Called Up by Jen Doyle -- REVIEW

There are two things Max “Deke” Deacon can always count on: his old high school teammates and Fitz Hawkins. But no matter how much Deke might secretly fantasize otherwise, a relationship with one of his best friends is off limits. Until one unexpectedly smoldering encounter has Deke and Fitz looking at each other in a whole new way.
Angelica “Fitz” Hawkins knows for a fact that it is not better to have loved and lost. After losing her parents, she’d rather lock up her heart and throw away the key than endure that kind of pain again. If that means giving up any hope of a lasting relationship, then so be it.

With Deke, Fitz finally feels like she's back in the land of the living. But she won’t risk another broken heart—even if it means saying good-bye to Deke for good. It’s up to Deke to convince her that the safest place she could ever be is right here with him.

A big believer in happily ever afters, Jen Doyle decided it was high time she started creating some. Jen is a member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as a member of the New England, New Jersey Romance Writers and Music City Romance Writer chapters of RWA. She is represented by Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency. She has an M.S. in Library and Information Science and, in addition to her work as a librarian, has worked as a conference and events planner as well as a Communications and Enrollment administrator in both preschool and higher education environments (although some might say that there is very little difference between the two; Jen has no comment regarding whether she is one of the “some”).

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

I’d been looking for something new, someone new, to read all summer. But because I was so busy, it was easy to pick up my favorites or new books from favorite authors. But, finally Called Up popped up on my radar. Cute cover. Check. Small Town. Check. Sports and bar theme. Check. Friends to lovers. Check.

I was ready to give it a try.

At first, in Called Up, we're thrown into family. That was my first impression. Lots of people, friendly and familial. There is a comradery through that first chapter, one that probably takes the seasoned reader [of the series] back into the lives of the secondary characters. We meet our main characters, Angelica ‘Fitz’ Hawkins and Max Deacon ‘Deke’ [Deacon, a favorite name of mine, btw…well, for a first name :D ]. One is the town barkeep [it’s a family thing] and one is the town’s orphan [daughter to the man who had a wife and then ran away with the woman who would become her mother]. I like the history they have. We get to watch these two go from supposed friends [but maybe not as close as they thought] to strangers and back to friends before on to being lovers.

I really liked this book. I did have a hard time getting into it at first, probably because I hadn’t read book one. But, that wasn’t a story issue, more of a characters issue…like being confused by who went with whom, who was related, and who were ‘just friends’. Once I had all that figured out, I enjoyed the tug of war within the story. Fitz’s conflict of who she could trust, and how anyone could really love her. And then Deke’s protective streak towards her, and how she goes from a best friend’s sister to someone he wants to be with. I really loved that the author didn’t create perfection within the hero. He’d been with a good number of women in town. He didn’t apologize for it, but didn’t flaunt it either, especially as his relationship with Fitz deepened. There was even a bit of regret, which is nice to see, too.

I think the only thing that bogged the story down was Fitz’s secret keeping along with some parts of her past. Part of me just wanted her to ‘get over it’. It’s not an unfamiliar feeling while reading some of the tropes in the romance genre. And though she seemed to work through that conflict that involved her past, it felt a little too trite to me… the meeting with her foster/adoptive mother who is the first wife of her father. I don’t know. Sometimes you just read something and you think you’re not sure about it. That’s how it was for me. On the other side of the fence from that, though, I did love Fitz’s grand gesture. She’d kept a very big secret from Deke for the entire book, and her making up for that was spot on. It’s very rare that we see the heroine make the grand gesture in romance. So, kudos to Jen Doyle for pulling that off.

A great book I don’t mind recommending to all my readers.



      Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo

Sunset On Summer Bloghop

Summer is a great time to read. It's notorious for flings and for romance. But sometimes, when summer ends, the heartache begins...

They closed Quinn’s, playing pool, knocking balls into corner and side pockets. They talked, like they’d known each other their whole lives. When he was near enough to her, her breath shortened and her heart pounded.

The small cove at the back of the bar seemed to have been made for couples, tucked in the corner, no view of the seating area. David’s grin held charm—she’d forgotten—and he turned to sink the eight ball.

Her eyes drank in the sight of his butt. Clearing her throat, she quickly looked away as he turned back to her. “Game.”

She lifted her brow at him.

“I win.”

The pulse in her neck made her lightheaded. She couldn’t look away.


Maria stepped up to him and placed her hands on his waist. Was he the winner?

Call her crazy but… 

She rose to her toes and placed her lips against his. He gently accepted, and his hand cupped the side of her neck. His thumb came to rest at the pulse point. Her ache grew, and she gripped his shirt, wanting more, wanting—his tongue claimed her mouth—yes.

…she was pretty sure she was the one who’d won.

Only $2.99 and FREE on Kindle Unlimited

A Call to Adventure

This topic has been on my mind for about four years now--almost five. See, sometimes when I meet new military wives, we chit and chat and it's inevitable that some discussion on how long and what does he do will come up. And it's not like some of the crazy wives believe in which there's a rank competition going on. Sometimes it really is just curiosity. 

But the truth is, when the women are perfect strangers, and this is the equivalent of small talk, it's easy to wave off the catch phrases, the cliches. And many times, as I've explained that my husband was an accountant--a CPA--turned soldier, a new acquaintance will smile and say, "Ahh, just looking for a little adventure?"

And, I just laugh with a wave of my hand... yeah, yeah.

But no. I think the next time this happens, I will say, "No." I may even frown a little. Because despite the fact that these women mean no harm, at all. It makes me feel like I'm betraying the truth or my husband's trust. 

My husband wanted to join the military when he was 17. His parents wouldn't sign the forms and told him, "Go to college." So he did. Which then started a different journey for him, one that included me. And eventually 5 kids. And he definitely kept looking for that opportunity to fulfill a dream. At every turning point in our life, he would take time to see what his options were for the military. But it wasn't until 2010 that he could make that a reality. And it wasn't 'adventure' or the need to 'escape' or find 'fulfillment.' No, let's be honest about an accountant husband, who quit smoking because 'it was too expensive now.' He wanted someone to pay of his substantial college loans. Yup. He might have wanted this at 17, but it was the undergraduate and post graduate loans that really pushed him into making this happen. [sorry, honey, if I'm revealing your secrets] 

My husband has found adventure at every point in his life. He has made new friends. Learned new things. Answered 'The Call of the Wild'. Taken setbacks. And grown in leaps and bounds. 

And let's talk about what adventure means anyway.


Kay. We'll do it a very simple compare and contrast kind of way so everyone understands. Ready? Here we go...


1. Travelling to distant countries to stand between your loved ones and enemy fire? 

Not adventure.

2. An African Safari?


3. Separation from your loved ones for months at a time?

Not adventure.

4. Hiking the Denali with your lover?


5. 14 hour days of dealing with training, classes, people?

Not adventure.

6. 14 hours on a lake in Lavonia, Georgia with your family?



See what I'm doing there?

Let's not forget why our soldiers fight.

Duty. Honor. Loyalty.

Love of country.

Love of family.

Love of Freedom.

To be very clear. I am not and have never been offended by the assumption that my husband was "looking for adventure". If you've ever said this to me, I'm not calling you out or want to stomp on your goodwill. :) The last woman who did it just happened to be the one that caught my attention and turned the tides--no hard feelings at all. And I never would have thought anything of her response if half of a dozen people before her hadn't said the very same thing. 

But this time...I stand true to my soldier instead of letting his sacrifice seem menial.

Let's be honest!!

If he'd joined at 17, I would have accused him of giving in to the proverbial "Call to Adventure!" 

Cover Reveal -- Riptide by Kinsey Corwin


Welcome, Kinsey Corwin!!!

I'm so excited to reveal your latest cover, Riptide.  Not only does the story sound amazing, but the cover is sweeeet. <3  

I'll be doing a giveaway for anyone who comments or shares--twitter, facebook, or pinterest [cuz those are my spots!]. A copy of Riptide on RELEASE DAY! 


One moment can impact the future.

Only two things in the world brought Hunter Sullivan a sense of peace—surfing and his relationship with Phoenix Nash. All it took was losing his best friend in a tragic surfing accident at one of the world’s greatest surf spots, to send Hunter’s world crumbling down around him. Now, unable to get out on the waves without the memory of Maverick haunting him, he’s at risk of destroying his career and the one person he’s used to turning to when life sucks him under.

Phoenix Nash lived by a set of rules forged after watching her father claw his way out of the depths of depression when her mom left. Do not get involved with her father's clients. Protect your heart always. Dad and the company come first. Rules that slowly started eroding the moment she first fell into bed with up and coming surfer, Hunter Sullivan. When her dad asks for her help getting the face of his surfing division back on the waves, Phoenix is put in a position to choose between the only two men in her life she's ever cared about. 

Settling Down

Things are settling down on the homefront. My soldier is knee deep in studies for this round of schooling so he's a hit or miss figure for the family. But when we hit, it's such a nice thing! :D 

Today, in my effort to get out of the house and write, I jumped into the chore of moving all the "garage sale" items from the kitchen table to the garage. I think I'd been hoping we'd have that garage sale a lot sooner. But, who knows when it will happen, and I really needed my kitchen table!! The clutter was making me crazy. And there was this...funny vibe. That cranky, unsettled vibe that goes around when people are out-of-sorts.

It's the kind of vibe that can lead to out-right bitchiness or assholery.

So, yeah...even though out-of-sight, out-of-mind might be the bigger hurdle to getting our garage sale done, I think removing the things that are keeping us from truly settling down is a better idea right now. :)

In writing news, I'm well on the way to getting this revision of Strike Zone completed. I have a deadline of August 22nd when my editor expects the manuscript on her desk. Ack! Back to work!

In reading news, I'm so fulled up with some great reads. I've got a book i'm going to review in September [watch for it!], and this morning Gone Too Deep was delivered to my Kindle! Wheee. So excited for Book Three of the Colorado Search and Rescue series. You must catch this one, with its Hero named George. 

Military Moves

The Military Life

We've been lucky...blessed. Our first duty station was a four year stay. That's pretty unusual. Two years, three years tops, is normal. So, we've been blessed.

But we've also grown roots. Four years is definitely a long time, knowing a move is imminent. Too long to avoid deep friendships. Not that we do that... but let's be honest, I'm an introvert, so holing up for a couple years is not a problem for me. I like things quiet. 

It's really hard to leave Colorado Springs, though.

Because Cindy and Jennie.

Dang! Not fair! How did this happen? What will I do? Who will satisfy the minimal socializing I can handle? Who will laugh with me as we sit in Panera? Who will investigate and speculate on the guy who comes in too often--every time with a different woman, every time as if he's doing an interview?? Is it a ploy? Is he a criminal? 

Who will I make eyes at over my laptop???

I don't know...

All I know is that it's very hard to leave. Because even with Sprint 2.0 on Messenger, it will not be the same again. Not until I can get back to this place I've called home for 4 years. A place that has become home because of the people I've met.

I don't know what I'll do without Starbucks (wine and beer included) and Panera (preachers and cons included). There will be a great void for a while as I fumble around and figure out what the freak to do with myself. :(

Deep Dark -- NEW RELEASE -- TastyBookTours

Deep Dark
Tracers #10
By: Laura Griffin
Releasing May 24, 2016
Pocket Books

A gripping new romantic thriller from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Laura Griffin...

The moment detective Reed Novak steps onto the crime scene, he knows the case is going to rock his world. A beautiful young woman murdered at home. No sign of forced entry. No motive. She’s obviously not the killer’s first victim, and Reed’s instincts tell him she won’t be his last. Reed’s first clue comes via a mysterious text that links to a dating profile, but even more intriguing than the clue is the person who sent it.

As a white-hat hacker in the Delphi Center’s cyber investigation unit, Laney Knox sneaks into some of the deepest, darkest corners of the Internet looking for predators. Laney would prefer to stay away from Austin PD’s most recent murder case, but she can’t ignore the chilling similarities between that crime and her own brutal attack years ago. Laney offers to help the sexy lead detective, but he wants more from her than just a promising tip—Reed wants her trust. Laney resists, but as their relationship deepens she’s tempted to reveal the closely guarded secrets that could make her a key witness…or the killer’s next victim


Buy Links:    Amazon | B & N | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author LAURA GRIFFIN started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is a two-time RITA Award winner as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award. Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book.


Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Reed watched her, and she had that frustrated look in her eyes again. Every time she started to open up to him, he did something to tick her off. She shook her head and glanced away.
    “I’m a detective. It’s my job to ask questions. To push.”
    She looked at him again and her expression softened. “No, you’re right.” She glanced down at her beer bottle and picked at the label. “I’m glad she has you.”
    “Who has me?”
    “April. You seem--” She paused, like she was searching for the right word. “--committed.”
    He didn’t answer. It wasn’t really a question, but the way she looked at him gave him the feeling she wanted a response.
    She drained her beer and plunked down the bottle. “I should get home.” She stood up.
    Reed stood, too. He left a tip on the table and followed her through the throng of people. The bar was packed, and the music had gotten louder since they’d first walked in. 
    They stepped into the warm, muggy air. It was dusk now, and a neon Lone Star Light sign cast a blue-and-red glow over the sidewalk. As they walked in silence, he thought of what she’d said about her job being meaningful. It was refreshing. Maybe he’d been a cop too long, but he didn’t know anyone who talked about things being meaningful anymore. If they thought about work in those terms, they kept it to themselves. 
    Maybe he was jaded.
    No, he definitely was jaded. But it had more to do with his failed marriage than anything he’d seen on the job.
Reed spotted her little white car and felt a twinge of regret. He’d enjoyed talking to her, enjoyed being near her. And he couldn’t remember the last time that had happened with a woman. Having a beer with Laney had been the highlight of his crap week. Hell, the highlight of his month.
    She looked around. “Where are you parked?” 
    “Around back.”
    She gazed up at him. He couldn’t read her expression.
    “Thanks for the drink,” she said.
    “You bought it.”
    He couldn’t read her tone either. The thrum of music seeped through the thin walls of the bar as they stood there in the light of the beer sign.
    She stepped closer, and a jolt of heat went through him. She looked up at him with those bottomless brown eyes, and he knew he was in trouble. It was a bad idea to involve this girl in his investigation. Whatever useful info she might have was outweighed by the fact that she was young, and edgy, and he wanted her. And she must have seen something in his face because her eyes sparked. 
She went up on tiptoes and kissed him.

Copyright 2016 Laura Griffin

Cover Reveal -- Kissing the Bride, Lola's book tours

Today is the cover reveal for Kissing the Bride by Tracey Alvarez. This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.

Kissing the BrideKissing the Bride (Due South #7.5)
By Tracey Alvarez
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: Adult
Release Date: June 24, 2016

The countdown is on to the Wedding of the Year, New Zealand!

It’s seven days until Shaye Harland and Del Westlake finally tie the knot—and it’ll be the most awesomesauce wedding Stewart Island has ever seen if Shaye has anything to do with it. Her All Things Nuptial journal has the big day planned to perfection, but not everything runs like clockwork. While marrying the man of her dreams beats chocolate as an Easter treat, a few mini-catastrophes like Boris the obstinate sea lion threaten to ruin their special day.

WARNING: If you’re new to the Due South world, this fun and sexy short story of Del & Shaye’s wedding isn’t the book to start with. Lots of favorite characters join in the wedding craziness—and if you haven’t read the earlier Due South books it’ll just be crazy-confusing.

You can find Kissing the Bride on Goodreads

You can pre-order Kissing the Bride here:
- iTunes

Other books in the series:
Book 1: In Too Deep (Currently FREE)
Book 2: Melting Into You (Currently FREE)
Book 3: Ready To Burn
Book 4: Christmas With You
Book 5: My Forever Valentine
Book 6: Playing For Fun
Book 7: Drawing Me In

Book 1: In Too Deep (Currently FREE)Book 2: Melting Into You (Currently FREE)Book 3: Ready To BurnBook 4: Christmas With YouBook 5: My Forever ValentineBook 6: Playing For FunBook 7: Drawing Me In

Tracey AlvarezAbout the Author:
Fuelled by copious amounts of coffee, Tracey Alvarez writes steamy but heart-warming contemporary romances set in New Zealand. Her two series, DUE SOUTH and FAR NORTH, both focus on small coastal towns, close communities, and family.

You can find and contact Tracey here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Pinterest
- Google+
- Amazon
- Newsletter

There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Kissing the Bride. There will be 3 winners who each win an e-copy of the DUE SOUTH Boxed Set containing the first 5 Due South books by Tracey Alvarez.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

May Indie Challenge #BEP

Another week of reading left to wrap up this months's Indie Reading Challenge sponsored by The Book Enthusiast.  Get over, pick a book, read a book, and write a review. There are some GREAT NOVELS to choose from!! And you can find them here:

Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Paranormal... all you could one under one roof. Benefits and bonuses for everyone. Join the fun and finish May on a reading note.

Deadlines really get in the Way

Of Blogging.

Of Reading.

Of Eating.

Of Drinking.

Of Playing.

...even, Of Writing.

Don't lose track of that deadline. Keep your focus. Make the short term goals so that the long-term goal doesn't sneak up on you and kill all forward motion of life, in general.

That is all...and now I go back to panicking over the 10 days left to finish this manuscript--at a time when my schedule is ridiculously booked with end-of-the-school-year activities, PCS preparations, travel planning, and all the regular stuff--laundry, housekeeping, kid-loving, hubby-loving, baseball games, etc. :D 

But no worries, I'm going to that baseball game tomorrow night...and you can't force me not to enjoy it. Have a great weekend!

With love,


May Indie Reading Challenge -- BEP

Sponsored by Debra Presley because she is an amazing Indie Author, with amazing Promotional Skills.

If you haven't yet, find your next favorite book, book boyfriend, [and let's not be sexist] book girlfriend, reading a book from this looong list of Independently Published Books. My book is in there!!

The cost to you?

A little time, and a few words. Practically NOTHING.

GO HERE NOW! Pick your first book and READ.




For the first time in her life, good-girl Maria Rodriguez throws aside caution for an all-consuming desire. She wants freedom from rules and her family looking over her shoulder. She wants the love she’s only ever dreamed of. But then that love walks away. Jaded bachelor David March doesn’t believe in love. His fling with the pretty Hispanic woman from California is as close to feeling as he wants to get. Now, he’s back home, burying himself in work and trying to forget.

Shortly after he leaves, Maria finds out she’s pregnant. Her first leap into freedom results in a life-changing consequence. She knows she has to find him. But what she finds is not what she expects. David is not the down-to-earth man he portrayed. And the love she remembers has been replaced by cold calculation and contracts. He lied to her once. Can she trust that a marriage agreement will bring back the love they once shared?

Go to a place where stoic German meets colorful, vibrant, sexy Hispanic in this contemporary romance set in a small town outside Burlington, Vermont… in the heart of winter, love can happen!

T1D on the Book Blog

I said there'd be real life here, too. 

I've been a type 1 diabetic for 27 years. Been on a pump for 12 years. Been on a Continuous Glucose Monitor for 6 years. 

And this week, I decided to change things up.

Have you ever switched shampoos because it makes your hair feel different? Changed your work station in order to motivate some new work--words or whatever? But the change itself is what causes a new flood of productivity.

That's me with my T1D right now. I was in a slump, lackadaisical, and getting by with not much attention to detail. My A1c was 6.6, which is okay. Most doctors might applaud that number, but I know that number means my sugars have been, on average, over 140 mg/dl. And I don't like that. I'd much rather be closer to 6, if not in the 5s. 

So, this week, I went off my pump. Multiple Daily Injections... back to the dark ages of diabetes  management...only not so dark that I've got vials of insulin piling up. No, I'll stick to the pens. I've got a new CGM coming from Dexcom.

And I'm already seeing a difference.

In three days--this is without the CGM yet--I'm eating a good 25-50% less than I have been in a day. When you have to take a shot every time you eat, you eat less. Believe me.  My sugars are a little on the higher side for the time being, but that will change when I get the Dexcom and can see what my trends are...trends meaning, after I eat I go high. Or, I'm  high before I go to bed every night.

In regards to going back, and needles, I was shocked by how small the needles are. When i went off MDI all those years ago, those needles were still 1/4 inch long. I've got these amazing little 1/32nd needles...And that, my friends, is ridiculously SMALL!

Which annoyed me, because my son, who takes growth hormone and is this tiny little guy, has been using 1/16ths. He has an appointment this coming week, and I intend to get a Rx for the little guys. >:( Not sure why the little, little needles aren't standard. If I can  handle a 1/32nd needle--me, at 150 lbs--then a twiggy little guy ought to get that small, too. He doesn't complain, but I hope when we get the smaller needles, he'll have an even better time than he's had over the last 7 years. 

Pluses to going archaic. :D 

I know that eventually, I'll go back to the pump. It's the most efficient way to manage diabetes. But for now, I feel good. And I think a little change helps us grow. Don't you??

Cover Reveal -- Hawk Elite Security

Cover Reveal

Thank you to Elaina Lee at For The Muse Designs. Once again, you have brought my stories to life with a visual depiction that truly is worth a thousand words.... <3 

Strike Back, Nathan and Stacy Hawkins, book 1--a story of revenge, past regrets, and uncertain futures.

Betrayed, Tancredo Byrnes and Elizabeth Witney, book 2--a bodyguard story: trust, acceptance, and finding love amidst dire circumstances.