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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dirty LIttle Secret #63


Dirty Little Secret is a weekly meme hosted by Under the Covers. Every Thursday we get to know other bloggers and our readers more intimately by asking them a question hoping to reveal their dirty little secrets. We hope that you will all join us!

To participate in the meme all you need to do is:

1. Be a follower of Under the Covers.
2. Create a post in your blog taking the meme image (code above) and copy instructions.
3. Answer the question we propose! This can be done in any way you like, post a video, write a post etc.
4. Then add your link below.

Non-bloggers: We want to hear from you as well!!! Let us know your answer in the comments!

We hope you join us and let us know your Dirty Little Secrets!

This week's question:
"Book abuse!  What's the worst thing you've done to a book."


My Answer: I dog ear my pages which is bad enough but one time, I got this book that was giving me trouble because it was bound so tightly that I couldn't really open it up to read it so I flipped it over to where the opened pages were face down and broke in the spine so that it would stay open while I was reading it. I felt so bad afterwards because the pages started falling out. Of course, I only do this to my own books that I have purchased and not books that are given or loaned to me. Plus I tend to prefer e-books because I can have a bunch of them on hand at once and not be up to my eyeballs in books.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review: A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare

Format: epub (purchased)
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Purchase Links: Amazon l Kindle l Barnes and Noble l Nook 

A temporary engagement, a lifetime in the making . . .

After years of fending for herself, Kate Taylor found friendship and acceptance in Spindle Cove—but she never stopped yearning for love. The very last place she'd look for it is in the arms of Corporal Thorne. The militia commander is as stone cold as he is brutally handsome. But when mysterious strangers come searching for Kate, Thorne steps forward as her fiance. He claims to have only Kate's safety in mind. So why is there smoldering passion in his kiss?

Long ago, Samuel Thorne devoted his life to guarding Kate's happiness. He wants what's best for her, and he knows it's not marriage to a man like him. To outlast their temporary engagement, he must keep his hands off her tempting body and lock her warm smiles out of his withered heart. It's the toughest battle of this hardened warrior's life . . . and the first he seems destined to lose.

I stayed up ALL NIGHT reading this book, I just couldn't put it down for something so meager as sleep. Now it's time for the review and I have no words, I agonized over this review for HOURS because I wanted it to convey as much of my thoughts and feelings without revealing too much of the story and I hope I managed.

A Lady by Midnight is the lovely and optimistic Kate Taylor's turn as heroine and she doesn't waste a second of the reader's time. Nor does Spindle Cove's resident grouch and all around too serious hero, Corporal Thorne. What caught and held readers' attention in the first and second book is definitely present in this one. While I loved the heroines and the heroes in A Night to Surrender (book 1) and A Week to Be Wicked (Book 2), I really wanted to see Kate get her happy ending. She's been through more than Susanna and Minerva put together and yet she still finds a reason to keep smiling, and being kind to those around her. Kate is a really special character to me. Her yearning for people to call "family" and her courage to keep going forward when others around her try to put her down was very touching but it left her very vulnerable at times.

Enter Corporal Thorne, now I wasn't sure there was a vulnerable bone in his body. I was sure the man was just a breathing block of stone for all the emotion he showed, but with Kate's easy and accepting manner she began chipping away at that stone block in no time. You have to admire a woman who isn't afraid of a man like that. As the story progressed, the reason for Thorne's seeming indifference towards Kate is explained and shows him to be more than just a militia man. Though he denies he has emotions, let alone a heart, his actions continuously make a liar out of his words, he became, in my mind a tough as nails teddy bear with teeth, ready to defend Kate with his very life. The secret that binds him to Kate, without a doubt, when revealed, shows he has had a long standing affection for her that survived over many years and grew into a tender, healing love that neither expected.

While the plot for A Lady by Midnight isn't a new one, it definitely doesn't feel overused, unimaginative or even boring. It's anything but. I'm always amazed how an author can take a well known plot, in this case the "Orphan who discovers she has a long lost family but said family may not be what they claim so now the hero must step out of the shadows and protect her" and spin a lovely tale with all the right ingredients: Mystery, suspense, passion, romance, humor and of course a happy ending.

Kate and Thorne are a great couple, okay technically they've spent most of the series doing one or more of the following in regards to the other: Glaring, frowning, cursing, staring, insulting or ignoring. So I knew it was going to be fun(ny) to watch these two opposites fall in love and heal each other. I saw their story as a slow burn, a small flame ambling its way towards a powder keg. Well you know what will happen once that tiny, slow moving flame reaches the keg right? Exactly what happens with Kate and Thorne. Apart they're likable but tortured characters. Together they're explosive, interesting and hopeful. I do think that Kate has taken up a place in my heart as one of my favorite characters ever created because of her need and desire to have a family that will claim her and love her no matter what. I fully identify with that aspect of her character and understand her wanting a family. I know I'd love to be adopted by a family like the Gramercys, eccentricities and all.

And can we talk about the Gramercys? I know some people may not enjoy such a loud, eccentric group of people but I do. They provided a bit of comedic relief from all the angst and emotional turmoil going on with Kate and Thorne. I do hope that they'll appear in future books as I've grown very fond of them. Each member is special to me in a different way, though that Evan has all the makings of a hero *hint hint*

Overall, A Lady by Midnight continues to uphold Tessa Dare's reputation for writing breathtakingly romantic stories infused with humor and filled with characters that will remain in your memory long after you've read the final page. 

Rating: 

Find Tessa Dare: 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

ARC Review: Blaze by Joan Swan

Format: Bound Copy
Release Date:
September 25, 2012
Purchase Links:
Amazon l Kindle l Barnes and Noble l Nook

With a man like him, every mission becomes personal. . .

Ever since FBI agent Keira O'Shay started tracking a young boy named Mateo, she's felt a connection even her empathic abilities can't explain. She needs to save Mateo from the cult leader holding him hostage. Nothing can interfere with that--not even the reappearance of Luke Ransom, the hot-as-hell fire captain she's regretted walking out on for three long years.

Losing Keira left Luke vulnerable--in every way. When they were together, the powers each possesses were mysteriously enhanced. But it's the sexy, surprising woman beneath the tough exterior that Luke's really missed. Even if she betrayed him utterly. And even if agreeing to help her uncover a government conspiracy means watching his life and his heart go up in flames again. . .

The highly anticipated (at least for me) second book in new author Joan Swan's Phoenix Rising series, Blaze is an action packed, passion filled adventure sure to please the audience that was first captivated by its predecessor, Fever

Exes Luke and Keira are definitely two of a kind and life has taken them in two different directions but they've never gotten over each other or the effect they had on the other's powers. Within moments of being re-united, their powers ignite once again and even provide a few surprises along the way. While one would think these "surprises" would help Luke and Keira clear the air between them, it actually makes things worse, making them face what they had, what went wrong and dragging up old hurts and accusations. 

Luke is an amazing character in the sense that he's completely vulnerable to Keira and the emotions she stirs in him. After awhile he doesn't even try to fight or deny it, giving him a lovelorn aura that reminded me of the heroes in a Jane Austen novel. I spent half the time alternating with sympathizing with Keira and her fears to wanting to strangle her because she had an amazing man that kept offering his heart and support to her and she kept pushing him away.

And let's talk about kids in romance novels. They don't always work for me. Sometimes I get the feeling that an author will insert a kid into the story line hoping to score points with an audience that they assume has kids and can identify with them. Not cool, at all, don't assume that having a kid in a story is going to make it better, sometimes they make it worse and the quality of the story goes down the drain. Same goes for an adult character, if they don't have a use, why put them in the story?

Thankfully it wasn't the case in Blaze. Sure Mateo is cute but he isn't dead weight in the story, he has a purpose, he is actually the reason things get dangerous for Luke and Keira but he also inadvertently forces Keira to face her fears and conquer them. So brownie points to Joan Swan for not using a kid just to score points with an audience.

Blaze is not without humor though, at times Luke and Keira's enhanced gifts spark some steamy, and down right sarcastic arguments, each one trying to get the upper hand on the other. Then there's Mitch Foster, the savvy, sophisticated, smart mouthed playboy lawyer from Fever and Alyssa Foster's brother. Almost every word out of his mouth is an insult when it comes to Luke and he has some of the best scenes in this book. Definitely a scene stealer and one I can't wait to read more about.

There's something distinctive about author Joan Swan's Phoenix Rising series, it's not just the sexy characters (both male and female), fast paced plots or steamy love scenes. It's the real emotion behind the scenes she writes. It's not just love, lust and passion, there is a range of emotions in her books that have the ability to fully engage the reader. While not every one has felt an all consuming love or passion for another person, who hasn't felt jealousy, fear, rejection or betrayal? 

As more questions than answers are revealed, Luke and Keira find themselves not only re-evaluating their previous relationship but the incident that killed one member of their old firefighting team and left the rest of them broken, lost and with abilities that others want bad enough to kill. 

With Blaze, one mystery is solved only for half a dozen more to pop up in its place, allowing for more books in the series (Yay!). Keeping the mystery, suspense and passion at top notch, Joan Swan's Blaze is just a good if not better than its predecessor Fever and as much as it pained me to finish Luke and Keira's story, I am super excited for the next book in the series. These characters are quickly becoming as important to me as I'm sure they are for Joan. 

Bottom line, Blaze will leave you wishing you had a love like Luke and Keira and a pseudo family as crazy as Mitch, Teague, Allysa and the rest of the meddling, worrisome and loyal gang.

Rating: 
 

Find Joan Swan on:


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dirty Little Secret #62


Dirty Little Secret is a weekly meme hosted by us at Under the Covers. Every Thursday we get to know other bloggers and our readers more intimately by asking them a question hoping to reveal their dirty little secrets. We hope that you will all join us!

To participate in the meme all you need to do is:

1. Be a follower of Under the Covers.
2. Create a post in your blog taking the meme image (code above) and copy instructions.
3. Answer the question we propose! This can be done in any way you like, post a video, write a post etc.
4. Then add your link below.

Non-bloggers: We want to hear from you as well!!! Let us know your answer in the comments!

We hope you join us and let us know your Dirty Little Secrets!

This week's question:
"What quote or picture would you get tattooed from a book and where would you get it?"

My Answer:
There are so many to choose from, but being that I don't like needles or pain, I'd probably only go with ONE tattoo so it would have to have a powerful meaning for me to go through the pain. That's why I'm choosing the double bow and arrow that identifies a Dark Hunter from Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series.


But that's not all, I'd have the following quote tattooed as well underneath (as said by many of the characters in the series): "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

Those two are extremely significant to me in my real life. The double bow and arrow would signify the pain and suffering that I've been through in order to become the person I am now. The quote is self explanatory. I'd get them on my left wrist or my hip.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

ARC Review: When You Give a Duke a Diamond by Shana Galen


Format: epub (provided by Netgalley)
Release Date: September 1, 2012
Purchase Links: Amazon l Kindle l Barnes and Noble l Nook

He had a perfectly orderly life...

William, the sixth Duke of Pelham, enjoys his punctual, securely structured life. Orderly and predictable—that's the way he likes it. But he's in the public eye, and the scandal sheets will make up anything to sell papers. When the gossip papers link him to Juliette, one of the most beautiful and celebrated courtesans in London, chaos doesn't begin to describe what happens next...

Until she came along...


Juliette is nicknamed the Duchess of Dalliance and has the cream of the nobility at her beck and call. It's disruptive to have the duke who is the biggest catch on the Marriage Mart scaring her other suitors away. Then she discovers William's darkest secret and decides what he needs in his life is the kind of excitement only she can provide...

After I finished The Sons of the Revolution series, I was curious as to what author Shana Galen would do next. I loved The Rogue Pirate's Bride (yes, I love pirates, so what?) and didn't know if I would enjoy reading just a romance novel without any kind of suspense or mystery from her. Anyone who has read some of my reviews has probably caught on to the fact that I love a romance novel with mystery, action and danger. It keeps things interesting and intense. Good thing Shana's new book kept up with the standards set by The Sons of the Revolution series.

The first in a new series surrounding the mysterious circumstances of three friends who each find themselves in possession of a rather notorious reputations as Courtesans and a mix up that could mean life or death, When You Give a Duke a Diamond is an entertaining, sexy story about how appearances can be deceiving.

When You Give a Duke a Diamond begins with gossip, which goes hand in hand with mystery. After all, very few romance novels boast of believably pairing a true Courtesan with a Duke, so Juliette was either a very special character or her reputation was a bit exaggerated. That was enough to get my attention. Who doesn't love characters who aren't what they appear?

I wasn't sure what to make of the Duke of Pelham, he annoyed me! He was so rigid, so boring, so... Blah that I was certain at one point someone would explain that the Duke actually had a red hot poker shoved up his behind and that's what accounted for his terrible demeanor. For someone so unforgiving of the faults of others, he certainly is full of them himself. I found myself wishing he were real just so I could run up to him, ruffle his hair or scuff his boots just to see if he was human and not a robot. Silly I know but that's how I felt.

It wasn't until Juliette shoved her way into his life and forced him to become more than just a spectator in life that I started to warm up to the Duke. In fact, Shana Galen did such a great job with him that I didn't see him as anything other than "the Duke" or Pelham until about halfway through the book when I realized I started referring to him in my mind as "Will," just like Juliette insisted.

The chemistry between Will and Juliette is slow to develop but once it does it's explosive. Here are two characters, who by society's rules should not fall in love, that have to battle every one including themselves just to be together and to feel confident in what is developing between them. The angst level is pretty high once these two realize they have feelings for one another and you begin to wonder, "How is a happy ending going to be possible for these two? Is it going to be a terribly romantic ending or a totally unbelievable, disappointing one?"

I'll let you be the judge on that one, but I have a feeling you're going to agree with me when I say the resolution to Will and Juliette's relationship is most satisfactory.

I didn't expect to like When You Give a Duke a Diamond (great title by the way, it doesn't make sense until after you've read the book) because of the summary. It sounded like a run of the mill romance with no real obstacles between the two main characters aside from the typical jealous ex-lovers, objecting family members, blah, blah, blah but I was so wrong. I loved the danger, the mystery and of course the passion that Shana Galen put into this story and its characters. I cannot wait for the next book in this series because When You Give a Duke a Diamond leaves you hanging at the end with no hint of what is to come. What a way to frustrate but at the same time interest this particular reader.

I suspect that may have been intentional though. So add this book to your "Must Read" lists ASAP, you won't be disappointed.

Rating: 


Find Shana Galen on: 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: Eternal Kiss by Laura Wright

Format: Bound copy (borrowed)
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Purchase Links: Amazon l Kindle l Barnes & Noble l Nook 

Raised by the Breed, Nicholas Roman wants to stop the Eternal Order of Vampires from controlling his life, and using other males from his bloodline-including possibly his son-for their vicious reign. Only a beautiful vampire stranger can help him. But what are her true motives?

The mystery and action just continues to build in the second book of Laura Wright's Mark of the Vampire series, as does the passion and danger. After reading the first book, I begged a friend to lend me her copy of this book. I just had to continue on with the Roman brothers. All three have their demons to battle but Nicholas seems to take his to the next level. Complex and dangerous, Nicholas Roman is one of the most tortured characters I've ever met. He has a past he isn't proud of and a present he will kill to keep a secret. 

Just as secretive is Kate, the female vampire who shows up at his door step with a young boy in tow. An unjust decision and a harsh punishment have shaped Kate into a tough as nails, "I-don't-need-anyone" character that I just loved. 

While Nicholas' secret was revealed early on in Eternal Kiss and causes him such pain and anguish, Kate's reason for her punishment isn't, creating and building curiosity until almost the end, when she reveals her secret to Nicholas in hopes of helping him begin to forgive himself and let go of who he thinks he is.

If you're hoping for a deep, dark, destructive secret as bad a Nicholas' from Kate, you're in for a bit of a disappointment though. Her punishment was worse than her crime.

In between the reluctant relationship budding between Nicholas and Kate, are glimpses of Lucian, the youngest Roman brother and in my opinion, the most interesting. He's such a jerk but you can't help but love him, and Gray, the brother of Sara who is mated to Alexander (Eternal Hunger). 

The amazing sexual tension and steamy scenes that made Eternal Hunger a great book are present in Eternal Kiss and then some. If you don't stop and fan yourself after Nicholas and Kate's, um, "meeting" in the club bathroom then there's something seriously wrong with you my friend.

Rating: 

Find Laura Wright:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blog Hop: What do you look for in a review?

review

What do you look for in a review?

Whether you’re writing or reading one, there are certain things you always look for. What are those? What do you think are the most important elements you think the reviewer should include? What would you like see more? Less? What is the role of a review? How important is it?

My Answer: When I read a romance novel review there are three main things I look for, no spoilers, opinion on the storyline, and because they are romance novel reviews, the reviewer's opinion on the chemistry between the characters. If the reviewer thinks the book is great, I want to know why it was so great. I depend on reviews in order to purchase my own books so I really need them to tell me about the story, was it a strong one? Was it believable? Were the characters likable? Most importantly (to me), was the female character a strong one or was she easily manipulated/charmed by male characters in the book? So far I have been very lucky that the usual bloggers that I turn to for recommendations include all of the above in their reviews.

Now, when I write a review I can honestly say I have a checklist of things that I try to discuss, which were mentioned above. I feel it's important to give readers as much information about the book as possible without spoiling it for them. Sometimes it's hard though because if I really loved the book, I want to tell everyone my favorite scenes, quotes and all that so it's hard to refrain from that. I can usually recommend books to people better if they tell me who their favorite authors are, then I can go on that to help them out (this is something new I want to incorporate into my reviews).




Thursday, August 16, 2012

ARC Review: Fear the Darkness by Alexandra Ivy

Format: epub (provided by NetGalley)
Release Date:
August 28, 2012
Purchase Links:
Amazon l Kindle l Barnes and Noble l Nook


Her visions lead her to danger

Beautiful Cassandra is a Were, a prophet both vulnerable and defiant, blessed with visions that portend the fate of the world. A rare and delicate creature, Cassie must be protected at all costs. Enter Caine, a powerful cur turned pureblooded Were whose recent tangles with a demon lord have left him in serious need of redemption. Caine is duty-bound to keep Cassie out of danger—and that means resisting his potent urge to seduce her...


And only he can save her

As Cassie’s mysterious visions lead them in and out of danger, Caine believes he has found his true mate, the woman with whom he is bound for all eternity. Cassie is both charmed and frightened by Caine’s magnetism, and unsure if he--or her feelings for him--can be trusted. But Cassie can’t afford to
doubt Cain now. A deadly enemy bent on destruction is closer than they realize—and only they can keep chaos from ruling the world...


You know what they say about Karma right? Well I'm sure Caine certainly does! He's spent so much time being an evil bastard that fate has come up with the most delicious punishment. He got his wish to turn from cur to a pureblood Were but at the same time he has taken on the task of protecting the most valuable creature in the world from dark forces. Unfortunately for him, he finds her irresistible and his newly found conscience is firm on not taking advantage of her naivety and innocence.

Now one might think that Cassie would be a boring snooze fest of a character in a paranormal world due to said innocence but that's just not true. She's smart, sassy and a fast learner. Her naivety and innocence comes not from a prudish mind but from being locked up for so many years, unable to so much as socialize with anyone. Cassie is a grown woman, beautiful and tough but she also doesn't completely understand the world around her, giving her a child-like mentality and views from time to time, which doesn't help Caine's dilemma one bit.

Cassie may be new to the world, but that doesn't mean she blindly follows Caine or lets him boss her around, she gives as good as she gets, even going so far as to call Caine out on him being a "sexist dog" when he wants to always be the one she depends on for protection. She isn't afraid of him or his sometimes cranky moods or the fact that as a full blood Were he's almost as big as a car and twice as mean. Cassie is most entertaining once she knows what she wants (Caine) and goes after it (him).

The sexual tension was present from page one, Caine wants Cassie but he doesn't want to hurt or take advantage of her, something completely new and baffling at times for him. He isn't used to feeling something other than lust for a female and to have his bad ass self WANT to protect and care for such a pure creature such as Cassie drives him nuts for a few pages. Thankfully, Fear the Darkness doesn't spend too much time on the "will they or won't they" battle between Caine and Cassie because there's a much bigger obstacle in their way. I'm grateful for this because frankly, Caine and Cassie are just too combustible to be kept from each other for so long. They're a pretty hot couple that will definitely make you re-think the whole "Team Vampire" thing (If you were inclined in that direction before).

Fear the Darkness is definitely filled with blood, danger, death and mayhem, it wouldn't be a paranormal romance if there wasn't at least one bloody fight would it? Keeping it balanced and from becoming an endless nightmare for her characters, Alexandra injects just the right amount of humor to distract everyone from the conflict, even if it's only for a moment. One of my favorites? Cassie's first taste of wine and pizza.

Having read Alexandra Ivy's Guardians of Eternity series from the beginning and loving each one of her alpha males, I'm going to have to say here and now that Caine is officially my favorite. I was mildly intrigued by him when he was a cur, he had hints of decency in him but it was never more apparent than when he saw Cassie for the first time. He may not be as tortured as Styx, Viper or even Salvatore, King of the Weres, but he does have that whole "Will kill to protect" attitude and as bad as he can get, his tender way with Cassie kind of cancels out his cold hearted, bad ass factor.

Fear the Darkness is a great read from beginning to end and definitely leaves you wanting more from the Guardians of Eternity and of course, leaves you with the feeling that the end of the battle is only the beginning of the war. 



Rating:
 Find Alexandra Ivy on:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Review: Eternal Hunger by Laura Wright

Format: bound copy (purchased)
Release Date: October 5, 2010
Purchase Links: Amazon l Kindle l Barnes and Noble l Nook

FEAR IS IN THE BLOOD
Alexander Roman wants nothing to do with the controlling rulers of his vampire breed or the family he escaped from a hundred years ago. But as a new threat to the pureblood vampires emerges, Alexander's ties to the past are forced upon him again, and without warning, he finds himself - disoriented, terrified, and near death - at the door of a stranger.

TRUST IS A RISK
Dr. Sarah Donohue is dedicated to removing the traumatic memories of her patients - like those of the stranger at her front door. But what he tells her of his past is too astonishing to be anything more than the delusion of a madman. Yet she has seen his flesh scarred by the sun and witnessed his inhuman strength. And never more has she felt so connected to a man, by both fear and seductive excitement.

LOVE IS ETERNAL ...
But as their worlds collide, Sarah and Alexander are bound by something even stronger, as one becomes hunter and the other prey. And Sarah's only chance of survival is to surrender to the final - and most unimaginable - desire of her life.

I had actually read this book awhile back but since I had no blog at the time I never reviewed it. Time to change that.

In today's lust for, and the overabundance of, fanged heroes, author Laura Wright has managed to create her own special race of vampires. Pure power emanates from them. Not just in their physical appearance, but in their personalities and down to their names. No wimpy vamps here.

As much as I'd LOVE to gush about all 3 Roman brothers, Eternal Hunger is Alexander's story so I'll stick to him for now.

The first in the Mark of the Vampire series, Eternal Hunger is a fast paced, intriguing story that takes a popular mythical creature and not only turns him into a hero, but creates a unique take on the entire vampire myth.

He's the alpha, the leader and someone you don't want to piss off. Ever. Dead sexy and with the power to back up his personality, Alexander Roman is hard to forget. He's so intimidating that I couldn't begin to imagine what kind of woman would be able to go toe-to-toe with him instead of being terrified of him.

Enter Sarah Donahue. Dedicated, loyal and above all, rational. Though at first she's terrified of Alexander, she's smart enough to analyze each situation and then take the best course of action.This moved the story along at a great pace and kept me interested page after page.

Let's not overlook one of the reasons Eternal Hunger is so good: The details! Laura Wright puts enough details in her scenes they unfold without any hesitation and her spin on vampire lore is so convincing that I had to remind myself that this was fiction. I love the terminology used, even though I had trouble remembering all of them at first. Words like balas, morpho, meta, paven, veana, and credenti made Eternal Hunger more real to me and therefor more enjoyable.

The relationships in this book were heartfelt and powerful, the bond between Alexander and his brothers is a mix of pack animal dynamics (alpha/pack) and true loyalty and love. Alex would do anything to spare his brothers pain and misery and vice versa even when they get on his nerves. Though the three brothers are total bad asses, they have their moments of arguing like children and one upping each other constantly. It's a great balance.

But let's face it, the REAL reason Eternal Hunger works is the sexual tension and chemistry between Alexander and Sarah! Their "I want you but I don't want to want you" dance is sizzling and at the same time tortured. I swear the heat from those two singed my fingertips and made me yearn for a Pureblood paven of my own!

So if paranormal romance is your thing, then Eternal Hunger is definitely the way to go!

Rating: 

Find Laura Wright:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Feature & Follow Friday

Q: What would you do over if you were to start your blog again from scratch?
A:  I would definitely have saved money to have a pro design it first. I would have thought about the name a little longer as well as the url AND I would network better. Though I think I've done pretty decent.



 
RULES
To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
    • (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
    • (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
    • Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
    • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
    • If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
    • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
    • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
    • If you’re new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
Happy Follow Friday! Come back at midnight CST for the Facebook & Twitter hop!!



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dirty Little Secret #60


Dirty Little Secret is a weekly meme hosted by Under the Covers. Every Thursday we get to know other bloggers and our readers more intimately by asking them a question hoping to reveal their dirty little secrets. We hope that you will all join us!

This week's question:
"Which Disney hero would you like to take to your bed? I mean on a date."

My Answer:
Phoebus from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Why?
Never having been a fan of heroes that constantly save damsels in distress, I have to go with Phoebus. He's a strong man who is confident enough to want an equally strong woman. He's got a sense of humor, he's smart and he's not afraid to stand up for what's right. The best part? He's a soldier just returned from the war where he was probably not as um, friendly with women as he'd like (*wink wink*).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Review: Lost in Italy by Stacey Joy Netzel

Format: epub
Release Date: September 28, 2011

The best laid plans…
Halli Sanders spent two years planning the trip of a lifetime to Italy. Her itinerary did not include being stranded by her siblings, kidnapped by a sexy American movie star, dodging bullets, or fleeing criminals in a car chase around Lake Como. And that’s just in the first three hours.

…often go awry.
Trent Tomlin put his movie career on hold to investigate his brother’s murder-ruled-suicide at his Italian villa. He’s closing in on the suspects when an American tourist unwittingly films the murder of the retired cop helping him. The killers will stop at nothing to get the evidence—including holding Halli’s family as collateral.

Life’s a little different unscripted.
Thrust into the role of real-life hero, Trent finds himself falling for the Plain Jane whose beauty blossoms with every challenge they face. But how can he keep the evidence from falling into the wrong hands and get justice for his brother and friend without betraying Halli and her family?

After reading More Than a Kiss I knew I just had to get a hold of another of Stacey Joy Netzel's books. I had to see if her other books had that same "something" that made me like More Than a Kiss and its characters.

Now maybe it's just because Lost in Italy is a totally different from her other books but...

Lost in Italy has earned a spot in my "Must Always Be Within Reach" list because it's one of those books I will re-read over and over again. In short, I loved it! To me it was even better than More Than a Kiss.

What's not to love? You have the reluctant, slightly OCD heroine Halli who just wants to get away from her complicated family history and be her own person. She's so busy trying NOT to be like her parents that she really isn't enjoying life. Which is why her siblings, Rachel and Ben have dragged her on a trip to Italy and forced her to abandon her neatly organized activity itinerary. Unfortunately trouble finds her almost as soon as the book starts.

Then there's Trent, the charming, super famous but highly vulnerable hero, well, reluctant hero. He's just such a good guy that he won't let an innocent stranger get hurt, even if it means having to become a real life hero and protecting her. It's just his bad luck that he starts to fall in love with her in the middle of investigating his brother's death and running for their lives.

There's definitely some tension between Halli and Trent from the moment they meet, she thinks he's kidnapping her, he doesn't know what to think of her and even though she's terrified by the situation she finds herself in, Hallie doesn't take crap from anyone, especially Trent. This makes for some very amusing quips between the two, and of course, some very tense, steamy moments as well.

What I found interesting is the little bit of info provided in the beginning, the event in which Halli's siblings forget her and leave her behind was taken from an actual event in author Stacey Joy Netzel's life. Though she didn't end up in a life or death game like Halli, I found it amazing that siblings can actually forget each other on accident rather than on purpose, not that I'm admitting to anything of the sort mind you.

For me, the pacing of a story is very important. I don't have a lot of patience with slow stories, I need a moderate pace in the books I read or else I'm going to get bored and the story will become stale and forgettable. I don't want to read 100 pages of scenes that have zero importance to the story or with bland characters. I also don't care for stories that rush through events and bulldoze over character development just to get to the "sexy times." As much as I love "sexy times" in my romance novels, I need more than that. I need solid characters, I need them to have more than just sex between them, I love angst between characters and an actual story that tells how two characters went from strangers to lovers to happy ever after.

Lost in Italy gave me that PLUS great action scenes and a tough mystery to solve. There were twists and turns in not only the investigation into a murder but in the budding relationship between Trent and Halli.

Not to be outdone though is Halli's brother Ben. Now there's an interesting character. He isn't just there to be a supporting character, he really jumps out of the pages and grabs the attention whenever he's in a scene. There's something just under the surface with him that I can't quite put my finger on. He strikes me as the kind of man a woman would have to be nuts to take on. Which is why I loved Eva. Tough, sassy and smart, she just might be more than Ben can handle.

Definitely an example of Romantic Suspense at its best, Lost in Italy is exciting, fun, sexy and extremely difficult to put down. So make sure you don't have anything super important to do or trust me, it won't get done on time, if at all.

And just to make it a little hot in here, I'm going to leave you with one of my favorite scenes in the whole book: 

He stalked forward, careful to hold back his frustration. Her eyes widened a little, otherwise she remained perfectly still when he braced a hand on either side of her hips.

"Where's the woman who lived life in the moment?" He leaned closer, searching for any crack in her composure, but the move backired when her fresh scent played havoc with his senses. His next words came out in a gruff whisper. "The one who not only stood by me through danger, but screamed my name as we made love?"

Rating: 
  Find Stacey Joy Netzel:

Monday, August 6, 2012

Swag Day at my Place: Laura Wright

Guess what came in the mail today?


SIGNED AND PERSONALIZED!!!! I LOVE getting signed books and swag, especially personalized ones. That brings the total up to 4. My very first one was from Alexandra Hawkins, and then Tessa Dare and Erin Knightley (bookmark). I've got signed stuff from Celeste Bradley, Jennifer Haymore, Lara Adrian, Donna Grant and Catherine Gayle too.

What can I say, signed stuff makes me happy. Off to read now.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Giveaway: Stealing Breath by Joanne Brothwell

I've reviewed Stealing Breath by Joanne Brothwell, I even had the chance to interview her, and now Joanne is offering TWO copies of her book, Stealing Breath to two lucky readers! Just fill in the rafflecopter form below for your chance to win!

Deep in the backwoods of North Dakota, twenty-one year old Sarah Ross is searching for a missing child when she is attacked by a glowing-eyed, transparent... creature. Sarah survives, destroying the monster by using mysterious abilities she didn’t even know she had.

Bloody and bruised, Sarah flees the scene and runs directly into Evan Valente, a handsome, charismatic stranger who helps her back to safety. But what is Evan doing out in the forest at five in the morning?

Turning to a healer, Sarah is shocked to learn her eyes bear the mark of the Indigo Child—an evolved human with the ability to feel the emotions of others. But her indigo aura also makes her an easy target for those who wish to consume her powerful essence.

Soon, Sarah is falling deeply in love with Evan and wants nothing more than to follow her heart and trust that he is the man he says he is. But she can't ignore the lingering feeling that Evan is hiding a terrible secret. The deeper she digs, the more danger she faces, leading her on a course that will force her to face the darkest, innermost parts of her soul.

This giveaway is open to all!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Stealing Breath by Joanne Brothwell

Format: epub (provided by author)
Release Date: March 8, 2012
Purchase Links: Amazon l Kindle l Barnes and Noble

Deep in the backwoods of North Dakota, twenty-one year old Sarah Ross is searching for a missing child when she is attacked by a glowing-eyed, transparent... creature. Sarah survives, destroying the monster by using mysterious abilities she didn't even know she had. Bloody and bruised, Sarah flees the scene and runs directly into Evan Valente, a handsome, charismatic stranger who helps her back to safety. 

But what is Evan doing out in the forest at five in the morning? 

Turning to a healer, Sarah is shocked to learn her eyes bear the mark of the Indigo Child-an evolved human with the ability to feel the emotions of others. But her indigo aura also makes her an easy target for those who wish to consume her powerful essence. Soon, Sarah is falling deeply in love with Evan and wants nothing more than to follow her heart and trust that he is the man he says he is. But she can't ignore the lingering feeling that Evan is hiding a terrible secret. The deeper she digs, the more danger she faces, leading her on a course that will force her to face the darkest, innermost parts of her soul.

A great way to get a reader sucked into a story is to start in the middle. 

In this case, the middle of the night, in the middle of an eerie encounter with what could possibly be a missing child or something...Other. Stealing Breath gets your blood pumping and your heart racing all in a matter of 8 pages. How can this reader possibly resist a story like that?

Easy, I didn't. Duh.

Told in first person, Stealing Breath is a fast paced paranormal story rooted in myth, grown with imagination and nurtured with a cast of strong, interesting characters. It is a mixture of mostly fantasy and paranormal with a dash of reality.

It was easy to relate to Sarah, perhaps not in the way of mysterious abilities but in finding herself singled out as different for whatever reason and feeling as if there's more to her life than what she's been lead to believe. Sarah's a likable character, she isn't a drama queen, she isn't about constantly saying "Poor me, why me?" She deals with what's thrown her way with as much courage and bravado as she can. Evan, the mysterious and handsome hero of the story is still somewhat of a mystery even by the end of the book, and that works because Stealing Breath is not the end of the story, there will be a second book, Silencing Breath that will hopefully delve more into Evan as a character. I can't wait for that one.

Sarah and Evan, what can I say? I loved how these two characters connected immediately without it feeling like an overdone, cheesy Hallmark movie. It was romantic but also important that they continue to be thrown together at every opportunity, each character was solid and strong on their own, so no weaklings here, but together they were a force to be reckoned with. I love an equal partnership in my books.

The detail that author Joanne Brothwell puts into each scene shows dedication to her entire story. She didn't let descriptions of places, people, creatures or rituals slip through the cracks as I've seen with other stories. Some authors are so wrapped up in their lead characters' romance that they forget the rest of the story has to be just as strong. Not so with Stealing Breath. The paranormal aspect is what drives Sarah and Evan together, more so than their initial attraction to each other. Each aspect of the story is important, the whos, whats, wheres, whys, and hows are never forgotten or left to dangle in the wind in favor of the romance. They're all there, pulling their weight to bring readers an intriguing, suspense filled story.

Don't hate me but I found myself more interested in what was going on with Sarah and her abilities than her budding relationship with Evan. I know I'm a romance novel reviewer and the romance is what I look for 99% of the time, but with Stealing Breath I got more wrapped up in the paranormal background and the Native American customs that the romance became secondary to me. There are some really hair raising, eerie moments in this book that definitely had me jumping at shadows at night. I'm usually not a fan of stories that keep me in that state of mind but I had to make an exception for this book. 


Make room on your shelves or e-reader for this one guys, it's a keeper!


Rating:

Read my interview with Joanne Brothwell here
Enter to win one of two copies of Stealing Breath here!
Find Joanne Brothwell:

Friday, August 3, 2012

Author! Author! Interview with: Joanne Brothwell

Today I have the pleasure of bringing you an interview with author Joanne Brothwell. Joanne is the author of Stealing Breath, a paranormal romance that is sure to get your blood pumping! Here's a little info about Joanne from her website
Joanne Brothwell lives in the country on the Canadian prairie where her stories are inspired by the dead things that appear at her doorstep on a daily basis. Of course, her two pets, a retired police dog with titanium fangs and a feral barn cat missing two toes, make the safety of surrounding wildlife, at best, uncertain.

Nicknames are something Joanne has in abundance; most notably “Grumpy Bunny” (her husband), and “Princess with a Sailor’s Mouth” (her friends). She’s known to daydream, and ever since grade school has been accused of having a poor attention span. The truth is, Joanne has an alternate reality inside her head, where characters speak to her, sometimes so loudly (and incessantly) she just can’t hear anything else!

Joanne is thrilled to see her alternate universe finally become real with the publication of her novel, Stealing Breath, and her prequel novella, Vicarious. Now, with the sequel Silencing Breath on the way, you can be rest assured you will see much more of Joanne’s writing in the future, as those characters in her head, having tasted the sweet freedom of release, simply refuse to be silenced!

I read that you draw inspiration for your stories from various "dead things" that appear on your doorstep. Exactly what is it about those "dead things" that inspires you to write stories like Stealing Breath aside from the obvious paranormal aspect?
Joanne: This is a funny story, actually. My bio came out of a writing retreat with the Saskatchewan Romance Writers a year ago where we were brainstorming catchy bios for our websites. This was at a time immediately following a Facebook post where I was complaining about my cat dragging her prey to our deck, and how the latest victim looked like a woodchuck! I have two pets, a retired police dog with titanium fangs and a feral barn cat missing two toes, so the safety of surrounding wildlife, is at best, uncertain!

About how much research went into the cultural aspect of Stealing Breath? I know next to nothing about cleansing rituals or the Native American culture and found myself completely drawn in by those scenes.
Joanne: A fair bit of research, for sure. Luckily, though, I have a friend who is Indigenous, and she was a fantastic source of information. However, where I live, we are more familiar with the cultural aspects of Indigenous Canadians. There are many people I know personally who have gone through the “Sweat” experience and I, myself, have done the sweet grass cleansing ritual many times.

In your opinion, what is it about the paranormal romance genre that not only draws people in but keeps them coming back for more?
Joanne: I think we all love the idea of the supernatural and the whole concept of magic. Combine that with falling in love, and boom! You have a totally addictive recipe!

When I sit down to write, whether it be part of a story, a poem or a letter, I have to go through this whole routine to clear my mind of things. I even have to organize my supplies (laptop, notebook, pens) in a certain order. When you're about to write, do you have a preparation ritual? If so, what is it?
Joanne: I do need my surroundings to be silent, my feet up on a stool, with nobody around to distract me. Lately, it is getting harder and harder to make that happen.

From where did you draw inspiration for Sarah and Evan, not just with their personalities but their physical appearance? Are there parts of yourself or people that you know in them?
Joanne: Sarah definitely comes from a part of me, and as a young woman, I always wanted to be a natural blond. Her personality is possibly a highly distilled portion of the best parts of my personality. Minus all of the negatives!

Evan is from the blueprint of the perfect man in my mind. His appearance has existed in my mind since I was a child playing with Barbie dolls. His personality is not really based on anyone in particular, but it is how I would imagine the ideal man to think and behave.
  
What would people be surprised to know about you?
Joanne: I live in one of the coldest provinces in Canada but I absolutely despise winter!
 
What has been the best part of being a published author?
Joanne: The best part is having that physical book in my hand, a concrete symbol of the years of hard work, sacrifice and frustration I went through.
 
Is there anything else you'd like people know?
Joanne: I’m giving away four freebies for anyone who purchases Stealing Breath :

-free e-book of the prequel novella, Vicarious (published by Crescent Moon Press), -plus Skinwalker Lore (explanation of the Navajo legends),
-The Indigo Children (a guidebook to the New Age concept, including an Indigo Child self-check list),
-and Malandanti Incantations from the Key of Solomon (a Malandanti guide and spellbook).

These freebies will be immediately sent when people order my book (send me a receipt through my contact form, I’ll send the files).

Again Joanne, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and for giving me the chance to review Stealing Breath!
Joanne: Thank you so much for having me, Adria!

About Stealing Breath:
Deep in the backwoods of North Dakota, twenty-one year old Sarah Ross is searching for a missing child when she is attacked by a glowing-eyed, transparent... creature. Sarah survives, destroying the monster by using mysterious abilities she didn’t even know she had.

Bloody and bruised, Sarah flees the scene and runs directly into Evan Valente, a handsome, charismatic stranger who helps her back to safety. But what is Evan doing out in the forest at five in the morning?

Turning to a healer, Sarah is shocked to learn her eyes bear the mark of the Indigo Child—an evolved human with the ability to feel the emotions of others. But her indigo aura also makes her an easy target for those who wish to consume her powerful essence.

Soon, Sarah is falling deeply in love with Evan and wants nothing more than to follow her heart and trust that he is the man he says he is. But she can't ignore the lingering feeling that Evan is hiding a terrible secret. The deeper she digs, the more danger she faces, leading her on a course that will force her to face the darkest, innermost parts of her soul.

Check out my review of Stealing Breath and a chance to win one of two digital copies of Stealing Breath!

Find Joanne Brothwell:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cover Reveal: Dusk with a Dangerous Duke by Alexandra Hawkins

I love The Lords of Vice series by Alexandra Hawkins. The men are depraved, border line irredeemable rogues who are infamous in their exploits and the women they fall for are unique, strong willed and compassionate. I used to have a favorite LoV but I've since decided to plead the fifth until all the Lords of Vice have had their stories told.

The fifth book in the series, All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess was just released but the cover for the sixth book and its summary was revealed earlier this week on Heroes and Heartbreakers!

Take a look at that cover! Isn't it beautiful? That's not all, the summary for Dusk with a Dangerous Duke has also been released:
They were children when the Duke of Huntsley was introduced to Lady Grace Kearly. The young duke—nicknamed “Hunter”—took one look at his future bride and thought only of escaping his responsibilities to his family. Marriage was for grown-ups and Hunter still had years of skirt-chasing ahead of him. But now the time has come for Hunter to heed the call: if this Lord of Vice hopes to keep all of his inheritance, he’ll have to claim his long-neglected betrothed…

With her twenty-first birthday approaching, Lady Grace dreads the thought of marrying the duke she has met only once—especially since he’s grown into a notorious rake who will probably beget his heir and abandon her in the country while he pursues fresh game in London. So when Lady Grace coolly decides to call the wedding off, even Hunter is surprised by his refusal to let her go. Suddenly, the notion of claiming and taming this green-eyed beauty is one challenge he cannot resist…

How's that for a preview? Though I think a lot of fans will agree with me, we can't wait for Frost's book (no pressure Alexandra, we promise)!

Dusk with a Dangerous Duke could see a release date of Februrary 26, 2013