Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Book Review, Giveaway: WHISKEY Series by Ryan Ringbloom (Whiskey Dick #1 Whiskey Chick #2)


by Ryan Ringbloom 
Whiskey Dick, #1 
Publication Date: July 24, 2018 
Genres: Adult, Romantic Comedy, Contemporary, Romance, Standalone




Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. It’s a fluke. Too much whiskey. Believe me when I say, it will NEVER happen again.
I’m trying not to take it personally. Sh*t happens. It’s not a reflection on me. He claims it was too much whiskey. A onetime occurrence. And I believe him.
But then why the hell does it happen a second time?
Fate’s a funny thing. He likes her. She likes him. They say the third time’s a charm….
Get ready to laugh, cringe, and swoon as two terrified flyers travel toward romance in this lovable Romantic Comedy.

This is a standalone book intended for mature readers.


My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

She leans across the table and lowers her voice. “Erectile dysfunction happens.” Wrong words. So very wrong. If there were a book called The Big Book of Men, the first chapter would clearly state that those two words never be said to any man ever. Ever. It would be the first freaking rule.

One minute, I like her, I think she’s great and the next, I want to rip her head off. If we were in kindergarten I’d think I was in love with her.

“Is this a condom thing?” The cashier looks from me to Jax, back to me. “No need to be weird. It’s the middle of the night, half the people who come in here at this time are buying condoms. If you think you might need them, get them. Or else you’ll be like the other half who come in here in the middle of the night to buy diapers.”… I just basically agreed to sex at the register in a Walmart.

My Review: 

What a delight! This was a fast, fun, and cleverly amusing read. Two anxious flyers meet in an airport bar while killing time due to a delayed flight. Their anxiety levels continue to ratchet skyward when their dreaded flight is pushed back several times then finally canceled due to mechanical difficulties. A situation that doesn’t inspire confidence in even a seasoned flyer, so they opt to share the long drive instead. Flirting, whiskey, anxiety, mutual attraction and lots of kissing in a shared hotel room – record scratch - the little head didn’t seem to get the invitation when it came time for the main event. Awkward. Which became increasingly mortifying as they embark on a very long and testy road trip the morning after. I adored these char

Empress DJ


by Ryan Ringbloom Whiskey Dick, #2 
Publication Date: September 9, 2018 
Genres: Adult, Romantic Comedy, Contemporary, Romance, Standalone




Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. It’s a fluke. Too much whiskey. Believe me when I say, it will NEVER happen again.
I’m trying not to take it personally. Sh*t happens. It was a blind date. She drank too much whiskey. I hope it wasn’t a reflection on me.
Okay, so the first date didn’t work out. But what happens when the second one doesn’t either?
Fate’s a funny thing. She likes him. He likes her. They say the third time’s a charm….
Get ready to laugh, cringe, and swoon as fate blindly intervenes in this lovable Romantic Comedy.
This is a standalone book that features a new couple intended for mature readers.


My Rating: 

Favorite Quotes:

“Don’t worry, they probably just saw me. On top of my bed. Doing a striptease. And they probably think I’m by myself.” First there was my questionable boner-hiding moment with my aunt and mom, and now this. “They probably think I’m up here doing some pathetic mating dance before masturbating.”

I look back out the window. My father and uncle sit by the fire and the rest are gone. I’m guessing they’re inside pouring bleach into their eyes.

My Review:

Another quick, engaging, and fun read from the delectable Ryan Ringbloom, which kept me smirking most of the way through.  Remi was a hot mess, although, to her credit, she often tried, yet she just couldn’t seem to help herself, or keep a job, or maintain her focus, or find anything to hold her interest.  Her social filter was missing, a condition that didn’t seem to bother her all that much except for that one appalling incident that had always caused her shame, she had been the blind date from hell after too much whiskey.  Adam had never forgotten that date either and had recounted the story of the Whiskey Chick so often it had become a myth-like legend among his family and friends.  Remi and Adam happened to meet up and square off again two years later with considerably better results, although there were complications, lots of humorous complications.  The storylines were highly enjoyable and packed with colorful levity, steamy sensuality, and occasional bits of humbling angst.  Ryan Ringbloom is good fun!

Empress DJ


Hi, I’m Ryan Ringbloom, a Jersey girl who doesn’t write Alphas. I couldn’t if I tried. Social Media stresses me the frick out, yet I can’t seem to walk away from it. I love to binge watch TV. I think cats are awesome. I’m obsessed with coffee and Fireball. But never together. My road rage is ridiculous. And if there is ever a zombie apocalypse, I won’t even try to run. I will let the first one I see eat my brain and get it over with.


Book Review: November Road by Lou Berney

November Road

by Lou Berney

• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (October 9, 2018)

Set against the assassination of JFK, a poignant and evocative crime novel that centers on a desperate cat-and-mouse chase across 1960s America—a story of unexpected connections, daring possibilities, and the hope of second chances from the Edgar Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone.

Frank Guidry’s luck has finally run out.

A loyal street lieutenant to New Orleans’ mob boss Carlos Marcello, Guidry has learned that everybody is expendable. But now it’s his turn—he knows too much about the crime of the century: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Within hours of JFK’s murder, everyone with ties to Marcello is turning up dead, and Guidry suspects he’s next: he was in Dallas on an errand for the boss less than two weeks before the president was shot. With few good options, Guidry hits the road to Las Vegas, to see an old associate—a dangerous man who hates Marcello enough to help Guidry vanish.

Guidry knows that the first rule of running is “don’t stop,” but when he sees a beautiful housewife on the side of the road with a broken-down car, two little daughters and a dog in the back seat, he sees the perfect disguise to cover his tracks from the hit men on his tail. Posing as an insurance man, Guidry offers to help Charlotte reach her destination, California. If she accompanies him to Vegas, he can help her get a new car.

For her, it’s more than a car— it’s an escape. She’s on the run too, from a stifling existence in small-town Oklahoma and a kindly husband who’s a hopeless drunk.

It’s an American story: two strangers meet to share the open road west, a dream, a hope—and find each other on the way.

Charlotte sees that he’s strong and kind; Guidry discovers that she’s smart and funny. He learns that’s she determined to give herself and her kids a new life; she can’t know that he’s desperate to leave his old one behind.

Another rule—fugitives shouldn’t fall in love, especially with each other. A road isn’t just a road, it’s a trail, and Guidry’s ruthless and relentless hunters are closing in on him. But now Guidry doesn’t want to just survive, he wants to really live, maybe for the first time.

Everyone’s expendable, or they should be, but now Guidry just can’t throw away the woman he’s come to love.

And it might get them both killed.

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

What if someone happened to come round that corner right now and caught them skulking? Trouble in this business had a way of spreading, just like a cold or the clap. Guidry knew you could catch it from the wrong handshake, an unlucky glance.

The only poor decision was a decision you allowed someone else to make for you.

Charlotte longed to live in a place where it wasn’t so hard to tell the past from the future.

Her favorite movie, as a child, had been The Wizard of Oz, her favorite moment when Dorothy opened the door of her black-and-white farmhouse and stepped into a strange and wonderful land. Lucky Dorothy. Charlotte dipped her brush again and not for the first time imagined a tornado dropping from the sky and blowing her far away, into a world full of color.

My philosophy is that guilt is an unhealthy habit… It’s what other people try to make you feel so you’ll do what they want. But one life is all we ever get, as far as I know. Why give it away?

My Review:

It is still unclear what actually transpired and how deeply tangled the web had to have been leading up to that awful November day in Dallas in 1963.  This book wasn’t about JFK but proposes a possible, highly likely, and often speculated version of events culminating and occurring after his horrific demise with additional storylines that provided a realistic slice of life for those along the path.  

The writing was superb and highly engaging.  I was riveted to my Kindle and soaked in each well-chosen word like a sponge.  I don’t often read this genre and this was my first exposure to the talents of Lou Berney, who is a gifted scribe. His storylines were dynamic, well-crafted, and ingeniously woven with mind prickling details.  Yet I felt the true treasure of his creation was his vibrant and oddly endearing characters. I was thoroughly transported and only wished for more, but I’m greedy like that.   

Empress DJ

About Lou Berney

Lou Berney is the author of three previous novels, Gutshot Straight, Whiplash River, and multiple prize-winning The Long and Faraway Gone. His short fiction has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. He lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Find out more about Lou at his website, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Book Review: One Day in December by Josie Silver

One Day in December

by Josie Silver

Paperback: 400 Pages

Publisher: Broadway Books (October 16, 2018)

Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.

Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.

“Josie Silver writes with a warmth so palpable her characters sneak their way into your heart and stay for a long time.”—Jill Santopolo, New York Times-bestselling author of The Light We Lost (a Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick)

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

‘I’ve got a date next week… I met him in a lift. I held him to ransom with the stop button until he agreed to ask me out.’  I really need to take life lessons from Sarah… I need to make ‘What would Sarah do?’ my life motto.

I’ll have to take a rain check. I’ve got a double date tonight with Ben and Jerry. They’re sweet… We’re going to work our way through the Karamel Sutra. It’s going to be a thrill a minute.

If I tell you something, do you promise to never tell another living soul, not even a goldfish?

I’ve only met Oscar’s brother once before. All I can recall is that Gerry doesn’t seem to be much like his easy-going younger brother, and his poker-thin wife, Felicity, looks as if she exists on fresh air and Chanel No. 5.

… how very tangled and complicated our lives have become over the years. We are a triangle, but our sides have kept changing length. Nothing has ever quite been equal. Perhaps it’s time to learn how to stand on our own, rather than lean on each other.

My Review:

A pair of strangers shared a fleeting connection when their eyes met and locked at a bus stop.  Laurie was on the crowded bus, while Jack was sitting at the bus stop.  They did not speak to each other but their profound gaze left a deep and lasting impression before the bus pulled away and parted them yet again.  Neither ever forgot that interaction and though they had each searched, they did not meet up again until Laurie’s roommate, Sarah, introduced Jack as her new boyfriend a year later.  Oops, what a mess… but what to do about it?  Denial and avoidance was apparently the unspoken plan. 

This engaging tale covers a decade of unfortunately bad timing in the life these two conflicted soul mates as well as their small group of friends.  Written in my favorite dual POV, this clever scribe’s writing was crisp and sparkled with wit and levity during the first half, although, to my consternation, grew steadily heavier with angst and conflict as the characters matured and struggled with various life stressors, relationships foibles, family, and work issues.  I was running out of pages and hope for resolution when the crafty author pulled a sly and smooth move, which provided that much desired and highly satisfactory HEA.  This was my first exposure to the delightful Josie Silver – what a trickster!

New additions to my Brit Vocabulary List include squiffy which Mr. Google said was a stuffy or overheated room; naff - which apparently has several meanings such as tacky, lame or uncool, and go away; and my new favorite of cock-a-hoop which means highly pleased or excited.  I’m cock-a-hoop to have found a new author to fangirl.  

Empress DJ

About Josie Silver

JOSIE SILVER is an unashamed romantic who met her husband when she stepped on his foot on his twenty-first birthday. She lives with him, her two young sons, and their cats in a little town in England called Wolverhampton.

Connect with Josie

Monday, October 15, 2018

Book Review: If the Shoe Fits (Almost Royal #1) by Rachel Lacey

If the Shoe Fits
(Almost Royal #1)
by Rachel Lacey


Elle Davenport is no princess—she just dresses up as one for her job at a local theme park. But when she gets the call that she’s won a contest to live and work at a real-life castle in Virginia, she finally feels like she’s found her calling. If she’s successful, her venture could become permanent, and that sounds like Elle’s idea of the perfect modern-day fairytale. There’s only one problem: the castle’s grumpy—and sexy—new owner wants her gone as soon as possible.

Theo Langdon never imagined he’d inherit the title of Earl of Highcastle so young. With his grandfather’s recent death, he needs to sell Rosemont Castle so he can return to London. If only he wasn’t butting heads with the vivacious new property manager at every corner. Although he’s got a life waiting for him in London, Rosemont Castle suddenly feels a lot like home, thanks to Elle. As the clock winds down on her time at the castle, he’ll have to reconcile his obligations in London with the American woman who’s stolen his heart.

My Rating:

Favorite Quote:

I’m used to thinking about life in black and white, but you’ve made me see all the beautiful colors in between…

My Review:

What a clever premise! I adored this delightful book and all the thoughtful and well-crafted storylines as well as the ingenious fine touches that gave it sparkle. As an animal lover, I particularly appreciated the creative workings of the Fairy Tails program, which provided visiting guests the opportunity to interact and bond with adoptable shelter pets while staying at their inn.

Rachel Lacey has mad skills. The writing was pleasantly entertaining, engaging, lushly detailed, and laced with levity, delicious steam, and insightful observations into and from the characters inner musings. The story flowed smoothly and her characters were unique, witty, and enticing; I was enamored with each and look forward to delving more deeply into each one during future installments.

Empress DJ

Rachel Lacey is a contemporary romance author and semi-reformed travel junkie. She's been climbed by a monkey on a mountain in Japan, gone scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, and camped out overnight in New York City for a chance to be an extra in a movie. These days, the majority of her adventures take place on the pages of the books she writes. She lives in warm and sunny North Carolina with her husband, son, and a variety of rescue pets.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Book Review: Magic O’Clock and Magical Memories by Lynne Fellows

Magic O’Clock

by Lynne Fellows

Amazon  (universal) 

Other eretailers (Kobo, B&N, Apple) :

Archie Royle is a kind, funny, gentle man.

He’s also my dad. My storyteller. My hero.

Except he doesn’t remember my face anymore.

His world, these days, doesn’t include me or his family.

Life may have changed for him, but he hasn’t given up on life.

Not at all.

It’s just different.

Dad still tells his stories, albeit for a new audience.

He makes people smile and chuckle. As he always did.

He’s a fighter, a survivor and maybe sometimes too clever for his own good! He’ll surprise you. I can assure you of that.

Welcome to Magic O’Clock, where time is irrelevant and hope is unlimited.

Magical Memories

As Archie Royle takes his final breath, three sisters race to say their goodbyes.

Two don’t make it in time.

I do.

And now, it’s all my fault they’re too late.

Despite him having dementia.

Despite them not visiting in over a month.

But I won’t let anger win.

After all, we’re all grieving, aren’t we?

Surely, as a family, we can let bygones be bygones.

It’s what Dad would want. Expect.

It’s what he deserves.

We have so much to be grateful for.

So many fond and magical memories to share.

Magical Memories is a fictional tale of loss, grief and moving on.

My Rating: 

Favorite Quotes:

Magic O’Clock 

Every day, without fail, shortly before three o’clock, he stops everything and heads off to his command post ready to enthrall his eager listeners. No watch is needed to tell him when it’s time. It’s purely instinctive and part of the daily marvel I have come to cherish.

The grandfather clock in the main vestibule strikes once, then again and finally the third chime rings out. Dad is back. Complete with his confident mannerisms and easy charm. The lost soul that inhabits his body and mind for most of the day is vanquished for now and the man in his place is my father of old. My heart skips a beat as the transformation takes effect and the wonderful, self-assured storyteller prepares to weave his tale.

He is a true word-smith, a man for whom eloquence and diction make pillow talk while he sleeps.

Audience participation is his specialty. He loves teasing them into a frenzy. The nurses are constantly telling him not to, after all, some of these people have serious conditions, and too much excitement can be dangerous. But Archie’s response is always the same, ‘at least they’ll die with a smile on their face.’

Magical Memories

Where his tales came from, we’ll never know. Like a seasoned bowler, he’d put his own spin on it, launching it at full speed towards his unsuspecting audience.

When he surrendered the battle of the comb-over some years ago, it marked a turning point. It was at that moment I accepted defeat to his dementia. My hopes to avoid admitting him to a private care home waned, and I finally conceded that all the stored memory in my father’s brain was leaking out like a burst water pipe I could not fix.

To say she blanched would be an understatement, but her complexion made Frosty the Snowman look like he was having a hot flush.

Diplomacy is the act of thinking twice before saying nothing - not a skill I had ever learnt.

My Review:

While her father may have lost his memories and no longer recognize his family, mercifully, he had not lost his words or the ability to spin a good yarn and entertain his fellow residents at the retirement village. These were delightfully vivid, tender, and heart-squeezing tales of bittersweet observations and inner musings. The writing was poignant and emotive and so dear it stung my eyes and put a hot rock in my throat. L.S. Fellows conjures sharp visuals with her excellent word skills. She is a master storyteller with immediate engagement and keenly crafted storylines.

Empress DJ

Author Bio - L.S. Fellows

Despite being born in England, my heart now lies in Spain. Many moons ago, I was a student in Granada, Spain. I loved it so much and swore I would return one day on a more permanent basis. In 2003, I did just that.

Now, as a fur-mum to two adorable but mischievous mutts, in my free time, I can usually be spotted with my nose in a book, armed with just the teeniest chunk of chocolate and a zillion pomegranates!

Social Media Links –


Twitter: @lfwrites -



Amazon Author Page:

Friday, October 12, 2018

Book Review: Speak of the Devil by Britney King

Title: Speak of the Devil
Author: Britney King
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Release Date: October 4, 2018

Speak of the Devil is a captivating, darkly satiric psychological thriller which offers readers another savage look into a utopian cultish society where beauty and perfection are valued at all costs and it’s best to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. 

In the upscale suburb where Vanessa Bolton lives, she’s your average suburban housewife.

She does her grocery shopping on Tuesday, Thursday mornings are reserved for Pilates, Sundays for church. At home, she’s an impeccable housekeeper and a mother with a mediocre track record.

But in discreet hotel rooms throughout the city, she can be whatever you want her to be—provided you can afford the hourly fee.

In the rapidly expanding cult to which she belongs, Vanessa has been assigned the role of a “Siren”—a recruiter trained to use seduction to elicit compliance from her marks.

Vanessa’s latest assignment—an unsuspecting chemist merely looking for something without strings—proves to be her toughest yet. Unwilling to neatly slide into the roles society has prescribed for them, the two collide in a sensual and savage affair that threatens not only their own lives but also those they seek to protect most.

Featuring “tantalizing suspense, pulse-pounding danger, sex, and double-dealing,” Speak of the Devil is a timely and riveting psychological thriller that is impossible to put down.

“....this is a series that stands apart from all other psychological thrillers out there as Britney King uses unique concepts and slays character roles.” - Elle’s Book Blog
“By far my favorite of the New Hope series. I couldn’t put it down!!” - Goodreads review
“The writing in fantastic. The plot was engaging and original…” - Between the Bookends

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

The thing about seduction is you can’t be someone’s fantasy and be real at the same time.

How long does it take for a dead body to start smelling? What’s the best way to dispose of a corpse? How deep does a grave need to be? What’s the best way to get blood stains out of cement? God, so many questions. Questions I can’t very well Google. I need answers, and somehow I don’t think Siri would be much help either. Quora, maybe? There are a lot of options. I can at least be grateful for that. I can’t imagine what they used to go through in the olden days.

My Review:

What an odious and loathsome cast of characters, there were no heroes in this story; while some were more monstrous than others they were all contemptible and doggedly manipulative. The New Hope church/cult practices were deplorable, the church leaders were unsavory and despicable, and their lifestyle and underpinnings of sex trafficking and blackmail, and the use of torture, brainwashing and drugging of their members were disturbingly abhorrent. Yet, despite all that, the remarkably talented Brittany King’s unique writing style and insightful and captivating storytelling kept me riveted to this provocative and twisted tale, and while I frequently flinched and cringed while reading, I could not put my Kindle down. I'm a bit worried what that says about me.

Empress DJ

Britney King lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, children, two dogs, one ridiculous cat, and a partridge in a pear tree.

When she's not wrangling the things mentioned above, she writes psychological, domestic and romantic thrillers set in suburbia.
Currently, she's writing three series and several standalone novels.
The Bedrock Series features an unlikely heroine who should have known better. Turns out, she didn’t. Thus she finds herself tangled in a messy, dangerous, forbidden love story and face-to-face with a madman hell-bent on revenge. The series has been compared to Fatal Attraction, Single White Female, and Basic Instinct.
The Water Series follows the shady love story of an unconventional married couple—he’s an assassin—she kills for fun. It has been compared to a crazier book version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Also, Dexter.
Around The Bend is a heart-pounding standalone, which traces the journey of a well-to-do suburban housewife, and her life as it unravels, thanks to the secrets she keeps. If she were the only one with things she wanted to keep hidden, then maybe it wouldn’t have turned out so bad. But she wasn’t.
The With You Series at its core is a deep love story about unlikely friends who travel the world; trying to find themselves, together and apart. Packed with drama and adventure along with a heavy dose of suspense, it has been compared to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Love, Rosie.
The Social Affair is an intense standalone about a timeless couple who find themselves with a secret admirer they hadn’t bargained for. For fans of the anti-heroine and stories told in unorthodox ways, the novel explores what can happen when privacy is traded for convenience. It is reminiscent of films such as One Hour Photo and Play Misty For Me. 
Without a doubt, connecting with readers is the best part of this gig. You can find Britney online here: 
Instagram • 
Facebook •
Goodreads •
To get more-- grab two books for free, by subscribing to her mailing list at or just copy and paste into your browser. 

Happy reading.