Monday, January 23, 2012

Review: The Duke is Mine by Eloise James

Review: The Duke is Mine by Eloise James

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For back cover blurb and more information about this book visit Eloise James website here.

James’ creates wild characters amidst a regency setting, with a fairytale tie-in…

This book is filled with characters screaming for a chance at attention. First you meet Olivia Lytton, future Duchess of Canterwick. She’s been trained from birth to be the wife of a duke, and is absolutely horrible at her pre-determined position. With a fondness for naughty limericks and pursuits deemed improper, Olivia sticks out like a sore thumb. Lucky for her, she has kindness towards her fiancĂ©; a kindness Rupert’s father believes will carry a successful arranged marriage.

Then you have Olivia’s sister, Georgiana Lytton. She’s the picture perfect specimen of a duchess and Olivia’s twin. Georgiana follows all the rules of propriety, never attempting to step one toe out of line. She wants romance and a duke of her own. When the Duchess of Sconce, mother to Tarquin, the current duke, invites Georgiana to her home for a country house party Olivia is recruited to attend as a chaperone. You can guess where that leads—if you thought trouble, then you’re right.

Tarquin is a man who has trouble expressing emotions. His mother believes this trait is not a flaw, but strength to his role as Duke. Tarquin is allowing his mother to choose his next bride, and Georgiana seems the lady most likely. At least until he meets Olivia. She’s plump in all the right places, and her smile brings out emotions Tarquin hasn’t experienced in years. Suddenly he’s climbing trees, and discussing things not fit for proper ears.

These three along with Olivia’s fiancĂ© Rupert, create a joyful cast that entertains from the start. Tarquin and Olivia’s scenes, and evolving romance are enchanting. The interactions draw you in, making you long for Olivia to be released from her commitment to Rupert for a chance to heal Tarquin’s emotionless state. Additionally, there is underlying conflict between the sisters, and Tarquin’s mother is another formidable opponent.

The characters made this book. What made me fidgety was the end of the story. I did enjoy the dialogue and the antics of Olivia, but I couldn’t ride the wave of the setting changes toward the end. Even the princess/pea moment in my opinion was not needed. From a plot standing this story has heart and a ton of gumption. James’ creates two heroes that suffer from maladies we see in modern society, and it was refreshing to experience them in a time when no solution for them could be provided.

Overall, The Duke is Mine is unique and stands apart from other historical romances I’ve read. My own personal misgivings toward the conclusion of the story shouldn’t deter readers. If you’re looking for characters that engage and provide new prospective then this is a book for you; a good reminder that romance can happen for anyone, no matter the personality.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Love dogs? This might be up your alley! * Update*

Everyone who follows me on Twitter, Facebook, or even this blog knows that I'm not good at promoting my own stuff. I find it challenging because I don't want to over saturate people with ad like posts, and constantly attempt to drive attention to my activities outside of the blog. That being said, when I do post something about my outside-this-blog activities that means it's near and dear to my heart.
Without further ado, I would like to announce the upcoming:

Pawsibilities ‘I <3 Rescue Dogs’ Blog Tour
*Update*- Awesome author and fellow blogger Cate has just offered up a great giveaway for those on the fence about participating. If you leave a comment on her post about the tour here and sign up for participation (even just one week) then you get entered into a drawing for a $25 GC from Amazon. The drawing will be done on Feb. 20th our blog tour launch date*

Our rescue blog ‘Small Town Rescue’ is hosting an 8-week blog tour all about rescue dogs and pets, and the owners who love them. The tour starts Monday, February 20th, 2012, and is a great chance to show your love for the animals that have touched your heart or changed your life. Now how do you get involved? Easy, you sign up! Below you'll find info on how to sign your blog up to participate.

What does participating mean?

It means you’re committing to posting 1 blog post a week, based on that particular week’s theme. Anyone can be involved: rescue, author, chef, mom, or random blogger. You can choose the day you would like to make your theme post on your blog. Just let us know which day that is so we can help promote your involvement. With the post, if you’d like hold a giveaway for commenters you can. All we ask is that with each post you add a small blurb about our tour/rescue and a link back to our blog. There’s no other catch; we just want to hear your stories and information, and spread our stories and information as well.

What are the Themes?

Week 1 (2/20-2/26) - Favorite animal organization/rescue

Week 2 (2/27-3/4) - Favorite pet story (Tell us about your favorite pet! Doesn’t have to be a dog)

Week 3 (3/5-3/11) - Favorite animal-related book, movie, song, etc.

Week 4 (3/12-3/18) - What I know about dog rescues organizations?

Week 5 (3/19-3/25) - The gorgeous, the active, and the unique. Tell us your favorite dog breed.

Week 6 (3/26-4/1) - Favorite Dog/Pet Stores in your area.

Week 7 (4/2-4/8) - Favorite dog parks and dog-friendly attractions in your area.

Week 8 (4/9-4/15) - If I had a dream… What would you do for rescue dogs if you could?

What if I can’t blog, but still want to be involved?

-Mention and promote our tour on your blog/tweet stream/ facebook wall over the course of the tour.

-Send us an item to give away on one of our themed posts; we will link back to your blog/website and promote information about you in return.

If interested:

-Send an email to

-Include your info: link to blog, website, email, and any other information you’d like me to have.

-Tell me which weeks you would like to participate in (you’re not required to participate in all of them), and which day of the week you’re planning on posting.

-If you can’t participate by blogging, let me know how you would like to assist.

P.S. If you visit the rescue blog, there's not a ton of content up yet. We're really just getting started! :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fails and Fabs- Jan. 21st, 2012

It's Fails and Fabs day! Yippee! Not really, but you got to be positive about things. As for my CP, Lori, I have no clue where she's at, but I do know that sometimes we need a break week for life's little hiccups so this week she gets a pass. Me on the other hand, well, I don't have any excuses.

Let's first get the bad things out of the way.
-Haven't wrote a review since last Saturday. Not that this is a bad thing, but when you've got a long list of commitments then you need to get to crackin'. It's on my Sunday afternoon list right now.
-I only plotted about 3 hours in 2 weeks. Grr...
-Technical writing has been abundant. Creative writing limited.

-Had a stimulating and wonderful shop talk lunch with the fabulous Elle James! She writes for the Harlequin Intrigue Line. It was a blast and look for a future post on the subject.
-I plotted for 3 hours! I know this was a Fail to, but when you're living as crazy as I am 3 hours is something to be proud of.
-Cate and I celebrated our second review post and author interview at the Indies blog! The project is going well, even though traffic has died a bit. That's probably bound to happen as visitors get used to our two-week posting schedule.
-I've almost got all the details hammered out on a special blog tour for rescue dogs! The announcement is coming right here and will be tied directly with the Pawsibilities Small Town Rescue Blog. Get ready, it's gonna be big (at least I hope so)!

Upcoming Reviews:
The Duke is Mine by Eloise James
How the Marquess was Won by Julie Anne Long
Unraveled by Courtney Milan
Not Wicked Enough by Carolyn Jewel
Proof of Love by Arabella Stokes

There's more reviews coming, and hopefully with a little more frequency. Plus, you can check out the Indies blog for a list of upcoming reviews we'll have over there.

Motivational Photo of the Day

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review: Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacey

Review: Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacey

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

For back cover blurb and more info about this book visit Shannon Stacey's website here.

Sometimes the most unexpected thing turns into something wonderful…

While I’m a fan of the Kolwaski clan and Stacey’s contemporary romance series, Undeniably Yours is not the best of the bunch. The second story in this series is focused on Kevin Kolwaski, divorced bar owner, and Beth Hansen, a one-night stand that quickly becomes something more.

Kevin is wonderful as an established businessman with a good heart. Beth comes to him with the news she’s carrying his child, and he immediately wants to do right by her. Unfortunately, a sheltered childhood has left Beth with a severe independent streak. She doesn’t want any help or need any help. An unplanned pregnancy is the last thing Beth wants to deal with, but her options become limited once the Kolwaski clan finds out about her impending birth.

Stacey brings back the Kolwaski clan in book 2 with more fervor and determination. Baby carrying Beth doesn’t know what to make of this family determined to welcome her into the fold. Kevin, settled with the idea of becoming a dad, is more than happy to assist Beth and downright welcomes the chance to pursue their relationship. Beth is having none of it though, as she insists on limited help and only a friendship.

What made this book downright annoying is Beth. Her character is a little overboard with the independence, and the belief that everyone is trying to control her. Halfway through the book these musings get a little old and multiple times I wanted to strangle Beth’s stubborn streak into submission. It definitely took a little too long for this character to grow. Kevin on the other hand is a hero to snag and never let go. He’s the caring and sentimental type. While determined to try his best to win Beth over, he respects her wishes and is honest in his expectations and desires.

There is also a second plot involving Kevin’s bar manager Pauly. This secondary plot was interesting, but I desired a little more meat in the main plot. I wanted there to be more Kevin and Beth rather than just an unplanned pregnancy, and Beth’s ‘I don’t need help’ stance whenever Kevin tries to get close. Regardless of my personal feelings, the dialogue and emotions were realistic, and the plot well-paced.
Overall, the story is good if you can overcome Beth’s continuous issues. Some readers may appreciate Beth’s attitudes and thoughts as good conflict; though you may find more interest in the secondary storyline and the re-appearance of many Kolwaski family favorites.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Taking a stand- Going dark

No new posts, no facebook, no twitter until after 8pm EST.

Call me a band wagon jumper, but I'm protesting SOPA and PIPA today.

If you need more info go to any search engine and type in SOPA. A lot of other sites are protesting by going dark, or with censor labels.

Hopefully we can stop potential regulation of the internet.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Funday Monday- Jan. 15th, 2012

Update Below!

It's another Monday. Woot! And a national holiday in the United States. For those lucky enough to get the day off kudos to you! I'm not in that group and so away I go to the office for my daily grind.

But if you are off today then maybe it's time to think about submissions! That's the topic for today's Funday Monday, places to submit your writing. There's lots of contests, and other things happening. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what I have. Here's 5 for you.

1. Felt Tips Anthology- Erotic Fans break out the staplers, highlighters, rulers, and phone cords. This is the first ever office supply-related erotica anthology. Edited by the lovely, pain-inducing Tiffany Reisz. Deadline is Feb. 14th to submit your story. For more details click the link. All proceeds from sales will benefit a charity organization that helps needy kids acquire school supplies.

2. Wild at Heart Anthology- Another anthology that is purchase proceeds to a good cause, the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Rescue. This one is edited by the romance author Delilah Devlin. Deadline for submission is April 1st, 2012. Stories can span any genre, and submissions will be accepted from all authors. For examples of what the editor is looking for and for more details click the link.

3. The Crime Factory- For crime writers of fiction, non-fiction, memoirs this may be the spot for you. This particular group is also looking for reviewers and photography/comics/art. No particulars on deadlines, but for more info check out the link.

4. Etopia Press- This one is a new one for me. But the plus I've seen so far is that they pay. Etopia is specifically on the look out for Erotica, YA, Urban Fantasy, and Historical romance. There may be a few other areas I missed, so check out their site.

5. Entangled Publishing- There's a ton of romance submission opportunities over at Entangled. When you go to the link be sure to check out their blog too! Special open calls are posted on there and I've seen at least 3-4 go up in the last couple of months. Particular categories are what they focus on, but if you're up for some direction then picking one of their request areas may be a good idea.

*As with all open call and open submission posts I recommend that authors do their own research on the groups, editors, etc. to determine if they want to participate. My research may be limited to nothing more than a quick look for the basic information. The nitty gritty details may not be privy to me.*

Happy Monday!

Additional anthology submission: Pugalicious press is accepting submissions for a YA Historical Romance anthology called Timeless! Stories can be between 3000 to 7500 words. Deadline for submission is March 30th, 2012. For more info clikc the link!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Review: A Vision of Sugar Plums by Jennifer Blake

A Vision of Sugar Plums by Jennifer Blake

Rating: 4 out 5 stars

*Re-issue* Cover Blurb and more information about this novel can be found here.

Christmas is a holiday that represents magic, love, and family. For Meghan Castle it’s the worst holiday in existence. She’d rather forget the whole thing, and plans to. Until her eyes spy a baby hiding under a Christmas tree in her shop, and a gorgeous looking man offers to help her take care of the child for the holiday. With no one else to turn to for assistance and a snow storm on the way Meghan accepts the challenge.

Rick Wallman planned on a quiet holiday, until a brown-eyed beauty crosses his path. He doesn’t like lying to Meghan, but can’t seem to help himself. He wants to get to know this woman with pain in her eyes, and believes that he and little orphan Annie are just the pair to cheer her up. Unfortunately, even the smallest lies have a way of revealing themselves, and Rick’s praying he can convince Meghan he’s more than just a devil in disguise.

Blake’s contemporary Christmas novella is a treat; an interesting tale of heartache, loss, and ultimately forgiveness. The story has a good pace, and is a quick read for those who want something that doesn’t take a big time commitment. Dialogue and description are evenly matched, and create the mythical flow that some writer’s strive for.

At first I was a little freaked out by a guy picking up on a woman with a baby, but Rick is a caring guy. Once you get in his head, you can’t help but see he’s the type who would help a stranger in need or haul cars out of ditches. He’s definitely got some secrets and I’m not going to share them. Once I found out about them, I quickly was able to sympathize.

Meghan’s definitely got a lot weighing on her shoulders. Her losses are deep, and she’s been in the dumps for far too long. The appearance of the baby and Rick set her on edge, but I liked how she was able to relax and open up to the possibilities. She’s definitely a strong character, and how she gets her HEA is surprising; yet heartfelt.

My only issue with this story is that a couple of situations were not realistic. The situations are based on some of the romance, and the reality of the plot. These issues were easily overcome because I’m a sucker for the hero, and at Christmas just about anything can happen.

Overall, a sweet tale and a good read. Especially if you need to be reminded of why lying doesn’t get you anywhere, and how forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts we have. I will caution readers that this novella was originally released in 1996, so some of the settings and technological mentions may not be current with today. If you love Jennifer Blake and a good Christmas story then this one should be a purchase.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Stop the Presses!!

*Please be aware this is a rant. If you do not want to be sucked into a negative vortex of words (possible profanity), that may induce anger and frustration exit NOW!*

Reviews! Oh, those sweet, possibly knife slicing 4-5 paragraphs that give readers an inside idea of a book. They're maddening to write at times, as I never want to describe 2 books the same way. It's a challenge and an art, in my humble opinion, to write something constructive and enlightening (too much thought process on this, I know).

What pisses me off though is when people say they'll review something, and then don't. It kills me! Slays me! Don't sign up for the book then. Let someone else review it.

I'm not perfect! I know this, and I know that my time is usually cut short by a million and one other things. Including the fact that I have about 5 minutes to type this and then I need to go to bed. *Growls* But when I'm not on top of my game, I try (with every piece of moral fiber I have) to communicate my potential delay. To make the site owners I'm reviewing for know what is preventing the post.

To be honest, I don't know if other reviewers do this or not. I do know that if you're going to request a book from an author, Netgalley, or a review site owner then you damn well better review it! Don't waste people's time with false platitudes, and bullshit. In general authors and review site owners are very understanding. Hell, we all know that reviewing is a chunk of free time. There's no payment for the online blog reviewer, except the unique opportunity to read a book (possibly) before it's released. *Note: there may be other ways to earn some bucks, but I don't employ them*

Okay, I feel better and I didn't even use my favorite word.

Bottom line: Your word is your bond. In the online universe I can't say it enough. Even a picture of your face doesn't change the fact that what you type into these little boxes, on Twitter, email, or Facebook is ultimately a judge of your character. If you can't honor your word, promises, or commitments in this word-laden space. Then how in the fuck (oops!) can you expect others to rely on you outside of a computer.

*Friendly reminder- I'm not perfect. I make mistakes. But with every mistake I own it, and resolve to make sure it doesn't happen in the future*

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fails and Fabs- Jan. 7th, 2012

My first writing goal related post! As mentioned previously in my 2011 Recap, Lori Sizemore (my critique partner) and I are putting the pedal to the medal in 2012 (at least we're trying to). Each week I'll be posting a Fails and Fabs post on Saturdays to cover my writing success (fab) or lack thereof (fail).

I hope you enjoy these. The posts are more designed for my public humiliation and torture; a way to keep me from lying to myself and be more responsible. :)

-Started review blog  'Indie Books R Us' with Cate and had a fairly successful launch week.
-Posted 3 reviews.
-Successful evaluation of initial story ideas; meaning my ideas seem to work and our solid.

-Novel plotting came in at 1.5 hours. (boo!) I'm supposed to be plotting an hour a day.
-No new review posts or anything finished.
-Spent more time reading this week then anything, double boo! (A plus if you're reading only for fun but I have commitments)

Plus side! Lori reports that she didn't write a thing! Woot/Boo! So right now my 1.5 hours of plotting are leaving her in a trail of dust. My resolve is to plot more, as new ideas have sprung a leak in my brain since midnight Friday.

Motivational Photo of the week:

Friday, January 6, 2012

Review: Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey

Review: Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For back cover blurb and more information about this book visit Shannon Stacey’s website.

-Overbearing boss, check.

-Abandoned high school sweetheart, now a rich and reclusive novelist, check.

-Impossible task of getting ex-boyfriend to agree to an exclusive interview, check.

Those three things have put Keri Daniels in one of the most awkward situations since she broke up with Joseph Kowalski over 18 years ago. Even more disappointing is that Joe has agreed to the interview, but only if Keri goes on the annual Kowalski family camping trip—for 2 weeks. Add in a twin sister that used to be Keri’s best friend and a mountain of sexual tension, and you’ve got a story that will have you laughing and crying into the late night hours.

Exclusively Yours is one of those contemporaries that has a little bit of everything: awesome story, easy flowing dialogue, and characters that attach to your heart. Keri and Joe are the couple that got torn apart by dreams and misunderstandings. It doesn’t take long to realize that there is a lot of baggage and unspoken words between these two.

As the story unfolds I came to be truly invested in the outcome of this reunion. Keri is dedicated to her career, but in order to keep it she is being forced to betray Joe and his family. Ultimately, I wondered if her character was cold-hearted enough to do it. Joe is still swept away by his first love. Seeing her again, as a hardened city-type, makes him wonder if there’s any way to get back the Keri he used to know. I loved how Joe is willing to sacrifice his personal independence for a second shot at being with Keri. The challenge and excitement in the story comes from the obvious road-blocks put into place by their past and the Kolwaski family.

The setting and secondary characters really amped up the novel in my opinion. I loved the jokes, the 4-wheeling adventures that turned messy, and Keri’s testy relationship with Joe’s twin, Terry. The only thing that took me off guard was that the ending was not as climatic as I was hoping.

Overall a great start to a series with a family I desperately wish I could hang out with. Stacey easily provides a great escape. For those who like a good contemporary with some natural comedy Exclusively Yours should be on your purchase list.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review: Forever and a Day by Delilah Marvelle

Review: Forever and a Day by Delilah Marvelle

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

For more information and back cover blurb about this book visit Delilah Marvelle's site here.

Marvelle does it again-- weaving a miraculous tale of love, passion, and ultimate sacrifice in Forever and a Day. I've enjoyed Marvelle's style and ability of creating characters that are large then life in the past, Georgia and Roderick are no exception.
Georgia is just a poor woman who happens to have a master thief for a stepson and dreams of owning her own property out west, as soon as she can get the money. The arrival of Lord Roderick Yardley, or as he calls himself in his amnesiac state, Robinson, puts a slight kink in future dreams. Robinson is a paradox of sorts. A kind and thoughtful man, yet possessive and overcome with desire for his fiery haired, Irish caretaker.

It took a little while to get these two paired off, but once they were... what a joyride! Marvelle's storytelling will constantly leave you guessing, and you never know how much of the story you will get. What makes the tale enjoyable is how these two people from the different classes and lifestyles adjust to each other. The attraction between them is maddening, and the connection they form, with Robinson having no idea what his real life is like, will have you praying for an HEA.

Without spoiling the ending I will say that the final chapters of the book had me at a loss. Hence the reason for a 3.5 rating. I just felt the ending was too abrupt and I desired to revel in the magic a bit longer. If I'd been given one more chapter then my appetite would have probably been sated. I would say that the ending was also a little anti-climatic and didn't seem to fit Roderick and Georgia's style.

Overall, this story is enticing. The characters are memorable. The language colorful, and this historical breaks away from the traditional rules. Setting covers the grimy areas of New York City to the fanciful Rotten Row of London. This is the first book in a new series with a recently released novella serving as a prologue. If you like mystery, passion, and the least likely to come out a winner then Forever and a Day is one to read.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Review: My Ruthless Prince by Gaelen Foley

Review: My Ruthless Prince by Gaelen Foley

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For back cover blurb and more information about this book visit Gaelen Foley's website here.
Expert hunter and servant, Emily Harper doesn’t believe that her master has turned against his Inferno Club brothers, and joined forces with the dreaded Promethean Order. The only logical explanation is that he’s been kidnapped or brainwashed, and she’s determined to rescue him. Unfortunately, nothing is what it seems, and Drake won’t leave the traitor’s camp no matter what Emily promises to give him.

Drake, the Earl of Westwood, is bent on suicide and redeeming his sins by bringing down the evil Promethean’s from the inside. When Emily arrives to rescue him and endangers her safety, he has no choice but to drag her into his own plans. He’s determined to keep his emotions, and desire for her at bay. Yet each passing danger and night spent in close quarters, bring him closer to revealing everything; including his love for her. When the Promethean leader James asks him to make the ultimate sacrifice, Emily’s life, Drake must make the decision of whether revenge against the men who tortured him is worth more than the love of this innocent’s soul.

My first Inferno Club novel and I loved it! For a historical, this book provided something different. The secret societies, remote location in foreign Eastern Europe, and the premise that no one was exempt from possible death kept me reading. I found Foley’s characters and story telling to be worth the late-night hours I spent in attempt to discover if Emily and Drake would ever achieve an HEA.

The fact that Emily is no simpering miss was a huge appeal. I love this character’s back story, and that her innocence and love is what inspires Drake to survive. She’s definitely a perfect fit for the war-wounded Drake. Of course if you love dark heroes with issues and secrets, then Drake is definitely one you will find yourself falling for. Getting in his head and understanding the method behind the madness was something that appealed to that inner part of me that would love to grant a bad boy redemption.

For faithful readers of the series there may be some tears shed, I won’t say why and you’ll have to just buy it to find out. Characters from previous books do make an appearance, and there is plenty of action thrown in for those who enjoy seeing the Inferno Club members wielding weaponry. Overall, a delicious read that will have me reaching into the bank account for funds to secure Foley’s back list. Fans of Charlotte Featherstone are sure to enjoy this one.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Indie Books R Us Launch Day!!!

The announcement I've been waiting to give, and now I finally can. Surprised that I can keep my mouth shut for so long?? Well, it's true... I'm capable.

Back to the point! I am entering a partnership with my dear buddy Cate Peace (known as Lexcade to most) on a new review blog aptly titled Indie Books R Us!

This blog is dedicated to reviewing the self-pubbed books that don't get as much as attention as their well-promoted, publisher handled counterparts. Plus, we hope to bring some faith to the self-pubbed industry.  Good self-published books do exist beyond the handfuls that have reached fame and fortune through large sales numbers. Our first review will actually post this Tuesday (January 2nd, 2011).

Until then I hope you can stop by, say "Hi", and join us as we venture into the unknown (Ha!). Also, if you're self-pubbed or know someone who is-- spread the word. Our guidelines and submission rules are posted, and of course if you have questions just shoot us an email.

There's a lovely launch day post over at Indies and of course we welcome thoughts, comments and ideas.