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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Robyn Reviews: Timeless Regency Collection A MIDWINTER BALL by Heidi Ashworth, Annette Lyon, and Michele Paige Holmes

Book Description: 
From the publisher of the #1 Amazon bestselling A Timeless Romance Anthology series in Clean Romance.

Join three bestselling regency romance authors, Heidi Ashworth, Annette Lyon, and Michele Paige Holmes, for three new regency romance novellas in A MIDWINTER BALL.

MUCH ADO ABOUT DANCING by Heidi Ashworth. Two years have passed since Lord Northrup declared his intentions for Miss Analisa Lloyd-Jones and forbade any other man to court her. Angry at the neglect, Analisa stopped reading his letters, never even breaking the seals. Tired of waiting, Analisa joins the house party at Mrs. Smith’s famous country home, determined to find a beau. When Lord Northrup unexpectedly joins the party, Analisa discovers she is no longer repulsed by the man who first laid claim to her hand.

SWEETER THAN ANY DREAM by Annette Lyon. Olivia Wallington is firmly established as a spinster, but that doesn’t stop her from dreaming about the perfect man. Ever since her father’s death, Olivia has been forced into seclusion by her mother. When her brother and his wife come for a visit, they discover the extent to which she lives under their mother’s thumb. With their help, Olivia sneaks out to attend a local ball, where she meets Edward Blakemoore. For a few divine moments, all of her dreams seem possible. But even someone like Mr. Blakemoore would be hard pressed to get past Mrs. Wallington’s fortress of protection—or past Olivia’s pride.

AN INVITATION TO DANCE by Michele Paige Holmes. Lady Ella has been isolated on her father’s estate since her mother’s death as her father travels the world. When Alex Darling arrives with a letter from her long-dead fiancĂ©, and a demand that she travel to London for a series of engagements, Ella thinks her father instigated the strange demands and agrees. In London, she discovers the truth behind her fiancĂ©’s death, and that new love might be possible in the arms of the most unexpected man

Audience: Adult (Clean)
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 244 pages

Rating: 5

Review: The Timeless Romance books are always great to read. They are fun and always clean. I really like this collection because I’m a huge fan of regency romance. These novellas are reminiscent of Georgette Heyer.  They are funny, witty and romantic.

MUCH ADO ABOUT DANCING by Heidi Ashworth is a nice story about Analisa, who has been betrothed for 2 years but hasn’t seen her intended, Lord Northrup for that time. She has been upset and hasn’t read any of his letters. This sets the stage for misunderstandings and some interesting problems. I liked how they each had to realize their mistakes and then learn to trust each other and of course realize their feeling towards each other.

SWEETER THAN ANY DREAM by Annette Lyon is about spinster, Olivia. This is a sweet Cinderella story and I loved how her hero, Edward overcame the difficulties in the relationship and showed Olivia that he did indeed love her. I especially loved Olivia’s brother and wife and their help in making sure the romance happened. I really liked Olivia and her pride. She was a fun one.

AN INVITATION TO DANCE by Michele Paige Holmes is a very interesting tale of lost love, lost father and a little mystery thrown in to make things interesting. I enjoyed reading about Lady Ella and her suitor, Alex. It was fun watching them develop a relationship and watching Lady Ella realize what she really wanted

These stories are fun and interesting. They are a great way to spend a winter afternoon!

Sex -  0
Violence - 0
Language - 0
Overall Content Rating -  PG

Source: Review Copy

Monday, December 28, 2015

Review: CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein

From AmazonOct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When "Verity" is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn't stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she's living a spy's worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy? 

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called "a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel" in The New York TimesCode Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.

Genre: Historical
Audience: Young Adult (?) (It's listed in Amazon under Teens>Historical Fiction. I can't remember if it states Verity and Maddie's ages, but I believe they're in their late teens.)
Length: 368 pgs

Rating: 5 

Review: There was a point in the book where I was considering giving 3.5 to 4 stars for this. The writing was exquisite, very much so. I felt sort of like I did when reading Matched by Allie Condie--that technically this book deserved a very high rating, but I wasn't connecting. Then BAM. I connected. And I wanted to go back through those parts I wasn't connecting on and reread them. I have a bachelors degree in history and I spent the better part of my time earning that learning about World War II and spent some semesters specifically studying women's roles in WWII, so this is so obviously up my alley. While I was reading it, it made me want so hard to be able to write what seemed like effortless sentences in this book, but what I know is very talented word crafting. Where all of them mattered. So. Well. Done. And all the feelings, of course. There's very little you can say about this book without giving things away. This book. 

Sex - 1 (Some innuendo. Minor things.)
Language - 5 (Verity admits right off she has a foul mouth and she really does. Littered with damns, hells, and the Lord's name in vain. 7 instances of bas*, 7 instances of sh*, 2 instances of a*, 2 f-bombs--To be honest, I'm strict about language, and if I'd known the extent, I'm not sure I would have read it. And these are the instances I noted on my Kindle book. I easily could have missed some in the thick of it.)
Violence - 4 (I'm vacillating between giving it that and a 5...or a 3.5. I mean, it's a WWII book, and it's about a girl who gets capture behind enemy lines. She's tortured and it describes some of it--but it could have been a lot more graphic, so I'll just go with 4.)
Overall ratingI - PG-16 (It has heavy themes and heavy things happening. As conservative as I am, I wouldn't recommend it to my 18 year old sister for a year or two, but you all know that's how I roll.)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Get a sneak peek at the pretty, back cover art for DOUBLE PLAY!

When I first saw this back cover art, I gasped. I love it; it's so pretty and the perfect finishing touch for the cover. While the front exemplifies Sophie Pope, the main character, the back cover art gives a taste of David Savage. The vlog is the only place I'll be posting it, so here's your chance to see the back cover before it releases in January!


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Review: QUEEN OF SOMEDAY by Sherry D. Ficklin

From AmazonBefore she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother's quest to put her on the throne of Russia--at any cost.

Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family--and herself--Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.

Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she's willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.

In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme?

Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Young Adult, Historical
Length: 262 pgs

Rating: 3.5

Review: The research was done well. It was a good story, but the proof in the pudding was that I wasn't compelled to read the second and third books--I did look them up to see what happened in them . . . so that's something. A few instances of more modern language took me out of the setting a time or two. I enjoyed the author's video notes at the end of the chapters, mostly because when reading something based on a real person's life, I always like to separate the truth from the fiction. It's a well done story and worth a read. :)

Sex - 1+ ("Going further" per se is thought about and spoken of and almost done, but everything in a non-graphic manner. One couple is discovered without clothes on.)
Language - 0
Violence - 2 (A fight scene at the beginning and other various fight scenes. One man is beaten viciously. Nothing graphically described.)
Overall Rating - PG-13

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


From Amazon: A prequel novella to the POWER OF THE MATCHMAKER Series 
Mystical . . . Beautiful . . . Romantic . . . 

Read the matchmaker’s story to find out where it all starts . . . 

Mae Li has been in love with Chen Zhu for years, and he with her. But when the matchmaker arrives at the Zhu family home, she recommends another village girl for Chen. 

Heartbroken, Mae Li watches as Chen does his duty by marrying another. Mae flees her village with the clothes on her back and her only possession—a pearl embedded comb, given to her as a goodbye gift from Chen Zhu. 

Upon Mae’s arrival in Shanghai, she quickly learns that she’ll starve within days unless she sells her prized comb or joins a courtesan house. She goes to the Huangpu River and promises the River God that she’ll always be selfless if he will save her from becoming a prostitute . . . Her wish is granted when Ms. Tan, the matchmaker of Shanghai, finds Mae. But Mae must completely change her future and her name if she is to become the next matchmaker. 

Audience: Adult (Clean)
Genre: Romance, Historical
Length: 60 pgs

Rating: 3.5


This novella did exactly what it was supposed to: interest me in the upcoming one-a-month novels in the Matchmaker series. I'm beyond curious about what role Mae will play in these new novels! It is a quick, lovely read with lots of cultural detail to devour. Though it's obvious the Matchmaker's life (and the novels to follow) will cover many, many years, it was unclear to me when exactly "Power of the Matchmaker" took place from some of the dialogue (it seemed too modern sometimes for the period depicted). Still, I enjoyed traveling with Mae, watching her struggle, and cheered her on to be able to keep her dignity and the comb given to her by her beloved. Looking forward to the rest of this series!

Sex - 1 (Mae is shown naked pictures of women as some characters try to force her into modeling/prostitution; her only option being prostitution is discussed.)
Language - 0
Violence - 1 (Mae is drugged)
Overall Rating - PG

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Vlog: Why I Love The LDStorymakers Conference!

I've blogged multiple times about the LDStorymakers Conference, so obviously it was time for a vlog!

You can win free registration to the conference by making your own video about the conference! Check out here for details.

In the meantime, enjoy the vlog!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Robyn Reviews: DEFIANCE by G.G. Vandergriff

From Amazon: Hitler’s armies overrun France, Rudolf von Schoenenburg, a young Austrian baron, is living in exile in England. Though his true love, Hannah, is engaged to another man, Rudi and Hannah risk their lives together to help rescue thousands of British Troops from Dunkirk. Their powerful love story develops against the backdrop of the Battle of Britain and an old world being blown to pieces.

Rudi’s family and friends suffer under the nightly barrage of bombs and rockets of the London Blitz while he pilots a British fighter plane in what looks like an impossible defense of the small island. Each night is a desperate fight for survival, each dawn a miracle.

While Hannah spends her days and nights helping to provide early warning of German air attacks, she realizes that every hour of every day is precious. Each moment carries the threat of sudden death. As the world around her changes, should Hannah allow her passion for Rudi to overcome promises she made to her dying father in what seems like another lifetime?

Audience: Adult (Clean)
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 272 pages

Rating: 4


This is a great story about Rudi, an Austrian baron, and Hannah, a Jewish girl. They love each other, but Hannah has promised her father that she will marry a Jewish man, Samuel. She convinces herself that she loves Samuel and will marry him to please her father. I like the growth Hannah experiences as she lives through war torn England and starts to make her own decisions regarding what she believes and what she thinks about the war. Hannah is very brave and sets out to prove herself a loyal Briton and helps defend her country and also helps save many others through her efforts. I felt the turmoil that was surrounding Rudi’s family and Hannah. It’s kind of hard remembering that these were very real events that were described. I had a little bit of a hard time believing some of the things that Hannah participated in, but since I’m not an expert on history at that time, I’ll give the author the benefit of the doubt. Hannah turns out to be a very brave girl and make some hard decisions. Rudi is a very likable hero. He is brave and patient. I liked him because he had what I would call true love for Hannah and wanted what was best for her, but still held out hope for a happy ending. I liked Rudi’s family, too. They were brave and fun people. The historical events described in this book had great detail and I felt like I was part of the war. Sometimes, I was on the edge of my seat and couldn’t wait to turn the page. I thought the actions of those involved in the war and the British people were very realistic and true to life. You should read this book, it is a  fun, educational, enjoyable and clean romance full of true love.


Sex - 0
Violence - 1 (war violence)
Language - 0
Overall Content Rating - PG

Source: Review Copy

Friday, October 16, 2015

Robyn Reviews: MARRYING CHRISTOPHER by Michelle Paige Holmes

From Amazon: Having seen both his sisters Grace and Helen happily married, Christopher Thatcher is free to pursue his dream of life in America. With adventure in his heart and mind, he boards one of the first steamships set to cross the Atlantic in the record breaking time of only twenty-five days. Within the first two of those, his resolve—to avoid women and the complications they often bring to a man’s life—falters when he meets Marsali Abbott, a young woman with a past even more troubling than his own. Whether from years of habit protecting his sisters, or simply because he feels drawn to Marsali, Christopher chooses to help her and becomes her friend. As the truth about what awaits Marsali in America becomes evident, he is faced with a more difficult choice, one that will impact their lives far beyond four weeks together at sea.

Audience: Adult (Clean)
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 347

Rating: 5


Welcome back to the Thatcher Family! This is the story for Christopher, and it's just as fun as the first two books.  I enjoyed getting to know Christopher as much as reading about Helen and Grace. This story tells of Christopher’s adventures aboard ship and his struggle to be true to himself. He plans to get settled before falling in love, but, as is true for all, love comes when you are least expecting it. Marsali grew and became a true woman. She was a very likable and fun heroine. She grew and developed into a great heroine.  Watching these two fall in love was lots of fun. They had adventures and the usual misunderstandings.  Their determination to do the right thing was nice and fun even though what they thought was the right thing wasn’t always what I wanted to happen. This author is very good at drawing you in and keeping you interested. This is a very fun book to read with lots of good lessons to learn. Great, clean romance!

Sex - 0
Violence - 0
Language - 0
Overall Content Rating - PG (romance meant for adults)

Source: Review copy

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Playing for Keeps Vlog!

Remember WAY back when I asked you guys for questions about PLAYING FOR KEEPS and said I'd do a vlog? SO. I finally did that. And then I finally edited it. And then after fighting with it all day, it finally uploaded.

Disclaimer: I kind of hate the way I talk on camera, but don't we all? Don't make too much fun of me. ;)

I talk about why football is important to me, what I learned from writing a secondary character with a mental illness, my favorite PfK scenes, and MORE!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Robyn Reviews: TRA Annette Lyon Collection

Novella Descriptions Below

Audience:  Adult
Genre: Clean Romance, Anthology
Length: 279 pgs

Rating: 5

Review: This collection of Annete Lyon stories is one of the best yet. I love all the Timeless Romance Anthologies. Annette puts out her best in this collection. I loved the new stories. The characters were real and experienced real feelings and consequences related to their choices. In OUR SONG, I loved the lesson about perception and what is real love and what that feels like. In GOLDEN SUNRISE, I really liked that they made the right choices. I was a little worried for a minute, but I should not have doubted. Ms. Lyon does a superb job of mixing humor and romance and real life choices. I really enjoyed reading these two new novellas.

I loved re-reading the historical romances included. The attention to detail and the mixture of real life with romance and love makes these novellas excellent ‘curl up and read’ stories. They are clean, true to life and fun to read. My favorite was BETWEEN THE LINES. I loved the plot and the idea that physical beauty is more apparent when we know the heart. In WAR OF HEARTS, the attention to detail makes this story come to life and you feel as if you are right with Pete and Anna as they experience danger and romance. My favorite part of A TASTE OF HOME is when Claire realizes that Will has grown into the man of her dreams instead of the boy who teased her unmercifully when they were younger. It's a fun and touching story.

This collection is a must read!

Sex - 1 (some kissing)
Violence - 1 (some discriptions of war)
Language - 0
Overall Content Rating - PG (adult themes)

I was given a review copy by the author in exchange for my honest review. 


The ANNETTE LYON COLLECTION contains brand new contemporary romance novella OUR SONG, as well as five hand-picked readers’ and reviewers’ favorites of Annette’s popular Timeless Romance Anthology novellas. Readers will love this selection of three contemporary and three historical romance novellas.

In OUR SONG, a charming romance novella, Cassie and Matt have been dating in the Yellowstone area for two years, and things are, well, average. When Cassie meets up with two college friends who are visiting, their love lives like sound like fairy tales: rose petals, chocolates, candles on the beach… Cassie goes home feeling like she’s missing out. After all, repeatedly watching Old Faithful erupt and walking through sulfur-smelling gases at Fountain Paint Pot don’t exactly say “romance.” Maybe things with Matt aren’t going anywhere, and it’s time to move on. Then she discovers that perception and reality are completely different things. Now she can only hope it isn’t too late to show Matt how much she really cares. 

In the sweet novella GOLDEN SUNRISE, Natalie takes time out of her crazy schedule to fly to Vegas for her best friend’s wedding. Sierra and Jason, high-school sweethearts, are finally getting married. Fortunately for Natalie, her old high-school flame, Adam, has a work commitment and can’t be there as best man. But when she arrives at the wedding rehearsal—late and ragged—Adam is there. When Adam makes a wild suggestion, Natalie just may take him up on it, even though she knows he’s moved on. A single choice may mean Natalie is taking a shot at reclaiming the past—or that she's putting her heart in harm’s way a second time.

FIRSTS AND LASTS, an enchanting novella, begins with Dani’s week in New York. She’s failed in her dreams to catch a break as an actress and is now ready to return home and dust herself off. As she visits the places on her final to-see list, she meets Mark, another New York City transplant with big dreams. Except Mark hasn’t given up on his. As they spend the day together, Dani realizes that even though she hasn’t hit the “big time” she might be living her dream after all. Only problem: she has a one-way ticket back home. 

In the compelling novella WAR OF HEARTS, Anna, a journalist, is desperate to escape the magazine where Pete, her now-former boyfriend, also works. Heartbroken and still in love with him, Anna snags an assignment to cover the Winter War in Finland. She arrives at a snowy Finnish battlefront only to discover that Pete is already there—as her photographer. She’s determined to be professional about the situation until a battle breaks out in camp, putting her and Pete in harm’s way and putting their love to the test. 

The captivating novella BETWEEN THE LINES follows Jane Martin, who is intelligent but extremely shy, especially around men. When the Aid and Cultural Society proposes a letter-writing program, Jane signs up, hoping she can find true friendship. The program doesn’t run as smoothly as expected, and unknown to Jane, one of the men in her city becomes her writing friend. Thomas Allred has always known shy and quiet Jane, but reading her letters written to his secret persona, opens his eyes to what an amazing woman she is. The only trouble is, Jane doesn’t know that the man who she is falling in love with through letters is also Thomas, the man who is falling in love with her in person.

In the charming novella A TASTE OF HOME, we meet Claire Jennings, who’s on her way to spend Christmas with her family. As she rides the train with William Rhodes, who grew up across the street, memories of the past flood her mind. He may be twenty-one now, but she can’t forget his torturous teasing from their school years. At the rail station, Claire discovers her home is under quarantine because her little brother has measles. She's stuck in town, away from her family, on her favorite holiday, with William.

About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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