Wednesday, October 26, 2016

His Christmas Cowgirl (Wildflower Ranch Book 6) by Alissa Callen - Review


Headstrong cowgirl Peta Dixon has put her life on hold this Christmas to prove she can run her ranch as well as any man. There isn't anything she can't ride, fix, or stare down, and the only things to scare her are long hemlines and sky-high heels.

Self-made rancher Garrett Ross normally doesn't take orders - he gives them. When asked to step in and act as a temporary foreman on a Montana ranch over the holidays, he can't refuse.

But when Garrett meets the beautiful and stubborn ranch owner, he realizes he's signed on for a whole lot of trouble. Cynical and jaded, he has no time for feelings. And when Peta meets the man she's to share her life with until Christmas, she discovers she no longer wants to be the person others expect her to be...

Will the rancher finally listen to his heart and admit he can't live without a certain straight-talking cowgirl?

Wildflower Ranch Series
Book 1: Cherish Me, Cowboy
Book 2: Her Mistletoe Cowboy
Book 3: Her Big Sky Cowboy
Book 4: His Outback Cowgirl
Book 5: Hold Me, Cowboy
Book 6: His Christmas Cowgirl

My Review: 

Peta Dixon's life goal was to run Bluebell Falls Ranch on her own and prove to her father that she could run it as well as any man.  While she was on a European vacation with her sister, her ranch foreman, Hal, got injured and ended up in the hospital.  Hal called the one man he knew that could handle taking over his job until he was back on his feet again, Garrett Ross.

Garrett knew the ins and outs of running a ranch even though he now made his money buying and selling ranches.  But when Hal needed his help, Garrett didn't hesitate to rush to his aid.

Peta didn't have time for a relationship, but from the first moment she laid eyes on Garrett, all sorts of thoughts went through her mind.  Garrett's first impression of Peta was that she reminded him of every other materialistic woman from his past.  But her looks were very deceiving.  Once Garrett got to know Peta, he realized she was a down to earth country girl with all good intentions.  she valued her ranch, the livestock and everyone who worked for her.  Together, Garrett and Peta learn to open up and trust each other and accept whatever the future holds for them. 

I could tell the author did a lot of research on this book with all of the ranch scenes, especially the cattle drive.  She did a great job integrating it with Peta and Garrett’s romance.  I also enjoyed reading about Ivy and Rhett’s wedding

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Christmas Angels: A Novella by Viola Shipman


From Viola Shipman, the beloved author of The Charm Bracelet, Christmas Angels is a delightful love story. Kate, a single woman in her 30s, works as a designer/decorator for a large interior landscaping company bedecking and bedazzling St. Louis for the holidays. Her work keeps her from spending the holidays with her family and masks the loneliness and pain after a nasty breakup just before Christmas.

Known as "The Christmas Angel" for providing holiday beauty to the city's offices, homes, and malls, Kate's world changes when she decorates the home of a widowed single dad. Both soon realize that life (and love) must go on somehow and that perhaps Christmas (and guardian) angels are all around, if we only choose to see them.

Rich with the spirit of Christmas and all its traditions, Christmas Angels is a love story that will remind readers of the meaning and magic of Christmas.

My Review:

Angels are all around us, whether it’s a topper on a Christmas tree, a song on the radio, or an angel shaped cloud.  You just have to believe and you will find them.

Kate Roseberry was known as the queen of holiday perfection because of her successful decorating company.  She could make anyplace sparkle for Christmas.  But Kate was sad this Christmas.  She had broken up with her boyfriend and wasn't in the holiday spirit.  She just went through the motions because it was expected of her.  She didn't even believe in angels anymore.  But it seemed angels were popping up everywhere she looked.

Single dad Chad Cooper lost his fiancé last year right before Christmas.  Everyone who knew him was worried about him, so his company hired Kate to go decorate Chad's house as a surprise for him and his son.  They hope it will cheer them up and out them in the holiday spirit.  But the one thing that really surprised Chad was the angel pin that Kate was wearing.  It turns out it had special meaning to him.

This is a sweet inspirational novella.  It's hard to believe that so much detail could be written into such a short story and leave a lasting impression.  I just wish it had been bit longer as I was really getting into the story.  I would have loved to have known what the future held for Kate and Chad.  The story gave me a lot to think about and was a great reminder that there really are angels all around us.  Maybe this was the reminder that I needed too. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Cowgirl’s Christmas Wish (The Canadays of Montana Book 3) by Barbara Ankrum - Review


Event planner Eve Canaday and her secret crush, Dr. Ben Tyler, are unexpectedly drafted to help a little girl fulfill her late mother’s wish—a magical Christmas to create some happy memories. Eve sees this opportunity as a sign; Ben, as a glitch in his plan to leave Marietta behind for good.

As the trio checks off the to-do list of Christmas fun, Ben’s ‘bah-humbug’ opinion of the holiday fades, along with ideas about keeping his distance from Eve. Getting involved is the last thing he wants to do but, alas, there’s no accounting for cosmic interference.

With the season of miracles upon this jewel of a town, will Eve find it’s possible that Christmas wishes aren’t only for little girls?

The Canadays of Montana
Book 1: A Cowboy to Remember
Book 2: Choose Me, Cowboy
Book 3: The Cowgirl's Christmas Wish

My Review: 

Two best friends team up to make a little girl's first Christmas without her mother special and discover they can make each other's Christmas special too.

Eve Canaday has had a crush on Ben Tyler for quite some time.  But she is afraid she will jeopardize their friendship if she were to tell him exactly how she felt.

Ben's plans didn't involve falling in love.  His career as an orthopedic surgeon has always been his main focus.  But lately he wants to do something more meaningful than just working at the hospital.  He signed up for a medical mission in the jungles of Central America.  But Ben's plan is put on hold when a good friend has an accident putting Christmas lights on his house.  Ben and Eve step up to take care of Malcolm's little girl Lily while he is recovering in the hospital. 

As Eve and Ben work together to make Lily's Christmas the best ever, they discover themselves falling in love.  But will it be enough to make Ben put his plans on hold and stay in Marietta with Eve?

This was a well thought out book with a lot great scenes.  I just wish the ending had been a little bit longer.  I felt it wrapped up too fast.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Once Upon a Royal Christmas by Robin Bielman - Review


Colliding with a prince while dog walking isn’t how Rowan Palotay pictured meeting royalty, but then lately her life hasn’t gone according to plan. With one teensy tiny mistake, her job as a news reporter took a turn for the worse and now she’s lucky to have a small pet column in the local newspaper. Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and magic, but she feels like she’s forever stuck on the naughty list.

Prince Theodore Chenery is in Marietta shortly after the death of his mother to meet his grandparents for the first time. When an accidental run-in—literally—with Rowan leads to an unexpected friendship, he finds himself enchanted with the outspoken, feisty country girl. She’s unlike anyone he’s ever met and her special brand of kindness and honesty make it harder and harder to remember his obligations back home.

Rowan can’t afford one more mistake, and Theo’s future is already mapped out, but when they find it impossible to fight the passion and deep-rooted emotions between them, they discover what matters most. Until their relationship makes worldwide news… and Theo must decide whether to follow his heart, or his royal duty.

My Review: 

The prince and the country girl.  They were destined to be together.

Rowan Palotay was barely able to make ends meet.  After her professional reputation was ruined, her newspaper assignment was changed to writing the Pet Corner in The Copper Mountain Courier.  To supplement her income, she took on the job of a dog walker.  One morning while out with the dogs, she comes face to face with Prince Theodore Chenery who was in town to meet his grandparents for the first time.  It was not the introduction that Rowan wished to have when one of the dogs wrapped its leash around both of their legs and almost tripped them.  To top it off, one decides to pee on the Prince's leg.  How is that for a first impression?

After his mother's death, Theo decided to spend Christmas in Marietta with his grandparents and see the town where his mother grew up.  He had always been told stories about the place and he wanted to see it through his own eyes.  When it came time to return to Montanique, his father was to announce his engagement.  It was an arranged marriage, but Theo was willing to do it for his father and his country.  That was until he got to know Rowan. Now he is second guessing his plans.

Rowan and Theo knew there was a line that shouldn't be crossed when it came to their attraction to each other.  But it might be a little easier said than done, once they really get to know each other.  They are prefect for each other in every way.

This was a fun book to read. While Rowan and Theo were getting to know each other there are some funny and very memorable moments.  One of my favorite moments (beside the dog pee scene) was when they were at Rowan's house singing and dancing to the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack.  It showed the playful side of both characters.  Both were very caring and willing to do anything for other people too.  The story was well written and kept my interest all the way through.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mixing It Up by Tracie Banister - Release week Blitz and Giveaway


Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Manhattan upper-cruster Cecily Sinclair now uses that pricey utensil to dish up fancy French fare on her cooking show, Serving Romance. When there’s an executive shake-up at the network, she’s not worried. Not much anyway. Her show’s a hit after all. Why would the new CEO want to mess with success?

The driving force behind several buzzed-about networks, Devlin Hayes is considered to be a wunderkind in the television industry. Although his plans to rebrand CuisineTV and make Serving Romance more Millennial-friendly don’t thrill Cecily, her charming, blue-eyed boss is a hard man to say “no” to and she really wants to keep her job—even if that means sharing screen time with a loathsome blast from her past.

Mercurial Italian chef Dante Marchetti a.k.a. “Il Duce” was once Cecily’s boss, and she has the PTSD to prove it. Now the owner of one of the hottest restaurants in town, Dante’s egomania knows no bounds and his constant attempts to provoke and upstage Cecily make her want to conk him on the head with a sauté pan. She thinks they’re toxic together, but viewers love their chemistry and clamor for more.

As Cecily battles to maintain the integrity of her show, she finds herself scheming and manipulating right along with Dante and Devlin. Is she fighting a lost cause? Does she really belong on TV, or would her culinary talent be better served elsewhere? And could one of the men who makes Cecily’s blood boil ignite a passion in her for something other than food?

Watch for my review coming soon.

Purchase Mixing It Up:


Purchase a copy of Mixing It Up between October 19th, 2016 and October 25th, 2016 and you could win this fantastic prize pack inspired by the book’s heroine and her love of French food!

This prize pack includes:
Garnier-Thiebaut Oh, La La, Chéri French-themed 4-piece Kitchen Linens Set
(Apron, kitchen towel, pot holder, and oven mitt.)

Kate Spade Deco Dot Recipe Box with 8 tabbed dividers and 40 recipe cards

The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook by Mireille Guiliano

To enter this giveaway, simply e-mail the author at with your proof of purchase. Entries will be accepted until midnight on October 26th, 2016 when a winner will be selected via random drawing. This is an international giveaway, so anyone who buys Mixing It Up within the allotted time frame is eligible to win. Good luck!


An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O'Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)

Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a "real" job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. Mixing It Up is her fourth Chick Lit release, and in it Tracie finally got to live out her fantasy of being a Cordon Bleu-trained chef.
Author Newsletter – The Banister Buzz

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Christmas at the Castle (Ever After series Book 3) by Melissa McClone - Review


A royal wedding. A meddlesome mother. An unexpected union.

A European getaway during the Christmas holiday is exactly what veterinarian Katrina “Kat” Parsons needs. She can’t wait to be a bridesmaid in her childhood friend’s royal wedding, but she hopes to steer clear of the bride’s arrogant older brother.

Crown Prince Guillaume wants his younger sister’s wedding day to be perfect, but he’s suspicious of Kat. He and his mother on are on high alert, afraid Kat is not just there for the wedding, but also to find a prince of her own.

But when Kat’s kindness and generosity prove them wrong, the prince realizes there’s more to her than he ever imagined. Can he trust his heart or will he lose the one woman he can’t live without?

The Ever After series
Book 1: The Honeymoon Prize
Book 2: The Cinderella Princess
Book 3: Christmas at the Castle

My Review: 

Once upon a time there was a beautiful veterinarian who would travel to a faraway land to be in her best friend's wedding.  While there, she will kiss a frog (aka Prince Annoying) and make him into her very own Prince Charming.A royal wedding.   

A meddlesome mother.  And an unexpected union.

Katrina "Kat" and Princess Sophie have been best friends since they met as children and met at camp.  So when Sophie asks Kat to be in her wedding, she doesn't think twice even if it means traveling at Christmas time half way around the globe to Alistonia to be there.

Crown Prince Guillaume "Gill" did not expect Kat to be there for Sophie's wedding.  Sophie kept Kat's participation in the wedding a secret as she knew Gill would manage to intercept with her plans if he knew.  Gill and his mother, the queen, are suspicious of Kat and keep a close eye on her.  The queen thinks Kat is out to snag a royal.  And Gill is her target.  But as Gill gets to know who Kat really is, he starts to soften a bit around her.  Will it be enough for Gill realize Kat really is a good person and possibly the right woman for him?

Christmas is a time of magic and miracles and what you least expect can happen in the blink of an eye.

From the beginning of the book you get the feel for Kat and how hard working she is when she is awakened by a co-worker after falling asleep in the barn.  She doesn't take time off for much of anything, especially dating.  She is down to earth and a good girl who will do anything for animals and her friends.  I enjoyed the glitz and glamour, along with the drama, of the wedding planning and seeing Kat and Gill become friends and eventually have their first life changing kiss.  I had a laugh when Jamie, Sophie's future brother-in-law, was making passes at Kat and Gill would start to get jealous.  The scene at the museum and the way Kat handled them both was priceless.  The puppy part of the story was a sweet addition too.  I really enjoyed the festive feel of this book.  I'm putting it down as my favorite Christmas book so far this year.  It's a story that I could easily visualize while reading it.  It would make a perfect Hallmark TV movie one day too if the Hallmark people ever got word of it.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


Out of Practice (The Breakup Doctor, Volume 4) by Phoebe Fox - Book Feature


When your relationship is on life support, the Breakup Doctor is on call.

There’s no shortage of broken hearts in Breakup Doctor Brook Ogden’s successful breakup counseling practice—if love is a battlefield, then Brook is the cavalry. Luckily her own love life is in full recovery: after a long, tortuous road, she and Ben Garrett are finally headed down the aisle.

But when a local TV personality—and former frenemy—invites Brook onto her show, she’s blindsided live on the air when the interview turns into an act of long-delayed revenge meant to publicly humiliate her. Brook’s an expert at getting back on your feet when life knocks you down, but as the blows keep piling on—with a betrayal she never saw coming and a family crisis that threatens to pull the foundation out from under her—her confidence starts slinking away. With her clients dropping her faster than a one-night stand, suddenly the Breakup Doctor’s career is in critical care.

Brimming with both the sublime and ridiculous aspects of love—romantic and otherwise—Out of Practice is a funny and heartwarming tale about loss, grief, and failure that will resonate with all who have loved, lost…and dared to love again. 

Purchase Links:

Books A Million

Read the first book in the series, The Breakup Doctor, on sale October 18-23 for only .99 



Official Bio:

Phoebe Fox is the author of the Breakup Doctor series, and has been a contributor and regular columnist for a number of national, regional, and local publications (she currently writes about relationships for the Huffington Post, Elite Daily, and She Knows). She has been a movie, theater, and book reviewer; a screenwriter; and has even been known to help with homework revisions for nieces and nephews. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two excellent dogs.


Phoebe Fox, author of the Breakup Doctor series
(The Breakup Doctor, Bedside Manners, Heart Conditions, and look for Out of Practice coming October 2016)
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Oliver the Cat Who Saved Christmas: The Tale of a Little Cat with a Big Heart by Sheila Norton - Review


Oliver the cat is a timid little thing, who rarely ventures from his home in the Foresters’ Arms.

Then his life changes dramatically when a fire breaks out in the pub kitchen and he is left homeless and afraid. But, with the kindness of the humans around him, he soon learns to trust again. And, in his own special way, he helps to heal those around him.

However, it isn’t until he meets a little girl in desperate need of a friend that he realizes this village needs a Christmas miracle...

Touching and genuine, this is the tale of a little cat with a big heart. Fans of A Street Cat Named Bob and Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World will be delighted.

My Review:

An enjoyable tale for any age.

From the first page, I knew I was going to love this book.  It is heartwarming and entertaining.  The story starts with Oliver telling a new kitten about the night he was separated from his human George when the pub burned down and how he ended up being shared between two families.  Oliver comes to be known as a cat with magical qualities with the things he does for the people in his little town.   

Oliver’s main goal is to make sure everyone has a good Christmas.  While doing so, he helps a lot of people in different ways from bringing families together, helping a little girl recover from the loss of losing her cat and another little girl who has leukemia and no friends to play with.  He also helps the adults in his life by helping them build better lives for themselves, and in one case, even find love.  You will also meet Oliver’s cat friends and learn all about them as well. 

As you are reading this, you are probably thinking this is a child’s book, but I assure you people of all ages who love cats (or any animals) will enjoy this book.  It is well written and the story kept me turning the pages and not wanting it to end.  Even though it is a Christmas book, it’s a wonderful inspiring story for any time of the year.

Book Mama Blog has a giveaway for a copy of this book.  Be sure to stop by for your chance.
Book Mama Blog  

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Cotswold Christmas (Willoughby Close series Book 1) by Kate Hewitt - Review


Welcome to Wychwood-on-Lea… a not-too-quaint village where frosty evenings, welcoming fires, and second chances will make this a Christmas you’ll never forget.

Anna Vere has escaped to the Cotswolds for Christmas to try to heal from her broken engagement and, far worse, her broken dreams. When her reserved room at a bed & breakfast is flooded, she takes up the offer of camping out in Willoughby Close, the converted stables of the nearby manor house… and is taken under the wing of sexy local carpenter Colin Heath.

What starts out as merely helping a neighbor in need turns into far more as Colin and Anna share a surprisingly intense and emotional connection, weaving their own Christmas magic as they spend the holiday together. But Anna has a secret she’s scared to reveal, something that could destroy the fragile bond they’ve just created, and Colin knows she’s only in England for a short time. Can these two sudden soul mates risk their hearts for a love that has yet to be tried and tested?

Get swept away by this poignant and heartwarming story, set in beautiful Wychwood-on-Lea, in the English Cotswolds. And look forward to four more books set in Willoughby Close, where everyday miracles and happily-ever-afters are guaranteed.

My Review:

Anna Vere needed to be alone this Christmas so she left New York and headed to England where booked a room at a B&B in the Cotswolds.   When Anna arrives at the B&B, she is informed there has been a flood and she wouldn't be able to stay.  Being so close to Christmas, there were no vacancies anywhere close by either.  But the innkeeper has another idea.  Anna could stay with her cousin, Colin Heath, in one of the cottages he was renovating.  The next thing Anna knew, she was being kicked out of there too.  So Colin offered Anna the guest room in his house.  Anna's Christmas getaway was not going as planned. 

Colin was known by his sisters as someone who always took on projects to but never finished them.  His friends accused him of being the dreaded serial monogamist.  He doesn't don't do flings.  But with Anna staying with him, something in Colin changed.  He wanted Anna and he knew she wanted him too.  But Anna was only there for a short while and she was still getting over her last relationship.  Will the magic of Christmas cast a spell on Anna and Colin and give them the gift they both desperately deserve? 

From the beautiful cover, to the story, I was glad I read this book.  At first it was hard to believe in a relationship that started out so fast when both characters had emotional scars.  But the author did a good job bringing Anna and Colin together.  So also fit a lot of details into this short book.  It is a sweet and inspiring story.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Close Encounters of the Furred Kind: New Adventures with My Sad Cat & Other Feline Friends Kind by Tom Cox - Featured Book


Close Encounters of the Furred Kind is the follow-up to the Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller The Good, The Bad, and the Furry. Like The Good, The Bad, and the Furry, it tells the story of Tom Cox's life with his charismatic cats--The Bear, Shipley, Ralph, and recent recruit Roscoe.

Close Encounters of the Furred Kind begins with a long, emotional goodbye to Norfolk, and continues with another amazing new lease on life for The Bear, the Benjamin Button of the cat world, among the bluebells and verdant hedgerows of Devon. Readers who became attached to The Bear's magical, owlish persona during his previous adventures will become more so here as he proves, once again, that he's a cat with endless secrets and significantly more than nine lives.

Watch for my review coming soon......

Purchase Links:

Friday, October 14, 2016

Andrew Joyce - Guest Author

My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. I would like to thank Janine for allowing me to be here today to promote my latest, Yellow Hair, which documents the injustices done to the Sioux Nation from their first treaty with the United States in 1805 through Wounded Knee in 1890. Every death, murder, battle, and outrage I write about actually took place. The historical figures that play a role in my fact-based tale of fiction were real people and I use their real names. Yellow Hair is an epic tale of adventure, family, love, and hate that spans most of the 19th century.

Now that the commercial is out of the way, we can get down to what I really came here to talk about: the Sioux people. The people we know as the Sioux were originally known as the Dakota, which means ally. The name Sioux came from the Chippewa and the French. The Chippewa called them Nadonessiou, which means adder, or enemy, and then the French shortened the name to Sioux.

Every culture has an origin myth. We in the West have Adam and Eve. The Ancient Greeks had Gaia. According to the Norse people, Odin and Ymir founded the earth. If you will allow me, I’d like to tell you the creation story of the Dakota.

In the beginning, before the creation of the earth, the gods resided in the sky and humans lived in darkness. Chief among the gods was Ta՜kuwakaŋ, the Sun, who was married to Haŋyetuwi, the Moon. He had one daughter, Wohpe. And there was Old Man and Old Woman, whose daughter, Ite, was wife to Wind, to whom she gave four sons, the Four Winds.

Of the other spirits, the most important was Iŋktomi, the devious trickster. Iŋktomi conspired with Old Man and Old Woman to increase their daughter's status by arranging an affair between the Sun and Ite. His wife’s discovery of the affair led Ta՜kuwakaŋ to give the Moon her own domain, and by separating her from himself, created time.

Old Man, Old Woman and Ite—who was separated from Wind, her husband—were banished to Earth. Ite, along with her children, the Four Winds, and a fifth wind—the child of Ite but not of Wind—established space. The daughter of the Sun and the Moon, Wohpe, also fell to earth and later resided with the South Wind. The two adopted the fifth wind, who was called Wamŋiomŋi.

Alone on the newly formed Earth, some of the gods became bored. Ite prevailed upon Iŋktomi to find her people, the Buffalo Nation. In the form of a wolf, Iŋktomi went beneath the earth and discovered a village of humans. Iŋktomi told them about the wonders of the Earth and convinced one man, Tokahe, to accompany him through a cave to the surface. Tokahe did so and, upon reaching the surface, saw the green grass and blue sky for the first time. Iŋktomi and Ite introduced Tokahe to buffalo meat and showed him tipis, clothing, hunting clubs, and bows and arrows. Tokahe returned to the underworld village and appealed to six other men and their families to go with him to the Earth's surface.

When they arrived, they discovered that Iŋktomi had deceived Tokahe. The buffalo were scarce; the weather had turned bad, and they found themselves starving. Unable to return to their home, but armed with a new knowledge about the world, they survived to become the founders of the Seven Council Fires.

The Seven Council Fires . . . or Oćeti Šakowiŋ . . . are the Mdewakanton, the Wahpeton, the Wahpekute, the Sisseton, the Yankton, the Yanktonai, and the Lakota.

After Tokahe led the six families to the surface of the earth, they wandered for many winters. Sons were born and sons died. Winters passed, more winters than could be counted. That was before Oćeti Šakowiŋ. But not until White Buffalo Calf Woman did the humans become Dakota.

Two scouts were hunting the buffalo when they came to the top of a small hill. A long way off, they observed the figure of a woman. As she approached, they saw that she was beautiful. She was young and carried a wakiŋ. One of the scouts had lustful thoughts and told the other. His friend told him that she was sacred and to banish such thoughts.

The woman came up to them and said to the one with the lustful thoughts, “If you would do what you are thinking, come forward.” The scout moved and stood before her and a white cloud covered them from sight.

When the woman stepped from the cloud, it blew away. There on the ground, at the beautiful woman’s feet, lay a pile of bones with worms crawling in and among them.

The woman told the other scout to go to his village and tell his people that she was coming, for them to build a medicine tipi large enough to hold all the chiefs of the nation. She said, “I bring a great gift to your people.”

When the people heard the scout’s story, they constructed the lodge, and put on their finest clothing, then stood about the lodge and waited.

As the woman entered the village, she sang: 
"With visible breath I am walking.
A voice I am sending as I walk.
In a sacred manner I am walking.
With visible tracks I am walking.
In a sacred manner I walk."
She handed the wakiŋ to the head chief and he withdrew a pipe from the bundle. On one side of the pipe was carved a bison calf. “The bison represents the earth, which will house and feed you,” she said.

Thirteen eagle feathers hung from the wooden stem. White Buffalo Calf Woman told the chiefs, “The feathers represent the sky and the thirteen moons. With this pipe, you shall prosper. With this pipe, you shall speak with Wakaŋ Taŋ՜ka (God). With this pipe, you shall become The People. With this pipe, you shall be bound with the Earth for She is your mother. She is sacred. With this pipe, you shall be bound to your relatives.”

Having given the pipe to the People, and having said what she had to say, she turned and walked four paces from the lodge and sat down.

When she arose, she was a red-and-brown buffalo calf. She walked on, lay down and came up as a black buffalo calf. Walking still farther, she turned into a white buffalo and stood upon a hill. She turned to bow in the four directions of the four winds and then she vanished.

Because of White Buffalo Calf Woman, the Dakota honor our mother the Earth; they honor their parents and their grandparents. They honor the birds of the sky; they honor the beasts of the earth. They know that Wakaŋ Taŋ՜ka resides in all animals, in all trees and plants and rocks and stones. Wakaŋ Taŋ՜ka is in all. They know that Wakaŋ Taŋ՜ka lives in each of us.

Because of White Buffalo Calf Woman, they have become Dakota.

About Andrew Joyce: 
Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and fifty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, YELLOW HAIR. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, MICK REILLY.

By sure to pick up your copy of Yellow Hair:

Learn more about Andrew on his website:
Andrew Joyce

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Royal Christmas Princess by Scarlet Wilson - Review


After a tough year losing her mom and bills mounting, Holly Yates is in for a lonely Christmas. But when she hears a news report that the small principality of Coronia is looking for their lost princess, she recognizes her baby photo on the news and is astounded. Felix – the could-be Prince – is delighted to find her and whips her off to a snow-covered Coronia to meet her real-life ailing father where he persuades her to fall in love with the people and the place.

Holly is so shell shocked by everything that she agrees - as long as they keep her identity secret until she makes up her mind. But can a shy girl from Baltimore really become a fairy tale princess?

My Review: 

Prince Albert of Coronia is dying.  His last wish was to find his long lost daughter so she can take the throne after he passes.

Broke and in debt after taking care of her sick parents, Holly Yates’ life is about to change drastically.   When she hears of the search for a missing princess and the clues all point to her, she must find out the truth.  Holly leaves Baltimore and heads for the small European country of Coronia with Felix De Luca, the man who would become prince if the princess is not found.  Felix is thrilled to have found the princess.  He is looking forward to Holly becoming the princess so he can return to New York where he can live a normal life out of the royal spotlight.

Holly discovers her love for Coronia and its people, while she tries to figure out her next step.  Should be become princess or should she return to America and her old life?  While Holly is making her decision, she has to deal with the evil reporter, Cassie Carmen, who is jealous of Holly and has her own plans to get ahead in life.  She doesn’t care who she tramples on her way to the top.  Holly and Felix also start to have feelings towards each other which will make Holly's decision on more difficult.

This magical story was a lot of fun to read.  It was easy to visualize from the descriptions and dialogue.  I could relate Holly's thoughts and emotions as I also found out about my biological father and met him when I was 25 too.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for good heartfelt holiday story. 
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

His Jingle Bell Princess Barbara Dunlop - Review


Accidentally abandoned and stranded by a raging blizzard in the picturesque town of Tucker, Maine, Crown Princess Jasmine Arcules finds herself alone and unguarded for the first time in her life.

Meanwhile, widower Sam Cutler is dreading the Christmas season. Struggling to be a good father to his nine-year-old twin daughters, he's wracked with guilt and battling painful memories. The last thing he needs is a beautiful stranger invading his world.

Jasmine keeps her royal identity secret, so Sam treats her the way no man in her native country ever would – a country where speaking to Jasmine out of turn could result in jail time. But Jasmine has a knack for getting past Sam's defenses, comforting his daughters, arousing his suppressed emotions, and forcing him to remember he's a man...

Both Sam and Jasmine need each other, but can they trust in Christmas magic to bring their hearts together?

My Review: 

Sam Cutler has only loved one woman in life and he still grieves for her.  Princess Jasmine Arcelus has never even been kissed.

While her flight crew assumed Jasmine was asleep, they left the airport before the blizzard hit Tucker, Maine.  But Jasmine wasn't sleeping on the plane.  She had gone for a walk in the woods by herself. When she returned to the airport, she was surprised to find out her plane left without her.

Sam hasn't been interested in anything since he lost his wife in a car accident two years ago.  He doesn’t care about Christmas or work.  He hasn't spent time with his friends and he hasn't even moved back home yet.  He is still living at his mother-in-law's house with his twin daughters.

When Belle meets Jasmine at the airport and finds out she has been left behind, she brings her home to stay until her plane can come back for her.  Sam starts becoming attracted to Jasmine.  He hasn’t felt this way about a woman in a very long time.  Jasmine discovers feelings towards Sam that she has never experienced before.  But she knows nothing came happen.  She has certain standards she is expected to live up to and falling in love with just anyone isn't in the plans.  Will Jasmine and Sam give into the feelings they have for each other, or will Jasmine be forced to forget about Sam when the time comes for her to return to Vollan?

This is a heartwarming and a very clean romance novella that can be read in one sitting.  Sam’s rediscovering love and Jasmine finding love for the first time was fun to read about.  Sam’s little girls stole the scenes in some parts and made it more realistic.  I just wish the story would have been a bit longer as it seemed to wrap up too fast for me. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Melt My Heart, Cowboy (Love at the Chocolate Shop Book 1) by CJ Carmichael - Review


Who is the handsome cowboy who comes into small town Marietta’s chocolate shop every week to buy a box of chocolates? More importantly…who is he buying the chocolates for? These are the questions sales clerk Rosie Linn asks herself as she waits for her sadly neglected childhood home to sell so she can pursue an exciting new career in L.A.

Rosie finds out the answers the day rugged ranch hand Brant Willingham introduces himself and asks for her help in managing the care of his younger sister. Brant’s mother has recently died, leaving him the sole guardian of eighteen-year-old Sara Maria–who has been a puzzle to Brant ever since she began exhibiting signs of autism at age two.
Rosie and Brant come up with a plan. She’ll help with his sister if he handles repairs and a new paint job for her old house. It seems the perfect solution, but a new dilemma is created when the couple start spending time together. Brant discovers he doesn’t want Rosie to sell and leave, and Rosie fears she will have to choose between love and her dreams.

My Review: 

A sweet love story. 

For the last few months, Rosie Linn has looked forward to the handsome Friday night cowboy coming into Copper Mountain Chocolate Shop where she works.  He always buys the same box of chocolates and never tries anything else.  Whoever he is buying them for must really love dark chocolate salted caramels.  But Rosie has bigger things she should be focusing on besides trying to figure out the cowboy and who he is shopping for.  She is trying to sell her childhood home so she can begin her dream of being a screenwriter and moving to Los Angeles.  

After his mother’s death, Brant Willingham has been keeping his regular Friday night visit with his sister Sara Maria who lives at May Bell Care Home.  He brings her a box of chocolate and they go out for pizza and a movie.  But the staff at May Bell Care Home think Sara Maria really needs to be spending time with people her own age as she has grown bored living there.  So, Brant comes up with a plan.  He approaches the pretty girl at the chocolate shop and asks if she would be willing to spend time with his sister.  In exchange he will help her get her house ready to sell.

As Rosie and Sara Maria become friends, Brant also finds himself drawn to Rosie.  He really doesn’t have time for dating between working and driving into Marietta to see his sister.  But fate has a way of working things out and Brant and Rosie soon find themselves falling in love.  How will this effect Rosie’s plans of moving?

This was an enjoyable story and a good beginning to the new Love at the Chocolate Shop series.  The chemistry between the two main characters was very strong and I enjoyed learning their story.  I also enjoyed catching up with characters from past books and look forward to hearing more about them in the future. 


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Christmas in Paris: A Novel by Anita Hughes - Review


Anita Hughes's Christmas in Paris is a moving and heartwarming story about love, trust, and self-discovery. Set during the most magical week of the year, the glorious foods and fashions of the most romantic city in the world are sure to take your breath away.

Isabel Lawson is standing on the balcony of her suite at the Hotel de Crillon as she gazes at the twinkling lights of the Champs-Élysées and wonders if she’s made a terrible mistake. She was supposed to be visiting the Christmas tree in the Place de la Concorde, and eating escargots and macaroons with her new husband on their honeymoon. But a week before the wedding, she called it off. Isabel is an ambitious Philadelphia finance woman, and Neil suddenly decided to take over his grandparents' farm. Isabel wasn't ready to trade her briefcase for a pair of rubber boots and a saddle.

When Neil suggested she use their honeymoon tickets for herself, she thought it would give her a chance to clear her head. That is until she locks herself out on the balcony in the middle of winter. Thankfully her neighbor Alec, a French children’s illustrator, comes to her rescue. He too is nursing a broken heart at the Crillon for the holidays. With a new friend by her side, Isabel is determined to use her time in the "city of lights" wisely. After a chance encounter with a fortune teller, and a close call with a taxi, she starts to question everything she thought was important.

My Review:

A magical tale that will remind you why love is the greatest feeling of all time.

Isabel called off her wedding to Neil just four days before it was to happen.  They couldn’t seem to agree on anything.  She finally realized they aren’t as compatible as she thought.  Since the honeymoon to Paris was already paid for, she decided to go alone. 

While admiring the bright lights of Champs-Elysees from her hotel balcony, Isabel gets locked out of her room.  She didn’t have her phone with her to call for help so she did the only thing she could think of.  She took off her Ferragamo heels and tossed them towards the door of the room next to her to get the occupant’s attention to help her.  Isabel had no idea the occupant would become a cherished friend during her stay in Paris. 

Alec was supposed to be getting married too, but his fiancé had just run off to Australia with a cricket player.  He was content staying in his room working on the illustrations for his children’s books until he met Isabel who got him out to have some fun.  Little did either of them know this was just the beginning of a romance that neither of them saw coming. 

When Isabel finds a fortune teller on the street, she is told several things that will happen to her.  She starts to believe the fortune teller after two predictions come true, she will receive a special inexpensive gift and come close to being killed.  So Isabel sets out to make the other part of the fortune come true.  She was told she would meet and marry a French aristocrat.  This sets Isabel off on a hunt for her new husband.  But is this new love the right man for Isabel? 

The dialogue and descriptions in this book really brought it to life.  From the sights and sounds to the fashions and food, not a single detail was missed.  The story was visually stimulating.  As always when I read a book by Anita Hughes, I am drawn into from the start and don’t want it to end.