Play by Piper Lawson (Review)

A book that shot up my 2016 favorite books list is this month’s recommendation. Read on for all the details, my book review, and how to enter for a chance to win a magic 8 ball and also get to name a secondary character in the follow up of PLAY!

This tour was brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.

Piper Lawson
Publication date: August 15th 2016
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

I’m Payton Blake. A successful, balanced twenty-something living the dream.

OK. So it’s a big, shiny-ass lie.I could be all of those things. If I had friends outside of work. And if I didn’t mainline watermelon slushies like they were a food group. It wouldn’t hurt if I’d had sex in the last year, either. (My best friend insists Jorge the Nightstand Boyfriend doesn’t count.)

But when you know where you’re headed, who needs to enjoy the ride? Even if part of me longed for a little between-the-sheets adventure, Max Donovan would be the last guy I’d call.Sure, he made the indie video game that broke the internet. His eyebrow piercing’s sexy, in an ‘are-you-in-a-band?’ kind of way, and fighting with him gets me off faster than Jorge on bezerker mode. But he’s arrogant. Presumptuous. Colder than a cactus and twice as prickly. And I’m not talking about his face, because the guy’s barely old enough to shave.None of it changes the fact that I crave Max Donovan like a watermelon slushy on a hot summer day.

I should ignore him. But I can’t, because he just became my biggest client. And whether he’ll admit it or not, he needs me even more than I need him.

So what happens when the girl who lives to work goes head-to-head with the guy who was born to PLAY?
Game on, Max Donovan.PLAY is a sassy standalone romantic comedy about life, love, and video games. For 18+ due to language and Kindle-incinerating steamy scenes.

Goodreads / Amazon

My Review

The one thing I love in romance novels is the one thing I rarely find. Relatable characters. And by that I don’t mean characters with a couple of traits that simply make them fall into a category with a neon sign screaming “a-hole bad boy” or “dominant CEO” or even “brooding hermit”. I mean 3-D real people with complex stories that make their reactions hard to predict. Heroes that don’t make you roll your eyes.

That’s where Piper Lawson delivers in spades. Max and Payton became my friends overnight. He’s way more complex than a sexy gaming genius geek. She’s way more interesting than a bank junior associate missing dates over balance sheets. And their relationship is way more plausible than your standard insta-attraction that goes wrong.

There’s scorching sexual tension, enough false-starts to want you to eat your Kindle but when these two do hook-up it’s the fourth of July. And it’s not just the build-up and the hot sex. It’s that by the time it happens, you’ll know both of them so well you won’t want to let go.

That’s the recipe for a book you won’t easily forget.

Author Bio:

Join my Insiders list now for a steamy exclusive excerpt! ➜

I love reading and writing about sassy, sexy, smart women and the guys who fall hard for them. Schooled is the introduction to my Travesty series about ambitious girls who chase their dreams of a fashion label from California to New York and back again.

My main household expenditures include books, coffee and chocolate, not necessarily in that order. Coffee = life (and I’ll defend it accordingly). I have two business degrees, neither of which I’ve leveraged into a fashion label.

Home is Canada plus occasional sunny winter escapes. Come find me on the tennis court, at the beach, on the web at or on twitter @piperjlawson.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter



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Unmissable: Hold Fast by Olivia Rigal and Shannon Macallan

Five fully deserved stars for this high-octane ride both in terms of action and emotion. Hold Fast by USA bestselling authors Olivia Rigal and Shannon Macallan is a dark story with a strong romance streak that you shouldn’t pass by. Read on for the book’s details and my 5-star review.

Hold Fast

by Olivia Rigal and Shannon Macallan
Publication Date: July 30, 2016
Genres: Dark romance, thriller
Purchase Link: Amazon



One needs to be rescued.
The other needs to be saved.

Sean: When I was a SEAL, I lived my life by one motto: HOLD FAST.
Those two words kept me alive through years of war, but they couldn’t save all my brothers in arms, and they couldn’t save my career.
Now I’m home, back in the world, with more nightmares and scars than ten men should have, and the only woman who can make me whole again is missing.

I don’t care where she is or who has her. There is nothing I won’t do to find her and bring her home.

To me.

Courtney: I’m trapped, and there’s no way out. I need to escape this cult and leave this hell behind, but I can’t do it alone.
I knew the Church of the New Revelation was a bad idea when my mother brought me here, but I didn’t know how bad. I’m a prisoner, and this noose draws tighter around my neck every day.

There’s only one bright spot in my life, only one man who could save me. He’s the only man I’ve ever loved, but he left me behind when he enlisted all those years ago.

Sean, where are you?


My Review

Hold Fast is not a beach read. It delivers powerful messages in a very evocative way. Courtney is a prisoner, captive in the worst possible way. Because when you’re forcefully told that your perception of your predicament is totally wrong, and that you’re actually in heaven when you’re in the worst possible hell, then how can you go on? But Courtney is a believer. Not of the nightmarish nonsense her captives hammer into her; she believes in fighting for freedom. And nothing will stand in her way.

That kind of harrowing story should be told in a great voice, and the authors deliver. The writing here is stellar. Vivid and immersive, it took me right in the thick of things. I don’t remember the last time I rooted for a heroine as much as I did for Courtney.

Poignant, evocative and extremely relevant, this story shows that extremism has no color, no religion and wears no particular garb. A must read that deserves serious praise.

About Olivia Rigal

91ktnxd38ml-_uy200_Born in Manhattan, Olivia Rigal spent her youth going back and forth between the United States and France.
 She lived and studied in both countries.
 While studying she kept herself busy with a variety of jobs.
 She worked in the Clignancourt Flea Market as well as in a Parisian recording studio.
 In Manhattan, she was a dog groomer and then an administrative assistant in a famous English auction house.

Olivia settled in France to raise her family. She travelled throughout South East Asia and has a special fondness for Laos and Thailand.

When her practice does not keep her busy in Paris, she runs away to write novels in her Florida home next to MacArthur Beach State Park.

In December 2012 she started publishing short novels in English as an independent. Early 2014, she began translating them into French.

The story she tells stand alone. However her characters often meet so you can run into them again in several stories.

She’s one of the original members of the RED HOT team of authors who publish for a few weeks fabulous bundles at incredibly low prices to give an opportunity to readers to discover new universes.

She loves to chat with readers so please feel free to drop her a note if you want.


About Shannon Macallan

41isp6ufool-_ux250_Shannon is a native of Maine, descendant of a family that has lived in New England since the first time there was a queen named Elizabeth. At various life stages Shannon has worked for the government, been in sales, and has done some technical work as well. These days Shannon’s sick of working for someone else, and has decided to take hold of fate and the future by writing. Shannon is happily married with an assortment of two- and four-legged children which all seem to be surviving nicely, and a variety of plants which are not.

Connect with Shannon:


The perfect recipe: The Duke’s Temptation by Addie Jo Ryleigh (Review)


A beautifully written, authentic historical romance is just what these fall days ask for. The Duke’s Temptation by Addie Jo Ryleigh is Book One in The Men of Circumstance series and has all the right ingredients to capture your heart. Read on for all the book info, my five star review, an exciting excerpt and to find out how to win one of two $10 Amazon Gift Cards. This tour was brought to you by Tasty Book Tours.

The Duke’s Temptation

Men of Circumstance #1
Author: Addie Jo Ryleigh
Release Date: Oct 7, 2015
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Purchasing Links: Amazon

The Duke's Temptation Cover

Official Synopsis

A Duke. A Runner. An Earl.
Three men, each born into different circumstances.
Each fighting to overcome their own adversity.
All striving to change their past.

Gabriel St. James, Duke of Wesbrook, desires any birthright other than being the son of a hideous man. Unfortunately, Gabe knows the exact moment he became like his father—a night that has haunted him for seven years. Resigned to his future, he is unprepared when his illegitimate—and more importantly unbeknown—young daughter appears on his London doorstep. With no one to care for her but him.

Lady Elizabeth Blakely has loved only one man—her brother’s longtime friend, Gabe St. James. Not even his rakish and, oftentimes, wicked behavior dissuades her. Yet it all seems hopeless as he continues to overlook the woman she has become.

When Elizabeth learns Gabe is in need of assistance with his daughter, she seizes the opportunity. Gabe, less than thrilled with the situation—mostly due to his fierce desire for his best friend’s sister—has no option but to concede. Besides, a more sinister threat lurks; someone is blackmailing Gabe with his darkest secret. Through it all, Gabe vows to resist Elizabeth, no matter how tempting.

Sometimes it’s better to surrender . . .

My Review

She: Elizabeth Blakeley has been in love with the Duke of Wesbrook forever. Determined to make him see her as a grown woman, not his best friend’s little sister, she convinces him to be let her tend to his newly arrived illegitimate daughter.

He: Gabriel St. James, Duke of Wesbrook, lives in the shadow of his now deceased, depraved father. His forbidden thoughts about Elizabeth literally haunt him when she starts sleeping just a floor beneath him, but he vows to behave in the most gentlemanly way. And fails miserably. But a burning secret surfaces, and he might lose everything, so the farther he keeps from the beguiling “Minx” the better.

The conflict: The forbidden love for a best friend’s little sister, combined with guilt over the hero’s past life and life-threatening danger.

The Heat: Searing hot. The author builds tension masterfully (and ruthlessly) and the cat and mouse game ends in scenes of scorching heat.

The good stuff: I loved the authentic writing. Very “historical” yet brimming with freshness. The characters are not exactly original but both Gabe and Elizabeth live up to the reader’s expectations in the best possible way.

The other stuff: I could have done with less internalization in the first part of the book. Other than that, the pace was steady.

Bottom line: An excellent historical with a very authentic voice.


The next morning Gabe found himself sitting at his cluttered desk once more.

But today was different. Today he couldn’t find his focus. Today visions distracted him.

Visions of a sweet, delectable, half-dressed woman perched on the very desk that now held a layer of books, ledgers, and papers.

A grin arched his upper lip when he recalled the uproar the mess he and Elizabeth had left in the study had caused. Thinking the intruder had returned and rifled through the desk, Wilkes had awakened Gabe in a very controlled Wilkes-like state of distress. Gabe had had a devil of a time trying to explain how everything from the desk had come to be on the floor.

It amazed him that he’d kept the satisfied smirk off his face, knowing the real reason his study had been left in shambles. Either way, Wilkes must be losing his touch if he’d believed Gabe’s lack of organizational skills had resulted in piles of documents tipping over and sliding to the floor. It had sounded like pure rubbish. Thankfully, being the Duke of Wesbrook had benefits.

Not being questioned happened to be one of them.

Uncomfortable with someone other than himself or Phillip going through the papers, Gabe had rolled from bed, dressed, and retreated to the study before others caught sight of the mess.

After righting the papers, the hour was still early. Gabe had started going through the remaining reports. However, at his current rate, he’d never be done.

It was all Elizabeth’s fault.

Maybe not exactly her fault. His distraction was no one’s blame but his own, but like most things in his life, she was intricately attached to it.

Weary with staring at numbers and seeing nothing but gibberish, he shoved the ledger away. Yesterday might have been an aberration. Maybe he didn’t have what it took to be a responsible landowner.

Perhaps he should stay with what he knew . . . gambling, drinking, and pleasuring women.

Strike that, pleasuring a woman. One very singular woman.

But after telling her he couldn’t marry her, he’d be surprised if she ever allowed him to touch her again.

Except this was Elizabeth and when she loved something, she let nothing stand in her way. Something he was only now beginning to understand.

Nevertheless, for her own sake, he would do what was necessary to keep his lustful intent away from her. The last thing he needed was for her to become with child.

Enter here for a chance to win one of two $10 Amazon Gift Cards

About the Author

Addie Jo RyleighAddie Jo Ryleigh writes historical regency romances that feature rakish heroes and strong feisty heroines.

Addie Jo lives in the same cold winter and hot summer area of Minnesota where she was born and raised. And frankly, wouldn’t live anywhere else. Sharing in the raising of her three extremely rambunctious boys is her very understanding husband that so graciously enabled her to fulfill her dream of writing. Keeping Addie Jo company while she writes (besides her wonderfully loud children) is her yorkipoo, Bella, who is never far from Addie Jo’s side.

Addie Jo has always had a love and passion for romance books and became engrossed in historical romance (particularly Regency) soon after graduating from Lurlene McDaniel’s young adult books. Currently, Addie Jo reads any genre that has a great emotional story that keeps her reading into the early hours of the morning.

Addie Jo has a bachelor degree in accounting and is a financial coordinator when not driving her children around central Minnesota, cuddled up with a good book, or writing her next story.

Connect with the Author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Sexy and angsty: Slashed by Tracy Wolff (Review)


Tracy Wolff is one of my go-to authors. She handles emotions masterfully, and her steamy scenes? Reading with the fridge door open might help. Slashed is Book #3 in Tracy’s Extreme Risk, New Adult series. Read on for all the book details, my four-star review and to find out how you can win a Select Loveswept Ebook Bundle and a titillating excerpt. This tour was brought to you by Tasty Book Tours.


Extreme Risk # 3
Author: Tracy Wolff
Release Date: Sept 29th, 2015
Publisher: Loveswept
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Kobo



Official Blurb

Do nice guys always finish last? In the new Extreme Risk novel from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tracy Wolff, a burnt-out underdog and a vulnerable tomboy defy the pressure to be perfect and go after what they really want.

Bighearted and easygoing, Luc Jennings is falling behind in a family of serious overachievers. While he may be decent enough at snowboarding to turn pro and rack up some sponsors, he’s never topped any podiums—unlike his friends Z, Ash, and Cam. Luc’s always been head over heels for Cam Bradley, but she’s never seen him as anything more than a friend. Now, after years of coming in second, Luc can’t take it anymore—especially if it means watching Cam chase another guy.

Cam hangs out almost exclusively with dudes, and that’s fine by her. She’d much rather be shredding at the Olympics than primping in the mirror. Cam’s wildest dreams have a way of coming true—except when it comes to getting her longtime crush and best friend, Z Michaels, to notice her. Then her mother suddenly shows up after being gone for, like, ever, and Cam’s whole world comes crashing down. Desperate for a place to lay low, she turns to the one person who’s always had her back.

Try as he might to move on, Luc could never leave Cam hanging. He lets her crash at his place—and it isn’t long before she winds up in his bed. With Cam running scared and her icy facade starting to melt at last, Luc’s determined to finally win the only prize that matters.

My Review (4 stars)

She: Cameron Bradley, 21, is one of the top snowboarders in the world–one of the guys. She’s just accepted that Z, her longtime crush, is better off with another girl. But her forever friend turning into her lover? Not going to last.

He: Luc Jennings, 21, is finally where he’s craving to be. Under the sheets with Cam. But she’s been lusting after the world’s No. 1 forever. If she wants the No. 1–the only place on the podium he’s never reached–will she settle for anything less?

The conflict: A heavy load of insecurities on top of an unexcpected friends-to-lovers development–unchartered waters with heroes not owning who they are enough to be able to deal.

The setting: Off-season Aspen. Pro winter athletes taking it easy, prepping for the upcoming season.

The heat: Scorching hot, as you’d expect from Tracy Wolff.

The good stuff: Tracy Wolff’s writing. She’s a master at depicting emotions–the more muddled the better. Clean outline, good pacing. Also, the characters live and breathe their sports. There’s no language concession here—you’ll get all the jargon you can muster and then some.

The other stuff: But you’ll also take all the angst and broodiness you can take. Granted, Luc and Cam have a well-founded, deep-rooted insecurity (he sells himself short, she’s a tomboy) but their unspoken fears would be better suited to a YA novel. Also, the situation in Cam’s home with her absentee mom suddenly returning is not resolved.

Bottom line: I haven’t read a Tracy Wolff book that isn’t readable and that applies to Slashed as well. This was a little less in that it got to be too much in terms of unsettled emotions.

Enter here for a chance to win a Selected Loveswept Ebook Bundle


I don’t like being ignored. Or, more specifically, I don’t like being ignored by Luc.

The guy who’s been my best friend since I was four years old.

The guy who taught me how to ride my very first snowboard.

The guy who knows everything about me—and who I know everything about.

Or at least I did. Now, as he sits across from me talking and joking around with anyone and everyone but me, I’m not sure I know anything about him anymore. He sure as hell doesn’t want to know anything about me. He won’t even look at me. And if he puts any more distance between us, he’s going to end up falling off the back of the damn boat the first time we hit a rough wave.

Which at the moment, I might actually pay good money to see. Especially when he glances up from his super intense conversation with Ash, and our eyes meet for the first time in way too long. I start to smile, but he yanks his gaze away before he sees it. And I’m left feeling like a total idiot.

And the worst part is, it’s all my fault. The weirdness, the awkwardness, Luc’s inability to even look at me—I’m responsible for all of it. I’m the one who got drunk a few months ago when Z first got together with Ophelia. I’m the one who threw myself at Luc when he was equally drunk, who kept pushing and pushing until he took me back to his place. And I’m the one who freaked out so completely when I woke up in bed with him the next morning. He’d tried to be cool, to be nice—and I had lost it completely.

Nothing has been the same since.

I’ve spent the last few months trying to clean up the mess I made—doing anything and everything I could think of to get us back on even ground—but it isn’t working. We used to practically live in each other’s pockets, and now we only hang out when the others are around. When he can use Z and Ash and Tansy and Ophelia as a buffer between us. And only when he doesn’t have to say more than one or two sentences to me at any given time.

It’s driving me absolutely, totally, completely, batshit crazy.

Part of me wants to apologize—again—for freaking out on him instead of just going the whole one-time friends-with-benefits route, especially since I’m the one who initiated everything. But there’s another part of me that wants to slap the hell out of him. I mean, yes, I handled the morning after badly. But, really, one mistake and sixteen years of friendship are suddenly null and void?

Just the thought makes me mad. I’d never shut him out like this—I wouldn’t even know how. The fact that he’s doing it so easily hurts me more than I want to admit, even to myself.

“So, who’s up first?” Ash calls from where he’s lounging against the side of the boat, his girlfriend, Tansy, balanced on his lap.

“I am,” I tell him, reaching for my wakeboard.

“That’s my girl!” Z whoops as he starts to slow the speedboat down. “Get out there early, show ’em how it’s done!”

“Oh, I plan to.”

Z’s girlfriend, Ophelia, laughs even as she holds her hand up for a high five. “Ten bucks says Cam can stay up longer than any of the guys.”

“No bet there,” Ash tells her. “Cam fucking rules on a wakeboard.”

I shoot him a look. “Almost as much as I rule on a snowboard.”

“Hey now, it’s a little early for trash talking, isn’t it?” Z asks.

“It’s not trash talking if it’s true,” Ash’s younger brother, Logan, says. He flashes me a huge smile and I can’t resist giving him a quick, one-armed hug. I love this fourteen-year-old kid so much it’s ridiculous, and the fact that he can still smile, still be so upbeat even with everything he’s had to handle in the last year, blows my mind completely. Not only did he lose his parents in a horrific car wreck, he also lost the use of his legs in that same wreck. And yet, here he is, laughing and joking around like the total badass that he is.

“At least Logan knows the truth,” I tell him with a wink. “And that’s all that matters.”

“Can you teach me?” Tansy asks as Z brings the boat to a stop.

“Sure. I—”

“Hey, I’ll teach you, babe,” Ash tells her.

“But you just said that Cam’s better than you,” she tells him, eyes wide and innocent. “And I want to learn from the best.”

I crack up. I can’t help it—the way Ash’s mouth drops open is absolutely priceless, and for a second, I wish my phone were out so I could get a picture of it. I glance at Luc, wanting to share the joke, but he’s looking out over the water. Deliberately not looking at me. Deliberately not joining in the conversation about me.

I freaking hate it.

Tracy_WolffAbout the Author

New York Times bestselling author Tracy Wolff lives in Texas and teaches writing at her local community college. She is married and the mother of three young sons.

Contact the Author

Website Facebook Twitter | Goodreads


Enchanting: The Lady of the Pier – The Flow by Effrosyni Moschoudi (Review)

The Lady of the Pier trilogy saw its second book’s release yesterday, and I had the pleasure of reading an ARC kindly provided by the author, Effrosyni Moschoudi. Read on for all the book details and my 5-star review.

The first book in the series, The Lady of the Pier: The Ebb  is still on a $0.99 sale. Don’t miss out!

The Lady of the Pier – The Flow

by Effrosyni Moschoudi
Genres: Romance, Paranormal
Release Date: June 26, 2015
Purchase Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

lady of the pier, flow,533x800




Laura and Christian enjoy a blissful summer, while Charles watches from a distance, waiting for the right time to intervene. This time, he’s prepared to do something truly vile as to leave nothing to chance. WWII breaks out, and Laura does her best to settle in a new life, having paid a terrible price. Will she find happiness at last, or will the past continue to haunt her?

CORFU 1988

Sofia arrives in Vassilaki brokenhearted over Danny. Just as a new boy comes into her life, the strange dreams start anew. Now in Brighton, she meets Danny again, but he blows hot and cold.  When she sees a female apparition on the West Pier, she finds out the locals call her ‘The Lady of the Pier’. Is this the woman in her dreams and why is Sofia the only one who can see her?

My Review


Corfu, 1988: Sofia nurtures her broken heart, her studies in England providing the key to freedom from a controling family. Brighton, 1938: Laura shields her shattered heart to protect the ones she loves, her once free and full life having turned into a prison. A haunting joins two worlds and two souls, seeking redemption.

Following the success of The Lady of the Pier–The Ebb which introduced us to the two nostalgic, enchanting worlds, The Flow becomes the gossamer bridge connecting them. The sparking Ionian waters in the carefree ’80s and  the overcast English skies during WWII couldn’t have been more apart, but it takes a talented author to magically unite them. All the elements that have made Effrosyni Moschoudi a favorite author are there: poignant character portrayals, evocative descriptions, era authenticity and sweet nostalgia form a magic story that stays true to its title: it Flows.

About the author

profpic 690x884 png 300dpiEffrosyni Moschoudi was born and raised in Athens, Greece. As a child, she often sat alone in her granny’s garden scribbling rhymes about flowers, butterflies and ants. Through adolescence, she wrote dark poetry that suited her melancholic, romantic nature. She’s passionate about books and movies and simply couldn’t live without them, particularly the ones starring Robert Pattinson, who is the constant inspiration behind her vulnerable romantic heroes. She lives in a quaint seaside town near Athens with her British husband Andy and a naughty cat called Felix. Effrosyni is a proud member of the writer’s group, eNovel Authors at Work.

What others say about Effrosyni’s writing:

“Effrosyni layers her words on the page like music.”

~Jackie Weger, National Best-selling Author

“Ms. Moschoudi is proving to be a skilled storyteller who takes her readers on a wonderful ride.”

~David M. Wind, author of Queen of Knights

Connect with Effrosyni


Amazon Author’s Page:

Effrosyni at Enovel Authors at Work:




Gripping: Lock the Cellar Door by Molly Greene (Review)

I’m a fan of the Gen Delacourt mystery series by Molly Greene, and I wouldn’t miss the sixth installment for the world, especially since Gen finally took the plunge and committed to a relationship with Mack (*swoons*) in the previous book. They make quite a team. The tone changes dramatically in Lock the Cellar Door, though. Still, it was my favorite so far. Read on for all the book details and my review.

Lock the Cellar Door (Gen Delacourt Mystery #6)

by Molly Greene
Published: May 30, 2015
Genre: Mystery
Purchasing Link: Amazon


My Review

Gen revels in her new “engaged” status until an earthquake literally makes her world crumble. After frantically searching for Mack who’s gone missing, she finds him buried under debris in a mansion he had no obvious reason visiting. Her relief is short-lived as his cranial injury robs him of a good part of his memories including those he’s made with her. Mack is not Mack anymore. Needing an outlet for the acute sense of loss that cripples her, Gen teams up with detective Devlin Boyle, trying to shed light to the reason Mack was in the uninhabited mansion—a plausible explanation for the apparition of a sobbing woman he claims to have seen and heard there.

With Mack retreating, Devlin making advances and a mystery starring a “ghost”, Gen has her hands full, but her heart is empty.

This is the most gripping story in the captivating Gen Delacourt mystery series. Gen’s emotional involvement tamper both with her judgement and her responses, forcing her to assign the case to the cool and smooth Devlin, yet he wants her to be more than his sidekick. For Gen, a committed relationship was shaky ground; losing it means she’s lost part of herself, and she has to fight for resolve on many fronts. The emotional aspect in this novel is what makes it stand out.

But that doesn’t mean that the mystery part is played down. If anything, the addition of a potentially paranormal element makes it even more appealing. Secondary characters pop out strongly, and I was pleased to see Shiloh and Luca returning to help Mack out as did Livvie and Bree to Gen. However, the character that truly shines is Stella, Mack’s loyal four-legged friend. She offers solutions, comfort and becomes the bridge that connects the estranged couple, playing a pivotal role throughout.

If you’ve enjoyed Gen Delacourt’s mysteries so far, Lock the Cellar Door is not one to miss.

About the Author

Hi there! I’m a blogger and author of both fiction and non-fiction. My titles include Blog It! The author’s guide to building a successful online brand (blogs based on WordPress), and the Gen Delacourt Mystery Series: Mark of the Loon, The Last Fairytale (formerly titled Rapunzel), Paint Me Gone, A Thousand Tombs, Swindle Town, and Lock the Cellar Door.

I currently live in the mountains outside San Diego, California, the city where I was born and raised – but I LOVE Northern California so much that I use various Bay Area locations as the setting for my fiction series. I really should move there, don’t you think? Meanwhile, I write about my life and self-publishing topics at Stop by and say hello!

Each Gen Delacourt Mystery works well as a standalone story, but if you want to read them in order, here’s the lowdown:

Book #1, Mark of the Loon
Book #2, The Last Fairytale
Book #3, Paint Me Gone
Book #4, A Thousand Tombs
Book #5, Swindle Town
Book #6, Lock the Cellar Door

Connect with Molly


Witty and fast-paced: The Lady Hellion by Joanna Shupe (Review)


If you feel like reading a historical romance, The Lady Hellion by Joanna Schupe is guaranteed fun. I loved it. Read on for details, my 5-star review and a tantalizing excerpt, and enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of three paperback copies of the book. This tour was brought to you by Tasty Book Tours.

The Lady Hellion

Wicked Deceptions # 3

Author: Joanna Shupe
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Publisher: Zebra (Kensington Books)

Purchase LinksAmazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo | Publisher

The Lady Hellion


My Review

Reckless does not begin to describe Lady Sophia. Holding an embarrassing secret she thinks will keep her a spinster, she’s given herself a mission: to retrieve missing girls–of the ill-repute kind. Their cases pleaded by similarly occupied friends or family members who can’t afford a runner and who magistrates scoff at, Sophie does everything in her power to locate the kidnapper even when he turns out to be a vicious murderer. And since a woman cannot traipse into brothels and gaming hells, Sophie presents herself as Sir Stephen.

Bus, soon, “Sir Stephen” finds herself in need of brawn and brains, and the best man to provide both is Viscount Quint–her friend, minus that devastating kissing incident years before. The only problem is that Quint has turned into a recluse, seemingly unable to exit his home.

Well, if Sophia puts her life in danger to save strangers, she’ll be damned if she doesn’t help out a friend. Only in Quint’s case, what she’ll have to put on the line is her heart.

When it comes to historicals, I’ve learned (the hard way) that I’d better not veer outside my long favored authors: Elizabeth Hoyt, Sabrina Jeffries and a couple more. When I saw that Sabrina Jeffries endorsed this book, I picked it up, and it looks like Joanna Shupe will make my go-to romance authors list. I haven’t read the previous books in her Wicked Deceptions series, but that didn’t take anything away from enjoying this one.

What Lady Hellion excels in, is the pacing. Whether the scene furthers Sophia and Quint’s relationship or the murder mystery plot, this book does not falter one bit. The heroine is a delight. Uncoverntional to boot, she defies propriety and expectations, claiming life the way she wants it. Quint’s character is also well-developed. Scholarly and somber, the fulfilment of his need to love and protect Sophia is embarrassingly hindered by his self-perceived predicament. I always find fascinating reading about how conditions that now have a name and a designated approach to treatment were dealt with back then.

A reckless heroine that defies both laws and propriety, a gallant hero suffering under grave misconceptions, a vicious murderer on the loose plus great writing, and you have yourself a winner.

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Official Synopsis

A Marquess’ daughter, Lady Sophia Barnes doesn’t take no for an answer. Especially when she’s roaming London’s seedy underground…dressed as a man.

A rabble rouser for justice, Sophie’s latest mission is to fight for the rights of the poor, the wretched—and the employees at Madame Hartley’s brothel. She’s not concerned about the criminals who will cross her path, for Sophie has mastered the art of deception—including the art of wearing trousers. Now her fate is in her own hands, along with a loaded gun. All she needs is instruction on how to shoot it. But only one person can help her: Lord Quint, the man who broke her heart years ago. The man she won’t let destroy her again…

The last thing Damien Beecham, Viscount Quint, needs is an intrusion on his privacy, especially from the beautiful, exasperating woman he’s never stopped wanting. A woman with a perilously absurd request, no less! For Damien is fighting a battle of his own, one he wishes to keep hidden—along with his feelings for Lady Sophia. Yet that fight is as hopeless as stopping her outlandish plan. Soon all Quint knows for certain is that he will die trying to protect her…


Lord Quint never sputtered. He did not fluster or ever forget himself. Logical, reasonable, and maddeningly unflappable, she knew the viscount could be counted on to keep a level head. It was one of the things Sophie liked best about him.

So when his jaw dropped, she braced herself.

“Your second?” Quint’s brows flattened. “You need me to serve as your second? For a duel? As in, ten paces in a field at dawn?”

“Yes. Precisely that.”

“And with whom in the name of Heracles would you be dueling?”

She nibbled her lip. What were the chances she could avoid explaining it before he agreed? “Does it matter?”

He traveled around the bulk of the desk and stopped in front of her. Though she was on the tall side, he was a few inches taller. She liked that he didn’t loom over her. It allowed her to better see his face, and he had an interesting face. Astute brown eyes with golden flecks. A strong, angular jaw. High, sharp cheekbones that set off a nose too masculine to ever be called pretty.

His hair was shaggy, his clothes rumpled and appallingly ill-matched. No, he did not inspire swoons in the ballroom, but perfection had never interested Sophie.

And there was the root of the problem.

The man was intelligent in ways most people couldn’t even comprehend. They thought him odd. Unsocial. Aloof. He never danced or paid afternoon calls. But those opinions, if he even paused to hear them, didn’t affect him as far as Sophie could tell. He exuded confidence, unshakable beliefs that were based on well-researched facts. His ability to recall the smallest detail he’d read fifteen years ago fascinated her.

Quint folded his arms across his chest. “Yes, it very much matters. And it’s not as if you can hide the other party’s identity, if I’m to serve as your second—unless you plan to blindfold me. But all of that is irrelevant as I cannot, in good conscience, allow you to go through with a duel.”

Without a cravat, the strong column of his throat shifted and rippled as he talked, and she was reminded that she’d once had the opportunity to experience the power in his lithe frame. Had once shivered as he’d clutched her so tight she could hardly breathe.

But that was long ago, years now, all before he’d fallen in love with someone else. A lump formed in her throat, regret nearly choking her, but she forced it down. “And I cannot see how you can possibly prevent it. I do not need your approval.”

Cocking his head, he studied her with shrewd scrutiny. “What happens if I say no?”

She lifted a shoulder. “I shall muddle through somehow.”

“If you do, your reputation will suffer.”

“My reputation has already suffered—which is why I have accepted the challenge. To repair it.”

He huffed a seemingly exasperated laugh. “That is ridiculous.”

“Oh, because I’m a woman I cannot have honor?”

“I never said that. Women can duel if they so choose, as far as I’m concerned. Stupidity is not ascribed to gender. What’s ridiculous is thinking no one will learn of it. Nigh on impossible to keep a duel private these days.”

“Yes, but you won’t tell anyone. Neither will I, for that matter.”

“Your opponent might, as could the surgeon who is taxed with removing a ball from your chest. But it hardly matters because I cannot serve as your second.”

“Cannot—or will not?”

A flush stole over his cheekbones. Was he embarrassed? She’d never, ever seen him blush. “Cannot,” he said. “And you’d better not go through with it.”

Intolerable, high-handed males. Sophie had suffered them her whole life. Between idiotic rules and unrealistic expectations, an English woman’s life was more constricting than stays after a five-course meal. “I must. And will you tell me why?”

“No. Will you tell me why you need to duel?”

She shook her head. “No. I cannot.”

He shifted, coming close enough to send her pulse racing. She could see the rise and fall of his chest, the shadow of tomorrow’s beard on his jaw. Strong, wide shoulders, lean waist. Heat radiated off his body to warm her in all the places ladies never mentioned—places that Sophie happened to like quite a bit. He was such a complicated specimen of brains and brawn, a combination she happened to find particularly appealing.

Not to mention he had full, strong lips that she knew firsthand were quite adept at turning a woman’s insides to jelly. Well, hers, at least.

“Cannot, or will not?” he asked, refocusing her attention.

She hated having her words turned around on her, so she ignored the question altogether and sidled away. “Will you at least teach me how it’s done?” She peered at the stack of books on the floor behind his desk, the ones he’d hidden when she entered. They were all medical journals on . . . diseases of the brain. Every single one. Now why hadn’t he wanted her to see those?

“Dueling? You want to learn how to stand on a field and shoot at another person?”

She glanced up at him. “Yes. I’ve never even fired a pistol before.”

“Firing is not the hard part. Hitting something is the trick.”

“I thought the point of a duel was to miss.”

“Deloping is considered ungentlemanly. Have you not even read the Code Duello? The point of a duel is to restore your honor while not getting yourself killed. And to place your bullet where it will do the least damage.”

“See how little I know? You can teach me.”

“No. I cannot involve myself in this. You should merely apologize to whichever lady you’ve slighted and end it.”

“It is impossible to apologize. And why can you not be involved?”

He placed his hands on his hips. “Many reasons. Six, to be precise. Would you like them in alphabetic order or order of importance?”

She sighed. This was going badly. She had no one else to ask, no one with a chance of keeping her secret. And she and Quint were friends . . . of a sort. Based on their previous history, she’d thought he’d agree. That he would, at the very least, want to protect her. What could she do to convince him?

“Fine. I shall ask someone else.”

He quirked an eyebrow, his expression too knowing, drat him. “And whom shall you enlist in this tutelage?”

She rapidly searched her brain for a name, for any bits of gossip she’d overheard. “Lord MacLean has been rumored in a number of duels. He must know the way of it.”

“And he’s a rake. Burned through the entire lot of Edinburgh innocents and had to come to London just to ravish more. Your reputation would never survive it.”

“That hardly signifies.” In more ways than one. “I merely want the ins and outs of the thing. And if you will not show me, I will find someone who can.”

His jaw hardened, but his eyes burned into her, churning with an emotion she’d never seen before. Was it . . . doubt? It gave her pause. Quint moved about the world with ease, with no need to question himself because he was rarely wrong. Any criticisms he encountered were for matters he cared little for, such as the unfashionable length of his hair or his appalling sartorial sense.

But this was new. He looked . . . uncertain.

“Then you must do whatever you feel necessary,” he finally said, reaching to knead his temples with his fingertips. “I apologize I am unable to fulfill your request. Taylor will see you out.” He bowed and then headed for the door.

She watched him go, stunned at both his rudeness and the expression on his face.

“Quint,” she called to his back. He stopped but did not turn. “Are you all right?”

“Never better,” he answered and disappeared into the corridor.

“No,” she whispered into the empty room. “Somehow I think not.”

Author Info

Joanna ShupeAward-winning author JOANNA SHUPE has always loved history, ever since she saw her first Schoolhouse Rock cartoon. While in college, Joanna read every romance she could get her hands on and soon started crafting her own racy historical novels. She now lives in New Jersey with her two spirited daughters and dashing husband.

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