Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Book Review: Jemima J


Author: Jane Green
Title: Jemima J
Publisher: Broadway
Publish Date: June 5, 2001
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Jemima Jones is overweight. About one hundred pounds overweight. Treated like a maid by her thin and social-climbing roommates, and lorded over by the beautiful Geraldine (less talented but better paid) at the Kilburn Herald, Jemima finds that her only consolation is food. Add to this her passion for her charming, sexy, and unobtainable colleague Ben, and Jemima knows her life is in need of a serious change. When she meets Brad, an eligible California hunk, over the Internet, she has the perfect opportunity to reinvent herself–as JJ, the slim, beautiful, gym-obsessed glamour girl. But when her long-distance Romeo demands that they meet, she must conquer her food addiction to become the bone-thin model of her e-mails–no small feat. With a fast-paced plot that never quits and a surprise ending no reader will see coming, Jemima J is the chronicle of one woman's quest to become the woman she's always wanted to be, learning along the way a host of lessons about attraction, addiction, the meaning of true love, and, ultimately, who she really is.

Review: This book was exceedingly frustrating to read. Let me count the ways.

Things that annoyed me.

1. Jemima's weight loss. 100 pounds in a few months. It could happen, but most of us only wish it were that easy.

2. The narration over the first person telling of the story. OMG! This made me nuts and detracted from otherwise decent storytelling.

3. While I along with a bazillion other women in the world could identify with Jemima and though we all loved her when she became a skinny girl, I didn't like her much.

4. I wasn't keen on the when you lose weight love, happiness, promotions etc will come to you. That kind of feeds the whole crappy way the media makes women feel about their bodies. (Even though Jemima didn't stay 121 lbs)

5. The whole Brad/Jenny thing that blows up near the end of the book. OMG this was just PATHETIC!

6. Companies just going on the web in 2000? Really? I graduated college in 1996 and though I didn't have a PC of my own, just about everyone else did.

7. Brad's friendship growing into love only after Jemima lost weight and got hot! Oh and he didn't notice a significant weight loss at his going away party? HUH?

8. I'm so sick of books where the Mother is some nasty women that doesn't care about or is ashamed of her child.

Ok so there was a lot that I found off about this book. Was there any good?

1. I did like Jemima the fat chick. I especially loved her fondness for BACON!

2. Geraldine was the kind of friend we all want. I liked the friendship that grew between her and Jemima and as a result between Jemima and Ben.

Truthfully, I can't find much more to like in this book. It was fast paced and funny at times, and yes, it reads like a fairy tale for grown up little girls, but for me it fell flat. I have a few of Jane Green's books on my TBR pile, after this one, I'm not sure if I want to try them.

Rating: 3 flowers



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Innovative Online Book Tours: The Three Lost Kids and the Death Of The Sugar Fairy


Author: Kimberly Kinrade
Title: The Three Lost Kids & The Death Of The Sugar Fairy
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Publish Date: Sept 25, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Innovative Online Book Tours & the author
Book Blurb: Halloween is here and Lexie, Bella and Maddie couldn't be happier. But why does everything feel so different? Fewer houses are decorated and fewer kids are out trick-or-treating. Still, that's not going to stop the three girls from eating as much candy as they can before their parents can stop them, even if that means fighting each other for it.

When they finally discover a haunted house worthy of their favorite holiday, they forget their parents' warnings and go in alone, only to discover that the house really is haunted, and not only that, but they've been transported to a whole different world!

A dying Sugar Fairy in one of the abandoned rooms send them on a quest to find her Sugar Baby and the magic Sugar Flower in order to save her and Halloween. If they fail, Halloween will be gone forever, and they'll never return to their family. But with Sugar Bug attacks, the Cavity Caves where they must face their deepest fears, and giant gummy bears armed with candy cane swords, the girls aren't sure they'll make it.

Their only chance is to work together, using each of their strengths to help each other. Can they stop fighting over candy long enough? Or will they be trapped in the dying Sugar Land forever?

Review: Kimberly Kinrade's Three Lost Kids series continues with The Three Lost Kids & The Death Of The Sugar Fairy.

This is an absolutely great Halloween story that parents and kids will love.

Halloween is Maddie's birthday, but this year isn't turning out quite the way she expected.

The book hints at some of the stuff in the past 3 books of The Lost Kids series when the girls end up in the Haunted House, but it nothing that will put young readers off, if this is the first book from the series that they grab. In fact, it will likely make them want to read the rest of the books.

Lexie, Bella and Maddie are fun kids and their quest to find the Sugar Baby and the Sugar Flower is a fun adventure. Plus in saving the Sugar Fairy, they also save Halloween! And a world without Halloween is just not a fun place at all!

Ms. Kinrade also delivers the story with a moral. The usual one associated with Halloween. But she doesn't do it in a way that makes you feel that candy is bad and we must not eat any of it.

Definitely a fun book and a fun series for anyone turning the pages.

Rating: 5 flowers




Innovative Online Book Tours Guest Post:Kimberly Kinrade

 





The Making of a Revolutionary

When my oldest daughter was 2 years old and first learned the sad hard truth of the chicken nugget, she formed a revolt. “The Chicken Nuggets Must Live!” she shouted, tiny fist in air.

She's turning 10 years old this Halloween, and while she still eats the occasional nugget (my children were contemplating a world where nuggets were made of people, butterflies and dinosaurs ^.^), she is still a revolutionary, and the staunchest environmentalist I know.

I have been recycling–and sometimes composting–since she was born. She went to a Waldorf School for her first year, and she loves animals and nature. It’s not surprising then, that she doesn’t want the Earth to die. What is surprising to me is how consistent she is in the little things.

She will pick up the grossest, nastiest piece of garbage you can imagine, and walk blocks to find a proper receptacle for it. As a mother, I cringe. And caution. And buy her gloves. As a human, I applaud her. (I do this as her mom too, don’t get me wrong.) She even cleans up lunch trash while other kids play. And she is making a difference. With each piece of garbage she picks up, she is saving something of our Earth for the future.


Lessons From the Young 

So often we as grown-ups get so burdened by oil spills and toxic waste and ozone layers that we forget to bend down and pick up that paper on the sidewalk. Yes, we need to be conscious of the global impact our collective choices make, but, don’t let those issues become so overwhelming as to paralyze you from the simple day-to-day things we all can do to make life more beautiful.

When she was 8 years old, after cleaning up some trash in our neighborhood, she came home and drew the picture you see above. On her own. Without any prompting. I was floored, and awed, and proud. In case the quality makes it hard, that’s an X in the eye of the deer eating trash, because it will die. (The other deer is smiling, by the way, and I’m really mostly sure that’s a leg…)

Inspiration 

My kids inspire me daily–in my writing and in life. They are the reason I took a small break from writing my YA paranormal novel Forbidden Fire (book #2 in the Forbidden Series) to write three children’s chapter books based on worlds they discovered.

Now, all three of their books are out, and a new book, The Three Lost Kid and The Death of the Sugar Fairy has just launched. (And I even managed to finish the Forbidden Trilogy as well!)

The first book in The Three Lost Kids series is about the environment. About Lexie World 5-year-old Lexie is tired of getting in trouble for leaving her stuff and trash outside. She doesn’t mean to litter or ruin her shoes, but it’s just so hard to remember sometimes. When she, her two big sisters and their dog TayTay end up finding a portal to Lexie World, Lexie discovers the consequence littering has had on Lexie World. Garbage Goblins have taken over and are destroying the Earth!

To save Lexie World, the girls (and dog) must travel with their new Unicorn friend through the Waters of Waste and over the Mountain of Lost Clothes to retrieve a piece of the Mirror of Ice in order to remind the Garbage Goblins of their true form and break their curse.

On this journey, Lexie learns about courage, love and the importance of taking care of her world.

I’m a Mom 

I’m a mom, and I wrote this book, and the subsequent books, for my kids. I also wrote them for your kids. Lexie World includes discussion questions for you and your child to talk about how they can participate in caring for the Earth. And remember, we can help in small ways to keep our Earth beautiful. What are some ways you and your family care for the environment?


BLURB: Halloween is here and Lexie, Bella and Maddie couldn't be happier. But why does everything feel so different? Fewer houses are decorated and fewer kids are out trick-or-treating. Still, that's not going to stop the three girls from eating as much candy as they can before their parents can stop them, even if that means fighting each other for it.

When they finally discover a haunted house worthy of their favorite holiday, they forget their parents' warnings and go in alone, only to discover that the house really is haunted, and not only that, but they've been transported to a whole different world!

A dying Sugar Fairy in one of the abandoned rooms send them on a quest to find her Sugar Baby and the magic Sugar Flower in order to save her and Halloween. If they fail, Halloween will be gone forever, and they'll never return to their family. But with Sugar Bug attacks, the Cavity Caves where they must face their deepest fears, and giant gummy bears armed with candy cane swords, the girls aren't sure they'll make it.

Their only chance is to work together, using each of their strengths to help each other. Can they stop fighting over candy long enough? Or will they be trapped in the dying Sugar Land forever?

BIO: Kimberly Kinrade was born with ink in her veins and magic in her heart. She writes fantasy and paranormal stories for children, YA and adults and still believes in magic worlds. Check out her YA paranormal novels Forbidden Mind and Forbidden Fire and her illustrated children's fantasy chapter books Lexie World, and Bella World, all on Amazon.

She lives with her three little girls who think they're ninja princesses with super powers, her two dogs who think they're humans and her husband, also known as the sexy Russian Prince, who is the love of her life and writing partner.

For a list of her books, check out: http://Amazon.com/author/kimberlykinrade For a fun fan experience, join the team at I.P.I. at http://IPIAcademy.com For kids and parents of young kids, join the Lost Kids at http://ThreeLostKids.com

BUY NOW LINK: • Amazon paper book • Amazon Kindle copy



ONLINE LINKS
: • Website http://KimberlyKinrade.com • Twitter: @KimberlyKinrade • IPI Twitter: @IPIAcademy • Facebook: /KimberlyKinrade • IPI Facebook: /IPIAcademy

 Giveaway:


Monday, October 29, 2012

Cover Reveal


Mystically Bound
Frostbite Book Three
Urban Fantasy Romance
Length: Novel
Heat Level: Sensual
Release date: COMING SOON
Tess Jennings’ life is in chaos. Not only has her ghost lover, Kipp McGowen, crossed into the Netherworld, but she’s the newest member of a secret society. And they want her to start work immediately. Upon arriving in White Castle, Louisiana, she is presented with an offer she cannot refuse.
The Grand Master has been murdered and Tess must solve the crime by locating his ghost. The reward—a magical spell to save Kipp. But as Tess dives deeper into the case, the more danger surrounds her. Not everyone wants the murder solved, and she is caught in the crossfire.
Soon, Tess finds herself knee-deep in a hunt for a spell, a race to locate a killer, and a journey to the beyond. Will Kipp finally take a living breath, or will Tess take her last?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Book Review: A Belated Bride


Author:Karen Hawkins
Title: A Belated Bride
Publisher: Avon
Publish Date: Jan 9, 2001
Buy:Amazon
Book Blurb:She'd Never Marry Him! The last man Arabella Hadley ever wishes to see again is Lucien Deveraux, the handsome, dissolute Duke of Wexford -- who broke her innocent heart years ago and disappeared to London. So when she finds an unconscious man on her deserted country road and sees that it's Lucien, she's tempted to leave him there. But even more appalling than his presence is the brazen kiss he plants on her shocked lips and her response! So it would be totally insane to take him home to recover -- wouldn't it? Except For One Small Thing... Lucien dares not reveal why he's returned to his country estate -- or why he abandoned the strong-willed beauty years ago. Especially since Arabella clearly has secrets of her own. But when her scheming, marriage-minded aunts successfully compromise them, the two are forced to become man and wife. Which makes it ever harder for both to battle the passion that never disappeared...
Review: I read a review of one of Karen's latest books from Addicted To Romance so I went to the library and found this one, to see how well she stacked up to her most recent book.

I'm kind of on the fence with this one.

I definitely like Karen's writing style.

The characters are really interesting and you can't help but love them, especially Lucien. It is easy to see early on that he loves Arabella, though lord knows she can't. Lucien and Arabella have a past though, so that makes it easy to understand why she doesn't go so easily into Lucien's arms. And why this regency isn't as hot an steamy as it might have been.

It takes a good many pages before the two of them really end up without their clothes. Truthfully that's why this story was a bit of a dud for me. It felt too much like 300 pages of Arabella making excuses not to trust Lucien for his past transgressions, without ever hearing his end of the story.

The smuggling operation added a bit of excitement, but what really gives this story life are Arabella's aunts, Jane and Emma. I especially loved how they checked the Duke out when he was injured. And when I say checked him out, I mean, checked under the covers when he was naked to see how well endowed he was!  That was a hoot.

I was happy that just about everyone had a HEA in this story, I just wish that in some cases it would have happened a lot faster then it did.

Rating: 3 flowers



Friday, October 26, 2012

Must Buy Books: Jennifer Johnson Is Sick Of Being Single

Buy:Amazon
Book Blurb:A wicked comedy about the perils of making your dreams come true

Quirky, clever, cubicle-bound Jennifer Johnson is desperate.

Everyone around her is getting married, while she's still single and stuck writing ad copy about men's dress socks.

 Her life hits crisis level, launching her into a humiliating and painfully hilarious quest to find Prince Charming at any cost. This includes agonizing online dates, diet-clinic cults, drag-queen fights, and a debilitating addiction to Cinnabon icing.

When she meets handsome, wealthy Brad Keller, she wonders if he's the answer to all her dreams, or is he just too good to be true? Darkly funny and outrageously honest, McElhatton's wit shines in this no-holds-barred cautionary tale about getting what you want—and how it can be the worst thing for you.

~After reading the sequel to this book this week, I really want to get this one, so I can see what possessed Jennifer to marry Brad!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

TLC Book Tours Book Review: My Scandalous Viscount


Author: Gaelen Foley
Title: My Scandalous Viscount
Publisher: Avon
Publish Date: Sept 25, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours & the publisher
Book Blurb: Meet the courageous men of the Inferno Club as they face their greatest challenge yet: marriage!

Sebastian, Viscount Beauchamp, lives by a code of honor, and now honor dictates he must marry Miss Carissa Portland. He has no regrets over stealing a kiss from the adorable little busybody—a fitting punishment for putting her delectable nose where it didn't belong. But now, caught in a compromising situation, he knows he must make her his bride. He's faced danger before—but nothing like this!

Carissa is not a gossip—she's a "lady of information." And all she was trying to do was warn the rakehell Beauchamp away from an irate husband. But even she can't flaunt Society, and while her head tells her that Beau's a notorious scoundrel, her heart—and her body—are captivated by his dangerous charm. But when Carissa next goes snooping, the secrets she uncovers about the Inferno Club may prove even more hazardous than falling in love with her own husband.

Review: My Scandalous Viscount is a book in the Inferno Club series. There are four books that come before this one.

Raise your hand if you'd like to read a romance that wasn't part of a series!

Me me me me!

It seems like all historical romances these days are part of long series about aristocratic men that are part of some Order etc that are protecting the crown.

~sigh~

This book is one of those kinds of books, however it is a really good one.

I haven't read the other books in the series so the characters were all new to me, but I didn't feel in any way lost. Gaelen did a good job giving her readers the backstory needed to know what had happened in previous books.

What made me like this book so much was Carissa. She wasn't your usual regency heroine. She was a gossip, or as she liked to call herself  a "Lady of Information." In other words, she was a busybody of the highest degree. She's always poking her nose into places it doesn't belong. That's how she ends up married to Beauchamp.

Not a bad result really, because it is quite easy to tell that Beau likes her, ALOT!

I think that's one of the reasons I liked this book so much, there wasn't a huge amount of tension between the hero and heroine. That doesn't always happen. Sure there were some trust issues, mostly on the part of Carissa, who has something from her past she doesn't want out in the open. With Beau, its just the old, don't give away secrets about The Order.

I thought The Order was going to end up being boring, but that wasn't the case. I found the mystery involving the Government and The Orders activities to be quite interesting.

As much as I wish I wouldn't be sucked into another series, I'm probably going to go back and try to find the other books, because all the characters from The Inferno Club were really interesting, and I definitely want to get to know their brides.

Rating: 5 flowers












About Gaelen Foley Gaelen Foley is the author of seventeen rich, sexy, and dramatic Regency historicals. Her books have won many awards, are published in numerous languages, and appear regularly on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. She lives in Pennsylvania with her college-sweetheart husband, Eric, and a spoiled bichon frise named Bingley. Find out more about Gaelen at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Jennifer Johnson Is Sick Of Being Married


Author: Heather McElhatton
Title: Jennifer Johnson Is Sick Of Being Married
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: Oct 9, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours & the publisher
Book Blurb:Sometimes tying the knot just means getting strangled.

Not too long ago, Jennifer Johnson was stuck in a cubicle, lovelorn and addicted to Cinnabon frosting. Now she’s married to her Prince Charming—the handsome, wealthy son of a midwestern department-store magnate. But the grass on this too-manicured other side is not as green as she’d thought.

After a honeymoon from hell at a gated Christian resort in the Virgin Islands—bought and paid for by the in-laws and complete with alcohol-free drinks, curfews, and Satan-free yoga—Jennifer is beginning to have her doubts about the whole “happily-ever-after” thing. Soon she finds herself organizing Valentine’s Day abstinence dances with her mother-in-law’s church committee and dining with the ladies of the country club, who have their own theories about how to hold on to their men.

Is this really all there is to married life?

From Heather McElhatton, bestselling author of Pretty Little Mistakes and Jennifer Johnson Is Sick of Being Single, comes the next laugh-out-loud chapter in the story of an all-American everywoman whose every thought, flaw, and neurosis is on glorious display.

Review: If you are in the need of a book to lift your spirits, grab a copy of Jennifer Johnson Is Sick Of Being Married.

Why?

Because you will laugh so hard you will forget any of your troubles.

You'll laugh out loud and you won't care.

This is the sequel to Jennifer Johnson Is Sick Of Being Single. Apparently marriage isn't all that its cracked up to be, at least not for Jennifer!

There's so much craziness in this book from Ace, the three legged dog she brings home from her disastrous honeymoon at a Christian resort, to the super expensive refrigerator with a computer geisha. WTF! So weird and so funny.

I adored Jennifer because she's just so ridiculous. This book read like a romantic comedy. I devoured it in one sitting, because it was just so fun.

All the characters are over the top.

I found myself trying to cast this book the whole time I was reading it.

Jennifer does everything to fit in with her wealthy in-laws, but it always backfires...and really if you knew Mother Keller, you wouldn't want her to like you too much. (Or any other family member..except Trevor)

If you need a laugh, this is the book to reach for!

Rating: 5 flowers



Monday, October 22, 2012

99 Cent Deals!

Two books by Roxanne Rhoads..the lovely blogger who runs Bewitching Book Tours are 99 cents at amazon!



BuyAmazon
Book Blurb: 
Anwyn Rose is descended from a long line of powerful witches yet she can barely cast spells young witchlings have mastered. She has one functioning witch gift, the power of knowing, which she puts to good use as a Detective on Flint’s Preternatural Investigation Team.

It’s a new era in Vehicle City, supernaturals are running the town. The P.I.T has their hands full with paranormal crimes. Top priority is a serial killer, who appears to be a vampire, draining young women in the city.

Anwyn is on the case with her sexy partner Detective Mike Malone. Complicating things is her relationship Galen, a vampire who looks more guilty than innocent, although Anwyn trusts her instincts even if her power is on the fritz.

Mysterious spells, compromising situations, and a possible demon on the loose make it hard to focus on the case, but Anwyn has to make things right before the human police execute the wrong vampire.

Hex and the Single Witch contains magick, a little bit of mystery, a lot of supernatural mayhem, and a sexy love triangle that will leave you wanting more.




Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Ten tantalizing, erotic tales of vampires, witches and demons grace the pages of this short story collection by Roxanne Rhoads. Step into the darkness and let these tales tempt and tease to satisfy your paranormal cravings. Eight of Roxanne Rhoads' previous publications, now newly edited, appear in this short story collection along with two brand new, never before published tales of supernatural love and lust.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Book Review: Forever & A Day


Author: Jill Shalvis
Title: Forever & A Day
Publisher: Hatchette Book Group
Publish Date: July 31, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb:  LOVE CAN HAPPEN IN A HEARTBEAT

Grace never thought she'd be starting her life over from scratch. Losing everything has landed her in Lucky Harbor, working as a dog walker for overwhelmed ER doctor Josh Scott. But the day his nanny fails to show up, Grace goes from caring for Josh's lovable mutt to caring for his rambunctious son. Soon Grace is playing house with the sexy single dad . . .

With so many people depending on him, Josh has no time for anything outside of his clinic and family-until Grace arrives in town. Now this brainy blonde is turning his life inside out and giving a whole new meaning to the phrase "good bedside manner." Josh and Grace don't know if what they have can last. But in a town like Lucky Harbor, a lifetime of love starts with just one day . . .

Review: Jill Shalvis is what good romance is all about. She writes stories like Debbie Macomber and Sherryl Woods with characters you really connect with. In this case its Amy, Mallory and Grace in the town of Lucky Habor.

But that's not all, there's each women's significant other as well as some pretty crazy people from the town particularly Lucille who runs an art gallery in town.

This story is about Grace and Josh. Josh is a super hot and highly overworked single father/doctor. He's juggling work, being a dad and new puppy owner as well as taking care of his sister who is wheel chair bound as a result of an car accident.

Yeah, he's got a lot on his plate and he needs a dog walker for Tag, his super hyper pug puppy. That's where Grace came in. Then she took over for the nanny that quit. Once you got into Josh's life, you really didn't want to get out of it, even if your like Grace, a woman looking to find some measure of success.

This story is kind of a been there done that one. Grace is in banking/finance but as the story goes on, everyone wants her to do their bookkeeping. So you kind of now what she's going to end up doing in town, just as you know to have a HEA she's got to stay in Lucky Habor.

So the story is very predictable, more so than most series romance, but it is a comfortable read. All of Shalvis' characters feel like family. It doesn't matter if this is the first Lucky Harbor book you've read or the 6th. (which this one is)

When you read the dialogue between Grace and Amy and Mallory, you feel like you are sitting around a coffee table with them.

This book really captured small town life as well as friendship. I will be putting Jill on my must read list from now on.

Rating: 4 flowers




Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bewitching Book Tours Promo & Review: Celestine: The House on rue du Maine






Title: Celestine: The House on rue du Maine
Author: F.J. Wilson
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
Publisher: Chances Press, LLC
ISBN: 978-0988230217 ASIN: B0093U6Z48
Number of pages: 272 Word Count: 80,000
Cover Artist: Geronimo Quitoriano
Buy: Amazon

Book Description: In 1795 New Orleans, the Spanish controlled city struggles to rebuild after two devastating fires, and a young teenage girl is just as determined to leave her past behind and start anew. Celestine, the daughter of a Mississippi River prostitute spends most of her time hating herself, her life and the dirty men who rut with her mama.

When she turns thirteen and her mama informs her she’ll be servicing the very men she hates and fears, she has no other option but to run to the good nuns of the Ursulines Convent where for the first time she encounters kindness and a different kind of life.

After meeting the dashing ship captain Maurice Dubois, a man with his own past demons to reckon with, Celestine allows herself to be truly loved for the first time.

But when a shocking turn of events leaves her once again with nothing more than her own wits to survive, Celestine begins to realize the power her intoxicating beauty gives her over men including the debonair and infamous pirate Jean Lafitte.

It’s this very power that Celestine learns to capitalize on to begin a new career...not as the common riverfront lady of the night her mother had been...but as the most sought after courtesan in all of New Orleans.

Book Excerpt: Chapter 1 Celestine  

1795
‘Tine waited outside for the stinking customer to get off her mama and button his breeches. When he was done she could go inside and get warm; clean her mama and make sure she wasn’t sick on the bed. If the man was generous, there’d be enough money for supper. If not, she’d go hungry again and count the noises in her stomach ’til she fell asleep.
She sat on the carriage block crying into her papa’s old neckcloth.  She carried it everywhere hoping he’d come to rescue them. He’d bring nice things to eat and maybe a new dress for her and her mama; she prayed on it, wished on it and tried to count on it. He’d been gone the thirteen years of her young life, but he could still come back; he could.
 ‘Tine hated men.  She hated how they smelled of rum and sour living. She hated their dirty smelly clothes and their big boots full of mud and horse crap on her mama’s worn out rugs. She hated when they grabbed her mama, demanded, grunted and hit her for not being the woman they thought they deserved.  But mostly, she hated her mama for allowing the horrible men to destroy and age her far beyond her thirty years.
The man was coming down the little steps buttoning his last button and spitting a mouthful of slimy brown tobacco juice into the street.  He stopped to look at her.
“What?  You want some too?  Your mama said you might be ready.  I’m spent; next time, baby tits.” He was looking her all over making her sick.
He grabbed the neckcloth from her hand and wiped the tobacco juice off his mouth and stuffed it down the front of her dress.  Feeling around inside her bodice, he chuckled as he took his hand out and turned to walk away.
“I promise.” He said and let out a breath from a nasty place under his breeches.  His horrible laugh and foul breath filled her nose and ears as he swaggered down the street. 
She knew this was coming.  Her mama yelled at her for a week; she was thirteen and time for her to take customers and help pay her keep.  ‘Tine grabbed the dirty neckcloth out of her dress and threw it in the gutter.  No one was coming to save her; she’d have to do it herself.  God didn’t answer prayers from the daughters of sinful women who lay with lust crazed men. She’d be damned if she was going to wait for the man to come back.  She’d kill him first.
She walked back into the dirty little room and packed her few belongings while her mama slept off the effects of the man and the rum.  She went to the side of the bed and looked at the single picayune the man left. She thought of taking it; but decided she wanted nothing from the man, especially the tiny bit of money paid for rutting with her mama.
She walked back out and looked down at the neckcloth soaking up rainwater and horse pee. She picked it up, wrung it out and stuffed it way down in her ragged apron pocket and walked toward the Ursulines Convent.
The city of New Orleans was once filled with joie de vivre but since the big fires and hurricanes, it held only stink and sadness. The smell of sour ashes and the defeat of burned out hopes filled the air with misery and fatigue. The city was a good wife to some and a dock whore to others, and ‘Tine was certainly its daughter and the streets were her schoolroom. 
She watched it burn to the ground from her hiding perch on the roof of the Ursulines Convent.  The screams of burning men and women running out of houses toward the river still haunted her dreams. Mostly, they fell like pieces of charred wood from a neglected fire place; falling and rolling out of the burning buildings; their clothes smoking after their voices were finally silenced.
 She watched from the roof of the French Market as the winds and waters of two hurricanes swept the city into chaos and death. The water took people and livestock, alike; some, still alive tried to swim through the big water. Others, their dead faces peaceful floated in the filth that’d been their world. She’d saved herself by quick wits and cunning.
She fought as well as any boy her age and cut many men with the knife she kept in her stocking as they tried to grab her, but she’d never cheated and she’d never lied.  She was proud of that.
‘Tine knew everything about everything and everyone and what she didn’t know, she found out.  She knew which white Creole gentleman kept a Quadroon mistress; how often he visited and how many children he had by both his wife and mistress.  She visited the Vou-dou ceremonies to make gris-gris bags of black magic to use on her enemies, but rarely used it as it could backfire on a little girl who used it unwisely.  She danced with the slaves on Congo Square and knew their patois and how to interpret their chants and messages to each other. She followed the food vendor’s home and picked up cake and fruit that fell from a basket worn on a tired head.  But it wasn’t enough, her world was too small and she wanted more.
Kaintucks, the big rough American men coming down the river from Kentucky, taught her how to ride horses and jump the vendors to scare them to death.  This was a favorite of the dock workers, but not the vendors.  All the knowledge; where’d it gotten her? A few misplaced spells with ill-advised gris gris, knowledge of a language she’d never use, the names of the big policemen that patrolled the levee and small rice cakes called ‘calas’ or piece of rotten fruit fished out of the mud and muck of the street.  She wanted more.
Going to the Ursulines nuns and their orphanage was a fear her mama instilled and used to scare her when she didn’t behave.  For as long as she could remember, she ran to the other side of the street when passing the big convent for fear they’d come out and snatch her.
The nasty man’s horrible promise changed her whole future.  One sentence, one thought, of his coming back with his diseased pecker and sour breath and she was done with her mama and that life. Now she just wanted a hot bowl of something to eat and a safe place to sleep.  She’d decide what to do once her stomach wasn’t so loud and she could think without crying.
The good nuns were on her mind lately.  Watching them go about their daily lives had taken away much of her fear and hearing their prayers to Notre Dame de Bon Secours, from the morning of the big fire, until the morning after had given her much to think about.  They prayed without stopping and the convent had been spared. ‘Tine saw this as some powerful gris-gris and she needed that kind of power in her life.
Friends in the big market told her they had their hands full with the orphanage, the school and the King’s Hospital. They could use help and she needed help.  It could benefit both parties.
‘Tine couldn’t help with the hospital or teaching, but she knew she could keep children from running in the streets and make sure they ate their food. 
Anybody could raise children.  How hard could it be?  Young women in her mama’s profession were always having babies; some even lived and they knew how to keep them from dying... sometimes. 
She intended to pledge her services and see if she could receive decent schooling from the sisters in return. She wanted to read and write the French she spoke and also learn Spanish and English.  She’d heard the little sisters were from good homes and well educated.  They read and understood Latin, whatever that was and could chant and recite the prayers and help with the Mass.  All ‘Tine knew was she wanted to be very-well-educated like the little sisters and get out of the sewage filled gutters that was her life.
She wanted to learn good manners; how to drink coffee from a saucer; how to tell a fork from a spoon and eat from a plate instead of a bowl.  She wanted a real privy instead of the river side of the levee and a pair of shoes; she’d never owned a pair of shoes. She wanted to learn how to cook with the herbs and vegetables the little sisters grew in their famous gardens.  Oh, to know what it was like to be clean, a wish of a lifetime. She wanted to learn how to sew and make herself a dress that fit; but mostly, unknowingly she wanted to feel safe and needed.
One thing for sure, she’d never lie under a filthy man and have him poke, grunt and knock her teeth out.  She’d become a nun first.  Neither option was to her liking, but being a nun won hands down over being a whore on the half burned docks of the Mississippi River.
She walked over to rue Sainte-Ursule and looked in the gate. It was clean, peaceful and beautiful; certainly a step up from the whore’s crib she called home.  She rang the bell and waited for one of the little sisters to come and open it. She could hear her own heart beating and wondered if that was supposed to be.
Ste. Mary Theresa heard the bell and looked out to see her prayer’s realized.  She’d prayed for years this little hungry girl running the streets outside the big convent in her filthy clothes would seek their refuge and get away from her horrid life. She ran to find Mother Superior and tell her the miracle at their front gate.
“Reverend Mother, look out at the gate, quickly.”  She ran to the window.
“Quick my child, let her in before she changes her mind.  God in his mercy and wisdom has answered our prayers.” She made the sign of the cross.
“Shouldn’t you go with me?”
“No, my child it’d frighten her.  Go gently and welcome her.  Quickly, before she changes her mind.”
The good sisters had no idea that once ‘Tine made up her mind nothing could stop her or change her mind.  Celestine Haussey was stepping into her future and she wouldn’t turn back.
‘Tine had never seen such a clean world, from the shining floors to the beautiful curving cypress staircase; she was amazed at how these women lived. She’d been told they lived in poverty and said penance each day.  If this was poverty, she wondered what she’d been living all of her life.  She was ushered in to Mother Superior’s office and took a chair.
“What may we do for you my child?”  The Reverend Mother was treading lightly; this miracle was too delicate.  She must watch what she said to this little waif.
“I’m here to help with the children.”  She set her jaw and didn’t care if she was coming across fresh and brazen.  Just being behind these walls was robbing her bravery and treading on the determination felt only minutes before.

Review: Celestine is a rather unusual book. I had a sort of love/hate thing going on with it. I liked the men in her life, after she left her mother. Her husband Maurice was the kind of wounded hero you can't help but love. If you think that having a mother that is a prostitute is bad, his story is worse. At lease 'Tine wasn't violated by one of her mother's Johns.

'Tine is another matter. She's head strong and does a lot of acting without thinking and then reacting in anger. She's a hard heroine to relate to or even feel sorry for. I essentially couldn't get close to her, especially as she so easily transferred her affections from Maurice to Jean without much time to mourn.

I had a hard time wrapping my mind around her fixation for oral sex too. Celestine's actions don't quite live up to her beliefs at the beginning of the book.

The men in her life though are the real characters in the story. Celestine likes sex and she has it with just about anyone, from Jean the pirate, to her best friend's husband to a wounded soldier that has a rather scary obsession with her..

It is hard to decide which of her lovers was the sexiest. I loved her husband Maurice, because he was so sweet and loving, but Jean was always there to save her, mostly from herself.

This was a short book but if you like historical romance with a touch of erotica to them, (OMG Celestine/Maurice and the peaches = THUD) this is definitely a book for you.

Rating: 3 flowers




About the Author: F. J. Wilson was raised on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi in the fishing village and artist community of Ocean Springs, ninety miles east New Orleans; the city far from her reach but close to her heart. Much of her time growing up was spent reading under her grandmother’s big camellia bushes hiding from housework and the inevitable call to come inside and help start ‘supper’. In a time when young girls dreamed of big weddings and picket fences, she dreamed of the dangerous but darkly handsome Heathcliff and the English moors of days long gone. With Hemingway’s Paris, Scott Fitzgerald’s language and Margaret Mitchell’s South keeping her company, why would she ever want to clean her room?

Raised with small town values but dreams of a bigger life, she was more than ready to leave home in 1965 and began her education in the Theatre Department of the University of Southern Mississippi. From there she finally reached New Orleans and began a film career that sent her to New York, where she co-wrote an episode of the Emmy award winning Kate & Allie. Eventually her work in TV and film would take her to Los Angeles and all over the United States, Canada and New Zealand.

Her passion for the South and New Orleans brought her back to Mississippi in 2000. In 2007, her love for writing and her love of films collided, and she wrote humorous articles for the Arts and Entertainment Section of the Hattiesburg American newspaper. She’s been writing short stories and novels about Southerners since her retirement in 2008.

F. J. Wilson has one son, Jason, who lives in Monroe, CT and she now lives in Hattiesburg with her two Springer Hound Spaniels and is at the time married to her computer and her love of writing. You may email fher at fjwilson@chancespress.com http://www.chancespress.com/FJWilson.html

Friday, October 19, 2012

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Lord Of Temptation


Author: Lorraine Heath
Title: Lord Of Temptation
Publisher: Avon
Publish Date: Sept 25, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours and the publisher
Book Blurb: Three young heirs, imprisoned by an unscrupulous uncle, escaped—to the sea, to the streets, to faraway battle—awaiting the day when they would return to reclaim their birthright.

Once upon a time, he was Lord Tristan Easton—now he is Crimson Jack, a notorious privateer beholden to none, whose only mistress is the sea. But all that will change when exquisite Lady Anne Hayworth hires his protection on a trip into danger and seduction. . .

Desperation brought Anne to the bronzed, blue-eyed buccaneer. But after the Captain demands a kiss as his payment, desire will keep her at his side. She has never known temptation like this—but to protect her heart, she knows she must leave him behind. Yet Tristan cannot easily forget the beauty—and when they meet again in a London ballroom, he vows he won't lose her a second time, as fiery passion reignited takes them into uncharted waters that could lead the second lost lord home...

Review: I've really been getting into historical romance again. I'm not sure why. I usually go for  regencies, but this one is a Victorian novel, set in the early days of Queen Victoria's reign.

It is hard not to love both characters in this story. Anne is head strong and not your typical Victorian woman.  It is hard to believe that a woman would undertake the journey she did just to visit the grave of her fiance. It really is touching.

Her growing feelings for Tristan cause her such frustration on the journey. She feels guilty for denying Walter her love while she's beginning to have strong feelings for Captain Jack. (Every time I thought of him as Captain Jack..I alternately saw Johnny Depp and John Barrowman.)

Tristain was the kind of hero you long for in these historical romances. He's strong on the outside, but inside he's a real softy. His seduction of Anne was slow, but more than just the romance it was how he treated his crew, especially Mouse.

I love how their relationship progressed, even though they both knew it shouldn't. I'm trying to figure out how Anne didn't feel guilt at all the luscious sex she was having before marriage when she lived in Victorian England. She was very free with her favors in a time when that wasn't quite the thing!

I preferred the time that was spent on Revenge to the time in London. Some of the characters there didn't ring quite true. I liked Walter's brother Chetwyn, who was a really good sport about his relationship with Anne, but Hermoine was borderline psycho, and she changed her feelings too quickly to be believable at the end.

This book is part of the Lost Lords of Pembrook series. It is the second of three, but the books can be read as stand alone stories. It is an enjoyable read and it will make you want to grab the first book in the series which is about Tristain's brother Sebastian and Mary.

Rating: 4 flowers


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Historical Fiction Book Tours: Days Of Splendor, Days Of Sorrow




Author: Juliet Grey
Title: Days Of Splendor, Days Of Sorrow
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publish Date:  May 15, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: A captivating novel of rich spectacle and royal scandal, Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow spans fifteen years in the fateful reign of Marie Antoinette, France’s most legendary and notorious queen. Paris, 1774.

At the tender age of eighteen, Marie Antoinette ascends to the French throne alongside her husband, Louis XVI. But behind the extravagance of the young queen’s elaborate silk gowns and dizzyingly high coiffures, she harbors deeper fears for her future and that of the Bourbon dynasty.

 From the early growing pains of marriage to the joy of conceiving a child, from her passion for Swedish military attaché Axel von Fersen to the devastating Affair of the Diamond Necklace, Marie Antoinette tries to rise above the gossip and rivalries that encircle her. But as revolution blossoms in America, a much larger threat looms beyond the gilded gates of Versailles—one that could sweep away the French monarchy forever.

Review: I read this book in one day. I simply could not put it down. There are a plethora of books about Louis XVI's wife. She's like Henry VIII's wives. Royals you just can't get enough of.

The more I read about Marie Antoinette, the more I feel sorry for her.

She was sent from her home at age 14 to be wed and now in this book, several years after her marriage, it isn't consummated therefore there is no heir to the French throne.

What you see is a lonely girl who is a queen, who isn't a true wife and who is a bit ditzy to start with. If you read Juliet Grey's first book, Becoming Marie Antoinette, you know that she wasn't fond of reading or anything that would have really made her a good queen. She's kind of like a 1700s version of Paris Hilton. Only Marie was probably a nicer person.

This book shows all the missteps Marie made in her years as the Queen of France. Some of those missteps weren't entirely her fault. The people of France were predisposed to hate her. The country had spent 900 years disliking Austria, it goes without saying that they weren't prepared to love her no matter how beautiful she was, and Marie Antoinette was a beautiful woman.

This story also touches on the relationship Marie Antoinette shared with Count Axel Von Fersen of Sweden. How far the relationship progressed is up for speculation, but Juliet let's us imagine that they consummated their love affair. (Go to wiki and see Axel for youself). If I were Marie, I probably would have fallen for him. And considering Louis wasn't always a ready lover, it is definitely a possibility, especially in a court were love affairs abounded.

This book also shows the years when Marie finally became a mother, first to a daughter, Madame Royal and then to the dauphin. Motherhood was not easy on Marie. Only one of her children survived to adulthood.

This is a great middle book in the trilogy. I look forward to the final book in the series.

Rating:  5 flowers





About the Author Juliet Grey is the author of Becoming Marie Antoinette. She has extensively researched European royalty and is a particular devotee of Marie Antoinette, as well as a classically trained professional actress with numerous portrayals of virgins, vixens, and villainesses to her credit. She and her husband divide their time between New York City and southern Vermont.


Tour Schedule: http://www.hfvirtualbooktours.com/2012/09/juliet-grey-on-tour-for-days-of.html
 
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