Friday, August 31, 2012

TLC Book Tour Book Review: The Bride Wore Pearls


Author:  Liz Carlyle
Title: The Bride Wore Pearls
Publisher: Avon
Publish Date: July 31, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By:  TLC Book Tours & the publisher
Book Blurb: 
Beneath the elegant faÇade of Victorian high society, the mysterious men of the St. James Society play only by rules of danger and desire. Rance Welham, the Earl of Lazonby, has survived scandal and disgrace, even evading the Queen’s justice at the end of a hangman’s rope. Now he’s about to gamble everything on something far more dangerous—desire. An exotic and elegant beauty, Lady Anisha Stafford fled her native India to seek refuge within London’s secretive St. James Society. But accepting protection from someone called a cold-hearted killer is a double-edged sword . . . especially when he’s the most intriguing man Anisha has ever laid eyes upon. In a world where treachery abounds, no one can be trusted—and no true passion can be denied. Together, these two tempestuous souls will risk their lives for a love that could redeem them . . . or destroy everything they hold dear.

Review: First things first, The Bride Wore Pearls is part of a series. Not a series that has to be read in order, so that's great. Just your typical historical "character" series. Why are there so many of these? The good thing is that this book can be read as a stand alone, unless you are an obsessive compulsive series reader.

This is the first historical romance that I've read in ages where the heroine is truly strong and independent. Anisha is definitely a refreshing character. She's not a simpering English miss that lets the men walk all over her, though her brother, who isn't really in the story, tries from afar.

What really surprised me was how long it took for Rance and Anisha to get it together. I mean, this is a historical romance, right? It felt a lot like an intrigue, because they were both working to clear Rance's name of a crime he didn't commit yet was exonerated for. Rance and Anisha didn't fall into bed until about halfway through the book. Wow! That was quite a wait considering the tension between the two.

The ending felt a little hurried and was a bit too formulated for a historical romance. If you read historicals you will know what I mean. Suffice to say a bad thing almost happens and then all is well and HEA.

I would have liked more romance and a lot less intrigue, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the book.

Rating:  4 flowers


Thursday, August 30, 2012

TLC Book Tour & Guest Post: Bridget Hoida - So L.A.

Dear Lovely Readers of A Chick Who Reads,
In my book, So L.A., Magdalena, the protagonist, drives her convertible through the complicated L.A. streets and maze of intersecting freeways as though it were an incurable habit. “I like to drive,” she states on more than one occasion, her oversized sunglasses a shield against the perpetual sunshine of the Southland. “Not to anywhere in particular, because I have no place in particular to go, but I’m addicted to freeways. The 405 to the 10 to the 110 to the 101. It’s so L.A.” 
On this virtual literary tour of So L.A I invite you to join Magdalena and me as we hop into something convertible, our hair wrapped in brightly covered scarves that flutter in the wind. Remember to buckle up. Use your hands free device, and above all, do not forget to press your oversized sunglasses tight against your face as I put the car in drive and take you for a tour across the pages of So L.A. and some of my favorite places in Los Angeles.
To visit Stop One: 730 N. Bedford Dr. you’ll only have to take a peek in the rearview mirror as we back down Magdalena’s driveway in Beverly Hills. When I was “shopping” for houses in which to place my novel and its main characters, 730 N. Bedford stood out to me, not only because it’s a classic Beverly flats mansion, but because it is also the former residence of Lana Turner, one of old Hollywood’s leading ladies and the site of  “The Happening.” Ask any of the kids who sell “Maps to the Stars” in Hollywood and they will tell you, “The Happening” at 730 N. Bedford is what happened when Lana Turner’s 14-year-old daughter, Cheryl Crane, stabbed Turner’s abusive boyfriend Johnny Stompanatoto death in 1958. Morbid as it seems, I needed Magdalena to live in a house that had not only experienced death (as death and tragedy are both reoccurring themes in So L.A.), but also a house inhabited by female solidarity and extraordinary bravery. 
As we make our way from the neighborhoods of Beverly Hills to Stop Two, the bazillion dollar shopping districts of L.A. proper – just a few block over and a few blocks up, totally walkable not that anyone from Beverly Hills every would—I’m going to do the unthinkable and pass right by the iconic Rodeo Drive for the lesser-known, and oh-so-lovely, Robertson Boulevard. Less conspicuous than the infamous Rodeo, Robertson is still no stranger to over-the-top luxury boutiques and insane celebrity sightings. In fact, because most tourists are still in the dark about the very existence of the extremely high-end Robertson, many celebrities prefer shopping Chanel, Odd Molly, Kitson, and Dolce on this quiet side street. And when you’re done shopping, you can indulge in a glass of wine and some warm cookies, as Magdalena frequently does in So L.A., at Stop Three: The Ivy.
Unlike the rest of Robertson, The Ivy is a place a girl goes when she wants to be seen. Often flanked by paparazzi and celebrities alike, The Ivy is an adorable restaurant with patio dining so those who can get “on the list” are seated in obvious sight of everyone walking the sidewalks that could not quite seem to manage an advanced reservation. A word of caution, however, when parking at The Ivy, be sure to use the valet so as to avoid colliding your car with a billboard, a rather unfortunate “Magdalena moment” that throws the darling of So L.A. into a spotlight almost too bright for her to handle. Good thing for lobster ravioli and Quentin, the man Magdalena meets crying on a Robertson curb who escorts her, not in a the chauffeured town car of which she is accustom, but rather in a bright yellow utility truck, to downtown L.A. where the bars are dim and the drinks are stiff.
Stop Four: Downtown Los Angeles. On a personal note, I was once told by a “well intentioned friend” never to go south of the 10 freeway or east of La Brea. Thankfully, I did not heed that advice because downtown Los Angeles (as well as south and east of downtown Los Angeles) is glorious! In So L.A. Magdalena frequents the meracdos, bars, museums, and even the public libraries of downtown L.A. In one of my favorite passages of So L.A. she actually walks from the MoCA to Japan Town (passing the courthouse and the old L.A. times building) while she counts trees that are not of the palm variety. And she does all this at dusk, in a pair of Yves Saint Laurent platform sandals! Does she blister? Absolutely. But she’d do it again in a heartbeat. (And if you’re ever in the area, I’d encourage you to walk downtown L.A. as well.)
Because of the blisters, or maybe because of all the shopping and the walking and the brief cultural tourism at the Japanese American National Museum, Stop Five: The Beverly Hills Hotel is about back where we began. In So L.A., Magdalena takes up temporary residence at the Beverly Hills Hotel—mostly because she admires the huge banana leaf wallpaper and the plush pink bathrobes—but also because she finds a certain (privileged) security in “homelessness so close to home.” Like a child who runs away to the basement or a cardboard box in the garage, Magdalena really isn’t seeking an escape from her marriage, rather she is yearning to be found by her husband, Ricky. So she seeks refuge in what she thinks is the closest and most easily found location: a hotel less than three miles from her house. Sadly, or perhaps central to the plot of most any discovery, neither Ricky nor Magdalena can see what is literally right under their noses. But they learn and they try and, in typical L.A. fashion, they drive onward into the sunset.
As we drive off this virtual page I’d like to again thank A Chick Who Reads for hosting this fabulously fun “Literary Tour of So L.A” and I’d like to leave you with these driving tips from Magdalena, straight off the pages (and freeways) of So L.A. where she says:
 “Ricky, like most Angelinos, doesn’t believe in the blinker. He maintains that by initiating the blink you actually hinder any small chance you have of actually getting over. The guy on your right, when he sees the click-click of the yellow light, will speed up and close in on the gap. But I disagree. One of the remarkable things about Los Angeles, one of those things that no one seems to talk about, is how we all do manage to get where we’re going. We slide from the fast lane (wave) to the middle lane (wave) to the slow lane (wave) to the exit ramp (blinker off), and we merge. It may not be singularly graceful or without incident, but 99.9 percent of the time we do manage to make our exits, our left turns, our way home.”

Truly yours,
Bridget Hoida

P.S. You can read more here: www.bridgethoida.com or connect on Facebook (Bridget Hoida) or Twitter (@BridgetHoida).

Author: Bridget Hoida
Title: So L.A.
Publisher: Lettered Press
Publish Date: June 20, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By:  TLC Book Tours & the author
Book Blurb: Beautiful Magdalena de la Cruz breezed through Berkeley and built an empire selling designer water. She'd never felt awkward or unattractive... until she moved to Los Angeles. In L.A. where everything smells like acetone and Errol Flynn Magdalena attempts to reinvent herself as a geographically appropriate bombshell with rhinestones, silicone and gin as she seeks an escape from her unraveling marriage and the traumatic death of her younger brother, Junah. Magdalena's Los Angeles is glitzy and glamorous but also a landscape of the absurd. Her languidly lyrical voice provides a travel guide for a city of make-believe, where even Hollywood insiders feel left out.

Review: So L.A. is a book that can probably be interpreted many ways, depending on how you want to view Magdalena. For me, I saw her as a very fractured heroine and she was probably broken long before she got to L.A.

She's not what you'd expect her to be, but then again, none of the characters are. She's part of a water empire, only she's not really working at that, her husband, Ricky is. She's busy doing nothing, or rather the nothing that are L.A. things, shopping, changing her body and face etc. On top of all of that, she's grieving the loss of her brother who died in a rock climbing accident that was partially her fault.

Magdalena's story is told in scenes, like a script but in prose form. Its very easy to read and it can be devoured like candy in one sitting.

What draws you in his Magdalena. She's "So L.A." in all she does, from stalking her shrink to crashing a vintage Vette into a billboard. Readers won't identify with her, I mean how many of us have a million dollar water empire and can afford boob jobs? But they will feel sorry for her. She wants more. She really loves her husband, even though her marriage is crumbling for reasons other than the one she suspects. She's also a little bit crazy.

Don't expect "chicklit" out of this book, because it really isn't that. It is satire disguised as chicklit! A worthy read for your couch or one of the last days at the beach, unless of course you are in CA!

Rating: 5 flowers



About Bridget Hoida Bridget Hoida lives and writes in Southern California. In past lives she was a librarian, a DJ, a high school teacher and a barista. In this life she experiments with poetry and fiction and has taught writing at UC Irvine, the University of Southern California, and Saddleback College. Bridget is the recipient of an Anna Bing Arnold Fellowship and the Edward Moses prize for fiction. She was a finalist in the Joseph Henry Jackson/San Francisco Intersection for the Arts Award for a first novel and the William Faulkner Pirate’s Alley first novel contest. Her short stories have appeared in the Berkeley Fiction Review, Mary, and Faultline Journal, among others, and she was a finalist for the Iowa Review Fiction Prize and in the Glimmer Train New Writer’s Short Story Contest. Her poetry has earned her recognition as an Academy of American Poets Prize finalist and she was a Future Professoriate Scholar at USC. She has a BA from UC Berkeley, MA in fiction from San Francisco State University, and a Ph.D. in Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Southern California.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book To Movie Review: Must Love Dogs

Author: Claire Cook
Title: Must Love Dogs
Publisher: New American Library
Publish Date: July 5, 2005
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Forty-year-old Sarah Hurlihy, a divorced preschool teacher whose life is her classroom, is about to meet her first date in more than a decade. It was the "Loves Dogs" that hooked her in the personal ad, and now she is scanning her neighborhood café for the man with a yellow rose. And find him she does, but he's the last person on earth she expects to find there . . . In Must Love Dogs, hilarious missteps abound. Sarah's widowed father, Billy Hurlihy, with six adult kids, is seeing at least two women. And he and Sarah aren't the only Hurlihys with romantic challenges. Her brother Michael, for one, has a rocky marriage that Mother Teresa, his St. Bernard, just may put over the edge. With self-deprecating humor and a laugh-out-loud view of the way we live now, including shar pei/Labrador crosses and a transgenerational body-piercing experience, Must Love Dogs is a perfect beach read that melts the heartache of dating with warmth and humor.

Review:  When the film "Must Love Dogs" came out many years back, I didn't know it was based on a book. When I found a copy of the book in my library, I was over the moon to read it. Little did I know that the book and the film are nothing alike. This is actually a case where the book was really not that good.

I like Claire Cook but the characters here were just so unlovable. Sarah is not fun and neither is her family. I expected a light funny read and that wasn't what I got. Her father didn't seem to appreciate the woman he had been married too and is now serial dating and ends up with the pretty close to psychotic Dolly.

Her brother Michael's marriage is rocky and his has a dog that isn't making it better. On top of it all her family is forcing her to get back into the dating world, by putting an ad in the personals

Ok, WTF! What family does this? In fact, what family gangs up on a recently divorced woman to get her back in the dating pool?

The only remotely funny thing in the book was at the beginning when Sarah answers her father's personal ad.

After that, it is all down hill.

Oh but there's more then just family craziness, there are Sarah's guys. Bobby, a father of one of her pre-school kids is a total jerk, but she seems to prefer him to John.

Maybe if I hadn't seen the movie first, I would have liked this one better, but sadly this is a case where the film trumped the book.

Rating:  2 stars





Movie Thoughts:  John Cusack! I think that's all a girl should have to say. When he's in a rom-com, it is going to be good. He's the perfect everyman, and he plays Jake Alexander so well. He's nerdy and introspective and thoughtful and you love him for it.

He's the kind of guy you want to fall in love with.

Oh and Sarah...why did they change the last name? Sarah Nolan? WTF!

They did a lot differently. In the film it was online dating v/s personal ads. Dad was much nicer and Dolly wasn't psycho. Stockard Channing also rocked as Dolly!

I loved that Jake's character was more fleshed out, because he was hardly important in the book. Bobby pretty much stayed the jerk that he was, though Sarah's pre-school aid, June's part in their relationship wasn't as built up as it was in the book.

I liked Diane Lane's Sarah, though she was a bit too Hollywood thin for the part.

And as for the ending? Perfect romcom ending!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bewitching Book Tours Promo Spot & Excerpt: Serafina and the Silent Vampire


SERAFINA AND THE SILENT VAMPIRE (Serafina’s, Book 1)
By MARIE TREANOR
Ebook available 28th August from Amazon and B&N

She felt her way around two intertwining apple trees and found Tam.
She stopped dead with shock. His large frame was unmistakable in the flashlight beam, but she’d never before seen it slumped in the brutal hold of an attacker who seemed to be strangling him or squeezing him to death. Which would be quite an achievement considering the size of Tam’s muscular body. And the fact that his opponent, although about equal in height, was far lighter and leaner in weight. And wearing a kilt, as if he was, or was pretending to be, one of the Bells’ guests. Tam’s arms flailed as if trying feebly to fly free. That was terrifying in itself: Tam the Tank physically helpless.
Sera’s hand wavered, and the beam from her flashlight shifted over a shock of dark chestnut hair. There was a tiny instant when she imagined she’d steeped herself too deeply in this vampire nonsense, because it almost looked as if the stranger had his face buried in Tam’s throat. It sent a weird, almost sensual shiver down her spine before she yanked her brain back into line.
Who the hell was this? Ferdy’s stalker? Sera didn’t wait to find out. As he began to turn his head, granting her a glimpse of his shadowed face and gleaming eyes, she hurled herself at him feetfirst. Both her boots connected jarringly with hard flesh; her whole being jolted as if she’d been shot.
It took an instant to realize that she lay on the ground on her back, winded, while Tam’s attacker, and Tam himself, remained upright. Jesus, she couldn’t have lost her touch to that degree! She’d slammed into him. She should at least have knocked him off balance! But then, she should have landed on her feet, not her back, and been ready to jump him before he recovered.
As she struggled to rise, her blurred vision cleared enough to show her, by the crazily waving beam of the torch, that the kilted thug had released Tam, who leaned one massive shoulder against the tree, shaking his head as if to clear it. Thank God, at least the bastard hadn’t killed him. And now they were two against one, however strong this maniac was.
“Tam! Now!” she commanded in an urgent stage whisper and ran at the curiously still figure of the enemy.
Tam muttered something that might have been, “Don’t, Sera.”
Her quarry sidestepped her with a blur that surely spoke more for the intensity of her previous winding than for his genuine speed. Whatever the cause, it was enough to unbalance Sera. Fortunately, Tam leapt and caught her in his muscled arm—all that prevented her from falling over again.
She whirled around, poised to face a counterattack, snatching the only weaponry she carried in her pocket—one of the ridiculous pointy sticks—and for the first time looked into the shadowed face of her enemy. Remembering belatedly about her flashlight still clutched in her bruised left land, she shone it directly into his face. The eerie crisscrossing of shadows on his skin disappeared in the golden glow, but he made no effort to hide from the light. Two large, dark brown eyes stared at her from a lean, still face. There was no doubt he was good-looking enough to turn heads, with a high forehead, long, thin nose, and full, expressive lips, all framed by a shock of thick, dark hair streaked with auburn. The combination of high, broad cheekbones and leanness gave him a slightly cadaverous look that somehow didn’t detract in the slightest from his male beauty.
All these jumbled impressions Sera absorbed in an instant. But chiefly what caught and held her attention was the trickle of red blood running from the corner of his mouth and down the side of his chin.
“Oh for f…!” Sera hurled the pointy stick to the ground. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she raged. “This is our show.”


SERAFINA AND THE SILENT VAMPIRE
Serafina’s Book One
By Marie Treanor

Coming 28th August

Silence has never been so sinful…

Welcome to Edinburgh's unique psychic investigation agency, Serafina's.
Serafina MacBride is psychic - but not strictly honest. While staging a hilarious vampire attack at a client's party, Sera is stunned to encounter a real vampire - annoying, gorgeous and inaudible to everyone but her. When her client's son is found dead with puncture wounds in his neck, she tracks the silent vampire to his lair.

But the amoral and seductive  Blair is also on a mission - to find and kill a nest of young vampires who've invaded his territory. Soon Sera is drawn into the bizarre world of the undead, where danger lurks in the shadows along with forbidden sensual delights - and a murderous conspiracy to flood the world with financially astute vampires who talk.

Supported and hindered by Blair's eccentric, undead friends, and by her own motley crew from Serafina's, Sera and Blair uncover surprising truths about each other and about the mysterious Founder from whom all vampires are descended.
In the end, Sera draws on powers she never knew she had in a frantic fight to defeat the forces of evil and preserve the strange, complicated being  she's trying so hard not to love.

Author Bio:

Marie Treanor lives in Scotland with her eccentric husband and three much-too-smart children. Having grown bored with city life, she resides these days in a picturesque village by the sea where she is lucky enough to enjoy herself avoiding housework and writing sensual stories of paranormal romance and fantasy.

Marie Treanor has published more than twenty ebooks with small presses, (Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Changeling Press and The Wild Rose Press), including a former Kindle bestseller, Killing JoeBlood on Silk: an Awakened by Blood novel, was her New York debut with NAL.





Blog: Marie Treanor's Romantic Theme Party: 
http://romanticthemeparty.blogspot.com/



Monday, August 27, 2012

Cover Reveal: Naturals

About NATURALS: Tess is finally safe from the reach of the Council, now that she is living in the Middlelands with the rebel Isolationists. With James having returned to Templeton, she easily falls back into her friendship with Henry, though her newfound knowledge of Robert’s chosen one status still stings. Even surrounded by people, Tess has never felt more alone. So she’s thrilled when James returns to the settlement, demanding to see Tess — until she finds out that it’s because her sister, Louisa, has been recruited into Tess’s old position at Templeton, and that the dangerously sadistic chosen one George has taken an interest in her.
NATURALS is the second book in The Lost Souls trilogy, and follows the dystopian hit CHOSEN ONES.

About Tiffany: Tiffany Truitt was born in Peoria, Illinois. A self-proclaimed Navy brat, Tiffany spent most of her childhood living in Virginia, but don’t call her a Southerner. She also spent a few years living in Cuba. Since her time on the island of one McDonald's and Banana Rats (don't ask) she has been obsessed with traveling. Tiffany recently added China to her list of travels (hello inspiration for a new book).

Besides traveling, Tiffany has always been an avid reader. The earliest books she remembers reading belong to The Little House on the Prairie Series. First book she read in one day? Little Woman(5th grade). First author she fell in love with? Jane Austen in middle school. Tiffany spent most of her high school and college career as a literary snob. She refused to read anything considered “low brow” or outside the “classics.”
Tiffany began teaching middle school in 2006. Her students introduced her to the wide, wonderful world of Young Adult literature. Today, Tiffany embraces popular Young Adult literature and uses it in her classroom. She currently teaches the following novels: The Outsiders, Speak, Night, Dystopian Literature Circles: The Hunger Games, The Giver, The Uglies, and Matched.

Preorder: Amazon

Saturday, August 25, 2012

ARC Book Review: The Booby Trap

Author: Anne Browning Walker  
Title: The Booby Trap  
Publisher: Pixel Entertainment  
Publish Date: Sept 1, 2012  
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: NetGalley
Book Blurb: The Booby Trap, A Pixel Entertainment Brand, is a romance novel based in The Booby Trap, a seedy bar where waitresses skirts are high, necklines are low, and customers show up for the eye candy. When brainy, beautiful, Harvard Ph.D. candidate Bambi Benson wants to study the women of the Booby Trap for her dissertation, she goes undercover and joins them. All is going well for Bambi until handsome local celebrity Trip Whitley enters the scene. Hoping to shock his high-society family by dating a bimbo, Trip offers to pay Bambi to pretend to be his girlfriend. She accepts his offer and bides her time, waiting for the right moment to reveal her true identity and teach Trip not to judge based on appearances. After a series of dates carefully orchestrated for their publicity value, Bambi sets her trap. But there is one problem: the predator might have fallen in love with her prey.  

Review: I want to first say, I think the book blurb is a bit off. I didn't think The Booby Trap was a seedy bar, the author describes it as a Hooters knock off, so I couldn't really consider that a seedy bar.

The plot is a little cliched. Bambi is really a brain, working at the bar to further her Women's Studies degree. She meets playboy Trip Whitley, whose family run a dating service and he wants to pay her to date him to piss off his family and the PR lady.

OK, that is almost a yawn, but it isn't. Somehow Anne makes this story work because the characters you spend most of the book with are really likable. Trip may be a playboy, but he isn't stupid. Bambi is a feminist but she's not without a romantic heart. The two work well together even when they are at odds.

I liked that there was more to the story then just Bambi trying to prove to Trip that people are more than what they seem on the outside. Although I have to say that some of the ways the author portrayed Bambi when she was in her "bimbo" persona were a bit over the top and I wasn't sure that everyone in the world equates bimbo with stupid.

I would have liked more information about Bambi and her mom. Yes, there's a whole lot of bad stuff between the two, but it wasn't really fleshed out enough for me. Which is pretty much how I felt about Trip and Connie, though we do know more about their relationship than that of Bambi and her mom. I think the secondary characters and the back story involved with the main characters could have had a bit more development. It would have made understanding the motives for their actions a bit more.

 It was a fun read and it had enough twists and turns that made it worth turning the pages for, a perfect summer book.

Rating: 3 flowers

Friday, August 24, 2012

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Baker's Daughter

Author: Sarah McCoy
Title: The Baker's Daughter
Publisher: Crown
Publish Date: Aug 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By:TLC Book Tours & the publisher
Book Blurb:In 1945, Elsie Schmidt is a naive teenager, as eager for her first sip of champagne as she is for her first kiss. She and her family have been protected from the worst of the terror and desperation overtaking her country by a high-ranking Nazi who wishes to marry her. So when an escaped Jewish boy arrives on Elsie’s doorstep in the dead of night on Christmas Eve, Elsie understands that opening the door would put all she loves in danger.
Sixty years later, in El Paso, Texas, Reba Adams is trying to file a feel-good Christmas piece for the local magazine. Reba is perpetually on the run from memories of a turbulent childhood, but she’s been in El Paso long enough to get a full-time job and a fiancé, Riki Chavez. Riki, an agent with the U.S. Border Patrol, finds comfort in strict rules and regulations, whereas Reba feels that lines are often blurred.

Reba’s latest assignment has brought her to the shop of an elderly baker across town. The interview should take a few hours at most, but the owner of Elsie’s German Bakery is no easy subject. Reba finds herself returning to the bakery again and again, anxious to find the heart of the story. For Elsie, Reba’s questions are a stinging reminder of darker times: her life in Germany during that last bleak year of WWII. And as Elsie, Reba, and Riki’s lives become more intertwined, all are forced to confront the uncomfortable truths of the past and seek out the courage to forgive

Review: There are some books that you read that you absolutely have to savor every last word of them. This is one of those books. It is told in the past and present of its two female heroines as well as the boyfriend of Reba.

The historical part of the story is Elsie and that by far is the main reason to read this book It takes place in Germany as the war is drawing to a close. Unlike most books, this one features characters that are German that aren't trying to escape. Elsie's sister Hazel is part of the Lebensborn program. Where German girls that have that blonde blue-eyed look procreated with SS officers.

This is something the textbooks don't teach you. Elsie and Hazel were just good German girls doing what Hitler wanted them to do, in order to build his Master Race. I truly found Hazel's story disturbing and sad, especially when one of her twins is born "imperfect."

Then there's Elsie who hides a little Jewish child in her bedroom to keep him from being killed by the Gestapo. I think there's a lot about WWII that we try to forget. Sarah McCoy reminds us of a few of them in this story. It is hard to fathom how one man could brainwash a nation the way Hitler did. This book shows you how the people lived and feared The Reich while trying to go about their lives.

The twists and turns of this story will more than keep you interested no matter which part you enjoy the most, the current story between Reba, Riki and Elsie and Jane or the historical part with Elsie and her family in Germany.

The book is beautifully written and is a definite must read! I was in tears at the end. This was one of the most beautiful and moving books I've read this year.

Rating: 5 flowers


Author Info: 




Thursday, August 23, 2012

Reading Addiction Book Tours Book Review & Guest Blog: Phillip Overton - Last Wish Of Summer


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Today we welcome Phillip Overton, author of Last Wish Of Summer to A Chick Who Reads!

 10 things you didn’t know about Phillip Overton.  He lives in Australia and is currently promoting his latest novel Last Wish of Summer, but to many readers he is just another name on the cover of a book. So I spoke with Aussie author Phillip Overton to learn ten very interesting things that you wouldn’t normally associate with a novelist. As he likes to point out to the people he meets, sometimes you just can’t judge a book by the cover.
 10 – As a young teenager, he was almost killed when he climbed atop a freight car in a railroad yard and came into contact with the overhead wires. He used the experience in his first novel The Long Way Home.

 9 – At Foster High School in Victoria, he was both the senior sportsman of the year and writing workshop award winner in his final year.

 8 – In his post high school years he competed on the fun run and marathon circuit in South East Queensland, he was a finisher in two marathons, four half-marathons, numerous fun runs and even placed second in the open men’s category in one road race.

 7 – He now enjoys hiking through National Parks in the Australian bush with his wife and two children.

 6 – He is a proud supporter of the Brisbane Lions Australian Rules Football club, and even has the personalized license plates on his car to prove it.

 5 – Phillip is a huge motor racing fan and has travelled around the country to watch V8 Supercars live in action at venues as hallowed as Bathurst, Philip Island and the Surfers Paradise street race. His bookshelf is littered with signed scale model cars of his favourite drivers. The first race meeting he attended was won by then V8 Supercar champion Marcos Ambrose, and he continues to follow his career in NASCAR on TV.

 4 – A photo taken with his favourite author, Matthew Reilly serves as inspiration and takes pride of place on his bookshelf. Like Matthew, Phillip self-published his first novel. Today Matthew is an Internationally Best Selling Author.

 3 – He deliberately taught his children when they were young to read twenty four hour time by deducting ten hours from what the clock said so that he could get them to bed early. His plan came unstuck when his daughter reached grade three and checked with her teacher.

 2 – He admits to having some rather quirky traits, one being a road map of Australia in which he highlights each road he and his wife have travelled on together in pink fluorescent marker. His wife Denise has dubbed it their Love Map and the name it seems has stuck.

 1 – His dream outside of writing is to have his model railroad layout of Alaska that he is currently building inside a glass-topped coffee table featured in Model Railroader Magazine.



Author: Phillip Overton
Title: Last Wish of Summer
Publish Date: 1/18/12
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: As the sun prepares to rise on the last day of summer, three friends find themselves totally unprepared for the events that are about to take place around them. For Tanya it is a chance to find peace three years after losing her parents in an auto accident. Deciding she simply can’t continue blaming God for her loss, she places a heartfelt poem in a bottle and throws it into the sea on the eve of her birthday, granting her birthday wish to whoever finds it. Early the next morning, her best friend Anton and his buddy Johnno find the bottle washed up on the shore and set about putting it to the test. When Johnno falls for the new waitress at the café where Tanya works, it stirs up feelings of jealousy in Tanya. Surely Johnno couldn’t be the man that God had in mind for her? Suddenly, strange wishes are beginning to come true, but is it all a coincidence? Or is God about to change people’s lives for the better? Welcome to Kings Beach, where the forecast for the last day of summer promises to be hot, hot, hot, with a definite change in the air.

Book Excerpt: Johnno grabbed the bottle and turned it upside down. The letter caught in its neck. Then with a bit of prying using his car key, he was able to gently pull the letter from the bottle and let it fall onto the table. It lay there wrapped only with a small hair ribbon tied in the centre. Anton reached across to untie it as Johnno stood the now empty bottle back in the centre of the table. “Well here goes.” Anton said as he uncurled the two pages and held them up for his friend to see. The pages were cream in color, decorated with a border of flowers entwined along the edge of each page in black ink. At the top of the first page before the letter began, was a small turquoise colored love heart someone had painted, again in what appeared to be nail polish. It left a slightly oily stain around the edges which only added to the letter’s charm. Around them, the air filled with the scent of women’s perfume that wafted up from the page. With their curiosity now firmly aroused, Anton and Johnno huddled in closely and began to read. To whoever finds this, If I’ve washed up on your distant shore, From a land far over the sea. Please tread carefully on the morning sand, And know you’ve set me free. Wrapped in my mother’s ribbon, This letter is but a token. A plead to let her see the world, From a young heart torn and broken. A turquoise heart that was my Aunt, Left footprints in the sand. Her magic just a memory, You now hold in your hand. So I light a candle for my Dad, But this gift I give to you. He always told me to make a wish, So today may all yours come true. It’s time to live, to find true love. Before the winter’s scorn. Somewhere it’s always summer, May my true love’s arms be warm. P.S. Please return me to the sea at sunset.

  Review: This book is a shiny happy novel and definitely not what I was expecting. It was really a light Christian romance and totally sweet. Though you may not be able to relate well to very Christian Tanya and her two surfer friends Anton and Johnno, you will love them.

Tanya's Christian beliefs are a little bit overwhelming at times. She's 26, a virgin and when Sebastian gets romantic with her, she slaps him and then realizes she's in love with another guy. Uh erm. It doesn't ring true to me, but really I didn't care. I loved her. I loved her message in a bottle too, that somehow managed to find its way back to the shore where her friends were surfing.

It would have been nice to possibly figure out why the poem she placed in the bottle somehow had the powers to grant wishes. The way the wishes are granted makes this book a worthy read. After all, you really do have to be careful what you wish for, and everyone learns that in this book. Some in harder ways then others.

I really loved this story. It was a fun and fast read that will work for all ages.

Rating: 4 flowers



  Author Bio: Phillip Overton’s writing has been compared to none other than Nicholas Sparks (http://www.readerviews.com/ReviewOvertonAWalkBeforeSunrise.html), and his latest novel Last Wish of Summer offers readers the perfect book to spend a summer’s day reading at the beach. In a book that reminds us to be careful what we wish for, it manages to weave the wholesome, virginal qualities of the main character Tanya with her band of misfit friends in their pursuit of being able to reason why a washed up message in a bottle is somehow granting their every wish come true.

Often in a manner that is both coincidental and strangely bizarre. Just as a movie adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel will appeal to people of all ages, so too will this story that follows the adventures of a group of twenty-something’s on the last day of summer. The book not only manages to cut through any pre-conceived ideas we hold on morals, body-image and social status, but delights in helping us discover what may already be right under our nose to begin with.

 Website: http://sbpra.com/phillipoverton/

Twitter: @phillipoverton


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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Chick Ponders Bookish Things: Why I'm Angry At Barnes And Noble


I own a Nook 1st Edition. It is my travel eReader. I use it a lot. It goes with me everywhere. I love it, even though I own a Nook Color too.

The problem I have is that I fear my battery may not be long for the world, and I checked the website and its not in stock any longer.

WTF!

So I got online with their tech support and asked them about it.

I was told that if the battery died, I'd have to upgrade! They couldn't do anything for me!

Really?

I love my Nook! I can't imagine not having my little white first edition. I'm so not happy with the customer service. Why should I be forced to buy a new product when the only thing that isn't working well with mine is a battery?

Barnes and Noble, SHAME ON YOU!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Cover Reveal:Lea Nolan - Conjure w/Giveaway

Author: Lea Nolan
Title: Conjure
Book Blurb: Be careful what you search for…
Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry--hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.
When a strange girl appears, bent on revenge; demon dogs become a threat; and Jack turns into a walking skeleton; Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before summer—and her friends--are lost forever.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Reading Addiction Blog Tours Guest Post w/Giveaway: The Bachelorette

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Tami Anthony’s Top Ten Books and Why?
Being a writer and being an avid reader pretty much go hand in hand. I love to write and I absolutely ADORE reading! I like to pick up a book and just travel to a world or a life that is unlike my own. It ignites me in such a motivating yet relaxing way. How can I resist it? LOL! Well, for your reading pleasure, here are my top ten favorite books:
1.      1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – It definitely can be considered a novel of darkness in a sense, but for whatever reason I absolutely love it. I always felt that within my life, I could truly relate to Jane Eyre’s character. Despite all that she has been through, Jane is able to find happiness and peace. This is such a beautiful, classic novel.
2.    2.   Jemima J by Jane Green – This book is what Chick Lit is all about, written by an author whose talents escape all boundaries. I just love how Jane Green has given us a character that is genuine beyond belief and laugh out loud funny!  I enjoy reading about Jemima’s struggle with her weight issues and how all that glitters isn’t gold. It’s a unique Cinderella story that I can read over and over again.
3.      3.Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris – Ah, yes! A holiday favorite of mine for sure. I always pull this book off my shelf during the holiday season. I just lay on my couch with my hot chocolate, Christmas tree lit, and I read this wonderful work of comedy in laughter. It’s become a tradition, I swear. Plus, David Sedaris is describing the life of a Macy’s Christmas elf. How can you go wrong with a story about elves?!
4.    4.Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – A strong, female protagonist with a sassy, classic attitude … need I say more? Classic, beautifully written Chick Lit. I like to think that I have a little bit of Elizabeth Bennett in me.
5.      5.Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner – The title had hooked me at first glance, and when I read about the adventures of Ms. Cannie Shapiro, I ended up falling in love with this novel. Witty, genuine, and a true favorite of mine.
6.     6..  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce – I read this book in college and it really sparked my interest in Irish literature. This semi-biographical novel has a very unique writing style and that says a lot about Mr. Joyce.
7.    7.   The Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes – Ms. Valdes is by far one of my favorite authors, and DGSC is definitely one of my novels of all time. Sexy, stong, saucy Latina women taking the world by storm. Absolutely LOVE this!
8.      8. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – Another college favorite of mine. A semi-disturbed man who stays forever young in life yet only ages in a painted portrait of himself. So many things can be said of this dark novel. Definitely a favorite of mine.
9.     9.  Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys – It’s the answer/acting prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and portrays the life of the ‘madwoman in the attic.’ I really love this novel because it attempts to show a side that isn’t seen in Bronte’s novel. There’s always two sides to every story and Ms. Rhys proves just that.
10.  The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin – As a kid, I loved this entire series. These were the type of books that I would curl underneath my covers in bed and read late at night. Nostalgia at its best!




Title: The BACHELORETTE Project
Author: Tami Anthony
Date Published: 6/3/12
Book Blurb: When an unfortunate twist of fate leaves 28 year-old socialite Leslee Robinson broken-hearted and unemployed, she embarks on a journey to discover what boggles every twenty-something single woman’s mind: What do men REALLY want and how do you find the perfect mate? With the help of her two best friends; Annie, a self-conscious, sarcastic single mother; and Karen, the neurotic, perfectionist ‘bridezilla,’ Leslee creates The BACHELORETTE Project, a ‘scientific’ dating experiment designed to uncover the enigma of the male species. After multiple dates gone awry and unanticipated encounters of the extreme, Leslee decides to confide in the last person that she’d ever consider asking dating advice from: Eric, her handsome, womanizing college friend with a well-known ‘love ‘em and leave ‘em’ reputation. Aside from Eric’s infamous bachelor tactics, Leslee can’t help but to be oddly attracted to him, but will pursuing the charming, ‘bad boy’ philanderer that Eric is even be worth the risk? With unbelievable twists and a contemporary, comedic Chick-Lit feel, The BACHELORETTE Project is the chronicle of a single woman’s journey to finding true friendship, discovering herself, and learning the enigma of love down to a science.

Review: I have to say I laughed out loud many times while reading this book. Leslee is pretty darn hard to relate to or even like, she's superficial and shallow and sometimes not that smart. The thing is, it's those things that make you enjoy her character. She's just so over the top as is her Bridezilla friend Karen not to mention her other college chum Annie.

The dates Leslee goes on in her quest to find out what men want are even more hilarious! All the men are duds and one date even lands her in the slammer! There is a little bit of inconsistency here. After her date with Mark, she steals his dog. After coming home that pooch isn't mentioned at all.

The other thing that didn't ring quite true for me was how she managed to exist without a job in Philly. Even if she sold all her designer duds, she had to have some bills to pay and most of the book concentrated on her trying to get a man, rather than a job.

Leslee's friends are a riot. I'm not sure that I'd want them for my own, but the stuff they do just made me howl with laughter when reading, which of course, proved embarrassing at times.

If you are looking for a fast funny read that will have your sides splitting with laughter, give this book a shot!

Rating:  4 flowers





 *Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising

About The Author: Tami Anthony is an author, a playwright, and the beautiful mind behind Pink Butterfly Publications, a publishing company devoted to female-driven literature. She is a graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelor’s in English Literature and Theatre Arts. Tami presently resides outside of Philadelphia with her son and is currently working on her second novel and future plays.

Website 
Twitter - @tami_anthony
Goodreads
Facebook 
Buy: Amazon 



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Friday, August 17, 2012

Innovative Online Book Tours Book Review: Too Many Cooks w/Giveaway


Author:  Shirley Ann Wilder
Title:  Too Many Cooks
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Publish Date: July 18, 2012
Review Copy Provided By: Innovative Online Book Tours and the author
Book Blurb: Bitter news leads a San Diego widow and widower to true love—and to a scheme to marry off their adult children, a plan that goes deliciously awry. Gaetano Lorenzo was the sweetest man that the widowed Estelle Bennett had ever met. That morning began terribly, with awful news, but now the owner and head chef of a local San Diego ristorante was offering up Italian delights: red wine, delicious food, walks on the beach, laughter when she’d never thought she’d laugh again…. Estelle felt twenty-five. She and Gaetano had found the recipe for love, and a simple variation might just get their adult children to settle down, too. A scoop of sugar, two ladlefuls of lust, a pinch of deception and a whole 24 oz.-can of danger— Suddenly, ingredients were coming from everywhere! But kitchens are crazy places, and variety is the spice of life. And for anything to get cooked, things have to get hot.

Review: I have to say, I've really been reading a lot of books that are food related lately. I'm not sure if this is a good thing for my waistline, because inevitably all of these books make me hungry.

 It is a quick read and a fun read, although it is a romance, there's some serious stuff going on as well. I love that its really two love stories in one, the relationship between the parents and then the children.

The book starts out concentrating on the relationship between Estelle and Gaetano. I really loved their story, because most romance novels seem to think that people over 50 sometimes fall in love, have sex and even, GASP get married. Though from the very beginning you know Estelle doesn't have Leukemia. This is a romance novel, after all, and Estelle deserves a HEA.

The other story is the love between Alex and Gina, Estelle and Gaetano's children! This starts out bad, gets worse, turns awful and then they fall in love. Of course, Gina gets kidnapped by a psycho client that became obsessed with her, and that really opens Alex's eyes to his love for her.

I liked Shirley's writing style and I loved the characters. This was a sweet short read that was totally fun.

Rating: 4 flowers


Author Bio: From the time she could hold a pencil, Shirley Ann Wilder wrote stories. Being the youngest of six children, she was overlooked many times but found wonder and magic in reading books. As a youngster she was especially fond of horse books and read every one of Walter Farley’s Black Stallion books.

That passion for horses carried over into her adult life and with her husband and four children, raised Quarter Horses and German Shepherds. Shirley’s other passion was writing, but it was put on hold until the three sons and one daughter were in high school.

After developing a severe allergy to the equine species and having to give up the major part of horse involvement, Shirley wrote a weekly column for a community newspaper and a monthly column entitled “On the Wilder Side” for the California Horseman’s News in the which she recounted the humorous episodes that happened during the Wilder Family’s horse era. Shirley also published in college literary magazines, but her real quest was to write novels.

 After taking numerous writing classes and amassing many unfinished manuscripts, one of her writing instructors suggested she join Romance Writers of America. Taking that advice she also joined the local San Diego RWA chapter has since completed six novels.  She served on the Executive Board as Co-President of RWA- San Diego for 2006 and 2007 and held several other chair positions. She credits her fellow writers for the support and encouragement that has kept her writing during recent difficult times.

Shirley Ann was widowed in January of 2008 when her husband died of stage four colon cancer after battling it bravely for three years and four months. Three of her grown children live near her in suburbs of San Diego and one son lives in Kentucky.  They have blessed her with four granddaughters and one grandson.

Buy: All Romance/Smashwords/Amazon/Apple iBooks


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bewitching Book Tours Book Review: Beg For It


Author: Stacey Kennedy
Title: Beg For It
Publisher: Loose Id
Publish Date: May 29, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Bewitching Book Tours and the author
Book Blurb:  The Pact of Seduction has one rule: fulfill your ultimate fantasy. Bella’s problem, she can’t live up to her vow. But her failure spins events that lead her into unknown territory. Kole, a Dom at the sex club Castle Dolce Vita, wasn’t part of her fantasy, but he’s about to show her he should have been. Kole is more than willing to introduce Bella to BDSM since he’s held an interest in her for some time. But the feisty woman isn’t easily tamed and her strong personality proves to be difficult. While she might be determined to keep him at a distance, Kole has other ideas. He won’t allow her to shut him out. A pact between best friends brought them together, emotional barriers tear them apart. Kole skillfully reminds Bella through pleasure and punishment that she is now his submissive, and her place is under his command.

Review: When you read a book by Stacey Kennedy be prepared to be wowed! This is a novella, clocking in somewhere around 90 pages. That's 90 pages of smoking hot sex. Really, this story will leave you panting and probably wanting a cigarette when it is done.

The premise of this series is that a group of roommate fulfill their sexual fantasies. This book focuses on Bella and Kole. BDSM wasn't Bella's first choice of fantasy, but Kole makes sure that it soon becomes that. Truth be told I can't grasp why anyone would go for the whole BDSM thing, but Stacey writes it in such a way that  it becomes appealing and sexy! (Though I'd love a BDSM story where the guy was the sub)

What I always like about Stacey's writing, is that it is a combination of erotica and romance. There will be a HEA for the two characters, and that's what makes me keep reading. I really liked how Stacey brought Bella and Kole together and I liked that she still managed to be strong and yet submissive.

I can't wait to read the rest of the series.



Rating: 5 flowers



Bewitching Book Tours Guest Post: Stacey Kennedy


One of my favorite authors is with us today! I'm so excited to welcome Stacey Kennedy back to A Chick Who Reads!



It’s really quite simple—let’s look at a simple week shall we…
Monday – You’re dealing with kids who don’t want to wake up for school. Maybe you spent the weekend cleaning your house, but soon you realize it’s now a mess again. Your day is spent cleaning the house you already cleaned, getting the kids off to school, and somehow dragging yourself out of the Monday blues.
Tuesday – You’re still dealing with kids who don’t want to go to school. Now you also have to deal with the laundry that seems to have appeared out of nowhere. Didn’t you just do it on the weekend? And why is your house still messy?!
Wednesday – Okay, the kids are more agreeable and getting off to school is a bit easier. You’re folding laundry from the day before, and also trying to pick a meal that your kids won’t scowl at and will actually eat. And now you’re in the middle of the week still cleaning up the house that appears to never stay clean. Not only that, but damn do you really have to clean the kitty litter? This is so NOT sexy!
Thursday – Oh excitement, the weekend is almost here! Your kids now start counting down the days until they’re off—repeatedly. And all you keep thinking about is the cleaning that’s soon upon you. You are keeping track of what’s going with school, doing homework, taking care of your pets, making sure your kids eat healthy lunches—oh right, you have to go grocery shopping. And when was the last time you put makeup on? Going to the grocery store in basically your pajamas is acceptable, right?
Friday—The weekend has arrived. You exhale a deep breath of relief because soon you can erase half of your duties because there’s no school, no homework, no grumbling kids that fight you about everything, and you can sleep in. But you realize for a week you have been wearing jogging pants and your hair has been in a ponytail. Your showers have lasted a total of five minutes and wait…have you even thought of yourself all week? And let's not even add into the picture if you've had sick kids to deal with, which if you have, you'd be not only lacking sleep but probably now have been covered in germs.
Then enters your well-rested hubby on a Saturday morning that has been waggling his eyebrows at you all week. While normally a romantic night would be right up your alley, this week has exhausted you. You’ve been glaring at him every time he looks at you because you’ve been pulled in a thousand directions and you want a moment to yourself! If he dared to put a hand on you at all through the week, you would have cut it off!
But a romantic night would be nice and you may feel a bit bad for glaring at him while he's tried very hard to romance you...
That is, if you can get past the pile of laundry, kids, responsibilities, thoughts of the next week ahead and the thousand things you have to do. 
So, how do you fix this? 
Read one helluva naughty story. A book that won’t take you a week to read, but simply a couple hours. You take that book into a hot bath with bubbles, give yourself a much needed glass of wine—all of which you deserve. And you shut the world out! It’s the perfect way for moms—me included—to let go of our busy lives that can be totally unsexy, and allow our minds to simmer in an erotic tale.
Take it from my experience, your hubby will ensure he gives you that time alone…often…since the woman that comes out of that bath is the sexy-kitten he fell in love with, not the one in jogging pants!  It really is a win-win!!



 



Book Title: BEG FOR IT

Genre: BDSM erotic romance

Publisher: Loose Id

Date of Publication: May 29, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61118-685-7

Purchase Links:




The Pact of Seduction has one rule—fulfill your ultimate fantasy. Bella’s problem, she can’t live up to her vow. But her failure spins events that lead her into unknown territory. Kole, a Dom at the sex club Castle Dolce Vita, wasn’t part of her fantasy, but he’s about to show her he should have been.
Kole is more than willing to introduce Bella to BDSM since he’s held an interest in her for some time. But the feisty woman isn’t easily tamed and her strong personality proves to be difficult. While she might be determined to keep him at a distance, Kole has other ideas. He won’t allow her to shut him out.
A pact between best friends brought them together, emotional barriers tear them apart. Kole skillfully reminds Bella through pleasure and punishment that she is now his submissive, and her place is under his command.
Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: BDSM theme and elements, including spanking.
~*~
Teaser:
Copyright © STACEY KENNEDY, 2012
All Rights Reserved, Loose Id
Only one thing would save Bella now—a stiff drink. Reed and Kole’s parties were always fun, and it was nice to see new friends she’d made over the past month. But her mood was right in the toilet. It’d been that way all day and had only gotten worse since she joined the party. She shouldn’t have come.
She cursed on a low breath. How in the hell was she going to get out of her current predicament? Originally, it’d been she who offered the idea of the pact of seduction, and she couldn’t even commit. Pathetic.
Marley’s giggle drew her attention, and Reed had pulled her onto his lap, nibbling at her neck. As horrible as it was, jealously surged. Maybe she had hoped that her fantasy would fill that empty void in her soul. Sure, it was meant as something sexually fun, but Bella craved something…
A part of her remained unfulfilled, even if she didn’t understand exactly what was missing. All she knew, her life at this moment was boring with a side of totally sucks.
She glanced over at Kyra, who laughed with Sadie, and nudged her arm. “I’ll be back. I need some air.”
“Sure.” Kyra’s green eyes were a little glassy. The wine clearly had gotten to her. “Want some company?”
“Nah.” She plastered on a fake smile. “I won’t be long.”
Kyra gave a nod, then turned her attention back at Sadie as the two chuckled about something Sadie had said. If only Bella had something to laugh about. She rose from the couch and made her way through the crowd.
As she passed, she noticed a man sitting on the ottoman and a woman knelt at his feet with her arms over his legs. The position appeared casual enough, but it also looked…different. As if the woman enjoyed being at his feet. Another spurt of jealously soared, and she gave her head a good hard shake. She was apparently envious of everyone who had a relationship. And since when had she been jealous of a BDSM relationship?
What’s gotten into you?
She made her way through the living room and stepped out onto the balcony. The cool air brushed against her skin, and she shivered. Winter still hung on in Baltimore, but what a strange winter it’d been—snow one day, mild the next. Tonight was brisk, but that only seemed to help cool off the annoyance burning her blood.
With her glass in her hands, she leaned on the railing and glanced over the city. Reed and Kole’s condo had an amazing view and the lights twinkled below.
She sipped at her drink and pondered her situation. How could she plan another fantasy when the only one she wanted she had yet to fully accept herself? And why was she acting like a bitter idiot?
After a long gulp that had her cringing from the aftertaste, a deep voice interrupted her useless thoughts. “I heard last night didn’t go well.”
She lowered the glass, licked the moisture on her lips, and looked next to her to find Kole. Like always in his presence, butterflies fluttered in her stomach, but she squashed them and kept her voice controlled. “That’s putting it lightly.”
His blond stylish hair framed a face worth a second look, and his dark blue eyes shone with a power that made her melt. He leaned against the railing beside her, cocked his head, and she felt the weight of his stare right down to her toes. “Tell me about it.”
She sipped her drink, mortified to her bones that she had to admit this to Kole. “It wasn’t Raven’s fault. I”—she drew in a deep breath and said quickly—“I always thought my fantasy was to be with a woman, but clearly it’s not.”
“Ah, I see.” He took a gulp of his beer before he lowered it. “You didn’t get off, I’m assuming?”
She snorted. “If laughing in her face means that I didn’t get off, then yes, I didn’t get off.”
He chuckled, the sound so seductive Bella quivered. In response to that odd reaction, she examined him and couldn’t stop from admiring the view.
He was dressed in a pair of dark jeans that no doubt hugged his fine ass, and a black T-shirt that was snug around the muscles beneath. Good God. She licked her lips for reasons that had nothing to do with her drink.
“You didn’t follow through with your part of the pact, then?”
Her gaze lifted to his face. The glint in his eyes declared he’d been quite aware of her admiring him. Hell, she’d lusted after him since the day they met. A strong sexual attraction existed between them that she hadn’t experienced before with any man, especially a Dom.
She blinked and focused away from the warmth that formed between her thighs. “That’s right. I bailed on the pact.”
His gaze became penetrating as his tone dipped lower. “Why don’t you arrange another night with someone else for your fantasy?”
“Because”—her muscles stiffened, and after a long sigh, she grimaced—“I have no idea what that fantasy is now.”
“Such a problem for a woman to have,” he mused.
She gulped at the way his voice seemed to carry into her soul; then she lowered her head to avoid eye contact with him. He raised his bottle to his mouth, and his arm brushed against hers. Tingles zinged through her, and she squeezed her thighs together to ease the throb of her clit.
How did he make her body do that? Every time he was near, she all but sizzled, and when he touched her, everything was amplified.
“I see that you need help, then, in finding what you’re looking for.”
It hadn’t sounded like a question, which she was glad for since her tight throat made it impossible to answer. He slid his finger along her arm, slowly and with clear intent to unravel her.
She bit her bottom lip. “W-what does that mean?”
He tucked his finger under her chin and lifted her head. “I think we both know what I mean.” Those eyes of his burned with the lust that he had obviously contained. “You enjoy my attention, and I’d enjoy you under my command.”
Then he pressed a finger on the back of her hand and danced his touch up her arm. His gaze followed his caresses every step of the way. And damn him if she didn’t close her eyes and shudder.
A scrape of his nail along her skin drew her eyes open, and he grinned with sin. “Look how beautifully you react to me.” He finally reached her shoulder, and she trembled under the softness of his touch that seemed to contradict that power oozing from him. He tucked his fingers back under her chin, drew her head up, and stared intently into her eyes.
Searching for what, she had no idea.
His hold tensed, a shift in his gaze appeared that made her stomach flip-flop, and her panties were now soaked. He leaned in, pressed his lips against hers, and the world froze. His luscious and damn well perfect mouth molded with hers as his silky tongue swept her away. When had anyone ever kissed her like this?
Oh, right—never.
He kissed her thoroughly, leaving no part of her mouth untouched; then he backed away but kept hold of her chin. “It’s time to stop ignoring what your body needs and accept that you want to be dominated.”
Hell, how right was he? Maybe BDSM wasn’t her fantasy when she made the pact of seduction with her friends, but after hearing about it from Marley, her interest had grown. She lifted a lazy shoulder to appear nonchalant. “I suppose if I set up a scene with you, that would be a solution to my problem.”
“Not good enough.” His gaze hardened. “Do you want me to take you into a scene, Bella?”
At his pause, she realized she needed to give a better answer, and she nodded. “I do.”
He examined her for a long moment before he finally said, “Now what are your interests in BDSM?”
She melted at the way he stared at her now. So intense. So wicked. Was this a hint of what he’d look like in a scene? Her body flushed, yet she held her focus and lifted her chin. She had always prided herself on staying strong around powerful men.
Her job as a stockbroker in Baltimore’s top lending investment firm meant she swam with the sharks. Most of her coworkers were authoritative men. If she’d showed weakness, she wouldn’t be where she was today, and she’d worked hard for her position.
“I’m interested in”—her throat went dry. All these fantasies she hadn’t admitted to anyone. Was she really going through with this? Her soaking panties declared it so—“ropes, sex toys, floggers, to be controlled, pleasure, and pain.” She raised her glass to her mouth and tried to ignore the way her hands shook.
Before the rim could reach her lips, Kole snatched the glass from her hands and set it on the ground next to him. “If we’re discussing this and you are serious, you will stop drinking.”
A flare of irritation rose up that he’d be so bold to take her drink right out of her hands, yet Marley had said that Castle Dolce Vita Doms never allowed submissives to drink alcohol in a scene to ensure they were clearheaded. And since they were discussing what would happen between them, she let it go. “Okay.”
He gave a short nod. “Now I want to make sure you’re well aware of what will happen and what I expect of you.” His gaze searched hers, seemingly looking right through her. “And I need to be sure that I’m the correct Dom for you.”
“I don’t want anyone else,” she blurted out before she could stop herself.
His eyebrows rose. “I don’t mind your answer, Bella.” A small grin turned up the corners of his mouth. “But do tell—have you put more thought into this than you’re letting on?”
Her cheeks had never burned so hot, but she wouldn’t be that woman who’d stumble around a man. She stuffed her nervousness away, clasped her hands, and demanded her voice to be strong. “Maybe once or twice.”
She’d been aware of the mutual attraction between them, so two could play his game. “Are you trying to deny you haven’t thought about it too?”
He winked. “Maybe once or twice.”
A flutter whipped around inside her, her palms grew clammy, and she squeezed her fingers. Why did he make her act so…knocked off her axis?
“One thing that needs to be discussed is my expectations.” He glanced at her hands for a moment as if he took in her reaction before he looked back into her eyes. “From what I know of you as you are now, you’d struggle to meet them. And I want to make that clear so you know what you’re getting yourself into.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” she snapped. “Why would I struggle to meet your demands?”
He gave his head a slow shake. “I’m not saying it to insult you, but to give you a stern warning. I don’t play lightly.”
“Well, I…” Her entire face burned hot as if she had a high-grade fever. Marley had told her all about Kole. How he enjoyed pain play. How strict he was in how a submissive behaved. And all it’d done was increase the throb between her thighs. Solidified the fantasy. “I think I might like that.”
He gave a delicious smile. “I have no doubt you would.”
And then his lips were back on hers as he swept her away in another leg-wobbling kiss before those plush lips tore away from hers.
“You’ll arrive at the castle next Friday at seven o’clock. I’ll have a room reserved.” He dropped his head, his eyes in the direct line of hers. “When you arrive, remove your clothes, kneel in the center of the room, and wait for me. Clear?”
Heat spread across her body at the images playing in her head. Nude? Kneeling? Oh God! She quivered in anticipation.
At his expectant expression, she nodded instead of offering him a breathy response.
“Good.” He took her mouth again playfully, nibbled on the corners of her lips, and flicked her lips with his tongue. And when he had her body ramped up to a fever pitch, he backed away to trail his thumb over her lips. “Can you be honest and open with me?”
Drool, honest-to-God drool, formed in her mouth. Everyday Kole was sexy. Dom Kole was to die for. The sheer power that exuded from him, intensity in his features, it all captivated her. He’d asked her to be honest with him—how hard could that be? “I can do that.”
He nodded in approval, skimmed her mouth again with his thumb, while his gaze stayed focused there. The smile he gave, the possessiveness held in the depths of his eyes, liquefied her insides.
Something sparked through his touch, only increasing with his kiss, and even more so by the way he looked at her now. One of those duh moments. Had what she wanted—desired—been standing right in front of her this entire time?
In less than a week, she’d have the answer.

~*~
 



Stacey Kennedy’s erotic romance novels are just that…erotic. There is nothing better than taking the dominant men she loves and watching them do wicked things to their women. But she just can’t write without a little humor added into the mix so that’s always a must have in her stories. And of course what’s a story without a big dose of emotional characters, too. Her urban fantasy/paranormal and erotic romance series have hit Amazon Kindle and All Romance eBooks bestseller lists.

Stacey welcomes comments from readers. You can find her at www.staceykennedy.com.





Book Description:

The Pact of Seduction has one rule: fulfill your ultimate fantasy. Bella’s problem, she can’t live up to her vow. But her failure spins events that lead her into unknown territory. Kole, a Dom at the sex club Castle Dolce Vita, wasn’t part of her fantasy, but he’s about to show her he should have been.

Kole is more than willing to introduce Bella to BDSM since he’s held an interest in her for some time. But the feisty woman isn’t easily tamed and her strong personality proves to be difficult. While she might be determined to keep him at a distance, Kole has other ideas. He won’t allow her to shut him out.

A pact between best friends brought them together, emotional barriers tear them apart. Kole skillfully reminds Bella through pleasure and punishment that she is now his submissive, and her place is under his command.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: anal play/intercourse, BDSM theme and elements.

 
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