Sunday, July 3, 2016

Guest Post: Lena North author of Runes of Fate

Guest Post: Lena North

Two Italian cab drivers
I'm spending time in northern Italy every now and then, and it's a beautiful area. The food is amazing, the people friendly, and it seems like there are pieces of history and culture around every corner. Then a while back, I got the idea to learn how to speak Italian. I speak some French and a few words of Spanish, so it should not be too difficult, right?
It turns out I was wrong. I studied diligently, with the help of a language course, complete with textbook and audio. I repeated phrases over and over as I drove my kids around, and did all the exercises in the book. When it felt like I had learned quite a bit, I optimistically decided that it was time to try out my newly developed skills. And what could be better than practicing on the cab driver picking me up at the airport in Bologna?
Not wasting any time, I started talking immediately and chatted away as we moved along the highway. I asked the man about our surroundings, commented on the weather and talked happily about the things I was about to do on my visit. It seemed like our speed was increasing even beyond the neck breaking speed that is mandatory to any taxi in Italy, but I just buckled up and continued talking. The driver wasn't very talkative. His responses were mostly inarticulate grunts or shrugs, and eventually, I ran out of topics that I felt confident to talk about in Italian. When I made a small pause, the driver cleared his throat and said, almost apologetically, in English and with a thick accent, "I'm sorry... I don't speak Spanish."
We were mostly silent for the rest of that trip.
A few days later, I got into another taxi, and this time, the driver was a young man. He was quite chatty and spoke excellent English. Since this is not always the case, I naturally complimented him on his language skills. I could see that this pleased him, and he thanked me profusely as he expertly weaved his car through the traffic. Then he added, almost as an afterthought, that things were changing in Italy, and concluded, "...but it's difficult for the older people. If you meet someone who's 40-45, they will not be able to speak English..."
Let's just say that the lady who quickly realized that she was, in fact, a year older than "the older people" didn't give the younger people huge tips that day.

Runes of Fate by Lena North

Date of Publication: June 24, 2016


It's the annual midwinter gathering, and Sissa Raudulfsdatter is locked into a shed – bound, gagged and waiting to be led out to the altar where she will be sacrificed.
There has never been any human sacrifice in the village before, but this year Jarl Ingolf decided that the gods require one to give their good graces back.
Sissa is determined to face her fate with dignity and courage but as she waits for them to bring her out to the altar, the herbs her mother has put in her final meal makes her dizzy and finally, she faints.
The morning after the sacrifice she wakes up, still alive and still in the shed. After shouting for help, Sissa's brother opens the door, but he's shocked to see her because they all thought Sissa was killed the evening before. It's soon discovered that another girl was sacrificed instead. The village is in uproar and Jarl Ingolf, who performed the sacrifice himself, is devastated.
The Jarl's brother, Einarr, is given the task to find out what has happened and because of her ability to figure things out, and since she's the only one clearly innocent, he asks Sissa to help him. One of the suspects is Einarr's only son Josteinn, the boy Sissa has had her eyes on her whole life, but there are others who could be guilty, and as Sissa and Einarr learn more, things start to become dangerous.
When Josteinn starts to pay her attention, Sissa has to decide how she wants to live her life. Can she be content living her life in the village as Josteinn's thrall, his property? Or have the gods carved different runes of fate into the roots of Yggdrasil for her?

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About Lena North

The proper way to put it here would probably be to describe how I love to play with our two big dogs, adore my fantastic daughters and how much I love to read.
Another way would be to use my imagination and then I would be a super powerful warrior woman, think Xena the warrior princess (though with less tacky clothes). Or when I think of it, maybe I'm actually more of a Hercule Poirot (sans the suit and moustache). Or maybe I'm like Aragorn, strong and cool and then I might get to meet Gandalf! Or I could be Bella's pretty cousin and snap Jacob up in a second (yeah, I'm so not team Edward), or wait, maybe I could be like one of them heroines in historical novels who swoon all the time. I've always wanted to swoon…
Well, I guess you get how my mind is working (or not working, some say). Anyways, I like to write. Stories, adventures, romantic and happy stuff mixed up with sorrow and hardship, and bit of laughter here and there because the way I see it – life is way too short to go around feeling grumpy.

Find Lena North Online


My mind had become a bit fuzzy, and it felt like my head was spinning slowly. I wondered if my mother had put something in my last meal to make this easier for me. It wasn't allowed, and it was a risk I hadn't expected her to take, but I was grateful. The chanting from the area around the hastily erected altar was increasing in strength, and I'd promised myself that I would be strong. I would hold my head up, and since I had no choice, I might as well finish my life with dignity. That had been my plan.
As it turned out, this was easy to plan, but when it actually happened, I was scared out of my mind. I sat with my back pressed against the wall and my knees bent so I could lean my forehead on them. I had pulled my arms up so that they covered my ears. I whimpered softly and I refused to look at the hood they would put over my head before bringing me out to the altar.
"Things have changed, in a way I never expected, but now I have to plan for what to do. It can not come as a surprise to you that I want my son to be the next Jarl under the current circumstances. I never wished for Heidrun's death, and Steinar is a good man, but Josteinn is too."
Einarr stopped talking and I looked down at the snow on the ground. I didn't know what to say, and I didn't want to hear about his plans and ambitions. He was a hard man, and I knew that he could be as ruthless as Jarl Ingolf but in a different way. When he spoke next, he surprised me.
"I am not without honor, Sissa. I want my son to be Jarl but he needs to become Jarl the right way. It should be because he's strong and clever, not because he arranged to have his cousin killed. If you find that Joss was involved, then all I ask is that you tell me first. Let me deal with my son myself."
I turned toward him, too astonished to even speak, and I felt my eyes widen slowly as we looked at one another. He had a soft look on his face that I wondered if he ever showed anyone.
"Mother..." I started and trailed off until she looked at me. "I worry about how Disa died."
I had decided to not even try to hide what I suspected from her because I knew that it would anyway not have worked. Mother had always been able to see right through me.
"Sissa," she sighed but I interrupted her.
"The marks on her cheek and neck, Mother. I looked at them when I had washed her, brought light over to see better. Three marks," I whispered.
I put my thumb and little finger together and raised my hand with my palm facing her. She stared at me as I slowly turned the hand and moved it so that my three fingers were in the same spots as Disa's bruises. Then I unfolded my thumb, twisted it slowly around my chin and pushed my mouth open, pretending to use force to do it. I watched as she understood and her mouth fell open.
"What herbs could have been used?" I whispered, and I had leaned forward so that I spoke directly into her ear. Our walls were thin and I didn't want anyone to overhear, not even my father or brothers.
"Sissa," she said again and then she clenched her jaws together, but I could see that she was thinking it through. We sat in silence for a while and then she raised her eyes to me. There were tears in them, and she looked utterly and completely undone.
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EskieMama Reads Review: Navy SEAL Seduction by Bonnie Vanak

Navy SEAL Seduction
by Bonnie Vanak


A Navy SEAL takes on a death-defying assignment to save the one who got away…
With the island nation of St. Marc erupting in civil war, SEAL Jarrett Adler must rescue the woman he never got over—his alluring ex-wife, Lacey. Jarrett regrets failing her as a husband, and he hopes protecting her will offer a second chance to win her trust.
As charming and sexy as Jarrett still is, Lacey knows he won’t stick around. She's found her niche in non-profit work and longs to create a family of her own. But when death threats and bombs arrive at her door, she turns to the man who still holds her heart. Can Jarrett and Lacey navigate their way home – and back into each other’s arms?

Review:                            5 Stars
On about Seals, wow, wish I could find one, a perfect Alpha yet loving and caring, SEAL Jarrett Adler must rescue the woman he never got over—ex-wife, Lacey. Jarrett regrets failing her as a husband, and he hopes protecting her will offer a second chance to win her trust.
The adventure to rescue Lacey is a great story, the twist and turns taken me on adventure of a lifetime, I will look forward to reading the other books in this series.
I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review!
Reviewed by Jara

Happy Reading!!!

EskieMama Reads Review: Under Your Skin by Shannyn Schroeder

Under Your Skin
by Shannyn Schroeder


Blood Is Thicker Than Ink. . . 

Norah O'Malley has been alone for a long time. It's been ten years since her father and four brothers shipped her off to be raised by her aunt. Seven months since she's seen the guy who got her pregnant--who still doesn't know. And it's two weeks since she came home to Chicago and discovered none of her family wants to talk--or listen. 

She never expected to walk into a tattoo shop seven months pregnant and get her socks knocked off by instant attraction. She can't even see her socks. But Kai Ellis is big and gruff and sexy as hell, and if he has a past, well, so does she. Even more, Kai knows how to listen so that Norah feels just a little less alone . . . 

All the chemistry in the world can't help Norah make her decisions. And no sizzle of desire will make Kai believe in happy endings. But a little time with someone who understands might just change everything . . .

Review:                             4 Stars

This book was a delight to read, at first I wasn’t for sure if I was going to like it especially being a single mom in my early 20’s & never thought once about giving any of my kids up. But the more I read the more I understood Norah’s decision, at first I was like really (sarcastically) especially how Norah wasn’t upset when she gave birth to her child & handed it over to her adoptive parents but later I was truly feeling for her.  The way she went after Kai had me yelling go girl, & Kai don’t even get me started on him I was really really liking him & then he did his crap I just wanted to go through the book & wring his neck, shake some sense into him & tell him your past is your past.  Kai’s mother Lani, she was a hoot, any girl would want her for mother of her boyfriend, she had me in stitches. If you are looking for a fast pace romance then this isn’t it, Under Your Skin was a slow pace romance, with Kai fighting his feelings for Norah all the way.

I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review!

Reviewed by Mel

Happy Reading!!!

EskieMama Reads Review: Inseverable by Cecy Robson

by Cecy Robson


How can you imagine forever with someone who's leaving everything behind?

Callahan, a former army sniper, wants to make an escape from his past and everything he experienced at war, but most of all, just not feel. Feeling leads to pain and he’s suffered enough. When he inherits a house on South Carolina’s Kiawah Island, he packs his bags, lured by the peace and seclusion he thinks it will bring. But, Callahan never counted on meeting anyone like Trinity . . .

Trinity has always been the cute, and funny one, who most guys overlook in pursuit of her "hot" friends. She became used to being everyone’s pal, until the day the young man she was attracted to, was drawn to her in return. He became her first great love, and first crushing heartbreak when she found him in bed with one of her closest friends.

To move forward, and to carry out her commitment to helping those in need, Trinity enlists in the Peace Corps, but not before returning to Kiawah for one last memorable summer. She just never imagined it would be so unforgettable.

Callahan doesn’t want to get close to anyone—let alone Trinity. He finds her perkiness insufferable and her attempts to entice a smile distracting. After all, he’s in Kiawah to leave all feelings behind. But when it comes to Trinity, who feels everything, it's hard not to feel something.

Neither expected to fall in love. And no one could have predicted how inseverable they’d become.

Review:                                4 Stars

Inseverable had a little of everything I like in a good romance book, a small community feel, nosy but caring friends, a sexy military man, laughs & a few tears.  At first I really didn’t like the character Trinity she was too dang perky, happy go lucky, friendly person but after a few chapters I finally started liking her, & realized that is exactly the type of personality in a female Callahan needed to get him out of his shell.  I loved how Cecy gradually made the love slowly grow it wasn’t love at first sight, more like annoyance at first sight when it came to Callahan with Trinity, but slowly became more. What a great beach or vacation read Inseverable would be hint hint.

I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review!

Reviewed by Mel

Happy Reading!!!

EskieMama Reads Review: Bad Boys After Dark: Mick by Melissa Foster

Bad Boys After Dark: Mick
by Melissa Foster


Indulge your inner vixen... 

Meet the Bad Boys... Four sinfully sexy, fiercely loyal, uber alpha brothers about to fall head over heels for their leading ladies. If dirty talk, cursing, or raw, passionate sex turns you off, the After Dark books are not for you, because everything's naughtier after dark.

Amanda Jenner is done being a boring-man magnet and has finally taken control of her love life. As any smart paralegal would, she's researched the hell out of how to seduce a man. She's waxed, primped, and ready to put her newfound skills into action--and a masquerade bar crawl is the perfect venue for her solo coming-out party.

Entertainment attorney Mick Bad lives by two hard and fast rules. He never mixes business with pleasure, and he doesn't do relationships, which makes the anonymity of a masquerade bar crawl the perfect place for a onetime hookup.

Amanda thinks she's hit the jackpot when she bags a tall, dark, and sinfully delicious masked man--until she discovers the man she's made out with is her off-limits boss. Mick's already crossed a line he can never uncross, and one taste of sweet and sexy Amanda has only whet his appetite. When Mick offers to give Amanda a lesson in seduction--no strings, no regrets, and for goodness' sake, come Monday, no quitting--the tables turn, and Mick's totally unprepared for the lessons this sweet temptress provides.

Review:                               5 Stars

Wow when I thought Melissa Foster’s books couldn’t get any hotter was I mistaken. Bad Boys: Mick made the heat chart a 20 out of a rating of 1-10, it was so amazingly stunning HOT.  Mick is my new book boyfriend, dang what a man he was, for not wanting to do relationships he sure gave Amanda a very hot amazing weekend, & fighting those feelings he has had for 3 years now since Amanda has been working for him as a paralegal. Mick just made me keep shaking my head saying c’mon Mick tell her how you truly felt.  Amanda just brought out the Mick he didn’t think he could be opening his heart when he has had it closed since his sister Lorelei died when he was 14. The chemistry those two had was out of this world, & I loved how the little temptress Amanda could bring Mick to his knee without even knowing she could. I can’t wait to read about the other Bad Brothers, if Melissa can make them any hotter than Mick I will be amazed. If you are looking for a steamy romance, I recommend you pick up Bad Boy: Mick but be warned do not read it while your significant other is away because you will be regretting it or finding “BOB”, I know my husband loved the reward of reading Bad Boy: Mick.

I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review!

Reviewed by Mel

Happy Reading!!!

EskieMama Reads Review: Driven to Temptation by Melia Alexander

Driven to Temptation 
by Melia Alexander 


Aidan Ross might be an engineering genius, but people skills? Not this soldier’s forte. Thankfully, a trusted friend is accompanying him to a make-or-break tradeshow…but then a bubbly redhead hops into his truck, claiming to be his new road trip buddy. She’s a gorgeous distraction he can’t afford. Or ignore.

Delaney Harper comes from a family of engineers—male engineers. With several impressive projects under her belt, she’s on a mission to prove she can hang with the big boys, too. But cracking the sexy, closed-off CEO is tougher than she expects…and hotter than she could have imagined. 

With the tempting woman disrupting his carefully planned schedule, Aidan can’t focus on the road, much less their upcoming presentation. The future of his company is riding on this trip, and if they’re to land a huge account, he has to keep his head—and his heart—in the game…

Review:                           4 Stars

Driven by Temptation was a cute relaxing read. I fell in love with the character Delaney, she is the type of woman I try to instill into my daughter,  you can do anything a man can do and better. And that is exactly what Delaney does, she is in a career that is dominated by men, especially all the men in her family all engineers, she has something to prove that she doesn’t have to be like all the women in her family,  take care of her husband, kids & house while the man of the house is the best engineer he can be, she can be the best engineer & make it in a man’s world.  Aiden is  genius engineer but interacting with people he was known as the Ice King, until Delaney entered the picture, Ice King started to dethaw. I loved the interaction between Delaney & Aiden it had me giggling & a few times had me shaking my head at Aiden. If you are looking for quick beach read or vacation read I recommend you pick up a copy of Driven to Temptation.

I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review!

Reviewed by Mel

Happy Reading!!!

EskieMama Reads Review: A Summer to Remember by Marilyn Pappano

A Summer to Remember 
by Marilyn Pappano



It's been a long time since widow Fia Thomas felt the spark of physical attraction. But from the moment she meets Elliot Ross one stormy night, she yearns for a fresh start, for him to make her feel whole and well again. With his broad shoulders and a warm smile crinkling his dark eyes, he could finally offer her the solace she's been seeking. And she's willing to give him anything in return . . . except a promise that could break his heart.

Now that Elliot is out of the Army, he's looking for a place to call home. Tallgrass was just a stop to stretch his legs, yet one look at Fia halts him in his tracks. In her sweet, sassy company, he finds the soul mate he never thought he'd have. But Fia is holding something back-something that keeps her from making any plans. Elliot's new mission: gain Fia's trust...and convince her that summer's end can mean a new beginning.

Review:                                 5 stars

A lovely sweet love story, a story also showing what happens to woman that had losses due to war and how they deal with it. Elliot and Fia, two strong and loving people, Fia is overcoming the loss of her husband, the feeling her parents that thought her worthless, she has the help of her close friends, all woman who also had losses. Fia is also struggling with her health and here comes in a dashing young man who falls in love her and plans to stick around for the whole 9 yards. Despite her not telling him everything they manage to overcome things. Loved the story line and the characters.

I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review!

Reviewed by Jara.

Happy Reading!!!

EskieMama Reads Review: A Bodyguard of Lies by Donna Del Oro

A Bodyguard of Lies 
by Donna Del Oro


An FBI agent hunts for an infamous Nazi spy--and risks more than he bargained for.

Handsome FBI agent Jake Bernstein is recruited by MI5 to go undercover in England and Ireland and investigate a naturalized American grandmother. His task: Discover if she was the notorious Nazi spy, Hummingbird, who caused the deaths of thousands during World War II. His obstacles: A dangerous, Irish neo-Nazi organization, the woman’s lovely blond granddaughter, and sixty years’ worth of lies. His priority: Stay alive!

Review:                            5 Stars

This book evoked many memories for me, of things my Mother told me she had gone through WWII, stories that made me cry and try to understand what is in the heart of men. 
Yes the book evoked memories of atrocities committed during the war and War is hell, no matter which war, the ones in the past and the ones now, War is hell on everyone.
The Author wove a wonderful story of many people involved in this story, moving through time in the past where Clare Eberhard/Mary McCoy/Snider and her lover/handler begin their story, Death and treason is the begining. 
In the present Jake Bernstein FBI get involved with MI5 and agencies here in the States, they all want Mary who is now a Grandmother and is suspect. Jake joins them on a tour through England Wales and Ireland with the sole purpose of uncovering the truth, and as fate would have it falls in love with her Granddaughter Meg. 
The twists in the story are great and I would say could have happened, the world of spies and war is never changing, just the times. Wont say much more as I do not want to ruin the book for others.
I am glad I read the book to the end, well I had to, the Author wove a wonderful story, that I loved.

I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review!

Reviewed by Jara.

Happy Reading!!!

EskieMama Reads Review: A Midsummer Night's Fling by Eliza Walker

A Midsummer Night's Fling
by Eliza Walker


“A magical, joyful, delightful, sexy contemporary romance by a new star in the making!” — New York Times bestselling author, Marie Force

The show must go on, but the price of admission could be her heart.

Sick of her vagabond life in a Broadway touring company, Nicola is ready to settle down. She wants nothing more than to park her suitcase in California, put out feelers for local auditions, and leave her past firmly behind her.

Too bad her past comes knocking on her door her first day home. All six-foot-three, beautiful man of her past named Max. Stupid Max. The mistake Nicola just can’t seem to stop making.

Even before Nicola—fiery, quick-witted, beautiful Nicola—slams the door in his face, Max is in trouble. She will always be the one who got away. Three times. Which makes convincing her to play Titania to his Oberon a bit…awkward.

Though she has zero desire to re-re-rekindle an old flame, Nicola can’t turn down the chance Max is offering: a lead role with the West Coast’s premiere Shakespeare company. But when their first rehearsal kiss disintegrates into a passionate liplock, she’s questioning her sanity and tempted to jump ship—before Max can break her heart again.

Now it’s up to Max to convince her that the torch he’s been carrying is actually an eternal flame.

Review:                                5 Stars

A delightful story of lost love and found again, the twist and turns would do Shakespeare proud. I loved the light hearted story.

I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

Reviewed by Jara

Happy Reading!!!