Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cover Reveal: Out Of Play




Blurb:

Rockstar drummer Bishop Riley doesn't have a problem. Celebrities—especially ones suffering from anxiety—deserve to party, right? Wrong. After taking a few too many pills, Bishop wakes up in the hospital facing an intervention. If he wants to stay in the band, he’ll have to detox while under house arrest in Seldon, Alaska.

Hockey player Penny Jones can't imagine a life outside of Seldon. Though she has tons of scholarship offers, the last thing she wants is to leave. Who'll take care of her absent-minded gramps? Not her mother, who can’t even be bothered with the new tenants next door.

Penny’s too hung up on another guy to deal with Bishop’s crappy attitude, and Bishop’s too busy sneaking pills to care. Until he starts hanging out with Gramps. If Bishop wants a chance with the fiery girl next door, he’ll have to admit he has a problem and kick it. Too bad addiction is hard to kick…and Bishop’s about to run out of time.





Historical Fiction Book Tours: Cynthia Sally Haggard - The Thwarted Queen




A research nugget: How Jane Shore dished about a row Cecylee had with King Edward IV
I’ve always found it interesting that Edward IV’s favorite mistress should have had two names. Was she Jane Shore? Or Elizabeth Shore?

Turns out that her name was really Elizabeth, but she allowed herself to be called Jane.
Now why would that be? Would it be because Jane Shore – who comes across as a generous, kind-hearted individual - allowed her first name to change so that she would not compete with the other important woman in Edward’s life, his wife Queen Elisabeth Woodville? (Perhaps she thought that one Elizabeth was enough for King Edward IV!)

What does seem to be true is that Edward was fond of Jane Shore, who was witty and intelligent, and seems to have been the recipient of many his confidences, what we would refer to nowadays as “pillow talk.” She provides an important link to evidence that gives us some indication of how Cecylee Neville -Edward’s formidable mother and the protagonist of THWARTED QUEEN - felt when she learned that he had secretly married Elisabeth Woodville.

As an old woman, Jane Shore was befriended by Sir Thomas More - the famous catholic martyr who was beheaded in 1535 - early in the reign of Henry VIII. The event she remembered occurred many years before, in September 1464, when Edward confounded everyone by announcing his secret marriage. His mother was dismayed and hurt. Dismayed, because Edward’s new Queen would take precedence over her. Hurt, because he had not confided in her. It was all the more distressing because his cousin, Warwick the Kingmaker, had been on the point of concluding negotiations for the hand of the French King’s sister.

A research nugget: How Jane Shore dished about a row Cecylee had with King Edward IV
Sir Thomas More recounts the row that erupted, as it came from the lips of Jane Shore. Cecylee told her son that it was his duty as King of England to marry into a noble or royal house from the continent. She said that it was wholly inappropriate for a monarch to marry his own subject, where no honor or lands could be secured by it.

“A rich man,” she declared,” would marry his maid only for a little wanton dotage on her person. In which marriage, many more commend the maiden’s fortune than the master’s wisdom. And yet...there is between no merchant and his own maid so great a difference as between the King and this widow. And marrying a widow,” she added as a parting shot, “only made matters worse.”

Jane Shore apparently told Sir Thomas More that when King Edward rebuffed Cecylee’s complaint, she “devised to disturb this marriage.”

But she didn’t succeed. Despite his uncontrollable womanizing, Elisabeth Woodville managed to hold her husband’s attention long enough to give him ten children over a period of fourteen years.
But Cecylee loathed her daughter-in-law and never forgave her son, and her dismay and hurt feelings helped to fuel the second phase of the Wars of the Roses, in which Edward nearly lost his throne.
You can read more in THWARTED QUEEN...








Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/thwartedqueenvirtualtour/
Twitter Hashtag: #ThwartedQueenVirtualTour

Publication Date:  October 29, 2012 | CreateSpace | 498P

THWARTED QUEEN is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear.

Cecylee is the apple of her mother’s eye. The seventh daughter, she is the only one left unmarried by 1424, the year she turns nine. In her father’s eyes, however, she is merely a valuable pawn in the game of marriage. The Earl of Westmorland plans to marry his youngest daughter to 13-year-old Richard, Duke of York, who is close to the throne. He wants this splendid match to take place so badly, he locks his daughter up.

The event that fuels the narrative is Cecylee’s encounter with Blaybourne, a handsome archer, when she is twenty-six years old. This love affair produces a child (the “One Seed” of Book II), who becomes King Edward IV. But how does a public figure like Cecylee, whose position depends upon the goodwill of her husband, carry off such an affair? The duke could have locked her up, or disposed of this illegitimate son.

But Richard does neither, keeping her firmly by his side as he tries to make his voice heard in the tumultuous years that encompass the end of the Hundred Years War - during which England loses all of her possessions in France - and the opening phase of the Wars of the Roses. He inherits the political mantle of his mentor Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, and become’s the people’s champion. The rambunctious Londoners are unhappy that their country has become mired in misrule due to the ineptitude of a King prone to fits of madness. Nor are they better pleased by the attempts of the King’s French wife to maneuver herself into power, especially as she was responsible for England’s losses in France. But can Richard and Cecylee prevail? Everywhere, their enemies lurk in the shadows.

This book is filled with many voices, not least those of the Londoners, who forged their political destiny by engaging in public debate with the powerful aristocrats of the time. By their courageous acts, these fifteenth-century Londoners set the stage for American Democracy.

PRAISE FOR THWARTED QUEEN

"Thwarted Queen: A Saga About the Yorks, Lancasters and Nevilles, Whose Family Feud Started the Wars of the Roses is historical fiction at its best, an account which takes the real-world stories of a woman trapped by power and her husband, a Royal duke, who faces  down his political opponents, and melds their lives into an exciting fictional drama." Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review.

"Thwarted Queen is extremely interesting and cleverly written-I was completely enthralled!" Lucy Bertoldi, Historical Novel Society.

"Gripping, well-researched historical novel, revealing a violent age. Cecylee and the other characters are well-drawn, with great subtlety and depth." Lindsay Townsend, author of TO TOUCH THE KNIGHT. 

"The author immerses the reader in a complex and vivid w
orld that is depicted with persuasive confidence." Curtis Sittenfeld, author of AMERICAN WIFE. 

"A wonderful novel to introduce Cecily Neville and historical biographical fiction to young female readers." Mirella Patzer, author of THE PENDANT. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Born and raised in Surrey, England, CYNTHIA SALLY HAGGARD has lived in the United States for twenty-nine years. She has had four careers: violinist, cognitive scientist, medical writer and novelist. Why does she write historical novels? Because she has been reading them with great enjoyment since she was a child. Because she has a great imagination and a love of history that won't go away. And because she has an annoying tendency to remember trivial details of the past and to treat long-dead people as if they were more real than those around her.

Cynthia's biggest influence was her grandmother, Stephanie Treffry, who had a natural story-telling ability. As a widow in 1970s Britain, Grandma Stephanie didn't drive a car, so would spend time waiting for buses. Her stories were about various encounters she had at those bus-stops. Nothing
 extraordinary, except that she made them so funny, everyone was in fits of laughter. A born entertainer, Cynthia tries to emulate her when she writes her novels.

In case you were wondering, she is related to H. Rider Haggard, the author of SHE and KING SOLOMONS'S MINES. (H. Rider Haggard was a younger brother of her great-grandfather.) Cynthia Sally Haggard is a member of the Historical Novel Society. You can visit her website at www.spunstories.com.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Historical Fiction Book Tours Book Review; Thwarted Queen




Author: Cynthia Sally Haggard
Title: Thwarted Queen
Publisher: Spun Stories Press
Publish Date: Oct 18, 2011

Buy:  Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Historical Fiction Book Tours and the publisher
Book Blurb: 
THWARTED QUEEN is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear.

Cecylee is the apple of her mother’s eye. The seventh daughter, she is the only one left unmarried by 1424, the year she turns nine. In her father’s eyes, however, she is merely a valuable pawn in the game of marriage. The Earl of Westmorland plans to marry his youngest daughter to 13-year-old Richard, Duke of York, who is close to the throne. He wants this splendid match to take place so badly, he locks his daughter up.

The event that fuels the narrative is Cecylee’s encounter with Blaybourne, a handsome archer, when she is twenty-six years old. This love affair produces a child (the “One Seed” of Book II), who becomes King Edward IV. But how does a public figure like Cecylee, whose position depends upon the goodwill of her husband, carry off such an affair? The duke could have locked her up, or disposed of this illegitimate son.

But Richard does neither, keeping her firmly by his side as he tries to make his voice heard in the tumultuous years that encompass the end of the Hundred Years War - during which England loses all of her possessions in France - and the opening phase of the Wars of the Roses. He inherits the political mantle of his mentor Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, and become’s the people’s champion. The rambunctious Londoners are unhappy that their country has become mired in misrule due to the ineptitude of a King prone to fits of madness. Nor are they better pleased by the attempts of the King’s French wife to maneuver herself into power, especially as she was responsible for England’s losses in France. But can Richard and Cecylee prevail? Everywhere, their enemies lurk in the shadows.

This book is filled with many voices, not least those of the Londoners, who forged their political destiny by engaging in public debate with the powerful aristocrats of the time. By their courageous acts, these fifteenth-century Londoners set the stage for American Democracy.


Review: This book takes place before The War Of Roses. I haven't read much from this period, other than Phillipa Gregory's The Lady Of The Rivers, so this is new territory for me.

I was surprised at how much I remembered about the historical figures that were prominent during this time period, particularly Marguerite of Anjou, who isn't portrayed in a very favorable light here.

The story is about Cecylee, wife of Richard of York.

She's a very strong woman and she goes through a lot in her life.

From the very start, this book captured my interest. Its a weighty book, about 440 pages give or take, and I read it in 2 days. Once I started reading, I really got caught up in time period.

I have to admit I am used to reading historical fiction by certain authors, Gregory, Plaidy etc and it was nice to have a story told with a different voice.

Cynthia brings these historical figures to life for her readers in such a way that you really want to know more and Cecylee is a very intriguing woman for her time. There are times when you love her, when you feel sorry for her and when you want to knock some sense into her.

So all in all, she is just like you or me only she's caught up in a power struggle for the crown of England, because of the madness of Henry VI and his wife Marguerite of Anjou.

One of the things about Cecylee's story that is most intriguing is of her supposed affair that resulted in the birth of a son, Edward IV. His father was supposedly an archer named Blaybourne.

This story served two purposes for me. It kept me entertained and it taught me something. My grandmother always said that you learn something from every book you read, regardless of the genre. In this case I got a wonderfully entertaining history lesson from Cynthia Sally Haggard.

Rating: 5 flowers



Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Review: Just One Night Part 1 The Stranger

Author: Kyra Davis
Title: Just One Night Part 1: The Stranger
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publish Date: Jan 21, 2013
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: Kasie knows who she’s supposed to be. But one passionate night with a mysterious stranger will teach her who she wants to be. You should sleep with a stranger, her best friend whispers in her ear as they take to Vegas for one last pre-wedding fling. Despite her best intentions, when Kasie Fitzgerald enters the casino and sees him, a man whose tailored clothes belied a powerful, even dangerous, presence, she loses herself to the moment. Maybe it’s the dress, much shorter than she’d ever normally wear, or the Scotch, but something makes her give herself over to him more completely than she's ever done with a man before.

It was supposed to be just one night. But right as she’s thinking she wants more, he shows up in her office with an agenda. As the billionaire CEO of a company that’s engaged her PR firm, his demands just became her reality...and he desires so much more than just some attention in the boardroom.

Review: I'm a huge fan of Kyra's Sophie Katz mysteries, so I thought, why not give her new erotic novel a try?

While I love Sophie Katz, I'm not so sure how I feel about the Just One Night series.

Not because of the writing, Kyra knows how to weave a good tale, however I found it hard to connect with Kasie. She was too selfish. I could excuse her cheating on Dave, if they had been together a short time, but they had been together 6 years and marriage seemed inevitable. So all in all her actions felt wrong and left me not liking her much.

Dave was ho hum. He definitely would inspire someone to cheat on him. However like Kasie, he has some secrets too, as you find out towards the end. However, the cliffhanger ending isn't enough to make me care.

Then there's Robert. He's the stranger that awakens the naughty girl in Kasie. You want to like him. He's mysterious, his rich, he's great in bed, as the smokin' hot sex scenes show us. However, you don't really get to know him. He felt like a cut out hero. In fact, so did Dave. I couldn't feel anything for either man, because there was really no reason to like them.

I wanted so much more from this story, because I love Kyra's writing. Maybe it is because this is part of short novella series. It reads like a naughty soap opera and the ending leaves you waiting to see what happens next. I like my stories to start and end. It is more satisfying.

There was one other thing that got me. No condoms/protection mentioned at all. Yet, Kasie bitches about Robert smoking a cigarette. Oye! She could get knocked up of some freaky disease, but smoking is bad?

UH?

I guess you pick your battles.

The heat factor is very high here, so if that's your thing, this book will do it for you, but the little things may bring you down a bit.

Rating: 3 flowers


Book Review: Chocolate Covered Murder



Author: Leslie Meier
Title: Chocolate Covered Murder
Publisher: Kensington
Publish Date: Dec 31, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 
Between a cutthroat dessert contest and her daughter's new job at the fanciest chocolate shop Tinker's Cove has ever seen, Lucy Stone is on a steady diet of tempting treats! But with a killer on the loose, and Valentine's Day around the corner, there may be nothing sweeter than revenge. . . It's frigid in snow-covered Tinker's Cove, and Lucy is fighting the winter blues--and her widening waistline. No one in their right mind would vacation in Maine this time of year, but to boost the economy, the town is launching a travel promotion for Valentine's Day. As a reporter for the Pennysaver, Lucy is assigned a puff piece on upscale Chanticleer's Chocolates, and its deliciously handsome owner, Trey Meacham. But when a local fisherman drowns suspiciously, Lucy's certain her investigative skills could be put to better use. . .

Everyone is shocked when Fern's Famous Fudge loses its status as "Best Candy on the Coast" to Chanticleer's pricey newfangled confections. And Lucy soon discovers there's another tantalizing tart behind the counter. Sultry store manager Tamzin Graves is only too eager to serve her male clientele--who find her as mouthwatering as her beef-jerky-spiked truffles. Leaving a throng of jealous women in her wake, it's almost no surprise when Tamzin is the next to turn up dead, her body covered in chocolate. . .

Could a bitter ex-wife be behind the crimes? Or a candy shop competitor? There's no sugar-coating the truth, and as Lucy closes in on the culprit, she may find herself locked in the clutches of a half-baked killer. . .

Review: I have a love/hate relationship with Lucy Stone. I've read a few and I've had mixed feelings about them, but this story caught my eye, and I was really pleasantly surprised when I finished the last page.

When I first started reading this series, I expected something like the Hannah Swensen series, and when I found out it wasn't going to be that way, I was a little disappointed. Like the Hannah novels, you do get a fun cast of characters from Tinker's Cove, but where as Hannah is a single girl with a business, Lucy is a parttime

This story was more lively with two rival candy makers and two dead bodies, and truth be told, Lucy didn't seem to be investigating more as she was there to watch things unfold.

The characters, particularly the ones that end up dead are the most interesting, Tamzin, who is really quite a sleazy chocolate seller and Max and outdoors man that doesn't pay his bills. Both add life to the story, Tamzin with her general flirtatious sluttyness and Max, well, you felt sorry for him for a bit.

There was so much going on in this story, naughty chocolates, one of Lucy's friends getting handcuffed to the bed by a chocolate Cassanova, Trey Meacham and an elderly couple on the hunt for a perfect house.

This story had an interesting pace because there were two murders. Max died early on and Tamzin midway through. I spent a lot of the book wondering how the two killings were tied together, and even when one character was arrested, I knew that person couldn't be the killer. The cops never find the killer in cozy mysteries early on! What fun would that be if they did!

More so than anything this book mixed small town gossip with a murder mystery and the result was really quite fun and it kept you on your toes, because you really couldn't guess who did it until the book was nearly over.

All of this taking place around Valentine's Day!

One of the better Lucy Stone mysteries and you really don't need to read them all in order to enjoy them.

Rating: 4 flowers




Saturday, February 23, 2013

Book Review: Cream Puff Murder


Author: Joanne Fluke
Title: Cream Puff Murder
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publish Date: March 1, 2009
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Bakery owner Hannah Swensen has a dress to fit into and a date with her sister, Andrea, at Lake Eden's new health club, Heavenly Bodies. Dragging herself out of bed on a frigid Minnesota morning for exercise, of all things, is bad enough. Discovering the body of man-eating bombshell Ronni Ward floating in the gym's jacuzzi? Okay, that's worse. Nor does it help that there's a plate of The Cookie Jar's very own cream puffs garnishing the murder scene. Trying to narrow the list of Ronni's enemies down to fewer than half the town's female population, Hannah has her plate full. Trouble is, when it comes to cookies - and to murder - there's always room for one more...

Review: I have to admit, I love this series. It is a very light on the mystery and heavy on the small town comings and goings and on the recipes.

Oh yeah, I will admit I read these for the recipes. Joanna Fluke delivers great cookie recipes. Move over Mrs Fields, cos Joanna's cookies are 100 times better.

And I know because I've made quite a few.

This book deals with the murder of fitness instructor and sexpot, Ronni Ward. She's one character you're happy to see dead. She's just not nice to other women and she's trying to steal everyone else's men, including part of Hannah's love triangle, Mike.

Thanks to Ronni's sluttish nature, Hannah has a free hand at trying to solve this murder, because every detective is off the case.

WTF! Including Andrea's husband Bill!

Yikes!

To make things interesting Hannah needs to lose weight to fit in the regency dress her mother ordered for her for her book launch party.

I'm not sure how she lost all the weight in 2 weeks, but kudos to her, for staying away from all her yummy cookies.

Why I love about this series is how homey they feel. I don't read a Hannah Swensen novel looking to be wowed but a great mystery. I read them because I love the characters in Lake Eden. I love Hannah's family and friends.

I look at this series as something like Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street series, only with a murder in each book (and some awesome cookie recipes)

I really enjoyed the mystery in Cream Puff Murder, because the victim was so nasty. I also liked the switcheroo Joanne pulled when it came to whodunit. Just when you thought you knew who it was, you find out your wrong.

Some might complain that things are predictable and not so realistic, but I don't care. These books are fun and I love them!

Now onto a recipe.

Blueberry Crunch Cookies


Ingredients 
1 C melted butter
2 C sugar
2 t vanilla
½ t salt
1½ baking soda
2 large beaten eggs
2½ C flour 1 C dried sweetened blueberries
2 C ground dry oatmeal (measure before grinding)

Directions 

350 oven
Melt butter.
Add sugar and mix.
Add vanilla, salt, baking soda—mix well.
When cooled to room temp., add eggs.
Add flour slowly.
Mix in dried fruit.
Place oatmeal in food processor and process till it is the consistency of course sand. Add oatmeal to bowl. Dough will be quite thick.
Roll into walnut size balls.
Put on greased cookie sheet.
If too sticky, refrigerate for 1/2 hour.
Squish balls down a bit with spatula.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. These freeze well.



I made a half a batch and I made one change to the recipe. Dried blueberries are super expensive and I'm on a budget, so I bought a bag of mixed berries. The bag had dried cranberries, blueberries and cherries  but at a reduced cost.

The cookies are delicious and the ground oatmeal gives them the perfect crunch. The other thing I've noticed about Joanna's recipes is the use of melted butter. I think this really adds something to the cookie

I can't wait to try another recipe from the book.

Rating: 4 flowers


Friday, February 22, 2013

Entangled Publishing Book Tours Book Review: A Little Bit Cupid


About Jennifer Shirk: 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-numbingeducations.

She writes sweet (and sometimes even funny) romances for Samhain Publishing, Avalon Books/Montlake Romance and now Entangled Publishing. She won third place in the RWA 2006 NYC's Kathryn Hayes Love and Laughter Contest with her first book, The Role of a Lifetime.

Lately she's been on a serious exercise kick. But don't hold that against her. 

Feel free to follow her on Twitter or become a friend on Facebook

Social Media Links:Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenniferShirk 
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorjennifershirk 
Website: http://www.jennifershirk.com/ 
Blog: http://www.jennifershirk.blogspot.com/ 
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3112488.Jennifer_Shirk 


About A LITTLE BIT CUPID: Finding love should be easy, but wedding photographer Pheobe Ward knows better. When Cupid shows up on a crazy mission to help her —and save the world in the process—Phoebe realizes love might be even more complicated than she thought. Even with Cupid showing her Mr. Right , she can’t stop thinking about his best friend, Mr. Wrong.

Cal Crawford has never had time for love, but now he’s falling for Phoebe. Which means it’s got to be just plain wrong to set her up with his best friend, right? But even though seeing Phoebe with someone else will break his heart, he can’t walk away from her.

Phoebe can’t afford to choose the wrong guy with the fate of the world at stake. But maybe Cupid has it wrong. Maybe she has to rely just a little bit on Cupid, and a whole lot more on her heart.


A LITTLE BIT CUPID on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17244482-a-little-bit-cupid

Book Review: A Little Bit Cupid a sweet short holiday story that should be on everyone's must read list for Valentine's Day.

It's part fantasy, part romance and part fun.

Pheobe is a photographer who has a problem with hot coffee and that's to the son of cupid, she has a mission; to find true love before Valentine's Day or else. The or else is a biggie, love would be gone from the world.

Now who could imagine living in a world without love?

Yikes! (apologies for the pun)

The story basically reminds us that sometimes Mr. Right can be Mr. Wrong and in this case, you can't help but be glad that the guy you think is going to be Mr. Wrong ends out being just the opposite. Cal is everything you could possibly ask for in a Mr. Right. Oh and our heroine Pheobe is totally sweet, a good photographer that just happens to have really bad luck with men.

This was a short satisfying read that will leave you with a case of the warm fuzzies.

Rating: 5 flowers



~ Review copy provided By Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review

Entangled Publishing Book Tours: Jennifer Shirk - A Little Bit Cupid



Hi, all! Jennifer here!
Since my latest release  A LITTLE BIT CUPID takes place around Valentine's Day, I thought it'd be fun showcase my all-time favorite ROMANTIC songs. After all,  Valentine's Day is the most romantic day of the year. :-)
So here we go:
Jennifer's Top Ten Favorite Romantic Songs
10) "Somos Novios (It's Impossible)" by Andrea Bocelli & Christina Aguilera (yes, most of it is in another language, but trust me. It's romantic and makes me want to go to Europe with my honeybunny)
9) "When You Say You Love Me" by Josh Groban  (gorgeous--and Josh's voice makes it more so)
8) "You Don't Know Me" by Ray Charles (ah...unrequited love...)
7) "(How Little it Matters) How Little We Know" by Frank Sinatra  (I had to add a Frankie song to the list!)
6) "Distance" by Christina Perri and Jason Mraz (more unrequited love because they're both afraid to tell each other how they feel. *sigh*)
5) "Let's Fall in Love" by Diana Krall (I love Diana Krall and she actually sings a lot of great love songs. This is my favorite)
4)"A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri (Yeah, I know it was used in one of the Twilight movies, but so lovely.)
3)"Fall" by Clay Walker (yes, I like an eclectic mix. This country song makes me melt)
2) "Nobody lives without love" by Eddi Reader (More eclectic stuff for you. They played this song on GH for Brenda and Jax years ago . I thought it fit them perfectly. Very romantic.)
1) "Our Love is Here to Stay" by Harry Connick Jr (My Wedding Song! The MOST romantic, of course.)
Hey, thanks for making it to the bottom of the list. :)  
As you can see, I like a variety of music.
What's YOUR favorite romantic song?


About Jennifer Shirk: 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 (and sometimes even funny) romances for Samhain Publishing, Avalon Books/Montlake Romance and now Entangled Publishing. She won third place in the RWA 2006 NYC's Kathryn Hayes Love and Laughter Contest with her first book, The Role of a Lifetime.

Lately she's been on a serious exercise kick. But don't hold that against her.

Feel free to follow her on Twitter or become a friend on Facebook.

Social Media Links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenniferShirk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorjennifershirk
Website: http://www.jennifershirk.com/
Blog: http://www.jennifershirk.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3112488.Jennifer_Shirk


About A LITTLE BIT CUPID: Finding love should be easy, but wedding photographer Pheobe Ward knows better. When Cupid shows up on a crazy mission to help her —and save the world in the process—Phoebe realizes love might be even more complicated than she thought. Even with Cupid showing her Mr. Right , she can’t stop thinking about his best friend, Mr. Wrong.

Cal Crawford has never had time for love, but now he’s falling for Phoebe. Which means it’s got to be just plain wrong to set her up with his best friend, right? But even though seeing Phoebe with someone else will break his heart, he can’t walk away from her.

Phoebe can’t afford to choose the wrong guy with the fate of the world at stake. But maybe Cupid has it wrong. Maybe she has to rely just a little bit on Cupid, and a whole lot more on her heart.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Buy The Book Tours Promo Spot: River Of Love




About Rosanne Bittner

Picture

I've been writing for nearly thirty years and to date have had 57 novels published, all about the American West of the 1800's and Native Americans. I write romance, but not the typical bodice-ripping adventures. My stories are deep love stories, often family sagas told as a series. It is the hero and heroine's love that holds them together through the trials and tribulations of settling America's western frontiers. I absolutely love the Rockies, the Tetons, the Sierras, and the wide-open plains, prairies and desert land west of the Mississippi. In my books, I strive to tell the truth about the settling of the West and how it affected our American Indians, as well as the gritty depth of what our brave pioneers suffered in their search for free land and a better life.

I am a member of the Nebraska and Oklahoma Historical Societies, my local southwest Michigan historical society, Women Writing the West, Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America (treasurer) and the national RWA, and a local charity group called the Coloma Lioness Club. I help run a family business and love doing things with my three young grandsons. If you visit my web site atwww.rosannebittner.com, where all my titles are listed as well as a page that lists all my many writing awards; or you can visit me on Facebook. At either site you will learn news of new books to come as well as reprints of many of my past titles soon to be published in trade paperback and as e-books! I also have an author site at Amazon.com.


About River of Love {Book 3 ~ Savage Destiny Series}

Picture

Zeke Monroe will do anything to protect his Abbie and make sure she is happy, which is why he opts to settle into ranching and build his Abbie-girl a home of her own where they can begin raising a family on the plains of Colorado along the Arkansas River.  But the encroachment of white settlers and its affect on Zeke’s Cheyenne brothers begins to threaten his and his family’s safety, and the paradise he and Abbie find is short-lived.  Still, nothing can kill the devotion these two share toward each other, and it’s love that holds them together through heartbreaking adversity outside their private world.


Excerpt

“Come back to bed, Zeke,” Abbie told him softly.  “You know how I hate storms.  Come and hold me.”

The rain started pelting the roof then, and he came back beside her.  Both were naked, for that was the way they always slept.  … She pulled the buffalo robe over them, snuggling close to him, finding perfect shelter from the storm that frightened her.  She was afraid of nothing when Zeke was beside her.  He was like a rock, indestructible, strong, hard, never afraid.  She lifted her face to his.  Then his lips covered hers and she had no defense against the way he had of enticing her, as if his manliness and his touch were not enough. …

Cover Reveal: Caged Heat


Caged Heat
Milly Taiden
Black Meadows Pack – Book 2
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Publisher: Etopia Press

Book Description:

After five years travelling through third world countries to teach impoverished children, Samira Suarez has returned home to Black Meadows. What Sam didn’t expect was to be instantly overwhelmed by the desire to be with the one man she’s wanted since she was a teen, Riel Karven.

Riel has been patiently waiting for Sam’s return. For five long years he’s backed off and watched her come and go. This is it. His mate is back, and he’s taking a stand.

Sam’s need for Ry grows to unimaginable proportions. It’s almost as if she were in heat. But she’s a human…isn’t she?

There’s more at stake than Sam and Ry’s future relationship when she inherits her grandmother’s estate. One of her many relatives wants her out of the way.
It’s going to take all of Ry’s determination and help from his friends to keep her alive.  And it’s going to take delving into her past to find out why a human is going into mating heat.





Sharp Change
Milly Taiden
Black Meadows Pack – Book 1
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Publisher: Etopia Press
Word Count:  39,232

Thoughts of Chase, the Alpha of the Black Meadows pack, made her heart torpedo in her chest and rockets go off in her stomach. The better-than-a-sundae delicious-looking man with golden brown skin, enough muscles he could share them with his friends and still have left over, turned her to a puddle of goo.

The man had so much sex appeal her girl parts were ready to lift a white flag in surrender just by looking at him, even thinking of him made her tongue wag. Looking at him was like viewing a shot of your favorite dessert and knowing you couldn’t get your hands on it.



About the Author: 
Milly Taiden was born in the prettiest part of the Caribbean known as the Dominican Republic. She grew up between New York, Florida and Massachusetts. Currently, she resides in New York City with her husband, bossy young son and their little dog Speedy.

She began writing when she learned to put words together and her first book consisted of two homeless dogs living in a park for her second grade English class. She didn’t win a prize, but she acquired a love for writing that never went away.

When she’s not working full-time, texting with her best friend Heidi in England, chastising her son for pulling the dog’s ears, shopping with her sister Jewel or watching scary movies with her husband, she can be found writing on her laptop. She’s addicted to shoe shopping, chocolate and Dunkin Donuts coffee. 
A major reader when she can get her hands on a good book, she loves reading all Mina Carter, Cynthia Eden, Cynthia Sax among others


Twitter: @millytaiden

Facebook: Milly Taiden



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

TLC Book Tours Book Review: S.E.C.R.E.T.


Author: L. Marie Adeline
Title: S.E.C.R.E.T.
Publisher: Broadway
Publish Date: Feb 5, 2013
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours & the publisher
Book Blurb: 
Cassie Robichaud’s life has been filled with regret and loneliness since the death of her husband. She waits tables at the rundown Café Rose in New Orleans, and every night she heads home to her solitary one-bedroom apartment. But when she discovers a notebook left behind by a mysterious woman at the café, Cassie’s world is forever changed. The notebook’s stunningly explicit confessions shock and fascinate Cassie, and eventually lead her to S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T, an underground society dedicated to helping women realize their wildest, most intimate sexual fantasies. Cassie soon immerses herself in an electrifying journey through a series of ten rapturous fantasies with gorgeous men who awaken and satisfy her like never before. As she is set free from her inhibitions, she discovers a new confidence that transforms her, giving her the courage to live passionately. Equal parts enticing, liberating and emotionally powerful, S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T is a world where fantasy becomes reality.

Review: You might want to classify this book as erotica, but it is so much more than that. Cassie is a woman whose senses have been dulled by a bad marriage. She's been widowed for several years and hasn't had sex in much longer.

She's sexually dormant.

Then she meets Pauline and Matilda and enters into the world of S.E.C.R.E.T. It is an organization that helps women awaken their sexuality through a series of steps.

As Cassie goes through each step, living out her wildest sexual fantasies you watch her grow, and become more open and confident. She's more at peace with herself and the world around her. The Cassie you meet at the beginning of the story is very different. She's blah, and she knows it.

This is the kind of book that makes you wish there were such a society. I'm not ashamed to say, I wouldn't mind being part of S.E.C.R.E.T.

Cassie's fantasies weren't anything most women don't fantasize about at some point, and if they don't they've thought about it; sex in public, with a celebrity, being rescued, taken by surprise. Experiencing them through Cassie, can almost make the reader a little jealous. There were several places in this book, where I wished I could step into the pages and take over for Cassie.

So yes, there was a lot of sex in this book, but it was beautifully written and very erotic. The thing that did it for me was the language. L. Marie Adeline didn't feel the need to dirty up a fantastic story by throwing in vulgar language.

Maybe I'm a prude, but language is one of the things that really bugs me about current erotic novels. This one is a "step" above that.

This book is a wonderful indulgence!

Rating: 5 flowers


Monday, February 18, 2013

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Truth About Love & Lightning



Author: Susan McBride
Title: The Truth About Love & Lightning
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: February 12, 2013
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours & the publisher
Book Blurb: 
As far as Gretchen Brink is concerned, the tornado that just ripped through her land has nothing on the storms of a different sort happening all around her. Her grown daughter, Abby, has returned home with news that she's pregnant, and no, she's not sure whether she's going to marry the father. A man with no memory has been dropped practically on her doorstep. And the not-so-little white lie she's been telling for years is about to catch up with her.

Abby is sure that the mysterious man is her long-lost father, Sam, who has finally returned just when she needs him most. As Abby, Gretchen, and the Man Who Might Be Sam get closer, the lie Gretchen told all those years ago begins to haunt her. When her secrets come out, and Sam's past is finally revealed, will it tear down this fragile life they've built—or will the truth bring them all closer together?

Review: Sometimes a book grabs you from the very first page and won't let go of you until you finish it. The Truth About Love & Lightning is one of those books. Maybe it is because the opening pages involve a tornado that seems to blow over Gretchen's farm, but does little damage, other than dropping a man onto their land.

It is hard to pinpoint why the book is so engaging. The characters lead mostly normal lives and have the usual problems. Maybe that is it, Gretchen and her sisters, Trudy and Bennie and her daughter Abby seem normal, but Gretchen has a secret and it deals with the man Abby believes is her father.

Very early on, you can guess this secret and you know why Gretchen told the lie she did when she was 17, but as the author gives you the back story of Gretchen and Sam Winston and Sam's grandfather, well, you get a tell of love that didn't get a chance nearly 40 years earlier.


It is that back story that is fascinatingly beautiful with the Native American elements and rich emotion. As Susan takes us back to Hank Littlefoot's days as a vaudeville performer, to Sam's blossoming love for Gretchen you can't help but be moved by the characters. You fall in love with them for their goodness and for the love they feel for each other.

More important than the lie that Gretchen told is how Sam was able to conjure rain and lightning, just as his grandfather had before him.

This story is one where the characters are really the reason you keep reading. The plot is whimsical, light and sweet. The characters will stay with you long after you've turned the last page. I highly recommend this book to anyone.

Rating: 5 flowers (I'd give it more it was that good)




About Susan McBride

Susan McBride is the author of women’s fiction, including The Truth About Love and Lightning, Little Black Dress, and The Cougar Club, as well as the award-winning Debutante Dropout Mysteries. She calls herself an “accidental cougar” after meeting a man nine years younger in 2005 when she was a St. Louis Magazine “top single.” They were married in February 2008 and live happily ever after in a suburb of St. Louis. She is a six-year breast cancer survivor and often speaks to women’s groups about her experience. In January 2012, she was named one of St. Louis’ “Most Dynamic People of the Year” by the Ladue News. In April 2012, she was given the “Survivor of the Year” Award by the St. Louis affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. In late June of 2012, Susan and her husband, Ed, had their first child, Emily. As Susan likes to say, “Life is never boring!”

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Reading Addiction Book Tours: Rosalind James - Just For Fun





Creating Your Book Cover
You can judge a book by its cover—and people do it all the time. Your cover has to convince YOUR target buyer that this is her type of book, and that it’s a good one. The tips below, gleaned from ten years in marketing for the publishing industry, helped me create my own covers. I pass them along in hopes that they help you too.
1.      Hire a professional. It isn’t as expensive as you may think. Three eBook covers cost me less than $100 per book: A small investment that has already paid for itself many times over in book sales.
2.      Choose the right professional. I did a web search to find designers in my genre (Romance), then looked at their websites and portfolios. Who designs covers that appeal to you and make you want to buy the book? When you’ve found somebody whose work you like, ask for a quote.
3.      Know your market. Think about authors whose books resemble yours. Those authors have succeeded in attracting your market. Look at the covers of their books, and you’ll see trends. (Shirtless heroes? Flowers? An ornate font, or a simple one? Big, bold block letters on a red background, for a thriller?) Copy the links to your favorite covers. You’ll want to share them with your designer.
4.      Define the effect you want to achieve. Your cover is your brand. Even if you only have one book out there now, you’ll want a “look” that people identify with your style. A good designer excels in translating “feelings” into art. This is the direction I gave my own designer: “I want a simple, tasteful, intelligent cover (no half-naked heroes!) Something that still says ‘romance,’ but not ‘embarrassing.’ The books are funny, playful, sexy, and occasionally tearjerking. Not completely frothy, a serious story in there too. I want to convey that--plus ‘exotic New Zealand locale.’”
I also had three books, with a fourth to come, so I needed to tie the covers together. The designer achieved that with the use of color and layout.
5.      Research stock art. You’ll get better results and help your designer if you take the time to find stock imagery that conveys the look you’re going for. I used Dreamstime. The designer used the image I found for my first book, Just This Once, but found different (better!) images for the other books, Just Good Friends and Just For Now.
6.      Work the design, and get feedback. After you get the designer’s first pass, ask people who have read your book for their reactions, then evaluate the feedback and give ONE response to the designer. If it isn’t quite right, keep working. (It took me three or four rounds.) Don’t give the designer specific direction (“could you put the title under the picture?”) Instead, try to explain the “feeling” that isn’t quite right (“It doesn’t look playful enough”).
7.      Admire your beautiful book cover! I hope it sells great!



Contemporary Romance
Title: Just For Fun (Escape to New Zealand #4)
Author - Rosalind James
Date Published: 12/8/12
Synopsis: What if the person who broke your heart turned out to be the only one who could mend it?

Nic Wilkinson is a responsible, organized, disciplined rugby player at the top of his game. Emma Martens is a sometimes-scattered, often-emotional, and always-broke would-be designer with a big chip on her shoulder where Nic’s concerned.

They have no history together, except one perfect week. Nothing in common anymore, except the most important thing of all.

Getting together again would be messy. Complicated. Scary. And, just maybe, worth every risk.

Excerpt:


“Mum!” Zack burst in through the front door. “It was brilliant!” He kicked his shoes off impatiently, dropped his rugby boots next to them before struggling out of his jacket. Nic followed him in, grabbed the jacket and hung it on the brightly painted rack next to the door when Zack would have dropped it on the floor.
Emma reached out for a hug that, Nic saw, the boy was still willing to give his mother, at least here at home. Her eyes met Nic’s as she looked over her son’s head. How did she always look so soft? So . . . pettable? She was wearing another sweater, that was all, he told his troublesome libido. Another light, lacy one, prettily trimmed once again. A pale pink cardigan with pearly shell buttons, edged in cream, over a long stretchy top and leggings. She looked like an invitation to cuddle. Like the best blankie ever.
“Can Nic stay for dinner, Mum?” Zack asked excitedly, offering a welcome distraction from his wayward train of thought. “He could help me tell you all the things we did. We’re having spaghetti!” he told Nic. “It’s really good.”
“Can’t, mate. Sorry,” Nic put in hastily at Emma’s instinctive shake of the head. “But I’ll have a glass of water, if one’s on offer.”
“Sit down,” Emma told him. “Please.”
Nic slipped off his own shoes before heading to the couch with Zack. “Cheers,” he said as she came back from the kitchen to hand each of them a glass, then took her own seat in a small armchair next to the couch, the only other option the little room offered.
“You look tired,” she said abruptly. “And bruised. Are you OK?”
“Just a bit confused on the sleep schedule, still,” Nic admitted. “I took a wee pill on the flight home, but it never works that well.”
“It’s a long way, Mum,” Zack put in. “South Africa’s really far.”
Nic took a long drink of the cold water, looked around for something to set the glass on. “Coaster?”
“Just put it down,” Emma told him.
“Don’t want to spoil this,” he said, looking more closely at the coffee table. The simple rectangle had been transformed into a forest of ferns, with native birds peeping out from underneath fronds, perched in trees. The parson-throated tui making a meal of red fruit, the colorful, stumpy takahe on the forest floor, tiny fantails darting overhead.
“You can’t,” Emma assured him. “It’s all enamels. Everything in this house is pretty indestructible.”
“Did you find the ruru yet?” Zack asked him, leaning forward.
“Don’t tell me,” Nic said. “Let me look.” Zack watched him eagerly as he searched and finally pointed triumphantly to a notch in a tree where the owl blended into the bark. “There.”
“You did this too, eh,” he asked Emma. “Nice.”
“I did everything. That’s my decorating theme. Things I made.”
“I like it,” he assured her. The warm colors of the lounge seemed to cocoon them. Two walls were a rich caramel, the others a warm yellow. She didn’t even paint every wall in a room the same color, he realized. Well, at least in the kitchen it was all the same. Purple. He wondered what color her bedroom was. How it looked. And found himself wishing, against every better impulse, that he could see it.



Author Bio:
Rosalind James is the author of the Kindle bestseller Just This Once and the three subsequent books in the Escape to New Zealand series. She is a former marketing executive who has lived all over the United States and in a number of other countries, traveling with her civil engineer husband. Most recently, she spent several years in Australia and New Zealand, where she fell in love with the people, the landscape, and the culture of both countries. Visit www.rosalindjames.com to listen to the songs from the books, follow the characters on their travels, watch funny and fascinating New Zealand and rugby videos, and learn about what's new! Contact Links Author website
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Twitter

Buy Link 


Bewitching Book Tours Book Review: Murder On Mars


Author: M.M. Shelley
Title: Murder On Mars
Publish Date: Nov 28, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Bewitching Book Tours & the author
Book Blurb: 
A paranormal force has lured Ava to New Orleans, where shadows lurk behind every corner and an unknown power has yet to be unleashed.

There is a darkness in New Orleans, one that has brought sixteen year old Ava Lopez to the city in search of her best friend, Dyson. A dark crime has been committed, and there are supernatural forces involved. Three sisters who whisper "fate" are awaiting the arrival of the Guardian.

Shadow People fiercely haunt the city, unchallenged, but Ava senses that Dyson may be involved with their crimes. She must discover the secret that the Shadows are so determined to keep hidden.

Ava will have to risk everything, because where the Fates are concerned there are no second chances.

Review: For me this book took a little more time getting into. I'm not sure why, it was probably just me.

I love stories, especially mysteries set in New Orleans, and when they have paranormal elements, well that's even better. In this case we have Shadow People and The Shadow King haunting the city.

I really loved the concept of the Shadow People and their attachment to the sisters of fate made for a very creepy and mysterious story line.

At first it seemed the story involved finding Dyson's killer, but there was more to his disappearance than a murder.

There is also the mystery surrounding Martie Whyte's disappearance back in 1928.

At times it felt like there was a little too much going on and I think that's what made the story slow going for me. It made things quite a bit confusing, missing people, serial killers, shadow people. Yet the story was fast paced and it did hold my attention. I wanted to see what happened to Ava and if Dyson would be found.

The best parts of the story for me revolved around the past. I liked learning about Martie through the journal, it definitely added something unique to the story.

Rating: 4 flowers



 
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