Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blog Barrage - The Sky Pirate's Wife by Allison Merritt

Welcome to my stop on Allison Merritt's Blog Barrage for The Sky Pirate's Wife.  Please make sure to leave a comment or question for Allison below to let her know you stopped by.  You can fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter her tour wide giveaway, and follow the blog barrage here.  MY REVIEW FOR THIS BOOK WILL BE POSTED LATER TODAY.

The Sky Pirate's Wife (Legends & Lovers #2) 
by Allison Merritt 

Genre(s): Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance
Category(ies): Adventure, Steampunk
Publisher: Self-Published/Indie
Release Date: February 17, 2012
Heat Level: Steamy
Word Count: 93,000

Buy Links: 

Amazon (Kindle)                
Amazon (Print)


Book Description: 

After a tragic airship wreck, Captain Alwin van Buren makes a drastic decision to obtain a wealthy bride in order to save his flagging business. He meets his match in Sophie Barnes, heiress to an airship empire. After he seduces her and ensures their marriage—igniting a rivalry with her godfather—he learns the green-eyed beauty is as headstrong as he is.

Sophie knows Van Buren's reputation based on a series of dime novels written about his adventures. Determined to be more than an end to a means, she despises him for luring her into marriage. In fiction, he's a no-nonsense captain on the verge of piracy, but the flesh-and-blood man wins her heart by proving she's worth more to him than her money.

Their love is threatened when Sophie learns Van Buren's airship accident was a result of mythical creatures. Winged predators that appear to have a grudge against him, a fact he deliberately hid by accusing her godfather of sabotage. If she can forgive him for that, they still have to face the danger when they're cornered and at the mercy of beasts and the evil that controls them.

Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language which may be considered offensive to some readers.


“Come, Sophie. Stand here.”

“Where you are?” She shook her head. “No, I think I'll stay here and watch.”

“I insist. Consider it your first lesson in flying.”

“We'll crash. I'll mess up the instruments,” she warned. “I don't want to be responsible for bringing down an entire airship.”

“I won't let that happen.” He let go of the wheel and captured her hand, pulling her closer. She had no hope of resisting and didn't try very hard. He put his hands on her shoulders, positioning her in front of him. “Left hand at ten o'clock, right hand at two o'clock.”

She did as he asked, feeling awkward and jittery. “Like this?”

“Grip it harder. Firm, but comfortable. It will pull a little when they set us free from the lash lines.” Van Buren placed his hands over hers. His chest brushed against her back.

Sophie's breath caught in her throat. He wouldn't try to kiss her where everyone could see, would he? A spicy bay rum fragrance surrounded him; the scent of a man who spent his life carrying exotic cargo. His hands almost engulfed hers, gentle but firm enough to ensure she wasn't about to flee. As if she could force herself. She tried to toss the thoughts out. Surely he was focused on flight, not on her.

“I don't think this is a good idea,” she whispered.

“You'll be surprised.” He sounded so confident. A rumble started behind them and the ship shook under her feet.

Her heart was in her throat. “What is it?”

“The propellers. You'll get used to it. Now, hold tight.”

She didn't have a choice, because his hands still covered hers. The wheel tipped to one side and he straightened it. The ship groaned and Sophie's heart leaped when she saw the dock slip past them.

“We're moving!”

They floated above a level field where long grass grew. In the distance, two ships were coming in, but no one else was leaving. Alone in the sky, they climbed higher steadily.

He pulled open a drawer beneath the helm and flipped through a logbook. “We chart the weather in this. It helps us figure average temperatures throughout the years. Whoever received the last weather report wrote down sunny for today, overcast tonight. Maybe some rain tomorrow, but nothing more than light showers.”

Sophie looked at the book in his hands. No one held the wheel but her. “Alwin! You let go.”

He grinned. “You're doing fine, zoete. Keep her steady, she's climbing on her own.”

It wasn't the idea of being the only thing that stood between them and another flaming airship wreck that made her tremble. It was his smile. The kind that all women yearned to receive from a handsome man. “You should really take the wheel.”

“My hands are full.” He waved the logbook at her, but replaced it and remained standing beside her. “You're doing very well.”

“Are you certain?” The wind blew her hair and snagged her skirt. The horizon filled her line of sight and she suddenly understood the thrill of piloting a ship. It was like having the same freedom as a bird. She could point the ship in any direction and go wherever she pleased. Nothing had ever made her feel so alive. Except kissing Van Buren. Her head turned his direction like it was on a spring. She covered the sudden movement with a laugh. “I think I'm in love with your ship.”

His eyes darkened from icy gray to the shade of wet concrete. He lowered his mouth to her ear again and put his hand on her back. “Flying is a great deal like making love, Sophie.”

She nearly melted at her name on his lips. “W-why do you say that?”

“It's instinctual. The mind and body work together, creating a moment of beauty. The first time is a little frightening, but once you find the rhythm, the proper technique, you have something very enjoyable on your hands. Something that you feel deep within your soul. Something that you never want to give up. With the right person, the kind of relationship you'd die to protect.”

Sophie couldn't find her voice. She stood stock still, staring straight ahead, too embarrassed to look at her husband. His hand moved up her back, over her shoulder until he cupped her jaw and turned her head so that she was looking at him. Their lips were so close together, she thought he'd kiss her again. 


About the Author

A life-long love of reading turned Allison Merritt into an indie author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she's not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas. 

Connect with Allison Merritt: 


Giveaway Info:

Prize is a $10 Amazon GC and Necklace (picture attached). Due to nature of prize, contest is open to US residents ONLY and ends Mar 5. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Virtual Review Tour & Giveaway - Byzantine Gold by Chris Karlsen

Welcome to my stop on Chris Karlsen's Virtual Review Tour for Byzantine Gold.  Please make sure to leave a comment or question for Chris to let her know you stopped by.  Chris will be awarding an ebook copy of Golden Chariot (the first book in this series) at every stop on the tour to a randomly drawn commenter, she will also be awarding a $50 Amazon Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  You can follow all of her tour stops here, the more often you comment, the better your odds of winning. 


Byzantine Gold 
by Chris Karlsen
Dangerous Waters, Book 2

Publisher: Books To Go Now (ebook)
                   CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Print)

Release Date: December 31, 2012

Genre: Action-Adventure/Romantic Suspense

ISBN: 978-1-481980-72-2

Buy Links:

Amazon Print        Kindle        B&N Print 

Book Description:

A sunken warship from the Byzantine Era carrying an unusual cargo of gold has been found off the coast of Northern Cyprus. News of the valuable cache has attracted the attention of a terrorist cell. They plan to attack the recovery team’s campsite and steal the artifacts. On the Black Market, the sale of the relics will buy them additional weapons.

Charlotte Dashiell, an American archaeologist, and her lover, Atakan Vadim, a Turkish government agent, are scheduled to be part of the recovery team that brings up the artifacts. While en route to Cyprus, they find themselves caught in the cross hairs of Maksym Tischenko, a Ukrainian contract killer bent on revenge. Charlotte, Atakan and Tischenko share a grim history. As a result, Tischenko is a man who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal—seeing them both dead.


Atakan didn’t answer as he sped out of camp, spraying dirt and stones behind them.

“What’s going on? Why are you in such a hurry?”

He stared straight ahead, silent.


Tight-jawed, he continued down the side road that paralleled the beach, ramming the stick shift into place as he went through the gears and ignoring her questions. She’d never seen him this tense, not with her at least. A bad feeling crept over her. She had a sick sense his mood involved her plan to leave.

They’d gone a kilometer from the camp when he came to a stop. He hopped out, slammed the driver’s door shut and came to her side.

Opening her door, he said, “Get out.”

She did.

“Atakan,” Charlotte started to ask the same questions again, but he was already turned and walking toward the sea.

She followed. He finally stopped near the water’s edge with his back to the surf and faced her. She stopped a couple of yards away.

“When were you going to tell me?”

She knew exactly what he was asking about. Who told him? It wasn’t Nick. He’d honor the twenty-four hour rule.

“Who told you?”

“That’s not an answer.” He stood still as a statue, arms crossed, feet apart.

She hesitated, trying to choose her words so he’d understand and not be hurt. She gazed out at the incoming tide. The blue-green waves, effervescent with bubbles, rushed toward shore in rapid succession. White foam droplets filled the air as they crested, framing him like a new, angry version of Poseidon.

“Answer me.”


“You weren’t going to tell me until today, although you’ve been planning to leave me for awhile.”

“Not awhile.”

“Long enough to send job inquiries to several museums.”

So that was how he knew. One of the museums contacted MIAR and they must’ve sent the questionnaire to Refik and he told Atakan. She hadn’t considered the possibility. She’d thought any contact from the museums would be handled by MIAR’s headquarters.

“I’m so sorry you had to find out this way. I intended to tell you if it looked like I’d definitely leave. If none of the museums showed interest, then you never had to know what I’d done.”

“And you believe that is acceptable?”

It killed her to see the look of disgust on his face with the question. “Yes...” she said low.


“Because I’m bad luck for you—everyone can see it, even your--, it’s obvious. There’s something about me, and God knows, I don’t know what, but I’m like a magnet for Tischenko.”

She never cried and she wouldn’t cry now, but she was close. “I can’t bear to see you hurt again, or worse. There are people that bad luck follows, even Iskender thinks so.”

Atakan inhaled deeply and let out a slow breath. Uncrossing his arms, he closed the short distance to where she stood.

“It’s not forever,” she offered, “I’ll return.”

He shook his head. “If you go, you cannot return. You’re either in my life or out of my life. There’s no in between.”


My Review 

A fan of the Action-Adventure/Romantic Suspense genre, I was very excited when I realized this book was going on tour and I quickly signed up.  I intended to read Golden Chariot first, because I'm a little OCD about reading books in order, but unfortunately I ran out of time.  I worried this might be problematic in regards to my enjoyment of this book, however I can happily state that I was able to read and enjoy this book on it's own (I do plan to go back and read the first book though).  Well developed characters, good dialogue, plenty of action and a subtle romance, kept me turning the pages and wondering what could possibly happen next.  

Scheduled to participate in a sunken treasure excavation and underwater dive in Cyprus, American archaeologist Charlotte Dashiell and her Turkish lover, Atakan Vadim, are vacationing in Paris when an enemy from their past makes a sudden appearance.  When Maksym Tischenko shoots Atakan in the chest and threatens to come back and finish the job, Charlotte is afraid that Atakan will be unable to handle his duties as a Turkish government agent on the excavation due to his injury.  Refusing to stay home, Atakan has sworn to keep Charlotte safe from their old enemy.

Working together during the excavation and underwater dive, Charlotte and Atakan find themselves facing more than the usual problems on a dig - a terrorist organization has plans on stealing the gold to fund their continued operations and Tishenko is determined to carry out the rest of his plan for revenge.  Chris Karlsen did an excellent job developing this story and all of the characters.  I enjoyed the romance between Charlotte and Atakan, two people from very different worlds who are drawn together by both love and adventure.  It was especially nice to get to know Atakan, a modern Turkish man, who seemed to find himself caught between both the modern world and his family's (or rather his mother's) traditional thoughts.  

Giving us insight into both characters point of view, it was especially interesting to watch Charlotte and Atakan working around their issues for control.  Atakan has a subtle Alpha male vibe going on, while Charlotte is no one's fool.  I found the action to be well paced and the dialogue between Charlotte and Atakan witty and sharp.  With plenty of secondary characters, and two well developed villains, Ms. Karlsen also did a good job with the details surrounding the excavation, the sights and sounds of Cyprus and the history behind the treasure.

Will Charlotte's ideas about the newly discovered treasure pan out?  Will the romance between Charlotte and Atakan survive all the additional pressures from both the treasure hunt and his family?  You'll have to read Byzantine Gold to find out.  If you enjoy romantic suspense or treasure books then this is a book you will want to pick up.  I hope we get to see both Charlotte and Atakan again on another adventure.

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5 Crowns

FTC Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review. 


AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

Chris is a retired police detective. She spent twenty-five years in the law enforcement with two different agencies.

The daughter of a history professor and a voracious reader, she grew up with a love for history and books.

She has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and Northern Africa satisfying her passion for seeing the places she read about.

A Chicago native, Chris has lived in Paris, Los Angeles, and now resides with her husband, and five rescue dogs in the Pacific Northwest.

Don't forget to leave a comment or question for Chris to let her know you stopped by.  Chris will be awarding an ebook copy of Golden Chariot (the first book in this series) at every stop on the tour to a randomly drawn commenter, she will also be awarding a $50 Amazon Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  You can follow all of her tour stops here, the more often you comment, the better your odds of winning. 

Waiting on Wednesday - Rising Darkness (A Game of Shadows Novel) by Thea Harrison

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This weeks pre-publication "can't wait to read" selection is Rising Darkness (A Game of Shadows Novel) by Thea Harrison:

Rising Darkness
by Thea Harrsion
A Game of Shadows Novel, Book 1 

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Release Date: April 2, 2013

ISBN:  978-0-425248-45-4
ASIN: B0099D48LG

Buy Links:

Amazon Print      Kindle          B&N Print       Nook 

Book Description:

USA Today bestselling author Thea Harrison begins an all-new, darkly romantic paranormal saga, in which the fate of existence itself lies in the balance—and the key to victory may rest in the hands of two eternal lovers…
In the hospital ER where she works, Mary is used to chaos. But lately, every aspect of her life seems adrift. She’s feeling disconnected from herself. Voices appear in her head. And the vivid, disturbing dreams she’s had all her life are becoming more intense. Then she meets Michael. He’s handsome, enigmatic and knows more than he can say. In his company, she slowly remembers the truth about herself…

Thousands of years ago, there were eight of them. The one called the Deceiver came to destroy the world, and the other seven followed to stop him. Reincarnated over and over, they carry on—and Mary finds herself drawn into the battle once again. And the more she learns, the more she realizes that Michael will go to any lengths to destroy the Deceiver.

Then she remembers who killed her during her last life, nine hundred years ago…Michael.

Why I'm waiting on this book:

1.'s written by Thea Harrison - yeah that's all it took was her name on the cover
2. The dreams...yeah...I like books with dreams
3.  Michael...I think he's going to be an angel or tied to angels somehow...nuff said:)

What's your "waiting on" pick this week? 

Want to participate? Grab the logo, post your own WoW entry on your blog and leave your link below or if you don't have a blog, leave it below in the comments.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review Tour & Giveaway - The Odor of Violet by Ju Ephraime

Welcome to my stop on Ju Ephraime's Review Tour for The Odor of Violet.  Please leave a comment or question for Ju below to let her know you stopped by.  Ju will be awarding a $50.00 Gift Certificate, winner's choice,to Amazon, Kobo, B&N, or ENVISION to one randomly chosen commenter during her tour. You can follow her tour stops here, the more often you comment, the better your odds of winning.


The Odor of Violet 
by Ju Ephraime

Publisher: ENVISION Business & Computer School Publishing 

Release Date: December 8, 2012

Genre: Contemporary Romance

ISBN: 978-0-983602-97-2

Buy Links:  

 Amazon Print    Amazon Kindle     B&N Print    Nook 

Book Description:


Full of self-doubt as he struggled to regain his independence, the last thing Damien was looking for when he hired his new assistant, was to fall in love. So, he fought it for as long as he could, until the feelings he had for Lisa kept chipping away at him. Exposing a heart he had thought encased in stone, never to love again.

Lisa, a gentle, caring individual, a professional nurse, and inexperienced in matters of the heart, was ill-equipped to deal with the emotional and physical attraction she felt for her boss, Damien Falconer. Fully cognizant of the pitfalls that exist in such a relationship, Lisa fought equally hard to resist the powerful lure of Damien.

The blistering attraction between Damien and Lisa was searing in its intensity. Both were trying desperately to do the right thing, but the fates had other plans for them. Can two hearts that were broken be made whole again?…..


Ms. Andrews walked into the room, and Damien felt the air leave his lungs. He could not see her, but he felt Jake’s reaction also. He was not certain if he was mirroring Jake’s reaction to the candidate or his own overactive imagination. Whatever the reason, he had a physical reaction to whomever it was that walked into his library. She was polite and calm, and he sensed she had a smile on her face because Jake had an answering smile in his voice when he greeted her. Poor Damien, he couldn’t see a thing, but boy, was he aware of her. He could smell the fragrance she was wearing, and it was doing strange things to his body.

There was a hint of jasmine, mixed with a bit of musk, but the overwhelming scent was of violet. He recognized the scent because of the perfusion of violet plants that grew in the garden surrounding his house.  It was his favorite flower. He was never tired of sitting on the porch just inhaling its heady fragrance.

On Ms. Andrews, the fragrance was positively intoxicating. The mixture of violet with her unique scent was overpowering. Damien was almost in pain from the strength of his physical reaction to her. He was uncomfortable in his seat and kept fidgeting and moving to get a more comfortable position. He did not want either Jake or the young woman to notice his discomfort. He desperately wanted to see the woman who was in his library, but he had to be content with just listening to her responses to Jake’s questions.

She sounded a bit flustered because she would begin each response with a slight nervous laugh, and Jake would respond in kind. This exchange between the two infuriated Damien, who wanted to participate in the conversation. He interrupted one of Jake’s questions to her with one of his own.

“Tell me, Ms. Andrews, how long have you been out of school?”


My Review

Usually when people say that love is blind they mean that when you're in love you are blind to your lover's flaws, in the case of Ju Ephraime's The Odor of Violets, the authors characters have to not only deal with each other's faults but the actual physical blindness.  Likable characters, undeniable passion and good verbal chemistry drew me into a romance where both the heart and the physical senses become engaged.  Lush descriptions of what the characters feel kept me glued to the pages.

Vintner Damien Falconer was in control of his life and his work until a freak accident takes his sight.  While his eyesight loss is supposed to be a temporary situation, Damien's life is overturned and living becomes a challenge.  Creating a life of solitude with assistance when it comes to running his business is Damien's only choice.  Only now he's lonely, dependent on others for his care and unsure of what his future holds.  When he needs additional help, Damien is reluctant to let anyone else into his home and is positive he doesn't want a female nurse.  At least that's what he says at first.

Needing a new job, private nurse Lisa Andrews applies to work for Damien Falconer.  She's got plenty of private experience and it seems like the perfect job.  That is until she meets Damien Falconer, a man she realizes is still young and very attractive.  Determined to let nothing stand in the way of her career plans, Lisa is unprepared for what she suddenly feels.

While neither Damien or Lisa is looking for a relationship; they are perfectly suited for each other and what they each need.  Damien is physically attracted to Lisa, something he hasn't experienced since he went blind, and suddenly realizes that physical desire is still a part of his life.  Lisa too feels attracted to Damien, something she hasn't had a chance to experience in the last couple of years.  

Ms. Ephraime did an excellent job developing the romance between Damien and Lisa, they both need companionship, love and understanding and it's only with each other that they feel the freedom to be who they really are.  While the physical comes easily, it's the emotional that takes time - something both characters have plenty of.  The author also did a good job of engaging my emotions by letting me get to know the characters via flashback as the story and romance develop.  n.

Will Damien and Lisa give into more than their physical attraction and discover real love?  You'll have to read The Odor of Violet to find out.  I really enjoyed how this romance developed and look forward to reading more of Ms. Ephriaime's work.

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5 Crowns

FTC Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review.


I can’t recall a time in my life when I wasn’t writing. I know I started a long, long, time ago. I began writing short stories for the local radio station in my home town, which were read on the air at story time. After I had my children, I went back to school to further my education. I have since earned several degrees, including two Masters and a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern University in Boston. During the course of my schooling, I wrote and published a working curriculum for a career school, as well as, other literary works. A couple years ago, I revisited my first love, writing for fun and enjoyment.

I live in a small town in Connecticut, where the closest thing to a mall is a shopping strip, so nothing exciting happens there. I’m a mother of three and a grandmother of five. My dog Bondine is my favorite companion when I take up pen and paper to write.

Many of my stories are set in the places I've visited. The children I encounter during my travels determine the theme of the book. I love to write stories about talented, inquisitive, and curious children who are thirsty for knowledge.

When I’m not writing my children books, I write romance novels under a pen name. Oftentimes, I take the time to visit the places in which my stories are set, which is the icing on the cake. My second love is traveling, and those times when I can combine writing with traveling, I’m usually in writers' heaven because I’m doing my two most favorite things...


Don't forget to leave a comment or question for Ju below to let her know you stopped by.  Ju will be awarding a $50.00 Gift Certificate, winner's choice,to Amazon, Kobo, B&N, or ENVISION to one randomly chosen commenter during her tour. You can follow her tour stops here, the more often you comment, the better your odds of winning.