Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Book Spotlight~Risky Encounters by Shane Morgan (me)

Hey there! Just doing a spotlight on my most recent release!

Release date:
February 9th 2021
Series: Risks & Betrayals Duet #1
Purchase: Amazon
Add on Goodreads


One unforgettable night forges a connection steeped in passion and danger.

It started as a dare that led to a steamy kiss.
Trisha Hartman never expected to end her birthday night-out throwing herself in the path of a bullet to save a man she doesn’t even know.

Alexander Westerfield is blown away by a fiery moment with a beautiful stranger. Considering she hurried off right after, he convinced himself the woman had no further interest. Then she does something quite heroic that causes him to desire her more.

The chance of a romance proves to be difficult when threats arise at every turn, and exposing the culprit behind the plot seems impossible. But after several attempts on Xander’s life, doubts start to set in, and he wonders if he may have placed his trust in the wrong person.

*Note: This is not a standalone. This book is part of a duet and it ends on a cliffhanger. So keep that in mind if you dislike those but still want to read the book.


My feet carry me forward.
Neither of the men notices my approach.
I'm about to interrupt their conversation, but the incoming SUV catches my attention as a gloved hand reaches out the back window.
I instantly spot the dark object.
A gun.
It's aiming at blue-gray eyes.
"Get down!" I scream, hurrying to him.
I grab his jacket.
A loud pop rings in the air as we tumble together.
Frantic cries bellow around us.
Tires screech as the vehicle speeds off.
My breathing is erratic while lying on top of the man I don't know, yet I just risked my life to save his, possibly because of an epic kiss.
A kiss that clearly robbed me of my damn senses.

About Shane Morgan (me lol)

In case you didn't know, I'm also a self-published author of YA/Adult Contemporary Romance, Fantasy, and Suspense. I currently live in Rhode Island with my husband, and I spend my days blogging, writing, reading, listening to music, and watching movies.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

February Wrap-Up~Mini Reviews

These are all the books I read in February!

Release date: November 3rd 2020
Publisher: Warm Hues Creative
Purchase: Amazon
Add on Goodreads
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


In my defense, I wasn't the one who messed up.
And if that hadn't happened, I wouldn't have run into him the first time, in the first place.
But then there was the second time, in the second place.
And then the third time, in the third place.
Then the fourth... you get it, right?
I really wasn't trying to get involved with him like that, but the happenings kept happening, and well... what had happened was...


It's The Chase For Me: A Heights Story was quite enjoyable. January frustrated me at times, but overall, it's an entertaining short story. I'm loving these books by Ms. Jones!


Release date:
 February 14th 2021
Purchase: Amazon
Add on Goodreads
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Boring. Invisible. Pretty for a plus size girl. Those were all the things I felt about myself, thanks to my chosen career as an accountant and society’s depiction of the perfect female. For once, I wanted to be something, no someone, different. So, I booked a trip to Vegas for my birthday. Then, walks in Soul Matthias, treating me and my body as anything but ordinary. He lit a fire inside of me. However, it wasn’t real.

Player. Bad boy. High risk. That’s what the blogs depicted me as. That’s what baseball owners banked on to lowball my contract extension. I didn’t care about social media, but I definitely cared about my money. I had to get my act together. Then, struts in Alexa Livingston. A breath of fresh air, someone completely different than what I had ever been used to. But what we had wasn’t real. It was just a marriage contract. Or was it?


Short and fun read!
I liked both main characters, and the plot was intriguing. It's a great short story if you're in a funk and looking for a romance that's unconventional and quick.


Release date:
 December 21st 2020
Purchase: Amazon
Add on Goodreads
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


My picker is off. I always fall for the bad boys, the players, the men with "red flag" written all over their gorgeous faces. I should've learned my lesson after having my heart eviscerated into tiny, unrecognizable pieces. But no, not me. That would be way too simple, and my life is nothing but.

Luca Fiore is Manhattan's Prince. He's sex in a suit personified, and he's also my stepbrother. I've moved back to New York, and he's offered me a place to crash until I find a place of my own. What could possibly go wrong?

My subconscious screams, "EVERYTHING!"

With his piercing gray eyes, sharp jaw, and dark hair, Luca makes me weak in the knees. And I would gladly get on my knees for him.

Five years ago, I left home with a broken heart and a lifetime worth of sins. Now, I'm back with a na├»ve hope that I can make things right. How I expect to do that when I have no intention of confessing my sins remains to be seen. One thing is for sure. I have to stay away from the one person who was why I left home in the first place — the man who once called me his Achilles. His flower. His secret. His stepdaughter.

I'm not the good girl in a love story. I don't deserve a happily ever after. I have secrets on top of secrets on top of secrets. I've sowed, and I've reaped, and something tells me karma isn't done with me yet.


What an emotional rollercoaster!
These characters are flawed with a capital F, and I liked that. This story is well-written, intriguing, and full of crazy moments. This is my first experience with Tia's work and it certainly won't be the last.


Release date:
 August 14th 2020
Series: Rose & Thorns #2
Publisher: Warm Hues Creative
Purchase: Amazon
Add on Goodreads
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


As a rose abandoned in the desert, she's made a vow - she'll never go back to the way things were... a promise that was easier to keep before a thorn showed up. (This is not a book centered around a love story.)


Christina C. Jones has easily become a favorite author!
I really liked the first book and so I wanted to continue the series. Once again, very interesting. I'm so curious about the Garden though. Would love a book about that point in time and what went down with all the roses and the thorns.


Release date:
 January 2nd 2021
Publisher: Foster & Black
Purchase: Amazon
Add on Goodreads
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


I was barefoot, sobbing, running for my life. But the men hunting me made one mistake: they chased me into *his* woods.

Cal Whittaker. Big, gruff and gorgeous, he’s made his home in the heart of the forest and has barely spoken to another person in six years. He deals with the men chasing me with a brutal efficiency that hints at a dark past. I should be scared...but when I look into his eyes, I feel a soul-deep longing I can’t explain. And the way he looks at me, like he just wants to push me up against a tree and tear my clothes off...

He offers me shelter on his smallholding. I’m used to the big city but I’ll have to learn a whole new way of life: a cow for milk, a wood stove for warmth and no one but the two of us for miles in any direction. I learn that Cal’s carrying a guilt that won’t let him get close to anyone...but neither of us can fight the attraction and in his tiny cabin, it’s impossible to keep our distance.

Even in the forest, though, we may not be safe. My escape has threatened a conspiracy so vast, so evil, that the men behind it won’t stop until they’ve silenced us. They know where we are. And they’re coming.


I thoroughly enjoyed this woodsy and adventurous romance. Add the intensity of suspense and it makes the story even more exciting. I'm definitely reading the books that follow this one because I want more of Cal and the other men.


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Paperback Release: Dawson's Fall by Roxana Robinson

Original release date: May 14th 2019
Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books
Purchase: Amazon | B&N
Add on Goodreads


A continuing investigation of the moral consequences of our country.

Roxana Robinson’s sixth novel, Dawson’s Fall, continues her interrogation of American morality. With each novel, Robinson has addressed the ethical complexities of contemporary life: in This is My Daughter, she explored the moral consequences of divorce; in Sweetwater, the moral consequences of stewardship of the planet; in Cost, the obligations of the family, and in Sparta the moral consequences of war. In Dawson’s Fall, Robinson investigates the moral consequences of slavery, and charts the path of its fell legacies, racism and violence. 

The great-great-great niece of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Robinson has spoken out on public issues: the environment, the rights of authors (as the President of the Authors Guild, from 2014–2017), and on war, pacifism and violence. With this book she continues to explore a central American question: the importance of ethical principles. 

In this provocative and moving novel, we see America at its most fragile, fraught, and malleable. Set in 1889, in Charleston, South Carolina, Robinson’s tale weaves her family’s journal entries and letters with a novelist’s narrative grace, and spans the life of her tragic hero, Frank Dawson, as he attempts to navigate the country’s new political, social, and moral landscape. 

Dawson, a man of fierce opinions, came to this country as a young Englishman to fight for the Confederacy in a war he understood as a conflict over states’ rights. He later became the editor of the Charleston News and Courier, forging a platform of influence in the editorial column and emerging as a voice of the New South. With his wife and two children, he tried to lead a life that adhered to his principles: non-violence, equal rights, and the rule of law. But he couldn’t control the political currents among his community. After two decades of wrestling with questions of equality, justice, and civil rights, his newspaper began to lose readership, and he was plagued by financial worries. Nor could Dawson control the personal currents among the community, or a threatening neighbor who embroiled his family in a dangerous contretemps. In the end, Dawson―who stood for his country in many ways―was felled by the violence he so vehemently opposed.

About the Author
Roxana Robinson is the author of ten books: six novels, three story collections, and the biography of Georgia O'Keeffe. Four of these were New York Times Notable Books.

Robinson was born in Kentucky, but grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She attended Bennington College and graduated from the University of Michigan. She worked in the art world, specializing in the field of American painting, before she began writing full-time. Her most recent novel, Sparta, won the James Webb Award for Distinguished Fiction from the USMC Heritage Foundation and was short-listed for the Dublin Impac Award. Her previous novel, Cost, was named one of the five best novels of the year by the Washington Post, and received the Fiction Award from the Maine Publishers and Writers Association. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Harper's, Tin House, Best American Short Stories, and elsewhere. She was twice a finalist for the NBCC Balakian Award for Criticism and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. She teaches at Hunter College, is a former member of the board of PEN, and was the President of the Authors Guild from 2014-2017.

Connect with Roxana Robinson
Facebook: @roxana.robinson

~Praise for Dawson's Fall~

“Acclaimed writer Roxana Robinson delves into her own family history as she sets her sights on the Civil War at its very heart, South Carolina, with spectacular results. Like Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, her own Dawson’s Fall will be a revelation to many readers in its profound and nuanced depiction of Southerners’ widely varied feelings about the Civil War and its aftermath. The past springs brilliantly to life in this tragic and compelling story, as accurate and fully realized a depiction of daily life and the extraordinary events of this time as has ever been written.”
Lee Smith, author of Dimestore: A Writer’s Life

Dawson’s Fall is a riveting historical account of one man’s struggle against a wave of violence and injustice during Reconstruction. The research that Roxana Robinson has done to deliver this story is nothing short of masterful and revisiting this terrifying and ugly chapter in the history of the South could not be more timely. Robinson's complex characters, her knowledge and loyalty to truth, and her rich depiction of time and place preserve not only her family story but that of American society and all that threatens humanity.”
 —Jill McCorkle, author of Life After Life

“Roxana Robinson tells the moving story of her great grand-parents, who lived in Charleston after the Civil War, her great-grandfather an Englishman and editor of the city paper. She draws on letters, journals and newspaper articles about them and adds her own novelistic grace to make them come to life. With a fine eye for detail, she describes the horrors of the post-war period of racism and violence they could not escape.”
Frances FitzGerald, author of The Evangelicals

“In Dawson’s Fall, acclaimed author Roxana Robinson has turned her own family history into a propulsive novel. She unspools the story of Frank Dawson, a Confederate veteran struggling to redefine the South, an Englishman in a land thick with suspicion of outsiders. With complicated characters and a rich sense of time and place, this is an immersive tale about the meaning of America.”
T. J. Stiles, author of Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America

A Letter to Readers from Roxana Robinson

Dear Reader, 

I never thought I would write about slavery: I’m from New England, and Harriet Beecher Stowe is my great-great-great aunt. The abolitionist minister Henry Ward Beecher is my great-great-grandfather. We were all abolitionists; I thought that anything I had to say about the subject would be superfluous. 

But about ten years ago I started thinking about another branch of my family. On my father’s side, my great-grandparents, Frank and Sarah Dawson, were southern. Frank was an Englishman who fought for the Confederacy; Sarah was from Louisiana. After the War, they both lived in Charleston, South Carolina, where Frank helped found the News and Courier. 

Despite his support for the Confederacy, Dawson differed from his brothers-in-arms in some fundamental respects: he believed in the rule of the law, he opposed violence and he often supported the rights of black freedmen. 

I became curious about Dawson, who seemed to embody such opposing ideals—how could you support the Confederacy and oppose violence? As to slavery, England had banned it thirty years earlier. 

Because Dawson and his wife were both prolific writers, and because the newspaper was such a rich resource, I came to learn about the place and time—Charleston during Redemption, the bloody period that followed Reconstruction. I learned that the post-War South was seething with resentment and rage. I saw that Frank Dawson, who refused to carry a gun, published report after report of shocking acts of brutality and murder, and I began to understand the way violence had become a part of the culture of the slave-owning South. I began to understand the depth and complexity of Southern resistance to the treaty at Appomattox. I also came to understand what it had been like for my southern family to suffer through a land war, which none of my northern family have ever endured. 

Writing a novel means entering into the lives of your characters. My characters, as it happened, were my ancestors, and the period in which they lived was a crucial one in our history. 

I had thought I was writing about my family; I came to understand that I was writing about my country. As I did the research for it, I came to understand how the baneful legacies of slavery, violence and racism are still flourishing in our culture today. The writing of Dawson’s Fall was my education in this dark part of our American story. 

Roxana Robinson

Monday, August 31, 2020

New Release: The Art of Us by Symone West

Release date: August 31st 2020
Genre: YA Romance
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

An interracial YA Romance with a bit of edge.

Kayla McNeil won an art scholarship to attend a prestigious academy.
She’s excited to improve her craft and determined not to let anything thwart her focus.
But Kayla never anticipated gaining the attention of the guy who ignores everyone else.

Brandon Decker hates to be touched.
His reaction is frightening to others.
Even when it’s an accident.
Brandon harbors deep pain from his past, which affects his ability to open his heart to anyone. Yet, something about Kayla allures him.
Her fearless and artistic nature can either calm the monster inside or push it further.

The more they get under each other’s skin, a connection develops that neither can explain. It brings forth an indescribable desire and the possibility of love. But monsters don’t always stay gone. They have a way of crawling out of the dark, threatening any speck of happiness.

About the Author
Symone West is the author of Dry Spell and A Very Warm Christmas. She writes unconventional sweet and sexy, sometimes dark, coming of age and adult romance.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

New Release & Guest Post~Dark Was The Night: Blind Willie Johnson's Journey to the Stars by Gary Golio

Release date: August 25th 2020
Illustrated by: E.B. Lewis
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
The poignant story of Blind Willie Johnson--the legendary Texas musician whose song "Dark Was the Night" was included on the Voyager I space probe's Golden Record

Willie Johnson was born in 1897, and from the beginning he loved to sing--and play his cigar box guitar. But his childhood was interrupted when he lost his mother and his sight. How does a blind boy make his way in the world? Fortunately for Willie, the music saved him and brought him back into the light. His powerful voice, combined with the wailing of his slide guitar, moved people. Willie made a name for himself performing on street corners all over Texas. And one day he hit it big when he got a record deal and his songs were played on the radio. Then in 1977, his song--"Dark Was the Night"--was chosen to light up the darkness when it was launched into space on the Voyager I space probe's famous Golden Record. His immortal song was selected for the way it expresses the loneliness humans all feel, while reminding us we're not alone.

I've been a blues fan for a long time. Early on in my teens, when I listened to Hendrix and a lot of the 60s groups (Paul Butterfield, Cream, Animals), I was hooked on their American blues roots, what inspired them, and gave their music its spark.

Funny thing about those English groups like Cream and the Stones--Hendrix was the first Black American blues man they'd ever met, though Jimi took those roots and sprung some new flowers.

Many years later, in 2002, I wrote my first book for kids about Jimi because I was playing electric blues myself, and appreciated the traditions I heard in his work. Then in 2015, I read two long articles about Blind Willie Johnson--a blind Texas gospel singer and slide guitarist whose music was also steeped in the blues. I was fascinated by the course of his life, and how--three decades after he died--his unforgettable song, "Dark Was the Night," ended up being rocketed into space on the Voyager I space probe's Golden Record (along with Beethoven, Chuck Berry, Bach, and the sights and sounds of Earth).

It's a great story about the surprising turns a life can take--especially when you might think that someone's story has come to an end. Willie had some hit records back in the late 1920s but was pretty much forgotten until Reverend Gary Davis started telling young blues guitarists about him in the 60s.

Then Carl Sagan came along in 1977 with Voyager and asked musicologist John Lomax to help him refine his choices for the amazing Golden Record (kind of like the first CD-ROM). Lomax included Willie's "Dark Was the Night" because he felt it was the embodiment of human loneliness. Something extra-terrestrials would need to know about Earth people if they ever happened upon the space probe and its Golden Record.

Amazing to think that, right now, Voyager is out there beyond our solar system (still transmitting!), and on it is the song of a blind man, telling us not to be afraid of the dark. And if that ain't the heart of the blues, I don't know what is!

Gary Golio
About the Author
Gary Golio is the author of several best-selling and award-winning musical picture-book biographies, including Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow, When Bob Met Woody, and Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey. Gary Golio lives in Hudson Valley, New York.

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