Roses & Thorns

Roses & Thorns

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Herald’s Heart by Rue Allyn

The Plot:

Royal herald Sir Talon Quereste plans to someday settle on a quiet little estate, marry well, and raise a family. The wife of his daydreams will enhance his standing with his peers—she’s certainly not an overly adventurous, impulsive, argumentative woman of dubious background who threatens everything he values, until he meets his father’s wife.

Lady Larkin Rosham lost more than everyone she loved when her family was murdered—she lost her identity. Now no one believes she’s Lady Larkin, least of all Sir Talon, whose dreams of owning Hawksedge go up in smoke if she is, indeed, his father’s lost bride.

But when the murderer strikes again, danger and betrayal lurk around every corner. Can Larkin and Talon discover how to save their lives without risking their hearts?

About the Author:

When not writing, spending quality time with her spouse, catering to her cat, or attending meetings, Rue now travels the world and surfs the internet in search of background material and inspiration for her next heart-melting romance. She loves to hear from readers, and you may contact her at She can’t wait to hear from you.


I’m leery of reading historical romances. As anyone who follows this blog knows, I hate modern language and anomalies in period pieces, and I watch for them like a hawk. I warned Ms. Allyn of that when she asked me to review her book, and she said, “If you find any of that, my editor and I haven’t done our jobs.” Well, Ms. Allyn, you and your editor are to be complimented. The Herald’s Heart is a wonderfully-written historical romance with no anomalies to pull me out of the time-period or the story.

While Lady Larkin Rosham is a feisty heroine, she is a devout, chaste young woman who has been orphaned and married by proxy to an evil man whose men killed her family and believed they killed her by mistake when her father changed his mind about allowing her to marry him. No one believes she survived the attack, and the villagers call her “Liar Larkin.” She sneaks in to look for proof of her identity when the Lord is away, which is where she is when the Sir Talon Quereste, her stepson and the King’s Royal Herald finds her.

Again, Ms. Allyn pulled me in on the first page and kept me reading right straight through. Sparks flew throughout the book, but did not ignite in glaring 3-D. There were no glitches to pull me back to the present, and the grammar was excellent. Brava, Ms. Allyn. Thank you. I highly recommend The Herald's Heart.

Author Website:
Warnings:  Nudity
Length:  230 Pages
Digital Price:  $3.78

You’ll notice we always include the publisher’s buy link. That’s because authors usually receive 40-50% of the net proceeds from the publisher. Editors and cover artists usually receive about 5%. When you buy a book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or another third-party vendor, they take a hefty cut and the author, editors and cover artists receive their cuts from what is left. So, if a book costs $5.99 at E-Book and you buy from there, the author will receive about $2.40-$2.99. If you buy the book at Amazon, the author will receive about $1.70-$2.10.

Download the file from the publisher onto your computer as you would any other file. I’ve created a folder for books on my computer, with subfolders by source (Marketing for Romance Writers, Net Galley, Authors who find me on Kindle lists, etc.). That way, if there’s a glitch with your Kindle, the books are on your computer. Some publishers send books in all digital formats. If my Kindle breaks and my kids buy me a Nook, I won’t have to replace all of my books. If you have a Kindle and your hubby has a Nook, you won’t have to buy separate copies, so buying directly from the publisher can save you money.

Moving the file from your computer to your e-reader is as easy as transferring any file from your computer to a USB flash drive. Plug the larger USB end of your e-reader charging chord into a USB port on your computer and simply move the file from the folder into which you’ve downloaded the book to Documents/Books directory on your e-reader. You can move the file by highlighting it and dragging it to the documents directory in you Kindle you want to move it to. Or right click on it, and then left click copy or move. Or hit Control/C for copy, Control/X for cut, and Control/V for paste.

Your author will be happy you did when he/she sees his/her royalty statement.

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

#TheGoodTheBadTheGhostly by Keta Diablo @ketadiablo et. al.

The Plots:

“Wild, Wild Ghost” by: Margo Bond Collins

With everyone she loves in the grave, Ruby specializes in the dead.

“Comes an Outlaw” by Keta Diablo
An outlaw returns to his childhood home to find his parents and brother dead, and the lovely widow in grave danger.

“Long a Ghost, and Far Away” by Andrea Downing

Ghosts are restless souls, and Lizzie Adams is one of them. How many lives will she get to find the perfect love?

“A Ghostly Wager” by Blaire Edens
Even skeptical detectives need a little otherworldly help.

“How the Ghost Was Won” by Erin Hayes

There are ghost stories. And there are ghost legends.

“McKee’s Ghost” by Anita Philmar
The ghost living in his house might have saved him from an unhappy marriage and brought him the girl of his dreams, but when his ex-fiancée returns the same spirit turns his life upside down.
Now, has he lost all hope of a happy future because of a ruthless ghost?

“A Ride Through Time” by Charlene Raddon

Ghosts. Murder. Love. All P.S.I. Agent Burke Jameson wanted was to find out if Eagle Gulch, Colorado had genuine ghosts. He found far more than he expected, including a horse ride that could change his life forever.

“The Ghost and the Bridegroom” by Patti Sherry-Crews

She’s sent west to solve a case. What she finds will change for life forever.

About the Authors:

Margo Bond Collins:

Margo is addicted to coffee and SF/F television, especially Supernatural (maybe because of those Winchesters). She writes paranormal and contemporary romance, urban fantasy, and paranormal mystery. She lives in Texas with her daughter and several spoiled pets. Although she teaches college-level English courses online, writing fiction is her first love.

She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about heroes, vampires, ghosts, werewolves, and the women who love (and sometimes fight) them.

Keta Diablo:

Keta’s a bestselling Amazon author who writes in several genres, including western romance, historical romance, paranormal romance and the occasional gay romance. Her books have received numerous Top Pick, Book of the Month and Recommended Read reviews.

Andrea Downing:

Native New Yorker Andrea Downing divides her time between the canyons of city streets and the wide-open spaces of Wyoming. Her background in publishing and English Language teaching has transferred into fiction writing, and her love of horses, ranches, and rodeo is reflected in award-winning historical and contemporary western romances.

Blaire Edens:

Ms. Edens lives in the mountains of North Carolina. She loves iced tea with mint, hand-stitched quilts, and yarn stores. As the award-winning author of Wild About Rachel, The Witch of Roan Mountain, and The Fairy Bargain, when she’s not busy plotting, she’s knitting, running or listening to the Blues.

Erin Hayes:

Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books. She works as an advertising copywriter during the day, and is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author by night. She has lived in New Zealand, Texas, Alabama, and now San Francisco with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.

You can reach her at and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars.

Anita Philmar:

Ms. Philmar likes to create stories that push the limit. A writer by day and a dreamer by night she wants her readers to see the world in a new way.

Influenced by old movies, she likes to develop places where anything can happen and where special moments come to life in a great read.

Naughty or Nice?

Read her books and decide.

Charlene Raddon:

Ms. Raddon’s first serious attempt at writing fiction came in 1980 when a vivid dream drove her to drag out a typewriter and begin writing. Her genre is historical wester romance. Kensington Books originally published five of her no Charlene Raddon’s first serious attempt at writing fiction came in 1980 when a vivid dream drove her to drag out a typewriter and begin writing. Her genre is historical wester romance. Kensington Books originally published five of her novels. These were later released as eBooks by Tirgearr Publishing. Currently, they are self-published with new covers designed by the author.

Patti Sherry-Crews:

Patti lives in Evanston, Il. When she is not playing with cowboys and knights in shining armor, she writes contemporary women’s fiction.


I bought this anthology because I’ve been hosting these authors on my blog. So it really hurts to only give them three roses for their hard work. Unfortunately, this set is self-published, and they really should have pooled their money and hired a good editor. The thing I hate most about indie-published books is a lack of editing. It is the bane of the indie publishing world. And the reason I rarely read historical romance is the presence of anomalies. They drive me crazy. For instance, I can see a Chicago cop saying “I got this” in 2016. Somehow, a farmer saying that in the late 1800s pulls me out of the story with steam coming out of my ears. Grrr! Yet in one of the time-travel stories when a man goes back to the 1880’s from 2016, he lapses into the vernacular of the times almost as soon as he dismounts from the horse who took him there. Fortunately, in the other time-travel story, the woman who finds herself back in time uses her normal 2016 language, confounding the man who believes she’s the ghost of his deceased wife. And then there’s the glitch in the line-up with one story giving away the ending of the next. But that may be fixed by the time you read this, as I plan to speak with the authors about it.

The two stories that stand out as being both clean and accurate are the ones written by Ms. Diablo and Ms. Collins. If I were reviewing these stories individually, I’d give Wild, Wild West and Comes an Outlaw each five roses.

Despite the editing problems and anomalies, the stories were fast-paced, the characters were likable and engaging, and I read all 760 pages in less than two weeks while working on other things and attending a writers’ conference over the weekend. Yes, I pretty much burned through it. So if you don’t mind a guy in the 1880s saying “I got this,” or editing glitches, you’ll probably enjoy it.

Author Websites:

Margo Bond Collins:
Andrea Downing:
Anita Philmar
Blaire Edens:
Erin Hayes:
Charlene Raddon:
Patti Sherry-Crews:
Warnings:  None
Length:  760 Pages
Digital Price:  $0.99

Thanks for visiting.