Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Quick 5: Christmas Novellas= Historical Bliss

If you follow this blog or read my monthly reading lists you will notice a trend: I love Historical Romance. I'm a sucker for it and my list of favorite authors is probably a mile long. Just about anything from Avon is an auto-buy, and if you're a historical author represented by Nelson Lit I'm probably auto-buying your books as well. Those Nelson Lit agents sure know how to pick Historical authors.

Anyhoo, this Christmas has been a release bonanza! Novella's out the wazoo, and wonderful Christmas goodness. You couldn't get me to spend my money faster unless you wrote a Historical at Christmas time. In general I love Christmas stories of just about any variety. Needless to say my checking account is emptying out with my presents for me :).  But I wanted to share the awareness with everyone else. Yes, I enable. This is my job. Here's a list of Christmas novellas you must, must get.

5.) The Winter Wife: A Christmas Novella by Anna Campbell
I love all her books and have own almost her entire backlist. You really can't go wrong with a Anna Campbell story and she writes the most delectable tortured heroes. For $1.99, this story is the right price at the right time.

4.) All I Want for Christmas is a Duke by Delilah Marvell and Maire Claremont
Two for the price of one. This is a double whammy with two hot historical shorts in one. $0.99 and I'll say this Delilah always brings things hot and unexpected. Both stories sound like a good treat to dig into while tucking yourself away from the chilly winter weather.

3.) A Kiss for Midwinter by Courtney Milan
I just finished The Duchess War (1st book of The Brothers Sinister) and I loved it. There's 1 female in the story, a Miss Charingford, who need a love of her own. Milan sees to that in this novella. For $0.99 it's quite a steal. Milan's work is worth twice that and I've enjoyed everything she's published thus far. If you haven't nipped into the Turner Series then you should definitely snatch those up too.

2.) Deck the Halls with Love: A Lost Lords of Pembrook Novella by Lorraine Heath
Heath's latest series, The Lost Lords of Pembrook, has been nothing short of wonderful. I've enjoyed the books thus far and await with baited breath the next release in 2013. Yet, at the end of the last book I found there was a male hero who was pretty thoroughly neglected. I hoped Heath would tell his story. I'm happy to say the Marquess of Chetwyn gets his well-deserved HEA. For a mere dollar, less then really, you can enjoyed this additional Christmas treat.

1.) The Christmas King by Lecia Cornwall
Originally as part of the Historical Christmas Eve  Blog Hop, Lecia began this short story there. Since then two additional installments have been posted at her blog (linked above). The story is not over yet, and the next portion will be available today. This is an opportunity of mega proportions. Not often does an established author give a story away for free. Lecia is a rare talent and her books thus far have always been enjoyable. She's got a way with dialogue and the Christmas King is not exception. Especially since she transports everyone to a snowed in castle. :) Check it out and enjoy.

So, for $5 dollars and a bit of internet viewing you can get 6 wonderful Christmas novellas for your reading pleasure. Who says we can't reward ourselves with a little gift that doesn't break the bank? No one. Be Merry and Read. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas readers.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Reading List: Oct. & Nov. 2012

It's been while... *breakout in song* I should be a karoke singer, but until I launch my chops on the stage I should probably give loyal fans my reading list. It's all in my head. Secretly I think thousands of people read these posts and then go out and buy the books I'm reading just cause.

October
1. Too Dangerous to Desire by Cara Elliott***
2. Wicked Nights with a Proper Lady by Tiffany Clare***
3. The Importance of Being Wicked by Miranda Neville***
4. Secrets of a Wedding Night by Valerie Bowman***
5. Exposed To You by Beth Kery***
6. Rogue Rider by Larissa Ione***
7. How to Deceive a Duke by Lecia Cornwall***
8. Waltz with a Stranger by Pamela Sherwood***
9. His Mistletoe Bride by Vanessa Kelly***

November
1. Anything He Wants by Sara Fawkes***
2. Flat Spin Spin by David Freed **
3. Teach Me by Amy Lynn Steele***
4. Obsession Wears Opals by Renee Bernard***
5. The Prince by Tiffany Reisz*
6. Touch of Steel by Kate Cross***
7. The Trouble with Being Wicked by Emma Locke***
8. Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas

*Review on my blog
**Review on IndieBooksRUs
***Review available or coming soon to TheSeason

Monday, December 3, 2012

Funday Monday: December 3, 2012

It's the first Monday of December and there's only 22 shopping days left until the big holiday of the year is here! Does that stress you out?
Not me because this year all my stress is reserved for a few other things, including that possibility, albeit small one, that the world is ending in a couple of weeks. Mayan calendar insanity and all that jazz. If we are going to die, then farewell friends. In the meantime check out some awesome things you can buy as Christmas presents. That's right I'm pimping books, and my delightful Dessert Islanders works are up for grabs. 

5.) College bound and scared witless? Look no further then Dr. Nancy Berk. She's popular, hilarious and not to mention a good does of intelligence. Her book, College Bound and Gagged, talks about how to come through the college years without going broke. Whether you're the parent or the student looking for financing it can't hurt to explore the options without falling asleep. Non-fiction doesn't do it for me most of the time, but I love Nancy and she makes a gal laugh. I learn more with humor. Check out her book here, and her website for more her here

4.) Ever feel like you were meant for more? Don't say no, just say yes! The women in Jennifer Harris Dault's latest compilation did. Jennifer is amazeballs and has assembled a non-fiction book, The Modern Magnificat,  chronicling the stories of 23 women who received the 'call' to minister. This surrounds Baptist women, and is a wonderful, moving read. Dault presents the stories from the women themselves versus editing content to fit her own personal opinions. Again a non-fiction piece, but worth the time if you're looking for some uplifting and inspirational. You can learn more about the book here and can purchase this work here

3.) I'm always looking for new friends... sometimes you can find them running. Or at least that's how readers feel about Jennifer Luitwieler. Her book, Run With Me: An Accidental Runner and the Power of Poo, released in 2011, is anything but a guide on who to become a runner. You would think it's some funny, anecdotal storytelling about marathon experiences. In fact it's the complete opposite. It's about getting older and finding out that you forgot who you were, and then finding your self once more. Sharing stories that remind you of how to find yourself and each person has a different story. It's an easy read and you'll find yourself getting involved from the first page. Check out the book here and you can visit Jen and see other stories about why people run on her blog here

2.) Marriage and Parenthood are scary business. No one knows this best then my buddy Chad. He's a regular crack-up, the funny guy of the Dessert Islanders. His short, and whimsical memoir, Night Marriage, is currently available for pre-order right now. He's also an awesome musician, and a creative artist! I like to refer to him as the creative-jack-of-all. Whether toting the latest in musical heaven or regaling us with humorous tales of his journey's through, Chad does everything with a smile. You can check out memoir excerpts on his blog here or pre-order the work here

1.) Finally, some fiction! My other Dessert Islander buddy Amanda Romaine Lynch is celebrating release day! YAY *Kermit Arm Jiggle* This book, Anabel Unraveled is definitely two parts thriller and one part political craziness. We've got a girl who is seventeen and definitely living a life of hell or, at least, it's hell in her mind. There's congressional hearings, spies, and top secret islands. I haven't had the moment to wrap my grubby paws on it since I'm working today, and it release this morning. But soon readers I will consume, and quite possible review. If you're interested in learning more about the book you can order and check out an excerpt here or learn more about Amanda and her adventures in Mommy Land here

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review: The Prince by Tiffany Reisz

Review: The Prince by Tiffany Reisz

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For more information on the author or back cover blurb visit the author's website here

The 3rd book in the Original Sinners series left welts, big nasty ones, along with a cliff hanger ending that's got my eyeballs rolling around in my head. We pick up in The Prince where The Angel ended, Nora has left Soren to be with Wesley. Of course she's got Soren's permission to do so of course. What Nora doesn't realize is that Soren's just getting her out of the way. He's on the hunt for the person seeking to harm her, and Kingsley won't stand by and let Soren search alone. Between Nora's antics and attempts to vanilla sex her lifestyle, and Kingsley desperate attempts to seduce Soren back to his bed for one more romp I couldn't put this story down! 

There's 3 sections to this story, and Reisz does a masterful job of weaving in and out them. First we have the North, which follows present day Soren and Kingsley as they attempt to find out who's after Nora. Kingsley could really care less, in his opinion Nora has abandoned them for Wesley. There's also the little bit of Kingsley being in love with Soren... leading up to the 2nd section of the book: Soren and Kingsley's past. How they met, how they came to know one another, and how Kingsley has always been Kingsley. He's flawed, selfish, and just an all around man whore. That is until Soren is able to put him in his place. 

The 3rd and final section is the South, which follows the misadventures of Dominant Queen of the Underground and the Prince of Kentucky. There's horses, races, a few awkward moments with some rich folk, and a couple encounters with the infamous red riding crop. Add in a ton of sexual tension, which of course will lead to some naughty romps and it's an emotional roller coaster. 

What I love: Description, dialogue, and ultimately voice. There's a presence to the writing that screams '"I'm naughty", and this dirty little bit keeps the pages turning. I think characters with flaws and imperfections jump out at me as well. I like knowing that none of the characters are perfect. They possess an innate confidence that I myself lack so I've got some Original Sinner envy too. 

Why this isn't a 5: I knew who the bad guy was. I saw it coming a mile away, and had no problem with the predictions. Also, my personal madness cliff hanger hell. Reisz ends the story with a situation that left my jaw hanging. When the next book will come along is another question. The sensuality and encounters between Soren and Kingsley could affect those faint at heart or those who have suffered from sexual abuse in the past. This is a hardcore story, and not a typical romance or erotica novel. If you're ready to feel emotions from one end of the spectrum to the other Reisz will make sure that happens in all of the Original Sinners books. 

Overall, I liked this story. It wasn't my favorite, that special spot belongs to The Angel. I still love Kingsley, the seriously vain and flawed Frenchman. I've got a soft spot for Soren, but I'm a dominant at heart so I'd like to beat him. I'll keep an eye out for future Original Sinners works, and these grubby paws will definitely be all over them. If I said it once, I'll say it again: "Reisz is a auto buy every time." 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Things Every One's Talking About: Sandy and Voting Day

She blew in from the south waters of the Atlantic, and crapped on the eastern seaboard. Then it spurned up thunderstorms, snowstorms, and a bunch of other weather messes further in the Mid-Atlantic region. Millions were and still are without power. NYC went dark. It's Mother Nature at her most potent. So, it's got me thinking about a couple of things.

Food, water, and the bare necessities: What are people doing out there to survive? They need help that's for sure. How can I do anything? Donate to the American Red Cross. For Americans everywhere all it requires is a quick text message and $10 gets tacked onto your bill. The number is 90999 for those who may have missed all the hubbub. Others outside the United States can still donate by going to www.redcross.org. I just can't imagine being in a disaster where I can get my children a drink of water or cook them dinner. Thankfully I haven't experienced a catastrophe of that nature.

It's Dark in NYC: Alright, I'm not knocking the city that never sleeps, because New York definitely doesn't sleep, but when I told my hubby that NYC went dark he said he was glad he lived here and not there. Our minds immediately went to the potential crime rise that would occur. I'm sure plenty of the people I know in the writer world are fairing just fine in the area. At least I hope and pray they are, but I've lived in the big cities and I don't like the crime insanity that follows a natural disaster. My prayers are not just for those without power but it's for those just trying to keep their personal property and families safe. "Hide yo kids, hide yo wife." People are inherently good, except for the 2% of the population who's in general a bunch of a-holes.

Now to the big news for Tuesday: It's voting day. Millions of American citizens are casting our votes for the next President of the United States, but it's more then just Romney vs. Obama. In each state there's other issues, we're casting votes on the definition of marriage, the right to legalize marijuana, State Representatives, County Judges, State Senators, and so many other things. So voting and exercising the ability to vote at first may seem like it's about the big race, when in fact it's about the little ones. Those little races and laws have a direct impact on day to day life and deserve every one's voice.

I don't talk about my personal politics on this blog, and for good reason. A friend and romance author, Beverley Kendall, once said that she loses far to many good friendships due to differences between religion and politics that it's better to not discuss them. I'm with her. So instead I'll just implore people to exercise their right to vote. You've got the ability, where others in some countries don't get the pleasure, so flaunt it, strut into that voter's booth and get your vote on.

To NYC and Jersey love you all and stay safe. I've already heard from the infamous shark, Janet Reid, who's been out to cast her vote on the streets of NYC. So even a hurricane won't get those folks down. In the word's of another president:

"...let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Nothing will stop us from being heard except the fear that our voice doesn't matter. Don't fear, don't cower, vote.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Things Every One's Talking About: NANOWRIMO

Since people in the writing world typically post about the same nonsense over and over again. I'm going to join in the on the fun, especially when it's a topic I can get behind. So if I see a bunch of posts over a few weeks that deal with the same stuff I'll chime in. What the hey, right?

This week every one's talking about: NANOWRIMO

It's around the bend, 10 days away in fact, and people are blogging, shop talking and app downloading in preparation. Some do it for fun, some do it because they genuinely want new material to work with in the new year, and others just do it because they do it every year. Sounds like a new sexual position, but alas it's writing. Hardcore, labor intensive writing. You're expected to produce 50,000 words in a month.

To most this may not be hard, but factor in the Thanksgiving turkey stuff fest, the biggest shopping day of the year, and the bed binge afterward... 50K doesn't seem so easy now does it? If you're still saying it's easy then you're probably published or you don't care about the quality of what you produce. This is a creative juice fest for sure. It's about the fast draft and downloading as many creative ideas onto your word document as possible.

Will I Nano? Yes Mork! I will, Nanu Nanu. My goal isn't to start from scratch. I got a head start plopping 20k down on my current novel in 10 days. I figure this gives me a 10 day rest period if I need it. I'm also shooting for 80k or around about in there.

Will I post updates or use fancy gizmos for motivation? No, but there's plenty available. You can find all sorts of motivating apps and tools to help you gear up. From plotting outlines to Write or Die. I don't buy into those app dealies. I tend to use my critique partner for motivation. Every time we talk we experience a sudden urge to produce words. So it's a win-win!

So enough about me, what about you? Will you Nanu Nanu? What tips and stratagems can you offer?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Anti-Bullying Month: My Story

After some much needed attention, posted my dear friend Lori Sizemore (check out her post), I was reminded October is National Bullying Prevention Month. At first I wasn't going to post, why post really? There's tons of people who were bullied as children, myself included, but there are others out there with worse stories then mine. Then Bill Cameron, on my tweet feed, posted this link. The story inspired, enraged and put forth the moment where I had to speak out.

My story:
I was in elementary school. My family: a middle class, hard-working unit, with 2 parents and every 3-4 years adding a new sibling. I was the oldest. My father's words were:
"You can do anything you want to do. All you have to do is use your head."
Beauty, make-up, fancy clothes, those were things we couldn't afford so the fail safe involved my smarts. And boy, was I smart. Straight A's, and I loved learning. The kids didn't love me. My hand-me-down clothes were ugly. My family was poor, and many a time I found myself exposed to the cruelty of my friends, whether getting hit in the head with a kickball and laughed at until I ran crying or ganged up on by a group of 15 girls with teachers standing by and doing nothing.

I went to my father with my troubles, the pressures from my peers making we long to stay home. I hated recess with every fiber of my being. I couldn't hide at recess. My father said:
"Don't fight. Walk away. They'll give up after a while. Tell the teacher."
Except none of those things worked. I walked, they followed. They had 30 minutes to follow me around. I almost got my head pushed into a brick wall, and I'd told the teachers. They were cruel, mean, and when I got to middle school I worked doubly hard to fade into the dark. I tried to avoid bringing myself to the center of attention. Didn't want to make friends, except for a small group. Sure I knew every one's names, but my circle of 4 friends were enough to keep me happy. They didn't make fun of me or try to push me around.

The unfortunate thing is that my sense of self worth diminished. My father's endless tirades of awesome I was because of my brain power paled in comparison to the pretty girls, with the nice clothes, and the boyfriends. Secretly I wanted attention. I wanted to be liked and loved by everyone. I sought those feelings in the wrong places and by high school lost my virginity a few months into freshman year. My belief was it would give me some sort of staying power. It didn't, and if I wasn't careful I'd become a slut behind closed doors or an emotional wreck because the one guy who took a precious part of me shared it with everyone he knew. Thankfully, all of this occurred before the age of the cell phone and social media, and I stopped myself from committing the worst. Because at some point you realize these people who are making fun of you don't matter. You'll grow up and you'll get away from them, move away to greener pastures.

In this day in age the silly things we do as high schools and teenagers are no longer just a part of life or privy to the inner circle of 20-30 people that can't 'prove' what happened. The idiot who took my maidenhead couldn't prove it. But now with cell phones being in every one's hands, Facebook and YouTube uploading a press of a finger away, your most intimate moments become available to the world seconds after they happen. Children and teenagers must be taught to avoid peer pressure. Don't fall into the trap that says let's do this, whether on the bullying or the not-bullying side. When someone calls you weird embrace it. When they make fun of your clothes say 'thank you'. Attempt to walk away, but be ready to stand your ground. Sometimes the best reaction is a positive one. The words hurt, and even as an adult I hear things about myself that hurt, but I always remember at the end of the day I'm the one who's got to be happy with who I am. Not them, and most bully's do what they do because they aren't happy.

Side note: On the last recess of fifth grade, the next year would be middle school, I confronted one of my elementary bullies. I finally said: "What's your problem? Why me?" Her response was: "Because you act all high and mighty because you have a daddy and I don't know who mine is."  Now, I never acted high and mighty about anything. Yes, I have a father, but I didn't parade the fact around like it was something special. This other girl had nice clothes, got to each lunch at school every day while I took bologna sandwiches, and everyone liked her.  Funny how this one social difference she held against me, even though it was something outside of my control. If I'd asked her a long time ago what her problem was would she have kept bullying me? We'll never know, but after 5th grade she didn't bully me ever again.

This post was inspired by Lori Sizemore and @WhenALionSleeps. Visit Rachel @ When a Lion Sleeps, Let it Sleep and blog your own story. We all have one and it's important to share them. Let's learn from past mistakes, and others actions. Let's learn how to teach our children to break the cycle.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Reading List: September 2012

It's been review land for me over the last couple of months. I'm also trying out new things in the writing realm. As I move into October I'm working to finish wrapping up my reviews for the year. The goal is to somehow write like an insane woman, and read the rest of my review commitments.

If you've sent a request via email and I haven't responded rest assured you're on my list. I need a time turner, a magic mirror or a hour glass that can give me extra hours. Anything for more time, and now I know what it feels like to let people down. Regardless, I've got a few things on my mind that I'm hoping to share...soon.

1. Tempting the Bride by Sherry Thomas**
2. Royal Pain by Megan Mulry**
3. Eyes of the Seer by Peter Dawes*
4. The Angel by Tiffany Reisz***
5. Seducing Mr. Knightly by Maya Rodale**
6. A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long**
7. Head Over Heels by Susan Andersen*
8. Dark Before Dawn by Stacy Juba*
9. Seduced by a Pirate by Eloisa James**
10. Lord of Temptation by Lorraine Heath**
11. Mistletoe Bride by Vanessa Kelly**
*Review available on IndieBooksRUs
**Review available or upcoming on The Season
***Review available on this blog.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review: The Angel by Tiffany Reisz

Review: The Angel by Tiffany Reisz

Rating: 5 Stars!

For more info on Tiffany Reisz, this book, and other works visit her website here.

This book left with my mouth gaping. Now to call upon the one person to fill that hole *gasp*. She what Ms. Reisz does to me with her words. Suddenly I'm a randy, insane female willing to publish naughty words on my blog. Her first book, The Siren, was merely a stretching exercise and lesson in proper breathing techniques. Every word penned before only sought to sink you further into oblivion. The Angel is the flogger, the testing phase to see how much you can take. Let me go on the record in saying: "I can handle more."

We've got several main players: Nora, Griffin, Michael, and Soren. There's some Kingsley and a bit of Wesley in there too. Couple that with enough sexual high jinks and kinks, and I was on fire! Could not put this down. We follow Nora to the New York countryside. She's hiding out to help Soren deflect a nosy reporter and some nasty rumors. In addition to hiding she's training a new sub and getting plenty of action from Griffin to keep her mind occupied. Only when is Nora ever satisfied with just 1 man? The would be a n-to-the-e-v-e-r!

My favorite part of the story-- well, all of it!

My favorite line: "Have you ever had sex in the back of a Rolls Royce?"

This is BDSM Erotica at it's finest. A mix of pleasure, pain, and characters that continual keep you guessing. Reisz does a marvelous job with dialogue. It bites, cuts, and just when you think someone will say something they shut their mouths. The sprinkle of back story throughout the pages, until your screaming for more, is another talent Reisz possesses. My praise could go on for hours. No sagging middle, no boredom, no skipping paragraphs due to over description. Eyes wide and glued to each syllable is a pre-requisite.

The bottom line (remember she left a ton of marks) this book is not for the faint of heart. If you enjoyed The Siren, The Angel will secure your ticket on the train to sinners paradise. For BDSM fans this is a book you should purchase immediately, and I mean a hardback copy. You'll want to show this off on the bookshelf. If this is your first foray into the world of BDSM Erotica I suggest you proceed with caution or start with Reisz's earlier works to break yourself in.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Few Good Reviewers Needed!

Here's the official post, as promised.


Indies Books R Us is looking for a few good nuts... um, we mean reviewers, but if you're a little cray too then no biggie!

Yes, we need help. If you follow our blog regularly you've seen on the last few months have put a strain on us. The indie book reviewing world is just too big for only 2 reviewers on this site. Commitment is for just 1 review/1 book per month. You'll get a choice in what you review, and you only have to put down about 300-500 words of your thoughts on the book's content. No extraordinary deal, no website design or fancy postings (we'll take care of that). Additional details will be provided if you're interested.
Those who want more info or are definitely up to the challenge send an email to: indiesrus@live.com

Include:

-Contact info

-Experience (it's not required, but a bonus).

-A review example. If you've never written one before write a review based on the last book you read.   I hope there's a few of you out there interested in joining the cause, at least that's one way of defining it. There's a ton of books available out there and we need to help people sift through the good, the questionable, and the fuzzy.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Summer Reading List: May-July 2012

I haven't been very diligent these summer months, but I decided at the last minute to fill in with an update of what I've been reading. When I wrote everything down I was surprised by how small the list was. Normally I could bust out this many books in a month. But I guess it's more about quality rather then quantity.

1. Blood Before Sunrise by Amanda Bonilla***
2. Ravishing The Heiress by Sherry Thomas***
3. Melt Into You by Roni Loren
4. Still Into You by Roni Loren
5. Without A Spark by George Berger**
6. Rift of Askrah Book 1: Fracture by Benjamin Andrews**
7. Scandal Wears Satin by Loretta Chase***
8. Return of the Viscount by Gayle Callen***
9. Forever A Lady by Delilah Marvelle***
10. Lessons From A Scandalous Bride by Sophie Jordan***
11. When You Wish Upon A Duke by Isabella Bradford***
12. The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James***
13. A Lady By Midnight by Tessa Dare***
14. How to be a Proper Lady by Katherine Ashe***
15. A Gentleman Undone by Cecilia Grant***
16. The Casanova Code by Donna MacMeans***
17. My Fair Concubine by Jeannie Lin***
18. Lethal Rider by Larissa Ione***
19. Messenger's Angel by Heather Walden-Killough***
20. Forbidden by Nicola Cornick***
21. Secrets of an Accidental Duchess by Jennifer Haymore
22. About Last Night by Ruthie Knox
23. A Duchess to Remember by Christina Brooke
24. The Siren by Tiffany Reisz*
25. Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry

My August reading list will be coming up shortly, as well as post on what I learned from my latest submission experience. I've got a couple of reviews as well from self-published sources as well.

*Review posted here.
**Review posted on IndieBooksRUs blog
***Review posted on The Season

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Funday Monday: August 20th, 2012

Well we're halfway through my birthday month and so far I'm lovin' it! Yesterday was the official day I turned one year older. Nothing exciting but as always worthwhile. It's been a long time since I posted a Funday Monday set, and a few things have popped up on my radar. This week's group of 5 involves stuff for writers (of course). Just a bit o' everything.

5. Reviewers Needed! So you're not into the full blown romance novel set, but you want to write reviews... how about YA/ New Adult? The Season Review site is looking for those interested in reviewing YA novels. You can sign up for what you want, but need some strong writing skills for more info check out THIS POST.

4. I love reading self-pub/indie books! If that's the case do you want to review them? Currently Lexcade and I are searching for a few good folks to help enhance our IndiesBooksRUs review blog. We want to do more but we're only two folks. 2013 is just around the corner so be on the lookout for a post here and there coming soon! Until then if you have some interest you can send me an email direct.

3. Writing Opportunity. Have you checked out the Writer's Digest site? I'm sure you'll tell me you have, but it's one of those things you can easily forget. What captured my interest is this upcoming webinar on Self-Editing. I can't participate due to the fact I work a day job during these hours, but I felt like sharing the wealth. If this doesn't interest you there's another webinar for query help coming up in September. Just check out the site. You won't regret it.

2. Avon Romance Addict? Yes this is a question for those fans of Tessa Dare, Caroline Linden, Julie Anne Long, Lynsay Sands, Kerrelyn Sparks and Lori Wilde to name a few. If you are then Avon is looking for 25 special addicts to get the opportunity of early reads, free swag, and other special perks. All you need do is apply here. Deadline to apply is September 7th, 2012.

1. Finally the last bit of Funday Monday jazz is this article that's a bit sad. I recently read this and thought heavily about the decline of the Ninja. This got me thinking about other practices throughout history that are now in a decline including doll collecting (weird I know). Not that I collect dolls, but I'm just saying. So when you're thinking about plotting a book something obscure like this may be fun, different. Just felt a need to share the news with the rest of those out there.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Review: Temptation & Twilight by Charlotte Featherstone

Review: Temptation and Twilight by Charlotte Featherstone

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

For back cover blurb or more information about the author visit Charlotte Featherstone's website here.

Three words that describe this book: anxious, agony, and sensual

Featherstone is a master of sensual description and emotion. In the final book of The Guardians trilogy she once again shows us how she can squeeze every ounce of feeling from the encounters between two people. For Elizabeth York and Iain Sinclair there's plenty of feeling, secrets, and dwelling emotions between once lovers.

Elizabeth is essentially the character we know and love. Mentioned in previous Guardian books, Elizabeth is blind. Featherstone has created a wonderful, strong woman that manages to operate without her sight, which makes the sensuality of the story ten times better. Add in a secondary man in the competition ring and things are downright hawt! Yes, you heard right, there's competition for Elizabeth's hand. Dedicated readers to the series will remember the man Elizabeth was introduced to at the party during Pride and Passion. Oh, and just to confirm this storyline is parallel with Pride and Passion, with the timing of the two being one and the same. There's a few dark moments in this story along with a dark recollections of what happened after Elizabeth and Iain connected the first time.

Now to the subject of Iain. This is was a man that I was extremely attracted to visually, but I found him a bit more sensual then emotional for most of the book. He's Scottish and extremely possessive, which seems to be the main focus of his attentions toward Elizabeth. Along with a deep desire for forgiveness and a need to repent for his previous sins against her, though he's not aware of all of them. Every time he took a step towards an emotional element he'd counteract it by sexually approaching Elizabeth. Halfway through the book it got a bit annoying and I really wanted Iain to grow a bit more. He finally grew, but just a bit slower then I would have enjoyed.

Overall, Temptation and Twilight is a decent book and wraps up the tale of the Guardians for those who've read previous books in the series. By now we know the face of the true villain, but seeing his ultimate defeat at the hands of this group of heroes and heroines is still enjoyable. Iain wasn't nearly as much fun in person as I expected, but Elizabeth exceeded all of my previous expectations.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

And I'm spent...

The last 2 months have been a bit insane. I got roped into this crazy submission call, originally proposed by my critique partner. The submission call involved fairy tale retelling with *drumroll* zombies!

I know what you're going to say next: "But Landra you hate, and I mean despise with every ounce of your being, zombies."

I'm also aware of this fact, and... did I mention I was dragged into this by my critique partner. The conversation went a bit like this:

Her: This is insane but, Entangled has a call for fairy tale retelling zombie romance short story/novellas for Halloween. It's got my creativity flowing.

Me: What's this crazy idea you're having? I like it.

Her: We should each write a story for submission. It's due by July 31st. Doing it together will act as motivation.

Me: But we have less than 2 months to write it.

Her: That's right. 1 week to brainstorm, 1 week to plot, 2 weeks to write, 2 weeks to edit, and 1 week of wiggle room I think we can do it.

Me: It would definitely be an experience for deadlines and writing short stories.

Her: So you're in?

Me: Uh... yeah.

Alright flash forward about a week later and she texts me.

I just remembered something: You hate zombies. Like they seriously creep you out. How are you doing with this?

I told her as long as the good guys get to win I can do this.

Then things got crazy. I brainstormed, plotted, and then lost my touch. It took about a week to get back in the groove. Then I wrote (kickin' and screamin' all the way) until I thought everything was crap. I wrote some more, and sent the pieces of the story to my lovely CP to rip apart. In between the power outages, heat waves, monsoons, and random disasters I managed to finish the story and begin edits. The last 4 days were probably the worst, and then I had to write a query.

Bottom line of this crazy rant: I. Did. It. I submitted the story. I'm ready for rejection. I learned a ton of things through writing and editing, which I'll include in another post. But regardless of what happens this is a learning experience and even if it does go beyond a standard form letter telling me to try, try again I know that I can.

What this means for you, dear reader, I'm back. Give me a week to recover, but after that be ready for review time. If you've emailed me be ready for a response.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Alert: Appendage Missing!

I'm sure this is a bit overdramatic, but screw it! I'm missing an appendage and it's called my critique partner. First she was gone for a week for studying, then testing. Then another week passed and I knew she was catching up on work. No. Big. Deal. Right?

We made plans and then nature struck! Knocked out her computer and phone capabilities, that's when I freaked out. Officially two weeks since speaking and I'm going nuts. I need this person who I bounce ideas off of.

As she, my awesome critique partner, so elegantly put it before us conversing is like 'creative crack', and I feel like I'm in a writing rut without her. So fine readers I need prayers, crossing fingers, druid circles, whatever it is that you do to add a bit o'luck and send it my direction. I need my crit partner back or this deadline I'm trying to meet might not happen.

P.S. This (unlike usually) 

isn't working for me.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review: Too Tempting To Resist by Cara Elliott

Review: Too Tempting to Resist by Cara Elliott

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Release Date: May 1st, 2012

For more info and back cover blurb visit Cara's website here.

A flourishing romance, a sensuous coupling, and the language of flowers...

Elliott easily makes horticulture the sexiest thing ever in this story of an unlikely pair drawn together by chance, and a love of nature transcending beyond simplistic view. In one corner there's the sister of a lord, a widow, bent on keeping her freedom to live without a husband, and determined to save her brother from ruin.

Lady Eliza Brentford is finally free.. of marriage. She would prefer to keep things that way if her brother would just quit attempting to live the frivolous life. Eliza is a delight! She's a painter, a lover of flowers, and one who speaks there language. I have a lot of respect for a woman who protects family and endears people to her by providing care and intelligence. Unfortunately, for Eliza her brother doesn't think of her as a benefit, but as a hindrance. Another part of Eliza is she's closed off to sexual aspects. She's never really experienced anything along the lines of desire or passion. Meeting Gryffin, Marquess of Haddan will change that.

Gryffin is a man of interesting tastes, typically known for his debauchery and insane pursuits. Yet lately the pursuit has lost it's luster. I found a man searching for something meaningful a wonderful storyline for the rakehell. He's looking for more and his travels lead him to Eliza. The air sizzles, the common interests delight, and before you know Gryffin is looking for any reason whatsoever to be near her. Gryffin is one of those heros that's enchanted with the unfamiliar, and in this case the unfamiliar is a female creature he can't seem to shake. I liked this hero as much as I liked the heroine. The setting, the subplots, and the character development was extremely enjoyable.

My only caveat was the fact that Gryffin and Eliza spent a lot of time building false tension and conflict. You could have developed plenty of different scenerios to excite the reader without a misunderstanding between Gryffin and Eliza occurring. For me the 'misunderstanding' line is the most overused in the business and I prefer plain speaking. Honesty and trust build relationships.

Overall, this is a good story about two people who should have been together all along, but just weren't ready to be. It's a great mid-way point for Elliot's Lords of Midnight trilogy, and I can't wait for the final installment and hellhound Cameron's tale. If you enjoy Stephanie Laurens you'll like this book.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Review: Scotsmen Prefer Blondes by Sara Ramsey

Review: Scotsmen Prefer Blondes by Sara Ramsey

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For more the back cover blurb or more info on this author visit Sara Ramsey's website here.
A second dose of heart stopping romance and how a woman can release the animal in any man.

Amelia Staunton is on a mission to help her friend wed, and wed well. That means a trip to a castle in Scotland. Amelia hopes to stand by her friends side and get some inspiration for her latest story. Instead she finds herself attracted to the very man her friend would marry Malcolm MacCabe.

Determined to be the Laird his people need, and keep the tenants in Scotland MacCabe needs a respectable wife who can give him an 'in' to the hearts and minds of the English Lords. Amelia is no such woman, but MacCabe can't help the attraction to her defiant and fiery nature nor the desire such actions spark. Soon the two are caught in situation warranting the unthinkable marriage between the two with no escape. Can the desire and love growing between them survive all?

Amelia, a writer and a woman with a sharp tongue. I loved her! She's very stubborn, but when it comes to caring about someone she has a heart of gold. This character has a beautiful way with insults too, and knows just when those barbs are gonna hurt the worst. There are many moments where Amelia has a problem with keeping her mouth shut, but surprisingly this part of her character didn't ruin the story it enhanced the conflict because I didn't really know what she was gonna say next. A woman who speaks her mind isn't always a bad thing. ;)

MacCabe is the domineering male, who's not always the brightest when it comes to judging people. Amelia's mouth and tendency to let whatever fly out of it is more of a turn on for him; rather than a turn off. Now, readers of the blog will know I'm a sucker for alpha's. MacCabe is pretty close, but not quite there. Regardless I liked him and his ignorance when it came to not figuring out Amelia's writing secret sooner.

Ramsey definitely has a theme with her Muses of Mayfair series. The ladies have secrets and the men getting entangled with them either have to step up to protect the ladies or abandon them... if you want to know what happens then you'll just have to buy the books. Let's just say regardless of MacCabe's decision there's plenty of hoops to jump through and a historical good time. I'm definitely primed to get my greasy paws on the last of this trilogy.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Review: The Siren by Tiffany Reisz

Review: The Siren by Tiffany Reisz

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

For back cover blurb or more info about this author visit Tiffany Reisz's website here!

Sexy, emotional, heart-wrenching!

There's only one other book so far in 2012 that can claim the word heart-wrenching from my lips, but the first on the list is The Siren. Realistic characters who make you long to give up the vanilla bed-style for something a little darker in taste. Men who are smokin', and one woman who knows all the right moves. Reisz provides it all.

She's created a world where belts, whips, and chains are okay. Leather and tight spandex fitting material are not just the norm, but the rule. Collars mean more than a wedding ring, and pain is merely an alternative word for pleasure.

Can you tell I'm being cryptic? At least I'm going for cryptic, but I will share the fact that I read this book in 4 hours. 4 gut-wrenching hours because Kindle didn't want to download my purchase and because I had to find a wall outlet halfway through to charge the damn thing. There were moments of tears, I exclaimed out loud (which is rare for me), and I found Reisz's character development above and beyond. In my opinion Reisz reached into her own personal vault, dug deep, and ripped her emotional intestines out with this story. Sex... good sex (not perfect sex) is hard to write. An excellent story that contains sex, and not just any sex but BDSM sex, is a damn challenge. Reisz has officially set the bar just a bit higher on the scale, and I fear my erotic reading mind may be ruined for all other authors.

The book is all about Nora and her wacky way of convincing the men who love her to leave her be or tie her up. She's just trying to get her book published, and by the end of the story I was dying for her to get the publishing deal too. Nora is a go getter in every sense of the word and the everything from the dialogue to the internal conflict proves why she deserves to win. The backdrop of the New York and the surrounding is present, but doesn't hold a candle to the tension and emotions running rampant through the streets and in little hidey holes. I will caution those who aren't adventurous to steer clear. This book is definitely one you must walk with eyes and mind open to the possibilities.

Previous fans, and followers of Tiffany's blog will be happy to know this story falls within the realm of the Kingsley/Eleanor world we were introduced to early on in Reisz' Spice Briefs The Seven Day Loan and Immersed in Pleasure. I'm really not going to provide any more details beyond you must read this book. It does contain hardcore relationships and Reisz never uses the dreaded 'M' word.

P.S. No clue when the next book comes out, but it will be on my pre-order list.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Funday Monday: May 14, 2012

It's been awhile... okay, maybe too long. You'll be happy to know that I'm writing again-- with a vengeance that refuses to be denied. I don't want to go into detail about the project because I don't want to jinx anything. Call me superstitious because... I am! *Deja Vu* I said all of this previously, that should tell you how paranoid I've become.

This week is a mish mash of things to do and other news.

1- Winner of my contest! I only had once commenter. That's kinda sad but no biggie. I can only conclude that everyone's read all the books I was giving away. No worries there, so my 1 commenter gets not just 1 book but all of them. Trudy Edgeworth! Come. On. Down. That's right Trudy send me a message so I can get you your books.

2- It's a Country Showdown! A fellow day time slummer is currently competing a country showdown competition hosted by Chevron. This is one of those long running contests but I really want to help. There's no pesky emails or anything just a register an email address, validate it and vote one a day.
Who should you vote for: Paul Alvin. Writer and Singer of the song 'Chunky Dunkin'. The song is hilarious so click the link and vote please!

3- My next Barbara Walter's moment! Yes, that's right I'm going to slip into my Barbara Walter's facade (without making celebs cry) and complete a live interview Wednesday night on the paranormal show The Beyond Natural. Who is this lucky celeb? None other than Barry Fitzgerald from Ghost Hunters International. Most people wouldn't think this is big news, but for me it is. Reality and author celebs are about as close as I get to the big time. So if you want to see me in action check out The Beyond Natural Wednesday night at 7pmPST/9pmCST/10pmEST on Paranormal TV Network. *Smiles* I sound like such an ad... blah!

4-The auction! So you like reading, like authors... especially romance. Or just in general are looking for fun gifts and want to support a good cause. Well it's another year and the Brenda Novak's On-Line Auction for Diabetes Research. This is a marvelous auction with tons of opportunities (mentorships, agent critiques, lunches with authors, gift bags, books) and all the money raised goes to support a worthy cause. A couple of interesting tidbits there are multiple mentorships available with editors and authors. For the author seeking a little more in depth feedback you need to check this auction out.

5- Do you give feedback?? To often times we read these blogs and don't comment. We don't. Say. Anything. You read and you move on. I've recently discovered Google Reader on my Kindle sucks! I can't comment, just read. I like commenting. It let's the author know they are appreciated. Now stop! Before you take this as a rant, just know that even the Oh Ranty Me can't comment on everything. But I try to be diligent and comment when I can. So, for the sake of the bloggers out there pay it forward... make a comment at least once a day. In all the reading there's go to be at least one thing catching more than just an eye.

Review: Once Upon a Wicked Night by Jennifer Haymore

Review: Once Upon a Wicked Night by Jennifer Haymore

Rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars

Release Date: February 1st, 2012

For backcover blurb and more info on Jennifer Haymore visit her website here.

Not a novella, and left a little bit of wanting.

For those looking for the reasons behind Haymore's Donovan sisters seeking to erase scandal and prevent scandal then this little novella is definitely worth a peek. I've never read a single novel by Haymore and this novella was my first jump into her writing. For those who've read the first book in the Donovan series reading this piece will not affect anything. For those who haven't read a thing... stop here.

Let me first say that this really wasn't a novella, it felt more like an epilogue and a prologue/ segway between books 1 and 2 of this series. I enjoyed the writing style, and will admit to finding a fondness with Haymore's ways of depicting villians. What I did not enjoy was being teased relentlessly and then unable to buy the next book in the series. Improper advertising is what this is.

Now, Haymore does provide plenty of set up, and if you've already read the 2nd book in the Donovan series Once Upon a Wicked Night may be worth the read if you want stage center for what went down between Olivia and the horrendous Marquis of Fenwicke prior to book 2. Die hards for this series may be interested as well.

I'll admit this is also a great sampler of Haymore's storytelling abilities, and she does a good job of creating tension and emotional attachment. For those reasons I give this 3 stars and plan on reading another novel to learn more.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Review: Immersed in Pleasure by Tiffany Reisz

Review: Immersed in Pleasure by Tiffany Reisz

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Release Date: March 1st, 2012

For backcover blurb and more information on Tiffany Reisz visit her website here.

A erotica world that strips away your secrets and touches your innermost desires....

Welcome to Fathoms-- the exclusive club run by the infamous Kingsley and home to the mermaids, the most beautiful virgin women available for visual perusal only. Derek Prince is infatuated with mermaid, Xenia, from the moment he spots her. So infatuated he's willing to trade just about anything to be with her, except the choice isn't his... it's Xenia's.

For a Spice Brief this story is certainly hot! A continuance into the realm of Kingsley, The Priest and a slew of other unforgettable characters, whom lucky readers may have met in some of the Reisz other tales. If you haven't felt the need to submerge yourself in this erotic world I encourage you to commence the drowning. From the inner bowels of clubs that pride themselves on submission, domination, and any fetish in between to the realistic catalysts that drive the characters paths, Reisz is brutal and unrelenting.

Dialogue and plot are delicious drivers, along with a delicious way through intimate scenes which will leave a few marks. In Reisz's word the marks are a necessary sign of pleasure and successful navigation. Immersed in Pleasure is told from main character Derek's POV only, and surprisingly this made the story even better. Xenia through Derek's eyes is perfect visually and flawed internally, which doesn't stop his desire or growing need to be hero. This is Reisz's singular talent to make a knight in shining armor out of original lust.

This quick story ended right on time, another talent of the author's, and is perfect precursor to the recently released The Siren. If you want nab a look at the other realm's within Reisz mind then Immersed in Pleasure is a way to start.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Reading List: April 2012 & Giveaway!

It's April, my reading hasn't really picked up. Surprisingly... I honestly thought I read more then I did this past month. My last post says it all really-- I've been writing. No shame in that. I'm finished plotting, but there's more to do before the writing begins. But I wanted to let everyone about what I'm devouring.

GIVEAWAY: Wanted to let everyone know that I'm giving away a bunch of books today. The shelf in my room is overflowing. To win the book of your choice all you have to do is comment on what your favorite genre is and/or is there book coming out this year that you can't wait to read. Also let me know which book you want from the bunch! *Contest is for those in the United States only (sorry). I can't keep them all so the following are up for grabs:
 

 



1.Heart of Brass by Kate Cross***
2.Rex Rising by Chrystalla Thoma**
3.Demon's Bride by Zoe Archer***
4.If I Fall by Kate Noble***
5.The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan
6.An Heir of Deception by Beverley Kendall*
7.A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant
8.Wicked As They Come by Delilah Dawson
9.The Summer of You by Kate Noble
10.At Your Pleasure by Meredith Duran***
11.My Lady Rival by Ashley March***
12.Too Tempting to Resist by Cara Elliot*
13.Inhale by Kendall Grey**
14. At Your Pleasure by Meredith Duran
15. Glitter Baby by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
16. Werewolf in Seattle by Vicki Lewis Thompson***
17. Temptation and Twlight by Charlotte Featherstone*
18. Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig


*Review coming soon right here!
**Review upcoming or available on IndiesBooksRUs
***Review upcoming or available on The Season

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Review: To Bewitch a English Knight by Alena Stuart

Review: To Bewitch An English Knight by Alena Stuart

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Philandra is on the run! A life of exile wouldn't be bad if she hadn't stabbed the wrong man, an English Earl engaged to her sister. Fleeing through the woods she hopes to evade capture, and strongly believes, regardless of original intentions, she will be hanged if caught. Aa gathering storm and the urge to seek shelter brings her into the hands of Sir Thomas. He's a knight on a mission, but can hardly believe that this small-statured female had ill intentions to his lord. Thomas is drawn to Philandra, and desires to claim her for his own. To do so would go against his sense of honor unless the real villian can be brought to justice.

The Good: The overall story and plot is decent and believeable, and a strong cast of secondary characters leave some wiggle room for future books. The language isn't overbearing with the highland tone, and I found it easy to follow along with the characters banter.

The Bad: I became confused by a few details in the story, especially involving the ultimate defeat of the villian. Philandra and Sir Thomas' tension and conflict is somewhat muted toward the end of the book, and I really wanted a little more then what was provided, I understand this is a short but I don't think the writing was as tight as it could have been. I was also a bit let down by the romance portion, which at times seemed forced and the circumstances behind the main characters coupling seemed manufactured for the stories sake.

Ultimately, I believe the author has a good start, but I would look to future works from Stuart if you're looking for a well-honed gem. To Bewitch An English Knight doesn't quite make the mark.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I'm disappearing... I'm writing

They say: 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder'. In the case of this blog I'm not sure if that's true. I'm due to churn out some reviews I've promised over the last couple months, but I've been bitten-- by the writing bug. I'm plotting like crazy, going insane because I've relinquished my pants.

I've taken up conflict boxes, excel spreadsheets, and turning points. There are days when I think the torture will never end, and others where I know I'm doomed to never put a decent word to the .doc. While I'm pulling my hair out you can still catch reviews over at The Season and at Indie Books R Us, if that's what you're looking for.

As far as what I'm working on... I'll never tell; at least not yet. I don't like jinxing myself. Instead I'll keep the momentum rolling, cross my fingers, and pray that I'll write the actual book sometime in the near future.Until then it's plot until my eyes are seeing spots, and the characters are so ingrained in my brain that I start having conversations with them.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Reading List: March 2012

As you can see I'm running a bit low this month, but in my defense the day job has heated up a bit. I'm working some long hours plus doing a few other things.

1. Immersed in Pleasure by Tiffany Reisz*
2. Here There Be Monsters by Meljean Brooks
3. Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins**
4. Much Ado About Rogues by Kasey Michaels**
5. The Husband Hunt by Lynsay Sands
6. A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah Mclean
7. Beguiling the Beauty by Sherry Thomas**
8. Pleasure for Pleasure by Eloisa James
9. The Art of Duke Hunting by Sophia Nash**
10. Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream by Caddy Rowland***
11. The Lesson Plan by Jackie Barbosa
12. Skies of Fire by Zoe Archer**
13. How to Ravish a Rake by Vicky Dreiling**
14. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
15. This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Plans for much more book reading in the month of April. Also expect a sudden burst of reviews in the first couple weeks of the month. After that I'm thinking of going dark.... you know, books don't write themselves.

*Review available or upcoming on this site.
**Review available or upcoming on The Season
***Review available or upcoming on Indie Books R Us

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Review: The Runaway Countess by Leigh Lavalle

Review: The Runaway Countess by Leigh Lavalle

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For more information about this author or the backcover blurb visit Leigh Lavalle's website here.

Love has a way of opening your eyes, even when you don’t want too…

For Trent Carthwick, Earl of Radford, justice and the rules of law have always come before emotions. He’s steadfast in his duty to parliament, and believes in truth and honor above all. So the presence of a highwayman running rampant through his village and preying on friends of his father is the last thing he wants to malign his character. The one person who can reveal the highwayman is a prisoner… err, guest in his home. Although it will take more than threats to loosen the lips of this beguiling beauty, Mazie Chetwyn, and Trent’s finding it hard not to fall into a trap.

Lavalle’s debut is delicious! There’s something to be said for a story of a woman on the run and an Earl crossing paths. Although, Mazie isn’t everything she appears to be and neither is Trent. From the get go, I was submerged in a story that had me turning the page’s with an urge to know more. The most captivating part is the emotions that plague and tie Trent and Mazie together. They’re both trying to protect something, and neither of them can see a solution that comes out in their favor. Add in a growing attraction, that they can’t expel, and it’s plain to see disaster sits on the horizon.

Trent is arrogant, and devoted to the rules. He’s determined to get his way—regardless of the cost, except what way that is he isn’t sure, as every turn and twist in discovering the highwayman opens the floodgates to problems he didn’t know he had. Mazie is running from previous abandonment, and desires to be free of anyone’s control. She refuses to yield to Trent’s requests for her honesty, hoping instead to lead him on a merry chase while she plots her escape.

As the days tick away Trent discovers more about Mazie, bringing a wave of additional attraction and sympathy to this wayward woman. Mazie on the other hand is shocked to discover that each assumption she has towards Trent is somewhat unfounded, though her hesitations toward disclosure remain. As the blurb describes it’s a constant battle of passion, wit, and deflecting the truth from one another as Mazie and Trent play out their dangerous dance.

My one caveat to this story is completely personal; the villains didn’t get their just reward! Oh, not that the villains weren’t evil. They were, despicably so. I just felt they didn’t receive the punishment they deserved. It made me angry to see Trent, a man so influenced by justice, refusing to exact more of a punishment. If it was possible, I’m not sure, but it would’ve been nice.

I will say Lavalle kept me on my toes, and created a real sense of doubt. I didn’t think the characters would get an HEA. I didn’t believe that enough growth had occurred, when in reality the growth was there. You just get the deliverance at the right time and right place! Overall, if you like a story where characters must question their own beliefs, and evaluate their scruples then this book is one to read. It’s a love story that reminds me of how love can form between different people, and even when it makes you question the very ideals you hold dear.

*Previously featured on The Season

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My busy busy busy life

I'm sure everyone noticed my absence from the blog. Okay, maybe not everyone, but a handful of people who follow this mish mash faithfully. Sidenote: Thank you faithful followers!

Anyhoo, I've been absent, but not because I wanted to be. The real world life took over and attacked like a vicious tiger digging into a zebra haunch. My online presence went from everyday to the spare moments between putting kids to bed and getting on the next project. All of this craziness culminated this weekend in a moment of insane planning and skill.
What moment you ask? The moment or should I say 4 day whirlwind of moving my mother in-law.
I can hear it now- the brakes in your mind just set against the wheels. There's a bit of squealing; you probably need some new pads. Yes, I moved my mother in-law... by myself! Or with limited help. This wasn't just an across town move. No this was a state-to-state move. Starting in the northern part of Missouri to my neck of the woods in Arkansas. You would think this would be simple, but I had my hands in all sorts of pots outside of the move: blog tours, reviews, day job emergencies, after school child care meltdowns (yes, my after school babysitter quit 2 days before the massive move), and a list of half a dozen other things to do. Plus, I'm actively plotting or trying to anyway. I really want to kick this book out that's been rattling around in my head since December.

Back to the point-- the move! The consumption of my free time began in early February. I started researching apartments for the dear 2nd mother of mine (for this story I'll call her Millie). Then came visiting potential dwellings, gathering applications, relaying information via phone about each one in an attempt to glean which one Millie seemed interested in. Next filling out applications, determining who was going to cover the deposit, utility potentials, etc. Finally Millie selected two potentials and I went out (children in tow) to visit each location (of course both were places I hadn't visited prior). Our decision was made by the 3rd week of February.

Then came moving logistics. Out of 4 sons, one of which is traveling for work (so I cut him some slack)... now we have 3 sons. Not a single one could be prevailed upon to put forth any moving effort. Each one developed able excuses to not assist. I was  ticked, but this reaction from the siblings of my dear husband was expected.

Regardless, I forged ahead. Rented a car to take me to Kansas City hell, reserved a box truck, aligned a babysitter, and get all traveling completed in one day...March 1st. I got in my rented Ford Escape (sweetest car I'll ever drive), drove 3 1/2 hours, picked up the box truck, and drove 30 minutes to Millie's. Lo and behold my surprise when 2 brothers were on site to help load the truck (I still have no clue how Millie convinced them to help, but she did). Unfortunately, Millie wasn't completely packed. So I got started. 7 hours later the truck was packed, the apartment cleaned out, and Millie loaded into the passenger seat ready for her new adventure. Then I drove another 3 1/2 hours back to my house!

Luckily Friday was a rest day... sort of. We did the utility dash! Water, Cable, DMV- Check! Electricity transfer was the only thing forgotten, but Millie received permission to wait until Monday. I spent Friday evening lining up help for the move. I found 1 friend and her daughter willing to assist. So Saturday morning, after a quick eggs and potato casserole breakfast, myself, Millie, my friend and 3 children traveled another 30 minutes to Millie's new home.

8 hours, a 10 ft. (full) box truck, 1 flight of stairs, 1 trip to Wally World, a dash to Lowe's, lunch via McD's, and1 lease signing later Millie was moved in. Food in the frig, bed set up, toilet paper located, and a TV plugged in... she was set. At least for the night. The following day I besieged my friend with another request for transportation. She has a minivan... I had a desk, chair and coffee table to transport. So we made a second trip to Millie's. Much to her delight and joy since she left all her furniture in KC, except for the bed. It took me about 2 hours to assemble the coffee table and chair, but in the end everything was alright. My palms and fingers throbbed signalling the brain with messages of murder, empty threats at most.
So.... if you ever, for 1 second, doubt that a 5'4 female can move a seventy year-old woman by herself, for the most part, think again! It can be done with a bit of planning, online absence, and focus. My body treated this experience like a giant cardio exercise. I don't believe I lost any weight, but I used muscles that couldn't remember the definition of 'exercise'. Heck, exercise is a foreign activity to me. Reserved for those who have more drive for finely toned body parts.  Now, I'm back and as you've seen the reviews are flowing again.

This weekend... spring cleaning, hopefully!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Review: Kiss Me I'm Irish by Roxanne St. Clair, Jill Shalvis, Maureen Child

Review: Kiss Me I'm Irish by Roxanne St. Clair, Jill Shalvis, and Maureen Child

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

For back cover blurb and more information on this book visit this website.

Looking for a book to get you ready for the upcoming Irish Holiday? Then look no further as this anthology will have you aching for a little Irish brogue and leprechaun luck.


Kiss Me I’m Irish is a compilation of three contemporary romance stories all featuring a hunk with a four-leaf clover background. All three were previously released by the authors some years ago, but the added bonus is you get a little explanation from each author—a behind the scenes look at the inspiration for the story.

First up is The Sins of His Past by Roxanne St. Claire. Rating 4 out of 5 stars

Deuce Monroe is back in town! Having lost his baseball contract, he’s ready to take over running the family bar. Yet, the bar is no more replaced with an Internet cafĂ© and ran by the woman he’d left behind, Kendra Locke. I love stories of re-discovered romance. This one hits the bill. There’s a ton of playful, witty banter and emotionally charged moments that will make you feel for both Deuce and Kendra.

Next up, Tangling with Ty by Jill Shalvis. Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars

Nicole Mann, doctor extraordinaire, has never been good with relationships. She’s focused on work alone until she meets sexy architect, Ty O’Grady. His Irish accent, and genuine smiles keep her thoughts drifting to uncharted territory. She’s not so sure she wants to get involved, but Ty’s determined that he and Nicole should tango.

This story was probably my least favorite. While I like the bad boy, Ty, he’s built up to have some big dark secret. When in reality his secret wasn’t all that big or dark. The entire thing was a bit like false advertising, but I guess how horrible a secret can be is in the ear of the listener. Shalvis does have a wonderful villain in this story, and I did enjoy seeing him get his just desserts from the heroine. Nicole is definitely a tough cookie, and from the heroine perspective she’s strong. So if strong heroines are your thing then this story will be probably be a fav.

And finally…Whatever Reilly Wants by Maureen Child. Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars

Conner O’Reilly is supposed to be steering clear of sex for 90 days. That’s the wager, and he’s bound and determined not to lose out to his other brothers. Deciding he needs to stick to non-tempting territory, Conner plans on spending most of his time at his friend Emma’s shop. A great idea until Emma becomes offended by Conner’s dismissal of her female anatomy. Emma won’t be treated that way and she’s gonna prove it, one short skirt and sultry glance at a time! I liked this story a bunch. Child’s character development is awesome and the story left me wondering what happens to Conner’s other brothers. I really wanted to know the entire family’s story by the time I was done. The unfortunate part is that Conner doesn’t put up much a fight. He comes off a bit weak and easily distracted, especially when dealing with a bombshell dressed Emma.

Overall the stories are good and of course if you’re a fan of anything Irish then you’ll enjoy the hero’s. The best part is the note from each author with the story background and the intentions behind each tale.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Review: A Waltz at Midnight by Crista McHugh

Review: A Waltz at Midnight by Crista McHugh

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For back cover blurb and more information about this book visit Crista's website here.

When someone begs... no, offers to pay you to write letters to get rid of a suitor just say no!

In Susanna Parkwell's case she can't turn away the offer for a few extra coins. Especially when her brother desperately needs the money to continue his education. What Susanna doesn't expect is to become enthralled with the very man she's supposed to rebuke. Susanna is a bit of a day dreamer, surprisingly enough since she's survived the Civil War and lost everything she holds dear. At the same time Susanna has a practical and near cynical view of the fairy tale ending that she secretly longs for. I do believe the lady protests too much, and indeed it's not long before Susanna finds herself wishing the man behind such poignant responses to her witty diatribe would come and sweep her away.

Theodore at first glance appears to be a bit of weakling. He's guided by his father's purse strings and not much else. When his father informs him that he must marry, and that a match has already been selected he merely gives in to the inevitable. This trait did not endear Theo to me in the least, but I kept reading... hoping for Theo's redemption. Honestly he's a hero, so he better do something amazing. McHugh quickly turned the tables. Theo's capitulation to his father's desires is just one of many facets to his character. The truth of Theo becomes apparent through the correspondence with Susanna. The climatic meeting, and the events that follow are a Cinderella dream.

Overall, A Waltz at Midnight is endearing, and speaks to the little girl inside every woman that's looking for her prince to ride in on the white horse. Researching McHugh's previous writings revealed this is her first foray into the Historical Romance genre. After getting a small taste of what she's capable of, I can only hope there are more Historical Romance books on the horizon from this author!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Reading List: February 2012

This was the month to remember. I was just 3 books away from reading one for every day in the month of February. So close... unfortunately my personal life intervened. My other accomplishments or activities will be mentioned in another post, but let's just say that this past weekend was an extreme workout.

1. Fire Bapitzed by Kenya Wright **
2. The Runaway Countess by Leigh Lavalle ***
3. Tempted by Blood by Laurie London*
4. Heiress Without a Cause by Sara Ramsey*
5. Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas
6. Once Upon a Wicked Night by Jennifer Haymore*
7. To Bewitch an English Knight by Alena Stuart*
8. Confessions of an Arranged Marriage by Miranda Neville***
9. A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare***
10. How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back by Sophie Barnes***
11. The Rake and The Recluse: Ruination**
12. The Rake and The Recluse: Submission**
13. The Rake and The Recluse: Retribution **
14. Engaged With The Boss by Elle James
15. Bet On It by Jennifer Cruisie
16. Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens
17. By the Book by Scarlett Parrish
18. The Marriage Bed by Laura Lee Guhrke
19. And Then He Kissed Her by Laura Lee Guhrke
20. Faking It by Jennifer Cruisie
21. Catering to the Italian Playboy by Tamelia Tumlin*
22. The Rent-A-Groom by Jennifer Blake*
23. The Devil's Heart by Lynn Raye Harris
24. Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Cruisie
25. Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Cruisie
26. What the Lady Wants by Jennifer Cruisie
27. Charlie All Night by Jennifer Cruisie

*Review upcoming or available on my blog
**Review upcoming or available on Indie Books R Us
***Review upcoming or available on The Season

Monday, March 5, 2012

Review: Tempted by Blood by Laurie London

Review: Tempted by Blood by Laurie London

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For back cover blurb and more information about this book visit Laurie London's website here.

Blue spiked hair, leather, piercings in tantalizing places--Jackson Foss is the ultimate bad boy. He's also a Guardian, sworn to protect humanity from the Darkbloods, vampires that have gone rogue and believe that humans should be cattle. Jackson has always followed the path of the Guardians, but lately he feels his edge is slipping. He's consuming more energy, more blood... and just a hairs breath away from becoming the very thing he's been destroying for over a century.

Arianna is just a girl interested in the paranormal, ever since her mother was attacked and killed by moving shadows. She's on the trail of a missing teenagers in the Seattle area, but her search for information is about to get in her a load of trouble. Enter a gorgeous man with a dragon blade to the rescue. Arianna's not sure if she can trust Jackson, but as the two get closer things heat up. The only question left is can they save each other before the enemy in the dark finds her?

Jackson's description above is missing one thing-- muscles. When I picture this guy he's the ultimate bad boy that has a motorcycle, and naturally attracts the attention of every girl in the bar. He definitely lives up to the reputation, but London finishes the fantasy by giving Jackson a deep and tortured side to. He's definitely got demons fueling his inner fire, and is constantly on the edge. At first glance you think what the other Sweetblood characters do, he's only after a good time. When Arianna comes onto the scene everything changes. Suddenly he's caring about a human in ways he's never felt about anyone. She's got him dangling on a string, and Jackson doesn't like it.

Arianna fights the attraction pretty well. She's more focused on her mission to reveal the truth behind the things lurking in the dark, and protecting her family. I love this character because she's incredibly strong and takes actions that go against the typical female reaction. For example the woman sees a vampire and instead of screaming out in horror she whips out a camera phone and starts snapping photos. London's heroine's are typically made of sterner stuff, but Arianna impresses.

Story flow and pacing are beautiful as always and next to London's first Sweetblood novel, Bonded by Blood, Jackson's story is one of my favorites. The villains are always a delight, and there's a good dose of humor in all the right places... in a few words: My Little Pony. If you want to know why the mention of a child's toy made me giggle you'll just have to read. London is just as amazing at painting a realistic environment, extremely detailed and in tune with our current reality. The vampire mythos in her story is equally engaging, and I hope she'll publish a companion book with stories about the history of the Guardians and the Darkbloods someday.

Overall, Tempted by Blood is a great read. It's fast paced and the action is rampant-- in the bedroom and out of it. The characters have personalities and quirks that drive you to them. Plus, if you're a fan of the series then you won't want to miss previous character appearances. Now, I'll patiently anticipate the next book, which honestly can't come fast enough!