Monday, February 20, 2012

Funday Monday: February 20th, 2012

Ah ha! I'm back for another round of Funday Monday! This is more of a shameless plug Funday Monday. I'm here to pimp out my latest endeavor. Pawsiblities I <3 Dogs Tour is a go! It's officially launched today, and the first post is up. I'm a little squee about this venture, though I'm not sure how much attention it will really get.

1.) Small Town Rescue: This is Mission Control! The command center for the blog tour and Pawsibilities Are Endless' little spot to post about our wonderful dogs and share information as we come across it. We love talking about dogs... I think that's a little obvious with the whole blog tour thing, but good to mention again.

2.) Confessions of an Animal Junkie: Our wonderful friend and cohort Phoenix Sullivan runs this blog. With vet tales and guest posts from myself and other animal lovers it's a breath of fresh air. Plus tons of photos. You should really meet Phoenix's animal crew. A mish mash of some of the cutest and interesting animals I've seen. She's offering her blog up for guest posts from those who may not have a blog. So if you want to share your 'I love dogs' stories visit her blog for more info.

3.) Going from Nobody to Somebody: My partner in crime Cate! We have a Indies Book Review blog that we work together on, and she's an animal lover too! She's going to making a weekly post on each theme, and tweeting the heck out of our posts. She's also a huge gamer, so if you into video games and the latest with the Xbox definitely check her out!

4.) Blogs for Paws: Ran by the wonderful, intelligent Lauren. She's a dog grooming expert and a proud momma of two adorable dogs. She's constantly posting awesome information about grooming and keeping your pets safe and loved.
5.) Full Frontal Fantasy: A blog with reviews, news and musings on Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance. Lela is a big fan of the geeky and the sexy. So any combo of both is bound to spark interest. She likes animals too! Check our her blog and you can also catch her wandering Twitter. She has some awesome twitter polls.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A mask in time for the Celebration

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I'm a sucker for historicals! I'm a sucker for history too. Especially any type of history that involves the glamorous existence of balls, masques, and a chance to hide who you really are. Then I was granted a unique opportunity: create a Mardi Gras mask! More like decorate one to celebrate the holiday at the day job. The reward is a chance to win a cash prize, but the true reward is accomplishing something creative with my hands. 

So I embarked on the scary journey of creating a mask! I didn't want to just decorate the flimsy piece of plastic I'd been provided. No, my inner regency romance lovin' side took over. Next thing I knew I was watching YouTube videos and asking Twitter for help. After a late afternoon stop at the Hobby Lobby, much to the disappointment of my son (he thought we were going to a toy store), my creative project launched.

For your viewing pleasure I'll share my steps and the not-so-pretty photos that go with it!

Step 1: The mask. $1.00 and you have something flimsy and flaking at the edges.

Step 2: Aluminum foil! I layered two sheets of aluminum foil on top of one another. A little tape, some cutting with scissors, and more folding and you get your design.

Daughter: "Mommy that looks scary!"

Step 3: Plaster Caster! That's not really the name of the stuff, but basically its a roll of the same stuff used to make a cast in the old days. One roll is perfect purchase size (I still have a ton leftover). You cut the stuff into small strips, mine were about 1/2- 1/4 inch wide. Grab a small bowl of water and dip the strips, one by one, into the water and layer them over each other. Overall, it took me 1 hour to wrap the entire thing to my liking, and 2 hours to dry (speed increased with the help of a hair dryer).

Step 4: Spruce that bad boy up with some color! I used acrylics for this project, and then let the mask dry overnight.

Hubby: "It looks like a misshapen Batman Batarang!"
Step 5: Decorate it! You can use just about anything with a hot glue gun. I used a ton of stickers that were designed for scrap booking but they looked so awesome! A few feathers, some lace, and a little glitter glue. If you're into fabrics then you can use those as well or whatever floats your boat. I definitely recommend a hot glue gun! I love the thing for projects. And wa la!

Now commenter's my questions: What was my theme for the mask? Do you love masked parties?
*One lucky commenter will win a $10 Amazon Gift Card*

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: Gypsy Bond by Lindy Corbin

Review: Gypsy Bond by Lindy Corbin

Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars

For back cover blurb and more information on this novella visit the Steel Magnolia Press website here

What happens when a well-bred lady attempts to regain her Gypsy husband...

A ton of tension, and potential heartache-- that's what happens. Luckily, Corbin is able to successfully pull of a story where both hero and heroine have huge issues, and little hope of making it work.
This novella is a refreshing step of the beaten path of Regency Romance. We have Juliet Bailey, married to a gypsy husband, Marko Lovel, who abandoned her four years ago. Now that his tribe has returned to her father's land, she's bound and determined to reclaim him and her place at his side. But Marko has his reasons for leaving her once, and for his sudden return now. Can Juliet finally convince him of her love, that's never wavered, or will Marko leave her again?

Juliet's character is incredibly strong. She has some guts walking into a gypsy camp, unescorted, and demanding a place by her husband's side. Her husband on the other hand was quite off-putting. At least to start, I didn't care for him, but by the end of the story he grew on me. Marko definitely has the character of a gypsy, quick to offense and quick to possess. I recommend to readers that purchase this story to remember that Marko isn't guided by the same rules or beliefs of Regency lords and gentlemen. His attitudes and actions appear even a little more roguish then most.

Overall, this is a quick read with a delightful ending. Especially since there are 2 other villains in this tale that get a comeuppance. Quirky secondary characters were a delight, and I hope to see more from Corbin involving Gypsy's.

If you enjoyed Lisa Kleypas' first two books in the Hathaway series then this is a must purchase.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review: Question of Trust by Laura Caldwell

Review: Question of Trust by Laura Caldwell

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

For back cover blurb and more information on this book visit Laura Caldwell's website here.

The continuing story of Izzy McNeil and her penchant for finding herself caught in the nastiest of webs.

This was my first foray into Caldwell’s books, and I have to say I’m impressed by her eye for detail. Leaving no stone unturned Caldwell is indeed masterful at building suspense. Though based on my research into Izzy McNeil’s previous tales, this poor gal can’t get a break.

For this round the person in trouble is not Izzy, but her new, exceedingly hot boyfriend, Theo. Just as the pair has decided to potentially take their relationship to the next step, Theo’s world comes crashing down around him. He’s indicted for fraud and Izzy must step up to represent him. Looking into his financial troubles, Izzy finds a sticky mess that involves Theo’s best friend, father, and potentially a Mexican drug family. She wants to believe Theo is innocent, but the evidence is stacked against him. The question is: can she trust a man she really doesn’t know?

I’m not a fan of suspense, but I’m always on the lookout to find one that will hook me. I’ve watched movies with a ton of suspense and usually fall pretty hard from some good ones. At least those that shock and surprise straight through to the finish. From this standpoint I thought this one might be one to do it for me, alas not so. While I admire the detail, the flawed characters, and rapidly paced setting of this story I couldn’t didn’t get the suspense rush I expected. There’s not a ton of surprise and I immediately could tell where the plot was leading, all that was needed was a few tiny pieces to put the information together.

Caldwell does a good job of capturing human flaws and how fragile trust can be. That fact alone kept me reading, but I don’t think this falls in the romance category at all. The story isn’t about romance, there’s no happily ever after. This is about the decline, fall, and rise of individuals challenged by greed, revenge, lust, and ultimately unhappiness. Izzy and Theo are just along for the ride, and fall prey to the negative feelings that can be bred from unfortunate circumstances.

If you’re a fan of the Caldwell’s previous novels with Izzy, then I doubt you’ll be disappointed in this latest release. If you’re looking for something suspenseful with a touch of mystery, where romance takes a back seat, then Question of Trust is also for you.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: Heiress Without A Cause by Sara Ramsey

Review: Heiress Without a Cause by Sara Ramsey

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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

He’s been touched… by Mad.

William Ferguson, Duke of Rothwell is my first unconventional hero. Unfortunately, I can’t share why without spoiling the story, but let’s just say that Ramsey knows how to change the rules of the love game. Ferguson was once the most notorious rake of the ton, and his arrival in London is anything but welcome. At the behest of his aunt he needs to secure a chaste, prim chaperone, and he decides on Madeleine Vaillant, spinster in-training.

He called her Mad; his new nickname for the woman hiding the most delicious of secrets. Madeleine is brave and bold for attempting to tread the boards by night and play spinster by day. She thinks she’s done for when Ferguson discovers her secret, but what she doesn’t realize is that his interest has been cemented. He claims his urge to help her finish her acting career, and maintain the façade, is merely a stunt to protect his sisters from certain ruin if Madeleine’s ruse is uncovered. Yet the steps required are scandalous…

Oh, how I love to see a rake fall. It’s a popular trope and for good reason, the bad boy is conquered. Ramsey’s debut is a good read, with villains, subterfuge and a romance one would never suspect. It’s easy to become engaged in the thrill of the forbidden, as Madeleine attempts to navigate the fine lines between propriety, and the freeing world of the demimonde. What made the story enjoyable is that Ramsey didn’t allow her characters to get away with anything; creating a more realistic environment. Plus, there were some secondary characters that I can’t wait to read about, specifically Madeleine’s staid cousin Lord Alex Staunton and Ferguson’s sister, Ellie.

There were a few moments where characters acted a little out of place, and I expected a little more conflict as well. Overall, the plot is buttoned-up, the storyline interesting, and this book is a good read for a rainy day.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Review: Not Wicked Enough by Carolyn Jewel

Review: Not Wicked Enough by Carolyn Jewel

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Release Date: February 7th, 2012

For back cover blurb, excerpt, and more information about this book visit Carolyn Jewel's website here.

A wickedly stunning start to a new series!

Lady Lily Wellstone is on a mission to save her widowed friend Eugenia from certain demise, at the hands of emotional sorrow and grief. Her arrival at the Bitterward Estate is only a mission of mercy. What Lily doesn’t expect is to find an attraction to Eugenia’s brother, the Duke of Mountjoy; a wicked name in and of itself!

Soon all bets are off as neither she nor he can deny the attraction they have toward each other. The only problem is Mountjoy’s impending engagement, and Lily’s firm insistence that love is a snare she will never succumb to again. Regardless of their impediments, Mountjoy and Lily find themselves often at odds and alone, leaving room for all manner of wicked things.

Jewel once again creates a cast of stellar characters that are a constant source of amusement. Lily is definitely a good mix of worldly and feisty all-in-one. She’s not afraid to try anything once, is a mastermind when it comes to fashion, and seeks the joy each new day can bring. This woman almost seems fearless. Yet, there is some weakness about her, especially when the prospects of intimate emotions toward a male are mentioned. Honestly I kept wondering if anything ever fazed Lily. She’s uncharacteristically strong which appealed and slightly repelled me. At the end I was more of a disposition to love her than rebuke her, since she is able to overcome the few fears that she has.

Mountjoy on the other hand was the one that needed saving. He’s just a big, hot, fashion-lacking mess! Luckily Lily is exactly the person that can turn his world on end and save him from himself. He’s a little overbearing and absent— absorbed in his own duty. I can say that this character is frustrating once you get to know him, and his journey through the course of the book is what I enjoyed the most.

Secondary cast members are equally likable; paving way for what I know will be a delicious continuance. One other thing to mention is that Jewel shocked me. I really can’t find the words to allude as to how, but let’s just say that ‘personal’ interactions were a bit different and I liked it. The title fits this story perfectly, and if you’re looking for a heroine that is outside the norm Lily Wellstone is the one you seek.

P.S. The cover alone is pure wickedness!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Review: Mad About the Earl by Christina Brooke

Review: Mad About the Earl by Christina Brooke

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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

Usually beauty tames the beast…

Lady Rosamund Westruther has been matched by the Ministry of Marriage to marry Griffith, Earl of Tregarth since childhood. She’s accepted her arranged marriage with decorum and believes in her duty, as all proper ladies should. Until the stubborn, inattentive man refuses to offer her respect, and demands her attendance to his wishes; even though he’s put off their marriage for years since the official announcement of their engagement.

Traveling to London to retrieve his obstinate fiancé, Griffith expects to gather his future bride and return to his home without suffering the ridicule or prying eyes of the ton. What he doesn’t expect is Rosamund to flat out refuse him if he doesn’t court her. Griffith knows he’s brutish, and lacks the manners that polite society requires. The idea of paying court to the most beautiful woman he’s ever met seems an impossible task. But something about Rosamund spurs him on, and for some reason this woman seems just as enthralled with him.

The second installment in Brooke’s Ministry of Marriage series is captivating, and wickedly clever. The author draws you in with her characters, every last one. From a tortured hero and heroine to the villains waiting in the wing, I couldn’t get enough. Rosamund is just as tortured for her beauty and connections, as Griffith is ridiculed for his size and arresting looks. From a visual standpoint these two are polar opposites, internally their similar creatures. Both seek to create a new image for themselves, Rosamund by escaping the ton and becoming a wife, and Griffith by overcoming his insecurities about his image and actions.

Add in a viper of a mother, a jilted would-be beau, a murder and you’ve got a jam-packed book from start to finish. Luckily, Brooke doesn’t leave any loose ends. She does a good job of tying up the story lines, and giving everyone a better look at the other members of the Westruther brood; including the male Westruther’s, whom readers haven’t seen too much of yet. My only caveat was that I felt the back end of the book’s pace was a little bit slower than I anticipated. Nothing to throw fits about, but it ruined some of the enchantment for me.

Overall, Brooke’s sequel to An Heiress in Love is a good read, and will keep you on your toes. If you enjoy stories that provide lead characters in need of mutual rescue this is a for sure purchase.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Reading List- January 2012

I apologize for my absence the last week. Let's just say sometimes the personal life takes a dive with sickness, children, appointments and any other number of things that you would rather not have to deal with. But I'm back, and here's my reading list for January. Not as large as my usual, but I'd like to think it's a pretty good list for someone who's been readying for a blog tour and trying to work on some writing. Look for more review posts soon.

1. Between by Cindy Tefft ***
2. How the Marquess Was Won by Julie Anne Long**
3. Crash Into You by Roni Loren
4. Gypsy Bond by Lindy Corbin*
5. The Disgraced Playboy by Caitlin Crews
6. Mad About the Earl by Christina Brooke*
7. The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle***
8. The Rake and The Recluse Redux Part 1***
9. The Rake and The Recluse Redux Part 2***
10. Seal of My Dreams- ongoing
11. My Man Pendleton by Elizabeth Bevarly
12. Kiss Me I'm Irish by Roxanne St. Claire, Jill Shalvis, and Maureen Child*
13. A Waltz at Midnight by Crista McHugh*
14. She Tempts the Duke by Lorraine Heath**
15. Question of Trust by Laura Caldwell *
16. Blame it on Bath by Caroline Linden

*Review available or upcoming on my blog
**Review available or upcoming on The Season site.
***Review available or upcoming on the IndiesBooksRUs site.