Friday, September 30, 2016

Book Review: Saving Jake by Sharon Sala

Saving Jake by Sharon Sala

Publisher & Release: Sourcebooks Casablanca, October 4, 2016

Time and setting: Present Day, Blessings, Georgia

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length:  320 Pages

Heat Level: 2 Flames

Rating: 4.25 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

There is always hope

After eight years in the Marines, Jacob Lorde returns to Blessings, Georgia, with no plans other than to hole up in his empty house and heal what's left of his soul. But with a charming next door neighbor and a town full of friendly people, keeping to himself is easier said than done.

As long as you can come home

Laurel Payne understands far too well what Jake is going through, after witnessing her late husband experience similar problems. She's in no hurry to jump into another relationship with a complicated guy, but their attraction is undeniable-and perhaps exactly what both of them need.

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Vikki’s Musings

This is the first book I have read by Sharon Sala, and I quite enjoyed Saving Jake. I always enjoy romances with ex-military men who usually have trouble adjusting to civilian life, especially if they experienced the ravishes of war, so when I received a request for the publisher via Net-Galley to read in exchange for an honest review, I eagerly accepted.

Jacob Lorde has returned to Blessings, Georgia after the end of his military career when he stepped on an IED which changed his life. When a delightful little girl shows up at his home, he is enchanted and soon becomes just as enchanted with her mother.

Laurel Payne is a widow. Her husband came back from the war, but could not leave the nightmares behind, and took his life in a most horrendous way. His family blames her for their son’s death. She has not had an easy time of it with her young daughter, Bonnie, to raise.

While the last thing Laurel wants is to become involved with another man suffering from PTSD, she finds herself drawn to her new neighbor, and Bonnie is determined to have him in her life. Can she chance a relationship with Jacob, or should she play it safe?

Saving Jake is a story of overcoming adversity and taking a second chance at love. It’s a story of family and community. The pacing is steady and the romance slowly grows between these two emotionally scarred people.

Laurel gained my sympathy early on. She is a devoted mother, willing to make sacrifices to ensure the safety and well-being of her adorable little girl, Bonnie.  She is dedicated to her parents and her community. I loved how she eventually opens up to Jacob and lets him in.

I always love a tortured soul, and Jake is definitely that. Not only does he have physical impediments, he suffers from PTSD and tremendous guilt over losing several of his fellow soldiers. He shows a great deal of courage and determination to get on with his life. He is so tender and caring to Bonnie, and he quite stole my heart from the start and held it through the end.

If you are looking for a romance with a bit more substance, then you will enjoy Saving Jake as much as I did. The characters are great, especially the little girl, Bonnie. While at times I did struggle with so many characters having POV, it did add an interesting twist to the story. Happy reading!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

For the Love of Police

Especially hot topics right now, whether it be in regards to police brutality or the use of excessive force. It seems there is a clear line between people who respect them and people who despise them.

But how does that choice come to be?

We all make decisions based on information that comes our way, but what if everything we read in the media about police taking harsh action isn’t correct? What if these articles are missing key intel? Unless we were in an officer’s shoes, how can we really know what transpired?

All of us have played—or at least are familiar with—the telephone game. In this, it’s easy to see how a message changes as it moves down the line. The same, too, I would suspect, is the case when it comes to reporting. But that’s only one way that information can get garbled, making it uncertain and difficult to claim as truth. Reports are also often colored by the viewpoint of a source. If that source is prejudiced against the police, it will immediately taint his or her reaction to a situation; before knowing any facts, the police will be cast in an unfavorable light.

I’m not saying that police always make the right decisions; they are human, after all. There are even some corrupt cops. However, I feel that people need to appreciate that unless they are there, in the moment, there’s no way of truly knowing why a certain course of action was taken.

As a result of my own respect for law enforcement, I have dedicated In the Line of Duty to all the fine men and women who serve or have served, and in memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. While most of us would run from gunfire, they run toward it. That right there is enough to warrant my respect. Just imagine what the world would be like without police. In two words, utter chaos.
--Carolyn Arnold
Author of In the Line of Duty (Detective Madison Knight series)

Excerpt from In the Line of Duty, Chapter 4:

A life of sacrifice to the higher good was what Madison had signed up for. She’d defend the innocent and protect and serve if it took her life to do so, and she’d do it despite the way the media painted things to make officers look like the bad guys more often than not. They applied too much use of force to a situation, or they shot someone who wasn’t armed. Meanwhile, it wasn’t disclosed that the officer approached a subject in the dark of night and the subject was holding a bicycle pump extended in the fashion of a gun. The officer had to make a split-second decision that, if it had been a loaded gun, the officer or his backup would have been shot.

And rarely did the news share the stories of courage and bravery—how the actions of officers saved lives and put criminals behind bars. They never reported about the officers who resuscitated a woman who was clinically dead, saving her life while waiting on the local paramedics to show up. No—law enforcement always fell under the microscope of scrutiny and judgment, and yet she and her brothers put their lives on the line every day because it was what many of them believed they were born to do.

Of course, there were some who viewed the job as simply that, but not her. Donning her badge wasn’t something she gave thought or consideration to each morning. It wasn’t an option. It was the same as putting on a pair of pants or brushing her teeth.
You’ve reached the end of the excerpt, but In the Line of Duty is available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover from popular retailers.

About In the Line of Duty:

He devoted his life to seeking justice. But would she get any for him?
It was an ordinary day for police officer Barry Weir. It was the end of shift, he was tired, and he just wanted to get home to his wife and kids. But someone had other plans for him, shooting him down and forcing him to make the ultimate sacrifice.

When news of Weir’s murder reaches the precinct, it leaves Detective Madison Knight and every cop in the Stiles PD itching for revenge. It cuts Madison’s boyfriend, colleague, and Weir’s childhood friend, Troy Matthews, deepest of all, driving him away from everyone he loves just when they need one another the most.

With evidence pointing to a gang-related drive-by, Madison and her team investigate the town’s seedy underbelly in search of justice for their fallen brother. But the deeper they dig, the more convoluted the case becomes. Now they need to figure out if this was a random shooting as part of a gang initiation, a straight-up hate crime, or a targeted kill. But with members of the Stiles PD under attack, they have to do it fast…before more officers pay with their lives.

About the Detective Madison Knight Series:

Murder. Investigation. The pursuit of justice. Do you love trying to figure out whodunit? How about investigating alongside police detectives from the crime scene to the forensics lab and everywhere in between? Do you love a strong female lead? Then I invite you to meet Detective Madison Knight as she solves murders with her male partner, utilizing good old-fashioned investigative work aided by modern technology.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Law & Order, CSI, Blue Bloods, Rizzoli & Isles, Women’s Murder Club, and Hawaii Five-O.

Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning: Ties That Bind, Justified, Sacrifice, Found Innocent, Just Cause, Deadly Impulse, In the Line of Duty, Life Sentence (Bonus Prequel).

 About the Author

Carolyn Arnold is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series and has written nearly thirty books. Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark, POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.
Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:
And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Romance Writer and Lover of Books...Vikki Vaught: Book Tour: To Find a Viking Treasure by Gina Conkl...

Romance Writer and Lover of Books...Vikki Vaught: Book Tour: To Find a Viking Treasure by Gina Conkl...: BOOK INFORMATION TITLE – To Find a Viking Treasure SERIES (& Book #) – Norse series, Book 2 AUTHOR – Gina Conkle GENRE – Viking ...

Book Tour: To Find a Viking Treasure by Gina Conkle

To Find a Viking Treasure - Tour Banner


TITLE – To Find a Viking Treasure SERIES (& Book #) – Norse series, Book 2 AUTHOR – Gina Conkle GENRE – Viking romance PUBLICATION DATE – September 13, 2016 LENGTH (#Pages/# Words) - 200 PUBLISHER – NYLA (self-pub) COVER ARTIST – Kim Killion
NOTE – To Find a Viking Treasure is a standalone novel. Readers do not need to read the series in order.


Survival’s in his blood Rough-souled Brandr’s ready for a new life far from Uppsala, but he can’t stop thinking of a certain flame-haired thrall named Sestra who gets under his skin. Before he leaves for good, the Viking has one final task —Protect her at all costs.
Saving others is her purpose A slave since birth, Sestra’s life has been filled with hardship…until she learns of a treasure hoard. With war coming, claiming the riches will save lives, but only one Viking can help her on this journey —Brandr, the fierce silver-eyed scout.
Chasing more than silver and gold Brandr and Sestra have shared taunts and barbs. Now they must share trust in what becomes a desperate bid to survive. Passions flare as secrets unfold, leading one to make a daring sacrifice that changes everything on their quest To Find a Viking Treasure…




  Rated R – “That’s not the answer I’d hoped for.”
Rated PG- “Maybe I get you.”
Brandr sliced the oars through water…back and forth, his body’s motion hypnotic and smooth. “Go ahead. Talk to me.” The Viking could be a mystical warrior dressed in black against waning fog, his graveled voice working a kind of silken magic. Sun shined through clouds, the pearled orb anointing his head. Perhaps Odin did send Brandr to save the day. Wraiths rose up from the channel as if to push them along. Did the Norse gods want them to succeed? She didn’t believe in Odin and his Valkyries, but the stories Vikings spun at night entranced her. “You could tell me what you’ll do with your reward,” she said. He snorted. “I said you could talk to me. Not the other way around.” “That’s not how it works. People take turns talking and listening to each other. It’s called conversation.” She angled her head coyly. “Vikings can do it. I’ve seen it happen.” Brandr squinted at tree tops rising above the mist. “Never been much for talk.” “Your mouth never stops when trading jibes with me.” His chuckle was raspy and low. “You have a way of loosening my tongue.” To her shame, his laugh cut a scorching path through her body and her legs fell open under her skirts. Her knees were heavy, and she left them open. “You’re a warrior long in service to Lord Hakan. Surely you’ll get a bigger reward than a handful of coins?”
His tarnished silver eyes pinned her. “Maybe I get you.”


Years ago I eloped at midnight after my favorite alpha male (Brian) won a game of pool. We got married the next morning in Vegas and life’s been an adventure ever since! We have two teenage boys who keep us hopping. Family vacations often take us to museums, castles, and forts, which my sons like better than roller coasters. Viking and Georgian romance is my happy place to read and write. My other happy places are times with friends, cooking, a little gardening, and a long ago love for exercise that I keep trying to revive.



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Monday, September 26, 2016

Not Quite Perfect (Not Quite series)
by Catherine Bybee

Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, September 20, 2016

Time and setting: Present Day, Los Angeles, California

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length:  300 Pages

Heat Level: 2 Flames

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Mary Kildare knows how to read people. It’s both why she makes a great therapist and why she refuses to trust the average bachelor. Staying fiercely independent has been her primary relationship strategy—until wealthy playboy pilot (and commitmentphobe) Glen Fairchild reappears in her life. After a yearlong teasing tug-of-war, Mary and Glen test the waters of attraction, only to find that their physical chemistry runs deeper than flirtation.
At first, a bicoastal romance suits them both—especially since Glen can swoop in and whisk Mary away on one of his company’s planes. But no matter how close they get, they’re still three thousand miles apart. And when Mary’s life is threatened, Glen realizes the one luxury he doesn’t have is time. Can he close the distance between them before it’s too late?

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Vikki’s Musings

I became a huge fan of Catherine Bybee’s when I read her earlier books in the Not Quite series, which is fantastic. When I received an invitation from Ms. Bybee’s publisher, via Net-Galley, to read this book in exchange for an honest review, I eagerly accepted. I thoroughly enjoyed Not Quite Perfect. This book is in the Kindle Unlimited program, and if you’re a member you can read and listen for free!

Mary Kildare is a reserved therapist and a close friend of romance author, Dakota Laurens, the heroine of Not Quite Forever, another great book by the way. She met Glen Fairchild the year before and was attracted to the player, who just happens to be a pilot. With them living on opposite coasts, she never expected to find herself in any type of relationship, not even a bi-coastal one.

Glen has been attracted to Mary from their first meeting. He finally decides to act on that attraction. After all, being on each side of the country just might be perfect for him. It’s not like the distance will be a real problem when he can easily hop on his plane and be there in a few hours.

As they grow closer and Mary is being harassed by an unknown stalker, can Glen get there in time to save her, or will the distance prove too much?

This is another fast-paced story with great characters and a unique plot. There is a lot of chemistry between Mary and Glen from the start and it only grows stronger as the story unfolds.

Mary is somewhat of a different character. She is not out-going and enjoys spending time alone. She is independent, determined to maintain that way. Yet, when Glen starts up their flirtation, she can’t resist the temptation.

Glen is a great hero. I liked him from the start, even though he is definitely a playboy. I liked his willingness to see where this fierce attraction will lead. He’s a true romantic at heart, but just doesn’t know it.

One thing a particularly liked about this story is the suspense/mystery element. Ms. Bybee had me guessing until the end as to who the stalker actually is. If you are looking for a book that will keep you wondering and sitting on the edge of your seat, then Not Quite Perfect will be perfect for you. Happy reading!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Special Highlight: Whirlwind Romance by M.S. Spencer

Thanks Vikki, for having Lacey and Armand with you today. I hope your readers get that wonderful lump in their throats when they read of their reunion.

Pirates, Puritans, propaganda, and princes—pieces of the puzzle in the whirlwind romance between a beautiful jelly maker and a mysterious castaway.

Paraiso, the island in Whirlwind Romance, is based on a real island in the western Caribbean that I discovered—how else?—mucking around on the internet. Called Providencia, it forms an archipelago with two other islands, San Andres and Santa Catalina, and five uninhabited atolls. Currently under the Colombian flag, it has been the ruled by an incredible variety of groups, from Henry Morgan the notorious buccaneer, to Spanish Conquistadors, Dutch traders, even English Puritans. Now part of the UN's Seaflower Biosphere, it sports the third largest coral reef in the world. To reach it isn't easy, which is why it's not well known in tourist circles.

In this excerpt, Armand and Lacey are reunited after a forced separation, when Lacey returns to Florida and Armand is left dealing with events in Paraiso. The initial period of recrimination concluded, things are resolved as they should be.

Wild Rose Press, 8/17/2016, Champagne Rose imprint
romance/Action Adventure; M/F; 2 flames
Ebook 89,905 words; Print: 358 p. 

In the aftermath of a hurricane, Lacey Delahaye finds herself marooned on an island on the Gulf coast of Florida with a mysterious man. They are immediately drawn to each other, but before Armand can confess his identity, they are kidnapped and taken to a tiny island in the western Caribbean. In a story filled with adventure, Lacey faces pirates, power-mad ideologues, and palace intrigue, not to mention the advances of three men, only one of whom she loves.

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Excerpt (R): Makeup Sex
A light tapping woke her. She lifted her head as the mantel clock chimed once. One a.m. “Who is it?”
“It’s me. Armand. Can I come in?”
No! “What do you want?”
“We have to talk.”
“Do I have a choice?”
“Of course.”
“I mean, you’ve locked me in. I’m hardly in a position to refuse.”
The doorknob rattled. “Damn it, you’re right—those two blockheads must have ordered it. Hang on.” She listened to some scratching and bumping, and the door yielded. Armand stumbled in. He held up a small pin with a grin. “I believe I’ll double my donation to Eton this year.”
Hmmph. Look, I need some sleep. I’m getting out of your hair tomorrow morning, so you don’t need to threaten me. I apologize for being such a fool.”
He took a step toward her, and she drew her knees up to her chin. “May I sit down?”
“Be my guest.”
He gazed at her a minute. “It’s…it’s good to see you.”
She was too busy clenching her jaw to say anything.
He tried again. “I missed you.”
“I…uh…look, Lacey, you have no right to take that attitude. After all, you were the one who left me.” He stood and paced.
He swung on her, his face pinched, his voice brittle. “Why did you do that? Why did you go?”
“I had to, Armand. I was in the way. You had a family crisis—a national crisis—on your hands. My presence just made things worse.”
“No…no. That’s not true. I wanted…needed you. Lacey—” He bent toward her, his beseeching eyes filled with shade upon shade of black and mahogany and gold.
They reminded her of Maitea’s eyes. “Really?” She tossed her head. “I see you wasted no time getting engaged.”
He lifted his chin. “What else could I do? I’d lost the only woman I’ve ever loved. All I have left is my honor. And honor dictates that the second son of the grand duke marry his second cousin.”
Lacey remembered that awful night in the castle, with Edrigu and Crispin and Inigo, and…Armand—the night when all her options were so cruelly eliminated, leaving her with the one, the inevitable choice. “You didn’t lose me, Armand. You let me go.”
His stricken face shot shards of pain out, piercing her heart. Defenses crumbling, she held out her arms. He fell into them.
A long kiss, followed by a rambling conversation in which the words “love” and “forever,” figured prominently, went on for a few minutes. Armand’s hands roamed over Lacey like a blind man memorizing her body, finally reaching the hem of her nightgown. He lifted it up and over her head, pausing to kiss each nipple. She unbuttoned his shirt, planting kisses on his chest. He wiggled out of his jeans and returned to her.
She pressed closer, squashing her breasts against him, wrapping her thighs around his hips. They held still, savoring the moment, savoring the knowledge of what was to come. He inched down her stomach, pausing to lick her belly button. “Hurry, hurry,” she panted. Instead, he lingered on her inner thighs, trailing his lips down the bare flesh. She writhed on the bed, aching for her climax, begging him to unleash the passion building in her.
At last, he came to her toes. He peered up at her, and she caught a mischievous gleam in his eye. Lacey, who a minute before had been consumed by impatience, wanting her orgasm, wanting to come with him immediately if not sooner, settled down to watch. He took each toe gently between his lips and kissed the tips, then ran a finger along her instep. One hand cupped her heel while the other gently stroked the back of her calf. The kneading calmed her. This must be the way a cat feels when she’s petted—all warm and cozy and loved. Her restlessness muzzled, she lay quietly, rejoicing in his caresses.
Armand whispered, “Lacey, I’ve waited for this moment for six weeks. Every night I’d fall asleep thinking of you, and every dawn I dreamed you were lying here next to me. I’d wake happy, until the real world crashed in. And here you are, as beautiful and desirable as you were the moment I first set eyes on you.”
“Come to me, Armand.”
The world stood by as two lovers met and enfolded. A roll of thunder and crash of lightning from beyond the window echoed the thrumming of flesh on flesh. She couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think. His scent filled her nostrils, and she let go.
Fingers intertwined, lips touching, they rested. The storm faded into the night.
As dawn peeked in through the open window, a knowing smile on her cream-colored face, Lacey pulled Armand close and reminded him again of what he’d missed. Almost sated, they slept again.

About the Author:
Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. After many years in academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia.

Ms. Spencer has published ten romantic suspense and murder mystery novels. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

Other Books by M. S. Spencer:

Coming 2016:
Lapses of Memory


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