Thursday, October 31, 2019

Shattered Bonds by Faith Hunter (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) LTP

Image by GraphicMama-team from Pixabay

Happy Halloween!


Faith Hunter


Jane Yellowrock must dig deep and find strength within herself if she is to survive in the latest novel in this New York Times bestselling series.

Jane Yellowrock is vampire-killer-for-hire, but her last battle with an ancient arcane enemy has brought her low. She seeks retreat in the Appalachian Mountains to grieve the loss of her friends, and to heal—or to die—from the disease brought on by her magic.

But malevolent elements in the paranormal community still seek to destroy Jane, and a terrifying foe stalks her, even into the safety of the hills. With nowhere to run and her body failing, the rogue-vampire hunter and her inner Beast must discover a way to defeat this new threat, and find a form that gives her a chance to fight another day.

Mass Market Paperback
400 pages
Published by Ace, Oct. 29, 2019
ISBN 9780399587986


by Faith Hunter
copyright Faith Hunter

Excerpt Eleven

Beast and I sat beside his chair and wrapped her long tail around our feet. The tail was warm with strong blood flow, thick, deeply furred, heavy, and cozy on our paws.

Alex leaned forward and propped his elbows on his knees. That made us eye-to-eye level, and brought his scent strongly to our nose. He smelled of testosterone and garlic and coffee and after-shave and worry. Beast butted his hands, which were laced and hanging between his knees in a posture that was very Eli-like. Alex’s mouth twisted into a parody of a smile and he scratched Beast behind her ears. “I’ve been in facetime conversation with Grégoire. Things have been happening fast in France, and there’re things Grégoire hasn’t told us, not wanting to worry you.”

Beast snarled. So did I. Blondie knew I was sick. Blondie had been keeping secrets.

“Ed,” Alex said gently, scratching, smoothing our lips back over our teeth. He looked into our eyes as if he was about to break my heart, “was stolen from his lair in France at midday, five days ago.”

My heart stuttered.

Ed? Beast asked.

Eli’s lips twitched. On another man it would have been a scowl like thunderclouds. “We weren’t notified,” Eli said. “Why?”

“There was a fight,” Alex said, even more gently, “in a farmhouse in the wine country of France. Four of Ed’s people were killed. The house where they were laired burned to the ground.”

“Ed?” our lips moved but no sound came out. Our eyes burned. But Alex didn’t appear to be grieved or as if he was about to tell me—

“His surviving people thought Ed had burrowed under the hearth, into a small safe-room lair, with three others. His vamps had been sharing blood and so they knew he was alive, but that was all they knew until they got the safe-room excavated.” Alex sounded so grown up. So adult. So much like Eli in his delivery, but with his own touch, that gentleness I would never have expected when I first met him. His fingers scratched deep and Beast closed our eyes in bliss. “Because of the heat of the fire and the presence of the local law,” he said, “that rescue took place only a few hours past. Ed wasn’t in the safe room. Grégoire now assumes that Ed was taken by the attackers the day of the assault.”

Ed in cage? Beast thought, opening our eyes.

“Once his people started looking, they discovered that Pellissier Clan’s Bombardier Learjet 85 flew out of Paris four days ago with Ed and four other vampires aboard—none of them Ed’s. The aircraft landed in the Bahamas and Ed’s passport was marked. Then he disappeared. They were getting ready to inform us when I called them first.”

Beast hissed deep inside me.

Purchase links



Faith's books:

Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock series is a dark urban fantasy. Jane is a full blooded Cherokee skinwalker and hunter of rogue-vampires in a world of weres, witches, vampires, and other supernats.

Her Rogue Mage novelsBloodring, Seraphs, Host, and the RPG Rogue Mage—feature Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage in a post-apocalyptic alternate reality.

The Soulwood series is a dark-urban fantasy / paranormal police procedural /para-thriller series featuring Nell Nicholson Ingram, an earth magic user and Special gent of PsyLED.

Author Bio and links:

Faith writes full-time, tries to keep house, and is a workaholic. She gave up cooking for lent one year and the oven hasn’t been turned on since. Okay – that’s a joke. She does still make cold cereal and sandwiches. Occasionally, she remembers to turn on Roomba (that she named Duma$$ because it fell down the stairs once.)

Faith researches in great detail, and tries most everything her characters do. Research led to her life’s passions – jewelry making, orchids, bones, travel, white-water kayaking, and writing.

Jewelry-making was the occupation of two of her characters: Thorn St. Croix, the Rogue Mage, and the main character of BloodStone, written by her pen name, Gwen Hunter. She fell in love with the art form. Faith makes, wears, and sometimes gives away her jewelry as promo items to fans and as prizes in contests. See her FaceBook Fan Page at for pics. She works with stones, pearls, crystal, and glass, wire wrapping larger, undrilled, focal stones. Labradorite, Amazonite, apatite, aquamarine, and prehnite are her favorite stones.

Faith loves orchids. Her favorite time of year is when several are blooming. Pictures can be seen at her FaceBook page. And yes, she collects bones and skulls. Many of her orchid pics are juxtaposed with bones and skulls —a fox, cat, dog, cow skull, goat, and deer skull, (that is, unfortunately, falling apart) and the jawbone of an ass. She just received a boar skull, and the skull of a mountain lion (legally purchased from a US tannery) killed in the wild.

She and her husband RV, traveling to whitewater rivers all over the Southeast.

And that leads Faith to kayaking – her very favorite sport. Faith discovered whitewater paddling when she was researching her (Gwen Hunter) mystery book, Rapid Descent. She took a lesson and—after a bout of panic attacks from fear of drowning—discovered she loved the sport.

Faith is one of the founders and a participant at the now defunct and archived, an online writing forum geared to helping writers. And she is a voracious reader.

Under other pen names, notably, Gwen Hunter, she writes action adventure, mysteries, and thrillers. As Gwen, she is a winner of the WH Smith Literary Award for Fresh Talent in 1995 in the UK, and won a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award in 2008. As Faith, her books have been on the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists, been nominated for various awards and won an Audie Award with Khristine Hvam. Under all her pen names, she has more than 40 books, anthologies, and complications in print in 30 countries.

For more, including a list of her books, see,, and To keep up with her daily, join her fan pages at Facebook



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My review:

4.75 out of 5 stars

Shattered Bonds by Faith Hunter is part of the ‘Jane Yellowrock’ paranormal/urban fantasy series. Jane is still dealing with life-threatening complications, but her multiple roles require direct intervention, especially when her enemies strike close to home. She and Beast will have to discern whether some of her allies are friends or foes, and any mistakes may be deadly.

I enjoy books that feature kick-butt heroines, and this series definitely showcases its unique heroine who is not only a take-charge and opinionated female, but whose dual nature adds an entertaining perspective. I think it would be difficult for those who are not familiar with the series to appreciate all of the nuances, particularly given the number of different types of entities who have cameos or pivotal roles, but even if one doesn’t understand the alliances and maneuverings or the events that have led up to the situations Jane is dealing with, I suspect that newbies to the series will be impressed by the depth and vividness of the world-building and the intense connections between Jane and those around her.

There are wonderfully dramatic scenes, fascinating characters, gory fights, and beautiful demonstrations of the loving connections Jane has developed despite herself. Just when emotions seem in danger of overwhelming the reader, Beast provides a pithy comment or observation and lightens things a bit. I am in awe that many of the characters continue to evolve and deepen the reader’s connection to them and I admit to rereading the beautiful ending several times, sorry to see the story end.

The books in this series are enthralling and I always find myself racing through, desperate to discover how things turn out, and then I go back and revisit sections to better appreciate the nuances. This story was no exception, and I’ve read through multiple scenes over and over, especially those that contrast the savage side of this feisty heroine and her loving attachment to the youngsters she’s determined to keep safe, no matter what the cost. Above all, this book highlights faithfulness and faith, and I finished with a delighted, “aww,” even though I immediately wanted to have more of Jane’s adventures. Fans of the series will have fun with this addition; those new to the delights in store will undoubtedly want to start at the beginning (Skinwalker). Enjoy!

A copy of this title was provided to me for review

Monday, October 28, 2019

Crush: A Tale of Two Vineyards by Joye Emmens (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

Joye Emmens


GENRE: Contemporary Romance



Will the rare love that comes once in a lifetime win her over? Crush: A Tale of Two Vineyards is a compelling and enchanting novel set among vineyards in Southern France and Central California.

Spending summers at her grandparents’ vineyard, Clos de Harmonie, Olivia found her passion for winemaking and pursued a degree in Viticulture and Enology. Olivia accepts an invitation from a Frenchman to complete her master’s degree project at his family’s fifth generation biodynamic vineyard in France.

She and the French winemaker have an instant attraction. With her project complete, she struggles with the desire to stay in France and the knowledge she is neglecting her grandparents’ vineyard. Called back to California by an unforeseen turn of events, Olivia focuses on getting Clos de Harmonie certified as a biodynamic vineyard. Her dream is to make authentic, natural wine that captures the landscape and its essence in a bottle.

As she wrestles with her long-distance love interest, the challenges of reviving a rundown vineyard, and trouble with the landowner next door, Olivia finds strength in the human spirit and the need to prove herself in a sea of doubters.

An evocative story that awakens the senses, Crush captures the complex layers and enduring bonds of family amidst the dramas and joys of winemaking. The magic and mysteries of biodynamic farming come to life along with a colorful cast of characters in both France and California.



Professor Clark, my graduate adviser, walked to the podium. The guest speaker followed. With his lean build, he glided across the stage. He stood tall and relaxed in a white linen long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans. While the professor introduced him, he scanned the audience, and his eyes landed on me in the front row. I sat up straight and wished I’d worn something more flattering than jeans and a T-shirt. Mom always told me never leave the house without looking your best. His brown eyes met mine before he took the podium.

So, this was Lucien Laroche. I was to be his ambassador for the weekend. Professor Clark had asked me to take Lucien to consult with two wineries near Santa Barbara. Since I was going to my nana’s vineyard in the valley already, it worked out perfectly.

“Biodynamic agriculture springs from a spiritual worldview called anthroposophy,” Lucien Laroche stated. His French accent had me. “A biodynamic farm is a living system. A self-sustaining ecosystem that is responsible for creating and maintaining its health without any outside or unnatural additions. Each farm has its own unique characteristics.”

I followed his every move. His presence held my attention. My undivided attention.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Joye Emmens is also the author of She’s Gone. She lives in California with her husband.

Twitter: @joyeemmens
Facebook: joyeemmens



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The tour dates can be found here 


My review:

4 out of 5 stars

Crush: A Tale of Two Vineyards by Joye Emmens is a contemporary romance that follows Olivia as she pursues her dream to become a doctor of the grapevines in Napa Valley, California just as she discovers a new possible future with French winemaker Lucien (Luke) Laroche.

This story is both educational and a beautiful way to armchair travel. I had never heard of biodynamic farming but was intrigued by the esoteric ideas being espoused, even though I am definitely not the target for this type of product since I have never learned to appreciate wines. Some of the practices seem a little unusual and I think the blend of mysticism and pragmatism is nicely presented. A couple of the conflict resolutions were a bit too abrupt and strain my credulity and I was a little surprised to reach the end of the story because I wanted to see how things worked out, although one presumes that things continue in a positive vein.

The author does a great job of evoking the love of nature and the hard work that is needed to produce a fine wine and the importance of family support when pursuing one’s dreams. I love Luke’s sister, Lili, and hope that both she and Oliva’s brother get their time in the spotlight, perhaps with a few more of the loose ends tied up. This story was a great mini-vacation, with vivid descriptions that made me almost able to savor the warmth of the sun and the beauty of the grapes growing on the vine. I look forward to reading other works by this talented author.

A copy of this title was provided for review

Friday, October 25, 2019

Handling the Rancher by Sara Ohlin (VBT, guest post, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

I am happy to share a guest post by author Sara Ohlin, who answers my question...

ELF: What would be your dream place to visit and why?

SO: I love to travel! I’m still trying to figure out how to travel (with 2 kids and a husband) and get paid for it. Years ago after I graduated from college I went on a seven-week long backpack trip across Europe with a friend of mine. After three weeks, he got homesick and went home. Not only could I not afford to change my plane ticket to leave with him, I didn’t want to. I still had Ireland to explore! I still had two days in Rome on my way home! I am forever glad I decided to stay. I conquered my fears and traveled by myself, sometimes meeting wonderful people to hang out with, sometimes it was just me, but the experience was amazing.

One country I didn’t get to on that trip was Portugal. I long to visit cities like Porto and Lisbon. I’d take my husband and we’d have a long, lingering vacation mixed in with sight-seeing to see the gorgeous architecture, take the Lisbon trollies up old narrow streets, learn about the gorgeous blue tiles or azulejos.

We’d start our mornings at alfresco cafés with rich, creamy coffee and the pastéis de nata or a savory crepe. Of course We’d visit a museum or two, some historic buildings, but mostly we’d stroll around and eat and drink our way through the cities. We’d people watch and visit the famous food market in Lisbon, Mercado da Ribeira. Eat lunches as the small neighborhood places (tascas) with chilled wine wine. Lazy afternoon naps are a must. Then it’s on to dinner where I can eat local fresh seafood and fish to my heart’s content. And chocolate cake for dessert with local red wine, maybe some port to go with my cake. Mmm, I can practically taste it all now.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog!


 Sara Ohlin


GENRE:  Contemporary Romance



What’s a sexy rancher to do when an uptight accountant falls into his lap?

Already reeling at having inherited the family farm on his father’s death, photojournalist Cruz Brockman returns home to the Oregon town of Graciella to receive another blow—accountant Miranda Jenks is there to audit the books because the IRS suspect his late father of tax fraud. To their astonishment, sparks fly between the passionate Cruz and the career-focused Miranda upon first meeting, and the heat rises with every encounter.

Threatened with losing everything his family has worked for, Cruz has no choice but to be completely open with the uptight Miranda, something that doesn’t come easily to him, just as focusing on her own needs is foreign to her. She’s buried her own desires all her life, but the longer she spends with the captivating rancher, the more she wants to dive into a passionate affair with him.

An intense, toe-curling physical connection is one thing, but exposing their hearts is another. As Miranda finishes her audit and the clock counts down to her leaving, can the reluctant rancher and the shy accountant conquer their fears and fight for their love?



Shouldn’t things seem easier between us? He’d apologized. They’d cleared the air on that whatever-it-was that had happened in the library. ‘Kiss’ was too mild a word. He’d practically blown all the fuses in her brain. He’d devoured her. Nothing felt easier. Instead the space seemed to shrink and she felt as though someone had sucked all the oxygen out of the barn. She started walking backwards toward the barn door.

“I should go.”

“I need to get—”

They spoke at the same time. He laughed and let a breath out as he faced her. “Miranda.”

“Yes,” she said, caught in his gaze.

“I’m not sorry for that kiss,” Cruz said, his face serious again as he pinned her with that look of desire. He took a step toward her. “I’m sorry for being rude, for putting you in an awkward position.” He continued walking closer. “But I’m not sorry for that kiss, for feeling what I felt. You confuse me.”

“Bossy accountant not your type?” She tried to joke, but the words came out jagged.

His strides were long. In an instant he’d caught up to her so their bodies were almost touching. “I don’t know what my type is.” His voice deepened. “I haven’t been in one place long enough or spent enough time trying to figure out if I have a type. The only thing I’ve ever been sure of is my work and this land, the farm, the people.”

He tucked a stray hair behind her ear. The intimacy startled her more than his gaze. She felt raw inside with need. She only had to stretch up a little to meet him. Her lips could be on his again. That delicious fire could consume her, which was exactly why she took a large step back and kept going.

 Buy links:

Totally Bound


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Puget Sound based writer, Sara Ohlin is a mom, wannabe photographer, obsessive reader, ridiculous foodie, and the author of the upcoming contemporary romance novels, Handling the Rancher and Salvaging Love.

She has over fifteen years of creative non-fiction and memoir writing experience, and you can find her essays at, Feminine Collective,  Mothers Always Write, Her View from Home, and in anthologies such as Are We Feeling Better Yet? Women Speak about Healthcare in America, Take Care: Tales, Tips, & Love from WomenCaregivers, and Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Although she’s the author of many essays about life, grief, motherhood and the connections we make through delicious food and shared meals, Sara loves creating imaginary worlds with tight-knit communities in her romance novels. She credits her mother, Mary, Nora Roberts and Rosamunde Pilcher for her love of romance.

If she’s not reading or writing, you will most likely find her in the kitchen creating scrumptious meals with her two kids and amazing husband, or perhaps cooking up her next love story.

She once met a person who both “didn’t read books” and wasn’t “that into food” and it nearly broke her heart.



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The tour dates can be found here

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Hanami by V.C. Buckley (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

V.C. Buckley


GENRE: Romance, New adult, romantic suspense, contemporary



“I am no princess… I am Yakuza,”

SAKURA SHINTANI is the heir to the Dragon Clan—Japan’s most notorious crime dynasty. But can she keep this fact a secret from the annoying brats of Oniyuri Academy?

She must try to master her demons while trying not to hurt anyone. But having the face of an angel puts her on everyone’s radar… including the arrogant heir to Asia’s most powerful tycoon, KENJIN KIYOHARA. He senses the danger, but Sakura is too interesting to be left alone.



Jin rolled his eyes, settling his gaze back on the girl. He wasn’t surprised with their reaction.

The new girl was hot, but so what? It took more than a pretty face to get his attention. He wasn’t that easy to impress, and he was certain she’d be throwing herself at him anyway. Just like everybody else. He was sure this girl wasn’t any different from the love-crazed hyenas that stalked him.

Jin pushed back his shoulders, seeing her start towards him with her eyes still trailing on the ground.

Already? Jin thought, suppressing a laugh. He crossed his arms, waiting for her to get closer, and sure enough she stopped right in front of him. She was even prettier up close. Asian but with a hint of Caucasian mixed in.

“What?” he asked, smirking. He already knew what she might say: whether he was Kenjin Kiyohara, the sole heir to Kiyohara Industries? The questions were all the same. He thought she would have at least waited until class was over like the rest of them.

“Move your feet. You’re blocking my way,” the girl said in a sharp tone.  She shifted her gaze up at him like a threatening knife. Her topaz-colored eyes darkened, sending icy tremors down his back. He felt as if he’d been hit by a curse as his mind turned blank.

When she finally looked away, Jin was able to regain his senses. He tucked his legs out of her way, and she passed, leaving goosebumps in her wake. His eyes followed her, waiting to see if she’d look back, but she never did. Jin’s hands were trembling. His thoughts became jumbled while he struggled not to look anymore.

What was that? What just happened? This was a first for him. He couldn’t contain himself. His presence had no impact whatsoever. Instead she looked like she wanted to kill him!

Jin took a deep breath, replaying the moment in his head. Who was this girl? She sure got his attention, all right—and it left him in pieces. He fought the urge to look back again.

This girl…Jin thought. There was something about her. He couldn’t shake off the feeling. She seemed dangerous.

Buy links:


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

V.C. Buckley was born in an isolated government facility and shipped off to an Island in Southeast Asia where she grew up braving tropical thunderstorms and warding off evil villains. At sixteen she was discovered by an agent and jetted off all over the world. Her stories come from gritty moments of her childhood to the glitz of her travels. She now lives in Manila with her husband, two kids and an herb garden that has hijacked her balcony.

Other information:






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The tour dates can be found here


My review:

3.75 out of 5 stars

Hanami by V.C. Buckley is a young to new adult contemporary romance set in Japan. The story focuses on the heir to the feared Shintani clan, Sakura, and her attempts to fulfill the roles expected of her, including honoring a family contract and attending a prestigious school open only to the elite of society. Her self-imposed vow to never become as vulnerable as her parents were is tested as she learns to interact with her peers and deal with the challenges presented by those who wish to either curry favor or destroy her.

This story provides fascinating glimpses of the harsh society ruled by the formidable Yakuza while detailing the coming-of-age of the person who is struggling with her own identity. I liked many aspects of the story, including the elements of Japanese culture that are sprinkled in and the arc of Sakura’s journey, as well as the mysteries that are gradually unraveled, but I felt that other elements are not well fleshed-out, including the hierarchy of the school and the students, how Sakura became involved in the punitive aspects of her position, the role of the scholars and the scope of their duties as interns, the major competitive events, etc. Those who have triggers should be advised that there are some elements of graphic violence as well as potential assault situations.

This is listed as a new adult romance, and that is accurate with respect to the ages of the main characters, but the evolution of the relationship(s) is very tame, reflecting Sakura’s isolation from her peers up to this point.  The writing is stilted in places, with odd word choices, and the action is jerky at times, but the imagery evoked is vivid and the storyline is intriguing. I enjoyed watching the blossoming of emotions and seeing Sakura’s competence but felt some things were a bit inconsistent about her situational awareness and vulnerability. The mystical element was a bit over the top for me but it did serve a dual purpose, although I was surprised that one character was mature enough to make a pivotal decision that seemed uncharacteristic. This is the first book in the series of the same name, so I expect that many of the dangling threads that irked me will be addressed in subsequent tales and I look forward to learning more about this unique and intriguing character and those around her.

A copy of this title was provided for review