Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book Review: Undone By The Duke

Author: Michelle Willingham
Title: Undone By The Duke
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publish Date: Feb 12, 2013
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: Victoria has a secret... Reclusive designer Victoria Andrews hasn't gone outside in five years, though she yearns to escape the prison of her house. She designs sensual lingerie for the most exclusive dressmaker in London, although she has never known a man's touch.

A Duke in disguise... Wounded and stranded in Scotland, Jonathan Nottoway, the Duke of Worthingstone, is avoiding the murderous scandal that darkened his family name. As his wounds heal, he spends several sensual nights with the beautiful seamstress who knows nothing of his true identity.

A passionate awakening Can a woman trapped by her emotional scars be able to love a duke, when it means abandoning her safe world to embrace the life of a duchess?

Review: I've read several of Michelle's books from Harlequin Historical, so when this book popped up on Net Galley, I was excited and I wasn't disappointed either.

This story was different, very different. Victoria is suffering from agoraphobia as a result of a stressful even that happened 5 years ago.

Jonathan is in Scotland to look into some land he won, but when he arrives he's shot and brought to Victoria's home.

Some of the plot is old hat. Jonathan is a Duke that would very much like to be loved for himself rather than his title or money and there's a scandal in his family that keeps him from being in society. Victoria's family is of course, down on their luck. Her father is fighting in Spain, and her mother is struggling to make ends meet. Meanwhile Victoria and her sister's are making gowns to help out, unbeknownst to her mother and at some point, Victoria starts making ladies "unmentionables." And not the plain ones either. Victoria is truly a Victoria's Secret kinda girl! or at least designer.

What made this story such an enjoyable read were how flawed both characters were, and both with a kind of neurosis. Victoria couldn't step out of her house and Jonathan was afraid the the violent temper his father had would be passed on to him.

Yet somehow these two fall in love, without wanting to. I loved how caring Jonathan was with Victoria, especially when he was trying to get her to overcome her fears. You could also understand why she never wanted to see a doctor about her problem. In those days, there really wasn't much done for mental illness. She would have likely been locked away in an asylum, which isn't a pretty place for anyone to be.

The other thing I liked was the sort of role reversal. As Victoria is starting to feel slightly more comfortable being outside of the four walls of her home, Jonathan is the weaker one. His feelings for Victoria seem out of control and he fears hurting her.

I love how both characters have a strong love of family and I especially love how protective Jonathan can be.

This is another great book by Michelle Willingham. I can't wait for the next book

Rating: 5 flowers

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bewitching Book Tours Book Promo: Coffee And Cockpits

Coffee and Cockpits
Jade Hart

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Book Description:

A New Adult Contemporary Romance, featuring Nina Poppins, a flight attendant, who can’t decide if she wants the sexy co-pilot or the yummy engineer… and ends up having both.


By day, Nina Poppins is a professional flight attendant, who lives to travel, and isn’t afraid to chase her dreams. By night, she’s an award winning salsa dancer who wears sexy corsets and garter belts. She keeps her two lives separate, and none of her colleagues suspect that cool, demure Nina has a hot, spicy side.

Liam Mikin is a co-pilot who can get any air-hostess he wants with one blazing look of his blue eyes. But for some reason he can’t get Nina. He senses there’s more to her beneath the professional cool shell, and he’s determined to find out what it is.

Nikolai Rivers is an aircraft engineer who can dance as well as Nina and enjoys getting hot and heavy with her on the dance floor. But frustration chafes him at being held at arm’s length. However, his opportunity to break her exterior comes when an airplane malfunctions on a flight to Samoa, stranding all the crew on the Pacific island indefinitely.

Liam and Nikolai see each other as a challenge and start a race to be the first to break Nina’s aloofness, but what they didn’t count on was falling for her, or worse, having to share….

Author Bio: 
Jade Hart is a self-confessed book worm who is happiest glued to a lap-top with an eternal battery life, and typing up stories running rampant in her head.

Her three favorite things are:

1. Unlimited books on an Ebook Reader
2. Cracking the sugar on a creme brulee
3. Travelling

Jade currently resides in Middle-Earth, but has lived in Australia, England, and Hong Kong.

She writes New Adult 'smexy' fiction. 

Twitter: @jadehart8 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Chick Ponders Bookish Things: Genres I Love & Other Things

I never realized how diverse my taste in books was until recently. Granted I love to read romance, I really think my taste in books is pretty broad. I love romance, mysteries, chicklit, general fiction and even some non-fiction if it interests me.

Right now I'm reading a lot of historical romance and cozy mysteries. I've always been a sucker for those genres.

I'm not the kind of person that sticks with one type of book. In fact, I have a hard time figuring out people that don't deviate from a certain type of book. I like to read about different people and situations. I think pigeon holing yourself into one area can really keep you from learning more or finding new things.

But that's me.

There were times when all I read were historical novels about the queens of Europe. In junior high I was a Jean Plaidy addict. I spent summers reading whichever books were available at the library and if I happened to find one of her books at a flea market, well life couldn't get much better.

I had a regency kick too. Marion Chesney was my favorite author. I think I have about 80% of all the books she's written. (And this lady wrote a lot, believe me)

Then I read as many Anne Rice novels as I could stomach. Oddly I didn't make it much further than Queen of the Damned. I have a love/hate thing with vampires, but hey, at least the ones I read about don't sparkle!

But after awhile, I got burned out reading just one kind of book. I think that's why I have to change it up so much. Sure I'll read a few cozy mysteries back to back, but for the most part, I like to read something a little different from what I read last.

That way I don't get bored.

What about you?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Book Review: The Love Of My Other Life

Author: Traci L. Slatton
Title: The Love Of My Other Life
Publisher: Parvati Press
Publish Date: Jan 29, 2013
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: What worlds would you move to be with your soulmate? Painter Tessa Barnum is struggling. Her husband left, she's broke, about to be evicted and has made some serious missteps in her career.

When scruffy Brian Tennyson explodes into her life, claiming to be from an alternate universe, Tessa thinks he's a crazy vagabond - albeit one with mysterious and undeniable appeal.

Then he informs her that in his world, they're married.

Tessa's universe is turned upside down as the truth of love and loss, victory and humiliation, and second chances comes back to her. She has to choose love over logic to reach that state of anticipation where miracles unfold.

The secret to her own life was always in her heart.

Review:  First off, there is a bare bottom on the cover of this book. I wasn't sure what to make of that, and I actually found it a bit off putting when it came to reading the novel. I thought this might be erotica, and while I like that genre, it's not my favorite.

This is not an erotic novel.

Its a strange novel.

Really really strange.

But it is the kind of strange that keeps your attention until the last page. Tessa is a painter and Brian comes from another universe, a parallel one at that.


The book alternates points of view between Tessa and Brian.  think the problem I had with this was the two universes. They were too similar. So it didn't feel science fictiony and it was a little hard to keep track of which universe you were in.

Again it just felt strange.

But it was fun, because Tessa was so kooky and off the wall, with her rants on art and the weird stuff she gets up to. Brian on the other hand is just lovable in both universes.

There were some great quirky secondary characters, like Ofee and Mrs Leibowitz that you just really love. It is through Mrs. Leibowitz that you'll understand that though the front cover of the novel is a bit misleading, it really does make sense. There's a lot of talk about bottoms between her and Tessa.

The ending was kind of sad in some ways. It reminded me of David Tennant's last episode of Doctor Who, where the alternate Doctor gets to stay with Rose.

This isn't a book for everyone, but if you are looking for a quirky fun read, give this a shot.

Rating: 4 flowers

Book Review: Torch In The Forest

Author: Marcie Kremer
Title: Torch In The Forest
Publish Date: Feb 16, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Scandalous
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: The publisher in exchange for an honest review
Book Blurb: 
Eighteen-year-old widow Eleanor of Strathcombe is stunned to realize she has a powerful attraction to Hugh of Wykeham, the arrogant, neighboring lord returned from the Crusade. But he wants to marry her sister, and when he learns that poachers are running rampant he blames her and feuds with her over the control of their forest boundaries.

As she struggles to keep control of her forests and find the poachers, unsettling feelings confront her when she deals with Hugh, feelings she never felt in her brief, loveless marriage -- feelings she tries to fight, because she knows Hugh to be a cold, harsh man who may have murdered his faithless wife in revenge -- and who trusts no woman.

When she finds herself in the midst of a net of intrigue and lies, how will she find the courage to capture the conspirators, save herself and her sister, and overcome her feelings for Hugh?

Review: I have to start out saying, OMG the guy on this cover looks like Simon Le Bon. I'm glad this was an ebook, or I would never have been able to finish reading it, because I'd be too busy drooling on the cover.

Beautiful as the cover is, the story needed something. It was a little too short for a medieval romance and the romance never really took off. In fact, the fact that Eleanor and Hugh got together in the end is a huge surprise, because there was no sign of affection between them throughout most of the novel, except in their heads.

That's not to say that the story is a bad one, because it isn't. It is a good quick read filled with politics and intrigue and a woman's struggle to keep what is hers.

Eleanor is a strong heroine. She is trustworthy and loyal and didn't have a good time of it with her first marriage. She's only 18.


And she has the care of her sister Mary who is 14. She's doing her best to see that Mary isn't married off to  an old man in a far off country.

I found I liked Eleanor. She's the kind of person you'd want as a friend. She was intensely loyal to all of her people.

I just couldn't warm up to Hugh in the same way. He was too much the alpha male. He was right and everyone else was wrong. Plus there was also the way he planned on marrying Mary, while lusting after Eleanor. It seemed like the classic case of the virgin and the whore, at least in his mind. That is until he realized that Eleanor had never consummated her marriage to Edgar.

It was his attitude that made me not like him, yet he was the typical man of that age and he wasn't as smarmy as William.

Overall a great read and a good historical though the romance is very light here.

Rating:  3 flowers

Monday, March 25, 2013

Entangled Publishing Book Tours: Torch In The Forest

Torch In The Forest author, Marcie Kremer is stopping by the blog today and offering up a fun Top 10 list! Stop back to the blog later today for my review


An autographed basketball from Coach John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach
An autographed picture of Tommy LaSorda, L.A. Dodger manager
A picture of my DH, reading to sixth graders on Dr. Seuss Read-Aloud Day
A small figurine of a wizard, studying a book, seated on a grumpy dragon
My iPhone
A bazillion little pieces of paper, on which are notes I write to myself about plot points and revision warnings, such as "Raise the stakes!!!"
Sharpened pencils
A notebook of lined paper, ready to write in!
Growing up in Europe and seeing castles on a daily basis made me sure I wanted to live back in the Middle Ages. Since that wasn’t likely to happen, being a child of the 20th century, the next best thing I could try to do was to write about this enthralling period in history. Having studied medieval history in college, I loved doing the research about how people really lived and spoke and dreamed and loved, and so TORCH IN THE FOREST came to be, thanks to my dear husband, who encouraged me to write about Eleanor and Hugh.

About Marcie: When I’m not writing, I’m reading, or traveling. I love hearing from readers and am happy to do book club conference calls!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Chick Ponders Bookish Things: Controlling The TBR Pile

I think we all have TBR piles that are out of control, right? That's why there are reading challenges and read-a-thons dedicated to the art of thinning it out.

But why does that never happen?

If you are like me, you simply can't not stop buying books.

It is even worse now that I have an ereader, because I can't pass up the freebies and cheap reads. Damn those Nook Daily Deals. I've bought more ebooks than I could ever possibly read.

It is like the power of used book stores and Goodwill. I mean how can you pass up paperbacks for a buck or a quarter. (Our local hospital gift store sells used books for a quarter, can you believe that?)  It seems like every day my pile gets larger and larger.

Plus there's Net Galley.

Net Galley is the devil, because those are TBR books with a time limit!

How many of you over extend yourself there?

Come on!

I know I'm not the only one!

There has to be a  way to control my reading cravings?

I think there is, but it involves a cave and a whole lot of a solitude and no internet.

And that would be no fun at all.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Bewitching Book Tours Guest Post & Review: What's A Witch To Do

Let's welcome Jennifer Harlow to the blog today!

Mary Sue vs. Debbie Harry-Jennifer Harlow
Urban Dictionary Definition of a Mary Sue:
A female character in FanFic or original stories who is so perfect, so superior to all other characters, so powerful,she's annoying. Often based on the author.
(See Ana Steele, Bella Swan, TV Sookie Stackhouse)

Jennifer Harlow Definition of a Debbie Harry:
A female character who is flawed in many ways but does her best to overcome and accept them, is mouthy or prickly, strong or finds her strength, and who has to work for all she has especially love.   
(See Anita Blake, Kinsey Milhone, Lizbeth Salander)

I consider myself a tough broad. I have a mouth on me, dirty a lot of the times, I've walked through dangerous cities at night alone, I've seen someone assaulted and got my friends out of the situation while keeping a calm head, and I've kicked not one but three dudes in the balls when they wanted to play rough and I didn't. I can shoot a gun, change a tire, I kill spiders and open jars for my brothers, and I take shit from no one. I'm not ugly but it takes over an hour for me to become pretty. The only things I'm exceptional at are dispensing advice, story telling, and keeping fish alive (Beta Larry lived 2! years). I'm stubborn, solitary, I have no sex appeal or mojo, and I live with my parents.  In other words, I am not a Mary Sue. I am a human being, flawed yet still fabulous. And so should your main character be.

I came across the term "Mary Sue" when I read an article on "Fifty Shades of Grey" (yes, I read the book. Got it from the library. Wasn't great, wasn't terrible, read it in about three hours.) Like most blockbuster books, there was some derision about it, especially from authors. So much was said but for the purpose of this blog I'll just focus on the main character Ana. She was definitely a Mary Sue: perfect, every male falling over her, had the supernatural gift of having mind blowing orgasms every time. The woman would not exist in the real world. 

In this article (which I'm sorry I can't remember the name of, sorry) the author also mentioned that this type of character a "Mary Sue" was prevalent in Fan Fiction, which is how Fifty got its start. The term came into existence when Paula Smith wrote a short story about the type of female character prevalent in Star Trek FanFic. Mary Sue was only fifteen, a genius, the youngest lieutenant, with unprecedented skill in everything both mental and physical, and is beloved by all characters in this case especially Spock and Kirk. Mary Sue has no flaws, she struggles at nothing, and everyone fawns over her. In other words, she's boring. Unbelievable. Those are the worst words any writer can face.

If Mary Sue kept herself contained in the pages of FanFic I'd really have no problem with her. Full disclosure, I don't read or write FanFic. My roommate was obsessed with it, especially Wincest and Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy parings (EWWWW to both). I understand the desire to write them. These are characters you love, and in writing the Fic you get to tinker with those characters however you see fit. You put yourself into this fantasy world. You're in control. But before Fifty no one was really making money on it. Now publishers are trolling the sites for the next Fifty. Besides the copyright issues, my main concern is that more characters like Ana (a copy of Bella Swan) are going to be the norm. The only acceptable female lead will be demure, gorgeous, subservient, basically a feminist like me's worst nightmare. Ana let a man tie her up and spank her just to please him. Bella literally became a teenage bride, got knocked up, then DIED in childbirth. This is what has captured the minds of American women. It gives me chills.

And I was aghast to find how close I can to Mary Sueing in my own work. In researching the Mary Sue I did come to realize that I am a little guilty of making my main character Beatrice a Mary Sue, or bringing her right to the cusp. I've gone on record as saying I view Bea as an idealized version of me. I'm tough, but if a zombie horde was coming and it was people I barely knew or me, I'm pretty sure they'd be on their own. (At least I wouldn't hobble them like my bro Liam said he would. He is not going to be my zombie apocalypse buddy, that's for sure). Bea has more patience than me, men do fall over her (sort of), and she is very powerful. But she's also plain, makes very bad decisions that get people killed, and nothing ever comes easy for her. I worked in flaws. She doesn't get the guy right off the bat. Her team mates don't really like her. She saves people a lot more than they save her. In other words, she's not perfect and there's a reason for that. Perfection is boring. Who would you rather hang out with, spend money on? Little Miss Perfect Mary Sue or flawed, funny, tough Debbie Harry? Me, I'd rather spend an hour with an interesting shit than a whole day with a super nice person. You get more from Debbie than Mary Sue. When you're doing your writing remember that. 

What about all of you? Do you prefer Mary Sue or Debbie Harry? Why? Am I being too hard on poor Mary Sue? Can you think of any other examples of either?

What’s A Witch To Do?
A Midnight Magic Mystery #1
Jennifer Harlow

Genre: Paranormal Mystery/Romance

Publisher: Midnight Ink
Date of Publication: March 2013

ISBN: 9780738735146
Number of pages: 336

Book Description:

Mona McGregor’s To Do List:
• Make 20 13 potions/spells/charms
• Put girls to bed
• Help with Debbie’s wedding
• Lose 30 pounds before bachelorette auction
• Deal with the bleeding werewolf on doorstep
• Find out who wants me dead
• Prepare for supernatural summit
• Have a nervous breakdown
• Slay a damn demon
• Fall in love

With her to-do lists growing longer each day, the last thing Mona McGregor—High Priestess and owner of the Midnight Magic shop in Goodnight, Virginia—needs is a bleeding werewolf at her front door. Between raising her two nieces and leading a large coven of witches, Mona barely has time for anything else. Not even Guy, the handsome doctor who’s taken an interest in her.

But now there’s Adam Blue, the sexy beta werewolf of the Eastern Pack who’s been badly hurt, warning Mona that someone wants her dead. Hell’s bells! A demon is stalking her, and Mona starts to suspect her coven members and even her own family could be responsible for it. With two attractive men and a determined demon after her, Mona teams up with Adam to find out who really wants her dead.

.. . and who really wants her.

Best Quotes: I forbid anything Twilight in the house solely on principal. I personally know vampires , and they do not sparkle.

Aunt Mona, Adam stuck a can of beer up a chicken's butt! It was so cool!

Review: OMG! This book is enough to make me go all fangirly. There is so much to love about it, I just don't know where to start.

OK, I do.

1. The cover is fantastic. In fact of all the cozy mysteries I've read this year, this is the cover that I love the most.

2. Mona! Best heroine ever. She's not a skinny youngun'! Can I get a woo hoo for that? It is nice to know that women out of their 20s are well represented in book and in a real manner. OK, well as real as you can be when the heroine is the High Priestess of a coven.

3. Adam. OMG! It is no wonder all the women in the book are panting and drooling over this werewolf.

4. The mystery. The whodunit is not who you think it is. Of course, when is it ever?

5. The love story. For a long time you aren't sure which guy is going to get Mona, but at the end you'll be happy with the results.

This was really a great cozy and it closed up the right loose ends and left enough open for the coming books, especially the stuff about Sophie and Cora and their mother, Mona's sister Ivy.

I can't wait for the next book in this series. Mona is a fantastic cozy heroine and I fell in love with her in this book.

Rating: 5 flowers

About the Author:
Jennifer Harlow spent her restless childhood fighting with her three brothers and scaring the heck out of herself with horror movies and books. She grew up to earn a degree at the University of Virginia which she put to use as a radio DJ, crisis hotline volunteer, bookseller, lab assistant, wedding coordinator, and government investigator. Currently she calls Northern Virginia home but that restless itch is ever present. In her free time, she continues to scare the beejepers out of herself watching scary movies and opening her credit card bills.

Tales From the Darkside Blog 

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Reading Addiction Book Tours Book Review: Playing The Maestro

Author: Aubrie Dionne
Title: Playing The Maestro
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Date Published: 2/11/13
Blurb: She’ll have to play her boss to come out on a high note…

Melody Mires has sworn off dating musicians, but when the sexy European conductor Wolf Braun takes over her struggling symphony, her hesitation almost flies out the window with the notes of her flute—until he opens his mouth. Wolf is arrogant, haughty, and seems to have a personal vendetta against Melody. Oh, and he’s her boss. If she wants to keep her job as principal flutist, she’ll have to impress Wolf while simultaneously keeping her undeniable attraction to herself.

Wolf came to America to get as far away from his past as possible, and to recover some of the swagger he had as one of the world’s best maestros. He never imagined being forced to reassess the entire orchestra’s talent—and potentially fire anyone who doesn't make his cut. Dating the attractive flutist is out of the question, but as their feelings reach a fever pitch, can they risk both their careers for a chance at love?

Review: This is a sweet romance and it was exceptionally good. It isn't often that you get a romance novel where the lead characters have such unique careers. Melody is a flutist in a symphony orchestra and Wolf is a German conductor.

I have to say that even in Wolf's worst moments toward the beginning of the book, when he comes off the most arrogant, I loved him. I could actually hear his German accent when I read his dialogue. Not the sexiest of European accents but still very sexy. And you had to feel bad for him once you realized what an evil witch his ex-girlfriend was.

Melody was a fun heroine too. She was real and down to earth and her character really helped show that though you might think being a key member of a symphony might be glamorous, it really isn't, especially it isn't in a huge city.

I loved her passion for the music.

The other thing that was fantastic about this book were the two characters interactions with children, Melody with her niece Violet and Wolf with the children at the hospital where he performed as Mozart. I have to say that part of the story was what really won me over with him. Wolf was perfect!

Melody's ex was the only downside to this great read. From the opening scene, you know that Blake's a baddie, and you have a clue that he's out to sabotage Melody, you just have to wait to see what it is, and that left me anxious as I read on. I mean this guy was a total jerk and when he's confronted with his jerkyness, the outcome isn't satisfying.

This was a great book that had some really good subplots that kept you interested, especially since the romance in this book is very light. It could pretty much be read by teens on up.

Playing the Maestro was a wonderfully musical read.

Rating: 4 flowers

Author Info: Aubrie grew up watching the original Star Wars movies over and over until she could recite and reenact every single scene in her backyard. She also loved The Goonies, Star Trek the Next Generation--favorite character was Data by far--and Indiana Jones. But, her all time favorite movie was The Last Unicorn. She still wonders why the unicorn decided to change back to a unicorn in the end.

Aubrie wrote in her junior high yearbook that she wanted to be "a concert flutist" when she grew up. She majored in flute performance at the University of New Hampshire on a full scholarship, then secured two teaching jobs at a University and a local community music school. While playing in orchestras and teaching, stories popped into her head, and she used them to make the music come alive for her flute students. Her students said they were so good, she had to write them down! Maybe they were right, who knows? Two careers seems to keep her busy. For now. She is represented by Dawn Dowdle and writes sweet and adventurous fantasy, science fiction, and contemporary romance.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cozy Mystery Book Tours Book Review: A Charming Wish

Author: Tonya Kappes
Title: A Charming Wish
Publisher: MagiCal Press
Publish Date: March 11, 2013
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Cozy Mystery Book Tours & the author
Book Blurb: 
Bubble, Bubble. . .

It seems shop owner and newly appointed Whispering Falls Village President June Heal has it all: Beauty, wits, bewitching powers...Sheriff Oscar Park. Life is good. Because life in Whispering Falls is magical.

Cures and Trouble. . .

But when a member of the community is found dead on the steps of A Charming Cure, June's homeopathic cure shop, and her fingerprints show up at the scenes of local robberies, she is kicked off the village council and her powers fall under scrutiny. Until it's uncovered who is wreaking havoc on the town...June's magic is suspended.

Magic Stirs. . .

With the help of a rather obnoxious genie and Mr. Prince Charming, June's Fairy-God cat, June is determined to figure out who is framing her. Time is of the essence when it becomes clear that the true villain is trying to get rid of her...permanently!

And Trouble Doubles. . .

Oscar Park will do anything to protect June even if that means giving up all of his magical powers. . .or worse, his life.

Review: This is the first book by Tonya Kappes that I've read and I can tell you in all honesty that it won't be my last.

A Charming Wish is the third book in the Magical Cures series, but thankfully you don't have to read them in order, or as usual I would be up the proverbial creek.

From the very start, this book grabs you. June and the cast of characters in Whispering Falls capture your heart. I loved Mr. Prince Charming her cat, and the genie in the bottle left by Kenny. They all have their little quirks and June is no exception. Her love for the now defunct Ding Dongs made me laugh. (With me its Ho Hos).

I have to give props to an author that used the death of Hostess as a huge part of a novel! I also like the name of the version made by the town bakery, June's Gems! How cute is that?

Now I'm hungry for Ding Dongs!

What really made this a great cozy is the whodunit itself.

Kenny, the Indian that delivers supplies to the town is murdered on June's doorstep just after she's been  named the Village President and the circumstantial evidence is pointing to her.

(OK, I have to admit several times through the book I kept thinking on a South Park vein. OMG they killed Kenny!)

You definitely will be on the edge of your seat waiting to find out who killed Kenny and stole the June's Gems and birdnapped an ostrich!

This book is a quick read at 143 pages. Most of the time, I'd say that's two short to really wrap up a mystery, but Tonya really gave most everything closure, except maybe the situation with June's BFF/boyfriend, Oscar, but that's getting there too.

If you like a cozy with a touch of magic/paranormal fun, you can't go wrong here. This book is a true delight!

Rating: 5 flowers

Author Bio:
Tonya is an Amazon Movers and Shakers, and self-published International bestselling author. She writes humorous cozy mystery and women’s fiction that involves quirky characters in quirky situations., the first novel in the Olivia Davis Mystery Series, is a double finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the Mystery and Humorous Categories. Carpe Bead ‘em is a the winner in Amazon’s eFestival of Words in the Women’s Fiction Category.

She travel to various writer's groups giving workshops on marketing and promoting no matter where you are in your career, and a self publishing. Become a member of Tonya’s STREET TEAM! It’s a gathering place of readers who love Tonya Kappes novels and Tonya gives away monthly prizes! To sign up for Tonya’s STREET TEAM, newsletter, view book trailer, and upcoming news, check out Tonya’s website,

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Book Review: Fudge Cupcake Murder

Author: Joanne Fluke
Title: Fudge Cupcake Murder
Publisher: Kensington Press
Publish Date: Feb 1, 2005
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Bakery owner Hannah Swensen just can't keep her hands out of the batter when murder stirs things up in Lake Eden, Minnesota, leaving the sheriff dead, a deputy accused, and a killer on the loose...For Hannah, life seems to be lacking a certain flavour lately. Maybe it's the local sheriff's election that's got her down. For years, Sheriff Grant's been the iron hand in town. But now, Hannah's brother-in-law Bill is giving the old blowhard the fight of his long, dubious career - and Grant's not taking it well, especially once the polls show Bill pulling ahead. But before anyone can taste victory, things go sour. While Hannah's emptying the trash, she makes a very unappetizing discovery: Sheriff Grant's body in the Dumpster behind the high school where she's teaching her cooking class. And as if that weren't bad enough, the poor man still has fudge frosting on his shirt from one of her cupcakes. The number one - and only - suspect is Bill, but Hannah's not swallowing it. Plenty of people had reason to hate Sheriff Grant. Soon, Hannah's dishing up scandalous secrets, steaming hot betrayals, and enough intrigue to keep the gossip mill at The Cookie Jar going through several pots of decaf. And the closer Hannah gets to the truth, the closer she gets to smoking out a murderer with a very nasty recipe for silencing people...

Review: This is book 5 in the Hannah Swensen series. I devour this series much like I do cookies, and I've made several of Joanne's that are published in these books.

There's a lot of craziness going on in this book.

1. Bill is running for sheriff and Andrea is having a rough last few weeks of her pregnancy.
2. When the Sheriff is found murdered, Bill is suspended and he's driving everyone crazy, especially his wife, since he can't work the case.
3. Moishe is trying to be weened off the regular kitty crunchies to the senior variety, and Moishe isn't going for it.
4. Hannah is trying to figure out the secret ingredient in Ted's mother's Fudge Cupcakes.

So yeah, lots going on...oh and Mike just may be seeing another girl on the side.

I have to say, I've never understood Hannah's affection for Mike. He's pretty much been a big jerk in most books. I'm team Norman all the way. The way he treats her would have had any other woman showing him the door.

I loved the sleuthing in this one. There are lots of secrets and the killer is really not who you expect, though you kind of get nudged in the right direction in the last part of the book. Still I was surprised at the killer. I really thought that the sheriff's murder would tie in with his son's death for some reason...but I won't give you any spoilers.

Again, I always feel like I'm coming home when I read the Hannah books. These are books that are pure fun, and I love the recipes. (Though this one didn't seem to have as many as some of the others)

Rating: 4 flowers

Andrea's Pecan Divines (I had to make them, I'm an Andrea)
2 cups melted butter (4 sticks, one pound)
3 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
4 beaten eggs
5 cups flour (no need to sift)
3 cups chocolate chips
4 cups chopped pecans

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., rack in the middle position.

2. Melt the butter. (Nuke it for 3 minutes on high in a microwave-safe container, or melt it in a pan on the stove.) Mix in the white sugar and the brown sugar. Add the vanilla, the baking soda, salt and mix. Add the eggs abd stir it all up. Add half the flour, the chocolate chips, and the chopped pecans. Stir well to incorporate, Add the rest of the flour and mix throughly.

3. Drop by teaspoons onto greased cookie sheets, 12 cookies to a standard-size sheet. If the dough is too sticky to handle, chill it slightly and try again. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 10-12 minutes or until nicely browned.

4. Let cool two minutes, then remove cookies from the baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Reading Addiction Book Tours Promo Spot: If I Were You

If I Were You
By Lisa Renee Jones
Erotic Suspense 
Date to be Published: PRINT Release March 11

If I Were You

Announcement from Lisa Renee Jones

Back in September it was announced that New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones sold her indie erotic series THE INSIDE OUT TRILOGY in a major deal to by Simon and Schuster.(Louise Fury, L.Perkins Agency) Since then the highly acclaimed series has sold to ten foreign countries, with more under negotiation, and now it’s been optioned by STARZ for television (Shari Smiley, Resolution.) The project is moving forward quickly, with Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland) producing. 

Inspired by a real journal found in a storage unit during Lisa's eight years buying and selling units, the series embraces the dark sensuality of Shades of Grey and the intrigue with storage units that is Storage Wars in one spine tingling series packed with mystery and passion. The print version of IF I WERE YOU, book 1, hits stores March 12th. 

About book one:
If Were You (print release March 2011)

One day I was a high school teacher on summer break, leading a relatively uneventful but happy life. Or so I told myself. Later, I’d question that, as I would question pretty much everything I knew about me, my relationships, and my desires. It all began when my neighbor thrust a key to a storage unit at me. She’d bought it to make extra money after watching some storage auction show. Now she was on her way to the airport to elope with a man she barely knew, and she needed me to clear out the unit before the lease expired.
Soon, I was standing inside a small room that held the intimate details of another woman’s life, feeling uncomfortable, as if I was invading her privacy. Why had she let these items so neatly packed, possessions that she clearly cared about deeply, be lost at an auction? Driven to find out by some unnamed force, I began to dig, to discover this woman’s life, and yes, read her journals—-dark, erotic journals that I had no business reading. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I read on obsessively, living out fantasies through her words that I’d never dare experience on my own, compelled by the three men in her life, none of whom had names. I read onward until the last terrifying dark entry left me certain that something had happened to this woman. I had to find her and be sure she was okay.

Before long, I was taking her job for the summer at the art gallery, living her life, and she was nowhere to be found. I was becoming someone I didn’t know. I was becoming her.
The dark, passion it becomes…
Now, I am working at a prestigious gallery, where I have always dreamed of being, and I’ve been delivered to the doorstep of several men, all of which I envision as one I’ve read about in the journal. But there is one man that will call to me, that will awaken me in ways I never believed possible. That man is the ruggedly sexy artist, Chris Merit, who wants to paint me. He is rich and famous, and dark in ways I shouldn’t find intriguing, but I do. I so do. I don’t understand why his dark side appeals to me, but the attraction between us is rich with velvety promises of satisfaction. Chris is dark, and so are his desires, but I cannot turn away. He is damaged beneath his confident good looks and need for control, and in some way, I feel he needs me. I need him.
All I know for certain is that he knows me like I don’t even know me, and he says I know him. Still, I keep asking myself — do I know him? Did he know her, the journal writer, and where is she? And why doesn’t it seem to matter anymore? There is just him and me, and the burn for more.


We begin our walk, faster this time, and the cold wind has nothing on the chill between us. Conversation is non-existent, and I have no clue how to break the silence, or if I should even try. I dare a peek at his profile several times, fighting the wind blowing hair over my eyes, but he doesn’t acknowledge me. Why won’t he look at me? Several times, I open my mouth to speak but words simply won’t leave my lips. 
We are almost to the gallery, and a knot has formed in my stomach at the prospect of an awkward goodbye, when he suddenly grabs me and pulls me into a small enclave of a deserted office rental. Before I can fully grasp what is happening, I am against the wall, hidden from the street and he is in front of me, enclosing me in the tiny space. I blink up into his burning stare and I think I might combust. His scent, his warmth, his hard body, is all around me, but he is not touching me. I want him to touch me. 
He presses his hand to the concrete wall above my head when I want it on my body. “You don’t belong here, Sara.”
The words are unexpected, a hard punch in the chest. “What? I don’t understand.”
“This job is wrong for you.” 
I shake my head. I don’t belong? Coming from Chris, an established artist, I feel inferior, rejected. “You asked me why I wasn’t following my heart. Why I wasn’t pursuing what I love. I am. That’s what I’m doing.”
“I didn’t think you’d do it in this place.”
This place. I don’t know what he’s telling me. Does he mean this gallery? This city? Has he judged me not worthy of his inner circle? 
“Look, Sara.” He hesitates, and lifts his head to the sky, seeming to struggle for words before fixing me with a turbulent look. “I’m trying to protect you here. This world you’ve strayed into is filled with dark, messed up, arrogant assholes who will play with your mind and use you until there is nothing else left for you to recognize in yourself.”
“Are you one of those dark, messed up, arrogant assholes?”
He stares down at me, and I barely recognize the hard lines of his face, the glint in his eyes, as belonging to the man I’ve just had lunch with. His gaze sweeps my lips, lingers, and the swell of response and longing in me is instant, overwhelming. He reaches up and strokes his thumb over my bottom lip. Every nerve ending in my body responds and it’s all I can do not to touch him, to grab his hand, but something holds me back. I am lost in this man, in his stare, in some spellbinding, dark whirlwind of…what? Lust, desire, torment? Seconds tick eternally and so does the silence. I want to hold him, to stop whatever I sense is coming but I cannot. 
“I’m worse.” He pushes off the wall, and is gone. He is gone. I am alone against the wall, aching with a fire that has nothing to do with the meal we shared. My lashes flutter, my fingers touch my lip where he touched me. He has warned me away from Mark, from the gallery, from him, and he has failed. I cannot turn away. I am here and I am going nowhere.

Lisa Renee Jones
Author Bio:

Bestselling author Lisa Renée Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT TRILOGY which will debut internationally across many countries in 2013. Booklist says that Jones’ suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann. Alpha, military, and paranormal romance readers will want Jones’ entire series. (About the Zodius Series — Storm that is Sterling)
In 2003, award winning author Lisa Renée Jones sold her Austin, Texas based multi-state staffing agency and has since published over thirty novels and novellas across several genres. Her staffing agency LRJ Staffing was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.
Her debuts with Blaze and Nocturne hit Bookscan’s Top 100 list and her Blaze Hot Zone trilogy made a showing on the list in 2011 also.

Contact Links:
Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Reading Addiction Blog

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bewitching Book Tours Book Promo & Interview: A Bride By Moonlight

Today we are lucky enough to have Liz Carlyle answering a few questions for us!

  1. Who is your favorite character from one of your novels?

I think I would have to say George Kemble since he appears in so many of them—but never in a leading role.  Or, as Kemble might sarcastically complain, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride . . . ”

  1. How much input do you have on your book’s cover?

It varies.  If I have a strong vision, I’ll throw it out there.  Sometimes I get it, sometimes not.

  1. What was your inspiration for A Bride By Moonlight?

It really was Royden Napier.  He is just such a strong, alpha-character and he demanded his own book.

  1. Do you have a favorite time period to set your books in?

All my work save for one short contemporary has been set in the 19th century, and that’s the period I most enjoy.

  1. What is coming next for you?

I’ll have a new book out this fall called In Love With a Wicked Man.


Liz Carlyle

Genre: Romance 

Publisher: Avon

ISBN: 9780062100283
Number of pages: 432

Book Description:

Royden Napier, Baron Saint-Bryce, is tall, dark, and ruthless—and on the hunt for a dangerous beauty . . . On the eve of her escape to the Continent, bold, beautiful Lisette Colburne accepts a proposal she dare not refuse: masquerade as the future bride of the steely-eyed Royden Napier and help him solve his most dangerous case. Soon Lisette is in even greater danger—of losing her heart to the one man with the power to destroy her . . .

Estranged from his aristocratic family, the enigmatic Napier has forged a reputation as Scotland Yard's most relentless police commissioner. He's vowed to bring Lisette to justice—but with every forbidden kiss and every tantalizing touch, he finds himself becoming less convinced of her guilt . . . and more certain he must have her. But when danger touches Lisette, can he save her?


Napier cocked one hip on his windowsill and crossed his arms, studying her. “Elizabeth,” he said quietly, “why are you not leaving?”

Her satin cords, or whatever they were, having been tossed aside, Elizabeth threw up both hands and looked at him incredulously. “Because we’ve work to do?” she snapped. “Because the sooner we’ve done whatever it is you’ve dragged me off to do, the sooner we’ll be away from here?”

Away from here.

Away from her.

God, he prayed for both—but for far different reasons, he was beginning to think.

Suddenly her eyes widened. She cut a glance at the door, then hastened to it, the green velvet of her carriage dress slithering enticingly over her hips. Then, to his extreme discomfort, she bent over a little and set an ear to a flat spot in the carved wood, providing a delectable view.

It seemed an eternity before she straightened and shook her head. “My imagination,” she muttered. “I’m sorry, what were you saying?”

Napier sighed, and altered his strategy. “Make your point, but be quick about it,” he said. “In what way might you be of help?”

Again, the ingenuous expression. “Why, it’s hard to know,” she said, “when I’ve been told nothing of what brought you home to Burlingame. After all, I am just the hired help—no, the blackmailed help. Nonetheless, I will have time alone with all your maddening female relations—and ladies do gossip. Moreover, they will take no notice whatever of another lady asking a great many questions. Indeed, given our so-called betrothal, they will wonder if I do not.”

“There is some truth to that,” he admitted.

“And then, of course, there’s Fanny.”

“Who, pray, is Fanny?”

“My maid,” she said impatiently. “Servants’ hall tittle-tattle is the purest form of gossip.”

“True, my man Jolley is invaluable in that regard.”

“Furthermore, Fanny and I are apt to be in parts of the house you will not,” she said. “While you’re closeted with your grandfather in some stuffy estate office, the ladies will likely take tea in the drawing room, or sew in the parlor, or read in the library. Are you looking, perhaps, for a weapon? Or purloined goods? Or what?”

He considered it for a moment, and wondered why he should not take her up on it. Elizabeth was a clever piece of work, and the fact that she made his cock throb every time she drew near was merely a testament to his stupidity.

“All right,” he said, setting one hand high on the bedpost. “I need every bit of gossip either you or Fanny come across, so long as you take no risk to get it. And I need paper.”


“Letter paper,” he amended. “From every room in the house, ideally, though that won’t be possible. Give it to Jolley, or have Fanny do so.”

He could see her brain clocking along like a well-greased gearbox. “Someone has written you anonymously,” she said. “Or written something suspicious to someone, at any rate. And you wish to discover if the letter came from this house.”

“Never mind what I wish,” he snapped. “I just want samples of letter paper. Don’t do anything foolish. If you’re seen going through a bureau or a desk, just say you needed to jot down a thought or write a letter home.”

“Yes, to my dear uncle Lord Rowend, no doubt,” she said dryly, “who will need time to plan my wedding.”

Napier barked with laughter. “Oh, doubtless.”

It was then that he made the grave misjudgment of looking at her—really looking at her. A grin had curved one corner of that lush mouth and those eyes were again glittering green with mischief.

Napier dragged a hand down his face.

“What?” she demanded.

But the gravity of his situation had returned tenfold. “I made a mistake,” he finally said.

“Oh?” She tilted her head as if to better see him. “Of what sort?”

“Of every sort,” he managed. “Bringing you here. The lies. The clothes. That damned wig. I don’t know, really, what I was thinking. All of it was so … unwise.”

Her incredulous expression returned. “Well, this is a fine time to decide,” she grumbled. “I could have been halfway to the Côte d’Azur by now.”

He grunted. “What, I thought you were bound for Scotland, that last, lawless refuge of scoundrels?”

Her gaze swept over him, dark as the velvet of her gown. “Well, I was bound for somewhere far from you, that much is certain.”

“And would to God I’d let you go,” he muttered.

“Why?” she demanded. “You think me a criminal and—yes, you just said it—a scoundrel. Why would you let me go?”

Her head was still set to one side, her eyes drifting over his face, her full lips slightly parted, and that keen intelligence burning fierce and angry in her eyes.

Well, she wasn’t intelligent enough, apparently.

With one hand, Napier reached out and dragged her hard against him.

“This is why,” he said—just before he kissed her.

She scarcely had time to gasp before he’d captured that lush, taunting mouth in a kiss of long-thwarted lust. Her free hand came up to shove him away, too late. Acting on pure instinct, Napier forced her back against the massive oak bedpost.

She gave a soft moan; a sound of surrender, he thought, and on a surge of desire, he pinned her with the weight of his body, his mouth raking hers. Though she kept the hand set stubbornly against his collarbone, Elizabeth did not resist.

Not even when he half hoped she would.

Instead, when he drew his tongue over the delicate seam of her lips, she opened on a soft, welcoming sound and allowed him free rein, her reactions almost artless. Napier seized the advantage, slanting his mouth over hers, thrusting again and again, plundering the depths of her mouth.

Dimly, he wondered at her experience, but the thought washed away on another powerful surge—red-hot desire that shot through his belly and drew his loins taut.

Somehow, they slid away from the bedpost and Napier pressed her back into the softness of the mattress. Dragging himself over her, he deepened the kiss, tangling his tongue sinuously with hers, his unslaked need rushing nearly unchecked.

Her hands flowed over him, tentative and almost shy. Then one warm palm slid down his spine, searing him all the way to the small of his back. Silently he begged her to slide it lower, to draw his body hard against hers in that most wicked and suggestive of ways.

He swam now in sheer, sensual hunger and like a man drowning, felt himself floating toward that dark precipice. Beyond it lay a roaring waterfall of need from which there would be no turning back. Because she was dangerous, and would drag him deep. He’d known that.

He knew it now, but the feminine curves of Elizabeth’s long, lithe body molded too perfectly to his, and the warmth of her breasts and her belly pressing against him urged Napier to madness.

They had tumbled sideways across his bed, the down bedding billowing softly about them, and Elizabeth’s skirts slithered halfway up her leg. Driven by one thing now, Napier thrust again, rhythmically sliding his tongue along hers in blatant invitation. And when she drew up her knee on a soft sound of pleasure, it was as if the heat of her thigh left him shivering.

Napier was so lost, he scarcely realized his hands now cradled her face, or that his mouth had slid over her cheek and along her temple. That he was whispering things: mad words of worship and desire.

One hand went to the swell of her breast, inching the fabric down until the hard, sweet bud of her nipple grazed his palm, sending heat shafting into his groin again.

“Ah, Elizabeth,” he whispered, his tongue tracing the shell of her ear. “Let me—”

“N-No.” Gasping, she at last put her hand to good use, shoving it against his shoulder. “Napier, st-stop. I—we—we don’t want this.”

By God, he wanted it.

But her words were like a dash of cold water. Napier stopped, his nostrils flared wide, his breath already coming hard.

Beneath his weight, Elizabeth looked wanton and needy, her tumble of curls bright against the billowing whiteness of the counterpane. She desired him; in that his instincts did not fail. Her lips were wet and slightly parted now, her eyes somnolent and glassy green. He could feel her body trembling—but not, he thought, from fear.

“Elizabeth, you want this,” he whispered, half hoping she would deny it. “You want me inside you.”

Her eyes flicked to his, her tongue darting out to lick her lips. “Yes,” she rasped. “I won’t lie. But … we can’t.”

He kissed her again, more tenderly now, foolishly unwilling to surrender his half-won prize; the thing for which he’d burned for days on end—if not longer.

But she urged him gently away. “Please don’t,” she whispered, her long lashes fanning shut like lace above her cheeks. “We’ll regret it. You’ll regret it.”

He let his face fall forward to touch hers, and forced his breathing to calm. “Yes,” he said on a harsh laugh. “I would.”

“And I deserve something better,” she said softly, “than a man who will regret me. I am, alas, a hopeless romantic.”

He had nothing to say to that. And when her eyes went soft with tenderness, something in Napier’s throat constricted.

Good God. She was a romantic?

Napier brushed his lips over her perfectly arched eyebrow and rolled away. For a long moment he lay beside her on the soft mattress, staring up at the plaster roundel in the middle of his ceiling and waiting for his rock-hard erection to subside past the point of pain.

Elizabeth deserved better.

But most women were romantics. Why had he believed her something less?

“You are too quiet,” she said, her voice tremulous. “Am I … ”

“Are you what?” His bollocks tight and aching, the words came out more harshly than he’d meant.

“Have I made you angry?” she said. “Was this … part of that price you expected me to pay?”

He cursed beneath his breath.

“Oh, I know you think me some sort of Jezebel.” Her voice was strengthening. “I cannot stop you from thinking that. But understand I would have done anything, Napier, to avenge my father’s death. I would have paid any price. But this price? Merely to save my own skin? Oh, you need to know here and now that I will not pay it.”

“You think that’s what this is?” he demanded. “A price to be paid? Part of that deal with the devil you think you’ve made?”

“Is it?”

“My God, Elizabeth.” The knot in his throat tightened again. “What have I ever done to make you imagine me that sort of man?”

“N-nothing,” she whispered.

“Damn it, do you see what I mean?” he said. “This is what a mistake feels like.”

The plaster roundel blurred before his vision—Phaethon felled by a lightning bolt, somewhat aptly. She said no more, and after a time, he somehow found it in him to collect his wits and help her off the bed. But as she turned her back to restore her clothing to order, he saw they had crushed the satin cords she’d unfurled from her hair.

On a pathetic impulse, he picked them up and coiled them tight about his hand—coiled them so tight his blood ceased to flow—then relented and shoved them ruthlessly into his pocket.

She turned around with a wobbly smile, her bodice restored. “You were right,” she said. “I oughtn’t have barged in. I take full responsibility.”

Napier shrugged, and forced a smile that probably looked like a sneer. “A lady may always refuse a gentleman’s advances,” he said, gripping the bedpost rather too tightly. “My apologies, Elizabeth. There is a train back to London tomorrow at eight. I can see that you are on it.”

For a moment, her expression turned inward. “And go back to what?” she said hollowly. “I have no life in London now. I cannot even go back to my charity work at Lady Leeton’s school.”

She was right, and Napier knew it. Worse, he did not want her to go. “Very well,” he said. “Then you may trust this will not happen again.”

About the Author:
A lifelong Anglophile, Liz Carlyle cut her teeth reading gothic novels under the bedcovers by flashlight. She is the author of over twenty historical romances, including several New York Times bestsellers. Liz travels incessantly, ever in search of the perfect setting for her next book. Along with her genuine romance-hero husband and four very fine felines, she makes her home in North Carolina.

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