Review: Grigori (Book #1: Brothers of Ash and Fire Series) by Lauren Smith



He’s one of the last of a powerful but vanishing bloodline …
Grigori Barinov is the eldest in an ancient line of dragon shifters and the guardian of his family’s lands and fortune. Sworn to protect their history and magic, he won’t rest until he neutralizes any threat to their existence. When he discovers an ancient manuscript that exposes his family and their dragon lineage has fallen into a mortal woman’s hands, he knows he must get the book back by any means necessary. If that means seducing a nosy American woman with an intoxicating scent, he is more than willing to carry her off to his palatial home deep in the heart of Russia.

She’s the one woman who could expose him to the world…
Madelyn Haynes has never fit in. As an adopted child she grew up in a loving home but never felt as though she belonged. Plagued by mysterious dreams she’s had of a silver scaled beast ever since she was a little girl, she is convinced dragons are real. While in Russia working on her PhD in mythology in order to escape the ridicule from fellow professors, she unexpectedly crosses paths with the sexy and dominating Grigori, and after just one night with the man whose eyes seem to burn, she starts to change inside. Isolated in the Russian wilderness Grigori calls home, Madelyn can’t help but fall under his sensual spell, yet something deep inside her calls out that she can’t trust him. She has to show the world dragons are real to salvage academic reputation, even if it means costing her the heart of the dragon she’s falling in love with.

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: Netgalley          My Rating: 4½/5 stars


I am a sucker for a dragon book and Grigori certainly did deliver for me 😊

Madelyn Haynes has always felt different, separated from those around her, but she has no idea why.  Her intense interest in dragons and proving their existence has led her to a desperate situation with her job and to Russia in a last-ditch effort to prove her wild theories.  Little does Madelyn know, not only will she be able to definitively prove her theories, but she’ll also meet the love of many lifetimes.

Grigori is a man who has spent many lifetimes protecting his family, their secret, and their land.  As a shape-shifting dragon, and one of the last of his family’s line, it is imperative no one find out about Grigori and his brothers.  With only one slip about a century ago, Grigori and his brothers have done a fine job hiding who they are from the world at-large.  Unfortunately, that one slip is now in the hands of the ultra-inquisitive Madelyn Haynes and Grigori has some serious damage control to do!  The best way to control the potential damage?  Kidnap the girl causing the problems 😊

While Grigori would normally put the mind-whammy on a human and be done with it, Madelyn seems to be somewhat immune to his abilities.  Additionally, Madelyn stirs long forgotten feelings in Grigori that tend to indicate having found one’s life mate.  Trouble is, Madelyn is human and mating for a lifetime with a human when you’re immortal never goes well.  Finally, in the midst of everything else, an ancient enemy has chosen the here and now to poke at Grigori and his brothers in an effort to take full control of Russia.  When it rains it pours ☹

For Madelyn’s part, the kidnapping certainly isn’t ideal, but the discovery of actual dragons is thrilling.  Unfortunately, telling the world what she’s discovered just isn’t going to be possible.  On the bright side, Madelyn’s feelings for Grigori mirror his feelings for her which makes her decision to sacrifice her research all the easier.  All she must do is convince a one-thousand-year-old dragon he should absolutely mate with her, a mere human. 

The Bottom Line:  I am often quite fond of Lauren Smith’s offerings and Grigori is no exception to that rule!  In fact, I’m sort of sad I found this book when I did and not after the other two had already been released.  This was a devour it kind of read with loads of smoldering (HA! Dragons!) sexy, an old hatred coming into play, secrets revealed, and a few mysteries unlocked that will surprise everyone. I enjoyed this insta-love read immensely and can’t wait for the rest of the series to be published.  If you’re a lover of all things dragon, you’ll want to check Grigori out for sure!!

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

About the author and where to find her:

Lauren SmithBorn and raised in Tulsa, Lauren Smith spent the first twenty-two years of her life in Oklahoma, bridging the worlds between urban girl and cowgirl. After high school she attended Oklahoma State University where she earned Bachelor of Art degrees in history and political science. Drawn to paintings in museums and obsessed with antiques, she has satisfied her fascination with history by writing and exploring exotic, ancient lands.  Over the years, Lauren’s studies have opened doors throughout the world. From spending two summers at Cambridge to attending classes at such divergent places as Ireland and Chengdu, China, she has discovered fascinating opportunities for enrichment wherever she goes. After completing college, Lauren moved to Michigan to attend law school at the University of Detroit-Mercy and University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. Armed with two Juris Doctorate degrees from both countries, she returned to Tulsa and became an intellectual property attorney.  Since third grade when her English teacher proposed that all students should craft a story for a young writers’ conference, Lauren has been hooked on writing. Her first self-illustrated manuscript described the mysterious disappearance of rare brown bats that were being captured by scientists bent on using them as carriers for an incurable disease. The immense sense of joy in sharing that story with others, and discussing plots and characters, made it clear to Lauren that writing was her true passion. 

Facebook Author Page | Facebook Friend Page | Twitter | Google +

Amazon | Goodreads | Website | Blog


Review: The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman


Recipe BoxGrowing up in northern Michigan, Samantha “Sam” Mullins felt trapped on her family’s orchard and in their pie shop, so she left with dreams of making her own mark in the world. But life as an overworked, undervalued sous chef at a reality star’s New York bakery is not what Sam dreamed.

When the chef embarrasses Sam, she quits and returns home. Unemployed, single, and defeated, she spends a summer working on her family’s orchard cooking and baking alongside the women in her life–including her mother, Deana, and grandmother, Willo. One beloved, flour-flecked, ink-smeared recipe at a time, Sam begins to learn about and understand the women in her life, her family’s history, and her passion for food through their treasured recipe box.

As Sam discovers what matters most she opens her heart to a man she left behind, but who now might be the key to her happiness.  

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: Netgalley          My Rating: 3/5 stars

Sam Mullins has spent her life dreaming of becoming a world-class baker.  From her small northern Michigan apple orchard to the bright lights and competitive world of New York City, Sam has earned her culinary school degree, has a tremendously crappy job, and the feeling she still isn’t where she’s meant to be.  After an unsettling episode at work, Sam packs her bags and heads for home.

In an effort to sort out her life, Sam returns to the loving embrace of her family and their century-old apple orchard.  The orchard holds so many happy and some very conflicting memories for Sam.  There is the ever-present love and support of her family, the orchard, and the pie shop where Sam first discovered her love of baking.  At mother and grandmother’s sides, Sam learned how to mix and create, to bake and to love, and to share her creations with her family and community.  The recipes she learned as a child are both simple and comforting and have brought Sam great pleasure throughout her life.  In her current state, however, Sam is beginning to question if her fancy culinary degree was a way to cover her embarrassment over the very provincial nature of her family’s recipes and cooking.

Over the days she’s at home, Sam not only reconnects with her love of her family recipes, but with the women who made her love and opportunities possible.  Sam’s formidable grandmother, Willo reminds Sam, through stories of their past how the orchard and pie shop came to be, how both have sustained the family though the long years, and how a history such as theirs is as much a foundation as a piece of architecture.  Slowly, and after much baking, Sam begins to realize her fancy culinary degree isn’t at all about embarrassment or shame, but about wanting to make her own unique mark on the world outside of the long shadow of her family. 

The Bottom Line:  If it weren’t for one very large issue, The Recipe Box would have scored so much higher with me!  I am a smart and attentive reader which means I don’t need an author to constantly remind me of certain themes and/or issues in their books.  In The Recipe Box, the themes of history, shared history, and foundations are repeated so often they become almost comical.  Almost!  I got to the point where I began skipping over the excessive passage related to these themes and moved on to the far more interesting business.  I did enjoy Willo a great deal and her shared stories of the Mullins family and their past.  Willo builds a strong connection between the past and the present which allows Sam to understand her place in the family as well as in the world.  There are some really touching moments in this read a TON of yummy recipes which will appeal to many readers.  If you don’t mind the repetition, The Recipe Box may be just the read for you 😊

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Review: Bad Princess by Julianna Keyes

Bad PrincessNotorious for leaping off roofs, maiming foreign royals, and that twerking incident, Brinley Cantrella of Estau is nobody’s definition of a good princess. She’s fearless and bold, not good and gracious. And after a lifetime of being told she’s unfit to be queen, wearing the crown and helping to usher Estau into a new era is the one dream she’s never dared chase.

But when her older sister abdicates the throne, all Brinley has to do to inherit the role is not twerk, not maim anybody, and definitely not get caught fooling around topless with Prince Finn, her childhood crush, the only man she’s ever loved…and her sister’s former future husband.

Finn embodies the definition of good. Tall and handsome, serious and honorable, he always does the right thing—including agreeing to marry his ex’s sister to cover up this latest scandal. Brinley has fallen down stairs, broken teeth and broken bones, but this is the first time her heart has ever been broken. She now has the crown and the prince, and on the surface, life is good—but is being married to a man everyone swears could never love her back good enough?

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: Netgalley and Pre-Order Purchase          My Rating: 4½/5 stars

When I found this title on Netgalley, I had already pre-ordered it from Amazon and after binge reading Bad Princess, I can honestly say it is worth every penny!

Brinley Cantrella is the media’s darling and not in the good way!  The media loves Brinley for two reasons, her status as princess of Estau and her propensity for getting into trouble.  Brinley’s trouble sells papers and magazines, and she frequently lights up the internet with her antics.  Since the first time she and her shenanigans showed up in the media, Brinley has gotten used to being known as the Bad Princess.  Some days, Brinley is OK with the moniker, but since her older sister and the heir apparent abdicated and ran away with a lumberjack, Brinley is liking the title less and less.

In one fell swoop, Brinley not only becomes the heir to the throne of Estau, but she also finds herself the inheritor of one jilted fiancé.  As it turns out, Brinley has known said jilted fiancé, Finn all her life and for most of it, she has loved him from afar.  As the spare heir, Brinley was never meant for Finn, but once her sister abdicated and the press happened to catch the Bad Princess and Finn in a somewhat compromising position, well, suddenly the jilted fiancé has become the happy husband.  Things sure do move fast when you’re royal 😊

Though Brinley has certainly long been besotted with Finn, she never imagined actually having him as her own.  When Finn belonged to her sister and the throne was nothing but a dream, Brinley could live her life, experience all life has to offer, and never worry about her behavior reflecting badly on Finn.  Brinley has long admired Finn’s ability to be the perfect royal, always in control, never a foot or hair out of place, never a word misspoken, just perfection.  As his new wife, Brinley feels more inclined than ever to shed the Bad Princess image and be a proper royal wife to her new husband.  Trouble is, trouble seems to follow Brinley and if she isn’t careful, the powers that be are going to step in and take away the things Brinley has always been secretly passionate about, Finn and the throne of Estau. 

The Bottom Line:  If you’re looking for a light, sweet, super-quick read I’m going to have to heartily recommend you check out Julianna Keyes’s Bad Princess.  Brinley and Finn are the very definition of opposites attract meets forbidden romance.  In order for Brinley and Finn to be happy together, each has to face a few demons and that means dealing with some ugly truths.  In the process, each discovers a genuine affection and passion for the other which makes this read even more delightful!  In all Bad Princess is a feel-good read that will certainly brighten and lighten your TBR!

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Review: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin


It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: Netgalley          My Rating: 2/5 stars


The Immortalists falls into the category of reads where I find myself questioning whether I liked the read or not.  The only way to sort out the answer is with a list of likes and dislikes. 


I like the premise of this read, the idea of the power of suggestion and how it impacts a person throughout his or her life.  In this instance, four children, at far too young an age, were told by a gypsy woman the dates of each of their respective deaths which in turn wreaks havoc on their lives from that moment forward.  As the children grow into adults, each tries, without much success to forge a path, a life out from under the shadow of a death date. 


Unfortunately, the promise of the premise utterly fell apart as the story unfolded.  From the moment the children discover their respective death dates, each travel along a collision course headlong toward what becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  For a time, each of the four siblings find a small measure of happiness – Simon in his dancing and relationship, Klara in her daughter, Daniel in his ability to help others, and Varya in her work – but, it isn’t enough, in the end, to sustain any of them. 

The book is broken into four sections, one for each of the siblings and each is sadder, more pathetic than the last.  Simon is very much a product of his time and place, Klara is a product of undiagnosed/untreated mental illness, Daniel is a victim of his own obsession, and Varya, well, I’m still not sure what went sideways with her.  Ultimately, each of siblings feels helpless in the face of a death sentence and rather than fight, they give in to what they each clearly see as the inevitable.  This giving up, the sense of doom and inevitability is the root of my displeasure with this book.  None of these siblings ever reached out to anyone for help, sought to help one another, and no one in their lives, apparently, cared enough to encourage them to seek help.  Furthermore, each sibling is so caught up in his or her own life and BS, weighed down by old hurts and betrayals, they can’t see a life beyond what they feel is a fixed moment in time.  To this end, each, even when in a relationship, becomes so isolated as to become quite hopeless.  From page one, it is clear this read there is going to be nothing but waste, waste of talents and more importantly, a waste of lives.

The Bottom LineThe Immortalists is one of those reads I fully expected to like and found very much lacking in the end.   In the end, I was very much disappointed by the characters in this book, literally every one of them.  All the siblings, all four of them had every opportunity to help themselves and one another yet, none of them took such steps and/or measures.  In large part, I stuck with this book because I kept hoping someone would finally pull their head and do the right thing.  Though one of the siblings does end up living, it isn’t much of a life and it’s filled with the guilt of knowing how little help was offered and/or given to her siblings.  In the end, I found this book tragic in the worst sense possible as well as frustrating beyond belief. 

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo


Happy Thanksgiving!!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Happy Thanksgiving, RoloPolians, and for those among you who do not share this holiday, Happy Thursday 🙂 I wish you all a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you back here bright and early Monday morning with brand new posts for your book-loving pleasure!!




Spotlight and Sweepstakes: Ms. Demeanor by Danica Winters


Ms. Demeanor
by Danica Winters
Series: Mystery Christmas, #4
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Paperback Release Date: November 21, 2017
Digital Release Date: December 1, 2017


A cold-case Christmas in Mystery, Montana 

Yearning to be known as something other than Mystery’s ultimate bad boy, rancher Rainier Fitzgerald isn’t pleased when he stumbles upon the remains of a dead body. Especially when Officer Laura Blade catches him with a gun in his hand.

Spending Christmas chasing down a cold case with a man she’s not supposed to fraternize with isn’t granting any of Laura’s holiday wishes, either. But could her favorite time of the year be working its magic on Laura’s feelings? Or is Rainier truly transforming from a charismatic rogue to a hero worthy of her heart?

 Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ iBooks ~ Kobo ~ Google Walmart ~ Harlequin ~ Universal Book Link ~ Goodreads



Book 1: Ms. Calculation


Book 2: Mr. Serious


Book 3: Mr. Taken



Danica Winters is a Nielsen BookScan and an Amazon bestselling author who has won multiple awards for writing books that grip readers with their ability to drive emotion through suspense and occasionally a touch of magic. Most recently, Danica was the winner of the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Paranormal Romantic Suspense Book of the Year Award and Chanticleer Media’s Paranormal Book of the Year for her novel Montana Mustangs.

When she’s not working, she can be found in the wilds of Montana testing her patience while she tries to understand the allure of various crafts (quilting, pottery, and painting are not her thing).  She always believes the cup is neither half full nor half empty, but it better be filled with wine.

Danica Winters is represented by Jill Marsal of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Spotlight: A More Perfect Union Series by Betty Bolte


A More Perfect Union Series
by Betty Bolté
Series: A More Perfect Union
Genre: Historical Romance

Cover DesignerSweet ‘N Spicy Designs



A More Perfect Union, Prequel Novella

ONLY 99¢


Joining the revolutionary army was the honorable thing to do—but Jedediah Thomson hadn’t realized how long he’d be away from the lovely, spirited Miss Elizabeth Sullivan. They’d only begun their courtship when the occupation of Charles Town, South Carolina, trapped her in the city, making it dangerous to get to her.

Elizabeth Sullivan feared for her brothers, fighting for American freedom; for her father, pretending to be a loyalist; for family and friends, caught between beliefs; and most of all for Jedediah, the man she loves, who was doing his duty. She cherished every moment they had together, knowing how swiftly it could be taken away.

And that made her willing to risk everything to claim a piece of him forever….



A More Perfect Union, #1


Emily Sullivan’s greatest fear is dying in childbirth, as did her twin sister and their mother. Then she’s thrown in a loyalist prison for her privateering father’s raids on the British, and her accuser–a former beau–promises to recant if she will marry him.

Frank Thomson always loved Emily despite her refusal to return his affections. A patriot spy posing as a loyalist officer, when Frank learns of Emily’s plight, he challenges her accuser to a duel.

Freed from prison, Emily ponders returning the affections of her rescuer–the only man she’s ever loved and who married her twin to save the Sullivan family’s reputation. But Frank cannot afford to be discovered. For the sake of young America, he must deliver his secrets.



A More Perfect Union, #2


Without a goodbye, Amy Abernathy’s childhood sweetheart, Benjamin Hanson, leaves to fight in the American War for Independence. Amy chooses to pick up the pieces of her heart and leave Charles Town to help her sister who is with child.

Benjamin knows he hurt Amy, but he plans to make it up to her after his mission is completed. Then he learns that Amy has been captured by renegade soldiers. Now Benjamin faces his own choice: free the sassy yet obstinate woman he’s never stopped loving or protect Charles Town from vengeful British occupation.



A More Perfect Union, #3


In 1782, the fight for independence becomes personal in the port city Charles Towne, South Carolina. Samantha McAlester, midwife and healer, returns to Charlestown to find it occupied by the British and her one of few medically trained people in town. But when a friend is shot during an attack, she must defend her reputation as well as her heart against the town doctor, Trent Cunningham.

Dr. Trent Cunningham has a lot to prove to his father and to himself before he’ll be accepted as the new doctor in town. Having just returned to South Carolina, he’s ready to roll up his sleeves and start showing everyone the results of the education he’s received at university. When the raven haired healer flashes him a professional challenge with emerald eyes, can he prove he’s the best doctor in town without undermining her reputation and her regard for him?



A More Perfect Union, #4

Widow Evelyn Hamilton must overcome societal expectations as well as soaring post-war inflation in order to provide for herself and her infant son. Determined to rebuild the gutted manor as well as her life, she vows to create a safe home on her own rather than be subjected to the dictates and demands of another husband.

Militiaman Nathaniel Williams is driven by a thirst for adventure and longs to make his fortune on the frontier. When he visits Charlestown and his heart becomes ensnared by a smart, beautiful widow–who would never consider leaving her family behind–he must make the hardest decision of his life.

Can Nathaniel fulfill his dream even though it would mean living without Evelyn?



Betty Bolté writes both historical and contemporary stories featuring strong, loving women and brave, compassionate men. No matter whether the stories are set in the past or the present, she loves to include a touch of the paranormal. In addition to her romantic fiction, she’s the author of several nonfiction books and earned a Master of Arts in English in 2008. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and the Authors Guild. Get to know her at


Join Betty’s Fan Club/Street Team: Betty’s Novel Ninjas