Meant to Be

Congrats to best selling author Nan Reinhardt on her latest release, book two of the Four Irish Brothers Winery series, Meant to Be! I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy early, and I have a lot to say…

  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Heat Level:❤️
  • Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

Chicago lawyer Sean may have moved away from the small town of River’s Edge, but it’ll always be his home. And when he’s shot outside the courthouse and needs some time away to recover, he returns to the place of his birth where he has so many fond memories and where his best friend Meghan still lives.

Meghan’s the new mayor of River’s Edge and is having a hard time bringing the place up to speed. When her best friend gets shot, she puts her life on hold to see him through the darkness. But a handsome police detective might just make her wonder if it’s time she expanded her circle of friends. Torn between the past and future, the little town seems to get a lot smaller.

While Meghan tries to keep River’s Edge running, she falls into a comfortable rhythm with a healing Sean. But when their friendship seems to drift towards something more, she’s more confused than ever. Stepping over the line could mean the end for everything they’ve shared. But if they keep their distance, will they possibly be giving up what’s meant to be?

Who did I spy on page one? A certain familiar face from the first book named Sam. Moments where characters from other books pop up, reminds me of why I adore series works. Seeing bits of previous stories go on in the background is always one of my favorite touches, especially in small towns.

I loved Meghan. She has a great head on her shoulders and a real way of connecting with people, although she’s more sensitive than she lets on. I enjoyed the fantastic relationship with her friend Sam as well. Their witty back and forth was fun nod to girlfriend relationships. Although the focus was definitely on Meghan and the possibilities with Sean.

Sean and Meghan have decades of history behind them, making them a seemingly perfect match. But watching them stumble through the what if’s only highlighted their differences sometimes. However, it’s easy to see why a girl might be drawn to Sean. He’s handsome, smart, and accomplished, but never let it go to his head

Overall, I enjoyed this latest installment and look forward to what’s next in this line of sweet, small town romances.

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Overdrive

Hello dear readers and thank you to Kelsey for hosting the Calhouns on your blog.

Juanita Kees at Count’s Kustoms

Hello dear readers and thank you to Kelsey for hosting the Calhouns on your blog.

The idea for Calhoun Customs Garage was born out of my love for NASCAR and programs like Counting Cars, Overhaulin’ and West Coast Customs. The people behind the scenes of these television shows are passionate about what they do. Often, the business is a family affair, like Orange County Choppers, for example. And, like the Teutul family,where there is passion there is bound to be drama, conflict and a romance or two.

The over-arching plot of the series is set around the importance of family. Marty Calhoun has Parkinson’s Disease and he knows he only has a small window in which to reunite his scattered family. Two of his sons, Chase and Carter have stayed in Bigfork, Montana while the other three have drifted away from the town. He’d like to have them all home again and settled before his time runs out.

Chase, being the eldest, is the first sibling I tackled in book 1, Overdrive. He’s a workaholic with no time to date, let alone fall in love. Ha! That’s what he thought 😊. Along comes Charlotte (Charlie) Jackson, outrunning her rebellious past and finding shelter in the attic above the garage. The two lovers take a bumpy ride together on the road to their happy-ever-after.

Goodreads reviewer, Isha, had this to say about Overdrive: “Steers full throttle through life, love and redemption to find a home within your heart. I hope you’ll fall in love with the men, women and children of Calhoun Customs Garage. 

I would recommend that the books are read in order of release as you will also meet Mason in book 1, and the lead up to his story in book 3, Burnout, is littered throughout the first two releases. Book 2, Fast Lane is due for release on July 23rd, 2019. Happy reading!

Excerpt:

Long eyelashes brushed her cheeks in sleep. Lips made for kissing parted on the soft rhythm of her breathing. She most definitely didn’t look like a criminal on the run. Just a tired young mother. An extraordinarily beautiful Sleeping Beauty like the one in the fairy tales his mom used to read to Grace. If he were that prince, he’d happily kiss her awake.

The baby let out a wail that killed any remotely romantic ideas forming in his mind. Green eyes fluttered open, muddled with sleep. She pushed herself up on her elbow and paused as if orientating herself to her surroundings before reaching for the bundle in the basket.

“Hey, baby. Is it feeding time already? Hush now.” She cuddled the baby to her, making cooing noises that made Chase wish he was the one she held in her arms.

He waited in the shadows until the baby had settled and the hum of infant noises and soothing lullabies filled the air. It reminded him of a long time ago when his mom’s soft singing had flowed through the attic space at night. There was something exceptionally beautiful about the bond between mother and baby, a sight he was more than happy to enjoy now that he knew he wasn’t imagining things. 

He let his words drift quietly into the almost-silence. “So that’s what happened to my chicken salad sandwich.”

With love comes a little overhauling …

Ex NASCAR race king, Marty Calhoun, has built a legacy for his family, and now it’s time to round them up and bring them home to claim it. Each of his five children have hearts in need of overhauling. They all have hard lessons to learn. The one thing Marty wants most is to see his children find happiness and love at Calhoun Customs Garage.

OVERDRIVE

Chase Calhoun has worked hard at making Calhoun Customs a world-wide sensation and keeping his father’s dream alive. He hasn’t had time to think about settling down, so he’s not expecting to find love or new life hiding in the attic of their garage among the ghosts of his family’s past.

Charlotte Jackson is on the run from a rebellious past, determined to prove she can be a good mom to three-month-old baby, Zoe. Tired of being delegated to the back office of the racing team her famous NASCAR family owns, she sets out to establish herself as a custom design artist. But she’s out of money, luck and time, and she can’t hide in the attic at Calhoun Customs forever.

While Chase slowly loses his heart to his refrigerator thief and the baby bundle asleep in his laundry basket, Charlotte learns that sometimes family is more than just blood and DNA.

DIGITAL:

 Kobo

Did you know that Overdrive and many titles are available digitally from Tule’s own bookstore? Check it out!

PRINT:

Finding love and hope in small towns with dark secrets …

Juanita escapes the real world by reading and writing romance novels with elements of suspense, Fantasy Paranormal and smalltown stories. Her romance novels star spirited heroines who give the hero a run for his money before giving in. She creates emotionally engaging worlds steeped in romance, suspense, mystery and intrigue, set in dusty, rural outback Australia and on the NASCAR racetracks of America. When she’s not writing, Juanita is mother to three grown boys and has a passion for fast cars and country living.

Juanita loves to hear from fans and would love for you to share her writing journey:

On the Web

http://www.juanitakees.com

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/juanitakees

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/juanitakeesauthor

BookBub:

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/juanita-kees

 

 

A Small Town Christmas

It’s almost Christmas in July, which means it’s time to get in the spirit of things. I did it by reading A Small Town Christmas by Nan Reinhardt, book one in the Four Irish Brothers Winery series. P.S. the second book in the series, Meant to Be, comes out July 18th.

  • Genre: Christmas Romance
  • Heat Level: ❤️
  • Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

Samantha “Sam” Hayes works hard for what she has and loves her job as a lawyer in Chicago. When she’s sent to help her boss’s brother in a little town, she jumps at the chance for an easy assignment and some well deserved rest. But as soon as her BMW breaks down outside of town, she realizes she’s not in for a cake walk. However, a handsome stranger helps her change her tire and promises a silver lining.

Conor Flaherty is a busy man between running Four Irish Brothers Winery and raising his young daughter Alannah alone. His stepmother and step siblings are making his life difficult by pushing him to hand over chunks of the winery they don’t deserve. His brother promises to send down a shark lawyer to sort things out, but the last person he expects to see in his office is the beautiful woman he once helped.

Close quarters make attraction easy for the pair, who have more in common than they thought. But both have pasts, and a future together means overcoming their own baggage.

I’ll start off by saying I found this single dad angle to be refreshing. In some books, the kid is nothing more than a romantic angle and is basically given to the newly introduced love interest for diaper changes and bedtime snuggles. Gag. No real parent would meet someone they wanted to date and then pass of their child to a complete stranger for bath time. But Reinhardt didn’t fall into that “useless dad” trope. Conor is a good parent and a believable one at that. Alannah is a real person in this book, a welcome twist to other novels.

It isn’t just his parenting that makes Conor a heartthrob. He’s smart and driven, but not in an unobtainable billionaire type of way. He could be a real person. Sam’s the same way. She’s a hardworking career woman, but she’s not aloof or out of touch with life. I rooted for them from chapter one.

Overall, I found this book to be a refreshing take on single parent romances and put me in the mood for a good glass of wine.

Match-Made Christmas

The 4th of July isn’t the only holiday this month. Christmas just is just around the corner and author Daria White is making sure everyone has a happy holiday with her new book, Match Made Christmas.

From the outside, Adrienne has everything any woman could want. However, she knows what real happiness is, and it isn’t having a good job and a condominium. Traveling home to her small Texas town for a friend’s wedding, Adrienne is hit from all sides with the happiness she hasn’t found for herself—her long-married parents, her joyful sister and brother-in-law and their two children, and her childhood friends. They all think she has it all… all except one.

Trace has been a nemesis since grade school. Always ready with a quip and happy to squabble over even the smallest thing, Adrienne dreaded seeing him when she came back for the wedding. So why does it seem like Trace is the only one who really knows her, who sees her for who she is?

Losing his parents to a plane crash and his uncle to cancer, Trace is not too keen on losing anyone else close to him. If only she didn’t skip town after graduation. He didn’t have time to tell her how he felt. There was a reason behind all his teasing. He loved their banters. It meant spending time with her. He could hear her voice. Now she’s back, but her leaving is inevitable. He’d have to risk his heart by asking her to stay. He can’t take another loss.

Working to save their friends’ wedding brings Adrienne and Trace together. The clock is ticking, and it’s the worst blizzard Lakeshore, Texas has seen in years. Will these two match their friends or end up matched themselves?


Daria White was also kind enough to share a brief expert, just to give you a taste of her work…

Adrienne drummed her fingers against her writing desk, willing time to slow down. Today marked her last day to spend in Los Angeles, her adopted home. It was the last day to enjoy the serenity of her quiet author’s life before going home to… Lakeshore, Texas. 

She recalled Milly’s Coffee House, with colorful and welcoming displays in the storefront windows. Lakeshore’s streetlights and single-lane traffic with faded pavement markings filled her mind, and she faintly heard the chimes ringing as the doors would open. She couldn’t walk down the tree-lined sidewalk without someone waving, despite the uneven ground when walking over cracked pavement. How did she define her hometown? Fresh flowers and sunshine, especially in the spring and summer.

How long did she avoid going home? Too long, as her mother loved telling her. Then again, could anyone blame her? Her last memory of Lakeshore… not a pleasant one, but still she missed it. 

I really don’t want to go back… Stop it. She admonished herself, knowing she couldn’t miss her best friend’s wedding. Paige would never forgive her. Still, it wouldn’t be easy going home. 

Her cell rang. Speak of the devil.

“Hi Paige,” Adrienne greeted.                                                             

“Please tell me you’ll be here this weekend,” her best friend pleaded.

“I promised you already,” she assured her. “Are you okay? Do you need chocolate?”

Paige moaned. “Why Adrienne? You know I’m trying to lose these last five pounds. Chocolate is not part of my diet.”

Adrienne giggled. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to put the idea in your head. Why did you go on a diet again? You look amazing.”

“I want everything to be perfect.”

Adrienne smiled to herself. Paige’s perfectionism could be both a blessing and a curse. She could hear the stress brimming in her friend’s voice.

 “Calm down,” she coaxed. “By this time next year, you and Eric will be married.”

Her friend agreed. “Yeah, he’s great.”

“There you go, focus on that and everything will work itself out.”

“How do you always know what to say to calm me down?” Paige said.

Adrienne chuckled. “You’re my best friend, remember? At least for now. That’ll probably change after the wedding.”

“Don’t say that,” Paige objected. “You will always be my best friend. You’re more like a sister to me.”

Adrienne pressed her lips together, embarrassed at letting her insecurity show. “You’re a sister to me too,” she said, but the comment already left her lips. 

“Are you sure you’ll be okay?” Paige asked. “You know with… Trace—”

“I’m not even thinking about him,” Adrienne cut in, hoping to staunch any talk of her childhood enemy. Well, not quite an enemy. She and Trace never had a conversation without arguing at some point. “It’s been years and I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure it won’t be awkward?”

“It won’t. We’re both grown and I’m not going to have any problems at your wedding.”

“I don’t understand why you two never hooked up,” Paige pointed out to her.

Adrienne choked. “What!”

“Yeah, I always thought you two would finally realize how you feel.”

“That will not happen. There’s too much history with us and we don’t know—I mean—I’m fine and when the right guy comes along, I’ll know.”

“Even if it’s Trace?”

Adrienne rolled her eyes. “Paige.”

She giggled. “Kidding.”

“Concentrate on you and Eric and the wedding of your dreams.”

“I know it will be fine, but the process is so overwhelming.”

“I’ll be there before you know it. We’ll get through it together like we always do,” she beamed, relieved the subject changed.

“Okay, I trust you. I can’t wait to see you.”

Adrienne replied, “Me too. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Love you, bestie.”

“Love you.” 

Adrienne ended the call, already regretting the days ahead. I haven’t seen Trace in years. Did he look the same? The Trace she remembered made her swoon with his scintillating smile, and…


  • To order this book, click HERE
  • To visit Daria’s website, click HERE
  • To listen to her podcast, click HERE

Daria White knew she wanted to be an author from a young age and published her first holiday-themed work in 2013. She never thought she could make a career out of publishing until her father pushed her to take a chance on her dream. Now she focuses on sweet romances, but has plans to expand to new genres for future pieces.

When not writing, she enjoys watching movies, cooking, strengthening her bond with God, and listening to music.

To Marry a Morgan

A new day, a new audiobook, just how I like it. Today I want to introduce To Marry a Morgan (Pathways to Romance Book 1) by Cinnamon Worth, narrated by my girl Megan Green.

  • Genre: Sweet Regency Romance
  • Heat Level:❤️
  • Narration Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers
  • Story Rating: 4/6 Glass Slippers

Philip Heartford never wanted to step foot in his ancestral lands again after the death of his brother. But as the new lord of the manor, he must return and take a wife. But he can’t just pick any girl at the garden party, he believes he must atone for his sins by marrying the woman his brother once loved, Allison Morgan.

Julia Morgan has always been in her beautiful sister Allison’s shadow and has contented herself with being a spinster, too ill suited for marriage. She would once have married a certain Mr. Heartford, but he made it clear he intends on righting old wrongs by taking Allison to be his bride. So ever the dutiful sister and friend, Julia plays match maker.

Allison despises Philip and Philip is annoyed by Allison’s refusal of him. Yet Julia works hard to unite them, if only to see her elder sister wed before she becomes a spinster too. Entangled lives lead to a mess as the English countryside echoes with wedding bells.

So, this isn’t my first Cinnamon Worth book. I enjoy her short, sweet historicals and the small touches she puts into them to make them believable. They’re all full of balls and gardens and secret meetings between lovers. Her pieces were basically made for the playful voice of Megan Green who has the perfect accent for period pieces like this one.

Phillip is wounded and prideful, too wrapped up in himself to see how he comes off. He bosses poor Julia around and proposes to Allison like, “You’re old and nobody’s going to marry you. Marry me and you’ll live on the country estate alone, taking care of my land while I go have fun in London…wait, where are you going? Why didn’t you accept?” He was a little on the dense side sometimes, but once more of the story is revealed, you see why he’s so forcefully detached and forgive him.

Julia was a gem, and in my opinion. She has a low opinion of herself, thinking she’s too “fat” and ugly compared to Allison, which is why she’s all too happy to buy herself a little cottage to live out her days. Her heart is too big for high society and the pressures that come with it. By the first few chapters, I was firmly on her side and wanted to scream at her to go find her happiness, since out of everyone in the book, she deserved it the most.

Overall, I enjoyed this story, brought to life by the ever talented Megan Green and suggest regency lovers take a peak.

Meet Audrey Wick

Audrey Wick is an academic and romance author who was kind enough to answer a few questions about her life, writing, and her newest book and she awaits its release. Audrey Wick is a full-time English professor at Blinn College in Texas. Her writing has appeared in college textbooks published by Cengage Learning and W. W. Norton as well as in The Houston ChronicleThe Chicago TribuneThe Orlando Sentinel, and various literary journals. Audrey believes the secret to happiness includes lifelong learning and good stories. But travel and coffee help. She has journeyed to over twenty countries—and sipped coffee at every one.

Enjoying a Harry Potter-inspired cold coffee drink.

You’re quite the traveler—almost twenty countries where you’ve “sipped coffee at every one.” As a fellow coffee lover, I have to ask, which place has the best brew?

Costa Rican coffee has been my favorite. I even toured a coffee plantation while I was there. But, truly, good coffee can be found anywhere. Hot or iced, it’s a beverage that makes me happy.

Egypt: Heading inside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo to explore treasures of the ancient world.

Have any of your travels inspired any of your books?

While I write primarily in Texas settings, statewide traveling as well as international traveling have provided inspiration for many of the scenarios, character traits, and even phrasing that I use. For me, life and writing intertwine. 

 

Taking it easy on a boat ride near Chang Mai in Thailand.

You’re not only a published romance author, but an academic who has written for textbooks. How is it to write two such wildly different things? And do you prefer one to the other?

Academic writing and creative writing are, indeed, completely different worlds. But I find that, no matter what I write, I want to connect with readers. So whether I’m sharing a teaching tip with higher education colleagues or creating dialogue to entertain fiction readers, I try to do that. 

Filming some writing videos for college students and showing off my trusty book bag.

What are your top “must read” books for this summer?

This has been a great year for fiction! A good beach read is MONTAUK, a women’s fiction debut by Nicola Harrison that released in June. Jamie Brenner’s DRAWING HOME is also on my list because I enjoyed her previous books. On the romance side, I’m looking forward to GAME ON in Joanne Rock’s Texas Playmaker series (which is also set in Last Stand) that releases in August. Finally, since I’m traveling to Sweden this summer, I plan to read more Fredrik Backman. 

Now that you know a little bit about Audrey Wick, let’s get to know her newest book On the Market, Texas BBQ Brothers. Book 1, which releases on July 11th and is available for preorder HERE.

Valerie Perry has just inherited her grandmother’s home in Last Stand, Texas, a far cry in the country from her city life as an organic grocery buyer in San Antonio. Her methodical daily routine suits her just fine, so she aims to freshen up the property, sell it, and take her funds back to the city. She’s only got two weeks during her vacation to make this happen. Now is the time to cash in and get out.

The oldest Hutchinson son, who people around town know as “Hutch,” is a third generation local who is poised to take over the family business with his brother, Cole. The barbeque brothers have very different ideas about the future of their restaurant, “The Hut.” Just when he thought his biggest headache was his job, Hutch meets Valerie and both their worlds are upended. He’s drawn to this fish out of water, but Valerie’s time in Last Stand has an expiration date.

Their sweet and saucy styles don’t mix, but can they both find the recipe to a happy future?You’re based in Texas, was that helpful in writing On the Market?

Absolutely! Place is an important part of fiction writing for me, and I love being able to add descriptive elements of a location that I know and love.

Barbecue is a big part of Hutch’s family and they have some strong opinions on how to do things when it comes to their food. Do you have a favorite barbecue place or sauce?

In Texas, there are so many great barbeque markets that the statewide lifestyle magazine Texas Monthly has a whole issue devoted to it. Readers who don’t subscribe can check out this website: https://www.texasmonthly.com/bbq-home/. I interviewed the pitmaster at Prause’s Meat Market in La Grange to help ensure accuracy of details in the book. Prause’s has been profiled in Texas Monthly, and their brisket and sausage are among the best in the state. I highly recommend!

Hutch is a BBQ king from Last Stand, Texas and Valerie is a vegetarian with no interest in the small town. What is it about opposites attracting that’s so fun to read?

Whether in romance or women’s fiction, I enjoy reading about relationships. The “opposites attract” trope is one that provides built-in conflict, but can also be handled playfully. That’s the approach I use in ON THE MARKET to create an entertaining push-and-pull dynamic between my hero and heroine.  

Do you have small character bios for Hutch and Valerie?

Hutch is a third generation Last Stand local who believes in honest work and doing right by others. As co-owner of The Hut, he aims to continue his family’s legacy in offering quality food in a traditional barbeque market setting. 

Valerie is a city girl from San Antonio who inherits her grandmother’s bungalow in Last Stand. She feels like a fish out of water, especially when she’s tasked with renovations that go awry, thanks in part to Hutch. 

Their sweet and saucy styles don’t initially mix, but they ultimately find the perfect recipe for happiness. 

Last Stand, Texas is a fictional town created by Tule Publishing, where authors come together to build a world. How is it to write your own stories in a town where readers look forward to “character sightings” and familiar places? 

This is the first multi-author project in which I’ve been involved, and the energy of writing, creating, and sharing ideas for a place is contagious. I hope readers get as invested in this place as the authors are. Last Stand is a great place to be!

Off the Market, book two of the Texas Barbecue Brothers series is currently in the works. Can you give us any information on that?

OFF THE MARKET is the duet book to ON THE MARKET, where readers get to follow younger brother Cole Hutchinson. Whereas his older brother is a traditionalist, Cole takes a more modern approach to running The Hut. The barbeque brothers continue to clash, but there are also some sweet surprises in Cole’s romantic future . . . That story releases August 13, which will be a perfect way for readers to slide out of summer.

When you’re done in Last Stand, Texas, what’s next for you?

I hope NOT to be done in Last Stand, Texas! It’s a wonderful fictional town that’s ripe for lots more stories . . . so stay tuned!


That’s it for my little chat with Audrey Wick! I know this isn’t the last we’ve seen of her, or her Texas BBQ Brothers.

Her Forever Cowboy

Weekends mean many things in the summer–BBQs, trips to the beach, days by the pool, and time spend with family and friends. But this weekend there’s a treat in store for you, a free book by a national best selling author!

Until July 8th, Her Forever Cowboy by Debra Salonen is free! One clicking this five star read is the best way to start your weekend off on the right foot. I already have my copy, so look for my review in the next few days! But before you buy, take a look at the blurb and see if could ever say no to this cowboy romance.

It’s just for the summer…

Single mom Anne Fraser is this close to breaking through the glass ceiling of corporate hotel management. She can’t afford to take off a whole summer to fill her late mother’s shoes at the Silver Rose Guest Ranch even if a few months out of the city might be just what the doctor ordered for eight-year-old Zoey. Anne can’t say no to her beloved stepfather’s request–even if the job means sharing the reins with the man whose kiss she’s never forgotten.

A little R&R at a B&B…

Professional bull rider Will Cavanaugh was this close to his goal of becoming World Champion when an injury sidelined him. Spending the summer managing his grandfather’s guest ranch might please the team doctor, but working with Anne brings challenges Will never saw coming—like falling in love. But that doesn’t mean he’s giving up on his dream

Battered and a bit disillusioned by life, Will and Anne return to the Silver Rose to repay old debts. To fall in love again. But only for the summer.

Or, maybe…for a lifetime.

If you’re in the US or the UK, you can download this sweet cowboy romance through the links below:

  • US Kindle click HERE
  • UK Kindle click HERE

The first book in the West Coast Happily Ever After Series, it’s just a taste of all the stories best selling author Debra Salonen has in store. To learn more about her, or her works, visit her website HERE.

Secrets of a Highland Warrior

Hot Highlander alert! I’m always pumped to read a book based in my favorite country, so when Nicole Locke told me about Secrets of a Highland Warrior, I was totally on board.

  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Heat Level: ❤️❤️❤️❤️
  • Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

The year is 1293 and Rory Lochmore is the son of the chief of Clan Lochmore. Their lands are separated from the McCrieff’s by a single stream, one too thin to keep them from constantly drawing their swords. Rory is eager to prove his worth yet again by claiming the land given to them by the king, but a pair of deep, green eyes catch him off guard. Yet he’s not one to be swayed by a pretty face, until he’s made an offer he can’t refuse.

Ailsa McCrieff is the healer for her clan and the daughter of the next chief. When her father inherits the title, he’ll also be inheriting generations of hatred between the McCrieffs and the Lochmores, but he has a plan to mend the strife…have Ailsa marry Rory. She’s horrified at the thought of being tied to a savage, despite his handsomeness, but she knows it could be the only way to save lives.

There’s nothing more then animosity and physical attraction between them, not a great start to a marriage. But the fates of both their clans rest on their shoulders and only a wedding will stop the bloodshed. Can they come together to make a true match, or are they doomed to lives of misery?

While this is book four in the Lochmore Legacy Series, it’s the only book I’ve read. While I did feel that I missed out on some backstory and a few tidbits what would have made reading much smoother, it wasn’t anything crazy. I would suggest starting with book one, as you should with all good series, but I enjoyed myself immensely, even by starting at the end.

Ailsa was a fantastic character. Her tongue was just as sharp as the shears she used for cutting herbs and she wasn’t one to be meek and obey. She’s really makes the marriage happen by seeing Rory see reason and I liked how she wasn’t just a swooning lass. Their relationship was also a pleasure to follow, as they went through not only newlywed growing pains, but found a way to trust that the other wouldn’t stab them in their sleep!

I also found the historical side to be very believable. If you’re not familiar with me, or the blog, you won’t know that I’m a historian and nothing ruins a historical book for me than blatant mess ups. For example, many people will write books set in Scotland and throw kilts around like confetti, despite using the wrong tartan or having the time period set before kilts were even a thing! It’s silly, but having Locke not throw Rory into a kilt was fabulous.

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it to all historical romance lovers.

Precious Bones

Irina Shapiro has captivated me since the first book in her Echoes from the Past series. When she told me about her book Precious Bones, I knew I was in for yet another fantastic ride. And, as always, I wasn’t the least bit disappointed.

  • Genre: Historical/Contemporary Romantic Mystery/Thriller
  • Heat Level: ❤️❤️
  • Story Rating; 6/6 Glass Slippers
  • Narration Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

When a body is found in an old Tudor house in London, successful author Cassandra is stunned at her reaction to the skeletal remains. She’s brought to tears by the news report, although the death would have taken place hundreds of years before. Her boyfriend doesn’t understand her fascination with the story, and as she begins to write a tale based on the Tudor house she buys impulsively, she unravels a tale that’s almost too close to home.

Constance is a Catholic in the time of Queen Elizabeth II, making her very religion dangerous to publicly claim. While her brother prepares to marry and her little sister flirts with a highborn man, she’s left wondering what her role is in a world where women don’t have many choices. A brief encounter with a spy leaves her rattled and she embarks on a journey of secret letters, arrests, and a marriage to the man she least expects.

While Cassandra reveals more of Constance’s life through her writing, her own life spirals out of control. She begins to question her own sanity and the realness of her haunting visions.

As in her Echoes from the Past series, she blends the past and present to perfection in a way I didn’t expect. Both time frames hold enough drama, intrigue, and romance to be books in their own right. I was hooked from the first page and the non-stop twists left me on the edge of my seat. Waiting to see how the lives of such different women turned out was nearly torture!

I enjoyed the parallel timelines. The fantasy aspects weren’t overdone and I felt as if everything that happened in Cassandra’s story was completely believable. Her emotions were real and her reactions to things were easy to relate to. I hope there’s more of her story one day.

I’ve never listened to anything narrated by Verity Burns, but I thoroughly enjoyed her work with this book. She had different inflections when reading for Constance and Cassandra, making it clear what time period the story was in. She’s very talented and I know this won’t be the last of her work I’ll listen to.

Overall, I’m thrilled with my latest Irina Shapiro book. I highly recommend it to all book lovers, no matter their favorite genre.

Ask Me to Marry You

Summer means summer reading and road trips. And for me, road trips mean audiobooks. Actually, I find any reason to listen to them, especially if Meghan Kelly is involved. Enter Ask Me to Marry You by Heather Blanton, a two part book with some familiar faces I know I was excited to see again.

    Genre: Sweet Western Romance
    Heat Level: ❤️
    Story Rating: 5/6 Glass Slippers
    Narration Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

Part one: Audra is used to hard work and running the show, but the death of her father leaves her with a ranch she can’t run. The ranch hands don’t respect her, and she knows it’s because she wears a skirt. She needs a husband, and the one old man who has his eye on her property doesn’t fit the bill. She’s stuck between a rock and a hard place, but she’s not about to give up.

Dillon is in trouble, and his lawyer has a plan to keep him out of jail. He has to marry Audra for a year, and only a year, to be released. Dillon isn’t thrilled, but sees the upside. He’ll be free after his “sentence” and she’ll get a man to back her up on the ranch. But this mail order husband isn’t ready for what life in a Wyoming small town really entails.

Part 2: Dent never expected to fall in love with Amy, but once he realized how precious she was, he knew he could never let her go. As he makes plans for their future, someone from her past appears, bearing gifts and a few plans of his own.

I’ll start this review by saying you should listen to or read Hang Your Heart on Christmas, the first book in The Brides of Evergreen series. While you could hypothetically just listen to this one, you’d miss out on some world building and characters from the first book, and miss out on how Amy and Dent got together! You can read my review on that HERE. I loved seeing their relationship grow from basic enemies to the couple we see now.

I’ll start by saying I adored Audra. She was witty and strong, even when the odds were stacked against her. While some women might have sold the farm or married someone simply based on their ability to provide, she decided she would only marry on her terms.

As always, Meghan Kelly astounds me with her range. She can be a sultry temptress, a gruff cowboy, a little kid, or a witch at the drop of a had. She gives everyone a distinct voice, making it a breeze to follow along with who’s talking without thinking you missed something.

Overall, this sweet romance has plenty of heart and enough drama to keep any reader, or listener, thoroughly entertained.