Review: Old West fun in Much Ado about Miners

Jacquie Rogers brings a bit of humor and love to the Old West in Much Ado about Miners. This is the story of Iris and Kade, who knew each other as teenagers and are brought together later in life.

There was much I really enjoyed about this book. The characters had big personalities–most notably a yellow cat who steals almost every scene he’s in. [And if you know me, you know I love cats in stories. If you haven’t figured that out, look at what I use in place of stars to rank the books I review. ;)] Both Kade and Iris were such likable characters that it was easy to root for them.

The only difficulty I had with this story is that at times I felt like either Kade’s or Iris’ wacky plans seemed to change and I didn’t follow why or how exactly. It just suddenly was, and I was left wondering if I missed something, which could’ve been the case a time or two, but it was enough that I doubted it was just my faulty brain.

And once, the cat was called by the dog’s name. Them there are fightin’ words in my book. 😉

Overall, this was a fun book. I give it a solid 3.5 cat kisses.

3.5 cats

The third novel in the Hearts of Owyhee western romance series!

Cupid’s bullet…

Hired gun Kade McKinnon interrupts a bank holdup and is shot by the teller, Iris Gardner, whose victims have a tendency to be the next groom in town.  Will he be the groom this time?

Cupid’s bow…

Iris Gardner, a smart, independent bank clerk, fell in love with Kade when she was too young to know better.  So when he walks back into her life and her bank, it’s only fitting that she shoots him … by accident, of course.

Cupid’s blindfold…

Kade doesn’t know Iris’s company is the one who hired him to escort a bullion shipment, and Iris doesn’t know Kade owns the security company, but they both know robbers are on their trail.  Which is more likely to be stolen—the silver, or his heart?

$2.99 Amazon

Amazon CA

Amazon UK

Books by Jacquie Rogers

Hearts of Owyhee series (western historical romance)

  • #1: Much Ado About Madams
  • #2: Much Ado About Marshals
  • #3: Much Ado About Miners
  • #4: Much Ado About Mavericks

About the Author

I’m a former software designer, campaign manager, deli clerk, and cow milker, but always a bookworm. Reading is my passion—westerns, fantasies, historicals of any era, all with a splash of humor and a dash of romance.

While I’m a country girl by birth, I currently live in suburbia with my very patient husband where we’re humble servants of The Cat Annie.  I don’t think you can ever take the country out of a girl’s heart, though, which is why my stories often take place in Idaho where I grew up. (Hearts of Owyhee series and some of my short stories, too.)

For the latest news, subscribe to the Pickle Barrel Gazette, my newsletter:

For fun times, join my Facebook group. Search for Jacquie Rogers’ Pickle Barrel Bar and Books.

Author links

Website / Amazon  / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Pickle Barrel Gazette / Pickle Barrel Bar & Books / Goodreads / Tsu / Google+

Review: The Three Fates of Ryan Love

The Three Fates of Ryan Love is the second in Erin Quinn’s series about the Beyond. When a mysterious woman shows up outside Ryan’s bar with a warning that he’s about to die in an explosion if he doesn’t flee with her, he ends up running despite his doubts. As the two navigate their attraction for each other and the fate that faces them, they must decide how much to trust each other.

This book has a unique paranormal world filled with demons, goddesses, reapers, seers and more. Despite reading this book prior to reading the first book (The Five Deaths of Roxanne Love) in the series, I was able to fill in the gaps enough to follow the story and understand the world. The attraction between Ryan and Sabelle sizzles and the sex scenes are well-written to move the story forward and not just tantalize.

The story felt a little unbalanced to me. The first half spent a lot more time focused on Ryan and Sabelle’s growing relationship, but I didn’t feel like that much actually happened. There was a lot of soul searching and back story, and I just didn’t feel all that engaged by the looming danger in the story (as I did in the first book, which I went back and read directly after finishing this one). This could have been partly due to not having read the first book and therefore not having as complete a view of the world. The action in the last half of the book kept me riveted, though. I also thought that the “three fates” in this book weren’t as integral to the plot as the “five deaths” were in book one.

Perhaps obviously since I picked up the first book, I enjoyed this book. I give it four cat kisses. And as a bonus, I’d give the first book 4.5 cat kisses. Oh, and I love the titles!

4 cats

An oracle unexpectedly transforms her destiny when she alters the fate of the man she loves in this thrilling second novel from award-winning romance author Erin Quinn’s captivating new series.

Will love be their salvation . . .

When Ryan Love discovers the mysterious Sabelle alone and terrified in his parking lot, he has no idea that helping the beautiful woman will be tempting fate. She says she’s an oracle from the Beyond, which seems crazy. But within moments of meeting her, Ryan’s entire life goes up in flames. He doesn’t know what to believe, but one thing is clear—now both their lives are in danger.

. . . or their downfall?

For years, Sabelle has guided Ryan’s fate. But by breaking the rules to save his life, she sets off a chain reaction with deadly consequences.  Now she’s hunted by her enemy, her future and her heart in Ryan’s hands. In the dangerous race to restore order, Ryan discovers he cannot live without Sabelle, his seductive and devoted prophet. But can he protect her from the dark forces closing in—or will he die trying?

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Erin Quinn writes dark paranormal romance for the thinking reader. Her books have been called “riveting,” “brilliantly plotted” and “beautifully written” and have won, placed or showed in numerous awards. Go to for more information.  Look for The Three Fates of Ryan Love in January 2015 from Pocket Books.

Review: Amelia Grey’s latest historical a winner

I’ve got one more review in my queue before my break, and this one was an all around pleasure…

The Duke in My Bed is a lovely historical romance. I really enjoyed Bray and Louisa’s story. There are some surprising twists and turns, and the main characters’ growth on their path to love is generally well-paced and believable. A few times I wanted them to get on with it, but not so often that I ever felt truly annoyed. The secondary characters, especially Louisa’s sisters, add depth to the story.

This the first book I’ve read by Ms. Grey and I will certainly be looking up more. The Duke in My Bed releases at the end of December. If you like historicals, go preorder it now. I give this book 4.5 cat kisses.

4.5 cats


From bestselling author Amelia Grey comes The Duke in My Bed, a wickedly romantic tale of one reckless bachelor, five unwed sisters, and a wildly unconventional game of love


As a notorious member of the Heirs’ Club, Bray Drakestone can’t resist a challenge from one of his well-heeled colleagues—especially when it involves money and horses. But the friendly wager takes an unexpected and deadly turn. Bray is forced to agree to marry one of his challenger’s five sisters—sight unseen. Now gamblers all over London are placing bets on whether Bray will actually go through with it


Miss Louisa Prim, the eldest sister, doesn’t care a whit what the reckless rogue at the Heirs’ Club promised her brother—she has no intention of marrying the future Duke of Drakestone. Bray, however, sees her rejection as another challenge. He bets that the fiery Miss Prim will not only agree to marry him, she will propose to him! With four sisters behind her, Louisa knows she can’t lose. But why does her opponent have to be a divinely handsome scoundrel? And so sweetly, irresistibly seductive

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Amelia Grey read her first romance book when she was thirteen. She’s been a devoted reader of love stories ever since.

Amelia has been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over thirty-five years and she lives on the beautiful gulf coast of Northwest Florida.

With more than twenty-five books published, she is a two-time winner of the prestigious Booksellers Best Award. She’s also won the Aspen Gold, and the Golden Quill Awards. Writing as Gloria Dale Skinner, she won the coveted Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter and the Maggie Award. Amelia’s books have been published in Europe, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, and Japan.

Several of her books have been featured in Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs.

You can follow Amelia on Facebook at or email her at to be added to her newsletter and contest list.

Tour Organizer: N K Author Services

Writing book reviews: The pros and cons and why I need a break…

So here’s a good way to deal with negative reviews.

I’m slowing down a bit on how many posts I have on my blog because it just takes a lot of time, and, well, I’m feeling a bit lazy about this right now. I could use the Holidays as an excuse, but that’s not entirely truthful. I plan to get back to doing more reviews at some point in the new year, but I also want a break to just read for fun.

Undertaking the writing of reviews was an endeavor I had some trepidation about, but it’s been a good experience for the most part. Reading a book with the intent of reviewing it at the end–in a more concrete way than a gut reaction–has made me think about the nature of reviews and writing in a new way. It’s hard to write a quality review, and I don’t know if I’ve always succeeded.

As a fiction writer, I already think about the nuts and bolts of writing while I’m crafting my stories, but in the context of reviewing, I’ve gotten a new take on the process. For one thing, I’ve had to refine and define what it is that I like about a particular story, writing style, word usage, length, etc. Art is subjective–both in the making and consuming of it.

It’s important to keep this subjectivity in mind when reading or writing a review. Sometimes a completely irrational thing makes me dislike a book–I don’t connect with a character, a situation reminds me of an unpleasant memory, I wanted more or less of a certain aspect. Also, there are many theories about style. Some are sticklers for grammar (like me, for the most part) and some don’t care as much or intentionally play fast and loose with rules for a particular reason. Honestly, I think it’s difficult to do the latter successfully because you have to convince the reader that you’re breaking the rules for a good reason.

So at this point, a break is in order. I want to focus on my own writing and take some time to read for relaxation. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts about writing and reading reviews. What do you look for in a book you enjoy? What makes a review helpful to you as a writer or reader?

Review: Vengelys Series books 1 & 2

Through the Oracle’s Mist, Vengelys Book 1:

Through the Oracle’s Mist starts the story of the Vengelys brothers. This book is written in first person and alternates between Tynan, one of the Vengelys brothers, and Cyrenna, his match-mate (think soul mate). The brothers are banished from their home world of Amaranth to the human world. Cyrenna follows Tynan, and this book is the story of their encounters over many lifetimes on Earth.

Much of the historical events and places described are captivating. There is a formality to the writing style that took me a while to get into so I could read at a quicker pace. At times it seemed that the author had spent a lot of time crafting some of the sentences to the point that they had a poetic quality that matched the sweeping grandeur of the overarching tragic love story being told. Other times it seemed the author hadn’t paid enough attention, as the tense switched from present to present perfect to past to past perfect so often and with a degree of randomness that left me frustrated.

Despite some hurdles, I did find the story line interesting, so I give this book three cat kisses.

3 cats

Warrior’s Watchtower, Vengelys Book 2:

This book picks up where the last left off, only this time there are more narrators. There are still passages from Tynan’s and Cyrenna’s first person POV, but there are also passages from Tynan’s sister Jondre (her narrative is in first person and italicized in what, I presume, is an attempt to make it clear when we are in her head). In addition, a host of other characters get their stories told in a mostly limited third person POV (on occasion sections are omniscient third person POV).

Unfortunately, unlike in the last book, the person who’s head we’re in isn’t indicated at the beginning of each passage as it was in book 1. Combine that with the continued waffling between tenses, and this book is a bit of an aggravating mess to figure out. There are also more typos, misused words, and improper/confusing punctuation in this book. I was given a review copy, so it is possible some of the mistakes were cleaned up for the final version.

The story itself is interesting and the world continually becomes more complex, as do the characters. The cliffhanger at the end suggests an intriguing direction. I can’t say a whole lot more about the plot without giving things away.

It’s too bad that the writing isn’t more consistent and refined, as this series has a good concept and characters. However, I have to give Warrior’s Watchtower only two cat kisses.

2 cats


Cyrenna thought she died the day she watched Tynan and his brothers jump through the banishment portal in an act of solidarity with Rigor. Little did she know that it would be the first of many deaths she would experience in her quest to claim his heart. She would surrender not only her immortal soul, but a mortal one repeatedly. Through a deal with the great Oracle, she has multiple mortal lifetimes to change the direction of her future and have a chance with Tynan. From the GenPei War in Japan and the Silk Road west, to Cromwell, the Three Kingdoms and modern times, she lives and dies repeatedly hoping to get her heart’s desire.

Near the end, she makes a misstep, breaks one of the rules of her covenant with the Oracle, and cannot return. The burden falls to Tynan and everything she was able to share with him to that point. The only thing that is absolute is her fervent hope that he will come, but there’s one big problem. Through it all, he doesn’t so much as know her name.


“I am yours and you are mine…Whatever comes now, we are one.”

Her heroes are gone, taken together in a flash by a vengeful God leaving Jondre to find her way alone. Befriended by a woman who knows more than she’s telling, she makes a choice to try to help what’s left of her family and finds herself at the seat of power but also the center of the expanding abyss. Her world is nothing that it seemed.

A Eupion raid near the boundary delivers a surprise to High House, a new tragedy to deal with and the catalyst for an even more difficult future to come. Just when she thinks there cannot be more, she sees the most fearsome immortal she’s ever encountered, and as match-mates are revealed, this one is hers. Nothing is simple anymore.


About the Author

There is no simple description for Aedan Byrnes. Obsessive, dreamer, reclusive, compulsive, outdoorsman and wordsmith would be among the list if one were started. The displaced Gael lives in the upper Midwest with family between jaunts wherever the road goes. A frequent traveler, Aedan is as likely to be found rock climbing, spelunking, sitting fireside dreaming or aimlessly floating away as hiding with pen and paper working on the next tale.

A lifelong lover of words and writing, Aedan claims a diverse reading appetite and the writing reflects the myriad influences. A self-proclaimed ‘reader’s writer’, the emotional and sensory results of word combinations outweigh the visceral comprehension of phrases for the stories and drives the prose.  The original ‘Eclectic Bard’ enjoys the special magick of storytelling, those who embrace the challenge of writing, and the dreamers who get whisked away by the words making the journey worth taking.

You can find Aedan Byrnes here: