A Gentleman and a Rogue

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Review Tuesday: Rough Waters by Maggie Toussaint #bookreview

Book Review for: Rough Waters
Written by: Maggie Toussaint
Wild Rose Press
ISBN: 978-1-62830-430-5
Avail in print and in ebook

5 Stars

Nail biting Romantic Suspense!

Maggie Toussaint pens a taunt romantic suspense with "Rough Waters." Rock MacKenzie arrives in Mossy Bog intent on finding one thing – the missing coins he discovered on a dive. He's convinced Jeanie Munro's ex-husband, Avery, might have taken them. Rock meets Jeanie with the intent of her leading him to Avery, but soon discovers Jeanie has no insights into her ex-husband's whereabouts. Rock learns he's attracted to Jeanie and feels bad when her house is burglarized.

Jeanie can't deny the attraction she feels for Rock, but her priority remains with her young children. In order to keep them safe, she sends them away and actively helps Rock seek the treasure he's looking or. Rock doesn't know what to make of his confusing clues, but when Jeanie's life is put in jeopardy, he's forced to come to terms with them in order to save her life.

Toussaint's writing is engaging, filled with several twists and turns leaving the reader anxious to find out what happens next. Rock is loyal, protective, and determined. Jeanie is a modern heroine. Not only is she gutsy and intitutive, but when it comes to her kids, she puts them first. Both the characters are strong, likable leads. The supporting cast embodies southern hospitality and there's no shortage of suspects.

"Rough Waters" is a romantic suspense novel with several main stream love scenes. It's the 3rd book in the Mossy Bog series. The book stands alone in the series and embraces several elements of heightened suspense as the previous books did. I would definitely recommend it. "Rough Waters" is a page turner!

Question for you: What's your favorite romantic suspense show on TV? 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Snippet Sunday: 1.99 Fantasy Romance - The Green Rose #snippetsunday

Hi all, I'm participating in the Weekend Warriors Snippet Sunday. This month, I'll be taking snippets from my fantasy romance, The Green Rose. You can find the Weekend Warriors Snippet Sunday list at:

This snippet:      Ivanstan sees Sonia for the first time. 


Racing forward, he spotted her near Tapin's tents surrounded by three beasts. Tall and slender, she possessed a strong, wild beauty he found intriguing. Long chestnut brown hair flowed down her back. Her eyes were golden yellow with obsidian irises. She'd been bonded! Only the noble bonded. Her high, exotic cheekbones and patrician features were steeled in courage and determination. 
A falcon, the heraldic symbol of Tapin, was prominently displayed on her tunic.

This excerpt has been edited to fit the 8 sentence requirement. 

"The Green Rose" is a spicy fantasy romance.  The nations of Gaia are attacked. Ivanstan and Sonia are forced to go on a journey to find the mythical Green Rose to save their fathers, but will their attraction get in the way? 


Reviews for The Green Rose:

5 Stars, Joy Cagel, Amazon Reader
Stephanie Burkhart's incredible skill will keep you engaged and deeply interested. Give it a try; I recommend it.

4 Stars, It's Raining Books, Book Reviewer
I read this book cover-to-cover in one afternoon. 

4 Stars, Long and Short Reviews
Well written and engaging, The Green Rose is a book fans of fantasy and romance should enjoy.











Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Book Review Tuesday: To The Nines by Janet Evanovich #bookreview

Book Review for: To the Nines
Written by: Janet Evanovich
St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 0-312-26586-7

4.5 Stars

Stephanie Plum is up to her usual tricks when she gets assigned to find Samuel Singh, an illegal immigrant who has jumped his immigration bond. Ranger, her co-worker, is put on the case, too, but the leads are slim.

Stephanie and Ranger soon learn that Singh's disappearance is tied to random events and people. Stephanie investigates Singh's place of employment, TriBro. The Cone brothers, Andrew, Bart, and Clyde run the establishment. Soon, Stephanie begins receiving death threats along with red and white carnations. Still, Stephanie doesn't give up and even takes a trip to Las Vegas in the hopes of finding Singh. Stephanie knows she's a target, but finding who's behind the flowers and the death threats will be her biggest challenge to date.

Evanovich's writing is easy to read and completely engages the reader. She uses a solid first person voice that makes the reader feel like a part of Stephanie's world. Her supporting characters are honest and endearing. Lula is a true friend, Ranger an anti-hero, and Grandma Mazur tries to keep the family peace as Stephanie's sister, Valerie, prepares for birth.

The story is a cozy mystery with plenty of well placed clues and several red herrings. "To The Nines" has adventure, nail-biting suspense, laughs, and plenty of heartwarming moments. It is good for 13 years old readers and older. The novel is a fine addition to the series. I highly recommend this book.

Question: Who is your favorite character in the series? 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Goddess Fish Cover Reveal: Hearts on Fire by Alison Packard

This post is part of a virtual book tour revealing the cover of Alison Packard's newest book Hearts on Fire which will be released on February 3. One randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter will receive a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Country music star Jessie Grant has it all. An amazing voice, a string of multi-platinum albums, and a sold-out concert tour. But just before her Hearts on Fire tour rolls into Las Vegas, her lead guitarist is badly injured and is unable to play. Desperate to find a replacement before the night of a televised live show, Jessie is forced to accept help from the last person on earth she wants to see again.

Drew Carmichael has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the best up-and-coming musicians in Nashville, without cashing in on his renowned father’s name. When Jessie’s manager calls and asks him to fill in for her band’s injured guitar player, he agrees to help Jessie out even though she cut him out of her life four months ago.

In Sin City, sparks fly between Jessie and Drew, and it isn’t long before they give in to their mutual attraction. But when the dark past Jessie has successfully hidden for ten years explodes in the media, their tenuous bond is put to the test, and both Jessie and Drew must learn to trust each other if they don’t want their newfound romantic relationship to go up in flames.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Jessie Grant stared at the cheery yellow wall in her dressing room, and fought the overwhelming urge to throw something. Anything. Her agitated gaze fell on the lovely vase of flowers that had been delivered just before the show, and she had to remind herself that violence, especially towards a perfectly innocent bouquet of pink roses and white calla lilies, wouldn’t solve anything.

But then again, it might relieve the tension that was coiled inside of her like a tightly wound spring.

“Calm down.”

“Calm down?” Jessie whirled around and met the exasperated eyes of her manager. “You expect me to calm down when my guitar player, who, unbeknownst to me, was half-wasted during our set, and decided to stage dive into the audience.” She pointed a finger at him. “That broken arm of his isn’t gonna to heal in four days. I need another guitar player, and I need one now.”

“Relax,” Wally Lindell said in a soothing voice. “I’m working on it.”

“How are you working on it?”

She propped her hands on her hips and gave him her best glacial stare. It didn’t faze him. It never did. He’d been her manager since she was fifteen years old, and he knew her better than anyone. So he should have known that she would be totally freaked out about losing her lead guitar player four days before her exclusive gig in Las Vegas, after all, he was the one who had dubbed her a perfectionist.

“I put in a call to Drew.”

Jessie’s already churning stomach lurched wildly. “Drew Carmichael?”

“How many other guitar players named Drew do you know?” Wally shot her a wise-ass grin.

Only one.

“So you talked to him?” she asked, as she moved to the make-up table. She picked up the bottle of water her stylist had left out for her and took a sip. Maybe the simple task would soothe her frayed nerves.

It didn’t even come close.

“What did he say?”

“I left him a message. He hasn’t called me back yet.” Wally shoved his hands into the front pockets of his black jeans and looked her straight in the eyes with an unflinching directness.

She’d seen that look before; the one telling her that while she might be the star, he was the one who’d gotten her there, and before she went off half-cocked, she’d better let him have his say. And of course, she would. She respected Wally far too much not to listen to him.

“He’s the only guitar player we can get on such short notice that knows your set list,” he continued. “I don’t know what happened between the two of you, but whatever it is, you need to put it aside for the sake of this gig, and maybe the rest of the tour.”

“What makes you think something happened?” she asked with feigned nonchalance.

It was best not to let anyone, especially Wally, know how much she cared about Drew.

“Because you two were as thick as thieves last spring, and now it’s like he’s dropped off the face of the earth. Did you have a falling out?”

“No.” Jessie scowled, as she returned the bottle to the table. “We didn’t have a falling out. I’ve been on the road for months now and he…he’s got a life.”

A life that didn’t include her.

About the Author:
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Alison now lives in Southern Nevada where she’s still getting used to the blistering summers and the slot machines in every grocery store.

When not working at the day job that pays the bills, keeps a roof over her head, and supports her book and chocolate habits, Alison spends most of her free time writing. But when she takes a break, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends.

Barnes and Noble Author Page: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/alison-packard

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Snippet Sunday: 99 cent contemporary romance: Feast of Candles #snippetsunday

Hi all, I'm participating in the Weekend Warriors Snippet Sunday. This month, I'll be taking snippets from my Christmas romance, Feast of Candles. You can find the Weekend Warriors Snippet Sunday list at:

This snippet:      Lily makes a decision. 

"Where are we going to dinner tonight?"

Lily hesitated. She was finding it harder to say goodbye at the door when they departed for the evening. He'd cracked her stone walls with his patient persistence and determined arrows and her heart had convinced her to extend her full trust to him, regardless of the risk.

"Marquand Manor," she said finally, lowering her voice.

"Your home?"

"I look forward to it."

This excerpt has been edited to fit the 8 sentence requirement. 

"Feast of Candles" is a spicy contemporary Christmas romance. Drake de Brettville travels all the way from Denmark to San Franscisco to meet Lily Marquand, a wine maker. Will romance blossom, despite their different worlds? 


Reviews for Feast of Candles:

5 Stars, Angela S. Britnell, Amazon Reader

This is a wonderfully romantic story with a hero to die for.

5 Stars, Karen M. Nutt, Amazon Reader
Pour yourself a glass of wine or your drink of choice and treat yourself to a romantic interlude with Ms. Burkhart's Feast of Candles.

5 Stars, Caroline Clemmons, Amazon Reader
A wonderful, fast-paced read with FEAST OF CANDLES.











Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2014 in Hindsight: Real World Adventures #2014inreview

Well, 2014 has come and gone and I was made (almost painfully) aware that personal energy makes the world go around.

I need more personal energy. I do a lot for my family and I need to keep my energy up. That said, there have been days when I've been drained to the bone. A change has to happen. Change is never easy, but if I look at it as establishing habits and takes 21 days to establish a habit, then change just might bring up my energy and get me to where I need to be.

Some of the Fun Stuff:

I started the year teaching 1st grade religious ed for my church. I signed up to do it as a matter of practicality – I can't afford the fees for the boys, but they're free if I volunteer.  Quite honestly, I enjoy it. The kids are happy and eager in class. My favorite lesson is: "What did Jesus eat?" and I bring in foods from Biblical times. The kids like the grapes, but some wrinkle their noses at the tuna fish. My boys are in 7th and 3rd grade RE. I believe the classes compliments the morals/ethics/sense of responsibility I want the boys to develop so I'll be teaching RE for several years to come.

April we went to Yosemite and stayed in a heated tent cabin at Curry Village. The water falls are roaring then. We had a great trip and took lots of pictures.

We went to stations of the cross and fish fry dinners during Lent. In May, Joe my younger son, made his 1st communion. I went down to San Diego a couple of times for work related training in May.

June brought swim lessons, swim team, summer enrichment, a trip to Camp Whitsett with the scouts, another trip to Yosemite and a visit to Catalina Island. Year long, the boys did scouts and gymnastics.

September brought a clam bake, Joe's birthday party at Sky High Sports, Halloween, NaNoWriMo and Christmas madness consumed December.

So what did I learn from all these real life adventures?

Answer: I need to take time out for me and focus on my health and weight loss. Welcome 2015 and "Steph's Big Selfie" year! One of the changes this year is that I'll be focusing on eating Paleo.  I'll talk more about a Paleo in upcoming entries.

Question: Do you eat Paleo? Do you have any recipes you'd like to share?

Monday, January 12, 2015

2014 in Hindsight for the Writer in Me #2014inreview

Happy New Year!

Well, 2014 has come and gone. It had it's up and downs, but if I had to use one word to sum up 2014, it was about "change."

And change isn't easy to deal with, even when you're flexible. People like to be grounded in routine, and change gets us out of our routines and stirs up the pot.

Some of the Fun Stuff: Writing, Marketing, and Reading

I was able to use Goddess Fish Blog tours for steady promotion. I focused on the review tours because I figured reviewers are reading and I want to get people reading. The Moldavian Moon, Windsor Diaries, and Hungarian Moon series all went on tour. I intend to continue using Goddess Fish in 2015.

I also used Book Daily for promo focusing on Victorian Scoundrel. I found Fussy Librarian and used them for promo, too. Going forward, I intend to focus on these promo methods and I hope to add one more blog tour company this year.

Writing wise, I published "A Lady Never Lies," Book 3 in the Windsor Diaries series and several short stories for the 2014 Victory Tales Press anthologies: "Arrow Through the Heart," "Young Witchcraft," and "Mr. Christmas Elf." I also wrote "Union Vote" for the Writer's Digest annual contest.

My writing has slowed down due to real life commitments, but I'm very pleased with the stories I had to offer this year.

Going forward, I have two stories I'd like to focus on, "A Princess is Always Right," and "Christmas in Germany." I foresee continuing to write at a slower pace and honestly, it will be nice not to have to write for a deadline knowing my real life commitments.

Reading wise, I discovered Janet Evanovich and the Stephanie Plum series. I really enjoyed reading these books. They were lighthearted and fun. Janet uses a great first person character voice.

I read the "killing" series by Bill O'Reilly. Love or hate his politics, his "Killing" series is well presented and shares interesting anecdotes about the historical times they are rooted in.

I re-read "Game of Thones" and "Clash of Kings" for a deeper, more critical read and I caught up on my Percy Jackson series with "Mark of Athena" and "House of Hades." I explored the Hunger Games and the Maze Runner. I read the prequel to the Maze Runner, "The Kill Order" and I'm going to start the New Year off with "The Scorch Trials."

Surprisingly, I didn't read much romance. I did read 3-5 books in the romance genre. I only wish I had time to read more.

My top 5 books:

Killing Patton
Mark of Athena
The Kill Order
One for the Money

What did I learn about reading/marketing/writing that I can take forward into the new year?

Answer: My marketing efforts need to be consistent so my name is always floating around the net. I need to find time to write a little a day, just to keep words floating around my head, and I need to read so I can get lost in another writer's world. If anything, I'd love to read more Shana Galen, who is one of my favorite romance writers.

Question for you: Who are some of your favorite writers?