The Place Where Fantasy Lives"The Ocean At The End Of The Lane"

Inside the Book:

The Ocean At the End of the Lane
Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane 
Author: Neil Gaiman 
Release Date: June 28, 2016 
Publisher: William Morrow 
Genre: Coming of Age 
Format: Ebook/Paperback/Hardcover/Audio

 UK National Book Awards 2013 "Book of the Year"

 “Fantasy of the very best.” Wall Street Journal

A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse where she once lived, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy. A groundbreaking work as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out.

“[Gaiman’s] mind is a dark fathomless ocean, and every time I sink into it, this world fades, replaced by one far more terrible and beautiful in which I will happily drown.” New York Times Book Review  

 My Thoughts
We never learn the name of the little boy who lives at the top of the lane.  In the house with his mother, father, sister, and his very own room with the little yellow wash basin that is "just his size."
But we do learn all we need to know about him.  We learn that even at the tender age of seven; he is brave, intelligent, caring, and imaginative enough to stand together with a very special group of woman, against those things that make their homes in the darkest places.  Those things that go bump in the night.  Those things that only children are still smart enough to fear...and defeat.

Neil Gaiman has spent his life spinning tales that live just on the edge of reality.  That cross that elusive boundary where the mundane becomes the magical, and the magical becomes legend.
The story found within the pages of The Ocean At The End Of The Lane offers no exception.  What it does offer readers however, is a world filled with fanciful creatures, both terrifying and alluring.  Ingenious and inspiring characters, and unforgettable story craft.

At a mere 178 pages, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane is a surprisingly large story.  A story that will speak to every person who has ever waited in the dark,  heard voices on the wind, heard the laughter of faeries, or dared to be magical.  


William Morrow photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  

Meet the Author:

Neil Gaiman

 Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains; the Sandman series of graphic novels; and the story collections Smoke and MirrorsFragile Things, and Trigger Warning. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States. He is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.

 Visit his website at  

Tour Schedule

 Tuesday, June 21 - Book reviewed at Stormy Nights Reviewing and Bloggin'
Book reviewed at Mina's Bookshelf
Book reviewed at Leigh Anderson Romance
Wednesday, June 22 - Book reviewed at The Mystery Tavern
Thursday, June 23 - Book reviewed at Books for Books
Friday, June 24 - Book reviewed at AMD on Software
Monday, June 27 - Book reviewed at The Reading Queen
Tuesday, June 28 - Book reviewed at Doing Some Reading
Thursday, June 30 - Book reviewed at Comfy Reading
Friday, July 1 - Book reviewed at Shannon's Book Blog
Book reviewed at Her Book Thoughts
Monday, July 4 - Book reviewed at I'm Shelf-ish
Tuesday, July 5 - Book reviewed at Chapter by Chapter
Wednesday, July 6 - Book reviewed at Reading Reality
Thursday, July 7 - Book reviewed at Latte Night Reviews
Monday, July 11 - Book reviewed at Torre de Babel
Tuesday, July 12 - Book reviewed at I Can Has Books
Book reviewed at The Book Bag
Book reviewed at Whispering Stories
Wednesday, July 13 - Book reviewed at Queen of All She Reads
Thursday, July 14 - Book reviewed at Rhi Reading
Friday, July 15 - Book reviewed at Blooming With Books
Monday, July 18 - Book reviewed at Southeast by Midwest
Tuesday, July 19 - Book reviewed at Svetlana Reads
Wednesday, July 20 - Book reviewed at Bound 4 Escape
Thursday, July 21 - Book reviewed at 100 Pages a Day
Friday, July 22 - Book reviewed at Natural Bri
Book reviewed at Bound 4 Escape
Saturday, July 23 - Book reviewed at Becky on Books
Monday, July 25 - Book reviewed at Book Bite Reviews
Thursday, July 28 - Book reviewed at Deal Sharing Aunt
Friday, July 29 - Book reviewed at I'd Rather Be at the Beach
Book reviewed at WTF Are You Reading
Saturday, July 30 - Book reviewed at Worth Getting in Bed For
Book reviewed at Chicks with Books
Book reviewed at Live Love Books Blog
Sunday, July 31 - Book reviewed at Cover 2 Cover
Book reviewed at Reads and Reviews
Book reviewed at Toot's Book Reviews
Book reviewed at Books Are Love
Book reviewed at Chosen By You Book Club

InSlinger PR Presents: Veiled

veiled available now


From the New York Times bestselling author of The Lie and The Pact comes a new romance that will test your limits and leave you breathless. Death. It's something that Ada Palomino has always known so well, having grown up in a house of horrors, surrounded by a family plagued by ghosts and demons and things that go bump in the night. But after the sudden and tragic death of her mother two years ago, death has never felt so personal. Or so close. Now eighteen, Ada is trying to move on with her life and the last month of summer holds nothing but sunshine and promises with her first year at a Portland design school just around the bend. That is until her increasingly violent and realistic dreams, dreams of other worlds, of portals and veils where her mother is tortured and souls bleed for mercy, start to blend into reality. Ada has to lean on her older sister, Perry, to try and make sense of it all but even then, she's never felt more alone. Then there's Jay. Tall, handsome and deeply mysterious, Jay would be just another stranger, a familiar face on the bus, if it wasn't for the fact that Ada has met him before. Every night. In every single dream. And the more that Ada is drawn to him in both worlds, the more she's in danger of losing everything. Including her heart. And her very soul.                


Put your stuff here
Then, out of nowhere: “You looked beautiful tonight, by the way.” Oh jeez. Be still my fucking heart. I try and swallow, his words, the sincerity in his voice rocking my world off-balance. “Which part? When the power went out or when Jacob went upstairs to fight a demon?” I joke. But I joke because I’m feeling this a little too much. “All of it. You know why I call you Princess?” he asks, his tone graver than before, like he’s letting me in on a very deep secret. “Because I’m a spoiled brat?” “Because you’re beautiful.” Well that shut me up. The sentence hangs in the air, larger than life. He clears his throat and goes on and I have to fight against the urge to roll over and face him. “You have this way about you. You don’t see it. But I do. Like you’re born royalty. The way you hold yourself. Your walk. The face of an angel.” Butterflies take flight in my gut, spreading through my veins until my whole body feels like its floating. “Why are you being so nice to me? Am I going to die?” He laughs softly. “I don’t know why I’m saying these things. Just seemed like the things to say. You’re destined for something great, Ada, I know this. And it’s an honor to help see you through it.” His words cascade down on me like ashes from a fire. Where they land, I’m ignited. Jay thinks I’m beautiful. And more than that, he believes in me. Silence settles over us, stealing time. I hear him breathing in the dark, steady as a heartbeat. He might even be sleeping. But I can’t even begin to shut down. My entire body, from the top of my scalp, down to my toes, is buzzing with heat and electricity. It’s like everything I felt for him before, everything I try to ignore, is coming out in full force, responding to his words, to his body so close to mine. I can feel the warmth at my back, sinking into my spine, just from his presence only. I’m starting to have feelings for him. Not just in a he’s a giant hulking beast who’s here to protect me from the underworld way. But real feelings, slowly creeping into my heart, day by day. The thought is terrifying in the same way that demons are terrifying. They both might take possession of me. They both might ruin me. And I’m not sure how much of me I’ll have left.


Q: Is this YA?

A: No. The main character is 18 and there is sex, crude language and violence in the book. It is recommended for mature teens or 18 and up.

Q: Is there a cliffhanger?

A: Nope! There's also no cheating and no love triangle (think I've covered the bases there!)

Q: Do I need to read the series (Experiment in Terror) that Veiled is a spinoff of first?

A: Absolutely not. Veiled stands alone. You do not need to have read the EIT series beforehand as this follows a different character (Ada Palomino) and a different storyline. However for those who have read EIT, all your favorites are in the book!

Q: Is it horror? Your other series was and I don't handle scary very well...

A: No, it's paranormal romance (though I promise you there are no vampires or werewolves), and while there are creepy elements to the story, it wouldn't be classified as horror. If you can read KMM's Fever Series or ANY urban fantasy, you'll be fine.


Halle Headshot     
Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Racing the Sun, Sins & Needles and over 25 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books. Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK. Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more. FACEBOOK    TWITTER    GOODREADS    AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

Your Heart Will Make A Clean Getaway With "Dirty Ride"

27221238 Title:  Dirty Ride
Series:  (Wind Dragon MC 3.5)
Review Format:  eARC
Length:  112 pages
Publisher:  Pocket Books
Rating:  4.5 Stars

From USA TODAY bestselling author Chantal Fernando comes a brand new Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club e-novella, full of sexy bad-boy bikers, strong heroines, and steamy romance!

Even by Wind Dragon Motorcycle Club standards, Irish was always a bit of a dark horse. Not one to confide his secrets, such as where he got that mysterious scar across his neck, he’s quick with his fists and even quicker to jump to the defense of his MC. But is he nimble enough to handle the woman he never saw coming? Or will she leave him with a matching scar across his heart?

Featuring scorching hot chemistry and plenty of sass, Dirty Ride is sure to rev your engine and get you immediately hooked!  Goodreads

My Thoughts
There is a great deal about "Irish" that Valentina doesn't know.  Like where he got the deep scar on his neck.  Or, just how many secrets hide in his darkly intense gaze.  But the one thing that she does know all too well, is that "Irish" is the only man who has ever made her feel safe.

The kind of safe that she sorely needs with just six months away from the abusive ex, who she is sure will do anything to get her back.

Chantal Fernando has proven time after time that she is ohh soo good at penning bad boys.  Dirty Ride offering no exception.
With Irish as the strong but tender alpha lead, and Valentina as his wanton but wary leading lady.  There is not a dull moment to be had.  Whether its a first date that ends with an Epi-shot and a trip to the hospital. Or sex scenes so hot, fire extinguishers should be mandatory.  Readers won't want to miss one moment of this lust-filled lesson in love that only "Irish"/Ardan can teach.

Though this novella is a mere 112 pages, its raw realism and unflinching look at the physical and psychological effects of domestic abuse is fully realized and extremely well portrayed.  In fact, the same can be said for all aspects of this latest Wind Dragons read.

If anything, this reviewer's only complaint is that the book ends far too soon.

Reviewer's Notes
This novella is number 3.5 in a loosely related consecutive series. Though it is strongly suggested that the novels in the series be enjoyed in their intended order.  The novels can be read at any point.
**The above review of this literary work has not been influenced by Gallery Books, or anyone acting on their behalf.
Review copies were received from the publisher via Netgalley.

About Chantal
New York Times, Amazon & USA Today Bestselling Author Chantal Fernando is twenty seven years old and lives in Western Australia.
Lover of all things romance, Chantal is the author of the best selling books Dragon's Lair, Maybe This Time and many more.
When not reading, writing or daydreaming she can be found enjoying life with her three sons and family.Chantal loves to hear from readers and can be found here: 

Is "Risking It All" Really Worth The Risk?

Title:  Risking It All
Series:  (Naked Men #1)
Author:  Christi Barth
Review Format:  eARC
Length:  271 pages
Publisher:  Loveswept
Rating:  3.5

Who doesn’t love Naked Men? In Christi Barth’s irresistible series, a group of close-knit friends talk out their problems with naked honesty on a popular blog. Bonded by a high-school tragedy, they’re moving on from the past—and fighting for the future with strong and sassy women.

Griffin Montgomery helps people. As a teenager, he kept his best friends alive after their soccer team’s bus crashed in the Alps. Now, as a Coast Guard search and rescue pilot, he saves lives with reckless abandon—until he goes too far and earns a lengthy suspension. Working on the Naked Men projects keeps his mind busy, but Griff’s itching to get back in the action. That’s when he finds his latest rescue mission: a pretty wallflower who’s stuck in her comfort zone.

Chloe Widmore doesn’t take risks. As a professional letter writer, she gets enough excitement out of expressing other people’s emotions. So when the hottest man she’s ever seen invades her coffee shop, Chloe surprises herself with how much she wants to be with him. Routines make her feel safe. Griff makes her deliciously unsafe, in so many ways. But falling for him is one risk she might just have to take . . . whether she’s ready or not.  -Goodreads

“Can we not talk about, you know, my whole big sad incident anymore?”
“Sweetness, we don’t have to talk anymore at all.” Griffin moved in on her. Fast, so she wouldn’t have time to think about anything. Not the tour guide still lurking down the sidewalk about fifty paces. Not the endless Cherry Blossom Festival tourists in the paddleboats below them. And definitely no thinking about the past.
Griff considered it his duty, as a good date, to erase all those thoughts from her mind. So he slanted his mouth across her lips. They were cool from the twilight air. They wouldn’t be for long.
Right now, Chloe didn’t need sweetness. Probably wouldn’t appreciate cautious tenderness, either. She needed heat. Raging desire. Good thing Griff was packing that in spades. He didn’t even give her time to adjust, time to soften underneath him. No, Griff just poured his lust for her onto her lips. Slipped his tongue inside on her first gasp of surprise. And then he just took her.
The hand in her jeans pocket slid out to better curve around the entirety of her sweet, tight ass. To pull Chloe up to her tiptoes and notch her against the rock hardness tenting out the zipper of his jeans. Griff’s other hand fisted in her hair, tilting her head back to an angle that gave him the best access.
As their tongues entwined, battled, teased, the heat level went up, too. Now her lips melted onto his, soft as butter. Chloe’s whole body arched against him. Pushing. Rubbing. The woman all but climbed onto him. Her left leg wrapped around his right. One hand plucked at the back of his shirt repeatedly, until it was out of his waistband, which she then tunneled beneath to graze the top of his ass with her fingertips.
That skin on skin connection zapped through him like a lightning bolt. Guess she wanted him every bit as much as he wanted her. And he did want her. He wanted to lay her down on that stone bench, with nothing but a few stray cherry blossoms as a cushion, and drive into her. Something about the mix of her enthusiastic passion and her almost innocent beauty drove him wild.
So he deepened the kiss. Turned his head the other way for a fresh approach, to make sure he didn’t miss licking over a single nerve ending. Griff nipped at her wide bottom lip. Made another pass with his tongue around all of the steamy slickness inside her mouth. And swallowed every sexy little moan and pant that she gave up.
A loud splash just beneath them jerked him back to reality. It was a damn seagull, still skidding his landing on the water as Griff looked over. But it was enough to break their crazed moment. Chloe’s leg slowly drifted back down the length of his. She pulled her hand out of the back of his pants. Griff put both hands beneath her arms. Lifted her high into the gray velvet of dusk and spun her in circles until she squealed, blossoms coating her hair like a veil.
“All right.”
“All right, what?” he asked as he set her down and straightened her scarf.
“You’re forgiven for taking me out on a motorized death machine.”
“All it took was one kiss?”
“One long kiss,” she amended.
“Wonder what I can get you to do once we get to second base?”

My Thoughts
Griffin Montgomery is a character.
Bright, witty, funny, and the consummate "man's man".  It's no wonder that it is so easy to fall for him. Not only is he handsome and outgoing, but he saves lives for a living as a rescue pilot for the Coast Guard.  Oh, and he's just a litt-le bit rich too.

Placing our Superman even higher on the " why we should like him list." His back story. Once we find out about how he kept his best friends alive after their bus crashed in the Swiss Alps.  Oh...that's it!

But wait.  It seems that Superman has a few chinks in his steel armor.
One of which being his inability to avoid unnecessary risks.  Risks that could have gotten both him and his crew killed.  Risks that, though they did save lives, also got him grounded until further notice.
Which is how and when we get to the part of the story where Griffin meets Chloe and well...things get just a little weird
Chloe is a girl who likes routine and order and prefers a speed to life that would make your average turtle look like Speed Racer. She of course, is the complete opposite of Griffin, and predictably enough; just the chickadee whose feathers he'd like to ruffle.

The romance is very sweet and all is well in Inta-love Land until...
Chloe tells Griffin the sweetest secret ever and...
He becomes a total ass.
This is the point where all reading stops and reading devices start flying across the room at great velocity.
While it is true that into every romance a little conflict must fall.  It is also true that this particular conflict, and the way that our leading man initially responds to it, demotes both him and the book from a darling to a dud in very short order.

All is not lost however. "Come to Jesus moments" are soon had by all.  Griffin proceeds to remove foot from mouth, and the book ends with all of the stuff that happy endings are made of.
And one very confused reviewer.

Reviewer's Notes
Risking It All is the first title in a companion series.  As such, it may be read in any order.
This review is based on an advanced reader's copy of the above referenced work received from Loveswept for that sole purpose.

About Christi
Christi Barth
Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage.
A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes contemporary romance.
Christi lives in Maryland with her husband.

Find Her:  Web / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

Forever Romance Presents A Duke To Remember Release Day Blitz With Review and Giveaway

27416037 A Duke To Remember
Series:  Season For Scandal #2
Author:  Kelly Bowen
Review Format:  eARC
Length:  368 pages
Publisher:  Forever

Rating:  5 Stars


Elise deVries is not what she seems. By night, the actress captivates London theatergoers with her chameleon-like ability to slip inside her characters. By day, she uses her mastery of disguise to work undercover for Chegarre & Associates, an elite agency known for its discreet handling of indelicate scandals. But when Elise is tasked with locating the missing Duke of Ashland, she finds herself center stage in a real-life drama.

Noah Ellery left the glamour of the London aristocracy to pursue a simpler life in the country. He's managed to avoid any complications or entanglements—that is, until he lays eyes on Elise and realizes there's more to this beautiful woman than meets the eye. But when Elise reveals her real identity—and her true feelings for him—the runaway duke must confront the past he left behind . . . to keep the woman he loves forever.

“You’re not going to die on me, are you?”  The voice came from lower, almost directly in front of her this time, and Elise opened her eyes, staring up at a collection of clouds scudding across the blue sky.
“Not yet, I think.”  She struggled to sit, her tired muscles still refusing to obey.
A warm hand caught hers and pulled her forward, and Elise was suddenly presented with the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen.
They were smoky green, the color of pine wreathed in mist, the color of still waters that hid great depths.  They were ringed with blond lashes, set in a strong, rugged face that spoke of hours spent outdoors.  Pale blond hair fell around his ears in careless waves, the ends damp where they brushed his bare shoulders.  Incredible shoulders, wide and powerful, droplets of water sliding over the ridges of muscle to disappear down the front of his chest. 
Her mouth went dry, and whatever breath she thought she had caught deserted her once again.
He was crouched before her, a look of concern tempered with a half-smile stamped across his striking features. “Hmmm.  Well, if you die, can I have your horse?” he asked.  “As fine an animal as I’ve seen in a long time.”
“My horse?” she repeated.  Good Lord.  Her wits had completely scattered under that smoky gaze.
He glanced over her head up in the direction of the road.  “One of the boys brought it off the bridge for you.”
Elise struggled to draw a normal breath and formulate a thought.  The man was trying to put her at ease.  It wasn’t his fault that he looked as he did.  It wasn’t his fault her body was threatening to make an utter fool of her because of it. 
But clearly, it had been too long since she had invited a man to share her bed because she was shamelessly staring at the way his body moved as he shifted.  Subtle shadows carved their way across his torso, created by lean muscle rippling under golden skin. A scattering of dark blond hair covered his chest and trailed down past his navel.  Her eyes dropped further south, and she let her gaze wander over the sharp ridges of muscle that formed a V over his hips before disappearing into the front of his breeches.  His free hand rested on a powerful thigh, long, capable-looking fingers spread out over the top of his knee.  She imagined what those fingers would feel like against her bare skin.  Because she already knew what his arms had felt like beneath her, the hard strength of his body against hers.
When he was pulling you from the water like a drowned river rat, you fool, not drawing you into a lover’s embrace.
A terrible realization struck her with the completion of that thought.  Without needing to check, she knew her cap was gone.  Her braid had come unpinned, and she could feel the heavy weight of her sodden hair on her back.  A glance at her water-logged clothes plastered to her body confirmed her worst suspicions.  When she’d bound her breasts tightly beneath her loose, baggy shirt, they were unnoticeable, but there was nothing unnoticeable about them now.  The bindings had come loose and slid down to bunch at her waist.  Worse, the threadbare fabric of her worn shirt was almost transparent, and stuck to her skin as it was, she may as well have been wearing nothing.  The curves of her breasts were clearly visible, as were the dark areolas of her peaked nipples.
The man’s eyes were still on her face and not on her chest, which Elise was choosing to interpret as a testament to his chivalry, but no one in their right mind would mistake her for anything other than what she truly was.  A woman dressed as a boy.
“No, you can’t have my horse,” she muttered, attempting to peel her shirt away from her breasts with her free hand.  “I need it to flee a lot of awkward questions.”
The man was watching her again.  “They are going to want to know who you are,” he said quietly, jerking his chin in the direction of the voices beyond them.  The understanding she saw in those incredible eyes made her blink.
She managed a weak smile.  “Do you suppose anyone will notice if I just swim back to where I came from?” She was trying to make her mind work, but like her muscles, it seemed lethargic, her usual ingenuity depleted.  “You can tell them that I was a mermaid.”

My Thoughts
With Ivory away managing a situation in Chelmsford.  It has fallen to Elise to assume the reins at Chegarre and Associates. 
And as is brisk.

Enter Lady Abigail Ellery.  A woman determined to locate her brother Noah.  A man who has been missing for some twenty years.  A man also presumed dead by all but his mother, Dowager Duchess of Ashlund, Miriam Ellery.  Who has managed to put herself in the direst of straits.  Her unwavering insistence that her missing son is alive, giving her title hungry nephew the cause he needs to have her tucked away among the insane of Bedlam.

When a visit by Elise, to Bedlam in the guise of a doctor, proves Miriam to be in failing health and fading fast.  Elise and the gang become aware that time is of the essence when it comes to finding this most precious of lost treasures.
Making making the pieces of this puzzle all the more interesting, is King's very personal investment in the Noah's recovery.

The speed with which Elise both manages to find the wayward Noah, and become attracted to he hoovers somewhere dangerously close to lightening.  But given all the charm, romance, banter, and simply heart-melting moments to be had.  There is no problem with speeding up the process of getting from point A to point L-O-V-E in record time.

As both the reader and Elise discover more about the unassuming duke.  The mysteries surrounding his survival on the streets, the person that helped him find his voice, and his connection to the enigmatic King are solved in a very touching way.

With one eye firmly fixed on the dowager's dwindling clock and the other watching their backs. Elise tries countless times to convince Noah to return to London. It's only when the threat to Elise turns deadly that Noah begrudgingly relents.

A Duke To Remember is a not just a continuation of an awesome series.  It is a continuation of a series that breaks the mold for women in Regency Romance.  Allowing them to boldly walk where even the bravest of men fear to tread.  Say what they really feel and think., and follow their hearts to their own versions of happily.  

Kelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology.
But it was Kelly's infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance.  When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields.
Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process.  Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey

Find Her:  Web / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

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Forever Romance Presents: Nacho Figueras' Ride Free + Giveaway

27416039Title:  Nacho Figueras Presents: Ride Free
Series:  (The Polo Season #3)
Author:  Jessica Whitman
Review Format:  Print
Length:  320 pages
Publisher:  Forever Romance
Rating: 5 Stars

 World-renowned polo player and global face of Ralph Lauren, Nacho Figueras dives into the world of scandal and seduction with the Polo Season, set in the glamorous, treacherous world of high-stakes polo competition.

Antonia Black has always known her place with the Del Campo family-a bastard daughter. And it will take a lot more than her skill with horses to truly belong within the wealthy polo dynasty. In fact, she's been shuttled around so much in her life, she doesn't even know what "home" means. Until one man shows her exactly how it feels to be safe, to be free, to be loved.

Enzo Rivas knows Noni is way out of his league. After all, he's the stablemaster, and she's the boss's sister. But he can't see the hurt in her eyes and not want to protect her. And he can no longer deny the electric tension jumping between them. Yet just when he's ready to risk it all and change their relationship forever, a secret from her past makes him question everything he thought he knew about her...

When Sunny started crow-hopping, Enzo Rivas didn’t worry. The big mare had always been hot, and it wasn’t out of character for her to occasionally get a little bored and try to test her rider.

But when Sunny started to buck, Enzo knew something was seriously wrong.

The pony threw her head down, kicked out her legs, and whinnied fearfully, almost sending Enzo out of the saddle. He pressed his knees against the saddle, grabbed the reins, and battled to pull her head back up. She fought him, flinging her head down again and heaving her back legs into the air.

For a moment, he thought he was going to be thrown, and his body automatically tensed, preparing to hit the ground, hard.

It wouldn’t have been the first time Enzo lost his seat to an unruly horse. It was part of his job, after all. Nobody trained horses and didn’t occasionally get thrown. But that didn’t mean he wouldn’t fight it.

Sunny came back down onto all four legs again, and Enzo, sensing a split second of opportunity, yanked the reins sharply to the right, forcing the pony’s head so far over that her nose touched his knee. She screamed in outrage and spun in a circle, but she was powerless to kick her hind legs from this position.

Enzo kept her in that stance, letting her spin as many times as she wanted, speaking to her softly in Spanish, until he could feel her temper start to ebb and her muscles soften, one by one, under him.

He relaxed the reins and let the pony’s head back up. As they cantered forward, he noticed a large, bald-faced hornet floating away from them.

“Ah. Poor girl,” he said, “you got stung.”

Sunny snorted complacently as if in agreement, then reared up, threw Enzo backward into the grass, and bolted, riderless, down the pitch.

Enzo lay there for a moment, the breath knocked out of him, staring at the cloudless Florida sky. It had not been a bad fall, as falls went, and he knew that once he could breathe again, he’d be fine. But he was also pissed, and he knew it would be better to get his temper under control before he chased down the errant horse. It never helped to be mad when dealing with ponies.

“Rivas?” came a distant voice that made him close his eyes and smile ruefully. Of course she would find him like this.

“Enzo, are you okay?”

She was closer.

He struggled to a sitting position, still a little winded but determined not to be on his back when she reached him.

“I’m fine,” he said, and then almost fell over again, he was so dizzy. Damn that horse. He bent his head to his knees and closed his eyes.

“You don’t look fine. You look like you got knocked on your ass.”

He slowly turned his gaze up toward Antonia Black and felt his heart speed up in a way that had nothing to do with his fall.

It was getting worse. He could hardly look at her anymore without being filled with an almost paralyzing ache of attraction.

She reached out her hand, her dark eyes twinkling with amusement, and after a beat of hesitation, he took it and let her help him to his feet.

For a moment after he stood, he let his hand linger in hers, allowing himself the luxury of feeling the tingling heat that seemed to generate from her skin into his. But then he dropped it, remembering the runaway horse.

“Did you see where Sunny went?” he asked.

She laughed. “She pranced right into the barn. I’m sure one of the grooms has her by now.”

He nodded and winced, already sore from the fall. “She got stung,” he said.

“Oh,” said Noni, “I know. I saw the whole thing.”

He smiled and rubbed his neck. “Hot horse,” he said ruefully.

She smiled back. He felt his chest squeeze in response. “Hot horse,” she agreed. She looked him over. “You sure you’re all right?”

He nodded. “I’ll probably be sore, but nothing is broken.”

“Good,” she said.

They gazed at each other for a moment.

“Are you going to Hendy’s party tonight?” he finally said, needing to break the tension.

Her mood suddenly changed. She frowned, and a red flush touched the creamy skin of her cheeks and chest. “Yeah, I guess,” she said in an abrupt tone. “Anyway, if you’re really okay, I’m going to head on home.” She quickly turned to go. “I’ll see you at the party.”

He watched Antonia walk away, heading for her truck. He had the impulse to call out, stop her, ask her what was wrong. But before he could act, Noni swung up into her truck, her platinum blond hair streaming behind her, slammed the door with a bang, and was gone in a cloud of dust.

He clenched and unclenched his fist, reminding himself that every time she slipped away, it was better for both of them. Less complicated, safer.

Nothing good, he reminded himself sternly for the ten millionth time as he started back toward the barn, could come from anything happening between us.

She is my boss’s sister. She is a Del Campo. I would only end up hurting her.

The words were his litany, but lately they were starting to lose their power.

He shook his head. Being stern with himself wasn’t working anymore. He could feel that he was starting to weaken. Being around her at work, being her friend and confidant, without ever hinting at his real feelings, had begun to exhaust him.

It was a part he knew he could not play much longer. All his good reasons for keeping his distance, all the rules of the barn and vows to himself that he had clung to over the years had started to feel weightless compared to his growing feelings for this woman. The many times he had repeated to himself that it was unprofessional, that he wasn’t fit to be in a relationship, that he didn’t deserve her, that she was too fragile… it was all beginning to feel as insubstantial as a fairy story. A cautionary tale he’d heard as a child, meant to keep him away from gingerbread houses and wolves in the woods.

Because she was different these days. She was stronger and happier and more stable. And her happiness made her all the more irresistible.

And maybe, he thought, I’m different, too…

He turned back around at the barn door, watching the lingering trail of dust that her old blue truck had left behind. He thought of a moment in the barn earlier that day, when he had held the head of a pony for her while she bent over its hind leg, hammering in a new shoe. For just the quickest second, she had looked up and met his eyes, and a devilish smile had danced over her mouth. It had been the kind of carefree grin he would never have imagined on her face when he had first come to know her. It seemed to prove that she was finally mended. Certainly, she was a changed woman from the one he’d met all those years ago.
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My Thoughts
When it comes to Ride Free, it is indeed true that Nacho Figueras saved the best story for last.  In world where blood seems to run gold, rather than blue. Pedigree and lineage mean everything.  But when you are the love child of Carlos Del Campo, you learn very quickly that there are a great many ills that not even the Del Campo blood can overcome.

Antonia Black has always known that she was destined to be the 'odd one out' in the gleaming polish of the Del Campo family set.
She has always been too fair, too rough around the edges, too other.
Accepted and adored by her brothers, she has never been able to be more to her step-mother, Pilar, than a painful reminder of her late husband's indiscretions.
Even after 8 years as a member of the Del Compo household, and having taken her place as farrier for team La Victoria.

Now, on the eve of the birthday that will unlock the millions that  are her birthright.  Jacob, a man from her past, and the little boy she loves are back in her life.  Jacob was a man, a hurt, that Antonia thought that time had healed.
Leaving her free to explore the budding attraction that she feels to her best friend Enzo.  But just when she feels the truth of the desire that exists between herself and the gentle and caring man who has been her person since day one.

She finds herself at the center of emotional manipulation.
The pawn...
The sweet little boy with a head full of copper blond curls.
The key to her heart and her fortune for his fugitive father.  The same man that ran from her so many years ago. Jacob.
But the woman that stands before him now, has become as strong as the metal that she so lovingly crafts into horseshoes.  She is not one to be bent or broken.  But one to stand strong...A Black and a Del Campo.  Able to draw strength from the two half of what is an exquisite whole.
A whole that Enzo Rivas will do anything to keep that way.  Even if doing so could cost him his life.

Ride Free is by far the most emotionally charged of the trilogy.  With both Antonia and Enzo living under the very real cloud of unhealed hurts allowed to fester.  While our leading lady is looking for love.  Our leading man is hiding from its possibility.  Convinced that his decision to leave a loveless marriage and all the material trappings that it offered.  In favor of the honesty and simple existence that his present now allows.
Enzo is a man afraid to wish for more.  Afraid to believe that he is worthy of love, and all the joy it brings.

Because so much of what happens to and around both Enzo and Antonia come from a place of pain.  She is the one that readers will want to fight for.   Blessed with an angelic inner innocence that makes her outer beauty shine all the more.  Antonia proves time after time that she is diamond in the rough. Ready to shine with a unparalleled luster all her own; after the gentle polish that only love can provide. 

 *Reviewer's Note:  This is the first novel in a loosely related companion series that may be read in any order.
**This review contains only the honest opinions of the reviewer, and is based on the review copy provide

About Nacho Figueras:
Argentine polo player Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras has become one of the most recognizable and talented polo players in the world.  He is currently the captain and co-owner of the Black Watch polo team.  In addition to playing polo, Nacho has been featured as a face of Ralph Lauren and its Black Watch clothing and watch collection since 2000. In June 2009, he was voted the second most handsome man in the world by the readers of Vanity Fair and has appeared on numerous television shows, such as Oprah and Chelsea Handler. Nacho currently splits his time between Miami and Argentina with his wife, Delfina and their four children, Hilario, Aurora, Artemio, and Alba.

Social Media Links:
Twitter @nachofigueras
Instagram @nachofigueras
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Feel The Fire Of Nacho Figueras' "Wild One"

27170159 Title:  Nacho Figueras Presents: Wild One
Series:  (The Polo Season #2)
Author:  Jessica Whitman
Review Format:  Print
Length:  301 pages
Publisher:  Forever Romance
Rating: 5 Stars 

Kat Parker thought she'd finally escaped being known as the housekeeper's daughter in the class-obsessed polo town of Wellington, FL. With her first blockbuster screenplay, she'd become the Hollywood It girl-until with one flop suddenly she wasn't. Heading home is her only option.

Kat knows she can write another hit...if only she can find the right story. What she finds instead is the drop-dead gorgeous celebrity athlete Sebastian Del Campo, who's just as well known for his tabloid exploits as he is for his prowess on the polo field.

For Sebastian, everything in life has always come easily-wealth, sports, women. But the perennial party life is starting to feel a bit stale. Especially after meeting Kat. Her easy laughter and candid attitude make him aspire to something more meaningful for the first time in his life.

As Sebastian tells Kat stories of his grandmother Victoria, a woman who could be dripping in diamonds one moment and tearing up the polo field the next, Kat's inspiration fires and soon the pair are back in Hollywood, working on a film together that could make or break both of their careers. And though the chemistry between the two is building, the film's irresistible star has other ideas...

Kat and Sebastian took off their shoes and walked along the edge of the sea. The sand was wet and warm, and the water hissed in and out over their bare feet as the tide came in. The beach was empty, and the moon was bright, and when she looked at him, her gray eyes gleamed silver in the pale light.
She was, thought Sebastian, even more than he had imagined she would be. She was beautiful, of course, but in an effortless way. The beauty mark above her lip, the 2-inch scar on the inside of her elbow that gleamed silvery-white against her smooth, tan skin (a childhood accident, she told him, trailing her finger over it self-consciously), the way that her glossy black curls sprang out around her head like an unruly corona in the Florida humidity, the faint laugh lines that appeared around her pretty eyes every time she smiled…
And she was smart, and funny, and she told him scandalous, gossipy, hilarious stories about Hollywood and made him laugh so hard his belly ached. And when he flattered or flirted, her cheeks would flush pink and her eyes sparkled, but at the same time, if he went over-the-top, he knew that she did not buy his bullshit. Not even one little bit. Because nothing got past this woman. Nada.
And now she walked alongside him, laughing and chattering about this and that in her husky, honey-sweet voice. Her legs were long enough that he barely had to adjust his stride, and her swinging hand kept grazing his arm and sending little shocks of pleasure through his body.
He caught her hand and pulled her toward him. “Besame,” he said softly.
She blinked. “Forgive my rusty Spanish, but doesn’t that mean-”
He cut her off by gently placing his mouth upon hers.
Her lips were soft and warm, and he searched them slowly, first with his own lips, and then with his tongue, just barely touching the outline of her mouth until she exhaled and stepped closer to him.
He loved kissing a woman this tall. He didn’t have to bend to her mouth at all, and it was so easy to pull her even closer and go deep. She tasted amazing, like sweet lime and champagne and a trace of salt, and she smelled of that same intriguing bittersweet caramel fragrance he had noticed the first day they met. He went deeper still, and she pushed up against him and made a soft, warm sound in the back of her throat, and suddenly he was flooded with an electric hunger so sharp that he felt that he might lose control.
And so he did what he had been fantasizing about doing all night. He led her away from the water and laid her down upon the warm sand and covered her body with his own.
She broke off kissing him. “Do you think,” she said hoarsely, "that we should find someplace more private?”
He pushed himself up and looked around. The beach was deserted. The only light from the restaurant was far behind. “I think we’re alone.” he said.
He gently kissed her face, and thought to himself that she felt so good, so right, and that he never wanted to be anywhere else. That he would stay here forever if she let him…
And then he laughed softly, because he really had never felt these things before. And honestly?
It kind of scared the living hell out of him.

My Thoughts
Nacho Figueras introduces his readers to a world of polo, ponies, power plays, and film production; in this, the second offering of  The Polo Season series.
But based on the free spirits which seem to guide both leading lady, Cat Parker and leading man, Sebastian Del Campo, toward trouble at every turn.  It is hard to know to which Wild One, the book's title is alluding at any given time.

When a pride sore Kat is called home to Wellington, Florida, after her father suffers a stroke.  The last thing that the once A-List director thinks that she'll find is love.
But as readers learned in the first volume of this saga of fate and fortune.  In the cases of ponies and passion, what you get is often the farthermost thing from what is expected.

Sebastian Del Campo is a man who comes by things naturally.  Charm, looks, athleticism, money, and most of all...woman.
The one thing he can't seem to come by however, is the trust and respect of his family.  Considered a slacking playboy by all who know him.  Sebastian is a man determined to turn over a new leaf.  After one last ill fated drink.
When his last night of excess finds him on the losing end of a brawl that he didn't start, and unable to play polo while his broken wrist mends. Sebastian Del Campo has no idea that a mission of mercy, as his mother's delivery boy, will put him on a collision course with a soul whose fire burns just as brightly as his own.

Wild One is a story about people who choose to live and love in ways that defy convention.  For Kat, that means refusing to be cowed by one failure in her career, and daring to give her heart to a man who is able to share every part of himself but that.
For Sebastian, it means striving to be more than who and what people expect.  Exploring alternate options for his life and his heart. Choosing to love the one woman that his mind and body won't let him be without.

The story of Kat and Sebastian is one of two beautifully broken halves coming together to create an unstoppable creative force that takes both the world, and Kat and Seb themselves by storm.
And the woman who inspires it all...Victoria Del Campo.

Wild One is also the story that has the least to do with the Del Campo family in terms of their sport.  Instead focusing on those members of the family who, for better or worse, give the family its life, energy and flair.  Sebastian and Victoria...and Kat, the one woman strong enough to bring his heart and her legacy to life.

Readers will thrill in seeing the give and take in all aspects of Kat and Seb's relationship.  Just as hearts will surely crumble, when mistrust, insecurities, and egos are allowed to get in the way.
Both Sebastian and Kat are people trying hard to both understand their place in the world, and be understood.
Who know that the discovery of Sebastian's grandmother's diaries would be their key to accomplishing both.
But the couples' quest to bring the great lady's story to the silver screen could spell the end of their "happily ever after" before it begins.
As well as dashing any hopes that Kat has of box office redemption.
Unless these two are able to think their way out of the devious boxes of others without extinguishing the spark that make each able to see the other for who and what they are now...and are destined to become together.

This is the kind of read that make one believe that there is a round hole for every square peg.
Even you!

*Reviewer's Note:  This is the first novel in a loosely related companion series that may be read in any order.
**This review contains only the honest opinions of the reviewer, and is based on the review copy provided.

Love, Passion, And Forever Take The Triple Crown In Nacho Figueras' "High Season"

27110147Title:  Nacho Figueras Presents: High Season
Series:  (The Polo Season #1)
Author:  Jessica Whitman
Review Format:  Print
Length:  351 pages
Publisher:  Forever Romance
Rating: 5 Stars 

World-renowned polo player and global face of Ralph Lauren, Nacho Figueras dives into the world of scandal and seduction with a new fiction series set in the glamorous, treacherous world of high-stakes polo competition.

Georgia never wanted to be a jetsetter. A plain old country vet was fine for her. But one distress call from her best friend and the next thing she knows she's neck deep in the world of polo's most elite international players--complete with designer dresses, fine champagne and some of the most gorgeous thoroughbreds she's ever seen. Some of the most gorgeous men too...

Alejandro Del Campo needs his team to win the season's biggest polo tournament or else he's not sure how much longer they're going to be in business. What he doesn't need is some sassy new vet telling him how to run his business--and distracting him at every turn. But as they come closer and closer to the championship match, it soon becomes clear that Alejandro wants to win Georgia just as much as the tourney trophy. But can he ever convince her his world is where she truly belongs?

Alejandro glanced across the room at the sound of his brother laughing and tried to see whoever he was talking to. He got a glimpse of a pretty face, animated by conversation, before Rory moved to loom over her and obscure the view.
He realized his audience were waiting for a reaction and smiled and nodded at the ring of people around him, trying to concentrate on the story that the socialite in the tight turquoise dress was telling and hoping he was hiding how claustrophobic he felt.
He hated these press events. Every which way he turned, someone waited to talk to him, touch him, demanding his attention. He knew it was part of the job – and he tried his best to satisfy – but the longer he stood, grinning like a fool and saying the same polite and predictable things over and over, the more horrifically restless he became.  The mandatory mingling was bad enough when his team had won; but forced jollity after a loss like today’s added serious insult to injury.
Sebastian laughed even louder, and Alejandro turned his head again. He saw Sebastian break away to get a refill on his drink.  Fantastic – just what he needed – Sebastian on the rampage.
Alejandro took that as his cue, quickly excusing himself before he was caught up in another round of unbearably inane conversation.
He wound his way through the crowd, past women sporting spray-on dresses and customer service smiles and sought out his teammates.
He strode over toward his brother, laid one hand on his shoulder, and took the champagne from his hand. He spoke to him in quick, low Spanish. “Che, hermano, I thought we agreed not to drink during the season?”
Sebastian shrugged, then smiled and answered him in English.  “I’d never let free champagne go to waste.”  He plucked the drink back from Alejandro’s hand and drained it.
Alejandro shook his head.  Sebastian had more natural talent than any player he knew but sometimes seemed ready to piss it away with partying. But after another defeat, with all eyes on them, someone had to set a standard.
Apparently Sebastian recognized the look in his brother’s eyes and cut off the lecture before it began. “Before you start in on family honor, big brother, let me introduce you to some friends.” Sebastian turned toward the group. “You know Beau, of course, and this is Billy.”
Alejandro nodded as the sleek, dark-skinned man on Beau’s arm shook his hand.
“And this is Billy’s friend Georgia.”
Alejandro felt his breath catch in his chest. The woman smiling up at him was not Sebastian or Rory’s typical stick chick. In fact, Alejandro had never seen anyone like her in Wellington before. In a room full of women working their surgically enhanced assets to the max, she stood out in her simplicity.  Tawny, golden brown hair was pinned up in messy curls, warm, hazel eyes met his with intelligent curiosity. Her skin appeared to be free of makeup, except for a faint hint of red on her full lips. She wore a simple tank and wide-legged trousers. He almost smiled to see that, instead of the expensive wedge sandal or designer riding boots, she wore a pair of little red sneakers on her feet.
“Pleased to meet you, Georgia.” He said the word with the Spanish inflection, “I am Alejandro Del Campo.” He took her small hand in his and felt his whole body tighten in response to her fingers against his own.
Her pale cheeks flushed a delicate, petal pink. He looked at her eyes, trying to decide if they were dark green or hazel.  They seemed to change with the light.
“I know,” she said, and blushed even deeper.

My Thoughts
International polo sensation and the face of Ralph Lauren, Nacho Figueras, ushers readers into a world where polo reigns and money rains.  A place where fortunes are won or lost to the beat of horse hooves, and refined manners give way to untamed hearts.

For Georgia Fellows, life has narrowed to days spent between helping her father treat the animals on their dilapidated family farm, and assisting the local village vet.  An excellent veterinarian in her own right; Georgia is fully aware that she should aspire to more.  But scars from her mother's abandonment of her and her father, when Georgia was just a teen, have yet to completely heal.  Leaving a very road wary woman in their wake.

Alejandro Del Campo is one of the reigning princes of polo.  As one of the heirs of the Del Campo polo dynasty, sporting the physique of a Latin Adonis, and captain of the champion polo team, La Victoria; he appears to have it all.
Appearances however, can sometimes be deceiving.
Never more so than in the case of Mr Del Campo.
Still riddled with guilt over the accidental death of his wife, Alejandro lives a life apart.  A life far removed from the natural passions that should fire his blood and heat his loins.  A life lived by a strict code of honor, responsibility, and duty.
His only freedom found on horseback.

Until one touch from a certain beautiful veterinarian, from a small town in upstate New York, gives 'the man who has everything' something to want.

Though this first novel in The Polo Season series is set in a world of utter opulence. Its author is careful to temper said grandeur with very down-to-earth and approachable characters, and a plot spotlighting the universal search of one heart for its corresponding beat.
In the case of Alejandro Del Campo and Georgia Fellows.  Theirs is a love which is both complimented and hampered by their love for the noble horses to whom they are both master and servant.

When what was as simple getaway to Florida compliments of her best friend Billy, turns into the opportunity of a lifetime for Georgia.  After her quick action and keen eye leads her to diagnose a hidden ailment in Alejandro's prized mare McKenzie.

The bounty that accompanies Georgia's new role as the Del Campo's number 2 vet, comes with quite the price.  The man that has stolen her her heart.  The undeniable intensity of their attraction to each other, when juxtaposed against their shared respect for decorum and duty, makes for a natural tension that makes the reader anticipate interaction between Georgia and Alejandro on even the most mundane levels.

You can rest assured however, that when these two forces of nature come together; the results will be earth-shattering.  The perfect blend of all things emotional and carnal.  The love scenes between Alejandro and his lady are the stuff of romantic dreams.

The heat burning its way through the pages of this read burns just as hot outside the bubble of our lovebirds' desire than in.  With Georgia meeting opposition at every turn.  Whether it be the cold shoulder and blatant disrespect of her direct superior, Gus.  Or, the sharp tongue and distrust of Alejandro's teen daughter, Valentina.  The drama just keeps coming for Georgia.  But then does Alejandro.

This is the perfect read for those who long to be swept away by heart stopping romance, tossed about by the seas of fate, and rescued by true love...on a horse, of course.

Reviewer's Note:  This is the first novel in a loosely related companion series that may be read in any order.
This review contains only the honest opinions of the reviewer, and is based on the review copy provided.