Interview: Maya Tyler, Author of A Vampire’s Tale

Join me in welcoming Maya Tyler to the blog! She’s the author of A Vampire’s Tale, a paranormal romance. She’s also written the more sensual Dreamhunter, also a paranormal romance.

If you could be an extra on a TV show or movie, what would it be and what would you be doing?

I recently discovered Outlander on Netflix and it has quickly become a favorite show. I’m completely enthralled, borderline obsessed, with it. The show combines my love of romance with my fascination of historical and paranormal.

From IMDB… Outlander is a British-American television drama series based on the historical time travel Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon… It stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, a married World War II nurse who in 1945 finds herself transported back to the Scotland of 1743, where she encounters the dashing Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and becomes embroiled in the Jacobite risings.

If I were cast as an extra on Outlander, I would love to play any role which has a close encounter with the dreamy Jamie Fraser.

If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?

I would choose a happy ending for Captain Hook of J.M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy, otherwise known as Peter Pan. I happily bought into the “reformed” Captain Hook that ABC’s Once Upon A Time portrayed, seeing him more as a tragic hero than an evil villain.

The public library of your dreams has arrived! What special collections does it hold? 

The library has ceiling to floor bookshelves, a sliding, wooden ladder, a vaulted, gothic cathedral ceiling, and a gas fireplace. The floors are worn, wooden planks. Warm sunshine filters in through tall windows, and the room smells wonderful—a combination of musty books and fresh coffee (or tea, if you prefer). In this classic space, I’d curl up in an oversized leather club chair and read a historical romance novel. This dream public library has an inviting atmosphere, a magical space that fosters book love, with the latest in children’s and adult’s fiction and non-fiction books. It contains literary classics, but also the film versions. Books which have been turned into film, and the associated films, will be a feature collection.

If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?

I’d pick a superhero, the gallant Thor, the Chris Hemsworth version, to rescue me! <<sigh>>

If you could, what book or movie or TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

I have had the great fortune to experience so many fantastic books, movies, and shows so it’s hard to select just one I would like to experience again. What story continues to make my heart stop and my breath catch? After much thought, my choice would be my new all-time favorite TV series Outlander. I’m in the middle of season 2 right now, and I can’t watch it fast enough. After I finish season 2, I’m going to read the books—hopefully this will re-create a first-time experience for me.

What makes you fall in love with a story?

I fall in love with a story that makes me believe. And, with that belief, I become entrenched in the story and invested in the outcome. I absorb it as quickly as I can—reading non-stop or binge-watching—and re-live it again in my imagination. I hope my stories have the same effect on my readers.

If everyone came with warning labels, what would yours say?

A warning label is more of an external observation. It’s not always easy to identify your own faults or short-comings. That said, I asked the person who knows me the best—my husband. He immediately said, “Sensitive.” I asked him why, and he hesitated. I knew he didn’t want to offend me. This potentially explosive question could create a dicey situation—similar to the “Do I look fat in this?” scenario. I explained why I asked him, and he elaborated enough for me to determine that I’m…

Sensitive, reacts with emotion.

What were you like as a kid? Did your kid-self see you being a writer?

I was a quiet, shy kid. I liked school, and I got good grades. I had a few close friends, but, as a bit of a homebody, I also liked to spend time by myself. My favorite hobbies were writing—fiction, poetry, songs—theatre, music, and reading. I wanted to be a writer, an actress, or a lawyer when I grew up. I had even planned on studying journalism in university, but life has its own ideas, and I didn’t return to writing until my twenties.

Places to Follow Maya Tyler

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Facebook Book Page

GoodReads

Book Blurb for A Vampire’s Tale:

A paranormal romance author who doesn’t believe in vampires? An ancient vampire who wants to tell the world his story?

A Vampire’s Tale

What happens when Marisa Clements, writer of vampire stories, non-believer of vampires, meets Corgan Halton, an actual, real “live” vampire? The unexpected, of course. Picture a cascading journey which propels Marisa into a world she never believed in and exposes her to a danger she never imagined existed. Picture an untold tale about the non-Hollywood vampire. Are you ready to uncover the truth?

Amazon

Author Bio:

Maya Tyler is a romance author, blogger, wife, and mother. She has a degree in Commerce, but writing is her true passion. Her short story “Just for Tonight” is included in an anthology called With Love from Val and Tyne and her debut paranormal romance novella was Dream Hunter, published in December 2014. Her second paranormal romance novel A Vampire’s Tale released in March 2017. She writes paranormal romance with a twist and all her books have a common theme – happily ever after. When she’s not writing, you can find her having fun with her husband and sons.

Corralling Callie by Amelia Smarts

Narrator: Gideon Welles

Publisher: Amelia Smarts (2017)

Length: 3 hours 45 minutes

Author’s Page

Callie Broderick is an orphan who is ready for a big change in her life. She’s masterminded a plan to ride a stagecoach out west to California where her fiance Albert awaits her. She’s willing to be a mail-order bride to get away from her poor life and past. However, as she comes to know the coachman, Jude Johnson, she starts questioning her choice to marry this unknown Albert.

I joined this blog tour on a whim because I do like a good western from time to time. Plus there’s spanking, which I always find both amusing and potentially erotic. This book was fun though there’s not much depth to it. Callie feels like she’s 16, though the description puts her at 18. She’s got this rough past as an abused orphan and yet she seems to lack some street smarts. Her character could have used a bit more to it.

Then we have Jude Johnson. He’s an ex-soldier and an experience coachman. He provides a steady, and sometimes stern, hand for Callie to clasp on to…. when he’s not using it to smack her bottom. He’s a decent guy and he felt like twice Callie’s age. I wanted to know more about him and his past. He carries a confidence that is attractive.

The main premise of the book was good. Callie wants to leave her old life behind and this chance to be the wife of a man with a stable income in far off Sacramento seems like a dream come true. She’s exchanged letters with Albert over the past several months and he appears to be a decent person. I did wonder how Callie came to read and write so well and how she came about the paper, ink, and postage to exchange so many letters. It’s these little things that would have made this a really good story had they been included.

So let’s talk about those spankings, because that is honestly why some of us picked this book up. The first few spankings were chaste punishments for Callie doing something that she shouldn’t. Her relationship with Jude really does start off with this older man in charge punishing a young disobedient pup feel to it. But then things start to shift as they become friends. Plus Callie is afraid of the dark and needs comforting nightly in order to sleep. That puts them in an intimate if still chaste position on a regular basis.

Eventually, we get 1 sex scene. It’s over quickly and lacks in description. While the romance and anticipation leading up to it were sweet, the actual love scene needed more page time. A lot more page time. The ending for Jude and Callie was a nice one and I can see how the author may well build upon this. Perhaps there will be a sequel. After all, there’s plenty more than spankings for the two to explore.

I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobookworm.

The Narration: Gideon Welles can read to me any time he wants to. This is one of the sexiest voices I have heard in some time. He is excellent as Jude Johnson. He’s got just the right amount of gruffness to his voice. His female voice for Callie was decent. He also had distinct voices for the other characters in the story. I liked his regional accents as well.

What I Liked: Great narration; Callie is not only running from her past but running towards a brighter future; I want to know more about Jude – he’s intriguing; it’s a sweet ending.

What I Disliked: The only sex scene was over so quickly!; a few more details would have added greatly to the story.

Check out more reviews on the blog tour.

About Author Amelia Smarts:

Amelia Smarts is a #1 Amazon bestselling author who was named Best New Spanking Romance Author in the 2016 Spanking Romance Reviews Reader’s Poll. She writes kinky romance novels containing domestic discipline, spanking, and Dominance/submission. Usually her stories involve a cowboy, and they always involve a man’s firm hand connecting with a woman’s naughty backside. She believes it’s important to tell a good story in addition to portraying hot sex and discipline scenes. For each book, she endeavors to write complex, flawed heroes and heroines who struggle, but eventually succeed, in their journey to love and happiness. A longtime lover of the written word, Amelia holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in creative writing and English. She loves to read, which allows her writing to be influenced by many different genres in addition to romance, including mystery, adventure, history, and suspense.

Website ~ Facebook ~ GoodReads ~ Twitter ~ Amazon

Synopsis of Corralling Callie:

For 18-year-old orphan Callie Broderick, going west as a mail-order bride seems to be the only hope she has for a decent husband. But when she sets out for the gold-mining town of Sacramento with nothing more than the clothes on her back and a stagecoach ticket, she quickly discovers that the trip will be quite a bit different than she expected.

As a former soldier and an experienced coachman, Jude Johnson is used to difficulties and dangers of all kinds during the arduous journey west, but he has never had to deal with trouble like Callie before. Not being the kind of man to kick a penniless orphan off his coach, he puts up with the sassy, disobedient girl for as long as he can, but when Callie’s antics put the lives of his passengers at risk Jude is forced to take matters into his own hands and spank her soundly.

The stern punishment leaves her thoroughly chastened and promising to behave, and Jude soon realizes that when she puts aside her foul-mouthed, defiant façade, the real Callie is as sweet and kind as she is beautiful. As the days pass, he takes it upon himself to guide her, care for her, and give her the loving discipline she so desperately needs, as often as she needs it. But when they reach their destination, will he be able to give her up?

Audible ~ Amazon

About Narrator Gideon Welles:

Gideon Welles is a man of many talents. He has a Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies from Norwich University, an MBA in global technology management from American University, and engaged in Pre-Doctoral studies in Strategic Leadership at Cornell University. In addition to the voice acting, Gideon has professional experience as a real estate investor, as well as a stage and film actor. His personal interests include music, photography, fast cars, and travel.

Audible Books Narrated by Gideon Welles

Giveaway & Review: Old Loves Die Hard by Lauren Carr

Scroll to the bottom for the GIVEAWAY!

Narrator: James C. Lewis

Publisher: Acorn Book Services (2016)

Length: 7 hours 40 minutes

Series: Book 2 Mac Faraday

Author’s Page

Note: Even though this is Book 2 in the series, it works fine as a stand alone novel.

Set in Maryland, Mac Faraday is looking forward to a nice companionable evening with his neighbor Archie and his dog Gnarly when his ex-wife Christine unexpectedly shows up. She wants to reconcile but Mac isn’t even going to consider it. Making sure she’s safely ensconced at the nearby resort for the night, he plans to have a final conversation with her the next morning when she’s sober. However, she and the man that wrecked their marriage, Stephen, are both found dead at the resort. The plot thickens when Stephen’s room is searched and old case files that concern Mac are discovered.

It was nice to return to Mac Faraday’s neck of the woods. I have previously enjoyed Book 5, The Murders at Astaire Castle. Here, I get to know more about Mac’s origins. He’s a retired homicide detective who unexpectedly inherited a fortune from his birth mother. He’s also got a half-brother (David), the large mansion he now resides in, and the local resort. With no day job, the mystery of his ex-wife’s murder becomes the focus of his keen wit and all his energy.

As with every Lauren Carr novel I have experienced, this mystery has layers, some of which go back decades. For some reason Stephen was looking into old case files, several of which were tied to Mac in some way. The Chief of Police (David) has to take a hard look at Mac before he can be cleared in the murders, and their blood relationship ruffles some people’s feathers. Now I did find it a little too convenient that David was OK with Mac investigating the murders. Even with him cleared, he still has a stake in the outcome of the investigation. While it makes for great drama having Mac run around asking tough questions and discovering clues, I did have to work hard to suspend my disbelief on this point.

Archie is a wonder with modern electronics and worked closely with Mac’s birth mother (a famous mystery writer) for over a decade before she passed away. She’s become friends with Mac and there’s potentially a romance building between the two. While I do like her character, the author doesn’t really do much with her. Christine, who dies pretty early on, has more influence on the story than Archie does.

There’s this one side character who is of South American decent and works as a maid. The plot felt a little weak when Christine’s sisters immediately equated this person to a South American maid they had years ago. How many documented and undocumented South American women work as maids in the US? Too many to count. So I did feel that it was a really big leap for everyone to assume this maid was the same one who worked for the sisters in the past. While this leap did move the plot forward, it could have been done much better.

Otis the squirrel added some perfect comedic relief. I also liked Gnarly’s klepto behavior, not that I want to encourage it. Still, it was funny how he was so picky about what dog chew he stole from the store.

The answer to the big mystery wasn’t what I was expecting. I liked the surprise, but I felt the execution was a little far-fetched. I wanted a bit more build up or a few more details – something to help me buy into it. Even with that, I found the over all story to be engaging and entertaining. I really like Mac’s character.

I received a free copy of this book via iRead Book Tours.

The Narration: James C. Lewis makes a really good Mac Faraday. He sounds like a retired cop. I also liked how he managed to make David, Mac’s half-brother, sound related. His female voices could use more femininity but each character was distinct.

What I Liked: A layered mystery; Mac’s character; Gnarly and Otis; Archie’s skills; David’s easy relationship with Mac; an unexpected twist at the end.

What I Disliked: I had to work hard several times to suspend my disbelief and just go with the story; Archie’s character is under used.

Check out the TOUR PAGE for more reviews and stuff.

GIVEAWAY!!!

One winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card (Open internationally). Ends July 9th, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Head by Brian Barr

Narrator: Rick Gregory

Publisher: Brian Barr (2017)

Length: 48 minutes

Author’s Page

What would you do if you found a lone human head in the yard? You’d probably do something practical, like dial 911 or bury it. What if that head started talking to you and begged not to be left alone? Yep. That’s the situation our heroine Elizabeth finds herself in.

This tale is equal parts horror, suspension, love story, and humor. First, it’s a decapitated head named Bill complaining about a headache. Ha! Poor Bill doesn’t have many memories but he does enjoy Elizabeth’s company. As time goes by, Elizabeth comes to care for Bill as well despite Bill’s off-putting odor.

Things move along as Bill insists they go in search of his body. More memories come back and Elizabeth is drawn into a twisted paranormal situation. Let’s just say that Bill comes from a messed up family.

It was fun and I wasn’t expecting so much humor nor the love story. Also, on a personal note, my husband’s name is Bill and I couldn’t help but picture his head as The Head in this tale. That just added to the enjoyment of this story, not that I want to decapitate the man. Just if he ever ends up in that situation, I’d like to think I would love him all the same. For such a short story, it was full of entertaining surprises.

I received a free copy of this book.

The Narration: Rick Gregory did a great job as Bill the detached head. He fluctuated between serious and caring, pleading and decisive, with ease. His character voices were distinct though I felt that Elizabeth could sound a bit more feminine without sounding slightly cartoony.

What I Liked: Surprising twists!; Ha! A love story!; bits of horror but not gratuitously so; humor mixed in as well.

What I Disliked: Nothing – it was an unexpectedly funny love story.

What Others Think:

Lomeraniel

Confessions of a Reviewer

Robin Lee’s Darkside

A Savage Ghost by Donna K. Weaver

Narrator: Tiffany Williams

Publisher: Emerald Arch Publishing (2016)

Length: 3 hours 18 minutes

Author’s Page

Set in northern Washington State, the Savage family recently took over an Irish castle that was moved to the US some years ago. Now Lia Savage has left California to help her family renovate the castle and get it ready for it’s new life as a tourist attraction. However, there is a spirit haunting the premises. Add to that, Lia has set eyes once again on Coop Montgomery, who has grown from the boy she knew to a young man. Romance is in the air.

This story starts off pretty good. The main characters are given some dimension and the setting is interesting. Adding the Irish ghost to the mix adds some mystery since the ghost is hunting for something hidden in the castle.

Lia was my favorite character. She’s very much wants to be a chef and she and her California friend are searching for a place to open their own cafe. However, her family would really like her to stay in Washington. Then we meet Coop and, despite his silly name, he provides yet more reason for her to consider staying in Washington.

The romance was cute and moved along swiftly. I’m not big on romance myself but it worked well for this story. The setting was great. I love the idea of an old Irish castle moved brick by brick over to the states and set down in the Pacific Northwest. Lia and her siblings had fun exploring the castle as well as assisting in fixing it up.

Speaking of Lia’s siblings, they are all twins. I think it was 3 sets of twins, though one of Lia’s sisters had died at some point prior to the beginning of this tale. So I couldn’t help but wonder if Lia’s mother was on some sort of egg enhancing drug therapy. Also we never do learn the particulars of how Lia’s sister dies and that left a little string hanging undone. I really wanted to know and it wouldn’t have been much trouble for the author to give us that.

The story winds up to the big hunt for the lost object the ghost has been longing for. It was fun and exciting though I never felt that Lia, Coop, or the kids were in any real danger. Once the mystery is solved, the story wraps up really quickly and I was left with a few questions about the plot hanging there unanswered. I wanted to know about Lia’s dead sister but I also wanted to know what happened with Lia’s friend in California and how their friendship held up to Lia’s ultimate decision.

I received a free copy of this book with no strings attached.

The Narration: Tiffany Williams was a delight to listen to. She had distinct voices for each character, which was not always an easy feat with the twins in this book. While her Irish accent for the ghost was a little rough, it was still enjoyable.

What I Liked: Lovely cover art; good narration; the castle in Washington setting; the mystery of the ghost; Lia and her siblings.

What I Disliked: There were a few questions left unanswered by the end of the story. 

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Narrators: Anna Bentinck, Josie Dunn, Bea Holland, Huw Parmenter

Publisher: Macmillan Audio (2017)

Length: 11 hours 28 minutes

Author’s Page

Set in England, David just recently took a job with a group of child psychologists and he and his wife Adele have moved. Louise is a single divorced mother and recently met an attractive man in a bar, making a romantic connection. Much to her woe, that man has turned out to be her new married boss, David. Next, to compound things, she inadvertently runs into Adele (who apparently doesn’t know Louise has been snogging her husband) and they become friends. Pretty soon it becomes clear that there is some deep secret and some serious issues with David’s and Adele’s marriage. Louise is caught in the middle.

I heard a lot of hype about this book and was intrigued. However, it did take me two tries to get into it. The beginning was rather slow for me because I don’t particularly care for romances and this book starts off mostly focused on Louise’s romantic life, or lack of one. Then we get Adele and her secretive nature coupled with David’s controlling behaviors which livened up the story a little for me. Still, there’s a lot of minute character building with lots of tease as to Adele’s and David’s pasts with very little reveal until near the end. So for the majority of the book I was bored. Adele’s character kept me going back to it, wondering what her big secret was.

I’m going to give you a medium-level spoiler: This story is really a paranormal thriller. End Spoiler. I wanted to put that in here because it affects what genre this book really belongs in. However, that part of the story doesn’t really come into play until perhaps the half way point. Once this became clear in the story, the tale became more interesting. Also, the cat and mouse game Adele was playing with Louise and David made for decent reading.

The truly interesting bits were saved for the very last chapters. There we learn more about things that have only been hinted at: David’s history, a certain fire, Adele’s time in a mental health institute and the the friend she made there, and also the big secret that ties Adele and David together. Finally, at the very end we get one last big reveal and it was OK. I found it an interesting twist but not one that sealed the deal for me. The majority of the book was boring for me and the decent ending didn’t make up for that fact. Over all, it was an OK story.

I won an advanced listening audiobook copy of this book.

The Narration: Anna Bentinck, Josie Dunn, Bea Holland, Huw Parmenter all did a great job. This was a quality narration all around. I don’t know who did which role but I liked all the performances. The main narrator for Louise made her sound just as I pictured her in my head – slightly frazzled, good natured, and a just a tad plump. Adele’s voice was cultured and measured and sounded upper crust but still friendly.

What I Liked: The unexpected twists near the end; the secrets that lie between Adele and David; Adele’s special ability; the final revealed twist; great narration.

What I Disliked: I was bored for most of the book.

What Others Think:

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Birth. Movies. Death.

Material Witness

The Cavanaugh House by Elizabeth Meyette

Narrator: Amy McFadden

Publisher: Elizabeth Meyette (2016)

Length: 10 hours 35 minutes

Series: Book 1 Cavanaugh House

Author’s Page

Suffering from a broken engagement, Jesse Graham has left Rochester for the North Lakes area of New York, taking a job at the local nun-run school and living in the Cavanaugh house, a place left to her by her deceased aunt Helen. Arriving there, she first has to make the house livable and Joe Riley is there to offer a helping hand, and perhaps more if Jesse is interested. Secrets about her aunt Helen and her own past start to emerge and someone doesn’t want those secrets brought to light. Jesse is in danger.

This was a very slow paced book. It takes quite some time to get to any part of the mystery. Set in 1968, much of the story and phrases used are quaint. For some, this might bring up nostalgia. For me, this book felt much longer than it actually was and it took me some time to become engaged in the story. Still, it is written with skill and care.

Being equal parts mystery and romance, let’s start with the romance. It was a slow burn as well. Jesse moves to this small town and immediately more than one available man is interested in dating her. Joe is the first one to show interest and is the son of Susan, her aunt Helen’s best friend from all those years ago. Then there’s Marty, a police officer. There’s also Al, a son of the local prominent and wealthy family. It felt a little cliched to have all the local bachelors vying for the new girl’s hand at the dance. This part of the story held little interest for me.

As to the mystery, it was pretty straight forward. I almost want to say that this book wasn’t so much a mystery as it was a tale of Jesse discovering herself. It was painfully obvious what the big secret was about Helen. Also once we meet Al, it also seemed obvious what the second half of that mystery had in store. So for me, it felt that Jesse’s journey to the discovery of the truths about her family and her past were the important part.

My favorite parts of the story were Maggie, who is Sister Angelina. The nuns doing every day things like baseball and playing cards was great. Maggie’s friendship sees Jesse through the worst of her ordeals. Also, I really liked the haunted house aspect of the tale, with Helen’s ghost being the source of the haunting.

I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobookworm.

The Narration: Amy McFadden did an awesome job narrating this book. She always sounded engaged and she had distinct voices for all the characters. Her male voices were quite believable. She did a good job with the sometimes corny humor, making it seem natural and funny.

What I Liked: Maggie and the nuns were great; the haunted house aspect of the story; excellent narration.

What I Disliked: Very slow burn all the way through; the romance wasn’t very interesting; the answers to the mystery were straight forward.

Check out more reviews, interviews, spotlights, and more on the blog tour.

About Author Elizabeth Meyette:

Poet, blogger and believer in dreams-come-true, Elizabeth Meyette’s journey has taken her through a career in education to a career in writing. Elizabeth put her first novel, Love’s Destinyon the shelf while she taught English, Journalism and Library Science/Technology.

Upon retiring from teaching, she dusted off Love’s Destiny, polished it and submitted it to Crimson Romance, who published it in June 2012. Unlike her first novel, the sequel, Love’s Spirit took only seven months from inception to submission, and was published in April 2013.To coin a friend’s phrase, she didn’t retire, she “refired” and loves her second career as a writer.

Elizabeth’s mysteries are set in 1968 in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. An Amazon Bestseller, The Cavanaugh House, and its sequel, Buried Secrets, are available as audiobooks. She has also published poetry and freelance articles.

Elizabeth is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America, a member Sisters in Crime, Capitol City Writers Association, Greater Grand Rapids Writers Group and Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. She and her husband Richard live in the West Michigan. They made an agreement that she cannot cook on writing days after he had endured burnt broccoli and overcooked chicken.  Fortunately, Richard is an excellent cook.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ Facebook ~ GoodReads ~ Amazon

Synopsis of The Cavanaugh House:

When Jesse Graham unlocks the door to the deserted house she inherited from her Aunt Helen, she doesn’t realize she’s unlocking secrets that had lain dormant for years. Reeling from a broken engagement to acclaimed musician Robert Cronmiller, Jesse wants to leave the city where her name is linked to his in all the society pages. Her best friend, Maggie, aka Sister Angelina, convinces her to take a job at a private girls school in the pastoral Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Anticipating a quiet, revitalizing life in her aunt’s deserted house, Jesse is instead thrown into a maze of danger. Questions about her aunt’s death lead Jesse to investigate events surrounding it and the people involved, but she uncovers a web of deceit that reaches far beyond the occurrences of over two decades earlier. Still dejected from her broken engagement, Jesse finds it difficult to trust anyone, even her self-absorbed mother. Joe Riley is irresistible, but secrets obstruct involvement with him until Jesse can solve the secrets of the Cavanaugh House. Someone doesn’t want those secrets unearthed and will stop at nothing, even murder, to keep them hidden.

Audible        Amazon

About Narrator Amy McFadden:

Amy McFadden has narrated over 250 titles in many different genres with a focus on Comedic Fiction, Romance, and not-super-violent Thrillers.  She is an Earphones Award winner, and a four-time Audie Award finalist in Humor, Mystery/Thriller and Literary Fiction.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Giveaway & Review: Lucky Penny by Ellie Ashe

Scroll to the bottom to check out the giveaway!

Narrator: Teri Schnaubelt

Publisher: Ellie Ashe (2017)

Length: 7 hours 17 minutes

Series: Book 3 Miranda Vaughn Mysteries

Author’s Page

Note: While this is Book 3 in the series, it works fine as a stand alone.

Miranda Vaughn has a new job that may lead to a bigger, more permanent job. She’s off to the Whispering Pines Resort at Lake Tahoe to help Dottie Russel assess the owner’s finances, since he wishes to buy a currently abandoned casino resort, Lucky Penny, that his family once owned. It sounds like a dream job, at least until things get complicated. With a film crew on site and the FBI coming out to investigate the possibility of illegal gambling, there’s plenty of possible culprits in the mix.

This book is rather different from the last, Dropping the Dime, which was also different from the first, Chasing the Dollar. All 3 have been good, though I think I enjoyed Book 2 the most. There wasn’t an instant mystery and nearly all the action happens in the last quarter of the book. However, since I was hooked on the main characters from the previous books, I didn’t mind the slow burn on this story. Just because we don’t have a body doesn’t mean that Miranda isn’t capable of being in the middle of trouble.

I did like the addition of the film crew and famous movie stars. It made parts of the resort inaccessible so Miranda and Dottie can’t go everywhere. Miranda does meet a personal assistant on the film crew and this lady is very cheerful and bouncy and quite willing to sneak Miranda into the filming area so she can meet the heart throb of the film. That adds to Miranda’s romantic entanglements nearly as much as when Quinn arrives.

In Book 2, Quinn showed definite interest in Miranda and she was definitely tempted, yet she still has this simmering undercurrent of attraction with FBI agent Jake Barnes, who also shows up at the resort later. One thing I have enjoyed about these books is that while there is this romantic element, it’s secondary to the mystery. With that said, the author does bump of the time spent on Miranda’s romance life in this book, which made some parts of the story a little silly or a little slow for me. I prefer the mystery, the hunt, the action, the critical thinking.

So we get to the last quarter of the book and things really pick up. There’s definitely some double dealing going on and the Lucky Penny seems to be at the heart of it. This was the best part of the book though I do have to say that using a sneeze to move the plot along is just a touch cliche. It’s cute, but cliche. Still, even with that, I really enjoyed watching Jake and Miranda figure out who did what, since there’s more than one crime to solve. I suspected one culprit but did not see the other. Clever.

All together, it was a fun cozy mystery. I look forward to seeing what trouble Jake and Miranda can get into in the future and also how their relationship develops.

I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobookworm.

The Narration: Teri Schnaubelt is still great at being Miranda Vaughn. I also really liked her always cheery voice for the personal assistant, her older, quavering voice for Dottie, and her distressed drama queen voice for the female movie star. She was great at the male voices as well.

What I Liked: More than 1 mystery to solve; the setting; addition of the film crew; Miranda’s developing relationship with Jake; great narration; Dottie’s character. 

What I Disliked: More time spent on the romance than the first 2 books; cliched, if timely, sneeze.

Check out more reviews, interviews, spotlights, and more on the blog tour.

About Author Ellie Ashe:

USA Today best-selling author Ellie Ashe has always been drawn to jobs where she can tell stories—journalist, lawyer, and now writer. Writing quirky romantic mysteries is how she gets the “happily ever after” that so often is lacking in her day job.

When not writing, you can find her with her nose in a good book, watching far too much TV, or trying out new recipes on unsuspecting friends and family. She lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats, all of whom worry when she starts browsing the puppy listings on petfinder.com.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ GoodReads

Synopsis of Lucky Penny:

A year after her acquittal on fraud charges, former financial analyst Miranda Vaughn is finally getting her life back. Not only does she have a chance for romance with her sexy neighbor, FBI Agent Jake Barnes, but she’s also got a new job…one that’s taking her to a vacation paradise!

Perched above the crystal blue waters of Lake Tahoe, the Whispering Pines Resort & Spa is a local landmark and a popular destination for the rich and famous who are stressed out from being rich and famous. And down on the water’s edge is the Lucky Penny Casino – an abandoned shell of a once-stylish casino. Max Emmerson, the owner of the Whispering Pines Resort, used to own the Lucky Penny, and he wants it back. Miranda’s job is to get Max’s finances in order so he can borrow the money to buy the casino, and make sure nothing jeopardizes his gaming license. Easy, right?

But the nice boring accounting job spirals out of control with the addition of a Hollywood film crew, an underground gambling ring, and Jake going undercover at the resort as a newlywed – with another woman. As Miranda and Jake each dive into their investigations, they can’t deny their growing feelings for each other. But it’s more important than ever that they keep their attraction hidden. Especially since someone at the resort is watching them very closely, and is willing to do just about anything to keep them from uncovering the truth.

Audible        Amazon

About Narrator Teri Schnaubelt:

Teri Schnaubelt is a Chicago-based actor, voice actor and audiobook narrator with over 100 titles, including NY Times Bestsellers.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

GIVEAWAY!!!

The Blog Tour and the author have teamed up to giveaway a Kindle Fire! Enter below through Gleam! Ends May 14, 2017.

Miranda Vaughn Mysteries Giveaway

Giveaway & Review: Dropping the Dime by Ellie Ashe

Scroll to the bottom to check out the giveaway!

Narrator: Teri Schnaubelt

Publisher: Ellie Ashe (2016)

Length: 7 hours 9 minutes

Series: Book 2 Miranda Vaughn Mysteries

Author’s Page

Note: While this is Book 2 in the series, it works fine as a stand alone.

Miranda Vaughn has continued to work for Bob, who was her defense attorney when she was wrongly accused of fraud in Chasing the Dollar. Now she’s helping out on a new financial fraud case, her job being to work closely with Chief Financial Officer Kathryn. Looks like there’s some irregularities and Kathryn thinks there’s another chunk of numbers that her boss doesn’t want her to see, but her name as CFO is on many of the company’s legal documents; this gives her plenty of reasons to worry. Meanwhile, the FBI have been called in, and that means that Miranda has to work with Agent Jake Barnes. There’s still sparks between the two, but is that all it is?

I think this book was even better than the first. The plot felt tighter and the characters better defined. There was some humor as well as personalities clashing or folks accidentally step on toes. Miranda has gotten her legs back under her after the events of Book 1. She’s gainfully employed doing something close to doing what she did before her trial. Many folks have moved on but she does bump into a few peripheral characters that feel she’s guilty no matter what the courts decided.

And speaking of that, enter a new love interest, Quinn. He has a drug conviction under his belt though there’s some mystery surrounding it. He’s also part of a rich family and has a nice ranch complete with horses. Miranda may be swept off her feet by this man if she’s not careful. After all, he can understand better than most Miranda’s myriad of feelings about law enforcement and the justice system in this country.

Now we still have Jake Barnes, as handsome as ever, and he’s clearly still interested in Miranda. The author does a good job of not getting caught up in some silly love triangle drama. Merely, Miranda has choices in her life and she has to decide what, or who, she wants to pursue. Plus, all three of these characters have more than romance going on in their lives and that makes them interesting.

Now the main mystery was a good one. I did not see all the angles and that made it interesting. There’s also Miranda’s added complication of her little breaking & entering that muddies the waters. On the surface, financial fraud seems like dull investigative work. The author makes it exciting by showing how the criminals can gain from it and the lengths they are willing to go to cover it up.

I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobookworm.

The Narration: Teri Schnaubelt continues to be a great Miranda Vaughn. I like how expressive her voice is for Miranda, because Miranda goes through quite a variety of emotions in this book. She also does a good job with the male voices, making Quinn and Jake both sound interesting and sexy (when needed) yet distinct.

What I Liked: Interesting financial fraud; the deeper mystery; Quinn’s past; Jake’s role; Miranda’s breaking and entering error; great narration.

What I Disliked: Nothing – I really enjoyed this one!

Check out more reviews, interviews, spotlights, and more on the blog tour.

About Author Ellie Ashe:

USA Today best-selling author Ellie Ashe has always been drawn to jobs where she can tell stories—journalist, lawyer, and now writer. Writing quirky romantic mysteries is how she gets the “happily ever after” that so often is lacking in her day job.

When not writing, you can find her with her nose in a good book, watching far too much TV, or trying out new recipes on unsuspecting friends and family. She lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats, all of whom worry when she starts browsing the puppy listings on petfinder.com.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ GoodReads

Synopsis of Dropping the Dime:

Miranda Vaughn was once falsely accused of stealing millions, and now she’s helping others who are facing criminal charges. While being an assistant to her former defense attorney isn’t Miranda’s dream job, she’s eager to prove herself, and her first task is a simple one – protect Kathryn, a shy CFO turned informant, and help her prove that a popular real estate developer is embezzling millions from his company. But what should be a straightforward assignment is deliciously complicated when Miranda is thrown together with FBI Agent Jake Barnes, the man who saved her life, broke her heart, and then disappeared.

Beneath the neatly plotted rows of new homes lurk dark secrets, bitter feuds and a whole lot of greed. Nothing is what it appears; even Miranda’s timid client is hiding secrets of her own. Despite her growing distrust of her client, Miranda must protect Kathryn from becoming the target of the FBI’s investigation and protect herself from the real thief – all while protecting her heart from the sexy FBI agent she can’t seem to resist.

Audible        Amazon

About Narrator Teri Schnaubelt:

Teri Schnaubelt is a Chicago-based actor, voice actor and audiobook narrator with over 100 titles, including NY Times Bestsellers.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

GIVEAWAY!!!

The Blog Tour and the author have teamed up to giveaway a Kindle Fire! Enter below through Gleam! Ends May 14, 2017.

Miranda Vaughn Mysteries Giveaway

Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

Narrator: Holter Graham

Publisher: Penguin Audio (2009)

Length: 10 hours 6 minutes

Series: Book 1 Alpha and Omega

Author’s Page

Set in Montana, this book starts up right after the events in the prequel, Alpha and Omega. While it’s not necessary to have read the prequel story first, it does help explain several things about Anna Latham and her first impressions of Charles Cornick. This romance driven tale follows Anna and Charles on their quest to find a rogue werewolf in the wilds of Montana.

Charles is the son of Bran, the Marrock for North America. Bran leads all the werewolf packs and Charles is his right hand man for handling disputes among the packs, hunting down rogue werewolves, and sometimes carrying out executions. Anna just came out of the Chicago pack; having been terrorized by them for a few years, she is now learning what it’s like to be part of a caring and mostly stable pack in Montana. She’s an Omega, which means she isn’t compelled by the werewolf magic and hierarchy to follow the rules all the time. She can be a peacemaker and become the glue that holds a pack together.

On the surface, these both seem like interesting characters. For me, they were OK. Charles is Native American, but that part of his character feels a bit forced. Perhaps it will become more natural as the series progresses. Anna is so submissive and while I get she’s just come through the other side of some hellish years, I expected her to blossom a bit more in this tale. I don’t need her to become some badass archer. I just need her to feel like she can go have a pee without asking permission first.

Asil was the most interesting character for me. His past is a bit nebulous, but he looks Middle Eastern and had spent some quality time in Spain at some point. He’s still in mourning for his wife and adopted daughter after all these years and his mind may be slipping. Lots is going on with this character and I really wanted to know more about him. There was this other really interesting character, but they were eliminated, so I can’t name them without giving out a spoiler. I was bummed. I thought they added something to the story and Briggs could have done much more with that character in subsequent stories.

The ladies in this tale, for the most part, have no status unless the man in their lives has status. Such a turn off. A woman’s self-worth is not inherently tied to the men she’s related to nor the man in her bed. I’m OK with characters believing this, but I need the storyline to show why this isn’t the case, show me how women step outside of the system, or show me the shadow hierarchy among the ‘lesser’ members. That way, we have something interesting going on instead of a worn-thin trope.

Now the hunt for the rogue werewolf was fun. Anna had the chance to show off some of her camping skills, which was great. And who doesn’t like watching werewolves frolic in snowy forests? The mystery surrounding the rogue werewolf was two fold and I enjoyed watching Charles and Anna figure out what was truly going on. There were some chilling moments and I wasn’t sure everyone was going to make it out OK. This part of the tale was well done.

The sex scene was brief. It started off hot and we got just so far before all the truly interesting details were skipped over and the lovers are laying side by side, satisfied. Since this is paranormal romance, I could have used more here. It would have made up for the weaker points of the story.

The Narration: Holter Graham continues to be an excellent Charles and an excellent Bran (the Marrock). His female voices were OK, though sometimes I had trouble discerning one woman from another. I love his accent for Asil! He sounds so much like Puss in Boots, so I kept picturing Asil as a large orange cat.

What I Liked: Gorgeous cover art; Montana woods; Bran’s level head; Asil is a complex guy; the rogue wolf mystery; Anna’s camping skills.

What I Disliked: In werewolf society, a female’s worth is tied to the men in her life; a character I felt had much more to give is killed off; Anna feels she needs permission all the time.

What Others Think:

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Fantasy Book Cafe

Vampire Book Club

Sarah’s Reviews

Eyrie