Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Geeks "Get Some" Or Try To in Julie Moffett's Hilarious New Installment of the Lexi Carmichael Series

No Biz Like Showbiz (Lexi Carmichael Mystery, #4)Lexi is back and better than ever. Having read all the previous four books (I still think book two was the best), I noticed that Lexi has more confidence and backbone in this, book five. She really knows how to stand up for herself this time around, as she finds herself a "prize" on a geek dating reality TV show. (She's actually undercover, trying to find a "cracker/hacker" who's manipulating the voting.)

"Apparently I'm not being very clear. As a result, I'll give you three options. No, no way, and hell no. Clear enough now?"

For those new to the series, Lexi is a computer whiz who once worked for the NSA and now works for a private company owned by her sorta boyfriend. She tracks down computer criminals. She has rather awkward social skills...

Moffett once again fills the story with fabulous humor, not only from Lexi quips but also with incidents as Lexi goes on "dates" with these geeks and has typical Lexi mishaps.

Some food for thought comes from her friend Basia, who appears on the scene towards the end for moral support.

"Don't we all grow and expand as individuals when we try new things in life?" is her reply when Lexi starts feeling insecure and out of her element. The show is getting crazy; she's becoming embarrassed... Isn't that true though?

I'm getting sidetracked. What I enjoyed about this story besides the humor was the cast of characters. It had every geek stereotype possible in it, from a geek who wears suspenders to a geek who speaks through a sock puppet and only TV show quotes...it's crazy and hilarious. No offense to geeks. I'm anti-stereotype, but at the same time I also know people who honestly put themselves in a stereotype expected of them, so really, I took this as a lighthearted, fun read, and it is.

And of course the romantic tension builds with phone calls to Elvis (I'm still rooting for him to win Lexi's heart) and Slash on the scene in disguise.

I look forward to the next Lexi Carmichael book. Keep 'em coming, Ms. Moffett.

I received this digital arc via Netgalley.



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Love & Tango Go Heart to Heart in Luna Tango by Alli Sinclair

Luna Tango (Dance Card #1)I'm excited about this new series, a series featuring a different dance in every story; one of them is going to be flamenco!! Ole!

It's not just about dance though, but the curse of dance, the passions behind dance, the scandals. Two stories are going on. In the modern story, Dani is a reporter in Argentina, researching the tango, against her grandmother's wishes. Her mother abandoned her for the dance. Dani is torn between looking for her or finding about her mother on the sly, under the radar. As she learns to tango (sorta) with her hot dance instructor, Carlos, she unearths an Argentine mystery. Who killed the most famous Tango composer in the fifties?

The fifties tale follows Louisa, the muse of the famous composer. Though she and composer have a relationship of convenience, she's not allowed to get her jollies elsewhere....but that doesn't stop her. But, oh, the drama!!

Random things I loved: The way the author placed Argentine history into the story, such as the Pink Palace possibly being a mixture of cow blood and white paint, and the women in the plaza who mourn their missing children once a week.

Dani, the modern-day heroine. How could I NOT love a woman who says this? "I will only follow the male because it is a dance, not real life. I have not, nor will I ever, let a man tell me what to do. Women have their own brains and we can survive quite well without men if we choose."
Casa Rosada, Wiki Commons

Carlos gave me a lot of food for thought with his wisdom, though I must say he doesn't always follow his own advice.

"You do not listen to what is within. All this blah, blah, blah, you do, it is not good for anything. For success you need to be quiet here and here." He pointed to his head then mouth. "If you allow peace in those places you will listen to this." Carlos put a hand over his heart. "This beating, loving device will guide you in the direction you need. What does yours say?"

"Melancholy is essential to tango, just like life. How do we know how to recognise joy when it arrives? A great tango embraces a series of emotions--love, heartbreak, unhappiness, felicity. How are we to grow without experiencing this range of feelings? Imagine if we danced the same steps or felt the same emotions every day."

Quibbles: I really couldn't stand Louisa. In my eyes, she was worthless, not a strong heroine at all, so this is a personal issue. She's just a man's muse and dotes on him hand and foot and makes excuses for him. She irritated me.

The modern-day heroine doesn't really learn to dance. I was hoping for more dancing. Tango seems to be always in the background, but neither Louisa nor Dani really dance, and that's who the book focuses on.

The romance between Carlos and Dani, I didn't really FEEL it. The romance between Roberto and Louisa was much better and realistic.

I enjoyed this story. There are some things I would have changed, but it's a decent read and I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to know more about tango. Immerse yourself in an entertaining story and become educated at the same time. There's no better way to do it.

I received this via Netgalley. Quotes may be different in the final version.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Aviation, Whales, and Alaskan History, All Between the Pages of Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency, #1)This is a fun adventure book aimed at middle-grade readers, but I believe adults will get something out of it as well.

We have a fresh-out-of-HS heroine who gets a clothing company to sponsor her and takes off from Canada to Alaska to spend her summer whale-watching. This was very cool and I enjoyed this tremendously. As she flies around, she witnesses things whales do and I was educated by these scenes. I learned a lot, actually, that I didn't know about humpback whales, from their smelly breath to their eating habits.

BUT, Kitty Hawk's whale-watching expedition is interrupted when she takes it upon herself to make a stupid detour. I'm still trying to get my mind around the fact that a relatively smart young women took this risk. Seems implausible to me, honestly. Anyway, her detour leads her to "discover" stolen gold and gets her kidnapped. From this point on she's tied up with a rope, climbing mountains, eating energy bars, and assisting the gold thieves.

Despite my being perturbed over the fact she was so unbelievably dumb in the first place, I came to enjoy the adventure and the entire story of the stolen gold surprised me. The book is fun. The heroine spunky. I'd let a teenage daughter of mine read it.

Annoyances:
The heroine constantly talks to a little voice. I was super annoyed by this. Also adding confusion to these conversations she has with her little voice is the fact that her thoughts are in quotation marks, leading me to think at first reading that she said that out loud. Then I would remember she's speaking to that little voice in her head...

While I appreciated that Alaskan gold-rush history made into the book to educate younger readers, I do not like how this was gone about. It's TOLD through dialogue, story-tellers, throughout the story, meaning all these historical bits and stories--and there are pages of them--are TOLD and not shown. Telling instead of showing is very boring. I don't see myself reading the rest of the series if this method is going to continue. These bits are like reading a biography and I'm simply not into that.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Women, We Need Our Own Money

Have you looked at your money lately? Like, closely? Yea, I know we live in the debit card age, but seriously, the last time you had cash in hand, did you take a good look at the bills? At the faces on them?

From Wiki. One of the Penman's fake bills.
It's got a queen on it. Hm.
It's what, Ben Franklin, George Washington, Grover, Abe...and take note, not ALL of them are presidents, but...

It's all men.

I never gave this a lot of thought until I watched an episode of Mysteries at the Museum the other day and learned about a counterfeiter name Emanuel Ninger, also know as Jim the Penman. Seems this guy was a true artist and painstakingly forged American bills with pen bond paper, by hand!!!!! One bill could take him weeks. He'd take the bond paper, soak it in coffee, and while it was wet, place it over the real bill and trace away, using camel hair and various other techniques to make it realistic.

A night in a bar (according to Mysteries, he was a wine drinker. Cheers!) was his undoing, when he placed a large counterfeit bill on the wet counter and the ink smeared.

Why am I going on about this though? I noticed whilst watching that many of the bills he forged had women on them. This was back after the American Civil War, late 1800s.

I said to myself, "Who are those women on that money?" And then I got a bit disgruntled and turned to my pug and complained, "Why don't we have any women on our money nowadays? You mean to tell me out of all the amazing women in history, there's not a single chick that deserves to have her mug on an American bill?"

Is there one? Perhaps it's a bill with so many zeroes that I've never had the pleasure or luck of having one in hand? LOL

I can't find one on Google.

Anyway, I'd love to see a woman on a bill. What woman should it be? What women in history would YOU choose to be on a bill? Susan B. Anthony? Alice Paul? A Civil War heroine?

Or, what the heck, how about this?


LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Reading Radar 7/19/2014

This one caught my eye because it delves into the Kennedys and also because the heroine is taking psychology in the sixties. The sixties was the women's rights movement and that twist promises to be interesting as women weren't quite welcome in many fields yet.

The Way You Look TonightOn my wishlist: Richard Madeley's The Way You Look Tonight. (Spotted on NG).

The thrilling new novel from bestselling Richard Madeley takes us into the glamorous world of the Kennedys and the steamy, sinister Florida Keys

Not until she was 16 did Stella Arnold learn the full truth about her father, how handsome, charming James turned out to be a cold-blooded, psychotic extortionist, racketeer and killer. Knowing now what her father was capable of, she decides to study psychology and the criminal mind, and to further her education in America. In the spring of 1962 she flies to Boston where, being beautiful, bright and fashionably English, she becomes someone of huge fascination and on every invitation list. Then comes an invitation one summer weekend to the home of the Kennedys. Stella quickly becomes part of the inner Kennedy circle as they party through the hot summer nights. Both brothers, JFK and Bobby, make their moves on her but she firmly, charmingly, repels them.

Further south, on the Florida Keys, a killer is on the loose. The case, unsolved, begins to rock America, and with her specialist knowledge of psychopaths, Stella is co-opted by the police investigation and prepares to fly south...

***

Spotted on Edelweiss and it had me sold from the words "fashion designer" and "war" and also "for fans of Sarah Jio, 'cause I am certainly that.
Secrets of a Charmed Life
Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner. She stood at a crossroads, half-aware that her choice would send her down a path from which there could be no turning back. But instead of two choices, she saw only one—because it was all she really wanted to see…

Current day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades...beginning with who she really is. What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden--one that will test her convictions and her heart.

1940s, England. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, one million children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside. But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister Julia find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence. Acting at cross purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters are cruelly separated, and their lives are transformed…

***

Spotted on GR giveaways, this one hit the wishlist: Bird by Tami Egonu.

Bird (The Bird Trilogy, #1)Set in nineteenth century England, Emily Sanderson is a middle class white girl born into wealth and respectability. Her future security is assured until she falls passionately in love with a sophisticated black man, Josiah Equiano.

When the irrevocably violent prejudice of her family is revealed, and a husband of their choice is about to be forced upon her, Emily must make a decision between freedom and her duty bound to obligation.

However, tragedy ensues and Emily is hidden away in the family mansion, along with a powerful secret, in this historical novel with a supernatural twist.

***

Spotted on Unusual Historicals, The Preacher's Promise (and it's prequel, A Lawyer's Luck) by Piper Huguley hit my wishlist too. They promise strong heroines and a clean story.

The Preacher's Promise (A Home to Milford College novel #1)1866 – Oberlin, Ohio

Devastated by her father’s death days after her triumphant graduation from Oberlin College, Amanda Stewart is all alone in the world. Her father’s unscrupulous business partner offers her an indecent proposal to earn a living. Instead, to fulfill a promise she made to her father, she resolves to start a school to educate and uplift their race. Sorting through her father’s papers, she discovers he had carried on a mysterious correspondence with a plantation in Milford, Georgia. She determines to start her teaching work with the formerly enslaved. However, when she arrives, the mayor tells her to leave. There’s nowhere for her to go.

Virgil Smithson, Milford’s mayor, blacksmith and sometimes preacher man with a gift for fiery oratory, doesn't want anything to do with a snobby schoolteacher from up North. On top of everything else, the schoolteacher lady has a will hard enough to match the iron he forges. He must organize his fellow formerly enslaved citizens into a new town and raise his young daughter alone. Still, his troubled past haunts him. He cannot forget the promise he made to his daughter’s mother as she died—that their child would learn to read and write. If only he didn't have secrets that the new schoolteacher seems determined to uncover.

To keep THE PREACHER’S PROMISE, Amanda and Virgil must put aside their enmity, unite for the sake of a newly-created community in a troubling age, and do things they never imagined. In the aftermath of the flood that was the Civil War, God set his bow upon the earth to show love and understanding for humankind. To reflect God’s promise, these combatants must put aside their differences and come together--somehow.

***

The Lawyer's Luck: A Home to Milford College prequel novellaOberlin, Ohio – 1844

Lawrence Stewart is a rare man. Raised with his grandmother’s Miami Indian tribe, as a Negro he has consistently walked between two worlds most of his life. He devotes his time and study to becoming a lawyer, fully intending to obtain justice for the ousted Miami Indians. No Negro man has accomplished these things before, but he is not daunted. He studies for his exams as he rides circuit through the backwoods of Ohio, handing out justice to people who cannot easily reach a courthouse. His life is perfectly set until one June day….

Aurelia “Realie” Baxter made her way from enslavement in Georgia to the free land Lake Huron in Ohio. Far from happy as a slave doing the bidding of a woman cooped up in a house all day, Realie is a bona fide tomboy with a special gift with horses. Now, she is so close to freedom in Canada, she can smell it, but her plans are interrupted when Lawrence shoots her…by mistake….

Lawrence cannot study encumbered with the care of an enslaved woman, but he’s responsible for her injury…

Realie wants to get to Canada, but Lawrence won’t let her get away in trying to help her…

One chance meeting can change your life from what you thought you wanted….to what you really need.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Meet the Heroine of Red, White, & Screwed. Does She Get Your Vote?

Please welcome author Holly Bush as she shares with us her new release and its heroine. Today she wants to chat just briefly about the down and dirty side of politics... Stick with us for a while and read the excerpt below. Tell us, do you think Glenda will get your "vote?"

Call me crazy, but I look forward to elections. I like hearing candidates talking about their vision for their state or for the country and I like to hear how political parties and news organizations spin what candidates have said. I don’t always like what they say, but I like the process. It seems as though politics has gotten sillier, more ruthless, and more polarizing than ever before. But I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I think we are immersed in the controversies and the petty feuds, however, courtesy of 24 hour news channels and the internet, and it feels worse than it felt in the past.

Politics has always been a dirty, unpleasant, albeit necessary business, from the day this country was founded. All you have to do is read some of the letters from men like John Adams or Thomas Jefferson to know that political life was not for sissies. I’m a fan of Doris Kearns Goodwin, and her biography that the movie Lincoln was based on, tells a tale of backroom deals and machinations as our 16th President barely maneuvered the 13th Amendment through Congress.

Our heroine in Red, White & Screwed, Glenda Nelson, works for a political party and sometimes feels she may be compromising her own principles while doing the best for her party. Like most women, she’s also raising children and sometimes caring for her parents, too, while juggling a demanding work schedule. Sound familiar to any of our readers today?

***

Blurb:
Political strategist Glenda Nelson is having a meltdown. Her handpicked, very married Congressional candidate was just caught climbing out of the window of the Sleepytown Motel, and her philandering ex-husband seems to have the most to gain from the colossal scandal that follows. As Glenda attempts to salvage the campaign in a hotly contested race, conservative and liberal pundits pounce on the story to further their own agendas.

Glenda’s love life is nonexistent to say the least, that is, until she meets handsome artist Chris Goodrich. Chris’s easy-going, carefree outlook on life couldn’t be more different than the 90-mph crazy train that is Glenda’s, but the more time she spends with him, the more she craves his calming presence, his sexy smile, and his steamy embraces. Is Chris worth taking a chance on?

Between the pressure of full-blown spin control mode, rapidly declining job security, refereeing two teenagers, caring for aging parents, and spending hours on her therapist’s couch trying to get past her ex’s crushing betrayal, Glenda finds love and makes the long trek back to happy.

***

Nearly three hundred years after the first hardy German settlers arrived in my county, many things had not changed. My ten-mile trip to Lancaster City had taken forty minutes trailing an Amish buggy.

“Glenda! Where have you been?” my boss, Melvin Smith, shouted from the steps of the county courthouse.

“I got behind a buggy,” I said as I jumped curb stones and dodged opened car doors on my way across the parking lot to where Melvin waited for me.

“We don’t want to be late to see what our seventy-five thousand dollars bought us,” he said as he yanked open the ornate, wooden door.

Melvin and I worked for the Lancaster County Democratic Committee, and it was a stick in his craw that Deidre Dumas, the Republican Chairwoman, had strong-armed more donations than he to fund a mural to hang in our courthouse.

“Are you still pissed the Republican Committee raised more money? You’ve got to get over this, Melvin.” We hurried past the buffet table, weaving through the county big shots and up a rickety set of steps to take our place on the dais for the unveiling.

Deidre air-kissed Melvin, and Bill Frome, county Republican strategist and the yin to my yang, gave me a tight-lipped smile and shook my hand as he looked at his watch. Photographers from the local newspaper were taking pictures, and Melvin leaned close to me.

“They’re cutting us out of these photos, Glenda. You mark my words,” he whispered.

“They’re not cutting us out of the photos.” I took a quick peek down the line of smiling suits and black dresses. I could barely see past Deidre’s cemented bouffant, puffed up and combed away from her face ending with an artfully rigid curl just above her shoulder. She had acquired the style in the mid-sixties, copying either Jackie Onassis or George Mitchell’s wife, and rode it all the way into the new millennium.

“Who’s the guy?” I asked Melvin.

“Which guy?”

“The oddball.”

“I’m black,” Melvin replied. “I’m as odd as they get in Lancaster County.”

The cameras kept flashing as I smiled and talked through my teeth. “You’re not odd because you’re an African American, Melvin. In this county, we’re both odd because we’re Democrats. And, anyway, I’m talking about the guy in the middle of the line in the jeans and blazer.”

The flashes stopped abruptly, and the Chairman of the County Commissioners, Alan Snavely, walked up to the microphone. He proceeded to extol the generosity of county residents in giving their hard-earned dollars to fund the mural project for the courthouse. He gestured repeatedly to the black-draped wall behind us, introduced the oddball as the mural artist, and then wrapped it up with some hard facts.

“The Lancaster County Democratic Committee raised seventy-four thousand, eight-hundred and ninety dollars . . .”

“That’s seventy-five even, Alan,” Melvin interrupted. “We had a last minute contribution.”

All heads turned Melvin’s way, including mine.

“Seventy-five even, Melvin?” Alan repeated.

“As of this morning.”

“OK then, it’s seventy-five even from the Democrats.” Snavely took a pen from his breast pocket to jot down the adjustment to his notes. “And the Lancaster County Republican Committee raised a whopping one-hundred thousand dollars.” The crowd clapped politely, and Alan continued, “And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Our artist, Christopher Goodwich, was commissioned nearly a year ago and has come here from his home state of Ohio for tonight’s unveiling. He has won multiple accolades for his work, and the Goodwich Family Foundation is well-known among philanthropists. Mr. Goodwich, would you do the honors?”

Christopher Goodwich moved from his place in line, yanked a gold pull rope, and the black curtain fell away. I looked up at the thirty-foot mural of a Lancaster County Revolutionary War battle as did everyone else. To my amazement this typically chattering crowd fell silent other than a smattering of appreciative oohs and aahs.

The painting was stunningly beautiful. I could see the hope and fear on the faces of the soldiers and practically hear the roar of the cannons and smell the smoke. Alan grabbed the microphone again and began discussing the mural as if he had the foggiest understanding of artwork. But it made me curious about the artist, and I took a second look at Christopher Goodwich.

He was a handsome man. Casually masculine with green eyes and a smile that made me think about George Clooney in a tuxedo. Get those hormones under control, I thought. At forty-six with a rather ugly divorce under my belt and two teenage children, I needed a man like the President needed another Cabinet nominee in tax trouble.

***


Holly BushHolly Bush was born in western Pennsylvania to two avid readers. There was not a room in her home that did not hold a full bookcase. She worked in the hospitality industry, owning a restaurant for twenty years and recently worked as the sales and marketing director in the hospitality/tourism industry and is credited with building traffic to capacity for a local farm tour, bringing guests from twenty-two states, booked two years out. Holly has been a marketing consultant to start-up businesses and has done public speaking on the subject.

Holly has been writing all of her life and is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, particularly political and historical works. She has written four romance novels, all set in the U.S. West in the mid 1800’s. She frequently attends writing conferences, and has always been a member of a writer’s group. She is always a member of Romance Writers of America.

Holly is a gardener, a news junkie, and was the vice-president of her local library board for years. She loves to spend time near the ocean and is the proud mother of two daughters and the wife of a man more than a few years her junior.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ten Questions From Tara: Interview and Blog Stop with Violetta Rand

Tara: Welcome. You’re here to promote Blind Redemption, Book 3 in the Blind Series, a historical romance. Tell me, please, what was the inspiration behind this story (or series)? How did it come to you?

Readers, here's the blurb for you:

The past is something he’d sooner forget…

Aaron McNally hates his past. Banished from his home for betrayal, he trades his tartan for a Norwegian title and sword to win back his honor.

She has a warrior’s heart…

It’s difficult for Kara Dalgaard to act like a lady, even when her father demands it. After the handsome Jarl Aaron McNally arrives at her home recruiting for the king’s army, she’s forced to participate in a cruel deception to humiliate him.

Drawn to his strength and passion, she quickly regrets what she’s done. But duty comes before happiness.

Aaron wants a second chance at life—and Kara is everything he’s dreamed of. But the past always has a way of catching up with you. Will Kara trust him or condemn him to a life of loneliness?


Violetta: Nothing fancy here—I woke up one day and decided to write a Viking series. My inspiration, maybe the Viking culture in general. Brave to a fault, Vikings are one of only three cultures I know of where the men preferred to die in battle and claim their glory in the afterlife.

Not very romantic, but it sets the tone for the incredible tension and passion my characters display. They live in the moment—never taking their lives for granted.

Tara: We focus a lot on heroines here on Book Babe. Tell me what makes your heroine(s) strong.

Violetta: My heroine, Kara Dalgaard, in fact, runs around with a sword—so this is one of my favorite aspects of her character. She’s no hardened warrior, but she’s uninhibited—desperate to show her family how skilled she is. And with a father like Jarl Erik the Bald, who blames her?

I’ll let a couple paragraphs from my story do the talking here…

She lifted her chin. She wore armor and carried a sword because her father demanded it. He’d never admit it in front of his distinguished guests. “I don’t gallivant around wearing braies and weapons every day,” she defended herself.

“Only because I forbid it,” he countered. “Seeing you now shows me what an injustice I’ve done you. I’ve poorly prepared you for your future. You lack the refinement and elegance most girls half your age possess.”

“Haven’t I proven time and again I can play the role of the jarl’s perfect daughter when it’s expected of me?”

His criticism stung. Ever obedient, she learned to read and write and fight alongside her brothers. Could he fault her for preferring climbing trees over dancing? Reading over embroidery? She enjoyed drying herbs; didn’t that count as cooking?

“Go upstairs and prepare to greet our guests properly,” her father instructed.

She needed a bath. Surely the stable smelled better than she did. “Yes, father.” She stood, then bowed.

Her father coughed. “Bowing as a man only proves my point.” The five men at the table laughed.

Humiliated, she huffed out an apology, curtsied, and ran out of the room.


Tara: Do you see any of yourself in her?

Violetta: Out of all my heroines, Kara and I share many characteristics. Fiercely loyal, determined, a bit crafty, and overall, a smart ass.

Tara: What kind of research did you do when you penned this novel? Did anything surprising come up in your search?

Violetta: King Herald Hardrada (king of Norway) died in the Battle of Stamford Bridge, leaving his two sons as co-rulers of Norway. Magnus claimed the north, Olaf the south.

A few years later, King Magnus died of ergot poisoning, leaving his brother as sole ruler.

Olaf’s desire to bring peace to Norway impressed me. He made peace with the pope, built churches, unified his country, founded new cities, established the nobility, and apparently learned to read (believed to be the first Norwegian monarch to do so). No wonder he earned the nickname Olaf the Quiet.

Tara: What would you like readers to gain from reading your book? Is there a strong moral? Do you hope they will laugh, learn something, ponder a point?

Violetta: My stories are deeply rooted in important historical moments. In Blind Redemption, we catch glimpses of the aftermath of the Battle of Stamford Bridge (four years after). Norway is in political and religious turmoil, one of the two kings is dead. And now King Olaf is tasked with unifying the north and south.

Churches are being vandalized, Olaf is trying to convert the pagans, and the northern jarls are fanatical Odin worshippers. What a time to explore. And Jarl Aaron McNally is caught in the middle—expected to form a new regiment to stop anyone who threatens the construction of the great cathedral in Nidaros.

Learning something about the Viking Age is probably the most important message in my books. Secondly, I’m a great supporter of conflict resolution, Viking style of course.

And finally, the one thing all romance readers want—that happily ever after.

Tara: Now let’s talk about your hero. What draws the heroine to him? Is he based on a real man in your life by any chance?

Violetta: Aaron McNally, the antagonist from Blind Mercy (Book 2), seeks forgiveness for his past misdeeds in Blind Redemption. True redemption is earned, not given. Right? And unlike the other stories, there is no enemies to lovers trope. 

This time our hero must rely on his instincts, honor, kindness, humor, and passion to win the girl of his dreams.

Kara Dalgaard may be young, but she’s determined to find the man she loves instead of marrying out of duty. Sparks fly when she meets Aaron. She’s drawn to his virility and intelligence right away, and turned off by his arrogance. But there’s something about this guy that leaves her feeling unsure of herself. And after they kiss, well, now she really needs to find out what’s going on.

Aaron McNally is very similar to my husband—what parts exactly, I’ll never tell.

Tara: Your book takes place in Norway. If I were a tourist, what would you recommend I see in this country?
Nidaros Cathedral

Violetta: Let me start by saying everywhere your happy feet take you. But west central and northern Norway capture my heart the most. Perhaps it’s because it so closely resembles Alaska—coastal, mountains, fjords, glaciers, wildlife, wide open spaces, and just a bit rustic.

Places to see – the royal complex in Oslo and the Viking Ship Museum.

Tara: A more personal question. What’s the one thing you hope to accomplish before you die? Your main goal?

Violetta: The most important—making sure all the people I love and admire know exactly how I feel.

Second—I’m living it now—growing as a writer, sharing my stories, and mentoring other authors starting out in the business.

Tara: I’m a dog mom, so I always ask this. Do you have pets? If so, tell me about them and do provide pictures.

Violetta: Oh yes, the magic question. I’m happy to showcase my babies.Three wonderful dogs and two cats.

Simon and Gretchen my beloved mini-schnauzers and Mason, our loyal Brittany.


As for the damn cats (love saying that), Bella who is undoubtedly my soul mate and Ivan our stoic, yet sweet fellow.

  ***


Violetta Rand holds a bachelor's degree in Environmental Policy and a master's degree in Environmental Management. Serving as an environmental scientist in the state of Alaska for over seven years, she enjoys the privilege of traveling to remote places few people have the opportunity to see.

Violetta has been "in love" with writing since childhood. Struck with an entrepreneurial spirit at a young age, at five, she wrote short stories illustrated by her best friend and sold them in her neighborhood. The only thing she loves more than writing is her wonderful relationship with her husband, Jeff. She enjoys outdoor activities, reading whatever she can get her hands on, music, and losing herself in the worlds she enjoys bringing to life in the pages of her stories.