Thursday, December 31, 2015

*Review* Short Shorts #2

Welcome to the 2nd edition of Short Shorts, where I take just a brief moment to review several short stories that I've recently read. Let's begin.

Photo credit: Goodreads
Title: The Time Being
Author: Antonia Honeywell
Genre: Dystopian
Published: February 12, 2015


At 11 Lalla should be enjoying her childhood in London. But this is not London as we know it. In a collapsed society, Lalla struggles to imagine her future. When a government announcement invites her to enjoy a new life in Regent’s Park, Lalla sees a glimmer of hope. But what is she willing to risk?


This dystopian made me think of The Hunger Games for some reason and I don't know why because the two stories are not at all alike. I listened to the audiobook (which seems to be the only format it's available in) and really enjoyed both the narration and the story. 5 out of 5 stars. 

Photo credit: Goodreads
Title: The Trash Collector
Author: Monica Schaughnessy
Genre: Fiction
Published: October 5, 2014
Pages: 15


When objects begin to disappear from porches, Lydia Strichter suspects the neighborhood hoarder, Dale Kreplick. He's a strange man with an even stranger habit of digging through people's garbage. But when she sets out to prove the "Trash Collector" is behind these thefts, she discovers more than the culprit. She discovers some things can't easily be discarded. A heart-warming story of tolerance, grief, and the persistence of memory.


I'm not particularly fond of stories with unsympathetic main characters. Finding myself in the head of a person whose attitude I find vile leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and that was absolutely the case with this story. It was a good story and even brought a couple of tears to my eyes at the end, but I hate Lydia. 5 out of 5 stars. 

Photo credit: Goodreads
Title: Into the Highlander's World
Author: Samantha Leal
Genre: Erotic Time Travel Romance
Published: November 22, 2015
Pages: 38


Gwen has hit bottom. She is beyond “down on her luck” after splitting from her boyfriend (who, of course was a cheating bastard) and thinks things can't possibly get any worse when, broke and bereft, she is forced to move into a crumbling basement apartment. She had given up everything to make things with her boyfriend work and he only threw it all back in her face. Now, out in the world alone and on her first night in her new place she comes across something that will change her life forever. There, beneath the floorboards she finds what at first just looks like some junk left behind by the last sloppy tenants. But soon she will find it is hardly junk. The ancient sword she has found will lead her into an unimaginable adventure, turning her life more upside down than she could have ever imagined. 

By some miraculous means far beyond her comprehension, she is transported back to ancient Scotland, where she meets the handsome Andrew Urquhart, a man determined to win back his people's lands and lead his clan to the victory they have so long deserved. What Gwen doesn't know is that her life has far more reach and significance in this long ago past than she would have ever thought possible. She is actually an integral part of his plan. But now that she is there, an in the face of the intense passions that have built between her and this almost mythical man, will she ever be able to return to her old world? Or is this strange place actually where she was always meant to be? 


This story needed to be developed into a full book because it has far too much crammed into too few pages to seem anything other than completely absurd. I like the premise, but the development sucked. Also, there were too many spelling and grammar errors. 2 out of 5 stars.

Photo credit: Goodreads
Title: The Hospital
Author: Keith C. Blackmore
Genre: Horror/Zombies
Published: October 2, 2012
Pages: 28


"Mountain Man" Augustus Berry is a survivor in undead suburbia. He scavenges what he can from what's left over. He is very careful in what he does and where he goes, taking no chances, no unnecessary risks, and weighing every choice... until he decides to visit the hospital at the edge of town, and experiences terror the likes he's never encountered before. 


Some good ol' edge of your seat zombie fun, with a twist that it took me a minute to see coming. I kind of want to know what happens with Gus, but I'm also kind of okay leaving him right where he is. Basically, I enjoyed the story, but I'm not invested in the character to the point that I need to continue the series. 4 out of 5 stars. 

*Read This Round Up #63*

Photo courtesy of KissinBlueKaren

Welcome to Read This, a collection of book reviews and giveaways that were posted in the past week or so from around the web. This is a collection of book reviews & contests from real reviewers. If you want to be included in the next edition start with the guidelines, then use the submission form.
Want to read more reviews? Check out Read This for a list of the latest reviews and stellar reviewers. You can also follow on twitter for the latest round ups. Read This is now accepting photo submissions for each edition.












Any book or preorder (retailer of your choice) up to $17

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

*Review* Dead Fire (Slow Burn #4) by Bobby Adair

Genre: Horror/Zombies
Published: March 21, 2014
Pages: 225


Dead Fire picks up following an infected attack on Sarah Mansfield’s fortified house, during which 3 people seek shelter with the Zed Zane and his fellow survivors. In the confusion, however, Murphy is gunned down, and an unthinking, emotional Zed strikes out to enact revenge.

Unfortunately, the shooting and commotion have only attracted more Whites. A diversion plan emerges to rid the horde of the Smart One trying to figure a way through the gates, and lead the other infected away from the compound. Momentarily safe, the survivors turn to the matter of where to bury the dead.

Zed, being now the only one available who would not attract the attentions of the infected, accompanies Freitag on this morbid mission. In short order, Zed is once more embittered and hardened against trust, when he finds himself stranded.

After a series of developments that prove the Whites to be more formidable foes than he ever dreamed, he finds his way back to Sarah’s house to find the compound overrun with infected and his friends mysteriously vanished without a trace, leaving Zed to rely once more solely on his wits to survive...


Once again, I listened to this book rather than reading, at this point I feel almost as if that is the best way for me to proceed with this series. It seems more fair somehow. I've gotta' say, I think I'm starting to get used to the narrator, or maybe he's gotten better at opposite gender voices. Either way, it's not annoying me as much as it did at the beginning of the series.

This installment of the saga finds Zed getting some up close and personal views of the infected and gives him the opportunity to really examine how some of them operate. I'm not sure how this is going to play out in the future, but I definitely want to find out. I now feel completely hooked.

Dead Fire had me absolutely livid at one point, and even though I'm a fairly passive person, I'm not sure I would have reacted the way Zed did. 

Like I mentioned, I'm starting to feel more invested in the story now and have even already bought the next book and it's audible upgrade so I can continue this tale. 

Overall I give Dead Fire 4 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

I’m an author with an irrational fear of flying monkeys, a quick wit, and a vocabulary that would make a sailor blush. Oh, and I love writing... I lived more than half of my life in Texas and I have a great affinity for Austin, a theme you’ll notice in the Slow Burn series. Austin is a wonderfully diverse city full of interesting people and great food. In 2012, I moved to Colorado on a whim, where I enjoy spending my time in the mountains, cycling, hiking, or walking my dogs. And if you continue to buy my books, I’ll be able to afford a move to Boulder soon—so thank you for supporting indie authors!

Challenge Scorecard

I used this book to fulfill 1/5 of my 5 book series requirement for Book Bingo, and I have already started listening to book 5. There is no way I'm going to finish it tomorrow though, so I think this is all she wrote for my Book Bingo scorecard in 2015. (I would like to add that if I had remembered to update this thing a little bit better, my TBR Pile column would be completed too, because I definitely read 5 books from my TBR list that never got counted.) 

Friday, December 25, 2015

*Review* Short Shorts #1

I occasionally enjoy reading short stories (although I feel they're too short about half the time), and rather than writing hugely detailed reviews which would inevitably contain spoilers, I've decided to combine several reviews into one post, which I will be calling Short Shorts.

Title: Little Tchotchkes
Author: Nicki Scalise
Genre: Horror
Published: October 14, 2014
Pages: 25


Immortal and jaded, Marcus Keary spends his nights trolling Goth clubs in search of his next meal. But his feeding habits have become too routine over the decades. He craves a challenge. 

Enter Jules — a college student, a touch eccentric, and exactly what Marcus needs. Will she fall prey to his charms, or will she change everything he thinks he knows about life as a vampire?


This story had me a little confused at first. There were a few things that just didn't make any sense for just about any vampire world. Then I felt like the ending wrapped up a little quickly, but it also kind of made sense that way. 4 out of 5 stars.

Title: Pale and Crimson
Author: Kayti Nika Raet
Genre: Dystopian/Horror
Published: June 30, 2015
Pages: 17


Slithers are vicious creatures. Craving flesh and blood, they will stop at nothing until their hunger is satisfied. So when sixteen year old Benjamin King discovers that one has been smuggled onto the train, he's eager to see it, even if it has been drugged into a mindless stupor.

But one moment can change everything.

Set six years before Niko, Pale and Crimson chronicles how one decision can have far reaching consequences.


This story feels like it should be a chapter in a much longer book, and it is part of a series, sort of. It gave me a taste of a new world that I now want to devour. There were several spelling and grammar errors, but I don't think the average reader will notice them. 4 out of 5 stars.

Title: Little Bad Wolf and Red Riding Hood
Author: Timothy Tocher
Genre: Children's
Published: March 6, 2012
Pages: 20


The Big Bad Wolf is running a successful scam on Little Red's Grandma until Little Red catches him in the act.


I definitely enjoyed this reimagining of the Red Riding Hood fairy tale. It's a cute story and a fun read, even for an adult. 5 out of 5 stars.

Title: Blood Magic
Author: Domino Finn
Genre: Horror
Published: February 19, 2015
Pages: 20


When they found the first body, no one batted an eye.

That was par for the course in Skid Row. But something with these deaths was off. They were made to look like ritualistic suicides, like something supernatural. But I knew better. Besides, I don't believe in magic.

My name is Rick Danvers and I'm an undercover detective with Robbery Homicide. I've been embedded in this slum for a week now, and before the night is over, I'm gonna get to the bottom of the Skid Row Suicides.


This story has me completely intrigued and wondering if there is more to the tale, like if it's a prequel to a series. It seems like it could serve as a prologue for a book, but it definitely works better as it's own story. And as much as I want there to be more story, this was definitely the perfect length. 5 out of 5 stars. 

Title: The Bell Tower Suite
Author: James Field
Genre: YA/Horror
Published: November 25, 2014
Pages: 13


Is the bell tower suite haunted? Colonel Mortimer doesn't think so, he doesn't believes in ghosts. His club associates dare him to spend a night. Sibyl, the mansion's housekeeper, fears for the colonel's sanity. Alf and Bert, the security guards, can't resist the temptation to give him a solid fright. Nobody expects the outcome.


This story threw me for a loop. It drew me in with the promise of ghosts and delivered spectacularly. I definitely recommend it for a slight fright and a bit of a laugh to boot. 5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

*Holiday Spotlight* In the Cards by Nicky Charles and Jan Gordon

Author: Nicky Charles & Jan Gordon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Published: November 1, 2015
Pages: 130


There are regulations governing the relationship between a guardian angel and their charge, boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed. So what happens when a guardian angel falls in love with his current assignment? And when the human returns those feelings, how many rules will that guardian angel break in order to save his love? Alex and Emma are caught between two worlds. Will their love be enough?
"In the Cards" is a Christmas novella by Jan Gordon and Nicky Charles, both of whom are venturing into new ground with this angelic tale.


“Michael.” “Alex.” Michael acknowledged the greeting and gave a nod indicating the other man should take a seat. The GA complied and Michael eased back in his own chair, allowing himself a moment to appreciate how the soft leather conformed to his contours. One of the perks of the job, though it hardly compensated for the weight of responsibility he carried. Managing a squadron of guardian angels wasn’t for the faint of heart. So much depended on matching the right human to the right angel. A mistake on his part could have consequences that would domino down through the centuries. Like a house of cards, one person’s life supported all those around it. If removed too soon, without proper precautions, the whole thing could collapse. Yet, conversely, too many cards in one place could have the same result. A balancing act, that’s what it was. Yes, the proper angel for the job… “Do you have a new assignment for me?” Alex seemed to anticipate the reason for their meeting. “Could there be any other reason I’d send for you?” Michael raised a brow and enjoyed watching the frown that flitted over the guardian angel’s face before his expression cleared. More than once, he’d had to call Alex on the carpet for his unorthodox approach to an assignment. “Not that I can think of.” “Or at least not that you’ll admit to,” Michael murmured as he reached for a file of papers that were neatly stacked on the corner of his desk. He took a moment to flip through the pages, lips pursed, before handing it over to Alex’s outstretched hand. “Her name is Emma.” “A girl?” Alex flicked the file open, barely glancing at the contents. “A woman. She’s twenty-seven.” “Occupation?” “It’s in the file, if you’d take the time to read it yourself.” He chided the GA lightly before answering. “For the record, she’s an accountant.” “Oh.” A hint of disappointment tinged Alex’s tones. “Is that a problem?” “No. Not really. I was just hoping for something a bit more exciting. Most of my cases have been pretty straightforward lately.” “Well,” Michael made a show of furrowing his brow. “If this case doesn’t suit you, I seem to recall there’s a mall Santa who will be in need of a guardian angel. Someone to help him with all those children…” He let his voice trail off before fixing a hard stare on the man before him. “Would you be more interested in that job?” “You’re kidding, right?” Keeping his expression bland, Michael secretly smiled. He possessed an excellent poker face and sometimes enjoyed watching the GAs try to second guess him. After a moment of studying him, Alex sighed, apparently not willing to call his bluff. “No, thanks anyway.” Alex made a face while rising to his feet. “On second thought, I’ll stick with the accountant.” Michael nodded. “Excellent choice. She really does need you.” “What’s the situation?” Alex paused, his hand on the door. “She’s scheduled to die.”

About the Authors

Nicky Charles is an independent writer/publisher who became an author quite by accident. She always saw herself as a ‘reader not a writer’ and can thank—or blame, depending on the day—her friend/editor and fellow author, Jan Gordon, for the career she now finds herself immersed in. The tale goes something like this: In January of 2009, Nicky penned a fanfiction for an old TV series, “Scarecrow and Mrs. King”, and soon became ‘hooked’ on story-telling. She joined a fan-based group for the show and through there met Jan Gordon. It was an idle comment made by Jan during a review of Black Silk (Jan’s newly published book) that inspired Nicky to write her first original story. Over the course of the next two months, she hastily scribbled down a suspense-driven romance entitled Forever In Time and presented it to the world in August of 2009. Soon after, she wrote The Mating, a paranormal romance and followed it up with The Keeping and The Finding. The three stories formed a loose paranormal trilogy called The Law of the Lycans. Nicky continues to expand the Lycan series and has a long list of possible plots waiting in the wings. Nicky works full-time and writes in her off-hours, few though they may be! In the next few years she hopes to retire from her day job and concentrate more of her energy on her new passion of writing. When she writes, Nicky sees the story unfolding in her head like a movie and tries to include enough detail so that readers can ‘see’ the story just as she does. The sights, sounds, smells and sensations of a scene are almost as important to her as the actual plot. Creating main characters that are ‘real’ is also something she strives for. Nicky tries to make each character different, to give them an interesting backstory, to make their actions and feelings logical and to hopefully make the reader actually care what happens to the people in the story. Nicky lives in Canada and tries to stick to Canadian spelling and punctuation in her work, in support of her country. She is an avid supporter of animal shelters, nature conservancy, food banks and a variety of other charities. Currently she has two ‘inside’ cats and one official ‘outside’ cat though a number of strays seem to take up residence in her garden each year. When not writing, Nicky enjoys reading – though she often bemoans that she seldom has time for it any more. Her favourite authors are Elizabeth Peters, S.C. Stephen and Cherise Sinclair. She also enjoys spending time out in nature, gardening, taking day trips and eating dark chocolate. Jan Gordon grew up in London, England, and emigrated to Israel in her early twenties. After many years of working as a secretary in various media companies, both in the U.K. and Israel, she took time off to raise her two sons. In 2006, after many years of reading fanfiction for an old American TV series, Scarecrow & Mrs. King, she decided to pick up her pen, or rather her keyboard, and wrote her first story, a collaboration with another fanfiction writer, Amy F. (TwoPhantoms1), and the writing partnership of The Yank and The Brit was born. Three years later Jan answered a writing challenge on a fan site for that same TV show and wrote a short original piece and posted it to the group. The characters in that story wouldn’t leave her alone and eventually she gave in and wrote their story. That story was “Black Silk”, a paranormal romance about were panthers.
Jan posted “Black Silk” on the fan site and it received such a good reception from the other members, she branched out and posted it on other sites, including Smashwords. One of the members of the fan site, another fanfiction writer, Charlie, made a comment in her review of the shifter story that sparked an idea, and in reply Jan told her she should use that concept in a story because it sounded fantastic. That ‘idea’ became “Forever In Time” by, the newly named, Nicky Charles. After Nicky’s first two books, Jan started working with her as editor and neither has looked back since. Jan has since written “Life In The Shadows”, a paranormal romance anthology and a prequel, of sorts, to “Black Silk”. Nicky Charles collaborated with Jan on one of the stories in “Life In The Shadows” which combined her wolves and Jan’s panthers. They enjoyed the endeavour so much that they decided to repeat the experience – the result was “In The Cards”. Jan Gordon now lives in Jerusalem, Israel, with her husband and two adult sons. She and her husband often travel to North America and the U.K. to see family and friends. Although Jan both writes and edits paranormal romance, she rarely reads that genre for pleasure. Since discovering author Georgette Heyer as a young teen, her passion for reading Regency romance has never dimmed. Apart from reading, which she does whenever time allows, her other favourite pastimes are cooking and doing Pilates.

Monday, December 21, 2015

*Holiday Spotlight* A Very Wellington Christmas by Annalisa Nicole

Author: Annalisa Nicole
Genre: Romance
Published: November 21, 2015
Pages: 102


Quinn Landry loves the holidays, particularly Christmas. It’s her favorite time of year. She loves her family and especially loves being a part of the Wellington family. Family isn’t just a word to the Wellington’s…it’s everything. 
She loves to spoil her nieces and has her sights set on graduating this spring. She believes that wishes and miracles, during this time of year, can come true. Her life couldn't be more perfect…until she opens her mouth under the mistletoe to one tall, dark, and brooding Levi Sutton.
Levi Sutton hates the holidays, especially the last two weeks in December. Seven years ago he lost everything that mattered in his life. He believes that wishes and miracles can only come true when unicorns fart glitter. Other than his job, he’s bitter, withdrawn, and not interested in sharing his time or life with anyone…until his mistletoe encounter with the sassy, back talking, opinionated Quinn Landry.
If kissing under the mistletoe isn’t an option, can making a wish under the mistletoe bring not only one, but two wishes true?
Can Quinn crack Levi’s tough exterior and show him that hope, life, and love still exist?
Can Levi open his eyes to see past his clouded anger to finally forgive and allow his heart to feel love again?


December, I not only buried my precious daughter, but I also buried my wife. Our home wasn’t just empty, it was dead. The only thing that still lived there was the puppy Ivy tried to save. Lucky is the only thing that keeps me company at night now. “Oh, mistletoe. You know what that means?” Quinn says, breaking me out of my thoughts. I look at Quinn as she points above our heads. Mistletoe hangs from the center of the doorframe above us. I feel the blood leaving my face at the thought of kissing another woman. “We don’t have to kiss,” she says, embarrassed, reading my mind. “We can just make a wish,” she finishes. “Wishes are for idiotic, adolescent fools. Don’t waste your breath,” I say and walk away. I haven’t decorated a Christmas tree since I begrudgingly did seven years ago, and I’m sure as hell not going to do it today. I walk into Samuel’s office and instantly a fraction of the suffocating weight is lifted off my shoulders. His office is lined with thick, dark, wooden bookshelves bursting with law books. It’s no wonder two of his kids became lawyers like he was. His oversized wooden desk is immaculately clean and the whole room smells like old leather and cigars. I close the door behind me and take a seat in one of his leather chairs. In front of me, on an antique round coffee table, is one of those old trays filled with heavy crystal decanter bottles you see in old movies. Inside is the brown liquid I craved not ten minutes ago. I remove the heavy crystal stopper, flip over a glass, and pour myself two fingers of whiskey. I sink back in the chair, lift my leg, rest my ankle on my other knee, hold the glass with my thumb and forefinger, and bring it to my lips. The amber liquid slides down the back of my throat as the familiar taste of loss and regret return. Tears sting my eyes, and I fight the urge to grab the bottle and down it just to forget the memories. Both the bad memories, because they remind me of what I lost, and the good memories, because they remind me of what I once had. Sometimes the good memories hurt more than the bad. The door opens and Quinn pokes her head inside. She sees me sitting there, walks into the room, and closes the door behind her. “Are you drinking to remember or to forget?” she asks.

About the Author

I'm an "Indie" Adult Contemporary Romance author. I've been married to my wonderful husband since 1996 and I love being a stay-at-home mom to our two teenage boys. I was born and raised in Michigan, but currently live in beautiful California. A thought occurred to me in December of 2012 that maybe I could write a romance novel. So, I went to work with the encouragement of my husband and sister-in-law. It didn’t take long to figure out that I absolutely love writing. Today I’m a self-published author and it has been an amazing journey. I published my debut novel Take A Chance in October of 2013.


What inspired you to become an author?
I picked up the 50 Shades books and I devoured them along with many oneclick books after that. I kept telling my sister-in-law about every book I read. She said you have a way describing books. You should write your I did. I self published my fist book on Halloween 2013.

I assume all authors also love to read, so what book inspired your love of reading?
I'd have to say as a kid the Little House books. As an adult 50 Shades.

How old were you when you wrote your first story?

Who are some of your favorite authors now?
Kristen Ashley, Tara Sivec, Colleen Hoover...

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Mostly a pantser. I have the story in my head...mostly scenes here and there, but the majority of it comes as I'm typing.

Are your characters based on people you know?
Not so far.

What are some of your writing rituals?
I like to be an empty house. I open my doc and reread what I wrote the day before and do some modification, then let my fingers fly!

How do other books influence your writing? 
So far I'd say they haven't.

How do you get motivated to sit down and write with all the real world interruptions?
That can be media is a distraction. But once I sit down and start reading what I wrote the day before, the characters just take over!

Which one of your books is your favorite? 
Hmmm...I'd have to say Unavoidable Chance, but that's a tough question! They're all my babies! I have two in my head right now that if they turn out how my mind thinks they will...they may take it!

If you could have a writing retreat anywhere in the world, where would you want it to be and why?
Hawaii! I'd love to sit on the warm beach with a cocktail!

If your main character were an alcoholic beverage, which beverage would they be and why?
That's tough!

If you could live in a fictional world, which world would you choose and why?
I'll take any of the one's my books are in!! lol

What’s the best way to hide a body?
I'd have to call my fest friend! lol

This or That

Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi
Paperback or e-reader? E-reader
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook
Peeta or Gale? Peeta
Edward or Jacob? Who? lol
Money or love? Both - I'm greedy that way!
Tattoos or bare? Tattoos
Hairy or smooth? Smooth
Call or text? Text
Hot or cold? Hot
Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings? Harry Potter
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Halloween or Christmas? Christmas
McDonald’s or Burger King? McD's
Batman or Spiderman? Batman

Oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip? Chocolate chip

*Review* Cinderella Borscht Belt by Jeannette Ronson

Genre: Historical Romance
Published: August 24, 2015
Pages: 86
Ages: 16+


Eighteen-year-old Samantha dreams of more than waiting on tables, but with an alcoholic father and no money, her prospects are dim. Landing a clerical job at a Jewish resort in the Catskills in 1976 seems like a step in the right direction, but soon she bungles her way through the foreign world of kosher meals and no meat with dairy. In her free time, Samantha fends off amorous rabbis and lusty pool boys. Rising to protect her, Larry the maintenance man, a Vietnam War veteran with an affinity for whiskey, shows up when he’s needed most. Mrs. Rosenblatt, a vociferous and opinionated Manhattanite who dominates the resort pool, appoints herself as Samantha’s Jewish fairy godmother in charge of her future. Josh, a Jewish college student from the Bronx who works the summer as a pool boy, tries to befriend Samantha. 

Based on actual events at Grossinger’s Resort during the 1970s, Cinderella Borscht Belt is about a young woman determined to change her fate and her cultural and class struggles at this now non-existent orthodox Jewish mountain mecca. Opposed to the film Dirty Dancing, the heroine, Samantha, is a staff member of the resort who wants to break from her working-class confinement and dreams of attending college. Sprinkled throughout the story are historic details of the Borscht Belt, such as Jewish customs and entertainers, as well as a description of a magical place where millions of New Yorkers visited every summer.


I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program in the hopes that I would leave an honest review.

This book is sort of like reading Dirty Dancingbut from the perspective of the summer help rather than the spoiled rich girl who just wants to help. I would honestly probably not have made this connection if Dirty Dancing hadn't been referenced in the synopsis. 

In the beginning, I felt sorry for the main character, but that feeling was quickly replaced by annoyance. She came off as untrusthworthy (she quit more jobs in 85 pages than I've ever had), fickle, and self-important. Ultimately, I couldn't relate to her at all and really just wanted to smack some sense into her.

The annoying main character was the least of my issues with this book though. It's billed as a historical romance novella, but there was zero romance. I have another point of contention on that track, but it's a huge spoiler so I can't say more about it right now.

Beyond that, there were several grammatical errors, far more than I find acceptable in a book this size, although they would likely not be an issue for the average reader.

Overall I give this book 2 out of 5 stars because I like the general premise of the story, but felt that it failed to deliver on several key points. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

A late bloomer in every sense, Jeannette Ronson has worked in corporate America, raised two kids, taught college English for seven years, started playing golf recently, and is now taking on writing novels based on her kooky life. She holds a MFA in Creative and Professional Writing from Western Connecticut State University as well as a MA in American Studies from Fairfield University and a MS in Education from the University of Bridgeport.

She lives in Connecticut with her husband of thirty-two years and her love-of-her-life, eight-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever. Her debut novella, Cinderella Borscht Belt, is based on her experiences as a naive, working class girl trying to understand Jewish culture during a summer in the Catskills.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

*Holiday Spotlight* Misrule's Mistress by Nicole Hurley-Moore

Author: Nicole Hurley-Moore
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)
Published: December 11, 2013
Pages: 47


With a golden ring and a little cunning Lord Barric Cranley plans to catch his bride. She’s refused him once, but Barric wants Lady Ellette for his wife. He plans to show her just how suited they are. With luck and the Feast of Misrule on his side, he proceeds to awaken Ellette’s passion with his kisses and stoke her jealousy until she realizes just how much she loves him. He’s vowed that by the end of the Christmas festivities he shall have a bride by his side... hopefully it will be Ellette.


“If I were sure that you loved me, that you would accept my offer – I would wait if I only knew how long.” Barric slowly closed his fingers over the ring and let his hand fall down by his side. “I cannot tell you, for I do not know – a year, two... or three.” “But after all these long years, would you then marry me?” “I do not know, Barric; I do not know what to say. I am confused and do not know what I want or feel,” she said as went to walk away but Barric caught her arm and she turned her head and looked at him. “You kissed me back, Ellette.” “I know, I know I did... but...” “Then without an answer I cannot wait for you, Ellette, no matter how much I want to,” Barric said as his hand slid down her cheek. “If I cannot have you, it matters little who I take for a wife. And because of that, I vow I will be married by the Feast of Epiphany.” Arching a brow, Ellette replied, “Are brides so easily found?” “I want you, Ellette, but if you do not wish me for a husband and cast me aside, I will be forced to find a bride elsewhere.” “By the end of our winter festivities?” “Aye,” Barric said. “I fear you have taken our games and challenges too far. For whom will you marry... the kitchen maid, or the weaver’s daughter? I am the only eligible maid at Cranley, and I say nay.” “Mayhap, but I will be married by midnight at the feast.” “In twelve days?” Torn and confused, Ellette stared at Barric. Part of her wanted to cry that perhaps she had been too hasty, perhaps one day, far away, she would marry him. Mixed with that, she was annoyed and hurt that he would think she was so easily replaced; and lastly, a hint of competitiveness reared its head. She almost wanted to take his challenge and wager that it would be impossible to marry in twelve days. “Aye – I swear it,” Barric said as he turned and returned to the feast, leaving Ellette alone with her riotous thoughts.

About the Author

Nicole writes historical, fantasy and contemporary romances. She lives in Victoria, Australia in a rural town with her family. She’s always been a lover of fairytales and happily ever afters.