Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend 2017 Recap

Candy and I (Amy) attended the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend in Milwaukee in April 2017 and had such a great time! Candy recaps the event below…

Candy and Amy with their Veytini’s – the official drink of BVW2017!

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Candy with Sharon Sala

Ever since attending the inaugural Penned Con in 2014, Amy and I have kept an eye out for another Midwestern event.  Last summer Amy suggested that we go to the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend  (BVW for short), an event she had been to before.  I agreed not really knowing anything about the convention.

The unique aspect of BVW is that you buy tickets to have lunch and/or breakfast with an author.  The tables are kept to seven readers at each table so you can really interact with the author of your choice. Tickets go extremely fast, especially for the more well known authors.  Amy and I planned out who we wanted to sit with and then anxiously stayed up until after midnight on the release day to purchase our tickets.  We were both lucky enough to get the authors we wanted for both lunch and dinner.

Even though my job requires that I interact with strangers all day long, as an introvert the idea of a huge event makes me nervous.  Amy and I even picked different authors so there was an added layer of apprehension knowing I would need surrounded by people I didn’t know. Before I let my anxiety get the best of me, I reminded myself that I would most likely be seated with fellow introverts and the most important thing of all is that we were all bookworms.

Candy with Alyssa Day

Friday we arrived early enough to attend the Q & A session. This was an introduction to all of the authors in attendance, a lot of whom I didn’t know. Vey and her amazing volunteers provided a handy list of the authors with space to make notes, which I thought was a nice touch.

For lunch on Saturday, I had a ticket to sit at Sharon Sala’s table.  I have been reading Sala for years and was downright giddy that I would be sitting at her table. I just hoped I didn’t fan girl too much. Sharon was a delight to meet. She asked about our everyday lives and the conversation at the table ranged from her early days in publishing to Native American folklore.  Sharon was a very warm and gracious hostess and I definitely won’t forget meeting her.

One of the things I didn’t really comprehend about the event was the tables. I figured we would get a book from the author and that would be it. Oh no! These authors went all out with elaborate themes and numerous gifts for their readers  (Sharon had a baking theme to tie in with her current series).

Amy with Skye Jordan

Following the lunch, there was a book signing session with all of the authors. One of the things you have to do at a signing of this size is  to formulate a plan on who you want autographs from. I made sure to visit Skye Jordan, Kimberly Kincaid, Helen Kay Dimon , and Sharon Hamilton. All four authors were awesome and each spent several minutes talking with me before moving on to the next reader.

The final event of the weekend was the breakfast.  I had tickets to sit with Alyssa Day, another author that I had been reading for years. Alyssa greeted everyone at her table with a hug as if we had all been friends for years. Alyssa has a great sense of humor and was very sweet. This is another meeting that I won’t forget either.

If you ever have a chance to go to a convention, I would highly recommend it. There is nothing like meeting your favorite authors or being surrounded by fellow bookworms who understand your passion for reading.  I personally hope that I can make a return visit to BVW in the future.

Amy with HelenKay Dimon

Review: FIGHTING FOR LOVE by Kelly Elliott

In Fighting for Love by Kelly Elliott, Rory Adams, a recent law school graduate, is out to prove herself at her mother’s law firm. She wants everyone at the firm to realize that she earned her position through hard work and not because of who she is. If that means she has no time for fun, well, so be it. Rory quickly changes her tune when she meets sexy fire fighter Finn Ward. Finn is everything her father warned her about but Rory can’t seem to stay away. Finn for his part, is a goner when he lays eyes on Rory at a union meeting and immediately reforms his bad boy ways. As their relationship heats up though there is a huge issue putting a serious strain on it: Rory’s father is Finn ‘s captain and there is no way he would ever approve of these two dating. Can these two make their relationship work or will Captain Adams sabotage the relationship?

I wasn’t too sure about this book to begin with. The book starts off with Finn being very cocky and not likeable at all. Once Rory and Finn met though, I was a goner as their story sucked me into their world and set me up for a book hangover. One of the things that was so frustrating about Rory’s character was her need to do what was expected of her. She went to law school because of her mother. She nearly dumped Finn because of her overprotective father. I was so happy when she finally stood up for herself and did what she wanted towards the end of the book.

I really can’t put into words how much I enjoyed the relationship between Finn and Rory. Finn is such a romantic and his gestures would have even the most cold hearted person smiling. Finn pushes Rory out of her comfort zone and together they make each other better people. Fighting for Love is the second book in the Boston Love series by Kelly Elliott (it can be read as a standalone). Elliott has created two memorable characters in this engrossing book. Anyone who loves contemporary romance would enjoy this book.

Title: Fighting for Love (Boston Love, #2)

Author: Kelly Elliott

Category: Contemporary Romance

Source: NetGalley

Review: THE ENFORCER by HelenKay Dimon

The Enforcer by HelenKay Dimon was just as mysterious and intriguing as The Fixer in the Games People Play series and can be read as a stand alone. From the very first page you will be hooked. The Enforcer is full of intrigue and mystery and you can’t help but keep reading all the way until the every end. Matthias and Kayla are fantastic characters. Broken. Defensive. Strong. And quite perfect together! They challenge one another but also lean on each other.

Matthias is tasked with finding Kayla to hope solve a massacre that happened years ago. He is misled by the person requesting this, but learns it the hard way. Kayla is careful of Matthias from the beginning. She has been on the run for a long time and knows when danger is near. Somehow, through Matthias’ creepy (according to another character Garrett) ways, he gets a foot in the door with Kayla. Slowly but surely their relationship begins and the mystery starts to unfold. It’s quite a read!

I like a good suspense story and The Enforcer has plenty of that. I found my heart racing several times. Dimon does a great job with all the descriptions and emotions of each character in the story. I suspected a few people as the murder but was quite surprised at the end.

I don’t think I can write a review and not talk about Garrett. We met him in The Fixer and get a lot more of him in The Enforcer. Garrett tags along against Matthias’ will and just adds so much to the scenes he is in. He is hilarious, smart, sarcastic and just pure joy to read about.

If you are looking for a well written, romantic suspense with strong characters, heart pumping action, passion and an engaging plot, give The Enforcer a try!

Title: The Enforcer (Games People Play, #2)

Author: HelenKay Dimon

Category: Romantic Suspense

Source: Purchased at a Book Fair and Amazon


Review: FATAL VISION by Misty Evans

A prickly hero who also happens to be a former SEAL and a beauty queen heroine FBI agent team up to take down a serial killer. Fatal Vision by Misty Evans is the next book in her Shadow Force International series. I have loved each and every book in this series! The best thing about the SFI series is that there are a few characters that overlap from one book to the next, each book can be read as a stand alone, and each has a distinct plot with engaging main characters.

Colton and Shelby were once married and still very much in love. I love reading about couples reuniting, especially married couples. We find Colton rushing to Shelby’s side in Fatal Vision when she needs him. How can he say to the only woman he has ever loved? Shelby is recovering from a gunshot wound and that near fatal night has to do with a case she was investigating. She needs Colton to help her out.

I really enjoyed the storyline of Fatal Vision. Even though we have an idea of who the killer is, the story is filled with heart racing action and suspenseful situations. While most of the time I didn’t want to put the book down, a few times my heart couldn’t take it and had to put it down to take a few breaths and remind my self it was a fiction story.

Evans does a fabulous job with the romance between Colton and Shelby. The reuniting of these characters was pretty simple by romance standards but that made it all the more believable, but not easy. I enjoyed the mystery around why they were divorced in the first place. Evans knows how to pull the reader in and keep them there until the end, offering up bits and pieces of the story to the readers. The love scenes were passionate and smokin’ hot, too.

In Fatal Vision, the dialogue is witty, the pacing is right on point, the characters are fascinating and the story is enticing. If you are looking for a romantic suspense that will entertain you from beginning to end, give this one a read!

Title: Fatal Vision (Shadow Force International, #4)

Author: Misty Evans

Category: Romantic Suspense

Source: ARC received from Author

Review & Giveaway: RIPTIDE by Skye Jordan

Holy smokes! Skye Jordan typically wows me with her sexy, passionate love scenes but I have also been riveted by her storytelling. Sometimes I love the intimate scenes but sometimes I am just so in love with the characters and the story that I could skip all the hot erotic times. Riptide, book 6 in the Renegades Series, is one of those books. I was so enthralled by following Zach and Tessa’s adventure with the adorably smart Sophia, I barely even thought about anything else. When I wasn’t reading the book, I was thinking about them, trying to come up with a plan that might work out for them. As if I could help them solve their big problem!

Tessa flies across the country to ask Zach to sign adoption papers for Sophia, the three year old whom Tessa is the legal guardian. Only Zach does not have a clue that he is the father of Sophia but quickly falls in love with her and doesn’t want to give her up. Oh, and prior to Tessa dropping the news of Zach being a father on him, they have a one night stand (without either knowing who the other is). Talk about an interesting story…

I really liked Tessa and Zach individually and together even better. Their lives could not be more opposite of one another yet the chemistry between them was explosive. There wasn’t an easy answer for them given their situation but being along for the ride to watch them wade through all the decisions was exciting. Their romance was not easy for them, but keeps you turning pages. Jordan is so talented at writing intimate scenes that move a story a long and are unique to each of the characters in her books. Riptide was no different. Zach and Tessa are HOT together.

Little Sophia was a doll, stole the scenes, and reading about her with Zach made my heart melt. Getting to catch up with other Renegade heroes was like icing on the cake! I was fun to watch Jax, Lexi, Josh, and Grace help Zach out. So sweet.

Riptide is a contemporary romance where a father falls head over heels in love with his daughter and her mother, contains sensual love scenes, friendly banter, and an endearing story. You won’t want to miss it!

Title: Riptide (Renegades, #7)

Author: Skye Jordan

Category: Contemporary Romance

Source: ARC received from Author

When pro surfer Zach Ellis isn’t traveling the world-wide competition circuit, he works as a Renegade stunt double for the hit TV series, Hawaiian Heat. After years of tangling with the ocean, his body has paid the price. So when he gets a shot at a star roll on the show, Zach’s all in. He celebrates the career opportunity by taking a chance on a woman who’s not his usual island-girl type, only to discover he can’t bear to let her go.

Tessa Drake belongs mired in legislation battles in Washington DC, not standing on the sidelines of a filming set in Maui like a wannabe starlet. But even more important than her law career, Tessa needs Zach Ellis’s signature on legal papers. Papers that relinquish his parental rights so Tessa can adopt the girl who already calls her mommy. When she discovers Zach has slipped out of town before she makes contact, Tessa takes solace in the sexy star of Hawaiian Heat. A man whose warmth and dazzling grin makes her Mensa-level IQ vanish into thin air.

After an electrifying night together, Tessa is horrified to discover just who rocked her world.  Zach is stunned to learn he’s a father. And both find themselves caught in a riptide pulling them in the opposite direction of their dreams.

To celebrate the release of Riptide, Skye is giving away a $20 gift card and digital copy of Riptide! 

To enter, just click on the image below.

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