Thursday, September 7, 2017

Review: The Last Outlaw

The Last Outlaw (Outlaw Hearts - Book 4) by Rosanne Bittner

Publication Date: 9/5/2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc.
Imprint: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Western Historical Romance
Pages: 448

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Casablanca)

On the web: websitefacebooktwitterinstagram, goodreads

Books in the Series:

Outlaw Hearts

1. Outlaw Hearts
2. Do Not Forsake Me
3. Love's Sweet Revenge
4. The Last Outlaw


Excerpt from courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature


"An emotional powerhouse!"―RT Book Reviews 4 1/2 Stars, TOP PICK! for Do Not Forsake Me
"Fresh and alluring."―Publishers Weekly STARRED for The Last Outlaw

True Love Never Dies

Times have changed, and the old Wild West is a thing of the past. Nestled in his beautiful Colorado ranch, surrounded by family, infamous former outlaw Jake Harkner's hung up his guns for good and finally found a measure of peace―but dark memories haunt the woman who has always been his strength, and not even Jake is certain he can save his beloved Miranda this time.

All he can do is swear to remain by her side. But it takes more than a hope for peace to outrun a past defined by violence, and it isn't long before Jake is embroiled in a rescue mission he simply can't refuse. Life has brought him back full circle as he rides into Mexico to save a young girl from a dreadful fate...leaving Miranda behind one final time, fearing that the man she loves more than anything is destined to die the way he's always lived―by the gun.

Readers of western historical romances usually know the name, Rosanne Bittner. She has been called the queen of this sub-genre and if you haven't tried one of her books, it's high time you did. With the final book in the Outlaw Hearts series, The Last Outlaw, Bittner brings to culmination a love story spanning over 30 years. Jake and Miranda Harkner's story has captivated readers with it's spine tingling action and epic love. Bittner once again takes readers to the heart of the Colorado ranch country and into the lives of a family in crisis. The era of the gunslinger is ending and Jake is struggling to find his place in this new world, while his wife Miranda claws her way back from a devastating attack. Strap in tight readers, this story is far from over!

What I liked:

Though I have not reviewed any of the other books in the Outlaw Hearts series, I have read them. Rosanne Bittner is a favorite of mine in the western historical sub-genre. This series has been such a wonderful glimpse into the west through the eyes of one family. The Harkner's are the epitome of the ranching family. They've worked hard to get where they are and the patriarch of the family, Jake has been pivotal. It is not often a romance writer uses a hero and heroine in their autumn years. Jake is over 60 in this book, but still very vibrant and alive. While Miranda is ten years younger, she is represents the strong western spirit and tenacity. I liked the fact that Bittner did not shy away from that in order to capture a younger audience. This love was epic and it required an epic ending. Bittner did not disappoint.

Jake, like many a man has a past. He struggles with that and it haunts him to an extent. Self worth issues are something many of us can relate to. Now, times are a changing and Jake must change and adapt to a new way of life, where he can't use his guns to solve his problems. The politics and climate of the west is becoming tamer and he must figure out his place. Bittner did a wonderful job of showing a man who has fought for his place and loathes to see it slipping away. From an outlaw to a marshal to a rancher, but what will he become now?

At the end of the previous book, Miranda suffers a heartbreaking attack that leaves her devastated. Her recovery is long and arduous. She is clearly suffering from PTSD and it will break the heart of the reader to see this once strong and passionate woman reduced to shreds. But in true Bittner fashion, Miranda will come out stronger than before and watching her rebuild her foundation was amazing. I loved this part of the story because it showed courage and faith and how family makes all the difference.

What I didn't like:

Like many western historical's you only have a certain amount of content to work with. I struggled a little with finding some elements of the story a little to repetitious. Things I had seen before or tropes already used. But not surprisingly Bittner always seems to turn it into something that takes unexpected twists and turns that captivate and keep the reader glued to the pages. 

Bottom Line:

This was a great ending to a wonderful series. Rosanne Bittner knows how to write a good western romance. Though somewhat repetitious in idea, the execution was unique. Bittner gives reader a older hero and heroine that should be done way more often than it is. She tackles themes like self worth and inner demons like a pro and handles PTSD with kid gloves. This an author you really need to try. Not a book I would recommend to be read out of order, but that's okay, this entire series should not be missed.

The Last Outlaw is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag.

About the Author

USA Today bestseller and award-winning novelist Rosanne Bittner is highly acclaimed for her thrilling love stories and historical authenticity. Her epic romances span the West-from Canada to Mexico, Missouri to California-and are often based on Rosanne's personal visits to each setting. She lives with her husband and two sons in Michigan.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Review: Summoner

Summoner by S.D. Grimm

Publication Date: 9/4/2017
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Imprint: Entangled Teen
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy, YA & Teen
Pages: 330

(Received for an honest review from Entangled Teen)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes

S.D. Grimm on the Web: website, facebook, twitter, goodreads

Excerpt from Summoner by S.D. Grimm courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature


When Allie’s best friend dares their group to play a game in a cemetery—something she calls Dzwitchingdz—Allie never expects what it might mean for her. When she plays, she doesn’t just find bodies, she summons their souls. But one soul wants more than Allie is willing to give.
And the boy next door could be the key to saving her.
Cody Burkhart. Straight from Montana, cowboy hat wearing, and smoking hot, he’s just the thing to help Allie become Dznormaldz again after the death of her mother. And as her newly appointed Guardian, he’s also just the thing to help Allie ward off the vengeful spirit who’s after her soul. Except Cody has his own demons to slay that keep him closed off. But as the full moon approaches, so does their only chance to break the curse, and Cody will have to make the biggest sacrifice of all.


The newest book by author S.D. Grimm is a combination of the paranormal and a young adult romance. This ain't your mama's scariest ghost tale but it does have some witching, divining, a spirit summoner and a guardian that might catch your interest. Grimm's coming of age story delves into some complex story elements, like inner demons and grief. Readers looking for something different as the fall season gets underway will find this title right up their creepy alley. 

What I liked:

S.D. Grimm is a new author for me, so I was, as usual, a bit skeptical going in. There are so many titles in the paranormal and fantasy genres that are repetitive and just run of the mill. Grimm does and excellent job of giving readers a refreshing take on an old staple, the ghost story. Divining for water, I've heard of, divining for bodies? That's a new one! 

I liked the whole cemetery scene in the beginning of the book a lot because it started showing the reader the world that Grimm was going to build. It introduced the reader to what a 'summoner' is and how it would effect the story. I thought Grimm did a great job getting the scary vibe going, but also in introducing the lead character, Allie.

Allie is a young girl dealing with the loss of her mother from Cancer. Unfortunately, something that has touched many of our own families. I thought Grimm's take on grief and loss was poignant and compelling. Survivor's guilt is a real thing no matter what type of situation it is. Grimm allows the reader to see inside Allie's struggle and how she eventually made it back to herself. I liked that the author didn't just sweep it under the rug. This is something that stays with you.

Allie finds out that her next door neighbor Cody may hold the key to getting her out of a potentially sticky situation with the spirit she divines completely by accident. Cody is a guardian and a very interesting one at that. He has his own inner demons and is dealing with life with a disability after losing his hand. I loved the fact that Grimm gives the reader an unorthodox hero. Cody may not seem like the perfect demon slayer but he shows that no matter your adversity you can overcome.

What I didn't like:

When I got this title to review I was expecting a spooky tale just in time for the fall season to begin. I tend to read titles that are a bit ghostly this time of year. Though this story started out that way, it became more of romance in the end than a paranormal tale. There was nothing wrong with the romance but I think it would have benefited from having the creepy factor ramped up a bit. 

In the beginning Allie is just becoming more active and inclusive with her friends again after the loss of her mother. Obviously grief changes you. She was taking her life back and she had people in it that mattered to her. Unfortunately, that got a little lost as the story went on and we heard nothing about her friends and more and more about just Cody. I wanted some back story on the people she had in her life. I wanted them to play a bigger more important role than just the first scene of the book.

Bottom Line:

This was a good story. The romance is sweet and tender and I liked both the male and female lead. I loved the way the author handled the ideas of grief and inner demons. Her use of an unorthodox and compelling hero was very well done. But I wanted a little more creep for my buck. Ghosts are scary.Don't let me forget about that along the way. Wish the momentum from the first scene in the graveyard had carried throughout the tale. And if you introduce me to someone as a side character, I want them to have a place in the story. I don't want to wonder if they are going to appear anywhere else in the story, I want to know they will.

Summoner is available NOW from your favorite book seller.

I'm giving this one 4 our of 5 apples from my book bag.  

About the Author:

S. D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult fantasy and science fiction. That's to be expected from someone who looks up to heroes like Captain America and Wonder Woman, has been sorted into Gryffindor, and isn't much taller than a hobbit. Her patronus is a Red Voltron Lion, her spirit animal is Toothless, and her lightsaber is blue. She believes that with a little faith, a lot of love, and an untamed imagination, every adventure is possible. That's why she writes. Her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog. You can learn more about her upcoming novels at

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Review: It Happened in Scotland

It Happened in Scotland (Kilts and Quilts - Book 6) by Patience Griffin

Publication Date: 1/3/2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384

(Received for an honest review from Berkley)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes

Patience Griffin on the WEB: WebsiteTwitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the series:

Kilts and Quilts

1. To Scotland with Love
2. Meet Me in Scotland
3. Some Like it Scottish
4. The Accidental Scot
5. The Trouble With Scotland
6. It Happened in Scotland 
The Laird and I (novella)

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from It Happened in Scotland, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature


From the author of The Trouble With Scotland—a charming new romance set in the beautiful Scottish Highlands.
Christmas in the sleepy Scottish fishing village of Gandiegow this year is a time for quilting, patching up broken hearts, and rekindling an old flame...
After pulling herself out of a three-year fog of grief over the loss of her husband, Joe, Rachel is bringing their five-year-old daughter to see his hometown of Gandiegow and visit with his grandfather. But Rachel wasn’t planning on running into Joe’s cousin, the man who made her have second thoughts at the altar...

Brodie has come home to help his grandfather’s fishing business, but he’d prefer not to see Rachel. Although she did break his heart six years ago, the grip she has on him hasn’t faltered. If they can stop butting heads long enough and learn to overcome the past, they may find new love in the new year...


Patience Griffin continues her series about love in a small Scottish town with her sixth book, It Happened in Scotland. Fans of the series love the quirky characters, authentic setting and the aura of romance that surround Griffin's books. Readers get everything from stubborn hero's to a little bit of mystery in this one. A great new book, in this heartwarming series.

What I liked:

This series is a favorite of mine and Patience Griffin never disappoints. Contemporary romance is a genre that had to grow on me a bit. I started out reading historical romance and it took me a while to branch out to other areas of the romance genre. With this series I get a little bit of both. Scotland is of course near and dear to my heart. And finding an author who is able to bring the highland spirit and customs into the present day is a rare find. Griffin has created a town in Gandiegow that rivals the real thing. I want to go live there. LOL!

Rachel is more than just an average character. She has a past with this village and these people. She took away one of their native sons and returned without him. The sad part is she didn't really marry him because she loved him. She married him because of her mother. She was in love with his cousin all along. It gives a whole different meaning to her reasons for bringing her daughter to meet her father's family. I liked Rachel. She knew what she wanted and she wasn't afraid to fight for it, but I also felt like she knew when enough was enough. She didn't back track but she understood her limits and that was refreshing in a heroine. 

Brodie nearly drove me crazy. And I thought I was stubborn. I realize that Rachel burned him in the past and it's to be expected that he would not want to make the same mistake twice. However, he took it a bit too far. His issues with his own family didn't make it any easier and his distrust of women, was down right insulting at times. He did however find redemption in the end. This was really a story about forgiveness and the affects of holding on to grudges as well as, a love story.

My grandmother's were both quilters. That was one of the things that originally drew me to this series as well as my own Scottish ancestry. The Quilter's Cottage is just a place of inspiration where characters in the story learn to quilt, but readers are not overwhelmed by too many terms and techniques. I like the subtle way Griffin uses the theme but doesn't go overboard with it. I always feel like I learn something about quilting and those who do it every time I read one of these books. Romance might be the main crux of the story, but there's a lot of other stuff going on in this little village.

What I didn't like:

There were several secondary stories playing out within this book. If readers are new to the series they may have a bit of a harder time seeing where all of these little things fit into the overall story. They may seem somewhat disjointed or unnecessary to some. To those of us who have followed the series from the git go, it was nice to see old friends and characters that we have read about before. So, it's not really what I didn't like, but something some readers might not.

Bottom Line:

Once again Patience Griffin took us back to Gandiegow and as I reader I wanted to stay. Griffin's characters were believable and easy to relate to. Rachel was a girl after my own heart. Determined and understanding. Brodie was not really my cup of tea, but in the end he complimented the heroine well and provided the overall theme of forgiveness. It was probably not my favorite of the series, but there are just so many good ones, you just have to read them all. A wonderful, heartwarming gem of a tale!

It Happened in Scotland is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Patience Griffin is the author of the Kilts and Quilts novels, including The Trouble with Scotland, The Accidental Scot, and Some Like It Scottish. To Scotland with Love, her first book in the series, was a double RITA® Award finalist. She grew up in a small town along the Mississippi River and spends her days writing stories about hearth and home and dreaming about the fictional small town of Gandiegow, Scotland.

Review: Blazing Hot Cowboy

Blazing Hot Cowboy (Smokin' Hot Cowboys - Book 2) by Kim Redford

Publication Date: 1/3/2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Casablanca
Genre: Western Romance
Pages: 384

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes

Kim Redford on the WEB: WebsiteTwitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the series:

Smokin' Hot Cowboys

1. A Cowboy Firefighter for Christmas
2. Blazing Hot Cowboy

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from Blazing Hot Cowboy, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature


"This tale will melt even the iciest heart." -Publishers Weekly, STARRED review for A Cowboy Firefighter for Christmas

He's all the heat she'll ever need.
Lauren Sheridan's return to Wildcat Bluff after the death of her husband is bittersweet. Thirteen years have passed since she set foot in the place that's always held her heart...and the sizzling memories of her high school sweetheart.

Kent Duval has it all. A proud rancher and volunteer firefighter in the small town of Wildcat Bluff, he's missing only one thing from his life: passion. Kent last saw Lauren Sheridan when she was sweet sixteen and they were head-over-heels in love. Now she's back, spunky daughter in tow, and he no longer knows which way is up. As the heat between them builds, Kent can't help but wonder if past flames can be rekindled and second chances really do exist.


Smoking hot cowboys and firefighters to boot! What more could a reader ask for? Kim Redford's latest book, Blazing Hot Cowboy certainly hits the spot for readers looking for some heat and a great second chance love story. Redford's North Texas setting is vivid and detailed. She know's her cowboys and they way they interact with the world. This one has a little something for everyone from the firebugs to the cat lovers. 

What I liked:

It is easy to tell that this author has some experience with Texas. Redford's use of setting shows her careful attention to detail. Readers will easily be able to feel the authenticity of this author's connection to the land and those who live there. The town of Wildcat Bluff comes to life with a vividly drawn past and a cast of characters that make the reader believe in community and unity. This is the kind of place I always dreamed existed in the West and Redford does a wonderful job of making readers want to come back for more.

I'll have to say that the idea of a cowboy firefighter really drew me to this one. I liked the idea of that for some reason. It was intriguing to see another aspect of the lives of these ranchers. It wasn't all about ranch and home. It was about community and being a part of something bigger. I thought the author did a great job of making the fire fighting scenes believable and essential to the plot of the book. It didn't have that secondary feel or something that was just thrown in to draw a bigger audience. It was realistic and thoughtfully handled. 

Lauren is a spunky lady. She's been through a lot in the 13 years she spent away from Wildcat Bluff. With her return she brings her daughter and a different perspective on love and family. I liked the fact that Lauren was a physical therapist. The use of horses in therapy for disabled patients has always been an interest of mine and I enjoyed the way the author used this in her writing. It gave Lauren a more layered personality and worked with within the confines of the story.

Kent was exactly what I expected in a rancher/firefighter hero. He was strong and courageous and was a deeply caring man. He had some issues when it came to his love life, but don't we all? lol I thought he complimented Lauren well and he certainly pulled off the second chance romance vibe I think the author was going for. His interactions with Hannah, Lauren's daughter were believable and heartfelt. A very nice hero!

What I didn't like:

Everybody knows your first love never really dies. You always have this place in your heart reserved for that person, that idea of what love was in the beginning. The author relies pretty heavily on the idea that, that feeling never really goes away. When Lauren and Kent meet again their past becomes the catalyst to their future. I'm not against that idea at all, but it was one of those stories that maybe needed a little something more. Insta-love isn't really my thing in romances. Even with a shared past they needed to get to know each other again and build on that. But these two just kind of pick up where they left off and the reader is denied that process of falling in love which often makes the book. I wanted a little more for these two. Both had, had some bad experiences you don't often jump back into the fray without being a bit gun shy.

My other issue is probably a little petty. They didn't use condom's in this story. The author gave them reasons to not use them but I wasn't quite buying that. In this day and age, even in the west, and even with someone you knew for years gone by, a little bit of safety wouldn't hurt. She just lost her husband and even though she might have wanted to have a child with Kent in the past, maybe a little time should have passed before they went that route. Just saying.

Bottom Line:

This was a good book. I learned a new word: covergasm! Yeah this book definitely had a good cover. Loved the setting and the characters. Lauren was spunky and liked what she liked and Kent came across as a very good man with morals and a code. I loved little Hannah and Lauren's aunt adds some color and comedy to the story. I enjoyed the banter between the hero and the heroine but I had to suspend a lot of believablity when it came to them falling back in love in an instant. Don't get me wrong love at first sight does exist. I've seen it but it's rare and often not quite as instant as you'd think.

Blazing Hot Cowboy is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Kim Redford is an acclaimed author of Western romance novels. She grew up in Texas with cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, and rodeos for inspiration. She divides her time between homes in Texas and Oklahoma, where she's a rescue cat wrangler and horseback rider-when she takes a break from her keyboard. Visit her at

Friday, January 20, 2017

Review: The Guests on South Battery

The Guests on South Battery (Tradd Street - Book 5) by Karen White

Publication Date: 1/10/2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: Berkley
Genre: Women's Fiction
Pages: 352

(Received for an honest review from Berkley)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes

Karen White on the WEB: WebsiteTwitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram

Books in the series:

Tradd Street

1. The House on Tradd Street
2. The Girl on Legare street
3. The Strangers on Montagu Street
4. Return to Tradd Street
5. The Guests on South Battery

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from The Guests on South Battery, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature. 


New York Times bestselling author Karen White invites you to explore the brick-walked streets of Charleston, where historic mansions house the memories of years gone by, and restless spirits refuse to fade away...

With her extended maternity leave at its end, Melanie Trenholm is less than thrilled to leave her new husband and beautiful twins to return to work, especially when she’s awoken by a phone call with no voice on the other end—and the uneasy feeling that the ghostly apparitions that have stayed silent for more than a year are about to invade her life once more.

But her return to the realty office goes better than she could have hoped, with a new client eager to sell the home she recently inherited on South Battery. Most would treasure living in one of the grandest old homes in the famous historic district of Charleston, but Jayne Smith would rather sell hers as soon as possible, guaranteeing Melanie a quick commission.

Despite her stroke of luck, Melanie can’t deny that spirits—both malevolent and benign—have started to show themselves to her again. One is shrouded from sight, but appears whenever Jayne is near. Another arrives when an old cistern is discovered in Melanie’s backyard on Tradd Street.

Melanie knows nothing good can come from unearthing the past. But some secrets refuse to stay buried....


Author Karen White continues her Tradd Street series with the fifth book, The Guests on South Battery. Readers looking for a mystery and a good old fashioned ghost story will find that in more in this wonderful new book from a gifted storyteller. Melanie Trenholm is back and the apparitions from times past are coming with her. The real estate game will never be the same. 

What I liked:

Tradd Street has been one of those places readers often want to return to again and again. One of the major players in the enjoyment of this series has always been the setting. Karen White brings the historic town of Charleston to life on every page. From the historic homes and streets to the customs of southern charm this book oozes attention to detail and some awesome research skills. White never disappoints when it comes to bringing her setting to life, as well as, her characters. The sights and smells of Charleston abound in this one. 

Melanie Trenholm is one a heroine with a few quirks. I don't often like characters that are just too perfect. I want my leads to have some flaws. To seem realistic and believable. Well, White took that to heart with this character. Melanie's personality ticks are well known by readers of the series. She has a tendency to ignore problems in hopes they may go away, but in this book she seems to be showing some growth in understanding herself better. Melanie has just had twins a little over a year ago and White uses that to explore issues with self esteem and body image and I found that part of the book very satisfying. It was more than just a mystery or a paranormal tale. It had a bit of substance that I wasn't expecting.

Sometimes an author you've read over and over becomes a bit stale, formulaic if you will. The stories all seem the same just with different names and characters involved. One of the things I like about Karen White is that each of her books has a sense of freshness about it. They remain fun and not as predictable as some. She has a very good rhythm with her writing. It has a beat, a cadence that is hard to miss. 

What I didn't like:

I can't really say this is the strongest book in the series for a few reasons. In the beginning of the series we saw a lot more of Melanie's eventual husband, Jack. In this particular book, Jack takes a back seat. Melanie is returning to work and this one focuses more on her. I was a little taken aback by White's use of Jayne as not only a client for Melanie but somewhat of an interest for Jack. I wasn't expecting that and really didn't like it. That's not to say it wasn't a good idea. I just didn't want to see that happen to a couple I have followed throughout an entire series. The ending does redeem itself, but the unexpected middle was hard to forget. 

Many of you know that I love good paranormal characters. I read not only mysteries and romances but books about werewolves and vampires and everything in between. But let's face it. The original paranormal characters were all ghosts. It has been done many different ways and with all the bells and whistles, so with these characters I always want some kind of different angle. Often Karen White delivers on that. This time I felt the ghosts got a bum wrap. The parts of the story that involved them did not seem as detailed or planned out as usual. I found them a bit tedious and not as interesting as I had hoped. 

Bottom Line:

I love Karen White's writing. Her sense of setting is simply amazing. Charleston comes alive in her writing here and I think readers will really enjoy her descriptions and details about this historic town. As usual I loved Melanie in all her neurotic glory. She's not a princess and she has her quirks. Loved the body image angle with this one, but wished her new nemesis had stayed just a client. Readers who are familiar with this series need to hold on to their hats, things are a changing. The ghosts were just your normal, average spooks in this one but they still kept me turning those pages.

The Guests on South Battery is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

I grew up being a voracious reader and it was a natural step to turn my interest to writing. I have published award-winning and bestselling novels including my latest release, FLIGHT PATTERNS, a multi-generational story of love, loss and mystery set along the gulf coast of Florida in Apalachicola. FLIGHT PATTERNS was released by Penguin Random House in May, 2016.

I write what others have termed "grit-lit"--southern women's fiction, as well as a contemporary paranormal mystery series set in Charleston, South Carolina. All of my books are set in the US South, and feature a female protagonist at a crossroads in her life. 

On January 10, 2017, THE GUESTS ON SOUTH BATTERY--the fifth book in the Tradd Street series, will be released. I'm so excited to be continuing Melanie and Jack's story--with a whole host of characters, both old and new. 

In April, 2017 THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT will be released. Set in suburban Atlanta in the fictional town of Sweet Apple, this is the book I'm calling my "Steel Magnolias" meets "The Girl on the Train." Spanning from the Depression era to modern day, it's a story of three very different women, and the true meaning of friendship.

I live near Atlanta, Georgia with my husband, two children, and two of the cutest Havanese dogs, Quincy and Sophie. Readers may recognize Quincy as General Lee in the Tradd Street series.

Happy reading!

For more about me and my books, please visit my website at or connect on social media: Facebook:, Twitter: @KarenWhiteWrite, Instagram: @KarenWhiteWrite and Pinterest: KarenWhiteBooks.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Review: The Perils of Paulie

The Perils of Paulie (Matchmaker in Wonderland - Book 4) by Katie MacAlister

Publication Date: 1/3/2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: Jove
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336

(Received for an honest review from Jove)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes

Katie MacAlister on the WEB: WebsiteTwitter, Facebook, GoodreadsInstagram

Books in the series:

Matchmaker in Wonderland

1. The Importance of Being Alice
2. A Midsummer Night's Romp
3. Daring in a Blue Dress
4. The Perils of Being Paulie

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from The Perils of Paulie, courtesy of 


A fast and furious new Matchmaker in Wonderland novel from the New York Times bestseling author of Daring in a Blue Dress.

Sheltered by a strict father, Paulina Rostakova spends her time working for the family business and yearning for some grand adventure. So when contestants are needed for a reality show reenacting an historic 1908 car race across the US, Asia, Russia, and Europe, Paulie jumps at the chance to get behind the wheel of a vintage car.

Dixon Ainslie has nothing to lose by entering the race, except the rut he’s been in since the death of his girlfriend years ago. But as other racers begin to drop out, the producers want Dixon to join forces with Paulie—on one condition: they have to pretend to fall in love and get married.

And as their scripted courtship takes off, Dixon and Paulie will have to take a detour into reality to turn the sparks flying between them into a passion with staying power...


When I think of Katie MacAlister and her writing the first thing that comes to mind is humor. This chick, oozes wit and sassiness. I'm a sucker for characters with quirks and MacAlister always seems to know just the right idiosyncrasy whether shes writing about vampires, or reality stars. Her madcap adventures always make me smile. Readers looking for a book that has both romance and comedy are sure to love, The Perils of Paulie.  

What I liked:

I love a good love story and I've read a ton. I often think there is very little variety left. Nothing new and different. But, I'm surprised again and again when I pick up a book that might have the same type of characters or setting, but there is just something unique about it. Something that gives the tale a totally different dimension. This book has that something, whatever it is, in spades. 

The humor was one of the best parts. Katie MacAlister has this knack for irreverent and off color comedy. That might not be everybody's cup of tea, I find it refreshing and fun to read. I loved the banter between the hero and heroine, in The Perils of Paulie. A conversation about STD's and unhappy crotches is an example, lol. This book is a take off an old Tony Curtis movie, called "The Great Race" that was totally boisterous and entertaining. MacAlister's book takes a spoiled American heiress who needs a little adventure in her life and pits her against a stoic Brit with an aversion to touch. What a pair! The laughs just kept coming. 

Paulie is both hilarious and erratic, while Dixon is very controlled and somewhat awkward. She's sassy and competitive and he's sweet and smooth. They weren't exactly opposites, but there was that essense of attraction to their relationship that made them good for each other. The banter between them, as they pretend to be falling in love, is rich and vibrant. I loved the way they interacted with each other and the wonderful setting of this novel. There was so much to learn about each other and their surroundings. It was a fun romp!

Dixon doesn't like to be touched. How much more unconventional and wacky can you get for a character flaw? I found that endearing and delightful to read about. His social anxiety was just a really cute and sweet aspect of the story. Paulie gets it. She doesn't have to think it over or get all upset or anything. She just gets him. That's such a perfect thing in a relationship. It made me like these characters so much more. A very prim and proper Brit who doesn't like to be touched put up against a flirtatious and outgoing American... Oh yeah! That hit the spot. 

One of my favorite things about this one was the travelogue slash journal entries from both POV's. That was unusual and gratifying. I sometimes think I miss out on not knowing what the other character was thinking and feeling during a scene and with this one I was able to see all that. I loved the way MacAlister used this technique to enhance the story and bring out things readers might otherwise miss. It was different and I found I really liked the method.

What I didn't like:

I will admit to watching a bit of reality tv. It's not what I would call deep and meaningful television most of the time and I was skeptical that I would not like that part of this book. But I was pleasantly surprised. The scripted aspect of it makes me wonder about some of things I watch, lol! It did make me contemplate the motivations of these characters. I wasn't always sure whether this was a part of the script or real feelings they were expressing. There were a few plot twists that I felt were not really resolved before the end of the novel, but nothing to break the bank. Paulie's dad and his worries about Russian interference was also a bit over the top.

Bottom Line:

I liked this one a lot. I found the balance of humor to romance to be just about right. I loved the take on the old movie and the fact that it was based on 1908 race around the world that actually did happen. I loved the vintage cars, the quirky characters and the fierce and determined competitors. I even loved the old fashioned garb the characters got to wear. There isn't much to make me think you wouldn't like this one. If you've never tried a book with a very comedic approach to love, this is the one.

The Perils of Paulie is available NOW from your favorite bookseller. 

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

For as long as she can remember, Katie MacAlister has loved reading. Growing up in a family where a weekly visit to the library was a given, Katie spent much of her time with her nose buried in a book. Despite her love for novels, she didn't think of writing them until she was contracted to write a non-fiction book about software. Since her editor refused to allow her to include either witty dialogue or love scenes in the software book, Katie swiftly resolved to switch to fiction, where she could indulge in world building, tormenting characters, and falling madly in love with all her heroes.

Two years after she started writing novels, Katie sold her first romance, Noble Intentions. More than fifty books later, her novels have been translated into numerous languages, been recorded as audiobooks, received several awards, and placed on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. She also writes for the young adult audience as Katie Maxwell.

Katie lives in the Pacific Northwest with her dogs and cat, and can often be found lurking around online. You are welcome to visit her at