Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Southern Middle Tennessee . . . Baby, It's Cold Outside!! But This Bundle Made Me Feel All Warm & Fuzzy Inside!

That's right . . . we are in the midst of a terrible cold snap that has most of the United States in its grip.  The blue hills of the Cumberland Mountains that surround the valley where I live were coated with snow just a day ago . . . it was only about 9 degrees at 5:00 AM.  Yes, we really feel it here as we are just not used to freezing our buns off.  But it reminded me that I had not been keeping up with lots of stuff on this blog.  My daughter's blog has now been closed and it was because of her that I even started.  I have been reading like a crazy fool and thinking all the time:  "I have to write reviews!!"  And then I start another book and off I go thinking about writing a review -- soon.  As I am not quite ready to give up the blogging experience and I still enjoy following others, I am going try really hard to do better in the future.

So here's the latest that I wanted to share with y'all and let you know that it is also connected to a great cause.

This Pets for Vets charity bundle is available for a limited-time discount.  They’re all hometown heroes, guys from small towns who’ve made a name for themselves, big or small, who’ve withstood the odds and risen to the challenge, who are heroes in their own right.
Presenting a contemporary romance bundle of 16 novels with happily-ever-after endings, including previously published readers' favorites and brand-new material.

This is another one of the current passel of collections for small prices that are being made available by book sellers.  This one, however, really clicked with me as it was touted as a charity fund raiser to supply pets for vets who are suffering from post-war injuries, both inwardly and outwardly.  The stories are by some of our favorite authors and they are not novellas.  Many of these 16 stories are full-length novels and all the stories are really good.  Of course, some resonated more with me than others, but I have to say that I enjoyed all of them.

These heroes are all hurting one way or another and the women who come into their lives are often instruments of healing and a second chance to find a sense of belonging they feared would never be theirs.  In some cases the returning vet is instrumental in helping the heroine to face difficult memories or life situations.  In all cases, the stories are heart-warming and many were so good that I wanted to read more from that particular author.

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, reading these stories made me oh so thankful for my own family, for those in my family who have served in active military careers, for those who were willing to give up their lives and the possibility of a normal future in order to serve us at their country's call.  War is hell and I hate it passionately.  But these men and women in our family and in yours as well are all to be cherished and appreciated.  Thus I highly recommend that all of you look up this collection and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  Incidentally, I got mine for a tiny price at  Also, you can read more about each individual story at or on  Until next time . . .

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Terrific Buy!! A Terrific Collection!! Some of the Best Stories I Have Read in a Long Time!!

All work and no play? No way! These TEN books by New York Times, USA Today, and National Bestselling authors show how hot workplace romances can be. And the best part? It’ll be just $0.99! Don’t’ll only be available for a limited time after 6/2, and then it’ll be back to business as usual.***

Retail value of the individual books is over $25.00!

Anthologies, for some reason, have never really been my "thing" but this collection of stories revolving around the work place is exceptional for a number of reasons.  

First, it's a terrific buy!  Right now publishers together with book sellers are putting collections on sale for a mere 99 cents and with few exceptions they are terrific buys of books most of us romance fiction readers would love to read.  Most are put together around a particular theme and that is the case here.   Considering the retail value, 99 cents is chump change and it is available through several sellers.  It's not to be missed.  At that price, it makes no difference if one or two of the stories aren't someone's particular "cup of tea."  Even just one book at 99 cents is a deal.  To get 10 of them is really a steal!

Second, this collection features a number of "heavy hitters" in the romance fiction genre.  All of the stories are written by authors who are well-known in the field and all of whom are writers who have proven their abilities as exceptional story tellers.  Each of the stories is a complete tale and each is centered around its own particular set of circumstances.  It's a great opportunity to read some excellent writing and to enjoy some of our favorite authors at pennies per story.  In today's economy, what's not to like?

Last, each of the stories were really good.  I didn't find any one of them that wasn't a fun and terrific read, even though some were shorter than others.  The characters were unique and all of them held their own in situations that were as varied as the abilities and experience of their authors.  Each story had its edgy and tension-filled quality to keep the reader moving forward.  I didn't find myself flipping through pages to skip portions as I sometimes find myself doing.  Each story was the kind of tale that started out well and kept me glued for the duration.  Add in all the other positives about this set and you just can't go wrong.  

I have purchased a number of boxed sets in the past weeks and found most of them to be better than OK.  Some have turned out to be less than OK, unfortunately.  However, this set is one of the best IMHO and I encourage each of you to get it while it is on sale.  Until next time . . .

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What I've Been Reading This Week . . .

I couldn't believe it had been months since I had written anything on my blog.  Lots of stuff going on in my life and along with a bad case of flu, a family being hospitalized and subsequent travel to his home, extra local trips to care for our newest little family member who we are babysitting while his mom goes to school . . . and on and on.  Could I have found time to blog?  I probably could have but every time I started to pull up the blog I got a call or someone in the house wanted something and so forth.  I just closed the laptop and promised myself I would get back to the writing the next day -- which I obviously didn't.  I know many of you have been checking every once in awhile and I apologize for being such a slacker.  Part of my joy at being retired is that I can pick up my eReader and just go for it without stopping--well I do have to stop and get some chow for hubby once in awhile--but for the most part it has been a glut of reading almost non-stop for months.  I did write a guest review for my daughter's blog yesterday and it posted this morning and I just finished a review for The Book Binge, my first in a very long time.  I think it is time to get back on the review writing horse and start to ride.  I will offer the excuse that my hubby plays his game on the desktop all the time and I have the laptop which, I am sorry to say, is simply not behaving very well.  I think it is time to get some professional help.

Anyway, I am sharing some of the books I have read the past week or so.  I read fast so this is only a few of what I read and enjoyed.

This is the first in a new biker series I have started reading and a genre of romance fiction I have returned to after quite a long time.  Bikers fascinate me and I am not really sure why.  I know I really like motorcycles and there was a time when hubby and I seriously considered getting a Goldwing or something similar and starting out across the country.  Anyway, this is about two motorcycle clubs, one of which is populated by true scumbags, who are into human trafficking and to whom the mayor of a small community in the Northwest sold his only daughter in exchange for some political favors.  Her life as she had known it ended although for some reason the bikers didn't rape her.  Along come the Prairie Devils MC and the president of the club sees Rachel and is determined to have her.  Thus she is rescued from the scumbags.  This story is a very different kind of love story and is a look/see into a culture and lifestyle that is very different than most of us know and understand.  Readers either love it or hate.  I happened to enjoy the book very much.

This is the second book in this new series and is even more out of the ordinary and unexpected than the look into the Prairie Devils in book one.  Here you have an arm of this club made up of only a few bikers, all of whom have decided that the nomadic kind of wandering is really their preferred mode of living.  However, they are tried and true Prairie Devils and when the president calls for their help he gets it, even if it means that they must remain in one location for some months.  It is here that they again encounter the Grizzlies, the "scumbags" previously mentioned in book one, and the subsequent "war" that ensues over territory and money as well as the decision of the Prairie Devils to teach them to keep their hands off Prairie Devil women.  Again I have to reiterate that this is a very different kind of culture as well as a very different understanding of loyalty and what it takes to resolve issues, staying just inside the line that separates law and disorder, etc.  How someone can live thus is a mystery, but I did appreciate the very good writing and enjoyed the book very much.

I was asked to read this book in order to write a guest review just recently.  I don't read a lot of M/M books but this was one that turned out to be a very poignant story of a young gay man's summer experience that ended up being very different from what he expected.  Christopher Carlisle, most often called Topher, expected to find a summer job to supplement his college scholarship and help to keep him from having to go in debt with school loans.  He was boarding at his best friend's summer home so he could save money.  His life had been impacted negatively by a mother who was an alcoholic, relatives with whom he was placed who may have appeared to accept his gender preferences but who made his life miserable in so many hurtful ways.  He was derailed by a short affair with a married man who happened to be his best friend's father, but even as that experience nearly upended him emotionally, he met several people who ended up being stablizing influences.  It was a summer of growth and new understanding about his worth as a person and the healing power of genuine love.

I found this book through BookBub and ended up really liking this novel a whole bunch.  I have long left behind those early romance paperbacks where two people are at each other's throats for 2/3's of the book and then end up falling into each other's arms.  This story is very different.  Puzzled at her husband's disregard and his apparent lack of feeling for her, this wife demands a divorce only to find out that she is pregnant and must continue in the marriage until the baby is born.  This story is about two people who have lived with misunderstanding and hurt nearly the entire time they have been married.  They have far different goals for their futures but somewhere the husband seems to change, to begin expressing a caring that is very different although his wife is now unwilling to give him the benefit of the doubt.  Yet the reader is aware of small threads of hope that wind their way into the story and in sufficient amounts that the reader is strung along to see how this whole situations either comes together or unravels completely.  The book is beautifully written.

I have loved this Redstone Security series from the beginning and have all the books in the series.  Each is stand alone but has enough connection with the previous books that readers can put the ongoing stories into proper perspective with these new characters.  We have here a serious professional who has military background, who is very good at what he does, and who inadvertently encounters an heiress who he helps escape abduction.  She just wants to live her life on her own terms, doesn't care about her father's wealth, and lives off the money she makes with her art.  Alexander Blue is drawn into her situation as it become obvious that the attempted kidnapping wasn't a fluke, that someone is targeting her.  Of course there is an attraction between these two and yet even that is in serious jeopardy because of the attempt on her life.  It's another fine bit of writing from an author that many of us have come to really like, both as Katie Reus and as Savannah Stuart.  Those who love this series will not be disappointed.  It's not another re-do of past stories.  It's every bit as good as the previous novels.

This is book 7 in the Fatal series and it is the kind of book that all of us who love this series could hardly wait to read.  Sam and her sexy politicial senator husband are poised to take a much needed vacation and are ready to leave the day following attendance at a baseball game with their newly adopted son.  When arriving home they find the badly battered body of Sam's niece and while she is barely alive, the reports are released that a whole group of teens are dead.  There is evidence that drugs are involved, and because of the homicides, Sam's vacation is now postponed, a fact that more than irritates her hubby.  Add in the fact that Sam's husband is running for re-election to the Senate and this will be their last chance to get away before the campaign goes into high gear.  Needless to say, the stress on their new marriage is ramped up to an unbelievable degree.  Add in the presence of several characters that have caused problems in the past between Sam and her husband as well as difficulties with her disabled father, and you hve a novel that is chock full of action, anxiety, hurt feelings, long absences, and sleepless nights, and you have another great Marie Force novel, one you will have great difficulty putting down.  In fact, putting it down may well nigh be impossible.

Book 4 in the Mountain Masters and Dark Haven series by an author that many of us have come to enjoy no matter what the gist of her novels.  Known best for her Shadowlands novels, this series is set in the San Francisco Bay Area and includes novellas that are a part of two anthologies and a number of stand alone stories.  This novel highlights the "enforcer" of Dark Haven, a BDSM club in San Francisco, and a young woman on the run from a murder charge.  Armed with a false ID and a cover story about her past, Lindsey is highly educated but she is working low paying jobs to support herself and stay below the law enforcement radar.  Zander deVries is an intuitive individual who perceives that something is "off" about this woman but is attracted to her anyway.  Their D/s relationship is on-again-off-again due to Zander's penchant for misunderstanding any woman he things is a gold-digger, a label he applies to Lindsey even without knowing the truth of her situation.  In seeking to know more about her he puts her life in danger.  The story is full of intense sexual encounters, some genuine caring, some disappointment, mystery and suspense, and characters with real needs, hurts, flaws, and tender hearts underneath it all.  A really terrific book.

Hope all of you are still checking out the boxed sets that show up at Amazon all the time.  They are only 99 cents for a limited time, so be sure to grab the ones that look interesting.  Even if they turn out to be what you don't like, the price is certainly right.  Until next time . . .

Monday, February 10, 2014

Those Freebies Will Get You Every Time!!

There is no doubt that those of us who really love to read are suckers for free books!!  Amazon is a virtual treasure trove for finding some hefty bargains among their freebies and yet so often what looks like a stand alone novel is actually the first segment of a serialized novel.  These aren't my favorites, to be sure, as I really don't want to see my book buying dollars disappearing at an alarming rate.  I spend a terrible amount of dollars as it is.  But I just can't resist those free books.   I am now hooked up to and that is a great source of free books.  In the past I have gone to other free book sites, but Amazon and Book Bub have recently been my main places I indulge my love of more books.  (As if I need to have more books!)
One of the series I chanced upon was a recent book that I didn't at first realize was a serial.  It was in a really great collection known as "The Alpha's Touch" and which is presently on sale at a great price.  I found it on Amazon, of course, and since I recognized some of the authors' names and thought it sounded like a good deal, bought it for a ridiculously low price.  What a bargain!!  So far all the stories are just delightful--a very good mix of erotic romance, paranormal romance, and everything in between.  One of those stories was a serialized novel that was by an author who was new to me and one that I will now be on the look-out for in the future.  In addition, I am now waiting for the next segment in this new novel.

His Golden Cuffs sounds like a BDSM novel but the main sense of the novel is anything but.  Actually, it is about a proposition made by the hero, Leo, to Anya, a woman with whom he had a loving relationship until about a year prior to the time of the story.  Leo had suddenly left Anya at a time when her mother was dying from cancer and she was trying in the worst way to protect her family from the criminal activity of her father with his professional con artist lying--he was one of those guys who are always talking about wonderful investment opportunities that don't really exist.  Now he wants Anya for his trophy wife for one year in order to gain the use of her society contacts and to take over her family company with as little trouble as possible.  Anya agrees but knows that her heart will be shattered once again when Leo leaves her high and dry at the end of their year together.

It must be terrible to live with someone you know really no longer believes in you.  There may be some solid Caveman-type lust involved in the relationship, but how awful to live with the knowledge that the man you once thought loved you was willing to walk away from the relationship without even talking about his questions and doubts.  

This is a captivating story and I think almost any reader would be so drawn into the story that there is no question of buying the second installment of this novel.  There was no way I was going to just move on without reading the next installment and am now awaiting the third and final installment which will be available in Spring, 2014.  This novel is beautifully written, with a very good flow to the story, characters that are well-developed and done in such a way that they come alive, not only in the story but in the reader's imagination.

Yes, those freebies do indeed rope us in and it is just like crack to a reader--who can resist a free book?

Monday, December 2, 2013

This Week's Retro Review: "The Blonde Bomb Tech" by Lara Santiago

Commitment-phobic bomb technician, Sabrina Morgan, flies unexpectedly into the arms of firefighter, Jake Donovan, seconds before a bomb explodes. This was her first failure, and in Jake's sizzling embrace, Sabrina is grateful for his comfort in helping her hide her secret fear of explosions.

Jake falls in love with the passionate but emotionally wounded Sabrina. He thinks she is perfect for him. Also, who better than a bomb technician will understand and support his dangerous career as a firefighter?

Looking to settle down and start a big family like the one he grew up in, Jake pursues Sabrina, who can't tell him her other big secret: she can't have children. Sabrina negotiates a tenuous affair with Jake as she tries to stop a serial bomber from detonating any more bombs in their small city outside of Boston. Her enemy's ultimate goal is to kill her for surviving a tragedy in her past.

OK, friends, this is a Gem of a Find published in 2007 and only recently discovered when I was looking at the long list of novels this author had written.  She is one of my favorites and one that I have found can be trusted to treat her characters with respect, to "unpack" their issues in a kind and generous way that helps the reader to see into their inner thoughts and feelings without letting the internal monologue overcome the story.  Jake and Sabrina are, IMHO, iconic in that they are people who have tasted of both the good and the not-s0-good of human experience.  Both have made some important decisions about life and about how they see their futures playing out.  Yet their almost explosive encounter following a failed attempt at disarming a bomb changes everything for both of them.

This is also a story about secrets, about their power to overcome good common sense, about their ability to pollute life decisions to such an extent that people often walk a very destructive path rather than risk the kind of wounds the past has wrought.  For Sabrina, left an orphan and never adopted--repeatedly rejected by prospective adoptive parents--hope had died a long and protracted death, the kind of hope that she thought she had in her grasp at last when she and her fiance had planned their future together.  Then she was told she couldn't conceive, and both her hope for her future and her fiance took a "powder."  No wonder she saw more gray than gold in the years that lay before her.  Add in the fact that her parents had died a fiery death in the midst of a bomb explosion and you know that fear was the foundation for all the thoughts and decisions that guided this woman's life.

Now Jake was a man who knew upfront that he loved and never intended to leave his dangerous profession.  But being a firefighter had not played out well with the women he had formed long-term relationships with in the past.  Now he wants a marriage and lots and lots of kids and he is absolutely dead set to get Sabrina into the wedding dress and the OB ward at the local hospital as quickly as possible.  Oops . . . another secret to deal with.

This romance novel also has an insidious mystery running through it, one that is rooted in Sabrina's past and will ultimately play out in ways that could not only mean the end of her life but changing everything she believed about life, the future, and herself.

All in all it is a delightful but compelling read, one that is certainly filled with the hot loving Ms Santiago writes so well, but it also interweaves the mystery with the romance and successfully keeps the reader right on the edge of the chair.  This is one of those books that one is strongly tempted to read the last chapter when only half-way through the book.  It's beautifully crafted and edited.  It's the kind of book that doesn't go stale and will continue to entertain readers who discover it.  I strongly recommend that you check it out.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside . . . But I've Found Something to Warm My Heart

Now lest anyone think that we here in "sub-tropical" Southern Middle Tennessee are battling the elements of snow and hail, rest assured that the graphic to your left is only meant as a metaphor for the fact that even here in the lush and gorgeous Cumberland Gap area of Tennessee is in the grip of a cold spell.  Burrrrrrr . . . it's cold outside, Baby!  Try 28 degrees at 4:00 PM.  That's pretty extreme for around here.  

But as advertised, I had something that brought the warmth to my heart that only something truly "free" can do:  Book Bub.  Yep, that's right, Book Bub.  It's a web site that offers temporary deals on published books of all kinds -- you can let them know your preferences -- and you can get them either free or at a seriously reduced price with most of the books going for 99 cents.  I, of course, being the recipient of both German and Celtic spend-as-little-as-possible genes, go mostly for the free ones although I have been known to cave for those 99 cent deals.  Most of the books can be downloaded right to your Kindle if you are an Amazon subscriber or Kindle owner or can be downloaded to the computer and transferred to your e-reader from there.  So check out the website and go for it.  I get emails with book deals almost every day of the week and have gotten some spectacular books out of it so far and I've only had the site available to me for about a month.  Just had to share it with my friends.
There's one more thing that warms my heart as well, and I think this is even more important -- Thanksgiving Day.  Of all the non-religious holidays it is my favorite for several reasons.

1)  It's so uniquely American.  So rooted in our history, it speaks to me as history so often does.  Perhaps that's why when I began reading romance novels so many years ago I started with historical romance.  This is my way of affirming my own history as a part of this great nation and being a part of the flow of history as it has come down to me and my generation.

2)  It is a day that takes me out of myself in a very special way.  It reminds me to give thanks for the bountiful life I have even with the long list of bills I pay and the financial demands that I face every month.  Yet I know so many who would love to lead the life I have and to be surrounded by kids and grandkids and special friends and so many opportunities to enjoy life I have.  

So I say a heart-felt "Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving Day 2013" to all my friends and followers.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Solitary Vacation on the Beach . . . or . . . Falling in Love With the Rich Guy: "Saltwater Kises" by Krista Lake

When small-town girl Emma LaRue won a vacation to an exclusive tropical island, a last minute cancellation meant she would be going by herself. Shy and studious, she never had time to fall in love, and often wondered if she was just meant to be alone. However, that all changed when a handsome stranger literally walked into her life while on the beach and sparks began to fly.

New York's most eligible billionaire bachelor Jack Saunders thought this vacation would be the perfect escape, one last hurrah, before taking full control of his father's company. When an innocent Emma didn't recognize him, he figured that he might get a chance to have a vacation from being rich. He didn't tell her about the cars, the yacht, or the penthouse. All he did was let her fall in love with him.

Soon, Jack found that he was the one falling in love with Emma. When they enjoy a fantasy marriage ceremony on the beach, they thought it was a bit of harmless fun before returning to their normal lives. A bittersweet goodbye was supposed to be the end of their perfect vacation romance, but when photos of the ceremony were leaked to the press, everything changed.

Feeling lied to and thrust into a world of wealth and privilege, Emma must choose between following her dreams or following her heart. Will she be content at being nothing more than the billionaire's wife, or will she return to her normal life with only memories of saltwater kisses?

Billionaire love stories are "in" right now and so it is sort of a smorgasbord out there as to which one will catch your attention.  Of course, I always look for the free ones so of course I found this one on Amazon.  I have to say that I was somewhat astonished at all the low ratings by a number of reviewers--I have to really hate a novel in order to give it a "1" rating.   So after reading some of those reviews I have to admit that I read this book with something of a jaundiced eye.  

Well, let me tell you, I found the novel to be absolutely charming.  It was indeed a story about a woman who had won a vacation on a tropical island and who ended up going alone when her sister got sick at the last minute.  It was indeed the setting for a fling with a really hot hunk who happened to be walking on the beach when she gave CPR to a near drowning victim and it was indeed the setting in which Emma and Jack found that their attraction turned into a hot and heavy vacation fling.  The difference?  They decided to have some fun and go through a mock wedding ceremony, never dreaming that the whole thing had been photographed by Jack's spurned lover who then promptly sold the photos to a gossip rag magazine.  

I found Jack and Emma's story to be compelling because there were some surprises and some twists and turns to the story that I found unexpected.  One of those was the fact that they got caught up in real life with the media promoting their "marriage" as if it were the real thing.  That they still burned for one another was never in question.  But now there was a whole new set of challenges that they never intended to face.  They fully expected to never encounter one another after leaving their vacation haven.  In fact, Emma was totally astonished to find out that her "no name" lover was indeed a billionaire who had just taken over as CEO of an international oil and gas consortium.  High society intrudes which isn't unexpected, but then it was interesting when Jack's parents intruded.  It was as if Emma was a visitor from another planet.  Yet their story kept on and it was to the author's credit that it all came out in the wast, although I found the ending to be far different than I thought it would be.

This isn't the greatest romance novel I have ever read, but I found it to be well written, the story flowed well, I thought the characters were interesting and while I thought Jack's personality a bit grating as he seemed almost to be two different people, yet that just added another dimension to the story and certainly a bit of mystery as to how Emma was going to navigate within this slice of human experience that was so foreign to her.  After all, what's a nice girl from Iowa doing in the CEO's office and especially when she felt as if she were masquerading as a billionaire's wife?

So I happily give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5 as it was completely enjoyable and one that I found fully worthy of the time it took to read.  The book was released in mid-2013 and I am looking forward to the next book in this series.