Posted in audio books, Book Review

Who Wants to Marry a Duke

Who Wants to Marry a Duke by Sabrina Jeffries Narrated by Beverley A. Crick

There are very few authors who I pre-order, Sabrina Jeffries is one of them. I love this series and was anxious to read it. It was worth the wait, another fabulous story.

Women of strength and substance people Jeffries’ novels, the latest heroine is chemist Miss Olivia Norley. When she offered to clean a stain from the new duke’s waistcoat at a party, Thorn, aka the duke of Thornstock, Marlowe Drake believes she set him up to get caught so they would have to marry. When she refuses his proposal, he misconstrues her reasons.

Years later the pair finds themselves teamed up when Thorn’s half-brother Grey needs a chemist to prove his father was murdered. The attraction is still there but Thorn’s secret could tear them apart.

Raised to believe that every young woman wants to marry a duke and will stop at nothing to catch one, Thorn is twice surprised when Olivia refuses him. What will it take for the beautiful and intelligent chemist to say yes?

Sabrina Jeffries makes the reader believe in possibilities. For a moment we can believe in a world where a young woman of the ton carries the necessary chemicals in her purse to clean wine from a vest. We believe in love at first sight. She even makes us believe in the strength of a young woman’s character that she would refuse a proposal not given with his whole heart. We also believe that love will win in the end, that the truth will come out and the bad guys will be punished.

I impatiently wait for the next story in The Duke Dynasty Series.  

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

On the Porch with Hallie Alexander

Today I’d like to welcome Hallie Alexander to my Creekside Café.

Hallie: Thank you for having me. The view is gorgeous and there are no mosquitos. Amazing!

Sherri: The joys of a virtual café, though here on the Pamlico Sound, our mascot is the mosquito. I was surprised to learn you were also a North Carolina writer. Was it serendipity or something else that brought us together?

Hallie: For a brief time, we were both members of the same local RWA. Unfortunately, I worked most of the Saturdays they met. Also, it was before I chose my pen name so you might not have recognized me. As a side note, in my pre-pen name day, you helped me craft my query letter for this book, before it had the new title! So, thank you, Sherri, for offering a helping hand up.

Sherri: I’m so happy to hear that I was able to help. As y’all may have already surmised, Hallie and I met on Twitter.

I don’t often attend meetings due to work and travel distance, but I host the monthly writer challenge, Book in a Week.

Your debut novel is coming out soon, “A Widow’s Guide to Scandal,” I believe the launch date is July 22nd. That’s just in time for my birthday! I love historical romances and I’m so excited for you. Tell me a little about your story.

Hallie: This is a steamy, feminist historical romance that takes place in colonial New York on the brink of Revolution. A forced proximity romance, the themes that run through it are the caring and fixing of broken things, the value in a name, and what makes a family. While the H/H are white and presumably Christian, the secondary characters are very diverse.

It takes place in New York in 1776, a couple of months before the Colonies declared independence from England. I’ll let my blurb speak to the rest:

Henrietta Smith was fifteen when she stole a kiss from Marcus Hardwicke. Over a decade later, she’s still waiting to be kissed back…

Henrietta learned the hard way that when you get what you pay for you might end up with a British soldier quartering in your home threatening your friends, an enormous dog tracking mud through your house and stealing the chickens, and Marcus Hardwicke disrupting your uncomplicated life by trying to improve it. And to think she just wanted her roof fixed.

Marcus, wickedly handsome carpenter and rebel rogue, fell off Henrietta’s leaking roof. He can’t leave until his broken ankle heals, giving him plenty of time to consider his past mistakes, including Henrietta’s indelible kiss from a lifetime ago. But Henrietta could lose more than her home if she doesn’t encrypt British secrets, and the latest puts Marcus in the crosshairs.

Sherri: Are you self-publishing or are you with a traditional publisher?

Hallie: Traditional. Scandal is my debut with Soul Mate Publishing.

Sherri: From your blog I can tell you are a historian. How did you make the leap to historical romance?

Hallie: <laughs> Quite simply, the historical fiction I used to read didn’t have enough kissing, and then there was always the chance that something egregiously tragic might happen to the main character, or they might die by the end of the story. You won’t find that in historical romance. Bad things might happen, but you can count on redemption and a happy ending.

I do enjoy the research parts of writing. Online, you can pull up newspapers, journals, even PDFs of diaries written contemporarily. Through the library, I request materials from all over America, if what I need can’t be found locally or online. One time, I came across an account of an American privateer who wrote his secret missives in Yiddish in case the British intercepted them!

Sherri: Since this is your first novel, I assume you still work a 9 to 5. Tell me about your other job. (are you comfortable sharing this info. If not, ignore).

Hallie: I am a library assistant. It’s like working in a candy shop but with far fewer calories.

Sherri: Librarians are some of my favorite people. My best friend manages our local library and my sister-in-law works there, too.

After five novels I was hoping to be able to start planning my retirement. If sales continue as they are now, I’ll be working until I’m ninety.

Hallie: Like Barbara Cartland. But you have to dress like her if you keep writing into your 90’s. Those are the rules.

Sherri: Did you come across any interesting research that you were dying to use in this novel but have had to sit on?

Hallie: Well, the Yiddish-writing privateer will get his day! How can I resist? When the stories handed down as history center one population over another, you’ve got to question why that is and who that benefits. It doesn’t benefit me, that’s for sure. And it doesn’t benefit anyone else to continue the myth that only one kind of citizen gets to be celebrated as an American archetype.

Sherri: Have you started working on another novel? Will it be a sequel to your first or something different?

Hallie: I wrote a couple of novellas after I wrote Scandal, just to play around. One of which I am offering for free to my newsletter subscribers. It is called Rescuing Her Rebel and it is set in the same world, same friends as Scandal. It’s a second chance romance with smugglers. You can get it here:

As for full length novels, I’m in the middle of drafts on the next two books after Scandal. I never do things the easy way.

Sherri: What other plans do you have for your writing? Will you continue to write historicals? The same time period?

Hallie: I like writing historicals because I like learning how people lived before modern times. I suspect I’ll stick to American stories, but I’m not wedded to the 18th Century.

Sherri: What are you most excited about besides publishing your first book?

Hallie: Publishing the next one!

Sherri: What are you dreading most?

Hallie: Criticism. Every author gets them, but knowing that won’t make hearing/reading it any easier.

Sherri: Thank you Hallie for stopping by, if you are ever in eastern North Carolina, I can recommend some wonderful historic places in New Bern, Washington and Atlantic Beach. It would be lovely to get together and do a little research.

Hallie: I loved visiting New Bern with my kids a couple of years ago. In fact, it was a waaayyyy more positive experience than taking the family to my beloved Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. I don’t think I could ever get them to go back there. All five of us came down with fevers. Then there were storms and the hotel lost power. You know, typical family vacation.

Sherri: If you enjoyed my interview with Hallie Alexander be sure to check out her debut novel “A Widow’s Guide to Scandal,” and follow her on social media.



Blog: Historical Musings:





I’m still playing with the wording, but here is my short blurb:

Henrietta Caldwell thought her biggest problem was a leaky roof until a wickedly handsome rebel from her past, Marcus Hardwicke, comes to fix it. Distracted, he falls off her roof and breaks his ankle—now he can’t leave until he heals. But Henrietta could lose her home if she doesn’t encrypt British secrets, and the latest puts Marcus in the crosshairs.

And long blurb:

Henrietta Smith was fifteen when she stole a kiss from Marcus Hardwicke. She’s still waiting to be kissed back…

When Henrietta’s roof leaks, the best she can afford is to fix it herself. She can’t expect Colonel Caldwell, the owner, to take care of it—he’s too busy dealing with rebel opposition. Once in the carpentry shop, Henrietta concludes she’s in over her head and flees, only to be stopped by a handsome carpenter for accidentally stealing a hammer.

Marcus is not only competent with his hammer, he can fix a roof. Recognizing Henrietta, he offers to fix it for free, never imagining he’d fall off her roof and break his ankle. Now, he’s recuperating in her steamy attic and making up for lost kisses. But figuring out their relationship will have to wait because he discovers that Henrietta enciphers secrets for the colonel, and Marcus and his rebel friends are the British army’s latest target.

Posted in audio books, Book Review

Close Up

Close Up by Amanda Quick aka Jayne Ann Krentz

Narrated by Morgan Hallett

I caught part of Jayne Ann Krentz’s Facebook live a few days ago. I was surprised that people were complaining about the era she is setting her historical romances in now. The last few books have been set in 1930s in a resort community just outside of Hollywood. Don’t get me wrong, I adored her regency romances, but this time period in history is so full of interesting breakthroughs in science and politics, music and technology.

The town of Burning Cove just outside of Hollywood is a hotspot for the rich and famous. Amanda Quick has crafted a town peopled with characters we’ve all come to know and love. Close up brings art photographer, Vivian Brazier to the cove when she becomes the target of a killer.

Nick Sundridge uses his talent to protect others. When he is sent to Vivian after she is attacked by the “Dagger Killer,” he knows there is more to this job than just protecting a stranger.

Vivian’s vision with the camera allows her to see the story inside her subjects. It makes her photographs more personal. It also allows her to see the darkness of a murderer, but will she realize too late the danger she is in?

The action-packed romance is in true Amanda Quick style, a little paranormal, a little suspense, a lot of drama, some humor and romance, wow, this is another example of why Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz is one of my favorite authors.

I’m addicted to audiobooks and Morgan Hallett did a fantastic job of narrating Close Up. She lent her talents to bringing this story to life, allowing us to see and hear the characters as if we are watching it on screen.

Posted in audio books, Book Review

The Latest Veronica Speedwell Story

A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn Narrated by Angele Masters

It is no secret that I am addicted to audiobooks and one of my favorites has been the Veronica Speedwell series. Narrator Angele Masters brings this character brilliantly to life.

While I was late in discovering the author, Deanna Raybourn, coming up her only after she started the Veronica Speedwell series, I have become a die-hard fan. If you haven’t read or listened to this series you need to start at the beginning, believe me, these books are worth your time. The Veronica Speedwell series begins with A Curious Beginning. Veronica is a modern woman in Victorian England. She has had to rely on her own wits to survive. She is a butterfly hunter, scientist and scholar. She writes papers using only her initials because the era is not welcoming to women with thoughts in their heads, even with a woman monarch.

From the first book in this series to this fifth book, A Murderous Relation, Deanna Raybourn has given us a little more insight into the main characters Veronica and her colleague Stoker, and those closest to them. While each story stands alone the relationship and the growth of the characters from book one to five is an important progression.

Veronica is a woman of honor, strength and conviction. While she may not be conventional, she is of her era, but she is also the embodiment of the women who changed the world. Like women from all eras in history, Veronica pushes against the constraints polite society has put up her, she strives to be greater than her stature and she is determined to do whatever has to be done to see the job completed.

In A Murderous Relation, Veronica is once more to be used as a pawn against the monarchy. She and Stoker find themselves protecting the prince against those who would start a royal scandal. Is it just about an expensive gift to a courtesan or will they try to accuse him of being the notorious Jack the Ripper? Will Veronica and Stoker live to explore the romantic relationship that’s been simmering for way too long or will their relationship be used to destroy England?  

Posted in audio books, Book Review

Some of my favorite things: Audiobooks, Pirates and Surprising Heroes!

The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne narrated by Derek Perkins

Lorelai has lived her life with just the sweet memory of a kiss from the man who no memory of his own. A rescuer of all broken creatures it was no surprise when fourteen-year-old Lorelai demanded her father and brother allow her to save the man who dragged himself out of a mass grave.

Even without his memory, The Rook was a leader of men. When he returns for Lorelai, he is even more broken than before, but she still has the power to piece him back together again.

This had a little bit of a rough transition for me, but I am so glad I kept listening because it really is an awesome story. A story of redemption, second chances and life and love. A story of strength and friendship, and the power of love. A fabulous story.

Derek Perkins is a fantastic narrator. If you like your romances with a little odd twist, less than perfect characters and truly wonderful relationships (not just the romance), this is a must read. If you are like me and love audiobooks, anything with Derek Perkins narrating will be awesome but for a fantastic story of pirates and heroes, I’ll be looking for more Kerrigan Byrne.

Posted in audio books, Book Review

Lethal Pursuit

by Will Thomas, Narrated by Antony Ferguson

A Barker and Llewelyn Novel

London 1892 The newly wed Thomas Llewelyn and the still recovering Cyrus Barker are pulled into international intrigue by the Prime Minister when a British spy is murdered in the streets just a few blocks from their door.

Newly returned from the continent, the spy brought back a holy relic that could change the course of politics and religion if it ends up in the wrong hands.

Itching to investigate the murder of the spy, but ordered to act as courier to the relic, Barker confounds everyone with his lack of interest in doing what the Prime Minister has ordered.

Poor Thomas once again finds himself attacked by the youths who murdered the spy in search of the relic and shamed by one of the suspects, but in true Llewelyn fashion he survives to fight again.

The surprise in this story is Thomas’ bride who proves she is not just a pretty face.

Will Thomas is an excellent story teller and Antony Ferguson the perfect voice to tell it. Action, history, intrigue, drama, romance, and secret societies, what more could a reader want. I adore this series and look forward to reading each one.

Posted in audio books, Book Review

The Spitfire: Wicked Wallflowers

The Spitfire: Wicked Wallflowers by Christi Caldwell Narrated by Tim Campbell Audiobook

Clara Winters dreams of leaving behind her old life at the mercy of controlling men and opening her music hall. No matter how many times she is knocked down, she is bounces back up. When she discovers a man being assaulted on the streets of East London, she knows if she doesn’t intervene, he’ll be dead.

Henry March, the Earl of Waterson, is a member of Parliament. Clara knows no good will come of playing nursemaid to a nobleman.

Henry cannot forget his angel of mercy. In just a few short days she changed his life. When they are once more thrown together, passions flare. Henry will do anything to have Clara in his life but will association with him be an asset or a detriment. Can he leave her alone knowing how much he’s hurt her and her chances a making her dream come true?

Christi Caldwell knows how to create characters we cannot forget and makes us fall in love. If you want heroes and heroines who are little different, a little flawed, and with a lot of attitude. This is a must read and Tim Campbell’s narration was a fantastic delight to the ear. This sexy, sassy historical combines everything we love about historical romance and turns it upside down.

Posted in audio books, Book Review


Crucible by James Rollins, Narrated by Christian Baskous (Audible)

Y’all know I’m addicted to audiobooks and James Rollins books are great to listen to, they’re like an action adventure movie without the picture.

I’m not sure what I enjoy most, the Sigma Force story or the author’s notes at the end of the book. James Rollins is one of the most interesting authors of our time. I don’t want to give too much away but I will say this, what do you get when you add an ancient book from the Spanish Inquisition and modern technology with a holy religious relic and the possibilities of technology to come? What you get is James Rollins Crucible.

Celebrating their first Christmas as a couple and expecting their first child, Commander Gray Pierce returns with his partner Monk to find the woman he loves missing along with Monk’s daughters, and Monk’s wife, Kat near death on the kitchen floor.

At least two separate factions are trying to get their hands on the new technology recently demonstrated in Portugal. Technology someone was willing to kill for. Before going offline, a distress signal was sent to Sigma.

After saying goodbye to his wife, Monk promises to rescue their daughters. He joins Gray to find out if the murders in Portugal are connected to the attack on Commander Pierce’s house.

A manuscript from the Spanish Inquisition, Malleus Maleficarium, the Hammer of Witches, two religious orders on opposite ends of the faith, a snow witch rebuilding the unit she inherited, and the promise of advanced technology the world isn’t ready for yet.

This is another edge of your seat thriller as Christmas in Paris takes on new meaning. Gray and Monk must work against the clock to save the ones they love and face the very real facts that for some, it may already be too late.

This isn’t just another Christmas story, but it is one I’d love to see made into a movie. Awesome book, fantastic characters, James Rollins rocks.

Posted in Book Review

A Dangerous Collaboration

By Deanna Raybourn, Narrated by Angela Masters

I’m late to discovering the genius that is Deanna Raybourn. My first book with her being A Curious Beginning, the first of the Veronica Speedwell series, but I have since devoured all of her books I can find. While I was awaiting A Dangerous Collaboration, I discovered the Lady Grey series, another example of a strong female character worth reading.

Intrigued by Stoker’s sybarite brother, Lord Templeton-Vane, who claims to have access to a rare butterfly for Veronica’s atrium. She agrees to go with him to visit an old friend, Malcolm Romilly. But upon the Cornish Isle, Veronica and stowaway, Stoker, learn it is not just a house party or the butterfly that gained them their invitations.

Tasked with uncovering the mystery of Malcolm’s missing bride, Stoker and Veronica must discover the truth before becoming the next victims.

Raybourn brings readers to the edge of their seats, holding their breath and turning the pages as we rush to discover what will happen next. This series is great for anyone who loves historical thrillers and exciting intrigue. It’s not exactly a romance but there are romantic elements. It appeals to both my romantic and adventurous sides.