A Midsummer Night's Sin - Kasey Michaels

GENRE: Adult Historical Romance
FORM: e-Book, NetGalley
SERIES: Blackthorn Brothers
PUBLICATION DATE: November 29, 2011

SYNOPSIS: A book of mischief and curiosity gone wrong, Regina and Miranda were just looking to have a little bit of fun when they showed up to a risqué masquerade ball, but the consequences of that bit of fun will mean unearthing a crime spree that has been, until recently, been kept secret from London’s elite. A horror that ends up hitting too close to home for Regina’s sake. Thankfully she has the clever Robin Goodfellow Blackthorn to come to the rescue, and provide his good humored services as well.

REVIEW: Robin Goodfellow Blackthorn, aka Puck, is an amusing, fun, easy going, life loving character. He made me smile…a lot. He sees the humor in life and knows how to banter with the best of them. The only way that I would have liked his personality any better is if it were combined with a little bit more dry sarcasm. Combine this with the strong, confident Regina, and you’ve got bliss.

Regina had every reason to hate her life. Her mother’s an alcoholic, her father is overbearing, demanding, and sees people as possessions rather than…well people. She was groomed and fashioned to marry into a title, and presumed she would end up married to a Duke. It is the knowledge of these responsibilities and the fact that her life is laid out before her eyes that causes her to throw caution to the wind and go to a Masquerade Ball unchaperoned with her cousin, Miranda. Despite the horrific result of this decision and the unknown torment that Miranda is to face, some good does come of it, as it also lands her into the playful, and capable arms of Puck.

I love the idea of taking literary characters and turning them into real people. Even if Puck were simply named after the famed Shakespearian character, he also possessed many of his best qualities. The book was very entertaining and fun. The mystery was intriguing and kept me reading. I loved the relationship between Puck and Regina, they were a light playful couple, even in their banter they were picking at each other all the while fighting to keep their hands off. I also really enjoyed the description of what Puck or Regina was wearing, as well as their surroundings, it helped me to create a vivid mental image of each scene.

The only thing I could have wished for was a bit more at the end. I hated jumping from the ending (concluding) scene and straight into their marriage. I actually wanted to see what happened with Regina’s mother, and perhaps her acceptance of Puck as a future son-in-law. Alas, it was not to be I suppose.


Blog Tour: Last Call - Jennifer Schmidt, Guest Blog, Review and GIVEAWAY!

A special treat for you today!!  Author Jennifer Schmidt is here to talk about how she is among the most unromantic  Romance Authors around!  

You know the saying ‘write what you know’? Well, that’s good advice…if you actually know something interesting. Me? I know how to type 82 words a minute, how to change a diaper without completely undressing a child, I’ve learned to become a fairly good cook since having babies and I also know how to make the biggest mistakes known to man – or woman in this case. Needless to say I live a fairly boring, ordinary life, definitely not book worthy. Although some of the other things I do know I wouldn’t want everyone to know I know so writing about that wasn’t an option either. So writing what I know wasn’t going to cut it.

But it turns out I can write what I don’t know. 

I’m talking romance. I am the most anti-romantic person ever. I hate Valentine’s Day. Hate it. Really, what is the point of it besides making single women everywhere dive head first into the nearest tub of ice cream? Yes, we know you’re in love, so am I. The difference is you won’t see me pawing him in the most inappropriate place. FYI, dry humping in front of my son’s elementary school would be one of those places.
PDA’s. Nope, not a fan of those either. I love you. You love me. Must we constantly declare it to the world?

Big weddings. Or weddings in general for the most part. Maybe I’m not only missing the “bride” gene but also the girly gene. A wedding will not make my bucket list. I prefer to live in sin. If I did do it though there would be none of that big, white dress type of thing. Jeans and t-shirts? Hell, yeah. Even better? My Scooby Doo lounge pants. Oh, yeah. Now that I could get behind. 

Flowers? Keep ‘em. They remind me of funerals. Although you can pass the chocolate any time you want.
Affection makes me nervous. Attention makes me nauseous.  Do you see where I’m going with this? I would be the least likely person ever to write a romance, let alone be good at it. But it turns out I’m not half bad. So how does someone who is so non-romantic write romance?

I have no idea! Surprisingly enough it comes naturally to me. As natural as the eye rolling I tend to do while writing it. I guess I can credit all my girl friends who are complete opposite of me. They are the ones who believe in fairy tale romances and happily-ever-afters, the ones who have seemed to have found those things with their husbands – for now at least. (Sorry, girls, couldn’t help but throw that one in there!) The thing is, just because I don’t like what most women do that doesn’t mean I don’t know about it. And let’s face it, romance sells. Whether it’s a human, blood lust vamps or some other kind of supernatural creature, as long someone is falling in love you’re going to hear the collective sighs of readers all over the world. 

Besides the sighs, I think the biggest compliment that an author can receive is a reader saying you made them cry. Yes, I like making people cry. And I don’t mean that in a ha-I-hurt-your-feelings-and-now-I’ll-laugh-at-your-misfortune type of way. I’m not evil! (All the ex’s who just opened their mouths can now shut them and keep their comments to themselves.) I like the emotion behind making a reader cry. Whether it’s out of frustration, anger, sorrow or love if there’s tears then I’m all smiles. 

And here’s a little secret: I like being one of the authors who make readers sigh and their hearts melt, too. I guess there’s a little girl in me after all.

Contact info:
Twitter:  @jleeschmidt

While on vacation, a night out turns into a drunken haze, and Novalee Jensen wakes up hung over, confused, and… married? Fleeing Nevada, Novalee returns home to Montana to hide out, dreading the moment when her husband will show up to take her hard-earned business. But two years later just when Novalee thinks her secret is safe, guess who walks through her door? Now, face-to-face with the man she left in a hotel room two years ago, Novalee discovers the difficult part isn't having to explain her actions that night, or the questions that arise about the sexy stranger's arrival, it's keeping her hands off her husband. And what's Novalee to do when the hardest part turns out not to be confronting her past, but facing a possible future without her soon-to-be ex-husband?
Multi-millionaire Dean Philips wakes up in a Las Vegas hotel room to find the pretty blonde he married the night before gone. The piece of paper he possesses proves she served her purpose, and guilt ridden over his actions, Dean begins a battle with his father for a fight for his grandfather’s fortune. When Dean is ordered to have his wife appear in court, he finds himself in a small town in Montana, looking for the woman who ran off two years ago. Caught up in secrets and lies of his own, he has to find a way to persuade her to come back to Vegas with him without having her find out that she's the missing puzzle piece to everything he's been fighting for. But when Dean decides to mix a little pleasure with business, he suddenly finds himself in unfamiliar territory that could cost him everything.
Source: The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House

Last Call is chalk full of sex talk, innuendos and playful banter; it’s a lusty novel from beginning to end. On the whole the story was rather predictable, however it did not make it any less entertaining to read. I enjoyed the storyline, a spontaneous Vegas wedding for strangers who both have pain and causality in their lives, as well as successful careers. The two meet, are attractive and inevitably fall in love. (Of course, there is a lot more to it than that…) Really, the details of the story were written extremely well. I was able to invest interest into both Novalee and Dean’s lives, and found both of their stories rather believable.

Novalee comes off as innocent outwardly, yet she’s almost aggressive in her inward thoughts. She has a nice quiet, if not a bit boring life prior to Dean showing up. Dean has determination, first to keep everything he has from his father, but later to do what it takes to win Novalee’s heart. I enjoyed the relationship between Novalee and Dean, fiery and hot. I was not really fond of Calli’s character however; I found her too brass and a bit trampy. Thankfully, she did a bit of redemption for her character later in the story.

While I love romance novels, I’m really not so much into how casual and blasé the sex and sex talk was in this particular novel. It’s just not who I am, or what I like to read – so I can’t say that this is one of my favorite books ever, but I’m sure that there are many people who do and enjoy it, and who this book would be perfect for.

GIVEAWAY!!  Now here's your chance to win your own ebook copy of Last Call.  The publisher has granted me permission to give away 2 (YES TWO!) copies of this book.  This is open internationally.  Due to the content of this book - I request all participants be 18 and over!


Pride & Passion - Charlotte Featherstone

GENRE: Adult – Historical Romance
FORM: eBook – NetGalley
SERIES:  The Brethren Guardians
PUBLICATION DATE: November 15, 2011

While I was granted permission to read this book by a NetGalley affiliate publisher, HQNbooks, I have received no compensation for this review other than the joy of reading! 

SYNOPSIS: Lucy was born into society to parents who cared about nothing more than appearances and duty. At the present the duty calls for Lucy to get married, and her father has his sights set on Duke of Sussex. Sussex, in Lucy’s eyes, is a passionless pawn to society. Proper and stiff in all the ways of a ton gentleman. Lucy longs for passion and desire, something she had gotten just a brief taste of with her lover, Thomas.

Adrian wants nothing more than Lucy, will stop at nothing to have her. He was taught to be the Duke, to obey all that is right and proper. He was also trained to be a Brethren Guardian, protecting secret artifacts – a job that has recently become more dangerous. The secrets of his life, of his past and his duties keep bound and distant, but beneath the pompous exterior lies a wealth of feeling and desire that he is finding harder and harder to contain.

REVIEW: I simply loved this book! Charlotte Featherstone’s writing was so beautiful and captivating and seductive. It’s funny, because as far as graphic imagery goes, this book was a bit mild compared to some books I’ve read recently; but the sensations and feelings that are provoked with her writing go far beyond that of exaggerated descriptive words.

It was so easy to fall into friendship with both Lucy and Adrian. Their voices were so strong and believable. When you were with Lucy, you feel the frustration of being bound to society and all that it means, and the desperation of finding some sort of happiness and escape from it all. You understood her desire to stand up for herself, but also the need to bow to her duties. It was easy to see how Adrian didn’t seem like a good match, though he was the obvious one. On the other hand you felt nothing but frustration and fury toward Lucy when you were in Adrian’s head. It was so obvious that he loved her, in every breath and every move he was screaming it from the rooftops, and why oh why couldn’t she just see it. He had his own trappings in life, his own duties that were keeping him confined. Adrian’s emotions were at a constant simmer. He had a dark and almost poetic way about him, and his words. I want so badly to quote the book – to lay some out for you, but alas, I am going to keep it a mystery because half the fun of this book is to watch him torture and be tortured yourself with his brief touches and sexy vocalizations of his feelings and the feelings he’d like to provoke.

The relationship between Lucy and Adrian played out exactly as I thought – hoped – it would. Even though in the prologue and first chapter I thought for sure Thomas was our hero, in my mind I had started writing the story with Adrian coming out of the box that Lucy placed him in and becoming something so much more. Little did I know (obviously I didn’t read the synopsis very well, eh?!) I was in the same mindset as the author – happily so. I saw many of my thoughts on the story’s progression come to fruition but am still completely impressed with Charlotte Featherstone’s ability to draw out the story line, to hold on to the puzzle piece even when you think the idea is dead and gone. She does nothing but keep you captivated and reading until the very end – and then sets up the final novel in a frustratingly glorious way!

I haven't done this in a long time, but I've been listening to a lot of Adele lately, and I just really was feeling Adrian singing this song (if he sang, that is).


Support Breast Cancer, and Enter to win an Amazon Fire!

I'm excited to tell you about a chance to help support breast cancer awareness, prevention, and education, and also how you can enter to win an Amazon Fire, $150 gift card to Urban Outfitters or signed copies of (S)mythology.

After reading the synopsis of this book, I will tell you that I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!! And while I've been offered up a copy for review, I think I'm going to opt out to purchase a copy and do my part for Breast Cancer as well.

Below is a copy of a press release, and information about how you can enter to win an Amazon Fire!

Los Angeles, CA, October 18 2011 – (S)mythology author Jeremy Tarr has partnered with The Keep A Breast Foundation to raise money and awareness for breast cancer prevention, education, and support. One dollar of every copy of (S)mythology sold between now and November 30, 2011, will benefit Keep A Breast’s prevention and education programs.

“Keep A Breast does the incredibly important work of educating people my age that breast cancer isn’t a disease that only affects our moms and grandmas,” explains Jeremy Tarr, 30. “And they do it in a way that doesn't breed fear or worry. They bring awareness and joy – the joy of music and art and literature and the collective spirit of folks banding together to tackle this disease.”

In addition, an interactive contest will be launched to help spread the word about the partnership: readers can win cool prizes including the brand new Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, a $150 gift card to Urban Outfitters, and autographed lithographs from (S)mythology’s beautiful illustrations. (More info at http://whereissophie.tumblr.com.) (S)mythology was released this year and is available in digital and print formats at major retailers; for a limited time only, the eBook is offered at a special price of $3.99 at Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com.

Keep A Breast and (S)mythology are coming together to celebrate the partnership by joining together for a unique experience to benefit breast cancer awareness by casting (S)mythology’s illustrator, Katy Smail. Combining sculpture, philanthropy, and symbolic artistry, Keep A Breast Foundation Breast Casts™ are one-of-a-kind plaster forms of the female torso, and will be customized by Smail and auctioned off to raise funds for KAB’s breast cancer awareness programs.

“My mother recently had a breast cancer scare,” Tarr says. “All was well in the end, but there was a period of fear: of my mom's mortality, of the treatments and pain she'd go through, the toll it would take on her physically and emotionally. It was a terrifying prospect. I wanted to do something meaningful to help raise money and awareness for the fight against breast cancer.”

About (S)mythology

Charming, poignant and funny, (S)mythology is a tale of magical realism for these harsh times. The reader is whisked on a wild adventure to the far reaches of the globe…and to the depths of the Underworld. Twenty-one year old Sophie has spent her entire life in virtual seclusion in a London flat fearful of a curse placed upon her when she was a child, but when events beyond her control drive her out into the world she must combat her fears for the people she loves. Told with tongue-in-cheek wit and wry whimsy by Jeremy Tarr in his debut novel, and with sixty-four illustrations by Katy Smail, (S)mythology is about the mythology of love, life, and death.

(S)mythology website: http://www.smythology.co.uk
Contest website: http://whereissophie.tumblr.com
(S)mythology on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/smythologybook
(S)mythology on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jeremyetarr

About Keep A Breast The Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. Their mission is to help eradicate breast cancer by informing young people about methods of prevention, early detection and support. Through art events, educational 

IN case you missed it...the link to enter the contest is here:   http://whereissophie.tumblr.com


Review: Immortal Beloved - Cate Tiernan

GENRE: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance
FORM: AudioBook
NARRATOR: Kelly Lintz
SERIES: Immortal Beloved Series – Book 1

Nastasya is an immortal who has spent the last stretch of her life partying and living the life of luxury and ease. She has not let herself really feel anything much more than the daily party and whatever felt good at that moment for a very long time. When one of best friend uses magick to torture and forever ruin the life of a human and his family, something within Nasty clicks on and she suddenly has a feeling of fear and foreboding. She hunts down a women she met a long time ago, River, who told Nasty to find her if she ever wanted something more. As it turns out, River has a flock of immortals living at her “retreat” learning to seek good instead of dark or just find themselves. Now on a quest to separate who she is from who she was and who she has become, Nasty’s life is suddenly filled with daily tasks, life lessons and brief yet annoying encounters with the sexy Reyne. But as more and more of her past secrets are revealed, the more danger Nastasya seems to be in. Even someone at River’s Edge wants her dead.

REVIEW: At first I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like this book. The words were very captivating even from the beginning, I was just afraid that I wasn’t going to like where the story was headed. I held on a little bit longer, and a little bit longer, and just fell in love with this book all together!

Nastasya is a very easy character to like, she’s very funny, witty, sarcastic, and messed up. Her person (appearance, behavior, etc) is so current that there were times it was hard to imagine her hundreds of years before. It seemed like many of the immortals at River’s Edge still had an almost old fashioned feel about them, but Nastasya seemed 100% in this century. However, I felt like her internal conflicts were dead on realistic for an immortal with baggage. She makes you want to be her friend, and definitely not be her enemy. I loved the still budding something that she’s got going on with Reyne, and look forward so much to seeing that cultivate a bit further.

I really enjoyed the past/present scenes. Sometimes when books flash from present to past and back again it’s hard to follow, or you start getting things confused. I think it’s especially hard when you’re listening to an audiobook. There are times that I just don’t look forward to flashbacks. Most of the time those are books where I am more interested in what is happening in the present and am thinking “nooooo….I don’t want more back story!” With Immortal Beloved, I craved the back story almost as much as the present, and it was presented in such a way that it was not confusing at all, even if you pick up the book in the middle of a passage somewhere.

And my absolute favorite part of this book; I loved, loved, loved the realistic view of what it might like to be immortal. I think that this concept is so popular right now, and is glorified and made to look pretty, but in reality being immortal has some very bad repercussions, and consequences, and can me a very lonely thing, especially if you have no purpose or goal. Plus, there is an eternity to hold on to pain and terror if you don’t learn to keep moving forward. There are many people who are unhappy with their life now, imagine them if they had to live for eternity. In this I was always looking forward to River’s voice of wisdom.

And, because it just can’t all be peaches and cream perfect, the one disappointment of the book for me; I was really hoping for more end drama. The scenario that played out was so much the obvious option that I had dismissed it, thinking it would be something so much more unexpected or shocking. Obviously it doesn’t ruin the awesomeness of this book…

Props to the narrator, Kelly Lintz, for an amazing job with the narration and voices…sometimes that is half the battle of an audiobook!


Review: Fatal Embrace - Aris Whittier

RATING: Four of Five Stars
GENRE: Adult Fiction
FORM:  eBook

While the author requested that I read and review her book, I have received no compensation for this review other than the joy of reading! 

SYNOPSIS: Michael trusted the responsibility of hiring a temporary horse trainer to his good friend, Dan, so that he can come out of retirement long enough to help catch the serial murder that has been plaguing the town.  He gets quite a shocker when he finds out that the new guy that Dan hired, Jess Stanson, is actually Jessica. She is not only young and beautiful, but she is a great horse trainer.  What he didn’t expect was for her to warm his heart and fill his home with life. He also didn’t realize that the attraction he starts to have for her would ultimately bring her closer to danger.

REVIEW: I hesitate to say I’m a big fan of this type of crime/mystery novels, mostly because I have to be very, very careful about the books I read. Some books fall on the wrong side of scary for me, and I’ll have nightmares. I find that being a mother doesn’t help matters much, in fact I become more paranoid and crazy because of the kids, so I try to stick with light and fluffy, or just plain “not possible” when I read. Fatal Embrace was suspenseful enough to keep me on the edge of my seat and wanting more – in fact, I almost could have taken a little bit more story line in the crime/murderer area than was given. The book moved forward nicely, and if you’re like me and like to try and solve the “who did it,” it might lead you in the wrong direction once or twice.

Jessica is enjoyable most of the time, she’s very light hearted and fun. She likes to joke around, but knows when to be serious and get the job done. Every now and then her personality seems to do a complete 180 and suddenly she is a scared animal though. She is vulnerable and even appears a bit weak and needy. While it gives Michael plenty of chances to play the hero and to grow the romance, the two sides of Jessica almost seemed to contradict in my mind.

Michael is a determined man, and in that he is determined to hold on to the loneliness that has consumed his life since his fiancée was killed three years earlier. He wants to make sure to keep Jessica at arm’s length, but fails miserably. Her vulnerability and need, and the fact that she is the best witness he has to the serial murderer, Michael is helpless to the need to comfort and protect Jessica.

The romance that stirs between the two of them is very slow moving, but very hot! Aris Whittier has provided many fun moments between Michael and Jessica that are heartwarming, or that will make you laugh. The attraction is instantaneous and long lasting, and one that keeps the reader constantly hoping for more. I love stories where the couple have plenty of time to get to know each other and truly fall into friendship prior to falling in love. It makes the characters seem more real.

I am very happy that Aris Whitter asked me to review this book, and look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Aris Whittier is a romance writer. She writes suspense, contemporary, and commercial woman's fiction. Her debut novel, Fatal Embrace is a romantic suspense that was featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine as a Red-Hot Read. Foolish Notions is a contemporary romance that has just a touch a mystery too. Across Eternity is a beautiful love story that transcends time. Visit Aris Whittier at: awhittier.blogspot.com


Vampire Academy - Richelle Meade

I had been hearing about Bloodlines a lot in the past month. In fact, in one of the book blog hop giveaways I participated in recently I asked the question “What book are you most looking forward to?” and the most popular answer was Bloodlines. So I was going to find out what the fuss was about…but then it was recommended to me that I read the Vampire Academy Series first. I had given up on most teenage vampire books. First, none could really compared to Twilight for me at the time. I had read Claudia Gray’s Evernight Series (except the last book), as well as Ellen Schreiber’s Vampire Kisses Series (until I got tired of it). I picked up the first books in The Vampire Diaries series and The Blue Blood Series – both of which I didn’t care for at all, so I passed on The Vampire Academy.

The Twilight Series really were the books that threw me back into the Young Adult genre of books, a genre I read probably 70% of the time, and love. I’m not a young adult. I’m a full grown, married, mother of three, no denying or hiding it, adult. What I love about this genre is that they contain a lot less smut, but still include all of the passion and emotions of an adult genre. Yes, there is some sex and drugs and everything else in young adult books – but the level seems so much less than in the adult genre. Also, (thankfully) most young adult books tend to focus in on one relationship, while I’ve picked up some adult books that have a lot of sleeping around and ugh! They are like extremes on the spectrum scale, especially when it comes to paranormal/fantasy driven books.

Here’s the thing I don’t care for about the Young Adult genre. I don't really like to go back to high school. I don’t mind books that take place at school, or include school in the story, etc. It’s when the characters start getting catty and their behavior is more that of a teenager than that of a “young adult” that I start to get turned off. This is what made me put down The Vampire Diaries. It just started out way too high school – and I had no desire to finish. Maybe that is unfair, and they are excellent books. And there is absolutely NOTHING WRONG with these books. In fact I’d say our teens and real young adults need them. They are suppose to be written for them after all!

Vampire Academy is walking a thin line with my preferences. Obviously, seeing as how the word “academy” is right there in the title, the characters are in school. And they act like it frequently, there is a lot of assuming and bitterness and flat out immature behavior from the characters. There is also a good mystery, and there is training for who the characters are going to be, and a few sexy love interests that are heating up. And for those reasons, the book maintained my attention, and I have already loaded Frostbite to my iPhone for future reading. I’m not going to burn through this series in a month out of dire need to know what is going to happen, but I’d say that there is enough to keep my attention, and I have no doubts on whether I’ll finish the series.


More eBook Deals - 1 Free!

Cover Me by Catherine Mann will be $0.99: 10/04/2011 – 10/17/2011
Hot Zone will be in stores in December, so get a jump start on Catherine Mann’s hot new military romantic suspense series!

Goodreads Excerpt:
The 300 pararescue jumpers (PJs) in the world are the most elite force in the U.S. military, trained in high-risk rescue, and have never been featured in a romantic suspense series.

PJ Wade Rocha is fast roping from a helicopter into a blizzard to rescue stranded climbers when he meets beautiful Sunny Foster, who insists she can take care of herself just fine. As the snowstorm kicks into overdrive, she and Wade must take to the frozen wilderness in a race against time...and their own explosive passions.

Mr. Darcy’s Obsession by Abigail Reynolds will be $2.99: 10/03/2011 – 10/09/2011
Abigail’s latest Pemerbley Variation—retellings of Austen’s quintessential classic P&P— Mr. Darcy’s Undoing, will be in stores next week!

Goodreads Excerpt:

In this Pride and Prejudice variation, Elizabeth is called away before Darcy proposes for the first time and Darcy decides to find a more suitable wife. But when Darcy encounters Elizabeth living in London after the death of her father, he can't fight his desire to see and speak with her again...and again and again. But now that her circumstances have made her even more unsuitable, will Darcy be able to let go of all his long held pride to marry a woman who, though she is beneath his station, is the only woman capable of winning his heart?
Wickedly Charming by Kristine Grayson will be FREE: 10/03/2011 – 10/09/2011
Utterly Charming, another fairy tale with a twist by Kristine Grayson, will be in stores in October!

Goodreads Excerpt: 

Cinderella's Prince Charming is divorced and at a dead-end in his career, so he opens a bookstore and travels the land ordering books and discovering new authors. Still handsome and still charming, he has given up on women, royalty, and anything that smacks of a future.

Mellie is sick and tired of being called the Evil Stepmother. She did her best by her stepdaughter Snow White, but the girl resented her to no end and made all kinds of false accusations.

Neither of them believes in happily ever after anymore, but both of them believe in happily for the moment...