Friday, May 27, 2016

New Construction/New Weirdness On the Horizon

[I originally tried to add this as a page, but I swear Blogger hide this little bad boy... 
so here it is as a post.]

Change, It is a-Coming!

I'm ready.  
The time has finally arrived to come back 
into the light 
and breathe life back into the blog.  
While this happens, you may start to see changes.  

More Stuff!
I'm still playing with it all but I anticipate adding more about my hobbies - other than reading (but reading and reviews will continue, fear not.)  

I'm a knitter (it takes balls to knit)

I'm crafty (I didn't choose the glitter life, the glitter life chose me.)

I'm a geocacher (though it has been some time since I've braved the Muggles to seek a cache)

XOXO AfterDark also has some great reads that I am eager to share with everyone!
I may even visit a nearby Little Free Library... exciting times!

I'm still very much a novice but I'm really keen to start using more of my own photos in addition to showcasing as much of Mars' beautiful photography as well.  It may be a simple picture-a-day challenge (that is not going very well holding up that 'daily' part) but I'd love to see if I can make some unique content that will hopefully be pleasing to the eye.

I'll likely share some of the videos the family has put together for the
I've even started dusting off my acting skills and expanded into camerawomen territory, for a few videos at any rate.

I hope y'all will bear with me as this blog transforms.  

Did I also mention giveaways?  
Giveaways - it's out there now.
I've been collecting several signed books and swag for upcoming giveaways so stay tuned.
*In fact I really need the shelf space so these should happen sooner rather than later*

Thanks so much for sticking with me, I'm excited to try out a few new things.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Joy of Romance

First, let's set the mood...

Light a scented candle or two and listen to a special 'Joy of Romance' YouTube music mix I put together in celebration of the blog hop!  It's a little eclectic - but fun with a soft, gooey middle.

Speaking of melt-in-your-mouth... I'm WAY late but what better celebration of romance than a review of...

YOU'VE GOT MAIL meets HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together.


First off, it's just light eating a piece of cake (insert your favorite variety here, but for these purposes we'll stick to coconut.)  It's attractive and looks mouth-watering, doesn't it?  Yes, it's a book I'm talking about - but look at that cover.  It's so tempting, but I digress.  So your mouth is watering, but first there is that dry coconut providing a weak barrier to that sweet frosting... and then the dam is broken a sweetness is quickly followed by vanilla infused 'happy place' in the form of a bite of wonderful cake.  How is that like the book, you may ask?  Al is the dry coconut that takes a little time to sweeten.  It's worth the wait.

I had trouble putting it down once I started; it really IS like a 90's Meg Ryan romantic comedy movie (in book form) married to a food network show. That's really odd sounding, isn't it? It's like all the warm fuzzies a Meg Ryan movie would give me: the meet-cute, the overly dramatic and emotional moments, the touching makes-your-heart-melt moments... half the time I was reading with the goofiest of silly smiles plastered across my face.

*Sigh* It was good reading.  I would highly recommend this as a fun book to take for beach reading or any romance enthusiast.  It's on the tame side between the sheets and rich in the flavor of life in Milwaukee and the growing attraction between Lou and Al.  Go ahead, give in to temptation, take a bite and see for yourself.

*Picture of author and bio from 'About Me' section of her website

Amy on Facebook

Amy on Tumblr

Amy on Goodreads

Amy Reichert earned her MA in Literature from Marquette University, and honed her writing and editing skills as a technical writer (which is exactly as exciting as it sounds). As a newly minted member of the local library board, she loves helping readers find new books to love. She’s a life-long Wisconsin resident with (allegedly) a very noticeable accent, a patient husband, and two too-smart-for-their-own-good kids. When time allows, she loves to read, collect more cookbooks than she could possibly use, and test the limits of her DVR.

Be sure to check out ALL the stops on the blog hop 
- and don't miss out on your chance for giveaways and all kinds of goodies!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Searching for Beatiful ~ XOXOpert ~ Wolfe, what big ... you have!

Genevieve MacKenzie has her life completely under control. About to wed the charming Chief doctor at the local hospital, she’s an up-and-coming surgeon with everything she could ever want. Until an escape through the church window on the day of her wedding sends her life into a tailspin...and flings her right into her best friend’s arms.

When Wolfe catches his best friend falling out a window on her wedding day, he doesn’t ask questions. He whisks her away, determined to watch over her and discover the truth behind her desperate escape. But when his feelings turn more than platonic, he realizes he may risk his most important relationship in order to protect his damaged heart, and the woman he loves.

Can Genevieve and Wolfe’s friendship turn into something deeper—or is it already too late for true love?
Are you ready for WOLFE? Searching for Beautiful  

Searching for Beautiful:
Searching for Always Preorder:

Thanks to XOXOAfterdark for sending another winner!

Get your running shoes ready!  From the get-go, I was totally under it's spell!  Did I mention that I couldn't go to sleep until I had finished because I was so invested in the story?  No fooling.

Genevieve MacKenzie ran away from her wedding and straight into my heart.  It had ALL the feels. Have you ever read one of those books that just made your heart squeeze, your mouth water, your feet do a jig, and your knees rub together?  This is totally one of those amazing reads!

For those readers that need trigger warnings, this shows a heartbreaking example of an abusive relationship that doesn't leave an obvious mark.  Just briefly thinking of that manipulative bastard practically makes me break out in hives of indignation.  *breathe*  It's OK, Alana, calm down; you can't actually deck the douchecanoe like you'd like to because he's a fictional character.  That sticking power of emotion really highlights how powerful and touching this story is for me.  Gen begins the book finally listening to that inner voice that warns her to run.  Run now.  Run fast.  Run at the definition of last minute away from a fate that seems perfect upon first glance but is far more insidious in a closer look.

Wolfe is her best friend and oddly opposite in so many ways, yet so perfectly made to compliment Gen that I was practically chanting... 
*DO IT*friends with benefits*get your game on*you know y'all want to*

Let's all take a moment to stop and reflect upon the hotness that is Wolfe.  [Moment of silence for his ink whispering in his ear which begs for a nibble.]  My Wolfe, what big... eyes you have.  What big hands you hands.  What big tattoos you have.  What big... piercings you have?  *Wipes drool off chin*  All big, all good, all bad boy hot at it's panty melting best.  He covers so many book boyfriend basics: alpha - check, millionaire - check, broody dark past - check.  He's the whole package, ladies.

For all you paranormal lovers out there, it's even got just a teeny, tiny smidge of special intuition.  For those that love friends to lovers romance you will be in absolute heaven.  If you're on a nookie mission - I'll see your bet and raise you some tantalizing, flirty banter with off-the-charts chemistry.  This is not a book to miss!

For any readers, like myself, that has not yet enjoyed the previous books in the series, fear not!  Though you can tell characters and references hidden here and there likely connect to previous books I had no trouble following Searching for Beautiful.  If anything, I'm even more interested to go back and read the previous books now.  Seriously, just do yourself a favor and pick this up! 

It totally deserves that little extra from 4 hearts, 
so I'll add a pinky swear half heart promising steamy and emotional goodness. 

I receive an advance manuscript copy of Searching for Beautiful as a member of XOXOperts in exchange for a honest review.

I thought I'd do something a little different and add a few fun 'inspired by Searching for Beautiful' extras... 
(below) is the first extra - 
a Jamberry nail wrap that I thought complimented the book:  
Gen really seemed to be pulling the wool over her own eyes to the truth of her relationship, but the pink seems a really likely bridal choice for nails. 

OK, extra number 2! I became so enthralled by Searching for Beautiful by Jennifer Probst, I even made a playlist inspired by the book! Click here for the YouTube playlist I created or just check out the list below.

Why not pick up your own copy today and check it out yourself?

Be sure to check out the German Potato Salad recipe 
to compliment the book at Caffeinated Book Reviewer 

About Jennifer Probst (Excerpt from 'About' section of her website)

 I live in the beautiful Hudson Valley in upstate New York. I’ve traveled to many places but always seem to be drawn back to the mountains. I graduated with a proper business degree, received a masters in English Literature, and am humbled to now spend my days dedicated to my family and my characters. I’ve pursued many career paths such as travel agent, yoga teacher, dating coordinator, and insurance salesperson. I’ve wanted to be an airline pilot, a dancer, an archaeologist, and a vineyard owner. I have been all of the above through romance novels, and intend to explore many more.


Friday, May 1, 2015

Red Nights by Shari J. Ryan ~ Cover Reveal

I’m Felicity Stone, a twenty-five-year-old with my whole life ahead of me. Well, until recently.

I didn’t do it. Why would they think I did? Why would I want my twin brother dead? Why is everyone looking at me like I’m a criminal?

Well, everyone except him… Hayes Peyton, the charmingly beautiful stranger I met in the park at midnight—a totally legitimate place to meet the man of my dreams. Plus, he knows I’m innocent.

Believing him is easy. So very easy. Maybe too easy?

But when you hear things like: ‘All good is laced with some bad, and everything you think is the truth—is nothing more than a blatant lie,’ it makes you question reality.

In Shari J. Ryan’s latest Romantic Suspense, Red Nights, you wonder how dark your world can get before all you see is red.

Shari J. Ryan is an Amazon Top 100 Bestselling author, a Barnes & Noble Top 10 Bestselling author, and an iBookstore #1 Bestselling author. She hails from Central Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and two lively little boys. Shari has always had an active imagination and enjoys losing herself in the fictional worlds she creates. When Shari isn’t writing, she can usually be found cleaning toys up off the floor.

To learn more, visit her at,

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire by Molly Harper

In the next book in Molly Harper’s beloved Half Moon Hollow paranormal romance series, Gigi starts her first job (at Vampire Headquarters), gets over her first love, and may even fall for her first vampire!

Gigi is no longer an innocent teen. All grown up and looking for love, her family and friends worry she’ll go for the sexy, alluring vampire instead of a nice, safe human. But sexy and alluring, with a penchant for biting, could be just what Gigi wants...

My Review:

If I'm being 100% honest... it's a 4½ (not the full 5 stars/hearts/flowers rating that I show below - why, oh why, did I not make ½ ratings?  *Note to self: make ½ ratings*)

OK, moving on.  The one single thing that made everything worthwhile (and my eagerness to round up my rating to 5): Ophelia getting punched in the face.  *Boom*

*and there was much rejoicing*

applause photo: Applause Applause.gif

 *and there was even more rejoicing*

applause photo: Applause applause.gif

Seriously, if any character was ever asking for a punch in the face, it's Ophelia.  I've developed a long, slow, burning dislike of this perky 'teen' vampire.  Well, perky is really more of a nice way of saying sociopath, but I'm a Southern lady and would never use such a crass tone.  *smirk*

You want snark?  Yup, this one is strong with the snark.  Looking for a slightly New Adult Paranormal slant?  Why, yes.  Rebound's got ya covered.  Romance?  A strong yes, although it's not so steamy that you'll be embarrassed to read in public.  Vampires?  Indeed.  No sparkles anywhere, just the occasional trashy T-shirt the Dick managed to save.  Want to see characters from other books?  Granted, not the entire team assembled, but it was quite close and lovely to see previous characters I fell in love with.

I feel I should give a bit of a disclaimer here... the combo of Molly Harper and Amanda Ronconi (narrator) are one of my feel-good drugs of choice.  Well, specifically the Jane Jameson and Half Moon Hollow series varieties.  They are my happy place, and a near instant auto-buy in audio format.  I'm a fan of Molly Harper's PNR books, but her contemporary romance can be hit or miss for me.  Long story short, my overall love of the series might be coloring my thoughts a bit on this specific installment.  It's not outside the realm of reason.

The reason I'm fighting the full 5 rating on this... while sexual angst and tension ran rampant, it was a hair speedy and I really wanted more background (and just plain MORE in general of) "Mr. Tall Blonde and Bitey".  On one hand, this is a fun, flirty PNR in it's hayday - so one expects a little 'fast forward' and improbable, dangerous situations that create a fast, firm bond between Gigi and the mouthwatering vamp.  But on the other hand, there are moments I wish for a little less flirt and a little more show and tell of the building relationship.  Throw in the fact that this is Gigi we're talking about, and we can throw those hands ALL out the window.  She's like the angsty, young adult/new adult little mascot... for vampires?

In the grand scheme of the series, it's not my favorite but it's most definitely not my least favorite.  I will most definitely put this on my re-read rotation.  If you're looking for some fun and have followed the series*, I'd highly recommend picking this gem up. 

*There are some spoilers unless you read the Jane Jameson series first, then read the Half Moon Hollow series.

While I received a free paperback book from XOXOAfterDark  as part of their XOXOperts street team, I also purchased the audio as well.  I also will happily give Audible my money each and every time there is a Molly Harper/Amanda Ronconi audio available. That should be a BIG NEON SIGN that my thoughts are honest and not just stroking the metaphorical hand that feeds me.  My acceptance of the book in no way guaranteed my review would be favorable.

Author Bio (from website)

When Molly Harper was eight years old, she set up a “writing office” in her parents’ living room, complete with an old manual typewriter and a toy phone. And she (very slowly) pecked out the story of her third-grade class taking a trip around the world and losing a kid in each city. She had a dark sense of humor even then.

When Molly was considerably older, she headed for Western Kentucky University, where she majored in print journalism. After graduation, she landed a job with The Paducah Sun and married her high school sweetheart, David, a local police officer. After six years at the newspaper, Molly took a more family-friendly secretarial position at a local church office.

Her husband worked nights and Molly was alone with their small child in the “The Apartment of Lost Souls.” A big fan of vampire movies and TV shows, she decided to write a vampire romance novel. Molly created Jane Jameson, a bit of an accidental loser. Jane is single, almost 30, and a librarian working in Half-Moon Hollow, Ky. She has become a permanent fixture on her Mama’s prayer list. And despite the fact that she’s pretty good at her job, she just got canned so her boss could replace her with someone who occasionally starts workplace fires. Jane drowns her sorrows at the local faux nostalgia-themed sports bar. On her way home, she’s mistaken for a deer and shot by a drunk hunter. And then she wakes up as a vampire. The three-book Jane Jameson series–which includes Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs,Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men and Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever—was released in 2009.  A fourth and final installment, Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors, was released in 2012.

Molly continues stories in the Jane Jameson universe through her Half-Moon Hollow series,Driving Mr. DeadThe Care and Feeding of Stray VampiresUndead Sublet, and A Witch’s Handbook of Kisses and Curses.  Undead Sublet is a short story in The Undead in My Bed anthology.  A Witch’s Handbook of Kisses and Curses will be released in June 2013.  A special free audio holiday novella, I’m Dreaming of an Undead Christmas, was released in December 2013.
Molly will update her popular Naked Werewolf romance series in 2013. How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf, was released in February 2011, quickly followed by The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf. A third installment, How to Run With a Naked Werewolf, will be released in December 2013.  Her first-ever “haunted house story,” Better Homes and Hauntings, will be released in June 2014.

Molly will launch her first-ever contemporary romance series with My Bluegrass Baby in December 2012.  Rhythm and Bluegrass was released in October 2013.
Molly’s books are published by Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. They are available in print, as e-books and audio books at major book stores and on Amazon. Molly is a native of Kentucky. She lives in Paducah with her husband and children.

Molly Harper/Snarky Romance with Bite website

... and did you know there was merchandise at Zazzle?  I feel like Yogurt from Spaceballs, "Merchandizing, Merchandizing!"

This is one of my personal favorites:

Have fun with her 

mine is:  Bellatrix Snodgrass

Visit her 'Character Graveyard

 ... and as one final fun addition, if you're a fan of this series, you'll get it.

Shirt says, "This is a disguise. I'm a possum."

Broken Lens Is Released to the World!

Broken Lens Book Blurb

Although this book is the second in the series, it’s been written to be read as a New Adult Stand Alone novel. You do not have to read book one, which is a young adult novel, to enjoy.
No one said love is ever easy. And for Jess, he would ride his Harley to heaven and back for an eternity with her arms wrapped around him. That makes leaving her that late summer day to head to separate colleges the hardest thing he has to do. Still, he thinks that they could beat the odds and prove everyone wrong, until one drunken night and one sober confession.
Through the jagged edges of a broken lens, he’s faced with the reality of his choices. And fixing the pieces of Jess’s broken heart may be impossible. Without her, he’s left with only a mother who hates him and marks him as a dead man walking. And that’s not the only truth that has the potential to destroy his life.
The upcoming trial will reveal the defendant’s motivations for the crimes committed against the people he cares about. But that guy’s not the only one who’s guilty of something. With a cloud of mistrust hovering around him, can he keep Jess safe from his past? Can she or anyone forgive him for his secrets? Will he win back the one girl he’s ever loved or will he lose her forever?
*WARNING* This book is rated a New Adult book, which means it can contain foul language and sexual situations. Please be warned in advance.


After the second beer and a dose of pain meds, I finally passed out. I dreamed of better times. A carefree Jess when I’d realized I’d fallen completely for her. Then she’d looked at me like I was worth something more than the image of my face or the size of my bank account.
The warmth of the sunlight, like Jess’s fingertips on my skin, jolted me awake. My hand went to the back of my neck where the sofa created kinks I couldn’t get out. I stood still unsteady and found Jess asleep on my bed. Thoughts of kissing my way up her from her leg to her beautiful mouth invaded my mind. I made a hasty retreat to my bathroom...
I shucked my clothes, causing them to slap against the tile floor. I turned on the shower and stepped in, even though, the water was as cold as ice. Hopefully, it would alleviate my heated desire for the girl on my bed who had me hard as my thick skull.
Soapy, head to toe, I fisted my need in my hand as I rested my head on the tiles. Water cascaded down my back and did nothing to cool my heated skin. I almost didn’t hear the door to the shower stall open. As the water began to warm at my back, a soft hand landed on my hip. I jumped and turned around.
Jess stood with willing Puritan eyes. If only she knew of the monster that was so close to the surface, she would most likely run like hell.
“Jessica, you need to leave now.” I called her by her given name, which I rarely did, to get her attention.
Undeterred, her hand reached up and touched my shoulder. “I don’t want to leave.”
“You have no idea what you’re asking for. Please leave, or I swear I’m going to have you like I’ve wanted since the first day I saw you.”
I gave her my back and rinsed the soap out of my hair. Her finger grazed around from my hip down the definition of muscle that led to my pulsing need.
Roughly, I said once more. “Jessica, please go.”

Amazon links
Barnes & Noble links are still unavailable at this time.

Author Bio and Links

Shannon’s first love is reading, diving into other realities to explore and brave new worlds. To share her writing is the best experience of all. She writes books about teen romance whether paranormal or contemporary. She also has a steamy adult series. When Shannon isn't writing she loves to shop and watch horror movies that make turning out the lights seem like a stupid idea. You can explore more about her at her website, on facebook, goodreads and twitter.
Twitter: @shannondermott

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Master by Kresley Cole ~ Submitting Is Worth It

A need colder than Siberian winter meets an attitude hotter than the Florida sun in #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s sultry new Game Maker novel.

Everyone fears the Master…

Rich, irresistible politician/Mafiya boss Maksimilian Sevastyan prefers tall, obedient blondes to fulfill his…complicated desires. That is, until the icy Russian encounters a disobedient brunette whose exquisite little body threatens his legendary restraint.

Except her.

Catarina Marín was a well-off young wife until her world fell apart. Now she’s hiding out, forced to start working as an escort in Miami. Her very first client is beyond gorgeous, but when he tells her what he plans to do to her, Cat almost walks out of the door.

If pleasure is a game, play to win.

After their mind-blowing encounter burns out of control, the lovers crave more. If they escape the deadly threats surrounding them, can Maksim overcome his past—to offer Cat his future? Only then will she tempt him with what he really wants: her, all tied up with a bow.

So who is the Vixen that wrote this, you ask?

About the Author from Goodreads:

Kresley Cole is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the electrifying Immortals After Dark paranormal series, the young adult Arcana Chronicles series, the erotic Gamemakers series, and five award-winning historical romances.

A master’s grad and former athlete, she has traveled over much of the world and draws from those experiences to create her memorable characters and settings.
Her IAD books have been translated into twenty foreign languages, garnered three RITA awards, and consistently appear on the bestseller lists, in the U.S. and abroad.

Cole lives in Florida with her family and “far too many animals.” You can learn more about Kresley at

From her Tumblr Page:

"Author of the Immortals After Dark, the Game Makers Series, and The Arcana Chronicles. Means well. Has plans to take things more seriously one day."


Alrighty then, first things first, we must point out this shout out (or disclaimer, depending on your point of view.)

While I received a free book from XOXOAfterDark  as part of their XOXOperts street team, I also purchased the audio as well. I don't have enough money to buy books willy-nilly, so the fact that I spent money on this says something... something good, something wonderful... and I'm not just whistling Dixie.  My acceptance of the book was in no way guaranteed for my review to be favorable.

I feel I should further explain, though living in Texas for a looooong time now, I barely know a lick of Spanish.  Maybe I'm just that oddball Texas that has never owned her own pair of cowboy boots; seriously, what was I thinking taking French as my foreign language instead of Spanish?  Regardless, while knowing Spanish isn't necessary for reading this book, I had to listen in order to read along in the book.  My inner character voice couldn't pronounce those words and that was just not an acceptable outcome as I was already hooked.

Now that the formalities are past us, (woohoo - party time) let's really sink our teeth into this one... it SO deserves it.  This is an Adult Erotica romance with mafia, Russian accents (oh, how I am LOVING this theme lately of Russian accents,) escort drama, maybe just a little kidnappy, definitely some dark secrets, and did I mention... erotica?  It deserves mentioning twice. 

I think I should point out, with at least a small amount of shame, that is the first Kresley Cole book I've ever read.  Not the previous books in the series (The Professional, in 3 parts, I believe) or her paranormal series (though I can no longer count how many times I've had the Immortals After Dark series recommended to me.)  I was a Kresley virgin.  *blushes*  Wow, I really started off with quite the bang!  With that in mind, if you are a virgin like myself you can still jump right into bed with this book and start reading without fear.

My brain keeps flitting from little moments, characters, and snarky lines from the book like a butterfly because I can't seem to pinpoint what I liked best out of this book.  I liked that 'Cat' had such sass despite her... position.  Oh, how I adore those borderline banter/arguments!  *Don't mind me while I reminisce a moment* *Smiles*  *Blushes*

Sadly, I really can't give too many specifics or details, because... well, spoilers.  I've got to do all readers a solid here and not giveaway anything and shortchanging your fun.  You can thank me later.  I will say, that this book is what great porn is made of.  I downright liked the characters, though they were imperfect and honestly not one-little-tiny-bit anything like me.  I was cheering for them *rahrahrah*, and booing their stumbles *boooo*, and squirming in my seat most other times *shudder*... and like Cat, "I regret nothing."

This is among one of my favorite books this year.  I was smitten, I was happy, I was snapping at others to go away and let me read.  I still regret nothing.

Thank you SO SO SO SO SO much, XOXOAfterDark!