Author: karenbaron

American’s Next Reality Star

Posted May 15, 2017 by karenbaron in Contemporary Romance, Review, Romance, Series / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

American’s Next Reality StarAmerica's Next Reality Star by Laura Heffernan
Series: Reality Star #1
Published by Lyrical Shine on March 7th 2017
Genres: Romance
Pages: 254
Format: Kindle
five-stars

SEEKING THE SMART ONE
Twenty-four-year-old Jen Reid had her life in good shape: an okay job, a tiny-cute Seattle apartment, and a great boyfriend almost ready to get serious. In a flash it all came apart. Single, unemployed, and holding an eviction notice, who has time to remember trying out for a reality show? Then the call comes, and Jen sees her chance to start over—by spending her summer on national TV.
Luckily The Fishbowl is all about puzzles and games, the kind of thing Jen would love even if she wasn’t desperate. The cast checks all the boxes: cheerful, quirky Birdie speaks in hashtags; vicious Ariana knows just how to pout for the cameras; and corn-fed “J-dawg” plays the cartoon villain of the house. Then there’s Justin, the green-eyed law student who always seems a breath away from kissing her. Is their attraction real, or a trick to get him closer to the $250,000 grand prize? Romance or showmance, suddenly Jen has a lot more to lose than a summer . . .

Reality TV in a book? What a great concept…

I felt like a binged watch an entire season of The Fishbowl. I have to say first the concept of the fish bowl house with all glass wall and such is totally amazing. The description that Jen gave of the kitchen sounded so cool. I am not sure what I thought of the couch tree though.

I could totally get on board with Jen. I loved her naiveté with men, her acknowledging her inner nerd and that she tries to be a good person. Jen is the all-American girl next door. I would so be calling in and voting for her, even with all the bad press on the outside of the Fishbowl.

Justin is a law student from Florida. He is nice, athletic, smart and a little competitive. He is also so polite and such a gentlemen. Jen and Justin make a cute couple. They really need to get over the trust issues that they each seem to have.

Then there is Ariana, wow, what do I say about her? Scheming, lying, cheating, jerk, well those are some options. I am sure there are more of the same but you should just read it yourself so you can dislike her too.

The concept of the book was great, I loved the story. It kind of gave you this look into the hidden side of reality television. I can’t imagine putting myself or my family through all that drama. However, everyone has their own thing. Oh and that ending was so great. Right out of the fairy tales. I love happy endings.

My rating is 5 stars. I loved this book. Thank you, Ms. Heffernan, for bringing reality tv to books. It is much more fun to read about it than I thought it would be. I personally don’t watch reality tv anymore but this book is awesome. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series, Sweet Reality.

**Where to find America’s Next Reality Star**

** Goodreads **

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

five-stars

About Laura Heffernan

Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off: AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR, the first book in the REALITY STAR series, is coming from Kensington’s Lyrical Press in March 2017. When not watching total strangers participate in arranged marriages, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, helping with writing contests, and seeking new experiences. She lives in the northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.

 Some of Laura’s favorite things include goat cheese, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, the Oxford comma, and ice cream. Not all together. The best place to find her is usually on Twitter, where she spends far too much time tweeting about writing, Canadian chocolate, and reality TV. Follow her @LH_Writes or visit www.lauraheffernan.com for more information.


Once Lost Lords by Stephan Morse

Posted May 12, 2017 by karenbaron in Fairies, Fantasy, Guest Post, Magic, Paranormal, Paranormal People, Review, Series, Vampires, Werewolves / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Once Lost Lords by Stephan MorseOnce Lost Lords by Stephan Morse
Series: Royal Scales #1
Published by Stephan Morse on July 10th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Format: ebook
four-stars

Humanity hasn’t been alone for almost two thousand years. Elves, wolves, vampires, all joined together with mankind to eradicate the ‘darker’ races and maintained a tentative peace until modern times. Society adapted, everyone has rules that help keep the peace in this modern era. Yet, absolute genocide is impossible when talking about creatures beyond the pale. Some hid, some buried, other were re-purposed.
Some, like Jay Fields, pass for human with a little bit extra. His abilities didn’t belong to one of the major races, but any information was buried along with the long dead boogie men. All Jay cared about was those closest to him and a job that let him hit people. He used to be a bouncer at a bar, a part-time enforcer for a loan shark, and even a fight club champion. That was four years ago, before betrayal by someone close sent him packing.
Now he’s back and trying to recover a life he left behind. Questions of origin aren’t his only problems. His ex-girlfriend is a vampire. His part-time boss doesn’t think he’s up to snuff anymore. There’s a missing elf who might have some answers, and Jay’s best friend is caught up in something dangerous…

The story begins with the return of Jay Fields, although he uses other names to make finding him harder. Jay has been traveling around for the last 4 years and lots of things at home have changed and some have stayed the same.

Jay likes to hit people, he is like an enforcer. Basically, he does what he knows best to make a living. Jay is also a collector and he is pretty possessive when it comes to his treasures, really all things that he considers his. Jay is human with a few added abilities, due to a vampire bite when he was young or is he? Jay uses his ability to track down people who owe his boss Julianne money, he gets the money, something of value or he may teach them a lesson. Jay also rents an apartment from Julianne and works as a bouncer at her bar.

Throughout the book, we learn more and more about Jay’s actual origin. However, Jay can’t remember and the clues lead him to things that don’t make sense and yet seem familiar. Jay is tough and can hold his own against vampires, wolves, fairies and humans. We meet the people of his life. They are a strange group of individuals. There are lots of secrets that seem like only Jay doesn’t know.

Jay’s ex-girlfriend is Kahina, she is a vampire who hasn’t finished the transformation yet. She loves purple and apparently still loves Jay. She seems kind of pushy, yet she is there when he needs her.

Then there is Julianne, she is my favorite. She is tiny and still human. She runs the bar with no nonsense and a smart mouth. Julianne comes from the wolf pack, she just hasn’t transformed into a wolf. Her grandfather is the head of the pack and tolerates her bar and bookie business. Julianne cares about Jay, more than he realizes. She protects him and calls an intervention to help him. I love the way she and her brother banter back and forth. Julianne is one tough cookie.

What I like about the story is the way the author portrays the characters. There are the four main races who eradicated all the other races for peace and yet there are still the prejudice and fight for power, the secrets about the races eradicated and lost history. It proves that no matter what race you are, it’s what is inside you and how you treat your friends and family that matter.

My rating for this book is 4 stars. If you like to read fantasy, with a modern urban flair, I recommend this book, Once Lost Lords by Stephan Morse. This is the first book in what looks to be an exciting series, The Royal Scales. The second book in the series is also available so you won’t have to wait to continue with the story, Lady’s First Knight.

**Where to find Once Lost Lords **

** Goodreads **

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

four-stars

About Stephan Morse

Stephan Morse was born the year 1983 in San Diego. The next fifteen years were spent slowly escaping California and surviving a public education system. Thus far he’s made it to the Seattle (WA) region with little desire to go farther. When not trying to shove words together into sentences Stephan spends time reading, catching up on sleep, and otherwise living a mundane life.


Protect Me by Margaret Watson

Posted May 10, 2017 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Review, Romance, Series, Womens Fiction / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Protect Me by Margaret WatsonProtect Me by Margaret Watson
Series: The Donovan Family #6
Published by Margaret Watson on October 31, 2015
Genres: Chick Lit, Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction
Pages: 258
Format: ebook
five-stars

Police officer Mia Donovan is studying for the detective's exam when her captain offers her an assignment – be Finn O'Rourke's personal bodyguard for the next three weeks. He's in town to film a movie, he has a stalker, and the threats are escalating.

Mia isn't interested – she's focused on the looming exam. But her captain convinces her that successfully protecting Finn will look very good on her record when promotion decisions are made. So, reluctantly, she takes the assignment.

Finn isn't the arrogant, egotistical actor Mia expected. There's more than meets the eye when it comes to the 'most hated man in America', Finn's nickname since he cheated on his girlfriend, a beloved pop star.

But his stalker is lurking and the threat is escalating. Although Mia's feelings for Finn are growing, her job is to protect Finn, not fall in love with him.

"Margaret Watson, a star in the world of contemporary romance, grabs you on the opening page and keeps you reading to the happily ever after." -- New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips

My take on this book:              This is my first romance book away from Nora Roberts and Janet Evanovich and I have to say that Ms. Watson is an excellent writer. Without having to read the first five books in this series you immediately are brought up to date with the Donovan clan.

The main character of this book is Mia Donovan, the youngest of the Donovan kids. Mia is assigned to the protective duty to Finn O’Rourke, she doesn’t really want to do this, but her captain changes her mind. She wants to prove that she can do any assignment that was given to her. What I liked about Mia Donovan is that even she is independent. She grew up with big brothers yet she can still take care of herself. She doesn’t want a man to do something that she knows that she can do herself. I also liked how she kept it professional with Finn, throughout the assignment which was living in the same place as him for three weeks and pretending to be a couple. I, even more, liked how she tried her hardest to not let Finn back in once her job was done. I could tell that she was heartbroken when he didn’t follow her out of the hotel room. What I didn’t like was how she didn’t try to fight for him, before he left. She could have tried to make their relationship work despite what they sort of agreed on in the beginning. I also didn’t like how the police chief asked around all the precincts if they had a woman officer that he knew his godson couldn’t resist being with.  This was especially terrible after everything that had happened with Finn’s ex-girlfriend.

And then there is, of course, Finn O’Rourke, an actor who didn’t tell his story first in Hollywood about what really happened between his ex-girlfriend and himself. Now he is in Chicago shooting an indie movie to re-establish the image that he wants Hollywood to see him as. What I like about Finn is that he is able to not only keep up with Mia and her personality but is also able to keep her on her toes with his. Another thing that I like about him is that he is truly a gentleman around Mia. He only really shows Mia his true personality, the one that he only lets certain people see. What I don’t like about him is how he thought he needed Hollywood and his image more than he needed to be loved while also having a real relationship in the real world. I really hated how his pride kept him from realizing how much he really messed up with leaving Mia and how long it took him to realize that he actually loved Mia and missed her. He also knew that if he came back that she didn’t want to see him.

Protect Me by Margaret Watson, I am glad that I read this book. I am giving this book five stars as I loved every minute of reading it. The book also kept me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who the stalker person is. I also love with how, even though, it’s part of a series you don’t have to read the other books to know what had happened in those and with what is going to happen in this one. I am glad to have been asked to read and review this book. I am also recommending this book to any of my adult readers of my blog that like contemporary romance that is also wrapped up into a cop book.

Anyways until next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

Baroness’ Book Trove

**Where to find this book**

** Goodreads **

five-stars

About Margaret Watson

Biography is from her Amazon page:

I’ve made up stories in my head for as long as I can remember – I put myself to sleep at night when I was young by rewriting the plots and endings of books I’d read. I assumed this was normal and everyone else did it, too, until I began getting weird looks when I talked about it. Finally, when I was twelve, I figured it out and decided I’d be a writer when I grew up.

I got sidetracked by my love of animals and the need for a ‘real’ job, so I became a veterinarian instead. Twenty-five years ago, when I realized I was making up stories about my clients and their pets, I decided to try putting them down on paper.

The result? After writing thirty books for Harlequin and selling millions of copies of them, I’m now writing The Donovan Family series, romantic suspense novels about a family of Chicago cops.

I consider myself the luckiest person in the world to be involved in two careers that I love. But more important than either career is my family – my husband and my three daughters. We live in a Chicago suburb with a menagerie of pets.


Behind the Title (Creation of a Love Story) By Romance Author Cynthia Roberts

Posted May 8, 2017 by karenbaron in Guest Post, Romance / 0 Comments

by Cyntha Roberts
Genres: Romance

Creating romantic fiction has been a passion of mine, ever since I was old enough to understand the connection between the sexes.  I think I was twelve, when I wrote my first love story and like most young minds; I truly thought it was a masterpiece.

There’s another masterful connection that has been going on now for centuries, and that, is the one between music and literature.  There is a full alphabet of songs that have been written retelling a work of literature as far back as the 18th century.

“If I Die Young” by The Band Perry was based on a poem, Lady of Shallot.  “Love Story” by Taylor Swift is loosely based on Romeo & Juliet.  The artist Sting’s “Moon Over Bourbon Street” was based on an Anne Rice Novel, Interview With A Vampire.

More interesting though, the anatomy of a song has also within its lyrics a pretty fascinating back story as well.  For more than five decades, authors have been creating fictional pieces and bringing readers deep inside the lyrics.  I grew up listening to my mom’s collection of romantic ballads from the 40s, 50s, and 60s.  Those lyrics have forever been embossed into my brain, I still sing along whenever I hear them.  Lyrics like those back then told a story, and they were so strong, and emotional, their affect were everlasting.

I have a library of love songs on iTunes I listen to religiously, while I write, as a source of inspiration and a tool that gets me in the mood and mindset I need to be in.  It is from this list, I began to formulate a series of ideas, followed by cryptic notes on paper, and finally the creation of my Love Song Standards Series.  I made a list of the songs I connected with personally, whittling it down to thirty-five.  That number was quite overwhelming and I thought virtually impossible to create that many scenarios.  So, I chipped away at the songs and their lyrics, until I decided on a top ten.

I had made a commitment to myself to finish one book a month throughout 2016, writing a chapter every day, leaving me ample time to polish and edit each one.  I knew from the on-start, what I wanted my covers to look like.  They had to resemble each other in a way that would tie them together, but strong enough for them to stand on their own.  My designer Covers by Ramona did an exceptional job tying all my ideas together.

After Book 6, Chances Are, was completed, my brain was fried.  I took a short reprieve and switched it up a bit with a Romantic Suspense, A Pawn for Malice.  Happily, the first two books of my series received a 5-Star Readers Favorite Award, which ended my promotion efforts.  I was forced to take an extended break due to personal issues that had set me back both physically and emotionally.  My focus now is to both promote my series and finish the final four titles All The Way, It’s Impossible, Sincerely, and Unforgettable.

If you’re a lover of contemporary romance, please do check out my Love Song Standards Series.  I know you’ll be pleasantly pleased.  Buy links and descriptions are available on my website at RomanceAuthorCynthiaRoberts.com.  If you subscribe to my mailing list, we can stay in touch as to when the other titles are completed PLUS you’ll receive a complimentary copy of Book 1, Unchained Melody.  All that I ask is for you to please, please share an honest review at the online retailer you use most. It will help me dramatically towards promoting my book and the series.

Hugs from me to you.

” This is definitely a novel that I would read again. It is going to stay on my bookshelf for a very, very long time.”  —Readers’ Favorite

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About Cyntha Roberts

My love of reading romance fiction goes back to those early years when I was raising a young family. It wasn’t until much later in life I actually took up the pen to write my first historical romance, Wind Warrior . I really don’t fit into one specific niche. Once a story starts to flow, it’s only then I know what genre/sub-genre it will fit under.

I have only one regret, and that is not getting to this point in my career much sooner, rather than later. Life has a way of setting up road blocks, which for me, was supposed to work out that way. Because of those detours, I have become a more passionate and expressive writer, allowing me to create the kind of raw human emotion I want my readership to feel.

It is my hope you walk away with not just an entertaining read, but the importance in knowing, “Without imagination & dreams, we lose the excitement of wonderful possibilities.”


Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

Posted May 6, 2017 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Review, Series / 0 Comments

Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich and Phoef SuttonCurious Minds by Janet Evanovich, Phoef Sutton
Series: Knight and Moon #1
on August 16, 2016
Pages: 322
Format: Hardcover
four-stars

Janet Evanovich, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series, teams up with Emmy-winning writer Phoef Sutton for a brand-new series of thrillers featuring the invincible and incompatible pairing of Knight and Moon.

Emerson Knight is introverted, eccentric, and has little to no sense of social etiquette. Good thing he’s also brilliant, rich, and (some people might say) handsome, or he’d probably be homeless. Riley Moon has just graduated from Harvard Business and Harvard Law. Her aggressive Texas spitfire attitude has helped her land her dream job as a junior analyst with mega-bank Blane-Grunwald. At least Riley Moon thought it was her dream job, until she is given her first assignment: babysitting Emerson Knight.

What starts off as an inquiry about missing bank funds in the Knight account leads to inquiries about a missing man, missing gold, and a life-and-death race across the country. Through the streets of Washington, D.C., and down into the underground vault of the Federal Reserve in New York City, an evil plan is exposed. A plan so sinister that only a megalomaniac could think it up, and only the unlikely duo of the irrepressibly charming Emerson Knight and the tenacious Riley Moon can stop it.

My take on this book:              Another great book by Mrs. Evanovich and Mr. Sutton. It took a while for me to get into the book, and whenever my cat would allow me time to read but once I did, it’s a wonderful book. Both writers had shown brightly about how they write in this book and it worked just as good as with another book they both co-wrote together. This book is a good start to a new series for Mrs. Evanovich and Mr. Sutton.

The main character, or protagonist, in my mind, is Miss Riley Moon because she is one of the most followed characters in the story. What I like about Riley Moon is that she is different than of Stephanie Plum, Kate O’Hare, and kind of like Elizabeth “Lizzy” Tucker. The reason I think that is because Stephanie Plum and Kate O’Hare both work in law enforcement in a way while Lizzy Tucker isn’t and stumbled into helping the male lead in her book. Just like Riley did in this series. What I also liked about Riley in this story is that she doesn’t follow the rules very well or cares about harming Emerson’s feelings. I also like how she isn’t afraid to use a gun along with her wonderful phrases. What I don’t like about her is that she is all about her career at the bank. I also don’t like how she doesn’t trust Emerson Knight.

In my mind, there are two secondary characters in this book. The first one is, of course, Emerson Knight, yup the same Knight as in Knight and Moon, and the last one is Gunter Grunwald.

Emerson Knight is our first secondary character. Emerson is a tall person that is very attractive. He’s also very rich. What I like about Emerson is that everyone has said that he is just as eccentric as the other males in his family but I didn’t really see it. He doesn’t let what everyone thinks about him or his family affect him as a person. What I also like about him is that yeah, he is this rich guy, but he doesn’t seem like it. Well maybe if you see him get out of one of his very expensive cars (ones that he inherited from his dad.) Emerson to know what everyone is expecting it from him and doesn’t think anything about it when he does it. What I didn’t like about him is that he seems to zone in and out when he is mediating. Don’t you think that is odd? Especially, when he claims to be talking to some guy. Emerson has the fasination with the gold even though he doesn’t want anyone to know that. Overall Emerson is a pretty great character, which is seen at his best when paired with Riley Moon.

The last secondary character is Gunter Grunwald. What I like about Gunter is that he is in the middle ground about who he is and who he wants to be. Also, Gunter is that he is the youngest of his family and isn’t trying to be anything big. He just wants to be himself. Which must be hard with all of his dad and brothers’ big achievements. Always being compared to them probably didn’t make him want to succeed more than them. What I didn’t like about him is that he didn’t really stand up for himself. He lets his brothers kind of walk over him. Then there is Werner his boss, who treats him terribly.

Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton is another great book by them. It kept me guessing and in the story, most of the time. I’m giving this book a four stars rating. I will also recommend this book to anyone that likes Janet Evanovich and to anyone that likes Phoef Sutton.

Anyways until next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

Baroness’ Book Trove

**Where to find this book**

** Goodreads **

four-stars

About Janet Evanovich

Janet’s Bio (quoted from her website)

When I was a kid I spent a lot of time in LaLa Land. La la Land is like an out-of-body experience –while your mouth is eating lunch your mind is conversing with Captain Kirk. Sometimes I’d pretend to sing opera. My mother would send me to the grocery store down the street, and off I’d go, caterwauling at the top of my lungs. Before the opera thing I went through a horse stage where I galloped everywhere and made holes in my Aunt Lena’s lawn with my hooves. Aunt Lena was a good egg. She understood that the realities of daily existence were lost in the shadows of my looney imagination.After graduation from South River High School, I spent four years in the Douglass College art department, honing my ability to wear torn Levis, learning to transfer cerebral excitement to primed canvas. Painting beat the heck out of digging holes in lawns, but it never felt exactly right. It was frustrating at best, excruciating at worst. My audience was too small. Communication was too obscure. I developed a rash from pigment.

Somewhere down the line I started writing stories. The first story was about the pornographic adventures of a fairy who lived in a second rate fairy forest in Pennsylvania. The second story was about …well never mind, you get the picture.

I sent my weird stories out to editors and agents and collected rejection letters in a big cardboard box. When the box was full I burned the whole damn thing, crammed myself into pantyhose and went to work for a temp agency.

Four months into my less than stellar secretarial career, I got a call from an editor offering to buy my last mailed (and heretofore forgotten) manuscript. It was a romance written for the now defunct Second Chance at Love line, and I was paid a staggering $2,000.

With my head reeling from all this money, I plunged into writing romance novels full time, saying good-by, good riddance to pantyhose and office politics. I wrote series romance for the next five years, mostly for Bantam Loveswept. It was a rewarding experience, but after twelve romance novels I ran out of sexual positions and decided to move into the mystery genre.

I spent two years retooling –drinking beer with law enforcement types, learning to shoot, practicing cussing. At the end of those years I created Stephanie Plum. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Stephanie is an autobiographical character, but I will admit to knowing where she lives.

It turns out I’m a really boring workaholic with no hobbies or special interests. My favorite exercise is shopping and my drug of choice is Cheeze Doodles.

I read comic books and I only watch happy movies. I motivate myself to write by spending my money before I make it. And when I grow up I want to be just like Grandma Mazur.

About Phoef Sutton

Phoef Sutton started as an actor and playwright in college; he was lucky enough to go to a small liberal arts college in Virginia, James Madison University, which encouraged student playwrights. Phoef was one of the only undergraduates to win the Norman Lear Award for Comedy Playwriting. After graduation, Phoef had plays produced at various regional theaters around the country, had his award winning play BURIAL CUSTOMS selected for publication by the Theatre Communications Group and was awarded a National Endowment for Arts Playwrights Fellowship.

After marrying and moving to Los Angeles, Phoef started his career at the NBC television show CHEERS. He stayed with the show for eight years, working his way up from staff writer to executive producer, winning two Emmys and a Writer’s Guild Award. A greater training ground for a writer could not be imagined. Phoef lives in South Pasadena, California with his wife Dawn and his daughters Skylar and Celia.


Baroness Book Trove’s New Look

Posted May 5, 2017 by karenbaron in Update / 0 Comments

Hi to my fellow book lovers.

I’m so sorry that I haven’t been really active on the site. I was sick for the last few weeks and I couldn’t really concentrate on what I was reading.

However, I wanted to tell you guys about my new skin for the site. As you can see the site got a huge makeover. I finally got the site to the way I wanted it. I feel like it’s really good and I am super excited. This is how I wanted my blog to look when I started it on blogspot. I think my banner also works very well with my slogan for the site of traveling through the books.  I also like how it looks like I’m surrounded by books which make it look like I’m in a trove. Overall this is what I have wanted for the site. I am very glad that it’s finally done and I can show it to all of you.

My posts are different if you haven’t really noticed. I got a new plugin specifically for book reviews on the site and I love it. I’m still getting used to it but I think it works wonderfully with my new look as well.

I want to shout out to a few people who helped get the site perfect. First, to Jen at Jen Yurko Designs, she created all the graphics used. She is such a great artist/designer. She really got what I was looking for. Then to Shelley at Web Crafters. Shelley really helped with the coding and making sure the site worked. She also gave us the most honest opinions about the overall design.  Next to Ashley at Nose Graze for creating the Tweak Me Theme and the Ultimate Book Blogger plugin. I totally am loving these.

Oh, and I have enabled the comments so please feel free to leave comments on the posts. If you see something that isn’t working please send me an email.

Also, my 3rd Blogoversary is coming up. So, keep your eyes open for the upcoming giveaways.

I hope that all of my fellow book lovers love my new design and the posts.

See you soon,

Karen the Baroness


Dead Down East by Carl Schmidt

Posted May 2, 2017 by karenbaron in Crime, Murder, Mystery, Review, Series / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Dead Down East by Carl SchmidtDead Down East by Carl Schmidt
Series: Jesse Thorpe Mysteries #1
Published by Carl Schmidt on 5/25/2016
Genres: Crime, Humor, Mystery
Pages: 268
Format: ebook
four-stars

Dead Down East, a fictional murder mystery, is both detective noir and smart screwball comedy rolled into one. Jesse Thorpe, a young private investigator operating out of Augusta, Maine, receives a mysterious phone call from a former client, Cynthia Dumais. She begs to be rescued from an island south of Brunswick, within a mile of where William Lavoilette, the governor of Maine, was assassinated the night before. She insists that her life is in danger, but is unwilling to provide any further information. Reluctantly, Jesse goes to fetch her.

Within a week, Jesse has three separate clients, each with his, or her, own desperate need to have the murder solved. He assembles a motley team of compadres, including rock band members, a tie-dye psychic and his rousing girlfriend, Angele Boucher, to help him with the case. While the FBI and the Maine State Police investigate political motives, Jesse looks for the woman—Cherchez la Femme—as the trail draws him through the lives, and DNA, of the governor’s former mistresses.

Fresh, witty and loaded with eccentric characters, this first novel in the Jesse Thorpe Mystery Series is both clever and stylish. It’s an old-school private eye tale with inventive twists and local charm. If you enjoy a well-crafted and zesty narrative, lively banter, or take pleasure in the company of Mainers, you’ll love Dead Down East.

I really enjoyed this book, Dead Down East.

I thought in my mind that it was going to be like Jessica Fletcher meets Sam Spade. However, it was not and I was completely surprised. I love the story, the mystery, the characters and their witty banter.

Our main character is Jesse Thorpe. Jesse is many things. He is a carpenter, a bass player in a local band, a fly fisherman, and a private investigator. He seems to stay busy. Jesse has lots of friends and a likable personality. Jesse is someone I would be friends with.

Jesse’s fishing vacation is cut short by a plea for help from Cynthia Dumais. Cynthia needs Jesse to pick her up and locate who killed the Governor of Maine, William Lavoilette.  Jesse agrees to do this task, putting himself in physical and professional danger. Cynthia is nice enough. She is a real estate agent. However, Jesse ends up with three clients who all want the same thing, him to find who murdered the Governor. Jesse must go through the list of the Governor’s mistresses. There had to be a cliché, why not use the politician? I actually thought this was a great resource to use.

My favorite character though was Angele Boucher. I loved her wit, confidence, her ability to go with the punches. She is extremely verbal about her needs, wants and wishes. She works for a law firm and has a professional side, yet she still cracks jokes and shows her feminine side. She and Jesse have a fun, wonderful relationship.

I believe this will become one of my top mystery series. I loved the noir references and the old school sayings. The portrayal of Maine and its personalities. I loved the femme de fatale references and the way the truth came out. Jesse and his gang of friends are smart and brave. I loved the red herrings, especially the way his friends made bets on who the murderer was.

My rating for this book is 4 stars.

If you love good honest mysteries, check out this series: Jesse Thorpe Mysteries by Carl Schmidt. The second book is A Priestly Affair is now available.

**Where to find Dead Down East **

** Goodreads **

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

four-stars

About Carl Schmidt

Carl Schmidt graduated from Denver University with a degree in mathematics and physics. As a Woodrow Wilson Fellow he studied mathematics at Brown University.

Carl lived and traveled widely throughout Asia for seven years, including two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and five years in Japan, where he taught English.

Carl has spent dozens of summers in Maine, on lakes and in the woods. He chose it as the setting for this novel because he loves its rugged natural beauty and the charming idiosyncrasies of Mainers. He has also written and recorded three musical albums. This, along with his formal education, proved invaluable when molding the persona and voice of Jesse Thorpe, the narrator of Dead Down East, and endowing him with both a creative eye for detail and a sense of humor.

Dead Down East is the first novel in the Jesse Thorpe Mystery Series, which includes A Priestly Affair and Redbone. In 2001, New Falcon Press published his non-fictional book, A Recipe for Bliss: Kriya Yoga for a New Millennium.

Currently, he is a freelance writer living in Sedona, Arizona with his lovely wife, Holly, and their faithful German shorthaired pointer, Alize.


Kings or Pawns by J. J. Sherwood

Posted April 15, 2017 by karenbaron in Elves, Fantasy, Fiction, Magic, Review, Series / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Kings or Pawns by J. J. SherwoodKings or Pawns by J.J. Sherwood
Series: Steps of Power: The Kings #1
Published by Silver Helm on July 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Pages: 383
Format: ebook
three-stars

Aersadore: a world of magic and intrigue, elves and demons, dragons and gods. Millennia of magic, war, and legends have shaped a complex past and an unstable future. Now the shift in power ripples outward yet again, promising intrigue, action, and adventure for those swept up in the conflict. And even more so for those who dare to shape it.

8,994 P.E. The elven city of Elvorium has become corrupted to the core by politics. With his father dead and The Royal Schism at his back, Prince Hairem becomes the king of the elven world on Sevrigel. Young and daring, Hairem is determined to undo the council's power, but quickly finds his loyal council members brutally murdered by an assassin loosed within the city.

As corruption and death threaten to tear the city apart from within, the warlord Saebellus threatens the city from without, laying siege to Sevrigel's eastern capital. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem finds himself in a dangerous political balance between peace and all out war.

Kings or Pawns. Kings or Pawns? This was much like reading a Tolkien book. There are lots of characters, lots of subplots, an extremely bad guy (or is he?), the good guys, who aren’t so white hat good, as each has their own agenda. Yes, there is drama, mystery, romance and lots of intrigue.

My favorite character is Jikun. Jikun is from Darival, the northern part of the kingdom.  He wields the magic of ice and water. Jikun is General of Sevrigel’s army. He is extremely knowledgeable of strategy and battlefield tactics, all things that make a good general. However, what I liked the most is that he is honest about not abiding by their regime, his use of prostitutes (against the law), and for the most part his opinion of the council and citizens of Elvorium which he doesn’t mind voicing in front of them. Jikun would like to return to Darival, but he is honor bound to finish the war with Saebellus. He is strong and yet he has flaws. He is loyal to the few friends that he has. What Jikun’s role in the next book will be, I don’t know. Hopefully, he will be back.

I think my least favorite character is Nilanis. He is the head of the counsel and he controls the ports. He is a widow with grown children. He dotes on his daughter, Ilsevel. While he seems to be a good father to her, you don’t really hear much about his other children. Nilanis has much wealth and way too much power. He spends way too much money and makes sure everyone knows how wealthy he is. Nilanis has no morals that I could see. He does whatever has to be done to maintain his wealth and way of life, at the cost of anything and apparently everyone.

I enjoyed the story. The settings were fabulous, I could completely see the cities, forests, and lands all clearly as I was reading. As with a Tolkien book it sort of drags on with so many details. I have to say I knew something was off about two-thirds of the way through but the ending was “Wow!” I didn’t see that specifically happening. The title of the book says more than you would think about the story. Are they Kings or Pawns? Is there power being a king or are just the counsel’s pawn?

Even though I enjoyed the book, my mind wandered at times. Therefore my rating will be 3 stars. It took me quite a while to complete it, but I am glad that I did. There is a second book available Heroes and Thieves. Make sure you check this series out, especially if you like Tolkien.

**Where to find Kings or Pawns **

** Goodreads **

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

three-stars

About J.J. Sherwood

On a cold winter night, wind howling into the desert sky, one ordinary hospital gave witness to a historic event. JJ Sherwood was born at 2:30 a.m. on December 31st, just barely managing to squeeze in to supplant New Year’s Eve. JJ has always had a flair for the dramatics.

Sherwood began writing in the womb after a harrowing incident in which Mother Sherwood swallowed a pen—and thus, destiny was born. JJ’s first work was completed by the age of 5: a riveting tale of a duck attempting to climb into an apartment during the pouring rain. Unfortunately this book is not in print, but it served as the first spark that spurred on a lifetime of creativity.

Much of JJ’s childhood was spent tearing through the woods, playing out fantasy worlds, and tying Barbie to the roof so that the Power Rangers might rescue her. Middle and high school carried on this roleplaying, while college encompassed creating and refining over 250 characters in the world of Aersadore.


Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich

Posted March 1, 2017 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Comedy, Cozy, Fiction, Mystery, Review, Romance, Series, Womens Fiction / 0 Comments

Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet EvanovichTricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich
Series: Stephanie Plum #22
Published by Bantam on November 17th 2015
Genres: Chick Lit, Fiction, Humor, Mystery, Women's Fiction
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
five-stars

Something big is brewing in Trenton, N.J., and it could blow at any minute.
Stephanie Plum might not be the world's greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she's being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren't adding up, and Stephanie can't shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college - and it's not just Zeta fraternity pranks.
As much as people love Gobbles, they hate Doug Linken. When Linken is gunned down in his backyard it's good riddance, and the list of possible murder suspects is long. The only people who care about finding Linken's killer are Trenton cop Joe Morelli, who has been assigned the case, security expert Ranger, who was hired to protect Linken, and Stephanie, who has her eye on a cash prize and hopefully has some tricks up her sleeve.

My take on this book:

Wow! Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich is a great, no excellent book. Stephanie Plum is still going after her FTA’s but Ranger needs her help with a security job that doesn’t really go as planned. Then again it could just be that nothing seems to go right when either Ranger or Morelli have Stephanie as part of their plan. Like all the Stephanie Plum’s books, this one still has the mystery with it that will keep you guessing on who the killer is. This time I thought it was a different person than with who actually did it and it didn’t help that one of my suspects turns up dead.

Main Character

The main character, of course, is Stephanie Plum. No matter what I will forever love the way Janet Evanovich has written her. What I like about Stephanie is that she tries to be a good person especially in her mom’s eyes but she also likes to be different. I really like how she tries to act like this tough bond enforcement when she is with Ranger but it just doesn’t always work when she is by herself. Like it happened in this book when she needed Ranger’s help getting her FTA. What I dislike about Stephanie is that she can’t tell her mom that she doesn’t want to be a housewife. However, she really wants to be married. Yet, to who? Ranger or Morelli, I think it is Morelli that she really likes him. I also don’t like how when she has Grandma Mazur and Lula are in any of Stephanie’s cars that she doesn’t lock the doors (would so totally lock their doors).

Secondary Characters

The second character in this book that I like is Lula. What I like about this character is that even though she isn’t a supermodel, Lula doesn’t care and wears whatever she wants especially with her ‘ho clothes that she has kept. So technically this is all of them. I also like that she tries to assist Stephanie in catching the FTAs. What I dislike about Lula is that she has this problem about thinking that she has these special powers or something that gets kind of annoying. No matter what it is though she is, she will make you laugh. Also, Lula is a bit too graphic and she knows that Stephanie doesn’t want to hear it.

My favorite supporting character would have to be Grandma Mazur especially when she is with Lula. Grandma Mazur is a funny character that is a pain in the butt for her daughter, Stephanie’s mom, and for Stephanie as well. She is especially humorous when she is out with Stephanie on a job.

Things that make it worth reading

One of the things that I love about these books is Janet Evanovich’s ability to transport us to Trent, NJ. It is so real to me and I couldn’t think of another place for Stephanie to live. Another thing I love is that the story moves me but the mystery keeps me guessing throughout and it’s just also full of humor as well.

Here is my warning, though, when you read any Stephanie Plum book you need to eat beforehand, otherwise, you will find yourself stumbling to the kitchen looking for food with your book in your hand.

And my rating for Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich is: Five Stars

Tricky Twenty-Two is an excellent book. I am giving it five butterflies because I love this book. I was so entertained that I didn’t want to put it down at all. The mystery was awesome and one that kept me guessing and stumped at some points. I was stumped but not so much that I want to stop reading the book. Janet Evanovich is an awesome writer and I can’t wait to read more of her books.

Anyways until next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

Baroness’ Book Trove

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five-stars

About Janet Evanovich

Janet’s Bio (quoted from her website)

When I was a kid I spent a lot of time in LaLa Land. La la Land is like an out-of-body experience –while your mouth is eating lunch your mind is conversing with Captain Kirk. Sometimes I’d pretend to sing opera. My mother would send me to the grocery store down the street, and off I’d go, caterwauling at the top of my lungs. Before the opera thing I went through a horse stage where I galloped everywhere and made holes in my Aunt Lena’s lawn with my hooves. Aunt Lena was a good egg. She understood that the realities of daily existence were lost in the shadows of my looney imagination.After graduation from South River High School, I spent four years in the Douglass College art department, honing my ability to wear torn Levis, learning to transfer cerebral excitement to primed canvas. Painting beat the heck out of digging holes in lawns, but it never felt exactly right. It was frustrating at best, excruciating at worst. My audience was too small. Communication was too obscure. I developed a rash from pigment.

Somewhere down the line I started writing stories. The first story was about the pornographic adventures of a fairy who lived in a second rate fairy forest in Pennsylvania. The second story was about …well never mind, you get the picture.

I sent my weird stories out to editors and agents and collected rejection letters in a big cardboard box. When the box was full I burned the whole damn thing, crammed myself into pantyhose and went to work for a temp agency.

Four months into my less than stellar secretarial career, I got a call from an editor offering to buy my last mailed (and heretofore forgotten) manuscript. It was a romance written for the now defunct Second Chance at Love line, and I was paid a staggering $2,000.

With my head reeling from all this money, I plunged into writing romance novels full time, saying good-by, good riddance to pantyhose and office politics. I wrote series romance for the next five years, mostly for Bantam Loveswept. It was a rewarding experience, but after twelve romance novels I ran out of sexual positions and decided to move into the mystery genre.

I spent two years retooling –drinking beer with law enforcement types, learning to shoot, practicing cussing. At the end of those years I created Stephanie Plum. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Stephanie is an autobiographical character, but I will admit to knowing where she lives.

It turns out I’m a really boring workaholic with no hobbies or special interests. My favorite exercise is shopping and my drug of choice is Cheeze Doodles.

I read comic books and I only watch happy movies. I motivate myself to write by spending my money before I make it. And when I grow up I want to be just like Grandma Mazur.


Indiana Belle by John A. Heldt

Posted February 21, 2017 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Adventure, Fiction, Review, Romance, Science Fiction, Series, Time Travel / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Indiana Belle by John A. HeldtIndiana Belle by John A. Heldt
Series: American Journey #3
on April 14th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Romance
Pages: 406
Format: Kindle
five-stars

Providence, Rhode Island, 2017. When doctoral student Cameron Coelho, 28, opens a package from Indiana, he finds more than private papers that will help him with his dissertation. He finds a photograph of a beautiful society editor murdered in 1925 and clues to a century-old mystery. Within days, he meets Geoffrey Bell, the "time-travel professor," and begins an unlikely journey through the Roaring Twenties. Filled with history, romance, and intrigue, INDIANA BELLE follows a lonely soul on the adventure of a lifetime as he searches for love and answers in the age of Prohibition, flappers, and jazz.

My take on this book:              First off I am so terribly sorry for this very late review on this book. I am very glad once again for Mr. Heldt for asking me to read and review this book. This book has three different third person point of view chapters scattered throughout the book.

The main character is Cameron Coelho. He is a twenty-eight-year-old doctoral student who is working on his dissertation of the Mid-West during the Roaring Twenties. What I like about him is that despite being a very rich young man he acts like a normal college student trying to finish his degree. I also like how he tries to keep his promise to Geoffrey and himself. Cameron overall is a great and wonderful guy who tries to be a good person despite the trouble that finds him in 1925.

What I like about him is that despite being a very rich young man he acts like a normal college student trying to finish his degree. I also like how he tries to keep his promise to Geoffrey and himself. Cameron overall is a great and wonderful guy who tries to be a good person despite the trouble that finds him in 1925.

What I don’t like about Cameron Coelho is that he can be a bit too overprotective especially of Candice once they get together. I don’t know if you call this a dislike but I kind of found it strange that he fell in love with Candice without meeting her in person. This is truly a minor issue for this character, though, as Mr. Heldt has written him so well that he is very three dimensional in my honest opinion.

The second character is Candice Bell. She is a twenty-five-year-old society writer that lives in 1925 Evansville, Indiana. What I like about Miss Bell is that she has many sides to her that even we, the readers, don’t know all of them. We see her Mid-Western hospitality, the way that she acts as if she can do no wrong in front of her mother, along with how she acts tough when following a lead for a story, she is very stubborn when she is trying to do something that she knows is the right thing to do, and among many others. Candice Bell, in my humble opinion, is much like most women back then would have been. Reading about her is like being able to have a sneak peek into their lives back then. What else I liked about Candice is that she seemed to keep Cameron guessing since the first time they meet face to face.

What I like about Miss Bell is that she has many sides to her that even we, the readers, don’t know all of them. We see her Mid-Western hospitality, the way that she acts as if she can do no wrong in front of her mother, along with how she acts tough when following a lead for a story, she is very stubborn when she is trying to do something that she knows is the right thing to do, and among many others. Candice Bell, in my humble opinion, is much like most women back then would have been. Reading about her is like being able to have a sneak peek into their lives back then. What else I liked about Candice is that she seemed to keep Cameron guessing since the first time they meet face to face.

What I dislike about her is the fact that she was writing articles that were putting her in danger. I know that is something that she loves to do but I just can’t believe that she did that. She should have been thinking about might happen if she exposed these secrets, she might get herself into trouble. I also dislike that she couldn’t see who was one of the ringleaders, that she was trying to put away. Good thing that Cameron helped save her.

For the antagonist, I am still having a hard time deciding. At first, I thought it was time itself seeing as how Cameron is from the year 2017 while Candice is from 1925. Then I thought Geoffrey as I remembered that he told Cameron to not save Candice since she was supposed to die in 1925 so his great-great-great grandparents could meet. Seeing as Geoffrey is Candice’s cousin. However, what I liked about Geoffrey is that he is very cautious regarding information about his time machine and who he allowed to use it. I also liked how he willingly helped Cameron.

What I disliked is that he made Cameron promise him to not get involved with Candice. Another thing I disliked about him is that he wanted to be kept in the loop on almost everything that was going on with Cameron in Indiana.

What moved me about this story is Cameron’s determination to save Candice despite Geoffrey telling him not to. I totally loved the settings and the time travel. I felt like I was transported there through his words so I could be there with the characters. My favorite supporting character I think would have to be Geoffrey’s wife. Mostly because she is extremely observant and sees things that no one else does.

Indiana Belle by John A. Heldt is an amazing book. I am giving this book a five star rating since I couldn’t stop thinking about it at all. In my mind, Mr. Heldt is a fantastic writer that can take you to place you never imagined. I also like his way of time travel as it is different than what we are used to seeing/reading about. This is the second book by him that I have read and I can’t wait to read his other books.

Anyways until next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

Baroness’ Book Trove.

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five-stars

About John A. Heldt

John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction.