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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Review: Mr. Darcy’s Bite by Mary Lydon Simonsen

imagePublisher: Sourcebooks Landmark 
ISBN: 1402250770
Pages:336 pages
Genre: Jane Austen Adaptation  
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

Mr. Darcy has a secret...

Darcy is acting rather oddly. After months of courting Elizabeth Bennet, no offer of marriage is forthcoming and Elizabeth is first impatient, then increasingly frightened. For there is no denying that the full moon seems to be affecting his behavior, and Elizabeth's love is going to be tested in ways she never dreamed...

Darcy has more than family pride to protect: others of his kind are being hunted all over England and a member of Darcy's pack is facing a crisis in Scotland. It will take all of Elizabeth's faith, courage, and ingenuity to overcome her prejudice and join Darcy in a Regency world she never knew existed.

My Review: 

I have loved all of Mary Lydon Simonsen’s books. I was a bit concerned about this one because paranormal adaptations of Jane Austen books either tend to be amazing or complete failures for me. There really is no middle ground.

First of all, Mary Lydon Simonsen captured Lizzy perfectly. Of all the Lizzys I have encountered, this is the best one. She was strong, capable, and kickass. She also had the wit and vivacity that I have come to expect from Lizzy in all adaptations. I have encountered Darcy in many forms but never as a werewolf. To tell you the truth, I could not see Darcy as a convincing werewolf at all but this one convinced me. It turned out that it worked perfectly and, perhaps, even better than Darcy as a vampire. He was also quite adorable at times which made it even better.

I absolutely loved the shapeshifter storyline. I do have to admit that I was surprised at how well it meshed into the Pride and Prejudice world. I also loved that there was real competition for Lizzy. Nell wasn’t flimsy competition at all. There were real reasons for Darcy to pick Nell. I mean, any Pride and Prejudice fan knows that there is nothing better than Lizzy and Darcy but there was some real competition with Nell. I did love the inclusion of Georgiana and Anne. They acted as Lizzy’s guides in the world of shapeshifters and pack life. I did sort of miss Caroline though. Never thought I would say that…

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Review: Darn Good Cowboy Christmas by Carolyn Brown

imagePublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca 
ISBN: 1402261578
Pages:384 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary/Western  
Series: Spikes and Spurs-1,2,3 (this one) 
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

The author of the #1 bestselling Christmas romance in 2010 (Honky Tonk Christmas) creates a new installment in her sexy contemporary cowboy romance series that showcases her amazing Southern voice.

Born and raised in a traveling carnival, all Liz Hanson ever wanted for Christmas was a home that didn't have wheels. After she was old enough to date she added one more item: a sexy cowboy.

She's about given up on Santa ever bringing either one when her father dies and leaves her an ugly house and twenty acres in Texas. Then rancher Raylen O'Donnell walks onto her property...

My Review: 

I have read so many Carolyn Brown books. I love them all. Her books are always so fun and full of life. She also happens to write about some of  the best cowboys ever. I was a bit apprehensive because Christmas is not my favorite subject matter. I am  known family-wide as “The Grinch.” I was hoping that this wasn’t going to go to the Christmas good cheer and overly sweet smushiness place and I was happy that it didn’t.

I really liked Liz. She was very lively and interesting. I tend to like carnies whenever I come across them in my reading and I definitely liked Liz. She was spunky and funny. Raylen was definitely a great hero. He was this rough and tough cowboy but he was so adorable and funny at the same time. I love it when heroes can mix the gruff with the cute. I did like Liz and Raylen as a couple. They didn’t have the best chemistry I’ve ever read but I could sit through a book about them together with no issues.

I loved how the Christmas theme was used in this one. There were the odd mentions of something Christmasy and you definitely got the feel of the season but nothing that made me feel as if I should be tinseling my house. I also loved the setting. I love books that take place in small towns. I’m a city girl and we all want what we can’t have. The secondary characters were also quite fun and lively and we got updates on all of the past couples in this series.

I can’t wait for Colleen and Blaze and Gemma and Ace to have their books. Especially Gemma and Ace. They were my favorite.

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review: Holy Ghost Girl by Donna M. Johnson

imagePublisher: Gotham 
ISBN: 1592406300
Pages:278 pages
Genre: Memoir  
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

A compassionate, humorous story of faith, betrayal, and coming of age on the evangelical sawdust trail.

She was just three years old when her mother signed on as the organist of tent revivalist David Terrell, and before long, Donna Johnson was part of the hugely popular evangelical preacher's inner circle. At seventeen, she left the ministry for good, with a trove of stranger-than-fiction memories. A homecoming like no other, Holy Ghost Girl brings to life miracles, exorcisms, and faceoffs with the Ku Klux Klan. And that's just what went on under the tent.

As Terrell became known worldwide during the 1960s and '70s, the caravan of broken-down cars and trucks that made up his ministry evolved into fleets of Mercedes and airplanes. The glories of the Word mixed with betrayals of the flesh and Donna's mother bore Terrell's children in one of the several secret households he maintained. Thousands of followers, dubbed "Terrellites" by the press, left their homes to await the end of the world in cultlike communities. Jesus didn't show, but the IRS did, and the prophet/healer went to prison.

Recounted with deadpan observations and surreal detail, Holy Ghost Girl bypasses easy judgment to articulate a rich world in which the mystery of faith and human frailty share a surprising and humorous coexistence.

My Review: 

I could not resist this book once I saw that cover. It just drew me in. I was also interested in the subject matter. I am not a Christian but the belief in evangelists and such has always been quite fascinating to me in a completely disbelieving kind of way. I also find it quite fascinating to see how otherwise sensible people can hand their lives over to someone like David Terrell. It probably always will boggle my mind.

I started this book with a completely blank slate. My knowledge of evangelists or tent revivals is scant. I just know that whenever I have come across a evangelist on TV, I have found them to be obnoxious, unbelievable and a bit creepy. And from what I read in this book, my opinion did not improve much. This world and this culture scared me quite a bit. David Terrell seemed to be very predatory and I am amazed that people actually believe in him and what he preaches.

Overall, I found this one to be highly interesting if a little bit disturbing. I am not usually so judgmental about the beliefs people have and the way they live their lives but I am wary of anyone who is willing to follow a man like David Terrell and give up everything in their lives, including their children, to be a part of his flock of believers. It makes no sense. I did love reading about it through the eyes of a child. Children are often the most honest and though Donna’s memories are colored with humor, it still rang as sad to me. I also was a bit flabbergasted that Johnson still seemed to hold some belief in Terrell.

I have to be honest. I sat through this book eyes wide and a “Huh?” look on my face. I was completely unfamiliar with this world and, to tell you the truth, I don’t want to be more familiar. 

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Review: Unleashed by Sara Humphreys

imagePublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca 
ISBN: 1402258437
Pages:320 pages
Genre: Romance/Paranormal/Shapeshifter  
Series: Amoveo Legend
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

What if you suddenly discovered your own powers were beyond anything you'd ever imagined...

Samantha Logan's childhood home had always been a haven, but everything changed while she was away. She has a gorgeous new neighbor, Malcolm, who introduces her to the amazing world of the dream-walking, shapeshifting Amoveo clans...but what leaves her reeling with disbelief is when he tells her she's one of them...

And shock turns to terror as Samantha falls prey to the deadly enemy determined to destroy the Amoveo, and the only chance she has to come into her true powers is to trust in Malcolm to show her the way...

Get swept away into Sara Humphreys's glorious world and breathtaking love story...

My Review: 

I have read many shapeshifter books. But I have never read one where the hero is not a wolf or similar creature and, considering how many I read, this is an achievement.

I loved Sam. First of all, I liked her immediately when she picked up on the one reason living in NYC frustrates me. Why do tourists stand in the middle of the sidewalk staring up at skyscrapers? Doesn’t it make their necks hurt? What is the purpose? Sorry, off track. I loved Sam because she was so normal. I feel like I could have met her in real life and I love heroines like that. I liked Malcolm as well but he did have the Edward Cullen Creepy Stalker Syndrome at first. But as the book went on, the creepy wore off and he became suave, mysterious and very sweet.

The Amoveos were definitely something I haven’t seen before. I say that very rarely because I have read many shapeshifter romances and seen them done so many ways. I love this world that Humphreys created and I would be completely willing to read many more books about it. I also loved that I was completely befuddled by who the bad guy was. I didn’t pick up on it at all and it surprised the hell out of me when it was revealed. Another rare accomplishment.

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bout of Books Readathon 2.0

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I’m late because I did not see a post about this readathon until tonight. But I am going to do my best to do well.

I have no idea what I am going to read so I am going to wing it.

Update #1-

I am starting with Miss Darcy Falls in Love by Sharon Lathan

Review: Whispers From the Heart by Heather Hummel

imagePublisher: PathBinder Publishing, LLC  
ISBN: 0983030839
Pages:250 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary  
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon, Kindle, Nook clip_image0013_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

Whispers: The heart’s way of speaking… Madison Ragnar is a high school English teacher determined to connect with her students, to finish the next running race with a respectable time, and to avoid ever falling in love again. But life has other plans for Madison. A man named Michael shows himself in the most unexpected places, raising questions from her best friend, Olivia, and issues around Madison’s last relationship. In the classroom, the death of a student prompts her grieving ninth graders to depend on her for answers. They turn to journal writing as a form of understanding the weight of what’s happened in the walls of their teenage existence. When Madison meets Phil, who throws a wrench in her declaration to not fall in love, it seems that her escape through miles of running is the only real footing she has in life. Will fate determine Madison’s life? Or will she have a say in its outcome?

My Review: 

This was the second book I picked up after I got my lovely little Nook—which is amazing by the way. I never knew you could read an ebook without waiting for 2 minutes for the next page to load. Anywho, I am not reviewing my Nook, I am reviewing this lovely book that I really enjoyed.

I really liked Madison. She was very easy to relate to and her story was very compelling. She is just coming off an abusive relationship and she is quite jaded about men and relationships. To add to that she is fearful of her ex following her to her new location and she also has a local stalker. Yeah, not exactly an optimum situation. I do have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with her romance storyline. I wanted her to end up with Phil and I felt that is what I was being primed for throughout the book. I did not expect her to end up with Michael, her stalker. I was flabbergasted. I can live with it but I am flabbergasted.

I really loved this book. I spent a good two hours staring at my Nook reading this book. I loved just about everything about the story. I love Madison. I loved watching Madison form close connections with her high school students and I liked the romance. The only thing I am a little iffy about is who Madison ended up with but I can live with it because the rest of this book was so good.

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review: Falling For Me by Anna David

imagePublisher: William Morrow Paperbacks  
ISBN: 0061996041
Pages:320 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary  
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb


Summary from publisher:

Like most women, whether they’ve chosen the Fortune 500 career path or have had five kids by 35, Anna David wondered if she’d made the right choices. Then she came upon the book Sex and the Single Girl by Helen Gurley Brown, Cosmopolitan’s fearless leader from the mid-sixties to the late nineties. Immediately connecting with Gurley Brown’s unique message of self-empowerment combined with femininity, Anna vowed to use Sex as a lesson plan, venturing out of her comfort zone in the hope of overcoming the fears and insecurities that had haunted her for years. Embarking on a journey both intensely personal and undeniably universal, she becomes adventurous and spontaneous—reviving her wardrobe and apartment, taking French lessons, dashing off to Seville, and whiling nights away with men she never would have considered before. In the process, she ends up meeting the person really worth changing for: herself.

My Review: 


This book hit my life right on the head. I am 26 and single. Yes, that is not quite 30 but I’m getting there and I will probably die alone. I am at the point where I really don’t care because, in my opinion, marriage is like extended babysitting without the pay.

I read this book for the most part while I was dealing with my early bird bout with the flu.  I have to tell you that it was the best distraction I could find. I love books like this. Books where the a character/the author challenges themselves to accomplish something in a given time. In this one, Anna decides to adopt Helen Gurley Brown's 1962 book, Sex and the Single Girl, as the template for her life going forward. The advice in the book is a bit outdated but easily adaptable to the life of the modern woman. I found Anna’s journey and the lessons she learns on that journey to be so inspirational.

I have to admit that I was not expecting much from this book. I was expecting a light read, a distraction. And for the most part, this is what I got. It’s not a heavy book by any means but I identified with it. I can identify with Anna and I definitely know where she’s coming from. It’s not easy being single and watching just about everyone you know get married and start that happily ever after hooey.

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dewey 24 Hour Read-A-Thon Updates Post

image

This will be my master post because I don’t want to spam email boxes.

I have no idea what I am going to read but I will be starting with J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

My start time is 8am.

Hour 1: I woke up to my internet being dead.Yeah. Fun. Every Dewey Read-A-Thon, my internet starts the day off dead. So I finished Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick and I prayed for it to fix itself.

Mini Challenge 1

1)Where are you reading from today? New York
2)Three random facts about me…

  • I have a fledgling cupcake business and I am itching to bake right now.
  • I am a huge Devils fan. They have a game tonight that I am going to have to negotiate with. I normally put down my books for games.
  • I am a huge romance novel addict. More specifically bodice rippers. The badder the better.

3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? To tell you the truth, I have no idea.
4)Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? My goal is to complete the 24 hours and read at least 10 books.
5)If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time? Avoid coffee. If you need caffeine drink tea. Coffee equals crash.


Hours Read: 1
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish)
Currently Reading: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
Pages Read: 48

Hour 2:

Still no internet. Bah!

Hours Read: 2
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish)
Currently Reading: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward (page 68)
Pages Read: 100

Hour 3:

Mini Challenge 3:

Book Puzzle:

image

 

       +

image

 

 

 

 

= Take a wild guess!

Hours Read: 3
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish)
Currently Reading: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward (page 88)-Where has this book been my whole life?
Pages Read: 120

Hour 4:

Still no internet! Called the cable company. It’s the weekend. Was completely useless.

Hours Read: 4
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish)
Currently Reading: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward (page 110)
Pages Read: 122

Hour 5:

Internet’s still gone. Why must they do this to me?

Hours Read: 5
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish)
Currently Reading: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward (page 175)
Pages Read: 187

Hour 6:

Internet back. Let’s see how this works.

I am currently listening to:

imageimage

Two completely different albums and artists but equally amazing.

Hours Read: 6
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish)
Currently Reading: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward (page 220)
Pages Read: 232

Hour 7:

Hours Read: 7
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish)
Currently Reading: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward (page 272)
Pages Read: 284

Hour 8:

Hours Read: 8
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish)
Currently Reading: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward (page 375)
Pages Read: 387

Hour 9:

Hours Read: 9
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish), Dark Lover by J.R. Ward 
Currently Reading: Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March 
Pages Read: 431

Hour 10:

Hours Read: 10
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish), Dark Lover by J.R. Ward 
Currently Reading: Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March (page 100
Pages Read: 531

Hour 11:

Hours Read: 11
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish), Dark Lover by J.R. Ward 
Currently Reading: Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March (page 200)
Pages Read: 631

Hour 12:

Hours Read: 12
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish), Dark Lover by J.R. Ward, Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March  
Currently Reading: Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward
Pages Read: 751

Hour 13:

Mid-Event Survey:

1. What are you reading right now? Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward
2. How many books have you read so far? 2
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? The rest of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. How did this series get past my notice?
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? I told everyone to leave me alone.
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? The only interruption I had is the Devils game but they’re losing so I ‘m reading.
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? How not tired I am.
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope.
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? I would prepick my books.
9. Are you getting tired yet? Nope
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? Seriously, drink tea. You get the rush without the headache.

 

Hours Read: 13
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish), Dark Lover by J.R. Ward, Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March  
Currently Reading: Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward  (175)
Pages Read: 926

Hour 14

Hours Read: 14
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish), Dark Lover by J.R. Ward, Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March  
Currently Reading: Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward  (225)
Pages Read: 976

Hour 15

Hours Read: 15
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish), Dark Lover by J.R. Ward, Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March  
Currently Reading: Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward  (350)
Pages Read: 1101

Hours 16 and 17

Hours Read: 17 
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish), Dark Lover by J.R. Ward, Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March, Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward   
Currently Reading:  The Coming Home Place by Mary Spencer (20)
Pages Read: 1121

Mini-Challenge Rereads:

I am not doing any rereads for this readathon but my favorite rereads are:

  • The Anne of Green Gables series
  • Jane Austen’s books
  • Everything by Elizabeth Gaskell especially North and South
  • A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries by Kaylie Jones
  • Almost all of my romance novels.

Hour 18

Hours Read: 18 
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish), Dark Lover by J.R. Ward, Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March, Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward   
Currently Reading:  The Coming Home Place by Mary Spencer (120)
Pages Read: 1221

Hour 19

Hours Read: 19 
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish), Dark Lover by J.R. Ward, Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March, Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward   
Currently Reading:  The Coming Home Place by Mary Spencer (211)
Pages Read: 1312

Hour 20

This will probably be my last hour of live blogging before I turn the lights off and read with a flashlight. There is no way I can put this book down anyway. It’s so bodice-rippy.

Hours Read: 20 
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish), Dark Lover by J.R. Ward, Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March, Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward   
Currently Reading:  The Coming Home Place by Mary Spencer (400)
Pages Read: 1501

Hour 21-24

I managed to finish the final 3 hours before I conked out.

Hours Read: 21-24 
Books Read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (38 pages to finish), Dark Lover by J.R. Ward, Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March, Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward, The Coming Home Place by Mary Spencer   
Currently Reading:  Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward (400)
Pages Read: 1981

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Probably the last 3
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?  The Black Dagger Brotherhood.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Perhaps doing bi-hourly updates and mini-challenges. I tend to get sucked into Twitter when I pick up my computer.
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Everything. I had fun.
  5. How many books did you read? 4
  6. What were the names of the books you read?
  7. Dark Lover by J.R. Ward, Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March, Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward, The Coming Home Place by Mary Spencer   
  8. Which book did you enjoy most? I really loved all of them. Really. They are all going to look like rereads.
  9. Which did you enjoy least? None
  10. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
  11. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Very. I will be a reader.

Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon

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I am belatedly starting another readathon. I am an addict. This one runs from Oct 21st to the 23rd and is hosted by Bex @ Kindle Fever and April @ My Shelf Confessions. I am going to focus on romance novels because I love them and am obsessed with them with a smattering of YA. I am also going to be reading many e-books.

I have been reading all day. I have been getting over the flu so my comfort activity was needed.

Friday Updates:

Hours Read: 5
Pages Read: 400
Currently Reading: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

Saturday Updates:

Hours Read: 24-Dewey Readathon Total-29 
Pages Read: 2472
Currently Reading: Lover Awakened , by J.R. Ward(page 400)
Books Finished: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick, Dark Lover by J.R. Ward, Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March, Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward, The Coming Home Place by Mary Spencer   

Saturday Updates:

Hours Read: 24-Dewey Readathon Total-29 
Pages Read: 2472
Currently Reading: Lover Awakened , by J.R. Ward(page 400)
Books Finished: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick, Dark Lover by J.R. Ward, Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March, Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward, The Coming Home Place by Mary Spencer   

Sunday Updates and Wrap Up:

Hours Read: 7-Dewey Readathon Total-38 
Pages Read: 3290
Currently Reading: Lover Revealed by Nicole Jordan (page 400)
Books Finished: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick, Dark Lover by J.R. Ward, Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March, Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward, The Coming Home Place by Mary Spencer, Lover Awakened , by J.R. Ward, The Lover by Nicole Jordan   

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Guest Post and Giveaway: Ashley March, author of Romancing the Countess

Developing Sexual Intimacy without Sex



Romancing the Countess coverThanks so much to Books Like Breathing for having me on the blog today as I continue the celebration of my latest release, ROMANCING THE COUNTESS!

I could probably give you an entire list of reasons why ROMANCING THE COUNTESS does not fit the bill for your typical historical romance. Not only does it start out with the cheating spouses of the hero and heroine dying, but the hero and heroine don’t even like each other that much when they first meet. Not a very easy way to start a romance, I think.

One of the most difficult things about writing this book was showing the characters move past their spouses’ deaths while at the same time showing them gradually becoming aware of the other. Due to the vulnerabilities of the characters, they could not be a hero and heroine who instantly fall in lust with each other. They don’t even have sex at a predictable page number in the story. However, I still needed to show their developing sexual attraction.

The first way I did this was by making them aware of each other as someone more than an acquaintance, which is what they’d been in the past. Because they share the secret of their spouses’ affair, they have a unique bond already. The awareness began by having them draw comparisons between the other and their spouse. One of my favorite quotes from the book is when Sebastian compares Leah to his dead wife, Angela:

Sebastian snapped his mouth shut as she turned around, hating the fact that everything about her reminded him of Angela—not in similarities, but in contrasts. Her voice, her decorating style, and now, with only a foot between them, her scent. Rather than the warm, sultry combination of lavender and vanilla, he breathed in the artless aroma of soap: earthy, subtle, its only fragrance a slight hint of seawater.

It would have been easy for them to dismiss each other, as they didn’t turn out favorably in comparison to the other person’s spouse. However, when Leah’s actions throw them together at the house party and put them in conflict, they begin to see aspects of one another that they’d never noticed before. After knowing each other as mere acquaintances, this forced perspective is like an unveiling; suddenly the person they thought they knew is not at all the same. Another favorite quote, as Leah sees Sebastian “unveiling” her:

For the first time in their acquaintance of three years, she realized that the Earl of Wriothesly finally saw her. Not as another random society twit, not as Ian’s wife or widow, but as Leah George, individual and separate. Removed from the great horde of women who were not the seemingly perfect Lady Angela Wriothesly and placed into a much more specific category of one: Leah George. Despised. Loathsome. Enemy.

Once they began to see each other as specific individuals and also as people with conflicting desires, then the physical attraction begins…although neither really wants it. Leah’s relationship with her deceased husband made her wary of lovemaking of any sort—even a kiss—and Sebastian feels like he is betraying his dead wife—even though she cheated on him. Though they try to ignore the attraction, it’s there and continues to grow.

Another “unveiling” of Leah, in the literal sense, in Sebastian’s POV:

He stood and walked across the garden path, the small rocks crunching beneath his feet. Even though he couldn’t see her eyes, he bent until they were at the same level. Reaching forward, he grasped the hem of her veil in his fingertips and raised his arms. Slowly, without any reason for such hesitation. Over the slender arch of her bodice, past the pale ivory column of her throat. Her mouth—he paused when it was revealed, pretending to lose hold of the hem. He stared at the bountiful curve of her lips, so full and lush that the small indent at the top of her upper lip was almost nonexistent.

He would never tell her that Angela’s mouth had not once entranced him like this.

Clenching the crepe between his fingers, he pulled the veil above her nose, the delicate sculpture of her cheeks. His eyes met hers, and he could no longer pretend they were a plain, ordinary brown. This close, amber striations glinted in their sherry depths, the color made even more stunning by the frame of her dark eyelashes, lavishly thick. Her breath drifted across his lips, an involuntary, invisible kiss, and Sebastian shook, his gloved fingers grazing the slope of her forehead as he dragged the hem over her head.

Immediately he spun upon his heel and returned to the easel, away from her wary gaze. Unable to deny how the breath surged from his chest and the blood pounded in his veins. Disturbed by the sudden, arousing effect of Leah George’s unveiling.

However, there are real, personal obstacles to the developing intimacy, and the physical often is substituted for a verbal seduction. One of my favorite scenes in the entire book is when Sebastian tells Leah his fantasy of her. He doesn’t touch her, but he requires that she does not look away from his gaze throughout the telling. I think it’s one of the most sensual scenes I’ve ever written, and affects Leah the way a kiss or a caress could not: his words take away part of her fear.

Ashley MarchOf course (thankfully!), there is a love scene in the book, but whereas in other romance novels the sex scene is more of a midpoint in the couple’s emotional journey, in ROMANCING THE COUNTESS the sex scene is the final joining of their hearts (I was going to say that it’s the climax of their emotional journey, but thought that would be a little too tongue-in-cheek ;) ).

Writing this book made me realize something, though. While we all want our hero and heroine to experience all of the joys of falling in love—and that includes the act of making love—a story can be very sexy without having endless sex scenes. It all depends on if the sex is something that develops naturally from the characters and their emotional connection, or if it’s only written to make the story spicy.

As a reader, sexual tension can sometimes be much more powerful to me than a sex scene and is usually what makes the sex scene so wonderful when it does happen. As a reader, would you rather have more sexual tension or more sex scenes (there is no right answer)?

One random commenter will be chosen to win a copy of my newest book, ROMANCING THE COUNTESS (open internationally)! Also, find out how to win the ROMANCING THE COUNTESS Book Tour Grand Prize of 50+ romance novels by visiting www.ashleymarch.com!  <

Just fill out the Rafflecopter below to be entered. Ends Nov. 5th.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Something So Right by Elyse Mady

imagePublisher: Carina Press 
ISBN: 1426892284
Pages:161 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary  
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon clip_image0013_thumb_thumband B&N




Summary from publisher:
After having her heart broken, Lily Carver ran north to manage an upscale resort—and back to her longtime friend Sam Denning. Though she's well aware of how hot Sam's become, she refuses to risk her heart again. No matter how incredible his kisses make her feel…
Sam's been in love—and lust—with Lily since the summer they met. When he finally shows her how much he wants her, Lily can't resist his seduction. But Sam's a forever kind of guy and she's only interested in short, painless relationships.
Lily thinks she can protect both their hearts with a short affair to let their passion run its course, something where they both know the rules and can explore the sparks between them without getting burned. But their best-laid plans are put to the test by their undeniable attraction—and by a secret Sam's been keeping from Lily that could ruin everything.

My Review:      

It was a sort of trial getting this book read. Not because of the book but because the Sony Reader finally breathed its last breath and I bought a Nook and it got lost in the mail. I have no luck at all. This one ended up being my first read on the Nook and I am happy that it was a good one.

I loved Sam and Lily. Lily, a survivor of abuse, leaves the city to run a resort where her friend Sam lives. Unbeknownst to Lily, Sam has been in love with her since they met. Ain’t that adorable? Yeah, no. Lily puts the kibosh on all that romantic talk and puts their relationship in the strictly “no strings attached” zone. Totally understandable given her experience with relationships. I loved their chemistry and the push and pull angst between them was really compelling.

I loved most aspects of this book. I thought the main characters were compelling and interesting. They had a great chemistry. I also happen to love angst and there was plenty of it to go around in this one. I did find that I was missing that momentous shift at the end. There was plenty of angst, conflict and back and forth but I never saw the point where it shifted from friendship to no strings attached to relationship. I don’t really need that but it’s nice to see.


 
Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.
 
Giveaway: All commenters on this post will be entered in a giveaway for an ebook of either The Debutante’s Dilemma, Learning Curves or Something So Right. Enter using the Rafflecopter below.

All commenters will also be entered in a tour wide giveaway of a gorgeous hardcover photography book about Muskoka history, a beautiful set of Group of Seven mugs, a set of note cards and some Canadian maple syrup! Open US/Canada.  See full contest rules here.




Follow the rest of the tour: Wednesday, October 19th - Rowena, Book Binge
Thursday, October 20th - Sophia, Fiction Vixen
Friday, October 21st - Cindy, Oodles of Books
Monday, October 24th - Loretta, Between the Pages
Tuesday, October 25th - Evie, Bookish
Wednesday, October 26th - Jodie, Riverina Romantics
Thursday, October 27th - Julie, A Tale of Many Reviews
Friday, October 28th - Alyssa, Hesperia Loves Books
Monday, October 31st - Janie, Colloquium
Tuesday, November 1st - Mandy, The Journey and Musings of a Single Country Girl and Her Cat
Wednesday, November 2nd - Hikari, Imaginary Reads
Thursday, November 3rd - Shannon, Cocktails and Books
Friday, November 4th - Stella, Ex Libris

Tuesday, November 8th -Grand prize announcement on Elyse Mady’s blog!

Guest Post: Elyse Mady, author of Something So Right

West Wind by Tom Thompson - Books Like Breathing

The painting I chose to illustrate this early scene between Lily and Sam in my book, “Something So Right” is “The West Wind” by Tom Thompson, an early 20th century modernist painter who, along with members of the Group of Seven, specialized in painting the Canadian north. I love this painting – the rough, choppy water, the hard granity, the solitary pine. It really is a unique landscape and I think it really captures the landscape of Algonquin and the Canadian Shield.

“So, what’s your expert opinion?” Lily asked. “And more importantly, what’s it going to cost me?”

Sam cast a considering eye on the dock.

“How old is it again?”

“Fifteen or sixteen years. The previous lodge owners said they had it redone about ten years before they sold it.”

imageThat jived with what he was seeing, Sam thought as he walked across the space. The deck boards were weathered and showing their age. The left side of the dock was starting to cant up. Not a lot but an early sign that the heavy underwater cribs that supported it were starting to heave and pull apart. Left unattended, with the lake’s ice pushing and heaving, another few winters would see the dock disintegrate even further.

“What are you looking for in the new space?” he asked, getting a measuring tape and notebook out of his toolbox. “Here. Take this.” Lily took the end of the tape measure and walked to the far end of the dock. Sam stretched the tape taut and wrote down the numbers. Then he gestured for Lily to repeat the process in the other direction.

She knelt and waited until Sam finished measuring the dock’s width.

“What’s on the list?”

“I want it wider, so it feels less like a bowling alley,” she said, ticking off her wish list one by one. “It needs to be built of a wood that doesn’t require refinishing every year. Definitely more space for tying up our fleet of watercraft and boats. Better lighting and maybe a sound system.”

Sam stood and tucked his notebook into his back pocket when she was finished. “You’re planning on using it at night?”

“We already hold corn roasts and bonfires on the beach. Having another space where our guests can gather to relax in the evenings would be nice. Have a glass of wine. Watch the stars. Go swimming. Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten how much fun it is? We use to go swimming at night all the time, remember?”

When he didn’t respond, she looked at him in consternation and Sam shrugged. He hated these kinds of questions. Lily loved playing “do you remember?” and invariably cast him as her fail-safe and dependable sidekick. He was proud of the fact that he and Lily had remained friends for so long in spite of the gulf between their upbringings, but it frustrated him beyond belief to be relegated to that role. She never seemed to see him as anything else, despite all his wishes and dreams to the contrary.

“Sure. Whatever.”

Lily frowned. “You don’t remember?” She sounded hurt and Sam felt guilty. Most of his memories of those raucous midnight swims involved teenaged Lily in a sensible swimsuit and the lengths his own teenaged self had gone to hide his wayward reaction. A lot of towels spread hurriedly across the lap and unplanned dives into the lake, that’s what he remembered. But it wasn’t her fault that she didn’t reciprocate his feelings so he tried to moderate his tone.

“I remember,” he said. “After we’d been swimming, we use to lie out on the dock at your parents’ cottage and listen to the sound of the big parties drifting across the water.”

“What else do you remember?”

Wishing I’d had the guts to kiss you. Just once. Or tell you how I really felt about you.

“How loudly you screamed whenever I managed to toss you in,” he said instead, grinning to mask his regret. “I doubt anyone who heard you would ever be able to forget that. Even if they wanted to.”

She socked him in the arm and he made a big show of rubbing it.

“You didn’t get me that often, Hulk. You want to know what I remember?”

“Tell me.”

“Looking up at the stars.”

“There were a lot of those,” he said. “Frankly, I never got your fascination with them. It’s not like they’re going anywhere.”

“You can’t see the stars in the city,” Lily said, kicking at one of the dock rings with the toe of her work boots. “It’s one of the things I always missed when I was at school all winter. But being able to look up and see the Milky Way, like you could reach out and just grab them? That’s how I knew I wasn’t in Toronto anymore.”

He nodded. “Little Mississing is a long way from Toronto, that’s for sure.”

“That’s just the way I like it.” She paused, looking out at the water. “I could never be myself there, not with everyone knowing who I was. Here, nobody expects me to live up to expectations that I’ll never reach. That’s worth a lot to me, you know.”

Across the water, the late afternoon sun was beginning to sink below the band of pines at the lake’s edge, their dark silhouette broken intermittently by green expanses of lawn and boathouses, docks and cottages. Deep granite faces met the water where it lapped against the lichen covered stone and the setting sun reflected in the waves, glinting gold against the smooth surface.

“I can’t leave,” she said, gesturing at the breathtaking vista. “Because this is the view I need to be happy and I can’t find it anywhere but here.” She smiled, the generous tilt of her lips sending a dart of longing deep inside his chest. He knew exactly what she meant. It seemed to get inside you and make the tamer, softer corners of the world seem lacking. He’d lived here for twenty-nine of his thirty years and in that time, he’d learned that people either loved it or they didn’t. There were no half measures when it came to this picturesque corner of the north.

But as the sun slipped even further, his eyes weren’t drawn to the horizon. He watched Lily as she stood on the dock, glorying in the golden ritual, her russet hair slipping free from its ponytail to frame her face with messy abandon.

This is the view I need to be happy, she’d said.

The irony was exquisite. Because that was what he whispered to himself every time he saw her too.

And there wasn’t a damn thing he could ever do about it.

Go here to enter the giveaway!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: Addicted by Charlotte Featherstone

imagePublisher: Spice 
ISBN: 0373605285
Pages: 443 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical  
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

Friends since childhood, Anais Darnby and Lindsay Markham have long harbored a secret passion for one another. When they finally confess their love, their future together seems assured, sealed with their searing embrace.

But when a debauched Lindsay is seduced by a scheming socialite, a devastated Anais seeks refuge in another man's bed while Lindsay retreats to the exotic East. There, he is seduced again—this time by the alluring red smoke and sinister beauty of opium.

Back home, Lindsay's addiction is fed by the vogue for all things Oriental—especially its sensual pleasures—in fashionable London society. In his lucid moments, Lindsay still lusts after Anais, who can neither allow him near nor forget his smoldering touch. Tortured by two obsessions—opium and Anais—Lindsay must ultimately decide which is the one he truly cannot live without.

My Review: 


I have read this book once already but the review never actually got written and then the book got forgotten. I have never really had a very defined opinion about this one. I loved some parts but could live without others.

One of my biggest troubles with this book is the heroine herself, Anais. Oh boy, I didn’t like her. She was all morally superior and sort of looked down on Lindsay for most of the book. I wondered how he could love her if she was constantly looking down at him from her perch. Her secret was also not very surprising. Now, Lindsay is what made this book work for me. He was a flawed hero and he definitely had an addiction but he was always a kind gentleman and true in his love for Anais. His addiction was also portrayed very realistically which I greatly appreciated.

Charlotte Featherstone is one amazing writer. I am in love with her writing style and storytelling. The only issue I really had with this book was with Anais. She was one of those heroines that I could easily hit over the head with an anvil Looney Tunes style and not feel at all guilty. She annoyed me. Very badly. I tried to convince myself to like her but I just couldn’t. And because of my dislike of the heroine, I felt a bit of a disconnect with the story even though I loved the hero and the plot.



Rating:

*This book has been provided by me for my own personal reading pleasure.  My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way. Any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Events (October 14th)

I am going through DRAMA right now so this is a bit late. My Nook is currently MIA in the Post Office. And I am panicking.  


Reviews posted this week:

  1. Up A Dry Creek by Avery Flynn
  2. The Wedding Affair by Leigh Michaels
  3. Don’t Sing at the Table by Adriana Trigiani
  4. Bloodstone Heart by T. Lynne Tolles (and Giveaway!)
  5. Relic Defender: Key of Solomon by Cassiel Knight
  6. Flawless by Carrie Lofty
  7. Always a Temptress by Eileen Dreyer
  8. Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
  9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  10. The Velvet Promise by Jude Deveraux
  11. Romancing the Countess by Ashley March
  12. Nocturne by Syrie James
  13. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  14. Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard
  15. The Goblin King by Shona Husk


  This week's question is:

Q: If you could have characters from a book meet and form an epic storyline with characters from a TV series, which characters would you choose and why?

I think mine is going to be pretty common. I want the Sookie people to meet the Bufy/Angel people and laugh at them. Simple. I want Spike and Eric to have a bonding moment and to dispute how vampire they really are.

 

Book Blogger Hop

                                               This weeks post.

What is your favorite spooky book (i.e. mystery/suspense, thriller, ghost story, etc.)?

My favorite creepy book is a recent read. You may know it. It’s called The Shining. It’s currently in my freezer behind ice cream cones and a bottle of vodka. I will never read it again but I loved it so hard.

Review: The Goblin King by Shona Husk

imagePublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca 
ISBN: 1402259859
Pages:352 pages
Genre: Romance/Paranormal/Goblins  
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

Cursed by a Druid millennia ago, Roan lives a bleak existence in the Shadowlands, desperately trying to retain his soul and not succumb to the goblin horde. When a beautiful human summons him to grant a wish, he sees a glimmer of hope. But will she ever agree to be his queen?

My Review: 

I don’t think I have ever encountered a goblin romance before. I have read just about every other type of paranormal romance before. This one was definitely interesting to say the least.

I liked Eliza. She was brave when she had to be but there wasn’t anything really spectacular about her.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t like her because I did but there wasn’t really anything that made her stand out too much for me. She was a normal girl and I think that’s what worked so well for me. Roan, on the other hand, was spectacular. He is the Goblin King and he knows eventually he will become a heartless Goblin of the Hoard. A hero that is in imminent doom is somehow more perfect than one who is not. I think it’s the brave going into battle thing. I would read a million romances with Roan as the hero.

The chemistry between Roan and Eliza was intense. Even though I was not particularly wowed by Eliza as a heroine, I really loved her chemistry with Roan. They played off of each other well. I especially loved that she loved him even in his ugly Gobliness. That’s so sweet! I also loved the Goblins. I didn’t think I would particularly like it but I did. Very much. I’ve never read about goblins before (other than the Gringotts goblins, of course) and I didn’t really see how goblins could work in a romance novel but Husk made it work.

There is also a free prequel, Summons, available for download for free on the Kindle or the Nook.
Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

 

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