all the files. I have not rewritten that one. Instead after our move to NC, I set about writing a series set in England, being a real Anglophile and lover of all things British. That became The Blue Virgin and was published in 2010. 

2.     What drove you to write / why did you become an author? I've always loved to read and written poetry and stories since in junior high. I thought at one point in high school I might go into acting but realized pretty quickly I'd rather be the person who wrote the words and story the actors performed. That led to me learning screenplay format and writing a few of those, but my drive was to entertain readers with a book the way I'd loved reading since a child.

It's still what drives me to write: the idea of sharing my stories with a reader, taking them into a fictional world that might closely mirror a real place, but choosing the characters and what happens to them.

3.     How do you create your characters? I spend a long time developing each character. Those for a series, like Trudy Genova and her boyfriend, Ned O'Malley, have entire backgrounds I've created for them, with aspects of their  childhood, where they grew up, went to school, etc. I always decide what my characters' needs and fears are, too. These things help me figure out how each one will react in the circumstances I throw them into! In Trudy's case, she's a nurse with a nose for murder, which often frustrates Ned. But she feels she's a good judge of people and has a natural curiosity that can put her jeopardy at times. She also has a feel for wanting to help people, hence going into nursing, and a sense of justice and fairness that equals Ned's and is part of their  attraction. They 'get' each other on that level, even though they are vastly different. I use the same technique for minor characters, maybe not just in as much depth.

4.     What is one thing you love about Fall / Autumn? Besides the cooler weather, I love the feel that reminds me of going back to school with new things on the horizon. It's my favorite season--of course, my birthday is in October so I'm prejudiced!

5.     Who is the person or group of people that most support you in your writing? My husband is super-supportive, but the people who really help are my writing group. We've been working together for 15 years now and the  others are novelists, too, so while we write different genres, we understand the rhythms of a long term exploration of character, plot and setting. We meet yearly and go over our entire draft novels for each other; in between, we are available on email for checking scenes and running ideas past each other. I'd be lost without them.

6.     What is your favorite Halloween Memory? I grew up with a friend whose birthday is October 30th, so she always had a great Hallowe'en costume party, bobbing for apples, other games, making popcorn balls, and eating caramel apples, the whole nine yards. Great memories. We are still friends and when I bring a new book on tour to my hometown library, she comes out to see me and buys a book--and she always leaves a review! I'll be there in October on tour with Death at the Dakota and we've already set up lunch for our October birthdays.

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page