*New Release* The Renaissance Club by Rachel Dacus – Excerpt and Review

*New Release* The Renaissance Club by Rachel Dacus – Excerpt and Review

*New Release* The Renaissance Club by Rachel Dacus - Excerpt and Review

*New Release* The Renaissance Club by Rachel Dacus – Excerpt and ReviewThe Renaissance Club four-stars
by Rachel Dacus
ISBN: 978-1-946143-42-6, 978-1-946143-41-9
Published by Fiery Seas Publishing on January 23, 2018
Genres: Romance, Time Travel
Pages: 274
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May Gold, college adjunct, often dreams about the subject of her master’s thesis - Gianlorenzo Bernini. In her fantasies she’s in his arms, the wildly adored partner of the man who invented the Baroque.

But in reality, May has just landed in Rome with her teaching colleagues and older boyfriend who is paying her way. She yearns to unleash her passion and creative spirit, and when the floor under the gilded dome of St Peter’s basilica rocks under her feet, she gets her chance. Walking through the veil that appears, she finds herself in the year 1624, staring straight into Bernini’s eyes. Their immediate and powerful attraction grows throughout May’s tour of Italy. And as she continues to meet her ethereal partner, even for brief snatches of time, her creativity and confidence blossom. All the doorways to happiness seem blocked for May-all except the shimmering doorway to Bernini’s world.

May has to choose: stay in her safe but stagnant existence, or take a risk. Will May’s adventure in time ruin her life or lead to a magical new one?

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A distant clang. The Swiss Guards were closing the outer doors and tourists were scurrying. Where was The Renaissance Club? In a panic, May dashed toward the Baldacchino and nearly collided with a man who stepped out from behind a pillar.

“Sorry!” she said, backing up.

Signorina, watch where you’re going!”

The young man in black frowned and didn’t apologize. With his long, dark hair and white sleeves rolled up on muscular forearms, he looked like an art restorer. A black jacket was draped over his shoulders. He held a long wooden measuring rod, the kind used by architects centuries ago. Maybe he was rehearsing for some sort of pageant.

“Ladies are not allowed here while I’m working,” he said stiffly. He aimed the rod at the nearest column and sighted up along it.

“I know you!” she exclaimed. She knew him well.

He straightened his jacket and bowed. “Everyone in Rome knows Cavaliere Bernini. But you may not be here. I need silence. I have a very big work to complete.”

His finger pointed up at the four twisted bronze columns, where May was astonished to see no bronze canopy on top. Tons of bronze had simply vanished. She looked back at him. Bernini lifted the instrument and peered up at the nearest column. Her living, breathing idol moved to one side to get a better angle. Lean and strong, he was even more handsome than in his self-portrait.

Now he was so intent on his investigation that he seemed unaware of her and the fact that her pulse was pounding. How had she come here, and where exactly was she?

He lowered the measuring rod, framed the air with his hands, and used his fingers to make rapid computations. He stared at her so intensely that she shivered. She remembered that searing gaze in his self-portrait.

“You’re disturbing me, signorina.” He turned away, clearly expecting her to leave.

How could she possibly move? Here was her genius, his hair curled with wiry energy, materializing the restless mind under it. His prominent cheekbones gave him the Neapolitan look that had embarrassed him and made him fabricate a Florentine heritage. He made a few quick calculations and looked at her again, eyes narrowed.

“I won’t say a word,” she promised.

He was obviously contemplating how to throw her out. Bernini wasn’t much taller than she was, but he made every inch of the difference count. May stared back, as defiantly as she could, while stunned and unable to forget the many times she had imagined his powerful arms pulling her close. She stared back, asserting herself silently as his historian. Historians didn’t blink. Though most never met their subjects face-to-face.

Turning away—did that mean she could stay? —he again used the measuring rod. A sharp, unpleasant odor assailed her nose—definitely the smell of piss, coming from a large nearby urn. His century might have towering beauty, but it had no indoor plumbing. Artists working here had to improvise. They also used urine to give a patina to metal sculpture. Despite the smell, she wanted to stay. She tried not to move, but he sensed her watching and was irritated.

Signorina, please. I cannot concentrate. Do you not have something else to do?”

His open arrogance was true to his time, an era when powerful men flaunted their status to the point of rudeness. Bernini’s fame, even at his young age, was second only to the cardinals and popes he served. His arrogance had been legendary.

“I thought the church was open today,” she said.

“It is not open to you, unless you are applying to become my assistant. But you will not be any use to me in that long skirt.”

She looked down. She had acquired voluminous folds of blue silk, a dress she hadn’t been wearing before. She felt air on her shoulders—her dropped-sleeves left them bare. “Well, not in this I wouldn’t,” she said, appreciating the rustle and texture. “But I’m not applying. I just want to watch you work.”

He said more gently, “Are you a traveler? You do not look Roman.”

“Yes. I’m a traveler. From a long way away. I’m with a group touring Rome. It’s our first day. St. Peter’s is so gorgeous, I can’t believe it. The Baldacchino is one of your finest pieces.”

Ignoring the compliment, he said, “If you are a traveler, then please travel to some other masterpiece. This church has many.” He waved her away and picked up the rod, checking the


Review by April Hughes

The Renaissance Club is a standalone time-travel novel written by Rachel Dacus. The story follows May, a young woman who joins her boyfriend and other art scholars on a tour through some of the more famous art hotspots in Italy. The tour is guided by George, an older man with the secret ability to leap through time. George, seeing May’s passion in all things Bernini- a famous sculptor and playwright from the seventeenth century- hands her a “hall pass” for time leaping. This hall pass sends her careening into a fortuitous meeting with her inspiration and art idol- Bernini himself.

Thus begins an emotional and introspective journey for May as she finds her love of Bernini’s art shifting beyond what he can create, to what he has awoken within her. Bernini in all his arrogant and passionate glory helps May become confident in her writing and poetry, embraces her passion for art and history (especially as it is centered around his creations), and does not disparage her desire for children (as her boyfriend Darren is often doing throughout the novel). In kind, May centers Bernini by directing his passions towards his art, rather than the lives of others (for example, he could have dwelled on the betrayal of his brother and Constanza, but May was there to help him see through this difficult time). Bernini and May inspired each other, and eventually, this inspiration grew into a passionate and sweet love.

I enjoyed following the Renaissance Club’s journey through the soft, rolling countryside of Assisi, the stone city of Florence, the canal ways of Venice, and the ancient and history-rich Rome. If you are a great lover of art and history, or even a fan of Italy itself, then this would be a novel you enjoy. The landscape was a fluid thing in this novel which made it intriguing. I loved seeing where we would be taken next- and especially loved not knowing when May would be thrust back into time and into Bernini’s arms. I enjoyed embarking on this journey with May and had worried a few times about how she would solve the problem of maintaining a relationship with Bernini, while not altering history in any way. In this, I was not disappointed! The ending left me pleased- as the solution to this problem was as creative and enlightening as the rest of the novel.

About the Author

Rachel Dacus is the daughter of a bipolar rocket engineer who blew up a number of missiles during the race-to-space 1950’s. He was also an accomplished painter. Rachel studied at UC Berkeley and has remained in the San Francisco area. Her most recent book, Gods of Water and Air, combines poetry, prose, and a short play on the afterlife of dogs. Other poetry books are Earth Lessons and Femme au Chapeau. ​ Her interest in Italy was ignited by a course and tour on the Italian Renaissance. She’s been hooked on Italy ever since. Her essay “Venice and the Passion to Nurture” was anthologized in Italy, A Love Story: Women Write About the Italian Experience. When not writing, she raises funds for nonprofit causes and takes walks with her Silky Terrier. She blogs at Rocket Kid Writing.

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Review of Love Me Never by Sara Wolf

Review of Love Me Never by Sara Wolf

Review of Love Me Never by Sara WolfLove Me Never (Lovely Vicious, #1) four-stars
by Sara Wolf
ISBN: 1633752291
Published by Entangled: Teen on April 5th 2016
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 304
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Don’t love your enemy. Declare war on him.

Seventeen-year-old Isis Blake hasn’t fallen in love in three years, nine weeks, and five days, and after what happened last time, she intends to keep it that way. Since then she’s lost eighty-five pounds, gotten four streaks of purple in her hair, and moved to Buttcrack-of-Nowhere, Ohio, to help her mom escape a bad relationship.

All the girls in her new school want one thing—Jack Hunter, the Ice Prince of East Summit High. Hot as an Armani ad, smart enough to get into Yale, and colder than the Arctic, Jack Hunter's never gone out with anyone. Sure, people have seen him downtown with beautiful women, but he's never given high school girls the time of day. Until Isis punches him in the face.

Jack’s met his match. Suddenly everything is a game.

The goal: Make the other beg for mercy.The game board: East Summit High.The reward: Something neither of them expected.

Review of Love me Never


Love Me Never is the first novel in the Lovely Vicious series by New York Times bestselling author Sara Wolf. The story follows Isis Blake, a seventeen-year-old girl who has recently moved from Florida to Ohio with her Mom. After a traumatizing experience with a boy who not only broke her heart, but left scars emotionally and physically, Isis reinvents herself by losing all the extra weight, dying a part of her hair purple, and emotionally safe-guarding herself by adopting a flippant and perky attitude. But this newfound sense of justice and strength is tested when she meets Jack Hunter, an aloof and condescending boy with a personality cold enough to freeze the Sahara.

What happens when you mix fire and ice?

You get explosive and witty dialogue, and scenes fraught with tension and an underlying twinge of burgeoning interest and passion.

I found Isis to be an interesting and sometimes perplexing character. Her inner and outer dialogue is seamless. She rarely has a “normal” or sensible thought process. While she thinks in a very humorous and flippant way, there were times when I wanted her to snap out of it, so she could think a little more coherently. While Isis comes off as confident, she thinks very poorly of herself. Her self image had previously been destroyed by a boy she had been in love with in Florida, a boy she has dubbed “Nameless” in the book. Even after losing weight, trying to appear joyful and sure of herself, and being told numerous times by her friends and Jack that she’s attractive, Isis continues to tear herself down about her looks. Not once does she believe anyone when they compliment her on her looks. That got frustrating (though I understood why).

It was fun to watch the “battle” unfold between Isis and Jack. While they are so different, both characters have been struck by grief and tragedy in some way. I believe it is in this that they both begin to understand and accept one another. I had hoped, however, that there was just a bit more chemistry between the two of them. I have my fingers crossed that the burgeoning passion between them in this book begins to flourish even more so in the next!

All-in-all, a good read! I got plenty of laughs, enjoyed working out the mystery behind Jack’s secrets, and getting to know the insecure-though-seemingly-confident Isis.

Check it out today and tell me what you think!

5 Star Review of Rocco by Sarah Castille

5 Star Review of Rocco by Sarah Castille

5 Star Review of Rocco by Sarah CastilleRocco five-stars
by Sarah Castille
ISBN: 9781250104083
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 2nd 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Suspense
Pages: 350
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Mafia enforcer Rocco De Lucchi is the best in the business.

Cold, hard, and utterly ruthless, Rocco is the most dangerous of men. Feelings are a luxury he cannot afford—until a chance encounter brings him face to face with the only woman who found her way into his heart and touched his soul.

Grace Mantini has spent her whole life running from the mob. The daughter of the boss's right-hand man, she is both a prize and a target. When Rocco walks back into her life, she wants nothing to do with the man who betrayed her and broke her heart. But only Rocco can protect her from the dangerous forces that seek to destroy her family. Can they escape the hands of fate closing around them? Or will love be the kiss of death for them both?

“Castille [gives] readers the compelling romance they crave.”—RT Book Reviews

Review of Rocco by Sarah Castille


Rocco is the third novel in the Ruin and Revenge series by New York Times bestselling author Sarah Castille. Rocco, also known as Frankie, is a hardened and cold mafia enforcer for the Toscanis in Las Vegas. His childhood was devoid of comfort and love, and his future appeared to be heading that direction…until he met Grace, the daughter of a powerful mafia underboss, someone he has sworn to protect. Intense passion and love pulled them together and swept them into a forbidden entanglement that, while strong and fiery, was severely tested in the cruelest of ways, thus forcing them apart and spurring Grace to run.

Years pass and Grace has made a life for herself in Las Vegas, far from the horror that was inflicted upon her physically, mentally, and emotionally. Not wishing to be embroiled in the turbulent life of the Mafia like her father and brother, Grace distances herself and obtains a degree to counsel others, while her secret passion for singing is put on hold. The physical scar she carries upon her face as a result of the night that sent her fleeing and her heart breaking, is a deterrent to her in the novel whenever she finds herself longing to indulge in her passion.

While in Las Vegas, Grace and Rocco run into each other at a funeral and all the passion they have been holding at bay threatens to explode. Their encounters are filled with so much emotion and pain that you can practically feel it leaping from the pages and taking a hold of you. It is quite evident that there is still a lot they needed to say to each other and a lot of feelings they were never able to dispel. When Grace’s life is threatened once more, Rocco steps in and is once again in a position to protect her. He’s given a second chance to prove to her that he can keep her safe, that he can love her.

I loved Grace’s character. She is sweetness and strength all rolled into one. I love how she starts to come to terms with the past and is able to move past her disfigurement. Seeing Grace bring life and compassion back into Rocco, and watching as he did the same to her was a beautiful feeling. The story was a perfect blend of passion, suspense, forgiveness, and redemption. It tugs at the heart strings while steaming up the room!

Five out of five stars for Rocco!! Check it out today!!

Buy on Amazon


Review of Good Intentions by Brenda K. Davies

Review of Good Intentions by Brenda K. Davies

Review of Good Intentions by Brenda K. DaviesGood Intentions five-stars
by Brenda K. Davies
Series: The Road To Hell #1
Published by Brenda K. Davies on July 17th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, Suspense, Fantasy
Pages: 375
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   It has been thirteen years since the war started, the bombs were dropped, and the central states became a thing of the past. When the war ended, a wall was erected to divide the surviving states from those destroyed. I never expected to go beyond the wall, but unlike all the others who volunteered to go, I wasn’t given a choice. 

   With a dim knowledge of what I could do, the soldiers came for me. They took me beyond the wall where I learned that the truth is far more terrifying than I’d ever dreamed. Alone, with humans and demons seeking to learn what it is I can do, I find myself irresistibly drawn to the one man I should be avoiding most. One who intrigues and infuriates me. One who is not even a man, not really.


   My entire life, I’ve had only one mission, reclaim my throne from Lucifer and put right everything that was torn apart when he was cast from Heaven. It’s a mission I haven’t wavered from, not even when the humans tore open the gates and unleashed Hell on Earth.

   Now, I’ve never been closer to obtaining my goal, yet I find myself risking it all because I cannot stay away from her, a human who may be the key to it all. 

***There are four books in this paranormal romance series which is now complete. Not all things will be resolved in this book. Due to sexual content, violence, and language, this book is recommended for readers 18+ years of age.***

The Road to Hell Series Complete Reading Order:

Good Intentions (Book 1)

Carved (Book 2)

The Road (Book 3)

Into Hell (Book 4)

Review of Good Intentions


Good Intentions is the first book in the Road to Hell series by USA Today bestselling author Brenda K. Davies. The story follows River, a young woman who shoulders the responsibility of caring for her two younger siblings and mother in post-apocalyptic New England. With the center of the United States considered a dead zone, and a massive wall separating it from the barely surviving outer states, life is filled with dread and speculation about what the wall could be keeping out. Unfortunately, volunteers are routinely asked to join military forces at the Wall to assist in some capacity. In addition to volunteers, anyone who displays odd abilities are asked to come forward- willing or unwilling. Unfortunately for River, she happens to harbor secret abilities that she truly doesn’t understand herself. This secret is brought to light during a moment of bitter betrayal, and River finds herself in the undesirable position of being escorted to the ominous wall.


Kobal is a powerful demon in search of a person with special abilities who is possibly the key to saving the world and defeating Lucifer. Beyond the wall, he and his demon followers help to train the volunteers to protect the wall and fight lower demons who have escaped hell to wreak havoc on the bare remnants of the world. However, what he did not count on was finally finding the key to Lucifer’s destruction within a woman who tempts him.


River and Kobal’s chemistry is sizzling! Kobal takes River under his wing and personally sees to training her how to fight. This allows for ample opportunity for the characters to become acquainted and to navigate the emotions erupting within them. You can practically feel the sexual tension and interest leaping off the pages in some of their more heated encounters. I also love how a young, mostly human woman can bring out the good aspects in a demon notorious for his savagery and strength. Kobal is not a demon anyone would wish to cross- as was demonstrated, in such a graphic and decidedly uncomfortable way, with a former flame who should have thought twice before making the move they did.


The vivid imagery, the passion, the adventure, and heart-pounding action makes this book a MUST-READ!! I was thoroughly engrossed in Good Intentions…completely and utterly engrossed. Maybe even a little obsessed? Can’t wait to snag the next two novels in the series!!

FIVE Stars for Good Intentions!

See Next: Review of The Road (Book#3) Road to Hell Series 

Review of Close Liaisons by Anna Zaires

Review of Close Liaisons by Anna Zaires

Review of Close Liaisons by Anna ZairesClose Liaisons (The Krinar Chronicles: Volume 1) four-stars
by Anna ZairesDima Zales
ISBN: 9780988391307
Series: Krinar Chronicles #1
Published by Mozaika Publications on September 5th 2013
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction, Paranormal, Suspense, Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Contemporary, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble

From the New York Times bestselling author of Twist Me comes an addictive, thrilling tale of dark love set on post-invasion Earth…

In the near future, the Krinar rule the Earth. An advanced race from another galaxy, they are still a mystery to us—and we are completely at their mercy.

Shy and innocent, Mia Stalis is a college student in New York City who's led a normal life. Like most people, she’s never had any interactions with the invaders—until one fateful day in the park changes everything. Having caught Korum’s eye, she must now contend with a powerful, dangerously seductive Krinar who wants to possess her and will stop at nothing to make her his own.

How far would you go to regain your freedom? How much would you sacrifice to help your people? What choice will you make when you begin to fall for your enemy?

Note: This is book 1 of a completed trilogy. All three books are now available.

Review of Close Liaisons


Close Liaisons is the first novel in the Krinar Chronicles series by New York Times bestselling author Anna Zaires. This turbulent story follows Mia Stalis, a young human woman attending college as a psychology major, and Korum- a charismatic, dangerous, and forbidden extraterrestrial. A charmed childhood with loving parents, an impressive college experience, a close best friend, and a future mapped out- Mia has led a decent and peaceful life- though her love-life has been less than ideal. However, this predictable and simple life crashes around Mia due to an unexpected encounter with a man from a distant planet.

Korum is a brilliant extraterrestrial man from a planet called Krina. With his people living freely, and openly, among humans after announcing their presence, Korum can focus on his work as an engineer, while simultaneously trying to discover rebel Krinars and humans. His work inevitably leads to a chance encounter with Mia in a park- which leads to a whirlwind of obsession, passion, betrayal, and an explosive conclusion.

It was fascinating reading and learning about the authors imaginative world of Krinars. I found myself fascinated by the unique technology created by Korum, as well as their idea of “good” food (blech!). Whenever Korum’s obsessiveness and controlling ways irritated me, I had to remind myself that he comes from an entirely different planet. Mia is a well-educated and sensible young woman, however, some of her decisions in the story left me questioning just how sensible she is. It was one of those situations where I had to remind myself that she is, technically, in a very unique situation (you know, practically being kept hostage by a thousand-year-old extraterrestrial man with control issues) which can make rational thought disappear at times. I have to say I was surprised that Mia was able to keep the secret of her unwitting involvement with the rebels all the way until the end- I was so sure she would spill the beans because of how guilty she was feeling.

The story was fast-paced, imaginative, thrilling, and passionate! My love-hate relationship with both characters kept me emotionally invested until the very last page. I can’t wait to see how this delightful slice of cosmic relationship turmoil plays out in the next two books. Eek!


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