Monday, August 31, 2015

Book Tour: Sweet Mountain Rancher

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Sweet Mountain Rancher (Those Marshall Boys, #2)


Sweet Mountain Rancher
(Those Marshal Boys, #2)
by Loree Lough
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 385 pages (large print)
September 1st 2015 by Harlequin Heartwarming


Nate Marshall used to be a yes-man... until being so agreeable cost him dearly. But Eden Quinn has a way of getting him to reconsider his "just say no" policy. Which is how a bunch of troubled teens end up at his ranch for the weekend. Nate can't help but be attracted to the woman who keeps them in line.

This cowboy knows Eden's no damsel in distress, yet hers isn't a one-woman job. If she must do everything on her own, how can he help her... let alone get her to fall for him?

The First Book in the Series

Once a Marine

About the Author

Yes, it's true: Once upon a time, best-selling author Loree Lough (literally) sang for her supper, performing before packed audiences throughout the U.S. Now and then, she blows the dust from her 6-string to croon a tune or two for the "grandorables," but mostly, she just writes. (And writes.) Over the years, her stories have earned nearly 100 industry and "Readers' Choice" awards, 7 movie options, and over 80 4- and 5-star reviews.

There are more than 5,000,000 (yes, that's FIVE MILLION) copies of Loree's books in circulation, and in September of 2015, she'll have 108 books (fiction and non-fiction for kids and adults) 72 short stories, 2,500+ articles in print. To date, she has received 50,000+ letters from fans (a carton of books goes to Meredith P. in Joliet, IL -- which she has elected to donate to her local library --for writing the 50,000th letter)!

Loree loves sharing learned-the-hard-way lessons about the craft and the industry, and her comedic approach makes her a favorite (and frequent) guest of writers' organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, college and high school writing programs both here and abroad.

A writer who believes in "giving back," Loree dedicates a portion of her income to Soldiers' Angels, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and other worthwhile organizations.

She splits her time between her home in the Baltimore suburbs and a cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, and shares both with her real-life hero Larry, who rarely complains, even when she adds yet another item to her vast collection of lighthouses, wind chimes, and "wolf stuff."


Nate rested gloved hands on the gate post and watched as a long green van pulled up to the barn. He’d spent ten minutes on the phone with Eden Quinn, who’d explained that she ran a halfway house for troubled teens in Denver, that she believed communing with nature might help them realize there’s more to life than drugs and gangs, how she hoped he’d agree to putting them up for a long weekend so they could experience, first hand, the positive results of good old-fashioned work.
He’d learned the hard way that little good comes from saying yes—especially when his gut told him to say the opposite—so he issued a terse, knee-jerk, no explanations no. He had to hand it to her, because amazingly, she used different words to repeat the same spiel. On the third go-round, Nate gave in. With a little luck, he wouldn’t be sorry when the beat up van rolled away from the Double M Ranch.
It was Memorial Day weekend, and as usual, the ranch hands had scattered to the four winds, leaving him and old Smitty to hold down the fort. The boys ought to be comfortable in the bunk house, and after he’d taken her measure, Nate would figure out where to put their lady counselor. City folk, in his experience, tended to shy away from work that involved powerful animals and manure. If they lasted the first afternoon, he’d be surprised.
               As the van came to a stop, Nate thumbed the tan Stetson to the back of his head. The boys, staring out the windows, did their best to look older and tougher than their years. To date, his only experience with kids of any kind had been with nieces and nephews and his cousin’s children, all under age ten and part of the big happy Marshall clan. Nabbing sweets without permission was the worst crime any of them had committed. Something told him this hard-edged bunch was long past lifting cookies before dinner, and he hoped he hadn’t made a gigantic mistake, inviting them to the Double M.
               The noonday sun, gleaming from the windshield, blocked his view of the driver. After seeing the boys’ sour expressions, he half expected a burly prison guard in full combat gear to exit the vehicle. Instead, a petite woman in snug jeans hopped down from the driver’s seat and slid open the side door open with a strength that belied her size.
               “Okay, guys, everybody out!”
               He recognized the husky-yet-feminine voice from their phone call. He’d been way off base, thinking it she’d resemble a female linebacker. Based solely on her youthful face, Nate guessed her age at twenty-four, Joe. The fact that she’d passed muster with the state officials who’d hired her—and earned the boys’ respect to boot—inspired Nate’s grudging admiration.
               The teens climbed out of the van and stared gap-jawed at the Rockies’ Front Range, and she walked toward him on tennis shoes small enough to fit his ten year old niece. Nate grinned to himself, wondering how feet that small kept her upright…and how long the shoes would stay white.
               “Hi,” she said, extending a hand, “I’m Eden. Eden Quinn.”
               The strength of her handshake, like everything else about her, surprised him. She pumped his arm up and down as if she expected water to trickle from his fingertips.
               “Nate Marshall said I should meet him here at noon. If you’ll just tell me where to find him….”
               “I’m Nate,” he said, releasing her hand. “Good to meet you.” He’d said those words to dozens of people on dozens of occasions, but for a reason he couldn’t explain, didn’t think he’d ever meant them more.
               Eden tucked her fingertips into the back pockets of her jeans. “I expected you’d be, ah, well, older.” Then she plopped a hand on the nearest teen’s shoulder. “These are my boys,” she said, introducing them one by one.
               Nate walked down the short lineup as she stated first names. “Nice to meet you,” he said, grasping each boy’s hand.
“Is that a Stetson?” the one called Thomas asked.
               Nate smiled. “Sure is.”
               The boy called Carlo nodded. “Cool.”
               With the introductions complete, Eden clasped her hands together. “So where do we start?”
               He searched each boy’s face to single out the troublemakers. Seeing no signs of mutiny on their young faces, he accepted the fact that his failure to say no meant he was stuck with them. “We’ll come back for your gear,” he said with a nod toward the horse barn, “and get you settled into the bunk house later. For now, let’s saddle up so I can show you around the Double M.”
               “B-but…I never rode a horse before,” Carlo admitted.
               “Just follow my lead. You’ll be fine.”
               “Can we pick any horse we want?” Thomas asked.
               Nate shrugged. “I’ll point out the gentlest ones, and you can choose from those.”
               The answer satisfied them, and like wild mustangs, they charged ahead, laughing like four year olds as they raced toward the barn.
“Hey, fellas,” he called after them, “hold it down a mite or you’ll spook the horses.”
No one faced him, but he couldn’t help but notice that they obeyed, instantly.
               “This is really nice of you,” Eden said when they disappeared into the barn. “Not many people are willing to give kids like these a chance.”
               Nate was itching to find out what, exactly, earned them the ‘kids like these’ title. “I wasn’t the best-behaved young’un, myself,” he admitted. First chance he got, he’d pry some background information out of her, but for now, he’d take the boys at face value.
               He noticed that Eden had to half-run to keep up with his long-legged stride. “So how did you hear about the Double M, if you don’t mind my asking?” he asked, slowing his pace.
               “Oh, I read all about you in Sports Illustrated. You know, that issue where they featured pitchers who aren’t….”
               Her voice trailed off, telling Nate she didn’t know how to broach the subject of the injury that ended his Major League career—and killed his fiancĂ©—two years earlier. “Freak accident,” he said, rotating the shoulder, “but it’s pretty much healed now.” With any luck, she wouldn’t mention Miranda.
               “Think you’ll ever go back? To pitching, I mean?”
               He’d never seen eyes the color of a storm sky before. Funny that instead of cold or danger, they hinted at warmth and sweetness. He hadn’t felt anything—anything—for a woman since didn’t know how to react to that, and tugged the brim of his hat lower on his forehead. It did nothing to block her from his peripheral vision.
               “They’d never admit it,” she said, using her chin as a pointer, “but they were more excited about meeting a real live baseball star than spending the weekend at a bona fide ranch.”
               “Never was a star,” he ground out. “And anyway, that was then, this is now.”
               She leaned forward slightly, looked up into his face. “Ah, so you’re one of those guys who isn’t comfortable with compliments, are you?”
               Nate only shrugged.
               “Something tells me when they get to know you better, they’ll all have an even bigger case of hero worship.”
               The word made him cringe. Before every game, fans from four to ninety-four lined the fence beside the field, holding programs, caps, even paper napkins in the hope of securing a signature. He’d taken a lot of heat from teammates and the press when a kid in the autograph line slapped the label on him. “We’re not heroes,” he’d blurted. “Fans should look to soldiers, cops, and firefighters as their heroes, not a bunch of overpaid athletes like us.” The experience taught him to let his teammates do the talking from that point on, but it hadn’t changed his mind about the subject of hero worship.
               “Let’s hope not,” he said, meaning it.

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9/6 - Grand Finale


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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review: The Sound of Diamonds


The Sound of Diamonds
The Steadfast Love Series #1
Released June 15
Rachelle Rea

Her only chance of getting home is trusting the man she hates.

With the protestant Elizabeth on the throne of England and her family in shambles, Catholic maiden Gwyneth seeks refuge in the Low Countries of Holland, hoping to soothe her aching soul. But when the Iconoclastic Fury descends and bloodshed overtakes her haven, she has no choice but to trust the rogue who arrives, promising to see her safely home to her uncle's castle. She doesn't dare to trust him...and yet doesn't dare to refuse her one chance to preserve her own life and those of the nuns she rescues from the burning convent.

Dirk Godfrey is determined to restore his honor at whatever cost. Running from a tortured past, Dirk knows he has only one chance at redemption, and it lies with the lovely Gwyneth, who hates him for the crimes she thinks he committed. He must see her to safety, prove to the world that he is innocent, prove that her poor eyesight is not the only thing that has blinded her but what is he to do when those goals clash?

The home Gwyneth knew is not what she once thought. When a dark secret and a twisted plot for power collide in a castle masquerading as a haven, the saint and the sinner must either dare to hold to hope...or be overcome.

About the Author

Rachelle Rea plots her novels while driving around the little town she’s lived in all her life in her dream car, a pick-up truck. As a freelance editor, she enjoys mentoring fellow authors in the craft. A homeschool graduate and retired gymnast, she wrote the Sound of Diamonds the summer after her sophomore year of college.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter |


In The Sound of Diamonds by Rachelle Rea, Catholic Gwyn flees to a convent in Holland from England to escape her parents’ murderer. Aside from the violent Dutch revolution against the Catholic Church, Gwyn only has one problem—the man she accused of killing her parents followed her in order “to bring her safely back to England.”

My first thought when I saw the cover of The Sound of Diamonds was that it was a fantasy story. It is definitely not a fantasy story. Instead, Rachelle Rea wrote a romance entwined in a very real historical era. The bloody conflict between the Catholic and Protestant churches in Europe described in this novel was definitely real, even if the characters were not.

Being Protestant, I was curious as to how the author would portray the Catholic main character’s faith. Gwyn and two Catholic nuns were central characters in this story and their faith played a major part in their lives. It influenced their choices, put them at odds with others around them, and caused problems in their romantic relationships with the male main characters. To my satisfaction, the ladies were influenced to change their religions to Protestant, or rather, a more personal relationship with Christ, using definitive arguments and personal evidences. I will leave it up to the reader to learn who changed and who did not.

Because of the religious background featured in The Sound of Diamonds, I was extremely happy with the history described. It is obvious the author did her research into both the cultural and religious history about the time in which the novel is set.

The romance was interesting. Gwyn and Dirk went through many problems and arguments before Gwyn finally realized Dirk was not as terrible as she imagined. Only then did she finally allow herself to realize she was falling in love with him.

I look forward to book two, The Sound of Silver, to read the next part of the couple’s journey. They still have the problem of the deaths and authorities to work through. I would highly recommend this sweet historical romance.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Review: Halfblood

Hello! I know I have not posted in a while. I took an impromptu break because of all the busyness going on. There was work, a family reunion, prep for college, and trying to spend as much time as I could with friends and family before one of us left. In any case, I should be back to posting regularly. First off, is my review of Halfblood.


Half Blood
Jaye L. Knight

The gasps and murmuring grew. Though some were hardly more than whispers, clear words reached Jace’s ears—dangerous, monster, animal, soulless. He tried to back away from their accusing eyes, but the collar pulled hard against his throat and held him in place. 

For all his years as a slave, Jace has known nothing but the hatred people hold for his mixed blood—one half human, the other half the blood of a race considered monsters. Always, he is the outsider and quickly learns it is better to keep to himself. But, when his volatile ryrik blood leads him to do the unthinkable, he is thrown into a world of violence and bloodshed.

Forced to become a gladiator, Jace finds more and more of his heart dying as his master works to break down his will not to become the monster everyone believes he is. When a stranger interferes with his master’s harsh punishment, Jace’s world is upended yet again. But with it comes the possibility of hope that has long since died. Could the man possibly hold the key to escaping the hopeless darkness that is Jace’s life? Is there such a thing as life beyond the cruelty of slavery? 

See where Jace’s story all began . . . 


Halfblood by Jaye L Knight is the story of Jace. Because he was born half ryrick and half human, Jace’s life is filled with abuse. People think he is a soulless monster because of his ryrick heritage and treat him accordingly. Only the hope and grace of God can convince him otherwise.

Halfblood was wonderful. After reading Resistance and The King’s Scrolls, both of which feature Jace as a main character, I found Halfblood enlightening. It opened my eyes a little more as to Jace’s history—his time as a slave, as a gladiator, and a free man.

Jace had morals. I am not sure where he learned them from, but he kept them as much as he could as a slave, even going as far as to disobey his masters. I admire him for that. Others, even in the book, gave in more quickly than he did. They were not under as much pressure to be evil, either.

Jace had a horrible childhood, filled with much abuse. I am very glad I am not him and feel sorry for those who have to suffer as much as he did. But the suffering made it all the sweeter when Jace was finally freed and convinced of God’s grace. It reminds me of some of the true stories I have heard about those freed from human trafficking.

I recommend this novella especially to those who have read or are planning to read the Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L Knight. It provides great insight into Jace’s life in order to help them understand him better. I do not know what a person who has not read the other two books in the series would think of this novella, but I hope it would convince them to read the other books in the series, which I found entirely fantastic.

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Book Tour: Guardians of the Heart

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.


Guardians of the Heart
(Secrets on Sterling Street, #2)
by Loree Lough
Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 272 pages
August 3rd 2015 by Whitaker House

Nell Holstrom wanted no part of her grandfather's barren gold mine that had taken the lives of her mother, father, and younger brother; even if there may still be hidden wealth inside. Instead, she went to Denver and took a job as housekeeper at the old Stone Hill Inn.

Asa Stone was barely more than a boy when his father dragged him and his brothers to fight with Colonel John Chivington. But Asa refused to participate in the raid on the peaceful Cheyenne and Arapahoe; and when the smoke cleared, his father and brother lay among the slaughtered. Besieged by guilt, Asa wandered the West for years before returning to Denver to rebuild the old inn he'd inherited. 

Together, Nell and Asa work hard to restore Stone Hill. But when disaster hits the inn, Asa retreats into despair and Nell is forced to return to her family's mine. Asa faces the hard fact: He'll never be the man Nell deserves. Can he overcome the dark secrets of his past? And will Nell still love him when she learns the truth?

The First Book in the Series

Currency of the Heart
(Secrets on Sterling Street, #1)
by Loree Lough
Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 256 pages
January 1st 2015 by Whitaker House

Young widow Shaina Sterling hates living a lie. Desperate to keep bill collectors from the door, she secretly sells valuable possessions piece by piece, and hopes Denver’s elite never discover that his lavish lifestyle left her a near pauper.

She’s unaware that as her husband lay dying, successful rancher Sloan Remington made him a promise. And Sloan guards her secrets
as carefully as he looks after her safety.

When fire devours Sterling Hall, leaving her homeless and penniless, he brings her to Remington Ranch to manage his household. His kindness makes Shaina beholden to him … and threatens to expose the secret that could destroy him.

Will trials and tragedies bring Sloan and Shaina together?
Or will secrets—and the cost of exposing them—drive them apart forever?

About the Author

With 105 books (5,000,000+ copies in circulation!), best-selling author Loree Lough's stories have been compared to those by Nicholas Sparks, and she has been dubbed by readers and reviewers as “a gifted writer whose stories touch hearts and change lives.”

With a long list of industry awards, it isn't likely this prolific author will ever retire...not even to her cozy li'l cabin in the Allegheny Mountains. She loves to hear from her readers and personally answers every letter sent to http://www.loreelough.com/.

They Called Her Shoog by Loree Lough

Growing up, I lived in a quiet Wisconsin neighborhood, where ice skating and St. Bernards pulling sleds over snowy streets were routine winter sights—at least, when the sun was up. After supper, moonlight illuminated elaborate snow forts, where kid-fierce snowball fights might have lasted until bedtime…if soggy mittens and wet socks hadn't driven us inside, instead.

Summers found us sprinkler hopping, hop-scotch scribbling, and riding bikes in the empty school parking lot. After dark, it took some serious concentration to win at Statues and Hide-and-Seek, because it wasn't easy, standing still and keeping quiet…while swatting mosquitoes….

The summer I turned ten, a pretty little redheaded girl moved into the house on the corner. Her parents and older siblings called her Shoog…and it was Shoog who introduced the kids on our block to a whole new way to spend our summer days:

Picking apples in her grandfather's orchard.

Every morning at precisely 7 a.m., Gramps pulled into Shoog's driveway, the smoke from his burled-wood pipe curling from the driver's door window as we clamored for a wall seat in the pickup's bed. (Getting stuck in the middle with nothing to hold onto but the hope you wouldn't end up in Skinny Jimmy's lap made for an adventuresome ride, indeed!) Upon arrival in the orchard, Gramps doled out flimsy bushels…and a growly reminder that for every full basket we delivered, we'd earn a dime!

Those first few days, we figured Shoog rode up front in the truck—and never picked fruit—because, well, she was the owner's granddaughter. From her perch on the hood of the rusty old truck, she'd cheer as overflowing baskets were dragged over to Gramps for inspection, and applauded as the dimes were doled out. And when Little Bobby (who was a head taller and outweighed us all by fifty pounds) bit into an apple and saw the other half of a worm he hadn't swallowed, it was Shoog who patted his back as he tried valiantly not to throw up.

Leave it to Web-toed Tommy to ask Gramps why Shoog never joined in the fun: "Because," the old man quietly explained, "Shoog has leukemia." I don't think a one of us knew what "leukemia" was, so we went back to climbing trees and shaking apples from the branches. But something about Gramps's tone and expression told us it wasn't a good thing, and on the way home that day, there wasn’t a bit of the usual tomfoolery in the back of Gramps' truck.

Back on familiar turf, we scattered to show our moms the shiny coins we'd earned, and, after wolfing down bologna or PB&J sandwiches, we took up our customary positions under the big tree in Marty's front yard, playing Telephone and I'm Thinking of a Number Between while listening for the tell-tale jingle of the ice cream man's handlebar bell. All except for Shoog, that is. While we lapped melting vanilla from our fingers, she was inside, resting up from the morning outing.

It was a sweltering Friday in August when, while gnawing that last bite of chocolate from my frozen treat, I got a bright idea: If we all went home and searched for loose change in our sofas, we'd have enough to buy an ice cream for Shoog on Monday! The kids agreed, but their moms had other plans: Sammy got stuck mowing the lawn, and it was Clara's turn to fold laundry. Bed-making, dishwashing, furniture-dusting and sibling-sitting took precedence over cushion diving. And yet, miraculously, we managed to get our chores finished and collect enough to buy a cold treat for our frail friend.

On Monday morning, we assembled at the end of her driveway to wait for Gramps' truck, and struck an oath not to tell Shoog about the surprise we'd deliver to her front door when he brought us home again. Ten minutes passed, then twenty. It wasn't like Gramps to be late. Gary, the oldest and bravest of us knocked on Shoog's front door…

…and some nice lady we'd never seen before said "Sorry, kids; Shoog died last night."

Thanks to our mothers' real version of Telephone, we learned that Shoog's real name was Grace, and that if she'd lived, Grace would have turned eleven that following Friday. Diagnosed with the horrible
disease at the tender age of eight, she remained her sweet, uncomplaining self, no matter what tests or treatments the doctors threw at her, inspiring the nickname that stuck. They called her Shoog…but her birth name was well-chosen, for she epitomized grace.

Tiny yet fun-loving, quiet and delicate, Shoog made a bigger and more lasting impression on me than just about anyone I can name. To this day, I wish I'd thought of a way to get closer to her while I had the chance, that I'd come up with the "let's buy her a treat" at the start of summer, that after returning home from a day in her grandfather's orchard, that I'd rushed through my chores for no reason other than to spend a little time with her.

That summer, I learned not to put off important things, even those that don't seem all that important in the middle of life's hustle-bustle…and I learned to remember the people, like Shoog, who made a difference.

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