Friday, December 9, 2016

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56 - December 9th, 2016

I'm linking up with Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings and Freda's Voice for Page 56. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Pick the closest book on your book stack and join the fun.

The Beginning:

"Rico hurled himself behind the huge trunk of a tree and stood, back pressed against the rough bark, as the missiles whizzed past."

Page 56:

"Tell me. Why were you with the rebels? You seem a little too..." He studied her trying to think of the correct word. "Normal"maybe, but he had an idea that Skylar was far from normal."

From Break Out by Nina Croft. This is another book I purchased at my library's used book store. I read Break Out when it first came out and loved it. It was a novella then and I have a ebook copy. Croft expanded it to book length so I decided to pick it up for my favorites shelf. If you like Science Fiction Romance and have not read this you should. It is book one in the Dark Desires series and a great introduction to Rico, a 2000 year old vampire, and the Blood Hunter, his space ship.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Short and Sweet Book Reviews #61 - The Reluctant Cowboy by Kate Pearce, Unquiet Land by Sharon Shinn, Quantum by Jess Anastasi

The Reluctant Cowboy (Morgan Ranch #1)The Reluctant Cowboy by Kate Pearce
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pearce used some familiar themes in The Reluctant Cowboy. There are four brothers who are estranged. A father who took off after his wife and young daughter disappeared and are presumed dead. A Grandmother who is holding the ranch together and naturally a young woman who is helping around the ranch as she writes about the history of the Morgan Ranch. While the first part of the book seemed like the same old, same old it quickly got more interesting as the characters reacted to events in new ways. I loved all of the main characters. Grandma Ruth is strong and determined to keep the ranch in the family. Chase Morgan is the oldest brother and just wants to forget everything that happened with his father and the ranch. January (yes that is her name) had a very different upbringing and has worked very hard to become strong and independent. The three are a wonderful and fun mix. Throw in Blue, another Morgan brother, and the mix gets even better. I loved the book and have the next book, Blue's story, on my wish. list.

Unquiet Land (Elemental Blessings, #4)Unquiet Land by Sharon Shinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In book four of the Elemental Blessing series the focus is on Leah Frothen who was a side character in book three. Leah has returned home after being gone for five years. During that time she has grown and matured and wants nothing more than to reconnect with the daughter who was a new born when she left. That adds to the story but this is more about the events that are happening when Leah becomes involved with the delegation from a land that has very different values. The danger comes from there. There is romance that comes with a big problem. There is danger that arrives just as Leah thinks everything with her daughter and the man she loves will work smoothly. Like other stories by Shinn this is a gently story that moves at a slow and orderly pace giving time for both back story, world building and character development. I did notice a small change from previous books by Shinn. The demand for more graphic sex has caught up with the author and there is one scene with explicit sex where in previous book the character would have gone in the room, closed the door and left the everything to our imagination. This can stand-alone but is better if you have read the previous books. I received an ARC of Unquiet Land in return for an honest review.

Quantum (Atrophy, #2)Quantum by Jess Anastasi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are still shape shifters around and the big question in Quantum revolves around is he or is he not a shape shifter. Lieutenant Marshal Mae Petros has been sent to find out if Captain Admiral Zander Graydon is a shape shifter or if he is still human. It seems someone is trying to kill Zander and Mae is spending all of her time protecting him while trying to survive. Mae and Zander have a difficult time getting to safety with Rian Sherron and the crew of the Imojenna. When they do arrive the danger is not over; it just keeps getting worse. Another fun space opera with great characters and an interesting world. Jess Anastasia teases us with hints who will have their own story. I love who she decided to feature next. Like Quantum it should be a very fun story to read.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Look Back Wednesday - December 7, 2016



The Heart of Christmas (Whiskey Creek, #7)The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Heart of Christmas takes another single member of the Friday Coffee group and gives them their own happy ending. Eve has been a featured character in each of the previous Whiskey Creek books. Once it looked like she might finally find her own HEA but it was not to be. Now she is 35 and feeling like she will never find that special person. I have always liked Eve. She is very caring and very strong. Seeing her down as she is in The Heart of Christmas was very sad. I just knew someone would show up to be her very special person. What I did not expect was a man with a very mysterious and dangerous past.

Brenda Novak does a great job with that mysterious man. Why no name? (small spoiler) Because his name has been changed several times for his own protection. He does not want anything to happen to Eve so it looks like no HEA for Eve again. Then the Friday Coffee group decides to help and comes up with a winning solution.

I have to admit both the mysterious man and how he and Eve came to have their own HEA surprised me. The Heart of Christmas has a much darker tone than previous Whiskey Creek books. I think the slight change of pace strengthens the series and helps keep it from being predictable.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Princess is Always Right by Stephanie Burkhart - Review Tour and Giveaway

A Princess is Always Right
by Stephanie Burkhart


GENRE:  steampunk romance



Sophia may be the youngest Windsor, but she knows her mind. A Princess of York, she's committed to do her duty – prevent Jonas Byron from finding Nikola Tesla and decimating the time line.

Jax Ruston is a rugged metalsmith with curly hair and dimples to die for. A resident of 1855, he's pledged to help Sophia find Jonas. Together, they journey across continental Europe in pursuit of Jonas.

Despite her duty, Sophia's attracted to handsome Jax. However, he's committed to living in 1855. Can Sophia keep her focus on her mission, or will desire interfere with her task? Only one thing is certain: a princess is always right.



With Sophie Windsor the time-traveling Windsors of the Windsor Diaries come to an end. Sophie is the last Windsor to travel through time to Victorian England. Something has gone very very wrong. The present no longer runs on clean energy. Instead someone has meddled with the past and now it is running on the internal combustion engine and pollution is very common. Sophie comes back in time to fix the problem. There is just one complication, her attraction to Jax. He is from the Victorian time and must stay in the past while she needs to go back to the present. Of course there is also the chase to find and prevent the changes that have affected the present. This is a very good conclusion to the series. Sophie is a great character and Jax is everything you would want in a man. Look for another fun adventure. I loved all the references to historical characters. Burkhart did a very good job changing just small things to make them fit in the story. I do recommend reading the series in order. That way you will not be confused when something just does not fit. I know because I did switch the order on two of the books.


She wrinkled her brow. What did she want? To go home and train horses and pray the press leave her alone? To support charities? Sure, the task was noble, but not...fulfilling. Would she be dispatched through Great Britain as a goodwill ambassador? Did she want to seek higher schooling like Richard had? Was there a balance to be found between her personal life and her royal obligations? Richard and Alice seemed to find that balance, but Sophia felt almost rudderless in this moment. Did she want to remain a princess or enjoy the anonymity that Edmund possessed?

She ran a hand over her hair. She'd never felt so directionless before. Why was that? Because she wanted Jax in her life? They had discussed visiting each other using the time machine before Augustus' uncle passed away, but Sophia believed travel wouldn't be approved just for dating.

"You're a Windsor. Duty first. Love second. That's what I did and the nation benefited because of it." Liz's voice filled with pride.

"I had no idea it was such a thought provoking question." He kept his voice light in an effort to put her at ease.

She placed her hands in her lap. "Surprisingly, it is."

"How so?"

"I have some very serious decisions to make regarding my future." She drew in a breath. "And the direction I want to take it in."

He chuckled. "Remember -- a princess is always right."

She sighed, realizing she could only think of one major problem at a time and her future would have to wait. "I have to be right when it comes to Jonas. I have to catch him."


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD.  She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire.  After serving 11 years in the US Army she currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate, is addicted to coffee and enjoys early morning walks.  She's also a den leader for her son's Cub Scout den and is a Boy Scout mom. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.














Stephanie Burkhart will be awarding $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit all the blogs on the tour:

November 22A Writer's Life
November 29Notes From a Romantic's Heart
December 6Mixed Book Blog
December 13Jessica and Gracie's Tree
December 13Dalene's Book Reviews

Monday, December 5, 2016

Girl in the Water by Dana Marton - Book Blast and Giveaway

Girl in the Water
by Dana Marton


GENRE: Romantic Suspense

After the tragic death of his family, Ian, fresh home from the Army, is a shadow of his former self. Only his best friend's disappearance in South America pulls him back from the ledge. He rushes to Brazil, but he gets there too late. The best he can do now is find his friend's murderers. The single lead in the case is also the single biggest obstacle--Daniela, a mysterious beauty very much in need of protection, with a host of secrets hidden in a dark past. As the two of them track down clues and try to untangle an impossible case, they draw the attention of all the wrong people, and danger follows them back to the US.

Ian wants the murderers. Daniela wants Ian to acknowledge the hot sparks of passion between them. He doesn't mind breaking rules, just never his own. Rule #1: You don't seduce the woman you protect



A couple of boats had been dragged up on the flat of the riverbank. Nobody around. Ian sat in the shade of the largest boat and pretended to be watching the barges and tugboats going past him.

He stole a glance at the house, hoping to spot Finch. Nothing there, but something rising out of the water maybe thirty feet from him caught his attention.

At first, he thought it might be a caiman—South America’s version of an alligator. Caimans were native to the area, although, he had no idea if they lived in this part of this particular river.

But instead, out of the river, rose a young woman.

She seemed to be struggling with…an anaconda?

When the shiny black, long body wrapped around hers, Ian moved, ready to dive into the water to help her, but she had the upper hand and dragged the wriggling beast toward shore with a triumphant smile, and he could see that she had a giant eel.

He couldn’t take his eyes off the thing. The eel stretched as long as the woman was tall, over five feet. They wrestled in the mud, the scene stunningly primal and elemental.

She had a piece of rag tied around her small breasts, and another around her slim waist, covering only the private parts of her body. She was the most stunning sight he’d ever seen, long dark hair streaming down in wet rivulets. A goddess risen.

A goddess in mortal struggle.

His western sensibilities pushed him to run and help, but the woman and the eel and their battle seemed somehow the spirit of the Amazon itself, and he felt like an interloper. He felt that he couldn’t take the woman’s triumph away from her.

And she did win, dragging the eel to shore, grabbing a rock the next second and smashing the eel’s head. The eel was still squirming when, with the same, sharp-edged rock, she gutted the thing, dumping the insides back into the river. She was not a peaceful goddess.

She washed the eel efficiently, then picked up the carcass and carried it, staggering under the weight, up the tall, steep bank, and in through the back door of the house Ian had been watching.

Ian’s chin might have dropped a little. Or a lot. In fact, he felt as if his chin just hit his lap.

Who on earth was she?


Girl in the Water deals with some really dark issues and is sometimes difficult  to read.  It is also a romance that is not the standard in most books.   I had heard a lot about the book and was not disappointed once I received the ARC to review.

There is a strong female character, Daniela, and a wounded male character,  Ian ,who carry the story.  There is danger, tension, and as the book starts an unusual setting.  All is rolled together into a very vibrant and interesting story.  This is a book that is both hard to read and hard to put down.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Dana Marton has thrilled and entertained millions of readers around the globe with her fast-paced stories about strong women and honorable men who fight side by side for justice and survival.
Kirkus Reviews calls her writing "compelling and honest." RT Book Review Magazine said, "Marton knows what makes a hero...her characters are sure to become reader favorites." Her writing has been acclaimed by critics, called, "gripping," "intense and chilling," "full of action," "a thrilling adventure," and wholeheartedly recommended to readers. Dana is the winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, the Readers' Choice Award, and Best Intrigue, among other awards. Her book, TALL, DARK, AND LETHAL was nominated for the prestigious Rita Award. DEATHSCAPE reached the #1 spot on Amazon's Romantic Suspense Bestseller list.
Dana has a Master's degree in Writing Popular Fiction, and is continuously studying the art and craft of writing, attending several workshops, seminars and conferences each year. Her number one goal is to bring the best books she possibly can to her readers.
Keeping in touch with readers is Dana's favorite part of being an author. Please connect with her via her web site ( or her Facebook page (
Having lived around the world, Dana currently creates her compelling stories in a small and lovely little town in Pennsylvania. The fictional town of her bestselling Broslin Creek series is based on her real life home where she fights her addictions to reading, garage sales, coffee and chocolate. If you know a good twelve-step program to help her with any of that, she'd be interested in hearing about it! :-)

***Visit Dana’s website to read the first chapters of her books!

Website:   sign up for her newsletter and get a FREE novel!
Twitter:   @DanaMarton




Dana will be awarding a $100 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Short and Sweet Book Reviews # 60 - A Study in Scarlett Women by Sherry Thomas, The Quest by Dani Hoots, The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred by Greg Egan

A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock, #1)A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I requested this book on Netgalley but was not approved. On Black Friday week-end I had a 30% off coupon from Barnes and Noble and went in to browse. I did not have a specific book in mind but when I saw A Study in Scarlet Women I decided to pick it up. There have been quite a few take-0ffs on the Sherlock Homes stories. This is another where Sherlock is a woman. Charlotte Holmes is rather different in the role. She is one of the Scarlet Women and the other is part of the mystery. There is a lot of world building, backstory and character development in the story. By the end the mystery is solved and everything is in place for the next book in the series. I enjoyed the story and look forward to the next book due out in 2017.

The Quest (Sanshlian Series, #1)The Quest by Dani Hoots
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't mind a cliff hanger in a book that is part of a series. However when there is one I want something solved and a another problem as the cliff hanger. The Quest did not have that. It just ended with the entire cast of characters in place for some kind of solution and then a bright white light and wait for the next book. The book was mainly backstory, world building and some plot development.

In spite of the length the character development left something to be desired. I did not warm to any one in the book and did not understand what their motives were. That left me wondering how or if they even fit into the very loosely woven plot. I will give the second book a chance. If it does not move the characters and plot alone better than book one I will leave the series behind.

 The Four Thousand, the Eight HundredThe Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred by Greg Egan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was not an easy story to read or review. It says a lot about human nature and what we will do or not do to our fellow humans. Although set in space it has elements that are applicable to today. I found it very disturbing and a little depressing. Not the kind of story I usually like to read. No happy ending here.

View all my reviews

Friday, December 2, 2016

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56 -December 2, 2016

I'm linking up with Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings and Freda's Voice for Page 56. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Pick the closest book on your book stack and join the fun.

The Beginning:

"My wedding day. It was supposed to be the happiest day of my life."

Page 56:

"Humm, looks like you're in luck, Sister Carmen. The Southside crew has a shipment coming in tomorrow night."

From Karma Girl by Jennifer Estep. I love Estep's Spider series so when I saw her name on the book I picked it up. This is one of her earlier books and a series I had not heard of before I found this book at my library's used book story. I haven't started it so don't know how good or bad it is. I did find that there are other books in the series.

I need to stay out of bookstores. I just can't seem to resist buying more and more books.