Monday, February 29, 2016

Unwrapping a Review of A VAMPIRE'S CHRISTMAS CAROL by Cynthia Eden

My To-Be-Read List is quite long and gets added to nearly every day so recently I decided to intermingle reading some books, which have been sitting on my TBR List for far too long, with those newly added. Although the holidays sneaked past me without getting a chance to read the novella, A VAMPIRE’S CHRISTMAS CAROL by Cynthia Eden, I decided to indulge in this unusual take on my very favorite Dickens story…even if it was more Valentine’s Day than Christmas. It was so worth it.

***copy purchased for my own personal reading but sharing an honest and unscripted review.


This holiday season has bite.
Ben Prescott hates Christmas—he’s a vampire, and to him, there’s certainly nothing jolly about the holiday season. While the humans are running around being merry, he’s hunting in the shadows. Ben plans to spend the holidays his way…by stalking deadly prey.

But fate has other plans for Ben.

Three visitors are coming Ben’s way…A demon who will force Ben to face his past, a ghost who will show Ben the present he could have, and a shifter who will reveal the darkness that waits in Ben’s future. Unless Ben can change his ways, he may just turn into a real monster, one who can’t be saved by anyone or anything.

’Tis the season…to be undead.

Ben’s redemption rests in the hands of the one woman he loved and lost—Simone Laurent. If Ben is going to have a chance at being more than just the beast in the darkness, he has to prove himself to the lovely Simone. A very hard task, considering that, once upon a Christmas Eve, Simone died in Ben’s arms…

Warning: This book features one very tortured vampire, a sexy ghost from his past, and hot scenes designed to melt the winter snow. Plenty of action, adult situations, and steamy times are ahead.

~*~                  ~*~               ~*~                 ~*~

Already a huge fan of Cynthia Eden’s romantic suspense LOST series, I decided to see if she was as good at satisfying my love of paranormal. A VAMPIRE’S CHRISTMAS CAROL not only satisfied but also has me seeking out more paranormal from this talented author.

Ben had a good life, he was wealthy, successful, and very much in love with a beautiful woman. A woman he'd hoped to ask her hand in marriage but when their Christmas Eve goes very wrong, and instead of rejoicing in the season and his new engagement, he ruined things and his beloved Simone ended up paying the ultimate price, with her life. Now he hates Christmas because while everyone else is celebrating and enjoying life, he’s cursed to live a life as a monster vampire alone and guilt-ridden. He takes out his anger on anyone whom he deems to be guilty of their sins.

When he’s visited by the man, or rather the demon, he saved from shapeshifters one night, he learns that his deeds as judge, jury, and executioner are catching up to him and if he doesn’t change his ways he will be lost forever, and so will the woman he loved and lost.

Dickens’s original tale of a night of wonder, horror, and redemption has always been one to cause self-contemplation and act as a reminder to do onto others as you would have them do onto you. Cynthia Eden captures that same message in A VAMPIRE’S CHRISTMAS CAROL. Just because Ben is now a vampire doesn’t mean he has to be evil. He can care about his fellow man, demons, and even shapeshifters. Those who do evil will meet their eventual fate appropriate to their deeds in the afterlife.

A VAMPIRE’S CHRISTMAS CAROL by Cynthia Eden is exceptional in its retelling of a classic with added excitement, action, danger, and some really hot sex. That’s something Dickens failed to give us. It’s a quick read, captivating, and once you start reading, you won’t want to put it down until it’s finished.

I highly recommend reading A VAMPIRE’S CHRISTMAS CAROL by Cynthia Eden if for no other reason because it’s a chance to revisit a classic with a twist that will have you smiling at the end and wishing it was the holidays again.

Happy Reading Everyone!

A VAMPIRE’S CHRISTMAS CAROL by Cynthia Eden, indie pub, originally released November 2013 but available in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Unwrapping a Release Spotlight on HAMMER, a Regulators MC novel by Chelsea Camaron & Jessie Lane with #excerpt

a Regulators MC novel
Chelsea Camaron and Jessie Lane

Available Now!
*$2.99 reduced price until 2/29/16
when regular price will be $3.99*

She is strong, independent, but jaded.
He is a hardened soldier.
Two people are forced to come together to move beyond the physical injuries of one.
Desirae Shythe is a physical therapist driven to see her patients thrive. Her happiness in life comes from her success, no matter how small the step.
Ethan ‘Hammer’ McCoy is known for having an iron fist and an iron heart.
When an injury confines him to a wheelchair, he meets the fierce physical therapist who makes it her personal mission to see him walk again.
As they both face the struggles of his rehabilitation, can he hammer his way into her heart?

For your reading pleasure, in the back of this book you will find an exclusive excerpts from Cristin Harber's DELTA: REVENGE and Ryan Michele's CHALLENGED, Lani Lynn Vale's WHISKEY NEAT, as well as an excerpt from Abbie Zanders' THE REALIST!

Warning: This book contains mature themes, bikers who give the term Alpha Male whole new definition, a bar scene that will shock your panties off and a wee bit of violence. If that doesn't cup of tea - don't read it!

*This series is loosely attached to USA Today Best-Selling Author Chelsea Camaron's Hellions Ride MC Series and Jessie Lane's Ex Ops Series.*


   I snarl, “You said he was an asshole, but you didn’t tell me that he was an epic asshole with a chip on his shoulder because someone obviously pissed in his Wheaties. If he’s gonna be like this the entire time I’m here, I’ll expect a pay raise. I don’t care if you guys are doing me a favor or not.”
   Ice smirks, holding both of his hands up in the air as if he is trying to placate a crazy woman or something. He has no idea! I haven’t shown him crazy yet.
   “If you think about it, I did warn you. I told you he was hurting, angry, and acting like an asshole.”
   Put off by his totally logical explanation, I huff back, “But you forgot to tell me someone pissed in his Wheaties!”
   Rolling his eyes, Ice walks into the condo and closes the door. “If you think that’s bad, you won’t last a day with him. Tank said you can take care of yourself, so pull up your big girl panties and do your job, woman.”
   I let out an exasperated huff. Tank gave him his word that I am good. I’m here on his name. I will show these guys just how tough the Hellions have made me. I can take care of myself and their asshole, too. 

Regulators MC Series:
ICE  #1 – available now!
HAMMER #2 – available now!
COAL  #3 - Coming Soon!


USA Today Bestselling author Chelsea Camaron is a small town Carolina girl with a big imagination. She is a wife and mom chasing her dreams. She writes contemporary romance, erotic suspense, and psychological thrillers. She loves to write blue-collar men who have real problems with a fictional twist. From mechanics to bikers to oil riggers to smokejumpers, bar owners, and be-yond, she loves a strong hero who works hard and plays harder.

Chelsea Camaron Social Contacts:

Jessie Lane is a best-selling author of Paranormal and Contemporary Romance, as well as, Upper YA Paranormal Romance/Fantasy. She lives in Kentucky with her two little Rock Chicks in-the-making and her over protective alpha husband that she’s pretty sure is a latent grizzly bear shifter. She has a passionate love for reading and writing naughty romance, cliff hanging suspense, and out-of-this-world characters that demand your attention, or threaten to slap you around until you do pay attention to them.

Jessie Lane Social Contacts:


Monday, February 22, 2016

Unwrapping a Review of RUNAWAY VAMPIRE, book 23 of the Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you already know I’m a huge fan of Lynsay Sands’s Argeneau series. I eagerly await each new installment, and then after reading, wish the next would come quickly. Well, her recent additions, although good, haven’t given me what I know and love about the series as much as others have in the past…the delight of the secondary characters, the humor, the adventure, and most of all that steamy immortal sex appeal. RUNAWAY VAMPIRE (Argeneau #23) gives us all that and more.

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


The latest entry in the sizzling paranormal vampire series featuring the Argeneau family - no one does wickedly funny and irresistibly steamy like Lynsay Sands!

Dante Notte has heard it said that love hurts. He just wasn't expecting it to run him over in an RV. Still, a punctured lung and broken ribs are nothing compared to the full-body shock he feels whenever he's near the vehicle's driver, Mary Winslow. He needs to keep her safe from their pursuers while he rescues his brother. Most challenging of all, he needs to claim this smart, stubborn woman as his life mate.

The naked, injured, insanely gorgeous younger man who clambered into her RV insists they belong together. If Mary wasn't feeling their incredible connection in every inch of her being, she wouldn't believe it. But now that the men who took Dante's twin are after her too, trusting her gut means risking her life for an immortal who's the very definition of a perfect stranger.

~*~            ~*~            ~*~            ~*~

Mary Winslow’s life is on the downslide since her husband died. She thought she’d lost all that was special and made life worth living. Her only companion now is her faithful canine, Bailey. She made the yearly trek to Texas as she and her husband had for years but found it lacking in enjoyment so decided to return home to Winnipeg, Canada early. Sticking to back roads for comfort, sentimentality, and so as not to rush home to her empty house, Mary thought it was a smart move…until her RV thumped over something in the road. Fearing she’d hit a pedestrian, she stopped and searched the road but found nothing. When Bailey reacts to something in the woods, she and the dog scurry back into the RV and head for the nearest truck stop. She feels terrible about leaving the scene but soon discovers the what or rather the whom she hit is a very handsome, very sexy, and very naked Dante Notte with his sexy Italian accent, gorgeous immortal body, and a claim that she is his life mate. Lucky gal!

Dante is escaping from the men who have been kidnapping immortals. He had to leave his twin brother, Tomasso behind but needs Mary’s help to keep ahead of the kidnappers who are now chasing them until Lucian can get the other hunters in place to grab them, read their minds, and discover where they are keeping their victims. When the bad guys run the RV off the road, everything changes!

First, let me say that I love that Lynsay has given us another older woman as our heroine who is about to discover the secrets of the immortals and what being a life mate to one is all about. Being able to relate to a woman of Mary’s age, although she has at least four years on me, is such a delight. Whenever someone says something about my enjoying looking at younger men, I am always reminded of the saying when it comes to men…if I stop looking I’d have to give up my man (woman) card. Well, since I’m back out there just as Mary is, I completely understand her interest in, her attraction to, and her resistance to the gorgeous naked man in what is essentially a moving bedroom. Yes, Dante spends a lot of time naked or semi-naked in this story and we love that, don’t we?

RUNAWAY VAMPIRE, book 23 in the Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands is everything we go to this series for…humor, sexy men, beautiful women, excitement, adventure, edge of death events, and we even get treated to some of the crazy Bricker annoying Lucian time we love. I know Lucian is a badass and he has to be…it’s his job…but I love him anyway. One of the things I loved about RUNAWAY VAMPIRE was how it reminded me of the very first Argeneau that I ever read, BORN TO BITE (Argeneau #13). There was no lead-in to the action, it just happened and never stopped until the last page. In RUNAWAY VAMPIRE, we are treated to characters we know and love, and are introduced to two new ones who are already favorites of mine and when you meet them, you’ll quickly discern why.

I highly recommend reading RUNAWAY VAMPIRE by Lynsay Sands simply because you’ll have such a great time reading a book—ever. You’ll laugh, you’ll swoon, you’ll worry, and you’ll cheer on Dante as he tries so hard to win Mary over. And before you ask—yes, you can read this one just as you can all of the others that have come before it as a standalone. So what are you waiting for? It’s time you dip into the Argeneau series if you haven’t already. As for me, I’m thinking I need to get an RV and start roaming the back roads, in case Tomasso escapes too.

Happy Reading Everyone!

RUNAWAY VAMPIRE, an Argeneau novel by Lynsay Sands, Avon Romance, release date – February 23, 2016, available in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tasty Book Review Stop on the Release Blast for HIDDEN HEAT by Carla Swafford w/#excerpt & #giveaway

Welcome to my review stop on the Release Day Blitz for HIDDEN HEAT, book one in the Brothers of Mayhem series by Carla Swafford. If you love Motorcycle Club (MC) Romances, you’ll love this one. I’ve got my thoughts on this MC romance as well as an excerpt and a giveaway so stick around.

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

Blurb for HIDDEN HEAT:

Sizzling with passion and suspense, perfect for fans of Joanna Wylde and Julie Ann Walker, the Brothers of Mayhem series revs up as a headstrong beauty faces off against an outlaw motorcycle club—and falls for the bad boy she never saw coming.

Cassidy Ryder refuses to be intimidated by anyone, even the hell-raising, hard-drinking Brothers of Mayhem. The daughter of their former president, she’s not above smashing a few heads to keep her teenage brother safe. But when Cassidy’s big mouth gets her in trouble, the only thing that saves her is some quick thinking from the Brothers’ bartender. He’s commanding and strong, and as smooth as the whiskey he pours: the ultimate temptation for a girl who swore she’d never be a biker’s plaything. 

But Thorn Savalas is no ordinary biker. He’s a cop, and he’s worked too hard earning the Brothers’ trust to blow his cover over a female—even one who rocks a pair of jeans like Cassidy. The only way to protect her is by claiming she’s his old lady. Trouble is, Thorn can’t just pretend. He wants Cassidy, and every scorching touch tells him she feels the same. But acting on their hottest fantasies could leave them both exposed . . . even if nothing else has ever felt so real.

~*~                ~*~                 ~*~

My Review of HIDDEN HEAT:

Not usually a fan of MC (Motorcycle Club) romances, I was a bit hesitant reading HIDDEN HEAT by Carla Swafford but having read her Circle series, I knew she could pack a wallop when she needed to so I took a chance. I’m glad I did. This story was about more than bikers, causing trouble, and behavior bordering on misogynistic. It was tough but emotional, forgiving, and steamy as all get out. Cassidy is a woman with her own mind. Yeah, there were a few times when I thought she pushed the envelope a bit in her defense of her brother, Storm but hey, she is a badass biker chick. But then there is Thorn…hey, he could bring out the femininity in any woman, even the most badass like Cassidy. Carla is good at conjuring real men in her stories and that’s what you get with Thorn. He is sex personified. He’s everything you’d expect from a biker but then he’s not. The pairing was perfect.

HIDDEN HEAT, book one in the Brothers of Mayhem series by Carla Swafford is action from the start and it just keeps going. There’s so much going on in the story that you have to stay glued to it just to keep track. I do think the ending felt a bit rushed but it worked so I can’t complain too much. However, it would’ve been nice if it lasted just a little bit longer so I didn’t have to say good-bye to Thorn yet.

If you’re a fan of MC romance, you’ve got to read HIDDEN HEAT by Carla Swafford. If you’re like me, and kind of on the edge, give it a try because I think it might surprise you as much as it did me.

Happy Reading Everyone!

Excerpt from HIDDEN HEAT: 

With a calmness he didn’t feel, Thorn looked over at Stonewall, the president of the mother chapter and the Skull of the club. From day one, each national president was referred to as the Skull, and during formal proceedings, the Brothers of Mayhem were called Bones. All taken from the design on the club’s center patch: bones surrounding a skull.
Stonewall wasn’t much to look at, with his droopy left eye and crooked nose. Rumor ran he’d been hit with a two-by-four some years ago, but it hadn’t damaged the man’s brain. He was known to be a wily bastard. It took more than brawn to lead the pack of deviants the old man had recruited over the last few years.
Only a small handful of the Brothers joined the club solely for the camaraderie of riding in the wind whenever and wherever they wanted. The majority wanted more, and there was a good reason they were known to be an outlaw motorcycle club; members were also called one percenters. A magazine article a long time ago said 99 percent of motorcycle riders were good, upstanding citizen.
The leftovers thought nothing of cheating, stealing, and selling to bring in the needed cash to work on their bikes and buy even bigger and faster ones. From what Thorn had seen, the majority of the club believed freedom was living a life filled with parties, booze, women, and drugs, and having the money to do it all.
Thorn checked the room for a place to be private and talk. Deciding a back room would take care of what they needed, he first waved over some help.
The woman in his arms tightened her hold and pressed her face into his vest. He inhaled her light, flowery scent and ran his hands up and down her back. Her mouth reached the center of his chest, perfect for wrapping her in his arms and keeping her safe.
Without releasing her, he said, “Pull a glass for the Skull, Prospect.”
The kid who wore a patch on his jacket designating his lowly status jumped over the counter and headed toward the tap. Not voted into the club yet, he had to follow any patched Brother’s orders. So he did all of the grunt work in the hope he could wear the club’s colors, a leather jacket with the sleeves cut off and the Holy Grail of a center skull patch.
Stonewall’s gaze narrowed, but he remained quiet. Thorn knew he walked on thin ice with the man. Stonewall trusted him as much as he did any of the newer members, and that was very little.
“I need to take care of some business,” Thorn said, smirking as he glanced down at the woman in his arms.
He tugged Cassidy toward the office in the back, the only place most of the Brothers would leave them undisturbed. As he expected, she stiffened her legs and tried to pull away. He picked her up and tossed her over his shoulder.
“You bastard! Put me down!” Fists thumping his back, she struggled to be released as he held tight to her legs.
When she tried to throw her body to the side, he slapped her ass a couple of times. She quickly settled down. Damn, that felt good. Probably, someone should’ve spanked her years ago.
“Stay still!” He tried his best to keep his mind off those sweet red cheeks as he strolled along the back hallway. Once they were in the office, he closed the door with a light kick, and he let her slip to her feet, relishing the slide of her body down his. The urge was almost too strong to ignore. Who would blame him? A little demon in the back of his mind nagged that there had to be some benefit from saving her stubborn little neck.
She scrambled around the old steel desk and shot hate out of those beautiful, big, brown eyes. One hand found its way to her back end and rubbed before she caught his grin. She crossed her arms defensively over her chest and grimaced when her butt pressed against the wall. He chuckled, and she shot him an eat-shit-and-die look.
“What are you planning on doing to me?” Her gaze darted to the door, but she was smart enough to not make a move. Yet.
From the first time he’d seen her, a few months ago, he’d been fascinated by her gutsy, sassy attitude. She’d turned up at the bar obviously tracking down her brother. She’d chewed out Storm from the moment she spotted him talking with Stonewall until she shoved him into the car. Her brother, a head taller, let his sister fuss and shake a finger in his face, the whole time grinning ear to ear.
Yeah, the girl—no, scratch that—the woman was trouble, but he always had a thing for strong women. Sex was so much more fun and interesting when they surrendered.
His dick twitched.
To regain control of his body’s reaction, he gave her his back long enough to check for eavesdroppers. He peeked up and down the hallway. No one had followed. He closed the door again and faced her after curbing his wayward response.
“Lower your voice. The walls are thin.” He needed her to understand the danger she was in. Over the years, he’d done a lot of things he wasn’t proud of, but hurting a woman wasn’t one of them. Besides the few slaps he’d placed on her ass would sting for only so long. But if Stonewall had heard her demanding the whereabouts of Storm, the pain the prez dished out wouldn’t be so easily forgotten.
“Let me go. I’ll pay for the broken glasses, but I demand you tell me where Storm is.” She lifted her chin, and her chest rose and fell beneath the tight tee shirt.
Pulling his gaze back to her face, her pink cheeks warned him that she’d caught him staring. What could he say? He was a heterosexual, red-blooded male.

About the Author:

Carla Swafford loves romance novels, action/adventure movies, and men, and her books reflect that. She’s married to her high school sweetheart and lives in Alabama.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Unwrapping a Promo Spotlight for THEIR RELUCTANT BRIDE, a Bridgewater Ménage novel by Vanessa Vale

Book 6 in the Bridgewater Ménage Series
by Vanessa Vale
Releasing February 16, 2016

Emily Woodhouse is a penniless, homeless widow thanks to her recently deceased husband. His gambling ways have placed her in a desperate situation. Faced with working off his debt in the basest of ways, she chooses instead to accept Tyler and Xander's unconventional marriage proposal. She won't be marrying one man, but two.

Tyler and Xander know instantly that Emily is the one for them. Not only does the widowed young woman rouse their protective natures, she knows of their customs regarding a two husband marriage. Despite the fact that Emily needs the safety they can offer, she isn't eager to remarry. She might be reluctant, but they will show her what it will be like with two men to cherish, protect and possess her.

But the past catches up with them in the most dangerous of ways. Only in facing the past can they forge a future together.

Excerpt (SFW version):
You need a wife and Emily is perfect.”
“She’s just lost her husband. How could she be perfect if she’s clearly not interested?” I angled my head toward the direction she’d gone.
“Her husband gambled and drank to excess. While she never once confessed it, I believe he hit her. He was cruel to her at the very least. She is not the least bit sorry he’s dead. In fact, if she weren’t such a nice person, she’d be dancing on his grave.”
The idea of anyone hurting Mrs. Woodhouse made my hands clench. She was too small, too… dainty—even with her lush curves—to protect herself from the likes of a man Olivia described.
“Then she can find a man she truly likes this time around. She’s young, beautiful. She’s a catch for any man in town.”
Olivia grinned. “So you think she’s beautiful?”
“Any conscious man would think so,” I countered.
“Then you should offer for her.”
I sighed, exasperated. “Why?”
“Because you and Xander need a wife.”
I shook my head. “We do not need a wife.”
“I see the way you look at the couples at Bridgewater. Everyone’s happily married. It’s hard, I’m sure, for you to witness since no one else marries like we do. Like your parents. You want a marriage with Xander like all of us at Bridgewater. Admit it.”
“Of course I admit it. I won’t marry any other way.” I put my hand up. “That does not mean that our bride should be Mrs. Woodhouse.”
Olivia pursed her lips. “She has to marry.”
My brows went up. “Again, why?”
“The bank is taking the ranch. Debts, most of them I’m sure are because of her husband’s gambling. She has no place to go. No money. She’ll have to get a job and there are none, unless she wants to work on her back.”
“Olivia,” I warned.
“What? It’s true.” Olivia took a deep breath. “She’s going to have to marry. A woman doesn’t have any other options. It might as well be you.”
I frowned. “Is that a compliment?”
“Of course, it is. She deserves someone—or two someones—who will be good to her. I know you and Xander would be. Plus, I know her well and she knows about how we marry. I like her. Trust me, you’ll be well suited.”
I turned so I could look at the woman’s retreating figure. Well suited? I had no doubt we’d be very compatible in bed. She would be no hardship to look at. That did not make a marriage, but it certainly helped.

About the Author:
USA Today Bestselling author
Who doesn't love the romance of the old West? Vanessa Vale takes the sensual appeal of rugged cowboys a step further with her bestselling books set in the Montana Territory. They are much more than just sexy historical westerns. They're deliciously naughty reads that sometimes push the boundaries of fantasy. It's pure escapism with quite a few very hot, very alpha cowboys.

When she's not writing, Vanessa savors the insanity of raising two boys, is figuring out how many meals she can make with a pressure cooker, and teaches a pretty mean karate class. She considers herself to be remarkably normal, exceedingly introverted and fairly vanilla, which does not explain her steamy stories and her fascination with cowboys, preferably more than one at a time.

She lives in the Wild Wild West where there's an endless source of 'research' material.

Her social media links:

Join my mailing list and get a free book!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

TO THE STARS by Molly McAdams Release Week Blitz with #excerpt & #Giveaway

A Thatch Series Novel
by Molly McAdams

Available now at

In the second standalone book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Molly McAdams’ Thatch series, Knox Alexander must convince his long-time love Harlow Evans that they’re meant to be together.

He promised to wait for her.
She told him he was wasting his time.
Not waiting for him ended up being the biggest mistake of her life.

When they were younger, Knox Alexander swore to Harlow Evans that he would wait for her to turn eighteen so they could be together. But that was two and a half years away, and Harlow couldn’t ask him to give up all the fun and thrills of going away to college for her. As the years passed, Knox remained a constant in her life but when her eighteenth birthday came around, Harlow’s heart belonged to someone else.

Every day for the last four years, Harlow has been haunted by that fateful choice. And though he may appear unaffected by what happened in their past, Knox has always tried to fill the void Harlow left. But when he comes stumbling back into her life and refuses to leave, will Harlow finally let him into her heart…? 


“Relationship,” Knox huffed. “Low, I’ve told you, you could hardly call it that. Besides, I told her about you before whatever she and I were ever started,” he said. “It’s not my fault she thought I was joking.”
“Well, it’s kind of weird, don’t you think? Telling her, ‘hey, sure I’ll be your date for this group thing, but there’s this girl I’m waiting for, and she’s my priority’, seems like a way to say you don’t want to get too attached at the beginning.”
“But I told her,” he reasoned.
“You’re horrible.”
“Not horrible. I’m just in love with you, and I have a year and a half left until I can have you.”
I gripped at my warming chest and tried to ignore it as I sighed. “I’m going to stop answering your calls whenever you get a new girlfriend.”
“There won’t be a new one, and I know you wouldn’t.”
My eyebrows rose even though he couldn’t see me. “And how do you know that?”
“Because you love me too. Through all this bullshit, you love me, and you need these calls as bad as I do.”
“I do love you, Knox,” I whispered into the phone. It wasn’t the first time I’d told him, and I knew it wouldn’t be the last. “I love you to the moon and back.” My eyes fell to my dresser where my monthly bouquet of red poppies sat. These had come just a few days ago. The card, as always, had read: I’m still waiting for you.
“To the moon?” A deep, husky laugh filled the other end of the phone. “The moon isn’t that far, Harlow.”
“Isn’t it?”
“No. Not far enough.” There were a few beats of silence before he confessed, “I want to love you to the stars.”
My mouth parted and a soft huff slipped past my lips. I closed my eyes and let his words replay in my mind and move through my body as I agreed, “Then to the stars.”


Molly grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband, daughter, and fur babies. When she's not diving into the world of her characters, some of her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and long walks on the beach…which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes. She has a weakness for crude-humored movies and fried pickles, and loves curling up in a fluffy comforter during a thunderstorm ... or under one in a bathtub if there are tornadoes. That way she can pretend they aren't really happening.

And don’t miss the first book in the Thatch Series…

by Molly McAdams


Monday, February 8, 2016

Unwrapping a Minor Rant on MERCY STREET. Shouldn't art imitate life?

One of the reasons I so enjoy historical romance novels, as well as most historically based novels and film adaptations, is because I love history. Having grown up in Virginia, I was taught more than my share of Virginia history as well as US history. Why? Because living in Virginia is living in the footsteps of all who came before us and settled this great country. As Virginians, we are surrounded by history. It’s difficult to journey anywhere in the state where there isn’t a marker, historical monument, or museum extolling the history of the area going back to Jamestown. It’s Virginia and I love it.

Because of my love of history, and because I grew up just south of Washington, DC and Alexandria, when I heard about the production of MERCY STREET for PBS, I was very excited. I’ve seen the first three episodes with three more to go. This is not a review of the show but a commentary on some rather snarky remarks made in a review of this series. Prepare yourself for a minor rant…well, trying to keep minor.


Inspired by real people and events, Mercy Street goes beyond the front lines of the Civil War and into the chaotic world of the Mansion House Hospital in Union-occupied Alexandria, Virginia. , Mercy Street takes viewers beyond the battlefield and into the lives of Americans on the Civil War home front as they face the unprecedented challenges of one of the most turbulent times in our nation’s history. 

Set in Virginia in the spring of 1862, Mercy Street follows the lives of two volunteer nurses on opposite sides of the conflict: Nurse Mary Phinney (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a staunch New England abolitionist, and Emma Green (Hannah James), a naive young Confederate belle. The two collide at Mansion House, the Green family’s luxury hotel that has been taken over and transformed into a Union Army hospital in Alexandria, a border town between North and South and the longest Union occupied city of the war. Ruled under martial law, Alexandria served as the melting pot of the region: with soldiers, civilians, female volunteers, doctors, wounded fighting men from both sides, runaway slaves, prostitutes, speculators and spies.

The intersection of North and South within the confines of a small occupied town creates a rich world that is chaotic, conflicted, corrupt, dynamic and even hopeful — a cauldron within which these characters strive, fight, love, laugh, betray, sacrifice and, at times, act like scoundrels. This series is not about battles and glory; it’s about the drama and unexpected humor of everyday life behind the front lines of war. It’s a fresh twist on an iconic story, one that resonates with larger themes we still struggle with today.

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While reading a blog post at one of my favorite blogs, which will remain unnamed simply because I still like it and don’t want to get banned from it, I could not help but disagree with some of these particular ladies’ ideas regarding the series and in turn, historical romance.

The author of this review felt that MERCY STREET was ‘riddled with modern clichés, melodrama, and a bend-over-backwards attempt to show everyone involved in the Civil War as nuanced, complicated, and principled so as to result in none of the characters in the show being at all interesting or believable’.*

*This is not a direct quote, although close…as an editor, I can’t allow poor writing even to be quoted on my blog. J

Having watched the same shows as this reviewer had, who mind you normally keeps her reviews to costuming and not the overall production, I feel that her remarks are entirely too snarky. I thought about commenting on said blog but had I, I’m sure the reaction would not have been favorable. As I said, I’m a fan of the blog and so have no wish to alienate myself.

However, I took great issue with the statements in the review regarding the true history of the series. Seeing Union soldiers being anything but kind and considerate to the citizens of the city of Alexandria must most certainly be perpetuating a lie. The truth is that Union forces throughout the entire conflict held the city of Alexandria and that wasn’t just a few months, but years. The residents of the city were forced to live under martial law. Businesses were confiscated or shutdown if the owners refused to sign a pledge allegiance to the Union. Homes were confiscated and used for boarding troops, and there was no opportunity or remedy for refusal. Anyone caught doing anything the Union authorities thought unlawful could, and more times than not, be shot on sight. The Union were the victors of the War Between the States and so have been painted as the good guys in modern history books. Heaven knows that our Federal government would never allow such brash behavior to happen under its watch…now would it.

My greatest objection in this review was labeling the series as being riddled with modern clichés…in particular regarding the women in the series.

This review was critical of Mary Phinney for being portrayed as a wealthy widow, volunteer nurse, and a New England abolitionist. Well, the truth is that Mary Phinney was a real person in history. She was in fact a wealthy widow, her late husband being Baron Von Olnhausen…the characters make all kinds of snide remarks about it in the first episode. She was from New England, and she was very much an abolitionist. My question is why this reviewer felt that any of this was in anyway considered modern cliché. Are they implying that a wealthy woman, or any woman in the 19th century, who no longer had the protection of a husband, must quarter herself away from society and not put her talents, abilities, education, and intelligence to good use?

Their next snarky, and rather ignorant, remarks were thrown at the character of Anne Hastings. This character was not real but she was based on the real Anne Reading who was actually trained by Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War. The reviewer thought her having a sexual relationship with one of the doctors too cliché. It makes me wonder if these ladies think that just because a woman has a vocation and no husband that she wouldn't crave the company of a man.
Anne Hastings and Dr. Byron Hale in bed. *oh my!*
This is where the connection to historical romance novels comes into play.

When defending romance novels, I will hear from those who think of them as fluff, soft porn, and little stories written by silly women and that historical romances are fairy tales and not historically accurate. Reading something like this review lends me to believe that there are some people, who are truly ignorant of history. Are we to assume that there were no sexual relationships outside of marriage other than scandalous affairs and prostitution? That any respectable woman of society who had sex with a man who was not her husband was most likely raped because God forbid she couldn’t have actually desired it.

Are we also to assume that before the 1960’s, there was no pre-marital sex, no sex for widows, for women unhappily married to womanizing men, that there was no homosexual relationships, or as named as another cliché by this review…drug use. All of these things only came about after the so-called sexual revolution of the 20th century…and even at that, the latter part of the century because goodness knows, women certainly lived quiet celibate lives throughout the rest of it.

I told you this was rant. I object to people, men, and women pressing their politically correct versions of history onto every book, television, and movie production, which in turn, forces it on the rest of us. People have been people, human beings, sexual creatures, weak-willed, and unable to resist vices, emotional, dramatic, and just like the modern us throughout time eternity. Just because it’s not written that way in modern, politically correct history schoolbooks doesn’t mean that it was any different than it is now. The only difference is…we are supposed to be much more accepting of the nature of being human than they were in the last millennium.

What do you think? Is showing characters being human, submitting to their desires, their fears, their loneliness, and their vices simply cliché or is it just portraying real life as it was and is?

If you’ve seen the show, I’d love to know what you think about its accuracy. If not, I hope you’ll check it out. It’s really quite good.

Happy Reading Everyone!

MERCY STREET on PBS, Sunday nights at 10 PM. You can also see episodes at PBS online.