Book Review/ Author Q & A


The World Traveler

By Claire Castle


Amazon US:

Amazon UK:


Charming Taylor Samuels doesn’t expect his sister’s video audition for the reality television show The World Traveler to result in anything. But when they’re chosen to compete, he can do nothing but hope for the best.

Adam Scott’s best friend wants them to try to get on The World Traveler, and so Adam reluctantly agrees to make him happy.

As the reality sets in that they’ll competing, Adam tries not to panic too much.

Little do they know that a twist in the show will see Taylor and Adam’s worlds collide in a way they never imagined. 

Will everything go horribly wrong, or could this be the perfect beginning to a wonderful journey?


The World Traveler by Claire Castle is a fun filled and refreshing book about two contestants, each with their own partners, who wind up falling for each other while traveling the globe.

Adam, and his friend, Anderson, are teammates from Chicago, while Taylor, and his sister, Jess, reside in San Francisco. 

The journey starts at Wrigley Field in Chicago, where all the contestants from the TV show, The World Traveler, congregate to gather information as to what will come next—

Let the games begin! Loosely akin to the show The Amazing Race, the teamed-up couples are sent on one adventure after another, with stops in London to Rome to Islamabad to Calgary and many places in between, in a wild race to complete all the requirements before moving on to the next. But somewhere along the way, the contestants were assigned to a different partner than the one they started out with for the remainder of the challenge.

Adam meet Taylor. Taylor meet Adam. How convenient since these two have subtly had the hots for each other since Wrigley Field! 

As Adam and Taylor begin their journey together as teammates, they find out just how suitable they are for each other—with and without the cameras rolling. Who knew that Adam would be the one to excel in swimming and bungee jumping, while Taylor can actually sing and dance! Afterwards, when the two were done for the day, they both seemed to excel in their hotel-room-activities as well!

Each time they make it through another elimination, they trust and lean on one another even more so. As they fall in-sync and realize it’s highly likely they could win, they also fall in love; suddenly, the challenge doesn’t seem as important as what will become of them after it’s all over.  

I loved Adam and Taylor. They equally brought something to the table—their humor, intelligence, vulnerability, and sex-appeal—all  blended together perfectly, and I couldn’t help but root for them  as they raced to their happily ever after. I recommend this one if you’re looking for a light and enjoyable feel-good read ~

Reviewed by Lisa Cullinan ~ Bourbon, Bikes, and Books Book Blog

5888A3EA-45BC-4A6A-A4D9-458413FE6FE7Q & A spotlight for Claire Castle, author of The World Traveler!

Had you always felt a desire to write from a young age?

📚Yes! I’ve been an avid reader since I was young. In summers in middle school, I kept a list on the fridge of what I read that summer. I’ve always loved reading and wanted to write, but wasn’t sure I could ever do it. 

With all the fun and specific details you’ve added in the story, was there a lot of research involved for what goes on behind the scenes of a televised show?

📚There was quite a bit, but it was fun to me! It is tricky to get the fine line of integrating the information into a story and not making it sound like a textbook you are forced to read! I’m a huge fan of The Amazing Race.

Have you been to any of the destinations mentioned in the book? 

📚Yes I have. The Scotland and Canada destinations. 

What made you choose the countries that you did?

📚I wanted to have lots of variety. I think that was the important thing. The world is such a vast, amazing place! I picked some I am familiar with, but others that are intriguing and new. The ones that spoke to me. 

Now, every time I hear “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities, I think of Adam and Taylor! Do you listen to music while you’re writing, in general?

📚Oh wow! I hoped that would happen. You’ve really made my day. Of course, for me, it is “their” song. Sometimes I listen to music, but not always. I go back and forth. 

Do you pull your cupcakes apart like Adam does? My hubby does the same thing.

📚LOL yes! Go Adam & your hubby. 

Superman or Batman?


Would you ever consider writing another adventure/love story for the same show with different contestants *cough … Anderson* and destinations?

📚Hmmm, great question! I do want Anderson to get his story, I’m just not entirely sure if it would be in this setting again.

How did you decide which character, Adam or Taylor, would be the most suitable for the some of the challenges?

📚They just spoke to me, and it happened. It unfolded very organically. 

Are you currently working on any new projects that your readers can look forward to? 

📚Yes! Thanks for asking. I’m getting a Christmas novella ready for the holiday season and working on a co-write with BL Maxwell, called Cake Clash, which takes place on a baking reality TV contest.  

Thanks so much for answering these questions and giving your readers a little insight into your writing world. I, for one, can’t wait to enjoy more of your work. Best of luck to you!!!

📚Thank you so much for having me! It was great to chat. 



Book Review





Imperial Stout (Trouble Brewing) 

by Layla Reyne 

Amazon link:



Layla Reyne spins off from her pulse-pounding Agents Irish and Whiskey books with Imperial Stout, the first installment in the Trouble Brewing series

It’s a good thing assistant US attorney Dominic Price co-owns a brewery. He could use a cold one. Nic’s star witness has just been kidnapped, his joint operation with the FBI is in jeopardy, his father’s shady past is catching up with him and the hot new special agent in San Francisco is the kind of distraction best handled with a stiff drink.

Kidnap and rescue expert Cameron Byrne has his own ideas about how to handle Nic, but his skills are currently needed elsewhere. The by-the-book FBI agent goes deep undercover as a member of an infamous heist crew in order to save Nic’s witness, break up the crew and close the case before anyone else gets hurt. Nic in particular. 

Things heat up when Cam falls for Nic, and the witness falls for Cam. As the crew’s suspicions grow, Cam must decide how far he’s willing to go—and how far into his own dark past he’s willing to dive—to get everyone out alive.

This book is approximately 62,000 words


Imperial Stout (Trouble Brewing #1) is a spinoff of the Irish & Whiskey series by Layla Reyne, where we first meet Nic and Cam.  You could tell there was an attraction between the two and I couldn’t wait to get their story.

Assistant US Attorney Dominic “Nic” Price and FBI Special Agent Cameron Bryne are working a case together and trying to keep their CI alive.  When things don’t go as planned, Cam has to put his life on the line.   Nic is struggling, not only with his new budding relationship with Cam, but someone is threatening Nic.  He know his father is involved, but he needs to find out the details to finally put an end to it.

I loved both Nic and Cam and their very slow burn romance.  Their chemistry is off the charts and there are a few pretty hot sex scenes.  Plus, you get to see the whole gang again, even Danny.  Although I did have one little niggle.  Right from the beginning, there is a lot going on, maybe too much.  I struggled to figure out who was who and I even thought I skipped a book.  It does all work out, and by 15% I settled in and I started to understand more.

Since this does end with a HFN, I am anxious to get my hands on book 2.  I think there is so much to learn about both Nic and Cam.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher/NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~

Reviewed by Diana Murphy at Turning Pages at Midnight Book Blog ~ Goodreads


Book Reviews








Ravensong (Green Creek Book 2) 

by TJ Klune 



Sequel to Wolfsong

A Green Creek Novel

Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack who left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing never again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves.

It should have been enough.

And it was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. In the end, they faced the beast together as a pack… and won.

Now, a year later, Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them.

But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s crawling from within.

Some bonds, no matter how strong, were made to be broken.



I can’t tell you how much I loved Wolfsong, so I was nervous I wouldn’t like Ravensong as much. There was no need for me to worry, I adored Ravensong and the poetic writing sucked me into the story from the very beginning.

Ravensong is the story about Gordo and Mark.  Don’t worry though, there is plenty of Joe and Ox as well as the rest of the Beckett clan.  Of course there are a few changes within the clan, including Team Human, but their fierce loyalty and love of family is always present, especially when they are threatened.

“Sometimes a family of choice is better than that of blood”

The story does time jump, from when Gordo and Mark were kids, to present day. You find out the backstory of the relationship and why they are struggling.

The story is a must read. It’s an emotional journey that had me laughing one minute, and freaking out the next. It’s the type of story that will stick with you for a long time, and I am thankful there is a book 3, hopefully soon.

Reviewed by Diana Murphy ~ Turning Pages at Midnight Book Blog ~ Goodreads





Book Review


Raising Riker: Hells Saints MC Series (Book 6)

By Paula Marinaro



Raising Riker is book 6 in the Hells Saints MC Series by Paula Marinaro. Once again, I was sucked into the story of the Saints and their band of brothers, especially Riker Devlin.

At first, I had a hard time remembering Riker, but the author did a little recap, helping the reader to remember the time when Riker first (ahem) met Gia. Now the unexpected results of the meeting has Gia confronting Riker with the news and a proposition. But what kind of father would he be? He is a bad ass biker who never even thought of settling down, let alone, be a father.

Of course, nothing is easy for either Gia or Riker, and the hits just keep coming. Prosper, the Hells Saints President is desperately trying to figure things out, but there is more going on than anybody suspected.

I am not a big MC reader, but I thoroughly enjoy this series and being able to catch up with the boys, especially my favorite, Prosper. Let me tell you, as club President, he is a bad ass, but he also has a big heart.

You might be able to read this as a stand-alone, but I think you would be really lost not knowing all the characters. Starting from book 1, Raine Falling, would not be a hardship at all. 37F4E406-70C6-4C75-9337-D761E17D1A51

Happy Reading!

Reviewed by Diana Murphy of Turning Pages at Midnight Book Blog ~ Goodreads:


Release Blitz

Title: A Change of Pace
Series: Northern Lights Collection
Stand alone
Author: Freya Barker
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 16, 2018
Once a man who lived by the letter of the law.
Newt Tobias will do anything for his little girl. Even take early retirement, sell his city home, and move to cottage country, hoping that the simpler life will provide a better balance for his troubled teenage daughter. 
Yet, not long after they’ve settled, he finds himself toe-to-toe with a stubborn, fiery tempered woman with pretty brown eyes.
Once a recluse preferring to live alone. 
Working with troubled adolescents, Frederique Marchand doesn’t suffer fools and won’t put up with bullies. Especially handsome strangers like Newt who think they can run roughshod over her. She loves her work, but on her own time she much prefers the company of her menagerie of animals.
But with the welfare of a teenager at stake, she must put aside rocky first impressions and work with a man who needs her as much as she’ll come to need him.

Foxylutely Book Reviews – “This was another winning storyline from Freya Barker and one I did not want to end.”

Mindy Lou’s Book Review – “What an incredible and emotional story about a single father struggling to help his troubled, teenage daughter.”

The Laundry Librarian – “A Change of Pace is the perfect down home, all the feels, REAL romance read. It was refreshing, heartbreaking and beautiful.”



A Change of Pace (Northern Lights Book 3)

By Freya Barker

Once again, Freya Barker has taken us on another beautiful journey to the Great White North with “A Change of Pace,” the third in her Northern Lights series, where her ordinary characters do extraordinary things.

Newt Tobias, an ex-cop in his late forties, moves himself and his troubled daughter away from the city in hopes that an easier life might renew his daughter’s broken spirit and help to heal her self-inflicted physical pain. Millie is at that age—fourteen years old—when misplaced hormones play havoc with every young teen’s mind and body as it is, so to throw her into a new school with only a few weeks left until summer vacation doesn’t bode too well for either of them.

Frederique Marchand, or Freddy as she prefers to be called, is a therapist in her mid-forties, who has a practice but also counsels kids in the Parry Sound school district. She’s smart and sassy with a beautiful heart who has had her own enormous share of pain. One of the more frightening moments in this story revolves around the reoccurrence of a past disease.

Any time Freddy sees her patients, she brings her own secret weapon in the form of her service dog, Boulder. As a matter of fact, Freddy has a bunch of animals, all who have a special supporting role in this story. There’s Timber the goat who’s best buddies with George, her pot-belly pig; next, there’s Chester, the old lovable rescue horse,  the three cats, Larry, Moe, and Curly, and finally, Boulder, the best dog ever in the history of … well, dogs!

While helping Millie, Freddy and Newt become completely drawn to one another. It’s a slow process, one which I love, because to me it mirrors real life. Also, these two are not in their twenties, and as much as they are attracted to one another, they’re wise enough to realize that Millie’s well-being is what’s most important.

Let me just say that when they do get together, it’s amazing. Go us older folks!!! 

Okay, forties aren’t old anyway. Newt is one smokin hot, bossy alpha—oh yes, he is! As a matter of fact, he just may be my new fave book boyfriend. Then again, I think I’ve said that every time Freya has released a new book. 

It’s sometimes so difficult to put pen to paper when reviewing one of Freya Barker’s books. I think the reason might be that there are always side stories going on with other characters that are just as important. These stories are always so filled to the brim with such a spectacular supporting cast. In this case, Freddy’s uber-protective brother, Alex, and especially his twin sons, Luke and Josh, really pull Millie out of her angst-ridden head. Jordan, is another lost kid, who gets bullied in school and becomes Millie’s best friend. Sgt. Jim Baldwin of the local police department redeems himself after some bad history with Freddy, and he does it again by stepping up to be a better dad to his son, Jordan. Add in a plethora of others who all fall perfectly into the mix, and the result is a full and beautifully written story. The epilogue was quite moving and warmed my heart. 

A Change of Pace is another treasure from author Freya Barker. She never disappoints with her brilliant storytelling—this one is no exception. Five stars and a must read! Reviewed by Lisa Cullinan

Freya is the recipient of the RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for best first book, “Slim To None,” and is a finalist for the 2016 Kindle Book Awards for “From Dust”. She currently has two complete series and three anthologies published, and is working on two new series; La Plata County FBI—ROCK POINT, and Northern Lights. She continues to spin story after story with an endless supply of bruised and dented characters, vying for attention!

Book Reviews


Title: Better Together

Author: BL Maxwell

MM Romance


FREE with KindleUnlimited


Since being thrown out of his home by his parents, Caden has been struggling to survive on the streets.

He lives in constant fear, stresses over his next meal, and dreads trying to find a safe place to sleep at night. He eventually finds an unlocked car and settles in to sleep, but is soon interrupted when someone steals the car. With little choice but to ride along, Caden soon learns that first impressions aren’t always correct.

Seventeen-year-old Damario has been raising his little brother and sister by himself since his parents were deported. He never knew how hard it was going to be paying the bills and making sure there was always food on the table. Or how hard it would be to hold his family together when they all depended on him to do it. He finds himself stealing cars to make ends meet, but he never expected to find someone sleeping in the back of one of them. And he really didn’t expect this stowaway to change his life.

When Damario brings Caden home, it was supposed to be just for a shower and a hot meal, but he can hardly kick him out onto the streets again. There is no way he could have seen that by saving Caden that night, he was also saving himself. When Damario’s world starts to fall apart, they both realize that the answer to all of their problems is helping each other, and although the world tries to drive them apart, they really are better together.



He handed over his stack of coupons, and the cashier started entering them all. By the time they were done, we only owed fifty-seven dollars. I looked at Caden in shock. He looked at me with the same expression, and then he started smiling and that smile turned into a laugh. 

“Good job! You saved around seventy percent today,” the checker congratulated him. He’d done it. He’d figured out how to save us a ton of money on food. And this was just his first time. Hopefully, we could both start working on it, and we would get even better at it. 

We were returning home with more bags of groceries than we’d had since my parents had left. I reached over to Caden’s leg and squeezed it. 

“You did so good. I’m really proud of you.” He got the strangest look on his face. I realized that he looked like he might cry. He was hurting. I turned into a parking lot. Once I was parked, I faced him. “Hey, are you all right?” He turned to me again, and after unbuckling his seatbelt, he launched himself into my arms. “Hey, hey, it’s okay. I don’t understand. Caden, what’s going?” I could feel him shaking in my arms, trying to get control of his emotions, but I still didn’t understand why he was so upset. 

Finally, while his face was tucked into my neck, he started to explain. “I tried my whole life to make my dad and mom proud of me. Nothing was ever enough. If I got a B on a report that I worked really hard on, they’d say I could have gotten an A. When I made the baseball team my freshman year, I played outfield. They said I should have gotten on the infield instead. Literally nothing I did was good enough. No one I cared about, besides my sister, has ever shown me that I was enough, that I was good enough. That they were proud of me. No one until you.”



Better Together is a story about two sweet, considerate, and intelligent—but very lost—seventeen-year-old boys who were left on their own but for very different reasons.

As far as Caden’s situation goes, I will never understand how a parent can toss their child away in any circumstance. Whatever happened to unconditional love? Nowadays, it’s becoming all too often that we hear about teenagers kicked out of their homes after coming out to their families. Home—home is supposed to be every child’s safe haven—the one place where all the garbage from the outside world never gets to enter. I’m reeling from the actions of Caden’s folks, but shocked by the lack of reaction from his mom. Well then, off to the streets he goes.

Damario is also on his own, but not by choice. As you can read in the blurb, sadly, his  parents were deported. Now he’s the sole caretaker of his younger brother and sister, trying his hardest to juggle adult responsibilities in order to survive.

Caden and Damario together create a story of perseverance, kindness, and doing the right(ish) thing. I stress that because of how Damario actually found Caden. Let’s just say, in this case, desperate times call for desperate measures. Even with it all, Damario takes Caden home with him and trusts him with his own siblings. 

The relationship the two of them build together as they join forces to financially support their family of four turns into so much more. This is where the beauty of the story begins. Together they make sure the children are their main priority—homework completed, lunches made everyday, and someone always available for the trips back and forth to school—and it’s all done with the love and support that each of their own parents couldn’t provide. The list of chores and responsibilities goes on and on, and honestly, I can’t imagine any teenager having to take that on for countless months. Side note: Caden’s mad coupon skills were truly impressive!

And … in the craziness of their day-to-day life, somewhere along the way these two beautiful, selfless souls fell in love. Don’t expect hot, steamy sexy scenes: First of all, remember, they are young and completely inexperienced so they’re stumbling along just like most of us did at that age; and secondly, they’re exhausted! Parenting, working overtime, household chores, school for Damario and GED studying for Caden are quite overwhelming … you get the picture.

Despite all the struggles and sometimes poor decision-making, in the end, their drive and determination along with the love and support of one another, Caden and Damario have made it—and with flying rainbow colors because they really are better together … I loved the epilogue—Their happily ever after was so well-deserved and perfectly written! Squeeeeeee!

A heartfelt storyline, plenty of attention to detail, and characters who anyone would fall head over heels in love with all helped to make this a four-and-a-half star read for me! 

Reviewed by Lisa Cullinan ~ Bourbon, Bikes, and Books

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Book Reviews



Inside Darkness By Hudson Lin

Main characters: Cameron Donnelly and Tyler Ang


He’s come in from the field, but the darkness has followed him home.

After a decade as an aid worker, Cameron Donnelly returns home jaded, tired, and with more than just a minor case of PTSD. Plagued by recurring nightmares but refusing to admit he has a problem, Cam quickly spirals into an alcohol-infused depression, and everyone around him is at a loss for how to help.

Journalist Tyler Ang met Cam on a reporting assignment in Kenya, and their first encounters were rife with hostility and sexual tension. Back in New York, their paths continually cross, and each time, Cam’s brokenness reminds Ty more and more of his own difficult childhood. Letting Cam in goes against Ty’s instinct to live life autonomously, but the damaged aid worker manages to sneak past his guard.

Their relationship is all sharp corners and rough edges, and just as they’re figuring out how to fit together, a life-threatening accident puts it all in jeopardy. If they want a future together, both will have to set aside their egos and learn to carry each other’s burdens.


Available at: 




C8E82D72-6ACC-4D43-8C90-B84DFC753064Hudson Lin, author of Inside Darkness, is a new to me author, but I will certainly keep an eye out for her books in the future.

Cameron Donnelly is an UN aid worker and is burnt out. Returning to NY has not helped him feel like his old self. For him, it is a daily struggle to survive in the “darkness.” He is filled with despair and he believes the darkness helps him get through his everyday life. A darkness that was created by years of feeling helpless while witnessing the horrors others endured. Cam runs into a journalist that he met in Nigeria, Tyler Ang.  At first sight, Ty knows Cam is struggling, and he tries to convince Cam to get help. Cam thinks he can handle things on his own, but the spiral down continues.

Tyler Ang has been working hard to try become an international journalist. Now, with work giving him problems and the sudden appearance of Cam back into his life, Ty is confused about why he is drawn to Cam. He also has a heartbreaking past that makes his heart closed for business.

This story is unique, and completely different from anything I have ever read. Yes, it is high on the angst-o-meter, but it truly makes you think about the brave men and women who sacrifice everything to help others in devastated countries and what they deal with on an everyday basis just to survive. You can tell the author definitely did her homework to give such a realistic view. I did, however, have a slight niggle with the main characters. I never really felt their connection until very late in the story. Near the end of the book, the story was focused more on Cam and we lose Ty’s voice completely. I wanted to know how he was dealing with everything. Although Ty’s past was mentioned, I felt it was skipped over and not really discussed in depth.

I highly recommend this book. I wouldn’t consider it a dark read, but more of a realistic story that will make your heart hurt.

I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

3.50 stars8DE37BAC-E2A4-402C-9BA5-037A3D0759E7

Reviewed by Diana Murphy ~ Turning Pages at Midnight Book Blog ~ Goodreads: