book review, history, review

The Winter Sea

Time hopping historicals are always my go to when it comes to having a good time. And any historical romance reader knows Susanna Kearsley is a big name for all things historical. I picked up a paperback of The Winter Sea to read by the pool and loved it. The twist at the end made the story, but when it comes to that, my lips are sealed.

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

Bestselling author Carrie MacClellan travels the world, following the stories she writes. Not every tale comes from her imagination, though. Carrie’s always heard whispers, seen hints of things that have happened, and knows how to research into her visions to dig up the true facts behind old ruins and aged letters. She moves to a cottage in Cruden Bay in the shadows of Slains Castle to work on another book, one that will hit closer to home than any before.

In 1708, Sophia Paterson has not lived an easy life. Orphaned and alone, she goes to live with a distant relative, the Countess of Errol, at Slains Castle. Sophia will be on the coast of Scotland, overlooking the North Sea and the strange ships that carry hints of Jacobite rebellion and encoded notes. One in particular carries a cargo too precious for words, and soon Sophia is entangled in a world of secrets and the handsome John Moray who has a price on his head.

As Carrie works to separate fact from fiction, her book begins to unravel family secrets. The young woman Sophia is no longer just a name on paper and John isn’t some blur of a man with eyes like a storm sea. Their pasts become her reality, and it’s up to her to write their ending.

You guys, I loved this book. I’ve gotten pretty lucky lately in the reading department, but Kearsley really pulled me in with her tale of forbidden love and modern day detective work. I rooted for Sophia and John from their first meeting and nervously waited for each historical document Carrie unearthed. There were breadcrumbs and a twist that had had me reeling.

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it for all historical and contemporary romance fans.

book review, New Book

Hades

I’ve always had a thing for mythology. I love the legends and lore, the temple ruins and aerological sites full of sacred spaces. Egyptian, Norse, Japanese, Cree, Irish…every culture in the world has their own stories to tell. So when I got the chance to be an early reader for Hades by Carly Spade, I brushed up on mythos and dived in.

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

Stephanie Costas is a digital forensics examiner for the Illinois State Police, but her keen eye isn’t her only skill. From a young age she’s been able to see auras, the colors that surround people. One day she’s dragged on a Greek vacation with her vivacious friend Sara who thinks they both deserve a break from the long hours at work. But when Stephanie sees the ruins and teal waters, she begins to think Sara might have been right about getting away…until a man at the bar with an aura like midnight fog makes her question everything.

Hades is like an aged whisky, sharp and heady with rich flavors and a lasting sweetness beneath the bite. He’s newly single and ready to mingle when it comes to the sweet brunette he met at the bar. But his life is complicated and he can’t keep Stephanie no matter how much he wishes he could.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book and thought it was a fun spin on what might happen if Hades and Persephone ever called it quits. I was craving a bit more dark magic and drama with the king of the underworld from page one, and the fact he initially had a southern American accent really surprised me. Still, at times he was like Lucifer Morningstar’s cousin and had some great, teasing one liners to throw Stephanie’s way.

Stephanie’s friendship with Sara was also so much fun. Sara wasn’t privy to all the facts about the handsome stranger Stephanie met in Greece, but her reactions to everything were perfect. And don’t get me started on Zeus, the horniest, nosiest, King of the Gods. The cast was amazing and I was really rooting for Hades and Stephanie.

This book is a must for readers who enjoy a little twist, and a lot of humor, in their retellings.

book review, history, New Book

The House on the Hill

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Irina Shapiro. From the first page, I know there will be heartbreak, betrayal, and a story that will twist through time. So today, I’d like to introduce you to The House on the Hill.

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

In the modern day, Laura has recently been widowed, having lost her husband in Iraq. She leaves their apartment in the heart of Boston for a summer of healing in an old house on the shores of Cape Cod. She’s hoping to leave her ghosts behind and perhaps find new inspiration for a book. But a ghostly visitor shows her there’s something different about the Holland House.

In the 1700s, Sophie is on the cusp of adulthood, counting the days until she can marry Teddy, a boy she’s loved for years. Her book maker father has his sights set on a man with a title or some money, and forbids his only daughter from following her heart. When her hand is forced and she must make a decision to save herself, her life begins to unravel.

While Laura works to learn more about her ghostly visitor and sort out her feelings about the handsome vet she met in town, Sophie’s charmed world shatters. Both women are trapped in webs of lies and grief woven hundreds of years apart, but inexplicably tied.

Every time I read something by Shapiro, I’m instantly on edge. I know terrible things will happen, but I savor the slight feeling of apprehension. Wondering who will be the one to stab the man character in the back is something I’ve come to expect and thoroughly enjoy.

My historical specialty is European-based, so having American history tidbits was very welcome. I live on the East Coast and admittedly don’t know a lot about colonial life other than what’s taught in basic classes. I always like how Shapiro brings in facts to give her books a level of realism that inspires me to explore the themes more on my own.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to all lovers of historical fiction and romantic suspense.

book review, New Book

The Fae King’s Curse

I’m back to chat about The Fae King’s Curse, the second book in the Between Dawn and Dusk series. If you remember, I actually read and reviewed Between Dawn and Dusk already and it got my fantasy romance seal of approval!

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

The firstborn children of all Fae king are blind and can only regain their sight when they meets their fated mate, or soul mate. If they do much as kiss someone else, they will remain blind forever. Kirian, the prince of the Night Realm is no exception. Though he wishes he were as soon as he meets Quinn, a human girl who saves his life when he’s just a child.

Quinn is twelve when she meets Kirian, an odd boy she fishes out of the water. He promises to come back through the timed portal and see her the next day, but a day in the human world is a year for a Fae and she nearly doesn’t recognize him. This continues for years of daily meetings for her and centuries of yearly meetings for him until Quinn is eighteen.

Quinn’s loved him since childhood and fears one day he won’t appear in the woods near her house and he’ll be off with his true fated mate. Before she’s set to leave for college, she tells him she can’t meet him anymore. Loving him and knowing he will one day leave her forever kills her. Then, Kirian does the worst thing possible…he kisses her.

With one kiss, the pair is woven into a tapestry of curses, stardust, and fate.

This is what I was missing in Between Dawn and Dusk. I adore first meetings and Schlosser gave me a good one when a lavender eyed Fae prince and a small town girl in overalls met beside the river and felt sparks. The slow burn was perfect.

I love, love, loved this book and I’m not a huge fantasy romance fan, usually steering more towards the JRR Tolkien vein of elves and dwarves. But the way Quinn and Kirian’s relationship developed and the small quirks they each have had me swooning. I literally read it it one siting with a single break to make whipped coffee and turn on a light. It was funny and heartwarming, but steamy and dark all at the same time.

Congrats, Jamie Schlosser, you just created a fantasy romance fan.

New Book

The Power of Witches

Noa Rembrandt was found in a dumpster. 

Since then, she’s been wanting only one thing in life: to find a loving family to take her in or successfully age out of the foster system. She thought she’d found her family, until after her eighth birthday, her younger foster brother died under suspicious circumstances—circumstances Noa might have had a part in.

Now at sixteen and with no where else to go, Noa Rembrandt is sent to Gardenside County Home for Troubled Youth. With a countdown to her eighteenth birthday, Noa is determined to keep her head down and not cause any trouble.

Trouble instead finds her, in the form of her eccentric roommate and cute boy across the hall who both seem to know more about Noa’s background than she does.

Preorder The Power of Witches now HERE!


Shay Bencosme is a 22 Navy servicemember who writes and photographs in her spare time. She currently lives in North Carolina, USA with her husband, Josh, and their kitten, Lucy.

Shay has always had aspirations of being a writer and just decided to go for it one day, finishing her debut novel is less than 3 months. Since choosing self-publishing, she’s loved every step of her journey through the indie world.

book review

The Betrayed

Every time Irina Shapiro releases a new book, I wonder if it’ll have a happy ending. Will the couple who left only bones behind actually end up together? Will Quinn unlock her own past, which seems more unlikely with each page? In a collection of books that never get old, I’m always left with questions that never have easy answers.

Introducing The Betrayed, Echoes From the Past book seven by Irina Shapiro.

As always, I will try to avoid spoilers, but since this is the 7th book in the series, some things will slip through the cracks. Want to avoid that? Start with book one today, The Lovers. Trust me.

  • Heat Level: ❤️❤️
  • Genre: Historical and Contemporary Fiction
  • Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

In 2005, Dr. Quinn Allenby unearthed a crucified skeleton in Ireland. Among the bones and dirt is a hamsa charm, a protective amulet often often used by Muslims. She can’t figure out how a Muslim would have found his way to Ireland and what led to the crucifixion.

In 1588, the Spanish Armada ship Rafael de Silva was sailing on crashes on the rocky coasts of Ireland. With limited English, a hidden hamsa, and wounded comrades, he’s trapped in hostile territory with no way home. And as the Protestant English forces progress into Catholic Ireland, protecting his identity becomes more vital than ever.

While trying to learn more about Rafael, Quinn is mired in mysteries in the present day as well. Her long lost sister isn’t lost anymore, not physically at least. But as Quinn pushes to get closer to Jo, Jo begins to run before her own past catches up to her. The secrets never end for poor Quinn, although she’ll do anything to set things right.

As always, I need a breather after each of Shapiro’s books. Not since Outlander has a series so completely set the bar for what a good book is. Each installment is so deliciously dark, but still makes you hope for just once, things won’t be as bad as Quinn’s skeletons make them out to be.

Quinn is completely lovable. Kind, selfless, and always eager to see the best in people, she’s never prepared for those close to her to betray her. Every book, I root for things in her life to go east on her, just once, and things always seem to just fall apart in both the past and present.

Overall, I suggest this book in ebook and audio format to all book lovers.

New Book, Writing

Cupid Claus

We’ve been waiting to share our cover for Cupid Claus for quite a while, and since it’s nearly release day, and it’s now available for preorder, we’d love to show you the face of our latest sweet, Christmas romance.

When mistletoe is not enough…

With her only son still single, Mrs. Claus is rolling up her red sleeves and playing matchmaker. With a little advice from Cupid and a list of potential brides, she’s convinced a dash of magic will get the snowball rolling. There’s just one problem, Nick isn’t looking for love. All he wants to do is fill his father’s boots as he prepares to take over as Santa Claus.

While Mrs. Claus is scheming away, Nick meets Heather, a charming artist with a giving heart and a loving smile. Preparing for her first Christmas alone, Heather is looking for adventure. Nick becomes a kindred spirit as they both remember what it’s like to live in the moment. Just as they think they found a fairytale romance, Nick discovers his mother’s magical meddling.

With Christmas Eve quickly approaching, Nick must decide if his love for Heather was the real magic all along or if it was just the work of Cupid Claus?

Cupid Claus will be released on November 13, 2019 and the ebook is available for preorder now HERE! We’ll let you know when the paperbacks are available too.

Until then, remember, a book is better when you have someone to share it with.

New Book, Writing

Tule Birthday Bash

Tule Publishing is celebrating their 6th birthday! That means party favors for you! From Friday September 6th until Sunday the 8th, all ebooks are 50% off with the code TULE6 at checkout in their online bookstore HERE.

You can snag books about sweet cowboys, mobsters on the run, romantic pirates, and holiday escapades. We’ve reviewed several Tule books on this blog and haven’t read one we didn’t love. Sweet or steamy, it’s all there in the bookstore. Cick HERE to start shopping.

BTW if you haven’t read Kelsey’s contemporary romance series set in Scotland, the first two books are in the Tule book shop, ready to be read! Catch up with all the hot Scots before book 3 comes out this winter.

Match made in heaven or maid of dishonor?

Tight-laced Rose Henselarrives in Scotland for her best friend’s wedding with a plan—to be the greatest maid of honor ever, let loose for the first time in years, and find out what Scottish guys really wear under their kilts. After meeting the best man, she thinks she found the man who checks all the boxes for a no-strings-attached romp among the heather.

Lachlan Calder-Mackinnon knows how to show a girl a good time. Gourmet dinners in castle ruins, picnics among rolling hills, and a seaside escape create some unforgettable dates. But as the fling begins to morph into something more, an unexpected wedding guest threatens to ruin Rose and Lachlan’s new romance.

With a plane ticket in one hand and her broken heart in the other, Rose prepares to head home to reality. However, she’s about to learn that what happens in the Highlands don’t always stay there.

Order your copy in the Tule store HERE

Can she stop her past from ruining her future?

Sorcha Mackinnon isn’t your typical tortured artist. She is also a party girl, a vintage shopper, and the heiress to a whisky fortune. But when inspiration suddenly flies out the window, she’s left with an empty whisky glass and a blank canvas…until a childhood friend waltzes back into her life.

She’s known Danny Gordon since birth, but they lost touch as their careers took them in different directions. He offers to show her the parts of Scotland he swears will spark life back into her brushes. And as they tour the sights on the back of his motorcycle, Sorcha realizes that under the tattoos and smart mouth, Danny may inspire more in her than just a new painting.

But as a good time begins to morph into an ever after, Sorcha is reminded of old wounds that just won’t heal. Danny tries to open her heart, but her self-imposed isolation makes things harder than ever. Now she must decide what to do, because what happens in the ruins doesn’t always stay there.

Order your copy from the Tule store HERE

book review, New Book

The Condemned

Whew, I always need a minute to recover every time I come into contact with a book from the Echoes from the Past series by Irina Shapiro. Beautifully written and emotionally jarring, each installment leaves me wanting more, even though I know not everyone gets a happy ending. Introducing The Condemned.

As always, I’ll try to keep far away from spoilers. But this is book six, and if you’re not already invested in this series, you’re missing out!

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

In 1620, England is trying to stabilize their new colony in Virginia and women are asked to go to the New World to marry men they’ve never met and start families. Mary is terrified to leave the only home she’s ever known, but it’s the only way to escape her abusive uncle. She bonds with her fellow wives during the voyage, but her intended is less than she hoped. A chance meeting in the forest with a stranger gives her hope her life could be something more. But in a time of unrest in Virginia, a step in the wrong direction could be deadly.

In 2015, Quinn is called to a seaside cave, where a skeleton is found, evidence of a crude medical procedure and a birth evident. But she can’t focus on the body when she receives news that her twin sister is missing. Through war-torn Afghanistan, Germany, and colonial Virginia, Quinn isn’t just reconstructing the life of a long-dead woman, but her own reality as the puzzle pieces of her past fall into place.

The historical work Shapiro puts into her writing is always fantastic. People have the idea of colonists who went to the New World as happy families who grew corn alongside the indigenous people and loved in cozy cabins. The truth is messier with colonial aggression, “main order brides,” and a history that paints the settlers in a less than flattering light. Then there’s this bit about the lost colony of Roanoke that had me going down a research wormhole, something I always enjoy.

On the question of the Native Americans (Side note, I use this term as this is what my husband and his family describe themselves as. Others may dislike this term and we should take individual wishes into consideration.) described in this book, I always hold my breath when someone is introduced. Since going to college and marring my husband, I’ve learned more about tribal culture and the backstories of forced relocations and “re-education.” So I’m always a bit annoyed with how some books “fetishize” the Native experience. But Shapiro didn’t do that. The ones seen in the book were written as actual people with real struggles. The added conversations surrounding the differing religions and social hierarchies was also true to form, and I really appreciate the added depth.

Overall, I thought this book was amazing. Between the narrative talent of Wendy Wolfson, the sweeping storyline, and the twist near the end that left me reeling, this installment was another hit.

book review, New Book

Kiss of the Red Scorpion

It’s no secret I’ve been a fan of Suzan Tisdale’s for years. In fact, her book Laiden’s Daughter inspired my love of Scottish historical romance! So when I got the chance to read her contribution to the whirlwind Kiss of the Red Scorpion, entitled In the Echo of a Kiss, I jumped at the chance.

    Genre: Historical Fantasy
  • Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

Rory loved Lasair since they were children in the MacCaerill clan. They grew up together, inseparable until the day they met with the clan’s seer, Magdara, and were allowed to marry. Before long, they even took in a pair of orphan boys named Quinn and Tornan. But one day, the young boys went in search of the legendary treasure of Dagda.

Dagda’s sword and the scorpion necklace was supposed to be their little secret. But Quinn is haunted by the unknown and the specter of a golden-eyed woman whispers in his ear. There’s black magic afoot and the golden-eyed woman is loving every second of it. But as she digs her claws deeper into the boy, more than just his life will be at stake.

I had no idea what to expect with this book, but with the names Suzan Tisdale, Genevieve Jack, Kathryn Lynn Davis, T.M. Cromer, KC Bateman, and Sara Whitney on the cover, I knew I was in for a treat. While I only got to sample Tisdale‘s work, the way she set up the tale to include ancient treasures and an Egyptian goddess gave me a taste of the larger fantasy world within.

To be honest, I wish her part in the book was longer. I want to know more about Rory and Lasair, the history of the clan, the wisdom of the seers in Magdara’s family, and more about Dagda. But we all can’t get what we want and I know that’s the mark of a good short story.

Overall, I really liked this tale and encourage fans of light fantasy and sweeping time novels to pick up a copy. It’s only $0.99 right now, so click HERE!