Spotlight: Chronicles of a Rockin’ Mess by S.E. Rose

Rockstar Lincoln Grant is off-limits. But that hasn’t stopped his assistant, Lark Sutton, from wanting him.
 
Lark put her own music dreams aside when she took a position working for the scandalous, playboy rockstar. After he finally does the unthinkable, she leaves him to pursue her own music and re-invent herself. Eighteen months later, Lincoln’s band comes knocking at her door, begging her to come back to help them with an out-of-control Lincoln.
 
At first, Lincoln tries to resist her help, but soon he finds that he’s falling for her. Will Lincoln change Lark’s mind about him or will she leave him and the band once and for all?
 

 
S.E. Rose lives in the DMV. And if you know what that means, then you know where she lives. She currently resides with her husband, two children, and always at least two cats and usually other random creatures her children decide they need. While she works at a desk during the day, her evenings and weekends are devoted to writing and editing her romance novels. She loves all things wine, coffee, tea and dark chocolate; that’s right, dark chocolate. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, traveling, going to concerts, and reading.
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Mini-Review: Spring House by Mary Ellen Taylor

42381708Pregnant and still grieving the death of her fiancé, historian Megan Buchanan is forging ahead on a dream project: to restore to its original glory the landmark hunting lodge her own great-great-grandfather built on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. With the help of her fiancé’s caring best friend, it’s sure to draw much-needed tourist revenue to Cape Hudson, a town rich in southern history. 

However, it’s Spring House, the caretaker’s cottage on the grounds, that holds the most intriguing history for Megan. In a cache of old letters, she’s drawn into the captivating life of a young woman who embarked on her own dream adventure a century ago. With each one, Megan is swept away into her enthralling world—and all its secrets. But Megan has secrets too. 

Now, as one woman’s past unfolds in each revealing letter, Megan will discover more about herself and about the emotional tides of family that can be weathered with those you love and trust the most.

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Source: NetGalley and Montlake Romance          Rating: 5/5 stars

The Bottom Line: Though it isn’t listed as the second book in a series, Spring House is very much a continuation of the story begun in Winter Cottage.  Megan Buchanan has been contracted to fully and completely restore not only Winter Cottage but the surrounding sites as well; as a historian and an individual with deep family roots in the area, Megan is excited about the project and eager to restore every site to its former glory.  As a means of somewhat avoiding her own very personal and painful issues, Megan throws herself into the Spring House project; in addition to the physical restoration of the site, Megan also digs into the history of the place and people.   As Megan digs into the past, the book alternates between the past and the present and does so in a wonderfully seamless way.  As Megan discovers, the past absolutely informs the present and with every bit of information she uncovers, the more connected she feels to her past, present, future, and the place. 

Though you can absolutely read Spring House as a standalone, I would highly recommend reading it only after completing Winter Cottage.  The history of the families and area are vast, complicated, and shrouded in mystery.  The blending of past and present is excellent, the characters in both eras are compelling, and the plot is wonderfully heartfelt and engaging.  At the root of this book is a sense of family, of belonging, and finding one’s place in the world. Though I want Megan to be successful in her work, I sure hope it takes her a very long time to complete the project as I would gladly welcome more books in this series.

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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Alec (Reed Security Series) by Giulia Lagomarsino

Alec: I’ve been chasing this damn woman for three years. Our relationship is finally out in the open and I’m not letting this chance slip past me. I will make her mine, and there won’t be any room for arguments. There’s the slight problem of Craig, our other teammate. He knows what we do in the other rooms at night, or during the day, and that leaves us in a bit of a predicament. But we’ll work it out. I always get my woman, and Florrie is all mine.
 
Florrie: It took me by surprise when I fell for Alec. I hadn’t intended to ever sleep with my teammate, but then one day, he was there and so damn sexy. It was just supposed to be sex, nothing more. But he kept pushing and then one day, it was out in the open. Everyone knew and there was no way for me to stop what was happening. Except, there’s just one problem, I’ve got a secret that ensures we’ll never be together in the way he wants. Now I just have to find a way to tell him.
Excerpt
“Who is he?” Hunter asked. “Just tell me and I’ll kick his ass.”

“I think I can do my own ass kicking.”

“No. Whoever this asshole is, just tell us and we’ll take care of things. We’ll make sure you never see him again. If you know what I mean,” he continued.
“I know exactly what you mean, and no, you don’t need to make him disappear.”
“But, that’s what we do. We don’t know how to solve any other problems,” Gabe said, almost in confusion. 
Rocco groaned and held up a hand to ward off the guys. “I didn’t want to get involved, but it looks like I’m gonna have to. Why don’t you tell us about this guy. What’s he like?”
“Smart, strong, capable…”
“Sexy?”
“Of course,” I huffed. “But he’s confusing. I thought that he was into me, but then nothing happened. Is it me? Am I not pretty enough?”
“No,” Sinner said, shaking his head sharply.
“Of course not-” Hunter snorted uncomfortably.
“You’re beautiful,” Rocco said firmly, and the other guys joined in.
“Sexy as hell.”
“Nice rack.”
“Good ass. Nice and firm.”
“You have nice elbows,” Sinner said.
“What?” I asked in confusion. Hunter smacked him upside the head.
“I panicked,” Sinner said. “You all said nice rack, good ass. What else was left?”
“You could have gone with beautiful eyes,” I snapped. “Or even nice legs, but nice elbows? Who the fuck says that?”
“Obviously not this guy you’re seeing or he’d already be dead,” Rocco muttered.
“Did you fuck him?” Hunter asked. “Guys always lose interest after you fuck them.”
“No,” I sneered. “It’s not like I just spread my legs for any guy I come across.”
“Did you come right out and tell him you like him?” Rocco asked. “Some guys are fucking stupid and can’t take a hint.”
“Actually, I wrote him a note and told him that I really liked him and asked if he liked me too.”
“Like in the song?” Sinner asked.
“Yeah,” I snarked. “Just like in the song. I even drew boxes and asked him to check yes or no.”
“Did he answer?” 
“No, you idiot! I didn’t actually do that. I’m not in second grade.”
“Maybe you should,” Sinner shot back. “With all your sarcasm, he probably doesn’t know if you want to kiss him or kick him in the balls.”

 

    
   
   
   
I’m a stay at home mom that loves to read. Some of my favorite titles are Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Horatio Hornblower. I started writing when I was trying to come up with suggestions on ways I could help bring in some extra money. I came up with the idea that I could donate plasma because you could earn an extra $500/month. My husband responded with, “No. Find something else. Write a blog. Write a book.” I didn’t think I had anything to share on blog that a thousand other mothers hadn’t already thought of. I decided to take his challenge seriously and sat down to write my first book, Jack. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed writing. From there, the stories continued to flow and I haven’t been able to stop. I hope my readers enjoy my books as much as I enjoy writing them. Between reading, writing, and taking care of three small kids, my days are quite full.
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Spotlight and Sweepstakes: Last Night by Kim Deister

Terrifying visions torment Starra. Lost moments of time and flashes of images too horrific to accept fill her with icy fear so complete she can’t escape it. With too many unanswered questions, she needs answers. Now. It’s her only hope if she wants to save what’s left of her shattered mind and soul.
 
Unlike Starra, Mina cares nothing for her soul. Damned long ago, she’s too scarred for redemption. There are people meant to enjoy lives of love and family and friends. Mina isn’t one of these people. Her life is in the shadows, unafraid of the dark… until she realizes that something lurks in those shadows, something that wants to tear her apart.
 
One never knows what the darkness hides…

 

 
I was born and raised in a tiny town in the wilds of northern New York, a pretty, little college town called Potsdam. I grew up in a family of lawyers and teachers and bucked all the traditions. Before becoming a writer, I spent a lot of years wearing combat boots in the US Army. I spent most of my time in boots working as a Signals Intelligence Analyst (no jokes!) and a linguist. I also worked as a tech writer, an entirely different kind of writing, for Corning Glass Works. Now, I’m an Army wife and a mom to four sons.  Over the years, our Army life has taken us all over the place and I have been lucky enough to work and live in some pretty amazing places.  Now we live in Hawaii, just minutes from the beach!
 
I am a writer thoroughly in love with words. Reading them, writing them… I love that words can take you outside of your world and let the unimaginable become imaginable. When I’m not writing or lounging on the beach, I’m probably somewhere with my nose in a book.
 
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Excerpt: Hades: (Book #1: The Shadow Hills Series) by Author: Leah Diane

“Hades, God of the Underworld. His life was taken from him the day mortals decided what he was and wasn’t. Those depictions of him have been nothing but wrong.
 
Now he’s setting his own course and making his own story. He’ll do anything to protect his family, even if it means starting a War…
Whose side are you on?”
Excerpt

“What was that?” Zeus asked arching a brow.

“Nothing.” He said looking to Zeus. “I said nothing.”

“You’d be correct in saying that. You’re not to speak at all from here on out? You’re mine.”

There was a sound behind Hades in that instance before he felt something thick and metal snap around his neck. It wasn’t that this was happening that he felt shocked and surprised it was the fact that he felt weak and exposed once it was on. He no longer felt a connection to the dead, he couldn’t find the beginning or end to anything, it was like all his power was just gone.

“Do you enjoy feeling mortal, brother?” He asked as someone heaved him up, he assumed it was Hephaestus doing it. “Don’t worry though, you can’t die.”

Hades stared at him as he was pushed ahead, being forced towards a set of rather large doors. “Where do you want him father?” 

“The black cell for now, we’ll figure out where he’s going after that.” 

Black cell? The hell did Zeus have set up around his palace? What kind of things was he doing to others? Dread ran down his spine for a moment as he was pushed once more until Hephaestus almost gave up and began dragging him in the proper direction. It wasn’t long before he was standing in front of a door that was painted black, Hephaestus unlocked it and then with a rough shove he pushed him inside of it only to slam the door shut almost instantly. 

He was met with silence and darkness, nothing more and nothing less than that. His body sprawled out on the cold damp ground that took over the room he was in and that was honestly where he knew, he was going to die.
 
 

 



 
Leah Diane is currently in her mid 20s, she’s the Author of Book of Curses, The Darker Side and Shadows in the Dark. 
 
Her love of writing first started when she was 8 and came upon her local library in school and after time she found her first love – Hawksong – in which she learned the love of the Paranormal. 
 
Looking up to Authors like, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Julie Kagawa, Stephen King and a few others. She resides in Jacksonville, FL with her boyfriend, two cats and a dog.



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Mini-Review: The Companion by Kim Taylor Blakemore

46200886. sy475 1855, New Hampshire. Lucy Blunt is set to hang for a double murder. Murderess or victim? Only Lucy knows the truth. 

In the shadow of the gallows, Lucy reflects on the events that led to her bitter downfall—from the moment she arrived at the rambling Burton mansion looking for work and a better life to the grisly murders themselves. 

In a mysterious household of locked doors and forbidden affections, Lucy slips comfortably into the shadows, where she believes the indiscretions of her past will remain hidden. But when Lucy’s rising status becomes a threat to the mistress’s current companion, the delicate balance of power and loyalty begins to shift, setting into motion a brewing storm of betrayal, suspicion, and rage. 

Now, with her execution looming closer, Lucy’s allies fight to have her sentence overturned as the tale she’s spinning nears its conclusion. But how much of her story can we trust? After all, Lucy’s been known to bend the truth…

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Source: NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing     Rating: 2/5 stars

The Bottom Line:  This page sat blank for more than 24 hours thanks to me wondering what I really wanted to convey about this book.  Shifting through all the thoughts and feelings came down to one thing: while I didn’t dislike this book, I also feel like it is a story that has been done before, many times over, and done better than what I found between the covers of this book.  The most recent iteration of this trope that comes to mind is Alias Grace though I freely admit there are some large differences between the two stories.  I think what I was looking for in this book, one I was very excited to read based on the synopsis, was something different, some new twist or element that would allow this book in particular to stand out from all the others like it.  Sadly, I didn’t find that element.

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Review: His Lady Deceived (Book #2: Deceived Series) by Cheryl Bolen

46367785. sy475 Lady Sarah Milton’s spinsterhood is not because she hasn’t received proposals of marriage. Her beauty and dowry have attracted many. It’s just that the men who have proposed don’t appeal to her. One man who does, the sport-mad Alfred Wickham, doesn’t know she exists. Therefore, when his mother invites her family to spend Yuletide with her extended family at the home of the Duke and Duchess of Radcliff, Lady Sarah jumps at the chance.  

Alfred Wickham is not happy. His matchmaking mother fancies an alliance between him and some well-bred young miss he’s to meet at the Radcliffs’. The last thing Alfred wants is to tie himself down in matrimony–and, besides, he’s never been attracted to well-bred ladies. He’ll show them! He enlists his best friend, Lord Pottinger, to intervene. Potts is to inform the miss of Alfred’s wicked ways: his gaming, his recklessness, and his (feigned) understanding with an actress. Once Potts has succeeded in poisoning Lady Sarah against his friend, Alfred realizes he’s made a most dreadful mistake . . .

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: NetGalley          Rating: 5/5 stars

For many, Christmas is a joyous time of year spent with friends, family, and acquaintances.  It is a time to reflect on the year, to embrace the coming year, and most importantly, to take stock of the blessings in your life.  Unfortunately, for Lady Sarah Milton and Alfred Wickham, not much of the above applies. 

Lady Sarah is just on the cusp of becoming a spinster!  She is beautiful, titled, wealthy, and above reproach.  Since her debut into London society, she has had many offers for her hand in marriage, but each and every one, she has politely declined.  For Sarah, there is only one man, whose attention she’s never had, who could possibly make her say “yes” to a proposal. 

Alfred Wickham is perfectly satisfied with his life.  Oh, he may be in debt thanks to his bad betting capabilities, but his parents have always cleared the debts and allowed him to move along with his life and continue his cycle of debauchery.  For many years, this has been Alfred’s life and he is wonderfully content with the status quo.  Unfortunately, Alfred’s parents are no longer feeling quite so amenable; in fact, Alfred’s parents are ready for him to curb his appetites and settle down.  If Alfred’s mother has her way (and she most assuredly will!) Alfred is going to meet, fall for, and propose to Lady Sarah Milton during their shared Christmas celebration.

Within hours of their arrival at their Christmas destination, Lady Sarah and Alfred both draw their battle lines.  Alfred does so in the form of his best friend and Sarah with her icy attitude.  Alfred has arranged for his best friend to speak ill of him to Lady Sarah so she will want no part of him or matrimony.  While the plan seems to work, at least initially, Alfred shows his true colors in his actions and kind treatment of his sister and mother.  Lady Sarah, not one to be easily fooled begins to work out the problems in her head and discovers, one should never judge a book by its cover or by its best friend’s ill spoken words.

The Bottom Line:  Lord, have mercy!  What a wild ride His Lady Deceived turned out to be!  From meddling mothers to false character testimonies to a blessed but difficult birth, this book has it all.  What’s more, this book is populated with wonderfully rich characters, excellent dialogue, witty exchanges, and a well-deserved HEA.  I am always going to recommend Cheryl Bolen and her historical romances.  Her books are always beautifully written, populated with interesting and real characters, and based upon plots that are just perfect for the time and place.  Oh, and she ALWAYS gives me a strong female lead who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, reveal her intelligence, yet still remain a proper lady 😊

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