Sunday, August 11, 2019


It was the cover of Allison Temple’s COLD PRESSED that caught my attention. Bearded, long-haired hipsters are my thing right now.

COLD PRESSED is book 2 in the new-to-me Seacroft Stories series and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Oliver, the former lawyer, and Nick, the former firefighter, have a lot going on individually: one has a new career, one has old family troubles, both are recovering from past failed relationships. Since neither is quite ready for a new love, they settle for a no-strings-attached arrangement. Naturally that’s not going to work.

What I enjoyed most about this novel was the maturity Oliver and Nick exhibited. They were adults acting like adults. When a misunderstanding threatens their budding relationship, I was worrying it would be one of those “if only they talked about it” situations, but they did talk about it and moved forward. Major props to the author for having the men behave like that. Their lives were complicated enough, they didn’t need artificial conflict.

Speaking of complications, if Oliver hadn’t been so hung up on his ex, he might have figured out the direction of his new business sooner (and seen Avery coming). I liked where he ended up instead, a much better fit for him.

Hayden needed a swift kick in the proverbial butt, but as mother of teenagers, I know that’s easier said than done.

Overall, the writing was easy and casual. The burn and pace comfortably slow, nothing here was rushed. Recommended read if you’re looking for realism and not every question being answered by the end.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


“Two men. One dangerous planet. To survive they need to trust each other.”

I was in after that logline and Hanna Dare’s BLACK SKY MORNING (Mind + Machine #3) did not disappoint. Hardcore science fiction fans may find this novel underwhelming—it is a romance first and foremost—but I enjoyed the lighter science fiction backdrop and Xin’s reactions to all things planetary, in particular. Good, steady pacing and solid character development drive the story toward a fitting happy ending.

Government agent Jonathan Gray has a lot on his mind, not least of all intrepid bounty hunter Xin.

I had a good time with Xin. Even out of his element, he was never out of character. Cocky and self-assured, but never annoying, he followed up and followed through on all his teasing. His “arrogance” was fully earned. He was capable and knew his limits.

Jonathan’s limits were less self-discovered, I think, and far more set for him by his role as government agent, a role he’s recently started to resent. He was burned out and disillusioned, in a funk and coasting toward the death of his career.

When the two get stranded and cut off from their support, they quickly learn that a “burden shared is a burden halved.” Faced with hard choices and Xin’s unflappable optimism, Jonathan rediscovers his purpose (and a new reason to live).

Although this is the third book in the Mind + Machine series, BLACK SKY MORNING can be thoroughly enjoyed as a stand-alone. I did not feel like I had read the preceding novels to understand what was going on.  

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Review: ILLUMINED SHADOWS (Treble and The Lost Boys #3)

ILLUMINED SHADOWS by G.R. Lyons was a tough read, because there was great writing and well-developed characters, but a troublesome need to suspend my disbelief. The writing is very good. Clearly this is an experienced writer who knows how to tell a story. Each character was well-defined and had a great arc. I loved Cam and the dogs and the friendship between the men.

But …

I did not enjoy the constant child-like portrayal of Colby, the secondary main character. He’s physically small, I get it, and liked to tuck his hands under his chin, I got that, too, but treating him like a child and not like the young man he is did him a major disservice. There was so much more room for growth, if only he’d been allowed to become an adult (man). I would have truly enjoyed the romance in this book if Colby had been allowed to mature, instead he was being kept in this child-like state by his portrayal as a boy.

For someone who wants to go into the business of adolescent counseling, Vic acted very out of character; I’m sure he’s aware of the ethics of counselling. This required major suspension of disbelief and could have easily been dealt with if Vic had had his idea of the halfway house/therapy business until after his success with Colby. I would love to see this changed a bit in a rewrite. It would ground this story in so much more realism and give it extra depth by NOT requiring suspension of disbelief from the reader.

Speaking of realism, the paranormal aspect was highly enjoyable and well done. The urban fantasy “alternate world” setting was almost non-existent. There were hints here and there and some magic thrown in. I have not read the previous books in this series and I wonder if I missed all the good world building and this one just relied too much on previous efforts.

Overall, I had a love-hate relationship with this book. I enjoyed the writing and growth in the characters, but did not enjoy the child-adult romance.

Monday, December 24, 2018


L.J Hayward’s WHERE DEATH MEETS THE DEVIL is the first in a new-to-me series that includes two novels and three novellas.

If you know me, you know I‘m a sucker for m/m suspense/thriller/mystery written in Third Person with or without romantic elements. Add assassins, and I’m in.

Hayward’s WHERE DEATH MEETS THE DEVIL has a lot going for it. I love the fairly exotic locale, Australia, because it’s something different. Honestly, I cannot remember the last book I read that wasn’t set in the US (not that there is anything wrong with that).

Then there are Jack and Ethan who have good chemistry and begrudging interest in each other. Theirs is not an HEA, but rather an HFN, which suits the genre.  

Jack Reardon is a follower of orders. Former military. Working in intelligence now. He’s a peacekeeper at heart; out to keep his part of the world/Australia safe. He starts in a bad place, literally, because the story opens on him tied to a chair in a “torture shack.” Oh, yeah, I was so in. He exchanges one bad place for another throughout the novel; whenever he digs himself out of one hole, another opens up.

Ethan Blade is an enigmatic and very damaged man who happens to be the seventh-ranked assassin in the world (a competently earned spot). Hayward deftly makes her readers care for Ethan although there is barely any backstory, just glimpses into a past that comes with bodily scares. She’s created a very believable and fully fleshed out character who follows his own rules, to a fault, and has his very own way of looking at the world. That he has his sight on Jack is not a good thing. Just ask Jack.

I love Hayward’s treatment of Ethan, in particular. It takes skill to share a character without giving too much away.

Hayward tells their story through Jack’s POV in alternating Then/Now chapters that read less like a gimmick and more like flashbacks should (writers, take note). Her chapters blend seamlessly. Her pace is consistent and her language effortless and to the point. In fact, the novel reads very straight-forward, there is nothing that doesn’t need to be there, no fluff, no filler, just straight-forward twists and turns.

If I had to nail down a theme, I’d say trust. The breaking and earning of it. The weight and responsibility of having it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I have no doubt I will enjoy the rest of the series (just as soon as I am done writing this review).

PS. Sheila is the best!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cover reveal

THE PROTECTOR has a brand-new cover. I loved the cover that graced the first edition, but now it is time to reveal the gorgeous new cover created by Jared Rackler.

But first, the blurb:

Soren Buchanan feels trapped by his controlling father James, a businessman who’s clever at masking illegal financial dealings on the tropical island of Guam. When James finally asks too much of him, Soren flees to the FBI for help.

Until Soren’s information pans out, the Bureau can’t protect him—so the task falls to Mason Ward, security specialist and former US Army Ranger.

Protecting Soren should be easy enough, but Soren is young, seductive, and not entirely forthcoming about the trouble following him. Mason must fight his growing attraction to the young man as well as thugs sent to bring Soren Buchanan home … dead or alive.

Now, without further ado: 

I love what Jared did with the information I gave him. I’d asked for a tropical feel since Guam is a unique and exotic location. And I asked for red hair. If there was to be a cover model, I didn’t want him to be so “in your face,” and he really, really needed to have red hair. 

Jared managed to imbue the cover with a tropical, Pacific Islander vibe, a hint of mystery and a lot of red. The model is handsome and fit and if you look way closely, there’s a hint of stubble on his chin. I think. Maybe not.

I’m not sure if Jared saw my old cover, but I love that the lettering for THE PROTECTOR is yellow. It feels like a nod to its first edition cover, which was very yellow.

I have a feeling by now you guys love my new cover as much as I do and are desperate to know when you can get your e-copy of THE PROTECTOR’s second edition. 

THE PROTECTOR E-BOOK on sale July 28, 2017 with MLR PRESS

Monday, July 17, 2017

One last teaser ... red hair

I love red hair, and I love freckles. There is no denying that :)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Sea Sprite

I've been posting beach pics in preparation for THE PROTECTOR's rerelease with MLR Press on 07.28. Guam is a lovely location and makes for an exotic setting, but a lot of stuff also happens on The Sea Sprite, modeled here by a Kadey-Krogen 58.

Pivotal scenes take place in that galley and salon.