Posted in Reviews

KB Review: She Laughs in Pink by Jessica Calla

She Laughs In Pink (Sheridan Hall #1)She Laughs In Pink by Jessica Calla
My rating: Tickled Pink

I read the first chapters of She Laughs in Pink when I was judging the first round of a writing competition. It stayed with me. From time to time, I’d think of it and wonder if it was ever published. Since it was a contest, author names weren’t included. As a forgetful person, I wouldn’t have remembered anyway–as I also forgot the title. As an author, I reasoned that people change titles all the time prior to publication.

But the characters stayed with me. Juliet–confident, driven, and seemingly perfect–I knew she was hiding some kind of tragic past. Chase–wry, emotional, and determined–He’s the kind of hero who tugs at your heartstrings, especially because you know he’s going to turn out to be his own worst enemy.

And the writing style stayed with me as well. Calla makes her characters vibrant and real, utterly entrancing, and she knows how to start a story with the right amount of tension.

I loved following Chase and Juliet through their journey as they navigate adulthood and try to figure themselves out. Their story was beautiful and poignant, and I’m so happy that I finally got to read the rest of the book!

(I know I’m behind on the series, but I aim to change that fairly quickly.)


Four years after her twin is murdered, Juliet Anderson still struggles with guilt, her parents, and her relationships. Two things keep her from falling into a deep, dark place—dancing and her best friend, Ben. So when Ben decides to play football for New Jersey University, Juliet doesn’t hesitate. She follows. Finally away from her past, there is nothing to stand in the way. Juliet will win Ben’s heart.

Then she meets Ben’s roommate, Chase.

On probation and hell-bent on adhering to a “new life plan,” aspiring artist Chase leaves his New York City home for New Jersey University and meets Juliet before even stepping foot on campus. For him, their connection is instant. She’s the most vibrant girl he’s ever seen. Her colors explode on his canvas, and he’s never been more inspired in his life.

Too bad she’s madly in love with his seemingly perfect, good guy roommate

Posted in Reviews

KB Review: The Unlikeable Demon Hunter: Sting by Deborah Wilde

The Unlikeable Demon Hunter: Sting (Nava Katz, #2)The Unlikeable Demon Hunter: Sting by Deborah Wilde

Blurb: 50% boobs. 50% sarcasm. 100% new breed of hunter.

After a bumpy start as the only female demon hunter in the top secret Brotherhood of David, Nava Katz heads to Prague for her first undercover mission: unmasking a demon movie star. She’d be all kinds of thrilled if it weren’t for the fact that her fellow hunter-with-benefits, Rohan Mitra, has reclaimed his rock star status and assigned Nava the role of groupie.

Rejecting her “be a good girl and follow orders” directive, Nava unleashes an alter ego guaranteed to hook their celebrity target and drive Rohan crazy. No downside–until she finds herself up against Rohan’s past, the Brotherhood’s antiquated thinking, and her own identity issues, turning her personal life into the bomb that could blow up the entire operation.

Sparkly and deadly; it’s a plan.

My rating: Freaking Fantastic

Once in a while a series comes along that makes you drop everything you’re doing and lose yourself in that world. Then you want to stalk the author to make sure she’s working on your next fix. The Nava Katz series is this drug for me.

Things I loved:
1. Nava–or Lolita, as she’s going by in this one. She’s the badass heroine I want to meet in all my fiction. She has a past, and pain gives her depth. She’s the kind of person to whom everyone can relate on some level.

2. Chemistry. Wilde has a knack for kicking the reader in the ovaries even while titillating us with hot sex scenes. I love erotic romance where the hot scenes contribute to the character’s growth. Now, I’m not going to give any spoilers away, but I almost cried during that last one, and I’m not one of those people who gets emotional while reading.

3. Rohan. The way Wilde writes the hero underscores the sanity in Nava’s insanity. If I was emotionally scarred like her, I’d definitely put concrete boundaries between Ro and me. Yet he’s not an asshole–more like a combination of clueless, lost, and uncertain how to handle Nava. I’ve been waiting two books for the ending of this one!

4. Always leave them wanting more. Wilde is gifted this way. I’ve loved both books in this series so far, and both times I’ve been both fulfilled and left wanting more.

5. Influences. Every great heroine and writer who has resonated with me is represented here in some way, the most obvious being Buffy/Whedon, though I see more Faith in her than Buffy.

6. Plot. The mission they went on to take down Samson was brilliantly designed to strip Nava bare and reveal every vulnerability and insecurity. Since this does not kill her, it leaves no choice but to make her stronger.

Things I disliked:
1. Nothing. I loved the characters, the heat, the mind-fuck of a plot–everything. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Notes for the future:
Rohan’s POV? Spinoff stories from the POV of Ari, Kane, Drio, Leo–ROHAN??? How about more female Rasha?

View all my reviews

Posted in Guest Reveals/Announcements, Reviews

KB Review: The Unlikeable Demon Hunter: Sting

The Unlikeable Demon Hunter: Sting by Deborah Wilde

GENRE: Urban Fantasy Romance

BLURB:  50% boobs. 50% sarcasm. 100% new breed of hunter.

After a bumpy start as the only female demon hunter in the top secret Brotherhood of David, Nava Katz heads to Prague for her first undercover mission: unmasking a demon movie star. She’d be all kinds of thrilled if it weren’t for the fact that her fellow hunter-with-benefits, Rohan Mitra, has reclaimed his rock star status and assigned Nava the role of groupie.

Rejecting her “be a good girl and follow orders” directive, Nava unleashes an alter ego guaranteed to hook their celebrity target and drive Rohan crazy. No downside-until she finds herself up against Rohan’s past, the Brotherhood’s antiquated thinking, and her own identity issues, turning her personal life into a bomb that could blow up the entire operation.

Sparkly and deadly; it’s a plan.


Looping my fingers into his belt, I jerked his hips to mine. Rohan’s breath caught and when I brushed my lips over the shell curves of his ear, his whole body went tense. “Prove you’re worth it, baby.” Then I pushed him away, stalking off without a look back, mostly sure that he followed.

The second we got inside the empty elevator, Rohan shoved me up against the wall. I groped for the third floor button, leaning into him. He ran his hands feverishly over my body, hot tingles shivering through my breasts like a sexed-up call and answer. The focused hunger in his expression had me craving more, except my rapid breathing wasn’t all from arousal.

Given the barely banked rage evident in the tense bunch of Rohan’s shoulders, the feeling was mutual. Hopefully, he’d show no mercy in orgasm form and not body count, though I couldn’t promise the same right now.

I bit his earlobe, wanting to hurt him.

Rohan shot me a cavalier smile in response. Holy crap. My knees buckled.

The sprint to my room was a blur.

The second the door slammed shut behind us, Rohan edged his face in close to mine, his palm ghosting my cheek in the barest caress that sent slivery shimmers tumbling through me.

I raised my fingers to my mouth, not realizing what I’d done or that I ran them over my lips until Rohan tracked the movement, his eyes glittering dangerously.

His tongue flicked out, wetting his lower lip. He swayed in toward me and–

“No.” Taking his hands in mine, I forced them behind me. Forced him to hold me there, his rings biting into my skin. Forced him to make a decision; play by my rules or go.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

A global wanderer, hopeless romantic, and total cynic with a broken edit button, Deborah writes urban fantasy to satisfy her love of smexy romances and tales of chicks who kick ass. She is all about the happily-ever-after, with a huge dose of hilarity along the way. “It takes a bad girl to fight evil. Go Wilde.”





Amazon Buy Link:


Deborah will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $10 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Review

If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably noticed that Deborah Wilde and her Unlikeable Demon Hunter are back. As I loved the first one so much that I’ve been subconsciously comparing everything I’ve read since then to it, salivation began the moment I was offered the chance to read book two!

Review coming soon! Watch this space–School is out in 1 week, and I’ll have nothing but time to read. (And write.)

Posted in Reviews

KB Review: A Night Divided #YA #HistFic

A Night DividedA Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The positives:
1. Great plot. This is my first book about what it was like to be behind the iron curtain.
2. Diverse characters. I mean this in a personality-way. Nielsen does a great job presenting diverse viewpoints and reactions to Russian-occupied East Berlin during the 1960’s.
3. Likeable characters. Gerta and her brother Fritz are idealistic, frustrated, and loyal to each other and their ideals. Their mother is also well-thought-out, though you have to look deeper to see it because this story is told from Gerta’s POV, and she’s a little immature to realize exactly what her mother is enduring. Young readers will most likely also be oblivious to it, but it’s there.

Where it fell short of 5 stars:
1. Slow start. I put this down for about a week and didn’t miss it. I picked it back up because my daughter assured me it was a good story. She was right.
2. Too-perfect ending. It truly has a storybook ending. Even the tragic elements are glossed-over.
3. Pacing. Not only did it have a slow start, I didn’t understand why the ending was drawn out for so long. I would have liked to see more interaction with the dad/brother and less time spent tunneling.

Overall, I liked this book and I would recommend it to others who like historical fiction.

View all my reviews

Posted in Reviews

KB Review: The Unlikeable Demon Hunter by Deborah Wilde

The Unlikeable Demon Hunter by Deborah Wilde

tourbanner_theunlikeabledemonhunterGENRE: Urban Fantasy Romance


Bridesmaids meets Buffy.

The ago-old story of what happens when a foul-mouthed, romance impaired heroine with no edit button and a predilection for hot sex is faced with her worst nightmare–a purpose.

Ari Katz is intelligent, driven, and will make an excellent demon hunter once initiated into the Brotherhood of David. However, this book is about his twin Nava: a smart-ass, self-cultivated hot mess, who is thrilled her brother is stuck with all the chosen one crap.

When Nava half-drunkenly interrupts Ari’s induction ceremony, she expects to be chastised. What she doesn’t expect is to take her brother’s place among the–until now–all-male demon hunters. Even worse? Her infuriating leader is former rock star Rohan Mitra, whose sudden retirement in his early twenties now seems a lot less mysterious.

Convinced that her twin still has a shot at his destiny, Nava hatches a plan to convince the Brotherhood to bring the other Katz sibling into the fold. It’s too bad Rohan’s guarding her so closely that she might not be able to put it into action.

And it’s really too bad Rohan’s exactly what Nava’s always wanted: the perfect bad boy fling with no strings attached, because he may also be the one to bring down her carefully erected emotional shields. That’s as dangerous as all the evil fiends vying for the bragging rights of killing the only female ever chosen for Demon Club–or the one demon in particular out for payback.

Odds of survival: eh.

Odds of having a very good time with Rohan before she bites it: much better.


mediakit_bookcover_unlikableThe red wine on the modular coffee table gleamed in a shaft of sunlight like its position had been ordained by the gods. I snatched up the crystal decanter, sloshing the liquid into the glass conveniently placed next to it. Once in a while, a girl could actually catch a break.

I fanned myself with one hand. The myriad of lit candles seemed a bit much for my brother’s romantic encounter, but wine drinking trumped curiosity so I chugged the booze back. My entire body cheered as the cloyingly-sweet alcohol hit my system, though I hoped it wasn’t Manischewitz because hangovers on that were a bitch. I’d slugged back half the contents when I saw my mom on the far side of the room clutch her throat, eyes wide with horror. Not her usual, “you need an intervention” horror. No, her expression indicated I’d reached a whole new level of screw-up.

“Nava Liron Katz,” she gasped in full name outrage.

My cheeks still bulging with wine, I properly scoped out the room. Mom? Check. Dad? Check. Ari? Check? Rabbi Abrams, here to perform the ceremony to induct my brother as the latest member in the Brotherhood of David, the chosen demon hunters?


I spit the wine back into what I now realized was a silver chalice and handed it to the elderly bearded rabbi. “Carry on,” I told him. Then I threw up on his shoes.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

A global wanderer, hopeless romantic, and total cynic with a broken edit button, mediakit_authorphoto_unlikableDeborah writes adult urban fantasy to satisfy her love of smexy romances and tales of chicks who kick ass. She is all about the happily-ever-after, with a huge dose of hilarity along the way. “It takes a bad girl to fight evil. Go Wilde.”



Twitter: (@wildeauthor)



Buy Links:

Pre-order on Amazon:
Enter to win a $10 GC or a print copy of the book – a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Review

This is the kind of book you want to read slowly because every word is so flipping good and because you want it to never end, but you CAN’T read is slowly because it’s so flipping good that you can’t put it down. Here are some things that stood out to me (remember–I’m an English teacher):

  1. Style and Voice: This is arguable one of the most difficult parts of writing to do well–convey a story in a way that is unique and interesting and makes it come to life inside the reader’s head.
  2. Well-developed characters: I loved Nava, and I loved the way the author seamlessly wove the backstory into the story. She’s messed up (Nava, not the author–though I don’t know her, so who knows for real? Not me) but in a way to which most people can relate–she’s struggling to find out who she is and what she wants to do with herself. Destiny aside, Nava has to learn to deal with the sticky emotions of the entry in to adulthood. I did not find her at all unlikable, only suffering “forgotten child” syndrome.
  3. Humor: You might consider this to be lumped in with style and voice, but I consider figurative language a separate category. I loved the humor, particularly the sarcasm, that dripped from every page. Nava is as much of a smartass as I am IRL. Love it.
  4. I love that everything (plot-wise) isn’t tied up in a neat little package. This novel is gritty and real. I appreciate that.
  5. I love, of course, the references to BDSM and LGBT. Being lesbian and kinky, I appreciate the way it’s not only included, but taken for granted that everyone can be bisexual if they want.
  6. The chemistry between Nava and Rohan leaps from the page. Watch out, because if you’re not careful, you could get electrocuted. I also loved that their relationship was not at all forced–no love at first sight, or love heals all kind of trope.
  7. Supporting cast: From Nava’s brother, Ari, to the rest of the Brotherhood, each supporting character was unique and interesting. They add the perfect amount of spice and seasoning to the mix.

The Unlikable Demon Hunter is a five-star, page-turning, action-adventure romance with a lovable cast of characters and some sizzling chemistry. I highly recommend this one. I’m going to have to read the next one.

Posted in Reviews

KB Review: Team Russian by Ally Adams

Team Russian by Ally Adams

GENRE: Contemporary Romance


He’s tall, dark, handsome and athletic and just that little bit mysterious. Star of the Saint’s team, The Russian has had a high profile relationship with a Hollywood director’s daughter for years and now that it is over, he just wants to focus on his sporting career. Due to injury, Carla Brooker’s professional sporting career as a basketballer with the Suns is about to come to an end, but not before she needs a date for her team’s gala ball night. When these two sporting hotshots meet, they are more than a good fit, they are made for each other … if they can just file away their history and find a way to be together.


I’m due to record a quick interview in the Club Room with a player nicknamed Buzz – a  Defender just back from injury and playing for the hottest sports team known to man, well woman – the Saints. Room Three; I check the number, wander in and holy-naked-guys-getting-rub-downs … it appears I’m one of the few with clothes on.

Half a dozen faces turn and smile at me; I see a flash of glowing tight, tanned butts, muscly legs, toned arms, even a groin or two that was just ‘out there’.

“Ah, sorry wrong room,” I say, as I stumble backward, trying not to look anywhere but out the door.

“Are you looking for the coach?” a voice from the corner booms.

I put my hands over my eyes, web my fingers a little which sets them off laughing again and look towards the voice. It was The Russian.

“No, I’m after Buzz, he said to meet at this time in Room Three.” My face was burning red, but I think other parts of my body were enjoying it.

I could see several of the physios shaking their head, smiling, and the youngest answered.

“It’s his party trick. He thinks it’s funny. Don’t worry, you’re not the first journo to fall victim.”

“I’ll give him funny when I see him,” I muttered.

“Room eight, Carla,” the deep baritone voice said again. The Russian. He knew my name.

“Thank you,” I said, spinning on my heels to leave before I was magnetically drawn to that tall, dark, and gorgeous hunk of a man in the corner. Mm, The Russian.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

ALLY ADAMS is a journalist who lives in coastal Victoria, Australia with her husband and furry friends.

She is a literature major, avid romance reader and writer. Ally freelances for two lifestyle magazines and has just completed her fourth Saints Team novel. She is now looking towards a whole new series!

Ally’s books:

  • Team Lucas
  • Team Tomas
  • Team Niklas
  • Team Russian

Connect with Ally at:



Buy Link:


Ally will be awarding a mobi or ePub copy of Team Russian to 5 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a copy of the book – a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Review

What I liked:

Team Russian is a cute sports romance. It’s more romance than sports, which works if you’re not really that much into sports. Carla is a basketball player at the end of her career due to a knee injury, but she’s making lemonade from her lemons by parlaying her experience into sports commentating. The Russian, also known as Alex, is a star soccer player who Carla likes. It’s a classic boy-meets-girl story. There were some things I didn’t see coming, like The Russian’s temper, and some things I did, which I won’t spoil for you.

I like a heroine who is strong and stands up for herself and a hero who can admit when he’s in the wrong. Team Russian delivers on both counts. It was romantic and sweet, a fun beach read.

There were some nitpicky details that bothered me (like factual inaccuracies regarding the popularity of soccer in the US–Carla, as a member of the WNBA, would be recognized in public WAY more than a soccer player would) but these things can be attributed to the author not being that familiar with US culture. Overall, it was a good read. As a bonus, due to the Aussie linguistics, I heard Olivia Newton-John narrating the whole thing in my head as I read. (Note to author: I suggest an American editor or beta reader to smooth over some of the language issues.)

Posted in Reviews

KB Review: Bottoms Up by Kate Deveaux

Bottoms Up by Kate Deveaux

tourbanner_bottomsupGENRE:    Erotic Romance


Bottoms Up:

A bartender with a penchant for naughty drink recipes is well known for crafting the perfect concoction for his clientele. Justin meets his match when down on her luck Lexi walks into his bar and he whips up a cocktail especially for her.

It’s not just the booze talking when Justin and Lexi explore his list of naughty drink recipes in more detail — after hours. Night after night, Lexi is drawn back to Justin’s bar for another deliciously dirty creation and another night of extreme fantasy when he shows her how to let go of her inhibitions — One tantalizing drink recipe at a time— Seems it’s definitely Bottoms Up for these two!


Standing in the doorway streaks of the fiery Tucson sun blazed into her back. Lexi propped the heavy door open with her hip. Something Arizonians did in July. They knew better than to grab a metal door handle in the heat of summer. Squinting, she poked her head inside. The air conditioning was a welcome blast. And way too tempting to refuse.

Stepping inside, the thin scent of sweat and alcohol singed her nose. The door closed behind her. Lexi’s eyes adjusted in the dim light.

The bar slowly came into focus.

Taking a few steps further she was relieved the place was not as seedy as she’d expected. The bar’s décor surprised her. Not that she frequented bars in the middle of the day. Ever.

Lexi surveyed the handful of customers. A few were couples with their heads bowed together. The rest were singles. Drinking and then looking at their phones for entertainment. Loners. The kind of people who went into a darkened bar in the middle of the afternoon. Their loneliness echoed hers. She fought the urge to turn on her heels and bolt. But then what? Back into the baking heat and back to real life?

mediakit_bookcover_bottomsupSeveral unoccupied tables dotted her pathway when she ventured forth. Her focus narrowing, she took in the deep blue color scheme, from the tufted leather curved booths and club chairs to the intricate Moroccan style light fixtures that hung from the low coved ceiling. Something she’d come accustomed to in her travels overseas but unusual in the southwest.

Passing by the clusters of patrons gathered closer to the bar, Lexi passed a waitress serving drinks to a couple.

Lexis’s attention quickly turned to the good-looking bartender. Soft lighting and sheers engulfed the impressively lit bar area in a wash of amber and midnight blue almost framing him. He stood behind the shiny blue countertop with his hands braced on the bar. Looking at Lexi as if she were the only person in the room.

She eyed the tattoo on his forearm. Letting her gaze linger a little too long before meeting his. Quickly, she glanced back towards the door, as if still debating if she was going to be staying or not.

“Hi, can I get you something?” the bartender called out to her.

Lexi forced a nod of acknowledgment in his direction, then moved closer.  With every step she took, the myriad of liquor bottles labels came into view. That and the bartender’s blue eyes, the same stunning shade of deep midnight blue as the décor. She focused on the scar just above his jaw. An imperfection on his otherwise perfect five o’clock shadow.

His lips turned upward when he grinned. Caught red handed staring at him, she blushed self-consciously at his encouraging glance. Damn. Good-looking bartenders, that was the last thing she needed after the day she’d had. After the year she’d had.

“Have a seat…” He patted the counter hard enough that it made her jump. “Whoa. Didn’t mean to startle you,” he apologized, reaching behind the bar and plunking a frosted martini glass on the counter.

Lexi’s cheeks flushed. She was embarrassed by her skittishness, but also sobered by the fact that a simple action like the stranger plunking the glass on the counter made that her jump. A dead end relationship with Deakin had not only proved to her that rebound lovers were a bad idea, but also the bruises he’d given her. Once. And only once. Before she’d told him they were done. And then she was left to head back to her empty apartment. To ache for the love she really longed for. Scott.

Overcome with a sinking feeling, she felt more alone than ever and reached for the bar stool to steady her. Her lip trembled, tears stinging her eyes.

The pain was fresh once again. Shit. Why had Scott had gone and died on her?

“So what’ll it be?” the bartender asked.

Lexi was instantly dragged back to the present.

“Uh…I don’t know,” she offered, wondering how a drink could possibly dull the emptiness inside her.

He gave a smile and a confident shrug. “Well then, you’re in luck.”

“How’s that?” she asked half-heartedly, not really in the mood for banter

but realizing she was in need of a drink but with no clue what drink she wanted. Just something to make her forget the shitty day she’d had. And the even shittier year.

The bartender with the soul-searching eyes and the cute little smile that even Lexi had to admit was a bit of a mood lifter, leaned on the bar so his eyes were level with hers.

“You’re in luck because it so happens my drink picking skills are legendary.”

“Legendary?” She repeated his claim, aware some would consider her response a flirt, but she felt it was more of a challenge. A challenge to see if he could pick something for her that would make her feel…feel…What the hell did she want to feel anyway?

“Legendary,” he repeated.

Okay, he was definitely flirting. Lexi couldn’t help but crack a smile.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:mediakit_authorphoto_bottomsup

Kate Deveaux is a contemporary erotic romance writer and die-hard romantic. A former wedding planner, she has always been “in love” with love! Kate is currently working on several fictional stories – each filled with sexy romance, heroines who are no shrinking violets and heroes who make your heart skip a beat. She currently resides with her husband in the U.S. When Kate is not busy writing, she can be found on the tennis court –yes, there’s even ‘love’ in that game too.


Author website:





Google Plus:

Join Kate’s Kitten’s, the official STREET TEAM of Kate Deveaux:


Kate Deveaux will be awarding a $10, $25 or $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $50, $25, or $10 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Review

Kate Deveaux has hit it out of the park with this one. I’d use a drink-related metaphor here, but I can’t think of one. Deveaux, though, doesn’t suffer from the same problem. She skillfully weaves drink recipes into the narrative, paralleling them with the budding relationship between Lexi and Justin.

Lexi meets Justin when she stumbles into his bar, reeling from a run of bad luck. They have an instant connection, and things heat up pretty quickly. Insta-love is a tough sell much of the time, but Deveaux’s skill as a storyteller means she delivers a worthwhile love story. By turns scorching and touching, Bottoms Up delivers pure bliss. Highly recommended.

Posted in Be My Guest, Reviews

KB Interview and Review! Tapped by Liz Crowe

Tapped by Liz Crowe

The Interview: Evelyn Benedict from TAPPED

KB: Welcome to Kissing Bandits Blog! Tell us a little bit about yourself!

EB: Hi guys! I’m Evelyn Benedict, craft beer sales expert, Michigan native, and the luckiest woman in the world…for a lot of reasons.

KB: The first kiss sets the tone for a relationship. Tell us about your first kiss. Were you nervous? Excited? Shocked?

I really didn’t want to like Austin Fitzgerald, much less fall so completely head over heels for him like I did. I believed he lived in a realm somewhere well above the one I inhabited—with his country clubs, trust funds, mansions and whatnot. I’ll admit, I didn’t have a ton of respect for him as a brewer or brewery owner until I met him. I figured he’d just had a ton of money thanks to his Daddy and was playing around in brewing for something to do. But…once I got to know, I learned that he was the opposite of that. And that first kiss…well…let’s just say it was cold in the beer cooler, but we heated it up something fierce! I never looked back, really, even though we hit some pretty rocky patches.

Here’s the cool thing though (see above where I call myself “the luckiest woman in the world”)…I got to experience two first kisses. When I realized that Austin fully intended for his friend Ross Hoffman to join our relationship, I was pretty skeptical. Until Ross kissed me, of course…yeah, I was a goner.

KB: What has been your greatest challenge?

Accepting what Austin and Ross always tell me about myself—that I am just as important to the Fitzgerald Brewery as they are—that I’m as beautiful as they claim I am—and that I deserve to be loved by them both. I’ve never had a strong sense of self-worth. If you’d grown up like I did, you wouldn’t either. But being in love with, and loved by, them both, while strange and some might claim, unrealistic, has done more for my self-esteem than anything.

KB: What is your biggest regret, or is there something you wish you’d done differently?

It’s strange—I know I should regret the time I pushed Austin away after a huge “misunderstanding,” that was completely fabricated by Austin’s mother and ex-girlfriend, but that time gave me the opportunity to really understand the depth and breadth of my real feelings for him. And, of course, it gave me some up-close-and-personal time with Ross, just the two of us. It hurt Austin and it hurt me, but by the end of that period, we were all stronger in spirit for the time spent apart and it only enhanced our time together.

KB: Brag time–what is your greatest point of pride?

  1. The fact that I am engaged to the handsomest, most kind and caring man on the planet.
  2. The fact that I also love the hottest, most creative brewer on the same planet—and my fiancé is the one who brought him into our relationship.
  3. That I get to work in a business I adore—craft beer—alongside both of these men.

KB: Name 3 of your favorite things.

  1. My fiancé
  2. My lover
  3. My job

And a close fourth…a hoppy, but well-balanced IPA (India Pale Ale) made by Ross.

KB: Turn-ons?

  1. Massages (both men are good at this)
  2. Hot baths (we bought a house and had a tub installed that will fit all 3 of us)
  3. Sleeping in my giant king-sized between my men after a night of love….

KB: Turn-offs?

  1. Laundry
  2. Grocery shopping (ok. ANYthing that involves housework, including cooking)
  3. Men who wear too much cologne

KB: Share a funny or interesting anecdote (excerpt okay!)

Here’s a bit from our first weekend together, in Denver at the American Beer Expo. ‘That time was a real turning point for me on a lot of levels…

“Dear God, if I say one more word about these beers, I’m gonna puke, or kill somebody.” Evelyn pulled her hair off her neck. The bar had been a sweltering oven in the unseasonably hot Denver fall. Her throat ached and her heart pounded. She kept checking her phone, hoping Austin had revived enough to contact her, but the screen stayed blank except for all the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter notices she kept getting about their win as Mid-Size Brewery of the Year.

Sighing, she stuck her phone in her pocket and leaned against Ross’ back in a move that felt more natural than anything.

Without realizing it, she’d relied on him as she would Austin and he’d rallied, solving the immediate problem—albeit without much of Austin’s diplomacy, but solving it, nonetheless. And the bombshell Max had dropped, about Austin cutting him off from brewery ownership and in the process cutting them off from his family and their financial safety net, had settled in her gut like a stone, making it hard to concentrate.

Surely, he knew what he was doing. She trusted Austin implicitly and figured he would have told her eventually.

They watched the party progress, standing close enough that she could lean into Ross’ strong torso and take some of the pressure off her aching feet. Eight of the ten kegs were blown, and the last two were on their last few pours so the bar was beginning to empty.

She’d had at least two beers spilled on her as people hugged their congratulations—she felt sticky and smelly. Exhaustion stole over her, combining with the incessant worry about Austin’s health. As if sensing her distress, Ross put an arm around her and brought his lips near her ear.

“Let’s get out of here.”

She nodded, sensing her thighs tighten and her nipples harden against her will. Guilt washed through her, pouring ice-cold water on her libido.

“He texted me.”

She looked at his phone’s screen.

Hey. I’m lonely and sad and feeling sorry for myself. Can’t get Evelyn’s phone. Come back. Bring food.

She grinned, let herself relax for the first time in hours, and followed Ross out. “Let’s walk. It’s not far. I need the air,” he said as he draped an arm around her and they made their way through the milling crowds on the Denver sidewalks. After they stopped in an all-night market for some cheese, fruit and bread, she tucked her arm through his and took a deep breath, pondering the interesting, odd new shape of her life. He stopped, tugged her into a darkened doorway, and held her close.

“You okay? Really? With this…?”

She put her head against his chest, listening to the beat of his heart. “I haven’t sorted it out yet, to be honest.” He tightened his grip and she sensed his lips against her hair. “But I like it so far. I just don’t want there to be—I don’t know—weirdness. I sort of freaked out on you guys last night and I don’t know why. The last thing I need right now is a bunch of bullshit, alpha-male jealous crap.”

“Evelyn, what you and Austin have, no one can change, take away or lessen in any way.” He put a finger under her chin and tilted her face to his. His blue eyes gleamed in the dark and she gave in to the urge to touch the rough, short beard along his jaw before reaching back and releasing his long hair from its tie-back and burying her fingers in it. It felt soft, perfect and she mentally ticked off one of the items on her fantasy to-do list with Ross Hoffman, ever since she’d seen that photo of him and Austin together.

She sighed as he covered her mouth, his lips full and firm. Her body responded instantly and she had to pull away to keep from going any further in public.

“Dear God, woman, you are…” He released her and shoved his hands into his pockets. “Like I said.” But she stopped him with a finger over his lips.

“I know, Ross. Let’s see where it takes us, okay? But together, as three. We don’t sneak around. This is not cheating. It’s just… Oh hell, I have no idea what it is.” She stopped, dizzy with the possibilities—good and bad. Ross took her arm and pulled her hand back into the crook of his elbow as they walked the last four blocks to the Marriott in comfortable silence.

After a long kiss-and-grope session in the elevator, Evelyn shoved him out into the hall, laughing at his sheepish expression.

He shrugged. “I can’t keep my hands off you. Sorry.”

She pointed toward their suite. “Go. I need a shower. Give him some food and company while I clean up.” He sauntered down the hallway alongside her, whistling and swinging the bag of groceries.

“About damn time.” Austin was perched on the bed, laptop on a pillow, sports on the television. His grin was genuine. Evelyn kissed him, long and deep. “Mmm, nice. But you reek, my love. Did you bathe in a keg or what?”

“Don’t ask,” she tossed over her shoulder before closing the bathroom door. Leaning a moment against it, she wrestled with a complex stew of relief, happiness, tension and a small twinge of stress. She knew damn well that these men would butt heads over her, but, damn her to hell and back, she wanted them. She wanted this.

While that amazed her, nothing felt more perfect. She sighed and turned on the shower full hot blast, and stripped out of her limp clothes. The erotic visions of the two men cradling her between them filled her head. She stayed a solid thirty minutes under the spray, relishing the sensation of being washed clean of every molecule of the day’s craziness.

Emerging, pink-skinned and breathlessly horny, she wrapped a towel around herself, brushed her teeth and fluffed up her damp hair before opening the door.

“Hey, you, hot blonde chick. C’mere.” Austin held out an arm, encouraging her to snuggle into his shoulder. She hesitated. Weird, inexplicable tears pressed against her eyes.

“I don’t know, Austin.” She looked away and watched steam roll out of the bathroom.

He went up on one elbow and touched her bare leg, making her skin pebble. “I heard you talked with my dad. I’m sorry you had to hear it that way. I was going to tell you, after…” She shrugged and willed the tears away. He sat and gathered her in his arms. “It’s okay, baby. I’ll make sure everything works out.”


GENRE:   Contemporary Erotic Romance


When wealthy brewery owner Austin Fitzgerald meets sexy saleswoman Evelyn Benedict, angry sparks fly. They seem destined to clash, until a hot hookup in a cold beer cooler changes everything.

For Austin, it’s a life-altering moment that sets him on a path away from his birthright, while Evelyn must face her fears about committing to a man considered the playboy of the micro-brewing world.

The power of preconceived notions nearly tears them apart—until they meet up with brew master Ross, who opens their eyes to a deeper, even more erotic connection. But three strong personalities don’t always make for the best emotional mix and when a simple misunderstanding causes chaos, it’s up to Ross to repair the tattered shreds of their relationship.


Sensing the heat of Evelyn’s fury as he finalized another large order, he excused himself and made his way toward the restroom. The tuning-fork sensation had morphed into a dull ache centered in his gut, which steadily made its way down to his balls.

When he emerged—after splashing water on his face enough times to calm the hardening in his jeans—he almost plowed straight into her. He gripped her arms to keep her from falling and the impulses that had bounced around in his brain since the morning nearly brought him to his knees. He dropped his hands and looked away, swallowing back the urge to say something, anything, to convince her he wasn’t such a bad guy.


Her voice was flat. He took a step back, stopped only when his butt hit the wall. The space between them filled with near-visible silence, but he didn’t move.

“I don’t know how I’m doing it, but the longer we work together, the more sales I make, and the more you hate me. Clue me in here, Benedict. I thought sales were the goal of the day.” He crossed his arms, holding them close to his chest so she couldn’t gauge how shaky his hands had gotten.

She swallowed, and he watched the exquisite warm peach hue of her skin redden. Admiring the line of her neck, her jaw, the plump fullness of her lower lip as she bit it, a nervous tic he’d love to come to love, if she’d let him, Austin sensed himself falling deeper into a very scary hole. Her ongoing silence took on a life of its own.

“Well? I left my secret-sales-goal decoder ring at home. You obviously have a different agenda for today. I get it. ‘Prove to the rich boy he doesn’t have what it takes’ is fine, but we could have saved some time if you’d just told me first.”

She opened her lips, then pressed them together and shouldered past him. He watched, fascinated, as his hand reached out of its own accord and snagged her arm. She stopped, stared at it, then up at him. When he realized the blue of her eyes was brighter because of tears, he hesitated. Female tears always unnerved him, but his chest tightened in a thoroughly alarming way at the thought of having caused her unhappiness.

He let go. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to…”

In a split second, her beautiful face was within inches of his. “Don’t flatter yourself. I’m just pissed off. You’ve had that effect on me since I first laid eyes on you, so yeah, I guess I set you up. But apparently, all your country-club, private-school time has been worth it. Bullshitting comes naturally to you. And that’s all this job is. A whole barrel of bullshit.”

She stomped away before he could speak or, even better, grab her and kiss her. The space she vacated quivered with anger. But her crisp perfume stayed in his nose and he had to clench his hands into fists to keep from shoving her up against the wall and kissing her until she saw it his way.

The Review:

I wanted to read this because it takes place in Michigan, which is where I live and where I’ll die, so I dived in eagerly. Tapped is really two stories in one. It’s a love story between Evelyn and Austin, and then it’s a love story between Evelyn and Ross. It’s also about Austin and Ross reconnecting as friends. Tapped introduces readers to the world of microbreweries and marketing. [Personal fun fact: My sister had a job like the one Evelyn left at Tri-City, and I based the job I gave Lacey, the heroine of Kiss Me Goodnight, on that job. So there’s another connection that drew me to Tapped.]

The first half of the story flew by. I felt the off-the-charts chemistry between Austin and Evelyn, and I liked both characters. However I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I wanted in the second half of the story. I think this is because some parts of the narrative were glossed over or told in retrospect. This also may be because I was reading on a screen (sometimes I have issues with paying attention to a screen.) Normally I love Liz’s books from cover to cover because she’s quite talented. Overall, I liked this story. Tapped is hot, completely erotic–perfect if you’re looking for spank bank material. This is the first in a series, and I’m looking forward to the next one!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Amazon best-selling author, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.

Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”). More recently she is garnering even more fans across genres with her latest novels, which are more character-driven fiction, while remaining very much “real life.”

With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.

Don’t ever ask her for anything “like a Budweiser” or risk bodily injury.


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Posted in Reviews

KB Review: Run to Her by Lynn Kellan

Run to Her by Lynn Kellan


GENRE: Contemporary Romance


She avoids men like him. He needs a woman like her. One lie changes everything…

Gabriel Antonov is a mechanic who can fix anything, even a woman’s hesitance. His talents have earned him the well-deserved reputation as a player, but when a routine one-night stand goes wrong, he’s haunted by what he’s done. Nothing can free him from those depraved memories, until he meets Leigh Nelson.

Leigh avoids strong, silent types like Gabe, who is stronger and quieter than most guys. The only man she’s focused on is her father, who is suffering from a devastating health crisis. She’ll do anything to help him, even at the cost of ignoring her own well-being, but the stress is getting to her. Gabe’s strength is tough to resist, and his silence might be hiding a crushing secret only she can understand.

He can’t outrun his gut-deep craving for her. Problem is, she’s running from him. When they’re marooned in his lakeside cabin, he might finally catch her…if he can admit why he’s falling apart without her.


She rose and gave him a smile.

That smile made him want to do pointless, tender things like brush his fingers through the blonde curls hanging down her slim back, but he kept his hands to himself. With her, he had to be careful. Take things slow. If he moved too fast, she’d come up with some reason to leave. He wanted to give her reason to stay.

For one night.

Or a long weekend.

Whatever it took to satisfy his hunger for her.

For the first time in months, he wanted to be with a woman. Not just any woman, though. Just Leigh. He wanted her so badly, every word he spoke came out curt and rough. Winning her trust would be tough if he kept sounding like a horny Neanderthal, so he kept his mouth shut and guided her out of The Crab Trap with a light touch to her back.

The Review:

I loved this one. It’s a quick read, and the writing is smooth and engaging. The English teacher in me loved the vivid descriptions and the well-placed metaphors. Kellan creates characters that leap off the page, and the chemistry between Leigh and Gabe is hot, hot, hot. Both characters are nursing painful secrets that make it difficult for them to trust again. It begins quickly, with a tryst between the pair who already know each other. One criticism is that their history is told in retrospect, so we don’t get to fall in love with Leigh/Gabe through their earlier interactions. I’d love to see an expanded edition or a prequel. A couple other important plot elements are glossed over, but the rest is wonderful. Gabe’s anguish is palpable, as is Leigh’s heartbreak. It’s the perfect kind of sexy love story for a lazy afternoon.

mediakit_authorphoto_runtoherAUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lynn Kellan writes contemporary romance about strong men who have a weakness for smart women. She believes men and women aren’t that different, because everyone wants to be with someone who will empty the dishwasher. To prepare for her career as a romance author, she fell in love with bad boys, burly athletes, battle-hardened Marines…and married a chemist. Lynn has won numerous writing contests and served two terms as President of her local Romance Writers of America chapter, but she feels a true sense of accomplishment whenever she doesn’t embarrass her teenaged kids.

For love. For funny. For ever.

Find Lynn at






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KB Review: Mist by Emily Mims

The Music of the Smoky Blue Series

A Blog Post by Emily Mims

mediakit_bookcover_mistMusic is an integral part of my life.  Ever since I sat down at our brand-new piano at the age of nine with a simple song in front of me, I have been making music in one form or another on five, hopefully soon to be six, different instruments (piano, organ, guitar, dulcimer, ukulele and hopefully I can nail down the bowed psaltery).  It is inevitable that my love of music finds its way into my stories.  In my first series, The Texas Hill Country series, my characters either sang, danced well, or played an instrument.  But I wanted to take it further than that.  So when I was thinking about writing a second series, I decided to set the stories in the world of Appalachian mountain music and bluegrass music and have as my centerpiece a bluegrass music club in Bristol, Tennessee, with my characters the professional musicians performing there.

Kylie Richards, the heroine of ‘Mist’, plays the mountain dulcimer.  I play the dulcimer-not as well as she does, but I do play it.  I bought my first dulcimer in the summer of 2012 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  The vendor was demonstrating how to play one and it looked interesting, so I sat down and gave it a test run.  I was hooked!  I bought one on the spot and brought it home to San Antonio, where I found a tiny but thriving dulcimer group called the Riverpickers.  The mountain dulcimer is the only instrument that was ever developed in the continental United States and is a bit deceptive in that at first it seems easy, but playing it well requires a great deal of skill.  Normally a dulcimer is held flat on one’s lap or on a table in front of the musician and played flat like a steel guitar, but I prefer a ‘music stick’ or banjo dulcimer that I hold like a banjo or a ukulele.  Most dulcimers are made by specialty luthiers, and they are hard to find outside Appalachia or the Ozarks.  Some of the characters in ‘Mist’ play the hammered dulcimer, a large triangular instrument played by hitting the strings with small hammers.  I don’t play one of those and have the utmost admiration for those who do!  I also have Kylie’s amputee brother playing a bowed psaltery, an instrument that can be played one-handed.  It’s another instrument that is deceptive in that it’s laid out like a piano and would theoretically be a quick study for a pianist, but that again requires skill and practice to play well.

A good musician can play anything on a dulcimer (either kind) or psaltery, but the music that’s made for them are the old folk songs and ballads that were brought over by the English and Scots that settled Appalachia and passed these songs down as the years passed.  I was careful to have my characters play actual old mountain songs to the point that I had my Riverpickers music book on my desk as a ready reference.  Most of the music in that book is hand-written, as much of the mountain music has never been formally written down or published.  When I needed a song for my characters to play, I would ask myself ‘What are the characters doing with the music?’  If they are accompanying the young cloggers, I have them play something that would be suitable for clog dancing, as opposed to singing a love ballad.  However, I was also careful to have them play other kinds of music as well.  The Barstows sing and play bluegrass, which developed in the 1940’s as a musical genre and is an outgrowth of the old mountain music, and my musicians are seen playing modern songs as well.

As the Smoky Blue series progresses, more musicians will star as my heroes and heroines and more instruments will be featured.  Some of my upcoming heroines play the fiddle, the ukulele, and the banjo, and I also have a song writer and a pole dancer in the works.  Where will the series go after that?  I’m not sure, but wherever it goes, my characters will be making beautiful music in my stories.


Mist by Emily Mims

GENRE: Romance/romantic suspense


The widow of a lying drug dealer, dulcimer-player Kylie Barstow Richards finds herself struggling to see through the mist of the Smoky Mountains to the truth-about her life, about the nightclub where she works, and about the bluegrass-playing musician who has arrived to steal her heart.


Kylie looked Ren in the eye.  “How much of that is the truth and how much of it was bullshit?”

Ren’s lips firmed.  “It’s the truth, every damned bit of it.  And that’s also why I did what I did.  The DEA honestly thought you were guilty.  A drug dealer took out one of my best friends, Kylie.  I’ve missed Jerry every day for the last two years.”

“And that justifies what you did to me?  Sorry, Ren.  Not buying it.  And I don’t care what your reasons for lying were, a liar is a liar.  And I can’t stand liars.”

“I get that, Kylie.  Look, obviously we blew it, and I’m just as sorry as I can be that I hurt you.”

“If you can be believed, which I seriously doubt.”

“I do mean it.  I’m sorry.  I’m really sorry.”

“I am, too, Ren.  I was just beginning to have a little bit of faith and trust again and you very effectively managed to take that away from me.  Congratulations.  I will probably never trust another man as long as I live.”

“Aw, Kylie, no.”  Ren leaned forward.  “Look, I know there is no way I can take back the lies I’ve already told.  But I can promise you this.  I will never, ever lie to you again about anything.”

Kylie shrugged.  “And now I’m supposed to believe that?  Ren, I’m sorry.  The damage is done.  The trust is broken.  Kind of like Humpty Dumpty.”

“I understand.  But Kylie, I’m going to tell you the truth from now on whether you believe me or not.”

“Knock yourself out.”

mediakit_authorphoto_mistAUTHOR Bio and Links:

Author of twenty six romance novels, Emily Mims combined her writing career with a career in public education until leaving the classroom to write full time.  The mother of two sons and grandmother of three, she and her husband Charles live in central Texas but frequently visit grandchildren in eastern Tennessee and Georgia.  She plays the piano, organ, dulcimer, and ukulele and belongs to two performing bands.  She says, “I love to write romances because I believe in them.  Romance happened to me and it can happen to any woman-if she’ll just let it.”



Twitter @EmilyMimsAuthor


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KB Review

mediakit_bookcover_mistThis was a different kind of read for me, full of unfamiliar landscapes and sounds. Being a city girl from Michigan whose favorite band is AFI, reading a story about a bluegrass band with a dulcimer-playing heroine that takes place in eastern Tennessee was definitely something new, but I enjoy learning about new places and new things.

Funny sidestory: My parents just moved to his area, and their neighbor complained first thing about the meth problem in the area. My mom freaked out (having also just been diagnosed with cancer) because they’d bought the house sight unseen and it’s a drug neighborhood (which it isn’t.) The second time I hear about this area (Kingsport/Bristol,) the fictional DEA is setting up a sting in a bluegrass music place. I did NOT tell my mom about this book because she’d freak out even more, though I do like to pass on titles of books I think she’ll enjoy–like this one.

Back to the review: This story is about Kylie, a widowed musician whose husband had been a cheater and a liar. She’s tender and doesn’t trust easily, so when Ren, a man working with the DEA steals her heart while investigating her, it’s understandable when she shows him the door. The plot here is nothing new, but the writing style brings these characters and the story to life. There were a few things that bothered me, mostly Cooper’s attitude (he’s Kylie’s brother.) At one point, he spouted off about his mother being a whore, his sister being a bastard, and his father being a queer. Those judgmental, old-fashioned prejudices pissed me off, but then I reasoned that there are people like that in every family–mine included–who we love but want to smack over the head. Kudoes to Ms. Mims that her story engaged me enough to make me want to shake a character. (I’m pretty sure Cooper is the focus of the next book, so hopefully someone teaches him to be more open-minded and less judgmental.)

Overall, I liked this book. The writing style was engaging, and the story was good. Mist has it all–jams, intrigue, love, heartbreak, and forgiveness.