Saturday, February 28, 2015

I'm moving...

Hi everyone!

I come bearing some news...I'm moving my blog to WordPress!  It was a difficult decision to come to, and one that I've been considering for quite some time.  I ultimately made the decision because I felt that Blogger was putting too many restrictions on my content, and I'm just not a fan of that.  I want to be able to create posts that my readers will enjoy, and Blogger got a little too "big for their britches" with their latest content policy change.

SO...with that being said, please go check out my new site: (one of these days I promise I'll go self-hosted, but for now...that's the site).  If you could follow me over there, that would be AMAZING.  I won't be posting on Blogger anymore & this will become a re-direct site for that blog.

Thank you for your support!


PS - I'll be posting a new "Adventures of a Writing Blogger" post soon, so be sure to head over to the new site & sign up so that you don't miss it! <3

Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: Hard Target (The Campbells of Creek Bend Book 3) by Barb Han

I finished this book last week & just haven't had time to post the review.  But let me tell you, this book is awesome.  If you haven't picked it up yet -- the links to buy it are at the bottom.

Book Blurb: (taken from Barb's website
She was trouble the size of Texas, but he'd cross every line to keep her safe.

Border patrol agent Reed Campbell knew when he found a blonde beauty hiding out in a crate of guns smuggled into Texas she'd be nothing but trouble. Emily Baker claims she was kidnapped, beaten and held hostage by Mexico's most elusive drug lord, a man Reed's desperate to bring down. But the sexy cowboy has been betrayed before, so trusting a stranger—no matter how strong their attraction—isn't easy. Still, determined to protect her, he takes her on the run, risking his life time after time. Suddenly, the man who doesn't do feelings is in big trouble. Keeping Emily alive is a problem. Keeping his hands to himself becomes nearly impossible.

Rating: ***** (5/5)

Review:  I have adored every single one of the Campbell boys, and Reed was no exception.  I'm actually really sad that there won't be more of these brothers!  I loved watching the relationship between Reed and Emily grow, and I was biting my fingers quite a bit with this one!  If you've read the other books, you'll be thrilled to find out that Nick & Luke both make an appearance in this one, and it was awesome to see the brothers together again.

I really do fall hard for a guy with a painful past when it comes to love.  I don't know what it is, but their vulnerability just makes me fall hard and fast.  And I absolutely adore a heroine who fights for what she wants, and let me tell you, Emily fights for what she wants.  She's stronger than she realizes; I'm not sure I would have survived what she went through.  Insane.

If you haven't read these books and are a fan of Harlequin Intrigue (or just romantic suspense/intrigue at all), go read all of these books.

B&N (Nook is on the same page)

You can also connect with Barb on Facebook & Twitter!  She's really sweet :)

Friday, February 13, 2015


Hi all! Today I have the pleasure of revealing the cover of the GET LUCKY Anthology, which features a story by the fabulous Sara Humphreys! I reviewed her novella UNBOUND earlier this year...

Now, onto the main event:

Get Lucky Anthology

What happens when six romance authors get together and write half a dozen brand-new, steamy, Irish-themed novellas? Everyone gets lucky! This 99-cent box set crosses genres and includes contemporary romance, new adult romance and paranormal romance novellas that will give Get Lucky a whole new meaning. Pre-order your copy today!

(Now that's what I call a beautiful cover!)

The Get Lucky Anthology features:

From USA Today bestselling author Nicola Marsh - Walking the Line
Finn Ahearns Irish luck is about to run out
Reformed Aussie bad girl Ellie is a decade older than Finn but that doesnt stop the charming Irishman from wooing her. Ellie doesnt believe in the happily-ever-after dream any longer, not since hers imploded a long time ago. But can a smooth-talking Irishman sway a hard-hearted cynic to believe in love again?

From reader favorite Kelsey Browning - Amazed by You
Falling again for your first love...this time for keeps.
Authors assistant Olivia McLaughlin must pull off an extravagant St. Patricks Day garden party to win a coveted promotion, but her success hinges on landscape designer Cody Kavanaugh, her old high school boyfriend. Now, Olivia must decide which she cant live withoutthe job that will make her a success or the man offering her a second chance at love.

From sizzling hot and bestselling Robin Covington - One Little Kiss
The best things start with one little kiss.
Trapped by a snowstorm in the same place at the same time, Leighton and Jonas must decide if their hot night together was the end of their story or if they started forever with just one little kiss

From RT Book Review Award nominee Avery Flynn - Big, Bad Red
She always gets her wolf...
Theres nothing little or naive about this Red Riding Hood. Red runs the biggest fencing operation for fairytale treasures out of the back of Grannys Pub. But when she comes into possession of the Caladbolg sword things get hairyas in hot, sexy Liam MacTíre the werewolf hairy.

From paranormal darling Sara Humphreys - Luck of the Irish
A leprechaun is powerless without his gold.
Banished to the mirrored realm for hundreds of years, Declan Aherne had nothing but time to plot his revenge and mourn the loss of his beloved wife. But when a beautiful human woman, with a familiar amulet, stares into the mirror....Declan's luck was about to change.

From the sexy sweet Kimberly Kincaid - Something Borrowed
Her best friend is the best man for the job
When her successful brother announces his plans for an impromptu wedding in Ireland, unlucky-in-love chef Sasha Arrington is stuck between the Blarney Stone and a hard place. Sasha needs a wingman for her brothers wedding, and the romantic destination could be just what James Sullivan needs to tempt Sasha out of the friend zone.

Are you ready to Get Lucky? Pre-order today!

B&N: coming soon

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

Today I'm reviewing the YA fantasy novel Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton.  The cover of this book caught my eye & I was able to receive an ARC from NetGalley.  Thank you to Random House Kids for the opportunity to read this fantastic novel!

Book Blurb (Taken from the Amazon page):  
The night Quin Kincaid takes her Oath, she will become what she has trained to be her entire life. She will become a Seeker. This is her legacy, and it is an honor.  
   As a Seeker, Quin will fight beside her two closest companions, Shinobu and John, to protect the weak and the wronged. Together they will stand for light in a shadowy world.
   And she'll be with the boy she loves--who's also her best friend.
   But the night Quin takes her Oath, everything changes.
   Being a Seeker is not what she thought. Her family is not what she thought. Even the boy she loves is not who she thought.

   And now it's too late to walk away. 

Rating: **** (4/5)


I'll be honest, it took me about two chapters to get into this book, but as soon as I did - I was hooked. It took me longer than I wanted to finish it, but sometimes life gets in the way.  This book was awesome.  I'm a huge fan of fantasy novels (& I tend to have a natural willingness to suspend belief in order to enjoy the fantasy aspect of such books) and this has been added to the list of favorites.  

I know it's been getting mixed reviews, but I'm not sure why - I haven't looked; I didn't want my opinion clouded while I was still reading it.  After I finished I could have gone to look, but I'm still enjoying the high of finishing a really great book, so I'm going to ignore anyone who says this isn't a great read.

The world-building is skillfully done, with the fantastic elements woven into reality with skill and a minimum of necessary explanation.  There are awesome fight scenes (the book actually opens with a fight scene involving Quin).  I was emotionally invested with the characters & found myself rooting for a character that I didn't think I would (because the character development is just so wonderfully executed).  That's how great this book is -- it changed my mind about the characters.  Do you know how rare that is?  Let me tell you - it's pretty rare.

This is billed as a YA book, but I think that older teens would do better with some of the topics in this novel. Seeker explores loss, PTSD, self-exploration, self-discovery, what it means to be a good person, suicidal thoughts, prostitution, and more.  There are so many different points of view on each of these topics that it really gives the reader multiple perspectives & allows the reader to explore these (sometimes taboo) topics in a few different ways, rather than showing a narrow-minded view.  That's something I really love; you see the character motivations and being to understand the choices they made.      

I was disappointed when it was over; I want there to be more.  Thankfully, there will be. The second book in the series, Traveler will be out Spring 2016.  

As it so happens...Seeker is released TODAY (2/10/15) & is available at the following stores:

Amazon (Kindle)

Check out her beautiful website (there's a note on there about Seeker maybe turning into a movie!) & follow her on Twitter!


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Adventures of a Writing Blogger #1

At the end of last month I went into NYC with my mom and my aunt to see Cabaret on Broadway, starring Alan Cumming & Emma Stone.  If you can manage it, try to catch the show before it ends (the run ends soon)!  Alan really made the show...I'm a little sad that he wasn't able to come out to sign autographs after the show.  I can't blame the guy though, because we saw a 2pm show and the actors and actresses need to rest, eat, get out of make up and then back in, and just relax!  I can't begrudge any of them the chance to relax!

Before the show we went to lunch at a nearby diner (the diner shall remain nameless - my panini wasn't quite to my taste, but the chocolate cake was delicious), and after the show we caught a cab back to Penn Station.  Luckily the driver took us through Times Square - my aunt was visiting from Michigan & we wanted her to see Times Square in person (even if it was too cold outside to walk around).

All in all it was a really great day - coincidentally it was also the five year anniversary of the very start of my relationship with the mister.  We were "seeing each other" before, but the relationship became official on January 28, 2010.  Holy wow batman, five years already?  Time flies when you're having fun!

Talk more soon...


Friday, January 30, 2015

Where It All Started...

I've said that I'll write a post about my writing journey & I've put it off for a little while - mainly because I wasn't sure how to explain it.  

I guess I'll start at the beginning: I took a Creative Writing class my sophomore year of high school & fell in love with poetry.  I have a bunch of pieces that I'll post over time (once I can convince myself that they're okay to share with the world; it's hard, okay??).  

I took the class again during my junior year of high school, and one of the assignments for the class was to submit a poem for Teen Ink.  I'm not sure if the publication is still around, but they published original writing from high school (and maybe middle school?) students.  It was awesome.  Anyway,  the poem I submitted was chosen & published in that year's Winter Poetry Journal.  The day I got that letter was one of the best days of my life.  I still have the copy of it somewhere; once I dig it out, I'll share it.  I promise. =)

After I graduated high school I took another Creative Writing course during my time at Farmingdale State (where I earned an Associates in Liberal Arts), and my professor published one of my poems on his website (allll the way back in 2007; you'll have to scroll down to 2007 Winter Collisions; or you can search "Symphony of the Moon, Wind, and Sea" and see it -- I've also pasted it at the end of this post).

I stopped writing after that...for years.  I was blocked mentally and emotionally.  And then...

Last July I had the opportunity to go to the RWA 2014 Conference in San Antonio, TX.  It was a week of hanging out with published & aspiring authors in a very supportive atmosphere.  I felt at home among the masses and was inspired to create this blog (even though I didn't really have too much of a vision for it at the time).  I officially joined RWA in October, after attending the conference, and am now also a proud member of the LIRW Chapter (full of fabulous ladies & Harris)!

I've taken a couple of courses through the RWA University to help hone some skills, and am working on my first novel.  It's a contemporary romance, and I've finally figured out the character motivations & sketched out a plot.  Now I just have to sit my butt in the chair & write.  I'll keep you updated on the story, and might even post some snippets (once I can convince myself that they're worth posting)., here is the poem I mentioned earlier:

Symphony of the Moon, Wind, and Sea

In a quiet whisper of a moment flowers wake
to the symphony of moon, wind, and sea.

A thousand diamonds
dimly shine in mists of time
lost in wood's woven shade.

Shadows dance
beside fallen rose
petals swim on a serene silver lake.

The rhythm of the stars listens
to heaven-fed white lilac
glazed with the kiss of rain.

Dawn's fire flames and dulls
hysterical water,
craves a drunken rest.

Yellow sunsets blossom --
embroidered thoughts thick as eternity
keep time with angels' silken wingbeats.

Copyright, Voule Walker. you give me some feedback on the poem?  What did you guys think?  I know that poetry isn't for everyone and that it's very subjective, but I'd still like to hear what you guys think. :)


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Busy Bee...

     I know that I haven't posted in a little while (a week feels like a lot to me, okay?), and I just wanted to let everyone know that you'll be seeing more posts soon.  I want to get a few posts ready (not to mention a few "if things get slow" posts to keep in my pocket for emergencies).  Also, it feels like I haven't stopped moving long enough to sit down and write a post!
     Honest, it feels like I've barely been home (which is a little sad because I do love my apartment, when I'm not complaining about the small kitchen).  Right after New Year's I helped two different couples move (not into the same apartment), attended my first ever (and first of many) Long Island Romance Writer's Chapter meeting (they are the LI Chapter of the RWA), enjoyed a crazy BOC Book Club meeting, celebrated my mister's birthday...oh, and worked my usual day job.
     I tend to do most of my reading & writing on the weekends because I'm always so tired/drained after a day at the office, and I feel like I've been remiss due to not being home.  BUT...
     I DO have some exciting features I'll be rolling out over the next month or so (mostly February), and I'm working hard on getting them ready.  Since they're all works-in-progress, I'm going to keep them a hush-hush, but only for a little while longer. are some pictures from the birthday celebration for the mister, for your enjoyment!

We had dinner at the local On the Border Mexican Restaurant, with my cousin & her fiancé (who is the mister's best friend), followed by dessert at The Cheesecake Factory (where I had a non-dairy apple crisp...all lactose-free).  

See you guys soon!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Review, Excerpt, and GIVEAWAY of: The Calum (The Calum Series Book 1) by Xio Axelrod

Hi everyone!  There is a lot packed into today's post, so I hope you're ready!

I’m reviewing THE CALUM, which is the phenomenal debut novel of Xio Axelrod.  (I was provided a copy of this novel for an honest review.)  Xio provided an excerpt from Chapter One for your enjoyment, and: Xio is giving away a Kindle copy of THE CALUM -- giveaway details below.

While this is a novel that I read for a review, it also meets one of the 2015 Reading Challenge (#29 - A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit), so...I'm checking that box off the list.  Only 49 left to go!  

A quick note about how I came to read and review this novel.  I met Xio last July at the RWA 2014 Conference in San Antonio.  We ended up having breakfast at a table of about seven wonderful authors (or aspiring authors, such as myself).  We exchanged cards and I ended up following her blog & recently followed her on Twitter (I finally gave in and set up a Twitter account for myself, okay?)  
     Anyway - I saw her post a tweet about having difficulty finding blogs to post reviews for her debut novel.  I got in touch & offered my (very small) blog, which in turn lead to this very blog post that you're reading.

Book Blurb (provided by Xio):
Calum, The (Noun) 
  1. fictional hero of best-selling romance novel, A Laird to Love
  2. the perfect man 

     Twenty-six is too old to believe in fairytales, but tell that to Lovie’s roommate. Convinced she’ll find a real life version of her ultimate book boyfriend, Calum MacKenzie, Jo drags Lovie to the Scottish Highlands. Lovie’s no cynic *ahem* but she knows The Calum is a myth. A construct. A freaking unicorn! And there are warmer places to spend a winter vacation.
     If Duff had his way, he’d never step foot in Inverness again. Only his best friend’s wedding, and his ailing grandmother, could bring him home. Duff’s plan is keep his head down and stay out of trouble. Hard to do when the groom targets a pretty blond tourist for one last conquest.
     When Duff and Lovie meet, stones, sparks and insults fly. He’s instantly attracted to the sexy, sharp-tongued American. She’s just glad to have someone to hang out with, especially the bad boy with a mysterious past. Lovie is determined to learn his secrets, but as they grow closer, Duff is forced to choose between his best friend and his heart.

***** (5/5)

Review: You know that feeling you get when you put a book down and wish it had been longer?  Well, that’s how I felt after I read this book.  I absolutely adored Lovie; she’s intelligent, supportive, funny as all hell, and I want her to be my best friend.  (I love finding characters that I want to meet in real life.  Xio delivers on that, fabulously.)
     Duff gives off the aura of someone who is dark and mysterious.  But his point of view shows that even though he has his demons; he also has a vulnerable side.  That’s basically my weakness: the bad-ass with a soft side (see: my love of Dean Winchester from Supernatural).  (And just a little note about Jo -- I was quite surprised by her, in the best way possible.) 
     The interaction between Lovie & Duff was entertaining, and the story moved at a great pace.  I finished the book in less than two days.  And the ending will leave your jaw on the floor.     

You can order your copy of THE CALUM at:
Amazon (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (Nook) 
All Romance 

Xio is giving away a Kindle copy of THE CALUM!  
The winner will receive a Kindle code for a free copy of the book.

The giveaway begins on Wednesday, 1.14.15 @ 12am (midnight) EST, and ends Monday, 1.19.15 @ 12:00pm (noon) EST.

Once again, Blogger & I had a disagreement about putting the actual Rafflecopter widget on the blog, but here is the link to the Giveaway, courtesy of the generous author herself, Xio.

Excerpt from Chapter One (provided by Xio)

Lovie Grant wished like hell that she had paid the five dollars for the airline headphones. But that balloon had popped, and now she was stuck listening – again – to Joana’s latest “brilliant” plan. She hunched her shoulders and buried her face in the in-flight magazine. Anything to avoid one more word about their freaking trip.

“Are you even listening to me?” Her shrill tone bounced off the airplane window and directly into the oh-my-God-let-me-off-this-sky-bus-before-I-kill-her section of Lovie’s brain.

“What is it now, Jo?”

“You’re not paying attention. And you keep sighing like you’ve been left home on prom night.”

“I’m just tired, and I can’t sleep on planes.” And I should be relaxing on a beach instead of chasing after you.

Flip. Flip. Flip.

Page after page taunted her with one photo of crystal blue waters and palm trees after another. There would be no palm trees where they were headed.

Which asshole decided to put that magazine in her seat-back pocket?

“You’re upset.”

How very astute. “It’s a scientific fact that a lack of sleep causes a decrease in the neurotransmitters that regulate mood.” Flip. “Otherwise, I’m fine, Jo. Let it go.”

“I call bull. You’ve already convinced yourself that this is going to suck.” Jo’s bottom lip poked out in her signature pout. With her blonde locks twisted into two braids, and her bright pink Juicy sweatpants, the picture of a bratty twelve-year-old was nearly complete.

Lovie’s best friend, roommate and constant damsel-in-distress had a plan. A good plan, she’d said. A sound plan, if you dared to believe her. Lovie didn’t, but the plan was this:

● Go to Scotland

● Find “The Calum”

● Marry him

Jo had been saving up for this particular trip for three years – ever since Lovie picked up a dog-eared copy of A Laird to Love at a used book store. It was a great read, sure, but why the hell did that one have to fall out of the stack?

Like millions of other women around the globe, Jo had fallen in love with its hero, Calum MacKenzie.

Unlike most of those other women, Jo believed that someone like him was just across the ocean, waiting for her.

“The Calum,” Jo explained to anyone that stopped long enough to listen, was the perfect man. A lover and a fighter, he was a chivalrous, six-foot-four redhead with a six-pack and a penchant for languages. You could find variations of him in the pages of Jo’s vast collection of romance novels.

Campbell. Covington. Cage. Colton.

She had shelves filled with ideal men, but somehow The Calum stood out to her from the rest. Enough to convince Jo that she needed to go to Scotland and find him.

Each year since college, they’d flipped a coin to see who would pick their Christmas vacation destination. This year, Lovie lost. So there they were, thirty-five thousand feet above the Atlantic, on their way from Philadelphia to Brigadoon…er…Inverness.

Lovie couldn’t believe she’d agreed to spend her measly handful of vacation days tailing Jo through the Scottish Highlands. It was going to be cold and damp.

And damp.

And fucking cold.

There was a beach somewhere with her name on it, and that name was getting washed out to sea. Or sat upon by German tourists. Her lungs deflated in a heavy sigh as her dream of endless mojitos drifted away on the clouds below.

“You didn’t have to come with me, you know.”

Yeah right. Lovie laughed. “You get lost in Chinatown. I can’t even imagine you on your own in another country. Of course, I had to come with you.”

“Your confidence is inspiring,” Jo deadpanned. “I am perfectly capable of looking after myself.” She drew her tiny feet up into the seat and hugged her knees to her chest. “I don’t need a babysitter.”

“Okay, how about a bodyguard?”

Jo snorted. “You’re not much of one.”

Lovie turned, her brow arched. “I’ve got four inches and twenty-five pounds on you. Put on your seatbelt.”

“Yes mom,” Jo said. “I’ve got it all worked out.” She fumbled with her seatbelt. “When I meet The Calum, and I will meet him, I’ll just play it cool and casual. Like I’m not into him at all. Show just enough of the girls to make him pant after me.” Jo smacked the ends together like she was trying to force a size ten foot into a size six shoe. “What’s wrong with this thing?”

“Oh, for the love of…” Lovie reached over and untwisted the contraption, closing it with a snap.

“I had it.”


“Anyway, as I was saying, I’ll be like a piece of candy that he can’t wait to unwrap.” Throwing her blonde locks over her shoulder, she batted her eyelashes in demonstration.

“So your plan is to lustrate him until he falls in love with you?”

“Good word, lustrate.” Jo grinned. “I’ll have him eating out of my hand. You’ll see.”

Author Bio
Philadelphia native and global citizen, Xio Axelrod writes love stories, sexy romance and what she likes to call “strange, twisted tales.” Bitten by the literary bug in 2003, she has self-published two volumes of poetry. 
Her short stories have also appeared in e-magazines such as Oysters and Chocolate. After a five year hiatus from writing, Xio returned with the fiery web serial, Starstruck: a story about finding the right person at the wrong time that became a viral hit. The Calum is book one in a series.
Xio is a vocalist and songwriter by day and lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Mr. X, and their on-again/off-again cat, BB.

Author Links: