Monday, April 17, 2017 | By: Taffy

My next writing venture

Sooooo...I finished Blinded Mercy or formerly known as EMMA. I've sent it to readers and I'll see what they think. Based on their notes, poor Emma may just go into a drawer. But I've learned from this editing experience:

1. I love/hate editing. I love to free write and that leads to messy manuscripts. This time I used Margie Lawson's deep editing tools and I feel like it really helped me focus and edit and actually enjoy editing.

2. I found my rhythm! I found I like to editing in the morning, write, outline, etc in the afternoon, and read in the evening. I don't feel stressed when I do this. FTW!

3. Everyone needs cheerleaders. I'm grateful for my friends and hubby who keep cheering me on.

I'm a little excited and nervous about what I want to do next. I have a few things in mind:

  • I wrote a coma story for NANO I want to outline.
  • A short story from my WWI story.  How so-and-so met so-and-so.
  • A YA story of a princess set in Greece.
  • A YA loose retelling of Cyrano. I have an outline for this one. I started a story years ago in prose. Well, the girl's POV was through her journal and the boy's was poems. I think a Cyrano idea would be fun.

What are you working on? Reading? Doing this month?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 | By: Taffy

3 defining moments of Emperor Nero's life | Author Margaret George BLOG TOUR

by Margaret George
Berkley Hardcover
On Sale: March 7, 2016
Price: $28.00
ISBN: 9780451473387

THE CONFESSIONS OF YOUNG NERO takes readers through the early life of Rome’s infamous Nero. Through the machinations of his mother, Agrippina the Younger, Nero became emperor at the age of sixteen, the last of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. But the road was a frightening one.  The young boy, an intelligent, sensitive and watchful child, had a series of psychological shocks from an early age.  His cruel uncle Caligula and his scheming cousin Messalina threatened his life, and his domineering and ambitious mother Agrippina married and poisoned two men en route to securing the throne for her son. Agrippina viewed Nero’s power as an extension of her own will. But once on the throne—like the teenage boy he was—Nero did not want to take orders from his mother.  Soon the world was not big enough for the two of them. Thereafter he was remembered as a hedonist and tyrant who “fiddled” while his people burned. But the truth behind the caricature, revealed here, shows Nero to be instead a product of his mother’s relentless ambition, and the incest, violence, luxury, and intrigue that have gripped Rome’s seat of power for generations.

Margaret George is the author of the bestselling Autobiography of Henry VIII; Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles; The Memoirs of Cleopatra; and Mary, Called Magdalene.

Tara O’Connor
Publicity Assistant | Berkley, Penguin Random House
375 Hudson Street, 5th Floor | New York, NY | 10014
212-366-2525 |


 As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda’s only hope for escape lies in an arcane, forbidden power that’s buried within her.

In Emily R. King’s thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own

Opening line:
"Snowy mountains tear into the ashen sky, their jagged peaks pearly, like wolverine fangs."

So starts one of the best books I've read this year. Why? Why is it one of my favorites? I got sucked into the book, characters, story and couldn't pull myself out. Heart-pounding adventure, romance and intrigue. Wow. So well written. Ms. King's words are mesmerizing and kept me reading long after I should have been asleep.
Kalinda is an orphan, raised by the Sisterhood, destined to quiet and prayers. But that doesn't really suit her and we come to love her quiet rebelliousness. She must fight to stay alive to become the Hundredth Queen. She's smart, strong and driven to do what's right. I love how she's disgusted with the way the men treat the women.
Deven is the guard is suppose to watch over her. But he gets too close to her and develops a relationship and then more. He's torn between his duty to the empire and his growing admiration (or is it love?) for Kalinda.
Tarek is the rajah is greedy, crazy and cruel, and he is the one who Claimed her and is suppose to marry her. I wanted him to choke on his tongue so many times.
And all of this story is set on the backdrop of an exquisite country and palace. Ms. King has a way with words that develop not only characters, but the worlds in which the characters live. The food, the clothes, the country and its people. I felt like I was there, like I could reach out and touch the Turquoise Palace.

I can't wait to read the next book! Hurry and get it out on shelves!

Violence: Fighting.  Lots of fighting, but not super descriptive. 
Language: No
Sex: Sexual tension; kissing

Friday, March 3, 2017 | By: Taffy

2017 March TBR pile

 Bahbye February. I'm not going to lie, I'm kind of glad your over.
I have a big list of books to read this month. I wonder if I can finish?

After two teenage sisters, Mira and Francesca, drown themselves in a neighborhood quarry, their next-door neighbor Ben receives post-mortem letters from Mira. This letter challenges Ben to track down the hidden, cryptic notes hidden in seven places alluding to where the two secretly touched. As Ben uncovers each note, he starts to unravel the hidden lies and secrets that these girls kept, and just how complicated their bonds with the outside world were.

 Charlie isn’t looking forward to sixth grade. If he starts sixth grade, chances are he’ll finish it. And when he does, he’ll grow older than the brother he recently lost. Armstrong isn’t looking forward to sixth grade, either. When his parents sign him up for Opportunity Busing to a white school in the Hollywood Hills, all he wants to know is "What time in the morning will my alarm clock have the opportunity to ring?"  When these two land at the same desk, it's the Rules Boy next to the Rebel, a boy who lost a brother elbow-to-elbow with a boy who longs for one.
From September to June, arms will wrestle, fists will fly, and bottles will spin.  There'll be Ho Hos spiked with hot sauce, sleepovers, boy talk about girls, and a little guidance from the stars. 
Set in Los Angeles in the 1970s, Armstrong and Charlie is the hilarious, heartwarming tale of two boys from opposite worlds, Different, yet the same.

Last Year's Mistake
Kelsey and David became best friends the summer before freshman year and were inseparable ever after. Until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke and everything around her crumbled - including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey’s parents decided to move away, she couldn’t wait to start over and leave the past behind. Except, David wasn't ready to let her go...

Now it’s senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David’s family relocates to the same town and he shakes up everything. Soon old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey’s second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never let him go. And that maybe she never wants to.
 Back in college, Marco Winslow never thought of Belle as anything more than a friend. If she crossed his mind on his wedding day, it was probably only to wonder why she hadn’t shown up to be a bridesmaid. After all, his new wife had been her roommate.

Six years have passed since then, and Belle just found out that Marco is divorced and vacationing with his parents in a Cancun resort. She’s not about to let the right man get away twice. She heads to the resort where she plans to casually bump into Marco and ignite some flames.

But Belle hadn’t planned on one thing: Flynn Winslow, Marco’s handsome, charming, and determined older brother. Flynn thinks Marco and his ex-wife can make amends and he’s not about to let Belle stand in the way.

Part Sabrina, part While You Were Sleeping, romantic comedy readers will eat this book up!

 Intriguing and inspirational, this book is a call to look outward rather than inward. McCann asks his readers to constantly push the boundaries of experience, to see empathy and wonder in the stories we craft and hear. Letters to a Young Writer is fierce and honest in its testament to the bruises delivered by writing as both a profession and a calling. It charges aspiring writers to learn the rules and even break them.

Dive into these 52 essays.

 From the New York Times bestselling author of Flight Patterns comes a stunning new novel about a young single mother who discovers that the nature of friendship is never what it seems....

Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It’s not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren’t helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail.

Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee—something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past.

Sugar’s stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother’s seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather's world.

In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee’s house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women....

 From USA Today bestselling author Heather B. Moore:


At twenty-six, Maria is holding out for the perfect man to share the rest of her life with. Josh seems to be that man, but after months of dating, their relationship is at a stand-still. Maria plans to nudge Josh forward, but when the company she works for is bought out, her new boss Walker seems determined to change Maria’s idea of the perfect man.

 “Friendships, family, grief, joy, rage, faith, doubt, poetry, and love—this complex and sensitive book has room for every aspect of growing up!”—Margarita Engle, Newbery Honor–Winning author of The Surrender Tree      Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?        This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.

 Union Pacific Station Agent Chadwick Hughes has everything in a state of readiness to welcome his mail order bride…everything but the bride. The woman he’s corresponded with for a year didn’t change her mind or miss her train in Omaha—she never existed. Chadwick’s mortified to discover he’s been swindled by a fraudulent matrimonial agency in Chicago. He needs a lawyer if he’ll ever recover a dime of the fortune he spent on worthless membership fees and the nonexistent bride’s transportation west.

Sophia Sorensen, Attorney at Law, is a spinster on the edge of propriety. The good people of Wyoming Territory are open to a lot of things, including Lady’s Privilege during Leap Years, but some aren’t fond of her day-to-day behavior. Why, the woman rides her bicycle hither and yon, showing her petticoat ruffle and ankles. She might be the least ladylike specimen beneath Wyoming skies, but it’s entertaining to watch her court the U.P. Station Agent, Chadwick Hughes, the most-eligible bachelor in the county.

 In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.

From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France.

It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father’s troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William’s wife and still be a devoted daughter.

Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father's reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.

Saturday, February 18, 2017 | By: Taffy


Coming August 2017 from USA Today bestselling author Rachael Anderson

The Splash of Lady Harriett
When wills clash and hearts collide, who will come away victorious?
RachaelAuthor Rachael Anderson A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.
  amazon or paypal $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway Ends 3/15/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 | By: Taffy

LOVE ME TRUE: Overcoming the Surprising Ways We Decieve in Relationships by Jason B. Whiting, PhD, LMFT

 Even though love should be beautiful and fun, it can also cause emotional ups and downs. In Love Me True, marriage and family therapist Dr. Jason B. Whiting uses engaging, relatable stories to show that deception is often at the root of relationship breakdown and teach how couples can use truth to strengthen their relationships.

•Understand your own tendencies to lie.
•Avoid playing the victim.
•Use body language to communicate more effectively.
•Be present with your partner.

Use Whiting’s counsel to overcome dishonesty and build a more open and trusting partnership.

Opening line:
"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances:
If there is any reaction, boy are transformed. Carl Jung"

This book would be a good one for those thinking of marriage, engaged or long-time married spouses. Each chapter is full of relationship stories, thoughtful examples and ideas. At the end of each chapter, Mr. Whiting sums up the main points and discussions questions.

There were a lot of insights I took away from the book. Understanding my emotions is a good way to start! Anger, fear, pain can all make me lash out at all those around me without thinking what I'm feeling or saying.

I also learned there's a lot more to dishonesty than lying.

This is a quick read with understandable concepts and not weighed down in a lot of therapy jargon.

Stu Stories: The Adventures of Dirt Clod and His Sidekick Bird Bones by Patrick Hueller SPOTLIGHT!

 You know you want to read this book! Look at this cover! Read the description! Then look at the author picture! 
(Yes, I used a lot of exclamation points. Middle grade books do that!).

Book Summary: Stu Sanderson is no ordinary eighth-grader. Almost seven feet tall, he vanishes into thin air, duels knights with ninja stealth, lifts the downtrodden, and woos the coolest, best-calved girl in school. Become a middle-grade legend with Stu and his sidekick, Bird Bones, on the journey of a lifetime in Stu Stories.

“Stu and Bird Bones’ adventures are hilarious, sometimes horrifying, and definitely legendary. This book hits on pretty much every topic I cared about when I was a kid (love, Jedis, severed legs, etc.).” —Geoff Herbach, author of Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders

“Really fun . . . has tones of Wayside School and Maniac Magee and How Angel Peterson Got His Name.” —Kurtis Scaletta, author of Mudville

 “Stu Stories captures eighth grade life in its finest and wackiest form. A fun-filled zany ride!” —Frank Cole, author of The Afterlife Academy

"“Because I’m Patrick ‘Bird Bones’ Hueller’s brother, people ask me, ‘Did everything in Stu Stories really happen?’ But enough about Patrick. Let’s get back to talking about me.” —Andy Hueller, author of Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth and other amazing books

 “The more legendary this book becomes, the more legendary I become.” —Stu

Patrick Hueller has an MFA from the University of Minnesota. Through various pen names, he has written several YA and MG novels. Foul, a sports-horror story written under the name Paul Hoblin, was described by Booklist as “the strongest entry yet in the Night Fall collection” and “unbearably tense.” The Beast (also as Paul Hoblin) was a School Library Journal selection. His most recent titles include Wolf High and The Wish (as P.W. Hueller), both of which made SLJ’s list of “Accessible Reads for Struggling Reluctant Readers.” His work is included in several anthologies, including Fright Before Christmas and Love and Profanity: A Collection of True, Tortured, Wild, Hilarious, Concise and Intense Tales of Teenage Life.

Mr. Hueller is a writing instructor at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Check out more of his and Stu’s thoughts on Twitter (@callmebirdbones). To contact Patrick you can visit his author website: (Stu's a little harder to track down.)
Tuesday, February 7, 2017 | By: Taffy

10 (of my favorite) unforgettable love stories in fiction

There are so many good love stories out there. One of them is mine (had to throw that in there) though my is nonfiction. Shall I tell you the story? I promise you won't get too bored. It involves a foreign country, Americans, and a cute boy.

The summer after I graduated from high school my friends (mostly girls) and I left the US of A to teach English in Taiwan. It was a good gig: good moeny, see new sights, learn different customs.
Ugh. It was a long flight over. Then the humidity was like 100%. And Taipei smelled strange and most people were brown and spoke a different language. The culture shock hit pretty fast.
What was I thinking?
The good thing was I was surrounded by Americans who helped me get a job, figure out which bus to take and how to order food.
The next good thing was I fell in love. I fell in love the people and the culture and food. I LOVED my new home. Oh my word! The adventures I went on, both planned and unplanned. The people I met and the memories I will forever hold close. I was only there for six months but I felt like I left part of myself over there.

A few weeks after I arrived, another group of Americans (all boys) showed up (we all went to church together). They were cute, especially The One. But like most insecure young'uns, I didn't think I had a chance with him. We hung out a lot as our two groups explored the area over the next few months. We became good friends. Then He started asking me out. We went to movies with Chinese subtitles, ate fresh fruit from the night markets and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking.
Then it happened...he kissed me! It took him long enough! He'll tell you I was playing hard to get and I'll say he had to earn it.
Me and The Cute Boy
He went home before I did and I missed him. When I flew in to the states, he was waiting at my airport with flowers. A month later he asked me to marry him. A few months later we were married.
Yup! Whirlwind is a perfect adjective to describe our engagement. But why wait when you know deep, deep down, that you were meant to spend the rest of your life with someone?

So, I guess I gave you two love stories: how I met my husband and how I fell for a country.

How about you? Do you have a love story? A book or a dessert or a person you absolutely love? Tell me! 

 Now onto the books. In no particular order I give you some of my all time favorite love stories in fiction:

The Far Pavillions by M. M. Kaye

The Far Pavilions is a story about an Englishman- Ashton Pelham-Martyn -brought up as a Hindu. It is the story of his passionate, but dangerous love for Juli, am Indian princess. It is the story of divided loyalties, of friendship that endures till death, of high adventure and of the clash between East and West.

I LOVE this story! lovelovelove the forbidden love story and adventure.

Finding Sheba (An Omar Zagouri Thriller #1) by H. B Moore

For centuries, historians have speculated that the Queen of Sheba is nothing more than a seductive legend; but when undercover agent Omar Zagouri finds a tomb in a tunnel beneath Jerusalem, he unearths cryptic clues that may lead to the queen’s final resting place.

Dr. Richard Lyon of Brown University, the world’s leading expert on the queen, is found murdered in his office, setting off a chain of deadly events. Omar desperately works to piece together the puzzle to locate the queen’s burial ground, fearing another assassination will take place. He teams up with one of Lyon’s protégées as well as with his ex-girlfriend, agent Mia Golding, in order to unravel the truth about the queen, expose a murderer, and reveal a timeless story of love, revenge, and sacrifice.

I love this series because the author has two love stories going: one ancient and one modern. These stories are well-researched and full of romantic tension as well as thrilling adventures and dangers.

The Wrath and the Dawn

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

Just. Just go read this one. Trust me. If you love forbidden love stories, read it.

The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King
As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda’s only hope for escape lies in an arcane, forbidden power that’s buried within her.

In Emily R. King’s thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own.

So starts one of the best books I've read this year. Why? Why is it one of my favorites? I got sucked into the book, characters, story and couldn't pull myself out. Heart-pounding adventure, romance and intrigue.

Unraveled: A Tale of True Love by Julie Daines

 When sickness swept through Bronwen’s family, it took the life of her father, brother, and sister, and left her permanently crippled. On the stormy eve of her sixteenth birthday, a faerie-witch gifts her a pair of enchanted shoes. Bronwen slips them on and is healed--but only when the shoes are on her feet. Her grace and beauty catches the eye of the king’s son--Urien, a handsome young man who prides himself on having everything perfect.

When Rhys, an old acquaintance and Captain of the Guard, recognizes Bronwen, he threatens to tell Urien her secret. Desperate to keep her deformity hidden and not to lose the love of handsome Urien, Bronwen quickly finds herself tangled in a web of lies and deceit. After all, she can't wear the shoes forever

 This is such a sweet story of being your true self and finding the person who loves you just as you are.

The Thief (The Queen's Thief #1) by Megan Whalen Turner

The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities.

What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.

Another series that I LOVE! Oh my word, Gen is so complex. This is one series I reread because the twists made me want to go back and read everything that led up to the twist. It was awesome! (The 2nd and 3rd books were my favorite.)

Edenbrooke by Julie Donaldson
 Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she'll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry.

From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.

I'm gonna gush.  I love a good, clean, smart book. Throw in romance, a dashing gentleman and lady who can laugh at herself and I'm sold.

 The Kiss of A Stranger (The Jonquil Brothers) by Sarah M. Eden

When Crispin, Lord Cavratt, thoroughly and scandalously kisses a serving woman in the garden of a country inn, he assumes the encounter will be of no consequence. But he couldn't be more mistaken--the maid is not only a lady of birth, she's the niece of a very large, exceptionally angry gentlemen, who claims Crispin has compromised his niece beyond redemption. The dismayed young lord has no choice but to marry Miss Catherine Thorndale, who lacks both money and refinement and assumes all men are as vicious as her guardian uncle.

Trapped between an unwanted marriage and a hasty annulment, which would leave his reputation tainted and Catherine's utterly ruined, Crispin begins guiding his wife's transformation from a socially petrified country girl to a lady of society. Their unfolding relationship reveals encouraging surprises for both of them, and privately each of them wonders if theirs may become a true marriage of the heart. But their hopes are dashed when forces conspire to split asunder what fate has granted. As a battle of wits escalates into a life-threatening confrontation, will it be possible for Crispin and Catherine to live happily ever after?

So many of Ms. Eden's books are worth a mention! But I went with my first one and the one I love. Loved, loved this book. Who doesn't love a good, clean romance? And a Regency Romance is even better.

So I'm not going to put the obvious ones on this list.  Like: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Wives and Daughters, Romeo and Juliet.  But this next one is a favorite spin off of Pride and Prejudice.

An Assembly Such As This (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman #1)

And so the question has long remained: Who is Fitzwilliam Darcy?

In An Assembly Such as This, Pamela Aidan finally answers that long-standing question. In this first book of her Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy, she reintroduces us to Darcy during his visit to Hertfordshire with his friend Charles Bingley and reveals Darcy's hidden perspective on the events of Pride and Prejudice. As Darcy spends more time at Netherfield supervising Bingley and fending off Miss Bingley's persistent advances, his unwilling attraction to Elizabeth grows—as does his concern about her relationship with his nemesis, George Wickham.

 This is such a fun spin off from Darcy's point of view.  The middle book is a little wonky but the first and third are great.

 And lastly, I'm going to add the Timeless Romance Anthologies. I know they aren't "books" per se, but I love these quick reads from talented authors. There are so many to choose from! I'm only putting a few covers here:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 | By: Taffy

New Year! Welcome 2017!

First off, happy 2017! Wahoo! It's a new year, a new perspective, a new beginning.

I had this whole blog post I typed up about me and mine and what we went through last year and the positive that came out of the negative and the goals I didn't achieve last year and the one's I want to check off this year.
But then I saw watched this TED talk with Brené Brown and she says so many things of what I was thinking for myself this year. I want to be kinder to myself. Forgive myself more; say no more; open my heart more.

Here are a few WOW moments from the talk for me:

  • We make what is uncertain, certain. For instance, politics and religion. We tend to say, "I'm right, you're wrong. Shut up." There's no discourse or conversation anymore, just blame.
  • What is blame? Blame is a way to discharge our pain and discomfort. (WOW)
  • We are hardwired to struggle. We are not perfect. But we ARE worthy of love and belonging!

The takeaways:
  • Let ourselves be seen, deeply seen
  • Love with out hearts, even though there is no guarantee
  • Practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror
  • I am enough. We are kinder and gentler to the people around us and ourselves when we know we are enough

So I'm going share it with you. It's about 20 minutes long but thought provoking.

Monday, January 9, 2017 | By: Taffy

My top fifteen favorite reads from 2016

I read so many amazing books in 2016! I wanted to put them all on this list. I tried to narrow it down to ten but I gave in to fifteen.
I can't wait to find my 2017 favorites!

What were your favorite reads last year?

(There is no particular order to these books.)

EVER THE HUNTED (Clash of Kingdoms #1) by Erin Summerill
Loved this book. Love the author.

SIX OF CROWS and CROOKED KINGDOM  (Six of Crows #1 & #2) by Leigh Bardugo
Her characters are so well developed that I mourned with them, wanted to slap them silly and loved them.

TRUTH OF EMBERS (Dragonsword #3) by Catilyn McFarland
Do you like dragons? Read this series! Do you like romance AND dragons? Read this series!

I love Ms. King's writing style!

AS YOU ARE (The Jonquil Brothers #3) by Sarah M. Eden
Anything by Sarah Eden is worth your time. Especially ones about the Jonquil brothers.

Pirates! Romance! Yes, please!

GILDED CAGE (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic Smith
Aristocrats, magic and the dark side of both.

Taming of the Shrew meets modern day high school. Totally cute!

THE WRATH & THE DAWN (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh
Beautiful story inspired by A Thousand and One nights.

THE READER (Sea of Ink and Gold #1) by Traci Chee
A book that tells the future as you read it?

A retelling of tempest in a prison. It's awesome.

 SLAVE QUEEN (An Omar Zagouri Thriller #3) By H.B. Moore
I love this series. The author goes back and forth between our time and the time of Ottoman empire. And there's lots of romance.

WILLOWKEEP by Julie Daines
Ghostly letters and love among the willows.

The title sums up the story nicely.

Sunday, January 1, 2017 | By: Taffy


The Kingmaker
“I am sixteen years old and I will die on the morning of my seventeenth birthday. As tradition dictates, I will be sacrificed and my life’s blood will determine which one of my two brothers will be King. My blood will kill one and crown one. My name is Everleigh and I am the Kingmaker.”

The legend of the Kingmaker goes back millions of years. Their magic chooses the rightful King of the Realm and they all die on their seventeenth birthday.

Except this one.

Everleigh is special.

She is the Kingmaker who will live, the Kingmaker who will rule, the Kingmaker who will be Queen.

But not everyone agrees with an age old prophecy that says that a girl will rule the Realm and soon Everleigh is locked in a deadly battle for the throne.
Genre: Young adult historical fantasy
Release: January 1s t 2017

Seize the Crown
The legend of the Kingmaker goes back millions of years. Their magic chooses the rightful King of the Realm and they all die on their seventeenth birthday.

Except Everleigh. A prophecy said she would live and rule, but her brother’s deadly ambition saw him take the crown that should rightfully be on her head.

Everleigh is determined to avenge her loved ones and seize the crown at the same time.

If a fight is what it takes to rule, she will fight or die trying, in this fantastic follow up to The Kingmaker.

Genre: Young adult historical fantasy
Release: January 1s t 2017

Born to Rule

The legend of the Kingmaker goes back millions of years. Their magic chooses the rightful King of the Realm and they all die on their seventeenth birthday.
Except Everleigh. A prophecy said she would live and rule, and she finally holds all of the power in the Realm. With her brother missing in action, the crown is almost on her head and she is ready to rule.
But with Millard on the run and attacks being made ‘in the name of the King’, Everleigh must put a stop to her brother before her Kingdom is in ruins and if, as Queen, she must kill her own blood, she will gladly do it, in this incredible conclusion to The Kingmaker Trilogy.
Genre: Young adult historical fantasy
Release: January 1s t 2017

Gemma Perfect loves to write. She’s been doing it since she was nine. After a few false starts – self publishing children’s books, and being traditionally published with her romance novella, she has finally found her feet writing young adult historical fantasy books. She is currently writing The Cursed Princess, set five years after The Kingmaker Trilogy finishes, following the adventures of Everleigh's sister, Addyson.

Gemma lives in Wales with her husband Craig and their three boys, Sam, Corey and Oliver. She is happiest when writing, day dreaming and eating smelly blue cheese.

Author links:


Teasers and pictures for promos: