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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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 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

28 Days With a Billionaire by Kimberly Krey {Review}

Kindle Edition, 258 pages
Publication: October 29th 2019 by Candle House 
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 a billionaire jerk nearly ruins her life, Camila gets her dream job at a beachside villa. But that job looks more like a nightmare when she meets her new boss—aka the billionaire jerk.

When private chef Camila Lopez meets billionaire James Benton for the first time, he ends up with egg yolk on his diamond-crusted cufflinks. It was an accident on both parts, but James’ cruel date makes sure Camila pays a price by losing her swanky clientele over the mishap.

Luckily, Camila is offered a month-long job at a beachside villa. She’s certain it will give her career the boost she’s been praying for. But what happens when she finds out she’ll be working for none other than James Benton—the guy with the cufflinks who ruined her life?

James Benton has one strict rule: No getting personal with the people who work for him. But when he escapes to deal with his brother’s tragic death, rescue comes in the face of his beautiful private chef. Never has breaking a rule looked so good.

Will it lead James to the love of his life or leave him with another lesson learned and a broken heart?
My Review: 5 Stars
Sparks aren't the only things that fly with this couple's first meeting. Quail egg yolk does too and that's what puts James and Camila's relationship on the wrong foot. I love a romantic tale of two broken people who help each other piece the shattered shards together one kiss at a time. 
James is a billionaire with trust issues and a broken heart and when fate throws Camila back into his life as a personal chef at a luxury resort, who is he not to take control of the flames their chemistry has ignited? Camila has a huge secret, yet the way she has risen above her past is extremely admirable. I love how opposite these two are in all the ways, from how they handle their pain, to their outlooks on life, to their financial and social backgrounds, but true love will find a way to conquer all that.
Kimberly Krey is a master at steamy clean romance and this one was no exception. The characters are worthy of falling in love with and the food descriptions are almost as mouth watering as the kisses. I love solid characters with a charming plot and completely enjoyed my escape to The Royal Palms.
Content: mild+ romance (swoony kisses) 

Monday, October 28, 2019

Santa Cam by Maria Hoagland {Review}

Santa Cam (A MyHeartChannel Romance) by Maria Hoagland
Kindle Edition
Published October 28th 2019 by Red Leaves Press 
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 from qualifying purchases.   
If only a little Christmas magic could solve all their problems . . .

All professional soccer player Camden Sharpe wants for Christmas is to get home to Cobble Creek, Wyoming, for snow and family time. But when a brawl video surfaces online, Cam is forced to stay in Texas to clean up the public relations mess if he ever wants to get off the fans’ Naughty List. His manager-imposed community service lands Camden in a Santa suit surrounded by little kids with long lists of demands, but his attention is on his pretty elf assistant. He’s sure he’s seen her somewhere before, and he’s not convinced it was all that good.

Talia Thomas hopes Santa doesn’t recognize her. A lot of things in her life have changed since they butted heads a while back—including the trajectory of her career—and he has no idea he was the one who changed everything. Once a network reporter, Talia now runs MyHeartChannel Talia’s Truth Cam, but views are falling, advertisers are disappearing, and Talia’s excitement for her stories has frozen over. She’s tired of depressing news and shattered hearts, but it’s her job to tell the truth.

As Talia and Cam set out on a mission to convince the other the see the good in the world around them, they soon discover that only looking for the good sometimes means missing the truth that was right in front of them. Can Camden and Talia ever trust each other enough to move on from the mistakes of their past?

My Review: 5 Stars

A sweet romance is perfect for any time of the year, but especially for the holidays. Talia and Cam have met before, in less than ideal circumstances, but this time around, things are different. In her quest to help Cam see all the good things that Texas has to offer for Christmas, Cam helps her see the good in the world and inadvertently helps her flailing channel thrive.

Both and Cam and Talia are great characters and such good sports, accommodating their fans and supporters in sometimes uncomfortable ways. They each have hearts of gold, wanting to make the world around them better. Yet, misunderstandings can happen to the best intended people.

This story is pure fun and these two are people that I would love to be friends with. I loved the excitement surrounding Talia's channel revamp and loved the side stories connected with it. Who doesn't love a book that reads like a Hallmark Christmas movie? I sure do and I'm definitely in the mood for the holidays now! 

Content: mild romance

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Autumn/Halloween Countdown Blitz 2019: Day 6

Donna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. 

A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also  juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband).

 A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

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The last thing Hannah Palmer wants to do is flirt with men in a crowded ballroom, but when her sister, the Countess of Tarrington, throws a Masquerade Ball, Hannah can’t say no to the invitation. 

Taking comfort behind her disguise, she dances with a charming masked gentleman, matching him wit for wit. When the glorious evening culminates in a kiss, and the two remove their masks, Hannah is horrified to discover the man
she’s been flirting with all night is her most despised neighbor, the Duke of Suttenberg. 

No matter how charming the duke was at the ball, and how wonderful the kiss, he is the last man she could ever love.

Q & A With the Author:

When did you write your first novel? My first pathetic attempt was when I was in 7th grade. It was basically fan fiction. Around that time, I attempted screen plays too. I wrote my first novel that later became published (in incarnation of it, at least) when I was in 9th grade.

What drove you to write/why did you become an author?  I've always loved making up stories and have been writing them down since 3rd grade. At the time I thought they were epic but now I look back on them and want to put a sack over my head. Fortunately, I never attempted to get them published—I just kept writing for fun. Then one day, I attended a workshop at a local library where an author spoke of her writing journey and had just published her first book. That really awoke a dormant desire to see my stories in print.

How do you create your characters?   It's different with each story. Sometimes, they come to me fully formed and I just need to listen to them. Other times, I have to work at it with personality types, backstory development, and character interviews.

What is one thing you love about Fall/Autumn?  I love so many things about autumn! Cooler weather is high on my list which means fuzzy socks, sweaters, jackets, and spending more time outdoors hiking, walking, or just sitting on the porch swing. Also, I adore leaves turning all those gorgeous shades of red, gold, and rust. Autumn means hot apple cider and all of those amazing smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, apples, candles, and firelight. Plus, Fall means Halloween with all the fun decorations as well as costumes. Yes, I love dressing up! But one of the best parts of Fall is gathering with family at Thanksgiving. My grown children can’t always come home for Christmas, so they often come home for “Thanks-mas” where we celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, then spend Friday decorating the house for Christmas so we can celebrate Christmas on Saturday. Usually everyone leaves on Sunday so they can return for jobs and college. We get in every family tradition that we can during the time we have.

Who is the person or group of people that most support you in your writing?  My sisters-in-law were always super supportive and encouraging. Once I got published and brought home that first royalty check, my husband got on board and stopped viewing it as a time-consuming and expensive hobby, and started seeing it as a career—one that pays horribly, but still offering a monetary payoff. Now, one of my nieces is my one of my go-to proofreaders as well as one of my staunchest supporters. I also couldn’t have done it without my local RWA group, my online Regency research group the Beau Monde, and my local American Night Writers Association chapters. Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to my awesome, wonderful, amazing critique partners, beta readers, and proofreaders. They say it takes a village to raise a child; it also takes a village to raise a book.

What is your favorite Halloween Memory?   One of my favorites was when my third child was about a year old. After a dinner of baked potato soup, I put the baby in a stroller and followed around my older two children from house to house. My seven-year-old son was a ninja, my six-year-old daughter was a fox with big, fluffy tail, and the baby was a fuzzy bear complete with little bear pads on his feet. I guess animals were popular in our family. I enjoyed chatting with the neighbors, seeing everyone dressed up, and enjoying my neighbors’ reaction to our costumes. The weather was perfect—cool enough that the costumes weren’t too hot but not so cold that we needed to wear jackets over them. After trick-or-treating and gathering enough candy to get a small country high on sugar, we went home and drank hot apple cider and handed out candy. I’m not sure why that stands out in my memory except that it epitomized the perfect Halloween. 

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

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Marry Me At Dawn (Romano Family Book 6) by Lucinda Whitney {Review}

Marry Me At Dawn by Lucinda Whitney
Kindle Edition, 219 pages
Published September 30th 2019 by Lange House Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
*As an Amazon Affiliate, I get a small kickback for qualifying purchases.
He’s afraid of commitment. She yearns for a family of her own. How can they turn a marriage of convenience into happily-ever-after?

To Damian Vaughn, image is everything. As CEO of the family business and heir to a fortune, he lives his life above reproach, not wanting to repeat his father’s mistakes that almost brought the company to ruin.

Gabriela Romano has discovered she’ll never be able to bear children. Distraught and still recovering from surgery, she leaves for an extended vacation in the Azores Islands, far away from her family’s prying eyes and the constant reminders of what she’ll never have.

When social services drop off a baby they say legally belongs to Damian, he knows it’s not true, but the media will be quick to judge if the news leaks. Desperate to avoid a disaster, he takes his lawyer’s drastic suggestion and proposes to Gabriela, a woman he’s just met. She has her own reasons for accepting, and as long as she guards her heart, she’s confident she’ll be fine.

But as sparks start to fly, Gabriela begins to wonder—how can she turn this marriage of convenience into her happily-ever-after?

The Romano Family series follows the stories of the Romano cousins of northern Portugal as they find love and their Happily-Ever-Afters. Each book may be read as a stand-alone.

My Review: 5 Stars

I absolutely adore the marriage of convenience trope and always wonder how in the world an author can pull off a believable story in modern times. This author does an amazing job of bringing Gabriela and Damian together and meshes them into a very credible way. Of course, it's always an added bonus when flickers of attraction are immediately present (wink, wink).

As Damian and Gabriela navigate a new marriage arrangement and immediate parenthood, their mutual respect and friendship for one another was admirable, but I couldn't help but want them to discover their hidden feelings for each other and to just fall in love already. There is a palpable romantic tension that set off a flight of butterflies in the pit of my stomach and had me swooning so hard I'm surprised I didn't faint. Be sure to keep a fan handy.

These characters are fantastic, yet flawed, and I loved watching them settle into their arrangement. I enjoyed Damian's family too, especially his Nanna and her unexpected words and observations. I'm sad to see this series come to an end, but this was the perfect rich, delectable frosting to swirl atop the finale. This story is perfect for clean romance readers who enjoy a hint of spice.

Content: mild+ romance (fade to black, some innuendo, swoony, kissing)

Current books in the Romano Family series:
- Book 1- Hold Me At Twilight
- Book 2- Meet Me At Sunrise
- Book 3- Love Me At Sunset
- Book 4- Keep Me At Christmas
- Book 5- Kiss Me At Midnight
- Book 6- Marry Me At Dawn

Autumn/Halloween Countdown Blitz 2019: Day 4

Kristina Seek's debut novel, The Hashtag Hunt, was published in 2018. She is a graduate of Queens College in Charlotte and a member of Romance Writers of America. In March of 2019, she quit her day job to focus on a career in writing.

Kristina lives in North Carolina with her husband and son. She cherishes time with her friends and family, loves traveling to new destinations, and plans to cross many other items off her bucket list. 

Visit and sign up for her mailing list to receive updates and exclusive offers!

The only reason Lauren entered the Hashtag Hunt was for the $10,000 grand prize. She needed seed money for her startup, and it sounded easy enough: twelve hours to text twelve photos to someone called the Wizard. 

For hashtag number five, Lauren needs a #HottieInTheWild, and with the help of her best friend, Ivy, she finds the perfect subject. 

The only reason Brenner entered Barkley’s Pub was to have beers with Scott, an Army brother back in town. The reunion is interrupted when
a woman is caught crouched in a dark corner, taking pictures of Brenner. 

Lauren explains, and though embarrassed, she accepts Scott and Brenner’s offer to help with hashtag number six.While hunting for hashtags, Lauren finds adventure and romance with her #Hottie, but she must stay focused to beat the clock and win the cash.

Q & A With the Author:

1.     When did you write your first novel? In 2015, I started picking at the idea for a book and in early 2017, I became determined to finish the story. The Hashtag Hunt was published in late 2018. 

2.     What drove you to write / why did you become an author? I have been an avid reader since childhood, and countless hours were spent in fictional places
with memorable characters. I have always been interested in crafting an entertaining, memorable story of my own. 

3.     How do you create your characters? Almost all of my characters are a blend of two or three real people. And sometimes I take one real person and split a few characteristics among two or more characters.  For example, the personalities, physiques, habits, and stories of six real military Veterans are shared between my two fictional heroes: Brenner and Scott.   The case of my character Amy, however, is one hundred percent based on my dear friend Amy Mohler who passed away at the age of 40. She never had the opportunity to read my book, but her spirit lives on in its pages. 

4.     What is one thing you love about Fall / Autumn? The glorious weather combined with so many outdoor events with family, friends, and neighbors. 

5.     Who is the person or group of people that most support you in your writing? Her name is Courtney Murphy and she’s been in my corner since high school. I never would have finished the book without her “Team Seek” notecards, encouraging phone messages, and honest feedback on the drafts that flooded her email inbox for years. 

6.     What is your favorite Halloween Memory? My first (and only) group costume was when my coworkers dressed up as the cast of Scooby Doo. It was kind of our bosses to allow it and it was a lot of fun. I’ve attached a photo of this also for giggles (I am Velma). 

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Mostly Perfect (The Women of Ambrose Estate Book 2) by Heather B. Moore {Review}

Mostly Perfect (The Women of Ambrose Estate Book 2) by Heather B. Moore
ebook, 230 pages
Published September 26th 2019 by Mirror Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Generations of secrets. An ancient curse. Love has never been an option.

Lauren Ambrose has made a life for herself as a fledging artist, far from the ancient secrets and cobwebbed past of her family’s historic estate in Texas. Generations of the Ambrose women have suffered at the hands of a curse, and the last place Lauren wants to spend time is at the Ambrose Estate, among the tragedies of the past. But when her grandmother, matriarch of the Ambrose fortune, requires Lauren to attend an urgent business meeting, she reluctantly travels home.

Nick Matthews is ready for a battle. Lillian Ambrose, co-founder of Ambrose Oil, has agreed to hear his investment idea, but no one has ever successfully partnered with the business tycoon. When he arrives at Ambrose Estate, prepared with weeks of research, the last person he expects to meet is Lauren, a dynamic and captivating woman with a past full of secrets. As Nick gets to know Lauren, he discovers she is mostly perfect for him, except for one, major drawback . . . The curse that has the power to destroy everything between them.

My Review: 5 Stars

Do you believe in curses? Well, the Ambrose women definitely have a curse that's extended through the family for generations and it basically means they can't fall in love and get married or something tragic will happen. A hilarious mistaken encounter between Lauren and Nick is all it takes for the chemistry to start to sizzle, but it can't. And that's sooo frustrating because Nick is the catch of a lifetime. 

Lauren is a strong-willed woman and doesn't like to rely on her family wealth, but has found her niche in the art community. Artists are passionate, right? Well, this one is and that spills over in her friendship with Nick, whom I absolutely adored. The swoon is definitely strong with this one!

I thought the secrets and curse would play a bigger role, but the romance definitely stole the show for me and I wasn't mad about it. The characters are strong and the subtle hints are intriguing. I haven't read Book 1 yet and need to fix that because I'm very curious about this family of sisters and how the curse will affect them all.
Content: mild+ romance (some innuendo, kissing, swoony)
The Women of Ambrose Estate series:
Mostly Dangerous
Mostly Perfect

Autumn/Halloween Countdown Blitz 2019: Day 3

Julia Ridgmont grew up in the American West, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she knows how to ride a horse. What it does mean, however, is that she loves to weave the country’s rich history into riveting tales full of romance and intrigue.

When she’s not writing, Julia enjoys cooking, sewing costumes for her children, spending time with her husband, and watching her children perform in sports or
plays—or, if she’s really bored or stuck on a plot twist, cleaning the house.

She also writes contemporary inspirational romance under her real name, Laura L. Walker.

Follow Julia as she unveils heroes whose strength and courage are only surpassed by their tenderness, and heroines who hide their lonely hearts with a cover of steel. It will take overcoming insurmountable odds and an iron will for them to find a love that lasts forever. Luckily, they have Julia to help them along.

To guard his heart or protect two little girls . . . Is he willing to risk it all?


Pinkerton detective Chas Bryant's last job for the agency is supposed to be easy—deliver a cache of stolen items back to Mount Vernon after recovering them from profiteers. Soon, however, Chas discovers that nothing in this case is simple. When he’s called upon to search for a little girl gone missing after her parents are murdered, there’s only one woman who can help him . . . but
he’ll need to make her his wife in order to complete the investigation.

Jessica Flanders is only trying to rescue her younger sister from a fate bleaker than death. How can the powers that be possibly think that separating them from each other is a good idea? Jessica made a dying promise to her parents. Now she needs Chas’s help to get her sister back, but when they dig deeper into the matter, they discover another little girl with an even greater need for being rescued. Soon it becomes clear that someone else is searching for the missing girl, too.

Can they keep her safe until the case is solved and the murderers are caught? If so, Chas and Jessica will need to forge a bond that is stronger than the evil forces surrounding them, and in the process, a love that will never be lost.

Read each of the Pinkerton Matchmaker stories in any order. These agents give the phrase "married to your work" a whole new meaning!

Q & A With the Author:

1.When did you write your first novel?   I completed my first novel in 2013, although I have been writing since I was a child.

2. What drove you to write / why did you become an author?   There's something inside of me that drives me to write. I love exploring new characters and ideas. I've always been a pretty good daydreamer, and it has carried over into adulthood. So don't ever let anyone make you feel like being a daydreamer is a bad thing!

3. How do you create your characters?   I start off by daydreaming about them and then once a small plot idea forms, I start writing, letting my characters take over. I've found they'll usually tell me what they want to say and do. I just have to get out of their way. Once in a blue moon, though, my characters are stubbornly silent, and I have to invent a few more side characters to help them along, such as is the case with my current project. Bleh!

4. What is one thing you love about Fall / Autumn?   Too many things! I love when the weather turns cooler and, although we don't get much of it in Arizona, when the leaves turn colors. I also love the smells of pumpkin pie and muffins. Thanksgiving is actually one of my favorite holidays. As for Halloween, I loved it as a kid but find I don't like it quite as much as an adult. But I do enjoy watching my kids have fun dressing up and trick-or-treating.

5. Who is the person or group of people that most support you in your writing?   My husband and kids!

6. What is your favorite Halloween Memory?   One of my favorite memories isn't exclusive to Halloween, although it happened during that holiday, too. My mom was a terrific baker, and she enjoyed baking sugar cookies. My brothers and sisters and I loved helping her! For almost every major holiday we celebrated, she made a big batch of cookie dough and we enjoyed cutting out cookies in shapes that went with the holiday we were celebrating. It's a special memory that I will always cherish!

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