Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween! SMITH HOUSE, a ghostly tale by Amy Valentini


A Ghostly Tale
Amy Valentini

The cool night air carried an ominous vibe as the cautious victims approached the dark, cold, and unlit edifice of what some have said is haunted – Smith House. Even during the day, warmed by the brightest sun, Smith House carries a feeling of the something not of this world. No one ever seemed to enter or leave the rundown structure, at least not in daylight. Even the ivy had not wished to grow up the peeling paint of the dull gray clapboard in so many years that there was no one left alive who remembered it ever being green with life.

A couple members of the small group of adventurers nudged each other teasingly as the heavy clouds suddenly parted as if expecting them and moonlight spotlighted the decrepit old building. Large gables outlined in the light from the sky, glowered over them like heavy knitted eyebrows scowling as if to warn them away. The small assembly halted their forward progression through the gate with a unified gasp.

“I don’t think this is such a good idea. I want to go home,” one quiet voice announced beneath a large brimmed Fedora.

“Don’t be such a sissy, it’s only a house,” the tallest explorer of the group growled as he shoved the smaller Fedora clad fellow forward. “You can go first.”

A loud sound echoed across the distance from the gate to the dilapidated porch and everyone halted once more. Fedora explorer shook in his over sized boots and started to turn back but everyone grabbed him this time, huddling around him. No one spoke but when the sound rang out again, the youngest and sweetest of the group giggled.

“It’s a bell,” the little one exclaimed. “Look, there!”

The group glanced high along the silhouette of the structure to a narrow tower near the top. There in the light of the moon, they witnessed a bell reflecting a sparkle of moonlight as it swung back and forth ringing out a dull, deep resonating tone.

“But who’s ringing the bell?” The tall one asked in a sinister voice.

“I’m going home!” Fedora explorer called out as he pushed his way through the huddled group.

“No! You’re not, sissy boy, you’re leading the way.” The tall one grabbed Fedora explorer by the back of his denim jacket and dragged him forward toward the rickety old house.

The others followed close behind, a few of them muttering about how the tall one was treating Fedora but failed to intervene on his behalf. Fedora fought the grip of the tall adventurer but to no avail. When his feet landed squarely on the broken steps of Smith House, Fedora froze. His breath caught tight in his lungs, his eyes wide with the fear that the others wouldn't admit to.

“Go on! You agreed to do this if we allowed you to come along tonight,” the tall one argued in a threatening voice. “What are you waiting for?”

Fedora stared at the rough, scarred wood of the massive front door. The doorknocker was worn and rusted but he could still make out the monstrous face that peered back at him from the copper-colored bronze. His voice cracked and groaned as he managed his words.

“There’s no doorbell.”

“Use the knocker then,” the group hissed in unison.

Fedora explorer stepped forward with two slow steps until he stood before the door. He swore he could hear the wood breathing for his own breath was permanently trapped in his lungs. Slowly, he raised his hand but even fully extended, he was unable to reach the knocker. With a great exhalation, more of relief than disappointment, he stepped back and announced his dilemma.

“I can’t reach it.”

“For heaven’s sake, must I do everything,” the tall one exclaimed as he shoved Fedora aside and took his place before the door. He glanced over his shoulder at his fellow adventurers as if hoping one of them would rescue him and take his place, but none stepped forward. Fedora was the only other one to stand on the crumbling porch with him. He gave Fedora a weak grin that he hoped looked confident, but when the wind blew cold across his face, he knew it hadn’t.

Slowly, the tall one raised his hand toward the green-hued doorknocker. A unified inhalation echoed through the air like a crackle of lightning and caused the hair on the back of his neck to stand erect. He noticed his fingers shook as they drew closer to the monster’s face and when they closed around the ring that hung from its large bulbous nose, he felt his bladder weaken to the point that he drew his knees together. He, too, was beginning to think this adventure wasn’t such a good idea. No one had conquered Smith House, not in his lifetime anyway. No one seemed to be able to him what lie behind the closed walls and for the first time, he knew he wasn’t the one to find out.

The tall one was about to release the ring when the door handle rattled. He froze, his bladder let go just enough that his face flushed with heat at the thought of the stain that would show on the front of his trousers. Why ever had he thought he could do this?

The great scarred and angry looking door clicked open. The tall one slowly released his fingers but they took their time letting go and by the time he was loose, the door had opened enough that he could see a faint glow emanating from inside the seemingly dark cold house.

The tall one wanted to run. He needed to run. He wanted to run so much that in his mind, he was already clear down the lane and nearly home, but he couldn’t get his feet to move. Fedora stepped forward. He could see him just out of the corner of his eye approaching the door. What was he doing?

The tall one was just about to yell at him to stay back when a blue-veined arm, deathly pale in color in the moonlight, and boney like a skeleton reached through the door opening and grabbed his arm. The touch was cold and amazingly strong. The tall one screamed and promptly fainted.

“Trick or Treat!” The group of adventurers yelled in unison as they stepped over their fearless leader and quickly gathered their goodies from the old woman who smiled and cheerfully filled their sacks.

Fedora was the last to step up. He picked up his tall friend’s sack and asked the smiling woman with the laughter in her eyes if she would put some in his also. She laughed and nodded before filling both her hands with a plentiful bounty of treats and dropped them into the tall one’s sack. Fedora thanked her with a tip of his broad-brimmed hat and as he moved away, he kicked the tall one in the foot.

“Come on, sissy, or I’ll tell everyone you peed your pants.” Fedora explorer laughed happily as he dropped the tall one’s treasure onto his prone body and ran down the steps to join his friends as they continued their adventure further down the lane.

The lesson to be learned is, if you’re not ready to face your own fears don’t push others to do it first, for they just might jump out and say …


Happy Halloween Everyone!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Unwrapping: Review of THE WICKED WALLFLOWER by Maya Rodale

Unwrapping Romance came about because of something I read regarding a view on romance readers written by an already favorite author of mine, Maya Rodale. Well now my amazing muse has stepped up and created a new series that gives historical romance a whole new look, and future. I hope it will bring some former readers back to the fold because something tells me that Maya is getting ready to take us for a wild ride with THE WICKED WALLFLOWER as a most delightful introduction.

***eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.


Maya Rodale's captivating new series introduces London's Least Likely—three wallflowers who are about to become the toast of the ton…

Lady Emma Avery has accidentally announced her engagement—to the most eligible man in England. As soon as it's discovered that Emma has never actually met the infamously attractive Duke of Ashbrooke, she'll no longer be a wallflower; she'll be a laughingstock. And then Ashbrooke does something Emma never expected. He plays along with her charade.

A temporary betrothal to the irreproachable Lady Avery could be just the thing to repair Ashbrooke's tattered reputation. Seducing her is simply a bonus. And then Emma does what he never expected: she refuses his advances. It's unprecedented. Inconceivable. Quite damnably alluring.

London's Least Likely to Misbehave has aroused the curiosity—among other things—of London's most notorious rogue. Now nothing will suffice but to uncover Emma's wanton side and prove there's nothing so satisfying as two perfect strangers…being perfectly scandalous together.

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Emma Avery has spent three seasons in the wallflower corner and she sees no truly constant prospect for marriage before Lady Penelope’s Anniversary Ball. No graduate of Lady Penelope’s Finishing School for Young Ladies has failed to match a good marriage match and Emma was not in want of being the first. Of course, she wouldn’t be alone for it seems that her two best friends, Olivia Archer and Prudence Payton, are still unmatched as well. It helps not that each has been nick-named cruel monikers – London’s Least Likely to Cause a Scandal (Olivia), to Misbehave (Emma), and to Be Caught in a Compromising Position (Prudence). Emma despises her additional name given to her by her nemesis from school – Buxom Bluestocking – because of her love of reading. And so is the reason we find them sitting together in Emma’s bedchamber drinking far too much sherry after Lady Wrotham’s ball, which started the fourth season and drove it home that they were still among the wallflowers. The mischief begins - a letter is written in jest, tragedy strikes, the letter is lost, lost anyway until the contents turn up in the London Weekly. Emma awakes to find an announcement there that she is currently betrothed to Blake Auden, the Duke of Ashebrook, who happens to be the most infamous rogue in London, renowned for making women swoon with just a smile.

In need of some much-needed respectability, especially after a rather nasty affair regarding a set of twins, Blake Auden sees the bright side of this rather unexpected proclamation in the London Weekly of his betrothal to a woman he’s never met – well, rather to any woman at all. Blake is not the marrying kind. With a plan in mind, he sets out for Avery House to meet the woman to whom he is now publicly engaged.

Emma and Blake come together to protect reputations, build new ones, and compete for a fortune so that each may have their own happily-ever-after. Neither expected to discover that the happily-ever-after that each sought was with each other.

THE WICKED WALLFLOWER by Maya Rodale is a wickedly good time. Mischief and mayhem result when three, too smart for their own good, wallflowers indulge in an evening of drinking sherry and cause one of them to embark on a journey that will make her blossom into something far more appealing than a wallflower. Maya has a knack for creating believably smart, yet rebellious young heroines who manage to take the rogues on whom they set their sights by surprise every time. Emma is no exception. She allows Blake to chase her until he’s finally caught in her web of love. Secondary characters, among them Blake's Aunt Agatha, drive this story will delightful banter and create an environment that forces two personalities to recognize that they have more in common with each other than their peers. The Fortune Games are intriguing, imaginative, and for our couple, love inspiring.

I highly recommend THE WICKED WALLFLOWER by Maya Rodale to anyone who loves a story that intrigues, that manages to keep the reader a little off kilter as to what might happen, and to anyone who loves a wonderful, wickedly passionate, and romantically satisfying tale with a smiling happily-ever-after. I mean anyone – I recommend this one to those of you who aren’t partial to historical romances as well, for Maya has something splendid planned for contemporary readers and it all begins with THE WICKED WALLFLOWER.

Happy Reading Everyone!

THE WICKED WALLFLOWER by Maya Rodale, Avon Romance, available now in print and ebook formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.
***click on links or cover below for purchasing information


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cover Reveal for BEAUTY AND THE EARL, a Pleasure Wars Novel by Jess Michaels

a Pleasure Wars Novel
Jess Michaels

coming April 15, 2014


Desire as essential as breath…deception as fragile as sanity.

The Pleasure Wars, Book 3

Liam, the Earl of Windbury, had everything when he held his secret lover in his arms. Until a feud between their families left her dead, his body broken, and his sister married to his bitterest enemy.

Wracked with guilt, simmering with rage, he’s spent a year in seclusion, seeing no one except a few servants as he does his best to forget the past and patently refuses to think about any kind of future.

When courtesan Violet Milford enters Liam’s lair, she’s on a secret mission to gather information for Liam’s desperate sister, who fears for his sanity, even his life. What she finds is a man scarred inside and out, whose dark, controlling sensuality hides the kind, wounded man within.

Violet awakens a sexual desire more powerful than Liam has ever known, and her stories weave a spell that begins to work its way past his defenses. But when the truth inevitably comes out, it could well destroy the love that is saving them both.

Warning: This book features a sexually experienced woman who will use every trick in her book to save a man from himself. 

About the Author:

Jess Michaels began writing full-time in 1999 after being encouraged by her husband to follow her dream. In 2003, she sold her first novella to Red Sage Press, an erotic historical romance about an Egyptian tomb and a very sexy curse. Since then she has published (or has contracted to publish by the end of 2013) 37 novels and novellas under three different pen names with several major publishers, small presses and via self-publishing. Her erotic historical romances have been national bestsellers and won awards from booksellers and readers.

In 2011, she and her husband moved to Tucson, AZ. There she enjoys hiking in the beautiful desert, spending time with her nephews, designing jewelry, reading and spending time with her awesome husband and cats.

To learn more about Jess Michaels and her books, feel free to visit her website, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and at Goodreads.

BEAUTY AND THE EARL, a Pleasures War Novel by Jess Michaels, Samhain Publishing, available for pre-order at Amazon now.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Unwrapping: Review of CAPTIVE BRIDE, a Regency Ghost Novel by Katharine Ashe

I love Katharine Ashe’s stories! Simply stated and to the point, so when her Regency ghostly romance, CAPTIVE BRIDE released, I just knew I had to read it. Saving it so close to Halloween was just pure coincidence but a totally delightful treat.

***Purchased digital copy for my own personal reading but sharing my thoughts with you.


Sensible, practical Beatrice Sinclaire has two secret passions: gothic novels and Lord Peter Cheriot, the man her beautiful sister left heartbroken years ago. When Bea’s scapegrace twin brother begs her help to rescue a maiden from a haunted castle, Bea seizes the chance for real adventure. If only Lord Cheriot didn’t insist on protecting her! How can she maintain a clear head in the face of terrible danger when all she wants is to be in his arms?

Lord Cheriot may be the catch of the London season, but he has only ever loved one woman, Bea Sinclaire. And he’s determined to have her. He doesn’t count on a meddling ghost whose demand for a virgin bride threatens Bea in the direst manner. But the specter has a deadline, All Hallows Eve, and it’s fast approaching. In the race to capture the heart of one daring lady, it’s every man—and ghost—for himself.

*                *                *               *                *

When Bea Sinclaire’s brother writes with a request for assistance that may or may not involve a ghostly presence, she doesn’t hesitate. But she is even more surprised when the man she secretly loves, yet consistently refuses, informs her that he will be accompanying her to Wales. Of course, her two great-aunts will be playing chaperone so the thought of being alone with Peter Cheriot is more a passing fancy than a reality.

Peter Cheriot is bewildered and frustrated that his offers of marriage continue to be refused by a woman who must perpetually care for a mother who holds no respect for her, and has no hope of finding a better match than him in York. He’s slightly more bewildered by the fact that it seems so important to him to obtain Bea Sinclaire’s acceptance. Now with a chance to attend her on an adventure, albeit foolish and ridiculous, Peter is as excited about the prospect as is his beautiful lady. His adventure is to win the woman who owns his heart.

Neither Bea nor Peter expect there actually to be a ghost at Gwynedd Castle. Therefore, when they discover that Lord Rhys Iversly is very real and very intent on taking a maiden as his bride by midnight on All Hallows Eve, together they embark on an adventure that brings forth more adventure than simply solving the problem of a wayward ghost.

CAPTIVE BRIDE by Katharine Ashe is a delightfully scintillating ghostly romance that lends an air of danger and mystique to a love story that would otherwise be fraught with worry as to whether or not there would be a happily-ever-after for the star couple. Even with a night of lovemaking to save Bea from a most wicked end, Peter is still frustrated with the sense that Bea will never truly be his while Bea thinks he merely acted out of pity to save her sorry soul.

Katharine has a wonderful talent for creating characters with substance and depth even when one of them is already deceased. If you haven’t read CAPTIVE BRIDE by Katharine Ashe, then by all means, do so. I highly recommend reading it within the next week or so because the timing is perfect as the ghostly hour of All Hallows Eve quickly approaches and you never know when a desperate Lord may haunt your space and seek a bride to save his soul from a warlock’s curse. Ooh, and the price is excellent!

Happy Reading Everyone!

CAPTIVE BRIDE by Katharine Ashe, self-published and available in ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes& Noble, and Kobobooks.
***click on links above or cover below for purchasing information


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wacky Wednesday Fun! Let's Talk Eyes!

It’s been a while since I did a true Wacky Wednesday and so I thought I’d pose a question to you all that came to mind the other day after I posted a picture of a dreamy guy on Facebook with exceptionally blue eyes. Someone mentioned that she wasn’t really into blue eyes but preferred dark-eyed men instead. So what’s your preference?

Do you prefer your men with blue eyes?

Or do you prefer green eyes?

Or do you prefer brown eyes?

Or perhaps you love a silver-eyed devil?

Now with that asked, do you prefer a particular shade of blue, green, brown or gray? 

Or is eye color not particularly a factor when you conjure up your pretend boyfriend?

When you're reading your favorite romance novels, does the color of the hero's eyes play a role in whether or not you fall in love with him?

If you’ve got anyone in particular that you prefer, please feel free to let us know … we love to share and drool over your offerings as well as our own.

Happy Reading Everyone and enjoy, but try not to drool on the screen too much … it makes viewing difficult.   *WINK*

Friday, October 18, 2013

Unwrapping: Review of THE SHEIK RETOLD by Victoria Vane and E. M. Hull

I’m always excited about anything that Victoria Vane writes and I admit that I was a little hesitant about her taking something from the past and updating it, but I am most definitely glad that I read THE SHEIK RETOLD by Victoria Vane and E. M. Hull. It’s a taste of romance of old but with the flair of romance today. As usual, Victoria did not disappoint.

***eCopy provided by author in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.


The Desert Was Never Hotter...

Pride and passion vie for supremacy in this steamy re-telling of E.M. Hull's romance classic. 

A haughty young heiress for whom the world is a playground…A savage son of the Sahara who knows no law but his own…When pride and passion vie for supremacy, blistering desert days are nothing compared to sizzling Sahara nights…

"There will be inquiries." I choked out. "I am not such a nonentity that nothing will be done when I am missed. You will pay for what you have done."

"Pay?" His amused look sent a cold feeling of dread through me. "I have already paid… in gold that matches your hair, my gazelle. Besides," he continued, "the French Government has no jurisdiction over me. There is no authority here above my own."

My trepidation was growing by the minute. "Why have you done this? Why have you brought me here?"

"Why?" He repeated with a slow and heated appraisal that made me acutely, almost painfully, conscious of my sex. "Bon Dieu! Are you not woman enough to know?"

** NOTE** Due to differing copyright laws, this book is currently only available in the US, Canada, Australia, Japan and India.

*                *                 *                 *                 *   

Diana Mayo has just come of age and is free to do as she pleases without her brother’s permission. What does she wish to do? She wishes to spend a month in the Sahara experiencing all that the desert has to offer. What she didn’t expect was to find herself captured by a handsome sheik who wants nothing more from her but her body, for as long as he pleases.

Sheik Ahmed Ben Hassan is a man of power. His word is law among his followers and when he wants something, anything, or anyone, he simply takes it. He wants Diana Mayo, not because she’s a wealthy heiress but because she represents everything he despises and yet he’s drawn to her in such a way that he risks everything to have her.

I so enjoyed this foray back to a time when romance novels were about strong men who took what they wanted, and women who quickly learned that they held the power to control their man with something other than words or demands but instead, with their bodies. I never read the original version of THE SHEIK by Edith Maude Hull but I can see the original mixing with Victoria Vane’s additions that take an exotic adventure and romance to an even higher level of extraordinary.

THE SHEIK RETOLD by Victoria Vane and E. M. Hull is gripping, exotic, visual, and addicting as any romance past or present. I enjoyed being pulled back to a time when men were men and women were stronger but let the men hold reins. By updating this amazing story with more mutually satisfying eroticism, Victoria brings the reader a riveting, steamy adventure that, while probably not acceptable in Miss Hull’s time, is more than desired in our time. By rewriting the rape-to-love trope to become a by my own terms willing act, Victoria makes THE SHEIK RETOLD much more palatable to modern readers. I’m personally glad she took out the animal abuse although, to me, even shooting an animal is abuse but then that’s just me.

I highly recommend THE SHEIK RETOLD by Victoria Vane and E. M. Hull to anyone who loves an erotic exotic adventure and who grew up reading the so-called bodice rippers but still loved romance novels. And for those of you who never read those because it just wasn’t the romance you wanted, try it on for size with this updated version – you might just like it.

Happy Reading Everyone!

THE SHEIK RETOLD by Victoria Vane and E. M. Hull, self-published, available now in print and ebook formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
***click on the links above or cover below for purchasing information


Tasty Book Cover Reveal of NIGHT OF THE FALLEN, book 2 in the Dark Tides series by Diana Bocco

Book Two in the Dark Tides series


Isabelle’s mission seemed so clear: kill the king of the vampires to give humanity a fighting chance. Except she didn’t count on falling in love with him. And she didn't realize he held secrets that could actually end up saving the human race.

As the kingdom falls and Isabelle’s heart is torn between two worlds, everything changes. There’s something more dangerous out there, a plague that might destroy both humans and vampires alike. The only way to survive it might be to find a truce between species.

Peace will require the ultimate sacrifice.

And change the future of the world forever.

*          *         *         *         *

I was completely hooked by the first book in this series, CITY OF THE FALLEN so I'm very much looking forward to reading this next one. I hope you are too! 

NIGHT OF THE FALLEN by Diana Bocco, coming December 2013.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tasty Review Stop on the BELIEVING AGAIN by Peggy Bird Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop on the Tasty Review Blog Tour for BELIEVING AGAIN by Peggy Bird. I am a huge fan of Peggy’s stories because she’s never let me down in conjuring sexy men that I can fall in love with, and strong vibrant women that make me wish I can be them. The wonderful couple, in BELIEVING AGAIN, is no exception but this time, she’s added a twist. She gives us a look into the heartbreaking world of the homeless veterans who return from war and bring a piece of it with them – in their thoughts and dreams. Oh, and be sure to hang around - there's a giveaway!

***eARC provided by author in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.


As the youngest woman ever to make detective in the Portland Police Bureau, Danny Hartmann has racked up an impressive record. It doesn’t keep her warm at night, but it does make up for feeling she’s somehow disappointed her family with her career choice. Called to the scene of the murder of a homeless veteran in a transient camp, Danny doesn’t expect it to be anything other than another case she clears.

Then she meets the man who made the 9-1-1 call and everything changes.

 Jake Abrams, a volunteer doctor at the Veterans Medical Services Clinic, doesn’t have much faith in anything other than his work and the vets he cares deeply about. Not shy about voicing his opinions, even to the cops investigating the murder of one of his patients, he annoys Danny with his snarky remarks.

However, working the case, she has to rely on Jake to help her find her way around the transient camps under the bridges and in the city’s huge wilderness park. As they work together, their attraction becomes mutual and passionate.

But Jake has demons. Like the vets he cares for, he carries scars both mental and physical from his service in the National Guard in Iraq. He fears Danny will turn from him in disgust when she discovers them. She’s afraid his experience in Iraq makes it impossible for him to love someone who does what she does for a living.

When the murderer of the homeless vets comes too close to Jake, it’ll be up to Danny to save his life. It’ll be up to their love for each other to save them both.

*               *               *               *                *

Danny Hartmann is woman who takes her job seriously. She lives, breathes, and thrills at being a cop. She long ago decided that any man who wants to be part of her life must accept this or hit the road. All of this becomes first, and foremost, in her thoughts after she meets a handsome doctor who not only takes his job as a surgeon as seriously as she does hers as a detective, but also takes caring for his patients just as seriously as she does protecting them.

Jake Abrams, a veteran himself, introduces her to a world unseen by most but currently the center of her investigation as well as the delights of a relationship with a man willing to give his all to her in the same way he does his patients. Fearful that she may lose herself in his world, his family, and his love, Danny pulls back when he tries to convince her there’s more to life than being a cop.

When the danger of the case encroaches closer to Jake and the veterans that they both try to protect, Danny must trust her skills, her instincts, and the love she’s developed for this stubborn, relentless man or risk them all losing their lives.

BELIEVING AGAIN by Peggy Bird is a poignant, action-filled, suspense romance that unlike the others in the series that are truly second chances at love, this one takes us through the beginnings of love, only to have it fall apart but then gives this matched pair a second chance at love in the end. Jake and Danny together is a match made in heaven. Each is stubborn, sharp-witted, and accepting of each other’s fears yet individuals with their own way of looking at the world. Jake reminds me very much of one of my favorite heroes created by Peggy – Tony Alessandro from TOGETHER AGAIN. Like Tony with Margo, Jake isn’t willing to give up on Danny and their happily-ever-after. Once he decides that she’s the only woman for him, he will stop at nothing, including giving her up, to prove to her that they are meant to be together. This endears Jake Abrams to me in a way that other hero-types can’t. Actions really do speak louder than words.

The suspense of the murder mystery behind the romance keeps the story tight and the reader on the edge of their seat as Danny and Sam try to find out who is shooting up the homeless camps and why the victims are all Jake’s patients. The clues are there but I was still surprised. That’s a good thing.

I highly recommend BELIEVING AGAIN, book five in the Second Chance series by Peggy Bird for anyone who loves a good suspense story, the thrill of falling in love, and experiencing those first moments in a love affair as well as the fear that it’s not going to work out. Thankfully, it does and you’ll love the way it ends. Jake is one patient man and so sensitive, you just want to hug him - all the time.

Happy Reading Everyone!

About the Author:
Born in Philly, Peggy Bird spent most of her adult life in the Pacific Northwest where she has happily grown webs between her toes and moss
behind her ears. She pursued a number of careers—nurse, legislative staffer, lobbyist, public affairs consultant, non-profit association executive, workshop teacher, oh, and mother and wife—before deciding to leave it all for what she loved through every stage of life—writing. She’s been published in anthologies, magazines, newspapers and in the brochures, newsletters, and reports of her consulting clients and employers. Unless you count speeches for politicians, she’d never written fiction until a cast of characters began inhabiting her daydreams. A glass artist and a gallery owner were there. So were a sculptor and a jewelry designer. When some dead bodies showed up, a couple of cops and a deputy DA arrived. Soon they began to fall in love with each other and work for their happy-ending. Bingo. Peggy was a romance writer.

If you’d like to learn more about Peggy Bird, please feel free to visit her website, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. She loves hearing from her readers.


Peggy is giving away a $10.00 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card to one lucky person tour wide so feel free to enter for a chance at winning – you can buy her books! Please use the rafflecopter for entry. Thanks and Good Luck!

BELIEVING AGAIN, a Second Chance novel by Peggy Bird, Crimson Romance, available in ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.
***click on links or cover below for purchasing information


Friday, October 11, 2013

Unwrapping: Review of A DANCE IN THE DARK by Karen Ranney

I love the idea of re-publishing books because, like fashion, sometimes what is old is now sometimes new. I believe that’s the case for A DANCE IN THE DARK by Karen Ranney. This dark yet sweet paranormal historical fantasy-style romance has so much to say. Kensington Publishing originally published it in 1998 in the anthology, AFTER MIDNIGHT. Recently re-released as a stand-alone, I think it’s going to achieve a new life among new readers.

***eCopy provided by author as a gift for subscribing to her newsletter, but I delighted in reading it and of course, am presenting my honest and unscripted review.


Louisa is an heiress who is truly not beautiful. Douglas is a man who isn't simply a recluse. When Louisa finds a friend in Douglas, he knows it's the very worst thing that could happen to her. In the darkness, however, almost anything is possible.

*             *             *             *             *

Louisa Patterson wants to escape her world, her life, and the prospect of marriage. An heiress to one of the wealthiest estates in England, she is most definitely the catch of the Season even as she’s the least attractive. Plainly put, Louisa Patterson is only as attractive to the many men seeking her hand, as her wealth is extensive.  

Douglas Traherne wants nothing to do with the outside world. A self-proclaimed hermit, he lives in a cave at Hodges Hill, which just happens to be part of the large estate at Bainbridge Hill owned by Arthur Patterson. He carries a secret that he finds himself unable to keep from the young woman who insinuates herself into his life, his domain, and without intent, into his heart.

A DANCE IN THE DARK by Karen Ranney is captivating, somewhat sad, yet sweet in its ugly duckling theme. Louisa believes herself to be ugly, not just unattractive, but actually ugly. She hears the snickers when she enters a room, the horrible insults launched at her back as she passes by, and knows that no man truly wants her for anything more than her extensive dowry. When she encounters the dark stranger who lives in a cave, keeps to the shadows but whose soothing voice and demeanor intrigues, and attracts her, she soon learns that there is more to a person than what is reflected in the mirror, or in others’ eyes. Douglas fears that trying to live in the world alongside those who are so different from him endangers all who cross his path. Soon he learns that whereas normal is a concept which all humans strive to obtain, no one is truly normal and he may be accepted for his differences more easily than he expects.

This dark, sweet novella about love overcoming diversity and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder will keep you enthralled from the beginning moments, when Louisa discovers the cave home of Douglas to the reveal of his dark secret, a lovely dance in the moonlight, and their eventual happily-ever-after. I highly recommend reading A DANCE IN THE DARK by Karen Ranney for any number of reasons listed above, but mostly because it’s just that good – in fact, I wish it had been longer.

Happy Reading Everyone!

A DANCE IN THE DARK by Karen Ranney, originally published by Kensington Publishing, re-released and available in ebook formats for 99¢ at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.
***click on links above or cover below for purchasing information


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Unwrapping: Review of THE GHOSTS OF RUE DUMAINE by Alexandrea Weis

I do love a good ghost story, but make it a ghostly romance and I’m in 7th Heaven! That’s exactly what you get with THE GHOSTS OF RUE DUMAINE by Alexandrea Weis – that and the sensation that you’ve been magically transported smack dab into the middle of the New Orleans’ famed French Quarter.

***eCopy provided by author in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.


Ready to get her life back on track after ending a painful marriage, Danica Giles returns to the Creole cottage where she grew up in the New Orleans French Quarter. Danica is anxious to rekindle her friendship with a former resident from her old neighborhood, the seductive Gaston Deslonde. But Gaston isn’t exactly a normal guy. The charming man has been dead for over a hundred and fifty years, and the childish crush Danica once had on her ghostly playmate quickly turns into something much deeper. When a handsome new man enters Danica’s life, Gaston vows to do whatever he can to hold on to her. Danica soon discovers that the most forbidden of all desires cannot be satisfied without paying a grave price. Love can blur the lines between life and death when you are living among the ghosts of Rue Dumaine.

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Danica Giles grew up in a small Creole cottage located in the French Quarter of the thrilling and mysterious city of New Orleans. While living in that home, she fell in love with her best friend – a ghost named Gaston Deslonde. After her mother died, her father took Danica and they moved away. Now, having grown up and survived a disastrous marriage, she’s returned to her home, her cottage, and her best friend, Gaston.

Danica believes she loves the ethereal man who was her comfort and dearest friend as a little girl and even now seems so real to her. So much so that she's compared every man to him so she thinks herself happy when Gaston tells her that he knew she would return and now that she’s back, he’ll not allow anyone to harm her or cause her unhappiness. But when Danica meets a new man, Paul Gaudette, the son of her neighbor and is attracted to him, Gaston doesn’t like the idea of a budding relationship. He goes to desperate extremes to convince Danica that they can and will have a relationship worthy of their love. But at what cost?

THE GHOSTS OF RUE DUMAINE by Alexandrea Weis is exceptional, spellbinding, a little bit scary, and yet romantically sweet. It leaves us truly believing that we carry the love experienced in this life on into the next. Danica is fortunate to fall in love with two men who give back as much love as she gives to them. They just do it differently. Without giving away too much, I will say that Gaston, albeit a bit overbearing at times, truly loves Danica and there’s more than Danica's and Paul's happily-ever-after at stake.

I highly, highly recommend this amazing story about how love transcends the planes of being and that love can be a savior on many levels. THE GHOSTS OF RUE DUMAINE by Alexandrea Weis is a must read if you’re a fan of dreamy love stories with a twist, a few bumps in the night, and wonderful satisfying happily-ever-afters. Get this one to read during some quiet moments and be whisked away to the magic of the New Orleans’ French Quarter – even better, read it because it’s almost Halloween!

Happy Reading Everyone!

THE GHOSTS OF RUE DUMAINE by Alexandrea Weis, World Castle Publishing, available in print and ebook formats at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.
***click on links or cover below for purchasing information


Friday, October 4, 2013

Unwrapping: Review of SECRETS OF THE JAGUAR, book three in the Immortals in Alameda series by Jaye Shields

Already a big fan of Jaye Shields’ Immortals in Alameda series, I knew I had to read SECRETS OF THE JAGUAR to complete the series. When Jaye told me that this was actually her very first book, I considered that as I read it but soon discovered that her talent was there from the start.

***I purchased this one for my own personal reading but am presenting an honest and unscripted review.


Michelle looks like the girl next door, but she can grow some wicked claws and fur, too for that matter. Hiding out in a small island town, Michelle guards her secret—that she’s a were-jaguar.

Duncan had spent the last eighty years being eternally young, and eternally lonely. Being a vampire has meant a meaningless existence, so when he discovers a were-jaguar in town, Duncan sees her less as a freak, and more like a gift.

Throughout her life, Michelle faced constant betrayal, but Duncan refuses to leave her alone. Together, they venture to Mexico where the ancient Mayan past holds the key to her existence. But when Duncan realizes an Aztec army of vampires needs Michelle’s blood to perform an ancient ritual, he’ll stop at nothing to protect her. But falling in love could be the most dangerous game—for Michelle, it could mean the greatest betrayal.

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Michelle lives a quiet life, always hoping to not be noticed for fear that her past will catch up to her. She goes to school, searches for a job to help pay her bills, and enjoys a romp on the beach through the anise that grows nearby. By romp, I mean on all fours, the sea breeze rustling her black fur, and the scent of anise filling her nostrils and sparking her animal nature with a desire to roll in it – like any cat would enjoy. Michelle is a were-jaguar and can’t afford for anyone to learn her secret for when her adopted parents did, they sent the government to kill her.

Duncan is a lonely man. His eighty years of living as a vampire hasn’t been the most wonderful existence. He’s never grasped his more dangerous side, he hates having to feed on humans and only does it when he absolutely has to and then only takes a little. When he discovers a beautiful black jaguar stalking the beach, he’s intrigued enough to find out more. His discovery lightens his life, his heart, and draws he and the beautiful Michelle, whose existence as a jaguar now becomes of paramount importance for him to protect, into danger that threatens both of their lives – both alive and dead.

SECRETS OF THE JAGUAR by Jaye Shields is actually quite amazing. I love how she conjured a vampire who even as he thinks of himself as a monster is actually a gentle soul and a gentle man. He despises feeding on humans and so never ingests enough blood to fulfill his own abilities. He seeks out animal blood from butchers rather than suckle his sustenance from strangers in alleys. At times, you simply forget that Duncan is a vampire at all. But when it matters most, Duncan finds his warrior side and just as Michelle taps into her animal, he becomes her greatest defender.

I love how Jaye incorporates her knowledge of Mayan history and archaeology into the story extending the adventure while tapping into the past to merge with the present. Her characters are as full-bodied as if this was actually written as the third book in the series rather than being her first. Where I see the debutante in Jaye is when it came to the sex scenes. In SECRETS OF THE FOG and SECRETS OF THE SKY, she was easy and comfortable with the sexiness of her characters but in SECRETS OF THE JAGUAR, we are treated to a more pan to the clouds in the sky kind of sexuality. We never actually experience Michelle and Duncan consummating their desire but are instead teased with the idea. This is perfect for those of you who appreciate a more timid level of sexuality in your romances.

SECRETS OF THE JAGUAR works excellently as a stand-alone, as well as part of the Immortals in Alameda series, so go ahead and indulge in an adventurous journey to find Michelle’s roots, the meaning of her existence, and the danger that surrounds her people. I highly recommend SECRETS OF THE JAGUAR by Jaye Shields because it’s an amazing story that demonstrates the raw talent that this extraordinary author has had from the beginning.

Happy Reading Everyone!

SECRETS OF THE JAGUAR, an Immortals in Alameda novel by Jaye Shields, Crimson Romance, available now in ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.
***click on links or cover below for purchasing information