Review: Baron by Joanna Shupe

It isn’t often that I run across a romance featuring a well-to-do railroad politician and a working class female medium. It’s even less often that the book is set in 1880s America. It’s for those reasons and many more that Baron, by Joanna Shupe, is one of my favorite reads this year.


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William Sloane has the world at his feet – he’s a successful businessman and is campaigning for the Republic nomination alongside his good friend. He has one problem, however: a medium named Madam Zolikoff. The last thing he wants is to become a laughingstock, and a medium who is no more than a con would ensure exactly that.

Ava Jones wants security for her siblings, and she dons the disguise of Madam Zolikoff to ensure it. In return, Ava does her best to help the people who come to her for readings, offering them logical advice. That is, until William Sloane jeopardizes her career – and her money source – with his insistence on giving up her act. Ava submitted to a rich, charmer once before. She refuses to do so now.

Unfortunately, the rules of attraction aren’t black and white, and perhaps what they really want is exactly what they need.


I devoured this story in one sitting and a big part of that is Ava. She is so relatable – strong when needed, but never too stubborn; forthright in her actions, but never foolhardy. Ava sets a standard for herself and Will and she is unshakeable in that. And, when her passions lead her into Will’s arms, she owns herself and her actions.

I loved this about her!

William Sloane is her refreshing counterpart. He starts out as the son of a business magnate, determined to prove himself – rigid and sure-footed. Enter Ava, and this railroad man meets his match, showing all these different facets that left me enthralled.

And, oh, what lies underneath his exterior! He turns from the uptight politician into the sexy rogue. At one point, Ava mentions Will is rather different from what she expects, and Will rises further – and quite deliciously – to the occasion:

“Is this fun enough for you?” His deep voice whispered over her cheek, bringing back her earlier words. “Do I seem fun now?”

The heat level is off the charts, and I love that I wasn’t expecting it.

The only criticism I have is a loose end that never ties up. I won’t say what it is, but with Ava’s past, I thought it was a big issue. I have a hard time believing that it didn’t come up in conversation with Will.

That, however, was the extent of my criticisms. Joanna Shupe is a new author to me, but I can say with absolute certainty that this librarian will be adding more of Shupe’s books to the shelves – both for the public, and one just for me.

 When can I buy it? What comes next?

Baron is the second book in the Knickerbocker Club series by Joanna Shupe. It is available for purchase on Oct 25th. The third book, Mogul, is set to release January 2017.

Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Professional Reader

The Romancer: Game Warden Edition

I love anything that has to do with love and romance. I like watching shows like “Married at First Sight” and “Say Yes to the Dress,” so it was a surprise to me when one day I started watching “North Woods Law” on Animal Planet. The show features game wardens going about their daily duty in the wooden state of Maine.

51xfgz17z2l-_sx376_bo1204203200_Even more disconcerting? I loved every minute of it.

I would cheer them on when they caught someone unexpectedly with a warrant; when they went on the search for poachers or investigated a discarded carcass. It is a thrill watching them protect and serve for the resources so many of us might take for granted.

I am sad to say I was one of them. I remember when I was little, my dad would take us fishing. I wasn’t a big fan because a) I would have to touch worms (gross!) and b) if I caught a fish, then I would have to touch that too! So I didn’t stop to think about the many other people who enjoy such a thing. How over-fishing depletes our resources. It was a great glimpse that broadened my horizons and made me more environmentally aware.

So, what does this have to do with romance?

Recently, I wondered if anyone had written a romance featuring game wardens. Wouldn’t that offer some great growth and development – an 41k7jvh1t3lopportunity to research? (As a librarian, I am all about the research). I know there are many police officer romances, but what about game wardens located in Maine? In Texas? Even Washington State? (They all have shows too on Animal Planet too, fyi.)

I researched a few promising books on a Goodreads compilation list, and I do plan to go through them (and review them on here!) . My question, however, is if anyone else has noticed some careers that are overlooked in romance?

My twitter feed has been buzzing lately with diversifying what we find on our shelves. I am a big proponent of being able to read what you want to read.

51hbg2mf93l-_sx331_bo1204203200_But what about diversifying careers as well? There’s a multitude of firefighters and construction workers and doctors, but what about a post office worker who happens to meet the love of his life when her mailbox happens to catch fire? Or perhaps a female mechanic that works on Big Rigs and meets her match in a gruff, loner lumberjack that happens upon her one snowy evening?  A commercial fisherman whose prime catching spot just so happens to be a rival private fisher woman?

Where’s the average Joe in romance?

So, if anyone has some good options/ideas please comment and share. Look me up on twitter @cornymuffin009 and retweet a book that you just happened to have read or heard about at your local library.Until then, check out the ones I featured in this blog post (and one Park Ranger story. Slightly different, but the premise sounded awfully good.) and let me know what you think!

Happy reading, all!

Gotta Love Displays

I think my favorite part of being a librarian is doing my display every month.

Now, I’m more of a writer – I learn by reading and doing, but I’m not so much a visual learner. That being said, it also helps that I love books; I love to share books, I love to look for new books, I like to smell books (but that’s something else entirely).

fb_img_1473781190153Choosing a theme is always the beginning. I like to start by looking for monthly holidays. For example, Women’s History Month was in March. This was probably the most fun I’ve had creating a design and the most I’ve learned. I am sad to say that I wasn’t familiar with every woman I featured, but that’s what makes being a librarian great.

I made little postcards by simply folding a piece of construction stock paper in half (it’ll stand much better than a regular sheet of computer paper.) I did “Who am I?” and I listed a factoid. For the women more well-known, such as Amelia Earhart, I tried to get a different and obscure fact that may not be common knowledge.

It was an enlightening experience and became my new favorite website! Then it was a matter of selecting books (I tried Goodreads, our library catalog, and a general search engine). Then it was finding some pictures to display.

For the month of July, I thought I would make it a little quirky. My husband is a huge believer in aliens and alternate dimensions, and he loves the show, “Ancient Aliens.” (If any of you have read my story “Starlight” on Wattpad, you’ll see a reference to the show. My real life is fodder for my fiction :D). The alien guy (because I don’t know his real name) sits up top with his favorite phrase…”But it was aliens!” My chosen books were about the Bermuda Triangle and alien abductions. I put in some conspiracy books for fun and alien- themed fiction.fb_img_1473781177074

Another side note: My husband is a columnist for the local newspaper, and he has a space themed column every week. The very day I put up this display,  an advertisement for his column was in the paper, and lo-and-behold, there his face was, photoshopped into a spacesuit. I had to replace Ancient Alien dude and place him up there. I sent him a picture ‘cuz that’s what a good wife does! (Ha!)

As you can probably tell, I LOVE doing this. Displays are a great way to get your creative juices going and, not only that, but it gets people interested in reading a book they may not have picked up otherwise. So here’s two ideas for now and then, I’ll show you a roadtrip display and my favorite…my ROMANCE NOVEL DISPLAY.

I’m a romance reader, writer, breather. I can’t wait to share!

And do be sure to visit your local library. Share what displays they are doing!



My Current Project

Hi all!

Today, I’d like to share my current project, “Loving Lady Georgianna.” It’s the second book in my regency historical series – the Spirited Brides Trilogy. It follows Lady Georgianna (Georgie) who is abandoned one evening by Lord Vincent Thorne who promises to take her to Gretna Green to marry. The problem? He never shows up.

Years later – after being forgotten by the love of her life and being burned in a manor fire – Georgie is done hiding. She reaches a betrothal arrangement with the Duke of Burkeley. She will be married by season’s end, and hopefully with child, soon after.

Until Thorne catapults back into her life with a wager. A better husband is to be found – him. But first, he needs her forgiveness. He’ll get Georgie to lower her defenses and then propose himself as her only option. Although, he has no intention of bringing a child into society. It’s a minor hiccup.

Or so he thinks.

Can forgiveness be found? Will their past love remain simply that? A mistake?

It’s a battle that they both want to win. But soon, perhaps losing doesn’t seem so bad…

Loving Lady Georgianna

Click on here to check it out now!