Monday, November 20, 2017

Book Review: Lies Jane Austen Told Me

As soon as I saw the back cover copy for this book, I knew I had to read it. It sounded so good!

Emma is a big Jane Austen fan---until she realizes that maybe happily-ever-afters aren't meant for everyone. Romance and dashing heroes seem to be the stuff of fiction, but Emma still has that sliver of hope. Her boyfriend, Blake, has invited her home to meet his parents and her friends and co-workers think that he might propose! Emma surprises him, but he gives her an even bigger surprise. The night ends with a slap across the face that even his great-grandchildren will feel! Emma walks away with her head held high, but fate isn't done with her yet. Her now ex-boyfriend's brother shows up at her office a few days later, hired to be a consultant at the company, and the bumpy journey to love truly begins. You won't be able to put this story down!

I loved Emma and how real she felt. She made wrong decisions, she overthought things, and yet she tried to stay true to herself. I enjoyed how there were so many nuances to the backstory for Emma and how she related not only to the men in her life, but also her co-workers and her best friend. I also loved Lucas. He was such a complicated hero and trying so hard to make a difference in the lives of the people he loved. But he had his own issues to work out, which made his story so compelling and kept the tension high, wondering how it would end! I won't give anything away, but I stayed up waaay too late to see how it all turned out, and it was so worth it.

I really hope the author writes the best friend, Silvia's story, so we can return to this world and all its characters again. It was so good!

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

Ever since Emma read Pride and Prejudice, she's been in love with Mr. Darcy and has regarded Jane Austen as the expert on all things romantic. So naturally when Emma falls for Blake Hampton and he invites her home to meet his parents, she is positive an engagement is in her future. After all, Blake is a single man in possession of a good fortune, and thus must be in want of a wife.

But when it turns out that what Blake actually wants is more of a hook-up than a honeymoon, Emma is hurt, betrayed, and furious. She throws herself deeper into her work as CMO of Kinetics, the fastest growing gym franchise in the nation. She loves her work, and she's good at it, which is why she bristles when her boss brings in a consultant to help her spearhead the new facilities on the East Coast. Her frustration turns to shock when that consultant turns out to be Blake's younger brother, Lucas.

Emma is determined not to fall for Lucas, but as she gets to know him, she realizes that Lucas is nothing like his brother. He is kind and attentive and spends his time and money caring for the less fortunate.

What she can't understand is why Lucas continues to try to push her back into Blake's arms when he so clearly has fallen as hard for her as she has fallen for him.

Realizing that her love life is as complicated as anything Jane Austen could have dreamed up, Emma must find a way to let Blake know that it's time for him to let her go and to let Lucas know it's time for him to love her back.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Freebie Friday For Mystery Lovers!

One of my very favorite mysteries by Jeffrey S. Savage, House of Secrets, is being offered for free today! Be sure to grab this one.

Here's the back copy:

Shandra Covington simply assumed her grandmothers' house was sold after her grandmother hastily moved in with Shandra and her mother two decades ago. Yet, here it was, deeded to Shandra in her grandmother's will.

Shandra, single, aggressive, and an accomplished journalist, has tender memories of the time spent as a young girl in the old house on the hill, and her curiosity and sentimentality lead her to a final visit to the forgotten home. What she discovers shocks Shandra to her very core. Not only is the house still filled with her grandmother's old belongings, but there is also a body, long since dead, and covered with the same thick layer of dust as the rest of the items in the house.

Returning with the sheriff and his handsome deputy, Clay, they find the body missing. In its place is another body—this one dead less than 12 hours. And all evidence points to Shandra.

Desperate to clear her name and uncover the truth behind these troubling mysteries, Shandra puts her journalistic training to use. Between the reluctant townspeople, ominous warnings, and physical threats, Shandra learns the truth, little by little—knowing full well that someone is determined to keep old secrets buried, even it means burying Shandra as well . . ..

Download your free Kindle copy here

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Video Interview With USA Today Bestselling Author Annette Lyon!

I had so much fun interviewing Annette Lyon who was the guest author at my book club this month. I wish you all could come, but these videos are the second best thing, I think.

Here's question #1

Here's question #2

Here's question #3

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Book Review and Giveaway!

I'm so excited to be part of the blog tour for Sian Ann Bessey's new medieval romance, For Castle and Crown.

This book starts out with a bang, when the English king is trying to clandestinely cross his arch enemy's territory. They stop at an inn during a snowstorm, though the King's guard, Edmund, feels like something is off. We get such a great feel for Edmund's character during this scene and it only gets better from there. Pippa, a childhood friend of Edmund's, was back home at the estate, but has been badly burned in a fire and is now recovering at a convent. When Edmund finds out that his brother has been killed and he is now the duke, his life is forever changed. He'll need all the friends and allies he can get. Can Pippa let herself help Edmund unravel the mystery behind who wants him dead or will she hide herself away to guard her heart?

I loved how descriptive the book was, especially since this is set during the medieval time period. The author made is easy to imagine with just the right amount of details. The other thing she does well, is provide so much intrigue and danger, with some really great twists and turns, that I was turning pages as fast as I could to see what would happen next! The romantic thread throughout the book is tender, especially when Edmund is dealing with inner scars and wounds, and Pippa has outer scars and wounds. They both have to grow through a lot of trials and learn to trust each other. I thought the two of them were so relatable and I wanted them to get a happily-ever-after. The secondary characters were also really well-drawn and add a depth to the story that make it easy to get lost in the book.

This one will definitely go on my rainy day shelf and I highly recommend it to historical romance fans.

Don't forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway!

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

After years spent fighting alongside King Richard in the crusades, Lord Edmund of Hawksford is finally returning to his ancestral home. But far from a joyful reunion, what awaits him is devastation. His elder brother is dead, killed in a tragic fire at Hawksford Castle—and the title of duke now falls to Edmund.

When he strives to rebuild the fire-scarred castle, Edmund learns that his was not the only life the fire shattered: his childhood friend Lady Phillipa survived the flames that took Edmund’s brother, but badly burned, she has hidden herself away from those she loves. Yet as the pair renews their acquaintance, they find that their affection runs deep—perhaps even deeper than they’d ever realized.

As Edmund and Pippa begin to question whether the fire was truly an accident, they must discover the truth of the past before they can plan for their future. While coming perilously close to the answers they seek, Edmund and Pippa find themselves at the mercy of a dangerous foe who will stop at nothing to lay claim on Hawksford—and he will destroy any who stand in his way.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Hawaii Five-O Recap & Review: So Many Whys

This episode wore a lot of hats, so let's get to it.

We start off with two tourists going early morning surfing (in the cold and dark!) and getting pulled over. (I would totally be like the not-a-morning-person passenger whining about why anyone would be up at five in the morning. That seems crazy for surfing, but what do I know?) The passenger guy can actually think coherent thoughts at that early hour, however, and starts recording the officer who pulled them over. They both repeatedly ask Officer Mathis why they were pulled over. He just keeps asking for license and registration then finally shoots them both. Sort of setting the theme for this whole episode of WHY SHOW? WHY?

But let's take a step back and watch Steve swimming with Eddie. They are so cute together! I love Steve and his dog. They get out (was his liver scar gone? Hmm...) and Danny is waiting for them on shore. Eddie shakes all over him. (Good dog.) Danny claims he came to hang out with his BFF (do forty-year-old men say BFF?) but that's a lie. Steve starts to put his shoes on to go running, but Danny protests since he brought Steve coffee and pastries and wants to visit. He's just acting weird and trying to lure him into the house because . .  Danny has invited a bunch of people over for an intervention. (Yeah, you read that right. Why, show?)

Danny, Lou, Junior, Dog, Tani, Jerry, and Kamekona are all there because they are concerned about Steve's health since he was diagnosed with radiation poisoning and they want him to take his health seriously. (I don't get it. He's exercising, healthy, not showing any symptoms of illness. Usually interventions are for people with no self-awareness or who are out of control. Why show? Why?) Danny has been researching and found out that there's a link between cancer and stress, so Steve should eliminate all psychological stress. (Um, what? All of them on an ELITE TASK FORCE have that sort of stress, not just Steve. And I don't see anyone else swimming, running, etc. Oy.) Steve is polite and thanks him, but doesn't see why everyone had to be there for it. Danny says they're his backup and everyone gets to share their feelings. *bangs head on desk* WHY SHOW? WHY?

And this is where it got even more strange. Jerry gives him platitudes like an ounce of prevention is a pound of cure. Lou says there is anecdotal evidence that supports the link between stress and cancer. (There's anecdotal evidence for everything online and stress is a catch all that can lead to anything! Your hair falling out. Ulcers. A Loch Ness monster sighting. A sudden craving for pineapple on pizza. Overuse of the word seriously. Seriously!)

But we continue on with the feelings-sharing of the people in Steve's living room. Dog was only there to deliver one joke that he didn't agree with ambushing a guy in his home and ganging up on him. Which is what he does for a living. *pity chuckle* Tani was also invited, even though she barely knows McG, he's her boss, and her knowing his personal medical business seems wrong. She didn't have anything to add anyway and should have stayed home. Kamekona throws in that he'll charge Steve 20% more if he won't take this seriously. (Really? That's his punishment solution? Why?)

Anyway, Steve handles it all with class, says he's truly touched, but Danny has gone down a WebMD rabbit hole. (*nods head* That's exactly what I thought.) Junior chimes in and says that McG is handling things just fine, but Danny takes exception to anyone who disagrees with him and informs Junior that he knows Steve better than Junior. Junior doesn't back down, though, and is still respectful, but points out that McG served in combat and lived in the crosshairs of his enemy for years, and has been able to handle civilian life with great success. (THANK YOU! The voice of reason. Steve is a highly trained SEAL who has dealt with the highest stress imaginable and he's able to balance his life and stress level.) None of that matters apparently, because his "friends" have already hired a stress management consultant and she's hiding in the kitchen! Chloe is a little giggly and sort of fangirly around McG (not that I'm judging, since I probably would be, too, but she's supposed to be a professional in this instance) Even though he thought it was a joke at first, Steve greets her cordially and since she's already been paid for the day, lets her shadow him. (Aw, always the gentleman) Mercifully, he gets the call about the double murder and has to go.

StressManagerChloe tags along to the crime scene and reminds Steve to say "please" since positive gestures bring positive results. *rolls eyes* Thankfully she gets one look at the dead bodies and runs away to puke. McG gets down to work and finds the phone still recording on the floor. They play back the murder and hear the victim call the cop Officer Mathis. Duke is shocked and says Officer Mathis died three years ago. The plot thickens!

Tani is the Designated Infodumper for this ep and she's back at the Chatting Table to tell them that Officer Patrick Mathis is definitely dead and he was abusive, charged with using excessive force and served eighteen months. And he had an ex-wife and son so she sends over their address. While they're driving, Chloe is in the back seat, still giggly and unsure sounding, but she wants to ask McG personal questions. (This is not going to go well, I can already tell.) She wants him to talk about how crime scenes make him feel. (Really? Who did she want him to talk to? Danny? Dog? Eddie? Oy. That's silly for a man with his job.) Steve feels the same way as the audience and says he'd never get any work done. It's part of his job. (I mean, maybe she could have suggested a counselor or something, that would make more sense.) She moves along to what he does in his spare time (he swims, cooks, and tinkers with his dad's car, awww) Does he have a girlfriend that he has regular sex with? Chloe asks with a few giggles. This is so awkward and ridiculous and not funny. Steve is clearly uncomfortable, but says yes, five times a week. Danny LAUGHS and contradicts him because apparently Steve's girlfriend blabs to Danny's girlfriend about their sex life like a teenager and then they all talk about it. (SO SQUICKY and wrong!) Steve is rightfully annoyed that his girlfriend has talked to Danny's girlfriend about it and tells Danny not to talk about that anymore. Because he's a mature adult man and knows that's not cool. (Hopefully he mentions something to Lynn as well. Privacy matters.)

Anyway, they get to Officer Mathis' ex-wife's home (and they even have a tac vest for Chloe! I'm impressed they pulled that one off) and the ex-wife is dead in her bed upstairs, apparently of natural causes. Oliver, their son, has psych meds on the counter and a couple of days worth haven't been touched. That can't be good.

We cut to a scene of some random sweaty guy coming home to find Officer Mathis eating cereal in his living room and watching TV. Officer Mathis now talks like he's a kid and says his name is Ollie and his mom told him he could watch TV. SweatyGuy says to get out or he'll call the cops. Like an idiot, he turns his back and calls the cops while "Ollie" comes up behind him and says he should have left the kid alone and then beats the crap out of him. (Here's a life tip for you: don't turn your back on someone who broke into your house.)

Steve and Danny go to the hospital to question the SweatyBeatUpGuy and he talks about how Ollie changed in the blink of an eye. Steve immediately consults Alicia who makes a diagnosis of Ollie having DID (multiple personalities) and gives a long explanation that---long story short---DID is generally caused by an extreme trauma.

Back at the Chatting Table the infodump is that the house Ollie broke into belonged to his family a long time ago, so it wasn't random. Also, Ollie is using his dad's old unmarked PD car and the gun he used to kill the tourists matched slugs with an organized crime hit from thirty years ago. (Does that mean his dad was involved in organized crime? Or he just took the gun from the hit? We never hear anything else about that, so it's a weird loose thread.)

Danny gets distracted from the Chatting Table InfoDump by Chloe talking to Junior in Steve's office. We don't find out what they talked about, but I'm sure Junior stuck up for McG again. At least I hope he did. Chloe wants to know if Danny thinks McG will consider a snake plant and a treadmill desk. (Both of those sound terrible, actually.) She maintains that making adjustments to work space can bring stress relief. (Plants stress me out because I kill them. No matter what I do!) Anyway, Danny tells Chloe that McG is stubborn, pig-headed, and like a child, and won't make changes. (Hmm...methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.) Chloe points out that Danny is also a source of McG's stress with his behavior and their arguments. (Thank you, Chloe! At last someone points out the obvious.) She wants him to keep their conversations civil and centered around work. Of course Danny brings up their upcoming restaurant, and Chloe says that would be a big source of stress since so many fail. That sets Danny off and he whines about people telling him how so many restaurants fail and he doesn't need to know that and then he goes on and on about how it's always him who has to change and compromise, never Steve (is he serious? Haha) and goes so far as to say being less negative and more agreeable will make him want to kill himself, but he'll give it a shot. (Wow. I just have no words for that whinefest. Trying to be agreeable will make him suicidal? I had such hope for Danny being less negative this season!)

McG comes in and introduces Chloe to Alicia and they chitchat for a second before Chloe leaves and they all watch therapist vids of Ollie and his alters. He's got seven and Mom dying brought Patrick the dangerous one out. While they're discussing it all, Steve gets a call from Ollie, who is crying, and asking for help because he thinks his daddy did something bad. Pull back and he's holding a gun on a man who's been shot and looks dead. That can't be good. Jerry traces the call and they race to the scene. McG is driving fast, like usual, and Chloe wants to know if he has to drive that fast. (It's the most serious she's looked all day.) Danny isn't saying anything and Steve asks him what's wrong, then realizes that Chloe told Danny he's part of the problem. Interestingly enough, Steve agrees his stress sits shotgun next to him. (Hmmm....sarcasm or truth-telling?) Ollie is on the move and they trace him to HPD. He's back to being Officer Mathis and sits down at a desk to look at files like he belongs there. Duke lures him to the captain's office and locks him in until Steve can get there. It seems like a good plan, but when they burst in, Officer Mathis has escaped through the ceiling and is running away. (Why does no one ever think of a ceiling escape?) They get everyone out of the building, (which made no sense since it's a police station! With trained police officers! But whatever, I guess. They can go to safety while Five-0 does everything themselves) Five-0 starts clearing room to room and finds Officer Mathis, but he gets away in a car and heads to his house. (Maybe if the cops had been helping to find him . . .) Threatening suicide, Mathis barricades himself inside and starts looking for his wife.

Meanwhile, Alicia has been watching videos of Oliver and all his alters and getting some insights, like a good consultant. She then heads to the scene and tells Steve she needs to go in and save the "child." Steve says no at first, but quickly changes his mind, since he has snipers in place. (Hopefully Officer Mathis is in the line of sight for the snipers or Alicia is going to end up like the tourists!) She dresses in one of the mom's dresses (hopefully not the one she died in, but I think it is. Ew.) and goes in to make Mathis a tuna sandwich with milk. (Which he talked about on his counseling vids.) She's chatting him up and telling him he's had a hard day and how he must feel so trapped and scared. Mathis pulls a gun on her, but she appeals to Ollie, telling him not to be scared, that she loves Ollie as big as the sky and always and forever. Ollie comes out and hugs her and she takes the gun away.  It was actually a really intense scene and well-acted.

We end at Kamekona's to hear the results of the evaluation. Chloe says she'd like Steve to quit his job and take up gardening. (She doesn't actually give a reason for this. I mean, if everyone with a stressful job quit to avoid stress and took up gardening, well, we'd have a lot of gardens, no police, doctors, nurses, you name it and that's just silly.) Anyway, she doesn't see that happening anytime soon, but tells Steve to create a to do list and stay organized. She'll have a full written report tomorrow including a personalized daily plan, dietary guidelines, and a bunch of other stuff that sounded made up. (Can I be a stress management consultant and get paid to tell people to make a to do list and say please? I mean, that sounds like a stress free job for sure.) Steve listens, but gets up to go get more drinks and Danny follows.

Steve tells Danny he thinks this whole thing is ridiculous and it comes out that Danny is the one stressed, and he's scared Steve isn't taking this seriously since he only casually mentioned the radiation poisoning and didn't follow post op for his donated liver. And now Danny's wasted his money, and Chloe's time, but he can't sleep for worrying about Steve's health. Steve admits he's scared, too. He wants to get married and have his own kids. (That made me sad to hear. I want that for him, too, with a woman he loves. *sniff*) But Steve has a healthy outlook on it, as he does most things, really, and he's not going to obsess over something that *might* happen. (Which is good advice, actually, for anyone. We could get hit by a truck tomorrow!) He also tells Danny not to change because they are BFFs and he wants it to stay that way.

So, a good intense end to the case of the week and a silly intervention thread that made me say Why? several times. Out loud. To the TV.

Did you watch? What did you think?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Book Review: Home of Her Heart

I tried a new to me author this week and her name is Shanna Hatfield. She writes clean historical romances and the one I read was Home of Her Heart. (I got to meet her at a recent writer's conference and she was so fun to talk to!)

It's a wartime romance, when the U.S. was just about to enter World War II. Klayne is a shy loner pilot, whose buddies convince him to go to a Christmas party. While there he sees a beautiful girl named Delaney and when she spots him hidden behind a Christmas tree, she comes to talk to him and they end up hitting it off and heading to a diner to talk in a more quiet place. The sparks are there from the beginning and the more they get to know each other, the more you want them to be together! Of course, the war interrupts their romance and both Klayne and Delaney have to go through a bumpy journey to have a chance of happily ever after. The historical aspect was spot on and I loved how the author brought a small town to life with memorable characters that make me want to go back and read their stories! (This book is part of a series, but stands alone since I hadn't read any of her other books and wasn't confused at all.)

I loved the author's style and thought that this was a tender story of love during a time when both the men and women who were coping with a country at war were called upon to display extraordinary courage abroad and at the home front. I'll definitely be looking for more titles by this author, especially in this series!

You can download your copy here

Here's the back copy:

All he needed was a bride. . .

Who said anything about falling in love?

Orphaned at birth and a loner all his life, the last thing Sergeant Klayne Campbell needs is for feisty Delaney Danvers to entangle his thoughts. Bravely volunteering for a top-secret mission almost certain to get him killed, Klayne can’t bear the thought of dying utterly alone. All he wants is to face death knowing his life meant something to at least one person. Offering Delaney a marriage of convenience, he plans to leave behind a war bride as his beneficiary. After just one night as her husband, Klayne realizes he’ll do anything to survive and return to her.

The moment she met handsome Sergeant Campbell at a holiday party, Delaney’s whole world shifted off kilter. Full of fun with an unquenchable zest for life, she isn’t afraid to go after what she wants. And what she wants is Klayne. When he prepares to join a hazardous mission, she seizes the opportunity to give him a reason to fight his way back home - to her heart.

A tender, sweet romance rich with history and enduring love, Home of Her Heart captures the era and emotions prevalent during America’s entry into World War II.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Veteran's Day 99 Cent Ebook Sale!

Honoring Our Military Men and Women

I love writing about our military men and women and am so grateful for those I've met over the years who have helped me make my stories as authentic as possible. In order to honor them this Veterans Day weekend, I am offering three of my bestselling romantic suspense ebooks for only .99 cents each. I'm so grateful and humble for the sacrifices that are made in our behalf every day.

Thank you to everyone who has served and their families. We'll never forget.
You can get your sale copy of All Fall Down here
You can get your sale copy of The Captive here
You can get your sale copy of Through Love's Trials here