Cover Shot! Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

I haven’t read Falling Kingdoms yet, but that doesn’t stop me from being excited about the next release in the series.  Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes has a cool cover.  What’s up with the pyramid?  Hopefully I’ll get a chance to find out in December, after reading Falling Kingdoms.

In stores December 2013


Auranos has been conquered and the three kingdoms — Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia — are now unwillingly united as one country called Mytica. But alluring, dangerous magic still beckons, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the world…
CLEO is now a prisoner in her own palace, forced to be an ambassador for Mytica as the evil King Gaius lies to her people

MAGNUS stands to eventually inherit the new kingdom but is still obsessed with his feelings for his adopted sister Lucia

LUCIA is haunted by the outcome of the breathtaking display of magic that allowed her father to capture the kingdoms

JONAS watches at the palace gates, a troop of rebels behind him, waiting for him to tell them how he plans to overtake King Gaius

When Gaius announces that a road is to be built into the Forbidden Mountains, formally linking all of Mytica together, he sets off a chain of events that will forever change the face of this land. Because Gaius is not just burrowing into a pile of rock. He’s tunneling directly into the Watchers’ Sanctuary. And his actions will have cosmic consequences.

Review: Protecting What’s His by Tessa Bailey


Title:  Protecting What’s His

Author:  Tessa Bailey


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:


She’s running from the law, and the law wants her bad.

The opportunity was just too damn delicious for Ginger Peet to pass up. The purse full of money she finds—$50,000 to be exact—could give her and her teen sister the new start they need. So she grabs the cash, her gothy sibling, and their life-sized statue of Dolly Parton, and blows outta Nashville in a cloud of dust. Chicago, here we come…

Turns out, Chicago has some pretty hot cops. Hot, intense, naughty-lookin’ cops like Derek Tyler, who looks like he could eat a girl up and leave her begging for more. And more. Tempting as he is, getting involved with the sexy homicide lieutenant next door poses a teensy problem for a gal who’s on the lam. But one thing is certain—Derek’s onto her, and he wants more than just a taste.

And as far as he’s concerned, possession is nine-tenths of the law.


I enjoyed Protecting What’s His because protagonist Ginger was more rough around the edges that most series romance heroines.  She and her younger sister Willa have had to depend on each other and protect each other their whole lives.  Their mother, Valerie, will never be Mother of the Year, and they are both fortunate that they did have each other.  Mom was too busy turning tricks or getting high to do more than blame them for making her life miserable.  Scraping by, either by stealing food for Willa or begging the neighbors for handouts, Ginger has become a fierce guardian.  When she sees the opportunity to get the hell away from their mother, she takes it, as well as a bundle of cash that she finds in her mom’s purse.  Grabbing her sister, she throws their meager belongings into her beat up pickup truck and flees Nashville for greener pastures.

As they move into their new apartment in Chicago, Ginger and Willa make a less than favorable impression on their anal neighbor, Derek.  Though sparks fly between the two of them, Ginger quickly places him on her people to avoid list after discovering that he’s a cop.  She’s lived her whole life suspicious of the police, and after stealing that fifty thousand from her mother, she’s not in a hurry to get chummy with a cop.  She’s got enough to worry about without adding her grumpy new neighbor to the list.  New job, Willa has a new school, and Ginger just wants to fade into the woodwork and live a happy, quiet, safe life as far away from her mother and her seedy acquaintances as she can.

Now, of course, Ginger and Derek can’t keep their hands off of each other.  Every time they encounter each other there is a spontaneous combustion between them.  It was hot!  They are both fighting an intense and all-consuming attraction that will not allow them any peace.  Derek uses some of his police resources to perform a background check on Ginger and her family, and suddenly he’s overcome with an overpowering urge to protect Ginger and Willa from their past.  He can only guess at how dysfunctional their childhood must have been, and despite the disruption they bring to what he thought was a contented life, he can’t get close enough to Ginger. This is probably the only part of the story that didn’t work for me, because he was a cop.  Derek is so possessive of Ginger that he physically attacks other men, both on and off duty.  I just kept wondering if the police department had a hefty insurance policy to pay the lawsuits that were certain to follow him around.

Protecting What’s His is a quick, blisteringly hot read with likable protagonists.  I was glued to the story from beginning to end, and I can’t wait to see what Tessa Bailey comes up with next!

Grade:  B/B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Elizabeth Chadwick, Author of Shadows and Strongholds and Giveaway!


Please welcome award winning author Elizabeth Chadwick to the virtual offices today!  Elizabeth’s latest historical release is Shadows and Strongholds.  After we chat about her book, you can enter for a chance to win a copy!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Elizabeth Chadwick] A time traveler who loves the Middle Ages, chocolate, chatting, her husband and her dogs. Oh, and the Marshal men!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Shadows and Strongholds?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Certainly. It’s a coming of age story based on a family history that was written down in the 13th century. It’s set in England, on the Welsh borders, and is about a boy, Brunin FitzWarin, who is sent to be a squire at the great castle of Ludlow in the hopes that it will be the making of him after he’s had a difficult time at home. The lord he is sent to serve, Joscelin de Dinan, has two daughters. The younger one, Hawise, is something of a tomboy with a bright, forthright nature, and like no one Brunin has ever met before. There is also his lord’s ward, Marion de la Bruere, a pretty, dainty girl, who has her eye on Brunin as future husband material. It’s the story of how Brunin finds out just who he is amid the harsh realities of 12th century England with different factions fighting for the crown, and how Hawise and Marion learn their own often hard lessons as they mature during fraught times. It’s a historical novel that deals with events that actually happened, and has a fair share of swash-buckling, dramatic tension, well-seasoned with romance.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] I found them in a medieval chronicle from the 13th century called The Romance of Fouke FitzWaryn. So this is based on the history of what really happened. Brunin FitzWarin and Hawise de Dinan did really exist, and this is the story of how they faced up to their challenges.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Brunin?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Deep, smouldering, courageous

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Hawise is never without.

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Her determination

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Hawise’s bedroom?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Small silver bells (read the novel and find out why not!), Brunin’s grandmother, Ernalt de Lylse’s hawking gauntlet.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Brunin’s greatest regret?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Not getting to hang out with his father as man to man.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Pictures of artifacts from the Middle Ages, chocolate in all its forms, and heavy metal music.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Time enough in the day to do it, copious amounts of tea, thinking space.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] How Far Back do you want to go? The Silver Brumby by Elyne Mitchell. That was the book that moved me on from elementary to more detailed reading.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] I go for long walks with my husband and dogs, I take photographs, I read, listen to music and I cross stitch if I get a moment.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] They can drop me a line at Or connect at Twitter or Facebook, details at my website

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!


Ready for your chance to win Shadows and Strongholds? Just fill out the widget below. Earn extra entries for following.  US addresses only, please.

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You can purchase Shadows and Strongholds from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below:


About the book:

A medieval tale of pride and strife, of coming-of-age in a world where chivalry is a luxury seldom afforded, especially by men of power.

England, 1148—ten-year-old Brunin FitzWarin is an awkward misfit in his own family. A quiet child, he is tormented by his brothers and loathed by his powerful and autocratic grandmother. In an attempt to encourage Brunin’s development, his father sends him to be fostered in the household of Joscelin de Dinan, Lord of Ludlow. Here Brunin will learn knightly arts, but before he can succeed, he must overcome the deep-seated doubts that hold him back.

Hawise, the youngest daughter of Lord Joscelin, soon forms a strong friendship with Brunin. Family loyalties mean that her father, with the young Brunin as his squire, must aid Prince Henry of Anjou in his battle with King Stephen for the English crown. Meanwhile, Ludlow itself comes under threat from Joscelin’s rival, Gilbert de Lacy. As the war for the crown rages, and de Lacy becomes more assertive in his claims for Ludlow, Brunin and Hawise are drawn into each other’s arms.

Now Brunin must defeat the shadows of his childhood and put to use all that he has learned. As the pressure on Ludlow intensifies and a new Welsh threat emerges against his own family’s lands, Brunin must confront the future head on, or fail on all counts….