Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review: The Time Keeper

Author:Mitch Albom
Title:The Time Keeper
Publisher: Hyperion
Publish Date: Sept 4 2012
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: From the author who's inspired millions worldwide with books like Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven comes his most imaginative novel yet, The Time Keeper--a compelling fable about the first man on earth to count the hours. The man who became Father Time.

In Mitch Albom's newest work of fiction, the inventor of the world's first clock is punished for trying to measure God's greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years. Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.

He returns to our world--now dominated by the hour-counting he so innocently began--and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, he must save them both. And stop the world to do so.

Told in Albom's signature spare, evocative prose, this remarkably original tale will inspire readers everywhere to reconsider their own notions of time, how they spend it and how precious it truly is

Review: I heard so much about this book last year. I remember seeing a segment on it on Good Morning America.

That had me intrigued, but as my TBR pile is so massive, I didn't grab a copy, partially because of its short length and the other part being so many other commitments.

Well the book showed up in our library's ebook page so I decided to give it a go.

Mitch's writing style reminded me a bit of Richard Paul Evans. Very sentimental and very heart wrenching.

The story is told from 3 points of view, Sarah, a teenage girl, Victor, a wealth businessman dying of cancer and Dor, Father Time himself.

This is a very quick read. I found it very engaging, though the story was a bit choppy, switching between so many points of view, as a result it was a little harder to connect with some of the characters. I think Sarah was the character that suffered the most. You could feel all her teenaged angst but there was something missing from her. Whereas with Victor and Dor, you had a more rounded character. You knew what made them tick, so to speak.

Dor's story is the most fascinating, as it should be, him being the inventor of time and Father Time. You see his life at home and how he became fascinated with measuring things. He was an ancient geek! Pun intended.

Becoming Father Time is his punishment. Perhaps it is a good one too. The story's moral is to appreciate the time that you have because it is precious, and you don't know how long you have.

This may be a short read, but it really packed a punch.

Rating: 5 flowers

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Innovative Online Book Tours Promo Spot: Seduced By Innocence

Seduction comes in many forms.
"Liquid fire poured into me, filling me with the intimate sense of him as he leaned in to claim my lips with his own. I reached for him, needing him closer, but my arms couldn't close the distance between us, which grew wider with each hitched breath. So close to finally feeling something real, something carnal and deep, I cried out in frustration, dropping my hands as he disappeared. My cries deepened into a frenzy of panic and my eyes flew open. I clutched my blanket and stilled myself to calm my racing heart.  

Just a dream. Always just a dream." 

 Rose Wintersong didn't have an ordinary upbringing. Raised in what most would call a hippy commune, but what is actually a powerful coven of witches, she never questions the life fate chose for her. 

Until she meets Derek O'Conner. 

Derek challenges everything Rose believes and forces her to see the secrets hidden beneath the whitewashed walls of her idyllic country life. 

Rose knows she should walk away, that the sexy martial arts instructor is bad news bred to create discord in her tight community… but the animal magnetism between them is impossible to fight. 

Caught between the passion of first love, and the steady beat of the life she's always known, Rose must choose between the innocence of her youth or the pleasures of womanhood—but lost innocence comes at a price, and Rose harbors a dark secret that could destroy everyone she loves—including Derek.  

Submit to the Seduced Saga as Derek and Rose face their future while unraveling the mysteries of their past.  

By Sure to mark as "Want to read" on Goodreads

  "Kimberly Kinrade will be giving away a custom made rose pendant based on the book cover, if she gets 1,000 adds on Goodreads before the launch on January 21, 2013.
Look for these books in 2013
January 21, 2013 -Seduced by Innocence
February 14, 2013 -Seduced by Power
TBA-Seduced by Pleasure
TBA-Seduced by Pain
TBA-Seduced by Love(less)

Kimberly Kinrade was born with ink in her veins and magic in her heart. She writes fantasy and paranormal stories for all ages and still believes in magic worlds. Check out her YA paranormal series The Forbidden Trilogy, her lower grade fantasy series The Three Lost Kids, and watch for her New Adult romance and fantasy books coming in 2013 including The Seduced Saga, Sunrise and Nightfall, Death by Destiny and The Fallen Trilogy and her next YA fantasy adventure, The Reluctant Familiar. You can find her books on Amazon, B&N and Goodreads among other fine retailers.

 When she's not writing, she runs Daring Books Design & Marketing with her husband, Dmytry Karpov, where they help authors with all manner of marketing, editing, and design needs until such a time that their brilliant children take over the business for them. 

She lives with her three little girls who think they're ninja princesses with super powers, her two cats who think they're gods (and probably are), 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. 

Twitter: @KimberlyKinrade 
Facebook: /KimberlyKinrade 

If you're an author looking for help in marketing, editing, design or self-publishing, check out 


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Monday, January 28, 2013

A Chick Ponders Bookish Things: A Reading Vacation

I have a lot on my plate right now. I have two parents that aren't in the best of health and no time to breathe on my own.

I want a vacation from my life.

I want a vacation where it is just me, a hotel room and a bunch of books. (And maybe some DVDs). No phones, no people asking for their meds or anything else.

I just want a few days AWAY to decompress.

My cats can come with me.

Have any of you wanted to just step away from life? Take your books and run away from the world? I know life is getting to be too much when I have a hard time finishing a book that isn't even 200 pages.

That's so not right.

Something of that length I could usually go through in an hour or two.

So who is going to run away with me?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Entangled Publishing Book Tour & Review: Vanilla On Top

Vanilla on Top by C.J. Ellisson
Entangled Publishing - January 2013
Discover your inner bad girl, and set her free… Heather Pierce is done being a wallflower, both personally and professionally. Desperate to live a different life for one night, she attends a speed dating event. Maybe here, anonymous unless she chooses otherwise, she can become someone new. When a man way out of her league sits across from her, Heather gathers her courage and takes charge of what she wants, secretly fearing he won’t desire the real person she’s desperate to hide.
Top acquisitions officer and international playboy Tony Carmine is about to close the biggest deal of his career. But then he meets Heather at a speed dating event…and discovers losing control may be exactly what he needs. Her blossoming sensuality occupies his every thought, consuming him with the need to possess the most intriguing lover he’s ever encountered—until he walks into the boardroom and sees Heather on the other side of the negotiating table.

Title: Vanilla on Top (Walk on the Wild Side, #1)
Author: C.J. Ellisson
Genre: Category – Contemporary Length: 279
Release Date: January 2013
ISBN: 978-1-62266-798-7
Imprint: Brazen
Purchase from Amazon:
Purchase from Barnes & Noble:

Review: This is a very hot romance. VERY VERY HOT. I think it falls into the Erotic Romance category. Its not as dirty as some of the erotica floating around there, but it is wilder than your average romance novel, plus there is the fact that Heather and Tony fall in love with each other.

One of the things that made this book unique is Heather. She's not a sub! Praise be! Finally a bit of erotic fiction that is a little on the BDSM side (very very lightly) where the guy is more submissive.

For the faint at heart, don't worry, the title explains it all. Heather is a very vanilla dom, as her friend Carla calls her. She does however like having the upper hand, something she learned she liked at the speed dating event where she first meets Tony.

I loved how their relationship evolved. Yes, there was a lot of sex, but there was a lot of background too. You got to know Heather and her insecurities and you got to watch her become more confident as her relationship progressed. You also got Tony's side of the story, which was awesome. A hot high powered exec who liked a little spanking now and then!


The whole book sizzles. Definitely a great read for your nightstand!

Rating: 5 flowers

Author Information
C.J. Ellisson, author of contemporary fantasy and erotica, lives near DC with her husband, two children aged 11 and 9, two Staffordshire Bull Terriers and a young cat she's newly allergic to. After spending most of her working life dealing with real estate - either as a sales manager in wholesale mortgage banking, a corporate trainer, a Realtor, or as a property manager - she's now writing full-time and happy for the first time in years. Writing has become her passion and to find people want to read her stories feels like a dream come true.

Author Website:
Facebook Fan Page:

Friday, January 25, 2013

CBLS Book Review: Finding A Man For Sylvia

Finding A Man For Sylvia
by Margaret Lesh
Contemporary Romantic Comedy/Chick Lit
Published by Musa Publishing
Released on November 23, 2012
Heat Level: Sweet/Sensual
Word Count: 60,000

Available at:
Amazon | ARe | B&N | BookStrand | Smashwords | Musa Publishing

A well-intentioned but clueless romantic is determined to find love for her lonely neighbor over her exasperated husband’s objections.

Julia Hawthorne-Florez has the best of intentions, and everyone knows what the road to Hell is paved with. Her husband Javier accuses her of playing God with people’s lives, but Julia is simply a fool for love. (Or maybe just a fool?)

When lonely Sylvia moves in across the street, Julia is determined to find her match. Of course, there are obstacles. Javier, for one, who’s forbidden any further matchmaking attempts on his well-intentioned wife’s part. And there’s the little matter of Sylvia being in love with a man who’s taken a vow of celibacy.

Julia schemes; the hamster wheel in her head spins furiously. Handsome Ted is Julia’s first choice. Except shy Ted happens to be interested in Julia’s best friend, certified dominatrix Lisa. And so it goes. Julia spins her web; Javier laughs at her. But Julia always gets the last laugh in this Latin-infused contemporary romantic comedy.

Note: While this title contains elements of BDSM and light bondage as one of the characters is a dominatrix, please note that there are no graphic sex scenes, only comedic references.

Excerpt: Frank went inside to greet Matilda, while Lisa gave me her typical greeting.

“Anyone interesting I should know about?” My body froze for a second; I wanted to kick myself. “Hmm?” she purred in her innocent black widow way.

I realized I’d made the most amateur of all rookie mistakes: I’d provided fresh prey for this cold-blooded huntress. We walked in together as Frank said hello to Ted and Matilda.

“No,” I said emphatically. “There’s no one here for you.”

She stopped in her long-legged tracks when she saw Ted, jabbing me in the side sharply.

Noooooo! My world was beginning to spin out of control.

I grabbed her arm, again insisting, “Don’t even think about it. He’s off-limits.”

She shook me off and was within an inch of Ted in less than a second, she’s that good.

“Hello,” she said with her hand extended, “I’m Lisa.” She practically oozed warm and fuzzy. Black widows can be very deceptive when they wish.

Ted’s cheeks were crimson, and I cursed silently. His blush was just the sort of thing to set Lisa’s predatory heart aflutter. She has a particular fondness for virgins, which I’m guessing Ted was. The hamster wheel in my head began to turn fast as I had the fleeting thought of bashing my evil friend over the head with a frying pan, but it was too late, other guests were arriving. I had to greet them. I couldn’t tell if Ted was afraid or entranced by the she-devil.

Luckily, Matilda grabbed him by the hand, ushering him back to their game.

I had a very bad feeling about things.


Review: I love when a book can make me laugh, and that is what this book did, almost from the very start.

The cast of characters is fantastic.

Julia is the matchmaker from hell.  No matter who it is. Her husband Javier tries to stop her, with an emphasis on tries, but Julia is determined to make a match for her new neighbor.

That's when hilarity ensues, and it just keeps on. You know it has too, because when Sylvia lets Julia in on who she's crushing on, its a parish priest, albeit a very hot priest, but you know matchmaking for Sylvia is not going to be easy!

The best part about the book is how the people that seemed the most unlikely to hookup with one another are the ones that do, and not really with Julia's help. 

I'm not sure which character I liked the best. Ted was so sweet, Lisa was a badass dominatrix, and Frank, Javier's father, was just crazy and lovable! 

This is one of those must read books because it will leave you feeling so good at the end..and during..and well, it just really is so fun.

Rating: 5 flowers

About the Author
California girl Margaret Lesh lives with her husband Steve and son Andrew in a quiet suburb near Los Angeles. Co-creator of, she writes middle grade, young adult, and women’s fiction. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about baked goods, especially donuts, far too often. She believes tacos are magic. 

Connect with Margaret Lesh

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Historical Fiction Book Tours: A Thing Done

Publication Date:  October 30, 2012 | Fireship Press | 336p

SYNOPSIS:  Florence, 1216:  The noble families of Florence hold great power, but they do not share it easily.  Tensions simmer just below the surface.  When Corrado the Jester's prank-for-hire goes wrong, a brawl erupts between two rival factions.  Florence reels on the brink of civil war.  One side makes the traditional offer of a marriage to restore peace, but that fragile peace crumbles under the pressure of a woman's interference, an unforgivable insult, and an outraged cry for revenge.

Corrado is pressed into unwilling service as messenger by both sides.  Sworn to secrecy, he watches in horror as the headstrong knight Buondelmonte violates every code of honor to possess the woman he wants, while another woman, rejected and enraged, schemes to destroy him. 

Corrado already knows too much for his own safety.  Will Buondelmonte's reckless act trigger a full-scale vendetta?  And if it does, will even the Jester's famous wit and ingenuity be enough to keep himself alive and protect those dear to him?

This is Corrado's story, but it is also the story of three fiercely determined women in a society that allows them little initiative:  Selvaggia, the spurned bride; Gualdrada, the noblewoman who both tempts Buondelmonte and goads him; and Ghisola, Corrado's great-hearted friend.  From behind the scenes they will do what they must to achieve their goals—to avenge, to prevail, to survive.

Review:  This book was a step out of my usual historical fiction comfort zone, however it was well worth it.

Its intrigue pure and simple with a fool in the thick of things. For me the story started off a little slow, but that really had more to do with my getting used to a different type of story than I'm used to.

Once I became acclimated to world of Florence in 1216 the book took off for me. Tinney Sue Heath has definitely done her research here and she shows that in her great attention to detail.

The story focuses on one of the most famous feuds in Italian history. Corrado is the fool that started it with a harmless prank at a dinner party. Funny how something like a prank can bring about civil war!

You really feel for him, as he is drawn into the intrigue on both sides.  It reminded me a bit of The Queen's Fool by Phillipa Gregory, or rather how the fool was drawn into things, when really that was a position that wouldn't be cause for remark at all.

Corrado is a compelling character. For a person used to reading historical fiction from a woman's point of view, this was a refreshing change, and Corrado was very likable as where Neri and Ghisola.

Your heart will break for him as the story progresses. He wants to do the right thing, but because of being caught in the middle of the two families he can't.

Definitely a good read for fans of Italian history.

Rating: 4 flowers


Tinney Sue Heath has loved music and history all her life.  Born near Chicago, she started college in Boston at the New England Conservatory with the intention of becoming a professional flutist, but after a rather abrupt change of direction she wound up with a degree in journalism from Antioch College.  She worked as a staff reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education and later provided editorial assistance to University of Wisconsin-based editors of two professional journals.

Her musical and historical interests eventually merged, and she discovered the pleasures of playing late medieval and early Renaissance music on a great variety of instruments.  Her historical focus is currently on Dante's Florence, so she and her husband spend a lot of time in Florence and elsewhere in Tuscany.  They live in Madison, Wisconsin, where they enjoy playing music and surrounding themselves with native wild plants.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Chick's Review @ Wenches: Master Class

Master Class by Cassandra Carr
Erotic Contemporary Romance
Published by Loose Id
Released Date: December 11, 2012
Heat Level: Sizzling
Word Count: 47,000
 Available at: Amazon | ARe | Loose Id
Blurb: Ryan Tomasi feels like a failure. His marriage is officially over; the ink dried on the divorce decree. His friend Jack introduces him to BDSM and he agrees to attend a Halloween party at a club. A submissive approaches him, offering herself, and how can he refuse the kneeling beauty? They do a whirlwind scene and Ryan is addicted—both to dominance and to her.

Lisette Rinaldo is returning to the BDSM club for the first time since ending a bad relationship with her former master. She spots Ryan and is taken by the combination of self-assurance and nervousness the man displays as he takes in his surroundings. And after he gives her an incredible re-introduction to the lifestyle, she knows she needs to see the man again.

Ryan and Lisette explore each other and the lifestyle, but what started out as playtime quickly evolves into something more. The problem? Ryan isn’t ready to get serious again and Lisette doesn’t want to fall in love with a guy who can’t give all of himself to her. Both of them are going to have to break out of the bonds holding them back from happiness.

Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations (including BDSM/anal play/spanking) and adult language and may be considered offensive to some readers.)

Review w/Giveaway can be found @ The Certifiable Wenches!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Reading Addiction Book Tours Guest Post & Review: Just For Now

I Hated This Book! Or, Coping With Negative Reviews
To be honest, I thought this one would be easier. In the first place, I haven’t had that many negative reviews (knock on wood). So I should be able to dismiss those I have received as outliers, or shrug and say, “can’t please everyone,” right? Alas, it’s not so easy. It’s like somebody telling you your baby is ugly. It still hurts. Here’s what I’ve found:
1.      People love it or hate it for the same reasons. For example, “Just for Now” is a tender, funny story about family, without a lot of external drama. It is many readers’ favorite of my books. But other readers haven’t been crazy about it, for the same reason. Too much family, too much about the kids, not enough excitement. It’s personal taste.
2.       An apropos quote. Bill Cosby said, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” It’s one thing to examine your negative reviews, or negative comments within positive reviews, for anything that is truly HELPFUL. Was the ending rushed? Do you have grammatical errors that need to be fixed? That’s helpful. That your book didn’t appeal to someone’s personal taste—not helpful.
3.      Your mileage may vary. I’ve written four books, and just in my little critique circle, there are four different favorites! My readers share the same diversity of opinion. When I think about my own favorite authors, I don’t love all their books equally. Some of them I don’t even care for very much. I’ve never been a huge fan of “Mansfield Park,” because Fanny Price is kind of a drip, isn’t she? And she and Edmund seem set to have a mighty virtuous and boring life. And yet I’ve read it at least three times, because Jane Austen writes so well. 
4.      It goes double for sex. Think people’s opinions differ about your heroine? Get reviewers going about the sex in your book! I’ve had people say, about the SAME BOOK:
“I loved . . . that the sex scenes weren’t so intense.”
“I found the sex scenes to be a little kinky for my taste.”
“Too much explicit sex.”
“Plenty of hot steamy sex.”
One reviewer thought that the hero putting his hand over the heroine’s mouth was BDSM (that would be the “hated it” category). Bottom line (so to speak), there is a huge variation in steam levels in contemporary romance. When your books are just getting known, people are finding out if they like the way you write, and in particular, the way you write sex. You are finding your audience. And that ain’t everybody.
5.      The acid test. I realized, after wrestling with the “ping-pong ball” effect, where I’d think: “It’s good!” “No, wait, it’s bad!” “No, it’s good!” after every review, that the REAL question was, “Did I write the book I wanted to write?” And in all four cases, I answered, “Yes, I did.” That is all I can do. And it’s all that matters. On to Book Five.

Contemporary Romance
Title: Just For Now(Escape to New Zealand #3)
Author: Rosalind James
Date Published: 8/30/2012

There’s no place like home . . .
For teacher Jenna McKnight, nothing spells “heartbreak” like finding her husband with somebody else–in her bed. Clearly, it’s time to reinvent herself. A new body, a new city, and a new job later, she’s done just that. This isn’t really her home, though. Or her family, however much she wishes it were. And playing house can be a dangerous game.
New Zealand rugby star Finn Douglas is just looking for a temporary nanny. Not a girlfriend, and definitely not a wife. He can’t resist Jenna’s cooking, it’s true. Who knew that he’d have so much trouble resisting her? He wants to do what’s right for his kids. But waiting is so hard . . .

Review: Rosalind James is one of my favorite discoveries of last year. She writes romance that give you those warm fuzzy feelings. This is the third book in her Escape to New Zealand series, but don't worry if you haven't read the other two, these are stand alone books.

You can compare her writing to early Debbie Macomber or something from the Harlequin Super Romance line. It is romance that is family oriented and not all about the sex.

Its great escape read, the kind that makes you feel good all over when you've read it.

What I like about Jenna and Finn are how real they are. They've had problems, they've got baggage, but they feel real. That's what really makes things work for me. I also love Finn's two children, Sophie and Harry. So cute.

Rosalind wrote the kid's well. Sometimes the children can come across too sweet or too obnoxious in romances, but I really loved Finn's kids. It would be easy to fall in love with them.

The relationship isn't without problems and issues and drama, but that's what life's all about. It also has a happy ending and that's what romance is all about!

Just a wonderful story, by a wonderful author! I can't wait for book 4!

Rating: 5 flowers

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Chick Ponders Bookish Things: Net Galley

I don't know about you, but I always feel like a kid in the candy store when I go to Net Galley. My Nook can't handle all the goodies I find there. I love getting to read books before they hit the shelves.

I often bite off much more than I can chew, or rather, read.

I then feel guilty about this, because I requested the book and I couldn't finish it, or get to it in 55 days!

What is wrong with me!

Its book greediness!

I suffer from it terribly.

I've been trying to avoid the site altogether, unless I have a review to post there, so I don't get sucked in by all the wonderful new books.

When I do let myself look around, I always end up requesting at least 5 books.

Please tell me I'm not the only person that is like this?

It is an addiction, and I think I need a 12 step program to get over it.

Oh Net Galley, why do I love you so much?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Book Review: No Mistletoe Required

Author: Jeanette Murray
Title: No Mistletoe Required
Publisher: Carina Press
Publish Date: Nov 5, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb:Dan Beckins isn't sure how he let his best friend con him into volunteering to build Santa's Winter Wonderland at the local hospital. He's got no problems with charity work, but anything Christmas-related is off-limits ever since he lost his parents on Christmas Day years ago. The only bright spot is working with smoking-hot Anna Smith.

Anna Smith loves Christmas and volunteering at the hospital is one of her yearly highlights. She had leukemia as a teen and then a breast cancer scare in her mid-twenties, and is now operating under a self-imposed rule that she can't have a relationship until the doctors give her a clean bill of health.

A little fling might be permissible, though, and sexy lawyer-turned-carpenter Dan seems like the perfect candidate. But when chemistry flares and the two start forming a real connection, will Anna run away before like turns to love?

Review:  This is a short holiday novella from Jeanette Murray. It has all the elements of a great book, but it suffers because of the length. (Only about 70 pages). There's so much to Dan and Anna, that giving them such a short story doesn't seem to be fitting. Both characters have a lot of past baggage that is getting in the way of their relationship.

Its the baggage that really weighs the story down. Not bad writing, not even a bad story line. This plot would have been great if it were even about 90 pages longer than it was. I wanted to know more about the things Dan and Anna went through, not just a brief mention of her cancer scare or the death of his parents.

I guess all I can say is I wanted more.

I connected with the characters. I even understood the reasons for why they did the things they did, most of the time, but I really just wanted more time with them.

This story was good, but it had the potential to be great, it just didn't quite make it there.

I hope I get the chance to read something by Jeanette Murray again, and I hope it is a little bit longer.

Rating: 3 flowers

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

CBLS Book Review: I'll Try To Behave Myself

I'll Try To Behave Myself
by June Kramin
Contemporary Romance
Published by Writers AMuse Me Publishing
Released on November 22, 2012
Heat Level: Sensual
Length: 300 pages
Available at…
Writers AMuse Me:

When Char receives the news that she has been promoted to partner, she should be ecstatic. Instead, she is in Puerto Rico, having fled there after finding her husband in bed with another woman, her dreams of starting a family shattered.
v Andy, her boss, unaware of what has happened, tracks her down to bring her back home. Encouraged by the tropical heat, the peaceful surroundings and the unending allure of water, they are soon drawn to each other in a way they had never experienced before. Char knows that her marriage is over. She also knows that an office romance is not what she wants. Her heart and his actions, tell her otherwise.

Char consistently pushes Andy away, trying to keep some semblance of order in her now-crazy life. Getting through one last major account becomes her focus; then she can concentrate on her future and her independence. Her plans are on track, until she discovers an unexpected souvenir from Puerto Rico: she is carrying Andy’s baby.

After the door slammed, Andy dialed Payton’s number.

“It’s about time you answer your phone! Where the hell is my wife?”

“I’m doing great; thanks for asking. How are you, Payton?”

“Cut the crap, Banker. Where’s Charlie?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean ‘you don’t know’? Why the hell haven’t you been answering your phone? You with her?”

“She took off, jackass. I don’t know where she’s at, but I do know she’s okay. At least, she was last time I talked to her.”

“You talked to her?” He sounded desperate to know anything he could.

“A few days ago, yes. My guess is she’s cooling off. Just let her.”

“Don’t tell me how to handle my wife!”

“Fair enough. You want pointers on your tart?”

“I figured she’d bawl to you about that. Look—”

“Suck it, Payton. I’m not getting in a pissing match with you.

I’m not avoiding your calls; I just got my phone replaced and I saw that you called. Letting you know she was okay last I talked to her is as far as I’m going with you and trust me, that’s more than you deserve in my book.” Andy hit end.

“And what do I deserve?” Andy found Char standing at the doorway; she had been listening.

“Not his line of bull.”

“Really? Am I any better than he is? Look at us.” Her lip began to tremble as she walked towards the bed then sat down.

Andy sat next to her, wrapping his arm around her. “It’s not the same, Char.”

“The hell it isn’t.” Harshly, she wiped away a tear.
 “Under any other circumstances, this would not have happened between us. We’ve been away on short trips before. Nothing has ever happened. I didn’t think you could even stand to be around me half the time.” He stood, picked up a box of tissues from the dresser then sat back down. She accepted a few and blew her nose.

She let herself laugh a little. “I couldn’t.”

“See?” he said with another one of his grins.

“So what now?”

“Water skiing,” he replied, matter-of-factly.

Review: This really is different kind of romance. If you love strong women and lots of sex with a hunky hero, this is definitely the book for you.

I liked Char. The book starts out with her having what seems like the perfect marriage. I mean, sex everyday? After 5 years of marriage?

We all knew that was too good to be true.

What took a little bit of getting used to was how Char and Andy got together. I can understand how it happened, but it would have actually made more sense if Andy were a stranger rather than her boss/partner. That made things a bit difficult for me.

I did enjoy how their relationship grew and how Andy essential turned from a Playboy into a Man, as Elvis Costello once wrote in a song. I also liked how the sex stopped playing a role after the first few chapters, though not for want of trying on Andy's part and when they did get busy it wasn't the kind of sex that leaves readers blushing.

I also liked how Char really did a lot of second guessing of herself with her relationship with Andy. I think that's something that most people would do when they are coming out of a relationship with a partner that cheated on them. She has a hard time with trust.

Cute little tidbit, I loved how Char loved 80s music and got all excited when a cover band at a casino played Def Leppard's Pour Some Sugar On Me. She's a girl after my own heart! The other thing I took place in Jersey! Can't help it! This girl loves Atlantic City!

This was a fun read and June is definitely an author I'll read again.

Rating: 4 flowers

About the Author
Wife, Mother, Writer, Lunatic. Not necessarily in that order.

June, who prefers to go by Bug, was born in Philadelphia but moved to Maui, Hawaii when she was four. She met her “Prince Charming” on Kauai and is currently living “Happily Ever After” on a hobby farm in a small town in Southern Minnesota.

She enjoys riding her Paint horse, Ringo, around the small ghost town they are playfully reestablishing with the neighbors and playing in Photoshop. Her son and daughter are her greatest accomplishments. She takes pride in embarrassing them every chance she gets.

Being hopelessly addicted to 80′s music is her super power.

Connect with June Kramin

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book Review: Bittersweet Surrender

Author: Diann Hunt
Title: Bittersweet Surrender
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publish Date: Dec 20, 2011
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Booksneeze
Book Blurb: 
The last few years have been tough, but now Carly Westlake’s life seems picture perfect. Business at her spa is up thanks to her famous chocolate facials. And Jake Mitchell—her dreamy, teenage crush—has moved back to Spring Creek, Vermont, with his daughter in tow. Carly’s nearly floored to learn that Jake has his sights set on winning her heart.

But when long-buried secrets threaten her business—and her friendship with her best friend and business-partner, Scott—Carly has to fight like crazy to keep her plans afloat. Can it be that her dream of marrying Jake Mitchell isn’t the plan God has for her life? What if God’s plan requires something totally unexpected . . . a bittersweet surrender that Carly must make before she can discover true love?

Review: Bittersweet Surrender is a book that really shows how one heroine can really be the Queen of Hard Knocks. She's a breast cancer survivor, a divorcee, with a step mother who is moving in with her, a brother that has gambling problems and a new romance on the horizon. All that is really the tip of the iceberg.

The poor thing is trying to lose weight too, while running a chocolate spa!

Nothing seems to go right for Carly and at times, the book, while funny can be a bit of a downer. I mean, it really is hard to believe that all of this bad stuff can happen. It doesn't help matters that some of the people she trusts the most let her down.

All this aside, Diann, has made a story that feels very real. The characters, are quirky and fun and very human. They have faults and flaws, many of them. Even Scott, isn't as perfect has he seems, but he is so lovable, and you'll be glad for the outcome of the book.

I have to admit, Carly choices aren't always good ones. Jake, the guy she's dreaming of a future with is a jerk and treats his daughter terribly. All of her friends have secrets and there are some of those secrets that they really shouldn't be keeping. Many times while reading I wanted to scream, tell her what's going on, for crying out loud! It made things frustrating at times.

The other thing that bothered me was how "God" just didn't seem to fit in all of this. This is a Christian romance, and while the romance was sweet as it should be in these types of books, Carly's spiritual relationship didn't feel sincere.

I did enjoy the story, mostly because it is nice to read something that isn't about a wealthy girl falling madly in love with a super gorgeous wealthy guy.

Rating:  4 flowers

Sunday, January 13, 2013

ARC Book Review: Hitched!

Author: Jessica Hart
Title: Hitched!
Publisher: Harlequin Kiss
Publish Date: January 22, 2013
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: Planning the most talked about wedding of the year is enough to make engineer Frith Taylor break out in a cold sweat. She's used to construction sites, not wedding fairs! But estate manager George Challoner's offer of help is one that's too good to resist.

George may be the rebel of the prestigious Challoner family, but his insanely good looks are giving Frith wedding fever! Charm personified, he's making her feel things she hasn't dared feel before. Maybe her little sister's wedding won't be the only one Frith's planning…?

Review: This is the second book from the new Kiss imprint that I've read, and I have to say, I think this imprint is a keeper especially if you like lighthearted contemporary romances that are really fun and just a little sexy.

The heat level for me falls between the Romance line and the Presents line, with the males not being quite so Alpha.

This book felt  like it could be a Hallmark movie. Frith (I would like to know what kind of parent names her daughter Frith) is a career minded girl. A little to career minded, but when combined with George Challoner's laid back manner, things get fun.

I loved the opposites attract nature of the story and I liked how both characters came from "money" though in different ways.

I also loved the secondary characters, Saffron, (Frith's sister) and Roley who runs the estate Frith is working for.

There's conflict, but it is never anything that would make you think that these two weren't going to get together in the end.

One of my favorite parts of the story is George and Frith's ringtones. I loved that he kept changing them into more and more absurd things. It was just a bit of silly fun. The other thing I really liked was how the sex was more alluded to, rather than in your face.

This book was pure fun. A great Sunday afternoon read. The thing that kept it from being a perfect read? I would have liked George to get his clinic for the horses, rather than have him work for the same firm Frith was.

Rating: 4 flowers

Cover Reveal: Devil May Care

Title: Devil May Care (Speak of the Devil, #2)

Author: Patricia Eimer

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Length: 352 pages

Release Date: February 2013

Print ISBN: 978-1-62061-087-6

Imprint: Entangled Select

Weddings are hell…

Being the Crown Princess of Hell has its drawbacks. Faith Bettincourt has to plan two demonic weddings for Satan’s royal family, and after finalizing the hellish details, all she really wants is to spend some time with her nephilim boyfriend, Matt.

But Matt’s heavenly ex, Brenda, walks back into his life, claiming to seek refuge from the crazy life he fled years ago. Faith sees right through the goody-two-shoes act but can almost let it go, until she discovers Matt’s crazy mom is involved…and is declaring war on Faith’s family. With her heart set on breaking them up, the matriarch of Heaven has kidnapped Faith’s brother, one of the demonic grooms. Who knew the heavenly could be so, well, devilish?

Now, Faith and Matt have to go up against the army of so-called do-gooders to restore some semblance of peace between Heaven and Hell. Clearly, not all’s fair in love and war, though, and Faith needs to decide what price she’s willing to pay for love…before someone else decides it for her.

DEVIL MAY CARE hits shelves February 25th! Reserve your copy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Promo Spot: Lynn Raye Harris' Al Dhakir Series

Strangers in the Desert


Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award Nominee 2012

The Desert King’s Lost Wife…

Isabella, the wife Sheikh Adan thought was dead, has just walked back into his life–on the eve of his wedding to another woman…
Now Adan is to be crowned King, Isabella must be his Queen–sharing his desert throne and the royal bed… But gone is the dutiful, pure girl he once knew–in her place is a defiant, sultry woman who makes Adan’s blood run hot… A woman who has no memory of being his wife…

Marriage Behind The Facade


January 2, 2013

Summoned to the desert sands Sydney Reed dreamed of being a princess in a faraway land, and couldn’t believe that smoulderingly sexy Sheikh Malik of Jahfar would marry plain old her—even out of convenience. But the dream has ended and she’s back to reality with a thud! Now Sydney needs his signature on the divorce papers—Malik, however, has other ideas. Jahfaran law requires that they spend forty days together as man and wife before Sydney can be free of him forever. Out in the scorching desert Malik holds all the power—he’ll make sure their forty nights are more than worth it…


Barnes & Noble
The Book Depository
Books A Million

Author Info: 
Lynn Raye Harris read her first Harlequin Mills & Boon romance when her grandmother carted home a box from a yard sale. She didn’t know she wanted to be a writer then, but she definitely knew she wanted to marry a sheikh or a prince and live the glamorous life she read about in the pages. Instead, she married a military man and moved around the world. She’s been inside the Kremlin, hiked up a Korean mountain, floated on a gondola in Venice and stood inside volcanoes at opposite ends of the world.

These days Lynn lives in Alabama with her handsome husband and two crazy cats. When she’s not writing, she loves to read, shop for antiques, cook gourmet meals and try new wines. She is also an avowed shoeaholic and thinks there’s nothing better than a new pair of high heels.

Lynn was a finalist in the 2008 Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® contest, and she is the winner of the Harlequin Presents Instant Seduction contest. She loves a hot hero, a heroine with attitude and a happy ending. Writing passionate stories for Harlequin is a dream come true.

Book Review: Summerset Abbey

Author: T.J. Brown
Title: Summerset Abbey
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publish Date: Jan 15, 2013
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 1913: In a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London, three young women seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of society and the distant rumblings of war. . . . 
Rowena Buxton

Sir Philip Buxton raised three girls into beautiful and capable young women in a bohemian household that defied Edwardian tradition. Eldest sister Rowena was taught to value people, not wealth or status. But everything she believes will be tested when Sir Philip dies, and the girls must live under their uncle’s guardianship at the vast family estate, Summerset Abbey. Standing up for a beloved family member sequestered to the “underclass” in this privileged new world, and drawn into the Cunning Coterie, an exclusive social circle of aristocratic “rebels,” Rowena must decide where her true passions—and loyalties—lie.

Victoria Buxton

Frail in body but filled with an audacious spirit, Victoria secretly dreams of attending university to become a botanist like her father. But this most unladylike wish is not her only secret—Victoria has stumbled upon a family scandal that, if revealed, has the potential to change lives forever. . . .

Prudence Tate

Prudence was lovingly brought up alongside Victoria and Rowena, and their bond is as strong as blood. But by birth she is a governess’s daughter, and to the lord of Summerset Abbey, that makes her a commoner who must take her true place in society—as lady’s maid to her beloved “sisters.” But Pru doesn’t belong in the downstairs world of the household staff any more than she belongs upstairs with the Buxton girls. And when a young lord catches her eye, she begins to wonder if she’ll ever truly carve out a place for herself at Summerset Abbey.

Review: Summerset Abbey is a book for fans of Historical Fiction and people that are in love with Downton Abbey. It is also the first book in the Summerset Abbey Trilogy, with the second book due out in March and the third in August.

The three girls are so very different and they inspire many different emotions in the reader. Rowena is hard to like, yet she isn't nasty or anything that should make you dislike her, it is more that she's a procrastinator and just plain wishy washy. Throughout the story you want to grab her and shake her to make her do something, besides wait.

Victoria on the other hand is the Buxton sister you really love because she's got spunk. She's not in the best of health. She's got asthma, but that doesn't stop her. She's the type of girl you want on your side no matter what. She's loyal, she's fun and she's smart.

Prudence is the downstairs girl. Sorta. She's been raised with Victoria and Rowena, but she's the daughter of a governess/maid. When Sir Phillip died, the only way Rowena could keep her with them was to say she was their ladies maid.

So right off, Rowena loses points in the friendship department, but this separation of the classes is what makes this book so engaging. She slowly starts treating Prudence more like a servant and less like a friend and she uses the excuse of feeling overwhelmed by new responsibilities to justify her actions,when there are very little new responsibilities she has.

It is the differences in the girls characters that really keep you reading as well as the relationships that they develop with different men.

And every story is not complete without a villain and in this story's case it is Victoria and Rowena's Aunt Charlotte. She is a Bitch with a capital "B." She's the type that does everything for the good of the family name and while you can understand why she's done it, the way she goes about things, well, its just not nice.

All of her nastiness has to do with Prudence, or rather Prudence's parentage. It is easy early on to know that she's more than just the daughter of a governess. I wasn't totally surprised at the revelation of who her father was, but her reaction and the subsequent end of the book left something to be desired. It was a little to abrupt.

Still, this is a great novel that is very reflective of the pre-WW1 years. I can't wait to read the second book!

Rating: 4 flowers

Friday, January 11, 2013

Goddess Fish Promotions Guest Post: Jennifer Shirk


Every author does a little research when creating their characters. For KISSING KENDALL, my new sweet romance, I happened to have watched a lot of the Food Network channel. J
I wanted my character to open up her own bakery. I was lucky enough to have a friend who owned one, so I could ask a lot of questions. But I also wanted to get some new ideas on things my character Kendall could make as well.
I happened to be watching the show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and one of the chefs mentioned a doughnut muffin. It sounded so scrumptious I knew that had to be Kendall’s specialty. I even went to the trouble of looking up the recipe and making it. (It is delicious, by the way) Then my editor suggested tinkering with the recipe to create my own version for Kendall and that is the recipe that is included in the book!
Talk about fun research!
Right now I still must be in baking mode because I have a new story I’m working on and my character is a pastry chef. I’m still working on a specialty for her! J
Thanks so much for having me today!
I hope you get to check out KISSING KENDALL-and try out the doughnut muffin recipe for yourself.
And be sure to check out my new Valentine’s Day novella coming out later this month called A LITTLE BIT CUPID about a loner who must find true love before midnight on Valentine’s Day or risk having humanity lose love forever, and with the help of Cupid’s son himself, she seeks out Mr. Wrong while Mr. Right is right under her nose. (No recipes or baked goods in this one but still lots of fun!)

Kissing Kendall
by Jennifer Shirk


BLURB: Kendall Grisbaum has been trying to pick up of the pieces of her life since the death of her firefighter husband almost two years ago. The last thing she’s interested in is love and feels the best way to start moving on is to concentrate on opening up her new bakery business. Unfortunately, she’s finding it hard to remember those two points now that her old friend and policeman Brad Mayer is back in her life and giving her a helping hand. After losing her husband in the line of duty, Kendall doesn’t want to get involved with another man with a dangerous job, and refuses to give in to her attraction to the handsome police officer. But Brad has always loved Kendall from afar and now that he senses she might feel the same, he’s determined to show her the real danger would be to lose another chance at love.

Excerpt :

Brad startled her by reaching out and stroking the side of her face with his finger. “Hey, why the frown? I pay you a compliment and you look unhappy. Next time, I’m going to tell you your cupcakes suck if that’s what it takes to get a smile out of you.”

“Oh, stop,” she said with a halfhearted laugh, lightly batting away his hand. “It’s nothing you said. And I am happy.” Mostly. At least she was happier than she’d been a few months ago.

Brad narrowed his eyes. “No, I know you. What’s really going on?”

She should have known better than to think she could hide anything from him, so she gave up the pretense. “I don’t know. I…I guess I feel a little alone sometimes. Grammy never seems to be around when I need her—and she’s all I have now. Even though it’s just you and Georgie, you two are close and share so much. And I…” She flushed, realizing she was babbling and embarrassing herself further. “Never mind.  I’m sorry. I’m just being silly.”

“Hey, you’re not being silly.” Brad stepped even closer.

His aftershave tickled her nose, but the fresh scent was a welcome change to her senses. All she wanted to do was lean in farther and just inhale. She hoped he didn’t notice her swaying into him, but he smelled a thousand times better than cupcakes and wet paint.

“You can’t help the way you feel,” he said, placing his warm, broad hands on her shoulders. “But I want you to know that I’ll always be around, so you never have to feel alone.”

She wanted to argue that point, but his kind words were overwhelming. Brad pulled her into him, wrapping his arms around her. She stiffened at first, but the way he positioned himself made it clear that he had no intention of letting her go any time soon.

Her shoulders relaxed and she dropped her chin to his chest with a sigh of pleasure. Somehow Brad instinctively knew she needed this—a good old-fashioned hug—more than she knew she needed it herself. She wound her arms around his waist and sank deeper into his chest. An aching need to be held by him and have all her worries disappear squeezed through her. She felt safe, almost believing his words that he would always be around and she’d never be alone.

It was nice to pretend for a few minutes, anyway.

Brad shifted, gathering her even closer. He brushed a gentle kiss on the side of her forehead and a shudder passed through her. He felt so nice. This felt so nice. Brad inclined his head a few more inches and his breath softly fanned her face.

Without warning, her senses began to spin from the heat of his body and the scent of his skin. That’s when she knew she was in trouble.

Her eyes sprang open. Suddenly their embrace didn’t feel like a friendly hug, but something much more intimate. What were they doing? What was she doing?

Brad is only trying to comfort you, she kept telling herself. Until she looked up into his eyes and saw that he felt what was passing between them as well. His blue eyes were filled with heat. Desire. She swallowed hard.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Jennifer Shirk has a bachelor degree in pharmacy-which has in NO WAY at all helped her with her writing career. But she likes to point it out, since it shows romantic-at-hearts come in all shapes, sizes, and mind-numbing educations.

She writes sweet romantic comedies and won third place in the RWA 2006 NYC's Kathryn Hayes Love and Laughter Contest with her book, The Role of a Lifetime.

She's also a board member for Straight Ahead Ministries, an organization involved in helping spread the gospel and aiding medical and pharmacy students in Russia. She resides in a beach resort in NJ, and when she's not involved in all the above, she's taking care of her most treasured possessions: her husband, daughter, and four hermit crabs.



Jennifer will be awarding a free ebook of Kissing Kendall or an ebook from her backlist (winner's choice) to a random commenter at each stop. (There must be a minimum of 5 comments on each blog for a winner to be chosen).

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