Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Excerpt and Giveaway - - Beyond Danger

PJ, here. I read Beyond Reason, the first book in Kat Martin's Texas Trilogy in one sitting when it was released last spring. I could not put it down and have been looking forward to book two, Beyond Danger ever since. Kat Martin sure knows how to keep me on the edge of my seat! 

Beyond Danger
By Kat Martin
The Texas Trilogy - Book 2
Publisher: Zebra
Release Date: January 30, 2018

Beyond Danger is Beau's story. Mega-rich, black-haired, and blue-eyed, Beau is gorgeous to look at, and flashy. He was an amateur race car driver, sort of a Texas Paul Newman, before he left the racing circuit. Beau loves fast cars and fast women.

He is also wanted for murder.

That's where private investigator, Cassidy Jones, comes in.

She's smart and she's no pushover, exactly the woman for Beau. Best of all, she's determined to prove his innocence. 


“Kat Martin’s Texas Trilogy returns with a gripping new romantic suspense novel featuring Beau Reese and Cassidy Jones. This dynamic duo embarks on a fascinating journey to solve a high-profile crime in Texas. Cutting edge and incredibly thrilling, Martin once again proves she’s a romantic suspense mastermind! Book two, BEYOND DANGER, is compelling with unexpected twists. Long-time fans of Kat Martin will not be disappointed!”- RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars


Beyond Danger
Pleasant Hill, Texas

Beau could hardly believe it.  His father was sixty years old!  The girl sitting across from him in a booth at the café looked like a very pregnant teenager.
“Everything’s going to be okay, Missy,” Beau Reese said.  “You don’t have to worry about anything from now on.“
Missy sniffed back tears.  “I thought he loved me.”
Fat chance of that, Beau thought.  His dad had never loved anyone but himself. 
Running a hand over his wavy black hair, Beau took a steadying breath.  He had always wanted a sibling.  Now at the age of thirty five, he was finally going to have one. 
He felt a surge of protectiveness toward the young woman carrying his father’s child.  Hell, he was worth more than half a billion dollars.  He would see the baby girl had everything she ever wanted.
When Missy’s lips trembled, her mother scooted out of the booth.  “I think she’s had enough for today.  I don’t want her getting overly tired.” 
Beau got up, too, leaned over and brushed a kiss on Missy’s cheek.  “If you need anything, call me.  Okay?”
Missy swallowed.  “Okay.” 
Leaving money on the table for the coffee, he followed the women out the door.  By the time he climbed out of his Ferrari in front of his father’s house and pushed through the front door, his temper had reached the boiling point.
“Dad!  It’s Beau!  Where are you?”  He strode down the hall toward the study.  “Dad!”  Still no answer.  Steeling himself for the confrontation ahead, he shoved open the door.
His father wasn’t sitting behind his big rosewood desk or in his favorite chair.  Beau started to turn away when an odd gurgling sound sent the hairs up on the back of his neck. 
“Dad!”  Beau spotted his father lying on the floor in a spreading pool of blood.  The handle of a letter opener protruded from the middle of his chest. 
“Dad!”  Blood oozed from the wound and streamed onto the hardwood floor.  Beau had to stop the bleeding and he had to do it now.
Praying he wouldn’t make it worse and with no other options, he grabbed the handle of the letter opener and jerked it out. 
“Oh, my God!  What are you--” 
His father’s personal assistant, Cassidy Jones, stood in the doorway.  “Call 9-1-1!” Beau shouted as he worked to stop the flow of blood.  “Hurry, he’s been stabbed!”
The shapely brunette didn’t pause, just pulled out her cell and dialed the emergency number.  Beau’s hand shook as he checked for a pulse, found none.  The stab wound was catastrophic.  No way could his father survive it.

And when he looked at Cassidy Jones, he realized she thought he was the man who had done him.


Are you reading Kat Martin's Texas Trilogy? 

Have you read any of her other books? 

One person who leaves a comment on today's post will receive 
a copy of Into the Fury. U.S. only

Purchase Beyond Danger at:
Barnes and Noble

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Release Day Blitz Review - - My Daring Duchess

My Daring Duchess
By Julie Johnstone
Once Upon a Rogue - Book 4
Publisher: Darbyshire Publishing LLC
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Reviewed by PJ

With seduction and heartbreak in her past, it's understandable that heiress Anne Adair would want to protect others from experiencing what happened to her. Along with her friends in the Sisterhood for the Ruination of Rogues, she sets out to warn young women away from the rakes who would take their innocence and ruin their reputations. Their first target, Lord Rutledge, was found embracing Anne's dear friend Fanny during a ball and refuses to wed her. When Anne sets out to ruin him in return, her actions bring her to the attention of the newly arrived Duke of Kilmartin, a friend of Rutledge who insists the man is innocent of the charges leveled against him. Anne is reluctantly attracted to the man and, as she spends time with him becomes smitten but with Simon telling her one thing and her friends, something else, who can she believe?

Simon Sedgwick has returned to London after many years to accept his position as the new Duke of Kilmartin following his grandfather's death. His last visit there did not end well. He had journeyed to London to ask the grandfather he had never met for help for his mother and sisters following his father's death. Wrongly accused of something he did not do, Simon was cast off by his grandfather at the urging of his grandfather's good friend, the Duke of Rowan, an action that had dire consequences for Simon's mother. Simon returned to Scotland where, over the next several years, he built a company and a fortune from nothing but he never forgot what Rowan did and the need for vengeance still burns within him. When he discovers that the beautiful woman maligning his friend, Rutledge is none other than the granddaughter of the Duke of Rowan, he seizes the perfect opportunity to both help his friend as well as finally avenging his mother's death. But, of course, his plans don't unfold as he envisions and, soon, he's pursuing Anne for reasons far removed from revenge.

Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of Julie Johnstone's Medieval Scottish romances, as you already know if you have read any of my reviews. They are intensely emotional, finely crafted, action-packed books, and pull me in to such a degree that I lose track of everything except the characters and their story. This is a different type of story. First, it's set in London rather than Scotland, during the Regency, and while the theme is revenge, the story itself is much lighter in tone. It's part of Johnstone's Once Upon a Rogue series and though characters from previous books in the series make appearances, this novella can easily be read as a standalone.

Maybe it's because I'm used to Johnstone's outstanding writing in the Medieval books previously mentioned or maybe it's the shorter novella length but My Daring Duchess didn't have the emotional punch I was hoping for. Don't get me wrong, I liked it, but I didn't love it. I would have liked the characters to be more fully explored. I know that's more difficult to accomplish in a novella but Anne, in particular, had my head spinning with her frequent personality flips and snippy accusations. I think I might have liked her better if her character hadn't evolved at whiplash speed and I was given more of an opportunity to understand her. Also, for me, her quickly advancing relationship with Simon would have been more believable. Simon's character was more fully explored which, perhaps, is why I felt more of a connection with him. I especially enjoyed his sisters and wonder if we might see them again in a future story.  

This story has good bones but it felt rushed to me and I was hoping for more depth though I'm sure there will be many readers who will enjoy it exactly as it is. If you're looking for a quick, light read, or are already a fan of Johnstone's Once Upon a Rogue series, this novella may be just right for you. 


Readers, have you ever hatched a plan of revenge?

One randomly chosen person who leaves a comment on today's post will receive their choice of one of the first three books in the Once Upon a Rogue series (in ebook format). 


Never in his life had Simon been at a loss for words, but in this moment, he could not think of what to say. He did not want to lie, yet to tell the truth…
“Do not bother answering,” Anne said, waving a hand at him. “Your guilt shows on your face. You may try to seduce me. I give you carte blanche.”
“Are ye challenging me?” he asked, amazed and aroused at once.
She quirked her mouth. “I suppose I am, though I had not known I was going to do so until this second. I will permit you to try to seduce me, as I know that is what you are attempting to do, and in exchange for my continuing to come here and allow your attempts, you will do your utmost to convince Lord Rutledge to wed Lady Fanny.”

“By God, I want to seduce you, but in this moment, it has absolutely nothing to do with vengeance,” he said, meaning it.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Review - - Beyond Scandal and Desire

Beyond Scandal and Desire
By Lorraine Heath
Sins for All Seasons - Book 1
Publisher: Avon Books
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Reviewed by PJ

There have always been babies born on the wrong side of the blanket and various ways of dealing with them. In 1840 London, there was a well-known method among men of means. In exchange for coin, poor widows would take their bastards into their homes. What may, or may not, have been known by those same men is that many of those babies ended up in unmarked graves. Mick Trewlove was one of the lucky ones who did not but staying alive did not equate to an easy life. Mick stumbled upon the truth of his origins at an early age and from that point forward he had but one goal in mind: to become wealthy and successful enough to make his natural father acknowledge him.

Thirty-one-year-old Mick Trewlove has achieved everything he set out to accomplish...with one exception. He's wealthy, successful, respected - if not accepted - by London society but his natural father, The Duke of Hedley refuses to acknowledge him. The man will not even give him the courtesy of a face-to-face meeting. In Mick's mind, he owes him that at the very least for throwing him away like so much rubbish. Mick sets out to force a reckoning. The duke's beloved (legitimate) son and heir, the Earl of Kipwick has secrets he does not want his father to know that could disgrace him and send him into a financial spiral. He also has a lady to whom he is rumored to be all but betrothed. What better way to avenge the duke's actions against Mick than to ruin Kipwick and take all that he holds dear...including the lady, who Mick plans to seduce then discard. But the lady is not at all what Mick expects and the more time he spends in her company, the more dear she becomes to him. Revenge, however, does not quickly cool. If forced to choose between the two, which will win? 

Twenty-year-old Lady Aslyn Hastings has been the ward of the Duke of Hedley since being orphaned at a young age. She's had a good life with them, loves and respects both the duke and duchess, even if they are a bit overprotective, and is content with the knowledge that she will one day marry their son, though that relationship more closely resembles that of siblings than future lovers. And, if she sometimes chafes against the restrictions placed upon her as a lady, she pushes the discontent to the back of her mind. She knows her place and is grateful for it. Everything changes the day she meets Mick Trewlove. Suddenly, she knows exactly what is missing in her relationship with Kip and she seems to be happily breaking the rules she was taught at the duchess's knee at every turn. Is this love? Could she have found the man with whom she is destined to spend her life? Or, will she be left to pick up the pieces if Mick's plan is revealed?

I loved this book! I was pulled in from the beginning and my attention never wavered. Though surrounded by an intriguing cast of secondary characters, Mick and Aslyn are the heart of this story and remain so throughout. I was invested in them individually and as a couple and happily followed through all the ups and downs of their journey. Heath does an excellent job of allowing us to see below the surface of both characters, unveiling their strength, their hearts, and the flaws that make them believable and made me love them all the more. I love that Heath kept me guessing as to the final outcome of the story - not just Aslyn and Mick's relationship but what would happen with Mick and the Duke of Hedley. Just when I thought I had everything figured out, she would throw in a twist that had me back at square one. By the time everything was finally revealed, I was so emotional I went through at least half a box of Kleenex. 

This story offers an intriguing cast of secondary characters who have already piqued my interest. I'm looking forward to the stories of Mick's foster siblings and really hoping one of them features his youngest sister, Fancy and a more mature Earl of Kipwick. Those two have wonderful potential!  

For a deeply emotional, supremely satisfying story of acceptance, forgiveness, and love, I highly recommend Lorraine Heath's Beyond Scandal and Desire

Have you read any books by Lorraine Heath? Do you have a favorite?

What's the last book that had you reaching for the tissues?

Friday, January 26, 2018

Review - - Luckiest Cowboy of All

By Carolyn Brown
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Reviewed by Hellie

The last in her Happy, Texas series, Carolyn Brown ties up the loose ends in her Dawson family while also reuniting a second chance couple with the added trope of a secret baby. Cowboys, rekindled flames, kids and sudden daddys -- it has something for everyone. Carolyn Brown delivers her brand of sweet, sexy, and simple character-driven story, reaffirming what I believe is the core story of all her books: family and love conquer all, and kids make life worth living. Because there are kids everywhere.

Carlene Varner has returned to Happy, Texas to put down roots for her daughter, Tilly, and also to introduce her former flame, Jace Dawson to the daughter he never knew he had. Carlene has inherited her Aunt Rosalie's house and no sooner moves into the fire-hazard-waiting-to-happen that Jace comes to break the bad news to her: the house where she planned to put down her roots had been bought by Jace a year prior and is scheduled for demolition for the new rodeo grounds. Jace no sooner gets the news out then he meets Tilly and realizes who she is, since she's the spitting image of his sister at that age. Complications abound.

Jace gives Carlene leave to stay temporarily at Aunt Rosalie's house until she can find a more permanent place, but before she can find a suitable arrangement, there is a fire in the house, and they are immediately shuffled to Jace's ranch, which is near the other ranch houses on the property (there is always one Dawson or another in Jace's house so they are never without chaperones). Carlene did not move back to Happy in order to pick up with Jace where they left off or make him assume a responsibility he never asked for. While Jace is sure that Carlene is the only woman he wants --has ever wanted-- Carlene wants to go slow and make sure this rekindled relationship is right for all parties, including Tilly. 

There's a lovely secondary romance for Grandma Hope, the matriarch, and Henry, Nash's father from the previous book in the series. The main source of conflict revolves around what the rest of the family will think, will they accept the relationships, and also, what will the town think. It's conflict that's carried across all the books, as small towns and big families can be awfully opinionated and obnoxious when it comes to other people's love lives. How do you please yourself without alienating those who love you most? Shouldn't love be something everyone agrees with and wants everyone to have? And, my God, what will the neighbors think? Hope has been a widow for many years; and her husband is a beloved figure--how could she possibly love someone else? Let alone someone who was a previous flame? For some, this feels a bit like she didn't love her own husband as much as the rest of the family does.

Fans of the series will enjoy interacting with familiar characters from the other books as well as getting to know Carlene and Tilly. A solid conclusion to the series--Tilly consistently steals the show. 

Also, this particular paperback will include Sara Richardson's Hometown Cowboy, so you'll get two stories for the price of one. If you remember my review of Sara Richardson's third book in her Rocky Mountain Riders series, you'll see that Hometown Cowboy is the first story in that series. 

I rate this book 5 stars. It's sweet, it hits the kinds of romantic tropes I love best, Jace is a yummy true-blue hero, and he even saves a kitten. TWICE. How can you not love a cowboy like that?

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Blog Tour Review - - All We Knew

All We Knew
By Jamie Beck
Publisher: Montlake
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Reviewed by Janga

Hunter Cabot met his wife Sara when they were college students and fell in love with her at first sight. They have been married for fourteen years, and for most of that time, their relationship has been a happy one. But two years of struggling with infertility has put pressure on the marriage, and the cracks are beginning to show. The differences in their upbringing and personalities that once seemed insignificant have become sources of conflict. Sara grew up with educator parents devoted to each other and to their children. The family bond was a close one; they all enjoyed time together. Sara always expected her life with Hunter to replicate her life with her family in significant ways. She is devastated by the thought of remaining childless, and she resents Hunter’s immersion in his job and feels that he does not share her unrelenting desire to have a child or her pain over the loss of the dream she believed they shared.

Hunter’s parents divorced when he and his sister were young. His father remarried and had a daughter with his second wife. Hunter’s mother nourished her bitterness over the divorce, and Hunter grew up feeling that he had to earn his father’s approval. He has used the family company, the Cabot Tea Corporation, as his means of doing this. He began working at CTO when he was a young teen and has worked his way to his current position as CFO. His father has promised that Hunter will one day lead the company. Hunter has ideas that he believes will keep the company viable in the twenty-first century, and he is eager to begin implementing some of them. He and his stepmother are antagonists in every sense of the word, and Hunter feels betrayed when his father appears to be seriously entertaining her suggestion to sell the company and retire a wealthier man. Hunter wants Sara to be happy, but he also feels that she should be more understanding of the demands of his career.  

Before I Knew, the first book in the Cabot series, made me a Jamie Beck fan and sent me searching for her backlist and looking forward to the next Cabot book. All We Knew did not disappoint. Beck creates a marriage-in-trouble tale that involves two fully dimensional characters who love each other but are fearful that they are losing the connection that has grounded them. Their conflicts are layered and real. The tensions within the larger Cabot family play a significant part in the story, and Beck presents them as credible, complex struggles that resist simple solutions.

If you like contemporary romance that involves believable problems and family relationships with all their confusing, sometimes contradictory emotions as well as the promise of happiness for the central couple, I think you will enjoy All We Knew as much as I did. Although I recommend both this book and the first book in the series, this one can be read as a standalone. Gentry Cabot’s book, When You Knew, a June 26, 2018 release, is already available for pre-order. The blurb says that Gentry hires a male nanny for her son. I can’t wait for that one.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Review - - Sisters Like Us

Sisters Like Us
By Susan Mallery
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Release Date: January 23, 2018
Reviewed by Janga

Susan Mallery takes readers back to Mischief Bay for her new women’s fiction novel featuring sisters Harper Szymanski and Stacey Bloom. When Harper divorced her cheating husband after sixteen years of marriage, she was left to find a way to pay the bills with only two semesters of community college and the skills she had developed as a supportive wife, stay-at-home mom, and crafty homemaker. An article in a local newspaper gives her the idea for Harper Helps, her virtual assistant business. After two years, her business is growing, but she still needs the rent money her mother pays for the garage apartment to make ends meet. Between the demands of her clients, a critical, widowed mother stuck in the 50s with her view of women as servants to the men in their lives, her sixteen-year-old daughter Becca who has stopped communicating with her, and her own perfectionism, Harper is stressed to the breaking point. Frequent visits from Lucas Wheeler, an LAPD detective and one of her five regular clients, provide light relief and some sparks, despite his penchant for much-younger women, a flaw he shares with her ex.

Harper and Stacey enjoy a close relationship, but they are very different women. Harper has always been the conventional daughter, living her life according to her mother’s ideas, at least until her divorce. Stacey is the rebel. Far from being a people pleaser like her sister, she has marched to the beat of her own drum. She works as a biotechnologist in medical research, wears hiking boots instead of heels, and waited until her late thirties to marry. Despite her rebellion, she dreads open conflict with her mother. Pregnant for the first time at forty and plagued with doubts about her ability to be a good mother, she has delayed telling her mother about her pregnancy for six months. Clearly, she cannot avoid sharing her news much longer. Meanwhile she throws herself into preparing to welcome her husband Kit’s nephew, eighteen-year-old Ashton, into their family while he completes the requirements for high school graduation before entering MIT in the fall. It is easier for her to imagine being a nurturing aunt to Ashton than to see herself as a successful mother to an infant.

Technically women’s fiction, Sisters Like Us is actually a hybrid of women’s fiction and romance. Harper and Stacey’s relationship with one another and with their mother is central to the novel, but their relationships with the men in their lives gets equal attention. Mallery fans know that this author has created some heroes with a high jerk quotient, but she outdoes herself with the males in this one, creating three men of different ages, all guaranteed to win hearts. Fans of the Mischief Bay books will recognize Lucas Wheeler, the fiftyish bachelor cop, from A Million Little Things. Carrying some heavy baggage from his youth, Lucas is terrified of the kind of commitment a relationship with Harper will require, but he is so worth waiting for. He sees Harper for who she is, the good and the bad, and falls for the woman he sees. And he is great with Becca, taking on much of the dad stuff that her own father seems incapable of providing. Kit, Stacey’s high-school-science-teacher husband is a dream of a beta--fathoms deep in love with his wife, totally supportive of her, and eager to be a stay-at-home dad. I adored him. Ashton, mature beyond his years, is exactly what young Becca needs, and their relationship is a sweet bonus to the two main romantic relationships.

Harper and Stacey are flawed but likable, and I was happy to see that they liked and supported one another despite their differences. I’m guessing that readers’ patience with Harper’s difficulty in standing up for herself will vary depending upon how much of the people pleaser they are willing to recognize in themselves. I found it harder to understand Stacey’s continued delay in telling her mother about the pregnancy, but Bunny is a daughter’s nightmare. She will make any reader with an iota of feminism cringe. I think she is the weakness in an otherwise excellent novel. Until near the end, she seemed more caricature than character to me.

Overall, this is another of Mallery’s addictive Mischief Bay books rich in emotional context with nice touches of humor and characters readers should find interesting and engaging. If you like novels that balance family dynamics with romance and do a stellar job with both, I recommend you include Sisters Like Us on your January TBR list. I’m adding it to my huge collection of Susan Mallery keepers.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Today's Special - - Sariah Wilson is #Starstruck

Sariah Wilson has never jumped out of an airplane, never climbed Mt. Everest, and is not a former CIA operative. She has, however, been madly, passionately in love with her soulmate and is a fervent believer in happily ever afters—which is why she writes romance. She grew up in southern California, graduated from Brigham Young University (go Cougars!) with a semi-useless degree in history, and is the oldest of nine (yes, nine) children. She currently lives with the aforementioned soulmate and their four children in Utah, along with three tiger barb fish, a cat named Tiger, and a recently departed hamster that is buried in the backyard (and has nothing at all to do with tigers). 

Sariah's book ROYAL DATE was selected as one of the first winners in Amazon's Kindle Scout program and is Kindle Press's most successful author to date. She has sold five books to Montlake Romance, three to Kindle Press and helped launch Amazon Publishing's Kindle In Motion technology with her latest release, ROYAL DESIGN. She was given her own Kindle World for THE ROYALS OF MONTERRA. Sariah has repeatedly hit Amazon's overall Top 100 (both in and outside the U.S.) and been a #1 bestseller on Amazon category lists multiple times. Her books have been featured in USA TODAY and GLAMOUR UK. 

Sariah joins us today to share her own personal starstruck story. Welcome, Sariah! 

A Movie Star Asked Me Out and I Accidentally Said No

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you met your favorite celebrity? What if he showed a romantic interest in you? Those questions and a real-life experience with my teenage celebrity crush helped to inspire the idea for my just-released novel #Starstruck. Keep reading for the slightly mortifying story of what happened when I met the oh-so-dreamy Stephen Dorff in person.

The summer after I graduated from high school, I scored some free Disneyland tickets to see my favorite music group perform live. I dragged one of my best friends, Kenyetta, along with me and my family. We, of course, ditched my large family immediately and went to the concert. After the show Kenyetta indicated that she needed to get money from the ATM, so we headed out toward the front gates and got into the line.

There was a shorter guy in front of me, flanked by two taller men. He turned around briefly and my heart stopped. It was actor Stephen Dorff. Being a lifelong fangirl (before being online was a thing), I bought teen magazines by the truckload and cut out pictures of my favorites to hang up. I’d seen Stephen in “The Power of One” and had thought he was so, so cute. His picture literally hung on my bedroom wall. And now that gorgeous, drool-worthy man was standing right in front of me.

I turned and whispered frantically to Kenyetta, “That’s Stephen Dorff.”

“Who?” she asked me, confused.

He wasn’t as well known then (his infamous roles in Aerosmith’s “Cryin’” video with Alicia Silverstone and “Everytime” with Britney Spears were still a ways off), but pop culture connoisseur that I was (still am), I knew EXACTLY who he was. I was giddy with excitement.

And I didn’t know what to do about it. (Pre-selfie days, remember?)

I apparently wasn’t very quiet as I tried to explain all this to my friend. He must have overheard me because he turned around and flashed me a brilliant, movie star-esque smile. “Hey. How’s it going?”

Me (squealing inside as my heart pounded and my palms turned sweaty): “You’re Stephen Dorff, aren’t you?”

He laughed and nodded. “Yeah.”

“I need your autograph. Will you sign something for me? No one is going to believe this! Stay right here.” I didn’t wait for his answer. I had to find a pen, because I didn’t have a pen. Somebody HAD to have a pen. Despite the fact that I am a total introvert, I approached multiple strangers asking if they had a pen. I finally found a purple Disney themed one at the fourth family I spoke to, where I promised to bring it back immediately (and may have even promised my firstborn, that’s how desperately I needed a writing utensil). Stephen and his friends looked beyond amused as I returned.

I handed him my Disneyland ticket stub, the only thing I had that he could sign. He autographed it for me and I think he asked us a question, which I couldn’t hear because I was FREAKING OUT.

Then, totally unprompted, I proceeded to interject, “I have a picture of you on my bedroom wall!” That made him and his friends laugh, and they elbowed him and teased him about that one.

He handed the ticket stub back to me, and I had to return the pen. When I came back, he was in the middle of using the ATM. One of his buddies also got some cash out and while we waited Stephen said, “My friends and I are going dancing here in the park at 7:00. Would you guys like to meet up with us?”

Now, had I been in my right mind, the obvious answer to such a question from a Movie Star/Poster Guy From Your Wall is “That sounds like fun!” or “Maybe we can work that into our schedule” or “YES, YES, OMG YES.”

What did I say?

“Sorry. We have to meet my mom at 7:00.”

Not only that, but my brain did not comprehend what had just happened or how ridiculously uncool I’d just been (I had to meet my mom? Huh?).

“Oh. Okay. Cool. See you around,” he said. We said goodbye and I stood there, slack jawed, unable to process. He was so, so pretty. A little short for me, but ridiculously hot.

Kenyetta slid in her bank card. “What is wrong with you?”


“Your actor just asked you out, and you said no.”

“He what?” Now, I’m not a dumb person. My only explanation is that I’d never met a celebrity before and was so frazzled by the whole thing I didn’t see what was happening right in front of me.

She pointed the direction he had gone. “He asked us to go dancing, like on a date, and you said no.”

My brain sputtered at this information. What? He’d asked me out? I said no? When had any of that happened?

It took me a minute to realize the truth of what she said. I grabbed her by the sleeve, desperate to fix my mistake. “Come on.”

We tried to catch up to him and his friends, but I never saw him again. We tried to find him that evening at the music venue in Tomorrowland, but he didn’t show up.

Which was probably a good thing as I was a very naïve and innocent 17-year-old and Stephen Dorff…was not.

But now, every time that I see him on screen (such as his recent role as Star’s father on Fox’s “Star”) I get a little smile and remember that day and wonder what might have been.

Readers, have you ever had a celebrity encounter?

Who was your teenage celebrity crush?

Who are you crushing on these days? 


By Sariah Wilson
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release Date: January 16 2018

“You’ve done better.”
With one uncharacteristically sassy tweet to her longtime celebrity crush, Zoe Miller’s life turns upside down. Ultrahot A-lister Chase Covington doesn’t just respond to Zoe’s tweet, he does the unthinkable: he messages Zoe directly. Now she must decide between walking away or meeting her crush in person.
Chase knows better than to trust anyone from the Internet, but Zoe’s saucy challenge has totally caught his interest—and her girl-next-door personality is keeping it. He’s been burned enough to know he needs to keep his heart close. But his feelings for Zoe might be a lot more than just an online flirtation. He just has to convince her
When the press gets wind of Zoe and Chase’s secret relationship, their romance turns into tabloid headlines. Will they be able to hold on to their Hollywood love story?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Review - - The Husband Hunter's Guide to London

The Husband Hunter’s Guide to London
By Kate Moore
Publisher: Lyrical Press / Kensington
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Reviewed by Janga

For nine years, Jane Fawkener lived with her father in the Middle East, knowing more about his covert activities for the British government than anyone realized. When her father disappears and officials seem content to presume him dead, Jane returns to England. She expects that her father will have left her a message with his trusted bankers. Instead, she is a given a book, The Husband Hunter’s Guide to London and £200 on which to survive until she finds a husband. Jane refuses to believe that her father is dead or that she should accept the book as merely directions for finding a husband.

Government officials are not quite as indifferent as Jane thinks they are. Edmund Dalby, Viscount Hazelwood, a member of a select group of gentlemen spies, is pulled from his usual assignment of gathering information the Foreign Office might find useful at assorted brothels and gaming hells to keep a watch on Jane. His mission ostensibly is to serve as protocol officer for Jane’s acceptance of a posthumous award the British government is presenting to her father, but his real purpose is to keep Jane and any papers she may have pertaining to her father’s work from falling into Russian hands.

At first, Jane plans to evade Hazelwood, but that proves difficult. It soon becomes clear that Jane is in danger. Even then, she and Hazelwood must learn to trust each other before they can work together to find the answers they are both seeking. There are obstacles along the way and threats to both of them, but of course, they find those answers--and a husband for Jane in the process.

I was elated when I learned that Kate Moore had a new historical. Although The Husband Hunter’s Guide to London did not replace Moore’s Sons of Sin trilogy as my favorites of her books, I thoroughly enjoyed this story which offered the wit, intelligence, and “something different” that made me a Kate Moore fan years ago. Jane is definitely not the typical historical heroine in experience or in personality. English society is foreign to her, and Moore makes us aware of this in ways large and small. Hazelwood, a disinherited rake reclaimed by a spymaster, is less unusual but no less appealing. I thought his surprised pleasure in his reform was a nice touch. I found both lead characters interesting and engaging.

The historical context of the novel added to its appeal. I knew little about “The Great Game” and Russo-British relations in the nineteenth century, and I found the subtext in that area so fascinating that I did more reading, nonfiction this time, on the subject. I also loved that Moore takes her reader beyond the ballrooms and great houses to parts of London that are often disregarded. Moore skillfully balances the suspense and romance.

The sizzle thermometer remains in the mild range in this book, so if a high sensuality level is a requirement for you, you may want to pass on this one. However, if you like historical romance that targets a reader’s mind as artfully as it targets her heart, I suggest you add this book to your TBR tower. Moore continues the Husband Hunters with A Lady's Guide to Passion and Property, a July 3, 2018 release. I have already added it to my list of must-reads for the new year.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Review - - Sunset Bay Sanctuary

Sunset Bay Sanctuary
By Roxanne Snopek
Publisher: Kensington / Zebra Shout
Release Date: November 28, 2017
Reviewed by Janga

Sanctuary Ranch is part dude ranch, part therapy-dog training center, and part refuge for those, regardless of age, who need a second chance at life. Haylee Hansen, who trains the therapy dogs, was her aunt’s first rescue. After losing everything that mattered to her, she almost self-destructed, but her aunt’s love for her never wavered. She has created a useful, satisfying life for herself and found family in her aunt and the regulars at Sanctuary Ranch, but the wounds from her past have never fully healed. She has no idea a part of that past is about to become part of Sanctuary Ranch.

For thirteen years, Aiden McCall ran a Level 1 emergency room at a large hospital, but he has been forced to take a leave of absence. After the death of his young son in a horrific automobile accident and a shattered marriage, Aiden experiences severe PTSD with tormenting nightmares and panic attacks that render him dysfunctional at work. Serving as the ER physician in small-town Sunset Bay, Oregon, offers lower stress and an opportunity to deal with his problem.

Haylee’s dog Jewel introduces Haylee and Aiden, and his decision, on doctor’s advice, to try a therapy dog to help with his PTSD extends their connection. Aiden is reluctant to answer the questions Haylee poses as a preliminary in agreeing to his having one of her therapy dogs, but she is as protective of her secrets as Aiden is of his. The emotional link between these damaged people is strong, but finding a future together will require them to confront the demons they have been unable to escape.

This novel introduces the Sunset Bay series with a powerful, emotional tale. The romance will touch the reader’s heart and activate her tear ducts, but the book is larger than the romance. Haylee and Aiden individually have compelling stories, and the supporting characters are interesting, dimensional people as well. This was my first book by Snopek, but it will not be my last. I have added Driftwood Creek (June 26, 2018), the second Sunset Bay book to my book calendar, and I will be checking out her backlist too.