Review: Out Rider, by Lindsay McKenna

About the book,  Out Rider Out Rider

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books (April 26, 2016)

With her return to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, New York Times bestselling author Lindsay McKenna shows how love can find a way out of the darkness… 

A fresh start—that’s all Devorah McGuire wants. As a former Marine and current Ranger with the US Forest Service, she’s grown accustomed to keeping others safe. But when the unthinkable happens, she can only hope that a transfer to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, will allow her to put the past behind her for good.

Dev’s mentor at Grand Tetons National Park is fellow canine handler and horseman Sloan Rankin. He shows Dev the spectacular trails, never knowing the terror that stalks her every move. Despite her lingering fear, Dev feels an attraction for Sloan as wild as their surroundings.

With Sloan, Dev can envision a new life—a real home. Unless a vengeful man fresh out of prison succeeds in finishing what he started…

Buy, read, and discuss this book.

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

 


About the author, Lindsay McKenna Lindsay McKenna

A U.S. Navy veteran, she was a meteorologist while serving her country. She pioneered the military romance in 1993 with Captive of Fate, Silhouette Special edition.  Her heart and focus is on honoring and showing our military men and women.  Creator of the Wyoming Series and Shadow Warriors series for HQN, she writes emotionally and romantically intense suspense stories.

Connect with Lindsay.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 


My Thoughts Melissa A. Bartell

I’ve reviewed and/or spotlighted a few of Lindsay McKenna‘s books now, and I find that even though I’m not a heavy reader of romance novels, I always enjoy visiting with her characters, because the women are always strong and independent, and the men are usually sensitive and incredibly respectful of women, and both of those things need to be modeled more in our media.

While I’m NOT a fan of anything that smacks of Western, I have five dogs, and I grew up with a love of horses, and was fortunate enough to spend a couple of summers at riding camp in New Jersey, or visiting friends in Nebraska and Colorado who had horses. It was the horse-and-dog connection, as much as McKenna’s name,  that really drew me to this novel. I mean, the story was so engaging she made me want to visit Wyoming.

What I love about McKenna’s characters is that they’re usually seasoned adults. In the case of Out Rider, Dev and Sloane have each had their requisite tragic (for whatever reason) love affair/marriage. They’ve lived in the world, and experienced life’s fears and joys. That tempering, the fact that they’re not twenty-two-year-olds, is what I really love about this novel, in particular, and this author’s work in general. Yes, this couple is slightly idealized – it’s a romance novel, after all – but they’re still believable, dimensional characters.

I also appreciate the way McKenna, who is ex-Navy, works military backstories into her work. Many of her characters, both men and women, are either active-duty or ex-military, and not just as a line-item in a description. They rely on skills taught while they were in the service, and demonstrate a love of country that feels sincere without being preachy. It takes a really smart writer to pull that off.

As I mentioned before, part of what drew me to this novel was the animals. Dogs and horses are a classic combination, in life, and in fiction, and stories built around them always appeal. McKenna ties the love of these animals into the story making them almost-characters, but never, ever, allowing them to stray into cuteseyness.

If you want to read a formula romance, this is NOT the novel for you.

If, however, you want to read a really good love story about people who could be real (and maybe fall a little bit in love with Wyoming), I highly recommend Out Rider.

Goes well with chili rellenos, black beans and rice, and a cold beer.


Giveaway Out Rider

Want to read Out Rider for yourself. One lucky winner will get a DIGITAL COPY (e-book) of this novel. How do you enter? Find my post about this review on Twitter (@Melysse) and retweet it, or find my post on Facebook and like/share it. One of my dogs and I will pick the winner from all entries received by 11:59 PM  US CDT, on Sunday, May 29th.

Please note: aside from selecting the winner, I have NO CONTROL over this giveaway. I will supply the winner’s email address to the publicist, and they will be responsible for sending the book (in this case, an ebook).


Lindsay McKenna’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS: TLC Book Tours

Monday, April 25th: Bewitched Bookworms

Wednesday, April 27th: The Sassy Bookster

Wednesday, April 27th: Written Love Reviews – guest post

Friday, April 29th: Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous

Monday, May 2nd: Read Love Blog

Tuesday, May 3rd: From the TBR Pile

Wednesday, May 4th: Booked on a Feeling

Thursday, May 5th: Reading Reality

Friday, May 6th: Book Reviews & More by Kathy – guest post

Monday, May 9th: Books a la Mode – guest post

Wednesday, May 11th: Palmer’s Page Turners – guest post

Monday, May 16th: Bibliotica

Wednesday, May 18th: Stranded in Chaos

Thursday, May 19th: The Reading Cove Book Club

Friday, May 20th: What I’m Reading

Monday, May 23rd: A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, May 25th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

#Bibliotica reviews: The Summer of Me, by Angela Benson

About  the book, The Summer of Me The Summer of Me

• Paperback: 352 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (April 19, 2016)

The national bestselling author of Delilah’s Daughters and The Amen Sisters returns with a moving story about a single mother who, in one unforgettable summer, discovers the woman she can become.

As a single mother, Destiny makes sacrifices for her children—including saying good-bye for the summer so they can spend time with their father and stepmother. Though she’ll miss them with all her heart, the time alone gives her an opportunity to address her own needs, like finishing her college degree. But Destiny’s friends think her summer should include some romance.

Destiny doesn’t want to be set up . . . until she meets Daniel. The handsome, warm, and charming pastor soon sweeps her off her feet. But is romance what she really wants? Or needs?

As the days pass, Destiny will make new discoveries—about herself, the man she’s fallen for, and the people around her. And she’ll face challenging choices too. But most of all, she’ll grow in ways she never imagined, learning unexpected lessons about trust, forgiveness, and the price of motherhood . . . and becoming the woman she truly wants to be.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


About the author, Angela Benson Angela Benson

Angela Benson is a graduate of Spelman College and the author of fourteen novels, including the Christy Award–nominated Awakening Mercy, the Essence bestsellerThe Amen Sisters, Up Pops the Devil, and Sins of the Father. She is an associate professor at the University of Alabama and lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Connect with Angela:

Website | Facebook

 


My Thoughts Melissa A. Bartell

The whole time I was reading Angela Benson’s latest novel The Summer of Me, I kept thinking about two things: one, this author has really nailed what it is to be a single parent in the contemporary world, and two, lead-character Destiny’s experience is not all that different from my own mother, who, as she recently reminded me (and the world) through her blog, “worked at shitty jobs to pay for cello and tap lessons, big hair perms, and the latest Michael Jackson record.” (Well, it was the 80’s.)

Here’s what I loved about Destiny: unlike the hoards of Mommy-bloggers out in the world, who seem to let their role as “mother” subsume their entire personalities, Destiny is a dimensional person. She loves her kids and wants the best for them, yes. She makes choices based, at least in part, on what would be best for her kids. While I’m not a parent (I have dogs. Lots of dogs.), I have many friends who are, and most of them make their decisions in a similar fashion. But she also retains the ability to be a whole person – it’s rocky, at first, because when we meet her she’s just had a job offer – one that would have changed life as she perceived it – rescinded, so she’s not as hopeful as she should be – but once her confidence is somewhat restored, she begins to date, and make choices about what is best for her.

Here’s what I loved about The Summer of Me in general: Destiny is the center of the story but her mother and friends have their own arcs as well. They’re subtler, but they do exist. I also liked that the kids ‘read’ like real kids – not grammatically perfect fictional characters – I especially appreciated that Kenae, Destiny’s daughter, had her headphones in her ears more often than not. This is behavior I see everywhere (and, sadly, not only with kids) and it lent an air of realism to what is basically a contemporary romance novel. I also appreciated that the kid’s father and his wife were not portrayed as monsters, just as two people who share a common interest – the children – and our doing their best to work with each other. None of the relationships are perfect, but they are all fairly positive, and okay, it’s a romance novel, so it’s not like anyone was going to be truly evil, but still… Author Benson really showed off her ability to find the nuances in every-day situations and enhance them to make a compelling story.

I’m never sure if I should mention that most of the characters in this novel are people of color (which is the phrase that was in our descriptions when we were given the opportunity to choose books for this spring – Thank you TLC Book Tours for giving us such great choices), or if I should just assume that readers will understand, as I do, that a good story is a good story, that single mothers of all cultures and skin tones have similar experiences, and that you don’t have to be exactly like the protagonist of any novel to be able to relate to it. So, I’m mentioning it in this left-handed fashion, because it shouldn’t matter. (But there’s a whole rant about labeling books, and this isn’t the moment for it.)

I found The Summer of Me to be incredibly well written, just sexy enough to keep things interesting, and full of dimensional characters I truly cared about. I recommend it for anyone who wants an easy (but still satisfying) summer read, especially children of single parents.

Goes well with Chinese chicken salad and mango-peach iced tea. Followed by a phone call to your mother, whether she was a single parent, or not.


Angela’s Tour Stops TLC Book Tours

Tuesday, April 19th: Raven Haired Girl

Wednesday, April 20th: Comfy Reading

Thursday, April 21st: Becklist

Friday, April 22nd: Kritters Ramblings

Monday, April 25th: A Soccer Mom’s Book Blog

Tuesday, April 26th: I’m Shelf-ish

Wednesday, April 27th: Thoughts On This ‘n That

Thursday, April 28th: Bibliotica

Friday, April 29th: As I turn the pages

Monday, May 2nd: Reading is My Super Power

Tuesday, May 3rd: Sara’s Organized Chaos

Wednesday, May 4th: From the TBR Pile

Thursday, May 5th: 5 Minutes For Books

Lies and Other Acts of Love, by Kristy Woodson Harvey (@kristywharvey) #review #contest #mustread

Lies and Other Acts of LoveAbout the book, Lies and Other Acts of Love

 

  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (April 5, 2016)
  • Publication Date: April 5, 2016

 

Dear Carolina was praised as “Southern fiction at its best.”  Now author Kristy Woodson Harvey presents a new novel about what it really means to tell the truth…

After sixty years of marriage and five daughters, Lynn “Lovey” White knows that all of us, from time to time, need to use our little white lies.

Her granddaughter, Annabelle, on the other hand, is as truthful as they come. She always does the right thing—that is, until she dumps her hedge fund manager fiancé and marries a musician she has known for three days. After all, her grandparents, who fell in love at first sight, have shared a lifetime of happiness, even through her grandfather’s declining health.

But when Annabelle’s world starts to collapse around her, she discovers that nothing about her picture-perfect family is as it seems. And Lovey has to decide whether one more lie will make or break the ones she loves….

Buy, read, and discuss this book.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble. | Hudson Booksellers | IndieBound | Kobo | Goodreads


Kristy Woodson HarveyAbout the author, Kristy Woodson Harvey

Kristy Woodson Harvey is the author of Dear Carolina, which was recently long-listed for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize and Lies and Other Acts of Love, a Romantic Times top pick and Southern Booksellers Okra Pick. She blogs at Design Chic about how creating a beautiful home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life and loves connecting with readers at kristywoodsonharvey.com. She is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of journalism and holds a Master’s in English from East Carolina University. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and websites, including Southern Living, Domino magazine, Our State, Houzz, the Salisbury Post and the New Bern Sun Journal. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and four-year-old son where she is working on her next novel.

Connect with Kristy

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


Contest: Order to Enter

Contest

Order Lies and Other Acts of Love and send a picture of the receipt to kristy@kristywoodsonharvey.com between now and April 10 to be entered to win a $1,000 Shop Design Chic gift card. Everyone will receive copies of four gorgeous printable quotes from the book! Order or pre-order from an independent bookstore or Indiebound for two contest entries!

Link to blog post: bit.ly/1UE6elP

(See above for buy links.)


Melissa A. BartellMy Thoughts

I had the privilege of reviewing Kristy Woodson Harvey’s first novel, Dear Carolina before it’s release, and I quickly fell in love with both that novel and Harvey’s writing, so when she sent me an email asking if I’d review her sophomore outing, Lies and Other Acts of Love, I made time to do so, and I’m glad I did, because I think this may be one of the best novels of the spring/summer of 2016 – and we’re barely into April.

Told in alternating chapters from Lovey and Annabelle, this novel holds the richness of family tradition in every page, but tradition isn’t always fluffy, and I really appreciate the way Harvey’s characters are flawed and dimensional. Lovey is at an age where secrets really start to weigh upon you, and we feel that in every one of her interactions, though we feel the equal – greater – weight of her love for her family as well.

Annabelle, by contrast, is still young enough to retain some element of capriciousness, though her maturity increases as the story goes on.

Maybe I’m just a sucker for stories about big families with overlapping generations, but I felt that the collection of women in Lies and Other Acts of Love was incredibly important. Our mothers and grandmothers and aunts – our cousins and and nieces and daughters – these are the people who hold our histories and our stories, but they also hold our hearts. There’s something incredibly powerful, to me, about women supporting other women, and it drives me crazy when they don’t. In this novel, we see more support than not, but both sides of the coin are reflected, and that balance is part of what makes these people seem so real.Lies and Other Acts of Love

I want to say a word about the men in the story, and especially D-Daddy – Lovey’s partner, who is declining much faster than she is. The scenes between the two of them were so poignant, and so naked, full of the little fictions we tell the people we love to ease their days, but also full of the impact of a decades-long relationship. Despite the requisite pain that comes with knowing someone you love is fading, the scenes with these two people were some of the most interesting, and most passionate, in the novel.

Overall, I found that Kristy Woodson Harvey’s voice, while remaining once the same as it was in Dear Carolina, has evolved into a confident, warm voice made for telling these distinctly human tales, that are the perfect blend of realism touched by romance. It’s no lie that I loved this book, and I’m certain you will, too.

Goes well with fresh-caught fish, a garden salad, and sweet tea (or maybe a vodka cranberry).

 

 

The Darkest Secret, by Gena Showalter #review #TLCBookTours #giveaway

In June, 2016, Gena Showalter will be releasing the newest installment of her series The Lords of the Underworld. That novel, The Darkest Torment, is not yet ready for review, so, in conjunction with TLC Book Tours, many of us are reviewing other books in the series. I chose to review The Darkest Secret.  Read to the end of the page for the entire list of tour stops, and the chance to win a signed copy of the entire collection.

About the book, The Darkest Secret The Darkest Secret

  • Series: Lords of the Underworld
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books (March 29, 2011)

Keeper of the demon of Secrets, Amun can manipulate the darkest thoughts of anyone nearby. But when new demons possess him, the immortal warrior must be chained and isolated to protect those he loves. Death is his only hope of release—until he meets Haidee, a fellow prisoner whose beauty and hidden vulnerability draw him into a reckless test of his loyalty…. Haidee is an infamous demon assassin, raised to despise Amun’s kind. Yet how can she hate the man whose touch sets her aflame? But to save him, she must give herself body and soul…and face the wrath of a powerful adversary sworn to destroy her.

Buy, read, and discuss this book.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


My Thoughts Melissa A. Bartell

This novel, The Darkest Secret, is number seven in a series, and while each of the novels can be read as standalone stories, I can’t help but wonder if it would have been a different experience reading them all in order.

But that’s beside the point.

The Darkest Secret opens with a homecoming, as we witness the changes in a place I’m calling Casa Demonica  – a sort of group home/mansion/commune for angels (warriors) and demons, each of whom is the ‘keeper’ of some great evil – some of them are four horseman-level evils, others are less intense – fatigue, for example – but all of the demons represent the darker side of humanity. Or demonity. Or… both.

Author Gena Showalter does a really good job of blending world-building with paranormal romance. I enjoyed the fact that there was nuance to her darkest creatures – they regret that their appetites cause harm, and actually try to make things easier for their human partners, as a rule.

I also enjoyed learning about the interpersonal relationships between these creatures. How precarious it must be to have friendships that could so quickly turn to death and destruction, or just as easily become true kinships – or switch between both extremes in the space of days, weeks, or years?

But beyond the demons themselves are their human hosts. In this case Amun is living within Micah, and Strider – it’s his point of view we first experience – has brought a human woman – Haidee – into Casa Demonica, but Haidee isn’t just a chick of the week, she’s Micah’s girlfriend.

Yeah. That’s not awkward at all.

Because Amun/Micah is experiencing the physical manifestation of a psychic disease, he’s strapped to a bed, and in terrible shape, and Haidee, of course, answers his mental call and makes her way through the house to be at his side.

Hurt/comfort is a very big part of this novel.

And yet, with the author’s fresh spin, and clear writing voice nothing ever seems trope-y or overdone. Instead, everything that should be cheesy or over the top combines in to a deliciously dark, exquisitely erotic fable for contemporary adults.

Goes well with dark chocolate, red wine, and a seriously plush sofa.


Giveaway Gena Showalter

The publisher is sponsoring a RaffleCopter contest to win a signed copy of the entire series of these books. Enter below. PLEASE NOTE: I have nothing to do with the giveaway, except as a facilitator.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Gena Showalter’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS: TLC Book Tours

Monday, March 28th: Read Love Blog – Series spotlight

Tuesday, March 29th: Supernatural Snark **The Darkest Craving

Tuesday, March 29th: Booked on a Feeling **The Darkest Night & The Darkest Kiss

Thursday, March 31st: Bewitched Bookworms – spotlight, The Darkest Passion

Friday, April 1st: Reading Reality **The Darkest Touch

Monday, April 4th: Reader Girls **The Darkest Lie

Tuesday, April 5th: Bibliotica **The Darkest Secret

Wednesday, April 6th: Romancing the Book **The Darkest Seduction and The Darkest Craving

Thursday, April 7th: From the TBR Pile **The Darkest Night

Monday, April 11th: Lovely Reads  **The Darkest Whisper

Monday, April 11th: Books that Hook **The Darkest Touch

Tuesday, April 12th: Stranded in Chaos  **The Darkest Night, The Darkest Kiss

Wednesday, April 13th: Romancing the Readers **The Darkest Seduction

Friday, April 15th: Bibliophilia, Please ** The Darkest Night

Monday, April 18th: Stuck in Books – **The Darkest Pleasure

 

Spotlight on Fighting Dirty by Lori Foster (@LoriFoster) – Read an Excerpt

Spotlight on Fighting Dirty Fighting Dirty

  • Series: An Ultimate Novel
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books (February 23, 2016)

He’s the hottest MMA fighter in the game, but one woman is ready to try out a few steamy moves of her own in an unforgettable new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster 

With the life he’s led and the muscles he’s gained, Armie Jacobson isn’t afraid of anything. Except maybe Merissa Colter’s effect on him. It’s not just that she’s his best friend’s little sister. Fact is, she deserves better. Women pursue him for one night of pleasure, and that’s all he wants to offer. Until rescuing Merissa from a robbery leads to the most erotic encounter of his life.

Good girl meets bad boy. It’s a story that rarely ends well. But Merissa is taking matters into her own hands. No matter how he views himself, the Armie she knows is brave, honorable and completely loyal. And as past demons and present-day danger collide, they’re both about to learn what’s truly worth fighting for…

Buy, read, and discuss Fighting Dirty

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Read an Excerpt from Fighting Dirty

Bestselling author Lori Foster shares a fighting scene from the last book in her Ultimate Series, Fighting Dirty

Fighting Dirty by Lori Foster is the final book in her addicting and wicked hot MMA-themed Ultimate Series. Check out the excerpt below to see just what we mean. Happy reading!

***

“Jesus, Quick. You’re a freak of nature. You know that, right?”

Armie Jacobson, known as Quick to his fighter friends, ignored the complaint and threw a few more jabs, then a solid body shot, making Justice, a six-foot-five heavyweight, double over. Stepping back, Armie flexed his hands, bounced on the balls of his feet, and waited.

Unfortunately, Justice only put his hands on his knees and sucked air.

Frowning, Armie removed his mouthpiece. “Seriously? Come on, dude. Let’s go.”

“Screw you.” Schlepping back to his corner, Justice grabbed up a water bottle. He doused his head and chest, and then started chugging.

Aware of others watching, Armie said nothing. Everyone worked out, trained and sparred in the rec center, but lately, whenever he did, a dozen or more people stopped to watch. He didn’t mind an audience. Hell, he couldn’t be a competitor if he did. For the most part he paid no attention. Once he got in the cage, he went into a zone and the world receded.

But this insane ogling shit, like he was a damned sideshow, bugged him big-time.

A trickle of sweat tracked down his temple from his headgear, and he swiped a forearm over his face. His muscles burned and more sweat soaked his chest, abs and rolled down his spine. He was figuring out what to say to Justice to get him back in action when he picked up her scent. The faint perfume cut through the rec center air, thick with the smells of sweaty men working hard.

Trying to look casual, Armie stared at Justice but in his peripheral vision he saw her striding across the room. No mistaking that long-legged gait, or that longer dark hair. He swallowed, frozen.

“What?” Justice asked, sounding both suspicious and ridiculously alarmed with the way Armie had locked onto him.

Armie shook his head – and thankfully Merissa disappeared into the hallway leading to the offices.

Releasing a breath, he looked toward the clock and frowned. Yeah, they’d been at it for a while, maybe longer than he’d intended. His cardio was better than most, definitely better than Justice’s, the big lug.

Armie walked over to him. “You need to get more gas in the tank.”

“Go fuck yourself.”

When Armie grinned, Justice eyed him warily. “Stop it.”

That switched his grin to a frown. “Bitchy much?”

Justice slouched against the wall and glared back. “You shouldn’t be able to grin, you prick. You should be as tired as me.”

A natural trainer, Armie took pity on him. “You’re a lot bigger.” As a six-foot tall middleweight, Armie stood five inches shorter and weighed a lot less than Justice.

“Lotta good it does me.”

Squatting down in front of him, Armie said low, “People are watching, so stop whining.”

Justice’s gaze slipped past him and he groaned.

“Yeah, the big dogs are here again.” Damned nosy bastards. Ever since he’d signed with the SBC, the powers-that-be had been scoping him out like their newest lab rat. “Stand up, go another two minutes with me, then we’ll call it quits.”

Huffing out a breath, Justice lumbered to his feet. “Freak of nature,” he muttered again, but he followed Armie out to the center of the ring, and he did his best.

His best was nowhere near good enough against Armie.

But then, they fought for very different reasons.

Twenty minutes later, fresh from the showers, Armie was ready to head out. The mid February weather left frost on every surface, so he tugged on a stocking hat over his still wet hair and pulled a thick hooded sweatshirt on over his clothes. Carrying his gym bag, he entered the main area cautiously. This late in the day, the mats were now cleared. Miles and Brand took their turn mopping with sanitizer. Many of the lights were turned down and only the core group of friends remained, clustered together in conversation.

The SBC heads were gone, and better still, he didn’t see Merissa anywhere. She’d probably just been dropping off paperwork for her brother, Cannon, who owned the rec center.

Relieved, Armie started for the door. With any luck, he’d manage it before someone stopped him –

“Hey, Armie.”

Damn. After a slight hesitation, he turned to where Denver, Stack and Cannon all stood together. “What’s this? The three Married Musketeers?”

Stack, who’d only married a month ago, reeked of satisfaction. “Aw, he’s jealous.”

Yup. But since he’d die before admitting it, Armie said, “Nope.”

Denver, still a newlywed himself, grinned. “Probably lonely too, poor guy.”

Very. Groupies, orgies, and random one-night stands could only take a guy so far. He had a rep for sexual excess, and that’s what the ladies wanted from him. That, and nothing more.

Checking the time, Armie said, “I could be lonely with three very nice ladies if you yahoos would let me leave.”

Unlike the others, Cannon didn’t laugh. “Seriously? Again?”

Why the hell did his best friend have to sound so disapproving? And if he knew why Armie had made those plans, he’d probably be pissed as well as disapproving, because it was thoughts of Cannon’s little sis that he worked so hard to obliterate. Not that a foursome would accomplish much beyond taking the edge off. His obsession with Merissa seemed to amplify by the day.

Copping an attitude, Armie shrugged. “Yeah, really. Unless you have something –” Or someone “- better for me to do?”

“As a matter of fact, that’s why I wanted to talk to you.”

Well hell. He hadn’t figured on that. Armie ran a hand over his hair. “Then let’s hear it.”

“Yvette wanted everyone to come over tonight to hang out and visit.”

Armie adored Yvette. She was perfect for Cannon and a real sweetheart. But damn… “Who all will be there?”

With a very knowing smile, Cannon said, “Everyone important to us. So don’t miss it.”

Double damn. Merissa definitely counted as important.

Armie didn’t want to, but with all the guys eyeballing him, how could he refuse? “What time?”

“Now.”

Armie scowled. “What do you mean, now?”

“Now, as in you don’t have time to do anything else, so forget it.”

Justice came dragging out, his faux-hawk hair still wet, his goatee in need of a trim, and his cauliflower ears worse than ever. He shoulder-bumped Armie as he passed. “If you hadn’t been determined to cripple me, maybe you’d have had more time for playing.”

“Wuss,” Armie accused with a grin.

“He has a point,” Brand said as he pushed a mop bucket toward them.

Miles, giving one last swipe of the mat, followed him. “Keep pushing that hard and you’re liable to hurt something before the competition.”

“I still have two months.” Two months of freedom and he’d spend it however he wanted. Sure, Armie knew there were established training methods, but they weren’t for him. Never had been, never would be – no matter who he fought for.

“This isn’t local fighting anymore,” Denver reminded him.

As if he’d forget.

“Carter Fletcher isn’t a slouch,” Miles added. “You might not walk through him like you do the local guys.”

“They call him Chaos for a reason.” Brand frowned. “I’ve seen him fight and he’s unpredictable.”

Yeah, so his first opponent was supposed to be a stud. Big deal. Armie shrugged to show he didn’t really care. Not that long ago the SBC, the most widely known MMA organization, had run him to ground and all but coerced him into signing on with them. Cannon had helped with that, pushing him to take the next step since he’d already demolished all the records in local venues.

It was a big step, too, something all the other guys had worked for. The SBC paid a lot more and offered incredible name recognition. Their fighters traveled the world to compete.

But Armie liked being low key; it was a hell of a lot safer for multiple reasons. If it wasn’t for Cannon –

“He’ll do fine against Carter,” Cannon said. “And don’t worry about his training. Armie motivates differently, that’s all.”

Always, no matter what, Cannon had his back. As the only other person to know why he’d avoided fame and fortune, Cannon understood. They weren’t related, but they were brothers all the same.

Which was the second biggest reason he couldn’t, shouldn’t, crave Merissa the way he did. Cannon protected those he loved.

And he loved his sister a lot.

“It’s getting late,” Cannon added. “Don’t want to keep Yvette waiting.”

Glad for the switch in topic, Armie pulled out his phone. “Guess I better make some calls and let the ladies know I won’t make it after all.”

Stack looked at Denver. “If it was anyone but Armie, I’d think he was making it up.”

“Lonely,” Denver confirmed.

Armie walked away knowing they were right.


About the author, Lori Foster Lori Foster

Lori Foster is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author with books from a variety of publishers, including Berkley/Jove, Kensington, St. Martin’s, Harlequin and Silhouette. Lori has been a recipient of the prestigious RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy, and for Contemporary Romance. She’s had top-selling books for Amazon, Waldenbooks and the BGI Group.

Connect with Lori

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Lori Foster’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS: TLC Book Tours

Monday, February 8th: Bibliotica – Excerpt 1

Wednesday, February 10th: Read Love Blog – Cover breakdown

Thursday, February 11th: Books a la Mode – Valentine’s post

Friday, February 12th: A Chick Who Reads – Arnie, a fan favorite character

Monday, February 15th: Bewitched Bookworms – Series overview

Wednesday, February 17th: Written Love Reviews

Friday, February 19th: Worth Getting in Bed For

Friday, February 19th: Mignon Mykel {Reviews}

Monday, February 22nd: Reading Reality

Monday, February 22nd: Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, February 23rd: Majorly Delicious

Wednesday, February 24th: Stranded in Chaos

Thursday, February 25th: Bibliophilia, Please

Friday, February 26th: The Sassy Bookster

The Lady’s Command, by Stephanie Laurens #review #TLCBookTours

About the book, The Lady’s Command The Lady's Command

  • Series: The Adventurers Quartet (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Mira (December 29, 2015)

#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens brings you THE ADVENTURERS QUARTET, a riveting blend of Regency-era high seas adventure, intrigue and romance

His to cherish

Declan Frobisher chose Lady Edwina Delbraith as his wife. Scion of a bold, seafaring dynasty, he’s accustomed to getting his way—Edwina would be the woman who graced his arm, warmed his bed and remained safely at home when he returned to sea. But once the knot is tied, Declan discovers Edwina is unconventional and strong-willed, and his marriage promises to be as tempestuous as the high seas.

Hers to command

Edwina’s fairy-princess beauty hides a spine of steel. Born into the aristocracy—born to rule—and with Declan’s ring gracing her finger, she expects to forge a marriage by his side. Then bare weeks into their honeymoon, Declan is recruited to sail on a secret mission. Edwina—naturally—declares she must accompany him.

Theirs to conquer

Facing unforeseen perils and unexpected enemies while battling to expose a dastardly scheme, Declan and Edwina discover that their unusual marriage demands something they both possess—bold and adventurous hearts.

JOIN THE ADVENTURERS—four couples whose passionate voyages will transport you. Start the journey here and follow the adventures, the mysteries and the romances to the cataclysmic end!

Buy, read, and discuss The Lady’s Command.

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


About Stephanie Laurens Stephanie Laurens

New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens originally began writing as an escape from the dry world of professional science. Her hobby quickly became a career; she has been writing historical romance novels for more than 20 years. Currently living outside Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two cats, she spends most of her days writing new stories in her signature ‘Errol Flynn meets Jane Austen” style.

Connect with Stephanie

Website | Facebook


My Thoughts MissMeliss

Buckle your swashes and loosen those corsets so you can breathe because this book, the first in a quartet, both honors the historical romance genre and turns it on its ear, and it does so with a fast-paced adventure balanced with a believable love story that may not make you swoon, but it will definitely make you long for the cool sea breeze (and salt spray) in your face as you and your beloved ride the wild waves.

Here’s what I loved about this book: Declan and Edwina could be cookie-cutter romance novel characters. He’s the son of a seafaring family – rugged, dashing, well-informed. She’s an aristocrat born and bred, with the expected beauty that goes within such characters. But author Stephanie Laurens defies the trope by making Edwina an action-seeker in her own right. She doesn’t want to sit at home or pace a widow’s walk, she wants to be on the ship, at the wheel, with her husband. Better yet, Declan goes along with it, so husband and wife form a team.

I enjoyed the interplay between the two characters, and the way they would play against either other and with others when situations required it, but I also loved the way they would always come together in the end.

The dialogue and settings felt true to the period without being at all stilted (as can often happen in historical novels) and the supporting characters had enough dimension to feel like real people, whether they were sailors, other members of society, or just average people.

I’m not usually a fan of historical romances, but I am a great fan of any kind of high seas adventure, so asking to review this was an impulsive choice, and one I’m glad I made, because I was engaged the entire time I was reading.

My only issue with this novel is that it’s book one of a quartet, which means I have to read three more books to have the whole story!

(I expect I’ll survive.)

Don’t be a scurvy dog; read this book. You’ll enjoy every word of it.

Goes well with fresh caught fish, pan seared with limes, and a crisp chablis – OR – fish’n’chips with proper vinegar and a good local lager.


Stephanie Laurens’ TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS: TLC Book Tours

Monday, January 4th: Romancing the Book

Tuesday, January 5th: Bewitched Bookworms

Wednesday, January 6th: The Sassy Bookster

Friday, January 8th: A Chick Who Reads

Monday, January 11th: The Romance Dish

Tuesday, January 12th: BookNAround

Wednesday, January 13th: From the TBR Pile

Friday, January 15th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Monday, January 18th: Reading Reality

Tuesday, January 19th: The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, January 20th: Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Book Spot

Thursday, January 21st: FictionZeal

Friday, January 22nd: View from the Birdhouse

Tuesday, January 26th: A Night’s Dream of Books

Tuesday, January 26th: Books a la Mode – excerpt and giveaway

Thursday, January 28th: It’s a Mad Mad World

Friday, January 29th: Stranded in Chaos

Monday, February 1st: Bibliotica

TBD: One Curvy Blogger

TBD: Worth Getting in Bed For

Night Hawk by Lindsay McKenna (@lindsaymckenna) #review @TLCBookTours #Giveaway

About the book,  Night Hawk Night Hawk

  • Series: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books (December 29, 2015)

ONCE UPON A RANCH IN WYOMING…

After losing his comrade, Sergeant Gil Hanford thought a visit to the man’s widow would be the decent way to honor his late friend. But Gil found more than comfort in Kai Tiernan—he had always secretly desired beautiful Kai, but a sudden, mutual passion helped assuage their grief…until duty reared its head, removing him from her arms, seemingly forever.

Four years later, Kai is starting over at the Triple H Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Born a rancher, she is looking for a new beginning—but her new boss is unforgivably familiar. Kai has tried to move past the memory of what happened between her and Gil, even though she’s never forgiven him for leaving her. But even as they begin their journey toward something new and oh-so-uncertain, a shadow emerges, determined to claim Kai for itself.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


About the author, Lindsay McKenna Lindsay McKenna

A U.S. Navy veteran, she was a meteorologist while serving her country. She pioneered the military romance in 1993 with Captive of Fate, Silhouette Special edition. Her heart and focus is on honoring and showing our military men and women. Creator of the Wyoming Series and Shadow Warriors series for HQN, she writes emotionally and romantically intense suspense stories.

Connect with Lindsay

Website | Facebook | Twitter


My Thoughts MissMeliss

Lindsay McKenna is a really engaging writer, and even though I don’t go out of my way to read romances, I pleaded to be allowed on this blog tour, because I respect her work so much. I love that she honors our military (active duty and veterans) by featuring military characters in her novels, and I love that she treats both the people and the institution with honesty and respect.

I am less a fan of westerns, so for me, Night Hawk was a little difficult because of the Wyoming ranch community setting. A childhood that took place, in part, in the Colorado Rockies, and a marriage that began in the Great Plains of South Dakota taught me that there is beauty in those rugged, wide open places, but I’m really glad I only ever have to visit them in books and movies. I’m a city girl with beachy proclivities, and I’m okay with that.

But enough about me. Kai, the heroine of this novel, is ex-military, retired after ten years of service, and looking for work as a wrangler or mechanic when we first meet her, and from page one, I wanted to befriend her. Gil, Kai’s one-time lover, and best friend of her deceased husband, is the perfect romance novel hero, but with the depth and nuance that only Ms. McKenna can bring. Actually, it’s her depiction of the heroes where I think McKenna particularly excels, because while romance novels are usually written by women, for women, with women as protagonists, if the men don’t come across as dimensional beings, the romance doesn’t work.

Their story is one of grief and loss, hope and love, separation and coming back together, and McKenna handles each mood with a deft hand, making the novel feel like a glimpse into an ever-so-slightly-heightened version of reality. There are no roller-coaster extreme ups and downs, no soap opera-esque histrionics, just solid storytelling and a good amount of yummy love scenes that feel steamy without being uncomfortably explicit.

I look forward to more from Ms. McKenna, in this series, and her others.

Goes well with a bowl of thick, spicy chili, and a cold beer.


Giveaway Wolf Haven

One person in the US/Canada can win a copy of one of Lindsay McKenna’s other novels, Wolf Haven.

How? You have two options:

1) Follow me on Twitter (@melysse) and retweet MY tweet with the link to this review.

OR

2) Leave a comment (make sure there’s a valid email address – no one will see it but me) telling me about a person you reconnected with after a long separation.

You have until 11:59 PM US Central time on Tuesday, February 2nd.

Winner will be informed by email or direct message on Twitter (as applicable).


Lindsay McKenna’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, January 4th: Majorly Delicious

Monday, January 4th: The Sassy Bookster

Wednesday, January 6th: Reading Reality

Friday, January 8th: A Chick Who Reads

Monday, January 11th: Worth Getting in Bed For

Tuesday, January 12th: Bewitched Bookworms

Wednesday, January 13th: Mignon Mykel Reviews

Friday, January 15th: Read Love Blog

Monday, January 18th: Romantic Reads and Such

Tuesday, January 19th: It’s A Reading Thing

Wednesday, January 20th: Book Reviews & More by Kathy

Thursday, January 21st: Life is Story

Friday, January 22nd: Raven Haired Girl

Monday, January 25th: What I’m Reading

Tuesday, January 26th: Bookaholics Not-so-Anonymous

Wednesday, January 27th: Bibliotica

Thursday, January 28th: Books a la Mode

Friday, January 29th: Black ‘n Gold Girls Book Spot

TBR: From the TBR Pile

The Christmas Bridge, by Elyse Douglas (@douglaselyse) #review #rafflecopter #giveaway #TLCBooktours

About the book, The Christmas Bridge The Christmas Bridge

Print Length: 183 pages

Publication Date: September 15, 2015

A First Love. A Second Chance.

A young widow travels to New York on business a few days before Christmas. She has reluctantly made a date with a lover she hasn’t seen in 20 years, and she is nervous and apprehensive. Twenty years before, she made a difficult decision that has both troubled and haunted her ever since. She knows she’s about to come face-to-face with her past and she’s hoping for some redemption and resolution. She also wonders if she can somehow pick up where she left off 20 years ago and start again.

An exciting chance encounter changes everything. Now, not only will she face the past with hope to rekindle an old romance, but there is the possibility that this chance meeting will bring her love and happiness she never thought possible.

Once again, she will have to choose. She will have to make the right decision. She will have to believe that Christmas miracles can still happen.

Buy, read, and discuss The Christmas Bridge

Amazon | Goodreads


About the author, Elyse Douglas

Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the married writing team Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington.

Elyse Douglas>Elyse grew up near the sea, roaming the beaches, reading and writing stories and poetry, receiving a Master’s Degree in English Literature from Columbia University.  She has enjoyed careers as an English teacher, an actress and a  speech-language pathologist.  She and her husband, Douglas Pennington, have completed five novels: The Astrologer’s Daughter, Christmas for Juliet, Wanting Rita, Christmas Ever After, The Christmas Town and The Christmas Diary.

Douglas Elyse Douglas grew up in a family where music and astrology were second and third languages.  He attended the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and played the piano professionally for many years. His two detective books include Death is Lookin’ for Elvis and Death is a TapDancer. His great great grandfather lived to be 132 years old, and was the oldest man in the world when he died in 1928.

Elyse Douglas live in New York City.

Connect with Elyse Douglas

Website | Facebook | Twitter


My Thoughts MissMeliss

Christmas is a time for a bit of heightened reality. More romance, more fluff. I like that about this time of year. It makes the grey days softer, and the chilly weather a little less biting. The Christmas Bridge, the latest in a collection of Christmas-themed novels from the writing team known as Elyse Douglas is the perfect embodiment of all this.

Olivia and Brett meet in New York on Central Park’s Bow Bridge. It’s cold in the way only New York can ever be cold – slushy and grey and a weird mix of hard and soft – but they connect, and go for a hot chocolate, and from that moment you know they’re destined to be together. This is not a spoiler. It’s a Christmas novel, and a romance at that. You know the lead characters are going to end up in love by the end.

You still want to follow their journey.
Even though that journey involves Olivia constantly worrying that she’s in the wrong relationship, because she was supposed to meet an old lover on that bridge.

At least I did, because I found this romance to be a great representative of the season. Brett is a professional baseball player – wealthy, playful, but also a truly good guy. Olive struck me as being a bit naive at times, but maybe that was her way of staying human, because it worked for her. Together they share meals and trips to museums – the kinds of dates we all wish we could go on when we’re stuck in the suburbs, and somehow never do go one, even when we’re living more urban lives.

I thought they were well drawn, dimensional and flawed, but still existing in that heightened-reality Christmas romance bubble.

Similarly, the supporting characters were memorable and real without being overpowering. I liked the banter, particularly between Brett and Big Mike.

Overall, this novel is a lovely contemporary Christmas romance, and it does a great job of giving you a few hours of escapism and joy before you have to return to whatever prosaic reality you typically inhabit.

Goes well with hot chocolate and Christmas cookies, obviously.


Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway

This tour includes a Rafflecopter giveaway for a copy of the book! Click the link below to enter.
Rafflecopter giveaway


Elyse Douglas’ TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS: TLC Book Tours

Monday, November 16th: Majorly Delicious

Tuesday, November 17th: Book Nerd

Thursday, November 19th: I Wish I Lived in a Library

Monday, November 23rd: Bibliotica

Wednesday, November 25th: Read Love Blog

Friday, November 27th: From the TBR Pile

Monday, November 30th: Mom in Love with Fiction

Wednesday, December 2nd: A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, December 3rd: Romance Novels for the Beach

Monday, December 7th: Bewitched Bookworms

Thursday, December 10th: Kritter’s Ramblings

Monday, December 14th: Written Love Reviews

Monday, December 14th: A Night’s Dream of Books 

Tuesday, December 15th: FictionZeal

Wednesday, December 16th: The Romance Dish

Friday, December 18th: A Splendid Messy Life

 

The Visitant: A Venetian Ghost Story, by Megan Chance (@meganschance) #review #giveaway #TLCBookTours

About the book,  The Visitant: A Venetian Ghost Story The VIsitant: A Venetian Ghost Story

  • Paperback: 339 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (September 22, 2015)

The shadows of Venice have long inspired writers—from Henry James and Thomas Mann to Daphne DuMaurier and Ian McEwan. Now, its Megan Chance’s turn, as the acclaimed novelist takes readers through the alleys and canals of this ageless and mysterious city in her compelling new book, The Visitant: A Venetian Ghost Story (Lake Union Publishing; September 22, 2015). Part haunted tale, part love story, part mystery, this riveting historical novel explores the truth behind a terrifying reality, as a young American woman, immersed in a strange foreign culture, encounters a world beyond her wildest imaginings. Buried secrets of a tragic past converge, threatening to destroy not just her hopes of redemption, but her very life.

Set in 1884, The Visitant paints an unforgettable portrait of a decaying city and the secrets that lurk in its dark, crumbling corners. Elena Spira has arrived there to take up the duties of nurse to a young epileptic man who has descended to the depths both physically and psychologically. Samuel Farber wants none of Elena’s help as he wallows in a laudanum-triggered haze of hallucinations. Samuel speaks of visits from a spirit, seemingly wild claims that Elena first rejects as drug-fueled. But, the truth is far more sinister. When Samuel’s best friend and host, Nero Basilio, arrives, Elena finds herself drawn to this charming man as he shows her the hidden delights of Venice. But there are dark forces at play—forces that Elena cannot begin to comprehend. Casa Basilio possesses a tragic history, and a ghost whose presence may be driving Samuel to madness.

Buy, read, and discuss The Visitant: A Venetian Ghost Story

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


About the author, Megan Chance Megan Chance

Megan Chance is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author of historical fiction, including Inamorata, Bone River, and City of Ash. Her novels have been chosen for the Borders Original Voices and Book Sense programs. A former television news photographer and graduate of Western Washington University, Chance lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters.

Connect with Megan

Website | Facebook | Twitter


My Thoughts MissMeliss

From the moment I opened this book (well, the file on my Kindle) and joined Elena on her journey, I was hooked on this story. It’s the perfect blend of moody, mouldering castle descriptions, historical thriller, and romance, with just enough of the supernatural to make you kind of glad all the rooms in Casa Basilio are dimly lit, so you can’t tell what’s lurking in the corners.

Elena, the nurse sent to care for a family benefactor’s son, is both strong and feminine. She isn’t afraid to exert her rightful authority, but she also isn’t so impulsive as to leap without looking, and I really liked this about her, because when love finally entered her sphere, it did so in a way I found really organic and believable.

Similarly the characters of Nero and Samuel are both rich and textured. I particularly liked the way author Megan Chance gave the latter epilepsy, and then kept his illness within the context of late nineteenth-century Venice.

Gulia, Zuan, and Madame were all complex and interesting characters as well, and then of course, there’s Laura, who exists as a ghost, a memory, a fever dream, and is absolutely a character in her own right.

Chance’s deft handiwork keeps this novel moody and atmospheric, but the plot never feels slow or plodding. Like the decay creeping over the huge house, the story is nuanced, here poking into one crack, there washing over another. I liked the use of language, not just the specific word choices the author made, but also the fact that Elena doesn’t speak Italian, and has to get by in English (she’s American) or French.  Adding that communication barrier adds to Elena’s isolation and confusion, and enhances the mood for the reader.

Overall, I found this novel rich with description, pouring with plot, and a great psychological exercise. Which is scarier: the kind of ghost that exists as a metaphysical being, or the kind that is conjured by our own unresolved emotions: guilt, grief, loss?

Read The Visitant: A Venetian Ghost Story to make that determination for yourself.

Goes well with strong cheese, fresh bread, and a hearty bowl of minestrone soup, the latter of which isn’t mentioned in the book, but everything was so dismal and damp that, trust me, it’s in order.


Giveaway The VIsitant: A Venetian Ghost Story

One reader in the US or Canada will win a copy of this book. (Winner notified by email, winner’s name and address to be forwarded to TLC Book Tours, who will, in turn, relay to the publisher, who will provide the copy.)

TO ENTER: Leave a comment answering this question: Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not? Alternatively, you can tweet about this review, just make sure you tag me (@Melysse) when you do.

Contest open until 11:59 PM CDT on Wednesday, October 14, 2015.


Megan Chance’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS: TLC Book Tours

Monday, September 21st: Bookish Whimsy

Tuesday, September 22nd: FictionZeal

Tuesday, September 22nd: Bibliophilia, Please

Wednesday, September 23rd: 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Thursday, September 24th: Kissin’ Blue Karen

Friday, September 25th: Walking with Nora

Monday, September 28th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Tuesday, September 29th: Savvy Verse and Wit

Wednesday, September 30th: Vox Libris

Monday, October 5th: Kahakai Kitchen

Tuesday, October 6th: A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, October 7th: Mom in Love with Fiction

Thursday, October 8th: Bibliotica

Friday, October 9th: Peeking Between the Pages

Monday, October 12th: It’s a Mad Mad World

Tuesday, October 13th: From the TBR Pile

Wednesday, October 14th: Books a la Mode – author guest post

Thursday, October 15th: Mom’s Small Victories

Date TBD: Romantic Historical Reviews

Oliver & Jack at Lodgings in Lyme, by Christina E. Pilz (@ChristinaEPilz) #review @HFVBT

About the book, Oliver & Jack At Lodgings in Lyme (Fagin’s Boy, Book 2) Oliver & Jack at Lodgings in Lyme

  • Publication Date: June 14, 2015,  Blue Rain Press
  • Format: eBook & Paperback; 450 Pages
  • Genre: Historical/LGBT/M/M Romance

An ex-apprentice and his street thief companion flee the dangers of Victorian London and the threat of the hangman’s noose in search of family and the promise of a better life.

After Oliver Twist commits murder to protect Jack Dawkins (The Artful Dodger), both must flee London’s familiar but dangerous environs for safety elsewhere. Together they travel to Lyme Regis in the hopes of finding Oliver’s family. Along the way, Jack becomes gravely ill and Oliver is forced to perform manual labor to pay for the doctor’s bills.

While Oliver struggles to balance his need for respectability with his growing love for Jack, Jack becomes disenchanted with the staid nature of village life and his inability to practice his trade. But in spite of their personal struggles, and in the face of dire circumstances, they discover the depth of their love for each other.

Buy, read, and discuss Oliver & Jack at Lodgings in Lyme

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | ITUNES | KOBO | GOODREADS


About the author, Christina E. Pilz Christina E. Pilz

Christina was born in Waco, Texas in 1962. After living on a variety of air force bases, in 1972 her Dad retired and the family moved to Boulder, Colorado. There amidst the clear, dry air of the high plains, as the moss started to grow beneath her feet, her love for historical fiction began with a classroom reading of Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

She attended a variety of community colleges (Tacoma Community College) and state universities (UNC-Greeley, CU-Boulder, CU-Denver), and finally found her career in technical writing, which, between layoffs, she has been doing for 18 years. During that time, her love for historical fiction and old-fashioned objects, ideas, and eras has never waned.

In addition to writing, her interests include road trips around the U.S. and frequent flights to England, where she eats fish and chips, drinks hard cider, and listens to the voices in the pub around her. She also loves coffee shops, mountain sunsets, prairie storms, and the smell of lavender. She is a staunch supporter of the Oxford comma.

Connect with Christina

WEBSITE | BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | PINTEREST


My Thoughts: MissMeliss

When I read the description of this book in the email from HFVBT, I thought, “Really? An m/m romance between Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger?” The concept very quickly grew on me, and so I volunteered to be a reviewer.

My only disappointment is that I’ve never read the first book in the series, so I was a bit muddled about the ages of Oliver and Jack, but aside from that, the necessary information from the previous plot is all there in context and there’s just enough exposition to make you understand what happened without feeling like someone’s telling you the previous plot in its entirety.

From the start, I really loved Christina E. Pilz’s writing style. This is an historical novel, but the language is completely accessible while still retaining that ‘period’ feel. I especially appreciate that she didn’t try to emulate Dickens, because that would have taken this story, this beautiful, beautiful story, into the realm of pastiche, or worse, parody.

And it is a beautiful story, one that involves deep friendship that turns into real love, and addresses everything from the roles society expects us to play to our own great expectations about how our lives will turn out. Oliver is a bit self-entitled, Jack is a bit too attached to his ‘career’ as a pickpocket (one he excels at, but still…) and each has issues with class as well as the relationship forming between them. Oh, and there’s a healthy amount of hurt/comfort, as well, but that works in the context of the novel.

For me, the challenging moments of this story weren’t the times when the two men were at odds with each other, because even people who love each other unconditionally have arguments. Nor did I have any issues with the intimate scenes – they were, for the most part – very real, sometimes tender, sometimes less so, but perfectly in tune with the characters as Pilz wrote them, and completely HOT.  No, my challenge was that the boys (yes, I know they’re not children, but still…) spent so much of the novel being tired, wet, cold, hungry, and dirty, and I have issues with too much of that sort of thing.

Not that you’d expect to be anything OTHER than tired, wet, cold, hungry, and dirty while tramping around Victorian England with almost no money.

Overall, I thought this was a really enjoyable, quite sexy read, grounded in the source material, but also very much it’s own thing.

Goes well with steak and kidney pie and a good stout.


BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE Oliver & Jack Blog Tour

Monday, September 28
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 29
Review at Bibliotica
Spotlight at I Heart Reading

Wednesday, September 30
Guest Post & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, October 1
Spotlight at Book Nerd

Monday, October 5
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, October 6
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, October 9
Spotlight at History Undressed

Tuesday, October 13
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, October 14
Review at Broken Teepee