Friday, November 24, 2017

Short and Sweet Book Reviews # 160 - The Bad Girl and the Baby by Nina Croft, Cowboy's Legacy by B.J. Daniels, A Very Merry Princess by Susan Mallery

The Bad Girl and the Baby (Cutting Loose)The Bad Girl and the Baby by Nina Croft
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have not read the first two books in this series but that did not matter. The Bad Girl and the Baby had no problem as a stand-alone. I loved Darcy Butler. She knew who and what she was and understood that people had a very different picture because of the three years she spent in prison. Her one regret - that prison time is keeping her from seeing her niece LuLu. Captain Matt Peterson is raising his and her niece and is determined to keep Darcy away. I liked how Matt slowly came to terms with what happened LuLu's parents and to accept that Darcy was very different from the picture he was carrying around. There is a great mix of family drama and romance that kept me reading. A interesting twist as usually it is the male who has the bad person role. It was fun seeing the switch with a bad girl and not a bad boy.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Cowboy's Legacy (Cahill Ranch #3)Cowboy's Legacy by B.J. Daniels
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Maggie disappears everyone thinks they know who took her. Seems they should have been looking in another direction. Sheriff Flint Cahill is looking forward to asking Maggie to marry him when she disappears. The story goes in several direction and we get to visit again with Frank and Lottie. They are now PI's and help unravel the complex story line. Even as I suspected from the first that someone unknown had kidnapped Maggie I did not see the connection to another mystery. As always there is a look at another pair who have been a part of this series. There are still three unmarried Cahill bothers so time will tell if that pair make it. As always from B.J. Daniels the mystery in interesting, the romance good and the characters well developed. All wrapped up in a very complex plot.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.

  A Very Merry PrincessA Very Merry Princess by Susan Mallery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beth Archer is not who she says she is and that is going to cause a lot of trouble for her and for Cade Saunders. Seems the have a lot in common as long as she is plain Beth and not Princess Bethany. Beth is a horse person and is Cade and the horse has a big role as does the barn cat. The two humans flirt a lot, try to take it easy, and in the end almost come to a complete split over something that turns out to be very unimportant. A nice addition to the series and a chance to visit with character from previous novels in the series.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Creating Places by Randy Ellefson - Blurb Biltz and Giveaway

Creating Places
by Randy Ellefson


GENRE:   Non-fiction



Creating a unique, immersive setting one place at a time.

CREATING PLACES (THE ART OF WORLD BUILDING, #2) is a detailed how-to guide on inventing the heart of every imaginary world - places. It includes chapters on inventing planets, moons, continents, mountains, forests, deserts, bodies of water, sovereign powers, settlements, and interesting locales. Extensive, culled research on each is provided to inform your world building decisions and understand the impact on craft, story, and audience. You’ll also learn how and when to create history and maps. Experts and beginners alike will benefit from the free templates that make building worlds easier, quicker, and more fun.

Learn the difference between types of monarchies, democracies, dictatorships and more for realistic variety and believable conflict. Understand how latitude, prevailing winds, and mountains affect climate, rainfall, and what types of forests and deserts will exist in each location. Consistently calculate how long it takes to travel by horse, wagon, sailing vessels, or even dragon over different terrain types and conditions.

CREATING PLACES is the second volume in THE ART OF WORLD BUILDING, the only multi-volume series of its kind. Three times the length, depth, and breadth of other guides, the series can help fantasy and science fiction creators determine how much to build and why, how to use world building in your work, and whether the effort to create places will reap rewards for you and your audience.



Our invented planet is unlikely to be the only one orbiting its sun. This section discusses others within a solar system.

In SF, interstellar travel is virtually a given, whether that’s within a solar system or between systems and galaxies. In fantasy, other planets are seldom mentioned unless there’s an event of some significance like a conjunction of moons, stars, the sun, and planets. This might be an oversight, for magic or other supernatural means could allow characters to move between worlds (and moons). If a magic portal can get people from one place to another, the difference between traversing two sides of a planet and between two planets with magic might be negligible for all we know. It could take tremendous power from a wizard or we can decide the ability has become commonplace. Perhaps magical doorways have been created, the magic imbued within them so that ordinary people can use them, just like a technology. We could similarly have magic-powered spacecraft.

When inventing other planets in a system, we should have rocky planets like Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars closer to the sun, and gas giants farther away; temperatures are too high for gas planets to form close to the sun. Saturn isn’t the only planet in our system that has rings; they are just more pronounced, so don’t be afraid to do this.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Randy Ellefson has written fantasy fiction since his teens and is an avid world builder, having spent three decades creating Llurien, which has its own website. He has a Bachelor’s of Music in classical guitar but has always been more of a rocker, having released several albums and earned endorsements from music companies. He’s a professional software developer and runs a consulting firm in the Washington D.C. suburbs. He loves spending time with his son and daughter when not writing, making music, or playing golf.
Creating Places universal buy link: 
The Art of World Building Podcast (launching a week before the tour)
The Art of World Building Website:
NOTE: The book series has a new podcast where even more details are discussed. This podcast is free to listen! Follow along here:



Randy Ellefson will be awarding an ultimate world builder's package to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter for a chance to win an ultimate world builder's giveaway

Be sure to visit the other blogs on the tour:

November 13The Reading Addict
November 14This and That Book Blog
November 15Edgar's Books
November 15Rogue's Angels 
November 16The Avid Reader
November 17Author C.A.Milson
November 20T's Stuff
November 20Lily Iona MacKenzie's Blog for Writers and Readers
November 21Fabulous and Brunette
November 22Mixed Book Bag
November 22Welcome to My World of Dreams
November 24Locks, Hooks and Books
November 27Independent Authors
November 28Readeropolis
November 29Kit 'N Kabookle
November 29Hope. Dreams. Life... Love
November 30Mello and June, It's a Book Thang!
December 1It's Raining Books

Steal the Stars by Nat Cassidy and Mac Rogers - Official Blog Tour and Giveaway

Steal the Stars 
by Nat Cassidy and Mac Rogers



Dakota “Dak” Prentiss guards the biggest secret in the world.

They call it “Moss.” It’s your standard grey alien from innumerable abduction stories. Moss still sits at what looks like the controls of the spaceship it crash-landed twenty-five years ago. A secret military base was built around the crash site to study both Moss and the dangerous technology it brought to Earth.

The day Matt Salem joins her security team, Dak’s whole world changes.

It’s love at first sight—which is a problem, since they both signed ironclad contracts before joining the base security team, vowing not to fraternize with other military personnel. If they run away, they’ll be hunted for the secret they know. So Dak and Matt decide to escape to a better life on the wings of an incredibly dangerous plan: They’re going to steal the alien body they've been guarding and sell the secret of its existence.

And they can’t afford a single mistake.


This one has an interesting punch at the end. Something is not as it seems and the main character just does not get it until the end. This was a pod cast first and then the story was released as a book. Dakota “Dak” Prentiss is the head of security and she tells the story starting with her obsession with Matt Salem. That drives the story with all of its twists and turns. Interesting read.


Nat Cassidy is an actor, director, musician, and playwright. He has appeared on shows such as The Following (Fox), The Affair (Showtime), Red Oaks (Amazon), High Maintenance (HBO), Law & Order: SVU (NBC), as well as on stage in numerous productions and workshops both Off- and Off-Off-Broadway. Nat’s plays have been nominated for a combined total of 17 New York Innovative Theatre Awards, including 3 times for Outstanding Full-Length Script (which he won in 2009, and in 2011 for Outstanding Solo Performance for his one man show about H.P. Lovecraft). In 2012 Nat was commissioned by The Kennedy Center to write the libretto for a world-premiere opera, and in 2014 his play Any Day Now was chosen to be part of Primary Stages’ ESPADrills (The Duke Theatre, directed by Tony-nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel). He is also thrilled to be writing the novelization of Steal the Stars, which will be published by Tor Books in November 2017. 

Mac Rogers is an award-winning audio dramatist and playwright. His audio/podcasts dramas The Message and The Honeycomb Trilogy (winner of the New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Premiere Production), Frankenstein Upstairs, God of Obsidian, Ligature Marks, Asymmetric, Viral, Universal Robots, Hail Satan (Outstanding Playwriting Winner at FringeNYC 2007), and Fleet Week: The Musical (co-written with Sean Williams and Jordana Williams; winner of Outstanding Musical at FringeNYC 2005). He has earned acclaim from The New York Times, The Guardian, Backstage, The Wall Street Journal, Time Out New York, New York Post, Flavorpill, io9, Fangoria,, Show Business Weekly, New York Press, and many others.
LifeAfter have been downloaded over eight million times. His stageplays include 

Photo Content from TOR Labs

--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

5 Winners will receive an Audio Copy of Steal the Stars by Mac Rogers.
- 5 Winners will receive Book Passages of Steal the Stars by Mac Rogers

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ENDS: December 1, 2017


Episode Fourteen: As Fierce, As Colossal, As All-Consuming
In an epic final showdown in the Texas desert – as Sierra closes in from all sides – Dak and Matt finally learn the truth about Moss.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Prosecco Christmas by Sylvia Ashby - Book Blast and Giveaway

by Sylvia Ashby


GENRE: Romantic Comedy/Chick Lit



Family is where life begins.
And what better time to spend with your family than Christmas week?

Ashley and Giacomo go to Upper Swainswick, a postcard village ten minutes’ drive from Bath, to stay with Ashley’s mum and stepdad. It’s their last visit before the arrival of their first child.

But babies have a habit of being unpredictable.

So when Ashley goes into labour on Christmas Eve, three weeks ahead of schedule, it takes everyone by surprise.
She’s not ready! Her perfect Birth Plan is packed away in her hospital bag two hundred miles away, she has no going home outfit, and she has a live event planned for New Year’s Eve for her YouTube channel, The Sinking Chef. People have been signing up for it for weeks. She can’t possibly disappoint them on the last day of the year. What is she to do?

The tinsel gets even more tangled when Giacomo’s parents decide to fly from Italy to meet their first grandchild. Hotels are fully booked, so everyone has to stay under the same roof.

Would eleven people in the house, not counting the baby, turn out to be simply too much for Ashley?



We’re sitting around the low living room table about to begin a game of Best of British.

‘Right,’ Mum says. ‘Does everyone have a drink?’

Orna, Clara and Vittorio are drinking Prosecco. I raise my cup of tea. Thomas and Philip ignore her. They wanted to have the rest of the Coca Cola in the fridge, but Mum put her foot down. Also, they think Best of British is a dumb game. They wanted to play Cards Against Humanity, but Orna vetoed them. And now they are in a funk.

‘The question that we’re asking today is what makes British people so British?’ Orna reads aloud the back of the game box.

‘Let see,’ Mum opens the box and tips out the contents. There is a board, which she unfolds. The playing pieces are different colours and each of us has to choose one.

‘I’ll be blue,’ says Philip.

‘No, I’ll be blue!’ Thomas snatches the pieces before Philip can get to it.

‘I said it first!’

‘You can have green!’

‘Muuum! Tell him,’ Philip shrieks.

‘Boys, if you don’t behave there will be no desserts at dinner.’ Mum’s voice is assertive, but her eyes are pleading with them.

‘Tom always gets whatever he wants,’ Philip whines, but Mum stares him down and he settles for green.

Mum throws a shaky smile at Orna, who returns the smile without showing her teeth, then has the tiniest sip of Prosecco and rolls her eyes.

My blood boils in indignation on Mum’s behalf. How dare she treat Mum like that when she’s never had children. She has no idea what it’s like. I open my mouth to say something, then close it. What’s the point? She’s just a horrible woman. And I don’t want to spoil everybody else’s fun.

We each select a piece in silence and put them on the start space on the board.

‘Right, I’ll read out the rules, shall I?’ Mum grips the string of pearls hanging down her neck. She looks quite stressed. I wish she wouldn’t mind Orna.

She carries on.

‘“The Question Master picks up the first Question Card from the box,” I’ll be the Question Master,’ she says before Orna can jump in. ‘“The Question Master picks up the first Question Card from the box, making sure the answers are concealed from all the players on both teams. If it is a Picture Card, the picture is shown to all the players on both teams. If it is a Themed Card, the theme is read out to all the players on both teams. If a question is answered incorrectly then the Question Master can put the same question to the next player for a bonus move. If they answer correctly they move their own piece onto the next space on the board that matches the colour of the question.”’

Mum releases her string of pearls and makes them rattle.

‘Is everything clear?’ Mum looks around for a second time. ‘OK, then the youngest player goes first.’

Philip perks up. He picks up a card and hands it to her.

‘Who were Randolph, Diana, Sarah, Mary and Marigold?’ Mum looks at the answer perplexed. ‘Oh. This is rather hard. Perhaps you can choose another card, Phil. Something with a picture on it.’

‘This is not how you play a game!’ Orna pushes her ample bosom forward. ‘Rules are rules. They are meant to be followed by everyone. How will he learn to follow the rules if he’s always given leeway?’

‘He’s not always given leeway!’ Mum protests. ‘It’s just that… this question is rather out of his “era”.’

‘What do you mean out of his “era”? Since when has knowledge had an “era”? It’s not only current affairs that are important, you know?’ Orna clicks her tongue.

‘I didn’t say that, but he can’t be expected to know everything. He’s only twelve.’

‘Than you offer the question to the person who’s next in turn! When that person answers, he’ll learn.’

Mum rolls her eyes but complies.

Next in turn is Thomas.

‘Thomas, who were Randolph, Diana, Sarah, Mary and Marigold?’ Mum reads the question again.

‘I don’t know.’ Thomas grumbles. ‘This is a stupid game. Cards Against Humanity is much better.’

‘Yes, but we’re not playing Cards Against Humanity,’ Mum snaps at him. ‘We’re playing Best of British, OK?’

Her veneer is cracking. I see Philip throwing a warning glance in his brother’s direction but Thomas ignores him.

Next in turn is Orna.

‘Orna, who were Randolph, Diana, Sarah, Mary and Marigold?’ Mum reads the question for the third time.

‘They are all character from Downton Abbey!’ Orna says victoriously.

‘I’m afraid not, Orna.’ Mum’s mouth twitches. ‘They were Churchill’s children.’

Thomas starts laughing and Mum shoots him a warning frown.

‘Oh,’ Orna’s face turns puce. ‘Very well, then. Carry on.’


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Sylvia Ashby is fond of the written word: books, blog posts, recipes, even an explanation to the HM Revenue & Customs as to why she thinks skirts should be exempt from VAT - she's written it all!

She likes travelling and has lived all over Europe - London, Brussels, Amsterdam and Sofia, Bulgaria. Currently, she lives in Leuven, Belgium with her husband, daughter, son and a sparrow called Jack, who comes occasionally to peck the seeds she leaves for him on top of the garden shed.



THE AUTHOR WILL BE GIVING AWAY: a pair of Prosecco funny socks

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Short and Sweet Book Reviews # 159 - Twisted Truths by Rebecca Zanetti, No Other Duke Will Do by Grace Burrowes

Twisted Truths (Blood Brothers, #3)Twisted Truths by Rebecca Zanetti
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This closes out the Blood Brothers series. Denver has never had much to say but this time he does a lot of talking. Noni has come back into Denver's life and she needs him to find a missing baby. All of the characters from this series and the previous series are a part of this story. There is a lot of tension and danger in the story. There is also a romance between Denver and Noni. A good end to the series.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.

No Other Duke Will Do (Windham Brides, #3)No Other Duke Will Do by Grace Burrowes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Elizabeth Windham loves books and has not time for men. Julian St. David, Duke of Haverford needs money not a wife. Both find that they are attracted but accept that there is no future for the two of them. Another good story from Burrowes. I enjoyed seeing how books end up being what saves the day. Elizabeth and Julian are both great characters who are also very nice people. I could not help but pull for the two of them. A nice addition to the series.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Short and Sweet Book Reviews # 158 - Heart Sight by Robin D. Owens, The Earl Who Loved Her by Sophie Barnes, The Duke Who Came to Town by Sophie Barnes

Heart Sight (Celta's Heartmates, #15)Heart Sight by Robin D. Owens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Muin “Vinni” T'Vine as been a part of the Heartmates series since he was 6 years old. Now he is grown and has a heartmate. Avellana is much stronger than she seems but Muin keeps trying to shelter her from danger. That is the heart of the story. There is danger to both Muin and Avellana. Danger comes from unexpected areas and they have to work hard to finally find and stop the person who wants Avellana dead. A nice addition but it did seem to a little long.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.

The Earl Who Loved Her (The Honorable Scoundrels, #2)The Earl Who Loved Her by Sophie Barnes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Eve Potter is off to visit a friend when she takes a wrong turn. Eve is the second Potter sister to find her HEA. She leaves a day after her older sister left to take a job as a governess. Weather takes a hand in finding a HEA for Eve. Bryce Harlowe lives as a recluse but gives Eve a place to stay when a winter storm closes the roads. He is a nice man who is unjustly accused. He does not feel he deserves Eve but in the end all works out for the best.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.

The Duke Who Came To Town (The Honorable Scoundrels, #3)The Duke Who Came To Town by Sophie Barnes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Josephine Potter has to keep her job to support her sisters. Then the unexpected happened and she had to make some changes in her life. Devon, the Duke of Snowdon, is a big part of that change. I liked Josephine and Devon. Both are strong characters who go for what they want and both have to make some changes as thing change. Josephine is the last Potter to find her HEA. This is a nice series with interesting characters and fun romances.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Science Fiction Book Club 2018 Selections

Science Fiction Book Club
Bella Vista Library
2nd Wednesday of each month, 6:00 P.M.

I am excited about our selections for the upcoming year.  I think we will have some very interesting discussions in our monthly meetings.

Books for 2018


January 10, 2018

Dark Horse

Michelle Diener

February 14, 2018

Trident’s Forge: Children of a Dead Earth Book Two

Patrick S. Tomlinson

March 14, 2018

Cross Talk

Connie Willis

April 11, 2018

Way Station

Clifford S. Simak

May 9, 2018

Off to Be the Wizard

Scott Meyer

June 13, 2018


Hugh Howey

July 11, 2018


Andy Weir

August 8, 2018

Witch World

Andre Norton

September 12, 2018


Larry Niven

October 10, 2018

The Man in a High Castle

Philip Dick

November 14, 2018

Terminal Alliance

Jim C. Hines

December 12, 2018

We are Legion (We are Bob)

Dennis E. Taylor

January 9, 2019

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

Philip Dick