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: 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: CROSSING HEARTS by Kimberly Kincaid

In Crossing Hearts by Kimberly Kincaid, Hunter Cross loves his hometown and running his family farm. When he aggravates an old shoulder injury, Hunter is put on light duty and referred for some physical therapy with none other than Emerson Montgomery, his high school sweetheart, who left for college and never looked back . Emerson is back home after leaving her job with a professional football team and she wasn’t expecting to run into Hunter so soon. As they renew their friendship, Emerson confides to Hunter why she left Las Vegas and swears him to secrecy. Can Hunter keep Emerson’s secret? Will Hunter and Emerson get a second chance at love?

I felt so sorry for Emerson in this book. Not because of her diagnosis of MS, which is horrible but because after the diagnosis she felt that she was no longer perfect and that she had never made her parents proud. It took a lot for her to tell Hunter not only about her medical condition but about her relationship with her parents.

The relationship between Hunter and Emerson was interesting. Hunter had proposed to Emerson before she left and she obviously said no. Now that Emerson has MS she doesn’t want to let Hunter get close to her at all. It takes a lot of persuasion from Hunter to get Emerson to see how good they would be together.

Another interesting part of the book is the dynamics within the Cross family. Hunter is one of 3 sons, all of whom work on the family farm. His other two brothers are constantly arguing to the point where I expected them to start trading punches. Hunter spends a lot of the time worrying about his brothers and trying to play peacemaker. I am looking forward to finding out more information on this sibling issue in the coming books. 

Crossing Hearts is the first book in the Cross Creek series by Kimberly Kincaid. This charming small town romance will have you smitten with the characters from the first sentence, especially Hunter and Emerson. Anyone who loves a second chance romance/contemporary romance would enjoy this book.

Title: Crossing Hearts

Author: Kimberly Kincaid

Category: Contemporary Romance

Source: ARC via NetGalley

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope each of you celebrated safely and are looking forward to 2017. I know I am looking forward to 2017 in so many ways. I have made some changes in my life that are proving to make me (and my family) happier and less stressed. This has allowed me to fall in love with reading again. I hope to bring you more reviews in 2017 and some fun extras like interviews.

If you follow So Many Reads on Facebook you will see we also post our reviews over there, including the short story ones that we don’t always post here on the website. We are able to post reviews more quickly over there so be sure to like the page and comment or like posts now and then so you can keep seeing them in your feed.

I want to wish all of you a very happy new year and thanks for all the support you have given So Many Reads over the years!

Review: MERRIED by Jamie Farrell

Merried by Jamie Farrell is an enjoyable, flirty contemporary romance with a dash of mystery and suspense thrown in. Farrell’s ability to create original and unique characters in the same series is what has me coming back for more with each book. I was very excited that there is a bit of mystery in the plot as well.

30334034Max and Merry are two of my favorite characters in this series. They are perfect for each other. The chemistry is palpabale. Even when she fought it all the way for what she believed as a solid decision, she couldn’t help but be led by her heart always back to Max. Their conversation and interactions are so comfortable even while fighting. I enjoyed the maturity in Max and how he always wanted to help Merry with her own personal demons. The love scenes in Merried are smokin hot. With each book in the series you never know how many love scenes will show up, if any, and they always fit the story and character fantastically. Max and Merry’s romance was fun to watch from start to end, including the flashbacks of their earlier time together.

Each chapter started off with an excerpt from a Phoebe Moon book (a children’s book series written by Merry under a pen name) and the conversation between Merry and Phoebe in Merry’s mind is just hilarious. I can’t help but picture all authors I know talking to their characters like this at times. It was a fun aspect of the story and added yet another layer to Merry and the story.

The reason Merry was back in Bliss was because her mother was getting married again. The relationship between Merry and her Mom was so sweet to watch. Merry wanted nothing more than for her mom to be happy and the same held true for her mom. Family relationships are always touching and make you smile. The relationship between Merry and her Dad, however, was a bit more contentious. She had her hands full with him and it shaped her life. The ending with regards to her Father was not what I saw coming at all, but it was perfect.

Each of Farrell’s Misfit Brides books can be read as stand alones and if you are looking for a contemporary romance to read, give Merried a try. It shows Farrell’s fantastic story telling as well as her unique and sometimes quirky characters. I always have a warm heart and a happy sigh at the end of each book she writes.

Reviewed by Amy