Monday, November 20, 2017

Book Review: The Mercury Travel Club by Helen Bridgett


The Mercury Travel Club

by Helen Bridgett


 Amazon   UK / USAU/ CA

He took her to dinner: that was annoying
He slept with her: that was hurtful
He bought new underwear to impress her: quite frankly astounding
He left me to bloody wash his FILTHY WHORING PANTS: INFURIATING!

After twenty-four years and eleven months of marriage, Angie Shepherd is divorced, dejected and facing a future of cardigans and cats. Best friend Patty is having none of it, and launches Angie into a variety of crazy schemes in search of her lost mojo.

But it's just not enough; what she really dreams of is beating her ex and becoming Entrepreneur of the Year. Channelling her inner Richard Branson, Angie invests her divorce settlement into The Mercury Travel Club, a travel agency with a twist. But as the club gets going, things don't go according to plan, and in this digital age, a little chaos brings the recognition Angie's been looking for.

Witty, entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, this feel-good novel shows that it's never too late for a second chance.

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:


…there are plenty of fish still in the sea without you having to go back to that washed-up walrus.

Our first venture has gone well, even if it does feel as if I’m in an episode of Scooby-Doo. I wonder which character I am.

I’ve watched American beauty pageants on TV and they looked like this. There’s obviously a circuit crowd who greet each other with bi-focal faces: the mouth is smiling hello while the eyes are snarling ‘die bitch die’.

I head back downstairs and straight for the gym. I find the punch bag instead. I pound it with everything I have and then more. This lasts about thirty seconds – they’re much tougher than they seem in films.


My Review:

I enjoyed this entertaining and cleverly amusing first person POV story featuring Angie, a betrayed and newly divorced fifty-three-year-old woman.  I relished her bitter, comical, and fanciful inner musings and although she occasionally veered off track, I admired her attitude.  Her marriage was over but her life wasn’t.  Angie began her transition from being part of a two to just one by joining a book club, and in so doing, found a life coach in Caroline, the bookstore owner, who encouraged her to daydream and wave a magic wand over her new hopes and ideas of each major life aspect.  It was an effective exercise and one we should all replicate.  Step one - Angie took stock in the mirror and was shocked to find a Frida type uni-brow and granny fugly wardrobe – so off for a makeover with extensive plucking, which resulted in an instant uptick in her self-confidence.  If only the other areas were as easy to tackle.   

I enjoyed Angie’s transformation and how her improvements affected and enhanced the lives of those around her.  I adored her outspoken and wily best friend Patty, whom I instantly identified with since I pretty much am a Patty.  Angie and Patty together and individually find themselves embroiled in several unique adventures such as speed dating, forming a karaoke band, gambling on a new business venture, international travel, busting a shipboard crime ring, opening up to romance, entering competitions, and even riding pillion with a leather-clad biker.  I enjoyed my time with this amusing group and look forward to more.

Empress DJ

Purchase from Amazon

About Helen Bridgett

Helen Bridgett was born in North-East England and now lives in Manchester having stopped off at a few places in between. Having failed miserably with every New Year's resolution that involved giving up food or drink, one year, she set herself a completely different goal - to write a novel and give it as a Christmas present. The Mercury Travel Club was born and the characters took on a life of their own. Outside of writing, Helen loves hiking and wine - not usually at the same time.
Helen is currently developing the next novels in The Mercury Travel Club series

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Book Review: The Missing by C. L. Taylor

The Missing

by C. L. Taylor



 Barnes & Noble

 Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
 (November 7, 2017)

The Missing has a delicious sense of foreboding from the first page, luring us into the heart of a family with terrible secrets and making us wait, with pounding hearts for the final, agonizing twist. Loved it.”—Fiona Barton, author of The Widow

A harrowing psychological thriller about a missing teenage boy whose mother must expose the secrets within their own family if she wants to find her son—perfect for fans of Reconstructing Amelia.

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them. Or do you…?

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire Wilkinson, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinsons are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things—that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it…?

Combining an unreliable narrator and fast-paced storytelling, The Missing is a chilling novel of psychological suspense that will thoroughly captivate and obsess readers.

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

It’s a PR trick to gain public sympathy. I read about it in a book I got out of the library, the one by the PR guru who was arrested for sex offences. Dirty bastard but he knew his stuff.

We all have secrets. Most are guilty, a few are wretched and some are too precious to share.

My Review:

The Missing was a riveting and enthralling read.  I could not put my kindle down and while I wanted to savor every perfectly chosen word, I also could not read fast enough.  This book was ingeniously crafted, maddeningly paced, dripping with intrigue, smartly written, and laced with compelling twists and turns.  I was taut with tension, my heart was frequently in my throat, everyone was suspect, and I went back and forth in wondering whether to pity or abhor this oddly fractured and barely functional family.  I want to read every word this skilled wordsmith has ever written and will ever put to paper. C.L. Taylor is diabolically talented and an evil genius.   I was provided with a review copy of this gripping book by HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours

Empress DJ

About C. L. Taylor


C. L. Taylor is  Sunday Times bestselling author. Her books have sold more than a million copies and have been translated into twenty-one languages. She lives in Bristol, England, with her partner and son.
Find out more about C. L. at her website, and connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Book Review: Once Upon a Ghost - Murder by Design Book 3 by Erin McCarthy

Erin McCarthy
Once Upon a Ghost
Murder by Design Book 3




With Bailey Burke's design and staging business booming- it turns out tangling with a serial killer is the best advertising ever- she has no time to lament her lack of love life or wonder where her dead friend Ryan's ghost has gone. She hasn't seen him in months, but when she finds a body in a home she's been hired to stage she's hounded by the dead man's ghost.

Having been a medium before, this guy is by far the most irritating ghost she's ever met, with his constant need to talk over her and flick pennies at her head. Without Ryan to guide her, she's on her own to figure out what the dead man needs from her. On top of all that, cop Jake Marner is back in her life, ostensibly to protect her, but mostly to confuse her as to whether they are dating or not. 

Before she can say "Put It Where?" Bailey finds herself immersed in mob dealings, the secret world of male-only sweat baths, and double dealings. When another body turns up, there is no doubt that she's in over her head, again.

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

“Sammy Salami?” That couldn’t be real. None of this could be real. Maybe Marner was right and I had lost my mind. Because no one should have a nickname that referenced processed meat.

I didn’t need to be insulted by a man with hair on his ears and a belly that rivaled a woman pregnant with triplets at full term.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief and finished my drive home singing along to the Backstreet Boys, a guilty pleasure that brought to mind awkward middle school dances where I had been sporting braces, a denim mini-skirt and Uggs. I hadn’t been a seductress then either.

She gave him a quick kiss and went back to work, giving a laugh that was throaty and mature and sexual. A laugh can sound that way, trust me. And only women over forty know how to do it. I wondered if at thirty-nine a switch would flip and I would magically understand how to be seductive, a genuine femme fatale.

My Review:

I giggle-snorted my way through this cleverly written and delightful amusing conclusion to the weak stomached Bailey’s ghostly murder-solving spree.  With this installment, Bailey continued to receive occasional visitations from her friend Ryan but had also picked up the additional spirit of her new client who happened to be a freshly murdered rotund mobster named Cezar who had been unfortunately killed while in his swim trunks.  Cezar tortured and blackmailed Bailey into helping him by loudly “caterwauling” off-key to his repertoire of pop divas like Brittany Spears until she finally caved and agreed to assist him in locating his missing body.  Her romance with the stud muffin policeman, Jake Marner, was finally on track and he made for a sweet and perfect boyfriend.  Jake currently resides on my list of sexy BBF.  Written from the first person POV of Bailey, I greatly enjoyed her humorous inner musings and comical descriptions. Erin McCarthy has mad skills. 

Empress DJ

About the Author

USA Today and New York Times Bestselling author Erin McCarthy first published in 2002 and has since written over seventy novels and novellas in teen fiction, new adult romance, paranormal, and contemporary romance. Erin is a RITA finalist and an ALA Reluctant Young Reader award recipient and is both traditionally and indie published.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Book Review: Treachery's Devotion by Mari Carr & Lila Dubois

Mari Carr & Lila Dubois
Treachery's Devotion
The Masters' Admiralty Book 1 

A warrior with everything to prove. 

Tristan Knight has served the Admiral of England since he was a teenager. As a knight he has pledged his life to protect the Masters’ Admiralty, and when he’s assigned to escort an archaeologist on a research trip he knows the menial task is punishment for the failure of his last mission. 

A woman in a gilded cage. 

Sophia Starabba is a brilliant scholar and accomplished law enforcement officer, working for Italy’s cultural heritage protection department. But none of that matters to her family or the other members of the territory of Rome. To them she’s the “Principessa”- daughter of the Admiral. 

The man who holds the key. 

James Rathmann lives for mysteries. In another life he would have been a detective, but a love for digging in the dirt made him an archaeologist. Now one of the world’s leading experts on coins, and curator at the British Museum, he’s been called to Rome to examine a recent discovery. 

An old enemy back from the dead. Among the coins they find something alarming—a message from a villain everyone had assumed was long dead. 

Tristan leads them on the trail to identify and protect the next potential target and possibly discover the identity of the Domino, a killer and anarchist who plagued the Masters’ Admiralty in the past. 

But the Domino isn’t dead, and together James, Sophia and Tristan will fight to stay alive and one step ahead of a killer who will do anything to destroy the Masters’ Admiralty.

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

The crowds parted before James like the Red Sea for Moses. Most people didn’t seem to be consciously moving out of the way. They simply saw a large someone coming and moved aside.

But my cousin said they think it’s one man per generation. He passes on the legacy to another… like the Dread Pirate Roberts.

That man was a born politician. He can talk without saying anything.

She stared at the single-serve coffee maker. Why would anyone do that to coffee?


My Review:

Silly me, I was new to these authors and was unaware that I was starting the first book of a spin-off from a long-established series of nine previous books, so it was no wonder I felt at sea and in the need of remedial assistance.  This one just wasn’t my cup of tea but I did enjoy the occasional humor and levity as well as the sweetness the characters brought out in each other.  The plot was interesting yet complicated and the structure and rules of the featured clandestine organization the characters belonged to were complex and annoyingly tedious.  The story was packed with vivid details from their opulent and lush surroundings, to their erotic polyamorous lifestyles, and on through to the gruesome descriptions of dismembered murder victims – yikes.  There weren't many of them, but the sensual scenes were salaciously steamy and one character had a fanciful imagination and was prone to naughty daydreams.  I most likely would have enjoyed the story more had I been familiar with the previous books, as I frequently felt moronically slow-witted and unable to comprehend the totality of the tale.

Empress DJ

About the Authors:

Mari Carr Writing a book was number one on Mari Carr’s bucket list and on her thirty-fourth birthday, she set out to see that goal achieved. Too many years later, her computer is jammed full of stories, novels, novellas, short stories and dead-ends and she has nearly eighty published works. Virginia native, Mari Carr is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller of contemporary erotic romance novels. With over one million copies of her books sold, Mari was the winner of the Romance Writers of America’s Passionate Plume award for her novella, Erotic Research. Join her newsletter so you don’t miss new releases and for exclusive subscriber-only content.

Lila is a top selling author of paranormal, fantasy and contemporary erotic romance. Having spent extensive time in France, Egypt, Turkey, England and Ireland Lila speaks five languages, none of them (including English) fluently. She now lives in Los Angeles with a cute Irishman. Lila loves to hear from fans! Send an email to author AT or join her newsletter for contests, deleted scenes, articles, and release notifications.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Book Review, Giveaway: Carolina Bad Boys for Life (Carolina Bad Boys #7) by Rie Warren

Title: Carolina Bad Boys for Life
Series: Carolina Bad Boys #7 (The Series Epilogue)
Author: Rie Warren
Genre: MC Romance
Release Date: November 13, 2017


Sometimes a Bad Boy can be good for a girl.

Finale of Carolina Bad Boys—the hot southern MC series readers have lusted after! The epic series epilogue includes all new original content from Stone to Chrome, featuring all the usual suspects, plus many, many more characters you won’t even expect.

One big sexily-every-after for the entire crew. ’Nuff said.

Purchase Links

99c for a limited time


Free in Kindle Unlimited

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

… when we discussed it before, you said you didn’t want an epidural—” “That was stupid. I want all the drugs. All of ’em.” Rayce’s fingers twisted the sheets in a white-knuckled grip.

My heart leaped in my chest. I stopped for a moment. It wasn’t a heart attack or a stroke or anything like that. Just a heart too full of love.

We haven’t discussed kids yet… Well, everyone else is popping them out like PEZ.

My Review:

These lewd and crude chest thumping, knuckle dragging, alpha men of the Retribution MC are really just a bunch of old softies that are easily brought to their knees by their feisty women and sassy children.  This installment provided a wrap-up and years later epilogue chapter for each couple featured in the series and was the perfect way to say farewell.   I enjoyed spending time with this crass and sweet group of sex gods and feel a bit rueful that the series has concluded.  Rie Warren pays stellar tribute to each and sends them on their way with amusing humor and HEAs, as well as life-altering, sheet-scorching, eye-crossing, toe-curling, earth-moving, mind-shattering, porn-star sex.  They weren’t called Bad Boys without a reason ;)  

Empress DJ

Also Available


Reading Order:
Stone - 99c for a limited time!
Ride (the book within the book from Stone)
Tail - 99c for a limited time!


Free in Kindle Unlimited



Free in Kindle Unlimited

Author Bio

Rie is the badass, sassafras author of Sugar Daddy and the Don’t Tell series–a breakthrough trilogy that crosses traditional publishing boundaries beginning with In His Command. Some of her latest endeavors include the Carolina Bad Boys and Bad Boys of Retribution MC series.

A Yankee transplant who has traveled the world, Rie started out a writer—causing her college professor to blush over her erotic poetry without one ounce of shame. Not much has changed. She swapped pen for paintbrushes and followed her other love during her twenties. From art school to marriage to children and many a wild and wonderful journey in between, Rie has come home to her calling. Her work has been called edgy, daring, and some of the sexiest smut around.

You can connect with Rie via the social media hangouts listed on her website

Author Links

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Book Review: Zenka by Alison Brodie


by Alison Brodie



Ruthless, stubborn and loyal.

Zenka is a Hungarian pole-dancer with a dark past.
When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knuckle-dusters, and shotguns.

Jack learns he has a son, Nicholas, a community nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp.
Zenka takes charge. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she aims to turn Nicholas into a son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. 

And she succeeds!

Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked:

How do you tell a crime boss you don’t want to be his son?

And is Zenka really who she says she is?


My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

A man vith a face like crumpled McDonald bag takes us outside.

He glanced around, dismayed to see all the seats were taken by tattooed teenagers who looked as if they were bored with stabbing people.

Jack says I have “balls” - this means man’s testicles. This is compliment. He also calls me “spitfire”. This is a plane that shoots the Germans in the Second Vorld Var. This is also compliment (I think).

Nicholas sang as he pulled the bath plug, raising his voice to compete with the gurgling of water vacating the bath, ‘We three kings of orient are, one in a taxi one in a car, One in a scooter blowing his hooter, Following Ringo Starr …’

Harsh lines scored cruelty and bitterness into the leathery skin. If a face could show the history of war and devastation, then Nicholas was looking at Dresden.

My Review:

Don’t be fooled by the cover or synopsis, Zenka was a cleverly amusing, intriguing, and sneakily insightful novel.  It was not really a romance, but several romances occurred.  It was not really a mystery, although several were solved; nor was it a mafia story, although several criminal gangs were featured.  It wasn’t just a comedy, but it is funny as hell and kept me smirking and well entertained throughout.  What Zenka actually was… an engaging, well-crafted, witty, and amusing tale.  The main character of Zenka was Hungarian and her accent had me hearing Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle, who was only one of my favorite childhood cartoon personas of all time.  I adored this clever story from start to finish and am well pleased to have a new phrase to enter into my Brit vocabulary word list - playing silly buggers.  After all, I am a seeker and life-long learner of high culture pursuits ;) 

Empress DJ

Alison Brodie – Bio  

Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side and an international best-selling author. Her books having been published in hardback and paperback by Hodder & Stoughton (UK), Heyne (Germany) and Unieboek (Holland).
Alison has now gone “indie”. Here are some editorial reviews for her recent books:
BRAKE FAILURE: “Masterpiece of humor” –Midwest Book Review
THE DOUBLE: “Proof of her genius in writing fiction” -San Francisco Book Review.

Facebook PAGE:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

New Release: Kissing Tolstoy by Penny Reid


Kissing Tolstoy, an all new standalone from USA Today bestselling author Penny Reid is available now!


Proceeds for the month of November go to hurricane relief efforts!

What do you do when you discover that your super-hot blind date from months ago is now your super-hot Russian Lit professor?

You overthink everything and pray for a swift end to your misery, of course!

‘Kissing Tolstoy’ is the first book in the Dear Professor series, is 46k words, and can be read as a standalone. A shorter version of this story (28k words) was entitled ‘Nobody Looks Good in Leather Pants’ and was available via Penny Reid’s newsletter for free over the course of 2017.  


Read Today!

Amazon Universal:
Google Play:



Meet Penny Reid

USA Today bestselling author Penny Reid lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband, three kids, and an inordinate amount of yarn. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books.

Connect with Penny:

Twitter: @ReidRomance

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Book Review, Giveaway: AN EX FOR CHRISTMAS - Love Unexpectedly by Lauren Layne

Named Best Book of the Month by Amazon

Love Unexpectedly
Lauren Layne
Releasing Nov 7, 2017

She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.

When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.

Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along.

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

He looks like a lumberjack version of Clark Kent, Byrne. Other men don’t exactly love their girl being besties with sexy, scruffy Superman.

I’m nothing but the half-batty sister who believes in tea leaves and kinda sort believes Hogwarts is real.

He gestures with his fork toward my boobs, and I glance down to see a glob of cheese. I sigh and get out yet another napkin and clean up the mess, although mostly I just smear oil around. “I’m usually very elegant on dates.”


My Review:

Kelly made all her important life decisions with a Magic 8 ball, actually with three Magic 8 balls, stashed strategically so she is never without coverage.  She had one at home, one at work, and a small one on her keychain to consult when she was “out and about.”  She was also superstitious and believed in the “woo-woo” of fortune-tellers, tarot cards, and palm readers.  So when a homeless woman on a train platform beckoned to Kelly and told her that she had already met the love of her life and would reconnect with him before Christmas, Kelly takes that message to heart and generated an Ex List of her past boyfriends and began locating them to determine which one was her “One” in the few days before Christmas.  This sounded like a cute and entertaining premise, and it was. Kelly was rather obtuse and thoughtless in her treatment of her best friend and neighbor, Mark, whom I adored. 

I enjoyed this delightfully amusing and light holiday read and I always enjoy Ms. Layne’s clever wit.  Written primarily from a first person POV, the narrative was confessional and packed with self-effacing humor with breezy asides from the sassy and self-obsessed Kelly.  My favorite scene was the procuring of the Christmas tree, one of many scenes that kept me smirking. 

Empress DJ


Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she's written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAYNew York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.